Best of the web? March 28, 2010 2:43 PM   Subscribe

This is a question about the phrase "best of the web", as used in relation to Metafilter. I've been coming here for a while, for several years before I signed up, and I never remember seeing "best of the web" used officially to describe the purpose of Metafilter. The phrase "best of the web" appears nowhere in the FAQ. So where does this idea that MeFi is supposed to only be for links that are the "best of the web" come from? Anywhere official, or is it just something people made up over time?
posted by DecemberBoy to MetaFilter-Related at 2:43 PM (47 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

Personally, I like seeing a bunch of different stuff, some of which may be some completely random thing that's not necessarily the "best of the web" but is interesting for some reason or another, and it rankles to always see someone post the exact same thing ("Best of the web?" in some minor wording variation) on any post they don't personally like. So what I want to know is does this phrase have any "official" weight at all? Was there ever a time when, anywhere on the site, there was something that said "Metafilter - For the best of the web"? If there was, there isn't now, so do people really need to keep saying it?
posted by DecemberBoy at 2:46 PM on March 28, 2010


Best of the Wendell.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:04 PM on March 28, 2010


It used to be one of the taglines in the header graphic.
posted by SpiffyRob at 3:10 PM on March 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Well, the iTunes description of the podcast is "Best of the Web: the MetaFilter Podcast". The phrase also occurs on wikii. I could have sworn it was in the title or the logo for while, but I can't find any evidence of that, so maybe I'm misremembering.
posted by hades at 3:11 PM on March 28, 2010


No, it didn't! That is also a popular misconception, I believe.
posted by yhbc at 3:11 PM on March 28, 2010


It used to be the tagline in the header graphic.
posted by ook at 3:11 PM on March 28, 2010


Unless I misremember. Which I occasionally do.
posted by ook at 3:12 PM on March 28, 2010


It wasn't in the rotating ones. Matt or a minion will surely know for sure. (surely)
posted by yhbc at 3:13 PM on March 28, 2010


Actually, this sounds like a job for a cortex data-crunching project to me. Which, ironically, would be the best of the web.
posted by yhbc at 3:14 PM on March 28, 2010


the word "best" is an absolute, and implies that there can only be one. So, if somebody finds it, there is nothing else to post, at lease until it is improved upon. Then again, one berson's best is another's meh, so we get to argue, which is often the most fun part, it seems.
posted by longsleeves at 3:15 PM on March 28, 2010


I agree that it's a bit annoying. The problem is that with thousands of active users, someone is bound to think an FPP is dumb enough to merit a passive-aggressive "best of the web?" comment, which means a significant plurality of FPPs will have that in the thread somewhere. I think what we need is a "Not best of the web" flag, so we can righteously castigate those users for not FIAMOing.

Or maybe a "Best of the web?" flag, for added sneer.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 3:16 PM on March 28, 2010


It's also OK to like plastic.com, really.
posted by Space Coyote at 3:19 PM on March 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


Yeah, I'm completely wrong, unless the wayback machine has sneakily changed the record to gaslight me WHICH IS JUST THE SORT OF THIGN TEHY WOULD TOTALLY DO.

Hee. 459 members and growing! That's adorable!
posted by ook at 3:21 PM on March 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


OMG, it's like you nerds are doing my research for me!
posted by iamkimiam at 3:36 PM on March 28, 2010


I'd thought it was in one of the banners, but I was wrong. I'm searching old posts, but it's worth noting that the old titles are retroactive, part of the backtagging effort.
posted by Pronoiac at 3:38 PM on March 28, 2010


Here are some of the earliest references I found after a few minutes of searching:

November 29th, 2001:
rich: "But really.. wasn't metalfilter more about filtering the best of the web?"
July 19th, 2001:
alan: "If it would be the best of the web, can I upload it?"
(The night before, mathowie was pining for a "Best of the Web" Webby Award.)

April 25th, 2001:
clavdivs: "I have come to really like this site, a friend told me it was about 7000 of the best on the web. I believe it."
(This one had somewhat broken English; I assume they meant Metafilter contained about 7,000 of the best things on the web, considering they were commenting on post #7,205.)

