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Doctorow Dust-Up
April 3, 2010 8:19 AM   Subscribe

This post has become weirdly personal.

I don't know if it is all Cory Doctorow posts or just this one, but I'm really surprised at how badly this thread has gone. It's not just people calling each other douchebags and assholes, but there is also some old history about who outed whom on Slashdot that really doesn't belong on MetaFilter.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy to Etiquette/Policy at 8:19 AM (107 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

I don't know if it is all Cory Doctorow posts or just this one

[leon]Always like this.[/leon]
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:26 AM on April 3, 2010 [7 favorites]


I dropped a few people a note in that thread that this was the last time we were going to have a thread about BB/Doctorow [or just in general really, but a few people in that thread have done the same thing in other threads] that turned into such stupid namecalling. Totally not okay and we would have pruned it earlier if we had seen it earlier. People can hate who they hate, but using MeFi as a platform to stage a take-on-all-comers hatefest is pretty clearly not okay.

And geez, I just saw the last comments which were posted since the last time I looked. That's some weird shit and looks like people are bringing feuds from other sites over here. They'll have to take that to email from this point forward pretty much.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:27 AM on April 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


Feature request: Auto-forward inter-site feud to email.
posted by DU at 8:36 AM on April 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


I now want to see Cory Doctorow duke it out with a small child. My money is on the kid (nothing personal, Cory).
posted by homunculus at 8:37 AM on April 3, 2010


It's not just people calling each other douchebags and assholes

Wasn't that just one or two specific people?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:42 AM on April 3, 2010


God, I'm so waiting for the day the mods publish a book with all the weird, messed up comments they've deleted.

Yeah, I KNOW I'll be waiting forever for it, but on the thought of it!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:46 AM on April 3, 2010


Blazecock Pileon: "It's not just people calling each other douchebags and assholes
Wasn't that just one or two specific people
"

More like two or three with another couple using it ironically. But, hey! Who is counting?
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:54 AM on April 3, 2010


I'm rather bemused by the direction that thread went in. I'm a long way from being a cheerleader for Cory but I saw a link to the video somewhere, and being somewhat interested in the subject and started watching. While I don't agree with everything he said I though he had several good points and gave a good overview of the recent Amazon dust up. If I expected fireworks I thought they might have been more over the tired ebook/giving stuff away/piracy/creative don't deserve to paid arguments.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:59 AM on April 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Just saying that Metatalk posts like these are kind of vague. I think it was specifically two people using it repeatedly and being annoying, so it's kind of inaccurate to lump the everyone's behavior in with those two people. What I'm saying is maybe think about calling out those individuals when composing a Metatalk etiquette post, next time?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:02 AM on April 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Ok, I will apologize for my behavior. I got up this morning an before coffee, I get this guy stepping forward to confess what he did, and I overreacted. I'm on a five minute break at work and can't respond further now but I'll address this issue later today.
posted by charlie don't surf at 9:02 AM on April 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


I don't know if it is all Cory Doctorow posts or just this one

Yes, it's every post, and yes, it's saddening and tiresome. I just have to stay out of those threads, because I know how they're going to go. I'm not even that big a Cory Doctorow fan, but I do think he's a net force for good, and I just don't understand the gigantic stick some people here have up their asses about him.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 9:05 AM on April 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


My take was that it was The Same Old two people calling each other names but that somehow morphed into two entirely new people calling each other names over some old non-MeFi history [comments now mostly removed, sorry folks] which was a few too many people.

charlie don't surf: thanks.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:06 AM on April 3, 2010


there is also some old history about who outed whom on Slashdot that really doesn't belong on MetaFilter.

Fuck man, that was the only interesting part of that thread.
posted by orthogonality at 9:09 AM on April 3, 2010 [13 favorites]


I don't totally disagree with you, but there was some Real Name outing and other "fuck you" "no fuck you" stuff that made it deleteworthy unfortunately.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:11 AM on April 3, 2010


I just don't understand the gigantic stick some people here have up their asses about him.

During the last decade, ever see those dirty college hippies, lighting paper mache effigies of Bush on fire during protests? With their tie-dye shirts, Peta protesters, "Free Mumia" signs and such?

I really hate them. I really hate Cory too, because I AM ON THEIR SIDE. I want basically the same things they want, however they have elected themselves as a very public face of what I believe in, and do it in such a smug, contemptible way that I feel it is actually doing harm to "my side." I feel as though the average person who doesn't know anything about what these people believe in would take one look at them and say "Christ, what an asshole." And move on, either not caring about the subject, or actually taking the side against them.

I only speak for myself, but based on what most people say about these types of things, I don't think that I'm unique.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 9:15 AM on April 3, 2010 [23 favorites]


I'm on a five minute break at work and can't respond further now but I'll address this issue later today.

Honestly, charlie don't surf, I'm not sure it's an issue that needs any more addressing on metafilter. It seems like mostly a thing between you and ntk to deal with by email if you need to keep discussing it.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:15 AM on April 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Are you asking Charlie not to surf?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:26 AM on April 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


And further to the point, mefi as a staging ground for a kind of grudge-match-by-proxy is pretty much never a good plan, and I've removed the original comment from charlie in that thread because I don't see any balanced way of dealing with the accusation-and-counter thing in a sane way, especially with ntk's response and charlie's response-to-that already rightly nixed.

