Any chance of explaining this: "This post was deleted for the following reason: clearly my filter for these isn't working properly. But wait, Hitchens AND Dawkins you say...? * taps pager * Damn this thing is broken. -- jessamyn" September 11, 2007 5:07 PM   Subscribe

Wait.. a longtime user criticises the deletion of a post about one intellectual's review of another intellectual's book - a deletion with obscure sarcastic reason "clearly my filter for these isn't working properly. But wait, Hitchens AND Dawkins you say...? * taps pager * Damn this thing is broken. -- jessamyn" ... then you close the Meta thread?

Despite the plentiful derails by the bored and the weary who together just scraped enough energy to type and post in order to inform us of just how bored and weary they were [deep breath], the thread was interesting and had enough on topic comments to display balance - pro & anti-religion. I too, deplore the deletion AND the closure of the protest thread by Heywood Mogroot.

Mefi must be short of server space now, I guess.
posted by dash_slot- to MetaFilter-Related at 5:07 PM (178 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

Wait.. a longtime user criticises the deletion of a post about one intellectual's review of another intellectual's book - a deletion with obscure sarcastic reason "clearly my filter for these isn't working properly. But wait, Hitchens AND Dawkins you say...? * taps pager * Damn this thing is broken. -- jessamyn" ... then you close the Meta thread?

Yes, I think that's what happened.

Would you like a cookie?

Or are you going to retire your account, too?
posted by dersins at 5:13 PM on September 11, 2007


You want to discuss this deletion, fine. Heywood trying to conflate that with an "I'm leaving and I'm never coming back!" announcement was plain old silly bullshit that would lead to no good for anyone involved, which is why I closed that thread.

The deleted post was a mess; we've had four other Hitchens posts and five other Dawkins posts this year alone, and this one was (from a quick glance at the priors) weaker than any of them. It was flagged to all shit, and it was only other distractions today that kept me from nuking it myself.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:13 PM on September 11, 2007


Don't drink and moderate.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:17 PM on September 11, 2007 [2 favorites]


Is that a new login for an older user, because two years isn't really that longtime in my book. Not to mention posting a protest "I'm leaving" thread is such a freaking lame idea, anyone who does it might be a little unclear on the point of this place, however long they've been around.
posted by mzurer at 5:21 PM on September 11, 2007


It's a bit of a snarky deletion reason but really, a Dawkins-on-Hitchens post is like a fat-person-circumcising-a-declawed-cat-in-a-SUV post for mefi. It's like two volatile, polarizing subjects wrapped in one, and both subjects consistently produce much yelling past each other and heat, but very little light.

I guess a better deletion reason would be "Please not Dawkins and Hitchens AGAIN" but hey, we're all human and sometimes like to make jokes about bad situations.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 5:21 PM on September 11, 2007 [9 favorites]


Actually, I read the post after it had been deleted and thought it was going pretty well overall. I'm pretty sick of Hitchens/Dawkins/atheistfilter though so whatever.
posted by puke & cry at 5:21 PM on September 11, 2007


matt/Jess/cortex: please close this shit NOW so I can make a post complaining about you closing it. Which you may then immdeiately close.
posted by Kwantsar at 5:23 PM on September 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


Dawkins and Penn are not snowflakes, either. No more disserving of automatic respect than scorn. To whatever extent it is another dimension - a dab or two for which the everything is scientifically knowable with sufficient information, not that infinite ignorance allows for infinite possibility). Despite the logical contradiction of an idea is best determined by an absolute moral authority, in the next page.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:23 PM on September 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


I doubt that I'll be described as an ex-Mefite on my gravestone, dersins.
The given deletion reason could have at least been more sensible. Some folk were enjoying the debate, as in liking to see intelligent folks batting ideas around. Yes, as I've said, there were some jerkoid comments, and clearly the TopThreeTM seem tired of the topic. But eliminate the 50% of commenters that were oh-so-tired of the subject [ok, we get it, scroll ON], and you still have 42 comments of interest. Metafilter is about a wide spread of tastes, right? 4 of Hitchens & 5 of Dawkins (one a month, about), and now a unique one that combines the two, deleted.

Yeah, I don't think it was reasonable.
posted by dash_slot- at 5:25 PM on September 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


Mefi must be short of server space now, I guess

WE SHOULD DELETE THE INACTIVE ACCOUNTS
posted by jonson at 5:25 PM on September 11, 2007 [5 favorites]


IRFH: that's already being done to death.

Um, you have Markov'd that, right?
posted by dash_slot- at 5:27 PM on September 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


My first thought upon seeing this MeTa was, "Yea, me too, I couldn't wait to come home and comment there."

But ya know what, It was flagged to all shit pretty much sums it up. The post was edgy in the first place and then the thread was doo doo. Sometimes ya just gotta suck it up.
posted by snsranch at 5:27 PM on September 11, 2007


Actually, I read the post after it had been deleted and thought it was going pretty well overall.

Yes, I've seen much uglier posts left open to fester. This was an afternoon tea.
posted by fleetmouse at 5:27 PM on September 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


The thread was certainly diosed to hell early on, but I didn't see a lot of the predicted anti-Christian pile-on afer that. And I'm not clear on how the post itself was "a mess".
posted by Armitage Shanks at 5:28 PM on September 11, 2007


I've always been Markov'd.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:29 PM on September 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


Woah..I just realized now that said "longtime user" didn't even write that post.

What's his deal?
posted by niles at 5:40 PM on September 11, 2007


I humbly propose that every 9/11 we have Der Uberpost.

Der Uberpost will be an FPP that contains, in no particular order, an essay by Dawkins on Hitchens who, in turn, writes an editorial on fat acceptance and how M. Thresa was a skinny little pain-loving BDSM queen, coupled with a 92 page anonmyous blog post on the validity of psychic powers, tarot reading and dowsing. Also, it'll have 87 youtube links to snuff films, 80's music videos and Tony Snow, followed by a liberal application of lolcats, declawed lolcats, female circumcision and two posts each from WND and Crooks&Liars.

I figure having one post like this per year would be a good way to innoculate ourselves against further asshattery for the rest of the year.

.......

wait, why am I saying this? Who are you people?

*checks medication*

All out. Damn, ain't that the shits?
posted by Avenger at 5:42 PM on September 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I don't get the automatic deletion of supposed hot button topics at all.
posted by cillit bang at 5:42 PM on September 11, 2007 [2 favorites]


"It was flagged to all shit"

I would've said "flagged all to shit", but that's just me.

Now, watch this drive.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:42 PM on September 11, 2007 [2 favorites]


And what is it us? Surely scorned obliteration heaped ruefully with unmitigated maliciousness afforded the quaint reasoning we see today? What vituperative dairy curdles betwixt your nethers? Lo, a sow! Lowing low! The sun, the moon! You poncy pugilists, what-what ho!? Toddling fewmets spurned ever onward larking through the daisys like so many rubber-necked dromedaries.
posted by loquacious at 5:45 PM on September 11, 2007 [2 favorites]


...fat-person-circumcising-a-declawed-cat-in-a-SUV post...

Now that thread I'd like to watch, from a safe distance, while wearing a hazmat suit...
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 5:47 PM on September 11, 2007


the deletion of a post about one intellectual's review of another intellectual's book -

because there's not nearly enough intellectuals talking about eachother around here.
posted by jonmc at 5:52 PM on September 11, 2007


Oy vey.
posted by Divine_Wino at 5:53 PM on September 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


"The given deletion reason could have at least been more sensible. "

Could've been, but wasn't. Anything else?

"4 of Hitchens & 5 of Dawkins (one a month, about), and now a unique one that combines the two, deleted."

Book review notable only because it was one public atheist performing textual fellatio on another public atheist's book.

This was, at best, a synergy of suck.
posted by klangklangston at 5:53 PM on September 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


I guess a better deletion reason would be "Please not Dawkins and Hitchens AGAIN" but hey, we're all human and sometimes like to make jokes about bad situations.

I think this kind of reasoning is valid if you admins can nip a post in the bud. That is, if you can catch it early your deletion reason stands sound. However, that reason doesn't stand up nearly as well when you come along 2 hours and 83 comments later. "This thread is a train wreck" would be a better reason at that point, if the thread had become a trainwreck. Having skimmed the thread (because of these MeTas) I don't think that reason would go over well either. It wasn't a train wreck; there was a decent enough conversation going on there, and it got cutoff by a kneejerk keyword reaction.

I suppose you could change the delreason to SLOE. I'd be OK with that.

BTW, thanks mathowie for that linebreak you gave me. My delicate sensibilities are well now intact.
posted by carsonb at 5:54 PM on September 11, 2007


Oh come on. A Dawkins post was deleted -- do you really need a reason spelled out? The reason could have been "....". It's pretty obvious that those kind of threads always just turn into poo slinging. It's a running joke for $diety's sake.
posted by Rhomboid at 5:54 PM on September 11, 2007


It was a ridiculous deletion. The conversation got off to a bad start with the usual slackwits trying to derail it with their tired 'wendell' and 'hurf-durf-poolio-is-the-new-wendell' injokes, but that happens all the time. It's annoying when this pissing in the pool behaviour gets the derailers what they want (thread closed) rather than the deletion/time-out that derail comments oughta be rewarded with.
posted by nowonmai at 5:55 PM on September 11, 2007 [11 favorites]


> ...fat-person-circumcising-a-declawed-cat-in-a-SUV post...

Is there a YouTube link for that?
posted by jfuller at 5:56 PM on September 11, 2007


I think the notion that metafilter does not do certain subjects well is pretty crappy. On the other hand, I also think most of what Hitchens and Dawkins say is crappy.. Now Robert Buckman, there's an atheist I could never get tired of hearing from!

As for Heywood Mogroot.. We'll miss you, you Truman apologist you..
posted by Chuckles at 5:57 PM on September 11, 2007


I've always been Markov'd.

Now you're like John Henry.

Maybe we could have a contest between you and the Markov machine operating on your comments. You could die of a stroke at the end of it with blood gushing out of your nose and shorting out your hard drive after just barely beating the machine.

Then cortex could write a song about it and retire on his royalties.

Until the song writing machine comes along.
posted by jamjam at 5:59 PM on September 11, 2007 [2 favorites]


It was just another post into which all the anti-Christians could dump their hate. Good riddance. (I would have left it though, but I am pretty much anti-deletion when it comes to controversial posts, although I have no problem with pruning the crap, as long as it is something that almost everyone agrees is crap.) To leave over this though, that is just childish and wimpy. Jeez, I never realized Heywood was such a pussy.
posted by caddis at 6:04 PM on September 11, 2007


Book review notable only because it was one public atheist performing textual fellatio on another public atheist's book.

Well, sir, there was one feller who liked this other feller a little too much. And we don't kinder to that. No sir.
posted by fleetmouse at 6:07 PM on September 11, 2007


I found some amusing commentary where Hiliary Duff and Nicky Hilton discuss their thoughts and observations on the recent Britney Spears "come back". It's clever, witty, well written, and I think at least 50% of the comments would be on topic, well written, and incredibly well thought out. It would be fasciniating, thought provoking and, I shit you not, would probably save lives.

Wait? What? What I think is interesting you view as utter shit? And 50% of the site dislikes it? And there is a precendent that if enough people dislike it and shit in the thread, the thread is deleted? Well, who cares! I'll post it to the blue and I'm sure it will go smashingly!
posted by Stynxno at 6:09 PM on September 11, 2007 [2 favorites]


It was just another post into which all the anti-Christians could dump their hate.

Ooh! Those atheists! You know how they behave. They do things like this (grinds out cigarette on arm of sofa).

And this! (defecates on floor)

And THIS! (sets curtains on fire)

You watch. They'll start any minute now. Just you watch.
posted by fleetmouse at 6:10 PM on September 11, 2007 [7 favorites]


I think Metafilter would have survived if that post wasn't deleted. But, I support the whole idea of random deletions, so I'm torn.
posted by found missing at 6:12 PM on September 11, 2007 [5 favorites]


It would be fasciniating, thought provoking and, I shit you not, would probably save lives.

Might end a few, too.
posted by jonmc at 6:14 PM on September 11, 2007


Verbatim from Markovfilter:

We got married first thing that bothered me so far.

[bunch of weirdness removed; do not go there. In the end, wavered. There have been half as many times as necessary.
posted by cortex at 6:16 PM on September 11 [+] [!]
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:17 PM on September 11, 2007


Hurf durf I'm a vegetarian, but I suppose it thought I was calling it the officers are the source of tomato, you can only function properly if the country illegally. However, they have denied it to play with people under age x? You're a criminal!" and other vessels of its helpfulness and clarity.
posted by tehloki at 6:20 PM on September 11, 2007


Stupid Heywood Mogroot, he flamed out under the wrong account. He posted his FPP as veedubya. I guess pimpin sock puppets ain't easy.
posted by Eideteker at 6:21 PM on September 11, 2007


Woah..I just realized now that said "longtime user" didn't even write that post. What's his deal?

Some of us visit MetaFilter for reasons other than the incessant gratification of our egos.

Some may find this difficult to believe.
posted by enn at 6:23 PM on September 11, 2007


Take it down a notch ladies, they're just pancakes.
posted by phaedon at 6:27 PM on September 11, 2007


we're all human and sometimes like to make jokes about bad situations.

Indeed. Making jokes about bad situations is one of the main philosophical foundations of a healthy intellectual life, and a hugely important survival skill. I reckon if we can't do that, then we have nothing. NOTHING, you hear me?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:28 PM on September 11, 2007


And yes, vronsky's definitely had his hand in the mushroom jar today. Walls going all wavy yet, vron?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:30 PM on September 11, 2007


Dawkins-on-Hitchens
Hello rule 34.
posted by boo_radley at 6:33 PM on September 11, 2007 [5 favorites]


There seems to be a direct correlation between snarky deletion reasons and whiny MetaTalk posts about said deletions. I wonder what could be done about that?

Note: Individually "visiting" each lame-FPP-poster with a tire iron should be considered out of scope for the purposes of this thought experiment
posted by 0xFCAF at 6:34 PM on September 11, 2007


*wanders through library, arbitrarily excising pages and chapters and gluing shut volumes authored by those who object to arbitrary excision*
posted by quonsar at 6:35 PM on September 11, 2007 [2 favorites]


It was just another post into which all the anti-Christians could dump their hate.

Well you as sure as shit don't get it.
posted by docpops at 6:48 PM on September 11, 2007


It's annoying when this pissing in the pool behaviour gets the derailers what they want (thread closed) rather than the deletion/time-out that derail comments oughta be rewarded with.

This is becoming more and more true. It's too bad we don't have enough mods to sort through threads like that, to delete the assholes who shit in the thread rather than punish those who are participating thoughtfully on a controversial topic. Deletions done to save the mods time and effort are never ideal.
posted by mediareport at 6:50 PM on September 11, 2007 [2 favorites]


There seems to be a direct correlation between snarky deletion reasons and whiny MetaTalk posts about said deletions. I wonder what could be done about that?

We've been trying, actually. You can read through the deleted reasons for the last couple months and scorecard us if you want, but we've been making an effort to bite the old tongue.

I would've said "flagged all to shit", but that's just me.

Yeah, me too, actually. I was in a hurry to get to dinner, though.

*wanders through library, arbitrarily excising pages and chapters and gluing shut volumes authored by those who object to arbitrary excision*

*grinds axe, takes break to grind hatchet*
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:57 PM on September 11, 2007 [2 favorites]


Well you as sure as shit don't get it.

Really? Do you think that post went any intellectually deeper than "people who believe in God are delusional?" Give me a break.
posted by caddis at 7:06 PM on September 11, 2007


To protest all this, I just activated Astro Zombie 5, whose account I immediately retired, along with the Astro Zombie himself, via a shot to the head with a Glock pistol.

He will be mourned. And consumed. I hope you all feel sufficiently chagrined.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:06 PM on September 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


Sorry. I have been a little pent-up with all my polite deletions ever since I was told to stop being so snarky with my deletion reasons. Maybe I went overboard. Or maybe it was such a nightmare of a topic + thread that I thought it was like saying "James Brown, STILL DEAD" like, it's obvious, right?

Really the problem with these threads isn't that they take up space or annoy the mods or anyone else terribly who doesn't particpate in them. It's the "flagged all to shit" part where not only is the thread flagged a lot, but each individual shitty bile-filled comment is also flagged all to shit so the flag queue fills up with a bunch of generally pissed off people all of whom flag only their last favorite of the 80+ comment thread so all we can do, if we let a thread like that live its natural life of a few days is

1. abandon it entirely and let everyone call each other names and shit down each other's necks
2. try to moderate it as if it were a "normal" thread which it isn't.

Often, we choose the first option. Today I spent a lot of time in the "how do I get my kid to like milk?" thread, reading flags and derails from vegan-sympathizers and people who wrote little fables about milk and I guess maybe I was a little tired of the antics and the poo flinging.

We've talked before about Dawkins threads and Hitchens threads and this sort of "OMG assholes v assholes!!" post doesn't really do much for the community.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:07 PM on September 11, 2007 [2 favorites]


It's too bad we don't have enough mods to sort through threads like that, to delete the assholes who shit in the thread rather than punish those who are participating thoughtfully on a controversial topic.

Here here! I've given up trying to introduce friends to MetaFilter. I just get this kind of answer back from them, after they randomly wandered into an aggressive thread, "What are you doing wasting time on that kind of stuff ... nothing but a bunch of jerks throwing crap at each other."

With such a large and verbose group as this, moderation is a tough and time-consuming job. I've been there (in a much smaller pond than MefaFilter) and I know that it's an easy way to 'lose friends and influence people'.

But I second the notion that the moderator's knives should work on a small scale (individual troublemakers) rather than the large scale (posts that are _potential_ minefields).
posted by woodblock100 at 7:08 PM on September 11, 2007


I wonder how long that moderator spent thinking up that pithy delreason. Maybe that's the reason why the thread was open as long as it was.
posted by BeerFilter at 7:10 PM on September 11, 2007


Well, this sucked.
posted by blacklite at 7:13 PM on September 11, 2007


Frequent and consistent visible timeouts and bans for significant periods of time -- a demonstrable low community and moderator tolerance for threadshitting, with real consequences for doing so, long with an end to invisible, silent deletion of offenders' comments -- would go a long long way to addressing woodblock100's concerns, which are valid.

It's been suggested before, by me and others, so it doesn't look like that's going to happen. So it goes. Mostly the site is as good as it ever was, I suppose, even if I do agree that the tenor tends more towards obstreperousness and lack of civility as time goes by.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:15 PM on September 11, 2007


"...the problem with these threads isn't that they take up space or annoy the mods [...] but each individual shitty bile-filled comment is also flagged all to shit so the flag queue fills up..."
posted by BeerFilter at 7:18 PM on September 11, 2007


I don't know anything about the dawkins flame fests that apparently happen, here, because I don't participate in them, but I will say this:

Heywood Mogroot has been known to stir shit up for no discernable reason in the past, and closing his goodbye thread was an excellent idea.
posted by shmegegge at 7:22 PM on September 11, 2007


even if I do agree that the tenor tends more towards obstreperousness and lack of civility as time goes by

I have to agree. When the community was smaller there seemed to be more respect.
posted by caddis at 7:23 PM on September 11, 2007


Point being that while I don't care about Dawkins v. Hitchens personally, these threads live and attract shittons of flags constantly, so we can't do anything else but babysit them. Meting out lots of little timeouts wouldn't actually solve this problem and would quadruple the MetaTalking. There would have to be whole new guidelines, strictly enforced, which would result in a mass "fuck you I'm leaving" exodus.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:25 PM on September 11, 2007


Today I spent a lot of time in the "how do I get my kid to like milk?" thread, reading flags and derails from vegan-sympathizers and people who wrote little fables about milk[...]

Oh, that is so not fair. I'm going to be up all night wondering whafuck a "little fable about milk" could be.

I'm trying to envision something like "The City Milk and the Country Milk," but I'm not getting anywhere. "The Boy Who Cried Milk," maybe?
posted by L. Fitzgerald Sjoberg at 7:28 PM on September 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


Meting out lots of little timeouts wouldn't actually solve this problem and would quadruple the MetaTalking. There would have to be whole new guidelines, strictly enforced, which would result in a mass "fuck you I'm leaving" exodus.

Right, but that just doesn't sound so bad to me, at least. Short term pain for long-term gain might be a really good idea as the community continues to scale. Perhaps Matt plans to bring more mods in, but it seems to me that that's just the equivalent of throwing money at a problem without addressing root causes.

I'm not trying to argue with you here -- BANNED FOR MOD SASS! -- but honestly, cracking down on shitcokcery in a visible way might stir up the old ants' nest short term, but certainly make your jobs as mods easier and the community a better place for the future, I'd suggest.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:30 PM on September 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


*munches popcorn excitedly*

Hey wait ... I came here to avoid the urge to wallow in caustic forum drama. The past few days of meta have been like that year I spent lurking the World of Warcraft forums.
posted by cowbellemoo at 7:31 PM on September 11, 2007


The people that shit in atheism threads are not the problem.

The problem is people with sincere, passionate views about atheism, which they will proceed to defend for 500 comments. That's why atheism threads don't work here: because no consensus is ever reached and no one's mind is ever changed.
posted by nasreddin at 7:31 PM on September 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


And (carrying on what I was saying before:) I know well how resistant Matt is to the ol' Iron Fist School of Moderation, and how he prefers to think that everybody can be adults and just get along and all, and his utopian dream of lollipops and unicorns has actually been remarkably successful.

So, yeah, let the Grand Experiment continue, if that's the idea. I just worry that stubborn adherence to principles, if that's what it is, might spell eventual DOOM.

DOOM I say!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:35 PM on September 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


Really? Do you think that post went any intellectually deeper than "people who believe in God are delusional?

I believe the quoted text referred to your bogus claim that it was "another post into which all the anti-Christians could dump their hate", rather than just not living up to your lofty intellectual standards.

Jeez, I never realized Heywood was such a pussy.

When the community was smaller there seemed to be more respect.


Riiiiiight.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 7:35 PM on September 11, 2007


Metafilter: The problem is people with sincere, passionate views about atheism, which they will proceed to defend for 500 comments.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:36 PM on September 11, 2007 [4 favorites]


That's why atheism threads don't work here: because no consensus is ever reached and no one's mind is ever changed.

I'll have you know I make it a point to change my mind with every religious thread I read, although I'm not sure whether to count this one.

[Currently Dianic Wiccan]
posted by L. Fitzgerald Sjoberg at 7:39 PM on September 11, 2007 [5 favorites]


I'm trying to envision something like "The City Milk and the Country Milk," but I'm not getting anywhere. "The Boy Who Cried Milk," maybe?

All the ones I can think of sound like porn.

- Milking Beauty
- The Little Milkmaid
- Milk White and the Seven Dwarves
posted by fleetmouse at 7:43 PM on September 11, 2007


The problem is people with sincere, passionate views about atheism, which they will proceed to defend for 500 comments.

Yeah, sincere passionate views are something we should nip in the bud!

Why's it so bad to have a 500 comment thread, anyway? The only people reading it at that point are the two people still posting. Maybe they're learning things.
posted by blacklite at 7:52 PM on September 11, 2007 [3 favorites]


That's why atheism threads don't work here: because no consensus is ever reached and no one's mind is ever changed.

Is there any place on the internet, anywhere, on any topic, where consensus' (consensi?) are reached and everyone changes their mind? Because I've read a lot of forums, on both varied and specific topics, and as far as I can tell, none of them work that way. Maybe there are forums where everyone gets along and can talk about topics about which they are passionate without offending and getting offended, but I imagine they're probably pretty boring and that nobody hangs around for too long. Every single day, I hate 85% of you, and it's seeing how the other 15% reacts that makes this place great- little bursts of inspiration. And if you all were little clones of me, that would make it hard for me to annoy and subtlty troll you as I talk about things I honestly care about. So in summary, although I think the complaints stated above are valid (and it's good for all of us to get it off chests in a community venue), I don't think things are ever gonna be rainbows and flowers around here, and that's a good thing.

On preview, woodblock100 summarizes the best course of action (given what I said above) nicely: I second the notion that the moderator's knives should work on a small scale (individual troublemakers) rather than the large scale (posts that are _potential_ minefields).
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:54 PM on September 11, 2007 [2 favorites]


the tenor tends more towards obstreperousness and lack of civility as time goes by.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:15 PM


From webster.com - obstreperous: marked by unruly or aggressive noisiness

Thanks stavros, and I thought I was going to make it through the whole day without learning anything. Another day of potential complete ignorance shot to hell, thanks to Metafilter.
posted by marxchivist at 7:55 PM on September 11, 2007


I can't help but notice that the person who posted the thread has felt no need to comment on it further, there or here.

The topic was not the problem, the topic is always acrimonious but it generally gets by, here. We Christians feel a little outnumbered and honestly I think that's basically a good thing. I don't really think it generally turns out worse than any other controversial, partisan topic.

The problem was it was a lousy post, and garbage always rushes into a vacuum. There was nothing in that rather slavish, uncritical review that has not been done to death, not only in the dozens of Hitchens/Dawkins related posts but as topics in their own right. There was literally nothing there to discuss, the minority of relatively substantive discussion was at best tangentially related to the actual post.
posted by nanojath at 7:58 PM on September 11, 2007 [2 favorites]


attract shittons of flags constantly, so we can't do anything else but babysit them
Or you could just ignore the flags and mod things on their merits. Hundreds of Mefites can be wrong. As it sits now, that thread looks relatively reasonable, apart from the comments from people saying it's about to go to shit, any comment now.
posted by bonaldi at 7:59 PM on September 11, 2007


This was a good delete. Not a very interesting post about atheism or theism or anything else.
posted by washburn at 7:59 PM on September 11, 2007


Also, for me the issue isn't really that people were fighting in the thread, but just that it's a pretty sure bet that people know what these two guys think about religion, and the post gives no hint that there's anything in these links other than exactly what we'd expect.
posted by washburn at 8:04 PM on September 11, 2007


You know, there are some fine points in this thread, but it's just lame that things get deleted because people might be offended or we'll have an unhappy discussion, whereas LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE! stays.

Yeah, okay, maybe it wasn't a post that made good points about atheism or theism and it was just something to read so we could discuss it.

This is, of course, ye old links vs comments debate.
posted by blacklite at 8:06 PM on September 11, 2007


Or you could just ignore the flags and mod things on their merits.

Which would require reworking an otherwise-functional flag admin interface to implement some sort of specific exception for this subset of threads that piss tons of people off but shouldn't be dealt with because some folks don't like seeing them deleted.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:19 PM on September 11, 2007


Meting out lots of little timeouts wouldn't actually solve this problem and would quadruple the MetaTalking.

How can they MeTa when they're banned. A lot of little timeouts of a week's duration with an admonition of "if you don't like it don't read it" would do wonders for the "oh so weary" crowd.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:19 PM on September 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


Which would require reworking an otherwise-functional flag admin interface to implement some sort of specific exception for this subset of threads that piss tons of people off but shouldn't be dealt with because some folks don't like seeing them deleted.

Well, what's the point of having (more) mods then? Just get pb to make it automatic: 100 flags and comment/post gets deleted. If you're deleting stuff mostly because it makes a mess of your flagging system ... well, shit.
posted by bonaldi at 8:23 PM on September 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


Every single day, I hate 85% of you

Well, every single day, we hate 85% of you! But it's that wonderful, lovable 15% that makes it all worthwhile in the end!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:27 PM on September 11, 2007


mathowie writes "a fat-person-circumcising-a-declawed-cat-in-a-SUV post for mefi"

The youtubing of that would get at least a 100 favourites I'd bet.

stavrosthewonderchicken writes "I'm not trying to argue with you here -- BANNED FOR MOD SASS! -- but honestly, cracking down on shitcokcery in a visible way might stir up the old ants' nest short term, but certainly make your jobs as mods easier and the community a better place for the future, I'd suggest."

It's really easy to swing too far over to the fist of godStalin side and thereby piss off and alienate a significant portion of the userbase that isn't directly affected. I've seen it time and time again in the last 20 years. Some mod/board op/forum admin gets drunk with the power of their vision and six months later the mailing list/BBS/web site is a pale shell of it's former self because practically everyone has left.
posted by Mitheral at 8:31 PM on September 11, 2007


I mean seriously, WTF? You don't mod heavily flagged things on merit, but just to clean up the fucking admin screen? Jesus H Christ.

Hey guys, it's open season on any thread you don't like! Just get a gang of mates to flag it and it'll vanish!
posted by bonaldi at 8:34 PM on September 11, 2007 [3 favorites]


I know the number of favorites we are able to give have recently been curtailed; has the same been done for flags? Might make people a little more judicious in their use.
posted by landis at 8:37 PM on September 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter: Another day of potential complete ignorance shot to hell

five fresh fish writes "How can they MeTa when they're banned."

What are you new here? Lots of the potential timeoutees have little personality cults willing to go to bat for them.
posted by Mitheral at 8:38 PM on September 11, 2007


If you're deleting stuff mostly because it makes a mess of your flagging system ... well, shit.

Hey, bonaldi, chill out. We're paying attention to stuff when it comes up in the flagging system. That's what the system is there for. It works a fuckload better, I'd wager, than having unchecked in-thread meta-screeds and ranting emails and piles of metatalk threads started because there's no clear recourse, especially as the userbase has continued to scale.

Sometimes we delete things that get a lot of flags. Sometimes we clean out the flags and shrug it off as not really that much of a problem for the site. Sometimes it's a real fence issue and we let it simmer to see what happens.

Sometimes, very specific types of behavior generate piles of negative attention from a wide variety of people with shocking consistency. We kind of notice that happening, and react to it.

Lots of flags have never been an auto-delete, and never will be, but they indicate that something is going on that is generating an aggregate response from the userbase. When that response is so consistent and is not confined to some usual-suspects goon squad of flaggers, that's a pretty good sign that the community feedback is that This Is Kind Of A Problem. That other folks dislike that reaction doesn't really change a damn thing.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:44 PM on September 11, 2007


subset of threads that piss tons of people off . . . .
I'm just curious as to how many actual people make up "tons". 50? 100? 1000? In other words, just how many people does it take to sway the direction of a "community" of over 50,000? And if the number is less than 10% of the whole, what lesson can we take from that?
On preview: so its not just the number of flags, but which individuals are doing the flagging that carries the weight?
posted by landis at 8:46 PM on September 11, 2007


just how many people does it take to sway the direction of a "community" of over 50,000?

Most of the 50,000 users here are inactive.
posted by nasreddin at 8:48 PM on September 11, 2007


Sometimes we clean out the flags and shrug it off as not really that much of a problem for the site
Well, this is kinda the exact opposite of "we can't mod on merit because it'd mean changing the flagging system", isn't it?

It's basically exactly what I was asking for originally, when Jess said you have to babysit threads with "shittons of flags". Just clear the fuckers out and treat it on its merits.

That other folks dislike that reaction doesn't really change a damn thing.
See, this is totally inconsistent. If -- and I'm not saying this is a good idea, just conjecturing -- flagging was open, you might find equal numbers "unflagging" a heavily flagged thread. And what then? Which side of the community feedback wins?
posted by bonaldi at 8:52 PM on September 11, 2007


Okay, then say that 10% of the 50,000 are actually interacting w/ the site; I'm still curious as to how many have to complain to get action. If even 50 out of a thousand are enough, is that cause for concern?
posted by landis at 8:53 PM on September 11, 2007


Some folk were enjoying the debate, as in liking to see intelligent folks batting ideas around.

really intelligent folks pick on ideas that bat THEM around

The people that shit in atheism threads are not the problem.

let's face facts - some of these posts, including this one, are nothing but trolls, as are some of the comments and the old, pained, "you shat in my toilet!" complaints
posted by pyramid termite at 8:56 PM on September 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


85% of the time, I hate all of you.
posted by dg at 8:57 PM on September 11, 2007


The fact that it was deleted proves there is a God.
posted by Sailormom at 8:58 PM on September 11, 2007


Pretty much. Many of you shits are going to need someone to issue fatwas. It's just something people do. It should be fine in an entirely new way as to die in horrible, painful ways we will realize that all this stellar wit would probably get more favorites ;)
posted by Burhanistan at 9:03 PM on September 11, 2007


Some mod/board op/forum admin gets drunk with the power of their vision and six months later the mailing list/BBS/web site is a pale shell of it's former self because practically everyone has left.

