Happy 20th Anniversary, MetaFilter July 14, 2019 10:30 AM   Subscribe

MetaFilter, that weird blue site (and, yep, we've finally turned it blue again), is 20 years old today.

It's a thrilling and boggling and remarkable and ungainly and heartening number. I've had trouble figuring out what the thing is that I want to say about the site today, and I've realized the problem is there's no one thing. MetaFilter is too complex, its history too complicated, to reduce to a tidy anecdote.

But I want to talk a little about what it means to me, and what I want it to aspire to, and to reflect a little bit on this twenty year milestone on an unsteady world wide web.

So what is this place about?

I've been thinking a lot lately (well, even more than usual lately) about the things I see as MetaFilter's core values, the things that make this place what it is to me and to other folks in the MeFi community. It's something we've talked about a whole lot in rolling conversation over the last two decades, but the site's never really formalized it as an updated statement of what kind of space MetaFilter is meant to be and what it's about.

The 20th seems like a good occasion to start down that road. Putting together a formal statement of values for the site is something I'll want to be a collaborative community effort, a process of discussion and sharing that we'll need to tackle together.

For today I'll share some of my own thoughts on those values and those goals:
I want MetaFilter to be a place where people are good, and kind, and smart, and excited to see what they can learn about the world and about each other when they show up. I want it to be a place where curiosity and joy are welcomed and encouraged and infectious.

I want it to be a place where people support each other, help each other, build each other up. Where people can explore and reveal their own identities and experiences, where they can better understand and embrace the identities and experiences of others.

I want it to be a place for commiseration and solidarity, a place where people try to make space for each other, to hear and accept what one another are saying even when things are hard or folks disagree about the details. A place where people can expect a lot from one another, but where we extend the benefit of the doubt in trying to get there.

I want it to be a place where we work hard to counter the racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, ableism, ageism, and bigotry in general that can run unchecked on much of the internet and in the world. A place where we don't tolerate intolerance, a place where we make an active effort to look after the vulnerable people in our community.

I want it to be a place where we're all, in the end, collaborating toward a common goal: of making MetaFilter the best version of itself we can find our way to. A place where we have the humility to know that where we are isn't perfect, and the desire to keep getting better, step by step.
These are the sorts of things that come to mind when I think about why this place is special to me, when I try to explain this strange huge part of my life to other people. MetaFilter has been a work in progress for twenty years, and it still is; there are things we get right and things we don't, and things we've learned and gotten better about along the way.

The thing about a community project is it's messy and full of people; the same things that make it vibrant and strong make it sometimes fractious and incoherent. There's thousands of us here and we want thousands of different things from one big place. Sometimes it's hard. Sometimes it's goddam amazing. But it's always worth the effort.

There's a lot of history in those twenty years, and a lot of intense discussion and disagreements. We've been having a pretty intense, often critical set of discussions in the last couple months in particular. And those are part of that effort, that process of making this place work. We did it yesterday, and we'll do it some more tomorrow.

But for today, for this thread, I'd like to take a break and just let us all have a chance to celebrate a little. To look at 20 years—whether you've been here for most of that, or joined a month ago, or anywhere between—and think about the stuff you liked, that you learned from, that kept you coming back. Share in here if you like, or just take those thoughts quietly with you for the day. Consider making it out to one of the 20th Anniversary meetups posted over on IRL. If you're able to support the site with a subscription, thank you for the help keeping the lights on.

MetaFilter, for all it's wrinkles and complications, remains a remarkable place, and I'm glad you're all here to make it what it is. Thanks for being part of our community.
posted by cortex to MetaFilter-Related at 10:30 AM (234 comments total) 132 users marked this as a favorite

Best. Of. The. Web.

Happy anniversary, everyone!
posted by Doktor Zed at 10:38 AM on July 14 [13 favorites]


I’d like to be the first to mention the Askme that basically showed someone being saved from Russian people trafficking *in real time* by a bunch of internet Strangers.

It was *amazing*.
posted by Faintdreams at 10:38 AM on July 14 [44 favorites]


Many Happy Returns!
posted by Segundus at 10:38 AM on July 14 [3 favorites]


I don't post or comment very much, but I read the blue, the green and the grey every day, and I'm a better person for it. So thank you all.
posted by Gorgik at 10:45 AM on July 14 [21 favorites]


Happy 20th! Here's to another 20 at least.
posted by KTamas at 10:45 AM on July 14 [3 favorites]


Happy 20th everyone!
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 10:47 AM on July 14 [4 favorites]


Lurked for 10 years, participated for 10 years, hope we get at least another 10. Cheers!
posted by hippybear at 10:47 AM on July 14 [10 favorites]


"Vingt ans d'amour, c'est l'amour folle."

Happy metaversary!
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:52 AM on July 14 [2 favorites]


Cat-Scan.com is one of the strangest sites I've seen in some time. I have no idea how these people got their cats wedged into their scanners, or why. is one of the strangest sites I've seen in some time. I have no idea how these people got their cats wedged into their scanners, or why.
Happy scanniversary, y'all.
posted by tizzie at 10:55 AM on July 14 [20 favorites]


The Cat Scan contains the spirit of the first post.
posted by hippybear at 10:56 AM on July 14 [2 favorites]


I found Metafilter through "where to go next" discussions on Plastic.com when it was clear the site was coming to an end. For a while I just followed the front page links, not realizing what an entire world there was "hidden" in the comments for each post. I formally joined in July 2008, right after moving to Portland (at the time I didn't realize the owner lived in the area). Other than a very small group of co-workers, none of whom I cared to hang out with, I didn't know anyone in my new city. So I was glad to attend my first meetup - the 10th Anniversary - the next summer, and got to meet some great folks. That meetup was so fun we ended up having a flurry of other meetups over the next few months, during which I got to know some great folks even better. I literally have Metafilter to thank for my current group of friends; without it I might well have remained virtually friendless with little or no social life. So when I think of Metafilter I think of friends.

Of course, there are many other reasons I call this place my online home: the community, contentious and problematic as it can be; the thousands of things I've learned both from FPP links and discussions; and not least the chance to make jokes and create laughter and laugh at other members' humor. It has all made my life better and made me a better person. Thank you everyone, staff and members, thank you so much for everything.
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:58 AM on July 14 [21 favorites]


Help me help my Russian Friend in DC. Is the Russian human trafficking AskMe to save people searching for the link, and I just realised that happend waaaaaaaaay back in 2010....

766 favourites!
posted by Faintdreams at 11:01 AM on July 14 [20 favorites]


congrats, happies and all good things!
posted by scruss at 11:04 AM on July 14 [1 favorite]


Happy 20th, MeFi!

Like many hitting their twenties, it’s a time to reflect on what you truly believe in, who you want your friends to be, what you aren’t going to put up with anymore, how you’re going to support yourself, getting educated about real life outside a sheltered privilege, and laying strong foundations for the rest of adulthood.

And just like real life, listening to other people more is a good idea.

Best of luck.
posted by Celsius1414 at 11:10 AM on July 14 [8 favorites]


Happy happy 20th Metafilter. I got you the good cake, with the good frosting, and you get a corner piece with TWO roses on it.
posted by sallybrown at 11:18 AM on July 14 [8 favorites]


Happy 20th, MetaFilter.

This place has been my internet home for the past seven years, a little more if you count the lurking I did before throwing in $5 for this account. I can't even tell you what it was anymore, but I remember in my lurking days seeing some poorly-researched clickbait-y article get posted to the Blue and rolled my eyes as I clicked through, hoping someone would be willing to spend the effort to correct all the misconceptions and nonsense science. Instead, it was already gone with a deletion note. That's how I knew this place was special. And I still know this place is special because as a community we're still thinking, 20 years on, about how to make sure that very deletion policy (among others) reflects our diversity and our values.

MeFites: you helped me find the will to rent my first apartment on my own, feel more confident in myself in my career, and move on to a new workplace when I was ready (all through anonymous Asks). You helped me find new music that I fell in love with, showed me writing that slowly shifted my worldview, and made me laugh and gasp and occasionally tear up a little and always, always stay curious. And now today the wonderful DC MeFi community are some of the people I'm closest to, including my partner who I met at an IRL meetup - you're not just my "internet friends" but my real friends and loved ones. I'm not always good at showing appreciation but if you're reading this, please know that I love and appreciate you all so much.

Xronia polla, "many years", is happy birthday in Greek (one of the 10-ish phrases I know in my mom's family's language...hmm, maybe a future AskMe on how to learn Greek is in the cards?) and I can't think of a better wish for this community on this day. Xronia polla! Here's to 20 more.
posted by capricorn at 11:37 AM on July 14 [24 favorites]


Happy 20th! May all your scans be cat.
posted by Fizz at 11:37 AM on July 14 [12 favorites]


Happy Berfday !
posted by Faintdreams at 11:42 AM on July 14 [2 favorites]


"Happy Birthday!"

-Frosty the Snowman.
posted by clavdivs at 11:44 AM on July 14 [2 favorites]


Holy goofballs! 20 years! Happy happies, o site so dear!

I’ve been reading it for over 18 of those years, I couldn’t imagine myself without it, it’s shaped who I am so deeply.

Also, not the time and place to pick nits, but there’s an HTML error on the sidebar entry about this post.
posted by Kattullus at 12:09 PM on July 14 [6 favorites]


(Oops, thanks, Katullus, fixed that.)
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 12:11 PM on July 14 [1 favorite]


Happy birthday, Metafilter!

I don't remember exactly when I first started reading Metafilter regularly, but it was not long after the site had just been through the rough transition of shifting the culture away from the "boyzone" of the earlier years and towards new site norms and practices around what was acceptable and not acceptable with respect to discussions of gender and feminism. Part of what drew me to the site was how much more intelligent the discourse was on these issues than anywhere else on the Internet. (Prior to reading Metafilter regularly, I'd been reading Fark, which was... let's say, often disappointing.) I was also struck by how much things had changed over just a few years, which was evident when people occasionally linked to threads from a few years prior. A general-interest site that could, in the span of only a few years, change from a culture that was not appreciably different from its peer communities with respect to gender and feminism to one that didn't regularly force me to hold my nose to find interesting content within a background sea of sexism and misogyny spoke to me as one with the right attitude towards intellectual growth and self-improvement.

I think the site is undergoing a similar transition period now, and while it's difficult and sometimes painful, I really appreciate the efforts of everyone who is sincerely working to make this a more welcoming, understanding, humane place for people of highly divergent backgrounds to share and discuss news, ideas, media, and other productions of a global culture.
posted by biogeo at 12:19 PM on July 14 [11 favorites]


Happy anniversary!
posted by Dip Flash at 12:20 PM on July 14


Zippity BOP
posted by gleuschk at 12:22 PM on July 14 [8 favorites]


Smart and kind and insightful and caring and all that, yes - but man, y’all are funny.
posted by nickmark at 12:25 PM on July 14 [4 favorites]


Realized recently that we're farther away from 1999 than that year was from the release of Prince's album.

I'm feeling somewhat guilty since I didn't do anything to organize a 20 year meetup in Pittsburgh when I saw that no one else had. I did think of it but this summer crept up on me and here we are.

