We are a Paragon April 10, 2008 7:01 PM   Subscribe

Does the five bucks make a difference in the quality of our discussions? There's a Freakanomics post on the NY Times today that points to a web page set up to compare comment-streams on MetaFilter and YouTube.

The result? We're more polite. Now, prove them right and wrong.
posted by mmahaffie to MetaFilter-Related at 7:01 PM (151 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

Every single time I load the mefi vs. youtube page, the top comment on the youtube side is always some variant of "you r all gay"
posted by mathowie (staff) at 7:07 PM on April 10, 2008 [4 favorites]


Pickle you kumquat!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:09 PM on April 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


Please note that cortex and I both commented, politely. Where are the YouTube community moderators? More to the point who are the YouTube community moderators?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:10 PM on April 10, 2008


And now that I actually read the comments on the Times page, I see that the second comment is from Cortex. I really should do the reading.
posted by mmahaffie at 7:10 PM on April 10, 2008


It's not the five dollars that keeps this site working, it's the elitism.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 7:10 PM on April 10, 2008 [10 favorites]


Reading! Do the Reading!
posted by mmahaffie at 7:11 PM on April 10, 2008


Wasn't this mentioned somewhere else on the site? Coulda sworn so.

Also, saying our comments are smarter than YouTube's comments is just low hanging fruit. George Bush says things too smart for YouTube.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:11 PM on April 10, 2008


I see a lot of LMAO and LMFAO and I KILL YOU! In fact, I KILL YOU! looks like some kind of mutant YouTube meme, unless it's a reference from somewhere else that I don't recognize.
posted by cgc373 at 7:12 PM on April 10, 2008


double
posted by Class Goat at 7:13 PM on April 10, 2008


Wasn't this mentioned somewhere else on the site? Coulda sworn so.

Cortex's twitter stream is probably where you saw it, same as me.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:13 PM on April 10, 2008


Oh crap. Sorry about that. I was moree focused on the Times aspect. And not reading the whole comment stream.
posted by mmahaffie at 7:16 PM on April 10, 2008


Quick! MeFi or YouTube:
i didnt say she was FAT FAT just kinda fat she use to be thin her legs look kinda big
posted by ColdChef at 7:17 PM on April 10, 2008


Metafilter: the YouTube community moderators
posted by YoBananaBoy at 7:17 PM on April 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


One more:
this song reminds me of all of the tings we done to this earth sooner or later we gonna havee to move to mars
posted by ColdChef at 7:19 PM on April 10, 2008


Wasn't this mentioned somewhere else on the site?

Yup.
posted by CKmtl at 7:19 PM on April 10, 2008


Where are the YouTube community moderators? More to the point who are the YouTube community moderators?

There must be some somewhere- a recent comment on my new favorite video that said, and I quote, "fuck niggers", appears to have been deleted.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:21 PM on April 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


Well thanks for making sure it says it over here now too, TPS.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:22 PM on April 10, 2008 [4 favorites]


Cortex's twitter stream is probably where you saw it, same as me.

Didn't know he had one, but now....mwahahahahaha
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:24 PM on April 10, 2008


Yes, because the anecdote is just the same thing as if I said it.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:25 PM on April 10, 2008 [5 favorites]


More of a follow up than a double
posted by iamabot at 7:26 PM on April 10, 2008


always some variant of "you r all gay"

The major variant being "your all gay".
posted by Armitage Shanks at 7:26 PM on April 10, 2008


You'd be surprised how many people get here from Google and have no idea about that level of subtlety.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:26 PM on April 10, 2008


What does that even mean?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:27 PM on April 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


That video's thoroughly frightening, right down to the one in light blue/green's shimmering invisibility. She's like a cloaked Predator.
posted by CKmtl at 7:28 PM on April 10, 2008


I can't believe it. This site is racist!
posted by every_one_needs_a_hug_sometimes at 7:32 PM on April 10, 2008 [3 favorites]


Note that I update my twitter stream about once every three months, though I'm going to try to do better.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:33 PM on April 10, 2008


So, it would be more of a t w i t t e r s t r a m?
posted by mmahaffie at 7:39 PM on April 10, 2008


er... s t r e a m
posted by mmahaffie at 7:39 PM on April 10, 2008


Our mods do us proud. Nice comments, jessamyn & cortex.
posted by Miko at 7:46 PM on April 10, 2008


...my other thought: as interesting as Freakonimics is, I'm just getting seriously worn out on the reduction of every human endeavor and cultural phenomenon to a market-model activity. The most interesting thing about the field of economics is how very little it explains.
posted by Miko at 7:47 PM on April 10, 2008 [8 favorites]


From Freakonomics, on the level of comment moderation, "YouTube has virtually none, while MetaFilter has very little." Really? It sounds like they mean things aren't watched closely here, but I think more things stand here without needing deletion than on other sites. On YouTube they don't even bother, if they sifted out all the chaff they'd be left with... no comments.