Which, to be clear, I don't mean this to pick on you at all, charlie don't surf—I have no issue with you having whatever bad history and frustration with Cory/BB/etc. But it's not a good use of metafilter and making a general thread about something-related-to-person-X into a very personal these-are-my-grievances-against-X thing isn't great. Again, probably something more for you and ntk to hammer out over email if you really need to talk about it, and leave the interpersonal drama off the site.

Which goes just as well, or really moreso in some ways, for e.g. jsavimbi, who has made way too much of a habit of using any Cory/BB/TNH-related thread as an excuse to drop some grumpus on everybody, and to an extent jscalzi who really needs to stop getting into it with the former when that happens.

And a number of other folks on the site who haven't been such hardcore pains about it could nonethelessdo to just leave the God I Can't Stand Them stuff at home instead of hopping into related threads to rehash the same grousing points.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:34 AM on April 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


> [leon]Always like this.[/leon]
> posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:26 AM on April 3 [1 favorite +] [!]

I have nothing special against a particular BoingBoing-associated writer or a particular Microsoft sub-Watchmen typeface, but the typical metafilter thread content concerning either of these -- most recently this one-two (90661, 90662) punch -- makes me wish there were a special mefi catbox page to which posts about Cory Doctorow and posts about Comic Sans could be routed automatically. Color = 330000.
posted by jfuller at 9:35 AM on April 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well, cortex, I have some etiquette issues I should ask about, but again, 5 min break at work plus iPhone is not adequate. Back later.
posted by charlie don't surf at 9:38 AM on April 3, 2010


I'm not in love with Doctorow either, but I find the fireworks when he is mentioned here really puzzling. There's a lot of baggage people are bringing with his name, I guess; whereas he just never really made it that fully onto my mental radar screen, so I have trouble imagining caring that much about him no matter what he said. Weird.
posted by Forktine at 9:46 AM on April 3, 2010


I was considering crafting a MetaTalk thank you (but hadn't gotten around to it) but I'd like to thank Rob Beschizza at Boing Boing for his help.

In a recent MetaFilter thread about BB and Cory, I complained that an editor at BoingBoing (not Cory) published my name without my permission in a post after I sent them an email complaining about the post itself. As a result, the BoingBoing post was the first Google result you got for my name, and the post itself was about something unsavoury. I'm looking for a job at the moment, so it was a little distressing.

Anyway, Rob Beschizza contacted me via MeMail and promised to fix it. And he did - it took several tries, but he was always almost immediately responded to my emails. I appreciate that.

Thanks Rob and Boing Boing!
posted by KokuRyu at 9:47 AM on April 3, 2010


That's fine, yeah, charlie don't surf. Just wanted to be clear that the original subject itself probably doesn't need a rehash, but etiquette/policy/meta stuff is totally fine.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:48 AM on April 3, 2010


Wow. Even for a Doctorow thread, that's a seething cauldron of douchenozzlery.
posted by brundlefly at 9:49 AM on April 3, 2010


makes me wish there were a special mefi catbox page

Craigslist has this funny thing called The Island of Misfit Threads where stuff that is removed by staff goes to die. I find it to be a somewhat curious way of dealing with comment removal. Basically you can see the comments -- and they don't even example.com the URLs -- but can't reply. This does mean that people who out other users' personal information have still outed it, but it goes someplace not generally read and not indexed by Google. Since CL has been around longer than MeFi it's been interesting watching it scale and seeing what technological approaches to community moderation they've implemented over time.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:49 AM on April 3, 2010 [6 favorites]


I've never really gotten the whole Cory Doctorow hate here on Mefi. He's not not the greatest sci-fi writer but he's far from the worst. I find about 1/3 of BoingBoing interesting and ignore the rest but I could say the same about this site.
posted by octothorpe at 9:50 AM on April 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


He's like the Ronald Reagan of steampunk drm. Some people want him on the fifty-dollar bill, others want him tried for war crimes.
posted by found missing at 9:52 AM on April 3, 2010 [6 favorites]


Think of it as sibling rivalry.
posted by smackfu at 9:57 AM on April 3, 2010


So wait, somebody outed somebody on Slashdot? Like, outed outed? Was he all like "Hey, I know for a fact that this guy forms romantic relationships with men exclusively." and everyone else was like, "Romantic relationships with men? Can I run Linux on that?"

Also, I think when someone says "fuck you" instead of saying "no fuck you" the response should be "no you fuck you."

That about sums up my feelings on the market for ebooks.
posted by "Elbows" O'Donoghue at 9:58 AM on April 3, 2010 [13 favorites]


I suggest that a 'smart agent' be written that forces all posts about Cory Doctorow to be displayed in Comic Sans, thus getting as much grumpus as possible into a single post for easy quarantine.

In addition, anyone who posts in that gets a MeMail with a recipe using beans.

I think it'll change the dynamic considerably.
posted by mephron at 9:59 AM on April 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Somebody should make a list of the things we're not allowed to talk about in threads here anymore. I'm really starting to lose track.
posted by stinkycheese at 10:03 AM on April 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm not so sure separation of Cory from What Cory is Talking About is so easily done. It would easier to perform, intellectually, if there were an underlying belief that he and his stance were congruent on a deep level. I'll have a reasonable conversation with anyone about damn near anything if I get the feeling that these are their core beliefs, sincerely held and honestly presented, without games or "debate" tactics which are the equivalent of saying Cite? whenever the person on the other side pauses to take a breath. I suspect most MetaFiltarians are the same. It's a lot easier to discuss something in the abstract if you think it is done in good faith.

