Flags with weight June 24, 2009 2:25 AM   Subscribe

Does the identity of a given flagger carry any weight? Or are they anonymous?

There's a middleground, naturally, but I think it's unlikely. Just curious if you guys look to see if something's been flagged by someone "trusted", or if it's just an aggregate. Inside baseball, but I'm curious. (This might also bring about a whole conversation about the Metafilter shadow moderator government, or a list of names you've prepared, ready to heed the call if cortex, jessamyn, and vaca all meet an ironic and untimely end. But let's not let it come to that.)
posted by disillusioned to MetaFilter-Related at 2:25 AM (111 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

I think identity is less important than intensity. When I flag I flag hard. LIKE THIS. SO HARD.
posted by allen.spaulding at 2:32 AM on June 24, 2009 [8 favorites]


Flagged.
posted by maxwelton at 3:06 AM on June 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


By that I mean I'm totally worn out. Time for bed.
posted by maxwelton at 3:06 AM on June 24, 2009


Yeah, allen.spaulding's a powerflagger. Guaranteed to have an impact, sure, but he's got no finesse. Five seasons now he's been flagging, on again off again, knocking 'em out of the park but man, are those ugly flags. Now, you take some of the old school pros around here who make flagging an art? They might not be swinging at that exclamation point like a god-damned lumberjack but when they do hit it, man, you remember it. It's a beautiful sight to behold. Their flags are a thing of grace. Of course, everyone's got their own different style and you'll hear the young guys say it doesn't matter how you look flagging so long as you flag it hard. Sure, maybe that's technically true. I guess I'm just a little nostalgic for the old days, when flagging was more a dance than an act of brute force.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:08 AM on June 24, 2009 [30 favorites]


Everyone is rated based on user number, favorites, and number of contacts.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 3:15 AM on June 24, 2009 [4 favorites]


Of course. As a matter of fact, every user has a Flag Score, and this score determines the weight a user's flags get in the system. To calculate your Flag Score, add the individual digits in your user number, and then multiply by the sum of individual digits in your year of birth. If the number is between 20 and 61, you are a Super Flag Captain. If it's between 61 and 67, you're a First Class Flag Lieutenant. If it's 68, you're a Flag Regent. If it's greater than 68 but less than 84, you're a Jolly Good Flag Fellow. If it's an odd number between 51 and 117, your Flag Score doubles in value every second Tuesday of the month, except in leap years.* For more information, please consult appendix C of the Official Manual of the MeFi Cabal.**

*Unless your Flag Score is 115.
**There is no Official Manual of the MeFi Cabal.

posted by tepidmonkey at 3:15 AM on June 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


It's actually a pretty complicated formula, that takes into account stuff like number of best answers in Ask, and total number of spouses.

(I think we've discussed this before, but can't find it right now. Pretty sure they treat everyone's flags the same, but they can see if someone went off the deep end, flagging everything in sight.)
posted by inigo2 at 3:16 AM on June 24, 2009


I like to imagine my flags running up to that little tune from Super Mario Brothers that played when you finish a level. You know, that one.
posted by empyrean at 3:51 AM on June 24, 2009 [9 favorites]


And remember, after your thirteenth flag, you can elect to play your joker. If you win, not only does the post get deleted, the OPs comments are decimated site-wide, their spellchecker gets randomised and Cortex goes round their house and apple-pies the bed.
posted by Abiezer at 4:02 AM on June 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't even want to know what apple-pieing the bed entails.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:06 AM on June 24, 2009 [4 favorites]


You'd best get used to it, lad. If you want a vision of the future, imagine a pair of legs pushing ineffectually into short-sheeted bed linen - forever. [Dramatic music]
posted by Abiezer at 4:18 AM on June 24, 2009 [8 favorites]


this is one of those threads where I just clicked onto the comments to see a mods response. I must have missed twenty oh-so clever jokes.
posted by krautland at 4:42 AM on June 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


I like to imagine my flags running up to that little tune from Super Mario Brothers that played when you finish a level. You know, that one.

Oh, you mean:
Fuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-NUH-nuh
Fuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-NUH-nuh
Fuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-NUH [triplet!] NUH!!!!

Yeah, good jam.

Personally, I picture Tiger Cortex's floating head saying "Flag it and move on, bitches!"
posted by SpiffyRob at 4:59 AM on June 24, 2009


Flagging is so cool, we flag at home now. My roommate ate my yoghurt, and I left a sticky note saying flaged:breaks guidelines, then I tweeted him to tell him, and he MeMailed saying "dude flagged: get OFF twitter, the Iranians are trying to use it"
posted by mattoxic at 5:07 AM on June 24, 2009 [33 favorites]


I carry about 175 lbs.
That's right baby, you've been flagged!
posted by From Bklyn at 5:32 AM on June 24, 2009


Your flag actually doesn't count unless you have visual evidence that you've moved on.
posted by shakespeherian at 5:36 AM on June 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


if cortex, jessamyn, and vaca all meet an ironic and untimely end

As the pirhanas fed on the bodies, mathowie leaned back in his leather armchair and stroked his white Persian. "Excellent, everyone has forgotten about the Mystery Man and my plans will soon come to fruition. muAHAHAHAHA!"
posted by DU at 5:38 AM on June 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


From Bklyn: "I carry about 175 lbs."

Keep eating, kid.
posted by Joe Beese at 5:38 AM on June 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


I believe the formula for the weighting is:
(HighestUserNumber - YourUserNumber)*(Best Answers / Questions You've Asked)*(Favorites / Posts and Comments)
posted by chndrcks at 5:41 AM on June 24, 2009


I'm gonna wave my freak flag high!

HIGH!

Woooooowww!!

/psychedelic delay-drenched interlude
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:45 AM on June 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


In the absence of a moderator, I'd say no, it's the amount of flags that bring it to their attention and action.
posted by tellurian at 5:48 AM on June 24, 2009


yes, where is Meatbomb?
posted by gman at 5:50 AM on June 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


The flagging system is really like that "close door" button on elevators; it really doesn't do anything but make you feel better while you wait to see if the post will be deleted or not.
posted by TedW at 5:50 AM on June 24, 2009 [10 favorites]


Apparently we need to start flagging THIS post to get someone in here to answer the question. 3.5 hours so far.
posted by DU at 5:51 AM on June 24, 2009


I worry about this, too. I'll be honest with you: I'm not much of a flagger. It's a sacred trust, and I don't want to abuse it or take it for granted. Sure, I may not post much, but it's become clear to me that I'm a pretty important person around here. I mean, I have 38 favorites. That's nothing to scoff at.

I mean, I just know that when I flag for the first time, I want it to be special. I don't want to be just another flagger on some bullshit FPP. I want to be the only one to notice the craziness of that post, or comment, even. I guess you could say I'm saving myself, because when it happens it's gonna be so sweet. And even moreso, it'll mean something. Something big.

Then you'll see me come into a thread, and maybe all I'll post is a period, but you'll know: that guy flags.
posted by Shohn at 5:54 AM on June 24, 2009 [10 favorites]


I have some inside knowledge to share here, before a real mod weighs in.

On the real mod consoles, there is a secret "asshole" flag that can be attached to any user. Their flags are not registered at all.

On the fake mod console that I use, people flagged as assholes or on my nemesis list have their flags actually count as +1 positive to any potential weighting calculations.
posted by Meatbomb at 6:00 AM on June 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


There y'are.
posted by gman at 6:04 AM on June 24, 2009


How do they keep adding flags? Do they reuse old flags after a while? Are their flags set aside for each post and comment or is there just a big box of flags that they use? Do the flags come in boxes?

How big are these flags, anyway? I'm starting to think this is a load if crap
posted by dirtdirt at 6:04 AM on June 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


One now carefully buried part of history is the various CIA "false flag" operations in the 70s. These brought MetaFilter to the brink of war with FreeRepublic and were instrumental in the toppling of the democratic modding regime and installation of the present junta at BoingBoing.
posted by Abiezer at 6:07 AM on June 24, 2009 [6 favorites]


It would be good to see the flagging stats, maybe even in one's own profile. a la favourites.

