Towards civil discourse: are moral judgements verboten? February 28, 2008 4:11 PM   Subscribe

How do we talk about religion and morals while respecting all beliefs?

I've just been reading this long thread about--peripherally--religious tolerance and discussion. I am confused as to what is acceptable, here, in expressing one's beliefs.

Religious beliefs consist largely of a bag of morals: what's right and what's wrong. Some of these, perhaps, can be backed by "logical" arguments, but the judging morality based solely on amoral characteristics seems rather limited and pointless. Sure, you can argue that "X is wrong..." or "You should do Y..." because of some quantitative aspect of society is improved for the action, but it seems that many beliefs held as morals can't be justified as such--it's either wrong or right because it's wrong or right. Perhaps I'm wrong?

Person X: "I believe Q is wrong because of my religion"
Person Y: "I believe Q is just fine!"

For a non-verifiable Q and R, what makes one statement tolerated and one not? Is it just that we can't ever say, "You're wrong?" What about the reverse?

Person X: "I believe R because of my religion"
Person Y: "R? R is obviously wrong!"

There are various possibilities here, most of which could be said to fit but none are ideal, and undoubtedly none of these are what's being aimed for, here:
  • Personal religious statements are not allowed/preferred
  • Statements of belief outside of the majority are not allowed/preferred
  • Beliefs are OK, as long as you don't say anyone's wrong.
See, there's a lot of religions out there, and many who prefer not to identify with a religion. These various groups disagree on lots of things. Thing is they can't all be right. I have beliefs that naturally are at odds with various groups. I also have a belief that my beliefs could, in fact, be wrong. But even the belief that I could be wrong itself could be wrong; perhaps it's my way or the highway as many religious seem to espouse. Certainly there are morals that 99.99% of us would agree with.

The point I'm (awkwardly) trying to make here is that I can't see the point in favoring the beliefs of one group over another if you're striving for a fair exchange of ideas. Is there a threshold, then, that you have to meet? A minimum number of people that agree with your views before you're willing to accept them? Or is it just that we have to "be nice", and never denounce any activity? There seems to be no easy answers; perhaps there's a reason why MeTa is grey.

I do not envy the moderators.
posted by RikiTikiTavi to Etiquette/Policy at 4:11 PM (458 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

Respecting all beliefs? Why in the world would we want to do that?

/joke

/I think...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:15 PM on February 28, 2008


It is not required or necessary to respect the belief, it is required and necessary to respect the person who holds the belief.

Thread over?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:22 PM on February 28, 2008 [23 favorites]


Yeah, attack the belief not the person holding it. Easy!
posted by carsonb at 4:24 PM on February 28, 2008


A) "I believe eating bacon is wrong because an invisible man in the sky said so."

B) "I believe eating bacon can't be wrong because it's BACON."

If you can't see how B) trumps A) then there's really no hope for you.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:28 PM on February 28, 2008 [11 favorites]


Thing is they can't all be right.
Within the myriad Buddha-worlds of the chiliocosm, this is not necessarily true.
posted by Abiezer at 4:28 PM on February 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


Sure, you have to have assumptions, assumptions that are beyond justification. It's why revelation is an important (fundamental? essential?) component of religion.

Metafilter has to have some as well. The website seems to roll with some flavor of secular humanism, lots of tolerance, but no racism! or sexism! or...

We aren't going to get decisions made with any degree of rigor. But we're lucky; we get goodwill.
posted by BigSky at 4:28 PM on February 28, 2008


But we're lucky; we get goodwill GiveWell.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:35 PM on February 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Respecting people is not the same thing as affirming their beliefs. I'd like to think that true tolerance means that all people have a seat at the table to discuss, not that we assume everyone is right who takes a seat at the table.
posted by SpacemanStix at 4:38 PM on February 28, 2008 [3 favorites]


This thread is going to be the bee's knees.

For what it's worth, I don't think there's any policy against anything you're talking about. I know there are certain types of things that will tend to get deleted as a post, such as making fun of a religion just for jollies, but other than that there really isn't a formal proscription.

I mean, motherfuckers are gonna flip out about what motherfuckers want to flip out about.
posted by shmegegge at 4:39 PM on February 28, 2008


Guidelines, with some quickie examples (invent your own examples if you don't like these).

1. Common sense moral truths prevail. Not all views about morality are equal -- some are wrong. In particular, some things are wronger than others. (Raping someone is wrong, and it doesn't matter what your religion says about it. But the question of whether polygamy is ok or not might be something where there's no absolute moral truth about it.)

2. Express yourself in an appropriately limited way. (Don't say "All Christians are crazy", because it's a lame overgeneralization that insults people here, and furthermore it's not true. But it's ok to say "some Christians are crazy" because indeed some are. And don't attribute overly-strong expressions of a view to someone if they've really only expressed a much more limited version of that view. "Gore thinks nobody should be allowed to drive cars anymore" vs. "Gore says we should have policies to encourage using public transit".)

3. Respect the context. (In a very contentious thread, for example one about the death of a widely-loved leader, it's bad form to just drop in and say "he's going to hell" but it would be more ok to write up a paragraph about the specific bad policies or views the person had. That is - In a more serious discussion, a little more context is needed, to prevent it just being threadshitting. In a less-serious discussion, toss-off remarks about certain religions or whatever might be more ok.)

4. Don't personally attack/insult the individuals in the conversation. (Don't say "Joe is crazy". Say "The view that Joe has expressed is crazy.")
posted by LobsterMitten at 4:39 PM on February 28, 2008 [5 favorites]


Not seeing those who don't agree with you as morally/mentally deficient is a start.
posted by rocket88 at 4:47 PM on February 28, 2008 [6 favorites]


Is there a particular reason you're writing blog entries in MetaTalk?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:48 PM on February 28, 2008 [7 favorites]


Yeah, I'm going to suggest your get your own blog for this one.
posted by tkolar at 4:58 PM on February 28, 2008


Comments that large numbers of people don't like get deleted. If you decide to make a comment that a bunch of Mefites are going to flag for deletion, don't be surprised if it gets deleted, even if you're just honestly stating your religious beliefs.
posted by burnmp3s at 5:00 PM on February 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Religious beliefs consist largely of a bag of morals: what's right and what's wrong.

Heh. If you say so.

See:

1. A Cup of Tea

Nan-in, a Japanese master during the Meiji era (1868-1912), received a university professor who came to inquire about Zen.

Nan-in served tea. He poured his visitor's cup full, and then kept on pouring.

The professor watched the overflow until he no longer could restrain himself. "It is overfull. No more will go in!"

"Like this cup," Nan-in said, "you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?"
posted by KokuRyu at 5:00 PM on February 28, 2008 [5 favorites]


I like LobsterMitten's list, in general terms. I have a few more suggestions.

5. Don't assume that because someone is saying something about/against your belief system that they are saying something about/against you and then attack them for it.

6. Don't use over-the-top hyperbole to describe someone with opposing beliefs (I'm looking at your invisible sky monster people) and then get all "who me?" when it touches a nerve with them. Don't get all "who me?" in generally actually. If you made someone angry and didn't mean to, just apologize or walk away, don't play the "well fuck YOU" game.

7. Remember where you are and don't expect discourse here to be similar to discourse wherever you are from. This is not to say that MetaFilter can't change culturally, but it won't do so quickly and in some ways (swearing, tolerance of drug topics for example) it may not at all.

8. Don't come here when you've had a bad day at work just to vent spleen because you have to be polite to people "IRL"

9. Don't expect anyone else to take "because my personal god said so" as an explanation for something other than your own personal belief system or behavior. Don't extrapolate your god into other people's lives without expecting pushback.

I don't really care if it's a religious topic or some other political or pet care topic, some people seem to be able to carry on a discussion about contentious topics without pissing other people off and getting pissed off themselves, some people seem not to. I don't think religion gets a pass when other topics don't, honestly. It doesn't seem to me that that's how it works here either.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:02 PM on February 28, 2008 [18 favorites]


Speech is moderated on MeFi just like it's moderated in Canada. In general you're allowed to say anything you want, but if your speech inspires hate or discrimination then you're smacked down.
posted by blue_beetle at 5:04 PM on February 28, 2008


Sigh. Religion is not merely reducible to morality. Religion involves complicated sets of symbols that shape how individuals, cultures and societies find meaning, social cohesion and postulate answers to the mystery of existence.

Bacon isn't wrong because some mystery Sky-Father said so. Bacon is wrong because of a complicated set of relationships between the individual, society and God and the need for purity in those relationships.

It requires humility, imagination, thoughtfulness and struggle to dialogue with those whose worldview, particularly religious worldview differs especially since the place from where each of you speak may have things that each speaker finds inimical.

It's complicated and tough and the discussion should not be reduced to competing sets of moral permissions and injunctions.
posted by MasonDixon at 5:06 PM on February 28, 2008 [11 favorites]


Totally didn't answer the question, the moral assumption end of it just kind of set me going.

sorry
posted by MasonDixon at 5:08 PM on February 28, 2008


Religious beliefs consist largely of a bag of morals

This is not true in the least. Some religions, like the ancient Greek, have absolutely nothing to say about morals; they simply require you to carry out the rituals the gods demand.

The point I'm (awkwardly) trying to make here is that I can't see the point in favoring the beliefs of one group over another if you're striving for a fair exchange of ideas.

So? Then don't favor the beliefs of one group over another. Is someone trying to force you to?
posted by languagehat at 5:12 PM on February 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Totally unrelated:
Brandon Blatcher, at a meeting today, we were trying to remember someone's name. We knew it was Brandon Something but couldn't remember his last name. I distinctly remember suggesting "Brandon Blatcher" as a possibility (it was Brandon Brown, actually). MetaFilter is infecting my brain.

Anyway, carry on with your religion thread thingy.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 5:16 PM on February 28, 2008


So? Then don't favor the beliefs of one group over another. Is someone trying to force you to?
posted by languagehat


Yes! I am trying to force him too. It's quiet, stealthy, and the end results will not manifest for millenia (I'm going to have hook him up with some life-extension technology), but rest assured, I will force him to favor the beliefs of One Group over Another.
posted by Ryvar at 5:16 PM on February 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's these Brandonites I can't stand, with their constant tales of Revelations of The Holy Log-in at business meetings and the like...oh, hi, CitrusFreak12.
posted by Abiezer at 5:18 PM on February 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


religion, unfortunately, does not exist only in the realm of the spiritual, in people's hearts, and in places of worship: religion exists in the world, and it influences and often even drives policy, government policy. do not expect to be able to separate personal belief from this very painful reality, because people blow themselves up on buses, vote in droves to prohibit gays to enjoy full citizenship rights, vote to add religious narratives to science curricula in school, vote to severely limit stem cell research slowing down scientists who attempt to cure terrible diseases: all in the name of a God whose influence in this world (His existence is not relevant to this discussion) as narrated by all spiritual traditions goes against demonstrable science and must be considered, sadly, impossible.

hence, religion has consequences for everyone, not just for believers. very practical ones. it's silly to assume that one is going to accept to live under someone else's God rules; people won't -- Muslims and Jews won't accept the Incarnation because for them it's heresy, secular people will reject it because it's physically absurd. hence arguing that "this is so because my God said it is" will never go down very well. it's not that hard to figure out, really,

and keep in mind that a very prominent Biblical scholar of the past century wrote that you cannot believe that corpses come back to life three days after their death and also turn on your electric reading lamp without contradicting yourself. most religions were born in an unscientific era, their cosmologies are not simply outdated but absurd. if you don't accept this very provable fact, and if your religion is not simply a private thing, but you vote and even give money to impose your belief upon others thru political action, prepare to be intensely disliked. in real life, on the internet.
posted by matteo at 5:23 PM on February 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


Their staff is too long. They are digging in the wrong place.
posted by The World Famous at 5:24 PM on February 28, 2008 [11 favorites]


and you can also turn on your electric reading lamp without contradicting yourself
posted by matteo at 5:26 PM on February 28, 2008


are moral judgements verboten?

By using verboten, do you mean to imply that there are Germanic jackbooted thugs censoring your moral judgments? Is that a moral judgment too?
posted by kuujjuarapik at 5:28 PM on February 28, 2008


I like bacon.
posted by LarryC at 5:30 PM on February 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


How do we talk about religion and morals while respecting all beliefs?

1) Don't say anything you wouldn't say to somebody's face.
2) If you have opinions that are so strong and vehement that they may cause you to totally flip your shit, you may not want to discuss them in an open forum.
posted by Afroblanco at 5:31 PM on February 28, 2008 [3 favorites]


How do we talk about religion and morals while respecting all beliefs?

Re: religion, if you want to respect someone's beliefs, you shouldn't make normative judgments about them. But I don't see any reason to respect beliefs. I do think that we should respect people. But that's a normative judgment on my part.

Re: morals, see above.
posted by The World Famous at 5:34 PM on February 28, 2008


There are many religious beliefs that should not be respected, because those beliefs are disrespectful of others.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:40 PM on February 28, 2008 [5 favorites]




Jessamyn, I know you didn't intend you comment as any kind of scorecard and that some of it references a specific poster's situation, but ... three of your five bullet points (5,7,9) seem to admonish the religious mefite, while only one (6) puts any responsibility on the secular. That's quite backwards in my view.

Don't say "Joe is crazy". Say "The view that Joe has expressed is crazy."

Yes, calling millennia of religious thought kookoo is certainly the respectful route to take.
posted by danOstuporStar at 5:48 PM on February 28, 2008


There are many religious beliefs that should not be respected, because those beliefs are disrespectful of others.

But that statement, itself, advocates disrespect for others. Does that mean that I shouldn't respect that belief, either? I'm so confused.
posted by The World Famous at 5:48 PM on February 28, 2008


Wow, danO!

I was going to say this thread was completely unnecessary, but I was wrong.
posted by OmieWise at 5:54 PM on February 28, 2008


No. 5 certainly applies to everyone.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 5:56 PM on February 28, 2008


"calling millennia of religious thought kookoo is certainly the respectful route to take"

I agree. Human sacrifice and sun worship deserve a lot more serious discussion than you fuckers are giving it.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:58 PM on February 28, 2008 [9 favorites]


three of your five bullet points (5,7,9) seem to admonish the religious mefite

Well, point 5 applies just as well to militant atheist types as it does to explicitly religious folks; 7 doesn't target religious mefites, it targets anyone who wants a whip-sharp change in the site culture for whatever reason; 9 is aimed at religious mefites pretty much necessarily, since no one else is going to be in a position to mention god as an argument winner.

The responsibility for ideological/religious discussions working around here doesn't fall to either the secular or the religious folks on the site, it falls to everyone. The nature of varying faiths and beliefs is such that different folks will have different challenges in marrying their personal beliefs to sane, inclusive discussion of topic x, y, or z.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:01 PM on February 28, 2008


three of your five bullet points (5,7,9) seem to admonish the religious mefite, while only one (6) puts any responsibility on the secular. That's quite backwards in my view.

That's not at all the way I intended it or the way I see it personally.

I see the atheists and the agnostics as having just as much of a "belief system" as the Christians, Buddhists and other religious MeFites. The last bullet point refers to people with any sort of higher-order power that becomes a debate-stopping "I know it because the unassailable/incontrovertable higher power told me so" That's a perfectly decent way to explain your own belief system but a perfectly wretched way to try to have a meeting of the minds with someone from a differing belief system.

That conversation could be god vs god, god vs no god or various stripes of no-goddism arguing about matters of faith. I think of ufologists and sasquatch/cryptozoology people in this vein; there is only so much evidence and people disagree STRONGLY about it, ending a conversation because you "just know" something isn't really a great way to have debates with someone with differing values about Topic X.

EVERYONE has a responsibility to meet partway with the understanding that this community is not by and large overtly religious but contains people of many differing and sometimes disagreeing faiths and belief systems. At some level I agree with Afroblanco: "If you have opinions that are so strong and vehement that they may cause you to totally flip your shit, you may not want to discuss them in an open forum."
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:03 PM on February 28, 2008 [5 favorites]


I agree. Human sacrifice and sun worship deserve a lot more serious discussion than you fuckers are giving it.

I see where you're coming from mr_crash, but I gotta say, if you're gonna worship anything, the sun seems like a worthy candidate. Where the hell would we be without it?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:08 PM on February 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Somewhere near absolute zero, I'd guess.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:10 PM on February 28, 2008


To be honest, I think we have, over the last year, seen a transition from an atheist exhibitionism box to one where a breadth of religious experience is more likely to be shared than shouted down.

It annoys the hell out of me, but unless I actually have something to say, that I haven't said in the last ten years I am now more likely to listen and watch to see if anything interesting comes out.


Win/wn?

We do what me must - because we can
posted by Sparx at 6:12 PM on February 28, 2008


I see the atheists and the agnostics as having just as much of a "belief system" as the Christians, Buddhists and other religious MeFites.

Category error there, Jessamyn
posted by Sparx at 6:16 PM on February 28, 2008


If we reflect on the paths we've taken, the people who've influenced us, the ideas we've come to along the way, and all the internal and external events in our individual lives that have shaped our beliefs, we see that each of us has a unique perspective on the world, one that we each reach in our own way, whether we share faith or not. It's our little differences that make us interesting, and they're worth listening to and talking about.

Whether we agree or not, we grow closer by understanding one another -- an understanding best achieved through close and careful discourse.

I sometimes fail, because I'm not ideal, but mutual respect for individuals and their ideas is an easily attainable goal: if everybody leads by example, nobody's left behind.
posted by breezeway at 6:18 PM on February 28, 2008


This is the best callout of a callout I've seen yet. I mean that.
posted by mrmojoflying at 6:29 PM on February 28, 2008


and keep in mind that a very prominent Biblical scholar of the past century wrote that you cannot believe that corpses come back to life three days after their death and also turn on your electric reading lamp without contradicting yourself.

That seems like a really weird claim to me. Most people who belief that one particular corpse came back to life after three days believe that it happened not because it was expected or natural or scientifically reasonable, but because an great power intervened and accomplished what is otherwise impossible. I don't see how it is a contradiction to say that the universe normally works in these reliable and predicable ways--ways that explain why my lamp can provide light--and yes still hold on to the possibility that there may also be anomalous occurrences. At any rate, it's never thrown me into cognitive dissonance to use lamps while at prayer.

most religions were born in an unscientific era, their cosmologies are not simply outdated but absurd.

True. I just don't know why that's a problem, unless I've taken as a given that God who chose to communicate to ancient people would first necessarily begin by straightening out their cosmology. "Hey guys, I want to talk about my existence and my love for humanity, and what the implications of that should be, but first--hang on to your hats here--you aren't living on a huge flat plain at the center of the universe. Far from it--you are on a giant sphere that is only the third of eight or nine planets (I'll leave that to you to work out) that all circle the sun, and the sun is but one of many in the galaxy, which is but one of many in the universe. Are you still with me? Good. Now, about photosynthesis...." It seems to that if you are going to communicate at all with a culture, you have to start in the worldview that makes sense to them, or the project is doomed from the start. I would expect that an honest attempt to communicate to tribal people in the ancient near east would involve such accommodations. The fundy effort to claim that Biblical cosmology is not obsolete is silly. But I also think a claim that obsolete cosmology necessarily invalidates everything else is fairly shallow. (You didn't make that claim, but others certainly do.)

There are genuine difficulties with the Bible, and I became an atheist for several years largely because of those difficulties. But a lot of the problem was that the Bible didn't meet my 20th century Western standards for reliable historiography. If it did, then it wouldn't have met 6th century BC Ancient Near Eastern standards for cultural myth and poetry. I can't imagine a document that could do both at once.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 6:34 PM on February 28, 2008 [10 favorites]


Look, the problem I have is not that others don't believe in an Ultimate Authority, but that no one respects the fact that I do. I can respect the fact that many of you do not, and I respect that you have the right to act and live on that belief. But it has been made very clear to me that the opposite is not so.

I'm in the process of rethinking my participation here. If it weren't for askme I'd have left last week-thankfully I talked myself out of a kneejerk decision. But it is very true that for a subset of us this is not a welcoming place.

Let me put it to you this way. I feel a million times more comfortable here posting as a Republican even though most of the membership here is liberal. I woudn't say the same could be said as a Mefite of faith in a much if not mostly faithless place. And as someone whose computer free time is only going to keep getting smaller in the coming months, I just do not have the time to keep defending my views and my right to have them. I'd much rather simply have my views, period. I'd think a lot of you would feel the same.
posted by konolia at 6:36 PM on February 28, 2008 [3 favorites]


The responsibility for ideological/religious discussions working around here doesn't fall to either the secular or the religious folks on the site, it falls to everyone. The nature of varying faiths and beliefs is such that different folks will have different challenges in marrying their personal beliefs to sane, inclusive discussion of topic x, y, or z.


EVERYONE has a responsibility to meet partway with the understanding that this community is not by and large overtly religious but contains people of many differing and sometimes disagreeing faiths and belief systems.


Thus we see the violence inherent in the system! The jackbooted thugs who run this place are trying to FORCE tolerance down our throats!
posted by languagehat at 6:49 PM on February 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


How do we talk about religion and morals while respecting all beliefs?

Why would anybody respect all beliefs? How is that even possible?
posted by signal at 6:55 PM on February 28, 2008


I distinctly remember suggesting "Brandon Blatcher" as a possibility

Test subject 214 is adjusting well to the implants.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:05 PM on February 28, 2008 [6 favorites]


Why would anybody respect all beliefs? How is that even possible?

You can disrespect a belief and still respect the person holding it-or at least, treat the person holding it WITH respect.
posted by konolia at 7:09 PM on February 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


> and keep in mind that a very prominent Biblical scholar of the past century wrote that you cannot believe that corpses
> come back to life three days after their death and also turn on your electric reading lamp without contradicting yourself.

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
I am large, I contain multitudes.


prominent Biblical scholar bites off mo' den he kin chaw, film at 11


> To be honest, I think we have, over the last year, seen a transition from an atheist exhibitionism box to one where
> a breadth of religious experience is more likely to be shared than shouted down.

Pax to Konolia, but I've noticed the same thing. It reflects well on the site, I think, that our clever, observant atheists were among the first to notice how Ayn Randish they were starting to sound.
posted by jfuller at 7:10 PM on February 28, 2008 [3 favorites]


I just do not have the time to keep defending my views and my right to have them. I'd much rather simply have my views, period. I'd think a lot of you would feel the same.

With all due respect, konolia, and you know that despite the fact that I do not hold similar religious beliefs to yours I consider us quite friendly, it is quite possible to participate in communities without wearing our beliefs about various things tattooed on our foreheads. There is a lot more going on at Metafilter, and there's a lot more to discuss, than whether or not we believe in a given deity, and if we do, how we choose to pay our respects to that deity. It may be a primary element of who one is, but that does not necessarily mean one has to dun people with it at every turn.

Seeking out groups where everyone agrees with us is, I reckon, something that is destructive to our intellect, our spirit, dare I say our very souls, something that makes us weaker, turns our teeth yellow, weakens our spines. If we are confident in our beliefs and strong in our faith, whatever those beliefs may be, they will only get stronger in the face of adversity, dissent and challenge. Let alone the obvious fact that it is pretty much impossible to put more than two smart, inquisitive people in a room and expect that they're going to agree about everything.

There are things that I prefer not to talk about all the time and to present to the community as defining characteristics of my personality, because I'm aware that front-and-centering those things would force me into a position where I spent all my time defending myself or arguing about them -- not something I want to do. Like my penchant for gorilla-buggery, for example. I just know that's not a popular thing with some segments of society.

I understand the way in which some Christians are expected to talk all the goddamned time about their beliefs, to other believers or others. I'd suggest that if someone feels that way, then they should be prepared to defend those beliefs, in the awareness that doing so should strengthen and clarify them. Or not, in which case, the beliefs should, like any others that prove to be weak and indefensible, discarded.

People who are actually threatened by the faith of others will sometimes go apeshit and get insulting. Often they are intellectually stunted, and often have no well-thought out beliefs of their own. Ignore those people. There are fools, knaves, trolls and idiots in every crowd. This is the internet, after all.

I am no friend of Christian churches. By a long shot. But I am quite willing to talk to someone about their faith, christian or otherwise, if they are also willing to listen, to think, and to enjoy the back and forth. But I'm probably going to make a few jokes along the way. That's life.

You can disrespect a belief and still respect the person holding it-or at least, treat the person holding it WITH respect.

Precisely what I said in the second comment in this thread.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:14 PM on February 28, 2008 [6 favorites]


I respect that you have the right to act and live on that belief. But it has been made very clear to me that the opposite is not so.

How so that latter part? I'm serious. Has anyone said with any degree of seriousness that you do not have the right to be a [whatever denomination] Christian, Christian in general, or theist in even greater generalness? Someone saying that they disagree with you, or that they think that a particular belief or action spawned by a particular belief is unseemly, or that you personally are crazy... that's not denying you the right to your beliefs. Calling you personally crazy is rude, however.

I just do not have the time to keep defending my views and my right to have them. I'd much rather simply have my views, period. I'd think a lot of you would feel the same.

There's a difference between having views and airing them. Feel free to have your views. If you air them, you (or anyone really) shouldn't expect to get a free pass just because you have the right to believe whatever you want to believe. That right isn't a carte blanche that you can wave at anyone who decides to respond or criticize the views you chose to air.

