Registration is better closed August 29, 2002 10:58 PM   Subscribe

Okay. I asked it in a thread, and only got one response. My question for the masses (without an agenda) is this....we've obtained about 1500+ new users in the last 4-6 weeks. When do we start talking about turning sign-ups off again?
posted by Ufez Jones to MetaFilter-Related at 10:58 PM (42 comments total)

And to give you all options to discuss: Do we close it off when there's enough new blood to make things interesting again, or do we wait until enough of a shitstorm erupts to where it's forced?
posted by Ufez Jones at 10:59 PM on August 29, 2002

Err.. define "shitstorm".

Use pictures, if necessary.
posted by slipperywhenwet at 11:18 PM on August 29, 2002

originally I closed things off when the server timeouts became too frequent. While the server has slowed down a bit for me, it's still error free for the most part, so I don't see a physical reason to curtail signups just set.

There may be social limits, but I'm not sure of that either. Is 20 a day too many? The extra signups seemed to have lessened, now there are only 2-3 people a day paying to get a signup without waiting.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 11:27 PM on August 29, 2002

Matt: Yes.

I'm not opposed to letting new users on (please, the more the merrier), but as we've witnessed with the last bout of open sign-ups, both the community and the newbies need time to acclimate.
posted by nathan_teske at 11:36 PM on August 29, 2002

If 20 a day doesn't impact the server, it might prove helpful to keep signups open a little longer and get the current group through the new user acclimatization process all at once. Unless, of course, you want to save capacity for later on, take a look at whether Labor Day / August vacations / new school year impact traffic, etc. Any idea at what point signups might level off?
posted by sheauga at 11:51 PM on August 29, 2002

Pardon my newbie ignorance, but at what point are we considered acclimated?
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:47 AM on August 30, 2002

Only you know when you are accustomed to the site. As to when you cease to be labelled a newbie, well, we'll let you know.

posted by Frasermoo at 2:00 AM on August 30, 2002

Could someone provide a link to the information about how to pay for entry without waiting? I want to buy a membership for someone.
posted by bingo at 2:29 AM on August 30, 2002

here, I think.
posted by taz at 2:38 AM on August 30, 2002

I'd like to wait and see if the new-member shitstorm is any worse than the closed-membership shitstorm was.

Maybe closing off free memberships would put a little more money in Matt's pocket, though, which would be a good thing. In fact, why not make the $5USD donation an annual charge for all members?
posted by timeistight at 3:11 AM on August 30, 2002

You are f*cking joking aren't you?
posted by Frasermoo at 3:56 AM on August 30, 2002

it's just a website... its just a website... its just...
posted by quonsar at 4:29 AM on August 30, 2002

i think the decision is ultimately matt's. he has the headache of bandwidth and overuse to deal with.

i joined a few weeks ago, even though i've been a regular visitor for about 6 months previously. i wanted to be a member almost as soon as i visited the site, so i had to bide my time. consequently i have a good understanding of metafilter and the whole mefi way of thinking.

so, here's a proposal - allow as many people to sign up as you like, but give them a 3 month delay on their posting/commenting rights. this would inevitably sort out the keen from the floaters and hopefully attract people that really want to be members and also they'd have at least 3 months of reading metafilter.

it's just an idea and i'd have no idea how to implement it, but it's obvious that there are some great technically minded members that could help out. views?
posted by triv at 5:21 AM on August 30, 2002

In fact, why not make the $5USD donation an annual charge for all members?

I wouldn't mind that. However, unless the fee is high enough, it could easily create more hassle than it's worth -- people would demand more of Matt and be more irate when their links are deleted. On one of the discussion boards I frequent, which switched not long ago from free to pay, the most common comment someone makes in response to criticism is "I pay to post here. No one is going to tell me what to do."
posted by rcade at 5:45 AM on August 30, 2002

i have a good understanding of metafilter and the whole mefi way of thinking.

I've been here for a couple years now and I'm not sure I have a handle on it.
posted by tj at 6:30 AM on August 30, 2002

The trick is to constantly keep in mind the question "What would I do if I were a miraculous fowl?" It may be of assistance to use the easy-to-remember fat-free mnemonic WWIDIIWAMF.

