MeFi by invitation only? September 8, 2004 7:26 AM   Subscribe

I believe this has been discussed before, though my clever attempts at searching MetaTalk yielded no aid in framing a picture for reference. (The thread I seem to recall was in response to Kuro5hin toying with the same concept I wish to put forth for discussion.)

It is a seemingly accepted dogma that MetaFilter may be better off with new members, although prior attempts at acquiring new friends have proved to be problematic. So we've thought of using invitations from existing members as a means to introduce new points of view. ?
posted by tenseone to MetaFilter-Related at 7:26 AM (19 comments total)

The problem with the idea of 'invites'—as it theoretically applies to MetaFilter—can be exemplified by Gmail's use of the technique as well as MTKA: the issue of flooding existing members with invitations to the point where folks with invites use them as method for profit: be it by trading, selling, et-cetera. (I simply post the URLs of Gmail invites to forums which I enjoy, and offer MTKA invites to those who post witty or sincere requests in the appropriate places—in the case of MTKA, the administrators have explicitly expressed their discontent with blindly inviting people, though this is largely disregarded.)

So perhaps the problem with employing this tactic in regards to MetaFilter is that the same complication will inevitably arise: an inundation of unknowns, and unspoken-for infiltrators.

Though what may happen if each MetaFilter member was given one, single, solitary invitation to dispense with every other month? would each member be more selective in whom one invited? or would these rare invitations just become worth more on eBay?
posted by tenseone at 7:26 AM on September 8, 2004

God no. We have enough incestuous thought here as is...we don't need additional circle jerking amongst "buddies".
posted by BlueTrain at 7:31 AM on September 8, 2004

I'm with BlueTrain. We need diversity, not inbreeding.
posted by jpoulos at 7:45 AM on September 8, 2004

I suppose my thoughts included the fact that we are all consumptive anyway, and therefore our 'buddies' would die off just in time for a new friend to be invited. Therefore: we would only have one twin at a time.
posted by tenseone at 7:46 AM on September 8, 2004

What about a raffle? Sell "tickets" and then out of the people that bought in, randomly select, say 10% or some predetermined number of new members to invite. Silly? It seems to work to some degree in the real world.

Or, randomly (or not so randomly) select one member a month (via nomination?) and bestow upon them the option to invite a new member.
posted by shoepal at 8:23 AM on September 8, 2004

Upon further rumination over my momentary lack of reason and the putting forth of ridiculousness and Seroquel-induced nonsense, I have come to realize that most of these invites would be given to one's self, therefore creating a rash of alter-egos unleashed upon an unsuspecting population.
posted by tenseone at 8:34 AM on September 8, 2004

IHA!! What does MTKA mean?
posted by iconomy at 8:38 AM on September 8, 2004

Pretty much every possible variation on invitation-only, sponsorship, hot tub schemes, or probationary membership has been discussed to death already. Google MeTa for any of those phrases; you'll find at least 50 virtually identical threads weighing the same pros and cons, with ever more tortuously complex systems to try to let interesting new folks in but keep the rabble out.

At the end of the day, even if you set aside the inherent elitism and inbreeding of such an idea -- we've already got plenty of rabble who would invite more of the same. (Or to look at it another way, one person's rabble is another person's profound thinker.) Any invitation scheme would effectively boil down to the same thing as random signups, but with extra hurdles.

posted by ook at 8:48 AM on September 8, 2004

Why not just allow people to register and post? You get trolls, you ban them. Easy. Why does everything have to be complicated at Metafilter?
posted by SpaceCadet at 9:04 AM on September 8, 2004

posted by tenseone at 9:04 AM on September 8, 2004 a means to introduce new points of view.

Not likely.
posted by Witty at 10:47 AM on September 8, 2004

tenseone, I have raised a similar question in this thread. However, ook is 100% right, it is not a good thing.
posted by MzB at 10:55 AM on September 8, 2004

spacecadet - 'cause matt's problems with the server and with policing new posters grow exponentially with new users. and as metafilter became more popular, it became that much harder to open the valve and let in a trickle of folks - every time it's been tried mefi gets flooded with new people. like me. one of the 200-odd people who got in the day matt thought he allowed only 20 people to sign up. see how that keeps not working?

perhaps a better way to do it would be to just open membership randomly, once a month, for an hour or so, with some kind of cap put in place just in case the site gets killed, say 200 or so. or maybe 100 or so, depending on what the server can handle. allowing a small number of people in, once in a while, brings fresh blood without making it too big a problem. hopefully. we 17kers didn't cause too many problems, did we? there. is that simple enough?

now if you can convince matt it's a good idea, then go for it. i'm not holding my breath though. as much as i'd like to see the site more open, i'd also like to see some of the things matt has been working on that he can't do when he's spending time policing the new users.
posted by caution live frogs at 11:08 AM on September 8, 2004

oh. and i think MTKA is this. maybe? whatever. macs.
posted by caution live frogs at 11:12 AM on September 8, 2004

Metatalk needs a new post category....Redundant.
posted by konolia at 11:20 AM on September 8, 2004

And soon: "Metafilter has reached the end of the Internet. Please turn back."
posted by Krrrlson at 11:49 AM on September 8, 2004

Can't we just trade invites for kittens and / or baskets of fruit?
posted by jazzkat11 at 2:51 PM on September 8, 2004

How about if each member got just one invitation that they could give to anybody and all they have to trade for it is to turn in their own membership? That way we get new blood without the extra resources needed.
posted by dg at 3:34 AM on September 9, 2004

No, we should all vote out one member a day, like on Survivor.
posted by Jart at 1:46 PM on September 9, 2004

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