The Age of Plastic.com (2001-2011)
January 17, 2011 1:35 AM   Subscribe

"Dear Plasticians, As you may know, January 15th will be our 10th anniversary. Unfortunately, Plastic will shut down a month from then, around February 15th (exact date to come)."

Plastic, once sort of hated by Metafilter users, was a part of Automatic Media, who also owned Suck.com, last updated 8 Jun 2001.
posted by iviken (112 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
When users get "suspended" or "expelled", should they get an email referring them to Plastic.com?
posted by hal_c_on at 1:41 AM on January 17, 2011


MetaFilter: The Plastic.com it's okay to believe will go on...
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:42 AM on January 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


Of course, this post's primary linked thread is already closed to comments. I loved Plastic but it died many years ago.
posted by Ardiril at 1:46 AM on January 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


IIRC, wasn't plastic originally based on the slashdot engine?
posted by delmoi at 2:03 AM on January 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


You are correct, delmoi. Automatic media customized it somewhat, but Carl Steadman reworked it extensively once he owned the site outright.
posted by Ardiril at 2:04 AM on January 17, 2011


Mr. McGuire: I want to say one word to you. Just one word.
Benjamin: Yes, sir.
Mr. McGuire: Are you listening?
Benjamin: Yes, I am.
Mr. McGuire: Plastics.
Benjamin: Just how do you mean that, sir?

--"The Graduate"
posted by chavenet at 2:12 AM on January 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


So what's become of Carl Steadman?
posted by crunchland at 2:41 AM on January 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Plastic is still up?
posted by empath at 2:45 AM on January 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Karma's a... hey, can my karma be exchanged for favorites?
posted by hal9k at 2:48 AM on January 17, 2011


I'm kind of sad about this. I was an early person on Plastic - I was on the NetSlaves forums, and they covered the 'work' section, and so I went there to see what was going on - and while it dropped out of my regular reading due to the relative slowness of it, there was sometimes good things to be found there.

Unfortunately, with the loss of the sponsorships, the lost of the admins, and in general the loss of any real behind-the-scenes work that made any sense, it fell apart. It's been kind of falling apart for years, and it's probably best to take it behind the woodshed.

Vaya con dios, Plastic.
posted by mephron at 2:49 AM on January 17, 2011 [8 favorites]


I thought Plastic went away years ago.
posted by Yakuman at 3:08 AM on January 17, 2011


What's the URL for the alt-Plastic "TnT"?
posted by Gyan at 3:09 AM on January 17, 2011


What's the URL for the alt-Plastic "TnT"?

treesandthings.com
posted by iviken at 3:23 AM on January 17, 2011


"I'm definitely sad / disappointed - although I haven't posted much at all in Plastic in years, that place was a huge part of my life from about 2001 to 2006 or so. I find it curious that of three similar sites that all started around the same time (Plastic, K5, and Metafilter), the one that survived is MeFi (which at the beginning was definitely technically inferior and had a much more closed culture - and I still feel that way, for that matter)."

Kuro5hin is still around, but:
"After a 10 year run (far too long in Internet time) K5 isn't exactly a thriving, vibrant site. Despite what many think, K5 was not a victim of it's own trolls that's only a symptom. No, what really did it in are sites like Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, Digg and weblogs, otherwise known as the newest buzzword--social media. (...) So if you are a site that is not particularly specialized or narrowly focused you're probably dying on the vine. I wouldn't be surprised one day to find it in archive mode. But I'm sticking around K5 to see how the social experiment will end."
posted by iviken at 3:40 AM on January 17, 2011


I walked away from K5 the day MeFi reopened signups, and I know I wasn't the only one.

I think MeFi accounts were more desirable because of the artificial scarcity (the same thing that drove Facebook in its early days), and because signup was a higher-than-normal barrier, the trolls kept away for the most part, making MeFi the better community.
posted by Leon at 4:21 AM on January 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


I haven't paid attention to Plastic since '04 when the registrations opened here. K5, I gave up on much earlier.
posted by octothorpe at 4:28 AM on January 17, 2011


Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, Digg and weblogs --- I wonder, if Ask.Metafilter hadn't happened, this place would probably be spinning the drain, too, for those very reasons. I mean, the money that Metafilter makes now is mostly due to the traffic on Ask, and if it weren't for that money, Matt probably wouldn't be able to afford the staff that he's hired. He'd still be running the site solo. I bet he would have thrown the towel in by now.
posted by crunchland at 4:44 AM on January 17, 2011 [10 favorites]


