Save My Deleted AskMe January 10, 2007 7:27 AM   Subscribe

I'm guessing the chances are pretty slim, but I would like to see about getting one of my questions on ask. un-deleted.
I posted This question last night, and woke up this morning to see it was deleted. For this reason "doesn't sound like any problem to be solved, rather some idle 'what if' curiosity"
I've never had one deleted, and I feel it does not violate any of the things mentioned in the FAQ. To quote the FAQ:
Put another way "...if your motivation for asking the question is 'I would like to participate in a discussion about X,' then you shouldn't be doing it in AskMe. If your motivation is 'I would like others to explain X to me,' then you're probably OK."

I was simply interested in how the physics of it worked, and what would happen. I only posted once in my own thread, and that was to answer a question about thresholds.
posted by JonnyRotten to Etiquette/Policy at 7:27 AM (121 comments total)

Email one of the admins. I think just about everyone is sick of seeing people bitch about their deleted questions in metatalk.
posted by bob sarabia at 7:33 AM on January 10, 2007


You're going to make languagehat very angry.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 7:42 AM on January 10, 2007


One time, when I was in middle school, I got sent to detention for some sort of bad behavior. I can't even remember what it was now, but it was probably both stupid and minor. All I remember is that I was absolutely fucking horrified, because, shit, I was a good kid, I didn't get in trouble, I didn't go to goddam detention, what the shit?

It occurred to me year later that going to detention every once and I while was a complete non-event, and it was just the fact that it had never happened to me before—never even occurred to me that it could happen to me—that had me so upset about it and so concerned with whether or not it was justified and whether or not I really deserved it.

And you have brought that all that awkward pubescent memory flooding back, sir. Thanks a bunch.
posted by cortex at 7:46 AM on January 10, 2007 [6 favorites]


I'm becoming dismayed with what appears to be the increasing deletion of hypothetical-but-answerable questions, motivated by curiosity, which according to my understanding are within AskMe guidelines and should be allowed to stand.

From the FAQ: "Ask Metafilter questions need to have some possible answer OR should be asking for information that will be put to some practical use." [emphasis mine]

That's "or," not "and." According to this, questions that do not have practical use, motivated by idle curiosity, are OK as long as they admit of some possible answer. Has the policy changed? I hope not, as questions such as JonnyRotten's have been among some of the most interesting on AskMe in the past, IMO. But if the policy has changed, and such questions are no longer allowed, at the very least the FAQ should be updated to reflect the new policy.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:48 AM on January 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


But cortex, that doesn't mean that your concern and anger were misplaced. The good kids who get sent to detention ought to get indignant, because they're the ones whose complaints might actually get heard.
posted by bingo at 7:48 AM on January 10, 2007


When I saw it this morning, I was surprised that the question lasted long enough to get that many responses. With the parameters you provided, it looked impossible to give a real answer.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:51 AM on January 10, 2007


DevilsAdvocate, how exactly would the answers to this question be used? Jonny here didn't ask about bulb wattage like he was going to go buy them. It was just an idle what if thing.

The thing is, we have shitloads of questions on Ask MeFi. I tend to have less patience with borderline stuff lately, in order to keep the actual problem solving questions around. I used the term "idle curiosity" specifically because any one of us can come up with 100 of these (why do you park in a driveway and drive in a parkway? etc) and in my opinion, this is what clogs up other sites like Yahoo Answers and this site too.

Your question should solve a problem, not be a brain teaser or a bar bet or something that kept you up talking and drinking all night.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 7:54 AM on January 10, 2007


Yes, brain teasers belong on the front page. Not!
posted by Roger Dodger at 7:59 AM on January 10, 2007


Seems like $5 buys an awful lot of entitlement.
posted by Dave Faris at 8:05 AM on January 10, 2007


With the parameters you provided, it looked impossible to give a real answer.

Perhaps, but a discussion of what parameters would be needed to give a conclusive answer--which was what was going on in the thread--is also informative and provides an answer of sorts.

On preview: DevilsAdvocate, how exactly would the answers to this question be used?

That's exactly my point: they wouldn't be used, and according to the guidelines as currently stated in the FAQ, they don't have to be able to be used. "Problem to be solved OR answerable" is what the FAQ currently indicates.

Your question should solve a problem, not be a brain teaser or a bar bet or something that kept you up talking and drinking all night.

Well, it's your website, so if that's the standard you want to implement, I can't stop you, but I think it would diminish AskMe to do so. If that's the way you want it, the least you could do would be to update the FAQ to actually reflect that policy, since it currently lists a different one.

