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Hysterics
November 15, 2007 1:09 PM   Subscribe

These comments are really making me think, actually... I really wish people could post comments as anonymous sometimes. Because by percentages alone, YOU KNOW that there are people reading this thread who are, indeed, serial flashers or public masterbators. There HAVE to be. You know, I can take a bit of sexism, but this is really overboard.
posted by four panels to Etiquette/Policy at 1:09 PM (570 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

Drama?
posted by cgc373 at 1:12 PM on November 15, 2007


No one do anything until I get back from work!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 1:12 PM on November 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


It's a dumb post I should have deleted hours ago. I'm gonna delete it now.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 1:13 PM on November 15, 2007


Huh. I totally agreed with her. As a man, I've always wondered what men were thinking even when they just whistle or w00t out the car window at women. Women never do these sorts of things. It's not sexism to observe that.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 1:15 PM on November 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


You know, I can take a bit of sexism

A real man would suck it up and stop complaining. I keed, I keed
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:18 PM on November 15, 2007


Oh, I wonder what morons that flash think they're going to get out of it, but the whole "There HAVE to be [flashers among us]" is just nuts.

It's a lame post linking to an average rant on craigslist that carries an image you can't even read because craigslist shrinks stuff down so much on upload. Then it's just an excuse to share stories about flashing and that's not a good use of MeFi.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 1:18 PM on November 15, 2007 [2 favorites]


Women never do these sorts of things.

Sigh. But I wish they would. I'm out there, danglin' in the breeze, freezin' things that shouldn't be froze, and I get nothing for my time.

Nothing at all.
posted by aramaic at 1:18 PM on November 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


Women never do these sorts of things.

WHO WANTS BEADS?????????
posted by Stynxno at 1:19 PM on November 15, 2007 [21 favorites]


four panels, you rotten hypocrite.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 1:20 PM on November 15, 2007


I dispute the entire offensive premise of that comment. Everyone knows that the MetaFilter member, like most internet nerds, does his masturbation furtively, in the cathode half-light of his mother's basement.
posted by felix betachat at 1:20 PM on November 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


I've always wondered what men were thinking even when they just whistle or w00t out the car window at women. Women never do these sorts of things.

Lies! I got wooted at once by two women in a convertible when I was on my bike!

Best day of my life.
posted by ND¢ at 1:21 PM on November 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


WHO WANTS BEADS?????????

Ironically enough, I think miss lynnster does!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:22 PM on November 15, 2007 [5 favorites]


Mathowie - I agree on the FPP judgement.

Stynxo - I stand corrected. I suppose there's Girls Gone Wild, too. I guess I was thinking more of the uninvited, random and creepy type of exposure.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 1:22 PM on November 15, 2007


Lies! I got wooted at once by two women in a convertible when I was on my bike!

Oh man, me too. Two summers ago, in the mountains outside of Missoula, grinding my way up to the pass, two chicks in a jeep wooted me. That was great.
posted by felix betachat at 1:23 PM on November 15, 2007


As a man, I've always wondered what men were thinking even when they just whistle or w00t out the car window at women. Women never do these sorts of things.

That's completely untrue. Women do in fact do those sorts of things, and they also do the unsolicited fondling/kiss/attempt to see underwear thing.
posted by lord_wolf at 1:23 PM on November 15, 2007


"There HAVE to be [flashers among us]"

Can someone else rework this? My creative juices aren't flowing right now.
posted by CKmtl at 1:23 PM on November 15, 2007


Correcting the social pecking order is just part of how I contribute to the Gay Agenda; I take every possible opportunity to flash bedroom eyes at the unduly macho. Since I'm big and scary and nigh untouchable in a public place, there's often little they can do but look away while I'm giving 'em the old X-ray vision treatment.
posted by hermitosis at 1:24 PM on November 15, 2007 [3 favorites]


four panels, you rotten hypocrite.

Judging by his performance in that thread (and many others), I don't think he's a hypocrite.

Just kind of a dick, frankly.
posted by dersins at 1:26 PM on November 15, 2007 [2 favorites]


M.C. Lo-Carb! - don't forget that men also get unwanted attention via flashing / grabbing by other men. it tends to be reported a lot less.

miss lynster topless. DO NOT WANT.
posted by Stynxno at 1:26 PM on November 15, 2007


Stynxo - I stand corrected. I suppose there's Girls Gone Wild, too. I guess I was thinking more of the uninvited, random and creepy type of exposure.

Britney Spears? That was pretty creepy...
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 1:27 PM on November 15, 2007


pointing out someone else's sexism while perpetrating nasty sexist caricatures strikes me as hypocritical.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 1:28 PM on November 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


Pretty much all attempts to come up with a wherefor for fetishes are doomed to inanity. Why do some people get off on shoes? Do they think that if they lick the shoes, the shoes will fuck them?

People who are exhibitionists enjoy it because it's moderately transgressive and fairly simply accomplished. I'd wager there's very little thinking "Now we will teh sexxorz!" and a lot more "Woo! Got my dick out!"

If you want to tie it all up in complicated power structures and gender roles, you probably can without straining a critical theory muscle, but I have very little confidence in the amount of examination that any fetish can support when faced with reality.
posted by klangklangston at 1:29 PM on November 15, 2007 [5 favorites]


but I'll settle for dickish.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 1:29 PM on November 15, 2007


Okay, whatever. I'm SO not sexist. I love me some men, my friend.
posted by miss lynnster at 1:29 PM on November 15, 2007


Also: when I was 14 my friend Mike and I were standing outside Arizona Video and heard someone yell "Hey boys!!" We looked up to see a biker on a Harley going past, and the she-biker attached to the rear of it pulled up her T-shirt and gave us both cannons. Everyone involved seem to think it was pretty rad.
posted by hermitosis at 1:29 PM on November 15, 2007 [2 favorites]


Damn. I felt certain we were just minutes away from a celebrity flash story.
posted by stinkycheese at 1:30 PM on November 15, 2007


Also, whenever someone hears about flashers, does anyone else think of Dave Attell?
posted by Stynxno at 1:30 PM on November 15, 2007


If you want to tie it all up in complicated power structures and gender roles...

You could break out a subversion of the Male Gaze's social primacy as the fulcrum of this kink. Makes me feel sort of supportive of it, actually.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 1:31 PM on November 15, 2007


I am the Master of My Domain. But, I keep my privates private!
posted by ericb at 1:31 PM on November 15, 2007


This is a terrible deletion, mathowie. You've killed one of the more interesting posts of the month so far. An email suggesting you have a word with yourself, and if that doesn't work, you might have to consider firing yourself would be pointless now, wouldn't it?

Little did I imagine, when Jessamyn made that crack about a 'tepid wonderland', that she was articulating an emerging guideline for moderation here.
posted by jamjam at 1:35 PM on November 15, 2007 [4 favorites]


In light of four panels' first comment in the original thread...
why is this FPP material?
Because it is like manna from Heaven for the toolbelt manhaters that roam Metafilter with a fried chicken leg in one hand and Camila Paglia's panties in the other.
More succinctly, it massages their prejudices.
...it's quite clear that he can NOT "take a bit of sexism", but he sure as fuck can dish it out.

Or to quote his second comment:
Yeah, men are ogres.
Now bend over.
Too bad matt let one machoboy spoilsport ruin it for everybody. Worst deletion of the month IMO (although miss lynnster's over-the-top later comment did hurt the thread - if only by being borderline self-modding).
posted by wendell at 1:36 PM on November 15, 2007 [4 favorites]


Lies! I got wooted at once by two women in a convertible when I was on my bike!

Hah, me too! They even stopped so I could pass them and they could pass me again. Great day. It's also happened to me when I was running. Anecdotes aren't data, of course, but they are when the initial assertion itself is at the level of anecdote.
posted by OmieWise at 1:36 PM on November 15, 2007


I love everything lynnster does here (just added her as a contact actually, now that that means something tangible) but that was a really bad post. Seems like something she's too close to and affected by to have realized just how bad of a post it was. I guess even Hank Aaron has to strike out some time.
posted by Terminal Verbosity at 1:36 PM on November 15, 2007


"You could break out a subversion of the Male Gaze's social primacy as the fulcrum of this kink. Makes me feel sort of supportive of it, actually."

Yeah, that's what I was thinking of. But you could go the other way in arguing that it's about the power to control what women see and inflicting unwanted sexualization (which'd also be an easy tie to Male Gaze) without too much work. Or go on about the abstraction of the women as Women.

The real problem is that the primary sources are going to be impossible to rely upon—even the most self-examining exhibitionist can't be speaking for everyone, and most of the folks I've talked to rarely get beyond "It's hot" when trying to explain what turns them on.

I dunno. I'd imagine that a fair amount of scholarship has been done, but I'd bet it's of dubious predictive value.
posted by klangklangston at 1:36 PM on November 15, 2007


Worst deletion of the month IMO

It was a one-link post to a GYOFB-worthy rant on Craigslist. Let's not shed any tears.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:37 PM on November 15, 2007 [3 favorites]


"Okay, whatever. I'm SO not sexist. I love me some men, my friend."

Heh.
posted by klangklangston at 1:37 PM on November 15, 2007


And yet the ape rape post remains!
posted by thehmsbeagle at 1:38 PM on November 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


Yeah, men are ogres.
Now bend over.


toolbelt manhaters that roam Metafilter with a fried chicken leg in one hand and Camila Paglia's panties in the other

I can take a bit of sexism, but this is really overboard.

posted by box at 1:40 PM on November 15, 2007 [3 favorites]


You could break out a subversion of the Male Gaze's social primacy as the fulcrum of this kink.

The homology between "I" and "Eye" has often been noted, the self and the gaze standing in for one another in a mutually (re)[e/i]nforcing fashion. Less appreciated, however, is the third term, which goes beyond ego and speculation. "Ei" in German means "egg", in the feminine, a latent and internal element of fertility which makes itself known only in its passage from the body, whether menstrual or gestational. But "Ei" in its masculine metastasis is also "testicle" an external, fecund element. This triad "I/Eye/Ei" helps us to make sense, I think, of the offense at the root of male self-exposure, since it overemphasizes the already external. The reiteration of masculine externality is pathetic. An over-extension which implies defect. In its feminine modality, however, this triad is the revelation of a latent third term, the internal "Ei" is invisible, yearned for and yet impossible to touch in a direct sense.

/mid-90's gender-theoretical bullshit
posted by felix betachat at 1:40 PM on November 15, 2007 [6 favorites]


I got wooted at once by two women in a convertible when I was on my bike!

I got wooted at once by a bunch of guys in a pickup truck. My hair was flapping alluringly in the wind from behind, I guess.

They stopped wooting once they caught up with me.

(I can't access craigslist from work, go figure, so it didn't seem fair to axe the post on supposition.)
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:40 PM on November 15, 2007 [4 favorites]


As a man, I've always wondered what men were thinking even when they just whistle or w00t out the car window at women. Women never do these sorts of things.

that's because you're not good looking enough - sorry
posted by pyramid termite at 1:40 PM on November 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


toolbelt manhaters that roam Metafilter with a fried chicken leg in one hand and Camila Paglia's panties in the other

He forgot left-handed.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:43 PM on November 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


But you could go the other way in arguing that it's about the power to control what women see and inflicting unwanted sexualization

I don't believe in the existence of "inflicted sexualization" per se. Though, I'd never let my imagination run rampant with the thought of some freak desiring to confine what a woman sees to 100% moneyshots a la A Clockwork Orange... ew and gross. Paging Takashi Miike.

"women as Women" is probably at play in these cases, but that's a relief to me. I'd rather be flashed impersonally, if I had to choose.

Yeah, I think this deletion was reasonable, but the thread was doing okay. I'll miss it for a sec.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 1:44 PM on November 15, 2007


that's because you're not good looking enough - sorry

Good point.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 1:44 PM on November 15, 2007


four panels has said some other nasty, sexist or otherwise demeaning stuff in the past, that he's probably excuse as dark humor, but I don't want to go digging for turds at the moment.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 1:46 PM on November 15, 2007 [2 favorites]


that's because you're not good looking enough - sorry

Oh, that I were only good looking enough to be sexually harrased by random strangers in public settings! ::wishes and hopes::
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:47 PM on November 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'd say this was a crap deletion -- first interesting thread in at least a week, I'm sorry to say, and some seriously shit posts have hung in there of late, too -- but I have a feeling that second-guessing Matt is about as ill-advised as Pope Guilty's quonsar-is-a-troll callout (the inevitable response to which brought this to mind, for some reason), so yeah.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 1:48 PM on November 15, 2007


even Hank Aaron has to strike out some time.

Once or twice.
posted by dersins at 1:48 PM on November 15, 2007


WHO WANTS BEADS?????????

*Tries not to laugh, rolls a 1D20 for parry, gets a 1. Fails saving throw, spews coffee*

Suddenly I'm reminded of my older step-cousin, who went through a phase where she'd sneak up and stick her sweater over my head. Sans bra.

Being all of 10 or so, I was a might bit confused. Well, pleasantly confused. I distinctly remember a Keanu Reeves-like chain of thoughts. "Woah. What the hell is that all about?" and just marveling at how large and round they were. I can still remember the sweater-y girly smell, and...

*gaze grows distant, glassy*

Uh, err, what? Right. Boobies. Sorry, storytime is over. Run along now.

*smokes, sips coffee, appearing distant and reflective*
posted by loquacious at 1:50 PM on November 15, 2007 [3 favorites]


I got wooted at once by two women

I hate you with a burning, vile passion that will outlive the universe. Empires will rise and fall. Stars will burn out. Whole galaxies will plunge into darkness, and yet my hatred will prevail. The last living thing in existence before the universe dies will bear witness to my unyielding fury.

...and in that final moment, I will at last have some measure of revenge. You may have your women, but my pure hate will be the last thing standing in all of existence.

(Shh! Don't tell anyone: I'd rather have the women)
posted by aramaic at 1:51 PM on November 15, 2007 [6 favorites]


I dunno. I feel like I should get whistled at more often, personally.
posted by DrGirlfriend at 1:53 PM on November 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


Too bad matt let one machoboy spoilsport ruin it for everybody. Worst deletion of the month IMO

No doubt that four panels is a jerk in that thread and in the past, but the thread sucked because the original post's link sucked. It doesn't matter who raised a stink about it, the one thing they were right about was that the post sucked.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 1:56 PM on November 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


Fallacy: Ad Hominem

Description of Ad Hominem
Translated from Latin to English, "Ad Hominem" means "against the man" or "against the person."

An Ad Hominem is a general category of fallacies in which a claim or argument is rejected on the basis of some irrelevant fact about the author of or the person presenting the claim or argument. Typically, this fallacy involves two steps. First, an attack against the character of person making the claim, her circumstances, or her actions is made (or the character, circumstances, or actions of the person reporting the claim). Second, this attack is taken to be evidence against the claim or argument the person in question is making (or presenting). This type of "argument" has the following form:

Person A makes claim X.
Person B makes an attack on person A.
Therefore A's claim is false.

The reason why an Ad Hominem (of any kind) is a fallacy is that the character, circumstances, or actions of a person do not (in most cases) have a bearing on the truth or falsity of the claim being made (or the quality of the argument being made).
posted by four panels at 1:58 PM on November 15, 2007


OMG, a definition! My worldview just shifted completely!
posted by aramaic at 2:02 PM on November 15, 2007 [9 favorites]


Early this week, I saw a new mail notification "Flasher in the garage". It caught my eye, so I went to see what it said, and was saddly disappointed to find out it was just a story about some left on car lights.
Another mefite here could tell his side of the time he was over at my loft, and my female friend from KC flashed her nipple piercing at him. Exhibitionism is not a single-gender obsession.
posted by nomisxid at 2:03 PM on November 15, 2007


four panels, I wasn't saying "four panels is a dick, therefore his point is incorrect."

I was saying "four panels is a dick."
posted by dersins at 2:04 PM on November 15, 2007 [30 favorites]


Put differently: "four panels, what a phallus he is."
posted by cog_nate at 2:07 PM on November 15, 2007 [2 favorites]


*whistles at DrGirlfriend*

Actually, I've always wanted to do that. Dr. Girlfriend is hot.
posted by loquacious at 2:08 PM on November 15, 2007


did you really paste in a complete definition for Ad Hominem? What the fuck do you think this is, internet 101?
posted by boo_radley at 2:09 PM on November 15, 2007


Description of Ad Hominem

I think four panels is right in that any alleged orangutan fucking should not bear upon the point he's trying to make here.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:10 PM on November 15, 2007 [2 favorites]


Dr. Girlfriend is hot.

You meant to say "hawt" didn't you? Didn't you?

...I'm sorry, I'm going to have to take away your Internet License. We have standards to maintain here.
posted by aramaic at 2:12 PM on November 15, 2007


"I can't access craigslist from work"

That alone ought to disqualify you from being a moderator.

Lamer.

lol
posted by mr_crash_davis at 2:16 PM on November 15, 2007


Dr. Girlfriend is te-eh sexxx and Foine.
posted by boo_radley at 2:16 PM on November 15, 2007


You're all just going to live with the fact that miss lynnster and delmoi have experienced every single thing in life and, as definitive and unimpeachable authorities on all that exists in our puny reality, they will tell you their opinion on all these subjects whether you like it or not.

By joining Metafilter, you voluntarily accept the risk and consequences of delmoi and/or miss lynnster explaining, relating to, identifying with, and/or correcting your wrongful view of any situation you might find yourself in, as well as identifying, exposing, and/or passing judgment on your person, including but not limited to your self-identity, personality, beliefs, psychological state, occupation, activities, and/or deviant behaviours.
posted by Krrrlson at 2:16 PM on November 15, 2007 [26 favorites]


So, to all the puppy rapist Mefites out there, I say: how could you? They're puppies!
posted by Krrrlson at 2:18 PM on November 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


compare that with an attack against Native American grain dishes, a particularly invective polemic that came, over time, to be known as ad hominy. See also a screed against short Catholic sermons, the ad homily.
posted by boo_radley at 2:19 PM on November 15, 2007 [5 favorites]


Thank you for the deletion Matt.
posted by PugAchev at 2:19 PM on November 15, 2007


compare that with an attack against Native American grain dishes, a particularly invective polemic that came, over time, to be known as ad hominy. See also a screed against short Catholic sermons, the ad homily.

I think you're grasping for the less obvious, but more relevant "ad humuna".
posted by felix betachat at 2:21 PM on November 15, 2007


Don't forget ad homonym: "To be frank, he's being a dick."
posted by Floydd at 2:23 PM on November 15, 2007


I once got whistled at by an orang
posted by taliaferro at 2:25 PM on November 15, 2007


"Exhibitionism is not a single-gender obsession."

No, and I didn't mean to imply that it was. However, the gendered space that men and women occupy regarding their exhibitionism is quite different.
posted by klangklangston at 2:34 PM on November 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm just pissed that miss lynnster misspelled 'masturbator' and no one's called her on it yet.

Now I'm pissed that 'masturbator' isn't in Firefox's built-in dictionary and gets a red underlining, making me feel like I've done something wrong.

Thanks, assholes, for making me feel like I'm stupid. You know who you are.
posted by item at 2:35 PM on November 15, 2007 [8 favorites]


Once a few years ago, as I was waiting on my bicycle at the red to cross NE 65th on 15th NE, going south, next to the Rising Sun vegetable stand, a cheerleader in uniform from Roosevelt High School leaned out of the passenger side window of the SUV which was turning right ahead of me, opened her arms wide and sang 'I'll be lying in your arms tonight...' to me at the top of her lungs, to the general startlement of vegetable shoppers-- and me, of course, though I did manage to laugh through my blushes and shout back 'you bad girls!' as the other cheerleader driving hit the gas and they took off.

The joke was that I'm too old even for her mother, really, but it was still kind of fun.
posted by jamjam at 2:38 PM on November 15, 2007


Oh, I do hate to draw generalizations, but I'm noticing that all the male wootees got enwooted when they were out on their bikes. I mention this because the one time I've been at-wooted was when I was out running. (A long, time ago, oh yes. A very long time ago.)

So is it some sort of exercise thing? Sweat and effort? I'm not hearing any guys saying they got catcalled just strolling down the street with their bag of KFC or cruising the interstate in a late-model Golf.
posted by L. Fitzgerald Sjoberg at 2:38 PM on November 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


Thanks, assholes, for making me feel like I'm stupid. You know who you are.

It's when you start arguing with yourself that you just know for sure that the crazy is kicking in.
posted by loquacious at 2:39 PM on November 15, 2007


Sometimes, it's good that missed the drama.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:39 PM on November 15, 2007


Even if it's about a cartoon character, I am greatly enjoying all the references to Dr Girlfriend being hot.
posted by DrGirlfriend at 2:42 PM on November 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


I long for the day when people who don't know how to properly use the term ad hominem will stop pretending that they do. Most overused and misused whine in the history of online argument. There is a pretty clear-cut difference between an ad hominem fallacy and a simple insult or personal criticism that the average philosopher fully grasps by the end of his or her freshman year of college, but by my own completely unscientific estimates, roughly 75% of people who use the term in online debates have absolutely no grasp of that distinction.

That and the goddamn straw man. Please, my dear gentlemen and ladies, in the name of all that is erudite and learned, out of respect for the disciplines of philosophy and rhetoric specifically and the English language in general, please study these terms carefully before you fling them about like so much mushy, fly-studded shit.

/pedant
posted by middleclasstool at 2:42 PM on November 15, 2007 [8 favorites]


I masturbate in public sometimes, but only when no one's watching.
posted by tehloki at 2:42 PM on November 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


The question at hand, unanswerable because it's a personal experience, is whether MetaFilter is a boyzone. It's come up in MetaTalk more than once: boyzone thread. The general consensus is that MetaFilter can seem that way at times but mainly reflects the internet as a whole.

Hysteria, the title of this thread, has a long and interesting history in the discourse about women. I really can't imagine why anyone would suggest that, the discussion on the experience women have of street harassment having been closed (whatever the quality of the original post), Metafilter is a boyzone.
posted by jennydiski at 2:44 PM on November 15, 2007 [6 favorites]


"Enwooted" is my new absolute favorite word.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 2:44 PM on November 15, 2007 [2 favorites]


four panels, you asshole.
posted by liquorice at 2:48 PM on November 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


So is it some sort of exercise thing? Sweat and effort? I'm not hearing any guys saying they got catcalled just strolling down the street with their bag of KFC or cruising the interstate in a late-model Golf.

I have never wooted at a guy, but if I were to do so, it would probably be at one who is exercising or exerting some sort of physical effort. Maybe even a construction worker, for extra table-turning effect. Can't really explain it, it's just sexy. Certainly a hell of a lot sexier than walking down the street with the Colonel.
posted by DrGirlfriend at 2:50 PM on November 15, 2007


M.C. Lo-Carb!: "Huh. I totally agreed with her. As a man, I've always wondered what men were thinking even when they just whistle or w00t out the car window at women. Women never do these sorts of things. It's not sexism to observe that."

I've had great luck with the old lean out the window and "Yo baby, ignore me or give me the finger!". It's worked every single time.
posted by 31d1 at 2:50 PM on November 15, 2007 [4 favorites]


I long for the day when people who don't know how to properly use the term ad hominem will stop pretending that they do.
posted by middleclasstool at 5:42 PM on November 15M


I took a couple of years of philosophy (my minor) at Georgetown - when you email then to complain of their program, maybe you could CC me on it.
posted by four panels at 2:51 PM on November 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


weirdly, woot.com is down right now. I blame four panels.
posted by boo_radley at 2:52 PM on November 15, 2007


All this talk about wooting has me despressed. Not only did I not realize there was a woot-off going on today, but by the time I get home it's crashed!

wait...

what?
posted by absalom at 2:53 PM on November 15, 2007


Damn it, boo!
posted by absalom at 2:53 PM on November 15, 2007


Also, it's weird that you'd complain of sexism and title your post Hysterics. Shame on you.
posted by boo_radley at 2:53 PM on November 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


Fast-moving threads are a good place for confessions.
posted by tehloki at 2:54 PM on November 15, 2007 [2 favorites]


middleclasstool: I believe it would be totally out of line to banhammer anyone who misuses the term "straw man."
posted by absalom at 2:55 PM on November 15, 2007


All right, I can now predict the outcome of any thread that mentions:

1) Fat People
---LOLFATTIES/lazy fucks/I have at thyroid condition/don't worry, ladies of MetaFilter, I'd still hit it

2) God
---You people are stupid and superstitious/Why do you care what I believe/I care because I am a superior thinker/You know who else was an atheist?

3) My girlfriend is acting weird
---Dump her! You - a nerdy guy on the internet - can totally do heaps better!/You need to learn how to act like an alpha male, I read about it on a seduction message board, it totally works

4) Any combination of ladies+sex
---It's your girlfriend's fault for being fat/It's your girlfriend's fault for not being sexual enough/Uncomfortable jokes about vaginas/Ladies, I sure do love cunnilingus

And now:

5) Sometimes Shitty Things Happen To Women
---OH YEAH, well shitty things happen to men too, here's my anecdote!/Ladies, I sure do love cunnilingus/I'm a girl - check out my profile picture! - and I don't mind when it happens to me, *giggle*, PAY ATTENTION TO ME PLEASE.
posted by thehmsbeagle at 2:56 PM on November 15, 2007 [67 favorites]


I took a couple of years of philosophy (my minor) at Georgetown - when you email then to complain of their program, maybe you could CC me on it.

Ad meum?
posted by felix betachat at 2:56 PM on November 15, 2007


I'm SO not sexist.

No, you're just not a terribly deep thinker if the only conclusion you can draw from someone exposing themselves is "That man would like to have sex with me." This is the same phallusy be-hind some homophobia: "I am so goddamn good looking, any dude into dudes would totally want to get into this dude."

So "Hi" from the bottom of my well where I look at the world: people who expose themselves tend to be deeply damaged and have their sex wiring all crossed up and think their penis is even worse than you do and just generally think they are wrong and bad and need to be yelled at because that's the way it always has been. It's like being a Catholic, only you buy your own vestments. From say, London Fog.
posted by yerfatma at 2:58 PM on November 15, 2007 [8 favorites]


I took a couple of years of philosophy (my minor) at Georgetown - when you email then to complain of their program, maybe you could CC me on it.

I'm not prepared to blame Georgetown at this point.
posted by middleclasstool at 2:58 PM on November 15, 2007


PAY ATTENTION TO ME PLEASE.
posted by liquorice at 3:01 PM on November 15, 2007


I'd like to request that the next all-girl band name itself The Toolbelt Manhaters and their first hit single be called Camila Fried Paglianties.
posted by fandango_matt at 3:01 PM on November 15, 2007 [5 favorites]


What, no one has wooted at you yet, liquorice?
posted by absalom at 3:04 PM on November 15, 2007


This is the same phallusy behind some homophobia

You did that on purpose, didn't you?
posted by Atom Eyes at 3:04 PM on November 15, 2007


jennidiski, as much as I sometimes suspect that is true, (like in that big MeTa thread I was in last week where I got checked as overreacting by a gaggle of dudes for calling "feminazi" an unfunny slur) there are enough inspiring displays to the contrary (see: most of AskMe) for me to now disagree overall. four panels is not representative of our mefi men, who are wonderful, and the sophomoric pushing of buttons is not a male trait here. In any case, I think stating or complaining that it's a "boyzone" over and over does no one any good, is an oversimplification, and only serves to intimidate women.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 3:05 PM on November 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


However, the gendered space that men and women
occupy regarding their exhibitionism is quite different.

I wonder, klang, how much that space differs not out of desire to exhibit, on the female side, so much as fear that the consequences would be greater/more-immediate. My 4'11" mom, had she any exhibitionistic tendancies, would seem more practically limited in terms of times/places where she could feel 'safe' as a flasher. The 5'8 man probably feels more in control more often.
posted by nomisxid at 3:05 PM on November 15, 2007


I have to know...

Why the fuck do we bother replying to four panels' baiting? This IS the guy who posts something like It's not okay to be fat to MeTa and then disappears from the thread almost entirely, right? Can we please institute some kind of policy where his metatalk posts get closed immediately? If the post he hates really sucks, delete it, but there's just no reason for us to sit here discussing what a dick he is since he's not going to respond with anything of substance ever."Durp durp, of course I used ad hominem correctly! I took philosophy at georgetown! Durp durp!" For real, anything this cock posts to meta should be closed as soon as possible, with a little note saying "dear four panels, we hate you. sincerely, metafilter." It's about all these threads ever come to anyway.
posted by shmegegge at 3:12 PM on November 15, 2007 [11 favorites]


As a gesture of solidarity, I have dumped four panels as a contact.

*raises fist*
posted by fandango_matt at 3:15 PM on November 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


What, no one has wooted at you yet, liquorice?

Nope, never. Nor have I been cat-called, honked or been flashed.

But after reading personal accounts in the other thread, I think I'm okay with that.
posted by liquorice at 3:16 PM on November 15, 2007


Also, I would like to extend a hearty "Woot Woot!" to any member of this thread who would appreciate one, regardless of gender or sexual inclination, and a hearty "Have a good day, sir or madam," to anyone who does not appreciate being enwooted. May we all have precisely what we want.
posted by shmegegge at 3:16 PM on November 15, 2007


shmegegge: I think that MeTa was actually one of the better fat threads, no thanks to four panels, of course.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 3:18 PM on November 15, 2007


Me? I like a good woot every now and then.
posted by felix betachat at 3:20 PM on November 15, 2007


Ambrosia - my point wasn't so much about individuals, but about the whole thread being closed down in which, quite rarely maybe as many women as men were engaged.

And we're in deep shit if after all this time on the planet we are still worried about women being intimidated by male chatter. We can't not describe things as we see them in case it makes women nervous.
posted by jennydiski at 3:20 PM on November 15, 2007


From the FPP: The drawing made me laugh. So sue me.

OK, allz I gotta say is... I pretty much don't usually care for cheap humor. But I gotta agree: it made me laugh too.

Especially since they got my size TOTALLY wrong!
posted by The Deej at 3:21 PM on November 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


Did four panels call me A Hominem?

Oh, Ad Hominem, like calling women who complain about being 'flashed' sexist toolbelted manhater stereotypes.

As one who has been severely wronged by more than one of the Female of this species, I should be less feminist-friendly, I guess. And there have been times in my life when I was adequately 'neutered' by the women around me to be included in their 'girl talk.' And one topic that surprised me was "getting flashed" and it was enlightening how close to a universal female experience it seemed to be (always over 50% of assembled females had a story about it).

In defense of the vast majority of the male population though, I must point out that the ability for a single flasher to 'hit' several hundred victims before getting caught (especially once he starts getting good at it) means that a small fraction of one percent of the male population is capable of traumatizing that over 50% of the females.

It MUST also be noted that it's deeply flawed, fallacious and kind of dishonest to compare the unprovoked and usually aggressive male pervert/indecent exposer to the bribing of women to expose their breasts in Mardi Gras/'Girls Gone Wild' or even the Britney exposures (for which her motivation was general disregard for social norms and the sexually exhibitionist motivations were from those distributing the pictures* - not that I disrespect her any less for it). There's also a world of difference between "raincoat-style" flashing and streaking, except maybe for the guy on the Oscar that one year. I'd say it's all comparing apples and oranges, but you know somebody would bring up bananas.

Yes, the original link was way less than the Best of the Web, but it was one of the rare occasions when MeFi became something very NOT boyzone, and I found it interesting and refreshing.

