MetaFilter Steering Committee Voting August 15, 2022 9:12 AM   Subscribe

Voting for members of the Steering Committee is now open. The vote will run from 5pm GMT August 15 to 5pm GMT August 25. Each user has seven votes (i.e. can vote for up to seven people). Your ballot is at https://www.metafilter.com/voting/, and you can change your votes at any time up until the election closes.

Vote under only one account, if you have multiple accounts. If it looks like someone is intentionally trying to evade this per-person rule to vote multiple times, the votes will be removed and it may result in a ban.

The top 7 candidates will be members of the Steering Committee (SC). Up to 5 other candidates will be chosen by the Transition Team (TT). The full member roster of the new Steering Committee will be announced on August 31. Vote totals will not be announced; all members of the SC will be equal members.

The candidates, in alphabetical order, are:

aielen
bendy
Freyja
GenjiandProust
It's Raining Florence Henderson
jacquilynne
JHarris
kadin2048
kimberussell
Kybard
lazaruslong
MollyRealized (Withdrawn)
Rhaomi
sammyo
tavegyl
The Pluto Gangsta
thoroughburro (Withdrawn)
twelve cent archie
wesleyac

The order of the candidates is individually randomized on your voting page.

We encourage you to reach out to the candidates themselves if you have questions – we’ve asked each candidate to put something on their user profile about themselves, why they’re interested in the SC, and so on, and you can always go over their posting history. We were unable to give a lot of lead time to the candidates to prepare this, so if you don’t see something there yet when this post goes up, please check back on their profile in a couple of days.

We’re doing this split vote-and-choose plan to address a couple of things. Firstly, we want there to be direct community input in some of the members of the SC. The whole idea of the SC is that MetaFilter needs to transition to something more community-run to reflect what it is today, and what it wants to be in the future.

Secondly, we don’t want this to be a simple popularity contest, where only the most-recognizable names get all the votes and folks that don’t post as much, or as high profile, are discounted. The TT will be selecting the additional members primarily with a diversity and equity lens. We’ve had some guidance from the mods on each of the candidates, but the final decision is ultimately up to us.

We'll be contacting and confirming the new members August 27th-28th. The TT will officially wind-down on September 1, though we've still got the survey data to work on with the volunteers and will likely deliver some more information to the SC over the next couple of months. You can probably expect it may be a couple of weeks into September before the SC makes their own announcement post(s).

If you run into any technical issues with the voting, please use the Contact Form to get in touch with the mods; you can also drop a note in here just so that if others have the same issue, the information can be easily shared.

-----------------------------------
Edit:
Unsure what this whole Steering Committee thing is?

- Up until now, MetaFilter has traditionally been run pretty much top-down by the site owners and the mod team. As the community has grown and changed over time, there's been a desire for the site members to have more direct input in how the site functions. At the request of the previous owner (cortex), current owner (jessamyn), and the mod team, the Transition Team has been working to put together what that community-run organization might look like. You can review the "steeringcommittee" tag to see some of our previous posts on the subject, including the large survey we ran.

As a quick summary of that survey, and what we think the Steering Committee members will be working on to start with, please refer to this cheat sheet:
  • Financial planning/management
    • Moderation is key to MF (per survey), coverage needs to be maintained + ideally increased
    • What kind of revenue models will support long-term site stability?

  • Negativity/pile-ons

    • How to navigate calling someone out without going too hard, or too soft? How can that be encouraged and nurtured, rather than callous hot takes, or retaliatory shut-downs? How to encourage people to think more before commenting, so someone doesn’t have to fight back?
    • MetaTalk is often particularly prone to this; does it need to change? Howso?
    • FanFare has its own nascent thread of this, as well, actively discouraging participation for some folks

  • Code updates

    • Accessibility
    • Site/subsite discoverability
    • Modernization
    • SC tools (not from the survey, but probably want to be looking at this too)

  • Site activity (this is mostly from the Transition Team and the charter)

    • Your own posts and comments!
    • Sidebar/spotlighting
    • Social media presence? (likely more as a complimentary strategy for other goals)
    • Userbase growth? (mix of folks who enjoy the smaller scope, but plenty who are also hoping for newer + more faces, from more backgrounds)



posted by curious nu to MetaFilter-Related at 9:12 AM (360 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

Mod note: Our Apologies, there was a brief hiccup with the voting page before, but it's all set now.
posted by loup (staff) at 10:26 AM on August 15


It looks like none of the Transition Team members are standing for election to the Steering Committee. Was that an intentional decision or did the process collectively burn you all out?
posted by jacquilynne at 10:37 AM on August 15 [3 favorites]


I personally don't have capacity right now to do that six-month commitment -- I've been doing a lot on a number of fronts over the last year and need a break. :)
posted by curious nu at 10:40 AM on August 15 [3 favorites]


I didn't self nominate because I thought it was super important that the site not have any of us aboard this first go round. Others had different reasons, but it worked out this way.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:41 AM on August 15 [6 favorites]


This is excellent and I am so happy to see this happening!

I imagined that there would be some chance for stump speeches or statements of purpose or some thing... Would it be out of place to encourage / invite candidates to do that here?
posted by Meatbomb at 10:44 AM on August 15 [2 favorites]


Thanks to everyone who is willing to help out. We appreciate you.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:46 AM on August 15 [42 favorites]


I imagined that there would be some chance for stump speeches or statements of purpose or some thing... Would it be out of place to encourage / invite candidates to do that here?

we were essentially encouraged to do that via our profiles (since that's linked in the voting page itself) but personally I would be more than happy to stitch together a rambling stump speech if people would not find such a thing intolerable!
posted by Kybard at 10:46 AM on August 15


Yeah, if candidates want to say something or answer questions in this thread, that should be totally fine.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:48 AM on August 15


if people would not find such a thing intolerable

we are all here for the text babeee!!!1 :)
posted by Meatbomb at 10:49 AM on August 15


Yeah, if candidates want to say something or answer questions in this thread, that should be totally fine.

Since the candidate profiles are linked in the post, it'll be a lot easier to keep track of platform statements if they're on profile pages.
posted by zamboni at 10:57 AM on August 15 [5 favorites]


If there could be 0 more Trump/fascist "jokes" in this post I'd very much appreciate it.
posted by curious nu at 10:58 AM on August 15 [12 favorites]


No write-in spot for #1 quidnunc kid?
posted by briank at 10:59 AM on August 15 [53 favorites]


Since the candidate profiles are linked in the post, it'll be a lot easier to keep track of platform statements if they're on profile pages.
My own person opinion is the exact opposite -- I would find it much much easier to read all of the candidate statements in one place (i.e. this thread), than having to go back and forth with a bunch of different profile pages. Having them all in once place also would make it easier for me to keep track of which ones I have read.
posted by DiscourseMarker at 11:04 AM on August 15 [8 favorites]


Bear in mind the only place that will be easily modifiable by the candidates is their own profile page. Anything else would require coordinating with the mods after the five minute edit window.
posted by thoroughburro at 11:06 AM on August 15 [3 favorites]


Feel free to ask me here or by MeMail if you have any specific questions, but the best I can do at a general statement is already in my profile.
posted by thoroughburro at 11:07 AM on August 15 [1 favorite]


Shout out to frimble for pulling the voting subsite together! The Transition Team was sweating bullets about how to do voting and frimble was like "nah, I got you, gimme a little time".

Thank you!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:10 AM on August 15 [18 favorites]


Hi! I already put something up on my profile, but I'll copy-paste here for convenience (plus idk if I'll keep it up there after):
I've been on MeFi since 2007 -- my entire adult life! -- and it's still my favorite place on the web. You might know me from my occasional megaposts (though I do more reading and commenting these days). I also spend time on Reddit (where I co-mod the nearly 2 million Q&A subreddit /r/TipOfMyTongue, helped salvage /r/PresidentialRaceMemes from a 2020 disinformation campaign, and launched a small MetaFilter info hub), as well as the MeFi-adjacent PoliticsFilter Slack and the general-interest side of popular progressive forum ResetEra. IRL, I currently work retail customer service (always fun during a pandemic!), saving money to finish a PoliSci degree. As you might guess, I'm also an inveterate political junkie, having done data work for Obama '12, traveled to Florida to knock doors in 2016, and volunteered long hours for the inspiring Doug Jones Senate campaign.

I've been interested in brainstorming ideas to boost MeFi ever since the great Google ad crash of 2014, and volunteering for the new steering committee seemed like a great way to help. My focus is on looking for simple, practical ways to make the site more welcoming and easier to share with others. I've discussed a number of these ideas over the years; my biggest one is to repurpose the little-known FanFare Clubs feature into general-interest Groups centered on a variety of interests and affinities, inspired by the community "hangout" model that has been highly successful on ResetEra. I love this idea because the infrastructure for it largely exists, and wouldn't require extensive work from frimble to get rolling. I'd also love to see some sort of simple pullquote system to make sharing MeFi quotes on social media as painless as possible. I would also not be averse to using a recently-acquired AI art superpower to generate illustrative thumbnails for the Best Of blog (or even the front page!) 🎨

Apart from that, I also think it's a good idea to start reaching out to former MeFites, in addition to the good survey work already underway here -- returning lapsed members is easier than attracting new ones, and that starts with figuring out the biggest reasons why folks have left over time. IMHO, this can be done through a one-time survey/welcome back email to inactive members, along with targeted engagement with groups of solid ex-MeFites on other platforms to better understand and address the issues that led them away. MetaFilter will survive if ad revenue continues to crater -- few, if any, sites like it can afford paid professional moderation -- but dwindling participation is a bigger threat.

Really looking forward to helping serve in this effort, whether as an SC member, a contributor, or an engaged member of the peanut gallery!
posted by Rhaomi at 11:10 AM on August 15 [19 favorites]


yeah of course feel free to MeMail or ask but all I'll add to my profile statement is:

many of my favorite places for discussion on the internet died over the years, which I think is pretty commonplace for any of us who existed before the consolidation of social-media powers really started to disrupt and eventually destroy the old message boards and communities. MetaFilter feels less like a relic of that older time than an example of how its best features can keep evolving and ultimately translate into the modern era.

it's exciting to have an opportunity to help shape that, to give it gentle direction and to help improve things or optimize things or generally keep the site moving towards being perpetually inclusive, thoughtful, and an overall delight. tremendous praise will always go to the original admins/mods and to the current staff for working so hard to keep MetaFilter in such standing; I'm only hoping to have a chance to add a few well-placed bricks to the excellent scaffolding and architecture in place.

I spent my work life thinking about websites that serve a user base; UX/UI, content design, all that jazz. there are lots of ways the models I know might apply to MeFi and lots of ways they wouldn't, but that headspace -- which boils down in my mind to a philosophy of user-driven design and community-owned decisions -- is what I'm hoping to bring to the table.
posted by Kybard at 11:13 AM on August 15 [10 favorites]


Mod note: One deleted, no Trump references here, please.
posted by loup (staff) at 11:14 AM on August 15 [13 favorites]


I'm very impressed with the quality of candidates and am pleased to be having a tough time narrowing my votes down to 7.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:15 AM on August 15 [15 favorites]


> The candidates, in alphabetical order, are

brb, changing my name to AAA Thoroughburro Steering Services
posted by thoroughburro at 11:20 AM on August 15 [30 favorites]


I'm very impressed with the quality of candidates and am pleased to be having a tough time narrowing my votes down to 7.

Right? It's a terrific group.

You are all #1 in my heart. Well, #1 after the quidnunc kid, of course.
posted by mochapickle at 11:23 AM on August 15 [18 favorites]


That was painful.

I wanted to vote for 17 people on that list based on my memories of their participation alone, and the other two I didn’t remember enough about to form an opinion.
posted by jamjam at 11:23 AM on August 15


I spent my work life thinking

oh hey here's an example of the edit window being less flexible than our profiles for this sort of thing, or maybe just an example of what happens when I ramble -- this should say I have spent, as I am not retired
posted by Kybard at 11:32 AM on August 15 [2 favorites]


An exciting occasion! Just feedback, not criticism, but yeah: this format of sharing candidate info/platforms feels pretty hard to engage with. There are multiple candidates who I've never heard of (but would like to know more about!) who also don't seem to have anything addressing the steering committee issues in their profile. I have a feeling that the lack of an easy way to cross-compare candidates' info may lead to a stronger name-recognition factor than may have otherwise been present.
posted by dusty potato at 11:37 AM on August 15 [8 favorites]


It might be worth checking back on the profile later, dusty potato. The nominees might not have gotten to their updates yet (as mentioned above).
(That said, I think I will have to use not-my-phone to wrangle all the tabs).
posted by janell at 11:40 AM on August 15 [2 favorites]


My member page profile has been hammered into an appropriate shape now.
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 11:49 AM on August 15 [6 favorites]


I wrote out my profile statement, copied it into the box on my profile page, closed my computer and wandered off. Luckily it was still there when I got back, so it's up on my profile now. Happy to answer questions in the thread or by MeMail (but please bear in mind I am roughly on the opposite side of the world from most members, so might not reply instantly).
posted by tavegyl at 11:52 AM on August 15 [11 favorites]


Hello, I'm a goofus and forgot that it'd be useful for people to know what they're voting on people to actually do!

Here's the summary comment I posted in the self-nominations thread -- I've been so brain-deep in this awhile I missed some of the basics. I'll ask the mods to modify the main post up top with some additional information so that it's there as a reference.
posted by curious nu at 12:06 PM on August 15 [3 favorites]


What I would find super helpful is a way to SAVE my current votes before sending without having to keep the tab open (maybe closing the tab doesn't change anything, but that's not clear).

It's going to take some time to read all the statements, and some people haven't put one up yet. In the meantime I have a few votes so I don't forget.
posted by oneirodynia at 12:10 PM on August 15 [1 favorite]


What I would find super helpful is a way to SAVE my current votes before sending without having to keep the tab open (maybe closing the tab doesn't change anything, but that's not clear).

This is a great question! Send = Save. I'll mention that to frimble -- it might take until tomorrow. You can return to that page at any point until the election closes and change any or all of your votes.
posted by curious nu at 12:16 PM on August 15 [3 favorites]


OMG you're all like... Looking at me. This is weird, but I did sign up for it. Here's my self-nom pitch:

* Describe what you bring to the Steering Committee, and what you hope to accomplish:

I think my years of watching MeFi, along with professional experience in community management and general interest in social movements and online communications would make me a useful addition to the committee.
I've been part of the MeFi community since 2008. I don't comment much, but dive into comment threads every day. I'm endlessly fascinated not just by the content, but by the way people interact and the community evolves and shapes itself around the userbase through those conversations. It truly is a unique online community and it would be a pleasure and privilege to help guide it into whatever comes next.

* Describe what you like most about MetaFilter. When you tell someone you’re on the MetaFilter Steering Committee, and someone asks you “what’s MetaFilter and why would you do that,” what’s your answer?

To me, MeFi feels like one of the last refuges of the Old Web and my true online home. I have actual friends here! I tried describing it to get others to join, but it's tough to show them the real magic beyond the simple links+comments format (yeah, I get that it's like Reddit, thanks). It's in the conversations and the very purposeful ways they are shaped by the site architecture and the moderation team. And the gift swap is an essential part of the holidays in our home.

I don't have big projects or immediate axes to grind. What I do have is a ton of experience working and playing in tricky online communities, that and a pretty chill attitude 😎
Vote for me?
posted by Freyja at 12:30 PM on August 15 [12 favorites]


Apologies if this is a sub-101 question. If Send= Save, what actually sends in my vote. I've hit Send twice and feared I'd double-voted, spoiling my vote (and causing myself to be banned?).
posted by riverlife at 12:31 PM on August 15


The ban would come from using multiple accounts (e.g. both riverlife and RiverlifesFavoriteSock) to vote. If you're using just one user account to vote, you're in the clear, no matter how many times you click "Send". ("Send" is really just saying "update what the MeFi server thinks my vote is")
posted by Jpfed at 12:35 PM on August 15 [4 favorites]


Just to clarify, voting is for a 6-month place on the steering committee, and there'll be another vote half a year from now?
posted by trig at 12:55 PM on August 15


My understanding is that we’re committing to a minimum of six months service. I think the initial Steering Committee itself will need to hash out any more formal details.
posted by thoroughburro at 12:57 PM on August 15 [1 favorite]


I posted this on my profile, but happy to copy over here if that makes things easier for people:
My username is jacquilynne, and I approve this campaign message:

MetaFilter has been my home on the internet for a very long time and I love that sense of timelessness but I also recognize that timelessness can look a lot like stuck in the past. Being a MetaFilter member has pushed me to be a more thoughtful, engaged person and someone who sees issues from a broader perspective. I want to see it continue to exist and to be revitalized -- without losing the magic that made it great in the first place.

As my LinkedIn bio says, I'm a lawyer and policy analyst with a background in digital media and technology. All of which is potentially useful.

I'm a lawyer, though in name only -- called to the bar in Canada, but definitely not licensed to provide legal advice to anyone, including MetaFilter as a corporation or the steering committee as a group. Still, they train us to look at situations from a particular kind of perspective in law school, and that can be useful.

I am an actual government policy analyst, which means I have a lot of experience interpreting and creating rules that other people have to follow and I know how to spot the things that rules lawyers will try to take advantage of. It also means I'm very comfortable with making recommendations based on imperfect information.

Even more on point, my previous job was as the senior community manager for Chowhound. I developed and implemented policies for a community discussion site, so I'm aware of the intricacies and the balancing that's required. I also managed both paid staff and volunteers in that role.

In the more distant past, I also worked as a software analyst in a business transformation team, so I have experience gathering and prioritizing requirements, helping groups make decisions about what they want, and generally managing organizational change.
I assume this thread is meant to act as the public candidates forum, but if anyone has any questions for me specifically, you can definitely MeMail me.
posted by jacquilynne at 12:58 PM on August 15 [18 favorites]


Mod note: Edit made to the bottom of the original post as requested.
posted by loup (staff) at 1:00 PM on August 15


My understanding is that we’re committing to a minimum of six months service. I think the initial Steering Committee itself will need to hash out any more formal details.

That understanding is correct.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:01 PM on August 15 [2 favorites]


It would be helpful to have the option to sort alphabetically on the voting page as an accessibility feature. I understand presenting them randomly! But for people who have relational minds going from a list ordered alphabetically to one randomized can make it quite difficult to vote for who you intend to vote for. (This is why sample ballots match actual ballots in elections!)
posted by Bottlecap at 1:01 PM on August 15 [6 favorites]


I just want to tell you good luck. We're all counting on you.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:02 PM on August 15 [14 favorites]


I have a longer blurb on my profile page, but the long and short of it is that my hope for the Steering Committee is that the primary goal should be to set up a system for members to have a direct and democratic say in the direction and features of the site.

While I have personal hopes and dreams for what I want to see change (you can take a look at my profile blurb and my post/comment history in MeTa for that), I think the place we should be trying to get to is one where any user — not just a SC member — can propose something, and if it's agreed that it's a good idea, get it implemented. Right now, we have a lot of MeTa threads with great ideas where nothing ends up happening — I think the goal should be to turn those threads into things with actual outcomes.

My hope is that after setting up and documenting that process, the role of the SC will largely be project management and acting as a liaison between users, staff, and volunteers to coordinate and clearly communicate progress.

I'm happy to answer any questions, either on this thread or via MeMail :)
posted by wesleyac at 1:03 PM on August 15 [7 favorites]


I'm happy to see some candidates that don't just want more more MORE moderation, but fairer and more transparent moderation. Excellent! Anybody who is in favor of always notifying people when a comment has been moderated and why has my vote. An actual record of moderation, viewable by members? Absolutely! If you've been fair and even handed in your moderation, you should have nothing to hide. If you've been blowing away polite, on-topic, upvoted comments because you don't personally agree with them, let's see the record of that too, and maybe some will be a bit more careful if their moderation actions are public.

I hope that Metafilter can be a community that values free discourse rather than the silencing of diverse and dissenting voices.
posted by Flock of Cynthiabirds at 1:12 PM on August 15 [10 favorites]


That seems... Not entirely in the spirit of what this thread is aimed at?
posted by sagc at 1:15 PM on August 15 [4 favorites]


I think some form of moderation log could help establish more trust between the members and the mod team. I wouldn’t want to say it should be like on Lobsters (a forum I only lurk on, as it is inaccessible to those without a wide social circle to mine for an invite; hit me up with one via MeMail, if you have access).

I think a moderation log would need to be clearly in the interest of both the members and the mod team. The job is one which already drives productive, valuable people to burnout. I’m not sure what an ideal log would look like, but it would need to not feel like an interrogator’s lamp on the mods at the same time as it offers a transparent account of moderation actions. I think that’s possible.
posted by thoroughburro at 1:22 PM on August 15 [4 favorites]


As someone who is interested in having more moderation transparency ­— if people want to talk about this, please, please make another MeTa for it instead of using this thread. I suspect it will be hard for people to trawl through this thread to figure out what prospective SC members are saying even without tangents derailing it.
posted by wesleyac at 1:24 PM on August 15 [15 favorites]


Speaking for myself, I'm most interested in candidates who stand a chance of growing the site user base, or at least stopping its decline. This is way more important (to me) than getting moderation standards from an A to an A+.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 1:25 PM on August 15 [10 favorites]


I'd also encourage people to MeMail candidates, if you're comfortable, for clarity on issues like this or anything else where the views of those on the Steering Committee are important to you. we can, among other things, respond to you directly and modify our profile messages so others who share your priorities can get that clarity as well.

openness of discussions like this is crucial, but also there are 19 of us; as mentioned above, if we all address each individual voter concern here it's likely to become near-impossible to track
posted by Kybard at 1:29 PM on August 15 [6 favorites]


I will respond to any questions coming into my memail both in reply and by copying and pasting the questions and answers to the bottom of my profile, so that everyone is getting the same information. If you send me questions, I will ask for permission to quote the question directly. Otherwise, I will summarize the question when adding my response to my profile.

Thanks!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:42 PM on August 15 [9 favorites]


My statement (with a typo fixed):

Hello, I’ve applied for the Steering Committee because I’ve been on the site for 13+ years, and I believe in the place, what it is, and what it can be. I have years of experience in getting progress out of meetings, and I want to help build a stronger foundation for the site and community. I have years of experience in academic management and administration as well as (*shudder*) leadership, and a pretty good track record of establishing the best outcomes for the most people. I'm also a parliamentarian, and I know my way around agendas and minutes. Mostly, I want to give back in a "from each according to their abilities" kind of way. Does that sound like campaign literature? I suppose it does.

Also, while I am not a cat, I am in the pocket of big cat (and also little cat).

My name is GenjiandProust, and I approve of this message.

If you want to ask questions or point out new typos, memail me.
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:56 PM on August 15 [10 favorites]


You heard it here first ^^^: Cats have pockets!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:58 PM on August 15 [2 favorites]


I wish to confess that I mistyped "typo," but the edit window was still open. Transparency (and readability) begins here.
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:58 PM on August 15 [6 favorites]


Ohmigosh...it's happening! Hello, I'm Kim Russell and I'm really happy to be in the middle of a fantastic slate of candidates.

TL;DR - If elected onto the Steering Committee I'll be serving with the community's best interests in mind. I've always had my own pony list for MeFi (easier ways to respond to comments and a non-MeTa feature request system being my own personal top two) but for me, this term would be about 1) setting up a succession plan for future Steering Committee terms (that's in the charter) and 2) using the survey information to triage the top 2 or 3 issues of interest to the community and mapping how to address those issues. Whether or not I'm voted in, it's a six month term and there is only so much twelve volunteers can realistically accomplish in six months before the baton is passed to the next group.

Here's what I submitted to the transition team and posted to my profile this weekend:

* As much personal information as you feel comfortable sharing:
I'm a white GenX spreadsheet-loving woman living in NJ with a husband and a dog. I've been online in various forms since 1993. I used to be a web designer, now I work doing data management and membership strategy for a professional nonprofit association in Philadelphia. I've had a personal blog/website since 1994 which is currently at kimberussell.com. Pretty much my entire life since 2003 is up there. My motto is that everybody should be safe, loved, and warm. I believe myself to be fair and kind. Unless danger is imminent, I am not one to argue a point to the death, even when I know I'm correct.

I've been a member as kimberussell since 2012, as a previous now-offensive embarrassing terrible MST3K-inspired username from 2010-2012, and lurking for years prior to that. I participate in the gift swap and am on a short hiatus from the card swap. Hope to get back to that soon. I have very dear Internet Friends that I found on MetaFilter.

* Describe what you bring to the Steering Committee, and what you hope to accomplish.
What I bring:
I've been working in the association space for 10 years now and hold a CAE (Certified Association Executive) credential, signifying that I obtained over 100 hours of learning in my field and passed a rigorous 4 hour exam. I know MetaFilter is not a nonprofit in the 501(c)(x) sense but committees and bylaws and taskforces are governance components that I am very familiar with. I serve on the Board of Directors for a local professional organization.

What I hope to accomplish:
I had a little shiver of delight when I saw the TT and eventually the SC being spun up. I volunteered to help with the survey tagging and really enjoyed it.

