Join 3,425 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)

Is this really necessary?
June 6, 2007 1:20 AM   Subscribe

I'm confused on the etiquette rules regarding when it's okay to push a thread off into lunacy. I was hoping that the pirates thread could be interesting (although the OP was a bit lacking), but it instantly turned into a useless flamefest. Is it too late to delete all the pirate songs and idiocy? Can we maybe agree on a brief moratorium to let threads develop before we turn them into Thomas Pynchon novels?
posted by spiderwire to Etiquette/Policy at 1:20 AM (51 comments total)

Just as examples of some of the derail comments:
[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9]
And that's not counting the borderline ones or the grossly misinformed flamebait -- that's the stuff that's just noise, and it's fully a quarter of the thread.

It strikes me as kind of disrespectful given that the thread hasn't been up for long and actually does have the potential for some interesting discussion.
posted by spiderwire at 1:27 AM on June 6, 2007


The only hard and fast guideline I've run into is that you aren't encouraged to do large decontextualized text dumps, especially with cut / pasted text.

Aside from that, I don't know there is much you can do about other people inputing text you don't like, spiderwire.
posted by Meatbomb at 1:30 AM on June 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


Your request has been noted. {Beep!} Yaaaaaar!
posted by dreadpiraterobots at 1:30 AM on June 6, 2007 [4 favorites]


I apologize for derail #2. Though I've never known silliness to actually disrupt good threadtalk. It just permeates the intellectual humus, so to speak.

I'm completely fine with my comment being deleted though I wouldn't mind replacing it with a link to the lyrics for those who would enjoy it.
posted by dreamsign at 1:30 AM on June 6, 2007


I have no problems with the songs themselves, I just see them as the sort of thing that y2karl likes to come in and do once the thread has pretty much run its natural course. The big chunks of text really do break up the conversation and indicate, "OK, we're fucking around now!" --At least that's my reaction when I see it.

If the thread is going to devolve into chaos, so be it -- I'm just suggesting that, late at night especially, people seem to me a bit too quick to toss in a lot of nonsense that prevents the thread from developing into something potentially interesting. It's understandable -- it's late and we're all a bit loopy. But it would be nice to come back to the thread in the morning and have a good conversation still going.

If this thread had been posted at noon, it would have had a fighting chance. Late at night, it's just going to be bombarded with "yo ho hos" until morning, and then what would have been an interesting discussion won't happen.

Just pleading that people be a little more conscious of the signal-to-noise ratio in late-night threads, and in other appropriate situations.
posted by spiderwire at 1:45 AM on June 6, 2007


Anyway, I'm going to bed -- having just finished the book I mentioned, I'd really love to have the chance to talk about this stuff in the morning, so I hope the thread survives the night. :) Cheers.
posted by spiderwire at 1:46 AM on June 6, 2007


Ah, it's almost dinnertime here, but on two hours' sleep, I am also loopy. Anyway, if the consensus is to avoid such things, I will duly do so. Have a good night.
posted by dreamsign at 1:50 AM on June 6, 2007


I'm confused on the etiquette rules

I think the common practice is that, once you have given birth to the post, the ebb and flow is largely out of your hands other than by making a MeTa callout which you've done and by using the flags which I assume you have done. But as immature as you may think it is, it's probably inevitable that a mention of pirates is going to attract some errant nonsense. It is the way of the world. I think most of us have at one time or another had the same feeling after making a post: "I was hoping the thread would head in this direction".

The other side of the coin is that this place is maybe not meant to be a bit lighthearted, but certainly heads off in that direction on the slightest whim, which is often a good thing. So yeah, I empathize, but I also think you have to just sit back a bit and let it go.
posted by peacay at 2:15 AM on June 6, 2007


-sit back a bit and let it go-
--I'm going to bed--


Oh. I see you have that part covered already.
posted by peacay at 2:20 AM on June 6, 2007


The only hard and fast guideline I've run into is that you aren't encouraged to do large decontextualized text dumps, especially with cut / pasted text...
posted by Meatbomb at 1:30 AM on June 6 [1 favorite -] Favorite added! [!]


I love you Meatbomb, o' ruler of Westphalia!
posted by blasdelf at 3:28 AM on June 6, 2007


Your Majesty,

Would you please tell those scurvy sea dogs to lay off in the middle of my Atlantic runs? In my numerous attempts to legitimately move slaves and tea to the New World these deckboyfucking, murdering, marauding assholes have repeatedly hijacked, sunk, and, well, pirated at least half of my fleet.

I look to you to do something to prevent this in future. TIA, Your Grace.

In Commerce I Trust,
Nancy

PS - If any of you scallywags are reading this, c'mon! Lay off!
posted by carsonb at 3:41 AM on June 6, 2007


You must be a lot of fun at parties.

