I Like To Write

I have been lazy. The blog has been slow. Thank Nick for kicking me about it.

To apologize, I will tell you about something I have been up to:

I wrote a little (tiny!) story called Portability. It is called that because I picked a word at random. I picked a word at random because that was the theme for the first week of the Metafilter Writer’s Group, which has just lately sprung into existence.

We’re writing on a given theme each week. 500ish words max. I hope to keep with it. I figure it’s like writing a novel, but without the continunity or the going crazy. Whee!

More posts coming with greater frequency and regularity, I [fingers crossed] promise.

Refi: Metafilter in Review

Yes. Don’t say it. I know, I—look. Just, would y—would you just hush? I know what you’re going to say. I know. Okay? Yes. I know.

Another new project. Yes. A new blog. Another plate to keep spinning. Sue me. Can I—look, can I at least tell you about it? Just let me explain. Okay? Okay? Fine. Good.

So.

Refi: Metafilter in Review is a blog I just started. As the name suggests, the subject is metafilter.com, a site of which I’ve been a member since early 2001, and which I’ve been reading a bit longer than that, even. And the site is, these days, what it is—which is to say, a collaborative weblog, a community-driven running tally of links to interesting things along with commentary by registered users. Not a bad place to spend some computer time, in general.

But the question that comes up an awful lot in contemporary conversation on the site is this: before it was what it is, what was it? How has the site changed? Which assertions about Mefi past are true, and which are fantasy? Which straddle a grey line of half-truth or distorted memory? Have things changed? Have they stayed the same? Were there any identifiable good old days, or do we each of us recall only the subjective joy of the newness of the site whensoever we first became involved with it?

Metafilter has a sort of socio-anthropological advantage over, say, joshmillard.com (which is low-traffic and has only a single writer) or even the hallowed-but-defunct suck.com (which featured several writers but was a professional, edited publication). Metafilter is many-authored and essentially unedited, and so the voice of the site has had the opportunity to change with the interests (and the contents) of the active, posting userbase.

Examining this slow autorial change over the seven-year-history of the site has struck me more than once as an interesting idea; and lo, I have decided to jump in. Hence Refi.

At this point, I’m finding myself writing primarily for mefites—current and past member-readers of Metafilter who are familiar enough with it to recognize some of the injokes and references and bywords of the contemporary Metafilter idiom. However, I would like for the blog to be fairly accessible to the uninitiated. How to pull that off remains a question; should I be more open in the writing? Explain in detail each joke and reference? Provide a glossary and an introduction to Metafilter? I don’t know. For now, I prefer to put my energy toward canvassing the early days of the site, and let those who are curious but confused find their way as they see fit.

I’ve recruited two guest authors already—TAPES INDUSTRIES captain Antifreez (“Dogs love him!”), and controversial (though hopefully not in this context) mefite dios (who has, as part of the blogger account-creation process, been induced to start his own blog, dios and the confederacy of dunces, though I have no idea if he intends to do much with it.

As this project gets rolling, I’d like to get more folks involved, too. Mefites can bicker with the best of them, fight the good infight (a lovely turn of phrase I’d credit if I could recall where I’d read it—I suspect that investigative trail could be picked up at Language Log), but in the end a lot of us just plain love Metafilter, for differing values of “love”, and I hope that I can snare a couple more voices into my retrospective quest.