IRLY? September 27, 2010 7:53 PM   Subscribe

Can I have a pony IRL? I mean... for IRL?

I find the sidebar feed to be quite exciting, but I was wondering if it would be possible to add a number next to each little headline that indicates how many confirmed attendees there are so far.

Having a quick tally visible from the outside would be handy -- I wouldn't have to click inside each one to see if anything had changed since I last visited the thread. Also, if the "Attending" tally showed up separately on the main page I think it would provide a slight incentive for people to actually click it and be counted instead of waffling in maybe-land for eternity.

Also, a thing to click afterward to allowed us to confirm (if we want to) that we DID in fact attend the event? That way if I didn't make it, I could see if someone I knew happened to show up. And if I did make it to the meetup, maybe I'd like to look back and jog my memory about who was there.

I know the comments usually did this for us, but people don't seem to comment as much in IRL as they did in MeTa meetup threads.
posted by hermitosis to Feature Requests at 7:53 PM (47 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Pretty pony!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:55 PM on September 27, 2010

How come you never come to LA, Herm?
posted by klangklangston at 8:08 PM on September 27, 2010

people don't seem to comment as much in IRL as they did in MeTa meetup threads.

I've noticed this, too, and I think it's a result of less eyeballs on the IRL threads in general. It's disconcerting, but I have no solutions to offer. Just chiming in to agree.

Also: pretty pony.
posted by Phire at 8:14 PM on September 27, 2010

How come you never come to LA, Herm?

Because my family lives in AZ, and all my westward travel budget gets eaten up by flights to Phoenix :(

(Though when I passed through LA in 2008 I did end up having a brief encounter with Ambrosia Voyeur.)

I'm marrying two straight people in CA next October (if marriage still exists then). If you can hold on just one more year, we may toast in person.
posted by hermitosis at 8:18 PM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

I can no longer see the word "pony" without thinking of this. And based on the best-selling t-shirt, I am SO not alone.
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:34 PM on September 27, 2010

You're only allowed to marry one person at a time in California, hermitosis. I don't care what Fox News says about us. I wouldn't want you to be disappointed...
posted by gingerbeer at 8:46 PM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

What does "IRL" mean?
posted by KokuRyu at 8:51 PM on September 27, 2010

IRL is where trees and squirrels live. Don't believe the hype.
posted by carsonb at 8:52 PM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

Have you seen your mother, girl? Has she gone away? Gone away and found the pearl, but the price she paid.

When you wake in the morning
When you find that there's no one sleeping
Pretty pony was her name.
She was loved and we all will miss her.
posted by Eideteker at 9:08 PM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

'What does "IRL" mean?'

Well, a URL is a Uniform Resource Locator. An IRL is an Instantiated Resource Locator. It helps you find a physical instance of a given resource.
posted by Eideteker at 9:10 PM on September 27, 2010 [3 favorites]

"I'm marrying two straight people in CA next October (if marriage still exists then). If you can hold on just one more year, we may toast in person."

See? Let 'em have gay marriage, they're clamoring for polygamy!
posted by klangklangston at 10:12 PM on September 27, 2010

(And they're hardly straight if they're both marrying you.)
posted by klangklangston at 10:12 PM on September 27, 2010

I find the sidebar feed to be quite exciting...

Which sidebar feed do you mean? The Upcoming Meetups in MetaTalk or the Events Near You list at IRL?

...if the "Attending" tally showed up separately on the main page I think it would provide a slight incentive for people to actually click it and be counted...

I'm not sure that hiding the Maybe count is enough of an incentive to get people to commit. I think this is a human problem not a technical problem. If we remove the Maybe count, I think it could look like there is less interest for meetups than there really is.

Also, a thing to click afterward to allowed us to confirm (if we want to) that we DID in fact attend the event?

