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How is this kind of crapping in a thread legitimate
October 21, 2006 11:54 AM   Subscribe

How is this kind of crapping in a thread legitimate?
posted by taosbat to Etiquette/Policy at 11:54 AM (347 comments total)

Personally, I would think reklaw could find something better to do than post juvenile crap like this to a thread:

Aren't you bored of saying the same old shit over and over again?

They lied! And they suck at war! We fucking know! Jesus. And yet you keep taking up the front page with your crap, and then posting endless self-satisfied rants on the subject in the comments. WE FUCKING KNOW ALREADY. GIVE IT A SODDING REST.
posted by reklaw


I'd at least like to see the troll waste it's time over hear and let the grown-ups talk about Iraq and the up-coming elections and such without further bull shit.
posted by taosbat at 12:00 PM on October 21, 2006


here
posted by taosbat at 12:00 PM on October 21, 2006


Yeah, it'd be terrible if I got in the way of you talking about Iraq for the hundredth million boring time, wouldn't it?

Maybe I object to the front page being taken up with huge paragraphs of this rubbish. Ever think of that? It's absolutely pointless, and incredibly shill -- any minute now you'll probably accuse me of being a 'closet Republican' or some such.
posted by reklaw at 12:09 PM on October 21, 2006


hundred millionth, shrill -- you get the idea.
posted by reklaw at 12:10 PM on October 21, 2006


seriously the Iraq posts are just overwhelmingly uninteresting. If something dramatic or new happened, maybe, but just post after post of political axegrinding... is that really what the purpose of Metafilter is? To give people a forum to discuss political news?
posted by jonson at 12:12 PM on October 21, 2006


I am saying you are a boor.
posted by taosbat at 12:13 PM on October 21, 2006


Meh.
posted by loquacious at 12:14 PM on October 21, 2006


I think that was my shortest comment ever.

I can't help but sympathize with reklaw. I grow weary of paging down multiple times to find something cool, shiny or distracting. I'm tired of awesome culture/music/geek posts getting 6 comments while sandwiched between multiple 150-250 comment monsters hashing out all the same crap.

Politics.metafilter.com. Please. Please? I promise I'll visit.
posted by loquacious at 12:16 PM on October 21, 2006 [1 favorite]


Posts have been deleted and people banned for a far shorter history of axegrinding. Why is axegrinding more legitimate than trolling, other than the fact that some very vocal individuals ensure that the axegrinding is allowed to continue?
posted by Krrrlson at 12:17 PM on October 21, 2006


I think a "forum to discuss political news" is one of the many legitimate 'purposes' of MetaFilter. There's nothing to stop one from'flagging and moving on.' reklaw is just trolling.
posted by taosbat at 12:17 PM on October 21, 2006


Or news.metafilter. Something. Fork! Fork! Clean cup, move down!
posted by loquacious at 12:17 PM on October 21, 2006


Seriously, I'm about to go barking mad over here. I swear I'm going to pluck out my own giblets and jam 'em in my ear and eye holes.
posted by loquacious at 12:19 PM on October 21, 2006 [1 favorite]


I'm tired of awesome culture/music/geek posts getting 6 comments while sandwiched between multiple 150-250 comment monsters hashing out all the same crap.
posted by loquacious


I'm tired of people not being interested in the things I am and commenting on things that I'm tired of.

Quit it. All of you.
posted by leftcoastbob at 12:21 PM on October 21, 2006 [2 favorites]


I removed some of the super angryman comments, but let's talk about it here.

I am also tired of the axe-grinding neverending GYOB Iraq posts and I'd like there to be less of them, personally. From an admin perspective, people almost never flag them and they seem to have their share of "thanks for posting this" type of comments in addition to the usual YOUSUCK type comments indicated above.

So this is as good a place as any to hash this out somewhat. Do these posts suck, or do some people just hate them an extreme amount and the posts are generally okay?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:25 PM on October 21, 2006


Every element of this callout, from its raison d'etre to its ultimate non-resolution, is utterly pointless.

reklaw: I mean come on, this was a y2karl post, do you think no one has commented about the theme of his (non music) posts before? Did you think you're precious voice would make the difference?

taosbat: As far as I can tell, mathowie created the flag system specifically for stuff like this as it takes a lot more effort for everyone to be forced to experience the bitter sweet impotence of pointless, endlessly re-hashed callouts such as this.

This is the ultimately empty post.

*on preview*

or well, it was empty until jessamyn just said what she said. Here goes guys - shoot for 500!
posted by davehat at 12:31 PM on October 21, 2006


I appreciate the work and effort of many if not most of the political posts and news posts, and I'm informed by them, and the service is valueable...

but I'm dying... drowing in them. I think the volume and load is scaring off or crowding out other good posts, or otherwise distracting good posters.

My personal feeling is that they would be less oppressive and overwhelming if we finally gave them their own space.

"Best news of the web" would be a lovely target to aim for, as well. Give our crack researchers, reporters, watchdogs, logicians and pundits a proper playing field, remove the guilt and angst, and leave the best of the rest of the web in the blue.
posted by loquacious at 12:31 PM on October 21, 2006 [1 favorite]


And there are those of us who skip 98.9% of them.

I don't see a problem with keeping them and letting the usual suspects scream at each other.

But, I wouldn't cry if they limited the front page hook to a single line with [more inside]. It would be easier to skip them.
posted by ?! at 12:32 PM on October 21, 2006


For that matter...if your "best of the web" is a single link to a news site....always make it show "newsfilter" and limit to a single line on the front page.

Yeah, I'm reaching.
posted by ?! at 12:35 PM on October 21, 2006


The sheer volume of Iraq posts is a not unreasonable response to the coming elections in the US and the growing awareness in even the most blinkered supporters of the war (I certainly hope that this is true) that the last straw of justification that Bush was holding on to-- democracy in Iraq-- is flimsy window dressing. It's not pretty, but I would argue that at this time, with the American electorate tiring of the deaths of their sons and daughters, and the ongoing conflict going on and on unresolved, that watching people waking up to what has been done in their name bears attention.

If you don't want to read it, then don't. I love Mefi for its scope and variety, and I'd vote, if we have votes, against politics.metafilter.com.
posted by jokeefe at 12:36 PM on October 21, 2006


From an admin perspective, people almost never flag them

OK, I'll start flagging all the Iraq posts.
posted by smackfu at 12:37 PM on October 21, 2006 [1 favorite]


"Best news of the web" would be a lovely target to aim for, as well. Give our crack researchers, reporters, watchdogs, logicians and pundits a proper playing field, remove the guilt and angst, and leave the best of the rest of the web in the blue.
posted by loquacious


That would work for me. I read and enjoy all sorts of posts on MeFi, not just the political ones. But, I am a citizen of a country gone mad; so, I think there is nothing more important than understanding that madness and the search for its cure.
posted by taosbat at 12:37 PM on October 21, 2006


To me, multi-link Iraq posts are fine if they point to specific topics many MeFi readers might not already know about. Posts that are just digests of recent Iraq-policy criticism seem like "this is not what MeFi is for."
posted by gubo at 12:40 PM on October 21, 2006


First they came for the Iraq posts, but didn't care about Iraq, so I didn't do anything...

then they came for the Mac posts, but I don' t use a Mac, so I didn't do anything..

Then they came for the youtube posts, but I don't watch youtube, so I didn't do anything...

Then they came from the newsfilter posts, but I don't read the news, so I didn't do anything....

etc....
posted by HuronBob at 12:43 PM on October 21, 2006


I think it goes to the heart of the old question: is MeFi about the links, or the discussion?

Personally, I tend to think that, especially where these sorts of polarizing debates are concerned, the bar should be set fairly high for new posts. If you have something substantively new to contribute to the discussion (take gsteff's well-researched and worthy contribution, for example), then you're doing a good job of challenging people to think about a tired problem in new and creative ways.

But these single link agenda-filter posts do little to break down consensus and facilitate interesting conversation. To my mind, they look a lot more like a given poster's narcissistic urge to spurt their politics all over the front page. Sad to say, y2karl is among the worst offenders on this front. Which is weird, frankly, given that his non-political posts are so thoughtful and well-crafted.

Any chance of introducing a "revise and resubmit" option in FPP moderation? A topic that is important but poorly framed could be sent back to the original poster for supplementation with more contextual information and links that would help to nuance the discussion. Seems a lot more reasonable than just killing a discussion because the original poster is too lazy to craft a good FPP.
posted by felix betachat at 12:49 PM on October 21, 2006


From an admin perspective, people almost never flag them...

I always assumed flagging these posts was a lost cause. If flagging will help, I'll start flagging.

But I think a lot of other people (including a lot of people who didn't necessarily read this thread) will continue to assume that there's nothing that can be done about the relentless axe-grinding, so the number of flags you receive may not be representative of how people actually feel.
posted by gd779 at 12:51 PM on October 21, 2006


That would work for me. I read and enjoy all sorts of posts on MeFi, not just the political ones. But, I am a citizen of a country gone mad; so, I think there is nothing more important than understanding that madness and the search for its cure.

I can't agree with this more. I think it's important to discuss these issues and stay abreast of them and act upon them, and MetaFilter has been essential in that for me and for many others, but play is also at least as important, if not more.

Otherwise what's the point, right?

But I'm serious about the "best news of the web" bit. Yeah, it's reaching, but the talent and skill is already there. People are already doing it. Give it a space to grow. I'd be all over that stuff.

I just wish there was a much easier way to take a break from it.

The conflict between the "Best of the Web" and "Newsfilter" is growing increasingly contentious. A lot of us are weary. A lot of us are suffering from outrage fatigue.

If we don't have refuge and respite and joy, how do you justifiably outraged drum-beaters expect us to keep up and stay by your side?
posted by loquacious at 12:52 PM on October 21, 2006 [1 favorite]


Maybe I object to the front page being taken up with huge paragraphs of this rubbish. Ever think of that?

Ya.. I really liked y2karl's use of <small>. I wish he would go back to it, but then people would be complaining about that instead of the hugeness. I guess he can't win..
posted by Chuckles at 12:55 PM on October 21, 2006


I'm not sure why people can't ignore posts that don't interest them. There are thirteen other posts than y2karl's today alone. Read and comment on the posts that you like and ignore the rest. I personally like his posts and there are other types of posts that I'm not interested in but I don't begrudge the folks that do like them.
posted by octothorpe at 12:56 PM on October 21, 2006


What jokeefe and gubo said.

I would like to be on records as very much against any topic-specific splinter sites - I prefer one varied mefi with the best of whatever the topic may be. I can't even keep up with all the sub-sites there are now, without adding topic-specific sub-sites. The real issue, imo, is that not all news / Iraq posts are "the best of."

"I'm tired of awesome culture/music/geek posts getting 6 comments while sandwiched between multiple 150-250 comment monsters..." - True that. That's what the community reinforces so we shouldn't be surprised that there is more and more of it.
posted by madamjujujive at 12:57 PM on October 21, 2006


Then they came from the newsfilter posts, but I don't read the news, so I didn't do anything....

And then what? No one is taking you off to a concentration camp. If the argument is some sort of slippery slope "metafilter will become nothing but beedogs and flash games" then try to make it but I don't think it holds up. My issue with the Iraq posts are

1. they're long, take up a lot of real estate on the main page and often the first three or four comments on the inside of a post as well. This is clearly GYOB territory because it doesn't match what MetaFilter is basically designed to do. It's a kludge to get these posts to fit into MetaFilter.
2. the haters are noisy so the posts sometimes turn into shouting matches. also, I secretly agree with the haters and this casuses me internal strife because I know I'm supposed to love you all in different ways.
3. borderline newsfilter-y and I don't really have the time to click around and see "is this a really newsworthy topic, or is this yet another encyclopedic treatment of one small aspect of the Iraq War"
4. they cause the "but you MUST EXPOSE YOURSELF to the horrible truths of war!!1!" arguments which I also don't care for because they become holy wars with strong opinions on both sides.
5. they really stretch the "found something interesting on the web" litmus test. y2k does great research and writes great posts, but there is a certain hypergraphia feeling to them that makes me a) a little uncomfortable and b) repeat the GYOB mantra. This is exactly what YOB is supposed to be for and I bet if y2k got one, people would read it. I don't take kindly to people using MeFi as their personal soapbox to get the highest numebr ofpossible eyeballs, as opposed to just trying to share with the community. I also realize it's a damned fine line. Since some people always say they like these posts, it's hard to tell what's y2k's soapbox and what's just giving the people what they want.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:58 PM on October 21, 2006


Do these posts suck...

Yes. I agree with everything Reklaw wrote.

people almost never flag them....

I didn't realize there would be any point. If there isn't a clear guideline violation, I figure any flags will be ignored. I thought the flag was about calling for action, not expressing an opinion.
posted by cribcage at 12:58 PM on October 21, 2006


reklaw is being a prat. The joy about y2karl's Iraq posts, to me at least, are that he sets up a theme and then inside the post he expands said theme with interesting links. He is not repeating "they lied" "bush sucks" etc, but points to coherrent debate about a topic that like it or not affects us all. The noise comes from the reklaw's and the schoolboy ilk throwing insults and "yah boo" into what frequently leads to intelligent and thoughtful discussion. Those who do not wish to join in can always scroll on to posts about their favorite computer toys or zombies etc which are also frequently of interest.
Anyway I'm sure that after the mid term elections everything will cool down a bit until the US politicians shit on their voters again.
Not every one unfortunately can produce interesting political posts but until the "Iraq question" is resolved they will continue to be a fairly regular thing on the blue and as long as they produce new information and insight I welcome them.
posted by adamvasco at 12:59 PM on October 21, 2006


I've considered posting a meta thread about the increasing number of posts about minor political and Iraq news over the past few days, but didn't think it would be worth the shitstorm. I don't flag the weaker newsfilter posts because I don't see them getting deleted much, and assume that means they're tolerated. But I'd be happy to see the novelty threshold raised, at least until the election.
posted by gsteff at 12:59 PM on October 21, 2006


I'm not sure why people can't ignore posts that don't interest them.

Perhaps some or many of us are hyperkinetic, or easily distracted, or even hypersensitive. Sometimes "ignoring something" is an impossible or difficult option. Perhaps we suffer from information overload and we're struggling to parse and filter and because if it we have people lashing out and reacting.

I personally like his posts

I like his posts too, as many of the other political/newsfilter posts. For me that's not what the issue is.

I feel like the "filter" part of MetaFilter is breaking down, though. I have an increasingly hard time filtering the 'filter.
posted by loquacious at 1:03 PM on October 21, 2006


And if politics.metafilter is too specific, consider news.metafilter.
posted by loquacious at 1:03 PM on October 21, 2006


how many dead American GIs this month? 58? 60? I read it the other day in the New York Times, Ocotber's the worst month since '03, anybody remember?

that's a fuckload of American corpses (Iraqi corpses are irrelevant, as we all know).

how many billions spent yet for Iraq? 300? 320? something like that.

Iraq is as important as, say, YouTube. I know it sucks, because it was more comfortable, back in 2001, to read 45 daily threads about the WTC and how it was the worst tragedy EVER in the history of the universe and how Iowans were rightly scared of a forthcoming terror attack in their barn, rah-rah for Team USA.

but Iraq is there to stay. it's news. it's as relevant as, say, Flash Friday. maybe, shit, even more.


To give people a forum to discuss political news?

no, MeFi is there for you, clearly, and you only. thanks for having us, jonson.
posted by matteo at 1:06 PM on October 21, 2006 [2 favorites]


Posts have been deleted and people banned for a far shorter history of axegrinding

you're still here, and you're the worst of them, so it can't be that bad
posted by matteo at 1:07 PM on October 21, 2006


No, because you really just want to chat about current events, and mefi is more about the links to interesting sites first, the interesting comments are secondary. - Mathowie

Sounds like some people need a big delicious slice of pie. Mmmmmm, pie. Gotta get me some pie. Mmmm, mmmm, good!
posted by blue_beetle at 1:11 PM on October 21, 2006


I sometimes wonder, if the internet and metafilter had existed in 1968, would people have complained about vietnamfilter? In 1964, would people have complained about civilrightsfilter? In 1938, hitlerfilter? In 1861, slaveryfilter?
posted by crunchland at 1:13 PM on October 21, 2006


Seriously, how is Krrrlson not banninated yet?
posted by blasdelf at 1:16 PM on October 21, 2006


"From an admin perspective, people almost never flag them"

I used to flag them. It never did any good - there are more now than ever. So now I just skip them. My blood pressure is much better for it.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 1:17 PM on October 21, 2006


y2karl's posts come across like that teacher in Charlie Brown. wah wah wah wah Iraq wah wah wah wah. We can pretty much expect some way too long excerpt on the front page a few days a week with an ensuing flamewar. Maybe some people are comfortable in it's familiar regularity. I ignore, but if flagging will stop him from junking up the front page, I'll go for it.
posted by pieoverdone at 1:19 PM on October 21, 2006


people almost never flag them

Because flagging feels like sending a complaint to an automated corporate email address -- you have no idea whether you're the only one, whether you're crazy, whether anyone is listening. A MetaTalk callout encourages people to look again and think about the post, about who is for or against it, and why. If you want people to use flagging instead of MetaTalk callouts, you need to show an indicator that the post has been flagged by others, and people should be able to click through to a page showing the flag counts and the IDs of the flaggers. For each of the canned flagging reasons, list the reason and the IDs of the people who selected that reason.
posted by pracowity at 1:19 PM on October 21, 2006


People are interested in the newness/repetitiveness, as in this comment:
If something dramatic or new happened
Let's take a look..

October 21:

y2karl's Game Over


October 20:

andywolf's Psyops

y2karl's Iraqi Death Rate May Top Our Civil War: Deaths in Iraq: How Many, and Why It Matters.


October 19:

bardic's Flip Flop


October 17:

caddis' Let's play who's the Sunni
Not really an Iraq war post, actually, but I don't want to be accused of bias.

October 16:

chipr's Those ribbons aren't made of kevlar, are they?
Again, included for completeness.


So, that's one week and 4 + 2 posts related to Iraq. Of the 4 we have the Lancet study post, and the psyops one, both completely original information that should be of critical importance to all of us.
posted by Chuckles at 1:20 PM on October 21, 2006 [1 favorite]


I wrote pages of comment. Enough pages that I deserved a callout. And then I caught up on the comments that were made while I was writing it.

I'm probably taking it too seriously. I saw jessamyn's "nothing but beedogs and flash games" and realized I should probably, you know, chill out and get laid or something.

And truth be told, once I see karl's trademark <blockquote>, unless it's something really momentous, I just kind of laugh and move on anyway, because, you know, it's karl. I miss <small>, though, as I've mentioned.

I really think that Iraq and politics and everything should be here. I think it is part of "the best of the web". Maybe we should calm down a bit. Maybe we should let karl have <small> back. I don't think the right answer is a specific "news" subsection though, it really does feel like relegating important things to the back room, and then we'll get into arguments when someone thinks something's Serious enough to go on the front, or not, and then we'll have to set up some kind of system to figure it out...

I think we should take this thread as a sign that we should perhaps cut back a tad, but keep things pretty much the same. Maybe limit Iraq/newsfilter to one per poster per every few days? You know, mostly self-censored, but if someone gets out of hand, delete a thread and tell them to go have a few drinks and come back tomorrow.
posted by blacklite at 1:21 PM on October 21, 2006


I've said it before ... the flagging system is a failure because it doesn't instantly gratify the person doing the flagging, and that's what they're looking for. An elevator button lights up when you press it for a good reason.
posted by crunchland at 1:23 PM on October 21, 2006


crunchland, you forgot to mention the fact that in 1942 or so, we'd have had to deal with jewsfilter.
posted by blacklite at 1:23 PM on October 21, 2006


I actually just got off the phone with a guy who wanted to interview me for a piece he's writing about MetaFilter, and a question about this sort of thing came up. He had asked what made a great post and my response was I think what makes a great post is if it's something interesting that makes people want to enjoy a discussion.

I agree with adamvasco because honestly, that was a post where people could have enjoyed the discussion. It wasn't a "Bush lied" type of FPP, and reklaw chose not to flag it, not to MeTa it, but to shit in it. That makes the fault his, just as when dios used to shit in threads and people railed on him for that.

For some reason, a vast number of MeFites seem to have no problem enjoying and legitimately discussing the stuff y2karl posts, and y2karl in turn seems to be perfectly capable of not self-promoting, self-aggrandizing, trolling, or shitting on other people's FPPs because he doesn't like them. And yes, while you may call it "axe-grinding," while 3 of his last 10 posts have been about Bush and/or Iraq, the other 7 have nothing to do with politics at all and have all been phenominal. So why exactly is y2karl of all people the person we're judging here? I don't exactly see a problem with this particular neighbor.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 1:24 PM on October 21, 2006


y2karl's posts are almost always good, but his nonpolitical ones are especially awesome.

And I really shouldn't bitch too much right now. The blue is having a killer run at the moment. OMFG Tesla organzz!@
posted by loquacious at 1:29 PM on October 21, 2006


I think we just mention karl because he is so visible. Have we ever discussed putting a word count limit on FPPs?
posted by blacklite at 1:31 PM on October 21, 2006


Well said, adamvasco

pieoverdone, if you ignore them, how can you possibly have an informed opinion of their content?

jessamyn: This is exactly what YOB is supposed to be for and I bet if y2k got one, people would read it.

That would be a terrible loss for MetaFilter.
posted by Chuckles at 1:36 PM on October 21, 2006


I think the ironic thing about this thread, about how Iraq is the same shit over and over, and how terrible that is ... and here we're discussing it on metatalk, where it's the same thing all over again all the time, forever and ever and ever, and we love it. The difference, I guess, is that metatalk is about us, and we can all talk about ourselves, forever and ever.
posted by crunchland at 1:38 PM on October 21, 2006


That would be a terrible loss for MetaFilter.

Nah. Someone would link to it.

Then we could complain about that.
posted by felix betachat at 1:39 PM on October 21, 2006 [1 favorite]


(I once offered to give y2karl free webspace on my webserver for a y2karl blog. I was completely sincere, but he still turned me down.)
posted by crunchland at 1:39 PM on October 21, 2006


So this is as good a place as any to hash this out somewhat. Do these posts suck, or do some people just hate them an extreme amount and the posts are generally okay?

Yes they suck, suyckity suckity suck suck suck. And Y2K is acting in bad faith in posing them, despite the warning on the post page asking that we not post on Iraq.

I suggest that we start flagging these things more aggressively. I think that given the warning on the posting page, "breaks the guidelines" is a pretty clear fit.
posted by LarryC at 1:43 PM on October 21, 2006


They suck.

