I found MetaFilter in May 2001, when signups were free and pancakes flowed like free ice cream. I was led here by the Brill's Content cover story (I still have four paper copies left!). I had experimented with Memepool, Suck, and Fark, but with MetaFilter, I found a place that I could love.
The silliness of 9622
In the summer of 2001, I was working for the University of Texas at Austin in the Student Publications department. Summer was generally a slower time for our department and for the city of Austin in general. I'd finish my daily office work in about two hours and then I'd have around six hours to answer the phones (which rarely rang) and play on the internet. MetaFilter became one of my favorite sites, both for the high level of discourse and for the wacky hijinks. I was mostly a passive lurker until this happened:
August 24, 2001 12:32 PM
metafilter parody. no comment from me, i'll leave that to everyone else.
Up until that time, the longest thread on MetaFilter was the legendary Thread 1142, which mostly happened before I was a member. 1142 was a serious discussion that turned silly and then just went on and on (this was back in the days when threads remained open forever *wipes tear*). To the best of my knowledge, it was the first thread that spawned an off-site mini-site. Like a few other members, I was jealous that I missed out on all the 1142 fun, so when 9622 started to show no signs of slowing down or ever ending, a few other members and myself turned the thread into our own private little playground. For months, we'd return, with jokes, in-jokes, poems, and just plain silly crap. It was great. I made friends in that thread that I'm still in touch with ten years later (some folks who haven't even been here on MetaFilter for years).
That thread, along with the post-9/11 thread 11629 (look! an Onion-only double post that lived!) were what kept me coming back to MetaFilter again and again. I'd sit at my desk and just keep hitting refresh, just to see if any new comments had been posted (also: this was pre-"recent activity.") It was in the 11629 thread that I told my MetaFilter friends that I was going to ask my girlfriend to marry me. I told my friends here before I told my friends from "real-life." It was their encouragement that made me brave enough to pop the question.
After a few shenanigans where the 9622-crew went on a silly spree all over the site, leaving haiku and limericks in serious threads, Matt got tired of our crap and shut down the mega-threads. We took our freaky sideshow to 9622.net and the hijinks continued for a few more years.
MetaFilter's been a huge part of my life for the past 10 years. I know that I'm a different person--a better person--due to the time I've spent here. I could reminisce for hours on my favorite MeFi memories, like Miguel declaring his love for me, or Matt's frustration with the site and the outpouring of support that he received, or my first NYC meetup, or the legendary 10th anniversary party in New Orleans. But what I really want to say is that I love you, MetaFilter. Each and every part of you.