The Internet 50 October 30, 2019 5:25 PM   Subscribe

According to Popular Mechanics, MeFi is one of 50 sites that "made the internet what it is today".

YMMV, I guess - by how many sites (and which) does your personal list deviate from this one? (Also: in how many other lists like this has MeFi been featured, over the years?)
posted by progosk to MetaFilter-Related at 5:25 PM (47 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

n.b. they couldn't put zombo on there, because once you add zombo to the list you've already got a site that can do everything.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:26 PM on October 30 [30 favorites]


I feel like metafilter is one of the sites that has done all it can to prevent the internet from becoming what it is today.
posted by skewed at 6:03 PM on October 30 [87 favorites]


Yeah TBH "made the internet what it is today" is hardly a compliment. Metafilter is what the internet was supposed to be.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 6:08 PM on October 30 [38 favorites]


Never heard of it. Was it like Newgrounds or more like Ogrish?
posted by Foci for Analysis at 7:02 PM on October 30 [1 favorite]


The very first link posted to MetaFilter, which calls itself “one of the oldest online communities,” was to a site showing photos of cats “wedged” into scanners. The links, submitted by users and posted to the front page of the site, got better from there.

If you say so...

jk!
posted by tofu_crouton at 7:09 PM on October 30 [6 favorites]


Ugh. Rotten.com. Had a girlfriend who was obsessed with that site back in the day. Glad it didn't work out honestly.
posted by RolandOfEld at 9:00 PM on October 30 [5 favorites]


Television Without Pity. I loved television, and I worked in television, but working in television made me hate television (and almost everything else). After a certain number of years in the industry, reading Television Without Pity was the only part of my day when I could smile or laugh at all. Leaving TV gave me back my love of (good narrative) TV, but I still miss TVOP.
posted by The Wrong Kind of Cheese at 11:03 PM on October 30 [21 favorites]


No TvTropes? And no webcomics at all?
posted by zompist at 11:34 PM on October 30 [4 favorites]


Popular What now? Is that one of them there old fashioned magazines I heard of?
posted by vrakatar at 11:36 PM on October 30 [2 favorites]


And no webcomics at all?

Without Keenspot I wouldn't be on Metafilter! And of course there's Diesel Sweeties which in terms of "making the internet what it is today" certainly ranks up there for aesthetic pervasiveness, and Dinosaur Comics for pure... i don't know... very online-ness??
posted by Mizu at 11:47 PM on October 30 [5 favorites]


Metafilter: We Made The Internet What It is Today
posted by Chairboy at 4:04 AM on October 31 [4 favorites]


Whether I agreed or not, I could understand the inclusion of every site on this list except the 50th. Is it some obscure in-joke? Is it a paid placement (all the way at the end of the article)? Am I so deeply out of the loop that I'm not aware this site I've never heard of before in my life is on equal footing with the other 49 on the list?
posted by Cozybee at 4:05 AM on October 31 [4 favorites]


Seconding Cozybee. The Athletic? Never heard of her. I'm not a sports guy, but heck even I'd read some Grantland back in the day. FiveThirtyEight would also seem to have had a more significant impact on online sports discussion? And it hurts to see a VC-fueled sports project lauded as "the biggest evolution in journalism" (again: huh? For charging a subscription fee?) after the Deadspin news this week.

Most hilariously shocking thing from the list is learning that Maddox is active on YouTube (a stone I will continue to leave unturned), which I suppose I could have guessed had Maddox ever crossed my mind in the past two decades.

Anyway! Of all the internet places I've loved on the list, you've always been my favorite, Metafilter. Props for the props.
posted by youarenothere at 4:52 AM on October 31 [2 favorites]


I've never heard of The Athletic either but apparently they have "500,00 subscribers"!
posted by octothorpe at 5:02 AM on October 31


That's British for 500.00

Not sure why then went to two decimals places of significant digits when talking about people tho...
posted by Grither at 5:05 AM on October 31 [6 favorites]


I subscribe to The Athletic and I recommend it!
posted by escabeche at 5:50 AM on October 31


But Craigslist’s success left casualties in its wake. ... It’s also done no favors for art of web design.