I understand the motivation here. The Attending list is not always an accurate "Attended" list. But I'm not sure an separate Attended list is the answer to that. We might get a certain percentage of people to check in the next day, but I'm guessing that the accuracy there would be just as spotty. I think we're going to have to live with ambiguity in this case and rely on a combination of the attending list, comments, and Flickr photos for a record of who was there.
posted by pb (staff) at 10:14 PM on September 27, 2010

Which sidebar feed do you mean? The Upcoming Meetups in MetaTalk or the Events Near You list at IRL?

I'm talking about "Upcoming events near you." And I don't want to hide the maybe's within each thread -- I just would like the number of those "Attending" to show up in that sidebar on the front page, a la:

Meetup: Nutmeggers unite!
October 2 - New Haven, CT (4 Attending)

Or maybe just (4)
posted by hermitosis at 10:21 PM on September 27, 2010

Also: marrying them to each other, you ninnies.
posted by hermitosis at 10:22 PM on September 27, 2010

oh I see, thanks for clarifying. Sounds reasonable to me.
posted by pb (staff) at 10:23 PM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

oh I see, thanks for clarifying. Sounds reasonable to me.

Way more reasonable than having both of them marry hermitosis!

(the pony is nice too)
posted by shelleycat at 10:27 PM on September 27, 2010 [2 favorites]

When your IRA tanks, you have an IRL... Individual Retirement Loss.
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:28 PM on September 27, 2010

Curses, you! Eideteker, nobody needed another reason to listen to Purple again.
posted by carsonb at 10:39 PM on September 27, 2010

Meetup: Nutmeggers unite!
October 2 - New Haven, CT (4 Attending)

Or maybe just (4)

Or what about 4 (4), the former being Attending and the latter being the Maybes?
posted by carsonb at 10:40 PM on September 27, 2010

Or (4, 4).

I don't really care about seeing the maybes there, but if others do then woooo.
posted by hermitosis at 10:46 PM on September 27, 2010

Don't concede anything too easily, pb, or I'll start getting really excited and want to push the furniture around all over the place. Next thing you know, I'll be asking if we could have the ability to upload an image when we're making new IRL posts (the same size as our user profile pics, or thereabouts) that thumbnails on the main page, as a way of making each event stand out visually in its own small way. Would sure look pretty on that white page, and I bet people would get really creative with it...
posted by hermitosis at 10:51 PM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

If it's (4,4) we can plot them on axes!
posted by klangklangston at 10:52 PM on September 27, 2010

Also (4,4) looks like an owl.
posted by klangklangston at 10:52 PM on September 27, 2010 [7 favorites]

This is a minor point, but have you considered changing "Attending" to "Attended" if we're viewing a Past Event?
posted by yaymukund at 10:52 PM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

Auto changing that word doesn't make it true.
posted by carsonb at 10:57 PM on September 27, 2010

We make it true by saying we will attend, and then attending.
posted by hermitosis at 10:59 PM on September 27, 2010

The attendant's creed.
posted by klangklangston at 11:00 PM on September 27, 2010

Also (4,4) looks like an owl.

We make it true

posted by carsonb at 11:02 PM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

If you're going to have the number you need to say what it is. So 4 attending rather than just 4. Otherwise it doesn't make sense to someone who hasn't been over there before and I guarantee I'll have forgotten too by the time Auckland has another meetup. I think it actually adds less visual clutter than a context-less number because it provides meaningful (and useful) information rather than just something random which I don't really understand.
posted by shelleycat at 11:14 PM on September 27, 2010

Meetup: Nutmeggers unite!

Is "nutmegger" something I should not look up in an illustrated dictionary?
posted by pracowity at 11:17 PM on September 27, 2010

Would it be trouble to make a favorites icon in IRL colors?
posted by zennie at 11:37 PM on September 27, 2010

I just wonder if people who don't know about meetups are not finding out about IRL. I mean, people who only read the blue wouldn't have found out about meetups anyways, since you had to come to MeTa before. Even I've already forgotten to check it for a week or so at a time since it went up. I feel like most new people won't go over there and it'll be mostly just us regulars with not a lot of new people. Like how I only remember to look at Jobs or Projects every once in a while.