Perhaps the more passive the site, the easier it is to fly by without being engaged with the content. That level of passivity makes it easier to take a piss on things in the comments. YouTube is like watching tv...so people spout out whatever nonsense garbage gurgles out of their mouths. Reading political sites like Kos, HuffPo or LGF is like watching cable news, you just parrot back what you've heard/read or else you tilt at windmills and get deleted for your efforts. Why don't Mefites need to get disenvoweling like commenters at BoingBoing? Because we're not like a sci-fi zinester version of the Sharper Image catalog. Being text-based forces users to read, comprehend, and think about the subject of each post. When people don't do one of those three steps, they are snarked into oblivion. It all comes together!

In college I showed a friend MetaFilter and their response was, "But it's just...words. It's like a book!" They didn't mean that in a positive way. I realized that we didn't have much in common after that.
posted by SassHat at 7:50 PM on April 10, 2008 [4 favorites]


In fact, I KILL YOU! looks like some kind of mutant YouTube meme, unless it's a reference from somewhere else that I don't recognize.

It's a reference to a catchphrase from a character in a series of skits by Jeff Dunham, Achmed the dead terrorist.
posted by fermezporte at 7:58 PM on April 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


The thing about YouTube comments that always looks so weird to me is not so much the extreme rudeness, trolling, bad spelling, terrible grammar, or obsession with homosexuality but rather the lack of capitalization. I'm not quite sure why that looks so weird to me. Maybe it's because you can see it without even reading any of the words.
posted by ErWenn at 8:09 PM on April 10, 2008


When did YouTube start doing the thumbs up/down and quality filter on comments?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:17 PM on April 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


YouTube comments give me hope, because it's clear now that when the mindless, brain-eating zombies do finally shamble up to the top of the food chain, the combined IQ of humanity will actually rise.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:19 PM on April 10, 2008 [4 favorites]


Paid for by the Albanian Tourism Board.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:21 PM on April 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


When did YouTube start doing the thumbs up/down and quality filter on comments?

August of last year?
posted by burnmp3s at 8:23 PM on April 10, 2008


Wow, really? I must not be paying very close attention.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:24 PM on April 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


I am still waiting for my MeFi vs Eggagog mashup.
posted by flabdablet at 8:24 PM on April 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


MeFi has 2.5 full-time moderators, a few other occasional moderators

Who are the other occasional moderators, besides pb?

TPS, YouTube has had comment thumbs up/down for a while now. Months! I know because I fight the losing battle of thumbs-downing anything offensive.
posted by Locative at 8:27 PM on April 10, 2008


cortex, that was a hell of a well-stated comment. Kudos.
posted by docpops at 8:27 PM on April 10, 2008


Once again, my heart bursts with joy.

soaking the mods in hemoglovin'
posted by cowbellemoo at 8:37 PM on April 10, 2008


MeFi has 2.5 full-time moderators, a few other occasional moderators

Well, I have been moderating my alcohol consumption over the last few years. Occasionally.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:52 PM on April 10, 2008


Who are the other occasional moderators, besides pb?

We have a couple people that can fill in as midnight mods if necessary and a few people who have, in the past, taken the reins for a day here and there. But no, there's no one with regular admin access besides the four of us.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:56 PM on April 10, 2008


Pickle you kumquat!

What the french, toast?

Note that I update my twitter stream about once every three months, though I'm going to try to do better.

It's true. He just updated like five minutes ago, and that was his second update since I started following him, which was about three days after "Return of the Jedi" premiered. That tweet? "ewoks amirite"
posted by middleclasstool at 8:57 PM on April 10, 2008


One step closer to meet ups on yachts off the coast Biarritz where we all shall post our brainy snark nuggets from diamond crusted desktops made from cocaine.
posted by The Straightener at 9:01 PM on April 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


Who are the other occasional moderators, besides pb?

Well, hell, Jelly and Chocolate!
posted by ericb at 9:05 PM on April 10, 2008


That tweet? "ewoks amirite"

I'm pretty sure if you check the records, you'll find it was "lol ewoks," not "ewoks amirite."
posted by dersins at 9:12 PM on April 10, 2008


Who are the other occasional moderators, besides pb?

Pete, Linc and Julie.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:13 PM on April 10, 2008 [3 favorites]


We have a couple people that can fill in as midnight mods if necessary...

MetaFilter has been overrun by trolls. Are you a bad enough dude to moderate MetaFilter?
posted by danb at 9:18 PM on April 10, 2008 [4 favorites]


The cabal takes care of the extra invisible midnight moderation. Or so I've been told.
Also, from the comments: Perhaps rewarding the best comment on each post with $5 would also improve the quality? I promise to try harder if there is a prize involved.
posted by Sailormom at 9:31 PM on April 10, 2008


there is no cabal.
posted by exlotuseater at 9:43 PM on April 10, 2008


"YouTube has virtually none, while MetaFilter has very little."