I used the term "idle curiosity" specifically because any one of us can come up with 100 of these

Yes, and it would take any one of us four years to post 100 of these. It's not like I can come up with 100 hypothetical questions and post them all at once.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 8:06 AM on January 10, 2007


"I'm writing a book, and I just got to a part in which the hero is trapped in a 10'X10' room..."
posted by longtime_lurker at 8:07 AM on January 10, 2007


Your questions strikes me as a hypothetical, which breaks the guidelines.
posted by Sprout the Vulgarian at 8:12 AM on January 10, 2007


DevilsAdvocate, your username is quite appropriate. If that's the way you want it, the least you could do... You make it sound like Matt is asleep at the switch eating bon bons. Why can't people be civil on the internet? Can you maybe come up with some verbiage that may be more appropriate rather than demand Matt keep making adjustments until you are satisfied?
posted by Roger Dodger at 8:12 AM on January 10, 2007


This question as actually spurred by a very bright nightlight in my hallway. So this has valid and pratical real life implications to me.
But I know there are alot of questions I have read on the green that are similar and like DevilsAdvocate, are among some of my favorites. I site the "perfectly round perfectly mirrored sphere with a flashlight" question as an example
posted by JonnyRotten at 8:16 AM on January 10, 2007


DevilsAdvocate, the guidelines are just a general set of guidelines and you're reading them like a lawyer would read a contract. Look, we've done the "what if the earth stopped spinning" thing dozens of times now and I don't see much utility in them unless people are seeking actual scientific information that can be put to use in other cases (since the earth will not stop moving in our lifetime).

And my point about idle curiosity is that they make for lame questions. We all have these goofy brain teasers in our heads, but Ask MeFi isn't the place to post them, regardless of how long it would take to post them all.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 8:16 AM on January 10, 2007


It's not like I can come up with 100 hypothetical questions and post them all at once.

No, but 100 people could come up with 1 hypothetical question each and post them all at once.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 8:17 AM on January 10, 2007


DevilsAdvocate writes "Well, it's your website, so if that's the standard you want to implement, I can't stop you, but I think it would diminish AskMe to do so."

This is BS. As has been pointed out time and time again, there are not hard and fast rules for AskMe, there are, instead, guidelines. Every time someone posts lamenting a deletion because it's somehow unfair and against those guidelines, ostensibly arguing for a more lenient set of policies, what they're really advocating is a rule-bound website set up to cater to those without imagination or flexibility. You're arguing for stricter control, not looser control.

It's clear that there's always been room for the "How do zombies move?" questions. Since there are guidelines, there is that room. Rules might very well exclude those types of interesting questions. The problem here is that the question was poorly written (displaying a lack of real interest on the part of the poster), and pretty uninteresting. (Sorry, Jonny.) It should have been deleted and it was.

On a more abstract level, what's with people simultaneously admitting that Matt made something extraordinary and not granting he and Jessamyn the benefit of the doubt when it comes to maintaining the site? "I love what you made, now let me change it to my own ends."
posted by OmieWise at 8:17 AM on January 10, 2007


This question as actually spurred by a very bright nightlight in my hallway. So this has valid and pratical real life implications to me.

How exactly? Are you going to buy another one for that hallway and you needed this info badly before you make the purchase? Or were you going to make a 10'x10' addition to the house and you're concerned about lighting?

Just admit it was a hypothetical "huh, what if..." question and move on.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 8:19 AM on January 10, 2007


While I agree with DevilsAdvocate that there should be more leeway for hypotheticals, I also agree with this deletion. If the question had included enough specific information to be answerable, it might (and in my opinion should) have been allowed to stay; as it was, it was just, as Matt says, something to keep you up talking and drinking all night. "Dude! Say you had this room, and four nightlights that turn off when..." That's not what AskMe is for. If you care enough about your hypothetical, take the trouble to make it a rigorous question.
posted by languagehat at 8:20 AM on January 10, 2007


Sprout. Please let me quote the FAQ:

- Open ended unanswerable hypothetical questions like "What if Hitler had never been born?

I just feel like I checked the faq, I researched previous questions in this vain. I discussed this question with my peers at work, and I came to the conclusion it was a valid ask. question. This is what I try to do with every question I ask. I feel the answers that were being given in the thread would be interesting to other people and for that reason, deserve to be left up. Just how I feel. If the admins don't agree, then tough shit for me. I don't feel entitled to shit. I wish it said who deleted my question, so I could have just brought this up with them directly.
posted by JonnyRotten at 8:21 AM on January 10, 2007


This question as actually spurred by a very bright nightlight in my hallway. So this has valid and pratical real life implications to me.

That being the case, it sounds like the question you asked is not actually the question you meant to ask, since your hallway is presumably not a 10'X10' space with 16 evenly spaced outlets around the wall. Something along the lines of "There's a very bright light-sensitive nightlight in my hallway, and I want to do x. If I put another nightlight nearby it, will that work?" might have gone over better.
posted by longtime_lurker at 8:22 AM on January 10, 2007


Jonny, I deleted the question. I explained why. So did everyone else. Jessamyn has come up with some "hypothetical science and math questions suck" language that will probably be added to the faq but it's splitting hairs at this point.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 8:24 AM on January 10, 2007


"Just admit it was a hypothetical "huh, what if..." question and move on."

I never said it was not hypotehtical. But its not open ended and unanswerable.

