Noise in the menstruation question. November 15, 2006 7:13 AM   Subscribe

1, 2, 3, 4 are not answering the question.
posted by Melinika to Etiquette/Policy at 7:13 AM (119 comments total)

I think the commenters mean well, but the poster is not asking for men's perspectives on menstruation. Also, that last answer edges into offensive with specific details on what the commenter prefers/doesn't prefer, because again, she's not asking for his opinion on the matter.
posted by Melinika at 7:14 AM on November 15, 2006


People post crap answers to Ask constantly, and they are constantly removed after they are flagged.

Praise be to Jessamyn.
posted by smackfu at 7:21 AM on November 15, 2006


All flagged as noise. The whole vibe is kind of creepy- she's not asking the men of the world for a pat on the head.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:24 AM on November 15, 2006 [1 favorite]


Yes. If equally on-topic but negative comments ("Sex during menstruation?!! Gross!!!") had been posted, everyone would have complained, but those comments sneaked past because they were "Women are not icky. Signed, an evolved man." affirmations in a question about something a lot of women worry over.
posted by pracowity at 7:35 AM on November 15, 2006


This kind of thing doesn't help either.

Apologies and acknowledgements of derailment ain't worth a plugged nickle, and I'd pay good money for the mods to implement a script that would convert all comments starting with "I know this isn't... " and all variations thereof to say "I have trouble with my reading comprehension. Sorry for wasting your time."

And Dave Foley better not show up in that thread, either.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:39 AM on November 15, 2006


On the other hand, maybe she's never considered the possibility of having sex during her period. Maybe she read those comments and thought, "Hmph, now there's a thought!" Sure, they don't answer the question, but they may have been helpful to the OP anyway.
posted by amro at 7:47 AM on November 15, 2006


she's not asking the men of the world for a pat on the head.

Heh. And yes, exactly.
posted by occhiblu at 7:48 AM on November 15, 2006


At least no one suggested the use of a caged canary.
posted by cortex at 7:53 AM on November 15, 2006 [1 favorite]


If a guy posted a question along the lines of "How do I tell when I'm hard enough to pre-cum? I don't want to dribble at the wrong time around my gf" and a bunch of women commented they about not caring about the wet spots, those comments would be misplaced (throwing in a "but make sure you don't pre-cum when I'm kissing you, because that's totally a turn-off" would be pretty LOL though). The poster isn't asking about what's okay, they're asking for information. Just because it involves something that is sexual doesn't mean that both genders need to point out their justification of what is 'okay' and what's 'not'.

I know metafilter is heavily skewed to the male side but come on. It seems every few months someone needs to make a metatalk post to point out that the men of mefi need to take a step back and not provide some vague moral justification of what they are okay with. The poster doesn't care and it doesn't answer the question so just relax, take a step back, and move on to the next question.

caged canary is brilliant btw
posted by Stynxno at 7:56 AM on November 15, 2006


Ah ha, looks like 2, 3, and 4 have been deleted. Yaay.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:57 AM on November 15, 2006 [1 favorite]


Sigh. Flag it and move on.

This thread is unnecessary.
posted by dflemingdotorg at 8:04 AM on November 15, 2006


Yeah, but PaulSC has to answer EVERY SINGLE ASKME EVER, otherwise SCBD will win and Paul will die.
posted by klangklangston at 8:06 AM on November 15, 2006 [5 favorites]



Sigh. Flag it and move on.

This thread is unnecessary.


I disagree. This is a recurring issue on ask.me. If the comments just keep getting deleted but isn't mentioned in metatalk, nothing is really going to change.
posted by Stynxno at 8:09 AM on November 15, 2006


If the comments just keep getting deleted but isn't mentioned in metatalk, nothing is really going to change.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:11 AM on November 15, 2006 [1 favorite]


But at least we try.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:11 AM on November 15, 2006 [1 favorite]


I didn't see what got removed, but for the record, many young women have never considered that guys might not find menstruation as icky as those of us who experience it may find it. After all, they're not the ones carrying Georgia's cotton crop in their purses. ;)

In all seriousness, I don't think validating the "Periods aren't icky to guys" meme is necessarily a bad thing.
posted by dejah420 at 8:12 AM on November 15, 2006


Even if it has nothing to do with the question? Guys should be able to show off how enlightened they are about periods even if that's not the topic at hand? No.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:16 AM on November 15, 2006 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I don't think those answers needed to be removed. They did offer a possible answer, and given that the poster is anonymous and can't follw up, guessing at the problem isn't so weird or so awful.
posted by dame at 8:18 AM on November 15, 2006


Yeah, but PaulSC has to answer EVERY SINGLE ASKME EVER, otherwise SCBD will win and Paul will die.

The plot for Saw IV?
posted by EndsOfInvention at 8:19 AM on November 15, 2006


To augment that, the poster writes, please tell me how to know my period is coming because "it would be rather embarassing if my period came in the middle of things, so I'd prefer being able to warn him off."