Not that I don't like IRL, because I do. Just missing the activity that the MeTa threads brought... it seems like things are a lot quieter on IRL.
posted by IndigoRain at 12:34 AM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I think today was the first time I clicked on the IRL link up top. Hadn't been there since around launch.

I know it may be redundant, but I would love to be able to see an "events near you" notification on MetaTalk.
posted by zennie at 1:00 AM on September 28, 2010

Something about hermitosis presiding over the matrimony of 2 straighties, in the state of CA no less...there's a cosmic irony in here that's frying my brain a little bit.

Anyway! Where in CA? This may be the most advanced planned meetup ever...maybe I can work my trip home around that too.

And yes, nice pony.
posted by allkindsoftime at 3:26 AM on September 28, 2010

Also, KokoRyu, just ignore all these snarky commenters teasing you about "IRL."

"IRL" stands for Internet Reality Land. You get the invite through your MeMail, but only once you've achieved a kind of super-secret status related to your user account, which none of us (not even the Mods, because they didn't create IRL, but were some of the earliest-invited accounts, inevitably) know the actual parameters of. I personally think its some kind of ratio related to your overall site activites, favorites, and number of deleted posts, but in IRL, the "They" (kind of a meta-version of a mod, but completely different in their functionality, and, of course, in their Reality) are the only ones who really know these answers. As a rule: we do not talk about They other than to mention that They are there.

A lot of people in IRL have speculated that part of the parameters are based on your outside-of-MetaFilter-but-still-on-the-internet activity, primarly cited as those sites you can link to from your MeFi profile - Flickr, Delicious, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.. There is of course no proof of this yet either.

There's a lot we don't know about IRL yet, mostly because most of us are new to it. Not just the parameters for who gets in and who doesn't, but all kinds of things like how big it really is, how it was formed, even the basic operating principles. The easiest way to explain it to someone who has never seen it is that its like being transported to the internet that should have been 50 years from now, but instead it already exists today, but in something of a parallel state. (There's been a lot of argument in IRL about whether its a parallel existence, another dimension altogether from the currently acknowledged ones, etc.. It seems the most political term that has been generally settled up on is a "parallel state" - if only because it keeps things vague while we are all still trying to figure out what exactly IRL is. Suffice to say, the "Land" in IRL is more of a joke than anything else. It is much more than just a simple area of land.)

"Reality" is probably the best term to focus on to understand what IRL really is. Have you ever seen one of those futuristic movies where people can all of a sudden plug into a robot or a matrix or what-have-you and live an existence that is better than what their real-life reality is? IRL is kind of like that, but for your internet existence, not for you as a person (but without the needs of a clunky technical device or network). IRL feels to a user as something of a super-advanced technology, with almost no hardware or even really software required to interact with it, so the experience is much more physical, somewhat spiritual (also hotly debated in IRL), and definitely a more visceral experience of the internet. With the recent news that the UN has appointed a "head of its Office of Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) as the first official responsible for representing humanity in the case of contact with extraterrestrial life," (no joke, see the link), the IRL has been buzzing that the two - this UN appointment and the recent evolution-into-being of IRL itself - are somehow related. That is - IRL may perhaps be alien technology that has been introduced to our planet, perhaps even through the use of some ability to bend the time-space continuum and give us glimpses into the future. It sounds really crazy, but trust me - once you are first exposed to IRL, it won't be so far fetched anymore.