Anyway happy 20 years Metafilter from this $5 noob.
posted by octothorpe at 12:39 PM on July 14 [4 favorites]


Happy birthday, Metafilter!

Like many other people in this thread, I'm not a very active user. But Metafilter has been a huge influence on my life, since well before I signed up. Coming from a somewhat dysfunctional family, reading AskMe was my introduction to how supportive relationships with others can and should work. It played a large part in bringing me from clueless teenager to functional adult, and it's strange and wonderful to look back on a website and seeing it shape that part of my life. On the other hand, I've also survived these 20 years despite disregarding community norms for what food should be considered unsafe to eat.

Thanks to everyone here for making this site what it is.
posted by Signy at 12:43 PM on July 14 [10 favorites]


Happy Birthday. MetaFilter. I literally don’t know what I’d do on the Internet without you. You have made me a better, healthier, happier person.

I really love seeing some less-active members here. Y’all are just as important a part of this community as those of us losers with enough time on their hands to make thousands of comments.
posted by Rock Steady at 12:56 PM on July 14 [23 favorites]


I really love seeing some less-active members here. Y’all are just as important a part of this community as those of us losers with enough time on their hands to make thousands of comments.

QFT.
posted by Caduceus at 1:06 PM on July 14 [10 favorites]


The super seekrit page for the 2nd anniversary (of the domain purchase) is hilariously quaint in retrospect. And the mock-ups! Oh god, the mock-ups. We've come a long way, baby.

Crazy to think it's been ten years (and so much change in the world) since the big 10th anniversary celebration in '09... and even crazier to think I've been here for more than half the site's lifespan now. I used to be a n00b, dagnabbit!

Happy b-day, MeFi -- here's to another twenty years.
posted by Rhaomi at 1:19 PM on July 14 [24 favorites]


I lurked for a long time before I finally joined. It was this thread that finally made me pull the trigger. A user is worried because they keep hearing noises of people fucking, even when there are no people fucking in the immediate vicinity, and they had recently had a head trauma. They were in the mess that was Occupy Portland and another Mefite went there, found them, and took them to the hospital. I decided that I needed a community that would look out for me the way Mefi looked out for that poster and I joined shortly thereafter.

This place does good things. I'm glad it's here.
posted by Weeping_angel at 1:20 PM on July 14 [32 favorites]


I want it to be a place for commiseration

Looks like I came to the right place. I dropped my kindle into the toilet earlier.

I had to follow the cricket, the tennis and the metatalk disaster thread on my phone, all at the same time.
posted by biffa at 1:21 PM on July 14 [8 favorites]


Congrats Metafilter. There's always room for improvement but you're looking pretty good at 20. Epecially compared to other Internet Companies that came out in 1999 such as Napster and LiveJournal. If I was more cool I'd make you a 90s mixtape. Here's the 1999 Backstreet Boys song "I Want it That Way" instead.
posted by mundo at 1:26 PM on July 14 [4 favorites]


Happy birthday!

I'm a much kinder, more thoughtful person because of this site. And I am so so pleased that it taught me not to be so ridiculously judgemental. There are so many things I see in my life where I think "That's ace, and MetaFilter taught me to appreciate that" with a side of "I'm so glad I'm not making myself miserable sneering at it".

Thank you all for that.
posted by ambrosen at 1:39 PM on July 14 [19 favorites]


Happy birthday MeFi! Even though I’m not here much any more, the site and, more importantly the people that make it, are often in my thoughts.
posted by dg at 1:59 PM on July 14 [5 favorites]


🎂
posted by adamvasco at 2:19 PM on July 14 [4 favorites]


Happy birthday, MeFi! You're still one of my all-time favorite places on the web -- the place I go to learn new things, laugh a lot, and find out that I'm not quite so alone in this world. I appreciate the hell out of you, and don't know what I would do without you.
posted by sarcasticah at 2:20 PM on July 14 [2 favorites]


FREE QUONSAR!
posted by Dreamghost at 2:21 PM on July 14 [12 favorites]


Bastille Day, International Non-Binary People's Day, and the Meef's birthday are all on the same day. Truly July 14 is one of the best days of the year.

I know there are challenges that the site is facing right now, financially, but I hope we never stop the work of trying to do better. I think that's a key component of this site that has had me coming back, even after months-long absences. When I look at the comments of threads 15, 10, even 5 years ago, it's pretty clear that the community dynamic plays a big part in helping us do better and get to a better mindset. It can get messy and fighty, but I take that as being a part of the consensus process.

I'm really happy about the work this community has done to better itself. This is such a rare phenomenon on the internet. May we apply that spirit rigorously going forward.

:toot:
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 2:23 PM on July 14 [6 favorites]


Happy birthday!! Let's hope that the next spin around the sun is the best yet. ✌
posted by Gray Duck at 2:32 PM on July 14 [2 favorites]


🍩
posted by rjs at 2:44 PM on July 14 [2 favorites]


Thank you, Josh.

I spent last night in a tent in Jessamyn's backyard. I still need a shower. I met 30-40 people yesterday, some of whom came from far away to attend a 20th anniversary of this website. I gave and got a lot of hugs. Real hugs from amazing people. This place means so much to so many of us.

Earlier this year my family had a bit of a crisis. I'm not sure crisis is the right word, but there was a THING and my wife and I didn't quite know how to deal with it. 10 or 20 years ago I would not have been able to deal with it at all and it probably would have ruined me and my family. It was only because of Metafilter that I had any exposure to anything like it and it probably saved me.

In a panic, I reached out to AskMe. AskMe responded. A few nights later my wife, Amy, and I were invited to the home of a Mefite who offered us a glass of wine and, most importantly, their time. We talked for a few hours. We discussed the ins and outs of our THING, we talked about their own experiences and what we should expect in the coming months. We cried, we laughed.

When we said goodbye and got in our car Amy and I both let out a sigh of relief. Everything was going to be ok. Everything would be normal. We're not alone.

All because of a stranger I met on this here website.

I want MetaFilter to be a place where people are good, and kind, and smart

Achievement unlocked. Trust me.

I owe Metafilter more than I can possibly repay.
posted by bondcliff at 2:50 PM on July 14 [78 favorites]


I started lurking aroud 2000 or 2001; someone I knew on Livejournal would paste links to cool stuff they found here, and I'd check out the links, but don't remember when Metafilter became a daily read for me. It's never been far from my mind since then. I feel so deeply inarticulate and tend to come in at the end of discussions, so I'm still a lurker after all these years, and it doesn't get easier. Luckily some local meetups happen once in a while (like yesterday!)
I've learned so much by being here.
posted by wens at 2:53 PM on July 14 [5 favorites]


Happy Birthday, Big Blue.
posted by lazaruslong at 2:57 PM on July 14


Happy birthday, old friend. Thanks to everyone over its 20-year history, staff and members, who contributed to making it one of the best and most thoughtful communities online.
posted by waxpancake at 2:58 PM on July 14 [9 favorites]


The parts of myself that I love, that I consider my best self, were built up and reinforced by this community. I'm always trying to pay that forward, and this anniversary is a chance to commit to that in new ways. Mostly, I intend to make more FPPs!

I'm an extremely isolated person, and in a very real way, this is the only community I have. Thank you for continuing to so selflessly tend this amazing haven cortex, restless_nomad, taz, LobsterMitten, goodnewsfortheinsane, Eyebrows McGee, frimble, and vacapinta.

Thank you for creating this wonderful place
mathowie, jessamyn, and pb.

Here's to 20 more!
posted by thoroughburro at 3:04 PM on July 14 [33 favorites]


Happy 20th to us all. And thanks to cortex and frimble and the mods for all you do. It can't be easy. I'm very glad you find it worth it.

(And on preview, thoroughburro said it a lot better than I can. So just echoing that.)
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 3:06 PM on July 14


I really love this place. If not for MetaFilter, I wouldn't be married. I wouldn't be as well-read or cultured as I am. I wouldn't discover cool new things and facts every single day. This is a site that keeps on giving to me in unexpected ways. Happy 20th to everyone. And Huzzah for MetaFilter! :)
posted by Fizz at 3:20 PM on July 14 [13 favorites]


Happy birthday to the best place on the internet! Twenty years, wow! Thank you Matt, jessamyn, and cortex and all the mods. Thank you to everyone who contributes for all their thought provoking, smart and even sometimes annoying comments, all that make the place the amazing site that it is. Here’s to another twenty years!
posted by Jubey at 3:40 PM on July 14 [4 favorites]


Started reading when I was pregnant with my first, joined when he was a baby, and now he's TEN and I have two more. This site has changed my life in a million ways! Top of my mind is a small way -- so many good cookbook recommendations, including the one I'm cooking out of tonight! (Or rather, NOT cooking out of, since it's a cookbook for summer dishes that involve NO HEAT to prepare.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 3:42 PM on July 14 [15 favorites]


Nice one! Apparently the number-one hit song on the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S. at the day of Metafilter’s birth was Bills, Bills, Bills by Destiny’s Child.

The opening lyrics seem oddly aligned with Metafilter’s current situation

At first we started out real cool
Taking me places I ain't never been
But now, you're getting comfortable
Ain't doing those things you did no more
You're slowly making me pay for


So clearly this is evidence that Destiny’s Child are the real cabal. They foresaw our current troubles. But salvation is at hand. They also laid down the secret to the next 20 years in the same lyrics

when times get hard need someone to help me out
(Instead of) a scrub like you


So there we have it. The secret to the next 20 years is....no scrubs.

So happy birthday Metafilter and MeFi’s all (except the scrubs).
posted by inflatablekiwi at 3:51 PM on July 14 [12 favorites]


Online community, bringing the world together. Both IRL and virtual.

I have met Mefites all over the world, they have looked after me and treated me like a friend. Really positive, affirming feelings result from this website, like the best kind of family.

Hugs for all that want them!
posted by asok at 3:52 PM on July 14 [2 favorites]


Happy birthday, MetaFilter! Looking forward to being able to buy you a drink next year.
posted by webmutant at 3:53 PM on July 14 [5 favorites]


Looking forward to seeing webmutant's bar tab after they buy all of MetaFilter a drink next year!
posted by hippybear at 3:56 PM on July 14 [2 favorites]


Happy 20th, Mefi! I can't remember exactly how I found my way here (probably LiveJournal), but the earliest thread I remember was What Experience Most Shaped Who You Are? from February 2005, and there are stories people shared there that I still think about.

I lurked for years, though I didn't pull the trigger on a membership till 2013, partly because I'm still mostly a lurker at heart. But without a doubt I'm a better person for this site and for all of you, and I'm so grateful.
posted by jameaterblues at 4:00 PM on July 14 [3 favorites]


Huh, I joined right before the birthday. Cool.

12 years.... At least three major life changes. Metafilter led me to a (non-meta) site that almost certainly kept my suicidal impulses to a minimum, long enough to make it through.

I grew up a lot reading ask meta, offering advice and opinions to people asking really brave questions.. and sometimes helping me make the brave questions and choices.

