100k auction? November 9, 2009 1:52 PM   Subscribe

Behind the scenes, we've been thinking about what the 100,000th user on MeFi would mean, and how we could commemorate it, so I'm floating our idea here...

When we hit 99,999, user signups will freeze for one week, and we'll launch a 7-day eBay auction for the 100,000th user account. All proceeds will be donated to Kiva.org at the end and we'll resume user signups.

We've been talking about this privately for the past few weeks and given this morning's post on the issue I figure I'd make a new post instead of bury it in a comment.

So, does this sound good to everyone? Is Kiva a good choice? For what it's worth, DonorsChoose.org (fund mostly US school kid projects) and Creative Commons were also front-runners but Kiva is still pretty cool and I could transfer the money to my team-linked account and disburse it to current listed projects, and recycle the money back into it as it gets repaid.
posted by mathowie to MetaFilter-Related at 1:52 PM (237 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

I forgot to add that given the current heightened rate of signups, chances are it will happen in a couple weeks or so.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 1:53 PM on November 9, 2009


I can dig it. Can't afford to bid on it, but I can dig it.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:55 PM on November 9, 2009


I think this sounds like a great idea.

(Give it image-posting rights and you'll triple the selling price.)
posted by wnodom at 1:55 PM on November 9, 2009 [24 favorites]


Why not the EFF for when you all get sued?

Just kidding. Kiva sounds good. If this works you could have PB flush the dead low user numbers like 2 and sell those as well.

Oh, and I bid $5!
posted by cjorgensen at 1:55 PM on November 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


I enjoy this idea.
posted by The Whelk at 1:55 PM on November 9, 2009


Sounds good. Minor suggestion, though: How about letting us nominate charities, and then having a runoff election for the one that will be donated to?
posted by Flunkie at 1:56 PM on November 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


You could let the winning bidder choose what charity the money goes to.
posted by IndigoRain at 1:57 PM on November 9, 2009


I see what you did there.
posted by special-k at 1:59 PM on November 9, 2009


Go for it, Matt. Sounds like something nobody could object to (so I'm looking forward to the mental contortion the MeFite Contrarians use to object).
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:59 PM on November 9, 2009

You could let the winning bidder choose what charity the money goes to.
I think it would be better to have the community decide. I, for one, wouldn't be particularly thrilled to see the winning bidder choose to donate to Operation Rescue, for example.
posted by Flunkie at 2:00 PM on November 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


I don't know how we'd manage this logistically, but one thought that went careening through my brain was of doing some sort of blind, all-bids-are-paid auction, to make it more of a fundraiser by everyone wanting to participate and less of a fundraiser-by-the-winner-only, if that makes sense.

So you can bid whatever you feel like donating to the fundraiser. High bidder wins the account, however, that works, but everybody else kicks in their bids as well for whatever good cause.

That may be overly complicated, however.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:00 PM on November 9, 2009 [16 favorites]


With the banks sitting on the taxpayer funds given them, Kiva.org seems a wise choice. Kiva now donates to US startups also.
posted by Cranberry at 2:00 PM on November 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Flunkie: "Sounds good. Minor suggestion, though: How about letting us nominate charities, and then having a runoff election for the one that will be donated to?"

An even better idea.
posted by IndigoRain at 2:00 PM on November 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah, the winning bidder could choose charities. Maybe we should list half a dozen options. So far there are:
  • Kiva
  • DonorsChoose
  • Creative Commons
  • EFF
I'd say maybe throw in a medical charity like a breast cancer foundation or the lance armstrong foundation?
posted by mathowie (staff) at 2:01 PM on November 9, 2009




I, for one, would like to welcome MetaFilter user #100,000 Glenn Beck's Bleeding Anal Fistula.
posted by ColdChef at 2:03 PM on November 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'd say maybe throw in a medical charity like a breast cancer foundation or the lance armstrong foundation?

How about The Point Foundation?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:14 PM on November 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Here's a site with some great tips on selecting a charity.
posted by brain_drain at 2:14 PM on November 9, 2009 [17 favorites]


I'm guessing the "don't make a sockpuppet" rule will be waived for this auction, right?
posted by ALongDecember at 2:15 PM on November 9, 2009


Confusion on Where Money Lent via Kiva Goes (NYT)

An alternative microfinance non-profit: Unitus.
posted by ericb at 2:17 PM on November 9, 2009


How about letting us nominate charities, and then having a runoff election for the one that will be donated to?

My nomination: New Profit Inc.
"Since 1998, New Profit has helped a portfolio of innovative social entrepreneurs build their organizations and scale their social impact. New Profit believes that just as entrepreneurship and invention have driven our nation's progress, so too can we harness America's spirit of innovation, vision, and optimism to help solve our most pressing social problems."
Disclaimer: I am an investor and have served as an advisor to NPI.
posted by ericb at 2:20 PM on November 9, 2009


cortex: one thought that went careening through my brain was of doing some sort of blind, all-bids-are-paid auction, to make it more of a fundraiser by everyone wanting to participate and less of a fundraiser-by-the-winner-only, if that makes sense.

So you can bid whatever you feel like donating to the fundraiser. High bidder wins the account, however, that works, but everybody else kicks in their bids as well for whatever good cause.


I was coming in here to suggest this. It may be too difficult to organize in the few weeks before #100,000 comes along, but I think it would be worth it to try.
posted by lilac girl at 2:20 PM on November 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


How does one check the current highest usernumber anyway?
posted by jpdoane at 2:21 PM on November 9, 2009


Excellent idea, plus, you probably get 100,000 Moral High Ground points with this.
posted by IanMorr at 2:21 PM on November 9, 2009


Since 100,000 is off the table, I guess the goal is managing to snag 99,999. Wonder how much one could sell a metafilter account for to profit. I imagine the snag is that the buyer couldn't choose the name, so you'd just need to name it NineNine NineNineNine or something.
posted by floam at 2:22 PM on November 9, 2009


Other recent threads about the landmark: earlier today, & last month's noted 99,000th user, with my graph/timeline of new user signups.
posted by Pronoiac at 2:23 PM on November 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I like the idea of Kiva, particularly since so many mefites are already supporting that, but I would also support the list you put together, Matt. I agree on adding a medical option and perhaps an environmental one, too?
posted by madamjujujive at 2:27 PM on November 9, 2009


Awesome idea and I love the ability to choose the charity.
posted by NoraCharles at 2:28 PM on November 9, 2009


This is a splendid idea.
posted by EatTheWeak at 2:30 PM on November 9, 2009


If you're going to give a list of charities please focus on international ones instead of ones that only help your (or my or whatever) country. I've always felt that this website does a pretty decent job of being inclusive for peoples from all over despite being US based but that only persists when the attitude is supported from the top.

Of course I'm a poor student, with the end of my stipend looming so about to get markedly poorer, so I probably don't have much to contribute.
posted by shelleycat at 2:30 PM on November 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


This is a good idea. I think cortex's idea of a fundraising auction (so to speak) would likely have a bigger impact financially so I support that.

I'd like to see the charity be one with a global presence, not US-specific, in recognition of the userbase. Kiva is good and there is already a Mefi presence.

The other idea would be to use this to fund the mefi scholarship though I remember there being problems with implementing that in the past.

Regarding gman's comment above, I thought everyone knew that through kiva.org you aren't literally funding directly, in a single-pipe way, a single individual entrepreneur, but that in reality you are backing micro-credit organizations. I mean, you paypal the money and a day later they tell you it has been disbursed to some farmer in Togo. Obviously there is a buffer of other money in there somehow. It doesn't affect the principle of kiva at all.
posted by Rumple at 2:31 PM on November 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


[If #100,000 is reserved then the timeline could be stretched, I imagine.]
posted by Rumple at 2:32 PM on November 9, 2009


ONE MILLION DOLLARS!

*places pinky to mouth corner*
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 2:37 PM on November 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


This is a cool idea, but why close signups for a week? Aren't you walking away from some significant money (that could go into the charity pot) that way? (Sure, some will wait patiently until they are open again, or join the auction, but I bet plenty are impulse signups who will just wander off.) Or do most of the 100+ signups a week never actually pay the $5?
posted by yarrow at 2:37 PM on November 9, 2009


If you combine winner chooses the charity with an all-pay auction, you could get some interesting results.
posted by Pants! at 2:38 PM on November 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


we've been thinking about what the 100,000th user on MeFi would mean,

that there's a lot of people with time to kill?
posted by jonmc at 2:38 PM on November 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


"So you can bid whatever you feel like donating to the fundraiser. High bidder wins the account, however, that works, but everybody else kicks in their bids as well for whatever good cause."

