Are You Interested in Business Opportunities??? June 12, 2010 12:36 PM   Subscribe

mathowie, cortex, jessamyn - has anyone ever tried to buy bits and pieces (or all) of MeFi? What have the pitches been like?

Inspired by Facebook's new beta ask feature, as well as Bruce McCulloch's business opportunities, I got to wondering - has metafilter ever been approached by bigger fish?

I'm not wondering/worrying if MeFi's about to be sold. I'm more interested in having a laugh at well-meaning (or not so well-meaning) pitches to buy out our beloved community. Any interest in telling some stories?
posted by awenner to MetaFilter-Related at 12:36 PM (121 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

I hear that Pepsi has put forward a few well-intentioned offers....
posted by Afroblanco at 12:40 PM on June 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


I don't know about the rest of them but I am not, in any way, interested in business opportunities. In fact, I am so not interested that when facebook contacted me a few weeks ago and invited me over to discuss "opportunities" helping them somehow with their new feature, I said "no thanks I really like my job" and never heard from them again.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:44 PM on June 12, 2010 [59 favorites]


I got to wondering - has metafilter ever been approached by bigger fish?

We had a run-in once with Troutulex, the Sovereign Fishking of Epsilon VII, but it turns out he was just trying to buy a used car.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:44 PM on June 12, 2010 [32 favorites]


Whenever Facebook contacts me to 'discuss opportunities,' I reach for my wallet. Or is it my revolver?
posted by box at 12:45 PM on June 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


This is all I could think of when I saw this post.
posted by Uppity Pigeon #2 at 12:48 PM on June 12, 2010


This is all I could think of when I saw this post.

I remember Matt mention a couple years back that BMW had tried to approach him with a sort of sponsorship deal for AskMe, where they'd have like BMW signage up in the headmast or something for a month and god knows what else. One of those ideas that just sounds like such a non-starter from word one that you have to really starkly adjust your view of the site to some distant external point on the horizon to imagine how it could seem like a practicable idea, let alone a good one.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:53 PM on June 12, 2010


hi, i'm looking for the thread with a link to the internet broadcast of the football game, am I in the right place?
posted by infini at 12:55 PM on June 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


One of those ideas that just sounds like such a non-starter from word one that you have to really starkly adjust your view of the site to some distant external point on the horizon to imagine how it could seem like a practicable idea, let alone a good one.

Sounds like some kind of difficult thought experiment. Just trying to change your point of view that drastically. Like, trying to put yourself in the head of a cannibal.

What I'm saying is, that BMW headmast would be the equivalent of eating human flesh.
posted by Uppity Pigeon #2 at 12:57 PM on June 12, 2010


There's schadenfraude in hearing about People Who Just Don't Get It.
posted by awenner at 12:58 PM on June 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


you just reminded me i've forgotten to send Facebook the soiled underpants i owe them as stipulated in their revised terms of service agreement.
posted by Hammond Rye at 12:59 PM on June 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ok, so we're a multinational conglomerate trading in edible oil products and gelatin-based stabilizers, and we're really trying to get into social networking so that people can spread the word about Ishigama-Weinstein-Kokoro Food Products LLC. We're hoping we can re-brand MetaFilter for a few weeks - maybe you can get your writers to focus on ways edible oil products and gelatin-based stabilizers affect their lives? And, you know, they can twitster about it and stuff.

Whadya say? Do we have a deal?
posted by awenner at 1:03 PM on June 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


I will buy the site if I can pay in orange juice coupons.
posted by desjardins at 1:08 PM on June 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


i still can't find a broadcast in my f******g region... dammit whatever happened to the world wide web?
posted by infini at 1:09 PM on June 12, 2010


Why don't you Ask MeFi infini, and not just spray your grar over unrelated threads? Or is this some sort of meta-joke I'm not getting?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:10 PM on June 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


Us the users, it strike me that this is none of our business.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 1:19 PM on June 12, 2010


sorry jessamyn one of the failed bad joke attempts
posted by infini at 1:20 PM on June 12, 2010


This question got me wondering what ever happened with the PVRblog sale, so I checked the site:
UPDATE: The site sold through eBay for $12,110 on December 18, 2009 to a web firm in Austin called BrightFire. Their plans call for continuing PVR-related news and content on the site and the transition will take place sometime in January.
posted by Rhomboid at 1:38 PM on June 12, 2010


The mods would have stopped that US goal like they've stopped sponsorship offers!
posted by lukemeister at 1:39 PM on June 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


Last I heard from Matt, they did some redesign work but have added zero content to the site since then.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:43 PM on June 12, 2010