I know several people have touched my heart, and seeing them thrive is amazing. Some I don't see ever, or were anonymous but I always hope they did well.

Metafilter, the best lives during the worst of times
posted by Jacen at 4:05 PM on July 14 [6 favorites]


Happy birthday, MetaFilter! When I joined you 19 years and 2 months ago my four-digit user number marked me as a noob. Congratulations to the crew keeping this ship seaworthy after so many communities like it have sunk.
posted by rcade at 4:08 PM on July 14 [8 favorites]


I, too, am in this episode.
FOREMAN: This vexes me.

Happy Birthday, MeFi! I sometime read more or less often, but I don't think it's been less than weekly since around 2000, and most times considerably more often than that. I can say that about zero other websites.
posted by ctmf at 4:11 PM on July 14 [7 favorites]


Well shit, 7 years of marriage and I only just realised I got married on MetaFilter's birthday.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 4:17 PM on July 14 [7 favorites]


A few years ago, I went through the process of getting rid of the majority of my stuff: donating or trashing all the detritus that accumulates over the years. As a bit of a memory hoarder, I had boxes of notes and postcards and old fliers from shows and love letters and cool business cards that I went through, committing myself to keeping only a single envelope folder of papers from my past. In that slim folder of my Most Important Life Memories is a valentine given to me by ThePinkSuperhero at a New York meetup, when I was freshly old enough to go to a bar and so sincerely excited to meet MeFites for the first time.

Hoping that says it all because I know I'm incapable of otherwise efficiently expressing how much this beautiful website means to me. I am brimming with gratitude for what I have learned from all y'all! It is impossible to imagine who I would be had I not started reading this website as a teenager, amazed at the humor and intelligence of Internet Adults and hoping one day I could become one of you (reader, she did). You are all my heroes many, many times over. Happy birthday!!!
posted by youarenothere at 4:17 PM on July 14 [9 favorites]


Happy birthday!

The last few weeks worth of discussions have been painful and hard, but I think they've also started to reaffirm what this place is, why we care about it, and what best of the web means in 2019. I love you all. Thank you for existing.
posted by zachlipton at 4:19 PM on July 14 [11 favorites]


hippybear: Looking forward to seeing webmutant's bar tab after they buy all of MetaFilter a drink next year!

I'd like to buy MetaFilter a Coke and teach MetaFilter to sing.
posted by capricorn at 4:28 PM on July 14 [2 favorites]


Metafilter knows how to whistle, right? You just put your lips together and blow.
posted by thoroughburro at 4:30 PM on July 14 [1 favorite]


HBD MF! I don't post much but this site provides so much entertainment and collective wisdom. I'm truly grateful.
posted by Tuba Toothpaste at 4:53 PM on July 14 [4 favorites]


This dang website has been integral to my being for a good long time now. I love you, mefites.
posted by ocherdraco at 4:56 PM on July 14 [13 favorites]


I tend to lurk a lot more than I post but I've truly come to love this site. I've gotten a lot of different perspectives from here that have helped me re-frame things in my own life - no one huge epiphany but more like a thousand little scraps that have all come in handy at one time or another.

I'm a slightly better person because of this place and I'm so grateful for this community.
posted by Twicketface at 5:26 PM on July 14 [5 favorites]


MeFi, thanks for continuing to disprove the notion that social media was a mistake. Things are far from perfect in this time of The 2016 That Never Ended, but reading this thread (and the many threads people have linked to here) gives me hope for the future. This place has taught me to be a better person and I’ll never forget it.
posted by The Lurkers Support Me in Email at 5:34 PM on July 14 [8 favorites]


Happy birthday to the place that saved my life when I was a disoriented new mom, up in the middle of the night and tired of social media.

What a unique and lovely place this is.
posted by Pardon Our Dust at 5:51 PM on July 14 [10 favorites]


All of the above, and more. Thanks for being the space I needed.
posted by socksister at 5:58 PM on July 14 [2 favorites]


Happy Birthday, MeFites!

You're all good people, and I'm proud to have you as my friends. I love you all, but I love quidnunc most of all (sorry, everyone but quidnunc).

Uh, keep up the good work!
posted by Capt. Renault at 6:02 PM on July 14 [4 favorites]


Still a bleary-eyed zombie from the party this weekend. bandit and not_on_display were first arrivals Friday afternoon (shortly followed by ColdChef and then bondcliff and vraktar and feistycakes who helped set up) and then a lot more people including maybe 13 sleepover guests. I was one of the last to wake up but people were chatting and drinking coffee and taking pictures and I always feel like I'm getting away with something when people are so gracious and so helpful and so generous with their time and their hearts and their general giving-a-shit.

Every time one of these schmoopy threads comes up, I'm doing the same thing, Googling an old comment I like, leading me to this nearly ten year old comment by Elsa which sums up so many things at once: I have made some good friends in this place. Hugs and happy birthday.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 6:11 PM on July 14 [45 favorites]


Jeez, 20 years. I lurked for a few years. MeFi being text only (professional looking) and being passed through my school's (content) filter led me to spend a lot of time here. I finally joined 14 years ago and I am a more considerate, more knowledgeable, and more interesting person because of it. Thank you all.
posted by Monochrome at 6:23 PM on July 14 [5 favorites]


Huzzah! Huzzah! Huzzah!
posted by soundguy99 at 6:39 PM on July 14 [1 favorite]


Yesterday was my 11th anniversary on MetaFilter, which Carillon introduced me to in my freshman year of college. I am an only child, and I have often turned to AskMe as a source of big-siblingly advice that I otherwise wouldn't have had. I will be 30 in exactly one week, and MetaFilter has been hugely influential in turning me into an adult. I'm so grateful for it. You have taught me how to remove the pit from an avocado, de-pith-and-core a bell pepper, advocate for myself at work and in relationships, and relate more kindly and considerately to other human beings.


I have probably mentioned this before, but I spent the 2013 holidays on my own, and was starting out pretty dang depressed. A few threads on MetaTalk sprang up around Christmas, where folks were sharing what they were doing for the gift-giving holidays, and again how they were ringing in the new year. More than any other time, I felt a deep sense of community with all y'all internet strangers, and it truly did shepherd me through what would have otherwise been a dark, dismal season.

Thanks, MetaFilter. I owe you several.
posted by coppermoss at 6:48 PM on July 14 [9 favorites]


This is where I would normally be a jackass and say something snarky but instead I just want to echo the celebratory good wishes and admit that this place has shaped who I am over the past 15 years, too. Thanks for all the advice, well wishes, and laughs when they were needed and most especially thanks for calling me out on my bullshit when it was called for*. I know I looked like an asshole, but I assure you I came away from it thoughtful and reflective and hopefully a better person.

*Except for that one time when I was totally right and you knew it and you just wouldn’t admit it. You and I both know what I’m talking about.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 6:52 PM on July 14 [7 favorites]


Happy 20th Birthday, Metafilter family!

Congratulations, from me and my 27 sockpuppet accounts!


I kid, I KID!
posted by darkstar at 7:09 PM on July 14 [5 favorites]


It's always a treat to meet up with people where the only thing we have in common is that we're not banned from MetaFilter, like we did in Toronto yesterday.

Happy 20th birthday, MeFI, and here's to 20 more years (and 20 more after that)! 🎉
posted by sillygwailo at 7:22 PM on July 14 [5 favorites]


Happy birthday to this wonderful place. I am who I am in part because of this website. Thanks. <3
posted by sockermom at 7:28 PM on July 14 [7 favorites]


I joined because I value a place where people are smarter than me and can type in cogent sentences about whatever topic is their forte or which field is firmly within their wheelhouse.

That place still exists and I've learned so much.

Thank you all.
posted by RolandOfEld at 7:32 PM on July 14 [13 favorites]


I 100% would not be where I am today without MetaFilter, and the Portland IRL crew is a big part of that too. Happy birthday, everybody.
posted by curious nu at 7:37 PM on July 14 [2 favorites]


Happy Birthday to my favorite place on the web!
posted by goodsearch at 7:59 PM on July 14


Happy Birthday. Honestly, this place is the best of the web. It's amazing to me that there's a whole community of people with whom I can thoughtfully interact. As I've gotten older, it seems more and more uniquely special to me. I continue to learn how to better interact with online and offline with others through this site, and it continues to teach me about the world. I'm truly a better person because of it. It's been there for me during incredibly joyous and trying times always.
posted by xammerboy at 8:16 PM on July 14 [4 favorites]


Thank you to each and every one of you for making this such an amazing website for all these years.
posted by furtive at 8:18 PM on July 14 [1 favorite]


Twenty years! Twenty! 20! Actual years in time. At the start, I never imagined it could hit 20 big ones but then we hit 10, and I hoped it could last forever. On the internet, 6 months can feel like a decade so I guess we've been around for centuries of internet time at this point.

Through all those years, I literally grew up from being a dork at his first real post-college job to go on to several more after that to the site becoming a whole thing for another decade and then passing it off and watching it continue thanks to the hard work of everyone here. It's changed my life completely, taught me how to think and listen and learn from others while improving my writing and communication immensely. I've met so many incredible people that have helped me in countless ways and every day lurking and reading is still a learning experience.

Happy Birthday MetaFilter!
posted by mathowie (retired) at 8:19 PM on July 14 [100 favorites]


Twenty! More! Years!
posted by anifinder at 8:30 PM on July 14 [2 favorites]


Happy birthday! 🐶💩😘
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:34 PM on July 14 [5 favorites]


Happy birthday, Metafilter. Every single year, I understand more deeply how powerful entropy is, and correspondingly, how remarkable it is that you're [we're!] still here. Grateful for all of the hard work and thought that has gone in every single day x 365 x 20.

In Brooklyn, we celebrated today with deviled eggs and cotton candy grapes and watching kites go by. IRL post; team photo.
posted by estlin at 8:35 PM on July 14 [5 favorites]


I love this place. I love all of you weirdos too. Thanks for being here.
posted by thivaia at 8:48 PM on July 14 [3 favorites]


happy birthday metafilter, thanks for being a friend.
posted by valkane at 8:50 PM on July 14 [2 favorites]


Thanks mathowie for starting this great experiment 20 years ago!

BTW your product is way cooler than the ones created by Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, or Mark Zuckerberg.
posted by mundo at 8:58 PM on July 14 [4 favorites]


Cento di questi giorni!
posted by carmicha at 9:05 PM on July 14 [1 favorite]


every day lurking and reading

Oh shit. Matt Haughey is watching us.

WHAT.
THE.
FUCK.
MATT.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:10 PM on July 14 [15 favorites]


Hello, blue website! Happy Birthday! Happy Birthday, Ask.Me! Happy Metafilter Birthday, matthowie! Happy Birthday, you wonderful old Community Weblog! Hey! Happy Metafilter Birthday, cortex!

I tried, but didn't make it to the So. Mass. Meetup. Did not meet Cold Chef, bondcliff, ocherdraco and others. Also, I now have quite a lot of potato salad, some chocolate chip cookies, several bottles of champagne and a rather large knife for sabering them open, a thing I learned about here, and would like to try.