I find it curious that of three similar sites that all started around the same time (Plastic, K5, and Metafilter)
Other then metafilter, a lot of sites around that time grew out of Slashdot. Slashdot, actually was really the first popular "social media" site out there. And by the way, /., k5 and Plastic -- and Metafilter are very much "social media" sites. It's a buzzword, but it's just a buzzword that describes something that already exists. It just needs to sound trendier. Remember, plastic used Slashdot's engine and K5's engine was created as an alternative to that system.

Really Digg's first inception and K5 were pretty similar in goals and implementation. Digg had a bigger launch and more funding.

The other thing about them is that they (except /.) started up during the dot-com crash. One thing to note, scoop actually found a pretty popular niche with political sites. Actually, DailyKos was based on scoop (In fact, here's the announcement) and a bunch of sites grew up on the same software.

The popularity is kind of funny, since the software itself is absolutely horrible.
Despite what many think, K5 was not a victim of it's own trolls that's only a symptom.
I really disagree. Why would k5 basically became 100% trollery long before Digg and Reddit came around.
posted by delmoi at 4:47 AM on January 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


I was never on Plastic, but the thing that made kuro5hin different was that it was designed to encourage content creation. Most of the other "social" sites are more focused on content referral. And it's that vision which inadvertently made DailyKos what it is; even with the voting queue and open front page disabled, the diary feature gave everyone who cared a soapbox that was visible to all. (I think the upcoming DK4 is going to screw this up too, because while the new "groups" feature will be convenient it's also going to balkanize the submission process.)

I do agree with Delmoi that it was the trolls and Rusty's refusal to deal with them effectively that killed the site; it got to be that you'd put something up and instead of a vigorous discussion all you would get is ridicule. Still, I stuck with it until somebody wrote a votebot to game the submission queue and it took over a week for an administrator to wander around and deal with it.
posted by localroger at 5:10 AM on January 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


What's fascinated me lately was thinking about how Slashdot really dropped the ball on its CMS. It STILL sees itself as an advertising vehicle, and missed the boat completely on the CMS thing. It could've been THE CMS/Blogging platform, but Wordpress and Drupal killed it. The guys that write Slashcode had 0 interesting in making it useful for others, and didn't see the future in it at all. Now Matt Mullenweg and Dries Buytaert are going to be (well, most likely) millionaires and CmdrTaco is still a blogger. And don't get me started on the morons at movabletype. Mullenweg should be sending them monthly checks for sending everyone to Wordpress.
posted by Blake at 5:16 AM on January 17, 2011 [5 favorites]


At least we still have Memepool.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 5:17 AM on January 17, 2011 [21 favorites]


"What's fascinated me lately was thinking about how Slashdot really dropped the ball on its CMS."

As somebody who suffered through two /. CMS platform installs, I have to say I don't pity them. By the time the light bulb went of in their heads, Wordpress had taken the blog world by storm, mostly around ease of use and ease of installation.
posted by alvarete at 5:26 AM on January 17, 2011


What's fascinated me lately was thinking about how Slashdot really dropped the ball on its CMS.
Well look, you can't be the platform for something if the software itself sucks. Remember, scoop (which sucks) was created as a response to how bad Slashcode was. CmdrTaco wasn't a brilliant programmer and he actually had to be forced to open source their code when he got acquired by an open source company (that also sucked)

But I don't think anyone was under the impression that they weren't short on vision. There were a lot of things about /. that sucked.

One interesting thing is that they tried to turn it into a social network (with 'friends' and stuff) looong before myspace/friendster/etc were even on the scene.
posted by delmoi at 5:34 AM on January 17, 2011


Hey, at least he gave some notice this time 'round.
posted by absalom at 5:36 AM on January 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


What is weird is that I recently started going back to Plastic once in a while. Was sad to see the dearth of posts though.
posted by JHarris at 5:42 AM on January 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


FWiW, the last time Plastic went down, a group of disaffected struck out on their own and set ">Trees and Things.
posted by absalom at 5:58 AM on January 17, 2011


Plastic was slashcode right?