According to the charter, one of the charges of the first SC is, "Determining the regular method of adding new members, or retaining existing members, by March 1, 2023." That is six months for a brand new group of volunteers to gel and to create and execute a succession plan. That seems like a lot of time, but I promise it's not, and it might not leave a lot of time to triage the other challenges and opportunities available to the site. That said...

I want to help MetaFilter transition from a person and a handful of staff making decisions behind a curtain to a more transparent, community-led model. I'm not afraid of making a decision to sunset features that no longer serve the members as it was intended to, and I'm not afraid of change and modernization. The feeling of community must come from the members, not the background color or codebase of the website.

* Include any accessibility needs you have to help you participate in committee conversations and meetings: N/A

* Describe what you like most about MetaFilter. When you tell someone you’re on the MetaFilter Steering Committee, and someone asks you “what’s MetaFilter and why would you do that,” what’s your answer?

What's MetaFilter? At its core, Metafilter is a community of people sharing what they are passionate about. When I told my husband I was thinking of applying and he sputtered, "Why would you DO that?????" I replied that I want to help the scrappy group of volunteers triage a million and one member requests and concerns and start moving the site into a direction where growth isn't just a pipe dream.

I love that every day I can learn something new thanks to a FPP or a thoughtful comment. I ADORE being able to help people on AskMe navigate tricky times, and I like that I have a community who can help me out with questions as needed as well.

* Affirm that you agree to abide by the initial charter. I affirm I will abide by the initial charter.

* Affirm that you can commit to an initial 6 month term, can attend a monthly synchronous meeting, and are able to stay in regular contact with both the SC and MetaFilter staff (this is in the charter, but it’s important to emphasize). I affirm I can commit to an initial 6 month term and will be able to attend a monthly synchronous meeting. I do have work and personal travel planned the first week of September and the first/second week of December (hopefully) so dates will matter. I expect to have no trouble staying in regular contact. I am familiar with Slack, Discord, and most collaborative software.

* If you are not either selected to be or voted to be a member, are you interested in being a contributor?: Absolutely!

**
I'm happy to answer all MeMailed questions and like Kybard and It's Raining Florence Henderson I'll also post those answers onto my profile. Thanks for reading this far!
posted by kimberussell at 2:25 PM on August 15 [14 favorites]


Just a note - can we refer to it as the Supreme Council instead of the Steering Committee?
posted by rebent at 2:26 PM on August 15 [3 favorites]


An absolutely amazing slate of candidates, I'm impressed and pleased, though not surprised. But how in the world am I supposed to pick just seven???? Spoiled for choice, indeed.
posted by Jacen at 2:34 PM on August 15 [2 favorites]


Hi. I'm MollyRealized, one of the people up there.

I'm self-conscious about being wordy, so I'm going to put a super-condensed version here, but feel free to hit my profile for the full one, or e-mail me if you've got questions.

About yourself: 48 y.o. trans woman, ADHD (in fairness new to being trans & ADHD, tho), Chicagoan, on Mefi as wcitymike and metabaroque since 2005. Geek, theater, improv, legal admin for 20+ yrs., like helping people.

What would I bring: empathetic, come from trauma so I can recognize it (and in myself, too, so as to not make decisions from it), see repeating patterns, techie, and although IANAL the law experience is helpful.

What would you do: cautious to go hog-wild with ideas or make promises I can't keep b/c "art of the possible"; would like to see where we stand first from BTS. Ideas made w/o that info are: Would like to expand our social media presence w/o bringing in trolls, and really nail down selling points as to how community feels we're different. Thinking we could have some "liked by MeFites" curation (YT, music, etc.). And "stitch in time saves nine" procedures: asking one additional question in one place can save ten people individually asking it later. So seeing where we can create those new efficiencies to save work.
posted by MollyRealized at 2:44 PM on August 15 [13 favorites]


There seems to be an odd glitch with the voting page. When I tap Send it opens a new tab with the same page, only with a “Your answers have been saved” banner. However, the Send button is still on the page and is still live. I can click it and get a new page with another live button, etc.

Am I voting multiple times when I do this?
posted by Thorzdad at 3:19 PM on August 15


can we refer to it as the Supreme Council instead of the Steering Committee?

Sure, give the Secret Cabal two aliases to hide behind.
posted by biffa at 3:20 PM on August 15 [4 favorites]


Am I voting multiple times when I do this?

No. Think of each user account having a set of 7 endorsements they can spread around- and move until the voting period ends- as they see fit. Hitting Send makes the server remember the set of endorsements you've specified at that moment in your browser window. You can update your endorsements and hit Send again, and the server will forget your previous endorsements and remember the new set. Nothing is actually getting counted until the voting process closes, at which point all users' endorsements for each candidate will be tallied.
posted by Jpfed at 3:28 PM on August 15 [14 favorites]


Thanks Jpfed for taking the time to explain the tech stuff!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:44 PM on August 15 [2 favorites]


Thanks for the clarification Jpfed!

It would be great if that explanation was added to the voting page.
posted by oneirodynia at 4:18 PM on August 15 [2 favorites]


I had a look at the metatalk comments for people, which I highly recommend if you're unsure about deciding between candidates. My votes went to diverse and contentious people (I voted for someone I personally don't like but deeply appreciate as a clear-eyed critic) and people with organisational and comms skills.

I think tech and UX is something for a specialised committee/group of volunteers to do as back-up and help for frimble, not a task for the actual Steering Committee.

Thank you to everyone who stood up! This was a very hard decision as there are so many excellent choices.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 4:35 PM on August 15 [5 favorites]


You can update your endorsements and hit Send again, and the server will forget your previous endorsements and remember the new set
Maybe the button would be more logically named 'update'? Otherwise, put something like this under the button:

'Hitting Send makes the server remember the endorsements above. You can update your endorsements and hit Send again, and the server will forget your previous endorsements and remember the new set. You can do this as many times as you like until voting closes.'
posted by dg at 4:39 PM on August 15 [4 favorites]


Thanks for all the work the transition team is doing, and to these incredibly qualified candidates for steering committee. I mostly lurk these days but this all really drives home what a special place Metafilter is.
posted by AV at 5:13 PM on August 15 [3 favorites]


SC this SC that, can we be honest and go for Illuminati?

Well I threw my hat in the ring after a comment that seemed.. well a bit needy, but that's ok. I've been 'here' for a while and have a reasonable sense of the place and utterly stumped and not at all glib about where it should go, don't want to loose the hominess but a little growth (just like a "little" inflation) is good. Greed is not. (movie reference)

I have learned an insane lot about privilege, how much about others I don't 'get' and keep trying and (well stop here so I can THANK ALL the folks not like me that have given me even a bit of insight -- THANK YOU ALL) will continue to struggle to be more everything. (wait no not everything trump sucks)

Software person, and there can and should be sw growth, go frimble, but it's not a panacea, policy is important but should be short if not sweet, vry hard to get right. Go Mods!

Full disclosure, tall. Oh and all the other stuff. (evry day, that was easy, arghhh privilege, not proud but finally beginning to be aware.) Don't hate me but do yell at me.

Well not yell, we need to be kind to each other, (unless u need to then ok) so still trying to grasp moderation in fine detail, do need to find a way to be open without harm, now I suspect that's a real stumper.

Hey how about a lottery with the very rare prize of one image post?

Well that was stream of consciousness, happy to field any q's.
posted by sammyo at 5:40 PM on August 15 [12 favorites]


Well I suppose I should introduce myself. I'm JHarris, I've been around since 2005. I nominated myself because a friend suggested it, but gosh there's a lot of qualified people on the ballot. I make posts from time to time and run MST Club, but it's been a long since since I had any community management experience, back in an old old virtual world called WorldsAway as volunteer staff.

There are so many great people volunteering that if I'm not picked I have no qualms at all. Glad to see community spirit is alive and well at Metafilter!
posted by JHarris at 5:42 PM on August 15 [18 favorites]


I think tech and UX is something for a specialised committee/group of volunteers to do as back-up and help for frimble, not a task for the actual Steering Committee.

I might gently push back on this just to say: in my career, which is more or less at the nexus of comms, UX, and tech, I've noticed that the people best able to provide guidance on technical/UX priorities were those with some degree of technical background and/or willingness to truly learn and understand what those technical skills required. prioritizing some of the bulleted items in the OP re: code updates and site activity will require at least a bit of that awareness and background within the collective team (or else will ask even more of frimble re: clarifying and prioritizing work)

organizing and comms are of course crucial and will probably be more central to the SC's actual activities, but the more balance it has across the board the better, I think!

There are so many great people volunteering that if I'm not picked I have no qualms at all.

seconded -- it's awesome to see this moving forward, I'm more than happy to help if selected and would be just as happy to support those chosen.
posted by Kybard at 5:45 PM on August 15 [6 favorites]


My understanding is that MeFi's financial health has been shaky for some time.

I would like to see candidates address this issue. Even if they do so here, it might be best to also do so on the profile page, so the information is not lost.

Thanks.
posted by NotLost at 7:54 PM on August 15 [6 favorites]


My understanding is that MeFi's financial health has been shaky for some time. I would like to see candidates address this issue.

For what it is worth (God, I overuse that phrase), we have not seen anything beyond what is accessible to anyone, so what we can say is only based on our individual understandings of what we can do and where Metafilter is.

That having been said, my own understanding is that Metafilter began to see a demonstrable shift downward when Google altered its algorithm and that affected site traffic downward.

I'd like to see what we can do in terms of non-Google-dependent things to increase Metafilter's population. That is where my suggestions above regarding social media and pinning down Metafilter's selling points into absorbable bullet points (the "elevator pitch" - i.e., if you have to tell your friend in 30 seconds why Metafilter's worth checking out, what do you say) come from. Those are organic ways that don't depend on a search engine.

But on the other hand, the fact that we're absent in most ways from social media has lessened our spread -- the truth is that it's not just some people, it's some entire generations don't start with URLs, they start with timelines or feeds. As much as my BBS-lovin' heart hates that, it's a reality to cope with.

I also think -- and of course, this is one of those "easy to brainstorm, but how easy to implement?" -- that even if it's just initially a "web wrapper" to be a way of showing support -- an iPhone and Android Metafilter app could really be a useful fundraiser that might bring in a fair amount. I have next to no knowledge of the reality of app development and sales, however, so this could be one of those things an amateur believes but a professional knows better. It would be something I think would be worth a try, though, depending on how others feel about the "work v. potential benefit" balance.
posted by MollyRealized at 8:05 PM on August 15 [3 favorites]


Thank you thank you thank you to all the folks who put their names forward!! And to the transition team for working on this in the past few months.

What a great group of candidates. I only wish it were this hard to choose when I vote in my municipal/provincial/federal elections.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 8:05 PM on August 15 [3 favorites]


What a great group of candidates.

Agreed, it took me a long time to narrow the slate down to seven. Thanks to everyone who has put the time into this.

I would encourage the eventual TT to reach out to the other dozen folks who put their names in the ring but don't get selected. There's a breadth of expertise out there (including multiple candidates with technical UX/web dev experience and community management experience) and even a quick "hey, is there a particular area you might be interested in assisting with/advising on if we end up focusing on it in the first 6 months" email could help lighten the load on a few tasks.
posted by deludingmyself at 9:33 PM on August 15


This might be for the subsequent rounds of SC member selection, but can we have ‘I voted’ stickers after our usernames or on our profiles? Like the funding star or like Jessamyn’s star from long ago?
Unlike being a position to fund the site, every MeFite can vote on its governance. And should!
posted by janell at 11:28 PM on August 15 [3 favorites]


That having been said, my own understanding is that Metafilter began to see a demonstrable shift downward when Google altered its algorithm and that affected site traffic downward.

Also the collapse of the web ad market didn't do the site any favors. But yeah, with Google, I've been thinking more and more lately that too much power has been ceded to Google Search. It doesn't even provide all that great results any more, many technical searches will be swamped beneath an avalanche of SEO-boosted sites that their algorithm seems unable to differentiate from useful pages. I've been thinking more and more lately that perhaps the era of the curated web directory has returned? This is all very off-topic though. Going back to sleep!
posted by JHarris at 11:44 PM on August 15 [5 favorites]


NotLost, that's a great question.

My understanding of the situation, from my memory of various site update/state of the site MeTas is that the reduction of moderator hours was done to keep the site finances in the black, so I believe that's the starting point we'll be working from — ensuring that things don't decline further, and trying to build the finances back to what they once were, but not needing to make immediate changes to avert disaster. I'm not sure how much analysis has been done of donation numbers historically, but that's data that I'll want to look at (and share with the community) in order to get an idea of how precarious things are.

I think there are essentially three parts of approaching this problem:
  1. Building revenue numbers back up enough to support full-time moderation and programming work, with a comfortable buffer
  2. Changing site structure such that declining revenue is not a complete existential threat to the site
  3. Clearly communicating the financial situation to members
The first part, I see as a long-term goal that we should keep our eyes on, but it's not something I expect to happen in the short term. I personally think that member donations are the best revenue stream for Metafilter to be pursuing — it's already the lion's share of revenue (if I am remembering correctly), and it allows Metafilter to exist on its own terms, without needing to worry about changes in Google's search algorithm or the advertising market or anything else.

I think that the core of that growth has to come from making the site better, so that more people want to hang out here and care about this place — having not looked at the data yet, my hunch is that if the site had the same size member base it did a few years ago, that would have been large enough to sustain it off of donations. We need to welcome new people, and stop driving people away.

However, how likely people are to donate is not just a simple function of how many people are here — fundraising drives and similar efforts make a enormous difference. People have suggested a lot of good ideas around this in the past, and running those is something that I could see the SC doing, although it is lower on the priority list for me than setting up the initial procedures for self-governance, electing a new SC, etc are — six months is not a lot of time. I would also love to consult with users who have fundraising experience on this — I know we have a lot of people who have experience in this area and would love to help out.

For the second part, I personally think that Metafilter should accept more volunteer help, including for coding and moderation. While paying people for their work should remain the long-term goal, it's better for the site to accept help from the many eager and willing volunteers than for it to perish, and it's important to do that on a gradual, relaxed timeline, before it becomes a urgent decision about the survival of the site. Personally, as a unemployed software engineer, it's much much more effective for me to donate my time than it is for me to donate my money. Volunteer moderation is I think much more difficult than volunteer programming help (not that the latter is easy), and not something that I have nearly as much experience with, so I don't want to make any statements about how the implementation of that should look without consulting with the users, mods, and outside experts, but I remain convinced that it is important and something worth discussing and pursuing.

As for the last point, I think it's important to provide users (who are keeping this site running with their donations) updated with regular reports on the site finances, so that people have an idea of how the site is doing, and for there to be as much time as possible to discuss any potential looming changes.

Let me know if you have any follow-up questions!
posted by wesleyac at 12:31 AM on August 16 [5 favorites]


jacquilynne: I'm not standing for election because I have a book coming out next month, but also because the experience of being on the TT was quite intense! I think it will be easier for the SC since the parameters are a little better defined, however.
posted by adrianhon at 1:02 AM on August 16 [4 favorites]


wesleyac: Metafilter should accept more volunteer help, including for coding and moderation
Good relationships, i.e. "do you trust this person and their work?" would need to govern access to the code base.

From my position of ignorance, the legacy ColdFusion database might well need a plan to migrate away from is as something that's "dotcom equivalent of legacy Cobol" so my suggestion for that plan would involve migrating user details, user statistics and post data in stages so that both operate next to each other before cutting over entirely to a newer architecture, aiming for lower cost to run and easier for new volunteers to improve without breaking Mettfailer.
posted by k3ninho at 1:52 AM on August 16 [1 favorite]


I think it's best to avoid speculating on what architectural changes the code might benefit from, since the details of the current architecture are not publicly known :)

Figuring out what architectural changes should be made, and how to balance that with feature changes will have to come out of discussions between frimble and the SC, and I think it's best to go into that without preconceived notions of what the best way to do things is.

As a programmer, I can certainly appreciate the need to budget time for cleaning up technical debt, but I also understand that making fundamental changes to the architecture is something that's extremely costly, and shouldn't be taken lightly.
posted by wesleyac at 2:15 AM on August 16 [6 favorites]


We need to welcome new people, and stop driving people away.

I think a large part of that is going to be on the steering committee to go above and beyond in their interactions with members as they'll set a tone for the site. Welcoming to new people is not synonymous with aggressively policing microaggressions. I feel as if there's a tendency here and other places on the internet to believe there's a cadre of people out there trying to undermine them. Yes those people do exist and if they're on here they should be banned, but until proven otherwise I think the default should be to assume it is a teachable moment. Again, this is my personal opinion, but I know it isn't the most fun thing in the world to what might seem constantly reminding people over and over again but you have to keep in mind there's a very good chance it is the first time someone is hearing it.

A good, non-controversial example from today was when I saw a comment for "friend zone" was deleted. I didn't see the original comment so I can't speak for how it was used but up until now I assumed friend zone was kind of lazy bro-slang but didn't carry any outright offensive connotations. If anything I would have thought it would be an insult to the person who was told they got "friend zoned" but it was explained to me later that it was used in incel communities to shame women. So if we could cultivate more of a culture where that's explained in such a way and is also not patronizing like "are you living under a rock? how did you not know that?" it would be great.

I'll give another example where I could see the SC being extremely helpful. I'm using myself to not offend anyone, not because I am just focusing on me, but I posted a link to a golf post. A good half the thread seemed dedicated to people not reading the link and chastising golf. Personally I don't care and I should have known any sports topic would not have gone over well here, however it makes it not welcoming to anyone who wants to talk about it. People are defensive right out of the gate, it is a poor culture. I don't think the comments should be deleted but as we lack a downvote mechanism the first comments really set the tone for the thread. If the SC members could step in and set the tone and engage in the post and make positive comments I think that would be incredibly helpful.

Being ideal or the best of the best Metafilter users seems like something that the SC can take on from Day 1, it wouldn't need a budget or consensus and wouldn't drag on for months. It would help ingratiate the SC to the existing community, hopefully bring in new members and build up social capital to enact change. I don't see any downside on this other than it being more work for the SC and possibly not as fun as coming up with some of the grander plans which are important but have low visibility until they're done.
posted by geoff. at 3:09 AM on August 16 [14 favorites]


Being ideal or the best of the best Metafilter users seems like something that the SC can take on from Day 1,

That brings up an interesting point. Expecting someone to be ideal means expecting to be bitterly disappointed. I think we're so accustomed to an us vs. them mentality -- members vs management, members vs the mods -- that sometimes we're still quick to separate and elevate anyone who is perceived to have power here.

But based on the spirit of the SC and how it's intended to work, we're decidedly moving away from us vs. them. The people on SC are members, just like the rest of us. There's no pedestal. Having interacted with many of the candidates before, I don't think they'd even want a pedestal. They just happen to be the ones who have generously offered their time and no small amount of labor to funnel, organize, guide, and coordinate the efforts of every other member here to help make the site better for everyone.

And while certainly the spotlight will be on them, it's on all of us to model good member behavior, to welcome other members, to assume positive intent, to make an effort to elevate our interactions. No one has to be ideal, but all of us have to try.
posted by mochapickle at 3:45 AM on August 16 [16 favorites]


If you expect your SC rep to be supportive of golf and friend-zones, you're definitely better off checking someone else's box.
posted by Freyja at 4:04 AM on August 16 [5 favorites]


If I came away as thinking friendzones were good that was not my intent at all in fact the opposite, again I didn't see the comment, but I personally had not heard it as being used offensively I was just pointing it out as an example of a phrase I don't use to my knowledge but didn't know it was bad.
posted by geoff. at 4:07 AM on August 16 [6 favorites]


> From my position of ignorance, the legacy ColdFusion database might well need a plan to migrate away from is as something that's "dotcom equivalent of legacy Cobol"

To re-engineer Metafilter will need a much better reason than, “Cold Fusion is old.” Like, a specific way in which its oldness is an issue. The creakiness of Metafilter which users see is separate, almost entirely a result of its frontend presentation, not its backend. Visible changes will more likely happen there.
posted by thoroughburro at 4:13 AM on August 16 [1 favorite]


I’ve been looking through Adobe’s (current Cold Fusion owner) documentation and personally feel that Cold Fusion is suitable as a foundation, at least in preference to starting over.

Hammering something like Discourse into a shape that would suit our needs would take years just to reach parity.
posted by thoroughburro at 4:19 AM on August 16


Threaded front-end chat was raised previously (though excuse me for not supplying the link) as difficult without incurring costs same as rebuilding the database, thoroughburro.
posted by k3ninho at 4:19 AM on August 16 [2 favorites]


I will fight threaded comments tooth and nail as a candidate, so that’s all right with me. (At the same time, I’m surprised CF would struggle with implementing threading and would appreciate a reference.)
posted by thoroughburro at 4:20 AM on August 16 [9 favorites]


heya so -- it's great that some of the folks on the ballot are doing a stump speech in here. this list of candidates is great, and i'm really happy to cast my votes among such a great list of MeFites.

that said, i'm not able to do a stump speech in here -- it's not in my nature already, and i have some ND / spectrum qualities that mean i vastly prefer specific prompts or questions. it can be hard for me to attenuate my oversharing meter, and doubly so with a lack of clear prompting / structure.

i did update my user profile and copy pasted my verbatim self-nomination email. that's the best solution that works for me. since some folks are finding it helpful to have info in this thread, i will also copy paste from my user profile below.

if anyone has specific questions for me, i am totally happy to answer them, and all questions are welcome.
Your primary active username
lazaruslong

Your full name (only seen by staff/TT members and not shared)
Logan Ayliffe

As much personal information as you feel comfortable sharing. We are seeking a diverse group of members that cover a great range of the global experience from all backgrounds and walks of life, especially including those who are traditionally marginalized and oppressed.
I've been pretty open about my life on MetaFilter so I'm comfortable just being frank here:
- White, gender fluid, queer.
- American, moved to Netherlands last November, not going back.
- Not wealthy, been check to check forever.
- Autism spectrum, ADHD, GAD, as well as some more visible disabilities (oromandibular facial dystonia, others).
- Grew up lower middle class in the Southern United States, HS grad + restaurant industry working from childhood to 2016 more or less. Decided to escape America with my spouse, went back to school and finished college degrees for the first time in 2021. Worked full time in family medicine and public health during that time to get free tuition. Midlife career switcher into tech. Just started my first real tech job at age 38, working in the Dutch payments industry doing integration testing. Hoping to pivot into climate change / sustainability stuff in the Dutch tech industry once I have 2 years of experience to leverage to be pickier about the company and my role.

Describe what you bring to the Steering Committee, and what you hope to accomplish.
I hope that I can help with reducing ableism on MetaFilter, with some of the US-Centrism stuff (I'm doing a lot of unlearning us centrism work in a queer slack and just in my life as I just left the US, and I hope that this perspective could be a helpful gap filler between US and non-US MeFites), code and design improvements (I am able to contribute code to improvement efforts if / when they come up) and with communication efforts between the SC and the community. I bring myself, warts and all. I'm not good at "selling" myself so idk. If you have specific questions about what I bring that would be easier for me to respond to.

Include any accessibility needs you have to help you participate in committee conversations and meetings:
Since meetings are going to be virtual I'm good (amsterdam time zone though)

Describe what you like most about MetaFilter. When you tell someone you’re on the MetaFilter Steering Committee, and someone asks you “what’s MetaFilter and why would you do that,” what’s your answer?
Honestly, MetaFilter at this point MetaFilter isn't something that I like or dislike -- it's family. I know that sounds...different. But the truth is that MetaFilter has been a fixture of my life since I was 17, and I'm approaching 40 now. There's a million things that I "like" about MetaFilter, and a million that I think could be better. But at the end of the day, when I reflect on MetaFilter and what it means to me...it's part of my identity, it's part of how I understand and interact with the world, it's like another bone in my body.

If MetaFilter went away, that would be extraordinarily painful to me. I would grieve its loss like a loved one. If someone asked me why I am doing this, the honest answer would be that I love MetaFilter, and MetaFilter is in need. I'd do anything to help those I love, and somehow a freaking website managed to worm its way into that category over the last 20 something years. So here we are!

Affirm that you agree to abide by the initial charter.
I agree.

Affirm that you can commit to an initial 6 month term, can attend a monthly synchronous meeting, and are able to stay in regular contact with both the SC and MetaFilter staff (this is in the charter, but it’s important to emphasize).
I can indeed.

If you are not either selected to be or voted to be a member, are you interested in being a contributor?
Yes.
posted by lazaruslong at 4:25 AM on August 16 [11 favorites]


I’d also like to mention that, in my experience, six months might be too short a term to propose, discuss, implement, and test meaningful changes. I think the elected SC should consider increasing that minimum, or at least not make it a maximum. Are we confident we’ll be able to find another slate of candidates in six months? Just a thought for future SC members.
posted by thoroughburro at 4:32 AM on August 16 [2 favorites]


Frimble has made the following updates to the voting page:
* There is now text that reads, "You can change your endorsements and resubmit as many times as you would like until the end of the voting period. Only the most recent endorsements are saved." above the button, but only after you have voted once already.