It sounds like what you actually want is called "a raffle."
posted by majick at 2:39 PM on November 9, 2009 [6 favorites]


[If #100,000 is reserved then the timeline could be stretched, I imagine.]

In this site we obey the laws of Newtonian physics.
posted by qvantamon at 2:40 PM on November 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I can't afford to bid on it

I can afford to BID on it, I just can't afford to WIN it.
posted by absalom at 2:47 PM on November 9, 2009


I think it's a capital idea, Matt. Can you make a podcast to include us or that sort of wonderful birthday songram Jess got for her birthday accessed by the rest of us?
posted by effluvia at 2:49 PM on November 9, 2009


This is a great idea. I think an international charity would be best given the international (albeit heavily USian) nature of Metafilter.

Also:

I've seen it asked in a couple of places, but never answered: How do you see how many users are registered at any given time? Is it in a completely obvious place that I'm being a dingus and missing?
posted by Kimberly at 2:55 PM on November 9, 2009


I think the winner should in fact be able to specify any registered charity in the country of their residency. Your opinion of their choice, or mathowie’s, is secondary. Not everyone supports left-wing or copyleft charities, nor should they be expected to do so as a condition of acquiring the 100,000th username.

I see the foregoing as having the advantage of intellectual honesty. Failing that, since I know you’re all going to shout me down anyway, the 100,000th user should be allowed to forfeit the money and still become the 100,000th user.
posted by joeclark at 2:57 PM on November 9, 2009


Okay, hear me out, here. Has anyone read Shirley Jackson's The Lottery?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:59 PM on November 9, 2009 [35 favorites]


Just to throw out my two cents: Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) is a charity I endorse very heavily. Fundamentally secular, international, and non-private-agenda'ed. Distinguished by a willingness to forgo political neutrality when it obstructs direct humanitarian action at the front lines. Also, a very, very good ratio of money going to actual humanitarian programs vs administrative & fundraising costs.

When I did my homework on charities, they really were head and shoulders above the rest, by my criteria. I also like CARE and UNICEF.
posted by churl at 3:00 PM on November 9, 2009 [17 favorites]


Heartily approved.
posted by Jofus at 3:02 PM on November 9, 2009


Or do most of the 100+ signups a week never actually pay the $5?

Right-o. It's great that round numbers make people excited enough to help charity like this, but it's been said often here that only - what was it? - about a third of the folks who get assigned a number actually join the site. Shhh.

posted by mediareport at 3:03 PM on November 9, 2009


"So you can bid whatever you feel like donating to the fundraiser. High bidder wins the account, however, that works, but everybody else kicks in their bids as well for whatever good cause."

It sounds like what you actually want is called "a raffle."


Well, no, not exactly. It would be a raffle if the winner was chosen at random from among all the entries. A question you might want to ask is: do you think more money could be raised by having people compete for the highest bid, even if that bid remains unknown (as it would have to, or else its like a silent auction where you still have to pay even if you lose), or if you could raise more by having an actual raffle with the entry fee as, I dunno, $5 - and have winner chosen at random. People could purchase as many $5 chances as they so chose.

And Kiva, I think, is a great choice.
posted by Lutoslawski at 3:04 PM on November 9, 2009



Okay, hear me out, here. Has anyone read Shirley Jackson's The Lottery?

I just LMAO.
posted by Lutoslawski at 3:05 PM on November 9, 2009


The Human Fund: Money for People
posted by blue_beetle at 3:07 PM on November 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


I feel sort of sorry for whoeve ends up winning this auction. For years now, many MeFites who paid $5 to become a member had to live with the "$5 n00b" status from older MeFites lucky enough to have been awake when free signups became available.

Now let's say the winner of this auction wins account number 100,000 with a bid of, say, $700. Now all those $5 noobs will be able to vent their frustration on user 100k by calling him or her a "$700 n00b."

Hey, wait. I'm a $5 noob! Bring it on I say!

Seriously though, donating money to charity is always great so this is a wonderful idea and I'm all for it.
posted by Effigy2000 at 3:08 PM on November 9, 2009


Does the donor get the deduction? If so, that should raise the bids.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 3:09 PM on November 9, 2009


Here's one vote for Kiva. Sounds like something all of us could agree on.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 3:20 PM on November 9, 2009


My two bits: I think a charity that actually does something useful would be preferable to a charity that, y'know, doesn't.
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:26 PM on November 9, 2009


Who'd bid on such a huge user #? Auction off some lost 4-digit user number.
posted by GuyZero at 3:28 PM on November 9, 2009


Behind the scenes, we've been thinking about what the 100,000th user on MeFi would mean, and how we could commemorate it

I'm not gonna lie. My immediate thought was: free hot dogs!
posted by the littlest brussels sprout at 3:28 PM on November 9, 2009


(By which I mean nonsense like Creative Commons and EFF, rather than Kiva)
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:28 PM on November 9, 2009


strongly seconding the suggestion of Doctors Without Borders.
posted by scody at 3:29 PM on November 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


I've seen it asked in a couple of places, but never answered: How do you see how many users are registered at any given time? Is it in a completely obvious place that I'm being a dingus and missing?

There's no way that I can think of to see the exact count, no. There are a few approximate methods for the deeply curious, though:

1. Scan through the front page of AskMe, looking at usernumbers by mousing over usernames. There's a pretty good chance on any given day that someone very new has asked their first question not long after they were first able to do so, so you'll probably see something close to "exactly seven days ago" freshness this way.

2. Check the Infodump, specifically the users file. That's got the most recent signup at the bottom, and is refreshed every Sunday so it'll get you between 0 and 7 days behind current depending on when you download it.

3. Check out profiles manually, looking for the highest number that serves up an actual user profile page.

None are exact, but (2) is probably the simplest.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:31 PM on November 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm okay with having the winner choose the charity, because I trust most of the people here to pick a worthy charity of some sort. Also, I vote for having either an all-pay auction or a raffle because if it's a straight auction it doesn't most of us a chance to contribute.
posted by burnmp3s at 3:31 PM on November 9, 2009


nthing Doctors Without Borders.
posted by special-k at 3:37 PM on November 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


churl: Just to throw out my two cents: Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) is a charity I endorse very heavily.

I gotta second that, deeply. When I was researching a FPP about a particularly heinous crime against humanity, those folks were part of who were doing what they could to repair the damage. I think most of them are doing the work of the saints.
posted by WCityMike at 3:42 PM on November 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


Chiming in to say:
-yes! to the auction/Cortex's all bids thing if you can swing it
-yes to the site voting on a charity to donate it to
-and yes to the charity being an international one

This sounds like a fantastic idea.
posted by phunniemee at 3:46 PM on November 9, 2009


There's no way that I can think of to see the exact count, no.

FWIW, "real" websites don't measure absolute user registrations as there are always a lot of abandoned user ids. Most sites will track daily visitors or 7- or 30-day active visitor counts. So the # of registered MeFi members isn't really an important or interesting metric. As corext says, this is pretty easily derivable from the infodump.
posted by GuyZero at 3:49 PM on November 9, 2009


Yes.
posted by josher71 at 3:52 PM on November 9, 2009


Another vote here for Médecins Sans Frontières.
posted by Electric Dragon at 4:03 PM on November 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


If you have a situation where lots of people are donating rather than a straight auction where the winner is the only one who pays then I'm not thrilled with the winner choosing a charity. Because then lots of people are giving money but having no input over who they're giving it to. I think that would reduce the amount given (I wouldn't donate under those circumstances). Having a short list of charities to choose from, a list which has been through metatalk and shouted down/endorsed/whatever along the way, and allowing the winner to choose from the list would be a decent compromise.

Also, why not have a silent auction? Isn't that the best way to get lots of people bidding and paying while till having the highest bidder win?

