MetaFilter revenue update: holy cow, y'all! June 28, 2018 12:00 PM   Subscribe

Recently, I announced that MetaFilter was in serious financial trouble, and asked you to help with additional community funding of the site.

Y'all have really, really come through. Recurring contributions supporting the site are up by almost $10,000 a month and growing, erasing our current shortfall and helping move MetaFilter toward a more sustainable, independent revenue model. Community funding alone now covers very nearly half our operating budget. That's amazing.

Come on in and I'll give you the details on what's happened and what we're up to next.

WHAT HAPPENED

Two weeks ago I told you all that MetaFilter had an $8K/month revenue shortfall. And I asked you all for help defraying that. My hope was we could cut that rate of loss back some, reduce the shortfall by a few thousand dollars a month to buy us more time to work on other revenue-generating stuff and sort out budget cuts.

I had no doubt the MetaFilter community would help. You've all been generous before in your insistence on supporting the site, and you've convinced us to ask for help when we need it, and that by itself means the world to me and reassured me even as we were facing down this financial difficult new financial situation. You said ask for help, we asked for help.

But you didn't just help. You didn't just reduce the shortfall. You eliminated it entirely, with room to spare. As of right now, MetaFilter members and readers and well-wishers are currently contributing an additional $9,500 per month compared to this point in May. That's more than double what our community-funding levels were before. It fully covers the eight thousand dollar shortfall and gives us an extra fifteen hundred dollars a month to build into savings. On top of that, we've recieved over $30,000 in new one-time contributions to the site, which has put our savings into immediately better shape.

I can't say thank you enough. I can't express my gratitude sufficiently. You're all amazing. Not just because we're breathing easier now than we were two weeks ago, but because this demonstrates a level of commitment to a long-term community-funded future for MetaFilter that puts us on far steadier ground than we have ever been. If this is what an independent web community looks like, you all have helped show that that is an accomplishable goal, that MetaFilter's future doesn't just come down to hoping the ad market holds out.

We've got a bunch of work to do still. We've had a very busy couple weeks, and we're working on stuff right now and have a lot of stuff queued up for the near future. I'll sum that up below as best I can. But, just...thank you. Again and again. Thank you all.


WHAT'S NEXT

First off: probably needless to say, but I don't consider this a "problem solved!" situation. The revenue dive you all have helped us recover from came from a big drop in the ad income we have historically depended on, but there's no guarantee that that's the end of any problems there. So I am very much taking this as a prompt to plan for the possibility of future problems along those same lines. All the stuff I talked about in the post a couple weeks back still stands as work we need to do, work I need to do. Best case scenario we'll end up in a really positive revenue situation in the long run and build up a really great savings to work from; worst case scenario, we'll be better prepared to deal with future downturns by embracing a business model focused on fostering and supporting community-funding of the independent web. So I am deeply relieved right now, but not resting on my laurels.

In the last couple weeks we've gotten a ton of worthwhile input from the MetaFilter membership, in original State of the Site thread and a bunch of subsequent MetaTalk discussions; thanks also to the various folks who reached out over the contact form or dropped me a line directly via mefimail and email. It's been a really heartening level of brainstorming, community self-reflection, and well-wishing. It's also a lot to work with and through!

So as a team we're sorting through all that and setting out priorities for what we can tackle immediately, what we can tackle soon, and what we'll be focusing on as bigger, longer-term projects. Over the next few weeks we'll be easing from the bustle of intense community discussion of the last little bit— and the collating and processing of info coming out of that—into getting small changes implemented, starting new discussions of individual aspects of site practice and culture and features, and getting some of our more significant feature development stuff ready to roll out.

I'll run down some of those various things we're working on:

1. Advertising revenue. I'm looking at where we can tweak the existing Adsense units we're using; they've got a couple newer programs I'm exploring and there's spots we'll try to adjust our existing ads a little to kick up revenue without going nuts with the ad coverage. If you read logged-out sometimes, you may see ad units page layouts change some, though no big changes in the type or behavior of ads. I'm also talking with a couple independent ad folks; we'll likely very soon start testing one or more small ad types visible to logged-in users up at the top of front pages, replacing what used to be The Deck ads for many years.

2. Affiliate revenue. We recently added international Amazon referrer links, so folks outside the .com market can support the site that way. Right now those links are on the fundraising page; we're gonna work out a way to make those links more visible on the site, and add some documentation on how they work, what tools are available for making them more convenient to use, etc. We're also going to roll out some OneLink code to make it so existing Amazon affiliate links in comments automatically redirect to the appropriate regional store as well, which will be helpful for both MeFites and, crucially, for drive-by search traffic who wouldn't ever go looking for our dedicated affiliate links in the first place. I am starting to explore some other good-reputation affiliate possibilities as well for the kind of sites MeFites are likely to be linking to or shopping at already; more on that as it comes.

3. Operating budget. I'm continuing to look at possible trimmings on our monthly hosting costs with AWS, which may save us a little money month to month. I also decided earlier this month as a first-cut move to reduce my own pay by a bit before looking at any staff-wide cuts, to help us hit budget until things steadied out. The way revenue is going with the new community contributions, it looks like that cut can be temporary instead of a long-term move, which is a relief; that we don't need to look at any other payroll cuts now at all is much bigger one.

4. Community funding and subscriptions. We talked a lot in the State of the Site post about focusing more in the future on supporting a formal subscription process for the site. That'd mean moving from the "hey, contribute if you can" indirect process we're currently using to something tied explicitly to membership. It'll still be pay-what-you-can—it's essential to me that MetaFilter remain a site you can use regardless of your means or financial circumstances, even if that's literally zero dollars—but it'd allow us to normalize the expectation that this place costs money to maintain and needs ongoing community support. I'm exploring a bunch of options for the subscription-management aspect of that; we're also working on increasing the visibility of community funding appeals and info on the site long-term. One small change we've already made: the "I help fund MetaFilter!" message you can optionally display on your profile page now links to the funding page directly, instead of to an FAQ entry.

5. Helping folks communicate with the mod team. Hearing from folks about problems, concerns, etc on the site is essential to us doing our jobs well. Flagging helps, so does using the contact form. But folks have been clear that there's ways we can help supplement that, and we're working on a couple specific things right now to this end: making the contact form link much easier to reach on mobile by getting it into the menu bar on the Modern theme mobile view, and working to very soon do a final test and public roll out of the free-form text field flagging option we've had in an almost-there state for a long while now.

6. Making MetaFilter easier to understand, join, and share content from. This is a big topic with a lot of moving parts, but a few things we're looking actively: making gift accounts free so members can more easily invite new folks on to the site; modernizing some of the signup content and FAQs to make it quicker to get the basic ideas of the place; working on an all-subsites landing page for easier browsing of content; and looking at a single-comment view or related approaches to sharing a small, fast-loading, easy-to-parse bit of a larger (sometimes much larger) thread. I'm also revisiting some ideas about tweaking the default view of the site to be a bit more, well, MetaFiltery: bringing back colored theming by default (though logged-in users will still have full control of their preferences there), reviewing some little look-and-feel things in our typography and color schemes, etc.

7. Encouraging fun, interesting, makes-your-day-better-not-worse posts and engagement on the site. Some of this is features, some of this is culture & community work, and we're looking at both. Revamping FanFare to be much easier to parse and find stuff on is an ongoing project; we're aiming to support and highlight good/cool/fun/neat posts through community-wide posting initiatives and regular sidebarring; we're going to filter politics megathread content out of the Popular Favorites view to make it a less grim and monotone list and more of the joyful/interesting mix it had traditionally been; we'll be revisiting and discussing some of the site's posting guidelines to make sure they're serving the site and community well; and we'll continue to have public discussions and do behind-the-scenes mod work to try and help people find a way to balance the need to stay informed and active in a weird and hard timeline with the goal of having MetaFilter be one of the good things in their day, not the first bad part of it.

8. Working to improve on recurring conflicts and sources of friction in conversation. This is a complicated, progress-by-increments subject and one that's going to require a mix of moderator work (via both in-thread moderation guidance and some private discussion with users) and collective effort from the MetaFilter membership as we try to steer some of our worse conversational patterns back toward a focus on kindness and patience and benefit of the doubt where possible. That exists in some tension with the need to continue to reject some of the toxic rhetoric and behavior that makes a lot of the internet uninhabitable, so it'll need a lot of deliberate attention and there's no silver bullet for it. But I know it's something we can make some progress on, and I want to clearly acknowledge the need to do so as a major topic of discussion over the last couple weeks and as something we're putting a lot of focus on as a mod team as we move forward.

9. Merch! We're gonna make some more merch, because dang it merch is fun. There's been some good brainstorming both in the original State of the Site post and in the dedicated merch chatter thread, and I've been digging through some possibilities for getting some new stuff available in a low-friction way, so we're hoping to get some new stuff on offer shortly and to roll out additional stuff periodically so it's not just a once-in-a-great-while sort of deal.

That's a pretty good summary. It's not everything, but it's a lot and represents a lot of ongoing and future work, so we'll be getting to it all in bits and pieces.

As we roll out or prep a new feature or initiative or point of community discussion, we'll be putting up subject- and feature-specific MetaTalk posts so folks can comment, brainstorm, etc. I'm hoping we'll be able to tackle something new every week or so for a while, as frimble's able to get stuff implemented and the mod team is able to put together the framework for discussing this or that issue.

I'm also going to aim to just update MetaTalk with shorter, more frequent "here's how things are going" posts for the foreseeable future, vs. the less frequent, more omnibus posts we've had previously. I want to keep you all in the loop on where we're at, even when stuff's mostly just motoring along month to month.

There's a lot going on so I appreciate y'all bearing with us on this and for being so involved and thoughtful in discussions of where the site is at and where it can go.