If there's a thread about fruit, and you were to proclaim lemons the Best Fruit EVAR, would you realistically expect no one to respond "What? No. Persimmons rock the hardest."
posted by CKmtl at 7:16 PM on February 28, 2008


Persimmons are the very definition of insipid.
posted by breezeway at 7:18 PM on February 28, 2008


My feeling is this: Religion shouldn't be an unconditional get out of jail free card. Which is to say. If you express a belief in God(s), while I guess someone can challenge that, there isn't much to be gained from it, really, and it's generally a much more tiresome argument than the average Dawkinite seems to realize, and basically I think such challenges should be held in low regard because they're rude, disrespectful, and -- most importantly -- fucking boring. I get that you went to Catholic school and it sucked and now your God is dead and no one cares, but seriously, please, shut the fuck up about it already. Please. For the love of Christopher Hitchens. Just. Shut. The fuck. Up. We've heard it all before. We've ALL heard it ALL before. You dull bastards; you boring bitches! Stop. Just stop.

On the OTHER hand...

"It's my religion!" cannot be a defense when your religion intersects with public policy. "It's my religion!" is not good enough when it means we can't have stem cell research, or that gays are second-class citizens, or that we have to teach our children that the earth is eight thousand years old and Adam and Eve rode T. Rexes around the Garden of Eden. You don't get to make your religion everyone else's religion, too. And you don't get to expound on subjects that affect everyone's lives and then declare immunity from negative feedback because this is just what your faith tells you. Fuck that. People who fire back at this stuff are not attacking religion; they are attacking you. But only because you shot first. You don't get to declare, "Tag -- no tag backs!" GYOFB.

Um...that's all I got.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:19 PM on February 28, 2008 [20 favorites]


Well, let me be a bit plainer...there are a few hardy souls on this site that feel the need to try to call me out at every turn, over and over and over. Sometimes, when a thread is discussing religious belief or something related to it, I simply want to add a thought to the discussion-and then immediately certain individuals feel the need to start trying to call me out and badger me and accuse me of not answering them when I know perfectly well I have in the past and do not care to repeat myself as it never wendells.

OTOH there are folks like Stavros and the "late lamented" jonmc who simply take me as I am, as I do them, and thank you, o wonderchicken, for reminding me this site also has a share of fairminded folk.

I'm secure in my faith, I'm certainly secure enough to be here, but sometimes a gal just gets weary of going around and around the same mountain.
posted by konolia at 7:24 PM on February 28, 2008


Persimmons are the very definition of insipid.

I suspect you have never accidentally bitten into a green one. If you had it would be an unforgettable experience.
posted by konolia at 7:25 PM on February 28, 2008


konolia, I realize this is easier said than done, but you could just not respond to those people. As a very religious person myself, I understand where you are coming from, and I really think that is the solution.
posted by The World Famous at 7:38 PM on February 28, 2008


Well, World Famous, that is what I am doing.

So far they really don't like it.
posted by konolia at 7:48 PM on February 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


And if people are dogging you around the site, let us know. If it's as you say and you're just speaking your piece, we'll handle it. If someone talks to us before there's a full blown feud happening, we do try to keep that stuff contained.

That said, keeping to whatever the topic is at hand and not tossing in vague allusions to things that have historically happened on MeFi is also everyone's responsibility. As I mentioned in the thread that you started, I feel like sometimes things would go more smoothly for you here if you could follow that rule if you expect everyone else to. To my eyes, lately you have been but I also haven't seen the dogged pursuit you're reporting here so it's possible this is mostly talking about old news or it's possible I'm just not paying close enough attention.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:49 PM on February 28, 2008


jessamyn and cortex, thank you for the clarifications.

jfuller and Sparx, glad to hear it. The truth is I probably haven't even tried reading a religious-themed thread in the blue in well over a year. I'll correct that.

omie, hello.
posted by danOstuporStar at 7:49 PM on February 28, 2008


Konolla, I get what you are saying, and I think you make a sound point. I have seen people use innocent comments of yours to start a pile-on. I think maybe there must be other issues, things said in the past, that are coming into play there.

For my part, I respect your right to believe what you believe 100%. I would personally appreciate it if you, if for no other reason than to humor me and maybe others who feel as I do, would word comments like this, "I believe there is no such thing as luck, it is divine grace," rather than, "There is no such thing as luck, unless you call it divine grace." To you, there is probably no difference, so strongly are your beliefs ingrained in your heart and soul. But to those who don't share your beliefs, the first sounds contentious.
posted by misha at 7:51 PM on February 28, 2008


1) Don't say anything you wouldn't say to somebody's face.
Considering the things I've seen said to the faces of the believers, that's not going to help much here.
posted by bonaldi at 7:52 PM on February 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


But to those who don't share your beliefs, the first sounds contentious.
the first is contentious, and refusing to see the difference is what keeps one circling the mountain, btw.
posted by bonaldi at 7:53 PM on February 28, 2008


Well, World Famous, that is what I am doing.

So far they really don't like it.


Why is that a problem? They don't like what you believe, so the only way they're going to "like it" is if you change your mind. Why are you trying to make them happy? I have no problem with you or anyone else stating their beliefs if it is germane to the discussion. If someone tries to engage you in an argument about it, etc., they don't deserve to have the discussion that they apparently want.
posted by The World Famous at 7:54 PM on February 28, 2008


Look, the problem I have is not that others don't believe in an Ultimate Authority, but that no one respects the fact that I do

Yeah... no. That's not actually the case. We don't respect the fact that you use God as an excuse for bigotry, hatred, and wilful ignorance.

I'm in the process of rethinking my participation here.

Excellent.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 7:54 PM on February 28, 2008 [4 favorites]


See, that's the thing. I have a very hard time respecting a person with religious beliefs, and the more "out there" the belief, the harder time I'm going to have with it. I'm sorry, but it's true. Asking me to respect someone who says "Gold told us x" is equivalent, to me, to saying "I am a boiled egg" or "Dark-skinned people are inferior." It's an utterly absurd statement.

Now, I can try to relate to that person. I can even respect the other areas in their lives - they may be a wonderful parent, a giver to the community, have skills I do not have. But I cannot, will not, respect an irrational belief. They have every right to hold an irrational belief, but putting that belief in the arena of public ideas makes it fair game.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 7:56 PM on February 28, 2008 [8 favorites]


I simply want to add a thought to the discussion-and then immediately certain individuals feel the need to start trying to call me out and badger me and accuse me of not answering them when I know perfectly well I have in the past and do not care to repeat myself as it never wendells

Except, no, you actually don't. You run away after saying "BECAUSE I SAID SO". You can't ever actually point to anything that the man whose teachings you follow said about, for example, homosexuality. Every single time it comes up and you're around, you claim a whole lot of things, sit there with your smug little attitude, and refuse to back them up.

You are no more Christian than I am, madam.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 7:57 PM on February 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


To me that sounds more like an interpersonal problem than a religious vs. non-religious problem. If certain people are hounding you, it should be dealt with in terms of those people; be it a civil email exchange or, I suppose, asking one of the mods to have a word with those people about the hounding. But not all disagreement (heated or not) is hounding, right? It would be a crap move to call Hounding every time there's a disagreement.

Aside from that... Maybe you sometimes need to phrase things in a way that's less, uh, baiting to the Hounds. "I really like lemons because they're tangy, versatile, and fend off scurvy" vs. "Lemons are the pinnacle of fruit. Period. I'll brook no argument."
posted by CKmtl at 7:58 PM on February 28, 2008


dnab, I'm sure you're one of the people konolia is referring to, and your unprovoked badgering of her is sort of proving her point. We have a user search. Go check the last time she said anything disparaging about homosexuality here or got into a fight with anyone on MeFi or AskMe without being intentionally provoked. I may have blinders on here, but my feeling is that it was a long while ago, we've all talked about it, and you're being a bit churlish about our BRAND NEW DAY glorious mod suggestion appliance. Everyone likes to talk in generalities about what "other people" do but I guess I'm wondering about specifics here, this one time.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:04 PM on February 28, 2008 [3 favorites]


I'm fully aware I'm one of the people she's referring to, and it's repugnant that she considers herself a victim for having such bigoted views.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 8:09 PM on February 28, 2008


I believe there is no such thing as luck, it is divine grace,"

Isn't there an implicit I believe in everything that everybody says here? "Luck" may be blind chance or it may be fate, it may be human skill or it may be a mischievous god. Why should the people who believe in divine grace have to add "allegedly" to their statements, while the opposite position gets to presume that luck is not divine grace as a matter fact?
posted by danOstuporStar at 8:12 PM on February 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


it's repugnant that she considers herself a victim for having such bigoted views

Bigoted: "blindly and obstinately attached to some creed or opinion and intolerant toward others; 'a bigoted person' . . ."

I'd say there's more than a little of that going around.
posted by The World Famous at 8:12 PM on February 28, 2008


I'm fully aware I'm one of the people she's referring to, and it's repugnant that she considers herself a victim for having such bigoted views.

Okay. However, we are NOT the thought police. If it bothers you what konolia is (according to you) thinking as opposed to what she is currently saying on the site, that's not a decent reason to act the way you do on the site. Take it to email or MeMail or your own blog or her own blog, but keep it off the site the same way we've asked her to. User feuds get in everyone else's way and poison otherwise decent discussions.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:15 PM on February 28, 2008 [3 favorites]


Bigoted: "blindly and obstinately attached to some creed or opinion and intolerant toward others; 'a bigoted person' . . ."

I'd say there's more than a little of that going around


Right, TWF. I keep forgetting that being intolerant of bigotry is a bad thing. That's the most insiduous thing that the fundamentalist camp preaches.

jessamyn, fair enough. She stops spouting off her ridiculous bullshit, I'll stop calling her on it. Deal?
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 8:25 PM on February 28, 2008


"isn't there an implicit I believe in everything"
2+2=4

Also: people dealing with the unproven here are usually pretty good about admitting it. People who assert TRUTH are usually called on it. It's only a problem when some wilfully refuse to understand why.
posted by bonaldi at 8:29 PM on February 28, 2008


It's only a problem when some wilfully refuse to understand why

bing-fucking-go.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 8:30 PM on February 28, 2008


I keep forgetting that being intolerant of bigotry is a bad thing.

I think maybe you missed the point. On second thought, though, I suspect that you actually got the point.
posted by The World Famous at 8:31 PM on February 28, 2008


I have a very hard time respecting a person with religious beliefs, and the more "out there" the belief, the harder time I'm going to have with it.

I think you should at least cut some slack for the "more rational" religious beliefs, like Deism and Singularitarianism.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 8:34 PM on February 28, 2008


The Dalai Lama (I assume, and for the sake of my analogy) believes very strongly in reincarnation. I'm certain he is wrong. But if he posted here I see no need to follow him around the site and badger him to death about it. If he wanted to discuss it, it could be discussed. He could say, "this is what I believe." I could say, "this is what I believe." Perhaps we would look at each other, smile, shake our heads and think how deluded the other one must be.

Then we'd both go post in a thread about jonmc closing his account. Or maybe we'd go over to Metachat and talk about the evils of cilantro. Or, of Wal-mart.
posted by konolia at 8:37 PM on February 28, 2008


The difference, konolia, is that dnab does not consider belief in reincarnation to be a bigoted belief, in that it is not a belief that ascribes a negative normative or moral value to those who either do not believe in it or who act contrary to that belief. I may be off base here (and I'm sure dnab will correct me if I am), but the issue is that dnab thinks that your beliefs are, in part, an unfair and incorrect negative judgment against other people.

A better analogy would be if someone appeared here and stated that she believed that God hates Christians, and that anyone who calls himself a Christian is a wicked person who is acting contrary to the will of God, ipse dixit. I'm sure you can understand the temptation that a fervent Christian might have to follow that person around the site and call her on her bigotry every time she expressed that view.
posted by The World Famous at 8:42 PM on February 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Human sacrifice and sun worship deserve a lot more serious discussion than you fuckers are giving it.

i agree - the next time there's a fatal car accident by the beach, i'll be sure to mention it
posted by pyramid termite at 8:49 PM on February 28, 2008


Well, you see, that is the crux of the matter. I'm not talking about the views that dnab finds objectionable because I am not allowed to mention the very subject on this site, period. And that has been in place for months. I cannot even really protest the label of being a bigot, because, there again, we'd be discussing the topic, and when the topic comes up, literally all hell breaks loose here. And although I do feel very unfairly and wrongly characterised, I simply have to let it go. Letting it go is the right thing to do, but I am a human being, and some days it's harder than others.

All I can do is submit that in my mind at least, my analogy holds.
posted by konolia at 8:52 PM on February 28, 2008


...and now I am going to bed. I'll be away from my computer most of tomorrow, too. I've said what I needed to say here.
posted by konolia at 8:55 PM on February 28, 2008


I know this sounds like I'm being cute and maybe trite, but as one religious person to another (I'm pretty sure you wouldn't consider me to be a Christian, but that's neither here nor there):

WWJD?

Seriously.
posted by The World Famous at 8:57 PM on February 28, 2008


OK, can we please get something handed down infallibly, ex cathedra, that konolia is or is not under double secret probation? (My belief that is that "is not" is essentially true, I just think now we need it either way from the mouth of the funny-hatted bear.)
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 8:58 PM on February 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


TWF is right.

And (it sounds, from the previous thread) as if konolia has been asked to refrain from voicing her opinion that's analogous to "Christians are wicked people" etc. So, if konolia is actually refraining from voicing that opinion (and this is what jessamyn was asking about), then dnab and whomever else should have nothing to call out. She can silently have her opinion, dnab and the rest of us who disagree can silently disapprove. We can set that topic aside and talk about persimmons or whatever, in a civil way. Happy times.

And similarly if someone were actually going around saying "Christians are wicked people" the mods would say "hey, cool it" and then they and whoever was hounding them could cool it and just silently dislike each other.
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:59 PM on February 28, 2008


I bet the analogy that had her professing her faith here as the Dalai Lama would really does hold in konolia's mind, fantasies grip like that.

Actually, there's a point: it's a bit unfair to tell dnab to search konolia's history for recent gay-bashing when the only reason she's been quiet on the topic is because she's banned (and is clearly champing at the bit about it too), Jess.
posted by bonaldi at 8:59 PM on February 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


She stops spouting off her ridiculous bullshit, I'll stop calling her on it. Deal?

she did - in fact, she was made to do it by the moderators

but you keep bringing it up - you won this particular battle on this site, so you can be decent about it and drop it

if you're not willing to do that, it's YOUR turn for a time out
posted by pyramid termite at 9:02 PM on February 28, 2008 [3 favorites]


Lord Polonius: What do you read, my lord?

Hamlet: Words, words, words.

Lord Polonius: What is the matter, my lord?

Hamlet: Between who?

Lord Polonius: I mean, the matter that you read, my lord.
posted by tkolar at 9:04 PM on February 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


How do we talk about religion and morals while respecting all beliefs?

All beliefs are not equally deserving of respect. If someone says that the sky is green and gravity doesn't exist, those are clearly not beliefs that I feel obliged to agree with.

So why should I feel obliged to respect someone's belief that the earth is 6000 years old? Or that something that looks like bread, smells like bread, and tastes like bread is actually human flesh from a man that died 2000 years ago?

The religion card is a cop-out that allows people to claim privileged status for their beliefs without needing to actually offer evidence that they're true. (evidence? crazy idea, that!)


Or is it just that we have to "be nice", and never denounce any activity? There seems to be no easy answers;

The easy answer is that if you're willing to talk about your beliefs in public, you need to be aware that others may not agree with you, and may even attack your views. If you can't handle that in a rational and adult manner (without flipping the fuck out) then you shouldn't talk about your views.


"A faith that cannot survive collision with the truth is not worth many regrets." --Arthur C. Clarke
posted by chrisamiller at 9:06 PM on February 28, 2008


(My belief that is that "is not" is essentially true, I just think now we need it either way from the mouth of the funny-hatted bear.)

I'm sorry, but I do not respect your belief. However, I am prepared to worship the Funny-hatted Bear, if He's willing to let me continue my regular human sacrifices to the Sun. Deal?

posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:06 PM on February 28, 2008


bonaldi, you don't know that the only reason she's been quiet about it is because she has been banned, and I don't think she was chomping at the bit, I think she was frustrated because dnab was clearly badgering her. I believe strongly in gay rights but dnab was going on a witch hunt, and though I can see some irony in the situation, it certainly brought the level of the discussion down, when before I thought some very valid points were being made.
posted by misha at 9:07 PM on February 28, 2008


Whoops, forgot to italicize the quote. Or wait, I think I DID italicize the quote, but the secular humanists who run this site removed it to make me (an oppressed Sun Worshipper and potential Funny-hatted Bear Devotee) look foolish. That must be it.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:09 PM on February 28, 2008


I NOW WORSHIP THE FUNNY-HATTED BEAR AND THOSE OF YOU WHO DON'T ARE BADGERING ME.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:11 PM on February 28, 2008


If you are a sun worshipper, why do you at flapjax at *midnite*?
posted by misha at 9:12 PM on February 28, 2008


Surely you've heard of the Land of the Midnite Sun, misha?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:13 PM on February 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Flapjax are unholy in the sight of the Sun, silly. They must only be eaten at precisely midnight.

And a badger isn't actually a bear with a funny hat. It's a completely different animal. I have no evidence to back this up, so I suspect that chrisamiller will now call me an idiot, or something.
posted by The World Famous at 9:14 PM on February 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


it's a bit unfair to tell dnab to search konolia's history for recent gay-bashing when the only reason she's been quiet on the topic is because she's banned (and is clearly champing at the bit about it too), Jess.

Sorry, I should have been much clearer. My point was that it is my belief that konolia has stopped her anti-gay commentary on this site. That she did it in response to our request -- more of an either/or situation really where we were like "you can knock this off or you can be banned from the site" -- is less important to me than the fact that she did it and for the most part has been decent about it. I believe that can be proven by checking her history, if one was so inclined, but the matter is settled as far as I'm concerned. It is clearly not settled as far as other people are concerned and I really have no idea what to do about that.

Moderating a giant site means we really have to look at what people do, for the most part, not what we suspect they're thinking when they do what they do. This means, for me anyhow, letting a lot more shit slide than I would if I was having dinner with someone or they were a guest in my house. I tell myself it builds character and that's quite possibly true.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:15 PM on February 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


And a badger isn't actually a bear with a funny hat...

That has no bearing on the subject.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:15 PM on February 28, 2008


I put out an offering of one pic-a-nic basket to the shine of the funny-hatted bear and chant his name... Yoh-gie... Yoh-gie...
posted by wendell at 9:16 PM on February 28, 2008


...so I suspect that chrisamiller will now call me an idiot, or something.

I wouldn't worry about it. Just be like me: I don't believe in chrisamiller.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:17 PM on February 28, 2008


...the shine of the funny-hatted bear...

Aha! But the funny-hatted bear only shines at midnight! You are exposed as a non-believer!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:19 PM on February 28, 2008


It is clearly not settled as far as other people are concerned and I really have no idea what to do about that.

you didn't do away with the divisiveness of her opinions and how others reacted to them - you simply caused it to morph into another sort of controversy

the energy behind ideas will come out in one way or another - this is why i think silencing people for what they believe is ineffective
posted by pyramid termite at 9:24 PM on February 28, 2008


Well! Now that this has all been cleared up, here is a letter to God that I wrote when I was nine.

Dear God (Jehovah),
I really love you. You're my favorite person on earth. Okay, okay, I know I'm kissing up to you, but it's true. Let's get down to business. I'm going to make a list of things I want. I know it's alot, but I want you to grant at least 4 this month, and 4 next month. Thanks!
1. Nintendo
2. Gameboy
3. Pen Pal letter
4. Michael like me.
5. Bike
6. Me thinner
7. Me beautiful
8. Me get new clothes
9. Me better in school (being good, I mean)
10. Our table win the pizza party.

THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!

Love (Very Much)
[little granted]

posted by granted at 9:28 PM on February 28, 2008 [4 favorites]


Isn't there an implicit I believe in everything that everybody says here?

There's a big difference between an implicit "I believe" and an implicit "I believe and so should you and if you don't, Daddy doesn't love you as much as he loves me."

konolia, that MeTa post of yours was an a capella rendition of "I Am Martyr, Hear Me Roar" — and you're surprised and offended that people didn't respond well? You even managed to rile up miko, of all people!

If you're having problems with particular members, address it with them or the mods or both, and leave the rest of us out of it. Honestly, we don't care what you believe.

On preview (I type slow): konolia, is that really what it's about? That you can't defend yourself against dnab's charges that you're a bigot? Well, that must be a drag to know that he says such terrible things about you, based on something that's so central to who you are and how you live your life. I'm sure he has no idea how you feel.

Again, take it up with the mods. There's absolutely no reason for you to respond to him in any way, much less make this some kind of crusade.
posted by dogrose at 9:31 PM on February 28, 2008 [3 favorites]


I have beliefs that naturally are at odds with various groups. I also have a belief that my beliefs could, in fact, be wrong. But even the belief that I could be wrong itself could be wrong...
"As we know,
There are known knowns.
There are things we know we know.
We also know
There are known unknowns.
That is to say
We know there are some things
We do not know.
But there are also unknown unknowns,
The ones we don't know
We don't know."

Donald Rumsfeld, Feb. 12, 2002, Department of Defense news briefing
posted by ericb at 9:31 PM on February 28, 2008


I'm not sure I will ever understand people who believe that man is supposed to tell God what to do and God will just jump right to it.

But I'm not going to follow them around the site and call them bigots.
posted by The World Famous at 9:31 PM on February 28, 2008


You can't "do away with" divisive opinions. People don't change their minds because you tell them to, or because you badger them into it. They often don't change them even after you give them nice logical arguments until you are blue in the face. That's why, at some point, you have to decide what to do, and the mods made the decision to handle a very dicey subject by declaring it off-limits.
posted by misha at 9:32 PM on February 28, 2008


this is why i think silencing people for what they believe is ineffective
The continued survival of the Beijing regime belies your insight, pyramid termite
posted by Abiezer at 9:33 PM on February 28, 2008


The continued survival of the Beijing regime belies your insight, pyramid termite

Did they stop people from believing?
posted by The World Famous at 9:35 PM on February 28, 2008


No, but the removal of any possibility of public discourse about certain beliefs has stunted opposition to the Leninist part state.
posted by Abiezer at 9:36 PM on February 28, 2008


you didn't do away with the divisiveness of her opinions and how others reacted to them - you simply caused it to morph into another sort of controversy

the energy behind ideas will come out in one way or another - this is why i think silencing people for what they believe is ineffective


What would be effective, then? Also, I'm curious about your definition of "effective."
posted by dogrose at 9:37 PM on February 28, 2008


I'm not sure that's the same thing as killing the belief.
posted by The World Famous at 9:39 PM on February 28, 2008


It would depend on the nature of the belief. I know the core beliefs that guide my life have been largely shaped in discourse with my fellows rather than the work of my conscience in isolation, and would certainly be much poorer without the opportunity to participate in exchanges with other, be they of like mind or not. The belief may not be killed, but nor does it grow as it might or should. Probably getting a bit off-topic though, apologies.
posted by Abiezer at 9:42 PM on February 28, 2008


The continued survival of the Beijing regime belies your insight, pyramid termite

you did not just compare metafilter's moderation to that of a communist regime, did you?

---

What would be effective, then?

we do not have to come up with solutions to everything

Also, I'm curious about your definition of "effective."

an absence of bitter, endless controversy would be a start - or a realization that sometimes such controversies are not going to go away
posted by pyramid termite at 9:43 PM on February 28, 2008


In the peace movement there is a lot of anger, frustration, and misunderstanding. The peace movement can write very good protest letters, but they are not yet able to write a love letter.
posted by tkolar at 9:44 PM on February 28, 2008


you did not just compare metafilter's moderation to that of a communist regime, did you?
No, I responded to your statement that silencing is ineffective. If you meant that solely in the context of metaFilter, I wouldn't disagree; in the wider sense I do, hence what I wrote.
posted by Abiezer at 9:46 PM on February 28, 2008


No, I responded to your statement that silencing is ineffective.

look at how stalin attempted to silence the russian orthodox church

guess where the russian orthodox church is today

look at how chairman mao attempted to silence any kind of western influcence in china

look how many chinese people are running around these days playing daddy moneybucks with the blessing of the government

the only reason the beijing regime has survived is because they realized certain things they had been trying to silence weren't going to be silenced, period
posted by pyramid termite at 9:54 PM on February 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Funny-hatted bear is laughing at you all.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:55 PM on February 28, 2008


You mean you believe that it is alleged that Funny-hatted Bear is laughing at us all. But you have no evidence for that. Bigot!
posted by The World Famous at 9:58 PM on February 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


That's an unusual and erroneous view of the reform process and how it was managed. What demands from the people the party has responded to - such as for household land tenure - came from somewhere other than any western influence. If you do not feel that the inability of Chinese citizens to engage in public debate has not crippled the emergence of coherent alternatives to the continued monopoly of power by the CPC, you're wildly mistaken.
posted by Abiezer at 10:08 PM on February 28, 2008


'Ay! World Famous! I got'chya evidence right here, pal! Right here!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:13 PM on February 28, 2008


Ah, right you are. Your science is irrefutable. I hail it as fact, good sir.
posted by The World Famous at 10:15 PM on February 28, 2008


That's an unusual and erroneous view of the reform process and how it was managed.

oh, come on, they sold out to the capitalists - period

the proof of that is in your neighborhood walmart

what this had to do with the subject matter at hand is beyond me, though
posted by pyramid termite at 10:17 PM on February 28, 2008


*a mysterious noodley appendage steals the bear's funny hat*
posted by Tehanu at 10:19 PM on February 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


Yes, I know, I apologised for the drift off-topic above, so will spare you the lengthy refutation of your latest.
posted by Abiezer at 10:19 PM on February 28, 2008


Did they stop people from believing?
>No, but the removal of any possibility of public discourse about certain beliefs has stunted opposition to the Leninist part state.