*The "Send" button changes to an Update button once you have voted.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:44 AM on August 16 [7 favorites]


Re: six months -- the charter asks that you commit to six months, and come up with whatever the new system will be to find new SC members, in that time. There's no stated maximum -- you COULD all roll up and declare your new eternal fiefdom. :) (I hope you don't do that -- judging by the folks who are interested I think we're safe) Maybe you'll decide that a year (or two) is a good length of time for someone to be an SC member, and you'll continue on for awhile longer before running a new election or whatever other system seems good. Six months seemed like the right amount of time to underscore that this is a commitment, but the Transition Team can't know exactly what this job is going to be, so consider that as something akin to a check-in time. Is it turning out like how you thought? What does being an SC member look like, long-term?

There's a lot on that plate; personally, I am not expecting any of those things to necessarily be figured out in that time, but hopefully some progress, and then a more codified structure for how the SC operates going forward. As part of the ground-up community principles this is supposed to be about, the structure is pretty open-ended, and I think it's best if the SC has full self-determination rather than us trying to work something out ahead of time for everyone. Excited to see what you come up with!
posted by curious nu at 4:48 AM on August 16 [6 favorites]


Illuminati cabal for lif! Yeah, no, no, no.

One thought on finance/support, mifi live on AWS which is complex. There is actually a substantial cottage industry devoted to reducing AWS spend. I have some understanding but we should also wrangle any expertise in the community to review, looking for any savings that could be made from just tuning the service.
posted by sammyo at 4:55 AM on August 16 [2 favorites]


Frimble has made the following updates to the voting page:

frimble rules

Six months seemed like the right amount of time to underscore that this is a commitment, but the Transition Team can't know exactly what this job is going to be, so consider that as something akin to a check-in time

this seems exactly right and probably something each iteration of the SC will need to do in its own time, as there will be ebbs and flows to the projects and bandwidth required for the SC to match the website's moment-to-moment needs

not sure I can add anything intelligent to what's already been said re: financing except to echo wesleyac that individual user donations feel like the most natural and non-destructive way for MetaFilter to fundraise, whether in the monthly format or through one-off fundraisers. but that goes hand in hand with general site improvements and user base growth/retention, to the degree that it may be better to think about it in that direction -- an "if you build it, they will come" sort of thing. the better the site is about welcoming users, being friendly and easy to use, and maintaining an open and honest relationship with its community, the likelier it is to keep receiving (and to receive more of) the generosity that keeps it not just afloat but able to grow.
posted by Kybard at 5:25 AM on August 16 [1 favorite]


I’ve added a section to my profile which collects specific policy opinions I’ve given.
posted by thoroughburro at 5:45 AM on August 16


I posted a link to a golf post. A good half the thread seemed dedicated to people not reading the link and chastising golf.

I made a golf post a couple months ago. Leading off with this comment seemed to help.
posted by box at 5:51 AM on August 16 [3 favorites]


Just want to say thank you to all the people who have shown their commitment to this wonderful place and put their names in the hat. I read every candidate profile, most of them twice, and it was absolutely brutal narrowing it to just seven. It's amazing to see the diversity -- age, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, neurology, and simply life experience -- in our community and it gives me great hope that this group will take us forward and grow and improve Metafilter.
Thank you all.
posted by martin q blank at 6:13 AM on August 16 [8 favorites]


I think the elected SC should consider increasing that minimum, or at least not make it a maximum. Are we confident we’ll be able to find another slate of candidates in six months?

I also think, as we come up with a plan to go forward with future SCs, we should pursue options that don't require an entirely new slate of candidates again in the future. It should be built into the functioning of the elections that positions are filled on a rolling basis, with a few each election cycle, rather than all at once -- better handover / continuity and less likely that we end up in a position where we are pleading for someone, anyone to please run for the SC.

If we simply had longer terms that might eventually happen naturally anyway -- some people will not complete those terms because their life circumstances won't allow it -- but it would be better if we baked it into the plan.
posted by jacquilynne at 6:14 AM on August 16 [14 favorites]


Good morning!

I'm extremely reluctant to comment on how I'd want the Steering Committee [SC] to address financials or coding because at this point I don't know anything more than "unstable" and "old." I'm relying on the starter packet that the very competent Transition Team [TT] is developing to hand over to bring the SC up to speed.

Structure-wise, I'd like to see the SC establish some overlap so that the entire committee isn't completely turning over every time terms are up. We'd want a term long enough to accomplish initiatives, but not long enough to burn us out, but also not short enough that the community tires of voting every X months. Term limits too, in a "you can serve x many concurrent terms before you must sit out for x many terms, then you can run again" fashion. Otherwise the SC stagnates. What happens when someone has to step down before their term is up? And how often will will the SC provide updates to the community? It's a must but what's the framework around updates?

As for the SC being the ideal members, nobody is perfect. Definitely not me. Obviously, being a complete butthead here isn't a great trait for a SC member to have; however, I suspect many of us applied so we can help get things moving, not to be monitoring posts for bad faith readings and unwelcoming tone. But perhaps an Ambassador group would be lovely to have - they can seek out who's joined lately, comment positively on their contributions, gently come into comments and say "hey it's nice to use an archive link for paywall/posterity issues, here's a link!" An Ambassador group could go far to address some of the unwelcoming/unfriendly/high bar for participation concerns brought up on the survey.

But that's really putting the cart before the horse. I'm tagging out now to deal with the day job. Back later!
posted by kimberussell at 6:20 AM on August 16 [17 favorites]


I voted! Where's my screaming radioactive rainbow monstrosity sticker?
posted by Ten Cold Hot Dogs at 6:21 AM on August 16 [2 favorites]

and come up with whatever the new system will be to find new SC members, in that time
Speaking of this, I'd love to know what other candidates think about what this process should look like. Personally, the things that are important to me are:
  • Allowing members to vote directly on candidates using a proportional voting method
  • Ensuring that there is a smooth transition between SCs, which most likely means not replacing every member at once
  • Ensuring that the SC doesn't stagnate, which I think means either limits on terms or limits on consecutive terms — I think around two years on / two years off (that is, if you serve for two years, you need to wait two years before running again) is probably a reasonable limit to start with, but I'm not married to any specific number or implementation
posted by wesleyac at 6:46 AM on August 16 [4 favorites]


I'd like to hear the candidates' views on attracting new members while not losing our site culture. There's a tension here -- the site certainly could become welcoming to golf bros and decide that being thoughtful and kind ain't worth the effort, but I feel like that would be a loss. At the same time, it seems like most of us agree that we need to get new members from somewhere.
posted by Alterscape at 6:47 AM on August 16 [1 favorite]


I agree entirely with jacquilynne’s outline of SC transition concerns, above.
posted by thoroughburro at 6:49 AM on August 16


Let’s not label members in this thread as “golf bros”. Like almost any leisure activity these days, golf is problematic, more so than most! Even so, golfers are a broad group who include a lot of people we wouldn’t feel comfortable dunking on. Asking for a criticism free thread is beyond the pale, but asking for that basic acknowledgement is not.
posted by thoroughburro at 6:53 AM on August 16 [12 favorites]


I'd like to hear the candidates' views on attracting new members while not losing our site culture.

for my part, I think growing the user base can and should not involve shifting our site culture much, except for the normal shifts and growth that we experience organically and as a product of wanting to increase inclusivity and reduce harm.

instead I'd want to think more deliberately and concretely about platforms for outreach to potential audiences that won't feel pander-y or require paid ads or anything else potentially obnoxious or odious. perhaps including:
  • a more intentional use of social media platforms to broadcast the "best of" the site in a way that attracts potential users; I think of things like the emotional labor megathread and how incredibly valuable and compelling some of our conversations can be, and want to find more ways to shout that out in the same way MeFi itself shouts out the best of the rest of the web
  • a supplemental podcast, perhaps, or similar outpost to highlight what's great about MeFi while minimizing how ingratiated you already have to be in the website's quirks and in-jokes
  • MollyRealized's excellent idea to introduce mobile apps, even just in the form of web wrappers
and other things as they come to the attention of the SC or community at large. more consistent forums to discuss this as a big group will be invaluable. no matter what it'll probably be slow-if-any growth across any axis we attempt — simply because the internet's main juggernauts work as attention black-holes — so I think a holistic and patient attitude is key.

it's also important to remember, in re: this golf discussion and without any judgment on that specific item, that attracting new members does not and should not mean attracting any new members at whatever cost. MeFi isn't a startup and it does not need to seek perpetual, exponential financial or audience growth; what it needs are the creation or refinement of tools that allow it to survive and thrive without duress and to welcome those who might want to join what's been built.
posted by Kybard at 7:12 AM on August 16 [7 favorites]


I've updated my profile - reproducing some of it here:

-------

I'm aielen. I'm a millennial that grew up on Metafilter - I've spent almost 20 years on Metafilter, and in that sense I have a perspective of being a longtime user/member. I'm currently part of the BIPOC board, and hope to be able to serve as a bridge/connection between the BIPOC board and the steering committee if selected. I've lived between the US and Southeast Asia for most of my life, and I'm currently based in Southeast Asia.

In terms of being on the BIPOC board / a "diversity" representative:
I honestly wouldn't call myself an authority on diversity initiatives. I don't have it all figured out. There have been many, many BIPOC Mefites that I've looked up to, that have been wiser and more experienced than I (that I wish I could nominate if they were still around :p ). I've learned from them, I miss those that have left, and their contributions to Metafilter were immensely valuable (and often underappreciated). In a way, I'm on the board and still chugging along not because of anything remarkable I've done, but because so many have left. That said: I do bring a non-US, non-white perspective to the table. I have experience in social activism/social ventures in Southeast Asia and the US (happy to elaborate over memail). I'm always trying to learn more, to implement what I learn - and I want to do what I can to help Metafilter become a more inclusive place, with a greater diversity of members. Where everyone feels engaged and part of the community - not just a privileged demographic.

On my own time, I've also compiled and catalogued an archive of BIPOC/race-related Metatalk threads spanning 20+ years, with some simple analysis done across the threads in terms of engagement metrics, subsequently disabled accounts, wiped comments, etc. Deeper analysis (in terms of qualitative content - e.g. the actual discussions, suggestions in the thread, dialogue trajectory, etc) is still ongoing, and I'm hoping to eventually produce some reports/summaries/key takeaways for a core group of these threads (most likely focused on 2016 - present). To be clear - this wasn't work requested by the BIPOC board (and I was also a bit conflicted about setting (more) precedent for uncompensated BIPOC labour), but I also felt like it had to be done in some way to give us more context and help us move forward, especially in the area of BIPOC diversity (and diversity in general - since many of the MeTas I compiled (e.g. contentious State of the Site threads) also raised the concerns of other marginalized groups). I've shared some of this work with the BIPOC board. Hopefully some of the work in this area can be useful to the Steering Committee as well (regardless of whether I'm selected).

What does Metafilter mean to me?
My first introduction to Metafilter was through the kindness of a Mefite - dobbs was giving away a number of free Metafilter accounts to people from less-represented backgrounds/perspectives, and I was one of the people that wrote to him asking to be considered for an account. That $5-valued gift of an account changed my life. Maybe not in big, instant ways - but reading Metafilter everyday, learning/soaking in all that was being posted and discussed - definitely shaped my life in daily, constant, incremental ways (both good and not so good :P ). The Metafilter community also has significant capacity for kindness and generosity - not just generosity in the exchange of ideas and dialogue, but tangible IRL generosity, with wisdom, advice and support that goes well beyond what people would expect from internet contacts. Over the years, Mefites have helped me based on our shared connection as Mefites, and I've done the same for individual Mefites where I've been able.

To me, this sums up Metafilter and its potential - the way its community and content can steadily influence and enrich lives over time, to cumulate in wiser, wider perspectives in the long run, and real, lasting personal connections. Metafilter isn't the cool new upstart it used to be on the internet, but I'd say it's developed into something bigger and more meaningful. Small actions and exchanges can add up to profound relationships, beliefs and life changes - and over the years, I think Metafilter has come to feel like a kind of home for many of us. Lately Metafilter seems to have taken steps towards big changes for the better - more community-centric governance, and renewed efforts to improve the site's sustainability. The future's rife with possibilities - good ones, and I hope I can help nudge Metafilter in that direction.

-------

(There's a little bit more info on my profile - but please just feel free to reach out or chat through memail or email too.)
posted by aielen at 7:16 AM on August 16 [13 favorites]


I don't feel qualified to speak on the site's finances or code until I've seen the details, but attracting and retaining new members is a project that speaks to me loudly.

I agree with MollyRealized that our absence from social platforms, while principled, is self-handicapping. Finding ways to share not just the content but our philosophy and community spirit on other platforms is a priority I'd love to tackle.

I'm not worried about a troll invasion - that'll be a nice problem to address once we have achieved that power of attraction. We have the mechanisms to orient new members and filter out the riffraff already. Let's start by shining that beacon so that potential Mefites currently stranded in subpar communities on Reddit or Facebook can find their way home.
posted by Freyja at 7:26 AM on August 16 [4 favorites]


If "not shifting the site culture" was going to grow the site userbase, it wouldn't be in such steep decline for the past decade or more.

We just had a referendum on the site (via the survey) that had a very high proportion of responses that laid out that a lot of the problem with engagement is people feeling like they're going to be pounced on and torn apart by people taking the least charitable interpretations of their statements and making illogical leaps to conclusions about their motives. That is an unfortunate but real aspect of site culture, right now. It needs to change. I am way, way less concerned with the idea that we might "lose" something by shifting towards being less abrasive, than I am that the site is going to die because it keeps circling the same drain with the same people driving users off.

Any SC candidate who thinks site culture shouldn't fundamentally change is not one I can support. If we don't need a change in culture, the site doesn't need a steering committee, because we may as well just sit back and watch it slowly die as the userbase fades away.
posted by a faithful sock at 7:31 AM on August 16 [29 favorites]


I'd like to hear the candidates' views on attracting new members while not losing our site culture.

I don't think my ideas are revolutionary, but here they are:

-- Make the site much more followable, which potentially includes a central feed and actual working read/unread indicators that work across devices, as well as ways of knowing if people are talking to you specifically (possibly up to and including the dreaded @mentions) so people can effectively follow conversations and discussions from across the site.
-- Engage with social -- make it easier and nicer looking to share things on various social sites and encourage sharing among members; more active management of the MeFi social accounts; I'd particularly like the SC to committee to consider how we can engage with younger social platforms like TikTok, though I am not necessarily particularly well placed to have ideas about that because I am not younger. What would it look like if someone did, I don't know, regular TikToks about whether or not we can safely eat the thing based on the AskMe threads? Could that be funny, entertaining, etc? Do people have other ideas about what that could look like and how could members be involved in creating that kind of content? Is it the kind of thing we can even encourage or is it something younger members would have to do more organically for it to work?
-- Make the site more usable and mobile friendly, which might mean small tweaks to the interface or it might mean mobile apps
posted by jacquilynne at 7:32 AM on August 16 [6 favorites]


a faithful sock, speaking only for myself, your concern is reasonable and well put, but it would have more impact coming from an identified member. I like to know who I’m in discussion with!
posted by thoroughburro at 7:33 AM on August 16 [1 favorite]


I closed my primary account years ago, and this is the only one I use. I don't comment very frequently, for the same reasons many others have stopped commenting very much. Does that not make me identifiable enough? Or does there need to be an inquisition into my identity for me to participate in the site?
posted by a faithful sock at 7:37 AM on August 16 [15 favorites]


Ah, interesting. For myself, my response to your posts under this account have been “This is well spoken, decent criticism… so why are they hiding behind a sock puppet? Odd.”

To address your concern, I feel like there are probably a lot of people out there looking for the intellectual and social oasis which Metafilter already is today. I like the idea of finding and rescuing the Mefites who are trapped on other platforms, ignorant of an alternative.
posted by thoroughburro at 7:41 AM on August 16


Any SC candidate who thinks site culture shouldn't fundamentally change is not one I can support. If we don't need a change in culture, the site doesn't need a steering committee, because we may as well just sit back and watch it slowly die as the userbase fades away.

we may be talking a bit past each other here, because this:

people feeling like they're going to be pounced on and torn apart by people taking the least charitable interpretations of their statements and making illogical leaps to conclusions about their motive

is definitely a real problem, correctly listed as a priority for the SC to address, but not at all what I would define as this site's fundamental culture, at least not as desired or expressed by the community that most wants to see it grow. the very fact that bad-faith sniping is considered by some folks to be fundamental site culture is a grave problem worth addressing; I couldn't possibly agree more.

but while it has been in lurches and fits I have seen MeFi grow a lot in this regard from where it was, say, a decade ago. that willingness to grow is a big part of what I mean when I refer to the site culture: an ethos of good-faith attempts to constantly improve and welcome communication, that I want to preserve and that I think would make it a valuable place for new folks to consider joining up
posted by Kybard at 7:53 AM on August 16 [8 favorites]


Very well said, Kybard. I’m happy to piggyback on that.
posted by thoroughburro at 8:01 AM on August 16 [1 favorite]


God forbid any of those new members enjoy golf, though! I mean, isn't that what you mean when you reply to a complaint about people criticising a golf post with "We don't want just any new members"? It's not just you; there are other posters here who were even more dismissive. For better or worse, it's a part of the site culture that seems incredibly difficult to eradicate.

I really, really think there needs to be a rethinking of how quick we are to condemn people for completely random interests, which they may not know are triggers for the disapproval of the entire community.
posted by sagc at 8:01 AM on August 16 [24 favorites]


I'd particularly like the SC to committee to consider how we can engage with younger social platforms like TikTok, though I am not necessarily particularly well placed to have ideas about that because I am not younger. What would it look like if someone did, I don't know, regular TikToks about whether or not we can safely eat the thing based on the AskMe threads?

I definitely agree that MeFi could stand a larger and more consistent social media presence (though probably not so much on Facebook).

TikTok isn't just for young people at all! It's one of the most fun and interesting SM platforms and it has a diverse range of ages, so it's definitely viable.

but it would have more impact coming from an identified member.

I can identify the user by their user name, so I'm not sure what you mean. I don't much care who they were before, this is how they are now and they're trying to contribute in a helpful way.

There is no explicit demand from the site that anyone reveal their last name or anything personal about themselves. Quite the opposite, people are free to be as anonymous as they like.

It would be best to take people on their comments and what they do, instead of some nebulous idea of they should or should not reveal.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:05 AM on August 16 [8 favorites]


> I don't much care who they were before, this is how they are now and they're trying to contribute in a helpful way.

I agree, now that I’m actually aware that is the case. Metafilter naming conventions being what they are, it was reasonable of me to assume this was an active member’s sockpuppet (and it apparently was, at first).
posted by thoroughburro at 8:09 AM on August 16 [1 favorite]


God forbid any of those new members enjoy golf, though! I mean, isn't that what you mean when you reply to a complaint about people criticising a golf post with "We don't want just any new members"?

oh not at all -- I play golf! well, I have. very rarely and not well and at courses so poorly kept they're halfway to being reclaimed by nature, but still. I even still watch the NFL, too, and enjoy Formula 1, and other stuff that may fall (even in my own mind!) somewhere along the spectrum of morally objectionable or even indefensible. all this while thinking of myself as a hardline leftist; we are all of us bundles of contradictions and rationalizations.

anyway I only intended to use that line of conversation to make the point that there are and should be some manner of limit to which we mutate to please every conceivable user. I don't at all think that line is at "people who enjoy golf." I do apologize for framing my post in a way that might have suggested as much!
posted by Kybard at 8:10 AM on August 16 [5 favorites]


No worries - in combination with the "golf bros" comment and the questions about attracting new users, I figured it was worth noting.
posted by sagc at 8:12 AM on August 16 [3 favorites]


is definitely a real problem, correctly listed as a priority for the SC to address, but not at all what I would define as this site's fundamental culture, at least not as desired or expressed by the community that most wants to see it grow.

The survey data speaks to this and that will be helpful for the SC!

There was a question at the top of the thread about TT members and burnout. My life difficulty increased over the summer due to losing a key staff member at work and some other things, and Covid was grueling for me too (although I had made my decision before that). That said I also think it's time for new voices.
posted by warriorqueen at 8:22 AM on August 16 [4 favorites]


Upthread Freyja said, "If you expect your SC rep to be supportive of golf and friend-zones, you're definitely better off checking someone else's box.

It's unclear to me whether Freyja is unsupportive of golf in general or golf posts on Metafilter specifically, but I do think the reference to the recent post about The ongoing battle between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf raises an issue that is important to many Mefites and that some of the SC candidates may want to address.

One of the commenters in that thread noted, "Observation: every time a golf related post pops up on the blue, there's a rush of people saying how they don't like golf, with few interactions with the actual post link (s)." That observation is consistent with my experience in reading posts with atypical subject matter , and it seems like this dynamic could impact site engagement.

As per the the discussion on the recent MetaTalk post It can be terrifying to make a Front Page post. Please be kind, this issue appears to be significant to a number of Mefites, and any thoughts on the issue from the SC nominees would be welcome.
posted by lumpy at 8:24 AM on August 16 [16 favorites]


I'm not interested in this thread becoming a back and forth with me, so I'm going to just respond re: site culture and bow out. That said:

My contention regarding being too concerned with changing site culture is, in my opinion a lot of mefites' appraisal of the site culture involves a fair bit of unwarranted mythologizing.

MeFi is people. It has at many times been good, but it has also at many times been bad. Yes, in the early 2000s (which I was there for!), it was better than most internet sites. It was also awful in many ways by today's standards. And we've gone through a lot of ups and downs since. But fundamentally, the site is people, and I'm sorry if it bursts your bubble but it's not a law of nature that MeFi is always at all moments better than any other discussion forum in the world.

The idea that MeFi is just fundamentally a "intellectual and social oasis" just doesn't ring true to me right now. I think it can be at times, but it can also be a very hard place to engage, with a steep barrier to entry and a high likelihood of getting treated like shit by long time members who think treating people like shit is not just OK but commendable as long as you're doing it to The Right People (a.k.a. The Bad People, those we've decided without even knowing them that we don't want here).

So, yeah. I think of you actually want to attract and retain new users, site culture has to change.
posted by a faithful sock at 8:30 AM on August 16 [34 favorites]


So, yeah. I think of you actually want to attract and retain new users, site culture has to change.

Yep, agreed.

The devil will be in the details though, as usual.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:34 AM on August 16 [5 favorites]


I am someone who’s survey response was definitely counted with the backlash against… and right here is the problem, because I don’t believe in callout culture. It’s very hard to talk about the problem with non-charitable progressivism, if I may coin, without sounding like a “political correctness gone mad” crusader.

In my opinion, Metafilter is not yet progressive enough. Trawl my MetaTalk history a few years back; my rhetoric has cooled, but my passion has not. Yet, at the very same time, Metafilter has a problem with embracing the least charitable, most dismissable form of progressivism (note: enemies of progressivism win when we make ourselves dismissable). It’s gotten to the point where it sometimes isn’t even correct, as here, which really hurts the cause.

So, it’s going to be a tightrope.
posted by thoroughburro at 8:48 AM on August 16 [8 favorites]


One of the commenters in that thread noted, "Observation: every time a golf related post pops up on the blue, there's a rush of people saying how they don't like golf, with few interactions with the actual post link (s)." That observation is consistent with my experience in reading posts with atypical subject matter , and it seems like this dynamic could impact site engagement.

I don't think there's a single clear answer here, because context matters.

If someone makes a post about, say, amazing hole-in-one golf shots and someone else jumps into the thread with a "golf is bad and golf courses are bad and this post is bad as a result" kind of comment, I think that's absolutely a problem. So much so that the moderators already remove those comments.

On the other hand, when the context is "golf is eating itself alive over whether or not to take Saudi blood money", then "even without Saudi blood money, golf is pretty terrible (racist, environmentally damaging, etc." is much less clearly off-topic. People who want to get into the nuances of a specific situation are justifiably kind of irritated when they instead find themselves stuck in yet another 101-level "golf is bad" conversation, so I'm not saying 'never do anything about those comments'. But Metafilter is also a generalist site, and for any niche subject, it will always have more members who are at the 101-level about a particular topic than it was members who are well-versed in that topic, so 'doing anything' might not automatically mean removing the posts or handslapping people who were trying to engage.

The SC should consider, in the broad strokes, what would be necessary to make space for both 101 and graduate level discussions of particular issues. The first blush answer is something like threaded replies that would allow both conversations to happen in the same post at the same time but with less interference with each other, but maybe there is a more interesting solution out there.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:57 AM on August 16 [4 favorites]


The failure mode of clever is asshole, and I’d do well to remember that. Kybard, thank you for seeing the idea I was after through my thoughtless framing.
posted by Alterscape at 9:03 AM on August 16 [4 favorites]


I'll write something up about attracting new users sometime today, but in the meantime I just want to share here this cohort analysis I put together this morning, showing when active users (where "active" is defined as having posted, commented, or faved in that month) joined the site. There isn't enough detail in that chart to answer the questions I'm really interested in (what the rate of new users leaving the site looks like vs old users leaving the site is something I think is particularly important), but I think it's pretty interesting and worth sharing.
posted by wesleyac at 9:06 AM on August 16 [28 favorites]


That chart is sick! Thanks for making that!
posted by Jpfed at 9:09 AM on August 16 [2 favorites]


I am at work, and won't have time for a detailed, well-considered response until end of the day here in the Pacific Northwest, but wanted to quick jump in to say that I am in full agreement with other SC candidates who have expressed a desire to have staggered terms and meaningful term limits. I think we need a balance between ensuring some continuity and also ensuring that the SC actively cultivates fresh perspectives.

