We need more IRL events February 23, 2024 11:47 AM   Subscribe

There's been practically no activity on the IRL MetaFilter page lately. There was a time when it was full of events. This post is to encourage you to create more IRL events and go to them. You'll meet new people, see old friends and make new friends. You'll get to match user names with real names and faces. (To get local IRL alerts, in your MeFi user profile set you location and in preferences make sure "Receive IRL alerts? " is checked)

Why and what can an IRL event be?:
  • Get to know your local MeFites. Your meeting place could be a cafe, a bar, a park, etc.
  • To find a group of people to play games or bar trivia.
  • Going to a big conference? Connect with other MeFites there.
  • Visiting a new city? Meet the local MeFites.
posted by ShooBoo to MetaFilter-Related at 11:47 AM (52 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

I'm currently not in a position to run a Dallas area meetup but it's on my list for when my schedule opens after St Pat's. Austin used to have a great meetup scene and I miss it.

(Austin folks, I am coming for Rhiannon Giddens in May and would love to see y'all too, so if there's interest let me know and we can have one too!)
posted by gentlyepigrams at 12:52 PM on February 23 [2 favorites]

I wish there were some way to do an occasional PING to people who aren't set to receive IRL alerts to get an summary of IRL stuff going on in their area, maybe twice a year?

I don't think a lot of people who use MetaFilter know about IRL. And without some kind of process that initiates discovery, I don't know how to increase the number of people who DO know about it and use it.

I have my IRL radar set for 350 miles and it's only gotten one ping in the past long while, which is unusual because I live close enough for Portland and Seattle to be part of that radar sweep. And god forbid any local MeFites ever want to meet up! Even though I ask about it regularly.
posted by hippybear at 1:11 PM on February 23

IRL understandably nosedived when the pandemic hit, maybe people are still a bit tentative about cranking it up again.
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:42 PM on February 23 [17 favorites]

(Austin folks, I am coming for Rhiannon Giddens in May and would love to see y'all too, so if there's interest let me know and we can have one too!)

What you do here is actually post a proposed meet at the time and maybe location you want and then let it generate from there. That's how you know if there's interest. Posting this here is useless.

If you don't know a location to meet, post what time your other obligations are, like if you're wanting to do dinner before the show, then pick what time you think you want to meet before the show and let locals suggest where.

I've done this. it's a wonderful way to spend time before a concert which is usually spent kind of driftless and vacant even while needing food and to pass the time before the show.

In fact, I just bought a ticket to see Pearl Jam in Missoula in August, and I'm going to propose a meetup right now!
posted by hippybear at 3:15 PM on February 23 [2 favorites]

nosedived? nosedove?

(argh, I didn't think about how that would look in print; now I'm thinking about nasally-launched pigeons - *snort* ca-cooooooooooo)
posted by Greg_Ace at 5:34 PM on February 23 [1 favorite]

We had a nice active IRL crew in NYC. Fuck Covid, it really killed that. I’ll post something outdoor when it gets warm, promise.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 7:15 PM on February 23 [4 favorites]

Hey, hey buddy. Wanna do a line of nosedove? It's been specially filtered for no feathers....
posted by hippybear at 7:33 PM on February 23 [5 favorites]

"is that you Cocaine Bear, is this me"
posted by clavdivs at 7:52 PM on February 23 [1 favorite]

It's been specially filtered for no feathers....

Ironically, feathers can be effective filters themselves
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:57 PM on February 23

Here in the SF Bay Area I've been to two since the lockdowns. I think that's all we've had? One brought out three people, the other two. Tiny miniature versions of meetups in ancient times, but both involved good conversation and were absolutely worth doing. Thanks to the people who proposed them.
posted by tangerine at 8:10 PM on February 23

"IRL understandably nosedived when the pandemic hit, maybe people are still a bit tentative about cranking it up again."

