What happened to america1-3? May 13, 2008 9:22 PM   Subscribe

What is the likelihood this would happen? Two unsensational, unrelated posts (1,2) on AskMe within six minutes of each other by america4 then america5. Weird.
posted by netbros to MetaFilter-Related at 9:22 PM (84 comments total)

america666.

5 bux. Get 'em while they're memetic!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:26 PM on May 13, 2008


Two unsensational, unrelated posts (1,2) on AskMe within six minutes of each other by america4 then america5. Weird.

Not that weird. Dude had two questions to ask at the same time, so he asked them with two different accounts.
posted by dersins at 9:38 PM on May 13, 2008


Yup, what dersins said. The writing/typing style gives it away (well, aside from the obvious name thing).

The weird thing is that there is no america2 or america3 -- although the most likely cause is that america4 is this person's standard online username.
posted by spiderskull at 9:40 PM on May 13, 2008


So I guess you can buy as many accounts as you want to get around the one question per week rule?
posted by netbros at 9:48 PM on May 13, 2008


Huh. Yeah, that's not cool.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:54 PM on May 13, 2008


Aw, how will he found about about the llama farms to go to with his daughter this weekend? That one seems more time-sensitive. Guess he should have asked that one on his real account.
posted by Locative at 9:59 PM on May 13, 2008


Who will think of the llamas?!
posted by loiseau at 10:05 PM on May 13, 2008


America 1-3 were destroyed during the first DC Crisis. I think america666 shows up in 'Final Crisis'.
posted by GuyZero at 10:26 PM on May 13, 2008 [19 favorites]


Cortex, I'm not sure how uncool that really is. It's a tough policy question, to be sure, but it seems fairly innocent in this instance and I don't think the community will come crashing down if we allow this. Then again, I'm part llama (on my mom's side this time) and think that my people could use the additional income.
posted by allen.spaulding at 10:37 PM on May 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Last I checked the admins frown on gaming askme with two accounts like that.
posted by puke & cry at 10:41 PM on May 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Ah, nevermind. At least be a little more clever about gaming askme next time. Seriously, america4 and america5? Are you that stupid?
posted by puke & cry at 10:43 PM on May 13, 2008


It was probably that canadian fitness guy, that guy seems to get dumber and dumber as time passes.
posted by puke & cry at 10:44 PM on May 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


He did take the trouble to pay an extra five bucks. Doesn't that count for something?

I mean, how often are they actually abusing these two accounts?
posted by sunshinesky at 10:51 PM on May 13, 2008


Frickin' mooch, too.
posted by carsonb at 10:56 PM on May 13, 2008


I think we're ignoring the possibility that there are multiple people who want to use the "america" user name, and simply add a number onto the end in order to get a unique name.
posted by hellojed at 11:09 PM on May 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Multiple 50-something attorneys in Oregon with similar writing styles? Uh, yeah, it's a possibility I guess, but not a very likely one.
posted by dersins at 11:13 PM on May 13, 2008


I actually feel bad for the guy getting his second account banned. I always figured that sort of thing was technically acceptable, but I suppose he was so obvious about it that cortex had to nip it in the bud.

And since we're talking about him: WTF, dude? I can barely think of two pieces of information easier to find with Google. A Mickey Mantle trading card is practically a cliche, and there can't be more than a handful of Llama farms in his (or any) state. I've asked some stupid questions, but at least I do my own searches first.
posted by chudmonkey at 11:22 PM on May 13, 2008


Case in point: looking for LLAMAS in CENTRAL OREGON? Try centraloregonllamas.org. Sheesh! Links to farms and everything!
posted by chudmonkey at 11:24 PM on May 13, 2008 [3 favorites]


That kind of thing is might be technically acceptable sometimes, but not when it's as blatant as two questions within 10 minutes. That constitutes a clear abuse of askme.

Personally, I'd ban both accounts just for being stupid but at least one of them got the axe.
posted by puke & cry at 11:28 PM on May 13, 2008


Multiple 50-Something llama attorneys in central Oregon with similar writing styles?

I think the baby-boomer llama attorney demographic is under represented on MetaFilter, especially from the pacific northwest.

ugh, Metafilter is consuming me
posted by hellojed at 11:49 PM on May 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Tina, you fat lard, come get some DINNER!
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 2:28 AM on May 14, 2008 [7 favorites]


america666.

5 bux. Get 'em while they're memetic!


