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In a number of years on April 1st for April Fools' Day the MetaFilter staff have played some sort of prank or joke on MetaFilter members.
- 2000 — For MetaFilter's first April Fools, the front page was modified to look like Dave Winer's Scripting News (via archive.org, unfortunately the images don't work).
- 2001 — Nothing happened, as mathowie ran out of time.
- As a belated prank, in May of 2001 mathowie admitted that mefi was populated by Eliza bots, not people with a redirect to sorry.metafilter.com (recap). After the Kaycee Nicole saga unfolded, this joke was taken seriously (via archive.org) (discussion).
- 2002 — MetaFilter and Kuro5hin merge to form met4filter (via archive.org) (discussion).
- 2003 — MetaFilter bought by Google (via archive.org) (discussion).
- 2004 — MetaFilter turned into a wiki (discussion).
- 2005 — Nothing happened (discussion).
- 2006 — Nothing happened (discussion).
- 2007 — Ask MetaFilter shows fun questions (discussion).
- 2008 — The site's background undergoes a gradual color shift. While the prank was active, it spawned two discussion threads: one and two.
- 2009 — MetaTalk comments are disemvowelled to "reclaim some bandwidth costs."
- 2010 — Nothing happened, provoking discussion, recursive discussion, and jessamyn's explanation.
- 2011 — The inaugural episode of the Metafilter Comics Digest podcast (transcript).
- 2012 — Everyone is staff in MetaTalk.
- 2013 — Metafilter gets a makeover, like Pinterest with lolcats. Notice, different versions are available at the top left, like Tumblr, ponies, and doggies. Here's a permanent link, and the doggies version. See MetaFilterest for photo attributions.
- 2014 — Ask Metafilter has fun questions again, and you can reply, though you should answer the question. Metadiscussion happens in Metatalk. See the April Fools 2014 Answer Key for spoilers.
- 2015 — Quick design improvement test stepped up the 2008 color changing fun with all colors changing on the MetaFilter front page. This time the colors were a tribute to the dress. You can stop and resume the test.
- 2016 — MetaFilter announces a partnership with Spell, Actualy™. Deployed as a test in the "Paradigm shifting the edit window" MetaTalk thread, it combines an agile low-drag implementation framework with a crowd-sourced training corpus and a cutting edge self-directing neural networking substrate to produce lightning-fast grammatical transformations without relying on external “expert” sources for spelling information.
- 2017 — The Faves & Flags roleplaying system! The manual was posted in the Metatalk announcement. An adventure was also run.
- 2018 — "Give the new MetaFilter Reader interface a shot! Clean, classic design; mobile friendly; it even comes with its own games!" Announced on Metatalk: "Bringing back gopher was just the start."
- 2019 — The world's first interactive crouton petting zoo. MetaTalk
- Yearly Traditions — MetaFilter has a number of other annual traditions.