I was surprised that they considered this site as having "very little" moderation. I agree with SassHat that they're confusing "little" moderation with little comment deletion. It's not just the community norms and self-policing but also the public identification, personification, and responsiveness of the mods that keep things from getting stupid. Someone's minding the store, and we all know it, and we all want to come back to the store. YouTube's user community is bigger, but if it were subject to the tighter moderation that, say, the Times site undoubtedly has, you wouldn't see so much noise. It's just loaded with drive-by noise, is all. It's a broken-windows neighborhood.
posted by Miko at 9:44 PM on April 10, 2008


When ericb links to jelly and chocolate, we need to know enough to wave goodbye to the googled news links at least. I think something "smells" good, but seems wrong?
posted by LiveLurker at 9:50 PM on April 10, 2008


OMG is this site being taken over by utube? I guess I sorta saw it coming actually. Those single links on the front page and all. Matt seemed cool with it. Next thing we know. matt will be running dogdangled utube and jess and cortex will be way too busy with their REAL jobs, so they won't mind that matt moved on to bigger and better as long as someone nearly as cool as matt has comes into the picture to allow them to work their asses off.

MIKO!
posted by LiveLurker at 10:00 PM on April 10, 2008


It's not just the community norms and self-policing but also the public identification, personification, and responsiveness of the mods that keep things from getting stupid. Someone's minding the store, and we all know it, and we all want to come back to the store.

*mounts rickety hobbyhorse*

I love our moderators with a love pure and true, like I've said before, and thank them for the great job they do, but. This is the kind of attitude towards administrative power that, once it becomes established, and worse, taken for de facto truth amongst new users, encourages abdication of personal responsibility, diminished mutual obligation toward other community members, and an erosion of civil behaviour, because the dynamic of appeal to authority means that people develop an expectation of freedom to do whatever their whims dictate up to and until the point at an authority figure steps in to stop them. The expectation for behaviour devolves to 'that which is not expressly forbidden or censured (or here, deleted) is acceptable', rather than being founded on an ethic of collective responsibility for the community (of whatever size). Our moderators are good and necessary, but they should be a last line of defense against savagery, not nannies to whom we run with every minor complaint. The (arguably waning) ethos of the site has always been that it is to each other that we should appeal for guidance, for both approbation and dis-.

Moderation is not a top-down concept.

See also: the decline of American civil society (and concomitant culture of victimhood).

*dismounts*
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:07 PM on April 10, 2008 [17 favorites]


encourages abdication of personal responsibility

In general, I agree, but not about this. Human beings mostly are good community members, but in the absence of limiting factors will splay all over the place. I don't expect the mods to set and manage norms, and I don't think that's happening - every day I'm in threads where users are actively sheep-dogging one another. But all that is utterly useless if there are never any real consquences and no ultimate authority. What the mods do here is act at the outer boundaries, in accordance with some blend of consensus about the nature of the community, pragmatism, and dictatorial fiat (because heck, this is privately owned, and all exists at the pleasure of the owner).
posted by Miko at 10:11 PM on April 10, 2008 [1 favorite]



YouTube, 1070; MetaFilter, 1.
posted by Pastabagel at 10:13 PM on April 10, 2008


We have a couple people that can fill in as midnight mods if necessary and a few people who have, in the past, taken the reins for a day here and there. But no, there's no one with regular admin access besides the four of us.

I wanna be a midnight mod so bad I ca taste it.
posted by timeistight at 10:15 PM on April 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


I don't expect the mods to set and manage norms, and I don't think that's happening - every day I'm in threads where users are actively sheep-dogging one another. But all that is utterly useless if there are never any real consquences and no ultimate authority. What the mods do here is act at the outer boundaries, in accordance with some blend of consensus about the nature of the community, pragmatism, and dictatorial fiat (because heck, this is privately owned, and all exists at the pleasure of the owner).

Which is as it should be, but I'm speaking of the trend, which I believe is towards increasing appeal to authority. This may be a necessary consequence of the growth of the population of the community; I don't know. But I do think that it pays to keep these ideas alive, and that the price of a civil community is, you know, eternal vigilance and all that shit.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:16 PM on April 10, 2008


Yeah, sure. But to say there's "little moderation" here isn't quite right. People do know that there are worse consequences to being an asshole than pissing off the community and being a pariah. Those punishments are obviously not sufficient to create an ethos of restraint and personal responsibility. Instead, users jump on someone who is an asshole, pisses off the community, and becomes a pariah -- and then, if they don't stop, there is a real natural consequence which is beyond the power of the user community to deliver. That's a pretty important factor in decision making about site behavior.
posted by Miko at 10:20 PM on April 10, 2008


Every single time I load the mefi vs. youtube page, the top comment on the youtube side is always some variant of "you r all gay"

lol
posted by mattoxic at 10:23 PM on April 10, 2008


the price of a civil community is, you know...

20BUXSAIT
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:23 PM on April 10, 2008 [3 favorites]


Yeah, sure. But to say there's "little moderation" here isn't quite right.

Not sure I agree, relative to other places on the net at the same scale, and given the (excellent, and vital to its success) info-architecture of the site (flat, unthreaded, unhideable comments). 'Little' might be the wrong word, though. The mods do seem to be pretty busy these days. 'Light-handed' or something similar might be more accurate.

People do know that there are worse consequences to being an asshole than pissing off the community and being a pariah.

Actually, I don't think there are. Permabans are not by IP (which doesn't work, anyway), so if you actually are banned, you can come back under a different username, bing bang boom. Timeouts are pretty light slaps, given that they never last more than a day or two, and all of the site can be read whether you're logged-in or not, anyway. Hitting the Big Red Button to close your account is reversible, and is reversed all the damn time, it seems, so even autobanning isn't a real Bad Thing.

