Deletion at the poster's request September 2, 2010 9:09 AM   Subscribe

Last night this post was deleted at the poster's request. It seems from the context within the post that the poster probably requested deletion because the discussion wasn't going the way he imagined it would. Something about asking to have a post deleted for that reason rubs me the wrong way.

I think deleting posts because the poster does not like the community reaction is bad for site continuity, and therefore a bad idea, although obviously sometimes posts are deleted by the mods acting for the community. There may or may not be copyright matters involved, but I'm more interested in the community norms aspect of the issue. I don't think this is a huge issue, but I'm curious how others see it.

(This is not a specific callout of Artw, who makes many posts, and many good posts. Nor is it a criticism of the mods, who did a service in response to a request from a user.)
posted by OmieWise to Etiquette/Policy at 9:09 AM (138 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

From our end: it's something that doesn't come up much and which we don't really like doing either, but at the end of the day if someone is really really unhappy with a post they've made to the blue and it hasn't really taken on a life of it's own and it hasn't been up for long, we may go ahead and do it for them.

It's one of those "this will happen once and if it ever comes up again we're gonna have a frank discussion" sort of things. Cf. deleting askme threads and such, though the feeling is a bit different between a deletion request for the green or the blue and I agree that pulling something down from the blue is a little weirder.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:13 AM on September 2, 2010


Yeah that seems quite weird. I've been frustrated with the way my some of my posts have been received but I don't think I should have the power to take them down just because the discussion didn't go as I had hoped. Count me as being against deleting posts on posters' request unless there is an actual good reason to do so.
posted by sveskemus at 9:17 AM on September 2, 2010 [6 favorites]


It's one thing to ask to delete a post because the post has broken links, or something changed, but to delete it because you don't like the way the comments are going? Not cool.
posted by smackfu at 9:20 AM on September 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


Damn, and I wanted to get back to that post when I had time because it's a keen subject for me. Not real happy about it going away, but maybe someone can do it up right. There's a lot of great reader apps and some of the majors are trending strongly in that direction, and yet our local comic emporiums seem to be doing quite well which I can't really explain. Maybe it's the CCG packs, which boy seems to spend an inordinate amount of money on.
posted by seanmpuckett at 9:24 AM on September 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I wanted to hear what people had to say on this topic, not just what Artw thought people should be saying.
posted by Aquaman at 9:25 AM on September 2, 2010 [6 favorites]


Yeah, I get that this is a one-off and not a big deal unless it becomes a pattern, but "I don't like the comments on my post, so I'm taking my ball and going home" is a really shitty reason for a post to be deleted.
posted by rollbiz at 9:25 AM on September 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


I don't mind so much the idea that a post can't be deleted, in principle. I do wonder, though, how this jives with the expectation that has been discussed here that after posting something, the OP ought to step back and let it live its life, and not try to control the conversation, or editorialize too much along the way. Being able to delete something based on the ensuing conversation seems to be a control point that doesn't mesh well with that expectation.
posted by SpacemanStix at 9:25 AM on September 2, 2010 [7 favorites]


I think this should be allowed if the discussion goes somewhere almost wholly unrelated to the intent. I take blame/credit/whatever as one of the more vehement derailers, and while I don't regret my words, I also have no problem with the deletion. It was pretty clear what the discussion was about to become, and it's better (especially if the OP agrees) that the topic would be discussed in an appropriate FPP.
posted by griphus at 9:25 AM on September 2, 2010


*can be deleted, in principle
posted by SpacemanStix at 9:28 AM on September 2, 2010


I am also saying "not cool". Don't like how people are riffing on the links you brought? Tough titty.
posted by Meatbomb at 9:28 AM on September 2, 2010


...unless there is an actual good reason to do so.

A debate on the treatment of women in comics and comics journalism does not belong in an FPP about digital comics.
posted by griphus at 9:28 AM on September 2, 2010


It was pretty clear what the discussion was about to become, and it's better (especially if the OP agrees) that the topic would be discussed in an appropriate FPP.

This is a problem best dealt with via comment moderation, not deleting posts.

IMHO, once I post an FPP it stops belonging to me and becomes property of the community.
posted by rollbiz at 9:29 AM on September 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I get that this is a one-off and not a big deal unless it becomes a pattern, but "I don't like the comments on my post, so I'm taking my ball and going home" is a really shitty reason for a post to be deleted.

I don't really disagree. But, again: it is a weird one-off, and if someone has ruined their own day by making a post and regretting it fairly quickly and is going to be deeply unhappy with it sticking around, it's one of those odd "people have strange reactions to things" that we may not really agree with but are willing to be nice about.

Someone else is welcome to make a post about it if they think it's post-worthy. Deleting a post isn't generally speaking a ban on the topic, especially in a situation like this.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:30 AM on September 2, 2010


Artw writes a lot of good posts on the blue. If people weren't doing the equivalent of threadshitting in it, it probably wouldn't have been an issue for him. Maybe the part of the community that participated should think about why he had to ask for his post to be nuked.

That said, Metafilter isn't about the discussion as we are told, and there is no obligation to provide threads to comment in. So there is that, as well.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:35 AM on September 2, 2010 [9 favorites]


So, bad call out.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:35 AM on September 2, 2010


And to draw this out a little, if people do this in AskMe, we'll usually do it once for a poster and not again. That's sort of how I feel about it in MeFi too. There are some people who have poster's regret often and we feel that may be something that they need to manage. For people who just have a one-time "oh shit" feeling, we'll often remove it and say "okay, we're never doing this again"
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:36 AM on September 2, 2010


So, bad call out.

Well, OmieWise was pretty explicit about not calling out Artw, so that's kind of off the point. As a phenomenon, it's odd enough that I think it's reasonable to ask about and discuss here a little.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:38 AM on September 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Nthing the "once you hit 'Post' on the blue, it's community property" idea from above. It wasn't the greatest FPP - Im not a comics reader, i would have appreciated a little more context for the "digital content debate" as it applies to that market - but once it's done and MeFi has started to weigh in, asking for deletion because you don't like the discussion is not cool.
posted by OneMonkeysUncle at 9:39 AM on September 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


There exists on mefi a certain degree of innate, reflexive snark that can be very disheartening. A year and a half ago I posted an AskMe question asking about the procedural recourse for a hundred tenants when rental units suddenly were bereft of heat and power in the winter. Predictably, the first answer was DTMFA. If that had been my first question, I would never have asked a second.

ArtW has contributed hundreds of posts to the blue; as with the posts of anyone else that prolific, I have enjoyed some of them and others have left me cold. I have no dog in this fight -- digital comics don't do much for me, but chacun à son goat -- however, I do not begrudge him his disappointment that a hey-guys-look-at-this-cool-thing post got swamped by other users' facile attempts at comedy. He asked for it to be deleted and the mods were fine with doing so. Why is this an issue?
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:39 AM on September 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


I don't really disagree. But, again: it is a weird one-off, and if someone has ruined their own day by making a post and regretting it fairly quickly and is going to be deeply unhappy with it sticking around, it's one of those odd "people have strange reactions to things" that we may not really agree with but are willing to be nice about.

Sure, I get where you're coming from.

That said, Metafilter isn't about the discussion as we are told, and there is no obligation to provide threads to comment in. So there is that, as well.

The counter-point I would offer is that we also don't allow people to steer or moderate their own posts. So there might not be an obligation to keep a post for the sake of discussion, the discussion that takes place in the post is pretty clearly not supposed to be controlled by the OP.
posted by rollbiz at 9:40 AM on September 2, 2010


So if I make a post and then wanted it deleted, Blazecock Pileon wouldn't approve, because I don't make a lot of posts? Good to know.