Lastly, while I like the idea of adding a medical charity keep in mind that many of them are not international. While finding a treatment for something would have international implications (eventually), I'd still much rather support my own research community and patient cohorts than those based elsewhere.
posted by shelleycat at 4:03 PM on November 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


When we hit 99,999, user signups will freeze for one week, and we'll launch a 7-day eBay auction for the 100,000th user account.

I think it would be a better idea if we let signups continue but those signups would be user number 100,001 and on. But yea, even without that this is a really cool idea. It takes the competition for the 100,000 slot and uses it constructively.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 4:22 PM on November 9, 2009


Okay, hear me out, here. Has anyone read Shirley Jackson's The Lottery?

We already did something like that with Rothko and dios. And it stoned me to my soul.
posted by terrapin at 4:24 PM on November 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Is there some sort of support group for ex American Apparel employees we can vote for?
posted by shothotbot at 4:25 PM on November 9, 2009


How about we buy that kid, like, a thousand more bikes?
posted by klangklangston at 4:31 PM on November 9, 2009


I think it would be a better idea if we let signups continue

If there's a moratorium on sign-ups, we can have a big party for whoever ultimately wins. Having sign-ups continue might quickly take the steam out of the specialness of it.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:36 PM on November 9, 2009


I like the idea, maybe we can combine it with some other holiday fundraiser for some other worthy site accomplishment or milestone.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:39 PM on November 9, 2009


Do the infodump files contain the number of actual activated accounts? I'm curious as to what percentage of those 100,000 are empty husks.
posted by Rhomboid at 4:40 PM on November 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Now I'd like a pony!

Seriously, though, I'm a big fan of "Let the winner choose the charity."
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:49 PM on November 9, 2009


if comments here can be believed
this idea's being well received
no snark or snarling haters heard
there's friendliness in every word
unlike the recent "faved" thread, friends
this one might just have happy ends
and our hundred thousandth member might
bask in a warmer Meta light.

cause it's something of a rarity
to reach this kind of parity
and see this kind of clarity
must be because it's charity
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:55 PM on November 9, 2009 [11 favorites]


I figure I'd make a new post instead of bury it in a comment.

Hmm... could that work, I wonder, as a site-wide strategy?

just kidding
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:58 PM on November 9, 2009


Also, why not have a silent auction? Isn't that the best way to get lots of people bidding and paying while till having the highest bidder win?

I think you mean a sealed bid auction. It would be extremely easy to run a sealed bid all pay auction. Bidders just submit a paypal payment immediately in whatever amount they choose.
posted by Chuckles at 5:10 PM on November 9, 2009


Do the infodump files contain the number of actual activated accounts? I'm curious as to what percentage of those 100,000 are empty husks.

The infodump list of users only contains activated accounts; the incomplete signups aren't in there. So for the most basic value of not-husks, the list is 100% non-husk. As GuyZero points out, that's still a gross over-representation of actual currently-minimally-active accounts, but as a picture of how many people have bothered to sign up all the way it's solid.

This is a cool idea, but why close signups for a week? Aren't you walking away from some significant money (that could go into the charity pot) that way? (Sure, some will wait patiently until they are open again, or join the auction, but I bet plenty are impulse signups who will just wander off.) Or do most of the 100+ signups a week never actually pay the $5?

Neither here nor there on the "why" question, but as for the signup fees we'd forgo, that's not the site's primary source of income and would come out to probably a few hundred bucks total that we'd skip out on. Average completed-signup rate is around a dozen or so a day, with a lot of variation from day to day.

For November 1 through November 7 inclusive, we went through 311 userids and had 93 actual completed signups among those. Nothing about those numbers feels atypical to me based on what I've seen over the last year. A check against the infodump numbers could vet that out, of course, if someone wants to.

I think you mean a sealed bid auction. It would be extremely easy to run a sealed bid all pay auction. Bidders just submit a paypal payment immediately in whatever amount they choose.

True, if we chose to go that way it'd be a super-simple solution.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:15 PM on November 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm actually a bit vague about what a silent auction or sealed bid auction or whatever all really are when it comes down to details but yeah, something along those lines. I guess there'd have to be a time period it was open for and no checking up on amounts half way through.

Totally silent or sealed would feel a bit odd though, we wouldn't even have a ball park to work in. What if I end up winning with five of my really crappy NZ dollars? Or what if the winner is ten times higher than everyone else? I guess that's part of the fun. Normally people would bid whatever they felt it was worth but I can totally see mefites getting all game theory about it.
posted by shelleycat at 5:33 PM on November 9, 2009


I actually like the idea of a raffle more than an auction. I bet there are a lot more people willing to bid $5 knowing they have a chance than would bid $5 knowing that someone else would definitely bid higher, even if for charity. And the people who want to bid higher can just get a lot more 'tickets' increasing their odds. It seems like a much more appropriate method of fund-raising while awarding a prize than an auction.
posted by Green With You at 5:56 PM on November 9, 2009 [5 favorites]


Can I be the charity?
posted by Eideteker at 5:56 PM on November 9, 2009


I think that user 100,000 not only gets image posting capabilities, but starting with user 100,001 the usernames are prefixed with some really annoying character or image. Rinse and repeat (with even more annoying user dongle) at 200,000, ad infinitum.
posted by davejay at 5:57 PM on November 9, 2009


All 100,000+ usernames are Z҉A҉L҉G҉O̚̕̚-prepended.
posted by subbes at 6:06 PM on November 9, 2009


I like the Kiva idea best. It can become a continuing cycle of reinvestment that way.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:16 PM on November 9, 2009


What about smallest unique bid over $1 wins the 100k account? (one of the radio stations I listen to used to do something like this).

Which would mean that many people would be able to take part and contribute something in the range $1.01 upto whatever they wanted to give/thought might win. And also make the whole process thought provoking... is 7.16 a better bid than 6.71 or 1.67 ?

It also wouldn't have the account going automatically to the person who can just afford to stump up $2000 or whatever.

All losing bids are also put into the charity pot.
posted by selton at 6:24 PM on November 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


I really think that a raffle might generate more $$$. I know I'd be more likely to put in a $5 bid, knowing that well, I could lose it, but it's for a good cause.
posted by pjern at 6:36 PM on November 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I like Kiva, but I also like Médecins Sans Frontières.

I like the idea of an auction for 100,000 but I hate the idea of an auction for low user numbers, since user numbers are a good way of seeing how relatively old or new a user is. Not that I take much stock in people waving around their three or four digit user numbers, but I can imagine the sort of dick measuring that would happen if people suddenly were user number 2 as the result of an auction.
posted by crossoverman at 6:38 PM on November 9, 2009


I like Kiva, because I think it fits with the idea of Metafilter: collaboration enabled by the web.

The NYT article linked above didn't say anything shocking - just that Kiva partners with micoloan organizations in country, and your money isn't literally being sent in an envelope to this person.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 6:43 PM on November 9, 2009


"A question you might want to ask is:... highest bid... or if you could raise more by having an actual raffle."

Let's put it this way: I'm broke and out of work. If I want to donate five bucks to DWB or the EFF I'll do that myself. If I want to buy a couple of $2 MetaFilter raffle tickets, I might do that. But I sure as hell am not going to try to pony up $500 or whatever it'll take to beat the actual highest bidder.

Basically what I'm saying is: if you want a charity drive, let's do a charity drive and that's that. I'm not going to pretend my ten bucks or whatever is anywhere close to winning an auction, so why should I pretend it's an auction when it's just a guaranteed losing bid/donation from the kindness of my heart? I'll just cut an extra ten dollars into my usual EFF donation this year if it's going to be like that.

A raffle or something where my money has some tiny hope of letting me participate in the actual event beyond pure fund-raising would be more likely to get me to kick down the ducats.
posted by majick at 6:44 PM on November 9, 2009 [7 favorites]


How Many Potential Users Paid the $5?
by Pronoiac

According to a graph I just put together, around 30-40%.
posted by Pronoiac at 6:44 PM on November 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


I like the raffle idea. As Green With You points out, that would mean no matter how long the odds, every participant has a chance. I would contribute either way, but if the user id goes to the highest bidder, I won't be daydreaming about what my first post as user 100K will be, I'll just be making a donation.

Which is still cool, but not as much fun.

Definitely would like to see all participants pony up and have us make a meaningully sized donation.

