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disagree != troll
March 29, 2002 8:39 AM   Subscribe

Orthodoxy again rears its ugly head. Trolling is alleged three times in a row because the poster's views diverged from the Metafilter norm (and the poster was alleged to be gasp repeatedly expressing similar views), with the worst yet to come; another poster is called blatantly biased and therefore "loses any credibility", and told "not to expect to be taken seriously" even though he has himself explained that bias and has been thoughtful and on point to discussion. Another was recently called out for not leavening his posts with, well, other posts expressing a different viewpoint. Is this really contributory to open discussion and debate? Is it really now to be verboten to express a point of view, especially in an FPP? Can someone join a discussion even though they have pre-existing views, whether they be based on bias or principle? Or are some on Metafilter simply annoyed by points of view they don't like?
posted by dhartung to Etiquette/Policy at 8:39 AM (108 comments total)

dhartung, I agree with you 100%. I think the utility of labeling someone "troll" has become nonexistent. If you are so convinced that someone's point of view is utterly wrong or biased, you should have no trouble explaining why in a reasoned, intellectual manner. While it's obvious that most people disagree with PP's perspective, that doesn't mean he's not advancing a point of view that isn't shared by hundreds/thousands/millions of people (even if not by you or me). The marketplace of ideas can't be controlled by one side. Spitting out "troll" is usually just a way of trying to control the debate.
posted by pardonyou? at 9:05 AM on March 29, 2002


i can understand how some people might be frustrated by what they perceive to be trolling, but i've yet to see troll-calls lead to anything but more bitterness and stress. it's one thing to feel frustrated and a need to vent; that's not so bad. it's just that, well, everyone vents about trolling and has vented so often and to so little effect that i wonder why don't people simply ignore it?

ultimately, it's your fight. if you want to accuse someone of it, you're the one to face the people disagreeing with you. (unless you drop off of the thread altogether after your comment, but then, you'd be much like a troll yourself.)
posted by moz at 9:08 AM on March 29, 2002


Israeli/Palestinian (or Moslem vs. Whoever) threads consistently break land speed records for vitriol, bile and unreadability. Cries of "troll" are about as surprising as rain in April, given the subject matter.

It's just too bad that everyone can't follow my shining example of continuing grace and tolerance.
posted by Skot at 9:21 AM on March 29, 2002


For the record, I seconded the "troll" appellation for ParisParamus not because of his point of view but because he has stated it so many times in the same way here. He posted a thread for no reason other than to start the same flamewar again. There are far too many threads on that topic here, and I do not believe that he was trying to further enlightened discussion.

Also, there's no MetaFilter orthodoxy on that issue. There are a lot of people on all sides of the issue.

People are certainly allowed to but their pov on the post. I think they should, so that we know where they're coming from. But if someone makes the same point maybe a hundred times, I don't think it's unreasonable to call them on it.
posted by anapestic at 9:23 AM on March 29, 2002


People are certainly allowed to but their pov on the post.

I meant "put," not "but."
posted by anapestic at 9:25 AM on March 29, 2002


Paris Paramus pulls this stuff out of his ass and throws it out there in an effort to piss people off. Maybe he's not technically trolling--since, perhaps, he actually believes his own bullshit--but he's a flamebaiter. He's not being persecuted for his beliefs. (And to be perfectly honest, all the righties whining about how they're being oppressed have grown tedious.) If there were people here calling for Sharon to be assassinated, there would be similar outcry.
posted by jpoulos at 9:30 AM on March 29, 2002


dhartung, can you describe or define what would constitute a legitimate case of trolling? To my mind, there is a real difference between reasoned dissent and picking a fight.
posted by jjg at 9:34 AM on March 29, 2002


I am not a troll. I post things in response to current events which irk me. Moreover, I've initiated less than five threads on the subject in my year at Mefi, out of several dozen.