But the word comes from the man himself. So I'll let it drop.
posted by JonnyRotten at 8:25 AM on January 10, 2007


Your questions strikes me as a hypothetical, which breaks the guidelines.

No, it doesn't although that seems to be a popular misperception. The guidelines prohibit "open-ended unanswerable hypothetical questions," not "all hypothetical questions." They're not the same thing.

You make it sound like Matt is asleep at the switch eating bon bons. Why can't people be civil on the internet? Can you maybe come up with some verbiage that may be more appropriate rather than demand Matt keep making adjustments until you are satisfied?

You're right--I apologize for my tone in my previous response, but I stand by the underlying message. Let me try again.

Matt, I greatly appreciate all the work you and Jessamyn put into this site, and it's a great place on the internet. That said, if it is your decision to ban all hypothetical questions which do not seek to solve an actual problem--which has not always been the practice in the past--I will be disappointed, as I feel some of the questions motivated by idle curiosity in the past have generated some of the most interesting AskMe threads out there; I can look up some examples if you like. If it is still your decision to do so, I would respectfully recommend that you update the FAQ to reflect the new policy, as it will lead to fewer such questions being posted in the first place.

DevilsAdvocate, the guidelines are just a general set of guidelines and you're reading them like a lawyer would read a contract.

On the contrary. I believe "what would a cubic world be like" should be an acceptable question, and "what would it be like if Hitler had never been born" should not be an acceptable question. And I can't articulate the difference between the two. I could try to say that one can reasonably speculate about the former and provide informed, intelligent speculation, but the truth is a well-informed historian might be able to speculate reasonably about the latter question as well. So no, I'm not arguing for a purely black-or-white rule on what constitutes an acceptable hypothetical question and what is unacceptable. What I am arguing for is that if the guideline--not rule--is that hypothetical questions are generally unacceptable (with it being understood that on occasion a hypothetical motivated by idle curiosity would be allowed, because it's a guideline, not a rule), then the FAQ should give the impression that in general, hypothetical questions motivated by idle curiosity will be deleted. This is not what the FAQ currently indicates; it indicates that there is a subset of hypothetical questions--those that are answerable--which are, in general, allowed.

And my point about idle curiosity is that they make for lame questions.

Sometimes, they do. Sometimes they make for fascinating reading which allows me to learn more about how the world works because a good answer will explain the real-world principles which were applied to get the hypothetical answer.

No, but 100 people could come up with 1 hypothetical question each and post them all at once.

But that's not happening. It didn't happen even when answerable hypothetical questions were allowed. That's trying to solve a problem which doesn't exist.

On a more abstract level, what's with people simultaneously admitting that Matt made something extraordinary and not granting he and Jessamyn the benefit of the doubt when it comes to maintaining the site?

If Matt didn't want feedback on how we mere mortals thought the site should be run, MetaTalk wouldn't be here.

On preview: Jessamyn has come up with some "hypothetical science and math questions suck" language that will probably be added to the faq but it's splitting hairs at this point.

I'm sorry to see the decision, but at the same time I'm pleased to have that clarified in the FAQ.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 8:35 AM on January 10, 2007


The problem with that question was the phrasing.

"I want to make a conceptional art piece involving night lights. How many do I need to ensure a seizure-inducing flicker for the entire duration of opening night?"



Shit, I almost wrote "flickr". *tosses laptop out window, runs for the hills, skips, giggles inanely, picks daisies*
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:39 AM on January 10, 2007


But that's not happening. It didn't happen even when answerable hypothetical questions were allowed. That's trying to solve a problem which doesn't exist.

There's at least one a day now.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 8:40 AM on January 10, 2007


One a day among 40+ actual problem-solving questions a day. I still maintain that's not a level which negatively impacts AskMe's use for solving problems.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 8:43 AM on January 10, 2007


Imagine there is this infinitely long hallway, moving through space at the speed of light.

Every 10m there is a lovely grandfather clock. Prior to the cosmic journey, they were all set to chime their chimey chime at the same moment...
posted by Meatbomb at 8:44 AM on January 10, 2007


Yeah, the constant "why was my question deleted" noise has been a bit much of late, but Devil's Advocate is entirely right about the FAQ. It's not about "reading it like a lawyer". For goodness sake, a person doesn't need intro to contracts to understand "or", and it might make for a few less deletions if the written policy actually reflected what most know it here to be (since new members signing up to ask a question is not unheard of). Less work, less bitching -- a good thing, no?

I don't agree that hypotheticals make for better AskMe -- they can certainly be interesting, but practicalities of the site require a bit of wheat-from-chaff treatment. Have pity on the poor souls who see their practical, need-an-answer question scroll on by untouched.
posted by dreamsign at 8:46 AM on January 10, 2007


Sometimes they make for fascinating reading which allows me to learn more about how the world works because a good answer will explain the real-world principles which were applied to get the hypothetical answer.

Are you really implying that would have happened with this question?
posted by antifuse at 8:46 AM on January 10, 2007


DevilsAdvocate writes "when answerable hypothetical questions were allowed."

