Flowing and Taking Stock

The FT interviews Larry David.

A clever take on the influence of Photoshop on modern standards of beauty.

Stock and flow and Dance the flip-flop, from Robin Sloan, author of Fish (which I have now Looked At several times).

Over at MetaFilter, a MetaTalk post asked to hear from active users who have been there the longest. I chipped in with my own Mefi memories, which I will now quote in their entirety (with an edit or two) below the Read More fold. Because I can.

I was lurking from late ’99, when I discovered Mefi alongside other early blogs, and joined on 11 May 2000. That must have made it the trigger for my own blogging, because I set up my first blog on 15 May and started posting to it on 17 May. My first actual comment at Mefi was on 19 May.

What had held me back from joining here and blogging before was that I was in a quasi-public servant job which was incompatible with having any kind of public personal profile; but in May I’d just given my notice, and was heading off into the world to make my fortune. Or, um, to be out of work for a year, while travelling a lot. For part of that time I was in San Francisco, seeing if there was any web work around, but that didn’t work out (offers from companies trying to get H1Bs on the cheap, which would have meant a pretty basic standard of living with a monster commute). While I was there, though, I got to take part in a Fray Day (I still have the T-shirt and the name tag), and met Matt Haughey and... another Blogger guy, whose name escapes me right now (sorry). I shot the breeze about some web ideas around using user votes to shape the growth of a narrative in collaborative fiction writing. For a brief moment I thought that might be something I could run with and make my own, wrote up a business plan and everything... but life was too much in flux, I ended up back in Oz and unemployed, and eventually (in mid-2001) moved to the UK, by which time the first Web bubble had burst.

Early Metafilter memories: being one of the first users (although not the first) to notice what Neale was doing in 1142; Tivos Raining From the Sky (as I was in SF at the time, I scored one of those and gave it to some local friends); Kaycee Nicole; using Mefi as my first port of call to explain the newspaper headline I had glimpsed on my way back to the office on 9/11, and being too stunned even to comment in the thread; being the first to respond to the legendary “please hope me” post in Metatalk; trying to figure out Miguel back when he was ubiquitous and we didn’t quite know what to make of him; and inadvertently suggesting the AskMetaFilter colour scheme (almost; Ask’s is better) when I was wondering how a NewsFilter might look. Oh, and BlogStop.

The big turning point that I noticed here wasn’t so much 9/11 and the influx of new people who came with it, but the time a lot of us gave our Political Compass readings in the grey. That was when we collectively realised just how left-leaning most active Mefites were, and when the right-leaning Mefites, I suspect, began to feel on the outer. Before then our political debates really did feel like a meeting of left and right (and were sometimes pretty heated as a result); afterwards they started to self-select towards the left and felt more like preaching to the converted. I think they’ve regained a bit more of a balance in recent years, but I doubt we’ll ever be regarded as politically neutral. Not saying it’s better or worse this way (from my left-leaning point of view)—just different.

By 2004 I was a bit burnt-out and scaled back on my Mefi activity, swearing off MetaTalk altogether for a long time; but I was always reading the blue, and in the past few years have returned to commenting as the mood takes me, because hey, it’s fun to join in and there are always good people around here, even if the names change.

Thanks, Mefi, and thank you again Matt.

16 April 2012 · Weblog