I don't think that posters own a thread, but I think the moderators know their job better than I do.
posted by muddgirl at 9:40 AM on September 2, 2010


I just wanted to add my voice to say that my comment wasn't about Artw in particular, as he does make some great posts. I'm just interested in site policy and such.
posted by SpacemanStix at 9:43 AM on September 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


A year and a half ago I posted an AskMe question asking about the procedural recourse for a hundred tenants when rental units suddenly were bereft of heat and power in the winter. Predictably, the first answer was DTMFA. If that had been my first question, I would never have asked a second.

Is that really what you think that question asked?
posted by jacquilynne at 9:45 AM on September 2, 2010


So if I make a post and then wanted it deleted, Blazecock Pileon wouldn't approve, because I don't make a lot of posts?

That's not a very charitable reading. But it's not correct, in any case.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:45 AM on September 2, 2010


I am, if anything, inclined to do it more often now, given that a couple of my posts lately have basically become playgrounds for threadshitters, assholes and empty snarkers. If the content of the post itself is going to be ignored, or there's going to be an excessive focus on areas where mefites can pull out canned snark, then why fucking bother?
posted by Artw at 9:48 AM on September 2, 2010 [6 favorites]


He asked for it to be deleted and the mods were fine with doing so. Why is this an issue?

The issue is that the mods shouldn't really be OK with it, based on the way this site has worked for the last 10 years. And they don't really seem OK with it, more like "ok, we'll do this one time as a favor."
posted by smackfu at 9:49 AM on September 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Somebody is ALWAYS going to yell out "gynecologist's office" at improv shows, but that doesn't mean there won't be other, better suggestions forthcoming, nor does it necessarily mean that the improv is going to be worthless.
posted by Aquaman at 9:53 AM on September 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


I am, if anything, inclined to do it more often now

To be super clear, it's fine if you decide to be more gunshy about which posts you choose to make but posting and then asking us to delete is pretty much a one-time-only thing. Do not get inclined to do it more often. If there's an early problem in a thread with people being genuinely out of line, flag it and maybe drop us a quick email.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:54 AM on September 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


And they don't really seem OK with it, more like "ok, we'll do this one time as a favor."

Yeah we're really not okay with it. We're also not okay with threadshitting. And the thing that is weird, to me, [and outside of ArtW and this thread specifically] is that the people who often get really cross about their posts not going well are often people who are the cause of other people's threads not going well.

I don't know if this is because they are People of Strong Feelings and so they don't fele that what they are doing is threadshitting but rather strongly voicing their opinions, but we see a lot of people who are early in threads saying things like "who fucking cares, bad post" and then they're the same people who get really touchy when people do the same to them. It confuses me at some level.

In short, please don't threadshit. Use the flag queue. If it's within the first ten comments of a thread and all you have to say us that you don't like the post or you think the topic is stupid or badly presented, you'd be doing the site in general a favor [as well as the person who made the post to begin with] if you'd keep it to yourself and give the thread a chance to be okay without you.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:56 AM on September 2, 2010 [9 favorites]


I am, if anything, inclined to do it more often now, given that a couple of my posts lately have basically become playgrounds for threadshitters, assholes and empty snarkers. If the content of the post itself is going to be ignored, or there's going to be an excessive focus on areas where mefites can pull out canned snark, then why fucking bother?

Dude, I'm totally with you on threadshitting. That being said and just as an example, one of your most recent posts was on Hipster Dinosaurs. The one before it was about Lovecraft. If you aren't prepared for and can't deal with some snark and threadshitting, then it probably would be best not to post stuff like that at all.
posted by rollbiz at 9:57 AM on September 2, 2010


That's not a very charitable reading. But it's not correct, in any case.

Then why bring it up? I'm genuinely curious.

I'm not a fan of single-link-editorials, so I avoided the thread in the first place, but going back I don't think the comments were particularly out of line. I don't think a history of good posts means that a user has the right to ask for a bad one to be deleted.
posted by muddgirl at 9:58 AM on September 2, 2010


chacun à son goat

this made me smile
posted by toodleydoodley at 10:03 AM on September 2, 2010 [5 favorites]


Well, TBH I think the attitude towards posts now is so generally hostile, and posts so easily tipped over into being brainless shooting galleries of snark, that I am begining to wonder why anyone would bother. I mean, I'm generally pretty thick skinned about this, I stayed quiet about the last couple of mine that went down like this, but after this one my attitude is basically "fuck you all", sorry.
posted by Artw at 10:04 AM on September 2, 2010 [10 favorites]


we see a lot of people who are early in threads saying things like "who fucking cares, bad post" and then they're the same people who get really touchy when people do the same to them.

We dislike in others what we see in ourselves.
posted by SpacemanStix at 10:04 AM on September 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


OmieWise: "bad for site continuity"

Consider it a retcon. Or maybe this is MeFi-2, and the folks on MeFi-1 are still ragging on the thread. In a couple of years, there will be crossovers and then a megaseries Crisis on Infinite MeFis that'll claim to collapse the multiverse into a single timeline (and will kill off a few beloved users), but will actually leave a bunch of unsolved loose ends. But that just leaves us wide open for Zero Matt and then the Infinite MeFi re-hash.
posted by Plutor at 10:05 AM on September 2, 2010 [8 favorites]


If people weren't doing the equivalent of threadshitting in it, it probably wouldn't have been an issue for him.

That wasn't "the equivalent of threadshitting." In fact, it wasn't threadshitting at all. People were making valid, on-topic criticisms of the content of the link. We've all seen far worse comments made on other posts.

When we make a post to the Blue, as rollbiz explains, it ceases to become our personal property and now belongs to the Metafilter community. The community then chooses to treat it as they see fit. Treating our own posts like sacred cows leads to thread self-modding, and that hardly ever ends well.

Maybe the part of the community that participated should think about why he had to ask for his post to be nuked.

Well, first of all, he didn't have to ask.

Those of us who have posted more than a handful of times to the site know that what we put up isn't always going to be well received. I know it. You do. Artw no doubt does, too. If he wants a post deleted I have no problem with that whatsoever. Lord knows I'd like to retract a couple myself. But please, let's not cast this as something it's not? His post wasn't drummed off the site by those who commented.
posted by zarq at 10:05 AM on September 2, 2010 [8 favorites]


Then why bring it up? I'm genuinely curious

Because if you've been here a while, it is safe to say that, in all likelihood, you have a good idea of whether a thread is going well or if it is going not so well. To make this 100% clear, it is not about me deciding what you get to do (!) but simply a reasoned observation that someone who has contributed a lot probably understands the ebb and flow of the place, and is perhaps a better judge of a situation than someone who hasn't. So it speaks to what happened in Artw's thread that he felt he had to make this request in the first place. Hopefully this clears up the misunderstanding.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:07 AM on September 2, 2010


Were the off-topic/threadshitting comments deleted? I am not seeing them.
posted by Eideteker at 10:10 AM on September 2, 2010


I am, if anything, inclined to do it more often now, given that a couple of my posts lately have basically become playgrounds for threadshitters, assholes and empty snarkers. If the content of the post itself is going to be ignored, or there's going to be an excessive focus on areas where mefites can pull out canned snark, then why fucking bother?

Artw, I consistently enjoy your posts, and I hope this experience does not result in fewer of them from you.
posted by jbickers at 10:10 AM on September 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


Dude, I didn't think it was all that bad, to be honest, and the conversation seemed recoverable. I like your posts a lot, but I'm not all that into "great post!" comments if I don't have much to add -- I've done it before, but always felt weird about contributing essentially noise. It's almost the opposite of threadshitting. Threadfeeding, maybe?