I'm not saying that news isn't important on the blue. But really, people are too f**king divisive.

To them "It's my way or the highway." And "After they read this, people will switch to my point of view". When both of those are wrong.

Politics is all about belief (right now) and almost nothing about reasoning.

Too bad we can't "flag" a post as "liberal" or conservative, and limit them to one per day. If someone wants to add fuel to the fire, they can do so in the daily post.

It keeps me out of the blue, and keeps me from commenting.

I'll start flagging the hell out of them too. If it matters.
posted by filmgeek at 1:45 PM on October 21, 2006


...while 3 of his last 10 posts have been about Bush and/or Iraq...

The rest were about Mississippi John Hurt. I kid!

Sometimes y2karl's singlemindedness annoys me, but his links are top notch. More importantly, we're less than a month away from elections, and if his signlemindedness has any impact at all (read tkchrist's comments to know how it's not just preaching to the choir) then I'm all for it!
posted by furtive at 1:46 PM on October 21, 2006


10-4 comrade Larry. To the gates! Heat the oil!
posted by loquacious at 1:46 PM on October 21, 2006


Besides, MetaFilter has always had the political swagger of John Stewart, but with better links to back it up, and more serious discussion to boot!
posted by furtive at 1:47 PM on October 21, 2006


Chuckles, y2karl's was actually the 2nd Lancet post. It was originally discussed back on the 11th. So it probably should have been deleted as a double.
posted by smackfu at 1:47 PM on October 21, 2006


Thanks smackfu! I was away for a couple of weeks.. And, if it had been deleted, this call out probably wouldn't exist.
posted by Chuckles at 2:06 PM on October 21, 2006


This is absolute bullshit. How can different aspects of what happens to be one of the biggest events for a generation not be considered FPP worthy?

Or is my sneaking suspicion the reason for all the talk of axe grinding etc is more like an attempt to stick your fingers in your ears and go "blah blah blah we can't hear you"...


So, that's one week and 4 + 2 posts related to Iraq. Of the 4 we have the Lancet study post, and the psyops one, both completely original information that should be of critical importance to all of us.
posted by Chuckles at 10:20 PM CET on October 21 [+] [!]


Chuckles has it right on the mark and add the fact only 3 of 10 posts by y2karl are Iraq related makes this the most dumb assed call out since the last one.

And reklaw is clearly the only asshat with an axe to grind here and thats against y2karl.
posted by Funmonkey1 at 2:11 PM on October 21, 2006


CNN is Iraq newsfilter. So is the NY Times. We don't need Metafilter for that.
posted by smackfu at 2:20 PM on October 21, 2006


How can different aspects of what happens to be one of the biggest events for a generation not be considered FPP worthy?

Once again: "No, because you really just want to chat about current events, and mefi is more about the links to interesting sites first, the interesting comments are secondary" — mathowie.
posted by matthewr at 2:21 PM on October 21, 2006


What kind of idiot would use Metafilter to keep themselves up-to-date about the Iraq war, or any other current event? Note: this is not a criticism of Metafilter.
posted by matthewr at 2:23 PM on October 21, 2006


An elevator button lights up when you press it for a good reason

going down, mr. crunchland?
posted by quonsar at 2:31 PM on October 21, 2006


I'd like to chime in with what was said above. Yes, Iraq is going to hell. Yes, the USA are going to hell. Everybody knows. This site is meant to post the best of the web, not "things I'm really angry about and I think should be repeated a million times". There is no way an article about how some senator is corrupt or how many people are dying in Iraq is the best of the web.
posted by fvw at 2:34 PM on October 21, 2006


People don't know this stuff - thats the big difference between it being chat and not. I know that isn't much a of fine line, but there are many different parts to any large story, many of which are well worthy of FPP and don't fit into news/chatFilter.

Why can't flagging work? A single link to a NYTimes article that is buried on page 7 just might be a great FPP, but one will never know until its posted and comments come out. Please bear in mind I am not neglecting the fact the poster has the responsiblity to weed through what has been said before. It's a two way street.
posted by Funmonkey1 at 2:37 PM on October 21, 2006


Weird, I flagged this comment and I got a message saying "Thank you for flagging, it will go into the queue and be reviewed in the next few hours."

Short of Matt & Jess instantly teleporting into my home and giving me a back rub while reinforcing what good judgement and restraint I showed, I'm not sure how much more 'gratifying' the flagging system can be.

We have the tools, the problem is we aren't using them.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 2:39 PM on October 21, 2006 [1 favorite]


Do these posts suck, or do some people just hate them an extreme amount and the posts are generally okay?

I'm not American and really just don't care about your politics (sacrilege I know). I find these posts boring, distracting and somewhat alienating. If I was interested in politics I'd find a local website, or a truly international one, where I can be involved in and think about things that actually affect me and that I can, in turn, have affect upon. Discussion of your news stories doesn't interest me.


The conflict between the "Best of the Web" and "Newsfilter" is growing increasingly contentious.

I agree. I fail to see how American politics is 'best of the web' and I miss feeling part of a properly international site. The Iraq and other American-based postings are drowning out the other content, it's just too much to wade through each day. I really got into the FPPs during the August contest, but I'm being more and more turned off. Which is a pity, I liked finding new things.
posted by shelleycat at 2:42 PM on October 21, 2006


I think if people who object so strenuously to y2karl's post were to prevail, MetaFilter would rapidly devolve into a quaint little backwater, with its own version of roadside attractions and a seedy main drag of curio website shops.

MetaFilter: the website that time forgot.
posted by jamjam at 2:48 PM on October 21, 2006


matteo has got it.

There are a lot of Iraq-related posts because its one of the most important events going on in the world today, and thus generates a good deal of noteworthy links. At least as many as today's slate of latest youtube uploads.

And matthewr, you're being deliberately dense. Many of the posts aren't merely chatfilter posts - they're posts containing worthwhile links. Check out y2karl's death count post: it isn't just a single link to a cnn.com story, its an aggregate of several different links that flesh out an extraordinarily important issue. He's not trying to "chat about current events," he's trying to educate us, broaden the debate, and in doing so point us to some worthwhile links that we might not otherwise have seen.
posted by googly at 2:50 PM on October 21, 2006


There have been more elephant posts in the last three months than Iraq or atheism posts. I am amused by the pro-elephant-discussion folks being against Iraq discussion.
posted by solid-one-love at 3:00 PM on October 21, 2006


He is not repeating "they lied" "bush sucks" etc, but points to coherrent debate about a topic that like it or not affects us all.

he's trying to educate us, broaden the debate


de‧bate  /dɪˈbeɪt/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[di-beyt] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation noun, verb, -bat‧ed, -bat‧ing.
–noun
1. a discussion, as of a public question in an assembly, involving opposing viewpoints.



He's broadening one side of the debate, that's for sure, but we lack an equally determined axegrinder to present opposing views.
posted by Krrrlson at 3:01 PM on October 21, 2006


loquacious : Or news.metafilter. Something. Fork! Fork! Clean cup, move down!

loquacious : And if politics.metafilter is too specific, consider news.metafilter.

I was just getting ready to post a MeTa thread asking for this very pony. (seriously, how's that for timing, huh?)

But how about it admins? It seems like it would deal with a lot of these complaints and it would encourage people to keep the blue as best of the web stuff.

Personally, I love the newsfilter posts. I tend to get a lot of my news information from right here at the MeFi, and I would enjoy having a place just for this kind of thing. Matt set up projects to give people a place to self link, howsabout a place for us to have our newsy goodness?
posted by quin at 3:05 PM on October 21, 2006


why is it so fucking hard for some of you whiners to skip/ignore/not comment in posts you disdain?
posted by Hat Maui at 3:06 PM on October 21, 2006


the Iraq posts are just overwhelmingly uninteresting

Possibly the most apathetic thing I've ever heard. Congrats.
posted by scarabic at 3:06 PM on October 21, 2006


Funmonkey1: "People don't know this stuff AND THEY NEED TO BE TOLD ABOUT IT BECAUSE I SAY SO."

Fixed that for you.

googly: "he's trying to educate us, broaden the debate, and in doing so point us to some worthwhile links that we might not otherwise have seen."

You mention the "worthwhile links" as if they're some happy side-effect. Instead, the links are the whole point. Any education or enforced mind-broadening that goes on is great, but not really what it's here for.
posted by matthewr at 3:14 PM on October 21, 2006


What jokeefe and octothorpe said. If you don't like it, skip it; I don't understand how the mere presence of X posts about [insert subject you're tired of] keeps you from enjoying the others. I find the techie posts mindnumbingly tedious, but I don't come here and bitch about them and ask Matt to create a new site for them, I just skip them.

And:

I sometimes wonder, if the internet and metafilter had existed in 1968, would people have complained about vietnamfilter? In 1964, would people have complained about civilrightsfilter? In 1938, hitlerfilter? In 1861, slaveryfilter?


Damn right they would. We want more posts about Stephen Foster and ways to accessorize your steamboat! We're tired of hearing about slavery!
posted by languagehat at 3:15 PM on October 21, 2006 [1 favorite]


I tend to get a lot of my news information from right here at the MeFi

Strongest argument against democracy evar.
posted by matthewr at 3:17 PM on October 21, 2006


The argument that mathowie has always made against a special newsfilter site is that he doesn't want to encourage those types of posts.

The thing I don't understand is why its so hard to delete them. Posts about religion, Dawkins, fat-people, SUVs, etc. are shot on sight, regardless of how "popular" they may be, but we have to have some kind of plebecite about Iraqfilter, despite the fact that the posting page itself says not to post them.
posted by timeistight at 3:33 PM on October 21, 2006


why is it so fucking hard for some of you whiners to skip/ignore/not comment in posts you disdain?

And yet you posted in this thread.
posted by smackfu at 3:39 PM on October 21, 2006


Please keep the posts. If we just manage to get a few more on the front page, the war will end.
posted by Falconetti at 3:46 PM on October 21, 2006 [3 favorites]


And yet you posted in this thread.

Perhaps they felt the need to post as a counter balance to the extremely vocal users who just can't skip past posts they don't like.
posted by Reggie Knoble at 3:48 PM on October 21, 2006


And yet you posted in this thread.

wait, this actually makes sense to you?
posted by hototogisu at 3:48 PM on October 21, 2006


Or is my sneaking suspicion the reason for all the talk of axe grinding etc is more like an attempt to stick your fingers in your ears and go "blah blah blah we can't hear you"...

It strikes me that way, too. And no, everybody doesn't know all this stuff. If you believe that, you're not actually reading the linked articles.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:49 PM on October 21, 2006


well, at least the war against the elephants is going well (no, I don't mean that as a GOP reference).

Banning or discouraging Iraq links would be like banning or discouraging global warming links. Furthermore, how often do we have to have this fricking debate? It comes up every two months, karl gets picked on, someone counts posts about the subject and realizes it's a tiny fraction of total posts, and no change occurs. Say it with me:

Flag and move on!

GYOBFW would apply if, for example, y2k posted his stuff in the context of longwinded personal analyses, which he maifestly does not.
posted by mwhybark at 4:04 PM on October 21, 2006


He maifestly does!
posted by timeistight at 4:07 PM on October 21, 2006


So, after all this vilification of y2karl and his Iraq posts, apparently the answer to the original question is, yes, reklaw was justified in crapping in the post?
posted by crunchland at 4:10 PM on October 21, 2006


Seems like the majority (though not overwhelming) of commenters in this thread are against PoliNewsFilter. There's a number of such comments that I agree with to the point of saying "Hell, yeah!" when I read them. And there are a number of dissenting comments which really, really piss me off.

One category of these is this stupendously fucking stupid assertion that because Iraq is important all these posts belong and that anyone who thinks otherwise thinks it's unimportant, doesn't want to know about it, and would complain about posts about the Holocaust in the late forties. That argument is so offensive and stupid at the same time that it makes me want to shoot someone.

For one thing, many of us who dislike these Iraq posts are very well informed about the situation in Iraq. Much better informed, as a matter of fact, than anyone who is relying upon MetaFilter for their Iraq War news. Frankly, if you're relying upon MetaFilter for this news, you're a fucking imbecile and a danger to our democracy.

For another thing, the argument hypothesizing "what people would do if" the Holocaust or Vietnam or whatever was happening is an example of one of the most dishonest and manipulative types of arguments popular in American political discourse. It is a completely bullshit argument because it's vilifying people because of actions they hypothetical would commit in the imaginations of people entirely predisposed to think the worst of them. Anyone could play this game and I myself can imagine all sorts of m moral crimes that supporters of PoliNewsFilter would "probably" carry out in some alternative universe. Anyone making these sorts of arguments should be deeply ashamed of themselves.

What is most objectionable about these sorts of posts is that they are examples of the broader phenomena of AdvocacyFilter, which is a kind of post that is marginal when viewed from even the most generous perspective. The rock-bottom criteria for a quality MetaFilter post is that it's something unusually good and interesting on the web that a sufficient number of mefites would like to see. But advocacy posts arise primarily from the desires and interests of the poster and their imperialistic ideas about what should be interesting and important to the rest of MetaFilter. When a poster posts such posts sparingly, they are tolerable because often enough perhaps the posts actually turn out to be interesting to enough mefites. But when advocacy turns into axe-grinding, then a line has been crossed and such posts become inexcusable.

The matter of Y2Karl and GYOB has come up in this thread. Y2Karl has denied it and perhaps has forgotten that he said it, but he has very plainly stated here in MeTa in the past that he is not interested in having his own blog because they audience he reaches on MetaFilter is much larger than what he would reach on his own blog. Y2Karl, by his own admission, treats MeFi as his personal soapbox. That is offensive to the community and offensive to the fundamental notions of what MetaFilter is all about.

Complaining in a thread about its acceptability is unambiguously against a basic MetaFilter rule of etiquette. Yet, people still do so. One reason is evident in this thread: people don't flag NewsFilter posts because they believe that doing so is futile. That certainly has been my assumption. A second reason for complaining in a thread is that it is a form of civil disobedience. Some people believe that the current state of affairs with regard to this matter is unacceptable and yet a status quo seems to continue. Matt and Jess have both said they don't really like these sorts of posts and yet they delete few of them. Meanwhile, many, many MetaFilter users, usually newbies, firmly believe both that such political posts are the very essence of MetaFilter and that the discussion they create justifies them. Only a few mefites read MetaTalk and because of this there's a feeling that complaining in a thread is the only truly effective way of countering the trend of opinion which thinks these sorts of posts (or other sorts of posts) are acceptable.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 4:14 PM on October 21, 2006 [6 favorites]


I'm going to retract my earlier statement saying that loquacious' idea of a separate politics or news board would work for me. I've considered the numbers people have posted and it's clearly a tempest in a teapot. There are simply not enough such posts to support their own board.

There is really no excuse for such boorish behavior. It's quite clear from the numbers that some folks are just intolerant of iraq/politics.filter posts.
posted by taosbat at 4:16 PM on October 21, 2006


Y2Karl's posts are uniformly excellent, political and non-political. They also generate lots of discussion, and it's obvious that this site is about the discussion, despite the sterling rhetoric. As I've mentioned before, the sidebar usually doesn't highlight posts, it highlights comments within them.

And ya know, I feel sorry for the the terrorists that are working overtime in the homes, once again, of LarryC and Shelleykat and Krrrlson and others. We must save them from having to click on links they don't like! Call the mounties!
posted by bardic at 4:25 PM on October 21, 2006


Oh, and as for my Flip Flop post -- if Cindy Sheehan wrote an editorial claiming she was wrong about her opposition to the war, that would be more than worthy newsfilter. Hell, I put one of Bush's most prominent apologists on the front page, and Krrrlson and others didn't commend me for giving time to the oft-neglected conservative viewpoint on mefi. I wept myself gently to sleep I did.
posted by bardic at 4:29 PM on October 21, 2006


Do these posts suck, or do some people just hate them an extreme amount and the posts are generally okay?


No, they don't suck and yes some people just hate them an extreme amount.

But they're not best of the web either, at least this one wasn't since it just repeated what was already in the single link.

So, if you're going strictly by the "best of the web" criteria, then yeah delete this one and any others like it.

But not many aren't making that arguement. Mostly it's complaints about "yet another Iraq post", which isn't a very good complaint because Iraq is a big deal right now.

For those commenting that the "posting page itself says not to post them.", you're mistaken. The text from that page is below and simply asks you to think about posting such links and if you DO, at least make them interesting (which this post did NOT):

If you're making a post about Israel or Lebanon or Hezbollah or even Iraq you should reconsider, as many recent threads have ended in shouting matches that do nothing good for the site or the community. If you do insist on posting about those subjects, make sure it's actually something of major importance or at the very least interesting, and not just another news blip about war.


So, just stick to the usual guidelines (Best of the web or major importance) and things should be (mostly) fine.


To those non-americans who have to "endure" this: I apologize on behalf on America and ask that when these posts appear, please whisper among yourselves and don't point (that tends to make monkeys mad). Because in case you haven't noticed we're still teenagers (generally speaking) and prey to wild mood swings, delusions of power and self importance and irrational leaps of logic.

Please don't laugh at us.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:32 PM on October 21, 2006


You know what I find weird? People are against these posts because they poision the air and create divisive comments, but they are also against them because it's not about the comments. Huh.

Anyway, while I find the comments oftern annoying, sometimes the posts are interesting, and even if they aren't, I don't think they should be deleted unless they are totally repetitive crap (eg, another Dawkins post as opposed to any general post on atheism).
posted by dame at 4:37 PM on October 21, 2006


to wit,
posted by xod at 4:42 PM on October 21, 2006


The horse is out of the barn, folks. MetaFilter already allows newsfilter/political/Iraq posts. It really is IMHO a natural progression from the original intent of the site.

What do some of you want? Do you want ALL of those types of posts to be deleted from now on? Is that what you want?

It does not detract from the essence of MetaFilter. Just ignore the post you don't like, or Flag it if you feel you need to or bring it to MetaTalk if you feel that strongly about it. Other than that, what the hell do you want?

This site now has well over 40,000 members. There are a lot of events and issues swirling around these days. People have a lot of different interests and perspectives. Deal with it. Eventually this too shall pass.
posted by jaronson at 4:48 PM on October 21, 2006


I'm glad so many people agreed with me... including jessamyn, apparently. Neat.

I don't have anything against political news as such, you understand. I just find hearing about Iraq so boring now. We all know what's happening there. We've heard it over and over again. I skip Iraq in my newspaper, I do something else when it comes on the news -- there's just no point. It's not apathy. It's just, well, we know. Why tell us again? Preaching to the choir, and boring them in the process.

And then we have to suffer through the same old mindless idiots coming in and leaving comments about whatever predictably-written Iraq article has been posted this time that basically say "Yay! My team is totally the best!! We're number one!" (I gained a huge distaste for this kind of brain-dead point-scoring somewhere around when no Democrat-voting type on the web would believe those CBS memos were fake, but hey, that's just me).

I don't understand why the people who are so interested in Iraq don't just go join DailyKos instead, to be honest. I can only assume that part of the point is to inflict it all on us, because it's just "so important" that we know. They're like crazy preachers with megaphones, harassing passers-by on the street. And I always shout back at those people. So sue me.
posted by reklaw at 4:54 PM on October 21, 2006


matthewr : Strongest argument against democracy evar.

When a big news story breaks, Metafilter's running commentary is often ahead of the information that the news is showing. The Foley scandal thread being a great example of this. I've also seen news here that didn't get picked up by the main stream media until days later.

If you can point me to another site that can do this, I will happily use it.
posted by quin at 4:57 PM on October 21, 2006


Well, lots of people agreed with Hitler too.

(It's just not meta if Godwin isn't invoked.)

I'm interested in Iraq for pretty obvious reasons -- it's a war, it's getting lots of people killed (more now than when it started even), and it costs lots and lots of money, among other things.

Again, suck it up. You are one among 40,000 special snow-flakes. In addition to furry culture and frottage, politics, particularly American politics, is one of my interests. When you pitch a fit in meta like this, you sound like a crazy preacher with a megaphone, harassing passers-by on the street. And shouting back at them is stupid, although I'm doing it today. So sue me.
posted by bardic at 5:01 PM on October 21, 2006


But advocacy posts arise primarily from the desires and interests of the poster and their imperialistic ideas about what should be interesting and important to the rest of MetaFilter.

Yet those posts consistently draw a boatload of comments from people discussing the post and the link(s) which demonstrates a lot of interest and a high level of importance to mefites.

Seriously, if these threads are so "popular" isn't it the "whiners" who are trying to dictate to everyone else?
posted by Reggie Knoble at 5:02 PM on October 21, 2006


*sues both bardic and reklaw*

*wins a megaphone and a dollar*
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:03 PM on October 21, 2006


For some forms of 'news', like Republican sex scandals, I guess Metafilter is a good news source, especially if rapidity of updates is more important than accuracy. But for things that actually matter, I stick with the BBC and the newspapers. I feel moderately confident that the BBC is both competent and unbiased in its coverage; I have little confidence that the blogosphere (vomit) is either.
posted by matthewr at 5:04 PM on October 21, 2006


I don't understand why the people who are so interested in Iraq don't just go join DailyKos instead, to be honest.

Maybe they belong to both?

I just find hearing about Iraq so boring now.

Clearly not, because you posted in the thread.

Look, I hear what you're saying: You know Iraq is fucked up, you've heard a thousand times, why do you have to hear it AGAIN.

All I can say is that you don't have to read the thread and you CAN scroll past it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:08 PM on October 21, 2006


Yet those posts consistently draw a boatload of comments from people discussing the post and the link(s) which demonstrates a lot of interest and a high level of importance to mefites.

I think this can be a very misleading way to look at things. If two people argue back and forth, they can generate a lot of comments that only a very few people are interested in. # of comments means nothing.
posted by smackfu at 5:08 PM on October 21, 2006


"People are against these posts because they poision the air and create divisive comments, but they are also against them because it's not about the comments."

Which specific people do both those things apply? Another pernicious and invalid type of argument these days is asserting hypocrisy of a group by finding individual members of a group who contradict each other. Thus you get arguments of the form "They say X but also Y so therefore they are hypocrites" which don't prove that any specific individual said both X and Y or that a group officially and collectively said both X and Y. This type of argument isn't as dishonest as the other I recently condemned, but I do think it's lazy. I've had to combat the habit in myself. Also, it's worth fighting against because the propensity for such an argument is directly proportional to just how depersonalized one sees one's opponents—that is, just how much an opposing group has become a sort of abstract caricature that's a straw man and far too easy to argue against.

