What has anyone ever learned from Gawker? August 13, 2014 2:52 PM   Subscribe

Could Metafilter's survival lie in a private member's homepage?

Gawker is probably getting some money for its current experiment with its users promoting pages within its network of sites to its homepages, essentially forcing through a conversation. What if there was one home page for members and another one that could be the essentially and up to date favorites of those who make the click as a non-login homepage? I believe it could encourage some people to take the leap to pay $5. It is certainly better than the WaPo mash up I previously suggested. The public homepage would be an amalgam of all the sites, which is why I think it would be a great place for non-members to understand what the site's philosophy is all about.
posted by parmanparman to Feature Requests at 2:52 PM (56 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

I thought MetaFilter was survivaling just fine.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:56 PM on August 13, 2014 [12 favorites]


I'm not really sure I understand the proposal; this would be changing the front page of Metafilter to be something significantly other than what it's always been, as a view for non-logged in people? That's not something we're really likely to do, no.

The idea of trying to do a little bit more cross-subsite visibility as a general thing—sort of in the spirit of the sidebar and Best Of but e.g. formalizing it a little bit as some sort of rotating list of Neat Things From Various Parts Of Metafilter—is something we've brainstormed about a bit and might try at some point, but that'd be more along the lines of sidebar widget thing rather than a fundamental revamp of the landing page of the site.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:58 PM on August 13, 2014 [5 favorites]


I'm not completely understanding what Gawker is doing by your description -- paying to promote content, even internal stuff, feels icky -- but I think a combined page could be pretty neat. Every FPP, question, Project, song, MeTa, meetup, and FanFare post in chronological order, perhaps with the appropriate colored backgrounds to make a rainbow of content. It would better showcase the diversity and true activity levels of the site to newcomers. Call it all.metafilter.com.
posted by Rhaomi at 3:02 PM on August 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


AFAIK, MetaFilter's revenue traditionally came from AskMe (now I think it is the donation drive?), which people found via organic search.

If this assumption is correct, none of the other subsites are particularly relevant to non-members. So it doesn't seem to make any sense to adopt the "Gawker model."

If AskMe is a potential revenue-generator, it's going to have to compete with some of the more intrusive tactics used by many other sites, notably Quora. Quora sends me emails to letting you know about relevant content that has just been posted (LI, Twitter, and FB also do this) to get me to travel to and engage with the site.

It's obnoxious, but obviously the tactic of sending emails linking to content seems to work.

And there is also the whole other tactic of email newsletter marketing.

I'm not saying that MetaFilter should do this sort of thing at all, but the competition (and there is a lot of it now vying for attention and revenue compared to 15 years ago) is very, very aggressive. And their tactics, as obnoxious as they are, work.
posted by Nevin at 3:07 PM on August 13, 2014


What you describe sounds like reddit. Letting members get their own "subreddit" and then the best individual posts from those sub-blogs end up making up the homepage?

I know Nick Denton a bit, and I've actually sat down and talked to him about his ideal view of Kinja a couple times over the last several years. Some of it he patterned of MeFi -- trying to move from a top-down editorial type of publication model to more of a audience-generated bottom-up kind of publication, and I think Kinja as it stands today is very much like a "prettier Reddit" as Gawker Media sometimes describes it.

Honestly though, I think the model we have for MeFi is working well, and we're doing a lot better financially and with regards to search traffic, so I don't think we have any immediate needs to make drastic changes like this to "save" MetaFilter.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 3:09 PM on August 13, 2014 [15 favorites]


AFAIK, MetaFilter's revenue traditionally came from AskMe (now I think it is the donation drive?), which people found via organic search.

Still does mostly come from Ask MeFi traffic, donations are about 1/3 of the revenue that Ask MeFi gets.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 3:10 PM on August 13, 2014 [5 favorites]


Well, I come to metafilter several times a day and I have a plugin installed specifically to redirect me elsewhere if I accidentally click on a link that would take me to a gawker property, so....
posted by 256 at 3:22 PM on August 13, 2014 [8 favorites]


There's probably revenue opportunities in a ransom model. "If we don't max $X this month, we will become more like Gawker!"
posted by Drastic at 3:51 PM on August 13, 2014 [29 favorites]


We must destroy MetaFilter to save it.
posted by entropicamericana at 3:52 PM on August 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'm anti any changes to the homepage, or really the site in general. I can't think of a major site change like that in the past 8 or 10 years that i haven't seen as a negative.

I also think there's utterly nothing to be learned from gawker other than "what not to do", and i think you really hurt your example of anything you think should be done by even bringing them up.
posted by emptythought at 4:06 PM on August 13, 2014


The problem with this idea is that it could be counter-productive. I can't imagine a better way to convince Google to reduce Metafilter's page rank, which reduces the income from advertising.

The result could be a net decrease in income.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 4:13 PM on August 13, 2014


Here's a mockup of the rainbow page idea. Maybe not the best look for the front page, but it would be a nice feature for MeFi Labs.
posted by Rhaomi at 4:17 PM on August 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


We had a problem: not enough revenue. So we decided to become more like GawkerMedia.