And, again, again, thank you all for the outpouring of financial support. There is no question now that community funding is and will be not just a helpful but a fundamental part of this place's business model. If you're able to help out there, please do; we're a long way from being totally ad-independent still, but the events of the last couple weeks have put me into a place of believing that it's an achievable long term goal, and every little step forward there matters.

I'll stop typing, promise. I just want to reiterate, one more time, that the MetaFilter community is a remarkable group of people and I feel incredibly lucky that this is the kind of place I get to work and, more importantly, to call my online home.
posted by cortex to MetaFilter-Related at 12:00 PM (156 comments total) 261 users marked this as a favorite

I love this place.
posted by gwint at 12:14 PM on June 28 [65 favorites]


gwint's not alone.
posted by cgc373 at 12:17 PM on June 28 [11 favorites]


Yay, us!!!
posted by darkstar at 12:18 PM on June 28 [7 favorites]


Yeah... we're pretty fucking awesome.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:20 PM on June 28 [7 favorites]


Thank you for following up, I know in a much earlier fundraising thread (maybe last year?) I had requested some sort of meter we could see that tells us how fundraising is going. Otherwise it feels like throwing money into the abyss. Now that the direction is much less one-off fundraising and instead focusing on sustainable long-term revenue it’s less important to me to see something like a thermometer that shows how much money is left to raise — as long as we get regular updates and that sounds like it’ll happen, yay!

I dramatically upped my monthly donation and hope it reminds me that there is work I can do to be more engaged with the site. And if I fail at that, well, I’m in an okay financial spot right now and feel good about where my money goes. I also love this place. I love seeing it evolve from a place over the last decade where I felt unwelcome (too femme, too queer, too fat) to one that feels like a community. One that taught me a lot about my own blind spots. Thank you all!
posted by the thorn bushes have roses at 12:21 PM on June 28 [10 favorites]


I am so, so happy to hear this. all of it.
posted by sciatrix at 12:23 PM on June 28 [10 favorites]


Thanks so much for this detailed, comprehensive update! (And for the timing, today being a day when such good news is especially welcome and heartening.)
posted by Kat Allison at 12:25 PM on June 28 [7 favorites]


Flagged as fantastic!
posted by capricorn at 12:26 PM on June 28 [11 favorites]


With my driveby comment over, I also just want to express a high level of exuberance for the freeform flag text field and removing politics megathreads from Popular Favorites. These are both REALLY big ponies (Clydesdales?) that I am really excited about and will directly, significantly improve my own MetaFilter experience. Thank you, mods and frimble!
posted by capricorn at 12:29 PM on June 28 [16 favorites]


Thank you so much for everything, team!
posted by loquacious at 12:29 PM on June 28 [3 favorites]


Great job, everybody!
posted by bondcliff at 12:30 PM on June 28 [4 favorites]


MetaFilter makes everything better.
posted by Roger Pittman at 12:31 PM on June 28 [1 favorite]


Damn this make me happy to read
posted by not_the_water at 12:32 PM on June 28 [1 favorite]


Thanks for the update.
posted by quaking fajita at 12:33 PM on June 28


Thank god, some good news from somewhere. Hugs all around.
posted by rewil at 12:33 PM on June 28 [11 favorites]


I think I might have mentioned this elsewhere, but one thing that might encourage participation in FanFare is to allow users to rate movies and episodes. This would encourage people to drop by even if they aren't planning on commenting, and it might spur people into commenting who might otherwise not have. ("This ep got a 4.1! How can this be?" etc.)
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:35 PM on June 28 [21 favorites]


Baby steps towards good things. One step, one day at a time.
posted by Fizz at 12:41 PM on June 28 [2 favorites]


I love this place.

I never MetaFilter I didn’t like!
posted by Celsius1414 at 12:42 PM on June 28 [54 favorites]


thank you, cortex and mods, for your continued efforts in keeping this a place that i love.
posted by koroshiya at 12:46 PM on June 28 [2 favorites]


Great to hear! I've rediscovered Mefi in the past days and realized just how much I missed it.

I would like to discuss ideas on how to improve mefi but these posts make it difficult to talk about them in a structured and goal oriented way. Ideas like how a weekly newsletter could be a great way to highlight the week's best posts from all sub sites. Or how we can attract younger members to make sure more generations discover how great Mefi can be.

Cortex and mods, you're all doing an amazing job 💯
posted by Foci for Analysis at 12:48 PM on June 28 [7 favorites]


I would like to discuss ideas on how to improve mefi but these posts make it difficult to talk about them in a structured and goal oriented way.

Drive-by brainstorming in here is fine fwiw (we'll be reading it all), but, yeah, that's part of why we're aiming to just try and revisit this or that aspect of site functionality or culture on a regular basis in dedicated MetaTalk threads. It's good to carve out spaces to go over stuff in detail.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:51 PM on June 28 [3 favorites]


*\o/*
posted by tzikeh at 12:55 PM on June 28 [9 favorites]


Great news, thanks for updating us!
posted by biogeo at 12:58 PM on June 28 [1 favorite]


This is so great! I'm currently living far from home, and with all the tragic nonsense going on back in the US, it seems like the only thing I can do is fling what little money I have at people doing good work in the hopes that they will continue to do good work. And ya'll are doing such good work!

Metafilter is a big part what helps keep me informed and engaged in stuff back home- you have no idea what this site has meant to me over the years. I'm so happy to be a part of this community and glad to hear it can keep going strong!
posted by Bibliogeek at 1:01 PM on June 28 [3 favorites]


I don't check on metatalk very often and honestly didn't realize this was a thing until I mentioned how awesome the mods of metafilter* were to Ezra Klein and Ellen Pao after Klein's podcast about how weird online communities are. Pao linked me back here and thats when I saw the skinny little 'oh shit funding!' banner.

I don't like obnoxious banners, but I do like this place so much that I would be in favor of having some flashing signs or a quick required clickthrough about funding updates, especially since I use metafilter on my phone more than a desktop these days.

*Merch request: "Mods of Metafilter" calendar. November could be the mods all eating a thanksgiving dinner of nothing but plates of beans.
posted by furnace.heart at 1:04 PM on June 28 [21 favorites]


i'm just so glad this place exists
posted by mochapickle at 1:05 PM on June 28 [8 favorites]


reviewing some little look-and-feel things in our typography and color schemes, etc.

If this means old-school yellow is back as the accent color, replacing the new green, I might literally cry with joy.

Good job everyone!
posted by Rock Steady at 1:06 PM on June 28 [8 favorites]


Thank you, everybody!
posted by rhizome at 1:16 PM on June 28


Yay us. Hugs for everyone!
posted by Lynsey at 1:29 PM on June 28 [1 favorite]


Thanks so much for this detailed, comprehensive update! (And for the timing, today being a day when such good news is especially welcome and heartening.)

I second this wholeheartedly. Thanks so much, cortex and everyone, for this joyful news. I needed good news today, especially good news about MetaFilter. I'm reeling at the news of US Supreme Court Justice Kennedy's retirement and how it is likely to affect the U.S. as the balance of the court shifts to the right for what could be 30-40 years. I'm 50, so that probably represents the rest of my life. I'm going to need this place to help me cope. Just as it's helped me cope for the past 15 years.
posted by velvet winter at 1:30 PM on June 28 [5 favorites]


Yay! Super! Happy to have had set up a recurring funding situation!
posted by lilies.lilies at 1:30 PM on June 28


Appreciate good news.
posted by corb at 1:30 PM on June 28


This is great news. Thanks, everyone.
posted by lazaruslong at 1:32 PM on June 28


Yay! Great news.
posted by ellieBOA at 1:35 PM on June 28


I'm glad MeFites really stepped up. My financial situation is a little precarious right now, so I only made a small one-time donation, and it makes me feel better to know that others are picking up my slack.
posted by jacquilynne at 1:38 PM on June 28 [2 favorites]


Flippin’ Fantastic!
posted by Nancy_LockIsLit_Palmer at 1:44 PM on June 28


This is marvellous news; one is currently raising a splendid cup of tea and the last slice of Victoria Sponge Cake (made by 91 year old Ethel and sold in a village bake event yesterday to raise money for a defibrillator) to Mr Cortex, the moderators, and all MeFites in mutual congratulation. May your security be as large as your ponies are small, and may MetaFilter become aeonian in nature.
posted by Wordshore at 1:48 PM on June 28 [28 favorites]


This is wonderful news—thanks for the update, and for being so great at moderating!
posted by languagehat at 1:49 PM on June 28 [2 favorites]


I am so happy to read this! It proves that if we all give a little bit if we can afford to, it can make a huge difference! I've never really considered myself much of a socialist, but this is very much a "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need" sort of thing. GCU Sweet and Full of Grace and I can go without a few bucks every month, but we can't go without our MetaFilter! Our relationship with MeFi is longer than our marriage!

I would also say that while it's obviously your bizniz, cortex, please pay yourself back! The very LAST thing we need is for you to burn out because you're worried about your own finances on top of MeFi's. While it's the sign of an ethical businessman to cut his own salary before that of his employees, please pay yourself properly!
posted by biscotti at 1:51 PM on June 28 [17 favorites]


a) this is fantastic news!

b) I am super excited for Amazon link country redirection. I didn't realise that was a thing that could be done; this will be a small-but-noticeable quality of life improvement for me.
posted by terretu at 1:52 PM on June 28 [2 favorites]


Good to hear. Thanks for letting us know, and thanks for the heads up earlier before it got to the burning-the-furniture-to-stay-warm phase of the revenue situation.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 2:09 PM on June 28 [1 favorite]


My financial situation is a little precarious right now...it makes me feel better to know that others are picking up my slack.

Same here. Thank you so much to everyone who's keeping the site afloat! As I promised in the funding thread, when (I'm being optimistic and saying when, not if) my financial situation improves, I too will gladly step up to support MeFi.
posted by velvet winter at 2:10 PM on June 28 [2 favorites]


I am distracted by personal ACA insurance nonsense at the moment, so this isn't going to be as detailed a comment as I would like, but I wanted to put in a strong word regarding one avenue to recruit lots and lots of new blood: "figure out how to make FanFare REALLY GODDAMNED POPULAR ON THE INTERNET."