And as far as Craigslist and other 'poor sources' are concerned; maybe cortex should be allowed to automatically delete posts with links to sites his work 'puter is not allowed to access. As long as he can still access MetaFilter. But, then it would be a moot point, which is another fallacy I'm guilty of, right, fp?

*The Web's Beloved April Winchell once published a photoshopped picture of Britney - you'd KNOW it if you saw it - that I was going to link to for shock value, but couldn't Google up on short notice. Sad.
posted by wendell at 3:22 PM on November 15, 2007 [8 favorites]


Damn, liquorice, just the other day I was cruisin' for hotties in their profiles and I was like damn I should Memail this chick a rawr, but then it turns out there's an entire planet between us so it would be hard to get to the point where I could waggle my dick at you so instead I didn't. But please accept this half-woot as a token of my filthy sexism.
posted by 31d1 at 3:24 PM on November 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm not hearing any guys saying they got catcalled just strolling down the street with their bag of KFC or cruising the interstate in a late-model Golf.

That's crazy talk, Lore. Chicks love it when I show them my fahrvergnugen.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 3:24 PM on November 15, 2007


This whole mess is made worthwhile by the coining of the words "enwooted" and "phallusy"...
posted by wendell at 3:30 PM on November 15, 2007


I guess he could always ask for a refund.
posted by isopraxis at 3:32 PM on November 15, 2007 [3 favorites]


I really can't imagine why anyone would suggest that, the discussion on the experience women have of street harassment having been closed (whatever the quality of the original post), Metafilter is a boyzone.

The one has nothing to do with the other. I've enjoyed many a post by Miss Lynster, but this one was weak. This callout is also weak, but that doesn't mean the deletion isn't justified. If you've got proof that Matt's deletion is part of some boycentric agenda, bring it on. Otherwise complaining about non-existent sexism in a totally reasonable deletion isn't helping the cause. There are lots of great discussions of women's issues here if you do a little investigation.

On preview: what Ambrosia Voyeur said.
posted by oneirodynia at 3:35 PM on November 15, 2007


there are enough inspiring displays to the contrary (see: most of AskMe) for me to now disagree overall.

This is not a good thing, though, this splitting. It's reasonably predictable that more women would participate in a site in which personal attacks or inappropriate comments are deleted, and in which the overall goal is to foster a community that helps and supports each other.

The fact that the part of the site specifically set up to avoid a boyzone is not a boyzone is not actually an argument that all of MetaFilter is somehow gender-balanced. I got so tired of feeling totally disgusted every single time I read a MeFi thread that I've just stopped using that part of the site (with a few exceptions recently that I just immediately regretted). I somehow doubt I'm the only one.
posted by occhiblu at 3:40 PM on November 15, 2007 [6 favorites]


jennydiski: I really can't imagine why anyone would suggest that, the discussion on the experience women have of street harassment having been closed (whatever the quality of the original post), Metafilter is a boyzone.

... but about the whole thread being closed down in which, quite rarely maybe as many women as men were engaged.


Hmm? Are you saying the gender ratio of commenters should be taken into account when a mod determines whether or not a post is sub-par? I can see the quality of the ensuing discussion maybe saving a crappy thread... but the demographics of the commenting parties?

Once upon a time there was a FPP which was a video of gay furry porn, which was deleted with "Gay porn? Really? That's what you wanted to share with us?" as the deletion reason. It was pretty craptacular. But, supposing that all of metafilter's homos had commented about their experiences with porn in that thread, should it have been spared? Would deleting it have been some sort of evidence of the mod's (I believe it was jessamyn) latent anti-porn and/or anti-gay nature?
posted by CKmtl at 3:42 PM on November 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


"I wonder, klang, how much that space differs not out of desire to exhibit, on the female side, so much as fear that the consequences would be greater/more-immediate. My 4'11" mom, had she any exhibitionistic tendancies, would seem more practically limited in terms of times/places where she could feel 'safe' as a flasher. The 5'8 man probably feels more in control more often."

Well, yeah. That's some of it. But I'd argue that's just one facet that informs the meaning of the exhibition.
posted by klangklangston at 3:43 PM on November 15, 2007


Would deleting it have been some sort of evidence of the mod's (I believe it was jessamyn) latent anti-porn and/or anti-gay nature?

No. But it could be evidence of her Anti-Furry nature. And I think we can give her a bye on that.
posted by tkchrist at 3:47 PM on November 15, 2007


tehloki: I masturbate in public sometimes, but only when no one's watching.

Well that explains the blood in my stool this morning.
posted by public at 3:48 PM on November 15, 2007 [3 favorites]


occiblu: I didn't mean to refer to the women participants of AskMe. My mistake, that was unclear. I meant to refer to the thoughtful and enlightened contributions in evidence from the men.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 3:49 PM on November 15, 2007


For real, anything this cock posts to meta should be closed as soon as possible, with a little note saying "dear four panels, we hate you. sincerely, metafilter."
posted by shmegegge at 3:12 PM on November 15


You seem like a smart enough guy, maybe not very witty, but there is a genuine effort to your insults. But take care as the feeble minded are the first to take comfort in hatred.

I also notice your post/comment to favorites ratio is about 19%. With a little work and maybe 500 more quality first page posts, you could get it closer to mine, around 67%.
posted by four panels at 3:50 PM on November 15, 2007


Is it wrong that public's comment made me laugh until I cried?
posted by never used baby shoes at 3:51 PM on November 15, 2007 [2 favorites]


But, supposing that all of metafilter's homos had commented about their experiences with porn in that thread, should it have been spared? Would deleting it have been some sort of evidence of the mod's (I believe it was jessamyn) latent anti-porn and/or anti-gay nature?

Um...maybe? I realize this was meant as a gotcha moment, but I think you failed; I think that certainly could be evidence of such a nature, yes. Certainly pornographic (or at least "erotic") materials have comprised FPPs here in the past. Any number of things could make this hypothetical FPP different, patently worthy of deletion -- or not.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:52 PM on November 15, 2007


In this case the gender ratio was relevant to the quality of the discussion since the women were talking of experience that the men seemed not to have had. And frankly an evening up of the gender ratio was surprising and interesting.

I may have it all wrong, but I would have thought that what happens in the ensuing conversation is taken into account when deciding to close a thread. If an interesting debate doesn't override a poor post, then too much surely is lost.
posted by jennydiski at 3:52 PM on November 15, 2007


your post/comment to favorites ratio

And ad rationum rears it's ugly head.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:54 PM on November 15, 2007 [5 favorites]


I also notice your post/comment to favorites ratio is about 19%. With a little work and maybe 500 more quality first page posts, you could get it closer to mine, around 67%.

Okay, I call bullshit: Now you're just trying to sound like a fucking tool. (Hint: It works)
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:54 PM on November 15, 2007


jennydiski: you're making the fundamental error that the blue is about the comments. It isn't, it's about the posts.
posted by Justinian at 3:55 PM on November 15, 2007


you could get it closer to mine, around 67%.

How do you fit a hand and both feet in your mouth? That's awesome.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:57 PM on November 15, 2007 [2 favorites]


so - did anyone ever figure out why that guy on the freeway was waving his four panels around?
posted by pyramid termite at 3:57 PM on November 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm making a fundamental assumption that quality conversation matters, here or anywhere else. In any case, why have comments if only the posts signify?
posted by jennydiski at 3:58 PM on November 15, 2007


I also notice your post/comment to favorites ratio is about 19%. With a little work and maybe 500 more quality first page posts, you could get it closer to mine, around 67%.

Nice attempt to appeal to authority, philosophy boy.
posted by dersins at 3:58 PM on November 15, 2007


I also notice your post/comment to favorites ratio is about 19%. With a little work and maybe 500 more quality first page posts, you could get it closer to mine, around 67%.

Favorites don't mean shit you knuckle-dragging troll. Snark and quick wit translates into a high favorite count since people are inclined to press that button impulsively. Your value as a member of the community is hardly encapsulated in that stupid number. If you think it is, maybe you need to spend some time in a different Skinner box for a while.
posted by felix betachat at 3:58 PM on November 15, 2007 [3 favorites]


I read the link to miss lynster's post and I immediately thought, "oh, baby, I can totally relate to that." I had a boyfriend who did that shaking-the-wiener thing and I always thought to myself, "is that supposed to be turning me on, because it's NOT". Then I started reading this thread, and I'm thinking I'm in the fucking Twilight Zone or something. "Sexist"? "Do not want"? Dang, I'm disappointed. Sorry, chicks DO NOT love that.
posted by wafaa at 3:59 PM on November 15, 2007


If an interesting debate doesn't override a poor post, then too much surely is lost.

I hear you, jennydiski, but it is necessarily a game of compromise, and one of the fundamental ideas guiding the front page of metafilter is that the link matters. So while there's the possibility that the conversation will redeem, to some degree, the poor quality of a post, sometime the post is just unredeemably bad.

A link to a single item on Craigslist (barring something tremendously elevating about the particular item—and I didn't see it, but I gather this wasn't) is just not what should fly on the front page. And leaving it around runs the risk of condoning bad posts for potential good conversation's sake, which isn't where we want the front page going.

It means we might lose some interesting conversations, but it also means we definitely lose some really shitty posts. And if there's a good topic broached by a crappy and subsequently deleted post, there nothing stopping someone from following up (ideally coolly and with a bit of a buffer, rather than in a fit of pique) with a good post on the topic. Which is how it should be done. And then: best of both worlds.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:04 PM on November 15, 2007


*taps mic*

Attention, ladies and gentlemen, I have an announcement to make:

:ahem:

While the subject matter of the post, e.g. the "link" may have only been of average quality, the discussion it spawned was lively and interesting. I hereby protest it's deletion.

Thank you.

*throws open trench to reveal naked body*

Check it out!

...

oh. oh please stop screaming...

I'm so sorry.
posted by quin at 4:05 PM on November 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


you're making the fundamental error that the blue is about the comments. It isn't, it's about the posts.

'Linkism' is the last refuge of the incompetent moderator.
posted by jamjam at 4:08 PM on November 15, 2007


you're making the fundamental error that the blue is about the comments. It isn't, it's about the posts.

Um...maybe in theory...

I dunno. Not to burst any bubbles here, but a lot of what I see on the front page on a daily basis I see elsewhere, too. But this is generally the only place on the internet I'm interested in seeing those things discussed. I have a feeling I'm not atypical in this.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:09 PM on November 15, 2007 [8 favorites]


Don't bother me with your real-world squishiness. I'm all about the theory.

Now, consider this spherical cow...
posted by Justinian at 4:11 PM on November 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


That does it. Now that i know fourpanels has a 67% approval rating here, I am SO going to woot him.
posted by misha at 4:14 PM on November 15, 2007


a lot of what I see on the front page on a daily basis I see elsewhere, too

The best posts are the ones that you don't see elsewhere.
posted by grouse at 4:15 PM on November 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


'Linkism' is the last refuge of the incompetent moderator.

I disagree strongly. We've stuck with the mantra that the link a post hinges on must be interesting and have some merit for the past 8 years -- that if the original link is really lame, no matter where the conversation has gone (and we let it go for far too long) it doesn't save a crap link. Otherwise we run the risk of just being another discussion forum where anything anyone feels like talking about simply requires a semi-related link (whether or not the link is any good doesn't matter).

The problem with this specific case is that there's a post with a crappy throwaway craigslist post at its core, but there's an interesting discussion that follows, and it was reported to metatalk here by someone that has a history of griefing other users a bit. So it's easy to grab on one of the latter two points, that hey! there was an interesting discussion! keep it going, why ya gotta delete it?! and there's also "omg you listened to THAT guy's complaint about it?!" but I'm ignoring both of those things and removing a post that didn't have a strong link. I'm not using the quality of the link as an excuse, it's been our way of moderating since the site began and yeah, unfortunately we lose a few long discussions when it happens.

Ideally, I would have seen that earlier than three hours after it was posted (I was busy working out new server security details with pb) and acted on it then. Jessamyn's out today traveling and mentioned the post seemed problematic, esp. after four panels started throwing insults around in it and we both sort of shrugged our shoulders knowing that doing nothing would result in a metatalk post as well as doing something about the post. I went to lunch, came back to see this, and decided to go with the first instinct to delete it.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 4:20 PM on November 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


but a lot of what I see on the front page on a daily basis I see elsewhere, too

Then more pruning. Give me posts of quality so brilliant they mute the membership.
posted by yerfatma at 4:22 PM on November 15, 2007


Matt, what matters here is whether he deserves a punch in the mouth in your houseparty analogy.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 4:27 PM on November 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


jennydiski: you're making the fundamental error that the blue is about the comments. It isn't, it's about the posts.

I see Matt has weighed in, but I'll add my two bits. You (Justinian) are making the even more fundamental error of black-and-whiting, and compounding that error by ignoring damn near a decade's active and unresolved debate about the relative importance of links versus comments with a sweeping, reductionist blanket statement.

The blue is as much or more about the comments for many people (myself included) as the links, but years of experience has shown the wisdom of the policy that no matter how good the ensuing conversation, if the original link or links that make up the post itself are teh sukc, then surgical excision is often the preferred and best way to keep the patient healthy.

So there.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:32 PM on November 15, 2007 [3 favorites]


kittens for breakfast writes: I think that certainly could be evidence of such a nature, yes. Any number of things could make this hypothetical FPP different, patently worthy of deletion -- or not.

Tracked down the furry porn post in question. With that in mind, should it have been saved from the axe if most/all of the commenters were gay or acknowledged furries? Not the quality of the discussion; only the raw fact that >X% of those involved belong to a certain group. As I see it, it was a crappy post ("look! men in stuffed animal costumes! humping!") and the demographics of those participating in the ensuing discussion has no bearing (heh) on its crappiness or lack thereof, nor on any supposed mod biases.

Certainly pornographic (or at least "erotic") materials have comprised FPPs here in the past.

Sure, and the good ones should stay up. But I'd bet they aren't all of the "look! tits! cocks!" variety.
posted by CKmtl at 4:33 PM on November 15, 2007


...I'm ignoring both of those things and removing a post that didn't have a strong link.

That was a good call, and as for this:

no matter where the conversation has gone (and we let it go for far too long) it doesn't save a crap link.

I'm glad to see some reaffirmation of that principle.
posted by Wolfdog at 4:37 PM on November 15, 2007


Occhiblu said: I got so tired of feeling totally disgusted every single time I read a MeFi thread that I've just stopped using that part of the site (with a few exceptions recently that I just immediately regretted). I somehow doubt I'm the only one.

That is, on the slim chance anyone cares, my exact experience also. And based on how many lurking women will tend to favorite comments along those lines in MeFi threads, I think it's a fairly common theme.
posted by thehmsbeagle at 4:41 PM on November 15, 2007 [6 favorites]


I was catcalled once. I was walking down the street in New Haven and from a passing bus, a young, pretty, Latino-looking girl yelled "hey sexy," at me and blew me a kiss. I assume she did it on a dare. Also, an extremely drunk middle aged woman in a bar told me that I was a 'hot young guy, but you mentioned a girlfriend*, otherwise I'd do ya.' And when I was in high school, i was sitting in the breakroom of the supermarket I worked at. At a table a few feet away some female employees were having a little coffee-klatch. One mildly mentally disabled girl said 'who's that?' 'that's jonmc,' my manager answered. 'He's cute,' she said back and followed me around for a week. She also asked me to teh prom, but I think a friend of mine might have put her up to that.

Drunks, women on dares, and the handicapped dig me, is what I'm saying.

As far as flashing goes...I think we should delineate between people who get a charge out of being looked at and admired (I'll evn cop to that myself), and the type of people who wave their weenies around on the bus. The latter get off on the force aspect of it has always been my understanding.

Also, the best retort to a flasher is 'that looks like a penis, only smaller.'
posted by jonmc at 4:44 PM on November 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


Btw, a drunk chick once grabbed my ass while I was walking down the street once. I thought it was fucking awesome.

It's a lame post linking to an average rant on craigslist that carries an image you can't even read because craigslist shrinks stuff down so much on upload. Then it's just an excuse to share stories about flashing and that's not a good use of MeFi.

Well it was probably bad material, but "sharing stories" is one of the things people really seem to like reading around here, based on what gets favorited the most. Personal stories, crazy rants, and great snark.

In light of four panels' first comment in the original thread... ...it's quite clear that he can NOT "take a bit of sexism", but he sure as fuck can dish it out.

Isn't it obvious? Four Panels is clearly the masturbating motorist!

Also I agree with famous author jennydiski.
posted by delmoi at 4:49 PM on November 15, 2007


"What do/did you do if someone flashes you?" in askmefi would have pretty much generated the same conversation (so far as I can tell), minus the offending post.

As it stands, the post/OP's comments in-thread were pretty much the definition of GYOB.
posted by stinkycheese at 5:04 PM on November 15, 2007


I didn't mean to refer to the women participants of AskMe. My mistake, that was unclear. I meant to refer to the thoughtful and enlightened contributions in evidence from the men.

You missed the huge amount of fighting it took to get to that place, though.

And to me, what you're talking about is simply proof that the users here *can* be lovely people, but the culture that's in place on MeFi proper actively works to discourage that. Which goes back to my original point.
posted by occhiblu at 5:15 PM on November 15, 2007


Well hey, this is why I usually stick to Marx Brothers films and cupcake FPPs. This uproar is ridiculous. Honestly. I said something I was honestly curious about. And I actually AM interested in people's takes on it because the comments made me realize... hey... y'know I've actually been flashed A LOT. And apparently I'm not the only one. I really have never fathomed what people who do that to you really are expecting from you. Or what is so rewarding about it. I just don't relate.

So I went there. But I was not, I repeat NOT, trying to do a blog entry. Because I don't care that much, and I am not on here for that purpse... I was making discourse. It was just something I admitted I'd been thinking, and one of those times where I suppose I should've just backed away from the computer and remembered that these fingers type too fast for their own good sometimes.

But as previously stated, I loves me some men. So the implication that I'm some kind of man-hater just makes me giggle. I couldn't be less of a man hater, I don't think. I tend to think they're pretty damn cute, and I like the way they lift heavy things for me.
posted by miss lynnster at 5:17 PM on November 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


Tracked down the furry porn post in question. With that in mind, should it have been saved from the axe if most/all of the commenters were gay or acknowledged furries? Not the quality of the discussion; only the raw fact that >X% of those involved belong to a certain group.

Well, first of all, my argument is for the quality of the discussion; I think the demographics argument in favor of the craigslist post had more to do with the number of men and women who were participating in a conversation of substance about issues related to gender and harassment (not just with the fact that a lot of men and women were in the same discussion, which is kinda every discussion on Metafilter, really -- and a lot of those men and women are also gay, and some of them are probably even furries, and, y'know, God love 'em. The furries, I mean. I like girls in shiny black vinyl shit who carry riding crops, and consequently really feel I have no room to talk at all, and um...hey! Email in profile!). Anyway, point being, I could give a fuck if 85% of whatever demographic are talking about something, if that something is, say, leave Britney alone. Who cares? But if they're talking about something relevant to their lives that maybe isn't discussed much here -- and I think a nuanced conversation about gay life, and hell, even about gay porn, amongst gay people, does qualify -- then yeah, that to me is a quality conversation, even if it is prompted by, like, a guy in a bear suit getting a blowjob.

Second, ancillary point: I see little qualitative difference between that post and this one, other than a guy in a bear suit getting a blowjob is actually sorta funny.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:19 PM on November 15, 2007


I really have never fathomed what people who do that to you really are expecting from you.

My theory is that once upon a time a flasher flashed a Peeping Thomasina and love bloomed. It's all aquest to recapture that magic.

I tend to think they're pretty damn cute, and I like the way they lift heavy things for me.


*lifts anvil, drops it on Elmer Fudd*
posted by jonmc at 5:21 PM on November 15, 2007


It's a dumb post I should have deleted hours ago. I'm gonna delete it now.
posted by mathowie

No doubt that four panels is a jerk in that thread and in the past, but the thread sucked because the original post's link sucked. It doesn't matter who raised a stink about it, the one thing they were right about was that the post sucked.
posted by mathowie


Well, my Dear Divine Miss L, it might be negative attention, but at least Teacher noticed you! ;)
posted by The Deej at 5:21 PM on November 15, 2007


I really have never fathomed what people who do that to you really are expecting from you. Or what is so rewarding about it. I just don't relate.

Again, sounds like an AskMeFi query to me. Though your answers would - I'm guessing - be pretty much useless. People who commit deviant behaviour are unlikely to be self-aware to the extent that they could answer these questions to your satisfaction.
posted by stinkycheese at 5:23 PM on November 15, 2007


I have been enwooted, catcalled, flashed (playing in a bar band has its benefits) and propositioned. Of course, this was all done by women who fully expected me to enjoy it, which I did. All back when I was a mite younger, too, I might add. However, middle-aged women in grocery stores can still be detected making silent "bedroom eyes" now and again. Or, at least I can fantasize that they do.

There was once a gay neighbor who thought I was HOTTT a few years back, and though he never flashed me, he made no bones about hollering "Hey, good lookin'!" or something similar out his car window on occasion, though he knew I was hetero and married. Initially, I considered being offended and creeped out, but I decided to find it a bit endearing.
posted by Devils Rancher at 5:26 PM on November 15, 2007


I didn't really come here with a question. To be frank, the comment fourpanels complained about was entirely inspired by fourpanels own comment a little bit earlier claiming women were being mean to men.

HE was the one who made me wonder, what do men really think this is like for us?
posted by miss lynnster at 5:27 PM on November 15, 2007


However, middle-aged women in grocery stores can still be detected making silent "bedroom eyes" now and again. Or, at least I can fantasize that they do.

That fantasizing can be dangerous. I was walking to the store a few moths agp and I noticed a cute young thing smiling at me. i walked away with my ego abloom. About a block later, I noticed that my fly was open.

There was once a gay neighbor who thought I was HOTTT a few years back

Gay dudes think I'm HOTTT, too, and I used to get all ego-abloomed about that too, until I remembered, they're gay, but they're also guys, and guys will chase after just about anything and usually loudly. So there goes that.
posted by jonmc at 5:30 PM on November 15, 2007


I think perhaps the difference is... since both sexes are aware that men can overpower women physically and rarely vice versa, the interchanges may have a much different feel for the participants when it's man/woman vs. woman/man.

Anyhow, I'm outta the thread. I don't feel like getting anyone else ticked off at me for trying to talk about it. Have a good night, folks!
posted by miss lynnster at 5:31 PM on November 15, 2007


To be frank, the comment fourpanels complained about was entirely inspired by fourpanels own comment a little bit earlier claiming women were being mean to men.

And -- frankly -- your comment gave me some pause, too, until you explained that you were talking not about the possibility that one of the male posters in the thread was a flasher, but that in the entire membership of the site it was not implausible that someone could be. Out of 60K? Um, yeah, I'd say that's a fairly safe bet. (Of course, it's a fairly safe bet that we've also got a murderer or two, which...uhh...had never once occurred to me before...so...thanks for making me think of that...?)
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:33 PM on November 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


"Of course, it's a fairly safe bet that we've also got a murderer or two, which...uhh...had never once occurred to me before..."

You haven't met scarabic, I take it.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:37 PM on November 15, 2007 [2 favorites]


I think perhaps the difference is... since both sexes are aware that men can overpower women physically and rarely vice versa, the interchanges may have a much different feel for the participants when it's man/woman vs. woman/man.

Of course that's true. The whole intent and dynamic, when you reverse the sexes of flasher & flashee is obvious enough on the face of it, that there's not much need for further discussion. Guys that expose themselves to little girls get a thrill out of creeping out and scaring their victims. Women who expose themselves to men get a thrill out of titillating and arousing their... recipients? you certainly can't call us victims.
posted by Devils Rancher at 5:41 PM on November 15, 2007


I was walking to the store a few months ago and I noticed a cute young thing smiling at me. i walked away with my ego abloom. About a block later, I noticed that my fly was open.

FLASHER!!!
somebody had to say it
posted by wendell at 5:43 PM on November 15, 2007


Women who expose themselves to men get a thrill out of titillating and arousing their... recipients? you certainly can't call us victims.

I used to live in a building filled with a lot of old folks in rent controlled apartments. One ancient woman liked wandering the halls with her robe open and nothing on underneath. Imagine and albino Yoda's nutsack and you're somewhere close.

Put me off nudity for a while.
posted by jonmc at 5:46 PM on November 15, 2007


You haven't met scarabic, I take it.

Whoa.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:49 PM on November 15, 2007


Imagine and albino Yoda's nutsack and you're somewhere close.

DO NOT WANT SOMETHING CLOSE
posted by loquacious at 5:56 PM on November 15, 2007 [2 favorites]


A possible Woot! story:
Just last Saturday a girl yelled from her car at me, "Walk faster. Your t-shirt is [...unintelligible...]." My T-Shirt was plain black. I can think of no end to that sentence that could make any sense.
posted by meech at 5:57 PM on November 15, 2007 [3 favorites]


Fading?
posted by box at 6:01 PM on November 15, 2007


"Walk faster. Your t-shirt is [...unintelligible...]."

...ON FIRE, YO
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:02 PM on November 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


ON SALE AT TARGET FIVE FOR A DOLLAR BUT THEY'RE SELLING OUT FAST

?
posted by thehmsbeagle at 6:07 PM on November 15, 2007


kittens for breakfast: Well, first of all, my argument is for the quality of the discussion...

That's fine, I guess. My initial comment to jennydiski (the one you objected to as a "failed gotcha") wasn't about discussion quality though. It was about her seemingly claiming that participant demographics - in this case being a woman - should somehow factor into the deletion decisions that get made around here. Or that deleting a sub-par post with lots of comments from groups XYZ is evidence that the site and/or mods are biased against groups XYZ.

She clarified afterwards that participant demographics could be related to quality. I suppose it could, in some cases. But only if those participants are contributing quality comments. The flashing discussion would have been rather meh if all the female commenters had made jokes about the flashee's lack of artistic talent. So, it's still quality, not demographics, that's "important".

These beans, they are delicious. But they're going to make me gassy.
posted by CKmtl at 6:08 PM on November 15, 2007


I leave, come back, and - BOOM - Comments to favorites ratio reference! This thread is complete.
posted by absalom at 6:08 PM on November 15, 2007


I have a distinct w00ter demographic: Middle aged Latinos. Go figure. When I waited tables, this was actually explained to me in detail as something I should grow to expect by the awesome, friendly, part-time mariachi, middle-aged busboy Che, and had to do with something or other called "nalgas" and being "pelirrojo".
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 6:08 PM on November 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


I went to Villahermosa and Palenque this September, and it's kind of comforting to visit your w00ter nation.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 6:09 PM on November 15, 2007


I've seen random guys yankin' it, and I support this deletion.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:35 PM on November 15, 2007 [3 favorites]


I think that sadly truncated thread, taken together with this one, is just about the best you could do anywhere on the web, if your aim is to begin to be able to understand this amazing, paradoxical, ubiquitous and astonishingly rarely seriously discussed phenomenon of men (and boys) exposing themselves, mainly to women and girls. I've thought about it a bit, and read what I could find, but never before felt that a real understanding could possibly (at last) be within my reach until I read that thread. It was thrilling, truly thrilling.

To say that doesn't matter because the quality of the linked page is insufficiently high is to deny that anything MetaFilter generates could ever be, in and of itself, the best of the web, or worthy in its own right for its own original content of being linked by other web sites like Metafilter. I don't think so; I think, on the contrary, that Metafilter does occasionally rise to the level of a fascinating, primary and original source.

Mathowie, you seem perfectly happy with the idea that original music produced by your members could be worth listening to by people in general (if, indeed, you are not enraptured by the prospect), so why on Earth are you so determined that nothing your members might ever observe or think up, individually or collectively, could ever merit similar attention?
posted by jamjam at 6:41 PM on November 15, 2007 [2 favorites]


Occhiblu said: I got so tired of feeling totally disgusted every single time I read a MeFi thread that I've just stopped using that part of the site (with a few exceptions recently that I just immediately regretted). I somehow doubt I'm the only one.

That is, on the slim chance anyone cares, my exact experience also.


Mine too. (Male.)
posted by grumblebee at 6:44 PM on November 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


"Mathowie, you seem perfectly happy with the idea that original music produced by your members could be worth listening to by people in general (if, indeed, you are not enraptured by the prospect), so why on Earth are you so determined that nothing your members might ever observe or think up, individually or collectively, could ever merit similar attention?"

You're right, Jamjam—I've noticed that Matt deletes every comment, lest it be read by anyone anywhere.
posted by klangklangston at 6:47 PM on November 15, 2007


That's OK klangklangston. I'm used to being SILENCED ALL MY LIFE.
posted by arto at 6:55 PM on November 15, 2007 [3 favorites]


Speaking of random guys yankin' it, I walked into my law school's computer lab once and there was a guy in there sitting at a computer and yankin' it quite obviously. There was no one else in there, but it wasn't like two in the morning or anything. Come on dude. What were you thinking? I walked right back out as he hurriedly zipped up. It was a weird experience.
posted by ND¢ at 6:57 PM on November 15, 2007


esp. after four panels started throwing insults around in it

Why isn't four panels' behavior in this mess, from the insults to the title of this post, worth a week off? I mean, if you want him to keep pulling this shit, mods, by all means, do nothing to slow it down. But here's hoping you reconsider the value of a judicious time-out in this case.
posted by mediareport at 7:08 PM on November 15, 2007 [2 favorites]


I distinctly recall a subway ride into Brooklyn in the late 80's where a group of teenage girls was getting flashed by an older man sitting across from them. One of them said "Do that again motherfucker, one more time" and when he did she gave him the old skinhead moonstomp on his business, now he got his hands over it before she hit, but he also scurried off the train at the next stop bent over and looking real sick. Then they went back to their conversation. Of course those were simpler times back then.

My wife, who grew up in Jackson Heights, says she saw more dicks wagged at her in earnest before the age of 15 than most urologists see in their whole careers, so there are my two anecdotal datapoints.
posted by Divine_Wino at 7:12 PM on November 15, 2007


PS Four Panels is an asshole.
posted by Divine_Wino at 7:13 PM on November 15, 2007 [2 favorites]


Four Panels you are the platonic ideal of a bitter and confused jagoff, a fractally pathetic twerp, you need to go pay someone (quite a bit of money, I hope) to listen to your sad little story of whatever made you into such a twisted little homonoculus and keep that shit out of here.
posted to MetaFilter by Divine_Wino at 12:12 PM on November 15, 2007


Yeah, that's cool, but like if you tossed them all in the same thread we could keep up with your frothing hate, you know?
posted by four panels at 7:17 PM on November 15, 2007


Of course, it's a fairly safe bet that we've also got a murderer or two

Help me hivemind: wasn't there some guy who specifically joined to respond to a piece he wrote, and then about a year later was convicted of murdering someone? Or was it that he was a pedophile? Or both? Something like that.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 7:18 PM on November 15, 2007


I don't hate you, I think you are an asshole, in a lighter moment I would probably feel bad for you, but it's really hard to work up much sympathy.

I guess I'll chalk it up to you loving the attention since we have to do one of these round and rounds with you every so often. I'll have to try to remember that.
posted by Divine_Wino at 7:22 PM on November 15, 2007


If I remember correctly it had something to do with a guy adopting a foreign kid and later being convicted of pedophilia. I'm sure someone else will come along with more detail.
posted by puke & cry at 7:24 PM on November 15, 2007


Uh, that was a response to Lentrohamsanin btw.
posted by puke & cry at 7:25 PM on November 15, 2007


The secret is to not care if people on Metafilter hate you. What are they going to do? Come to your house? I'd like to see them try.

