Top 5 and Why
February 22, 2013 8:31 PM   Subscribe

What are your top 5 websites and why? Excluding metafilter (of course).

I am looking to expand my must visit sites. I feel like I am in an internet rut. I want new sites to check out. I'm not going to exclude anything here. If you like it enough to consider it one of your top 5 picks I want to know (even if the content isn't updated daily) and be sure to say why.

I tend to visit tech and writer sites, but would like new places to visit. Not looking for the one off cool post, but quality sites you visit often.

Thanks in advance!
posted by cjorgensen to Computers & Internet (34 answers total) 283 users marked this as a favorite
I like Daily Beast, especially David Frum's contributions. It's always good to read someone who challenges your assumptions, and Frum - a conservative - does so in a respectful way.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:53 PM on February 22, 2013 [2 favorites]

According to my Google Reader feed, the feeds I read the most include Futility Closet,, and The Singles Jukebox.
These are all single-topic blogs but they're really quite fun reading.
posted by LSK at 9:01 PM on February 22, 2013 [2 favorites]

I'm a political junkie - so five-thirty-eight is a good starting place.

I read a lot on behavioral economics and management theory, so Farnam Street is the best. Technically, I don't go to their website directly anymore - I get them in my RSS feed.

I continually am challenged to display a lot of data that doesn't readily lend itself to bar charts and line charts, so I turn to Flowing Data for some interesting.

Gin and Tacos is a great site for cutting down political bullshit and also no politics friday.

I used to read Stack Overflow, but it really isn't arranged to find anything anymore, so if I just need some quick info, I generally wind up at w3schools for coding help.

Honorable mention: I do read XKCD and its offshoot what-if every week religiously.

Also an Honorable mention: The 506 is a great site for seeing TV maps of every NFL game.
posted by Nanukthedog at 9:21 PM on February 22, 2013 [4 favorites]

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:25 PM on February 22, 2013

Instapundit. Ace of Spades. Hot Air. Power Line. Volokh Conspiracy.

Why? They all post often and I enjoy reading what they write.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 9:27 PM on February 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

Stackexchange/Askubuntu is a pretty common one in my life
Jewschool (disclaimer: I write for them sooo I'm biased)
Tutsplus. Great audio tutorials.
posted by lhude sing cuccu at 9:29 PM on February 22, 2013

Slashdot. "News for Nerds", 'nuff said.
Fark. News for bored weirdos.
Google News - Everything else.
Kongregate. I already said I get bored easily. ;)
Weather Underground. Y'don't need a weatherman to... Well, yeah, you do. Good to know if I should expect to shovel tomorrow.

KokuRyu : Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal.

I like your style.
posted by pla at 9:34 PM on February 22, 2013

The Awl and their sub sites are my favorite 'all around' broad interest sites for good, funny, thoughtful, lefty writing, links, etc. There's a nice balance of light and depth. I read a ton of blogs but most have a pretty specific focus. Say more about what topics you're interested in?
posted by latkes at 9:49 PM on February 22, 2013 (aggregate of good stuff) (aggregate of good long stuff) (great pics and recipes) (great parenting info)
posted by dpx.mfx at 9:51 PM on February 22, 2013

OK, I can't stop with The Awl.


Juanita Jean Politics with a Texas focus that is very old school Capital D Democrat and funny and feminist and just, I don't know, I just enjoy it for her style even though I know nothing about Texas politics
If Charlie Parker Were a Gunslinger, There'd Be a Lot of Dead Copycats As far as I understand, this site is all hip historical photos that are very pleasing to a certain kind of aesthetic. I like it.
The LA Review of Books Books, TV, cultural crit - consistently really good writing, often introduces me to writers or ideas I haven't heard of, but accessible.
Bitches Gotta Eat Just funny ass shit, but I suppose you could call it cultural crit. I don't know, I just really like reading it, because it's funny and feels true.
Brain Pickings I don't know, randomly interesting stuff, mostly literary, but I often find myself following her links or reading more about something she's posted
WFMUs Beware of Blog Weird, mostly music related stuff that I never see anywhere else.
Language Log Linguistics, culture and language, anti-gramarian rants. I learn a ton from it. I wouldn't have thought I had much interest in this topic before someone (on metafilter) showed me the site, but I tend to read this site regularly now and really enjoy what I read.
Discover Magazine Blogs, good science stuff that is totally accessible for regular people but not dumbed down. I guess I read it for the photos of weird newly discovered species'.
The blogs. I just skim over a lot of it, like, I don't really care about their X-Files Re-Watch project, but there is good writing on there, thoughtful, progressive analysis, fun stuff about your favorite sci fi and fantasy topics. I consistently read this stuff all the way through and follow their links.
Africa is a Country: again, cultural crit, lots of interesting links, and weekly music posts.

