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Unwanted Adoption Threads
August 9, 2009 11:25 AM   Subscribe

I'm frustrated about this post being deleted!

I felt like the discussion was illuminating and was not particularly snarky and was much better than the post itself. Or am I too invested in the post because I was being so active in the discussion and couldn't see how it had to go?

Help me understand!
posted by hippybear to Etiquette/Policy at 11:25 AM (93 comments total)

Flags were stacking up and as the thread proceeded it seemed there was a lot of confirmation for the borderline concern I had (and had heard from other people about) that the post wasn't really approaching the story in fairness or wholly good faith.

Like I said in the deletion reason, I'm not disclaiming the possibility that there's a good post to be made about this, but the one we got is feeling too much like a blog entry by proxy to really be okay as a mefi post.

I can totally understand the frustration that comes with getting involved in a discussion that ends up getting cut short, though, so I totally sympathize.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:29 AM on August 9, 2009


I understand the frustration too but also the deletion makes sense to me. I think that the best thing would be to re-post a more neutral version and maybe the comments from this one could be moved to the new one.
posted by XMLicious at 11:32 AM on August 9, 2009


*kicks dirt with toe*

Okay... I guess so... *sigh*

Thanks, cortex. I appreciate your explaining to me. :)
posted by hippybear at 11:35 AM on August 9, 2009 [5 favorites]


hippybear: "the discussion... was much better than the post itself"

This is usually a warning sign, not a feature. Posts are supposed to be good enough to stand on their own merit. They shouldn't be "saved" by a good discussion (with certain exceptions... newsfilter/obitfilter threads, for better or worse, often rely on commenters to fill in the gaps in the original post).
posted by Riki tiki at 11:36 AM on August 9, 2009


I'm frustrated about this deletion being posted!
posted by blue_beetle at 11:37 AM on August 9, 2009


There's no point in a "neutral" version...without the slant it really isn't an interesting story. A change was made in policy, these folks got caught in the transition, not a happy thing but not a life changing OMG thing either....

A good post about the problems of international adoption would be worthwhile, but this story doesn't fit into that...it was, in reality, a blip in the system.
posted by HuronBob at 11:38 AM on August 9, 2009


I was really enjoying following the discussion, but yeah, it seems almost miraculous that it emerged from a hand-wringing post about an unfortunate quirk of timing.
posted by FelliniBlank at 11:49 AM on August 9, 2009


I'm still trying to figure out the Sophie's Choice comparison.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:52 AM on August 9, 2009


It's a type of pre-emptive self-Godwin-ing.
posted by FelliniBlank at 12:00 PM on August 9, 2009


Yeah, the Sophie's Choice thing was a trifle overwrought.

I had just written a followup comment including a link to this crushingly irrefutable NEJM article, but the post was gone by the time I hit the button.

Now I'm sad.
posted by timeo danaos at 12:06 PM on August 9, 2009


Maybe it's a really subtle promo post for Meryl Streep's new film.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:06 PM on August 9, 2009


French Cooking as a metaphor for International Adoption?

I am not sure I see how that works.
posted by hippybear at 12:09 PM on August 9, 2009


What, an ovens and cooking theme? Ewwww...
posted by timeo danaos at 12:09 PM on August 9, 2009


Okay, this thread is quickly getting inappropriate. Carry on.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:14 PM on August 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


The only way this thread could be better would be if Cortex had closed it after his first post.
posted by blue_beetle at 12:15 PM on August 9, 2009


I thought the post was reasonably fair until the "more inside." It's a slightly interesting policy question- I doubt that the mods wouldn't care if the "more inside" content had been posted in a comment, even by the original poster. But evidently more inside content gets judged by post standards, not comment ones. Assuming that the top part of the post was acceptable, and maybe it wasn't.
posted by gsteff at 12:24 PM on August 9, 2009


er, I doubt that the mods would care if the "more inside" had been a comment.
posted by gsteff at 12:25 PM on August 9, 2009


It was my post, and I am sad it was deleted. I mean, its not as news breaking as the 'fat guys go to strip clubs' post was, but it was a story that highlights a lot that is wrong with immigration policy, namely that if your travel plans originate in the US, you get TB in another country, you are allowed to fly home with active TB. You can even go back to work as a doctor and exposed hundreds of new born, at risk infants to TB. But if you are adopted in China and flying home for the first time, and are already in treatment and cannot infect anyone else, you cannot enter the country.

The law is for new immigrants, but adoptive kids are caught in the crossfire - unlike new immigrants, they have guaranteed health insurance upon arrival home, and a neutral third party social worker to guarantee that they get the treatment necessary. Unlike most immigrants, they have a network already in place, created by the adoption regulations, that insures this child stays treated and does not start an outbreak.

Its Sophies choice because they have to choose which child to be with, one in China, and one in the US. This family did EVERYTHING right, everything the US government asked to complete the adoption, and it was completed. And then the rule changed at the worst time for them - if they had flown on June 30th, it would have been fine, and harper would be home.

I am sorry this post was deleted, because its a strange, two-level system that the CDC has. If they really, really wanted to stop TB coming into the country, every single passenger would have to be screened. This policy isn't doing anything for anyone, and its negatively affecting Harper, and many other children like her.
posted by kristin at 12:27 PM on August 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Its Sophies choice because they have to choose which child to be with, one in China, and one in the US.

So you didn't read the book, right?
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 12:36 PM on August 9, 2009 [11 favorites]


> It was my post, and I am sad it was deleted.

Well, of course you are. But next time, you might stop and think before making a post about which you obviously feel so strongly. The point is not that the topic is unworthy of a post, it's that posts that read as OMG THIS HORRIBLE INJUSTICE IS HORRIBLE, DO SOMETHING WORLD! are not really suitable for MetaFilter. (This is why people are told to Get their Own Blog.)
posted by languagehat at 12:49 PM on August 9, 2009


The CDC does really, really want to stop TB from coming into the U.S., but it's not feasible to screen every single traveler because it can take up to three months following exposure before a TB screening test will read positive.