Saying, "You might not need to worry about warning him off because there's a good chance he won't care" is to me a better answer to the problem (avoiding embarrassment) than "Well this is how I can tell, but given you aren't me, I can't say what will work for you."
posted by dame at 8:22 AM on November 15, 2006


It's all a degree thing, I thought paulsc's answer was helpful just as a one-of, but as people have mentioned here, having the thread turn into a bunch of guys saying "yeah I like teh sex on the rag!" does tend to obscure the other answers. I think it's appropriate to mention "this might not be as big a deal as you think" but it's one case where the "yeah me too" effect can get in the way of people getting answers.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:26 AM on November 15, 2006


And every question on children should derail into talks of how people don't HAVE to have children, and every question on jewelry should derail into talks of how people don't HAVE to buy diamonds, and so on and so forth. Hmm, isn't it funny it's always subjects related to WOMEN where people feel they just have to jump in and remind them of their options? Look, I've met a boatload of Mefite women, and none of them have been stupid. Could we all please take their questions at face value, and not assume they need schooling?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:27 AM on November 15, 2006 [4 favorites]


OMG I HAVE TO HAVE DIAMONDS AND CHILDREN!!!!11!1!!!!LOLZ!!!!
posted by Sprout the Vulgarian at 8:31 AM on November 15, 2006 [1 favorite]


Sure, they don't answer the question, but they may have been helpful to the OP anyway.

Maybe, but she's asking for A (help me schedule visits to my boyfriend for times I'm not having my period) and they're suggesting not-A (don't try).

Q: What's the best kind of dark English ale?
A: You might want to consider a light American beer instead. They're very good.

Q: Where can I get an abortion in South Dakota?
A: Have you considered other options? Motherhood is fantastic.

etc.
posted by pracowity at 8:31 AM on November 15, 2006 [2 favorites]


"Hmm, isn't it funny it's always subjects related to WOMEN where people feel they just have to jump in and remind them of their options?"

Why do you want paul to die?
posted by klangklangston at 8:34 AM on November 15, 2006


Hi. My name is Thomas Topham, and something you might not know about me is that I have a good attitude towards menstruation.
posted by Brave New Meatbomb at 8:35 AM on November 15, 2006


Hmm, isn't it funny it's always subjects related to WOMEN where people feel they just have to jump in and remind them of their options?

This is a pretty gross generalization about Mefite behavior considering that there is a documented history of users jumping in on topics they know nothing about simply to offer their opinion and "remind people of their options."
posted by dead_ at 8:40 AM on November 15, 2006


True, true, it was just funny to me that all the topics I could think of were related to women.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:40 AM on November 15, 2006 [1 favorite]


"OMG I HAVE TO HAVE DIAMONDS AND CHILDREN!!!!11!1!!!!LOLZ!!!!"

Not while you're menstruating, you sicko.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:41 AM on November 15, 2006


Did you know that in alot of native Indian cultures, menstruating woman were forced to leave the village, lest their powerful magic should overwhelm the shaman? If I were shaman, I wouldn't be so competitive. I'd be more open and giving. I'd be a shaman with a good attitude towards menstruation.
posted by Brave New Meatbomb at 8:43 AM on November 15, 2006 [2 favorites]


Jessamyn, fair enough.

TPS, those comparisons are not accurate. The point is, the asker is TRYING TO AVOID EMBARASSMENT. Saying "you might not be embarassed" is answering the question. And no, I don't think you can just assume that all girls know most guys don't find it icky. In my experience a lot of smart, together girls don't know that. So mentioning it is not some crazy out there misreading. Sometimes people don't know what they need to know, so focusing on only what they say they need to know isn't always required. It isn't like the OP said, Please don't suggest X.

I know paulsc suffers from male answer syndrome and I can see how some people might find the response annoying, but I don't think it was meant ill or deserves such an outpouring of freaking out. But maybe that's just me.
posted by dame at 8:43 AM on November 15, 2006


I would like to use this comment to state that I have no opinion about anything whatsover.
posted by sciurus at 8:44 AM on November 15, 2006


Yeah, I deleted the 2,3,4 comments because they were a derail. I think paulsc's one comment is ok but a further derail from the question being asked is too much.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 8:44 AM on November 15, 2006


jessamyn, CiaoMela's answer answers the question and then goes on to give information (not opinion on how the poster or the poster's bf should be feeling regarding her period) with a method of coping with the implicit question some commenters are hearing. padraigin's answer also answers the question and manages to slip in "....And my experience is that my period is always a bigger deal to me than it ever has been for a guy..." as a neutral statement. I think the "this might not be as big a deal as you think" vibe is covered already.

mathowie, if the other comments were deleted for being derails/non-answers, I don't see how paulsc's comment is any better or helpful than the removed. I mean, he outright states he can't or won't answer her question, then goes on to reassure her that women aren't gross and men understand periods. Why is that necessary? Good intentions, perhaps, but still a non-answer - and other actual answers manage to convey similar info without the whiff of "Women are not icky. Signed, an evolved man." or "a pat on the head".
posted by Melinika at 8:48 AM on November 15, 2006


Yeah, I deleted the 2,3,4 comments because they were a derail.

