A Matter of Principle
June 5, 2010 3:31 AM   Subscribe

In yesterday's thread, A Matter of Principal, I made an assumption that proved to be incorrect. delmoi kindly contacted me privately and sent me this link explaining what really happened and suggested I apologize.

Pope Guilty made the same suggestion in the thread.

I responded to Pope Guilty in the thread by referring to a comment I made in the beginning of the thread.

"If the kid did NOT take upskirt photos and was just minding his own business and doing nothing wrong, then I am wrong about the principle's reaction and it is he who should suffer prosecution. (emphasis added.) "

Moreover, I think I made it clear in another comment made early on:

I completely admit I am speculating about what happened before the video started - we don't see this. But it seems equally speculative to draw conclusions based on the video alone without seeing what prompted his actions.

Assuming that "inappropriate" means upskirt, I see the principle as defending the rights of female students and in that light, he did nothing wrong.


That thread started with the usual bashing of school officials and my thought was that perhaps there was another narrative in which the principle's actions made sense.

I was wrong in my assumption, but honestly see no reason to apologize for making it (seeing as I qualified it as an assumption.)
posted by three blind mice to Etiquette/Policy at 3:31 AM (159 comments total)

It's gratifying to see your apology, and to see you taking ownership of your mistaken assumption.

Do you need to apologize for making an assumption, especially when it was stated to be such? I guess not, but perhaps your forthright apology here will serve as a cautionary tale to all of us to minimize assumptions made before we know facts.

In any case, class act.
posted by orthogonality at 4:01 AM on June 5, 2010


*sprinkles cheese flakes over the well done beans and tucks in*
posted by infini at 4:01 AM on June 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Since I didn't get around to saying it in that thread on the blue, and it's tangentially related to your point, people seemed to be blurring the distinction between what actually happened and what the principal thought happened.

It's certainly possible that the student's cell phone was used to record an event that had nothing sexual to it and then when the principal was told about the event he misinterpreted it to be a sexual situation or he was misled by whoever told him about what had happened and therefore thought there was a sexual angle to the story.

For some people in that thread, and in your comments above, it seems as if what was actually recorded on the phone is materially important when deciding how to evaluate what happened, but the principal could have been just as confused as many people in the thread were while that incident was happening,
posted by andoatnp at 4:05 AM on June 5, 2010


orthogonality: was your comment sarcastic?
posted by andoatnp at 4:08 AM on June 5, 2010


the secret life of metafilter: was your comment sarcastic?
posted by infini at 4:10 AM on June 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


I was wrong in my assumption, but honestly see no reason to apologize for making it (seeing as I qualified it as an assumption.)

Uh, here's what you said:

1 Suedehead you seem to be completely ignoring the rights of the female students who deserve protection from having "inappropriate" (read: upskirt) photos taken of them by classmates.

It seems this boy was seen doing that (or something similarly "inappropriate"), he was confronted by other students and teachers, and he ran away hoping to erase (or upload) the evidence, but the principle happened to be there to stop him.

If the principle was angry because this kid was taking "inappropriate" snapshots of female students then GOOD ON HIM. He should be angry about that and so should everyone else.
...


2 Detention after he uploaded the photos to the Internet?

I completely admit I am speculating about what happened before the video started - we don't see this. But it seems equally speculative to draw conclusions based on the video alone without seeing what prompted his actions.

Assuming that "inappropriate" means upskirt, I see the principle as defending the rights of female students and in that light, he did nothing wrong.

He didn't go far enough. The school should have called the police after the evidence was secured, that kid should be expelled, criminally prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and the subjected to civil lawsuit by the girls whose privacy was violated.

Protecting women from sexual predators is never wrong.
...

3 See above. How is this not a danger?

If the kid did NOT take upskirt photos and was just minding his own business and doing nothing wrong, then I am wrong about the principle's reaction and it is he who should suffer prosecution.

But I'm guessing this man did what he did for a reason and not just because he's some "stuffed shirt" who gets his rocks off by lording it over innocent students.
There are a million things that could have been "inappropriate" In this case it was the beginnings of a fight. You seized on one hypothetical example that painted the student in as bad a light as possible and it seemed (to me) that the first half of the thread was basically derailed by people slandering this kid as some kind of sexual predator (Examples: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 . Although re-reading this you do hedge your comments. But they have the form of "Well, it's possible I'm wrong but..."

When people in power fuck up, there are always a chorus of people willing to not only excuse the behavior, but actually just make things up to justify it. It bothers me.

The same thing happened in the LMSD spycam case. People came in and accused the kid who was spied on of all kinds of made up bullshit.
posted by delmoi at 4:14 AM on June 5, 2010 [10 favorites]


This is pure speculation, but that kid might be a clone of Hitler. If it turns out that this is indeed the case, and his concussion leads to some sort of brain damage that stops him from rising to power and enslaving the world, well then we should be building monuments to that principal, not criticizing him.
posted by Meatbomb at 4:25 AM on June 5, 2010 [23 favorites]


orthogonality: was your comment sarcastic?

No. It's hard for people to publicly admit mistakes, and I want to encourage it. (As I did inthe recent Flotilla thread.)
posted by orthogonality at 4:28 AM on June 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


But (as usual) I find myself agreeing with delmoi: "When people in power fuck up, there are always a chorus of people willing to not only excuse the behavior, but actually just make things up to justify it. It bothers me."
posted by orthogonality at 4:29 AM on June 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


orthogonality: I got confused because three blind mice was very specifically not apologizing in his post ("honestly see no reason to apologize") so I was confused when you congratulated him for apologizing and called him a class act.
posted by andoatnp at 4:31 AM on June 5, 2010


It sucks when you are taken in by your own strawman and defend it to a point where things get out of hand. Good for you for coming clean.
posted by kalessin at 4:48 AM on June 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I was wrong in my assumption, but honestly see no reason to apologize for making it (seeing as I qualified it as an assumption.)

What an extraordinary act of magnanimity! Oh, we are all blessed to be in the company of a woman who, I assume, is simply incapable of uttering the words "I'm sorry." Because of her physical incapacity, this thread really does serve as a tremendously selfless act, and we should all be proud to know three blind mice and to take a lesson from her bravery at doing the best against what is clearly a difficult disability.

