This is not a demographic marketing question, I swear February 15, 2010 3:11 PM   Subscribe

Has there ever been an attempt at a kind of Metafilter community census?

Having a full-time job, a relationship and a few creative hobbies, I can't wrap my head around the extreme volume of posts and comments that some people seem to maintain in their MeFi posting habits (Mods notwithstanding). I also think that usually, barring the odd flameout, high volume contributers seem to deliver some of the highest quality content. But I have no way of proving this.

I sometimes get the impression that a few people spend their every waking moment on Metafilter. And basically, I wonder about what lifestyles allow for that sort of thing.

Has there ever been a census or survey or anything?

..Not saying there should be or anything. I'm just wondering if there is a general idea of the archetypal high-volume Mefi contributor.
posted by dobie to MetaFilter-Related at 3:11 PM (94 comments total)

Dozens. Summary: we are indescribable.
posted by gleuschk at 3:18 PM on February 15, 2010


dobie: I wonder about what lifestyles allow for that sort of thing

The kinds where you really shouldn't procrastinate, making it that much more tempting.
posted by Kattullus at 3:19 PM on February 15, 2010 [4 favorites]


I sometimes get the impression that a few people spend their every waking moment on Metafilter. And basically, I wonder about what lifestyles allow for that sort of thing.

Having a full-time job


Wait...these things are incompatible???
posted by Lutoslawski at 3:22 PM on February 15, 2010


or as I said in my toast at the 10th anniversary meet-up: if it weren't for MetaFilter I have no idea what I would do from 9-5 everyday.
posted by Lutoslawski at 3:23 PM on February 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


Wait...these things are incompatible???

I see what you did there. The full text was: Having a full-time job, a relationship and a few creative hobbies.
posted by dobie at 3:23 PM on February 15, 2010


I have all my spouses type up comments and then post them for me under my name.

But seriously, I use RSS because it makes it easy to see at a glance when new content is posted but more importantly it allows me to quickly skim everything that's posted without having to wait for any pages to load.
posted by Rhomboid at 3:28 PM on February 15, 2010


I see what you did there. The full text was: Having a full-time job, a relationship and a few creative hobbies.

Ok fine then Mr. "I've found love and I have interests and I have a job.' What are you trying to say? THAT THE REST OF US DON'T HAVE LIVES? OR FRIENDS IN THE REAL WORLD? OR SOMETHING BETTER TO DO? Poppycock!!

we do I swear we do...
posted by Lutoslawski at 3:29 PM on February 15, 2010


Oh jeeze.
posted by dobie at 3:30 PM on February 15, 2010


I imagine you all as a kind of semi-sentient phosphorescent lichen soup.

I believe the stats bear me out on this.
posted by Jofus at 3:31 PM on February 15, 2010 [7 favorites]


The full text was: Having a full-time job, a relationship and a few creative hobbies.

Which describes me fairly from 2005 (when I first became really heavily active on the site) through late 2008 (when I stopped having a dayjob). The thing is, mefi was one of my hobbies, and I think that's true in one formulation or another for everybody who spends a lot of time here, regardless of whatever else is going on in their life.

The kind of job people have (how you define "full-time" other than as "paid for 40+ hours a week" I guess could come into that), the kinds of interests they have, the kind of computer and internet access they have, they kind of access they have or lack to other forms of communication/entertainment, their mobility, their social interaction habits, their off-line social fulfillment, etc, are all factors in how much time they're likely to spend on the site, setting aside the basic motivating factor of just enjoying spending time reading and writing here for its own sake. I don't think there's really a "type" to be found, so much as a whole lot of different people ending up at the same place for various reasons.

Not to suggest you're saying there is a type, dobie; I understand you're as much as anything curious about what sorts of variations there are. Just that I don't think it's as easy to draw a contrast between "people who have/do x" and "people who spend a lot of time on mefi" as general distinct groups, unless x = "has no internet access".
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:31 PM on February 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


I sometimes wonder Matt kept creating new fictional MeFites in the early days to make it look like a community and it just got out of hand. Now he's making posts in over 100,000 fictional voices. Somehow stumbled in and am only the second or third actual person posting here. That would explain why after all of these years I've yet to meet somebody outside of this place that actually knows what MetaFilter is or has even heard of it before.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 3:32 PM on February 15, 2010 [11 favorites]


It's probably too simplistic to say there is a metafilter type, but it does seem clear that there are certain patterns in terms of demographics and interests.
posted by serazin at 3:34 PM on February 15, 2010


Oh jeeze.