On Preview: "Yet those posts consistently draw a boatload of comments from people discussing the post and the link(s) which demonstrates a lot of interest and a high level of importance to mefites." First, as has often been stated and generally accepted to be true, the number of comments a post receives is by no means a measure of a the posts quality or its suitability for posting to MetaFilter. Second, I think you'll find that a substantial portion of those comments are made by a relatively small number of usual suspects who, aside from having such political posts as their primary MeFi interests, also post a large number of comments in individual threads.

Also: "I've also seen news here that didn't get picked up by the main stream media until days later. If you can point me to another site that can do this, I will happily use it." You're kidding me, right? Where do you think these MeFi posters get the information they're posting? You think they're investigative reporters or war correspondents? No, they get this news from the same plethora of online sources I, and others, do. That MeFi beats the mainstream media is no argument; if you rely on the mainstream media for Iraq news, you're also an imbecile. And MeFi as a source is unreliable because as a generally like-minded community, the particular news which gets aggregated here reflects the bias of this community. For someone who relies on MeFi as a primary source, this invites a very bad case of confirmation bias. Quit being lazy and go out on the web and look for sources at least one step closer to reality and which are more diverse.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 5:11 PM on October 21, 2006


No, number of comments is indicative of interest in a post (certainly not quality, necessarily).

Now you're really grasping at straws.
posted by bardic at 5:11 PM on October 21, 2006


*responding to smackfu
posted by bardic at 5:12 PM on October 21, 2006


If you believe that, you're not actually reading the linked articles.

Of course they're not; if they had any interest in the subject, they wouldn't be bitching and moaning.

I'm glad so many people agreed with me... including jessamyn, apparently. Neat.

For "neat," substitute "one of the most depressing things I've read at MetaFilter." I'm just glad Matt doesn't feel that way.
posted by languagehat at 5:12 PM on October 21, 2006


Do these posts suck, or do some people just hate them an extreme amount and the posts are generally okay?

The posts are good, they are not as ubiquitous as people claim, and they are important. Since you asked, Jessamyn.

EB's sweetly worded rant aside, it is extremely fucking relevant to think about this in a bigger picture and longer context. One of the longstanding taglines around here is "weblog as community". What the hell kind of community hides its head in the sand about such a massive political AND moral issue?(yes, kids, Iraq is NOT JUST A POLITICAL ISSUE).

Like it or not, part of the best of the web is, in fact, the ready access to information (who among us would have read the actual lancet article if not for the web?) and important documents relating to this central issue of the times ARE the best of the web, among the other things which are also good things about the web.

Ethereal Bligh: One category of these is this stupendously fucking stupid assertion that because Iraq is important all these posts belong and that anyone who thinks otherwise thinks it's unimportant, doesn't want to know about it, and would complain about posts about the Holocaust in the late forties.

No, Ethereal, it like people, yourself included, perhaps, who would have complained about Holocaust posts in the EARLY forties. As in, when it was actually happening. And in a context when some people did not want to know anything about it, and others did not want to know anything about it, and others actually approved of it. For all your erudition and acknowledging you may indeed be "much better informed" about it than most, you seem to have lost sight of the fact that the Iraq, uh, "situation" is happening right fucking now. If it dominates (which is doesn't, by the way) the front page that just might be because it actually matters and if we are a community, and maybe you just don't think we are, but if this is a community then members have a right and perhaps a responsibility to discuss this issue in the context of major documents and opinion pieces linked as FPPs.

(not, indeed, crap minor news updates from the likes of CNN but substantial items that are available on the web. The web allows advocacy to all, in what universe does advocacy eliminate something from being the best of the web? In any case, IF the piece is interesting and IF it is presented reasonably neutrally then it can be a good FPP. The reading of Iraq posts as advocacy of a viewpoint might be the product of experience but it appears to privilege some monstrous world where people post for some reason other than what they are interested in. This position of exaggerated, enforced neutrality is, in fact, a highly biased and rather juvenile viewpoint in and of itself that may serve the interests of the agressors in the war in question).
posted by Rumple at 5:13 PM on October 21, 2006


Metafilter's running commentary is often ahead of the information that the news is showing.

This is the saving grace of the newsfilter phenomenon, to me. For example, I think MeFi can be pretty proud that some of our scientifically literate members diagnosed the north korean bomb fizzle within minutes, long before the newspapers were able to find sources willing to go out on that limb. The signal:noise ratio in most news posts isn't very good, of course, but in the big stories it sometimes is.

But aside from that caveat, what Ethereal Bligh said.
posted by gsteff at 5:15 PM on October 21, 2006


No, number of comments is indicative of interest in a post (certainly not quality, necessarily).

Are you intentionally ignoring my point? If two people are arguing back and forth and driving up the comment count, that doesn't mean there is a lot of interest beyond those two people.
posted by smackfu at 5:17 PM on October 21, 2006


"I feel moderately confident that the BBC is both competent and unbiased in its coverage; I have little confidence that the blogosphere (vomit) is either."

What I wrote in my previous comment about MeFi applies to the BBC and other major media organizations. You're fooling yourself if you believe that any particular source is mostly unbiased and reliable. News available online is both more unreliable and biased than most mainstream sources, but the import of that diminshes in significance when compared to the vast number of diverse sources available on the web as opposed to the very few mainstream sources. Understanding and evaluating the world today requires a critical faculty which is able to sift through a large number of diverse news sources and gleaming something more reliable and unbiased from them. Nothing brings to the surface so effectively both bias and unreliability than comparative examinations of a great many sources. The huge number of sources available on the web is easily the most important development in the recent history of mankind in our ability to discover something approaching the truth about the world today. All that is required is a healthy amount of skepticism coupled with a developed and practiced critical faculty for dealing with large amounts of diverse and individually unreliable information. Anyone can develop these skills if they are willing to work at it.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 5:19 PM on October 21, 2006


What Rumple said. EB, are you seriously claiming that anyone who isn't "lazy" will have already seen every single link y2karl posts? Have you? Be honest, now. We're not talking about crappy Iraq posts, which should be deleted or ignored like any other crappy posts, we're talking about well-researched posts with detailed, informative links on a vitally important subject.
posted by languagehat at 5:19 PM on October 21, 2006


For example, I think MeFi can be pretty proud that some of our scientifically literate members diagnosed the north korean bomb fizzle within minutes, long before the newspapers were able to find sources willing to go out on that limb.

My favorite moment along these lines was eriko commenting on the "liquid bombing" in Britain. I found myself uttering "No shit, Sherlock" every time a newscaster mentioned that just maybe, the plot was a little bit far-fetched.
posted by bardic at 5:20 PM on October 21, 2006


smackfu, please feel free to cite examples for your weak-ass argument. Yes, certain posters like me are more likely than not to post in an Iraq thread, but where has a 100+ warfilter thread included comments by just three people?
posted by bardic at 5:21 PM on October 21, 2006


In addition to furry culture and frottage, politics, particularly American politics, is one of my interests.

MetaFilter isn't the site you're looking for (I hope).
posted by timeistight at 5:22 PM on October 21, 2006


we're talking about well-researched posts with detailed, informative links on a vitally important subject.

Like this? Because that seems like a one paragraph quote and a one-word link to a National Journal article.
posted by smackfu at 5:24 PM on October 21, 2006


Apparently boring reklaw is an equivalent offense to his attacking you in your thread.
posted by scarabic at 5:25 PM on October 21, 2006


MetaFilter isn't the site you're looking for (I hope).

Your Jedi powers are useless on me.
posted by bardic at 5:25 PM on October 21, 2006


"What Rumple said. EB, are you seriously claiming that anyone who isn't 'lazy' will have already seen every single link y2karl posts? Have you? Be honest, now."

No, but that isn't an appropriate test. The appropriate test is something more like whether or not most of this has already been seen. And, yes, I pass that test and I think anyone who isn't lazy will pass that test.

I just don't understand the rationality of the argument that because the Iraq war is very, very politically and morally important that this necessarily justifies most posts on the subject. This is a strange MetaFilter exceptionalism. Would I have complained against Holocaust posts in the early forties? Only if they were bad posts. I'm complaining about the Iraq posts because they are bad posts, not because the Iraq war isn't terribly important, which it is. I'm complaining against the reasoning that the Iraq war is so important that its importance is, apparently, seen as an effective rhetorical bludgeon in the argument for the acceptability of most of the Iraq posts that have appeared on MetaFilter.

It is perhaps unsurprisingly ironic that this argument in its form and tenor so strongly echoes the Republican argument for exceptionalism in the name of the War on Terror. The GOP machine has only to mutter "War on Terror!" to make too many people fall in line and not criticize actual policy or, especially, the wide-ranging exceptionalism which is used to justify policy. People can repeatedly shout in this thread how this war is a travesty of our lifetimes (which it is) as a self-apparent and sufficient argument for the acceptability of most of these posts. Others, like me, will say that this is hogwash and that these posts should be considered on their individual merits, just like other posts. If you are not convinced by the GOP's exceptionalist (and minimalist) rhetoric and see it as a device intended to divert attention, then perhaps consider that shouting "War in Iraq!" is more like that than you might want to admit.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 5:35 PM on October 21, 2006


I just don't understand the rationality of the argument that because the Iraq war is very, very politically and morally important that this necessarily justifies most posts on the subject.

Then you are surprisingly dense, as usual.
posted by bardic at 5:46 PM on October 21, 2006


And then what? No one is taking you off to a concentration camp. If the argument is some sort of slippery slope "metafilter will become nothing but beedogs and flash games" then try to make it but I don't think it holds up. My issue with the Iraq posts are:


do you actually realise you're meant to be at least have some form of neutrality about this jessamyn ?

to be frank, your issues with the iraq post are that they get in the way of your quest to turn metafilter into your tiny, banal public library.
posted by sgt.serenity at 5:57 PM on October 21, 2006


Yeah, lets not comfort Goebbels by posting about the Holocaust. Instead, lets be so goddamn neutral about it that we forget that it isn't a rhetorical war but a real war in which real people are getting killed -- a kind of fastidiousness that leads to the same banal place as evil.

I think EB completely misses the point that good, online articles and opinion pieces and links to major studies like the Lancet or the IBC are, in fact, among the best of the web in their own right, as individual items not readily available elsewhere. Crap links aren't, but a link to a thoughtful opinion piece on almost any subject is. Not everyone has the opportunity to do as you advocate and spend what would amount to hours of research per day sifting through all the non-MSM material out there (and, lets be clear, The Lancet, IBC and the topic of the FPP in discusson, The National Journal are not Main Stream Media. I would never have seen the NJ article if not for metafilter -- yes it filters the meta. Thats the whole frickin' point!) Anyway, I am neother lazy nor am I in the thrall of the MSM but if someone uses mefi to bring an interesting, thoughtful article that yes, OMG, has an actual point of view, then I am grateful and not condescending.

So, EB, perhaps the question is: if you agree the war is crucially important, and you are extremely well informed about it, and, if you regularly peruse a very wide selection of non-MSM information about the war, and if you agree that some early 1940s posts about the Holocaust would have been good posts, then why don't you drop the goddamned pose, don't worry about being seen as a stooge of the dominant hegemony, stop being obstructionist, and show you actually care by making the kind of Iraq FPP you seem to hanker for. Yes, you. Do something. Please.

Or else, to be honest, you do come across as appearing to either not care about metafilter (which is absurd since you spend so much time policing it), as a hypocrite, or, shall we say, as lazy.

I'd be genuinely interested in what you posted and I might not even leave a comment.
posted by Rumple at 5:57 PM on October 21, 2006


Or perhaps I'm mistaken.

MetaFilter: furries, frottage and American politics.
posted by timeistight at 5:59 PM on October 21, 2006


And then we have to suffer through the same old mindless idiots coming in and leaving comments about whatever predictably-written Iraq article......blah...blah...fucking blah...

it takes me about less than a second to look at a post on the front page to know that it's about iraq...and about two seconds to know (unless it is a one-worder or such) if it's something i'm interested in at all...what goddamn torture chamber are you living in where you are required to open up every single link and read every single comment made there?

i mean, really, for those of you who put so much effort into hating these posts and bitching about the fact that people will comment on them, at least admit that it's the bitching that's the whole point of it for you; why else devote so much time to something you could so easily avoid?...and really, if all of a sudden the posts all started to fit your presumably non-artibrary criteria, what would you do with yourselves all day?
posted by troybob at 6:00 PM on October 21, 2006 [2 favorites]


Please show us where someone is actually making ...the argument that because the Iraq war is very, very politically and morally important that this necessarily justifies most posts on the subject.

I see folks making the arguement that a well-written post about the Iraq war should be treated as a well-written post...and a poorly written one should be deleted for whatever obvious reason might be pertinent. Perhaps I missed something.
posted by taosbat at 6:02 PM on October 21, 2006


It is perhaps unsurprisingly ironic that this argument in its form and tenor so strongly echoes the Republican argument for exceptionalism in the name of the War on Terror.

A devastating comparison, with the one teensy weensy flaw that the downside of exceptionalism in the name of the War on Terror is the loss of civil liberties, the ruination of the economy, and the draining of funds from other priorities, whereas the downside of allowing y2karl's posts is that you have to scroll a little farther along the front page.
posted by languagehat at 6:03 PM on October 21, 2006 [2 favorites]


I am of the opinion that the only thing of value the Internet has ever produced is animated GIFs, and any thread that doesn't encourage their use is certainly not the best of the Web.
posted by Astro Zombie at 6:03 PM on October 21, 2006


Comparing the Iraq War with the initial incursions by Germany in Czechoslovakia is pretty apt, I think. The entire world sat on its ass while the US made its play, and now we have one brand of islamists committing genocide against another brand of islamists. Meanwhile the US Administration follows a path eerily reminiscent of that of Mussolini on his path to dictatorship, and a whole lot of citizenry just floats along ignoring or ignorant of the machinations of those in power.

And if that comparison is apt, then I think it's pretty disturbing that in a community as supposedly sophisticated and intellectual as this one, would wish to ignore what is going on around the world.

If you're looking for goofy links and a lack of conversation, please go visit Memepool. MeFi is almost certainly not going to please you. We do do politics here: that much is very well established by our history.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:06 PM on October 21, 2006


it takes me about less than a second to look at a post on the front page to know that it's about iraq...and about two seconds to know (unless it is a one-worder or such) if it's something i'm interested in at all...what goddamn torture chamber are you living in where you are required to open up every single link and read every single comment made there?
posted by troybob


Take a breath, reread this, and then ask yourself: Is it really important in the scheme of things that I spend an inordinant amount of time obsessing about posts, writing lengthy comments about the fact that these posts are allowed on the blue, and then grumbling some more until the next time?

I understand that it's tedious seeing a reference to Iraq in your Sacred Bleu, but CAN'T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG?
posted by leftcoastbob at 6:13 PM on October 21, 2006


Is this thread about ...allowing y2karl's posts... or is it about the propriety of the boor, reklaw, unilaterally crapping in this, or any, post?
posted by taosbat at 6:14 PM on October 21, 2006


I have to agree with Rumple & languagehat, here... I understand the sentiment that pet issues and bombastic partisanship have no place here, but the links on iraq have not struck me as going over the top in those columns. It seems as if, whether we like it or not, we are living in "interesting times", and this issue is simply part of the fabric of our environment - I find political references coming up in places I wouldn't have thought politics would be addressed 5 years ago. It is just too important.

As for whether getting news from MeFi is pathetic, I check out a number of sites but metafilter is often one of the better sources, with better information in links as well as comments. I have the radio & a few magazine subscriptions, & occasionally print rags, but a lot of my news is from the internet, and metafilter often does exactly what it claims to, in filtering what's really worth reading out for me.
posted by mdn at 6:24 PM on October 21, 2006


"A devastating comparison, with the one teensy weensy flaw that the downside of exceptionalism in the name of the War on Terror is the loss of civil liberties, the ruination of the economy, and the draining of funds from other priorities, whereas the downside of allowing y2karl's posts is that you have to scroll a little farther along the front page."

The "flaw", if it is a "flaw", is that your point indicates that the importance of complaining against such exceptionalism in the case of MeFi is minute in comparison to the importance of complaining against Bush admin exceptionalism. Which is quite true. However, that bears not at all on whether or not both arguments are fallacious. Nor should it detract from my intent to draw attention to the fallacy.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 6:28 PM on October 21, 2006


do you actually realise you're meant to be at least have some form of neutrality about this jessamyn ?
to be frank, your issues with the iraq post are that they get in the way of your quest to turn metafilter into your tiny, banal public library.

posted by sgt.serenity

Step right up, ladies and gents! Behold, the amazing abilities of Psychic Serenity, the man who'll read your thoughts and motivations as easily as you can read his insulting bullshit comments!

Why do Jessamyn and Mathowie have to be neutral on any issue? As contributing members and as people they're entitled to have any sort of opinion they like, so long as that doesn't compromise the decisions they make regarding the site.

If Matt and Jess were truly neutral this place would either be complete chaos or a total ghost town.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 6:31 PM on October 21, 2006


"Or else, to be honest, you do come across as appearing to either not care about metafilter (which is absurd since you spend so much time policing it), as a hypocrite, or, shall we say, as lazy."

Your whole argument is a bunch of BS. If I care about the war, and care about MetaFilter, then I must care about the war on MetaFilter? Why? Listen: on my fixed income of only $800 a month, I just gave $100 to the DCCC only two hours ago. That single act will probably do more against this stupid war than all of Y2Karl's self-important posts combined.

This obsession with preaching to the like-minded via posts to MetaFilter on a subject that any responsible American should already be well-informed is a load of juvenile horseshit. It's like you never grew out of the weekly campus march. Contributing money or volunteer effort to political causes which act in opposition to the Bush administration are meaningful acts against the travesty which is this war. Posting and commenting on MetaFilter are not. Get a fucking sense of perspective.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 6:35 PM on October 21, 2006


This obsession with preaching to the like-minded via posts to MetaFilter on a subject that any responsible American should already be well-informed is a load of juvenile horseshit.

And that is just it--the preaching to the like-minded. We could count the actual supporters of the Iraq war on this site with one hand. If you want to advocate a point-of-view, do it somewhere that might make a difference. Talk to your neighbors, your coworkers, your relatives. Friends, there is an election coming up. And while the Republicans are taking over your local school board what are you dong? Posting on Metafilter, and muttering to yourself, "Well, I guess I showed them!"
posted by LarryC at 6:44 PM on October 21, 2006


EB, I actually wasn't calling people hypocrites. (Have I ever not said what I thought straight out? Subtlety isn't exactly my style.) I just think it's odd and might imply something about this whole nonsense. What it might imply I don't know because I just can't get that worked up over Newsfilter. But hey, you got to feel all smart & indignant, so there's my good deed for the day.
posted by dame at 6:49 PM on October 21, 2006


This obsession with preaching to the like-minded via posts to MetaFilter on a subject that any responsible American should already be well-informed is a load of juvenile horseshit.

Are you characterizing all posts, or any post, or this post, by y2karl, or anyone else who posts an FPP on this or related topics, as ...obsession with preaching to the like-minded? I think your rhetoric precedes your reading.
posted by taosbat at 6:50 PM on October 21, 2006


Ah, the ol' Y2Karl's post are annoying because they aren't strong enough advocacy.

Really, how many times are you going to move the goal-posts EB? A post that a lot of people participate in doesn't mean it's worthy. Fine. I agree in principle. So now, the problem is that his posts keep people from going out there and passing out flyers?

Absolutely moronic. No I don't think I'm changing the world, or even improving it much, when I particpate in an Iraq/Politicsfilter thread. But often, more often than anywhere else on the web, I learn something I didn't know before. Do I already agree that the war sucks? Of course. Did I know just how many dead Iraqi civilians there were, and about the politics and science of counting war-dead? Not so much. Did I know things were bad? Certainly. Did I know that you could be murdered based on whether your surname was of either Shia or Sunni origin, and that there's a market for fake ID's so that people can get across town by shifting identities? Nope, learned that on mefi as well, among other things.

Get bent.
posted by bardic at 7:01 PM on October 21, 2006


even in topics where there is general agreement--even in topics when i predict from the nature of the FPP itself that most people commenting will be in general agreement about something--i still get something out of the variety of viewpoints here...even the dawkins threads!

on crapping in threads: you guys do get that the noise level from people complaining about the noise level is higher than that from the supposedly offending posts themselves, right? i consider it more a disservice to the community: you can look at a FPP and get an idea that you're not interested, and so you have the option of not wasting your time with it; but when you go into a thread that looks interesting to you and find that the topic itself is being shouted down or that (as often happens) an interesting discussion is being hijacked by disinterested persons who feel the need to share the depth of their disinterest, that is more a waste than any crappy FPP that might come along...

...and i know that there are solid, legitimate reasons for saying an FPP should be deleted, but the whole 'tired subject' and 'overdiscussed' stuff is so arbitrary and unclear that the enforcement of such i think does more to encourage that subset of whiners whose disrespectful behavior is rewarded every time they are placated...i would bet that if we suspended members who do this rather than deleted the topics of their derision, the quality of discussion would go way up...
posted by troybob at 7:06 PM on October 21, 2006


Do these posts suck, or do some people just hate them an extreme amount and the posts are generally okay?
Sorry, they're awful. I'm a Canadian; there are lots of us here. (There are also Brits, Aussies, Kiwis; more, I'm sure.) I don't really care about American politics and American MeFites don't tend to care about ours.
Let's leave everyone's politics off the filter, eh?
posted by Count Ziggurat at 7:06 PM on October 21, 2006


jessamyn: "Do these posts suck, or do some people just hate them an extreme amount and the posts are generally okay?"

Maybe I shouldn't be commenting here after skipping the long discussion that's already taken place, but that seems somehow fitting.

I've thought about whether killing all the politicsFilter posts would make sense, and I'd like it if you did. Since you implied lightly that flags might make you do that, it'll be on you to count the flags I'm gonna start throwing at you. Sorry.

But, honestly, sometimes I think that leaving those threads is the best thing. Matt mentioned at some point (I think) that the best solution to vicious trolling would be to create an alternate universe around them where no one can see their posts but themselves. The difficulties of that are legion. This is the closest thing we can manage: a host of sinkhole threads, appearing daily on the front page, that perpetually suck the trolls away from whatever else they might be destroying.
posted by koeselitz at 7:08 PM on October 21, 2006


I think it's more the given names, bardic, the Iraqi Shi'a and Sunni seem to be so intermarried that surnames aren't the real give-away, its sect-related given names -- or the variant forms of those names -- that give one up to the death squads.
posted by taosbat at 7:09 PM on October 21, 2006


Out of (if I counted correctly) seventeen posts in the blue so far today, two are about Iraq. That doesn't seem to me to be a troublesome ratio, but then I don't have a particular vision of what Mefi is supposed to be when it comes to such particulars. Not that I don't feel invested in the site; I come here every day, I've been a member for five years. But I've found that the site tends to self correct, and along with nudges from the moderators, more or less keeps an even keel.