When there exists the suspicion that the person is less than genuine, has ulterior motives, and so forth, discussion almost invariably takes a turn in that direction, Doctorow or not. There's a rather fine detection of self-promotion in MetaFilter and a disgust for hypocrites. Watch the members track down someone's angle. Witness the, ah, unholy glee present whenever some DOMA-voting Republican gets caught doing the Larry Craig Bullriding Mime and Tap Dance routine.

The dependency is not the trained response when the letters D O C T O R O W are strung together, like Hunter S. Thompson's dog apocryphally going into attack mode when he hears the word "Nixon," but more likely that many people's skeeve-detectors keep going off every time he's mentioned. Is it that the detectors work as billed or that MetaFilter doesn't "do Doctorow well?" The latter is certainly accurate in general, and more polite as a matter of policy, but it does not address the former, at all.
posted by adipocere at 10:11 AM on April 3, 2010 [8 favorites]


I suggest special treatment should be reserved for things that actually matter, like the Israel/Palestine debate, and not for things like whether it's really important to a popular blogger that he can do whatever he wants with whatever he buys.
posted by flatluigi at 10:11 AM on April 3, 2010


Somebody should make a list of the things we're not allowed to talk about in threads here anymore.

It'd be a very short list, and wouldn't include the subjects that have come up in MeTa threads recently. There is a really important difference between "you're not allowed to talk about it" and "you're not allowed to talk about it like that." Recently, I've seen the mods say none of the former and a little of the latter.
posted by FishBike at 10:12 AM on April 3, 2010


Right, it's that MeFites have proven that they are not capable of handling certain topics like adults.
posted by smackfu at 10:16 AM on April 3, 2010


Somebody should make a list of the things we're not allowed to talk about in threads here anymore.

So did you all hear about how Cory Doctorow and Sarah Palin had a debate in the occupied West Bank about how Apple is making a new device that can both declaw and circumcise? At one point, Cory Doctorow was heard to remark: "I for one welcome our new retarded rapist overlords." I'ma make an FPP about it right now!
posted by "Elbows" O'Donoghue at 10:17 AM on April 3, 2010 [8 favorites]


I suggest special treatment should be reserved for things that actually matter

To be clear, I have no desire to give Cory/BB/etc special treatment, and what I see as needing to happen is pretty much the opposite of that: a small handful of people on this site need to stop giving the subject extra-special Now I Will Complain About This Again treatment.

Not using a hobbyhorse topic as an excuse to take a predictable crap in a thread is what we're talking about. It's not behavior confined to this general subject, and this is hardly the only subject we've ever had to say anything about, and in no case has the mod position been "discussion topic x is verboten". Just don't be lazy pains in the ass about it, and don't use mefi as a platform for serial personal soapboxing, basically, because it makes the place worse overall for the sake of one person's spleen-venting satisfaction.

Somebody should make a list of the things we're not allowed to talk about in threads here anymore. I'm really starting to lose track.

That surprises me given how much attention you seem to have devoted to the subject lately.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:23 AM on April 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Somebody should make a list of the things we're not allowed to talk about in threads here anymore.

You're an asshole. Fuck you [$REAL_NAME].

That's the sort of thing you pretty much shouldn't say. There are topics on MeFi that seem to bring out the worst in people and somehow compel them to trample on the community guidelines regularly. It's weird. I'm a little disappointed that this is so predictable. And this really isn't a Cory thing. People can dislike the guy as much as they want and even say so here. The problem is that people get in seriously aggro shouting matches about it which is not okay here, even in a thread about macaroni and cheese or whatever. Except people don't yell at each other about macaroni and cheese. There's a short list of Holy War topics that people who are otherwise decent community members turn into raving shouty jerks. And being a raving shouty jerk is not so great. And may cause your raving shouty comments to get deleted.

So, we-as-mods keep a close watch on certain topics because they are things MetaFilter Does Badly. However this doesn't mean they are things MeFi is forbidden from talking about, just topics that seem to make people act out, make people do a lot of flagging, and often result in people getting time-outed and/or quitting. From our perspective it's useful to know what these topics are both so we can see them coming, but also so we can talk to the community about them and say "hey threads on this topic tend to go badly, so if what you want is to encourage a good discussion about topic X and not just grind your axe about it, you might want to take some care into creating your thread"

tl;dr context matters, the site is larger than any one person's pursuit of truth, justice or pretty much anything else. It's very simple to not break the guidelines. Almost every member does it consistently almost every day.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:32 AM on April 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


So wait, somebody outed somebody on Slashdot? Like, outed outed? Was he all like "Hey, I know for a fact that this guy forms romantic relationships with men exclusively." and everyone else was like, "Romantic relationships with men? Can I run Linux on that?"

No, I worded it clumsily. It wasn't about sex, it was about Someone's Name In Real Life as opposed to Slashdot/BB account Names.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 10:34 AM on April 3, 2010


Blazecock Pileon: What I'm saying is maybe think about calling out those individuals when composing a Metatalk etiquette post, next time?

Yeah, I don't like to do that. Feel free to name names, BP, but when I am the one composing a MetaTalk, I will do it my way.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 10:37 AM on April 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


...Now I Will Complain About This Again treatment...