ZOMG PATRIARCHY!!
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:50 AM on November 15, 2006 [5 favorites]


most guys don't find menstruation icky.

Source?
posted by klue at 8:57 AM on November 15, 2006


Good intentions, perhaps, but still a non-answer - and other actual answers manage to convey similar info without the whiff of "Women are not icky. Signed, an evolved man." or "a pat on the head".

Are you seriously suggesting that answers that aren't perfectly right-on and/or slightly inferior to other answers buried elsewhere in the thread need to be deleted?

Fuck it, lets just ban boys from MetaFilter. They smell anyway.
posted by cillit bang at 9:01 AM on November 15, 2006


No, I'm saying a non-answer that can read as offensive for reasons already pointed out has no reason that I can see to stay - especially when other non-answers that were similar were removed, and when actual answers that do not read as offensive cover similar territory.
posted by Melinika at 9:04 AM on November 15, 2006


OMG YEA KILL MEN WE HATE MEN HATE HATE HATE. Fuck off, cilit bang. If the answer you're giving starts with, I can't really answer your question... and you proceed to get on your soapbox, then it's not appropriate for AskMeta. Is that so hard to comprehend? If so, feel free to just call us man haters.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:04 AM on November 15, 2006 [1 favorite]


If we're going to start deleting things that "can be read as offensive" and are repetitive, then AskMe is going to have a lot of two-answer threads. Maybe that's okay with you, but in this case I think the response is totally disproportionate. (And yeah, I totally already received my feminist 2007 card.)
posted by dame at 9:27 AM on November 15, 2006


Is that so hard to comprehend?
I don't have an answer to your question, but many men find comprehension just gets in the way of a good discussion. In fact it's OK that you don't really "understand" us, because that's just not what we're about. In fact, most men would rather you just not worry your pretty little heads about comprehension and understanding and listen to our advice whether we know what we're talking about or not, because that's what we do. We solve problems. We're problem solvers. If you have a problem we can't solve, we'll tell you that that's really not the problem you wanted solved and we'll go ahead and tell you what problem you should want solved and we'll solve that.
You don't have to thank us, that's just what we do.
posted by Floydd at 9:29 AM on November 15, 2006 [7 favorites]


AMEN, BROTHER.

pracowity has succinctly nailed one of the worst habits people have on the interwebs, and one of the most personally maddening things I encounter on a routine basis.

Don't do what he described, people. It wastes your time and annoys the pig.
posted by scrump at 9:33 AM on November 15, 2006


Do I lose my own Feminist 2007 card if I confess that I just developed a crush on Floydd? Because I kinda like the photo on it, and it's been nice getting discounted admission to the "Yes We Do Hate Men, So Shut the Fuck Up, You Patriarchal Asshole" Festival events this week.
posted by occhiblu at 9:35 AM on November 15, 2006


I agree with TPS. I guess I hate men, too.

Could we all please take their questions at face value, and not assume they need schooling?

This ought to be the Golden Rule of AskMe. I think it's the single worst aspect of the site: second-guessing. "Yes, I know you said [X], but you couldn't possibly have considered [Y]." Maybe it has something to do with the nature of people handing answers to people asking questions; the former concludes, "If you don't know this, then you probably don't know a bunch of other related stuff." It sucks. Rule of thumb: Assume that other people are at least as smart as you are.
posted by cribcage at 9:37 AM on November 15, 2006


My feelings on the minstrel period are that it was a dark period in American culture but thanks to some semblance of racial equality, we've come to put that behind us and move forward.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 9:37 AM on November 15, 2006


Matt has made a reasonable compromise, I'm sure you'll all agree.

I don't see why we can't all just relax a bit and take a break from this heated discussion. There is no need for the sarcasm, baiting of other posters, foul language, etc.

We're all adults here, let's just breathe deep and try to treat one another with respect - surely that's not too much to ask?
posted by Brave New Meatbomb at 9:40 AM on November 15, 2006


This ought to be the Golden Rule of AskMe. I think it's the single worst aspect of the site: second-guessing. "Yes, I know you said [X], but you couldn't possibly have considered [Y]." Maybe it has something to do with the nature of people handing answers to people asking questions; the former concludes, "If you don't know this, then you probably don't know a bunch of other related stuff." It sucks. Rule of thumb: Assume that other people are at least as smart as you are.

Actually, if you ever answer one of my questions, please don't do that. Unless I have specifically said "no X," please assume I haven't thought of X. See, that's the trouble with the Golden Rule: what I want isn't what you want.