So I'm not sure if there is anything more powerful a disincentive to bad behaviour than the damage to one's own reputation in the community. I think that's the way a community should work. If that's what someone gets off on, though -- trolling for teh lulz and generally being a SHITCOKC-disturber -- there really aren't any serious disincentives other than the loss of 5 bux.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:28 PM on April 10, 2008




. Permabans are not by IP (which doesn't work, anyway), so if you actually are banned, you can come back under a different username, bing bang boom.

And if you screw up under that username, you are curtailed again. The goal is to limit behavior, and it works.

Timeouts are pretty light slaps, given that they never last more than a day or two, and all of the site can be read whether you're logged-in or not, anyway. Hitting the Big Red Button to close your account is reversible, and is reversed all the damn time, it seems, so even autobanning isn't a real Bad Thing.

And yet, it does modify behavior. which is the goal. It modifies behavior in a way in which 20 users going "can it, already" fails to do.
posted by Miko at 10:39 PM on April 10, 2008


What a singularly pointless bit of prattle. A community of lightly moderated, mainly adult users with a core group of erudite, long-term, social members versus a non-community of unmoderated teenagers. Gosh geewillikers, it must be the five bucks that makes the difference!
posted by five fresh fish at 10:39 PM on April 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm living proof that a $5 entry fee makes a better commenter.








My account was free.
posted by eyeballkid at 10:42 PM on April 10, 2008


And yet, it does modify behavior. which is the goal. It modifies behavior in a way in which 20 users going "can it, already" fails to do.

You reckon? I'm not so sure it does, all that much. But there's no real hard evidence, either way, I don't think. Perhaps jessamyn or cortex or mathowie could shed some light on what they think.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:42 PM on April 10, 2008


Lastly - I agree that "light-handed" is a good word to describe the moderation. But I could never call it "little" moderation, having seen the effort expended on the part of the mods. Throughout the day, every day, they are paying attention to the site - receiving and answering and sending emails both responsive and pre-emptive, sending cautions and warnings, following hot or contentious threads, watching flags, and discussing protocol with one another. It's not non-moderation or little moderation. Consequences are certainly delivered with a light hand, and more often in response to the community than in advance of community reaction, but that's far from the idea that they're not moderating at all. Moderating doesn't just mean administering consequences, though I do believe that is very, very important in establishing the outer boundaries for what's acceptable on the site. It means a constant dialogue about what sort of action or nonaction is best for the community at any given time.

But it's not little moderation, no matter how you view the role.
posted by Miko at 10:43 PM on April 10, 2008


Is anyone else singing the chorus to Midnight Blue in their head, but substituting "Mod" for "Blue"?



Also, does anyone have a gun I can borrow?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:45 PM on April 10, 2008


I defnitely think it moderates behavior. I can think of people who have returned after a ban and significantly cleaned up their act, becoming more aware of the general norms and curbing their tendencies to be annoying because of their clearer knowledge of where the line fell and why.
posted by Miko at 10:45 PM on April 10, 2008


Some midnight, Sasshat, when you least expect it...
posted by timeistight at 10:52 PM on April 10, 2008


I ca taste teh midnight mod?
posted by SassHat at 11:01 PM on April 10, 2008


Well, I got banned briefly about 6 years ago, and I'm still a big doodyhead.

No actually, I did reconsider (or begin considering) some of these things around that time.

But I think maybe you are missing my point a bit: that banning or timeouting should (and is, I'm aware), in the grand overall philosophical house of bullshit I'm building here, not be the first perceived negative consequence in the punishment-chain for consistent bad behaviour, it should be the last resort. Coming well down the sequence after the disapprobation of the community and public, not private, instruction (because it is through public discussion of community norms that new users learn what they actually are), the final whack should be the banhammer, and it should (as it is, again, I know) only be used in extremis, when it's punitive.

Again, big-picturishly, and I'm just talking here, though bans and timeouts can and do moderate much bad behaviour amongst the very few to whom such punishment is meted out, it treats people as children who cannot control themselves and must be given a little quiet time, reinforces the concept that good community members are merely those who do not break rules, and brings us back to a structural authority predicated on individuals with the power to mete out that punishment rather than the community as a whole.

I can't believe I talking about this again. Sigh.

One of the things Matt has said again and again is that he wants to be able to treat people as adults, and that he trusts them out of the gate for them to behave as adults.

I'm not saying that things as they are now are different in any substantial way from the underlying ethos there, and I'm not complaining -- I'm just blabbing about my ideas about the social systems at work here. What I am saying is that I think it's important to talk about how and why the dynamics of all of this work and try to understand it a bit, and to think about what is successful and what is less so as the community scales, at least for those of us who care about that stuff. Most don't, I'm aware. That's cool.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:05 PM on April 10, 2008


Talking big picturish here too. Good 'cut and paste' is still cut and paste. NEVER forget that.

And on that note, way tired of talking to myself in conversations like this.
posted by LiveLurker at 11:21 PM on April 10, 2008


We have a couple people that can fill in as midnight mods if necessary and a few people who have, in the past, taken the reins for a day here and there. But no, there's no one with regular admin access besides the four of us.