SA is still going strong.
posted by Ad hominem at 5:58 AM on January 17, 2011


Errr, Trees and Things
posted by absalom at 5:58 AM on January 17, 2011


$5 dollars made a big difference.
posted by humanfont at 6:01 AM on January 17, 2011 [6 favorites]


"$5 dollars made a big difference." Well put. I think that sums things up in 6 words.
posted by Blake at 6:03 AM on January 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Man, how I wish Suck would make a comeback as a tablet/smart phone magazine.

That would be so awesome.
posted by oddman at 6:04 AM on January 17, 2011 [7 favorites]


Guys I'm right here. I can totally hear you. Jeez.
posted by rusty at 6:17 AM on January 17, 2011 [87 favorites]


Man, how I wish Suck would make a comeback as a tablet/smart phone magazine.

A Whois lookup shows that Suck.com is owned by Lycos. Back in 2000, Lycos Ventures raised money for Automatic Media, and when AM folded, Lycos ended up with Suck.com - their archives and the domain name.

"The Lycos Network of sites and services include Lycos.com, Tripod, Angelfire, HotBot, Gamesville, WhoWhere, and Lycos Mail.(...) Lycos is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ybrant Digital (...). Ybrant Digital is headquartered in Hyderabad, India."
posted by iviken at 6:20 AM on January 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


At least we still have Memepool.

Hey, that's how I found this place. I checked Memepool nearly every day for a while, and noticed there were a lot of links to this place.
posted by Ghidorah at 6:31 AM on January 17, 2011 [6 favorites]


Oh man, I loved Plastic before I discovered MetaFilter. As someone earlier said, definitely between 2001-2006 or so. And I really, really loved Suck.
posted by sadiehawkinstein at 6:31 AM on January 17, 2011


I too, dropped Plastic for MeFi, and while it's not a slam-dunk, believe that the $5 barrier is a very positive thing. I suspect most people who join go through a "lurking" phase where they repeatedly visit, until finally compelled to join it. It would be interesting to see stats on that conversion process: typical length of time, ratio of people who visit for more than 1 month without converting, etc.

Has anyone ever dug through the logs to generate such data?
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 6:35 AM on January 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


I corrected an error on a Suck.com article once. Probably one of my finest Internet moments.
posted by the dief at 6:36 AM on January 17, 2011


Guys I'm right here. I can totally hear you. Jeez.

Would love to hear your take on the downfall of K5, rusty.
posted by Leon at 6:45 AM on January 17, 2011 [5 favorites]


Wow. How much time did I waste as a college kid in the early 2000s on K5 and Plastic. Sigh. And now I just wasted another 20 minutes reading through old diary entries on K5, and reading my faux-internet-girlfriend's comments on them. How fun it was to be a young adult.
posted by SirOmega at 6:55 AM on January 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Didn't Rusty @ K5 also hold a pledge drive that raised $50K so that he could work on the site full time and set up a board of directors to look after it and then just disappeared with cash?
posted by PenDevil at 7:01 AM on January 17, 2011


My oldest and closest Internet friends are from Plastic, so although I haven't visited the site in ages this announcement is a little sad. I stopped going (despite having been promoted to editor) because of the trolls, who got very mean and sought out specific people to torment. I think allowing anonymous postings was part of the problem.

I don't know Carl personally beyond interactions on Plastic and in the IRC channel, but I think his vision for what he wanted Plastic to be was a bit too utopian and he stubbornly refused to change the parameters of his experiment to reflect reality. As a result, there would be unplanned outages when his money ran out, which only served to drive the user base away. Add to that the trolling, which could not be fixed by the karma system once the site lost a critical mass of good faith participants.

Although it took me a while to appreciate the unthreaded comments, one thing I knew metafilter got right was having metatalk, someplace where people can kvetch about site stuff without polluting threads.

