What do you know now that you didn't know before MetaFilter? September 20, 2021 8:05 PM   Subscribe

Checking in a decade later.

That thread reminds me of the posts, the conversations and the people that have made me a MetaFilter fangirl for over two decades. What would your answer be today?
posted by bendy to MetaFilter-Related at 8:05 PM (82 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

I've learned everything I know about relationships by binge-reading the `human relations` tag on AskMeFi.
posted by bendy at 8:13 PM on September 20 [22 favorites]


If you put your favorite outfit in a pan of salmon lasagna it will get moldy.

And, in all seriousness, about eighteen thousand other, actually useful, things that i will be forever grateful to MeFi for.
posted by bondcliff at 9:04 PM on September 20 [13 favorites]


It is my window into contemporary American culture. Although now not nearly so much, in the 2000s and early 2010s MF was basically the Internet for me so basically 90% of the stuff I have experienced on the Internet was first seeded here.
posted by Meatbomb at 10:52 PM on September 20 [11 favorites]


I learned of the existence of tinykittens from here. There have been some days since when watching tinykittens was the only enjoyable thing I did all day.
posted by creepygirl at 11:18 PM on September 20 [10 favorites]


That I'm really am pretty awesome, but flawed, and should work on those flaws as soon as this Netflix/book/project/movie is over.

Just like the rest of y'all.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:07 AM on September 21 [16 favorites]


The people of Metafilter woke me up to a large degree, and I will always be extremely grateful for that; I wasn't nearly as empathetic and unbiased as I'd thought.

I learned that "free speech" is a really fucking stupid argument to make when someone tries to "take away" a (usually shitty) word I wanted to use because I thought it made me sound clever/funny/whateverthefuck. I can't believe I ever argued that I should be able to use the C word any time I wanted to! Seriously, what was I thinking?!

I credit this place with teaching me how to be a better human being in an astonishing number of ways. When I think back on who I was when I joined 14 years ago, I'm shocked and am struck by the knowledge that people actually can change—and more than just a little bit. Full-grown adults are capable of learning and making great changes.
posted by heyho at 7:02 AM on September 21 [37 favorites]


That some people stand to wipe among other fun facts to know and tell. Mostly, I learned to listen. Really listen and consider what someone of a differing viewpoint might be saying. There are so many specific things I learned reading Ask that are too numerous to list here. The big picture is empathy, listen, consider, adapt.

Also that Brandon Blatcher is pretty awesome, but flawed...like the rest of us. I want to be unique like everybody else?
posted by AugustWest at 7:34 AM on September 21 [3 favorites]


I have learned so much here it is hard to make a list, but like others have said I, a cis-white woman, learned how wrong my "I'm not racist" smug complacency was. Thankfully, I also was directed to great people to follow and reading to do that has helped me to change--so now I know that I am racist and that I need to work hard to stomp on my learned racism and have better empathy and understanding for folks who are different. When I was working, that meant that I was able to suggest different approaches to our communications with our passengers, to encourage more diversity in hiring, etc. (oh yeah and I learned what cis, how wrong many of my non-race related core beliefs were, and many, many other things). I am a better person because of this community.
posted by agatha_magatha at 8:08 AM on September 21 [13 favorites]


The importance of, and challenges to, being a good ally.
posted by OHenryPacey at 8:32 AM on September 21 [5 favorites]


That other people are, perhaps wisely, a lot more cautious about eating questionable food and stuff left out on the counter all night than I am.
posted by ryanshepard at 9:26 AM on September 21 [18 favorites]


Not to state my opinion of Phil Collins.
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:49 AM on September 21 [10 favorites]


I credit this place with teaching me how to be a better human being in an astonishing number of ways.


same. coming up on 20 years here and i joined when I was a minor without much in the way of family.

i credit strangers on MetaFilter with surrogate aggregate parenting on 17 year old logan. that's kind of horrifying i know, but c'est la vie.


*parasocial relationship with website intensifies*
posted by lazaruslong at 9:51 AM on September 21 [36 favorites]


Sometimes I think the only reason I have any friends at all is because of metafilter. Yes, lots of my friends are mefites, or I know them because of metafilter, but even the friends who have never even heard of mefi benefit from me having learned how to be a person here. And I've figured out how to protect myself from many, many more people who I should not be friends with because metafilter has given me higher expectations for the sorts of people I should give my time to.