The thing is, they know that this child has TB, and they can't prove that she's been effectively treated and is definitely not infectious. It's very sad for the new family that they can't take their daughter home as originally planned, but a TB outbreak would be even sadder for lots of other innocent people. There is a compelling state interest in preventing even the slight possibility of such an outcome where it can be foreseen.
posted by timeo danaos at 12:52 PM on August 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


As interesting as some of the discussion was in that thread, the overall impression I was getting was that not many people know much about the process of emigrating into the US and the medical screening that occurs, and how many different types of people it affects. No one gets special treatment, not the children that the wealthy adopt, and especially not white British people. A more comprehensive post being made in the future would be welcome though.
posted by saturnine at 12:53 PM on August 9, 2009


If they really, really wanted to stop TB coming into the country, every single passenger would have to be screened.

It sounds like you're saying that the folks running the CDC have an agenda to keep Chinese children out of the country for x number of days, an agenda that has nothing to do with TB itself, but with singling Chinese children out for (racial?) discrimination.

You then establish a metaphor with a film about a concentration camp victim forced to choose between which child to send to a certain death.

I'll suggest that your initial premise is faulty, because China has one of the world's highest TB rates, some strains which are resistant to common antibiotics.

The CDC is very smart to focus its very meager(*) resources on overseeing the entry of potentially infectious Chinese nationals into the United States. If it cannot verify if the individual trying to enter the country is infectious, it seems reasonable to keep that person out until proper tests are carried out.

That aside, your attempt to compare this with a mother deciding which of her children must die is seemingly inapplicable and somewhat bizarre.

(*) In FY2009, the United States spent approximately $515B for the military, while budgeting roughly $6B for the CDC, of which a fraction is spent on public health initiatives focused on TB (about $170M for prevention and detection). Former President Bush had gutted the CDC's budget over the last eight years, making their work much harder.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:56 PM on August 9, 2009 [14 favorites]


But evidently more inside content gets judged by post standards, not comment ones.

One of the issues there is that the more inside is part of the post, in the formal sense that it's part of what goes out via syndication to anybody reading mefi second hand in their feedreader or on some other aggregation platform.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:02 PM on August 9, 2009


I had pork chops for lunch. They were delicious.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 1:10 PM on August 9, 2009


It was my post, and I am sad it was deleted.

You're way too personally invested in the story. You micromanaged the thread. It's very unlikely that a post on MetaFilter will change the world, help the CDC or somehow change the outcome.

Also -- your lack of proper apostrophe use in contracted compound words such as "it's" as well as possessives such as "Sophie's Choice" is giving the stern English teacher who resides in my frontal lobes a proper case of the fits.

You're using em-dashes. Why aren't you using apostrophes? If it's an intentional affectation all it's accomplishing is causing me to read your comments and posts in the same tone I read that TimeCube guy or a bottle of Dr. Bronner's soap.
posted by loquacious at 1:14 PM on August 9, 2009


I had pork chops for lunch. They were delicious.

I gruffled a plate of beans. Let's trade.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 1:19 PM on August 9, 2009


Right. I've just been informed by my producer over the break that kristin is indeed using en-dashes, not em-dashes.

I'm pretty sure it's a rule or outright law of the internet that when you stoop to criticize someone's punctuation or grammar you invariably fuck up somewhere yourself.
posted by loquacious at 1:27 PM on August 9, 2009 [6 favorites]


I want an agenda, they're quite useful.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:29 PM on August 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Former President Bush had gutted the CDC's budget over the last eight years, making their work much harder.

In FY2000, the CDC requested $3.1 billion. This was approximately $200 million more than the FY1999 enacted level. In FY2009 (PDF, page 11), the CDC requested $8.8 billion, a decrease of $412 million from FY2008's enacted level.

Now, I'm no expert on CDC funding, and I welcome a correction of my research, but I think the point is pretty clearly made here.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 1:40 PM on August 9, 2009


I just bought a calendar app for my ipod touch. It's called My Gay Agenda, and I just couldn't resist. It is lovely to look at, easy to use, and will certainly assist me in my plans to take over the universe. Win!
posted by rtha at 1:46 PM on August 9, 2009 [9 favorites]


It's called My Gay Agenda

This may be the only thing on earth awesome enough to motivate me to get an iPhone. DAMMIT.
posted by elizardbits at 2:05 PM on August 9, 2009


Hey quick question, and this seems as good a place as any to ask it: Has a post ever been un-deleted?
posted by deliquescent at 2:30 PM on August 9, 2009


Now, I'm no expert on CDC funding, and I welcome a correction of my research

I think the FY2009 proposal for core CDC programs was about $5.7B, not $8.8B. Most of that increase from $3.1B to $5.7B came from a jump in new terrorism funding in FY2002 (about $2.4B), which is unrelated to infectious disease funding. It looks like infectious disease prevention and management (along with other non-terrorism programs) has been reduced or kept steady, which means it has not kept pace with inflation (which becomes significant when talking budgets in billions of dollars). I guess there can be a reasonable argument about the degree to which a budget is "gutted", but I don't think TB was much of a priority during the Bush years.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:36 PM on August 9, 2009


"I think this is fascinating and I think other MeFites would think so too" is a good basis for a post.

"This makes me really angry and I want other MeFites to get angry along with me" nearly always makes for a terrible post.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 2:54 PM on August 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Most of that increase from $3.1B to $5.7B came from a jump in new terrorism funding in FY2002 (about $2.4B)

Where are you getting your numbers? Here (PDF, page 40) shows that terrorism was added in the FY2003 budget, and it came in at $1.1 billion. In the same document, on page 38, shows CDC funding for much of the 90s (during the Clinton era), and shows ridiculously low rate of growth until 2001, where the CDC's budget has skyrocketed for much of the early 2000s (even if you discount terror funding). By your argument (keeping up with inflation), Clinton did less for the CDC than Bush.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 3:00 PM on August 9, 2009


Hey quick question, and this seems as good a place as any to ask it: Has a post ever been un-deleted?