There are so many more, if I knew more about your interests!
posted by latkes at 10:15 PM on February 22, 2013 [8 favorites]

I hope you'll excuse this non-answer, but I see that you have an account on pinboard so perhaps it might be of interest. Their "network" feature has basically made Google Reader and every aggregator aside from MeFI redundant for me. Logged in users can view my public network as an example, which is basically a collection of the most active users I've ferreted out of the MeFi social explorer. As a tool for discovery it's hard to beat: from feeds I could never keep up with otherwise, to the wonderful idiosyncrasies of each individual browsing style. Could be just the thing for getting out of a rut.
posted by Lorin at 10:20 PM on February 22, 2013 [2 favorites]

Slog, the blog of the Seattle alt-weekly that Dan Savage edits; lots of local stuff but also things like Kara Walker showing up in the comments on this article about a formerly-thought-to-be-ironicly Nazi-obsessed ceramic artist.

Andrew Sullivan, as much for the nonpolitics as for the politics.

Google News, just for getting a sense of what the world in general is paying attention to.

Those are probably the main three besides this place.

There's also a category of less brain candy-ish places that I wish I had the mental energy to read more regularly, all in the "literary magazines on the internet" category: wood s lot (I think I found out about it here, years ago), the blogs for the London and New York Reviews of Books

Top 5 blogs in my field that are (maybe?) casual reader friendly: A/V Preserve and Preservation Insanity (both film preservationists), Greenbriar Picture Shows, Girish Shambu, and Ben Sachs's writing on moviegoing on the blog at the Chicago Reader. Honorable mention for David Bordwell.

I love this thread!
posted by bubukaba at 10:23 PM on February 22, 2013 [2 favorites]

As I am currently looking for a job, I read Ask a Manager daily. However she has a lot of good posts about general employment questions/issues.

I also read Dear Prudence on Slate but I am beginning to realize that I'm an advice column junkie.

Consumerist, of course.
posted by radioamy at 12:05 AM on February 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

I read a lot from Longreads and Longform because they basically filter down to the best longform journalism. This gives me interesting stuff from sources I wouldn't normally see, ie Sports Illustrated, Esquire and the New Yorker (since I no longer have a subscription.) These are pieces I typically send to my Kindle.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, I visit Imgur daily (or um hourly) because it's quick happy candy.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:20 AM on February 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

At this time of year in particular I read Go Fug Yourself daily because it's awards season and I want to look at the dresses.

I've recently been reading Better Myths somewhat regularly because it's hilarious. I am also a long time XKCD reader for the same reason.

When I'm bored I look at BuzzFeed Animals (which often ends up with a guilty sneak through their celebrity section too).

My browser is telling me that the other site I visit regularly (besides these ones) is Facebook. Which is probably about right!
posted by shelleycat at 4:05 AM on February 23, 2013

Twisted Sifter has long been one of my favorite blogs. It's emphasis is on the visual: photo of the day, stunning architecture, street art projects, etc. If nothing else, visit for the Friday Shirk Report: 25 funny images/animated gifs, 10 interesting articles, and 5 videos.
posted by drlith at 4:44 AM on February 23, 2013 [3 favorites] When I need a break, because, well, the stories are all true and are pretty damn interesting. Skim the headlines for interesting stuff. Previously the Teaching Company, I often check for new courses and on-sale courses and have been working on replacing aimless web-browsing with these. Cause I like vidja games. Unless I'm searching for something specific, I just keep an eye on the stories posted on the homepage.
posted by Th!nk at 6:19 AM on February 23, 2013

What are your top 5 websites and why?

1.) Facebook and Twitter. I assume I can group these as one, because you already know about them. When I turn on my computer, social media is my first stop because I want to know what's going on with my friends and family.

2.) Local and national news. In my case, the Boston Herald, Boston Globe, Providence Journal, Concord Monitor, and then NYTimes, CNN, Washington Post, LATimes, etc. After I know what's going on with my friends, I want to know what's going on with everybody else.

3.) The Girl Who Ate Boston is my favorite food blog, and the only blog that I visit daily.

4.) The Gear Page is the top discussion forum for guitarists. Sometimes I visit daily, sometimes not for a month or two.

5.) Finally, I read the day's appellate decisions from Massachusetts. The sign-up link is here for daily emails with temporary links to individual decisions, hosted on Westlaw. Your state may have something similar.
posted by cribcage at 7:35 AM on February 23, 2013 and all of the offshoot sites - lots of interesting things to look at
Petfinder - looking at pictures of cute cats/dogs is an instant moodlifter
posted by Fig at 7:37 AM on February 23, 2013

These days the ones I first scroll to in my RSS reader after Mefi are Slate and (NSFW!) is that your judging face?
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:52 AM on February 23, 2013

Oh, you want to know why. Slate for the short articles and news, which I send to my Kindle and read in bed in the evening. Is that your judging face -- by Mefi's own elizardbits -- for the laughs.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:54 AM on February 23, 2013

thisisn'thappiness: Art, Photography, Design & Disappointment

(I can't believe this hasn't been mentioned yet.)
posted by 6thsense at 9:49 AM on February 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

The only site you need is popurls - everything together on a single page.
posted by Pyrogenesis at 11:11 AM on February 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

Reddit. The community is great, and there's a sub-reddit for just about anything you're interested in. Any time I feel like I'm in a rut, I pop open the sub-reddit list and inevitably find something neat to read. E.g. last night I was perusing /r/NetflixBestOf.
posted by Terheyden at 12:57 PM on February 23, 2013 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks for all the suggestions. I am going through these. Some of these are great!
posted by cjorgensen at 4:34 PM on February 23, 2013

New York Times for sure.

The Feature (formerly called Give Me Something to Read) posts links to great articles that are "a hand-picked selection of the finest articles and essays saved with Instapaper". I've read some fascinating stuff there that I wouldn't have known was written unless I saw it there.

For international news, Global Post is an interesting news organization.

Another way to find interesting articles: a MetaFilter Project called Must Read and subsequently posted to MetaFilter here and hosted at is described as follows:

"On Must Read, you choose the one article you think everyone should read—right now—then share it with a note explaining why. Follow people who post great must-reads, and your timeline becomes a command center for vital reading; you see their current must-reads, and nothing else."
posted by Dansaman at 5:38 PM on February 23, 2013

Forgot to mention The Browser - priceless.
posted by 6thsense at 7:49 PM on February 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

Mental Floss - if you like trivia and interesting information, here's your site.
TJS Labs Gallery of Graphic Design - all sorts of vintage print ads from 1930-1969. I'm an ad geek, so I love this stuff. - a great media blog.
Listverse - more interesting information
Gawker, Jezebel, and Deadspin - There are some really good pieces there, and occasionally they break news. (for example, Deadspin and the Manti T'eo story)
posted by SisterHavana at 9:56 PM on February 23, 2013

FoodGawker sorted by Most Popular Weekly was up there for a while, at least until we bought The Joy of Cooking and realized a majority of the posts were just borrowed recipes that replaced chili with Sriracha and PB with Nutella.

Hacker News has good commentary though it's pretty CS/startup oriented sometimes.

Critical Distance is great for the budding video game criticism scene that sometimes tries to go beyond Bissell's travel writing focus.

Not a big car guy but I love The Truth About Car's editorials on junkyard diving. Their comments are also a pleasure to read.

I also come back to Dissent if I have free-time. It's smart, academic writing about current events. Makes you feel smart even if you're pretty sure that you're not. Their blog is more current and one of the better blogs out there for covering contemporary issues.
posted by dubusadus at 11:05 AM on February 24, 2013 - Really simple and elegant way to do some quick writing. - Productivity and organization in the form of simple nested lists. - all my favorite audio shows (radiolab, new sounds, selected shorts, this american life, etc) are listenable from this site - if you have some idle moments and want to experience some beautiful art, take a gander through all the staff picks - organize reading, send pages automatically to your reader
posted by aesacus at 12:02 PM on February 24, 2013 -- One-man MetaFilter.
Github -- Software development is fun again!
Questionable Content -- The best webcomic.
Ezra Klein's Wonkblog -- Data-driven political banter. Less apolitical and more general-purpose than FiveThirtyEight.
The AV Club -- The Onion talking serious about pop culture that interests me.

(Oh, and if we're talking about webapps, Simplenote and Pocket are essential)
posted by schmod at 6:40 AM on February 26, 2013

Law and the Multiverse -- Legal issues facing comic-book characters.
SCOTUSBlog-- Explanation of cases the Supreme Court Justices are hearing. I won't pretend to understand all the legal reasoning behind each case, but it's very interesting to me.
DepthHub from reddit. -- A filter of the best comments from reddit users without the usual memes and lulz.
Simpy Statistics -- a blog about statistics.
Coursera -- Free online courses. I go there to do my homework.
posted by Carius at 8:03 AM on February 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

Hacker News - Great community, frequented by a lot of industry folks. A post about Marc Andreessen? There's a good chance he'll chime in on the thread.

Popurls - One stop shopping for headlines from all the other sites (metafilter/reddit/pinboard/etc/etc/etc/etc)

Reddit - I've become addicted to /r/AskHistorians - It's like delicious came back to life and it's awesome

ffffound - Art!

Honorable mention: flickr, I still love that site in spite of how badly Yahoo screwed it up.
posted by mullingitover at 3:35 PM on February 26, 2013

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