Take a Seat at the New Malt Shop
May 16, 2017 3:26 PM   Subscribe

In 2014, MeFite-beloved image sharing site MLKSHK (pronounced "Milk Shake") announced it was shutting down. But have no fear! A dedicated group of volunteer users has worked hard to put together a replacement site based on the original -- and it launched today! Introducing MLTSHP (pronounced "Malt Shop")! See Popular Posts for public-facing content.

The Milk
The site just launched and is running a little slow at the moment, so please be patient. See the MLTSHP blog for more details, or follow the team on Twitter.

The Ice Cream
* When Andre and Amber (MLKSHK's creators) announced that they were shutting MLKSHK down, they took steps to preserve the site's content for its users:
- They reached out to the Archive Team, who grabbed nearly 2TB of images and other assets, which will eventually make its way into the Internet Archive’s collections.
- In an incredible act of kindness, Amber and Andre then donated the site to the MLKSHK community. They gave the code, assets, and anonymized database to a small workgroup of volunteers. Who then open-sourced the code with permission and raised over $3,000 in a fund drive to cover startup costs to get MLTSHP off the ground.
* See this post from Mefi's Own waxpancake for more details.
* The MLTSHP project has included volunteers across 26(!) time zones, including Mefi's Own Jessamyn!

Flavoring, Candy, Sprinkles and Whipped Cream
* All memberships on MLTSHP are paid. Standard 'Single scoop' level is $3 per year. If you had an account at the old mlkshk.com, this level allows you to migrate your old profile and content.
* You can also set up a Pro account at 'Double scoop' level for $24 per year.
* Other than the Popular page, the site will only be viewable by members who are logged in. They may introduce a public preview option for the popular page, and possibly others.
* MLTSHP Browser extensions are also available to members.
posted by zarq (51 comments total) 41 users marked this as a favorite
Can I keep the MLKSHK icon on my mefi profile anyway?

I didn't post much, but man I loved MLKSHK.
posted by ctmf at 3:30 PM on May 16, 2017

Worth mentioning - if you were a former MLKSHKer, you can just log in under your old username and password. Once you choose a membership tier, then you can restore your old content.

Pretty cool, and seems to be a tremendous effort from everyone involved. I'm glad they're introducing the mandatory pricing scheme so they'll be able to cover the server costs and keep the place running.

(obligatory profile link)
posted by naju at 3:33 PM on May 16, 2017 [6 favorites]

This makes me really happy, thanks to everyone who put so much work in!
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 3:57 PM on May 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

Hey: This site is interesting, but what exactly is it? What does buying in get me? What makes this different from say, Imgur?
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 4:03 PM on May 16, 2017 [5 favorites]

Wondering the same thing as Mr. Encyclopedia. I. Don't. Get. It
posted by Outlawyr at 4:06 PM on May 16, 2017

To try to answer: Mltshp isn't an image-hosting site. It's a visuals-oriented community. The overriding vibe is friendliness. Mltshp is to Imgur as Metafilter is to Fark or /r/TrollXChromosomes is to /r/The_Donald.
posted by Mo Nickels at 4:16 PM on May 16, 2017 [5 favorites]

Think of it this way: MLTSHP/MLTSHK have the vibe that the blogging world did when Metafilter started in 1999. To quote Metafilter's own anildash, it feels like the web we lost.
posted by Mo Nickels at 4:19 PM on May 16, 2017 [4 favorites]

So, um, I don't actually know what Imgur is. Can you explain this to me like I'm someone who is new to the internet?
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 4:35 PM on May 16, 2017

ArbitraryandCapricious: Imgur is an image hosting service. It was started as a place to host images for Reddit, but eventually expanded into a weird community in its own right with commenting and stuff.
posted by SansPoint at 4:49 PM on May 16, 2017

Ah, ok, so this is a place where you can post photos (? or other images as well?) and people will comment on them without being jerks?
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 4:50 PM on May 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

Mo Nickels is right. If you're like me, you kept coming back to MetaFilter because you found yourself engaging with the community as much as you did the interesting content. MLKSHK/MLTSHP have that same vibe. Sure, people share images that are funny, interesting, quirky, weird - that either appeals to you or it doesn't. But the small, yet tight-knit community that formed around MLKSHK was the special part that made people rally for it and donate when it initially was going to close in 2014, and the community is what kept it alive for three more years after that (until it closed this April.) And the community is what crowdsourced $3000 to fund a new site, and it's what got smart dedicated people to launch MLTSHP.

The vibe is non-jerky, funny, friendly, sometimes geeky, sometimes hip, and always there for you with Friday gif dance parties.