There's a lot of that here, not confined to Doctorow/BB threads. I see a lot of threads where people don't bother to read the links and don't actually address the specific content of the links but just trot out their particular argument about/against the general subject of the post. So instead of discussing the particular new development or news about the subject, people end up re-arguing the exact same tired grudges in every thread that involves that particular subject.
posted by octothorpe at 10:39 AM on April 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Just imagine a Beowulf cluster of Cory Doctorows. You could increase the power of MeFite head explosions by orders of magnitude. And don't get me started on the MeFite head-detonation potential of coryclouds or crowdcorying.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:42 AM on April 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


I should add that I've been guilty of the behavior that I just described, although I don't think that I'm ever very shouty about it.
posted by octothorpe at 10:42 AM on April 3, 2010


Was anyone's real name mentioned?

I saw that charlie posted a (pretty interesting story) about Cory revealing his real name, and then ntk responding "aha! no I did that for my BFF Cory!" With the excuse that that was some sort of revenge for charlie (improbably) single-handedly ruining BoingBoing's message boards.

Which frankly, make for pretty great stories of internet skulduggery. If no one's real name was mentioned here, why did these comments have to be deleted? Even if ntk is to be taken at face value, it's a revealing look into hero-worship, cults of personality, and the costs of publicly disagreeing with Cory.

Why then delete it? Deletion seems only to serve to sanitize BoingBoing's image.
posted by orthogonality at 10:47 AM on April 3, 2010 [11 favorites]


Google maps 37Signals with Flickr iPad.
posted by loquacious at 10:58 AM on April 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Which frankly, make for pretty great stories of internet skulduggery. If no one's real name was mentioned here, why did these comments have to be deleted?

If charlie or ntk wants to shout about it from the rooftops on their own blog, they're welcome to do so. Again, I'm not really worried here about Cory's reputation or invested in protecting it, but faced with several pages worth of J'Accuse+Response+Counter-Response stuff that had fuckall to do with metafilter and had weird identity-management accusations wrapped up in it, we decided it was better to not do that here.

I like skullduggery too, for what it's worth, and we're not really happy with any possible method for dealing with this particular situation, but we went with the least fucking-up-mefi path we could find. People who really want to talk about the charlie/ntk/cory/bb/etc thing in detail are welcome to pursue it with any of the various principals if they're willing, but making a big sideshow out of it on mefi is not a necessary part of that equation.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:59 AM on April 3, 2010


Deletion seems only to serve to sanitize BoingBoing's image.

I suggest taking our comments at face value. We don't care about BB's image. People dredging up fights from other sites [including, yes, real names, though stuff that was probably also available via profile viewing if people cared to look] and getting into long comment-fable length one-on-one arguments with people on MeFi at the expense of the entire thread has been and will continue to be Not Cool.

Unfortunately, the exact same topics that turn into these sort of shouting matches on MeFi are also the ones where people see our thread moderation as sanitizing the record or whatever. It's a large internet. MeFi is a moderated site.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:04 AM on April 3, 2010


Did anybody else laugh at the big disemvoweling on gmail on April Fools Day?
posted by bukvich at 11:15 AM on April 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


haha, comment-fable

remember 'the wheel' guys
posted by synaesthetichaze at 11:19 AM on April 3, 2010


making a big sideshow out of it on mefi is not a necessary part of that equation.

But if someone writes a great revealing comment about their single-mitten'd conversion experience or about their girlfriend's reaction to a trailer inspiring the production the feature film, we sidebar it. Great story!

Why are great stories that reflect badly on Cory and BoingBoing deleted instead? Is it professional courtesy to another list-o'-links blogger? A personal favor to Cory?

Ostensibly, the comments were deleted because real names were posted. But I saw no real names in the thread, just unlinked references to real names being outed on Slashdot.
posted by orthogonality at 11:25 AM on April 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


You know, literally minutes after I posted that comment, I found out (or was reminded in another context) about MeMail. I have a feeling it would have been a better vehicle, and I'm about to use it now...
posted by ntk at 11:35 AM on April 3, 2010


orthogonality: “Ostensibly, the comments were deleted because real names were posted.”

No. There was no implication that this was the case. These comments weren't deleted to save anybody's image. jessamyn says clearly in the comment you're referencing that those people who were named outed themselves on their own profiles, if one cared to look.

The deletions had to do with tone. And sidebarring happens because the tone of particular comments is good. The tone there was bad. charlie don't surf wanted the comment deleted, and it was; end of.
posted by koeselitz at 11:37 AM on April 3, 2010


I see a lot of threads where people don't bother to read the links and don't actually address the specific content of the links but just trot out their particular argument about/against the general subject of the post. So instead of discussing the particular new development or news about the subject, people end up re-arguing the exact same tired grudges in every thread that involves that particular subject.

Yeah, I see this, too. It seems like it would be preferable for some people (perhaps myself included) to just not bother participating in some discussions because they have such strident positions on some topics that anything they say will result in a derail and total takeover of any real discussion of what the actual posted links may contain. I know, for myself, I've taken to reading through some threads and seeing early on that I Have Read All This Before (regardless of whether the FPP warrants a particular line of discussion or not) and then just bailing because I don't feel the need to Read It All Once Again. Which is a shame, because sometimes the actual FPP is something I'm quite interested in exploring through discussion. But the loudest voices create an environment in which that is impossible.

