Angry Robot


This will mean nothing to many of you, but… I’d like to come out of the closet as a MetaFilter member. Months back I made the decision not to link to MeFi on my own sites. At the time, the reasoning was that the larger MeFi got, the worse the signal-to-noise ratio, so that linking to it would only make it worse. I now think this is not the case. There is a lot of noise on MeFi lately, certainly. There have also been grand, operatic departures of some prominent members, and these have gotten me thinking and reevaluating the site.

It’s still a great site. There have been incredible links of late: posts by y2karl about outsider artist Henry Darger and cynicism; a great thread about math rock; fascinating stuff about Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo and his interactions with online fans. There are many more. And there are still great discussions, if one steers clear of the political stuff. But most interestingly to me, many of the great posts and comments are being made by relatively new members. One could use the metaphor of the human body shedding all its individual cells every few years yet remaining the same as a whole. Whatever, you get the point – it’s not the new members that endanger the ‘community standards’, it’s the will, or lack thereof, to maintain those standards. It’s easy to bitch, and in fact it’s easy to leave. But if the standards are maintained, in a friendly and positive way, new members will see how the site likes to run itself, and will adopt those standards themselves. And so the cosmic ballet continues…

So I’ll list the Pancake Paradise under “involved with”, and make a commitment to be more involved with a site I love and would hate to see fall apart. Of course, other than this one feeble act, I’m not sure how one best goes about being involved, but off the top of my head: I can post more there, and weigh in with some positive reinforcement to balance out the already healthy amount of negativity being dropped in the MetaTalk dungeon.

10 comments on "MeFi"

  1. D says:

    Hrm. Well, I now resent the tone of this entry. It was written in a fit of earnestness — or was it self-importance? Oh well, might as well leave it up, for posterity, if you will. (Oops, that’s just more self-importance. Drat.)

  2. I’m a broken record about this, but the only way to make an online community better is to participate and behave the way you expect others to. By participate, I mean comment, but good posts like the one karl made are all to the good as well. I resent (slightly) the way some of the old-timers (older than me) feel it’s enough to drop into MeTa every week or two, make a ‘helpful’ comment, then disappear, all the while moaning about how bad the place has gotten. I believe only way to make it better, if you believe something’s not right, is to *participate*. (Broken record keeps spinning…).

    ‘Course I get drunk and talk shite once in a while there, so it might be more do as I say than do as I do, here.

  3. D says:

    In agreement there. But of course the form of participation counts, too. MeTa is one thing, but if I only participate, say, in some obscure immortal threads, well, it doesn’t really help the community at large. I’ve been thinking of trying to comment earlier in threads more often; I think I pulled it off here and it’s something that really helps.

    But really, the first step (for me), like you say, is to participate — and it’s not as easy as it seems. I have a hard time just keeping up with my lurking on MeFi. I’m offline much of the day, sadly.

    Hey, I like the orange!

  4. dan says:

    I agree that I may or may not disagree ;0)

  5. D says:

    Plausible deniability, eh Dan?

  6. The orange is taking over. All hail the orange!

  7. dan says:

    Implausible deniability in my case. That orange is pretty deep. I need readjusting.

  8. D says:

    Fear the Orange. Deny All.

  9. mattpfeff says:

    Your tone seems right (to me). I wish more people would think more about how they impact the site. I have a friend who gets funny looks for picking up litter in parks and on beaches, as if he were some sort of garbageman. But in fact all it is is that he actually cares about the places he goes to. And you can do a lot just by doing a little.

  10. D says:

    Hopefully you’re right, matt (about my tone being OK — you’re definitely right about the need to think about one’s impact on the site.

    Actually I did some digging through the archives recently, and once again it made me feel there hasn’t been a significant drop in quality. This happens every time I do that.

    (and it was neat-o to find a post from Mr. Den Beste saying he was leaving the site – dated May, 2001.)

Comments are closed.