Would Metafilter, today, be a better place if there were instead fifteen posts on the front page and nothing about Iraq? I realise that what's going on here in Meta is a lot to do with blowing off steam and frustration, but I can't get too angry about it myself. If I want a site that's nothing but partisan politics, I'll read the likes of Kos or Red State (fascinating, crazy place that it is). EB, my friend, a step back perhaps (with all respect).
posted by jokeefe at 7:14 PM on October 21, 2006


Do these posts suck, or do some people just hate them an extreme amount and the posts are generally okay?

Is the current FPP -- a link to a Guardian/UK video documentary -- "sucky", or illuminating? Shall we consider such "axegrind-filter," or a unique perspective those of us in the U.S. are not seeing by way of our media outlets? Is it "delete-worthy?"
posted by ericb at 7:18 PM on October 21, 2006


Nobody in America is covering this stuff.
posted by taosbat at 7:27 PM on October 21, 2006


Iraq, news, politics.. Three different things!
posted by Chuckles at 7:33 PM on October 21, 2006


When a big news story breaks, Metafilter's running commentary is often ahead of the information that the news is showing. The Foley scandal thread being a great example of this.

Even before that particular thread -- we at MeFi caught onto the importance of the Foley story a full-day (Thursday; Sept. 28) before the major media outlets did (Friday; Sept. 29).
posted by ericb at 7:44 PM on October 21, 2006


And let's not forget Truthout's 'Rove Indicted' scoop.
That was a real stop the presses moment.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:48 PM on October 21, 2006


When a big news story breaks, Metafilter's running commentary is often ahead of the information that the news is showing.

It isn't even that MetaFilter is ahead, but it is an effective filter (like duh!). Much more useful than watching hours of cable news coverage.

Anyway, to add to eriko's list of kills, he also found the electronics kit that the Toronto terrorist plotters were using as a cell phone bomb trigger. That has never been reported, as far as I can tell.
posted by Chuckles at 7:50 PM on October 21, 2006


Obviously reklaw, jessamyn, timeistight, etc., were actually looking for this site, and came to Metafilter by mistake.

And "axegrinding". Oh my. Labelling as refuge for geniuses who can't make a cogent argument. Passionate Mefites who care about the injustic of an actual American war causing actual human deaths and actually ruining every decent thing this nation has ever stood for, denigrated by those whose passions begin and end on Flash Friday.

Keep up the fire, Karl.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 8:01 PM on October 21, 2006


I'm sure your support would be every bit as ardent if his politics didn't match yours.
posted by jonson at 8:03 PM on October 21, 2006


on crapping in threads: you guys do get that the noise level from people complaining about the noise level is higher than that from the supposedly offending posts themselves, right? i consider it more a disservice to the community: you can look at a FPP and get an idea that you're not interested, and so you have the option of not wasting your time with it; but when you go into a thread that looks interesting to you and find that the topic itself is being shouted down or that (as often happens) an interesting discussion is being hijacked by disinterested persons who feel the need to share the depth of their disinterest, that is more a waste than any crappy FPP that might come along...

Seconded

If a post goes up on the front page you don't like you can skip entirely it in no more than maybe five seconds.

If you start dumping in the thread, and without even bothering to flag it no less, you create far more work for those who are interested, and that is a lot of people like it or not, who have to step around the turds.

And comment count is a good indicator of interest in any given post because it reflects the number of users who cared enough to take the time to get involved, not that it says anything about the quality, just about the level of interest.
posted by Reggie Knoble at 8:08 PM on October 21, 2006


do you actually realise you're meant to be at least have some form of neutrality about this jessamyn

Yeah! Don't you know you're supposed to pretend to be neutral to placate the slow-witted? Cause no one is really neutral. The closest you can get is indifferent.

to be frank, your issues with the iraq post are that they get in the way of your quest to turn metafilter into your tiny, banal public library.

Now that is funny. "Fuck you and your librarian ways, bitch."
posted by smackfu at 8:29 PM on October 21, 2006


fold_and_mutilate, that was really cold but I had to laugh.
posted by taosbat at 8:32 PM on October 21, 2006


I'd like to make clear that I don't endorse nor agree in the least with reklaw's apparent "I'm tired of Iraq posts and they're boring" objection to them. My objection is to what's called NewsFilter and what I've called AdvocacyFilter because I believe that both kinds of posts are bad for MetaFilter for a variety of reasons—aside from the fact that Matt has been very clear about what he thinks MetaFilter is "for" and these sorts of posts are not it—and that the Iraq War posts are a particularly variety of these sorts of posts. Some of them are legitimately "best of the web". Most are not and are merely NewsFilter. A big component of the defense of such posts in this thread amounts to NewsFilter: that what MetaFilter should be doing is filtering our news for us, informing us of current events. I strongly disagree.

That I strongly disagree about what kind of posts are appropriate for MetaFilter results in accusations that I'm immoral, that I do not care about and don't want to know about the war in Iraq, and that I'd somehow have been on the side of antisemitism during WWII. Doesn't something about this strike anyone as wrong? Isn't anyone embarassed about this sort of rhetoric?

And as far as the argument about the actual utility of these sorts of posts on MetaFilter, my argument against those who rely on MetaFilter for this news is independent of my objections to NewsFilter. I'm sorry to report that I don't keep a diary of my news consumption and MeFi reading such that I could throw an impressive array of examples at you, but I can report with a great deal of reliability that I have noticed that MeFi is, if anything, lagging moreso behind the other, many places on the web from which I get my news. I've been surprised lately by seeing MeFi posts lag more than two days behind when I first read about something elsewhere. And almost all of the current events and political news I read here I've already read elsewhere. If you are relying upon MetaFilter for all this sort of news, then the unfortunate truth is that you're in no position to judge either how comprehensive or timely this news on MetaFilter is. Those of us who do find it elsewhere, however, are in a position to make such judgements. MetaFilter ain't all that.

Those who are defending MetaFilter's role in providing important current news are doing so out of a completely understandable but insidious need we all have for finding a comfortable authority upon which we can rely. Most of us have had the experience of finding a like-minded and intelligent publication, or forum, or community that serves the information gathering and analysis efforts we have otherwise been pursuing alone and without guidance. It is a great comfort to find such a place. But it is the comfort of an illusion, or perhaps better described as a lulling drug. Not only does relying upon such easy answers greatly limit one's horizons, it also dulls one's abilities of critical thought via disuse. It's not nearly as much fun, or comforting, to go out into the wild, wild web and read these sources from which—it should be pointed out—those posting to MetaFilter are finding their material. But it's better for you. Much better for you. Try to consider the possibility that the claim that MeFi is a good, timely and reliable source may be about as true, and comes from the same motivations, as the claim that the nightly television news is a good, timely, and reliable source. The people that only watch TV news don't know any better because they don't look any farther. Looking to MetaFilter to learn about and understand what's going on in the world is shortchanging yourself and doing a disservice to MetaFilter.

I don't object to Iraq posts per se. In fact, I don't object to any posts on the basis of subject matter. Nor do I object to certain posts because they result in bad or tired discussion (a point I made recently here). I only object to posts which are justified on any basis other than that elusive "best of the web" characteristic. BotW is oft-maligned for being vague, but I think it's been well-established that with very, very few exceptions news posts don't qualify. A good intuitive test to determine what is likely to be BotW and what is not is to imagine rediscovering a post sometime in the future. A post and its link which are merely a regurgitated news item will have little interest in the future. A post and its link which are inherently interesting and unique will continue to have value in the future. A monthly update on the number of casualties in Iraq will not be interesting. A deep and unique analysis of the progress of the war will.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 8:32 PM on October 21, 2006


Passionate Mefites who care about the injustic of an actual American war causing actual human deaths

...and think that by posting on Metafilter they are actually doing something about it. Virtual reality indeed.
posted by LarryC at 8:41 PM on October 21, 2006 [1 favorite]


Do these posts suck, or do some people just hate them an extreme amount and the posts are generally okay?

They are generally ok.

y2karl's post linked to an article that many of us would have missed, at the National Journal, that had some unique and new info in it.

Given that Dick Cheney said a few days ago that things are going "remarkably well" in Iraq, it is newsworthy that in a roomful of 25 "recognized national security analysts" from "every part of the political spectrum," there was "overwhelming consensus" that "things are very bad and getting worse in Iraq," and that our invasion resulted in "a failed democracy-building experiment."

As Brandon Blatcher pointed out, Iraq is a very important thing going on in the world right now. If in the past 3 years there were lots of new anti-gravity machines coming out, then there'd be lots of anti-gravity posts.

Also, Chuckles points out that there isn't an absurd number of Iraq posts.

Maybe people should make an effort to keep Iraq/politics posts to a minimal amount of territory on the front page, and make more use of the (more inside) approach.
posted by ibmcginty at 8:46 PM on October 21, 2006


...Virtual reality indeed.
posted by LarryC


If the discourse is meaningless, why have it?
posted by taosbat at 8:57 PM on October 21, 2006


I have to admit I'm pretty much in full agreement with jessamyn here. We got tired of and eventually banned insomnia_lj because he did the same thing, but he was much more sloppy and axgrind-y.

y2karl's iraq posts feel redundant. It would be nice if they were reserved for just major, major news, stuff that is totally world-changing, so that I didn't just ignore them like I do. Also, there are obvious formatting issues. Always a huge blockquote and a link, then a link dump, blockquote dump inside and you feel pummeled with information. It's hard to tell what is worth reading because there are so many links and quotes to digest. I think it comes off as kind of hostile to casual readers, like "here's a clusterbomb of the weekly news on iraq for you to chew on and I'll be back tomorrow to drop more of the same".

I'm surprised many here are defending the posts and feel it is important work. I find the posts terribly boring and they actually make me more apathetic to the war due to frequency and lack of accessibility in the way they are presented.

I'd appreciate it if y2karl backed off on the iraq stuff and continued to post great other kinds of posts, since those are the ones I always look forward to.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 8:59 PM on October 21, 2006 [4 favorites]


Passionate Mefites who care about the injustic of an actual American war causing actual human deaths and actually ruining every decent thing this nation has ever stood for, denigrated by those whose passions begin and end on Flash Friday.
posted by fold_and_mutilate


That's the thing. You can be passionate, informed, and proactive about iraq and still believe metafilter is for flash friday.
posted by justgary at 9:03 PM on October 21, 2006


I'd appreciate it if y2karl backed off on the iraq stuff

I was wondering when you were going to show up in this thread.
posted by mediareport at 9:09 PM on October 21, 2006


"That's the thing. You can be passionate, informed, and proactive about iraq and still believe metafilter is for flash friday."

And you can be all those things and think that MetaFilter is for "best of the web" which includes all sorts of things, including serious political posts and Flash Friday. "Best of the Web" implies quality which is not synonymous with "important". If it were, then Socialist Realism would be good art, which it isn't. Just because the Iraq war is important doesn't mean that any post on the subject is of sufficient quality to be posted to MetaFilter. In my opinion, it's not about topic, it's about quality.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 9:09 PM on October 21, 2006


y2karl's iraq posts feel redundant.

Okay, sorry about this, but..
In your gut?
posted by Chuckles at 9:19 PM on October 21, 2006


Not that there isn't any redundancy.. And they do take up too much front page real estate (lots of people are guilty of that lately)..
posted by Chuckles at 9:27 PM on October 21, 2006


...iraq posts feel redundant.

Perhaps, Matt, that is more because Iraq wears on us all than because the posts are redundant. What can you think of that will affect all of our grandchildren more than Iraq (GWOT) and climate change?
posted by taosbat at 9:27 PM on October 21, 2006


Perhaps, Matt, that is more because Iraq wears on us all than because the posts are redundant.

Naw, actually I don't think the posts about iraq are that interesting. This happens every six months with some subject. A lot of people make a lot of posts about the same subject and they're not all stellar. Eventually, they become a sort of daily "open thread on subject x" type of thing where quality of post doesn't even enter into the equation and people defend it with "this is too important to worry if the links are good or the news is actually newsworthy."

Every presidental election on mefi here has had rounds of people saying "no more election posts" and "more election posts". This feels like the same thing, but as an additional wrinkle, there are like a handful of people that are keeping the iraq torch lit with the regular posts about it, so we kind of have an outlet here, some people we can specifically say stop to. In the election examples, it seemed everyone was doing it and there was no way to curtail it aside from deleting anything election related.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:34 PM on October 21, 2006


"What can you think of that will affect all of our grandchildren more than Iraq (GWOT) and climate change?"

Hormones.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 9:35 PM on October 21, 2006 [1 favorite]


What can you think of that will affect all of our grandchildren more than Iraq (GWOT) and climate change?

Poverty, lack of health care, creeping fundamentalism, the corporatization of the public sphere, obesity, eroding privacy. There are a lot of Really Important Issues. Really.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:42 PM on October 21, 2006


Poverty, lack of health care, creeping fundamentalism, the corporatization of the public sphere, obesity, eroding privacy. There are a lot of Really Important Issues. Really.
posted by jessamyn


And these are unrelated to Iraq (GWOT) and climate change (maybe obesity)?
posted by taosbat at 9:46 PM on October 21, 2006


Believe it or not taosbat, but all that stuff was around before Iraq, and will be around after it, too.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:52 PM on October 21, 2006


Eventually, they become a sort of daily "open thread on subject x" type of thing where quality of post doesn't even enter into the equation and people defend it with "this is too important to worry if the links are good or the news is actually newsworthy."

I'm sorry, I just flat missed that here.
posted by taosbat at 9:53 PM on October 21, 2006


And...do you think that stuff will be unaffected by Iraq (GWOT), Alvy?
posted by taosbat at 9:56 PM on October 21, 2006


I think all that stuff will be profoundly affected by hormones. Therefore, I think that MetaFilter should have mostly hormone posts, being as they are so damned important.

You're not really making a coherent argument.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 9:59 PM on October 21, 2006


I'm sorry, I just flat missed that here.

What do you mean exactly? You've never seen that before?
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:00 PM on October 21, 2006


How is this kind of crapping in a thread legitimate?

It isn't.
posted by peacay at 10:02 PM on October 21, 2006


EB, you could address some of my earlier questions put to you rather than cloaking in absurdity.
posted by taosbat at 10:05 PM on October 21, 2006


What do you mean exactly? You've never seen that before?

I mean I did not see such a thing in this case.
posted by taosbat at 10:08 PM on October 21, 2006


taosbat: Not really, no. These problems boil down to the enrichment of the elite minority at the expense of the poor and marginalized majority. Same as it ever was, just the scale it happens on is getting larger and larger.

The only way Iraq'll have an impact that'll still resonate three generations from now is if this thing snowballs and we're all vapourized, in which case I won't really have to worry about my grandchildren. On the plus side, I predict the post-nuke MeFi will have far less BS MeTa posts.

GWOT is George's War On Terror, correct?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:09 PM on October 21, 2006


Thanks, peacay!
posted by taosbat at 10:10 PM on October 21, 2006


This is a strange thread. Shitting in threads because you don't like the post is wrong. And while I can't touch y2karl for post quality, I don't generally like the Iraq posts, his or others', because I'm already furious about Iraq, and have been for years.

I'm tired of being furious. I'm doing what I can to change things, with my time, my vote and my dollars. And I skip past most of the Iraq posts, and read the stuff I find more interesting.
posted by owhydididoit at 10:11 PM on October 21, 2006


The only way Iraq'll have an impact that'll still resonate three generations from now is if this thing snowballs...

Which I think it will; and, vaporizing is just wishful thinking.
posted by taosbat at 10:15 PM on October 21, 2006


Just for the record: In September, I made eight posts. Of those, four were concerning topical subjects--one involving Guantanamo, one the War on Terror and two concerning the war in Iraq. I thought that four posts on such topics a bit much and decided to cut back. And I have done so. I have made eight posts thus far this month. Eight posts in twenty one days. Two have been related to the war in Iraq. Two. In three weeks. That is not quite posting every day about the same topic.
posted by y2karl at 10:24 PM on October 21, 2006


Fucking Hell, I just skimmed this whole thread. What an asshole I am.
posted by Divine_Wino at 10:24 PM on October 21, 2006


taosbat, arguing over how important the Iraq War is in the grand scheme of things has nothing at all to do with y2karl's posts about Iraq being played out or not.

It's about quality of the links and posts, not the importance of the subject matter, period.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:26 PM on October 21, 2006


Well, EB, I am sure you wouldn't have been actually antisemitic, no. In fact, I did not suggest that, Instead, I suspect you would have been so wound up into a knot about appearances and trivialities and the purity of metafilter that the Holocaust would have been over before you had decided it was ok to talk about.


Frankly, if you're relying upon MetaFilter for this news, you're a fucking imbecile and a danger to our democracy.


True, if anyone actual relies upon Metafilter instead of just taking advantage of its aggregational properties. But then, I'm not a member of your democracy anyway.

In any case, maybe we agree that good posts can include iraq posts but disagree that y2karls tend to be good posts. Nevertheless, you once mentioned that for circumstances beyond your control you had something like 10 hours a day to spend on the internet. This is not typical. Metafilter fills an important need for some people, to help cut through the cruft. No one only gets their news from here, as you imply, and I doubt few are actually lazy. Even if they did, they would be exposed to more interesting news than from watching the MSM. I think you need to get down from your high horse -- posting here may not be very effective, a yet you still post here. Giving money may be effective -- who is to say what any of us may also do in addition to posting here? Your 1/8th tithe is admirable no doubt but does the same good as anyone else's 100 bucks. You certainly tread the the same illogical waters as you accuse me of: you care enough to post to metafilter while noting its uselessness AND you do useful stuff like giving money; others who post to metafilter in a more hopeful spirit apparently must not be doing anything useful (like giving some money) and indeed are acting the part of useful idiots for the Republican propagandists.. You may not realize it, but you really do come across to me as someone who cares more about metafilter manners than they do about Iraq. Its nice to read that you say you really do care. Bravo.

Anyway, I don't spend much time in Iraq threads, or any threads, really. I do visit other web sites and of course I have a pretty busy life outside which includes doing some good, I hope. All of y2karls recent posts have been to interesting stuff (yes, more than 2 days old - imagine how stale that opinion is - good thing no one reads history any more) and while his style can be annoying his content is first rate. I suspect you underestimate the material because of your dislike for "agendafilter". But, as fff noted, metafilter has always had political content, its as much a part of the place as any other genre.


well, 'nuff said on my part.
posted by Rumple at 10:28 PM on October 21, 2006


y2karl, looking back on your history, a couple times you posted about Iraq just one or two days apart. For someone seeing zillions of iraq posts over the last three years, seeing the same person post twice in three days in a distinct style could certainly set some bells off, no?
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:29 PM on October 21, 2006


You know, what owhydididoit said, this is bloody weird. How'd we get from an obvious breach in policy to me doing my downward spiral Marxist frozen earth spiel?

On preview, what that number one guy said, too.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:29 PM on October 21, 2006


Also, I like Karl's posts and skip the ones I don't have the inclination to go over or have already seen. I think he's being scapegoated here as a standin for the recent "This senator is a pervert and I'm registered with the other party" posts.

I loathe the current situation and think the war is going to have implications for many years to come, but I don't peek into every Iraq or American "elections are coming" post even if I think they are valid because I don't come here for that, despite the fact that some people's comments in them are consistently insightful and informative.

I'm already mad, I already do something about that anger and I already keep myself informed. I'm a reasonably intelligent adult and I don't need to be lectured at all the time.

I think the politics stuff is excessive right now because of the midterms and this too will pass and people will calm down a little and pursue other things, I doubt there is anything else to do about it other than ban newsfilter outright and who is going to step up and take on deciding what degree of topicality and politics constitutes that?
posted by Divine_Wino at 10:47 PM on October 21, 2006


mathowie, I didn't have anything to say about "arguing over how important the Iraq War is in the grand scheme of things has nothing at all to do with y2karl's posts about Iraq being played out or not" until this last cluster of comments when y'all brought it up.

I think this FPP was crapped upon by a vigilante boor. I think that is inappropriate.

I think a lot of folks have taken the opportunity to ignore that and rip on the subject matter of the post in which the crapping occurred and the history of the poster rather than the crapping, itself. I think few of those folks care much about "quality of the links and posts" in the larger question you raise. It seems they'd rather defend the crapper for cheaper reasons.

Perhaps that speaks to a deadly ennui, we shall see.
posted by taosbat at 10:47 PM on October 21, 2006


mathowie and jessamyn, I am a bit disappointed that neither of you speak to the topic of this callout - crapping in threads. This practice is far more corrosive to the site than any topical posts will ever be. I know you have both addressed it before, but by not addressing it here and by coming down on y2karl, it might be viewed as approbation by those who think that shouting down is an acceptable behavior and gets results.

reklaw: I'm glad so many people agreed with me... including jessamyn, apparently. Neat.
posted by madamjujujive at 10:57 PM on October 21, 2006


For someone seeing zillions of iraq posts over the last three years, seeing the same person post twice in three days in a distinct style could certainly set some bells off, no?

Well, I will try to keep them at least five days apart from now on.

Twice in three days and three weeks of none before those two times. That is so much more onerous than having to see the same tee hee tee hee butt fucking in space! item in the sidebar a zillion times in the past month. Nothing like seeing the phrase anal sex first thing every day when one clicks on the blue. Now that has gotten old.
posted by y2karl at 11:05 PM on October 21, 2006


I think this FPP was crapped upon by a vigilante boor. I think that is inappropriate.

I agree. The method was bad, but it seemed early on here that we've been discussing the intent behind it, which is what I've spoken to.

mathowie and jessamyn, I am a bit disappointed that neither of you speak to the topic of this callout - crapping in threads.

I didn't address it because I thought it was obvious that it was a bad thing. I don't see much of anyone defending what reklaw did, just the gist of what he was saying.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 11:06 PM on October 21, 2006


Just talking about "crapping in threads" would be ignoring the elephant in the room.
posted by smackfu at 11:07 PM on October 21, 2006


Now I went to put that last in the sidebar thread but it was closed so I stuck it in here. /derail
posted by y2karl at 11:09 PM on October 21, 2006


I think this FPP was crapped upon by a vigilante boor. I think that is inappropriate.... I think a lot of folks have taken the opportunity to ignore that

I think that problem was taken care of, speedily and efficiently. People don't get banned for posting dorky ORLY owls in a thread, so there wasn't really much else to say on that topic. However people did have a lot to say, both positively and negatively, about y2karl's one-a-week (yes, four in the last 30 day month) Iraq posts and that's a valid MetaTalk discussion as well.

madamjujujive - I figured my removal of the thread-crapping comments clearly indicated that posting stupid "this post sucks" commentary wasn't cool. If it didn't then I'll say it here: if you don't like the posts don't crap all over the thread. We've sometimes seen "meh" posts get rescued by good commentary, or potential train wrecks get redeemed by people deciding to have a civil discussion. MetaTalk is always available for bitching and griping.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:10 PM on October 21, 2006


"I didn't address it because I thought it was obvious that it was a bad thing."