I'm being quite sarcastic, dobie. What I'm trying to (jokingly) say is that a lot of us have things like a full-time job and the like, we just spend a lot of time when we should be working reading MeFi. And don't think that MetaFilter hasn't come up in my relationship as an 'issue' before. ahem.
posted by Lutoslawski at 3:34 PM on February 15, 2010


... high volume contributers seem to deliver some of the highest quality content. But I have no way of proving this.

Exhibit A.
posted by Joe Beese at 3:36 PM on February 15, 2010


The kinds where you really shouldn't procrastinate, making it that much more tempting.

Procrastination : Metafilter :: $$$ : Raging Drug Addiction
posted by sallybrown at 3:38 PM on February 15, 2010 [4 favorites]


cortex: don't think there's really a "type" to be found

I'm not saying you're wrong, I'm just saying that MeFites are awfully not-hard to spot in a crowded bar at meetups.
posted by Kattullus at 3:39 PM on February 15, 2010 [4 favorites]


Exhibit A.

dude.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:41 PM on February 15, 2010 [12 favorites]


Oh I'm sure that there would as much variation in the community as there are members; we are all unique snowflakes, after all. But I'd be interested to see the correlation among variables like posting volume, posting quality, and any demographic information that isn't too outlandish to collect. Maybe I need to add another entry in my "potential Phd theses that I will never write" journal.

I guess even measuring quality would in itself be impossible. You could use favorites, and internal linking as measures of content value in absolute terms (for example, even really bad comments that get brought up again and again would have a measurable value).
posted by dobie at 3:42 PM on February 15, 2010


I'm not saying you're wrong, I'm just saying that MeFites are awfully not-hard to spot glaringly obvious in a crowded bar at meetups.

ftfy
posted by Lutoslawski at 3:42 PM on February 15, 2010


OMG. I read that as "Has there ever been an attempt at a kind of Metafilter community consensus?"

Pepsi Blue shot out my nose. Do you know what that feels/smells like? Thanks a pantload.
posted by GodricVT at 3:42 PM on February 15, 2010


Now he's making posts in over 100,000 fictional voices.

I know it seems tedious to keep saying this, but there are only 46,000 actual accounts.
posted by Rhomboid at 3:47 PM on February 15, 2010


speaking of 100k users, the 100k account is still not open. what's up with that?
posted by Lutoslawski at 3:49 PM on February 15, 2010


Slack-a-gogo: he's making posts in over 100,000 fictional voices

He do the MeFites in different voices...
posted by Kattullus at 3:53 PM on February 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


He do the MeFites in different voices...

No-one's twisting his arm...
posted by Kinbote at 4:01 PM on February 15, 2010


Dozens. Summary: we are indescribable.

worst. ultimate hustler. ever.
posted by shmegegge at 4:10 PM on February 15, 2010


No need for a survey. We know your kind. Don't think we don't. Oh yes.
posted by Abiezer at 4:15 PM on February 15, 2010


I imagine you all as a kind of semi-sentient phosphorescent lichen soup.

This is my impression. It's kind of like when the T1000 dies at the end of Terminator 2 and the visages all of the people it impersonated flash across its melting body.
posted by invitapriore at 4:18 PM on February 15, 2010




I have been to a few meetups where the mefites actually had trouble finding each other at first. But that might be somewhat geography-based.
posted by bingo at 4:21 PM on February 15, 2010



He do the MeFites in different voices...
Nam Sibyllam quidem Cumis ego ipse oculis meis vidi in ampulla pendere, et cum illi pueri dicerent: Sibylla ti theleis; respondebat illa: apothanein thelo.


FTFY?
posted by juv3nal at 4:22 PM on February 15, 2010


Here!
posted by The Deej at 4:23 PM on February 15, 2010


jessamyn: "dude"

Ma'am.
posted by Joe Beese at 4:24 PM on February 15, 2010 [1 favorite]



I imagine you all as a kind of semi-sentient phosphorescent lichen soup



Hey hey hey- soup?
posted by The Whelk at 4:33 PM on February 15, 2010


speaking of 100k users, the 100k account is still not open. what's up with that?