Also, when it comes to any specific policy decisions, whether we're talking about finances or member engagement or site culture, I want to state clearly that while I do come to the table with a plate full of personal opinions, I personally see my own contributions to the discussion as based on community representation. If elected, I will wait until I have seen the materials prepared by the site owners and moderators, the complete results of the site survey, and had sufficient interactions with the full SC before leaning into any of those opinions. And I strongly believe one of the fist things the SC will want to work on is ensuring that there are multiple, clear, and easy methods for the community to engage with the SC.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:10 AM on August 16 [6 favorites]


so I'm going to just respond re: site culture and bow out.

I respect your decision to bow out, but do just want to say to you I appreciate very much where you're coming from. a lot of the shorthand used here to talk about what MetaFilter "is" comes down to describing the motions of a not-at-all monolithic community, which has changed a lot over time. the mythologizing you're talking about I think is a natural product of folks who've been in one place a long time and think fondly of it, but it's an instinct the SC will want to push against when assessing what this website actually is and what it needs.

The failure mode of clever is asshole, and I’d do well to remember that. Kybard, thank you for seeing the idea I was after through my thoughtless framing.

so, this will be sort of a response to this and to lumpy's question: when discussing the idea of emphasizing "good faith interpretation," I think it's easy to forget how damnably difficult it is to communicate ideas well at all, much less to do so in an inflection-less medium. this is what leads me personally to lurk a lot more than I might otherwise: I get a lot of anxiety working and reworking my posts to make sure I address every potential caveat and pave over every possibly misread turn of phrase. (I have rewritten this whole post four times now, for example, not even to mention all the little tweaks such as adding this parenthetical, or changing "like" to "such as" earlier in this sentence)

on the one hand, I have no idea how to consistently reinforce "assume the post you're responding to included a bunch of clarifications and exceptions and wasn't written by a jerk" without also potentially missing, among other things, a) those who are nonetheless tired of reiterating 101-level explanations and b) posts that are written by jerks. also, the urge to want individual posts to carry more water to avoid the above is often in direct conflict with the desire to make the site more welcoming and friendly to prospective new users. it is indeed a ridiculously thin tightrope, one that will probably be best handled across many conversations with both moderator staff and the community, leading over time to delicate touches of additional policy clarification or visibility for certain concepts or principles the community wants to emphasize.

And I strongly believe one of the fist things the SC will want to work on is ensuring that there are multiple, clear, and easy methods for the community to engage with the SC.

yes yes yes!
posted by Kybard at 9:16 AM on August 16 [7 favorites]


Chart is very cool!

(Doesn't capture me, in a sense though - because I comment daily, and have been active since 2001, but under a different name - I think there's a few in that same boat).
posted by tiny frying pan at 9:23 AM on August 16


"I will wait until I have seen the materials prepared by the site owners and moderators"

That was supposed to read "I will wait until I have seen the materials prepared by the TT, site owner, and moderators". Sorry TT! You were so present in my mind I thought I had already listed you. You rock!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:28 AM on August 16 [2 favorites]


I'm not used to having a choice of so many great candidates, but I voted anyway.
posted by freakazoid at 10:17 AM on August 16 [3 favorites]


I have been moved and impressed by the folks who self-nominated for SC. I love MetaFilter; I love that so many MeFites have stepped up to serve as best they can because they also love it, while seeing that it can be improved and, critically, stabilised financially. I truly hope those of you who do not serve on the SC will be tapped to contribute when appropriate.

(Is it too late to self-nominate as a contributor? That there was a deadline for that seemed kind of odd to me but I forgot to note that earlier. Also, I am disappointed that we did not do proportionate voting this time around and strong urge the new members of the SC, after elected, to make that shift for future elections.)

Finally, thanks again to the awesome Transition Team members who worked so hard, to the existing moderators and the moderators who left recently, to cortex and jessamyn, to frimble and to all the other folks keeping this place together. That includes those posting FPPs and questions, those commenting and those lurking. I have deeply worried that this place was doing to die. It may still. But this shift gives me hope that MetaFilter may yet have a healthy future ahead after much more hard work. I'm excited!
posted by Bella Donna at 11:02 AM on August 16 [8 favorites]


Just voted. Thank you to all candidates for taking this on. And of course to the TT, paid staff and owner for your labour to make this possible.

I am curious to see how this will affect the site. I am quite ambivalent about it, tbh, as change is scarey. For a while i actually thought i will not vote, but reading the statements of the candidates changed my mind. So, thank you for sharing.
posted by 15L06 at 11:31 AM on August 16 [4 favorites]


Also, I am disappointed that we did not do proportionate voting this time around and strong urge the new members of the SC, after elected, to make that shift for future elections.)

I 100% agree. I was sad at first that they went with the block voting approach. But the TT's SC selections will hopefully compensate for not using a proportional system. That's only going to help for this first election, though. I hope the SC adopts a proportional (or semi-proportional, in the case of limited voting) system to help choose their successors.
posted by Jpfed at 11:36 AM on August 16 [5 favorites]


Dangit, I feel like I need to catch up on this continually moving thread in order to make the most informed decision. And that's great, to see all the discussion about it. But it keeps going and I am now behind by 40+ comments (and still moving at a good clip). :/
posted by Glinn at 11:36 AM on August 16 [2 favorites]


Since some of the discussion here has gone towards things the site could do to improve, am I in the minority in appreciating so much the Note: Everyone needs a hug. reminder on the MetaTalk reply box? I love its brief but effective appeal to humanity. Maybe more of that?

I voted! Where's my screaming radioactive rainbow monstrosity sticker?

Here ya go!
posted by JHarris at 12:11 PM on August 16 [10 favorites]


Jpfed, I would feel especially confident helping to implement a voting system if someone well informed on their nuances and potential gotchas is involved. I hope whoever winds up on the SC will pursue you for help with that. I was glad the TT leaned on you to improve this initial election!
posted by thoroughburro at 12:16 PM on August 16 [2 favorites]


Is there a way to contribute technical expertise without being on the Steering Committee? I have no desire or capacity to set direction for the site (as well as being someone who occasionally opens mouth and devours foot), but I am a software developer of 25 years and am perfectly willing to just write code and modify things at others direction.
posted by JustSayNoDawg at 2:13 PM on August 16 [3 favorites]


Bella Donna also asked about signing up to contribute. Would the TT mind clarifying whether they are still accepting contributor applications, to be handed off to the SC? Or should new applicants wait until after the election?
posted by thoroughburro at 2:17 PM on August 16 [2 favorites]


Definitely hold off until the new SC takes our place, so probably around September 1.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:37 PM on August 16 [2 favorites]


wesleyac, in your cohort plot, is the total height the number of active users during the given month? And are the bands of color per year the user joined?
posted by mubba at 3:03 PM on August 16 [1 favorite]


am I in the minority in appreciating so much the Note: Everyone needs a hug. reminder on the MetaTalk reply box?

I know I appreciate the heck out of it.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:07 PM on August 16 [8 favorites]


mubba — yep, that's exactly correct :)

also, jut so as not to surprise people, I modified the chart, fixing one bug (the month of February 2010 not being in the data), removing August 2022 (since it's not over yet), and changing the resolution — if it looks a little different than you remember it, that's why.
posted by wesleyac at 3:12 PM on August 16


wesleyac, I have summary data sitting around from 2018 that shows a peak of 8705 users leaving favorites in May 2012, declining to 6342 in May 2018. Yours seems to peak around 4000. Is yours maybe for the blue only?
posted by Wobbuffet at 3:14 PM on August 16 [1 favorite]


If anyone would like additional evidence of my fitness for the position, I provided the 1,000,00 comment on the site, so there's that.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:22 PM on August 16 [6 favorites]


1,000,00 is an impressive number indeed 👏!!
posted by riverlife at 3:24 PM on August 16 [1 favorite]


Wobbuffet — hmm, thanks for bringing that up, you're correct. My underlying data file shows 10,467 active users for that month, but Google Sheets (which I'm using for generating the actual chart) seems to be choking on that somewhere (it seems like maybe it straight-up can't handle a stacked bar chart with this many columns?)

I'll have a updated version in a moment.
posted by wesleyac at 3:29 PM on August 16 [3 favorites]


Ok, a fixed chart is up at the same link — it looks actually significantly more optimistic, thanks again Wobbuffet for catching that (I probably should have notice in the first place that there were not enough different colors for ~240 different months). For posterity, here is the old broken version.

I may go and make one that just has join year, since I expect that'll be significantly easier to read (and also won't keep causing my spreadsheet programs to hang, sigh)
posted by wesleyac at 4:00 PM on August 16 [6 favorites]


That is awesome work--thanks!
posted by Wobbuffet at 4:03 PM on August 16


Here's a per-year version of that chart, which is a lot easier to parse. I'll probably do more playing with this data in the future (there's more here as well) — let me know if you have any ideas of questions I should try to answer or charts you'd like to see — cohort analysis is one of the more basic things, but I have some other things I've been meaning to poke at as well.
posted by wesleyac at 4:41 PM on August 16 [8 favorites]


I didn't want to be a pest and ask you to sort the elements vertically in time. But you did it anyway! Best outcome!
posted by paper chromatographologist at 5:00 PM on August 16


Boy, that's a depressing chart.
posted by octothorpe at 5:05 PM on August 16 [1 favorite]


From the chart it seems roughly 2004-2010 are the hangers-on. Since then not just fewer joiners, but those ones are also much more quickly buggering off...
posted by Meatbomb at 5:09 PM on August 16 [1 favorite]


I think the chart should be its own MeTa. It’s fascinating but not really on topic for SC voting.
posted by janell at 5:12 PM on August 16 [5 favorites]


it looks actually significantly more optimistic

I really appreciate your data crunch wesleyac

The graph shows about 50% reduction in active users in the past 10 years and it's kind of a linear trend to be honest. Especially notable to see how few new signups there are. I don't take much optimism from it - in my opinion, it's realistic to say the trend line points to site extinction in about 2028.

About two years ago I posted some site usage charts that were posted on /r/metafilter, the links look alive still. It got "Can We Notted" (by a TT member, even) and that whole thread is kind of a time capsule of denial now I look at it again.

Everything Steering Committee-related that is not concerned with stopping and then reversing this trend is just deckchairs on the Titanic.
posted by Rumple at 5:16 PM on August 16 [8 favorites]


janell — Good call, I initially posted them just so there would be some data for context around Alterscape's question, but you're right that it's a derail at this point — I'll make a MeTa for talking about them shortly.
posted by wesleyac at 5:23 PM on August 16 [1 favorite]


Hello, I see that a lot of conversation about and between candidates is taking place. I've just come back from work, but let me try to make some if my feelings known:

-I don't have any knowledge of the site's finances, beyond what was revealed in previous MeTa conversations. I've said before in these threads that since users are the site's main funding source, that we deserved more specific answers about costs and where they money is going, and how much certain projects would cost. I hope and expect that members of the SC would get that information, but at the moment I have nothing.

-Since members are the main source, I do want to find ways to attract new ones. Building out the podcast is a good one, establishing greater social media presence is another.

-If I'm elected to the SC, I think the immediate challenge is to prepare the site for new members. I want to have in place (a) the revamped tagging system, (b) greater mod coverage, possibly utilizing volunteers with clear understanding of site guidelines, (c) accountability for mods using a moderation log. I want to have these things in place before new members arrive, lest they have a bad experience and bounce right off. The revamped tagging system is something that was promised two years ago and not yet delivered.

-JustSayNoDawg: I'm so glad someone like you exists. I have said before in MeTa that frimble - who deserves all the praise they get -- can't be the only person responsible for site maintenance. This site needs tech-savvy volunteers or frimble's time will become the bottleneck that chokes every change.

That's all I can type for now, I'll check back tomorrow night after my day job.
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 5:50 PM on August 16 [4 favorites]


To me, the change in ownership and thus leadership style, the move toward community governance, the Transition Team being properly empowered and effective… these all indicate that Metafilter is ready to grow again. It will happen naturally, almost without noticing, if we start to see the site that way ourselves, as an exciting, evolving thing. To change reality, we change ourselves first.
posted by thoroughburro at 5:53 PM on August 16 [6 favorites]


My partner just said “here we grow again”, and that is now the thoroughburro campaign slogan.
posted by thoroughburro at 6:03 PM on August 16 [5 favorites]


Just a note that there are several people on the contributor list who have a background or interest in adding users, so definitely bring them in on growing the user base!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:08 PM on August 16 [2 favorites]


This entire post is practically vibrating with excitement and positive energy! I kind of wish every candidate who posted here today could be on the SC.

New members: Like others, I also believe that while bringing in new members is important, we first need to do some literal and metaphorical work on the site and make it a place where those prospective new members aren't going to bounce away from. I'm a fan of increased moderation transparency, not to shame or scare the mods into honesty but so that we know when and why comments and posts are deleted, or which mod is currently on duty. I would love to see easier ways to post content and to share those posts. Optimization for mobile. Changes that will make participation easier for those of us who are already here will make it easier for us to invite others into the community.
posted by kimberussell at 6:44 PM on August 16 [5 favorites]


I kind of wish every candidate who posted here today could be on the SC.

We can! Not all at the same time, of course, but we will need civic engagement well beyond the initial term if we are to turn the tide. I for one am proceeding under the assumption that everyone who is running or has volunteered will be working together going forward. There is work aplenty for all of us. It's less important which of us is first on the SC than that there is always a next wave ready to take their place.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 7:01 PM on August 16 [8 favorites]


Ok, a MeTa with some more charts and things is the the queue. Now, as promised, a answer to Alterscape on attracting new members :)

To start off with, I'll say that I think attracting more new members is less important than not scaring off the members who join.

Looking at the data I posted, it used to be that ~70% of new users stuck around until the year after they joined, but that's down to 58% these days. That might sound like a small difference, but since it compounds, it's actually really enormous.

587 users joined MetaFilter in 2021, and only 58% of them stuck around into 2022.

If we look at a really really simplified model where a fixed number of users join each year, and a fixed percentage of them leave, those numbers would put us at a steady-state of ~809 users. Increasing the number of people who stay back up to 70%, where it was from ~2006-2011 would result in a steady-state of ~1367 users. Getting that same steady-state number from bringing in new users at the same rate of 58% of them staying would require bringing in 991 users every single year — a 68% increase.

A more accurate model would make bringing on new users slightly more appealing (since users are much more likely to stay their second year than their first, and so on), but the fundamental math remains basically the same.

Besides that math, doing work that makes the site friendlier to new users is significantly more likely to be one-time work, whereas doing work to attract new users is likely to be ongoing work.

587 people joining every year is actually a lot of people! We just need to make this a place where the people who want to join (and the people who are already here) want to stay once they have joined.

So, to answer the question of "how do we attract new members" — I think that we should only really be focusing on extremely high-impact ways of doing that, since I think retention is a lot more important.

I think that the main high-impact things that strike me as worth doing are:
  • Posting on other social media platforms — finding a volunteer to run the existing Twitter, at the very least. I'm less excited about TikTok than other people I've seen, since I think the average TikTok user is less likely to be interested in MetaFilter than users of other social media, but if there's someone who is excited to run it, I don't see a downside.
  • Running outreach drives, where we encourage members to reach out to their friends or post on social media encouraging people to join. I joined MetaFilter mostly because brainwane kept mentioning it, so I'm a little biased, but I think this can be very powerful.
Others have mentioned an app — I'll say that I think a poorly implemented app is much worse than no app, and I don't think MetaFilter has the resources to build a good app, so that's something I would push back against unless someone presents a very compelling case for it.

Given that I think improving user retention should be the main way we grow the userbase, the highest impact things we can do for that fall under basically two categories:
  • Fixing the problem of pile-ons and other emotionally-draining interactions that were mentioned by many people in the survey
  • Improving and modernizing the UI, so that it is more understandable to people who aren't used to websites from the 90s
I do have some more detailed thoughts on all this, but I need to run to dinner, so hopefully that's enough for now. As always, I'm happy to answer any follow-up questions!
posted by wesleyac at 7:13 PM on August 16 [10 favorites]


Just had a chance to catch up with this thread fully and to collect my thoughts. What a great slate of candidates! Agree that there's likely more than enough opportunity over time for everyone who is interested to work together on this.

My statement is up on my profile page but my tl;dr is that I've been on Metafilter for about 17 years and I'm excited to see what comes next for us as we shift to more directly involving the community in the site's direction. During my day job, I'm a tenured professor of what could broadly be called "internet studies," and I study how people use the internet for health information. My most recent research focuses on how online communities can benefit from moving beyond traditional carceral approaches that are typically used in online content moderation practices to restorative, community-centered approaches.

To respond to some questions above, one thing I've thought a lot about recently is the overall shift to "walled gardens" online. It looks like many people are in the process of rejecting general purpose platforms and replacing them with private, closed online spaces. I'd love to see the SC address how Metafilter might be able to embed itself into the current online social ecosystem, which generally favors two common structures: (1) surveillance-driven tailored content through an algorithm; (2) the aforementioned walled gardens, often comprised of people who either are already known to one another or who share a common interest. Metafilter is neither of these things and I think if we better understand the information landscapes of the existing members of our community that we will be able to find opportunities to add Metafilter into the landscapes of people who are not yet here. This dovetails with discussions above about strengthening Metafilter's presence on popular social platforms.

I'd love to see the SC tackle these questions as part of the project of growing our userbase, which I think is as important as making sure we retain current users. Like I said in my statement, I believe that Metafilter is one of the only places online that has the potential to break the cycle of pushing out oppressed and marginalized people from the community, leaving us to find new homes (for example, the story of being queer and/or trans online is littered with platforms that pushed us out!). I have a unique understanding of this problem that is informed both by academic research and personal experience that I would bring to the SC.

In any case, the internet is changing, and this is a great time for us to be moving to a different governance structure. I'm stoked to see such a strong list of SC candidates who are passionate about this place and who want to work together to help Metafilter thrive in and beyond its third decade in the web. I'm really excited to see what transpires.
posted by twelve cent archie at 7:43 PM on August 16 [6 favorites]


One thing I think might help is some breaking up of the front page and comment pages? Nothing gigantic, but maye include a bit of visual interest? I'm not necessarily arguing for the return of the img tag, but I find the plain wall of text look is a little imposing sometimes? Maybe allow a post to contain a thumbnail image, or maybe some stock iconography for within comments?
posted by JHarris at 7:47 PM on August 16 [2 favorites]


We have some amazing artists in residence. It might be interesting to see what would happen if a different featured artist were to skin the site every month. It could be a preference in settings to turn skins on or off, and the skins could be very simple. Just spitballing.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:06 PM on August 16 [3 favorites]


MollyRealized here – I'm scanning the thread Tuesday night through this comment to try to catch up on anything asked from the candidates.

I have to note that I'm job-hunting and have a few things potentially crystalizing this week, knock on wood, plus I am dealing with some non-life-threatening medical and family issues. I'll still be in this thread, I just may not be able to keep right-on-top-of-the-moment with this particular thread depending on its speed. Any questions brought to my attention via MeFi Mail that I can answer publicly, I will, though. If anyone is seeking my particular answer to something if they can just put my name, I'll be doing a Ctrl-F for it too.

TikTok: I love the energy present on TikTok, although my understanding is that they censor with a very heavy hand and don't treat their creators very well. That having been said, in terms of a Mefi presence on Tiktok, one thing I've routinely seen is screenshots of scarypasta or interesting Reddit questions/answers read out by its automatic reader. (Why don't they use a human voice? I couldn't honestly say.) There's a lot of 'cheating' with answers, where to get the conclusion of a story you need to watch the next video.

Promising things: I want to note that promising things means a lot to me -- I don't like promising and not delivering. I honestly don't know what the Steering Committee is going to have to work with. I also don't know what the final makeup of the SC will be like. So I don't want to say to you people that "we can do X" or "we can do Y" when I don't know for a fact that we will be able to do X or Y. What you can accomplish really depends on how ready the organization is for change.

Downward participation trend: I do agree with others in this thread that the most important thing, the "otherwise it's rearranging Titanic's deck chairs" thing, is to reverse the downward participation trend. I do think that's at least a problem of two separate folds -- one is literally numerical attraction and outreach -- we need to get more people here and that that can be helped with web-wrapper apps and echoing Mefi, Fanfare, etc. posts to social media. (I think Ask needs to be handled more delicately due to the sometimes extreme personal nature.)

Site culture: And the other relates to the existing chunk of talk in this thread about "shifting the site culture." This is deeply, deeply tricky because we already shifted without intending to, because the world did. The world as a whole has become more polarized and less able to talk to each other. Early days here, I remember political debates in threads that still remained pretty civil – people acknowledged each other's humanity. You could disagree politically and still figuratively buy the other person a beer. In the interim, the right went dangerously far right, and I think the left got very guarded as a result of it being attacked, meaning it is guarded and heavy on defense (also cf. "paradox of tolerance"). I think we've seen that in people here. We all feel our integrity is being violated (it often is) and as such we are very defensive of our boundaries (not an action I am criticizing!).

I think if we shift the site culture, we have to focus on rewarding when people acknowledge other people's humanity. And, honestly, the 'rewards' can be as simple as those little Reddit comment icons that someone can buy for one another. Maybe each person gets 10 Mefi versions of those a month to hand out for particularly dynamite moments of kindness or compassion.

That is just a top-of-the-head idea but the thing I'm going at is that we want to make it easy to reward actions that will lead us to the kind of conversational place we want to see and build. That includes things such as forgiveness and meeting halfway, and it definitely means the disturbing trend I've seen here and there of just kind of shitting over someone's "this is cool I want to share it with you" moment.

I do not know the talents of people among us but if we have any sociologists or people like Jane McGonigal (game designer/habit)'s field of work, that's a genre of talent that we'd definitely want on the Committee. People who know how to create reward systems for the kind of community-building behavior we want to see. Mind you, I'm nowhere near an expert, but if I end up on there I'll do my best to act as ideaperson for that angle of things.
posted by MollyRealized at 9:17 PM on August 16 [5 favorites]


I think if we shift the site culture, we have to focus on rewarding when people acknowledge other people's humanity.

This is good. However, it should also be realized that there are disingenuous actors all over the place, and in fact in the old days MeFi had their fair number of them. Recently I revisited the whole "plannedchaos" business, where Scott Adams tried to promote himself on the site with a sock puppet. This kind of thing happens a lot less often here, but I think it's largely because the site isn't as traveled as it used to be. If we do turn things around, we can look forward to situations like that happening again, except now it could be in the form of Trumpers and the like.

Another thing we should be cognizant of is the phenomenon of people disabling their main account, then continuing to participate with a sock puppet. This actually kind of masks the problem a bit: some of the people who have left have never really left, and some of the new people are just old people with different names.
posted by JHarris at 9:28 PM on August 16 [2 favorites]


Letting artists contribute icons or images that could be selected to accompany threads would be potentially be very cool and visually interesting and would also help with making things more attractively sharable on social. I am alert to the fact that illustrator/designer is a paid profession though, and one that is frequently undervalued.

I am also interested in the idea of allowing images to accompany threads, but that opens up questions of hosting costs and copyright that might get thorny.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:35 PM on August 16 [4 favorites]


JHarris: I agree with the idea that those circumstances have to be watched out for, but I'd suggest that they're more corollaries branching off the main theme.
posted by MollyRealized at 9:37 PM on August 16 [1 favorite]


Hey, all.

My name's on the list above, and I'd be happy to serve on the Steering Committee (or Cabal, or whatever) if folks would like me to do so. That said, I feel distinctly uncomfortable touting myself, and even less so doing anything that might count as campaigning against some of the other very-qualified candidates who have put themselves forward.

But I'd be happy to help if there's a need. MeFi has been a big part of my life since I joined back in 2006 (oof, it's been that long?), and I'm definitely a better person for it. I've had the pleasure of meeting a lot of East Coast MeFites at Meetups in DC and NYC, and I'd really love to see those get going again when circumstances allow.

I'm somewhat less concerned with the size of the community than the vibrancy and activity of the community. I don't think it makes sense to optimize for growth uber alles (not that anyone has really suggested that). However, I also wouldn't want to optimize for Facebook-style "engagement", either. But, just generally speaking, I'd rather have a smaller number of very engaged users than a larger number of casual, drive-by posters who don't necessarily bother or aren't interested in learning about the community's norms and culture.

We do, though, need to ensure we are attracting and especially retaining people who are interested in becoming engaged, contributing members of the community.

I'd be interested in seeing some analysis of users who join and then leave or drift away, and see if we can get an understanding of why that happens. It's one thing if they decide the site just isn't for them—fair enough. But if there are potentially "missing stairs" that us longtimers aren't seeing, because we've gotten used to them over time, that's something worth fixing. Or if there are reasonable tweaks we can make to the site that would make it more appealing, without changing what makes it what it is... that's probably worth thinking about.