So I take it as a complement that you find my thoughts so incisive. The ongoing murder of people dear to me, and with whom I am in solidarity, is an important issue.


posted by ParisParamus at 10:13 AM on March 29, 2002


Why is calling for the assasination of someone directly linked to the murder of civilians so inapproriate. Hitler: OK; Osama: OK, Yasser, NO. Where's the bright-line distinction?

If Mefi's policy is to eliminate current events threads, OK. But please make the policy clear.
posted by ParisParamus at 10:15 AM on March 29, 2002


Paris:

Why is calling for the assasination of someone directly linked to the murder of civilians so inapproriate. Hitler: OK; Osama: OK, Yasser, NO. Where's the bright-line distinction?

you can't assume all the people against the assassination of a Arafat would be or are in support of the same for Hitler or Osama. besides, your thread wasn't eliminated paris. you aren't being run up by the policy of the site; you're being addressed by a few concerned members (ones without any administrative power).
posted by moz at 10:24 AM on March 29, 2002


I am not a troll. I post things in response to current events which irk me. Moreover, I've initiated less than five threads on the subject in my year at Mefi, out of several dozen.

So I take it as a complement that you find my thoughts so incisive.


You may have initiated fewer than five threads on that topic, but you've posted the same comments to many, many threads. Your thoughts are not incisive, they're just annoying. A sixteen ton weight is annoying, but it's not particularly clever.
posted by anapestic at 10:40 AM on March 29, 2002


You know what's considerably worse than some of this mislabeled/supposed "trolling"? Dhartung's self-righteous policing/indignation.
posted by artifex at 10:53 AM on March 29, 2002


clever isn't my aim: defense of the moral position is.
posted by ParisParamus at 10:56 AM on March 29, 2002


dhartung, are you saying you haven't noticed a trend in Paris' postings leaning towards a certain viewpoint in thread after argument-filled thread?

I remember when holgate was still around (lo, those were the days, sniff) and he made a similar accusation of Steven Den Beste, which caused the eventual quitting of both holgate and SDB. Holgate's original point had merit though; SDB was posting a link to stories that bashed the left on a regular basis. If you missed his link on Thursday, you could see the same sentiment the following Monday, or the next Wednesday. Every link was essentially the same thing and Holgate simply asked what the point of it was, and called SDB a troll for trying to incite the mob to argue across the same boring old left/right lines every few days.

Paris posts a mideast link on a semi-regular basis here, and I'm pretty much talked out on the subject. I'm sitting in america and waiting for both sides to admit their own wrongdoing and try seeking peace. I don't know the particulars of either side's century old arguments, nor am I all that interested in hearing about them. The threads seem to involve the same old israel-this/palestine-that and it doesn't make for interesting coversations and usually droops down to namecalling and fighting. Since Paris does it on a semi-regular basis, it seems apt to question why he insists on grinding the ax so often.

We could say the same thing about any number of anonymous posters here. In the past, there have been times where a person has taken it upon themselves to educate the rest of us unwashed masses to the beauty that is their personal beliefs. I've emailed a couple libertarian and ayn rand people, asking them to layoff the ax grinding (it seems to happen in every online forum that there's always "the libertarian guy" that can eek an argument from any subject, and tell you why less gov't intervention would make for a better situation) before they become typecast and everyone eye's glaze over and ignore their little pulpit the insist on invoking at any provocation.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 11:08 AM on March 29, 2002


Matt, I have to ask this then: how come you let so many Bush-bash threads stay up? I hate the guy as much as the next lefty, but it holds up the "Metafilter bias" argument when you don't treat repeated postings on a subject the same way.
posted by owillis at 11:25 AM on March 29, 2002


clever isn't my aim: defense of the moral position is.

Wait! Don't say another word! I have to run and find a goblet of purest gold to catch the nectar that drips off your immortal lips!

So nice to have the definer of "the" moral position always around here on Mefi.
posted by Skot at 12:09 PM on March 29, 2002


This isn't about orthodoxy, Dan. Paris could be posting from an anti-Israel viewpoint and get called the same names by the same people.