They're still allowed. You keep insisting that this deletion (or even, to be fair to you, some similar string of deletions) changes some rule in AskMe, while there is no rule and it has not changed.
posted by OmieWise at 8:46 AM on January 10, 2007


"I'm becoming dismayed with what appears to be the increasing deletion of hypothetical-but-answerable questions, motivated by curiosity, which according to my understanding are within AskMe guidelines and should be allowed to stand."

I'm not. I think it's a good thing, and especially better than harder posting limits.

More to the point, if I might dork out for a moment, something that can ruin any good RPG session is the inclusion of a rules lawyer who wants to argue every goddamned point. "No, orc social structure doesn't allow for smaller ones to be this deep in the tunnels. Don't you have the expansion pack that deals with this?" or "I'm sorry, my character is wearing splint mail and magic jhodpurs. I demand a saving throw for that Greek fire." All the while the GM and the rest of the players just want the story to move on, not to be totally concurrent with every stated paramater. "I just looked up the loot tables for that class of monster, and it very clearly states that there should be a higher caliber of unguents in the hoard." It's like, fuck you, man. You found what you found.

The second point is that I've long held that inconsistent enforcment is often the best way, assuming rational and roughly-benevolent enforcers, to manage a community as it scales upward. Community norms will emerge based on the risk perception of the community members, and by shifting the enforcment slightly, you can correct things much more easily with a smaller amount of effort. That means, honestly, that Matt should explain less, delete whining MeTa posts like this (or at least not comment), and let people figure it out on their own. Sure, the criticism exists that it's like playing a game of Mao, and that it can occassionally be frustrating, but it's an effective way of managing the behavio orf a very large group with a very small number of moderators.
posted by klangklangston at 8:46 AM on January 10, 2007 [2 favorites]


Isn't this the same argument as the thread from Monday?
posted by smackfu at 8:49 AM on January 10, 2007


I can only vaguely recall one time where a question was undeleted, I think. And yet people still bitch and moan about deletions. It should be pretty obvious that if the admins have already decided your question sucks it's not coming back. Deal with it.
posted by bob sarabia at 8:54 AM on January 10, 2007


"I want to make a conceptional art piece involving night lights."

Now there's something I would certainly like to see hashed out in the green.
posted by prostyle at 8:55 AM on January 10, 2007


One a day among 40+ actual problem-solving questions a day. I still maintain that's not a level which negatively impacts AskMe's use for solving problems.

They used to be once a month, which is why we left them around. If you've ever ventured onto yahoo answers, you'll see hundreds of them. I don't want that to happen here, so I'm deleting borderline stuff since social pressure is no longer keeping them off the site.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 8:56 AM on January 10, 2007


Are you really implying that would have happened with this question?

We'll never know now, will we? Seriously, though, I was speaking more of the general trend of deleting "idle curiosity" type questions than of this particular question.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:07 AM on January 10, 2007


ok, JohnnyRotten is unconscious at zero hit points. Devil's Advocate, can you bind wounds?

sure, you can tie him up, klangklangston. do you have rope?

...well, does your character sheet say "rope" on it?

well, then you can't.

I've seen you airy no-dice "storytelling groups" before. Ferget it. Consistency makes the story. That's why there's a DM. If you don't think so, then you clearly haven't experienced my Wandering Damage Table.
posted by dreamsign at 9:09 AM on January 10, 2007


Matt, I ran across this just 'cause I've got MeTa's RSS feed in my reader — listen, as it stands, I don't have an opinion on the whole "hypothetical math and science questions" part of the debate here, but the whole thing about "reading the FAQ like a contract" ...

Having a question deleted now means that the time between last question published and next opportunity to post a question is a month [Last Question (two weeks ago from present) → deleted question → Next Question (two weeks in future)].

Because of that, I think it's predictable that there's ben an increase in requests for clarification as to what is going to get a question deleted, and frustration when the guidelines are somewhat unclear on the subject.

Hopefully the language patch you state Jess is making will clear up any confusion, but at the same time, if a Mefite is saying that the language is unclear and asking that the FAQ be clarified, I don't think it's entirely fair to come back at him by telling him he's reading the FAQ like a lawyer. The stakes are slightly higher now, and, hell, since when is clarity a bad thing?
posted by WCityMike at 9:14 AM on January 10, 2007


dreamsign's a dork.
*casts Aspersion on dreamsign*
posted by Mister_A at 9:15 AM on January 10, 2007


Gah. ^ben^been
posted by WCityMike at 9:15 AM on January 10, 2007


I would never play a game with Matt as DM. He would stick you into the middle of the astral plane at the drop of a hat. Jessamyn would be a cool DM, though, no doubt about it. i bet she'd just send little kobolds and giant spiders at you till she knew you could handle something bigger.
posted by Meatbomb at 9:16 AM on January 10, 2007


Mathowie, there has recently been a chorus of praise from all over the place for AskMe.