Now we have two problems.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 4:19 PM on August 13, 2014 [6 favorites]


Here's a mockup of the rainbow page idea.

I guess it would work if you had the ability to customize it. Not everybody is interested in MetaTalk, for example, or FanFare.
posted by Nevin at 4:34 PM on August 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


Sounds like the best thing we can do for MF is to promote AskMe to our own social contacts via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:12 PM on August 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


I hate Gawker with a fiery passion. I would prefer to keep my metafilter as far away as possible. Hell, I even created a single serving site on how to block gawker. If I had my way I would psh this out to the world through some global group policy. Seriously, the world would be a better place.

I have my own personal list of additional sites that go on there (like unworthy and buzz feed). It's always a great feeling when I click a Gawker media link and get a not found page (once I realize the internet isn't down).
posted by cjorgensen at 5:18 PM on August 13, 2014 [4 favorites]


I was afraid "be more like Gawker" was code for "Give the the image tag back and reduce moderation." Imagine my horrified intake of breath!
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:18 PM on August 13, 2014


Once organizations start messing with their webbiesite home page, it all goes downhill. Whatever happened to these folk?
posted by Wordshore at 5:54 PM on August 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


Could Metafilter's survival lie in a private member's homepage?


No.
posted by Ik ben afgesneden at 6:25 PM on August 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


Does anyone even refresh the drinks down here?
posted by vrakatar at 6:34 PM on August 13, 2014


Could Metafilter's survival lie in a private member's homepage?

THIS ONE WEIRD TRICK WILL SHOW YOU HOW
posted by obiwanwasabi at 7:04 PM on August 13, 2014 [4 favorites]


No.
posted by Meatbomb at 7:05 PM on August 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


What has anyone ever learned from Gawker?

You may have a friend in Jesus, but he will eat all your chips.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:10 PM on August 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


The rainbow page is actually not terrible (as an option), and presumably wouldn't be crazy hard to code. And it might diversify traffic a bit?
posted by Sebmojo at 7:22 PM on August 13, 2014


Instead of using colours which looks kinda blegh to me, what about using a signifying character code (or better yet - allowing users to set a preference for this - I would not want colours at all, but would be happy with a small icon like a question mark inside a circle, or a tiny speech bubble, etc.

The biggest change would be to have an opt-in email newsletter. I would love to be able to subscribe to an auto-generated email newsletter that once a week/day sent me a compiled highlights list including options to get:

Top commented threads that week
Notified me of new fanfare shows added
Fantastic/sidebar posts and comments
Content posted by people I listed as contacts
Any content matching specific tags (maybe limited to ten tags I can update)

That would be awesome, and I would click through to revisit things and explore.
posted by viggorlijah at 7:42 PM on August 13, 2014


I think maybe we can invoke Betteridge's Law here.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:03 PM on August 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


Nope, would be like the old Google personalised homepage. We could have widgets and play Snake.
posted by arcticseal at 8:47 PM on August 13, 2014


The rainbow page seems at odds with the professional white background.
posted by Ghidorah at 9:14 PM on August 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


I don't understand the question and refuse to answer.
posted by PMdixon at 9:17 PM on August 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


What a great way to organize all my submetafilters!
posted by Invisible Green Time-Lapse Peloton at 9:44 PM on August 13, 2014


Call it all.metafilter.com.

everything.metafilter.com
posted by D.C. at 9:47 PM on August 13, 2014


But there's already zombo.com.
posted by Invisible Green Time-Lapse Peloton at 9:48 PM on August 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


i probably just sound like an 80 year old lady who can't work her remote, but one of the things i kind of don't like about the internet right now is the emphasis on customized pages, to the point there isn't a shared basic assumption we're all seeing the same thing (reddit, tumblr, hell even your google searches). i miss the idea of universal, if you're reading this so are people in timbuktu 5 years later, amber-encased conversation. and like so many of the things metafilter has NOT changed to be with the times (moving to threaded comments, busy visual interface, dashboard feeds are other examples), it's one of the reasons i have kept reading for over a decade. it really is about decent conversation, no bells and whistles but a smart simple predictable and technically robust space to just TALK (about the web).

and i get that our memories/attention spans/ability to give anything our eyeballs are getting tighter and tighter--an ex mused 10 years ago about the point where we'd be pretty much goldfish, unable even to remember who we are culturally so to speak--and a lot of web design and technology now is trying to overcome that, climb up the rope and not fall in the mud. but i want to believe there is still room for a place like this, just doing its thing and not racing around to keep up with that whole thing.

but again, that's just me and i am now Old.
posted by ifjuly at 11:11 PM on August 13, 2014 [22 favorites]


Hey, don't dis Timbuktu. They can't help it if their internet is so slow that anything we do reaches them five years later.