I believe the winner has stated the account will be named at the attended meetup, but have now cite.
posted by cjorgensen at 4:35 PM on February 15, 2010


I am a spicy falafel.
posted by loquacious at 4:36 PM on February 15, 2010


Any uh them census taykers showin' up at my door gunna git a face fulla lead, I'm a-tell yuh right NOW!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:36 PM on February 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


now have cite
posted by Rhomboid at 4:37 PM on February 15, 2010


Man I could use a falafel right now. I live literally around the corner from an awesome Israeli place that does take away falafel in all sizes and when it came up I was all "Man now I can get falafel whenever I want!' but no, my inertia is too powerful even for the spiciest of bean cake.
posted by The Whelk at 4:41 PM on February 15, 2010


Having a full-time job, a relationship and a few creative hobbies, I can't wrap my head around the extreme volume of posts and comments that some people seem to maintain in their MeFi posting habits...

I would hazard a guess that most of us who post a lot here consider MeFi to be one of our creative hobbies.

A very small number consider MeFi their full-time job.

And an even smaller number consider MeFi to be their relationship.
posted by grouse at 4:48 PM on February 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Since the Olympics started, I am couch potato soup made with chicken stock and sprinkled with grated cheddar. m-m-m soup! It is still possible to check the internet during the BORING personal vignettes. Quit talking, get your gear on, and go do something. Now.
posted by Cranberry at 4:49 PM on February 15, 2010


And an even smaller number consider MeFi to be their relationship.

I'm just stalking it at this point.
posted by FishBike at 4:53 PM on February 15, 2010


I am a spicy falafel.

I love falafel! Also, lichen soup!

What are we talking about again?
posted by prufrock at 4:55 PM on February 15, 2010


And an even smaller number consider MeFi to be their relationship.

I'm just stalking it at this point


I've been on the front lawn holding the boom box up to MetaFilter's bedroom for almost a year now. AND YET NO ONE IS LISTENING
posted by Think_Long at 5:16 PM on February 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think the problem is you have the boom box set to 'radio' instead of 'CD' and it's tuned to an AM talk radio station.
posted by Rhomboid at 5:23 PM on February 15, 2010


juv3nal: FTFY?

EPFTFTSE.
posted by Kattullus at 5:24 PM on February 15, 2010


The best falafel sandwiches have strips of eggplant in them. Sadly, I have not been able to locate any locally and I have no idea how they prepare the eggplant. It's as though they inject it with awesome.
posted by stoneweaver at 5:24 PM on February 15, 2010


I think the problem is you have the boom box set to 'radio' instead of 'CD' and it's tuned to an AM talk radio station.

Correction: it's tuned to an AM College Radio station (No, not that college, the other one with the wind mill). I know my audience.
posted by Think_Long at 5:41 PM on February 15, 2010


I know it seems tedious to keep saying this, but there are only 46,000 actual accounts.

This is the prototypical Metafilter comment.
posted by smackfu at 5:45 PM on February 15, 2010


stoneweaver: I have no idea how they prepare the eggplant

If we're talking about the same thing, the trick is to roast the eggplant over open flame. A gas stove will do nicely.
posted by Kattullus at 5:47 PM on February 15, 2010


IN YOUR EYES. THE SNARK THE MEMES, YOUR EYES
posted by The Whelk at 5:51 PM on February 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


high volume contributers seem to deliver some of the highest quality content. But I have no way of proving this.

A short proof is outlined here: First, define "quality" as "quantity"...
posted by DU at 6:07 PM on February 15, 2010


There is only one user—me—the rest are all just creations of my imagination. I'm the only one posting FPPs, AskMes, and callouts. They're all different fragments of my psyche. You do not exist.

It's sort of like that theory I had about Ferris Bueller.
posted by steef at 6:12 PM on February 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


A short proof is outlined here: First, define "quality" as "quantity".

WHELKIAN UNLIMITED - COMMENTARY BY THE POUND, KILO, OR TON
posted by The Whelk at 6:13 PM on February 15, 2010


A CENSUS TAKER ONE TRIED TO QUANTIFY ME. I ATE HIS LIVER WITH FALAFEL AND A NICE CHIANTI.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:16 PM on February 15, 2010


Hello mr census taker government flukie motherfucker: I'm an American human. Next!
posted by jonmc at 6:17 PM on February 15, 2010


I AM NOT A NUMBER! I AM A FREE MAN!