As they should be:

posted by Jacqueline at 8:58 PM on February 23 [11 favorites]

Indiana’s such a hard place schedule. We’re all pretty spread-out and, while Indianapolis is more-or-less centrally located, it still means a long-ish drive for many, save for the three or four of us in the Indy metro area. I’d love to have another meet-up, though. I’m just not in a position to plan it, though.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:51 AM on February 24

I'm still pretty reluctant to hang out indoors with folks, what with COVID and all.
posted by maryellenreads at 6:55 AM on February 24 [13 favorites]

I hosted a southern New England meetup in Connecticut over ten years ago which had probably fifteen or twenty folks attend. I thought it was a lovely time. This post was the kick in the pants I needed to propose another.
posted by gauche at 7:23 AM on February 24 [1 favorite]

I've never been to a MeFi in person event, but I'm game. If a more veteran local member would be interested in co-organizing/-hosting with me, PM me.
posted by concinnity at 9:49 AM on February 24 [2 favorites]

nosedived? nosedove?

nosed dive
posted by paper chromatographologist at 10:22 AM on February 24 [3 favorites]

nose diven
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:29 AM on February 24 [1 favorite]

It's a bummer that IRL posts that happened to be originally posted by now-account-wiped users get totally memory-holed. Ideally, I'd think, the post page should stay up, with just that users' post and comment text removed, to keep everyone else's comments from disappearing along with the deletion-requested ones...

(I can't remember anymore why Greg Nog buttoned, but I don't think I realized he'd asked for a full account wipe, too. Both things are a shame.)
posted by nobody at 10:52 AM on February 24 [11 favorites]

I'd love to have one at a park or something outside come spring, but I don't think there are likely to be any other MeFites in Kelowna, so there doesn't feel like much of a point. Even in Vancouver at the last couple I went to there were only 2-4 people.
posted by Canageek at 3:57 PM on February 24 [1 favorite]

Hey, hey buddy. Wanna do a line of nosedove? It's been specially filtered for no feathers....

but i liek feathers
posted by lalochezia at 4:37 PM on February 24

Like, I've posted two meets lately in different cities, neither has any replies, I know both places I've posted to have MeFites who live there... I wish I could push a button that was maybe once a year that was a "ping people in this area about this IRL meetup" button that would send a MeMail to anyone within the radius.

I think there is probably an audience for MeFi Meetups out there who don't even know they are going on because they engage with the website in a way which doesn't encounter it at all. But based on every single one of my MetaFilter Meetup experiences, I think they'd love to know they are going on and would love to attend.

I don't know how to bridge that gap. I have ideas, but probably all of them would feel too spammy/intrusive to the membership here.
posted by hippybear at 4:02 PM on February 25 [3 favorites]

It would be nice to have something like a MediaWiki watchlist notice -- something that would appear as a dismissable notice at the top of Recent Activity or something like that, if there were proposed events within some user-adjustable distance.
posted by Not A Thing at 4:11 PM on February 25 [1 favorite]

Come to think of it, a local MeFite posted a proposed IRL meetup a couple days ago. I only happened to notice it, I didn't get an email notification (which I'm definitely signed up for, I just checked). Is that because it's "proposed" with no specific location for the meetup yet?
posted by Greg_Ace at 4:25 PM on February 25

Notifications for IRL should probably be a tad more aggressive? They don't show up in the sidebar so even a proposed meetup is likely to be missed.
posted by fiercekitten at 6:14 PM on February 25 [4 favorites]

There was an issue with alerts not being sent out recently (I asked some local MeFi friends to see if they received an alert - they did not). I reached out to MeFi about it and had some conversations with frimble about the issue. For one of my events, he had to manually trigger the alerts. For the new event I created for this week, the automated alerts were fixed and they were sent out (sent out overnight Pacific Time by a scheduled task).

If you feel alerts aren't being sent out for your event and if you know some MeFites local to you, ask them if they received an alert. If they haven't, use the MeFi contact form to let MeFi know the issue.
posted by ShooBoo at 7:46 PM on February 25

a time when it was full of events.

those were the days my friend, we thought they'd never end
we thought we'd laugh forever and a day...

25th anniversary is in 5 MONTHS get busy people.
posted by vrakatar at 7:48 PM on February 25 [4 favorites]

(I should check IRL more often for local events—or maybe try dropping one with a purpose, like pub trivia.)

I tried to arrange a meetup in London a few months back. Even with the IRL "Map & Directions" feature not working correctly, that issue was fixed with plenty of days beforehand. So at noon on a weekend day with nice weather (as far as London in October goes), in dense part of the city full of hipsters—I got a dozen or so "maybe"s. And on the day of, nobody showed.

(I did plan and meet a different MeFite at a crowded event in London a day before, and it was seamless—all I had to do was shout their username louder than anything else that was going on in the venue at the time, and [pop] they were right behind me with a, "you rang?".