We are a community, one that tries hard to be good. I am happy Metafilter is here, sad about some absent friends, and very happy that you are all here.
posted by theora55 at 9:37 PM on July 14 [8 favorites]


Lately, being in my mid-50s, I feel somewhat old and I can see the last years of my life on their way. At this point, there's a 35 or so year history of adult life behind me and, considering it, I can say with certainty, gratitude, and humility that MetaFilter is one of the two institutions and communities that have most shaped who I am, and very much for the better.

Institutions and communities are built and sustained by people, many individual people, and you, each of you, are those people. I owe you my gratitude, offer you my thanks, and I wish all of you -- all of us -- the very best.

Thank you, MetaFilter. Thanks for being here.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 10:11 PM on July 14 [13 favorites]


Happy fucking birthday MetaFilter! Please pass the cake.

Thank you Metafilter!

Peace and love MetaFilter!
posted by AugustWest at 10:40 PM on July 14 [1 favorite]


Happy birthday mefi!
posted by ellieBOA at 10:44 PM on July 14


Vote #1 MetaFilter!
posted by Pyrogenesis at 10:55 PM on July 14 [3 favorites]


Happy Birthday Metafilter and Mefites.

Thanks to each and everyone making Metafilter the best community on the web.

I visit to see whats on the web, whose question I can answer, and to ask some of my own normally technical and fortunately not personally problematic, BUT I do know I can bring real problems here of any kind and they will be treated with respect, honest and even grace - and there are few places those exist.
posted by unearthed at 12:00 AM on July 15 [1 favorite]


Metafilter is the only place on the internet that I actually come to read the comments. Almost always interesting and thoughtful, I am often led to wonder, what will Metafilter's take be on that?
Happy birthday, Metafilter!
posted by drnick at 1:11 AM on July 15 [3 favorites]


I don't think I've ever told the full story of how I found the site and eventually started reading regularly. The short version involves seeing MetaFilter linked in the blogroll of Adam Felber (of NPR's "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me"; that site is no longer up though), Bloglines, and the MeFi sidebar, and getting hooked because of Ask MetaFilter.

Longer yet still abridged version: I was an occasional reader and subscribed to MeFi posts in Bloglines, usually just reading from that interface. Then one day in February 2005, I somehow landed on the MetaFilter home page and saw the sidebar (trivia tangent: in the same month, the Best Answer functionality also launched). Coincidentally, mathowie had just revived the MeFi sidebar news that month, and one of the highlighted links was to the AskMe "What experience most shaped who you are?" (by jeremias) that jameaterblues mentioned above.

Even though I'd known about MetaFilter for a while, I had no idea that Ask MetaFilter even existed (or MetaTalk). So literally my introduction to AskMe was that thread started by jeremias, and I remember reading, and reading...by the time I saw the thread, it had already gotten many comments so I had to break it up and read it in multiple parts. It was one of the most interesting things I'd seen on the web. To me that was the best of the web. I immediately added AskMe to my Bloglines feeds, and clicked through to read the answers nearly all the time, and it became my favorite site.

Back then, I was in a weird period of my life and trying to figure out a number of things to feel less adrift. The usefulness of AskMe, with its variety of the questions asked and answered, was something that I really latched onto. For my for-fun reading, I started going backwards in the AskMe archives, and would continue after I'd gotten caught up on recent Asks. AskMe had only been around for about a year+, so when I finally reached the end of the archives / the beginning of Ask, I remember thinking something like "I hope this site is around for a long time, because this is a fantastic resource."

Ultimately I found so many answers to questions that I didn't even know I needed answered. I began spending more time on the MeFi sites outside of AskMe. The good advice and support from MeFites (in Ask and in general) have helped me with huge and tiny aspects of my life over all these years. For instance:

Deciding what file system to use on a hard drive (literally just the past week). Migrating my data from one phone to another. Getting a new job after being rather lost career-wise. Learning how to ask rather than hint. Learning to say "that won't be possible" or "that's not okay." Getting a lawyer. Learning that it is okay to need help and to ask for help. Composing music again after a long hiatus. Being creative again. Learning that people who love puns, and people who don't love puns can share the same space peacefully (okay maybe that's still up for debate :)). Reminding myself that I don't have to fit into anyone's definition of who or what I should be. Reminding myself that kindness is important, and that there are other people who value the same things I do.

I know I just rattled those off, but some of the bigger issues took months or even years of work to result in some sort of progress or resolution. A lot of them I'm still working on now.

So I'm another person here who has grown so much, and is a better person because of MetaFilter. Happy 20th birthday! Thank you thank you MeFi original staff, alumni and current staff, and the community past and present.
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 2:03 AM on July 15 [10 favorites]


I think the fact that I somehow missed out on both the NYC 20th meetup AND the monthly NYC crafting meetup is a sign that I really, really am overstressed and need to leave my job.

Happy 20th, Mefi. You continue to help me in ways I don't anticipate.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:01 AM on July 15 [5 favorites]


I'm very much a lurker rather than an active poster (one post on the Blue, and 50ish comments across the various sites since 2001), but this place holds a very special place in my heart. I have a "Discussions" folder in my feed reader, and it's solely populated with MeFi feeds… maybe I should just rename the folder.

Happy birthday you wonderful thing. Here's to twenty more! 🍻
posted by garrett at 4:21 AM on July 15 [5 favorites]


Happy happy birthday, MeFi. If you partied too hard, have a big glass of water and a nap today. Thanks for being here growing up with me all these years.
posted by Stacey at 4:41 AM on July 15 [1 favorite]


Happy 20th!

I wish I could recall how I first came across this site, or even when I started reading regularly (sometime in early 2001 maybe), but that's lost to the mists of time.
posted by audi alteram partem at 4:42 AM on July 15


I really love this place. I'm not maybe as much a part of the community as some but I quit all my other social vices and this place still feels like home. I've been around 12 years and this has always been the best of the web for me.

Might be time for a first post soon....
posted by chasles at 4:45 AM on July 15 [3 favorites]


Happy Birthday, MetaFilter! With gratitude for what you've meant to me over the years, and with appreciation for all those who have had a part in it: Thank you.
posted by MonkeyToes at 4:45 AM on July 15 [4 favorites]


Happy birthday Metafilter and Thanks to Matt, pb, jessamyn, and all the current staff, especially cortex....
posted by chasles at 4:46 AM on July 15 [1 favorite]


Kuroshin brought me here (after the April Fools merger prank) and I’ve never stopped coming. You’ve widened my horizons in a wide variety of topics and I will always be grateful for that.

Happy birthday Mefi!
posted by dr_dank at 4:48 AM on July 15 [1 favorite]


I am on Metafilter less than I used to be for a lot of reasons, especially "my life is fucking busy", but one thing for which I am very grateful is that Metafilter is one of the first places where I really learned that trans people are people. That may sound crazy and awful, and it is! It's crazy and awful! But for most of my life I'd heard about trans people as a punchline, joke people without agency, completely alien and unrelatable because hey, I have agency, I'm not like THOSE people.

Metafilter isn't where I figured out I was trans but I think it helped push me towards a mindspace where, when I did figure it out, I was much more ready and willing to accept it, to realize that this wasn't a tragedy. It was a big help on my journey from underinformed transphobe to well-meaning but clueless ally to really good ally to JUST A REALLY GOOD ALLY, OKAY to ...oh God, what do I do now to oh this is okay actually, I think I am going to make it.

I'm pretty sure I'd be doing much worse with myself and my identity if it weren't for all the amazing trans people on Metafilter who have taken the time to educate all of us (and a moment also for those who found it too exhausting and decided to leave the site, I get it), including educating both cis people and those of us who just assumed we were cis for over thirty years. I am so angry about all the time that social narratives kept me from knowing my actual self and so enormously grateful to everyone, trans people and legit allies/accomplices alike, who helped me realize that I could be who I am. Thank you all very much.
posted by an octopus IRL at 4:55 AM on July 15 [42 favorites]


Happy Birthday! I first found Metafilter by a smarter, cooler roommate around the same time they showed me Homestar Runner in 2000-2001. Was soon reading everyday, and finally joined when I noticed sign ups had changed to public.

Metafilter is definitely my preferred method of internet consumption and interaction; pretty much a perfect model of how the internet can and should be used for good. Amazing it's kept up this magic formula for so many years- thanks to the mods and staff for making it all possible!
posted by p3t3 at 5:10 AM on July 15 [4 favorites]


Happy anniversary. Just so damn glad to be here.
posted by MorgansAmoebas at 5:15 AM on July 15


So the Modern theme is blue now? How do I get back to the professional white background?
posted by octothorpe at 5:24 AM on July 15 [1 favorite]


I joined Metafilter shortly after college. Like a bunch of other people, I found out about it through the Lifehacker AskMe roundups.

A lot of my idle time is spent thinking about how I got to where I am today. My interpretation is that my life has been shaped by a lot of vagaries and decisions that seemed small at the time but ultimately were much more important. "For want of a nail" and all that. One of those decisions, I think, was joining this community.

I would like to say that I was a fairly decent person way back when, but also when I joined nearly 13 years ago I would have said "decent" meant "not actively discriminatory" or something similar. I learned how to empathize more, how to listen, how to be a friend to people. I also learned that it's cool and fun to be earnestly interested in just about anything and the dismissive irony that pervaded my life (and I guess most of our culture) in the 90s and early 00s kind of sucked. And I say that joining Metafilter was pivotal because if I had discovered, say, Reddit instead (or stuck around Fark any longer, even though I never read the comments there) I think I would have become a very different person.

So, thanks to all the folks who have shared their experiences and viewpoints here in such thoughtful and heartfelt ways. And here's to the continued success of the Camberville trivia behemoth - I won't say we're directly responsible for several local bars closing, but I won't say we weren't, either.
posted by backseatpilot at 5:50 AM on July 15 [12 favorites]


For the life of me I can't remember how I stumbled upon this place. But the people gathered here seemed nice, and they accepted me. So here I am nine years later. My dear, does the time fly.
To the next 20 years, my friends!
posted by hat_eater at 5:51 AM on July 15 [1 favorite]


an octopus IRL's comment just made me cry. Thank you MetaFilter for being what you are. That one person's story right there is glorious.
posted by hippybear at 6:12 AM on July 15 [1 favorite]


> octothorpe: So the Modern theme is blue now? How do I get back to the professional white background?

In your Preferences page, you will see four Theme options: Modern (mostly white background), Modern Dark (mostly colored background), Classic (old school colored background) and Plain (the canonical Professional White Background). Choose the one you like and Save your Preferences at the bottom of the page.

I believe what cortex is referring to is that the default theme shown to logged-out visitors is going to be Modern Dark instead of Modern going forward.

Pretty sure I found MetaFilter through fark.com back in the mists of history, and as I enter that address in my URL bar for the first time in probably 10 years, I see that they are still going strong as well, our rowdy, slightly elder sibling in community link aggregation. Hopefully they won't cause a scene when they show up to the party.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:20 AM on July 15 [2 favorites]


C'mere, ya big lug. Happy birthday, Metafilter.