Srsly now: this sounds like a solution in search of a problem.
The typical Metafilter audience can handle not having everything presented on a silver platter. When I first came to this site, it felt interesting, but I had to look around a bit until I found out where to find everything. So I did exactly that. And I'm still here, and none the worse for wear.
posted by Too-Ticky at 11:20 PM on August 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


It is certainly better than the WaPo mash up I previously suggested.

I love your optimism.
posted by scalefree at 2:00 AM on August 14, 2014


Too-Ticky: "Hey, don't dis Timbuktu."

Definitely don't dis Timbuk3 - Edge of Allegiance is a great album.
posted by Chrysostom at 5:40 AM on August 14, 2014


If you don't donate I will kill this rabbit.
posted by chunking express at 6:44 AM on August 14, 2014


Rhaomi: Here's a mockup of the rainbow page idea.

I love this. Is there a way to hack it together via greasemonkey and whatnot?
posted by Rock Steady at 6:46 AM on August 14, 2014


Ghidorah: The rainbow page seems at odds with the professional white background.

You could have a 10 or 20 pixel wide band of color for each post running along the left margin for the PWB.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:49 AM on August 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


Not everyone necessarily browses logged in, especially at work. I don't have my own assigned computer, and always log out when I'm done for privacy reasons, so I don't bother to log in to MetaFilter unless it's to comment or favorite something. (And if I'm logging in just to favorite something, it had better be REALLY good.)

I would oppose any change that gives non-logged-in people a different and lesser experience than logged-in people, beyond what's technically necessary anyway.
posted by Jeanne at 7:32 AM on August 14, 2014 [4 favorites]


ifjuly: "an ex mused 10 years ago about the point where we'd be pretty much goldfish"

"Hello!"
posted by Lexica at 9:48 AM on August 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


I also don't understand the question. It seems to assume some familiarity with Gawker and given the reactions here, I bet my Gawker-ignorance is a Good Thing.
posted by Rash at 11:31 AM on August 14, 2014


To blazes with the unlogged! Aught but goatse gifs and weird tricks for them!
posted by Mister_A at 11:58 AM on August 14, 2014


cortex: in the spirit of the sidebar and Best Of but

But lol.
posted by bjrn at 12:24 PM on August 14, 2014


Is there a way to hack it together

Each main page has it's own RSS feed so you could put them all in one folder in your reader to simulate this. You could add the feed for Popular comments, too. My Metafilter folder in Feedly also follows a few tags and AskMe categories, too.
posted by soelo at 1:41 PM on August 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yes. I mean, no.
posted by crossoverman at 11:52 PM on August 14, 2014


Could Metafilter's survival lie in a private member's homepage?

Questions to which the answer is no, #32,186.
posted by Grangousier at 2:25 AM on August 15, 2014


20 pixels will not interfere with the fishscale production.
posted by clavdivs at 9:50 AM on August 15, 2014


I am also Old. Old enough to remember when you could insert pictures and graphics into the MeFi comments threads. For some reason that option was disabled (graphics could be virus vectors, if I recall correctly). If MetaFilter wants to move out of the 90s and into the aughts, it should figure out a way to get pictures (and videos) back into the stream, both as part of posts and comments. It might up the ante on moderating but pictures are part of the story, in this day and age.
posted by beagle at 3:24 PM on August 15, 2014 [2 favorites]


Given the recent issues with images on Gawker I'm amazed anyone would recommend bringing back images.
posted by winna at 3:30 PM on August 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


As I said, images would up the ante on moderation. But in case you hadn't noticed, web sites without images are pretty rare. There is a reason for that.
posted by beagle at 3:42 PM on August 15, 2014


Yes, sites without image are the wheat to the rest of the internet's chaff.
posted by hippybear at 3:53 PM on August 15, 2014 [6 favorites]


beagle; you are old if you think the img tag was taken out because of viruses, unless you are referring to mind viruses. But I like your child like optimism that they could be brought back.
posted by sunslice at 8:22 AM on August 18, 2014


To be fair, the specific security issue that came up at the time was XSS vulnerability; not viruses per se but it was indeed a compromising-readers-machines-through-malicious-code situation of sorts.

All that said I cannot think of a general discussion site (vs. a site where inline images were a specific part of the utility/purpose of the site) I have read in the last several years where the images were actually on the whole a consistent plus. It's very, very easy for people to be lazy and dull and shitty with images, and even setting people at their most mehful side by side in both media, images take up an outsized share of screen real estate compared to a comparably shitty/dull/lazy one-liner.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:43 AM on August 18, 2014 [5 favorites]


I think we should continue as we are, the goal of turning Mefi into a place with all the life affirming spontaneity of a mall in Delaware is within our grasp.
posted by sgt.serenity at 3:41 PM on August 18, 2014 [2 favorites]


Sounds like we should plan a meetup at the Ruby Tuesday's at the Christiana Mall ASAP.
posted by SpiffyRob at 7:14 AM on August 19, 2014


« Older Tags, singular and plural: smoosh them all into...   |   Not Sure if Bug Report or Pony Request Newer »

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