Of course, this is just speculation. If I'm wrong, and three blind mice isn't physically incapable of expressing remorse, then this is really an oddly passive aggressive way of dealing with a mistake. It's commonly referred to as the Non-Apology Apology, which would make more sense if this were a public relations disaster with a legal component and not a community blog.
posted by anotherpanacea at 4:59 AM on June 5, 2010 [5 favorites]


what's with all the grar today? (don't you dare leave, zarq)
posted by infini at 5:04 AM on June 5, 2010


I am principally concerned about your spelling of principal.
posted by a non e mouse at 5:38 AM on June 5, 2010 [8 favorites]


Best. Non-apology ever.
posted by chunking express at 5:42 AM on June 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


What?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:55 AM on June 5, 2010


I'm not gonna play the straight guy all the time, i want some lines too
posted by infini at 5:58 AM on June 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


A cadre of mefites jumped to the conclusion that a sex crime occurred based on flimsy evidence? Wow, that never happens. /hamburger

That said, suggesting a member apologize for making assumptions about someone outside the community seems a bit much. If we start prefacing every comment about a person with a bunch of disclaimers—and apologize every time we're wrong—the noise would get out of hand rather quickly.
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 6:11 AM on June 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


Let me derail this into a callout-for-excellence for the quidnunc kid for demonstrating how lulzy absurdity can actually be more sense-making than earnestness, with these comments: 1, 2, 3.
posted by palliser at 6:16 AM on June 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


Why does this thread exist, exactly?
posted by Admiral Haddock at 6:20 AM on June 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


It exists because three blind mice felt the need to tell delmoi and Pope Guilty that no apology was needed, when a reply to delmoi and a response in still open thread to Pope Guilty obviously couldn't have sufficed.
posted by Atreides at 6:34 AM on June 5, 2010 [8 favorites]


a comment in good faith like this that turns out to be wrong when more information is uncovered--why would an apology be "owed" to anyone?

sometimes people DISAGREE WITH YOU and they are WRONG and and that is OKAY and does not have to be taken as a personal affront, permanent character flaw, or like someone punched your mom in the face or kicked your baby dog
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 6:36 AM on June 5, 2010 [5 favorites]


God damn it. I missed a period in my comment. I will start a metatalk thread shortly.
posted by chunking express at 6:43 AM on June 5, 2010 [5 favorites]


So where are the photographs again?
posted by scalefree at 6:52 AM on June 5, 2010


It takes a big man to make an apology. It takes a bigger man to laugh at that apology.
posted by puny human at 7:09 AM on June 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


God damn it. I missed a period in my comment. I will start a metatalk thread shortly.

Have you considered the possibility that your comment might be pregnant?
posted by Sys Rq at 7:19 AM on June 5, 2010 [17 favorites]


I sure as hell hope not
posted by infini at 7:25 AM on June 5, 2010


I was wrong in my assumption, but honestly see no reason to apologize for making it (seeing as I qualified it as an assumption.)

Your comments early in the thread basically prerailed it so that we were talking about upskirts and sexual predators.
posted by 23skidoo at 7:37 AM on June 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm sorry but I will NOT apologize!
posted by mazola at 7:46 AM on June 5, 2010 [6 favorites]


I hate to be "that mefite" to point this out, but it's princiPAL, cus you know, they're your PAL.
::::TMYK ::::
posted by NoraCharles at 7:50 AM on June 5, 2010


Prerail

Prerail: v.
To redirect the topic of discussion from a stupid original post onto a topic that is relevant and interesting.

e.g. "I'd like to prerail this thread by pointing out that the principal employed a classic "sleeper hold" on the student. Which do you think is more effective against fictional characters--that or the vulcan nerve pinch?"
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:52 AM on June 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


this internet thing is getting old very fast
posted by infini at 7:52 AM on June 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


I hate to be "that mefite"

And it's princiPLE because it's the PLEasure princiPLE.
posted by pracowity at 8:07 AM on June 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


inappropriate is almost always code for "sexual and we never talk about SEX so we have to couch it in vague euphemisms". it's a fair assumption to make and obviously was not an attempt to fuck up anyone's day by being wrong on the internet.

usually if it's a fight they just say "it's a video of a fight" not mystery inappropriateness
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 8:10 AM on June 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


The whole chain of inappropriate -> upskirt? -> sexual predator?! -> CyberGalahad, activate! -> put the kid through a wall makes anotherpanacea's lynching comment rather dead-on. Protecting women from sexual predators is never wrong ... except when there are no sexual predators. And, no, "inappropriate" is school code for "anything we do not like," which can include photos of teachers behaving badly — the thread went to Jr. Sexual Predator anyway.

The thread more or less mirrors your basic societal reactions. I've seen situations like this (rumors of sex crime) get completely out of hand in real life, with actual fisticuffs between believers and non-believers of the rumor, also culminating with a close friend (true believer) crouched in someone's basement with a rifle because of the "threat."

Instead of reacting to hypothetical scenarios, we could maybe figure out what happened, then get pissed off and begin justifying a long strangle session with school administration. If you want a hypothetical to react to, try "Teen Dies of Restraint Asphyxia Over Fight Photo."

I like how some of the linked articles say something to the effect of, "Well, there was nothing sexual, but he did disrespect the principal." I like to call that the "Since we're already in Iraq anyway" approach.

As Nonpologies go (would that be an a-apology, the lack of one?), this one is a doozy.
posted by adipocere at 8:14 AM on June 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


delmoi: There are a million things that could have been "inappropriate" In this case it was the beginnings of a fight. You seized on one hypothetical example that painted the student in as bad a light as possible and it seemed (to me) that the first half of the thread was basically derailed by people slandering this kid as some kind of sexual predator

delmoi with all due respect, I was trying to paint the principle (thank you anon e mouse) in the best light possible as he was automatically being judged in the worst light possible in the absence of all of the facts.

I did not and do not think the assumption was unreasonable given the context (teenage boy, cellphone, "inappropriate" photo) and Principle's reaction and the absence of all of facts in the FPP.

I WAS WRONG.

Should I apologize for being wrong? It seems to me enough to admit I was wrong.

So no, this is not an non-apology apology. It's not an apology at all.

After posting this MeTa, I posted it in the end of the thread.
posted by three blind mice at 8:39 AM on June 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


apology - 1530s, "defense, justification," from L.L. apologia, from Gk. apologia "a speech in defense," from apologeisthai "to speak in one's defense," from apologos "an account, story," from apo- "from, off" (see apo-) + logos "speech." The original English sense of "self-justification" yielded a meaning "frank expression of regret for wrong done," first recorded 1590s, but it was not the main sense until 18c. The old sense tends to emerge in Latin form apologia (first attested 1784), especially since J.H. Newman's "Apologia pro Vita Sua" (1864).

so, uh, ymmv.
posted by mwhybark at 8:45 AM on June 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


One of the original links includes this line:

"There was an incident in the cafeteria where a male student was taking inappropriate pictures of a female student," the association's Brad Barton explained.

The Black Educators Association was clearly either misinformed of the facts of the case or were trying to misrepresent it. The genders of the students were completely irrelevant and the word "inappropriate" was completely misused. There's nothing "inappropriate" about a picture of a fight.

In the article chugg linked to later in the thread, the Association took the misleading description even further:

"Why should a school administrator fight for his professional career, after defending a female student for being bullied and harassed by a male schoolmate?" asked Barton.

There is absolutely no way that those statements accurately describe the actual events (assuming the fight story from the parents is true - no one else has confirmed that as far as I can tell). If the kid actually just took a picture of two other people getting into a fight, he was in no way bullying or harassing any female student and no one needed to be defended. It's pretty damned reasonable to assume that some kind of sexually explicit photos were involved based on that description.