However, they did ban Journey's complete discography.
Which is actually sort of conflicting, now that I think about it.

Also: BADGER BADGER BADGER BADGER FUNNY-HATTED BEAR WORSHIPPER BADGER BADGER

posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:27 PM on February 28, 2008


On non-preview, you're barking up the wrong tree on this one, pyramid termite.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:28 PM on February 28, 2008


How is it stealing if the FSM does it? Are not all of the FSMs actions morally infallible by definition?
posted by The World Famous at 10:29 PM on February 28, 2008


we do not have to come up with solutions to everything

No, not as long as we're writing platitudes. Moderating an online community of several thousand active members would, I think, require a lot less glibness, a lot more pragmatism, and a lot more and a lot less detachment.

an absence of bitter, endless controversy would be a start - or a realization that sometimes such controversies are not going to go away

Of course they're not going to go away, not as long as there are two humans left alive, but the controversial issues will always and forever be raised. And once they're raised, then what?

While we're waiting for the extinction of our species and the perfect harmony that follows, we're stuck trying to achieve some sort of balance between individual liberties and community norms, when all terms are constantly shifting and morphing across all possible dimensions. That's complicated enough in my own circle of family, friends, colleagues, acquaintances, and random strangers, much less among thousands of online personae.

Your answer really was no answer at all. Thanks anyway, though.
posted by dogrose at 10:30 PM on February 28, 2008


Look, the problem I have is not that others don't believe in an Ultimate Authority, but that no one respects the fact that I do. I can respect the fact that many of you do not, and I respect that you have the right to act and live on that belief. But it has been made very clear to me that the opposite is not so.

A number of us long-time users remember with disgust the utterly horrible things you have said about our homosexual users. You crossed the line, konolia, and in doing so rendered null and void any desire to respect your religious beliefs: they are abhorrent and contrary to every sane notion of what constitutes a healthy society. You surely can not expect us to respect you, when your words and actions demonstrated such complete disrespect for others.

Further, your statements of faith are almost always presented as if they were the single truthful interpretation of the Christian religion, and indeed not as belief but as fact. When challenged on your looney regurgitations, you almost always fail to present a shred of evidence in support of what you have said, instead falling back to appeals to authority — and, at that, not even authority that we could take seriously, but the authority of your local misinformed pack leader or two-bit college instructor.

A lot of people with a lot more knowledge than anyone you've relied upon in developing your understanding of the Christian religion vehemently disagree with many of your claims. You state with authority things that fly in the face of what people with a real education in religious studies have concluded. It's pretty hard to find any reason to respect your claims, when your claims appear to be based on misinformation and ignorance.

The very least you can do for yourself, if respect is truly what you want (and not merely brownie points for proselytizing), is to at the very least frame your religious claims and moral statements as matters of personal faith and not pronouncements of authoritative fact. Believe whatever the hell you want, but don't try to shove it down our throats as truth.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:30 PM on February 28, 2008 [15 favorites]


No, not as long as we're writing platitudes

did you look over what you've just written carefully? - you're not only writing platitudes but rather dramatic ones

Your answer really was no answer at all.

we're not always obligated to find one - of course, you weren't looking for an answer because you already think you have one
posted by pyramid termite at 10:36 PM on February 28, 2008


Believe whatever the hell you want, but don't try to shove it down our throats as truth.

But if she believes it, that means she believes that it is truth. It's sort of silly to ask her to pretend that it's not when she undisputedly believes that it is. If she can't say that something is "truth," then no one else can, either.*

*except me, of course, because what I believe really is the truth.
posted by The World Famous at 10:38 PM on February 28, 2008


*the Noodly One now wears an interesting hat, and the bear wears a slightly lopsided meatball*

I misspelled it the first time. Demerits.

How is it stealing if the FSM does it? Are not all of the FSMs actions morally infallible by definition?

The Noodly One is beyond such moral distinctions. He takes, and He gives. Sometimes He steals, especially things He likes. It is all inherently infallible, yes. He created the hat in the first place, after all.
posted by Tehanu at 10:39 PM on February 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


All I've gathered from reading this thread is that the only thing metafilter holds sacred is bacon.

I'm not sure how I feel about that.
posted by tehloki at 10:42 PM on February 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


some of us feel that lettuce and tomato are kind of blessed by association, though
posted by pyramid termite at 10:44 PM on February 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


misha: "word comments like this, "I believe there is no such thing as luck, it is divine grace," rather than, "There is no such thing as luck, unless you call it divine grace."

This alone would stop most of the attacks on you, Konolia. When you state unprovable things as fact, people correct you. If you express that it's your belief, then people won't generally be as vehement, because it's obviously true that it is, indeed, your belief.

It's when you state your moral beliefs as empirical fact... that's when you get pushback. Lots of it.

There's room for opinion here, but if you state something as absolute truth, you need evidence to back it up.
posted by Malor at 10:48 PM on February 28, 2008


All I've gathered from reading this thread is that the only thing metafilter holds sacred is bacon.
I'm not sure how I feel about that.


You should feel humbled, my friend.
posted by The World Famous at 10:49 PM on February 28, 2008


The penitent man is humble before bacon... he kneels before bacon... KNEEL!
posted by ludwig_van at 10:51 PM on February 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


I just realized that if I remove my favorite, the count is only at 499.

I JUST SAVED HERMITOSIS!
posted by tehloki at 10:53 PM on February 28, 2008


Disregard that comment,

it was meant for ANOTHER THREAD!
posted by tehloki at 10:54 PM on February 28, 2008


i just saved trichinosis by not cooking my bacon
posted by pyramid termite at 10:54 PM on February 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


I have renounced Funny-hatted Bear, and now worship TEHLOKI.

ALL PRAISE TEHLOKI.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:55 PM on February 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


I JUST SAVED HERMITOSIS!

If you're going to state your beliefs about who is or is not "saved," (particularly if they are clearly wrong), you really should state them as your beliefs, and not as if they are facts. Sheesh.
posted by The World Famous at 10:56 PM on February 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


*genuflects*
posted by tehloki at 10:57 PM on February 28, 2008


Actually, I've changed my mind, and would like to continue banging on about social and economic reform in China in the post-1978 era. If we consider the unpopularity of the dismantling of the SOEs and urban danwei... [PULLED OFF STAGE BY NOODLY APPENDAGE]
posted by Abiezer at 11:00 PM on February 28, 2008


yeah, you just go on believing in your invisible frying pan full of bacon and tehloki with a big long white beard ...
posted by pyramid termite at 11:00 PM on February 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


How can his beard be white if he is invisible?
posted by The World Famous at 11:01 PM on February 28, 2008


My beard is REAL

it is made of FAVORITES
posted by tehloki at 11:02 PM on February 28, 2008 [3 favorites]


although,
neither long,
nor white
posted by tehloki at 11:02 PM on February 28, 2008


i said the frying pan was invisible, not tehloki - you don't even know how to read YOUR OWN HOLY BOOKS!!!
posted by pyramid termite at 11:02 PM on February 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


anyway, i have better things to do than to debate these matters with mental weaklings who need crutches made of bacon and tehloki's non-white, non-long beard hairs to get through their miserable lives ...
posted by pyramid termite at 11:08 PM on February 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


I beg your pardon, pt, but my life is NOT miserable.

Well, ok... it is miserable.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 11:13 PM on February 28, 2008


nor a beard really
posted by Tenuki at 11:14 PM on February 28, 2008


My beard is REAL

*Clicks link*

Uh, I don't want to get all Thomas on you, but I was wondering if it was okay if I, um, y'know...
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:17 PM on February 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


tehloki doesn't have time to read his holy texts. Do you think all those comments favorite themselves?
posted by Tehanu at 11:34 PM on February 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Jesus had a vagina in his abdomen?
This changes EVERYTHING!
posted by tehloki at 11:37 PM on February 28, 2008


Strange, I always assumed Tehloki was female...
posted by Jahaza at 1:32 AM on February 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


stavrosthewonderchicken: It is not required or necessary to respect the belief, it is required and necessary to respect the person who holds the belief.

That's what *you* believe.
posted by allkindsoftime at 2:17 AM on February 29, 2008


Plushie Schwarz doesn't wear a silly hat, but his commandment definitely says:

1.) Thou shalt worship no other bears before me.

Now excuse me, but I can't stay any longer. I'm off to have Communion with a giant purple squid on Fire Island.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:00 AM on February 29, 2008


A slight variant on Stav's statement, for me its about respecting the right to believe, which ties in with having respect for the rights if individual humans etc. However, if the stuff someone actually believes is laughable I'm all for laughing.
posted by biffa at 3:03 AM on February 29, 2008


The callout! It's ruined.
posted by mrmojoflying at 4:46 AM on February 29, 2008


Konolia, as five fresh fish indicated above, you seem to cause special problems because of the absolutism and mild arrogance with which you seem to present your ideas. Ideas on issues that are by no means settled, even within Christianity. You declare your expertise - you studied theology! But that doesn't mean much to other people who've had a broader, more liberal education, and can see you've taken on board some fairly marginal ideas as unarguable axioms.

I mean, I attended a Christian highschool - a broad mix of Anglicans, Baptists, Methodists, some freaky Assemblies of God types - and a lot of the things we were taught contradict the impression of Christianity you give here.

Then you disappear from the conversation as soon as anyone tries to discuss these things with you. That's the frustrating thing - people often don't attack you, they just ask you questions to clarify what you're saying, and you suddenly have to go to bed or let your other half use the computer.

I find this frustrating, as an agnostic with a fascination with religion. I want to know how you justify your ideas, purely out of interest, not to attack you, but because you're an interesting data point.

So if you're going to come on here to discuss religion, at least hang around to explain and justify your beliefs beyond "my teacher told me so", instead of running away as soon as people start asking questions.

Anyway. As my Lord and Saviour once said, "fuck 'em if they can't take a joke".
posted by Jimbob at 5:03 AM on February 29, 2008 [8 favorites]


Uh, I don't want to get all Thomas on you, but I was wondering if it was okay if I, um, y'know...

Yeah, it's real. I don't know what the hell happened there, but I assure you that ain't fake.
posted by Longinus at 5:31 AM on February 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


I took a few theology courses in university (it was an Art History thing), and the most important advice the profs always gave on the first day was, "Assume all religions are right." One wasn't expected to actually believe that -- indeed, to do so would be silly -- but rather to accept it and move on for the purposes of studying each religion's particulars without getting hung up on one's own personal beliefs or non-beliefs. In the context of MeFi, where we're basically all about personal beliefs, it's hard not to be judgmental; around here, I'd reduce the lesson to learn first, then judge.

Another extremely important thing is to separate A) mythology from B) doctrine. The existence or non-existence of a talking, burning bush doesn't have any bearing on whether Thou Shalt Not Kill is a good rule to live by.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:50 AM on February 29, 2008 [3 favorites]


Y'all missed the boat.

Stupid people and their stupid ideas, neither deserve respect. Why would they? Stupid is stupid. If you don't think so, you're stupid. Watch now, as I make this position reasonable:

What we must respect is the rules of dialogue. We have to respect the conversation we are having, and respect the rules of conversation.

I can think you are stupid, and that all your ideas are ridiculous, but we can still discuss what is what in politics, science, education, literature, and news IF WE RESPECT THE RULES.

Example: Postulate a discussion about the political question re: how gays should be treated within the context of our legal system.

A. Gays should have rights because of my Dog!
B. Gays shouldn't have rights because of my God!
C. Drugs can help them!
D. Monkey on a stick!

These kinds of comments should be disrespected because they are not contributing to the discussion, but misusing the dialogue as an attention seeking opportunity or a forum for opinions which cannot be discussed without the original poster continuing to spout off.

Religion is a great subject for discussion. But the only context in which YOUR opinion or beliefs are really relevant is if we are discussing YOU or we intend to sample each other's beliefs. No one can discuss what YOU believe without you, so you bringing YOUR STUPID WHATEVER into it derails and destroys the dialogue.

We cannot and should not try to respect everyone or even most people or their stupid ideas. It won't work. But to have a community where conversation occurs, we have to respect the conversation, or we won't end up having one.

There are certain members here who are religious, and feel disrespected because of it. They are stupid. If they stopped disrespecting the conversation and took the focus off of themselves, the disrespect would magically disappear.

Then the problem becomes that these stupid people would then be forced to say, "America as a Christian Nation should not encourage Homosexual behavior through legal protections because the Bible forbids such behavior". To which the horde of us would reply: Are we? Does it? Should we for everything in the Bible? Constitution v/s Bible? etc. This real discussion about the issue would quickly result in what I call "stupid flight" where the stupid people leave the discussion because it is no longer about them, but about reasoning, ideas, and actual material for discussion.

Could I have said this without so much openly disrespectful taunting? Does it matter? If you can't respect the conversation, then you can't discuss ideas with everyone - only those that you respect, and in the end, probably agree with anyway.
posted by ewkpates at 5:55 AM on February 29, 2008 [11 favorites]

Then you disappear from the conversation as soon as anyone tries to discuss these things with you. That's the frustrating thing - people often don't attack you, they just ask you questions to clarify what you're saying, and you suddenly have to go to bed or let your other half use the computer.

I find this frustrating, as an agnostic with a fascination with religion. I want to know how you justify your ideas, purely out of interest, not to attack you, but because you're an interesting data point.

So if you're going to come on here to discuss religion, at least hang around to explain and justify your beliefs beyond "my teacher told me so", instead of running away as soon as people start asking questions.
Seconded and quoted for emphasis.
posted by jtron at 6:21 AM on February 29, 2008


Stupid people and their stupid ideas, neither deserve respect.

and of course, we're ALL in total agreement over what's stupid and what's not

and what's relevant

and what's respectful

and what the context should be

Could I have said this without so much openly disrespectful taunting?

it may be that you're not capable of that

Does it matter?

only if you think "do it because i said so" is an improvement over "do it because god said so"
posted by pyramid termite at 6:35 AM on February 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


you forgot "do it or you don't get to have a conversation".

a small detail, perhaps, but an essential one.
posted by ewkpates at 6:39 AM on February 29, 2008


Jesus FUCK I love beer.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:39 AM on February 29, 2008


you forgot "do it or you don't get to have a conversation"

except that the legitimate means of not having a conversation with someone is choosing not to talk to them, not bullying and insulting them until they shut up
posted by pyramid termite at 6:45 AM on February 29, 2008


Hi there, stav, my same-time-zone (or close enough) friend. I've just returned from an evening out on the town which involved the downing of many a beer as well, so I'm hearing you. Beer is a fine thing. Been around since the ancient Eqyptians at least, right? I've been drinking Asahi draft, whiuch isn't the greatest, but if it's fresh (as was tonight's) then it's OK. OK!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:47 AM on February 29, 2008


she did it in response to our request -- more of an either/or situation really where we were like "you can knock this off or you can be banned from the site"

I quite disapprove of this broad statement. It lets her truthfully play the martyr.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 7:03 AM on February 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


I've never understood the concept of bullying and insulting online... threatening, yes. And that's a serious problem.

But so what if someone types "ur stoopid"? Really? So what?

I'll sum up for you: I don't have to respect you to have a conversation, and "respect for the person and/or argument" is both unrealistic and unnecessary, and not the reason for the mirage of religious discrimination some might think they are seeing.

There is a logical contradiction in trying to have a conversation w/o respecting the rules of dialogue. There is no such contradiction in having a conversation w/ someone stoopid.

If you don't know the rules, I believe I am suggesting that that would be the ground for a dialogue, rather than the suggested, "how do we talk... while respecting all beliefs?" It's easy. Follow the rules of dialogue. What are they you ask? Let's discuss.
posted by ewkpates at 7:25 AM on February 29, 2008


Stupid people and their stupid ideas, neither deserve respect.

Everyone deserves respect.
posted by tkolar at 7:31 AM on February 29, 2008


Respect yourself.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:34 AM on February 29, 2008


On what basis does everyone deserve respect? There is none. Go down that road and every living thing deserves respect or some crazy idea like that...

No, asking people to respect stupid people or stupid ideas will never get you anywhere. It's ain't gonna happen. There is no imperative. But there is, as I've argued, as apparently you have read, an imperative to respect discourse, or degenerate into: ur stoopid.
posted by ewkpates at 7:38 AM on February 29, 2008


I don't have to respect you to have a conversation

actually, if you want one with me, you do

There is a logical contradiction in trying to have a conversation w/o respecting the rules of dialogue.

then i suggest you stop

If you don't know the rules, I believe I am suggesting that that would be the ground for a dialogue, rather than the suggested, "how do we talk... while respecting all beliefs?"

well, for example, i had the peculiar notion that the answer to "how do we talk ... while respecting all beliefs?" wasn't "let's start up our witch hunt against kolonia again and try to get her to leave this site"

being right isn't enough for some people - having the moderators enforce their wishes isn't enough for some people - no they're trying to either drive her out of here or make her publicly recant

as the only cool tim pointed out, this kind of behavior is going to enable her to call herself a martyr

Follow the rules of dialogue. What are they you ask?

oh, they're whatever you say they are - clearly - and just as clearly, after 50 years on this planet and 10 years on the internet, i haven't the first clue as to what the rules are for a conversation online

please hope me, great elucidator and tell me what the rules are

But there is, as I've argued, as apparently you have read, an imperative to respect discourse

ooh, an imperative - man, i wish i was important enough to proclaim one of those

you're a little too arrogant for me to bother with
posted by pyramid termite at 7:48 AM on February 29, 2008


No, asking people to respect stupid people or stupid ideas will never get you anywhere.... because I refuse to do it.

It's ain't gonna happen.... because I refuse to do it.

Yeah, civilization is hard to maintain when people refuse to play along.
posted by languagehat at 8:07 AM on February 29, 2008


On what basis does everyone deserve respect? There is none. Go down that road and every living thing deserves respect or some crazy idea like that...

I realize you're having fun, but really -- perhaps you'd be happier here.
posted by tkolar at 8:42 AM on February 29, 2008


On what basis does everyone deserve respect?

Well then we're back to belief systems again, aren't we?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:47 AM on February 29, 2008


ewkpates makes sense to me.
posted by ludwig_van at 8:54 AM on February 29, 2008


> "you can knock this off or you can be banned from the site"

I quite disapprove of this broad statement. It lets her truthfully play the martyr.


It's a tinny and off-key performance of The Martyr though.

Even though the mods have given her that ultimatum, she's still free to rant about gays if she really wants to. It all comes down to which she values more: having the chance to rant about gays, or continuing her MeFi membership. The different flavours of "I've been silenced!" that she's expressed in the last call-out and this one... they sound a bit ridiculous to me.

I mean, would you give a speck of credence to the martyrdom moans of, say, a hardcore anti-semite or mysogynist who complains about not being allowed to drop steaming piles of Jew- and women-hate?
posted by CKmtl at 8:57 AM on February 29, 2008 [4 favorites]


ewkpates makes sense to me.

Can I get a hit off that?
posted by Sys Rq at 9:00 AM on February 29, 2008


The different flavours of "I've been silenced!" that she's expressed in the last call-out and this one... they sound a bit ridiculous to me.

To me, too, which means the site shouldn't make them true.

Can I get a hit off that?

There's another issue like homosexuality; even in Leviticus there's nothing against smoking dope yet the churches today tend to disapprove. As the stoners say, God made grass.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 9:08 AM on February 29, 2008


No, you can't, shit's too expensive around here.
posted by ludwig_van at 9:14 AM on February 29, 2008


Could I have said this without so much openly disrespectful taunting? Does it matter?

Yes, you could have; yes, it does matter, very much. You seem to be making a badly self-contradicting argument here in order to excuse yourself for not making an effort to give people the benefit of the doubt or question your own assumptions.

One of the big ideas behind "respecting the conversation", as the phrase has meaning for me, is taking your personal ideal of discursive style down off a damned pedestal and remembering that you're just one person in the crowd here. The idea that you can absolve yourself for being exclusive or for being a jerk or for openly taunting other folks because (a) you're Right or (b) they're just Stupid is so off the mark from how this place should work that it's dismaying to see you trying to present it as some laudable, reasonable standard for dealing with people.

Trying to help the conversation be good is one thing. Inventing some convenient and arbitrary method for dismissing entirely anyone who doesn't fit your profile for conversation is another entirely, and not something that needs encouragement on mefi.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:16 AM on February 29, 2008 [5 favorites]


I see that Konolia has disabled her account, I think this is unfortunate.

The less diversity we have here, the more we suffer in the long run. I frequently don't agree with her, I dislike her politics, but I appreciate that her opinions serve to better cement my own belief structure, even when it's nothing more than an opposition to her views.

Still, if I were going to address the meat of this discussion I would have to simply look upthread to the second comment:

It is not required or necessary to respect the belief, it is required and necessary to respect the person who holds the belief.

In this way, I can completely, totally, and utterly disagree with the Konolias and bevets and others who don't share my world view, and still respect them as people, as long as they offer me the same courtesy in return.

When they do, we can disagree, and challenge each others perceptions, and everything is good, everybody grows, etc. And when they don't, I have something specific to call them out on.
posted by quin at 9:18 AM on February 29, 2008 [3 favorites]


It's a tinny and off-key performance of The Martyr though.

it was, but every time a general discussion about respect and religion, which this was, derails into people hounding konolia over this, it gets less tinny and less off-key

I see that Konolia has disabled her account, I think this is unfortunate.

well, come on, guys, let's all celebrate - you've finally gotten rid of your nemesis and all ought to be sweetness and light for you on this site from now on - the birds will sing and the bees will hum and we will all sing kumbaya around a campfire when night falls

isn't life just so wonderful? don't you just feel great about yourselves?
posted by pyramid termite at 9:26 AM on February 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Example: Postulate a discussion about the political question re: how gays should be treated within the context of our legal system.

A. Gays should have rights because of my Dog!
B. Gays shouldn't have rights because of my God!
C. Drugs can help them!
D. Monkey on a stick!

These kinds of comments should be disrespected because they are not contributing to the discussion.


If the conversation is about how gays should be treated within the context of our legal system, then response B is totally on topic. "Gays should have no rights" answers the question "How should gays be treated in the legal system". If you don't want to have a discussion with people who disagree with you, then get off the internet.
posted by 23skidoo at 9:35 AM on February 29, 2008


pyramid termite...
don't you just feel great about yourselves?

I'm certain that they do. Since it was pretty clearly dnab, et al's mission to chase her out of here, why wouldn't they?

Anger and vengeance feel good.
posted by tkolar at 9:41 AM on February 29, 2008


isn't life just so wonderful? don't you just feel great about yourselves?

Not helping, pyramid termite.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:42 AM on February 29, 2008


You can claim the wisdom of age, a knowledge of god, that others are arrogant, you can insist that people respect each other, demand that all ideas be given equal weight, that you aren't stupid or that I am a jerk. I consider these claims not worth discussing. I grant them all. They have no bearing on anything. These claims do not contribute.

When it comes down to it, we either exchange ideas with each other or we shout our opinions out into a void. Pyramid and Cortex seem to enjoy the shouting... more power to them and their lungs.

23skidoo responds "no rights for gays" which is the kind of argument that konolia might have put forward in days gone by. I have no problem with it.

It's how you answer the "why?" that makes you a contributor or a shouter, a thinker or a fundy, an arguer or a heckler.

Hecklers, ftw, are not to be confused with gadflies. Gadflies sting, as do hecklers, but it is a sting intended to move an ass, not attract attention to yourself.
posted by ewkpates at 9:47 AM on February 29, 2008


I wouldn't be at all surprised if she returned under a new name, without the target on her back. I hope so, anyway.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:48 AM on February 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


(konolia, that is)
posted by Sys Rq at 9:50 AM on February 29, 2008


konolia losing at Metafilter doesn't surprise me. Jonmc losing at Metafilter does, so let's make this the thread about him now. If it helps, I can maybe come back later tonight drunk.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 9:50 AM on February 29, 2008


When it comes down to it, we either exchange ideas with each other or we shout our opinions out into a void. Pyramid and Cortex seem to enjoy the shouting... more power to them and their lungs.

I have no idea how to respond to this. I wish there was a hell of a lot less shouting and dismissiveness on the site than there is; what I feel like I'm seeing from you is a lot of dismissiveness, and I'm in the dark so far on whether you recognize any problem with that or whether you actually believe that smugly writing folks off according to their failure to meet your personal standards is supposed to be good for conversation around here.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:55 AM on February 29, 2008


I'm very sorry konolia has left. I hope she comes back because 13-year-old beligerant boys shouldn't dominate the site - she offered more than nasty squabbles - a different viewpoint.
posted by agregoli at 9:56 AM on February 29, 2008 [3 favorites]


it was, but every time a general discussion about respect and religion, which this was, derails into people hounding konolia over this, it gets less tinny and less off-key

I can't speak to other instances, but I don't see these two MetaTalk derails as having been started by the hounds. In the previous one, she brought the issue up specifically in the post. In this one, she started the derail with the "I just want to be able to say what I want, without having to defend it" thing. She made them both about her, even if the general theme was respect and religion.
posted by CKmtl at 9:58 AM on February 29, 2008


cortex, your willingness to continue to engage with people long after they've indicated their blowhard status should be either an inspiration or a warning to internet users everywhere. Maybe both.
posted by tkolar at 10:09 AM on February 29, 2008 [3 favorites]


Not helping, pyramid termite.

you allowed people to hound her out of here
posted by pyramid termite at 10:14 AM on February 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


pyramid termite wrote...

you allowed people to hound her out of here


No they didn't. In fact, you'll find examples right here in this very thread where they requested people to leave her alone.
posted by tkolar at 10:23 AM on February 29, 2008


you allowed people to hound her out of here

Your perspective. Mine is that I worked with her to find a way for her to stay here and she had mixed success with finding a workable solution to that for herself.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:24 AM on February 29, 2008


This is our big chance to learn from one another and we fuck it up again and again.
posted by breezeway at 10:26 AM on February 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


So, if someone successfully goads another member into disabling their account, what does that someone win? A short vacation by chance?
posted by danOstuporStar at 10:28 AM on February 29, 2008


Konolia wasn't hounded or goaded out. She wasn't interested in listening, so she left. She left. It isn't anyone's job to be the "hurt feelings police" and make sure that nobody offends anyone else in any way. It's not about respecting people because if everyone totally respected each other and each other's point of view, that wouldn't improve the discussion or make everyone happy with everything or keep anyone from leaving.