What happens when mathowie has to take care of himself more than the site? I feel like we've asked about a succession plan before, but has there been anything more definite worked out in the last 8 months or so? (Since the incident?)
posted by carsonb at 1:50 PM on June 12, 2010


We have talked about a plan, yeah, and beyond that it's basically none of anyone else's business.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:52 PM on June 12, 2010 [23 favorites]


cf
posted by carsonb at 1:53 PM on June 12, 2010


I feel like we've asked about a succession plan

Yeah, does Metafilter adhere to Salic Law, Semi-Salic primogeniture, or Primogeniture?
posted by Justinian at 1:53 PM on June 12, 2010 [4 favorites]


I feel like we've asked about a succession plan

Yeah, does Metafilter adhere to Salic Law, Semi-Salic primogeniture, or Primogeniture?

Or more like the Roman Empire, and each claimant will have to gather a bunch of supporters and then there'll be a big battle - to the victor the spoils! Until they get 'eliminated' by the next claimant to the throne.
posted by Electric Dragon at 1:58 PM on June 12, 2010


> I feel like we've asked about a succession plan before, but has there been anything more definite worked out in the last 8 months or so? (Since the incident?)

This strikes me as being a little to close to asking the employees of that family owned cafe that I like to hang out what "we" should do with the place if the owners pass on. Kind of not go there kind of thing.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:03 PM on June 12, 2010 [9 favorites]


Yeah, kind of like when the granddaughter in Gran Torino starts asking about the Gran Torino.
posted by limeonaire at 2:16 PM on June 12, 2010 [4 favorites]


This strikes me as being a little to close to asking the employees of that family owned cafe that I like to hang out what "we" should do with the place if the owners pass on. Kind of not go there kind of thing.

Of course, you're right, and I'm sorry for the gaffe.
posted by carsonb at 2:21 PM on June 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


See, I just use a labelmaker to print out my name and stick it to all the stuff I want. No hassle, no fuss.
posted by Justinian at 2:24 PM on June 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


I dunno Jessamyn, you may have passed on a bucketload of money there -- 9 months 'consulting' for facebook, retire to a big farm in vermont and go back to modding metafilter.

With a gold plated keyboard.
posted by empath at 2:27 PM on June 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Uhh Facebook, I have experience closely observing the mods here, call me if you have a job offer.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:32 PM on June 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


Yes, I think facebook should convene a conclave of say the top 20 mefi users (judged by how often they are posted about in metatalk)
posted by empath at 2:37 PM on June 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


To get the potential sale price of this site, multiply the number of beans on the plate by 1,000. Add to it 350 times the number of taters. Subtract $10 for every sockpuppet account and add back $10 for every banned account. Finally, when asked at what price you would sell, tell them you will give them that answer when you get back from Detroit. When they ask when you getting back from Detroit, tell them you ain't never going to Detroit.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 2:49 PM on June 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


I dunno Jessamyn, you may have passed on a bucketload of money there

I think facebook is afraid of me because I can not be motivated by money. mathowie is up to the challenge.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:59 PM on June 12, 2010 [10 favorites]


I think I'd rather be unemployed then work for Facebook. Yuck.
posted by delmoi at 3:14 PM on June 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


If one of us gets a job at Facebook, we could tear it down from the inside. You guys are wasting some fine opportunities, here.
posted by Mikey-San at 3:23 PM on June 12, 2010


Dear Facebook,
None of these wimps are ruthless enough for you or your business model. I don't have that problem. To prove it, I will bite the head off of one kitten each day until you contact me. Then I will kill one more kitten, just to prove I mean business.
posted by Humanzee at 3:25 PM on June 12, 2010 [4 favorites]


Any succession plan should be conducted under Sharia law.
posted by ambient2 at 3:26 PM on June 12, 2010


and here I was accused of losing the plot in this thread... hah!
posted by infini at 3:30 PM on June 12, 2010


In fact, I am so not interested that when facebook contacted me a few weeks ago...

The only reason I would be in favor of this is that it might mean jessamyn has to come out to the Bay Area more and we could kidnap her and make her eat burritos and hang out.
posted by rtha at 3:38 PM on June 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


In 1986, I accepted employment at a company I did not respect. I have not yet fully recovered from my work experience there. Long story (much of which I've told here before). Then again, when I started writing for MSNBC.com, I discovered I was going to be paid by the Microsoft 50% of the company, which gave me pause. But now, with the NBC 50% going into the hands of Comcast, I'm feeling better.