You and Jessamyn seem to be taking this as a signal to rigorously prune it back and tighten things up all across the board.

It's certainly a novel response to success, but perhaps you'll begin a trend; I look forward to hearing that Nintendo is scaling back production of the Wii because "people like it too much and it was just getting too popular."
posted by jamjam at 9:16 AM on January 10, 2007 [2 favorites]


This question as actually spurred by a very bright nightlight in my hallway. So this has valid and pratical real life implications to me.

Heh.
posted by cortex at 9:16 AM on January 10, 2007


Since the stakes are slightly higher, I think the quality and general usefulness of questions will improve. This is a good thing. There are plenty of places on the internet where you can shoot the breeze about inconsequential matters. MetaTalk appears to be one of them.
posted by Roger Dodger at 9:18 AM on January 10, 2007


The second point is that I've long held that inconsistent enforcment is often the best way, assuming rational and roughly-benevolent enforcers, to manage a community as it scales upward. Community norms will emerge based on the risk perception of the community members, and by shifting the enforcment slightly, you can correct things much more easily with a smaller amount of effort.

I was originally going to say that, as a conscientious n00b, the vagueness of the guidelines here makes it really difficult to know how to be a Good MeFite sometimes. But klangklangston makes an excellent point, and now I realize that my occasional frustration Serves the Greater Good (tm).

Besides, I always liked Mao.
posted by somanyamys at 9:25 AM on January 10, 2007


You and Jessamyn seem to be taking this as a signal to rigorously prune it back and tighten things up all across the board.

jamjam seems to be ignoring the weekly posts on metatalk asking that we delete more stuff, moderate more, and do whatever we can to stem the tide of questions on Ask MeFi.

Naw, it wouldn't be that, "success is going to their fat heads" is a much better explanation. Thank you jamjam, for showing me the light. My inflated sense of self was blocking it (and tripping the nighttime light, which in turn turned it back off)
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:33 AM on January 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


You forgot the part about how you light cigars with hunnert dollar bills on account of all the success.
posted by Mister_A at 9:37 AM on January 10, 2007


"sure, you can tie him up, klangklangston. do you have rope?

...well, does your character sheet say "rope" on it?

well, then you can't."

What's JohnnyRotten wearing? A shirt? I rip the shirt into strips and bind him tightly, knowing that it will only be a temporary restraint.

(Or, if I was just going to leave him somewhere and didn't want to kill him or have to worry about watching my back, I'd probably just break his toes and fingers.)

But really, when the approximate damage from a fireball in a small space should be, say, 300d6+4 (numbers not actual), the guy who makes me roll that is the one who has a cow from space dropped on him.
posted by klangklangston at 9:38 AM on January 10, 2007


dreamsign's a dork.

Dude, I searched the web yesterday for a Treasure Type chart. Treasure Type. Your aspersion does nothing. My prismatic sphere has an extra layer, and it's ultra-indigo-dork.
posted by dreamsign at 9:39 AM on January 10, 2007


You miss the point, klang. It's fun to roll those dice. I mean, look how many 6's I rolled!
posted by dreamsign at 9:40 AM on January 10, 2007


I found your question interesting, JonnyRotten. The irony is that it would have stayed up had you called it an art project and asked, "What should I name it?" All the "What should I name my team/dog/restaurant/boyfriend/bike/kitten" threads seem to pass the AskMe test with flying colors, making the "open-ended" criterion appear arbitrary. And as for hypothetical, you can even ask, "What should I name my hypothetical children?" But don't give up, Jonny. There are lots of questions that will elicit practical information, and although the usual "precious snowflake" battalion will show up to shoot you down if you complain, you may take some comfort in the fact that it is possible to annoy an animal/person to death.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 9:46 AM on January 10, 2007


Man, I am so getting beat up at school tomorrow.

It's often fun to roll the dice. It's never fun to have to go through your codexes to prove that the racoon tail on the scabard doesn't lower your AC level. (And it's rarely fun to roll the dice when it's a minor or trivial storytelling moment, on the way to something fun that involves more dice rolling, and dice rolling for a purpose... But we've gotten rather far afield here, haven't we? Anyone wanna buy my TMNT sourcebooks? I don't use 'em anymore...)
posted by klangklangston at 9:46 AM on January 10, 2007


Cow from space? Pah. Try a sperm whale.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 9:47 AM on January 10, 2007


I get the rules lawyer reference, klang. That doesn't mean it fits here.

To take a completely different example, I took a bus, four times this month, called the "Free Shuttle Bus". Each trip cost 135 Taiwan dollars. Sure, they can call it whatever they want. Doesn't make it sensible, does lead to misunderstandings and probably more work and arguments for them in the long run.

