I found a referral to Metafilter at Cool Site of the Day back in 1999 but didn't sign up right at first because I thought all those cool people posting, who were my internet heroes, like sylloge, benbrown, bradlands, anildash, rebeccablood, heather, lia, judith, girlhacker, kottke, megnut, et al, were way too cool for me and I wasn't a weblogger like them, so I felt I had nothing to offer. So I lurked until April 2000. Then something clicked.
Dreaming about metafilter - I can't find the specific thread.
When people posted about stuff I was interested in, like star wars, flash sites (flash was new back then) bands that I liked, etc., and posted about intellectual issues that I did have something to contribute about, I realized that Metafilter really was an oasis or Nerd Haven, if you will on the otherwise sometimes scary internets.