11.30.2007


I recently achieved (very) mild internet fame. Here's how.

I'm part of this "community weblog" that basically anyone can sign up for. Its called Metafilter, and for various reasons its one of my very favorite places on the entire internets. Essentially, the way the site works is that any user can post a link to anything on the internet, given a few specific rules (it hasn't been posted before, etc.). Each user can only post one link every 24 hours, and the idea is that people should only post "the best of the web" (BOTW). So its a great way to find out about cool stuff on the internet you might have otherwise missed.

Anyway, the rather brilliant creator of this site is an internet / community moderating genius, he's written all these (basically) white papers on the subject, and he's started a few sister sites, the most successful of them being AskMetafilter.

AskMeFi is a site where, again, given a set of rules, any user can post a question for the community to answer - i.e. anyone can answer. The idea behind it is called "hive mentality" - basically the assumption that one of the other bees out there has dealt with my problem / query before, and you can usually get your question answered (questions can be about anything, as long as they're within the rules - not chatty, hypothetical, etc.). The questions work differently than the main page in that a user only gets one per week, instead of one per day.

Anyhow, AskMeFi has been so successful that it (basically) put Google Answers out of business (and I'm pretty sure that's still the only publicly-released venture they've ever shut down). Its a great site, very useful, and quite interesting.

Enter me. Yesterday some guy posts a question asking "Where do police / security dogs go when they are retired?" So I posted this answer (which I will copy-paste here for your convenience):

I used to work in Macy's Department Stores corporate offices (as a buyer, not a dog handler), above the Herald Square store in Manhattan. As the store is incredibly large (about 10 floors of retail space), they at one point had a problem with either a) homeless people hiding in the store for a warm place to sleep at night, b) would-be thieves hiding in the store waiting to plunder and then hopefully break their way out of the store after hours, or c) both.

So, naturally, they built a dog kennel on the roof. They keep about 4-5 retired police dogs (all german shepherds) up there and use them nightly for patrolling the store, after hours. I had more than a couple late nights in the office when most of the lights were out and people gone home, and I had to remind myself again and again - "they don't patrol the office floors, dummy."

I once ran into a guy on the service elevator taking a cart with bags of dog food on it up to the roof, and, being a dog lover, I started chatting him up. Turns out that his is a pretty lonely job up there on the roof, just him and the dogs, and he was more than happy to tell me all about them and invite me up for a visit.

Every once in a while I'd be driving by the store on the weekend, usually on the 35th street side, and I would see one or two of the dogs out there on the street with a handler, in the middle of the day. I'm not sure if they were using them to give the appearance of security for the sake of deterrence, or perhaps to chase down run-away shop lifters, or just giving the dogs a change of scenery.

So, that's one place some of them retire to.


Annnnnnnnnnyway...the front page of Metafilter, which probably gets about 1-200,000 visits / day (I have no idea and that's a completely random guess, but there are currently almost 63,000 registered members, so you do the extrapolating), has this "sidebar" - a column off to the left. The moderators sometimes post something they think is cool there, and then it gets a lot of visibility / hits that it otherwise wouldn't have gotten. Getting anything you wrote/did posted to the side-bar is something of an internet-nerd honor, so to speak - everyone "favorites" (tags) your answer, asks follow-on questions, etc....

Yeah so back on the fifth of November (remember, remember), I got side-barred on Metafilter.

So, yes, I am an internet nerd. And now I am a (very) mildly famous one.

2 comments:

Griffin's Mom said...

Your post makes me think of the ducks that live on the roof of the Peabody Hotel in Memphis. Those ducks are well taken care of, and they aren't even protecting anything.

Thanks for the great referral to the website and congrats.

Hawthorne said...

Congrats! we understand your nerdiness in this house, as Tony is proud to have made front page of both Fark and Slashdot.