Thank you for being a friend
Traveled down the road and back again
Your heart site is true blue, you're a pal and a confidant...

posted by emelenjr at 6:23 AM on July 15 [5 favorites]


In your Preferences page, you will see four Theme options: Modern (mostly white background), Modern Dark (mostly colored background), Classic (old school colored background) and Plain (the canonical Professional White Background). Choose the one you like and Save your Preferences at the bottom of the page.

I did that multiple times. I just managed to get it to work by switching to Plain, saving and then switching to Modern and saving.
posted by octothorpe at 6:25 AM on July 15 [2 favorites]


But if I log out and log back in, I'm back in the Classic Theme even though the setting is Modern.
posted by octothorpe at 6:26 AM on July 15 [2 favorites]


I think the Classic theme has been set as standard for everyone for a limited time for the 20th anniversary.
posted by hippybear at 6:34 AM on July 15 [1 favorite]


I too am in this thread. Happy birthday, old pal.
posted by Jofus at 6:48 AM on July 15 [1 favorite]


[Note on the theme colors stuff: we only changed the default view for logged-out viewers, from Modern Light to Modern Dark; your logged in preferences should not have changed, either between Modern and Classic or between the colorful/plain schemes on either of those. But keep in mind that those are stored on a cookied basis per-device, so if e.g. you change your prefs on your phone and then go over to your desktop, you'll need to make the change there too. But if you're running into any weird not-sticking behavior or unexpected changes, please let us know (maybe drop a line at the contact form and give frimble the detail); there could be a couple bugs that still need squashing.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:10 AM on July 15 [2 favorites]


an octopus IRL's comment just made me cry. Thank you MetaFilter for being what you are. That one person's story right there is glorious.
posted by hippybear at 9:12 AM on July 15 [+] [!]


Aw, thanks -- it's very odd to be here interacting with people I know who maybe don't know that they know me, or some version of me, but honestly a lot of my personal experience of transness is very odd, so
posted by an octopus IRL at 7:16 AM on July 15


I came to check out the whole Kaycee Nicole thing and never left. Not quite 20 years but I've been here a long, long time. I've matured with the site and that has been a great thing, Metafilter has definitely made me a better person (even if I am still a bit too prone to running my mouth, especially online).

Happy birthday Metafilter!
posted by davros42 at 7:21 AM on July 15 [3 favorites]


For over 10 years, Metafilter has been teaching me to be a better ally and a more understanding person. I'm not perfect, but I'm still learning, and that is a tribute to the patience and hard work of the community here. Happiest of birthdays, everyone!
posted by blurker at 7:55 AM on July 15 [5 favorites]


You know what else? I went to Jessamyn's Mefi20 meetup and had a great time. I used to try to organize a meetup anytime I went out of town, but for some reason I stopped doing it. I forgot how much fun it was to meet all of you nice folks.

So if you're in or near Charleston, SC, and have some free time next Wednesday, hit me up.
posted by backseatpilot at 7:56 AM on July 15 [5 favorites]


Meeting up with other MetaFilter members is one of the best things ever. It's also a bit surreal because as a person on MetaFilter one has all these little bits of jargon or accumulated inside jokes that one never mention to anyone else because nobody else in your daily world is a MetaFilter member, but suddenly you can drop that reference or that wording and others get it! It's amazing! It's liberating!

I can't encourage MeFites to go to IRL Meetups enough. Nothing makes MetaFilter be more MetaFilter than meeting MeFites in real life, because we are all the people we are!
posted by hippybear at 8:13 AM on July 15 [3 favorites]


Not sure why, but I feel this weird urge to celebrate the 20th by trying to ice this account and reactivating my original one, if that's even possible.
posted by the phlegmatic king at 8:20 AM on July 15 [4 favorites]


Happy birthday, metafilter! You've helped me be a reasonable person and not die of malaria and work through problems and make friends for over 10 years now, and I am grateful!
posted by ChuraChura at 8:21 AM on July 15 [9 favorites]


I’m crying. Thank you for being here. All of you. Happy birthday, metafilter. Thank you to mathowie and jessamyn and cortex and pb and all the other mods (I’m sorry for not naming more names) and contributors and users and funders.

I googled something from an unlogged-in device yesterday and saw something both blue and modern (I combine metafilter with a huge number of my search terms, but I think this time google spontaneously returned a mefi result, which I’m always heartened by) - and I thought perhaps I was hallucinating or I had missed a meta or somehow forgotten that I’d logged in on that device in the past but that didn’t explain the hybrid nature of what I was seeing - but I am over the fucking moon that we default to site colours again. I don’t know why it means so much to me, but it does. This place is one of the few stable things in my life, and even though I have it set up to look like nothing ever changed, it was still different on other devices and it still made me feel a bit like the world was moving on and I was given the tools to mask that to some extent. I always felt proud of this place and when the sky fell on us and we were scrambling to recover from that I was really upset because it seemed like we were trying to attract and keep an abusive partner - here, will you love me if I grow my hair out? If I wear high heels? Make-up? I loved how the site looked, I loved the text and the formatting and the colors and all of it. The content was the focus. The conversation was the focus. Words were the focus. We didn’t *try* to attract anyone through clickbait fake content bullshit - the content was authentic, which is rarer and rarer on the internet, and is exactly the sort of thing google is supposed to be trying to point people towards with their utter fucking failure of a quondam search engine. People wandered in through various doors and when they loved it they stayed. And I loved it when I was lurking and felt like I didn’t have anything to contribute to make joining worth it, and I loved it when I first signed up, and I love it even when I stay away because life is too much and even this part of the internet costs me too much in mental health terms to spend time here. And I love it even though I’m really scared I’ll lose it because of how the internet works nowadays and I can’t afford to contribute to help keep the electrons on, but as feeble as it is I’ll go now and set up an annual $5 birthday present.

Happy birthday, metafilter. Thank you for being.
posted by you must supply a verb at 8:49 AM on July 15 [5 favorites]


I have been here for 18 years, 8 months and 25 days. I was 37 years old when I joined and am 55 now. Bill Clinton was still President of the United States. My 18-year-old daughter who will be starting her freshman year of college in six weeks was a tiny fetus. I had a full head of hair. Donald Trump was bankrupt (again) and a national punchline. There was no Facebook, no YouTube, no smartphones. The past, as they say, is a different country.

I cannot agree strongly enough with the people who have already said how much MetaFilter has shaped their entire view of the world. We've learned more than we ever imagined, had our spirits both lifted and crushed, fought for important things and fought with each other over very small things indeed. I've loved and hated this site but have never stopped showing up almost every day to have my ideas challenged and my knowledge broadened. Thank you to everyone, present and past, who has been a part of all that time.
posted by briank at 8:52 AM on July 15 [24 favorites]


I came here as a lurker from a link from Memepool, a site that, name-wise at least was born just a bit too early. I struggled figuring out paypal, and when I finally got ready to sign up, I found out that the name I wanted was one of the many tragically lost to the signup process. That’s right, I should have been Torgo, as I was called throughout college by my close friends, but it was gone, and Ghidorah was the first thing I could think of.

This place has made me a better person. This place introduced me to the friends I spent yesterday afternoon celebrating the 20th anniversary with, and even a couple new faces.

There are people that were here when I started that I felt in awe of, and was always nervous to engage with, and many of them have moved on, and I miss them, but as time goes on, new names keep popping up, and becoming names I begin to recognize, and things move along.

I’m not as active as I used to be, though things have changed enough in my life that I finally have the time and the energy to be here more often, and it means a hell of a lot to me that this is here, that all of you who make this site are still here. In the last year, the fucking fuck threads have been a tremendous boon to me as I went through some remarkably shitty times, and I hope that the people that took the time to express concern for me knew/know how much that means to me, and that, in those threads, I was able to return the favor and hug back just as fiercely as I was being hugged.

This place continues to evolve. It has come a long way, and I’m excited to see what comes next. There is a lot of work, as being discussed in other threads, ahead of all of us, but I’m choosing, against all of my deeply ingrained tendencies, to be hopeful. This is a community, even if most of us will never meet each other face to face. This is a home on the Internet, and I’m glad and grateful to be able to share it with all of you.
posted by Ghidorah at 9:09 AM on July 15 [8 favorites]


Not sure why, but I feel this weird urge to celebrate the 20th by trying to ice this account and reactivating my original one, if that's even possible.
posted by the phlegmatic king


Building on this: I was camping this past weekend, completely unplugged from the web, and spent a weirdly large amount of the time thinking about this place and my relationship with it. And I came back recognizing how valuable it is. So I'm back in this guise, and supporting now, by the way, thank you all for everything.
posted by COBRA! at 9:10 AM on July 15 [5 favorites]


I don't think I qualify as an "active user" by any means, but I've been here almost daily for the last 14 years, and I can't even begin to quantify the effect it has had on my growing up. I've averaged just about 1 comment per week in that time, but even as a lurker I've felt a part of the community. Because, for all our faults, MetaFilter was always my people, and made me feel less alone, particularly when I needed it most.

And as the years have progressed, and I've kept reading, I'd not have been aware of half the things I've learned were it not for this little website. I mean that genuinely: not just the tidbits I'd share with friends, or the latest viral whatever, but for the sheer awareness. I know we have some way to go, but this place was "woke" before I knew what that meant, and I'm more the humanist as a result.

I wish I could take the credit for every time I made some succinct or considered comment about a given issue that was robbed wholesale from some Mefite. But I've learned so much, grown so much, from those insights. And I can't help but think that were it not for MetaFilter, I'd have been swallowed up by some other, less-than-wholesome internet nerdhole. I thank the God I don't believe in that it was this one instead.

So thanks for that, really, it means a great deal.
posted by Acey at 9:20 AM on July 15 [7 favorites]


When I decided to ask my girlfriend to marry me, I told MetaFilter before I told my family.

I've been very nostalgic about MetaFilter this weekend. It's meant more to me than just about anything else in my life. More than school, more than religion, more than my work. It's a testament to this place that even twenty years later, I still see so many names I know in threads like this. The friends I made here are part of my everyday life. We talk here, on Twitter, on Instagram, Snapchat, by text, and there are some of you who I call on the phone occasionally, just to hear your stupid voice.

You've been there for me when I needed you.

I've been to your weddings, conducted a few of them. I have been honored to help out when your loved ones die--unexpectedly or otherwise. When your children are born, I send wildly inappropriate cards. And when I'm having a bad day or difficulty coping with the daily horrors of my job, I have a whole community of friends I can lean on for support and laughs. I love you all. And keep those flippies coming.
posted by ColdChef at 9:26 AM on July 15 [46 favorites]


Happy 20th, Blue! I was an enthusiastic and active user for years, but faded away as work and interests changed. I still mostly lurk now that I have free time again, but I'm always glad it's here.
posted by me3dia at 9:26 AM on July 15 [5 favorites]


When your children are born, I send wildly inappropriate cards.

We have a picture of the kraken as a baby wearing Mardi Gras beads you sent us (:
posted by an octopus IRL at 9:31 AM on July 15 [5 favorites]


And here's to the continued success of the Camberville trivia behemoth - I won't say we're directly responsible for several local bars closing, but I won't say we weren't, either.