Yes, although I can't link you to it because I can't find it. Them. Possibly only "it" and not "them" but there was at least one within the last year (or so). There was a meTa about the deletion and then there was a restoration. I think. I'm pretty sure I'm not imagining this.
posted by rtha at 3:06 PM on August 9, 2009


Shit happens.

Hugs!
posted by Pronoiac at 3:07 PM on August 9, 2009


3:05 pm - Hey this post shouldn't have been deleted!

3:07 pm - YOU ARE RIGHT.

There was another with a dupe post & some accidental contention over which one would remain, but I haven't found it yet.
posted by Pronoiac at 3:11 PM on August 9, 2009


Where are you getting your numbers?

This summary (PDF, page 10) shows the increase in budget over 2000-08. Terrorism was added in FY2002 and comes in around $2.3-2.4B. For FY2003, the budget is $1.6-1.7B, not $1.1B. I can't explain the discrepancy between our numbers, but that perhaps each chart used a different calculation.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:12 PM on August 9, 2009


Re: undeleting, there's an amusing Keystone Kops thread.
posted by Pronoiac at 3:23 PM on August 9, 2009


Hey quick question, and this seems as good a place as any to ask it: Has a post ever been un-deleted?

Every once in a great while it happens. On those occasions, it's either because of a direct misunderstanding (see Pronoiac's example above) or because we chose to remove a borderline post that turned out to be something pretty much everyone speaking up after the fact felt shouldn't have been deleted.

But (and I'm not implying you're suggesting this, just jawing on the subject since we're on it already) the fact that we don't often undelete posts doesn't mean it's not okay for folks to ask about deletions that trouble them for one reason or another. A quick inquiry via the contact form will usually get someone a bit of an explanation if they're curious, which is sometimes the preferable route just because it's simpler and faster and doesn't involve a potential circus, but in general this is one of the things Metatalk is for, even if it's not a likely route for having a deletion negated.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:23 PM on August 9, 2009


To report on My Gay Agenda (the app, not my personal gay agenda, which mostly involved staying indoors where it is cool, and yelling at the TV, where the Giants are losing to the Reds AGAIN): It lacks an alarm function, which is kind of a downer, since I really like iCal's ability to interrupt me when I'm not using it to tell me Hey, remember you have to be at Place in Number of Days/Hours/Minutes.
posted by rtha at 3:26 PM on August 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


it was a story that highlights a lot that is wrong with immigration policy, namely that if your travel plans originate in the US, you get TB in another country, you are allowed to fly home with active TB

If you are a U.S. citizen.

But if you are adopted in China and flying home for the first time, and are already in treatment and cannot infect anyone else, you cannot enter the country

If you are not a U.S. citizen.

I am sorry this post was deleted, because its a strange, two-level system that the CDC has.

You think it's strange that countries have different rules for their own citizens?
posted by oaf at 3:28 PM on August 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


This policy isn't doing anything for anyone, and its negatively affecting Harper, and many other children like her.

One of the reasons your post was so bad is that you really know nothing about public health policy or regulation. It's easy to get upset when you ignore the public health consequences that the regulation is in place to prevent. Please note that TB is passed through the air and is therefore not only contagious, but widely so. It's inevitable, due to the law of large numbers, that public health regulations will inconvenience some people who do not "deserve" to be inconvenienced.

Also, you are incorrect to think that a recently adopted child from China is not a new immigrant to the US. I'm not sure what you think immigration is, but it isn't obviated by being connected to some folks who bought you in your country of origin.
posted by OmieWise at 3:35 PM on August 9, 2009 [7 favorites]


'the thread turned out okay' is never a good reason to keep a post around, imo.

Metafilter knows how to turn lemons into lemonade, but that doesn't mean we want to open up a lemonade stand.
posted by empath at 3:55 PM on August 9, 2009


United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, also known as USCIS, takes its cues on health-related issues from the CDC. Here are some questions I have encountered while working in immigration law, and the answers that were given. (I am not a lawyer. This comment does not constitute legal advice. Consult an immigration attorney if you have any questions or concerns about immigration law and how it may affect you.)

Q: I've already been tested for tuberculosis, but USCIS says I have to be tested again. Do I really have to?
A: Yes.

Q: USCIS says that the doctor filled out the tuberculosis form wrong, and I have to be tested again. Do I really have to?
A: Yes.

Q: I am an EXTREMELY BUSY AND IMPORTANT PERSON, but USCIS says I have to be tested for tuberculosis! Do I really have to?
A: Yes.

Q: Obviously you didn't hear me when I said that I am an EXTREMELY BUSY AND IMPORTANT PERSON. Does an EXTREMELY BUSY AND IMPORTANT PERSON have to be tested for tuberculosis?
A: Yes.

Q: You're an idiot! I'm so rich that I could buy and sell you ten times over! I've already booked my plane tickets! If I have to be tested for tuberculosis, I will lose thousands of dollars and months of work! Do I still have to be tested for tuberculosis?
A: Yes.
posted by Faint of Butt at 4:05 PM on August 9, 2009 [12 favorites]


Just because the child in question is already treatment does not mean she cannot infect others. I know that many universities in the US require TB testing for students who come from countries in which children still receive TB vaccinations. Because of the nature of TB and TB vaccines, these individuals, while at no risk themselves, may have become carriers.

The post seems to ignore concerns such as this in favour of a "The US discriminates against helpless, Chinese immigrants" slant.
posted by Partario at 4:20 PM on August 9, 2009


Thanks all for the answer to my little off-topic question above. And, if there was any question, I certainly wasn't trying to silence these types of threads... it just popped into my head that I hadn't seen a thread undeleted before. Anyway, thanks again.
posted by deliquescent at 4:21 PM on August 9, 2009


I'd say the linked article would be more appropriate for a post on willfully misleading journalism and the ghost of William Randolph Hearst's petty entertainments. The journalist describes herself:
Cathy is an award winning freelance writer, specializing in creative non-fiction. Her pieces are based on her experiences with chronic illness, cancer co-survival, adoption, and relationships. Cathy is also a writer for examiner.com, covering the topics of International Adoption, Organ and Tissue Donation, and Blood Cancers. Her personal experience with each of these topics makes her an ideal advocate, fostering increased awareness through her informative articles.
Would-be demagogues would be wise to choose subjects that aren't reasonably debatable and easily fact-checked.