While I also find the robot/ninja/monkey/pirate thing played out, that thread is hardly a flamefest. In fact, there's some interesting, fun, and "productive" comments in there, not counting those lazy wikipedia links.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 4:25 AM on June 6, 2007


It's not their fault. They just can't help themselves.
posted by smackfu at 4:50 AM on June 6, 2007


We be mistakin the Anthropologist on Starboard for a sea monster again.
posted by sgt.serenity at 5:16 AM on June 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


You must be a lot of fun at parties.

Eh, you'd defend one of your hobbies if someone dissed it at a party, too. spiderwire, you did great in that thread - answered kneejerk emotional nonsense with lots of facts that showed how little the kneejerker knew about the subject. Thanks. But yeah, there's not a helluva lot you can do to control semen jokes in a pirate thread, and that thread wasn't bad at all, really.
posted by mediareport at 5:52 AM on June 6, 2007


Some threads will enjoy a happier, more dignified life than others. Just like babies.
posted by hermitosis at 6:04 AM on June 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


I think that's a great thread. Sure there is some silliness going on there, but it is interspersed among some pretty thoughtful and interesting stuff. Also, I suspect the title of the thread ("Pirate myths... they're driving me nuts") may encourage some of the jokery among RSS readers. It's not like it's an AskMe thread where it is important to stay on message -- some of my favorite threads have been derails.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:17 AM on June 6, 2007


Some threads will enjoy a happier, more dignified life than others. Just like babies.

And some will die crying at the end of a cutlass.

Arrr.
posted by felix betachat at 6:37 AM on June 6, 2007


You can't possibly be surprised that a thread about pirates has devolved into silliness. I mean, come on.
posted by spicynuts at 6:43 AM on June 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Late night trends silly. Pirate discussions trend silly. There's not really much to be done about, I don't reckon, but soldier forth on the signal side of the discussion, as you have done. Threads become a crapshoot pretty much as soon as you hit post.

In this case we ended up with a mix of silliness and piratical insight, which actually sounds like a pretty good thread to me, as vexing as the nonsense may be to someone wanting unadulterated discussion on the topic. On the up side, many threads that start off silly/derail-y have gotten their balance back after 12 or 24 hours, turning later to just the sort of content-rich discussion you were hoping for. Cross yer fingers, arr.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:54 AM on June 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Is 'flamefest' being used correctly above? Also, numbers #7 and #8 are essentially the same comment. /oneeyedpedantry
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 6:54 AM on June 6, 2007


we turn them into Thomas Pynchon novels

I'm not seeing the problem with the occasional bizarre-pirate-sex filled (ie: Pynchonesque) thread.

Also, YARR. If only I wasn't at work and could play some Puzzle Pirates now!
posted by sparkletone at 7:22 AM on June 6, 2007


I'm not seeing the problem with the occasional bizarre-pirate-sex filled (ie: Pynchonesque) thread.

I meant the spontaneous bursting into song. Much as I love Pynchon novels, I hate those parts. But, in retrospect, it is a thread on pirates...


I should clarify that I wasn't complaining about that thread in particular, though it is a topic near and dear to my heart.

What I mean is that it's been my experience that threads posted late at night can often get derailed further and further overnight, and I think that's unfortunate. I would just hope that people think a little before pulling the random-derail trigger at 4 AM.

I'm guilty of doing this as well, of course. It was just a general-policy thought. ::shrug::
posted by spiderwire at 7:30 AM on June 6, 2007


That thread is an anarchist utopia and if you can't hang then take the kings shilling and go off the account.
posted by Divine_Wino at 8:10 AM on June 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


I've got a lovely bunch of coconuts?
posted by blue_beetle at 8:24 AM on June 6, 2007


dreadpiraterobots? Mhahaha...

And yes, it's frustrating when the thread becomes less about thoughtful discussion and more about sticking a fork in an overdone meme - I blame the influence of slashdot myself. These things really are crapshoots, though - for every giggling snarky comment there are a bunch of insightful ones, so it does balance out.

Online discussions are one of the few instances where something like Word's track changes feature (bubbles appearing in front of words) would be neat, or a version of what the Institute for the Future of the Book would do - a new way of browsing information might help cut down the snark. Maybe if you had icons identifying snarks (a pirate icon?) versus useful commentary (a book icon?) it could help...? Not that snarks aren't useful...

*overthinks plate of beans, puts plate down*
posted by rmm at 8:45 AM on June 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


So you're saying the thread got shanghaied?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:58 AM on June 6, 2007


This complaint doesn't have a wooden leg to stand on.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:12 AM on June 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


This thread has a... a parrot on its shoulder and it... it goes "arrrrr." yeah.
posted by shmegegge at 9:46 AM on June 6, 2007


Eh, you'd defend one of your hobbies if someone dissed it at a party, too.

Sorry Mr. Glasshouse, but it wouldn't bother me a whit (Assuming that there are parties where people diss napping and reading), since I would probably be at home, napping and reading.