The problem with early snark:real conversation ratios is that it's a lot easier to toss off a "whatever" than work out a reasonably phrased, well articulated comment on the quote in question. So eight or nine people can sometimes run in and snark before a conversation gets an opportunity to be born; the mods try within reason to keep it down, but something that's pithy and snarky and on-topic is pretty much delete-proof, so I see a lot of threads with a ton of bon mots before the conversation starts.

I know policing your own thread is also poorly regarded, but in this instance I would have welcomed seeing you try to shape the conversation instead of having it pulled.
posted by Shepherd at 10:11 AM on September 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Looks less like threadshitting to me and more lambasting the content of the link.
For the record, I've made more than one post where I found something I thought was superfantastic only to have every comment express utter disdain at the link. Sure, it's a bummer, but I never considered asking for a deletion. This happens pretty often, as far as I can tell. You can't always forecast reax.
posted by CunningLinguist at 10:11 AM on September 2, 2010


Artw, I often enjoy your posts, but if you don't like the reaction they get anymore, I think you should stop making them for a while.
posted by grouse at 10:14 AM on September 2, 2010


HULK THINK POST SHOULD NOT BE DELETED.

SINCE POST WAS DELETED, SOMEONE SHOULD MAKE NOT POST.

HULK WOULD DO IT, BUT HULK ONLY HAVE 3G IPHONE WITH IOS 4, SO DEVICE SLOW.
posted by nomadicink at 10:15 AM on September 2, 2010


HULK MEANT "SHOULD MAKE NEW POST"

HULK HAVE BIG FINGERS AND SHORT ATTENTION SPAN. HULK SORRY.
posted by nomadicink at 10:16 AM on September 2, 2010 [16 favorites]


Were the off-topic/threadshitting comments deleted? I am not seeing them.

Nope, we deleted one comment of ArtW's from the very end and otherwise we hadn't even really looked at the thread.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:16 AM on September 2, 2010


Well, first of all, he didn't have to ask.

Come on. He's not compelled to ask, but it seems obvious he felt like he needed to.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:18 AM on September 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hey, anyone else wants to make a post on the subject feel fine to go ahead and do it. Use that link even. Just be aware that you'll own the resulting 100 comment diatribe from the Metaphor Police, none of whom will have read the article beyond the point where they can be shitty about it.
posted by Artw at 10:19 AM on September 2, 2010


Look, let me tell you a story. One day, a hot new girl moves into your building. For some reason, she is really, really into you.

One of the reasons I didn't like that article, right there. Girls read comics too, y'know? It's no wonder that it feels awkward for women to go comic-reading or shopping in a lot of places still.

IT was a poorly-written article that could have sparked off into interesting discussion.
posted by mippy at 10:22 AM on September 2, 2010 [11 favorites]


Considering the content of the link -- a kooky analogy about poly/cheating, a subject about which many MeFites Feel Strongly -- I didn't think the thread was going that badly either. This comment from turgid dahlia had me laughing out loud, and I thought it was a good sign that instead of grarcheating or grarpoly arguments, the thread would be a gigglefest. Oh well. Better luck next time, dude.
posted by Gator at 10:23 AM on September 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


I've made more than one post where I found something I thought was superfantastic only to have every comment express utter disdain at the link. Sure, it's a bummer, but I never considered asking for a deletion. This happens pretty often, as far as I can tell. You can't always forecast reax.

I think this is what prompted me to post this, my feeling that we often get posts here that are legitimately critiqued to the chagrin of the poster. It's certainly happened to me, as has finding something that I thought was pretty cool that only gets a comment or two. As with self-linking, self-deleting seems like something that people might not be the best judge of. I clicked into that thread this morning, having seen that it was deleted, and even with the deletion reason I had no idea why until I got to Artw's comment toward the bottom. The comments, almost totally, seemed completely within the range of legitimate reaction to the posted content.
posted by OmieWise at 10:24 AM on September 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Come on. He's not compelled to ask, but it seems obvious he felt like he needed to.

Yes, obviously.

Why? Because he didn't like the tone of the comments. Which were on topic and not threadshitting.

You said: "Maybe the part of the community that participated should think about why he had to ask for his post to be nuked."

I don't think his request should be cast as the community's fault or responsibility.
posted by zarq at 10:27 AM on September 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I can relate to the want to ask for my FPP to be nuked, particularly in my most recent FPP: the subject of the FPP popped into the thread, and then kept popping in and acting slightly fighty in his responses to others' criticisms. In my case, I wanted it nuked because it turned out looking like the guy was shilling his product through his comments; but I thought better of it after a while, and decided the ongoing conversation was valuable--MeFi was calling my subject out, in a way. But it was definitely not where I expected or wanted the thread to go. I knew I had to let that feeling pass, though, because I kinda like the contrast between "where I want/think it will go" and "where it actually goes."
posted by not_on_display at 10:27 AM on September 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


FWIW, I once requested that a post of mine be taken down because it was made in a state of altered mental status (literally) and when I found my right mind again, it was clear that the whole thing was ill advised. The mods very politely declined my request. They really don't make a habit of this.
posted by sonika at 10:30 AM on September 2, 2010


I don't think his request should be cast as the community's fault or responsibility.

I think we will just have to disagree on this.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:31 AM on September 2, 2010


Heh. You ever forget what you're reading on MeFi? (if you've opted for "professional white background") I read Artw's "Fuck this. I've requested the post be deleted" as his input in this thread, and thought that was pretty funny.

The reality, not so much.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:34 AM on September 2, 2010


posts so easily tipped over into being brainless shooting galleries of snark

That strikes me as a broader point worth addressing.

It gets tiresome and my (mistaken?) understanding is that the mods ain't so enthused about it, but it keeps happening, happening, happening.
posted by ambient2 at 10:35 AM on September 2, 2010


A debate on the treatment of women in comics and comics journalism does not belong in an FPP about digital comics.

Why not? I'm not being hostile, but IWS treatment of women in comics and comics journalism would be fair game if the linked article engages in one (comic journalism) and at least touches on the other.

Artw, I really don't think the conversations went all that badly in your recent posts. I understand if things didn't go the way you wanted them to, but sometimes that is ok.

Perhaps a MetaBreak and rejuvination?

chin up
posted by edgeways at 10:36 AM on September 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think it's not a bad idea to assume the mods know what they're doing, and have given it some thought before deleting it. A single instance does not a trend make.
posted by blue_beetle at 10:38 AM on September 2, 2010


Personally, I belong to the "you post your posts and take your lumps" school, but that's mainly because I didn't even consider asking to have my worst-post-evar taken down.
posted by davejay at 10:38 AM on September 2, 2010


HULK MAKE NEW POST, LOOKS FORWARD TO HAVING 100 COMMENTS TO DO HOUSEWORK AND GROCERY SHOPPING.
posted by nomadicink at 10:43 AM on September 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


...would be fair game if the linked article engages in one (comic journalism) and at least touches on the other.

Because this is a "touchy subject" issue which came up in an offhanded manner as a framing metaphor. Maybe I'm being hypocritical and underestimating the community ability to have a discussion on touchy matters. I've defended our ability to stay civil and have a discussion on touchy subjects repeatedly. However, I don't believe that there is enough meat in the article's problem it to have a real discussion about it. Should I have FIAMO'd rather than adding to the pileon? Probably. I tend to do that most of the time. But this time, just due to the fact that this article was adding fuel to a constantly (and rightly) inflamed issue in a community to which I, and many others here including ArtW, openly and actively belong, I couldn't just say nothing.
posted by griphus at 10:47 AM on September 2, 2010


We make look back as see 2010

IN EAGERNESS TO BE LOVED, HULK MAKE ADORABLE TYPOS!
posted by Gator at 10:49 AM on September 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


By the way, BP... I can sympathize with Artw. I asked for a post to be deleted back in April because MeFite Damn that Television launched a goatse attack against a site I'd linked to. I was completely infuriated about that at the time.

