Metafilter's mental topography June 21, 2005 12:08 PM   Subscribe

Where, visually, do you see the sections of Metafilter in your mind?
posted by odinsdream to MetaFilter-Related at 12:08 PM (80 comments total)

This is a light-hearted question (compared to recent MeTa threads) that I've wanted to ask for awhile. Where do you see Metafilter, Metatalk, and Ask Metafilter in your mind, in relation to eachother?

I see Metafilter on the far left, Metatalk in the middle, and Ask on the far right. I see them as long lists, joined at the top. One day I realised there's no practical reason why Metatalk is "in the middle" though, which made me consider this question.

So, ah... does anyone else do this? Or.. yeah.
posted by odinsdream at 12:11 PM on June 21, 2005


I see them dimensionally from front to back -- MeFi is in front (like a front page, or the front room you walk into in a house), MeTa is second (like going from the front room into the dining room), and AskMe third (like going into the kitchen).

Though possibly I am just hungry.
posted by scody at 12:15 PM on June 21, 2005


Hungry like the scody.
posted by kenko at 12:19 PM on June 21, 2005


I see them exactly as you do, odinsdream, like three long pieces of paper taped side by side on a wall, with MeFi on the left and AskMe on the right.
posted by saladin at 12:23 PM on June 21, 2005


Oh, and metatalk is in the front, with metafilter to the left and back, and ask to the right and back.

Obviously.
posted by kenko at 12:23 PM on June 21, 2005


Same as odinsdream but not connected at the top - 3 side-by-side pages.
posted by grateful at 12:24 PM on June 21, 2005


I see it as a house too. I see the blue as a the bathroom because that is where everyone takes shits. I see Metatalk as the bedroom because that's where the fun (and moift's mom) is. I don't know what Ask is. Probably the servant's quarters.
posted by dios at 12:24 PM on June 21, 2005


So, ah... does anyone else do this? Or.. yeah.

So weird...I do. I see MetaFilter on the far right (obviously, placement and politics are not related), and MetaTalk smack dab in the middle, and AskMe somewhere behind MetaTalk. They're not lists, they're not connected, and they have no dimension...just flat, but floating, hovering. It's hard to convey exactly what I mean. I thought I was the only one who saw this.
posted by iconomy at 12:26 PM on June 21, 2005


If I'm understanding your question correctly, I guess I see them as being mapped onto three horizontally contiguous sides of a cube with the fourth side being the admin area that I never get to "turn" the cube to. I never really consciously thought of this until you asked the question. Strange how the mind works.
posted by quadog at 12:30 PM on June 21, 2005


I never "thought" of the various Me's spacialy, other then a vauge feeling of "depth". Mefi on top, MeTa below and Ask deep down inside, but that was back when you had to click on the "ask" link on Meta, and the meta link on mefi to actualy get to askme.

But other then that, I had no real spacial sense when it came to mefi.
posted by delmoi at 12:36 PM on June 21, 2005


I envision them sewed together into a corset, constricting and lifting my frontal lobe. At least, between massive, debilitating headaches, this is what I see.
posted by tpl1212 at 12:36 PM on June 21, 2005


I see Metafilter as the big party taking place in the main room. Metatalk is the small party of splitters who gather in the kitchen and/or near the keg. AskMe takes place in a different universe with many of the same characters at their day jobs.
posted by Fezboy! at 12:40 PM on June 21, 2005


I'm like scody. I see rooms in sequence. The blue is like the living room where people enter, converse, watch tv, sit, etc.

The brown is like the next room, a dining room/kitchen. Its a more intimate space where the family meets to talk. Sometimes the kids whine that "its not fair" and sometimes mom and dad scold the kids for being silly.

Ask is like the telephone or internet for the family. Need to find out something, call up Aunt Sue, she'll know!

that's just how I see it, but then again I'm a raving loonie.