If you are uncomfortable with identifying with other species due to religious beliefs or dietary restrictions, it is perfectly acceptable to repeat another mantra, as long as that mantra includes the words 'ass-blaster', 'bush', 'brouhaha' and 'cheese-hostess' and the neo-suffix '-tard'.

Remember these handy tips, and you will prevail, comrades.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:58 AM on August 30, 2002

I've been here for a couple years now and I'm not sure I have a handle on it.

Me, too, tj. And I have already picked up on a sense of entitlement from those with paid memberships here.

Didn't there used to be forced lurking? Having to wait a week to comment and a month to post? Or is that the gin talking?
posted by whatnot at 7:04 AM on August 30, 2002

so can I change my id to tjtheadequateduck?

seriously though, I have say that I've noticed the entitlement thing lately as well, but I can't say if it's from people who paid or not, but that is why I would suggest against it.
posted by tj at 7:16 AM on August 30, 2002

ok that made no sense.

try 2: because people feel entitled to a certain level of service when they pay for something, my opinion is that it may not worth it for the hassle it generates to Matt and the community to charge for accees to MetaFilter.
posted by tj at 7:18 AM on August 30, 2002

Frasermoo.. you're still a newbie to me, baby.

And really, why turn off sign-ups? The only reason previously was the whole server load thing because Metafilter had gotten a lot of press and a lot of new users that never came back. I don't recall it being closed off because of a 'shitstorm'.

Just because you've been here and feel like its your sandbox and now you're comfortable with it, don't be so self-absorbed to think things should stay the same and you should be able to kick others out/keep them out.

I never understood the reasoning behind closing off a site (like this) to keep the unwashed masses from invading. All that being said, Matt does what he wants. I'd like to see an truly accurate count of active users out of the touted 15,000, though. Like a graph of 'last activity'.. (100 users posted in the last week.. 10,000 users haven't posted since 1999...)
posted by rich at 7:31 AM on August 30, 2002

Resources are finite, rich. We're basing this whole thing largely on the ability of one guy to keep it running. Should we be so inclusive to new members that it eventually becomes completely impossible to use and/or run?
posted by rcade at 7:40 AM on August 30, 2002

I honestly feel that the key is to limit postings and not members. The new blood is doing us good, and check the math: seven users posting once a week = one user posting seven days a week.
posted by Shadowkeeper at 7:59 AM on August 30, 2002


I think we can keep MeFi tight, clean and easy to run for Matt by simply keeping the standards high and not tolerating shite: business as usual. Of the 15K or so users signed up, (I'm totally guessing) maybe half don't come around much, maybe half don't have much desire to post according to MeFi's high standards and will content themselves with lurking... and the, uh, other little bit left over will carry on as Masters of the Blue Page!


I've been reading MeFi for more than a year, and haven't posted a link yet. I have that much respect for the high standards of FPPs.

On preview, I see Shadowkeeper has found someone who has been posting a lot in the single week of his membership. XQUZYPHYR. Oh great, a virtually unpronouncable handle. But the posts are actually of reasonable good quality, and about half have previously caught my attention. So I say, let the posts come. And if they are shite, let Matt push his delete key with extreme prejudice until the lessons are learned.
posted by Jonasio at 8:20 AM on August 30, 2002

I think we should allow new people to post as often as they want, but limit them to using just the letters Q, J, X, Z, V, D and U.
posted by crunchland at 8:27 AM on August 30, 2002

You are f*cking joking aren't you?

Are you talkin' to me?

because people feel entitled to a certain level of service when they pay for something, my opinion is that it may not worth it for the hassle it generates to Matt and the community to charge for access to MetaFilter.

Perhaps so, but won't we have that problem anyway as the number of paid users increases? If everyone paid at least we'd all be on the same footing.
posted by timeistight at 8:30 AM on August 30, 2002

rcade.. I understand resources are finite. However, everyone always points to the membership being at over 15,000. But the fact is, that number is a red herring. Nowhere near ten percent of that.. hell, even 1 percent of that actually post to the front page.