Its interesting to note that I would not have been able to (or more accurately: just wouldn't) tell you about that last part if it had already existed on MeFi - that story about the UN Ambassador to ET life. That's because there are some suspicions around IRL that there may be some kind of intrinsically "bad" thing about linking back to the internet (as we commonly know it), or even anything in real life (in IRL we typically refer to the former state we all existed in, but now can't, as "real life" - something that has the internet as a part of it, but is bigger than just the internet, but still not nearly as "big" as IRL is). So, I feel safe enough in IRL to tell you about something like that here on the internet, but in no way would I ever want there to be a link between me and Metafilter outside of the one singular MeMail that first brought me into my new existence in IRL. I don't know for sure that it could cause anything bad there, but its just not a risk worth taking.

You see, while the numbers of The New (as they are called in IRL) grow daily, and the rate of growth seems to be rapidly increasing, some have gone missing from IRL. And its not anything like a account that has been shut down or closed for whatever reason on MeFi. Not like that at all. In IRL, when a being (one thing definitely not agreed upon in IRL is that all users are necessarily human - ref. to the whole alien thing above - so we call ourselves "beings," for the time being, no pun intended) goes missing, they are completely gone, and there is no record of them. And what's even stranger is that any reference to them automatically disappears. It would be like if your MeFi account was not only suddenly closed, but all of a sudden any history of it on the site was gone even from the servers themselves, and perhaps even more scary: all of your user activity on any of the sites, ever, instantly vaporized as well. And finally: any other activity on any site responding to your activity kind of morphed into a separate state that never acknowledged or built upon any activity you might have ever had. That's the closest I can approximate The Disappeared (as they are called) for you.

But it is also even more than that. This part is hard to explain to people who haven't experienced what IRL is (or isn't), but essentially think of it this way - if my example above about your account and all activity disappearing makes sense - think about the natural outcome. If even what other people's activity in responding to your own activity began to change, in the historical record, as it were, to erase any trace of you - how hard would it be for people's memories to quickly become very hazy about you? Answer: much faster than you might think. In IRL, its generally acknowledged that its safer for us not even to try to create any ongoing activity or even general reference to The Disappeared, for fear of calling attention to creating real-time activity that is actively morphing to erase reference to The Disappeared.

This experience in itself is something of its own whole phenomenon in IRL anyway, because watching the process of history in an active state of morphing has taken on something of a drug-like status and culture in IRL. Watching it is strangely intoxicating, and like a drug it makes you want to watch more of the present changing into the past, and the past changing what it essentially was to what it really will be. For this reason, a lot of beings in IRL are beginning to suspect that "fiddling" with Past Change is a recipe for becoming one of The Disappeared one's self. Of course, this would be almost impossible to prove by the sheer nature of it, but the interesting thing about IRL is that we are constantly reinventing what is and isn't possible. Suffice to say this is one of the darker corners of IRL right now.

Another really interesting thing about IRL is the general perception (that I alluded to above) about how it is some form of advanced, uber-evolved internet. Net Neutrality has been a big issue on the internet (and I guess in some sense real life) lately - at least in the real life sense of time and space - and there are definitely the appearance (at least) of "levels" of existence in IRL. Even these are still just beginning to be understood, and I'd be speaking beyond my limited knowledge (as one of The New, myself) to tell you much about them. but there is some kind of perceived connection between the levels in IRL and what was once known as Net Neutrality.

You know how when you were a kid, there were things you didn't quite understand, but you kind of knew, intrinsically, somehow, that your parents knew something you didn't know. Or maybe you thought they could read your mind, or even worried about it as a kid, and now that you're grown up you know its not "really" true but it still kind of is, in a way? That's kind of how I'd approximate the levels in IRL, or at least what I know about them. Here's what I do know: 1) there are The Disappeared. Interestingly enough, in IRL it is accepted that they still exist in a form that we can not access or most times even well remember. They are, somehow, still a part of IRL - still connected to it, still an intricate part, even, of its structure and sheer existence. They aren't talked of much in IRL, but this much is for sure. At least for now. 2) There are The New. Pretty self explanatory from what I've said already above. We are still figuring it out, and basically trying not to get involved that would cause you to be cast down with The Disappeared. The New seem to have free reign to access the entire IRL, but there are what I would best describe as "shadowy parts" near the edges of IRL that The New generally avoid. I haven't been and can't tell you more than that about them. Last, 3) The Others. They are called this because we New don't know much about them other than that they exist, and are not part of The New or The Disappeared, in any way. All we do know is that they are there. Many believe they are not just there but that they are everywhere - that they have access to both The Disappeared (which The New know next to nothing of), and to the "shadowy parts" I mentioned, and even to places in the IRL that The New might not yet be able to perceive or experience. Of course a lot of this is all debated much as well.