CWAA
posted by vapidave at 4:50 PM on August 9, 2009


"The thread turned out OK" is always a good reason to keep a post around.

With a bad post, it often happens that the comments correct the deficiencies of the post and a good discussion can result. I think that happened in this post. Also, there was a post on some mathematical topic recently, which was deleted because of insufficient background in the post. But it was deleted after more than sufficient background had been supplied by commenters in the thread. So what was the point of deleting it?

I think there should be a "statute of limitations" on deletion, whereby if a post has more than (say) twenty comments, it cannot be deleted (except in certain exceptional cases, e.g., if it is a double of a post within the last 30 days, or is turning into a real nasty flame-fest).
posted by Crabby Appleton at 5:04 PM on August 9, 2009


In that case, i'd rather they delete the original thread and have someone repost a 'fixed' fpp.
posted by empath at 5:14 PM on August 9, 2009


What is the point in destroying something that's already there?
posted by Crabby Appleton at 5:26 PM on August 9, 2009


On the upside, that post made me want to reread Sophie's Choice to see how I could have possibly missed the fact that she was reunited with both her kids after a few weeks.
So there's that.
posted by Floydd at 5:27 PM on August 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


I don't see how you'd fix the post. Immigration has a reasonable policy that has inconvenienced someone. What is there to discuss?
posted by rdr at 5:30 PM on August 9, 2009


So no consensus on Sophie's Choice. But can we agree that their journey through immigration regulations has been basically just like The Road?
posted by palliser at 5:46 PM on August 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I empathize. I once spent half a day composing an exhaustively researched post on infertility, adoption (US/Canadian regional and international) and surrogacy. I included links to advocacy organizations, financing options and US case law resources. That post was a labor of love, and I knew the subject very well. I had worked for a number of years as a media liaison/ PIO for a few non- and for-profit organizations in those fields. I had interviewed hundreds of patients, heard their stories and become absorbed in their hopes and dreams of starting families.

In the end, I didn't post it. Even though deep down, I believe such a post might enrich the Blue. I realized after thinking about it that I was far too close to the subject matter I was posting about. I shouldn't be the one to initiate such a discussion.

MeFi is not my personal soapbox. I have a blog for that. And passionately and in good faith, I would have totally interfered and derailed the thread the moment someone took one of those sensitive issues and said something I disagreed with. Perhaps I'm too close to the subject, and maybe I'm just not mature enough to leave well enough alone.

FWIW, I thought your post was fascinating and the story frustrating and heartbreaking. But I do understand and agree with why it had to be deleted.
posted by zarq at 6:38 PM on August 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


good example of how editorializing can doom an otherwise decent post
posted by sloe at 7:01 PM on August 9, 2009


What is the point in destroying something that's already there?

To discourage others from posting similar posts?
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 8:01 PM on August 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


being connected to some folks who bought you in your country of origin

Ouch!
posted by Wolof at 8:05 PM on August 9, 2009


To discourage others from posting similar posts?

I don't think you can afford to have too heavy a hand editorially, considering that people are generating all your content for free. I'd think you'd want to err on the side of encouraging contributions (both posts and comments).
posted by Crabby Appleton at 8:20 PM on August 9, 2009


Crabby Appleton writes "What is the point in destroying something that's already there?"

It discourages crappy, axe grindy posts. Giving these a pass would encourage people sanguine about the comments saving their post.
posted by Mitheral at 8:32 PM on August 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Crabby Appleton: Also, there was a post on some mathematical topic recently, which was deleted because of insufficient background in the post. But it was deleted after more than sufficient background had been supplied by commenters in the thread. So what was the point of deleting it?

I think you're thinking of a post about a paper about the distribution of prime numbers. Even after the post is sort of explained, it wasn't a good topic of discussion.
posted by Pronoiac at 8:36 PM on August 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Crabby Appleton writes "I don't think you can afford to have too heavy a hand editorially, considering that people are generating all your content for free. I'd think you'd want to err on the side of encouraging contributions (both posts and comments)."

Actually quality of the front page is one of the things that makes this place great. I know of no surer shot to MetaFilter's head than a flood of crap remaining on the front page. It's not like this is some kind of special case, stuff gets deleted off the front page practically everyday. The OP is welcome to take another shot in 12 hours though I'd recommend passing a retread past the mods first.
posted by Mitheral at 8:43 PM on August 9, 2009 [5 favorites]


What is the point in destroying something that's already there?

To watch it explode as the hero goes darting past it on slow motion on a jet ski.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:10 PM on August 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


the fact that we don't often undelete posts doesn't mean it's not okay for folks to ask about deletions that trouble them for one reason or another

What about deletions that don't trouble us? Can we fail to not be silent about our lack of opinions that we don't stop ourselves from denying that we could care less about how nonplussed we aren't?
posted by fleacircus at 11:34 PM on August 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Zarq: In the world we go to after this one, there is a more perfect Metafilter, one that holds all the FPPs we ever thought about, collected links for, worked on, and yet never posted. They're all there...all of them.

I thought you would like to know that your adoption thread is there. It's brilliantly put-together, full of intriguing links, and the tone is thoughtful and opinionated without being heavy-handed. It truly deserves all the favorites it's received. The comments are insightful and, though there's a healthy amount of debate in the thread, both sides come out of the discussion feeling wiser for having had it. They may not agree with their opposition, but they understand now why their interlocutors believe what they believe, and can respect the differences they share.

(This is what Metafilter is like in the next world: all the FPPs are fascinating, all the discussions are vibrant yet stately, and all the users are open-minded and courteous. It's AWFUL.)
posted by Ian A.T. at 11:47 PM on August 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


TB is passed through the air when people cough, sneeze or spit.

I just wanted to fix that, because the thought of bacteria or viruses or other germs actually being airborn scares the living shit out of me. And I think the misconception that any germs can actually travel in the air without being stuck to your saliva or some other substance causes more harm than necessary.