FUUUUCK THAT. craigslist's design is perfect! a bunch of categories, no useless images or animations or autoplay videos, easy to load, simple to read. Christ! I'm looking at a yard sale, not trying to decorate a fucking carousel
posted by Greg Nog at 6:34 AM on October 31 [45 favorites]


Suck it Plastic.

Only reason I know The Athletic is it was just on the front page; for firing a bunch of staff. Looks like they aren't going to be as influential as PS projected.
posted by Mitheral at 7:08 AM on October 31 [2 favorites]


Sad not to see Brunching Shuttlecocks on there.
posted by hydropsyche at 7:17 AM on October 31 [14 favorites]


I don’t think that was them. Either SI or just now Deadspin.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 7:17 AM on October 31 [1 favorite]


Hotmail (originally stylized as HoTMaiL as a riff on HTML)

That's some quality, detailed journalism there. Salut!
posted by hanov3r at 7:49 AM on October 31 [5 favorites]


That's some quality, detailed journalism there.

"Hamster[sic] Dance (1997)"

Oh, wait, never mind.
posted by hanov3r at 7:51 AM on October 31 [2 favorites]


That's British for 500.00

Not sure why then went to two decimals places of significant digits when talking about people tho...


The Athletic: Definitely Not Chopping Up Our Users Into Pieces Since 2016
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:22 AM on October 31 [8 favorites]


The Athletic is actually hiring. They have hired a lot of out of work/laid off writers for traditional newspapers. There are some really terrific writers on the Athletic staff. It is not at all like Deadspin or Barstool. It is where you go to read about sports if you do not want frat bro culture.
+1 for recommending them.
posted by AugustWest at 8:38 AM on October 31 [3 favorites]


And no webcomics at all?

For better or worse, Penny Arcade should probably be on a list like this. I think it played a big part in shaping online gaming culture which has had such a huge influence (again, for better or for worse) on the online experience as a whole.
posted by Sangermaine at 8:59 AM on October 31 [7 favorites]


Foci for Analysis: "Never heard of it. Was it like Newgrounds or more like Ogrish?"

It's more of an Ironminds.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:25 AM on October 31 [1 favorite]


I forgot about Hamster Dance! I do remember the complete meltdown when people kept going to WhiteHouse.com in the high school computer lab (by mistake! And then because omg!)

The only thing I would add is Snood. Cats have hairballs, Dogs have fleas, Dave is broke, So register please! And maybe Yahoo Answers—it’s no Ask Metafilter, but it had its day in the sun.
posted by sallybrown at 10:40 AM on October 31 [3 favorites]


Metafilter: What the internet was supposed to be
posted by terrapin at 11:15 AM on October 31 [3 favorites]


And maybe Yahoo Answers—it’s no Ask Metafilter, but it had its day in the sun.

The "unlike some of its competitors" link in the original article's discussing of AskMe's "thoughtful discussion and actually useful answers" goes to Yahoo Answers.
posted by hanov3r at 11:24 AM on October 31 [2 favorites]


Ah, it was indeed Deadspin doing the firing. So change it upto: Only reason I know The Athletic is it was just on the front page; for because deadspin is firing a bunch of staff. Looks like they aren't going to be as influential as PS projected.
posted by Mitheral at 1:13 PM on October 31


MetaFilter: It’s no Ask MetaFilter, but it had its day in the sun.
posted by nickmark at 1:25 PM on October 31 [4 favorites]


And maybe Yahoo Answers

It's been a kind of comfort that it's Yahoo! Answers and not AskMe that the MBMBaM boys have been sieving for content the last many years, and for that alone I'm glad for its existence. It remains sort of an odd curiosity, like I don't know if Y!A feels like it was influential in a clear paragon-of-its-kind sort of way on any front but it certainly ended up with a lot of scope and scale so it's for sure hard to discount it as a presence. In a faceoff between it and e.g. Quora I think I'd find myself waving that Y!A pennant pretty hard, all else aside.

Which reminds me that one of the McElroys just offhandedly mentioned MetaFilter as an extremely casual passing reference (something about searching for like the Coca Cola recipe I think?) at the very end of an episode, maybe two episodes back, and I was absolutely plotzing in my living room.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:55 PM on October 31 [10 favorites]


Aw, man. suck.com. I miss that site.
posted by jquinby at 2:00 PM on October 31 [5 favorites]


Wow. I just looked through Yahoo Answers for the first time in ages. Kind of looks like it should make the rest of the internet smarter just by soaking up soooo much of the stupid.
posted by signal at 2:12 PM on October 31 [2 favorites]


Any list without clownpenis.fart is incomplete.
posted by Twicketface at 2:14 PM on October 31


Where's tubgirl

and don't say "in the bath" you're all better than that
posted by tzikeh at 2:15 PM on October 31 [1 favorite]


Where's tubgirl

in the bath Mentioned in the rotten.com entry.
posted by zamboni at 2:33 PM on October 31 [3 favorites]


Ogrish.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 2:35 PM on October 31


cortex: I don't know if Y!A feels like it was influential in a clear paragon-of-its-kind sort of way on any front but it certainly ended up with a lot of scope and scale so it's for sure hard to discount it as a presence.

For some reason that I don't really understand myself, I was sort of hooked on it back in 2008 and 2009. Yes, that long. I remember being in the organisation of a hacker camp for the first time in 2009, and still finding the time to answer questions on Y!A during the camp itself. Highly implausible, but true. I don't even know how or why. It's a hacker camp! No one has time to get online! You'll miss cool stuff if you do!

Then all of a sudden I quit, and it stuck. Cold turkey. I haven't even looked in years. After all, I have this place now.
posted by Too-Ticky at 3:38 PM on October 31


Interesting that the Mefi entry is one of the very few to have a link to the site they're talking about, albeit to a particular thread & not the front page. Most only have links to other sites that define what they're not.

So, between this and the McElroys podcast cortex mentioned, any plans ready & in-place to take advantage of this sort of fortuitous (& free!) PR? No?
posted by Pinback at 4:35 PM on October 31


Metafilter: We Made The Internet What It is Today

We apologize for the inconvenience. Those responsible have been sacked.
posted by briank at 7:05 PM on October 31 [10 favorites]


I just looked through Yahoo Answers for the first time in ages. Kind of looks like it should make the rest of the internet smarter just by soaking up soooo much of the stupid.

It was useless at providing answers, but extremely useful if you enjoy reveling in the weirdness of humanity, and around earlier than a lot of the other sites where you could sit back, read the comments, and think “people are so f#£|* nuts!”
posted by sallybrown at 7:16 PM on October 31 [1 favorite]


jquinby: "Aw, man. suck.com. I miss that site."

I bought the Suck book a while back, but haven't been able to bring myself to read it. Too much has changed, mostly for the worse.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:43 PM on October 31 [1 favorite]


But Craigslist’s success left casualties in its wake.

The casualties of Craigslist success is basically the entire ecosystem of local newspapers which was largely based on the sale of those tiny ads at the back, which Craigslist entirely destroyed. As much as anyone might want to blame any other factor on the decline of print journalism, the utter gutting of classified ads which accompanied the advent of Craigslist caused more early damage with consequences magnified by increasing challenges.
posted by hippybear at 10:50 PM on October 31 [6 favorites]


And maybe Yahoo Answers

Best-named site on the internet.
posted by eirias at 12:59 AM on November 1 [9 favorites]


Why no Memepool? That site taught me how to explore the web and waste time on the Internet, just not a lot of time.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 3:19 AM on November 1 [4 favorites]


and don't say "in the bath" you're all better than that

I'm really not, but I admire your optimism.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 4:30 AM on November 1 [1 favorite]


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