After falling in with a rough crowd of Linux nerds my freshman year, I spent much of college reading a lot of slashdot and k5. I eventually burned out on OMG MICRO$HAFT SUX stories and revelations about the hot grits down Natalie Portman's petrified pants, and started looking for more variety on my Random Stuff On The Web plate; I became an avid memepool follower, but a friend (the same guy responsible for jokey and ill-fated "duclod" sockpuppet on mefi) eventually showed me this one blue site that was like memepool but with comments. I read for a while and then signed up the day before I turned 22. I hung out and commented occasionally for the next few years, but when I got laid off from a job in 2005 I suddenly had enough time on my hands to get seriously, irreparably sucked into Metafilter, and I haven't come up for air since.
A Month of Meetups
I spent most of September and early October 2009 flying and driving around the country, thanks to Matt's willingness to buy me an all-you-can-fly pass and, frankly, even bigger thanks to Jessamyn for being okay with me not really being around to moderate the site much for a whole goddam month.
I spent a day or three in a bunch of cities I'd barely or never visited, and met hundreds of mefites for the first time, some of them folks I'd know for years on the site, some near-lurkers, all of them fantastic people. I sang karaoke in New York, ate cheesesteaks in Philly, wolfed down BBQ in North Carolina, saw the sights in LA, walked around still-rebuilding neighborhoods in New Orleans, posed for an impromptu Last Supper homage at the Billy Goat in Chicago, and on and on, maybe seventeen meetups that month in as many different places, me appearing one day and disappearing into an airplane against the next, chatting like crazy and getting as much of the local flavor as the amazingly generous mefites in any given area could deliver. It is the closest I will ever get to being Doctor Who.
There's no way I can pick a single fondest memory from my ten-and-counting years on the site, but meetups have always been one of my favorite things about Metafilter, and that trip helped cement in a crazy, bleary, overwhelming way the wonderfulness of the people who make up this community and the reality that, fundamentally, it's a site full of people, not just a bunch of text on the screen.