Understanding how diseases are actually transmitted is paramount in preventing them.
posted by jabberjaw at 11:58 PM on August 9, 2009


I missed this one, but it was a terrible post. All it is, is editorial. "How do you explain to an orphaned 4 year old?"

But it got deleted before anyone, besides hippybear, responded to not that girl's complaint that it's hard to get a white baby. They just have the drug-exposed brown babies. And that she spend $47,000 keeping this child away from a father who tried to keep it and who, based on her comment, may not have know of this adoption previously. Oh, the risk of birthfathers.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 3:03 AM on August 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


First, I don't think not that girl was describing her own preferences.

Second, aren't white parents encouraged to only adopt white babies by the domestic adoption agencies themselves, so as not to deprive non-white babies of access to their birth culture? My understanding of her comment was that she was delineating the obstacles placed before her when she tried to adopt.

Third, if the birth father had really known nothing about the adoption, and was the father, and a marginally decent candidate for parenthood, the court would have given the baby to him. Since you know nothing about the birth father, and not that girl does know something, maybe the thing to do here would be to ask her to clarify why the birth father was not an appropriate guardian, under the circumstances, rather than attacking her preemptively for "keeping this child away" from him. You're suggesting that she shouldn't have her daughter; a little care is in order.
posted by palliser at 5:00 AM on August 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


the fact that we don't often undelete posts doesn't mean it's not okay for folks to ask about deletions that trouble them for one reason or another

posts are occasionally undeleted.
posted by bigmusic at 5:10 AM on August 10, 2009


See, I always confuse Sophie's Choice with Sophie's World. And since the only time people mention Sophie's Choice is in some overwrought passing phrase, it invariably leaves me extremely confused.
posted by koeselitz at 5:31 AM on August 10, 2009


See, I always confuse Sophie's Choice with Sophie's World. And since the only time people mention Sophie's Choice is in some overwrought passing phrase, it invariably leaves me extremely confused.

koeselitz, it's really easy to tell them apart. Sophie's Choice is the one you stopped reading because you suddenly realized you were going to have to sleep at some point that night and you didn't want particularly want to hang out with Nathan, Sophie, and Stingo in your dreams. Sophie's World is the one you stopped reading because you suddenly realized you could be doing something more entertaining, like washing the dishes or maybe scrubbing the bathtub.
posted by timeo danaos at 6:06 AM on August 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Crabby Appleton: I don't think you can afford to have too heavy a hand editorially, considering that people are generating all your content for free. I'd think you'd want to err on the side of encouraging contributions (both posts and comments).

(1) I'm very sorry for the strength with which I'll have to say this, but I've held back for some time, and it's bound to boil over at some point: the next time somebody refers to writing as 'generating content' and implies that written text is a fully-monetized commodity that should be paid for, I will sullenly stalk directly to my local zoo and shoot one cute mustachioed tamarin monkey every hour on the hour until I am promised that this will cease. If you think I'm kidding, you're free to test me, but I warn you: I can't stand monkeys, and I've seen far too many Clint Eastwood movies.

(2) Now that we've gotten that out of the way, I wanted to say: you're misunderstanding the flow of Metafilter when you say that

"The thread turned out OK" is always a good reason to keep a post around. With a bad post, it often happens that the comments correct the deficiencies of the post and a good discussion can result. I think that happened in this post... I think there should be a "statute of limitations" on deletion, whereby if a post has more than (say) twenty comments, it cannot be deleted (except in certain exceptional cases, e.g., if it is a double of a post within the last 30 days, or is turning into a real nasty flame-fest).

I understand the confusion and annoyance people almost always feel when a discussion which they value is suddenly brought to a halt. This is ironically most keenly felt when the post itself was bad; the understandable sense is: 'but we'd just gotten to a point where we all understood where we were coming from! We'd just overcome the misunderstandings in the original post, and the conversation had started to get really good!'

What this presumes is that the discussion happens in a vacuum - that everyone on the site begins reading every thread at the same time, reads it through thoroughly, and is up-to-date on the thread. Unfortunately we all know that this isn't the case. So, if we hold the conversation over the posts, we're forced to take much more seriously the injunction to preview before commenting. But I don't think that would be fair, either; and even if it were, it wouldn't be realistic. People pop into threads all the time; they notice them three minutes, three hours, or three days after they've been posted, and they may not have even known about them until that moment.

What I'm getting at is that there really isn't a dichotomy between 'post' and 'thread;' it may seem sensible to say, 'so what if the post was bad? The discussion was good' - but inevitably, the two are the same thing, and if a post is bad, the thread will end up bad, too. This isn't usually even because bad posts stir up anger or resentment, or because they might be factually incorrect or (as is the case in the post above) because they are emotionally overwrought. Bad posts almost always lead to bad discussions mostly because they set the tone in ways you can't get rid of through discussion. I guarantee you that if that thread had stayed open, if it had even turned to the most interesting and enlightened conversation about immigration and the CDC that the internet has ever known, it would still have been dogged, fifty, a hundred, a hundred and fifty comments in, by dozens of people popping in and saying 'hey just wanted to say THIS POST WAS BUNK yer being really silly, y'know?' and all of you would've had to sigh again and say 'yeah, we know, we got past that a hundred comments ago and now we're talking about x, y and z. Argh' and ultimately it would have been far too annoying to converse around that elephant which had been in the middle of the room from the start.

This might seem like a minor concern - heck, our favorite conversations aren't going to get that hectic, right? - to those of us who don't have to moderate those threads. But the more you pay attention, the more it becomes obvious that jess, cortex, matt & co spend the bulk of their time dealing with just this situation - deleting over-the-top responses to posts, trying to handle and curtail complete derails, managing misunderstandings. And this would just complicate things beyond measure - if we said, for example, 'don't derail a discussion unless it was in a thread that started out with a bad post, in which case it's okay' (like we would have to if discussions can move past bad posts) then: who decides if a post is bad? Who decides if a derail is warranted? What's the real difference between a good derail and a bad derail? If a post has had a good derail, are the people who come into the thread who keep wanting to talk about the crappiness of the original post re-derailers? Are they suddenly doing the wrong thing, even though they're trying to get back to the actual original post?