Mefites are by and large brainless twats, and their feelings should no more concern you than the feelings of the similarly senseless animal you ate for dinner.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 7:32 PM on November 15, 2007 [2 favorites]


Steve, if you check the IPs, I think you'll find that we're all posting from INSIDE YOUR HOUSE.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:35 PM on November 15, 2007 [2 favorites]


I've seen random guys yankin' it

Amateur Hour. Back in college I had a female friend name of Leslie, who was fond of leather miniskirts. She came to visit me over the summer and we wound up in the woods behind the high school. me, Leslie, my friend Mooch (who looked like a slightly tubbier Slash from G&R and some fluff haired chick named Kate and a case of Bud. Mooch and Leslie started making out. Me and Kate wandered off. We came back about 20 minutes later. When we arrived we saw Leslies legs in a 'V' in the air and Mooch pumping away like an epileptic V-twin engine. He hugged me and said 'Friends rule, jonmc.' I didn't try anything with Kate because I was a dumbass.

About a year later, me and Leslie went drinking in the city with this handsome fellow named Joe. I had more than my fair share. I also had a cold. We went back to my dorm and I lay on my bed and started to enjoy a nice bout of the spins (and coughing occasionally). About ten minutes later I heard bedsprings creaking away joyfully for about 5 minutes, then stop. After a few sighs, Joe said 'jonmc, you can quit pretending you're asleep now.'

I think Leslie needed me around to have sex, like soft music or a Today sponge.
posted by jonmc at 7:36 PM on November 15, 2007 [2 favorites]


For everyone who is still trying to argue it: go back again and really read it - that FPP was a pile of shit. The comments may have been entertaining, but you can't shine a turd.

But I was not, I repeat NOT, trying to do a blog entry. Because I don't care that much, and I am not on here for that purpse... I was making discourse. It was just something I admitted I'd been thinking, and one of those times where I suppose I should've just backed away from the computer.

You should have. Now try to contradict yourself more than that paragraph. I'm not sure it's possible.

Just because a certain selection of the Mefi population finds someone charming does not mean they can do whatever they want. The same thing is true to both the OP and Mr. "67%" In situations like this, time-outs are certainly warranted. When I first started using MeFi I didn't understand the idea of "the cult of personality" and why it's such a bad thing. Now I do, and it's getting really tiresome.
posted by SassHat at 7:37 PM on November 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


I wish I had a house.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 7:37 PM on November 15, 2007


I wish you had a bigger house. It's kinda crowded in here. Hey, while you're up, can you grab me a beer?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:39 PM on November 15, 2007


Just because a certain selection of the Mefi population finds someone charming does not mean they can do whatever they want.

???
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:42 PM on November 15, 2007


Large Brainless Twats would be a great band name. i'm just sayin'.
posted by jonmc at 7:45 PM on November 15, 2007


Mefites are by and large brainless twats, and their feelings should no more concern you than the feelings of the similarly senseless animal you ate for dinner.

Did you know that the phrase "by and large" is a sailing term having to do with the set of sails and course before the wind of a ship (to the wind and off it)? So many of our little conversational cliches come from sailing and naval terms (hell to pay, to the bitter end), I find that really interesting.
posted by Divine_Wino at 7:54 PM on November 15, 2007 [8 favorites]


She came to visit me over the summer and we wound up in the woods behind the high school. me, Leslie, my friend Mooch (who looked like a slightly tubbier Slash from G&R and some fluff haired chick named Kate and a case of Bud.

You could work that into a short story, jonmc. You got the pazazz, just craft the narrative, baby.
posted by four panels at 7:58 PM on November 15, 2007


My name's not 'baby,' it's jon. ms. mc if you're nasty.
posted by jonmc at 8:00 PM on November 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


I also notice your post/comment to favorites ratio is about 19%. With a little work and maybe 500 more quality first page posts, you could get it closer to mine, around 67%.

Nice attempt to appeal to authority, philosophy boy.
posted by dersins at 6:58 PM on November 15 [+] [!]

No, that's an appeal to the crowd - ad populum. Still fallacious though.
/philosophyteacher

Also: seriously? Comments to favorites ratio? That comment is one of the few things on here that has ever made me literally laugh out loud.
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:07 PM on November 15, 2007


Mathowie, you seem perfectly happy with the idea that original music produced by your members could be worth listening to by people in general (if, indeed, you are not enraptured by the prospect), so why on Earth are you so determined that nothing your members might ever observe or think up, individually or collectively, could ever merit similar attention?

I think you have things backwards. The point is that the current membership collectively can (almost) always have an interesting, witty, funny conversation about anything. And that's basically MetaTalk. But if all MeFi threads were allowed to live, based on that principle, then what would be the point of the site? There would be no filtering. There'd be no reason to filter, right, if practically all discussions are interesting? But in the end, there would be no more interesting discussions either, as probably much of the self-selected membership would select themselves off to other sites. Somewhat counterintuitively, though, if you apply a (seemingly harsh) principle on the main page that ignores discussion quality, you actually end up with a better quality overall in the end, because you then maintain the conditions that attract the quality membership that will provide the quality discussion you're looking for. But see, if you then lose faith and start keeping threads based on allowing quality discussion as a criteria, you kill this virtuous circle!

Just remember the possible unintended consequences of a policy change that starts justifying posts on the main page by the quality of the discussion. Doom. Doom, woe, and misery.
posted by chinston at 8:15 PM on November 15, 2007 [2 favorites]


Pricasso doesn't just wave it around, he paints with it.
posted by tellurian at 8:21 PM on November 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


Whatever happened to the time honored tradition of closing metatalk threads?
posted by who squared at 8:28 PM on November 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm liking this new direction that Mister President Doctor Steve Elvis America (or Mr. PeDoStEAm, as I like to think of him) has been taking lately. One hopes that it evolves from apparent trolling for the epic lulz to sincere anger to frothing flameoutery w/complimentary self-amputation threats, because that would be fun and entertaining for all of us.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:35 PM on November 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


My name's not 'baby,' it's jon. ms. mc if you're nasty.

Jon lad, you are my brother from another mother, you know that, but I have never loved you more than in this moment when you just made a fucking Janet Jackson joke. God Bless you sir, God bless you and keep you and may he clasp you to his bosom forever and ever, amen.
posted by Divine_Wino at 8:42 PM on November 15, 2007


Did you know that the phrase "by and large" is a sailing term having to do with the set of sails and course before the wind of a ship

Ah, but did you know it's nonsensical? One can sail by, one can sail large, but, they being opposites, one cannot do both at the same time. Or so Captain Aubrey informed me on one of our many voyage.
posted by yerfatma at 8:46 PM on November 15, 2007 [3 favorites]


I agree with all the words of Divine_Wino. There is nothing he has ever typed on this screen that I have disagreed with. I would happily have that man as my priest, lawyer and doctor and if ever there was a line crossed that ought to indicate the dickery of one's behaviour, it's the very rare occurrence when the man's personal hackles have been raised. four panels, it's a sign, a nudge, an incontrovertible judgement on your internet character.

When we arrived we saw Leslies legs in a 'V' in the air and Mooch pumping away like an epileptic V-twin engine. He hugged me and said 'Friends rule, jonmc.'


There doesn't seem to be enough space between those two sentences, somehow.
posted by peacay at 8:56 PM on November 15, 2007 [2 favorites]


There doesn't seem to be enough space between those two sentences, somehow.

He left out the part with the eiffel tower.
posted by puke & cry at 9:04 PM on November 15, 2007 [2 favorites]


Three awful names for bands :

* slobodan and the party rangers
* piss on my sterero, couch, and wall
* lion king, my ass
posted by Afroblanco at 9:32 PM on November 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


Lies! I got wooted at once by two women in a convertible when I was on my bike!

I had a young woman (passenger) in a convertible flash her boobs at me when I was driving along, otherwise minding my own business. Unfortunately, it's only ever happened once.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:47 PM on November 15, 2007


Peacay, you are entirely too kind, too kind, sir, I am... most sensible of your good opinion.

Ah, but did you know it's nonsensical? One can sail by, one can sail large, but, they being opposites, one cannot do both at the same time. Or so Captain Aubrey informed me on one of our many voyage.

That is what the expression means, "She is a good sailor, by and large" ie on every tack, more or less, both running with the wind and tacking against it. We use (I use) by and large to mean: for the most part, in most cases, in general, in most ways.

piss on my sterero, couch, and wall
With respect Mr. Blanco, to the contrary, that is best band name ever.
posted by Divine_Wino at 9:55 PM on November 15, 2007 [4 favorites]


I thought all of them were pretty good really. That one is the best though.
posted by puke & cry at 10:10 PM on November 15, 2007


Gay dudes think I'm HOTTT, too, and I used to get all ego-abloomed about that too, until I remembered, they're gay, but they're also guys, and guys will chase after just about anything and usually loudly.

*gags*
posted by mediareport at 10:16 PM on November 15, 2007


I also notice your post/comment to favorites ratio is about 19%. With a little work and maybe 500 more quality first page posts, you could get it closer to mine, around 67%.

Your "post/comment to favorites ratio" gets smaller as your number of favorites get bigger, but I'm sure you knew that.

You probably meant "favorites to post/comment ratio," but since even the most mediocre front page posts invariably pull down at least a few favorites, your 67% really isn't impressive.

In fact, someone could possible get a "favorite to post ratio" of at least around 3 by posting just single link youtube posts. That makes your .67 look pretty pathetic, really.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 10:51 PM on November 15, 2007


Large Brainless Twats

My favorite Lovecraft story!
posted by Bookhouse at 11:00 PM on November 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


With a little work and maybe 500 more quality first page posts, you could get it closer to mine, around 67%

*gets up, waddles over a few feet and then sits down, crushing four panels like a soggy old pancake bunny*

YOU LIKE FAVORITES, BITCH? HOW DO YOU LIKE THEM FAVORITES? YOU LIKE IT WHEN I JIGGLE MY FAVORITES? OH YEAH, BABY. GONNA SMOTHA YOU WITH 'EM, ALL NIGHT LONG, BABY. NICE, STEAMING HOT FAVORITES ALL OVER YOUR FACE, YEAH!

Sometimes all a lot of favorites is good for is proof positive that you're the asshole. I speak to you as one, right now. People give 'favorites' for a lot of different reasons, and not every single one of those reasons is 'you're a precious snowflake' or 'I really like you'. Sometimes it really means 'omfg I can't believe that shitcock actually said that shit!!' Your mileage - as it were - may vary. Use as directed. Avoid contact with genitals. Do not use if you have a nut allergy. Do not handle if you're pregnant or intending to become pregnant, or like to wear propeller beanies or coonskin caps. In fact, don't wear propeller beanies or coonskin caps, or I'll hunt you down and burn you with fire wherever you stand. Just don't do it, you fuckface. Call your mother. She misses you. However, your dad wishes you were never born. Fortune cookie reads: Avoid long rides by horseback - your great-grandfather was a gluemaker. Lucky numbers: GET A JOB.
posted by loquacious at 11:01 PM on November 15, 2007 [4 favorites]


Macadamias are my favourite nut!

Also: did they ever make that movie about the Fat Slags? Cos "Large Brainless Twats" would make a good song for the soundtrack, if only there were such a thing.
posted by h00py at 11:44 PM on November 15, 2007


was, damnit.
posted by h00py at 11:45 PM on November 15, 2007


Reading that thread made me realized I don't get flashed and groped enough.
posted by chillmost at 1:47 AM on November 16, 2007


I'm not going to comment on any of this, for fear that I'll be accused of being eponysterical.
posted by flashboy at 2:06 AM on November 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Also: did they ever make that movie about the Fat Slags?

Oh yes. It has an impressive rating of 1.4 out of 10 on IMDb. Most reviews I read were not this generous.
posted by flashboy at 2:15 AM on November 16, 2007


on every tack, more or less, both running with the wind and tacking against it

Ah, that makes more sense. I was suspicious Aubrey's explanation was supposed to be evidence of his dimness.
posted by yerfatma at 4:45 AM on November 16, 2007


Instead of a light shining on my own.
posted by yerfatma at 4:45 AM on November 16, 2007


Why the fuck do we bother replying to four panels' baiting?

Apparently, he is a masterbaiter, shmegegge.
posted by taz at 6:15 AM on November 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


67% is still just a D+.
posted by hermitosis at 6:53 AM on November 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Occhiblu said: I got so tired of feeling totally disgusted every single time I read a MeFi thread that I've just stopped using that part of the site (with a few exceptions recently that I just immediately regretted). I somehow doubt I'm the only one.

That is, on the slim chance anyone cares, my exact experience also. And based on how many lurking women will tend to favorite comments along those lines in MeFi threads, I think it's a fairly common theme.


Huh? Women are so tired and digusted with MeFi that they "stopped using it", but they are still engaged enough to read threads and mark favorites?


It's reasonably predictable that more women would participate in a site in which personal attacks or inappropriate comments are deleted, and in which the overall goal is to foster a community that helps and supports each other.

The fact that the part of the site specifically set up to avoid a boyzone is not a boyzone is not actually an argument that all of MetaFilter is somehow gender-balanced.


Is the fact that AskMe evolved a culture where answers are keep strictly on topic at all related to MetaFilter's history as a boyzone? Saying that "personal attacks or inappropriate comments" are endemic to those rough-n-tumble boys* in the blue, so the green was a designed slumber party that arose in opposition to the "boyzone" is historically inaccurate in my opinion, and a little sexist as well.

MetaFilter fostered community before AskMe was even conceived. Some aspects of our culture don't (can't) appeal to everybody and some folks might feel uncomfortable participating in certain threads. That's not really a problem. Hopefully everybody is here because there is some part of this place that brings them joy.

(* plenty of women hold their own in the rough-n-tumble too, of course.)
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 7:19 AM on November 16, 2007


I was using "set up" to refer the overall system, not to AskMe's original purpose, but you're right, that was unclear.

While AskMe certainly wasn't established because of any gender conflicts, its structure and rules certainly developed in ways that explicitly enforced the idea that boyzone idiocy was not allowed. I think that structure has made the site better for everyone involved, male or female.

MetaFilter fostered community before AskMe was even conceived. Some aspects of our culture don't (can't) appeal to everybody and some folks might feel uncomfortable participating in certain threads.

Exactly, though I'd expand that to "all threads on the blue part of the site." What I'm saying is that culture sucks for a great many people. The whole "If you can't take the heat" attitude is bullying, pure and simple, and users' reveling in that power dynamic is really disheartening.
posted by occhiblu at 7:40 AM on November 16, 2007 [4 favorites]


While AskMe certainly wasn't established because of any gender conflicts, its structure and rules certainly developed in ways that explicitly enforced the idea that boyzone idiocy was not allowed. I think that structure has made the site better for everyone involved, male or female.

This might be overselling the point, but the structure and rules developed in way that explicitly enforced the idea that idiocy, asshattery, goofery in general are not allowed. That that includes Boyzoniness is secondary.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:10 AM on November 16, 2007


I'd expand that to "all threads on the blue part of the site."

That kind of hyperbole undermines your otherwise legitimate point. There are literally thousands of blue threads that don't touch on sexuality, gender, or their roles in society (or, for that matter, race, religion, politics, or history). Maybe the idiocy that you bemoan crops up in some (several?) of them, but I stand by the claim that there are a huge number of threads with none.

Start here, or here, or here, or here, or here, or here to find some.

Again, that's not to say there isn't a problem, but staking out such an extreme position pretty much guarantees that some people won't listen to you.
posted by Partial Law at 8:51 AM on November 16, 2007


I kind of think that the fact that a thread on the subject of men flashing women has spawned

a) protestations by a woman poster that she is not a man-hater!
b) the use of female genitalia, 'twat,' as an insult, without any protest at all.
c) implicit accusations that people who criticize the environment are oversensitive

is a great demonstration of the issue that Occhiblu raised.
posted by Salamandrous at 8:53 AM on November 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


I kind of think that the fact that a thread on the subject of men flashing women has spawned

On the other hand, if all the objectionable material came from the same two or three well-known and perpetually trolling assholes...? I'm not convinced this is evidence of a trend endemic to the site as a whole.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:02 AM on November 16, 2007


That kind of hyperbole undermines your otherwise legitimate point. There are literally thousands of blue threads that don't touch on sexuality, gender, or their roles in society

occhiblu, correct me if I'm wrong, but I think you misunderstood her. It's not the subject-matter of the threads that makes it a "boyzone." It's the fact that, on the blue, flaming is tolerated.

Extreme flaming isn't, but light flaming -- combativeness, whatever you want to call it -- is allowed. It's a snarkier place than AskMe, and a certain amount of snark that would be deleted in AskMe is allowed to stay on MeFi.

Since I don't like that sort of atmosphere, I originally felt like it was wrong. I don't feel that way any more. I recognize that pointed ribbing is fun for many people. It's just not for me. So I generally stay away. Which is fine. Unless you feel like you'd like more people like occhiblu and me on MeFi. Then, I guess it's a problem.

And sure, there are plenty of MeFi threads that aren't snarky. But the GENERAL tolerance of snarkiness there -- and the fact that I don't know, before reading a thread -- how combative it's going to be, makes me wary of the whole site.

Depending on your love of snarkiness, backbone, upbringing, reason for visiting the site, etc., you may not know what I'm talking about. What seems snarky to me may just seem like normal conversation to you.

I'm male, but most of my friends, since early youth, have been female. And I've spent little time in locker rooms, sports teams, fraternities, etc. I don't know how to read snark, competativeness and combativeness as friendly banter. I'm willing to accept that as a shortcoming in myself.
posted by grumblebee at 9:04 AM on November 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


(To clarify, I am not calling the subject of point a an asshole; rather, that her protestations were prompted by the ravings of an asshole. Which...I don't know who that was anymore, but probably? Some asshole.)
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:04 AM on November 16, 2007


This might be overselling the point, but the structure and rules developed in way that explicitly enforced the idea that idiocy, asshattery, goofery in general are not allowed. That that includes Boyzoniness is secondary.

Yes, but there were also many discussions specifically about the whole "boyzone" thing, and how it was inappropriate even when the comments weren't nasty or mean but simply reinforced the idea that men are the norm and women are some weird anamoly.

There are literally thousands of blue threads that don't touch on sexuality, gender, or their roles in society (or, for that matter, race, religion, politics, or history).

One, I'm not satisfied with the idea that gender is only relevant in threads specifically about gender. That touches on what I said above, that the site (and most of the world in general) is normed for men and women's issues or opinions or experiences are somehow automatically special-interest and not simply part of the normal whole.

Two, really, the idiocy on some parts of the site turns me off of all parts of the site. I'm glad that some people can separate out the way people act on some topics from the way they act on other topics. I just can't. When I see people mocking a 13-year-old girl for killing herself, or attacking anyone with different experiences than they've had, or just that general sense of "I'm right, you're wrong, and I'm going to insult you until I prove my moral superiority" -- and especially when I see those choices defended over and over again as being an integral part of the MeFi experience -- I don't see a place that I want anything to do with, at all, on any topic, because I don't respect the culture that those users have created and encouraged.

And I don't really expect anyone to listen to me; I'm not trying to convert anyone, just explain my own experience.
posted by occhiblu at 9:06 AM on November 16, 2007 [3 favorites]


Heh. On non-preview: Yes, what grumblebee said.
posted by occhiblu at 9:07 AM on November 16, 2007


b) the use of female genitalia, 'twat,' as an insult, without any protest at all.

I'm not going to go through every comment here, but I'm pretty sure tool, dick, cock, and ass/asshole were collectively - without any protest at all - used more than twat.

OH NO, metafilter hates men and gays!
posted by CKmtl at 9:09 AM on November 16, 2007


There's probably some irony to the fact that I have much greater understanding of, and sympathy for, what you're saying, occhiblu, precisely because of experiencing the girlzone atmosphere at metachat.
posted by Wolfdog at 9:11 AM on November 16, 2007


Any post that has the words "so sue me" in it is not a good post.
posted by iconomy at 9:14 AM on November 16, 2007


It strikes me that when someone in a community says that they're not comfortable in it, the response might be
1 Why? Explain the problem
2 We don't care

But the response 'You're wrong' really doesn't deal with it. Of course, in the end it amounts to We don't care. But no one quite dares to say that.
posted by jennydiski at 9:16 AM on November 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


b) the use of female genitalia, 'twat,' as an insult, without any protest at all.

That usually happens with posters from certain specific non-US nationalities (which I won't mention, but I'm pretty sure you can figure out which), where the word is much more commonly used as a milder insult that's akin to "dick" rather than "cunt".
posted by aramaic at 9:20 AM on November 16, 2007


You seem like a smart enough guy, maybe not very witty, but there is a genuine effort to your insults. But take care as the feeble minded are the first to take comfort in hatred.

That must be that Georgetown philosophy education at work again. You know, the same one that taught you to engage in ad hominem and appeal to authority fallacies while claiming to be the victim of an ad hominem attack at the completely wrong time. You do your Alma Mater proud, sir.
posted by shmegegge at 9:23 AM on November 16, 2007


While I find the comments made by many guys in this thread that getting flashed by a lady was "teh awezomez," I think if we switched male and female roles in the world they'd feel a lot different.

Imagine a world where, pretty much universally throughout all human history, male sexuality has been a tool for females to consolidate their own power, exercise control over males (through regulating male sexuality), and forced enjoyment, whether the guy wanted to or not. Where sons were traded like cattle instead of daughters. And then there's this movement, starting approximately 150 years ago, that finally results in men having political power maybe 75 years later. The amount varies across the world, with power slowly growing but by the 21st century is still firmly in the hands of women. Meanwhile, you have been growing up in this society where your physical attractiveness and ability to balance your sexuality between being promiscuous and virginal is considered to be, by far, your most important qualities. You are inundated with sexually explicit pictures of men, photoshopped to something unrecognizable. Instead of one GQ, there are about one hundred different kinds, not including the kinds aimed towards young men, and all of the interviews of hot ladies in bikinis are removed and replaced with cutesy interviews of "nice girls" in sweaters and jeans. Meanwhile, females have a wide range of titles aimed towards addressing their various hobbies, as well as their pick of leery, sexual magazines with men in banana hammocks and tight boxers lounging around and talking about how they once had sex by a lake and they just love cooking for their girl.

Most advertisements involve pictures of attractive men in various states of undress. If a woman is featured, she is of considerable less attractiveness, unless it is a beauty product aimed towards a man. And then she's in the background admiring the man, because woman admire men and men are there to be admired.

So you grow up with this knowledge that in many ways, you are an object. You are there to look good and women will admire you and if you are very lucky you will make head cheerleader and that tall captain of the basketball team will ask you to prom. That right there, that will be the crowning moment of your manhood, when the most attractive girl in school walks up to you in your tight, short shorts, your tight tank top, looks you up and down like she's looking at her dream car, and says you look good.

Maybe you will resent this, being judged solely on your attractiveness, feeling like you have to wear these uncomfortably tight clothes and read these magazines and apply bronzer stick every day and get highlights every six weeks to be considered a worthy man. May you will hate it that everyone judges you so strongly by your appearance. But you better not talk about it, or criticize the society that spawns this culture, because even though male suffrage was achieved at the beginning of the last century you'll get labeled a mascunazi and a cunt-puncher and a fag. And don't you dare bring up to your partner you're feeling unappreciated, because you are relegated to taking care of the children and doing housework, you'll get told to "quit being such a boy."

Anyway, so this is the society you're in. But it is OK, I mean, sometimes you even see half-naked girls on billboards these days and maybe it brings you some cold comfort that the number of girls developing eating disorders is rapidly rising, though it has a long way to go before it approaches the number of men suffering from them. Most of the time, all of these gender roles and this horrible milieu hangs around in the background and you walk through your life feeling like you can just be yourself, be a human and be treated the same as any woman.

Well, except in public. Because there is a subset of woman who get off on re-establishing that dominance over you. "Hey boy, walk by me again!" "Hey, take off your shirt, I want to see your pecs!" "You probably got at least seven inches down there, right? You wanna come home and lick my cunt? Show me that tongue, honey, c'mon!" Or on the subway, women will grab your balls or your ass and stare at you, daring you to say something and deep inside you feel horrifically dirty and violated, because it's ingrained in you that good boys don't get touched by strangers.

God forbid you've dressed up nice to go mean your girlfriend--all the other women on the street may think you're there to meet them. And hope you don't encounter a crowd of young women hanging on the front steps of some building, they will get up and start following you, throwing comments after you the entire time. You are terrified it might turn into something worse, and you will have to go downtown where an unsympathetic older woman will tell you to strip down and you will be poked in tender areas and discompassionately asked if you were talking to the gang or did anything to provoke this incident. After all, you were dressed like that, you probably were looking for something like that, huh?

And maybe the young group of guys won't follow you. Maybe you will make it to your date and your girlfriend will ask you how you've been, and you'll tell her about the harassers, and then she'll dismiss it and say "Take it as a compliment."

Ah, a compliment. Of course. You are a pretty little man, and shouldn't be concerned with anything else, right?
posted by schroedinger at 9:30 AM on November 16, 2007 [111 favorites]


I recall a strange and lonely day during my first half-year in Tokyo. I had been perusing telephone book-sized futanari pornographic comic books at a shop run by a hunched old woman with an abacus before heading to the train. It was sunny and cold, and as I walked along the crowded sidewalk I conjured dicks under the coats of all the pretty girls (and tits under the coats of pretty guys) with my mind's eye, thus sustaining a half-on down the steps and into the station.

I was in a suburb west of the JR Yamanote line, which loops around central Tokyo; the local station was on one of the private rail lines into the sprawl, and as I headed through the tunnels to the train, I realized that my partial stiffy was partly piss-inspired, so I ducked into the station lavatory for a slash before the long ride home.

A flushed salaryman, panic in his eyes, ran out of the restroom as I entered.

When I stepped up to do my thing, I discovered why: to my left, at the end of the urinal bank, a man stood, pants around his ankles, facing me, squinting with concentration and furiously jacking off in my direction.

Not to be outdone, I unzipped my fly, gave my semi a squeeze and a tug, and brandished my now full erection right back at him.

Maybe it was my shaved gaijin head, or my size (height and weight, or length and girth), or my fire-red pubic thatch, but the fellow grimaced, wilted, shoved back in and zipped up, and stalked out of the bathroom without taking his humiliated eyes off my cock.

I stood by the urinal for a few minutes before I broke the seal, a trickle became a flood, and I satisfied my bladder and headed for the tracks.

Good times.
posted by breezeway at 9:33 AM on November 16, 2007 [5 favorites]


The boyzone atmosphere has been gone over and gone over and gone over. Does it exist? Yes, sometimes and it can be disheartening. However. There's a lot of stuff on the blue and the green and, gods help me, the gray. Some of it is beautiful, some hilarious, some political and so on. You take what you can from it, leave behind what you don't like and move on. There are always going to be assholes in the world and in some ways it's kind of enlightening to encounter them here. Now you know they're out there. And quite honestly, for me at least, the comic relief they provide is often so, so worth it.

I admit to not commenting in some boyzone centric threads - not because I'm a woman and I'm scared, but frankly because I'm a woman and I'm tired. I know perfectly well that I'm not going to convince anyone with a few trenchant comments that, yeah, they're being a chauvinistic asshole so I just don't always bother. Perhaps this is a terrible fault, but perhaps not and in the meantime, I don't confuse the occasional rampant boyzonism with the glory that is metafilter as a whole. I like to think that the general feeling of the site will eventually get through to the assholes. Slowly, they will begin to get that hey, the world you're experiencing with your penis hanging in the wind and the one I'm experiencing, happily penisless, are often quite different.

hey, salamandrous, in many places other than the US, twat is a genial, all purpose, degendered friendly insult. I quite like it. But then I have very high tolerance for snark and a fondness for dirty words in general so ymmv.
posted by mygothlaundry at 9:34 AM on November 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


Jenny, no one is going to say "we don't care" because no one here, including the mods, has the authority to make such a statement about 'we'.

But, yeah, I don't care if some people can't handle the snark. I find a certain intellectual robustness in getting smacked down by people smarter than me. It's something that I haven't found in many other places and the challenge is at least part of the reason I've hung around here for so long. People can lament it all they want, but thankfully it's not going to change anything.
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 9:35 AM on November 16, 2007


Of course, in the end it amounts to We don't care. But no one quite dares to say that.

In the end it amounts to: it's complicated. It's really easy to oversimplify that there's some sort of active disregard happening here, but as many people have pointed out, the things that make this sort of behavior and reaction to it so endemic in the US, for example, make it endemic here. Power dynamics are complicate and human interactions are not easy channeled the way you think they might be.

As a small part of the moderating team and the only female part of it, I care about this issue a great deal. While it may be damning with faint priase to say "it used to be worse" I think a lot of us can agree that is true. Once you're making decisions for a community of 6,000-60,000 people (depending if you count registrations or active participants) it's not as easy as giving people a timeout when they do something bad. Especially when people who know the rules make a particular practice of treading just outside them and protesting loudly when they think they detect bias in the moderator actions -- four panels I am looking directly at you here.

If it's a community site, as I think we often argue, we have to think hard about using our moderator powers to set a tone. I found the orangutang post particularly offensive in an LOLRAPE way, for example, but based on the flag queue and absence of emails others did not. So, while we have some tone-setting rules, telling a user to fuck off often results in comment deletion if we see it for example, we don't have a mechanism for someone who is causing a ruckus but not quite breaking a definable rule. This comes out in sexist ways but also political ways and religious ways, there's a general trend towards letting things be rather than intervening. This winds up perpetuating existing power-holders more than not, however, and it's something we struggle with regularly.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:35 AM on November 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


jessamyn: I have a pretty clear understanding of how complicated power dynamics and human interaction can be. Really. All the more reason, I think, to notice what slips by and how some women are expressing discomfort. Difficult, but important. If there were African Americans saying something similar, it would also be alarming.

I'm very much against banning or deleting comments in general - I've got a sentimental free speech streak - what I think is needed is some recognition that there is a problem. But I can see that if the site thinks of itself as purely about posts - just so stories as it were - then the subtleties of what happens in the ensuing threads get overlooked.
posted by jennydiski at 10:00 AM on November 16, 2007


I haven't been able to keep up with this thread since I added my little bit yesterday about the awesomeness of being hooted over on the street a couple of times. I realized soon after I wrote that, though, that I might have given the understandable impression that I thought that that was somehow equivalent to what many (most?) women experience quite often. That isn't so. I didn't mean to suggest that women should somehow welcome the attention as I did, and I completely understand that the joy I experienced in those simple moments was in direct proportion to their rarity.
posted by OmieWise at 10:04 AM on November 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


I find a certain intellectual robustness in getting smacked down by people smarter than me.

Which makes it sound as if people like me can't take being told they're wrong. Actually, I've left communities where there was too much agreement. And I seek out people who are smarter than me. I want to be told what's wrong with my thinking and how to correct it.

What I don't want is to be "smacked down."

If you like being smacked, you like being smacked. But smacking and "intellectual robustness" needn't go hand-in-hand. And from what I've seen on MeFi, smackdowns don't tend to lead to people going, "Oh, thanks for the smack! I can see now how I was wrong." They tend to lead to defensive battles. I'm sure there are exceptions.
posted by grumblebee at 10:10 AM on November 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


But what form is that recognition supposed to take? "Never deleting a thread or comment that has women discussing sexual power dynamics" isn't a workable answer, any more than elevating any other topic or issue beyond the reach of the basic guidelines of the site would be. It'd be a baby-and-bathwater proposition.

I'm not assuming that that's precisely what you mean, but I do want to understand what you think should happen differently, because insofar as this comes back to the deletion of your post, I feel like we're at cross purposes: the question of moderation guidelines and practices and the question of boyzone/gender-dynamics cannot be practically collapsed into a single question, so talking about recognition of the latter needs to be dealt with apart from just protesting the former.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:11 AM on November 16, 2007


Ditto, OmieWise.
posted by hermitosis at 10:16 AM on November 16, 2007


It's really hard for me to relegate assholery to a gendered zone.

I don't, for the most part, partake in flaming other users, or escalating conflicts with invective or dismissive language, and perhaps this is in some way due to my girlish sense of cooperation. I have undoubtedly experienced hurt feelings over being the target of that kind of activity. It's hard to read that stuff, makes me flush. I have felt like my outness as a girl around here has caused me to draw some extra fire on some issues, especially when I speak confidently about issues pertaining to feminism.

However, I will remove my stilettos with the sphincter of any of these cock massage therapists if they set their typing or their fapping hand on me in a way I deem unworthy - and I go a-deeming things unworthy all crazily and unpredictably, shrieking incantations of flaccidity, banshee-like, empowered by a mystical connection between my cunt and the MOON. Buoyed forth on aruslting swell of stags, I shoot through the dappled forest night and pounce upon my enemy with a quickness. As my ruby fingernails sink into his throat, I lean in close, my blonde hair perfumed with jasmine and vetiver falling in ribbons on his cheeks, and whisper, lips close upon theirs, "butts lol, my sweet prince."

In other words, I want to make Metafilter a more comfortable place for the rest of the girls, but I only have one word of advice: Own.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:21 AM on November 16, 2007 [7 favorites]


Cortex: Danila's comment in the other thread answers your question as well as I could.

I don't think moderation guidelines are entirely separate from issues of the politics/social assumptions of the site.

I don't know under the current guidelines how things could be done differently. The simplicity, apropos jessamyn's comment, seems to me to be in the rigid structure that overrides other more complex considerations.
posted by jennydiski at 10:25 AM on November 16, 2007


Sometimes what one needs to "own" is one's own mental health. I played in the sandbox for years. As mgl aptly phrased it, I just got tired. It was too much work with too little support for too little reward. I'm not willing to spend my energy in that way anymore. It's not worth it.
posted by occhiblu at 10:27 AM on November 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


I only have one word of advice: Own.

this is what i've often felt when i've noticed that metafilter is a bit of a whitezone and tried to think about what i could do to counteract that.

(i sometimes think mefi is a lot like my place of residence, Austin, in that it thinks quite highly of itself in comparison to similar places, but in some ways it's a step or two behind some places that are perceived more negatively than it is.)

thing is, it's hard to own without coming across as...here comes mefi's favorite word for outspoken progressives/agnostics/atheists/environmentalists/etc...shrill. i've never made an fpp, and i've often come across sites related to racial issues that i'd love to post, but i've been scared to do so because i fear being accused of "having an agenda." maybe i need a sockpuppet named "blackie mcafricanamericanson" so i can do those, and then i can save lord_wolf for, of course, wolf-related posts. (NOT WOLFIST)
posted by lord_wolf at 10:31 AM on November 16, 2007 [4 favorites]


I find a certain intellectual robustness in getting smacked down by people smarter than me.

No no. A man who says "Oh, thehmsbeagle, you're so silly with your insistence that men on the street yelling about your boobs are creepy!" isn't smarter than me, and his buddies who agree with him are also not smarter than me.

MeFi isn't always about robust intellectual debate. Often, it's about who can yell the loudest. Lest you think I'm (HORRORS!) a crazy feminist, that also seems to be true about threads about atheism and fat people. People in those threads don't seem to gain any sense of understanding for the other side. There's just 250+ comments worth of screaming - sorry, robust intellectual snarkage! - and then two weeks later it happens again.

And hosted from Uranus, in your comment further up this thread you say:

Huh? Women are so tired and digusted with MeFi that they "stopped using it", but they are still engaged enough to read threads and mark favorites?

Which I think is meant to imply that we can't have it both ways, ergo our argument is moot. But I really think you're missing a big point there. In the recent MeFi post about the 13-year-old girl killing herself, I made what was a pretty mild comment about the tenor of the other comments. 44 people favorited it. It wasn't a comment full of genius insights, either, so I think those favorites must be read as "I agree": clearly there was a sizable group of lurkers who, like me, disliked how hilarious people found the suicide of an adolescent girl. Why didn't they say anything? Well, sometimes you just can't work up the energy to say anything, because you KNOW that you'll then have to deal with twenty comments about how you're hysterical/humorless/overreacting/wrongWRONGWRONG!!!! and those comments will, nine times out of ten, be allowed to stand on MeFi. (I don't mean to blame the mods here. Reading Jessamyn's comments above, I feel like I have a semi-clear understanding of why they make this choice, and I agree that it's probably the best choice to make.)

That has been my repeated experience on MetaFilter. I was really distressed by the Orangutang rape thread, but I didn't say anything, because I didn't want to deal with the comments about my humorless hysteria feminazi APE RAPE HA HA HA. Is that chicken of me? I guess it is. Sometimes I feel kind of embarrassed that I don't say something in some threads, but it's just really tiring to deal with. So I say nothing. And other people who are also uncomfortable say nothing.

I think it's a serious error of judgment to think that silence implies agreement. Sometimes, silence just implies that you're sick of dealing with peoples' bullshit.
posted by thehmsbeagle at 10:31 AM on November 16, 2007 [13 favorites]


Methinks you all doth protest this deletion too much. Also, hi guys, W00t W00t!
posted by Lynsey at 10:38 AM on November 16, 2007


The simplicity, apropos jessamyn's comment, seems to me to be in the rigid structure that overrides other more complex considerations.

But here's the challenge: the site is big, and busy, and has a long history of evolved social/moderation/posting practices. Where you're seeing rigidity, jessamyn and I are seeing the application of some strong but flexible principles; in this case, the "avoid reacty/trend posts" principle was not flexed in favor of keeping your post around, and it's understandable that that would bug you, but it does not make for rigidity in general.

Some of the big basic things that we tend to stick by—no doubles, no trend posts, no self-links, no insane screeds—have become those big basic things because they have manifested so many times and so consistently, and because the trouble they carry in with them has been noted and discussed and reacted to from both an administrative and a community perspective. They work, as principles, and then sometimes we reconsider them for a specific case and elect to step around.

But there's no guarantee that that stepping-around is going to occur, and while I very much do not believe you're arguing this solely because it's your post that didn't get the exception-to-the-rule treatment, I'd be nuts not to acknowledge that a personal attachment to the subject tends to drive a much stronger This Is A Problem reaction to what are pretty solid, long-term moderation practices than do observations from neutral third parties.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:40 AM on November 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


(Sorry, I'm full of talkiness this morning.)

Lord_wolf said: this is what i've often felt when i've noticed that metafilter is a bit of a whitezone and tried to think about what i could do to counteract that.

I have wondered this often. There are a ton of interesting race issues I would love to see on MetaFilter (I didn't see - but perhaps I missed it - the recent Pew survey about increasing class divides among American blacks) but given how MetaFilter discusses women's issues - and this may well be my own over-sensitivity! - I worry that it would devolve into a low-brow debate about affirmative action that would end up making any people of color feel like this is a fairly unsafe space in which to discuss things of that nature, leading to even fewer posts on race issues, etc.

(i sometimes think mefi is a lot like my place of residence, Austin, in that it thinks quite highly of itself in comparison to similar places, but in some ways it's a step or two behind some places that are perceived more negatively than it is.)

Heh.
posted by thehmsbeagle at 10:44 AM on November 16, 2007


the rigid structure that overrides other more complex considerations.

Spoken like someone who's never tried to moderate a discussion site on any serious level.

Slashdot, to pick merely one example, has proven that no moderation system will satisfy everyone. That even the most moderate moderation will infuriate people for being too weak, or too strong. At this point I'm reasonably certain it's mathematically impossible to design a perfect moderation system.

Every time, every time I've seen people bring up "complex considerations", in the context of moderation systems (dating back to BBS days), it's been a code-word for "I am smarter than you are, so do what I say".

After untold thousands of complaints, they all turn translucent and you can see through them to their core. Every moderation complaint is, at base, this: I am important, pay attention to me, and do what I say.

Sure, complex considerations. The only complex considerations anyone really turns out to be interested in are the ones that cause the universe to shift in their favor. You say it's about principle, not just that your perfect snowflake post got stepped on. Maybe that's true, maybe it isn't.

Delete posts, people get pissed. Leave them be, people get pissed. Nuke the bad words, people get pissed. Leave them be, people get pissed.

The only constant, in any moderation system, is that people get pissed. Thus it has always been, thus it will always be, until I manage to exterminate all human life.

So, one reason why a number of people (like myself) aren't being duly serious here despite repeated attempts to paint everything as a huge gender issue, is that we've seen it before.

We've seen it a thousand times before, in every possible language, in every possible medium, back into the depths of time. Your arguments are not as new as you think. Neither are mine, but entropy and the weight of history are on my side.

If you won this debate, right now, people would still be pissed. They'd be pissed tomorrow, and the day after that. And they'd have just as much right as you.

It'll happen too, just watch. Tomorrow a new day, new topic, new pissed-off perfect snowflake who's smarter than everyone else.
posted by aramaic at 10:51 AM on November 16, 2007 [3 favorites]


Thus it has always been, thus it will always be, until I manage to exterminate all human life.

As a human being, I would just like to say that I resent you for making me feel like I'm in an unsafe space right now.
posted by chinston at 10:55 AM on November 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Wow, aramaic, that's the most dismissive statement I've read in this thread, and the most self-satisfied. It's clearly your contention that you're smarter than anyone who disagrees with you about moderation, and that you should be payed attention to, but is it really your contention that arguing about sexism (or anything else) is always coded solipsism and can be safely dismissed as irrelevant?
posted by OmieWise at 10:59 AM on November 16, 2007


OmieWise, your ability to see things through your own lens astounds even me.
posted by aramaic at 11:00 AM on November 16, 2007


There's just 250+ comments worth of screaming - sorry, robust intellectual snarkage! - and then two weeks later it happens again.

I guess what I don't get is why you are even reading those threads. I'm not implying "MetaFilter: Love It or Leave It" but rather there must be something you find of value there that keeps you refreshing the page.

I don't actually visit the blue much myself because when I do I find it to be a huge timesuck, often because of comments that I find distasteful or just plain wrong. They, and responses to them, interest me. But I'm not going to condemn MetaFilter for being too interesting; I'm not going to call for a vast cultural shift on the blue; and I'm most certainly going to suggest that the comments be deleted.

Instead I'm going to appreciate the site for what it is, and participate in a manner I enjoy....which sometimes includes being a dick to stupid people. But, like occhi, I'm not trying to convert anyone, just explain my own experience.
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 11:02 AM on November 16, 2007


Cortex: It not my post being deleting that's been my concern, actually, but the original deletion of a poor post that nonetheless resulted in a discussion that was, by some people's standards, worth having.

I have all kinds of egomania, but really, my ego massages don't come from Metafilter posts. I simply have a problem with people being silenced, and the conversation reverting on the MetaTalk thread to whoops and hollers from the lads.
posted by jennydiski at 11:02 AM on November 16, 2007


No one wants to talk about the real underlying power dynamics on this site - for fear of upsetting our precious computer overlords. But I'm not afraid. Where's the real power? You think mathowie has the power? He's just a puppet. They took away the IMG tag because we were getting too close to the truth.
posted by chinston at 11:04 AM on November 16, 2007


People have not been silenced. No one was banned; the comments in the deleted-for-reasons-orthogonal-to-the-discussion thread were not removed from the database, no one was penalized for wanting to take part in the discussion while it was going on; discussion of the issue has not been forbidden; and we're here, right now, having a conversation that is an extension (though not, as you note, precisely a continuation) of the original discussion.

It sucks that a neat conversation got cut off, but it was a neat conversation that was taking place in a house that was scheduled for destruction on account of being horribly built. I do not believe that the house was a unique place, the only of its kind in which that discussion could take place, so the suggestion that it not be destroyed just to salvage the discussion that was being held inside doesn't ring true to me.

The discussion that happens on metafilter is, or can be, really great, but that does not make the site an on-demand discussion-provision service for the topic of your choice. Having that great discussion that got cut off happen again is a matter of patience and timing and luck, not brute force. I'm not accusing you of egomania, I'm suggesting that you need to accept that last statement as the reasonable reality of a site that's bigger than any particular discussion going on, and that your post was deleted not to quell the discussion but to maintain the health of the site.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:13 AM on November 16, 2007 [3 favorites]


I simply have a problem with people being silenced

Who has been silenced?

This MeTa thread and your other one combined are pushing 350 comments. No one, not even four panels as far as I know, has been put in time out - i.e., having their posting and commenting privileges taken away; actually being silenced.

An initial mediocre post was canned. Then your seemingly retaliatory post was also canned. This is not the same as people being silenced, or being "disappeared like a jew at auschwitz" to quote someone else's previous MeTa protestations.
posted by CKmtl at 11:20 AM on November 16, 2007


aramaic: Every time, every time I've seen people bring up "complex considerations", in the context of moderation systems (dating back to BBS days), it's been a code-word for "I am smarter than you are, so do what I say".

So, one reason why a number of people (like myself) aren't being duly serious here despite repeated attempts to paint everything as a huge gender issue, is that we've seen it before.

We've seen it a thousand times before, in every possible language, in every possible medium, back into the depths of time. Your arguments are not as new as you think. Neither are mine, but entropy and the weight of history are on my side.

I agree, my lens IS astounding.
posted by OmieWise at 11:21 AM on November 16, 2007


"Who has been silenced?"

Angryvictim.
posted by klangklangston at 11:21 AM on November 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


The only complex considerations anyone really turns out to be interested in are the ones that cause the universe to shift in their favor.

What a bleak, cynical view of human nature!

Sure, there are selfish people out there, and they tend to be loader and have harsher effects on communities than non-selfish people, but that doesn't mean they're the ONLY people out there.

Me: I have (at least) two driving forces: (1) a selfish desire to get what I want, and (2) a committment to fairness.

When the two forces clash, it's a real struggle and I defy anyone to predict the outcome! The cynic will say that #1 will always win, but it's not that simple. If I let #1 win, I will feel really guilty. And I remember that guilt from past times #1 has won, which makes me struggle harder against it.

MeFi is NOT the way I want it to be. I'd like rules that make it WAY more polite than most people would like it to be. So what if I had a magic button I could push to make it that way? And what if no one would know that I pushed the button.

I'm not 100% sure, but to me, pushing that button would be SO WRONG, I doubt I'd push it.

And I don't think I'm an paragon of virtue. There are plenty of people with scruples. It also doesn't mean I won't argue my position. But arguing for something and forcing it are two very different things.
posted by grumblebee at 11:25 AM on November 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


whoops and hollers from the lads.

Check again. Those have been entirely equitable, at least as much as our imperfect gender distribution allows.

I, of course, will not argue that Metafilter is a bastion of understanding between opposites or a pliable format, gracefully meeting differing socialization or ability sets, but how could it ever be? It's a laissez-faire free-for all, and you have to be robust just to get a word in, because it's a crowded bunch of rooms. Shrinking violets for any reason shrink of their own volition and I doubt I can be convinced otherwise. I don't believe in victims on Metafilter. All this, and we actually meet and sometimes *gasp* care for one another? It's the elysium of the intarwebs to me.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:25 AM on November 16, 2007


Aramaic: here, this will help you feel superior:

I read your comment, felt sad and upset, and said nothing. OmieWise called you on it, and I felt really grateful that a man had spoken up- once someone trots out a variant of "attempts to paint everything as a gender issue", I know that anything I say will automatically be framed as "SEE, trying to paint it as a gender issue!" Is that hilarious of me? Feel free to mock with robust intellectualism.

and hosted from Uranus: I guess what I don't get is why you are even reading those threads. I'm not implying "MetaFilter: Love It or Leave It" but rather there must be something you find of value there that keeps you refreshing the page.

Well, I try to avoid the threads about atheism and fat people. And I do see your point about how looking at people laughing about rape is probably not something I should do.

But I guess my problem is this:

When people are saying horrible things about the female experience, and I don't say anything, is that the better part of valor? At what point is it okay that I speak up? Sometimes I know it's not worth it to get involved, but sometimes I look at what people are saying and think "Self, are you okay with these people walking away from this conversation assuming that, since no one spoke up, what they're saying is fine and generally agreed-upon?"

I don't know. I don't think I'm wrong to want to interject an alternate perspective, but it certainly is usually really tiring and upsetting to do so, and probably completely pointless, and perhaps I should stop being so earnest and just hang out on AskMe. It does trouble me that if everyone thinks like that, MetaFilter really does become a fairly narrow set of voices, but... I imagine that a lot of the people who really enjoy MetaFilter like it how it is, and it is of course not up to me to dictate what people should and should not enjoy.
posted by thehmsbeagle at 11:26 AM on November 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


OmieWise, you're being intentionally dense and it's frankly not an effective tactic, even though I am personally very fond of it. Nevertheless, I'm going to fall into your trap if for no other reason than you're boring me:

My point is that this is not, in fact, about gender. It is a complaint about moderation. Gender issues are not truly being discussed here, they're being used as diversionary tactics. Why? Because they're unusually effective diversionary tactics.

Everything else is window-dressing and piling-on.
posted by aramaic at 11:26 AM on November 16, 2007


I love you guys. (except you, you and you.)
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:27 AM on November 16, 2007


thehmsbeagle: You've leapt to a conclusion that merely matches your own prejudice. Proving my point, incidentally, about diversionary tactics.
posted by aramaic at 11:31 AM on November 16, 2007


thehmsbeagle: with the advent of memail, there's a new resource for you to reach out and feel supported.

I think you should absolutely defend your arguments to the ends of the earth, and that is what it takes, because there are people here who will just go on and on and try to find a chink in every argument you make because they just love debate for its own sake. NOw, I think that is okay, and not personal. But if you feel browbeaten, or if it feels personal, I want you or others to send up the signal, you know? Get some validation from me anytime. This social netweorking stuff is theoretically better used by us women, no?
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:33 AM on November 16, 2007


aramaic, you're providing a useful object lesson here. Your rhetoric is more aggressive than seems called for.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:34 AM on November 16, 2007


Feel free to mock with robust intellectualism.

Hee.

Please speak up when you have the vigor to do so, thehmsbeagle. Pretty please even. Just don't whine when you're too tired to speak.
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 11:35 AM on November 16, 2007


If this tired tone is your idea of aggressive, you haven't really lived much, have you?
posted by aramaic at 11:35 AM on November 16, 2007


thehmsbeagle, I couldn't agree with your assessments more. I, too, have grown freaking exhausted at speaking up and being called humorless, or (horrors) a tiresome feminist, trying to ruin the fun, etc. It never goes anywhere. And on occaison I've even been discouraged at bringing something I consider objectionable to the mods and getting somewhat of a shrug in response. So I try to ignore, ignore, ignore, and enjoy the other parts of Metafilter. But it can be extremely discouraging sometimes and keeping quiet does often feel like agreement. But the alternative is usually too much emotional hassle.

Thank you for your comments here.
posted by agregoli at 11:38 AM on November 16, 2007


I don't know under the current guidelines how things could be done differently.

. . . my concern [is] the original deletion of a poor post that nonetheless resulted in a discussion that was, by some people's standards, worth having.

. . . I simply have a problem with people being silenced . . . .


OK, so this is some kind of proposal to change the guidelines. You say you have a problem with authority, but when there has to be some authority to enforce some (minimal) standards - in this case, the mods - isn't it nicer for all concerned when those standards are as simple and intelligible as possible? Right now, as complicated as the moderation job can be, the standard is clear - put up a good link and your post will stay on the front page. Once you start adding exceptions to that standard (i.e., oh wait but if you post a lousy link that happens to start a good discussion, your lousy link can stay), things will get only more contentious than they are.

Take the present level of questioning the mods' decisions on what constitutes a good post, and add a whole additional level of cavilling about what constitutes a good discussion even in the absence of a good link, and . . . the results will not be pretty.

As for people "being silenced" -

1. It's a big internet.

2. No one here could fail to understand that if they unfortunately attach their comments to a post that breaks the guidelines (which you acknowledge this post did), the comments get tossed as well. I mean, you throw out the term "silenced" as if it self-evidently wins the day, but as long as participants join a discussion knowing about a site's shared expectations, standards, etc., how is it so bad when those standards are enforced?

3. But it's not even like the comments are being renditioned or something. With greasemonkey, etc., they're easy enough to retrieve for the reading, plus people post links to the deleted posts anyway in MeTa.
posted by chinston at 11:40 AM on November 16, 2007


object lesson continues:

If this tired tone is your idea of aggressive, you haven't really lived much, have you?

So, this if/then setup, it's provocative and all, but it's just an expression of self. He can be interpreted either as implying that 1. I'm naive or that 2. he's not being aggressive, but the possible implication of the first could undermine my trust in the second.

It's the sort of interjection I think of as a "last word" trap. That is, you feel that you have to defend youself, but you can might seem shrill in doing so. The thing is, it's not about me, and it's just a fucking "If". So it's okay to let go. It reads the same way to everyone, and if I were to ignore it and not respond, I douby anyone would infer that he's right on both counts: that it's not aggressive and that I'm a sheltered child.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:41 AM on November 16, 2007


AV, you're projecting. Again. I know you want a Bad Guy and all, but I'm not it. Did I even swear, once? You just did. Until people started misconstruing my point I didn't even mention names.

...so yeah, your aggressive tone and hectoring attitude is uncalled for, providing an object lesson here. It's certainly more aggressive than my tone.
posted by aramaic at 11:46 AM on November 16, 2007


thehmsbeagle, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for inspiring me to finally purchase an account after lo these many years as a lurker, with the perfect user name. I surely appreciate it.
posted by waraw at 11:46 AM on November 16, 2007


aramaic, I don't think of tendency to cuss as aggressive. It doesn't appear more or less when I'm happy or angry. Nice try, but there's little else to hang a "no u are aggressive" argument on from me.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:48 AM on November 16, 2007


My point is that this is not, in fact, about gender. It is a complaint about moderation. Gender issues are not truly being discussed here, they're being used as diversionary tactics. Why? Because they're unusually effective diversionary tactics.

I'm not being deliberately obtuse, I just disagree with you, and I am pointing out that by dismissing the notion that there might be validity to critiques of how MeFi handles gender, you tend to reinforce, rather than give the lie to, the criticism.

Moderation doesn't exist in some vacuum, as both cortex and jessamyn have been at pains to explain, it's a difficult process fraught with many pitfalls. You haven't explained why gender inequality shouldn't be considered to be one of those pitfalls. And insofar as the conversation has been about one thread, it may be more about moderation than gender, but this thread has ranged much more widely than that, and I think can only be dismissively described as being about moderation.

Here's the thing, and the reason I mostly agree with jennydiski's last couple of comments: the status quo, by definition, supports the sexism many women are saying they experience here. When you argue for the status quo while also claiming that that sexism is a red herring, you're implicitly authorizing (because failing to address) the issues of inequality that other people are bemoaning. I don't have any solution to that from the perspective of moderation (and I happen to still think it was a good deletion), but I don't agree that it's beside the point.
posted by OmieWise at 11:48 AM on November 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


If this tired tone is your idea of aggressive, you haven't really lived much, have you?

That is aggressive.

There are things that are more aggressive. But that -- like most of what you've written -- IS aggressive.
posted by grumblebee at 11:48 AM on November 16, 2007


but there's little else to hang a "no u are aggressive" argument on from me

Exactly as much as there is from me.
posted by aramaic at 11:49 AM on November 16, 2007


I hate to get smug, but this lesson is going great.

aramaic, do you really think I'm challenging something about you, here? What? What do you think my stance is which opposes yours?

I started with this: thehmsbeagle: You've leapt to a conclusion that merely matches your own prejudice. Proving my point, incidentally, about diversionary tactics.

and said it seemed more aggressive than called for. That's a weak statement. Qualified, personal. What have I done to bring you to the point of feeling hectored by claiming that?
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:53 AM on November 16, 2007


You haven't explained why gender inequality shouldn't be considered to be one of those pitfalls

That's because I'm not saying it shouldn't be. On the contrary, it should be. I'm merely saying that in the end it's all pointless, because all that will happen is you'll piss off a different group of people. That's it.

Entropy wins. Entropy always wins. Localized disruptions occur, but in the end entropy will always win.

You are all confusing fatalism for aggression.
posted by aramaic at 11:54 AM on November 16, 2007


You are all confusing fatalism for aggression.

Oh, is that what we're all doing. Must be my vagina acting up again, sorry.
posted by thehmsbeagle at 11:55 AM on November 16, 2007 [3 favorites]


AV, you have missed the point so thoroughly I give up. Clearly I've utterly failed to make my point. Go home with a smile this afternoon if you like, secure in the knowledge you've won. Because you did win.

...and tomorrow, the universe is going to be exactly the same, just a bit darker, a bit grimmer, and a bit closer to a pointless end when none of this posturing by any of us will matter one whit.
posted by aramaic at 11:57 AM on November 16, 2007


Clearly I've utterly failed to make my point.

Alright, dude. But if you want to try and be understood, I'll be reading.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:00 PM on November 16, 2007


Ladies, I sure do love cunnilingus: at this point I can't tell if people are being silly and well-meaning or hostile and covering it with a cloak of LOL, so I'm going to assume that you're the former, and I wish you the best of luck with your new username.
posted by thehmsbeagle at 12:02 PM on November 16, 2007


That may be your argument now, and it was part of your argument before, but so was this much more dismissive and self-satisfied bit about everything boiling down to ego:

Every time, every time I've seen people bring up "complex considerations", in the context of moderation systems (dating back to BBS days), it's been a code-word for "I am smarter than you are, so do what I say".

And this bit about how gender is not only irrelevant to the discussion, but is being disingenuously introduced by the participants:

My point is that this is not, in fact, about gender. It is a complaint about moderation. Gender issues are not truly being discussed here, they're being used as diversionary tactics. Why? Because they're unusually effective diversionary tactics.

If you want to disavow those statements now, and maybe apologize for their excessively dismissive tone and the way in which they try to paint participants in this discussion as mendacious, then you can do that. It isn't the case, however, that you've been misunderstood.
posted by OmieWise at 12:02 PM on November 16, 2007


Oh, sorry, that was to aramaic about his argument being merely about entropy.
posted by OmieWise at 12:03 PM on November 16, 2007


thehmsbeagle: yes, that is what you're doing. You've decided I'm a Bad Guy who hates women and gender equality, and you appear to be reading everything through that lens. So everything I say is aggressive, I'm Mister-Meanie-on-a-Motorcycle, and so on.

My primary point was that this is an argument about the nature of moderation, with secondary points being that the gender issues are being used as diversionary tactics (which does not mean they're not there), and that in the end none of it will matter (this is the entropy part).

That I could have gotten people this worked up, when I actually agree with most of you, is frankly a testament to the efficacy of four panels' diversionary tactics. I agree that there are gender issues; after all, they're everywhere. I disagree that they were the main point in all of this.

And for that, I'm an antifeminist monster. Well, great. Four panels wins, as usual.

...and no, I won't apologize for the tone. I intended it to be read as tired and worn-out; that you read it as dismissive is unfortunate that I failed to convey my meaning is doubly so.
posted by aramaic at 12:16 PM on November 16, 2007


tired and worn-out

..by our inexplicable hostility? Am I inferring this correctly?
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:20 PM on November 16, 2007


Am I inferring this correctly?

Heh, hardly. I am after all the person who would like to exterminate a minimum of one-third the human population on Earth.

No -- tired and worn-out by seeing these same events repeat themselves in every venue. The provocateur is always different (four panels is unusually skilled in this regard), but the path is the same. Then it just happens again somewhere else.
posted by aramaic at 12:24 PM on November 16, 2007


Okay, in that case, I think the comments I referred to as aggressive might better be described as difficult for us to hear because they're dismissive. If you realy have so little love for humanity as all that, surely you can acknowledge that your opinions of us may be lower than our own, and that came through. Often, such dissmissiveness is used as provocation.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:36 PM on November 16, 2007


surely you can acknowledge...

I think you're probably right about that, for whatever it's worth. Although, on the plus side, I do include myself in the 1/3rd being eliminated.
posted by aramaic at 12:39 PM on November 16, 2007


Aramaic, I don't think you get to decide when gender issues are and are not the main thing being discussed. I personally could give a rat's ass what gets deleted from the front page. I think most of Miss Lynnster's posts are profoundly silly. I am discussing gender issues. You may be discussing something else. That doesn't make what you're discussing the overarching, bigger, more awesome, official discussion.

I don't know if you being tired explains the tone of your comments, but if you read them over, they're hostile and dismissive and rude. How do you think people are going to respond to that?
posted by thehmsbeagle at 12:40 PM on November 16, 2007


You are all confusing fatalism for aggression.

Here are some statements you've made that seem aggressive to me. (Maybe you and I are defining aggressive in a different way.)

--you're being intentionally dense
--you're boring me
--your own prejudice
--you haven't really lived much, have you?

If I was having an argument with someone, and he said, "you're being intentionally dense," that would be the end of the argument. I'd leave the room. That sort of talk is too disrespectful for me. I know that there's WAY worse talk. Doesn't matter.

aramaic, I don't want to pick on you, but I'm wondering if you know (or care) how you come across to some of us. In almost all of your posts in this thread, you play mind-reader. It's as if you feel like you know people so well, you know what they're thinking. Maybe you feel that this is true, but I don't buy it. And when you make mind-reading comments, it puts people into a bind. It's very hard to argue with "I know what you're thinking."

-- Every time, every time I've seen people bring up "complex considerations", in the context of moderation systems (dating back to BBS days), it's been a code-word for "I am smarter than you are, so do what I say".

-- The only complex considerations anyone really turns out to be interested in are the ones that cause the universe to shift in their favor.

-- you're being intentionally dense

-- Gender issues are not truly being discussed here, they're being used as diversionary tactics.

-- You've leapt to a conclusion that merely matches your own prejudice.

-- you're projecting.

-- I know you want a Bad Guy.

-- You are all confusing fatalism for aggression.

I have a rule for myself. I can't expect you to follow my rule, but I wish you'd at least think about it. My rule is to remember that when there's a misunderstanding between two people, the "fault" could like with either person (or both). So every time I find myself about to write, "you missed my point" or "you don't understand what I'm talking about," I pause and consider that I might not be explaining myself clearly. It doesn't matter how hard I've tried to explain myself, how many words I've wasted, or how clear I think I've been. I can't help but see my writing through my own lens. It may well look different from other lenses.

-- Until people started misconstruing my point I didn't even mention names.

-- you have missed the point so thoroughly I give up.

How about, "I think we're having a misunderstanding"?
posted by grumblebee at 12:45 PM on November 16, 2007 [8 favorites]


but if you read them over, they're hostile and dismissive and rude. How do you think people are going to respond to that?

Dismissive I grant easily. Rude, perhaps. Hostile, no. Perhaps we have different definitions of hostile, but in my decaying world, it would involve much more swearing, spittle, and the promise of physical violence.

If you wish to attribute hostility, so be it. I've been hostile before. People find what they seek.

As far as the response, I'm mainly surprised I misspoke so spectacularly. I suppose it's a function of my failing to expect the mindsets involved, and therefore talking past the target rather than actually hitting it.
posted by aramaic at 12:55 PM on November 16, 2007


Frankly, in my opinion, whether or not being aggressive creates a hostile environment to women is the least of the problems here.

The fact of the matter is that stunts and jokes like the “Ladies,...” username above are the norm here whenever there's any discussion of sexism.

I've watched every woman who has spoken out on MetaFilter against sexism here and generally on the subject of feminism be progressively silenced by the constant hostility and ridicule they receive. Every time the issue of MetaFilter being a boyzone has been raised in MetaTalk, there is not only strong disagreement but, more telling, sexist insult and ridicule.

My time on MeFi has really been an eye-opener for me with regard to sexism. For years now I've been arguing that the whole world ignores discrimination on the basis of sex that, if it were on the basis of race, people would be marching on the streets every day to protest. Yet I imagined that left-leaning, progressive, intelligent, erudite people—which describes the demographic here (relative to the general population)—would be quite a bit less sexist than most.

But MetaFilter isn't “quite a bit less sexist than most”—at best, it's somewhat less sexist than most. Even on MetaFilter, feminist is a dirty word. While MetaFilter can be extremely politically radical, sometimes, in a number of ways, it is never radical about women's rights. On women's rights, MetaFilter is at best center-right. Where people can heatedly complain about the West's exploitation of the developing world, complaints about male oppression of women are responded to with ridicule.

I've watched MetaFilter, over and over again, methodically silence the women who complain about the sexism here. It's shocked me, frankly, and stoked my anger about sexism to levels that I hadn't felt since my early days of having my eyes opened to it. I'd like to think that a few people out there might be persuaded by my comment and those from the women who've complained about it in this thread. But I don't believe that many men are willing to listen, experience has shown me that they usually are not.

Finally, Ambrosia Voyeur, I wish that you would consider that you should not use your temperament as the basis for judging how other women should react to sexism. It's simply not fair to imagine that what comes easily to you should come easily to other people. What works for you may not work for others.

I'm a disabled man in a society that, like most, finds disabilities unattractive or even revolting. But I don't feel unattractive as a result. I'm not that self-conscious of my disability. The biggest reason why is that I don't consider "me" to be my body. I'm my mind, really, my body is the shape that I wear. Now, I don't know why I feel this way so strongly. But my point is that it would be unfair of me to expect that every other disabled person who lives in a culture that finds disability ugly to cope with this the same way I have. It's not necessarily the best way to cope. And it's not even a coping mechanism, it predates the disability. But it would be easy for me to tell other disabled people how to respond to bias against them in our society by thinking about it the way I do. However, I don't do that and I'm not going to do that because what's easy for me may be hard for someone else, and vice-versa.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 1:01 PM on November 16, 2007 [19 favorites]


I've watched every woman who has spoken out on MetaFilter against sexism here and generally on the subject of feminism be progressively silenced by the constant hostility and ridicule they receive.

GODDAMMIT HOW LOUD DO I NEED TO GET BEFORE YOU'LL STOP CALLING ME SILENT?
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 1:15 PM on November 16, 2007 [3 favorites]


constant hostility and ridicule they receive

Got any examples besides a goofy username that was lifted from a comment made by a woman? Are they really any more condescending than this one?
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 1:15 PM on November 16, 2007


(yelling just for effect. I'm crazy about EB, but he's overshooting there)
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 1:15 PM on November 16, 2007


EB, of course what works for me doesn't work for everyone, but neither can you speak for " every women," hmm? I like to think my resilience is exemplary, and I encourage other women to be encouraged by it and by my support of them.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 1:18 PM on November 16, 2007


And Hosted From Uranus: I want to be sure I understand you. Are you saying that my comment to Aramaic is the high point of hostility and ridicule in this thread?
posted by thehmsbeagle at 1:22 PM on November 16, 2007


Ambrosia, Ethereal directly addressed you in his post. Yes, he knows you're here. We all know you're here. We could not possibly forget you are here.

aramaic, you are coming off like a know-it-all jerk, and I heartily support grumblebee's point that you should not assume you know exactly what is going on in everyone's head. It seemed extremely obvious to me about a quarter of the way through this thread it had changed from a discussion of moderation to a discussion of how gender is perceived on Metafilter itself. I know you believe these are the same things, but I can assure you, for many of us they are not. As I believe thehmsbeagle said, we couldn't give a shit what is or is not being deleted. We're just jumping into the discussion that's already started.
posted by schroedinger at 1:25 PM on November 16, 2007


High point? Nope. I actually think things have been relatively civil all around. But was it hostile? Yes. Do I think that it lessens the effectiveness of you calling out others' hostility? Yes.

But mostly I was calling EB's bluff.
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 1:27 PM on November 16, 2007


We could not possibly forget you are here.

Are you trying to tell me I'm taking up too much space or what? Because I don't feel like disagreeing with a blanket statement that Metafilter is able to silence its women is a bad use of a comment.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 1:29 PM on November 16, 2007


Finally, Ambrosia Voyeur, I wish that you would consider that you should not use your temperament as the basis for judging how other women should react to sexism. It's simply not fair to imagine that what comes easily to you should come easily to other people. What works for you may not work for others.

Whether intended or not, this comes off as one of the most patronizing comments in this entire thread. Are you seriously telling AV to pipe down when she says to "OWN"? How can you rail about MeFi's treatment of women as if you can speak for all of us, and then tell Ambrosia Voyeur that she does not? For fuck's sake, you're telling Ambrosia Voyeur HOW NOT TO BE in this thread. She may care less, but from where I sit, that was some seriously hypocritical bullshit. Telling people they should own is not judgemental, it's showing one way to react to certain kinds of crap around here.
posted by oneirodynia at 1:32 PM on November 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


you are coming off like a know-it-all jerk

I disagree: I am a know-it-all jerk. Am. Not "like".
posted by aramaic at 1:34 PM on November 16, 2007


Yup!
posted by waraw at 1:35 PM on November 16, 2007


I like to think my resilience is exemplary, and I encourage other women to be encouraged by it and by my support of them.

Please don't say anything like this ever again. I like the other things you say too much (because you are so often right) to want to have to put you on my "Blowhard" list.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:37 PM on November 16, 2007 [3 favorites]


What is EB's bluff, Uranus?

EB's professions of feminism make us feel uncomfortable because earnestness makes us feel uncomfortable. And of course there's something funny about a man being a feminist. There's something funny about feminists in general. Because earnestness is funny. It's deeply uncool.

But I don't know what you think his "bluff" is. Is it that MetaFilter is hostile to women? Is it that men shut uppity women down with ridicule? Like, I don't know, implying that they're whiny?

Yes, my crack to Aramaic was jerky. But I had already tried being earnest and calm and polite, and it was hardly the case that a reasoned exchange of ideas was afoot. Why is the burden on me to be nice after a dude has already been a prick?

oneirodynia: I have to say that I actually appreciated EB mentioning that. I'm a very girly girl, and it's really difficult for me to have discussions with people who escalate to loud, combative arguing. When people make the case that women need to be more like X in order to have good debate, I tend to just walk away. I'm not more like X. I'm a girly girl: I want everyone to feel okay. I want to seek consensus. I don't want to hurt peoples' feelings. I'm probably not going to swear at someone. So if being more like X is the standard for good discussion, I'm going to fail at the gate.
posted by thehmsbeagle at 1:37 PM on November 16, 2007 [6 favorites]


TPS, I guess I was led to think that by people like EB, truth be told. I can't figure out what else would make me seem an outlier among women.

However, whatever strengths I have, I believe in sharing, and saying so doesn't make me a blowhard.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 1:43 PM on November 16, 2007


smug performance artist prick
posted by peacay at 1:45 PM on November 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Are you seriously telling AV to pipe down when she says to "OWN"?

No, EB was not doing that. He was suggesting that AV's obvious comfort with asserting herself seems to lead her toward assuming that such assertion on the part of more women would solve this problem. He pointed out that this limited, rather than expanded, the options for women on the site. Go back and read her comments, go back and read his. He didn't tell her NOT to "own" or suggest that other women shouldn't "own." He wasn't being condescending or dismissing her experience or her position or her solution. If you keep reading his comment you'll find that he draws explicit parallel with his own approach to his own issues.
posted by OmieWise at 1:46 PM on November 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


I believe in sharing, and saying so doesn't make me a blowhard.

Sharing, fine, yes, I like sharing. It's when people start putting themselves on a pedestal that I find myself forced to tune them out. Please, people, stick to my guidelines- I would like all the people I agree with to be humble, interesting, and rational, and I would like all the people I disagree with to be mean, crazy, and unintelligible. This makes following these longs threads much easier. TIA.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:47 PM on November 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


What is EB's bluff, Uranus?

As I plainly stated, I want more examples of women being silenced within this discussion than a stupid handle. If you wish to add my comment to the list, please be explicit. Because if that's all you got, I'm not particularly convinced.
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 1:48 PM on November 16, 2007


aramaic, you are coming off like a know-it-all jerk

Actually, he's coming off as someone having a major depressive episode in front of an online audience.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 1:48 PM on November 16, 2007


I don't see where AV stated that that was the standard everyone has to follow- personally I walk away from more discussions and delete more typed comments than I ever post because I don't see MeFi as being some sort of battleground in which I need to win a skirmish with a bigot in order to prove a point. It's just not worth it to me. I do get very angry however when someone I don't even know lumps me in with another group based on gender ("every woman who has spoken out on MetaFilter against sexism... (is) progressively silenced") and then tells someone else to keep their advice to themselves.
posted by oneirodynia at 1:50 PM on November 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


And Hosted from Uranus, are you willing to believe that women can feel silenced by things you don't feel silenced by? Because I'm willing, in good faith, to paste examples of things that made me feel uncomfortable and like I should sit down and shut up, but I'm not going to do it if your mind is made up, as it appears to me, that nothing here could make a girl feel uncomfortable.
posted by thehmsbeagle at 1:53 PM on November 16, 2007


I'm a very girly girl, and it's really difficult for me to have discussions with people who escalate to loud, combative arguing.

With all due respect, there are people of all genders who feel this way. It has nothing to do with chromosomes.
posted by oneirodynia at 1:55 PM on November 16, 2007 [3 favorites]


Fair enough. I tend to identify with "women" and not feel annoyed when someone lumps me in with 'em, but I mostly meant "I'm a very girly girl" as "I have this communication style most people associate with girls".
posted by thehmsbeagle at 1:57 PM on November 16, 2007


Why is the burden on me to be nice after a dude has already been a prick?

If you want to contribute to making this world a decent world, then the burden is always on you. Especially when the other person is being a prick. If he's a prick, he's already shown he's not going to be nice. So you can either refuse to play his game or you can throw yourself into a war. When the other person's a dick, who can take the on the burden of niceness EXCEPT you?

One of my least favorite things about MeFi is the near-universal acceptance of "he started it, so it's okay for me to play dirty, too." In my view, the person who says that is acting worse that the one who "started it."

I'm an atheist, but I dearly love's Christ's suggestions about turning the other cheek and loving one's enemy. To me, it's not about being a good person. It's about doing your part to lessen the amount of snark in the world.
posted by grumblebee at 1:58 PM on November 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Yes.
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 1:58 PM on November 16, 2007


aramaic, you are correct that no matter what, someone will complain, but it's veering off into complete nihilism to follow up with the suggestion that therefore there is no possible better solution to be found, that all dissent is equal and that getting various issues addressed is morally and situationally equivalent to any other possible moderation and community style. In order for your argument to work, you need to categorically define good and bad out of existence.

That I don't buy.

Also, this conversation is, indeed, not really about moderation anymore, and your insistence that it is makes you an ass.
posted by Arturus at 2:02 PM on November 16, 2007


"I have this communication style most people associate with girls".

I see what you're saying but (and please don't think I'm picking on you- I read AskMe more than any other part of the site and you're one of my favorite respondents) statements like that perpetuate the idea that it's feminine to be quiet and not speak up. I'm not saying I think that's what you believe; I'm saying that a lot of people are capable of believing it, and that's something that is important for me to combat. I'm a girly-girl; sometimes I am loud and combative and rude, and sometimes I am meek and polite. All of those are human qualities that I am happy to possess.

(Bowing out now because I am going shopping for clothes and kitchen implements. Seriously.)
posted by oneirodynia at 2:09 PM on November 16, 2007


thehmsbeagle: I'm a very girly girl

You're female? I always figured you were male. Go figure.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:15 PM on November 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


So, data point, I have insulting memail now, over being a show-off and a contrived persona in feminism threads, and this is putting it kindly.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 2:15 PM on November 16, 2007


If you want to contribute to making this world a decent world, then the burden is always on you.

That gets a bit warped in dealing with gender issues, though, because for the most part, everyone's already putting a burden on women to "play nice," at all times, and to take care of everyone around them, and never ever ever to get angry because it's not ladylike. "Be nice," when said to a woman who has every right to be angry, can become a way of putting women, or other people who have traditionally not held much power, in their place.

Which is not to say that I disagree with a reminder to show consideration and compassion. But those don't always go hand in hand with "nice."
posted by occhiblu at 2:16 PM on November 16, 2007 [7 favorites]


“Whether intended or not, this comes off as one of the most patronizing comments in this entire thread.”

What OmieWise said. You misread me badly.

“How can you rail about MeFi's treatment of women as if you can speak for all of us...”

What makes you think that I was in any way speaking for women? I was speaking for myself. If you say, "Hey, it's wrong for those police to beat up those protesters" are you speaking for the protesters? Or are you speaking out against the police?

When I complain about sexism, I am human being complaining about the mistreatment of other human beings. Just as all human beings should do.

I understand that sexist patriarchy involves taking women's voices away from them and that there are men who are probably feminist out of sexist, “chivalrous” motivations, even if they aren't aware of it. But I'm not one of them.

Women have as much agency, or potential agency, in fighting sexism as anyone else and I certainly don't mean to subvert that in any way. But I, as a man, am also part of the problem. Everyone who is silent in the face of this injustice is part of the problem. It's my duty as a person to speak out against it, not “for” anyone else, but for myself.

On Preview:

“I do get very angry however when someone I don't even know lumps me in with another group based on gender (‘every woman who has spoken out on MetaFilter against sexism... (is) progressively silenced’) and then tells someone else to keep their advice to themselves.”

That's incoherent in a number of ways. First, are you including yourself among the group of women who have spoken out on MetaFilter against sexism, or not? Second, I wasn't telling AV to shut up, I was asking her to consider whether her advice was the best advice to give. Even if I was attempting to “silence her”, it wasn't motivated by sexism, which is what motivates the silencing I mentioned earlier. I don't have a problem with silencing people—I'd like to see the sexists silenced.

What I was particularly responding to that AV said was her "for someone to be a shrinking violent, someone has to shrink" (paraphrase) statement. She seems to be telling other women that they are responsible if they don't loudly stand up to sexism the way that she does. I think that's a very unfair and false thing for her to be saying. What works for her in responding to sexism isn't necessarily what works for every other woman, and it's even worse to imply that if they fail to respond the way she does herself, they are somehow responsible for the consequences.

This attitude isn't unique to women responding to sexism. It's very common for people who have faced adversity to normalize how they expect other people to respond based upon their own experience. And it's wrong to do so. It's just not fair to other people.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 2:16 PM on November 16, 2007 [4 favorites]


So, data point...

That sucks. No, honestly.
posted by aramaic at 2:17 PM on November 16, 2007


So, data point, I have insulting memail now

What sort of things are so mean that they can't be put in a *Metatalk thread*? You cowardly MeMail writers! Be like the rest of us- use the thread!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:20 PM on November 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


She seems to be telling other women that they are responsible if they don't loudly stand up to sexism the way that she does.

I don't want to place blame on the victims of sexism. However, in whatever arena, I believe empowerment comes from oneself, and I have a passion for people standing by what they believe and having the courage of their convictions to say it, as awful as the responses may be. I don't expect people to all comply with this ideal, really, not in the least. I live in the real world, and I ignore sexism far more than I confront it. I just think it's okay, here, for me to state it as my ideal. My intended message is "You can do it." I don't think that can be wrong. I also don't really like being a lightning rod, I'm shaking a little.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 2:25 PM on November 16, 2007


AV: I'm sorry about someone sending you insulting MeMail. Stupid and gross. Hope you are able to just delete and ignore. You are being reasonable here, even if people disagree with what you're saying. (I'm putting this here so it's public, rather than MeMailing you.)
posted by LobsterMitten at 2:32 PM on November 16, 2007


So, who's going to pony up five bucks for "shrinking violent"?
posted by landis at 2:34 PM on November 16, 2007


Grumblebee, in a perfect world, I absolutely agree with you.

But I have to somehow balance "being decent" with "sticking up for myself", and it's very, very hard for me to do the latter, and I'm not very good at it, and sometimes I overshoot and land in bitchery. I'm still pondering if that means that I should try to be nicer, or if I should get better at standing up for myself. Thank you for your thoughtful and thought-provoking comments, either way.

Uranus, I was collecting things that I found silencing, but then I realized two things:

1) I don't actually believe that you believe that I could reasonably feel silenced. Maybe that's mean and bitchy of me. Or maybe I'm right.

2) Many of the things I found silencing were not overtly meant to be silencing, and quoting them would make the guys who posted them feel bad. I am not into making people feel bad. If you have a genuine interest in seeing things from one girl's perspective, I'm willing to use this MeFi mail I've heard so much about. If you're in this to score a point, I'm not playing.
posted by thehmsbeagle at 2:35 PM on November 16, 2007


“‘Be nice,’ when said to a woman who has every right to be angry, can become a way of putting women, or other people who have traditionally not held much power, in their place.”

I very much agree with this and I certainly wasn't saying that AV shouldn't be loud and aggressive in responding to sexism. I just don't think that this should be considered the one, best way for women to respond to sexism. I especially don't like the idea of blaming them for sexism if they fail to be loud and aggressive.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 2:42 PM on November 16, 2007


EB, I'm confused. Why is it abhorrent and anger-inducing when HeFites dismiss SheFites' claims/perceptions of sexism, but it's okay to dismiss their perceptions of patronization and group-lumping - or whatever an appropriate noun would be for what oneirodynia was getting at - in your comments?
posted by CKmtl at 2:48 PM on November 16, 2007


"Be nice," when said to a woman who has every right to be angry, can become a way of putting women, or other people who have traditionally not held much power, in their place.

That may be so, and I'm sorry if it is. I don't want to put anyone down. But I'm talking about what -- in my mind -- works and what doesn't work. There are exceptions, of course, but usually "getting angry" just makes other people defensive. And it adds to the amount of anger in the world.

I don't think women should play nice. I think people should play nice. And when some people don't, other people MUST. Or there will be no nice people left.

Whenever I'm snarky because someone else started it, in my view, they've won. I'm not a woman, but I'm a meek guy who was picked on as a kid. I dealt with many of the same power issues that women deal with. I still do, though maybe not to the same extreme. I'm a beta dog in an office where everyone else is an alpha dog. Still, the day I'm brought down to -- or is it up to -- their level is the day I've lost my soul.

But I have to somehow balance "being decent" with "sticking up for myself", and it's very, very hard

I agree. It takes a lifetime of work. But in my mind, it's deeply important work, and one can get better at it.

There ARE ways of being assertive without being hostile. And when those ways don't work, the hostile ways probably won't work either. People constantly make the mistake of thinking, "I tried the nice way, and that didn't work. So I guess now I need to try the mean way." Trouble is, that probably won't work, either. And it will probably make things worse. It's like saying, "we've tried diplomacy. That didn't work. I guess our only option is to nuke the shit out of them."
posted by grumblebee at 2:48 PM on November 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


I also don't really mean to come off as altogether loud and aggressive. Of course, sexism does make me look more that way than if I were a man.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 2:49 PM on November 16, 2007


HeFites dismiss SheFites' claims/perceptions of sexism

As pronominal variants go, these just plain tickle me. Unrelated to anything.

posted by cortex (staff) at 2:57 PM on November 16, 2007


All right then. I sent the offending message, thinking it more appropriate for a private communication given it addressed Ambrosia Voyeur's posting style across many threads and felt it was an off-topic use of this thread. Apparently it is preferred to keep this completely public, so after approval from AV herself here is the message I sent her:


Subject: "Hysterics" thread

Message:
So as not to derail that thread further, my comment about "not forgetting you are here" is a reflection of this phenomena:

"I've just realized I sort of do feel obliged to pop into every feminism/boyzone thread, building up my cred over time as a reasonable feminist with a penchant for filthy humor and a willingness to take my licks."

Wherein threads about feminism and gender are not so much about feminism and gender, but you, and your interpretation of feminism and gender, and your incredible eagerness to prove to everyone that you've got this spunky, riot-grrl, hip, tomboy, down-with-the-boys-and-the-girls, Pippi-Lockstocking-meets-Mae-West personae, and all of the attention-begging that entails. Your statement that women on Metafilter should be looking up to your strength and drawing from it is indeed presumptuous and blowhard to the extreme, as presumptuous as Ethereal Bligh arguing *he* should be leading the Metafilter Womyn's Movement, or whatever one would call it.

I say this not to be cruel, but because you *do* have a lot of enthusiasm and good ideas. You just hide them behind your insistence on making most of these threads about you and your ideas and establishing your "cred."


The quote was taken from another Metatalk thread about the whole Metafilter boyzone issue.
posted by schroedinger at 2:57 PM on November 16, 2007 [3 favorites]


Woo hoo
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 3:00 PM on November 16, 2007


You are many things, schroedinger, but a coward is not one of them.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 3:01 PM on November 16, 2007


“EB, I'm confused. Why is it abhorrent and anger-inducing when HeFites dismiss SheFites' claims/perceptions of sexism, but it's okay to dismiss their perceptions of patronization and group-lumping - or whatever an appropriate noun would be for what oneirodynia was getting at - in your comments?”

Because there are numerous claims of sexism made by numerous women while oneirodynia's was in isolation and based upon an obvious misreading?

Thanks for playing the “Gotchya!” game.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 3:03 PM on November 16, 2007


I should also note this was written before EB clarified his position on "leading the feminist movement" or speaking for all women or whatever it was.
posted by schroedinger at 3:04 PM on November 16, 2007


Metafilter: Overthinking a plate of franks and beans.
posted by padraigin at 3:26 PM on November 16, 2007


So, just pointing out that this:

Wherein threads about feminism and gender are not so much about feminism and gender, but you, and your interpretation of feminism and gender, and your incredible eagerness to prove to everyone that you've got this spunky, riot-grrl, hip, tomboy, down-with-the-boys-and-the-girls, Pippi-Lockstocking-meets-Mae-West personae, and all of the attention-begging that entails.

At the risk of seeming a beggar for attention, is this the most sexist thing anyone else has read this month?
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 3:41 PM on November 16, 2007


Ambrosia Voyeur, if don't want to seem like you're begging for attention, then stop.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 3:46 PM on November 16, 2007 [3 favorites]


I don't really want to stake a firm position here, but "tomboy" has always been a fairly mild, neutral term where I've seen it being used casually. It may have nastier readings for some folks, but it may not have been intended as nasty or sexist by schroedinger.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:51 PM on November 16, 2007


TPS, No, I was more concerned with getting some validation on how classically sexist that seems, but your snarky invalidation is duly noted. Silencing achieved.

cortex, I think in the context of the rest of it, it's pretty much an essentializing caricature of a 3rd wave feminist.

/me leaves for weekend trip
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 3:54 PM on November 16, 2007


AV: I don't think schroedinger's paragraph that you quote is sexist. I think it's pointlessly rude and childish, but not sexist. Whether anybody thinks that you are begging for attention or not doesn't seem like a topic for interesting discussion. It seems like a middle school cafeteria discussion.
(par for the course in MeTa, in discussions of men or women, so obviously things might head down that road, but ugh.)
posted by LobsterMitten at 3:55 PM on November 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


"At the risk of getting thrown in that briar patch, could you puh-leeeze throw me in that briar patch?"
posted by Wolfdog at 3:56 PM on November 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Thanks for playing the “Gotchya!” game.

I'm not playing Gotcha.

Because there are numerous claims of sexism made by numerous women while oneirodynia's was in isolation and based upon an obvious misreading?

Yes, but given that oneirodynia's feeling patronized was caused by and can be dismissed as an 'obvious' misreading (it mustn't have been that obvious to her), why are the more general claims of sexism automatically treated as arising from something less innocent/accidental and their dismissal as 'methodical'?

Some of those claims of sexism could have been spawned by similar misunderstandings and, hmm, jumping to conclusions. In those cases, 'dismissing' them isn't done in some kind of overarching, evil, anger-worthy sexist spirit.

I'm not saying sexism doesn't exist; just that every cry of 'sexism!' isn't necessarily spot-on. The same applies to racism and every other -ism.
posted by CKmtl at 3:58 PM on November 16, 2007


Hey, I'm sorry if I dominated this or other threads, you guys. Okay, really leaving.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 4:02 PM on November 16, 2007


i have a tin ear for gender relations, so over here this is a bit like an aspergers' watching a soap opera. i think i'm supposed to root for the classically sexy ones. i think they're the lumpy ones, as far as the magazines tell me, but it's a bit confusing at times.

At the risk of seeming a beggar for attention, is this the most sexist thing anyone else has read this month?

no. i wrote the sexiest thing on metafilter in living memory. two people and Miko seemed to think so anyway, and that's good enough for me.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:04 PM on November 16, 2007


i wrote the sexiest thing on metafilter in living memory

Oh my, I think that's a whole 'nother thread entirely. Let's save it for a quiet day, shall we?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:06 PM on November 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Many of the things I found silencing were not overtly meant to be silencing,

In other words, you've deliberately misread them in the worst possible light, and yet accuse me of bad faith. Clever.
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 4:08 PM on November 16, 2007


I should point out that I have no problems with riot grrls, girls-who-hang-with-the-girls-and-the-boys, tomboys, hipsters, Pippi Longstocking, and certainly not Mae West. OK, hipsters have sometimes annoyed me. I would consider myself in the tomboy category, though. The blatant attention-grubbing is what bothered me, y'know.
posted by schroedinger at 4:11 PM on November 16, 2007


ahfUranus: She is reporting to you that she finds certain things silencing that you -- or the commenter -- might not realize would have that effect. Do you think she's lying about that? Or do you just not care what she finds silencing? (And if you don't care, why go to the trouble of trying to get her to explain it?)
posted by LobsterMitten at 4:11 PM on November 16, 2007


"Pippi Longstocking,"

God, twice now I've misread this as "popping and locking."

WHY DO YOU HATE THE ELEMENTS?
posted by klangklangston at 4:14 PM on November 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Weird. I kept misreading it as "crunking". Obviously there is something about that crazy little bitch's name that makes people wanna get mad on the dance-floor.
posted by quin at 4:19 PM on November 16, 2007


Oh my, I think that's a whole 'nother thread entirely. Let's save it for a quiet day, shall we?

What's wrong with being sexy?
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:20 PM on November 16, 2007


And Hosted From Uranus, I don't know what to tell you. Your comments here don't lead me to believe that you consider it possible that I could possibly genuinely find anything in this thread hostile and silencing, and that any assertion to the contrary is about me being intentionally difficult.

And yet, I find your comments hostile and silencing.

So I just don't think that we're going to find middle ground.
posted by thehmsbeagle at 4:22 PM on November 16, 2007


Hissyfilter*
posted by peacay at 4:27 PM on November 16, 2007


speaking of being sexy, did everybody hear that Antonio Banderas wants to spend one day as a woman, so he can find out what it's really like? and if Antonio isn't sexy, i don't know who is.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:30 PM on November 16, 2007


I, too, have grown freaking exhausted at speaking up and being called humorless, or (horrors) a tiresome feminist

Well, most zealots of any stripe are tiresome and humorless, why should feminists be an exception?
posted by jonmc at 4:37 PM on November 16, 2007


Wow.

You're mean.
posted by thehmsbeagle at 4:39 PM on November 16, 2007


jonmc, that's shitty and not funny. So, good work, there.
posted by LobsterMitten at 4:43 PM on November 16, 2007


Oh my, I think that's a whole 'nother thread entirely. Let's save it for a quiet day, shall we?

What's wrong with being sexy?


What's wrong with noisy days?

On preview: Holy crap, jonmc. Fuck you too.
posted by Arturus at 4:46 PM on November 16, 2007


It wasn't aimed at anybody in particular or at feminists in general. But it's been my experience that people who tend to view the entire universe through some 'ism' or another tend to be rigid, prissy and humorless. YMMV.

Wow.

You're mean.


Please. If you consider that mean you must have been raised in a bubble.
posted by jonmc at 4:46 PM on November 16, 2007


What's wrong with noisy days?

Nothing! Noisy days are magic, which is why we should strive to make every day as noisy as possible..

Please don't ban me.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:47 PM on November 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Well, most zealots of any stripe are tiresome and humorless, why should feminists be an exception?

That's... that's... that's just an unbelievably dickish and dismissive thing to say. People who speak up in their own defense or the defense of others are automatically "zealots" who are "tiresome and humorless?"
posted by dersins at 4:47 PM on November 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


People who speak up in their own defense or the defense of others are automatically "zealots" who are "tiresome and humorless?"

No. I'll say it slowly so you can understand me. People who constantly pound the pulpit about their particular ism, who constantly scold people over innocuous gaffes, who get all Nurse Ratchedy over trying to police people's opinions are zealots. And zealots are tiresome and humorless and prissy. Plenty of adherents to all kinds of ideologies are like this, including feminists. (thankfully, most are not).

This is hardly an incendiary statement.
posted by jonmc at 4:50 PM on November 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


OK, so maybe you're not that dickish; you're just some guy who meant to say one thing, and ended up saying something completely different.

Look at what you actually said, then look at what you claim you meant to say. If you can't see the difference, I'm not sure any of us can help you.

Not to mention the crushing irony inherent in you, of all people, trying to lecture anybody on how tiresome it is when people "constantly pound the pulpit" on a particular subject.
posted by dersins at 4:56 PM on November 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Jon, did you read the whole thread?
posted by klangklangston at 4:56 PM on November 16, 2007


Well, most zealots of any stripe are tiresome and humorless, why should feminists be an exception?

Because feminists aren't by definition zealots, that's why. If the ones you have met are all zealots you're either working from a pretty small sample size or willfully ignoring the feminists that dont fit your definition.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:56 PM on November 16, 2007 [6 favorites]


So now you're saying, some feminists are humorless. Okay. True enough.

Saying "feminists are generally humorless" or that thehmsbeagle is a humorless zealotous Nurse Ratchet who wants to police people's opinions is pretty far from that, though -- and seems false to me.
posted by LobsterMitten at 4:58 PM on November 16, 2007


jonmc, no one here has pounded a pulpit, yet you've dutifully shown up as you always do in threads regarding feminism to dismiss it. You've often talked about how shitty things can be here, and complained about how people have taken cheap shots at you, but in all this time you haven't developed the self-awareness or basic empathy required not to do that to someone else. That is just sad.
posted by melissa may at 4:59 PM on November 16, 2007 [6 favorites]


dersins, give me a break. I don't care for zealots of any ideology, feminism included. Sorry if I didn't state that unctuously enough for you, master.

you, of all people, trying to lecture anybody on how tiresome it is when people "constantly pound the pulpit" on a particular subject.

like what, Dictators fandom? aside from that I don't have a pet ism.
posted by jonmc at 5:02 PM on November 16, 2007


Well, most zealots of any stripe are tiresome and humorless, why should feminists be an exception?

