June 06, 2006

Shark-jumping: 701-800

I hear what you are saying. Where are 301-700? This post is out of order! THIS WHOLE WEBSITE IS OUT OF ORDER!

Well, hush. Those other posts will be along in good time—contributors are working on them, and will post them when the time is right.

In the mean time, I'm hopping ahead a bit, to see how things have changed between October 1999 and February 2000. And so...

Threads 701-800

Let's take a stroll through 701-800, shall we? First of all: it's still quiet, but not too quiet. Most threads have comments, and the average there has jumped from 1 to 5-6 (ballpark). A few threads break into double digits—I've noted a couple of interesting ones below.

Also, with the exception of the Dave Winer thread detailed below, things remain remarkably civil. Most threads are either goofy or earnestly agreeable; there is essentially no name-calling and very little genuine conflict.

On with it:

Live action The Tick!
CrazyUncleJoe asks permission to curse
Stan Lee draws Backstreet Boys
contentious, 6-comment discussion of homosexuality!

Ernest goes to the void
I got excited when I saw this—was this a precursor to the moment-of-silence "." marker that has become such a fixture in contemporary Mefi obit threads (and such a fixture of Metatalk queries)?

No. It was an accident, as dan_of_brainlog's next comment attests. Damn.

Apologetic (!) re-rail of thread
Matt is an ignorant white American
Mefi threads might've been threaded
Jesse Helms = racist jerk!
Weak eponysteria: obit by tomcosgrave

"I blogged this"
Further evidence of Metafilter's continued limbo status—not quite Matt's blog, but not quite a community site that Matt just happens to run yet. Of course, this might just be evidence that back in 2000, Matt really liked using "blog" as a transitive verb. Or that "I posted this" just wasn't natural parlance yet. Or something.

First annual Oscars discussion
With a (record-breaking?) 16 comments, no less. Viva la chatfilter!


jessamyn signs her post
Another forebearer of Todd Lokken syndrome. This was not her first post; that happened a few weeks earlier. But this is the first time she tags her comment with her initials, and she doesn't do it again in her next few comments, at least. Odd.

She has since become the only true co-administrator of Metafilter and is now inescapably part of the site—but at that point, she felt the need, at least this one time, to actually sort of declare who she was. How things change!

(It's worth noting that, other than Sapphireblue, she is the user with the highest usernumber (and is hence the newbiest newb) in the thread; her newness may well have been chafing her a bit. Number 292? Did you ride your widdle bicycle to the website? Did you? Did you?)

Cavatica deploys UBB code

Matt has had it with Dave Winer
Also in the thread: Kottke disses Dave's design, Derek speaks up about his side of the argument (and signs his post!), Dave shows up to explain that everyone is full of shit, tomcosgrave notes the high comment count (which closed out at a stunning 40 comments), Matt jokes about closing the thread (a feature that has since actually seen implementation in Metatalk)...and in a months-later coda, Dave closes it all out with a recto-centric suggestion for Matt.

Ladies and jerks, this may be the first genuine instance of full-blown Metafilter drama.

Interesting to note: the major players in the thread are mostly folks actively involved in the (then inchoate) Blogosphere. Metafilter seems to have been as much about/by bloggers as it was a nexus for community blogging—there were apparently a lot of Big Names (dare I say A-listers?) on board.

I admit I wasn't paying much attention to blogging in general at this point—I was reading memepool and playing counter-strike and programming for recreation and hadn't likely even heard of Metafilter quite yet, etc—so it all has an odd sort of History Channel cattiness to me. I don't quite know what's going on, but I can't help but read the thread anyway.

Sock Puppet: pets.com
Did you know George Bush Sr. worships Osiris?
More of Derek and the Bloggers
They called it the PSX2?

Steven C. Den Beste is appalled!
About who Wants To Marry A Millionaire, specifically. And it's his first comment ever!

this Jabber thing might catch on

MetaFilter used to kick so much ass
This may be the first time Metafilter was declared to have jumped the shark. Not much of a thread—a self-link before "self-link" was common lingo on the site, followed seven months later by one lengthy self-described diatribe by cCranium, who uses the phrases "empty vanity post" and "self blog" to describe the link.

I haven't read the September 2000 archives yet—I don't know if the "idiotic personal attacks" referenced were a problem by then or not. And that this comment was posted months later suggests that this wouldn't likely be the "first time" mefi was thus dissed, but rather just the earliest thread in which it happened. I'll be keeping my eye out, regardless.

Metafilter starts displaying new-comment count
And appearing therein, a truly earlier shark-jumping allegation by none other than jkottke. Fortuitous! Plus, sikk encourages fighting. So now you know who to blame.

I wonder where the Metatalk launch was, relative to this. Seems like just the sort of discussion-about-Metafilter that Matt was aiming to take off the front page. I could look up the date, but that would be spoiling the surprise!

(Oh, okay. I couldn't resist. Metatalk was launched March 3, 2000, about two weeks later. But that's a whole other post.)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, the cCranium MeFi's-jumped-the-shark comment was from September 5, 2001, a year-and-a-half after the original post. Still funny.

6:29 PM  
Blogger Josh Millard said...

A year and a half! I was being to generous in guessing Mefi had better than a hundred thousand comments in the first year, I guess.

I suspect that comment can be traced by to a thread about (a) what's your usernumber thread? or (b) hey, check out the new "this day in history" sidebar! We'll see...

6:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for this blog! As a longtime on and off again lurker to Mefi, I sometimes have trouble keeping up the the injokes and references to old catfights. This will be extremely helpful in putting things into context.

8:30 AM  
Blogger Jessamyn said...

OMG ROFL, etc.


11:08 PM  
Blogger Rob Drimmie said...

Wow, I had no idea this was being done and I only vaguely remember leaving that comment.

It was indeed from a What's your Usernumber type thread, and at the time I was tremendously angsty about the way the site had changed following the political drama of the 2000 elections. MeFi gained a lot of publicity and there was quite a rift developing between blocks.

If this project manages to continue, just wait until you get to some of the drama. You'll find, if you haven't already, that old threads were, for a while, a magnificent source of in-fighting and clique-development.

2:41 PM  
Anonymous wendell said...

Huh. Just caught up with your MetaMetaMetaBlogging and noticed in your review of the 700's, you neglected to include MY First Post Ever http://www.metafilter.com/714/ and Matt's response to it "ha! good one foopster...", referring to the nickname I picked up from my first blog OneSwellFoop.com (sadly lost to the domain sharks when I couldn't afford an online presence in '02). Since I was an early NewsFilter offender, most of my links those days are now dead. Also, why did you not note who originally posted what you call "the first DRAMA thread" or the post announcing the "new-comment count" in which I tossed in a self-link (I was doing a joke front page on my blog at the time - I wish I could remember which one). AND I may have been the first to suggest this: http://www.metafilter.com/797/#1011

9:24 PM  

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