One of the major challenges that I see is keeping a site that's built around long-form text posts alive, when most of the Internet has moved to low-effort (but low-friction) engagement models. E.g. web forums have largely atrophied in favor of Twitter; OKCupid was eclipsed by Tinder and other "swipe" apps; pick your favorite early-00s web property and there's probably an Upside Down version of it in 2022 that requires less user effort. How do you make long-form text appealing in today's media ecosystem? I don't have any easy answers, but I think it's something we need to be thinking hard about as a community. (Off the top of my head, though: would native mobile apps that have features like drafts, offline/cached mode, or maybe even collaborative post-building be appealing? What about an email gateway—mailing lists are apparently coming back into vogue, and email still encourages reasonably thoughtful composition. Just a couple of napkin-sketch ideas.) We don't want to go chasing some hackneyed idea of the "2022 Internet User", but we also need to separate what makes the community and discussion great from the technology nuts-and-bolts.

I'd probably advocate treading lightly around the moderation system and model, because I think that's a core part of what makes Metafilter... Metafilter. More transparency doesn't seem like a bad thing, and back in the day I used to enjoy trolling the Deleted Thread blog to see what had ended up in Metafilter's circular file. Usually it made me more confident in the moderators, not less. OTOH, making deleted posts/comments too easy to access defeats the purpose of deleting them, and in some cases I can imagine you really want them gone from public view (harassment, doxxing, etc.).

Other communities in the past have tried the "radical democratic" model towards community moderation (see: Kuro5hin) and it hasn't gone well (see: Kuro5hin). At some point we need to choose moderators who we think share the values of the community and trust them to do their job without micromanaging or second-guessing every decision they make. If every deleted comment spawns a 50-post thread on why did you delete my comment?? it'll grind the entire site to a halt.

We need to be, and remain, a fundamentally high-trust community. Everything else is probably secondary to that.

Anyway, I guess that's my stump speech. I won't bore you with my bio for too long; it's just not that interesting. Elsewhere online I describe myself as a "lapsed physicist, professional emailer". I've made my living over the years trying to straddle the fence between users and developers, management and engineering, the C-suite and the factory floor. Some days I feel like I'm good at it; other days I feel like I'm just muddling along. (This week? Definitely the latter. C'est la vie.)

Happy to answer questions via MeMail or Mastodon, whatever works.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:58 PM on August 16 [10 favorites]


I would like my fellow candidates to read this comment by taz. It is extremely sobering, and it moves moderator burnout up in my personal list of Metafilter priorities.

I’m updating my profile to indicate that I support developing a system which allows for volunteer moderators to support the staff moderators. The level of moderation taz indicates is currently impossible is the very stuff which sets us apart. We need to maintain some semblance of it.
posted by thoroughburro at 5:20 AM on August 17 [16 favorites]


I think having an ''I voted'' acknowledgement on user pages could be a useful feature for as / when there is moaning about 'what are you doing to my favourite website' in the future.
Vote early, vote often up to 1700 hrs GMT 25 Aug (nice to see a global acknowlegement there).
This could also be an optimum time to launch a new fund drive or at least remind people to make a donation. Several people including myself paused contributions a while back. I have now continued.
posted by adamvasco at 5:32 AM on August 17 [1 favorite]


The Steering Committee should be prepared to handle as much as possible without requiring moderator resources. Maybe there could be an expectation: if the SC requires moderator time, they can “pay” for it by taking something else off the moderators’ plate, if possible. Hopefully there is a backlog of stuff to do which doesn’t immediately require special backend power. I’d love to swoop in and free up some time for people.
posted by thoroughburro at 5:35 AM on August 17 [2 favorites]


Wesleyac, that chart is so well
Designed and intersting. If you’re willing, I do have a request. Since the measure of “activity” includes favorites, the introduction of favorites may be masking a decline in content-generating activity (posts and comments). Since the site seems slower in content overall, I am wondering what the activity curve would look like if favorites were factored out. A version of the same chart that tracked posts/comments/favorites instead of year joined would also be useful. If you have the time. Thank you!
posted by Miko at 6:01 AM on August 17 [7 favorites]


I’d love to swoop in and free up some time for people.

yeah, I would think a big if not primary role for the SC is to provide ideas and methods for offloading burdens that are currently unsustainable or simply unkept. frimble being a potential single point of failure is one of those; taz's description of the severe burnout threat that MeFi moderation represents is another.

whether it's through policy adjustments, increased volunteer support, or whatever else, the SC should strive to make the site as enjoyable an experience as possible for everyone who visits or stays, be they new members or old-timers or the moderators themselves. hopefully this, alongside the TT and BIPOC group, represent continual steps toward a community ownership model that can help reinforce that philosophy.

(and yes, everyone -- SC nominee or not -- should read and give some thought to taz's post. it's illuminating no matter how you feel about the moderators here in general.)
posted by Kybard at 6:26 AM on August 17 [6 favorites]


I should add: provide ideas and methods and work wherever appropriate to implement those. did not mean to imply that the SC is only going to say "here's what you should do" before handing off to others; instead the SC should be a model for active volunteer participation in community building at MetaFilter.
posted by Kybard at 6:28 AM on August 17 [1 favorite]


One option for having the SC lift some of the burden taz is describing would be to have the SC act as a focal point / clearing house for the kind of MetaTalk complaints that prompted that response.

I anticipate that the SC will regularly post on MetaTalk in order to consult with the community on various issues. Perhaps instead of having individual Mefites post those sorts of discussions, they could submit them to the SC and the SC could include them in the list of things they intend to consult about -- neutralizing the angry language and difficult framing along the way. Possibly even combining various similar complaints into single things to consult about.

I imagine it will put the SC in the line of fire for some of the anger instead and I don't love that -- volunteers are in no better position to absorb that kind of thing than employees -- but if it becomes an expected part of the process that you send your policy complaints to that group and don't expect them to go live on the site in the exact form you sent them, that might tone down some anger. And if it doesn't actually tone down the anger, at least it keeps it from being posted directly on the site and hopefully reduces pile-on / clapback to that anger.
posted by jacquilynne at 6:59 AM on August 17 [14 favorites]


(SC candidates and members, I am loving these conversations and ideas. Thank you.)
posted by mochapickle at 7:37 AM on August 17 [3 favorites]


I would think a big if not primary role for the SC is to provide ideas and methods for offloading burdens that are currently unsustainable or simply unkept.

I feel like one of the things that made the Transition Team (and the transition) here go so well is that members of that group were willing to step in to MeTa threads and answer user questions and help be part of the "people with similar goals for the site helping us all row in the same direction" plan. I see a role like that being one that the SC could easily share, being a somewhat authoritative presence on the site so that people feel heard by people who can change things, while at the same time maybe not soaking up moderator time. I think we have mods who are more "I hear you" than others and there's no right way to do it but we definitely have users who would like being heard (and maybe affecting change) as one of the reasons they show up especially in MeTa so it would be nice to have multiple paths to doing that.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:44 AM on August 17 [11 favorites]


Thank you, thoroughburro, for calling attention to taz's comment. I strongly agree that mod burnout, the moderation model in general, and active volunteer participation in community building (as kybard eloquently puts it) will need to be early, key focuses for the SC. The moderation model is a key differentiator of MetaFilter and is often cited as one of the best parts of MetaFilter. It is also often cited as one of the most broken aspects.

At a minimum, I think it's reasonable to expect SC members to model the behaviors we want to foster, as much as possible. And I've been seeing so much of that in this thread. You all give me hope.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:18 AM on August 17 [10 favorites]


Miko — I posted the chart you asked for in the user statistics MeTa — the good news is that the number of users posting and commenting has actually been completely stable for the past ~year :)
posted by wesleyac at 8:26 AM on August 17 [5 favorites]


An onboarding process for volunteer mods which minimizes disruption to staff will be necessary, given their existing workload. I think something like this could work:

- training with the Steering Committee, reading documents prepared by them, attending a live class offered by them, etc

- at least one “ride along” with a staff moderator, mostly observing correct procedure, how to use the tools (or a limited subset), and asking questions

- at least one shift served simultaneously with a staff mod

This would seem to place the more time consuming aspects of training on the Steering Committee, while practical training would be observational of staff on duty as normal, with hopefully minimal disruption.
posted by thoroughburro at 9:50 AM on August 17 [3 favorites]


I have some experience training people who need to be "the public face" of the institution; it's not quite as quick and easy as thoroughburro outlines, but it's not impossible, especially is the volunteer mods were willing to commit to a reasonable tenure (to "pay" for the training time and effort -- it's not useful to spend 3 months training someone if they will leave after 4...).
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:31 PM on August 17 [4 favorites]


Kindly put, GenjiandProust, and yes to be clear I’m straying outside my specialties. (I’m voting for people who sound like they can handle it, though!)
posted by thoroughburro at 12:41 PM on August 17 [1 favorite]


If volunteer mods are an option on the table (not sure if that's even the case), there will need to be a plan to ensure a clear division of job duties between paid and volunteer mods. The more overlap, the more ethically questionable it gets - i.e. the common scenario of using interns and volunteers to replace paid jobs. Speaking as someone with extensive (unpaid) mod experience elsewhere, I love that we have full-time mods here that are paid a living wage, and would worry about the risk of volunteers disrupting that model.

I do agree that outsourcing certain elements of the job to volunteers (like the excellent suggestion to "filter" MeTa posts through the SC) could help with mod burnout if planned carefully. As another example, maybe volunteers could take on a short list of the more simple, straightforward tasks like fixing broken links or identifying contentious threads for increased mod attention, while leaving the more complex decisions for the paid staff. Of course that assumes that there's a technical way to have tasks like that divided, which may not be the case.
posted by randomnity at 12:58 PM on August 17 [5 favorites]


That's an excellent point, randomnity, and something that would have to be considered very carefully. I train a couple different kinds of people, and they all get compensated, although in different ways depending on their specific program. Unfortunately, some of the compensation I use wouldn't transfer, so....
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:08 PM on August 17


IMO step one of considering volunteer mods is having a discussion with the current mod team to hear their thoughts, both in terms of strategy for training people, what workloads they actually need or are equipped to accept help with, and concerns they have about paid and volunteer moderation co-existing. Making suggestions about how to implement volunteer moderation before having that conversation seems like putting the cart before the horse, to me.
posted by wesleyac at 1:16 PM on August 17 [8 favorites]


I was hoping to start a discussion with everyone present including the mods, yes. It wasn’t a fleshed out proposal.
posted by thoroughburro at 1:20 PM on August 17 [3 favorites]


Just voted. Thanks to all who have thrown their hats into the ring and are willing to devote so much time and energy into making the site better.
posted by primethyme at 1:58 PM on August 17 [2 favorites]


I’d just like to emphasize that the moderators are staff, deserving of clarity about their roles, support, boundaries on their time, and to be treated decently (and better.) they’re also a small group. I hope that those sharing ideas will continue to remember that if there’s a temptation to spitball ideas/solutions that mean changing someone terms of employment…being mindful of the human beings. If we’re serious about good labour practices that needs also to be a part of things. I think I’ve made this mistake myself in the distant past.

I never got as far as researching US law but I know here in Ontario, there are rules around unpaid work if you are a business and one measure here is “are paid staff doing the same role.” If so, Ontario anyway, it’s not cool to have a volunteer doing the same work if you’re a business, and volunteers can’t sign away that right to be compensated.. There was in fact just a landmark case decided.
posted by warriorqueen at 5:32 PM on August 17 [4 favorites]


I apologize for getting ahead of myself. I was fired up with compassion for taz and the other moderators’ poor working conditions, but didn’t consider enough how brainstorming in public might come across. I regret letting enthusiasm get the better of my common sense. I’ll be silent a while.
posted by thoroughburro at 5:40 PM on August 17 [3 favorites]


A meta request about the voting form, for frimble — would it be possible to use window.onbeforeunload to trigger a warning that there are unsaved changes when someone closes their browser tab before clicking save/update? Earlier today I filled in some more of my votes, but must not have clicked save, since they weren't there when I came back this evening.
posted by wesleyac at 6:36 PM on August 17


Placeholder campaign statement: I’m moving this week (twice) and my employer is probably going under and my mom is going through something really hard that I can’t help her with from the opposite coast of the US and the weather is making it too hot to function. For now I’ll say that if I’m chosen for the Steering Committee my first motion will be to make the “favorite” link bigger than a tiny plus sign so we don’t get redirected to the list of people who have favorited something the first three times we try to tap it.

But I’m bendy and I’ve been told I’m “way too fucking optimistic.”

More to come. (today is my birthday)
posted by bendy at 12:29 AM on August 18 [13 favorites]


I’m late to the show thanks to a perfect storm of life circumstances which made it impossible for me to keep up with the thread for a few days.

Here are some thoughts. Nothing I've written below is going to feel particularly fresh. A lot of these concerns and ideas have been mentioned by other users, including candidates, so please consider this an endorsement and I hope you will accept my apologies if I haven’t credited you properly. Believe me, I’ve been blown away at the thoughtfulness and care for the site that comes through in this thread.

1. New users.
I agree we need to attract new users. How to do this actively – not a clue, though I think better social media integration would not hurt.

I agree with others who have argued that we need to be friendlier – both in how Metafilter looks, and how its users interact. My own feeling is that as far as attracting new users go, the look and feel is critical. But for retention of active users, it's largely about how we interact.

For look and feel: I think there’s a good argument for logged-out users to see a sort of composite front page with boxes containing feeds for each subsite. This is hardly scientific, but I’ve recommended Metafilter to others, who just couldn’t understand how to penetrate and make sense of it. I have, reluctantly, started thinking that we should at least seriously consider threaded comments, though not on all subsites (certainly not on Ask, for instance). This post alone would be so much easier to follow if threading were possible. Or at least a ‘quote-reply’ functionality that doesn’t depend on a plugin.

For interactions: My impression is that lurkers generally are here for the discussions, not for the links though I don’t recall any surveys on this. I’d be interested to find out which subsites they tend to lurk on, especially the ones who are long-term lurkers and are probably our easiest ‘conversions’. We often see comments along the lines of ‘long-time lurker but this time I had to sign up to say…’ I wonder if these people are likely to stay active – my guess is not really. And every so often I see someone noting how intimidated they’ve been before signing up or daring(!) to comment. But that's for new users - as I stated above, I feel that site culture is perhaps more important to keep users active and engaged.

I think at the offset we could consider offering buddies to new sign-ups, making it clear to logged-out users that the offer is there; having introduction threads and existing members who engage with them; a mini-survey after, say, a month on the site asking if they’re feeling comfortable and offering them buddies.

But most of all, I think we, as a group, need to be kinder and less intolerant so our first assumption is of good faith in the questions and assertions of others. This assumption of good faith is especially important for what is particularly close to my heart: how welcoming Metafilter is for non-US users who may come with different assumptions about how the world works. I would like the ideal not be to correct or convince each other, but to try to understand the other's perspective and put forward one's own.


2. Site culture.
I agree with SC candidates and users above who have remarked on the way in which we disagree as being damaging to individuals, to mods and to the site as a whole. I think this really has to be our top priority as a community. To put it simplistically: while growing the site is important for its viability, at the end of the day it has to be a place that feels good to be in.

I buttoned a couple of years ago and only just returned, and it has been really striking to me that when I was a lurker, I was able to keep a distance because I could no longer feel ownership of the site. But as soon as I revived my membership, I found myself getting emotionally engaged and upset. I can’t be the only one who finds it really aggressive here at times.

We’ve got the heroic story on Metafilter of how jessamyn knocked heads together and got rid of the boyzone culture here. So culture change is possible (though while jessamyn was instrumental I suspect it was also the changing character of the internet and society as a whole). I’d like to hear more from her about what she thought worked and whether there is application to something less specific and harder to pin down than ‘I’d hit it’ comments.

I think we need to shift our site culture into a high-trust direction. I’m not an expert on this, but I am sure there are any number of Mefites who’ve worked on shifting organizational cultures, and they might be able to suggest approaches, such as more organized online/offline activities like the 10th anniversary meetups, organized chats for special events like Eurovision, more use of Clubs and projects for shared interests, volunteer mods/contributors who feel ownership of site culture by sharing responsibility for steering it. These are necessarily steering a large, slow-moving ship so we also need to think of shorter-term gains. I liked MollyRealized’s idea of rewarding kindness and good behaviour, for instance, and I’d be up for trying it out. Another tech fix might be a user setting that adds a 10 second pause before posting (similar to the Gmail pause before sending an email) so that users can revoke hasty comments.


3. Moderator burnout.
I agree with Kadin2048, I wouldn’t want to tamper too much with moderation other than to reduce the load on moderators. So I do support the idea of volunteer moderators, perhaps on limited parts of the site, perhaps through the ‘contributor’ mechanism that’s been introduced. I would also hope that by exploring new ways of funding the website we can maintain and increase coverage, and reduce risk of burnout. I’d also like to think about community-led ways to maintain civility, eg volunteers whose role is to watch over and consciously try to direct contentious conversations towards civility, who are subject experts and can step in from a position of authority when uninformed and dangerous comments are made, and maybe even have some firefighting powers like giving short timeouts or pausing threads until a moderator can step in. Though this might require more oversight than moderators can reasonably give. I would also be open to technological solutions, like commenting limits per user on certain threads or at certain times of day or on weekends. But these need to be really transparent.

A lot of the frustrations on the site come out in MetaTalk. Since we have a queue (which I must say, I’m not a fan of, but recognise its value for mods), I wonder about introducing new approaches to the queued posts, like one or more SC members/ volunteers adopting a post before it goes through the gate, so they are the one to respond and guide it as far as they can, and call in mods where they are needed.


4. Funding.
I personally am not entirely happy with depending on user contributions and would far prefer to explore models that could at least supplement them. I am not a fan of a customer relationship on a community website, and I think some of that is inevitable where the site’s health depends not just on users’ engagement and interest, but on their financial contributions.

I mentioned a few ideas in my self-nomination. (They come from a place of ignorance about site resources so might make no sense at all to an SC with access to more information than I have). This idea will probably get me banned, but if we were to have a PoliticsFilter subsite, it could be on a subscription model, with plenty of opportunities for sponsoring x members, and at least pay for its own moderation. We could look into making Jobs more of an Upwork-style subsite, and introduce fees, and also use this to solicit member contributions to short time-limited tasks. We could look into making connections between Projects and IRL so users can run campaigns or collaborate. We could look into collaborating with other sites (I’m thinking something like the Conversation) and host specialized sub-forums with their paid or volunteer moderators trained and mentored by our own mods. All of these would require investment in time and resources (most of all moderator time/resources) but I do think we need new ideas.


5. General thoughts a: Site code.
I will freely admit I have no idea whatsoever about this. I do understand it’s super-creaky but have no clue if it can or cannot be updated and assume it would have immense costs. But if it is possible given lots of cash, I do wonder about working on a feasibility study to bring the site onto a more modern platform and aiming some fundraising towards that. My impression – and again this might be completely erroneous – is that the site is rather like a leaky boat and I wonder if it’s leaking badly enough that it’s making a real impact on the site’s finances, staff wellbeing and user attraction/retention.


6. General thoughts b: Radical ideas and user inputs.
Metafilter’s incrementalism is a great strength and certainly we have horrific examples of companies deciding to move fast and break things. But I think we should be open to trialling ideas, not just standing around them shaking our heads. I'd like if we could pilot new features, ideas or approaches more. I would also like to have users more directly involved in coming up with and implementing ideas. I feel that Metatalk is not a great space for user input at the moment, as it’s a bit like flinging ideas into the ether and they may or (more likely) may not get taken up, and it’s often an invitation to think about all the ways in which an idea won’t work than to brainstorm about what it's trying to do. I wonder if something like a Clubs setup, with special interest groups, might work better so that brainstorming and volunteer inputs can be done more productively.


7. General thoughts c: Communication
I follow MeTa, and I don’t think everyone does – though with the shrinking userbase it may be that the percentage that does read MeTa is greater than in the past. We’ve often heard people complain about missing banner notifications. I’m not sure MeMail is a great way to communicate – I’d be interested to hear what others think about this. And when the TT posted on all the subsites about the SC, there were some objections. We really need to find ways to communicate with users more clearly, both as a whole, and individually. I wonder if sidebars can be used more effectively, at least on the desktop version. I hate to suggest this, but maybe we need a limited use of popups/overlays on the mobile version. SC members and volunteers should also be clearly identified when acting in that capacity. If, as I suggested above, MeTa threads are assigned to individuals to volunteers to oversee, then they should be identified at the start of the thread and assigned a badge. Etc.


8. General thoughts d: The SC
There is a lot of hope about what the SC can and will do. This probably doesn’t sound great coming from a candidate, but I would urge us all to be realistic and, in Metafilter’s finest tradition, incremental. The first role of the SC really should be to set up provisional terms of reference for itself and gradually revise these as the need becomes clearer. They’re volunteers. I think they should be expected to be present and do their bit, but if we want this to be a sustainable and useful institution, then we need to be clear what the limits of their contributions are and how much time they should be asked to give to day-to-day site issues. Personally I think recommending actions based on a high-level view of the site is their most useful contribution, and that is where their energies should be focused. But it must be for the actual SC to determine.

This is quite far up the thread now and I think everyone is in agreement on this point, but I also think staggered elections for the SC are the way to go. I’d have liked at least a couple of the TT members to be part of the SC and I hope they will agree to phase out their contributions rather than do a handover and a clean break, so their institutional memory isn't lost.
posted by tavegyl at 2:52 AM on August 18 [10 favorites]


Given that the one of the only concrete tasks for the inaugural SC laid out in the charter is "Determining the regular method of adding new members, or retaining existing members", I'd like to see more candidates address that. Specifically, I'd like to know:
  • Who is committed to electing the SC via regular elections among site members?
  • Who is committed to using a proportional voting method in those elections?
posted by wesleyac at 4:11 AM on August 18 [1 favorite]


With regret, I need to withdraw my candidacy.

I applied because the (at the time) low application numbers made me worried we wouldn’t have enough people. As it turns out, we have plenty and they are all better and more effective than me.

I’m a flake. If I don’t flake now, I’ll flake later. Whenever I think I’m better enough to do normal things I’m wrong.

My primary regret is that this creates a procedural mess for the TT and frimble. I’m truly sorry.

(In the unlikely event that I was voted for, please distribute however you like; kimberussell would be my “endorsement”.)
posted by thoroughburro at 4:19 AM on August 18 [11 favorites]


I actually am going to withdraw my candidacy as well.

I apologize. My votes can be discounted or treated as the TT sees fit.

I'm withdrawing for two reasons. I am concerned that personal developments in my life (hopefully a new job soon, etc.) will create a time and stress crunch. Separately, I am becoming concerned about whether I have skills enough to handle conflict, even if it is civil & parliamentary in make. My brain has been in a more fragile place than usual.

I could see myself being willing to contribute in one way or another, depending on what ends up being sought out, but suspect that the SC is not the best place for my contributions right now, either for me or for Metafilter.
posted by MollyRealized at 4:33 AM on August 18 [13 favorites]


Thank you thoroughburro and MollyRealized for letting us know, sorry to see you go!

This shouldn't present a problem for voting, we'll let everyone know how it's being handled once we've touched bases with frimble.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:48 AM on August 18 [7 favorites]


Thank you all who stepped up and self-nominated. What a great slate of candidates!

Thank you Transition Team, Mod team, owners past and present....

I'm a quiet member, but MeFi has been my internet home for a long time, and I so appreciate all of you/us here.
posted by jaruwaan at 4:50 AM on August 18 [2 favorites]


Much respect to you both, MollyRealized and thoroughburro.
posted by mochapickle at 5:06 AM on August 18 [10 favorites]


I regret seeing thoroughburro and MollyRealized drop out, as I respect both of them and feel that they would bring useful skills and perspectives to the Steering Committee. However, I also respect their abilities to recognize how able they are to participate at this moment. Plus, we still get their comments and posts!
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:11 AM on August 18 [8 favorites]


thoroughburro: As it turns out, we have plenty and they are all better and more effective than me.
MollyRealized: Separately, I am becoming concerned about whether I have skills enough to handle conflict, even if it is civil & parliamentary in make.

I am really, really sorry to see you both go. Thoroughburro, thank you for your endorsement - that is very kind of you. Speaking for myself, this whole MeTa thread is A LOT. The expectation for us as candidates was to send an email to TT nominating ourselves, and post something to our profile this past weekend in advance of this post on Monday. Possibly answer a few MeTa questions, but the community is to look at our profiles, maybe go through our comment/post history to get a feel as to who we are, and vote accordingly.

Instead, we are now beginning day 4 of a Town Hall meeting that might not end for another week. We're chatting amiably but I'm feeling pressured to answer questions without knowing enough about what's going on behind the scenes. And I'm thinking, "wow, I'm not a UX/UI expert...I don't work with online communities...I haven't modded anything in 14 years...should I even be here?" And then two really fantastic candidates bow out and it's sad.

I'm not asking for this thread to close, because the idea exchange is valuable and the excitement at change is a good thing to see. I do wish there was a way to slow it down. If you're coming here now for the first time, I urge you to read our profiles and this whole thread before asking more. If you're a fellow candidate for the SC, hang in there.
posted by kimberussell at 6:37 AM on August 18 [23 favorites]


Thanks kimberussell. I completely agree and had actually been thinking I might drop out as well, even before thoroughburro and MollyRealized did. I was really taken aback coming to this thread after a few days, plus the two or three other threads where related conversations are going on, and struggled to engage with it thoughtfully. I've decided not to for now, but it was largely in the hope that this intensity wanes a little. I mean, the draft SC charter tentatively budgeted 4 hours a month, and many of the candidates probably exceeded that a couple of days after the voting opened. It also feels likely to be a wasted effort.

thoroughburro and MollyRealized, I am sorry you are dropping out. I thought both of you had really good ideas and brought perspectives and approaches that would be really valuable on the SC. If not this time, I hope you will consider seeking to join a future SC when processes and expectations are a little more fleshed out.