I really don't have a problem with artw asking for a deletion. I'm glad they're possible.

I guess at heart, I just don't think the responses to the post were that big a deal, or an example of MeFites acting too badly. They seemed like reasonable criticisms.
posted by zarq at 10:49 AM on September 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Well, let's get constructive about threadshitting (I disagree that the comments in the deleted post were threadshitting, but for this exercise I'll pretend):

1) Put a timer on posts so that no one can comment on it for 5 minutes.
2) More tricky: Check to see if they've opened the link and THEN time for 5 minutes.
posted by muddgirl at 10:49 AM on September 2, 2010


I'm interested in the topic but wasn't wild about the content; like a vast chunk of Comic Alliance's output, it's pretty glib and facile and obscures its point with dumb clowning. Although I do wish people would cut out the threadshitting, the observation that the author of the piece fucked up his article with stupid writing was appropriate. While some of the goofier comments in the thread could have been saved for later in the discussion - assuming they had to be made at all - requesting the post be yanked after only an hour, on a Wednesday night, because it didn't seem to be going anywhere good wasn't a great call.

I can understand Artw's frustration, as his posting frequency means he probably encounters a hell of a lot more thread shitting than the average bear, but I do wish he had gone with a different link on the topic, or given other people interested in the subject a chance to present some other links. For example, retailer/blogger Brian Hibbs has written a fair bit on digital comics and his perspective, as a retailer, on their role in the business (Spoiler: He's not so big on kissing them on the mouth.)
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:49 AM on September 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


I think we will just have to disagree on this.

OK.
posted by zarq at 10:50 AM on September 2, 2010


3) Start a subsite of members who are generally responsible. They get to see posts first and comment as desired. Once a buffer has been set, release the post to the rest of us schmoes.
posted by muddgirl at 10:51 AM on September 2, 2010


ArtW, I'm totally with you about hating threadshitting, and I love your posts, but man, you got to be tougher than this if you want to help maintain the high level of civility that I still believe is MeFis strong suit. As this site gets ever larger, for any given post there will be someone who wants to tell everyone how they shouldn't like it. It's e-jerk behavior for everyone when they hate something (and I don't mean to call you out but I've seen you do it before as well when you hate something, especially if it involves hipsters. They just make you boil over!).

The way to discourage this is NOT:

1. deleting your own good post out of frustration
2. jumping in and fighting back angrily whether it's your thread or not
3. complaining all the time about how terrible the practice is in unrelated threads
4. abandoning discussion of any subjects that don't go well or aren't going well
5. leaving the site

The way to deal with it IS:

1. Dropping lots of positive and/or insightful comments in threads that ignore the derails and This Sucks jerks, whether or not there are any... (leave more and longer comments in threads you love that are sparse to encourage folks to jump in as well).
2. Not shitting on any threads ever yourself even if you think you have a legit gripe about the content or the framing of the post. Just skip it.
3. If people are shitting on your own thread about something like what happened in yours, I do think it is acceptable to say something very early on like "Well I do think the article could be framed better, but what interested me about the topic was XXXX" as long as it is brief and not defensive at all.
4. if it is someone else's thread, every now and then I think it is helpful to ruthlessly dismiss the negative comments with a simple statement directly to the post author: "Everyone who hates this is wrong, it is good and thanks for posting it." with emphasis on why you like it and what issues it raises for you.
5. Most of the time though, flag it and hope that the mods will delete it. If you address it, they cannot.

The biggest thing is to Support Each-other. We folks who hate snark and negativity have to work together to make the environment more welcoming and fun and less entrenched and staid. When someone like DU who pops into every single advertisement related thread to tell us that we are suckers for talking about it, I think we just have to ignore him, cuz that's just like his thing. He's a very good poster otherwise, and when he makes an cool FPP we should make a point of saying how cool it is and how much we appreciate it. Be the change, or the ball, or whatever it is.

Now I'm off to listen to bob marley, one love people.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:51 AM on September 2, 2010 [15 favorites]


IN EAGERNESS TO BE LOVED, HULK MAKE ADORABLE TYPOS!

HULK HUMBLY ASK FOR MOD HELP.

APOLOGIES, HULK FIGHTING AGAINST GENERAL ROSS AND AVENGERS THIS MORNING VIA XBOX LIVE. HULK HAVE TOUGH LIFE.
posted by nomadicink at 10:51 AM on September 2, 2010 [5 favorites]


I recently put up an AskMe question that included a link to someone's blog post to provide both: 1) an explanation of the term I was asking about, and 2) evidence of the effort I had made to find an answer myself.

Someone who thought - quite mistakenly in my opinion - that this blog post in fact answered the question I was asking, implied in their "answer" that I was only posting the question to drive traffic to that blog.

Now saying my post sucks would be one thing. Accusing me of abusing the site for personal gain is something else. I felt deeply affronted - and my response did not take the high road. After the mods told me to knock it off, I asked them to remove the question. I felt then - and still do - that I was not obliged to provide this person with a permanent platform from which to groundlessly impugn my integrity.

Similarly, if any poster regrets providing people with an area in which to act (in the poster's view) like jerks, I believe the poster's wishes to have the post nuked should be respected.
posted by Joe Beese at 10:52 AM on September 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Dear Artw:

Thank you for the regular posting of interesting things with an uncanny correspondence to my own interests. You, personally, make the Blue a heck of a lot better for me than it would be otherwise -- I'd guess that your threads account for upwards of half of my participation in the Blue.

Not sorry for what constitutes a derail of this thread.
posted by Zed at 10:53 AM on September 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hibbs and Tom Spurgeon discuss the digital stuff a bit in this discussion (Scroll down to the picture of Batman, or just search text for 'digital'), where Hibbs makes pretty explicit his belief that digital should compliment brick and mortar retail.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:54 AM on September 2, 2010


What's wrong with flagging the comments that seem to be off-topic/threadshitting, and using the contact form as an additional way to tell the mods, hey, this threads going off the rails - halp?
posted by rtha at 10:55 AM on September 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I felt then - and still do - that I was not obliged to provide this person with a permanent platform from which to groundlessly impugn my integrity.

It's a general Site Rule that you don't link to things in your AskMe question unless they are pretty much mission critical to your question [or photos of your animals]. I don't even remember the post in question, but we pretty much as mods look askance at any link to anything in an AskMe question that isn't specifically explained "this is why this link NEEDS to be in my question"

If you can't explain in normal language why the person who is incorrect about you is incorrect, AskMe may not be a great place for interacting with people on the internet.

And just to be clear, I don't think there was really any threadshitting in ArtW's thread, but it's a larger scale problem and one that we'd prefer that people could maybe address themslves more than us having to come in and delete comments and leave notes. Ideally anyhow.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:58 AM on September 2, 2010


to be fair, it seems to have worked - the disgruntled writer crowd is (so far) nowhere to be seen in the new post.
posted by r_nebblesworthII at 11:18 AM on September 2, 2010


It's a general Site Rule that you don't link to things in your AskMe question unless they are pretty much mission critical to your question...

In this case, it was certainly helpful. But not critical.