Pfft. If I can't have americashaftoe, I don't want any americas.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:13 AM on May 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


Oh fuck Shaftoe. Tyrone Slothrop, all the way.
posted by aramaic at 6:28 AM on May 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


I mean, how often are they actually abusing these two accounts?

More than once. It looks like the second one exists specifically and only for circumventing the limit.

It's sort of one thing when there are really unusual, one-off circumstances driving a second-account shuffle. We're not going to go scorched earth on that sort of thing. But if it's just kind of banal "gosh I should get to ask more questions" stuff, then no, it's not cool, and doing it so blatantly obviously is begging to get noticed (by us or by the userbase) and shut down.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:48 AM on May 14, 2008


That kind of thing might be technically acceptable sometimes, but not when it's as blatant as two questions within 10 minutes.

I am totally baffled by this attitude, but I've heard it from many users. I think there's something I'm not getting. To me, it sounds similar to this:

"Don't steal. But if you really feel you must, at least don't steal twice in one day. Wait a couple of weeks between thefts."

Either stealing is wrong or it's not. No?

When people complain about only getting to ask one question a week, eventually someone -- and usually a person who seems to care about the rules and the community -- says, "Dude, if you really want to ask a second question, just sign up for a sockpuppet account." If you care about the rules, why would you suggest this?

Is it about respect? Is it, "If you're going to break the rules, at least don't rub it in our faces! At least make it LOOK like two people are asking the questions"?
posted by grumblebee at 7:46 AM on May 14, 2008


Either stealing is wrong or it's not. No?

Grumblebee, I get the impression that people don't care if it's one ordinary question and then another emergency type question, 'cause "Hey, shit happens and as long as you don't have emergences every other week, then it's ok" 'Cause life isn't black and white.

So yeah, don't steal, but if you're suddenly homeless and penniless, and a person specifically chooses to steal bread at the end of the day 'cause it'll probably be thrown it, then generally people can understand and not condemn what would normally be a bad act. 'Cause life isn't black and white.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:06 AM on May 14, 2008


So is there an (etiquette? ethical?) difference between...

Question posted by George
EMERGENCY Question posted by Franklin (George's unacknowledged sockpuppet)

... and ...

Question posted by George
EMERGENCY question posted by George2

???
posted by grumblebee at 8:10 AM on May 14, 2008


It's an acknowledgement that, indeed, it's not the end of the world if some individiual user manages to post inside of seven days, that the guideline is not some glass rod that will shatter if even so much as bent.

At the same time, it's something that's in general not considered an okay casual practice. And folks who blatantly, casually dismiss that guideline and worse yet do it in a way that is blindingly obvious to users (new and old alike) are (1) setting an example that is directly in conflict with the spirit of the one-a-week guideline and (2) making our jobs more difficult as far as maintaining that guideline while still expressing flexibility on the rare cases where we decided to give it a pass due to extenuating circumstances.

We used to say "if you really need to ask two, if it's really an emergency type situation, get a second account", in one way or another. We've pretty much stopped saying that at this point, mostly I think because four times out of five the person we find actually putting that plan isn't actually dealing with an emergency or using it Just This Once.

Obviously, that cat is never going completely back into the bag, and even if it had never gotten qualified administrative acknowledgement it'd still be something folks would figure out on their own, but the goodwill that went with suggesting it as a rare and judicious workaround has kind of been used up at this point, I think.

The FAQ pretty much reflects this: It is against the rules to use a sock puppet to get around the time limitations between AskMe, MeFi and MeTa posts. People who do this will risk losing the sock puppet account, getting a time out on theeir main account and/or having their extra question or post removed. Please do not do this.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:10 AM on May 14, 2008


BAN HAMMA!
posted by quonsar at 8:22 AM on May 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


Makes sense, Cortex.
posted by grumblebee at 8:29 AM on May 14, 2008


how clear are we in the guidelines or sign up page that getting a second account to ask another question is not okay? this guy doesn't seem like much of a regular, and he probably just figured it was a loophole that wouldn't be too big a deal to take advantage of.
posted by shmegegge at 8:30 AM on May 14, 2008


I mean, aside from the faq that people are in all likelihood not reading.
posted by shmegegge at 8:33 AM on May 14, 2008


Question posted by George
EMERGENCY question posted by George2


I'm guessing that the line of thought is this: Doing it in such an blatant manner encourages others to do it, leading to more rule breaking. By making it non-obvious, the the rules aren't weakened, and human needs are also met. Again, this only works if it's not abused.