On preview, apparently fezboy is the voice in my head or at least one of them.
posted by Pollomacho at 12:41 PM on June 21, 2005


MetaFilter - A big blue dinning room with a serving table full of beer and other alcohol, a bouncer who checks you for weapons.

MeTa - A opium den except with crack or meth instead. Big scary people picking their meat encrusted teeth with bowie knives inviting you over for a quick drink.

AskMe - A brightly colored room full of wonderment and whimsy. Toys and teddy bears for all the wonderful children!
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 12:49 PM on June 21, 2005


Yeah, MeFi is the loud party in the front room and MeTa is the kitchen where people gather to discuss what assholes there are in the MeFi party room. AskMe is the patio.
posted by Carbolic at 12:54 PM on June 21, 2005


I only spatially arrange them (and in order in tabs) like you with Mefi left MeTa middle and AskMe on the right. I have more of a 'feeling' than arrangement though. MeFi is a circus with lots of bizarreness and variety, MeTa is a bit fearful but often hilarious and I take my shoes and hat off to go into the hallowed AskMe carpeted chamber and there's velvet curtains (oh ok...it's a bit more spatial -- at least with AskMe -- than sensual perhaps).
posted by peacay at 12:54 PM on June 21, 2005


I see them like grateful: Blue on left, grey in middle, green on right, not connected, and fading out at the bottom. What's interesting is where the other mefi stuff is. Metafilter Scholarship, Metafilter Events, Music Metafilter, etc. They're...well, in another dimension, near and slightly behind and to the right of the green. You kind of have to turn your body slightly and half-close your eyes, and you're in this dully colored, slightly blurry, greyish dimension with the other filters hovering around eachother without a fixed position, like things hanging from a mobile or like a dully colored version of every computer interface from a 90's hacker movie.

Oh, and they're all grey, too, which is odd, because checking now, they're all actually blue.
posted by Bugbread at 12:55 PM on June 21, 2005


Pollomacho - usuall MeTa is "the grey" rather than "the brown". With this week off to a flying start you can start referring to "the blue" as "the brown" any time you want.

I see MeFi at the front, MeTa behind, below and left and AskMe on the right, behind and below.

MeCha hovers above like some glorious JRun watching angel and #MeFi lurks 'neath the blue with hot coals and stuff.
posted by longbaugh at 12:57 PM on June 21, 2005


I don't see them spatially at all. You're all weird. WEIRD dammit.
posted by fvw at 12:59 PM on June 21, 2005


I picture the MeFi network as being kind of like the Longest Party Ever Held in the HHGTG books, floating over a planet and pillaging everything in sight.
posted by keswick at 1:05 PM on June 21, 2005


I also see the blue on the left, gray in the middle, green on the right. I tend to see all the various subcommunities and sideprojects as little squares arranged in a circle/oval centered about the whole.
posted by Ryvar at 1:08 PM on June 21, 2005


quadog - cubes have six sides.
posted by jonson at 1:08 PM on June 21, 2005


Interesting question.

Metafilter is on the right. Metatalk is smack dab in the middle. Ask Metafilter sits to the left and slightly below the other two.

Most of the rest of the Web is off to the far right, like a distant constellation. User pages are all below, hovering in a big clutter below the three main pages.
posted by vacapinta at 1:10 PM on June 21, 2005


Hm, I thought I was the only one to see websites this way.

