During the Kaycee saga I was reading various blogs, trying to get more facts, and then wandered into MeFi through both searches and blog links. Depending on what day it was - Kaycee lasted for several days. But at the end of it all I was hooked.
Something Good Out of All the Kaycee Mess
So thanks to the Kaycee "thing" (link from 2001, 2011 summary) I began reading MeFi and the blog of one of it's members - y6y6y6. Short version of the story - we both started following each others blogs/MeFi comments and in a few years hooked up (not easy since he was in California and I was in Louisiana), eventually married. That's the happy, "MeFi, now it's personal" story, with tedious/amusing details edited out. (Like the part about y6 swearing that, no, really, he was in no way as trollish in real life as he was on MeFi.)
What stood out at the time and made me keep coming back to MeFi:
Though I have many other fond memories of info/posts that I've read here, that whole "finding people online who share the same feelings" during the Kaycee-story-unraveling was sort of special. Yes, everyone was outraged/hurt/upset for many reasons, but at the same time many of us were really trying to figure out why the heck anyone would do that to people, and what was really going on. It was an odd event to bring people together to share information, and then to watch people posting the facts (as much as could be ascertained anyhow) in real time was - well, it was a kind of group research I'd never seen before. And at the same time it really did seem that this was a particular thing that both the internet and MeFi did well - diverse people gathering info from a variety of sources and sharing it, and then trying to fact-check everything. As a mass communications-junky watching this was amazing.
I've seen the community get together and research this way in other threads, and in situations that were also emotional. There may be a bit of snark here and there, but I find that most MeFi-ers are genuinely nice folk who are trying to help. And there's usually a point at which I think "well done, and this is why I like this place."
Also must add - to this day husband quotes MeFi to me on a weekly basis, along the lines of "well, if you'd read the post on MetaFilter then you'd already know that..." - which never fails to amuse me. I should note that this often happens when I read a story in an Old School News Source, usually an online newspaper site, and MeFi has had the same story (with primary source!) posted a week previously. Lesson learned; read MeFi daily with other news websites.