I'm on board with Kiva or Doctors w/o Borders, and also like the idea that the winner would pick the charity from a shortlist that is [pretty] universally supported here. I would definitely like to see an international slant.

If registration is closed during the raffle/auction, then anyone who is not already a current user but wants to play still has time to join now. And anybody who is turned away during the time registration is closed will come back. [A whole lot of us did that, already, you know!]
posted by jaruwaan at 6:51 PM on November 9, 2009


"Now let's say the winner of this auction wins account number 100,000 with a bid of, say, $700"

I fear you are underestimating by a significant amount.

Anyone wanna start a line on the over/under?
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 6:57 PM on November 9, 2009


Actually jaruwaan makes me think of another scenario, people joining specifically to enter. Which mostly would be fine but not so much if the winner gets to choose where the money goes and takes a bunch of other people's donations with it. I may be getting all conspiracy theory here but I can imagine someone joining, bidding with a big amount of money to win, then choosing a charity they belong to or benefit from somehow and have all the donations go back to themselves. Not a problem if only the winner ever pays up, not so great if everyone's kicking in.

I'm not usually so suspicious. I've been doing really boring work for the past few days, maybe my imagination's running hot and my brain needs more useful stimuli for a change.
posted by shelleycat at 6:59 PM on November 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think this will be fun, and do some good. How about also auctioning the last 5 digit account, 99999?
posted by theora55 at 7:03 PM on November 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


(maybe I need to stop with the metafilter and get this damn analysis finished)
posted by shelleycat at 7:04 PM on November 9, 2009


How about starting a "MeFi foundation" from the proceed. Way back in 2001, there was the metafilter scholarship. How about thinking along the same line (and maybe enough scholarships to create a MeFi class :) )
posted by TNLNYC at 7:17 PM on November 9, 2009


You think $700 is too high crash? I say $500 for the over/under.
posted by Kwine at 7:29 PM on November 9, 2009


I think it should be a surprise. Some poor schmuck clicks the Submit button on their new account and balloons poor out of his web browser and Ed McMahon shows up at the door with Miss MetaFilter 2009 holding a giant blue check for 5 bucks. The media is alerted and user 100000 is crowned MeFi King/Queen for a Day. Five runner ups will get MetaGolden Tickets that will allow them and one adult to visit the MetaFilter server closet.
posted by doctor_negative at 7:34 PM on November 9, 2009 [6 favorites]


Kwine: no, I think it will go for much more than $700.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 7:38 PM on November 9, 2009


I am all for giving the money to kibo.com

what
posted by not_on_display at 7:39 PM on November 9, 2009


We should write up a bunch of press releases anyhow, you know how mainstream media loves internet japery. Maybe we could get in Time Magazine!

what
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:42 PM on November 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Five runner ups will get MetaGolden Tickets

The snarkberries taste like snarkberries!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:43 PM on November 9, 2009 [5 favorites]


I can imagine the sort of dick measuring that would happen if people suddenly were user number 2 as the result of an auction.

Sorry, that was a joke.

Also, I like the idea of a worldwide scholarship and a raffle.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:48 PM on November 9, 2009


Kiva sounds good but my mom won't let me hear the end of it if I don't at least mention The Stephen Lewis Foundation

Grassroots projects are the focus of the Stephen Lewis Foundation — providing resources to small, front-line groups that make tremendously effective use of comparatively small amounts of money. On rare occasions, we fund larger undertakings where we are sure the funds are being disbursed at the community level. Since 2003, we've funded more than 300 projects in 15 countries throughout sub-Saharan Africa.

We focus on four critical areas: women, orphans, grandmothers and people living with HIV and AIDS.

posted by philip-random at 7:59 PM on November 9, 2009


A+++ WOULD LOVE THIS IDEA AGAIN!!1
posted by odinsdream at 8:07 PM on November 9, 2009


I'm digging the raffle notion, yeah. Which could be handled likewise with a paypals to a set account, and then some mostly-automatic fiddling to set up the raffle mechanism itself and the glory of pseudoRNG making the big decision.

Or, if it's actually somehow practicable to do so, actual tickets in a bucket. But that'd depend a lot on the volume. $5 tickets, how many in the bowl? Could do the drawing on a webcam. Heh.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:11 PM on November 9, 2009


The bucket only works if you show people's names going in or people trust you. Heh!

I'll also throw out the idea of dropping the chunk Hoder's way.

It might also be nice to pick a few charities, since no one has any idea of what kind of money we're talking about. Metafilter Foundation!
posted by cjorgensen at 8:35 PM on November 9, 2009


Curious about the graph.... Why is the percentage lower than 1 for the times when signups were free?
posted by kaibutsu at 8:36 PM on November 9, 2009


Kwine: "You think $700 is too high crash? I say $500 for the over/under."

I will bid right now 100,000 pennies, one for each theoretical user number, if it goes to a charity I feel is worthwhile. That does not mean I have to donate to the charity or even agree with it, only that I think they use a high percentage of their donations for helping others who cannot help themselves.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 8:42 PM on November 9, 2009


I thought everyone knew that through kiva.org you aren't literally funding directly, in a single-pipe way, a single individual entrepreneur, but that in reality you are backing micro-credit organizations.

I actually didn't know that, which makes me feel very naive, but I do think that their site and marketing wasn't as clear as it could have been. I still think Kiva's a great organization, and I'm also inclined to support Doctors Without Borders.
posted by lalex at 8:43 PM on November 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


jessamyn: "We should write up a bunch of press releases anyhow, you know how mainstream media loves internet japery. Maybe we could get in Time Magazine!

what
"

Actually that's not a bad idea.
posted by radioamy at 8:53 PM on November 9, 2009


kaibutsu: Curious about the graph.... Why is the percentage lower than 1 for the times when signups were free?

That's a good question. I don't know.
posted by Pronoiac at 8:54 PM on November 9, 2009


Oh and no matter if it's a raffle or an auction, I think this idea is awesome in general.

Personally, I like the suspense of an auction.
posted by radioamy at 8:57 PM on November 9, 2009


It is possible to fund kiva straight up without worrying about return.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:58 PM on November 9, 2009


All this debating about which charity to give the money to! Why not use one of the organisations that can decide the best charity for your money on your behalf?
posted by nowonmai at 9:01 PM on November 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Seconding the idea that you could also auction 99,999 and 100,001 as being cool user numbers.

And nthing MSF, Unicef, Kiva.
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:17 PM on November 9, 2009


Retracting my initial statement, I am going to back Flunkie on this and say the community should vote on the charity. He (? - sorry, no gender in your profile) has already said he would object, for example, to a donation to a Christian charity that goes to end abortions, and I'm sure there are Christians here who would object to a donation to another GLBT charity that was mentioned in this thread. Probably better to let the members pick something a bit more neutral.
posted by IndigoRain at 9:43 PM on November 9, 2009


I heard there were these guys that could help you pick a good charity. Give...something, the name escapes me.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 9:44 PM on November 9, 2009


Well, November is experiment month. Could auction 99999 and raffle 100000 and see what happen.
posted by ctmf at 9:51 PM on November 9, 2009


Ooh, yeah! Givewell! That will...end...well.
posted by gingerbeer at 10:00 PM on November 9, 2009


Honestly, what gigantic dicks would be be if we cut them in on this action? Not much, like, five bucks or whatever. I wouldn't stop laughing for a week.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 10:05 PM on November 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Doesn't it say don't be a dick on the posting page or sign up page or somewhere? Seems to me like a good instruction to follow.
posted by shelleycat at 10:24 PM on November 9, 2009


I was going to suggest just deleting #100 000 from the user number database - or whatever that's called - but this is a very nice idea. Not nearly as spiteful and funny, but nice nonetheless.
Maybe junking #99 990-#99 999 and #100 001-#100 011 would make the #100k even specialer.

(While still providing me with the spiteful LOLs I need just to make it through the day.)

Also, I bid a trillion bazillion quatloos. And ninety-eight cents!

posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:44 PM on November 9, 2009


Meh, these charities I've seen in this thread are merely OK. Why not hand over your charitable funds to some seasoned experts? Someone whose got their fingers on the pulse of giving well? Us gentle knaves are literally throwing away cash when we don't defer to full-time charity professionals.
posted by porn in the woods at 10:45 PM on November 9, 2009


We shall make them King of Metafilter For a Day. We'll give them a crown and let them do anything they want for one full day. They will have full admin, banhammer, and IMG tag privileges. Every comment they make will be favorited thousands of times, and MeFi Music will be filled with songs in their honor.