Useful info. Tx.
posted by Joe Beese at 11:18 AM on September 2, 2010


> If people weren't doing the equivalent of threadshitting in it

I have no idea what you mean by "the equivalent of threadshitting" (which, frankly, sounds kind of weaselly, like "fellow traveler"), but (as zarq has said) there was no threadshitting, unless you define threadshitting as "anything the poster doesn't like." I followed the link before even looking at the discussion, and when I got to the part about the "totally smoking hot" "girl" you're supposed to dump your girlfriend for, I was pissed off and would definitely have said something about it if the thread hadn't been closed. If you don't want people to complain about disgusting crap in your link, don't post links with disgusting crap in them.

I'm sorry Artw (whom I like and respect) felt so injured as to ask for deletion, and I'm sorry the mods deleted it. If it's posted again, I guarantee there will be a similar discussion, as there should be. (Note that I have personally had a post significantly derailed by people complaining about the politics expressed at the linked site, so I am not just blowing smoke at someone else's expense.)
posted by languagehat at 11:23 AM on September 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


It wasn't the commenters that were at fault, it was the article. David Brothers is an insightful comic critic who made the mistake of wrapping an interesting and compelling argument--an argument that represents the mindsets of a lot of comic book fans right now--in an off-putting metaphor. He derailed his own article. Maybe people who are already invested in this debate could look past the metaphor but the general public was sure to trip up on the "digital comics is as awesome as cheating on your girlfriend!" line of thinking. The early comments in that thread were an honest reaction to that.
posted by turaho at 11:24 AM on September 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


I do remember the post, Joe Beese, and it was also kind of confusing as presented. I heard from a couple people who were wondering what was up because at a glance it did seem like you basically asked a question and then linked to a random blog entry that nominally answered it. Combination of that sort of asked-and-answered oddity and the general suspicion folks have toward any hint of gratuitous linkage in an askme post led to a fair amount of puzzlement.

Which is all framing stuff; I know your intent since you've clarified it, and a little bit of different presentation (either explicitly explaining what you did and didn't mean to reference in the linked blog post i.e. the pictures and not the text, or finding a different maybe picture-only source to reference to sidestep that confusion entirely) probably would have prevented any of that friction in the first place. Again, not really a big deal as far as we're concerned and we know you weren't up to anything, but that's detail stuff worth considering for future posts.

So, at that, it's obnoxious that someone was openly being a little challenging on the "why did you include that link?" front and I'd rather they hadn't, but it's just a question on ask metafilter, not a senate hearing. We went ahead and took the question down for you, but I honestly feel like your reaction to the whole thing was worse than anything else that happened there. I respect that you may feel very strongly about someone questioning your motives, but it did seem like kind of a crappy take-my-ball-and-go-home move if you want an honest opinion.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:25 AM on September 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'd like to see more aggressive pruning in certain cases.

Snark and negative comments are natural reactions to controversial topics. Unfortunately, they're also one of the more dependable ways to farm favourites, so that behaviour gets validated by the the nature of the site. It's as if "First Post!" comments were most likely to get upvoted on reddit.

So, my free, worthless advice would be to not be afraid to nuke even highly favourited comments if they're derailing. If we've evolved a culture where thread crapping is encouraged, maybe we need to start scooping more. Flags aren't downvotes (and shouldn't be), but we shouldn't be afraid to flag multi-favourite posts.
posted by bonehead at 11:28 AM on September 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Aw, shit. I was going to come back to that post later, ArtW, and actually discuss how I thought it was stupid that I had to inconveniently go to a damn comic book store to buy the last issue of Scott Pilgrim a few weeks ago. One store close to work didn't open until 2pm, which is not a reasonable time to take a lunch, and the other one close to home closed at 6pm, which required me to leave early. Then I went to my iPad and tried, fervently, to find a copy of the damn book that I could purchase legally, because I REALLY WANTED TO READ IT, AND I HAVE THE DISPOSABLE INCOME TO BUY IT, but, there was nothing. Nada. Not even a hint of when I might in the future be able to purchase it for download. Even here in L.A., comic book stores are not convenient and are a drag to go to. So, the rule that you can't put comic books on the internet until however-long-after its issuance is dumb.

I don't know if that was part of the discussion you sought, Artw, but I think that closing the thread was ... a bit petulant. This coming from a person that fucking looks forward to every single one of your posts, because you are my favorite source (and filter) for comic book related news. You taking back one of your posts is like Batman quitting in the middle of a fight because it's not quite going how he wants it to. "What, Joker? You weren't supposed to kill Robin. You know what, I'm packing up my bat-gear and moving on. You can go ruin some other super-hero's comic book."

*kicks dirt*
posted by jabberjaw at 11:29 AM on September 2, 2010


Wow, I didn't think the thread was going that badly. I'm sorry you felt that way Artw. I really like your posts and Comics Alliance both. Please keep on posting.
posted by josher71 at 11:29 AM on September 2, 2010


If it's posted again, I guarantee there will be a similar discussion, as there should be.

and yet mr. hat there is no significant complaining in the new post which has more links and de-emphasizes the romantic metaphor. why is that? my explanation is that most people who are actually interested in the subject can forgive the awkward metaphor and move on to discussing the point of the articles. people who just click every single link post to see what it is and then feel they "have" to respond as if in self-defense when they dislike something will miss the new post because they just go: oh comics ok i dont care about that.

Official Internet Ruling: Just because you don't like something doesn't mean you have to tell everyone. No revolutions will be televised either way.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:32 AM on September 2, 2010 [5 favorites]




Joe Beese: Now saying my post sucks would be one thing. Accusing me of abusing the site for personal gain is something else. I felt deeply affronted - and my response did not take the high road. After the mods told me to knock it off, I asked them to remove the question. I felt then - and still do - that I was not obliged to provide this person with a permanent platform from which to groundlessly impugn my integrity.

Something similar happened with an AskMe I posed a while back, I felt that responses were condescending and incorrect and instead of flagging and moving on I took it as a personal attack and chose to "defend my honor". I looked back at that thread (and the resulting Metatalk) a few months ago and felt embarrassed for what I did regardless of my "righteousness"; I didn't want the respondents to "groundlessly impugn my integrity" so I wound up doing it myself by becoming an overly-defensive jackass.
posted by Challahtronix at 11:33 AM on September 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


This coming from a person that fucking looks forward to every single one of your posts, because you are my favorite source (and filter) for comic book related news.

It's a post about comic books, so of course it's not really dead.
posted by nomadicink at 11:33 AM on September 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


there is no significant complaining in the new post which has more links and de-emphasizes the romantic metaphor. why is that?

The second link in that new post goes to a pretty fucking awesome FPP.

*Buffs nails on lapel*
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:34 AM on September 2, 2010


my free, worthless advice would be to not be afraid to nuke even highly favourited comments if they're derailing.

I have favorites [and favourites] turned off so they don't sway my "should this be deleted" mindset at all, fwiw.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:37 AM on September 2, 2010


I am, if anything, inclined to do it more often now, given that a couple of my posts lately have basically become playgrounds for threadshitters, assholes and empty snarkers. If the content of the post itself is going to be ignored, or there's going to be an excessive focus on areas where mefites can pull out canned snark, then why fucking bother?

This is pretty much whiny bullshit, no offense.
posted by empath at 11:38 AM on September 2, 2010


This is pretty much whiny bullshit, no offense.

Are you trying to make an ironic statement about your member name? 'Cause it's totally working. Kudos!

In all seriousness, artw's upset about something that at least a few of us have experienced before. I don't think calling him names when he's feeling disillusioned or annoyed is terribly constructive.
posted by zarq at 11:42 AM on September 2, 2010 [6 favorites]


more like 'em-pithy'
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:43 AM on September 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


And yes, I do realize that you're technically not calling him names. I just don't think we should be kicking him while he's down, so to speak.
posted by zarq at 11:43 AM on September 2, 2010


This is pretty much whiny bullshit, no offense.