And that's just one dimension of the problem. All in all, I don't think it makes much sense to expect that there will regularly be cases in which bad posts lead to good discussions; in fact, I don't think it makes sense to expect that any bad post would have led to a good discussion. You can say that this one did, but we didn't see it through; indications in this very Meta thread point directly toward the notion that people pissed off by the post at the top of the thread would probably have continued to bombard it.
posted by koeselitz at 6:19 AM on August 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


timeo danaos: koeselitz, it's really easy to tell them apart. Sophie's Choice is the one you stopped reading because you suddenly realized you were going to have to sleep at some point that night and you didn't want particularly want to hang out with Nathan, Sophie, and Stingo in your dreams. Sophie's World is the one you stopped reading because you suddenly realized you could be doing something more entertaining, like washing the dishes or maybe scrubbing the bathtub.

Oh, I think I know that by now - but I intentionally ignore it. It's just so much more entertaining to read a sentence like

Her parents are living Sophie's Choice - either leave one of their legal children alone in China, or stay with her, lose their jobs, and leave their other legal child alone in the US.

and think to myself, ah yes - that's precisely like being a 13-year-old Norwegian girl who talks to imaginary people about philosophy.
posted by koeselitz at 6:27 AM on August 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


I wasn't complaining that it's hard to get a white baby--I was describing the reality, in order to point out some of the reasons why adoptive families make the choices they do. Hippybear had asked --really nicely--to hear more about why people adopt internationally, and I had a few words to say about that that I thought might help. That's all. I'm very fond of hippybear.

I was traveling with my kids this last weekend to the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival, and there are a lot of womyn of color there. The amount of attention my daughter (who is 2) and I got was amazing--constant comments, unsolicited (but friendly) advice about how to care for her hair, one spontaneous hug from a Black woman thanking me for adopting and loving her. I've never gotten any hostility when out in public with the baby, but I've heard stories from other white adoptive parents who have. I don't know whether people who adopt from, say, Cambodia get that same kind of attention and scrutiny, but I could imagine that some people might not be comfortable with it and would prefer not to adopt inter-racially because of that.

ActingTheGoat, the complicated details of our custody dispute would fill a book. There are laws designed to protect birthfathers from losing their children while at the same time providing finalization and closure for adopted children and adoptive families--the law tries to balance those two things, and it's hard to do. In our case, the birthfather knew about the adoption as soon as the baby was born. At that point, the law required him to register with the Putative Father' Registry, which he did. In response to that, and in accordance with the law, our lawyer notified him of the adoption in progress.

His next step--required by law, and clearly spelled out to him when he registered with the Putative Father Registry, which also included an 800 number to call for help with taking this next step--was to file a paternity action within 30 days. If he had acted in accordance with the law, which he was informed of and which would have cost him nothing, he would almost certainly have been given custody of the baby, as palliser said.

Instead, he waited five months to take legal action. It took almost a year, because legal proceedings are extremely slow, for a court to rule--as we knew it would but feared it would not--that he had failed to comply with the law and protect his parental rights. After that, he and his lawyer (who was provided to him at no cost by the state because of his indigence, so it cost him nothing to proceed) filed a completely merit-less appeal--this was the judgement, in so many words, of the appeals court. $47,000 it's going to take us years to dig out from under. This is indeed one of the risks involved in domestic adoption. It doesn't happen often--something like fewer than 1 in 1000 adoptions are contested. But it does happen.

I'm not complaining. These are just the facts. What I was trying to say is: every form of adoption carries certain risks. Parents who choose to adopt weigh those various risks when deciding what form of adoption to pursue. I thought this might give hippybear some insight into why people pursue international adoption rather than domestic adoption.

FWIW, though, a man doesn't even have to know there's a baby to register with the putative father registry. He can register and say that he wants to know if any baby born to so-and-so during a certain span of time is placed for adoption, and he will be notified. Not a lot of men know that, but they should. In our case, the birthfather knew about the pregnancy because the bmother had been living with him until she was six months pregnant, so he could have registered even without knowing she had placed the baby for adoption. The putative father registry protects birthfathers, but it also protects adoptive families, since, "I didn't know she was going to place the baby for adoption" is not a valid reason for a man to get custody once certain deadlines have passed.

Yes, putative father registries are controversial. But this balancing of needs is what they were designed to do, mostly after some highly-publicized cases in the early 90s of children being removed from adoptive homes at the age of 4 or 5.

palliser, there is certainly some controversy about interracial adoption. But the truth is there are not enough available white babies for the white families who want them (which I am not judging at all--i can entirely understand why a family would want, for instance, for it not to be obvious at every moment that a child is adopted). Rather than encouraging white families, agencies that place white newborns often impose serious barriers. They can be very choosy about what families they place babies with.

Some of the reasons, for instance, that my family would have been unable to adopt a white newborn (had we wanted to--this is not me saying, "Oh, poor me, I wanted a white baby but I could only have this brown one. I'm just describing how things are) include:

1. I am not infertile. I could have had another biological child had I wanted to. I did not want to.

2. We already had two biological children.

3. I was 39 when we started the adoption process. Many agencies set lower age caps.

4. I'm fat. Some agencies impose BMI restrictions.

5. My partner and I, although we are an opposite-sex couple, are not heterosexual and would not be willing to pretend we were, or work with an agency that excluded single women or gay/lesbian people, which nearly all agencies that place white babies do.

It's also true, palliser, that there are not enough adoptive families of color for the babies being placed. i can only assume, for instance, that our birthmother would have chosen a Black family for her baby if it had been possible. Even if the ideal is for children to be placed with families from similar ethnic backgrounds, it's just not possible for that to happen right now. I could write another book about what I see as the factors that play into this.

I sound so sour-grapey but in fact I am a big adoption booster--I know so many families, including my own, despite our troubles, for whom adoption has been a wonderful thing. It just seems to me that most people don't know much about the realities of adoption, so sometimes I try to talk about what I know from my own experience.

I'd also like to say that I have tremendous compassion both for our birthmother and for our birthfather, and for the difficult circumstances of their lives. Our daughter is beautiful, smart, physically strong and agile, inclined to be cheerful, and possessed of a wicked sense of humor. I can only assume that she got these qualities from her birth parents, and that at the same age they possessed the same qualities and potential. But given where they grew up, what chance did they have to become something other than a drug addict and an illiterate thug who has never held a job? It breaks my heart to think of all the children with as much potential as my daughter who are having that potential stunted. I wish I knew how to change that reality.
posted by not that girl at 6:33 AM on August 10, 2009 [14 favorites]


Wow, not that girl, just Wow. That's a great insight into something about which I have no knowledge. My partner and I have talked about adopting, but the obstacles seem so great. I am puzzled by But given where they grew up, what chance did they have to become something other than a drug addict and an illiterate thug who has never held a job?, though. Can you talk to that please.
posted by tellurian at 6:52 AM on August 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


tellurian, do not let me discourage you! I could talk about what I went through in two very hard pregnancies, and it might sound discouraging about getting pregnant, but here I am with three kids I love more than anything, who make any trouble I had getting them here seem insignificant. Also, we seemed to have worse luck than most people, both with the pregnancies and the adoption process.

As far as what I see as the potential of the birthmother and birthfather, they lived in inner-city Chicago, in poverty. I could write a book...but people already have. I feel like I got a lot of insight into class and race issues from the following books (links are to Amazon):

A Framework for Understanding Poverty by Ruby Payne. This book really helped me understand the different skillsets people from different backgrounds have. One way I have sympathy for the birthfather is that because of his background, he did not have the skills to protect his legal rights. For instance, one issue in our custody dispute was that he and the birthmother failed to have a certain document properly witnessed. Middle-class people like us sign legal documents all the time: we've made wills, we've taken out mortgages. We know about how to have them witnessed. The birthfather did not. He'd never held a legal job (he worked under-the-table cleaning office buildings, he said), so had never so much as filled out a W-2 or filed a tax return. One reason he did not follow up with a paternity action within 30 days may be that he did not read, or did not understand, the instructions on the putative father registry form. As much as I wanted to keep my daughter, I felt sad that this man did not have the skills to protect his rights. In his deposition, he had trouble understanding the questions that were asked, and even more trouble providing coherent answers, and often resorted to angry outbursts.

It broke the birthmother's heart to place the baby for adoption, and from what our agency has said, she still regrets it. The birthfather also wanted the baby. This does not change the fact that neither of them was a fit parent, but I don't know what chance they had, growing up in poverty and in the culture they did, to become fit parents.

Unequal Childhoods by Annette Lareua. A fascinating study.

Random Family by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc. This book, and Ruby Payne's, read together provide a lot of insight into why it is so hard for an individual to break out of a culture of poverty.

Man, I have a lot to say about this. Maybe I should write a book.
posted by not that girl at 7:22 AM on August 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


I find myself in an odd position here: as a general principle, I agree with the "a good discussion should not save a bad post" comments here, and 99% of the time I'm in agreement with such deletions. This one, though, I'm not so sure about. To me, the post was borderline-bad, not OMFG-must-be-nuked-from-orbit bad. And the counterarguments appeared pretty quickly in the thread, and were generally civil and thoughtful. (Although perhaps there were deleted comments I didn't see?) The general consensus seems to be that, with the exception of "no self-linking in a FPP," all our guidelines are just that, guidelines, not rules, and as such admit to occasional exceptions, and it seems to me like this might have made a decent exception.

OTOH, it could be just that it looked like it was going to turn into a full-fledged pile-on against kristin, depending on how much policing she was going to be doing, and while my baser nature loves a good pile-on, my rational self is forced to admit that would be a valid reason for deletion.

That said:

I mean, its not as news breaking as the 'fat guys go to strip clubs' post was,

First, posts are not required to be news-breaking. Second, "here's some other bad post that wasn't deleted, so this one shouldn't have been either" is never a winning argument on MeTa. Application of that principle would just make MeFi a race to the bottom.

This family did EVERYTHING right, everything the US government asked to complete the adoption, and it was completed. And then the rule changed at the worst time for them - if they had flown on June 30th, it would have been fine, and harper would be home.

Sometimes unfortunate things happen, through no fault of the person they happen to. Welcome to life as a human.

----

I don't think you can afford to have too heavy a hand editorially, considering that people are generating all your content for free. I'd think you'd want to err on the side of encouraging contributions (both posts and comments).

We want to encourage good contributions. Like I said, 99% of the time I'm on the side of "good discussion does not salvage a bad post" (and even in this case my feelings are more along the lines of "slight preference for leaving it up" rather than "this deletion was a terrible injustice which must be rectified"). I think, overall, the level of moderation is about right here to keep good contributions and a free exchange of ideas without the site turning into the anything-goes flamefests which so many other sites fall into, even if I sometimes disagree with particular moderation decisions. I think it's particularly fitting that the moderation level varies by subsite, each as appropriate to the nature of that subsite: Green>Blue>Grey.

----

I think there should be a "statute of limitations" on deletion, whereby if a post has more than (say) twenty comments, it cannot be deleted

Oh dear God no. As a counterexample I point to one of four deleted MJ obituary threads, this one with over 300 comments, and the decision to delete it in favor of the good post was absolutely correct.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:26 AM on August 10, 2009


Thanks, not that girl, I'll check them out.
posted by tellurian at 8:19 AM on August 10, 2009


Given that people currently rush to comment in threads that they suspect will be deleted, that 'statute of limitations' idea seems, uh, flawed.
posted by box at 8:49 AM on August 10, 2009


Can you stand one more My Gay Agenda update? I heard back from the creators - I emailed them about the lack of an alarm/feature - and they say it's coming in the next update, although not when that update will happen. Still, it was nice to know my email hadn't just fallen into the void.
posted by rtha at 9:20 AM on August 10, 2009


"...jess, cortex, matt & co..."

Yo vacapinta.    Respect.