But that Saturday at noon, I had a nice quiet pint to myself while reading Murderbot. I think a lot of people want to meet up, but it's a combination of some MeFites really wanting to be social and IRL being the safest bet—but also those same MeFites being probably still-spooked by the pandemic having happened so recently. A few people apologized because they did have other logistical reasons not to drop by for a pint; but the lack of uptake at the moment of the meetup was a bit disheartening. But I didn't hold anything against those who meant well but were still covid-risk-avoidant. My levels of social comfort are not the same as anyone else's individual parameters. (And, after the first 5 minutes of "Maybe nobody's coming," I let my disappointment sink into the floorboards and I enjoyed an unexpected peaceful quiet respite instead, sipping on something hoppy, before wandering around the city like a lost kid on acid.)

I encourage everyone reading this who wants to have a meetup—do it! Figure something out that works for you time-wise, venue-wise, size-wise, loud-wise. If you don't get uptake the first time, keep trying. I have trouble hearing conversations at meetups in loud crowded places, but I usually am able to connect with a few people if I can step out of my social fears and shout louder, or really concentrate on lip-reading and context so I can understand other conversants. (Very ADD here.)

And if you see a meetup posted in your area, yeah you may be hesitant, but don't be scared—MeFites are a bunch of really Good People in Real Life, they're more-or-less just as nerdy as you think you are, etc. I've found over my 16 years as a user that I've never met anyone at a meetup that I went away thinking, "geez, those assholes." (You know I met My Sweet One at a meetup—and also my birthday twin at that same meetup.)

And in places where there's Winter, maybe wait until Spring and organize something outdoors so most people could attend comfortably? And in places with no winter... What are you doing inside. (Apologies to any agoraphobics for this paragraph.) But if you are comfortable going grocerty shopping or riding public transportation, meetups are usually less crowded than the MBTA.
posted by not_on_display at 8:42 PM on February 25 [5 favorites]

At least from personal experience, meetups functioned well, and became friendships that involving texting to see if people are free for dinner or drinks. They've become a little more organic that way, and easier to wrangle. The downside is that, yeah, we don't often post on IRL anymore.

Obviously that's not the case for everyone, and I would definitely encourage (especially) newer members to attend a meetup if they are able.
posted by Ghidorah at 10:52 PM on February 25

There was a few online things - one of which was a "zoom together and just quietly write on our various projects" and I really liked it. It kept me accountable but was also required very few spoons to attend. A lot of times if there's a meetup scheduled it's very much a case of "I'd love to but the logistics are a nightmare", at least for me.

If IRL is too hard, then perhaps virtual would be an option, whether it be a writing group or a tea party or whatever?
posted by ninazer0 at 10:53 PM on February 25 [2 favorites]

I'll repeat here something I said in 2019, on the MeFi community on Dreamwidth, in a discussion of IRL events:

I've tried to organize several, sometimes successfully ("success" here meaning that at least one non-me person comes), and attended several, including a few that I did not organize.

If I'm going to another city, I often post on MeFi IRL and see whether anyone wants to meet up while I'm there. Sometimes it works - if nothing else it often leads to a single person coming, and then I get to have a novel conversation.

My possibly heretical opinion/assumption is: people who have MetaFilter user accounts are more likely than the median Internet user to be anxious about meeting strangers and socializing in an unstructured face-to-face setting, and to find, on the day of the event, that looking forward to a "meet and make conversation with these strangers" event has not filled us with enough anticipation to overcome the inertia and default rhythms of our everyday lives (which is a factor in people changing an RSVP choice from "going" to "not going").

This is why "come do this specific thing with me" (watch a play, knit, sing karaoke), "let's piggyback on an existing structured social thing" (asking to meet MeFites who are going to the same convention/festival as me), and "let's attend this rare event" (watch a one-night-only entertainment event, "I'm only in town this week") are more likely to draw people to actually attend -- they help overcome the inertia and the anxiety.
posted by brainwane at 3:29 AM on February 26 [7 favorites]

Another way to advertise an IRL event: make a front page post about something related to the city in question, and mention your IRL event in the comments. Similar strategy is available using Ask questions.
posted by brainwane at 3:39 AM on February 26 [4 favorites]

I would be happy to do an outdoor meetup in warmer weather, if there are any other Mefites in the southern-to-central New Hampshire area of the US. (I don't have the gumption to host one, but I would attend.)
posted by maryellenreads at 8:18 AM on February 26 [1 favorite]

+1 on the suggestions that the website foster more awareness and growth of the IRL section; there's some good ideas which could really help revive this part of the community.

