In praise of … Metafilter | Editorial

Metafilter faces a financial crisis and is appealing for subscriptions. It deserves praise, as well as money

Heaven knows it is difficult to make a public space for civilised conversations on the internet. One of the earliest and most successful attempts at this is Metafilter, a collaborative blog founded some 15 years ago, where readers find interesting things happening, and other readers say intelligent things about them. It is funded partly by a small joining fee, and partly by revenue from ads placed by Google. But to build your business on Google's favour is like planting an orchard on the flank of an active volcano. If Google tweaks its ranking algorithm your site may simply disappear. This has happened to Metafilter, which relied on the revenues to pay its small and excellent team of moderators. It now faces a financial crisis and is appealing for subscriptions. It deserves praise, as well as money, as a place which embodies the democratic and enquiring spirit that made America – and the web – so hopeful.

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