A Fetishistic Obsession with Bureaucratic Policing September 17, 2008 8:54 AM   Subscribe

One of the most discouraging trends I see in Metafilter as a whole is this very widespread tendency for Mefites to focus to a fetishistic degree on bureaucratic policing rather than content. I don't think the tendency makes someone a bad person, nor do I claim I've been immune to it. But it's a variation of ...

... metapedianism1, except that, unlike the pseudodemocracy of Wikipedia, in this instance we are just making our unasked-for opinion as to what is "proper" or what subsites are "for", as unwelcome as backseat drivers. Our role isn't to moderate (ahem) others' use of the website, and even if such input is welcome by the moderators, it certainly cannot be considered welcome to the highly excessive degree in which we all seem to indulge. It's discouraging to me when I read someone write something that literally takes my breath away with its feeling or its insight, and then see that the only immediate follow-ups are comments about how so-and-so believes that such-and-such a community standard has been breached.

You know what? If indeed such a standard has been breached, one of the incredibly quick-on-their-feet mods will address it. You don't even need to say it, especially when such bureaucratic pedantry contributes nothing: nothing to the discussion at hand and nothing to the community as a whole. It indeed even hurts the community, because such actions make the community an emotionally colder place to be: a place where people feel they need shielding. I'm not saying we need to be Touchy-Feely Kumbaya Land, but it's a simple cause-effect: if the first thing that people get out of the gate when they share something personal is such discouragements, then they're going to feel much less inclined to do so in the future.

And before it's said, I'm not entirely blind to the irony of someone writing a metapedic MeTa post complaining about Metafilter metapedianism.

     1Which really is what makes Wikipedia suck, and suck badly.
posted by WCityMike to MetaFilter-Related at 8:54 AM (110 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

In regards to Plinth's post, I couldn't agree with you more. As far as a trend goes, I'm not so sure, but it certainly couldn't hurt to quiet our inner grammar Nazis. If nothing else, flag more and complain less and let the mods do what they do so well.
posted by doctor_negative at 9:01 AM on September 17, 2008


Damn, WCityMike, way to take it to the patapedian level.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:02 AM on September 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


Well said, WCityMike.

But couldn't you have put this in the Trisomy 21 thread below?

*ducks*
posted by Mister_A at 9:05 AM on September 17, 2008


This should have gone in the existing thread.

Psyche!

I agree with you, and I think it's especially bad in MetaTalk. I often wonder if everyone else on MetaFilter has some sort of buzzer affixed to their computer that shocks them whenever someone posts to MeTa. The obsession everyone has with this quarter of the site never being used is kind of neurotic.
posted by roll truck roll at 9:11 AM on September 17, 2008


<pedant>It's psych, not psyche</pedant>. Psyche is pronounced "psych-ee." I don't care what the dictionary says.

However, I totally agree with the sentiment of this post.
posted by proj at 9:13 AM on September 17, 2008


Well put, WCityMike. Folks who repeatedly pull that sort of shit and hide behind excuses of community-mindedness, rules-lawyersism or even "Hey I keep it real, that's how I roll, deal with it" deserve a good cudgeling. They didn't spend their childhoods in Skinner Boxes, and they're presumably not thirteen years old, Their nitpicking asshole nonsense is, as you said, far more damaging to the community they purport to care about and the interests they've self-elected to represent.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:15 AM on September 17, 2008 [1 favorite]



You know what? If indeed such a standard has been breached, one of the incredibly quick-on-their-feet mods will address it.


Or maybe not, if they're busy or don't think it's a problem. In which case, it should be fine for a user to bring it up, in MetaTalk.

You don't even need to say it

Yeah, that suggestion isn't going to work. A MetaTalk post and link to that MetaTalk post in the thread would probably be better.

Me, I thought the attitude, in plinth's MetaTalk post, of "Those posts are awful and plinth's thoughtful comments shouldn't have to be in those terrible posts" was odd. We shouldn't make good comments in awful threads?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:18 AM on September 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


I totally agree with you. But that's what Metafilter IS, no? I don't remember it being any different, ever.
A few days ago I found an old version of a website I had, probably 6 or seven years ago, and on the "links" page, it has a link to Metafilter, where I was still a lurker at the time.
The description is "Someone posts a story or link and then the same 20 or so people bitch and complain about how the post was worded and if it was worthy of posting in the first place.
But sometimes the posts are interesting."
posted by chococat at 9:21 AM on September 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Well, BB, to my mind, it's not wrong to start a new MetaTalk, as plinth did, and it wouldn't have been wrong to post it in the days-old hideous cesspool fpp thread either. Whoa! Editorialize much? Indeed I do.

Anyway, it's all about choice. I support plinth's right to choose to write to right wrongs, is about as clearly as I can articulate it.
posted by Mister_A at 9:22 AM on September 17, 2008


This should have been categorized as "etiquette/policy" and not "Metafilter-related."
posted by eyeballkid at 9:23 AM on September 17, 2008 [4 favorites]


WCityMike: "And before it's said, I'm not entirely blind to the irony of someone writing a metapedic MeTa post complaining about Metafilter metapedianism."