...from Matt, and this from Jess:

"I figured my removal of the thread-crapping comments clearly indicated that posting stupid 'this post sucks' commentary wasn't cool. If it didn't then I'll say it here: if you don't like the posts don't crap all over the thread."

As someone who kindasortamaybe defended such crapping in threads, I'd appreciate it if you'd address the points I made in my halfhearted defense. To wit, that some of the impetus for such unambiguously against-the-rules behavior comes from the frustration that posts that both admins admit are often unacceptable are nevertheless tolerated and the very common belief that flagging such posts would be useless.

I see challenging the quality of a post in its thread as a last-ditch and, not coincidentally, most effective way of asserting MeFi's posting standards. I'd guess that about half the time I feel so moved to make such a comment the post is deleted. What does that prove? I don't know. Surely "crapping in a thread" is wrong whether or not a post is eventually deleted because such a comment necessarily precedes any knowledge that the post will be deemed to have been unacceptable. But the more important issue to me is that a growing portion of MetaFilter users simply aren't aware that NewsFilter posts are frowned upon and, instead, think this is what MetaFilter is all about. They don't read MetaTalk. If you and jessamyn don't agressively moderate what appears on the blue in accordance with the standards you've set for a MeFi post, then how can these users ever be expected to do anything but push MetaFilter further and further in this direction?

I think there's an understandable reluctance on your part to prune such posts because doing so will be unpopular and a certain vocal segment of the community will complain. But to some degree you've backed yourself into a corner by allowing that portion of the community to grow and have greater influence. If not now, then when?
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 11:39 PM on October 21, 2006


"I see folks making the argument that a well-written post about the Iraq war should be treated as a well-written post...and a poorly written one should be deleted for whatever obvious reason might be pertinent. Perhaps I missed something."

Well, to answer one of your questions to me, yes, you've missed something. That "something" is that whether a post is well-written or poorly-written is not the primary criteria for judging the quality of a post. You, like many others, seem to mistakenly think that the post itself, in its quality of presentation and as a piece of writing, is what makes or breaks a post. You seem to think that the point is the post, and not its link. This is wrong.

The only thing that really matters, the thing which makes or breaks a post, is its link. The quality of the link is all-important. People can dress up a link to a front-page New York Times article with some of their own commentary and a wikipedia link and other dross and that does not make it a good post. Conversely, a one-word post linking to something unique, interesting, and relatively timeless on the web is a good post.

It is not about how well-written the post is. It is not about how many links the post has, or doesn't have. It's not about the length of the post. It's not about who makes the post. It's not about how good or bad the resulting discussion is, and it's not about whether or not any discussion takes place. It's about the quality of the link.

As I wrote in another thread, I don't deny that the discussion on MetaFilter is of a relatively high quality. But the anchor of that quality discussion is quality links. If MeFi eventually puts the cart in front of the horse and makes discussion the raison d'etre of the site, then the context which makes such high quality discussion will disappear. The web is filled with discussion sites. That MetaFilter is not primarily a discussion site is, counter-intuitively, partly why it is such a high quality discussion site. Allowing it to become primarily a group political blog will make it common as dirt and eventually the members drawn to MetaFilter will themselves be common as dirt and have about as much insight.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 12:03 AM on October 22, 2006


Do these posts suck...

Yes. I agree with everything Reklaw wrote.
posted by Joeforking at 3:05 AM on October 22, 2006


Also, I like Karl's posts and skip the ones I don't have the inclination to go over or have already seen. I think he's being scapegoated here

Agreed.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:20 AM on October 22, 2006


I know it's way down here in a massive thread and just one opinion, but I just finally read that National Journal article y2karl posted that started this whole thing. I read a lot of stuff on Iraq. I doubt I would have seen this otherwise. And it was an extremely informative, important piece. I'm very grateful to have been pointed to it.

In general, I think we have way way way too much newsfilter, but I tend to wonder why the haters can't just skip them, just as I skip most newsfilter and the mac posts and at least 50% of the other stuff too.
posted by CunningLinguist at 3:31 AM on October 22, 2006


So get out there and start FPPing Joeforking.
posted by bardic at 4:52 AM on October 22, 2006


It's about quality of the links and posts, not the importance of the subject matter, period.

OK, then why:

I'd appreciate it if y2karl backed off on the iraq stuff . . . ?

It seems as though mathowie and a lot of other people are saying, "We know what's going on in Iraq, and we don't want to keep hearing about it." So go on ignoring those posts. None of the defenders are saying "You must read all the posts about Iraq." just the opposite. Every one of us is saying to skip them if you don't want to know more than you already do. All of us skip things that don't interest us. I skipped whole days full of elephant stuff. It didn't hurt. (And I did not make any comments in any of those posts about how much I disliked them, either.)

Calling the Iraq posts "preaching to the choir" is wrong. It is not preaching to offer information that is not readily available. It is useful and valuable to see material that I'd have to spend a lot more time than I have available finding on my own. It doesn't make me an imbecile that I don't keep up with the National Journal; I just don't have time. If a post is just an opinion or advocation, it should be deleted, and just about always is. The post that spawned this discussion is not preaching, it's informative, just like most of the posts about Iraq.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:08 AM on October 22, 2006


I love y2karl's Iraq posts, and I'm happy with the frequency of them. I just wish he didn't put a full paragraph in every freaking tooltip. That's annoying. Shorter quotes in the [more inside] probably wouldn't hurt either. But the links themselves are excellent. I always learn something. A post a week over a long period would probably be excessive, but news does run in clumps.

EB: so you're arguing it's okay to threadcrap in posts you don't like? That's extremely self-centered... you're forcing your opinion on 40,000 other accounts, and making DAMN SURE the thread is useless. Were I in charge, after seeing your arguments here.... the first time you actually did it, I'd banninate your ass so hard you'd bounce in your chair. That's not civil disobedience, that's vandalism.

Instead of preaching from your lofty perch about how the rest of are imbeciles, why don't you take advantage of all that special Iraq knowledge you have, and contribute something to the threads? If a post is giving incorrect or outdated information, and you know better, why not chime in with an intelligent counterpoint? I don't mean threadcrapping, I mean actually, you know, contributing something.

If your knowledge is that superior to everyone else's, why aren't you sharing it?
posted by Malor at 5:34 AM on October 22, 2006


I find the posts terribly boring and they actually make me more apathetic to the war

Jesus Christ, that's depressing. I'm sorry you said that, and I'll try to forget it as quickly as possible.

EB: You're way too wrapped up in your argument, and advocating crapping in threads is just pathetic. And y2karl's links are always good; to say that because you've seen them everybody else has seen them, or they should have seen them and if they haven't they're morons who don't deserve to see them here, is elitist/solipsistic bullshit. Rumple was nasty but effective:

I suspect you would have been so wound up into a knot about appearances and trivialities and the purity of metafilter that the Holocaust would have been over before you had decided it was ok to talk about.
posted by languagehat at 5:51 AM on October 22, 2006


i honestly can't believe there's this much bitching about a topic that rates barely a post per day in the blue.

oh wait, i can. this is the internet. people bitch about anything because typing is fun.
posted by StrasbourgSecaucus at 6:22 AM on October 22, 2006


I secretly agree with the haters
....we not post on Iraq....


So a large fiscal hole in the ground which may be marked in the future as the 'start of the world war' or the 'bankruptcy of the US of A' or even 'given how well done the US invasion was executed, the US then was paid by the UN to bring Democracy to other dictatorships' is NOT worthy of discussion of new points how "this event occured'?

If you think "the haters are right" - fine. Lets have "the haters" find what they consider 'positive' messages as FFPs. Let them explain how spending 24.5 million on $8,821 worth of LP gas is positive. The deaths of X thousands of people is positive. How the behavior of the US of A will keep the system intact.

Not hearing about bad news doesn't make the bad news go away, does it?

CNN is Iraq newsfilter.

CNN has done such a fine job of questioning events to date, who needs the internet?
posted by rough ashlar at 6:46 AM on October 22, 2006


Rough Ashlar, there are a ton of sites on the internet that will give you the political fix and discussions you crave. There are no other sites like Metafilter. Why turn Metafilter into yet another political site?
posted by LarryC at 7:05 AM on October 22, 2006


advocating crapping in threads is just pathetic

Come on, let's try and be fair to what EB's actually written, shall we? His carefully phrased point - that the community "kindasortamaybe" has a role to play in enforcing posting norms - seems valid; for as long as I've been here, there's been room in the blue for non-rude critiquing of low-quality posts. There's "crapping in threads" and then there's "commenting on post quality in threads," and the latter can be done in a way that's not crap. EB even thinks it's important to the health of the site. I kindasortamaybe agree with that.
posted by mediareport at 7:10 AM on October 22, 2006


people bitch about anything because

...they can.

In a world over which we have absolutely no control, Metatalk is only a click away.
posted by crunchland at 7:12 AM on October 22, 2006


I wonder how many people who are complaining about the Iraqi posts actually read the Iraqi links.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:18 AM on October 22, 2006


let's try and be fair to what EB's actually written, shall we? ... There's "crapping in threads" and then there's "commenting on post quality in threads," and the latter can be done in a way that's not crap.

OK, fair enough, and I certainly do the latter myself. I guess I'm just finding myself particularly irritated by EB today.
posted by languagehat at 7:22 AM on October 22, 2006


So we're still doing this with slightly different slant form where it started. I'd just like to point out why I find the well put together Iraq posts interesting especially as they bring material that I would not otherwise see. Sorry EB but I have a professional life away from the internet and so I can not find every link and why should I bother when posters such as y2karl do it so well. I live in Europe, which is more in the front line when it all goes to hell than anywhere west of mid Atlantic. I have family that ride the London tubes and buses and friends who commute through Atocha station in Madrid.
If the maelstrom descends thanks to gross american interferance in Iraq, aided by their British poodle followers; then my life and the life of my family could be severely fucked. period. Think of market collapse with its run on - unemployment, security searches a la N. Ireland on main crossways; ID cards all round, curtailling of freedom, Stop and search - no reason. Some kind of call up or draft. That's part of why this is important to me. To some of you it may be Gas at European prices. That the politicians and their advisors are even looking at an end game rather than total victory is a huge step forward to resolve the mess. If even one person is persuaded to do something positive about this mess by voting or donating or even discussing Iraq out in the real world with friends or workmates and bringing to their attention some of the news and views obtained from these links which are not readily broadcast or printed by mainstream media, then let the posts stand. If you are apathetic move on; and if you wish to disagree then contribute an argument or shut the fuck up.
posted by adamvasco at 7:22 AM on October 22, 2006


Come on, EB, who in this thread was arguing for eloquent prose sâns linky? No one? Correct!
posted by taosbat at 7:38 AM on October 22, 2006


There are no other sites like Metafilter. Why turn Metafilter into yet another political site?

From clicking on this day 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 and even--Nader, Israel-Palestine, East Timor, Nader, Bush vs Gore, Nader, Nader--6 years ago, one would think the poltical content in this site has been there from the start. And from looking at his comment history, one would think that politics is a topic not entirely devoid of interest to LarryC.
and then he walked me upstairs and then he pushed me against the wall. I'm assuming there are cameras everywhere and anyways the camera will explain the rest and I don't really care about anything. I mean I started crying, I was crying, I told him I survived cancer 11 years and I, someone assaults me ... I don't care about rape I care about survival and he says 'survival ain't going to do your problem a bit,' so you'll see this stuff on camera if they have a camera.

Were there cameras?
posted by LarryC at 11:24 PM PST on October 19 [+] [!]

The Lancet study is full of holes and has been debunked.
posted by LarryC at 8:19 PM PST on October 16 [+] [!]

Maf54: Do I make you a little horny?
Teen: A little.
Maf54: Cool.
Maf54: What ya wearing?
Teen: tshirt and shorts
Maf54: Love to slip them off of you


What was he thinking?!!
posted by LarryC at 4:26 PM PST on September 29 [+]
posted by y2karl at 7:57 AM on October 22, 2006


Doubtless many of us could be construed as ambiguous creatures with a selective comment trawl. That doesn't necessarily dilute the overall argument urging for less politics.
posted by peacay at 8:12 AM on October 22, 2006


I think his posts are indeed best of the web and well constructed. I'll flag them as such when I think so.
posted by juiceCake at 8:22 AM on October 22, 2006


Wow...
I find the posts terribly boring and they actually make me more apathetic to the war

What Mr. Hat said about this, double.

I think "good post" and "entertaining" has been conflated somewhere along the way.
posted by Quartermass at 8:40 AM on October 22, 2006


LarryC writes Why turn Metafilter into yet another political site?

Weaker than usual for you. Type "metafilter.com" into your browser. Gaze in awe, as you realize that first of all, the political posts are rare, bordering on semi-frequent. The bad ones you won't see, because they've been deleted. Next, notice the unusually high quality of both links and discussion (not always I realize, but this is the price of the vaunted pluralism you seem to cherish) that occurs and ensues. Third, use said browser to continue to post good FPPs like you've been doing. And realize that that dirty "politics" thing is something that is as interesting to some of us as is history, music, or some weird guy making weird stuff in his back yard.

Shorter: What you call political many others would call interesting. And vice-versa, of course.
posted by bardic at 8:41 AM on October 22, 2006


OK, good points al around. All back-and-forth on politics aside, we all love this site and wish the best for it. Let's have this exact same debate in about two months, shall we? Mark your calendars.
posted by LarryC at 8:46 AM on October 22, 2006


Even while reading y2karl’s first 999 block quotes, I had absolutely no idea that the war was such a bad idea and was being executed so badly. BUT, when he posted his 1,000th block quote, I suddenly saw the light. Thank you, y2karl!
posted by found missing at 9:48 AM on October 22, 2006


And so Mefi giveth, and taketh away.
posted by crunchland at 9:52 AM on October 22, 2006


In a world over which we have absolutely no control, Metatalk is only a click away.

Could we please take up a collection to have the "In a world..." voice-over guy record that for us?

Also, I totally agree with some of you, and I think some of you are fucking idiots. But it's been a long thread and I've lost track.
posted by Cyrano at 9:55 AM on October 22, 2006


rough ashlar: If you think "the haters are right" - fine. Lets have "the haters" find what they consider 'positive' messages as FFPs. Let them explain how spending 24.5 million on $8,821 worth of LP gas is positive. The deaths of X thousands of people is positive. How the behavior of the US of A will keep the system intact.

You think being opposed or apathetic to Iraq FPPs means supporting the war?

That's completely insane, seriously, that's Free Republic "Wi' me or agin' me" Crazy.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:55 AM on October 22, 2006


All back-and-forth on politics aside, we all love this site and wish the best for it.

Don't make my sock puppet get up early to hug metafilter, now.
posted by Rumple at 10:11 AM on October 22, 2006


MetaFilter: I totally agree with some of you, and I think some of you are fucking idiots.

MetaFilter: mostly hormone posts
posted by Chuckles at 10:21 AM on October 22, 2006


Perhaps Karl could use a less conspicuous FPP formatting style, but other than that I like reading the links he provides. Sometimes, when I'm not in the mood to read his links, I scroll past them. All in all, he's a great contributer.

Thank you Karl.
posted by sic at 10:42 AM on October 22, 2006


mathowie: I didn't address it [crapping in threads]because I thought it was obvious that it was a bad thing. I don't see much of anyone defending what reklaw did, just the gist of what he was saying.

really, obvious it is a bad thing? you wouldn't know that seeing how often it happens and how often those who do this are rewarded by having topics deleted or rendered useless by their posts...you're the one defending what reklaw did on the basis that his reasons are justified (yet setting aside arguments that the posting of oft-discussed topics can be so justified, though that breaks a different 'rule')...

...so what i'm hearing is that it's really really bad to post on the front page if you risk boring somebody or bringing up a topic some people are sick of--even though such topics are easily avoided (thus wasting relatively little time) and their presumed low quality would seem to ensure that they fade into the background rather quickly with help from nobody--but at the same time, it's bad to crap all over posts (though not bad enough to actually do anything about--on the contrary, often stroking those who do so by agreeing with them)--even though such topics do find interested members who take the time to post something thoughtful and who conduct themselves with some dignity--thus wasting way more time for those valuable members than the oft-derided yet easily ignored boring FPP wastes for the whiners...

it's rather like saying that the headline is more important than the article

...of course, we wouldn't expect that you go after every crapping post the way you police the front page, but at least you could do something about the members who do this time and again, and thus--by action--show that it indeed is 'obvious' that this is a bad thing to do...even better if, in both cases, you could apply some consistent standards in a consistent way...if the application of the rules is entirely arbitrary depending on somebody's mood today, then fine--but do us the favor of not pretending that these rules are self-evident...
posted by troybob at 10:58 AM on October 22, 2006


I'm sorry you said that, and I'll try to forget it as quickly as possible.

I'm sorry you said that.
posted by timeistight at 10:59 AM on October 22, 2006


Metafilter: I'm sorry you said that, and I'll try to forget it as quickly as possible.
posted by found missing at 11:05 AM on October 22, 2006


I still don't get why it's OK to crap on a thread. I also wasn't very impressed with either mathowie's or jessamyn's comments. Quite bluntly, this site is no longer a labor of love but has become a business so a certain amount of consideration for the customers is in order.

I'm on the internet most of the day and I read a ton of political news but I had not come across the article that y2karl had linked to and I got quite a lot out of it. His Iraq posts are hardly news of the day type stuff - I've found them to be quite good and highlight aspects of the war that I hadn't seen anywhere else. His posts are one of the things that makes Metafilter better than the other link aggregators on the web.
posted by rks404 at 11:07 AM on October 22, 2006


Wouldn't this be solvable by ensuring that every newsfilter/iraq post was tagged as such, then giving people their own custom tag filter that could remove certain tags from the stream?

Same goes for youtube/video/elephant links.

I'm completely for the "scroll on if you don't like it" approach, but if there was a way I could automatically just not see stuff I knew I wouldn't be interested in.

It relies on an agreed on tagging format, sure, but that would be just as good for people who wanted to only read the last few days newsfilter as much as those who wanted to avoid it.

I don't think enough people would be using it heavily that it would cause the same sort of site-splintering as specific domains, either.

I seem to remember something similar being suggested before, but I can't remember what the consensus was, though.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 11:26 AM on October 22, 2006


I still don't get why it's OK to crap on a thread.

I don't get why anyone thinks it is. There are gradients of response to thread crapping some of which depends on the seriousness of the derail and the speed at which we can clean it up. Since the general goal is to keep the site running smoothly with a minimum of invasive moderating and no comment editing the options are

1. comment removal
2. comment removal and in-thread warning
3. comment removal and banning
4. comment removal and off-site discussion with thread-crapper
5. do nothing, abandon thread
6. some combination of the above and including public chastisement

For every person that thinks we should delete more "this post sucks, here's an owl" comments, there are people who think we shouldn't remove anything, ever. I sometimes get the feeling that people aren't going to be satisfied unless people are publicly pilloried for their acting out. If what people are saying is that reklaw should get a timeout or a ban, then say that. We try to be considerate of people generally because we're nice, not because this is some sort of business.

However, there are limits to how useful having one of these "what do you guys think?" threads are because everyone doesn't think the same way, it's not like we're going to arrive at consensus. On certain topics "y2karl's posts, suck or rule?" people's opinions are diametrically opposed where people feel strongly on both sides. The rancor these sides have for each other actually suprises me, as does the admin-directed vitriol as we try to deal with what is clearly a complicated set of circumstances. MetaTalk is specifically for discussing these sorts of questions so they they DON'T become de facto policy on the site without anyone's input.

I remove "this is a shitty post" comments and stupid crapflooding when I see them. Mathowie does as well. If they've already started a huge derail, it's often impossible to excise them without overmoderating the thread and then we're in a jam. I'm not defending reklaw but I think it's possible to discuss his point "some people seem to find these posts very frustrating" while at the same time taking appropriate action against thread-crappping.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:31 AM on October 22, 2006 [2 favorites]


Kirth Gerson's comment deserves to be quoted almost in entirety and responded to:

"It seems as though matthowie and a lot of other people are saying, 'We know what's going on in Iraq, and we don't want to keep hearing about it.' So go on ignoring those posts. None of the defenders are saying 'You must read all the posts about Iraq.' just the opposite. Every one of us is saying to skip them if you don't want to know more than you already do. All of us skip things that don't interest us. I skipped whole days full of elephant stuff. It didn't hurt. (And I did not make any comments in any of those posts about how much I disliked them, either.)

Calling the Iraq posts 'preaching to the choir' is wrong. It is not preaching to offer information that is not readily available. It is useful and valuable to see material that I'd have to spend a lot more time than I have available finding on my own. It doesn't make me an imbecile that I don't keep up with the National Journal; I just don't have time. If a post is just an opinion or advocation, it should be deleted, and just about always is. The post that spawned this discussion is not preaching, it's informative, just like most of the posts about Iraq."


Matt comes very close, if not wholeheartedly endorses, the idea of prohibiting certain posts (or limiting them) on the basis of content alone. I don't agree with this. I understand it. And I might be persuaded to agree with it because I am aware that my own opposition to it has a lot to do with my strong affinity to abstract principle and consistency. But a simple pragmatic case can be made that certain topics are toxic to MetaFilter and need to be limited or disallowed. Anyway, I don't endorse that because my beliefs and my arguments here in MetaTalk have always hewed to the simple "is the link BotW?" test and a rejection of everything that fails that test. Everything else I advocate/protest is a consequence of that position.

Given that, I've never found the "skip it" argument valid if the protest is based on a "this post doesn't qualify for posting" basis. If a post is a quality post but not interesting to a particular person, then of course "skip it" applies and no one has the right to the expectation that every post be interesting to them. If a post is not a quality post, then it shouldn't have been posted even if it is interesting to a large number of mefites.

This mere "interesting" test that is implicit in your argument, and many other peoples' arguments, is simply not a useful test. I think it can be accurately said that probably nothing that is posted to MeFi is interesting to the overwhelming majority of mefites—this is almost certainly true of these political and news posts. So there are probably a great many subjects that are as interesting to as large a contingent of mefites as these posts are. I know that there's a number of topics that I am interested in that could post about frequently if the criteria was only that I found a site interesting. (Actually, something I've not made explicit and/or expressed tersely is that news/politics is one of the subjects I find most interesting and if I believed that the bar for posting something was set as low as apparently do the people I'm arguing with, then I'd be posting news/political stuff all the time. If you look at my posting history, you'll see that about half of my few posts have been news/political and, importantly, I feel that they were crappy posts that I now regret.)