Basically, doing it blatantly leads to the rules being broken for terrible reasons. Doing it non-blatantly generally causes the rules to be broken for good reasons.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:33 AM on May 14, 2008


This is the perfect opportunity to use the EMERGENCY LLAMA FARM VISIT siren I got off eBay last year.

Wee-oooh wee-oooh wee-oooh..
posted by Plutor at 8:35 AM on May 14, 2008


Makes sense, Cortex.

Cool.

And man, I'm a little punchy this morning, and I read that at first glance as "Make sense, Cortex." and I was all oh no you did not. I think I'll go get some coffee.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:43 AM on May 14, 2008


No, your instincts were correct. When I wrote, "Makes sense, Cortex," I meant "Fuck off, you pencil-dicked, child molester!"
posted by grumblebee at 8:52 AM on May 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


Too late. Have coffee now. Can't rile me up.

Also, you've got an extraneous comma in there.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:54 AM on May 14, 2008 [2 favorites]


Coffee is for closers.
posted by grumblebee at 8:57 AM on May 14, 2008 [5 favorites]


The leads are weak.
posted by shmegegge at 9:07 AM on May 14, 2008


I logged into Metafilter this morning from Firefox 4.2; you're using a crippled beta release of Netscape 4. You're banned for life, that's my name.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:11 AM on May 14, 2008 [4 favorites]


I (heart) cortex.

But only after he's had coffee.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 9:21 AM on May 14, 2008


A. B. M.

Always

Be

Moderating
posted by GuyZero at 9:51 AM on May 14, 2008


wont you tell me where have all the good times gone ?
posted by sgt.serenity at 9:55 AM on May 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


So is there an (etiquette? ethical?) difference between...

It's the difference between quietly taking some office supplies home with you from the office, and walking by your boss's desk on the way out to say "Thanks for the free pens, man!"
posted by agropyron at 10:42 AM on May 14, 2008 [2 favorites]


I must be a little punchy this morning too, 'cause I read agropyron's comment above as "...walking by your boss's desk on the way out to say 'Thanks for the free penis, man!'"

And I don't like coffee, so I must need a DCwL.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 11:03 AM on May 14, 2008


Color me confused as to why anyone would really care, much less put in a FAQ entry about it. I figure you pay your five bucks to ask some questions at a certain rate, as well as participate on the Blue and the Grey as much as you like. Twice that should accommodate twice the rate - it's not like there's some complicated Big O notation that somehow makes this go up in a non-linear fashion. Two checking accounts, two sets of checking account fees.

All this will really do is just push sockpuppet users to go further in anonymization, which means that they'll still do it, and we'll have the added bonus of it no longer being obvious when there's sockpuppetry afoot.

I couldn't resist that last bit.
posted by adipocere at 11:36 AM on May 14, 2008


AskMe: there's sockpuppetry afoot
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 11:41 AM on May 14, 2008 [3 favorites]


Two checking accounts, two sets of checking account fees.

The five bucks is not a fee-for-service contract, it's a speed-bump.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:48 AM on May 14, 2008


A. B. M.

A bowel movement? Er... I suppose coffee can have that effect.
posted by arcticwoman at 11:55 AM on May 14, 2008


All this will really do is just push sockpuppet users to go further in anonymization, which means that they'll still do it, and we'll have the added bonus of it no longer being obvious when there's sockpuppetry afoot.

Yeah, adipocere. That was my thought, initially. I get cortex's (and other people's) point, but something in me recoils when I hear people say, "If you're going to do it, just do it secretly." I hate don't ask, don't tell stuff, even though I have to admit it's sometimes practical. It just leaves me with a nasty taste. For instance...

It's the difference between quietly taking some office supplies home with you from the office, and walking by your boss's desk on the way out to say "Thanks for the free pens, man!"

Just a personal preference, but I'd rather hear the snide comment and KNOW who stole his pens, rather than discover they're missing on my own and think, "Hey! Who stole them?"
posted by grumblebee at 11:56 AM on May 14, 2008


adipocere, there haven't been many of them recently, but not too long ago metatalk had pretty regular threads about the speed at which askme questions disappeared from the front page. I'm not completely able to recall the precise chronology, but we've had fluctuating askme question limits for a few years now to find the sweet spot where people can ask often enough but not overly flood the front page. If they actively endorse buying sock puppets to ask more than once a week, then what you get is an intolerably small window of front page time to get the most eyeballs on your question, and askme quality suffers. moreover, the people who get the most use out of the system are the ones who don't mind spending the 5 bucks repeatedly, and that kind of mercenary advantage isn't a great idea.