And now that I'm scrolling up to read other comments before posting--yeah, same basically.


And also that when your back hurts you should go to a physical therapist (caveats re insurance, etc) instead of just having back pain forever.
posted by phunniemee at 9:59 AM on September 21 [17 favorites]


I have picked up an enormous amount of information from MetaFilter in 21 years, but the most important thing I *learned* is "Shut up and listen".
posted by briank at 10:04 AM on September 21 [23 favorites]


As someone who is often surprised by what I consider the conservative opinions many mefites have regarding politics, religion, dating, etiquette, architecture, and obeying laws. . . the most important thing I've learned is that there are a lot of incredibly smart, educated, thoughtful, kind people who view the world very differently from me. I suspect most of my casual friends and colleagues would fall into the same category, but we've all been trained not to talk in depth about controversial things. We agree that Trump is bad, then move on to something less risky without going further. There are a few exceptions among my closest friends. But, I tend to think of them as unique. ("Some of my best friends are religious, hedge-fund economists.") The number of times thoughtful people here say things that initially make me smirk but are genuinely worth hearing is pretty unique here. There's a difference between respecting other people's right to differing opinions and listening to the differing opinions of people you respect. Metafilter provides a great opportunity to practice the later, at least if you're someone as far from the US center as me. I have not always responded well to such things in the past, but I'm learning.

But, also, I've learned about many examples of fantastic art, music, books, films, podcasts, foods, history, trivia, other cultures (often from my own ethnicity and nation), recipes, cities. . . Listing them is impossible. Paw paws and the Muppet Show spring to mind, not because they're anywhere near the most important.

I've also learned that everything I thought was obvious about what one does in the bathroom is actually controversial. I'm not entirely sure I'm happier knowing that. But, it is interesting.
posted by eotvos at 11:13 AM on September 21 [9 favorites]


I remember learning something about how to store huge amounts of Cheese in private homes in Britain. Not that I have had much use of this knowledge (yet).
posted by Namlit at 11:47 AM on September 21 [14 favorites]


I started lurking when I was about 18 or 19 and freshly moved out of my parents' house into the university dorms (created an account some time later) so... basically everything I know about being an adult I learned from AskMe.
posted by btfreek at 12:07 PM on September 21 [5 favorites]


It's like a microphone that types being passed around


I've almost learned to speak clavdius
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:37 AM on February 9, 2011

u forgot the v. but that's okay because I'm using a microphone now so you're going to have to start all over again.
posted by clavdivs at 1:21 PM on September 21 [16 favorites]


Seasoned-cast-ironfilter
...and crone island
...and the strength of 1985 as a year for music
...and bandcamp friday
...and tehhund reading all the politics megathreads (I haven't checked if there's an oral history of this in the podcast but I would hope so)
...and the mechanics of both Gamergate and its forerunner
...and how white feminism is for whites
...and that it's okay to go from being a victim of the patriarchy to a survivor of its injustices
...and how thinking only on the rails of opposing poles of a binary dialectic hurt the allies with whom you have some overlapping intersections of interest.
posted by k3ninho at 1:28 PM on September 21 [12 favorites]


That some find Comic Sans loathsome.
posted by Rash at 4:34 PM on September 21 [1 favorite]


This is the first thing that popped into my head. What did I learn? That birds are awesome and funny.
posted by cakelite at 4:50 PM on September 21 [4 favorites]


In a similar vein to briank I've learned that I don't need to share my opinion about everything, and that others' opinions are often more diverse than I imagined.
posted by Wretch729 at 5:39 PM on September 21 [8 favorites]


I know exactly how I should dispose of a body if I want to get away with murder.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 7:38 PM on September 21 [18 favorites]


exactly.
posted by clavdivs at 7:50 PM on September 21 [2 favorites]


Last week I loaned my car to a friend and when I got it back I needed to adjust my sideview mirrors and was reflecting (ha) yet again on my appreciation for Metafilter teaching me how to set them so I don't have any blindspots. Thanks, Metafilter!
posted by gingerbeer at 7:55 PM on September 21 [2 favorites]