Plastic's IRC channel, however, was always better than #mefi.
posted by misskaz at 7:16 AM on January 17, 2011 [7 favorites]


If the post title is a reference to The Buggles, I love you iviken.
posted by fireoyster at 7:21 AM on January 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm surprised how many people here spent time on K5. I cut my teeth on K5, mainly in the diary & comments section. It was a lot of fun, until it stopped being fun.
posted by Dmenet at 7:22 AM on January 17, 2011


Plastic.com is where I first found a link to MetaFilter.
posted by R. Mutt at 7:24 AM on January 17, 2011


Can I trade my karma in for frequent flyer miles? I learned a lot from debates on Plastic. Not recently, though. I'm fascinated by how the community degenerated into a handful of people who enjoy nothing more than crapping on each other. And being crapped on.
posted by Ella Fynoe at 7:27 AM on January 17, 2011


advogato still seems to be limping along. Seems like all the nerd communities tried technofix after technofix,reputation systems, metamoderation, edit queues, they really hit on the answer here with the 5$ good faith payment and metatalk. Reddit has matatalk to an extent in /r/circlejerk in which it's a subreddit to bitch about reddit.
posted by Ad hominem at 7:30 AM on January 17, 2011


Hmm, I may have heard about Metafilter from Plastic too. Don't remember.
posted by octothorpe at 7:34 AM on January 17, 2011


As much as I missed Suck I think it's better to leave it dead. If it were resurrected it just wouldn't live up to anyone's inflated memories. Plastic, I never liked. Mefi or nothin' I say.
posted by caution live frogs at 7:48 AM on January 17, 2011


.

I still visit plastic. They usually have some good conversation there.

I forgot all about K5. I used to be active there, so I just took a look it. That place turned into a real cesspool. I won't be going back there again.
posted by mike3k at 7:49 AM on January 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Plastic was the first web forum I spent any significant amount of time on, and when I say "significant" I actually mean "excessive". There was a span of time in the early 2000's where I'm pretty sure I spent around 10 hours a day bouncing back and forth between Plastic and the Onion. I was never that active a poster, but I loved the hell out the place and the people who posted there.

After the outage that resulted in Trees 'n Things being created, I stopped spending much time at Plastic, but TnT didn't fill the gap very well, so I ended up migrating over here, and I'm well happy with the change. I did get a weird bee in my bonnet earlier this year, and ended up submitting a couple of stories to Plastic, which I'd never done during it's heydey. Not sure what I was thinking...the comment threads there are pretty awful at this point, and have been for a long while, so hoping for good discussions to result was naive. I've learned my lesson: for now, I'll just keep on lurking here.
posted by Ipsifendus at 7:50 AM on January 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think the $5 fee on Metafilter is very far from a magic bullet.

First, I think timing is important. Metafilter was already established as a successful community long before the $5 fee. You can't really start out with a $5 fee since no-one's going to pay to join a brand new site. And K5 introduced a $5 fee but far too late to change the site much, though it's presumably cut down a lot of the moderation work.

Secondly, Metafilter has a very rare situation in that there are full-time moderators handling a relatively small userbase. Metafilter solves the moderation problem by hurling a vast number of moderator-hours at it. Hardly any sites could afford that.

I think Metafilter's current situation is highly path-dependent. I don't think anyone else can get to where Metafilter is now, because the place it started from doesn't exist anymore: a tiny, elitist, brand-new Web relatively uncluttered with spammers.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 7:51 AM on January 17, 2011 [6 favorites]


The karma system probably worked to motivate me to contribute more than I do here or at most other online forums. But once I unlocked all of the achievements (sub-queue access, a place on the karma ranks), I quickly got bored of Plastic and turned to Metafilter for a higher volume of interesting links with less look-at-me attitude.

It's somehow apt that the discussion page of Carl Steadman's Wikipedia article is devoted to an argument over whether he can be declared dead.
posted by zhwj at 7:59 AM on January 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Finally, a thread where I can say "monocle polish" and people will know what I mean.

Boy, did I love K5 for a while. I'd post diaries and comments at work under my real name. Now my comments are all archived and difficult to reach without some effort, and THANK GOD for that.
posted by infinitewindow at 8:00 AM on January 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


don't forget feed :P (word also survives is suspended in archive, as is gettingit) while iirc some suck alum went on to reason... and robotwisdom is still kicking around!

i miss missingmatter and worldchanging just went into permanent hibernation.
posted by kliuless at 8:00 AM on January 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


If the post title is a reference to The Buggles, I love you iviken.
posted by fireoyster at 7:21 AM on January 17


It certainly is. In fact, I bought the album when it came out in 1980.