But hey, your bus, do as you please.
posted by dreamsign at 9:54 AM on January 10, 2007


*casts Confusion, notices that nothing seems to have changed*
posted by Mister_A at 9:55 AM on January 10, 2007


The faq says don't ask about naming your whatever, but we should delete them more often. I hate those.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:58 AM on January 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


My inflated sense of self was blocking it (and tripping the nighttime light, which in turn turned it back off)

The problem, mathowie, is that your sense of self is not inflated enough, and as we all know, when our important parts are not inflated enough, it can lead to dissatisfaction on the part of those closest to us.
posted by jamjam at 10:01 AM on January 10, 2007


It's fun to roll those dice. I mean, look how many 6's I rolled!

Why not just play Yahtzee! then?

And what languagehat said.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:05 AM on January 10, 2007


"...social pressure is no longer keeping them off the site..."

We used to be able to bludgeon people with the img tag until they got the message.

:)
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:18 AM on January 10, 2007


unlimited, unrestricted question asking power might be better found at one of these sites.
posted by localhuman at 10:21 AM on January 10, 2007


I know "double posts" is an inexact term when dealing with Ask.Mefi - sometimes circumstances have changed or the context may be slightly different - but can we delete clear double posts such as how to weigh your own head?
posted by vacapinta at 10:28 AM on January 10, 2007


When they came for the img tag guys, I said nothing, for I am not an img tag guy.

When they came for the wacky treaty guy, I said nothing, for I am not a wacky treaty guy.

When they came for dirtynumbangelboy I said nothing, because he is annoying.

When they came for me everyone was busy fighting with dios and they didn't notice...
posted by Mister_A at 10:29 AM on January 10, 2007


Hey hey, my my -
AskMe questions can never die.
There’s more to the guidelines
Than it says in the FAQ.
Hey hey, please bring it back.

Out of the green and into the gray.
You pay five dollars, but they blow you away.
And once it's dark, it all fades to black.
When you’re out of the green and into the gray.

The question's gone but it's not forgotten.
This is the question of JonnyRotten:
Is it better to burn 4 bulbs, 'cause light never fades?
The question's gone but it's not forgotten.

Hey hey, my my -
AskMe questions can never die.
There’s more to the guidelines
Than it says in the FAQ.
Hey hey, please (don't) bring it back.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:36 AM on January 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


"The faq says don't ask about naming your whatever, but we should delete them more often. I hate those."

What would you call that type of question?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:38 AM on January 10, 2007


AskMe is only for rhetorical questions.
All those answers are starting to piss me off.
posted by dreamsign at 10:38 AM on January 10, 2007


MetaFilter: starting to piss me off.
posted by Duncan at 10:44 AM on January 10, 2007


So if I had posted my question, stating up front it was for a art installation, things would be totally kosher?

Noted. I'll start trying to lie more, and ask questions that I am seriously looking for more viewpoints and answers for less..
posted by JonnyRotten at 10:48 AM on January 10, 2007


Just a thought, what about having two classes of 'deletion'? A 'chatfilter' deletion reason that takes the question off of the main page but doesn't close it to comments, and a regular deletion. That way these questions have a forum but don't contribute to the 'massive flood of questions' effect.
posted by Skorgu at 10:50 AM on January 10, 2007


MetaTalk: your precious and unique snowflake complaints dealt with here!
posted by Lynsey at 10:52 AM on January 10, 2007


Or you could be all snotty and carry a chip on your shoulder. That usually works pretty well.
posted by bob sarabia at 10:52 AM on January 10, 2007


Dear AskMe: I'm writing a book about an art installation, and if I can't make my deadline, the kidnappers say they will declaw my cat's penis. What's this yellow fluid running down my leg? Of course, there's [moron side]...
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:52 AM on January 10, 2007


I'll start trying to lie more, and ask questions that I am seriously looking for more viewpoints and answers for less..

You should whine more too. Or maybe you should flame out, baby!

Go out in a blaze of glory, as Bon Jovi would say.
posted by Mister_A at 10:53 AM on January 10, 2007


Or you could try answering some questions, Mr. 1:3.69696969.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:54 AM on January 10, 2007


JonnyRotten: I'll start trying to lie more--

Don't be an asshat.
posted by russilwvong at 10:55 AM on January 10, 2007


Skorgu, see my comment from January 8. It was lost in the flood after Plutor's AskMe queue.
posted by Roger Dodger at 10:55 AM on January 10, 2007


Dear AskMe: I'm writing a book about an art installation, and if I can't make my deadline, the kidnappers say they will declaw my cat's penis.

Egads, if there's a claw in your cat's penis, have it removed!!
posted by dreamsign at 10:55 AM on January 10, 2007


Dear AskMe:

If I transmogrified into a bear, and Richard Dawkins experienced a metempsychotic experience the net result of which was that he became an obese caucasian monkey, which of us would be the better bike rider?
posted by Mister_A at 10:56 AM on January 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


dreamsign:
Male cats have two testicles [wow! Me too! -ed.], which in an uncastrated cat sit just below the anus. Males also have a barbed penis [kind of like a claw, no? -ed.], which will be painful for the female during mating.
I got this from the Purina site, which has all sorts of smut about pussies.
posted by Mister_A at 11:00 AM on January 10, 2007


The faq says don't ask about naming your whatever, but we should delete them more often. I hate those.

