Let's take clubs to the next level: Groups March 9, 2016 2:47 PM   Subscribe

Now that the book clubs are more or less up and running, why not kick them up a notch and make something like "Metafilter Groups"? An online meeting space to organize, discuss, and experience group activities (like reading books, doing online courses, playing video games, learning stuff, etc.) together with the nice folks here at MeFi.

I know that I basically suggest to rip the club-section out of FanFare and make it its own thing, which will certainly be some work (I'm sorry pb et al.), but the basics are there (we have a calendar, can do posts, and if needed, there already is a chat on-site) and the potential should be huge!
posted by KMB to Feature Requests at 2:47 PM (30 comments total)

My basic reaction is I dig the basic motivation, but I don't see this as a "let's add a subsite" thing or anything of that scale.

We do have a sort gap in between the meetup-in-real-life function of IRL and the gathering-to-discuss-media function of FanFare, and so I get the idea of filling that space with some sort of more active/structural support of self-organizing activities among site users, but in my mind this is something to approach a lot more incrementally.

Like: right now, we do have things of this sort, but they're organized pretty much ad hoc in MetaTalk when someone gets excited and starts up a discussion about it. And that works pretty well! Not perfectly—it requires someone to be willing to go there, and it's got visibility issues if it isn't sidebarred and even still to an extent then, and there's no structural or calendrical infrastructure that might otherwise be handy—but it is basically an established approach.

And it's an approach that for a really broad potential set of activities/events/groups is probably a better fit right now than a formal separate space. FanFare Clubs are still very much finding their footing and that's something where we have a fairly specific domain and a lot of established interest based on MeFi discussions of media over the years. Something that's more like "let's do..." for anything someone can think of may not lend itself to consistently finding a critical mass. So doing a lot of plumbing for it makes me feel like it could be a cart-before-horse thing.

That said: I do dig the motivation. And I wonder what it would look like if we talked more about the idea of just trying to enable a little more group-organization activity in MetaTalk? What would help there, and what would people want to have as a toolset? Is this something where just doing some education/encouragement to propose ad hoc groups, and organize from there on a case-by-case basis, would suffice?
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:56 PM on March 9, 2016 [4 favorites]


It feels like another big step into "we're about being social."
posted by Miko at 7:48 PM on March 9, 2016 [7 favorites]


Demented and sad, but social.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 9:05 PM on March 9, 2016 [13 favorites]


app'd out da gate.
posted by clavdivs at 9:33 PM on March 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


Metafilter does not need to be all things to all people. It's not a social networking site and I don't get why people keep trying to make it into one. The fanfare book clubs included to be honest.
posted by shelleycat at 9:59 PM on March 9, 2016 [5 favorites]


And I wonder what it would look like if we talked more about the idea of just trying to enable a little more group-organization activity in MetaTalk?

It would look like to me that metafilter is really changing focus and in a way I don't agree with. But it seems that's happening anyway so meh.
posted by shelleycat at 10:01 PM on March 9, 2016 [4 favorites]


mmmm.....mission creep
posted by dersins at 10:19 PM on March 9, 2016 [3 favorites]


How about no?
posted by figurant at 10:24 PM on March 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


shelleycat, you're right that Metafilter doesn't need to be all things to all people. But I suspect the most obvious reason to make it into something more sociable, for many people, is that this is the only place where they can be social with the kinds of people they actually like and with whom they aren't actually required (by profession, family, or social obligation) to be social. For some people, Metafilter is the only, or at least the main, place they are safe to be themselves, completely.

I agree it's mission creep, but I absolutely empathize with the inclination.
posted by The Wrong Kind of Cheese at 10:49 PM on March 9, 2016 [6 favorites]


Social groups of Mefites are already forming anyway (Huglife, Crone Island, Mefightclub). Some sort of structure for them could be useful.
posted by divabat at 12:13 AM on March 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


If I wanted to be social I wouldn't be online right now.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:00 AM on March 10, 2016 [6 favorites]


The New York MeFites have a fairly active Google Group; it's not anything that the mods organized, someone just said "okay, I'mma do this" and made it and let a couple of others of us know and the word of mouth spread. (I think there may have been mention on the gray about it, but that was it.) There's been another couple Google groups formed as offshoots of the site.

So someone other than one of the mods has to actually start the thing, but the possibility is there.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:41 AM on March 10, 2016


"The fanfare book clubs included to be honest."

The book clubs aren't a shot at being social; they're a shot at organizing book reading by areas of interest in an effort to generate enough discussion to make books work in Fanfare, since books generally require a larger time commitment than movies.

(If it were a social book club there'd be a lot more wine and a lot less talking about books.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 4:58 AM on March 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


Metafilter doesn't have to be all things to all people.

But why can't it be more things to some people?

In particular, I think that the book club functionality is really awesome and deserves its own subsite. There are few groups (including most of my non-academic IRL friends) with whom I'd like to discuss books more than you folks.

The idea that there might be other affinity groups within Metafilter that might enjoy the ability to organize around that topic or interest strikes me as both obvious and worthy of encouragement and technical support.
posted by anotherpanacea at 5:06 AM on March 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


But why can't it be more things to some people?

Even better - MeFi could be EVERYTHING for ONE person. So vote #1 quidnunc kid! And then get the hell off my website.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 5:38 AM on March 10, 2016 [26 favorites]


Not my personal pony, but here's an example.

We've recently had an Ask and a FPP about planners. I have a paper planner and I find all of the epherma fascinating and addicting. And a little bit weird.