(Also, Meatbomb, for myself I'm not mad at the people who disagree. I just think it's a worthwhile discussion.)
posted by dame at 9:44 AM on November 15, 2006


I think the "this might not be as big a deal as you think" vibe is covered already.

Both the answers you cite come after paulsc's answer.
posted by If I Had An Anus at 9:45 AM on November 15, 2006


Is it time for this argument, again, already? Wow - where does the time go? Okay - see you next month!

- Flo
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:47 AM on November 15, 2006 [1 favorite]


There is no need for the sarcasm, baiting of other posters, foul language, etc.

Nor is there need to link to the Kids in the Hall monologue I linked to first, and then quote it.

Reading comments in the thread other than your own - surely that's not too much to ask? ;D


I know paulsc suffers from male answer syndrome and I can see how some people might find the response annoying, but I don't think it was meant ill or deserves such an outpouring of freaking out. But maybe that's just me.

Some people get AskMe, some don't, I guess.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:50 AM on November 15, 2006


cribcage writes "I think it's the single worst aspect of the site: second-guessing. 'Yes, I know you said [X], but you couldn't possibly have considered [Y].' "


cribcage, consider this question and note that the marked best answer is exactly a "no, do [Y]".
posted by orthogonality at 9:58 AM on November 15, 2006


There's not a second to waste, Flo!
To the menstrual hut!
posted by Floydd at 9:59 AM on November 15, 2006


Huh, that's interesting. I thought it was more that some people have a high barrier to keeping, preferring marginal answers be deleted, while others have a high deletion barrier, preferring maginal ones be left in. But I didn't consider that I'm a wholly ignorant jackass with no idea how Metafilter functions. That's an interesting theory.
posted by dame at 9:59 AM on November 15, 2006


(That's a reply to Alvy, by the way.)
posted by dame at 10:02 AM on November 15, 2006


"Yes, I know you said [X], but you couldn't possibly have considered [Y]."

What dame said. And if that didn't make sense:

"There's a hole in my bedroom wall. What's the safest way to burn my house down?"

"I know you asked for advice about burning down your house, but you may not have considered patching the wall, instead. Here's one way to do that."
posted by Kwantsar at 10:03 AM on November 15, 2006


I can't accept this as any kind of evidence that AskMe has a widespread problem with people second-guessing the questioner. The site deals impressively well with direct questions on any number of controversial subjects; you can ask about vegetarianism, religion, guns, abortion clinics etc. and the discussion will generally not be derailed so long as the question gets straight to the point. If you ask something like "My freckles are ugly, how do I get rid of them?" it's only reasonable that people will challenge your assumptions.
posted by teleskiving at 10:07 AM on November 15, 2006


I think I agree with dame. With apologies to reklaw:

Q: How do I get Hotmail to stop from hacking into my ISP?

A: I know this isn't what you asked, but it sounds like what is actually happening is...

OP: That's not what I asked!
posted by yeti at 10:09 AM on November 15, 2006 [1 favorite]


Melinika, I didn't delete paulsc's post because it was fairly respectful even though not 100% a great answer. The followups were more along the lines of "yeah, I love to have sex on the rag" which read as less respectful and noise.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:10 AM on November 15, 2006


orthogonality has provided a textbook answer of how it is really more important to be helpful than to slavishly answer the "actual question."

I agree with what dame has said in this thread so far.
posted by grouse at 10:12 AM on November 15, 2006


I think part of the issue with the OMG BOYZ! part of this is that when these sorts of responses are trotted out by men in threads specifically about women's anatomy or experience, it becomes patently obvious that, absent a previous sex-change operation, the responder has absolutely no firsthand knowledge of the matter at hand. Which is generally why I, at least, tend to find these sorts of answers annoying.
posted by occhiblu at 10:13 AM on November 15, 2006


That is, more annoying in some of the women-specific threads than they may be in other threads.
posted by occhiblu at 10:14 AM on November 15, 2006


It is pretty clearly implied that sex is the issue. She's not worried about her period starting during the visit because they will be holding hands in the park. And if you wish to give anonymous credit for being smart, you can't say that implication is by accident. Therefore "this might not be as big a deal as you think" is a valid answer to the question. Probably a better answer even than whatever voodoo someone comes up to predict the day it's going to start.

If you delete paulsc's answer because later people make a similar point, the dynamic of the thread changes. The later posters are reaffirming the point, not originating it (though they make additional original points as well).
posted by If I Had An Anus at 10:14 AM on November 15, 2006


Dame, I'm not saying that you're wholly ignorant, but male answer syndrome is more than annoying, it weakens AskMe's usefulness, regardless the answerer's intentions.

I don't care if X just wants me to be the best me I can be, if they're not being helpful - and no, emotional support is not helpful, and any AskMe soliciting such deserves to be deleted with swift and terrifying violence - they should STFU.