I also set my side view mirrors in the metafilter way!
posted by phunniemee at 7:59 PM on September 21 [2 favorites]


On a tangent, tonight I saw the planet Mercury for the first time with my own eyes -- albeit through the very top of my gradient bifocals' lenses -- with confirmation provided via Sky Map. Now I can say I have seen all five of the visible to the naked eye planets. I am so stoked. Tomorrow I am hauling out the telescope.
posted by y2karl at 8:04 PM on September 21 [8 favorites]


Oh, man. Where to begin.
posted by turbid dahlia at 9:20 PM on September 21 [8 favorites]


Now I have sideview mirror FOMO. Link to the comment, please?
posted by Tsuga at 10:50 PM on September 21 [13 favorites]


On a tangent, tonight I saw the planet Mercury for the first time

So you didn't look at it directly?
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:55 PM on September 21 [7 favorites]


I've almost learned to speak clavdius
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:37 AM on February 9, 2011


I'm close to there myself.
posted by bendy at 12:05 AM on September 22 [1 favorite]


>Now I have sideview mirror FOMO. Link to the comment, please?
This Ask?
posted by k3ninho at 12:26 AM on September 22 [2 favorites]


Looking at that old thread, I was reminded that I started reading MetaFilter when I was nineteen years old.

I'm now forty.

I didn't really start reading obsessively until I was twenty, but either way, I've now been a part of this community for over half my life; for my entire adult life. I've lived in three countries during that time, moving between them more times than I care to count, losing and finding new communities. Besides my family and a few of my absolutely closest friends, only MetaFilter has been here through it all with me.

I can't really imagine who I would be if it weren't for MetaFilter. A very different person, that's for sure.

On the last episode of the Kermode and Mayo podcast, they mentioned the term "sonder", which I certainly learned not only from MetaFilter, but from desjardins, the same user who posted the thread linked at the top of this post.

"Sonder" is "the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own".

If you'd asked my 19 year old self whether I knew that about other people, I probably would've said "yeah, of course". But I didn't, not really. It took me, at least, my entire twenties to really understand that, and I'm not sure I completely understand it even now, or will ever.

All communities are shared lives, and MetaFilter has been a constant source of new and humbling lessons in the vividness and complexity of other people's lives.

Every day I come here some comment or post brings home the richness and beauty of human beings, some of whom are similar to me, and some who are very different in body or mind, and whose thoughts travel along paths I could never step onto, through worlds I could never imagine for myself.

Like any community, MetaFilter is sometimes deeply exasperating to me, and sometimes a source of deep feelings, whether joy or sorrow or something else. But always, during this half a lifetime I've been part of it, MetaFilter has shown me how to be human, and taught me to reach out to the world with empathy, always attempt to understand, see the world from other perspectives, even if, and especially if, it is sometimes very hard.

MetaFilter is where I learned to be me.
posted by Kattullus at 12:55 AM on September 22 [43 favorites]


It's better to post less and think more.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 12:59 AM on September 22 [7 favorites]


Ask culture vs Guess culture
posted by wittgenstein at 4:07 AM on September 22 [25 favorites]


Ask vs. Guess culture for me, too, has been a huge help in understanding some social situations.

I also learned how to calculate daily interest on a massive pile of student loans. That was super useful. (I paid the loans off in 2016. Based on the reactions I've gotten from various people, I can tell that I'm extremely fortunate that this was even a possibility.)
posted by johnofjack at 4:18 AM on September 22 [1 favorite]


I searched and I don't think I spotted the exact comment (there are a few, as well as a FPP) I saw, but I'm pretty sure it was someone in ask saying that the ideal side mirror placement is when you can't see any of your own car in the reflection. Makes such a huge difference!
posted by phunniemee at 4:52 AM on September 22 [3 favorites]


Lots of good jokes, including what is now my favorite joke to tell.
posted by dlugoczaj at 7:53 AM on September 22 [1 favorite]


After working here and hanging out here for a long time I think I understand some of the ups and downs of community engagement (effective community engagement, especially when you're in a place where everyone doesn't agree and many people are coming from vastly different places with vastly different experiences and complex issues they care about) in a way I think you don't if you only interact with people you mostly know who are geographically in one place.