So, "Do as I say, not as I do"?
Be the change you want to see.
posted by Plutor at 9:24 AM on September 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


Without examples this is a really weak call-out of, well, no one or no particular trend or no particular behavior other than what you assert here to be the case across the board.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:24 AM on September 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


*stabs eyeballkid, feels badly*
posted by Mister_A at 9:24 AM on September 17, 2008


Actualy I find it pretty useful when the community makes its feelings known on various this or that doesn't belong in this or that place or with this or that tone" However, it's worth knowing and understanding that one person's "I don't think this belongs here" comment doesn't carry any more weight than another person's "I think this DOES belong here" comment. Except in the cases of the moderators but even then we've been overruled by community opprobium and input (not often but it happens).

I just see this site as full of a bunch of incredibly smart (usually) and finicky (often) folks. So in the same way I like to make all my blankets line up when I get into bed, other people here like it when follow-up comments are in the same thread, when people pullquote correctly, use a via link always/never, or spell it's properly. I really see that people in many cases literally can't help themselves offering a correction or an "I don't think that's right" comment and I've learned to sort of not get fussy about people's tendency to do that and try to focus on the larger issue.

I know you're trying to make a secondary point where WCityMike and I do appreciate it, but this post is a different version of exactly the same "I feel that there's something you all need to know about something that irritates me" that plinth did. I'm not sure what benefit a post like this has except to get people to say "yeah I agree" or "hey I don't agree" or "aren't you some special snowflake?"

We could all be less irritable, is my takeaway from these interactions. However, I also figure that the less-irritable-ness needs to start not with other irritating people behaving better, but with me.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:27 AM on September 17, 2008 [5 favorites]


OK, I'll bite.

I'm one of those people that replied quickly with what probably seems to you to be a hair-splitting metapedianism. I framed it as a question, because it really was an honest question: why start a brand new thread on a topic that is already being discussed in two different places.

I decided not to follow up on it because (1) I didn't get a response; and (2) I thought that pursuing it further would be an unnecessary hijacking of the poster's original purpose. But since you've decided to start yet another thread on this matter specifically, I'll address it.

plinth posted a heartfelt and deeply personal comment about a matter that is near to his heart, about which he clearly has more experience than almost any other MeFite (myself included), and about which he clearly has more expertise than most MeFites (myself included). Fabulous.

He presented it as a stand-alone post of "a few facts" that contained "general information," intended to educate an otherwise ignorant Metafilter population about a complex and difficult issue. Doubly fabulous.

The post contains a lot of important information that corrects some myths about Down('s) fabulous.

But the post also contains:

- A personal opinion about politically-correct language.
- A barely-substantiated claim about the happiness of children with Down syndrome ("I've heard Brian Skotko quote a study").
- An inflammatory and unsubstantiated attack on medical professionals ("Many parents are being coerced to abort by doctors")
- A nitpicking dismissal of a single comment ("This is laughably ignorant, and probably a troll.")

Problem #1:

(1) These are not facts. But they are presented as "facts" backed up by personal experience, which has the (intended or unintended) effect of placing it above critique. No one can argue with plinth's personal experience, but they have every right to argue with plinth's assertions. Yet what I see in that thread is all dissent or conversation about these assertions being shouted down as mean-spirited, stupid, or nit-picking.

(2) Using a personal connection to an issue as carte blanche to post new MeTa threads with an air of impicit infallibility seems to me an unfortunate precedent. Every hot-button issue has its own share of MeFites with personal experience, many with deeply affecting stories to tell. Perhaps I am fetishizing the policing of MeTa posts, but I do think that sharing a touching experience should not necessarily in itself be reason for starting a new thread, when two on-topic threads already exist.

(3) Finally, a lot of people have defended plinth's post by saying that posting it in either of the other threads would somehow sully his fabulous post. I just don't buy this. Threads are not toxic waste dumps that irrepably tarnish comments; they are ongoing conversations. If you really care about the conversation, post your information where the people who can benefit the most are most likely to see it.

I realize that mine is a minority opinion and probably deeply unpopular, and that it is indeed hair-splitting. I also realize that jessamyn has already given her OK to plinth's thread, so this is pretty much crying over spilt milk. But hey, you brought it up, so I thought I'd share.
posted by googly at 9:29 AM on September 17, 2008 [29 favorites]


Argh. should read "The post contains a lot of important information that corrects some myths about Down('s) syndrome. Triply fabulous."
posted by googly at 9:31 AM on September 17, 2008


jessamyn: "I know you're trying to make a secondary point where WCityMike and"

Jessamyn, just so I'm parsing that correctly, is "where" supposed to be "here", or was a clause inadvertently clipped?
posted by WCityMike at 9:33 AM on September 17, 2008


Because I LOVE to offend people, what you're trying to do here is get the sand out of peoples' vaginas using MORE SAND. There is one way to make MetaFilter a better place. When you're tempted to post in MetaTalk, just don't do it. Just walk away. Go get a cup of tea or something. Read some porn and masturbate. Walk your dig. Whatever. But don't do it here.
posted by GuyZero at 9:35 AM on September 17, 2008


Agreed....though to be fair, his Zeroeth point was:
"Zeroth - no discussion herein about abortion, morality, or costs. The goal of this post is help our dear readers shed some ignorance."

So what else were we supposed to talk about?? Threads full of "thanks for that"s and "I'm so glad you posted this"s aren't much fun!
posted by Grither at 9:35 AM on September 17, 2008


NO THIS BREAKS THE GUIDELINES! MODS!
posted by Xere at 9:36 AM on September 17, 2008


Walk your dog. Or dig your dog. Whatever.
posted by GuyZero at 9:36 AM on September 17, 2008


Jessamyn, just so I'm parsing that correctly, is "where" supposed to be "here", or was a clause inadvertently clipped?

It's a typo. Which I would have just gone back and fixed if you'd MeMailed me.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:37 AM on September 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


what you're trying to do here is get the sand out of peoples' vaginas using MORE SAND.

As, I believe, the only person who has posted in this thread who actually has a vagina, I'd like to say that I don't think vaginas, sandy or not, have anything to do with anything here. Unless in some way you're implying that people who complain about things are "girls" or something.

Not that I don't agree with you generally, but seriously, can we find another metaphor for "irritated"?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:39 AM on September 17, 2008 [16 favorites]


No, no, no, a thousand times no. You are completely missing the point of MetaFilter having moderators at all. Under your formulation, Matt, Jess, cortex and vacapinta make all the decisions and set all the rules and the rest of us have absolutely no input into the discussion at all. That wasn't the way Matt set up the website in the first place, but he could have if he wanted to - after all, there were (and are) many, many examples of such strong-moderation communities aound to pattern the place after. He didn't do it that way, which is precisely what makes MetaFilter different, and (IMO) stronger. It used to say right on the front page "self-policing since 1999", and even though the taglines aren't there anymore, the sentiment is. This isn't to take away at all from the job all of the aforementioned do around here - but that job is not as you have described it. Instead, the job you seem to be arguing for their doing belongs to all of us.
posted by yhbc at 9:39 AM on September 17, 2008 [12 favorites]


jessamyn: "It's a typo. Which I would have just gone back and fixed if you'd MeMailed me."

Sorry.

posted by WCityMike at 9:40 AM on September 17, 2008


We don't really need examples, Blazecock. It's been this way for a very, very long time. Metafilter attracts librarian types. It's always easier to attack the style that someone uses than to try and debate the substance of what they're saying. Grammar bullies get a thrill when they can point out someone else's mistakes, and that they're subhumans for doing it.

But I don't think there's much that can be done about it. Unless each person notices when they're doing it, and applying some control -- but where's the fun in that? It's like asking people not to post knee-jerk witticisms in just to curry favorites.

On the other hand, the systematic social pressuring to reign in sexist comments in recent months has been pretty successful, so I guess there's always a chance.
posted by Dave Faris at 9:41 AM on September 17, 2008


come on, man, that was about as gentle and kind a suggestion as you could have asked for. nobody responsded to that snarkily or anything, and the tangent about where the comment belonged was respectful and still allowed for plenty of room for comments of support and the like.

i understand that you don't like it anyway, but this is a community blog. we can't go out of our way to, basically, keep from spoiling some image in your head of a perfect unsullied plinth thread. people make comments. you won't like some of them. such is life.
posted by shmegegge at 9:44 AM on September 17, 2008


Not that I don't agree with you generally, but seriously, can we find another metaphor for "irritated"?
I nominate "cooternated."
posted by Mister_A at 9:46 AM on September 17, 2008


It's a typo. Which I would have just gone back and fixed if you'd MeMailed me.

If I had to guess, I'd guess that WCityMike is used to having to ask people without editing ability for clarification. If it were me, I'd have done the same thing he did because the idea that comments get edited, even by mods, usually doesn't occur to me. (this is not me trying to say you shouldn't edit your comments. by all means, clarity above all.)

seriously, can we find another metaphor for "irritated"?

for god's sake, yes. I'm fucking tired of this phrase.
posted by shmegegge at 9:49 AM on September 17, 2008


For some reason I don't have the attention span to read the longer comments in this thread, but having skimmed jessamyn's I think I agree. I value the community input because it teaches us the social norms of MeFi. Some people are going to be more pointed about it, but the FAQ and the wiki and the mods can't do it all on their own. This is a dynamic and organic community. I haven't been around that long but I'm sure the norms have shifted and swayed over time. Norms are not rules. You don't have to say hello when you pass someone in the hall, but it's NICE and it's EXPECTED. IRL, no one's going to say "Hey, you didn't say hello!" but you might get the reputation as an uptight jerk. The equivalent is acceptable here and I think it's handy-dandy to have someone point out your transgressions before you develop a reputation as a jerk. A jerk on MeFi is different than a jerk on Fark or Slashdot because each community has different norms, just like it's OK not to greet everyone you pass in NYC but that's not OK in Miles City, Montana.