It would be much more relevant to discuss why the Black Educators Association misrepresented the situation so badly than whether threeblindmice and others were wrong for accepting their implications at face value. I don't know if they had incomplete or wrong information or were just lying, but the idea that the pictures were sexual was not invented by anyone on metafilter. That thread is a tremendous mess of disturbing on top of disturbing, but threeblindmice isn't responsible for that and doesn't owe anyone apologies for it.
posted by Dojie at 8:59 AM on June 5, 2010 [6 favorites]


usually if it's a fight they just say "it's a video of a fight" not mystery inappropriateness

Ummmm, no. Usually if someone messes up big time, they're going to be as vague as possible so that people jump any conclusion other than "man, that dude overreacted".



"Hey, someone from the newspaper called. How should we describe the video that the AP was attempting to confiscate?"


"Just say it was video of a fight that almost started but didn't."

"Oh, that's right. You're new here."
posted by 23skidoo at 9:00 AM on June 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Here you go, have a cookie.
posted by ShawnStruck at 9:10 AM on June 5, 2010


some milk might be nice, maybe some bacon
posted by infini at 9:20 AM on June 5, 2010


inappropriate is almost always code for "sexual and we never talk about SEX so we have to couch it in vague euphemisms"

My personal take on inappropriate is that it's used to make whatever it was sound either better or worse than it actually was. To work out when which interpretation applies, follow these easy guidelines.

Q. Was the person accused of/admitting being inappropriate caught doing something they shouldn't?
A. Inappropriate means that the thing they did looks really bad, and probably was.


Q. Was the person accused of being inappropriate on the receiving end of someone doing something they shouldn't?
A. It's bullshit, they didn't do anything.
posted by djgh at 9:22 AM on June 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


Flagged as inappropriate.
posted by mazola at 9:23 AM on June 5, 2010


Urgh, I think this MetaTalk thread is completely redundant and unnecessary. BUT:

When people in power fuck up, there are always a chorus of people willing to not only excuse the behavior, but actually just make things up to justify it. It bothers me.

Yes. I agree with this completely, and I think that's what happened here, no doubt about it. But it bugs me to see this issue being framed by commenters here in terms like:

(rumors of sex crime) get completely out of hand in real life, with actual fisticuffs between believers and non-believers of the rumor, also culminating with a close friend (true believer) crouched in someone's basement with a rifle because of the "threat."

I'd really like it if this could be discussed without it turning into a referendum on How We Should React When People (Usually Ladies) Say They Were Sexually Assaulted Or Threatened. That's not even what happened here, anyway.

(I totally expect you to make a separate MetaTalk post in order to respond to my comment, adipocere. THAT'S WHAT THIS SITE IS FOR, RIGHT?)
posted by ellehumour at 9:24 AM on June 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


This MeTa thread is a strand in the tow rope that is dragging MeFi toward the shark.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:39 AM on June 5, 2010 [6 favorites]


How high, said the humble user
posted by infini at 9:57 AM on June 5, 2010


SHUT UP
posted by Burhanistan at 9:59 AM on June 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


ouch i need a new thread to address that tone of comment, Burhanistan old chap
posted by infini at 10:03 AM on June 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


START IT AND ONLY COMMENT THERE EVER
posted by Burhanistan at 10:06 AM on June 5, 2010 [2 favorites]

Should I apologize for being wrong? It seems to me enough to admit I was wrong.
Well, since it wasn't a member of the site it probably doesn't matter that much. But you did derail the thread to a certain extent. And I found slandering a teenager rather distasteful.
posted by delmoi at 10:22 AM on June 5, 2010


Now that everyone is agreed can we talk about how this post steals language without attribution from this post? You know, as a matter of principle?
posted by cyphill at 10:26 AM on June 5, 2010


*yawn*. I'm not even going to bother refuting this mismash of nonsense. It's just stupid.
posted by mazola at 10:31 AM on June 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I WAS WRONG.

Should I apologize for being wrong? It seems to me enough to admit I was wrong.

So no, this is not an non-apology apology. It's not an apology at all.


Jesus Christ! Why is it so hard to just type "I'm sorry"? I don't get it.

I've been in situations like the following countless times in my life:

Me: stealing those cookies was a really shitty thing to do. If you didn't steal them, then I'm wrong. But if you did, you suck.

Other person: I didn't steal them. I wasn't even home when they got stolen. [Shows proof.]

Me: Oh, I was wrong. I'm sorry.

When you read that, TBM, do you think my last statement is over-the-top, unnessary, lacking-in-self-respect or unmanly?

I seriously don't get it. It's just polite. If you accuse someone of something and you're proven wrong, you apologize. It doesn't make any difference if your original accusation was nested inside an if-then statement.

But if you disagree with me, you've found a great loophole that will allow you to never have to apologize. Whenever you make any inflammatory statement, just add in a disclaimer that you might be wrong. Example:

"You are a racist pig and a pedophile! Of course, I may be wrong."

Then, if it turns out you're wrong, you don't need to apologize. You can just admit you were wrong.
posted by grumblebee at 11:03 AM on June 5, 2010 [14 favorites]


This MeTa thread is a strand in the tow rope that is dragging MeFi toward the shark.

Dude, we're so close to that shark that I can see the Dharma logo.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 11:14 AM on June 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


> Me: stealing those cookies was a really shitty thing to do. If you didn't steal them, then I'm wrong. But if you did, you suck.

Other person: I didn't steal them. I wasn't even home when they got stolen. [Shows proof.]

Me: Oh, I was wrong. I'm sorry.


But since three blind mice didn't accuse anyone in the thread of anything, merely stated an opinion as to what might be going on in a link, the situations are so different your comment is bizarrely irrelevant. To whom should three blind mice apologize, and why exactly?
posted by languagehat at 11:22 AM on June 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


Meatbomb: "This is pure speculation, but that kid might be a clone of Hitler. If it turns out that this is indeed the case, and his concussion leads to some sort of brain damage that stops him from rising to power and enslaving the world, well then we should be building monuments to that principal, not criticizing him"

This is pure speculation, but that kid might be a clone of Frank Zappa. If it turns out that this is indeed the case, and his concussion leads to some sort of brain damage that stops him from creating music and fighting censorship, well then we should be criticizing that principle, not building monuments to him.

Point being: the principal's actions can be wrong and still have positive consequences. Also, we don't know anything about this kid and we should assume he's innocent of being hitler until proven guilty.

(While I'm here, thank you TomMelee for your valuable contributions to the discussion.)
posted by yaymukund at 11:24 AM on June 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Do we really need a Metatalk thread in order for someone to delcare that they aren't going to apologize? A non-apology thread?
posted by Justinian at 11:25 AM on June 5, 2010


Apparently we do. I don't get it either, but I'm pretty used to not understanding why people do the things they do.
posted by rtha at 11:33 AM on June 5, 2010


Okay. Saying I'm sorry is impossible. So say nothing, then. Don't even say "I was wrong" because it might be misconstrued as "I'm sorry", and you REALLY don't want to risk that. Because saying "I'm sorry" will take something away. Like pints of blood and maybe even some teeth.

Here, watch this:

I'm sorry.

And, if I mean it, I feel better. What's not to love about apologies?
posted by marimeko at 11:38 AM on June 5, 2010


Do we really need a Metatalk thread in order for someone to delcare that they aren't going to apologize? A non-apology thread?