I feel like people are profoundly ignoring the one thing that distinguishes MetaFilter from almost all of the other group blogs. Most of them have much more loose standards about posting and posts are basically just what people are advocating here: here's something I find interesting and I want to talk about it. This is also what distinguishes it from one's own personal blog and why we have that acronym. What belongs on the front page of MeFi isn't the sort of thing that one casually thinks about posting several times a day, usually with some news item or website acting as the excuse for the post. In theory, posts to MeFi are supposed to be true discoveries, small diamonds found out there in the wild web.

That's a far, far different thing than "a place to keep up with important political news". So many comments here are assuming this is what MetaFilter is all about.

What I've written responds to the bulk of your two paragraphs, but I'd like to respond to the "preaching to the choir" point, as well.

I and others use that phrase as an objection to using MetaFilter as an advocacy forum. When we do so we are "arguing in the alternative", or at least I am. (This is a nuance I think was lost on someone earlier in this thread.) That is to say, my argument is that if one were to accept that advocacy posts were acceptable on MeFi then there would be the added problem that they're not very effective as MeFi is a pretty like-minded place, and, in the way such things tend to go, such posts and the responses become more about a sort of group self-reassurance than actually changing opinions. In short, as a practical matter with regard to their superficial purpose, they're basically useless.

This generally applies to Iraq war posts insofar as the number of lowered quality of the posts are justified, as they are by many comments in this thread, on the basis that the subject is important and people should know about it. And, sure, a number of people are learning things on this subject they wouldn't otherwise know—but in the larger realm this doesn't make much of a difference. The people who really need to know these things are the people that aren't reading MeFi in the first place.

To be more clear, my argument against AdvocacyFilter is this: A) This isn't what MetaFilter is for. Using MetaFilter for this purpose degrades the quality and utility of the site as a whole. B) Protesting this misuse of MetaFilter is not at all equal to protesting what is being advocated or embracing its opposition. To assert so is a dishonest rhetorical tactic. Most of us who dislike this use of MetaFilter use and approve of other sites for these purposes and otherwise support these causes elsewhere. C) Even if one were to assume this was a valid use of MetaFilter, it is not practically very effective. Investing a great deal of emotional energy in defending this use of MetaFilter is, metaphorically, losing track of what's important. If you want to make a difference, there are far more effective ways to do so. D) This misuse of MetaFilter is in some deep, essential way, offensive to the MetaFilter ethos. Advocacy is essentially an imperialistic activity, an attempt to impose values and interests on other people. The spirit of a proper MetaFilter post is the spirit of generosity: giving to others something one believes others will want. A lot of people rationalize their advocacy into generosity by convincing themselves that what people "really" want is what they think is best for them (which is what they advocate). This is wrong.

I should have said long ago in this thread that this particular post of Y2Karl seems to me to be closer to a good post than a bad post. I wouldn't have picked this particular post of his to protest. I think the bar is still set somewhat higher than this post meets, but it is in the right direction: something more than a mere reporting of Iraq news, something more than an advocacy of the anti-war position, something more than a reminder of the situation in Iraq. A BotW post could indeed have its subject Iraq, and many have.

Several people have challenged me to post something on this subject in a half-earnest, half-snide response to my assertion that I'm more aware of Iraq news and other news than what is presented here on MetaFilter. But this challenge partly misses my whole point, and that is that more obscure and timely news does not, in my opinion, a good MetaFilter post make. I have a very high estimation of what justifies a MetaFilter post. I almost never come across anything that I feel would be an acceptable MeFi post. I'm embarrassed by what I've posted in the past. Too often the people who respond to those who protest the quality of a post with a challenge to contribute instead of complain ignore the logical result of having higher standards for posting: such standards make it much harder to contribute.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 11:44 AM on October 22, 2006


I suspect that y2karl gets away with beating his drum autistically because the great majority of participants on this forum agree with his sentiments. If we had a bizzaro_y2karl block quoting ad nauseam Wm Kristol et al, so many flags would be falling it would look like a Washington Redskins game.

If his goal is to effect some change in the world, maybe y2karl should consider getting active on a forum where people disagree with his content, not just his style.
posted by found missing at 11:46 AM on October 22, 2006


This post sucks, here's an owl.

On preview: y2karl is not quoting the leftie equivalent of Kristol et al, he's digging out fact-filled and informative links, while providing enough quotes from each that the interested reader can decide whether any particular one is worth his or her time. If someone on the other side were providing similarly useful links from the opposite standpoint, I'd be thrilled.
posted by languagehat at 11:51 AM on October 22, 2006


I usually don't bother correcting myself in a thread, but I can't resist this:

"Investing a great deal of emotional energy in defending this use of MetaFilter is, metaphorically, losing track of what's important."

I had intended a metaphor, but when I wrote the end of that sentence it turned out to be literal.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 11:51 AM on October 22, 2006


you really expect people to read all that blather?
posted by Hat Maui at 11:52 AM on October 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


However, there are limits to how useful having one of these "what do you guys think?" threads are because everyone doesn't think the same way, it's not like we're going to arrive at consensus.

That depends on the point of stasis. If we're debating the general question of whether IraqFilter is OK, then no, we won't agree. But we have agreed on some key points about its nature. The arguments in favor boil down to two points, and both stand uncontested: (1) The war in Iraq is important; and (2) If you don't like it, skip it.

So the next question is, "What is MetaFilter?" That's up to you and Mathowie. If you decide that MetaFilter is a website for discussing important social issues, then we have a clear consensus that IraqFilter should continue.
posted by cribcage at 11:55 AM on October 22, 2006


"If someone on the other side were providing similarly useful links from the opposite standpoint, I'd be thrilled."

You would be, but I think many, many others would protest and even request banning on the basis of "how long do we have to tolerate this mouthpiece of BushCo propoganda?"

However, in my asserting this I'm making the grievous error that I protested earlier. It's a cheap rhetorical trick, really, to condemn people on the basis of what you think they would do in an hypothetical situation. I can't shake the sense that there's some utility and earnestness in doing this—but I strongly suspect that if there's a valid point to be made when doing this there must be a better way to make it. So in this case, what would that be? Probably just an assertion of fact about what's happened in this universe: I think a large number of people have in the past objected to thoughtful conservative posts and comments on the basis of content, though perhaps unconsciously. I believe I've seen evidence of a double-standard.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 12:00 PM on October 22, 2006


Oh, I'm quite sure you're right about that. I certainly wasn't speaking for anyone else; I think the percentage of MeFites who would genuinely welcome thoughtful commentary from the right is small indeed.
posted by languagehat at 12:11 PM on October 22, 2006


Quite bluntly, this site is no longer a labor of love but has become a business so a certain amount of consideration for the customers is in order.

Depending on your definition of customer, taking steps to ensure that there is a variety of content is being considerate.

Note: I am not saying the front page is stagnant, or that y2karl's posts suck (Thanks again for the Fahey link today, t'was lovely), I just can't stand passive aggressive 'customer is always right' horse pucky like that.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 12:14 PM on October 22, 2006


...maybe it is more a 'what is metafilter' kind of issue than i thought...i suppose for me, metafilter is special (i don't visit other sites like this at all) not for the subject or the particular links or even the quality of the FPP itself, but for the discussions that come about as a result, the different viewpoints that break out, and the high quality of the members who post here...any crappy FPP can be redeemed by a thoughtful discussion...and comments here do make me think and assess my positions...i will often carry these discussions with me all day and debate with myself about them, and i appreciate what i get--challenges even more so than agreements--from the folks around here...

so i guess that for me metafilter is people (not even broken down by membername or personality--just a generally intelligent, high-quality community), and for some people metafilter is words...so maybe much of the debate is over which of those two should be respected and nourished...
posted by troybob at 12:18 PM on October 22, 2006


It's also a common metafilter practice to make somewhat boring threads about every meaningless new technical upgrade that occurs: new Apple product, new Apple upgrade, Steve Jobs gets a new cat, IE7 is released, yadda yadda yadda. Mostly, these posts are somewhat boring, and I ignore them as such.

Delete the bad Iraq threads if you must, but y2karl's are often quite good.
posted by The God Complex at 12:40 PM on October 22, 2006


On preview: y2karl is not quoting the leftie equivalent of Kristol et al, he's digging out fact-filled and informative links, while providing enough quotes from each that the interested reader can decide whether any particular one is worth his or her time. If someone on the other side were providing similarly useful links from the opposite standpoint, I'd be thrilled.

Ding ding ding.

Also, in regards to the Iraq war, I'm not sure there is a "logical" other side, which is why you're seeing the mainstream American media (finally) taking a tougher stance on the admin. The American media only likes to get behind a winner, lest they lose advert dollars. We all know this!
posted by The God Complex at 12:46 PM on October 22, 2006


I'm not sure there is a "logical" other side

y2karl's core audience speaks
posted by found missing at 12:52 PM on October 22, 2006



Once again, for the record, I don't post to change anyone's mind or to educate anyone. I have a point of view. I post about what interests me, what matters to me. But I do not post anywhere as often as I used to post and the percentage of my posts on controversial topics in not all that great. I posted twice so, though, in the past three days and someone got upset. But I didn't think relaw's comment was so offensive, myself, and I figured, given the huge jpeg, that its minutes were numbered.

As for the rancor, well, in my case, my perception is someone says something about you and someone else repeats it and it becomes reified into the truth for everyone whoever had a bone to pick with you in the past. And they all will show up every time you become the target again and say the same shit about you all over again and it's gospel for them. No matter what you do. So, there's the whole human comedy factor to consider.

People like and dislike other people, person by person. What bothers people usually matters more on the person doing it than what is done--more than anyone will admit. That's what I think. If anyone else had posted that link to that National Journal article, reklaw would have scrolled on by and this thread would not exist.

And I don't want a blog because I don't want a blog. They are a lot of work to do right, which takes a lot of time and life is so short.
posted by y2karl at 12:59 PM on October 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


I think the criticism of mathowie and jessamyn in this thread have been badly expressed, but..

The consequences for posters who make increasingly minor transgressions on the community - like expressing that little bit too much opinion - are much greater than the consequences for commenters who whine and troll and generally cause trouble. Fact is, bad posts are very effectively controlled day to day, but general troublemakers aren't. Not surprising, because the former is a much easier job..

The problem is the idea that general trouble making can be reduced by removing things that incite it. It is very dangerous to let the norms of what makes a good post creep because some people choose to cause trouble in comments, but in some sense administration choices have seemed to favour that solution - the whole "MetaFilter doesn't do fat people well" notion..

I think the insomnia_lj vs. y2karl comparison is very informative here, although it requires a lot of supposition for a regular user to draw anything useful from it. Without an exhaustive re-evaluation of insomnia_lj's banning, I have a feeling that mathowie was right, it was time to censure him. I have no idea why he wasn't able to moderate his posts to conform to community norms, but it seems clear that he has chosen not to pursue reinstatement because he knows he isn't willing or able to do so. y2karl has certainly struggled with community norms on occasion, but he has shown restraint and a willingness to cooperate. The very notion that there is a comparison between them implies that y2karl might be given a timeout/ban, and that is ridiculous!

At the same time, we have troublemakers who try to shift the community norms to suit their own agenda, be it political, personal taste, or just Iraq fatigue.

We need a solution that effectively addresses the noise level. I think it is time for some experiments to that end..


Jon Mitchell: Wouldn't this be solvable by ensuring that every newsfilter/iraq post was tagged as such, then giving people their own custom tag filter that could remove certain tags from the stream?

No. The whole point of community is that we have to at least acknowledge, and consciously choose to look past.

jessamyn: For every person that thinks we should delete more "this post sucks, here's an owl" comments, there are people who think we shouldn't remove anything, ever.
...
I sometimes get the feeling that people aren't going to be satisfied unless people are publicly pilloried for their acting out.


I've suggested putting a deleted comment/post count right on user pages. I'm not 100% sure it is a good idea, but it seems like a very objective quality measure. It might make it easier to ignore some of the trolling and noise..

Also, I wonder if deleted comments should be accompanied by a brief timeout. Perhaps not completely automatic, but a default choice in a check box or something. There isn't enough cost associated with pissing in threads.
posted by Chuckles at 12:59 PM on October 22, 2006 [2 favorites]


You think being opposed or apathetic to Iraq FPPs means supporting the war?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:55 AM PST


The people who whine the loudest or post owl pics about Iraq posts have been the supporters.

Is that why you chose to think that is what my text means?
posted by rough ashlar at 1:03 PM on October 22, 2006


y2karl's core audience speaks

Oh, please. Nobody's made a cogent, logical argument for what's going on in Iraq since it started. The closest thing I've seen is Dennis Miller et al claiming that getting Hussein out regardless of the cost is worth it (though Miller then went on the Daily Show and subtly compared Bush to Lincoln, so...).

My point was a simple one. This isn't abortion rights/religious views, or social values, or any number of other things wherein a logical "other side" could be cogently presented.
posted by The God Complex at 1:06 PM on October 22, 2006


My opinion is that the anti-war arguments are much stronger; but, to hear from you that there aren't logical, reasonable, and intelligent people (besides Miller) arguing the fundamental rationale for the war, if still criticizing its execution in whole or in part, suggests to me that you need to expand your reading list beyond y2karl.
posted by found missing at 1:21 PM on October 22, 2006


Oh, please. Nobody's made a cogent, logical argument for what's going on in Iraq since it started. The closest thing I've seen is Dennis Miller et al claiming that getting Hussein out regardless of the cost is worth it (though Miller then went on the Daily Show and subtly compared Bush to Lincoln, so...).

Exactly. And I am sure of all of us, EB is the one to put a name to the logical fallacy of pre-supposing the equality of all possible viewpoints. Let the hawks post and be discussed.

There has been a slow striptease in USian politics since the war started, and gradually more and more people see enough proaganda debunked that few argue the Emperor still has any clothes. It is those who truly believe he does that I would like to hear from, in comments and yes, also, by their posting reasoned analysis and information equivalent at least to the quality that y2karl posts. Again, EB seems to be aware of an awful lot of such balanced, nuanced, sources but he is very coy about presenting them for fear of sullying metafilter. So really, the rest of just can't live up to platonic.ideal.EB.metafilter.com and are stuck in suboptimal.reality.metafilter.com. EB, I value an awful lot of what you bring to the table here, but, I really suspect your frequently-reffed "great books" education at St. John's has coloured your view of the world: we don't have the luxury of waiting around to see what links might become classic links appreciated for all time, to be eventually chewed through in formal seminars by bookworms. Even if we did, by the time they had been validated by such as yourselves, it might be too late. Metafilter links are not always to the Great Books of the day, sometimes they are to the political pamphlets of the day, those that help form the actions and events upon which the Great Books of the day are based.
posted by Rumple at 1:27 PM on October 22, 2006



My opinion is that the anti-war arguments are much stronger; but, to hear from you that there aren't logical, reasonable, and intelligent people (besides Miller) arguing the fundamental rationale for the war, if still criticizing its execution in whole or in part, suggests to me that you need to expand your reading list beyond y2karl.


You're conflating intelligent people with intelligent arguments. And, no, I don't think there are any logical or intelligent arguments for the war, not with what we've learned about how effective the UN Sanctions were (as many people suggested before the war even began). Honestly, the "I support the war but not how it was executed" crowd don't hold any water because how the war turned out was all but a foregone conclusion: the U.S. was already stuck in Afghanistan, and all of the Bush literature on how they expected the war to progress was already out there. We all knew they thought they'd be welcomed as liberators, knew they thought it would be paid for with oil gained in Iraq, etc.

All of which is entirely irrelevant to this thread, of course, which is why I'll stop now.

I do maintain, however, that cogent arguments are treated with respect on metafilter. Not always by everyone, but by most. They might be debated passionately, but they're addressed on their merits. The people who tend to get railroaded are the shrill, illogical apologists with nothing to offern but empty rhetoric.
posted by The God Complex at 1:36 PM on October 22, 2006


You're conflating intelligent people with intelligent arguments.

I have to admit that I've noticed a positive correlation.
posted by found missing at 1:49 PM on October 22, 2006


If you're suggesting that intelligent people can be swayed to make unintelligent arguments based on irrational reasons (fear and anger after 9/11 being too Millerian ones), you're very much wrong.
posted by The God Complex at 1:59 PM on October 22, 2006


*can't
posted by The God Complex at 1:59 PM on October 22, 2006


Hey, I thought you were going to stop. (But, kudos on "Millerian.")
posted by found missing at 2:01 PM on October 22, 2006


I'm embarrassed by what I've posted in the past. Too often the people who respond to those who protest the quality of a post with a challenge to contribute instead of complain ignore the logical result of having higher standards for posting: such standards make it much harder to contribute.

So if YOU YOURSELF cannot live up to your own standards, how is anyone else ever going to?

Once a post is up, it's generally up. It's part of Metafilter, whether it meets your standards or not. At that point, you might as well pitch in and bring it as close as you possibly can.

If you're not willing to do that, your multi-page screeds are completely useless. Lead by example, not Decree from On High.

Oh, and mathowie: It's hard to say whether or not someone should be banned when their posts have already been removed. I will say, however, that I found monju_bosatsu's insistence on crapping up this thread with animated GIFs to be extremely rude. I was also quite annoyed that they weren't removed. I flagged all of them, but they were left in, even though they were obvious derail attempts. Fortunately, they mostly didn't work, but they were bullshit and should have been taken down.
posted by Malor at 2:02 PM on October 22, 2006


The people who whine the loudest or post owl pics about Iraq posts have been the supporters.

Wait--are you really saying that people who object to the Iraq posts support the war in Iraq? Do you really believe that? Surely I am misunderstanding you.
posted by LarryC at 2:26 PM on October 22, 2006


Malor, fwiw, bardic brought this up in an earlier MeTa thread, and I agreed that I was out of line. I actually emailed an apology to bardic, although I have yet to hear back.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 2:28 PM on October 22, 2006


I quit reading around comment 75, but just thought I'd vote myself.

I go into links (even Iraq links) trusting that there's something new and different in them, and usually (like the psyops post), that's true. But sometimes, I go into a link with that trust, and find nothing new. Like the Endgame link. What's new? Oh, the U.S. is losing really bad, someone new says we're losing. Or the Keith Olbermann link, oh, Bush is really abusing presidential power, someone else is really upset about the Military Commissions Act. There are so many sites that exist to post that stuff. So I agree with gsteff -- "I'd be happy to see the novelty threshold raised."
posted by salvia at 2:33 PM on October 22, 2006


So the next question is, "What is MetaFilter?" That's up to you and Mathowie. If you decide that MetaFilter is a website for discussing important social issues, then we have a clear consensus that IraqFilter should continue.

There's crux of the matter: I don't think that's what MetaFilter is and I think people who want it to be "a website for discussing important social issues" are hurting the MetaFilter I love. I hope Matt and Jessamyn agree with me.
posted by timeistight at 2:37 PM on October 22, 2006


and I think people who want it to be "a website for discussing important social issues" are hurting the MetaFilter I love

By adding a total of ten seconds of scrolling time to your day?
posted by Reggie Knoble at 2:39 PM on October 22, 2006


I'd be happy to see the novelty threshold raised.

Well, start finding 'em and posting 'em, Skeezix. The only real way for any of us to effect change on the mix of the front page is to start posting the stuff we want to see, and scrolling past the stuff we don't.
posted by crunchland at 2:46 PM on October 22, 2006


I don't think that's what MetaFilter is and I think people who want it to be "a website for discussing important social issues" are hurting the MetaFilter I love.

Being something and including something are not necessarily the same thing. Basic venn diagram. No one is arguing that Metafilter should only be "a website for discussing important social issues". Some may argue that as a community and not just a sterile link farm that important social issues might get discussed in the context of good links. Metafilter has always included that, as y2karls yearly links, above, showed. Discussing important social issues is, therefore, a part of the metafilter you love. Maybe not a part of it you love, but a part nonetheless.

A lot of the upset about Iraq posts on view here reminds me of posts like "my girlfriend has a big nose and thats a big dealbreaker for me. How can I persuade her to get a nose job?" If there is something about Metafilter you don't like it is possible, not necessary, but possible, that the problem is actually not Metafilter, but you.
posted by Rumple at 2:49 PM on October 22, 2006


But, if you told your girlfriend you'd like to see the novelty threshold raised, she might get into that.
posted by found missing at 2:53 PM on October 22, 2006


By adding a total of ten seconds of scrolling time to your day?

No, by changing the focus of the site and thus the mix of people who it attracts and retains.
posted by timeistight at 2:53 PM on October 22, 2006


Both/And not Either/Or
posted by xod at 2:57 PM on October 22, 2006


So it should ideally consist of people who want to read about new developments in the Mac and Flash games rather than people interested in the world at large. Gotcha.
posted by languagehat at 2:58 PM on October 22, 2006


And retro graphics from the mid 20th c.
posted by xod at 3:01 PM on October 22, 2006


No, by changing the focus of the site and thus the mix of people who it attracts and retains.

That genie is out of the bottle, and it doesn't have to make Metafilter worse for you.

The kind of posts you like may not be the kind of posts i like, and joe sixpack might not share either of our tastes.

Iraq/Newsfilter is very much in the minority and is easily avoided.

If you are worried about undesirables finding their way into the threads of posts you like, fuck it, cause its all about the links isn't it?
posted by Reggie Knoble at 3:03 PM on October 22, 2006


When you guys are done here, I want you to go to one of those "all-you-can-eat" buffets, and work your way down each of the troughs, and pee in all the food you don't like, and only take the stuff you do like. That way, you'll get arrested and be put in a psychiatric hospital for a long, long time.
posted by crunchland at 3:06 PM on October 22, 2006 [3 favorites]


However, there are limits to how useful having one of these "what do you guys think?" threads are because everyone doesn't think the same way, it's not like we're going to arrive at consensus. On certain topics "y2karl's posts, suck or rule?" people's opinions are diametrically opposed where people feel strongly on both sides. The rancor these sides have for each other actually suprises me, as does the admin-directed vitriol as we try to deal with what is clearly a complicated set of circumstances. MetaTalk is specifically for discussing these sorts of questions so they they DON'T become de facto policy on the site without anyone's input.
posted by jessamyn


On the plus side--if you should ever work out a consensus for posting about Iraq, brokering a peace accord in the Middle East should be a piece of cake.