I'm also becoming aware of topics in which I shouldn't participate, myself. And in those cases either trying to remain a reader rather than a poster, or else to go against my own native prejudices and strive for elucidation rather than making sure that I Am Seen To Be Right in the thread.

Nothing ruins discussion more than people who Know They're Right.
posted by hippybear at 11:45 AM on April 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


But if someone writes a great revealing comment about their single-mitten'd conversion experience or about their girlfriend's reaction to a trailer inspiring the production the feature film, we sidebar it. Great story!

Material difference being that most of the things we sidebar aren't aggro he-said-she-said This Is My Personal Beef With Person X stuff resembling what we removed here. I don't feel like it should be that hard to suss out some pretty basic qualitative differences between "here is a neat story about an experience I had" and "here's why person x is an awful liar and a hypocrite and how they wronged me".

Why are great stories that reflect badly on Cory and BoingBoing deleted instead? Is it professional courtesy to another list-o'-links blogger? A personal favor to Cory?

Seriously, what the fuck? I don't even know Cory, and I have had plenty of critical things to say at times about the Boingosphere in general. I don't know why you're convinced this is a favoritism thing and not an exactly-what-we-have-said-repeatedly-that-it-is thing.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:49 AM on April 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Why are great stories that reflect badly on Cory and BoingBoing deleted instead? Is it professional courtesy to another list-o'-links blogger? A personal favor to Cory?

This is not happening here.

There's a large difference between "my personal story about me" [mitten, trailer] and "my GRAR story about [$OTHER_WEBSITE] doing me wrong" which barely belongs here in the first place. We'd take it down if it was about HuffPo, we'd take it down if it was about LGF, we'd take it down if it was about Whitehouse.gov. We're not totally psyched with the way this all went down, but leaving all the fighty comments was a non-option and cortex and I decided that backing it all up to the point the thread turned a corner into J'Accuse+Response+Counter-Response was the best way to rescue the thread which was our main concern.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:52 AM on April 3, 2010


The problem with that "great story about Cory" was that it was was an inflammatory accusation that was later refuted, but the refutation was far enough out of bounds to warrant removal. That's rather unfair to the historical record, personalities aside, and puts the mods in an interesting position: restore the refutation and invite further use of the douchenozzle, or nuke both comments.

I think the mods made as good a call as could be expected given the circumstances.
posted by dws at 11:58 AM on April 3, 2010


The problem with that "great story about Cory" was that it was an inflammatory accusation that was later refuted, but the refutation was far enough out of bounds to warrant removal.

The problem with that "great story about Cory" was that it wasn't a great story.
posted by fixedgear at 12:21 PM on April 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

Which frankly, make for pretty great stories of internet skulduggery. If no one's real name was mentioned here, why did these comments have to be deleted? Even if ntk is to be taken at face value, it's a revealing look into hero-worship, cults of personality, and the costs of publicly disagreeing with Cory.

Why then delete it? Deletion seems only to serve to sanitize BoingBoing's image.
The story was pretty funny, but Charlie Don't Surf pretty much came across as a pretty big loser in his own story. If that's the case, it was probably a lot worse in real life. I mean come on, who brags about decades old internet flamewars?
posted by delmoi at 12:34 PM on April 3, 2010


posted by delmoi I mean come on, who brags about decades old internet flamewars?

The same pathetic losers who care about them.
posted by mattdidthat at 12:36 PM on April 3, 2010


Why are great stories that reflect badly on Cory and BoingBoing deleted instead? Is it professional courtesy to another list-o'-links blogger? A personal favor to Cory?

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say "people with extreme opinions invariably turn them into beanplating hamburger grumpus, with a side of derail-from-hell".

And some mod-bait sorbet for dessert.
posted by mephron at 12:56 PM on April 3, 2010


GRAR! OBAMA SOCIALIZED MY HEALTHCARE! THEN MAD ME FILL OUT A CENSUS WITH MY REAL NAME ON IT! FWAR!

(please sidebar this)
posted by abc123xyzinfinity at 1:08 PM on April 3, 2010


Right, it's that MeFites have proven that they are not capable of handling certain topics like adults.

Yeah, but we let the Apple Blue posts through, anyway. I assume the mods are afraid the Apple fanboys will burn their houses down if we don't.
posted by rodgerd at 1:33 PM on April 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


OK, now I would not write a "comment-fable length" essay unless I thought it was doing some sort of greater good. Cutting down Cory=not good. Cutting down Cory to make a point about why his arguments were founded on a "do as I say, not as I do" principle, well, that is debatably an good thing. But that's not the issue here, apparently, although basically Cory is flamebait under any circumstances. He is a polarizing figure. As someone commented, even if you agree with him, you're embarrassed to have him on your side.

Now in my own defense of the indefensible, I originally said this thread wasn't the place for that story. I only made an oblique reference to it at first, because I thought it would make it clear that I have severe personal reasons for my distaste for Cory. Then I got egged on to post the story anyway, through a comment that urged me to proceed, and multiple favoritings of that comment (I considered them Yes votes). But I even said again that this wasn't really the place, but you asked for it. Of course that is no excuse, I should know better. But I'm a MeFi newbie. I've lurked for years, and I've been hesitant to get a live account for just this sort of reason. There is a different dynamic here, it's different from the inside than from the outside. I'm still finding my way, and being encouraged to violate the community norms is just the sort of trick I'd fall for, and people would find my self-abasement funny. How lovely.