Metatalk: Fuck you guys.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:43 AM on June 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


But since three blind mice didn't accuse anyone in the thread of anything, merely stated an opinion as to what might be going on in a link, the situations are so different your comment is bizarrely irrelevant. To whom should three blind mice apologize, and why exactly?

I think you have a point, but I have three counter reactions:

1. I think TBM's implication was that some people in the thread were being uncaring (about the allegedly mistreated girls). No girls were mistreated. So it would be nice to hear TBM apologize to those members of the thread.

2. Let's say I post this: "Michelle Pfeiffer hates black people." Then someone proves to me that she doesn't. To me, the natural thing to then write is, "Oh, I guess I was wrong. I'm sorry." Maybe this is irrational, since, as far as I know Pfeiffer is not a MeFite. But it just seems like the human thing to do. I make an accusation about another person on this planet; I learn that my accusation is unfounded; I apologize.

3. But my biggest reaction is that of many people's here: what's the point of this thread? It sort of has the structure of an apology but it isn't one. It's not "clearing up the record," because that was already done in the thread. It reads, to me, like it was written by someone who feels social pressure to apologize but who also doesn't want to lose face. So it's sort of a hedged apology.

In my view, it's fine to just say "I was wrong," if we're talking about a neutral, factual matter. Penguins can fly! Oh, they can't? Guess I was wrong.

But when there are human beings involved, and you accuse one of them of doing something bad, and then find out he didn't, you apologize, no? That's just how I was brought up.

I do agree that matters would be much worse if TBM had made an accusation of a member. But note that TBM didn't bring that up when explaining why this isn't an apology. TBM's point, unless I misunderstand it, is that if you wrap an accusation in a conditional, you don't need to apologize if you later discover you're wrong.

I disagree, but here's no point arguing, I guess. It's a matter of personal values and personal etiquette.
posted by grumblebee at 11:46 AM on June 5, 2010 [6 favorites]


i still don't get this thread...
posted by infini at 11:46 AM on June 5, 2010


Hey everyone I've not been around much lately for a number of reasons, one because I've spent the last week arguing on youtube. (I know, i know.) But I just wanted to drop in here and say, everyone here is far more reasonable than we give each other credit for some times. Seriously, more in common, and much more thoughtful than many web sites could claim. So cheers to all of you, and come down out of the tree now.
posted by nola at 11:55 AM on June 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


Yup, I don't get this either. You started a thread to say that you're not going to do something?
posted by ob at 12:01 PM on June 5, 2010


It's gonna be funny when all of you have to post an apology thread when it turns out he really was taking upskirt photos and the story about the fight is a lie.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:02 PM on June 5, 2010


Who the fuck cares if Three Blind Mice apologises for something he got wrong in a post somewhere on the interenet? All I care about is why the hell this post exists, and why the fuck am I contributing to it? And I suppose I should apologise for even writing this but ... sorry does seem to be the hardest word.
posted by Elmore at 12:08 PM on June 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


one because I've spent the last week arguing on youtube.

Citation needed.
posted by Elmore at 12:10 PM on June 5, 2010


I really didn't think there was an apology needed, either, until I reread the comment about Suedehead ignoring female students' rights. On all the other personalized rebuttals there was at least an implied qualifier of your assumptions, but that particular one had no qualifying language at all and was kind of rude. You didn't seem to do what you're calling the blanket qualifier till almost an hour later. But then again, this is the internet, where apologizing for anything in a hypothetical debate is a sign of weakness and must be avoided.
posted by wending my way at 12:40 PM on June 5, 2010


> But my biggest reaction is that of many people's here: what's the point of this thread? It sort of has the structure of an apology but it isn't one.

I assume the point is that three blind mice wanted to talk about MeFi-related stuff, which is every member's right. I agree (and I suspect three blind mice agrees by now) that posting it may have been counterproductive, but I simply don't grasp the logic of "Maybe no apology was called for theoretically, but now that you've posted a MeTa thread and it's not clear what your point was, APOLOGIZE, DAMMIT!"

I should add that I have nothing against apologies; I think they're a fine thing, and God knows I've made my share. I simply don't see that one is called for here, and I don't like the way people are ganging up on three blind mice.
posted by languagehat at 12:47 PM on June 5, 2010


Too much typing, not enough taking a walk and forgetting about the internet for a while
posted by koeselitz at 12:53 PM on June 5, 2010


The surest way to never get a sincere apology is to demand one.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:58 PM on June 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I assume the point is that three blind mice wanted to talk about MeFi-related stuff, which is every member's right ... and I don't like the way people are ganging up on three blind mice.

Sorry, I don't mean to be part of a gang. It sucks to feel ganged up on, whether you're right or wrong. TMB, I'm sorry if I'm part of the gang. I don't want to hurt you. But I genuinely feel you're being petty here.

TBM should definitely not apologize if he/she is not sorry (for simplicities sake, I'll use "she" for the rest of this post).

It's just that I have a visceral reaction to anyone who gets legalistic about apologizing. If TBM wants to discuss the thread, of course that's her right. But she framed the discussion around the fact that pope guilty "suggested I apologize."

She then admitted she was wrong but said that she didn't feel she owed anyone an apology. That rubbed me the wrong way, because it suggests that an apology is a big concession, rather than just something you naturally do when you assert something in a contentious discussion and are proven wrong. "I was wrong; I'm sorry." End of story.

TBM then went on to suggest that the REASON why she didn't owe anyone an apology is that she had hedged her original statement by noting that she might be wrong. I fundamentally disagree that this is a sensible way to judge whether apologies are owed or not.

languagehat, there are a lot of people here confused as to why TBM posted this. You have said, "I assume the point is that three blind mice wanted to talk about MeFi-related stuff." That's not a sufficient explanation. This is Metatalk. Everything here is a discussion of mefi-related stuff. What SPECIFICALLY is the point of THIS discussion?

TBM doesn't owe us an explanation. She has a right to post on a whim if she wants. But we have a right to ask for an explanation. It's pretty natural to wonder why someone says something that confuses you.

As far as I can tell, the point of this thread is that, in the Metafilter thread, it was revealed that TBM was wrong about something. So is her point just that she acknowledges she was wrong? Seriously? She made a claim -- in a Metafilter thread -- and she was wrong. And so she started a Metatalk thread to say, "Yes, I agree I was wrong"????

The second point of this thread seems to be this: pope guilty claimed TBM should apologize. This is TBM's official response to that. And in it, she says that she doesn't feel she should apologize.

And you don't think people should discuss that or have an opinion about it? I agree that ganging up sucks. But if I start a thread saying that I refuse to play my taxes and people come in and suggest that I should -- or that my reasons for refusing are flawed -- it's a bit odd to say, "Stop ganging up!"

Do you want us to all say, "I, I see. TMB is wrong but doesn't think she should apologize. Okay. Got that. Thanks"?

Sorry, but some of us disagree.
posted by grumblebee at 1:13 PM on June 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


The surest way to never get a sincere apology is to demand one.

pope guilty demanded one.

As far as I can tell, no one here is. I'm not. I just think it's bizarre to say, "I'm wrong, but I won't apologize." I don't get why someone would do that, and so I don't get the point of this thread.

I do think, if one has some kind of complicated logic in which one is wrong but not sorry, it might just be easier to say, "I'm sorry." But I guess it's hypocritical or dishonest or something to apologize when you're not sorry.

And maybe I'm confusing what's easy for me with what's not-so-easy for someone else. I'm speculating in the dark, because I really don't get what's going on in TBM's mind.
posted by grumblebee at 1:17 PM on June 5, 2010


"Love means never having to say you're sorry."
posted by ericb at 1:26 PM on June 5, 2010


I'm sorry I caused all that cancer.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:27 PM on June 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is all just plain. fucking. stupid.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:28 PM on June 5, 2010


I've already said my opinion on this exact situation, but I do find the following statement really weird.

grumblebee: something you naturally do when you assert something in a contentious discussion and are proven wrong

I have never done that in my life and no one's ever said anything. Being wrong about a hypothesis should not also imply that you're sorry. You only need to be sorry if you made a personal attack based on that guess. I, too, would get kind of shirty about people telling me to apologize for guessing incorrectly. If there is no one hurt, there is no apology needed. Who on earth would you be apologizing to? You don't have to apologize for not being omniscient.

Maybe this is one of those Ask vs Guess dichotomies, because I honestly did not think people regularly apologized for being incorrect, if there was no aggrieved party at all.
posted by wending my way at 1:32 PM on June 5, 2010 [5 favorites]


I assume the point is that three blind mice wanted to talk about MeFi-related stuff, which is every member's right.

The god given right of every mefite since time immoral! Along with the right to flag and move on, and the right to choose the finest goat as dowry.
posted by delmoi at 1:37 PM on June 5, 2010


To whom should three blind mice apologize, and why exactly?

Traditionally I think the answer is clear - it's the farmer's wife, is it not? IIRC they were chasing her somewhat relentlessly. However, the tail removal seems to have been a bit too vengeful. Perhaps it is the farmer's wife who should apologize instead.

I'm glad we had this talk.
posted by elizardbits at 1:44 PM on June 5, 2010 [12 favorites]


I apologize in advance for every thoughtless thing I haven't said yet. Except that crack about the French. I stand by that one.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 1:49 PM on June 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


Being wrong about a hypothesis should not also imply that you're sorry. You only need to be sorry if you made a personal attack based on that guess.


Suedehead you seem to be completely ignoring the rights of the female students


I wouldn't go as far as to call that a personal attack. But the implication is that certain members were ignoring female rights. And those are now rights of females that we know don't exist. So... ?

There WAS a personal attack: the one against the boy. But he's not a member. (As far as we know.)

Look, it's all a question of personal values. You can't prove me wrong and I can't prove you wrong. Is it wrong to accuse someone, and then, upon discovering you're wrong, to not apologize? That's a matter of personal values, too, but my guess is that most people's values tell them that, in such a case, they should apologize.

Let's look at a few different cases:

1. Bill calls Joe a thief while Joe is in the room. Bill discovers he's wrong. Bill SHOULD apologize.

Most people agree, right? God, I hope so.

2. Bill calls Joe a thief. Joe is not in the room, but there's a possibility that he might find out about the accusation. Bill discovers he's wrong. Bill SHOULD apologize.

Some people probably agree. Some people don't. Do you feel it's fair, in a PUBLIC forum, to make any accusation you want about a non-member and then to not apologize if you're wrong?

I disagree. What can I say? Your values vs. mine.

3. Bill accuses Joe. Joe is not in the room and there's no way he'll ever find out what Bill said. Bill discovers he's wrong. Bill SHOULD apologize.

Even I find that a little silly. I might still apologize, though, just in case anyone in the room is Joe's friend. But I might not.

If I heard Bill say, "Guess I was wrong. I'm sorry," I would not think, "How weird! Why is he sorry? Joe didn't even hear what he said!" I would just assume that Bill, being human, sometimes feels like he's relating to other humans, even if they're not in the room.

Similarly, if my wife -- whose parents are dead -- feels guilty if she says something she knows her mom wouldn't approve of, I (an atheist who doesn't believe in the afterlife), don't think, "How weird." It seems like a natural bit of human irrationality to me. And irrational as it is, it's based on something I like: a feeling of common humanity.

If you claim that 1+1=3 and then someone proves you wrong, I DON'T think you should apologize. So we're not on completely different pages.
posted by grumblebee at 1:53 PM on June 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


To whom should three blind mice apologize, and why exactly?

Traditionally I think the answer is clear - it's the farmer's wife, is it not?


Wait. WHAT?! She cuts off their tails with a carving knife and THEY should apologize? For what? Running?

All I can say is: have you EVER seen such a sight in your life?
posted by grumblebee at 1:56 PM on June 5, 2010 [5 favorites]


WTF is "time immoral'?
posted by Burhanistan at 1:58 PM on June 5, 2010


She cuts off their tails with a carving knife and THEY should apologize? For what? Running?

Sir, I direct you to the part of the deposition where it is clearly stated that "they all went after the farmer's wife" -- this is clearly intimidation, with intent to assault. Cutting off their tails with a carving knife, while perhaps extreme, must be seen as an act of self-defense.
posted by scody at 2:04 PM on June 5, 2010 [8 favorites]


I just wanted to say I'm sorry I just saved a bundle on my car insurance by switching to Geico.

Wait, no, I'm not sorry!
posted by not_on_display at 2:05 PM on June 5, 2010


I hereby declare that I am not going to apologize for the thing I did to you. What did I do, you ask? Oh, you'll know. You'll know.
posted by Justinian at 2:27 PM on June 5, 2010


"they all went after the farmer's wife"

I put it to the jury that the phrase "went after" is vague and could mean "followed peacefully" just as easily as "pursued menacingly," which, I assume, is what my learned colleague is implicating.

Furthermore, seeing as the mice in question were BLIND and ... ahem ... small rodents, and given the fact that the farmer's wife had a KNIFE, it's difficult to see how they could have posed any significant threat.
posted by grumblebee at 2:28 PM on June 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


I was going to apologize, but I'm afraid I'll just say something you'll regret later.
posted by Floydd at 2:39 PM on June 5, 2010


They all ran after the farmer's wife

I think we have to cut Three Blind Mice some slack here.

Those mice were clearly trying to run up the farmer's wife's skirt. The thought that the student might have been shooting pictures up some girl's skirt must have triggered pretty terrible PTSD in poor TBM.
posted by jamjam at 2:40 PM on June 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


it's difficult to see how they could have posed any significant threat.

Apparently my learned colleague has failed to recall that the origins of this tale lie in the Middle Ages, when rodents were responsible for the spread of the Black Death which killed off nearly half the population of Europe. Ladies and gentleman of the jury, I ask you, it would be difficult to imagine a more significant threat, wouldn't it?
posted by elizardbits at 2:41 PM on June 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


seeing as the mice in question were BLIND and ... ahem ... small rodents, and given the fact that the farmer's wife had a KNIFE, it's difficult to see how they could have posed any significant threat.

My distinguished colleague displays an admirable regard for the lives of small, sight-impaired mammals -- who among us would not stop to assist an astigmatic puppy having trouble crossing the street, for example -- but he commits a grave error in implying that "blind" necessarily means "harmless." If our own nation can be terrorized by a blind sheik, cannot a farmer's wife be terrorized by three blind mice? Ladies and gentlemen, you know in your hearts that the answer is yes.
posted by scody at 2:43 PM on June 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


My clients were not responsible for the Black Death, which, as the jury may recall, was spread by rats, not mice. If my learned colleague can not distinguish one kind of rodent from another, I respectfully suggest she is unfit speak on the matter.
posted by grumblebee at 2:45 PM on June 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


It reads, to me, like it was written by someone who feels social pressure to apologize but who also doesn't want to lose face.

The reason for this?

I respect delmoi's opinion, even if I do not often agree with him. He calls me out privately to apologize in the thread and rather than ignore the challenge, or bury it in the thread 10 hours later, I brought it here.

Anyone else wants a piece of me, I'll be waiting in the playground at recess. Right next to the jungle gym.

And now back to the serious business of getting my drink on.
posted by three blind mice at 2:50 PM on June 5, 2010


I hate Elton John.
posted by Elmore at 2:53 PM on June 5, 2010


> I hate Elton John.

I hate Billy Joel more.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:56 PM on June 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yes. three blind mice has NOTHING to apologise for. But, that's not the point. The point is, if you really have nothing to worry about (that is, apologise for) then why say anything at all? Unless, of course, you have a nagging sense that you DO have something to be sorry for and just can't bring yourself to do it /resent such. Then, by all means, deffend, deffend, deffend yoursefl (dig, dig, dig yourself deeper).
posted by marimeko at 2:57 PM on June 5, 2010


The reason for this?

Are you asking why I interpreted it the way I did?

Because (as best as I can understand my own thought process) you said, "I was wrong, but I don't need to apologize," which I took to mean, "I was wrong, but I don't need to apologize, even though my wrong assumption lead me to accuse some people -- members and non-members -- of things they probably didn't do."

Maybe you don't feel you accused anyone of anything, but I feel like you did.

And, according to my values, if you accuse someone and then realize you're wrong, you apologize.

Maybe you don't share my values.

I assumed you do share them, and so, I tried to figure out how someone with my values would write what you wrote. And the only thing I could come up with is, "knows he's wrong but feels belittled by apologizing..."

I know you feel that an apology is not owed if you wrap your original sentence in an if-then, but, to my thinking, that's absurd.

I assumed you also thought it's absurd, because I can't imagine anyone not thinking that.

That's a lot of assumptions on my part. Sorry about that. I have no right to assume what goes on in your head.

I still don't really get where you're coming from, but I've said my piece and I'm done. Except I might still make a few more "three blind mice" jokes. Because it's fun.
posted by grumblebee at 3:02 PM on June 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ha. I love the nursery rhyme derail.

grumblebee - Yes, I said earlier that I did think that Suedehat was the one in this situation that may be owed an apology, so I agree there. Anyone else in the thread? Nope.

*Possibly* the boy, in theory, based on solely that comment, but I have no idea how you give a theoretical apology. "I was wrong, I'm sorry," wouldn't work for that, even though that's the example I think you were getting at in #3. In the situation you gave, I would probably realize I had incorrectly accused someone not present of theft and say, "I was wrong, evidently I'm being an ass today." or "I did a poor job of putting the evidence together." But literally saying "I'm sorry" to an unaffected person, unless you are meaning to convey "I am sorry I wasted your time with misinformation," seems to me to be using the wrong type of speech act for the situation, but you view it as a reasonable way of conveying what you would relate to non-present humans, if they were present. Which I find kind of interesting. Now I've been sitting here thinking about the phenomenon of apologizing to people who will never find out you wronged them and if that can still be considered an acknowledgment type of speech act or if that would make it something else much longer than I spent thinking about the original thread in question.
posted by wending my way at 3:13 PM on June 5, 2010


I love Elton John.

Why are we talking about Elton John?
posted by item at 3:37 PM on June 5, 2010


Should I apologize for being wrong? It seems to me enough to admit I was wrong.

I think it might be OK to apologize for jumping to conclusions and derailing the thread, because it's disruptive and stirred up a lot of anger - not because of the facts, per se.
posted by krinklyfig at 3:42 PM on June 5, 2010


Sorry, I don't mean to be part of a gang. It sucks to feel ganged up on, whether you're right or wrong. TMB, I'm sorry if I'm part of the gang.

Wait, this is not the thread where we can join a gang? Hmmm ...

OK, so, I think the deal is you're supposed to wear leather jackets, get involved in mild fisticuffs and sing and dance. That sounds OK. Not as fun as an amateur wrestling match with a school administrator, but we can't all have everything.
posted by krinklyfig at 3:53 PM on June 5, 2010


WTF is "time immoral'?

Time spent masturbating to pictures of your own mother. Immoral and disgusting.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:57 PM on June 5, 2010


^must be familiar.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:03 PM on June 5, 2010


^Hates Billy Joel
posted by not_on_display at 4:09 PM on June 5, 2010


WTF is "time immoral'?

Filed under: "Youth in Asia" and "All intense purposes."
posted by ericb at 4:29 PM on June 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


This thread. Tuck in!
posted by Burhanistan at 4:29 PM on June 5, 2010


I just wanted to duck in here and say that in fact, Michelle Pfeiffer does dislike black people. Otherwise, she wouldn't have made Dangerous Minds.

Oh and wow, grumblebee can really type, huh?
posted by nevercalm at 4:48 PM on June 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


You know MeFi, you inconvenience me but yet I still come back to you, bruised and battered for my weekly fill of GRAR and hufflepuff. I sat at work yesterday, with very little to do, waiting all day for someone to take this thread to MeTa...

And this is the MeTa for that post? I am appalled sir, appalled!

TBM---the reason anybody wanted you to apologize is pretty simple, you sort of did the OMG REACTIONARY DRIVEL thing really, really early in that thread, took a stance that wound up being, oh, I dunno, about 185 degrees away from what actually happened, and that managed to ram the conversation straight into a brick wall and, realistically, confuse the fuck out of anyone without the time to read the entire thread or comprehend what actually happened.

I win a prize for shittiest sentence on MeFi today. Learn some periods, Tom.

Anyway---I personally don't care if you apologize or not, or if anybody apologizes, because going through the motions seems more artificial than the original action. It's why I don't force kids to apologize to each other after a kerfluffle.

I hope that the takeaway from this for our lovely readers is that "inappropriate" doesn't mean "Teh Non Consensual Secks", and that this kind of conclusion jumping is something we can point to as exactly what's wrong with reactionary journalism and a bored, lazy reader base.

I swear to god that Orwell's vision in 1984 is coming a little closer to true every day.
posted by TomMelee at 5:07 PM on June 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


But my Mom is seriously hot.
posted by vapidave at 5:13 PM on June 5, 2010


That she is, that she is. But it's still no excuse.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:20 PM on June 5, 2010


Anyway---I personally don't care if you apologize or not, or if anybody apologizes, because going through the motions seems more artificial than the original action. It's why I don't force kids to apologize to each other after a kerfluffle.

By the way, thanks for what you contributed in that thread. My step-father was an assistant principal in charge of discipline in one of the worst schools in the city for something like 15 years. Every day was another 10 parent conferences about stabbings, larson, guns, fights, assault on staff, drugs, etc. At no time did he ever lay hands on a student, as far as I know, and the guy was pushed into highly confrontational, no-win situations every day, where no matter what he did, the parents were going to blame him and the students involved would fail to learn lessons. There is only the high ground available in such situations, otherwise you lose any authority you may have gained in your position, no matter if you think you're defending your authority by looking "tough." People in positions of authority who lose their shit when confronted with a smaller adversary in a barely threatening manner are not gaining any respect from anyone, particularly not teenagers. They're either not in control of their emotions, or they're simply into power trips.

If I saw that happen at my high school, I'd be pretty shocked. I did graduate in 1988, but have plenty of exposure to the school system through family. I do remember an incident my senior year where the music teacher - long past retirement age - grabbed a girl out of her chair and threw her against a wall for mouthing off during concert band practice. Didn't injure her, but it was clear he lost control of his class and himself in a bad way. He didn't get fired, but he retired very quickly and quietly as possible, as nobody in his class had any respect for him after that ... and the administration was getting word of lawsuits coming down if he didn't leave the school system. It was for the best. Saw him a few years later, and for the first time since I knew him he looked happy. I was in his class at the time and really pissed at him when it happened, and in a rare moment sincerely wanted to pop him, but it was better that he get out when he did and leave it at that. Now, if he had sent her to the hospital with a concussion, I do believe he would have been facing not only lawsuits but criminal prosecution, and he would have deserved it.
posted by krinklyfig at 5:23 PM on June 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't think three blind mice did anything that needs apologizing for.

I'm a little surprised someone can see that video, then deny the principal is using inappropriate force.

By which I mean a handjob.
posted by fleacircus at 5:35 PM on June 5, 2010


Alright fine, I'll just have to use someone else's mom I guess. Can I use my nephew's Mom? She's pretty hot.
posted by vapidave at 6:27 PM on June 5, 2010


WTF is "time immoral'?

Hmm, I meant Time Immemorial but somehow didn't type that.
posted by delmoi at 6:30 PM on June 5, 2010


Can we make it possible to create post in metatalk anonymously?
posted by cjorgensen at 6:31 PM on June 5, 2010


I know of a man who lives deep in the woods and poops so much that the universe weighs more than it did before each poop. He's the secret solution to entropy.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:39 PM on June 5, 2010


I have since been doing some research, and it seems that Boys from Brazil was actually a work of fiction, and that cloning technology was not sufficiently advanced for Hitler to have been cloned.

So, this.

And while I am here, I would like to also apologize for giving your mom a handjob, for goading tbm into taunting the farmer's wife, for promoting and encouraging Elton John, Anne Murray, Brian Adams, Celine Dion, Loverboy, et. al., and last but not least, for just generally being a fucking asshole and not taking this website seriously enough.
posted by Meatbomb at 6:58 PM on June 5, 2010


Well, giving my mom a handjob actually cheered her up so no problem there but I'm afraid that is more than offset by resurrecting the earworm that is "Working for the Weekend". I don't doubt your sincerity but I'm just not quite there yet.
posted by vapidave at 8:00 PM on June 5, 2010


Dude, what the hell is with your Oedipal ranting?
posted by Burhanistan at 8:05 PM on June 5, 2010


While it's true I've been fairly intoxicated as of late; of the last few threads I've read on this site, I've understood nothing.
posted by klue at 8:34 PM on June 5, 2010


cjorgensen: Can we make it possible to create post in metatalk anonymously?

No, please, for the love of God. No.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:36 PM on June 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is strangely reminiscent of The Apology of Socrates, where his oration before the jury convinced jurors who had previously voted "Not Guilty" to vote for the death penalty during the sentencing phase.
posted by greekphilosophy at 8:36 PM on June 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Which is probably not, strictly speaking, true or accurate. But it makes a great story. And this is the Internet, and the last time I checked we really preferred great stories to accurate ones.
posted by greekphilosophy at 8:38 PM on June 5, 2010


Fuck all you guys.
posted by everichon at 8:41 PM on June 5, 2010


I'm sorry you all made me say "fuck all you guys".
posted by everichon at 8:42 PM on June 5, 2010


I got a letter for jury duty yesterday and I'm trying to establish my unsuitability.

OP and with further thought: should I one day be accused and tried I might regret my plan.
posted by vapidave at 8:45 PM on June 5, 2010


The old lady down the street knits sweaters and scarves with used dental floss.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:26 PM on June 5, 2010


Citation needed.
posted by Elmore


Trust me, it's not worth your time but ok here you go. , Everybody Draw Mohammed Day a protest against those who threatened violence against artists who drew representations of the prophet Muhammad.

Long time Creation debunker Thunderf00t weighs in with South Park vs Islam , some users ask him to distinguish Muslims from Terrorists, some ask him to clarify his views. His comment channel is filled with hate speech for at least a week. His response, to post BURN MOHAMMAD BURN!!!!

As a long time fan of Thunderf00t I was shocked and saddened, his videos on science had been a weekly treat for me for at least two years. So I found a camara and made a response; On Thunderf00t and draw muhammad day . Add a few others, some long back and forths, my girlfriend losing respect for me, and here we are. Citation needed indeed, and aren't you sorry you asked.

posted by nola at 9:32 PM on June 5, 2010


The internet is for private email and commerce only.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:36 PM on June 5, 2010


This is all nearly as dramatic as high school.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:46 PM on June 5, 2010


which means nothing has changed since DOS 1.0
posted by infini at 11:27 PM on June 5, 2010


Can we make it possible to create post in metatalk anonymously?

That seems like a terrible idea.
posted by delmoi at 11:34 PM on June 5, 2010


"...and aren't you sorry you asked."
Not at all and well said. I struggle with a want to offend fundamentalists of any stripe without offending those that observe the whole of any religion. I won't engage fundamentalists because they are the salient and not representative. Oddly enough it was Burhanistan that acknowledged in a former thread the reason and reasonably cautioned against my adding fuel. Oddly because he won't admit my mom, by any metric, is hot.
posted by vapidave at 12:50 AM on June 6, 2010


I need closure, orthogonality. Get back here!
posted by uncanny hengeman at 1:34 AM on June 6, 2010


My God, it's full of pointless...!
posted by zoinks at 2:49 AM on June 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


But since three blind mice didn't accuse anyone in the thread of anything, merely stated an opinion as to what might be going on in a link, the situations are so different your comment is bizarrely irrelevant. To whom should three blind mice apologize, and why exactly?

Funny, you didn't seem to feel that way back in march, when a mefite stated an opinion as to what might be going on with the lesbian prom girl. Multiple people said he owed her an apology and you had nothing to say to them (but you did try to goad the poster into flaming out).
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 4:20 AM on June 6, 2010


Funny, you didn't seem to feel that way back in march, when a mefite stated an opinion as to what might be going on with the lesbian prom girl.