Fuck you.
posted by supercrayon at 5:03 PM on November 16, 2007


I don't have a pet ism.

See, now I know you're just having us on.
posted by dersins at 5:04 PM on November 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Oh sorry, did I forget to be nice?
posted by supercrayon at 5:04 PM on November 16, 2007


jonmc, no one here has pounded a pulpit, yet you've dutifully shown up as you always do in threads regarding feminism to dismiss it.

No, I dismissed zealotry, and as in every other ideology there are zealots in feminism, and thezealots tend to be the most tiresome and loudest.

and up until this moment, I didn't have the foggiest idea who this hmsbeagle person was. I have no opinion on him or her whatsoever beyond saying that if my comment was so offensive, then they have led a sheltered life. I've dealt with far worse most of my life.
posted by jonmc at 5:05 PM on November 16, 2007


*points at jonmc*

That's exactly the sort of thing I meant as an otherwise innocent misunderstanding giving rise to "sexism!" false positives.

The grammar is a bit ambiguous. He meant [feminists (zealots)]*. It was misread as feminists = zealots. The "tiresome and humorless" modified 'zealots'. It was misread as modifying 'feminists'.

*Attempted Venn diagram.
posted by CKmtl at 5:05 PM on November 16, 2007


Jesus Christ. I try to make a point about zealotry and ideological rigidity and I get scolded down by a fucking swarm.

Of course not all feminists (or Marxists or Republicans or Christians or whatever) are zealots, but in any ideology there are plenty of people who do meet that description and they tend to be the loudest.

If it's any consolation, my wife is far more misogynist than I am.
posted by jonmc at 5:09 PM on November 16, 2007


Man, I sure didn't think this thread could get any worse, and then jonmc showed up to prove me wrong. It's impossible to believe that he didn't that that comment wouldn't stir the shit and make the thread about him. Go troll elsewhere, troll.
posted by Kwine at 5:10 PM on November 16, 2007


Perhaps if you hadn't made a blanket statement equating feminists with zealots, this would not have happened.
posted by dersins at 5:11 PM on November 16, 2007


Well... all right.

I think once a thread has made actual tears spring to your eyes, it's probably time to walk away.

I appreciate everyone who was embarrassing and earnest with me. :)
posted by thehmsbeagle at 5:11 PM on November 16, 2007


Perhaps if you hadn't made a blanket statement equating feminists with zealots

I didn't. You decided to read it that way, so you could get all indignant and give me a hard time and show what a swell guy you are.
posted by jonmc at 5:12 PM on November 16, 2007


Okay, so this ambiguous grammar thing makes that statement worlds less offensive. Still not thrilled about it, but I retract my 'fuck you too'.
posted by Arturus at 5:14 PM on November 16, 2007


Of course not all feminists (or Marxists or Republicans or Christians or whatever) are zealots, but in any ideology there are plenty of people who do meet that description and they tend to be the loudest.

So...

A. Some subscribers to various ideologies, like feminism, are zealots, but
B. You don't think anyone here is a zealot, or
C. That feminists in general or zealots, but
D. Felt the need to point out that some subscribers to various ideologies, such as feminism, are zealots.

That's about as disingenuous as popping into a thread to say that while not all black people are criminals, some of them are. But no one around here. And not black people in general. Are you fucking high?
posted by supercrayon at 5:14 PM on November 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Jesus Christ. I try to make a point about zealotry and ideological rigidity and I get scolded down by a fucking swarm.

Well, you did sort of seem to run into the room with your pants down and your point about zealotry waving around. I don't think anybody really knows why you chose that moment to make that statement, because it was pretty bizarre and jarring in context. Is probably part of the swarm reaction.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:14 PM on November 16, 2007


so you could get all indignant and give me a hard time and show what a swell guy you are.

I'm not a swell guy. I'm actually an asshole. I also don't really give much of a shit one way or the other about the argument at hand. I just tire of your schtick. It is tedious.
posted by dersins at 5:18 PM on November 16, 2007


jonmc: your comment sounded as if you were saying "of course you get shouted down for being humorless, since feminists are zealots and therefore humorless." Which is BS for the reasons mentioned above. But also your comment was directed at someone who was saying they often felt unable to contribute their perfectly reasonable views because people always shout them down, and then your comment took the form of shooting them down. Which just seems pointless and assholish in this context, and not like striking a blow for free thought.
posted by LobsterMitten at 5:18 PM on November 16, 2007 [3 favorites]


Still not thrilled about it,

*clutches head*

this kind of shit is why I have abandoned politics more or less.

Let me restate myself*: the world, especially the political world, is filled with zealots (whom I have already thoroughly described). I think we can all stipulate to that. All ideologies and isms have them. Feminism is no exception.

For a bunch of smart and worldly people, you sure like this spelled out simply and unctuously.

*of course, by doing that, I'll be accused of 'dominating' the thread. But if I say nothing, I have to let unfounded accusations stand. nice double bind
posted by jonmc at 5:18 PM on November 16, 2007


While I disagree with the way he phrased it, I totally concur with jonmc about the zealotry thing. They are tiresome and humorless, almost by definition.

And it can be any kind of zealotry; religious, moral, sexual, operating system, band, whatever. If you take your interest in something to the point of fanaticism, you are someone who is going to be a chore to be around.
posted by quin at 5:19 PM on November 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


And if you start discussing some hypothetical humorless zealots in the middle of a conversation in which people are having a conversation about how difficult it is to have an honest discussion about these matters because they always get accused of zealotry, it's not unreasonable to be labeled part of the problem here.
posted by occhiblu at 5:21 PM on November 16, 2007 [5 favorites]


B. You don't think anyone here is a zealot, or

I think plenty of Mefites have their zealotish moments, but I'm not getting personal. I was trying to (humorously) make a point: that zealotry is what kills off otherwise wothy causes and good ideas.

And if you start discussing some hypothetical humorless zealots in the middle of a conversation in which people are having a conversation about how difficult it is to have an honest discussion about these matters because they always get accused of zealotry, it's not unreasonable to be labeled part of the problem here.

Well, it just breaks my fat old heart that you disapprove. And that goes both ways: it's nigh impossible to make any criticism of any self-proclaimed feminist without being labeled a misogynist.
posted by jonmc at 5:25 PM on November 16, 2007


So, gang, let's quit discussing women's experience on Mefi. I think we're pretty well done with that anyway, and it's been a lovely discussion.

New topic:
zealots are tiresome and humorless. Discuss.
posted by LobsterMitten at 5:31 PM on November 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


(and no, I'm not high but I'm working on it)
posted by jonmc at 5:32 PM on November 16, 2007


Still not thrilled about it,

*clutches head*

this kind of shit is why I have abandoned politics more or less.


My 'not thrilled' is because, while your intended meaning is true, and probably stated in good faith, your delivery, timing, and framing all leave much to be desired.

You've abandoned politics because semantic meaning is not the only thing available for criticism?
posted by Arturus at 5:32 PM on November 16, 2007


I'm not exactly sure what 'semantic meaning' is. But I abandonded politics because of..zealots. If something dosen't fit in with their worldview they don't want to hear about it and they take any criticism as heresy and, yes, they are legion. Poltics attracts zealots as much as religion.
posted by jonmc at 5:35 PM on November 16, 2007


Let me restate myself

You do that a lot, my friend. And you rarely seem to consider the context. This was not a good thread to restate your well-known opposition to anyone being serious about anything except rock-n-roll. But keep on keepin' on, you hell-raiser you.
posted by languagehat at 5:37 PM on November 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


who says I'm serious about rock and roll? I'm utterly frivolous about it.

Is suggesting (admittedly hamfistedly, but fuck it, that's how I write) that zealotry is often a major factor is backlashes against any ideology really that controversial an opinion?
posted by jonmc at 5:39 PM on November 16, 2007


Wow. Is this "overly sensitive" day on the grey? I didn't think jonmc sounded dismissive or dickish at all. I'm tired of certain people taking over and dominating the threads, as well, and I think that there are feminist zealots just as their are misogynistic ones. You don't get a free pass to be an attention whore. I can agree with your cause and still think you are being a pain-in-the-ass by going on and on and on about it.

But I do want to take a moment to point out the exceptions to the rule, and say I admire TPS and grumblebee for quietly and consistently modeling the kind of behavior I would enjoy seeing more of on the grey, blue or green; i.e keeping to the subject, instead of trying to become it.
posted by misha at 5:40 PM on November 16, 2007


“The blatant attention-grubbing is what bothered me, y'know.”

Oh, fuck off. That kind of accusation is pure middle-school asshattery.

There is, in fact, a personality type that is attention-seeking, always putting on a performance and hoping for praise or validation. But here on MetaFilter and the Internet, as in the middle-school classroom, false accusations of such outnumber the real thing by a five-to-one ratio.

Most such accusations are like kids in the back of the classroom passing notes to each other that say, “Marcie is so full of herself”.

I don't know what the mentality of this is, but I wonder if these people aren't starved for attention and validation themselves such that they can't imagine that other people aren't primarily motivated in this way. It's like the liar being sure that everyone else is lying.

Ambrosia Voyeur has an exuberant conversational style. Why? I don't know. Different people have different personalities, they do things for a million different reasons.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 6:09 PM on November 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


Most such accusations are like kids in the back of the classroom passing notes to each other that say, “Marcie is so full of herself”.

The more I see of the 'adult world,' the more I come to the conclusion that life really is one big high school cafeteria. People don't grow up, they just grow older.
posted by jonmc at 6:14 PM on November 16, 2007


"Most such accusations are like kids in the back of the classroom passing notes to each other that say, “Marcie is so full of herself”."

Because middle school is bad that means that schroedinger's opinion is wrong.

Perhaps you can explain why this isn't more ad hominem nonsense?
posted by klangklangston at 6:46 PM on November 16, 2007


“Perhaps you can explain why this isn't more ad hominem nonsense?”

Well, your disingenuous misstatement of my argument seems to be an ad hominem.

My actual argument was that he was wrong because most such accusations are wrong. And most such accusations are wrong because the people who make those accusations have very narrow and false views on what motivates other people. I also mentioned that a prevalence of such accusations is reminiscent of middle-school behavior.

But I shouldn't have to explain this to you because it's right there on the fucking screen.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 7:01 PM on November 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


I've met EB and really liked him, and I'm fairly sure that klang would be a great guy to spend an evening drinking beer and listen to mp3's with. They also both drive me nuts a lot of the time, especially when they snipe at eachother. For some reason, there's very little as lousy as two people you like who don't like eachother.
posted by jonmc at 7:07 PM on November 16, 2007


Uh, schroedinger's a she. But I guess that makes it OK to tell her what she meant, right?

And "most X are wrong" does not equal "all x are wrong."

I shouldn't have to explain that to you, since you've loudly protested such "cynical" thinking before.
posted by klangklangston at 7:10 PM on November 16, 2007


"They also both drive me nuts a lot of the time, especially when they snipe at eachother. For some reason, there's very little as lousy as two people you like who don't like eachother."

Mommy and daddy are fighting again!
posted by klangklangston at 7:11 PM on November 16, 2007


You're not my real daddy!
posted by jonmc at 7:14 PM on November 16, 2007


“Uh, schroedinger's a she. But I guess that makes it OK to tell her what she meant, right?”

It doesn't make much difference either way, especially since I didn't tell her, or anyone else, what she “really” meant. She said that AV was attention-seeking. I said that she was wrong to assume that AV was attention-seeking. In what way was that telling her what she really meant?

“And ‘most X are wrong’ does not equal ‘all x are wrong.’ ”

No, but I don't see any evidence that AV was, in fact, attention-seeking.

I hope you're aware that you could be accused of the same thing and undoubtedly a large number of mefites do think the same thing of you. It's hard to imagine that you haven't been accused of the same thing, although I can't think of a specific instance.

But I don't think you're attention-seeking with your persona. I think you're being you, just as AV is being AV.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 7:18 PM on November 16, 2007


"t doesn't make much difference either way, especially since I didn't tell her, or anyone else, what she “really” meant."

No, you told her to fuck off and impugned her motivation, implying that it was a petty middle-school motivation for her opinion. Because, of course, she couldn't have arrived at that conclusion on her own, regardless of motive.

It was a way of dismissing her opinion based on the similarity to ill-will that you'd assumed.

"I hope you're aware that you could be accused of the same thing and undoubtedly a large number of mefites do think the same thing of you."

Of being attention-seeking? Or of assuming uncharitable motives? Either way, an appeal to an invisible crowd isn't convincing—undoubtedly a large number of mefites think that you're supercilious and turgid.

And that's the problem with arguing here with you: What you always seem to be positing is that it's a moral fault to disagree with you.

The object of your didacticism is what? Not just that sexism is bad, but that it is intolerable. By being sexist, a person justifies intolerance. And sexism is not what any one person defines, but what you define. That's why I can get along with someone like jonmc even when I think he's being sexist, even if you want to chide him for causing other people distress.

You may couch this as not hating the person, but the behavior, but that leads to the same "Fuck off," from you.

And yet you pose to sensitivity, political sensitivity.

It's something Amberglow does too. I hope it's not a sign of maturation.
posted by klangklangston at 7:47 PM on November 16, 2007


And this is why I initially sent the message privately. Because it, being a personal opinion and not having anything to do with gender sensitivity, had no business in this thread. And it of course was going to bring out people who were just outraged, just astounded that anybody would form an negative opinion about anyone else! Because, of course, a truly sensitive and good person would not do so.

You are taking a "judge not lest ye be judged" stance, and yet curiously excuse yourself from its execution.
posted by schroedinger at 8:21 PM on November 16, 2007


...No, you told her to fuck off and impugned her motivation, implying that it was a petty middle-school motivation for her opinion. Because, of course, she couldn't have arrived at that conclusion on her own, regardless of motive....
posted by klangklangston at 10:47 PM on November 16 [+] [!]


Schroedinger is perfectly entitled to have opinions about AV. But Memailing AV to offer her unflattering opinion, and then posting it here (because she felt prompted by what was said in the thread), is what seems middle-school-ish.
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:25 PM on November 16, 2007


“What you always seem to be positing is that it's a moral fault to disagree with you. ”

No, what I often am positing is that it's a moral fault to be wrong. And I have strong opinions on some issues about what it means to be “wrong”.

Also, I don‘t talk about hating the behavior but not the person. I'm quite comfortable hating the person who behaves in a consistently bad manner. I do claim to be sensitive to where other people are coming from in how they form their opinions, but I don't claim to be accepting of opinions I think are seriously wrong.

I have zero tolerance for racism or sexism. I will start worrying about unfair accusations of sexism when I no longer live in a world where the safest city in Europe or elsewhere is still a city where women are afraid to walk alone at night.

“You are taking a ‘judge not lest ye be judged’ stance, and yet curiously excuse yourself from its execution.”

No I'm not. Judge all you want. But you'd best be correct in your judgments. I see no particular evidence that AV is actually attention-seeking and, failing evidence of it, I think the accusation is juvenile and possibly a projection.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 8:28 PM on November 16, 2007


I hope it's not a sign of maturation.

Not exactly. I think it is a sign of getting older in that you get more set in your ways and opinions and tend to 'dig in,' more as a result. This middle-aged guy has noticed it in himself, too, FWIW.
posted by jonmc at 8:41 PM on November 16, 2007


In fairness though, the thing I'm complaining about above (introducing one's unflattering opinion of someone else as a subject for discussion) happens all the damn time here, to men and women, by men and women. So, I'm not saying that schroedinger is somehow violating a mefi norm at all. Just that it's the talking publically about people this way (who's cool? who's seeking attention? etc) that is middleschoolish.
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:45 PM on November 16, 2007


also, FWIW, I'm truly sorry if I made hmsbeagle upset. Not my intention. Just stating a beef of mine with people in general.
posted by jonmc at 8:47 PM on November 16, 2007


Cheers jonmc - sending an imaginary beer your way down the bar.
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:53 PM on November 16, 2007


*get imaginarily drunk, starts bar fight with imaginary barfly*
posted by jonmc at 8:57 PM on November 16, 2007


“What you always seem to be positing is that it's a moral fault to disagree with you. ”

No, what I often am positing is that it's a moral fault to be wrong. And I have strong opinions on some issues about what it means to be “wrong”.


How are those different in the end though, when it comes to your strong-opinion issues?

You have a strong opinion that A is right, and !A is wrong. Presumably, you believe A. Someone comes along and disagrees with you, stating their belief in !A. To you, they're wrong and therefore immoral to a degree.

I get that you're saying there's an intervening factor - your strong opinions on certain issues - and that it's not mere ego. But the end result is still casting moral aspersions on people who disagree with you, because they disagree with you. (emphasis on 'disagree' rather than 'you')

Preemptively: Ceci n'est pas un 'Gotcha'.
posted by CKmtl at 9:01 PM on November 16, 2007


Schroedinger is perfectly entitled to have opinions about AV. But Memailing AV to offer her unflattering opinion, and then posting it here (because she felt prompted by what was said in the thread), is what seems middle-school-ish.

I can't cast any aspersions on schroedinger for posting the message here. Once AV made mention of its existence, I'm not sure schroedinger really had a lot of choice in the matter anyway. Probably better to just get it out in the open rather than invite speculation as to its author and contents (and I expect there would have been some speculation, given how upset AV seemed to have been made by it). Posting it doesn't make her my hero or anything, I just don't think it's a big deal. Well, not any more of a big deal than writing it in the first place. Which...

...Yeah, sorry, but that was kinda lame. Schroedinger, you basically dumped a quart of warm piss in AV's cheerios for no real reason at all, that I can see. Yeah, she was talking a lot; I'm not sure how she could have expressed her "lot of good ideas" otherwise. Interpretive dance? Tough in a text-based medium. Anyway, it's kind of impossible for any one person to dominate a thread with five hundred replies. I dunno, fuck it, I'm too tired to be clever: your note was snotty, and you probably owe AV an apology for randomly snotting at her.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:11 PM on November 16, 2007


Wow... what an... interesting thread.
You people just don't listen, do you?

Is it too early for me to re-predict another crackdown on MeTas?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:19 PM on November 16, 2007


I guess my problem with AV's advice to "own" and follow her lead, etc., is that for quite a few women here, I think the silencing is probably less an artifact of being too timid to post, or too sensitive to personal and general attacks, as it is simply the weariness that occhi and some others have referred to, in the sense that when one has the will to engage, an interest in a given subject, and thoughts to share, but limited time to spend, you may become increasingly unwilling to squander that opportunity in a virtual frat house.

That is definitely overstated, but in aid of nutshelling, I'll let it be. Basically, I hang out less because of how the snark culture has evolved; the competition to be the most dismissive, the most jaded, the most ironic, the most cynicalscathingiconoclasticobsceneascerbicsneering... which becomes tiresome even when it's done well, and since few can do it well - well. We end up with the "now bend over" comments. I would never spend time in real life with people who think this is ragingly funny, and, as much as I love the great discussions that do manage to squeak their way through here sometimes, and adore the occasional sparkling humor and sometimes inspired interplay, wading through the rest is rarely worth it. The myspace suicide and ape rape threads are a couple of pretty good examples.

Yes, many try to contribute their best to change that tenor, which is great, but you can't fault them for becoming fatigued. I just try to dip in and enjoy a few things here and there while committing/investing myself less, because I otherwise I tend to get a bit depressed and pessimistic.
posted by taz at 11:13 PM on November 16, 2007 [6 favorites]


So who's gonna pony up five bucks for "hostile and silencing"?
posted by landis at 12:15 AM on November 17, 2007


Oh, yeah, that would be so hilarious. Haha.

Fuckwit.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 1:46 AM on November 17, 2007


Hey guys! I'm back! What did I miss?

I know this is old news, but I would also like to just restate for the record (although not having read all 400 comments it's probably not even relevant to the topic anymore) the quote that started this thread was NOT based on anything even remotely sexist, but rather purely on the law of averages and nothing else. I mean... here was my thinking... when there was a thread about eyeball tattoos, TWO PEOPLE wrote about their eyeball tattoos. And I simply figure that flashers are probably more common than PEOPLE WHO TATTOO THEIR EYEBALLS. (I could be wrong, but as mentioned I've been personally faced with more than a few flashers in my life and I've yet to meet someone with an eyeball tat.)

My motivation for the comment just had NOTHING to do with anything fourpanels attributed it to. And I didn't feel like getting defensive or angry when I knew I did nothing wrong so I walked away.
posted by miss lynnster at 1:57 AM on November 17, 2007


It's hard for me to estimate how likely there is that there's a flasher among the 20 or 30 thousand active mefites. I'm not aware of what its rate of incidence is in the general population. As an ongoing problem, it's my impression that it's more prevalent in large cities than in small towns.

On the other hand, I'm quite sure that there's necessarily a considerable number of rapists among mefites, certainly more than one. Small towns of twenty to thirty thousand and such have a considerable number of rapes. For that matter, so do college campuses with only a few thousand people.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 3:56 AM on November 17, 2007


By being sexist, a person justifies intolerance. And sexism is not what any one person defines, but what you define.

EB, you should think about this, first laying aside your basic "I've considered this matter for years and endlessly analyzed myself and the subject, so I know I'm right" reflex. You very much come across as someone so sure of himself that he feels comfortable bashing anyone who disagrees with him, because the subject is important and the other person is wrong (and sexist/racist to boot). For one thing, it's unproductive, because even if you're right you instantly alienate a lot of people. For another, [I beseech you in the bowels of Christ, consider that] you may be wrong.
posted by languagehat at 6:19 AM on November 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


"Experience has taught me that civility is the most difficult part of [principled resistance]. Civility does not here mean the mere outward gentleness of speech cultivated for the occasion, but an inborn gentleness and desire to do the opponent good. These should show themselves in every act...."
posted by breezeway at 6:50 AM on November 17, 2007


So I send a MefiMail, in private, you know, thinking it is off-topic from the thread and if I have a problem with a member I should take it to that member, not to Metatalk. Then in the thread AV herself complains about it, after which multiple people--including you, LobsterMitten--call me cowardly and horrible for not putting it up here for all to see. I message AV, ask her if she would prefer me to post my message publicly, given that she is complaining about the message within the thread itself. Her reply is, quote, "I would love for you to post it there, sure." And so I did, because that seemed to be the preferred medium for all involved.

And now that it is posted--on AV's behest--I get blasted for posting it. Should I post my immediate reply to her in which I further clarify I do believe this is a cause she cares about? Or perhaps the other messages people have been sending me in support? Because it was my impression that these vast public dramas in which one throws up a long message critiquing another member and then others all argue about it were what was really middle-schoolish, and that was why I did not post this critique publicly in the first place.

Furthermore, EB, you state you don't see attention-seeking behavior. That's great and that is your opinion, as much as my observations are my opinion. I will say straight out, I'm not going to engage in any more of this public explanation of my issues of her, as they are between me and her. If she wishes to later post them for everyone to see, that is her choice. It's not from fear, but from a refusal to be party to this member-focused thread dumping any longer.

My view is if someone wants to offer critique of me, they should not fear to do so privately. I'm not going to complain because I can't sic mob justice on them. The same goes for approval--I have no need for someone to praise me publicly in hopes I will get a billion messages in agreement. Personal assessments of another member should be constrained to a personal arena between the two parties. If you disagree, perhaps Matt and Jess and Cortex should create another Metafilter section for Gossip.
posted by schroedinger at 7:28 AM on November 17, 2007 [4 favorites]


Also, miss lynster, I agree with you. And there are probably some goat-fuckers here, and there are probably some people with IQs over 170, and there are probably some people who can run a sub-4:00 mile, and there may even be some people who will be considered for beatification later on in their lives. These things are all statistically possible.
posted by schroedinger at 7:31 AM on November 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


“Man is neither angel nor beast; and the misfortune is that he who would act the angel acts the beast.”

--Blaise Pascal
posted by jason's_planet at 7:40 AM on November 17, 2007


Given the circs, I thought schroedinger's emial to AV was just fine. It doesn't express my opinion of AV, but it actually demonstrates a concern that AV's opinions continue to matter and be listened to sincerely in threads like this.
posted by OmieWise at 8:07 AM on November 17, 2007


I tell you what, Jay!
posted by breezeway at 8:37 AM on November 17, 2007


I'm a very girly girl, and it's really difficult for me to have discussions with people who escalate to loud, combative arguing. When people make the case that women need to be more like X in order to have good debate, I tend to just walk away. I'm not more like X. I'm a girly girl: I want everyone to feel okay. I want to seek consensus. I don't want to hurt peoples' feelings. I'm probably not going to swear at someone. So if being more like X is the standard for good discussion, I'm going to fail at the gate.

This has already been mentioned, but I returned to this thread to ask whether thehmsbeagle's claims here jive with the other women's views in the thread. It seems like she here essentializes femininity as polite and gentle consensus-seeking. She apparently asserts, on the behalf of all girls-deserving-the-name (girly-girls, rather than self-alienated manish-girls) that the environment in metafilter, even when it is not explicitly sexist, is often difficult for women because it demands a kind of tough-mindedness that, according to her, is not girly.

I'm of the opinion that brash, rude, self-assertive talk is compatible with girliness and femininity. There are many women and men who prefer not to engage in such verbal jousting, but this is not something uniquely difficult for women, nor even women-who-deserve-the-name. There are some uptake issues : women tend to have a harder time making themselves heard because of learned patterns of attention and hierarchy among both women and men that shake out in social settings. However, these are almost completely effaced given the anonymity and textuality of the internet.

I'm sympathetic to the desire to avoid such shit-stirring controversy at times, and I would never demand that another member "be like X" in the way she describes. But I think one of the inchoate concerns in these threads has been the implicit supposition that metafilter, in order to satisfy the demands of gender equity, needs to "be like Y" a bit more, which is to say, to be not only less overtly and ironically sexist (which I think we can all agree is a good thing) but also to be less free-wheeling, give-as-good-as-you-get, rough and tumble, and sarcastic. What's the sense of the thread on this matter?
posted by anotherpanacea at 10:08 AM on November 17, 2007


What's the sense of the thread on this matter?

My sense is 450 comments into a MeTa thread is not a good time to be asking for consensus on anything.

I'm not a girly girl -- as hms describes herself in a way that I just see as shorthand not putting a label on anyone else -- and yet when a thread devolves into aggressive name calling and rape jokes and/or "talk about my penis" time, I'm often out of there.

women tend to have a harder time making themselves heard because of learned patterns of attention and hierarchy among both women and men that shake out in social settings. However, these are almost completely effaced given the anonymity and textuality of the internet.

This is actually not true in a place like MeFi where people know who is male/female by and large. I'm not saying this is good or bad, but I think the whole idea of "on the internet no one knows you're a girl" is incorrect, borne out by data (as well as my personal experience) and actually reinforces the power dynamics rather than dismantling them because anyone who thinks they see such dynamics is told that they actually don't.

I think people have shown some good examples of how you can still dislike Ann Coulter withough saying she's a tranny cunt. If rough and tumble means equating weakness with femininity or making "bend over" jokes when someone dislikes something a woman says, then yeah I'm not really for that. Most people seem to have an okay idea where that line is. The line about what's ironically sexist and what's just sexist is less clear which is why that's an easier first step.

At some level if we could even get to the point where there were no more "I'd hit it"/casual rape jokes here, I'd consider that a tremendous victory.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:18 AM on November 17, 2007 [13 favorites]


It seems like she here essentializes femininity as polite and gentle consensus-seeking. She apparently asserts, on the behalf of all girls-deserving-the-name (girly-girls, rather than self-alienated manish-girls) that the environment in metafilter, even when it is not explicitly sexist, is often difficult for women because it demands a kind of tough-mindedness that, according to her, is not girly.

That's a ridiculous and mean-spirited interpretation of what she's saying. She's saying she's a "girly-girl," not that she thinks all women should be, and she's saying she finds the atmosphere around here difficult for her (and presumably women like her) and wishes it were less so, which is an entirely unexceptionable thing to wish, and I (a non-girly-girl male) join her in it. I don't think she'd disagree with you that "brash, rude, self-assertive talk is compatible with girliness and femininity," but she's not a woman who revels in it. What's she supposed to do, shut up and go away?

Also, what jessamyn said.
posted by languagehat at 10:55 AM on November 17, 2007 [2 favorites]


At some level if we could even get to the point where there were no more "I'd hit it"/casual rape jokes here, I'd consider that a tremendous victory.

I agree with this completely: ironic sexism basically counts as sexism.

My question is more along the lines of: is all irony and rudeness sexism? That seems to be what thehmsbeagle was saying. She feels excluded when people are impolite and confrontational, and moreover, she feels excluded as a woman ("a girly-girl.) She's suggesting that sarcasm is sexist even when it doesn't have sexist content. The argument can go a number of ways, and it usually means importing our lived experiences of embodied dominance and fear into the online setting, which as you point out is actually quite prevalent.

If shouting is scary in real life, it becomes a little scary online too, once you've immersed yourself in the experience. If you're used to listening and finding the points you agree with in social settings, you're more likely to do the same thing online too. So even though a rude flamewar never mentions genitalia, sexual acts, or physical violence, it might still feel unwelcoming to the majority of women who would find such behavior frightening in offline encounters.

I find this view limiting, even troubling, but I'm ready to admit I'm wrong if someone can make a good case for it, which is why I'm asking here.
posted by anotherpanacea at 10:58 AM on November 17, 2007


My question is more along the lines of: is all irony and rudeness sexism?

No.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:01 AM on November 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


That's a ridiculous and mean-spirited interpretation of what she's saying.

Sorry, LH. I'm not trying to be either ridiculous or mean-spirited. However, I think you've stretched charity beyond an honest reading of her comment, which is a laudable habit, but is also unfair if her less easily digested point is actually true, which it might be.
posted by anotherpanacea at 11:02 AM on November 17, 2007


My question is more along the lines of: is all irony and rudeness sexism? No.

And allow me to elaborate- I just said this over on Metachat (because apparently this conversation must dominate all spheres of my life- perhaps it will be the sermon topic at church tomorrow?)- I don't think people should use "boyzone" as a catch-all phrase for everything they deam negative in the community. Metafilter can be argumentative and cranky and even a little rude, and I like that. I don't like that relationship threads about girlfriend troubles become "Dump the crazy bitch" pile-ons, or seeing members of the community bring a female's looks into a conversation that has nothing to do with the topic (if you think Anne Coulter is wrong about her political beliefs, calling her a horse-face cunt doesn't really address your thoughts, even if the rest of the world would link the two). To wrap everything you don't like about Metafilter into one big ball you call "sexism" is a good way to ensure no one will be able to tell the baby from the bathwater.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:10 AM on November 17, 2007 [5 favorites]


I think, in the instance of thehmsbeagle's profession of girly-girlness, and how it relates to rough and tumble threads, it's better to take this as a profession of a certain sensibility, associated with a certain kind of femininity, and which can be held irrespective of sex, rather than a profession of some inherent female trait. So yes, it's a kind of sexism, in that it's detrimental to those possessing a certain gendered trait, but, as with all gendered traits not relating to women qua women or men qua men, it's one that can be possessed by members of either group. Skewed towards the female side by various factors, but ultimately not sexism in a women vs. men way but rather in a "hey, you're alienating x group of people needlessly" sort of way.

Which is not to say I have any idea what the 'appropriate' level of aggressiveness or lack thereof should be for metafilter. It's my sense that it shouldn't be an explicitly safe space, and I don't think anyone here is advocating that. A certain amount of the rough and tumble atmosphere is inherent to the way the website has evolved, and I'll admit to rather enjoying it myself. On the other hand, there are a lot of valid complaints that fall outside the realm of explicitly constructed sexism here, and a lot of room for improvement.
posted by Arturus at 11:47 AM on November 17, 2007


Metafilter can be argumentative and cranky and even a little rude, and I like that.

I hate it -- the cranky and rude part, that is.

Which is not to say I have any idea what the 'appropriate' level of aggressiveness or lack thereof should be for metafilter.

I think this is the key conflict here: differing thoughts/feelings about how aggressive MeFi should be. Sexism may be involved in the conflict, but the conflict would still be with us, even if we somehow took sexism (and religion, politics, etc.) out of it.

And, like Atrurus, I don't think there's an answer (unless Matt mandates one, and I doubt he'll do that). It's a matter of opinion and taste and what-floats-your-boat.

But I want to point out that many people seem to see only two alternatives:

1) a community in which flaming is rampant and, if you post, you're likely to be called a dick, a cunt or an idiot.

2) a community of special snowflakes where all posts are equally valid and criticism is not allowed.

I find both of these options repugnant, and I disagree that a community must necessarily follow either of these extremes.

But as someone who leans a little more towards option two, I find myself constantly in arguments where, after getting upset that someone has made personal, rude remarks, I'm accused of wanting to live in a polyanna-ish world. Which is the farthest thing from what I want. But that retort stems from the mistaken belief that communities must be either polite dinner parties or demolition derbies.

I like rigorous debates -- debates in which ideas are open to frank and harsh criticism. IDEAS, not people. Call my idea stupid (and explain your reasoning) but don't call me stupid.

In a community like that, there would be a need for give and take. If I closely associate myself with my ideas, I might feel slighted when someone dissed my ideas. But that would be my problem. On the other hand, if I felt the need to call someone a cocksucker, I'd have to refrain. That would be my problem.

I think such a community is extremely attractive and viable, but it can't happen without moderation. Many people have a hard time keeping their pointed comments non-personal and many people have a hard time accepting that other-people's pointed comments aren't necessarily personal. Moderators would need to help.
posted by grumblebee at 12:09 PM on November 17, 2007 [4 favorites]


Anotherpanacea,

I'm sorry I offended you. It wasn't my intention in this discussion to hurt peoples' feelings. I came back to respond to your comment, because it seemed to require my attention, but I'm not involved in these threads anymore. They were really hard, and I don't think I expressed myself particularly well.

I'll try to explain what I was saying, but if you want to respond, please don't yell at me.

What I meant was: I often get the impression that people (men and women) in male-heavy environments think it's easier for people to communicate a certain way so that everyone's on the same page. From where I stand, that looks like a very "male" way, with the brash shit-talking, and the crude sexual jokes, and the pride in being unoffendable.

I'm not saying that that is how males talk. I couldn't quite tell what it was that I said that pissed you off, but if that was it, that's not what I meant. I just meant, if there's a bell curve of communication-style-stereotypes, that would for many people fall on the "guy" end.

And how I talk falls on the "girly" end. A lot of girls are totally comfortable with crude sexual jokes in mixed company: I'm not. You know? I also don't think that it's unwomanly to communicate in other ways or anything.

I just meant that if I'm in an environment that is X way, with a lot of crude sexual jokes and people taking pride in being unoffendable, and the smack-talking, because I'm not that way myself, it's hard for me to enter the discussion. Sometimes people give the advice that you should in that case "be more X", you know? But because I'm just not more X...

I don't know. That's exactly what I said above, so it's probably not going to help.

I'm sorry if I offended you or seemed to be implying that only certain ways of talking were acceptable for men and women. I just meant that there are a number of ladies on MetaFilter who like to make their own boob jokes, and I'm not one of them, and sometimes it means that I'm hovering awkwardly at the outside, not sure what - if anything - I could say to be part of the conversation, and at that point, the suggestion to jump in and be more brash, shit-talking and making with the crude sexual jokes strikes me as really unhelpful.

These debates were really difficult for me. What I found most difficult was that I would try (and fail, apparently) to explain that it was really hard for me to have conversations where people got loud and aggressive, and people would respond by getting loud and aggressive. I absolutely don't expect people to alter how they talk to suit me, though. I guess I was hoping that if I was honest about it, maybe we could both be aware of this dynamic, and I would try to be more okay with loudness and aggressiveness, and the other person would maybe realize that they were dealing with a wimp and not turn it up to 11? But I think that was both unrealistic of me and really poorly communicated.

Again, I'm sorry if I offended you. I don't think I did a very good job in these debates. I think I got too emotional, and I regret getting involved.
posted by thehmsbeagle at 1:19 PM on November 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


thehmsbeagle, I share your communication style and you and I are not alone here. We're just (naturally) not the loudest people, so it sometimes seems like we're alone.

You're right not to expect people to communicate the way you (and I) would like them to. That wouldn't be fair. On the other hand, it would be a pity for us to just roll over and die.

Instead, I suggest we just keep communicating our way. We talk our way, the more aggressive people will talk their way. It's VERY hard, I know, but we just have to try to ignore the aggression and keep quietly talking our way. Otherwise, if all people like us opt out, the aggressive people will be the only ones left.

My workplace is somewhat like MeFi. It rarely gets as overtly rude, but we only have two female employees (on just hired this week), and almost all the guys -- except me -- are alpha male types. When I try to talk, I'm generally interrupted after the first three words. There's a lot of rough-and-tumble competition that all the guys seem to love except me.

But I cope. It's hard sometimes, but here's how I do it: I start to say what I want to say. I get interrupted after three words. I start to feel frustrated and angry when that happens, but I take a deep breath and try to let it go. (And I'm getting better and better at succeeding.)

I realize that -- mostly -- it's not personal. When a guy in my office interrupts another guy, the interrupted guy (if it's anyone but me) just interrupts back, and they both have fun playing warring gorillas. That's just the culture.

So I just wait it out. I wait until the interruption is done, and then I quietly repeat my point. This time I get four words out. Eventually, I get the whole thing out. Often, when I'm done, the person I'm talking to looks surprised and says, "Oh, all this time I thought you meant something else." Of course he did, because he never let me finish.

Again, this is not really his fault. If I was one of the other guys, I would have interrupted his interruption, explaining how he was misunderstanding me.

It takes a lot of patience -- and sometimes I get frustrated and don't have enough patience -- but I get by. My main focus is on relaxing and waiting for things to blow over. They do, and when they do, I generally get to say my piece in my own way.

Maybe things "shouldn't" be this way, but they are this way. I've never had much time for worrying about how things should be.
posted by grumblebee at 1:35 PM on November 17, 2007


Rudeness and aggression aren't inherently sexist, no. But I think part of what happens is that when people are rude and aggressive, they tend to be dismissive of people who are different from them. When this rude, aggressive, and intolerant-of-difference attitude is the norm in a place that's pretty predominantly male, then female voices tend to get shouted down.

The intent may not be sexist, but the effect, given the demographics of the community, becomes so.

I think you could flip the genders and have the model hold true, for the most part; what contributes to it being slightly more common as a male-dominated model, however, is that most of the world does assume that the male experience is the default experience and automatically labels any female experience as "different."
posted by occhiblu at 1:38 PM on November 17, 2007


I'm not disagreeing with you, occhiblu. In fact, I agree with everything you say, though I've never seen any community find a sensible way to deal with it (without making "manly-men" talk in a way that's as unnatural to them as aggressive talk is to "girly girls").

But I wanted to take a breath for a second and say that -- though it may be hard for them sometimes -- the woman on this site are, to this reader, very prominent and worthwhile. You, Jessamyn, TPS, CunningLinguist and Miss Lynster are just a few of many MeFites that would instantly spring to my mind if I was asked to list popular members with voices people listened to.

You're a good example. You've got an instantly recognizable voice; I think most people know you're female; people listen to what you say (though I'm sure it often feels like they don't -- but we all feel that way); and yet you don't write in an aggressive way. So it IS possible.

Again, I'm NOT saying that there's no sexism here or that we shouldn't worry about it. But I am saying that we're a long way from being an exclusive men's club.

I'm PLEADING with the non-aggressive folks to keep writing in non-aggressive ways. I know it's hard to feel like you're taken seriously when you have to share the floor with the rowdy folk, but please don't let their voice be the only voice.
posted by grumblebee at 1:48 PM on November 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


By the way, I once had a professor who designated one day a week as a day when only the girls could talk. This was a seminar class (in an English Lit department), and he'd noticed -- as many people have noticed -- that when the male students dominated the discussion, the female ones tended to keep quiet.

He did everything he could to encourage them to speak up more often, but nothing seemed to work. So he tried making a rule that once a week, the guys had to sit back and listen, and only the girls were allowed to speak. And they DID speak on those days.

But there was a HUGE backlash. The prof was accused of sexism and almost got fired. He had to rescind the rule.

I had very mixed feelings about it. Ultimately, I agree that it's sexist and -- if I were forced to make a ruling -- I'd rule against it. But I sympathized with the prof and knew he meant well. And the problem still remained a problem, after he wasn't allowed to solve it via girls-only-day.

By the way, I never saw any of the male students behaving badly when they talked. They weren't rude. They were just guys talking like guys. They were boisterous and loud and a bit competitive with each other. None of them purposefully was trying to exclude the girls.

I think this is a VERY tough problem and I've yet to see a viable solution that doesn't involve forcing one large group of people (not necessarily one -- but often one -- that falls along gender lines) to change their communication style in way that's fundamentally unnatural to them and uncomfortable for them.
posted by grumblebee at 1:57 PM on November 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


You Google either, I Google either
posted by jennydiski at 2:06 PM on November 17, 2007


Oops wrong thread.
posted by jennydiski at 2:10 PM on November 17, 2007


You Google either, I Google either

(Even after clicking on the link) Huh?

This reminds me that one of my biggest problems on this site is not my gender. It's the fact that I'm unhip and I NEVER understand what the cool kids are talking about. I think we have a coolness gap.

Speaking of which, would someone please tell me what 'hope me' means and where the phrase comes from? Google hasn't helped me (hoped me?) with that one.
posted by grumblebee at 2:12 PM on November 17, 2007


Oh, sorry, jennydiski. I guess I'm so used to being uncool, I just assume that's the problem, even when it's not.
posted by grumblebee at 2:13 PM on November 17, 2007


Then you're googling wrong. So it goes.

Someone should probably tell i_am_joe's_spleen about this, his comment in the Vonnegut memorial thread is the sixth result.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 2:16 PM on November 17, 2007


Hey, this is the wrong thread, what the hell?!?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 2:17 PM on November 17, 2007


No, thank you, Grumblebee, for that brief, if incorrect moment, when I was thought to be cool. Sorry I confused you. Anyway, I don't get the 'teh' stuff. Actually, half of what everyone says here is a mystery to me.
posted by jennydiski at 2:19 PM on November 17, 2007


Uh-oh, I think the there are cracks forming in the walls between threads! What are we going to do?!?
posted by grumblebee at 2:23 PM on November 17, 2007


Teh confused me for a LONG time. As I understand it, it's a common typo that people make when trying to type "the". For whatever reason, people now make the mistake on-purpose. I think it's just an in-joke thing that's more in than joke.
posted by grumblebee at 2:25 PM on November 17, 2007


Time to run for the hills, do you think? Hey, maybe the really real men and the boldly bold women will save us?
posted by jennydiski at 2:26 PM on November 17, 2007


I think the there are cracks forming in the walls between threads! What are we going to do?!?

Just don't cross the streams.
posted by grouse at 2:27 PM on November 17, 2007


I dunno, maybe we should just consolidate the threads.

864th comment!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 2:31 PM on November 17, 2007 [2 favorites]


Speaking of which, would someone please tell me what 'hope me' means and where the phrase comes from? Google hasn't helped me (hoped me?) with that one.

administrator! please hope me!!!, via the Wiki.

posted by CKmtl at 2:32 PM on November 17, 2007


Plait them into a lovely macrame plant holder, maybe. And everything will be so much nicer and homlier. And just, you know, sort of warm.
posted by jennydiski at 2:33 PM on November 17, 2007


Again, I'm sorry if I offended you. I don't think I did a very good job in these debates. I think I got too emotional, and I regret getting involved.

Just so we're clear: I'm not offended, and I don't think your contributions were 'too emotional.' Really, the fact that you felt attacked by my criticism of your point is what's at issue here. I felt that you incorrectly generalized your experience to all womankind, and tried to express that without rancor, while demonstrating that your generalization was reasonable. You appear to have felt that, by attacking your position, I was attacking you.

I guess I was hoping that if I was honest about it, maybe we could both be aware of this dynamic, and I would try to be more okay with loudness and aggressiveness, and the other person would maybe realize that they were dealing with a wimp and not turn it up to 11? But I think that was both unrealistic of me and really poorly communicated.

Part of the origin of my discomfort with this issue is that it has arisen in a thread about women. While we might try to work on issues related to shyness in addition to the misogyny that often presents itself, it seems dangerous to do those tasks together. It threatens to conflate shyness with femininity in ways that have a tendency to slip into other forms of misogyny.

It was not my intention to address you loudly or aggressively, and I'm sorry you felt challenged. I find that I cannot, in conscience, apologize for my request that we get to the bottom of the distinction between sexism and sarcasm, but if I had been a better reader I think I would have realized that your 'girly girl' comments were more benign than they originally seemed. What I can do is praise your contributions and courage in expressing yourself in a situation that has clearly felt very uncomfortable for you. What is easy for some is difficult for others, and I respect that you've trodden far from your comfort zone in order to make yourself heard here. Thanks for that.
posted by anotherpanacea at 2:43 PM on November 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


while demonstrating that your generalization was reasonable

ack... I meant to write: "while demonstrating that the concern that underlie your generalization was reasonable."
posted by anotherpanacea at 2:49 PM on November 17, 2007


and the grammar got away from me
posted by anotherpanacea at 2:50 PM on November 17, 2007


anotherpanacea: I get that you're interested in alerting people to the danger of essentializing gendered communication styles, and I think that's absolutely correct, but I think you're misreading thehmsbeagle pretty badly for all the reasons mentioned above. I think she's been extremely clear that she's talking about being someone who has a certain communication style and how that affects her experience here, and she's not saying anyone else needs to have that communication style.
posted by LobsterMitten at 2:55 PM on November 17, 2007


(oops; somehow didn't see your recent comment on preview.)
posted by LobsterMitten at 2:57 PM on November 17, 2007


I think she's been extremely clear that she's talking about being someone who has a certain communication style and how that affects her experience here

Out of respect for thehmsbeagle, I'm not going to continue to argue about the proper interpretation of the things she's said. I think my reading is correct, and in fact you directed me to her comments in the other thread precisely because they dealt with this issue in a way you championed, but I fear it would be hurtful and aggressive to continue to defend my reading or attack the position any longer.

The larger point is simply that 'communications styles' ought not to be at issue in a thread about the content of misogynist comments. That's what I said in the comment you missed on preview, but I'm not sure whether that would alter your response.
posted by anotherpanacea at 4:03 PM on November 17, 2007


"Teh confused me for a LONG time. As I understand it, it's a common typo that people make when trying to type "the". For whatever reason, people now make the mistake on-purpose."

Oh, this one's easy: It's a common typo that's associated with IM speak and teenagers (and 4Chan), with connotations of exuberance. It's mocking the discursive style of inarticulate kids, e.g. YouTube comments. THAT IS TEH AWEXOMZOR!
posted by klangklangston at 4:08 PM on November 17, 2007


Thanks. I'm so out of it, that I've never text messaged in my life. I use IM at work, and that's about it. And I always write in complete sentences. I've never felt "old" until this new style of writing started. And I've used email since the 80s (on mainframes)!
posted by grumblebee at 4:14 PM on November 17, 2007


ap: fair enough. I think the issue of different conversational styles runs alongside the several related issues we've been addressing about how we can cooperatively try to make an environment that is inclusive to the smart funny people we want around, without losing its rigor and humor. This is an issue (diff conversational styles, and who feels attacked when) that comes up a lot in analytic philosophy, so I've had that kind of background in my thinking about it. I think it's quite possible, though tricky, to have cultural norms for criticizing in a more gentle way, so we get the rigor we want without scaring off some people who are operating with a let's-all-get-along-and-seek-consensus norm. I feel as if you and I got different things from thehmsbeagle's comments, and I'm content to leave it at that. Cheers for a good discussion.
posted by LobsterMitten at 4:18 PM on November 17, 2007


Oddly I was just talking about this over at MeCha and I don't know that having a more aggresive is neccessarily a gender thing so much as a product of where you learned to argue. I learned at the dinner table in a loud, screaming and yelling family, gravitated towards rowdy friends as I got older and worked in retail and live in New York where incidents like this are downright common. One develops an aggresive defensive communication style naturally as a defense mechanism and to merely get a word in edgewise. Rough talk almost seems backhandedly affectionate. Hell, as a small kid my dad's 'pet name for me was 'numbnuts.'

This kind of style I realize, can clash with others who developed their styles elsewhere and differently, but it's really the only one I've got and I'll bet there are several of us (male and female) who developed the same way. Of course, I could be wrong.
posted by jonmc at 4:52 PM on November 17, 2007


I think it's quite possible, though tricky, to have cultural norms for criticizing in a more gentle way, so we get the rigor we want without scaring off some people who are operating with a let's-all-get-along-and-seek-consensus norm.

I'd be really interested in discussing this with you sometime, either in this thread or over coffee at the APA. As I've said, I feel both drawn and disturbed by this project, its possibilities and its history. It's very important to me, as a philosopher, to work out whether the right way to proceed is agonism or care. I've been going back and forth since Irigaray's Democracy Begins Between Two.
posted by anotherpanacea at 6:20 PM on November 17, 2007


Dig it. It's looking like I won't be at the APA this year, which is kind of unfortunate for social reasons but also a big relief since it's always so freaking tense.

jonmc, I'm an old-line egalitarian in my heart and very much inclined to attribute everything to individual differences, but in philosophy classes that proceed by taking apart the arguments students offer, women get driven out really fast. This is the set of evidence I'm working from, and having gone to a women's college and seen the gentle, helping, consensus-building M.O. at work (and getting stared at because I was more ready for antagonistic debate). There's an ongoing problem of "how do we get more women undergrads to be philosophy majors?" which has given rise to a bunch of discussions over the years about socialized differences in how confrontational people feel they can be.

At any rate, as far as the conversational-styles part of the "boyzone" question goes, that's where I'm coming from. I do think more women have the non-confrontational style, and that it can be alienating more often to women than to men when a place is built on that. (Before people reply as I expect they might: Obviously there are women who are confrontational and men who are not confrontational; that doesn't affect the truth of the claim I just made.)

I'm not sure what can be done about this problem on Mefi; I suspect little can be done. That's why I was mostly arguing in the other thread that a smaller change -- just cutting back on the offhand quickie probably-ironic sexist comments -- would be a big help and wouldn't require a basic change of what most people enjoy about the site.
posted by LobsterMitten at 6:55 PM on November 17, 2007


given rise to a bunch of discussions over the years about socialized differences in how confrontational people feel they can be.

I'm sure. I'm just not 100% sure it's neccessarily agender thing as much as something people develop based on experience. My travels through the dive bars of the tri-state area have introduced me to many women confrontational enough to make Rambo quakein his boots, and that manager in the anecdote I linked? believe it or not, yours truly is the guy who unruffles feathers after he goes off.

My main point is that we develop our styles based on our experiences and we also adaptthem to circumstances based on what's at stake.
posted by jonmc at 7:50 PM on November 17, 2007


Umm

I don't know how to refrain from further appearing an attention grubber, or "whore" as the phrase usually goes, but I assure you all that I am, in fact, not one. I am a very extroverted, unselfconscious person, and so the social errors I most often make are putting my foot in my mouth and making people feel overwhelmed or overshadowed by accident. In real life, I've had those difficulties under control for a long time, but I see this isn't the case here. So, as I said before, I'm sorry if I transgressed by taking up too much space, but I don't think it's something I should be put down for. Admitting that I feel compelled to demonstrate myself and build "cred" in order to speak effectively is exposing myself, and it resonated with other women in the other thread, and, well, gentleness in response would have been appreciated.

Obviously I didn't agree with Shroedinger, and I was indeed insulted by the memail, because it is essentially advising me to can it, although it acknowledges that what I have to say is of value. Being chastised for brashness seemed ironic in the context of a thread which addressed the silencing of female mefites, to me, so I complained.

I understand now that talking about feminism (or whatever) from a personal perspective reads more like egoism than calculated subjectivity, but the latter is my intention. I think most debate is overly generalizing, didactic, and prone to endless volleying. I don't want to speak in universalities and argue it forever. It is one of the things I value most about Metafilter that I can develop trust in where people are coming from, and develop rapport with them, one sided though it often is. Talking about myself is, in part, an attempt to engender the same understanding and trust. As in EB's case, it's not always a popular approach, and if that makes me a blowhard, I'll have to accept that, but I'm open to feedback from people who care.

So I'm sure it's all "I this I that" which led Schrodinger to her caricature of me, which has some merit, but, as I know, is unfairly cynical and reductive. And I stand by my assessment that the description itself has some sexism to unpack. The figure of a girl who uses overt sexuality to pass as one of the boys... is divisive. I'd much rather diminish this gendered distinction altogether. I'm not boyish, mannish, a lesbo, tranny, or any other slur for genderqueers, for being immoderate or liking dirty jokes. and I don't know how Pippi Longstocking fits in, I never read or watched her, don't really get the reference, I was more into The Last Unicorn (and playing with my 42, yes, 42, barbie dolls).

So, it was hurtful to me to be shut down by two women, just as I was conceiving of the possibility of imprving the boyzone problem with a gesture at networking and trust among the female mefites.

I want to reiterate that I don't set myself as an example, that my saying I have exemplary resilience had inappropriate connotations. I really meant that I feel happy that I'm not tired out or silenced, and that I do need to understand better why women get silenced here, so I can feel like I can help. I have to feel like I can do something, as a pollyanna feminist, and would like to move past my standard approach to changing status quo, which is by ignoring it myself. Thanks.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 8:11 PM on November 17, 2007


wow. just wow.

people. go outside.
posted by Stynxno at 8:30 PM on November 17, 2007


Stynxno, this has continued to be a very good conversation. Don't patronize the people here by telling them to “go outside”. Is your comment constructive? No. It's just a completely unnecessary implicit value judgment.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 9:09 PM on November 17, 2007 [3 favorites]


go texas tech
posted by Stynxno at 9:13 PM on November 17, 2007


woot! awesome game. ever since colorado beat oklahoma, i knew that oklahoma didn't deserve it's #3 ranking. and i still don't buy the LSU is #1.

I wonder who'll be the new #3. Kansas. And hopefully Missouri will be #4. Good year for the big 12.

and Harvard crushed Yale. Yale, ranked #11 in Div 1-AA. Ivy is lookin good for once except for Cornell but, well, that's why God gave us hockey.

Anyways. What?
posted by Stynxno at 9:18 PM on November 17, 2007


I'd like to take a moment to introduce the young man you all came here to see: Mr. Soul; ladies and gentlemen, let's hear it for Sam Cooke!

---

I approach written conversations with a style I feel makes my message clear, in the context and tenor of that moment of response. This often leads to items like the above, which I mean wholeheartedly.

I hope this is sort of thing is as trenchant as it is perplexing to everyone, regardless of who they are.
posted by breezeway at 9:21 PM on November 17, 2007


I missed the football games while I wasn't previewing just then. What were the scores again?
posted by breezeway at 9:26 PM on November 17, 2007


Yale 37 Harvard 6
Texas Tech 34 Oklahoma 27
OSU beat michigan 14-3
Florida beat Fla Atlantic 59-20. The quarterback of Florida became the first Div 1 player to rush and pass for 20 touchdowns in a season.

So, with Oregon's loss on Thursday - this was a good football week. Though, the year has been fun with all the upsets. Finally made this season fun.
posted by Stynxno at 9:33 PM on November 17, 2007


Bring back the end zone fun bunches; that'll make it even funner.
posted by breezeway at 9:38 PM on November 17, 2007


Oh man, I've been outside for hours today, pacing, listening to music and podcasts, stalking the wily weatherstripping for the drafty ass windows in my kids room, waiting out a play that was adapted from one of the books my company publishes so I could sell two fucking books to a crowd of Soho swells. I'm glad to be indoors, baby it's cold outside.

Has this conversation gone on too long to just say: Many of us say things with the best of intentions and sometimes get misread and that's just the way things break and some of us are shitheads, squalid misery vampires and that is also the way things break? I wish you all the best, even the wretched scrubs, let's all just try to get to the end with as much dignity as possible, hey?
posted by Divine_Wino at 9:41 PM on November 17, 2007


500!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:47 PM on November 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


These debates were really difficult for me. What I found most difficult was that I would try (and fail, apparently) to explain that it was really hard for me to have conversations where people got loud and aggressive, and people would respond by getting loud and aggressive.

I apologize, thehmsbeagle, for my part in the difficulty you faced contributing to this discussion. I can not, honestly, say that I feel I was particularly loud or aggressive in my interactions with you, but I am sincerely sorry we were unable to communicate effectively and I recognize my part in that. You are not the first person to recognize a dismissive tone in my comments, so I will redouble my efforts to avoid it in future missives.

I must say, however, that I also think you are selling yourself short. You shown yourself capable of vigorous and inventive snark when the mood strikes. Use it, only when it feels right. Just never forget you've got in your back pocket.
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 9:50 PM on November 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


You know what is bullshit? That Kansas is going to be sent in to be slaughtered against LSU in the National Championship Game.

Say it with me, fuckers. Play. Off.
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 9:53 PM on November 17, 2007


“jonmc, I'm an old-line egalitarian in my heart and very much inclined to attribute everything to individual differences, but in philosophy classes that proceed by taking apart the arguments students offer, women get driven out really fast. This is the set of evidence I'm working from, and having gone to a women's college and seen the gentle, helping, consensus-building M.O. at work (and getting stared at because I was more ready for antagonistic debate). There's an ongoing problem of ‘how do we get more women undergrads to be philosophy majors?’ which has given rise to a bunch of discussions over the years about socialized differences in how confrontational people feel they can be.”

This brings to my mind some realities about what we can expect from discourse here, and what might be improved.

The discursive style at St. John's is relatively formal and quite analytical, and always in the seminar format. The formalism of using honorifics in addressing other students is a tradition, but also quite effective at encouraging an atmosphere or respect. I recall thinking the tradition was silly at first, but became convinced pretty quickly of its utility. At the very least, having 18-year-olds addressing each other as “Mr.”, “Miss”, and “Ms.” is a grown-up style that makes them feel more adult, which makes them act more adult.

The discussion is always earnest and always looking to be productive, for some ambiguous value of “productive”. The material can be difficult and sometimes require an extremely rigorous analytical approach which, sometimes, turns off a certain type of female student. But, overall, most students learn to productively participate. (They have to, it's a reading and discussion curriculum, if they don't participate, they'll be asked to leave.)

It's easily, by a very large margin, the best conversation I've had in my life, anywhere, in academia or real life. Personal battles or vendettas are strongly discouraged. It's not hard to see what's going on with people when there's only 15 to 24 of you (tutorials are the smaller class size). As I mentioned in one of the recent religion threads, the worst semester I had was the semester in sophomore year where we read books of the Old and New Testaments and students brought lots of baggage in that they heretofore had not. Discussion was heated at times. And the worst thing anyone said, that I can remember, and it was said to me, was “I feel sorry for you that you're an atheist”. Now, that's the worst and most unproductive it ever got. So you can see it was pretty good.

And the thing is, I've tried to recreate that kind of civil and productive discourse in all sorts of fora in the years since I was at SJC, including lots of attempts to both recreate my own style and quality of participation there (which was very good—the environment brought out my very best qualities and discouraged my worst) and to teach and encourage it in others. I've come to mailing lists, including the spirited unofficial SJC alumni list, and online places like MeFi, and tried to foster such an environment, both by my example and by explicitly talking about how to have more productive conversation.

It never works.

The thing is, good conversations are fragile things. They are easily disrupted by just one or two bad apples. It works so well at St. John's College because it's such a peculiar school that students are heavily self-selecting and thus both (usually) highly well-suited for a seminar education and highly motivated to behave well and get the most out of it. There are few places where this is as true, and they are mostly similar academic settings at the graduate and post-graduate level with small, very focused groups of students.

It's never going to work online in an open community because—and this is the bottom line—a large percentage of the people who participate in places like this are quite willfully not here for any sort of productive conversation. They're here because they want to be combative, they want to be ironic, to be sarcastic, to ridicule, play gotchya games, show off, or pretend to be someone they are not. Having a good, productive conversation where everyone walks away feeling very satisfied and embiggened is the last thing on their minds. Or, if they think about it, this sounds really boring and stupid.

Given that there's a fairly large portion of people who are bound to participate in unproductive, unfriendly ways, the secondary problem is that there's at least another portion of us that cannot prevent ourselves from being negatively influenced by this first group. It's not just that other people being jerks is an excuse for me to be a jerk, there's also less selfish and more ambiguous factors at work, too, like reacting to someone bullying someone else.

So now you've got, what?, something like at least half the participants acting fairly aggressively. That scares off the most timid and mild and perhaps most idealistic participants, leaving a few who lurk and say something productive now and then, and mostly people yelling at each other.

I imagine that one could carefully nurture a well-engineered online environment that might be able to have consistently good, productive, and friendly conversations. It would have to be de facto exclusionary because it would only work with strong internal social pressures for the desired behavior.

We're never going to create something like that on MeFi.

----

What can we do? That's a good question, I'm glad you asked.

Well, it's obvious that we at MeFi are able to enforce certain exceptional norms that differentiate us from the rest of the web. We use relatively correct spelling and grammar. We don't use smilies. We (perhaps unfortunately) maintain a leftist political bias. So we are able to establish some standards and enforce them. Note that this is not something either the community or the mods can do without each other.

It seems to me that it's possible that we could change, moderately, a few things about the discourse on MeFi that's related to women's participation here.

We could more strongly disallow sexist comments and jokes. This will be resisted as too leftist and PC, and there will be a backlash against it. Some people won't like it and they will leave. I think it would be worth it because we'll undoubtedly gain more women that would more than make up the difference.

We could also, in conjunction with the higher awareness of sexist language, make a conscious effort to be more women-friendly, even if it's ambiguous and apparently just lip-service. Just talking about being more women-friendly would create a more women-friendly environment. (Backlash aside.)

Finally, and more controversially, we could also take a stronger line against insulting and combative behavior. I don't know how much stronger would be ideal—there'd be a backlash against this, too, especially since it would require deletion of offending comments. But even a very mild reduction in insults and combativeness might have a surprisingly positive effect in terms of making MeFi more attractive to women. There's just too many stories that people tell about talking up MeFi to friends and having those people take a look and be immediately turned-off by the rancor.

I strongly encourage Matt, the true decision-maker here, and jessamyn and cortex to consider implementing the first two of my suggestions. I have in mind a site-wide, highly visible effort. I think it would something tremendously good for MetaFilter and might guarantee its long-term viability.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 9:59 PM on November 17, 2007 [11 favorites]


schroedinger, re your ugly, character assassination memail to ambrosia voyeur, in spite of your saying "I say this not to be cruel, but..." I think you were being cruel.

Ethereal Bligh, thank you.
posted by nickyskye at 11:20 PM on November 17, 2007


"But even a very mild reduction in insults and combativeness might have a surprisingly positive effect in terms of making MeFi more attractive to women."