They can't prove anything.
posted by DiscourseMarker at 10:16 AM on July 15 [1 favorite]


So literally my introduction to AskMe was that thread started by jeremias, and I remember reading, and reading...by the time I saw the thread, it had already gotten many comments so I had to break it up and read it in multiple parts. It was one of the most interesting things I'd seen on the web. To me that was the best of the web.

I'm happy that my small contribution to the site brought you here. The "life-altering" thread you refer to is a high water mark for me, not only here on MeFi, but on the Internet. I've been on the web since it started, but this was the closest I've come to seeing something I was responsible for "go viral". That day was 14+ years ago, but I remember it almost like yesterday.

It was the second time I truly felt a part of a web community. The first time was on 9/11, and there's a Mefi component to that day which I seldom recount, it's a bit somber, but perhaps also hopeful. So please forgive/indulge me. (Not sure if this is trigger-worthy, but if 9/11 is something you don't want to engage with, maybe give it a skip).

On Sept. 11 my newborn son (the one and the same referred to in the life-altering thread years later) was only 3 months old. I was a stay-at-home dad and was feeding him by bottle. One of the early morning shows was on in the background. So I was watching live before the first plane crash was reported and then again in real-time as the second crash happened. The next hour was a bit of blur involving phone calls to my wife as well as friends in NYC (who were all fine).

With the whole world changing before my eyes, you know what I did? That's right, I went to sleep. It was time for my son's first nap of the day and he and I went into the bedroom, where we both checked out for an hour, maybe two. Don't ask me how I was able to, I suspect it was mild trauma response to what I had just experienced.

When I woke up, I didn't turn on the TV, because even though a 3 month old can't process those images, my immediate instinct was to protect and insulate him. So I went onto MeFi and in that thread began to read what happened while I was fast asleep, the attack on the Pentagon, Flight 93, the tower collapses, all of it. The rest of that day, as well as the ensuing weeks and months to come, my main source of information and cold comfort was this place. Honestly, I can't imagine dealing with that period at all in the same way without MeFi.

To me, the 9/11 thread and the "life-alerting" thread are forever interwoven into the fabric of my personal history and testaments to how special this nook of the web is. I know this thread is meant to be a celebration of the site, and it should be! The ability to provide a forum that can change people's lives is rare indeed, and worth fighting for.
posted by jeremias at 10:23 AM on July 15 [10 favorites]


I started lurking on MeFi sometime in early 2001. I probably heard about this place through Memepool, or maybe BoingBoing. Unfortunately, the membership was closed, except for occasional open enrollments, which I somehow seemed to keep missing. So it went for years...

In late '04, Matt opened the doors wide to new members once more. I finally caught the open window this time and paid my five bucks, signed up and gave up the life of a MeFi lurker. MeFi became my main online home ever since.

It's odd to think how many millions of words of text I've read and written here on MeFi since signing up, how many hundreds and hundreds of hours I've spent here, the awesome people I’ve met, and how much this site and its members have shaped my online experience and informed my understanding of the world over the past 18 years.

What a long, strange trip it's been. Thank you all for letting me be a part of the journey! ★
posted by darkstar at 10:43 AM on July 15 [6 favorites]


Fourteen years ago, thanks to AskMe, I got to visit various sites from my mom's childhood in 1930's Vienna. Plus, I got a whole trove of information about the hoops my grandparents had to jump through before they could escape the Nazi's clutches. My family's immigration journey has been particularly on my mind lately, for obvious current events reasons.

(A special thank you to MeFi user Arco who was working at the Holocaust Museum and who found this incredible information for me.)
posted by yankeefog at 10:54 AM on July 15 [14 favorites]


I officially joined 11 years ago, but lurked for a while before that. Now, my wife says, "Are you looking at the blue web site again?"

Yes. Yes I am.
posted by vibrotronica at 11:04 AM on July 15 [7 favorites]


Happy birthday, Metafilter!

I don't remember how I originally ended up here, but it's coming up on 12 years since I ponied up my $5. I've posted a couple of handfuls each of FPPs and Asks, and one pony MeTa. In the last year and change, I've talked about addiction and recovery more with people on the Grey than I have with most of the people I know in real life. I've been occasionally snarky in comments, and sometimes a little too quick with a joke instead of a thoughtful reply. I've learned a LOT about listening and allyship from this place, and every visit, every day, leaves me a better person than I was the day before.

I feel like I've made a couple of really good friends here. I hope the other attendees of Space Coyote's trivia nights in Redwood City didn't mind the weird guy with the crutches that dropped in for a very small handful of games a few years ago.
posted by hanov3r at 11:15 AM on July 15 [2 favorites]


yankeefog, you're probably already aware of it, but you are one of the awesome examples Matt used in his video presentation at the May 2010 GEL Conference to illustrate how cool MeFi and its members are.

The video is linked on MeFi's "About" page.
posted by darkstar at 11:25 AM on July 15 [2 favorites]


Happy birthday, MetaFilter!

Is there any prospect of an option for returning to black text on white? I don't usually read logged in, and white text on colours is nearly unreadable for me.
posted by readinghippo at 11:30 AM on July 15 [2 favorites]


readinghippo, there's a "Dark mode is on/off" toggle in the sidebar that you should be able to use to switch between the Dark and Light themes; if you're on mobile, you may need to jump down to the bottom of the page where the sidebar stuff lives for that view. If you have any trouble there, lemme know the details on the contact form.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:46 AM on July 15 [3 favorites]


Thanks for that, Cortex, I have found the Dark Mode toggling, which goes to show how much I notice the sidebar I suppose. That's exactly what I was after.
posted by readinghippo at 12:00 PM on July 15


Thank you, Darkstar! I don't think I knew that. That's awesome. I'm looking forward to watching that video!
posted by yankeefog at 12:02 PM on July 15 [1 favorite]


Happy 20th, Mefi. Here’s to twenty more 🥂🍻
posted by griphus at 12:05 PM on July 15 [3 favorites]


Happy birthday mefi!
After 15 yrs the time has come for me to say goodbye. I wish you all the best!
posted by jouke at 12:18 PM on July 15 [1 favorite]


Last night I was visited by three ghosts, who put the true spirit of MeFiversarymas in my heart where it shall reign for the rest of my days.
posted by XMLicious at 12:19 PM on July 15 [4 favorites]


I keep wanting to quit this site, but then someone else ends up being really cool, or generous, or just downright nice. The absolute worst is when I meet another user in person and we end up having a great conversation. Imagine 20 years of this! Come on people, be less decent. I need to reclaim some of my free time.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 12:21 PM on July 15 [7 favorites]


happy birthday. I am glad you're still around
posted by fregoli at 12:29 PM on July 15


Happy 20th, and thanks to the staff and users for making this site fantastic. I joined just before the 10th, after having casually encountered the site irregularly for a few years before that. In addition to introducing me to some great people and countless interesting things, I've learned a lot from being here. As someone who has always had a (locally) extreme world view and limited patience for people I disagree with, interacting with the undeniably thoughtful and learned people here who I wouldn't normally spend time with has been fantastic.
posted by eotvos at 12:39 PM on July 15


I cannot imagine my life without Metafilter. I wouldn't have met my husband and a great number of my close friends. The number of things I wouldn't know could populate a library - I have learned so much. I was banging down the door to get in when memberships opened for a mere $5, and I'll die here. Cheers to you, Metafilter.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:48 PM on July 15 [10 favorites]


I can't add anything to the loving testimonials above. MetaFilter is the Best of the Web and an extraordinary community. 20 years? That's, like, 100 in internet years.

I found a really great link today that let me express my gratitude for what MetaFilter means to me. Come on, click it. You know you wanna.
posted by sjswitzer at 12:49 PM on July 15 [2 favorites]


I spent this weekend in the woods with no cell service, which is a very strange way seems fitting for Metafilter's 20th birthday. I hope I'm still hanging around here chatting with y'all for another 20.
posted by COD at 1:18 PM on July 15 [1 favorite]


I am deeply ambivalent about Metafilter to be truthful, but there have definitely been times when I spent more time socializing here than anywhere else, possibly including in real life. I have no clue how I managed to make nearly 20,000 comments except that some of them are terrible (a few are good) and I guess I've taken a long time to make them. At least I lived long enough to see the Edit button.

Happy Birthday, you odd conceptual entity.
posted by GuyZero at 1:24 PM on July 15 [4 favorites]


You are world, you are the children!
posted by Burhanistan at 1:28 PM on July 15 [1 favorite]


Happy slightly belated birthday, blue and gray and green and oh gods, I can't keep up, is there an orange now? like others, I started lurking from memepool and finally tumbled in for real with the great wave of $5 no0bs. Like others, I was in my thirties then and I'm in my fifties now and now that I think of it, that was not long after I moved from Maryland to NC, so it's oddly fitting that here I still am 20 years later, not long after moving from NC to OR. This place has changed my life: so many, maybe even most at this point, of my IRL friends are from here (and beloved MetaChat of memory which I'm counting for these purposes as a subsite.) Honestly one of the reasons I even moved here was because I knew that while there might not be many Mefites in my immediate area, there most definitely were 2 hours up the road. Which is why I'm so furious at my stupid body for deciding it couldn't handle going to Hillsboro yesterday, but you know what? I will make it one of these days, camping in September if not before, and I know y'all are there. That means the world. Happy happy birthday Metafilter, I love you.

and hey, mefites, if you are visiting in or around Astoria OR, this summer, hmu, I have such dive bars to show you.
posted by mygothlaundry at 1:48 PM on July 15 [6 favorites]


I'm a little late to this thread. Partially as I don't do much online nowadays because summer, and strange and delightful things happening inside stone circles. And partially because yesterday was filled with quite possibly the greatest match in the history of cricket, and I'm still happily shattered by it, especially that final hour.

But, happy 20th birthday MetaFilter. And wishing the best for another 20 to come.
posted by Wordshore at 1:51 PM on July 15 [7 favorites]


I don't see the point of wishing a site happy birthday. But I wish the community of MeFi people a happy 20th anniversary, and hopefully many more.

Actually I wrote an acrostic poem.

Community We Blog

Makers and moderators
Eccentrics and educators
Tale-tellers and techies
Activists and academics
Forecasters and facilitators
Intellectuals and innovators
Leaders and litigators
Teachers and thinkers
Enthusiasts and exemplars
Friends and Friends to be
A Happy 20 year anniversary
posted by gryftir at 2:16 PM on July 15 [8 favorites]


Happy birthday, Metafilter! Matt, thanks for creating this hub for all of us; it's been one of the very highlights of my life. I could go another twelve at least.
Pours one out for those who left early.
posted by heyho at 2:43 PM on July 15 [3 favorites]


Happy and Healthy Annibirthday to all!
posted by Splunge at 3:23 PM on July 15 [1 favorite]


Happy belated birthday! I joined nearly 6 and 1/2 years ago and while I go through phases of commenting I read at least AskMe and MeTa every day (it’s one of my favourite ways to procrastinate getting up in the mornings). It was Ask that brought me here, and I’ve been on the site through separation, divorce, remarriage, buying my first house, finishing my dissertation, changing jobs, baking pies, and a whole heap of human relations stuff - not necessarily in that order. It really got me through the worst period of my life and I’ll always be grateful. It’s such a part of the fabric of my thought process that even last night when I got in an almighty snit with mr bee* and flounced off to sleep on the couch (which I never do) I lay there and composed the requisite Ask in my head and imagined the replies. I knew there’d be a couple of DTMFAs, obviously, but I could mainly hear the chorus of voices telling me to wise up to myself because I was being unreasonable (dammit) so I slunk back upstairs. And when I woke up and checked the site first thing, as I do, the first comment I saw was this one from stoneweaver, and as is so often the case it was what I needed to see at that moment, and I said sorry for being a jerk and all was well. I have learned so much, found good music, made friends, broadened my mind, discovered things about myself and the world, and read endless animal posts. I’m really grateful to Matt and cortex and all mods past and present, and to all of you for making this place. Seriously, thanks.