There's also a more tenuous reference in this soul-searching comment from Matt, posted June 23rd, 2000:
mathowie: Why are we here? This was asked early on, back when there were only a couple dozen weblogs, but I never really answered the question beyond "find cool shit on the web and talk about it."
There isn't anything else I can find mentioning "best" and "web" in the context of "best of the web" earlier than these. It's possible the phrase came from an off-site source like a chat or an interview, but I think it percolated up from comments like these and slowly caught on as the site's mission statement.
posted by Rhaomi at 3:39 PM on March 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


I am very interested in Metafilter history, so the origin of that (possibly apocryphal) tagline is interesting to me. But I'm very suspicious of those who go out of their way to object to the canonicty of "Best of the Web". What do you think Metafilter's mission is, if not that?
posted by Horace Rumpole at 4:04 PM on March 28, 2010


I always assumed it was referring to us.
posted by diocletian at 4:04 PM on March 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Further to my previous post on thread shitting - if you could just set up a recurring task that searches for all comments consisting solely with the text "Best of the web?" (and any variants with extra question marks) and deletes them I would be totally fine with that.
posted by Artw at 4:08 PM on March 28, 2010


Aha! Judging from an old MetaTalk post, the New Post page used to have "Just to be clear: the point of metafilter is to find the best and most interesting of the web to share with others, not things described here" as a guideline. (additional cite)
posted by Pronoiac at 4:12 PM on March 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


n00bs
posted by cjorgensen at 4:31 PM on March 28, 2010


I always assumed it was referring to us.

Nope. I'm the beast of the web. GRAR.
posted by qvantamon at 4:46 PM on March 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


1. There doesn't have to ever have been an official endorsement of "Metafilter = Best of the Web" for that to be the way things work around here now.

2. People spitting on what other people think is "best" is crappy, and that should stop.

3. Everyone should still try and post cool stuff.
posted by 23skidoo at 5:06 PM on March 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


The web is probably even too big now to have "best" and "worst" things that any large percentage of people can agree on. Back in 2000 it was a lot easier to point out the stuff that stood out above the bad "under construction" GeoCities pages, but the web has grown up since then. "Best of the web" is like deciding what's "best of the world"*, you know? It's too large a category.

* Lamentations of the women, etc.
posted by DecemberBoy at 5:48 PM on March 28, 2010


What do you think Metafilter's mission is, if not that?

"Find cool shit on the web and talk about it" sounds right to me. I just object to people crapping on posts that they personally don't like by insinuating that it doesn't live up to Metafilter's standards as decided by some official body or something, and I just wanted to know if some official body had ever had "best of the web" as a standard.
posted by DecemberBoy at 5:51 PM on March 28, 2010


Or more straightforward, "cool" and "best" have entirely different definitions.
posted by DecemberBoy at 5:52 PM on March 28, 2010


I just object to people crapping on posts that they personally don't like by insinuating that it doesn't live up to Metafilter's standards as decided by some official body or something

Yeah I call this the "I will always love the false memory I had of you" phenomenon.

We should be ever so slightly more aggressive with deleting early threadshitting "best of the web, this isn't" comments, I agree.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:02 PM on March 28, 2010


FetaMilter: West of the Beeb.
posted by idiopath at 6:04 PM on March 28, 2010


"Best" might be an overstatement, but "cool" is an understatement. Lots of sites have "cool" links -- this site is supposed to be a step up. If the standard for posting were just "Here's a cool link," there'd be thousands of FPPs every day.
posted by Jaltcoh at 6:06 PM on March 28, 2010


Well, I can tell you where the worst of the web is: The hugely defensive weird xenophobic Metafilter reaction to this post.

