I joined in June 2002, at a time when I was interested in learning about designing Web sites and I used to subscribe to a regular newsletter called Webmonkey that gave a lot of tips and tricks for people new to all that stuff. There was a link from one of the issues to a MeFi thread and, as soon as I clicked on the link and had a look around, I knew this was a place that I wanted to be. Of course, as these things go, sign-ups were closed so I couldn't get in, which probably made me want in all the more!
Somewhere in the process of getting to know MeFi from the outside, I came across iconomy's blog and commented there a bit, partly lamenting my inability to join in the fun. It was suggested that I try sending mathowie a donation, as this was believed to be the most reliable 'back-door' to a membership. I did so, forgetting about the exchange rate at the time so I sent double the suggested amount. I heard nothing immediately and pretty much gave up but, after a few more weeks, I got an e-mail from an anonymous HotMail account that included a link to a page that let me complete the sign-up process. The e-mail included a note along the lines of 'if you mention this, I'll deny ever sending it' and I still don't really know who sent it. Tamim told me one day on #mefi that he had sent it, but I was never really sure if that was true.
Anyway, that's how I came to join both MetaFilter and the '14k brigade'. I'm incredibly happy to be here. Even when it's at it's worst, it's still the best place on the Web.
This thread from 2005 started a new chapter in my MeFi journey, with the creation of MetaChat and the e-mail shortly after from taz asking me to be a moderator there, along with iconomy, amberglow and quonsar. I was thrilled and honoured to be asked and have done my best to carry out those duties in the spirit of how moderation is done on MeFi. I learned how difficult this can be when moderating a sports community site with a couple of others that really didn't know what they were doing and the site crashed and burned because of it - moderation on MeFi is truly a model that should be copied by any community site wanting to show respect for their members while maintaining some degree of civility. MetaChat is a very different place to MeFi, but I still find myself thinking 'what would jessamyn's mum or cortex do in this situation?' on those rare instances that the axe needs to fall there.
MetaFilter saved my life
Well, I have lots of great memories from this place. The great links have led me to things that I never knew existed. The great discussion has exposed me to points of view that I would not otherwise have had the benefit of. Lots of people have patiently explained these points of view to me even though I must sometimes seem like the most stupid, pig-headed person on earth. When you boil MeFi down to its essence, it's the people (good, bad and indifferent) that make it what it is and the spectrum of viewpoints and life experiences make the whole far greater that the sum of its parts.
While I hesitate to say this given what a cesspit #mefi has become over the past few years, the time that I spent unemployed, separated from my partner, denied access to my kids, broke and enormously depressed form the backdrop to my fondest memories of MetaFilter. While #mefi was never an 'official' part of the community, it was very much a part of it nonetheless for the relatively small number of people who frequented it regularly back in around 2004 or so.
At the time, I was depressed and considering suicide (to the point of having planned it out and been within seconds of doing so a couple of times), feeling like I had nobody to turn to and that the whole world was against me. It was #mefi or, more accurately, the people there that kept me going to a point where I could see a way forward. They didn't do it in any deliberate way, they just did it by accepting me as I was and listening to my ranting about life without judging me. In particular, one MeFite there reached out to me and, probably without even knowing, saved my life. Because of that human contact, I was able to claw my way back to a place where I could see that stepping out was the wrong thing to do. I will be forever grateful to that person and to MetaFilter.
Thank you all.