Yes, I understand that ad hominem isn't condoned on MeFi, but in moments of shock (like someone stepping forward to claim they did a really nasty thing to me) I can succumb to baser instincts. Again, I apologize. However, this story, as others noted, really does need to be told somehow. But let's not get into that again. Apparently there is no civil way to tell this story. I thought perhaps MeFi was sufficiently structured to permit civil discussion of this issue, and perhaps I was the most at fault for derailing my own discussion, or at a minimum, for framing it poorly. Of course, a, unrelated, secondary flamewar in the thread (which I found incomprehensible as it mostly referred to past flamewars I never saw) didn't help either.

Now in the Meta mode, I would like some guidelines. First off, the "comment-fable" thing. Yeah, I write a lot. I type 90 wpm and I have been employed as a professional writer (paid by the word, as you might guess). Tossing off a few hundred words is trivial for me. And I love stories, I love telling stories, and I can go off on a tangent easily (although I see connections where others might not get my point). If this sort of behavior is not condoned, and the preferred form of dialogue on MeFi is solely short, snappy, sentence-length snark, well let me know and I won't write at such length.

Now the other issue is, just how far can you go in a discussion. There must be some boundaries, and obviously everyone walked all over them. And then there are some of my comments in that thread that were perfectly fine and not removed. Some things (even in a more proper context) are going to get people into heated arguments, that's just the nature of some issues. I am still observing how this works on MeFi. I even read the FAQs and didn't get much guidance. I can't believe it is impossible to discuss contentious issues civilly here, although that depends as much on the participants as anything. So if the moderators have any suggestions that would point me in the right direction, let me know.

I think it's pretty clear that I'm not a troll (Cory and ntk's opinion notwithstanding) and I'm not deliberately trying to cause trouble or derail discussions. We can all inadvertently step on a few toes now and then, and I've been accused more than once of being too blunt in my expression. So I will again apologize.
posted by charlie don't surf at 2:03 PM on April 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh.. P.S.

hippybear: Nothing ruins discussion more than people who Know They're Right.

Nothing ruins discussion more than people taking offense on behalf of someone else.
posted by charlie don't surf at 2:10 PM on April 3, 2010 [6 favorites]


Now the other issue is, just how far can you go in a discussion.

Lurk moar. Spend more time reading than commenting. Read MeTa threads about contention and learn from the groupmind wisdom. Above all else, read and re-read what you've written and make it as impersonal as possible. We like to discuss ideas here, not people.
posted by hippybear at 2:17 PM on April 3, 2010


too long; didn't surf
posted by mattdidthat at 2:17 PM on April 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Jeez, I've been lurking MeFi for probably 5+ years, but never MetaTalk. And of course I never see what gets nuked. How the hell could I know? That's why I'm asking.
posted by charlie don't surf at 2:37 PM on April 3, 2010


Of course that is no excuse, I should know better. But I'm a MeFi newbie. I've lurked for years, and I've been hesitant to get a live account for just this sort of reason.

Everybody starts out new, that's no big deal. I'd say that for the next while as you get acclimated to being inside rather than outside, as you put it, your best ally will be to hold onto that sense of hesitance when in doubt. No one ever got themselves in trouble by erring on the side of caution, so if you find yourself sort of torn between "maybe I shouldn't" and "oh man I want to", go with the former. When in doubt and deeply, deeply curious you can always drop us mods a line via the contact form to see what we we think.

Now the other issue is, just how far can you go in a discussion. There must be some boundaries, and obviously everyone walked all over them. And then there are some of my comments in that thread that were perfectly fine and not removed.

Generally speaking, we remove very little from the blue. Most comments that we see are fine. And talking about the nitty-gritty details of a situation, or personal insight into something, is often actually great, and in discussions of contentious stuff can often provide a sort of grounding of substance to otherwise potentially fighty discussions and so forth.

It's really the unusually involved interpersonal kind grudge-match flavor to the stuff in that thread that was a problem. And to some extent I think it was only a problem because of details of how it got presented and argued; like I've said, there's no "don't say mean stuff about Cory" stricture here, any more than there is for anyone else, and mefi is full of critical discussions of people and groups and ideas and so on.

Keep stuff that seems like personal axe-grinding to a minimum, sanity check your own motivations for any kind of personal storytelling venture, be sure you aren't using mefi as a platform to fight battles elsewhere by proxy, and you're generally gonna be fine.

It's hard to be too concrete about the generalities—what moderation we do have to do around here tends to be reactive and depend on case-by-case analysis of the context—but in general when people can manage to think about what they're saying in terms of what kind of net value the community external to them can expect to get out of it, rather than whatever personal satisfaction (of whatever sort) they might from having said it, this place works better and is more interesting for the crowd as a whole.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:37 PM on April 3, 2010


Also: jsavibini baiting jscalzi every single time he turns up is getting kinda old, too.

"You owe us a homework assignment", indeed. Don't lump the rest of us into your personal beef.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 3:21 PM on April 3, 2010


Does anyone else read "charlie don't surf" to the tune of Papa Don't Preach?

