Interview With A Mefier

I had the pleasure of talking the other day with Joel Spolsky (Joel on Software) and Jeff Atwood (Coding Horror) about Metafilter, community moderation, social software—and their new just-now-in-public-beta project Stack Overflow, an attempt to synthesize programming Q&A interactions with wiki-inspired collaborative editing and community moderation. Think Ask Metafilter meets Reddit meets Everything2 meets the goatee-less non-evil doppelganger of Experts Exchange, maybe.

You can read the notes and listen to the podcast here; I join the call at just about 20:00 in the podcast and talk with Joel and Jeff for the remainder of the hour. I use the word “crap” at least twice and the phrase “king of the shitpile” once; Joel makes Ron Paul jokes about Reddit; and Jeff briefly discusses how babby is formed. Among other things.

Give it a listen; it’d mean a lot to your mother and me.

Good Copula / Bad Copula

From the comments on a news report about, well, it pretty much doesn’t matter what it’s about because it’s election season on the internet and any mention of candidate x in any context that involves a comment box means that it’s now about commenter y’s feelings about candidate x, but, yes, I digress.  Let me start over.

From a comment on an election-related news report:

The only real change Obama supports is his mind on everything…first he was for higher taxes, then he wasn’t….

The thrust is clear: “Obama changes his mind.”  The execution, though, is like something out of The Simpsons: a formulation so awkward that it’s comical.  The difference being that Groening’s writing staff is doing it on purpose.

Why I Love Ask Metafilter

Or: Cash Gifting? More Like Cash Grifting AMIRITE (yes, so rite)

There’s a lot of scammy crap on the internet. This isn’t news to anyone, I know, but it’s part of the narrative here so just work with me for a second. One of the grand themes of the lots-of-scammy-crap parts of the internet is the willful use of evolving exploits and misdirection and just plain brute force to game search results in order to promote your scam.

If you’re a scammer, you want your website to be the first thing someone sees if they go credulously a-googlin’ for this crazy new money-making scheme they’ve heard about.

So it probably pisses you off when the top google search result for your scam is an Ask Metafilter thread discussing its scammy nature. That’s lousy PR. It’ll tip off the marks.

So what do you do? You sign up for a Metafilter account and you hop into that #1-search-result thread. And you leave a long, glowing defense of cash gifting and explain that it’s a great idea, a smart investment. You mention — and dutifully link to — some websites you just happened to find, which also just happen to disagree with the idea that cash gifting is a scam. (And which also just happen to hide their whois data behind a proxy service.)

Unfortunately for you, the folks at Metafilter are actually paying attention; your apologist shill is quickly deleted; your account goes on a Very Special List; and that damned AskMe thread is still right up there at #1.

There ain’t no justice in this world.