Hooray!

And I recommend all deletion reasons simply say "Name it Frank."
posted by languagehat at 11:04 AM on January 10, 2007 [2 favorites]


How about this question: If a MetaFilter user, whose principal contributions to the site are 31 AskMe questions plus comments related to those same questions, complains bitterly in MetaTalk that a poorly-framed hypothetical question was deleted, is that user properly deemed a douchebag?
posted by brain_drain at 11:07 AM on January 10, 2007


Dear AskMe: I am making an art exhibit that will feature a book that I am writing, in which a character builds a time machine and goes back in time and kills his own grandfather, then he kills Hitler and craps on his face, and then he shoots his own dog because he doesn't like vets. Oh, and I got arrested for possession of 2 kilos of coke. Should I get a lawyer?
posted by Rhomboid at 11:08 AM on January 10, 2007


Not having Male Answer Syndrome makes one a douchebag?
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 11:09 AM on January 10, 2007


"Not having Male Answer Syndrome makes one a douchebag?"

I think my penis can answer that one...
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:11 AM on January 10, 2007


Dear AskMe:

A friend of mine recently received certain injuries from the barbed penis of an uncircumcized male cat. Is emergency room treatment absolutely necessary? Would it be wrong to have the cat "altered" to avoid such injury in the future?

My friend thanks you in advance.
posted by dreamsign at 11:18 AM on January 10, 2007


IRFH: That thing had better be circumcised, otherwise anything that comes out of it will fall on deaf ears.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:18 AM on January 10, 2007


Awesome. I fully apperciate your appriasal of me brain_drain.
I guess if it makes you feel better fire away.

Yeah.. I asked 31(32 actually minus this deleted one) questions since I have joined. I'm pretty sure the sites called Ask.metafilter. I allways try to answer them myself first, and I comment when people ask me for further elaboration.

I usually read ask. in a RSS feed, reading the questions that look interesting to me, and allways checking the questions that I think I may have something fucking intelligent to contribute. Most times someone has allready answered a question by the time I get there.. I don't get to read it at work, and I'm at work or with my kids pretty much all the time. Shit once I answered a question a good 2 weeks after it was posted. I don't know if the user ever got the answer, but at least I tried to contribute.

So.. I guess if I'm a douchebag because I don't constantly check for questions that I can answer, and just answer when I can.. than so be.. I'll die a happy douchebag.
posted by JonnyRotten at 11:21 AM on January 10, 2007


"IRFH: That thing had better be circumcised, otherwise anything that comes out of it will fall on deaf ears."

*tries to think of barbed, cutting remark, fails, thinks "Piss on it," moves on*
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:21 AM on January 10, 2007


One time my cousin Walter got this cat stuck up his ass. True story.

The cat did not have a barbed penis though.
posted by JonnyRotten at 11:23 AM on January 10, 2007


I hate to say it, but my most recent AskMe was really prompted by curiosity and the thought that it would be interesting/entertaining to some -- not because I had a desperate problem worrying about my buttered broccoli.
posted by Robert Angelo at 11:23 AM on January 10, 2007


I thought it was just dragons that had barbed penises... you know, so when they violate you it's just that much more painful.
posted by Rhomboid at 11:31 AM on January 10, 2007


I'm sure you're the only one, Robert Angelo.
posted by dreamsign at 11:31 AM on January 10, 2007


erm. I don't read much Anne McCaffrey, but WHAT?
posted by dreamsign at 11:32 AM on January 10, 2007


Mathowie, there has recently been a chorus of praise from all over the place for AskMe.

You and Jessamyn seem to be taking this as a signal to rigorously prune it back and tighten things up all across the board.


No no, you have it the wrong way round - there has recently been a chorus of praise from all over the place for AskMe because mathowie and jessamyn do such "rigorous pruning and tightening".
posted by EndsOfInvention at 11:33 AM on January 10, 2007


I am happy Matt hates the naming question, because I do too. "What should I name my bowling team?" is not even an interesting thing to talk about.
posted by smackfu at 11:38 AM on January 10, 2007


""What should I name my bowling team?" is not even an interesting thing to talk about."

Roll your own answer.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:39 AM on January 10, 2007


Wow, ths sucks. My boyfriend actually signed up for mefi last night motivated to post links demonstrating exhibits you can go see to explore this question. He had some login trouble and is now "over it."

I'm not! Check this out, Johnny: linka 1, linka 2.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:45 AM on January 10, 2007


He dropped $5 but is now "over it"?
posted by cortex at 11:48 AM on January 10, 2007


Neat. Hypothetical my butt. See? Pretty lights!
posted by yeti at 11:52 AM on January 10, 2007


More like Ambrosia Rockefeller, amirite?
posted by Mister_A at 12:02 PM on January 10, 2007


Know what, let's assume for a moment, just for the sake of argument, that it was not hypothetical.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 12:04 PM on January 10, 2007


Ambrosia Voyeur you answered my question. I wish I could mark you as best answer, but it seems my Hypothetical open ended unanswerable question is closed to new comments.