Oh, good.
posted by ODiV at 3:49 PM on April 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


I used to really love boingboing. I got bored with it and got particularly tired of Cory Doctorow harping on DRM stuff with the same kind of unnatural talking points-laden bullshit rhetoric that you get from the worst political blogs.

Then I found that all the good stuff from boingboing I could find on digg, reddit and metafilter anyway. So I just stopped reading boingboing.

It seems to me that the people with a serious hate-on for Cory have got to be reading boingboing every day, despite the fact that they hate it. They just know far, far too much about what Cory is up to on a day to day basis.

It's like staying subscribed to your ex-girlfriend's twitter feed or something. Sometimes you just gotta let stuff go.

It's not like it's Sarah Palin, where she's goddamned unavoidable.
posted by empath at 3:54 PM on April 3, 2010


BTW, how come I'm the only one from that thread who publicly apologized? There is plenty of fault to spread around, I don't see anyone else coming forward.
posted by charlie don't surf at 4:33 PM on April 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Does anyone else read "charlie don't surf" to the tune of Papa Don't Preach?

Ack! Remove from activity!
posted by homunculus at 4:35 PM on April 3, 2010


One of the reasons apologizing is a meaningful act is that it's generally not mandatory, and a good one shouldn't be contingent on what anyone else decides to do or not do.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:40 PM on April 3, 2010 [11 favorites]


BTW, how come I'm the only one from that thread who publicly apologized? There is plenty of fault to spread around, I don't see anyone else coming forward.

You must be fucking kidding. Way to negate your own apology.
posted by fixedgear at 4:45 PM on April 3, 2010


Hoppity. Moppity.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:45 PM on April 3, 2010


Way to negate your own apology.

Yeah right. I not talking about my supposed opponent, I'm dealing with that privately through MeMail. I'm talking about the other flamewar in that thread that was completely unrelated to me, and has a much longer history on MeFi.
posted by charlie don't surf at 5:06 PM on April 3, 2010


tl;dr

Disemvowler 2.0?
posted by furtive at 5:10 PM on April 3, 2010


jsavibini was way out of line, IMO. What was that crap about how Doctorow can't dis about the iPad because he has white headphones? Ridiculous.
posted by delmoi at 5:11 PM on April 3, 2010


I'm a little sorry I didn't start ignoring that thread sooner, but that's about as far as I'll go.
posted by Zed at 5:11 PM on April 3, 2010


BTW, how come I'm the only one from that thread who publicly apologized?

Yeah welcome to my world. While being able to say "okay yeah I guess I see where that could have been a problem" is a quite admirable stance to take, it's not for everyone. Generally if you're the sort of "bend not break" person you'll be happier and do better here and I guess that's its own reward? Don't mind the grumps.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:12 PM on April 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


One of the reasons apologizing is a meaningful act is that it's generally not mandatory, and a good one shouldn't be contingent on what anyone else decides to do or not do.

Mine wasn't contingent on anything, and it still isn't. I am merely making an observation.
posted by charlie don't surf at 5:13 PM on April 3, 2010


jessamyn: Yeah welcome to my world.

ROFL.
posted by charlie don't surf at 5:14 PM on April 3, 2010


I didn't mean it as a dig, charlie, just as a gentle nudge away from the idea of demanding apologies (whether to you or to others). I can understand if that's not what you intended with your comment, but it did read that way.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:35 PM on April 3, 2010


Does anyone else read "charlie don't surf" to the tune of Papa Don't Preach?

This might help with that.
posted by "Elbows" O'Donoghue at 6:35 PM on April 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Can we get a pony where people with a bad history get a 'restraining order' barring them from commenting on posts with specific tags? Could be an auto-magic mod win if done right.
posted by BrotherCaine at 8:00 PM on April 3, 2010


If this sort of behavior is not condoned, and the preferred form of dialogue on MeFi is solely short, snappy, sentence-length snark, well let me know and I won't write at such length.

Check out this user's oeuvre.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 8:32 PM on April 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


This might help with that.

This also might help with that.

I appreciated that clip more than I can say. That was an extended version I've never heard before. And why is it that all the old punk performances from Japanese concerts are so awesome? Those subtitles are poetry, ”チャーリーは波乗りしない” (Charlie doesn't ride waves).
posted by charlie don't surf at 9:50 PM on April 3, 2010


> Don't mind the grumps.

This should be added to "Everyone needs a hug" at the bottom of the comment box.
posted by languagehat at 7:39 AM on April 4, 2010


When anyone says grumpus, I read it as krampus.
posted by Mid at 10:43 AM on April 4, 2010


Cortex:

"and to an extent jscalzi who really needs to stop getting into it with the former when that happens. "

I'm disinclined to let Jsavimbi irrationally shit all over personal friends without noting to others that, in fact, he's engaged in irrational shittery. If you as moderators are disinclined to nip his irrational shittery in the bud when it first pops up, I don't feel particularly bad about pointing out its various logical badness. I've been in my opinion polite enough to him when I do it; the worst thing I've said about him is that I suspect he may actually be twelve. And in the (only two) times I've engaged him, I've stopped once I feel it's been made sufficiently clear to all and sundry that he doesn't have a clue what he's talking about and that whatever nonsense he's belched out to camouflage his toxic dislike has very little to do with actual fact. And you'll note I didn't engage when he decided to try to get a rise out of me personally; I recognize he doesn't know what he's talking about, and that he's just trying to draw attention away from his own bad argument.