*he says happy birthday too. he’s technically a member but never posts, but if I had a pound for every time the word “MetaFilter” has been used between us since we met I’d be writing this on a postcard from my mansion on the beach.
posted by billiebee at 4:36 PM on July 15 [11 favorites]


Happy (Belated) Birthday, Metafilter. I've been thinking about what makes Metafilter feel like a community - and I think it's that if someone mentions that they're on - or even used to be on - Metafilter, I think they're a better person.

You're good eggs, here's to another twenty years on this weird blue site.

even though I use the professional white background
posted by dinty_moore at 6:51 PM on July 15 [4 favorites]


You're good eggs

But are we bacon caramelized onion deviled eggs?
posted by vrakatar at 9:44 PM on July 15 [5 favorites]


I guess this is as good a thread as any to post my first comment. Happy birthday MeFi, and thank you to the community who've made it so uniquely interesting over the years I had been following from afar.
posted by limoni at 10:45 PM on July 15 [18 favorites]


But are we bacon caramelized onion deviled eggs?

We are eggs with beans, silly.
posted by Rumple at 10:47 PM on July 15 [2 favorites]


Happy Birthday you old Metafilter you.

I've only been "official" for 5 years but visited regularly for years and years before that. I even joined some monkeys in the MeFi waiting room. Although MeFi has less bananas, I'm still happy to be in this place.
posted by Zedcaster at 11:16 PM on July 15 [2 favorites]


I'm a bit late to this, but I'm another person whose life has been inadvertently influenced by MetaFilter in a weird way.

A few years ago, I was bumbling around after losing my job in radio, not quite sure what to do. I'd always been interested in maps and geography and places but didn't know how to parlay that into a career rather than just an interest. Someone posted an FPP featuring a blog full of really interesting GIS stuff, written by a university professor in the UK - lots of stats and maps. I read the whole blog, from the most recent post to the first, and got into learning all about GIS online and reading other books and things about it.

Fast forward to this year, and I'm starting an urban planning degree in September. One of the professors teaching the course is, by complete coincidence, the professor who wrote the blog that I first found on MetaFilter.
posted by winterhill at 1:25 AM on July 16 [41 favorites]


Metafilter is my online home since 2011. I am so grateful this site and community exists. For me, it's proof that polite, friendly and sometimes warm discourse is indeed possible on the internet. I do not post much but I'm starting every day seeing what's new on the site.
Metafilter has opened my eyes and stretched my mind on so many topics. I can safely say it has made me a more thoughtful and compassionate person that I'd been otherwise. It also helped me grieve the loss of a parent and some other dark times.

Thank you to everyone, the mods, fellow Mefites, I'm glad you're here.
posted by M. at 5:14 AM on July 16 [5 favorites]


The highs have been high. I've learned a lot and made a lot of friends, and indirectly, found my partner for life as a result of its existence. MetaFilter has made a real, appreciable impression in many human lives and enabled many human connections that have resulted in learning and growth. Much of it has been for the good - that's more than many can say about a website. Happy 20th ol' pal.
posted by Miko at 5:19 AM on July 16 [12 favorites]


I didn't see this for some reason and was wondering why super old comments were getting fav'd! Nothing like reading comments from when you were just a kid to really take you back!

Happy birthday, metafilter! <3 <3 <3
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 5:59 AM on July 16 [11 favorites]


Everyone in my life knows how much I love Metafilter because half of my stories start with, "Today on Metafilter, I read this really cool article/comment/post. Let me tell you allll about it!"

In three weeks, I'll be setting up my new apartment and getting ready for graduate orientation. I would not be on the path I am now with helpful answers to my questions, and insight from the brilliant people here. I hope Metafilter sticks around for many more years!
posted by Mouse Army at 7:11 AM on July 16 [7 favorites]


I have said this before, but becoming part of this community was an enormous affirmation for me that it was ok to think, write, and talk about Big Ideas. After a youth and young adulthood of being sort of shunned and ridiculed for being the smart kid - a nerdy girl in a very small town - the positive feedback I got here about my posts and comments did more than you can ever know to help me understand that it was actually ok to be a smart girl. I feel enormously fortunate to be even small part of this community. I feel like I'll always have a home here. A community, where it's ok to be a nerdy shy girl who wants to talk about Big Things.

So, thanks Matt, for building this, and thanks Cortex for keeping it going.
posted by anastasiav at 7:17 AM on July 16 [13 favorites]


Happy 20th birthday, MetaFilter - soon you'll be old enough to drink, and what a time that will be!

(Seriously, congratulations and much appreciation to the team that keeps things running in spite of the relentless torrent of ... stuff. This is truly the best of the internet.)
posted by RedOrGreen at 7:47 AM on July 16 [2 favorites]


Get your cats on the scanners and break out the good silver because we're having a party!
posted by East14thTaco at 9:27 AM on July 16 [2 favorites]


Don't post or comment myself much these days (not bc of anything specific to MeFi, more the generally intimidating/exhausting tenor of the internet socially and the invasive quantification stuff as a whole the past few years means I've cut waaaaay back on internet time/presence all around) but remain grateful this site has stuck to its simple text-conversation-based principles and form much longer than most things on the internet, and am happy I spent much of my formative years talking here.

I'm usually behind with things and as such was disheartened to read today the MeTa post re: finances. That thread's closed now but I wanted to say I've doubled my subscription and am crossing my fingers MeFi can continue. Happy Birthday, and thank you mods and staff for all you do to make this possible.
posted by ifjuly at 10:15 AM on July 16 [3 favorites]


Happy Birthday! Thanks to all who lurk, read, post, disagree, agree and moderate. I can't think of a better group to be a part of.
posted by jabo at 10:20 AM on July 16


I just joined Metafilter a few days ago. I’ve been on FB since 2009 and have very few friends because no one is my friend there, unless I actually “know” them. I have to work hard there to keep away from trolls. I am beginning to feel, more and more every day, a dark cloud over me as I go there to touch base with friends. My dear son turned me on to your site. It feels like a burst a clean fresh air any time I come here. People are kind and helpful. And genuine. Thanks so much for this site and proving to me that Goodness is still alive and well in this world. Happy Happy Birthday Metafilter! I’m so glad to be here!!
posted by surely at 10:30 AM on July 16 [23 favorites]


Happy birthday, MetaFilter!
posted by Jpfed at 11:00 AM on July 16


Happy Birthday MetaFilter! And thanks to Matt and all of the team for providing this space for us.
I found the site through WGB, and I'm still happy every time I see someone from there here (those who know, know). It was back in 2003, when I was dealing with several forms of grief, and several years passed before I signed up.
There are so many amazing things about MetaFilter, but I think the best is that it is so well moderated. I get so tired of the drama one sees on literally all other sites, even when they are about cooking. I get comments and even posts deleted sometimes because I am not sensitive to American mores, but I find that a useful learning experience.
Happy birthday to everyone here, and a toast to the next twenty years!
posted by mumimor at 11:25 AM on July 16 [5 favorites]


It’s fascinating to realize that I signed up for an account an entire decade ago. I don’t remember how long I lurked beforehand, but I know I stumbled upon the site via Ask Metafilter results in Google. It took me many years to start reading other parts of the site, and the Blue has really helped me get through the day at several boring jobs. I read the entire emotional labor mega-thread over the course of a couple weeks while walking on a treadmill desk in the basement of my most boring job - thank you, friendly and educational internet!

I’ve spent a lot more time on the site this year now that I’ve deleted Facebook but don’t post much because it’s a pain in the ass to type on my old iPad, and I only lurk from my work computer. But I appreciate the constancy of this community and text-only content.

I’ve been too chicken to go to a meetup IRL, partly because I wanted to keep this place separate from my real life. But the older I get, the more interested I am in making friends in unexpected places, so maybe this next decade will make that happen.
posted by Maarika at 12:08 PM on July 16 [5 favorites]


I don't remember when I first found the site. I registered in 2004 -- I want to guess it was likely a couple of years before that.

This site has been such a bedrock, for so long. I wish there were more sites like it. Actual conversation - actual comments worth reading.

There are very few things still around from the 1998-2000 era of those internets. You know this already, but to add one more voice: You make the internet better. Thank you.
posted by andreaazure at 12:36 PM on July 16 [3 favorites]


Thank you for fighting the good fight. All my love to the team and the community here in the most important place, to me, on the internet.
posted by churl at 12:57 PM on July 16 [2 favorites]


Happy 20th birthday, MetaFilter - soon you'll be old enough to drink, and what a time that will be!

Canadian Metafilter has already been there for a year, which might just explain a lot.
posted by philip-random at 1:29 PM on July 16 [11 favorites]


I believe we drive Mefi over the border to Windsor a year or so ago, yes
posted by GuyZero at 1:42 PM on July 16 [7 favorites]


UK Metafilter had been drinking legit for two years and knocking back shit cider in a bus stop for at least two years before that.
posted by biffa at 2:15 PM on July 16 [9 favorites]


(Buckfast in Glasgow)
posted by biffa at 2:16 PM on July 16 [1 favorite]


I would like to think that I am a better person for having joined so long ago, so thank you all so much for that.
posted by y2karl at 2:29 PM on July 16 [6 favorites]


U.S. Metafilter is getting sick of standing out front of 7-11 waiting for Geocities to come by and shoulder tap him to buy a case of Busch.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 2:37 PM on July 16 [11 favorites]


It's never too soon to start planning the next anniversary meetups. Cocktail parties seem appropriate. (Evening wear optional, but come on!)
posted by sjswitzer at 2:53 PM on July 16


Metafilter, despite all its faults and flaws as a public forum, is still one of my favorite places on the internet, and more importantly, it's consistently been at the top of the list for years even as other sites (like Tumblr) have fallen out of favor. I have a big aversion to digital payments / online shopping in general, but I sucked it up to buy a membership last year, and I sucked it up just now to help keep this place going...!

Thanks, everyone, especially cortex and the mod team, for making the site somewhere I can count on learning new things, being pushed to be uncomfortable with my privilege and grow to be a better person, and keep up to date with the news (for better or for worse in the case of politics!). Y'all rock :)
posted by devrim at 3:51 PM on July 16 [4 favorites]


Canadian Metafilter has already been there for a year, which might just explain a lot.