Capital-F-Fandom has had no home for talking about their shows since LJ went in the shitter, and there is nowhere for people who love TV but aren't in capital-F-Fandom to have actual wide-ranging and intelligent conversations about TV series without being overrun by trolls since MBTV/TWOP was shuttered (except maybe the A.V. Club, but they're not super-inviting).

We should be building FanFare into a real community within a community, because there is a hole in the market that only (the promise of) FanFare can fill, so we need to create a more flourishing (and organized) subsite out of FF, and have it in place, before we hold a parade to draw attention.
posted by tzikeh at 2:13 PM on June 28 [48 favorites]


I've made a recurring subscription for hugs.
posted by arcticseal at 2:14 PM on June 28 [4 favorites]


Whew. Color me relieved.
posted by snuffleupagus at 2:18 PM on June 28 [1 favorite]


I am probably years late to this discussion, but when did traffic to AskMe die down and why did Quora get the nod from Google as the top hit to many "ask-ish" queries?

(my recurring donation had died due to a cc error, renewed now with a bump in tithing)
posted by benzenedream at 2:27 PM on June 28 [1 favorite]


There was a big downward adjustment to Ask's search traffic in the early 2010s, which is principally what lead to the eventual public financial crisis of 2014; traffic had been up, up, up, and then with some change in the Google search team's algorithms it was suddenly a steep dive. Beyond that there's been slower adjustments up and down; there was something significant right at the start of this year that I haven't found a clear answer about.

I don't like how Quora is run or how it feels to use, and so haven't followed it more than very glancingly over the years. Professionally speaking I should probably pay a little more attention, but honestly my impression is that they do well by (a) pouring a lot of money into SEO and monetization and (b) not caring about a bunch of stuff in terms of site presentation and community culture that I consider non-negotiable. So...eh? It's a whole weird thing. There's a lot of ways to run a website.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:40 PM on June 28 [13 favorites]


How to purchase metafilter merchandise? I would love a t shirt and that is something that could make a bit of income as well.
posted by gregjunior at 2:44 PM on June 28


Right now the merch we have is listed on the fundraising page, and it's pretty limited: we've got a few t-shirts left and some recent sticker packs, over at TopatoCo.

We're gonna work up some new merch soon and get it placed a bit more visibly in the site menus so its easy to find.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:46 PM on June 28 [3 favorites]


Yaknow, I'm proud to be a member of this site even though I spend most of it lurking.

Thanks, everyone. You're all the best friends I never talk to.
posted by endotoxin at 2:52 PM on June 28 [33 favorites]


Thanks cortex. I search once in a while for an AskMe I know exists, and Google is always directing me to some crappy Quora answer. I have to explicitly add the site: directive or add "ask metafilter" as a keyword.
posted by benzenedream at 3:00 PM on June 28 [3 favorites]


I haven't even read any of the details yet but needed to run right down here and say woohoo! I really think that becoming a voluntarily self-funded community is one of the best possible models for a place like MetaFilter. Much better for the community to be beholden to itself than to the inscrutable whims of massive, unaccountable advertising agencies. This is a great thing and I think it could become a real milestone in the history of this place.

Great work, cortex! Great work, everyone! Now I'm off to get caught up on the details.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 3:02 PM on June 28 [3 favorites]


Ok, my feedback:

I wish these requests were routine and more structured. Just like when Matt first stepped up to say things were fucked, it felt like that a bit with this last round of requests as well. Turn it into a once a year formalized fundraiser. I don't mind kicking in every now and again, but I kinda like being asked. So just set aside a time for a fall fund drive or whatever.

Next, I like getting things for my contributions. This is probably why I have a kickstarter addiction. I give to a lot of charities. Not much, but a little to a lot. The few that acknowledge my gifts tend to stay on my list. The ones that don't don't. I'm not suggesting that anyone has to sit down and write out hand written thank you notes, and I realize that there's a "I help fund MetaFilter!" for the profile page, but it'd be nice if there were some sort of limited run items that people could get at various contribution levels. Even when I turn these down, I like that they are there. This is the first year I've ever taken my NPR gift, but I like the idea I could have had others.

Maybe let people earmark where their contribution goes? I understand that the site is a huge sucking hole for funds and the majority goes to payroll and technology, but maybe on the one-offs you could post a list of things that would make the site better and let people fund these? I had fun giving naming rights to some charity that sent feminine hygiene products to homeless shelters or something (I forget exactly). I bought toilet paper and a bunch of stupid things for people because I thought it was funny and I got to help someone at the same time.

On a lot of kickstarter projects, and charities, there is often some sort of recognition page or some such. These can get fairly creative. I think I paid like $200 to get a sticker promoting my website put on a guitar case in a female punk rock horror movie with puppets. I funded another and got a postcard from Gigi Edgley.

Consider making fundraising part of someone's actual job. I bet you could get company and personal underwriting if you let someone loose to actually solicit funds. Create an independent foundation or whatnot (I don't know how that works, but I bet others do). I think you have a huge untapped base.

Maybe not only set aside some of the contributions into a rainy day fund, but earmark a certain percentage toward continued operations? I'm thinking like some sort of annuity or whatever. Something that pays out a guaranteed annual return, so that you know no matter what you'll have that?

These are just thoughts. Consider it brainstorming.
posted by cjorgensen at 3:16 PM on June 28 [10 favorites]


Just want to pipe in again to get folks thinking about marketing, promotion, and recruiting members. Engagement is also a problem. Part of that I see as a general trend away from virtual communities and toward IRL engagement, which I think is a good thing. But I don't think the internet is going anywhere and if we want what's good about it to flourish, we need to be proactive about encouraging people to engage in spaces where community is more than a buzzword. This is one of the spaces.

For a long time, I treated MeFi as my little secret retreat space. But I think at this point it might be worth my while to encourage IRL friends to have a look at MeFi as a healthy alternative to twitter and fb. I think it wouldn't hurt if more of us thought about that. Not like a cult, but more like a pride in belonging to a smart, funny, caring alternative to other social networks. FWIW.
posted by Stanczyk at 3:16 PM on June 28 [4 favorites]


I'm a little overwrought of late, with a lot going on and tons of weird things in the news right now, so forgive me, but I cried tears of joy to read that we all collectively stepped up to that extent. I love this place. Really looking forward to all the next steps as well.
posted by limeonaire at 3:22 PM on June 28 [7 favorites]


Stanczyk: But I think at this point it might be worth my while to encourage IRL friends to have a look at MeFi as a healthy alternative to twitter and fb.

Much more a healthy alternative to Reddit than to Twitter, and not really at all like Facebook, but whatever works to get eyeballs!
posted by tzikeh at 3:27 PM on June 28 [1 favorite]


From the post: I also decided earlier this month as a first-cut move to reduce my own pay by a bit before looking at any staff-wide cuts

Still working my way through this, but I really want to call this out as absolutely exemplary. It's the kind of thing that seems like, in a just world, should be the obvious first thing for any leader of a struggling organization to do (if only to show willing) but which almost never happens. Not that I ever doubted that you care deeply for this community cortex, but it's incredibly heartening to see you put your money where your mouth is at a time like this. I'm really glad that it can be temporary! Whatever you make running this place, it can't possibly be enough.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 3:33 PM on June 28 [11 favorites]


Oh and not that anybody is asking me, but as long as you're confident that the site can support it I personally would be well in favor of you paying yourself back whatever the temporary cut cost you. This has been a tough time for the site and you've had it toughest of all. Not that it's a vote or anything, but if it was, I'd want to see you made whole financially for the incredible job you're doing steering this ship right now.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 3:38 PM on June 28 [19 favorites]


I want a way for all of my Amazon purchases to use the MeFi affiliate link. I'm not sure if it worked, but I just installed and used the "Amazing Affiliate Link" chrome add-on so that in theory whenever I visit Amazon, it automagically tacks on MeFi as the affiliate.

Steps: Download and add to chrome. Right-click on the little two-arrow icon that appears in the top right of the browser window. Add "metafilter-20" (no quotes) to the Amazon links. Viola! Maybe! There's no way for me to check!

Thanks cortex for this update, staff for all your hard work, and MeFi generally for being MeFi. <3
posted by nicodine at 3:41 PM on June 28 [10 favorites]


OK, caught up now and I have just a couple more things to say.

Firstly, can we please make it super duper clear when we're asking people to contribute what they can (which I totally agree is something we should be more upfront about) that one totally valid way (in fact the most important way) to contribute is simply by participating constructively on the site? Making good posts and comments, etc. My only worry about moving to a more explicit please-pay-what-you-can model is that people who just can't contribute money might start to feel like freeloaders.

If you're here, you're engaged, and you're doing stuff that keeps this community vibrant and interesting then you're not a freeloader! MetaFilter needs money, but even more than that it needs participation. I know you're already right there with me on that cortex because you've said as much more than once, but I just hope that we can really front-load that concept when we're asking people to pony up.

Secondly: very soon do a final test and public roll out of the free-form text field flagging option we've had in an almost-there state for a long while now.

Yessssssssssssssssssssssssssssss
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 3:58 PM on June 28 [16 favorites]


My only worry about moving to a more explicit please-pay-what-you-can model is that people who just can't contribute money might start to feel like freeloaders.

Whatever we do about reframing the idea of subscriptions as a normal part of membership, that aspect will be totally explicit, yes. MetaFilter, the business, runs on money to pay for staff and hosting; MetaFilter, the community, runs on the collective participation, the posts and comments, the questions and answers, the knowledge and collaboration and enthusiasm of all the people who make this little corner of the web part of their day or week or life.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:04 PM on June 28 [10 favorites]


Very much looking forward to my THERE IS NO CABAL t-shirt. Twelve years merchless and counting...

I lie in wait.
posted by slenderloris at 4:08 PM on June 28 [6 favorites]


This update makes me so happy!!!

We love our Metafilter community and our mods. I didn't realize how much I take this place for granted until I saw that site update earlier this month. Now I'm set up for monthly donations. It's small but it's something. It was also way overdue on my part. When I'm more financially stable I look forward to increasing my monthly donation amount.
posted by nightrecordings at 4:37 PM on June 28 [2 favorites]


I don’t comment much but I’m here every single day, with the politics thread always on my phone at work. This site has helped keep me from despair so many times in the last 18+ months. We redid our household budget this month and carved out a little bit for a recurring donation because I never want to see this place go away.
posted by skycrashesdown at 4:40 PM on June 28 [3 favorites]


Very relieved to hear it, as I've been a MetaFilter member longer than I've officially been a librarian and both are important parts of my identity.

I also would really encourage y'all to keep contemplating the less positive reactions that sciatrix's excellent thread uncovered a couple of weeks back. It was important (if initially surprising) to hear the comments from folks who weren't happy and realize that some of the things being mentioned were things which we as a community could fix. I'm hoping that community norms will shift around in a positive way but I also think those norms bear mod-level revisiting in a couple of months.

In any case, thanks for the update and I'm very glad that MetaFilter is on a more positive path.
posted by librarylis at 4:52 PM on June 28 [5 favorites]


This is fantastic news.

Please don't forget to make amazon links easier to insert - esp on mobile. I never, ever do it on mobile because it's so damned painful, and I mention a book or movie or show at least once a week on here, maybe more. If everyone does, and avoids linking, that's a lot of potential amazon referrals falling to the wayside.

Likewise, if you're thinking abut enagement, I hope you're still thinking hard about mobile - don't rule out an app. The mobile mefi experience is... primitive on phones.

Don't forgot some ole fashioned social media engagement.

Finally, I would love to see some kind of homepage, mixed up - you have a lot of metrics, let users fiddle with them. I'd love to see a dynamic, modular page, showing:
>Busy threads from the subsites (by comments)
>Popular threads (by favourites)
>Fantastic flags on subsites (what you guys do with the fantastic flags, it's criminally underused. You have the community calling out content that is extra specially great that people would be interested in reading... and no one really gets to see them, and fantastic flags probably are much lower than they should be as a result. Share this stuff, I beg of you)
> Most popular tags over the last week (again, tags could be utilised a little better I think).

I guess there's a bit of a theme there around curation. Would love to see mods stepping beyond mods and into community engagement. How are you going to share and encourage great content amongst the various interest groups on mefi? Don't neglect this part! Your moderation is generally excellent, I bet your engagement could be as well. Look at the success of the metatalktail hour, that's beena great pay off for very little investment (how is it promoted on the site??)
posted by smoke at 5:18 PM on June 28 [6 favorites]

we're going to filter politics megathread content out of the Popular Favorites view to make it a less grim and monotone list and more of the joyful/interesting mix it had traditionally been
I can't express how happy this makes me!
posted by vasi at 5:19 PM on June 28 [12 favorites]




Likewise, if you're thinking abut enagement, I hope you're still thinking hard about mobile - don't rule out an app. The mobile mefi experience is... primitive on phones.

We're definitely gonna be putting a lot of thought into what we can improve about the mobile interface specifically and how more generally to align MetaFilter better with the state of the current internet and devices.

One thing that will definitely be a thread in its own right at some point will be talking about what "the mobile mefi experience" is, because a long-standing point of friction there is that we don't have a mobile experience, we have two: both the Classic theme and the Modern theme have mobile interfaces. And only one is modern, and that's Modern, and we haven't pushed people who are using Classic very hard or very frequently to reexamine the options. I worry that a lot of the "why can't I do x on mobile" questions come from either writing off or entirely forgetting about the Modern theme where x is meant to be a lot more doable.

Which is not to say the Modern mobile theme couldn't use some love too, and I know a lot of folks prefer Classic for one or another reason. But part of having a good look and talk about that some time soon is I want to both (a) make sure longer-time users are aware of the Modern mobile theme and how it differs from Classic, and (b) sort out which specific issues are most keeping folks who are up-to-speed on Modern from giving it a go.

But, separate conversation, that, and kind of a bigger-picture project aside from a few small things we can aim to take care of on the soon side. Just wanted to acknowledge that it's something very much on my plate as needing attention.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:29 PM on June 28 [2 favorites]


Please don't forget to make amazon links easier to insert - esp on mobile.

As a primarily-mobile user, I'd say that one thing that would make a huge difference in terms of making it less tedious to link would be if after you clicked the "link" button on the comment box and submitted your URL, the device's keyboard came back up with the cursor located between the tags such that you could immediately start typing the text of your link.

I don't know how feasible that is (wouldn't be surprised if it was trivial, wouldn't be surprised if it was impossible) but as it stands it's way more annoying than it should be to get my phone to believe that I want the cursor to be in between those little angle brackets without accidentally mangling the link in the process and then having to delete it and start all over again. It is actually so cumbersome that when I link from my phone, I frequently just type out the whole "<a href= etc. etc." business by hand, and I'm sure you can imagine how much fun that is to do, what with all the special characters involved.

Alternatively, it would be just about equally good if the link dialog had two text fields, one for the URL and one for the link text.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 5:35 PM on June 28 [4 favorites]


This is on Modern, by the way. I run Classic on my laptop and Modern on my phone, because while I much prefer the look and the old-school simplicity of Classic, it's just plain less functional on a mobile device.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 5:36 PM on June 28


Allowing someone to vouch for another account to bypass the sign-up fee is a good solution. I wasn't fond of opening sign-ups to everyone, because I think a key part of what makes MetaFilter work is that there's a non-zero level of friction for creating a new account, so everyone who's here wanted an account badly enough to slap down five American dollars. I think you'll get a similar effect from personal recommendations.

I've been accused of using a lot of five-dollar words so I'm excited to discover that my word will soon be literally worth five dollars
posted by Merus at 6:01 PM on June 28 [6 favorites]


Niiiiiiiiiice.
posted by medusa at 6:45 PM on June 28


That's such excellent news, I'm so pleased to hear it! This community has always been something special and this amazing response just proves it.

For those who haven't been able to donate for whatever reason, buried deep in the last thread, I said I was chipping in $5 for anyone who couldn't currently donate if they MeMailed me (up to $100). I only got a couple of responses, but donated $100 just now. So if you've wanted to donate but you haven't been able to due to circumstances or your situation, it's all good -- consider yourself covered. :)
posted by juliebug at 7:30 PM on June 28 [22 favorites]


I haven’t been able to up my paltry $5.00 monthly contribution yet, but I will make sure it keeps rolling. Funny thing - I’ve actually sold a decent amount of Carbon 7 music on Bandcamp in the last few months, which goes to PayPal, which means I have a positive balance, which goes to Metafilter a bit at a time, so hey, thanks for the kick-ass album cover photo, Josh, everyone loves it.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:34 PM on June 28 [3 favorites]


First, huzzah!

Second, a multitude of thoughts, starting with a reply:

tzikeh: We should be building FanFare into a real community within a community, because there is a hole in the market that only (the promise of) FanFare can fill, so we need to create a more flourishing (and organized) subsite out of FF, and have it in place, before we hold a parade to draw attention.

I don't think FanFare is that place, at least in its current form. Right now, it's a decent place to discuss episodes, seasons, movies, books and podcast episodes as individual units, but it doesn't get more granular, and it doesn't get broader. There's FanFare Talk that could serve as a place for broader discussions, but 1) it's hard to find on mobile views, 2) even on desktop/PC view, it's not super visible, and 3) that's a kludge of a fix that only addresses part of the fun of fandom. Also, FanFare isn't built for re-rewatching, or new first time viewings -- you could promote a new viewing via FanFare Talk, but the same issue into play. Which is all sad, because there are some great discussions in FanFare. Also, I don't know how to "fix" any of this, insomuch as it is a problem to be fixed, without making FanFare a more of a complicated, unique thing than it already is.

On the general topic of "Making it easier to participate in MetaFilter" and "making MetaFilter more fun and positive," what if the Ask.MetaFilter feature of broad categories was ported to the blue? In addition to unique tags, posts could also require a broad category, like politics, animals, art, pop culture, human interest, video games, sports, SLYT ... which is sounding a lot like an expanded set of typical news paper sections/ headers. Still, logged in users could more easily toggle what they do or don't want to see when browsing the front page. If we want to get a bit more detailed, there could be a second tier of categories for some bigger categories, like Non-US Politics and US-Politics, so you could block all politics, or only US politics (which could pull in the current politics filter). Then people could also browse by most favorited and most discussed posts per topic.

And for being more welcoming, perhaps either more prominently linking to MetaChats (the site AND the service), or make a more casual, chatty place on MetaFilter? The various sharing threads on MetaTalk are nice, but I really like the more casual MetaChat (the site, not the service -- I still haven't wandered in there, sorry!) atmosphere, where you can just drop in and say or share something. It's really quiet there now, but it might pick up a bit with that MetaTalk nudge from EvilSpork (and yeah, I can also be the change I want to see in the world :)) MetaFilter is getting a wee bit chattier with the trailers as figleaves for discussions of upcoming pop culture, and there are a good number of single link YouTube posts, neither of which are bad, but if there were a lot more of either, I think there might be push-back (or maybe I'm totally not reading the room right).

(Also, what happened to MonkeyFilter? It looks like it was getting really quiet towards the end of 2017, but now it's gone-gone.)
posted by filthy light thief at 8:37 PM on June 28 [3 favorites]


we're going to filter politics megathread content out of the Popular Favorites view

I agree with this, and I think it's already happened? Since I can think of a couple of comments that would otherwise be there if this hasn't been implemented. So thanks for the pony!
posted by zachlipton at 9:19 PM on June 28


We're half-there at the moment; frimble got it filtered out of the All Sites view of Popular Favorites already, but there was some stickier issue with the MetaFilter-specific view so for the moment that's still got quite a lot of politics in the comments.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:23 PM on June 28 [2 favorites]


Well I never got the chance to be a $5 noob back in the day, so when the MetaSignal flashed into the night sky, I figured better late than never.
posted by caution live frogs at 10:06 PM on June 28 [1 favorite]


Just want to say, thank you cortex for sherpa-ing us through this. We're in good hands.
posted by longdaysjourney at 10:11 PM on June 28 [1 favorite]


$9500 a month, eh? I’d consider upping my monthly contribution to something like, say, $9501 a month, in exchange for being the only person allowed to comment on the site. Maybe also the right to delete any posts that don’t advance the Bartfast agenda. Give me a call, cortex. I’ll throw in a bottle of Balvenie for you.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 12:20 AM on June 29 [6 favorites]


The story of a community website getting sustainably funded by its users seems like an even better story for Reply All than the one about community website that was facing a severe budgetary shortfall…
posted by Going To Maine at 12:26 AM on June 29 [6 favorites]


[this is good]
posted by dg at 1:32 AM on June 29 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter: You're all the best friends I never talk to.
posted by arcticseal at 1:56 AM on June 29 [16 favorites]


YAY!

1. I will say that to the extent words matter, I really am not a fan of Subscriptions. To me that establishes me as the customer purchasing content from you(?) the host. I am simply a community member who wants to make a standard monthly donation to a site I support. It's a huge difference in my mind. Even if you set up subscriptions I will continue to donate, but I won't subscribe.

2. I completely agree that an annual fundraiser event would be a good thing. I suspect it would bring in a great deal of resources, it is a good opportunity to attract new recurring members and it shifts these conversations from avoidance of problems to celebration of success.

3. Merch, F yeah! And, it's totally cool to attach some of it to the annual fundraiser, and even partly exclusive to fundraising events, etc.

But mostly I'm glad everyone working behind the scenes (and publicly in the threads) can be breathing a bit easier.
posted by meinvt at 6:13 AM on June 29 [6 favorites]


I'd like to add, on the donations versus subscription thing, that the UU Society I am a member of is extremely clear that donations are an expected part of being a member. They are self-selected pay what you want donations, and if even that is too much there are sponsored options. The key idea to me is that they are still donations. They signify a contribution in line with the values you adopt on membership, they are not a recurring purchase of goods or services.
posted by meinvt at 6:17 AM on June 29 [1 favorite]


> I don't think FanFare is that place, at least in its current form. Right now, it's a decent place to discuss episodes, seasons, movies, books and podcast episodes as individual units, but it doesn't get more granular, and it doesn't get broader. [...] Also, FanFare isn't built for re-rewatching, or new first time viewings -- you could promote a new viewing via FanFare Talk, but the same issue into play. Which is all sad, because there are some great discussions in FanFare.

I don't understand any of this. FanFare is a great place to talk about movies; what exactly makes it unsuitable for re-rewatching or new first time viewings? I keep seeing additions to the threads on movies I've watched, and they spark further discussion, and it all feels satisfying. What am I missing? And what is this granular/broader stuff?
posted by languagehat at 6:47 AM on June 29 [5 favorites]


I don't know how feasible that is (wouldn't be surprised if it was trivial, wouldn't be surprised if it was impossible) but as it stands it's way more annoying than it should be to get my phone to believe that I want the cursor to be in between those little angle brackets without accidentally mangling the link in the process and then having to delete it and start all over again

Huh. The italics and bold buttons put you between the tags automatically, which I guess it’s always done but I didn’t realize until it turned out to be easier than expected to paste that quoted text.

I do find that with the link button, it’s easier to write my text, select it, then click the link button and add it that way; it automatically wraps around the selected text.

Mild derail, but heck, I learned something just writing this comment.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 6:49 AM on June 29


I wanted to add to my comments above, but ran out of time.

One of the ideas I had when I was suggesting being able to earmark money was when cortex had written that he was wanting some graphic design work done, but was reluctant to ask for unpaid labor. My first thought was, "Then pay them." If you asked for people who were interested in seeing whatever come to fruition, I bet you'd see people chip in. I like the idea of my money going to something tangible. Or if metafilter somehow did go to a subscription style service, I agree with meinvt, in that I would totally sponsor some accounts. This feels less nebulous to me than just helping pay for bandwidth or moderation hours (both of which I understand are needed). Different people will find different things appealing as far as donating. I mentioned I would totally be willing to sponsor a bests posts contest with the prize money going to a registered charity of the winner's choice or to metafilter. I would kick into a fund earmarked for legal defense (I often contribute to 1st Amendment legal defense funds). I am sure others would be interested in funding other needs (podcasting equipment, faster servers, etc.). I don't know what's exactly needed beyond the obvious, but I bet rather than just wiping into the general expenses pool, that if during the the annual fundraiser you made a list of things you would like to do in 2019 and the associated costs, you would see people chip away at these expenses. And in the event you can't get money for something, well then, maybe the community doesn't see a value in that? Crowdfund more things, is what I am saying.

Again, just brainstorming and spitballing.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:03 AM on June 29 [1 favorite]


frimble got it filtered out of the All Sites view of Popular Favorites already

Wow, this is...this is really good. I definitely don't want to downplay the quality of the highly-favorited comments in the political threads - I've seen truly incredible writing and much-needed perspectives - but this view gives a much better lens on how varied we are as a MetaFilter community and all of the topics we chat about and share stories and expertise on. I love it. Once again, thank you.
posted by capricorn at 7:13 AM on June 29 [2 favorites]


Huzzah!

You keep mentioning the sidebar as a way to surface more content - as someone who only ever visits via the mobile site I actually forgot there even was a sidebar. How can we show the sidebar to mobile users? Since it would clutter up the main page, maybe some kind of dedicated page that lets mobile users see the sidebar? Since it's a dedicated page it could show even more content than the sidebar.

Regarding the mobile experience and Modern vs Classic: maintaining 2 UI/UXs is potentially a big drain on dev resources. Or maybe it's not. But I hope you're paying attention to how much time it's taking, and tracking how many users are using each UI on desktop and mobile. I suspect getting rid of Classic on desktop would be unpopular enough to be a non-starter, but I wonder if Classic on mobile is a bad enough experience that you might stop serving it and serve only Modern to mobile users in order to speed up other pony requests. Obviously that sort of change might be unpopular and would require some community input. But we might find that when it's “Classic on mobile” vs pony requests, the community might support ditching mobile support for Classic so we get more ponies. If it's not a big drain on resources then never mind.

Maybe my humor detector is broken and we are only joking about reducing or banning dumb jokes, but if harmless dumb jokes are banned I will most likely leave. Not as a rage quit but knowing myself I will probably mentally flag MetaFilter as a joyless place and just visit less and less. They are one of my favorite things on the Internet and IRL. Now, MetaFilter does not need to cater to me, and maybe we as a community want to ban dumb jokes, but if that happens I will most likely fade out and I doubt I'm the only one. I mean, how would we even have a penis beaker thread without dumb jokes?

I agree that a 30 minute window in which comments are locked is unlikely to accomplish much, and I don't think it's something we should pursue unless a lot of other pony requests are completed. But if we were going to pilot that, maybe an optional field where the submitter can indicate “here's how long I recommend locking comments to prevent drive-by comments” would work so simple FPPs can open up comments immediately or quickly, and complex FPPs that really need some reading can be locked for up to 30 minutes.
posted by Tehhund at 7:15 AM on June 29 [5 favorites]


Goooooo team!
And I don't just mean the Metafilter staff on the payroll. I think the entire community is a team and this update shows it. Good job friends, let's keep it up.
posted by like_neon at 8:33 AM on June 29 [7 favorites]


Hooray! So glad to hear the good news.

I read the post asking for support at work, sent myself a reminder to up my monthly donation and fell ill (like really fast) a couple hours later. So instead of donating, I went to bed for 48 hours, and have been dealing with some health stuff ever since.

Another reminder to self is sent, and I am glad to be able to add my drops to the bucket. I can't imagine a day without MeFi and subsites (unless I am sleeping through it. :/ ).
posted by jaruwaan at 8:47 AM on June 29 [1 favorite]


Maybe my humor detector is broken and we are only joking about reducing or banning dumb jokes, but if harmless dumb jokes are banned I will most likely leave. Not as a rage quit but knowing myself I will probably mentally flag MetaFilter as a joyless place and just visit less and less.

I'm not sure where this was brought up but I thought it was just a Politics Megathread thing? There are a LOT of comments in those threads and there's a push towards making them just substantive content / relevant news instead of general riffing. But I hadn't heard anything about pushback against humor in any other threads.
posted by Jpfed at 9:03 AM on June 29 [1 favorite]


What Jpfed said; I am 100% on Team Dumb Jokes in general.

The politics megathreads are a different beast and even there it's not "no dumb jokes" but it's something where, given the size of the threads and the rate at which they can grow, we've asked folks to rein it in some on, among other things, extended riffing or particularly lazy nth-repetition jokey stuff. (Also on liveblogging. Also on linking bad tweets to note they're bad. Also on posting giant blocks of text. Also on...) Basically it's a lot of little things, talked about in great detail in this MetaTalk post about the catch-all threads; not just jokes, and not about the site in general.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:14 AM on June 29 [3 favorites]


I was happy to help. This site is a lifeline and a light in dark places. Thank you.
posted by Donald Trump Sex Nightmare at 9:22 AM on June 29 [3 favorites]


I wonder if there is some creative way people can be reminded/introduced/explained-to about guidelines/boundaries/purpose in an immediate location, or periodically, or by request for an occasional reminder of randomly selected but quickly absorbable points, to help people moderate themselves more effectively.

A lot of it (it=knowing what is welcome and what isn't) is a kind of specialized socialization that some people have and others, well, still need to learn and can forget quickly, so making that more thoughtful and making it happen in less-stressful contexts might help it happen more reliably, I think.
posted by amtho at 9:28 AM on June 29 [2 favorites]


A practical goal of the above would be to make moderation less demanding.
posted by amtho at 9:28 AM on June 29


As someone who once posted the complete treaty of westphalia in the tail end of a Sarah Palin megathread, I support the current handling of politics threads.

Great news! The plans going forward also sound fantastic. (And as a dev, I'll put in the small word to choose your projects strategically; there's a lot there, and never enough time to actually do all the things we want to do...)
posted by kaibutsu at 9:44 AM on June 29 [2 favorites]


the complete treaty of westphalia in the tail end of a Sarah Palin megathread

i just legit shivered at my desk upon reading the last three words of that comment
posted by lazaruslong at 9:54 AM on June 29 [5 favorites]


/me jumps off F-15, walks across carrier deck and punches air as "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED" banner is unfurled

A $9500 increase in subscriptions is fantastic - especially off the back of a comparatively unobtrusive banner message!

I'd say the next step is to continue to good work and reduce the site's dependence on unreliable ad income, while still working to increase it and socking it away for a rainy day. It's clear there's a lot more than could be done to further increase subscriptions via improved messaging, and I love the ideas people are having about increasing site traffic via Fanfare and more.
posted by adrianhon at 10:34 AM on June 29 [3 favorites]


Catching up on a couple other things now that I've got a minute:

Regarding the mobile experience and Modern vs Classic: maintaining 2 UI/UXs is potentially a big drain on dev resources.

It is, and that's part of why I want to revisit some of what we're doing with Modern, and chat with folks stuck to Classic, to figure out where the biggest hold-out points are from making Modern work for more people. The reality at this point is that it would be easier and faster to update just Modern than to do both Modern and Classic, and that determines both (a) the speed at which new stuff gets rolled out and (b) which things we are able to really keep Classic up to date on specifically in terms of how the mobile theme for that works. Because that's part of the problem itself: Classic mobile is really it's own theme parallel to Classic desktop, not a different responsive rendering of a single theme like Modern is.

I haven't been looking at deprecating Classic outright, because that feels like it'd be really disruptive, but finding out where we can make it more of a fallback-when-necessary thing and less of an underfeatured default would be useful in the long run.

My first thought was, "Then pay them."

Mine as well! And for real designy designs, that's basically exactly what I'd like to do, and to do in a deliberate "I like the stuff you do, would you want to do a thing like x for merch?" fashion. I'd feel much better throwing a little chunk of change directly at a MeFite artist to do a thing than to say "alright, spec work party, one lucky winner gets paid".

If the main thing the revenue for any given merch run did was pay us back on the investment of a little money in supporting a MeFite artist, I'd be totally okay with that.

This is separate from e.g. text motto or general "what if we did a thing like x?" brainstorming, which feels very much in the spirit of non-exploitative community goofing and which I can take my own middling design skills to realizing. Riffing together on ideas is totally fine and fun.

what if the Ask.MetaFilter feature of broad categories was ported to the blue?

That's something we've sort of glanced at and panned a few times previously, but worth a revisit. Back-categorizing the site's archives would be a huge effort that'd need to be a crowd-sourced effort (a la the great backtagging project of the late 2000s), but as we think about how stuff is presented on the front page it's something to chew on at least, yeah. There are certainly themes in posts, if also, as with Ask's categories, a lot of stuff that seems to either straddle two categories or fit nicely in none.

Alternatively, it would be just about equally good if the link dialog had two text fields, one for the URL and one for the link text.

Yeah, looking at how we can make mobile formatting less fiddly is on the table. Another thing that needs to be both a Modern and Classic thing, where the current state of behavior may differ some between the two (and also differ between devices/browsers, unfortunately). But the idea of a two-field link widget is, hmm, really really worth a close look because that might be a pretty straightforward solution to some complexities.

You keep mentioning the sidebar as a way to surface more content - as someone who only ever visits via the mobile site I actually forgot there even was a sidebar. How can we show the sidebar to mobile users?

Yep, something we need to figure out. Right now the answer for Modern is "know to hop down to the bottom of the page" and for Classic is if I recall the current state "know to hop down and also follow a link", and neither is really a great solution. This falls into the nebulae of both Looking At Mobile Stuff and of Thinking About Curated/Splash Pages, because it'd be really nice to know that folks will still see cool stuff without having to specifically go out of their way to.

I give MeFites huge amounts of credit, fully earned, for being the kind of deliberate and curious web users who will try to get to know a site more than the average drive-by might, but we can I think too often end up leaning on that instead of actively helping folks discover stuff, and that's something I want to put some serious effort into changing.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:37 AM on June 29 [1 favorite]


I responded to one of the recent how can we improve Metafilter talks by saying I'd make more posts. I've made five posts since then (almost doubling my number) and I got a new Mefite!
posted by Margalo Epps at 10:54 AM on June 29 [12 favorites]


I'm not sure I can really explain why I dislike Modern so much, but I would try with some prompting. But I really do. I can't stand it.
posted by snuffleupagus at 11:05 AM on June 29 [11 favorites]


I really love this place.
posted by Sophie1 at 11:39 AM on June 29 [1 favorite]


Would it be hard to do a static mockup of Modern but with the typefaces and colors (text and background) from Classic? And the little contrasty bits (like around the posted by field) set instead to background color? In dark mode.

Will that just turn Modern back into Classic? My sense is that there's more to it than that, that the views are built and spaced differently. And I think it's mostly the colors and faces and shading that get to me.
posted by snuffleupagus at 11:40 AM on June 29 [3 favorites]


I have loved this place for so long - since 1995 (when did MeFi start, anyway)? And being able to finally join when I did (2004) felt like such a privilege. Cortex, your thank you note was so touching (there's dust in here, I swear). Thanks to you and the other mods for all you do - and thanks to this place for being such an amazing community!
posted by dbmcd at 12:01 PM on June 29


meinvt: I will say that to the extent words matter, I really am not a fan of Subscriptions.

Likewise. Not gonna die on this hill or anything, but I'd be happier if we referred to them as "donations" or "contributions" or suchlike. "Subscriptions," to me, implies more of a pay-to-play model. If "donations" is too non-profity (although hey, if the long-term goal is to move to being 100% self-supporting then a non-profit model might be the one that makes the most sense) then "contributions" works for me.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 12:15 PM on June 29 [2 favorites]


I want to revisit some of what we're doing with Modern, and chat with folks stuck to Classic, to figure out where the biggest hold-out points are from making Modern work for more people.

No joke, the single biggest reason why I haven't switched to Modern on my desktop is the green accent color. Switch it back to Metafilter Yellow and Modern would be close enough for me that I wouldn't complain about losing Classic.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 12:26 PM on June 29 [3 favorites]


Oh thank God, and thank all of you. I didn’t realize how much this freaked me out until this post, so...thank you. I’m so relieved.
posted by schadenfrau at 12:29 PM on June 29 [3 favorites]


Like, it could even literally just be a green/yellow toggle in my user preferences and that would be good enough.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 12:31 PM on June 29 [5 favorites]


Just noticed the banner message and visited this thread. As I clicked the link I thought, "please be good news," and it was! I use MetaFilter every day I'm online. I'm grateful to everyone who runs and uses the site.
posted by kingless at 12:35 PM on June 29 [1 favorite]


Would it be hard to do a static mockup of Modern but with the typefaces and colors (text and background) from Classic? And the little contrasty bits (like around the posted by field) set instead to background color? In dark mode.

Will that just turn Modern back into Classic?


So this and some of the other thoughts in here definitely fall into what I'll aim to have a dedicated discussion about, both about the specific things I have in mind and the more general Modern, Classic, Mobile, Etc. question; I'm gonna try not to get into it too much more in here just to not sort of come at the whole thing backward.

But very briefly, I'll say that the differences between Modern and Classic under the hood are more significant than the difference in look and feel, which is why trying to make Modern work better for folks in general is a good goal. There's very little in terms of actual MeFi verbs/interactions that differ in terms of what Classic and Modern do; it's more a matter of how each does it.

So while it's not necessarily trivial to make Modern look just like Classic, it's certainly not baked into the theme for them to look quite as different as they do. And my gut feeling is that if we wanted to move from supporting two separate theme code bases that happen also to look different to, instead, supporting a single Modern theme code base that allows more user configuration of how it looks, we'd be better off basically all around.

> I will say that to the extent words matter, I really am not a fan of Subscriptions.

Likewise. Not gonna die on this hill or anything, but I'd be happier if we referred to them as "donations" or "contributions" or suchlike.


It's language stuff to sort out as we go, is my basic feeling. I think a lot of the folks who have been arguing for the concept of "subscription" are aiming more for the concept of normalizing support as part of the business model than for the specific connotations of gated/paid content. More to distinguish from crisis-event-related donations, basically.

I've found it helpful to push my thinking in that direction some, so I've used the "subscription" language more recently, but I think I basically agree with both views: that normalizing contributions is important for us going forward, and that avoiding presenting it as a paywall or exclusivity thing is important in the MeFi ethos.

So we'll see how the actual language for that evolves as we go on. It may be hard to land on a phrasing that everybody loves, but as long as we can communicate the underlying idea well, that's the most important thing to me.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:43 PM on June 29 [9 favorites]


I haven't been looking at deprecating Classic outright

I think you should rather than continuing to burn significant development resource on supporting it.

I strongly feel you need to move design decisions towards "what's best for MetaFilter's future survival and growth" rather than "what pleases the most and loudest people in MetaTalk right now". The endless arguments over post titles set a bad precedent, IMHO: people screamed enough about it that we ended up with a "well fine, we'll give you an way to turn them off in Classic" compromise. And now you're stuck forever supporting font sizes for Classic as a server-side option, and you're stuck forever with a requirement that posts must make sense both with and without their title.

People will hate any change to the interface; let them deal. And if they really can't deal: let them tweak it themselves with user style sheets, GreaseMonkey etc.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 2:24 PM on June 29 [11 favorites]


First, I want to say how amazing you all are. I couldn’t up my monthly donation, I’m out of work and dealing with some physical stuff that came up again as I was just ready to get back to work (because of course I did) but I couldn’t bear to cancel my existing donation when I was tightening my budget a few months back. I’m glad I didn’t, and I will be upping the amount as soon as I have employment. Seriously, I metafilter is important enough to me that I feel like I need to tithe part of my income.

I’ve been feeling bad I can’t increase my donation, so seeing so many people step up so quickly is beyond heartwarming and exactly what I love about this place and the members. I haven’t been around here much lately as I would like to be, my body doesn’t like my use of electronics (can I get, like a copy of metafilter in newspaper form? Pretty please?) so I was late in seeing metafilter was struggling, only catching the post about a week ago. I felt distraught and the refrain that kept going through my head this past week was that “Metafilter is the best site on the Internet.” And cursing how there is no reason that shouldn’t be enough. I can’t think of a better site. It seemed so unfair that once again it’s struggling. Ok so glad the community stepped up. Not surprised, either. Cuz you’re all awesome

Second, I swear someone had made a google doc of what they felt were great threads to introduce new people to metafilter. I can’t find it anywhere, though my Google fu could be off and I don’t see it in my bookmarks. If anyone knows what I’m talking about, please share.

Third, I love you all.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 2:30 PM on June 29 [6 favorites]


I still don't care for visible titles.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 2:33 PM on June 29 [6 favorites]


I didn't even send my money yet... I'm so slow and lazy. Sowwy.
posted by Justinian at 4:16 PM on June 29


Classic vs. Modern, my take:

I read and comment on both desktop and phone. I always view in Dark mode. On my laptop, I prefer Classic. When I just switched over to Modern, the reason was evident right away. In Classic view, on Ask, I could see 6 posts. When I switched to Modern, I could see 3. I always want to see more content without scrolling.

Somehow, Modern's fonts and spacing just take up too much room on my monitor. I can zoom out on the browser, but by the time I can see 6 posts on Ask, I can barely read the text.
posted by hydra77 at 4:48 PM on June 29 [6 favorites]


Speaking of, a proper dark mode would be nice — ie one with a black or dark gray background. Or dark grey. I’m flexible. ;)
posted by Celsius1414 at 5:20 PM on June 29 [3 favorites]


Woo! Long live metafilter!
posted by triage_lazarus at 5:32 PM on June 29


Hurray contributors of MetaFilter - both monetary and/ or with high quality posts and comments!

A lot of us rock (and the mods protect us from those of us who aren't, or who temporarily aren't - I've been guilty of being shitty here; thanks for letting me know with a timeout).

1) has the text at the end of archived threads been updated/ tweaked to encourage joining/ donating?

2) merch: there are stickers... any chance of offering (embroidered) patches? (For example - not endorsing, just the first google result.)

3) Just noticed the "Join #### readers in helping fund Metafilter" thing (is it new?) - would it make any sense to also state how many users have donated/ have recurring donations in total?
posted by porpoise at 5:54 PM on June 29


I strongly feel you need to move design decisions towards "what's best for MetaFilter's future survival and growth" rather than "what pleases the most and loudest people in MetaTalk right now". The endless arguments over post titles set a bad precedent, IMHO: people screamed enough about it that we ended up with a "well fine, we'll give you an way to turn them off in Classic" compromise. And now you're stuck forever supporting font sizes for Classic as a server-side option, and you're stuck forever with a requirement that posts must make sense both with and without their title.

Meh, making post titles visible would substantively change the user experience for those who, like myself, turn off titles by adjusting the font size. This also doesn't strike me as the kind of thing that necessarily takes a ton of work to support on an ongoing basis, though of course, mods, if I'm wrong on that, please let me know. Maybe you mean it's bad precedent in the sense that, hm, the mods listened to and took into account our preferences in terms of the site's appearance? But I consider that a feature, not a bug, of this process, and I think the mods can take into account the community's wishes here while also being able to take positive and necessary steps to improve the maintainability of the site. This doesn't need to be either/or whatsoever, and that's what I'm hearing cortex say as well.

I would be fine switching to Modern if I could keep the option to have no titles and the theme could have user-customizable options (fonts, colors) to look more like Classic currently does for me. Those things are important to me and important to the branding of the site, and because we don't have images here, that textual look and feel is a crucial part of MetaFilter's identity. It's about more than appeasing vocal users; it's about who we are and what the site's origins are. We forget that at our peril. But there should be ways to refresh the site that make it more maintainable while still preserving the look-and-feel aspects that make this feel like home for long-time users. I'd be curious to see more stats about which themes are used by which user groups, and how adoption rates of each theme have changed over time.

Then to get additional data, one thing I would suggest (and would be happy to help with if it would be useful) would be surveying users about a specific set of proposed design and functionality changes to the site, once you get to a point that more data would help inform the process of making updates to specific aspects of the site's user experience. Getting real data to support these decisions should be easy enough, but it's tough to get comparable stats on users' preferences about things from anecdotal comments in long MeTa threads. As a veteran of many web redesign projects, I'd strongly suggest creating a user survey for design and feature discovery work, using a service such as SurveyMonkey with robust tools for displaying, segmenting, and otherwise manipulating the data, and linking it from the top of the site, the front-page sidebar, and a MeTa thread. It will still be a self-selected group of more vocal users responding, but this will make it a lot easier to separate signal from noise on what are indeed contentious issues to many users.
posted by limeonaire at 6:57 PM on June 29 [5 favorites]


cortex I don't think I realized exactly the extent of love you have for MeFi until I watched this talk of yours. Your offer to take a temporary pay decrease is, as someone said above, exemplary. The phenomenon of that kind of dedication from a leader is so inspiring and helps enhance members' commitment to an already-amazing community.
posted by bendy at 7:09 PM on June 29 [6 favorites]


Then to get additional data, one thing I would suggest (and would be happy to help with if it would be useful) would be surveying users about a specific set of proposed design and functionality changes to the site, once you get to a point that more data would help inform the process of making updates to specific aspects of the site's user experience. Getting real data to support these decisions should be easy enough, but it's tough to get comparable stats on users' preferences about things from anecdotal comments in long MeTa threads. As a veteran of many web redesign projects, I'd strongly suggest creating a user survey for design and feature discovery work, using a service such as SurveyMonkey with robust tools for displaying, segmenting, and otherwise manipulating the data, and linking it from the top of the site, the front-page sidebar, and a MeTa thread. It will still be a self-selected group of more vocal users responding, but this will make it a lot easier to separate signal from noise on what are indeed contentious issues to many users.

I like this.

And it may also give people who are less likely to be vocal in "public" a chance to provide more anonymous feedback.

My two cents: throw into that data mix an accessibility audit/survey. There's a whole bunch of things about this site that make it accessible ("that textual look and feel is a crucial part of MetaFilter's identity" that limeonaire references really helps in many regards), but some of that is through happenstance and coincidence moreso than through conscious design for accessibility. The standards exist, and it's timely since WCAG 2.1 is now recommended.

But beyond site design: Is there a way to implement or integrate accessibility nudges/reminders for members when they're posting content, whether it's through an FPP or comment?

I'm no UI expert but there's also a nice dovetail between a smooth mobile experience and accessibility. At the risk of sounding cliché..."win-win."
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:10 PM on June 29 [8 favorites]


User Preference Surveys sound a lot better than the User Preference MetaTalk Holy Wars that have been our process for sorting this stuff out in the past.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 5:38 AM on June 30 [8 favorites]


AOANLA,T: "No joke, the single biggest reason why I haven't switched to Modern on my desktop is the green accent color. Switch it back to Metafilter Yellow and Modern would be close enough for me that I wouldn't complain about losing Classic."

Also worth noting that, on desktop, the front page on Modern is twice as big (byte wise) as Classic (something like 500kB vs 250kB). Heck, even Plain is bigger than Classic (by couple of kB). Now I'm not one of those people on a slow or data-limited connection, but I can understand why people who are might prefer Classic.

Personally I stick with Classic on desktop because I don't like the look of Modern, but prefer Modern on mobile.

(I only noticed this because I got involved in a quick discussion last night on another site about their front page load time, and decided to check out MeFi for comparison. Turned out the site owner didn't realise their front page was 70MB+ in size, and so loaded with various 3rd-party cruft it was taking 3+ minutes to load…)
posted by Pinback at 5:55 AM on June 30 [4 favorites]


Right now the answer for Modern is "know to hop down to the bottom of the page"

Oh cool! There it is! Is there an RSS feed for Best Of?

supporting a single Modern theme code base that allows more user configuration of how it looks, we'd be better off basically all around.

Here's a related idea that people may find useful: in addition to having specific user-configurable options like font, font size, specific colors, also have a big text box where a user can dump whatever CSS they want in and it'll be served to them. Allow users to save multiple personal themes in case they want different themes on different devices. And allow users to optionally share their themes to a gallery available to all logged-in users. That way users can work together to make things appear they way they prefer. I'm happy with Modern and probably wouldn't use the CSS box, but this might fix a lot of the concerns about appearance that keep users on Classic because users who know CSS could create Classic-ish theme and share it around. I'm sure there are open source libraries you can use to validate the CSS that people plug into that box before serving it up to avoid malicious input (e.g., JavaScript injection). Presumably you're serving the same HTML and JavaScript regardless of theme - if not maybe that's the place to start simplifying before going to a single theme.

Regarding donate/subscribe/contribute/support language: whichever word we end up with, maybe the contribution page should say something like “you can contribute to MetaFilter by submitting comments and posts that add to the discussion. Metafilter is primarily community-funded so you can also contribute by funding us…” or something like that to keep the focus on the fact that money is important but not the point. That might be more palatable regardless of which term you ultimately choose.
posted by Tehhund at 8:08 AM on June 30 [1 favorite]


I love y'all. Yay, team.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 12:18 PM on June 30 [2 favorites]


Is there an RSS feed for Best Of?

There’s a feedburner link on the Best Of page.
posted by zamboni at 7:03 PM on June 30 [1 favorite]


There’s a feedburner link on the Best Of page.

Where? Sorry but I'm staring at the link you posted and see no feedburner link.

Normally I wouldn't troubleshoot in public, but I'm also pointing out that simply following MetaFilter is remarkably difficult.
posted by Tehhund at 8:06 PM on June 30


Tehhund: in the sidebar on the right, link text is "Subscribe to this feed" next to the orange RSS icon (zamboni also included it in their message that you quoted)
posted by namewithoutwords at 8:37 PM on June 30 [1 favorite]


There is no sidebar in Chrome, mobile.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:40 PM on June 30 [1 favorite]


Yay! Thank you for this news. I'm so grateful for this place, and for all of you who contribute here.

I am totally on board with the annual fundraising campaign idea. We could pick a month -- eg. August is MeFi Love Month! -- and promote the hell out of it. We could do the merch tied to various giving levels like Kickstarter as mentioned above; we could get stuff/services donated for a silent auction or raffle. Can we have a day where GIFs are allowed? I would pay 💰💰💰 for that.
posted by emeiji at 8:41 PM on June 30 [1 favorite]


I have loved this place for many, many years now. First as a lurker, then as a member under a different username, now as this name.

But as the tides turned in the last few years I grew sad and tired, as I expressed in the larger MetaTalk thread, and I disengaged.

But this gives me so much hope. And my new monthly contribution backs up that hope with some dollar bills, which I haven't felt the desire to give before now. I couldn't back a community that was more about right-fighting and partisanship and anger than it was about bridge-building, connection and love.

I really hope this is the start of a new evolution as a community of brilliant minds and humongous hearts.

Thank you for all you are doing. Truly. <3
posted by bologna on wry at 6:56 AM on July 1 [5 favorites]


no, shut up, you are all amazing!
posted by ouke at 5:50 AM on July 2 [1 favorite]


Drive-by brainstorming in here is fine fwiw

OK, here's a minor brainsquall about improving page load speeds for long threads.

Code already exists to load new comments in a dynamic ajaxy kind of way, and that seems to work quite well. Perhaps if a thread is longer than some tweakable limit, and the browser is script-capable, page load could finish some tweakable number of comments forward from the particular one requested, and then the ajaxy stuff relied on to load (some of?) the rest if required? Everybody is already used to seeing the "5 new comments" buttons appear; just modify the text to "25 newer comments" and half of us wouldn't even notice that it always appears immediately at the end of long threads :-)

The comment URL scheme would probably need a bit of fiddling to make the comment number part of the URL that the server sees on requests. Duplicating it as a fragment identifier as well should preserve all the nice qualities that comment URLs already have.

To go a little deeper, you could load some tweakable number of comments both newer and older than the one the request was for, with a "25 older comments" ajaxy box visible between the post and first loaded comment if you scroll up to look for it.

I would strongly favour making any such page loading optimization mechanism totally visible and manual, and require a click or tap in order to make it do anything, rather than trying to use some form of infiniscroll. Infiniscroll is OK in theory, but I have yet to see an implementation of it that doesn't cause an effect that The Daily WTF forums refer to as jellypotato: the page loads, you're halfway through reading a paragraph of stuff, then all of a sudden some infiniscroll-related load event completes, the page becomes a different height, and the browser slightly loses its mind and scrolls the viewport up or down by just enough to become utterly enraging on repeated exposure. And it makes the scrollbar thumb completely useless.

Given manual "load older" and "load newer" controls, it would be nice to have a profile preference to set the maximum number of comments you get when you click one. To keep some kind of lid on preferences blowout, this could reasonably be the same number for both, as well as being the maximum number of comments that could be loaded without triggering the new behaviour at all. That way I could just set mine to infinitybazillion and ignore the new feature entirely.
posted by flabdablet at 6:17 AM on July 2 [4 favorites]


would it make any sense to also state how many users have donated/ have recurring donations in total?

What would be totally awesome is the availability of a live balance sheet. Especially because since this is Metafilter, every single number on the sheet would turn into a historical chart when you clicked it.
posted by flabdablet at 6:26 AM on July 2 [2 favorites]


I would be fine switching to Modern if I could keep the option to have no titles and the theme could have user-customizable options (fonts, colors) to look more like Classic currently does for me

yadda yadda professional white background yadda cold dead hands
posted by flabdablet at 6:30 AM on July 2 [3 favorites]


One other function that has broken with the POTUS45 threads -- The [more] link for long comments on the /popular page links to the parent thread, can that be rewired such that only that comment is expanded? Otherwise it's a bit of a lurch to wait 10 seconds on mobile for a 1000 comment thread to load and then jump to the comment anchor.
posted by benzenedream at 8:55 AM on July 2


Just realized my old PayPal donation was no longer working because of an old card. Set it up again with double amount which I am glad I’m in a position to do.

Just today I was able to find more webcomics I like via askme and mefi. And I’m now supporting yet another creator on patreon as well.

Thanks for all you do, mefi team.
posted by sio42 at 2:56 PM on July 2 [4 favorites]


I've wanted to contribute both times, but haven't had the money to spare yet. But someday!
posted by JHarris at 7:19 PM on July 2 [2 favorites]


Still down to help build an app to help MeFi be better on mobile. :) Just say the word.
posted by Hermione Granger at 9:03 PM on July 2 [3 favorites]


What's needed in that?
posted by JHarris at 9:12 PM on July 2


I'm so glad I came back. Thank you for all your work, cortex and team.
posted by arcticwoman at 11:57 AM on July 3 [4 favorites]


Thank you mods! Thank you all!
posted by Zephyrial at 2:47 PM on July 3


Still down to help build an app to help MeFi be better on mobile. :) Just say the word.

Me too, and I bet a lot of other members would be willing to help. Only with cortex's approval of course. We might even be able to do a proof-of-concept read-only app that consumes the RSS feeds without any backend changes.
posted by Tehhund at 5:13 AM on July 4


So one thing on my plate is reviewing and looking to update/improve aspects of our current mobile support, particularly with the Modern theme where it's a lot more robust to begin with than the Classic theme. My hope and expectation is that a lot of the stuff that would make an app attractive are things we can tackle fairly directly on that front.

An app is a possibility and I hear and appreciate the offers to help with it, and that may be something we do explore more seriously at some point, but there's a whole passel of extra work that comes with the idea of developing and maintaining another parallel code base, and moving folks in part to a reliance on and expectation of the ongoing availability of that instead of a browser changes MeFi's ecosystem and adds to its dependencies in potentially really significant ways. So working on existing mobile views first definitely takes priority.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:28 AM on July 4 [3 favorites]


For me, the mobile view of the site only needs some CSS tweaking..
posted by rhizome at 12:09 PM on July 4


I just want to give cortex props for using the word "passel" in this thread.
posted by evil_esto at 2:14 AM on July 5 [1 favorite]


I'm willing to swallow a live scorpion* to NOT have a mobile app. Mobile browsers are quite capable on the average device these days. There are few things that make me ragequit a web page faster than "Try our app!" popups every goddamn time I visit the site. I browse MeFi on iOS quite a lot, I haven't felt like I was missing anything by not being on a desktop.

*Figure of speech. Please do not send me a scorpion.
posted by caution live frogs at 11:49 AM on July 5 [3 favorites]


look they already make gopher mobile apps I don’t know what else you’d need
posted by Huffy Puffy at 12:10 PM on July 5 [1 favorite]


There are few things that make me ragequit a web page faster than “Try our app!” popups every goddamn time I visit the site.

I think the key point here is that MetaFilter should avoid having “Try our app!” pop-ups.
posted by Going To Maine at 12:19 PM on July 5 [11 favorites]


Late to this, just wanted to add my general "Yay!"
posted by carter at 8:07 AM on July 6


Coming here to say I drop by this site multiple times a day, it's a major source of news and discussion for me, and I finally decided I wanted to keep it around and support it. The pittance I pay a month is marginal compared to what my parents used to pay for a newspaper, and I get a cool community in the bargain, so win-win.

I build and manage communities for a living, so it's in my interest to see Metafilter thrive. I am glad to see you thrive in this era of whatever it is that our world is going through right now.
posted by offalark at 9:48 PM on July 6 [4 favorites]


Ahem, I'm even later to this than other people, but want to join in and say "Yayyy!"
posted by StrawberryPie at 6:07 PM on July 12 [1 favorite]


> I will say that to the extent words matter, I really am not a fan of Subscriptions.

Likewise. Not gonna die on this hill or anything, but I'd be happier if we referred to them as "donations" or "contributions" or suchlike.

It's language stuff to sort out as we go, is my basic feeling. I think a lot of the folks who have been arguing for the concept of "subscription" are aiming more for the concept of normalizing support as part of the business model than for the specific connotations of gated/paid content. More to distinguish from crisis-event-related donations, basically.

I've found it helpful to push my thinking in that direction some, so I've used the "subscription" language more recently, but I think I basically agree with both views: that normalizing contributions is important for us going forward, and that avoiding presenting it as a paywall or exclusivity thing is important in the MeFi ethos.



More neutral terminology that doesn’t have those fraught connotations might use the more general term of “support”. Regardless of whether funds are gifts, subscriptions or donations, and regardless of the taxable status of the recipient (MeFi), the funds would still be considered types of financial support.

E.g., “Recurring Support”, “Ongoing Support”, “Monthly Support”, etc.

Just a thought, as you folks consider neutral language options for normalized donations/contributions/subscriptions/whatevs.
posted by darkstar at 3:00 AM on July 14 [1 favorite]


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