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Plastic: The Metafilter.com that stopped responding, about a month ago
May 31, 2006 8:37 AM   Subscribe

Waiting For Plastic. Down again. Been down so long, someone started a weblog about it. It's not the first time. Who knows if this is the last? [via]
posted by airguitar (40 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
Updated links to the articles posted in 14158: When Automatic's Teller Ran Dry, 'Plastic is All I Do'.
posted by airguitar at 8:37 AM on May 31, 2006


I had no idea Plastic was still around. So it's been down for this whole month?
posted by mathowie at 8:47 AM on May 31, 2006


Also, suck it, plastic!
posted by mathowie at 8:50 AM on May 31, 2006 [1 favorite]


Warning: Sucking on plastic may be hazardous to your health.
posted by Remy at 8:52 AM on May 31, 2006


Plastic sucks.
posted by Meatbomb at 8:54 AM on May 31, 2006



I joined Plastic when I couldn't bl**dy get accepted into Metafilter after maybe two years of lurking and constantly checking if memberships were open.

Not 100% sure if I'm remembering this correctly, but I sorta got the feeling it was a bit of "Ha ha Metafilter can't handle the traffic and has to limit members we are so going to blow Metafilter out of the water."

Checked Plastic out maybe three times after I joined and thought I'd rather lurk here and not be able to comment.

Go Matt!
posted by uncanny hengeman at 8:55 AM on May 31, 2006


I thought plastic was the metafilter it's ok to like.
posted by crunchland at 8:59 AM on May 31, 2006 [2 favorites]


So it's been down for this whole month?

Oh yeah, I guess not. It went to sleep about a month ago, then woke up for ten days, and went back to sleep a little more than a week ago.
posted by airguitar at 9:05 AM on May 31, 2006


Wait, does this mean the stock options are ..... NOOOOOOOO!
posted by R. Mutt at 9:06 AM on May 31, 2006


Forget Plastic, bring back suck.com.
posted by blue_beetle at 9:06 AM on May 31, 2006


In case anyone else had never heard of Plastic: Topics covered on the board are primarily related to current events. Plastic's content is entirely driven by user-submitted stories. A typical Plastic story selects a topic based around a story found on an external link, with the Plastic user providing a larger context for that article with supporting links and some editorial comment.

So it was just like MetaFilter except they encouraged everything discouraged here? Editorialisingnewsfilterwithtoomanylinks?
posted by jack_mo at 9:11 AM on May 31, 2006


Wow, what's with the crazy MeFi spike in the Alexaholic link?

Did I write something particularly clever that day?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:17 AM on May 31, 2006


Topics covered on the board are primarily related to current events. Plastic's content is entirely driven by user-submitted stories. A typical Plastic story selects a topic based around a story found on an external link, with the Plastic user providing a larger context for that article with supporting links and some editorial comment.

This should have been posted long ago so users looking for this could have gone and been a part of what they wanted instead of trying to turn Metafilter into Plastic.
posted by dios at 9:19 AM on May 31, 2006


That spike has to be nitwits crashing into AskMe to plead for last-minute tax advice.
posted by Wolfdog at 9:22 AM on May 31, 2006


Plastic is pretty cool. The comments are a little more amusing, and little less meta. Why anyone would be glad it's hitting trouble is not beyound me, it would be that those people have something up their ass that may cause them to vist an ER later in their life.
posted by econous at 9:25 AM on May 31, 2006


I kind of hope it doesn't come back up, as I might be tempted to post there again. No good can come of it - it's basically a series of ill-tempered flame wars.