I see them like scody does. Only MeTa is first, followed by AskMe and then MeFi. MeCha floats above and #mefi is off to the side somewhere.
posted by deborah at 1:16 PM on June 21, 2005


This whole post is like an inside joke that I don't get.
posted by smackfu at 1:17 PM on June 21, 2005


Metafilter on the far left, Metatalk in the middle, and Ask on the far right

Me too, but it's obvious to me why I do: that's the order I read them in, and I read left to right. It's like columns in a newspaper. For the longest time, I'd just go to the blue, read, click "Metatalk", read, click "Ask", read -- and that was really the only practical order, because of course you start with the blue, and you could only get to the green from the grey.
posted by mendel at 1:17 PM on June 21, 2005


Looking back on the posts, it looks like me and iconomy are in the minority on seeing Metafilter on the right for those that see them this way. I wonder what it depends on...
posted by vacapinta at 1:26 PM on June 21, 2005


Dominating are two-dimensional horizontal and vertical, a few three-dimensional as stacked planes, and a good number of three-dimensional human-space rooms. The smaller variances are fascinating, but this large grouping indicates something meaningful, I'm sure.

I'm in the boring horizontal BGryGr group.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 1:35 PM on June 21, 2005


Metafilter is the large, primary fundament. Floating over it, smaller, cloistered, only very slightly visible, is the grey haze of Metatalk, from which lightning occasionally erupts.

AskMe is a verdant oasis in a corner of the great blue fundament, protected from all but the most tenacious insurgents by a high, craggy mountain range.
posted by cortex at 1:38 PM on June 21, 2005


I love the obviousness of this to me. Well, of course, Metafilter is on the far left, and Metatalk is in the middle, and AskMe is on the right. Of course of course of course.

On further inspection, there's no truly rational reason for it, is there? Except that Metafilter came first for me, and Metatalk came second, and Askme came Third.
posted by redsparkler at 1:43 PM on June 21, 2005


Except that Metafilter came first for me, and Metatalk came second, and Askme came Third.

That may be it. I see the number line in my head from right to left. As in: ...3,2,1 So, that would explain it for me.

Regardless of your spatial arrangement, Metatalk is in the middle because for the longest time you had to go "through" Metatalk to get to Ask.Metafilter, so that kind of dictated the spatial arrangment for everybody.
posted by vacapinta at 1:46 PM on June 21, 2005


kenko: Hungry like the scody.

*starts singing Duran Duran*
*realizes this is the wrong thread*
*slinks off through the jungle like the chick in the video, with Simon LeBon in pursuit!*

posted by scody at 1:52 PM on June 21, 2005


It's hard to convey exactly what I mean.

I hear ya, ma'am.
posted by y2karl at 1:59 PM on June 21, 2005


Those of you being poetic: when you talk about mountain ranges, lightning, or people hanging out in parts of the house, do you really visualize Mefi that way normally, or just when trying to make a poetic comparison? (Not a snark, a real question)
posted by Bugbread at 1:59 PM on June 21, 2005


I see them like scody.

I also have mental images for other things - like a yearly calendar.

I see 12 stacks of paper...January at the top; December at the bottom. Each day rips/flips away as it is finished. When the month is done...down we drop to the next pile. I think this mental model/image was influenced when - as a child - I saw the passage of time represented this way on on TV. I think it was a Superman episode, representing time which passed from his childhood to adulthood.
posted by ericb at 2:01 PM on June 21, 2005


I think part of the reason many of us see Metafilter spacially, with Metatalk in the middle, is that for a long time you had to go through Metatalk to reach Askme. A bit like Zork.
posted by teg at 2:02 PM on June 21, 2005


A bit like Zork

Oh my, now various mental universes are popping from the dark recesses of my mind - Adventure/Colossal Cave, etc.
posted by ericb at 2:06 PM on June 21, 2005


"You are in a maze of twisty little passages, all alike"
posted by ericb at 2:06 PM on June 21, 2005


"A huge green fierce snake bars the way!"
posted by ericb at 2:07 PM on June 21, 2005


I see them as separate janus-like parts of a single trans-dimensional entity, led forward by a trail of goo, apparently invisible to them, that traces their immediate future. Then a jet engine falls off a plane and through the roof while a man in a creepy bunny suit lectures me about everything I should have done.
posted by mystyk at 2:07 PM on June 21, 2005


Then a jet engine falls off a plane and through the roof while a man in a creepy bunny suit...