I understand the rebuttal response here is not to feed the troll, which Jsavimbi obviously is in these cases, but a) again, he's shitting irrationally on personal friends of mine and b) if you know that anytime he shows up in a thread regarding certain people, he's going to act like a troll, why aren't you treating him like one?
posted by jscalzi at 11:01 AM on April 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm disinclined to let Jsavimbi irrationally shit all over personal friends without noting to others that, in fact, he's engaged in irrational shittery.

Then email us when it starts and stay out of it, if you could. We'll make you a deal here and now. When he starts going off on his GRAR CORY ATE MY BINKY stuff, send us a heads-up and we can handle it. Then it doesn't get into a pissing match between the two of you which sucks other people in and is harder to recover from. I appreciate that it's tough for you to see someone slagging a pal of yours. It sucks for us dealing with two people going at worse than just one person being ridiculous. I dropped Jsavimbi a note indicating that he should pretty well be done with this sort of thing. If other people would let us enforce that and not make thigns wors ebefore we can do that, we'd appreciate it.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:13 AM on April 4, 2010


jessamyn:

I don't think that responding reasonably politely to toxic nonsense and largely responding to arguments rather than getting personal is accurately described as engaging in a "pissing match," so I hope you're not suggesting that both I and Jsavimbi have been behaving equally poorly in this case. I'm not going to pretend I haven't engaged in my share of abject jackassery on the Blue, but this isn't one of those times.

That said, I'll happily take the deal you're offering.
posted by jscalzi at 11:38 AM on April 4, 2010


Yeah, to be clear, I don't think you and jsavimbi have been equally obnoxious or anything. He's on thin ice as far as I'm concerned, as he keeps being a genuine pain in the ass apparently for its own sake and that's a bigger problem than you reacting to him.

That said, you reacting to him creates a problematic dynamic that wouldn't be there if you just ignored him and went the flag-and-move-on, drop-us-a-line route. I appreciate where you're coming form in wanting to defend your friends, but the site is bigger than just you and jsavimbi and I feel like we're at this point now where people are pretty much primed for Oh Here They Go Again when a thread comes along like this, and that is problematic no matter how good your personal intentions are.

Ignore the dude, let us know if you see bullshit propping up, and let us deal with him ourselves. That's pretty much what we have to say to anyone who has any kind of pattern (whether long-established or just apparently budding) of getting into a rehashed tete-a-tete with someone else on the site. It doesn't matter if one person was more in the wrong in the other, it matters that the dynamic that they end up co-creating doesn't keep recurring.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:23 PM on April 4, 2010


I hope you're not suggesting that both I and Jsavimbi have been behaving equally poorly in this case.

Nope, I'm not suggesting that in the least. cortex pretty much summed it up. Just wanted to be clear. Thank you.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:07 PM on April 4, 2010


I actually used to get BoingBoing and MetaFilter mixed up once upon a time, but now I understand the difference. Mainly, that BoingBoing has pictures.
posted by ovvl at 6:33 PM on April 4, 2010


God, I'm so waiting for the day the mods publish a book with all the weird, messed up comments they've deleted.

Bizarro MetaFilter pays you $5 to join; all of the FPPs are ones that have been deleted from MetaFilter, and they are populated entirely with comments that have been deleted from other non-deleted FPPs.
posted by davejay at 10:18 PM on April 4, 2010


I admit I was a little surprised that the dustup between jsavimbi and jscalzi wasn't excised from the thread. It didn't seem like it would leave any holes in the conversation.
posted by mrmorgan at 2:18 PM on April 5, 2010


We try to err on the side of as few deletions as possible. This interaction was basically a decent excuse to leave as is and say "okay this is the last time" and be all sorts of hand-wavey and emphatic about it.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:24 PM on April 5, 2010


That's so weird, cos Cory totally did eat my binky!

I wisnae gauna tell anyone
posted by everichon at 3:21 PM on April 5, 2010


Pony request: could we have an automated feature that turns "you're an asshole/douchebag" etc into Swahili, Latin, Esperanto or Chaucerian slang?

That way when the conversation disintegrates into finger pointing and chest puffing we bystanders can learn something useful. nd ts mr lgnt thn dsmvwlng.

I, for one, struggle to really convey the depth of my digust when in downtown Nairobi or at the Vatican.

Oh, and I'd like to point out that "Cortex" and "Cory" share the first 3 letters of their name. Coincidence? I think unlikely, judging by the shiny rubber on their earphones.
posted by MuffinMan at 5:58 AM on April 6, 2010


The cold opening on that episode of CSI- Internet where Jsavimbi made a clever pun about the obviously new shininess of the GLEAMING WHITE EARBUDS just before PINBALL WIZARD kicked in was pretty sweet though, I think we can all admit.
posted by haveanicesummer at 12:11 PM on April 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Does anyone know any words that rhyme with Cory?
posted by uncanny hengeman at 10:46 PM on April 6, 2010


Lorry, poori (puri), story, houri, Maury (as in Povich), and dory to start with.
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:02 AM on April 7, 2010


Glory
Gory
Hoary
Tory
Zori
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:58 AM on April 7, 2010


Allegory.

[it was a The Simpsons in-joke]
posted by uncanny hengeman at 10:47 PM on April 7, 2010


Maori.
posted by delmoi at 7:48 AM on April 8, 2010


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