Jesus fucking christ American Mefites, that's utterly shameful.
posted by Artw at 6:24 PM on March 28, 2010


Did you read the essay? It was snarky, pedantic and just not very good. I think most people were saying variations of "this isn't very good" and much less "fuck you too, love the US"
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:28 PM on March 28, 2010


Ah c'mon ArtW, it was a right old pile of poo and the response was understandable. I spent some time composing a comedy response though, so I'm glad you've mentioned it so I have a flimsy excuse to repost. I've chopped the even more overdone second paragraph since this being MeTa I don't have to try and keep a straight face.:

I think she's wrong. I'm not American and I've lived in other countries around the world that aren't the United States and to be honest, the truth is that the rest of us are all a bit shit by comparison. We've taken millennia to get nowhere near the range of commodities on our shelves that they've managed in just a little over two short centuries. I greatly aspire to become more like an American, perhaps pursuing one of their traditional careers as a cowboy, crusading lawyer or firm-jawed police officer who doesn't play by the rules.
posted by Abiezer at 6:29 PM on March 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


Not to derail (okay, yes, to derail), but why when and why was the rotating tagline killed. I know it's been gone for a while, but I kinda miss it. I also kinda miss that Gatorade-flavored chewing gum, but what can you do about it?
posted by slogger at 6:32 PM on March 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Artw: Which comments in that post are "shameful"?
posted by Jaltcoh at 6:38 PM on March 28, 2010


Did you read the essay? It was snarky, pedantic and just not very good.

Well, you might think so. Personally I think that's bullshit: Any defects in the article do not excuse that response. It was closed-minded, ugly and ignorant in the worst possible way.

Not to keen on the deletion reason either, FWIW.
posted by Artw at 6:39 PM on March 28, 2010


Artw, labeling people's comments with negative adjectives isn't very useful if you're not going to explain what the problem is.
posted by Jaltcoh at 6:44 PM on March 28, 2010


There is a meta for that threas here. Pope Guilty sums it up rather nicely.
posted by Artw at 6:51 PM on March 28, 2010


Go there, then.
posted by 23skidoo at 6:58 PM on March 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Last night, in a bar, a woman with cokespoon on a chain dangling between her boobs bought me a can of beer. On the condition that I shotgun it. I haven't shotgunned since high school, but I don't turn down free beer, so I complied. Later I saw her macking on Kelvin the 400+ pound bouncer.

She was from LA.
posted by jonmc at 7:03 PM on March 28, 2010


Macking? Like a truck?
posted by yhbc at 7:49 PM on March 28, 2010


When I read this: "Last night, in a bar, a woman with cokespoon on a chain dangling between her boobs bought me a can of beer," there wasn't a question in my mind who had posted it.

Not snarking, just saying.
posted by Mid at 8:25 PM on March 28, 2010


It's all been downhill since cat-scans.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:51 AM on March 29, 2010


Ohhhh! Cat scans! I get it!
posted by jasper411 at 8:58 AM on March 29, 2010


It kind of started out as cool links, and it seems to have evolved. If it attains sentience, it will be... interesting.
posted by theora55 at 10:06 AM on March 29, 2010


I also kinda miss that Gatorade-flavored chewing gum

Oh man, me too! That stuff was the best! It tasted way better than actual Gatorade. I only ever saw it at sporting goods stores, though, that's probably why it failed.
posted by DecemberBoy at 4:41 PM on March 29, 2010


I joined on January 11, 2005--by this time the "best of the web" standard was well established. I just reread some of my earliest posts, and I must think that many were ghostwritten by klangklangston who didn't have his own account then. But on March 18, I spread my wings to soar high and shit on a thread.

I was schooled that day in what "best of the web" meant, and I also learned that metafilter was a place where friendships could be forged even if someone (me) was an asshat.
posted by beelzbubba at 11:47 PM on March 29, 2010


April 25th, 2001:

clavdivs: "I have come to really like this site, a friend told me it was about 7000 of the best on the web. I believe it."

(This one had somewhat broken English; I assume they meant Metafilter contained about 7,000 of the best things on the web, considering they were commenting on post #7,205.)


I was amused by this. It's not broken English, clavdivs was a resident poet and I miss his contributions.
posted by vacapinta at 6:03 AM on March 30, 2010


« Older more buttons!   |   I need a pony because I'm too lazy to scroll on... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments