There is no coin cabal January 29, 2019 3:50 PM   Subscribe

Over in the Hyucking Hyuck thread, MysticMCJ proposed the idea of a US politics megathread challenge coin as a physical symbol of, er, whatever this all is. People got into the idea, and a quick straw poll having shown sufficient interest to potentially make production worthwhile, here's a space for those interested in the idea to talk about it.

First, if you'd be generally interested in some sort of megathread challenge coin, and you haven't already done so, please indicate as such on this totally non-binding anonymous survey. The latest numbers on that, from those who clicked through from the Hyucking Hyuck thread, were 65 people interested, representing interest in 93 coins.

This would, of course, be an entirely unofficial community effort, not sponsored by MetaFilter Network Inc.

If this does happen, it seems there are two big hurdles: design and logistics


I know a few people in the Hyucking Hyuck thread were willing to help with design, which is fantastic! We should talk about how we want that process to work (if this ends with six competing coin design factions all declaring war on each other, well, that would be bad). I created a quick page on the wiki to brainstorm symbols that could appear on a coin (seeded with a few ideas from the survey). Please add anything that comes to mind. The Election Thread Reference page also has some ideas for other in-jokes that could potentially make appearances, plus general site culture things—beans were frequently requested on the survey—maybe one side is more megathread oriented and one side more generally MeFi-related? It's worth thinking about symbols that can be represented visually, since the usual megathread gags are textual in nature. The internet tells me that these things are usually around 1.75" or so, double-sided, with an option for color for an additional charge. The vendors have designers, so we'd need to come up with the design elements we want, but not necessarily finished artwork.


I'm happy to help with this part. It seems like the cost for a couple hundred is on the order of roughly $3.50-$7.00/each depending on size, quantity, color options, 3D depth options, cutouts, etc... Plus postage and envelopes to get them out to everyone. If people have had a good experience with a vendor before, that would be useful information. We can also talk about how, practically, this could work: do we run it through a Kickstarter (or similar platform) or not? Does this stay small enough to reasonably do the fulfillment by hand? Several people in the survey expressed a desire for the proceeds of the coin to benefit the site financially. Given the low cost of the coin and its one-off nature, the best way to help would be to contribute to the site directly, but we should talk about any included fundraising component, including any excess funds from the project going to the site. A couple kind people who took the survey expressed interest in helping to subsidize the cost of coin production, which is extremely generous and fantastic. As more people take the survey, knowing how many coins we're ultimately talking about will be helpful for planning purposes too.

If you're opposed to the megathreads, US politics, the general state of the world, coins, or really all of this, that's absolutely fine. This is meant in the spirit of some obsessed people here maybe turning some goofy in-jokes into some goofy metal tokens, and if no part of that appeals to you, thanks for stopping by.

In summary:
- Take the survey if you're interested in a megathread challenge coin
- Add design ideas to the wiki
- Ideas, suggestions, offers to help, cautionary tales, instances of regret in my life and pain i have caused others, etc... please, discuss below
posted by zachlipton to MetaFilter-Related at 3:50 PM (95 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

Quick note that I got pinged on this ahead of time and am fine with it as an unofficial thing organized as a good-spirited goof for those who feel like getting in on it.

I'm gonna echo the notion that it's 100% okay to not be into this but ask that if that's the case just skip along to the next thing instead of getting into it in here.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:54 PM on January 29 [7 favorites]

Fun! I'm in.
posted by lazaruslong at 3:54 PM on January 29

Given the low cost of the coin and its one-off nature, the best way to help would be to contribute to the site directly, but we should talk about any included fundraising component, including any excess funds from the project going to the site.

My recommendation would be, yeah, figure out how to do this more or less at cost (including fulfillment, etc) rather than aiming to build in an explicit for-the-site margin. Plan for a certain amount of predicted orders to fall through so whoever has to lay down money up front doesn't end up taking a bath on it, and if you do end up with a cash balance tossing it at the site would be a good way to keep things even steven.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:58 PM on January 29 [5 favorites]

I'd be willing to contribute some funds up front if it increases the chances of this happening. I'm also open to financing (a few?) additional coins (and shipping) for Megathread posters who someone nominates (and they accede to the nomination).

In Canada, though, so I likely won't be able to help with the physical logistics but fully prepared to pay the international shipping costs.

Concur that one side should reference Metafilter, and the other for the Megathreads.

Will 'MetaFilter Network Inc.' explicitly allow/ permit/ release the use of the MF logo and name for this venture?
posted by porpoise at 4:29 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]

Yeah, totally fine to use "MetaFilter" and the MF favicon treatment.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:35 PM on January 29 [8 favorites]

In the event I ever snap in a Harvey Dent/Two-Face way, this would be the coin I'd want, commemorating the likely cause of my break with non-criminal society.
posted by asperity at 4:35 PM on January 29 [10 favorites]

If this catches on, I can imagine a series of MeFi challenge coins. Maybe a coin for AskMe that says "I ate it and lived" or an "I dumped the motherfucker" coin.
posted by duffell at 4:36 PM on January 29 [26 favorites]

Thank you so much for putting this together, zachlipton!

I hope we can make this happen because I love this community, and I guess I just really like the idea of a challenge coin to celebrate our collective therapy/suffering/venting. I'm willing to do whatever I can to help make this happen, certainly including handling a chunk of the expense... I also have absolutely zero experience with bringing this sort of thing into reality. I do have a good track record for being peripherally involved with things that start off as an off-hand comment that end up growing into a life of their own, for what that's worth.

Next up: Class ring for "Political Thread Class of 2020" (Disclaimer: I will wear no such ring)
posted by MysticMCJ at 4:46 PM on January 29 [9 favorites]

The only thing that could ruin this for me (besides it falling through altogether) would be any depiction of the president on the coin.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 5:04 PM on January 29 [13 favorites]

The only thing that could ruin this for me (besides it falling through altogether) would be any depiction of the president on the coin.

quidnunc kid, on the other hand...
posted by Etrigan at 5:07 PM on January 29 [11 favorites]

I'll chip in extra for deserving-but-broke recipients.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 5:10 PM on January 29 [4 favorites]

And I could cover a few of the undeserving.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 5:17 PM on January 29 [2 favorites]

I'd sponsor a few, and want several for myself. Good luck, we're all counting on you.
posted by vrakatar at 5:29 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]

Just reiterating my suggestion from hyucking hyuck that this be a specifically election 2018 Megathreads coin. Of course, one side could be general Metafilter (a plate of beans, e.g.) but at least one should be specific to the last cycle (say, a wave. Blue if we spring for color.)

My thinking is that this one might not be the last. (I'd also pay for a retro 2016 one with Trump's Shaving Kit etc.)
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 5:56 PM on January 29 [2 favorites]

DTMFA on the coin under the dumpster fire.
posted by Oyéah at 7:50 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]

Does Mefi have (or want) a flag? An idea: divided into thirds, mefi blue, askme green, meta gray
posted by Pronoiac at 8:20 PM on January 29

There is no cabal / member of the MetaCabal
posted by a humble nudibranch at 10:18 PM on January 29

I'm sick of coins coins coins; but in this instance I would happily place a fine MeFi coin into a great many collections. Might contribute some order to the universe in the process. I'm in.
posted by Afghan Stan at 10:32 PM on January 29

Pronoiac: Does Mefi have (or want) a flag? An idea: divided into thirds, mefi blue, askme green, meta gray

Only if you want to exclude and alienate all the people who mainly use the other parts of the site.
In other words, no.
posted by Too-Ticky at 2:23 AM on January 30

So, a really good friend's family owns a mint. I've been chatting with robocop is bleeding and cortex about creating some coins depicting the Seal of the Cabal as a token/coin/challenge coin.

I was just about to post an "is anyone interested in this idea?" post to MetaTalk and I still will. If you're interested (zachlipton?) we can work together on these projects. I've ordered from her family before and they're super friendly and will go the extra mile. I wouldn't be surprised if we could get a good deal with multiple orders.

I have the 100% silver version of this memento mori and it's beautiful. There are definitely less expensive metals to work with though.

Shoot me a MeMail if you want to chat about this.
posted by bendy at 2:48 AM on January 30 [8 favorites]

Before Trump starting making souvenirs on the taxpayer dime, I had never before heard of the expression “challenge coin.”
posted by spitbull at 2:57 AM on January 30 [1 favorite]

If there was any way to have a hole punched in my coin so I could put it on a keyring that would be great. I know I 100% will lose it otherwise.
posted by lazaruslong at 5:57 AM on January 30 [2 favorites]

Cool idea! I think "new thread ---->" should dance around the edge of the face of the coin in an endless loop.
posted by agregoli at 6:14 AM on January 30 [12 favorites]

Hahaha [real] is funny too! Great ideas so far!
posted by agregoli at 6:16 AM on January 30 [1 favorite]

I am all in on this. Also down for a retroactive coin, which should contain a JCPL
posted by corb at 8:27 AM on January 30 [4 favorites]

*takes designer notes, nodding agreeably*

Design side note: we should probably decide what kind of process we are going with for coins before the design process gets too deep because the specs for the process will inform what designs work best.

Most non-mint challenge coins are made by either laser etching, photo resist etching or rotocast metal casting molds, and if colored then filled in by hand with glass enamel. They are not struck and stamped by dies like a real coin, and therefore they have detail and resolution limits, likely about 1/32nd of an inch for line widths and features.

If people want to do some homework and find camera ready art spec sheets from producers of coins that would be very helpful. They should have some spec list that calls out design dimensions, minimum line widths, how to note/indicate depth information, etc.

With that in mind I'm been thinking about the design being mostly text with limited graphics, with the graphics mainly being the MeFi favicon which is also text. And this is also because as a designer I am having difficulty imagining what other pictorial imagery we could use that wouldn't start endless committee arguments. Even a simple plate of beans would keep us tied up for weeks, so I'm starting with the design precept that less is more.

If we have the opportunity to mint die struck coins as mentioned above, this is an entirely different design process to end up with a dimensional looking coin, requiring much finer artwork.

This design process usually starts with a greyscale illustration in pencils or water color or a digital image. This image is then carved by hand or robots into a maquette of hard plastic or plaster that's 2x to 4x larger than a finished coin. That maquette is then mechanically or computationally reduced via an engraving machine or device to the size of the die, with either an intermediate step or by directly carving and etching the hardened tool steel for the die.

This design process is far outside of my comfort zone unless we were going with something fairly flat and text based, which doesn't really take full advantage of the detail available in a die struck minted coin, at which point we might as well go with the cheaper die cast or etched commodity tokens/coins.

So keep that in mind. There are limitations we have to work within for either process, and even with the souvenir grade coins, there will be variations in these art spec limitations between producers.
posted by loquacious at 8:33 AM on January 30 [1 favorite]

Justinian, what is your current panic level now? Did you switch to a logarithmic scale?
posted by double block and bleed at 8:34 AM on January 30 [2 favorites]

I also want a keychain hole, but I recommend that we have them made without a hole, then let people drill holes in their coins if they want them.
posted by loquacious at 8:38 AM on January 30 [1 favorite]

So, a really good friend's family owns a mint. I've been chatting with robocop is bleeding and cortex about creating some coins depicting the Seal of the Cabal as a token/coin/challenge coin.

That's awesome. The Seal of the Cabal was one thing I immediately thought of when this idea came up, and if people really like it (and robocop is bleeding approves), this coin could even be one side Seal and one side megathread tomfoolery. They can also be two separate coins—not trying to take that away. Your friend's family mint looks like they produce beautiful coins, though it's a different style from the usual color challenge coins, and based on their FAQ ("Prices start around $500 for engraving plus a per coin price which varies with size/weight/metal"), that process seems more expensive than most of the challenge coin vendors I randomly found unless the per coin price is particularly low. I'd really like to keep the cost low to make this accessible (particularly as so many people have offered to help subsidize it), so I'd be curious to see the cost comparison.

A megathread idea I'm playing around with in my head has a dumpster fire in the middle, with representations of some of the other symbols like "NEW THREAD," a slice of cake, [REAL], etc... around it. I'm also an awful designer so I'm sure someone has better ideas, but I'm loving everything on the wiki so far.
posted by zachlipton at 9:40 AM on January 30 [1 favorite]

Yeah, as nice as minted coins are, I think the less expensive die-struck coins are the way to go here. I'm not looking for any precious metal with melt or scrap value... After all, the real value in the challenge coin is in the friends we've made along the way.

Dumpster fire was one of my first thoughts. I can see it so very clearly. If I was stuck with pure text, I'd think that one side would have to simply be [!]
posted by MysticMCJ at 9:54 AM on January 30 [1 favorite]

I just want to respond quickly to something one of you left as a note on the survey, that the reference to US shipping was both not relevant to you and gave the impression you didn't belong in the megathreads. Which, sorry about that, certainly not my intention. It was meant as a comment on the vagaries of international shipping rates. I'd certainly be in favor of figuring out how to send these internationally to those who want them. If there's a lot of international interest, it might need to be a "please chip in whatever the shipping costs are" situation, if that seems reasonable to everyone?
posted by zachlipton at 10:04 AM on January 30

This is a tricky problem to solve if you are doing anything beyond 'this person will handle each individual international shipment individually' - Depending on the number of international coins and where they are going, that may not really be a large problem. It just doesn't scale up super well

Seems like we were just approaching just shy of 100 coins (which is the realistic lower limit), with 65 individual destinations. I'm ASSUMING most of those are US, which means that I think we could handle the exceptions individually without it being too much effort. I don't think we are quite at the level where an order fulfillment company would make sense, but as mentioned above, me = clueless about this sort of thing.

I think we need a realistic cutoff date for a final count of coins/destinations.
posted by MysticMCJ at 10:29 AM on January 30

They can also be two separate coins—not trying to take that away.

Same from here, and wasn't trying to assume we could or would want to do megathread coins as bespoke minted coins, nor do I really want to jump on that particular grenade.

The design process for that is a lot more involved. With the cheaper challenge coins it's about the same design process as creating camera ready vector art for a rubber stamp, vinyl cut sign or laser etcheable artwork. It's just a vector art file in the right dimensions and specs which is MUCH easier than trying to get a bespoke hand-tooled die for striking/minting coins.

I'm just wearing my design consultant hat and pointing out the design processes between the two ways of making souvenir coins is drastically different, with the die/stamped coins being a much more laborious process.

I'm going to let this thread marinate for a few days for suggestions and am hoping to have some prototype designs up in a few days.
posted by loquacious at 10:33 AM on January 30 [2 favorites]

This is a tricky problem to solve if you are doing anything beyond 'this person will handle each individual international shipment individually' - Depending on the number of international coins and where they are going, that may not really be a large problem. It just doesn't scale up super well

The current results from the survey are 114 responses, representing an interest in 162 coins (I don't know why some of you say you want five, but I think you're excellent).

Which is great. The whole thing scales badly from a fulfillment and tax/legal, etc... standpoint above a certain size, but doing a couple hundred of these at most is reasonably practical.
posted by zachlipton at 10:43 AM on January 30

I answered yes, to 1, in the survey, but if it helps I would be up for 3 personally, with an eye to financing an additional 2 for others, or pitching in for various costs, etc. I can go back to survey and add that in, if helpful.

I am finding myself getting excited about the possibility - BUT no pressure on those taking a stab at organizing/designing, if it doesn't work out I completely understand.

Why I want something to remind myself of the megathreads is befuddling me, I guess a token of survival.
posted by dawg-proud at 10:52 AM on January 30 [1 favorite]

If nothing else, you could "challenge" people at meetups.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 1:13 PM on January 30 [3 favorites]

a slice of cake, [REAL]

This tickles me as a big Portal fan.
posted by phearlez at 1:53 PM on January 30 [1 favorite]

Bean cake?
posted by loquacious at 2:54 PM on January 30

There may come a day not so far away when original possessors of this coin will be considered among this nation's very best servants and candidates for leadership.

I mean, not me and my coin, I'll have accidentally used mine to dry a load of pants at a laundry in San José, but the rest of you.
posted by riverlife at 4:05 PM on January 30 [6 favorites]

It would be cool to give complimentary coins to the mods which they could cherish or dispose of as they wish.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 4:13 PM on January 30 [6 favorites]

Omg the mods need wooden coins that they can burn in prayer that this whole thing ends before they have nervous breakdowns.
posted by greermahoney at 4:46 PM on January 30 [3 favorites]

Mods don't take no wooden nickels.

I hadn't realized the process was different for making the challenge coins. I want to talk to the mint folks and get some realistic numbers based on various quantities and metals we might order. I was considering paying at least part of the engraving fees myself.

When I talked to my friend about the Seal of the Cabal coin, she told me that SPM has a collection of pre-made designs that we could choose from for the back side of the coin to avoid having to provide 2 designs or pay for two engravings.

I'll find out more and report back, probably in a separate thread.
posted by bendy at 5:20 PM on January 30 [1 favorite]

I like this idea (and if we ever end up doing retrospective challenge coins I think the folks that held down the fort during the Malheur occupation threads totally deserve a coin as well).
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 6:01 PM on January 30 [1 favorite]

zach come and poked me in memail so I’d take my head out of the sand. I’ll get some vendor information in the next few days.

To tide you over, I took some pictures of our departmental coins. Included in one picture is a quarter for scale.

posted by sara is disenchanted at 7:52 PM on January 30 [2 favorites]

Will of course chip in the extra shipping to Japan, and if shipping will be by hand, any other Japan bound coins could be bundled with mine and I'll redistribute.
posted by Gotanda at 8:21 PM on January 30 [2 favorites]

Oh! Good call Gotanda!

I'll volunteer for Canadian distribution if there's a need/ savings to it.
posted by porpoise at 8:54 PM on January 30

Does this stay small enough to reasonably do the fulfillment by hand?

I am unemployed and so freaking bored I would do the fulfillment. It might not be an unreasonable afternoon meetup either...
posted by bendy at 9:42 PM on January 30

I volunteer to help with logistics/fulfillment if need be. It's my area of expertise. I'd even handle the actual fulfillment if needed.

Memail me should you like.
posted by French Fry at 7:26 AM on January 31 [1 favorite]

jinx bendy
posted by French Fry at 7:28 AM on January 31 [1 favorite]

I would immediately buy a minted coin with [+] on one side and [!] on the obverse for an irresponsible amount of money.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:34 AM on January 31 [10 favorites]

I'm really digging incorporating [real] in the design, too.
posted by porpoise at 8:06 AM on January 31

> coinssss

Please tell me that the Hurricane Florence coin is capable of spinning freely...
posted by MysticMCJ at 10:36 AM on January 31 [1 favorite]

I want one. Thank you.
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:11 AM on January 31

We do this at work too, at a project level. It's not really a lot of money compared to a many-millions-of-dollars project to hand them out to key people and superstars as a thank-you. I also buy and give my department's coin to people outside the department as a thank-you when they've gone above and beyond to help me. But you don't really buy it for yourself, it has to be given.

In that sense, we *should* buy them for the mods, who have unwillingly made the megathreads possible for us.
posted by ctmf at 11:33 AM on January 31 [1 favorite]

There are a few megathread regulars I would buy a coin for. I won't start a popularity contest by naming them, and the logistics of everyone doing that would be horrendous.
posted by ctmf at 11:37 AM on January 31

I forgot to say my point - maybe ordering them for another user, even anonymously, should be facilitated somehow, but also without giving up personal information (names and addresses).
posted by ctmf at 11:39 AM on January 31 [3 favorites]

I am in. I would just like to add that I would like so see the milk and cookies incorporated somehow. I can’t close the tab until I can favorite the milk and cookies. Seeing them always reminds me that we’re a community, in this weird world together.
posted by Ruki at 2:42 PM on January 31 [3 favorites]

Dumpster fire and cake are really good ideas!

The bean cake suggestion made me realize that lately I have been experimenting with cooking literal bean cakes. I didn't make the connection consciously until now, but I am doing the most metafilter cooking thing I could possibly do. Now I have to try not to overthink it.
posted by medusa at 2:44 PM on January 31 [1 favorite]

I think a challenge coin is a great idea - particularly because I learned of their existence through the megathreads! I'm a latecomer to taking the survey since I only check MetaTalk sporadically; I imagine there are others in my shoes.

I'm totally on board with paying in advance.

I love the idea of having [real] on there somewhere, and I also very much like the cabal symbol for one side of the coin.

I mentioned it in my survey response, but it seems worth saying here too: I would prefer a pricier, higher-quality coin to an inexpensive, lower-quality one.

I'm not sure how I could contribute materially to the project but I could spend some number of hours on it no problem, if I were needed.
posted by dbx at 2:56 PM on January 31 [1 favorite]

Cool idea! I think "new thread ---->" should dance around the edge of the face of the coin in an endless loop.
I possess at least one coin with words etched on the edge (not the face), just sayin'.
posted by Hal Mumkin at 3:13 PM on January 31 [1 favorite]

Thank you everyone for sharing history/ experience of challenge coins as practiced in the US Armed Services.

... I'm starting to feel that we really should be giving this our own name, rather than designating it as a "challenge coin" of some type.

The meta of cultural appropriations may appeal for some, but I'm becoming less enthusiastic.

Unless it's a pool of some sort that gave coins for service (mods, nominees) or for facilitation (backers), or something.
posted by porpoise at 8:44 PM on February 1

The groups I was in were given a couple of these by middle management at my last job at a nameless megacorp as appreciation in lieu of performance bonuses the company was too stingy to give us. They paid out of their own pockets; the second one was solid silver & I believe minted.
posted by scalefree at 1:16 AM on February 2

MAD Magazine Cartoonist Tom Richmond just wrote about the challenge coins he had made when he was President of the National Cartoonists Society

He's got quite a collection. I especially like the one with a built in bottle opener.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:56 AM on February 2

I'm starting to feel that we really should be giving this our own name, rather than designating it as a "challenge coin" of some type.

The term and the idea has been thoroughly co-opted by non-military groups. I (as a service member with a whole bag of coins in a drawer somewhere who carries around the one I got from an energy drink maker) see no appropriation in groups using them to signal membership.
posted by Etrigan at 8:51 AM on February 2 [4 favorites]

So for the centennial coin I used coins your way

The Florence coins came from challenge coins plus

I’ll reach out to the neighboring depts and find out if they’ve used anything different; my coworker who had the Florence coins made said he would do business with Challenge
posted by sara is disenchanted at 1:34 PM on February 2 [1 favorite]

Wow ok the Sudafed and Alka Seltzer got to me. My coworker said he would work with Challenge Coins Plus in the future.

No wonder they make you sign for this stuff.
posted by sara is disenchanted at 2:40 PM on February 2 [2 favorites]

Thanks! Appreciate the recommendations and hope you feel better.
posted by zachlipton at 2:48 PM on February 2

I'm coming into this late. I love the idea; want one; maybe more than one. Love the [real] and [fake] ideas, and the first thing that came to mind was:
*dumpster fire pic on the front, with [real] underneath and --->NEW THREAD---> around the edges
* mirror and a razor on the back, with [fake] underneath, and [Do not relitigate...] repeated around the edges

with extra space allocated for the MF logo, 2019 somewhere on it (#Resist 2019?), and maybe POTUS45 Survivor somewhere else on it.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 11:31 PM on February 5 [1 favorite]

I'm really stuck on the "We are not relitigating 2016" simply for the sheer amount of times it has happened.

We are losing momentum on this, aren't we - Any new hits to the survey? Are we at Peak Coin yet?
posted by MysticMCJ at 9:17 PM on February 7

Personally, I'm just a wee bit embarrassed of my behaviour here.

We need someone to volunteer to step up and do a first pass mock-up of the coin.

* I don't have the skill to do that.

But in order to do so, we need to determine what we want on it... a poll on the ideas submitted to the wiki and the top 2-3 elements of each class/ side are starting criteria for artistic tries?

That we then vote on..

A Kickstarter (or the like) for pledged funds in escrow?
posted by porpoise at 10:16 PM on February 7

I certainly don't have the design skills either. I was honestly hoping that we could find some sort of template-y online designer thing that we could maybe upload a couple of logos to, but I'm not sure if that exists in coin world. Then we could at least have a few ideas to look at collectively.

My skills for literally everything that could relate to this project are mostly limited to throwing money at it, I'm afraid.

It may just be that this is a fun conceptual idea, but this sort of "thread commemoration" isn't the best scope. I mean, it's only a strongly moderated political thread full of a lot of strong opinions and feelings, how hard could it be to get consensus on it?
posted by MysticMCJ at 8:30 AM on February 8

Yep, we lost a bit of momentum, though I'm still excited about this. The survey has topped out at 189 responses, 249 coins. (I honestly don't know why some of you want 5, but cool!)

I was hoping some mefites with design skills might come along with more ideas, but I'll talk to some of the coin vendors next week and see if their designers can mock something up for us.

I'm a pretty mediocre designer, but the idea I'm playing with in my head is a central image on each side: a MeFi favicon-type logo and a dumpster fire. Surrounding those would be some of the symbols/in-jokes people have identified as meaningful to them.
posted by zachlipton at 12:19 PM on February 8 [1 favorite]

I'm going to go on a limb and submit my first impression for the design.
posted by porpoise at 5:35 PM on February 8 [2 favorites]

I"m totally ok with swapping the 2016-2018 band to the other side and have a "new thread --> cookies" + emojis in the dumpster fire's side's wheel's edge.
posted by porpoise at 5:50 PM on February 8 [1 favorite]

Awesome! That's a lot like what I'm seeing in my head, though I'd be curious to expand on it by trying out small depictions of cake, a plate of beans, [+] [!], milk and cookies, etc... on the outside too. I will make some inquiries next week.
posted by zachlipton at 8:39 PM on February 8

I made this.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:40 AM on February 11 [3 favorites]

I love that design! But why accusative singular and why the conjunction? My Latin's rusty and I might be overthinking it...
posted by asperity at 3:15 PM on February 11

I didn't do the translation - my Latin is mostly non-existent. Thank Google Translate for whatever weirdness. Feel free to suggest a better one!
posted by Rock Steady at 7:45 AM on February 12

I spoke to one of the coin vendors and got back this proof for your consideration (this would be a 1.75" coin at around $3.50/piece at 300 quantity, plus shipping and envelopes and all the other expenses.

Realizing the difficulties of design by committee in a metatalk thread, my initial thoughts:

Not to overthink a plate of beans, but that part really looks like poop. I'd like to get beans in there somehow—it was one of the most commonly requested design elements—, but I'm not sure how. Would it be better if they were black beans? If anyone with a sense for illustrations has some thoughts on non-poop beans in a half inch of space, that would be fantastic.

I'm thinking the dumpster should be MeFi blue, which fits the blue color of the famous dumpster fire gif anyway

There's a possibility that it might be possible to etch "NEW THREAD --> NEW THREAD" around the outer rim of the coin. I'll check on that and the cost.

Do people like the cake and milk+cookies? Are there other symbols you're dying to see represented? There's some more space on the sides if there's anything that would carry through in a small space like that.

Colors? I wanted some gold, but there's a fair amount of it. Maybe black text? I was surprised the designer went for a white band (ahem, a professional white band). Do we like that or is there a more fitting MeFi color that would apply? I've also just learned that classic theme MeFi blue is different than modern theme MeFi blue.

I went with [real] on one side. Having [fake] on the other would be nice for flipping purposes (thanks contraption!). Thoughts on where to put it?

I am also open to very different directions if people have ideas.
posted by zachlipton at 2:37 PM on February 13 [3 favorites]


Is this a 2019 specific coin, or are we commemorating a couple of years of Megathreads? Really like the [+] [!] in addition to the [real]. Agree with contraption, but can't figure out how to spin it jiving with the iconography on that side of the coin. Maybe replace the dumpster with something that is visually iconic for [fake]? The Onion's onion favicon fits, but it's choice would be intellectually cheap and infringing, and above all not super MF.

The 'Cake' emoji on the [fake] side? (which means the beans and the MF favicon is on the [real] side) But that's kind of cynical.

I'd decrease the size of the current Favicon/ beans to 80-ish% of current size, and the dumpster to ~70%.

Personal preference colour-wise is to keep it simple and standardize on MFBlue for the band and the dumpster. The central (pebbly) background - would gunmetal grey (kind of like the 'Live Preview' box here in MetaTalk) work with the raised gold bands?

Agreed, would be cool to have the outer rim etched - for reference, this sort of crystalized/ most common recently;
------------> NEW THREAD ------------>

"Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit"

------------> NEW THREAD ------------>

posted by sed do at 4:49 PM on January 7 [21 favorites +] [!]

posted by eiusmod tempor at 4:55 PM on January 7 [4 favorites +] [!]
I'm tempted to ouroboros:

------------> NEW THREAD ------------> 🥛🍪🍪
posted by porpoise at 8:35 PM on February 13 [1 favorite]

... and yes, having the dumpster more resemble gif would be great; I doubt there's any infringement using that for this purpose.

omg - remember those things in the 80's where you change the angle and the picture changes? One of those would be RAD for a pseudo-animated physical gif.
posted by porpoise at 8:45 PM on February 13

Omg I forgot about this. I just got my MacBook fixed. And I'm snowed in.

Give me 24-48 hours to read the thread and see what I can whip up
posted by loquacious at 10:23 PM on February 13

Porpoise: Google lenticular animation. People still make them. It's just a matter of slicing up multiple images, printing it then slapping the plastic lens sheet over it. Many places can die cut it into shapes.
posted by loquacious at 10:24 PM on February 13 [2 favorites]

I would love lenticular printing for the flames, but I sadly don't think that exists when it comes to challenge coins.

loquacious, certainly curious what you come up with!
posted by zachlipton at 11:26 PM on February 13

Just because it hasn't been done that it can't be =) But yea, beyond scope. Perhaps a future MeFi coin.

(I think the idea is that someone makes the lenticular image, and the coinmaker sinters that somehow onto the coin)
posted by porpoise at 11:30 PM on February 13

Random youtube of a shop advertising how they make challenge coins/ badges - from machine stamps to enameling by hand to recycling punched-out metal scrap.
posted by porpoise at 12:24 AM on February 14

I would recommend popcorn around the outside, over cake and milk+cookies, but not opposed to existing design. I just associate popcorn with dumpster fire megathreads. *If* the process of making a coin makes it easy to get metal/ enamel pins, I would spring for some. Will spring for a coin in any case. Thank you for initiating this.
posted by theora55 at 10:34 AM on February 14

Rather than lenticular printing you could just have two similar but slightly different images on both sides so it animates when you spin it on edge. But that seems like surrendering a printable face for the sake of a harder to view joke. Probably better to have a companion product from one of the many custom lenticular shops out there which could be more affordable.
posted by phearlez at 7:42 AM on February 15

Checking in!

I am working on stuff, stand by. I spent some time yesterday whipping up custom vectors for cake and milk and cookie favicons, because we're too good for stock vector clipart.

Right now the general design concept I'm working with is going to have a [+] on one side and a [!] on the other, with some of the suggestions in this thread and in the wiki integrated on the appropriate side. IE, there's a nice, warm and fuzzy "good" side and a grar "bad" side, for lack of better terms of description.

Does anyone have pre-made MF favicons or logos in vector handy? I can recreate them within about a fraction of a percent because it's just a fairly common font (Verdana/verana/etc) but it would save a lot of time to not have to rebuild it from scratch and fiddle with it to get it exact. (And, damnit, I used to have one I built somewhere for parody meme purposes.)

I'm also starting with a pure monochrome design, but that can be readily edited for color fills or etch textures, depending on how we get these produces.

Also, can someone who has been searching for coin producers talk to me about which provider you're considering to use? I'd like to see their "camera ready" art specification guide or callsheet. This will inform me about actual printable space, maximum detail and resolution sizes, how to design for color or etching, etc.
posted by loquacious at 11:05 AM on February 15

Also, my general design guideline right now is for a general MeFi challenge coin, not a megathread coin.

Once I have the general coin laid out it'll be really easy to adapt it or retool it completely for a megathread coin.
posted by loquacious at 11:09 AM on February 15

Milk and cookies!
posted by loquacious at 12:00 PM on February 15

Also, can someone who has been searching for coin producers talk to me about which provider you're considering to use?

I've been talking to Challenge Coins Plus, which was one of the vendors sara is disenchanted recommended. They don't really have much in the way of spec sheets though; they have a designer that will put the elements we supply together. Colors are called out as PMS colors plus their plating options. I know that's kinda irritating, but I wouldn't worry too much about having something camera-ready.

I really like your milk and cookies!
posted by zachlipton at 12:15 PM on February 15

MetaFilter: I really like your milk and cookies!
posted by loquacious at 12:26 PM on February 15


They don't really have much in the way of spec sheets though; they have a designer that will put the elements we supply together.

Bah! Trust a stranger to my kerning and use of white space? BRB, hacking their RIP server to place a back door. (jk)

Fuck it, I have an operating grasp of what a rotocast or die stamp can do, resolution and detail wise, and it's a bit finer than a good custom rubber stamp or other photoetch process, but coarser than print or offset. This is totally within my wheelhouse.

My goal is to provide something completely finished and ready to go.

So both of those icons should reproduce well at very small sizes, and they're pretty close in matching line weights and aesthetics to each other. I should also try for a plate o' beans.

I haven't properly exercised my vector skills in a while so this is fun.
posted by loquacious at 1:05 PM on February 15

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