You are frequently incredibly crabby with people both here and in MeFi and it's a problem. It would be nice if you would do less of this. Thanks.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:45 AM on September 2, 2010 [9 favorites]


it's just a question on ask metafilter, not a senate hearing

A useful reminder. It's just that - as poorly as I may demonstrate it - this place means a lot to me. So a charge of acting in bad faith towards it really hurt my feelings.

Anyway, I appreciate the question being removed.
posted by Joe Beese at 11:49 AM on September 2, 2010


you have a good idea of whether a thread is going well or if it is going not so well. --- As someone who has been around a pretty long time, I can say that this is false. You can sometimes guess whether a thread will go well or badly, especially if the topic of the thread is a known hot button issue. Other times, though, you can get completely blind-sided, and you can easily get a reaction that bubbles up explosively, for reasons completely unknown. It's a shame that ArtW is being plagued by people intent on shooting down anything he posts. It's an unfortunate side-effect of the petty bullshit that happens here. I suggest he cool his heels on the post button for awhile until either his tormentors get a life, or he feels less sensitive to their games.
posted by crunchland at 12:30 PM on September 2, 2010


I guess I'm confused about the MeFi definition of "threadshitting", because I don't see any comments in that thread that fit what I have, until now, held in my head as the meaning of that particular term.

I thought that threadshitting was when you make comments disparaging the post on the "why is this even here" level.

All the comments I read in that thread are talking about the concepts of the post, either comparing digital comics to physical ones (discussing convenience, price, annoying bookstore workers), with one or two actually funny jokes about digital comics themselves.

Maybe one of the mods can help clarify for me a working definition of "threadshitting" so I don't do it without meaning to?
posted by hippybear at 12:35 PM on September 2, 2010


"From our end: it's something that doesn't come up much and which we don't really like doing either, but at the end of the day if someone is really really unhappy with a post they've made to the blue and it hasn't really taken on a life of it's own and it hasn't been up for long, we may go ahead and do it for them. "

Posters request as a deletion reason is annoying but understandable on AskMe. It's infuriating on the blue. Maybe most so in the cases when it's not obvious why the poster has asked. I'm at work so no deleted threads script but I think it was a gman post a couple weeks ago that got "posters request" deleted and it appeared to be totally innocuous. Drives me batty every time I see it and if it wasn't for the plagiarism aspect I'd be sorely tempted to immediately repost every time it happens.

I feel a bit better about it now that I know it is both a one time per user thing and the mods have said no on occasion.

PS: I didn't realize so many people feel ownership of their past FPPs and the comments they spawn. Though it does offer an explanation of the rush to post breaking news and celebrity death threads that I hadn't considered before.

PPS: thanks for posting this OmieWise; I was working on a meta with several examples but couldn't seem to compose something that wasn't all GRAR! after the latest example so I'd decided to let it percolate for a while.
posted by Mitheral at 12:44 PM on September 2, 2010


What I want to know is, after people threadshit, do they:

a) wipe while sitting, or
b) wipe while standing (which is very, very wrong).
posted by everichon at 12:49 PM on September 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


IT'S ONLY WORDS ON A SCREEN PEOPLE

AND IT'S ONLY A WEBSITE
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 12:53 PM on September 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


I think single-link editorial posts should be deleted as a matter of course anyway.

It's exactly the same end result as posting your own blog entry. Just because you googled around and found someone else who wrote what you agree with, doesn't make it any more useful or valid.
posted by drjimmy11 at 12:53 PM on September 2, 2010


I thought that threadshitting was when you make comments disparaging the post on the "why is this even here" level.

That's pretty much it. "this sucks" "you suck" "flagged!" "weak sauce" "I hated this" and similar sentiments early in a thread can set a tone that could make an otherwise okay thread go badly. This is not to say that people can only say positive things about a post, but that there are really only a few situations

- the thread is going to be deleted anyhow, so don't pollute it in case it takes us a while to get to it
- the thread is not going to be deleted, so please deal with the fact that other people like it and would like to talk about it without you stinking up the joint
- the thread is not going to be deleted and people don't really like the topic of the post, so use your words and have a discussion with the other people who want to talk about it why they don't like it.

Basically the assumption on our part is that if you really don't like something, you should flag and move on. If you really don't like it AND you don't even like that it's on MetaFilter at all, that's what MetaTalk is specifically designed for.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:55 PM on September 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


IT'S ONLY WORDS ON A SCREEN PEOPLE

Yes, but they're my words. And my work went into creating a post. So you can understand why I might be invested in the thread going smoothly. That's human nature, yes? I try not to babysit and self-mod my threads. It's not always easy.

AND IT'S ONLY A WEBSITE

That's just crazytalk! :)
posted by zarq at 1:11 PM on September 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


everichon, the more-worldly prefer an Internet bidet of adorable videos to provide that mentally-fresh feeling before moving on to the next post. In fact, I'm learning just to leave Where The Hell Is Matt? open in a tab and hit replay every time I think I might fuck up.

I suspect I have to go watch it now, actually.
posted by Uniformitarianism Now! at 1:14 PM on September 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Yeah, exactly.

Substantial criticism of the content of the post's links is one thing, and it's generally fine bordering on explicitly good (but sometimes gets mixed in with some general grumpiness or fightiness which is not so good). If you can do a good job of talking in a respectful and engaging way about something you think is problematic with the link contents, that's cool.

But substanceless grousing or doomsaying or people intentionally making a ruckus in a thread to denote their dislike of the thread or the post pretty much always sucks; that's what generally falls under the vague umbrella that is "threadshitting". It's hard to define more cleanly than that, unfortunately.

If you want to talk respectfully about why a post in its own right is a problem, that's more of a job for Metatalk. Metacommentary or policy discussions that are happening in the wrong place may get called threadshitting as well even if it's not precisely the same sort of thing.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:14 PM on September 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


But substanceless grousing... pretty much always sucks

I'm sorry I've sucked the place up, cortex. I'll try my best to raise the level of substance in my comments.
posted by grouse at 1:22 PM on September 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


IT'S ONLY WORDS ON A SCREEN PEOPLE

AND IT'S ONLY A WEBSITE


LOUD NOISES! I DON'T KNOW WHY WE'RE SHOUTING!
posted by sonika at 1:23 PM on September 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Thanks, cortex and jessamyn. I appreciate your feedback, and understand the concept of threadshitting now.

I still don't think I see any such thing going on in the deleted thread we are discussing. So I guess the deletion really was because of how the discussion wasn't what the poster wanted. It's a shame. I thought it was a good post. I do agree with the comment earlier that the linked article itself probably derailed the discussion before it even had a chance to begin. But I've had a few of my own posts go WAY off track from where I thought discussion would go when I wrote them... sometimes that's what happens when you suggest a topic, I think. People are people. If you really want to have a discussion go exactly where you think it should, write a novel.
posted by hippybear at 1:41 PM on September 2, 2010


This is pretty much whiny bullshit, no offense.
posted by empath


It has puzzled me deeply for so long, empath, that you would name yourself for a capacity I have never seen you display the slightest trace of, yet without ever betraying a hint of a shadow of an awareness of the incandescent irony of this circumstance, that I can only thank you for resolving such a troubling mystery for me, as you recently did.
posted by jamjam at 1:50 PM on September 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I still don't think I see any such thing going on in the deleted thread we are discussing.

Yeah, to be clear, I didn't feel like there was any real threadshitting going on in there either. In my ideal world the post would still be standing, but in context and as a rarity that's the way we went with it last night.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:55 PM on September 2, 2010


So, my free, worthless advice would be to not be afraid to nuke even highly favourited comments if they're derailing.

