Why Metafilter’s stinks and shines

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Metafilter is a very large “community” blog, meaning that once you’re a member you can post interesting things you find on your journeys around the “internets.” Take a browse through Metafilter and you will see that is a mish-mash of all sorts of things from brazillian waxes to the lastest in software.

The reason I’m bringing up Metafilter is that someone posted an onlineactivist story on “trickle blogging.” Did I mention Metafilter is a LARGE site? It definitely is, and that story provided onlineactivist with over 1,500 unique visitors last night alone.

And then the traffic stopped. Dead.

The “editors” of Metafilter took down the “trickle blog” post saying that it was a little to “thin on information.” I guess generating the interest of 1,500 people in an hour or so is thin for them. It is this type of editing lately on a Metafilter that has seen it fall in it’s rankings. That, and the fact that the community members have evolved into a pretty rude and crude bunch who regulalry tell people to f**k off in their comments.

All that being said, I think it is still worthwhile to sign up for Metafilter and become part of the community, which will allow you to post on things related to your activist efforts. The site does not take kindly to using your membership as a means of flogging your own blog, but I find that for every 5 posts I do on Metafilter, I can creatively slip in one or two that will drive some traffic to my sites.

Just don’t take the comments to your posts too seriously, they are a pretty crude bunch!

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7 Comments

Filed under metafilter shines, metafilter stinks

7 responses to “Why Metafilter’s stinks and shines

  1. OA, you’re either misapprehending or misrepresenting the situation when you paint 1500 visitors from a link that spent an hour and a half at the top of Mefi’s front page (and, natch, in folks’ RSS feeds) as notable. Someone could link to a lone question mark without explanation and generate that scale of traffic: it’s a natural expression of the size of the reader base.

    Metafilter’s administrative practices aren’t an attack on the worthiness of your blog; they’re a general reflection of the community norms of the site, and the relative expectation of sufficient substance or quirkiness or entertainment value to justify a post to the front page. Matt decided the trickle blog post wasn’t up to snuff; so be it.

    I realize you’re pumping your new blog, and I appreciate the excitement and nerves that can come with that, but the sloppy backhand swipe at Metafilter for not throwing *enough* free traffic your way is kind of tasteless.

    This comment, from your post:

    ‘It is this type of editing lately on a Metafilter that has seen it fall in it’s rankings. That, and the fact that the community members have evolved into a pretty rude and crude bunch who regulalry tell people to f**k off in their comments.’

    suggests that you have more than a passing familiarity with Metafilter. I can understand if you’re making a point of maintaining anonymity for the OA identity, but if you are an active member of the site I’d like it if you’d be willing to drop me a line. Email is included in this comment’s metadata. Thanks.

    -JM

  2. onlineactivist

    Thanks for dropping a line – what I said stands true about Metafilter, just calling it like I see it. I think my comments were fair.
    I have been a huge fan of metafilter for a long time and read the site almost everyday. I do apologize if you see my commentary as a “back hand swipe,” but I thought the post on “trickle blogging” was fine and quite suitable – there was people commenting on it, so it obviously was appealing to some of your readers.I wasn’t ticked about you not throwing *enough* traffic my way, I was ticked that it was thrown off Metafilter when it was obviously generating interest. But hey, it’s not my site, so who am I to argue.
    Again, hope there’s no hard feelings, but this blog is all about blogging and social networking, and I am just honestly reflecting my experiences as (hopefully) a learning tool for people interested in using blogs to advance social causes.
    – OnlineActivist

  3. onlineactivist

    Come to think of it JM, why don’t you provide a bit of info to me in your own words about what Metafilter is all about (and what it’s not about) and I will post it up, so people can learn about your site?

    As I mentioned it’s a good site and anyone interested in starting a blog or using social media for activist purposes should know about what you guys are all about.

  4. What’s not clear to me, OA, is what your involvement has been in the site aside from daily reading. You say this, above:

    ‘The site does not take kindly to using your membership as a means of flogging your own blog, but I find that for every 5 posts I do on Metafilter, I can creatively slip in one or two that will drive some traffic to my sites.’

    Which implies that you’re not just reading but posting, and that you’ve done a fair amount of same. Which posts? Under what username? Again, if that’s something you’d prefer not to associate to your identity on this blog, go ahead and drop me a line instead. Regardless, one thing that you as a reader and poster should be (and, from the above, apparently are) familiar with is the general prohibition against self-links on Metafilter — in part to discourage shameless self-promotion, in part to avoid the more benign pitfall of bias that comes with judging one’s own work.

    That clash between pragmatic objectivity and personal investment comes out as a stark example here: that you feel that this thing that you personally care about makes a sufficient post on Metafilter has very little to do with an disinterested party’s take on it. I can understand your disappointment, but I can’t understand how you justify a claimed close familiarity with Metafilter against the notion that a single editorializing SEO blog post is a strong showing.

    Metafilter is very much a community place, but it’s not an advocacy/stumping ground, and it’s not clear to me what your level of involvement with the site has been on the former rather than the latter grounds.

    As one of the admins over there (it’s not my site, I just help run it; Matthew Haughey is the head honcho) I’m more than happy to have people know about the site and what it’s about, but I’m uncomfortable with the idea of it being pitched as a vehicle for activism rather than a destination in its own right. You speak to the mish-mash of topics treated on the front page, and rightly so: it’s a genre-hopping collection of stuff, not a broadcasting platform.

  5. Cortex may be being a little too polite above. If we see your username driving traffic to a site that seems to be run by or owned by you or a close associate, we’ll delete the post and ban the account. If you’re lucky we’ll do it before some grumpy user has googlebombed your site with something less than charitable. We try to delete these but we’re not always successful. While we’re always happy to have people contributing quality content to MetaFilter, you should know that your plan could backfire somewhat badly.

    Additionally, we do the best we can with only thre mods, but if we see people telling other people to fuck off, we’ll take that comment down (anywhere but MetaTalk). I think you’re describing the exception and not the rule.

  6. Your silence (both here and via email), while updating the blog itself, is really pretty disappointing, OA.

  7. Yeah, you got it right about MetaFilter when you say, “the community members have evolved into a pretty rude and crude bunch.” It gets real old too. I’m on the lookout for a friendlier and more helpful bunch myself. It sure is hard to find anything negative about MetaFilter anywhere on the Internet and I can see that in the comments you’ve received too. It’s like it’s protected somehow. Creepy, if you ask me and creepy how you’re flooded by a bunch of “defend metafilter, there’s nothing wrong with it” comments. You’re brave and I’ll join you. I would think there’d be a whole site devoted to those who’d like to vent how sick they are of being told what to do by a bunch of high-and-mighty know-it-alls who obviously don’t know anything at all or they’d actually answer the question. And how long can a person stare at that depressing color of green on the ask.metafilter page anyway?

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