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Metafilter Quiz

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In July 2009, goodnewsfortheinsane posted a Metafilter Quiz to honour the site's tenth anniversary. This page serves to explain the background behind its questions and answers.

Please note the order of the answers are randomized for each question, but the order of questions is static.

Much info can be found in the Timeline.


(Spoilers! Take the quiz first!)

01. Q: As of July 2009, which of the following is not an active subsite of Metafilter?
       A: Music, Jobs, and Projects are all MeFi subsites. Despite many requests, will probably never happen.
02. Q: In October 2006, Matt Haughey revoked what site feature, eliciting protest that lasts to this day (July 2009)?
       A: In 2006 mathowie turned off the <img> tag while fixing cross-site scripting vulnerabilities. He never turned it back on.
03. Q: Which of the following is *not* a Metafilter catch phrase typed in all capitals?
       A: YEAH WELL YOUR FACE very well may become a MeFi catchphrase now that it's been singled out.

04. Q: An early Ask Metafilter question from June 2004 gained notoriety for what unusual answer?
       A: First be smart from the very beginning... Here's scarabic's corpse disposal best answer. Okay. Awkward.
05. Q: In January of 2009, Metafilter went offline for hours and experienced unreliable uptime for days when what happened?
       A: Who attacted Metafilter, How, and can they be tracked down and made to squeal?
06. Q: Which of the following was never a weblog of mathowie's?
       A: SUVBlog is a great red herring for two reasons. First, it looks like PVRblog (Matt's site about DVR/TiVO stuff) and Second, he does have an MPG site called Fuelly.
07. Q: In October 2006, a question was posted to Ask Metafilter inquiring about the nature of a mysterious-looking viral marketing effort on What did the advertisement eventually turn out to be for?
       A: It's a "fucking ski resort" because holy shit what a letdown after such an epic AskMe thread.
08. Q: Like many successful shows, Metafilter has generated its fair share of spin-offs. Which of the following websites is not a site spawned or directly inspired by Metafilter?
       A: Excellent usage of the classic portmanteau misdirection. MonkeyFilter yes, MetaChat yes, MonkeyChat no.
09. Q: In March 2007, anildash (Anil Dash) posted to MetaTalk with which suggestion for the site, which was met with widespread derision?
       A: Anil should have used some better phrasing when suggesting a white background for AskMe.
10. Q: Which of the following persons did *not* sign up with Metafilter to respond a thread of which they were the subject?
       A: Dennis Kucinich is not a MeFite. Or at least he's not out as a MeFite.

11. Metafilter is known for occasional investigations by its members into suspected hoaxes and false or misleading information online. Which of the following was *not* a product of grassroots sleuthing by Mefites?

  • A Kansas woman wrote an online diary about her "gravely ill daughter", who turned out to be entirely fictional.
  • A request for advice in Ask Metafilter about choosing a charity to support was revealed to be an attempt at astroturfing by the co-founder of a charity organization.
  • A link was posted to a YouTube video showing an attempt at breaking the world record for popping the largest amount of balloons simultaneously, but a commenter who was present at the event noted that the video seemed to exaggerate the number of balloons in the attempt, and deliberately edited out the part where a large number of balloons were popped prematurely.
  • The New York Times Magazine featured images by a photographer who claimed not to use digital manipulation in his works, but the photos in the feature were demonstrated to have been seriously altered.

12. Which of the following is *not* a description of a celebrity Mefite?

  • Elton John impersonator from Italy who hosts a weekly hour-long show on RAI Due.
  • Co-founder of Apple Computer, Inc. and creator of some of its early models of personal computer.
  • Presenter of a popular science program on the Discovery Channel which focuses on debunking urban legends.
  • Portuguese writer and journalist educated in England, with a taste for Martinis and fine cigars.

13. An often-linked photograph shows MeFi moderator cortex (Josh Millard) doing what?

14. Which of the following *is* a virtually universally accepted convention on Metafilter?

  • A preceding comment, or perhaps a portion of text from material linked in the thread, is quoted by putting the relevant text in italics.
  • Except for YELLING IN ALL CAPS (italics & bold work too), the others attract mockery.

15. In May 2006, jessamyn (Jessamyn West) surprised MetaTalk readers with a link to an image depicting what?

16. Which of the following newspapers or television shows has *not* (yet) devoted an article or airtime to Metafilter specifically?

17. The longest thread on Metafilter or any of its subsites by number of comments, as of July 17, 2009, was spawned by what post?

Note: the length of these threads can crash browsers. The page Longest Threads has more info.

  • A post on the selection of the Republican candidate for Vice President in the 2008 United States presidential election.
  • A MetaTalk post which had the same post number as a legendary Metafilter thread with the same number.
  • A discussion of the removal of all posts made by a specific author on the Boing Boing website.
  • A link to a parody of how a 'typical' Metafilter thread plays out.
    • 9622 - 1,729 Comments
  • A post in which the poster related an anecdote about a grocery store checker's inability to correctly identify a portobello mushroom.
    • see Mushrooms for more of the story - 1,032 comments
  • An Ask Metafilter question about a mysterious viral marketing effort on a site called "".

