Josephine and Frederick's grand feedback
November 16, 2010 11:01 AM   Subscribe

A recent post about a Belgian couple's journey (by Toyota Landcruiser) through the Congo has garnered both praise and criticism; now the author of the piece, Frederick, has shown up in thread to discuss his experiences and answer questions.
posted by jokeefe to MetaFilter-Related at 11:01 AM (92 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

Neat!
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:11 AM on November 16, 2010


I think you forgot to add the illogical conclusion you ended up with after people participated in the thread, the threat of quitting metafilter, and calling out somebody because they said something nice about your mom.

Thats metatalk.
posted by hal_c_on at 11:13 AM on November 16, 2010


I hope he sticks around. That conversation is going much better than the last time something like this happened. Been too busy at work to contribute, but I'm happy it's been a fruitful exchange.
posted by Devils Rancher at 11:14 AM on November 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


I was one of the people who had more criticism than praise for the story (and in a couple of places fairly harsh criticism) but Frederick has engaged with all comments both good-naturedly and with respect, so much credit to him.
posted by jokeefe at 11:16 AM on November 16, 2010 [8 favorites]


HA! Thank you so much for linking to Dery's rebuttal, DR. I always love it when mefites get these little reminders that there is not some magical line of demarcation surrounding a post that protects them from outside view, including the people they're talking about.

I also love it when the subject of a post turns up in-thread, and the tone of the comments changes immediately. For every thread where that happens, there are probably a hundred where the person is just reading the thread silently and seething -- or laughing at us.
posted by hermitosis at 11:22 AM on November 16, 2010 [6 favorites]


tremendous, really great to see some thoughtful answers by the author.
posted by boo_radley at 11:28 AM on November 16, 2010


I always love it when mefites get these little reminders that there is not some magical line of demarcation surrounding a post that protects them from outside view, including the people they're talking about.

A little while back, I posted a comment about how much I hated "Looking for Calvin and Hobbes", and immediately upon posting it, I was like, "Fuck. The author seems like exactly the kind of person who would be on metafilter. This is gonna be awkward." I'm surprised that he didn't actually pop up.
posted by Greg Nog at 11:30 AM on November 16, 2010


I missed that Mark Dery exchange the first time around. That was a lot of fun - thanks for it.
posted by jbickers at 11:39 AM on November 16, 2010


I always love it when mefites get these little reminders that there is not some magical line of demarcation surrounding a post that protects them from outside view, including the people they're talking about.

I read one of his books and I can tell you that Wil Wheaton is not a fan of Metafilter.
posted by bondcliff at 11:45 AM on November 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


hat off to jokeefe {deep bow}
(I
:)
posted by clavdivs at 11:47 AM on November 16, 2010


Direct link to Frederick's first comment. He stayed around to reply to questions, which really added to the initial post.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:56 AM on November 16, 2010


the tone of the comments changes immediately.

Curious as to how the tone of the comments changed "immediately" just because Frederick showed up in the thread? Examples please.
posted by jeanmari at 12:05 PM on November 16, 2010


I always find it interesting that people arriving on MetaFilter to comment in threads about themselves seem to be really polite and very carefully direct their questions at individuals: "Hello Mike, thanks for your comments". Yet I rarely see this comment template elsewhere (perhaps because I tend to hang around sarcasm traps).

I have nothing to say about the actual subject of the thread.
posted by doublehappy at 12:14 PM on November 16, 2010


hermitosis: I also love it when the subject of a post turns up in-thread, and the tone of the comments changes immediately.

But it shouldn't be surprising. Before someone is present, all we have to go by is their words or their presentation elsewhere. They aren't here to react, so what is said is less filtered, possibly amplified by similar voices. Then the person joins the conversation, and there's a dialog instead of one-sided criticism and/or praise.

And on MetaFilter, we fancy ourselves a community of friends. There are some known instigators on certain topics, but we know that because of their history here, amongst us. So we try to be positive with new people. Hey, you paid $5, welcome to the clubhouse!