The problem is that "derail" is kind of like "judicial activism". Derail is a word that except in the absolutely most flagrant cases simply means something you don't like. One person's derail is another person's natural and interesting flow of conversation.

alia: IT'S ONLY WORDS ON A SCREEN PEOPLE ... AND IT'S ONLY A WEBSITE

This actually explains a lot. Metafilter is a website but it is most certainly not "only a website" and all the lack of importance or relevance which the word "only" implies. Metafilter is primarily a community.
posted by Justinian at 2:03 PM on September 2, 2010


LOUD NOISES! I DON'T KNOW WHY WE'RE SHOUTING!

Emphasis!
posted by zarq at 2:11 PM on September 2, 2010


If Mefi was "only a website" Matt could move it to GeoCities.

GeoCities does still exist, doesn't it?
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 2:13 PM on September 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Mitheral: It's infuriating on the blue. Maybe most so in the cases when it's not obvious why the poster has asked. I'm at work so no deleted threads script but I think it was a gman post a couple weeks ago that got "posters request" deleted and it appeared to be totally innocuous. Drives me batty every time I see it and if it wasn't for the plagiarism aspect I'd be sorely tempted to immediately repost every time it happens.

Guilty as charged. I asked for my thread to be deleted because according the the first comment, the site required Silverlight - something I'd never heard of before. I then received an email from another user notifying me that he was having the same issue. When I asked for the thread to be deleted based on this fact, a mod told me that I should start a MeTa because people need to stop taking issue with Silverlight. To be honest, I couldn't be bothered.

Having said that, if "poster's request" truly drives you "batty", you are free to repost any of my deleted threads should something similar happen again.
posted by gman at 2:13 PM on September 2, 2010


I requested a post that I made be deleted because it turned out the site was hosting unauthorized content, and another because in better judgment it seemed like an email harvester. Those kinds of structural hinky-ness kinds of reasons that a poster's request for it to be deleted should be granted.

Once a post is made, it really shouldn't be up to the poster to dictate how the discussion goes. The snark in this post was clearly on the level and aimed at the content, not the poster, the posting style, nor was it just lazy "This sucks" type comments. Just wanting a post deleted because people aren't glowing about the links' contents is kind of silly.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:21 PM on September 2, 2010


Ah yes Silverlight. It's annoying but not delete worthy in itself. If it's any consolation I thought the site was interesting which was part of the annoyingness of the deletion.

GeoCities does still exist, doesn't it?

Nope, The powers that be at Yahoo! (#2 on the Those Bastards list after Fox) shuttered it a while ago.
posted by Mitheral at 2:24 PM on September 2, 2010


GeoCities does still exist, doesn't it?

It does in Japan.
posted by jedicus at 2:26 PM on September 2, 2010


I do not begrudge him his disappointment that a hey-guys-look-at-this-cool-thing post got swamped by other users' facile attempts at comedy. He asked for it to be deleted and the mods were fine with doing so. Why is this an issue?

I just don't see how this actually solves the very real problem of threadshitting that happens here regularly. For one, I didn't notice any threadshitting in that particular thread. Secondly, just causing a post to disappear is unlikely to convince anyone who engages in drive-by snark that they should stop. I wish people in threads themselves would uphold and reinforce the sort of commenting that is interesting, thoughtful, or just *not crap*, rather than having to wait for a mod to show up and delete things. I mean, that's kind of the essence of "community standards"- they're on display from the people in the community( in varying degrees of fluidity and intensity- I don't think everyone should behave the same or think the same as everyone else, because that would be boring and lame) not something imposed externally by authority. That should be kind of the worst case scenario final solution.

BTW, for anyone who thinks it's noise, I like it when people show up in a thread just to say "thanks!" or "nice post". Nothing wrong with expressing appreciation.
posted by oneirodynia at 2:32 PM on September 2, 2010


Angelfire is still kickin' as well.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:33 PM on September 2, 2010


BTW, for anyone who thinks it's noise, I like it when people show up in a thread just to say "thanks!" or "nice post". Nothing wrong with expressing appreciation.

I totally agree. Lately it seems like I have already seen many of the posts already on boingboing, fark, the gawker empire, or elsewhere, so when I see something really neat sometimes I just like to say thanks.
posted by vincele at 2:47 PM on September 2, 2010


CAPITAL LETTERS ARE THEIR OWN REWARD
posted by everichon at 2:55 PM on September 2, 2010


hulk tired now.
posted by nomadicink at 2:56 PM on September 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Regarding Silverlight, I've found that if you add in a note that says which link in your post contains it (either above or below the fold or in a comment,) that can reduce or eliminate complaints. Not one person complained in this post, for example.

I've never tried that on a SLS (single-link Silverlight) post, though.
posted by zarq at 2:58 PM on September 2, 2010


I asked that my latest post get deleted, and it wasn't, and I feel like a douche for asking. I'm still zarked off that what I posted (me: "hey, this is fun and I laughed. I have no idea what it is.") was very ungenerously interpreted (first comment: "maxwelton is a racist!").

Lessons learned: 1) Don't post "funny" throw-away stuff (probably not bad advice in any case); 2) Stick to stuff you either know about or can figure out; 3) Some people are just going to be jerks, you're probably one of them, too. Deal.
posted by maxwelton at 3:13 PM on September 2, 2010


I was under the impression that "threadshitting" also included using a post as an excuse to talk about your own personal and controversial pet topic. If the post is "Obama Gives a Speech to Kids About the Importance of Schooling" and your comment is "What about the importance of not LYING about your BIRTH CERTIFICATE, LIE-BAMA?" then that's threadshitting. Or maybe that's hijacking the thread?

Arguments about threadshitting, in this case and others, seem to hinge on whether the post is about what's behind the links, or about what the links themselves are about. If I link to -- using a silly example here -- a YouTube video of a clown singing a song about the importance of getting tested for STDs, is the post about getting tested for STDs or about the incongruity of the clown or the quality of the songwriting? If the original poster wanted to talk about getting tested for STDs and they thought that the clown video was a cute way to open the subject, they're probably going to be disappointed by the ensuing conversation.

There's also this kind of grey area that fascinates me, and that's when the conversation ends up focusing on one particular small aspect of the post. It's not technically threadshitting or hijacking or whatever you want to call it, because it's about the post itself, but when the discussion isn't about the clown or the song or getting tested, but instead about the fact that the clown is wearing Chuck Taylors and everybody starts swapping stories about Chuck Taylors. Generally I think it's kind of an interesting example of the quirks of human communication, but then generally I didn't make the post.
posted by lore at 3:19 PM on September 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


If the post is "Obama Gives a Speech to Kids About the Importance of Schooling" and your comment is "What about the importance of not LYING about your BIRTH CERTIFICATE, LIE-BAMA?" then that's threadshitting. Or maybe that's hijacking the thread?

It's definitely hijacking/derailing. It's definitely not great. Whether that goes under the "threadshitting" umbrella or not is the kind of question that mostly just underscores the vagueness of the term.

I could loosely define threadshitting as "doing anything other than making an effort to substantially and in good faith contribute to the thread", but that's sort of handwavey and under a close reading could seem too dismissive of totally acceptable banter and non-obnoxious silliness.

Another formulation might be to say that the trick to avoiding threadshitting is to be sure to leave a thread no worse than you found it. Which may sometimes mean just leaving the thread straight away. The biggest problem with that definition (aside from the subjectivity that curses any of these) is that a lot of people could read that as meaning that if things are already going badly, they can join in because it's not like things were good before they got there.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:28 PM on September 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


I commented in the thread, then looked in on it a while later and was a little stunned to see Artw had said "fuck you all." That was in addition to the earlier "Fuck this, I'm asking for the post to be deleted." First the "fuck you all" got deleted, then a few minutes later the whole post was gone. I thought saying "fuck you all" was kind of bizarre and it just made me think he was in a bad place mentally and was really, really overreacting. It was getting late on a weeknight for a lot of regulars, and the post had been up less than an hour and it seems like he hadn't given it a chance to develop before he snapped.

The way the linked article itself was framed was weird and it's not surprising that that got noticed, so I don't think commenting on that constituted "threadshitting," which is a term that gets overused here these says.
posted by longsleeves at 3:28 PM on September 2, 2010


And just for a recent example. The thread about the Harvard Dating service [assumedly somewhat lulzy] was derailed out of the gate by someone basically saying that all Harvard students should be stabbed with a reusty butter knife because they are entitled pricks. And then a bunch of other people piled on that guy, often by making comments that were really otherwise useful but then tossing in a gratuitous "and YOU'RE a douchebag" and naming the threadshitter by name.

So we get a little stuck. We can delete the comment, but then we either have to delete the four comments replying to that comment, or leave the OPs name but not their comment for people to be all "wha happen?" or ask people if we can edit their comments [life's too short, I don't generally do this] or ....? I don't really care if people want to say "hey this website is pretty stupid" but I think there's an obvious line to be between that and someone basicaly just angrily attacking the keyboard because they're mad at a website [see Civil_Disobedient's comment that I left because it's not early threadshitting but it's still pretty useless as far as encouraging any sort of discussion goes]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:30 PM on September 2, 2010


I really regret every attempt at humor I make online. I should have a PostIt note on my screen saying "That will not be even mildly amusing or clever in five minutes."

Seriously, I was just talking to someone about this the other day and I think I understand the sensitivity that ArtW is displaying here to ritualistic snarky-internet-cleverness performance art garbage. Looking back at my own comments I can see it and its exhausting even when it's me.

Like someone up-thread said, that feeling may just mean its time for a break. it can't hurt, even if doesn't end up helping. That's my self-diagnosis/prescription, anyway.
posted by ServSci at 3:36 PM on September 2, 2010


chacun à son goat

new meme alert!
posted by telstar at 4:19 PM on September 2, 2010


new meme alert!

Mais, c'est la même alert.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 5:17 PM on September 2, 2010 [7 favorites]


Or, you could buy a parrot and ask it, nicely, to be your friend.
posted by Zenabi at 5:55 PM on September 2, 2010


Ceci n'est pas une meme.
posted by kyleg at 5:56 PM on September 2, 2010


awww, artw, don't get burnt out here because your posts & contributions are great.

I've sometimes had to just go leave things that I've posted because the early comments get me so irritated. Sucks. But when I get that old casting-my-pearls before-swine feeling I know it is time to go do something else. And usually if I leave it and come back later I am happily surprised by someone who has salvaged things with a thoughtful or awesome comment or some great links fleshing things out. Sometimes mefi can be so irritating, but usually it is self-correcting.
posted by madamjujujive at 7:28 PM on September 2, 2010


I haven't been online much (for me, I mean) in the past week or so, but I get the impression that what Artw's reacting to has less to do with just this thread than a general irritation with crappy threads that I am speculating exist but have not read. For me, I rarely know going in what to expect (FPPs I have made that I figured were in line with the interests and imaginations of MeFi at large have sunk like stones; single-links to fifty-year-old science fiction comics about giant ants and other such instances of amusing but basically insubstantial random bullshit have turned into genuinely interesting conversations), but I don't think I've ever been driven to total fucking fury by the feedback to anything I've posted, either...but Artw also posts a lot more to MeFi than I do.

In this particular case, I think what sucks is that the subject at hand is an interesting one -- not just for comics readers, but for readers and our culture at large, because digital's the way that publishing overall is going, and what that will mean will affect our lives pretty profoundly (ultimately, it may mean the end of bookstores altogether, which will be quite a social shift, though we may not feel it all at once) -- but the article is unfortunate in its framing of the subject at hand, and it's really unfortunate for an FPP on MetaFilter, where digital publishing is just not ever going to be as exciting as discussing sexist douchebaggery and its much-storied intersection with comics fandom. It's an article that is saying something worth hearing, but in a way that says something else that its author gave very little thought to; and if an article has some sexist subtext, then brothers and sisters, MeFi will be all over that shit. I figure Artw knew that but figured that we'd possibly, like, address the article's text-text sooner or later, and while I can see why he was pissed that didn't happen, it's also...well...kind of predictable it didn't happen. It may have happened had the thread gone on longer, but it also may have turned into an epic and inevitably MeTaed thread about sexist comics fans, too, which while interesting is only tangential to the larger and less-explored ideas (in other words: we know that a lot of comics fans are sexist douchebags, but we don't yet know how digital publishing will affect that medium). Were it me, I would probably wish I hadn't posted it, too.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:35 PM on September 2, 2010


I've sometimes had to just go leave things that I've posted because the early comments get me so irritated. Sucks. But when I get that old casting-my-pearls before-swine feeling I know it is time to go do something else.

I got some pushback on a recent post, but it was by the usual dinks, so I got a chuckle out it. It does piss me off when people who consistently post good stuff have to put up with that sort of garbage, though: 90% of the time, threadshitting happens in the first 10 comments. And 90% of the time, the threadshitter is one out of the ten people one expects to threadshit. So, mathematically, I believe the solution is to have some sort of mechanism in place to randomly delete 20% of all of those peoples' comments and just let probability have its way.

DISCLAIMER: ALL PERCENTAGES MADE UP. I AM NOT GOOD WITH MATH. I PROBABLY COULDN'T NAME TEN PREDICTABLE THREADSHITTERS. STILL, IF YOU RECOGNIZE A BIT OF YOURSELF IN WHAT I AM SAYING AND THINK THAT I AM ADVOCATING THE RANDOM DELETION OF 20% OF YOUR COMMENTS, THEN YOU PROBABLY ARE AN ASSHOLE AND SHOULD EITHER INVEST A LITTLE MORE THOUGHT INTO COMMENTING OR A LITTLE LESS OF YOUR TIME.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:09 PM on September 2, 2010


I guess now we find out the horrible consequences.
posted by Zed at 3:34 PM on September 3, 2010


© 1999-2010 MetaFilter Network Inc.
All posts are © their original authors.


Seems pretty straightforward to me.

(Out of curiosity, if I asked for all my posts and comments to be deleted across all Meta* sites, would my request be granted? If not, what does that © mean, exactly?)
posted by obiwanwasabi at 2:01 AM on September 4, 2010


It would not be granted. That little circumscribed c means that you retain authorship of the comments and posts you've made here; we will never resell or redistribute those comments outside the scope of normal mefi server operations without your permission and make no claim to any right to do so or to have gained any specific right to control that content beyond publishing it on Metafilter.

You putting it up here in the first place is basically an implicit grant of a non-exclusive license to us to display it here where you put it, as you put it, when you chose to share it with the world.

If you have a specific comment or post or a small handful of same that you come to regret having on the site for one reason or another (privacy, some sort of unexpected publishing conflict, whatever) we're gonna be totally understanding if you want to drop us a line and say "hey, can we make this and that go away?" because we understand that's the way life works some times.

But asking for your entire posting history to be erased would be really, really disruptive; you're not just posting your idle thoughts to your blog in a vacuum here, you're participating in a community, having and starting conversations, collaborating however passively in the creation of a large living document. The loss that comes from zapping someone's posting history wholesale would be larger than the sum of their individual contributions.

And that's basically it. We've been taking occasional long hard looks at a potential ToS document to make this and other things explicit, but it keeps not being the highest priority.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:09 AM on September 4, 2010


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