</sycophant>

I forgot I had opened that tag a few days ago at my girlfriends parents house and thought I'd squeeze that in before I closed it.
posted by vapidave at 9:50 AM on August 10, 2009


I heard back from the creators...

It was originally envisioned by April Winchell. Neat. :)
posted by zarq at 10:02 AM on August 10, 2009


That gay agenda thing? I am not gay nor do I have an iphone, but I so want one.

Some kind of agenda that would occasionally beep and give me instructions on potential opportunities for world domination. As my outer core has evolved into an average middle aged white lady I feel I am the perfect sleeper cell.
posted by readery at 10:55 AM on August 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


Judging by the lack of favorites on my posts, and supporting comments, I'd say the consensus here is that my views are mistaken. I don't agree, but I don't think it would be productive for me to continue to argue the point.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 12:53 PM on August 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


Oh wow; season 1 of My So-Called Life is available on hulu.com. Rad.
posted by rtha at 1:27 PM on August 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


I don't agree, but I don't think it would be productive for me to continue to argue the point.

Oh, Crabby Appleton, haven't you learned anything in your time here? Since when has "it wouldn't be productive to continue to argue the point" stopped anybody?
posted by not that girl at 1:46 PM on August 10, 2009


Well, not that girl, that's why I'm such an original fellow.

If I had less to do right now, I might continue to argue, simply because I'm absolutely mystified by the fact that anyone could think it's a good idea to delete a thread with 300 comments in favor of another thread on the same topic. But many things mystify me, and I must restrain my curiosity in favor of getting stuff done.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 1:57 PM on August 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Judging by the lack of favorites on my posts, and supporting comments, I'd say the consensus here is that my views are mistaken. I don't agree, but I don't think it would be productive for me to continue to argue the point.

That's about right. Not being snarky, not trying to goad you into further debate, I'm just going to write some words about how I feel about the issues and MetaFilter in general.

Despite the known and apparent ways the following is contradictory by example of daily use or misuse - MetaFilter isn't Reddit, Digg or Delicious. It's not a link aggregator. It is not and should not be a catch-all repository for everything. It is not meant to be anyone's soapbox, axe-grinding wheel and it's not anyone's blog. MetaFilter is not a newspaper, either. It's not a wiki or a FAQ. Nor is it a political forum. Front page posts should not be designed to intentionally incite discussion and debate.

MetaFilter is at it's best when it is none of the above. What Metafilter is is a filter of the internet - mainly the web. By the fact that the internet reflects and interfaces with the real world, it also filters the world by extension.

Not to drag out the old horse - and not to play either Polly Anna and say that it should be all good news, nor Chicken Little and say that it should be all bad news - but really it should feature the best of the best our lives. The world is not going to end if we fail to note every tragedy on MetaFilter, or observe every obituary, or share in the outrage at the indecencies and outrage of politics.

We're just one small website. It's not a crime or a tragedy to try to focus on the really great, awesome stuff in our lives that makes life worth living in spite of all the negative bullshit so easily found just about anywhere else. I promise you - even if MetaFilter was all rainbows and unicorns (or weird art, or interesting science) all the time the world will not end, and all the negative stuff that deserves to be seen and looked at and understood will surely be seen as much as it can be with or without MetaFilter.

When I see MetaFilter being used as an activist or political platform or megaphone, I feel like someone just used an expensive, lovingly crafted set of handmade artist's brushes and paint to slash angry slogans and propaganda over a priceless painting torn from the wall of a gallery or museum. Or like someone chose to have a messy, fighty protest right in the middle of mathowie's living room.

I'm not saying that MetaFilter can't ever be an agent for positive change or a skillfully used megaphone - or better, a nice set of brushes, or a fine guitar - but it's something that requires nuance and delicacy, and one of the main reasons I avoid doing so in my posts. I am certainly well known for my rants and essays in the comments and promoting my own agenda and world view - but I refrain from doing so in my posts. There's a reason why.


Anyway, to specifically but briefly address the mechanics of deletions agnostically:

Everyone who posts frequently is going to occasionally (or even frequently) have items deleted. I do, and not just because they're double posts. Sometimes they suck. It's part of the process and it works. It's not my personal blog or living room.

No poster here has any right to complain if something is deleted for any arbitrary reason. There's nothing in the terms of service that grants any such right. Legally we own our own contributions - but that's it. It's not a license to be published. Therefore getting deleted is NOT censorship. There's a whole 10 million other computers and servers out there waiting for you. MetaFilter is just one of them.

What we do have is a small handful of mods who give a shit and make every effort to bend over backwards and give nearly everyone here a lot of leeway to go nuts - within very lenient reason. They understand censorship and it's evils - at least one of our mods actively works against within a profession. This good will is what makes MetaFilter as free as it is within our small garden walls, keeps the noise down and otherwise makes this place not suck like youtube comments. If I was mathowie I would have flipped out and banned dozens of you dysfunctional, argumentative, hair-splitting sons of bitches - very likely including myself.

Yet permanent bans for actions other than spamming are very rare.

I've met the mods. They're human, and pretty good at what they do. I've tried their patience. I've even been "that guy" years ago who was a serious pain in the ass and tried to challenge everything, tried to hack the system and impose my views about things like censorship on the site.

But over the years - years! - I've learned that it mostly works and to just kick back and enjoy the show. It's a good one.
posted by loquacious at 2:01 PM on August 10, 2009 [6 favorites]


Of course it's hard to get white babies. They're an aphrodisiac when powdered.
posted by klangklangston at 2:52 PM on August 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


Also, only through reading this post did I understand that I have been confusing Sophie's Choice and Rosemary's Baby for years.
posted by klangklangston at 2:53 PM on August 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


rtha: Oh, that's wonderful to hear. There's a "new and improved" version of the DVD set out, too. The one I got a decade ago is very barebones, but this one has commentary tracks, extra features, and an accompanying book.

But neither of those excite me nearly as much as the impending release of thirtysomething on DVD. Rescanned from the original film elements, with all the original music intact. (Apparently the music rights were the holdup in the DVD release.)
posted by hippybear at 4:27 PM on August 10, 2009


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