Also because Metafilter is an existing community where there are actual discussions instead of LOLbutts and potshot after potshot, people try to be pleasant when they join conversations that are somewhat heated. If it's all vitriol, that's a different case, but there were positive comments in with the negative.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:21 PM on November 16, 2010


Maybe it's just the language barrier and that he's the post subject, but I was surprised no one seemed bothered that he essentially drops a partially veiled threat in one of his responses-- "It makes me angry if you call Josephine an asshole (I am a testosterone filled body like all of you) and I would not recommend to do that to me in person."
posted by haveanicesummer at 12:21 PM on November 16, 2010


Fuck this. I'm angrier about this now than when I made my last comment.

Partly that's because the full ugliness of the original article is something that takes a while a while to dawn (shit, you mean you skipped the legitimate tolls/taxes as well? Because you didn't like that they went to the central government? And you still want to criticize corruption amongst unpaid policemen?)

But also because charming and disarming as Fred may be, there's a whole lot of disingenuous reframing of the content of the original forum posts going on in Fred's comments in the mefi thread. He's changing his backstory in the knowledge that half the commenters there didn't read the fucking article.

And that's just crap.
posted by Ahab at 12:22 PM on November 16, 2010 [6 favorites]


haveanicesummer, that's standard Internet tough-guy stuff. Bet he knows judo, too.
posted by MrMoonPie at 12:24 PM on November 16, 2010


I'm not reading that as a threat so much as a reminder that he's a man and you happen to be talking about his wife... hm? how would you respond?
posted by The Lady is a designer at 12:24 PM on November 16, 2010


I dunno, I still see a fair amount of sniffy, assume-the-worst, scan-the-article-for-the-potentially-objectionable weirdness.
posted by Artw at 12:26 PM on November 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Maybe it's just the language barrier and that he's the post subject, but I was surprised no one seemed bothered that he essentially drops a partially veiled threat in one of his responses-- "It makes me angry if you call Josephine an asshole (I am a testosterone filled body like all of you) and I would not recommend to do that to me in person."

I really did not take this as a veiled threat -- by any stretch of the imagination.
posted by blucevalo at 12:33 PM on November 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


Hm. By following the Dery link above, I found one of The Straightener's comments, only to find out he isn't one of my favorites mefites but was one of my favorite mefites. Humph.
posted by maxwelton at 12:36 PM on November 16, 2010


No, it was a pretty explicit threat.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:37 PM on November 16, 2010 [4 favorites]


Addendum to my comment upthread:

People are nice to content creators who join the thread because before the best they could do would be to thank the person who posted the link(s). But when someone who created the work in question joins the discussion, there's the ability to thank that person directly (as well as question their actions).
posted by filthy light thief at 12:43 PM on November 16, 2010


I'm not reading that as a threat so much as a reminder that he's a man and you happen to be talking about his wife... hm? how would you respond?
posted by The Lady is a designer


I don't have a wife, but if someone called my girlfriend an asshole on the internet I would not say essentially "Better not say that to my face or you'll get PUNCHED cause I'm a MAN!" I do think he's trying very hard to address people politely and come off as thoughtful and friendly, but at the end of his comments he keeps slipping up.
posted by haveanicesummer at 12:46 PM on November 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


This may be the testosterone talking but...
posted by found missing at 12:59 PM on November 16, 2010


YOU HAVE A BUTT THAT SPEAKS IN TESTOSTERONE?
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:05 PM on November 16, 2010 [4 favorites]


WTF Artw, you're insane, Eat Pray Love was a great movie!!!
posted by nomadicink at 1:12 PM on November 16, 2010


A couple weeks ago I posted that Vonnegut tribute/story/critique and the author showed up to thank us for talking about it.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:15 PM on November 16, 2010


testosterone talking butt

my new sockpuppet?
posted by found missing at 1:16 PM on November 16, 2010


I generally refuse to read anything titled "Heart of Darkness" except the actual book.

It's just...not something I do.

Interesting that he came into the thread though.
posted by the young rope-rider at 1:23 PM on November 16, 2010


I hope that he learns something here. We as Americans don't travel the globe flaunting our privilege. We try to treat all nations with respect and humility. Thats something belgium should learn.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:28 PM on November 16, 2010 [13 favorites]


Thats metatalk.
posted by hal_c_on


Oh, you poor dear! If only that nasty cortex and brutish jessamyn hadn't forced their way into your home, tied you to the chair, and forced you to continue visiting MetaFilter and its related environs.