I will also take the opportunity to reply to wesleyac's questions above. The short answer is no, I am not committed to electing SC members, nor am I committed to any specific voting process. I am more interested in the outcome, of an effective and credible SC that balances user priorities with the site's longterm interests, than any specific process for constituting it. It may be that a straight vote is the best way to get the right balance of skills, expertise and legitimacy in the eyes of the membership that Metafilter needs, but I prefer this conclusion to come from thoughtful discussion rather than laying out a yes/no platform.
posted by tavegyl at 7:23 AM on August 18 [12 favorites]


I think SC nominees deserve to be aware of this subreddit. There is likely nothing to be done, but be aware that former and current Mefi members are discussing us there.
posted by thoroughburro at 7:23 AM on August 18 [4 favorites]


I am also really, really sorry to see thoroughburro and MollyRealized go. I think both of you would have been amazing on the SC. But I totally understand and respect your decisions. Please continue to engage to whatever extent makes sense for you. Your voices are important.

And I would like to echo kimberussell's statement about SC expectations. The SC's first job will be to figure out the SC. That's not going to happen overnight, so while it's natural and necessary for us to enthusiastically engage with new ideas, this needs to be done with the clear understanding that there will be real limitations on what is achievable short term.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 7:34 AM on August 18 [9 favorites]


Specifically, I'd like to know:

I will take a shot at this:

1. I think one of the first jobs of the Steering Committee is to establish terms, recruiting and election procedures, and offices (I have said that I am a parliamentarian; organization now saves trouble later).

2. I think proportional voting is a good system, but ensuring broad representation on the committee is more important than the mechanics of the popular vote.
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:44 AM on August 18 [3 favorites]


SC candidates, I know this can be stressful. (I'm a transition team dropout myself due to some personal things that came up this summer.)

I want to share with you my personal expectations for the SC's initial term:

1. I do not expect you to singlehandedly save Metafilter. I do not expect you to revolutionize the site, the community, the mod structure, the finances, the politics in the short span of six months. No one should expect that.

2. I do not expect you to be perfect. We're human, things don't always go smoothly. You're amazing just to step up, and you're doing it out of a genuine sense of love for the site. I value that immensely. I see you as a metafilter member first, SC member second.

3. But I do expect you to be transparent and flexible with us. Comment with us in the metatalks, follow along, be available for questions and inputs. Don't feel like you have to reply immediately and 24/7, just thoughtfully. The departing transition team was really great at this, and their candor and insight has made the transition a positive and hopeful process. They listened, recalibrated, made changes when needed. That kind of thing takes a deep well of understanding and a lot of good humor, not to mention the ability to not take things personally. I was continually impressed by this.

4. Consider ideas and feedback from all members, mods, and jessamyn without prejudice. Members here are passionate and have histories, both good and bad, and maybe even with you personally. Remain open minded.

5. After you've assembled and had some initial discussions, set a clear set of objectives for the next six months. Please consider this initial slate carefully and make sure it's manageable. What you come up with should feel like it's not enough, like it's too incremental, but I promise you it will be plenty.

In return, you can count on my patience and my support and my benefit of the doubt. I've volunteered as a contributor if I can be of help, but otherwise my general plan is to just hang out and do the metafilter thing.

Again, that's just my take on this. Thanks again for stepping up. My best wishes to you all.
posted by mochapickle at 7:52 AM on August 18 [25 favorites]


I'm just going to echo everything that kim said above, with the perspective of my personal experience with the Transition Team: there's a lot of very excited spitballing and planning here, but y'all are also volunteers working with limited time and energy building your structure under you as you go. Everything can't happen at once: prioritize. I tend to think one of the great potential things the SC can do is to convene topic specific groups of collaborators to focus on specific site needs and concerns rather than trying to solve everything themselves, and I really want to make sure none of you burn out too fast or too hard either.

I'm also going to just say on the record: that subreddit does exist, but I feel strongly that it's a mistake to devote much attention to it. I sincerely believe that it's a major source of exactly the same paranoia, bad faith, and abuse that has so badly burnt out our moderation team. At best I think it's a place for people to ruminate on grudges and anxious hyperfixations without having to actually do anything to resolve bad feelings.
posted by sciatrix at 7:57 AM on August 18 [20 favorites]


Oh, mochapickle, that's lovely! Cosign to all of it.
posted by sciatrix at 7:57 AM on August 18 [2 favorites]


Thanks to the Transition Team for breaking the trail.

Thanks to the nominees, for stepping up.

Thanks to whoever is elected, for doing The Work.
posted by wenestvedt at 8:16 AM on August 18 [3 favorites]


Hi, another TT member weighing on the future inaugural SC.

Take a deep breath, go slow, aim for small and steady work, with each bit building off the last. This isn't a race and my own internal barometer says it'll take about year to get basic stuff squared away.

We decided on 12 people for the SC with the expectation that people would be dropping in and out, so other than some early meetings/work, there probably won't 12 people on deck at all times. That's totally fine, IMO. We usually operated with between 3-5 people in the long run.

I'm also going to very gently note that a lot of the spitballing has been about coding, which is absolutely important, but deciding what to code and why is more important, so take it slow! Far better to get one or two things done, then leave five hanging. Just build on each step.

Finally: Christmas. The holidays are approaching and that's going to suck up a lot of people's time, possibly unexpectedly, so I'd expect things to slow down a lot from October to December.

The TT will be putting together some notes on recommendations to hand off stuff, so you're not alone in this!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:20 AM on August 18 [12 favorites]


I didn't know that subreddit existed, and I'm going to try to forget that it does.

Reading it made me simultaneously feel worse about Reddit (didn't think that was possible), myself (happens all the time), and people who comment both here (mega-bummer) and there.
posted by box at 8:24 AM on August 18 [8 favorites]


Oh one other thing and this is totally my perspective, speaking just for myself, yadda yadda: based on the User Survey, people come to Metafilter and its subsites for (roughly speaking) entertainment, education, distractions, hang out, and to help out. All that stuff mixes together on an individual level to create a feeling of community for the individual.

In short, people come here for fun. The mods and committee's general goal, IMO, should be to help people have that fun and remove roadblocks to said fun.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:52 AM on August 18 [13 favorites]


I didn't know about that subreddit, either. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. I think I will make a point of checking it from time to time. There's been considerable discussion since the new model was proposed about how to get feedback from users who have left. It obviously has active users commenting there, too, but that seems like another source to gage how people are feeling about the site.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:58 AM on August 18 [8 favorites]


In short, people come here for fun.

Sure, but it should also be noted, and be a priority for the SC to address, that some people were not having fun.

A number of people have expressed that they were harassed by other MeFites and/or have felt there was a pervasive culture of transphobia, racism and sexism and that the owners and mods did not do nearly enough to address these concerns even after they were raised many times in MeTas and through direct private messages to mods.

Many of these people (and a number of those were frequent, valued and long-standing contributors to this community, not that it should matter) have since left, been banned, or have drastically reduced their involvement here because of these problems.

The SC must look at these unpleasant, un-fun issues as well if it's going to succeed in making Metafilter an inclusive community.
posted by tivalasvegas at 9:01 AM on August 18 [8 favorites]


The reddit thread is a distraction. It's always disappointing when people say one thing in one space and then make fun of others in another space - and I do think it's good people are aware the reddit thread exists - but the smartest move is to not get caught up in it.
posted by tiny frying pan at 9:15 AM on August 18 [14 favorites]


I’d be interested to hear how the SC candidates feel about contacting former users.
posted by Diskeater at 10:15 AM on August 18 [2 favorites]


Another member of the TT chiming in.

I am sorry to see candidates drop out!

It is important to have boundaries and to lay out as a group what 1-3 things you want to work on in any given period. We iterated some discussion around that at the start of the TT formation and then stayed focused on what we took on.

Sometimes the MetaTalk discussion is a lot. What I learned as a commenter is that while I might be making the best comment singly, when all the comments are 'have you thought of x, y, z 1232123123' it can be wearying, so I'll keep that in mind. What I learned as a committee member is that it's important to pace yourself. The moments I've had where I've felt like the community feedback was overwhelming usually tracked to other, human stressors. Which will happen! So plan for that.

OTHER members of the TT were great at seeing the positive in those moments. That's the awesome thing about a group!

It's also when a lovely walk outdoors in the sunlight is preferable to trying to respond.

That is one thing I will put in bold for the community: it's okay to slow down. If you want the SC to do things with care, and conversely, if you want to help them feel they have the space to bring their best game, give them time to respond.

As for the subreddit, I had a moment with that and gut checked with my fellow TT members. Again, that's the value of a team! I've been reading it a while and there are some very thoughtful comments on there, and a lot of noise, and a lot of particular perspectives...whatever.
posted by warriorqueen at 10:20 AM on August 18 [12 favorites]


I've been reading it a while and there are some very thoughtful comments on there, and a lot of noise, and a lot of particular perspectives...whatever.

yeah this is kind of how I feel about it - splinter groups (that feels like a weirdly aggressive term? I do not mean it to be) grow out of any community of sufficient size. people tend to need and find ways to vent that either aren't acceptable or don't feel comfortable to say in the "primary" forum. I've been in more than one myself, over many years of existing on the internet. I would hope the SC, collectively (for those who have the emotional bandwidth), tries to note good-faith comments and thoughts in places like that, uses them to root out unintended blind spots or unwanted echo chambers, and takes or leaves the rest in whatever spirit they seem intended (i.e. if it's just people blowing off steam, let it just be that and move on).

speaking of "collectively": warriorqueen makes a really excellent point that I'm glad has been true in practice with the TT: bandwidth (emotional, logistical) for each person is different and will rise or fall due to all manner of non-MeFi things, so it's really important the SC be capable of supporting each other, maintaining enthusiasm, and moving forward collectively rather than weighing down people to the point of burnout or disgust.

re: former users, which is I guess a related note: people leave for infinite personal reasons, some on more upsetting or begrudging terms than others, and I'm not necessarily comfortable with trying to make contact with those who made a choice not to be here anymore. what I am in favor of is making communication channels as visible as possible so that those who left but might consider returning have a better chance of seeing the ways they can make the choice to reach out, if they want to, either to discuss their issues or to rejoin the community if we've managed to make any strides. specific ways to do that are basically along the lines of the social media/visibility stuff described earlier by myself and other nominees.

I understand the desire to reach out to people who left on bad terms, especially if it was due to site policies or confrontations that shouldn't have happened (or that wouldn't happen anymore in a theoretical future), but that's not a decision I think the SC gets to make on behalf of those folks.
posted by Kybard at 11:01 AM on August 18 [12 favorites]


(I would say my biggest weakness as a nominee is that I use too many parentheticals)
posted by Kybard at 11:02 AM on August 18 [10 favorites]


Note: Everyone needs a ( ).
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:11 AM on August 18 [23 favorites]


I would hope the SC, collectively (for those who have the emotional bandwidth), tries to note good-faith comments and thoughts in places like that, uses them to root out unintended blind spots or unwanted echo chambers, and takes or leaves the rest in whatever spirit they seem intended

I've always felt that one of the hallmarks of a successful community was that it spawned spin-off communities (even if those communities were created to dish on the original one). I know I keep half on eye on that Reddit group just to see what's up and chime in, rarely, when appropriate, and otherwise feel it's its own thing, albeit one that has members who are fairly active in both places. The only thing that subcommunities can sometimes do that is concerning is brigading-type stuff where people organize in other places and come here appearing to be an organic groundswell of opinion. I haven't seen any evidence of that type of thing happening recently, or with the Reddit group.

I'm not necessarily comfortable with trying to make contact with those who made a choice not to be here anymore

One of the things that we see often here is that there are former members who existing members are already in touch with. So, as I'm understanding this, it wouldn't necessarily be contacting a former user out of the blue who has no contact with MeFi or anyone in it, but maybe someone who, for example, left here but is still interactive with MeFites on Twitter or elsewhere. It's a differing sort of scenario to think about. Whether either of those situations is a good idea is something the SC can talk about, but I think one of them would be viewed as potentially more intrusive than the other.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:21 AM on August 18 [11 favorites]


(I love parentheticals!)

Reddit: I have a reddit account and have stopped by there on occasion. It's ... a subreddit. There are good points, there are uncharitable takes. It's the nature of the Internet.

Former members: I'd be fine with contacting inactive members, those who haven't buttoned but haven't posted/commented/favorited/otherwise interacted in X many months/years/whatever. I'm against contacting those who have buttoned. I'm very much in favor of establishing a clear, easy-to-find email opt in/opt out policy stating that we can occasionally contact active and inactive (but not buttoned) members at the email address supplied. We might not even have solid email software at our disposal.
posted by kimberussell at 11:29 AM on August 18 [5 favorites]


Humble suggestion to the mods or whomever that we revise the ballot after the withdrawals from MollyRealized and thoroughburro, and maybe note on the top of this page or on the front or somewhere that candidates have withdrawn and MeFites who have voted can revise their ballot selections.
posted by martin q blank at 11:34 AM on August 18 [2 favorites]


We've let frimble know and they're going to make the ballot change, but I forgot about the list in the post itself, thank you for the reminder! Will ping mods about that now.
posted by curious nu at 11:56 AM on August 18 [3 favorites]


Since we are allowed to "update" our ballot until voting closes, I just went to my ballot, unchecked the folks who had withdrawn, and checked two other candidates. Then I hit the Update button and got a message that essentially said my changes had been saved.

Many thanks to frimble and anyone else involved in the ballot structure. It was super easy to change my votes.
posted by Bella Donna at 12:38 PM on August 18 [6 favorites]


Yep, this is what i did as well.
posted by 15L06 at 12:45 PM on August 18 [2 favorites]

I’d be interested to hear how the SC candidates feel about contacting former users.
Unlike some other members, I don't see a inherent problem with this, and I think it could be done well and respectfully. However, it's not something that I'm excited about while we still have the results of the current user survey (which included a handful of inactive users) to act on. I also think we should look at the existing reasons people give for buttoning (which I was told in another thread are collected) before reaching out to people to try to collect more data.
posted by wesleyac at 1:16 PM on August 18 [1 favorite]


frimble has updated the ballot and post. We’ve opted to keep names there and link to the comments to preserve what’s happened and so that folks can see at a glance why it’s different if they have not been keeping up with fast-moving events. :)
posted by curious nu at 1:46 PM on August 18 [4 favorites]


I’d be interested to hear how the SC candidates feel about contacting former users.

It's a potential source of insight, but it's also not the first thing I would want the SC to work on.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:21 PM on August 18 [1 favorite]


(I would say my biggest weakness as a nominee is that I use too many parentheticals)

Not even close, and so pleased at your followup defenders (of ()).

So I don't think of mefi as a place for 'fun' (over quoting too:) as much as a mini usenet where topics one has never noticed are presented and hashed out. And I think there is a subset of newer internet folks that are ok with textual presentation. There are more cool "new" (radical) email newsletters and sites like substack. One I read is Dirt, which has reference to a lot social media and images seems very much intended to be read. So I'm thinking there is a population of non-meme-ites that are good with text based topics that are interesting. Now how to find them(help them find us). Perhaps there could be more cross-pollination with the substack world?

(lol, a reddit forum about mifi, how meta)
posted by sammyo at 5:06 PM on August 18 [2 favorites]


I don't know this for certain, but I would guess that emailing users without active accounts might violate some of the more hardcore anti-spam legislation out there. Inviting communication from former users thorough surveys or similar that get publicized through social media would be fine, reaching out on the Reddit forums, or doing some kind of "invite them back" campaign that encourages current users to invite back former users they personally keep in touch with, all could be okay; but the site itself directly emailing former users seems iffy even if it is not an anti-spam violation.
posted by jacquilynne at 5:33 PM on August 18 [4 favorites]


All I can say is I ran out of votes way before I had voted for everyone I wanted to. I think we have a great slate here and am hoping for a bright future for the site.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:23 PM on August 18 [4 favorites]

I don't know this for certain, but I would guess that emailing users without active accounts might violate some of the more hardcore anti-spam legislation out there.
IANAL, and I'm not sure which legislation you're alluding to, but my understanding is that, if properly labelled and containing a unsubscribe link, it would not violate the CAN-SPAM act in the USA. CASL in Canada counts signing up on a website as "express consent" to receive email, which I understand would exist through buttoning unless the buttoning form promises to stop sending email, which I don't believe it does.

I can see a reasonable argument for not emailing people just because that's not a thing we've historically done, and could be offputting to some, but I do not believe that it would be illegal to do so.
posted by wesleyac at 10:54 PM on August 18


Hmmm, I guess the current signup form does not allow us to send email under GDPR probably, although Metafilter GDPR compliance more generally is uh, a enormous can of worms, to put it mildly.
posted by wesleyac at 11:20 PM on August 18 [1 favorite]


Who is committed to electing the SC via regular elections among site members?
Who is committed to using a proportional voting method in those elections?


My initial reaction was "well, yeah, of course, what sort of fascist doesn't like elections?"

Buuuuut… this is the Internet. There probably needs to be some sort of checks-and-balances arrangement, so that 1,000 or 10,000 bored Redditors or Twitterers or whatever-ers don't show up one Election Day because Elon Musk decides it'd be hilarious to name-drop Metafilter, and suddenly the site gets "democratically" renamed to "Forum McForumface" and all its content is replaced with X-rated Thomas the Tank Engine fanfiction.

Is it worth spending a ton of time on crazy hypotheticals like that? No, probably not. It's a pretty low-probability scenario (but then again, so was GME hitting $80...). Overall, it's more important to make sure the SC represents the desires of the majority of its engaged users than obsess over hostile takeovers.

But I don't feel comfortable committing to any particular electoral scheme without at least mulling over how it would work in practice. The same is true for committing to other things that look on their face like obvious good ideas, e.g. transparency in site financials and operations. It sure seems like a good idea—but I think it'd be foolish not to be open to counterarguments without knowing more about the issue.

Generally speaking, though: I'm a fan of elections, I'm a fan of proportional voting, I'm fan of financial transparency if you're going to ask for money. There are exceptions to every rule, but there's also a reason why they're exceptions.

I think SC nominees deserve to be aware of this subreddit.

Huh. Well, I guess everyone needs a hobby.

it should also be noted, and be a priority for the SC to address, that some people were not having fun.

Agree in principle—though there's also a balance that needs to be struck against the negative effects of overpolicing, however well-intended. Over in TT Post 4, there are results that suggest some people perceive a significant chilling effect due to the site's culture of public call-outs, pile-ons, etc.

To some extent, you can categorize that as "Works As Intended"—if the 'chilling effect' is "hmm, is this thing I'm about to say going to be really offensive or hurtful? Maybe I should not say this thing", well, yeah. We probably want people to do that. (I'm always a bit floored when I hear people talking about the horrors of "self-censorship". Like, bro, do you even internal monologue? If I let every damn fool thing that popped into my head come directly out my mouth, I'd definitely be dead. Most likely in Texas.)

But geoff said it well upthread: "I think the default should be to assume it is a teachable moment." Which isn't to say that we should let people just wander in and spray-n-pray their garbage opinions into an otherwise-rewarding discussion, just that we shouldn't assume ill intentions, and we should extend grace to others, until they really demonstrate they're not interested in engaging in good faith in a way that's respectful of others and the community. Then... well, the banhammer isn't just ornamental.
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:30 PM on August 18 [5 favorites]


I’d be interested to hear how the SC candidates feel about contacting former users.

I agree with GenjiandProust that contacting former users wouldn't be Priority Number One for me.

That said (and setting aside for the moment details regarding GDPR or whatever) I do think that reaching out to former members could be a very valuable step to take.

In my opinion, a 6 month remit for the initial SC means that we would need to focus largely on spinning up and formalizing a handful of systems that will be needed to do the actual work of the SC in future. I'm thinking here of things like communication systems for the SC and the mods / staff and the SC and the community, project management systems for tracking the list of desired outcomes and deliverables to support same, etc etc etc. We aren't going to Solve MetaFilter in the first six months, but I think we could make a start of building the systems that will help solve our problems over the long term.

The major buckets listed in the OP that the SC can consider focusing on in this initial phase are:

Financial planning/management
Negativity/pile-ons
Code updates
Site activity (this is mostly from the Transition Team and the charter)


Over the years, many members (some of whom are still members, and some of whom have left) have offered constructive solutions to so many of the issues facing our community, especially for the first three buckets. In my view, one critical task of the SC will be to collect, triage, organize, and publish for community input a collection of the suggestions and offers of help from over the years. That will be a lot of work reading old MeTa threads which is...not the sexiest work in the world, but I think necessary.

I think it is pretty damn likely that a subset of former members who have left did so because they felt like their ideas / suggestions / offers of help were not being heard. I'm not making any value statements or judgements on that, just saying that's what I believe to be true. If that's the case, I think that a subset of that subset would be up for being Contributors, and from my view the more Contributors the better. Doubly so for Contributors that are long term members (or former members) with a large amount of contextual historical knowledge of prior suggestions / offers of help.
posted by lazaruslong at 3:06 AM on August 19 [6 favorites]


I've had yet another on-topic, polite, well-thought-out comment blown away by a moderator without comment. I'm done. I do not plan to return. If anyone cares, here's a data point for you. Good luck increasing the user base, I hope things change but I won't be continuing to hold my breath.
posted by Flock of Cynthiabirds at 4:58 AM on August 19 [4 favorites]


Just MeMailed you, Flock of Cynthiabirds, asking for context about that all.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:12 AM on August 19 [2 favorites]


More glib answers from me, lightning round style!

Contacting former members: against

Moderation transparency: for giving a reason to the user when a comment is deleted, against giving sitewide visibility into moderated content, strongly against the 15-minute reply delay and other unreasonable moderation practices (like emotional labour-intensive "teaching moment" and hand-holding to rephrase posts) that burn people out.

Code review: for improving features for sharing and following threads/comments, against a radical overhaul

Attracting new members: for making ourselves known on other platforms, against changing site culture to lower the bar for active participation. Lurking is a fine and underrated activity, some of my best friends are lurkers, more people should try it.

Call-outs and pile-ons: working as intended. We can't moderate everything to everyone's satisfaction - there will always be offended parties and others who are silenced all their lives. Community norms arise out of members hashing these things out for themselves, it can't be all top-down.

Site finances: not my strong suit and haven't looked at the books, but hoping more members will mean more dues/subs and improved cashflow.

Golf: strongly against
posted by Freyja at 5:20 AM on August 19 [6 favorites]


Lurking is a fine and underrated activity
...
Call-outs and pile-ons: working as intended.


One of the top findings of the user survey is that callouts and pile-ons are driving people away from the site, and this is the platform you're running on? Literally, "lurk more" and "actually pile-ons are good"? Jesus christ.
posted by a faithful sock at 6:26 AM on August 19 [21 favorites]


I voted!

Thanks to everyone who stepped up to nominate themselves. I saw a lot of good ideas in what you've shared and voted for as many as I could. Hoping to see all of you on future iterations of the SC.
posted by the primroses were over at 6:38 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: X-rated Thomas the Tank Engine fanfiction
posted by sammyo at 7:18 AM on August 19 [3 favorites]


As co-founder of the Mefites For A Cautious Approach superPAC, I'd like to announce our official support for Freyja's candidacy.

We're also happy to endorse in our 2022 voters' guide nearly any candidate willing to pledge not to get rid of the Classic theme or introduce threaded replies.

We're sort of ambivalent about the call-outs issue, but have to admit that the old MeTa rough and tumble was part of what initially drew many of our superPAC contributors to the site, even though deep down we just wish everyone could get along.

[Paragraph removed for civility's sake.]
posted by nobody at 7:48 AM on August 19 [4 favorites]


Yah that's the glib drive-by version, the tl;dr version is more nuanced I assure you. It rests on the assumption that call-outs/pile-ons/disagreements are not a unique feature of MeFi or a specific problem for us to solve, but just a natural way for all online communities to sort themselves out. Don't think there's anything the SC can do to stop that.
Where we could do a better job is communicating the norms before people post - maybe a little Clippy guy popping up all "Hey it looks like you're wading in a topic MeFi Doesn't Do Well (note: a framing I dislike). Lemme tell you we've been through it, here's a link." Like the good old "Everyone needs a hug" prompt, we all loved that.
As for lurking, well, my activity log speaks for itself. It's how I've used the site for well over a decade. I come every day for interesting links and questions with comment threads that don't make me despair (thanks to the mods). I rarely feel the need to share my hot takes, because I can usually find someone who already has and give them a fave. It's an experience that's so precious to me that I'm happily paying for it every month. I can't be the only one, so maybe there's my constituency.
posted by Freyja at 7:50 AM on August 19 [4 favorites]


Your argument amounts to: if someone is getting piled on by a community that has a long-standing norm of harsh and unnecessary pile-ons, it's that person's fault, and they should have thought more, or read more FAQs, or whatever, before posting.