--

I, for one, am quite happy that MeFi was one of the few places on the Intarweb where I was not solicited for Proposition PG&E ($46MILLION and you lost, electric suckers!) although I never checked the site while not logged in during the campaign.

I am confident that if Matt EVER takes another tentative step down the slippery slope of commercialization, he will continue to wear his pointiest cleats, and it will be more appropriate to the image of the site than the previous ad experiments with Miracle Whip and the Suicide Girls (although Suicide Girls and Miracle Whip together, I might personally support, but that's just me). In fact, a little bit of logged-in ad creepage would actually make me feel like I'm supporting the site even more, without buying more sock puppet accounts.

Still, we always have to deal with "if you get hit by a bus" scenarios (although from my experience, when you're an employee, if the boss ever mentions "if you get hit by a bus", it's time to look for work elsewhere... like the bus company), and I'm sure Matt has had at least a couple grim meetings with estate planners where the Long Long Long Term Future of MetaFilter came up. I'm sure whatever he has planned is totally honorable, totally reasonable and TOTALLY PRIVATE.

But out of all the possible impossibilities, the only ones I can think of that would be less than horrendous would be mergers with Neatorama or WFMU. (But keeping the unprofessional blue background is MANDATORY. I have nightmares of seeing MeFi with the same format as Gawker)

And one money-making idea I can totally get behind: Make a t-shirt deal with Topatoco. (Based on what I see on the front page there, I think cortex has already made one for "LOL BUTTS" merchandise.)
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:41 PM on June 12, 2010


I don't think you would have to make jessamyn eat burritos, unless it was something like a "burrito for every meal" kind of thing.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 3:43 PM on June 12, 2010


lets build the open source version of the mobile web watchamallit or something and call it the Howie or some such. it could be a sustainable business with a recurring income stream and people would have so much fun building it

whatever
posted by infini at 3:44 PM on June 12, 2010


We have talked about a plan, yeah, and beyond that it's basically none of anyone else's business.

Wow, that is going to be one bad will reading.

"Cortex gets AskMe? wtf? WTF?!"
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:51 PM on June 12, 2010


We have talked about a plan, yeah, and beyond that it's basically none of anyone else's business.

I gotta say, I really don't like this answer. I mean, let's suppose that the real answer will cause so much shit to hit the fan that every user who reads MetaTalk up and quits in rage. Even then, silence would be a better answer than "mind your own business".

Of course the debate about "community" vs. "mathowie's business" has long since been settled, so I'll just have to walk away from this one, but...
posted by Chuckles at 3:59 PM on June 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


I gotta say, I really don't like this answer.

I'm not sure what to tell you then. It crosses a line between "things that the community has any sort of input into" and "things that are basically mathowie's personal business." I also think the MYOB answers suck personally, but I also think it's appropriate that there are some questions that are not really questions that the community gets to ask and expect a response to other than "that's personal." Maybe we should have just ignored that carsonb asked the question, but that seemed rude and not in fitting with the way things happen here.

We give generalized answers to questions about the finances of this site and about our personal lives to the extent that they are not relevant to the operation of the site. I think it's germane to say that we've had conversations about what would happen if something terrible happened to mathowie and that the specifics are relevant pretty much only to us. There's no secret agenda, it's just not a topic open for discussion.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:07 PM on June 12, 2010 [21 favorites]


I mean, let's suppose that the real answer will cause so much shit to hit the fan that every user who reads MetaTalk up and quits in rage.

Or . . . maybe his property is his to do with as he wishes, and it's also crappy and weird to talk about our fearless leader kicking the bucket because WE LOVE YOU MATT FEEL BETTER AND THANK YOU FOR LETTING US PLAY IN YOUR SANDBOX AND LET US NEVER SPEAK OF THIS AGAIN!?

I mean, seriously.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 4:08 PM on June 12, 2010 [20 favorites]


I don't think you would have to make jessamyn eat burritos,

Yeah, probably not. I should have said "offer her burritos."

What do you say, jessamyn? Wanna come out for a visit and eat some burritos?
posted by rtha at 4:10 PM on June 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yes, I think facebook should convene a conclave of say the top 20 mefi users (judged by how often they are posted about in metatalk)

Cool, then, I'm in. Kinda getting tired of the floral gig. How much do they pay?
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:10 PM on June 12, 2010 [8 favorites]


I think facebook should convene a conclave of say the top 20 mefi users (judged by how often they are posted about in metatalk)

I look forward to the hot new facebook app TrunkCookieVille.
posted by Nothing... and like it at 4:14 PM on June 12, 2010 [4 favorites]


> How much do they pay?

