Kvetch is dead.
July 11, 2002 2:24 PM   Subscribe

Kvetch is dead. So what, right? But some of the lessons Powazek says he learned probably also apply here, such as:
Every collaborative project eventually outgrows its owner. You start a project like this because you have a certain way of looking at the world. But when you open it up for group participation, it always changes.
posted by timeistight (25 comments total)
Ironically, we can't kvetch about the death of kvetch. Except maybe here.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:42 PM on July 11, 2002

So what is, or rather was, Kvetch? The epitaph says little, apart from the obvious.
posted by majick at 2:47 PM on July 11, 2002

kvetch was a site where you could post a blurb. if i recall correctly, that's all it was. you could write about how your car wouldn't start this morning, or that there was no hot water in the shower. there might have been categories, but i'm not sure. i didn't realize there was so much participation on the site.
posted by moz at 2:51 PM on July 11, 2002

So kvetch was like a more structured, regimented metababy?
posted by donkeyschlong at 3:02 PM on July 11, 2002

It also had a chat area, which I used for a while (as Doc).
posted by MrMoonPie at 3:03 PM on July 11, 2002

And you are implying...?

I was starting to disagree with Derek's statement, then I decided that if he's done, fine. Be done. Sometimes things change for the better, sometimes for the worse. If you owned a restaurant and hated the clientele, you'd probably either sell or close the place. Why should a web site be any different.

If you're implying Matt has somehow lost control of Metafilter, I question the idea of controlling a collaborative site to begin with. Matt controls the code and the existence of the site, but when you invite strangers to participate, you never know what you'll get. If Metafilter one day consumes itself in a fit of Farking suckfulness, I hope Matt either sells the site or shuts it down. Ultimately Metafilter is his, and we're guests here.

I never saw kvetch before, but I did something similar in 1996. (that page has been basically abandoned since January 1997, so it's sort of a self-loathing self-link) Of course I didn't know anything about databases or fully understand the potential for being swamped with emails. My page pretty much died after I started getting blatantly racist and hateful suggestions, as well as personal attacks and typed versions of things which should never go beyond the walls of a public toilet.
posted by joemaller at 3:20 PM on July 11, 2002

But when you open it up for group participation, it always changes

I can't tell how much kvetch changed between the time I first saw it and the last time I saw it. It seemed to be pretty much the same thing, people posting little blurbs about stuff they hate. I did notice a slip in quality, as there was no moderation scheme there, so many of the kvetch blurbs were nonsensical or stupid.

There's some truth to this statement, if MetaFilter turned into a juvenile shouting match on every thread, I'd probably stop too, because that wasn't what I intended the place to be. Heck, if I bought a home in a new city and unruly teenagers egged my house every night, I'd probably move.

But I do take issue with one important aspect of the statement: MetaFilter's changed lots of times since I started it, but thankfully not for the worst (or not much worse than optimum). I guess the phrase "always changes" doesn't necessarily always have to be bad changes. Some unintended changes are good (for the neighborhood analogy, a "changing" neighborhood doesn't have to be bad, good things come with change many times).
posted by mathowie at 3:23 PM on July 11, 2002

That was kind of funny, Matt. You disagreed with something that wasn't in the quote (change for the worst), and then you came around to agreeing with what Derek wrote (it always changes).

The rest of the paragraph after the part I lifted begins In this case, so the negatives he identifies are specific.

But I'm sure you can empathize with a community that outgrows its owner. You've written about how exhausting managing this site is.
posted by timeistight at 3:38 PM on July 11, 2002


i think that kvetch changed for the worst can be implied from derek's action to take it down. if it changed not for the worst, or at least for worse, couldn't it have remained? (also, i wanted to abbreviate your user name, but then i realized what it would have abbreviated to.)
posted by moz at 3:41 PM on July 11, 2002

posted by timeistight at 3:45 PM on July 11, 2002

I think he meant that he wanted to make an acronym out of it.
posted by ODiV at 3:48 PM on July 11, 2002

i think that kvetch changed for the worst can be implied from derek's action to take it down. if it changed not for the worst, or at least for worse, couldn't it have remained?

oh, i dunno. it's been running for nearly five years. sometimes things just have life spans. sometimes people want to devote their time and creative attention to new ideas rather than investing those limited resources to the maintenance of something that had apparently fulfilled what he'd hoped it would. i don't think you need to assume a failure just because derek's decided he's no longer interested in devoting time & energy & hosting costs.
posted by judith at 3:48 PM on July 11, 2002

ODiv (would that be O.D. for short?): thanks. I had actually figured that out myself.

I'm not mourning the loss of this site. I'd never been there before I clicked on Zeldman's link today. I just thought he had some interesting things to say about community sites.
posted by timeistight at 3:55 PM on July 11, 2002

I'm mourning it; Kvetch was an ongoing celebration of the urge to complain. There also may never be another Powazek site devoted to such anti-social ends.
posted by rcade at 4:05 PM on July 11, 2002

i never liked kvetch. i'd popped in a few times over the years but i never really understood the point. if i want to hear people bitch about something, i can just take the cotton out of my ears.
posted by dobbs at 4:26 PM on July 11, 2002

Kvetch was a truly great site. Thank you, Derek - it was fabulous.
posted by kristin at 5:00 PM on July 11, 2002

I wonder what your motive in structuring the post the way you did and the quote you chose to illustrate it with is, timeis. I have the greatest respect for Derek as someone who makes nice looking sites, but I never enjoyed the content on any of them when I visited. I don't think it's fair to draw or imply any comparison between Metafilter and kvetch, nor between Matt and Derek.
posted by Lynsey at 5:27 PM on July 11, 2002

Damn! That site was worthwhile. I mean it was a great place to check out every couple of months to see near tragedy twisted into humour. The nameless, faceless masses of the web seemed human. And people without websites posted there.
posted by kofisaffu at 5:31 PM on July 11, 2002

Lynsey: Here's my motive. I wanted to engender discussion about collaborative websites in general and about the relationship between their owners and their other participants.

I find that fascinating, perhaps because i can't imagine putting that much work into something that could pretty much veer off in its own direction at any time. Heck, there are times when I've wished I could shut down threads started. If I ran the whole site I'd be a dictatorial asshole.

And I don't think you know me well enough to use my first name. Please call me Mr. Tight.
posted by timeistight at 6:15 PM on July 11, 2002

I'd forgotten all about Kvetch...but I did visit it several times a few years ago, and got a kick out of it. In fact, I think it was the first site I ever posted a comment to. It was (sometimes) funny, and always easy to use.
posted by Badmichelle at 11:08 PM on July 11, 2002

That tombstone graphic is outstanding, especially (only?) if you remember kvetch.com's dial-a-kvetch user interface. Derek never ceases to amaze and entertain.
posted by dsandl at 12:36 AM on July 12, 2002

"And I don't think you know me well enough to use my first name. Please call me Mr. Tight."

I definitely don't know you well enough to call you that.
posted by webmutant at 3:09 AM on July 12, 2002

For anyone who missed it, here's a glimpse of what kvetch used to look like.

It's immensely gratifying to know that I made a site that people enjoyed. Thanks, all.
posted by fraying at 9:57 AM on July 12, 2002

Kvetch is dead.

I think it's because it was redundant. I mean, we have MetaTalk, don't we?
posted by crunchland at 5:26 PM on July 12, 2002

That's Ms. Lynsey to you, bub.
posted by Lynsey at 8:30 PM on July 12, 2002

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