Seriously dude, if the place fills you with such loathing that you can't help but make every second comment a whining put-down of the place, stop punishing yourself and close the browser already. I'm beginning to think you aren't even trying to learn the Blue.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 1:32 PM on November 16, 2010


Oh well, what do I know, brain's starved of nourishment, better get my progesterone filled yet nicely shaped for my age parts into the kitchen
posted by The Lady is a designer at 1:32 PM on November 16, 2010


Maybe it's just the language barrier and that he's the post subject, but I was surprised no one seemed bothered that he essentially drops a partially veiled threat in one of his responses-- "It makes me angry if you call Josephine an asshole (I am a testosterone filled body like all of you) and I would not recommend to do that to me in person."

it was neither a veiled threat, nor inappropriate. Call my wife names for no good reason, I'll punch you in the nose if I ever meet you.

Well actually I probably wouldn't, I'd let you explain yourself, and all that, but the point is, there's no need to get sniffy about what he wrote.
posted by wilful at 1:43 PM on November 16, 2010


Call my wife names for no good reason

Well, they weren't singling out the wife. Instead, the critique was that both were behaving like assholes, which may not be the politic way of phrasing it, but, with the exception of the inevitable "Christ, what assholes" joke, people supported why they think the folks were being a bit thickheaded and insensitive.

If my girlfriend acts like an asshole, and somebody calls her on it, I expect that she can address the fact and doesn't require me to punch anybody.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:46 PM on November 16, 2010 [5 favorites]


Metafilter is full of truly saintlike individuals who would never go anywhere where there might be poor people, for the sake of the poor people.
posted by Artw at 1:58 PM on November 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


I was about to tease Astro Zombie for having a girlfriend in typical third-grader fashion but then I got sidetracked wondering why the archetypal place for kissing is in a tree.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:59 PM on November 16, 2010 [4 favorites]


Well, I find it quite honorable to at least threaten to punch on my behalf... even a mild "Oi" would do tbh

*flutters eyelashes*

*coos my hero*

*drops eyelash into dinner plate*

&^%$%$$
posted by The Lady is a designer at 2:03 PM on November 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's funny, because no one ever complains about it when Americans drive across the USA, even though Americans have a long history of behaving like assholes there.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 2:03 PM on November 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


If the halo fits...

Honestly, though. I feel like shit when I wander around and am clearly in a better position than the people I interact with - whether that's in my neighborhood, in the rest of the world, whatever. Obviously I somehow manage to get through my liberal white guilt and continue on with my life, but it's something I'm cognizant of and I think people embarking on a trip where the people they interact with will be, almost unquestionably, worse off than they are (at least monetarily) should be cognizant of it at well. Or at least show some explicit awareness of it when they're relating their adventures.
posted by ChuraChura at 2:04 PM on November 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's funny, because no one ever complains about it when Americans drive across the USA, even though Americans have a long history of behaving like assholes there.

Ah, but they don't have the whole colonialism and genocide thing... oh... oh wait...
posted by Artw at 2:06 PM on November 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think it is highly unpleasant to say things about testosterone and punching people.

Men who claim to have difficulty controlling their temper and hint that they will lash out physically if "provoked" by a mild insult are not attractive, or sexily masculine, or chivalrous.
posted by the young rope-rider at 2:11 PM on November 16, 2010 [6 favorites]


Anything else we can giggle and joke about, Miss?
posted by The Lady is a designer at 2:15 PM on November 16, 2010


A couple weeks ago I posted that Vonnegut tribute/story/critique and the author showed up to thank us for talking about it.

Here, have a cookie.

See, Astro Zombie would have got Vonnegut to show up.


posted by clavdivs at 2:16 PM on November 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Lets go find a place where we can light up with our stout
posted by The Lady is a designer at 2:19 PM on November 16, 2010


"Anything else we can giggle and joke about, Miss?"

Are you talking to me? Because I'm not a Miss.
posted by the young rope-rider at 2:21 PM on November 16, 2010


Here, have a cookie.