That attitude is literally what has been killing MeFi for years. If continuing to be abrasive assholes to people was going to increase engagement and user retention, MeFi would rival Twitter in userbase at this point.
posted by a faithful sock at 8:02 AM on August 19 [21 favorites]


(correction to my previous comment: I've been (correctly, I believe) informed that I was misreading the website I linked to, and it is actually illegal for MetaFilter to send Canadian users non-transactional email under CASL, given the way the current signup form works)
posted by wesleyac at 8:21 AM on August 19


Vote or don't, but I don't see what purpose disagreement with anything any one candidate says has here??
posted by tiny frying pan at 8:25 AM on August 19 [4 favorites]


Freyja: I'm curious how you define "changing site culture to lower the bar for active participation"

I posted a comment on another thread with some numbers, and the gist of it is that a large and increasing percentage of new users sign up for accounts but then do not post, comment, or favorite anything. Increasing the percentage of users who actually use their accounts after signing up by 10 percentage points (from 55% to 65%) would have the equivalent effect on the steady-state number of active users as increasing the number of new users who join to 1340 per year — more than double where we currently are.

Given those numbers, it seems essentially untenable to me to grow MetaFilter to a sustainable point purely by attracting new users.

I don't know why people sign up for accounts but don't use them — I think it's important to try to figure that out — but I think that seeing all the pile-ons could be a significant part of it. That doesn't mean that we have to accept people saying things that are wrong or harmful (in fact, it's important that we don't!), but I think we do need to figure out as a community ways of dealing with people saying those things that are less likely to burn people out than the current status quo.
posted by wesleyac at 8:44 AM on August 19 [9 favorites]


My two cents on the questions that have been raised in thread, as someone in the running: I think it will be important for the SC to sit down as a group and to determine priorities, based on information from the TT, the charter, communications with moderators, and these ongoing threads. I personally don't think that determining how to elect future SC's is the first point of order, because there will be a lot of energy upfront, and the committee should probably not spend it on concerns with its own sustainability too early. I'm not in a place where I'd commit to regular elections of the SC from site members or to a particular voting system because I want to leave space for new information to change my mind, although regular elections with proportional voting (STV) probably make the most sense. I do know that the SC is explicitly charged with "determining the regular method of adding new members, or retaining existing members, by March 1, 2023," but there's time so that the energy of the new committee is not spent only on questions of sustaining itself. This is a good way for committees to never get any work done, in my experience - I've been on committees where all the work is in figuring out how to make sure the committee will still exist in the future, and that's not great.

In terms of contacting former users, there's a lot of existing information and data about when, why, and how people leave/participate less/etc. and collecting/analyzing it would not require contacting people who have left. I also think that it is a violation of consent to get in touch with people who have buttoned, like a cold call. There are ways of making it easy/possible for former members to communicate with the SC without direct contact from Metafilter's side that the SC could explore if it needs/wants to do so, but I don't think this is the top priority either at this time.

In my experience, having a few clearly defined goals and priorities that are collectively decided upon, and then making steady progress towards those goals (often made by smaller defined teams or working groups within the larger committee) is what makes committees successful. It's very easy to fall into all kinds of pitfalls that amount to "activity around the problem" rather than problem-solving. I've admired the way that the TT went about their work, and would hope that the SC will emulate some of their strategies moving forward.
posted by twelve cent archie at 9:03 AM on August 19 [10 favorites]


Call-outs and pile-ons: working as intended. We can't moderate everything to everyone's satisfaction - there will always be offended parties and others who are silenced all their lives. Community norms arise out of members hashing these things out for themselves, it can't be all top-down.

That's an unfortunate abdication of responsibility, unless I'm quite misreading you.

People with authority, by the very nature of having explicit or implicit power in a community, will have a strong voice in shaping how a community functions, what norms it adheres to, and whether or not people who identify legitimate grievances are heard, versus people who are manipulating norms and policies that are intended to ensure that people from minority groups feel safe and comfortable in the space.

Of course there's no such thing as a perfect community. Let's not allow the perfect to be the enemy of the good here. Metafilter can and should be a place that is explicitly intolerant of perspectives that lead to bullying and silencing of POC and LGBTQ+ and neurodivergent communities. Rather than negotiating with that, mods do have a responsibility to just say to people: hey, whether you recognize it or not, your comments are feeding into a discourse that excludes some people, and you need to not do that if you're going to be a part of this community.

Is that a lot of emotional labor? Of course it is. Wrenching the norms into a place where a community is generally self-policing, and keeping it there, is an ongoing and difficult process. Metafilter has done a lot of work to try to make this happen, and I fully acknowledge that. The fact that we have these conversations again and again speaks to the way that MeFites and ex-MeFites really love this community, in a way that I'm not sure I've seen anywhere else online.

But the fact remains: Metafilter can and must do more. I genuinely hope that this process is a movement in that direction.
posted by tivalasvegas at 9:36 AM on August 19 [10 favorites]

I personally don't think that determining how to elect future SC's is the first point of order, because there will be a lot of energy upfront, and the committee should probably not spend it on concerns with its own sustainability too early.
As someone who has been bringing up determining how to elect future SCs — I absolutely agree with this. I think it's important for candidates to be transparent about their thinking on future elections, since it's something we know will come up, and I think it's important to make sure that it's discussed early enough that there's time to implement whatever election method is chosen, but it should not be the highest priority thing for the initial SC.
posted by wesleyac at 9:39 AM on August 19


From brief review while logged out, ads are a mess. In an Ask about Europe the page had ads for Australian dog walker and bras. Not knowing any financial details it does seem the ad system may be tuneable. Does not seem inappropriate for, say, restaurant hints in random city to actually have an ad for a potential restaurant.

Now is that a top priority, not sure.
posted by sammyo at 9:43 AM on August 19 [3 favorites]


Metafilter can and should be a place that is explicitly intolerant of perspectives that lead to bullying and silencing of POC and LGBTQ+ and neurodivergent communities. Rather than negotiating with that, mods do have a responsibility...

To be absolutely clear on which side of this statement I'm on: FOR (I thought my stance on golf made that clear?)

My understanding of "call-outs and pile-ons" complaints was that they're most often not coming from representatives of diverse and historically oppressed groups (at least these days), but coming from a more "lib mods gone amok" POV in response to MeFi's efforts to be more inclusive. From what I've seen, the ones screaming loudest about being silenced all their lives are the ones I least want to hear from.

I'm all for supporting and strengthening the BIPOC committee and giving mods all the tools they need to keep threads trash-free, while retaining their own mental health.
posted by Freyja at 10:59 AM on August 19 [2 favorites]


that seems like over-interpreting the evidence, I think, unless you have more insight into the complaints that the rest of us? My best example that I always think about in these scenarios is where someone was called out for using the phrase "don't yuck somebody's yum", although I'm sure other people have their own examples.
posted by sagc at 11:05 AM on August 19 [3 favorites]


Like, I think people want the "lib mods" to run amok a bit more and rein in some of the most aggressive rhetoric, basically.
posted by sagc at 11:05 AM on August 19 [2 favorites]


"they're most often not coming from representatives of diverse and historically oppressed groups (at least these days)"

I speak for nobody else and will make no further comment on the matter as it does not need to be litigated here but perhaps as I did, others gave up on doing that here a decade ago? I submit that this perspective might be one worth considering as you and others approach such a decision space.
posted by majick at 11:49 AM on August 19 [2 favorites]


To be absolutely clear on which side of this statement I'm on: FOR (I thought my stance on golf made that clear?)

I am not at all into golf, but repeatedly using it as some sort of shibboleth for righteousness seems like part of the problem MetaFilter should be, and is, trying to address.
posted by Rumple at 11:57 AM on August 19 [26 favorites]


Someone should let Freyja know that some Golfhater is signing her name to letters.
posted by Jarcat at 12:08 PM on August 19 [5 favorites]

My understanding of "call-outs and pile-ons" complaints was that they're most often not coming from representatives of diverse and historically oppressed groups (at least these days)
As a mixed race person, I totally disagree. An awful lot of the call-outs and pile-ons seem to be targeted particularly at minorities, usually by majorities attacking one minority for being allegedly insensitive to other minorities.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 12:14 PM on August 19 [9 favorites]


Wait, sorry, but "usually by majorities" supports my reading of "most often not coming" [from minorities]. The double negative phrasing may be confusing me or others, or just not clear.

But... how do folks know who is NOT a cis-white-american. My visualization of mifites is kind simpsons generic yellow. The few posters that express specific details just surprise me. Is there a secret codex? (joke but oh my if there was).

Sure wish we could boil it down to "just be nicer".

woof
posted by sammyo at 12:32 PM on August 19 [3 favorites]


"Try not to be the worst part of someone else's day."
posted by mochapickle at 12:39 PM on August 19 [6 favorites]


And this place has just the most amazing range of diverse commentary --in the sense of-- from the most cryptic in-crowd joke snarks that in the right funny thread that's not going to touch nerves (golf anyone?) are just amazingly intellectually stimulating -- to -- a significant and varied set of sub-communities that are non-english or neurodivergent or just nervous that day, that take umbrage to a throwaway or misspoken phrase.

double woof
posted by sammyo at 12:41 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


And since the recent "my body...." discussion is involved, the issue of appropriation by bad actors is real and needs to be fought and at the top of awareness. I recall noting briefly on my first reading the phrase was misused. But not a thread I would have commented and I did skip over with just the lightest awareness. But (and I should go re-review) but did not get the impression that it was from a bad actor. And should not be ignored but perhaps did not rise to full umbrage.

(no woof, important, but I'm certainly not alone in not knowing what direction could be effective)
posted by sammyo at 12:49 PM on August 19 [2 favorites]


I have voted! Thank you to everyone who put themselves forward, I'm sorry I couldn't vote for you all.
posted by pianissimo at 9:55 PM on August 19 [5 favorites]


Sorry I've been absent - I'm away from home on a golf tournament and ...

Kidding, kidding. I am on a trip for work though, and I'm still adding updates to my profile.
posted by kimberussell at 11:22 AM on August 20 [7 favorites]


Appreciate all the information from the candidates and the voting tool!
posted by michaelh at 12:41 PM on August 20


Like almost any leisure activity these days, golf is problematic

A classic MetaFilter comment. I'll add it to my collection.
posted by OneGearIsEnough at 9:30 AM on August 21 [6 favorites]


Thank you to everyone who ran and who made the election possible. I voted, and I look forward to seeing what comes next--
posted by cupcakeninja at 10:48 AM on August 21 [3 favorites]


'I Voted' stickers for everyone!
posted by box at 11:41 AM on August 21 [3 favorites]


I'm not even remotely into anything resembling golf – but if some of the comments in this thread had been presented to me as a parody of MetaFilter's most ridiculous tendencies, I'd have believed you.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 1:46 PM on August 21 [7 favorites]


threaded replies

A couple of quick thoughts on threading, since I am probably on record as asking for it at one point or another in my history.

There was a period of time when I was in favor of threading, because it seemed like the MeFi userbase had reached a level where the traditional unthreaded comment model just wasn't working, threads were moving too fast, etc.

Right now, I don't see that as being a problem. With the exception of a few very active threads, I don't think we have so many people in most threads that threading would solve a real problem. And threaded forums, just by their nature, tend to promote a style of discussion that goes off in a million directions, down a thousand rabbitholes, where arguments can go on basically forever... I think they are likely a significantly-greater challenge to moderate than an unthreaded discussion, where if someone brings up a grudge from way upthread, it will likely seem out of place and is more easily tamped down before it ignites a flamewar. So I would not mess with it lightly and not before we were really sure we had the moderation resources to add a ton of potential additional complexity to each discussion.

Similar to what I said a bunch of posts up, though, I'm certainly willing to hear arguments that I'm mistaken and maybe it would be a net positive. Always open to new arguments and especially if they come with data. But my first reaction is skepticism, not because MeFi is perfect and nothing must change, but because diluting the discussion across a whole bunch of micro-discussions doesn't seem like something we should add right now.

I'd be perhaps more often to some sort of "soft threading"... I'm not personally that keen on "@username" replies, but some of the various usermod scripts that have been made over the years (for Greasemonkey, etc.), like quoting posts with a hyperlinked leading ">", seemed pretty useful to me.

Generally speaking, I do not like the idea of fobbing off useful features onto users by requiring them to mess with something like Greasemonkey, particularly as more and more users are likely to be on mobile/tablet platforms where those sort of power-user tweaks are harder to implement than on desktop. Doing that doesn't help users who are new to the site/community, and could easily be described as one of the 'missing stairs' that I mentioned earlier. ("Oh yeah, now that you have an account... to actually do replies like everyone else, you need to go install this random browser extension and that bit of code from an old MetaTalk thread..." is not good UX.)
posted by Kadin2048 at 3:17 PM on August 21 [2 favorites]


Kadin2048, I think you're right when you say that threading would be overkill for most of the discussions on MeFi.

However, I wonder if limiting threading to one level deep – similar to Facebook – would help. That would allow people to engage with (or avoid) different lines of discussion, without encouraging the infinite splintering that one tends to see on Reddit.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 3:26 PM on August 21 [3 favorites]


If I might offer some points in favor of threading? I feel like these are obvious, but since no one is arguing in their favor it feels like threading's advantages may still be overlooked.
- One, it is the standard everywhere else on the internet. People have come to expect board-style discussions to have threading. I can't think of a single other discussion site now that doesn't have it. Not having threading may well dissuade new members because of it.
- Two, it keeps digressions, when they occur, localized. As it is, different subtopics get scattered throughout the thread, and if you don't scan through the whole discussion before commenting you risk restating something that's already been said, which has happened to me more than once. And when people do derail a thread, which is practically inevitable, it keeps the sidetrack near the point of branching off instead of at the end of the thread, where as it stands all new comments appear as if they were equally relevant.
posted by JHarris at 6:06 PM on August 21 [6 favorites]


Chiming I’m just to say no to threading. I find it impossible to follow them. Can’t use Reddit because of them. Like it here because we don’t use threading. Please no.
posted by terrapin at 3:30 AM on August 22 [10 favorites]


I'm also not specifcally into threaded comments. 'Similar to Facebook' and 'everyone else does it' aren't really selling points for me.
posted by box at 4:39 AM on August 22 [10 favorites]


Maybe what we should do is do a poll of site change ideas like threads and front page images and such features and get general opinions on them? I will note that it's harder to just disable comment threads as a per-user thing.

I'm not attached to the idea, but I've noted how they work over at the MST Discourse forum (not a MST Club thing; this is something the show's been doing), which is kind of a mixture of traditional threads and MeFi's approach. People can reply to a comment on a post there, but they're put at the end of the scroll, MeFi-style, but with a link to the original so someone can jump immediately back to it. And the comment replied to has a count of replies and you can click to see them. How does that sound?

I didn't even know Discourse was a thing until I was exposed to it there, and they have some interesting niceties that make handling long threads easier, like progressive loading and a "you are here" bar showing your place in the scroll. It might be worth taking a look at (I mean the example at MST's site, at the above link) for interested parties?
posted by JHarris at 12:54 PM on August 22 [1 favorite]


Also, in the spirit of spitballing ideas, maybe it would be good to go to a new codebase, something that others have made and maintain, rather than sticking with the bespoke ColdFusion solution? That would be a huge change and a lot of work, especially if we wanted to keep the site's archives (which contain a vast amount of web history that I would be loathe to lose), but once changed over, it could be easier to maintain? Frimble or tech folk want to chime in on this?
posted by JHarris at 1:00 PM on August 22


(I'm sure this has been suggested and discussed behind the scenes, or maybe even here on Talk, before, but it might be useful to go over it again and see if things have changed and get current opinions. No toes are intended to be stepped on here. Not that ever I want to step on any toes, that hurts.)
posted by JHarris at 1:11 PM on August 22


Hi folks, here’s a reminder to vote for SC members and a note about a slight change!

MollyRealized and thoroughburro have chosen to remove themselves from the ballot, so if you’ve voted for them, please feel free to shift your vote to another candidate!

Voting closes at 5pm GMT on August 25th, so there’s still plenty of time!

Finally, for the curious out there, 603 of people have voted so far.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:28 PM on August 22 [5 favorites]


Chiming in also to say no to threading of any kind. I get why people are suggesting it, but no. That every conversation here is a single conversation with everyone included is definitely a feature, not a bug.
posted by dg at 2:41 PM on August 22 [42 favorites]


Finally, for the curious out there, 603 of people have voted so far.

That number is meaningless.
If the total that could vote was 700 that means one thing
If the total that could was 7000 it might mean something very different

How many people/accounts could vote if they all did?

How many people/accounts might vote given current logged-in stats?

Also, as far as I can see the existence of this vote is limited to this site. So non-active members will never see it, so they should not be counted into any vote %
posted by I shot a fox in Skyrim and it made me sad at 3:10 PM on August 22


I see. To dg specifically, how would you feel about the Discourse-style comment replies then? They show up as part of the long scroll, but also have links for quickly referring between a comment and replies to it?
posted by JHarris at 3:33 PM on August 22 [1 favorite]


I suspect that the people who frequently post on metatalk are a self-selecting bunch who perhaps have a higher than average tolerance to the no-threading set up?

I stay away from metatalk because it is so hard to follow separate but simultaneous threads of discussion. Other people have no issues, and that's fine, but my inability to do so stems partially from brain fog (due to chronic illnesses), so I'm wondering if there are accessibility concerns to take into account re: threading.

In other words, I don't think it is a good idea to use metatalk as a sounding board for the viability or attractiveness of threading to the wider community. Hopefully there's some way to engage everyone outside of metatalk on this when the time comes?
posted by seapig at 3:50 PM on August 22 [8 favorites]


How many people/accounts could vote if they all did?

According to the infodump there are 75,371 registered usernames as of Aug 18, but some percentage of those are disabled. Not sure there is a good way to know the total number of eligible voters (perhaps the mods know?), but sure seems like 603 is not a huge percentage.
posted by Frayed Knot at 4:03 PM on August 22


That number is meaningless.

That number means 603 people care about the direction of the site and have expressed their say in that direction. That means everything in my book.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:07 PM on August 22 [28 favorites]


According to the plots in the usage statistics thread, there were something like 5000 active per month recently, and 8300 in all of 2022, so 603 is probably between 7–12% of active users.
posted by mubba at 4:18 PM on August 22


We had about ~850 responses to the survey from people who reported having an active account, so if you wanted to look at some percentage-based metric that seems like a good baseline number.

I'm with Brandon, though; everyone that's submitting a ballot means something.
posted by curious nu at 4:58 PM on August 22 [2 favorites]


Also, this is an election, not a survey. The population size of possible voters is both unknown and not particularly relevant for the purposes of resolving the election of steering committee members. Elections aren't about trying to obtain a statistically meaningful sample, they're about making a decision based on the aggregated opinions of those who choose to participate.

Thanks to the 600 who have voted so far. I'm procrastinating a bit but I plan to join your number soon.
posted by biogeo at 5:00 PM on August 22 [7 favorites]


Not to make any comparisons vis-a-vis American participation in the election process (although tomorrow (Tuesday) is primary day in New York, so don't forget to vote!) but that percentage is lower than I was hoping.

Popups on entry are a non-starter, is there any way to make the top banner bigger? 25-point letters or something?
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 5:00 PM on August 22


To dg specifically, how would you feel about the Discourse-style comment replies then?
Based on the MST Discourse forum, it's not as bad as truly threaded commenting, but I still don't like it and feel, in the context of MetaFilter, it would splinter conversations to the detriment of the overall discussion.

But, I'm only one person with a personal preference for linear chronological comments. I can see possible advantages in individual commenters being able to respond directly to specific queries on their specific comment/s, but it's not my preference.
posted by dg at 5:03 PM on August 22 [1 favorite]


I'm not too surprised at the relatively low count so far.

1) I assume that many people procrastinate.

2) This was the hardest election I've been asked to vote in. By far. The closest thing we have to an (R) by somebody'e name is whether they want threaded comments ;-)

Not only are the SC's duties somewhat fuzzy in my mind, but the issues they'll be tackling first (and thus the relevant pieces of their platforms) are still TBD. Reading this rather long thread only somewhat helped -- the vast majority of candidates seemed reasonable, with not a lot to distinguish between them. Then I dug into MetaTalk histories to spot check for any egregious behavior there, as well as AskMeFi/MetaFilter histories. For me, the tiebreaker wound up being "who contributes to MetaFilter in the way that I want to see the site continue to encourage". So yeah, that's a LOT of research for what I'm not at all sure is going to be any payoff. However it comes out, I think the SC will be great! I probably only finished my research and submitted my votes because there was one candidate I wanted to vote "against" (and thus thought that I needed to make sure somebody else got each of my available votes, and I'm not willing to be an uninformed voter).

I'm also very relieved that the TT will be selecting up to 5 nominees to address diversity concerns -- it's weird trying to vote for the top N people to sit on a committee, because I might slightly prefer B to C, but if A and B's skills or experience strongly overlap and A has already been voted in, choosing C would often yield the stronger overall committee. I really look forward to seeing how the SC tweaks elections next time around.
posted by Metasyntactic at 5:28 PM on August 22 [7 favorites]


Popups on entry are a non-starter, is there any way to make the top banner bigger? 25-point letters or something?


I believe the TT is leaving any such changes for the SC, so definitely reach out to them next month!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:29 PM on August 22


Up to 12 of the 17 remaining candidates will be on the SC. All of them are fellow members willing to volunteer to help the site. I think it is great that there is voting, and I voted, but I am personally not that invested in who gets voted in. I am also not that concerned about the number of votes. I think there will be more, but I can also imagine lots of people who are satisfied with whoever gets in. To me, that doesn’t mean the system isn’t working well.
posted by snofoam at 5:53 PM on August 22 [12 favorites]


2) This was the hardest election I've been asked to vote in. By far. The closest thing we have to an (R) by somebody'e name is whether they want threaded comments ;-)

I feel like I should emphasize that I'm not sure that I want threaded comments, but I think we need to consider options that might lower the barrier of entry to new users.
posted by JHarris at 6:10 PM on August 22 [4 favorites]


Vote early and often.
posted by freakazoid at 6:23 PM on August 22


I apologize for my late campaign statement - I've moved house a million times in my life but I turned 52 last week while I was moving and every single part of it (and me) hurt.

I've been reading this thread and thinking about my responses to questions and considering my own Metafilter experience. First, a bit of my backstory.

Coding and the internet:
I've been using the command line since the late 80s, taught myself HTML and CSS in the early 90s, and by the late 90s taught myself the LAMP stack so I could write my own blogging software. I subscribed to Wired magazine before it was even published and fell in love with San Francisco and, by extension, the dotcom world on a trip there in 1990. In the ten years it took me to realize my dream of moving to San Francisco, I read blogs obsessively and spent hours every day in my computer room installing and reinstalling Linux on one of my computers to learn how to use it.

My first job out of college in 1993 was as part of the telecom office at my alma mater, UMass Amherst, pulling cable and punching down patch panels to wire the campus with CAT-5. On the way back from a trade show, my team left me in the car in the parking lot of a strip club while they went in for lunch. I got lucky in that when I chose to tell my boss' boss, the way he retaliated was to leave me in the office all day and keep me from working with the team. I was disappointed but then I had a brand new PowerMac 5100 on my desk and started learning everything I could about the web and the Internet. That's how I became a web developer. The web is my thing.

Since I was reading blogs all the time, especially those of bloggers in the Bay Area and such a huge fangirl I started reading Metafilter as soon at it launched and I've been here ever since. Metafilter has been my most consistent online and IRL community since then. I've met so many MeFites at meetups and had so much fun and learned so much and been enriched in so many ways by the site that I'm excited for the opportunity to take part in the Steering Committee.

What I bring:
- Emotional intelligence
- A fierce devotion to fairness and equality
- Humility
- Coding skills, especially web-related. I've been a professional web developer for 18 years and know my way around
- Dedication to making technology and the internet accessible to people of every ability
- A sense of humor
- The ability to speak well but also to listen well
- An eagerness to talk about MetaFilter, its past, future and potential to improve

Thoughts about Metafilter - some based on ideas in this thread:
- Maybe it's because I've watched MetaFilter through every step of its evolution through the past twenty-something years but I still see it as one of the best, friendliest, most-familiar places on the web and I've had very few bad experiences here. That said, I'd love to hear more details about others' unhappy experiences and be part of a potential solution.

- If threading could be an *option* and not a requirement, it could be valuable. On a post-by-post basis would be best. Some MetaTalk threads get unmanageable and hard to follow.

- Bringing in new users. I'd like to talk about who is our target demographic? How do we introduce those people to MetaFilter?

- People's interaction with the Internet has changed drastically over the last years and decades. I want to talk about how we structure MetaFilter with that in mind. I'm in no way an expert on the current state of the internet and how people use it but I'd love to be part of that ongoing discovery.
posted by bendy at 6:25 PM on August 22 [9 favorites]


Ah, yet another person much more qualified to be on the committee than I am. I sometimes wonder if I had been born and raised in L.A. instead of Brunswick, GA, if I would have had a Real Career instead of whatever it is I've had.
posted by JHarris at 7:35 PM on August 22 [5 favorites]


I'm excited for the steering committee and to get to share my endorsements, but reading through the candidate statements I was really struck by how many of them include something like "I'm not as good as everyone else, pick me last, I don't know how useful I can be compared to everyone else".