Now that would make for an interesting movie!
posted by ericb at 2:09 PM on June 21, 2005


Okay, it's a mall, right? Metatalk is the return department of some big department store but otherwise it is the waiting room for the recently deceased in Beetlejuice, except crowd and full of freaks videotaping freaks.

Across from Metatalk is Metafilter which is like a really big Sharper Image, full of clever-looking gadgets half of which fall apart on contact. There's lots of fighting over the gadgets. That's because everyone there reverts to twelve years old upon entry and springs back to their natural age on exit.

Askme's the next shop down from Metatalk, and is a used bookstore that is laid out like whatsits name street in Harry Potter where they buy the wands, except for the front, which is incongruous 1998 bright orange dotcom paneling but starting to show its age.

Monkeyfilter's the pet shop down the street. It smells like bird and hamster but it's real laid-back. Metachat's the food court. Fark is a sports bar, obviously, and it's a few blocks down.
posted by furiousthought at 2:28 PM on June 21, 2005


...except crowded and full of freaks...
posted by furiousthought at 2:30 PM on June 21, 2005


you have been eaten by a q.
posted by keswick at 2:33 PM on June 21, 2005


This MeTa is too chatty. Take it to MetaChat (which is the little shed out back).
posted by Doohickie at 2:45 PM on June 21, 2005


So yeah, where's MetaChat?

Like most people, I see the blue, gray, and green left to right.

MetaChat is pink and white and off to the far right.
posted by Specklet at 2:49 PM on June 21, 2005


I see it as kind of a hierarchy of sorts. In the middle you have grey, blue, and green from left to right. Blue is bigger than grey and green, grey is bigger than green. Above these three floats metachat, which is indeed pink. Below you have #mefi, which doesn't have a color, just a nametag.
posted by puke & cry at 2:55 PM on June 21, 2005


I see them the way I read them.

I see AskMe as a big, wide space at the top of the page (though some of the best bits keep getting ripped out). The blue sits in the bottom left of the page. MeTa sits in the bottom right.

Unfortunately, sometimes this page is nowhere to be found.
posted by jdroth at 2:58 PM on June 21, 2005


I see it as a pie chart (I like pie, anyone else here like pie?).
The three segments are separated by a Y-shaped wall. MeFi is on the left, MeTa is on top, AskMe is on the right. Each partition changes in size according to how much stuff I read - some days/hours the blue looms large, some days/hours the gray dominates, some days/hours, the green gets the majority share of the space. They are always dynamic, always floating.
posted by Lynsey at 3:09 PM on June 21, 2005


I must be really boring. All 3 of them are flat and live in the computer screen in front of me depending on which link I click on. The MeFi link is on the left, the MetaTalk link is in the middle, and the AskMe link is on the right. I always go to AskMe first.
posted by matildaben at 3:22 PM on June 21, 2005


I see them as completely front-to-back, blue, gray, and green.
posted by interrobang at 3:36 PM on June 21, 2005


Left-to-right, like pecay and odinsdream. Not quite literally next to each other - sort of like images on 3 adjacent monitors or pieces of paper. I don't really see them as joined at the top, though.
posted by ubersturm at 3:41 PM on June 21, 2005


Those of you being poetic: when you talk about mountain ranges, lightning, or people hanging out in parts of the house, do you really visualize Mefi that way normally, or just when trying to make a poetic comparison? (Not a snark, a real question)

bugbread: my answer is gussying it up a bit, but it's really about as close as anything. The pages exist (insofar as they have any sort of spacial model in my brain) as seperate related entities. The relationship of MeTa as a smaller, less visible, more in-crowd supra-MeFi layer is very firm in my mental model. And AskMe is, in my brain, much more a specific, isolated, and shockingly civil province of MeFi proper than it is a wholly distinct entity.

Which is not to say I spent any time thinking about mountains and hazes and verdantness regarding the site(s) before this question, but, yeah, that's the mapping that came to me.