Unless they use ellipses.
posted by klangklangston at 1:03 AM on November 18, 2007


Who's joking?
posted by waraw at 1:20 AM on November 18, 2007


I don't think it's wrong to call someone out on veering too far into "lookatmelookatmelookatme - wait, what are YOU looking at?!" territory. It's a common problem when people try to be fun and keep up with the banter and feel like in a sea of comments, theirs stand out. But you swing too far in one way, and you end up mostly just grating. And I think this was what Schroedinger was trying to say, in a private message that was not all that hurtful.

AmbrosiaVoyeur, lord knows I loves you (woot IRC), but your reference to Schroedinger's MeMail made it sound like it said "fuck u bitch" from some sockpuppet. And you brought it up in a way that was clearly meant to garner sympathy and support against some mean, unnamed mefite. Schroedinger had to post it after that, and really, I can't say the comment itself is particularly catty. I think it's true. You do cultivate that persona, and you "own" it, so why should that be a hurtful accusation? It's not.

And when you advise a very diverse group of women on this site to act more like you, no matter what their personalities or lifestyle...yeah, you're going to piss people off and come off poorly. You could have stated your position and let it stand for itself, maybe coming back to address another point or to clarify.

But you simply ARE asking for a lot of attention. 37 comments worth, to be exact. Most about...yourself. That's more comments than anyone else in the thread - including all the admins combined. More than either FourPanels or Miss Lynnster, both of whom I called out earlier for this exact same type of behavior (and who had direct involvement in the matter at hand). I've gotten hot under the collar before and fallen prey to this type of reactionary posting - we all have. But how is that productive? How is that helping anyone?

But this goes back to my earlier point about the cult of personality. Things need to change. That may need to be giving people a ten-comment limit per thread. Heck, maybe a ten-comment limit per day. If members can't be succint, and say what they need to in <5 comments/thread, it's often not because they have anything valuable to say - it's because they're on a pulpit, or arguing, trolling or attention-begging. How on earth is that worthwhile discourse, worth preserving at the sake of the quality of the site?
posted by SassHat at 3:08 AM on November 18, 2007


Things need to change.

No, they don't.
posted by grouse at 3:55 AM on November 18, 2007


But even a very mild reduction in insults and combativeness might have a surprisingly positive effect in terms of making MeFi more attractive to women.

You talk the talk, but I don't see you walking the walk.
posted by languagehat at 5:45 AM on November 18, 2007


You have some good points, Sass. I like AV a lot, but I didn't much like the "you can be more like me if you try! And I'll support you, if you're too scared!" impression I got from that comment. It's very well something I might have mailed her about if I were a more avid emailer/IM-er... or quite a lot more likely if we had had private correspondence before. Then, I might have emailed to say "whoah, you know, that sounds kind of bad, kiddo - you might want to go back and make it clearer."

I'm not left with bad feelings about Ambrosia Voyeur or Schroedinger; both the comment and the private message were a bit of heat and haste spurred by a difficult thread about a pretty emotional subject.

As far as the comment limit... I'm not sure that could work at all, since some threads last several days and hundreds of comments. So 10 comments in a 20-comment thread is thread-squatting, while 10 comments in a 500-comment thead is barely noticeable. Plus sometimes one person really is the axis for some reason - because they have an inside track, or are an expert in the field, and they're answering a lot of questions put by other members. I understand what you're talking about generally, though.
posted by taz at 7:40 AM on November 18, 2007


As far as the comment limit...

Yeah, I don't think the Harrison Bergeron-ing of the site is a particularly good idea. I'm sorry, but the "you talk too much/cult of personality" objection is a strange one to me. The only way any of us can communicate here is, you know, by saying stuff. I'm sorry, SassHat, but we can all stand in corners and look uncomfortable as much as we like, but the problem is, no one can actually see us doing it. You can choose to be part of a conversation or not, but to tell someone else that they should choose not to be part of one is basically nothing other than "STFU," however gently phrased.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:10 AM on November 18, 2007


the "you talk too much/cult of personality" objection is a strange one to me....You can choose to be part of a conversation or not, but to tell someone else that they should choose not to...

I think your use of the word "conversation" hits what we do here right on the head- we converse, in a variety of structured ways. It's not a free for all or a contest. If we're talking, we're generally talking about something (even in Metatalk, although it sometimes seems otherwise). "This conversation is not about you, and therefore perhaps you should limit your comments to those that are on-topic" is not the same as "Don't be involved in any conversation on this site". I understand why people get wary when it seems someone is trying to push themselves over and above the topic at hand; I get wary myself- it means we're getting into the danger zone. There are reasons we talk about our ideas and not ourselves. If I say, X is awesome, and you say, yes it is or no it isn't, there's something to talk about. If I say, I'm awesome, and you say, yes you are or no you aren't- well, what good can come of that? It's a fine line that is easy to cross, and I don't think it's wrong for anyone to tell another member at any time, hey, you might want to pull yourself out of this topic a little.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:16 AM on November 18, 2007


Hmmmmm. I hear what you're saying, and will admit to sometimes getting quietly cringey when people suddenly start sharing too much, but I think the main problem is that the "too much" determination is an extremely subjective one, and that calling someone out on those grounds can sound a lot like just taking someone who's receiving a lot of attention down a peg or two -- on the grounds that said person is receiving a lot of attention and the caller-outter is not, and does not like it. (The secondary problem, of course, is that sometimes the more "confessional" stuff that appears here is the best stuff on the site.)

In this case, I was willing to give AV a free pass for any spotlight-hogging just on the grounds that an issue like feminism is so wound up in the personal -- regardless of your gender -- that they seem pretty much inextricable. It is true that some "you're awesome/eh...you're not as awesome as. you. think." seemed to bubble up to the surface in the wake of her comments, but she can't be held responsible for that, or even really in contempt for replying to comments that actually were about her. I agree that the thread took a brief derail into the too-personal, I'm just not sure that was really her fault.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 1:44 PM on November 18, 2007


I think the main problem is that the "too much" determination is an extremely subjective one

It absolutely is. Of course, given that we're a "self-policing" site, I think quite a lot of the moderation bubbles forth from a subjective place. So we should all keep that in mind and try our best to say whatever we have to say as kindly as possible- not that that means that sometimes people won't get offended, and not that people getting offended automatically the person who said it was being "mean".
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:49 PM on November 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


(When I say moderation bubbles forth from a subjective place, I am not discussing those who work as moderators- I'm more talking about the way the community has built rules of self-moderation over the years).
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:55 PM on November 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'd agree with that.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 2:13 PM on November 18, 2007


I think everyone who's added they think comment limits are off-base, I have to say thinking about it some more I agree with that. But I still think that some people here are prone to verbal diarrhea and overall even someone who is the crux of a post/question should be able to have a back-and-forth, when it's off-topic and they are turning it into the "User X Show" it just gets old. And that seems to be happening a lot more lately than it has in the past.

I'm not complaining if people speak loudly or forcefully - I'm not 'standing in the corner' waiting quietly for my term to talk, I say what I think and stand by it, whether that is the popular opinion or not. I'm not complaining that others are voicing their opinions too loud/much. I'm complaining that they are making noise that is off-topic and they are leveraging their own 'favorited member status' to game the system, precisely because the admins do use such a light touch on matters like this. So it becomes ok to spam a post with dozens of "me-me-me" comments and the overall quality of the thread takes a nose dive. A few jokey comments is awesome. A handful of throwaway, slightly off-topic anecdotes is cool. But that's different than getting a third of a way into a thread and not even wanting to read any more because one MeFite is taking up more than their fair share of the thread and turning every new issue that is brought into the thread into something about them. The noise level raises to a point where every comment thereafter (except those who don't read the thread before commenting) is all about that user and derails what previously was an interesting conversation.
posted by SassHat at 2:50 PM on November 18, 2007


"I like rigorous debates -- debates in which ideas are open to frank and harsh criticism. IDEAS, not people. Call my idea stupid (and explain your reasoning) but don't call me stupid. ...In a community like that, there would be a need for give and take. If I closely associate myself with my ideas, I might feel slighted when someone dissed my ideas. But that would be my problem. On the other hand, if I felt the need to call someone a cocksucker, I'd have to refrain. That would be my problem. ...I think such a community is extremely attractive and viable, but it can't happen without moderation. Many people have a hard time keeping their pointed comments non-personal and many people have a hard time accepting that other-people's pointed comments aren't necessarily personal. Moderators would need to help."

Having been in one of the aforementioned rigorous debates with you, grumblebee, where you read personal attacks directed at yourself into my comments -- even after I specified repeatedly that you were misreading me, that I wasn't snarking at you, that you were taking my tone way out of context... I would suggest that you are in your own latter category here. Just because you read someone else's words as calling you personally stupid, doesn't mean he actually is. You are a person who self-admittedly has no ear for snark; I am a person who has too much of one, and isn't as careful with my words, so my tone can often be misread even when I don't mean any ill. Am I always the one at fault? (I'm speaking in the abstract here, representing the snarky side. I don't have a dog in this particular hunt.)

I'm all for the presence of kinder, gentler discourse -- both because those people serve as a muse to me ("How to Behave"), and as thoughtful counterpoints to the noise and drama. But I'm opposed to the idea that, because a small faction of people only know how to be kinder/gentler yet want to remain on a playground that has always been rough/tumble, therefore the rest of us must change our own behavior... and/or there should be a severe increase in moderation.

I don't mean to be dismissive and sound like I'm saying, "Well, just get thicker skins." But I'm seeing a common theme here: that because a few people want to receive different treatment, there should be an increase in rules, restrictions, moderation.

Vote with your feet. If MetaFilter isn't the place you want it to be, then by all means, go start the site you want. EB (who I believe went to St. John's College, if I recall correctly) can set up the perfect guidelines for civilized discourse, based on the vastly superior, intellectually reigning styles he has learned in his years among the mental elite. And everyone can play beautifully fair, and perfect debates will be had and everyone will be raised up because of it. The angels will sing, and members can have jackets, so all shall know ye by your extraordinarily balanced and benign rhetoric.

(Yes, that was snark, aimed at EB's vaunting, patronizing comment suggesting that he is some sort of Internet Yoda, the sole keeper of the one true way to save MeFi.)

And the rest of us will wallow in the mud at whatever websites we choose.

But I absolutely boggle at this notion that Matt must somehow change the rules, of this site, because a few people don't like it. Believing that your way is best doesn't make it so; don't speak for all of us when you beg the mods for a change "for the good of the community."

And re the MefiMail thing, for whatever it's worth I think that SassHat nails it: I don't think AV's post was all that bad, nor was schroedinger's email all that bad... but either way, the public sympathy attempt changed the rules. It defies reason to say that someone who used the feature as it was intended deserves to be dragged out into the public eye and stoned for it. This is totally why we can't have nice things. Whether you agree with what schroedinger said in the MeMail, you have to agree that it was written as a one-on-one private interaction. She might have expressed herself differently if she knew it would be publicly consumed. As the crime shows would say, it seems that there was a clear expectation of privacy there; it's not sporting of us to judge the words as written when we were never the intended audience.

Unless I missed an edict that MefiMail is somehow more valuable or potent than a regular old email -- i.e. one cannot wield the mighty power of the "delete" button and move on, when one doesn't care for the contents of the message -- the only person who should be rightly be castigating schroedinger for her email to Ambrosia Voyeur is Ambrosia Voyeur.

On preview: "The noise level raises to a point where every comment thereafter (except those who don't read the thread before commenting) is all about that user and derails what previously was an interesting conversation." -- exactly. But short of asking mods to play a subjective favorites game, all we can do is self-police. Self-policing the look-at-me behavior in the thread is just noise; self-policing look-at-me behavior offline is what schroedinger was doing... no matter whether one agrees/disagrees with how she said it, or agrees/disagrees that AV was attention-seeking.
posted by pineapple at 3:50 PM on November 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


I wanted to say thank you to pineapple and thepinksuperhero and probably some others who I'm missing in this long discussion for saying what's been on my mind in regards to people asking for change.

For days following the two monster threads I've been wracking my brain trying to say exactly what it was that bothered me about the whole discussion and I'd kind of gotten an idea, but couldn't really make it concrete, but just wanted to say. The thing is, I think it's cool and great that as a community site members have an opportunity and space to discuss at length what goes on in the site and what they expect from it as in Metafilter. At the same time, a feeling of dread grew as I realized the people discussing this issue the most weren't really representative of me. There are a LOT of members, not everyone participates not everyone says something, sure there may be some people who are no longer even active at all, but it is a community with a lot of people and people come with personal preferences.

What got to me is that it seemed like people were complaining loudly to try and change rules that aren't broken. I always thought the beauty of Mefi *is* that it is self-policing. It is a marketplace of ideas. All this talk about putting it upon the moderators to change what is here actually alarmed me, because, well *whose* standards are they going by then? Certainly not mine. I'm sure there are some jokes or comments I find offensive, some not and there are tens of people with the exact opposite view as me. And I'm not saying that my own or each and every member's needs or preferences will always be met when it comes to what's offensive or not, but that's the point. It's a community site, then leave it to community standards like we have been already all this time. I don't always agree, but I respect other members and I understand not everyone feels like I do. And not just respect amongst ourselves, but the moderators respect us enough to have our opinions actually matter in the process. And I've read enough arguments that mention this back and forth of community and "oh, this is Matt's site," but I'm not arguing that, I'm just describing what I think is good about what we already have.

I might read something in a thread and think nothing of it or laugh along, but when it disappears when enough people flag it, it does make me think and contemplate things. It's a learning experience. In fact, this whole discussion was interesting to me since there are obviously people who feel differently about things that I'd never even thought offensive, sexist, what have you. And that's great, that's why we discuss, then the community can be a bit more aware and hopefully evolve.

But this vagueness about putting the onus on the moderators to be more strict? Well how? What system are you proposing for it to be more strict? Filters? Why? That really creeps me out quite honestly. And filters doesn't do anything. There will always be jerks who make comments and filters will not always change that. Today we'll draw the line here and say 'Yea, don't say that anymore' and the next day someone will cross that line and so on and so forth. I'm not arguing that it is futile, I'm arguing that no one learns from that. I'd rather have someone take something to MeTa and read through it and at least give someone a chance to learn from their mistakes. And what if someone doesn't? Well, the moderators have banned or given time outs to people who have been particularly offensive for no reason. It's not a perfect system, but a chance to learn and and change seems like an awesome thing to me that not a lot of sites give people a chance to do.

And we already do have a filter now. It's called other users. If enough people say something about it, it'll get taken care of. Who knows, our numbers may one day grow too to continue to foster a place where we can discuss our problems and differences, but I personally don't see that day coming. Take the advice of the New York MTA. If you see something, say something (and flag something). I think that's the best policy there is, and it *will* make other people aware as too what is acceptable and what is not as opposed to having things just not appear. Oh wait, we already do have that system.
posted by kkokkodalk at 4:32 PM on November 18, 2007


“Yes, that was snark, aimed at EB's vaunting, patronizing comment suggesting that he is some sort of Internet Yoda, the sole keeper of the one true way to save MeFi.”

Oh, hell, I made two obvious suggestions that anyone could have made. They're good suggestions.

And a big part of my comment was that there's a hard limit on how much anything can be improved. It's not a matter of good or bad people, it's a matter of circumstances. I was at pains to explain that I think the extremely good discourse at St. John's was a product of very unusual circumstances and it's taken me a long time to realize that one simply can't make good, polite, productive discourse happen in any given environment just because you wish it to be so. And I quite specifically wasn't condemning other people's bad behavior, I argued that I'm in a group of people that find it difficult or impossible to behave well when other people are behaving badly.

But, hey, what I've learned from these two threads is that not being sexist is a matter of being, in general, a good person who behaves well and is an example of a very morally enlightened person. Also, that it's not a problem, except that a number of women say that it is, but no one else agrees with them and there's no reason to think we should change anything, anyway. And because for many people the matter of sexism reduces to just people generally behaving better and being nicer, from a number of exchanges in these threads, including things I've said myself, it's obvious that whether there's a problem or not, we might as well just give up because getting everyone to be more nice isn't going to happen.

So, you know, fuck the lot of you.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 5:17 PM on November 18, 2007


I've been at this long enough to recognize that when it comes down to a bunch of people arguing with one or two individuals, those one or two are probably far more interested in getting attention and not losing face than in a reasoned discussion, and the work has been done.

I'm sorry you are unable to perceive the legitimate concerns of the OP and many of the rest of us with being pressured to adopt a behavior that is uncomfortable, and that you have such a tin ear for gender relations. But at this point the thread is about you and not about the issue. And I'm not interested enough in converting you to a more informed perspective to keep going. I suspect you will continue to seek justification for your beliefs in spite of a multitude of perspectives, an entire field's worth of scholarship, and plenty of real-world evidence that all argue for a less self-sure point of view. So why bother? I think the arguments on both sides speak for themselves, and I'm confident that most third parties reading this thread at this point will be able to see easily which arguments are stronger and better supported. At this point, further postings are about ego, not ideas.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:27 PM on November 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


But, hey, what I've learned from these two threads is that not being sexist is a matter of being, in general, a good person who behaves well and is an example of a very morally enlightened person.

You need to take a break EB.

That is not it at all. It's more about the juxtaposition of staking out a position of authority (yes, you bloody well do) on matters of a sexist nature in a thread talking about women being alienated by language on metafilter. And then you insult someone who happens to be a women.

The nuance that you are failing to understand is not that non-sexist behaviour involves being all wonderful in our behaviour, it's that what YOU say is undermined and tainted by your petty smackdown. That's what people see for godsake. You can rant all you like about things not being intellectually equivalent or some other high and mighty interpretation but you fail to see the elephant in the room, shitting on you. It's the nature of us people who you have just told to all fuck off. The way we read and comprehend is decided by us and not by some arbitrary rules you decree. You insulted someone at the wrong time in the wrong place and that makes all else you say on the topic less believeable (especially in light of melissa may's wonderful explication), less meaningful and harms your reputation and all other ideas you may wish to communicate.
posted by peacay at 5:40 PM on November 18, 2007


I'm not saying MeFites can't be nicer to one another, or that we can't improve our community. I'm saying I disagree yet again with the nanny-state idea that the best way to accomplish that is for the moderators to force it on us.

"...I'm in a group of people that find it difficult or impossible to behave well when other people are behaving badly.

"...there's no reason to think we should change anything, anyway.

"...it's obvious that whether there's a problem or not, we might as well just give up because getting everyone to be more nice isn't going to happen.

"So, you know, fuck the lot of you." - Ethereal Bligh

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” - Mahatma Gandhi
posted by pineapple at 5:46 PM on November 18, 2007


The thing about being self-policing is that the moderation is part of that. The moderators are informed by and respond to the standards set and suggested by the community in the process of self-policing. While you're right to separate the two kinds of standards enforcement, it's important to remember that they are also inextricably intertwined. There's a balance to be had here, certainly, as the two obviously reflect different kinds of enforcement and all, but the idea that moderation at the prompting of the community isn't an extension of self-policing and the marketplace of ideas is a false one.
posted by Arturus at 6:00 PM on November 18, 2007


Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it - Gandhi, again.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:02 PM on November 18, 2007


For those not watching the other thread, EB's account has been disabled.

For EB, if you're reading: you asked if there are other places online where reasonable discussions happen. The comment threads at Making Light tend to be a pretty high level of discussion (with the corresponding heavy social pressure not to be a jerk or shoot other people down etc); might be a place to check out. They aren't much for vituperative debate; sometimes you have seemed to enjoy that kind of thing and sometimes not, so I don't know if you would like it but it might be an option. Cheers.
posted by LobsterMitten at 6:07 PM on November 18, 2007


what other thread?

also, i haven't been following this thread at all, and have no idea what this or the original one are about, but i'd personally like to see EB back as soon as possible & would be surprised if anything truly banworthy had passed, considering his not insignificant contribution to this community over the years.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:21 PM on November 18, 2007


Here is the other thread; cortex says he closed his own account.
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:31 PM on November 18, 2007


oh, that sucks & has completely ruined my day. not the way you'd want to remember your third birthday, but at least on this side of the dateline i can console myself that it was actually yesterday.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:58 PM on November 18, 2007


What? What?! Well that completely sucks.
posted by liquorice at 8:48 PM on November 18, 2007


Tell me about it. It feels like a divorce or a suicide. I think there should be a rule against this sort of behaviour. Ok to withdraw quietly & have somebody notice some weeks or months down the track that so-and-so's been very quiet lately, but packing up & leaving a la burhanistan is, well, just kinda hurtful. Maybe we should make a supersized donut, twice as big as cortex's, send it to EB & he might come back...?
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:14 PM on November 18, 2007


All I can say is what the hell possessed whoever decided to put a handy self-ban link on our profile pages, just ripe for those moments when we lose our temper?

I hope to hell EB decides to come back. I've done my share of making fun of the big doof in the past, but he's one of the MeFi greats, and even if I don't read everything he types, I'm still glad it's there.

EB, if you're reading this, I hope you reconsider.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:43 PM on November 18, 2007 [3 favorites]


The "close your account" thing is news to me... I'm assuming if you can close it, you can also reverse that? Does anyone know?
posted by taz at 11:47 PM on November 18, 2007


from EB's profile: "This will be my last Twitter for another 150 days"

um. concerned here. i don't like the sound of this, at all.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:04 AM on November 19, 2007


That "last Twitter" was posted 4 weeks ago. He apparently gave himself a vacation from Twitter long before he withdrew from here. Less to be concerned about, but I'm still concerned about the old Bligh-ter myself. Of all the candidates for flaming out in this series of threads, he would've been a longshot.

One thing that disturbs me is now knowing the existence of the "Close Your Account" button. Like the "destroy universe" button in an early Ren & Stimpy cartoon... it's just so... hard... to... resist... pushing... the... big... shiny... red... button...
EB, if you're still reading, don't take all those ellipses as a personal thing; I was just trying to re-create a halting Captain Kirk/Ren Hoek speech pattern. And hurry back. I, for one, don't need anybody here to apologize for anything.
posted by wendell at 6:09 AM on November 19, 2007


What stav said, and I agree that the "Close Your Account" button is a bad idea. Make people e-mail the admins and convince them.

EB said more than once that if he left it wouldn't make any difference and everyone would quickly forget him. I hope he realizes it's not true.
posted by languagehat at 6:13 AM on November 19, 2007


Ethereal Bligh was, I believe, the first person I favourited after I got my account here. He also farted at me recently. I love his long-winded comments because they are spelled correctlly (mostly) and they are very clever. You shouldn't go away because of a bad weekend, EB.
posted by h00py at 6:40 AM on November 19, 2007


Correctly, damnit.
posted by h00py at 7:19 AM on November 19, 2007


I agree that the "Close Your Account" button is a bad idea. Make people e-mail the admins and convince them.

I'm not sure exactly how the "Close Your Account" button works (do you still get MeMail? can you re-open the account yourself, or do you have to e-mail a mod?), but I think it's a great idea. Other sites have a similar feature- Facebook has a button where you can lock yourself out of your account and make your profile invisible, a tool I have used. If you want or need to go, for whatever reason, then you should go. The mods have enough to do without having to perform "Please Don't Go" 8 times a week.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:22 AM on November 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


I wish people felt even a fraction as badly about the departure of the many women who find this place or parts of it to be hostile environments as they did about EB's apparently voluntary and temporary departure...
posted by Salamandrous at 7:24 AM on November 19, 2007


People probably do feel as badly, Salamandrous.
posted by cgc373 at 7:26 AM on November 19, 2007


I have not departed, and I am a woman. Does that mean anything?
posted by h00py at 7:33 AM on November 19, 2007


It's always unfortunate when someone develops such a negative reaction to the site that they feel Stepping Away From The ComputerTM and/or Going Outside® are insufficient, but no one's forced to push The Button. Heck, it's so unobtrusive that I doubt most folks outside of MeTa regulars know it's there.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:35 AM on November 19, 2007


I think, salamandrous, that your analogy doesn't really work. The badness of systematic alienation of women is a generalized one, the badness of a particular longstanding and important member leaving is acute and specific.

Apples to Oranges.
posted by Arturus at 8:34 AM on November 19, 2007


"So, you know, fuck the lot of you." - Ethereal Bligh

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” - Mahatma Gandhi


Come back, Shane.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 8:37 AM on November 19, 2007


The "close your account" thing is news to me... I'm assuming if you can close it, you can also reverse that? Does anyone know?

It's relatively new. I want to say last couple of months is when it came along, while Matt and pb were getting some other stuff down besides.

It's not reversible anymore than an involuntary permaban is—we can toggle the switch if someone writes to us, but they can't toggle it themselves.

And it exists because people would write to Matt asking/telling/demanding that he close their account. We aren't going to talk someone out of a straight-forward request to close their account anyway—they can always write us back later on if they decided it was a mistake, and we even have a special indefinite-hiatus status for folks who write to request a non-ban forced vacation from the site.

And, who knows, that may be what EB wanted: not so much Goodbye Forever as just imposing, quickly and irreversibly, some time away. We'll see in the long run.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:54 AM on November 19, 2007


At some level if we could even get to the point where there were no more "I'd hit it"/casual rape jokes here, I'd consider that a tremendous victory.

Agreed. It's endlessly tiresome to go into a thread and see 20 comments of variations of "I'd hit it," or "I wish I could fuck her." Or rape LOL! I leave those threads immediately, because, well, what's the point? It's already such a low level of discourse, and one can find that anywhere on the web.
posted by agregoli at 9:32 AM on November 19, 2007


And I finished the thread and I am deeply saddened to see EB go. One of the finest members of MeFi, and someone who tirelessly spoke up against the sexist comments on this site. You will be missed, EB, I hope you return.
posted by agregoli at 9:41 AM on November 19, 2007


Thanks, cortex. Yes, I understand the problem, and it's good to know there's a way back, even if it's more involved.

Since we're all talking about EB, may I say that I've never had a more human and touching connection with him than one time when we were on IRC and he was talking about the kitten he was thinking of adopting? I've never seen him in the same way since, and have forgiven him quite a lot, knowing him now as a closet-very sweet and rather sentimental guy, in some regards.

EB is a quite formal and maybe a sort of stiff guy online, when it comes to discourse, and he manages to piss people off quite a bit. I have been angered many times by some of his comments that come off as incredibly arrogant (and oh, yes - he does have an intellectual ego!) and have even been directly nasty to him once or twice as a result, but as with so many (most?) people - once we talk to them on a more human level, we realize that they are much more like us than they are different.
posted by taz at 9:54 AM on November 19, 2007


Yeah, taz, but after slogging through the mess here and in the Discussion Point thread it couldn't be more obvious that EB needs a break from the site. Something inside needs a bit of recalibrating.
posted by mediareport at 10:29 AM on November 19, 2007


I hope EB enjoys his break, and I hope if he ever comes back, he'll be able to continue participating in the community free from all his pre-break baggage. Hopefully the time he needs to recharge will equal the time we all need to forgive and/or forget.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:53 AM on November 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm glad to hear the autoban can be reversed.
posted by languagehat at 10:55 AM on November 19, 2007


This discussion has made me really curious about the gender split on this site. I wonder if we could find out what the numbers are for current readership.
posted by zebra3 at 11:57 AM on November 19, 2007


Like the "destroy universe" button in an early Ren & Stimpy cartoon... it's just so... hard... to... resist... pushing... the... big... shiny... red... button...

SPACE *MADNESS*!!!
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:57 PM on November 19, 2007


I'm glad to hear the autoban can be reversed.

Driving the Autobahn in reverse? That's MADNESS!!! (but not Space Madness)
posted by wendell at 7:02 PM on November 19, 2007


(Ren and water float out of the tub together) Yeahhhh. I'll just relax, and think pleasant thoughts... Chicken pot pie!... Chocolate-covered raisins!... Ehh... Glazed ham!...
Driving the Autobahn in reverse!...

(Ren drifts around the room.) Heh... heh... heh... they think I'm CRAZY. But I know better. It is not *I* who am crazy. It is I who am MAD! Didn'tcha hear 'em? Didn'tcha see the CROWDS?

(Ren holds up bar of soap) Oh, my beloved high speed car!... how I love to tune your engine timing! HOOOWWWWWW... (bites soap) ... and your oh-so-oily camshaft covering! You're not like the others... you like the same things I do! Waxed paper... boiled football leather... dogbreath... We're not hitchhiking anymore! We're RIDING! On the Autobahn in reverse!

STIMPY Stop it! You're talking crazy!

REN (suddenly paranoid) Oh, no. I know what YOU want. You coveted my HIGH SPEED CAR!

STIMPY C'mon now...

REN No, you don't! You can't take it from me now. I've had this high speed car since I was a CHILD! People... always trying to take it from me! Why won't they LEAVE ME ALOOOOONNNNE?

STIMPY E... easy, now.

REN Back off, man! (grabs toothbrush) Don't make me use this! One step closer, I'm WARNING ya! Don't make me use it! (Stimpy steps closer) NOW you've done it. YOU FORCED ME TO USE IT!

(horrible sound as Ren brushes his teeth. They struggle. Ren loses.)
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:20 PM on November 19, 2007


Programming Note: Ren & Stimpy make a brief return to Nickelodeon US Thanksgiving morning at 7:00am as part of a Classic Nicktoons Marathon. But that is not the episode they'll be showing. It'll be the Kitty Litter Slogan Contest/Stimpy Goes to Hollywood episode.

Now, why is it only guys who get accused of Space Madness?

(yes, I am ashamed of this derail, but not enough to PUSH THE BUTTON)
posted by wendell at 8:04 PM on November 19, 2007


Can we, as a society, stop with the ghandi quotes already? Dude did some cool stuff, said some things. I think we all get it already.
posted by Arturus at 8:51 PM on November 19, 2007


*all conversation in room stops, heads turn to look at Arturus, clock ticks heavily, heads turn back, conversation resumes*
posted by mediareport at 9:02 PM on November 19, 2007 [3 favorites]


Can we, as a society, stop with the ghandi quotes already? Dude did some cool stuff, said some things. I think we all get it already.

I shudder to think what Ghandi would say about that!
posted by The Deej at 9:17 PM on November 19, 2007


Can we, as a society, stop with the ghandi quotes already?

"I think it would be a good idea."

-Mahatma Gandhi
posted by quin at 9:25 PM on November 19, 2007


Oh, those were in the other thread. This is what happens when you're reading both of them at once.

There were an excessive number though, is the point.
posted by Arturus at 9:40 PM on November 19, 2007


oh, typo, blah. Going now before I make myself look more dumb. Time to do something not online, I think.
posted by Arturus at 9:48 PM on November 19, 2007


Now, why is it only guys who get accused of Space Madness?

Well, girls get Space Madness too, only it's nearly impossible to distinguish it from their normal state of being.

*runs & starts a new life at the bottom of the sea with EB*
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:04 AM on November 20, 2007


*throws pointy shoe at Ubu's retreating back*
posted by GrammarMoses at 8:16 AM on November 20, 2007


::happy sigh:: That was fun.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:59 PM on November 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


This comment makes a lot less sense now.
posted by Arturus at 7:19 AM on December 5, 2007


But there's a kind of DaDa spirit to it that I really like.
posted by OmieWise at 11:29 AM on December 5, 2007


Yeah, I get it comin' and goin'.

wait
posted by waraw at 11:44 AM on December 5, 2007


Gentlemen, I Sure Do Love Analingus is gone, too, along with that Dr. President Elvis Steve person. These threads are killers.
posted by cgc373 at 6:45 PM on December 5, 2007


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