So, then, what is the big deal in lettign new people in.. The main protest seems to be 'they're newbies and they're annoying,' which smacks of so many things surrounding such terms as elitism, it's a terrible excuse.
posted by rich at 8:32 AM on August 30, 2002

So long as Matt's kung fu holds out, I say the more the merrier. Well, not merrier, maybe, but you know what I mean.

I would like to see the end of NewsFilter and the return of "...most people haven't seen it before, there is something interesting about the content on the page, and it might warrant discussion from others." I'd sell the last 1000 members to slavers from Dubai for that.

I was, of course, for those of you amongst the last 1000 members and the exaggeration, only kidding about the white slavers from Dubai, to make the point. I do not advocate slavery or Dubai, and I'm certain that there are a significant number of excellent members among the last thousand, without whom this site and its contents would be immeasurably damaged.
posted by UncleFes at 8:44 AM on August 30, 2002

I'd sell the last 1000 members to slavers from Dubai for that.

* Let's see 15702 - 1000 = 14702; 14702 > 14155 *

Okay, I could go along with that.
posted by timeistight at 9:00 AM on August 30, 2002

I agree that the gates should stay open until the server staggers. I don't believe in any "social limits" and will argue against them with my last breath. Dynamic > static, every time.
posted by rushmc at 9:00 AM on August 30, 2002

rich - you say the sweetest things

shadowkeeper - agree 100%, the new blood is good... very good

timeistight - i was talking to you. sorry about the expletive, a bit of a knee-jerk/hangover/morning thing. as a pay site this place would change irrecognisably. there are alot of people who would dissapear, not necessarily myself, i see alot of value and am happy to donate. Ultimately of course, this is up to Matt.
posted by Frasermoo at 9:03 AM on August 30, 2002

I would like to see the end of NewsFilter

and what Fes said.
posted by Frasermoo at 9:04 AM on August 30, 2002

What is the actual problem? New members or their actions (bad posts)? Conjecture: the challenge of MetaFilter (or any other community) is to allow for growth without lowering the standard.

If a community is closed community, its members get to know each other and start cooperating among themselves. Thus, their benefits from the community increase and the "perceived standard" of the community gets a boost (good posts, threads, no trolls, you name it).

However, the nature of the community (i.e. the content of posts) might change, as MeFi now is not the MetaFilter that Matt started (check his '99 links to see the change). And that is not a bad thing, as long as the benefits get higher (example: you can get a lot of satisfaction from a good discussion started by a news post, which where not present/allowed at the beginning of MeFi).

When new members get in (either being born, immigrating or simply signing up), they have to be nurtured to the level of community. That can be done *only* throughout education! Of course, education implies trial, error and feedback. How many of the old timers here have ever told newbies: "your post should look like ... " ?

It's not easy to rich a high level of cooperation. In fact, the default cooperation level is somewhere very low. Have you considered why body functions jokes are very common? Another example: check Fark!

Now, back to the main topic. Based on the above, even if we close down new membership, the "standard" will not go up by itself (assuming that it went down), without educating the new members. Or if it does go up, it will take quite a long time. The trick is to *nurture* the new members fast enough.

I am against "Fortress MetaFilter", a private club, whose members belittle the outsiders, but does not give them any chance to prove their competence. Limited resources seem the only reasonable cause for new membership restriction.

Ah, and, have I said that we have to educate the new members?
posted by MzB at 9:15 AM on August 30, 2002

When do we start talking about turning sign-ups off again?

The consensus seems to be: certainly not yet; maybe never.
posted by timeistight at 9:25 AM on August 30, 2002

Metafilter: 'let the people in'....and we dare talk of immigration in the U.S. More people, the better. nothing could have been worse then before the new members. If Matt has problems with these issues, HE will have to work it out. I would imagine if metafilter cut into his other work too much, mefi would either cease or whatever. To me, it is evident that mefi benefits (which is good). but he is also the bearer of the down side of those benefits.

yes, end the pure newsfilter, mefi is not the newstand for i dont see cashews, dunhills, and tinned mints on the side bar for sale.
mefi needs to progress, but...this is matts place and he decides. i feel he likes it the way it is (or should be)
really, in 3 years, how has mefi changed other then increased members.

posted by clavdivs at 9:29 AM on August 30, 2002

Got Mefi Pro?
posted by xowie at 9:37 AM on August 30, 2002


Are you the "champeen" ?
No FPP ..ever
posted by johnny7 at 9:37 AM on August 30, 2002

i dont see cashews, dunhills, and tinned mints on the side bar for sale

Reminds me of why Clavdivs for Overlord is the perennial cry of so many of us here.