I can appreciate spiderwire's frustration, but this MeTa seems very gratuitous and pointless to me, especially when compared to his swell comment in the thread. IMO, that is the perfect way to steer an FPP back onto the tracks, and is infinitely more effective than posting to the Grey.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:48 AM on June 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Egalitarian Utopias are messy things. People kind of just do whatever they feel, like sing songs and stuff in the middle of serious discussion. There ought to be a rule against such things.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:06 AM on June 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Ninjas kick so much pirate ass.
posted by allkindsoftime at 10:10 AM on June 6, 2007


again, i want to emphasize that i didn't intend to complain about that thread or topic in particular -- it just spurred me to consider the more general problem of late-night threads getting derailed. i'm definitely pleased with how the thread itself turned out (and i agree on the general strategy for defusing such threads), and figured it couldn't hurt to mention it as long as it was on my mind.

and thank you for the compliment, alvy.
posted by spiderwire at 10:11 AM on June 6, 2007


REMAIN ON THE RAILS!
posted by washburn at 11:05 AM on June 6, 2007


And that's not counting the borderline ones or the grossly misinformed flamebait

One man's grossly misinformed flamebait is another man's "are-you-fucking-kidding-me-spew-mountain-dew-on-the keyboard" reaction to seeing outright nuttiness passed off as "best of the web" information.
posted by frogan at 2:08 PM on June 6, 2007


Arrr you kidding me? I thought the songs and the jokes were the best part of that "let me school you about real pirates, son" apologia.
posted by damn dirty ape at 2:34 PM on June 6, 2007


I think that's a great thread. Sure there is some silliness going on there, but it is interspersed among some pretty thoughtful and interesting stuff. Also, I suspect the title of the thread ("Pirate myths... they're driving me nuts") may encourage some of the jokery among RSS readers. It's not like it's an AskMe thread where it is important to stay on message -- some of my favorite threads have been derails.

What he said. I've been depressed occasionally by going into threads that looked like they might be interesting and seeing nothing but silliness (this is a recent example), but this isn't one of them. It's fun and educational too!
posted by languagehat at 3:01 PM on June 6, 2007


Just a thought: I think a lot of the silliness is due to the favorites system. That's why many threads are rampant with (attempts at) witty one-liners and their ilk.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 3:55 PM on June 6, 2007


I dunno. I think there's a lot of silliness mostly because people enjoy the silliness around here, and provide the feedback loop of reacting in kind. The favorites my offer some mild encouragement, but I don't think that's the root cause by a long shot.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:57 PM on June 6, 2007


If it wasnt for silliness no one would even be interested in pirates. So lets not pretend that its this dry deep academic subject that appeals to mefites like climate change or plate tectonics. Its a joke in itself. If anything that thread turned out very well considering the subject and the audience.

Its like when people post about quatum physics, don't be surprised when the thread is full of references to mysticism and what the bleep do we know.

Know your audience, arr!
posted by damn dirty ape at 4:05 PM on June 6, 2007


Oh of course, cortex, I agree. I was referring mostly to the example language linked to.

Also, arr!
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 4:32 PM on June 6, 2007


I could be a pirate; I have a parrot, a cutlass, a black-powder single shot pistol, a leather hat, tall leather boots, and a great love for boats.

I could be a pirate. And yet, I'm much more like a robot-cowboy.

seriously, I have all those things. I RULE at pirate parties.
posted by quin at 5:04 PM on June 6, 2007


You call that a thread derailed by joiking? That's not a thread derailed by joking. This is a thread derailed by joking.
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:29 PM on June 6, 2007


Joiking, of course, being pronounced by Curly of the Three Stooges.
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:30 PM on June 6, 2007


A grape was made to grow on a vine,
An apple was made to grow on a tree.
As sure as there are stars above, I know,
I will sail the sea.
Whoah-oh-ooh-oh-o-ee-a-oh!
posted by breezeway at 7:07 PM on June 6, 2007


This is kind of business as usual on MetaFilter. Welcome to the internet, it's an enlightening, confusing, frustrating, hilarious place.
posted by baphomet at 7:32 PM on June 6, 2007


This is kind of business as usual on MetaFilter.

Right now the thread is languagehat arguing about the Russian Revolution or somethin'. Doesn't get much more MetaFilter than that!

and i love him for it
posted by spiderwire at 8:09 PM on June 6, 2007




we turn them into Thomas Pynchon novels


I will gladly pay cash to anyone who quotes from the oeuvre of Billy Barf and the Vomitones.
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 8:54 PM on June 6, 2007


Yarrr!
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:59 PM on June 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


So I made a preemptive MeTa callout thread so lame that it spawned its own cortex MSPaint mockery. That must mean I've finally arrived.

...Somewhere.
posted by spiderwire at 10:56 PM on June 6, 2007


It's not so bad, man. I actually used Photoshop Elements.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:41 AM on June 7, 2007


« Older Our employer gives us an alloc...  |  London meet-ups, eh? There sur... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments