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Shut down all the trash compactors on the detention level! July 29, 2007 8:13 AM   Subscribe

What used to be a forum for bugs, feature requests, and the occasional callout for really egregiously bad behavior has devolved into a whinefest for anyone with a keyboard and a grudge. YOU ALL NEED TO STEP AWAY. Can we shut down MetaTalk for a week? I'm completely serious. The contact form is still there for emergencies.
posted by mkultra to MetaFilter-Related at 8:13 AM (82 comments total)

Why stop there? Why not shut down Metafilter proper for a week? In fact, I say we go for the gold and make the entire internet take a time out. Bad internet, bad!
posted by item at 8:24 AM on July 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


Things are so bad you felt compelled to start a whinefest about it?

Thanks for doing this. MeTa was shaping up for another slow Sunday until you and adamgreenfield came along.
posted by carsonb at 8:25 AM on July 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


Hey mkultra, you could have taken your own advice and used the contact form for this, if you didn't mean to inspire more of the same "misbehavior" you decry.
posted by davy at 8:27 AM on July 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


(Hey, I started rebuking before anybody else here. I'll bet you guys type with TWO fingers, huh!)
posted by davy at 8:28 AM on July 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm going to try to answer you with a straight face, mkultra. When you begin to think that things aren't shaping up into your idyllic notion of a web community, the first step is to contribute something you think fits that notion. Make a post on MetaFilter that would blow you away if someone else posted it. If that doesn't aid in your disillusionment, step two is to begin looking for another community that fits your notion.

I've said it before and I'm quite sure I'll have to say it again—Asking everyone to behave or not behave in a particular fashion just because you have your panties in a wad is not cool. Adapt your own behavior before attempting to change everyone else's.
posted by carsonb at 8:32 AM on July 29, 2007 [2 favorites]


It's a full moon tonight, isn't it? And -- yeah -- I do type with two fingers. Really.
posted by ericb at 8:33 AM on July 29, 2007


Things are so bad you felt compelled to start a whinefest about it?

Who's whining? This is a completely serious idea.
posted by mkultra at 8:34 AM on July 29, 2007


What I don't get is why people don'y just step away from MeTaon their ow accord. Look, I get your frustration, and I've been fucking sick of MeTa myself. Just step away, don't visit for a week or so. I feel like the main reason people don't do this is their afraid they'll miss out on a flameout or magnificent moment of asshattery.
posted by piratebowling at 8:37 AM on July 29, 2007


But mkultra, again, you could have used the contact form like you yourself recommended. "Do as I say, not as I do" is piss-poor "leadership."
posted by davy at 8:41 AM on July 29, 2007


Who's whining? This is a completely serious idea.

Everyone thinks there Metatalk post is serious. That is the problem.
posted by smackfu at 8:42 AM on July 29, 2007 [3 favorites]


Experience has shown that if there is no Grey, the crapflood does not abate, it is merely directed back into the Blue, and maybe other parts of the site. Better a stinking, fetid swamp of Grey, than a worse Blue.
posted by paulsc at 8:42 AM on July 29, 2007 [2 favorites]


This post is like, meta-meta-meta.

It seems as if the level of whining here has always risen and fallen, in no pattern that I can discern. The current season will pass.
posted by LarryC at 8:45 AM on July 29, 2007


If MetaTalk didn't exist, there would be nowhere for me to post THIS EXCELLENT SHINY THING.
posted by Meatbomb at 8:45 AM on July 29, 2007 [9 favorites]


So... I take it you'll be leaving for a week then? COMPLEATLY SERIOUS IDEA!1
posted by odinsdream at 8:51 AM on July 29, 2007


"Do as I say, not as I do" is piss-poor "leadership."

I'm not pretending to lead anything. I'm putting something forward for consideration. Let it go, man. Do you have anything at all to say about the proposal? Because, you know, that's what the point of this site actually is.

Everyone thinks there Metatalk post is serious. That is the problem.

The problem isn't that everyone thinks their post is serious, it's that people are posting about ephemeral, trivial "problems".
posted by mkultra at 8:51 AM on July 29, 2007


The idea of MetaTalk as a source of entertainment is getting kind of annoying. You know what I mean -- the demands for flameouts, the criticism of nearly every MeTa post rather than the discussion of its content, the whining posts that are so vague that the moderators end up closing because they can't figure out what the post is about.

Why not discourage (if not outright prohibit) callouts?

Seriously, what good are they? The flag system a more effective self-policing mechanism. A MetaTalk post that calls out a self-link or a bad comment or a problematic user doesn't do anything that a flag or moderator email can't, unless it's a real borderline case that requires community discussion. And let's face it, that's not what most MetaTalk posts are. Mostly they provide an opportunity for people to bitch and post stupid links and clamor for flameouts.
posted by danb at 8:53 AM on July 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


I would say the problem is the homophone there/their.
posted by Meatbomb at 8:58 AM on July 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


"I'm putting something forward for consideration."

You're doing the very same thing you decry. You just don't see it. You could have USED THE CONTACT FORM AS YOU YOURSELF SUGGESTED.

About the proposal, I think it sucks. Maybe YOU (and now danb) need to stop reading Metatalk, or at least stop whining & bitching on Metatalk about all the whining & bitching on Metatalk.

Don't restrict our Metatalk. Instead vote with your fingers -- let them walk elsewhere.
posted by davy at 9:03 AM on July 29, 2007


Why not discourage (if not outright prohibit) callouts?

Seriously, what good are they? The flag system a more effective self-policing mechanism.


Callouts are a process by which everyone who participates in or reads them can learn what to do and not to do on the site. It's a continuous hashing out of site norms and trends that cannot be attained via the flagging system. Flagging is only semi-transparent—that is, it's only apparent that a comment is flagged to the one flagging it and to mathowie, jessamyn, and cortex. There is no way to know if others have flagged it, and if they have what they flagged it as. Your 'breaks the guidelines' might be my 'fantastic post/comment'. Also, the consequences of a flag are not readily apparent. If a comment is flagged to death (read deleted) there remains no record of it. Something (ostensibly) bad is gone, but nobody knows why or perhaps even that it is gone.

Callouts on the other hand, while they can be distressing (especially at the rate we've had them lately), are wholly transparent. With a callout we know who, why (sometimes), and what happens. There's a record of what went wrong, what corrective measures the community or the moderation took, and who the douchebag is that made the callout.

We need both.
posted by carsonb at 9:05 AM on July 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


Where do I post callouts for people who callout really lame callouts?
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:06 AM on July 29, 2007


You know, if you hold a mirror in front of another mirror, then look in, you'll see yourself standing in an ever-receding corridor of mirrors-within-mirrors. Indeed, if you squint, it almost looks as if YOU'RE DISAPPEARING UP YOUR OWN ASSHOLE.
posted by RokkitNite at 9:08 AM on July 29, 2007 [2 favorites]


Next to the fish in the box turtle's tin pants.
posted by carsonb at 9:08 AM on July 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


I don't know what it's like to be a mod, but I'm assuming that personally dealing with every single long-winded problem via e-mail has got to be maddening. I mean, do you see how much a person writes when he's vigorously defending his point of view on Metatalk? What a freaking waste of time it would be to respond to something like that through e-mail.
posted by Stan Chin at 9:09 AM on July 29, 2007


Do you have anything at all to say about the proposal?

yes ... it sucks
posted by pyramid termite at 9:13 AM on July 29, 2007


YOU ALL NEED TO STEP AWAY.

You first. Whining about whining doesn't help.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:16 AM on July 29, 2007


I feel like the main reason people don't do this is their afraid they'll miss out on a flameout or magnificent moment of asshattery.

If so, then surely this is a demand for *more* lame call outs, *more* flameouts and *more* magnificent asshattery?