Is that in the FAQ? Apparently not..

I dunno, seems to me this should have been revealed more forthrightly.
(not that editing the FAQ qualifies as forthright)
posted by Chuckles at 11:41 PM on April 10, 2008


Agreeing with Chuckles. I think it's important to know who all active potential mods are for transparency's sake and as an accountability mechanism for all mods.
posted by By The Grace of God at 12:44 AM on April 11, 2008


But no, there's no one with regular admin access besides the four of us.

On the physical plane, that is.
posted by Meatbomb at 1:09 AM on April 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


Agreeing with Chuckles. I think it's important to know who all active potential mods are for transparency's sake and as an accountability mechanism for all mods.

So in the midst of a discussion about the effectiveness of community mores in lessening the need for absolute authority, you suggest that this absolute authority be held more accountable to the community? Curious...
posted by 7segment at 1:41 AM on April 11, 2008


Well, accountability is a general good. I'm sure the mods would agree as they've been really accountable - signing their deletions, explaining when they disagree, etc.
posted by By The Grace of God at 3:19 AM on April 11, 2008


Goddamn, youtube comments make me as sick as a juggler's bunny.
posted by cmonkey at 3:36 AM on April 11, 2008


I confess.
I am a Midnight Mod.






(of love).
posted by Dizzy at 3:39 AM on April 11, 2008


Apples and something that is diametrically opposite to apples.

This is such a pointless exercise- what is it proving? That an educated, opt-in, highly regulated (filtered if you will), highly moderated community makes far more intelligent comment than a an un/loosely moderated community?

Big fucking deal - it was dull a a week or so ago when it was first posted and remains so now.

Whack a 5 buck charge on Youtubers, moderate them, and you'll get a site totally commited to serving "single link youtube posts"

My beer's getting warm. 'night
posted by mattoxic at 4:03 AM on April 11, 2008


In my opinion there are two processes at work here:

1) The barrier to entry effect - you have to be a particularly dedicated troll to pay $5 to join a site for no reason other than asshattery.

and

2) The $5 charge for an account creates a connection between a user name and a bank account. This way the mods can link together multiple user names as belonging to the same person and you can't just discard an identity once you've tarnished it and pick up a new fresh one.

I am a strong believer in Penny Arcade's Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory - if we could all change our identities at will I think there'd be a lot more trolling than there is at present. I don't think that we should make it essential to use real names online - I've nothing against pseudonymity, just anonymity. So long as you are invested in your online persona such that you do not want to screw it up then community policing will work well to control the trolls. The $5 therefore requires you to invest a bit in your persona at its creation - I suspect that we could refund the $5 at a certain level of 'investedness' and people would continue to behave themselves as by then they have invested their time in their persona.

I can go on for ages on why OpenID is such a great idea based on the aspect of linking personas across sites. If, when you posted on a new site, people could see who your persona was on another site you would be less likely to behave like an ass as your behavior would link back. I envisage a coalition of trustworthy sites that allow cross-posting by members. There would possibly be an interesting aspect of community policing as well in other members of your site of origin not wishing to be tarred with the same brush and so adding to the pressure to behave in a reasonable fashion - similar to the way that people used to be known by the town they came from.

I would not want to discount the effect that moderation has on the site but I think the investment in persona effect makes the moderation much easier - otherwise it would be like slaying a hydra - time-out one account and a new one will pop up in its place.
posted by koshmar at 5:24 AM on April 11, 2008


Hello, I am Lindsy Lohan!!!!!
posted by chundo at 6:04 AM on April 11, 2008


Sorry if I wrecked the comparison
posted by chundo at 6:05 AM on April 11, 2008


Is anyone else singing the chorus to Midnight Blue in their head, but substituting "Mod" for "Blue"?

I am now, Alvy. Thanks for nothing.

Also, does anyone have a gun I can borrow?

Done with that yet?
posted by pineapple at 6:29 AM on April 11, 2008


I think it's important to know who all active potential mods are for transparency's sake and as an accountability mechanism for all mods.

Back when mathowie was the only moderator, there were times when he'd skip town for a day or two and leave someone else with access to the admin part of the site in case [and ONLY in case] there was a clusterfuck of such epic proportions that people would otherwise be calling him on the phone on vacation to fix it. The whole Midnight Mod idea was along those lines. Special, very limited, admin powers set up so that no one would be calling him or cortex or me in the middle of the night to fix an extreme train wreck (close an obvious trolling AskMe for example). We've had a few people offer to help. I don't even know if we've officially set any of them up but I wanted to err on the side of inclusion just in case.

As I said upthread there is no one with full admin powers other than the four of us. And Meatbomb, who is existential mod for the souls of all of you but doesn't need a special admin panel to do that.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:31 AM on April 11, 2008


Raise the price to ten and let's charge everyone here another five, if it seems to be keeping the Huns from the gate. Youtube comments are soul-crushing things, that whittle away at my very essence little by little, with each one I read.
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:37 AM on April 11, 2008


that banning or timeouting should ... not be the first perceived negative consequence in the punishment-chain for consistent bad behaviour, it should be the last resort.

