Talking Tech Friday – Ask MetaFilter

Today’s topic is a little different that my usual post, but I thought it would be a good one. So today I bring you – Ask MetaFilter!


What is it?

Ask MetaFilter is the “questions and answers” offshoot of MetaFilter, which is a collaborative blog.  MetaFilter gets a little complex to describe, so I thought I’d stick with Ask MetaFilter, which still gives me plenty to discuss.  Basically, people post questions and receive answers.

How does it work?

In order to ask questions or post answers, you need to register for a MetaFilter account. Registration has a one-time fee of $5.  To register, just input a username, password, real name (if desired), and email address.  Anyone can browse the site and read questions and answers – you just have to be a member to post questions and answers.

MetaFilter (or MeFi, for short), as a whole, is a moderated site – there are 4 moderators, including‘s Jessamyn West.   The site tries to cultivate a community feeling, and the Ask MetaFilter service really seems to do this well.  When browsing the site, I never saw an off-topic or unhelpful post.

Ask MetaFilter has som basic guidelines for posting questions. Questions range anywhere from Where can I get the best Corndogs in California? to how to fix one’s boyfriend’s table manners to naming a song from tv show or even general life advice.  If a questioner gets an answer they mark as “best”, the question will have a green checkmark next to it.  You can browse Ask MeFi by tags, categories, answered questions, unanswered questions, or most popular questions.  You can also subscribe to RSS feeds for Ask MeFi as a whole, by individual question, or by any of the browsing categories above.

Possible Library Uses

In many ways, Ask MetaFilter is a reference tool.  Librarians can make a point to browse and answer questions, and it’s a good source for information on a variety of topics.  I might not be able to answer questions about fashion, but I’d be happy to point someone else to a similar question and let them make their own decision.  If nothing else, it’s an interesting place to browse – I am ashamed to admit how long it took me to write this post because I kept getting distracted.



~ by Anali on May 8, 2009.