You knew this was coming, but I'll let it loose anyway:

$20 SAIT
posted by Burhanistan at 4:15 PM on June 12, 2010 [4 favorites]


MATT'S NOT GOING ANYWHERE. DO YOU HEAR ME????

Besides, for all we know...he's on an island in the south seas, sipping something with an umbrella in it, allowing his minions mods to run things with his smiling visage on a poster overlooking proceedings (Brand New Day anyone?)

I mean, has anyone looked behind the curtain lately?
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:15 PM on June 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


the specifics are relevant pretty much only to us

?!

But, yeah, asking is kinda crass.
posted by mediareport at 4:16 PM on June 12, 2010


?!

Seriously, what do you want? Call mathowie on the phone and ask him. This is not the type of thing we're going to talk about on the site.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:19 PM on June 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Metafilter IS crass sometimes.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:20 PM on June 12, 2010


Well, individuals can be crass. Metafilter is an illusion.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:24 PM on June 12, 2010


a little bit of logged-in ad creepage would actually make me feel like I'm supporting the site even more

I nominate the Swagger Wagon
posted by netbros at 4:28 PM on June 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


You and cortex (and mathowie) are more open about all this than I could be even if I thought it was a good idea, jessamyn.
posted by jamjam at 4:31 PM on June 12, 2010


I would like to buy all prior and future rights to the usage of '&' on MetaFilter and all related subsites. I shall write a dollar number on a piece of paper. Then I will scan my dollar number written on the piece of paper and save it in the JPG file format. I will then e-mail my JPG-formatted scan of the dollar number written on a piece - aw, screw it. Keep the fucking things.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 4:38 PM on June 12, 2010


I nominate the Swagger Wagon

Oh, christ, I'd never seen that before. It's fucking awful. Especially the part where whatever whitey at the ad agency wrote it thinks "the mack" means the same thing as a badass, as opposed to a literal pimp.
posted by Nothing... and like it at 4:48 PM on June 12, 2010


Sorry, just got back from a muddy bike race (still haven't showered it off). Let me try to answer the main questions.

Yes, for one reason or another a couple very large companies have talked to me way back when (like 5+ years ago) about taking over metafilter, but mostly to hire me to be some sort of community manager, with buying the site being like a weird must-do thing to convince me to start a day job again. Both deals fell through at the very initial contact stage because I made it clear there is pretty much no technology to purchase here and a buyout would pretty much ruin the community. We don't scale, we do everything by hand, there's no real secret sauce. I talked both companies out of the idea as quickly as I could, and no serious inquiries have happened since 2006 or so. I suspect I'll never get a serious inquiry and that's fine with me.

Companies like Google buy clever python scripts, they don't buy companies that would require them to hire 200 people (they prefer one programmer write a script that can replace 200 humans) if they wanted to be internet-scale.

At this point in MeFi's history and size and business, etc, there's really no point in purchasing it for anyone. I seriously doubt there is anyone on earth that could somehow take over the site, retain the culture, and somehow make 10x the revenue the site current brings in without the whole thing going really wrong. Because really, that's the only reason someone would be interested in this as a property to purchase, if they were confident the site currently is undervalued and whatever revenue isn't optimized, and somehow they have the secret sauce that could make up a purchase price and more. But you can't add 100k more users and millions more pageviews without killing the culture, and you can't somehow make much more money from the current traffic without alienating the readers and members of the site and coating it in skeevy ads.

For the more macabre questions, yeah we have a whole "death plan" set up where if I were to die suddenly, the site would function without me, as cortex, jessamyn, and pb would take over running the operation and there is a whole detailed background business plan that I have described in a living trust. If you want to find out the full details though you'd probably have to kill me to see it actually happen.

So yeah, I hope to be doing this for another decade, and hopefully this will always stay at about the same scale it is at because I think it only works because it's relatively small and any sale of it would just kill what we have going on.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 4:50 PM on June 12, 2010 [128 favorites]


Take it as a given that Matt and the rest of us know how much Metafilter means to the community that makes it go, and that Matt knows how important it is to me and Jess and pb that we're able to make our livings helping this place go, and that dealing with worst case scenarios involves taking that into account as best as possible.

It's a hard subject, and not one we really want to spend time chatting publicly about just for the heck of it. Like Jessamyn said, it's not really something we're going to casually go into here, not because of secret machinations but because it's honestly not something that needs to be a pony-request-type dynamic. Please just trust us a little and leave it at that.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:55 PM on June 12, 2010 [6 favorites]


hi, i'm looking for the thread with a link to the internet broadcast of the football game, am I in the right place?