And then at the end of the day, their account will be sacrificed (in the most humane way possible) and preserved in a peat moss bog for thousands of years.

Because that's just how we roll.
posted by Afroblanco at 12:21 AM on November 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


* Kiva
* DonorsChoose
* Creative Commons
* EFF
* Doctors Without Borders

...is a list I can roll with very happily.

But if we wanted to roll our own system, we could raise more money by letting people pledge their losing closed bid amounts to one of those five charities selected from a drop-down. (I do not have the money to win this auction but I have $20 for the EFF and I'd like to take part in a community event if it's possible to construct one that might work that way.)
posted by DarlingBri at 1:46 AM on November 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Why is the percentage lower than 1 for the times when signups were free?
Could it be related to that enterprising bunch who got in through the back door?
posted by dg at 1:49 AM on November 10, 2009


Sorry, just to be clear...


I bid [$_____ ] on MetaFilter member number 100,000 and nominate [ Charity Drop Down ] as my designated charitable recipient for these funds.

In the event my bid is unsuccessful, I pledge [ $_____ ] to [ Charity Drop Down ] as part of the MetaFilter 100K Fund Raising Drive.


I wonder if we actually could raise 100K. It is running up the holidays, after all, and it's the time of year many of us do the bulk of our charitable giving anyway. If it's done via MeFi, I bet we could raise serious cash for good causes.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:53 AM on November 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm not usually so suspicious.

Having played Nomic with you, shelleycat, I beg to differ.
posted by Meatbomb at 2:12 AM on November 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


My 2cents:
- Raffle with $5 per "ticket"
- include user numbers 99,999 and 100,001
- Doctor's without Borders as at least a choice
posted by like_neon at 3:04 AM on November 10, 2009


I'm liking the raffle option more and more...
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:31 AM on November 10, 2009


kaibutsu: Curious about the graph.... Why is the percentage lower than 1 for the times when signups were free?

I'm guessing that it's a combination of tests that mathowie deleted plus the jokey usernames that used html entities that were purged a while ago (a year ago? after the attack earlier this year?)
posted by Kattullus at 4:30 AM on November 10, 2009


Oh, and raffle or bid, either's good. I like the idea of whoever wins selecting from a list of a few charities, Médecins Sans Frontières, UNICEF, EFF etc.

But the list shouldn't be any longer than, say, 5 charities. I'm fine with the admins choosing the list or the community voting (though I'm not sure we've ever voted on anything).
posted by Kattullus at 4:36 AM on November 10, 2009

Retracting my initial statement, I am going to back Flunkie on this and say the community should vote on the charity. He (? - sorry, no gender in your profile) has already said he would object, for example, to a donation to a Christian charity that goes to end abortions, and I'm sure there are Christians here who would object to a donation to another GLBT charity that was mentioned in this thread.
Well, I didn't say I would object; I said I wouldn't be particularly thrilled.
posted by Flunkie at 5:21 AM on November 10, 2009


I don't know if you have time, but if there's some way to set up a 501(c)(3) charity, contributions would become (for US users) tax-deductible.

Which would probably get you a hell of a lot more money.
posted by scrump at 5:55 AM on November 10, 2009


Are there experienced charity fundraisers here who'd have an idea whether an auction or a raffle would be most effective? I'd always thought the competition and suspense of an auction were big motivators.
posted by palliser at 6:06 AM on November 10, 2009


" I'd always thought the competition and suspense of an auction were big motivators."

What competition? I've got like ten bucks to kick in. I automatically lose any auction, there's no suspense or competition. I'm sure my ten bucks is welcome towards the cause, but I'd be just as happy sending my ten bucks to a cause of my choice, if all it's going to get me is a "YOU LOSE!" email from the auctioneer otherwise.
posted by majick at 6:25 AM on November 10, 2009


I'd always thought the competition and suspense of an auction were big motivators.

But they mean everyone who doesn't stand a chance of being top can't be involved.

Maybe eBay 100,000 and have a raffle for 99,999 and 100,001?
posted by cillit bang at 6:27 AM on November 10, 2009


by calling him or her a "$700 n00b."

I think the phrase here is "three- (or whatever) figure n00b."
posted by octobersurprise at 6:44 AM on November 10, 2009


I think I like the idea of the raffle, for the same reasons others have stated: I know I have less than a snowball's chance in hell of winning a regular auction, but would be more inclined to participate if I knew there was some chance, however small, of victory. Sweet, sweet victory.
posted by owtytrof at 7:16 AM on November 10, 2009


A raffle style with tickets purchased specifically to benefit a given charity at purchase time seems like it might be a pretty good solution for (a) letting everybody go with a charity they personally prefer to support and (b) keeping everybody in the game even if they're only able/inclined to throw $5 in for a single ticket.

I say this as someone who wouldn't be doing the implementation, of course, but a simple "buy a ticket" page that submitted a $5-times-x paypal contribution to one of say four or five charitable targets by just having a numeric "how many tickets" field and a radio menu to choose the charity could probably make this pretty workable, and make it not too hard to programmatically manage the raffle information for managing a drawing either.

Throwing out a few "copy of our home game" prizes to a few other drawn names could be fun too. T-shirts and meficomp CDs, maybe.

The idea of also auctioning off 100,001 via ebay for the high-rollers sounds kind of fun, though the more complicated this all gets the harder it'll be to pull off sanely on short notice. Probably a quick mod pow-wow about practical implementation today or tomorrow should happen to make sure we aren't getting ahead of ourselves or biting off more than we can chew, etc.

Are there experienced charity fundraisers here who'd have an idea whether an auction or a raffle would be most effective? I'd always thought the competition and suspense of an auction were big motivators.

My take on it is that this is a fun thing that's also a nice chance to raise some cash for charity. It's not something we need to attack necessarily from a min-maxing perspective trying to get the most possible dollars out of it, so if we choose a format that doesn't perform at the absolute optimum for fundraising that's not necessarily a big deal.

Why is the percentage lower than 1 for the times when signups were free?

I don't have any more concrete answer than what dg or Kattullus said upthread about it. Shenanigans, basically.

At various weird/early stages in the site's history (where we can for simplicity's sake declare the day $5 signups started in earnest the commencement of the Modern Age of Mefi Signups), Matt was actively experimenting with things, and I'd be those non-100% rates of completion are the result of things like blowing out problem accounts from the db or horky problems in experimental limited-signups code that led to skipped userids.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:33 AM on November 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


The straight white catholic republican book burners for america fund are accepting donations and i think it might tie in with the mefi ethos.
posted by sgt.serenity at 7:43 AM on November 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


I like the raffle idea; with each ticket costing $5. That way you get the maximum possible money for the charity, and a person who buys one ticket has a chance, but someone willing to drop $500 has a better one (but still no guarantee that they can buy their way into the 100k account).

Having sign-ups continue might quickly take the steam out of the specialness of it.

Exactly. And stopping registration might bring to the contest additional new users who really want to comment in a thread.

Whichever way it ends up going, I think the overall concept is fantastic.
posted by quin at 7:52 AM on November 10, 2009


Doublewhiskeycokenoice: "what gigantic dicks would be be if we cut them"

Sigh. It always comes back to circumcision.
posted by lazaruslong at 8:34 AM on November 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


How about a sort of dual raffle:

Each ticket buys a chance of winning the account, and a chance of naming the charity. These two chances are independent of each other, but on the same ticket. So two different tickets are drawn as "winners", one winning the account and the other winning the right to name the charity.
posted by Flunkie at 8:34 AM on November 10, 2009


Putting a membership up for sale on e-bay sounds icky, would generate bad karma, and set an unfortunate precedent to boot. Stinky poo bad ugly don't!
posted by Meatbomb at 8:35 AM on November 10, 2009


My goal:

1) win the raffle for user number 100,000.
2) self link on the blue.
posted by bDiddy at 8:36 AM on November 10, 2009 [5 favorites]


I like the idea of a raffle. First place gets 100,000 (or their choice, since I would prefer 99,999 personally) and choice of where the money goes. 2nd place gets second choice. Or you could split the money up (1/2, 3/10, 2/10, for example) and let each place decide on where their share of the money goes (as well as the ability to choose, in order, which number they want).
posted by Eideteker at 9:32 AM on November 10, 2009


Putting a membership up for sale on e-bay sounds icky, would generate bad karma, and set an unfortunate precedent to boot. Stinky poo bad ugly don't!