I think the problem here is that, where cortex seemed (to me, at least. I could be wrong) to have been describing the problem with seeming lenient on sock puppets, everyone ELSE has taken that to mean that sock puppets are actually fine if you're sneaky about it.

It's not that. It's that they can't afford to seem like they're encouraging it because askme would eventually become next to useless.
posted by shmegegge at 12:04 PM on May 14, 2008


Well, let me put it this way.

1. If you're going to do something in such a way that we have no way to know you're doing it, then by definition we can't really stop you.

2. If you're also doing it in a way that respects the spirit of the guidelines—you're using the alt account only for the rare don't-want-to-reveal-your-identity question, you're not routinely circumventing the time limit, etc—then I don't really have a problem with (1), though I'd certainly rather you disclose the sock status to us.

3. If you're doing it in a way that isn't kosher, that just plain sucks regardless of whether we know it is going on.

4. If we later catch you at (3) because it comes to our attention by whatever means that you've been secretly doing this, we're probably going to be pissed, you're almost certainly going to lose your spare account, and etc. depending on the situation.

If you're going to smoke weed in the US, at least be discreet about it. If you're going to secretly smoke weed in my bathroom when you know I'm not okay with it, though, you can get right the fuck out of my apartment.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:05 PM on May 14, 2008 [4 favorites]


Just a personal preference, but I'd rather hear the snide comment and KNOW who stole his pens, rather than discover they're missing on my own and think, "Hey! Who stole them?"

because then you could fire him.
posted by shmegegge at 12:05 PM on May 14, 2008


Note that you could also fire him for the "penis" thing, probably.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:09 PM on May 14, 2008


I just borrowed it for a few hours, I was going to return it.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 12:34 PM on May 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


This post was deleted for the following reason: Please don't casually use multiple accounts to get around question limits. -- cortex

is the word 'casually' in there so that, in the event that, say, a terrorist had vital information about a bomb set to go off in New York, you leave open the possibility for us to create a sock puppet account to post the question to ask metafilter, and then if necessary obtain a presidential pardon?
posted by felix at 12:34 PM on May 14, 2008 [2 favorites]


Anyone considering a sock puppet should consult It's Raining Florence Henderson for tips on ingenuity and variety. Also multiplicity.
posted by Cranberry at 12:40 PM on May 14, 2008


Y'know, I still chuckle every time I see that username.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 12:51 PM on May 14, 2008


is the word 'casually' in there so that, in the event that, say, a terrorist had vital information about a bomb set to go off in New York, you leave open the possibility for us to create a sock puppet account to post the question to ask metafilter, and then if necessary obtain a presidential pardon?

Next week...on 24.

Seriously, though, you have no idea how fishbowl it is sometimes to write up a deletion reason that has contentable policy implications.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:01 PM on May 14, 2008


I think you mean Fishbone.
posted by shmegegge at 1:08 PM on May 14, 2008


No, no, Fonebone.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:11 PM on May 14, 2008


yeah, cortex, but you won't be able to smell it if i open the window first.
posted by lester's sock puppet at 1:48 PM on May 14, 2008


shhh. he'll hear the lighter.
posted by lester at 1:51 PM on May 14, 2008


We could make it easier to do follow-up questions without increasing the total number of questions available to any given member or the total number of questions globally by changing the rules slightly so that a member could ask one and only one question on the day of the week he or she joined and the six days thereafter.

That way, if I happened to have joined on a Saturday, I could ask my question on a Friday, and then ask my follow-up on the very next day, a Saturday, because new question periods would start on Saturdays for my account.

To let members know what day of the week their question period begins we could modify the 'Joined:' line in the profile to include the day of the week.
posted by jamjam at 2:52 PM on May 14, 2008


Fone Bone?
posted by shmegegge at 2:56 PM on May 14, 2008


If you're going to secretly smoke weed in my bathroom when you know I'm not okay with it, though, you can get right the fuck out of my apartment.

But you do have a balcony, right? This is sounding less and less like a cool deal, cortex.
posted by Meatbomb at 5:37 PM on May 14, 2008


Everyone knows you're supposed to smoke out in the utility closet off the balcony. That's the party closet.
posted by puke & cry at 6:22 PM on May 14, 2008


Ohhhhh, Bone Fone.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:52 PM on May 14, 2008


Whoa. dirtynumbangelboy, when did you come back? I'm glad you're back!

