A long time MetaFilter member (who is seldom around these days, sadly) introduced me to the site. Me being the naturally curious sort, he thought AskMe would satisfy all the mysteries I had going on in my head at the time ... i.e. "Who sings this song?", "What is this houseplant?", "How does X work?" It did, and created a few more.
I recall the few threads that really blew my mind and endeared me to the site forever:
The Alison Stokke "What it feels like for a girl" thread and the belated MeTa, Discussion Point.
Physics Stumper: airplane on a conveyor belt
MetaFilter has come a long way since then, both in community and in gender awareness. I think there's an undeniable positive correlation there and I'm thrilled to be another human participating on the site, just about every day, learning, clicking, reading, laughing.
And I learned a little about basic physics principles, which is good, too.
Moving to England and feeling at home from the very first day
To me, the beauty of MetaFilter is the meetups. These are my best memories. Which wouldn't be possible without the site and everything that happens on there, of course. But the meetups – that's where it's at for me.
When we think of community, we generally conceptualize it as people clustered on a horizontal plane of some sort, such as on a map or in a geographic area. You travel to a new place and you must acquaint yourself with all of the humans that are more or less gathered there. It can be daunting.
MetaFilter is a community that primarily exists as a horizontal 'slice' through all these groups of people. It parallels the geographic plane and it spans the entirety of it.
The meetup is the intersection of these two conceptions of community. Which is why I can travel to any place in the world and my fellow community members will be there to welcome me home. And that is exactly what happened when I moved to England. I had friends, a place to live, a tour guide, a local pub and more.
I have MetaFilter to thank for opening me up to a world of places, experiences and adventures. It's so much more than I ever expected the internet could offer when I posted my first question into a wall of green and yellow text.
So thank you and Happy 12th Birthday, MetaFilter.