Kwanstar and Yeti's examples are persuasive, though.
Damn them.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:20 AM on November 15, 2006


No, I'm saying a non-answer that can read as offensive for reasons already pointed out has no reason that I can see to stay

Yes, but does it have any reason to go? There's loads of fantastic answers in that thread, so why does anyone care that a few of them were not so helpful? If the thread was overwhelmed by guys goofing off, you'd have a point, but complaining about one answer being left is so completely fucking petty.

If so, feel free to just call us man haters.

Whoa. You can't post like 5 times in a row about how much men suck and not expect to be mocked at least a tiny bit.
posted by cillit bang at 10:20 AM on November 15, 2006


orthogonality has provided a textbook answer of how it is really more important to be helpful than to slavishly answer the "actual question."

No, he has provided an example of when it is appropriate. pracowity, above, provided examples of when it is not appropriate.

It's like etiquette or any number of complex things, there is no one right answer. It's situational. paulsc's answer is on the margin - it could stay or go. The following answers, for those that didnt get a chance to see them included the wonderful advice to (and I paraphrase):

"Yeah its ok but make sure the string is not hanging out because, personally, I think thats gross."
posted by vacapinta at 10:21 AM on November 15, 2006


the responder has absolutely no firsthand knowledge of the matter at hand.

Guys don't have firsthand knowledge of whether they are squicked out by fucking a bloddy pussy?
posted by If I Had An Anus at 10:22 AM on November 15, 2006


pracowity, above, provided examples of when it is not appropriate.

I think those answers are not appropriate specifically because they are not helpful, so they would fail my test as well. YMMV.
posted by grouse at 10:27 AM on November 15, 2006


I confess; I was a derailer. Perhaps it was just my preovulatory estradiol peak.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 10:29 AM on November 15, 2006


Can't we all just make a mense?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:30 AM on November 15, 2006 [1 favorite]


Whoa. You can't post like 5 times in a row about how much men suck and not expect to be mocked at least a tiny bit.

I don't think men suck. Just the ones who think they know everything. Like, you. So, yea, just to be clear, YOU suck.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:30 AM on November 15, 2006 [1 favorite]


Okay, Alvy, but I don't think the answer was wholly unuseful. I thought I made that clear in my first 80,000 comments in this thread. I understand why other people disagree, and I think paulsc's unfortunate disease contributes to this, but in the end, I think it was helpful. Notice the "good points" the people agreeing with me made? Those were my points. Apparently I just didn't make them in a way that was clear to you. I don't think that warrants your insulting response, but hey, I post what other people consider unwarranted rudenesses, so I suppose I'll have to live.
posted by dame at 10:33 AM on November 15, 2006


If I Had An Anus, you'll notice that was not, in fact, the question posted? Had the question been "Are guys squicked out by fucking a bloody pussy?", then I doubt anyone would have objected to the responses posted. (Mostly because I'm sure there would have been 3,001 other things posted over which to object.)

But the question was not about men's opinions. It was about women's experiences. The fact that many guys seem to read a question about women's experiences as if it were asking about men's opinions is the problem.
posted by occhiblu at 10:50 AM on November 15, 2006 [1 favorite]


I took Kwanstar and Yeti's examples to make the point that occasionally the Asker doesn't know what the hell they're talking about and that the best answer will show them that they're wrong, wrong, wrong.

This isn't the same kind of situation.

It wasn't my intention to be rude, and I'm kind of surprised you of all people took it as such.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:53 AM on November 15, 2006


ThePinkSuperhero writes...
True, true, it was just funny to me that all the topics I could think of were related to women.

And there, ladies and gentlemen, is the core of gender politics wrapped up in a shiny pink ribbon.
posted by tkolar at 11:06 AM on November 15, 2006 [2 favorites]


Well, that's the difference: in this case I think the asker doesn't know what the hell they're talking about (based on my reading). Knowing that it doesn't matter is, to me, infintely more helpful than carefully charting your cycle just to not feel embarassed (though there are tons of reasons to do so). As to rudeness, I don't mind being called names, but I dislike people acting like I'm stupid. Yeah it's weird and I'm a hypocrite, but you know, we all have our flaws.
posted by dame at 11:06 AM on November 15, 2006


My flaw is I don't know my head from my inclusion.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:15 AM on November 15, 2006


occhiblu, so you are denying my assertion that the sex question was implied and therefore subject to answer? If so, fine. You probably have a better understanding of the rules of answering in AskMe than I (as I don't read/participate there much). I ,do know however, that the rules seem to get more restrictive every time I read MetaTalk, and I don't think we want to get to a place where we are stuck in a strict literalism in reading questions.

(Perhaps I should note that I am not arguing that the deleted answers should not have been deleted. I did not see them, but generally trust the mods' judgement. I am arguing against Melinika and others who don't seem to be satisfied that paulsc's answer was not also wiped.)
posted by If I Had An Anus at 11:24 AM on November 15, 2006


Alvy Ampersand writes: Reading comments in the thread other than your own - surely that's not too much to ask? ;D

You've caught me red-handed, I'm afraid. Guilty as charged. I quickly skimmed and didn't notice your comment, in my excited haste to post what I thought was such an apropos little joke. Sometimes I just get carried away in my eagerness to participate, it's hard to slow down and think carefully. I'll endeavor to read threads more intensively before rashly posting in the future, Alvy, so thank you for that useful criticism.