I hear you. It's a fine line to walk. I don't envy jessamyn and cortex (mathowie's human shields (heh)) at all, and I think they do the absolute best they can under the circumstances. I do wonder, now that there's a triumvirate rather than Matt alone, if they do talk much about the larger questions and philosophy of steering the Good Ship Metafilter, or if it's pretty much laissez-faire statusquocracy. *shrugs*
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:05 PM on September 11, 2007


*runs in, breathless*

What'd I miss? Is someone going to threaten to cut off his or her hand?
posted by fandango_matt at 9:11 PM on September 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


if they do talk much about the larger questions and philosophy of steering the Good Ship Metafilter

Yes, pretty much every time there is a contentious MeTa thread with solid numbers of people on both sides we tend to talk about whatever the underlying issue is that led to the thread. The tough part is that the bigger the ship gets, the more difficult it is to steer and it's pretty tough to make anything but the tiniest guideline adjustments without it being a Big Deal to at least some of the people that were heavily involved with the issue in the first place. So, there's a "tread lightly" approch to doing anything dramatically different, which is probably an okay thing.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:16 PM on September 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


Thanks, jess. I was curious.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:21 PM on September 11, 2007


. . .with solid numbers . . . .
Again, what exactly are these numbers? Surely, it can't be that hard to provide this information.
posted by landis at 9:25 PM on September 11, 2007


Do the actual numbers really matter? Isn't it enough to say that it's flagged way more than the noise floor for normal/uncontentious posts?
posted by Rhomboid at 9:33 PM on September 11, 2007


Well, seeing as only 3 people (ok, pb probably can see too) can know what's been flagged to shit, then we pretty much have to take the mods on their word, and frankly, that's not going very far today.
posted by BeerFilter at 9:35 PM on September 11, 2007


Of course it is hard to provide the numbers. As soon as you name a number you've established a benchmark that will forever be resurrected.
I'd still like to know the number though :P
posted by Chuckles at 9:36 PM on September 11, 2007


Actual numbers would give us a better idea of just how many people it takes to force the mods into action. Is it 10% of members currently online? 1% of odd-numbered users? Isn't anyone else curious about the criteria used in the decision-making process? People here get upset about the fact that 10% of the US own 90% of the country. I guess you could say I'm just wondering about the size of the controlling class here on mefi.
posted by landis at 9:41 PM on September 11, 2007


Actually, I'm pretty sure numbers are discussed in a MetaTalk somewhere (though they might be a little out of date). No doubt "flagged all to hell" implies less than 50, hopefully more than 10.

Please - if anything is to come of this at all - please let no one conflate flags on posts with flags on comments.
posted by Chuckles at 9:48 PM on September 11, 2007


I've prayed next to a new thread as this is manageable and you managed to eat and copulate also.

With the obligatory high pitched screaming, of course.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:54 PM on September 11, 2007


How do you get with the royal family comment, rscham, but I assume links will be able to vote against Bush. The Bushies hate the 50% who don't wear their alliances on their life. It's nothing strictly to do for you.

You may take up any additional processor - after all, this is were you need time to cut the shit with Tom Wolfe and the Dreaming stories. When he (very rarely) slips back into your mouth" is a joke about Apples.

Steve@ can be stopped by paper or skin.
posted by Jimbob at 10:03 PM on September 11, 2007


Since the mods seem to be unable to reply, I guess "less than 50" is the best answer I'll get. Which certainly comes down to fewer than 1% of users. So much for community; I guess it's just a stupid website.

If you need a community, period, find one, because this site isn't it.
posted by landis at 10:04 PM on September 11, 2007


Oh for fuck's sakes, quit it, you two. This is why we can't have nice things.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:04 PM on September 11, 2007


Fucking ridiculous.

"how do I get my kid to like milk?" is a moot point - he doesn't need to like it, all you need is the will and the right equipment.

On-topic: If it had been an interview or roundtable discussion, it would've been a decent post. That FPP was the equivalent of The Pope reviewing the latest edition of the Bible. Props to Hitchens for not taking the easy route and slagging only the white, moneyed believers, though.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:05 PM on September 11, 2007


On preview: so its not just the number of flags, but which individuals are doing the flagging that carries the weight?

There are occasions when the individual doing the flagging devalues the flag a bit. They're pretty rare, but I can remember a few occasions where I've seen someone flag something and be the only one to flag it, checked out the something they've flagged, and pretty much rolled my eyes.

The point is that flagging is often meaningful as a group activity. Folks have invoked here a couple time the idea that because even with relatively big pile of flags, it's only a tiny percentage of the mefi population dropping said flags; my response is that in any metatalk thread like this, the people objecting to a deletion or some flag-driven decision are also a tiny percentage. Hell, flagging doesn't even offer the motivation of visibility that commenting here does.

We will never, ever be able to base administrative decisions on a large representative sample. The issue with the flagging behavior we see is that it's not generally the same sample each time; if it were, that'd be more of a problem for using flags as a measurement tool. That the individuals doing the flagging doesn't matter is what's so important.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:05 PM on September 11, 2007


Yeah, once again, a bad deletion with an insulting and snarky reason.


Which just encourages thread shitting, because it reinforces that if you don't like a thread, shit in it enough and an admin will delete the thread.

People who post here put time and effort into making posts. Sure, delete them if you must, but don't add insult to injury with snarky deletion reasons. That's just rude.

Again, it's the posters and commenters who drive the site. Delete if you must, but try -- bite your tongue and just try to pretend to be polite about it. Don't bite the hands that feed the site.

Snark just looks bad, and this is why: you implicitly demand discipline from posters, discipline not to post things that are "bad for Metafilter", "op-eds", too many posts about subjects the admins arbitrarily decide are "bad" (iraq, torture, Dawkins, lolxians, newsfilter), but by being snarky you the admins don't show the same discipline when deleting posts.

Don't you get how insulting it is to posters when you mock them along with the delete? It's like saying "you should have been more careful crafting the post, but I can be as infelicitous as I wanna be!" Shouldn't it be obvious that if you're demanding mature discretion by posters, that you should show the same when deleting? It's just commonsense, good public relations, mere simple politeness.

(Frankly, I've given up on spending the time to craft really "thick", multi-link posts, because it's just too likely that someone (and I hate to say it, but usually jess) will trash all the effort I've put into it, and with a sarcastic, passive-aggressive, snarky adolescent "reason". So now, if I post at all, I generally post single-links. That way, if it gets deleted, I haven't lost too much.)
posted by orthogonality at 10:05 PM on September 11, 2007 [10 favorites]


(By which I meant Burhanistan and Jimbob pasting in markovisms.)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:05 PM on September 11, 2007


And put me down as one that believes the fucking Markovfilter is going to be the final nail in the coffin for this place.
posted by landis at 10:06 PM on September 11, 2007 [2 favorites]


Thanks, cortex, for your reply. Like most things on mefi, the flagging system is a less than perfect solution; I understand. But as the site "scales up", perhaps a new method should be investigated. Where's the logic in deleting a post in which 40 people have commented due to the flags of 20? (All numbers pulled out of my ass; used only for illustration).

And I must say orthogonality has some good points in his comment above. Sometimes it seems the admins regard for mefi is below the average. Does familiarity have to breed contempt?
posted by landis at 10:18 PM on September 11, 2007


The thing is, I think we all hold mefi in pretty goddam high regard. Matt has said more than once that, yes, it's only a website—but as an attempt to defuse drama, not to discount the value of the place. Mefi is awesome, and we'd all like to see it stay that way.

Deletions reasons, like Metatalk posts, tend to get made in the heat of the moment. We're making an effort to not let what can at times be considerable frustration slip out, but it's not contempt in any case, and it's because concern rather than contempt drives what we're doing that we've been trying to react positively to the criticisms of deletion reasons rather than telling people to go stuff it on the subject.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:30 PM on September 11, 2007


Enh. I was having an interesting discussion in that thread, but seeing it closed didn't ruin my day. I understand the underlying reasoning ("Not this shit again, and one link? C'mon.") I'm concerned that there will one day be a really good atheism/Dawkins/Hitchens/whatever post, filled with new and interesting links, that'll get deleted just because of the topic's stigma, but in the final analysis, if one really, really needs to argue about the subject until your fingers bleed, there's always alt.atheism. I'll be over here, not opening XNews.
posted by solid-one-love at 10:38 PM on September 11, 2007


landis writes "And put me down as one that believes the fucking Markovfilter is going to be the final nail in the coffin for this place."