Thank you very much!
posted by JonnyRotten at 12:12 PM on January 10, 2007


You should name your bowling team Easy Marks. Because it's the best bowling team name ever.
posted by Roger Dodger at 12:13 PM on January 10, 2007


I'll start trying to lie more, and ask questions that I am seriously looking for more viewpoints and answers for less.

No, the community relies on you being honest, not on some rule that can peer into the hidden recesses of your mind. I hate when people make these arguments. The utility of the site relies partially on your own self-responsibility (although if it was powered by dissembling and whining you'd be a great boon).
posted by Falconetti at 12:28 PM on January 10, 2007


WiiBowl

"Wiibowl and wobble but we don't fall down."
posted by yeti at 12:34 PM on January 10, 2007


Wow, ths sucks. My boyfriend actually signed up for mefi last night motivated to post links demonstrating exhibits you can go see to explore this question. He had some login trouble and is now "over it."

Fully explored, that question Jonny posed leads down some deep and fascinating paths. I'm writing up a Processing program right now just to play around with some of the behavior.
posted by vacapinta at 12:54 PM on January 10, 2007


It is fascinating. In fact the universe, Earth, the ecosystem--everything down to the horned owls feeding off the quail and mice in my yard are an example of balanced feedback systems like this. MeFi, Ask, and MeTa are, also. You need only to program the elimination and creation of new night lights when they don't obey your arbitrary rules. I'd like more questions like this, and an automatic NO for those "Is it safe to eat that moldy aspic in my fridge?" questions.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 1:18 PM on January 10, 2007


On second thought, YES might put an end to them quicker.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 1:26 PM on January 10, 2007


But what about that two-day old pizza question? That provided some pretty great answers.
posted by yeti at 1:27 PM on January 10, 2007


w-gp has proved that the blink tag is crucial. The img, not so much.
posted by Cranberry at 1:29 PM on January 10, 2007


And I recommend all deletion reasons simply say "Name it Frank." ~ languagehat

For the Name My Whatever questions that have a feminine slant, I recommend "Name it Frances."
posted by amyms at 1:36 PM on January 10, 2007


"Mathowie, there has recently been a chorus of praise from all over the place for AskMe.

You and Jessamyn seem to be taking this as a signal to rigorously prune it back and tighten things up all across the board.


Translated as..........

"Mathowie, there has recently been a chorus of praise from all over the place for AskMe.

Clearly you're doing something wrong. My way is better.

posted by Devidicus at 1:54 PM on January 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


"The faq says don't ask about naming your whatever, but we should delete them more often. I hate those."

What would you call that type of question?


I call it the NMC, or "Name My Cat" question. And I'd love to never see another.
posted by frykitty at 3:30 PM on January 10, 2007


cortex: seriously! rrrr... he'll be back! they always come back!
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 3:32 PM on January 10, 2007


JohnnyRotten: Hurray! I admit, the question made a lot more sense to me, as someone who's seen just such an exhibit. If you vist San Francisco, you simply must include the Exploratorium. Much more than a "children's museum." A great place for curious or hypothetical minds!
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 3:35 PM on January 10, 2007


mathowie, I think you should add a category "Why was my AskMe deleted?" for MeTa. And auto-ban anyone who uses it.
posted by mzurer at 3:52 PM on January 10, 2007


AskMe rocks because it is the way it is and because Jessamyn and Matt moderate it the way they do. If any of these things were to change AskMe wouldn't be the way it is and it wouldn't rock.

So your question got deleted. And AskMe still rocks because of the hard work of Jess and Matt. Big deal. Try again in two weeks.

Case fucking closed.
posted by Effigy2000 at 7:43 PM on January 10, 2007


I think it's a bit shitty that the question got deleted, but in fairness, the answers you got for it were probably the best you are going to get.

Summary: it depends on the exact threholds and inherent variability involved. Possibility of it being chaotic depending on those thresholds. Sounds like a fun thing to turn into a cellular automata to work out which way it will go.
posted by Jimbob at 7:57 PM on January 10, 2007


can we please have another metafilter subsite? it should be called complainaboutyouraskmedeletionhere.metafilter.com.

and it should automatically redirect you to a page saying "ask it better in two weeks" after you've posted your complaint.
posted by shmegegge at 8:49 PM on January 10, 2007


I hafta say, I was just about to jump (metaphorically) onto my keyboard and start standing up for Matt and Jess (although they're both quite capable of doing so themselves), when I came across Ambrosia Voyeur's beautiful bombshell comment. Still think Jess and Matt cop too much shit around here, but it was a cool way for JonnyRotten to get his answer.
Also, I hope your boyfriend keeps his login and sticks around to play for a while!
posted by dubious at 12:24 AM on January 11, 2007


OK, so... the lights would flicker then. Or... what?
posted by The Deej at 4:43 PM on January 11, 2007


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