But hey, we both thought of the same cute idea, and we both like Kids in the Hall! Isn't it just magical how the Internet can bring strangers together like this? I feel like you are my family now, Alvy, well met.

And also great to see that despite all of our differences about the deletions policy on AskMe, we all have such a positive attitude towards menstruation! Something the men and women of MetaFilter can share, just lovely.
posted by Brave New Meatbomb at 11:29 AM on November 15, 2006


IIHAA, I'm certainly not going to deny that many AskMe questions also contain implicit questions, or that it's often helpful to address those questions. They do, and it is.

The issue is that men tend to wander into the women's anatomy/concerns/issues threads and spout off with self-important "Here's your REAL problem" non-answers that rely on, at best, secondhand info and selective interpretations of the presenting problem. While any one particular example of this may not be egregious, as a trend, it's tiring.

And of course this happens in non-girly threads as well, it's just particularly noticeable in the women's threads, because the guys often act as if their expertise supercedes anyone else's -- even though there's a large, active, easily indentifiable group of posters (that is, women) who automatically have more expertise in these matters. And you can see the disbelief of this fact in the assumption that had paulsc not posted, no one else would have spoken up about this.

Of course someone would have. It was the *first* thought I had on seeing the post. It does not take a lightening-quick mind untormented by large amounts of estrogen to point out that possibility.
posted by occhiblu at 12:36 PM on November 15, 2006


That is to say, the assumption that many men seem to have that they have more insight into women's issues than women do, is problematic.

Again, the "I have more insight than anyone else" thing is certainly not restricted to men, or to women's threads. It's just so laughably visible there that it gets annoying more quickly.
posted by occhiblu at 12:37 PM on November 15, 2006


...the assumption that many men seem to have that they have more insight into women's issues than women do, is problematic.

Oh, that's no problem at all. We're just happy to help.
posted by Floydd at 12:53 PM on November 15, 2006 [1 favorite]


The "guys tell women what they should think" thing is pretty darn prevalent in AskMe, but I think this is one of the borderline cases. It involves embarrassment at what the asker thinks that guys think (i.e. menstrual sex is icky), and, while guys have nowhere near as much insight into women's issues as women do, they do have far more insight into men's issues than women do.

So it's men chiming in on an issue about women, about an issue about men.
posted by Bugbread at 12:54 PM on November 15, 2006


And I think had that been the explicit question, it's not as big a deal. But we've got a guy addressing an unasked question in a question asked by a woman to other women.

I realize this is hair-splitting at this point on this particular question, it's just that the behavior all ties into the pattern of "I know more than you do" -- "I know what your REAL problem is, even though you don't, and I know more than anyone else about how to solve the REAL problem that you didn't ask."
posted by occhiblu at 12:57 PM on November 15, 2006


Ok, wait, that was incredibly poorly phrased, and I'm being guilty of the same thing that ticks me off.

There are two possible reasons for embarrassment: that the woman thinks it's icky, and that they guy thinks it's icky. The question doesn't make it clear which is true, so it's not "men chiming in on an issue about women, about an issue about men", but "a 50% chance that it's men chiming in on an issue about women, about an issue about men, and a 50% chance that it's just men chiming in on an issue about women". Which, I guess, is what makes it a borderline case.
posted by Bugbread at 12:58 PM on November 15, 2006


Ok, it seems the scope of our comments are different, occhiblu, mine being more narrowly focused. I can see and appreciate your point about how such behavior is annoying in general.

I guess, though, I don't see where anyone made the assumption that no one else would have spoken about the sex aspect. I just don't think it would be fair to axe the first raising of the particular point because 'more qualified' people (in this case people without a pecker) made the same one later in the thread.
posted by If I Had An Anus at 1:28 PM on November 15, 2006


I was responding to this comment of yours:

If you delete paulsc's answer because later people make a similar point, the dynamic of the thread changes. The later posters are reaffirming the point, not originating it

which seemed to imply that on one else would have mentioned it if he didn't, or that somehow it's such an original point that he deserves full credit for making it. That may not have been your intent with the comment, but that's how I read it.
posted by occhiblu at 1:36 PM on November 15, 2006


Melinika, I didn't delete paulsc's post because it was fairly respectful even though not 100% a great answer.

mathowie: I appreciate your explanation.

I want to make sure you realize from my POV (and looks like I'm not alone in this) there's nothing more "respectful" about that comment than the others that were removed; and the dispute is not that "it isn't a great answer", the dispute is that it isn't an answer. At least, not to the question being asked.

Obviously we disagree on where the line is here which is fine - it's your site after all! - as long as my point is clear.