Nobel Prize, here you come!
posted by leftcoastbob at 3:12 PM on October 22, 2006


Wow, that's a lot of comments.

... so did I win?
posted by reklaw at 3:29 PM on October 22, 2006


No, the sole point of agreement is that you were being a dick.
posted by ibmcginty at 3:32 PM on October 22, 2006


"people almost never flag them"

Ok, done. I never flag them because I never go into them, but from now on I will flag every axegrinding post I see.
posted by Eideteker at 3:34 PM on October 22, 2006


Oh, spotted this:

y2karl: "If anyone else had posted that link to that National Journal article, reklaw would have scrolled on by and this thread would not exist."

Absolute rubbish, not true -- why do people seem to accuse me of having personal vendettas so often? I just saw Yet Another Iraq Post, and posted what basically amounted to "yawn". Couldn't care less who it was posted by (although I suppose you do seem to post obnoxious blockquotes more often than most other members -- but still that's not about you, as such).

I think the saddest thing about this whole thing is that the people who want to make Iraq posts are convinced that spending hours digging up the latest Iraq articles and posting them to MetaFilter is going to change people's minds about the war, or change the way they vote, and so they pursue it with this kind of missionary zeal. But I really don't think Mefi posts about Iraq are going to change the world. Unless, perhaps, they bore a few members to death.

Like I say, sad, really.

And, since we're all agreed that flagging all the Iraq posts is the way to go, I'll be doing that from now on.
posted by reklaw at 3:37 PM on October 22, 2006


No, the sole point of agreement is that you were being a dick.

See, that's the kind of vitriol that makes people feel bad. Let's try to be supportive:

... so did I win?

Yes! If you were trying to get unanimous agreement that you are a dick, you won!
posted by found missing at 3:40 PM on October 22, 2006


I didn't even realize flagging was an option. I'm gonna be a busy guy.
posted by Bugbread at 4:11 PM on October 22, 2006


Of course, you all will read the links before flagging, to judge their merit, rather than flagging everything with the I-word in it, right?

the people who want to make Iraq posts are convinced that spending hours digging up the latest Iraq articles and posting them to MetaFilter is going to change people's minds about the war

Or maybe they just want to share articles that illuminate the situation for others who are interested in what the heck might happen now? I really doubt anyone expects to change anyone's mind at this point.
posted by CunningLinguist at 4:40 PM on October 22, 2006


Also, please don't bother flagging posts from last month. We're not going to retroactively remove them and my weekend has been hectic enough already.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:43 PM on October 22, 2006


I think the saddest thing about this whole thing is that the people who want to make Iraq posts are convinced that spending hours digging up the latest Iraq articles and posting them to MetaFilter is going to change people's minds about the war, or change the way they vote, and so they pursue it with this kind of missionary zeal.

No, the saddest thing about this whole thing is your own tragic paradox: vast self-obsession combined with minimal self-awareness.

You can't tolerate the presence of certain topics on your MeFi, and so you pointedly do not scroll past the offending post but launch right in with a deliberately offensive comment. You remind me of one of my childhood cats, a brain-damaged tom* who loved corn on the cob, as long as not a single kernel had been broken. Presented with an imperfect cob, he'd squirt his idiotic stinking tomcat piss over the whole thing, rendering it inedible for all the other barn cats, who had much more reasonable standards.

As for your lack of self-awareness -- I'd bet Y2Karl spends no more than 15 minutes per post. This is what he's interested in now, and so he has the posts ready at hand, or click. What are you interested in, reklaw? Do you like comic books? Whatever it is that you like, I'm sure you could craft a fascinating FPP, without spending hours on it. Please try!

Honestly, I doubt he's trying to change your very tiny mind.

*****

Several previous posters have run the stats, which show that the dreaded cootie-filled Iraq War posts haven't become MeFi's water hyacinth, crowding out and choking off all other species of posts. In a rational world, that fact would have some weight.

*He was brain-damaged because his mother had the litter in a hayfield just before harvest and he was the only one who survived, although he was lobotomized by the harrow. He was a tom because I grew up rural white-trash and cats either kept down vermin or the vermin got 'em, so why bother with spay/neuter .
posted by vetiver at 5:56 PM on October 22, 2006


That's a harrowing tale.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 7:07 PM on October 22, 2006


CunningLinguist : "Of course, you all will read the links before flagging, to judge their merit, rather than flagging everything with the I-word in it, right?"

Yes.
posted by Bugbread at 7:15 PM on October 22, 2006


(er, by which I mean, I won't flag a post without reading it. It doesn't mean I promise to read every I-word post, just that if I do read it, and it isn't best-o-da-web, I will flag it, but if I don't read it, I won't flag it.)
posted by Bugbread at 7:16 PM on October 22, 2006


And mathowie, I know this has been repeated again and again, but:

I understand that you don't want to create a newsfilter.metafilter.com section, because you don't want to use MeFi for that, and you don't want to validate that kind of usage. However, right now the situation is that you're leaving the newsfilter on www.metafilter.com, which is even more validation. If you dislike newsfilter and you want it off MeFi, it seems that your choices are either deleting the stuff, prohibiting the stuff, or moving it elsewhere. Leaving it all in place seems an ineffective way of dissuading it. (Again, this is just if you don't want news/polifilter)
posted by Bugbread at 7:25 PM on October 22, 2006


Because that godawful 9/11 newsfilter post set this site back for years, right bugbread?
posted by bardic at 7:27 PM on October 22, 2006


bardic, there's a term for the logical fallacy of pointing out one outrageous example (the most devastating terrorist attack on our country ever) and using it to justify all similar examples (op ed piece in small online journal claims war will be difficult, costly). I'm not sure what that term is, because I try not to remember those kinds of things, but you totally just did it.
posted by jonson at 7:50 PM on October 22, 2006


I'm not saying all newsfilter should stay and not be deleted. I'm saying that to brand newsfilter as unworthy of the blue qua being too topical is asinine.

I happen to think the op-ed from that small online journal was pretty good. Not as good as today's best post (2 comments! Huzzah!), but worthwhile. And since it didn't crowd out a great poetry post, more power to both y2karl and jayder.

Mefi is not a zero-sum game. If you have interests and can find cool web-accesible sources about them, FPP to your heart's content. But realize, again, that politics isn't something a lot of people cordon off in their figurative stable of interests. It's as much of an interest as music or technology or art can be, often simultaneously.
posted by bardic at 8:01 PM on October 22, 2006


The best post of the day gets a 'Neat'?

I'm not denigrating jaydar's post, but shit, man, if you're going to get all indignant about how us swine don't appreciate the pearls, show a little more enthusiasm for them yourself.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:08 PM on October 22, 2006


Um, where was I indignant? The point you missed is that we all have varied interests, and it doesn't surprise me that people don't dig on the same stuff I do. Not sure why that's a problem for a small, vocal cadre of people here.
posted by bardic at 8:16 PM on October 22, 2006


But I'd be happy to talk pomo poetry with you if you'd like. You go first Alvy, you fount of prickly wisdom you.
posted by bardic at 8:17 PM on October 22, 2006


Gwarsh, I ain't got the edumacation to talk up some highfalutin' pomes wit' you, bardic, but I know condescension and pointed sarcasm "... today's best post (2 comments! Huzzah!)" when I see it, you supercilious tool.

The point you missed is that we all have varied interests, and it doesn't surprise me that people don't dig on the same stuff I do. Not sure why that's a problem for a small, vocal cadre of people here.

Yeah, I totally missed that point, which makes my endorsement of the flagging system 200 comments ago a complete mystery.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:41 PM on October 22, 2006


Six years ago, Friday, there were posts about global warming, Bush vs. Gore, Bush vs Letterman, Nader vs Nader's Raiders, Israel vs. Palestine and the USS Cole. How has this place changed since then ? Well, one post per person per day, for one.
posted by y2karl at 8:44 PM on October 22, 2006


Sorry to hurt your feelings Alvy. I suggest you wear protective gear when surfing the web, because you'll find irony and sarcasm in abundance.
posted by bardic at 8:47 PM on October 22, 2006


From the mouth of the original internet tough guy, hunh? My feelings aren't hurt, I just find you insulting. There's a difference. If you want to get more personal, my e-mail's in the profile.

I noticed yours isn't.

By the way, found this while I was looking through my comments trying to find out if I did something to make you so darn miffy towards me.

Tell us how we shouldn't shit in threads we don't approve of again, please?

I promise I'll keep a straight face.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:56 PM on October 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


Look, I made a point defending newsfilter. Not all of it, just the notion that it's always bad. Re-read what I said -- I liked jayder's post today, and presumably not a lot of other people read it. I was trying to point out that we all have different cups of tea.

But lo and behold, you swoop into a gray thread nearly 300 comments long to attack me. And then you dig through my posting history. And then you make some sort of allegation that because my email's not in my profile I'm -- I really don't know. What are you getting at? It's available through my blog, if you want to send me some money or something.

So calm down and back off. You're way out of line and honestly creeping me out a bit.
posted by bardic at 9:02 PM on October 22, 2006


bardic : "Because that godawful 9/11 newsfilter post set this site back for years, right bugbread?"

Nope. Never said it did. There are occassional Newsfilter posts which I like (9/11, asian tsunami, etc.), and lots of ones which I don't. Just my opinion; there is no universal "good" or "bad" here, any more than there is "good" or "bad" music, or art, or comedy, or whathaveyou. mathowie, from my understanding, disapproves of some newsfilter, and approves of others.

bardic : "I'm saying that to brand newsfilter as unworthy of the blue qua being too topical is asinine."

I'm not making that argument.
posted by Bugbread at 12:10 AM on October 23, 2006


I still don't understand what the problem is with just scrolling past what you don't like. Every day I see posts on MeFi that I have no interest in, or in some cases actual contempt for. Do I come to MeTa to make a post attacking them and asking Matt to please ban them so my eyes won't be sullied by such things? No, I just scroll on past. Let those who like such things enjoy them. But there seem to be a lot of brain-damaged toms around here. (Great comment, vetiver!)
posted by languagehat at 5:46 AM on October 23, 2006


languagehat writes "I still don't understand what the problem is with just scrolling past what you don't like."

I think the issue, amongst those that have one, is the fear of a "slippery slope" / "feedback loop" (pick the one you prefer), where the presence of so many links of type X result in more people signing up because they are interested in subject X, posting more of those types of links, etc., to the point where, for those folks, MeFi is not an interesting site to visit any more, as scrolling past what they don't like means scrolling past pretty much everything.

I'm not saying that's what would happen. I really don't know. But I do think that's what motivates people to complain instead of just scrolling.
posted by Bugbread at 6:24 AM on October 23, 2006


Except that, as has been pointed out ad infinitum and ad nauseam, political posts and discussion have been a basic part of MeFi from the beginning, and somehow it's survived. I don't believe the "slippery slope" argument is an honest one; I think the people complaining simply don't want their eyes and brains sullied.
posted by languagehat at 7:22 AM on October 23, 2006


If you're going to look for slippery-slope problems, I see this as a far more destructive harbinger.... Ah, and I see Matt has just deleted it. Excellent.
posted by languagehat at 7:28 AM on October 23, 2006


All the cool stuff happens on the weekend when I don't read Mefi.

Darn. Guess I'll throw in my two cents now.

I think the issue, amongst those that have one, is the fear of a "slippery slope" / "feedback loop" (pick the one you prefer), where the presence of so many links of type X result in more people signing up because they are interested in subject X, posting more of those types of links, etc., to the point where, for those folks, MeFi is not an interesting site to visit any more, as scrolling past what they don't like means scrolling past pretty much everything.

I'm not saying that's what would happen. I really don't know. But I do think that's what motivates people to complain instead of just scrolling.
posted by bugbread at 8:24 AM CST on October 23


bugbread just completely nailed it in one. It's a point I've tried to make before.

languagehat: I'm not sure if you are saying that the effect is not apparent. If you are, I'd disagree with you.

Take the political pulse of Metafilter. Measure against a national poll. There will be a distinct difference. And that is the result of the feedback loop that bugbread was talking about. It exists. It is real. The problem is that you get people who join because they think that activist/advocacy linking is something we prize here, and they join and do the same thing. And we all know that when you get a group of like-minded people together, the tendency is polarize further. I can identify a dozen or so members in this thread alone who joined in the last year who, by their posting history, clearly indicate that they joined for that reason alone.

Whether you want to call it "slippery slope," "feedback loop," or "broken windows," they all indicate the same phenomenon. X breeds more X. Read the posts from the last week. Towards the middle of the week, you started seeing more campaign posts, and like broken windows, a bunch more of questionable value started appearing.

Should all poli/newsfilter stuff be deleted? Of course not, and I'm not sure anyone is saying it should be. Advocacy posts should be. Redundant posts on topics already discussed should be. And I'd say that anytime one person has posted about the same topic more than twice, all of the subsequent posts should be deleted.
posted by dios at 8:12 AM on October 23, 2006

Kirth Gerson's comment deserves to be quoted almost in entirety and responded to:

"It seems as though matthowie and a lot of other people are saying, 'We know what's going on in Iraq, and we don't want to keep hearing about it.' So go on ignoring those posts. None of the defenders are saying 'You must read all the posts about Iraq.' just the opposite. Every one of us is saying to skip them if you don't want to know more than you already do. All of us skip things that don't interest us. I skipped whole days full of elephant stuff. It didn't hurt. (And I did not make any comments in any of those posts about how much I disliked them, either.)

Calling the Iraq posts 'preaching to the choir' is wrong. It is not preaching to offer information that is not readily available. It is useful and valuable to see material that I'd have to spend a lot more time than I have available finding on my own. It doesn't make me an imbecile that I don't keep up with the National Journal; I just don't have time. If a post is just an opinion or advocation, it should be deleted, and just about always is. The post that spawned this discussion is not preaching, it's informative, just like most of the posts about Iraq."

posted by Kirth Gerson

. . .

Given that, I've never found the "skip it" argument valid if the protest is based on a "this post doesn't qualify for posting" basis. If a post is a quality post but not interesting to a particular person, then of course "skip it" applies and no one has the right to the expectation that every post be interesting to them. If a post is not a quality post, then it shouldn't have been posted even if it is interesting to a large number of mefites.

This mere "interesting" test that is implicit in your argument, and many other peoples' arguments, is simply not a useful test. I think it can be accurately said that probably nothing that is posted to MeFi is interesting to the overwhelming majority of mefites—this is almost certainly true of these political and news posts. So there are probably a great many subjects that are as interesting to as large a contingent of mefites as these posts are. I know that there's a number of topics that I am interested in that could post about frequently if the criteria was only that I found a site interesting. (Actually, something I've not made explicit and/or expressed tersely is that news/politics is one of the subjects I find most interesting and if I believed that the bar for posting something was set as low as apparently do the people I'm arguing with, then I'd be posting news/political stuff all the time. If you look at my posting history, you'll see that about half of my few posts have been news/political and, importantly, I feel that they were crappy posts that I now regret.)

I feel like people are profoundly ignoring the one thing that distinguishes MetaFilter from almost all of the other group blogs. Most of them have much more loose standards about posting and posts are basically just what people are advocating here: here's something I find interesting and I want to talk about it. This is also what distinguishes it from one's own personal blog and why we have that acronym. What belongs on the front page of MeFi isn't the sort of thing that one casually thinks about posting several times a day, usually with some news item or website acting as the excuse for the post. In theory, posts to MeFi are supposed to be true discoveries, small diamonds found out there in the wild web
. . .

What I've written responds to the bulk of your two paragraphs . . .
posted by Ethereal Bligh
Except that it doesn't, because "This mere "interesting" test that is implicit in your argument" is not accurate. I said the OP was informative. I did not argue that its being interesting was the reason it's good enough to be here (although it is interesting, to me). My argument is not that because I find something interesting, it should be allowed. I am saying - and I am not alone in saying it - I would not have known that that information even existed, if it wasn't posted here, because none of the other sites I visit had it. That makes it one of those diamonds you mentioned. Where I talked about it being interesting, was in my suggestion to those who think it isn't - that they should ignore it.

You don't think the post measures up to the MetaFilter standard. I think it does. The real test is that the people who enforce the standards left it up. If they start deciding that posts about the Iraq war must meet a higher standard than posts on elephants or Flash games, that will make MeFi less worthwhile in my mind.

. . . the one thing that distinguishes MetaFilter from almost all of the other group blogs [is that] Most of them have much more loose standards about posting and posts . .
My experience is different, in this respect: the other forums that I find worth participating in are almost all much more tightly moderated than this one. Most of them quash all political and war discussion reflexively. The ones that meet your "loose standards" description also have much greater degrees of flaming, general boorishness, and free-flowing ignorance. MeFi succeeds for me because it addresses the bozonic behavior without quashing the discussions those people attack. That is what makes it different, and that's what this thread was originally about: bad behavior. I don't think you have made the case that the Iraq post was less worthwhile than most of those elephant posts, and I also don't think you can do so.

Since all the people who don't want Iraq posts are going to flag them all from now on, I guess it's only fair that I start flagging every post about some NYC hamburger stand closing, or the uses of raccoon scat, or whatever else I would otherwise just slide past as not worth my time. After all, that stuff is ruining the site!
posted by Kirth Gerson at 8:27 AM on October 23, 2006


I want to add one more thing: I think it is an embarrassment to reasoned discourse the fact that people are honestly suggesting that an objection to y2karl's posts on Iraq must necessarily be because of his point of view. E_B is trying, as he always does, to reason things out in his own mind, and he gets criticized for it as if he is some ostrich trying to stick his head in the sand instead of making thoughtful points. And others in this thread are accused of the same thing.

I get tired of it. It such sloppy thinking, and it has become all too common here. There is an entirely developed strawman of people who don't fall in line. Hell, there are people who are certain that I am a conservative or neoconservative, despite the fact that I have never espoused any of their views. But because I criticize the method of the opposition, then I must be a support of the opposite. The same sloppy thinking is here: since you don't like the posts, you must be secretly supporting the other side. It's bullshit. It's an embarrassment to logic to automatically assume that people must have a secret agenda behind the straightforward logic of their criticisms.

People can't accept that there are actual procedural or empirical reasons why someone oppose something beyond substantive disagreement. For instance, most of the idiots who respond to everything I say will probably suggest that my prior comment was whining that there are too many liberals and not enough conservatives. My comment doesn't bear that interpretation, but it will be made. A fair reader would read it and say, "this person is pointing out that a feedback loop can create a monolithic set of opinions." But it won't be interpreted that way.

The day that we can discuss things without filtering everything through a political lens is the day we make a giant step in improving the quality and cohesiveness of the community.
posted by dios at 8:28 AM on October 23, 2006 [1 favorite]


E_B is trying, as he always does, to reason things out in his own mind, and he gets criticized for it as if he is some ostrich trying to stick his head in the sand instead of making thoughtful points.

He made personal attacks. Which is no never mind to me--being called self-important by Ethereal Bligh is a falling down on the floor knee slapper. It is nothing new--I could demonstrate with several examples from over the years it is fueled in no small part from the fact we don't like each other, that we had words in the past. He always reduces it to individuals. So do you. As for reklaw, I Googled reklaw and y2karl on site and in the first few hits I see he's taken shots at me in threads where I didn't post on anything near political. He doesn't think much of me. It's always personal.

People join for the wrong reasons ? You came in here on a personal jihad against individual members, me included. It's all very nice to play the statesman now but the reason people attack you is because you came already flown off the handle, going after people by name from the git go. Hell, with me, it predated your joining. You came in here with an enemies list in hand. You sowed the wind and reapt the whirlwind. Your reasonable and empirical is just you wanting to control what other individuals post dressed up in a new suit. So and so is ruining MetaFilter--let's control him. You don't want to be controlled or attacked but you want the option to control and attack other people. That's a universal around here. It's always a selfish person who's ruining MetaFilter and that person is always someone else, a someone you don't like. People personalize and demonize other people, which surely is something you can understand--you always complain about it when it happens to you. But you aren't the problem--no. It's always that guy over there. This place would be so much better if we followed what you think is right, if we got rid of the people you don't like or made them get in line. Then this place would so ideal. That's what you and EB have in common. You both want to call the shots for everyone else.
posted by y2karl at 9:52 AM on October 23, 2006 [2 favorites]


y2karl, do you think it's ironic that dios's only comment in this thread refers to only one person specifically, and he in a positive light, while you spend all of yours attacking him personally for ostensibly attacking other people personally?
posted by gsteff at 10:14 AM on October 23, 2006


Well, it refers to you as well, without comment.
posted by gsteff at 10:21 AM on October 23, 2006


As for reklaw, I Googled reklaw and y2karl on site and in the first few hits I see he's taken shots at me in threads where I didn't post on anything near political.

Exposed! Yeah, I absolutely fucking hate you, y2karl. I stalk you around the Interweb, poking my cruel jibes at you. When will my twenty-year personal vendetta end!? Who knows?

I did that search, and I found one instance where I'd mocked you for copying and pasting a lot, and another where I'd called a post of yours 'wanky'. But you had copied and pasted a lot. And your post was thoroughly wanky. I really don't give a shit that it was your username that appeared either time -- it's the style I was mocking, not the man, and to a certain extent it's the style you posted in that drew particular attention to your Iraq post, as well. I guess it's 'personal' insofar as your posting style seems to be consistently stupid, but that's about it.

The enmity here is all one sided, you know? I really don't give a shit about random people on the Internet. You, on the other hand, seem to take it all very seriously.
posted by reklaw at 10:30 AM on October 23, 2006


On further skimming through the results, we seem to disagree rather often. But rest assured that I'm disagreeing with you on each occasion independently of all the others -- I'm not remembering times we've disagreed in the past and then acting on that. Do you think there's a special place in my memory for "times different Mefi members were being dumb and things I said about it"? 'Cos there ain't.

The other trend I notice is that the other people in the thread far more often seem to agree with me than with you -- I'm not sure it's even anything to do with the facts of any given case, so much as how far up yourself you seem to be.

Incidentally, I have a word for people who always disagree with me. I call them wrong.
posted by reklaw at 10:51 AM on October 23, 2006


"That's what you and EB have in common. You both want to call the shots for everyone else."

No I don't. Advocating my point of view on these matters in the portion of MetaFilter devoted to members making such arguments is not "want[ing] to call the shots for everyone else". Either my arguments are persuasive or they are not. I have no desire to impose my point of view on anyone else. I almost never have that desire.

"I would not have known that that information even existed, if it wasn't posted here, because none of the other sites I visit had it. That makes it one of those diamonds you mentioned."