Don't step away, people. Step up to the plate!
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:27 AM on July 29, 2007


I agree with mkultra. Now I'm going back outside to grill the brats I just got done boiling in beer. Then I will eat them on my front porch and watch my encephalitic neighbor march up and down the street.
posted by sciurus at 9:34 AM on July 29, 2007


What a freaking waste of time it would be to respond to something like that through e-mail.

It beats the hell out of doing it in MeTa where your response to a long-winded polemic then gets dissected by people not happy with your answers.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:35 AM on July 29, 2007


posted by RokkitNite Indeed, if you squint, it almost looks as if YOU'RE DISAPPEARING UP YOUR OWN ASSHOLE.

In your case, you're watching a dick disappear into an asshole.
posted by fandango_matt at 9:37 AM on July 29, 2007


Thanks mkultra for an exciting new lame-ass thread!
posted by davy at 9:39 AM on July 29, 2007


You're doing the very same thing you decry. You just don't see it.

No, my vision is fine. The contact form is just fine for "this post really sucks" or "so-and-so is hurting my brittle ego"- things that don't need any kind of group discussion. I'm putting forth a suggestion to the community, not asking for unilateral action from the mods.

Thanks for proving my point about the tenor around here, though.
posted by mkultra at 9:39 AM on July 29, 2007


It beats the hell out of doing it in MeTa where your response to a long-winded polemic then gets dissected by people not happy with your answers.

Here, here. It's bad enough that regular users get in-thread comments- not to mention their entire posting history- cherry-picked for out-of-context "rebuttals", but the recent trend of extending that courtesy to the mods so that every judgment can be second-guessed is poor.
posted by mkultra at 9:41 AM on July 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


Hmm....I *think* MetaTalk was closed down once before, for the kinds of reasons you mention, mkultra. Anyone else remember?
posted by iconomy at 9:42 AM on July 29, 2007


Smooth move, changing the subject like that. NO MOAR METATALK!
posted by carsonb at 9:42 AM on July 29, 2007


No, my vision is fine.

it's your ability to look the other way that's in question
posted by pyramid termite at 9:45 AM on July 29, 2007


Mix of what jessamyn and mkultra said. Email really is an ideal way to address a lot of (though not all of) the things that end up as Metatalk threads—when someone is upset about something, their presentation of the problem to one or the three of us is a lot less likely to lead to a big flameup than a metatalk thread with essentially the same text. It helps prevent explosions here, and when it something that the mefite really wants to talk about in Metatalk anyway, they'll usually come away with a cooler and more balanced approach when they do post it to the grey.

I think this thread is the sort of thing that probably doesn't make as much sense as a private email—it's more "what do folks think" than "I have a specific complaint". That said, the presentation could have been more neutral and less aggressive, which isn't helping things along here.

And yow do I think closing shop on Metatalk for a week would be pretty nuts. An interesting experiment, sure, but I get a little scared just contemplating it. I do seem to remember a conversation like this a while back, though, maybe whatever iconomy is referring to.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:50 AM on July 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


This thread has made me realize how rarely I use ALL CAPS. So, in the CharlieKaufmanesque spirit of this thread, I am USING THEM NOW TO COMPLAIN ABOUT HOW MANY OF YOU ARE USING ALL CAPS IN THIS THREAD.
posted by The Deej at 9:55 AM on July 29, 2007


That said, the presentation could have been more neutral and less aggressive, which isn't helping things along here.