What occhiblu said - it may be just one comment right here, but it is part of a pattern, and there's nothing petty about discussing the issue when it comes up. Good intentions and a good message (yes, periods aren't icky) still don't justify a non-answer in my book; what's more, it does read as patronizing in these cases (women's issues, men's unasked opinions).

Floydd's jokes are spot on.

On preview: IIHAA, it's not that "more qualified" people made the point later on. It's that those other commenters first answered the question asked and then managed to communicate similar points to paulsc's comment in a neutral manner. paulsc's comment is neither answering the question (explicitly, he states he can't/won't answer the question) nor is it a neutral comment. It would be patronizing coming from a woman too, no doubt, but the fact that it is a man giving his unasked opinion on a woman's issue does punch it up a notch.
posted by Melinika at 1:39 PM on November 15, 2006


ThePinkSuperhero writes "Hmm, isn't it funny it's always subjects related to WOMEN where people feel they just have to jump in and remind them of their options? Look, I've met a boatload of Mefite women, and none of them have been stupid. Could we all please take their questions at face value, and not assume they need schooling?"

Hardly limited to women issues, for example someone posted in the thread about a bored teenager that the parent should move to the centre of the universe (Toronto).

cribcage writes "Rule of thumb: Assume that other people are at least as smart as you are."

Only problem is most people who work at a helpdesk know that isn't true.
posted by Mitheral at 1:40 PM on November 15, 2006


paulsc's comment is neither answering the question (explicitly, he states he can't/won't answer the question) nor is it a neutral comment.

You're twisting his words - he says he can't answer the question specifically, but can offer help with the problem in general.

It would be patronizing coming from a woman too, no doubt, but the fact that it is a man giving his unasked opinion on a woman's issue does punch it up a notch.

Every thread on AskMe has this problem. At least Paul was upfront about where he was coming from. And where exactly does it say the question is for women only?
posted by cillit bang at 2:25 PM on November 15, 2006


If men have any tips on when to know when their periods are coming, then yes, they should share. This is usually information a woman could answer just a teensy bit better.
posted by agregoli at 2:43 PM on November 15, 2006


I'll endeavor to read threads more intensively before rashly posting in the future, Alvy, so thank you for that useful criticism.

Ok, it's official. The new Meatbomb is creepier than the old one.
posted by mediareport at 3:16 PM on November 15, 2006


I need to be clearer. AskMe has a problem with people chiming in on questions where they shouldn't, but these are very weak examples of the genre (I didn't see 2 3 or 4, but AFAIK, they were upfront about it, they were trying to be helpful, and their advice was not bad or wrong), and normally no one would blink. The only difference is that it was "men" posting on a "women's" thread, which apparently is the worst thing in the world.

I can't be the only one that finds this completely juvenile.
posted by cillit bang at 3:22 PM on November 15, 2006


The only difference is that it was "men" posting on a "women's" thread, which apparently is the worst thing in the world.

I dunno, cillit, the history does matter. It's a very very common problem.
posted by mediareport at 3:23 PM on November 15, 2006


mediareport : "I dunno, cillit, the history does matter. It's a very very common problem."

I think, in this case, the history is overshadowing the individual example. Lots of women's questions get diverted/ignored/dismissed. In this case, it was a women's question with a 50% chance of being predicated on the questioner's assumptions about men's ways of thinking, so it's not nearly as clear as, for example, the "Where's a good place to get a crotch wax?" "I don't think you should, because I, a man, find unwaxed bush to be sexy" shit that sometimes happens.
posted by Bugbread at 3:35 PM on November 15, 2006


The only difference is that it was "men" posting on a "women's" thread, which apparently is the worst thing in the world.

No, there are much worse things in the world, let me tell you. For example, "homosexuals" posting in a "heterosexual" thread, or "Jews" posting in a "Christian" thread.

But of course, these previous words are only in jest, to illustrate the dangers of dividing the community. We all know that threads aren't segregated by our sex, or colour, or sexual orientation. Metafilter is for all of us, let's try to make the best of it to work together for the enlightenment of all.
posted by Brave New Meatbomb at 3:38 PM on November 15, 2006


Can't we all just have a happy period?
posted by deborah at 3:45 PM on November 15, 2006


.
posted by b33j at 4:00 PM on November 15, 2006 [1 favorite]



What a fascinating way of looking at the problem and the answers. Clearly you're bringing your own personal baggage to this, perhaps you should leave it at the door.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:17 PM on November 15, 2006


frag it and mo vaughn.
posted by StrasbourgSecaucus at 4:29 PM on November 15, 2006


What does the period mean?