Okay maybe I'm 80649 or ...10184
posted by The Whelk at 6:25 PM on February 15, 2010


There is only one user

Actually there was an infamous forum somewhere that was run by and completely populated by a single user. Every thread and every comment, hundreds of conversations, thousands of posts, all by the same person, the only account registered on the whole forum. When it got attention via reddit or fark I think the person took it down or restricted access because people were using it to point and laugh.
posted by Rhomboid at 6:28 PM on February 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh and speaking of bizarre, the odd gentleman who posts numerous videos of himself smoking pipes on youtube has passed the 10,000 uploads mark.
posted by Rhomboid at 6:35 PM on February 15, 2010


Uh you do know that's a fetish thing, right?
posted by The Whelk at 6:39 PM on February 15, 2010


sallybrown: "Procrastination : Metafilter :: $$$ : Raging Drug Addiction"

I used to procrastinate so much - well I wouldn't say that I had an excess of procrastination, but lets just say I was leaving a comfortable amount of things for later. Then I discovered Metafilter. A few months later, I've got all kinds of favorites, I'm waking up in the middle of the night to post that perfect retort that just occurred to me when I should be sleeping, and somehow I just don't have any more procrastination - whereas I used to wait weeks to get a simple task done, now I swear I have months worth of things done before they are even on my todo list. All my procrastination disappeared into the vertigo of my metafilter addiction.
posted by idiopath at 6:39 PM on February 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


...Having a full-time job, a relationship...

You have a full time job AND a relationship!?!?! If you ever move out of your parents basement you'll have nothing left in common with the rest of us.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 6:42 PM on February 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


some of us live in nice city apartments and don't have a full-time job.
posted by The Whelk at 6:43 PM on February 15, 2010


Yes, I realize it's a fetish thing, but it's the quantity that's notable -- it's like 16 per day on average for years.
posted by Rhomboid at 6:46 PM on February 15, 2010


I was going to procrastinate, but I thought I'd just check metatalk first.
posted by pompomtom at 7:06 PM on February 15, 2010


Friend, you don't have to wonder about the stereotypical MeFite personality any longer. Not since we started Klangwerks trademarked experiential Metafilter tours. For a sliding pecuniary consideration, you can answer all the questions about the phenomenological being of your favorite MeFites with first-hand immersion in Mefite identity construction using the patented Moravec method.

Simulacra? No! With Klangwerks, you can actually be Klang Klangston! With expert guidance from the the previous users that have held the identity, you too can post vicious snark, oblique parody, and heartfelt odes to sensual facial hair. But it doesn't end there! You also perform his day job, balance commitments to other interests, and perhaps even seduce his girlfriend (some restrictions apply). Just think of the favorites you could rack up without even really trying! Why, the last three people to comment as Klangston have coasted on name recognition alone and still averaged eight favorites per comment.

Experts will coach you on diction and grammar, on insecurity and boasting, on how to pick fights over small disagreements.

Not your bag? Klangwerks has a myriad of distinguished and emerging users whose entire lives you can see from the inside. Ban people as Cortex! Bury people as ColdChef! Touch the sacred heart of essence as Meatbomb, or simply engage a kaleidoscopic consciousness cascade as Loquacious! (Loquacious experience available starting Spring '10).

Sockpuppets let you be someone new. Klangwerks lets you be someone worth being.

Offer void in hard deterministic space, Ohio, and Astro Zombie 2.
posted by klangklangston at 7:09 PM on February 15, 2010 [9 favorites]


im the best poster
posted by Damn That Television at 7:55 PM on February 15, 2010


fuck bush
posted by Damn That Television at 7:55 PM on February 15, 2010


TRY A WHELKBOT MODEL PRIME TODAY! Unexplained Explosions are a problem for the courts!
posted by The Whelk at 8:01 PM on February 15, 2010


Goddammit, klang, that was fuckin' funny. You son of a bitch.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:17 PM on February 15, 2010


Do you folks have a plunger? Been eating a lot of cheese lately, can't seem to get enough.
posted by maxwelton at 8:25 PM on February 15, 2010


a little headband I put round my throat just blew up my mind.
posted by kaspen at 8:29 PM on February 15, 2010


The Whelk: some of us live in nice city apartments and don't have a full-time job.

Joey, is that you? Or is that Monica, impersonating Joey in some ill-conceived caper to get back a pillow your grandmother embroidered that you lost to Phoebe betting on discolored waterfowl.
posted by Kattullus at 8:40 PM on February 15, 2010


Fun fact, the exterior shot of Friends was of a popular drag bar where my friend Otto punched a drag queen who was on Ab Fab and where I peed next to Ewan McGreggor.
posted by The Whelk at 8:42 PM on February 15, 2010


Fun fact, I would totally pee next to Ewan McGregor.
posted by desuetude at 8:54 PM on February 15, 2010


I would elemenopee next to Ewan McGregor.