It has been done before, I believe, so not precedent setting. Of course Ebay was a different place back then..

First place gets 100,000 (or their choice, since I would prefer 99,999 personally) and choice of where the money goes. 2nd place gets second choice. Or you could split the money up (1/2, 3/10, 2/10, for example) and let each place decide on where their share of the money goes (as well as the ability to choose, in order, which number they want).

All this extra choice and inclusion.. It is making this all seem complicated. I mean, I won't be participating anyway--I don't believe in sock puppets, and I don't have much money--but I think a lot of people will see a very simple arrangement like the one mathowie originally suggested as far more accessible. A straight raffle works too, but.. Keep it simple.

Hmm.. Surely if there is anything precedent setting about this whole thing, it is the explicit endorsement of sock puppets on MetaFilter. Or maybe not, because throwaway accounts have been recommended on AskMe before, I guess..
posted by Chuckles at 9:45 AM on November 10, 2009


I'm liking DarlingBri's suggestion the most:

I bid [$_____ ] on MetaFilter member number 100,000 and nominate [ Charity Drop Down ] as my designated charitable recipient for these funds.

In the event my bid is unsuccessful, I pledge [ $_____ ] to [ Charity Drop Down ] as part of the MetaFilter 100K Fund Raising Drive.

I wonder if we actually could raise 100K. It is running up the holidays, after all, and it's the time of year many of us do the bulk of our charitable giving anyway. If it's done via MeFi, I bet we could raise serious cash for good causes.

posted by Lizc at 9:46 AM on November 10, 2009


You can do both.

A raffle for user # 99,999 where anyone bidding $5 or $10 or whatever has an equal chance of winning -

- and a silent auction for user #100,000 that goes to the highest bidder.

= maximum profit for whatever charity is selected.
posted by widdershins at 9:53 AM on November 10, 2009


lazaruslong: Sigh. It always comes back to circumcision.

Ha! I like the cut of your jib.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 9:54 AM on November 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Why is the percentage lower than 1 for the times when signups were free?

I can answer this definitively. We threw the 5k.org contest based on the MeFi database and some jerk in Italy tried to game the contest by signing up 700+ bullshit accounts that gave his projects votes of 5 and everyone else votes of zero. A couple years after it happened, I went into the database and removed every one of them (they all had predictable usernames and were easy to spot).
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:54 AM on November 10, 2009 [5 favorites]


There are a lot of ideas being thrown around, but it sounds like consensus is falling towards a raffle and I like the fairness of the idea versus the high roller style of an auction.

We've been thinking of ideas for prizes and we're thinking something like this:

1st Prize gets user number 100k and airfare to attend any scheduled MeFi meetup on earth (all other expenses up to the winning member)

2nd Prize gets airfare to attend a meetup at either Portland, US location (Oregon or Maine, your choice) from wherever they live (all other expenses up to the winning member)

3rd Prize gets up to 5 free shirts from the shop.

I'd say a page like the one cortex described: I would like to buy ___ $5 raffle tickets with the money going towards (choice of 5 charities) and then on to paypal and back to finish it. You have to be a member of MeFi to win.

In the end we random number generate some numbers for the winners and look up the ticket holders with that ID in the database and email them that they won and later post it on the site, then I donate everything to the respective charities based on the amounts people contributed to each (and we publish what the final breakdown is).
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:04 AM on November 10, 2009 [11 favorites]


Also, for fine print, we'll be doing no cash equivalents for the prizes.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:12 AM on November 10, 2009


1st Prize gets user number 100k and airfare to attend any scheduled MeFi meetup on earth (all other expenses up to the winning member)

I would like eotvos to post a meetup if I win.
posted by gman at 10:17 AM on November 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Fourth prize is YOU'RE BANNED.
posted by scrump at 10:35 AM on November 10, 2009 [17 favorites]


100K IS FOR CLOSERS.
posted by scody at 10:39 AM on November 10, 2009 [9 favorites]


The potential problem I see with awarding airfare as a prize is that several people have said they are feeling poor at the moment and might only want to spend a few bucks on this endeavor, however if they won they might feel pressured into spending more money on motels/food/time off/misc travel than they are comfortable with. Or maybe they just have bit of social anxiety and wouldn't be comfortable flying to a meetup of strangers. Of course the winner could always decline the tickets but with the spotlight being on them I have the feeling they would feel pressured to go through with it, which could put some people off from entering.
posted by Rhomboid at 10:44 AM on November 10, 2009


and airfare to attend any scheduled MeFi meetup on earth

Holy crap! That's freakin' awesome!

Suddenly, I want to win this very much. And I'm going to need a list of all the mefites in really beautiful tropical locations so I can bribe them into scheduling a meetup.

Wisconsin winters are bad.

posted by quin at 10:51 AM on November 10, 2009


Okay so I don't *actually* live in Northern California like my profile says, but in New Zealand. In the event I win I will be hosting a Meetup in New Zealand, but I will need to use the airfare to fly from Northern California (where I am on vacation currently *wink wink*) to New Zealand.
posted by Big_B at 11:01 AM on November 10, 2009


airfare to attend any scheduled MeFi meetup on earth

Holy crap! Seriously?
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:04 AM on November 10, 2009


I would like to donate to Teva because they make such fashionable footware
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:07 AM on November 10, 2009


If I win I'm going to name the account sum_yung_dong and grief askme with inflamatory pro-circumcision opinions.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:12 AM on November 10, 2009


Rhomboid: The potential problem I see with awarding airfare as a prize is that several people have said they are feeling poor at the moment and might only want to spend a few bucks on this endeavor, however if they won they might feel pressured into spending more money on motels/food/time off/misc travel than they are comfortable with. Or maybe they just have bit of social anxiety and wouldn't be comfortable flying to a meetup of strangers. Of course the winner could always decline the tickets but with the spotlight being on them I have the feeling they would feel pressured to go through with it, which could put some people off from entering.

I can think of two solutions off the top of my head.

1) The admins contact the winner first, giving him/her the opportunity to refuse.
2) The winner could give the ticket to another MeFite.
posted by Kattullus at 11:19 AM on November 10, 2009


...gets airfare to attend a meetup...

Love it!
posted by jpdoane at 11:25 AM on November 10, 2009


I like pretty much everything about this "mathowie" fella's suggestion.
posted by churl at 11:27 AM on November 10, 2009


3) The mefite, if they are feeling poor, can fly a moderator in for a meetup.

(I actually know far more about this subject than I think you can imagine)
posted by scrump at 11:27 AM on November 10, 2009


I like the raffle idea; with each ticket costing $5. That way you get the maximum possible money for the charity, and a person who buys one ticket has a chance, but someone willing to drop $500 has a better one (but still no guarantee that they can buy their way into the 100k account).

I hadn't thought of that -- buying lots of tickets. Good point.
posted by palliser at 11:37 AM on November 10, 2009


fly a moderator in for a meetup

Okay, now that would be pretty kickass.
posted by Rhomboid at 11:45 AM on November 10, 2009


I've spent time with both cortex and jessamyn, and they make every day a party day.
posted by scrump at 11:47 AM on November 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Dude you paid how much for that??? I got mine for free. FREEEEEEEeeeeeee!
posted by grateful at 11:47 AM on November 10, 2009


I forsee a MeFi meetup in someplace really remote in the near future. Antarctica? What's the airfare there?
posted by caution live frogs at 12:35 PM on November 10, 2009


1st Prize gets user number 100k and airfare to attend any scheduled MeFi meetup on earth (all other expenses up to the winning member)

2nd Prize gets airfare to attend a meetup at either Portland, US location (Oregon or Maine, your choice) from wherever they live (all other expenses up to the winning member)

Wow, you must be expecting way more than I was thinking. Airfares from Australia to the US or the UK are expensive. Is there going to be anything let for charity?
posted by dg at 12:39 PM on November 10, 2009


I'm pretty sure the prizes would be funded out of pocket, not taken from the raised funds.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:52 PM on November 10, 2009


Wow, I was excited about this... and then... AIRFARE? ZOMG.