It also helps that MLKSHK/MLTSHP make image sharing and reposting easy and fun. The browser plugins are pretty neat. The layout just works. There's a NSFW overlay in case you're browsing at work. Etc.

(I'm not intending to shill for anything, by the way. Just explaining the particular appeal that drew me in.)
posted by naju at 4:58 PM on May 16, 2017 [5 favorites]

I guess $3/year is the new $5/once.
posted by Going To Maine at 5:10 PM on May 16, 2017 [2 favorites]

What this means in the real world is this nearly-nightly scene:

Me: * inane chuckling *
Spouse: What
Me: It's not funny
Me: * Inane chuckling intensifies *
Spouse: You going to show me?
Me: Well, it's this
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 5:19 PM on May 16, 2017 [5 favorites]

When I saw the announcement I mentally pronounced it Melt Shape, but Malt Shop makes much more sense.
posted by pemberkins at 6:00 PM on May 16, 2017


There has been a tremendous amount of good will, generosity, and hard work put into this by a crowd of folks who loved mlkshk and wanted to see it continue in spirit while letting Andre and Amber finally actually stop worrying about maintaining and being responsible for the original site. I have been hanging around dropping the occasional bit of brainstorming or community management insight but done very very little of the work involved; huge huge kudos and thanks to Jessamyn, Brad, and bunch of other people who have made this happen.

When I saw the announcement I mentally pronounced it Melt Shape

There's a whole spreadsheet somewhere full of alternate interpretations/expansions of mltshp. I'm not sure it'd be appropriate for me to make it public, but my suggestions included:

Millet, Shep
Mallet Shopper
Maltese Hoop
Machiavellistic Sabbathkeeper
Minimalist Sextonship
posted by cortex at 6:17 PM on May 16, 2017 [10 favorites]

This is great news! When I signed up it turned out to be one new thing too many to wrangle, so I didn't do much of anything with it. I probably have more MeFi friends now, so this should be fun. Thanks to all for the hard work!
posted by Room 641-A at 6:22 PM on May 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

huge huge kudos and thanks to Jessamyn, Brad, and bunch of other people who have made this happen.

You know how sometimes you have an idea and unlike other ideas this one just sort of makes the back of your ears hot until you have to DO SOMETHING about it? That was me and the "OK MLKSHK can't go away" feeling. So a bunch of us got together to mope on Facebook and then I think we set up a Slack... I am unclear on the timeframe here but I do know that I talked to Andre and he said "Yeah we could maybe make some of that work..." and everyone LOST IT and we've been losing it straight through for two months and I am nearly dead from all of this.

So for people who are like "WTF?" MLTSHP is basically an image sharing community, emphasis on the "community" part. It's like if MetaFilter only let you post pictures and you could curate your own picture threads, sort of (called "shakes" they're not really threads like you might think of them). So part of the fun is seeing the pictures people share. Part of it is seeing some of the curated threads people make and taking part. So there is one for selfies. There is one for dutch babies (those popover things we all somehow started making and photographing) There is one I curate called Did Not Buy which is all stuff from thrift stores that I took photos of instead of buying.

It's a small community (a few hundred members who are really active, many more who are less active assuming they come over from MLKSHK) and a lot of people you've heard of from here and elsewhere. It's simple. We have a Code of Conduct. We're all volunteer. We have (a little) money in the bank and we have a sustainable business model. I did all the paperwork so my name is on some stuff. Brad Choate did the lion's share of the code leadership stuff but many other people did a million other little jobs from working on docs to helping with our initial fundraiser to just keeping morale up so this would all work out.

Not since MetaFilter have I had a place on the internet which has felt so much like home. Today has been a really great day.
posted by jessamyn at 6:54 PM on May 16, 2017 [34 favorites]

I'm so excited for MLTSHP to be back, Imma going to have to cook up some dutch babies this weekend to celebrate!
posted by jazon at 7:19 PM on May 16, 2017 [3 favorites]

I called it Melt Ship today.
posted by not_on_display at 8:05 PM on May 16, 2017

I can't help but call it Milt Ship, which is oogy.
posted by scruss at 8:14 PM on May 16, 2017

So I've always wondered WTF MLKSHK was all about but never bothered to learn until this post and specifically this fantastic comment and I immediately signed up for MLTSHP. I'm really excited!

One confession: I poked around after signing up but forgot that I have an extension that blocks comments, so my initial thoughts were "okay, this is actually really lame, it's like a less addictive Imgur, ugh I want my $3 back". But my hope was renewed when y'all mentioned dutch babies — my favorite hat trick to impress guests! — and after clicking that link I finally remembered to disable the plug in.

Long story short, I've been a member less than 2 hours but now I have enough dutch baby recipes to get me through next year, so thank you everyone who kindly explained what it was all about and made it sound so welcoming so that I finally joined (the second incarnation) after all this time!
posted by the thorn bushes have roses at 8:24 PM on May 16, 2017 [5 favorites]

Huzzah! Great news. Although I posted rarely on Mlkshk, I really enjoyed checking in every so often to see others' shakes, so I'm looking forward to joining.

Many thanks to Amber and Andre for donating Mlkshk so it could be reincarnated, and to Brad and jessamyn and all of the volunteers for making this work.
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 8:50 PM on May 16, 2017 [1 favorite]


Thanks so much for the hard work everyone! What an amazing community.

I signed up all the way, baby. Come say hi! I'm williwaw, which is a kind of katabatic wind (just cuz I love that word).

OFF TO FIND OTHERS (and upload pics) YAY
posted by barchan at 8:55 PM on May 16, 2017 [2 favorites]

It sure is snappier than mlkshk in loading the page. So far.
posted by ctmf at 9:08 PM on May 16, 2017

Me: It's not funny

It are me! I made that... in the interregnum between mlkshk and mltshp, I realized that what i needed most in the mlkshkniverse was a place to put my inane ideas online where others could judge them gently and at their leisure.

p.s. I've already contacted the modverse to put mltshp on the "also on" drop down in our profiles.

p.p.s. Thank you to jessamyn and everyone who made mltshp happen, it's wonderful and you are all wonderful for committing to it.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 9:46 PM on May 16, 2017 [3 favorites]

Strive for more.
posted by ardgedee at 4:11 AM on May 17, 2017 [6 favorites]

Signed up! First photo up! Sideways but that's probably how I took it! Yay!
posted by mdonley at 5:03 AM on May 17, 2017

I am over the moon that mltshp has launched! Been following the Facebook and Slack but none of my skills were relevant so just donated and liked posts. I was an active poster a few years ago on mlkshk but was more of a reader the last two, but a 'new' shake is the impetus I need. Follow me for things I found amusing or adorable (that normally I spam friends with, this is a better output!).
posted by ellieBOA at 5:06 AM on May 17, 2017 [3 favorites]

It sure is snappier than mlkshk in loading the page. So far.

I don't know the specifics but we changed a few things both about hosting and how MONSTER GIFs are rendered that should help with some of that stuff. I am hoping the peppiness lasts because MLKSHK was a bit of a struggle for my old computers.

I've already contacted the modverse to put mltshp on the "also on" drop down in our profiles.

Since the users who are shifting over will have the same usernames (if they want them) we may be able to do something where we just retire MLKSHK "also on" and change it right over to MLTSHP. I'll be interested to see what the Venn diagram of site users looks like.
posted by jessamyn at 6:37 AM on May 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

I guess I had a mlkshk account though I don't recall ever using it. I just signed up for the $3.00 level of mltshp (unclmltyshp?) based on this thread and because people I respect and trust are saying good things about it. Not sure what I'll do with it, but I'll give it a go.

So... now that I'm in... where do I start?
posted by bondcliff at 7:07 AM on May 17, 2017

where do I start

The ways people use the site vary considerably. What first hooked me was the browser plugin that allowed me to save stuff from my constant image-grazing around the web, to my own shake--I'd always been a packrat, but the social aspect of this, as opposed to simply saving to the INTERNET CRAP folder locally, was and is magic.

Other folks seem to mainly post their own material.

One entity only posted what were possibly automated, polemical images with idiosyncratic fonts, which I am not making up.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 7:16 AM on May 17, 2017 [3 favorites]

Yeah, it's a nice rich textural stew, to mangle a metaphor. The mix of personal life pics, creative work (oh hi it's me), found imagery, internet memery, and Who Knows What is a big part of the appeal for me, since you can really find kinda whatever you like and focus on that through follows for what shows up on your front page. Or you can go to Popular for a quick daily update, or go to Incoming to drink from the firehose.

Haunting Popular and Incoming for stuff to comment on, tagging in on or initiating riffing sessions respectively, is one of the things I've missed most in the lacuna, since I went on a self-imposed hiatus from the temporary beta site during testing to avoid feeling loss about that test activity being (rightly, tho) wiped.

One entity only posted what were possibly automated, polemical images with idiosyncratic fonts, which I am not making up.