Some might see these social norms as constricting, but I think there's still lots of tolerance for non-conformist types - look at konolia, who vehemently disagrees with most mefite's political and religious beliefs, yet she's still here and still holds her own in a debate. When someone gets out of line, they're verbally taken to task, and when they get WAY out of line, the mods step in. I don't see anything wrong with this, no matter what the subject matter and no matter how personal. I'd much rather have someone snark in my thread about how it doesn't belong here or isn't good enough or isn't phrased right than have the mods become judge, jury, and executioner in every dispute.
posted by desjardins at 9:52 AM on September 17, 2008


Me, I thought the attitude, in plinth's MetaTalk post, of "Those posts are awful and plinth's thoughtful comments shouldn't have to be in those terrible posts" was odd. We shouldn't make good comments in awful threads?

I hear you there, and it's a reasonable point. I don't think—and I think a couple people have said this already—that either following up in the threads or going the metatalk route would be out of line, and so I'm not particularly bothered that plinth went this route, but I can see why people would wonder about it.

And I think this is partly a case where the main threads, especially the first one on the blue, are really challenging for some folks to go through because the topic is so much more emotionally, personally charged. It's one thing to disagree about presidential candidates, it's another to disagree about the viability or human worth or societal costs of your kid or nephew or cousin with a disability. The greater-than-average aversion to spending more time in those threads is something I can understand, even if it's not how I would personally likely approach it, and I think taking into account that emtional threshold tied to the topic and the way those threads were going is important in evaluating why people feel this way.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:53 AM on September 17, 2008


"Not that I don't agree with you generally, but seriously, can we find another metaphor for "irritated"?"

SANDY TAINT.

(What, Mike, you hadn't made a MeTa post in a couple of days and were feeling the jones again?)
posted by klangklangston at 9:55 AM on September 17, 2008


How about 'sand in your urethra'?

What, it happens.
posted by Durin's Bane at 9:59 AM on September 17, 2008


klangklangston: "What, Mike, you hadn't made a MeTa post in a couple of days and were feeling the jones again?"

Yo momma.
posted by WCityMike at 9:59 AM on September 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Ok, it doesn't.
posted by Durin's Bane at 9:59 AM on September 17, 2008


Not that I don't agree with you generally, but seriously, can we find another metaphor for "irritated"?

Those who can read the phrase and not get irritated are allowed to post to MetaTalk. Those who can think the phrase and not type it get to post to MetaTalk.

Man, what is it with people breaking their own rules around here?
posted by GuyZero at 10:09 AM on September 17, 2008


Every now and then, after trimming my beard and stepping into the shower, a sharp spear of whisker gets itself into my urethra. It is such an evil sensation that I would never wish it upon anyone.
posted by klangklangston at 10:11 AM on September 17, 2008


tm(eta);dr
posted by DU at 10:11 AM on September 17, 2008


MetaTalk: overruled by community opprobium

I do agree with the general sentiment of WCityMike's post, but I almost knew Jessamyn would come in here to say something like her initial comment above, and I kind of agree with her and desjardins as well. I think there is some value in the community setting it's own standards and being open about them. Most of the time, I think it is done with some respect and with minimal snark -- certainly we handle it better than the majority of forums out there.
posted by Rock Steady at 10:13 AM on September 17, 2008


googly has it right. I have nothing to add, just presenting my vote. We vote, right? Is that how this works?
posted by Kwine at 10:21 AM on September 17, 2008


In the civil war, I'm with googly.
posted by Stynxno at 10:26 AM on September 17, 2008


*stabs eyeballkid, feels badly*

Your grammar is badly and you should feel badly!

(just kidding, Mister_A)
posted by Navelgazer at 10:34 AM on September 17, 2008


We don't really need examples, Blazecock.

No? Well then we should close the thread. There's nothing left to discuss.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:35 AM on September 17, 2008


In the successful communities I've been a member of, rules and regulations have generally functioned as a fallback, rather than as a driving force. In other words, things have been allowed to be pretty free (arguably anarchic) until people started getting hurt. Only then does the rulebook get consulted and, if necessary, thrown around. This applies to non-profit radio stations, residential neighborhoods, even punk rock gigs.

And yes, I do rate Metafilter as a successful community.
posted by philip-random at 10:48 AM on September 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


More to the point -- now that I've had my lunch -- I think that not only could MeTa stand to have the "everyone needs a hug" note (did anyone make t-shirts form the iron ons I handed out at the Cambridge meetup way back when?) but maybe posting a thread to Meta should come with a set of checkboxes

[ ] I am not just me being peevish, I sincerely think this topic needs the attention of the whole community
[ ] This is not something that would be better suited by an email to the mods or the individual involved
[ ] I am more or less sober
[ ] I am not linking to a comment that, once it is inevitably deleted, will make this entire thread moot
[ ] I do not have a hate-on for a particular individual which I am waggling around in making this post
[ ] I do not, at this time, need a hug
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:54 AM on September 17, 2008 [45 favorites]


What yhbc said. It's sad to think that just because we have "official" moderators, it's no longer necessary to self-police. If you think self-policing isn't necessary, you don't get MetaFilter. And self policing is different than being a pedant, although the distinction is not always easy to see.