PS. I like you too, creepier new Meatbomb.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 6:46 PM on November 15, 2006


Why is everyone so mad about the cups?
posted by loquacious at 7:17 PM on November 15, 2006


Which is the best accompaniment for menstruation? Popcorn, pizza .. ?
posted by peacay at 7:47 PM on November 15, 2006


More than half the answers in my latest question weren't addressing the question, sheesh. If you're going call out every non-answer on AskMe, you better slot out a few hours a day. You've got some postin' to do.
posted by GuyZero at 8:33 PM on November 15, 2006


::puts on her battle armor::

I'm ready!!!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:24 PM on November 15, 2006 [1 favorite]


::puts on her battle armor::


Shouldn't you be in the kitchen?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:41 AM on November 16, 2006


Maybe if you stopped thinking of it as a battle, you could atually get through a discussion without any fuck yous or you sucks.
posted by If I Had An Anus at 4:51 AM on November 16, 2006 [1 favorite]



cribcage writes: Rule of thumb: Assume that other people are at least as smart as you are.

mitheral writes: Only problem is most people who work at a helpdesk know that isn't true.

I guess that is why helpdesks are so much fun to deal with. Even when you're as smart as they are, they "know" you're less smart.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:29 AM on November 16, 2006


Even when you're as smart as they are, they "know" you're less smart.

Well, it's a bit more complicated than that. They're essentially in a position where they have to both trust that you're telling them what's actually wrong and question very strongly your perception and understanding of the problem.

And short of building up a close working relationship of mutual understanding and informational respect between Employee X and Helpdesker Y—a relationship that can only exist, if at all, as a rare exception—the helpdesker has no way of knowing that you're not misunderstanding your issue. Which means they need to check for the silly user errors and common gaffes that you, the savvy individual, know you didn't make.

And then for a fair portion of the time, it turns out you did in fact make such an error.

It's a tricky position. All of this is aside from the relative competence and people skills and transparency of the given user and the given helpdesker—idiots, assholes, and liars appear on both sides of the fence sometimes, as do their complements.
posted by cortex at 6:47 AM on November 16, 2006




Kirth Gerson writes "I guess that is why helpdesks are so much fun to deal with. Even when you're as smart as they are, they 'know' you're less smart."

Calls to the help desk are 80% self selected for the foolish and stupid. The other 20% are people who are smart and pay attention and are merely ignorant. The latter 20% are a joy to deal with, the former are the reason for the high burn out rate. Just like cops tend to think everyone is a scoflaw helpdesk people tend to group everyone into the 80%.

And deity knows that sturgeons law applies to the people answering the phone; mostly because companies treat help desks like a complaints firewall instead of a customer service asset.

cortex writes "They're essentially in a position where they have to both trust that you're telling them what's actually wrong and question very strongly your perception and understanding of the problem. "

Worse than that is the fact that users will often lie to you about what they've done either because they think/know what they've done is wrong (clicked on an unsolicited attachment from someone they don't know) or because they feel embarrassed (porn related) or foolish (porn or password). It's not at all uncommon to work away for 10-20 minutes before getting the rest of the story (What, you mean changing from Cable to ADSL could effect my ability to get mail?).
posted by Mitheral at 9:00 AM on November 16, 2006


So when you wrote Only problem is most people who work at a helpdesk know that isn't true, the problem you meant was in the helpdesk staffers' perceptions? That's what I thought.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 9:31 AM on November 16, 2006


Ok. Properly phrased, "Only problem is most people who work at a helpdesk know that usually isn't true".
posted by Bugbread at 10:09 AM on November 16, 2006


Really? We're going to use people who answer telephones for a living as arbiters of intelligence?

I'm sure they're nice and everything, but I don't really group "technical support" alongside rocket scientists and neurosurgeons. I'm not sure citing one profession's anecdotal experience is the best way to settle the argument; but if so, I'm pretty sure we can find someone better qualified than the call center employees.
posted by cribcage at 10:43 AM on November 16, 2006


Oh you sucks and fuck yous, If I Had An Anus. I was putting on my armor for this, ya retard.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:05 AM on November 16, 2006 [1 favorite]


cribcage : "I don't really group 'technical support' alongside rocket scientists and neurosurgeons."

Exactly. Us telephone answerers are not exactly the top of the intellectual heap. And yet we're still smarter than the vast majority of people. That isn't a testament to our intellectual prowess, but a condemnation of the intelligence of most folks.
posted by Bugbread at 11:16 AM on November 16, 2006


(Though, to be honest, I work tech support, but not user level tech support, so my only horror stories are of unreasonable customers, not stupid customers. Instead, I draw my experience reading forums on the internet to conclude that most people are stupid.)
posted by Bugbread at 11:17 AM on November 16, 2006


Are you retarded?

Oh - you're not? OK, never mind.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 11:19 AM on November 16, 2006


To what else could you have been referring, TPS? What makes you think I can't read?
posted by If I Had An Anus at 12:52 PM on November 16, 2006


Ah, looking back I see I misquoted you. It was "fuck off" not "fuck you". My bad. No wonder you think I'm a retard.
posted by If I Had An Anus at 1:19 PM on November 16, 2006


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