Yes. Yes you are.
posted by scalefree at 4:56 PM on June 12, 2010


I'd love to get a job at Facebook, if they have a corporate day care where I can drop off my soul while I go and violate everyone's privacy. If it weren't for my damn conscience, it actually sounds kind of fun.
posted by mccarty.tim at 4:56 PM on June 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


And what he said. Heh.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:56 PM on June 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Didn't know you were sick, Matt.

Congratulations on your survival and continued recovery.
posted by jamjam at 5:09 PM on June 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


This reminds me when I was stopped at a dingy motel in the dust alongside Highway 58 near Barstow, California. I had just turned 24, and I was driving my motorbike across the southwestern United States. As I unpacked my boxes from my motorbike, a stranger walked up and introduced himself as Steve. He was staying in the room above mine he said.

He told me he was from Bishop, and I replied I loved the hot springs out there. I told him my name, and that I was driving from SF to Denver to visit friends. He smiled, said nice to meet ya, waved and wandered off into the evening.

Around 4 AM I was awoken to the sound of the room telephone ringing. I shook up and grabbed the phone. The manager was demanding I pack up and leave the premises.

Apparently someone had called the front desk to complain about the a motel guest going from door to door asking if people they had any speed or cocaine. The person introduced himself with my name claiming to be SF.

Being the only person with my name registered from SF in the motel, the manager assumed it was me, and regardless of any explanation or protestations, told me I had to pack up and get back on the road or get arrested.

Just because information doesn't seem particularly valuable to you doesn't mean that it isn't valuable to someone else.

Of course I didn't know it as the time, but that night I learned that my true name was mark.
posted by Back to you, Jim. at 5:10 PM on June 12, 2010 [24 favorites]


What a classy answer to some really non-classy questions.
posted by Mid at 5:14 PM on June 12, 2010 [9 favorites]


I thought Brandon Blatcher spoused so many people so they'd line up in support of his power grab during the Interregnum.
posted by lukemeister at 5:14 PM on June 12, 2010


God bless you mathowie. You fucking rock. Absolutely the premier internet community leader, ever. And I've known very very many.
posted by artlung at 5:18 PM on June 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


Thanks, Matt. Hope you stay well.
posted by fixedgear at 5:22 PM on June 12, 2010


Where the mods get their reserves of patience and awesome, I'll never know - but I'm grateful anyway.
posted by Space Kitty at 5:23 PM on June 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


Where the mods get their reserves of patience and awesome, I'll never know - but I'm grateful anyway.

I buy mine at a motel from a guy named Steve.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:30 PM on June 12, 2010 [41 favorites]


Steve's patience is cut with imported apathy, dude. I'll find you a guy with the pure shit.
posted by jonmc at 5:35 PM on June 12, 2010 [10 favorites]


Thanks mathowie, jessamyn, and cortex for responding so civilly in the face of my rude question. Again, apologies for touching a nerve—sometimes it's hard for me to remember that MeTa is a public place and not me and you and a computer in my kitchen.

Matt, I wish you the best in all you are and do. Be well.
And know that there are those out there who would buy it to keep it just how you had it, if they had the funds.
posted by carsonb at 5:47 PM on June 12, 2010


Steve's patience is cut with imported apathy, dude. I'll find you a guy with the pure shit.

Hey, I'm from California. Besides, I don't even KNOW any Steves, man.
posted by ApathyGirl at 5:55 PM on June 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


mathowie writes "Let me try to answer the main questions."

Oh ya, that's going in the wiki.
posted by Mitheral at 6:07 PM on June 12, 2010


Today at work I was sitting on the toilet and the clasp on the nametag I wear around my neck came undone and it fell of and landed in my underwear.

The other day, i was waiting in line at the drugstore and the haggard-looking woman in front of me was pushing a stroller with a loudly squalling child in it. We exchanged a few pleasantries. I noticed what she was waiting to buy: a box of Summer's Eve.

These two events are symbolic. Of what I have no idea.
posted by jonmc at 6:48 PM on June 12, 2010


*crickets*
posted by heyho at 7:06 PM on June 12, 2010


Sometimes a douche is just a douche?
posted by Mid at 7:08 PM on June 12, 2010


mathowie: “So yeah, I hope to be doing this for another decade...”

Awesome. Me too.
posted by koeselitz at 7:18 PM on June 12, 2010


Take it as a given that Matt and the rest of us know how much Metafilter means to the community that makes it go

We know, and we appreciate it!