What is this, raisin oatmeal?! I wanted a cookie, not an old person's brunch.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:25 PM on November 16, 2010


I know how I feel when I come across one of our former colonial masters with their bespoke suits, bowler hats and umbrellas. And that "pip pip old bean , wot ho ?" gibberish

I cadge a few pounds every chance I get to make up for all that money they made selling us tea.
posted by Ad hominem at 2:31 PM on November 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


"pip pip old bean , wot ho ?"

God I hate Steampunk.
posted by Artw at 2:34 PM on November 16, 2010


Yeah, what the fuck is up with steampunk, anyways. I can find no earthly reason for its existence.
posted by angrycat at 2:36 PM on November 16, 2010


As a white American whose idea of "roughing it" is a Holiday Inn with a broken ice machine, let me just state this:

Frederick and Josephine's trip made for interesting reading. I came away from it having learned something about life in Congo and with my interest whetted to learn more.

I can't speak to their motivations or cultural baggage. I don't have a crystal ball or a yardstick marked with appropriate intervals of How To Act Correctly When Surrounded By Horrifying Misery For Which You Bear A Legacy Of Responsibility But Can't At The Moment Do A Damn Thing About. Did they make mistakes? Sure. Who wouldn't?

But I'm glad it got posted to MeFi and I'm glad the author found the thread and has made an effort to engage our community.

So, thanks, RadioBaobab! And welcome to MetaFilter.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 2:41 PM on November 16, 2010 [9 favorites]


shakespeherian, you have obviously never kissed in a tree. better get on that before it gets much colder or icy.
posted by crush-onastick at 2:42 PM on November 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Instead, the critique was that both were behaving like assholes, which may not be the politic way of phrasing it

And yet we're all upbraiding him for being impolitic, among other things that we would never be.
posted by blucevalo at 2:48 PM on November 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


If my girlfriend acts like an asshole, and somebody calls her on it, I expect that she can address the fact and doesn't require me to punch anybody.

Aren't you meant to be a gay man living in texas or something ? I'm confused.
posted by sgt.serenity at 2:59 PM on November 16, 2010


That's how Texan Mefites refer to their state.
posted by Artw at 3:00 PM on November 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


the young rope-rider: "Men who claim to have difficulty controlling their temper and hint that they will lash out physically if "provoked" by a mild insult are not attractive, or sexily masculine, or chivalrous."

Okay, so our old neighbors on campus were three girls and we met them almost two years ago during an apartment party. As they were leaving, my roommate joked that if anybody tried to rape them, they should just text him and he would fight off the attacker with his aluminum baseball bat. I don't think I've ever seen him play baseball, but he loved to swing that aluminum baseball bat around like a sword.

We all swooned in response, exchanged goodbyes, and now the neighbors are some of our best friends. My roommate's also a lot better about this stuff and we've mostly erased the comment from our memory. Mostly.

Occasionally we will send him an anonymous text with "BAT BAT BAT" to keep him on his toes and to make sure he's keeping alert. Not for any of us (obviously, because we're dudes) but for all of you.

You can thank him later, women. Something tells me he's counting on it.
posted by yaymukund at 3:27 PM on November 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think it is highly unpleasant to say things about testosterone and punching people.

Yeah, except he never said anything about getting physical. For all anyone knows, the 'or else' part could be him raising his voice and glaring. But fuck it. The narrative is already set in stone. Fred threatened to tear out your lungs and wear them on his head for a week as a hat. Because where there is any ambiguity, selecting the most damning interpretation is obviously the rational thing to do.
posted by Ritchie at 3:50 PM on November 16, 2010 [6 favorites]


This has certainly been a surreal result to what I thought would be a thread about, I dunno, travelling in the Congo, or something. Oh well.
posted by jokeefe at 3:57 PM on November 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


Ritchie, please scroll up to the comment above mine that referenced punching people.

Thanks.
posted by the young rope-rider at 3:59 PM on November 16, 2010


(Then I should mention that at the time of the story we were all LIVING IN THE CONGO.)
posted by yaymukund at 3:59 PM on November 16, 2010


MetaFilter: A fair amount of sniffy, assume-the-worst, scan-the-article-for-the-potentially-objectionable weirdness.
posted by dw at 4:00 PM on November 16, 2010


Did Straightener explain his departure?
posted by bukvich at 4:08 PM on November 16, 2010


the young rope-rider: "Ritchie, please scroll up to the comment above mine that referenced punching people.

