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How to wonder if someone is dead
November 18, 2001 9:47 AM   Subscribe

The "is palegirl dead?" thread was probably not a good idea. I think of rebekah as a friend, though we have only exchanged a few emails over the years here, and I was alarmed (and still am, a little). I imagine other people were worried too. How to handle threads like these?
posted by rodii to Etiquette/Policy at 9:47 AM (47 comments total)

Note that I'm not saying "What should bingo have done instead of posting?" He/she has admitted it was a mistake, and there are good suggestions in the thread itself. I'm saying "How should this community handle threads like this?" Delete them? Let them be?

An example of how not to handle it, by the way. What if one of us really was depressed or suicidal and got this kind of response? Someone needs a (virtual) ass-kickin', in my opinion.
posted by rodii at 9:52 AM on November 18, 2001


jesus christ. Thanks joe clark, you insensitive arse.

I deleted it. (I emailed rebekah earlier but nothing yet)
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:04 AM on November 18, 2001


Apologies for egregious remarks past and present aside: There are limits.What Rodii said.
posted by y2karl at 10:05 AM on November 18, 2001


...and now it's gone, leaving y'all wondering what I'm on about. It's just as well.
posted by rodii at 10:05 AM on November 18, 2001


The community doesn't have the power to delete anything. Matt will do what he wants to do with his site.

Nobody needs an ass kicking. Some people have others that aren't interested in them. There's no need to walk on eggshells.
posted by websavvy at 10:06 AM on November 18, 2001


i saw the thread last night, and i felt really bad. i hoped it wasn't what the poster suggested, but it still left me feeling disturbed going to bed. i realize that some people feel it's very important to get the news out, and all, and i'm certain that the intentions were well-meant, but... are metafilter posts at all a good place to post out of concern for someone?
posted by moz at 11:41 AM on November 18, 2001


Again, I admit it was not an appropriate post. I guess I thought it was relevant because a) she's a relatively well-known online personality, b) she's a frequent MeFi contributor, and c) i thought the post would lead into a broader discussion about what to do in this type of situation. A few years ago, a friend of mine died suddenly and mysteriously just after I saw her, and I guess I have issues that led me to over-react in this case. Not an excuse, just an explanation. Sorry.
posted by bingo at 11:59 AM on November 18, 2001


No big deal, bingo. I just wanted to get this "on record" in MeTa. I think your question about "what to do in this situation" is a good one, especially on the post-Kaycee web.

websavvy, thanks for the technical lecture. Good to hear about this "Matt" person. Nevertheless, we as a community, which includes Matt, have a number of options including (Matt) deleting the thread, as he did, flaming, ignoring, freaking out, attempting to intervene, simply being supportive, being insensitive, etc. etc. I think it's reasonable to think about it.

Respectfully differ about the asskicking--though I must clarify that I'm not talking about physical violence, just an extreme expression of contempt for Joe's continued pattern of disrespect and flame-baiting. Saying "doesn't mean shite" in the face of suggestions that someone might be seriously troubled is far, far to the other extreme from "walking on eggshells."
posted by rodii at 12:50 PM on November 18, 2001


Email is probably your friend here, bingo.
posted by holgate at 1:13 PM on November 18, 2001


I'm quite certain that this drama will play out and all those involved will survive and go on and live productive lives.

Given that, Palegirl's post will live on as a melodramatic moment preserved on her web page.

It is my experience that, generally, things work out alright. "Terror" seems to be a valuable commodity these days. The TV news and the newspapers seem to love to foster the idea that we ought to be terrified.

I'm not terrified about anything that Palegirl is going to do. That's because she's probably just pulling back and re-evaluating. She might get drunk, she might colour her hair, she might break up with her partner, or many other things. She might be depressed, like many others who post here. But I'm positive she's gonna be alright. And that many of us are overreacting.
posted by websavvy at 1:19 PM on November 18, 2001


For those of us who didn't see the original thread, could someone explain what exactly happened so that it won't happen again?
posted by geoff. at 5:44 PM on November 18, 2001


geoff: I only read till about comment 10 or 11, but bingo posted saying he'd just read palegirl's latest entry in her blog and was worried she'd killed herself. Other people offered their own interpretations, along the lines of what sort of private or public statements could or couldn't be deemed suicidal. Mathowie helpfully remarked Rebekka was on MetaFilter Saturday. It must have degenerated after I switched off. I remember almost all comments being affectionate and, well, worried. That's all I know. I hope Rebekka is O.K. She's a quirky, unpredictable and insightful poster and always on the side of light, love and fun.
But, as I myself have been the target and initiator of "where is he?" posts and been duly and justly punished for such silliness, I guess it was deleted for being inappropriate. If every depressive comment in a blog or temporary disappearence from MetaFilter were cause for alarm...well, hello MetaMissing Persons Bureau, right?
And that's all I know. Hope it helps.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 6:15 PM on November 18, 2001