Thank you for noticing.
posted by iviken at 8:27 AM on January 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I remember stumbling into Plastic something like a decade ago, and like others in this thread spent a ridiculous amount of time there. It was one of the first places I found on the Internet that managed to combine -- for a time -- enough positive and negative feedback to keep political and cultural debate rolling. In the days before most sites even supported reader discussion, it also tried to champion cross-site commenting and discussion. That's now filled by services like Discus and IntenseDebate, but those services don't have the personality that Plastic did.

The Suck tie-in helped shape its culture a lot, I think. Many of the regulars there in the early days were big fans of Suck, and the snarking was baked into its DNA. The Plastic IRC server was also top notch. It had a lot of fascinating features -- helper bots that could do google searches and send you the results, separate IRC channels for each major cable news channel, where a bot was constantly spooling the closed caption feed... For news nerds who liked arguing about stuff, it was something special.

As misskaz noted above, structural and technical decisions made it tough for Plastic to keep adapting. The source wasn't open (Carl modified it VERY heavily to achieve some of his goals) -- that isn't inherently bad but ensured that if Carl wasn't coding the codebase was standing still. Carl had some pretty specific visions for how things should work, and they were generally spot-on for the type of community Plastic was, but it also meant that he was often frustrated by the delays in getting everything to nirvana single-handedly.

A couple of side projects, like plasticmail (who wouldn't want username@plastic.com?) launched as fundraisers but languished, the IRC server turned into a real community hub but suffered from on and off outages, and the loooong stretch of downtime that gave birth to TreesAndThings really fragmented the community, as different groups of people found temporary Plastic-replacements.

As the critical mass dwindled, the karma mechanisms became less effective at preventing trolling; at its nadir it seemed that the "editorial queue" (in which high-karma members debated whether submitted stories should be pushed to the main site) was roughly as active as the main site. In other words, most of the active members were already editors. It was a strange scene.

Plastic was awesome, and I think that it would be fantastic if Carl could make the logs and data from the site's run available for researchers. Plastic's arc can teach us a lot about the evolution of online communities.
posted by verb at 8:27 AM on January 17, 2011 [8 favorites]


The angsty, post-riot grrrl teenager in me misses Bolt. The adult I am is very, very happy that the first-breakup diary on my profile is lost to the ether.
posted by mippy at 8:35 AM on January 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


Aw man, we just had a plastic-jokes thread!
posted by Schlimmbesserung at 8:47 AM on January 17, 2011


I would love to find something more like Feed again. Slate/Salon/etc. plus edge.org sort of fill the hole, but not completely.
posted by thefool at 9:03 AM on January 17, 2011


Of all these places I was (or continue to be) a member, Metafilter is the only place where I've really felt part of the community.
posted by tommasz at 9:06 AM on January 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


...advogato still seems to be limping along...
posted by Ad hominem at 10:30 AM on January 17
I feel like HN has taken over here, though maybe it's just a similar pattern (promote and talk about your projects or software ideas) but with a different crowd of people? (startup/business oriented people vs. free software)
posted by thefool at 9:09 AM on January 17, 2011


Oh man...k5. I lurked there for a year or two before I found a link to mefi. Which I lurked for years until I got so heated over something or other I finally dropped the $5.

I'm trying to remember my username from back then. I'm gonna check all my old email accounts.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 9:12 AM on January 17, 2011


Ironically, Plastic's down as I write this.

Well, not ironic. More like an unnecessary foreshadowing. But that's less catchy. Let's go with "ironic", the kids love the word.
posted by ardgedee at 9:32 AM on January 17, 2011


I was very active on Usenet in the early 90s. Later, trolled the fuck out of k5, and spent far too much time on Plastic until I got my first MeFi account in 2004.

Now, though, I rarely comment in MeFi, the last of its kind of site that I visit -- not because of anything new popping up (I don't use Twitter, for example) -- but because I find that, more and more, I'm just not that interested in what some random person on the Net has to say. I may occasionally answer an ask.me or comment on a post, but will rarely comment on a comment.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 9:36 AM on January 17, 2011


Looks like Plasic went away. /.'ed
posted by Chuffy at 9:46 AM on January 17, 2011


I feel like HN has taken over here, though maybe it's just a similar pattern (promote and talk about your projects or software ideas) but with a different crowd of people? (startup/business oriented people vs. free software)

Oh yeah, HN is not bad despite it being one giant networking event. And I have 8 whole karma over there.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:47 AM on January 17, 2011


I had an account on Plastic -- as verb suggests, I was a fan of Suck, so I was excited for this new-fangled culture forum. I discovered MetaFilter not long after, though, and much preferred the style here, so I hardly ever went back to Plastic. Its extended absence and server/platform troubles didn't help, either. I honestly thought it went down for good years ago.
posted by me3dia at 9:51 AM on January 17, 2011


After the outage that resulted in Trees 'n Things being created, I stopped spending much time at Plastic, but TnT didn't fill the gap very well

Why not? We're (slowly) revamping it so now's the time for suggestions.
posted by Hiding From Goro at 9:54 AM on January 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


.