The number of flags and flag reason

Or at post level so we can all bask in some flagging self righteousness
posted by mattoxic at 6:08 AM on June 24, 2009


You seem a little confused, dirtdirt, these "flags" are not physical at all, the term "flag" is a shorthand for a special sort of digital signal that travels through the Internet from your computer to the mods. Think of it as a special telegram from you to them, if that helps.
posted by Meatbomb at 6:10 AM on June 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


You seem a little confused, dirtdirt, these "flags" are not physical at all

Says you. My flags are sewn by Zombie Betsy Ross and say PATRIOT on them. They also wave in perpetuity without wind.
posted by empyrean at 6:16 AM on June 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


Don't the flags get stuck in the tubes?
posted by EarBucket at 6:19 AM on June 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's too bad we missed Flag Day.
posted by rtha at 6:25 AM on June 24, 2009


God hates flags.
posted by middleclasstool at 6:28 AM on June 24, 2009 [21 favorites]


.-  ./  . .  .  ./ |.
|  /   /| |\ |\ |   | 
posted by Electric Dragon at 6:29 AM on June 24, 2009 [24 favorites]


these "flags" are not physical at all

Hahahaha!

Seriously, though. Can we get a picture of the flag room?
Do you each have a flag room, or is there one central flag room?
posted by dirtdirt at 6:29 AM on June 24, 2009


Eddie Izzard could have a field day in this thread.
posted by educatedslacker at 6:33 AM on June 24, 2009 [6 favorites]


Electric Dragon, is that flag-waving, disco dancing, or a lightsaber fight?
posted by ocherdraco at 6:35 AM on June 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


We very rarely look at who flagged something; the main view of flags we use is an abbreviated "top ten" list that shows the most-flagged stuff in the last 24 hours in descending order, and that view doesn't include the name of the flagging individual(s).

Pretty much the only time I do look at who has been flagging is if there's suddenly a dozen single flags on a dozen different comments in the same thread. In that case I'll sometimes click over to the more verbose "last 100 flags" view to see if it's a dozen separate flags from one person or from a variety of people, which can be a hint as to whether it's the result of a single person being frustrated with a thread they've discovered or a bunch of people reacting organically and promptly to a thread that is currently going south.

But that's about it, and there's not really any "weight" applied even after that. I can think of maybe two times where I've seen the same person go on a thread-long flagging spree on multiple occasions, and at that point I'll like writing them a quick email saying "hey, if there's a whole pile of trouble in a thread like that and you're flagging more than three or four comments, just stop flaggng and write us instead to give us a heads up".

So, basically, no, we just use them as a functionally-anonymous alert mechanism. Aggregate flag activity is much more useful and meaningful than the identity of any particular flagger.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:37 AM on June 24, 2009 [4 favorites]


Once a flag has been acknowledged, what is the preferred method of disposal? Are the flags given to the local American Legion Post, or burned?

And in the overnight, what rules does vacapinta follow? Not sure on other countries' flag disposal guidelines.
posted by SpiffyRob at 6:43 AM on June 24, 2009


cortex: "we just use them as a functionally-anonymous alert mechanism. Aggregate flag activity is much more useful and meaningful than the identity of any particular flagger."

No offense, but this is a lot less interesting than the other comments.

A little effort next time?
posted by Joe Beese at 6:51 AM on June 24, 2009 [10 favorites]


Apparently we need to start flagging THIS post to get someone in here to answer the question. 3.5 hours so far.

Posting questions for the mods in the middle of the night is a recipe for disappointment.

A little effort next time?

Oh, it's a more or less constant one, Joe.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:54 AM on June 24, 2009


ocherdraco, that's semaphore. My grandad was a signalman in the Royal Navy in WWII and he taught me semaphore and Morse when I was about 7. I've forgotten most of it now, but it left me with an enduring fascination with codes and ciphers.
posted by Electric Dragon at 6:58 AM on June 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


I will flag any post that mentions the ladder theory.
posted by Cantdosleepy at 7:08 AM on June 24, 2009


There is no Cabal!
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 7:10 AM on June 24, 2009


You folks should really have a Bayesian classifier that decides whether threads or comments are likely to be deleted based on how many and which users have flagged the item.
posted by grouse at 7:17 AM on June 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