I've always liked mathowie's description of this place as a social network for non-friends even though I have made a lot of friends here. I learned about Internet Person culture and how it can be differentiated in some ways from IRL culture and why that might matter and why it might not.

I learned about some differentiators between autistic and allistic behavior and how to be nicer to myself about the former and cautious about the latter. I got better at sleep hygiene, and setting boundaries with difficult family members. I learned how to be skeptical of white feminism and how to view social issues through an intersectional lens; I got tips for dismantling white supremacy.

I am grateful to the people here who took the time, take the time, to share themselves so that each of us can (hopefully) become better versions of our own selves.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:23 AM on September 22 [21 favorites]


the simple answer is that I now know a lot that I didn't know before first offering up my five bucks in August-2008. Here are two specifics from two of my asks:

1. the artist behind this Lovecraft in suburbia painting is John Brosio, and perhaps more important, TinEye reverse image search is a thing.

2. in Canada, this is what happens when you surrender on a drug trafficking warrant.
posted by philip-random at 8:28 AM on September 22 [2 favorites]


A lot more about fire egress. A conversation 10 minutes ago:

[talking about living in a house built into the earth]
Me: Fire egress would be a problem though.
Partner: Egress...
Me: That's what they call it!
Partner: Yeah, I know. It's a word I know, but it's not one I would ever use in my general vocabulary.
Me: Neither would I, except in talking about fire exits.
Partner: You must spend a lot more time reading about fire safety plans than I do.
Me: No, I just spend a lot of time on Metafilter reading questions that are answered with "you can't do that because of fire egress."
posted by brook horse at 9:16 AM on September 22 [15 favorites]


The Fire Egress is a demanding mistress.
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:58 AM on September 22 [5 favorites]


I've learned everything I know about relationships by binge-reading the `human relations`

To be summed-up thusly; "dump him/her/they/them"

Just kidding - I have learned so many things over the years - but too much to pin down any single thing.
posted by rozcakj at 11:00 AM on September 22


I learned about the music of Arvo Pärt. I appreciate how kind Mefites can be. I appreciate the thousands of things I have learned. Among the things I have learned is, to use less, and more carefully chosen words.
posted by Oyéah at 12:34 PM on September 22 [2 favorites]


I learned that being edgy online isn’t as fun as actually learning from a lot of people who are overall really knowledgeable and kind and thoughtful, and know about a lot of neat stuff I would have never known otherwise.
posted by glaucon at 3:55 PM on September 22 [9 favorites]


So tempted to go down a rathole about that post about 22 comments back, kinda grateful that Pater Aletheias did not include any links.
posted by sammyo at 8:36 PM on September 22 [1 favorite]


How many people worry about day-old food.
posted by Ideefixe at 8:47 PM on September 22 [9 favorites]


I learned that it's not as terrifying to post an FPP as I thought it was for my first decade on the site.
posted by bendy at 8:54 PM on September 22 [5 favorites]


kinda grateful that Pater Aletheias did not include any links.

From Metafilter he learned to be smart from the very beginning.
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:13 PM on September 22 [9 favorites]


In which case he is the exception that proves the rule.
posted by y2karl at 9:45 PM on September 22


the writer of dilbert is very silly


some readers believe someone would front cred over a mumford and sons show.


Mumford and sons mentions may actually create a significant list of alternative banjo listening.



Sometimes people want to go and just be nice on the internet for a little bit.
posted by firstdaffodils at 9:51 PM on September 22 [3 favorites]


Pater Aletheias is smart but wise.In which the rule proves to be exceptionable.
posted by clavdivs at 10:02 PM on September 22 [1 favorite]


or the exceptional proof rules
rules exceptional proof
proof rules exceptional.
posted by clavdivs at 10:05 PM on September 22


like a roof over an exceptional pool

(wasn't that a Simon and Garfunkel song?)
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:21 PM on September 22


Many, many people are depressed and autistic. Me too.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 4:15 AM on September 23 [9 favorites]


"Fire Egress" would be a good name for a band.
posted by NotLost at 6:35 AM on September 23 [2 favorites]


What have I learned after all these years on Metafilter? Wow, that's a big question. I usually read Metafilter for entertainment, and learn so many small and large things that later become part of myself, so deeply ingrained that I don't always know where they come from.