If we stop taking every disagreement personally, if we stop saying "your personal standards" and started saying "the standards you are talking about", if we stopped saying, "I believe" and focus on "The bible says"... then we have a conversation about the ideas, and not the personalities.

The point has been made that some people can't talk about ideas well, or that their ideas are irrational and incoherent. Those people shouldn't ask for special dispensation, they should work at being more thoughtful. They should.
posted by ewkpates at 10:30 AM on February 29, 2008 [4 favorites]


Hecklers, ftw, are not to be confused with gadflies. Gadflies sting, as do hecklers, but it is a sting intended to move an ass, not attract attention to yourself.

You know, when i thought you were just being rude for the sake of rudeness, it was somehow more tolerable than the idea that you apparently consider yourself a wit.
posted by dubold at 10:30 AM on February 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'm certain that they do. Since it was pretty clearly dnab, et al's mission to chase her out of here, why wouldn't they?

No, it wasn't my mission. But thank you for ascribing that to me. Says a lot more about you than it does about me.

My 'mission' was to get her to accept the responsibility of the bullshit she spouts. As has been pointed out by people more eloquent than myself, she shows up, makes assertions, and says "because my piss-poor fundamentalist theological 'thought' says so, neener neener neener," and runs away. She shows absolutely no comprehension of the fact that her attitudes are having dangerous--often deadly--real-world consequences every single day.

I'm not particularly saddened that she's gone. Nor were most people when ParisParamus left, and she's roughly the same, just more dangerous. He was a petty blowhard who continually shat in threads and ran away. She's a petty blowhard who actively supports an enormous movement to deny people rights, to lower the level of intelligent discourse in our schools, to actively deny children the basic right of learning facts. And she shits in threads and runs away.

Mostly I'm saddened that she made a conscious choice to forgo all thought for the rest of her life.

I wouldn't be at all surprised if she returned under a new name, without the target on her back. I hope so, anyway.

It's happened before. Search for 'bunnyfire'. Dollars to doughnuts she's already back.

I hope she comes back because 13-year-old beligerant boys shouldn't dominate the site

29, but thanks for the ad hominem.

- she offered more than nasty squabbles - a different viewpoint.

Bigotry is now known as a 'different viewpoint'. Yeah, no.

I can't speak to other instances, but I don't see these two MetaTalk derails as having been started by the hounds. In the previous one, she brought the issue up specifically in the post. In this one, she started the derail with the "I just want to be able to say what I want, without having to defend it" thing. She made them both about her, even if the general theme was respect and religion.

Precisely. She opened the door.

you allowed people to hound her out of here

Oh for crying out loud. She wasn't hounded out. She reaped the results of her actions. But she's obviously extremely good at playing the victim card--you, amongst others, have fallen for it.

Let's take a step back. If someone was making persistently racist statements all over this site, and backing it up with "God said so, and that's all you need to know", how long would that person be tolerated? Not very. Why should homosexuality be different?

Yeah, sure, she was forbidden from talking about it. Didn't seem to stop her from saying things like "well I'm not allowed to comment on this but you all know what I mean." Hardly following the spirit of the rule, hmm?

Or, as ewpates said rather better:

Konolia wasn't hounded or goaded out. She wasn't interested in listening, so she left.

She was interested in an echo chamber that would allow her to promote ignorance and hatred without any repercussions. Guess what? Hatred has repercussions, and it doesn't matter if you dress it up with "my self-serving understanding of God says so."
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 10:33 AM on February 29, 2008 [8 favorites]


Let's take a step back. If someone was making persistently racist statements all over this site, and backing it up with "God said so, and that's all you need to know", how long would that person be tolerated? Not very. Why should homosexuality be different?

Again, got any cites of her doing this recently?
posted by danOstuporStar at 10:39 AM on February 29, 2008


I hope she comes back because 13-year-old beligerant boys shouldn't dominate the site

29, but thanks for the ad hominem.


You're welcome! Many people's behavior on here isn't much more sophisticated than 13. Age ain't nothing but a number.
posted by agregoli at 10:40 AM on February 29, 2008


In the end, everyone makes their own decisions about whether to stay or go, and I'm not the type to sit around crying, begging people to come back. You want to go? Bye.

But I do think konolia was hounded more than other members about her past, particularly recently by dirtynumbangelboy- see a recent exchange in a post I made the other day: konolia speaks on topic, dnab responds and brings up off-topic grudge. I don't think that kind of stuff should be allowed to stand (I believe there was more bickering in that thread that got deleted).
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:43 AM on February 29, 2008 [4 favorites]


Stupid people and their stupid ideas, neither deserve respect
They do deserve politness.
posted by francesca too at 10:44 AM on February 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


So let's see...

Last time konolia commented on homosexuality: December 19, 2006
Last time dnab attacked konolia for her comments on homosexuality: Feburary 27th, 2008
posted by tkolar at 10:50 AM on February 29, 2008 [6 favorites]


Well done, tkolar. Completely avoid the substance of what's being said. There's someone else who used to do that, but I think she's left.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 10:57 AM on February 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I'm glad I'm not a mod, because I completely understand DNAB's anger and resentment that anyone treating him like a second-class citizen is still around, but I still would have given him a time-out because he was the one hounding konolia in this thread.

And I joined after December 19, 2006, so I had never even seen konolia's last comment about homosexuality, but I've still been annoyed by the way she made her personal opinions out to be unassailable facts.

Like I said, it has to be really hard to be a mod here.
posted by misha at 10:57 AM on February 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Hatred has repercussions

I agree. What are the repercussions of your hatred?
posted by The World Famous at 10:59 AM on February 29, 2008


TWF, I don't hate her. I dislike her, I think she is a sad and pathetic little person, I think she is a homophobic bigot who refuses to think for herself, I think she's a prima donna who gets off on the attention when she shits in threads and runs away.

But I don't hate her. I have a great deal of pity for her. Compassion? No. Pity.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 11:02 AM on February 29, 2008



Well done, tkolar. Completely avoid the substance of what's being said.


I was just posting a simple fact. Did you think I was arguing with you?
posted by tkolar at 11:03 AM on February 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


agregoli: 13-year-old beligerant boys shouldn't dominate the site

A) The people who had/have a problem with konolia aren't all boys. Off the top of my head, I can think of three women who had it out with her in the other thread.

B) Being a teenaged asshole isn't the exclusive domain of those with ripening testicles. Teenaged girls can be as big, if not bigger, fuckheads when it comes to being bullies, or socially exclusionary, norm-enforcing or whatever you want to call it.
posted by CKmtl at 11:03 AM on February 29, 2008


I think she is a sad and pathetic little person, I think she is a homophobic bigot who refuses to think for herself, I think she's a prima donna who gets off on the attention when she shits in threads and runs away.

And now she's gone. So when you are going to give it up? How long do we all have to look forward to you railing against someone who isn't even here anymore? The more you say, the more I feel sorry for her (which is not really something I want to do, to be honest), and I'm not the only one, so perhaps you should just rest for awhile.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:06 AM on February 29, 2008 [3 favorites]


dnab did exactly what should have been done - Konolia speaks for Jesus, dnab requests source reference. I believe all of metafilter thinks thePink is dead wrong. I don't need a source, I just believe it. Don't try to argue me out of it!

francesca too, politeness is a difficult problem. I think humor is the best form of discipline... but disciplining through humor often makes politeness difficult. How about politeness as a default, and then the snarky disrespect when people begin channeling god directly to the site? Was Mark Twain polite? Are stand-up comics? Then maybe we should consider whether we should be trying to discipline each other, but then where is the restraining influence of society?
[Ewkpates - Norm Enforcer. Just not any norms you've ever heard of.]
posted by ewkpates at 11:07 AM on February 29, 2008


Sorry, TPS. I didn't realize I wasn't allowed to respond when people are directing comments at me.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 11:07 AM on February 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Alright. I amend it to this: people acting like beligerant 13 year olds add nothing to the site.
posted by agregoli at 11:07 AM on February 29, 2008


I didn't realize I wasn't allowed to respond when people are directing comments at me.

so now you've got to steal her material, too?
posted by pyramid termite at 11:09 AM on February 29, 2008 [1 favorite]



so now you've got to steal her material, too?


Metafilter will never run out of martyrs.
posted by tkolar at 11:12 AM on February 29, 2008


No, pyramid termite. But that was a great demonstration of the point whistling over someone's head.

konolia has always been allowed to respond--up until the mods, thankfully, forbade her from certain subjects (not that she actually dropped them, of course; she's like thaty kid saying "No mum, I didn't take the cookies out, the jar just fell over honest!"). The problem is that she would make vile and hateful statements, or just generally these claims of objective truths--aka, pinching off a big steaming loaf--and then run away as soon as anyone called her on her bullshit.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 11:13 AM on February 29, 2008


What and when was her last vile and hateful statement, please?
posted by agregoli at 11:18 AM on February 29, 2008


But that was a great demonstration of the point whistling over someone's head.

i think this is a better one

still don't care to address tkolar's documentation of your net.obsessiveness?
posted by pyramid termite at 11:19 AM on February 29, 2008


I think dnbb is saying that her earlier comments, which were indeed hateful, put her beyond the pale. Sort of like how I wouldn't be chummy with a KKK member just because they were forbidden from saying bad things about black people inside a local social club.
posted by Justinian at 11:20 AM on February 29, 2008


I believe tkolar found it already, agregoli, as you well know. Given that, one wonders why you would ask the question.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 11:21 AM on February 29, 2008


Note: I'm not saying konolia is like a kkk member. Neither am I saying she isn't.
posted by Justinian at 11:21 AM on February 29, 2008


Sort of like how I wouldn't be chummy with a KKK member just because they were forbidden from saying bad things about black people inside a local social club.

Hammer, nail, head.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 11:23 AM on February 29, 2008


Look, I'm not defending konolia's comments on homosexuality. And I also didn't like her style of stating biblical ideas as factual. But she hasn't said anything hateful in the last few threads, and people have been beligerant to her besides.

When's the last time she said something that deserved the constant, berating bile being put forth to her in the last few posts?
posted by agregoli at 11:23 AM on February 29, 2008


There's something strange about the folks who think it wasn't cool to hound konolia because she's a hateful hypocrite spending all this time hounding dnab. Even if he was or is wrong, I thought the argument is that we should live and let live.
posted by OmieWise at 11:23 AM on February 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


She's sort of more like the gaykk.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 11:23 AM on February 29, 2008


Apparently you missed it the first time, agregoli:

"I believe tkolar found it already, agregoli, as you well know. Given that, one wonders why you would ask the question."

There's something strange about the folks who think it wasn't cool to hound konolia because she's a hateful hypocrite spending all this time hounding dnab

I've been wondering the same thing.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 11:24 AM on February 29, 2008


I believe tkolar found it already, agregoli, as you well know. Given that, one wonders why you would ask the question.

Because I find it amazing that you can criticize someone on something they didn't say in a current thread, over and over and over again. That's thread derailing, right there. It's nasty and rude and way worse than the alternative, which is, I don't know, ignoring her if she bothers you? Why attack someone over something they said over a year ago? It's pointless and at the very least, belongs in MeMail, not in the thread.
posted by agregoli at 11:25 AM on February 29, 2008


Because you're behaving just as nastily as you claim she is. Which doesn't do much for your argument on this issue. Addressing you isn't the same as hounding you. I've never even spoken to you before as far as I know except for here, and I guarantee that if I see a post of yours elsewhere on the site, I won't bring up this argument. Therein lies the difference.
posted by agregoli at 11:26 AM on February 29, 2008


Sort of like how I wouldn't be chummy with a KKK member just because they were forbidden from saying bad things about black people inside a local social club.

Hammer, nail, head.


Yeah, no one's saying be chummy with someone, but to act like that person is CONTINUING the behavior that you hate is misleading. If you hate someone's behavior, and the mods say "Hey, someone, stop behaving like that" and they DO, to keep complaining about it is pointless. They already stopped.
posted by 23skidoo at 11:27 AM on February 29, 2008 [3 favorites]


There's something strange about the folks who think it wasn't cool to hound konolia because she's a hateful hypocrite spending all this time hounding dnab.

there's something strange about equating today's discussion with a vendetta that's lasted over a year
posted by pyramid termite at 11:27 AM on February 29, 2008 [3 favorites]


ignoring her if she bothers you

You clearly haven't been paying attention. It's not so much about her bothering me as it is about her representing such hateful ignorance with such verifiable and real-world effects. I suggest you re-read what I've written, because it doesn't seem like there's much point in continuing to talk to you, as I have already answered your questions in this thread.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 11:28 AM on February 29, 2008


In konolia's defense (well, sort of, anyway), dnab, her wacked-out views never would have gotten anything close to the exposure they did if you hadn't kept on whinging about them so obnoxiously for, what, a year and a half after the fact? Sometimes it's better to just ignore the ridiculous bullshit and let it die.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:31 AM on February 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


Omie, "hounding" dnab about stuff he's said in this thread is not the same thing as what he did to konolia. Hounding him about stuff he said in this 2006 thread would be.
posted by danOstuporStar at 11:33 AM on February 29, 2008


Sigh, dnab. I've been reading the thread, that counts as paying attention. She hasn't been representing hateful ignorance lately, at all. Your arguments make no sense whatsoever, and just prove you're trying to continue a vendetta against this person for remarks she made over a year ago. It's petty, and furthermore, it's pointless and makes you look quite worse than she does lately. If you want to come off that way, it's your choice.
posted by agregoli at 11:34 AM on February 29, 2008


What and when was her last vile and hateful statement, please?

I haven't checked her comment history, but does the one I brought up in the previous thread count?

I still have no idea wtf she was casting aspersions on in that tongue-in-cheek manner, but the gist of the link in the post was "wow, look at these generally-non-hateful people getting along rather nicely with these generally-hateful people". So the net effect seemed to be that she was calling those generally-non-hateful people in that Swedish forum Satan as well.

Since she refused to answer my non-hounding question, I can only assume it was because she was indeed calling some inoffensive group of people Satan and knew that admitting so would not "wendell".
posted by CKmtl at 11:37 AM on February 29, 2008


I don't know what kind of stuff konolia used to say about gays that got dnab all riled up. As I understand it, the mods have deleted most of it, and I didn't find much over the past year. I found an implication that gays go to hell (in an askme about how to deal with being gay in a religious family her answer was [paraphrased] "let them pray for you. in their minds they've lost you in a very real and eternal sense. respect that.") I also found numerous instances of her going into askme threads about coming out of the closet to say things like "oh, I'm sure they all already know that you're gay. let me tell you about how I had this gay friend, and by the time he came out we all had known he was gay already for years." (again, paraphrased.) I suppose the implication that everyone can tell when someone's gay because of some outward quality could get someone riled up. But I'm assuming that the offending comments have all been deleted. I know that dirtynumbangelboy is pretty vicious in general, though, when he dislikes or disagrees with someone, so I wouldn't be surprised if she actually hadn't said anything worth deleting for the past year and all this was him holding a grudge for longer than that. but, not being a mod, I don't know.

what does seem clear, though, is that despite his coming after her she doesn't seem to have been hounded out. It looks a lot more to me like she's been wanting to leave for a while. She has mentioned before that askme is the only reason she didn't quit at least a week ago. (on another note: why do people who only like askme, and complain about that fact, even bother with the rest of the site? it puzzles the will.) She's made it clear in this thread that she doesn't like being in a situation where dnab can come after her but she can't respond because the mods have told her she'll be banned if she keeps up with the gay thing.

but presumably that's because her responses to dnab would have been on the offensive side.

it seems to me that she left because she realized that this place isn't a comfortable fit with her. she can't just go around saying... whatever it was that got deleted. around here we've got an atmosphere where you're taken task for the things you say by the other users of the site. so she was taken to task, not just by dnab but by others, for the things she would say. sometimes it was just because people saw her as a target for their anger toward christianity and sometimes it was earned. but that's life. you can't make everything everybody says totally just and fair.

what I find interesting is that konolia seemed to get a privilege most of us don't get. most of us have the stupid things we've said left on record for anyone to find. konolia seems to have had her worst stuff pretty much memory holed. on one hand, konolia saw that as a kind of censorship that she didn't like. on the other, it would have made her not have to face any accountability for the things she's said if it weren't for dnab and some others reminding her of it.

I think that's a peculiar position for a person to be in, and it doesn't surprise me that she left. we're supposed to be accountable for the things we say around here. at least, accountable in the public eye. but her comments have been stricken from the record. but dnab is free to continue bringing it up. but she can't or else she'll be banned. it's a rough spot, and it seems to have arisen from what is essentially the mods trying to do her a favor. although I could easily be mistaken. this isn't the easiest thing to piece together.

what does seem clear to me is that, despite dnab's hounding, she wasn't hounded out. she had ample reason to decide that metafilter isn't the place for her. I think people who want to point fingers need to grow up. She's an adult and she made her choice. Maybe she's better off. Maybe we are. I don't know and I don't think it matters.
posted by shmegegge at 11:44 AM on February 29, 2008 [5 favorites]


Omie, "hounding" dnab about stuff he's said in this thread is not the same thing as what he did to konolia. Hounding him about stuff he said in this 2006 thread would be.

Sure, I understand the difference, although I tend to be less sympathetic to konolia in this affair. My point, however, is to question what the endgame is. Do you want dnab to apologize? What if you want him to apologize but he leaves the site? Have you then done what you claim he did to konolia? Once you've registered your objections with dnab, even if continuing to do so isn't precisely equivalent, it seems to me you risk crossing the line into behavior you've identified as unacceptable if you keep after him.

konolia is an adult. She gets to make her own decisions and she made her own bed here and slept in it until she decided she'd had enough. Her choices were her own. Her recent (imposed) silence gave her an outlet, which she took, for several distasteful hypocritcal and attention seeking threads, on the Blue and the Gray. She made clear at every opportunity that her (imposed) civility on this matter did not represent a change of heart, or even a chance at serious consideration for her. That she is still the object of conversation even after her departure no doubt pleases her.
posted by OmieWise at 11:46 AM on February 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


as it is about her representing such hateful ignorance with such verifiable and real-world effects.

when you attack something that only represents a real world effect, that's called an effigy. it is ineffectual and serves only to satisfy the attacker.
posted by shmegegge at 11:48 AM on February 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Once you've registered your objections with dnab, even if continuing to do so isn't precisely equivalent, it seems to me you risk crossing the line into behavior you've identified as unacceptable if you keep after him.

no, because we're discussing it in the thread that his behavior has become an issue in - he can leave the thread any time if he gets tired of it
posted by pyramid termite at 12:03 PM on February 29, 2008


She's sort of more like the gaykk

And what are you, the gaystapo? Let it go, for fuck's sake. I'm on your side, but you're doing yourself (and the cause I ALSO feel very strongly about) no favors by acting like a vindictive, grudge-fueled child.
posted by dersins at 12:07 PM on February 29, 2008 [5 favorites]


23skidoo: If you hate someone's behavior, and the mods say "Hey, someone, stop behaving like that" and they DO, to keep complaining about it is pointless. They already stopped.

Except she didn't stop, really. Or at least she resumed it in that last MetaTalk thread of hers.

As OmieWise just said, "She made clear at every opportunity that her (imposed) civility on this matter did not represent a change of heart, or even a chance at serious consideration for her."

Her talk about being prohibited from saying what she wants to say on a subject is just a weaseling around of that 'prohibition'. She didn't say it, but by saying that it's profoundly bothersome that she can't say it... she's introducing that subject all over again.

It's like if some woman's boss gets a lecture from HR about sexual harassment, and he starts in with the "Y'know, I'm not allowed to say what I want to say about your you-know-whats, but... [meaningful silence]". The guy didn't say that she's got fantastic breasts, but he might as well have.
posted by CKmtl at 12:15 PM on February 29, 2008


I believe...

... no one should have to respect another person.

... no one should have to respect the beliefs of another person.

... everyone should respect the right every person has to have their own beliefs.
posted by deborah at 12:18 PM on February 29, 2008


She made clear at every opportunity that her (imposed) civility on this matter did not represent a change of heart, or even a chance at serious consideration for her.

people are free to think what they will - you cannot force them to think otherwise

Her talk about being prohibited from saying what she wants to say on a subject is just a weaseling around of that 'prohibition'.

she was attacked repeatedly for it when she was prohibited from replying

as far as i'm concerned, people should have gotten time outs for it

It's like if some woman's boss gets a lecture from HR about sexual harassment, and he starts in with the "Y'know, I'm not allowed to say what I want to say about your you-know-whats, but... [meaningful silence]".

no, it's more like every time he comes up to the water cooler someone asks him what he thinks about some girl's hooters and he stands there saying, "i can't reply to that" and then you guys blame him for it

this was the game that was being played here
posted by pyramid termite at 12:26 PM on February 29, 2008 [3 favorites]


I believe that children are our future. But I have no evidence to support that belief.
posted by The World Famous at 12:27 PM on February 29, 2008


OmieWise wrote...
Have you then done what you claim he did to konolia? Once you've registered your objections with dnab, even if continuing to do so isn't precisely equivalent,

Omie, what do you expect to accomplish by hounding the people who are hounding dnab about his hounding of konolia?
posted by tkolar at 12:28 PM on February 29, 2008


Why is it that whenever someone leaves the site over boyzone or religious bashing or conservative bashing it was completely on them for leaving, and there is no problem with people's actions on the site?

Stop acting like jerks. If someone else acts like a jerk, that doesn't mean you get to act like a jerk.
posted by garlic at 12:36 PM on February 29, 2008


Omie, what do you expect to accomplish by hounding the people who are hounding dnab about his hounding of konolia?

I would have thought that was obvious...I want all those motherfuckers to close their accounts! By which I mean: I want to cast off, put the oars in the water, and set the longboat afloat.
posted by OmieWise at 12:42 PM on February 29, 2008


she was attacked repeatedly for it when she was prohibited from replying ... this was the game that was being played here

That's one of the games, perhaps. But she was not attacked into making that last MetaTalk thread, the one with "It's unfair that I'm being prohibited from talking about those subjects, but atheists can made profane remarks" tone to it. She made that post in response to generalized criticism about religions, not in response to dnab poking at her with the homophobe stick. That was her own little game, the one to which I made the HR sexual harassment comparison.

Even if she was being inappropriately poked with the homophobe stick sometimes, that doesn't make her an innocent victim.
posted by CKmtl at 12:44 PM on February 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


The power of Christ compels you to close this thread

The power of Christ compels you to close this thread

The power of Christ compels you to close this thread

The power of Christ compels you to close this thread

The power of Christ compels you to close this thread

The power of Christ compels you to close this thread

The power of Christ compels you to close this thread
posted by kittens for breakfast at 1:07 PM on February 29, 2008


I believe for every drop of rain that falls, a flower grows.

And I would like to know who prevented that 2-inch rainstorm last month from making us 6-feet-deep in flowers.

I believe that love is the answer.

But I don't believe I know the question.

I believe in you.

Although I have never actually seen most of you.

I believe I can fly.

I have, however, not yet taken real life action on that belief. I'll let you know when I do.

If only you believe like I believe, baby, we’d get by.

However, I do not believe a "Jefferson Starship" concert with only Paul Kantner and David Freiberg from the original band is truth in labeling.

(I also believe I screwed up a previous jokey comment due to a misfunctioning "R" key on my keyboard... I meant to say the "shrine of the funny-hatted bear", not the "shine". I really have nothing more to say on the subject, but that's not because I'm being silenced by anybody; it's just not the kind of asshattery I believe in. And I believe that I will NEVER disable my account here, no matter how many people it would make happy.)
posted by wendell at 1:09 PM on February 29, 2008


We should all just adopt dialetheism.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 1:13 PM on February 29, 2008


But she was not attacked into making that last MetaTalk thread, the one with "It's unfair that I'm being prohibited from talking about those subjects, but atheists can made profane remarks" tone to it.

she felt she was - with some justification, at least where one comment was concerned

"Maybe if your fucking pedantic invisible man in the sky weren't such an asshole, we wouldn't need to have these conversations"

that seems like an attack to me

she was pretty much blown off with some disingenuous talk about power and who has it in our society, never mind who has it on this webboard

and this time some looked the other way as the whole fracas started again - passive aggressive moderation, i guess

it's all according to whose ox gets gored and what they represent

my cynicism about this website and the sort of views expressed here is now at a new high - there's got to be a more intelligent use of my time than this
posted by pyramid termite at 1:44 PM on February 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


Konolia was NOT hounded out of here. I haven't said anything in these threads on religion simply because as someone who considers herself a Christian I was often embarrassed by many things she'd said that in my denomination would be considered unChristian attitudes and comments. But that would be judgmental and rude of me to say, not to mention hypocritical as I have enough flaws of my own. So I sat on my hands and said nothing - though I had many outside discussions on the threads in real life. I would often be upset that she characterized her personal beliefs as a given "what all Christians think" response. But she was hounded? No, sorry, not even close. The moderators were ALWAYS on top of things, and there were ALWAYS people commenting on threads urging others to "give Konolia a break" or "I don't agree with Konolia but-" - she was always defended, at least in her right to have her say. MANY people gave her the respect of at least having her say - and many people who disagreed with everything she said were still kind to her. Someone needs to dig up a big troll thread of old if we're going to play the "hounded off the site" card.

