In Praise of MetaFilter

The first rule on the Internet is: Don’t read the comments. But there are exceptions to every rule.

I’ve been a member of MetaFilter since 2007, though I was reading long before that. It’s one of the oldest linkblogs that’s still around, and there are good reasons for that. First, it has great links, spanning a wide variety of topics. every single day there are several MeFi posts that pop up that interest me. Second, it’s refreshingly low-fi. No fancy-schmancy garbage, no arcane comment ranking system, just a post and comments on it. Third, those comments.

The discussions on MetaFilter are the best part. They almost always shed more light on the topic and give some genuine insight. And they do this without cutesy in-jokes or deferral to “crowned elders” or a lot of the other nonsense that can plague similar sites. The discussions serve to add depth to the subject instead of just massaging egos; if you’re full of crap, you’ll get called out on it.

Recently MetaFilter has taken a hit, as one of the esoteric and impenetrable vagaries of Google algorithms has cast links to them off the front page. Their traffic took a gigantic hit and, as they are mostly ad-supported (there is a modest fee to become a commenting member, but reading is free), this has resulted in Hard Times. You can read omre details here.

It’s worth dropping by there and checking it out if you haven’t. If you are a reader, it’s worth throwing a bit into the collection basket. Hopefully Google will either re-adjust their algorithm or quickly make themselves irrelevant, as they seem bent on doing, and all will be peachy with MetaFilter again.

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