I posted something under the Proposed tab because I don't know how many members are in my area, or what they might enjoy doing. In addition to the unknowns of meeting strangers from the internet, I don't have a long posting history to give people a sense of just how geeky and awkward-in-an-endearing-way and friendly I am.
posted by concinnity at 9:34 AM on February 26

I didn't get an email notification

Just got one!
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:54 AM on February 26 [1 favorite]

IRL was invented in 2010 because meetup-related content had outgrown MetaTalk. But now it's out of sight, out of mind. Maybe people can/should cross-post in MeTa for visibility?

I think I went to three, in the Golden Era of the Site®. They were chill and a good time was had by all.
posted by Klipspringer at 1:54 PM on February 26 [2 favorites]

Well, I'm in the Research Triangle. I have a nice deck with a pond view. I used to host meet-ups. I should probably do it again.
posted by thivaia at 2:15 PM on February 26 [2 favorites]

FYI: If, like me, you are struggling to figure out how to actually post an IRL event, you can't be in classic mode! I clicked around confusedly for 10 minutes before consulting the FAQ. (I think this is an indicator of how infrequently I create new posts vs lurking and commenting, more than anything else.)
posted by bassooner at 4:22 PM on February 26

That's interesting, I've been using Classic for years and I used to be able to post IRL events. Something must have changed.
posted by Greg_Ace at 4:26 PM on February 26

I just posted an IRL the other day in Classic mode on my computer. Is this a desktop v cellphone divide?
posted by hippybear at 4:33 PM on February 26 [1 favorite]

Ah, good callout -- I have a New Event link in IRL in Classic on my desktop, just not on my cellphone.
posted by bassooner at 4:46 PM on February 26

If you want to see what is why like in the past when there were a lot of IRL events, here's capture on the waybackmachine from 2014 (I just randomly chose that date, and it ended up that one of the proposed events is one I went to).
posted by ShooBoo at 5:29 PM on February 26 [1 favorite]

Oh, duh - I have a New Event link on my Classic/pc screen just under the "MeFi IRL" logo. Just ignore me...
posted by Greg_Ace at 5:29 PM on February 26

Wow, I just picked January 2011 out of a hat, and something for everyone
posted by not_on_display at 9:06 PM on February 26

IRL was invented in 2010 because meetup-related content had outgrown MetaTalk. But now it's out of sight, out of mind. Maybe people can/should cross-post in MeTa for visibility?
This is exactly right; IRL was created in a very different time for Metafilter. I'd suggest a return to posting all meetups in MetaTalk, with comments closed and a link to IRL for further discussion. If meetup posts become so prevalent that it's necessary to backpedal to avoid overloading MetaTalk then all the better.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 4:21 AM on February 27 [5 favorites]

We are discussing hosting a Vermont meetup this summer. It's been 4+ years.
posted by terrapin at 5:57 AM on February 27 [1 favorite]

I like meetups but haven't gone in a long while - I think a combination of being busier and also there being so few that I don't check regularly in the same way.
posted by corb at 8:43 AM on February 27

Hell, why not put IRLs on the front page?

They wouldn't roll off for a day or two, and it would give them a lot more attention.
posted by wenestvedt at 12:58 PM on February 27 [1 favorite]

Makes me think maybe the Front Page could be a bit more front page?

I don't know exactly how to begin to roll all the different subsites into something of a more unified front page but maybe that would be something to think about as far as cross-pollinating the subsections of the website and drawing more attention to things like IRL or Jobs opportunities and the like.

I know it's a pretty bold idea, but we could do things to make the subsites of MetaFilter still be subsites but talk to each other a bit more to inform users and maybe weave together more participation.
posted by hippybear at 3:43 PM on February 28 [2 favorites]

Thanks ShooBoo, I've just moved to a new country and city and this post inspired me to try my first IRL post. I've never been to a meetup before, but hoping there might be a few people in Warsaw, Poland, who are interested!
posted by Weng at 6:09 AM on March 1 [1 favorite]

Ok I turned my location/IRL alerts on. I buttoned and came back as a new user and forgot to set it. I’m in Cary, NC.
posted by caviar2d2 at 10:55 AM on March 1

Yeah, pin IRL posts to the front page if they're for meetups in your area. Let people unpin them if they aren't interested in such things. Otherwise, you would see a daily countdown reminder that the gang will be at the park on Sunday, BYOB (bring your own beans).
posted by pracowity at 6:04 PM on March 4

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