But I go out to Instagram and look at #planneraddicts and they're not really my people. Same with the Youtube planner channels. Their planner videos are lovely, and I could watch them (and their perfect manicures and giant engagement rings) all day but the people planning are very homogenous. I'd rather see/chat planning with the people I know. I know some MeFites work from home, and some are creatives and some are students and some have kids and some don't.

So if this Clubs idea found its footing, I'd like to see 2 continuously open threads for planning.

MeFi Planners

>Planner chat (planner questions, reviews, accesories, pens, stickers, etc)

>Show us your planners: Jan/Feb/Mar 2016 (that thread to be closed at the end of March and a Apr/May/Jun thread opened after that)

Ideally, I'd like to be able to share pictures in-thread, but I understand why we don't, and linking to imgur/instagram/flickr is cool.
posted by kimberussell at 6:24 AM on March 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


I think Metafilter _is_ a group, to a certain extent. The fact that I regularly encounter people who are very different from me is a huge feature. I'd miss them if I were just in a group of people with similar interests (which would be a difficult thing to resist joining). I'd also miss them if they all went off into groups of their own.

If someone is starting a discussion about starting a gun range or something else I'd never do, I still find it interesting to know what others care about.
posted by amtho at 6:29 AM on March 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


Wait....site community...interest groups...

MeFreddit
posted by Miko at 8:12 AM on March 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


A few weeks ago I was toying with the idea of a sort of book club for recipes: nominate a recipe of the month (or whatever time period), everyone makes it, then compares notes -- how it turned out, twists and substitutions they tried, which parts of the kitchen will never quite be the same again no matter how much you scrub and scrub, etc. Slightly social, and a gentle source of pressure to try recipes that I'd otherwise skip.

It occurred to me to suggest it on Metafilter, thinking of it in similar terms to a book or film club, but there isn't really a structure for it to fit into. I don't think Metafilter is suffering for the lack of it, but if it were there I might use it.
posted by metaBugs at 8:51 AM on March 10, 2016 [5 favorites]


To clarify: I specifically suggested groups around activities not interests because there are enough other websites for that.
Also MeFi already is an online social network. Not of the connecting kind a la Facebook but of the content kind a la Reddit.
posted by KMB at 8:54 AM on March 10, 2016


posted by Miko Wait....site community...interest groups...MeFreddit

MeFacebook
posted by mattdidthat at 10:18 AM on March 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


I just realized there is a real contingent of TinyKittens.com followers on Metafilter. I guess we could make a chat channel or something if we wanted, but probably most of us would rather _decrease_ TinyKittens time.
posted by amtho at 10:49 AM on March 10, 2016


Let’s take it to the next level and have an actual Fight Club IRL. Looking for a large abandoned house now.
posted by bongo_x at 1:22 PM on March 10, 2016


MetaClub. It includes a spa, a dancefloor, and an abandoned warehouse for bongo_x.
posted by lmfsilva at 3:13 PM on March 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


kimberussel: Did you see my planner decoration Ask? It was about planner decoration for people who find #glamplanner et al homogenous, and I did make a Pinterest board out of it, but YES I would love to find any sort of planner community that wasn't all Proto Soccer Mom!
posted by divabat at 4:08 PM on March 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


I know it's not for serious on the table but I would love RecipeFilter or MeFi(xin' Diner) or MealFi or whatever. Some of my favorite recipes came from here.
posted by thivaia at 6:12 PM on March 10, 2016 [6 favorites]


Where are the book clubs? I noodled around the books subsection of fanfare, but didn't see a consolidated list of things, rather just listings of various books. Edit to add that I would totally be onboard for a recipefilter.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 8:07 PM on March 10, 2016


Take a look at FanFare Clubs. They're not solely books--clubs can discuss any media. FanFare Clubs is one of the tab options at the top of the front page at FanFare.
posted by pb (staff) at 8:25 PM on March 10, 2016


... since books generally require a larger time commitment than movies.

Except that apparently clubs can be used for any type of media. Leaving in-group bonding and building social capital as being important drivers of clubs specifically, and increasingly metafilter at large. I get that that wasn't your specific intention, but it's still what's happening.

Social groups of Mefites are already forming anyway (Huglife, Crone Island, Mefightclub). Some sort of structure for them could be useful.

Which is great, go, be friends. I even like to join in sometimes. I even have a metachat account. I'm not some weird loner who wants everyone to be unhappy, I'm a very extroverted and group-oriented person. But none of these are on metafilter itself and for good reason.

Having to worry about social capital when engaging on a website is exhausting for many of us, either you have to curry favour and be seen to join in or you have to deal with the consequences of not doing so. And I shouldn't have to do either to just comment about some cool thing someone saw on the internet.
posted by shelleycat at 2:35 AM on March 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


" And I shouldn't have to do either to just comment about some cool thing someone saw on the internet."

Maybe movie clubs are different, but if you come LOOK at the book clubs, you'll see that it's really just to organize the books and give people a way to track what's coming next. Some of the people who comment on any particular book are members of the book club, some are not, and I (as the organizer of historical fiction book club) have no idea who's which and haven't really looked at the club membership list except to get a count of the number of members as we discussed how book clubs have gone.

"Leaving in-group bonding and building social capital as being important drivers of clubs specifically, and increasingly metafilter at large. I get that that wasn't your specific intention, but it's still what's happening."

There has been no in-group bonding within my book club. If it's happening, it's happening somewhere else and somewhere I don't see it. Can you point to where it is for me?
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 7:09 AM on March 11, 2016


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