I read Wired pretty regularly back around the turn of the millennium and on February 23rd, 2001 there was a Wired article on a meme that my friends and I had been having fun with lately, All Your Base Are Belong to Us. It linked to MetaFilter thread on the subject and I thought it was an interesting message board and I started following it passively. That following summer I had a weird job where in the morning I prepared food for 30-50 staff and assorted associates of a youth culture center and in the afternoon I'd work on translating an informational booklet from Icelandic into English. My brain generally gave out after 3 hours of translation and I'd spent the last half-hour of work putzing around on the internet. MetaFilter quickly became my go-to site for a quick webfix. Some meatspace friends of mine discovered MetaFilter around the same time, so we'd often talk about various threads and links from there. Some of those conversations are still vivid in my memory, such as a long discussion about literary style that spun off from a thread about In-N-Out, and especially this comment, which we admired for the exactness of its description. Ever since 2001 MetaFilter has been a daily and constant presence in my life. I turned twenty a few days after finding the site and it has been my home on the internet, the only stable community I've belonged to in a decade where I moved back and forth across the Atlantic. I came across MetaFilter by happenstance but it's so intertwined with my existence that I cannot imagine what my life would've been like without it.
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I had loved MetaFilter from just about the moment I started reading it, but the time it really clicked for me was a few years later. For the first couple of years after I started posting I thought I'd have to find something with broad appeal. But then I created a post about Claude Degler, an obscurity among obscurities, and a few people liked it. I realized then that I could post about anything and as long as I was interested, at least a few other people would be too. For a compulsive information sharer like myself, it's a wonderful thing to have in one's life.
I don't know if I can pick just one memory of meetups or other off-line MetaFilter interactions. I think though, that the 10th Anniversary meetup in Portland, Oregon was pretty special. It was a relaxed celebration of MetaFilter by dozens of people who all love this wonderful community. Considering it was essentially a roomful of sixty or so people who had never met each other before, there was no awkwardness, just a shared feeling of lovely togetherness. My memories of it are almost magical. The evening is etched into my mind.
The list of kindnesses done me by my close friends who are also MeFites is too long for a rambling autobiography, let alone a short remembrance on a website. But I'd like to single out one act of supreme niceness. Just before my 29th birthday my then-job was cut down to 10 hours per week. I was suddenly facing dramatically tightened financial straits, and considering cancellation my party, as I wasn't feeling too joyous. But my friends stepped in, jessamyn had offered to host me at her father's house, which she was looking after, and GenjiandProust, lunit, Queen of Spreadable Fats, Man Dancer, Karendy, The Great Big Mulp, SheMulp a.k.a. PlusOne, not_on_display and other, non-MeFite friends bought food and drinks and threw me an incredibly lovely party at a time when I wasn't exactly at my best. Quite a few of these wonderful friends are in my life only because of MetaFilter. I can't think of a better recommendation for a website: You make friends for life.