But actually, I think I know the answer to this question. After around 20 years on Metafilter, I've learned that a huge social web site with thousands of anonymous accounts can function for decades without spiralling down into a swamp of hate, abuse and misinformation. This is no small thing. Whenever I hear people complain about the nasty environment online, when I hear people say that anonymous online comments can never work - I think of Metafilter. This site gives me some hope for the internet - and for humanity.

Let's drink to the next 20 years!
posted by Termite at 6:57 AM on September 23 [14 favorites]


"Fire Egress" would be a good name for a band.

Is it ethical to shout "Fire Egress" in a crowded nightclub?
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:59 AM on September 23 [3 favorites]


only if Egress has behaved most egregiously
posted by Iris Gambol at 9:49 AM on September 23 [4 favorites]


I learned a lot more than I mentioned, I hopefully, became a better member, and improved my application of web niceness, without any emotional labor issues.
posted by Oyéah at 1:02 PM on September 23


I'm pretty sure it was someone in ask saying that the ideal side mirror placement is when you can't see any of your own car in the reflection. Makes such a huge difference!

My partner uses this method. I've tried, but if I can't see a bit of my own car, I can't make any sense of what I'm seeing in the mirrors—no understanding at all of what it all is and how it relates to me. Mirrors in that position convey no information to me. So I use the less-ideal method. It is a little something of a thing between us. I think you can hear each of us sigh privately when we get in the car we share and have to adjust the mirrors,
posted by Orlop at 1:58 PM on September 23 [4 favorites]


Orlop, an oversize clip-on rear view mirror like this one might help both of you. I recently put the convex one in my car and it's amazing how much more I can see behind me even without using the side-view mirrors. The only downside is everything looks a bit smaller...the flat mirror might avoid that but probably also has a slightly narrower field of view (which would still be larger than the stock rear-view mirror).
posted by Greg_Ace at 2:45 PM on September 23 [2 favorites]


What have I learned about MetaFilter? That there's other fucking intelligent people on this planet besides me!
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 3:43 PM on September 23 [3 favorites]


I've learned over the years that I'm not so strange after all.

Feels more like an indictment on the rest of you.
posted by Twicketface at 4:32 PM on September 23 [10 favorites]


You misspelled "compliment"
posted by Greg_Ace at 4:37 PM on September 23 [5 favorites]


' Egress over Troubled Fires'
posted by clavdivs at 5:20 PM on September 23 [3 favorites]


I learned that I was a much bigger asshole than I thought I was, but that I don't have to be.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 7:41 PM on September 23 [11 favorites]


If a project is presented well, it's much easier to listen.
posted by firstdaffodils at 8:02 PM on September 23 [1 favorite]


I am the product, and I will cost $20 SAIT.
posted by riverlife at 10:42 PM on September 23 [13 favorites]


I learned (am learning?) how much more articulate and patient and repetitive I would have to be to even have the tiniest impact on other people. Some of you are amazing models of how to convey an idea to a somewhat reluctant audience. I used to think I was good at that, now I think I’m only ok.
Also, unrelatedly, I have learned some good jokes.
posted by Vatnesine at 2:05 PM on September 24 [4 favorites]


to be more alert to my false sense of entitlement,

to be more patient with the written word,

and something about toilet paper.
posted by fregoli at 2:53 AM on September 25 [3 favorites]


That I really really suck at meeting people from the internets in real life. I've been the guy drinking a beer alone and escaping from the bar without introducing myself to the mefi meetup several times. How do you extroverts do it?

posted by Dr. Curare

I'm never going to make it to a Mefi meetup due to where I live and transportation issues, but I just want to draw this to the attention of everyone who does go to mefi meetups in bars and suggest that they look around for lone drinkers covertly watching the group and go over and introduce themselves, "Hey are you here for the Mefi meetup?" It's amazing how many shy people there are who need just a little more help joining in. I'll bet Dr. Curare was not the only one.
posted by Jane the Brown at 8:31 AM on September 25 [7 favorites]


Well, I met a friend on Metafilter who taught me to drive. An internet stranger just kind of volunteered? And nothing bad happened? So Metafilter is pretty much why I can drive, and it's a miracle. My hope is I can pay that forward.

