Lurking and the community June 7, 2001 8:12 PM   Subscribe

Everything I Know I Learned at MetaFilter. I am amazed at how many of the little knowledge bits I pass on each day to friends, family and co-workers I originally came across on MeFi. It is a rare day that I do not access the site multiple times. Truly addictive.

But I feel like a bit of a leech though...always lurking and rarely posting. I'd like to hear the experiences of other habitual users who tiptoe around the fringe...are we legion or merely the non-vocal minority? Community members or parasite?
posted by tdstone to MetaFilter-Related at 8:12 PM (9 comments total)

After some consideration and hindsight, I think most of my posts have been crap. Being quiet is just fine in my book. If MetaFilter spawns conversation offline with those around you, I think YOU ARE participating. The web is just a vehicle, not a closed loop. If you still harbor guilt, click the donate button.
posted by machaus at 8:32 PM on June 7, 2001

I think it's fine to tiptoe around the fringes, too. The last thing I want to do is speak for the sake of speaking and simply churn out more noise for the signal to get lost in. :-)
posted by youhas at 12:26 AM on June 8, 2001

Community members or parasite?

The reason I come here every day is that MeFi is the best example of on-line community building that I've come across. I never cease to be amazed, frankly.

I tend to lurk here too, but the discussions I overhear round here spill over into life in my "real" community. To take the most obvoius, recent, example - after a weekend pressing F5 and watching the Kaycee story unfold, I told my students (Welsh for adults) on Monday morning why I looked so washed out. The resulting conversation - in beautifully stilted Welsh - about what community means was worth every one of those dial-up minutes.
posted by ceiriog at 6:24 AM on June 8, 2001

I am glad to hear about other lurkers. I have been a member since April of 2000, and a reader for months before that, but I have only posted comments a couple of times. The biggest reason is that the things I want to say come out sounding stupid or there are others who have much more informed opinions than I.

If all I am going to post is a "me-too" or a lame observation, I choose not to comment (which means I don't comment much). :-)

I spend probably an average of an hour a day on MeFi and I have a nagging sense of guilt that I am more parasite than peruser. On the other hand, if I am not able to contribute anything valuable, isn't everyone better off if I keep quiet?

Thanks tdstone, this has been bugging me for quite a while. :-)
posted by cludwig at 10:59 AM on June 8, 2001

After talking to my mom last night, I realized just how much my knowledge of current events has shifted. I used to read two newspapers a day and many periodicals. Now I read Metafilter. If it hasn't been covered here, I basically don't know about it. Scary.

On the other hand, I wonder if mainstream news outlets would cover Mickey's dirty underwear...
posted by fooljay at 11:52 AM on June 8, 2001

The local ABC station did. They'd covered the same Disney characters showing up at DisneyQuest earlier in the day ... obviously a synergy thing ... and couldn't pass it up.
posted by dhartung at 1:34 PM on June 8, 2001

I told my students (Welsh for adults)

For a second there ceiriog I thought you were saying students, means adults in Welsh

The Mickey Mouse story was on the BBC teletext service over here.
posted by fullerine at 10:48 AM on June 9, 2001

I second what cludwig said (change April 2000 to August 2000).

Of course, this is just a "Me too" too - see, this is why I don't say much.

posted by gleuschk at 11:37 AM on June 9, 2001

Had to chime in with a "me too," too. I think the reason I suddenly spend so much time here, after only recently discovering it, is also the reason why I don't post more: by the time I read a thread, everything smart I could say about that subject has already been said. It's easier than thinking for myself!

Today I caught myself trying to explain to a friend why I spend so much time here, and I think amidst all the shameless rationalization I came up with a legitimate reason. Community sites can cover an issue much more thoroughly, much faster than any other 'news' source. If the community members are well-informed, and have a variety of backgrounds, the result is impressive.
posted by D at 12:42 AM on June 10, 2001

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