The more boring alternate mental model is MeFi-as-start; transition-to-complaints: MeTa-via-MeFi; transition-to-utility: AskMe-via-MeTa.

Metachat isn't really on the radar. #mefi is a different set of sensory organs entirely. And the MeFi Deleted Threads script is an option step in the transition-to-complaints move.
posted by cortex at 3:47 PM on June 21, 2005


Vacapinta, your placements and mine are exactly the same. And we're the only two who see MetaFilter on the right. Good to know I'm not alone.
posted by iconomy at 4:39 PM on June 21, 2005


I don't see them like that, but I perceive their warmth, or lack of. MeTa is the warmest, AskMe the coldest, MeFi is in the middle

and each of them has a peculiar, specific smell -- AskMe's is cool and medicinal, MeTa is thick and humid and has a stale quality that makes you feel like opening the windows and letting some fresh air in, MeFi's is pungent but in an interesting way
posted by matteo at 5:00 PM on June 21, 2005


oh, and I'm hungry, too -- I'd like a platter of grilled vegetables, a mozzarella di bufala with some cherry tomatoes, and a bottle of mineral water, not too cold, thanks. I may order some ice cream later
posted by matteo at 5:02 PM on June 21, 2005


I also see MeFi on the left, MeTa in the middle, and Ask Me on the right, even though I always read MeTa first, then AskMe, then MeFi.
posted by Penks at 5:04 PM on June 21, 2005


There's something wrong with all of you people. The only spacial configuration here is the one I induce with my Firefox tabs. Freaks!
posted by Galvatron at 5:06 PM on June 21, 2005


I see MetaFilter tattooed on the firm, pert breasts of the slightly Goth-looking chick who lives in the apartment below mine. I see AskMe as a sort of ever-changing runic screed made from scattered fragments of the torn gusset of Judy Garland's panties. I see MetaTalk every time I hear quonsar sing. And I hear him sing a lot, in my head.

Just remember kids: don't do drugs. Give them to me instead.
posted by Decani at 5:09 PM on June 21, 2005


They're over there... no, farther... over there, see, just beyond the rise in the ground. Go over there where I'm pointing and you'll be able to see them better. Farther... farther...
*cackles maniacally as half the thread participants topple over a hidden precipice*

*places napkin over arm, brings matteo a platter of grilled vegetables, a mozzarella di bufala with some cherry tomatoes, a bottle of mineral water, and a grappa on the house*
posted by languagehat at 5:21 PM on June 21, 2005


Decani, if I could mark "best answer," you'd win.
posted by odinsdream at 5:25 PM on June 21, 2005


I totally see MeFi in the middle, AskMe to the left and MeTa to the right. I'm pretty surprised that no one else sees MeFi in the middle.
posted by raedyn at 6:18 PM on June 21, 2005


crumpled in a ball, and arcing toward the trash basket.
posted by quonsar at 7:02 PM on June 21, 2005


Where, visually, do you see the sections of Metafilter in your mind?

In the left rear corner, right next to leprechaun who tells me to burn stuff.
posted by jonmc at 7:15 PM on June 21, 2005


Oh... and the shed has a crescent shaped hole in the door...
posted by Doohickie at 7:42 PM on June 21, 2005


I totally see MeFi in the middle, AskMe to the left and MeTa to the right. I'm pretty surprised that no one else sees MeFi in the middle.

Well, i did say that, kinda, but I reread it and it's hard to follow. for me it's mefi center, meta left, then askme right. the main site goes in the center, larger than the other 2. then you have meta on the left, and since you had to go through meta to get to askme, askme is last on the right.
posted by puke & cry at 8:24 PM on June 21, 2005


MetaFilter is kind of like heaven, you know, with blue skies and if you squint you can think of the paragraphs as fluffy clouds and sometimes the posts are the voices of the heavenly choir. Ask me is certainly purgatory, especially the medical questions. And hell is all grey and somber and snarky with pile- ons and call outs and bad things.