Two, in Alberta, Manitoba and Quebec.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 5:25 PM on July 16 [2 favorites]


MetaFilter, I love you. Happy birthday!
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 6:37 PM on July 16


I'm almost never here anymore, but congrats to making it to 20 years. :o
posted by chunking express at 6:45 PM on July 16 [3 favorites]


There have been good times here and bad. Congratulations on making it twenty years, and I hope that one day we can say that the second twenty years were even better.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:49 PM on July 16 [6 favorites]


I first encountered MetaFilter in college sometime in 2003/2004 via H.S. Kim's comic, CrazyKimchi. It's no longer there, but Wayback remembers. Wish I knew where they went and if they're still making comics.

My girlfriend and I got money to sign up in 2006 when we discovered a logged in account on a chemistry library computer and let the user know via an awkward email... messages lost to time. Thanks metaculpa! Wherever you are!

We met some of ya'll when cortex was was in town for his 2009 America-tour. I guess that was a decade ago. Remember the MeFi music CD? Seems like a dream...

MeFi is better now than in the era of gleeful pileons and wretched flameouts. Here's to anoher ten years and new heights.
posted by Mister Cheese at 10:57 PM on July 16 [1 favorite]


Happy birthday metafilter. There's been a lot of really interesting discussion about the direction the site could or should take but today it is lovely to celebrate all that's it's been for so many ppl. Many celebratory returns!
posted by jojobobo at 1:13 AM on July 17


CAKE🎂DAY!!!
posted by aw jeez at 1:53 AM on July 17 [1 favorite]


It's been so long that I forgot my origin story. I know the 17kers have an origin story, and that we're slightly different than the 14kers. I know I spent a long time chasing the signup window.

When I finally got in, how that was, Kid Ruki, who will be Adult Child by year's end, was Infant Ruki. Thanks for being part of her village.

Don't forget to be kind, MetaFilter. That's when you're at your best, when you're bravely, unquestioningly, amazingly kind.
posted by Ruki at 6:11 AM on July 17 [7 favorites]


I'm a heavy lurker mostly, but this is my favourite place on the internet; it feels welcoming, and useful, and tolerant (which is still being improved, which speaks volumes about the place). There would be a real void if this place stopped existing... thanks for being here, and to all of you for being the wonderful, diverse, thoughtful, funny, helpful, informed, eclectic individuals that you are.
Happy MetaFilter Anniversary to all!
posted by Laura in Canada at 6:23 AM on July 17 [8 favorites]


Fuck yeah, mefi.
posted by rmd1023 at 7:54 AM on July 17 [3 favorites]


MeFi Seattle Trivia (usual team name Manifest Destiny’s Child using 20 Years of Cat Scans this week) salutes Metafilter’s 20th and has donated their $67 winnings from the night of the 14th.

Also, I cheated to get my account when signups were closed. I am not sorry.
posted by skyscraper at 11:50 PM on July 17 [13 favorites]


Oops should note teammates on this occasion were ChrisR, Errant, palmcorder_yajna and cgc373.
posted by skyscraper at 11:55 PM on July 17


Damn it, we've been exposed as trivia players!
posted by ChrisR at 11:57 PM on July 17 [2 favorites]


Nobody reads the comments down here.
posted by skyscraper at 12:00 AM on July 18 [10 favorites]


I lurked for years, finding my way here through AskMe. It helped me so much to get me out of my teenage awkwardness and into my slightly better twenties awkwardness. Metafilter advised me on my international move, helped me get a friend back who had dropped out of contact, and satisfied so many curiosities and eased anxieties.

Despite its issues, it's my home on the internet and has been worth so much more than 5 bucks for me. Thanks everyone.
posted by Gordafarin at 2:22 AM on July 18 [2 favorites]


A belated happy birthday to MeFi!
posted by klausness at 2:31 AM on July 18


Mefi has made me realize that you can truly grow and become a better person by engaging with others and listening to their stories. It's been more kind, accepting and transformative than any book or article I've read.

After spending an entire life in front of screens, I still haven't found a community as amazing as Mefi. You guys are amazing. The mods are amazing. Thank you all for this.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 8:20 AM on July 18 [7 favorites]


Happy Birthday. MetaFilter. I literally don’t know what I’d do on the Internet without you.

So so true for me, it is one of the reasons our continued survival as an entity is mission critical for my personal well-being. Metafilter is the Internet, and I read the Internet a lot. Please cortex, make it stay?

I'm a much kinder, more thoughtful person because of this site.

Me too! I am still an asshole, but a kinder and gentler and more empathetic asshole. Thank you all of you for being here.

I can still remember the specific moment I became the first $5 n00b, I was sitting in my office in Bishkek. "Wow, I am a member of Metafilter!" It was a huge rush to become a part of this group. And as a community we just keep getting better.

We have become much better about how we treat women and feminist issues, I look forward for all of us growing in our approach to inclusiveness now, long overdue! In 20 years I want MF to be the most global and open and kind place on the English Internet, and I think that is absolutely a realistic goal.

See you around guys!@@@ Rock on !!!1
posted by Meatbomb at 8:36 AM on July 18 [6 favorites]


Happy birthday!
posted by oceanjesse at 8:55 AM on July 18 [1 favorite]


I'm delighted that Metafilter exists and that I managed to stumble onto it! It's been a huge and positive influence on my life. Thank you to the community and mods for being thoughtful, earnest, friendly, and so fucking interesting.

Cheers and Happy Birthday! Make sure to blow out those twenty candles in one breath -- and don't forget the one extra to wish on! I love this place and all of you who make it what it is and will be.
posted by rue72 at 9:16 AM on July 18 [3 favorites]


Happy birthday, Metafilter! I'm so glad you're here.
posted by mixedmetaphors at 3:16 PM on July 18


20 years for MeFi, 19 years since I joined, 3 years since I've commented.

I will always love Metafilter, even if I can't bear to be a part of it any more. I hope and dream that, for better or worse, the early web ethos it has manifested -- of word-intoxicated enthusiasm for the unlimited possibilities of encouraging random dummies to find cool internet things and sometimes argue vociferously but harmlessly and in a spirit of friendship about those things -- never dies out.

Happy birthday, old friend. Our paths may have diverged, but I wish nothing but the best for you.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:28 AM on July 19 [26 favorites]


I came back three years ago after skipping a few years and did not understand why I skipped even a day. It just fell off my routine in some way -- I think I switched machines and missed some sites.

Still love how it doesn't load my CPU and how someone about weekly provides a link filled post, keeping me engaged with so many different subjects, followed by thoughtful comments (mostly).

Happy Anniversary MetaFilter!
posted by filtergik at 8:23 AM on July 19 [1 favorite]


One of my favorite places on the internets for 9ish years. So thankful for all the kind and thoughtful people - mods included - who have really made a difference for me and clearly, many others. I know this place has some current struggles - I hope we can overcome them. I have done a lot of outside reading as a result of recent discussions and hope I'm not the only one!
Also, here is that bestbestbest Pixar comment story. I just cried again.
posted by Glinn at 9:42 AM on July 19 [5 favorites]


!
Thank you, everyone.
posted by Mutant Lobsters from Riverhead at 4:56 PM on July 19 [1 favorite]


Is it possible to earmark where contributions/subscriptions go, using the current fundraising page? Meaning, if we contribute or subscribe through that fundraising page, will we be able to designate our donation/contribution/subscription towards a particular site need?

There have been people who said they would be more inclined to contribute if their contribution could go towards a specific purpose, such as paying for a business consultant or contributing towards the salary of a mod that would add diversity to the team. Given the recent MeTas, more people would also be happier and more willing to contribute if they knew they were designating their contributions for something specific that Metafilter needs. Could we implement this option?
posted by aielen at 6:27 PM on July 19


My son turned me on to MetaFilter and it has been a daily part of my life. I don’t make posts, but I do comment. I’ve liked that this site COMMUNALLY tries to be a better place. That is not easy. This site though makes the effort. More places on the Internet should make that effort. Happy 20th! Many more!
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 4:58 AM on July 20 [6 favorites]


Oh how I cherish Metafilter! Such an interesting, astute group of people. Je vous adore! I donated $20 in honor of the two decades MF has existed; I'd donate $20,000, if I could. Thanks for being here!
posted by but no cigar at 1:13 PM on July 20 [4 favorites]


Not perfect, but the human equivalent - striving to know ourselves, love ourselves, and open up the meaning of "ourselves."

Good luck, brave little website. We have your back.
posted by Glomar response at 6:56 PM on July 20 [2 favorites]


I've been around for 18 of those 20 years, learned a lot & enjoyed the company. Here's to the next 20!
posted by beagle at 9:39 AM on July 21 [2 favorites]


I can't believe it's been 20 years! Wishing MetaFilter a very happy birthday with at least 16 levels of complexity.
posted by iamkimiam at 12:37 PM on July 21 [2 favorites]


Happy Cake Day!
posted by jadepearl at 12:42 PM on July 21


Congrats on 20, MeFi, and thanks for helping out my Russian friends. I still talk to K weekly. She's in good shape, and so am I.
posted by fake at 5:48 PM on July 23 [26 favorites]


I know I'm late to the party, but happy 20th! AskMe has helped me so much over the years, and I really appreciate it. I hope AskMe stays around for a long while.
posted by dubious_dude at 6:53 PM on July 24 [1 favorite]


Proud to be a Metafilter reader for the whole 20 years. A little chagrined that I was a lurker for the first 6 of them. Embarrassed that I've only been a regular financial contributor for one.

But I always use MetaFilter as my go to example of Internet community done right.

Happy Birthday Y'all/Us!
posted by cross_impact at 2:22 PM on July 25 [4 favorites]


My ten year anniversary. Much luv to the Mods, you were patient & kind with me when I posted late at nite when I was tired and distressed. Also feeling some conflicts about the hive mind when it gits all pile on-y.

Ive noticed that Anticipation of a New Lover, etc, has logged out late Feb this year.

Maybe I could also paddle off into the sunset...
Of course, I'd start lurking, & log back in when the urge to blurt is irresistible.
posted by ovvl at 6:18 PM on July 26 [2 favorites]


Hippo Birdie MeFi!
posted by Jeremy at 8:36 AM on July 29 [1 favorite]


Late to the birthday party, but I just want to say that I love you, metafilter. I’ve only had an account since 2004, but I remember that first post, back during the Wild West days of the web. And yes, I scanned my cat after that. Well multiple cats, on my old crappy scanner that was beige, because beige was the only color of respectable computer equipment.

I believe metafilter made me the person I am today. I am a better person because of this place and all of you. I wouldn’t understand who I am and my place in the world if I hadn’t read and been challenged by the things written here.

To another 20 years, at least.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 10:49 PM on August 2 [5 favorites]


As an aside, I was 22 when the site was born, I’m 42 now, and I realize I plan to still be hanging out with ya’ll at 62.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 10:51 PM on August 2 [3 favorites]


Happy 20th Mefi! Amazing!

Also amazing is how many user names I still recognize here.

Metafilter: Amazing!
posted by Skygazer at 6:54 AM on August 14 [3 favorites]


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