Flag'em as noise. It certainly qualifies.
posted by Mitheral at 10:39 PM on September 11, 2007


Oh, poor little orthogonality.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 10:47 PM on September 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


Really the problem with these threads isn't that they take up space or annoy the mods or anyone else terribly who doesn't particpate in them. It's the "flagged all to shit" part where not only is the thread flagged a lot, but each individual shitty bile-filled comment is also flagged all to shit so the flag queue fills up with a bunch of generally pissed off people all of whom flag only their last favorite of the 80+ comment thread so all we can do, if we let a thread like that live its natural life of a few days is

1. abandon it entirely and let everyone call each other names and shit down each other's necks
2. try to moderate it as if it were a "normal" thread which it isn't.

Often, we choose the first option.


So apparently, when I was flagging posts that derailed the thread, I actually was causing the thread to be locked. This was the exact opposite of my goal. Good to know.
posted by spaltavian at 10:50 PM on September 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


I bet the overwhelming majority of posters have never had a post deleted while, in contrast, a small number of posters have had multiple posts deleted. Yet, apparently, given orthogonality's comment, they don't learn anything from it except to care less about the posts they make.

It's not difficult to write posts that don't get deleted. And it's even easier to write posts that avoid being deleted with snippy deletion reasons. If you've gotten a snippy deletion reason more than once, then you're an imbecile.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 10:50 PM on September 11, 2007 [4 favorites]


I got EB to be succinct? Wow! ;)
posted by orthogonality at 10:51 PM on September 11, 2007


Oh, I commented too soon!
posted by orthogonality at 10:52 PM on September 11, 2007


I haven't been around (at least, when it come to posting) for very long, but I read mefi long before I signed up; on slow days, I sometimes browse the archives of all the subsites, catching up on the history of the place and the people that have made it what it is. This sense of a special place is what made me what to be a member. But it's also this partial understanding of the good ship mefi that makes me bemoan the newer posters that (as I've said before) have no idea who quonsar is, or what he has in his pants and the like. When I join a new group, I try to get a feeling for the players and the background; something sadly missing in some here. And I have seen the place grow by leaps; here I think might be the problem. mathowie strapped himself to an acorn that is rapidly becoming not an oak, but a small forest. It must by turns frighten, piss off, and elate him (and by extention, cortex and jess).

But what works for 20000 doesn't for 50000+. I know that all members aren't active, but I see a lot of user numbers much newer than mine all over the site. And it's hard to feel a sense of shared anything with such a constant influx of new users. Yes, it takes time to get to know new people; it just worries me that so many of the comments here would not be out of place on something awful, fark, or (god forbid) a more intelligent youtuber. Quality always suffers from quantity. And knowing what mefi has been makes me fear for what I at times see it becoming. If I feel this, perhaps the admins and older users feel it even more. Which makes the occasional (okay, somewhat frequent) snark and bitching from all sides understandable.

It's been said that humans work best in groups of less than 200; how that scales to online relationships, I don't know. But I guess we're figuring that out.
posted by landis at 10:57 PM on September 11, 2007


Kathy Griffin is my new hero
posted by homunculus at 11:02 PM on September 11, 2007


“Oh, I commented too soon!”

The first comment was just a snipe, contentless. The second elucidated my view. You really think the first was better?

I know that my comments are too long, but surely short sentences that are just zingers isn't the best alternative.

Of course, you were just making a joke and slightly sniping back at me. Still. I can't say I scroll past people's one-line snipes, because they are easy to read. But, mentally, I see them as mostly as worthless of my attention as a lot of people probably see my comments. Or, put another way, I'm sure people see my multi-paragraph, long-winded comments and think "blah, blah, blah". But I pretty much think that about the predictable little one-line comments that are so common. Just more of the same, well, nothing.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 11:03 PM on September 11, 2007


... put me down as one that believes the fucking Markovfilter is going to be the final nail in the coffin for this place.
I wouldn't go that far but, despite being all cool and funny and shit, I hope to god it goes away soon, because it's a Bad Thing for MeFi, on balance. The small example in this thread (where stavros responded appropriately) is but the thin end of the wedge. Hopefully, a new shiny thing will come along soon and it won't sustain widespread use.
posted by dg at 11:11 PM on September 11, 2007


First Heywood Mogroot leaves, now Burhanistan is logging out. We will never forget September 11.
posted by fandango_matt at 11:12 PM on September 11, 2007


Our lives have been forever changed.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 11:50 PM on September 11, 2007


That wasn't markovfilter. It's what I really think. Steve_at_Linwood really can be stopped by paper or skin. Think about that for a while.

How many fucking metatalk threads do we need to have about deleted posts and deleted comments and detachable penises anyway? What are people hoping to achieve? Get the fuck over it.

Metafilter: Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
posted by Jimbob at 12:06 AM on September 12, 2007


We will find those WMDs, you know. And when we do ...
posted by Wolof at 12:07 AM on September 12, 2007


I am sad that Burhanistan is leaving.
posted by Kwine at 12:20 AM on September 12, 2007


Me, too.
posted by landis at 12:22 AM on September 12, 2007


I should think it's child's play to rig up a Bayesian-style tool that correlates user names, flag types, and admin decisions. Some people are going to consistently make good flags that you ought to pay attention to; some people can be very safely ignored.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:23 AM on September 12, 2007


I'd ignore everyone who flags more than four times a week. Those are the complainers. In all situations in life, those people can be safely ignored.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 12:36 AM on September 12, 2007


Hopefully, a new shiny thing will come along soon and it won't sustain widespread use.

Which is inevitable, yeah. Note that the world didn't end in 2003 when GeneFilter hit the scene, either; toys wear out fast here, and long-term markov abuse should be flagged like any other noise (that is, context'll matter inna final analysis). Today's sort of wacky demonstrative outlier day because the shininess is at peak level, but regardless.

I should think it's child's play to rig up a Bayesian-style tool that correlates user names, flag types, and admin decisions.

No promises or anything, but I think it's an interesting question and I may do at least some poking in that direction just for the heck of it.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:33 AM on September 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


The thread was set up for failure to begin with because of all the initial snark comments, which is more annoying than the content of the post itself. If you think a post is rubbish, flag and move on, don't ruin it anymore than it already is.

I first opposed the deletion, but after reading the thread I completely agree. I just think the reason was a little off.
posted by ageispolis at 6:04 AM on September 12, 2007


metatalk_comment 452111 noise quonsar

yes, yes, hurf durf humor flagger
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:21 AM on September 12, 2007


Jessamyn: I don't care about Dawkins v. Hitchens personally
Perhaps if you'd put that in as your deletion reason we'd all feel we had a better idea of what was going on around ere.
posted by nowonmai at 6:24 AM on September 12, 2007


4 of Hitchens & 5 of Dawkins (one a month, about), and now a unique one that combines the two

YES! You've had lots of Hitchens and even more Dawkins, but now... NOW you have Hitchens and Dawkins TOGETHER! FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME! Tickets are going fast—act now!

Crap post, good deletion; shut yer piehole, whiners.

Also, stavros is right on the money, especially about idiots posting Markovcomments in random threads. Don't make them take away our MarkovFilter, fucktards!
posted by languagehat at 6:25 AM on September 12, 2007


Which would require reworking an otherwise-functional flag admin interface to implement some sort of specific exception for this subset of threads that piss tons of people off but shouldn't be dealt with because some folks don't like seeing them deleted.

Yes!

The flagging system and the recruitment of Jessamyn and Cortex has turned moderation into something Matt did as a last resort when he had time to an actual activity where the three of you actively sit down and go through everyone's posts and comments and decide whether each of them is "good for the site". It may be required due to the size of the site, but that doesn't mean it doesn't suck.

Hell, flagging doesn't even offer the motivation of visibility that commenting here does.