Anyone who takes a rabid position on an issue and hammers it all the time might be called a troll, and I think there's an element of truth to it. Trolling is a social issue -- people react negatively when a person frequently expresses a view in such a strident way it distracts from more reasoned discussion.

I think there's room to express an opinion in front-page posts, but I prefer it when people recognize a hot button topic, use more balanced language in their description, and save the shrill rhetoric for the subsequent discussion.
posted by rcade at 12:21 PM on March 29, 2002


There's nothing rabid about my position. Rabid would be (1) annexing the territories; or (2) advocating evicting all the Palestinians; or something more extreme. So many clueless people...
posted by ParisParamus at 12:35 PM on March 29, 2002


So many clueless people...

:-)

Paris, let's assume that you are correct. Let's assume that you are not biased or rabid. You are posting, maybe not neutral, but informed and moral ideas. Okay...

Now, take a step back. Stop defending yourself. Take a good look at your posts. Takea good look at your opinions. IF, IF you were wrong, IF...why? You don't have to post it here. Just think about it. You may not be wrong. Maybe you're right and we're wrong. It's possible. But, instead of continuously defending yourself, just take a step back and look at your viewpoints. IF you were wrong, IF...why?
posted by BlueTrain at 12:40 PM on March 29, 2002


'clever isn't my aim: defense of the moral position is.'

I'm afraid that you fail on that count miserably. You come across as an Israeli PR rep. Your arguments lack balance in such an obvious way that they are totally ineffective. You don't alter opinion by smacking people day in day out with one side rhetoric. Whether you are a troll or not, personally I don't think so. However, your unending repetitiveness is getting fairly dull. By all means educate us, but try to do it with more that simply circular biased opinion.
posted by RobertLoch at 12:49 PM on March 29, 2002


What are you asking: whether my position on the conflict is wrong, why; or whether I'm wrong to, several times, initiate threads on the subject; or if its wrong to contribute to such threads?
posted by ParisParamus at 12:50 PM on March 29, 2002


Hey, I'm grateful that you guys have started another discussion on the issue. Three MeFi threads in the past two days really isn't enough, you know?

Don't you get it? Enough!
posted by anapestic at 12:56 PM on March 29, 2002


What are you asking

I'm asking you to step back from any/all Middle East discussions for a while. Step back, and just think about why you may be wrong with your opinion concerning the Middle East debacle. Simply put: You are "seemingly" pro-Israel. Stop defending your position and just ask yourself, "What if I was wrong?" I'm not saying that you're wrong. I don't think anyone here is saying that you're wrong; I think the consensus here is that you are not willing to accept other viewpoints and continue to pound down the same points in every thread. So here's your chance, outside of MeFi, to jump out of your skin and ask yourself, "Why might I be wrong?"
posted by BlueTrain at 1:02 PM on March 29, 2002


Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig.

posted by crunchland at 1:10 PM on March 29, 2002


Matt, I have to ask this then: how come you let so many Bush-bash threads stay up? I hate the guy as much as the next lefty, but it holds up the "Metafilter bias" argument when you don't treat repeated postings on a subject the same way.

I have to admit (yeah, big surprise) that I'm asking the same question. It's almost as if the argument here (everyone's, not just Matt's) is that it's okay to Bush-bash (or [insert any overused front-page subject here]) constantly merely because those zillions posts are being made by lots of different individuals, whereas in this case PP is one of very few posters willing to publicly state his POV on the Israeli-Palestinian issue, even though his opinions on the matter aren't anywhere near unique.

That's getting into mob rule territory, and it's discomforting.
posted by aaron at 1:13 PM on March 29, 2002


I have done precisely that (I wouldn't take a position without doing that). Why do you assume I have not?
posted by ParisParamus at 1:14 PM on March 29, 2002


The idea that MetaFilter is Bush-bashing haven seems dated at best to me. Go over to the front page and see how far down you have to go to find a thread dedicated to bashing Bush. Now start again and see how far you have to go to find a Palestinian thread. I went pretty far down without finding a thread bashing Bush. I do think that in the past the situation was different, but it's been a while since Bush bashing was a blood sport here.