It was a borderline post. I was up at 4am, just back from watching meteors, and I *almost* deleted it this morning. I let it go, figuring that perhaps someone could shed light on something, but after seeing the turn it took I realized I should have gone with my first instincts and trashed it when I first saw it.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 6:17 PM on November 18, 2001


whoa whoa whoa!

hi. yo. i dropped out of college.

i haven't been able get my rebekah.org mail since i left school (can't telnet in for some reason).

if there's some controversy about me, i know nothing about it! i can kind of tell from this thread what conclusions may have been jumped to... fyi i'm at home in larchmont. because i dropped out of school. not sure how much detail to go into here. i left school a couple of weeks ago and when i went back to make it official and sign the papers i posted a note on the blorg before i unhooked my computer.

...which i guess caused some confusion? oh man, i'm so sorry!

there's some drama going on because all of my friends at school are mad at me, which is why i posted that note -- i saw in my site stats that a lot of my friends who aren't talking to me were still hitting my site, so it was my way of saying goodbye to them.

yikes!

what a situation, i bet i'll have some mail in my inbox...

again, i'm really sorry!
posted by palegirl at 6:25 PM on November 18, 2001


s'okay, a lot of us were just pretty worried. i'm sure we're all glad to see that you're actually doing well (and are alive.)
posted by lotsofno at 6:28 PM on November 18, 2001


Mercy, mercy, mercy, palegirl! I now can tell you why I was worried: you made a comment on a recent thread about that guy who killed himself with carbon dioxide and you actually linked to his explain-it-all website.
It wasn't your fault - kudos to websavvy for really inderstanding women!
posted by MiguelCardoso at 6:34 PM on November 18, 2001


Glad to hear you're not dead. Bizarre stuff.
posted by timothompson at 6:38 PM on November 18, 2001


What the original post was.
posted by perplexed at 6:45 PM on November 18, 2001


i'm really sorry to hear that you dropped out of school, rebekah.
posted by moz at 7:06 PM on November 18, 2001


do not let it eat you up palegirl. dont let anyone tell you you let them done.
posted by clavdivs at 7:11 PM on November 18, 2001


Personal blogging tools should include a mandatory real-time EEG readout.
posted by Opus Dark at 7:46 PM on November 18, 2001


kudos to websavvy for really inderstanding women!

not to rag on miguel, but i thought that was just a hilarious word.. i wasn't sure if it was one those "better misspellings/happy mistakes" so i googled it.. it's funny to see how many people misspell understanding.
posted by lotsofno at 8:09 PM on November 18, 2001


Let this be a lesson to young people across the country. Never, ever enroll at Vassar.
posted by raaka at 8:15 PM on November 18, 2001


Like the way that one worked out.

Palegirl should probably

get drunk,
colour her hair,
and/or
break up with (or find a new) partner, to celebrate her newfound freedom.

A toast to my big brother Palegirl. The richest man in town.



posted by websavvy at 8:24 PM on November 18, 2001


palegirl - My advice would be to use those student loans to travel the world and drink oceanic quantities of booze...it worked for....uhhh...this guy I know.

Seriously, I'm glad you're OK. Another MeFi happy ending.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:07 PM on November 18, 2001


hee hee. metafilter's cool. :)
posted by Marquis at 10:13 PM on November 18, 2001


I wonder why palegirl apologizes to all those who invaded her life?
posted by Carol Anne at 5:51 AM on November 19, 2001


Who invaded her life?
posted by rodii at 6:24 AM on November 19, 2001


I have to say, this is just great: come for the nipple, stay for the content. A+, truly.
posted by gleemax at 6:48 AM on November 19, 2001


I've had about enough of your Vassar bashing, raaka.
posted by jennyb at 7:23 AM on November 19, 2001


Who invaded her life?

I also would feel pretty weird to discover that as many as 12,000 people -- wait, I mean, however many thousand read the site, but aren't necessarily registered -- had been pondering someone's conjecture that I might have bumped myself off, kicked myself in the bucket, made myself an offer I couldn't refuse, etc.

That is, I don't think any one of us invaded her life, but I can see why it would be really uncomfortable. I wouldn't be able to help but wonder if that thread may have changed what some people here think of me -- and not because of something I actually did, but because of unfounded (albeit well-meaning) speculation about me. That is a pretty radical intrusion, in some ways; I know I want my own words to speak for me here, and little else.