Some of y'all seriously need remedial training about this site.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 11:04 AM on September 17, 2008


I came into this thread to find what I'd intended to say was pretty much covered by googly.

I didn't post anything in plinth's thread because the issue is obviously personal for him and it was not the right place to start arguing, but I found that the post bothered me by adopting a didactic tone ("The goal of this post is help our dear readers shed some ignorance") and then mixing up factual information and personal opinion. Presenting this as received truth would be one thing in a comment in the original FPP, but as a standalone MeTa post it seems to me to do more to stifle discussion than to continue it. I'm very glad that plinth wants to share with us facts and opinions related to something that is very personal to him, but I don't think that we should be unable to question how he presents that information because it is a personal issue for him (obviously, some restraint is called for, but I think the objections were fairly restrained in this case).
posted by ssg at 11:13 AM on September 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


You know what's irritating? When you hear the same joke, over and over, and repackaged with less blatant sexism, more irony, self-mocking, whatever, but its still the same stupid, tired joke. Sand in my vagina, blah, blah, blah, shock-value, attention, wahhhhh. Over it.
posted by iamkimiam at 11:16 AM on September 17, 2008


Apparently you're so over it that you can't stop talking about it.
posted by GuyZero at 11:24 AM on September 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


I find it interesting that roughly 28 of the current posts (at this writing 95) are about whether or not I put the post in the correct place (25 of them after I had already posted a link in the original thread pointing to it) and zero taking me up on my offer to answer specific, relevant questions.

A personal opinion about politically-correct language.
...which I backed up with information from a national organization.
An inflammatory and unsubstantiated attack on medical professionals
...unsubstantiated, true. Coerced was probably too heavy-handed a word. Other than that, there is a history of people being induced to institutionalize children with Down syndrome based on misinformation or sins of omissions, and that same misinformation or information without context is being used to "inform" a decision on abortion. To futher my point, consider this comment in the original thread being presented to parents who have just gotten a positive screen, but you know, presented in doctor-speak. Without the larger context, it can clearly be slanted so that the parent believes that their child will suffer. I have spoken to parents who have gotten that talk with abortion only option given. Sorry I can't give you a cite other than another Brian Skotko link or two.
A barely-substantiated claim about the happiness of children with Down syndrome
Sure, you don't need to trust my memory. I think the study was the one by R. M. Hodapp, but I can't seem to find a copy online (if only we had a librarian here who could look this up).

Nice critical thinking, googly, I appreciate it.
posted by plinth at 11:27 AM on September 17, 2008


(2) Using a personal connection to an issue as carte blanche to post new MeTa threads with an air of impicit infallibility seems to me an unfortunate precedent. Every hot-button issue has its own share of MeFites with personal experience, many with deeply affecting stories to tell. Perhaps I am fetishizing the policing of MeTa posts, but I do think that sharing a touching experience should not necessarily in itself be reason for starting a new thread, when two on-topic threads already exist.

Yeah! That one guy made a disparaging comment about publishing companies in the HHGG thread, now I'm going to make a MeTa thread to say fuck him!

Er, wait, you're saying making new MeTa threads about personal connections is bad. Nevermind.

look at konolia, who vehemently disagrees with most mefite's political and religious beliefs, yet she's still here and still holds her own in a debate.

I'd say judging by the mammoth Palin thread, that itself is a debatable assertion, but getting into that is probably too large a derail of this thread.

posted by Caduceus at 11:30 AM on September 17, 2008


...which I backed up with information from a national organization.

Come on, you know that's specious reasoning.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:38 AM on September 17, 2008


can we find another metaphor for "irritated"?

Don't get your underroo's in a bunch?

[ ] I am more or less sober

You should amend this to include drugs.

so I'm not particularly bothered that plinth went this route

Ya, it's an odd case, I think, and by odd I mean "doesn't seem to happen here a lot," but the thinking behind the post's location is reasonable enough and more importantly, it's an excellent comment, thoughtfully made.

and zero taking me up on my offer to answer specific, relevant questions.

I'm not following that topic much, but perhaps sharing more of the knowledge you have would continue the conversation and prompt questions.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:52 AM on September 17, 2008


I agree with the post.
posted by Nattie at 12:05 PM on September 17, 2008


[ ] I am more or less sober

You should amend this to include drugs.


"Sober" includes all drug-induced intoxication, not just alcohol.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 12:47 PM on September 17, 2008


GuyZero: "Apparently you're so over it that you can't stop talking about it."

What are you talking about? That was the first (and will be the last) time I've ever mentioned it.
posted by iamkimiam at 1:07 PM on September 17, 2008


I will stop being a tool and be straightforward as I eventually came to my senses and remembered that it's bad to game MetaFilter to prove a point.