In any case, the two phenomena, while both annoying, are fundamentally different. The people who bash Bush are at least doing so on a broad range of issues, so that the threads talk about very different topics. With the Palestinian threads, the arguments are very homogeneous.

Also, if you go into the Bush bashing threads, you'll see plenty of conservative voices protesting. And even some liberal voices who think that knee-jerk bashing dilutes our arguments.
posted by anapestic at 1:24 PM on March 29, 2002


Why do you assume I have not?

I don't think that you haven't thought this through. One of my biggest problems with dilemmas of such magnitude, i.e. the Middle East, is that if any of us were correct, why is it so difficult to implement the corrective measures. Then I realize, you need to collaborate various ideas and stances to create the perfect solution.

All of my babbling boils down to this: you are not 100% correct. None of us are. But together, through collaboration and creative thinking, we may be able to solve this problem. This means that you MUST accept that both parties are to blame and you CANNOT choose one side or the other. If you do, then a viable solution is impossible.
posted by BlueTrain at 1:27 PM on March 29, 2002


BlueTrain: since I have never said one side is completely wrong or right, you're arguing with the wrong person.


posted by ParisParamus at 1:52 PM on March 29, 2002


Blue Train, I strongly disagree with this statement and its implications:

This means that you MUST accept that both parties are to blame and you CANNOT choose one side or the other.
Advocacy is choosing a position, and supporting it. Unless you believe that advocacy is useless (I don't) then there is no necessity for accepting balance as a de facto start for solution. Just because the US has a storied history of compromise (with one huge breakdown), there is no proof that achieving a balanced viewpoint is an advantage in solving problems. When you tell someone they must accept the other position as equal to their own, you end up simply trying to silence another viewpoint, and advocacy in general.

re Isreal and the Palistinians, I don't think any viable solution come up with on MetaFilter is going to make one iota of difference. If an advocate posts and rants, so what? You're not likely to change that person's mind (would it matter if you did?), so why browbeat them into orthodoxical submission? Deal and move on.

I may not agree with ParisParamus, but I don't think that person a "troll". A slight aside: didn't trolling actually used to refer to throwing out bait in hope for volitile response, rather than the evil gnome under a bridge? If that's the case, then advocates are kind of already removed from trolls, because what they hope for is agreement. Yet we tend to use the term around here to mean either one, or anybody we don't like (me included). I'm seriously just curious about this.
posted by Wulfgar! at 2:00 PM on March 29, 2002


Just so's everybody knows, the "me included" refers to the variable and often innapropriate use of the word troll, not the "anybody we don't like".
posted by Wulfgar! at 2:14 PM on March 29, 2002


another poster is called blatantly biased and therefore "loses any credibility",

I'm not buying the orthodoxy argument for a second, dan. If a poster openly claims to be prejudiced then he has lost credibility with the community. Its not his view per se, its how he treats it and how he expresses himself.

Do note that bittennails admits prejudice, not bias in that thread. There is a difference.

I can imagine an old-fashioned town hall meeting where the mayor yells for everyone to quiet down so we can hear the prejudiced guy in the back. That's the equivalant of this metalk post.
posted by skallas at 2:27 PM on March 29, 2002


Why is it, bluetrain that you never take your own advice? You are very strident in forcing your opinion, I love the way you say, "through collaboration and creative thinking" when you do neither.

I have aleady answered skallas on his point, and here's a link.

posted by bittennails at 2:37 PM on March 29, 2002


sorry, already.
posted by bittennails at 2:38 PM on March 29, 2002


The idea that MetaFilter is Bush-bashing haven seems dated at best to me. Go over to the front page and see how far down you have to go to find a thread dedicated to bashing Bush.