MetaTalk: flag-waving, disco dancing, or a lightsaber fight
posted by Plutor at 7:19 AM on June 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


cortex pretty much said what I was going to say. We usually check the "top ten" list of what's been flagged which doesn't have usernames attached. It's a rare day where I'll look at the "last 100 flags" list which does have usernames on it. This has its downsides because sometimes I'll be clicking through the top ten list -- usually I'll click through and sort of evaluate what's been flagged and either Do Something, Do Nothing and Wait, or Do Nothing and Delete the Flag -- and I'll notice someone has flagged me editorially (usually this happens in MeTa when people don't like various explanations and/or responses we give) but by then I've deleted the flag and can't tell who did it!

Occasionally people do email us either personally or via the comment form when they see something's messed up and in those cases we do know who is contacting us (usually) and of course that's something we take into account but more in a "I know this user and they tend to complain a lot/little relative to how we usually moderate the site" way, not a "trusted user" way. There are certain topics that get quick responses (flagging or IM or email) from certain folks -- an obvious one is that some people react strongly to swearing, for example -- and we check them out every time, but then we're sort of like "oh yeah, swearing"
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:30 AM on June 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


A visual representation of my flagging process.

Note: The bodies represent the suffering of everyone who read the flagged comment, the sword is my anger at what I've just read, and the grim reaper is a metaphor for the inevitableness of moderator response; like death, there is no escape.

The cannon is just a cannon. It doesn't mean anything.
posted by quin at 7:35 AM on June 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


I fuckin' hate when cocksuckers deliberately swear just to piss other users off.
posted by gman at 7:35 AM on June 24, 2009


But that's about it, and there's not really any "weight" applied even after that.

But I spoused you!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:35 AM on June 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


some people react strongly to swearing

Really? WTF?
posted by SuperSquirrel at 7:39 AM on June 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Dammit, gman, you asswipe, you got there first.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 7:40 AM on June 24, 2009


Because Flag Day is my birthday, every time I flag a post it's like a little present.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 7:42 AM on June 24, 2009


I wish the "other" flag gave you the ability to fill in a reason. That is all.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:09 AM on June 24, 2009 [7 favorites]


I was a back-flagging superstar!
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:14 AM on June 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


I wish the "other" flag gave you the ability to fill in a reason. That is all.

Oh golly. Yes! I've found a pony!
posted by From Bklyn at 8:16 AM on June 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


I always flag just to see who salutes. But no one ever does.
posted by Sailormom at 8:21 AM on June 24, 2009


ladder theory
posted by DU at 8:25 AM on June 24, 2009


I'm so bored at work today that I actually calculated my score the way chndrcks described above. Feeling pretty decent now. About Mefi. Not about work.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:16 AM on June 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


Man, there have been a lot of Harvey Danger allusions in MeTa the past couple days...
posted by solipsophistocracy at 9:40 AM on June 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Before I flag anything, I always mutter "England expects that every man will do his duty", all sotto voce like, and then I flag for Honour and Country only.

That, or my finger slipped. Twice.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 9:53 AM on June 24, 2009 [5 favorites]


Note: The bodies represent the suffering of everyone who read the flagged comment, the sword is my anger at what I've just read, and the grim reaper is a metaphor for the inevitableness of moderator response; like death, there is no escape.

Flagged for calling Eddie the "grim reaper". Clearly, you need to re-Maiden. I recommend Killers through Powerslave, straight through, on headphones. Playing a broom like a guitar or singing into a hairbrush is also recommended.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:07 AM on June 24, 2009 [5 favorites]


I surrender! I surrender! *waves white flag*
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:11 AM on June 24, 2009


Flagged for calling Eddie the "grim reaper". Clearly, you need to re-Maiden.

ROYAL UGLY DUDE: "Put them in the Iron Maiden!"
BILL AND TED: "Excellent!"
ROYAL UGLY DUDE: "Execute them!"
BILL AND TED: "Bogus!"
posted by drjimmy11 at 10:16 AM on June 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


Flagged for calling Eddie the "grim reaper". Clearly, you need to re-Maiden.