Two online communities that helped me change so much dissolved, and I still miss them a lot. This one is much bigger, quite different, and it looks like I won't be without it for a long, long time.

Thanks, Matt, and the best of everything to you!
posted by jgirl at 7:18 PM on June 12, 2010


Are there any plans to close sign-ups again, in the interest of keeping the community small? I know you don't want it to get too much larger, but when big events happen, like fake's whole saga with the Russian girls, don't you get a bunch of new people signing up?
posted by pecknpah at 8:55 PM on June 12, 2010


Like once a year we have a big sign up event, like that yeah. It's rare enough that I can only recall two in the last couple years so it's not a real big issue.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:03 PM on June 12, 2010


Thanks mathowie!
posted by Chuckles at 9:37 PM on June 12, 2010


Shit man, if I knew anything about monetizing anything, I wouldn't be spending all my free time making snarky comments on some website, y'know?
posted by klangklangston at 10:31 PM on June 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


Also the mods can't tell you about the succession plan because human cloning is still illegal in the US.
posted by klangklangston at 10:32 PM on June 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hoe old will Fiona be in 10 years?
posted by Cranberry at 10:54 PM on June 12, 2010


Thank you, Matt.
posted by SLC Mom at 11:16 PM on June 12, 2010


To get the potential sale price of this site, multiply the number of beans on the plate by 1,000. Add to it 350 times the number of taters. Subtract $10 for every sockpuppet account and add back $10 for every banned account.

But who's going to ask who's wearing pants? And what if someone is pantsless and never gets to share their leggy persona? Is there a Facebook button that dispenses with pants? I didn't think so.
posted by deep thought sunstar at 11:45 PM on June 12, 2010


How much for the women?
posted by pracowity at 11:45 PM on June 12, 2010


God bless you mathowie. You fucking rock. Absolutely the premier internet community leader, ever. And I've known very very many.

Yeah, thanks to Matt and friends this has been the best site on the web for a decade. It's hard to imagine the internet without it.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 1:30 AM on June 13, 2010


Just because information doesn't seem particularly valuable to you doesn't mean that it isn't valuable to someone else.

my mom just told me this on the phone minutes before I reached this thread. wonder if that means anything?

then again she also told me the 5 y.o nephew can't read "dog" and "cat" but knows his "delete" from his "enter"...
posted by infini at 2:08 AM on June 13, 2010


One more vote for a community where maintenance costs are covered as a happy side effect of the quality of the participants and a light touch minding the helm.
I'll settle for a decade sure and I'll pay a lot more to retain the current management (and leave it to them) if it comes to that.
posted by vapidave at 2:47 AM on June 13, 2010


I think this thread should now be about mefites assigning symbolic meanings to other mefites personal anecdotes.
posted by empath at 7:00 AM on June 13, 2010


It's a good thing we made several backup clones of Mathowie back in '02.
posted by blue_beetle at 7:06 AM on June 13, 2010


mathowie is the singularity? oh wow
posted by infini at 7:33 AM on June 13, 2010


I think it's germane to say that we've had conversations about what would happen if something terrible happened to mathowie and that the specifics are relevant pretty much only to us. There's no secret agenda, it's just not a topic open for discussion.

I would hope the discussions weren't confined to just Matt. Something bad can happen to anyone. Cortex could choke on one of those big assed doughnuts. pb could go down trying to circumvent the globe in a canoe (after posting it to projects). Etc. It's not a bad idea to have a continuity plan in place and it's not bad to have a disaster recovery in place. And I agree, people don't need to know the specifics.

Dilbert on the subject.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:50 AM on June 13, 2010


I take from this that no one wants to buy me.
posted by The Whelk at 8:45 AM on June 13, 2010


No worries. This was discussed at the last international meeting of the cabal.
posted by Sailormom at 9:00 AM on June 13, 2010


"I take from this that no one wants to buy me."

My accountant advises that in the current market it's better to rent or perhaps lease.
posted by vapidave at 9:04 AM on June 13, 2010


i don't want to borrow. name your terms
posted by infini at 9:52 AM on June 13, 2010


I suspect I'm not alone in saying that if any one of the mods left (in any way) they would be deeply missed on a personal level and on a community level.

You guys and gal do a helluva job maintaining one of the finest, if not THE finest, sites places for people share the wondrous bits of the world.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:20 AM on June 13, 2010


I'll give you 75 bucks for MetaTalk.
posted by fourcheesemac at 10:36 AM on June 13, 2010


not a penny more than $20
posted by infini at 11:19 AM on June 13, 2010


After our hostile takeover of MeFi, there will be a few changes that should be welcomed and widely accepted by the site users:
  • All "Metafilter: xxx" taglines will be replaced with "Lady Gaga: The signature tangy zip of Miracle Whip adds flavor to all your favorite foods."
  • Win-win alliances will be formed with reputable Search Engine Optimization companies to leverage Metafilter's strong Google page rank reputation
  • A new tiered membership structure will be created:
    • For $20 annually, Bronze members will be able to post 2 comments and select 5 favorites per day and also ask one moderator-approved question per year.
    • For $50 annually, Silver members will have more access to site features, including Vowels
    • For $100 annually and gold members will be able to use our mobile service and even self-link in FPPs.
    • At the $1000 level, Platinum members will become associate members of The Cabal, Metafilter's exclusive club of site movers and shakers.
  • The site will implement an intuitive Microsoft Silverlight-only interface, allowing for the delivery of site content and targeted promotional materials
  • Slight modifications will be made to the site privacy policy, which users can opt out of by mailing, via postal mail, a notarized opt-out form (forms available for $49.99, please allow 8-10 weeks for delivery)
  • Current moderators will be replaced with younger, hipper moderators who will award CoolPoints (redeemable for thousands of rewards) to users who create the most content
  • Comments will be enhanced by truncating them after the 140th character
posted by double block and bleed at 11:35 AM on June 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


you need a doctor, stat
posted by infini at 12:26 PM on June 13, 2010


We have talked about a plan, yeah, and beyond that it's basically none of anyone else's business.
posted by jessamyn at 9:52 PM on June 12 [18 favorites +] [!]



Contrasted with Matt's very open answer (who said anything about Matt dying ? maybe he would get more than VERY tired and just leave out of sheer boredom ? ) leaves me fairly worried - quite how we got from jessamyn being just another user here to telling us that legitimate questions about mefi's future is 'none of anyone elses business' makes me feel rather sad. FWIW, immediately casting peoples questions as 'morbid' is counterproductive, perhaps its just a sign that they care enough about the site that Matt created to want to carry it on. Theres nothing morbid about that. For a community site to have no say in its own affairs defeats the purpose of a community site.
posted by sgt.serenity at 5:42 PM on June 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


quite how we got from jessamyn being just another user here to telling us that legitimate questions about mefi's future is 'none of anyone elses business'

I've worked here for almost six years. It comes down to it being Matt's story to tell as much of it as he wants. He's in MeTa, but not all the time, and the question was "Has anything more been worked out?" to which the answer is "Yes. Talk to Matt for more" and then wait to see if he wants to share more. He did, so we're good.

There's a part, a small part, but a part, of how we run the site that's actually not open for community input. Emails to users. Possibe legal issues. Maybe it's better if we just don't mention those parts, but it seems to me that it's better to say, perhaps a little more politely, "Hey that's basically not something we talk about on MeTa"
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:58 PM on June 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


What about the Cabal? Can we talk about the Cabal?
posted by Justinian at 6:19 PM on June 13, 2010


quite how we got from jessamyn being just another user here to telling us that legitimate questions about mefi's future is 'none of anyone elses business' makes me feel rather sad.

It's more that Matt deciding to talk in detail about how he plans to manage worst-case-scenario stuff regarding his health and business is different from us volunteering that info on his behalf. It's honestly his call, full stop. I am glad that we have a plan for keeping the site and this community going even in the face of grim contingencies—like I said above, take it as a given that we care about this place and know how much mefites as a whole care about it—but the details aren't really Happy Chatty Time stuff.

There's a part, a small part, but a part, of how we run the site that's actually not open for community input.

This, basically. I'm glad that that part is as small as possible but ultimately metafilter has continued to exist for ten years in part because it managed by some wonderful chance to become a viable business capable of supporting itself. Part of that is the reality that we four are not just users and not just mods but employees and do have to deal with some business-side stuff that's really not by default Metatalk material. Some of it will get talked about anyway, we don't want to be mysterious or whatever, but there are these weird little boundaries that come into play in a small few contexts. As weird as that may be in contrast to how we try to deal with the actual goings-on on the site, it's a necessary compromise.

FWIW, immediately casting peoples questions as 'morbid' is counterproductive, perhaps its just a sign that they care enough about the site that Matt created to want to carry it on.