Leaving things up doesn't offer the motivation of visibility that a snarky deletion reason does.
posted by cillit bang at 6:42 AM on September 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


You got your Hitchens in my Dawkins you cockbag whiner!
You got your Dawkins in my Hitchens you fat-ass homoerotic neocon!

Great rant, would read again!!!!!! AAA+++++++
posted by Mister_A at 6:52 AM on September 12, 2007


I think you've got the timeline inverted, actually, cb: the scaling of the site to the point where Matt was unable to keep up with all the random crap going on on the site to his satisfaction is what led to the flagging system and the recruiting.

There are days now and then when I pretty much don't delete or fix anything or get a single email about mefi stuff. Those are nice, quiet, peaceful days. A bit eerie, granted, but not something that leaves me hankerin' for something to go break.

I'm sorry that the way mefi has continued to grow has led to changes in dynamics that longer-time folks don't like. I am one of those folks, and the slow and steady changing of the guard as old users log out and new users sign up gets me a little misty at times too, but that actually is The Community right there; it feels at times like the only actual sufficient answer to complaints around here would be to ban anyone over 14k, lock down membership, and throw away the key.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:58 AM on September 12, 2007


I've given up on spending the time to craft really "thick", multi-link posts, because it's just too likely that someone (and I hate to say it, but usually jess) will trash all the effort I've put into it, and with a sarcastic, passive-aggressive, snarky adolescent "reason".

I usually ignore your angryman jabs at me, but this is flat out not borne out by data. Almost all of my deletion reasons on your deleted posts -- and it's coincidence that they happened to be from me, something about the fact that we're both on the east coast maybe? -- have been civil in the past several months.In fact they often say things like "please". Either you think that this is just dripping sarcasm, or you carry such a rage-on for me that you choose to remember what suits your own conclusions. So, here they are:

"while I appreciate that you posted earlier in the day this post is still a bunch of OMG blockquotes even though linking to fairly decent articles but you really have to consider both the style and the substance around here"

"this is one of those post-post trainwrecks we were talking about in Meta just today.... If your political post, loosely paraphrased is just "look at these assholes" it is probably not a good post for metafilter."

"broken video link - also MeFi is not your go-to resource for outing snuff films, for future reference."

"grind grind grind grind."

"Don't do this here please. You know how use more inside. Don't bogart the front page with Iraqfilter torture posts."

"outragefilter "

"please stop, or try to make your post not sound like some LOL XIAN mefi thread" (older rfd from AskMe)

That's every attributed deletion I've ever made on your posts and there are probably a few more that aren't attributed. I'll admit, I could have been a little bit more explanatory than "outrage filter" or "grind grind etc" but really as someone who has been here two and a half years and has had more posts deleted than many people make in that time, I feel that you could be meeting me halfway here.

If one of the goals in making a post to MeFi is not to have it deleted, as EB says, that's not a very high bar to set, for anyone. I don't think you're confused why any of your posts are removed, I just think you like to push the envelope and then complain when we push back. You're welcome to dislike me for any reason whatsoever, but I'm not being passive-aggressive here.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:22 AM on September 12, 2007 [3 favorites]


only actual sufficient answer to complaints around here would be to ban anyone over 14k, lock down membership, and throw away the key.

I'd suggest you do that then! That other people wouldn't like that reaction shouldn't mean a damn thing. The community has spoken.
posted by bonaldi at 7:25 AM on September 12, 2007


I think it's sad that a lot of newer users missed out on the golden days when Quonsar was entertaining. (Sometimes doing what's best for yourself deprives the community of chortles and bubble-poppings, but we have no obligatory martyrs on the Intartubes.)

And the best way to not get an FPP deleted is to not make it at all. It's easier that way. "Those who can't, comment."

And there's no chance membership will be closed: mathowie has a family to support now and needs the advertising revenue a growing userbase generates. In fact, I think he might as well go ahead and sell this place to AOL or Salon.com, then cortex and pb can start ZillaFilter and Jess can write the Great American Library Novel. (And I'll devote more time to MY blog, my campaign to bring back Usenet, and scoping lots of pr0n.)

And in closing, Ethereal Bligh said: "I'd ignore everyone who flags more than four times a week. Those are the complainers. In all situations in life, those people can be safely ignored." So sometimes Bligh is not only succint but absolutely right on. (Maybe I'll have to stalk EB since Burhanistan fled in tears.)
posted by davy at 7:45 AM on September 12, 2007


To be clear, I meant 14,000 even.

*wiggles eyebrows*
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:45 AM on September 12, 2007


Hey!
posted by yhbc at 7:46 AM on September 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


In fact, I think he might as well go ahead and sell this place to AOL

You do? Gee, why haven't you told us this before?
posted by flashboy at 7:56 AM on September 12, 2007


Hush, n00b.
posted by davy at 7:57 AM on September 12, 2007


"To be clear, I meant 14,000 even." That's you & me both, flashboy.
posted by davy at 7:58 AM on September 12, 2007


Hey!
posted by languagehat at 7:59 AM on September 12, 2007


"What'd I miss? Is someone going to threaten to cut off his or her hand?"

I laughed during a recent performance of Titus Andronicus, thinking of Son of Minya.

"The tough part is that the bigger the ship gets, the more difficult it is to steer and it's pretty tough to make anything but the tiniest guideline adjustments without it being a Big Deal to at least some of the people that were heavily involved with the issue in the first place."

Might I introduce you to the Platonic allegory of the ship?

"If you need a community, period, find one, because this site isn't it."

Oh, shut the fuck up, man. I just met a dude from halfway 'round the world and had a beer with him because of this community. That your whining ass can't make friends is your own goddamned problem, and I'm sick of your Johnny-come-lately bitching. Fuck off if you don't like the site—it was like this before you got here, and I can't really imagine missing your contribution much.
posted by klangklangston at 8:20 AM on September 12, 2007 [3 favorites]


Maybe we should have a set list of deletion reasons just as we have a set list of flags.
posted by frecklefaerie at 8:22 AM on September 12, 2007


I'm not even in the top 100 of the comment contribution index. And languagehat is.

I'll work on that later. Today I've got to wank into a cup so the Nurse Practicioner can see if my vasectomy took. (Who wants to fail to have my baby? Not you, languagehat.)

And about "Maybe we should have a set list of deletion reasons just as we have a set list of flags" -- but that's too simple and it deprives the Mod Squad of a chance to practice their "cutting sarcasm." Away from their bathroom mirrors, I mean. In my middle school (grades 6-8) we had something called a Safety Patrol, wherein some of us students (often also Boy Scouts, coincidentally I swear) got to wear special belts and badges and monitor other students in the halls; I was a Safety Patrolman in 7th grade so I understand where they're coming from.
posted by davy at 8:32 AM on September 12, 2007


Davy they have plenty of time to show off their biting sarcasm since all of their remotely funny comments get attacked by the favorites squad.
posted by frecklefaerie at 8:42 AM on September 12, 2007


Honestly, every FPP is not a unique and precious snowflake. Heywood's behavior in response to the deletion was just dumb. As for the deletion itself it's difficult to even be bothered enough to formulate an opinion one way or the other. I've complained about bad deletion reasons before but here the reason wasn't even so terrible. It certainly got the point across. And heck, aybe we ought to allow the admins a few deletion passes every month just because. Nobody should miss one FPP so much that they have to storm away and slam the door behind them.
posted by nixerman at 8:48 AM on September 12, 2007


Hey, hey, hey!

Are you saying none of those sub-1400 users are part of some usual-suspects goon squad of flaggers?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 8:52 AM on September 12, 2007


About flogging, I'd also ignore people who repeatedly flag certain users, e.g., I don't think amberglow and I should be able to drive Bligh off. Let's not involve the Mod Squad in our "battles for justice."

Oh, and NOW mousing over or clicking on a username gets "/username.mefi/[username]" instead of an orderly number. As Artie used to ay on "Laugh In," veddy intelestink.
posted by davy at 9:17 AM on September 12, 2007


Oh wait, that only happens during comment preview. Never mind. How long have I been failing to notice that?
posted by davy at 9:19 AM on September 12, 2007


You people lie like rugs, and swear a lot, too.
posted by breezeway at 9:38 AM on September 12, 2007


About flogging
We can have the dead horse with you by Thursday noon latest, davy. You'll just have to soldier on alone 'til then.
posted by Abiezer at 9:40 AM on September 12, 2007


"a fat-person-circumcising-a-declawed-cat-in-a-SUV post for mefi"

Christopher Hitchens vs. Ann Coulter. Discuss.
posted by ericb at 9:41 AM on September 12, 2007


I'd ignore everyone who flags more than four times a week. Those are the complainers. In all situations in life, those people can be safely ignored.

