After 16 years behind the wheel of Metafilter, Matt Haughey is stepping down.
Haughey started the site 16 years ago after taking a web applications development seminar, and has been its helmsman and guiding spirit ever since, steadfastly refusing to grow the site too quickly, shutting down paid memberships whenever a favorable press report brought in too many new users for the site to absorb at once.
After a change in Google's site-ranking algorithm caused a crash in Metafilter's traffic, Haughey wrote a heartfelt open letter that galvanized support for the site, giving it a fresh lease on life.
But 16 years is a long time to do anything. Haughey describes the stress of running the site after all these years, and his confidence in the skills of the lieutenants who help him to provide continuity after he steps back. Good luck Matt — you should be proud of what you've made.
Late last year, I started to acknowledge to myself that I was hitting some limits and after 16 years I was starting to really burn out. I tried taking a few days off here and there and avoiding the site on days I wasn't doing moderation work, but every time I returned, the stress returned. Every morning I'd wake up and glance at my phone with some sense of dread worrying about what was waiting in my inbox.
A couple months ago, while I was going through all the stages of grief in my head over the absolute burnout I was facing and wondering what to do about MetaFilter and whatever might be next in my life, a couple companies contacted me asking if I would ever consider joining their teams. I've fielded these kinds of requests in the past, and it's always thrilling when someone contacts you out of the blue and wants you, but it's tough to find a company you love that makes products you love that also wants you to join their team on terms that work for everybody. I talked to some folks and explored options and in the process I came away with lots to think about. I started to see light at the end of the tunnel, and thought this might be the best way forward for both me and the site.
Sixteen Years [Matt Haughey/Metatalk]
(Image: Online Community Legends, Rex Hammock, CC-BY-SA)