Again, we understand this, and feel the same way. No one said "morbid" in this thread, least of all any of us mods; someone said "crass" and someone else said "non-classy" and while I can see where they're coming from I don't really feel like carsonb was being a jerk by bringing it up so much as just sort of saying what he was thinking. His apology was both gracious and not really necessary; the issue is more us not being comfortable answering on Matt's behalf than the question being forbidden or whatever. That's all.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:37 PM on June 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


For a community site to have no say in its own affairs defeats the purpose of a community site.

Metafilter is not a representative democracy.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:40 PM on June 13, 2010


mathowie, cortex, jessamyn - has anyone ever tried to buy bits and pieces (or all) of MeFi?

I know for a fact that it's possible to buy pages on MeFi.

"Hi. I'd like to buy a page on MetaFilter."

"Of course. Come this way."

"How much does it cost?"

"Five bucks, just like in town."


What have the pitches been like?

The pitches usually answer the following question:

What's the deal with your nickname? How did you get it? If your nickname is self-explanatory, then tell everyone when you first started using the internet, and what was the first thing that made you say "wow, this isn't just a place for freaks after all?" Was it a website? Was it an email from a long-lost friend? Go on, spill it.

...has metafilter ever been approached by bigger fish?

Oh, yes. MeFi has been approached by the finest fish on the Internet.

I'm more interested in having a laugh at well-meaning (or not so well-meaning) pitches to buy out our beloved community.

I'd imagine that pitches to buy any more than a user page on MeFi would go over as well as Jake's pitch at the Chez Paul Restaurant that pracowity was referring to.
posted by stringbean at 9:23 PM on June 13, 2010


Brandon Blatcher: "Metafilter is not a representative democracy."

More specifically, Metafilter has community input only inasmuch as the people who own the IP infrastructure and the servers think is okay, which is actually a lot. More than I probably would in their shoes. That feature requests and conversations about community ethics are taken seriously by mods here, and that mods frequently share very personal details about themselves with users are a big part of what makes this site a really cool place, but they're also privileges, not rights. Anyone who has an issue with that should go buy their own server space and write their own code.

By signing up, you agree to a social contract: you pay your five bucks, and you let MeFi make money off your IP (which they don't even claim ownership too, unlike the dipshits at Facebook), in exchange for which you get to see the site without ads and interact with the users. There's nothing in the FAQ that promises that mods will answer every question you ask about the business they run to feed themselves and their families. To the extent that they do (and they do often), that's just an added bonus.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 9:59 PM on June 13, 2010


Thanks for those answers.
posted by sgt.serenity at 5:34 AM on June 14, 2010


Phew! I feel better. Back when that Bad Thing happened to Matt's brain, I started to worry about the future of this whole site and the community. Then I felt guilty for worrying about MetaLand when I should have been solely worrying about MattBrain and MattFamily.

Thanks so much, Mathowie, for being such a thoughtful, considerate person. Your web site is a pleasure to visit and I'm thrilled that it will be around for many more years.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:25 AM on June 14, 2010


To the extent that MetaFilter exists as a successful community, it does so on the basis of trust, not technology. The reason it surpasses other similar-seeming communities on the internet is because that trust is genuine, not superficial, i.e. trust actually does a lot of the heavy-lifting in terms of the way the site works, it isn't a veneer over an algorithmically-enforced rule set or technical solution.

If we genuinely trust the mods to act on the basis of what they believe is in the best interests of the site, and if we genuinely trust that their vision for what constitutes the site's best interests is a laudable one, we will trust them to be realistic and responsible about eventualities related to the mods' personal lives without having to grill them about it.

Count me in.
posted by valkyryn at 8:50 AM on June 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


mathowie: "If you want to find out the full details though you'd probably have to kill me to see it actually happen."

Why does this sound like there would be a Quickening involved?
posted by charred husk at 9:38 AM on June 14, 2010


I remember Matt mention a couple years back that BMW had tried to approach him with a sort of sponsorship deal for AskMe

"Should I circumcise my cat?"
"Yes, in the back seat of your BRAND NEW BMW!"
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 11:05 AM on June 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


I mean, let's suppose that the real answer will cause so much shit to hit the fan that every user who reads MetaTalk up and quits in rage.

Shit, we're going to turn into a Justin Bieber community?
posted by jerseygirl at 11:28 AM on June 14, 2010


Where the mods get their reserves of patience and awesome, I'll never know - but I'm grateful anyway.

No flippin' kidding! (... gives jessamyn a supportive hug....)
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 11:57 AM on June 14, 2010


Where the mods get their reserves of patience and awesome, I'll never know...

Big, fat paychecks.

And plochops.
posted by rokusan at 5:54 AM on June 22, 2010


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