That's a bit of a spinout. I was mentally saving up a few of these indignant posts for a rainy day. Moral equivalency and all that. But I never thought of that previous thread by zarq.

It's just a popularity contest.

VOTE ZARQ FOR CLASS PREZ!!!
posted by uncanny hengeman at 5:23 AM on June 6, 2010


I came into this thread thinking, oh, this looks like it'll be a nice thread in which someone apologizes and everyone else says yay.

Turns out I was wrong. And for that, I'm sorry.
posted by davejay at 3:45 PM on June 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


and by sorry I mean sorry I ever came in this thread
posted by davejay at 3:46 PM on June 6, 2010


I think you're looking for this thread.
posted by mazola at 7:38 PM on June 6, 2010


I'm not a big fan of senior members private messaging other members suggesting they apologise. Threads about controversial events call for robust discussion. If you want me to read about something that pisses me off and then politely post "I read every word of the seven articles you posted and I agree with some of the points that one party made and I also appreciate the arguments of the other party," then you're in the wrong place (or I am). Either way, it is the nature of these events that commentators do not have access (or, more accurately, the ability to access and read) every source, and it is the nature of the internet that it is difficult even for digital natives*, sometimes, to gauge the integrity of a particular source. Metafilter threads also tend to move pretty quickly, and thoughts on controversial or emotional issues tend to demand immediate communication, so inappropriate or ill thought out comments are an inevitable side effect of discussion. I'm not even convinced that they're an undesirable aspect. I enjoy seeing people's immediate responses to an issue, and the connections they've made in their mind (I've found some great links and interesting arguments by following a weak straw man through the long grass of the internet), and I see no value in seeking an apology for a bad argument. We all make bad arguments, we all have atrocious opinions, and we all piss each other off, so just grow some testicles (inappropriate! sexist! nazis!), flag it as noise and move on.

Which leads me to a pony request, which has no doubt been asked before, and I will check it out in a minute, but I'm on a bit of a roll here: Would it be possible to have a filter which allowed deleted comments to be viewed by people who weren't afraid of a bit of noise? Maybe have them show up with a slightly different background so you'd know not to quote them directly.

Deep breath; I know I'm late.

*I fucking hate that phrase.
posted by doublehappy at 9:21 PM on June 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


> I'm not a big fan of senior members private messaging other members suggesting they apologise

Wait, wait, wait. There are no senior members here.

And no, deleted comments are gone and not trackable.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:26 PM on June 6, 2010


Sorry, let me clarify. I know there are no rankings, &c. but obviously Metafilter has been around for a long time, and some people have been there for a while and have a better feel for how it works (sort of like old Parliamentarians who have an encyclopaedic knowledge of the Standing Orders) and so, when I said senior, I meant that.

Just strike out 'senior'.
posted by doublehappy at 9:33 PM on June 6, 2010


And if respected news outlets can make assumptions with body counts and election results then I don't see what the problem is with uninformed individuals doing the same thing.

On reviewing my comments I should say that I'm less fired up about this than I seem!
posted by doublehappy at 9:36 PM on June 6, 2010


I think you're saying MeFi should be an exclusively public community. On the whole I agree.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:53 PM on June 6, 2010


Yes, I don't get why a relevant link would need to be sent via a private message.

I'm not accusing, because I don't know what delmoi was thinking about when he did it, but it leaves the impression that the privacy is to conceal not-so-great behavior instead of to avoid a derail or talk about something personal. So I can see why three blind mice brought it here, back in public where it should have been originally anyway.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 10:32 PM on June 6, 2010


I assume delmoi mailed a link to a better news article, containing new information that caused TBM to change his/her mind. And that he posted it to MeFi as well.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:00 PM on June 6, 2010


That isn't to say I give a good goddamn about topic of this thread. I think this thread is an inappropriate use of MeTa.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:01 PM on June 6, 2010


The curious thing about this to me is three blind mice's caveat: "If the kid did NOT take upskirt photos... then I am wrong about the principle's reaction"

Really I think this is wrong because there's no way the principal could be expected to know this in any common case. The principal can't just go around beating up every student and it's "right" when the kid took an upskirt shot and "wrong" when it's not. It was kinda always wrong for the principal to treat the kid like that.

In other words, it's not just that 3BM made a big assumption out of nothing, but 3BM also was saying that it was okay for the principal to make that assumption too and shove/push down/neck hold some kid because of it.

So I find myself leaning away from "No prob 3BM, you just backed the wrong rhetorical horse, pick yourself up and dust yourself off," and more towards, "Yeah you said some stupid shit in there that it would be good to own up to."
posted by fleacircus at 12:03 AM on June 7, 2010


I get where you're coming from, fleacircus, and I probably agree with your assessment of the rightness and wrongness, but I don't think that means three blind mince should necessarily have to own up to anything - lot of people think that kids don't respect authority any more and that, back in their day, what the principal did was fine and, in any case, if the kid was breaking the rules, he's fine regardless. Yeah, that's not gonna be the majority opinion on Metafilter, but it's not something I'd want to be getting a private message about if I'd written it.

And shit, I believe some stupid things, and I'll continue to believe them until I have a good reason to believe otherwise. Self evident arguments are usually only evident to yourself.
posted by doublehappy at 12:36 AM on June 7, 2010


three blind mince

That is extremely insensitive to the incised mammals referenced. They were maimed, but surely not minced.
posted by palliser at 5:27 AM on June 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


*wonders if this might be the moment in this thread to share the fact that in sanskrit my given name means principles* (not PAL)
posted by infini at 5:32 AM on June 7, 2010


infini, you aren't really required to make a comment every five seconds in order to keep your MeFi membership.
posted by languagehat at 12:26 PM on June 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


> I hate Elton John.

Here's another reason for you.


> *wonders if this might be the moment in this thread to share the fact that in sanskrit my given name means principles* (not PAL)

My given name means "peaches". So what the hell are you talking about?
posted by Burhanistan at 12:28 PM on June 7, 2010


>Yes, I don't get why a relevant link would need to be sent via a private message.

I'm not accusing, because I don't know what delmoi was thinking about when he did it, but it leaves the impression that the privacy is to conceal not-so-great behavior instead of to avoid a derail or talk about something personal. So I can see why three blind mice brought it here, back in public where it should have been originally anyway.


Saying “hey, you're wrong” in private is all right as a way to give someone the opportunity to save face. I think it gave tbm the opportunity to admit, apologise or do whatever of her own will instead of being forced into it.
posted by Tobu at 1:25 PM on June 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


the principle of hte peach?

*blinks*
posted by infini at 2:20 PM on June 7, 2010



infini, you aren't really required to make a comment every five seconds in order to keep your MeFi membership


yessir, languagehat, sir


*poof*
posted by infini at 2:21 PM on June 7, 2010


Can this thread now be about Koosh Balls? Wacky, tacky Koosh Balls? Or dogs that just look like Koosh Balls?
posted by Think_Long at 11:11 AM on June 8, 2010


Those poor castrated Kooshes.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:12 AM on June 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


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