I also think not knowing what was actually said in that thread would be a bit weird. (Maybe mathowie can let her read it, if she wants?)

Anyway, I think Carol Anne's main point is that if anyone owes anyone an apology, it's those of us who talked behind someone's back and in front of other people, and not the person who was talked about. The intentions in that thread, when I saw it, were all good -- people were thoughtful and concerned for a friend (even if they didn't know her too well) -- but there's no way for Rebekah to know what was said, or who read it; and I can see how that might get me a little spooked.
posted by mattpfeff at 7:57 AM on November 19, 2001


Agreed.
posted by rodii at 8:19 AM on November 19, 2001


Oops, I didn't mean to post that yet.

Agreed. It would be disconcerting, though it seems that having a weblog already leads to a sense of a "life-lived in public" and perhaps less of a need for privacy. However, that's for palegirl to decide, not us.

My intention in this thread (the MeTa thread) was to try to discuss the general problem of threads like the MeFi thread, some issues regarding which mattpfeff has just touched on (God, my syntax is convoluted, sorry), not to focus on palegirl's case in particular. (Glad you're OK though, girl, though I wasn't that worried once I got over the initial shock of the MeFi thread's wording.)
posted by rodii at 8:27 AM on November 19, 2001


Agreed. :)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 8:35 AM on November 19, 2001


Anyway, I think Carol Anne's main point...

I don't know how you can find any "main point" in what Carol Anne said. I really wish people wouldn't make the kind of cheap quips that CA made, without backing them up.

I stayed out of the MeFi thread because I felt uncomfortable talking about another member (presumably) without her present. But I don't feel anyone was "invading her life." This was palegirl's public blog, after all.
posted by jpoulos at 9:48 AM on November 19, 2001


palegirl: first of all, glad to hear this was all just a big misunderstanding and you're okay. second, Larchmont, eh? That's my hometown as well (MHS '90), but now I live 3,000 miles away. I'll be home for Christmas, and I'm looking forward to it. Say hi to Sal's, Walter's, the LT, Baja Grill and the Cellar Bar for me.
posted by msacheson at 10:22 AM on November 19, 2001


Carol Anne: I wonder why palegirl apologizes to all those who invaded her life?

jpoulos: I don't know how you can find any "main point" in what Carol Anne said. I really wish people wouldn't make the kind of cheap quips that CA made, without backing them up.

Ouch! I had no intention of making a "cheap" quip about palegirl or her weblog. I, too, was uncomfortable with the public speculation that she'd committed suicide and felt it was invasive. I apologize to anyone I offended.
posted by Carol Anne at 10:58 AM on November 19, 2001


And I'm sorry to have snipped, carol anne. I'm as guilty as the next of making statements like yours. Someone must have peed in my coffee this morning. (eewwww!)
posted by jpoulos at 11:47 AM on November 19, 2001


It was me.
Forgive me.
It was so tempting and round.
posted by rodii at 11:58 AM on November 19, 2001


Is that a little William Carlos Williams there rodii?
posted by Kafkaesque at 12:20 PM on November 19, 2001


"This Is Just to Say"

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
saving
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

--William Carlos Williams

Ladies and Gentlemen: The only poem I know by heart. Thank you.

posted by jpoulos at 5:04 PM on November 19, 2001


OK. What are the odds that rodii would make a WCW-esque remark in response to a jpoulos comment only to have Kafkaesque point it out and furthmore it be the case that the poem in question is the only poem jpoulos knows by heart? Whoa.

so much depends
upon

a really weird
coincidence

and an observant
Kafkaesque

beside the white
chickens.
posted by mattpfeff at 6:49 PM on November 19, 2001


I loved his work with The Plasmatics
posted by websavvy at 7:02 PM on November 19, 2001


Ha! That's one of the only poems I know by heart too, jp (that doesn't start out in Nantucket, anyway). Sadly WCW never added the last part:

I take it back
I'm not sorry
You have no plums!

No plums for you!
I AM KING OF THE PLUMS!
Suck it, plumless fool!



actually, maybe it's best he left that bit off.
posted by Kafkaesque at 7:08 PM on November 19, 2001


It must be a conspiracy.
posted by rodii at 8:26 PM on November 19, 2001


What's all this about white chickens?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:03 PM on November 19, 2001


Don't worry stav.

WCW was just saying how dependable you are.

*stands and applauds increase in poultry-related material in the last couple of days*
posted by Kafkaesque at 8:30 AM on November 20, 2001


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