I also learned about, in no particular order: what bedbugs can and can't do, the Israel-Palestine situation, a real good recipe for Thai-inspired peanut sauce that you can make out of pantry staples, not to freak out if I get a scintillating scotoma, I probably have an audio processing disorder, where to buy candied fruit in New York City, how to use Linux on old crappy computers sort of, how to use an Instant Pot and especially how to make yogurt in an Instant Pot, and a lot of stuff about taxes.

Also, I use Metafilter for shopping a lot, on my own or vicariously-- for example, I recently learned that shopping for dishwashers is a land of contrast.
posted by blnkfrnk at 12:14 PM on September 25 [10 favorites]


Many things well outside my tiny, remote world. I often ask about scripts, and several brilliant kind people here have written me things that literally save hours of time every week. For a plant person I ask a surprising amount of plant questions.

I've learned much about human communication, body-language, NLP .. I often present to groups with huge range of abilities and find while writing my questions I often answer the problem, or get at what I really need to know - text-only Q&A medium seems a good proxy for working towards IRL group-work.

Metafilter's my first place to ask - people here are IME caring and gracious. Breadth of knowledge here is like many small town NZ libraries; curated, surprisingly diverse and very out-of-the-box.

I hope I can help and contribute here and there.

...and I've just received an interloan of Invasive Exotic Species in the Sonoran Region that was an answer from virago a few months back and it answers many questions!
posted by unearthed at 9:17 PM on September 25 [2 favorites]


I learn so much from the questions people ask (and the responses) on AskMe. I definitely learned the term "cisgender" on Ask. And I learned a lot about pronoun usage, why pronouns are important, how to be an ally with your own pronouns usage.
posted by radioamy at 2:43 PM on September 27 [1 favorite]


I’ve learned to think a lot more before I talk. And often, that I don’t need to chime in at all.
posted by caution live frogs at 7:21 PM on September 27 [2 favorites]


I learned that if one assumes a rational consider-all-points-in-a-relaxed-fashion problem-assessing attitude, this can be experienced as living out one's privilege by persons whose life circumstances don't allow for the luxury of sitting back and examining complex problems with a detached mindset.

Teaching, among others, seminars on core values at a university with a diverse influx of international students, this knowledge has helped me navigate a number of tricky confrontations just by acknowledging that I knew what was going on. And it has taught me to shut up or speak up with better judgment, or so I hope.
posted by Namlit at 6:21 AM on September 29 [3 favorites]


If there was a $5 fee per comment for deleting stupid remarks made in the past, this place would be well funded. By me in large part.
posted by y2karl at 3:38 PM on September 29 [3 favorites]


I know exactly how I should dispose of a body if I want to get away with murder.

If disposing of the body is even your problem, you're doing murder wrong.

Be smart from the very beginning. First get elected.
posted by flabdablet at 2:51 AM on September 30 [3 favorites]


If you put your favorite outfit in a pan of salmon lasagna it will get moldy.

But what if you put it in a bag of vegan pork rinds?
posted by y2karl at 4:03 PM on October 8


I've learned that I'm not nearly as alone or weird as I used to think.

Ask vs Guess.

I've learned from seeing it modeled how it's possible to apologize and/or defuse a situation when I would normally have escalated it and stewed.

I've noticed that in a whole page of on-point, helpful answers we tend to respond to the one answer that is unkind or doesn't get it. I don't know if this is a good or bad thing. I think it's better to respond to the people being kind and helpful and let everyone else be wrong by themselves? But sometimes the wrong stuff really needs to be addressed.

I learned how to get my dishwasher to actually get my dishes clean, every time, without pre-washing.
posted by bunderful at 8:24 AM on October 11


I learned that it's okay to throw away the motherfucking dishes and look forward to the day I would shower like a Kardashian (which is every fucking day these days, thank fuck).

Seriously though I can't tell you how much that whole thread helped me. I still think about it sometimes and send all of you amazing people a big thank-you hug.
posted by MiraK at 12:19 PM on October 14 [1 favorite]


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