One of the great weird mysteries of mlkshk, and one of the great heartbreaks when they went from their first long stretch of apparent semantic rudderlessness with images drawing mostly from pop culture and pseudo-poetic inspirational poster chaff to being fairly suddenly Clearly In The Bag For Trump. Sucked a lot of joy out of what had been an abiding strangeness.
posted by cortex at 8:31 AM on May 17, 2017 [2 favorites]

Mltshp ergo sum
posted by infini at 10:00 AM on May 17, 2017

I'm having so much fun! Like most community-oriented web things I'm always sorry when I actually sign up that I didn't sign up a really long time ago. Thank you again everyone for bringing it back.

One of the great joys of this site (for me) is the punning, joke, and title skills people have - for a visual image site there's a lot of really clever word play that I especially love.

Also all those people with a similar twisted sense of humor - I love you people.
posted by barchan at 10:10 AM on May 17, 2017 [3 favorites]

Signed up! First photo up! Sideways but that's probably how I took it! Yay!

Mine is too. I've tried a bunch and they all are.
posted by Room 641-A at 5:05 PM on May 17, 2017

Huh, it also rotated the one photo I've uploaded that I took myself.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 5:26 PM on May 17, 2017

This site is everything I wanted Imgur or Instagram to be.
posted by reenum at 4:35 AM on May 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

What tipped my hand on signing up was actually 'you're asking me for money, honestly and upfront, for a service'. Now I'll try to figure out what I want to do with my account, beyond just posting random pictures of Vienna.
posted by frimble at 5:10 AM on May 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

If you just end up being "that person who keeps posting random pictures of Vienna" you'll be in good shape already, I think.
posted by cortex at 7:16 AM on May 18, 2017 [4 favorites]

Yeah we were afraid, originally, that hosting a ton of animated GIFs and hotlinking them would wind up giving us HUGE bandwidth bills that we couldn't manage. The three things that sunk the older site were: legal threats, spammers and irregular $$ stuff. We tried to approach MLTSHP with answers to all of those (war chest, free lawyering, making animated GIFs into videos, small paywall &c). Now that we've launched we need to see if the site stays stable (yes, so far) and how we bring in new members (not sure, but hey hi!) and doing an real redesign so people quit bugging Andre about whether he knows we ganked his site's look and feel (yes, but it's complicated).

The rotating thing has to do with a weird thing about how phones manage rotation information which I only understand in a hand-wavey way but I suggest people check Github to see if it's an issue (or contact me and I can make sure0 and be assured we are slow-motion working on it.
posted by jessamyn at 10:20 AM on May 18, 2017 [3 favorites]

Also, hey, we added mltshp to Social Apps for MeFi profiles! (Confidential to Jess: we chewed on it and decided that automatically turning existing mlkshk social entries into mltshp entries would be too weird, as much as I like the idea for its cleverness.)
posted by cortex at 3:17 PM on May 18, 2017 [2 favorites]

(Confidential to Josh: totally cool but can you remove the MLKSHK entries because they are no longer going to anyplace...?)
posted by jessamyn at 3:43 PM on May 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

(Confidential to Jess: oh dag i thought we did)

(Confidentialer to Jess: in retrospect I'm not sure this is a secure channel)
posted by cortex at 4:19 PM on May 18, 2017 [2 favorites]

For people who are interested in the thing but maybe don't need to be a part of the thing, popular MLTSHP stuff now hits this twitter feed too.
posted by jessamyn at 5:51 PM on May 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

dunno what happened but all the images are now being served by a server s.mltshp.com that doesn't exist. I have to click through to see images.
posted by scruss at 4:46 AM on May 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

It's been flagged in the facebook group.
posted by ellieBOA at 5:56 AM on May 19, 2017

Oh, I didn't realize pictures were only visible to members. That's actually pretty disappointing for me. Ah well.

PS: I'm there too, same username.
posted by maryr at 6:21 AM on May 19, 2017

dunno what happened but

Remember back in the day when pb and mathowie would occasionally push out new changes to the site sometimes late at night sometimes right before a weekend when one or both of them was on vacation? Well I missed that working environment and decided to recreate it!

in all seriousness, we're working on this and should have a fix for it soon
posted by jessamyn at 7:09 AM on May 19, 2017 [3 favorites]

it is fixed
posted by jessamyn at 8:32 AM on May 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

Ok, I'm kind of liking mltshp.

Those of you on the inside... where is a good place to suggest bug fixes or features?
posted by bondcliff at 7:27 AM on May 23, 2017

If you have a GitHub account and are comfortable using it, you can be invited to the project and file tickets directly. Otherwise there's a Slack team to discuss things and a Google Drive form you can fill out that will email your report to Brad Choate. Memail for the hookups.
posted by ardgedee at 7:51 AM on May 23, 2017 [2 favorites]

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