I'd prefer next to Cate Blanchett, though.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:14 PM on February 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


"It is," he was overhead to say, "a shite state of affairs."
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:44 PM on February 15, 2010


I'm an American human.

Could we convince you to come to our town and help us party down? 'Cause Farner wrote a bunch of checks he couldn't cash and now we have ALL THIS CONFETTI.
posted by mintcake! at 10:05 PM on February 15, 2010


Okay that answers my question, thanks gang.
posted by dobie at 10:34 PM on February 15, 2010


jonmc, I actually imagine you sitting at your computer with long grey hair slicked back under and American Flag bandana. All shirtless and greasy, putting out a filterless cigarette into an overflowing ashtray, saying that phrase aloud to yourself before typing it.

You too are a target market.
posted by dobie at 10:37 PM on February 15, 2010


You're mistaken. jonmc is far too hip to be marketed to.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:55 PM on February 15, 2010


IN YOUR EYES. THE SNARK THE MEMES, YOUR EYES

I don't want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don't want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don't want to do that.

So I read Metafilter instead.
posted by ocherdraco at 1:18 AM on February 16, 2010


I'm not saying you're wrong, I'm just saying that MeFites are awfully not-hard to spot in a crowded bar at meetups.

One of my favorite MetaFilter moments was at the 10th party in Boston where some people came into our rented room to actually play pool at the pool tables. A hush fell over the crowd and there was whispering to be heard (mostly from me): "Those people are NOT from the internet."
posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:57 AM on February 16, 2010


> Nam Sibyllam quidem Cumis ego ipse oculis meis vidi in ampulla pendere, et cum illi pueri dicerent: Sibylla ti theleis; respondebat illa: apothanein thelo.

Nam Sibyllam quidem Cumis ego ipse oculis meis vidi in ampulla pendere, et cum illi pueri dicerent: Σίβυλλα τί θέλεις; respondebat illa: ἀποθανεῖν θέλω.

ΦΘΦΥ.
posted by languagehat at 5:48 AM on February 16, 2010 [6 favorites]


ΦΘΦΥ. (languagehat)

I think my little linguistic nerdling heart just exploded.
posted by ocherdraco at 5:53 AM on February 16, 2010


languagehat has killed before ....
posted by The Whelk at 6:01 AM on February 16, 2010


I would hazard a guess that most of us who post a lot here consider MeFi to be one of our creative hobbies.

That's a nice way of putting it.

And, strange as it is, Mefi has, on occasion, improved my work productivity as well. Like when the boss hands me a project and needs several paragraphs of descriptive text to go along with it, I can sit down and hammer that out in minutes, thanks to my years of training in trying to get a comment into a fast moving conversation. I was never particularly good at this when I was younger but now it's second nature.

Mefi has, quite literally, changed the way I think.

How cool is that?
posted by quin at 7:53 AM on February 16, 2010


We are Metafilter. We will add your creative and snarky distinction to our own.
posted by The Whelk at 7:55 AM on February 16, 2010


...completely populated by a single user.
posted by Kronos_to_Earth at 12:13 PM on February 16, 2010


Metafilter - expanding my horizons while simultaneously bringing my GPA down by leaps and bounds.
posted by patheral at 5:34 PM on February 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


ΦΘΦΥ. (languagehat)

il miglior fabbro
posted by toodleydoodley at 8:18 PM on February 16, 2010


Somehow stumbled in and am only the second or third actual person posting here. That would explain why after all of these years I've yet to meet somebody outside of this place that actually knows what MetaFilter is or has even heard of it before.
Well, I've met two, but that was pre-arranged and they could have been hired actors, I guess. I kept bumping into one after that and he always had this trapped look in his eyes, so who knows?

Actual, random, meeting of humans in meatspace who've heard of this place? Never. Not once in 7.5 years.
posted by dg at 4:11 AM on February 17, 2010


dg: Actual, random, meeting of humans in meatspace who've heard of this place? Never. Not once in 7.5 years.

That's happened to me a few times, actually. It may all be a part of the conspiracy though. Hell, I may be a part of the conspiracy and just saying that, if I am really me, that is.
posted by Kattullus at 4:41 AM on February 17, 2010


Come to New York. It will happen. And sometimes when you really wouldn't want it to. (Conversation I have had in bed with someone new: "Oh, you're on Metafilter, too? Ah, and you saw that really embarrassing AskMe about my [insert embarrassing thing here] problem?")
posted by ocherdraco at 4:47 AM on February 17, 2010


And people say I have no self control.
posted by vapidave at 5:14 AM on February 17, 2010


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