Believe you me I am no stranger to self-deprecation, imposter syndrome, and aversion to competition! But I also don't really know what I'm supposed to do with a candidate statement that essentially says "I don't know why you'd pick me, probably don't."

If any candidates who wrote something similar are up for answering a question, I'm curious to know: Why? Do you really want to join the committee?
posted by rhiannonstone at 9:07 PM on August 22 [3 favorites]


I think I might be able to offer something, but there's a lot of other great names on the list, much better than compared to me I'd think. If you go by posting quality alone Rhaomi would be perfect.
posted by JHarris at 10:31 PM on August 22


I can't help but feel that a steering committee packed with Metafilter superstars would be less than ideal. Maybe I've been watching too many lawyer shows lately but I'm more inclined toward a "jury of my peers" -- a cross section of active users. As long as you're willing to put in some time and work with the team toward the greater good of all mankind.
posted by philip-random at 10:49 PM on August 22 [11 favorites]


After finally getting a chance to sit down and read some of the other candidates' (excellent) posts and Profile pages, a couple of follow-up thoughts on topics I didn't think to mention earlier, but—reading the posts from the perspective of a voter—people might find relevant:

Funding model: I don't feel like I have a good enough understanding of Metafilter's finances to really know how much of a challenge funding is likely to be, going forward and hopefully indefinitely. (If pressed, I'd suspect that moderation will be the driving cost of the site in the long run, since the absolute cost of the technology to run a site like Metafilter has likely gone down over the years... but employing someone to moderate it hasn't, and won't.) I'd be open to soliciting and considering ideas from the community about ways to raise revenue, and perhaps do more experimental / trial runs of different things. But in the short to medium term, I think donations are going to be the dominant source of operational funds, and while I'm aware of legitimate concerns around donations, it seems less compromising than other sources of the same magnitude, e.g. advertising. I am a skeptic about the long-term viability of web advertising as something we should depend on.

Technical stuff: Again, I don't know enough about how MeFi works behind the curtain to have any specific ideas, so this is largely philosophical: I don't believe in replacing "old" just because it's old. Second-system syndrome is real. Design by committee usually goes poorly. But technological progress is also real and shouldn't be ignored; maintenance and maintainability are very legitimate concerns. Having a "bus factor" of 1 isn't good and we should aim for architectures that a large number of people are capable of understanding and helping us with, if needed. The SC might want to strongly consider having some sort of standing Technical Committee or other subgroup, where interested people can dig into these things and perhaps work towards consensus recommendations on what our short/medium/long term priorities should be, or what major risk factors are out there.

Features Generally: In most situations I tend to be against the removal of features or options from software without a very good reason; the current trend towards minimalist software, where anything that isn't being used by overwhelming numbers of users gets ripped out, should have one of those Considered Harmful RFCs. If you alienate a small percentage of your users over and over, it adds up. UI stability is underrated. That said, different uses and users can benefit from different interfaces; what works on desktop vs. mobile is an obvious example. Providing new ways for people to use or access Metafilter (in ways that facilitate meaningful participation) is a good thing in general.

Priorities: I concur with the other folks who have said that the primary job of the first SC will likely be dominated by setting up the processes and infrastructure for overcoming Metafilter's challenges, not solving them or even determining what solution should be implemented. Having some type of subcommittee or advisory-group structure, so we can take advantage of the skills and knowledge of the underlying community, seems like a no-brainer. Coming up with a succession plan for the SC itself should be part of this, but shouldn't dominate it. The SC should ideally be operating at the 'strategic' level, once things get going in a steady state.
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:42 PM on August 22 [3 favorites]


> If any candidates who wrote something similar are up for answering a question, I'm curious to know: Why? Do you really want to join the committee?

I’m a former candidate, but I tend to use a lot of self-deprecation when I feel vulnerable. Also, depressive spells for me often exhibit as intense self-loathing. Those are the main contributors.

But also, I tend to feel the best people to put into power at those who don’t want it. There may be some of that. Being on the committee isn’t something I wanted, so much as something I thought would benefit both me and Metafilter.
posted by thoroughburro at 4:28 AM on August 23 [7 favorites]


I think I might be able to offer something, but there's a lot of other great names on the list, much better than compared to me I'd think. If you go by posting quality alone Rhaomi would be perfect.

Don't run yourself down JHarris, you have a lot to offer! I certainly didn't base my votes based on posting history, and I feel that's kinda irrelevant to the tasks (so many tasks!) at hand. Plus it's a term-based position, so unlike some much stupider institutions I could name, if you suck you won't louse up the place until you die. For me, if you care enough to put yourself forward and commit to the hours, you probably deserve a turn at the wheel. Thanks, all you candidates!
posted by Ten Cold Hot Dogs at 6:12 AM on August 23 [12 favorites]


If any candidates who wrote something similar are up for answering a question, I'm curious to know: Why? Do you really want to join the committee?

Didn't verify but it does look like I'm quoted there.

I submitted myself when I read a comment by curious nu that, well, seemed slightly desperate for candidates. I do want MiFi to succeed and be around for the lols, quiet browsing and surprising bright gems of insight that creep into many threads.

I'm not expecting to be on the SC but would make every effort to be useful, broad minded, kind to all, and work to find creative solutions.
posted by sammyo at 9:06 AM on August 23 [2 favorites]


Like sammyo, I nominated myself because there seemed to be a need, and I seemed to have qualifications that could be helpful. I have derived a lot of entertainment and insights from here and felt I had a responsibility to the place.
Also there's a little bit of personal curiosity - I love going backstage and seeing how things work!
posted by Freyja at 10:01 AM on August 23 [1 favorite]


I’m one who went full resume with why I’d be suitable for the position but passion and the desire to help can in many cases be as powerful as qualifications on paper (or in pixels?).

I wish more had applied. Not because our cohort is lacking, but because I bet so many WANTED to volunteer but were feeling unqualified or anxious or rough around the edges. You wouldn’t be one person trying single-handedly to save MetaFilter. The site’s not going to fold in 6 months if the SC doesn’t come up with anything other than building the framework for future SCs or future improvement. All we have to do is start moving the ball down the field — even if it’s just a yard — and when we’re tired others will tag in.
posted by kimberussell at 11:31 AM on August 23 [9 favorites]


Thanks to the candidates that responded to my question. I have one more and I'm surprised no one has asked it yet: How do you pronounce MeFi?
posted by Diskeater at 11:55 AM on August 23


I have one more and I'm surprised no one has asked it yet: How do you pronounce MeFi?

I'm so glad I can change my vote once I find out who answers this question wrongly.
posted by grouse at 12:14 PM on August 23 [8 favorites]


Rhymes with Tee-sigh.
posted by kimberussell at 12:17 PM on August 23


I'm intrigued by the idea of a single level of threading. It could help divert off topic stuff, contain mod logs about deletions or changes or generally act as place for side conversations.

Intrigued, but not definite yea or nay.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:22 PM on August 23 [2 favorites]


I self-nominated because I think I have a good mix of care about this place and some relevant expertise that could be of use to the committee. Also, I currently have the space and desire to devote more of my time to projects that I care deeply about that my academic work is relevant to that will never result in academic publications.

My personal opinion about threaded comments here is "oh no thanks" but I can see potential use cases and am not wedded to this. I also don't anticipate that this first SC is going to get in the weeds with specific solutions at that level -- I can imagine, for example, a working group coming up with a list of viable options for dealing with pile-ons or site activity that includes "threaded comments," but that's just my sense of how the committee will likely operate.

I don't really say "Mefi" aloud and go for the full title, but if I did it would be pronounced "me-fee." In my house Metafilter is pronounced "meh-tuh-filt-ur." Full apologies. I'm aware that me-fee and meh-tuh don't match phonetically and I'm not sure why I say the words this way.
posted by twelve cent archie at 12:29 PM on August 23 [3 favorites]


I don't think I have ever pronounced "MeFi" except if the pronunciation was actually under discussion on MeTa at the time, because I just call it MetaFilter when I talk about it.

Mefite, on the other hand, is pronounced like a cartoon caveman declaring his intention to do battle.
posted by jacquilynne at 12:31 PM on August 23


How do you pronounce MeFi?

Just like it is spelled, like with "GIF".
posted by Dip Flash at 12:36 PM on August 23 [11 favorites]


MðʨFɝɝ
posted by sammyo at 12:47 PM on August 23 [3 favorites]


re: threads: I encourage the SC to reach out for more of the survey data when they're ready, as there were a LOT of people who were pretty specifically anti-threading. That's not necessarily a reason to not do it, but it's something to consider. It's interesting to approach it from an accessibility angle, but I think the question there is not "how do we do threaded comments" but more "if there's a need for it, how do we make fast/complicated conversations easier to follow?" and threads might be one potential tool for that.

re: putting yourself forward: we talked a fair bit about this internally. The Transition Team members were directly invited to our roles, with a somewhat loosely defined writ and idealized timeline. We agreed that we wanted the Metafilter community to have more say in who we passed the torch to, but also that it was important that the people who we passed it to were able to commit - as best they can, given they probably don't know the future and we live in wild times - to be proactive and driven about this, and that seemed to line up with people who'd be willing to self-nominate. It's a really big request. And that does bias who might be putting themselves on the ballot right now.

However! And here we segue into the personal-opinion bit:

The way I've been envisioning this is that the SC may be doing some initial top-level organizing and decision-making, but that one of their primary tasks is going to be managing teams to work on things. I think the folks volunteering to be contributors may be doing the bulk of the work going forward. A lot of people over the years have volunteered their time in Metatalk, but managing volunteers is, itself, a task. I don't know if anyone on the SC is going to personally roll up their sleeves and dive into ColdFusion, or start managing income streams, or run site-wide events. That's not my personal expectation for the SC. It'll be great if they do! But I am hoping they do more of the steering and ask for a lot of help on actually making things happen.
posted by curious nu at 1:27 PM on August 23 [2 favorites]


MeFi is pronounced with your optic nerve, through synesthesia. It rhymes with paraselene.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:47 PM on August 23 [8 favorites]


Re pronunciation, I'm fairly sure we can cite iamkiam 2014:151 on this exact topic:

Starting with the distribution of the M-Set, it was shown that 1b variants ([mifaɪ] and [mifaɪt]) were the most preferred, and preference for them significantly increased in the 2012 data. Additionally, MeFites who changed their pronunciation in 2012 (from their 2010 choice) switched to 1b variants more than they did to any other.

Prescriptivists running for SC are welcome to do with this information what they see fit.
posted by Rumple at 1:58 PM on August 23 [1 favorite]


I just had a chance to finish reading all the candidate profiles & finalize my ballot. What a great bunch of humans! Thank you all for stepping up -- I regret that I have but seven votes to give.
posted by ourobouros at 2:02 PM on August 23 [1 favorite]


In terms of why I want to be part of the Steering Committee I've spent a lot of time in my past 8 years of interviewing for full-time jobs being asked about my career goals. I've considered other people's career paths and my own strengths and in the last couple years have been replying to that question with, "I want to take ownership of something," and "I want to be part of the 'source-of-truth'." I think if given the opportunity I could be a strong leader.

My current employer laid off 50% of its employees August 1st and our new dev team is diminished in number and morale. I've been taking the lead in some dev meetings and working to keep us all engaged with each other and collaborating. While part of me thinks that they resent me for making them talk I believe that the only way forward is for us to communicate more. This has been rewarding for me and ultimately I think I'm contributing something good.
posted by bendy at 7:53 PM on August 23 [5 favorites]


I was seriously double-minded about self-nominating for the SC. To be truthful, I wasn't even a Mefite. I'd buttoned in frustration and annoyance a couple of years ago, but visited the site daily anyway, finding that this helped prevent me from getting too emotionally involved. It made it possible for me to accept my biggest issue with the site, of the strong US lens it put on everything.

Then the great changeover started happening. I like cortex and I think he had a really tough time leading the site, but it was clear that a radical shift was needed to help things become unstuck. I was pleased about the TT coming in and I answered the survey in detail specifying that I was a former member. I started thinking about rejoining the site.

Then the call to the SC came up. I ignored it, then I started thinking that we really really need an SC which has at least one, and hopefully more than one, member who is not seeing the world through that US lens. And the only person I knew who fit this, and whom I could reasonably persuade to apply, was me. So I did and then reopened my account.

The other thing that I found exciting about the SC is how it might help open up the site in terms of what is possible. By nature I like ideas and I like trying new ways of doing things. I'm also super-collaborative and not particularly possessive, so I really like the idea of working in small groups to come up with interesting new approaches and devising ways to try them out without commitment or without harming the site as a whole. For me it's a way of giving back to the site that I care about, and helping it out of that stuckness that discussions in MeTa often seemed to signify in the past few years.

I almost withdrew my self-nom several times in the past few weeks, appalled by the weight of expectations in this and other threads and the prospect of basically becoming an unpaid part-time mod. Luckily that's ebbed in the last few days. I don't think I could put up with that, after coming back to the site still feeling rather raw.

I'm still far from being the most qualified person who has self-nominated, and I hope the SC eventually has a strong capacity for oversight of the mechanics of the website (i.e. finances, legal stuff, technical stuff, etc) as well as its broader vision and representing the user base. But anyway, I'm still here.
posted by tavegyl at 1:58 AM on August 24 [10 favorites]


In my house Metafilter is pronounced "meh-tuh-filt-ur."
Same. But if I say MeFi in my head it only comes out French, meh-fee. I'm sohrry! Took forever to break me out of wee-fee too.
posted by Freyja at 5:21 AM on August 24 [1 favorite]


Voted yesterday. It was really difficult to narrow the list down to seven! It sounded like everybody who put themselves forward had something to bring to the table, and would make a valuable committee member. Thanks to you all for volunteering, and I hope those of you who don't make the roster this time will be able to take part in the future.
posted by offog at 11:50 AM on August 24 [2 favorites]


(First, a side note to chime in that I think Cortex did a better job steering the site than mathowie did, and while taking on the role in much broader and more difficult ways.)

And then an official declaration that the Mefites For A Cautious Approach SuperPAC is having a real hard time putting together a slate of endorsements.

We still think Freyja shares our constituency's concerns, and hope others can see past the semi-ironic golf talk to find value in her being a potential voice on the committee for longtime users who mostly lurk, and who are mostly happy with how things have been run here to date (with, sure, room for improvement: let's encourage everyone to be nicer to each other, etc.; let's figure out how to get the site working better for those coming in via mobile browsers, etc.)

We had thought JHarris might be another one of our endorsements, and while a good number of us individually might still be voting for him, all that threaded-replies talk freaked us out enough to make us too hesitant for an outright endorsement. [Friendly emoji here.]

And there are a few other candidates we considered endorsing, too, but at this point we recognize that no one's really explicitly gone after our constituency's concerns! So since our voting's going to be based on mere conjecture, it doesn't seem fair to list them out as endorsements. Maybe jacquilynne? Maybe lazaruslong? Maybe It's Raining Florence Henderson? Who knows! (I guess we missed the boat by not officially posing a question to the candidates.)

Overall attitude toward the end of this election is: I bet everything's going to be fine. Everyone seems thoughtful and great, and I'm not sure there's anyone I'd affirmatively want to vote against.

And I hope the SC at least decides to open the floor on MetaTalk before doing anything too drastic.
posted by nobody at 6:14 PM on August 24 [4 favorites]


(Also, to the TT folks: might be worth putting up one more set of multi-subsite posts to announce that tomorrow's the last day of voting? I'm sure there are more than a handful of people who checked out this post when it went up, put off doing anything about it, and could use the deadline nudge to actually go ahead and vote.)
posted by nobody at 6:22 PM on August 24 [1 favorite]


I personally will not be doing any more sub-site posts because I have to get up early for work tomorrow. But I did leave a note in the TT Slack if anyone else wants to do it.

I think things are fine if it doesn't happen, there's only 15 hours left until voting closes. Most of those who are going to vote have probably done so.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:44 PM on August 24


re:threading, I think a full-on Reddit-style nested hierarchy would be far too disruptive and tough to implement, and most threads aren't sprawling enough to benefit. But I think it would be useful to explore incorporating something like GraphFi as an optional feature. I have it installed as a local userscript that runs automatically on every page load; it's only 21 kilobytes in size but it's capable of parsing quoted text to make following chains of replies a breeze, and it makes digesting large threads much easier. I'd also be interested in a basic reply notification feature to make it simple to alert people of discussions of interest or responses to their questions/comment without having to MeMail them directly or wait on them checking Recent Activity (which is limited and not universally used). In my experience on other forums with this feature, it keeps people engaged with discussions who come in late or have to step away for a bit -- though it works best when people have the option of disabling it for a given person/thread (or altogether).
posted by Rhaomi at 7:00 PM on August 24 [3 favorites]


My opinion on threading is that I think fully nested replies are probably not great for MetaFilter (or anywhere else) - but I am not opposed to some level of threading if it can be done elegantly and improves rather than detracts from followability and adds to the ability to have a couple of different angles on the same thread that don't detract from reach other. I like, as an example, Ravelry's format where you can reply to specific posts and follow links back to what someone was replying to or forward to replies to a specific post, but the posts still actually display in chronological order. I think it provides some context that enables multiple discussions without taking away from simply picking up where you left off and continuing to read.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:18 PM on August 24 [1 favorite]


I am feeling that I once again must emphasize that I was not demanding that threading happen, or know if it's a good idea,or even if it's possible to implement it here, because there could be any number of technical barriers, plus we only have limited development resources. I am really anxious that now people seem to think of me as that threading person.

But I am willing to take a reputation hit over this, for I do strongly feel that we need to keep discussing new ideas, and to figure out what things keep people from joining the site and participating. That we're still getting hundreds of new members a year is actually kind of surprising to me, considering the site's whole Web 0.1 vibe.

There has long been a reluctance to change almost anything about Metafilter. That much became evident during the incident when the mods tried simply hiding favorite counts as an experiment, and a lot of people, myself included, flipped way and disproportionately out. (Sorry about that.) And considering how the rest of the web is careening towards a world full of distracting messes, with many sites bombarding you pseudo-popup demands that you subscribe to their newsletters, MeFi's simple approach has a strong appeal.

But the wall-of-text approach to its appearance, the formidable nature of the comment box, and the difficulty in navigating long lists of comments still feel like they could be improved a bit? No?
posted by JHarris at 10:10 PM on August 24 [6 favorites]


nobody: at this point we recognize that no one's really explicitly gone after our constituency's concerns

I have been very careful to specifically seek out nobody's endorsement.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:12 PM on August 24 [14 favorites]


Also, JHarris, if it makes you feel any better, I am also open to discussing threading if I wind up on the SC. Not because it's something I particularly want to see, but because my sense of the job is that it is ultimately about listening, discussing, looking for solutions, and seeking consensus. I see the role as representative, which can't be effective without an openness to new ideas.

Don't apologize for being open to considering changes. Considering change is literally the job.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:20 PM on August 24 [12 favorites]


Classic reddit/usenet style threading may not be the mifi-way but the long interleaved conversations sometime seem to be two or more orthogonal discussions that do not interact just mushed together. With often very little interaction between the two "virtual" threads.

How about a very restricted instant new post tool that takes copies all of one discussion into a new thread with pointers to direct. Like a FL politics thread that has a distinct WY discussion, create a mod tool to instamagically move all WY comments into a new post.

(yes not realistic but it could work)

(mebe.. extract the fighty elements into a fighty post with a special restricted opt in to protect the sensitive but let the aggressor folks get their catharsis for the day...)
posted by sammyo at 4:13 AM on August 25 [1 favorite]


(Furiously working on a "nobody wouldn't vote for kimberussell!" shirt)

[Friendly emoji here.]
posted by kimberussell at 7:02 AM on August 25 [8 favorites]


There's, like, only 35 minutes(?) left for voting.

How will the results be announced? Can it be done Eurovision style e.g. a new thread develops with each posting by Loup along the lines of "Here are the results from the Swedish MeFites", and an accumulating league table of votes in a different window?
posted by Wordshore at 8:25 AM on August 25 [9 favorites]


Wordshore, I think you're off by an hour (England doesn't follow GMT during the summer) — there's currently just over an hour left to get your votes in!
posted by wesleyac at 8:57 AM on August 25 [3 favorites]


WHY CAN I ONLY VOTE FOR SEVEN BOOOO
posted by Going To Maine at 9:39 AM on August 25 [2 favorites]


Hi folks, voting is now closed and the TT will be reviewing things and contacting folks over the next few days. Expect the next announcement no later than August 31.
posted by curious nu at 10:12 AM on August 25 [7 favorites]


OOPS. I thought we had all day because I did not read carefully.
It's ok, I voted for my definite top 5 and was waffling on the rest.
posted by Glinn at 10:20 AM on August 25 [2 favorites]


Missed the time zone as well, but that's on me.
posted by snuffleupagus at 10:45 AM on August 25 [2 favorites]


Thank you, Wordshore, for your desire to Eurovision this election and highlight the results from the Swedish MeFites and other country blocks however impractical that might be. The candidates had no time to get costumes, for one thing. Perhaps next time. Many thanks to all who voted, all who ran, all who ran and then reconsidered running, all who merely considered running but decided never mind, and anyone who happens to be following this thread. I will always love you, MetaFilter, because I am mushy like that.
posted by Bella Donna at 11:25 AM on August 25 [18 favorites]


Oops, I messed up with the time zone too.
posted by daisyace at 11:26 AM on August 25 [3 favorites]


Same, ah well.
posted by iamkimiam at 1:17 PM on August 25 [3 favorites]


I forgot to vote.
posted by bendy at 12:40 AM on August 26 [1 favorite]


I have a costume.
posted by bendy at 12:43 AM on August 26 [2 favorites]


I have several costumes and will share them as needed.
posted by bendy at 12:45 AM on August 26 [1 favorite]


Look at me respecting the edit window!
posted by bendy at 12:46 AM on August 26 [6 favorites]


bendy: Look at me respecting the edit window!

You're doing an absolutely stellar job there.
posted by Too-Ticky at 4:26 AM on August 26 [3 favorites]


that thing where Leslie Nielsen comes in after it's all over and repeats "We're all counting on you"
posted by secretseasons at 7:43 AM on August 26 [3 favorites]


I forgot to write down for whom I voted. Now I can just assume I voted for the winners. Congratulations in case I forget to do that on the 31st.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 8:03 AM on August 26 [5 favorites]


I'm with you, JohnnyGunn. I changed my votes so many times I can no longer remember who I voted for. And since I didn't write down the final list, I'm just going to assume that all of my choices were the correct ones.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:20 AM on August 26 [6 favorites]


I changed my votes so many times I can no longer remember who I voted for.

Can you remember if you voted for SC candidate "It's Raining Florence Henderson", or not?
posted by Wordshore at 1:32 PM on August 26 [2 favorites]


Honestly? Since you asked, I did not vote for that candidate. I thought there were finer options. But I'm sure he'd be up to the job, if it works out that way.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:52 PM on August 26 [4 favorites]


> Missed the time zone as well, but that's on me.

...aw crap, me too. I was traveling, figured I'd do it when I got home last night, didn't, and I just remembered. I trust that the Hive Mind came to the right conclusions even without my two metaphorical cents though!
posted by ASF Tod und Schwerkraft at 6:10 PM on August 26 [1 favorite]


As the person who’s made the various updates on the sub-sites, I think developing some other way for the SC to inform the community is going to be crucial. MeTa posts and the site banner isn’t going to cut it. Probably need the ability to do global pinned posts on each sub-site or something similar.

‘Cause having to post a song to make a post on Music can be fun, but it is time consuming. Don’t get me started on IRL posts that aren’t for actual IRL stuff.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:07 PM on August 26 [3 favorites]


Good point. So you're proposing that you personally be required to post songs on every sub-site. I like it. I'd vote for that.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 7:33 PM on August 26 [2 favorites]


Brandon Blatcher: "As the person who’s made the various updates on the sub-sites, I think developing some other way for the SC to inform the community is going to be crucial. MeTa posts and the site banner isn’t going to cut it. Probably need the ability to do global pinned posts on each sub-site or something similar."

It's never too late to implement a tiny little video Mathowie.
posted by Rhaomi at 8:34 PM on August 26


(Furiously working on a "nobody wouldn't vote for kimberussell!" shirt)

1) I think that really does make for an excellent old-timey political slogan, and 2) For what it's worth, I believe I did personally vote for you, despite my imaginary SuperPAC obviously not being able abide by your audacious "not afraid of making a decision to sunset features," "not afraid of change and modernization," and "[t]he feeling of community must come from the members, not the background color[...]of the website" campaign statements. Please don't tell my imaginary co-founder. (And also please don't take away my background colors.)
posted by nobody at 9:11 PM on August 26


Probably need the ability to do global pinned posts on each sub-site or something similar.

Random Saturday morning rhetorical musing but would it be possible for the staff to change the date of future SC posts to some far-flung time in the future so it always stays at the top? Leave it that way for a period of time and then either change it back to the proper date or delete it.
posted by Diskeater at 8:24 AM on August 27


It's not possible with the current structure of the site, so it's a thing that would require development time.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:40 PM on August 27




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