I just had a "dancing gorilla" moment. I've seen the picture for "The Trooper more times than I can count. I had the poster hanging on my wall when I was eight. And I just now noticed for the first time the grim reaper in the background.
posted by Dr-Baa at 10:33 AM on June 24, 2009


dancing gorilla also known as moonwalking bear, depending on the video
posted by Dr-Baa at 10:34 AM on June 24, 2009


I've seen the picture for "The Trooper more times than I can count. I had the poster hanging on my wall when I was eight. And I just now noticed for the first time the grim reaper in the background.

Well I'll be damned. Guess I jumped the gun there, as I've heard many a so-called fan call Eddie the grim reaper. Looks like I'm the one who needs to re-Maiden.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:41 AM on June 24, 2009


obligatory link to best derivative Harvey Danger web product out there.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:42 AM on June 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


Depends on how many spouses you have. (aka "The Spouse Factor")
posted by blue_beetle at 10:55 AM on June 24, 2009




Verrader.
posted by jouke at 11:22 AM on June 24, 2009


Marisa Stole the Precious Thing: I recommend Killers through Powerslave, straight through, on headphones. Playing a broom like a guitar or singing into a hairbrush is also recommended.

Pfft.

Large speakers. Loud as possible, so everybody and their dog can hear it.

And also—

Paul Di'Anno : Iron Maiden :: Syd Barrett : Pink Floyd. Bruce Dickinson is somewhat cool, but he's a show-off; after Number Of The Beast they started to trail off. Do yourself a favor and find a copy of The Soundhouse Tapes, listen to their first (self-titled) album, and see what the Maiden was really about.

Finally, Samson's Shock Tactics—Bruce Bruce's last disc with them—is probably his best record, in my opinion, at least as far as his vocal abilities.

NWOBHM, motherfuckers.
posted by koeselitz at 11:33 AM on June 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


I surrender! I surrender! *waves white flag*

Hey Sarge, are we still shooting people?
Dunno. Radio stopped working an hour ago. Just shoot him.
I mean, the war could be over...
Shoot him.
.. and shooting him would be ...
Shoot him.
... a bad idea.
Do you want me to shoot him for you, son?
No, no, I can shoot him. Geez, you ask a guy a simple question...
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:34 AM on June 24, 2009


Guess I jumped the gun there, as I've heard many a so-called fan call Eddie the grim reaper.

I was a huge Derek Riggs fan when I was in high school, so I've studied his work to the extent that I thought I knew every inch of them, imagine my surprise when writing my earlier comment, I looked at the picture and discovered that the sword Eddie carried wasn't broken. I was sure it was broken, but nope.

Fun fact; the logo that sneaks into most of the Iron Maiden artwork is a backwards D and an R combined. I had that sketched all over my school notebooks thinking I was in some way showing off my love for the band and their cryptic symbolism, when one day I noticed that it was probably just the artists signature.

That made it even cooler because it felt like I had a secret.
posted by quin at 11:38 AM on June 24, 2009


My flags go straight to the admin kill file.
posted by LarryC at 11:41 AM on June 24, 2009


Verrader.
posted by jouke at 11:22 AM on June 24 [+] [!]


Not after the Glorious Revolution1!

(1) Stadhouder William III of Orange invaded England with an army of 20,000, occupied London, and Imprisoned the English king before driving him into exile. Then Parliament (meeting in occupied London) 'invited' William to take the throne. Propaganda leaflets designed and printed in The Netherlands before the invasion proclaimed that this was The Glorious Revolution.
How do the English remember this?

Stadhouder William III of Orange invaded England with an army of 20,000, occupied London, and Imprisoned the English king before driving him into exile. Then Parliament (meeting in occupied London) invited William to take the throne.Propaganda leaflets designed and printed in The Netherlands before the invasion proclaimed that this was The Glorious Revolution.
posted by atrazine at 11:43 AM on June 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


Also, the arrival of Dutch mefites for the 10th meetup in London shall take broadly similar lines.
posted by atrazine at 11:46 AM on June 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


I use the cabal theme on mefi. I don't see an [!] to flag comments, I see an [x] to delete them.
posted by eyeballkid at 12:07 PM on June 24, 2009


sorry cortex, i had to flag yr first comment you made. It just seemed so...right
posted by ShawnString at 12:08 PM on June 24, 2009


I will flag any post that mentions the ladder theory.