My point is that it's bad to post to MetaTalk every time you don't like something. Every time someone posts to MetaTalk (or anywhere really) to say "I don't like that" it further normalizes exactly what this post is complaining about. As the poster indicates, the existence of this post actually exacberates the issue the post itself is complaining about.

Jessamyn herself puts it quite well:

However, I also figure that the less-irritable-ness needs to start not with other irritating people behaving better, but with me.

If someone makes an offensive comment there are two things involved: there's the comment and there's the reaction of taking offense. The comment is there and cannot be removed. Your own reaction, however, is yours and yours alone. And if you don't like being offended you can simply not be offended. Walk away. Any parenting book will tell you as much: if you kid is pushing your button/yanking your chain/knotting your underwear, don't react Because if you don't like something the best thing that you can do for the sake of your own sanity is deny the kid a payoff when you react. Not reacting is not the same as ignoring it though - in not reacting you observe, register your dislike to yourself, observe that you don't like it and then make the choice to let it be.

Anyway, blah blah blah. Again I ignore my own advice by dispensing advice for other to follow. Much like the "should I eat it" AskMe posts that once ate at me, the needless MetaTalk posts & comments irk me. But I will eventually (I expect in about 30 seconds, when I finish this comment) learn to simply ignore them and move on. This one last comment is in the hope that others will eventually see the list in doing the same.

I do realize that there are times when posts or comments are warranted. I do not begrudge the people who complained of low-level persistent sexism their opportunity to say that they think people have issues that they need to fix. But statistically speaking, you are unlikely to be the next Martin Luther King and you should question whether you are really fighting for social justice or simply announcing that you have sand in your non-gender-specific-body-part-that-gets-irritated-when-sandy.

Also, I will be dispensing hugs to anyone interested for the next several minutes. The queue forms to my right.

posted by GuyZero at 1:33 PM on September 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


This one last comment is in the hope that others will eventually see the list in doing the same.

Where the hell do I get this stuff? I need to talk to my editor.

list sense
posted by GuyZero at 1:34 PM on September 17, 2008


That was the first (and will be the last) time I've ever mentioned it.

Double apologies, I mean to address this specifically: you could have said nothing. I could have said nothing too, but that would be kind of vague and not very clear communication. So to be clear, if you were over it nothing more need be said.

Did I mention I need to talk to my editor? I am seriously cutting that guy's pay.
posted by GuyZero at 1:37 PM on September 17, 2008


[ ] I am more or less sober

You should amend this to include drugs.


[X] I am more or less HIGH ON LIFE

and cold medicine
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:45 PM on September 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


As a replacement for the "sand in the...well...you know" metaphor, allow me to nominate "hot sauce on the glans". This has the advantage of being gender-neutral.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 1:47 PM on September 17, 2008


[x] I need more MILLER HIGHLIFE
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:55 PM on September 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


I had, for quite a long time, been preaching the antiauthoritarian gospel, WCityMike, a creed when applied to Metafilter that stands in counterpoint to much of what you say, which I believe is pernicious, harmful, suspiciously fascistic and downright offensive to my sensibilities in many ways. I do not bother any more, because it ended in jessamyn being offended, if I recall correctly, which I didn't want happening. My thoughts on the topic haven't much changed, though.

However, I will not be able to go into any detail on my Fascinating Internet Community Opinions for about the next 6 hours due to time constraints, and I probably won't bother anyway, so just search my past comments for 'appeal(s) to authority' in Metatalk if you want an overview.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:56 PM on September 17, 2008


If you think self-policing isn't necessary, you don't get MetaFilter.

To further beat my point home the way an emotionally stunted person beats a spouse who lacks the psychological and socio-economic resources to leave an abusive relationship, self-policing starts at home. Self-policers, self-police thyselves.

I personally dislike the self-Police because self-Stuart-Copeland is a way shittier drummer than regular-Steward-Copeland. Self-Sting really belts it out in the shower though. I really only made this comment to make that joke.
posted by GuyZero at 2:00 PM on September 17, 2008 [3 favorites]


stavrosthewonderchicken: "which I believe is pernicious, harmful, suspiciously fascistic and downright offensive to my sensibilities in many ways."

Yo mamma so fat, when she sit 'round the house, she sits 'roooooooound the house.
posted by WCityMike at 2:04 PM on September 17, 2008



"Sober" includes all drug-induced intoxication, not just alcohol.


Really?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:06 PM on September 17, 2008


Yo mamma so fat...

Yeah!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:08 PM on September 17, 2008


Really.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 2:09 PM on September 17, 2008


I am going to kick the shit out of the next person who expresses intolerance, because I can't stand intolerance.
posted by Mister_A at 2:18 PM on September 17, 2008


so just search my past comments for 'appeal(s) to authority' in Metatalk if you want an overview.

Dude, over 7,000 MetaTalk comment? Wow. I don't know whether to be amazed or appalled.
posted by GuyZero at 2:19 PM on September 17, 2008


I do not bother any more, because it ended in jessamyn being offended, if I recall correctly, which I didn't want happening.