Thanks.
"

Since you didn't quote the comment you were apparently talking about and there are a few comments above yours regarding punching people, it is not unreasonable to assume you meant the one you favourited, which based on "at the end of his comments he keeps slipping up", is clearly alluding to an extremely uncharitable reading of the author's "testosterone" comment. You also went on to say "Men who claim to have difficulty controlling their temper and hint that they will lash out physically if...", and to be honest, the only person who "hinted" at anything, was, again, the author of the piece.
posted by gman at 4:22 PM on November 16, 2010


My comment referencing the relative sexiness of punching was in direct reply to the comment about the sexiness of punching.

Thanks for perusing my favorites in order to speculate about my true intentions; it's always creepy and appreciated.
posted by the young rope-rider at 4:25 PM on November 16, 2010


metafilter: rich people from rich countries bitching at other rich people from rich countries for being rich people from rich countries.
posted by MillMan at 4:41 PM on November 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Did Straightener explain his departure?

Best as I remember it, he flamed out in the middle of a 500 comment thread because he is an expert and we are not experts. Or something like that.
posted by item at 4:50 PM on November 16, 2010


the young rope-rider: "My comment referencing the relative sexiness of punching was in direct reply to the comment about the sexiness of punching.

Thanks for perusing my favorites in order to speculate about my true intentions; it's always creepy and appreciated.
"

See, I wouldn't have gotten that without you pointing it out. I assume you're alluding to this comment? And I still don't get it because The Lady is a designer was specifically talking about men who "threaten to punch" others. When you say "hint that they will lash out physically...", you are obviously speaking about the author because he is the only one who "hinted" at anything. If I'm incorrect about the comment I think you were replying to above, please help a brother out.

As a side note, I am pretty sure it's common practice around these parts to occasionally check and see who's favourited a comment.
posted by gman at 4:58 PM on November 16, 2010


Oh man the straightener was one of the mefites I've actually met in IRL. Come back the straightener.

I also think that the favorite examination thing has been frowned on by the mods.
posted by angrycat at 5:12 PM on November 16, 2010


I also think that the favorite examination thing has been frowned on by the mods.

Maybe.. More importantly, it is just plain stupid. You are very liable to run into somebody who uses favourites for bookmarking rather than the more often seen 'reinforce group think' use. Not a good basis for argument when it is so easy to be mistaken about the intention.
posted by Chuckles at 5:44 PM on November 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Before this turns all fighty and I find myself awake worrying about hostile natives anyway, though ironically I'm the Indian, allow me to explain why, from my subjective and individual perspective, I perceived myself to be contextually understood.

There are parts of the world which are very patriarchal and backward. I happen to be from one such region. There, if a man accompanying me on the street, isn't giving off such signals, regardless of his relationship with me, it will be considered that I am thus not worth protecting and hence fair game. When I have walked with sensitive metrosexual international males (during fieldwork among the lower income demographic) I have thus been groped and grasped in the market place. Therefore, and in sum, because I really would like to try and get some sleep, I have a big day tomorrow, when in Rome, do as the Romans do, its often the discretion that is the better part of valour. Again, ironically enough.

Sorry for calling you Miss, Missus...
posted by The Lady is a designer at 5:45 PM on November 16, 2010


Chuckles: "I also think that the favorite examination thing has been frowned on by the mods.

Maybe.. More importantly, it is just plain stupid. You are very liable to run into somebody who uses favourites for bookmarking rather than the more often seen 'reinforce group think' use. Not a good basis for argument when it is so easy to be mistaken about the intention.
"

Totally, and it was probably off for me to point that out, especially as it really wasn't required to make my case. Having said that, while I also use favourites to bookmark something I want to come back to later, this does not apply to a quick two sentence comment. I was merely amused that checking to see who favourited something, could be considered "creepy". Anyway, I'm done with this derail.
posted by gman at 5:56 PM on November 16, 2010


See, Astro Zombie would have got Vonnegut to show up.

You're mistaking me for Rodney Dangerfield. I get that all the time.
posted by Astro Zombie at 6:05 PM on November 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


sound warning: lots of synthesized stuff an a movie epigram.

