Where do you hang out online when you're not metafiltering?
March 6, 2019 9:57 PM   Subscribe

I'm a little jaded on the internet at the moment. What interesting and lively places do you go for conversation and stimulation that aren't Metafilter? My specific tastes inside.

The band forums I used to hang out on are gone. The cycling forums are largely dead. IRC hasn't been what it used to be for years. Everything seems to have been sucked into a Facebook and Instagram black hole, which like a black hole is unsearchable and never gives anything back. I'm hoping I'm now just old and hence can't stumble on these places like I used to.

I'd love to find:
Places with a little more (or a lot more) freeform conversation than Mefi.
Left leaning or at least not aggressively right leaning.
A diversity of voices, even if that is not the point of the platform. No sausage fests please.

Bonus points if they address these interests, but not essential:
Doing weird creative stuff with timber, steel, bikes etc. Maker-ish perhaps, but anywhere that uses the term upcycling is disqualified. More straight fabrication oriented is ok but I'm much more interested in the physical than the electronic.
Photography/images. Instagram but with conversation.
This is not exhaustive - give me anything.

I'm not on reddit, due to shitty communities they harbour. If you think I should be please convince me why, in light of that.
posted by deadwax to Computers & Internet (17 answers total) 68 users marked this as a favorite
I've heard good things about slack communities of various ilk, though I only participate (irregularly) in one myself. Mostly I use slack for team workspaces, and it's an easy + nice interface.

Interested to see others' responses here.
posted by tamarack at 10:15 PM on March 6, 2019

Where do I hang out? About the only place left I do besides here is certain subReddits. (Why? because those specific subs are about the only really good resource for certain support groups that help me.)

I'm very much in that (channel? net?) surfing mode, feeling like "I'm bored and there's nothing ON on the internet!"

So I'll be watching this question... I'd like some suggestions, too.
posted by stormyteal at 10:39 PM on March 6, 2019 [7 favorites]

Discord is the 'new' IRC

Many of the reddit subforums have associated discords if you want to chat without of getting a reddit account about a particular subinterest.
posted by AlexiaSky at 11:00 PM on March 6, 2019 [3 favorites]

I haven't posted in a long time, but I follow enough people to appreciate Mastodon occasionally. Here's a list of themed instances (including both music and maker instances) and a list of Mefites on Mastodon. You'll probably want a primary account on an instance with a policy statement you agree with and a local timeline that seems worth browsing, but generally speaking you can follow people across instances, so any moderately large, stable instance where other Mefites have signed up is probably fine. And here's a Hacker News discussion of people to follow that's a little less than a year old, so I'd guess many of those accounts are active.
posted by Wobbuffet at 11:18 PM on March 6, 2019 [3 favorites]

Other than MeFi and various subreddits, ResetEra is the only community site I actively seek out on a regular basis. (Most of the rest of my internet browsing comes to me through my RSS reader, Feedly).

ResetEra started out as a popular message board called NeoGAF, which could have once been described as the MetaFilter of video game forums. Tightly controlled registration process, decent moderation, regular participation from prominent people in the industry, and an old-school, text-focused presentation. I started reading it around the launch of Halo 3, then moved over to their Off-Topic side, which was like a looser, chattier, much more fast-paced MeFi. They also had an "Off-Topic Community" subforum with dedicated "OT" threads for various hobbies and interests. The userbase was largely anti-Gamergate and trended even more progressive during the 2016 election.

Late in 2017, their founder and chief admin got #metoo'd, which he tried to deal with by shifting blame to alleged toxicity in the political Off Topic threads and banning such discussion outright. The mods and top users resigned in disgust, and the bulk of the community migrated to a custom-built replacement board called ResetEra. While NeoGAF's now a shell of itself lousy with MRAs and alt-righters and other types who think sexual assault ain't a dealbreaker, ResetEra is thriving, with a very active general discussion board (EtcetEra) and all the same community "OT" threads (now called Hangouts) that were popular on the old site. Some example Hangouts active right now, all with thousands of comments:

Beer|OT| Crazy for the hazy

The Black Culture Community [OT 4] - Melanin and Estrogen - The new Kryptonite

NHL March 2019 |OT| Thread title traded to Columbus for Future Considerations

LGBTQera |ERA1| (We're Queer)

US PoliEra 2019 |OT3| Press F to pay respects/describe Trump's grades

Theme Parks & Roller Coasters |OT| Imagineering 101

CamERA Equipment |OT| Photon Capturing Comparison Club

Motorcycle-Era |OT| Two are better than four

And of course if you're into gaming, they still have a dedicated discussion board and Hangouts listing for that, too.
posted by Rhaomi at 11:55 PM on March 6, 2019 [10 favorites]

Various subreddits. If you look at the number of upvotes some posts get, I feel pretty confident that my few comments per day don't make much a difference one way or the other in terms of profit and whatnot. The communities that they harbor don't cross into communities I tend to use, and I've been pleasantly surprised that even some of the large, generic subreddits seem to trend left on a bunch of issues I care about.

FB groups (despite misgivings about privacy).
posted by slidell at 1:28 AM on March 7, 2019 [2 favorites]

I’m not on the Internet, due to the shitty communities it harbors.

See how silly that sounds? Reddit is just a part of the Internet, like Usenet and IRC. I saw plenty of nasty stuff there too, but quickly learned how to avoid it.

For your interests, check out the subs for bikes, ebikes, DIY, woodworking, metalworking, fabrication, etc.

Imo, refusing to get involved with the obvious best place for hobbyist discussion online right now is silly, just as silly as someone refusing to use Usenet for bible discussion because they heard there was porn on there.

The basic advice given on MeFi is to avoid very large subs and especially the default subs, I’d add to avoid city/region based subs, people go there to fight.
posted by SaltySalticid at 5:56 AM on March 7, 2019 [6 favorites]

Reddit. Curate your subs carefully or the place becomes psychologically noisy.

There are definitely corners of Reddit less like 4Chan and more like...I don’t know, a slightly more chaotic and stranger-riddled Kuro5hin.org diaries section vibe?
posted by Construction Concern at 5:57 AM on March 7, 2019 [2 favorites]

The best topical subreddits are actively moderated. There is certainly a spectrum in the quality of moderation and the specific rules. Some have an informal groupings, /r/math is quite civil until someone posts a homework question and they are referred (sometimes a bit rudely) to /r/cheatatmathhomework.
posted by sammyo at 7:56 AM on March 7, 2019 [2 favorites]

Facebook groups. Yes I know facebook sucks & everyone thinks it's a joke, but I belong to so many fun little niche groups on there I can't find anywhere else. You might have to hunt to find them though and most need you to request membership & have terms you have to agree to (which is half the reason I like them so much, serious moderation). You might have to try a few on for size, like any social group but there are plenty to choose from so you should be able to find something to suit your needs.

Subscription only reddits (avoid r/all at all costs) but honestly I get more positivity from my Facebook groups.
posted by wwax at 8:15 AM on March 7, 2019

Metafilter's (unofficial) Slack channel!

I'm not on Reddit either, because why should I subsidize a huge source of radicalizing for white supremacy with my eyeballs and content? Screw that.
posted by Autumnheart at 10:23 AM on March 7, 2019 [5 favorites]

I use Twitter to seek out and connect with people with similar niche interests, specifically urban planning, and technical discussions about Japanese public policy etc.

I use Twitter Lists for this purpose. Generally, the more specialized the discussion, and the lower-profile the people, the less chance there is for all of the bad things we associate with Twitter.

It takes a bit of work, but I think it's worth it.
posted by JamesBay at 10:33 AM on March 7, 2019

There's always SA but tbh most forums have died and tragically moved to Reddit. The main problem with Reddit is that creepiness bleeds everywhere from fountainpens to cats. Discord is not really comparable to a community since so much of is transient and always being pushed down.
posted by chrono_rabbit at 1:25 PM on March 7, 2019 [2 favorites]

I have a fond spot for Dreamwidth, which is a quaint backwater spun off from LiveJournal. I started a Metafilter community/hub thingie there which you can use to read the personal journals of other MeFites. An account gives you a reading page where you can subscribe people and make posts (nonpublic posts too! there's a whole post locking system!), and there's threaded comments for discussion.

Dreamwidth is a bit of a rare thing like Metafilter: it's not a nonprofit, but it's not a venture capital funded growth at all costs affair either. It's a small time fork of LiveJournal made by a couple of former employees who loved the product but not how it ended up once investment capital got its hooks into it.

If this sounds like something you might be into but you feel like you need guidance on how it all works, feel free to let me know or make a post to the metafilter community over there.
posted by foxfirefey at 1:57 PM on March 7, 2019 [1 favorite]

Fark is in my daily rotation. Sometimes the same article will be on metafilter and fark at the same time. Metafilter is more thoughtful, fark more snarky although fark can be just as serious on occasion. There’s a strong sense of community on both sites.
posted by DrumsIntheDeep at 7:51 PM on March 7, 2019

Semi-public / semi-private Slack communities run by friends of friends.
posted by icosahedron at 5:51 AM on March 8, 2019

I accidentally discovered one of the best forums, supportive and thoughtful and interesting and intelligent and well moderated. It's for people with breast cancer, of which I became one last year. I highly recommend to anyone for whom that is relevant.

I think there must be other niche forums like that depending on a person's interests/circumstances.
posted by Salamandrous at 6:22 PM on March 12, 2019

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