True, fair enough.
posted by mkultra at 9:55 AM on July 29, 2007


Just put this in your hosts file:

127.0.0.1 metatalk.metafilter.com.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:56 AM on July 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


Metafilter is usually like this to a greater or lesser extent during the summer. I've always assumed it could be traced to bored academics and unemployable students on break. But that's just my little untested theory.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 10:13 AM on July 29, 2007


wait ... WAIT!! ... that's MY dns you're using!
posted by pyramid termite at 10:13 AM on July 29, 2007


Closing Metatalk for a week would accomplish nothing. The river of shit that would have been there would just flow somewhere else (e-mail, in threads), or it would all pile up until MeTa opened again, and there would be a tidal wave of "Did you see this thread from 4 days ago?!?!"
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:19 AM on July 29, 2007 [2 favorites]


heh, burh & pyr.
posted by jouke at 10:24 AM on July 29, 2007


MeTa brings me joy. When my day is gray, popping in here to see all sorts of shitstormyness makes me fee as though perhaps I have less worrying and more laughing to do. What I am trying to say is: You really should talk to my therapist before you shut this place down.
posted by dame at 10:24 AM on July 29, 2007


MetaFilter: This is a completely serious idea.
posted by Duncan at 10:29 AM on July 29, 2007


I would say the problem is the homophone there/their.

don't even make me get out the homophone...
posted by quonsar at 10:45 AM on July 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


It's times like these that I wish I could watch a video of Doug Hennings cutting Liza Minelli in half while Dick Cavett makes friendly chit chat.
posted by Meatbomb at 10:54 AM on July 29, 2007


Meatbomb, how dare you post a link to a video that's actually what it says. I was really looking forward to Rick Astley.
posted by The Deej at 11:19 AM on July 29, 2007


This is a completely serious idea.

I are serious cat. This is serious thread.
posted by amyms at 11:25 AM on July 29, 2007


The only thing worse than whining in metatalk is whining about metatalk.
posted by signal at 11:39 AM on July 29, 2007


Thanks for proving my point about the tenor around here, though.

My problem is with the divas.
posted by yerfatma at 11:48 AM on July 29, 2007


As silly as MetaTattle gets sometimes, I find it entertaining in a train-wreck sort of way.

And if you shut it down, the sewage would just leak into the green and the blue. Remember the stupidity that was the hoff.
posted by lysdexic at 11:48 AM on July 29, 2007


I have no clue why, but Serious Cat always cracks me up.

And I am wondering if Meta has been hacked with subliminal "be pissy" messages. Even the AskMes are bringing out incongruous mean-spirited snarks.
posted by The Deej at 11:54 AM on July 29, 2007


No, my vision is fine. The contact form is just fine for "this post really sucks" or "so-and-so is hurting my brittle ego"- things that don't need any kind of group discussion. I'm putting forth a suggestion to the community, not asking for unilateral action from the mods.

your suggestion to the community that they should change their actions to better serve your vision of this place has absolutely no chance of succeeding. in light of this glaringly obvious fact, allow me to point out another painfully obvious bit of fact about this place;

metatalk is not required reading. correction, metatalk as a whole is not required reading. if you don't like flameout/callout/bitch and whine threads, just don't read them. other people do; for the ill-minded souls who think they're going to enact some change by posting to metatalk, they get their moment of glory before someone tosses a football in their groin; for the drama-riddled, bored-as-fuck folks out there, there's the fun of watching internet personas do battle over who can use more characters per day. for the rest of the community, it's an opportunity to stretch our legs, make the occasional joke that noone else gets, or to make an obscure reference to pop culture that has no possible relevancy to the topic at all. on the off chance someone gets offended or does some offending, i'm sure they find some time to step away from the keyboard and get back to reality already.

on the off chance that a useful thread comes along, great, read that, but please don't tell me when and where i, as another user, should step away from this site. police yourself and you'll find the peace and quiet you're looking for.
posted by dflemingdotorg at 11:57 AM on July 29, 2007


I belong to a small forum called The Lifeboat -- about 80-90 people regularly contribute -- and when things got ugly there a couple years ago, the site admin declared an "intermission." He put up a lovely graphic of a theatre screen with red velvet drapes, and some nice, soothing musak for the better part of two days. We all came back ready to make nice. Not that I think this would work here, mind you.
posted by Devils Rancher at 12:02 PM on July 29, 2007


It's sweeps week again here at MeTa. I've read all those 100+ comment threads, and there's been some interesting stuff, some old fashioned lulz, and a lot of exhausting drivel. But I read it, and I don't want it taken away. So tired. Must... Keep... Going... need... more... popcorn...
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:43 PM on July 29, 2007


I'm putting something forward for consideration.