One really popular trend in IRL lately has been that of the HG Wells Theory (HGWT). If you ever read his book or saw one of the movies based on it (which, strangely, exist in real life but not IRL, except where direct mention of it is made by a being), you know that it has two basic competing societies in the world that the time traveler finds himself in: the Eloi and the Morlock. HGWT proposes that The Others are like the Eloi, The Disappeared are like the Morlock, and we New are something of the time traveler himself, but simply waiting to become one or the other. A lot of beings point to the fact that many of The New (one of MeFi's mods included, actually), are still part of the New, and there is no clear connection between The New and The Others - as in, how one would progress from the former to the latter. There is speculation that a 4th "class" of beings accessing IRL may be evolving even as we speak - they are generally referred to as The Staying. I didn't mention this in my list above because there's not really any certainty that this is actually happening in IRL.

Back to "Reality" - remember how I said it was the most important term? I've told you almost all I know about IRL (so far, I learn more all the time - I would have said I learn more with each passing moment, but time doesn't really exist in IRL as a uselful concept), but I'd be doing you a disservice if I didn't tell you more about Reality. Reality seems to be something of the fabric or essence of IRL for lack of a better way of putting it. But it is a completely different concept, all the same, from what you think of as "reality" if your only exposure is to real life and the internet. It is, essentially, to those in IRL, the New Reality. I suppose if you listen more closely to the conversations around you in real life (and particularly if you go to Mefi Meetups), you might hear this term dropped in hushed tones in increasing degrees, as it were. Many of those in IRL will say little about it back on the internet or in real life (I've probably said way more here than I should), but that is kind of the general catch-all term for what IRL really is to those who experience it: New Reality.

It is kind of scary. Once you experience it you almost don't want to stop experiencing it. You feel like you have the free choice to go back to real life (and the internet, of course), but you also constantly feel a scratching in the back of your brain, kind of - a small voice smoothly and comfortingly whispering: why bother? The New Reality feels more real than what "real" even was in real life. I suppose in some ways the internet changed what the nature of real life really was, and enhanced real life "reality" in that way - made it a bigger and more complex and fascinating reality. Think of the New Reality as having done that, times 10, to the power of a billion. It really is nothing like what we used to know in real life as "reality." It is so much more than that.

Because of this, many of The New begin to spend more and more "time" (in the real life concept of it) in IRL, and there are even a few who have never left IRL since they first experienced it. Strangely, although they are no longer present in real life, this hasn't become a news item in that realm, or on the internet. It just kind of has been quietly accepted. Another reason you feel no need to leave IRL I suppose.

Anyway, I'm headed back there now. I just thought I'd answer your question while I was still here in real life checking in on things briefly. Feel free to shoot me a MeMail if you have more questions, and I'll be happy to tell you what I can.

I check my mail less and less these days, though.
posted by allkindsoftime at 4:38 AM on September 28, 2010 [4 favorites]

Now that's an eponysterical comment if ever I saw one.
posted by bardophile at 5:44 AM on September 28, 2010

Dude. Decaf. Please.
posted by Splunge at 6:19 AM on September 28, 2010

Where in CA?

Los Angeles, I think end of September actually. I'll memail you when I know for sure.
posted by hermitosis at 6:55 AM on September 28, 2010

Honestly, I'm not a big fan of the "Maybe" category. Only because I don't see what function it serves for most meet ups. People are either coming or not. It's like the Ralph Nader of meet up attendance tallying and just allows for a lot of waffling.