We have newspapers. We have books. TV is covered. Movies too. Why shouldn't MetaFilter predominantly (not exclusively) be about stuff we can't find elsewhere on the web (which includes other popular weblogs), just as it was always meant to be?

There are probably good answers to that, but it's still a good question.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 9:44 AM on August 30, 2002

I would like to see the end of NewsFilter

OK, here I go again. Although I dislike most of the news posts, I am not against all of them. I will try to make a suggestion to solve/improve the current status quo.

When you get a news from Yahoo, AP, ... the author has done little research and usually the content is biased. I'm Murphy's fan: "every piece of news that you read in a newspaper is true, except for the one that you know personally about."

And here is where MeFi comes in: it is very likely that there are other members that know more about that topic. Here is one example: how do you feel as a member of MetaFilter after reading litlnemo's review about the skating dispute? Thus, there is a high chance that a piece of news that gets discussed at MeFi would be better researched here than in any other place (again, assuming quality comments).

Here is a suggestion: you are allowed (self evaluation) to open a discussion about a news link *only* if you think that you know more about it that most of the other MeFi members. Plus, you will have to prove it, by providing several links to the FPP that add more to the topic. One link news post should not be allowed.

Think of it as the bidding at bridge or poker. If you bluff, you get punished for abusing the right to post.

posted by MzB at 9:50 AM on August 30, 2002

No FPP ..ever

Someday, when I have several hours to kill, I'm going to compile a list of active MetaFiltarians who rarely or never post links. I've a feeling there's a lot more than you'd think.
posted by timeistight at 9:51 AM on August 30, 2002

Well, it's labor day weekend, timeistight, get crackin! I wanna see those stats on my desk on Tuesday.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 10:09 AM on August 30, 2002

Pardon my newbie ignorance, but at what point are we considered acclimated?

Stage 1: Overwhelmed by the diversity of topics on the front page and the pith of discussion in most threads. Feel the need to read every topic thouroughly. Content to simply reply in threads to front page topics, but only with meaningful insights.

Stage 2: No longer content to reply in threads, begin passively considering merits of topics found elsewhere on the web for posting on the front page. Become aware of the term "snarky."

Stage 3: No longer a passive consideration, the hunt for front page topics becomes an active endeavour, begin searching the MeFi archives to see if anyone else has posted this before (discover that they have, twice).

Stage 4: Start getting a regular deja vu sensation about the front page, begin to realizing you have read about these topics somewhere else on the web a couple of days ago.

Stage 5: Stop actively looking for topics to post on the front page, as most of the topics you find interesting will no doubt be posted by someone else in short order.

That's my experience, which stems greatly from the NewsFilter affect. YMMV.

posted by piskycritter at 10:12 AM on August 30, 2002

(starts sappy soundtrack)
In the great Burns film "Jefferson", geo. f. will said something like... "To be an american is easy: You come here and assent."

coming here used to be the hard part. almost every,,,,ethnic group? experienced rascism, prejudice and violence...Irish, italians, poles, hispanic, jewish. the only ones who really do not fall under that category, as a whole, are african-americans, they had no choice with the exception of a small amount of 'free' blacks.
i think george was talking theory.
none the less i see the same for mefi, one should come and assent. In the comment box, my citizen skills are questionable at best:) but to post to the front requires that assention. One must be responsible and thoughtful IF the real fruits of what *this* is all about are to come about. I may spew crap in the box but i almost rever the front. I will not chance anger or agenda to the front page.
that is the quickest way to the coxcomb and silver bell shoes...

"alright, who did this..." (pulls sign from back)

'already kicked, move along'

posted by clavdivs at 11:32 AM on August 30, 2002

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