The thread discussing the last outage is possibly the most infantile and destructive of the lot (With legitimate concerns being met with rantings along the lines of "You don't desreve to be told whats going on with the site, you don't own it, anyway the in crowd was informed over IRC" to an extent that would make any BOFH blush, and then just descends into anonymous sniping) -- and is probably a good reason for never going there or posting there ever again.
posted by Artw at 9:33 AM on May 31, 2006


I used to read Plastic pretty regularly but sort of drifted away in the last few year. I do like the way that stories stayed longer than Mefi stories, lasting for a week or so instead of scrolling down off the page the way that they do here.
posted by octothorpe at 9:39 AM on May 31, 2006


One less server room to torch when I run for dictator.
posted by yerfatma at 9:44 AM on May 31, 2006 [1 favorite]


Whatever, kinda sad and all (if you ask me Plastic's proof that nested comments are inferior to how MeFi does it, much harder to follow conversations), but tell me when Fafblog comes back.
posted by furiousthought at 9:52 AM on May 31, 2006 [1 favorite]


anyway the in crowd was informed over IRC

Well, fuck 'em then, I guess. Good riddance.
posted by slatternus at 9:54 AM on May 31, 2006


Also, suck it, metafilter!
posted by solid-one-love at 10:27 AM on May 31, 2006


I checked out Plastic sometime during the last two weeks and it was up, though there was very little stuff posted. It was my first stop there this year and it didn't exactly make me won't to look again anytime soon.

I found Plastic interesting way back when, but even if it technically comes back to life, its spirit has long since passed into the nedxt world.
posted by spira at 10:45 AM on May 31, 2006


Carl is broke. You didn't hear it from me.
posted by Mean Mr. Bucket at 11:14 AM on May 31, 2006


So, what is that huge mid-April spike in MeFi??
posted by Bugbread at 12:34 PM on May 31, 2006


Forget Plastic, bring back suck.com.

Aww, yeah. The best part of my day in my early working years were when a certain Mr. M- E- would walk into my office nonchalantly, and ask "Soooo..... did you check out Suck today?"

It was great to learn how to not work. They just don't teach that in schools.
posted by illovich at 12:59 PM on May 31, 2006


There was the same spike for slashdot too, weird. Maybe they changed how it works or something?
posted by Phantomx at 1:05 PM on May 31, 2006


solid-one-love, since when is ad-based traffic the measure of quality?
posted by slatternus at 1:30 PM on May 31, 2006


slatternus - since Wikipedia seemed to have made it the be-all-and-end all indication of notability.
posted by Artw at 1:49 PM on May 31, 2006


Plastic was ok. Kinda. In a sort of excruciating forum-y endlessly bickering kind of way.

I mean, we argue on MeFi, and sometimes even bicker, but MeFi just seems to "get to the goddamn point already" much faster around here, and the voices and intellects seem to be at least a bit more knowledgeable and authoritative.

I know that on many current even issues and even non-current event issues that I can check in and there will usually be not one but a fair selection of authoritative, well-written and - even more important - a well summarized posts clarifying whatever issue is at hand.

Plus, we've had 9622, mushrooms, 9622.v2 and Ceiling Cat among so many other nice things.

MetaFilter: We have nice things.
posted by loquacious at 5:39 PM on May 31, 2006


Why anyone would be glad it's hitting trouble is not beyound me

Because Carl and mathowie have been joking about the suckage of each other's sites since forever, and we've been going along with it, in a goodnatured kinda way. Except those who don't get that it's all in fun, of course.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:10 PM on May 31, 2006


i wholeheartedly agree. suck got me through high school in the midwest with my sanity largely intact. i would think that with today's political climate some of the OG political bloggers would have more source material than they would know what to do with.
posted by kaytwo at 6:51 PM on May 31, 2006


Something about threaded discussions doesn't make sense to me. I can't read them without losing my sense of direction. Karma points make sense as a concept, but they seem to have created lots of in-fighting at Plastic, (the only thing I use a Slashdot account for is to filter out every comment rated 'Funny', and to mod up the trolls). The stated goal of getting the Web's smartest readers and the Web's smartest editors to collaborate ... live! ... sounded cool, but it also was intimidating because, you know, I'm not that smart. Who wants to register for an account when one of the pre-conditions is being one of the smartest 'whatever'?

Never the less, I think it Sucks.com that someone who really might be one of the Web's smartest editors or readers has had so much trouble with a project to which he has apparently given his everything. He has been out in front with or created many things that I think make the internet useful or cool. Those cute little admin messages that make Flickr seem so friendly--and could just as well be a plank in the Web 2.0 platform--those were Plastic.com from five years ago. The clever technique of using ironic words as the text for a hyperlink, that was Suck.com more than ten years ago. freedonia.com/~carl has been simple and funny and meaningful since before Jorn typed out the word 'weblog'. The writers he and Joey helped get a start at Suck have gone on to do some great work elsewhere.

For someone who has done a lot for the Web, it would be nice to see him doing a little better for himself. Good luck, Carl.
posted by airguitar at 9:13 PM on May 31, 2006


Plastic crashed and burned months before Carl bought it. Although Joey did an excellent job of maintaining an interesting site, Automatic Media simply had no business model.

I will give Carl credit for trying to think outside the box, but ultimately, the changes he made actively discouraged newbies from sticking around, and without new blood, both the SubQ and the threads became predictable. How many times can the same 3 dozen people debate stupid principals, stupid laws and stupid politicians?
posted by mischief at 9:20 PM on May 31, 2006


solid-one-love, since when is ad-based traffic the measure of quality?

It's hard to get the joke if you skipped past the third comment in the thread.
posted by solid-one-love at 10:12 PM on May 31, 2006


Who wants to register for an account when one of the pre-conditions is being one of the smartest 'whatever'?

Well this place was supposed to be "the best of the web" and look at us now!
posted by furiousthought at 12:13 AM on June 1, 2006


we are the best of the web















the web sucks, doesn't it?
posted by pyramid termite at 12:47 AM on June 1, 2006


stavros: Except those who don't get that it's all in fun, of course.

Except that Carl is a humorless dick with an intense need for approval from strangers and some very serious father-issues. Matt is merely harried.

Dios has something of a point: Most of the changes a lot of people have wanted on Metafilter, existed on Plastic more or less from the start. Most of the topics that are here widely regarded as problematic, have been de rigeur on Plastic forever.

At some point, Plastic became very "clubby" in a claustrophobic, circle-the-wagons, gate-up-the-shtetl kind of way. Something similar was going on here, too, but it never had that sour-sweet smell of flop sweat about it, to me. For example, calling out Carl on something would just about get you lynched; people call out Matt all the time. (Fortunately for mefites, Matt seems to have a reasonably good sense for when to ignore them.)

I do literally spend an hour or so cogitating on the reasons for the different feel, from time to time. I have a hunch (but can't even think of how I might prove) that it has a lot to do with the fact that the information architecture here is much flatter -- it's harder to segment the conversation, either by topic or into threaded nodes, and thus it's harder to develop those intense, highly localised feedback loops that people can get into in a slashdot style thread-tree. Though it could also have a lot to do with the fact that Matt doesn't seem to be a dick.

One interesting data point that's puzzled me a bit: At some point in '03 or so, I noticed that Plastic had incredibly high link traffic on ... um, damn, can't remember the name of that old first-gen blog search engine, but the one that's NOT Technorati. So I searched, and found that there were very few inbound links to Plastic. So while the rest of the world seemed to have forgotten about them, they got tons of link value on this one engine....
posted by lodurr at 9:05 AM on June 1, 2006


"Plastic became very "clubby" in a claustrophobic, circle-the-wagons, gate-up-the-shtetl kind of way"

lodurr's description nails it! Whether intentional or not, many Plastic regulars became quite defensive of Carl to the point of exclusivity. As well, the IRC channel became a star chamber in which much informal policy was hatched.
posted by mischief at 10:11 AM on June 1, 2006


... so, Carl's on meds, now. And he blames it on Plastic.

(There's a punchline in there somewhere, but I've been at this desk for a long time and haven't had my meds today...)

... Maybe Carl should stop threatening to pull the plug and just do it. It starts to look prima-dona-ish after the eighth or ninth threat.
posted by lodurr at 12:48 PM on June 1, 2006


forget plastic and suck, bring back feedmag.com.
posted by tim451 at 3:56 AM on June 2, 2006


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