Flagged, because you said "Jehovah." OH NO NOW I SAID IT!
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:27 PM on June 24, 2009


(1) Stadhouder William III of Orange invaded England with an army of blah blah blah blah

Flagged as reminds me of the fucking Baroque Cycle and all that lost time I'll never get back.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:29 PM on June 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


I use the cabal theme on mefi. I don't see an [!] to flag comments, I see an [x] to delete them.

Under no circumstances should you read "delete" to mean "send goons around with syringes of elephant tranquillizer & extraordinarily rendition the user to a rat-infested prison in the Somalian hinterland somewhere pleasant on the California coast where they can enjoy the comfort of a world-class facility with unlimited free wireless access to the internet as long as it's Boing Boing"
posted by the Cabal at 12:56 PM on June 24, 2009


How do the English remember this?
England ruled by an orange.
WILLIAMANMARY for some reason was known as The Orange in their own country of Holland, and were popular as King of England because the people naturally believed it was descended from Nell Glyn. It was on the whole a good king and one of their first Acts was the Toleration Act, which said they would tolerate anything, though afterwards it went back on this and decided that they could not tolerate the Scots.
posted by Abiezer at 1:04 PM on June 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


You'd think the Cabal user account would have a lower user number.
posted by eyeballkid at 3:47 PM on June 24, 2009


Maybe you could save some time by adding "has swear words" to the list of flag reasons, and then filter those out.
posted by lore at 4:03 PM on June 24, 2009


There's a very large "Lore" grafiti tag on an overpass I drive under on my way to work every morning. I keep meaning to take a picture of it, but I never do.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:16 PM on June 24, 2009


Paul Di'Anno : Iron Maiden :: Syd Barrett : Pink Floyd. Bruce Dickinson is somewhat cool, but he's a show-off; after Number Of The Beast they started to trail off. Do yourself a favor and find a copy of The Soundhouse Tapes, listen to their first (self-titled) album, and see what the Maiden was really about.

Iron Maiden are really about Steve Harris.
posted by rodgerd at 4:48 PM on June 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


How do they keep adding flags? Do they reuse old flags after a while?

Don't be silly. Flags are like stripes on the barbershop pole. And by that I mean that they disappear back into the realm of apply-raspberry jam. Just ask my older brother.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 4:50 PM on June 24, 2009


Flagged as reminds me of the fucking Baroque Cycle and all that lost time I'll never get back.

Worst fantasy I've read in years, and Worst Stephenson Ever. It was even worse than the ending of Snow Crash with the underage sex.

Seriously, I'd rather re-read the Eddings oeuvre than touch that shit again.
posted by rodgerd at 4:52 PM on June 24, 2009


Seriously, I'd rather re-read the Eddings oeuvre than touch that shit again.

We have reached an accord, sir.

I felt sincerely stupid attempting to read those books. I felt like I had some sort of narcoleptic brain disorder. Becuase no matter how many attempts at reading the Baroque Cycle I made, the LESS clear they became and the more tired I got. But people kept telling me "No. It's awesome. You'll see." And I kept at it till it seemed I sensed an actual boredom tumor developing in my frontal lobe.

Then suddenly I meet other Stephenson fans who secretly felt the same way as I did. What a relief. I won't have to spend all that money MRI scans.
posted by tkchrist at 5:58 PM on June 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Sounds like he totally Baroque you.

Oh, my God! I'm so, so sorry! I have become my father!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 6:06 PM on June 24, 2009


Is Anathem any better, anyone?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:03 PM on June 24, 2009


All this obsessing over flags is very vexing. Not to mention a little illogical.

I guess you could call it... vexillological.




oh god kill me now
posted by Rhaomi at 7:46 PM on June 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


Is Anathem any better, anyone?

I can't speak to it personally, but I know there was a thread about it shortly after it came out and the comments were pretty positive.
posted by graventy at 8:11 PM on June 24, 2009


Bam!