Dear everybody:

Please tell me where you live and why it is awesome whilst I empty my bank account into $5 increments. Thnx.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 1:04 PM on November 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


Is there a free sockpuppet with every entry?
posted by cillit bang at 1:36 PM on November 10, 2009


3) The mefite, if they are feeling poor, can fly a moderator in for a meetup.

There's an element of hostage-taking in this that I find uncontrollably;ly amusing.
posted by The Whelk at 1:38 PM on November 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


I hadn't thought about it like that, but yeah, there is a sort of "Seize him you fools! And bring the cortex to me" space-lord sort of vibe coming off that idea.

It should be included in the fine print immediately.
posted by quin at 1:47 PM on November 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


any scheduled MeFi meetup on earth

Does that include meetups in underwater lairs?
posted by lukemeister at 1:51 PM on November 10, 2009


I would like to offer you a deal outside eBay. I will then renege. Since you would have gone outside eBay, no one can help you collect. Bwahahahaha!

P.S. Just kidding.
posted by reenum at 1:52 PM on November 10, 2009


you should be able to seize Cortex and turn him into your personal Bard.
posted by The Whelk at 1:52 PM on November 10, 2009


"Seize him you fools! And bring the cortex to me"

"So, Mr. Cortex. You see that I have Beatles Rock Band set up. You will play until the dancing girls drop. Proceed."
posted by scody at 1:54 PM on November 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


It should be included in the fine print immediately.

No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. No keepsies.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:54 PM on November 10, 2009


So if I win the second prize it would be crazy awesome and a trip across the world for me. If a Portland local wins it they get taxi fare to the pub. Doesn't seem right somehow? And yeah, those first two could get really expensive if one of us far flung types wins. It would easily cost a couple a thousand dollars to fly me to Portland, for example. You could, maybe, end up spending more on prizes than you take in in donations.

Also, is there a time limit on the airfare thing? Because if I win then I can't do it in the next six months, I have to finish my thesis*. And after that I'm hoping to move across the world anyway so could potentially twist the meetup airfare into contributing towards my moving costs, so it could all get a bit weird and not in the spirit of the original competition (hey meetup coincidentally where Shelley just got a job!). But at the same time winning a prize that cool and not being able to use it would suck, and yes, money could be a really big issue with this (specially when you figure in exchange rates).

*which I am working on so hard right this minute heh
posted by shelleycat at 2:59 PM on November 10, 2009


So if I win the second prize it would be crazy awesome and a trip across the world for me. If a Portland local wins it they get taxi fare to the pub.

You'd be winners, either way.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:19 PM on November 10, 2009


If a Portland local wins it they get taxi fare to the pub.

Or plane fare to a Portland 3000 miles away, yeah.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:22 PM on November 10, 2009


I vote for an auction with a small bidding non-refundable fee up front. For example, if you imposed a $10 bidding fee and I bid $100, if I lost, I would still be billed $10. If I won, I would be billed all $100. WIth a raffle, not knowing if there are fixed odds, I am more inclined to buy fewer tickets in dollars than I would bid for the number outright. Quite frankly, it makes more sense to me to just give my money directly to the charity of my choice rather than buy raffles with it. While I am willing to bid on the number and get it with the understanding that the cost may go to a charity I do not support or is not a priority, just gambling it does not float my boat. I also think there are taxes associated with accepting plane fare as a prize.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 3:30 PM on November 10, 2009


you should be able to seize Cortex and turn him into your personal Bard.

Not unless I forget to keep my crawlspace firmly secured.
posted by Meatbomb at 3:37 PM on November 10, 2009


I also think there are taxes associated with accepting plane fare as a prize.

This is actually a good point. Prizes aren't taxable where I live but they are in many places, and you may be making an international transaction which probably complicates things. Also when you're giving away prizes over a certain amount of money, and it's quite a small amount, you need to have official scruitneers and things like that involved. Which again is probably different for different jurisdictions. I think things like this are why most competitions are only open for a specific country or area.

I know Matt has legal counsel available. If you're giving away prizes this big I'd say they need to be consulted.
posted by shelleycat at 3:58 PM on November 10, 2009


Perhaps this suggestion is tangential, but I would happily pay a fee to use an individualized graphic to commemorate the event with my user number (90606) and MetaFilter, et al that I could print out as an iron on graphic. That way, the community could be linked by the graphic yet customize bits.
posted by effluvia at 4:05 PM on November 10, 2009


Yeah, check your lawyers. When I worked at the Death Star, we found out that you can't offer any sort of raffle or lottery to Arizona without paying to register with the state. Because Arizona's dickish.
posted by klangklangston at 4:22 PM on November 10, 2009


How weird. The first time, MeFi ate my comment. That hasn't happened in a long time.
posted by klangklangston at 4:23 PM on November 10, 2009


shelleycat: If a Portland local wins it they get taxi fare to the pub.

I feel I should mention that once on the radio someone referred to Providence as "The Portland of the East Coast."
posted by Kattullus at 4:24 PM on November 10, 2009


Then it happened again. Jeez. If this is some sort of subtle Skinnerian ploy to reduce my commenting, well, too subtle by half!
posted by klangklangston at 4:24 PM on November 10, 2009


klangklangston: How weird. The first time, MeFi ate my comment. That hasn't happened in a long time.

Nope, there's just some sort of weird delay happening. The post registers but doesn't show up on the screen until after reloading.
posted by Kattullus at 4:25 PM on November 10, 2009


And again, twice more. How fucking odd.
posted by klangklangston at 4:26 PM on November 10, 2009


Even after reloading, it's not there.
posted by klangklangston at 4:26 PM on November 10, 2009


We have our answer why:
Error Occurred While Processing Request
The tag , on line 287, column 2, requires an end tag.
The tag requires an end tag to nest within , which began on line 285, column 2.
posted by Kattullus at 4:28 PM on November 10, 2009


Yeah, well, I blame not having favorites.
posted by klangklangston at 4:29 PM on November 10, 2009


<ctif> was the tag I forgot to htmlify.
posted by Kattullus at 4:35 PM on November 10, 2009


Incidentally, now it's happening in this thread
posted by Kattullus at 4:36 PM on November 10, 2009


Could you guys shut up about this and drop us a line via the contact form about it instead? I'm pretty sure whatever it was is working now but if not, let us know.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:37 PM on November 10, 2009


And everywhere else in MetaTalk. I'd rather not make pointless comments on other sites to find out if the same thing's happening there.
posted by Kattullus at 4:38 PM on November 10, 2009


shutted
posted by Kattullus at 4:39 PM on November 10, 2009


Runner-up prize could be a set of steak knives, laser-embossed with the MF logo. Or a blue Cadillac.
posted by porn in the woods at 4:48 PM on November 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


Runner-up prize could be a set of steak knives, laser-embossed with the MF logo.

Genius.
posted by scody at 4:50 PM on November 10, 2009


I should probably protest the raffle idea since they're illegal in Utah, but I wouldn't win anyway so it's a moot point now, isn't it?
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 5:27 PM on November 10, 2009

And where is Mr. Cortex? He's top name on the board so he don't have to be here for this shit?

That's correct, and as the hour is waning, I suggest that those of you who are interested in a unique user number with this organization -- and other fabulous prizes -- get to work.
posted by porn in the woods at 6:05 PM on November 10, 2009


1st Prize gets user number 100k and airfare to attend any scheduled MeFi meetup on earth (all other expenses up to the winning member)

Does that mean, if I win, I can come here and schedule one in London or New York and claim that as my prize? Or does it have to be scheduled before the draw?
posted by crossoverman at 6:47 PM on November 10, 2009


Aw it's so cute when we consensus!

(yay I like this idea!)
posted by lunit at 6:57 PM on November 10, 2009

mathowie: Why is the percentage lower than 1 for the times when signups were free?