I concur with the AZs' take on this matter.
because....dam.
posted by clavdivs at 6:16 PM on November 16, 2010


'At least 67 ornithologists, biologists, geologists, linguists and other experts will thus mark both the International Year of Biodiversity and the 50th anniversary of the independence of the Democratic Republic of Congo.'

culture and kung fu.
posted by clavdivs at 6:28 PM on November 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


I really liked how he showed up and stuck around. I liked the travelogue for its honesty and disliked it for its cluelessness, but that's true for a lot of travel writing, both good and bad.
posted by Forktine at 7:28 PM on November 16, 2010


You're mistaking me for Rodney Dangerfield. I get that all the time.

Yeah Dangerfield gets all the respect.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:54 PM on November 16, 2010


Yeah, except he never said anything about getting physical. For all anyone knows, the 'or else' part could be him raising his voice and glaring. But fuck it. The narrative is already set in stone. Fred threatened to tear out your lungs and wear them on his head for a week as a hat. Because where there is any ambiguity, selecting the most damning interpretation is obviously the rational thing to do.
posted by Ritchie


Come on now! I selected what I thought is the most common interpretation of "or else" which is the threat of mild physical violence. I didn't claim he was threatening to kill someone. You are correct he did not word for word say he was going to hit anyone, I just thought all these "What a great guy! He's being so nice to everyone in the thread!" comments were a bit odd considering what he was actually saying. I'm being sincere in interpreting his comment that way, not trying to weave some sort of vicious narrative.
posted by haveanicesummer at 10:21 PM on November 16, 2010


Guys, I'm pretty sure he's not going to hit any of you. This being the internet and all.
posted by naoko at 11:33 PM on November 16, 2010


Christ, I'm not afraid of him. I just thought it was lame, this being the internet and all.
posted by haveanicesummer at 12:11 AM on November 17, 2010


Has the Internet Killed Snarky Senses of Humor? [missing link]
posted by The Lady is a designer at 12:15 AM on November 17, 2010


Ah, but they don't have the whole colonialism and genocide thing... oh... oh wait...

Well, as a white American, if I decided to write a travelogue about traveling through, say, a reservation, and expressed bewilderment and horror that I was set upon by a group demanding money from me, asking "What in gods name was that all about? ... We had the feeling that they were focussing on us, not only because we were in a vehicle, but because of our skin color. Did a white person do something wrong here? Where they trying to seek vengeance? I wouldn't surprise me if a white person in car ran somebody over, or destroyed something and then fled away," yes, I'd expect there'd be plenty of people who'd rightly remind me of cultural and historical context. I don't think it's the least bit unreasonable to do so.

I am glad Fred showed up to try and engage the group here. I have no idea how I'd respond in a similar situation. But I also can't pretend that there's no room for criticism of the attitudes they expressed, which in many ways do seem to show a lack of real understanding of context.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:32 AM on November 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm not reading that as a threat so much as a reminder that he's a man and you happen to be talking about his wife... hm? how would you respond?
posted by The Lady is a designer at 8:24 PM on November 16


Not with threats. Never. Words never justify threats of violence, not even veiled ones. If somebody insults my partner, my mother or me I respond in one of two ways:

1. Insult them right back.
2. Go "Eh, whatever".

When anyone uses the "You'd better not say that to my face", line, it's a physical threat. What else could it be? If it wasn't a physical threat, why should I not say it to their face? The idea that the "...or else" tone of such comments could mean "..or else I'll use words like I did on the internet" is just disingenuous nonsense.
posted by Decani at 6:27 AM on November 17, 2010


How about we just don't insult people's wives in the first place.
posted by smackfu at 6:54 AM on November 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


It wasn't much of a threat, given that no Mefite is likely to ever be in his physical presence while talking shit about his wife.

It's not like the implicit threat of violence isn't there in most F2F interaction, though.

A significant percentage of comments on Mefi, where users a separated by physical distance and often anonymity, are aggressively obnoxious. I think very few of those would be expressed in such a fashion in person, the reasons being either a) the user is just being an Internet Fuckwad and doesn't mean what they post, or b) the user knows if they express themselves that way in real life they will get their shit fucked up.