Gosh, I remember none of this. Are you sure it wasn't just pissed off?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:21 PM on September 17, 2008


[x] I am back in the HIGH LIFE again
posted by Rock Steady at 2:29 PM on September 17, 2008


I am more or less HIGH ON LIFE

Q: What do you mean, "more or less?"

A: Well, I'm less "High On Life," and more "High On Cocaine."
posted by shmegegge at 2:30 PM on September 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


How about 'sand in your urethra'?

What, it happens.

Ok, it doesn't.


Speaking as someone who used to bodysurf and bodyboard The Wedge - oh yes it does happen. It happens in bulk quantities. But then sand tends to get stuffed in every hole when it's forcibly delivered in an aqueous suspension by a ten-thousand ton hydraulic battering ram.

Think about that for a moment. Imagine shitting and pissing sand. Yeah, keep thinking. Honestly? It's a lot less unpleasant and painful then you would think - probably because you're too busy agonizing over all your bent, abraded limbs and possibly stress-fractured spine.

However, you're still not allowed to use the euphemism "sand in your vagina/penis" unless you currently have sand in there.
posted by loquacious at 2:32 PM on September 17, 2008


However, you're still not allowed to use the euphemism "sand in your vagina/penis" unless you currently have sand in there.

Hm. Then it's not so much a euphemism anymore. It just is. m.

posted by Pax at 2:49 PM on September 17, 2008


"[ ] I do not, at this time, need a hug"

As someone who used to post to MeTa a lot, and probably never will again, I would like to point out that taking your beef to MeTa ends up being about the opposite of a hug.
posted by Ragma at 3:01 PM on September 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Then it's not so much a euphemism anymore.

No, because one is suggesting that others have sandy privates. It's like black people calling one another the n-word. Or me calling someone a completely socially maladapted geek-nerd-spaz. He's taken back the power of the sandy-va-jay-jay.
posted by GuyZero at 3:02 PM on September 17, 2008


GuyZero: Dude, over 7,000 MetaTalk comment? Wow. I don't know whether to be amazed or appalled.

Last I checked there were 4 users that had more MetaTalk comments than Jessamyn (the top two are cortex and mathowie), but I've forgotten who they all are all but stavros was one and so was languagehat.
posted by Kattullus at 3:27 PM on September 17, 2008


I'd go find out what the current situation is but the MetaFilter playground is no more :(
posted by Kattullus at 3:28 PM on September 17, 2008


Flagged.
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:36 PM on September 17, 2008


Dang loquacious, you used to brave the Wedge?! I'm impressed! Shit like that scares me to pieces!
posted by iamkimiam at 3:50 PM on September 17, 2008


I like that metafilter has a place where all users can give input, self-police, and at least make their opinions known. It makes the site's quality and community something each user can take responsibility for and think about - which I believe makes the community better, not worse.

I don't think it's right to say that the mods will address anything inappropriate and that we shouldn't worry about it. Yes, it's best not to harp on and on about something... or be completely impolite about a point... but I don't see a problem in mentioning that you believe something is inappropriate. I think this post overlooks the important role we all play in the laying down of community standards.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 4:29 PM on September 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


surfing is a much more interesting topic. carry on.
posted by desjardins at 4:32 PM on September 17, 2008


Dang loquacious, you used to brave the Wedge?!

I don't surf at all any more, but I grew up in the ocean. Surfing the Wedge was more sheer ignorance than overt bravery. My dad was an old man of the ocean. He used to take my brother and I out in the Wedge on his back while he'd bodysurf. When we were about 4 or 5.

To this day most of my strongest childhood memories are beach related. I can still totally see in my mind what it looks like if you get caught just behind the lip in a good break at the Wedge. It's like that scene in the 10 Commandments movie where Moses parts the Red Sea, except on one side it's a wall of white water exploding up and away, the other it's a smooth, glassy wall of clear sea water falling down, and below you it's churning channel of mud and sand. Which you're about to fall into to be vigorously chewed on.

He originally taught us to swim in breaks by throwing us (after we'd begged for it for hours, mind) off the end of the jetties at Blackies. (North of the Wedge, North of 16th street, South of the Santa Ana river outlet. Blackies.)

I didn't really know that the Wedge was a world-famous killer until I hit High School. I just figured everyone else had a surf spot with giant killer shorebreak waves, and that everyone else was used to landing on their head in hard pack sand, or equally skilled at doing foward flips while going over the falls so you could land feet first, or bellyflop - both being preferable to getting slammed head first like a lawn dart.

Back then on a big day I was once washed right over the jetty, which I didn't really notice until I realized I was in the mouth of the harbor. These days I get heart problems just watching the big stuff from the shore. (Don't start smoking, kids!)
posted by loquacious at 4:35 PM on September 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


I brove your mom's wedge.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:41 PM on September 17, 2008


I brove your mom's wedge.

This is not your best work.

Your homework assignment is to drink a quart of gin and smash the empty bottle on your junk, then start typing your witty zinger. Any tears in the keyboard will likely result in hardware failure and demerits.
posted by loquacious at 4:53 PM on September 17, 2008


Really.