If they're a maybe, they can indicate it in the comments that they're thinking about it...or not. Really, it's not that deep if you're on the fence, unless it's something like your yes or no is dependent on someone providing you a ride/directions/more info in thread.

The only function I see it playing is for people who want to keep track of it in their activities, but does maybe even work that way? Does that influence the "My IRL" section? If that's the case, can the maybe just be invisible to other users and more a personal reference/schedule kind of thing for the individual user?
posted by kkokkodalk at 7:57 AM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

I one thousand percent agree with kkokkodalk. Seeing "3 Attending, 10 Maybe" doesn't really tell me anything more than "3 Attending." Especially given the track record of the maybes that have actually shown up to meetups so far.
posted by hermitosis at 8:33 AM on September 28, 2010

I just wonder if people who don't know about meetups are not finding out about IRL.

I posted a proposed meetup to IRL back on Sept. 17th. I also MefiMailed everyone with 100 miles of my location.

The 2 people I know are attending (besides me) are the people I had previously talked to about having a meetup before I ever posted to IRL.

1 person is maybe.

In the past 5 days, three people have replied to the MefiMail I sent out, saying they hadn't seen the mail until just then and they were all booked up.

I think there needs to be an opt-in option to receive a piece of email for IRL events. That way those who don't visit the site often or pay much attention to the mail icon, can get the message about IRL events. Having to actually visit the calendar site to find out what's going around you seems a bit odd.
posted by nomadicink at 9:05 AM on September 28, 2010

People are either coming or not.

True, but people are more complicated than that. Some people want to register their interest without committing or leaving a comment. I know that's frustrating, but we started the Tenth Anniversary site with Yes-only and people were frustrated with only one option. It's a fairly standard convention for event sites to include the Maybe status and I think people were expecting it. And we do add the event the My IRL tab if you've said Maybe to an event.

Having to actually visit the calendar site to find out what's going around you seems a bit odd.

I understand the frustration of low participation, but we're not going to add mass email to MetaFilter ever. That's a design decision that we are extremely committed to. We offer RSS, iCal, and a sidebar here in MetaTalk (for Meetups), so we have other tools available for people who don't want to visit the site. Those choices require some work, but they guarantee that the person wants that information. People trust us with their email address, and we take that very seriously and try to limit use to essential site-related communication.
posted by pb (staff) at 10:12 AM on September 28, 2010

pb, do you think the image uploading thing I mentioned upthread might be a possibility? An ability like that would give IRL something special all its own, and might help pull eyeballs (both to the page and to individual events).
posted by hermitosis at 10:36 AM on September 28, 2010

We'll think about it. We've talked in the past about doing more with images at IRL, but an addition like that would require a redesign. We also don't want to host images locally, so there would be technical issues to work out with an image service like Flickr. It's not something we can add overnight, but it is a possibility.
posted by pb (staff) at 10:39 AM on September 28, 2010

"Is 'nutmegger' something I should not look up in an illustrated dictionary?"

Did you miss the "Gathering of the Nutmeggalos" FPP?
posted by Eideteker at 10:50 AM on September 28, 2010 [2 favorites]

kkokkodalk: "If they're a maybe, they can indicate it in the comments that they're thinking about it...or not. Really, it's not that deep if you're on the fence, unless it's something like your yes or no is dependent on someone providing you a ride/directions/more info in thread. "

I think Maybe is useful. I mentioned in the comments of a Halloween Chicago meetup that I would see if I could make it. Now that I know that the Jim Henson exhibit is at MSI and I really want to go to that, I know that I will not (barring a financial miracle) be able to make the meetup, because between transportation and at least one meal it usually costs me around $50 to make a trip to Chi-town. I can't afford to come to a lot of them. So if I'd said yes, I'd just have to go back and say no again.
posted by IndigoRain at 5:25 PM on September 28, 2010

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