I love people who whine about other people whining, but when called on it loudly declare they are not whining but "putting something forward".

You're whining.
posted by watsondog at 12:52 PM on July 29, 2007


I love people who call anything they disagree with "whining".
posted by mkultra at 1:20 PM on July 29, 2007


I love people who say they love people who they really dislike.
posted by smackfu at 1:25 PM on July 29, 2007


Wait, no, I dislike that.
posted by smackfu at 1:25 PM on July 29, 2007


WELL, THIS IS IT! METAFILTER IS DOOMED!
posted by Krrrlson at 2:32 PM on July 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


...
posted by Krrrlson at 2:32 PM on July 29, 2007


DOOOOOOMED!!!!!!
posted by Krrrlson at 2:32 PM on July 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


The idea of MetaTalk as a source of entertainment is getting kind of annoying.

The idea of MetaTalk threads like this as anything but a source of entertainment is dying out. It's like Talk Radio was in the years before Rush Limbaugh discovered the power of one-sided political talk (the Dittohead effect). Rather than encouraging serious discussion on important issues, many of the most successful talkers threw out loud and controversial opinions just to get callers to fight with them. The apex of this approach was Phil Hendrie, who used character voices to espouse absurd opinions and always got people who didn't get the joke to call in and argue the ridiculous.

That's what the callouts, deletion protests and other etiquette/policy posts have become, MetaFights! ("No flameout? What a disappointment!") Stopping this in MeTa without losing some serious questions and pushing the MetaFights back into the Blue is impossible. Maybe what we need here are a few Phil Hendrie sockpuppets to periodically stir the pot and get it out of our collective systems. (Yes, I know that is an extremely bad idea; no need to tell me) If not that, what?
posted by wendell at 2:39 PM on July 29, 2007


You know who else whines constantly?
posted by miss lynnster at 2:52 PM on July 29, 2007


Oh dang... that was a premature Haimburgle! This link's way whinier.
posted by miss lynnster at 2:55 PM on July 29, 2007


I think we should consider the sad fact that there are those among us who are merely using metatalk to further their own agendas. Posting anonymously, they are getting epic LULZ at our expense. I don't know about you, but I'm buying a dog and some drapes.
posted by madamjujujive at 2:57 PM on July 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


don't forget to notify the FBI.
posted by quonsar at 4:27 PM on July 29, 2007


mkultra no doubt expected the ensuing pileon, but is nonetheless quite correct.

Time has shown that these things tend to go in waves, though. Things have been annoying; things will settle down again in time.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:40 PM on July 29, 2007


don't forget to notify the FBI.

The FBI? Y'know, my sister used to work for the FBI.

Hey, some people use MetaTalk to get epic LULZ. I use it to try to steer some traffic over to my songs. Only whenever it's appropriate, of course.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:43 PM on July 29, 2007


Why not discourage (if not outright prohibit) callouts?

The relatively new concept of the 'callout' is the problem, along with the idea that Metatalk is for 'callouts'. (No, I've still haven't given up on this tedious hobbyhorse of mine.)

It's not the Thunderdome, it's not the WWF. It's a forum to hash out issues related to the site. 'Calling people out' is dumb. Trying through discussion to reach messy, enlightened-despotism-overlaying-democratic-mob agreement on what is acceptable and what is not on this site -- not so much.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:45 PM on July 29, 2007


127.0.0.1 metatalk.metafilter.com.

