AskMe mentioned in WaPo December 20, 2019 11:22 AM   Subscribe

Caitlyn Gibson's Washington Post article "Hereafter" discusses two couples who decided to have children despite a cancer diagnosis. The author mentions MeFi here:
Buried in the digital archives of MetaFilter, an online message board that predated Reddit, is a question posed by an anonymous husband in 2010; he explained that his wife had been treated for an aggressive brain tumor, but they desperately wanted to be parents, and he wondered whether having a child was a wise or ethical choice. Hundreds* of replies unspooled below his post, passionately voicing every imaginable viewpoint:

“You’re in for a world of trouble if you do it. But it may be the thing that you need to do.”

“Having lost a mother to cancer ... I do think it is selfish to knowingly bring a child into the world knowing full well that the child will have to watch one of its parents die, and then grow up without them.”

“As someone whose father died when I was eight, I think you should do it.”
*"Hundreds" being eighty-eight, but who's counting?
posted by Johnny Wallflower to MetaFilter-Related at 11:22 AM (20 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

It's a powerful piece, and it's always strange to come across a MeFi reference in the wild. I don't love the way "predated" suggests we are an extinct ancestor, but I guess any press is good press, right?
posted by Rock Steady at 11:27 AM on December 20, 2019 [3 favorites]


I read "predates" to mean "MetaFilter was Reddit before Reddit," but that's just my take.

I think the comment count was based on the MetaFilter-to-Reddit comment conversion factor, where 1 MetaFilter comment is typically worth 20 Reddit comments (SAIT).
posted by filthy light thief at 11:27 AM on December 20, 2019 [10 favorites]


I had the same reaction as Rock Steady, but I also agree with you flt about what the probable intent was. I've got a certain amount of defensive "reports of my death..." reflex when people talk about MeFi so I know it primes my interpretation of ambiguous stuff sometimes, heh.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:29 AM on December 20, 2019


Yeah, I read "predated Reddit" as more of a defense of MeFi: not a Reddit clone.
posted by Etrigan at 12:08 PM on December 20, 2019 [4 favorites]


I think the nub of it as far as editorial nitpicking is that "predates" would do as well and has a clearer connotation of something being a going concern. But also this is me doing editorial nitpicking.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:21 PM on December 20, 2019 [8 favorites]


I haven't thought about Snickollet in a long time, probably since the shutdown of Google Reader. It is so good to see Maddie and Riley grown up!

Also funny that I posted a link to her blog in that AskMefi question.
posted by muddgirl at 12:24 PM on December 20, 2019 [3 favorites]


I thought "predated" was when you went out, but you didn't "Go Out" go out.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:03 PM on December 20, 2019 [3 favorites]


Or as in “predator” and “predation?”
posted by spitbull at 1:06 PM on December 20, 2019 [10 favorites]


Theplatypus promised to come back when they reached a decision. But there's no final reply in the thread. Anyone know what he and his wife decided?
posted by Fukiyama at 1:50 PM on December 20, 2019


posted by Fukiyama Theplatypus promised to come back when they reached a decision. But there's no final reply in the thread. Anyone know what he and his wife decided?

The answer is in the article.
posted by mattdidthat at 4:51 PM on December 20, 2019


To be fair, it is paywalled (at least for me).
posted by Literaryhero at 6:00 PM on December 20, 2019


The answer is in the article.

Unless I missed it, I didn't see any mention that that the subjects of the article were actually our people. It seemed to me the Metafilter thread was just mentioned along with the medical establishment's thoughts as examples of the various opinions on the subject.
posted by Fukiyama at 7:47 PM on December 20, 2019 [2 favorites]


Yes, I am trying to figure out where the answer is in the article, too. It doesn’t seem to imply Ben wrote the question.
posted by the thorn bushes have roses at 7:49 PM on December 20, 2019


Arrrgh, paywalls. Here are a couple more links:

West Central Tribune
Fredericksburg.com
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:04 PM on December 20, 2019


What a beautiful sorry, and also so glad to reconnect with snickolett-followed her blog for years and lost it with google reader.
posted by purenitrous at 9:19 PM on December 20, 2019


Really? No obvious in-joke yet? Okay, I'll do it.

Metafilter: an online message board that predated [sic] Reddit.
posted by biogeo at 9:32 PM on December 20, 2019 [5 favorites]



I think the nub of it as far as editorial nitpicking is that "predates" would do as well and has a clearer connotation of something being a going concern. But also this is me doing editorial nitpicking.


Not nitpicking at all. "Predated" reads as if Metafilter was succeeded by Reddit. You know, MySpace style.

Thank you for sharing the story. It's much more down-to-earth than I thought. I liked Xenia immediately from the pics.
posted by M. at 10:02 PM on December 20, 2019 [1 favorite]


It doesn’t seem to imply Ben wrote the question.

I reread the first half of the article several times to parse this, and no, it doesn't quite. The details and timing of Xenia's diagnosis line up with the anon post but there's no explicit "that was him, and here's how their story unfolded".

Also, +1 for Team Predates.
posted by Flannery Culp at 8:52 AM on December 21, 2019


Would it be nitpicky of me to email the journalist? I kind wanted to but then felt silly about it.
posted by M. at 11:50 AM on December 23, 2019


Educators educate. Administrators administrate. So logically, "predate" should mean "the thing a predator does".

I am therefore interpreting the article to be saying, "MetaFilter, an online message board that attacked and devoured the internal organs of Reddit."
posted by kyrademon at 1:17 PM on December 23, 2019 [14 favorites]


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