Plastic and k5 were my metafilter before metafilter was metafilter.

In a way, reddit has turned into more of an heir to those places than metafilter has. I think what makes metafilter so unique is the relatively firm hand (and example) of the moderators. The moderation makes metafilter great, but it also creates much more of a monoculture than the other great social sites have.

And now I just wasted another 20 minutes reading through old diary entries on K5

... and there goes my afternoon.
posted by callmejay at 9:59 AM on January 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why not? We're (slowly) revamping it so now's the time for suggestions.

I really hate to say it, but I don't think the problems I have are addressible with site design or coding changes. I just think that the community sustained too much of a morale hit with that long-ass outage, and by the time TnT was up an running the makeup of the commenting population was too different, because a lot of long timers had gone elsewhere.
posted by Ipsifendus at 10:34 AM on January 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Fun how a Plastic thread is reading like a K5 thread.

Hi Rusty!! /waves /hugs

I'm really not quite.... sure... how I lost my K5 interest. I think MetaFilter just came to absorb more of my online time, and once I had an account and could talk, well, there you go. My last K5 comments read about mid 2003 though, so there is a gap of a year I can't explain... hrmn.
posted by cavalier at 10:55 AM on January 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ah, my bad, I had "archive" unchecked. Apparently I explained why I was stopping reading K5 in '04. Hmrn.
posted by cavalier at 10:57 AM on January 17, 2011


Slashdot, Kuro5hin and Plastic were both sites I checked with some frequency. I'm not sure why I stopped visiting them. I never really felt particularly involved in the community at any of the sites. MetaFilter felt smaller and less anonymous, I guess.
posted by chunking express at 11:07 AM on January 17, 2011


Keepgoing.org had a really amazing (and long) profile of suck.com in 2005, detailing their beginnings, culture, and ultimate demise that I found endlessly fascinating, enough to re-read when it was posted on longform.org a few months ago. It made me go back to Plastic and check my profile, trying to place my then 17-year-old self in its life cycle.

karma: 1
last visit: now
member since: Mon 22 Jan 2001

My biggest net badge of honor will be lost in the ether.
posted by CharlesV42 at 11:28 AM on January 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


I came to MeFi (in 100% lurk mode) during the "A-lister" days. It wasn't the $5. It was the sheer intimidation of being in a place where all my "Internet heroes" hung out. Evhead, megnut, Powazek, Kottke, Haughey... it just didn't have the "who cares, it's just the Internet?" vibe for me. Which was a good thing.

I've grown up some, and I'm less influenced by that kind of thing, but in the meantime I've seen the experiment that an online community CAN be awesome if everyone is respectful (for the most part) work. It doesn't have to follow a downward spiral path.

So while I'd be less wowed by celebrity in a hypothetical do-over, I think I'd still go at it the same.

I'm not sure how to replicate THAT effect, short of an industry-type community where the established members are all invite-only celebrities for a while, and then joining is limited to non-anonymous members with some stake in not looking like a jackass.
posted by ctmf at 11:41 AM on January 17, 2011


i agree. does this mean Campion will be posting more, here?
posted by clavdivs at 11:50 AM on January 17, 2011


karma: 1
last visit: now
member since: Mon 15 Jan 2001

Boy, I'd forgotten all about Plastic.
posted by easement1 at 11:55 AM on January 17, 2011


karma: 175
last visit: now
member since: Sun 14 Jan 2001

What do I win?

I've checked back in on Plastic from time to time over the years -- I think I even participated within the past year. Not that I could tell when the last time I logged in was; the site, for the longest time, hasn't included the year in any dates of posts. That always struck me as a site with nobody to love it, if it goes that long without simple things like that ever being fixed. Maybe it was a feature, I dunno.
posted by AzraelBrown at 12:22 PM on January 17, 2011


Shoutout to fellow husi-ites (k5 begat husi some years ago...)
posted by 2xplor at 12:23 PM on January 17, 2011


Vaya con dios, Plastic.