If people at meetups spoke they way the posted, every one would end up in a fistfight.
posted by a young man in spats at 7:02 AM on November 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


what may be appropriate in one cultural context may be wholly inappropriate in another. Being observant or asking may help if unsure. Sort of like how we help newbies
posted by The Lady is a designer at 7:28 AM on November 17, 2010


I don't know how much you can really blame his wife for any of this (although I didn't read the article in detail) He seemed like he was "in charge" for the most part and the articles were written in his perspective.

But he does seem like something of a dick.
posted by delmoi at 7:49 AM on November 17, 2010


Crikey. I just read The Straightener's MetaTalk flame-out. That is sad but it points to an instability with exposing your expertise on a nearly public forum. I hesitate each time I (rarely) do it and I believe a stoical temperament is a requirement for doing it with any regularity.

I miss The Straightener's participation and I hope that he can return, perhaps a little wiser and a little more tempered.

Note: every expert needs a hug.
posted by bukvich at 7:54 AM on November 17, 2010


A significant percentage of comments on Mefi, where users a separated by physical distance and often anonymity, are aggressively obnoxious. I think very few of those would be expressed in such a fashion in person, the reasons being either a) the user is just being an Internet Fuckwad and doesn't mean what they post, or b) the user knows if they express themselves that way in real life they will get their shit fucked up.

If people at meetups spoke they way the posted, every one would end up in a fistfight.


I feel like everyone is used to typing their comments into a relative void, even when in direct response to other commenters, because the subject of the post is not present and that anonymity and distance enables an apparent unnecessity of empathy. And when the subject of an FPP does come charging in, it is usually either to uproarious celebration or they are hilarious farces who can be argued with and enjoyably dissected. But in this case, RadioBaoBab appears, to me at least, to be acting in good faith and displaying a serious attempt at patience and self-moderation, and yet people's automatic mode of anonymous-soapbox fails to register that, yes, he is standing right there, as in front of you as one can be in these textual times. Honestly, I dropped a comment to this effect in the thread, but if we are to maintain the illusion that that thread is not all about RadioBaoBab (which it is in every sense), this is the more appropriate place to say it: in the tone of Jon Stewart saying 'You are hurting America', sometimes the discourse here is seriously out of joint and a little common courtesy and attempted understanding of another, actual person's, perspective would really go a long way towards making metafilter the kind of place we all want it to be and which we delight in it occasionally achieving. We all want threads to be awesome, so if people could attempt not to completely fuck up every potentially productive and enjoyable conversation with unfair judgmentalism, well that would be great.

Addendum: I don't want to unfairly criticize people's criticisms, they absolutely have a place, but the more fuck you-y jabs then went to undermine the actual point of making a valid criticism in the first place.
posted by kaspen at 12:14 PM on November 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


I had just posted this on the blue when I found out about this thread:
I congratulate you that you are able to make such an assessement of me by reading one partially finished trip report and a few comments I made. With those skills you can save many lives. I hope you use those skills appropriately!

This can go on forever but I am resigning here.

Feel free to delete my account again and donate my 5$ to a worthy cause. I will leave it up to you lot what that cause might be.

Thanks for the people who tried to understand me.
Thanks also for the people that don't.. I have no reason to dislike you as I don't even know you.

I liked this thread and disliked all the piling on and shitting on RadioBaobab but...............
Does anyone else see the irony in him treating Metafilter just like he treated the Congolese?
posted by Xurando at 1:57 PM on November 17, 2010


He flounced from the Congo?

"How about we just don't insult people 's wives in the first place."

FTFY.
posted by gingerest at 7:59 PM on November 17, 2010


What, Xurando, you mean blowing randomly* in from nowhere, being extremely calm and collected in the face of some quite strong unpleasantness from a few total strangers, then buggering off again, never to return?

No, not seeing the irony.

* randomly răn'dəmli, adv. - being born Belgian and, hearing stories about the mythic Congo from childhood, acting on a strong wish to go there; discovering one is being talked about not entirely positively on MetaFilter. [O.Fr. randon - randir, to gallop.]
posted by motty at 9:58 PM on November 17, 2010


I usually buy t shirts and knits in order to avoid the weekly irony...
posted by The Lady is a designer at 2:34 AM on November 18, 2010


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