In that example I see "informative" as largely equivalent to "interesting" and that's why I made that generalization. But your clarification makes no difference to my argument because "informative" and "I haven't seen it elsewhere" are insufficient qualities for an appropriate post. Two examples that have been given here are the Lancet study and the State Dept. description of moving around in Baghdad (and neighborhood militias, etc.). Both those things, especially the first, were ubiquitously available elsewhere on the web before they appeared here. Nevertheless, I don't doubt that a good number of mefites saw them here first. So? If someone posted the hamster dance tomorrow I'd expect it would be the first time many mefites would see it.

The people arguing the loudest for their own experience of the high level of utility of MetaFilter as a news source are the ones who have described themselves as those who look elsewhere on the web for such information the least. Those people are therefore the least qualified to make judgements about the relative availability of such information on the web. They can't know. For them, every novel news story that appears on MeFi is confirmation of their bias that MeFi is unusually useful for this purpose. But it's not. Moreover, it shouldn't be.

"I think the people complaining simply don't want their eyes and brains sullied."

Maybe. But that's a very convenient conclusion for someone arguing your position to believe. At any rate, it's simply not true in my case. Each and every typical argument made against the people who protest NewsFilter is untrue in my case. I am interested in this material. I spend 3/4 of my large amount of daily time on the web reading such material. Elsewhere. I do agree with the political viewpoint most often implicit or explicit in the NewsFilter posts that I protest. I don't advocate the elimination of posts on the basis of topic. I don't have a hankering to be a moderater myself.

Indeed, about that last sentence, perhaps you and others might guess just how often I flag a post or comment negatively. The answer is almost never. Something has to be really egregious for me to flag it, as a rule. Now compare that to some of the NewsFilter defenders and those who claim that I, being a NewsFilter protester, must necessarily be desirous of censoring to a large degree. Amberglow, for example. He's stopped, I think, but he for a while had a tendency to announce what he'd flagged. From that, it's obvious that he flags things quite often. I have the impression that you do. I suspect Y2Karl does, but I don't know. The point being, I may be aggressive in asserting what I think are the minimal standards for posts and asserting that most NewsFilter posts do not meet those standards, but the simple truth is that I do not have, nor have I demonstrated, a propensity for censorship.

A comment I considered a long while last night that I didn't end up writing was built around an analysis of the typical human reaction to someone making a procedural/contextual validity claim against a statement or activity of advocacy. I think the typical reaction is to assume that the procedural error/contextual invalidity claim is merely a smokescreen hiding what is really an attack on the substance of the advocacy itself. I think we all have this tendency, I don't exempt myself. This particular insight was new to me last night. Another topic, that people tend to always favor a simple validity argument against an opposing position (as opposed to countering assumptions or simply disagreeing or a deeper analysis of an opposing argument), is one I've spent much of my life considering. And the big insight I had last night was that these two things are related: the reason we have the former bias is because we have the latter bias. Because our own instinct is to argue against an opposing position on a validity basis, then when we are presented with a validity challenge in any context we assume that it must be motivated by substantive opposition. So if I or anyone else say "most of these Iraq war posts are not good enough to have been posted" the instinctive response is to assume that this challenge is inherently against an interest in the Iraq war. And it's obviously very difficult to persuade people to move from this position.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 11:06 AM on October 23, 2006


The other trend I notice is that the other people in the thread far more often seem to agree with me than with you

Count me as one who doesn't and who doesn't appreciate your tactic of shouting and bullying to get your way.
posted by madamjujujive at 11:08 AM on October 23, 2006


In that example I see "informative" as largely equivalent to "interesting" and that's why I made that generalization.
Don't you know that we men are pretty straightforward and mean what we say? When I mean interesting, that's what I say.

The people arguing the loudest for their own experience of the high level of utility of MetaFilter as a news source are the ones who have described themselves as those who look elsewhere on the web for such information the least.
Really? Are you talking to me? Because I never described myself that way, and I don't recall anybody else doing it, either. What I did say is that I don't have time to read everything available on the Web. You apparently do, which makes you the most qualified to start your own blog. Go for it.

-----------------------------------

Winner of today's Irony Award:
Incidentally, I have a word for people who always disagree with me. I call them wrong.
I'm not sure it's even anything to do with the facts of any given case, so much as how far up yourself you seem to be.

posted by Kirth Gerson at 11:42 AM on October 23, 2006


an analysis of the typical human reaction to someone making a procedural/contextual validity claim against a statement or activity of advocacy. I think the typical reaction is to assume that the procedural error/contextual invalidity claim is merely a smokescreen hiding what is really an attack on the substance of the advocacy itself. I think we all have this tendency, I don't exempt myself. This particular insight was new to me last night. Another topic, that people tend to always favor a simple validity argument against an opposing position (as opposed to countering assumptions or simply disagreeing or a deeper analysis of an opposing argument), is one I've spent much of my life considering. [T]he reason we have the former bias is because we have the latter bias. Because our own instinct is to argue against an opposing position on a validity basis, then when we are presented with a validity challenge in any context we assume that it must be motivated by substantive opposition. So if I or anyone else say "most of these Iraq war posts are not good enough to have been posted" the instinctive response is to assume that this challenge is inherently against an interest in the Iraq war. And it's obviously very difficult to persuade people to move from this position.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 1:06 PM CST on October 23


E_B, that is a good way to put a point I have tried to make numerous times, including in e-mail correspondences with you and languagehat and others.

The assumption that it is all a smokescreen is nearly impossible to counteract. Most people refuse to look at it from the other person's point of view and understand that people might approach issues in different ways. I don't mean to make this about me or you, but I sense you are getting a taste of what I experience everyday here. You approach this issue from a personal perspective. You are having a hard time getting past people's assumptions about your motivations in doing so. They can't see or accept where you are coming from, so they fall back on their binary understanding of the substantive issue because that is how they see the issue. In fact, the assumption is so powerful that you can specifically take a position contrary to the assumption, and the assumption will persist.

Couple that assumption with the ability to depersonalize people over the internet and the ease in which we can assume bad faith in people we don't know, and what you get is a recipe for a mess.
posted by dios at 11:52 AM on October 23, 2006 [1 favorite]


In an effort to exceed the limits of binary thinking, it seems to me one wouldn't argue for the elimination of all posts relating to the war in Iraq. That would be and Either/Or argument.
posted by xod at 12:39 PM on October 23, 2006


Winner of today's Irony Award...

But, but... there is no end, they just keep coming. This is turning into comedy gold. It's really brightened my spirits.
posted by y2karl at 1:07 PM on October 23, 2006


You came in here on a personal jihad against individual members

For what it's worth, I know this to be true, having "met" dios online when signups were still closed and heard him rant about the members he wanted to take down a peg when he finally got a membership. Which makes it a little giggle-making to hear him complain about having a hard time "getting past people's assumptions about your motivations."
posted by CunningLinguist at 2:23 PM on October 23, 2006 [3 favorites]


I don't necessarily have any issues with these types of posts. I have a;; the Metafilter RSS feeds in Bloglines and I just skip over topics I'm not interested in reading about.

Whether I would skip this one or not I don't know. But why do people go out of their way to post on topics they are not interested in?
posted by dgeiser13 at 2:30 PM on October 23, 2006


Count me as one who doesn't and who doesn't appreciate your tactic of shouting and bullying to get your way.

Yep, that's me! Shouting, bullying, holding personal grudges... God, what a terrible person I am.

Oh, wait, hang on a sec... uh, where the hell do you get this stuff!? Point me to one -- just one -- instance where I've ever 'bullied' anyone. You can look on the entire freakin' web if you want. It's a disgusting thing to accuse someone of, but I guess you and karl are buddies or something, and someone has to stick up for the weird "omg reklaw HATES y2karl!!" theory.
posted by reklaw at 2:35 PM on October 23, 2006


I know this to be true, having "met" dios online when signups were still closed and heard him rant about the members he wanted to take down a peg when he finally got a membership.

That's an odd way to put it and rather selective memory. Another way to put it is that, as a lurker for a while who hung out in #mefi, I had the same objections I have now. I just couldn't articulate them on the site since memberships were closed. So if "taking someone down a peg" and "coming in here on a personal jihad" mean that I objected to the same things that I still believe to be problems now but finally were able to post them, then guilty as charged.

But that doesn't really have anything to do with what I was stating here, and that is why I wasn't going to address it at first. What I was talking about here is the belief that people hold substantive viewpoints based on what they critique in others. If y2karl and CunningLinguist want to roast me for being an asshole and being too brash when I first joined two years ago, then have at it: you won't get an argument from me on that (although at some point you will have to give up that issue as something to beat me over the head with because it wasn't as nearly awful as those who bring it up like to suggest it was). But that issue has nothing to do with what we are discussing here, and actually somewhat supports what I was saying above.

My views on the topic at hand haven't changed in the last three years; rather, they actually have grown stronger.
posted by dios at 2:44 PM on October 23, 2006


I know this to be true, having "met" dios online when signups were still closed and heard him rant about the members he wanted to take down a peg when he finally got a membership.

Wow. This explains a hell of a lot.
posted by bardic at 3:22 PM on October 23, 2006 [2 favorites]


So, in memoriam of the glory that has been 12917:

Sometimes news/politics filter is good. It's always been a part of the site. Y2Karl has made an effort to limit the number of Iraq posts he makes, and the one in question really wasn't bad. Maybe not up to his usual standards, but it was a decent opinion piece. Mathowie didn't kill it, so it passed muster.

Sometime news/politics filter is bad, and should be deleted. Because a given FPP should stand or fall on its own merits regardless of whether an issue is topical or not.

/And scene.

Looking back over this thread, and looking at the continuing trainwreck ("I was for a jihad against certain mefites before I was against it"), I have to think -- just come out and tell Y2Karl he's an asshole if you think that's the case. Grow a pair and risk bannination, because some of you really, really dislike the guy for various reasons. But constantly whining about his posts or his posting style is just a cheap tactic meant to obscure your bitterness. Do us a favor and lay your cards on the table -- at least Y2Karl doesn't dick around that way. He posts about stuff he cares about, usually quite well.

Better yet, post good FPP's on the stuff you care about. Turn all that energy into something positive. But please don't throw turds at him whilst singing the praises of community standards and the dangers of the "slippery slope" that is an occasional Iraq post. Wankers.
posted by bardic at 3:32 PM on October 23, 2006


I was wondering when my own personal troll would show up, ignore my comments and make asshole comments intended to draw me in a fight (though, with the exception of this one time, I never respond to and won't in the future). God bless individual RSS feeds: without them, it would make grudge-pursuing so much harder to do.
posted by dios at 3:36 PM on October 23, 2006 [1 favorite]


No, not intending to draw you into anything. Just amazed, as usual, at your keen ability to rationalize your personal shortcomings (joining metafilter because of grudges you had before you came here) into something that benefit the rest of us.

Thank you dios! Thank you so much! Your vendettas are what makes this site so wonderful! Your transition from a raging jerk to a slightly less annoying jerk is the type of thing Ovid could write poems about! Thank you for being you!

*swoons*
posted by bardic at 3:44 PM on October 23, 2006


First, may I respectfully request that we keep discussion of dios out of this, because in my experience playing the Discussion of Dios card removes all other cards in play from the tabletop.

languagehat writes "I don't believe the 'slippery slope' argument is an honest one; I think the people complaining simply don't want their eyes and brains sullied."

Languagehat,

As one of the people who is making the negative feedback loop argument, I assure you it's an honest one. I don't know what I can do to convince you of it, but I really don't have anything invested in fooling you about my opinions on this, so I hope you can trust me on that.

I should point out that I am not one of those people who wants "No News or Politics Ever". I sometimes come across that way because I'm arguing "No NewsPoli Ever is better than Poor NewsPoli Always", but ideally the result would be neither: it would be "Less and Better". Y2karl, for example, is an example of good NewsPoli. I generally dislike NewsPoli, but even I don't get why people are harshing on y2k, because he's doing it well (and I've gotten used to the superquoting style).

languagehat writes "political posts and discussion have been a basic part of MeFi from the beginning, and somehow it's survived"

In my experience, MetaFilter has always had NewsPoli, but not always (though sometimes) in the amounts that it does now. And MetaFilter has gone through a period where there was just far too much for me, and seemed to be increasing, and then Matt put his foot down and seriously curbed (kerbed?) the amount of NewsPoli, and things got better, and now it's increasing again.

So, yes, newspoli has been a basic part of MeFi from the beginning, and the "somehow" in "somehow it's survived" is that it was pruned to a good level, instead of being completely wiped out or let run free and ragged.

reklaw writes "The other trend I notice is that the other people in the thread far more often seem to agree with me than with you"

Well, now, hold on pardner. There is "people agree with what I said", and there is "people agree with what I did". I see lots of people agreeing with what you said. I don't see so many people agreeing with what you did (that is, saying what you said in the thread instead of in the grey).
posted by Bugbread at 3:44 PM on October 23, 2006


Ok, this is what you get when you write really, really long comments and then edit them down for brevity:

bugbread writes "I think the issue, amongst those that have one, is the fear of a 'slippery slope' / 'feedback loop'...I'm not saying that's what would happen. I really don't know. But I do think that's what motivates people to complain instead of just scrolling."

bugbread writes "As one of the people who is making the negative feedback loop argument, I assure you it's an honest one."

What I mean is: I think that the negative feedback loop effect occurs (hence statement two), but I am not positive about it, so I'm not saying "That's what happens", but "I think/suspect that's what happens (but I could be wrong)", (hence statement one).
posted by Bugbread at 3:49 PM on October 23, 2006


I see lots of people agreeing with what you said. I don't see so many people agreeing with what you did

Yeah, I don't expect anyone to agree with what I did (although that makes it sound like I did something terrible - I mean, I just posted an ORLY owl and the "hey don't post war shit" siren). Like I said upthread, I'm going to flag the Iraq stuff from now on...

Made ya look, though, eh?
posted by reklaw at 3:58 PM on October 23, 2006


Back to the newsfilter.metafilter.com idea, if Matt and Jess aren't interested in setting up a sub-site, how about on the front page, where it says:

posted by MeFiUser at 12:00 PM CST - 0 comments - Post a Comment

Matt sets it up so when you mouse over the number of comments, you see all the tags that are attached to the thread.

Kinda like this

posted byMeFiUser at 12:00 PM CST - 0 comments - Post a Comment

It's discrete, it doesn't change the format of the page at all, and it allows people to see what the link relates to without having to click it. Seems to solve every one's problems, no?
posted by quin at 4:29 PM on October 23, 2006 [1 favorite]


What's that smell? Did somebody brash?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:51 PM on October 23, 2006


Yeah, I don't expect anyone to agree with what I did (although that makes it sound like I did something terrible - I mean, I just posted an ORLY owl and the "hey don't post war shit" siren).

Well, I don't think it was so terrible either. It was no big deal. And I don't think you were consciously harshing on me either. I didn't remember you and looked it up. I just rub you the wrong way. Or I could have insulted you sometime in the past and forgot about it and you, too. People have their dislikes for whatever reasons. I was just noting that we had crossed paths in the past. No character assessment was offered.
posted by y2karl at 5:00 PM on October 23, 2006


Fair enough. Rest assured that it's not you that rubs me (or anyone, I imagine) up the wrong way. I think it's blockquote and 'a href title' that do most of it.


And with that, the thread ended.
posted by reklaw at 11:04 AM on October 24, 2006


So...case by case basis out of the question then?

(I’ve always found pre-judging and excluding stuff as counterproductive to communication. Perhaps some Iraq posts suck and are boring and repetitive and simply reiterate news you can easily find anywhere else. They should be deleted.
Perhaps some are great and insightful and won’t be on CNN ever. I’d like to read them.
Not sure how I can tell the difference without seeing them first. Foreign policy, even specifically related to one country, seems like a pretty broad topic to dismiss sight unseen.)
posted by Smedleyman at 11:32 AM on October 24, 2006


As one of the people who is making the negative feedback loop argument, I assure you it's an honest one... I should point out that I am not one of those people who wants "No News or Politics Ever"... Y2karl, for example, is an example of good NewsPoli.

OK, you're hereby exempted from my strictures. But you have to admit, it's rare to encounter such a nuanced position around here.

Now can we put this poor thread out of its misery?
posted by languagehat at 2:59 PM on October 24, 2006


"OK, you're hereby exempted from my strictures. But you have to admit, it's rare to encounter such a nuanced position around here."

Ah, so that means that you think I want no news or politics, ever? In spite of the fact that I said differently about twelve times in my comments? How many people does it take for something to no longer be rare?
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 3:50 PM on October 24, 2006


No, it means he wasn't talking to you, hard as that may be to believe.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:01 PM on October 24, 2006


Ah, so the truth value of an assertion is dependent upon who one is speaking to? Good to know. You know, I really like you.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 4:29 PM on October 24, 2006


That is a great suggestion quin. Please bring it up when it will be seen, because it isn't doing any good down here.
posted by Chuckles at 5:15 PM on October 24, 2006


Jesus, EB, you really are pissy. Yes, you have a nuanced position—perhaps the most nuanced position in the entire history of positions—and that means there are at least two of you who violate the general rule. I still maintain that two out of however-many-thousand qualifies as "rare" and means I can be forgiven for not assuming it, and (just in case any other Persons of Nuance feel like asserting their claims) even three or four such persons do not remove the applicability of "rare." Now can I watch the Series in peace? Sheesh.
posted by languagehat at 5:25 PM on October 24, 2006 [1 favorite]


What lh said, expounded:

Ethereal Bligh : Ah, so that means that you think I want no news or politics, ever?

As lh pointed out, no, in fact, it does not mean that. "Rare" and "unique" are not synonymous.

Ethereal Bligh : How many people does it take for something to no longer be rare?

I don't know. That's the difficulty with fuzzy things. If I find an ancient Roman coin mixed in with my change at Starbuck's, that's a rare event. What if it happens to someone else as well? Is it still rare? I'd say "yes". What about 10 people? What about 50? What about 4,737,232 people? Where is the "rare" line?

I don't know, but I don't think "bugbread and EB think X" is a sufficiently large set to say "Well, then, it clearly isn't rare". If you were arguing that there were a whole lot of people saying "not all newsfilter should be axed, but a lot should", well, your argument would make sense. However, your argument was "Bugbread doesn't think it, and I don't either, so it's not rare", and that's not a good argument.

Ethereal Bligh : "Ah, so the truth value of an assertion is dependent upon who one is speaking to?"

No, the applicability of an assertion is dependent upon who one is speaking to.

If I say "most MeFites don't live in New Mexico", and BobOfNewMexico says "I do", and I say "You're one of the exceptions", that does not mean that I'm stating "EB, however, does NOT live in New Mexico". It just means that when I talked about "most people", I wasn't talking about you, but the other folks on MeFi. The only thing Kirth Girson did wrong was writing "He wasn't talking to you" instead of "He wasn't talking about you", and you're smart enough that I'm surprised that you didn't realize this.
posted by Bugbread at 7:45 PM on October 24, 2006


"Now can I watch the Series in peace? Sheesh."

Yes. Enjoy the game. (I didn't really intend my comment to come out as pissy as it sounded/you took it.)
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 7:59 PM on October 24, 2006


"It just means that when I talked about 'most people', I wasn't talking about you, but the other folks on MeFi."

Yes, yes, yes. I know this. Would anyone seriously think I didn't? My comment was prompted by the fact that I was a more prominent member of this debate than you were and it seemed strange that lh would aknowledge your nuanced position but not mine. I didn't really think he was including me with all the others, I was just making a point. (Although I wasn't certain he wasn't including me with the others.)

"The only thing Kirth Girson did wrong was writing 'He wasn't talking to you' instead of 'He wasn't talking about you', and you're smart enough that I'm surprised that you didn't realize this."

Well, I think you're in a bit of a bind if you're arguing that missing the point of what I wrote and taking it literally was what a normal, intelligent person would do while missing Kirth's point and taking it literally was not. As it happens, I understood him fine because my response was to his intentional snideness, not really about taking him literally.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 8:08 PM on October 24, 2006


How many people does it take for something to no longer be rare?

How long is a piece of string, anyway?

Metafilter: Persons of Nuance
posted by Rumple at 8:38 PM on October 24, 2006


Well, I think you're in a bit of a bind if you're arguing that missing the point of what I wrote and taking it literally was what a normal, intelligent person would do while missing Kirth's point and taking it literally was not.

Well, I didn't mean to imply that only dumb people would take it literally, just that it was surprising that an intelligent person would. But, seeing as you weren't taking it literally, and just taking the piss, it seems I'm the person taking things literally. Which would be really surprising for intelligent people to do, but for bug "can't see the forest for the trees" bread, it's not so surprising. It sucks that I don't detect sarcasm, but (unfortunately) it happens often enough that it "surprising" probably doesn't apply. : (
posted by Bugbread at 12:02 AM on October 25, 2006


My comment was prompted by the fact that I was a more prominent member of this debate than you were and it seemed strange that lh would aknowledge your nuanced position but not mine.

Now, right there is an indicator of the problem. You're not "a more prominent member of this debate," unless the criteria is amount of page space used. For me, it's not. I can't speak for other people on this, but I know some have made comments to the effect that they wish you'd pare it down some. Using more words to obscure explain your position does not make you more prominent - just the opposite.

FWIW, the only EB broadsides I usually read all of are the ones that address something I've said. When I do read them, I often find some distortion of my position, based on misinterpretation of words I used. For instance, I used the word "informative" recently, and you decided I meant "interesting." Thanks, but I deliberately used informative, because that's what I meant. If you're interpreting other people's statements as badly as you have mine, it's small wonder you get so much argument.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 8:23 AM on October 25, 2006


You know who else didn't have a nuanced position?
posted by found missing at 8:27 AM on October 25, 2006


Kirth, you might want to look up the definition of the word prominent. As to your charge of "misrepresentation", the truth of the matter is so trivial that it's hardly worth addressing. But what the hell. You argued in support of these posts because they are "informative". I referred to this defense as a defense of them because they are "interesting". Well, while you've got the dictionary out, you might also look up the word interesting. You read these posts. That means they've caught your interest.

Lots of people have requested that I make my comments shorter. I've done so—they are shorter than they were when I first joined. But you're right to assume that the length is a function of how important it is to me to make my arguments as clear as possible. I use many adjectives, carefully selected, to add a great deal of nuance which I think important. I often say things two different ways to increase the chance of what is essential to be apparent. What I don't do is write to entertain. I also don't think anyone has an obligation to read my comments, whether they are long or short, and I only expect those who are interested to read them. I expect many don't find them interested and don't read them. Some people seem to think that pointing this out to me will embarass me or otherwise that it will deflate a hubris they think they detect in my long comments. They hold to some false assumptions.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 8:32 AM on October 26, 2006


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