18. In 2005 and 2006, MetaTalk threads which had more or less run its (original) course but were not yet closed to comments were colonized by a drifting band of nomadic posters who dubbed these threads the "longboats". Eventually this term came to be applied to any long thread which veered from the original topic into slow-chat. But what is the origin of the term "longboat"?

  • When a commenter mentioned wanting to own such a boat, someone else replied with a link to a photograph the original commenter made of a Viking boat on top of a building in Reykjavík, Iceland, prompting them to insist that it was not *their* boat.

19. Metafilter now has a flagging mechanism which helps readers bring posts or comments to the attention of moderators. When clicking the flag icon one is presented with a range of options to specify the reason for flagging the contribution. As of July 2009, which of the following is *not* one of them?

  • troll/spam

20. In 2005, a fundraiser was organized in which one of two Mefites somewhat known for controversy in the Metafilter community would be banned from posting for a week if their "camp" would be the first to raise US $500 for Creative Commons. Member dios volunteered to be pitted against which other member?

21. In some years an April Fools' Day stunt is organized for Metafilter. Which of the following does not describe one of them? See April Fools.

22. In 2007 some Mefites started an annual "Secret Santa" Christmas gift exchange. Under what name?

23. Metafilter used to have rotating tag lines below its front page logo. Which of the following was never one of them? See Banners.

  • "everyone needs a hug"
    • This is mentioned under the comment box on MetaTalk.

24. In late 2007 the first Metafilter Music collaboration was organized in which over two dozen members on three continents submitted parts for a single song.

Which song was selected for the collaboration?

25. A pain for the mods, a delight to disaster tourists, and rare as of late: the flameout, where someone gets very angry and subsequently gets banned or stops contributing to the site.

Which of the following do *not* describe an actual flame-out by a Metafilter member?

See Juicy Flameouts.

  • A poster threatened to take legal action against Metafilter when their obituary post on the death of singer James Brown was deleted.
  • A commenter posted a "spoiler" revealing the ending of the then-new Harry Potter book and was unable or unwilling to understand why anyone would take issue.
  • A member insisted another member was not being truthful and bet their right hand on it.
  • A Mefite took issue with the term "drama queen", insisting it was homophobic.

26. In 2007, a line from a 1995 episode of "The Simpsons" was subject to heated debate across the internet when opposing camps interpreted a character's claim of being a "Viking at sleep" as either literal (dreams of being a Norseman warrior-explorer) or metaphorical (being exceptionally adept at sleeping).

In October of that year the matter seemed resolved when Mefite Greg Nog questioned (by way of Xeni Jardin on Boing Boing TV) "Simpsons" director David Silverman about the matter:

"Does Ralph mean he dreams of being being a literal viking when he sleeps, or does he use "viking" as an absurd way of saying that he excels at the act of sleeping?"

But how did Silverman respond?

  • "I'm pretty sure he means that when Ralph falls asleep, that's when he becomes a Viking."

27. Considering the Metafilter community's diversity, it is not that uncommon to post a question to Ask Metafilter on an obscure topic, say, the mating habits of the North Tasmanian freshwater mollusk, only to have someone reply "oh, I happen to be writing a *book* on them"!

Which of the following is *not* an example of an actual instance in which someone in a unique position to answer was in the right thread at the right time to help the asker out?

  • The poster was looking for the address in Vienna where their grandfather lived before fleeing the Nazis. An employee of the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. not only was able to provide this information to the asker but also put them in touch with various documents relating to their grandparents.
  • thread, and an informed response in 32 minutes.
  • A search for the title of an out-of-print LP by an obscure 1970s Australian jangle pop band called "Sundae Mourning" was resolved when one of the band members stepped in, and ultimately personally mailed the asker a copy.
  • A vaguely recollected poem from a magazine dedicated to the Commodore Amiga computer, published over a decade prior, turned out to have been penned by a work colleague of the answerer.

28. In 2004 PinkStainlessTail sang and recorded a version of a well-known song using only what three words?

29. Meetups and bugs, callouts and flameouts: everybody loves MetaTalk, everybody hates MetaTalk, and everyone needs a hug.

But before its creation, which of the following old-school Mefites actually made the suggestion that "an ongoing meta-metafilter topic someplace would be a useful addition, in its own section"?

30. In 2007, fandango_matt parodied a Boy Scouts of America internet safety guide comic, replacing the words to make the story about Metafilter.

"Be Safe and Smart on Metafilter!" starred anthropomorphic animals as mathowie, jessamyn and cortex and was very well received.

Which of the following is not a quote from the parody?

(original location, cortex's mirror)

  • "Remember that the moderators are always open to bribes."