Oh. Looking at comment history, looks like you've been back for a while. But I just wanted to say (have wanted to say this for a while, in fact), fuck klangklangston et al. for making you want to leave in the first place.
posted by limeonaire at 7:12 PM on May 14, 2008


So...I've been a member for a bit, and I've never understood the joke that is "It's Raining Florence Henderson", though I've been both ashamed to admit that fact and enamored of his contributions. Anyone willing to help?
posted by Kwine at 11:35 PM on May 14, 2008


shhh...klangklangston might hear and come to fight
posted by Locative at 11:50 PM on May 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


I never got it either, Kwine. So I'm there with you at least.
posted by puke & cry at 12:02 AM on May 15, 2008


You remember back when it was super cool to have little floating dhtml objects streak down your homepage? I picture that going on, where the objects are bobble-head Florence Hendersons. That gets a chuckle every time. Alternatively, I imagine the look on Mrs. Brady's face when I give her the bad news about the weather.
posted by carsonb at 1:28 AM on May 15, 2008


I like to think of it as just being the title of a creepily, arguably fetishistically hyper-specific reworking of It's Raining Men.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:48 AM on May 15, 2008


america4 & 5? more like terrorist4 & 5! AMIRITE?!?!?!
posted by blue_beetle at 6:49 AM on May 15, 2008


I have absolutely no problem with anyone purchasing two acounts to get around the time limit on askme. I do have a problem with two accounts being used to hype/applaud oneself or for astroturfing. but asking two questions? that's kinda cool.
posted by krautland at 6:59 AM on May 15, 2008


and I've never understood the joke that is "It's Raining Florence Henderson"

I always assumed that it was a quote from a statement that could only be made under a very specific set of circumstances; The actress who played Mrs. Brady, in an ill advised moment, decided to have a cigarette while sitting next to a leaking propane tank. The explosion was horrific and the debris went everywhere. When someone asked "What is that red, meaty pulp falling from the sky?" the natural response was...
posted by quin at 7:51 AM on May 15, 2008


What is strange is that when you look at america5's posting history, you see the following askme post dates: (excluding May 13, 2008)
December 9, 2007
September 15, 2007
August 20, 2007
July 29, 2007

Looking at america4, the presumptive 'primary account', we have only one clear overlap (two including this week).
December 13, 2007
December 4, 2007

Thus the apparent post on 9 Dec above to squeeze in another question.

However, the september post is:
September 22, 2007. Why then the post on Sep 15 with the 'secondary' account when the primary account was wide open for use? Why not use the primary account on Sep 15 and the secondary account a week later?

In addition, there's no posting at all for the primary account in August to explain logically why the secondary account would be used at all then. And the last July post was:
July 16, 2007, well over a week before the secondary account posted that month.


Don't get me wrong, I agree with everyone that it's the same person. (similarities in the questions. Both poster's live in Ore. Primary has children of college age, Secondary asks about college question for child, etc) I just think it's strange to not see more correlation in the dates of the posts. (Unless a couple of these occurred during the period of 'one question per two weeks' which could explain all but the August post). Not that any of this matters. I just thought it was very curious to go to the trouble of buying a second account and not even use it efficiently. Though, that's just my OCD talking I think.

Anyway, just bored at work and felt like doing some pointless random investigation. :)
posted by johnstein at 11:01 AM on May 15, 2008


So it seems no one knows the meaning of "It's Raining Florence Henderson". So far I've only seen "I think it means so and so". The ambiguous nature of it makes it seem all that more brilliant, frankly.
posted by puke & cry at 11:55 PM on May 15, 2008


I've always thought that it has to be a pun, since, apologies to cortex, he's the grandmaster punster 'round here. But that's all I got. Really I'm sorry I asked and I'd rather it stays a mystery. If you're watching, don't tell us, Florence!
posted by Kwine at 7:05 AM on May 16, 2008


It's got to have something to do with Wesson Oil, amirite?
posted by Rock Steady at 7:54 AM on May 16, 2008


Oh, hi. Didn't see this here. Does anyone read the comments down here? For anyone who cares, I do have a link to the thread that started it all in my profile. Cheers!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:58 PM on May 22, 2008


Don't be shy, IRFH, spit it out.
posted by Meatbomb at 1:33 PM on May 23, 2008


you know... if you really wanted to make a difference why don't you start teaching in something as mundane as a public school classroom?
posted by krautland at 10:42 PM on May 23, 2008


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