Otherwise, like scody.
posted by puddinghead at 8:26 PM on June 21, 2005


odinsdream writes "there's no practical reason why Metatalk is 'in the middle' though"

If you consider site creation date, and map it to the left-to-right direction we're accustomed to reading in and plotting timelines in, then MeFi, MeTa, AxMe left to right makes sense.

But this entire question is a complete acid trip. Watch out your lava lamp doesn't consume your bedroom, dude.
posted by scarabic at 8:28 PM on June 21, 2005


"MetaChat is pink and white and off to the far right..."

Huh. MetaChat is for me far off the the left. I have no idea why.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 10:00 PM on June 21, 2005


Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right
Here I am...

posted by taz at 10:29 PM on June 21, 2005


...stuck in the MeTa with you!
posted by Doohickie at 4:52 AM on June 22, 2005


Then I met this debutante I said I like new wave rock.
She was into French cuisine but I ain’t no cordon bleu.
This was at some do in palmers green
I had no luck with her.

You will still find him in kitchen at parties.
You will still find him in kitchen at parties.


This is a nice thread. Worthy of an FPP ;)
posted by bdave at 5:41 AM on June 22, 2005


Oh yeah, and MeFi to the left, then MeTa in the middle and AskMe on the right. MeCha is a club I don't get to go to often enough and #Mefi is a place I'll go to when I'm old/tough/cool enough.
posted by bdave at 5:44 AM on June 22, 2005


I picture the MeFi network as being kind of like the Longest Party Ever Held in the HHGTG books, floating over a planet and pillaging everything in sight.
That is the perfect description, I think.
*gets towel, waits to get hit in small of back*
posted by dg at 6:25 AM on June 22, 2005


MetaFilter is the house with a huge crowd inside, wandering from room to room. A lot of people stop on the street to stare at it.

Ask is the garden in back. It used to be a mellow place to hang out, but folks are starting to spill out of that blue back door.

MetaTalk is the basement, near the clanging steamworks and among the holiday decorations.

#mefi is a ramshackle little guest house, with snipers at every window.

I used to think of MetaFilter and MetaTalk as opposite sides of a flat surface, with Ask off behind it. I think because MetaTalk is growing even less relevant than it's been, I no longer have this positional model.

MetaChat doesn't enter into it; I haven't looked at it since its Day One, and on that day it was full of crap.
posted by majick at 7:26 AM on June 22, 2005


I visualize the entire Metafilter Network as a four-dimensional shape. As it rotates, its three-dimensional shadow changes, and sometimes looks like MeFi, sometimes AskMe, and sometimes MeTa. There are other angles that it's hard to tell what it is, and those things are probably Metafilter Music, MeProj, etc. I think one of them looks like a pancake.
posted by Plutor at 7:32 AM on June 22, 2005


Plutor: so what you're saying is METAFILTER IS CUBIC, but we are educated singularity stupid by academic bastards? That mathowie 1 dimension MeFi is evil? You think that we possess the mind to think that there are 4 simultaneous 24 hour MeFi angles within a single MeFi rotation, is that right?

I think that you are just evil.
posted by Decani at 8:50 AM on June 22, 2005


MeFi is in front of me, on a huge serving plate, visible when the sterling silver cover is removed.

Later, I dispose of it in the gentleman's room as MeTa.

Now, MeCha for dessert!

What? Not till I finish all my AskMe?
posted by dreamsign at 10:58 AM on June 22, 2005


I visualize the entire Metafilter Network as a four-dimensional shape.
MetaFilter = Timecube?
posted by dg at 4:49 PM on June 22, 2005


Actually, MeFi, MeTa & AskMe are a perfect analog for the Holy Trinity. MeFi saved my faith.
posted by Doohickie at 11:25 AM on June 25, 2005


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