You sure?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:55 PM on September 17, 2008


This is not your best work.

My...best work costs...your mom...twenty bucks?

It's been a long week.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:01 PM on September 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


SANDY TAINT.

She was the lead guitarist for the Befouled Erogenous Zones, right? Also featuring Drippy Nutsack on bass, Pimpled Nipple on drums and Spackled Anus singing lead. They opened for the Archies a few times.
posted by jonmc at 5:15 PM on September 17, 2008


Self-policing is one of the things that makes MetaFilter great.
posted by grouse at 5:57 PM on September 17, 2008


Self-policing is one of the things that makes MetaFilter great.

*Takes badge off and roughs up grouse*
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:31 PM on September 17, 2008


ruffed grouse.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:40 PM on September 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


That's cool loq! I've had enough minor wipeouts and hold-unders that I don't brave anything but the mellowest (I'd make an exception for cortex's mom). This last January however me and my best friend and me won two tickets onto the Mavericks boat to watch the big contest. I took lots of pictures. It was a blast. I have no desire to surf heavy waves like that, but it sure is fun to see...and then pretend I'm ripping it on a 3-foot crumbler at my crappy, blown out beach break. I put surfing in that pile of 'activities I never want to see myself doing.' It'll just blow the awesome rockstar fantasy I have of myself.
posted by iamkimiam at 7:02 PM on September 17, 2008


me and my best friend and me
Apparently I brought my doppelganger too.
posted by iamkimiam at 7:03 PM on September 17, 2008


This is a really strange callout from a guy who's made more posts to MetaTalk than to Metafilter.
posted by anotherpanacea at 7:16 PM on September 17, 2008


Christ, you again? Please wait at least six months between metatalk posts WCityMike. And by "six months" I mean, stop with the shitty metatalk posts.
posted by bardic at 8:45 PM on September 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


> This is a really strange callout from a guy who's made more posts to MetaTalk than to Metafilter.

Yo mamma so fat that when her beeper goes off, people thought she was backing up.
posted by WCityMike at 8:57 PM on September 17, 2008


> Christ, you again? Please wait at least six months between metatalk posts WCityMike. And by "six months" I mean, stop with the shitty metatalk posts.

Yo mamma so fat when she has wants someone to shake her hand, she has to give directions!
posted by WCityMike at 8:58 PM on September 17, 2008


I am going to kick the shit out of the next person who expresses intolerance, because I can't stand intolerance.

"If any man says he hates war more than me, he better have a knife." - Jack Handey
posted by drjimmy11 at 9:00 PM on September 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


also, I was going to mention this last time, but people seem to be massively missing the point of "sand in the vagina." Let's try it, shall we:

GUY #1: You have sand in your vagina.
GUY #2: No I don't have sand in my vagina!

See what guy #1 did there?
posted by drjimmy11 at 9:02 PM on September 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: Imagine shitting and pissing sand. Yeah, keep thinking.
posted by waraw at 9:05 PM on September 17, 2008


Anybody else wondering how long until WCityMike has to apologize again?
posted by Crabby Appleton at 9:40 PM on September 17, 2008


> Anybody else wondering how long until WCityMike has to apologize again?

Yo momma so greasy, she uses bacon as a Band-Aid.
posted by WCityMike at 9:50 PM on September 17, 2008


Okay, can one of the mods cut WCityMike off already?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:03 PM on September 17, 2008


> Okay, can one of the mods cut WCityMike off already?

I imagine it is quite frustrating when an individual whom you wish to insult refuses to begin the debate using your framework and instead jovially tosses back '80s insults. But you'll notice it's a one-to-one ratio. One nasty snark-ridden comment directed my way results in one responsive "yo mamma" comment responsive.

Which reminds me ...

Yo momma so hairy she look like she got Buckwheat in a headlock.
posted by WCityMike at 10:11 PM on September 17, 2008


Annoying and borderline racist!

You're on a roll WCityMike, please don't stop.
posted by bardic at 10:30 PM on September 17, 2008


> Annoying and borderline racist! You're on a roll WCityMike, please don't stop.

Well, now that you're deliberately trying to trigger it, it's no fun anymore.

Guess I'll just have to go back to ignoring you. :-)
posted by WCityMike at 10:36 PM on September 17, 2008


So that's what it takes, eh? Reverse psychology?
Wow, WCityMike, 57 MeTa threads! You're on a roll; please don't stop!
posted by carsonb at 10:50 PM on September 17, 2008


> So that's what it takes, eh? Reverse psychology?
Wow, WCityMike, 57 MeTa threads! You're on a roll; please don't stop!


<tongueincheek>Thanks, I didn't know you were a fan of my MeTa posts! I'll be sure to keep them going!</tongueincheek>
posted by WCityMike at 10:57 PM on September 17, 2008


HEY EVERYBODY GREAT JOB ON ANOTHER WEIRD FUCKING METATALK THREAD

GO TO BED
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:01 PM on September 17, 2008 [15 favorites]


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