Why does everything always end up being about dios!
posted by terrapin at 1:21 PM on January 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Shoutout to fellow husi-ites (k5 begat husi some years ago...)

Word up. That was some fun times.
posted by mrgoat at 1:26 PM on January 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


As a followup to what I said earlier, I first came here because I saw a mention (just can't remember where) of Metafilter on 9/11 saying it was the place to check for updates from people who were actually in NYC. To my knowledge there was nothing like it elsewhere. I became a member as soon as I could (pre-$5, but I would have paid anyway). It didn't take long before sites like Plastic and /. and K5 lost my attention.
posted by tommasz at 1:27 PM on January 17, 2011


I think it should be mentioned that this place wouldn't be what it is without the careful attention to the moderators. I just went to K5 to see what I'd been missing these last 8 years or so and I can say quite honestly that I never want to go back. First headline shown: "Judiciary Abdicated. Republic Dead. All Hail Emperor Obama!"
posted by tmt at 1:30 PM on January 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


You are now aware that Suck.com was humanity's high water mark.
posted by clarknova at 2:39 PM on January 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Shoutout to fellow husi-ites (k5 begat husi some years ago...)

Wow. It's still up. And TheophileEscargot is still there. (Theophile, you've had that handle... close to 15 years, maybe? Is it still a handle, or is it as much you as your real name, now?)
posted by Leon at 2:48 PM on January 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Crazy. I've apparently been a member (mostly inactive) since day one.
posted by eyeballkid at 3:35 PM on January 17, 2011


EyeballKid's favorite words:
never(11)....:)
posted by clavdivs at 3:53 PM on January 17, 2011


mischief's favorite [weasel] words: first(331), still(244), however(196), government(192), probably(179), since(174), years(172), already(164), public(159), believe(157)
posted by Ardiril at 4:36 PM on January 17, 2011


Like some others here mentioned, Plastic is the first internet forum where I spent a significant amount of time and effort creating an "internet persona." Unfortunately, it didn't really take and all I got is about 240 karma, 20 or so submitted stories, and numerous posts to show for it. I did get a good mix-cd out of Plastic, though, in the Plastic Music Exchange of 2004...thanks logan!

Found Mefi from Plastic, I think, so there's that too.
posted by snwod at 4:58 PM on January 17, 2011


verb's favorite words: though(55), seems(38), point(36), interesting(34), women(34), christian(32), believe(31), everyone(28), world(28), christians(26)

Oh, man. I feel like I'm 20 and annoying again.
posted by verb at 5:14 PM on January 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


fraying's favorite words: design(5), reason(4), smoke(4), community(4), workplace(4), troll(4), employees(3), competitors(3), links(3), interesting(3)
posted by fraying at 5:32 PM on January 17, 2011


My favorite part of Plastic was the strange icons they had for each category. I guess I better do a wget before they're gone...
posted by bitmage at 6:54 PM on January 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


kaz
karma: 120 (astute informative interesting compelling)
last visit: now
member since: Sun 26 Oct 2003
kaz's favorite words:
years(60), still(58), never(54), chicago(52), first(52), pretty(50), probably(43), point(41), greyhound(41), maybe(40)

All I still talk about is Chicago and greyhounds, heh. I also love that in my history on my profile page I can be seen defending hipsters even back then. So little has changed.
posted by misskaz at 8:00 PM on January 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Gosh, I had forgotten all about plastic. I hung out a lot there for a while, until it started to turn nasty. Reading the goodbye thread activated a bunch of old memories, and fired some rusty neurons. Bye plastic.
posted by Joh at 9:44 PM on January 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


sadie
karma: 34
last visit: now
member since: Mon 15 Jan 2001

Oh man... looking back at the familiar usernames...
posted by sadiehawkinstein at 9:46 PM on January 17, 2011


I've left a lot of social media sites in my online life, but this is the only one I've ever come back to.