You're right, it should not, and it is.

In hte grand view of community discipline, in any kind of community, there are stepped degrees of consequence for unwanted behaviors. That's true here too. In most societies, the ultimate consequence is denial of access to the community - temporarily and then or in the case of some terrible infractions, permanently. Some societies call that incarceration or the death penality. Some call it banishment or excommunication. Some call it expulsion, disbarment, or dishonorable discharge. We happen to call it timeouting and banning. Without some means of denying access to the community to someone who simply can't observe the norms, there is no limiting factor to someone's desire to go apeshit. There are times when all the peer pressure, STFU, private emailing, and community norms invocation just doesn't work. In communities with no basic gatekeeping for participation, what happens when people defy community norms and refuse to change despite social mediation is that the people who used to be the community and used to work hard to defend the norms start to divest their energy and depart.

I agree with you that most of what happens in societies to control behavior - here and elsewhere - happens below the level of formal law and policy. Most people play by the rules because they opt to - there's more reward in doing so than not doing so. When people have a bad day or month, community tolerance and nipping at heels does wonders. Using the leverage of personal relationship to say "hey, might want to tone it down" does wonders. Engaging in open-ended discussion about whether something is wanted does wonders. But there will always be outlying behaviors that no amount of social pressure or discussion fixes, especially when a person gets into an oppositional groove and gets all fired up. Without a means of creating some silence and time for that person and that set of issues, they can continue to rail and grind forever and generally make the place unhospitable enough that others leave because they just get sick of it. Allowing total freedom for ongoing assholedom does damage to the quieter members of the community. There has to be some means of pulling extremely negative influences out, whether a single unwise comment or for a while or permanently, when all else fails. Since the user community as a whole is not empowered to do that (and what a Lord of the Flies that would be), the mods can and do do it. I think it's extremely utopian to think that without the existence of the consequence of removal from the community the community would remain of consistent good quality through the sheer benevolence of all its members, all the time.

Koshmar, your points about the effect of the $5 are good, too.
posted by Miko at 7:06 AM on April 11, 2008


Is anyone else singing the chorus to Midnight Blue in their head, but substituting "Mod" for "Blue"?

I was singing I'm Gonna Wait 'Til the Midnight Modder.
posted by lukemeister at 7:23 AM on April 11, 2008


In fact, I KILL YOU! looks like some kind of mutant YouTube meme,

There's also an ancient George Carlin bit, where he talks about the nature of obscenity, mostly focusing in on the word fuck... and used it in several different contexts. Then he uttered the string of sentences again, this time replacing the work fuck with the word "kill" to demonstrate how much worse the latter sounded, yet much more acceptable to say than the former. Incidentally, as Carlin tells it, he was arrested the night he was doing the bit at an outdoor show in Chicago, on obscenity charges.

Maybe I'm giving YouTube commenters too much credit. It must be from the Achmed the Terrorist thing.
posted by psmealey at 7:25 AM on April 11, 2008


In fact, I KILL YOU! looks like some kind of mutant YouTube meme

Maybe youtube is just full of Al Bester fans? I kill you filthy!
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:27 AM on April 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


In fact, I KILL YOU! looks like some kind of mutant YouTube meme

I thought it was a parody of I KISS YOU !!!!!
* fondly remembers ye olde Internet *
posted by lukemeister at 7:28 AM on April 11, 2008


Aww, man. I can only see the youtube comments for some reason. And that is a bit like being stabbed in the head.

BUT, skimming over their feed did introduce me to a phrase which made me smile:

see Japanese Penis God Festival SAVE YOUR SOUL!


I'm not sure what a Japanese Penis God Festival is, but it sounds fantastic, particularly in it's soul salvation abilities.
posted by quin at 7:33 AM on April 11, 2008


I'm not sure what a Japanese Penis God Festival is either, but the very idea of a Penis God sounds much more practical than having an on omniscient, omnipotent God who doesn't do anything.
posted by psmealey at 7:38 AM on April 11, 2008


From cortex's Freakonomics comment:

Youtube hasn’t got anything like a sense of community, as far as I can tell;

I'm pretty sure that it has, in the sense that many of the video-bloggers on there seem to refer to each other's content and talk explicitly about a YouTube Community. Any sense of community that I can discern though, seems to be between the content creators rather than the content consumers.

That might be true of Metafilter as well?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 7:39 AM on April 11, 2008


I had no trouble earlier, but now checking back, the blue side is gone except for the MeFi banner. The YouTube stuff is still all there. Any ideas?
posted by thinkpiece at 7:52 AM on April 11, 2008


I'm not sure what a Japanese Penis God Festival is

It's the Kanamara Matsuri, in honor of Kanamara-sama (Iron Penis God)
posted by splice at 7:53 AM on April 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


PeterMcDermott: Fair enough; but as cortex also pointed out, YouTube's commenting is secondary to its purpose as a video sharing site, whereas for us the comments are half the reason we come here.
posted by danb at 7:54 AM on April 11, 2008


I can't see any of the YouTube comments. I guess I'm not missing out much, but did the page change?
posted by Happydaz at 8:25 AM on April 11, 2008


Actually, since we've got a before and after data set re: $5, you could check and see if members who didn't have to pay got banned at a higher ratio than the $5 n00bs.
posted by klangklangston at 8:40 AM on April 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


The fact that it's something real makes it so much cooler, thanks splice.
posted by quin at 8:43 AM on April 11, 2008


The MeFi side of the comments seems to have fallen over. It takes me back to the good old days.
posted by biffa at 9:25 AM on April 11, 2008


we've got a before and after data set re: $5

That's an awesome suggestion for comparison, but analysis has to take in the account that there were fewer moderator hours available, too.
posted by Miko at 9:27 AM on April 11, 2008


My life is full of choices still/
Like when to kiss and when to kill.
posted by box at 9:43 AM on April 11, 2008


I realize that five dollars is some form of firewall, but I'm not convinced that it is the reason MetaFilter is what it is. Far more than those five dollars, the influence of others' opinions, stated and anticipated, makes me think twice about what I post here.
posted by owhydididoit at 10:12 AM on April 11, 2008


box,

We're desperate
Get used to it
We're desperate
It's kiss or kill
posted by lukemeister at 10:22 AM on April 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


Did you hear about the midnight moderator
Everybody got to go
Did you hear about the midnight moderator
The one that shut the MeFi door
He dont give a hoot of warning
Wrapped up in a black cat cloak
He dont go in the light of the morning
He split the time the cockrel crows

Talkin about the midnight moderator
The one you never seen before
Talkin about the midnight moderator
Did you see him jump the garden wall
Sighin down the wind so sadly
Listen and youll hear him moan
Talkin about the midnight moderator
Everybody got to go
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:35 AM on April 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wow. Just think what we could achieve if we raised it to $500!
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 10:51 AM on April 11, 2008


Have you heard about the midnight modder
Beaten by the...

yeah, that's about as far as I got.
posted by box at 11:13 AM on April 11, 2008


I think it's important to know who all active potential mods are for transparency's sake and as an accountability mechanism for all mods.

Well, it's probably someone who's awake during the American night, which points to someone in Europe. And it will be someone who thrives in an enlightened, intellectually liberal climate, so that strongly suggests a Dutchman. And it needs to be someone who's both punctual and attentive to detail, so obviously that indicates someone from The Hague.

Ergo, I'm pretty sure it's Christiaan Huygens.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 11:32 AM on April 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


Timeistight, I hereby nominate ye for the honorable poste of Madd Mid-Nighte Mod What Mods At Mid-Nighte.
posted by Mister_A at 11:32 AM on April 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


...my other thought: as interesting as Freakonimics is, I'm just getting seriously worn out on the reduction of every human endeavor and cultural phenomenon to a market-model activity. The most interesting thing about the field of economics is how very little it explains.

A lot of what those guys are doing is just re-treading what social psychology has already done, but with less rigor and more mathematical sounding BS.
posted by delmoi at 11:35 AM on April 11, 2008


So who's the dude who was "excommunicated"? Can anyone point me to a MeTa thread?
posted by ODiV at 11:39 AM on April 11, 2008


Yea I want to see who that guy was. Also, Ur ghey!
posted by Mister_A at 11:42 AM on April 11, 2008


no u
posted by ODiV at 11:47 AM on April 11, 2008


I'm just getting seriously worn out on the reduction of every human endeavor and cultural phenomenon to a market-model activity.

"Yeah, well... You're not from Chicago."

[NOT COSTNERIST]
posted by psmealey at 11:50 AM on April 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


Well, that seems completely out of character for this site, unless it's going on more often and this is just the first time I noticed.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 12:13 PM on April 11, 2008


Yeah... what was that?
posted by psmealey at 12:14 PM on April 11, 2008


I think there were some legal issues involved.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:17 PM on April 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


I made an error, and the error was corrected. Nothing interesting.
posted by dersins at 12:18 PM on April 11, 2008


stavrosthewonderchicken writes "You reckon? I'm not so sure it does, all that much. But there's no real hard evidence, either way, I don't think. Perhaps jessamyn or cortex or mathowie could shed some light on what they think."

I think if nothing else it creates a bit of friction in the cycle that at least slows it down a bit.
posted by Mitheral at 12:28 PM on April 11, 2008


I've never even been to Belize.
posted by psmealey at 12:28 PM on April 11, 2008


Look, a non-litigious puffy dog!
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:31 PM on April 11, 2008


I've never even been to Belize

I have. I performed a wedding there!

(Don't tell the Belizean government, please; I never got their permission...)
posted by dersins at 12:33 PM on April 11, 2008


You never expect the Belizean inquisition.
posted by Dr. Curare at 12:46 PM on April 11, 2008


True, but I'd happily go back to Caye Caulker for it.
posted by dersins at 12:59 PM on April 11, 2008


(where among their chief weapons are Belikin, rum, and an almost fanatical devotion to going slow)
posted by dersins at 1:00 PM on April 11, 2008


I was trying to figure out what all was going on in Belize, loaded a Google cached metafilter page for the highlighting of the terms I searched for, and the background started changing color on me again.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 1:08 PM on April 11, 2008


Google dosed the cache.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:19 PM on April 11, 2008


"Well, that seems completely out of character for this site, unless it's going on more often and this is just the first time I noticed."

Costner jokes?
posted by klangklangston at 1:34 PM on April 11, 2008


No, it is a mystery.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 1:38 PM on April 11, 2008


HURF DURF YOUTUBE READER
posted by joe lisboa at 1:47 PM on April 11, 2008


I'm a user
I'm a poster
I'm a friend met
And I'm a boaster
I write my comments on the run

I'm a clod
I'm a god
I'm a midnight mod
I sure don't want to ban no one
posted by Zed_Lopez at 1:51 PM on April 11, 2008


Are people from Belize known as

a) Belizäns
b) Beliztafarians
c) Belizards
d) Belizebians
e) u r ghey
posted by Mister_A at 2:00 PM on April 11, 2008


Well, apart from the ghey Belizarianisticated people, the Gari'funa living in Dangriga, Hopkins, Georgetown, Seine Bight, Punta Gorda, and Barranco are one of the most interesting peoples of the continent.

They are descendants of Africans who somehow (shipwreck, mutiny or rebellion) escape a slave ship and make it to St. Vincent. There they mix with the local Carib indians, and finally get kicked out by the British and sent to Honduras (Australia being too far?). From there they make it to the Belize coast and start a bunch of fishing villages. A lot of their African culture survives, mixed with Carib and Catholic culture.

In Georgetown you might see a drunk African Catholic priest banging on a djembe after sacrificing a chicken (in his capacity as buwiye, not priest), singing catholic prayers in English bridged with refrains in an incomprehensible (to me) tongue. According to some Africa enthusiast friends of my, this is the closest you can get to an African port city this side of the ocean.

Some of these towns are so isolated, that after the British left and communications deteriorated, the easier way to get there is to go to Guatemala City, then to Puerto Barrios, and there take a boat to the Garifuna villages.

So, back on topic: YOU ARE THE GHEY, MISTAR_A(SS)!!!1!!!!
posted by Dr. Curare at 2:50 PM on April 11, 2008


The last 8 comments at YouTube:

# AWESOME VIDEO!
# lol!
# one of my favorite songs
# hahahahaaaaa love jeff!!!!!
# CHECK OUT THIS VID OV ME MAKIN A SICK RAP/HIP HOP BEAT! /watch?v=ie59Let2GB8
# luuuuuuuuuuuuv
# putos kuleros!!!!!!
# SOULJA BOY SUCKS FUCK HIM!

And that's all you really need to know about Youtube right there. Except there was no "U R GHEY". I would have had to include the first 11 comments for that.
posted by Justinian at 3:31 PM on April 11, 2008


So yeah, what's the story with the disgruntled ex-MeFite in the comments?
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:33 PM on April 11, 2008


He's a disgrunted ex-MeFite who managed to kind of set the high-water mark for both bad-faith reappropriation of mefi content in the first place and then being a massive jerk about getting booted. That he's still zipping around looking for mentions of mefi so he can explain how Matt is the devil is both depressing and unsurprising at this point, and given how much he seems to thrive on attention and reaction and grudge-maintenance, I'd really we rather not bother talking about it here, basically.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:46 PM on April 11, 2008


I have seen a few literate and interesting or at least amusing comment threads on youtube... though they tend to be on clips of obscure 70s British television horror series and the like. Not exactly where their typical users are going to post
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:41 PM on April 11, 2008


I find that watching Youtube and reading the comments lowers me to their level. However, when one is inebriated, it can be funny as hell.
posted by proj08 at 6:37 PM on April 11, 2008


Deletions, haiku and all, I think this thread wins for strangest MeTa ever.
posted by psmealey at 6:46 PM on April 11, 2008


Eh... the haiku was on the other MeTa.

Nevermind. /emily litella
posted by psmealey at 6:47 PM on April 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yeah sorry about that. Anyone can MeMail me for longer explanations if they are confused or frightened.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:55 PM on April 11, 2008


The haiku you seek
Meta 16098
Cold shower of snark
posted by lukemeister at 7:25 PM on April 11, 2008


How about for every FPP that's a single YouTube link, we post a video to YouTube that's a series of screenshots of a MetaFilter FPP + comments?

TIT FOR TAT, BABY!
posted by davejay at 10:38 PM on April 11, 2008


since we post so many links to youtube vids here, i'd be interested in a direct comparison of comments on the same video. It can't be that hard to do.
posted by empath at 11:34 PM on April 11, 2008


Half past twelve
And I'm reading the blue in my flat all alone
How I hate to spend the evening on my own
Autumn winds
Blowing outside my window as I look around the room
And it makes me so depressed to see the gloom
There's no cortex out there
No jessamyn to hear my prayer

Gimme gimme gimme a mod after midnight
Won't somebody help me chase the trolls away
Gimme gimme gimme a mod after midnight
Take me through the darkness to the break of the day
posted by Locative at 5:20 AM on April 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think the real value of this is that you can graph the demise of MetaFilter into YouTubery, the difference between the comments ever-approaching zero. Tic...tic...tic...

BTW u r all hatarz.
posted by cosmonik at 5:13 PM on April 13, 2008


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