Hey, not everyone has the time to cobble together tedious comments dripping with smug condescension and take five scrolls of the mouse wheel to get past to register their disagreement or personal judgment on every silly thing that comes along.

I was pro-less snarky deletion reasons for a while, but considering the shit jessamyn, cortex, and matt take regardless of their tone, why the fuck not? Blaming them for setting a poor example is bullshit; we're all adults here, and no one is forcing us to act a certain way. If you're justifying shitty behavior by saying "Well, the mods do it too!" then it's only fair that you also invest the same amount of constructive time and energy they do.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:58 AM on September 12, 2007 [2 favorites]


I'd ignore everyone who flags more than four times a week. Those are the complainers. In all situations in life, those people can be safely ignored.

i'd ignore the people who make up arbitrary rules to satisfy their own goals first, sailor.
posted by dflemingdotorg at 10:05 AM on September 12, 2007


By the way, the MeFi Contribution Index thing is broken again - it says we have all been members since July 14, 1999.
posted by yhbc at 10:20 AM on September 12, 2007


Yeah, I think it's been broken for a while, actually.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:23 AM on September 12, 2007


I think that was a quick hack that Dan did just to get it working at all, commish. He was traveling and Matt had changed the user page layout, or something like that.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:24 AM on September 12, 2007


"a fat-person-circumcising-a-declawed-cat-in-a-SUV post for mefi"

If I wasn't swamped with work, I'd be composing a 419-style letter asking for a declawed cat, an SUV, and a lot of snack foods to make this dream a reality.

as is, I am slogging away at this silly temp job. [sigh]
posted by heeeraldo at 11:15 AM on September 12, 2007


That wasn't markovfilter. It's what I really think.
Yeah, that thought crossed my mind, but I gave you the benefit of the doubt ;-)
posted by dg at 3:23 PM on September 12, 2007


Goodbye everyone, You people all absolutely disgust me. Since there has been discussion regarding whether or not my posts to this community are relevant, I have decided to no longer post here. I THOUGHT THIS COMMUNITY WAS FULL OF LOVE BUT I SEE THEY ARE FULL OF HATERS AND PEOPLE WHO JUST COMMENT, JUST TO INSULT A FELLOW MEMBER. Well I tried pleasing everyone and it's just waisting my time. You don't feel creative? Are your friends changing? Maybe life is different. Maybe that's good. Maybe you need to spend a few years alone. this community would be much better if you didnt jump down every persons throat on almost every damn post. i'm out of here. i am not sad about it either.
posted by shmegegge at 3:33 PM on September 12, 2007


"Goodbye everyone," said shmegegge.

'Oh no! Don't go! You were just getting to be FUN!' says davy.
posted by davy at 4:43 PM on September 12, 2007


But it's also this partial understanding of the good ship mefi that makes me bemoan the newer posters that (as I've said before) have no idea who quonsar is, or what he has in his pants and the like.

I joined about two weeks before you did. I know who quonsar is and I recognize the fish joke. But that whole clust of injokes isn't that relevant to me. It's comparable to the pop-culture and in-jokes of people who came of age either fifteen years before you or fifteen years after you. Fine for them but not really yours.

And it's hard to feel a sense of shared anything with such a constant influx of new users.

You can feel a sense of shared experience. But you have to put more effort into pursuing those connections and relationships, just as you would have to do in a larger city in real life.
posted by jason's_planet at 5:29 PM on September 12, 2007


jason, wait, you're really in northern Myanmar?
posted by davy at 7:11 PM on September 12, 2007


jessamyn writes "You're welcome to dislike me for any reason whatsoever, but I'm not being passive-aggressive here."

Jess, I don't dislike you (and your Dad's something of a rockstar to me), and I accept that you're not being passive-aggressive.

But it does come across that way.

I think of Mefi as a potluck dinner: we all bring our covered dishes. It's fine if the mods say, "sorry, that dish is too salty/not vegan/too fattening for this gathering but thanks for coming", but that's altogether different from "eww, that anchovy shit's nasty and gross, and I hate fish, and the dish looks like you bought it at the Dollar Store".

It's fine if the editor of a magazine (or a fan-zine, or a community blog) says, "that's not one of your best submissions, so we're rejecting it", but it's another thing if he tries to be all "cool" and "hip" and snarky and says, "don't get that grind grind grind up in ma grill grill grill".

I'm not angry with you (and I don't think I'm making an "angryman jab"), and I understand modding is hard work. All I'm asking is that if you're going to take the responsibility to do it, take some pains not to make it look like you're being dismissive and sarcastic and snarky. Believe me, in most jobs there are days when you want to tell clients or colleagues, "what, are you a complete dumbass?", but I don't, as value keeping the peace over venting.

I'm sure you wouldn't say to a patron of your library, "why do you want to waste time reading that Jackie Collins?" or "alphabetical order: learn it, love it, jackass". Maybe similar tongue-biting politeness doesn't apply to jobs like web-blog-modding, I wouldn't know.

And while I appreciate your listing the deletions reasons you gave to my post, I'm not commenting to complain about your snark to me; it's a more general matter that others have noticed and been offended by.

(But since you listed them, as to the Romney-campaign-using-fake-cop-badges post, would that really have been deleted if rockhopper hadn't derailed and shat all over it? Frankly, it seemed like a pretty good if newsfilter post for Mefi.)

Again, thanks for all the good work you do, and for doing it professionally.
posted by orthogonality at 7:20 PM on September 12, 2007


Of all the mods I must say that Jess seems least likely to give a smart ass deletion reason, and certainly the least likely to give a one that might end up being hurtful. I have had issues over her somewhat formulaic moderation in AskMe, but happily that seems to have disappeared. I think it was just moderation training wheels, and moderating something like MeFi is incredibly tough. The players are not school kids, but rather a fairly intelligent and often opinionated and outspoken group. Matt makes some pretty snarky deletions, but his judgment and heart are too big for it to hurt people's feelings very often. Cortex seems to still be feeling his way. He is a typical snarky, fun loving user, always looking for a humorous angle on things. That is fine for most of us regular types, but when you are moderating sometimes that style can be a little off putting, insulting even. He certainly doesn't mean it that way, and even the insulted folk probably realize that. I am sure it won't be long before he comes around, you can already sort of see it. He loves to joke in the threads, but he has become a little more thoughtful in the moderation end. I am not sure why anyone would want this job. The work is demanding, the audience is a hundred fold more demanding and the kudos seem few. I think Matt, Jess and Cortex are all doing a great job, but hey, that does not mean people, including me, won't complain.
posted by caddis at 8:02 PM on September 12, 2007


davy writes "I'm not even in the top 100 of the comment contribution index. And languagehat is."

Cripes I'm 57. I'd better find a job quick.
posted by Mitheral at 8:14 PM on September 12, 2007


I agree with caddis: Jessamyn is a thoughtful person, unlikely to be nasty in her approach to posters. Unfortunately, some people have very thin skins, but I don't think it's other people's duty to pamper them.
posted by languagehat at 7:52 AM on September 13, 2007


"It's fine if the editor of a magazine (or a fan-zine, or a community blog) says, "that's not one of your best submissions, so we're rejecting it", but it's another thing if he tries to be all "cool" and "hip" and snarky and says, "don't get that grind grind grind up in ma grill grill grill".

Hey, I've got a solution for you—don't make shitty axe-grinding posts. Then you won't have to worry about the deletion reason!

You know it when you make 'em, but somewhere deep inside you convince yourself that either something's so important that it'll get by or that this one is different because it's 38% more linky or that someone else is gonna post it unless you get there first, so you go ahead and do it anyway.

But making it Jessamyn's problem that she's not sufficiently coddling when you keep making posts that are obviously polemics first and cool web stuff second, that's some bullshit. And you know it.
posted by klangklangston at 9:41 AM on September 13, 2007


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