Of course, those are the people who bought the hardcover. I'd like to hear what non-rabid fans thought.
posted by graventy at 8:12 PM on June 24, 2009


Flagged as flagged.
posted by davejay at 9:38 PM on June 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Flagg'd.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 10:15 PM on June 24, 2009


Is Anathem any better, anyone?

It was great for about 200 pages. Then the next 400 pages dragged. Then the ending sucked.

But for me Stephenson's books rank Cryptonomicon (best) - Baroque Cycle - Snow Crash - the rest, so YMMV. And I give him credit for a brave attempt to write s/f based on Platonic philosophy.
posted by Infinite Jest at 2:15 AM on June 25, 2009


This thread has been flagged "win". And I flagged it allen.spaulding-style. HARD.
posted by snwod at 3:31 AM on June 25, 2009


Iron Maiden are really about Steve Harris.

Just try to tell me the words Blaze Bayley mean nothing to you.
posted by item at 4:55 AM on June 25, 2009


You'd think the Cabal user account would have a lower user number.

We like to try & blend in with the regular folk.
posted by the Cabal at 6:16 AM on June 25, 2009


I have never flagged anything, for any reason. If I am ever tempted, I invariably hear in my head the voice of the Meanest Preschool Teacher I Ever Had, whose favorite phrase was: "Don't be a tattletale!" If I flag something, she might rise up from the underworld and tear me a new one. So I will remain a free rider in this regard. I hope you all understand.
posted by the littlest brussels sprout at 6:28 AM on June 25, 2009


My favorite Harvey Danger song is probably "Wine, Women, and Song," but "Sometimes You Have to Work on Christmas" is really good, too.
posted by Caduceus at 9:39 AM on June 25, 2009


You think you're real smart. But you're not smart; you're dumb. Very dumb. But you've met your match in me.
- Colonel Flagg, M*A*S*H
posted by educatedslacker at 12:59 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


The Baroque Cycle is great, if you don't think of it as a story. It's a great big landscape of words, and characters traversing that landscape. I've grown to like his refusal to end a story properly. Not so big on the Mary Sues. As a description of times and ideas it was wonderful, as a description of characters, I thought it was good (especially the 3rd person subjective* narration). As a story, each volume was too long, never mind the whole damn thing.

* I think that's the right term...
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 2:29 PM on June 25, 2009


I have never flagged anything, for any reason. If I am ever tempted, I invariably hear in my head the voice of the Meanest Preschool Teacher I Ever Had, whose favorite phrase was: "Don't be a tattletale!"

You can also flag for fantastic comment or fantastic post.
posted by deborah at 2:51 PM on June 25, 2009


"We had a keyboardist for a while. It just wasn't Maiden." - Steve Harris
posted by Cantdosleepy at 2:53 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Seriously, I'd rather re-read the Eddings oeuvre than touch that shit again.

We have reached an accord, sir.


Hug time!

Funnily enough, right after I read the first book in the cycle, I read a non-fiction book called "The Fellowship", which covers the development of scientific thinking through the Enlightenment period, including Newton, Hooke, and so on; it's about half the size of the book, well-written, very interesting and informative. So pretty much everything Stephenson was trying to do on that side of things, only without the turgid, crappy writing.

The other literary footnote to the Baroque Cycle was the foreword to Gaiman's "Season of the Mists", by Harlan Ellison. Ellison speaks about how much he loves the way Gaiman can include all these wonderful smart-arse demonstrations of how well-read he is without damaging the flow of the story he's telling, which, for me, was pretty much the biggest problem with Stephenson. He wanted me to marvel at how goddamn clever he was and how much research he'd done, no matter how much of the story he killed in the process.

Just try to tell me the words Blaze Bayley mean nothing to you.

I kind of feel sorry for him. He was always on a hiding to nothing following in Dickinson's footsteps, but discovering he was allergic to the chemicals used in their stage show? Damn but that's bad luck.
posted by rodgerd at 2:24 AM on June 26, 2009


rodgerd, thanks for the book recommendation! I'm definitely going to give it a read...although I have to admit that I actually enjoyed the Baroque Cycle. I kinda liked its big sprawling messiness.
posted by epersonae at 7:50 AM on June 26, 2009


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