I can answer this definitively. We threw the 5k.org contest based on the MeFi database and some jerk in Italy tried to game the contest by signing up 700+ bullshit accounts that gave his projects votes of 5 and everyone else votes of zero. A couple years after it happened, I went into the database and removed every one of them (they all had predictable usernames and were easy to spot)
He's referred to on my new charts of unused ids (pre-$5-signup & overall) as "5k ballot-stuffing Italian jerkface."
posted by Pronoiac at 6:58 PM on November 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


"5k ballot-stuffing Italian jerkface."

mmm, ballot-stuffed Italian open jerkface sandwich.... (drool)

sounds like someone needs to stick to stuffing manicotti and cannelloni
posted by porn in the woods at 7:09 PM on November 10, 2009


Seconding the support for

-a global aid charity
-Doctors Without Borders specifically
-raffle rather than auction

I'm a little less enthused about Kiva because it's still up in the air as to whether the microfinance model is alleviating systemic poverty across the board, or is instead creating a comparative advantage for some while shifting the poverty onto others. However, even if it's not doing what's intended it's still an experiment that's probably necessary in order to determine whether it's a viable model. Not dead set against it, but wanted to note that some of the other charities named so far can make a stronger argument that they're definitely creating the outcomes they set out to.

But if we're talking about under $1000, it doesn't make sense to handwring too much anyway - that's a smallish donation for a global charity. Is that the kind of amount we'd expect to see raised? If so, I wonder if we can pile on Jessamyn's idea and set the bar a little higher?
posted by Miko at 8:19 PM on November 10, 2009


I should probably protest the raffle idea since they're illegal in Utah,

Can you just call it a "Giveaway" then? That's what we do here.
posted by Miko at 8:20 PM on November 10, 2009


First prize is the 100000 user id. Second prize, as you all know, is the set of steak knives. Third prize is you're banned.
posted by klangklangston at 8:41 PM on November 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


I should probably protest the raffle idea since they're illegal in Utah

What isn't?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:24 PM on November 10, 2009 [2 favorites]

Can you just call it a "Giveaway" then? That's what we do here.
I think you misspelled Giveawell.
posted by scrump at 9:53 PM on November 10, 2009


sounds great. Do we have to do anything?
posted by mattoxic at 3:12 AM on November 11, 2009


In the end we random number generate some numbers for the winners and look up the ticket holders with that ID in the database and email them that they won and later post it on the site, then I donate everything to the respective charities based on the amounts people contributed to each (and we publish what the final breakdown is).

Isn't the point of a raffle to allow people who want to up their chances of winning to buy a whole shitload more tickets than they think everyone else is? Maybe I'm reading you wrong #1, but it doesn't sound like your system is planning on allowing for that.

And I think it should, because hey, then I could drop like $1500k on raffle tickets with the hope that I get first or second prize, because that'll still be cheaper than a flight home to California for me. And even if I don't get it, hey they money goes to one of these charities.

Anyway, just a thought. Here's a list of orgs (skip to the bottom of the comment) I've promoted on MeTa before, fwiw. I think Kiva, DWB/MSF, CARE, or UNICEF are all great options - I've worked with and have friends or acquaintances with all 4 of them here in Africa and I can personally vouch for the awesome work they all do.
posted by allkindsoftime at 6:34 AM on November 11, 2009


$1500k whoops
posted by allkindsoftime at 7:03 AM on November 11, 2009


220 comments and nobody missed the obvious idea???!!!?

WINNER GETS AN IMG TAG!! YEAHHHH!!!! *fistpump* 100,000kb of IMAGES!!!!

No...?

All users get their userID+100000 so that the 100,000 becomes the new first user.


No...?

Aw, shirts then.
posted by cavalier at 7:51 AM on November 11, 2009


Big fun. Those of you who feel broke: most of the MeFites I've met up with would probably offer a place to stay to a celebrity MeFite meetup winner, and the offer would be safe and fun. The Portland/Portland idea is even more fun for anybody who's irritated about the left coast Portland being used at the default.

I still think 99999 should be on offer.
posted by theora55 at 8:11 AM on November 11, 2009


I'm kind of mystified why you have to be a mefite to enter; why not let the lurkers give some money and potentially become the celebrated new member? If this is untenable for whatever reason, can the winning mefite gift the account to someone else? (cortex you know where I'm going with this)
posted by desjardins at 8:20 AM on November 11, 2009


I really like the raffle idea, although I agree that random number generation really isn't the way to go, as buying more $5 tickets should increase your odds of winning. Also, Doctors Without Borders is an excellent charity choice.

The airfare prizes are a cool idea, too, but I'm sure I'm not the only one who might have trouble taking advantage of that. First prize really ought to be a pony. Preferably one that poops Skittles. Taste the rainbow! MeFi schwag, IMG tag for a day, or lovely CDs of everything ever posted to MeMusic or podcasts would all be good prizes.
posted by notashroom at 8:44 AM on November 11, 2009


Isn't the point of a raffle to allow people who want to up their chances of winning to buy a whole shitload more tickets than they think everyone else is? Maybe I'm reading you wrong #1, but it doesn't sound like your system is planning on allowing for that.

My reading of it is that each ticket would have a unique ID number (just like real raffle tickets have in real life) and at the end the winning ticket would be randomly selected out of the list of all of the ticket IDs. After drawing the first prize they could remove any additional tickets from that same person from the list to avoid awarding more than one prize to the same person.
posted by burnmp3s at 9:11 AM on November 11, 2009


To be clear, if we used an RNG instead of a physical drawing we'd still allot odds accordingly. Buy ten tickets, get ten digits on the number-line, etc.

I'm kind of mystified why you have to be a mefite to enter; why not let the lurkers give some money and potentially become the celebrated new member?

I think the main thinking there was to keep it from being something that someone unfamiliar/unacclimated/unfriendly to mefi might wander into. Keeping it to folks who are already mefi members would just be a hedge against some of that, potentially.

It'd also keep some poor newb from being saddled with way, way more attention than they might want if they don't know what they're getting into.

I don't personally feel super strongly about it either way, but those were some of the things we talked about.

If this is untenable for whatever reason, can the winning mefite gift the account to someone else?

Heh. I'm sure we could manage that in any case, yeah.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:16 AM on November 11, 2009


right thats settled, there's going to be a prize and i've won it, when do i collect ?
posted by sgt.serenity at 10:31 AM on November 11, 2009


desjardins: "I'm kind of mystified why you have to be a mefite to enter; why not let the lurkers give some money and potentially become the celebrated new member? If this is untenable for whatever reason, can the winning mefite gift the account to someone else? (cortex you know where I'm going with this"

IANAL, but I would guess that many of the legal restrictions that apply to public lotteries would not apply to private ones. It's probably still quite a can of worms to hold a international raffle, but if it is restricted to members only, that should be more feasible. I know that the UK has laws that distinguish between public and private lotteries. Most states will allow you to hold a raffle at a private event without registering with the state. It's only if you advertise to the public that you get into trouble. If nothing is available to the public, you can't purchase a ticket without being a registered user, and there is some verbiage saying that the purchaser is responsible for knowing whether they are legally allowed to win the prize in their jurisdiction, you might be able to pull it off. This is just conjecture, of course, but I think that from a legality standpoint, you don't even want to consider the possibility of allowing non-members. It just makes it that much more complicated.
posted by team lowkey at 11:19 AM on November 11, 2009


klangklangston: "216First prize is the 100000 user id. Second prize, as you all know, is the set of steak knives. Third prize is you're banned your account and all of your sockpuppets are hellbanned"

FTFY
posted by double block and bleed at 11:40 AM on November 11, 2009


*** Paging Plutor for Greasemonkey cleanup in aisle 216 ***
posted by double block and bleed at 11:42 AM on November 11, 2009


It's coming right up. 99852 was created today.
posted by theora55 at 6:47 PM on November 12, 2009


I have no idea if Matt is fortunate enough to have good health insurance but if not, it would be great to use the 100K auction to raise funds for MetaFilter's own mathowie. If there's a need, there couldn't be a better cause.
posted by DarlingBri at 9:27 PM on November 12, 2009 [4 favorites]


If I win can I fly mathowie into Toronto and make him eat a hoti roti from gandhi's
posted by tehloki at 7:42 AM on November 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


We could also add an organisation like the American Brain Tumor Association to the list of charities.
posted by zamboni at 9:48 AM on November 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


I have good health insurance, so I'm good.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:09 PM on November 15, 2009


And your insurance can't claim this as pre-existing! WIN!

Except for that whole "Oh, you still have a brain tumor" thing.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 5:11 AM on November 16, 2009


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