She was in no way forced to leave. If anything she's been around MetaFilter long enough to know that some people are not going to change their responses, and that it's better to just move on from some threads. This is the second MetaTalk thread that has become exclusively All About Konolia. If you think there was a repeated series of attacks? You're not remembering the bunnyfire days. I could just as easily play the "poor me, having to listen to Kongolia mischaracterize my faith, how I suffered" - that'd be bs. It's easy enoughg to walk away from a thread by, you know, clicking on without playing the drama card.
posted by batgrlHG at 1:47 PM on February 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


my cynicism about this website and the sort of views expressed here is now at a new high - there's got to be a more intelligent use of my time than this

You realize she's probably already rejoined, right? And that, ultimately, it was her decision to leave -- that no one pushed the button for her?

We lost some cool people over the various feminism brouhahas, but I never found myself in the camp of blaming the "boyzone" assholes for that. Why shift the responsibility? Konolia chose to leave -- or, more likely than not, "leave." That's not on anyone else but her.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 1:53 PM on February 29, 2008


I do not believe a "Jefferson Starship" concert with only Paul Kantner and David Freiberg from the original band is truth in labeling.

It will come as no surprise, then, that while they did indeed build that city on rock and roll, the rock and roll they built it on is wildly unstable -- prone to frequent earthquakes and landslides -- and the structures they built on the poorly suited rock and roll were made of highly inflammable materials. These are but a couple of the many reasons that most of the world's subsequent city planning has been done not by post-psychedelic AOR combos, but rather by qualified civil engineers and urban designers.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:56 PM on February 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


The power of Christ compels you to close this thread

This will require a priest with a high user number and a priest with a low user number. Or an admin.
posted by Tehanu at 1:57 PM on February 29, 2008


> she was attacked repeatedly for it when she was prohibited from replying

she felt she was - with some justification, at least where one comment was concerned

"Maybe if your fucking pedantic invisible man in the sky weren't such an asshole, we wouldn't need to have these conversations"

that seems like an attack to me


That comment was not about her views about homosexuality. That comment was about religious views on luck or poverty as punishment, or something to that effect. Notice the topic of the thread (predatory lending) and the rest of Civil_Disobedient's comment: You tell that guy's wife and four children that. "Awe shucks, I guess God just wasn't smiling on you. Maybe you shoulda' prayed more."

If she took offense to the LOLSkyWizard aspect, she should have called that out. There was no reason for her to use that offense-taking (even if it was justified) as an opportunity to get her "I can't say what I want to say, but you all know what I want to say" on.
posted by CKmtl at 2:15 PM on February 29, 2008


This is the second MetaTalk thread that has become exclusively All About Konolia

yes, and in this case, it wasn't her doing, nor was it the intention of those who started discussing the thread

she made a comment and all hell broke loose - don't take my word for it, the comments above tell the story plainly

---

You realize she's probably already rejoined, right?

i realize that some obsessed people are probably grepping new user comments for clues as we speak

And that, ultimately, it was her decision to leave -- that no one pushed the button for her?

i'll remember that in the next thread where people are decrying the fate of those who are sent to prison or are taken advantage of (or dealt with by the police) because of actions they helped initiate

passive aggressive community policing - "no one pushed the button for her"
posted by pyramid termite at 2:18 PM on February 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


If she took offense to the LOLSkyWizard aspect, she should have called that out.

she DID - why do you think she quoted it in that comment?

do your homework and read that thread and learn what you're talking about, will you?
posted by pyramid termite at 2:20 PM on February 29, 2008


i'll remember that in the next thread where people are decrying the fate of those who are sent to prison or are taken advantage of (or dealt with by the police) because of actions they helped initiate

Matt/Jess/Cortex sent Konolia to prison?! They are sooo not getting into heaven.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:29 PM on February 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


she DID - why do you think she quoted it in that comment?

do your homework and read that thread and learn what you're talking about, will you?


Do your own and read the rest of what I just said. Here, I'll bold it for you:

If she took offense to the LOLSkyWizard aspect, she should have called that out. There was no reason for her to use that offense-taking (even if it was justified) as an opportunity to get her "I can't say what I want to say, but you all know what I want to say" on.

If it weren't so annoying, I'd blink-tag the (even if it was justified) part.

Her call-out of the LOLSkyWizard stuff was not "Can you please cut out the LOLSkyWizard stuff?" It was "Can you please cut out the LOLSkyWizard stuff, oh and I'm being silenced. I can't say what I want to say, but you all know what I want to say. I don't really see what was so bad about it, but I won't say it anyway, since I'm under pain of permaban."
posted by CKmtl at 2:31 PM on February 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


my cynicism about this website and the sort of views expressed here is now at a new high - there's got to be a more intelligent use of my time than this

I feel the same.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 2:33 PM on February 29, 2008


Is this the longboat thread I was told about at the front desk?
posted by anotherpanacea at 2:38 PM on February 29, 2008


i'll remember that in the next thread where people are decrying the fate of those who are sent to prison or are taken advantage of (or dealt with by the police) because of actions they helped initiate

passive aggressive community policing - "no one pushed the button for her"


Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh boy. Okay, first of all, there is no comparison between a victim of police brutality and someone who has made enemies on a freakin' message board at all. I mean, there's just NONE. This is pretty much a godwin.

Secondly, let me put "no one pushed the button for her" a different way: she pushed the button. I didn't do it, you didn't do it, dnab didn't do it. So why is her action anyone's responsibility except hers? I'm sorry, but I don't accept that, and I certainly don't accept that she was somehow pushed into doing something unbelievably painful for her. Since she already has had multiple accounts, it is not a stretch to imagine that she just closed one that had become a liability and opened, or will open, a new one.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 2:39 PM on February 29, 2008


you're being disingenuous - her mention of one aspect of her negative experience here does not invalidate other aspects that she complained about

it is possible to complain about more than ONE thing, don't you think?

or are you trying to avoid that aspect of it?

---

Matt/Jess/Cortex sent Konolia to prison?! They are sooo not getting into heaven.

no, i'm simply pointing out the hypocrisy of saying that some people are too oppressed to be responsible for what they do - (or they are agreed with and shouldn't be held responsible for the means they choose to advance their agenda) - and then turning around and saying, "well, it's ALL her choice, and ALL her fault", when it's someone whose social class and beliefs you don't care for

funny how such arguments are always made for the people one wants to defend and never for the people who one can't stand - even if, socioeconomically, they're not any more powerful or influential than those one defends
posted by pyramid termite at 2:40 PM on February 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Like post-apocalyptic vikings, the longboat sets sail from a quiet cove of long-dead flameouts. Even as the ashes smolder, we set the jib and let fly the foretopsail on our wandering journey towards thread closure. (Nautical noob: can you set a jib and a foretopsail at the same time?)
posted by anotherpanacea at 2:43 PM on February 29, 2008


No, this is the Titanic thread. Longboat's two doors down.
posted by wendell at 2:44 PM on February 29, 2008


So why is her action anyone's responsibility except hers?

i'm sorry - i didn't realize that we were all a bunch of unconnected actors and all this talk about "community" was mere pretense
posted by pyramid termite at 2:45 PM on February 29, 2008


you're really stretching things, pyramid termite. she was hounded by one person, but she left for a lot of reasons. one of them was that she's not allowed to talk about how much she's against the gay lifestyle anymore. you're willfully ignoring that. it's not like we pointed a finger out the door yelling "go, bigot, and don't come back!" she had her detractors and she had her supporters. the fact is that she wants an atmosphere that's friendlier to her anti-gay viewpoint. just because you're avoiding it doesn't mean it's not true.
posted by shmegegge at 2:46 PM on February 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


MetaTalk. That's where you're a viking.

And I'm not very nautical, but I prefer png's to jib's and please don't mention the foretopsail; circumcision is another subject we don't do well.
posted by wendell at 2:47 PM on February 29, 2008


"This is the second MetaTalk thread that has become exclusively All About Konolia"

yes, and in this case, it wasn't her doing, nor was it the intention of those who started discussing the thread
she made a comment and all hell broke loose - don't take my word for it, the comments above tell the story plainly


Ok, let's just take a look at her first sentence of her comment:

Konolia: "Look, the problem I have is not that others don't believe in an Ultimate Authority, but that no one respects the fact that I do."

Now go read the rest of her comment, and note the frequent use of "I." Konolia wanted to talk about how this thread specifically concerned her. Because apparently the previous MetaTalk thread didn't cover everything.

I think much of the problem was that Konolia took everything as a personal comment about her faith. Personally I don't think that anyone gets to play the token Senstive Christian around here. In theory as a Christian I should have felt just as abused by any of the words directed at Konolia about her faith - right? No, somehow I managed to feel more hurt by some of her comments. But I don't feel like I'm some special snowflake with the need to bring it in for a fest of "please placate me" here. I just felt I needed to grow a thicker skin. Or perhaps you'd like to explain how I should be reacting more like Konolia to the comments she was upset by? Because I certainly could be wrong.

The point of this thread was supposed to be - I assume - a discussion of how to respectfully discuss religion. Somehow it's now supposed to be how Konolia was mistreated and the moderators failed in policing anti-Christian commentary? And this treatment is equivalent to "those who are sent to prison or are taken advantage of (or dealt with by the police) because of actions they helped initiate"??? You really just compared a MeTa thread to that? There's a pop cultural humor reference there that I'm missing, right?

"i'm sorry - i didn't realize that we were all a bunch of unconnected actors and all this talk about "community" was mere pretense"

The community is made up of many people. With diverse opinions.
posted by batgrlHG at 2:47 PM on February 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


no, i'm simply pointing out the hypocrisy of saying that some people are too oppressed to be responsible for what they do - (or they are agreed with and shouldn't be held responsible for the means they choose to advance their agenda) - and then turning around and saying, "well, it's ALL her choice, and ALL her fault", when it's someone whose social class and beliefs you don't care for

Oh dear.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 2:50 PM on February 29, 2008


This "towards a more civil discourse" thing is going super.
posted by nanojath at 2:54 PM on February 29, 2008 [3 favorites]


Like post-apocalyptic vikings, the longboat sets sail from a quiet cove of long-dead flameouts. Even as the ashes smolder, we set the jib and let fly the foretopsail on our wandering journey towards thread closure. (Nautical noob: can you set a jib and a foretopsail at the same time?)

Sure can... though viking longboats were usually square-rigged single-masted affairs, with no jib. But what the hell, they can come into the 21st (19th) century with the rest of us. Fly that jib.
posted by Pantengliopoli at 3:07 PM on February 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


one of them was that she's not allowed to talk about how much she's against the gay lifestyle anymore. you're willfully ignoring that.

no, i'm not - as a matter of fact, i'm going to come right out and say she had a right to that opinion and to express it

i think it's full of crap, but then a lot of things people say are

the fact is that she wants an atmosphere that's friendlier to her anti-gay viewpoint.

she was attacked for much more than that - read the threads

but, it could have been discussed much more rationally than it has been - not by her, i realize, but by the rest of you

i always thought that one of the advantages of knowing one was in the right was being able to express oneself coherently and self-confidently - it's a pity some of the pro-gay lifestyle people haven't managed that. although others on that side seem to manage it quite fine

we could have ignored her, if nothing else - i did a lot of the time

---

"Look, the problem I have is not that others don't believe in an Ultimate Authority, but that no one respects the fact that I do."

and why shouldn't that be a concern for her? - it's funny, but i bet that "look, the problem i have is not that others don't follow islam, but that no one respects the fact that i do" would get a little more sympathetic hearing here

Now go read the rest of her comment, and note the frequent use of "I." Konolia wanted to talk about how this thread specifically concerned her.

and whose views are you representing? - i'll tell you flat out that i'm speaking for myself

why should she be expected to do anything different?

Because apparently the previous MetaTalk thread didn't cover everything.

it didn't - which is why the OP continued it here

I think much of the problem was that Konolia took everything as a personal comment about her faith.

except that she was also exposed to a good deal of vitriol about it

that she could have handled it better isn't the only point to be made - so could have others - and they didn't

The point of this thread was supposed to be - I assume - a discussion of how to respectfully discuss religion. Somehow it's now supposed to be how Konolia was mistreated and the moderators failed in policing anti-Christian commentary?

you can thank the people who piled onto konolia for that

And this treatment is equivalent to "those who are sent to prison or are taken advantage of (or dealt with by the police) because of actions they helped initiate"???

i'm sure you're aware of the conservative argument that "it's all their fault because they chose to do it"

why is it when someone makes this argument against the poor prisoner or the poor person who's borrowed from one of those paycheck places, that people get outraged about it, and yet the people will glibly say, "it was all her choice to press that button"?

so sorry to point out people's logical inconsistencies here

The community is made up of many people. With diverse opinions.

one less person - with slighty less diversity of opinion
posted by pyramid termite at 3:07 PM on February 29, 2008


you're being disingenuous - her mention of one aspect of her negative experience here does not invalidate other aspects that she complained about

Was this directed at me? I'm certainly not being disingenuous, neither am I attempting to invalidate her complaint(s) about the LOLSkyWizard stuff.

I'm not sure how to put it more plainly than I did above. She used her justifiable complaint as an opportunity to rant about not being able to rant about gays. That ranting about not being able to rant is, in effect, a coy and slippery way to rant about gays. It was a self-initiated rant about gays. It was not in response to any gay-related attack on her. Therefore, claiming that she's an entirely innocent victim of the Evil Gay Squad Who Cling To Their Grudges Like Louis Vitton Handbags makes no sense.

And before you say that no one said she was an entirely innocent victim, scroll up and read the stuff I quoted in previous comments.
posted by CKmtl at 3:11 PM on February 29, 2008

and why shouldn't that be a concern for her? - it's funny, but i bet that "look, the problem i have is not that others don't follow islam, but that no one respects the fact that i do" would get a little more sympathetic hearing here
Not if anti-gay rhetoric was what sparked the remark.
posted by jtron at 3:15 PM on February 29, 2008


That ranting about not being able to rant is, in effect, a coy and slippery way to rant about gays.

Only if it's clear that her views on gays is the thing that she was forbidden from talking about. I thought she wasn't supposed to talk about Christian dogma in general. I didn't know that she was some big homophobe from back in the day until this thread.
posted by 23skidoo at 3:18 PM on February 29, 2008


jtron - she's not the only person who's felt that a pro-theist stance here has been an invitation to abuse and mockery - i've noticed it, too

---

I'm not sure how to put it more plainly than I did above. She used her justifiable complaint as an opportunity to rant about not being able to rant about gays. That ranting about not being able to rant is, in effect, a coy and slippery way to rant about gays.

but that's not what happened in this thread, is it? - you seem to think that "hurf-durf gay hater" covers a multitude of bad things people have done - they don't

Therefore, claiming that she's an entirely innocent victim

i haven't used the word victim - or innocent - or presented any kind of "entirely" sort of view on this

i will admit that you'd have an easier time rebutting me if i had
posted by pyramid termite at 3:22 PM on February 29, 2008


I wouldn't be at all surprised if she returned under a new name, without the target on her back. I hope so, anyway.

Didn't she come back under a different account because the first one was banned? She wanted bunnyfire back, and many times she referred to her previous identity. She seemed to almost get satisfaction out the attention of being formerly bunnyfire. So even if she comes back under a new nick, I have serious doubt she'd try to downplay her past. Not sure what a new name accomplishes.

Regardless of her views, right or wrong, she's going to have a hard time since it's obviously very difficult for her to hold back on certain topics. I could easily pull my hair out going into every thread that has LOL@thesouth comments. But I eventually realized I was wasting my breath on idiots that dealt with stereotypes that they formed while watching the dukes of hazard. So I stopped (for the most part). I bit my lip when we were given the sexism tag despite much more hatred being directed at southerners than any particular sex. It simply isn't worth it. I don't need no stinkin' tag. But konolia doesn't seem capable of doing that. Which is fine, but it obviously gets to her since she closed her account.

you seem to cause special problems because of the absolutism and mild arrogance with which you seem to present your ideas.

That's going to be hard to change since i think, basically, that's just her. Much like batgrlH's problem with konolia's representation of Christianity, I had the same problem with her comments on the south. Many times she would make a comment and say 'this is the way we do it in the south'. 99 percent of the time I'd cringe at the comment because it often came across as enforcing old stereotypes. Her south is much different than any I've ever lived in, but her comments came across as absolute and undebatable. I certainly don't want konolia representing the south any more than batgrlH wants her representing all christians. But that's the way she comes across, intentional or not.
posted by justgary at 3:26 PM on February 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


But I eventually realized I was wasting my breath on idiots that dealt with stereotypes that they formed while watching the dukes of hazard.

Woah there buddy, if you are about to tell me that the South isn't populated by at least a few good ole boys, who are never meaning no harm, but have been in trouble with the the law since the day they was born, I'm just going to have to break down and get really upset.

I mean, there are some spoilers you just don't drop in mid thread.
posted by quin at 3:34 PM on February 29, 2008


but that's not what happened in this thread, is it?

No it's not what happend and I'm dissapointed at a lot of people here for never having the sense to see that. I'll also add that I've never agreed with her point of view on homosexuality but that is another thing all together.
posted by nola at 3:36 PM on February 29, 2008


i haven't used the word victim - or innocent - or presented any kind of "entirely" sort of view on this

So then, I mean, no offense, PT, but what the fuck ARE you saying? Because at present I'm inclined to think what you're saying cannot be rebuffed because you are the only person to whom it makes a lick of sense. Either she was bullied for her beliefs until, finally, unable to bear a moment more, she had to close her account, and everyone who wasn't nice to her should now lean against the whipping post in penance -- and that's konolia: victim -- or she wasn't, in which case...why are we all supposed to feel bad she left again? Leaving innocence aside, if she wasn't a victim, then your argument isn't about anything.

And I don't even know how to approach the way you've characterized the site's membership as being comprised of people who forgive the "oppressed" their crimes when it's politically advantageous to do so. This is all starting to sound like a cable of bullshit unspooling from the cracked old ass of Rush Limbaugh over here. Are you just bored and spouting off?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:43 PM on February 29, 2008 [4 favorites]


i haven't used the word victim - or innocent - or presented any kind of "entirely" sort of view on this

You didn't use those specific words, no. But, in refuting my sexual harassment comparison, you did characterize the situation as: "no, it's more like every time he comes up to the water cooler someone asks him what he thinks about some girl's hooters and he stands there saying, "i can't reply to that" and then you guys blame him for it"

Which sounds very close to a description of an entirely innocent victim.

but that's not what happened in this thread, is it?

No, but my original comment on this particular subject was a response to 23skidoo's, which he's just clarified.

you seem to think that "hurf-durf gay hater" covers a multitude of bad things people have done - they don't

And I said that where, exactly? Scroll wayyyy up thread. I responded to konolia directly and didn't hurf-durf at her, and didn't say anything to the effect that she deserves to be hounded. In fact, I suggested that she take it up with the hounder or the mods if she were feeling hounded. This in spite of the fact that I'm gay.

My Gay Agenda implant must be on the fritz. I'll have to remember to report to the local chapter to have it fixed. They make a mean cappuccino and you can get a pedicure while they tinker with your mind-control chip. Very posh.
posted by CKmtl at 3:45 PM on February 29, 2008


Either she was bullied for her beliefs until, [...] she had to close her account, [...] -- or she wasn't...

That's a fairly good summary of the positions being proposed in this thread.
posted by tkolar at 3:55 PM on February 29, 2008


That ranting about not being able to rant is, in effect, a coy and slippery way to rant about gays.

Yeah, you gotta watch those Christians. They're slippery. I bet closing her account is just a trick—a dirty, low-down, Christian trick. And if you think about it, the fact that she's ostentatiously not posting now is clearly, in effect, just another coy and slippery way to rant about gays. Yeah, that's the ticket! As long as this thread is open, she'll be ranting about gays right in front of your faces, and there's nothing you can do about it—unless, unless the moderators forcibly reinstate her account! But, then, won't that just be playing right into her dirty Christian hands? They're insidious, I tell you. I think we should hold some Congressional hearings...

Konolia, I hope you come back again, three days from now.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 3:57 PM on February 29, 2008


It has nothing to do with being a victim, it has to do with the majority of opinion shouting down and muzzling a minority view, and her view on many subjects was on this site in a tiny, little, unbelievably small minority. I think she should keep her opinions on gay people to her self on this site, I also think people on this site should not treat religion like their very own punching bag. If homosexual members have the right to log on to this site and not have to read bigoted things writen (how ever well intentioned) about them, just like Christains should have the right not to wade through a sea of very intended bigotry.
posted by nola at 4:01 PM on February 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


So then, I mean, no offense, PT, but what the fuck ARE you saying?

i'm saying that whatever the initial justification or annoyance may have been for it, a personal vendetta was allowed to continue for far too long here and there are consequences to that - konolia's leaving may not even be the worst one

Because at present I'm inclined to think what you're saying cannot be rebuffed because you are the only person to whom it makes a lick of sense.

i'm inclined to believe that you don't want to understand it

Leaving innocence aside, if she wasn't a victim, then your argument isn't about anything.

it's about tolerance and diversity - and not bringing grievances from previous threads into new threads - that was done here, wasn't it?

Leaving innocence aside, if she wasn't a victim, then your argument isn't about anything.

it's about how long people are allowed to hold personal or political grudges and the negative effect this is having on the site - and yes, it is having one

forget about right or wrong, victim or abuser - is this USEFUL?

And I don't even know how to approach the way you've characterized the site's membership as being comprised of people who forgive the "oppressed" their crimes when it's politically advantageous to do so.

i feel like i'm talking to mr a square from flatland about the 3rd dimension

the last time i mused about the implications of people saying people don't have a choice about things, i was accused of feeding my "inner fascist", which is all too typical of the kind of discourse one finds here at times

but now people say they do have a choice about things

there are very deep philosophical and political ramifications to what we say about choice and any statement that "oh, well, she chose to do so" is FAR too glib for me to accept - and if this confuses you, prepare for more confusion as this is going to become a major social issue soon

This is all starting to sound like a cable of bullshit unspooling from the cracked old ass of Rush Limbaugh over here.

oh, i've been compared to rush limbaugh - well, i MUST be wrong, then

----

Which sounds very close to a description of an entirely innocent victim.

or a guilty person who has paid the penalty of his crime and shouldn't be hassled further over it

you seem to think that "hurf-durf gay hater" covers a multitude of bad things people have done - they don't

And I said that where, exactly?

you seem obsessed over the idea of innocent and guilt here - innocence or guilt of what?

"It was a self-initiated rant about gays."

case closed
posted by pyramid termite at 4:06 PM on February 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


OK.... So I've learned a few things here:So, we've managed to make a sick woman miserable enough to close her account. Closing one's account may not be the end of the world, but on the other hand many people have gotten upset over other members closed accounts (quonsar, hermitosis, jonmc, etc...). One doesn't usually close one's account lightly (though, of course hermitosis was more of a joke, but even that began as an joking analogy to suicide).

I didn't like Konolia much. I disagreed with her religion, her politics, her morality, her arrogant worldview. At the same time I thought a some of the hatred directed against her was excessive, and some of her objections to her and her religion being unfairly attacked rang true, even if they were couched among some bs. Now that I know a smidge more I sure can't feel good about this.

She obviously enjoyed being on Metafilter despite the grief it brought her. Now we've tipped the balance of that equation, and for her it was more grief than pleasure. She was a troubled jerk. Now she's gone.

Way to show her, guys, that her view of people with whom she disagrees is reasonable and worth considering. I'm sure shes at home crying into her pillow asking herself why she wasn't more good and liberal and noble like the Mefites who ground her down.

Maybe if not for her sake, then for our own, if she comes back we cut her some slack. Maybe we should cut some slack to those who don't hold the prevailing MeFi view when they get frustrated and say something stupid. Doesn't mean we had to tolerate her homophobia, but we didn't need to keep kicking her when she was down either.
posted by Reverend John at 4:09 PM on February 29, 2008 [5 favorites]


case closed
posted by pyramid termite


I believe what the kidz are sayin' today is 'nuf ced'.
posted by justgary at 4:21 PM on February 29, 2008


Preach it brother!
posted by nola at 4:24 PM on February 29, 2008


Just jumping in to ask when, and why, jonmc left.
posted by amyms at 4:26 PM on February 29, 2008


Ok, just so we're clear: I'm codependent and never leaving.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:28 PM on February 29, 2008


pyramid termite:

I used "innocent" in the sense of "not being the one bringing up the prohibited topic". In the sexual harassment comparison, my version of the boss is not innocent (he brought up the subject of breasts on his own) and in your version he is innocent (the watercooler guys brought it up). You made it seem like it was always someone else bringing up the subject of her views on homosexuality (she's innocent), whereas I said that she brought it up on her own at least once (not entirely innocent).

Nowhere did I extrapolate from that that she should be hurf-durfed at, nor that she deserves mistreatment.
posted by CKmtl at 4:29 PM on February 29, 2008


I was wondering if anyone else was seeing a lack of logic in pyramid termite. I mean, besides the whole suffering the slings and arrows of the disagreements in various MeFi and MeTa threads being like some form of unjust imprisonment. In one name or another Konolia has been on this site for about 8 years. It's not like she's not seen and lived through a troll or two. Or that she's unfamiliar with how this site works.

I should also point out that there's no one that's hopped in just to hate on me because I've mentioned I'm Christian. But wait - aren't I the proposed minority in question? Shouldn't I be making this all about ME and MY belief system?
No.
I'm thinking I'm not going to be getting any abuse and mockery - but let's see - anyone, anyone? Possibly because I've not set myself up as an authority on anything - and I'm not disputing anyone else's right to believe (or not believe) in anything. I've not said that my brand of Christianity is better than anyone else's, I've not said it was the only religion or the right one. I've not insinuated that people are less nice or less moral because they aren't in agreement with me. I'm not insisting everyone has to think the same way. Which, somehow, was what I got out of Konolia's previous MeFi thread - there are many beliefs involved in Christianity, and Konolia's was only one follower out of many. And that there are many people who have a myriad of belief systems in MeFi, and that we can converse civilly. We've always had our pet trolls around this place. Hell, I even married one of them and I'll defend his right to be an agnostic in any community.

I'm NOT saying Konolia did all those things with her Christianity. What I AM saying is that there is NOT a large crowd of villagers with torches that just ran Konolia out of town for being a Christian or for speaking of her Christianity. If that was the case - why am I still here? (Yes, I know, babbling on and on. Hush, I don't do this much.) Were a few people overly vitriolic? Yes. But NOT a majority. Was Konolia sometimes just as hurtful with her words? Definitely. But she wasn't pushed out the door by any ramapaging mob.

If she comes back yes, she shouldn't be pestered overly much. But she doesn't get a special pass to behave in any way she pleases - none of us have that. I'm also not going to play any "shame on you" card to the rest of the folk here - no offense meant, Reverend John, it's just that she has been known for hurting a few folk in her time, even if they didn't post about it in the comments in the relevent threads.
posted by batgrlHG at 4:32 PM on February 29, 2008 [7 favorites]


Sorry, the troll I married is an athiest. My bad. Going to go apologize to said troll.
posted by batgrlHG at 4:34 PM on February 29, 2008


I certainly don't want konolia representing the south any more than batgrlH wants her representing all christians. But that's the way she comes across, intentional or not.

As someone who has snarked at Konolia on one more than one occasion, this is exactly the point. I'm on record as being a card carrying Skeptics Society Atheist Materialist, but there are people on this site who provide excellent posts on their own beliefs and I don't feel the urge to slam them in the slightest (I'm sure I did my time in such threads when I first joined - but why repeat ad nauseum?). Konolia's absolutism just really gets (got?) my dander up. More often than not, I'd have to reign in my initial vitriolic response and just go with snark about the way she had posted.

Perhaps this did go to creating an inhospital environment for her. On the other hand, I've been called, occasionally brutally, on things I was wrong about and walked away the wiser for it. So it goes.
posted by Sparx at 4:42 PM on February 29, 2008


i'm saying that whatever the initial justification or annoyance may have been for it, a personal vendetta was allowed to continue for far too long here and there are consequences to that - konolia's leaving may not even be the worst one

Well, to try and craft my frustration with some of what I've been reading here into a productive reply, let me lay out a couple of possible readings of what you mean by "was allowed to continue for far too long here". I'm working from the assumption that you're talking particularly about the konolia vs. dirtynumbangelboy interactions, though it extends somewhat to less aggressive or consistent interlocutors too. So do you mean that we:

1. Failed to permaban dnab, or
2. Failed to do anything at all to discourage dnab?

If it's point (1) that you object to, I don't know what to tell you. We outright ban long-time users very, very rarely; I think dnab's behavior has been consistently pretty obnoxious, and think he's given konolia (and some other folks who've disagreed with him) a much harder time than is necessary, and that he's been on a sort of high cycle lately especially on that front. I have no idea if Matt or Jess has specifically talked with him today or recently, and his account history well predates my adminhood so I'm not going to venture a guess on any older history stuff.

All that said, no, we haven't banned him, nor did we ban konolia, and I can see and understand where both of them have been coming from. If we banned everyone whose ever been a concerted jerk on the cite, the handful of account closures in the last few months would look like a chickenfart by comparison.

Now, if your objection is to point (2), I'd respectfully request that you explain how you know what all we have and haven't done besides banning him. We've removed his comments in the past, just as we have konolia's; we've called him on over-the-top stuff in thread at times; we've talked very adamantly in Metatalk in general about discouraging (and encouraging people to either civilly object to or to flag but not to aggressively escalate) jerky or stalkerish or grudge-making behavior from users in general. None of us like this kind of thing, and we've said so and taken administrative action on it plenty of times.

I'm sorry konolia felt she needed to close her account. I think she's good people, as I think dirtynumbangelboy is good people, even though both of them have frustrated the hell out of me both as a user and as a mod. But we haven't been sitting on our hands pointedly ignoring this sort of thing out of some partisan approval of one set of beliefs over another. We simply can't force, only encourage, people on the site to be respectful of each other, so it's damned frustrating to have that twisted around—however strongly you may feel right now and however reasonable it is for you to be upste—as somehow meaning that we don't give a fuck or that we're okay with people give each other so much grief.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:47 PM on February 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Oh, and Crabby Appleton, I hope you enjoyed the snarkgasm. 'Cause your little parody of me in no way represents my feelings about Christians.
posted by CKmtl at 4:48 PM on February 29, 2008


So, wait. What if a newly resurrected/reincarnated Konolia returns as, say Conolio, and says that she believes that God wants everyone to be gay. Then will we start respecting her opinion?
posted by The World Famous at 4:49 PM on February 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Sorry, the troll I married is an athiest

And he's the athiest troll ever.
posted by dersins at 4:49 PM on February 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Said atheist will also soon be teasing me over this too - I would totally donate for a spell check option as yes, my spelling and proofreading suck massively.
posted by batgrlHG at 4:55 PM on February 29, 2008


Wow. I really messed up the punctuation in that last one. Sorry.
posted by The World Famous at 5:07 PM on February 29, 2008


Wow, man, I am so glad that I stayed out of this thread.

I think I even learned stuff by not just being able to shoot off knee-jerk snide remarks toward whomever I felt was being a douche at the moment.

And thus I live one more day unbanned for jerkdom!
posted by klangklangston at 5:13 PM on February 29, 2008


I mean, besides the whole suffering the slings and arrows of the disagreements in various MeFi and MeTa threads being like some form of unjust imprisonment.

that's not what i said - but you don't want to engage what i said, obviously

---

1. Failed to permaban dnab, or
2. Failed to do anything at all to discourage dnab?


3 - failed to at least indicate that he might get a time out
4 - give him a time out

it's not like i didn't suggest this last night - it's not as if this was never done to her, is it?

your pretending that you only had 2 options really isn't helping you make your case here - especially when other options were used earlier

But we haven't been sitting on our hands pointedly ignoring this sort of thing out of some partisan approval of one set of beliefs over another.

i think people are programmed to react to certain things more readily than other things and they're not always aware of that until someone points it out to them

i also know that people often will avoid understanding or confronting things they don't want to think about - konolia was a good example of that - but there are plenty of others i could say that about

today has been a black mark against this site, period

it shouldn't have happened
posted by pyramid termite at 5:15 PM on February 29, 2008


Well, I for one think that Expectations is Belle and Sebastian's best song.
posted by ludwig_van at 5:26 PM on February 29, 2008


I bit my lip when we were given the sexism tag despite much more hatred being directed at southerners than any particular sex.

Hey now, don't succumb to the "I'm more persecuted than you" virus. I too hate the anti-South bias that so many ostensible "progressives" feel free to indulge in, and I speak out frequently when it shows itself, but that has nothing to do with sexism. They're both wrong and they both need to be fought.

I was wondering if anyone else was seeing a lack of logic in pyramid termite.

I was wondering if anyone else was seeing a lack of sun in the night sky.

I'm kind of sorry konolia left, because I liked her when she wasn't being stupidly hateful, but not that sorry, because she was getting so constantly annoying she was making this a worse place. And unlike certain other members who have taken temporary breaks, I can't really believe she's capable of changing for the better. So bye bye, k, I hope you find more congenial companions who will let you spread your medieval bullshit to your heart's content.
posted by languagehat at 5:27 PM on February 29, 2008 [6 favorites]


your pretending that you only had 2 options really isn't helping you make your case here - especially when other options were used earlier

I'm not pretending that we had only 2 options. I'm explicitly saying that there are more than two options, and that we have pursued several of them over time; the objection that we "allowed it to happen" only makes sense if there's a clear specific inaction on our parts, and the only one that I can see that would actually be user-visible is banning him. If you're upste that we haven't done enough, that's basically all there is to point to.

We don't generally announce that we're considering or have given a timeout except during really crazy high-visibility short-term spikes of uncontrolled behavior; we certainly don't generally detail off-band correspondence with users, either. We try not to make a public spectacle of shaming people, and we certainly don't decided whether or not to ban or timeout users based on angry guilt-trips.

I'm sorry you're so upset about all this. I've said before, I'm not really happy with any of it either; I've never trafficked under the delusion that this place is perfect or that we as mods are. But you're being really aggressively uncompromising in your portrait of the situation, to a degree that makes it really hard to engage you in good faith here.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:31 PM on February 29, 2008


pyramid termite: "that's not what i said - but you don't want to engage what i said, obviously"

Dude, this logic game you're playing? No clue how it works. It's like you're speaking in code that I'm not able to parse. I know you didn't use "slings and arrows" - but you were giving off uber drama by comparing what's going on here to being in prison. I have no idea what you're actually trying to say though, really.
Like this for instance:

"today has been a black mark against this site, period"

So spell it out. What's the crime here? Someone was told to can the antigay commentary. If you're saying that she was denied her religious freedom of speech I don't get that - there's nothing in Christianity that requires its members to use antigay speech or promote it. Maybe I'm thick. Explain to me what you're trying to argue. Maybe you should use simple sentences and help me out.
posted by batgrlHG at 5:37 PM on February 29, 2008


Metafilter: This logic game you're playing? No clue how it works.
posted by The World Famous at 5:42 PM on February 29, 2008


I was wondering if anyone else was seeing a lack of sun in the night sky.

i was wondering if anyone else noticed a sheer lack of content in a lot of the replies here

i'm through debating such dishonest evasive people

--

We try not to make a public spectacle of shaming people, and we certainly don't decided whether or not to ban or timeout users based on angry guilt-trips.

i realize you don't - but on the other hand, there are many users who will gladly do that job even when you don't want to - and were doing it upthread

I'm sorry you're so upset about all this.

i'm sorry that i'm seemingly the only person here who realizes there is a principle involved here AND is willing to argue for it in the face of a hostile crowd

But you're being really aggressively uncompromising in your portrait of the situation, to a degree that makes it really hard to engage you in good faith here.

how is pointing out flaws in both sides' actions aggressively uncompromising?

i give up - this isn't a dialog, it's just another exercise in pointless argumentation like most metatalk threads
posted by pyramid termite at 5:48 PM on February 29, 2008


Well, this is belated, but:

i feel like i'm talking to mr a square from flatland about the 3rd dimension

Yes, and this must be a terribly gratifying sensation; I wonder how many people on the internet share it, at any given moment?

the last time i mused about the implications of people saying people don't have a choice about things, i was accused of feeding my "inner fascist", which is all too typical of the kind of discourse one finds here at times

Mmm-hmmm, well, since I have no idea what you're talking about, because you weren't talking to me, and my connection to the MetaFilter HiveMind drops in and out at the most inconvenient moments...

but now people say they do have a choice about things

Well, I say that. I don't know what "people" say, but yes, generally speaking, I think most of us would agree we're personally responsible for our actions. Perhaps the liberal strawman you're flagellating here does not. That is fine. I speak only for myself.

there are very deep philosophical and political ramifications to what we say about choice and any statement that "oh, well, she chose to do so" is FAR too glib for me to accept - and if this confuses you, prepare for more confusion as this is going to become a major social issue soon

Heavy, portentous. I am chilled; you have no idea. But here's the thing -- re: this situation that we are actually talking about, and not re: the terrifying New Babel that looms in our no doubt apocalyptic All Too Near Future -- she DID choose to do so! Yes, perhaps forces beyond her control somehow molded her decision-making process, maybe this is true of all of us, maybe we're all just sinners in the hands of an angry God, but -- but! -- neither you nor I nor even dirtynumbangelboy chose for her to do so. It wasn't us. Did some sinister outside presence choose for konolia? Dude. It could be. And I say, fuck that sinister outside presence!

Fuck it right in its fucking ear.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:59 PM on February 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'm disappointed that konolia has departed.

When she wasn't fixated on her personal religion, she was a good influence on the site. She is generally a kind and caring person, except for some specific areas of fundamental intolerance; those areas being deeply influenced by her sect's interpretation of the bible. Rather akin to how a schizoid might fundamentally believe grey aliens walk among us, she believes her God has a massive hate-on for certain types of love.

My disappointment, though, stems from her determination to not learn anything about her religion from fellow MeFites. She was presented with endless opportunities to explore her faith, learn about other faiths, and develop a deeper and broader understanding of the interpretation of the Christian bible and faith. She consistently rejected those opportunities, refusing to parley. All her information appears to come solely from some exceptionally narrow-minded sect leaders; she has no interest in developing her own understanding of faith, desiring only to accept a set of beliefs imposed by authority figures in her church.

It disappoints me because I believe konolia could, if she'd just let herself, become a very positive social force in her part of the world. She doesn't hate people: she hates a limited set of behaviours that she has been told to hate, and is too naïve or too ignorant to recognize how she has been deceived by people who wish to use her.

I think she's got enough compassion in her that, broken free of the limitations of her sect, she'd find it in herself to accept that God is love, even when it's between two same-sex partners.

And now she's thrown away what has probably been her greatest opportunity to grow spiritually. That's disappoints me.

On the other hand, my disappointment is meaningless to her, because her spiritual advisors will certainly tell her that a vulgar atheist such as myself is a devil in disguise, looking to lead her astray. In fact, I'll bet dimes to donuts that her pastor is delighted that she's no longer at risk of being contanimated by us heathen free-thinking sinners.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:00 PM on February 29, 2008 [5 favorites]


We don't generally announce that we're considering or have given a timeout except during really crazy high-visibility short-term spikes of uncontrolled behavior

You've got one now in the Abu Ghraib thread.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:03 PM on February 29, 2008


I do not understand why you people continue to attempt to hold conversation with pyramid termite. Several of you seem to recognize the futility of it, having made comments about the lack of logic and absurdity of his statements, yet you Quixotically persist. I understand how fun it is to tilt at windmills, but don't deceive yourself into thinking the effort is worth sustaining. That way would lie madness.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:12 PM on February 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


You've got one now in the Abu Ghraib thread.

Ah. That's the one I decided to skip. I see it's going every bit as well as I had imagined.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:15 PM on February 29, 2008


I do not understand why you people continue to attempt to hold conversation with pyramid termite. Several of you seem to recognize the futility of it, having made comments about the lack of logic and absurdity of his statements, yet you Quixotically persist. I understand how fun it is to tilt at windmills, but don't deceive yourself into thinking the effort is worth sustaining. That way would lie madness.

FWIW, my comment had been sitting there a while before I got the chance to post it. I don't think I would have bothered writing it after PT's exchange with cortex.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:17 PM on February 29, 2008


You've got one now in the Abu Ghraib thread.

Oy, my head.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:21 PM on February 29, 2008


"I do not understand why you people continue to attempt to hold conversation with pyramid termite."

I really think it's some kind of codetalk. Or some elaborate jest using movie quotes from a film I just can't place. Or maybe using every third word will spell out a message...

It's kind of like having chicken pox when they tell you not to scratch, and you can't help yourself. It doesn't provide any lasting relief and you're regretful, but in a few minutes you do it again anyway.
posted by batgrlHG at 6:23 PM on February 29, 2008


Is this the religion thread? Because I just looked and saw I had 666 comments and 666 favorites.
posted by nanojath at 6:43 PM on February 29, 2008


not anymore you don't MWA HA HA HA HA
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:49 PM on February 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


That's 666 too many, nanojath. You're not as evil as you thought. We're going to have to take your Iron Maiden shirt away.
posted by The World Famous at 6:50 PM on February 29, 2008


not anymore you don't MWA HA HA HA HA

No, that was my point No I can just go find something to say on the main page and I'll be in the clear for a while.
posted by nanojath at 7:00 PM on February 29, 2008


You broke your "stay out of metatalk" guideline for *that*?
posted by tkolar at 7:15 PM on February 29, 2008


Oh, and Crabby Appleton, I hope you enjoyed the snarkgasm.

Just a moment, please, I haven't finished my cigarette.

'Cause your little parody of me in no way represents my feelings about Christians.

I'm relieved to hear it, and I believe you. I was responding more to the paranoid tone of your remark. (Perhaps had I substituted "Communist" for "Christian" it would have been closer to what I was getting at, although, undoubtedly, that would have confused some people.)

And why not just go with the most straightforward interpretation of her remarks, i.e., that she was complaining about being censored and, because of the censorship, could not be explicit about her precise complaint? Why assume that she was trying to find some "coy and slippery" way to rant about gays yet again?
posted by Crabby Appleton at 7:29 PM on February 29, 2008


.. sorry I'm a bit late.. had a deadline at work.. did someone get smoked? i hate to miss a meltdown.
posted by Frasermoo at 7:40 PM on February 29, 2008


Hey now, don't succumb to the "I'm more persecuted than you" virus. I too hate the anti-South bias that so many ostensible "progressives" feel free to indulge in, and I speak out frequently when it shows itself, but that has nothing to do with sexism. They're both wrong and they both need to be fought.

Right, they both need to be fought, but one has its own tag? Look, I agree with you. Both are bad. Bigotry is bad. But I read all bazillion comments in the sexism thread and I still don't understand why one needs a flag and the other is lumped under 'other'. But it's not worth starting a metatalk thread or closing my account. And one reason is the large number of members, many not from the south, that step in and point out the hypocrisy. And I appreciate that. Sometimes the few that attack make it seem like it's a majority. But they're not.

Similarly, if we're going to blame others for konolia's exit then let's understand that as others have said this wasn't a mob. This was a few. And there's always going to be a few.
posted by justgary at 8:32 PM on February 29, 2008


I always read "konolia" and thought "canola". So hopefully when she comes back she'll pick a name that doesn't sound like a vegetable oil.
posted by puke & cry at 9:48 PM on February 29, 2008


Konolia is not a victim, but dnab has definitely acted like an ass. Konolia suffered from an uneasy truce with Mefi/admins in agreeing not to make homophobic comments; in the end, it seems that this restriction was too burdensome - and she chose to leave.

I think I know her better than to believe that after all these years one yappy dog like dnab could force her out. BatgrlHG is correct when she says that Konolia consistently brought up the anti-gay thing by referring to how she was being specifically silenced, and in doing this made a point of departing from the spirit though not the letter of the agreement. I like Konolia, but the fact is that she has continued to bring about the very thing that moderation here was seeking to avoid - shitstorms like this one - by refusing to honor that contract.

Anyone is welcome to have their opinion on whether the contract was good idea or not, but I am certainly glad that members can't ooze out remarks about, say, how some races are inferior, because God says so (because some people believe exactly this), or how women should just shut up because God says so. This wouldn't be a site where any of us would be participating if this were the case. I wish Konolia would stay and act honorably, but if it's a choice, for her, between participation and continuing to spread such a hateful message, then it's better that she leaves. I've admired some of her behavior, and been gobsmacked by sick shock at some of it, but I always thought she had a place here - as have most others, including the moderators, who've been as flexible as they possibly can about preserving/repairing/reframing her role so that she could remain. But she's often been less than gracious about this, and leaving now has been entirely her choice. Whoever has been guilty or intolerant in this scenario (and there's plenty of that here to go around), it certainly hasn't been Mefi admin.

dnab, I'm sympathetic to your feelings, and totally agree with your core message, but dayum, when you attack like a rabid hyena you lose personal support and make it easier for some to dismiss your basic position, which is a bloody shame.
posted by taz at 11:46 PM on February 29, 2008 [6 favorites]


Wow, man, I am so glad that I stayed out of this thread.

I'm right there with you, dude.

*lurks moar*
posted by BitterOldPunk at 1:09 AM on March 1, 2008


pyramid termite: "she's not the only person who's felt that a pro-theist stance here has been an invitation to abuse and mockery - i've noticed it, too.

If you'll notice, PT.... there are lots of religious folks who do just fine. Nobody harasses Miko or Pater Aletheias... because they think about their positions and can answer questions. Konolia couldn't; she would drop little gems of This Is Absolute Truth, and then refuse to answer other Christians who knew a lot more about the subject than she did. She would state, as Absolute Truth, things that appear to have made at least some of the Christians here just cringe.

Multiple people tried to engage her on multiple levels, and she just refused all of them. It was her way or the highway, and ultimately she chose the highway.
posted by Malor at 5:17 AM on March 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


I just had a thought.... the admins might have made one really critical mistake. Was it ever made clear to Konolia that she wasn't censored on Metatalk?

If she didn't know that, this thread would have been a massive exercise in frustration. I think I would have canceled too.
posted by Malor at 5:23 AM on March 1, 2008


she's not the only person who's felt that a pro-theist stance here has been an invitation to abuse and mockery - i've noticed it, too.

I don't think Metafilter is so much pro-theist as anti-condemnation. Nobody much cares what you believe in until you start parading it around as the ONE TRUTH and looking down your nose at anyone who disagrees. That sort of thing will 'cause Mefites to come outta the woodwork to verbally crucify you.

However, beatiful and thoughtful comments such as lleachie's will 'cause Mefites to come outta the woodwork to put you on a pedestal.

The lesson from all of this should simple: If you start telling others what or how they should act, expect pushback. On the other hand, if you simply live your own life and not tell others how to live theirs, you'll go far here.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:35 AM on March 1, 2008 [3 favorites]


I like konalia and consider her a friend. If she's really gone for good, it's a loss for this community.
posted by timeistight at 7:29 AM on March 1, 2008


It may be a loss for the community, but it might be plus for Konalia.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:31 AM on March 1, 2008


I just had a thought.... the admins might have made one really critical mistake. Was it ever made clear to Konolia that she wasn't censored on Metatalk?

Please try a thought experiment for me:

Substitute "KKK" for church, "blacks" for homosexuals, and "lynching" for hell-bound.

Now please tell me that you truly believe there is any place on MeFi for the proselytization of that mindset, and especially so when that loathsome combination is presented as a God-granted, universal fact.

Do you really think an arrogant, racist bastard like that would be granted free speech on MeTa? Why, then, should konolia have been allowed to spew such venomous, society-destroying garbage?
posted by five fresh fish at 8:32 AM on March 1, 2008 [3 favorites]


isn't life just so wonderful? don't you just feel great about yourselves?
posted by pyramid termite at 9:26 AM on February 29


Yeah, actually. It's a really nice day out, too. Spring has sprung and the mouth-footed cuckoos are flying out to places unknown. Cheers.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:49 AM on March 1, 2008


Metafilter is becoming an ugly place.
posted by Snyder at 9:41 AM on March 1, 2008


Metafilter is becoming an ugly place.

No, it's not. In fact, people who behave badly are choosing to leave. That can only be a good thing.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:21 AM on March 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


Metafilter is becoming an ugly place.

Nah. It's okay.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 10:29 AM on March 1, 2008


she's not the only person who's felt that a pro-theist stance here has been an invitation to abuse and mockery - i've noticed it, too.

Me three.

Metafilter has a collection of hard core anti-theists who go out of their way to denigrate religion at every turn. To announce a religious affiliation here is to publicly join a group that is regularly heaped with derision and scorn.
posted by tkolar at 10:30 AM on March 1, 2008


What Blazecock said. MetaFilter is, on balance, considerably less ugly than it used to be. It's just that people feel freer to call out the ugliness rather than putting up with it in silence.
posted by languagehat at 10:30 AM on March 1, 2008


Metafilter has a collection of hard core anti-theists who go out of their way to denigrate religion at every turn.

Yes, but there's a lot more pushback against them than there used to be, and as Brandon and others have said, people who mention or discuss their religious viewpoints without trying to shove them down people's throats tend not to be hassled.
posted by languagehat at 10:33 AM on March 1, 2008


I always read "konolia" and thought "canola". So hopefully when she comes back she'll pick a name that doesn't sound like a vegetable oil.

'It's Raining Florence Henderson' is already taken. I think 'Wessonality' is available.
posted by ericb at 10:34 AM on March 1, 2008


FFF: on Metatalk, in a thread that's about him or her, yes: a member of the KKK should be allowed to speak freely without fear of retribution.

As the Supreme Court so wisely said, the antidote to speech you don't like is more speech.

That doesn't mean the blue or the green... but I think the gray should be almost entirely uncensored, except for self-links.

Saying that konolia isn't allowed to express an opinion you don't like, while we're allowed to express our opinion that she's wrong freely -- that's incredibly rude, and wrong. That's the online equivalent of tying someone to a board and beating them. If we can talk about them, they should be able to answer any goddamn way they want.

Requiring that someone be silenced while being abused... that's insecure bullying. If your position is really correct, you don't need to fear anything she's going to say.
posted by Malor at 10:39 AM on March 1, 2008 [4 favorites]


Oh, and:

Why, then, should konolia have been allowed to spew such venomous, society-destroying garbage?

Well, you could try asking her that question, except that you've just stuffed a gag in her mouth.

Bullying. Pure and simple. I disagree with konolia's view and argued with her fervently, but realizing that she may have been crippled in her ability to respond... I feel terrible about it now. I vehemently dislike conservative Christianity, but I hate echo-chamber bullying even more.

konolia, if you're still reading, and if you were indeed unable to respond to my arguments freely: I'm sorry. I wouldn't have engaged you under those terms if I had realized what was going on. Hopefully this is wrong, and you just declined to answer, rather than being unable to.
posted by Malor at 10:49 AM on March 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


Saying that konolia isn't allowed to express an opinion you don't like, while we're allowed to express our opinion that she's wrong freely -- that's incredibly rude, and wrong. That's the online equivalent of tying someone to a board and beating them. If we can talk about them, they should be able to answer any goddamn way they want.

It sounds like the "let's kick the person who can't fight back" thing was largely limited to one person, though, whose antics the mods did attempt to rein in. It's not like MetaFilter en masse was busy delivering kidney punches while she was held down. And, for that matter, it also seems to me that you-know-what-I'm-thinking-even-though-I-can't-say-it is pretty much the same thing as saying it.

As the Supreme Court so wisely said, the antidote to speech you don't like is more speech.

The problem is that, if the drum someone beats over and over again is sufficiently loud and disruptive, in short order the thread isn't about anything else. It's all well and good to say that people should have the courage of their convictions, etc., but the fact is that most of us aren't really interested in arguing with someone about their pet peeve all the time. That's not why we're here.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 10:55 AM on March 1, 2008


Well, you could try asking her that question, except that you've just stuffed a gag in her mouth.

No one put a gag in her mouth. She chose to leave.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:56 AM on March 1, 2008


No, I'm talking about FFF's position that konolia shouldn't be allowed to say anything she wants in a thread that's largely about her. That's the gag I'm talking about, the mods having told her she can't say certain things.... not the "disable account" button.

Now, after someone has their say in the gray, if they then continue to bang their drum in the blue or the green... then yeah, banhammer time. But here, they should be uncensored.

If they can't be allowed to speak freely in the gray, they shouldn't be on Metafilter at all.
posted by Malor at 11:11 AM on March 1, 2008


No, it's not. In fact, people who behave badly are choosing to leave. That can only be a good thing.

Yes, it is. I see a coarsening of discourse here, vilification of those with opposing views, insipid moralizing self-righteousness being paraded around as immutable social truth, and ideological litmus tests, all working together to drown out anything approaching civil conversation or reasonable argument. Heated arguments, personal dislikes, all become fair game for comments across the site and across time, and are becoming much more common. It's not new, but it's certainly becoming more prevalent.

People are choosing to leave for all sorts of reasons, the people who are actually behaving are not, they just try to get rid of those who think wrong.
posted by Snyder at 11:16 AM on March 1, 2008 [3 favorites]


I'm coming at this from this disadvantage of having not been involved with the original conversation Matt and Jess had with konolia, but I'd like to clarify to the best of my ability some of this:

konolia was not told not to talk about her religion. My understanding is that after one too many dustups resulting from instances of her barging into threads regarding homosexuality, gay marriage, etc, Matt and/or Jess told her to cut specifically that sort of thing out, since it was becoming a predictable mess and she wasn't moderating her own behavior on the subject enough to prevent shitstorms.

A few people have been asked/told to lay off on specific grindy messmaking subjects (or re: specific users) in the past as well—I know I've dropped a couple different people a line in the last year saying "hey, seriously, you need to cool it on x". It's not something that's great to even have to say, because none of us believe that anything should be off-limits, ideally, but when it gets to the point of consistently causing big headaches, pragmatism kicks in.

The idea that konolia would be instabanned by us for daring to frankly discuss the issue of her past admin run-ins re: religious discussions strikes me as kind of a weird and hardcore distortion of the reality of the situation. Again, I wasn't there when Matt/Jess had this talk, but as far as I know konolia wasn't on crazy asshole thin ice, and in my opinion really kind of way oversold and way underclarified (however unintentionally) the situation when she brought it up in that recent metatalk thread she posted.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:19 AM on March 1, 2008


Ah, okay...it sounded like maybe she felt she wasn't being allowed to express her opinion freely in these Meta threads, but maybe she misunderstood, was spinning it for the 'poor me' effect, or was using it as an excuse to avoid thinking about the issues people were raising.

I doubt you'll ever have the exact problem again, but just in general, it seems like if a user has to be told that something's off limits in the gray... maybe it'd be better to just boot them instead. Blue and Green restrictions are perfectly sensible. But here? If they can't be trusted to speak freely here, particularly in threads that are about their axegrindy issue... well, I think a ban (+ refund?) would be more appropriate than a muzzle.
posted by Malor at 11:45 AM on March 1, 2008


MetaTalk: kind of a weird and hardcore distortion of the reality of the situation
posted by puke & cry at 12:02 PM on March 1, 2008


It's really touchy to talk about something like this when what we try to take care of with a few emails becomes largely public and then contested. I also feel weird about it when a user doesn't have the ability [whether through their own mechanism or ours] to respond to people talking about them.

Generally speaking konolia was asked to leave the "gay people are sinners" rhetoric off of MetaFilter proper, that's it. This was the alternative, at the time, to being banned because of the way threads on gay topics were continually and predictably derailed by these sorts of conversations which, to the best of my recollection, only she was starting. Certain MeFi members lobbied us about fixing this and we agreed with their assessment. We've done similar things on Israel/Palestine topics ("Please do not make every thread on or about Israel into a rant about Palestine") and I'm not sure what else. It's rare, and no one else has responded in the sort of strange "I'd like to respond to that but I can't" way that konolia has.

However, and I agree with taz here strongly, konolia followed the letter and not the spirit of the law and was still occasionally a divisive personality in threads on Christian-related topics precisely because of her inability or unwillingness to engage or couch her assertions with "I believe that" or "my faith teaches me that" disclaimers. This certaintude on touchy topics, combined with the "I can't talk about that" lines which were, to me, a way of voicing her displeasure with the entire situation made for an unpleasant situation overall. Adding this to the bunnyfire hijinks and I have to say personally that even though I like konolia and wish we could have found a way for her to stay here, she was a very labor-intensive community member from a moderator perspesctive.

Again, no one minds discussing these issues, we mind constant dismissive and hurtful rhetoric directed towards members of the community. Konolia has emailed us privately and said that she left the site happily and "didn't leave mad" (and said it was okay to share that information) so I suggest people who want to get more inside her frame of mind can email her directly to chat more.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:18 PM on March 1, 2008 [3 favorites]


I suggest people who want to get more inside her frame of mind can email her directly to chat more.

Unfortunately, this is only true if they already knew her e-mail, since all her personal info got auto-wiped when she hit the button.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 2:50 PM on March 1, 2008


this is only true if they already knew her e-mail

Or if they check her MetaChat profile (if you're registered) where her email is revealed to be her MeFi username at gmail.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:52 PM on March 1, 2008


Heated arguments, personal dislikes, all become fair game for comments across the site and across time, and are becoming much more common.

I know that I was recently called an anti-Semite and that was cleaned up by the admins pretty quickly. No offense, but you're projecting.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:19 PM on March 1, 2008


Late to the thread but weighing in anyway because: why the hell not.

konolia said: "I just do not have the time to keep defending my views and my right to have them. I'd much rather simply have my views, period."

It seems fairly clear to me that konolia couldn't or wouldn't differentiate between [the right to have her views] and [the right to share them however she saw fit, which also created the responsibility to defend those views]. And if so, then, she made the right choice to leave -- since she wants to "simply have [her] views, period," and not have to defend them -- which isn't what MeFi is about.

Reverend John said: "OK.... So I've learned a few things here... Konolia was Bunnyfire... Bunnyfire was banned... She talked about being treated for bipolar disorder and depression, and required medication... So, we've managed to make a sick woman miserable enough to close her account. ...She obviously enjoyed being on Metafilter despite the grief it brought her."

"We" didn't "make a sick woman" do anything. It's really annoying to me that someone would expect the entire community to give bad behavior a pass because of what a person might or might not have going on IRL. It's really annoying to me that it's okay to go through a person's posting history and go, "Ohhhh! Well, if we'd known she was on medication..."

MetaFilter has a set of community standards. True, they aren't black and white, and they constantly morph and change -- but they do exist. A person is either capable of playing by the rules in (ahem) good faith, or he is not... but the idea that there is an in-between -- where anyone who claims to have some sort of extenuating circumstance should be handled with kid gloves -- is just bullshit.

Regarding the general insinuation that we should have coddled and tolerated the not-really-a-rant rants and faith-as-fact mode of personal expression: I have said it before vis-a-vis the political minority opinions here, and the same is true for religious minority opinions... I don't believe that it's worth sacrificing the goodwill of the community to let people behave badly strictly because we need to preserve diversity of opinion. Diversity of viewpoints is so, so valuable here... but we should hold up those who are able to express their minority opinion with respect and thoughtful mutual participation... not lionize and martyr those who purposely act inappropriately or in a way that goes against the accepted community standards for behavior.
posted by pineapple at 4:42 PM on March 1, 2008 [6 favorites]


For some interesting (at least to me) reading about the mindset of dispensational millenism, of which I'm fairly certain konolia is down with, see this often amusing, always horrifying analysis of the Left Behind series.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:17 PM on March 1, 2008


"I know I've dropped a couple different people a line in the last year saying "hey, seriously, you need to cool it on x". "

Y'know, since I know I'm not allowed to talk about the four corner simultaneous 24-hour world days, but I really don't appreciate these oblique references from the admins.

You're educated stupid.
posted by klangklangston at 5:36 PM on March 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


It's really annoying to me that it's okay to go through a person's posting history and go, "Ohhhh! Well, if we'd known she was on medication..."

Ditto.

I'm sure you meant well, Reverend John, but part of the destigmatization of mental illness is also the removal of those well-meaning "let's be / we should be super extra special nice to the sick person" urges. There's being supportive, which is great, and then there's handling people with kid gloves, y'know? It's the flip side of the "ohh, he's crazy, he's a broken person" coin. Both sides of that coin are a problem.

If we're going to have a List Of MeFites We Should Be Extra Special Nice To Because They're On Psychoactive Medication, it's going to be a big list. Just look at how many questions there are on AskMe about psych meds, and how many frank answers they get. That's just the people who admit to being on psych meds, there's probably a fair amount of members who are on them but haven't chimed in to answer those questions. I'm pretty sure that most of them would not want to be singled out for special treatment, be it positive or negative, because of their prescriptions. I'm pretty sure that most of them would just want to be treated with the common courtesy that normal people should expect. Because they are normal people.
posted by CKmtl at 7:00 PM on March 1, 2008


konolia was talking quite a bit about not having enough time as much as about her issues with the way people reacted to her beliefs recently. She elected to leave without further comment, and while I'm sure some will scoff at this idea, I believe her intention in this was not to make a big fuss about it. She said she wasn't interested in putting it to a vote. But given her lack of explanation this branch of this thread is pointless and it sure is bringing out the High Horse brigade.

You can't expect to express views controversial to a community and not have to spend time defending them. As far as it sometimes getting a little rough and nasty, oh, wait, am I on the internet here? Electing not to participate is a perfectly reasonable alternative.
posted by nanojath at 7:58 PM on March 1, 2008


Let me again recommend that blog series, Left Behind. That link is to a bit that has started making this all the more interesting; we've finally met a character within that crazy pre-millennialist disposationalist religious movement. The other half of that entry also provides some interesting insight.

I'm reading a few entries a day, working from the beginning of the blog. I read some of the threads, rapidly skimming for posts that could be interesting or insightful, ie. more than a quip. There have been some stunners in the threads (during this bit of the book/blog) because we're beginning to hear from people who've been evangel discuss what it meant to them.

This is, I believe, konolia's world, or close to it: the hierarchy of pastors, the rather creative reading of the bible, the confidence that they need to really care how they harm society's long-term interests because the Rapture is almost here; thus, they justify picketing clinics, pushing science out of the curriculum, sending crusaders into the mid east, and so on.

Either way, it's making for some good reading. Some of you might really appreciate it.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:18 PM on March 1, 2008


Also, it's the very model of what MeFi should be, although I'm not sure such can be done (a) with 60 000 members and (b) without heavy-handed moderation.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:20 PM on March 1, 2008


This kind of crap is one of the reasons I don't participate much in Metafilter discussions. Random asshats feel free to attribute to others whatever opinions they've pulled out from under their hats. Apparently this even extends to attributing a ready-made world view embodied in a work of mass-market fiction to someone to caricature their views. Who would want to spend their time refuting this garbage? And yet the popularly acclaimed rule here seems to be "silence gives assent". It's not worth it.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 8:50 PM on March 1, 2008


And yet the popularly acclaimed rule here seems to be "silence gives assent".

I'm not sure how that's a popularly acclaimed rule at all, actually. Where are you getting that? I think in general, what's actually taken around here is that vocal assent gives assent, vocal dissent gives dissent, and of anyone who isn't talking we don't know what is up.

For what it's worth, I've got a lot less investment in an internal model of konolia's worldview than five fresh fish seems to; I have no idea if he's assessment of konolia's perspective above is on the mark or not, and it his go at it strikes me as a little weird.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:59 PM on March 1, 2008


I've been reading the blog for several weeks. It was synchronicity that had K depart the same time the LB blog was getting interestingly insightful. Some people here have been sticking out the discussion; these same people may be interested in the LB blog. That's really all there is to it.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:37 PM on March 1, 2008


It just occurred to me that maybe you think I'm saying K is a PMDeist. I'm not; I'm confident she is not.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:41 PM on March 1, 2008


So are you gonna hit the button or what, Crabby Appleton? Shit or get off the pot.
posted by puke & cry at 10:06 PM on March 1, 2008


And yet the popularly acclaimed rule here seems to be "silence gives assent".

Yeppers. Behold, the power of the silent 66597 (And counting!) in all its mute and terrible glory:















Okay, it's a little underwhelming.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:35 PM on March 1, 2008


If God/Jehovah/Yahweh/The Invisible Sky Being/Etc./Etc. had wanted us to argue our beliefs, he should have made up more interesting stories.
posted by amyms at 10:42 PM on March 1, 2008


I don't participate in Metafilter discussions because the 3% of the "members" here who actively participate in discussions tend to be assholes. Mean spirited assholes who think five bucks is a pass to be a cock.

But that's just my opinion, I could be wrong.
posted by disclaimer at 5:29 AM on March 2, 2008


Time for haiku now!
Moral judgements verboten?
Maybe, maybe not.
posted by languagehat at 6:51 AM on March 2, 2008


No thread is complete
without the ever-charming
puke & cry's comment.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 1:23 PM on March 2, 2008


But that's just my opinion, I could be wrong.
posted by disclaimer at 8:29 AM on March 2


eponysterical!
posted by kuujjuarapik at 1:43 PM on March 2, 2008

"We" didn't "make a sick woman" do anything. It's really annoying to me that someone would expect the entire community to give bad behavior a pass because of what a person might or might not have going on IRL. It's really annoying to me that it's okay to go through a person's posting history and go, "Ohhhh! Well, if we'd known she was on medication..."
posted by pineapple at 4:42 PM on March 1
If we're going to have a List Of MeFites We Should Be Extra Special Nice To Because They're On Psychoactive Medication, it's going to be a big list. Just look at how many questions there are on AskMe about psych meds, and how many frank answers they get. That's just the people who admit to being on psych meds, there's probably a fair amount of members who are on them but haven't chimed in to answer those questions. I'm pretty sure that most of them would not want to be singled out for special treatment, be it positive or negative, because of their prescriptions. I'm pretty sure that most of them would just want to be treated with the common courtesy that normal people should expect. Because they are normal people.
posted by CKmtl at 7:00 PM on March 1
Both good points, and I don't think I expressed myself well the first time. I merely meant that my discovery colored my view of her. I realized something that should have been obvious, which is that a lot of people online have issues. This realization on my part made me a little more sympathetic to Konolia, and made me more upset at the more venomous attacks on her. At the same time I wondered if it also applied to her most enthusiastic attackers.

The "shame on you" tone of that post should have been directed more towards myself, except I saw myself as being representative of the people who would have liked to see Konolia made miserable. That might be an overly broad generalization as well, so lets just restrict it to the group of people who think like me, who may number only one. I just came to see her as a more troubled person than I previously had, between her previous identity and her postings about depression. The fact that she had stuck around here despite it all made me sadder to think that she had finally broken down.
posted by Reverend John at 1:52 PM on March 2, 2008


Cortex, to answer your question, I'm getting it here.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 11:30 AM on March 3, 2008


... what?
posted by shmegegge at 11:45 AM on March 3, 2008


Crabby Appleton, can you please elaborate a bit? I don't understand what you're getting at.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:52 PM on March 3, 2008


I think Crabby Appleton has a Case of the Mondays.

/hides
posted by amyms at 1:46 PM on March 3, 2008


Have you made the slightest effort to understand it? Somehow, cortex, I don't think you're so dim that you can't see that the thread that precipitated dirtynumbangelboy's flame-out is a textbook example of what I'm talking about.

dnab made a comment. Assholes deliberately mischaracterized what he said. dnab eventually got sick of responding to distortions of his position and flamed out. Assholes continued to attack after he had left the thread (and the site). Apparently, silence gives assent to continue to harangue someone after they've left the thread, at the very least.

And, just for fun, here's a quotation from CKmtl in that very thread:
When someone tells you that you're misreading them, calm the fuck down and either give them a chance to re-express themselves or go back and try to re-read what was said in a different way from the reading that you've been told is a mistaken one. In either case, drop the mistaken reading. Not doing so *is* bad intent, as is writing off as a derail someone's frustration at that bad intent.
To which I can only say Amen. And this is a pattern (with or without the flameout) that occurs over and over again. I'm surprised you've never noticed it.

And that's a Case of the Moandays, amyms, as in "piss & moan", which is at least better than "puke & cry".
posted by Crabby Appleton at 2:03 PM on March 3, 2008


And that's a Case of the Moandays, amyms, as in "piss & moan"

Nah, it was just a silly "Office Space" reference:

Peter: Let me ask you something. When you come in on Monday, and you're not feelin' real well, does anyone ever say to you, 'Sounds like someone has a case of the Mondays'?

Lawrence: No. No, man. Shit, no, man. I believe you'd get your ass kicked sayin' something like that, man.

posted by amyms at 2:20 PM on March 3, 2008


Sorry, I'd forgotten that one. I identify more with the gentleman with the red stapler.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 2:28 PM on March 3, 2008


I think you need to chill a bit, crabby. dnab's always been easy to set off. sure, there were people being real dicks in there, and some of them are regulars to the dick team, but that's the internet. nobody can run around moderating every asshole thing said on this site. it's supposed to be that we enforce our own manners here at that level. the problem is that the politics threads (or simply politically charged topics like capital punishment) draw the assholes out of the woodwork so that voices of reason are drowned out. whatever you imagine could have been done to prevent dnab leaving, it's not a problem of moderator silence. it's not like they should have been tearing around that thread handing out timeouts to 90% of the commenters in the thread for violating the "paying closer attention to dirtynumbangelboy's intentions" statute.

when things are that contentious, not just here but everywhere on the internet, you bring your helmet or you back out.

it also didn't help that a lot of people don't have a very high opinion of dnab and were therefore less likely to give him a fair shake, regardless of anything the mod's could have done.
posted by shmegegge at 2:59 PM on March 3, 2008


I rest my case.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 3:03 PM on March 3, 2008


And this is a pattern (with or without the flameout) that occurs over and over again. I'm surprised you've never noticed it.

It does happen fairly often, but I too don't see what the mods could do about it - except, maybe, in the case of a user who does it regularly and almost predictably and needs an general email talking-to.

I think other users stepping in with a "uh, guys, wtf?" like weirdo did is a better solution. It's not perfect, since the users who are willing to do that aren't necessarily reading the threads in which it's needed, and there's the "I don't want to get involved in this shitstorm" hurdle to overcome. But I think it's preferable to a mod-sided solution. There's only a few of them, who may or may not be paying attention to that thread when a little nudge would be effective, and... well... to the misreading party, it might come off as mod favoratism and micromanagement.
posted by CKmtl at 3:29 PM on March 3, 2008


It's too late, CKmtl. Crappy Appleton has rested his case.
posted by shmegegge at 3:32 PM on March 3, 2008


Have you made the slightest effort to understand it? Somehow, cortex, I don't think you're so dim that you can't see that the thread that precipitated dirtynumbangelboy's flame-out is a textbook example of what I'm talking about.

Pinning me down as being either stupid or lazy is a lousy way to get me to hear you out, CA. It's exactly the sort of jabby shit that leads to interpersonal squabbles and eventually sometimes meltdowns around here, and I'd recommend maybe you rethink your approach on this sort of thing, even (or especially) if you're upset at all by what you're responding to.

That said, I'll tell you what: I was peripherally aware of that thread because of some flags coming in (which Matt and/or Jess dealt with), but I wasn't reading or commenting in it. So let me take a stroll through it from when dnab shows up and see if I can make some sense of what I'm seeing either way. Forgive the length, but I want to try and at least summarize the whole arc from a fresh reading.

Okay. Contentious topic as a setting, that should be fun: conviction of a rapist murderer, including graphic transcript, prompting discussion of his post-conviction fate. Times mentioned are PST, where I am.

So, tkolar with a fairly strong admitted visceral reaction to what he's just read; then there's dnab coming into the thread with kind of a dismissive short comment followed by a much better longer one not long after, re: the distinction between somehow who has done terrible things and someone who is a monster, and also the rationale of applied justice; nasreddin arguing the same case and addressing some of the responses. Doug takes a bitchy and oversimplified shot at dnab, dnab takes a measured but also kind of bitchy shot back, but still high ground as that goes. This is all as of about 9am on 3/1.

Doug sort of halfway backs off and clarifies a little; tkolar comes back with a more moderate take on the situation. Things are kind of quiet and good for the next hour and a half or so. Then kittens for breakfast comes in with paragraph disagreeing strongly with dnab's "there but for the grace of..." argument. dnab comes back pretty snippily, recycles his "decaf" line (personal opinion: this is kind of an asshole move on his part and a bad sign for where things are going), gets dismissive. kfb comes back with a reference to pyramid termite re: dnab—this metatalk thread here, in other words. dnab objects (reasonably) that kfb is blowing his take out of proportion, but does so kind of jerkily himself. kfb comes back with her own refutation. It's about 11am.

The thread continues again for a while, pretty much civil and discussy, fshgrl arguing a "some people are outliers/creepy" vector. Good long comment from nasreddin; tkolar clarifies his position on the death penalty. A little after 1pm, dnab comes back with some short reply to tkolar's statement as well as some elaboration on his "society fail this man" comments earlier. fshgrl elaborates on her "people are going to avoid weirdos" statement. dnab dismisses her outright as worth talking to. Gah, that's honestly frustrating to see from him.

Several hours pass, some new folks jump in (or back in) to the conversation with some more good discussion. null terminated makes a good comment in part disagreeing respectfully with some of the "society failed him" argument dnab has been advancing.

About 7am 3/2, dnab reacts really strongly negatively to part of null terminated's comment. foot snarks at dnab using his own "decaf" and "proportion" words from earlier. null terminated comes back a bit obnoxiously in his own right now, mistaking a typo ("is" for "isn't") as a self-refutation by dnab. Three people in a row, dnab last of them, points out that it's a typo, but dnab is the only way who says "fucking" as part of it; in this and a comment a couple later he repeats his "don't put words in my mouth" language. (Understandable feeling, but maybe not the best way to put it when "I think you've misunderstood me, here's what I meant" would do the same work without being so accusatory.)

About noon on 3/2 now. Snyder shows up, disagrees with dnab's assertion that null terminated is putting words in his mouth, offers his own argument on the "society's fault" line. dnab replies re: pity, and also rolls out the "putting words in my mouth" thing again re: Snyder. null terminated suggests dnab either is fucking with him or is an idiot. (Classy, null terminated. Ugh.) Goes on to point-by-point a couple areas of their disagreement, closes comment angry. dnab replies with a (later deleted) one-liner calling null terminated a dipshit, with a couple bonus "fucking" intensifiers to stick the point.

Snyder follows up with argument that dnab's rhetorical approach seems unsympathetic to the victim. Justinian pipes up with "flameout?", probably partly in reference to dnab's previous now-deleted shot back at null terminated. null terminated argues that the obvious typo wasn't so obvious because it read to him as an actual recap of dnab's argument.

dnab adds a comment refuting a prior comment arguing his lack of sympathy toward the victim in his comment. Throws in gratuitous "IQ of a ball of lint" line, oy. Snyder snarks about "words in my mouth" theme. dnab snarks back re: same. Snyder replies on different tack re: his previous arguments against dnab's "society failed him" comments. dnab replies to that, jumping for the nth time so far into a register of extreme sarcasm. Comments again, declaring himself "out of here" re: thread, at about 12:30pm.

Snyder replies in a couple comments to the tail end of his argument with dnab, and then calls dnab on leaving the thread mid-argument. Makes another comment changing the subject back to thread itself. A few hours pass; user weirdo hops in defending dnab's failure to explicitly blame killer earlier in thread, decides to call null terminated and Snyder "obviously fucking morons" in the process. More time passes; at some point that evening, dnab closes his account. Thread continues, slower but bubbling along in various main-thread discussions.

Post-mortem so far:

If there was something completely unreasonable going on up there, I didn't see it. I saw some not-great stuff between dnab and a few other people; I can sympathize with dnab at some of the misreading, but it seems like a relatively run-of-the-mill debate for a charged thread, even kind of sedate compared to the real storms we've seen before. dnab could have stood to be a lot less snarky, and so could some of the folks he was arguing with, but dnab has had a habit of being pretty damned aggressive and snarky in arguments before—he's no shrinking violet.

I have a hard time seeing him as outmanned in any reasonable sense in that thread, and he certainly wasn't a sole voice against a mob; he and nasreddin were arguing more or less the same case, and on the typo thing a couple people got his back without pause.

So your summary was this:

dnab made a comment. Assholes deliberately mischaracterized what he said. dnab eventually got sick of responding to distortions of his position and flamed out.

What I just spent the last hour or so reading through doesn't really bear that out. I'd say "dnab made a comment; a couple of users didn't get from his comment what he intended; an argument ensued; probably three or four people, dnab very much included, displayed some bursts of assholism in the course of the argument; dnab left the thread; hours later, dnab closed his account."

I'm sorry he closed his account. I'm really pretty bothered that he decided to go out with a big Fuck You Guys metatalk thread—one where he decided to name several of his nemeses, etc, and I honestly think it was a damned sour note for him to end on, but it's also kind of, hey, that's dnab. He's always been strong-willed and confrontational and tending toward the personal on the site, which had it's ups and downs (I like that he was passionate about the things he believed in; I dislike that he tended to get into vendettas and chase people around and call them fuckers at times) but I think ultimately the way he chose to leave wasn't showing off his better qualities. So be it, people get upset and they act rashly. It's human, okay.

And, for all that, no: I'm still not clear what you're trying to say with the "silence gives assent" thing. I'm not clear whose silence, or assent to what, you think is present either in this specific instance or systemically in mefi. Can you please elaborate, in your own words, about the specifics of what you are objecting to?
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:45 PM on March 3, 2008 [11 favorites]


Somewhere, John Madden blushes.
posted by CKmtl at 4:06 PM on March 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


<reaches into case, extracts beer> You young'uns beat all I ever seen!

I never said that the moderators should do anything about this. I was addressing cortex because he asked me some questions.

I never said that the moderators should have somehow prevented dnab's flameout. I'm not a fan of dnab, but, again, as I said, the thread that precipitated his flameout is an example of the dynamic I was trying to explain. (And just to head this off, Konolia's situation, though similar, was different in significant ways.)

I never said that the problem is unique to MetaFilter. It is prevalent in MetaFilter, though.

God, this is tiresome.

Wait a minute, I get it, you guys are just baiting me, right? Ha ha, good one! You sure had me going there!

By the way, it's always amusing when people explain to me how things are on the internet. I've been on the internet since 1980 (when it was called the ARPAnet and used the NCP protocol; I remember the cut-over to TCP/IP in 1983). Could you guys stay off my lawn for a little while? I've got some work I need to get done...

On preview: I see a long comment by cortex, but I'm going to go ahead and post this before I read it.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 4:12 PM on March 3, 2008


"I see a long comment by cortex, but I'm going to go ahead and post this before I read it."

newb
posted by Tenuki at 4:17 PM on March 3, 2008


I always read "konolia" and thought "canola".

I always read it and thought 'cornhole ya'. Which is kind of ironic, I suppose.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:24 PM on March 3, 2008


tl;dr

Just kidding. I read it, but it'll probably be tomorrow sometime before I can respond to it.

Tenuki: u r a laff riot! LOL!!!!111!!!!!11!21
posted by Crabby Appleton at 4:37 PM on March 3, 2008


I would just like to point out, re: cortex's otherwise pretty damn accurate summary, that kfb is a MAN, baby. I'd also like to say, despite dnab's claims that anyone who couldn't see the wisdom of what he was saying was simply too dense and/or evil to comprehend him, that his point was fairly clear. It was just...wrong. Crazy, way far out there wrong way past what we normally think of when we think of things that are wrong: wrong on basically every level. IMO. He did indeed send me a snippy email, per my request (well, I requested the email...), and I replied to him at great length, not realizing that he'd already, you know, closed his account by then. Such is life.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:53 PM on March 3, 2008


that kfb is a MAN, baby

My humblest, kfb. There's a complicated hop-and-skip of reinforcement going on here: bitter-girl.com -> bitterkitten -> kittens for breakfast, with a couple of sides of ArmyOfKittens and fluffy battle kitten on the side. But eating kittens is an unquestionably manly art, so I should have know better.

It was just...wrong. Crazy, way far out there wrong way past what we normally think of when we think of things that are wrong: wrong on basically every level.

I don't really agree. I can see the merit in both his position and in some of the arguments against it, but I think his basic idea was fundamentally pretty good and it was a point worth making, even if the way he chose to make it (and the way that folks reacted to that, and so forth) wasn't great.

IMO.

Well, fine. Heh.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:01 PM on March 3, 2008


what kind of patience-enhancing substance do you mods have in your water cooler? wow. My hat's off to you for that play-by-play, cortex.
posted by LobsterMitten at 5:08 PM on March 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


hey, that's dnab.

Yeah, that about sums it up. He had some good things to say, but was always incredibly touchy, and I can't say his flameout surprised me. His departure says almost nothing about MetaFilter and a whole lot about dnab.

[crabby crab crab]
posted by Crabby Appleton


Eponysterical!
posted by languagehat at 5:14 PM on March 3, 2008


Awwwww...fluffy battle kitten...!

I just...I don't know. Maybe his point really was something other than the point he seemed to be making, which was that society was really to blame for people like this, or at least could've prevented him from lashing out this way, when basically everything we know about people like this implies otherwise. Enough otherwise intelligent people have dnab's back that I'm willing to concede that maybe...somehow?...it was more nuanced? But it didn't come across that way to me. And I couldn't tell if he was going for some kind of extreme contrarian position just to, y'know, do it, or if he really somehow believed what he was saying. That he was incapable of replying to what I thought were pretty reasonable objections without snark, derision and condescension didn't much give me a "good faith" sense. I pulled back when I realized it was headed for "no, fuck you" territory, which I try to stay away from. To be honest, he really just seems like a jerk to me, but if he was just having a rough day or whatever, I'm sorry for whatever role I played in him flaming out.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:25 PM on March 3, 2008


Hey cortex, your summary have been favorited by six women (and no men) so far. What's your secret? (Feel free to send MeMail.)
posted by Crabby Appleton at 6:03 PM on March 3, 2008


"Hey cortex, your summary have been favorited by six women (and no men) so far. What's your secret?"

I'm going to step out on a cuh-raaaaaaazy limb here, and guess...not being crabby?

Chicks dig the Jesus look too, though, so.
posted by pineapple at 6:08 PM on March 3, 2008


I dunno, pineapple, even I have to give him props for his first paragraph. Crabalicious!
posted by Crabby Appleton at 6:34 PM on March 3, 2008


Why is the eating of kittens a particularly manly art?
posted by onlyconnect at 8:03 PM on March 3, 2008


(not a serious question.)
posted by onlyconnect at 8:05 PM on March 3, 2008



Why is the eating of kittens a particularly manly art?


On average, women lack the upper body strength to rend them limb from limb.
posted by tkolar at 8:22 PM on March 3, 2008


I thought maybe it was that women might eshew meat for breakfast (whereas they might be tempted by a kitten salad for lunch).
posted by onlyconnect at 8:36 PM on March 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


...women might eshew meat for breakfast...

Well, no matter what your gender, it's important that you eschew your food well.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:58 PM on March 3, 2008


I believe women deal with kittens by stepping on their little heads with stiletto heels, then grinding the blood and goo into the pavement.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:11 PM on March 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Hey cortex, your summary have been favorited by six women (and no men) so far. What's your secret?

Being super-careful to go through what was actually said and give all parties a fairly evenhanded interpretation with no "fuck you" and "you people make me sick" blah blah posturing? In a semi-toxic thread, to reply to people in a different semi-toxic thread, with regard to someone who opened what would have been a super-toxic thread?

Not sure why it's only women favoriting it, but man, if every "fuck you - no fuck YOU" idiot back and forth received this kind of careful dispassionate parsing, the reward for the "let's get riled and shout" crowd would deflate like crazy. The reason that toxic crap flourishes is because patient people of good will and good humor can't be bothered to wade into the morass and just be a voice of reason and cool things off. It's time consuming and can be emotionally draining. So whenever someone does this kind of labor-intensive wade-in, they get full marks from me.

Is that a gendered preference for a better level of discourse? If it were, we'd be better off with all women. BUT I don't think it is.

I suspect those favorites are coming because there are a few specific women around here who went through those epic feminism threads, in which there was a temporary period of "fuck you - no fuck you, that's not what I said" which then cooled off and led to better discussion -- and that experience has led us to be especially attentive to this sort of issue, and to how labor-intensive but necessary these kinds of wade-in interventions are.
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:41 PM on March 3, 2008 [3 favorites]


also: kitten salad is an adorable idea, and I want a t-shirt.
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:44 PM on March 3, 2008


I just favorited cortex's comment to provide some gender balance.

Also, kitten omelet makes a great breakfast.
posted by languagehat at 6:16 AM on March 4, 2008


Also, kitten omelet makes a great breakfast.
... especially with catsup.
posted by prophetsearcher at 9:10 AM on March 4, 2008


I never said that the moderators should do anything about this. I was addressing cortex because he asked me some questions.

This is... just not true. Cortex asked you to elaborate on your comment about silence giving assent. You haven't actually elaborated on it yet. If your comment was NOT meant to imply that the moderators should have done or said something to communicate to the community at large that they were not cool with people snarking at each other or piling on or whatever, then what precisely was your "silence gives assent" comment supposed to mean? You've been anything but clear and it's looking rather strongly like you didn't really mean anything so much as you were just letting out air.
posted by shmegegge at 10:38 AM on March 4, 2008


Wow, schmegegge. I guess you're just trying to illustrate my point for me. I hope that's what it is.

Perhaps I haven't been clear, and, if so, I apologize for that. But at least I don't just make shit up about what other people have said. Read what I wrote. There's no mention of moderators, there's no implication about moderators. Contrary to what the voices in your head may have told you, my "silence gives assent" comment was not about moderators, was not directed toward moderators, and has nothing to do with moderators, period.

I have to go to a dentist's appointment. When I come back, I'll tell you what the comment was suposed to mean, to the best of my ability. I guess you really do need that.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 11:39 AM on March 4, 2008


Hey, thanks for the condescension. You're a stand up guy, crabby.

Perhaps I haven't been clear, and, if so, I apologize for that.

You hadn't, but honestly that's not worth an apology so much as your insufferable attitude is.

Read what I wrote. There's no mention of moderators,

fine. but I did read what you wrote, and you didn't mention who you were addressing at all, contrary to what the voices in your head may have told you. period. this is why cortex was asking you to elaborate (which apparently you'll get around to doing, after your dentist's appointment.) If you really can't see why someone would think you were addressing the moderators, I'll elaborate for you why I (and apparently others) thought so once I get back from my dentist's appointment. I guess you really need that.
posted by shmegegge at 11:54 AM on March 4, 2008


ok, I'm back. so anyway, I thought you were addressing the moderators because it doesn't make sense for you to be speaking about anyone else. at least, it doesn't unless I accept the idea that you believe that we would all assume fff was right about the left behind thing simply because konolia didn't respond to it after closing her account. I mean, maybe it's because I wasn't part of ARPAnet, but that really just sounds too ridiculous to have been what you intended to say. I'm trying to give you the benefit of the doubt here that you didn't really try to say that we all assumed fff was right simply because konolia had closed her account and didn't open another one to tell him he was wrong.

Not to mention that the thread you linked to in order to support whatever it was you were trying to say, namely dnab's leaving thread, wouldn't have supported that idea at all since he DID spend quite a lot of time trying to refute what other people were saying about him.

So yeah, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you weren't trying to make that inconsistent and fallacious an argument and instead repeat once again the request that you elaborate a bit on your poorly phrased original comment. On top of that, I'll also repeat my original notion that you need to chill a bit, since your attitude right now reeks of slashdot's smug superiority and makes you look like an asshole. at least, that's what my dentist thinks.
posted by shmegegge at 12:08 PM on March 4, 2008


I suspect I'm right, and Crabby's going for a J'accuse!/Edmund Burke(?) sort of thing. But we won't know for sure until the rinse and spit!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 12:14 PM on March 4, 2008


Funny story: So I just realized that I may have been unclear in one of the two comments I most recently posted. What I may have been unclear about is that I fully understand that I have misunderstood whatever it was crabby was trying to say. whatever he was trying to say, he was apparently not saying it about the admins. just wanted to make sure that I've acknowledged that, here.

Now, the funny thing is that when I came to that realization my brain immediately came up with 2 ways to handle it. The first way, which I just typed out above, was to acknowledge the possibility of my having been unclear and to clarify my intended statement.

The second way, what I shall call the Crabby Appleton way, was to immediately prepare mentally for the possibility that someone would respond to my comment with one of the possible misreadings and immediately accuse that person of stupidity, laziness or both. It would be important to claim that there could not possibly be any way to misinterpret what I said without being colossally stupid. That way, everyone would know that I am infallible insofar as mortal man is capable of being, and that my one inescapable sin would have been not to have accounted for the sheer idiocy mefites are capable of when I originally spoke. Afterward, when objection was inevitably made to the way in which I had responded, I would begin a program of condescension so thinly masked as a desire to be clear that none but the most ignorant of readers could have mistaken it for anything but the insult I intended it to be. If further objections were made, I suppose I would have begun the next comment with something along the lines of "let me put this in language you can understand: me speak good. you no listen," and then sat back, basking in my triumph as true lord and master of internet debate.
posted by shmegegge at 12:38 PM on March 4, 2008


In the future could cortex just summarize every metatalk thread so that the option of just reading the calm, sane version of all of our freak outs was available?
posted by onlyconnect at 1:17 PM on March 4, 2008 [2 favorites]


Contrary to what the voices in your head may have told you, my "silence gives assent" comment was not about moderators, was not directed toward moderators, and has nothing to do with moderators, period.

Oddly, the voices on the screen haven't told anyone what the hell you meant either.
posted by tkolar at 3:01 PM on March 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


Why do these callouts always turn out to be histronisterical.
posted by mrmojoflying at 4:20 PM on March 4, 2008


Your dental appointment was fourteen minutes long?

I'm guessing you used it as a metaphor for taking a dump.

CA has been gone for about five hours.

Must be a multi-flusher.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:04 PM on March 4, 2008


Sheesh, I probably should just stay out of this, but god this got ridiculous. Crabby said:

And yet the popularly acclaimed rule here seems to be "silence gives assent". It's not worth it.

And then shmegegge's going on about how this is related to moderators. What the hell? How do you get 'popularly acclaimed' with a population of three?

It strikes me as pretty obvious that Crabby's saying that a large fraction of the MeFi population assumes that silence means agreement. I don't think he's right about that: I don't see any supporting evidence whatsoever.

But instead of disputing that, it appears that shmegegge went through some curious thought process linking those two sentences to the moderators. How he got there will forever remain a mystery to me. He appears to be attempting to explain it, but his words don't parse into any kind of argument that makes sense to me.

Maybe I'm just dumb, but I don't get it.
posted by Malor at 5:53 PM on March 4, 2008


I think shmeggage felt that it is "popularly acclaimed" by member of the site that the "silence" of the mediators implies assent.

I neither support nor dispute this view, I'm just attempting to clarify. Step on in if I'm wrong here, shmeggage.
posted by misha at 6:19 PM on March 4, 2008


should be members of the site, not member. Arrgh.
posted by misha at 6:21 PM on March 4, 2008


Great, now I've got member shmeggage on my head.
posted by danOstuporStar at 6:56 PM on March 4, 2008


Malor wrote...
It strikes me as pretty obvious that Crabby's saying that a large fraction of the MeFi population assumes that silence means agreement.

You may be right, but...

I don't think he's right about that: I don't see any supporting evidence whatsoever.

I don't either -- in fact, it seems like a rather strange conclusion in a place where people regularly drop in and out of conversations.

So rather than assuming that Crabby was stating something that flies in the face of my experience, I've been giving him the benefit of the doubt while waiting for him to explain exactly what he did mean.

However, at this point I'm pretty sure he was just making an off the cuff remark and no longer remembers what he was thinking when he typed it, so I'm going to go play with something shiny and forget the whole thing.
posted by tkolar at 8:55 PM on March 4, 2008


misha is correct. whatever crabby was trying to say, it sure seems like he was saying that the popular assumption is that someone in particular's silence is assumed to be assent. It seemed to me at the time, although I've since acknowledged I was wrong in thinking this, that he was speaking about the silence of the moderators since no one else's silence makes much sense. konolia wasn't silent, dnab wasn't silent, and it's simply absurd to assume he's talking about the silence of 60 thousand some odd members who simply didn't chime in in either of those threads. So, I went with the idea that (like many others, myself included) he was blaming the mods for people leaving. he wouldn't be the first, nor the last. As I said, I was wrong in assuming this.

As Malor said, it was clear he was saying that the popular assumption was that silence means assent. the question was whose silence. My lengthy explanation was to say that I assumed that he was blaming the mods because it's the more generous interpretation of his comment, in my opinion. While none of the interpretations I can think of have a whole lot of evidence or competent logic to back them up, the mod blaming interpretation seemed to me at the time to be made up of slightly less total nonsense.

But this is moot, since I was clearly incorrect. I hope, however, that I've cleared up what I was trying to say. At the time I originally tried to explain it I was a little preoccupied with being furious at crabby's obnoxious attitude to take the time I apparently needed to write out what I was thinking.
posted by shmegegge at 9:26 PM on March 4, 2008


Beans.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:02 PM on March 4, 2008


For ease of reference, here is what I originally wrote:
This kind of crap is one of the reasons I don't participate much in Metafilter discussions. Random asshats feel free to attribute to others whatever opinions they've pulled out from under their hats. Apparently this even extends to attributing a ready-made world view embodied in a work of mass-market fiction to someone to caricature their views. Who would want to spend their time refuting this garbage? And yet the popularly acclaimed rule here seems to be "silence gives assent". It's not worth it.
And the sentence that really seems to have puzzled people is
And yet the popularly acclaimed rule here seems to be "silence gives assent".
And you know what? When I look back at that sentence, in context, I'm puzzled too. Oh, I know what I had in mind while I was writing the comment, but I no longer know (if I ever did) why I imagined that that sentence adequately expressed the thought. Because, whether or not people here do actually think that "silence gives assent", I cannot, in fact, produce any evidence that it's a "popularly acclaimed rule" here.

Before I go on to explain what I meant by "silence gives assent" and what I had in mind when I wrote that sentence, I should stop here and make it clear that I am acknowledging that the sentence, as written, is not true (in that it isn't a "popularly acclaimed rule" here). I was not, in fact, being clear, or even factual, in writing that sentence, and for that I sincerely apologize. Live by the sword, die by the sword, as they say. I usually try to write clearly and precisely, and in this case, I failed.

Now for anyone who's still interested at this point, I'll continue and explain what I was trying to say (and why that comment was not intended as an attack on the moderators). In that comment, I was complaining about the dynamic in which someone posts a comment (usually expressing an unpopular opinion), one or more others post comments that mischaracterize or misconstrue those remarks (deliberately or not), the original commenter explains what he meant, his interlocutors continue to mischaracterize his remarks, and several rounds of this occur, with escalating rancor on both sides. I claim that this is a common pattern, but I'm not prepared to back that up with many examples. Aside from the dnab thread, another one that comes to mind is the thread in which stavrosthewonderchicken was accused of making racist remarks. But I'm not a scholar of MetaFilter, so I don't have any more examples on tap.

Now, in that dynamic, one wonders why the original commenter would keep responding to the people who are mischaracterizing his remarks? One possible reason might be that the original commenter feels that if he does not respond, many of those reading the thread (including, possibly, his interlocutors) would infer from his silence that he is acquiescing in their assertions, or, to put it another way, his silence gives assent to the arguments/assertions of his interlocutors. If the original commenter is thinking along these lines, it makes it difficult for him to just walk away from the discussion. (Also, it's just incredibly annoying, for some reason, to be the object of this.) My problematic sentence was a failed attempt to express this line of thought.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 12:11 AM on March 5, 2008


should be members of the site, not member. Arrgh. *orgasm*

fixed.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:18 AM on March 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


And so I've continued to read the Left Behind critique, and I have come to a singular conclusion:

Pre-millenial dispensationalists are fraudulent "Christians." Heretics. False prophets.

Again, I highly recommend that blog.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:56 PM on March 6, 2008


Well, we were taught in theology class that premillenial dispensationalism was incorrect, but I dunno that I would call them frauds. Folks tend to be more interested in pulp fiction than in systematic theology. OTOH the authors of the Left Behind series should probably know better, but I think they will figure it out halfway thru the Tribulation.

I never read the Left Behind series. Not just because the theology was bad, but because I don't care for bad fiction either. My son enjoyed them simply for "trash" reading but he's not a premil dispensationalist either.
posted by konolia at 12:21 PM on March 9, 2008


I am so relieved to hear that. There have been descriptions of PMD churches, leadership, and thinking that had me believing you might be a PMDer after all.

How do you figure they are not fraudulent? Seems to me they fit the definition to a T.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:43 PM on March 9, 2008


Well, we were taught in theology class that premillenial dispensationalism was incorrect,
Yey for critical thinking!
posted by bonaldi at 2:51 PM on March 9, 2008


FFF, there is a difference between misunderstanding theology and being fraudulent. It has been years since I read anything LaHaye wrote, anyway, and the last thing was his marriage manual The Act of Marriage. (I actually recommend that book pretty highly. )

I think I might have mentioned there are four main end-times views in Christianity. I'm somewhere between historical premil/posttrib and amillenialism. (Or to be more accurate, I think either view COULD be accurate but I probably lean more towards the former. ) We were taught that the other two views-postmillenialism and pretrib premil dispensational-were wrong. But then again there are some schools of thought that would disagree with that. I joke and say that I am mostly panmillenial-it will all pan out. Lots of times BIblical prophecy doesn't really make sense until after what has been prophesied occurs. For example, the OT prophecies of a coming Messiah spoke of both a suffering Servant and a conquering King. The Pharisees-who were Bible scholars-totally missed the fact that Jesus was the fulfillment of what they were looking for-because He came first as the Suffering Servant and will be coming as the conquering King at the second advent.

Christianity is both the simplest and most complicated faith sometimes....
posted by konolia at 4:17 PM on March 9, 2008


Except for Buddhism, of course....
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:43 PM on March 9, 2008


...and Hinduism.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:45 PM on March 9, 2008


pssst... Ubu! What's with the period after "Hinduism, man? No full stops! You're supposed to follow it with dot dot dot*, so the next commenter can fill in the next simple and complicated religion!

*4th dot is optional

posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:49 PM on March 9, 2008


the single dot was *obviously* a kabbalistic reference. now, judaism.......
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:18 PM on March 9, 2008


...................
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:32 PM on March 9, 2008


"Christianity is both the simplest and most complicated faith sometimes....

For example, there are many hats. There are the big hats of the pope and the other big hats of the other pope but not really for the Orthodox fellows, and there are the red hats for cardinals and those round, flat hats that ministers wear, and then there are all the trucker caps that have devotional sayings on them. Oh, and we count those Jewish beanies and the porkpies that Creflo Dollar likes. That's complicated. But we all wear hats sooner or later, and other faiths simply don't have as many kinds of hats because I learned that in correspondence school.

Lots of times BIblical prophecy doesn't really make sense until after what has been prophesied occurs.

Kind of like horoscopes or the Barnum effect. I mean, you're arguing that scholars were wrong for not recognizing something that hasn't happened yet as true because it hasn't happened yet? And might not ever? Or might be a metaphor that made sense at the time?

Man, the only thing that stops me from making up some bunk religion and getting rich off these credulous rubes is that there's so much damn competition.
posted by klangklangston at 9:04 PM on March 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


Man, the only thing that stops me from making up some bunk religion and getting rich off these credulous rubes is that there's so much damn competition.

You would also appear to lack the empathy needed to touch people's souls. You're going to have to learn how to fake an earnest interest in the well-being of other people before you can fleece them.
posted by tkolar at 11:49 PM on March 9, 2008


MetaFilter: You would also appear to lack the empathy needed to touch people's souls. You're going to have to learn how to fake an earnest interest in the well-being of other people before you can fleece them.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:40 AM on March 10, 2008


konolia is back, everybody.
posted by agregoli at 7:43 AM on March 11, 2008


FFF, there is a difference between misunderstanding theology and being fraudulent.

And what is that difference?

The PMDers tell outright lies about the content of the bible, including lies that go completely against statements made by red-letter Jesus. They present themselves as Christians when they are definitively not Christian in their morality, religion, or behaviour. That's fraudulent.

I challenge you to read this Evangel's comprehensive review of the PMDer's favourite novel. Like most blogs, you'll need to scroll to the bottom and read up.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:27 AM on March 11, 2008


FFF, there is a difference between misunderstanding theology and being fraudulent.

And what is that difference?


As I understand it, the difference between a misrepresentation and fraud is intent to induce reliance to the detriment of another (at least in my jurisdiction).
posted by The World Famous at 11:31 AM on March 11, 2008


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