+1 for proper format. Hey, kids, the trailing dot means something!
posted by eriko at 5:24 PM on July 29, 2007


I don't know about you, but I'm buying a dog and some drapes.
posted by madamjujujive


OK, in a day of insanity, THAT is the laugh-out-loud funniest thing I have read all day. Iced coffee just came out of my nose. And I haven't drank iced coffee for 2 weeks.
posted by The Deej at 5:28 PM on July 29, 2007


I can only afford a hamster and miniblinds, myself...
posted by wendell at 5:53 PM on July 29, 2007


It's not the Thunderdome, it's not the WWF.

Awwwww, man...
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:55 PM on July 29, 2007


Can we shut down MetaTalk for a week?

STFU NOOB ;)

Actually, I agree. The last few weeks were uber toxic here. You anti-political post people need to take a few horse dicks up the ass, OK a bucket full (that was a joke too, kind of ;) ). Still, when you don't like something here, it helps the place a lot more if you just state your opinion without all the histrionics, and the drama queens on the other side are not any better for the place. TACT. (well, someday I will listen to myself, in the meantime all you loudmouth drama queens need to STFU!)
posted by caddis at 6:18 PM on July 29, 2007


No matter how much the sewer stinks, getting rid of it ain't gonna help.
posted by NortonDC at 7:12 PM on July 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


I actually enjoy all the lame callouts on metafilter. I don't think it degrades the quality of the site at all - rather, I think it's quite hilarious most of the time. I don't think there's enough shit flying around here - while, on average, it takes me approximately 1.5 hours to sift through all the new links in the blue, and 2 hours on the green, the MeTa only gives me about 45 minutes of time-wastage. I'd like to see this up to 2 hours or so. This is going to require a doubling in the rate of nasty call-outs and noob-bashing. This would raise the amount of time in the day I'm able to waste on this website to an astounding 5.5 hours - this in conjunction with monkeyfilter, boingboing and adamkotsko.com means I won't ever have to do another scrap of honest work again for as long as I live.

Shut down metatalk? My friend, you are out of your tree.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 12:54 PM on July 30, 2007


/me breathes through mouth
posted by flabdablet at 5:23 PM on July 30, 2007


When I dig a latrine, I like to take at least 100 paces from my tent. 250 paces isn't bad.

Why is that? It is because I like to hang out in my tent.

However, what goes into a latrine is not what I like to hang out with, most of the time. Sometimes I have to visit the latrine to make a deposit. Sometimes I'll get a wild hair and I'll think to myself, "Hey, what's going on down in this latrine. Is it really smelly? Is there something CRAWLING AROUND down there? Wow, this latrine really is fetid!"

So, if someone is hanging out in my tent, and suddenly they have to take a big stinky dump, I'm all set. I get out my pointer finger and I point: "250 paces downwind, get yo sef down to the latrine, boy. Don't be fouling up my my tent with your reeky feces."

If the smell of feces is distasteful to me, mkultra, I do not propose CLOSING THE LATRINE FOR THE DURATION. That is counterproductive. It results in people crapping wherever they please - maybe in my sleeping bag. When I go to take a nap this is unpleasant.

Because, mkultra, you do not appear to have divined the Sekrit of MeFi, I will explain it in code, so as not to reveal it to the eyes of the unwashed:

Mathowie's tent is a colorful tent: BLUE and GREEN (and AQUA and WHITE).

Mathowie's latrine, however, is painted GREY.
posted by ikkyu2 at 11:27 PM on July 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


Your presumption that MeTa is, by design, the commode of the MeFi universe is just wrong. It's just a bunch of kids taking a dump in the family room, where grownups are supposed to get together, chill, and talk.
posted by mkultra at 5:55 AM on July 31, 2007


Bah, I don't agree. MetaTalk is the net.flame of MeFi. It's not here to be pleasant or useful; it's here to divert the worthless stuff away, so the paying customers don't have to look at it if they don't choose to.

If you want to get together, chill, and talk, come visit metachat.org.
posted by ikkyu2 at 11:38 AM on July 31, 2007


« Older Cortex, can you chill out? Mor...  |  I'd just like to say something... Newer »

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