(even if it is just to lurk)
posted by inpHilltr8r at 10:23 PM on January 17, 2011


Somehow, I signed up for Plastic the day before it launched. I have no memory of how that happened.
posted by waxpancake at 10:44 PM on January 17, 2011


I show as joining 16th January 2001. Seems awfully coincidental we all joined the same day. They must have been around before then.
posted by seanyboy at 12:19 AM on January 18, 2011


Also, how did we find out about it in those pre-twitter days. I can't remember.
posted by seanyboy at 12:20 AM on January 18, 2011


Man, I had a blasdelf@plastic.com address that must have stopped working at least four years ago.

Carl had implemented a web-based email front end in javascript using XHR, at least a year before Gmail launched. If you donated $20 to Plastic, you got an email address for your account, and it was pretty terrific for those few years.
posted by blasdelf at 3:00 AM on January 18, 2011


Is this where we lament bianca?
posted by bonefish at 3:42 AM on January 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Gosh... I haven't thought about plastic in ages. I apparently joined in 2002, the same year I started posting comments to slashdot. I suppose I'll go back and save all my old comments and my one writeup before the site goes down.
posted by gryftir at 3:46 AM on January 18, 2011


Big up the HuSi massive! I still think of it as a pretty new site, but it was going in 2003 so it's not much younger than Plastic.

Still don't like using the name in public, but I've probably written more words as Theophile Escargot than under my real name...
posted by TheophileEscargot at 3:52 AM on January 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


waxpancake: Somehow, I signed up for Plastic the day before it launched.

I did too - there must've been a clock wrong on their servers or something, because I know I signed up on Monday morning, at work, when they announced Plastic's launch at suck.com.

Also, I'm reminded that Plastic is where I first learned of MIT's Random Hall and their interest in selling the renaming rights to one floor. My daughter, now 14, still has the certificate on her wall proclaiming the name change to Destiny Floor. The auction went for $36, but I sent them $100; they promised they wouldn't spend it all on beer -- and maybe someday my c-average, math-averse daughter will have a leg-up on her MIT application, you know, because she has part of a MIT building named after her and all.
posted by AzraelBrown at 4:37 AM on January 18, 2011


karma: 95 (interesting informative astute helpful)
last visit: now
member since: Wed 24 Jan 2001


Yep, I was a Plastician back in the day - looks like I signed up that very first week, as well. Like many others, I migrated over here when signups reopened a few years ago. I miss that community. I really do wonder what happened to Carl Steadman - there was a rumor going around the site that back in 05-06 or so, he was broke and basically living in the computer room that housed the Plastic.com server.
posted by deadmessenger at 6:40 AM on January 18, 2011


I completely missed out on Plastic, since I was joined and was sucked into Metafilter just about 10 years ago to the day. It's good to see so many old names in this thread, though.
posted by crunchland at 7:50 AM on January 18, 2011


karma: 135 (funny astute informative compelling)

electroboy's favorite words:
point(65), maybe(57), probably(56), either(51), still(48), since(45), pretty(43), might(43), problem(41), never(39)

I'm not sure what that means, other than that I use a lot of qualifiers.
posted by electroboy at 9:29 AM on January 18, 2011


Count me as another who believes that the reason we survived when they did not is the moderation.

I've been lurking since March 29, 2001, and when I finally joined in 2004, many of my early (and as today, rare) comments were annoyance at the way mefi was moderated.

Being 10 years older and marginally wiser, I see now that I was 100% wrong. While I still disagree with individual decisions now and then, the MeFi team does a fantastic job and without them, I doubt that Metafilter would still be the only site from that era that I still read and love every day.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 10:56 AM on January 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


karma: 7 (astute underrated overrated helpful)
last visit: now
member since: Mon 5 Aug 2002
favorite words:
women(6), state(5), government(5)...

I feel so weird, looking at an old (and half-hearted) (and apparently both under- and overrated) self.
posted by kittyprecious at 1:46 PM on January 18, 2011


Jeeze, do the french have a name for the emotional cocktail of "Wow, I totally forgot about that and I enjoyed it maybe I'll participate again oh crap its closing down and now I'm all nostalgic for the free drop-shadow fade-in ajax web"
posted by alan at 12:32 AM on January 19, 2011


not yet
posted by kliuless at 5:27 AM on January 19, 2011


Wow, so many memories from this threat. Keepgoing.org, gettingit, Suck. Sigh.
posted by Chrysostom at 2:22 PM on January 19, 2011


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