Right now. Give it a week or so.
posted by aaron at 2:47 PM on March 29, 2002


BlueTrain - I totally agree with the ideal of listening with a totally open mind to someone who has an opposing opinion on a subject I care deeply about. Saying "what IF I was wrong" is an invaluable exercise in both personal development and civilized discourse. It's also one of the hardest things for any of us to do. Given the amount of work it takes me to achieve what may or may not be perceived by others as true open-mindedness, I would feel uncomfortable lecturing others on whether I thought they were being openminded enough. Better to spend that energy on straightening out myself. If we're going to call people out for etiquette violations or trolling, I think that should be reserved for occasions where people violate the rules of civility, not for unreasonably refusing to reconsider views that some of us disagree with.

By the way, I think that this suggestion from willnot has been woefully underused. (Although I appreciate those who tried it.)
posted by tdismukes at 2:47 PM on March 29, 2002


Okay, so to continue the SDB analogy, which is what seems, to me, to be the real issue here, I think what you're all arguing has nothing to do specifically with Paris' position or beliefs, etc so much as the question of whether MeFi is becoming a soapbox for him.
And if it is, we suggest, "Get your own blog," and get it over try to move along, no?
posted by Su at 2:53 PM on March 29, 2002


In any case, the two phenomena, while both annoying, are fundamentally different. The people who bash Bush are at least doing so on a broad range of issues, so that the threads talk about very different topics. With the Palestinian threads, the arguments are very homogeneous.

I don't see much of a difference. The Bush-bashers simply wait for the latest thing to come along (a newly-mispronounced word, a new Ashcroft hit single) to make the same one or two homogeneous points. (Note that Bush-bashing is not the same thing as making posts about legitimate policy differences, although those too tend to fill up with one-liner Bush bashes, sadly, being posted by the same people that make the bashing front page posts and derailing discussions.) Likewise, the Israel-bashers/Palestinan-bashers wait for the latest thing to come along (a fundamentally flawed "peace proposal", the latest suicide bombing) to make the same one or two homogeneous points.
posted by aaron at 2:55 PM on March 29, 2002


I'm gonna go with aaron on this one. I dislike them for the opposite reason of aaron, because I feel the man is a lot more dangerous than "ha-ha, he said terrah again" but the overall sentiment is the same that they distract from conversation.
posted by owillis at 3:06 PM on March 29, 2002


RE: Bush bashing

Criticizing those in power seems to be a tradition all over the world. Look at the Clinton bashing from before. Its not like there's a secret cabal of mefi users who make plans to discredit bush.
posted by skallas at 3:08 PM on March 29, 2002


Its not like there's a secret cabal of mefi users who make plans to discredit bush.

Who said it was secret? They're quite open about it. And the Clinton list you provide shows a lot of serious political discussion and extremely little of the crude empty bashing rhetoric we've come to know and love about Bush. (To be honest, I didn't find ANY, though I'm not spending an hour reading over that entire list. The closest I found were, in fact, front page posts made attacking conservatives for Clinton-bashing (off-site)!)
posted by aaron at 3:18 PM on March 29, 2002


Orthodoxy is so harsh coming from an unpredictable and open minded poster willing to change his mind, see the other person's postion and never never given to patronizing replies...

Or rather and never never given to virtual chickenhawk armchair general presenting opinions as facts longwinded overblown excruciatingly long beating the dead horse on top of the dead strawman ad infinitum straight war blog party line repeated in post after comment after post after comment after post snide tedious extended encyclopedic in length if not in depth but always holier and smarter than thou delivered with a perpetually superior tone while accusing everyone else of repeating the same ol' same ol' tired stupid shallow cliches patronizing replies...
posted by y2karl at 3:20 PM on March 29, 2002


I've emailed a couple libertarian and ayn rand people, asking them to layoff the ax grinding...

So, lemme get this straight... when someone consistently sticks to his or her convictions and has the audacity to state them, people's eyes glaze over? Huh? But the eyes only glaze over when the person's convictions support Israel or Ayn Rand or Libertarianism... If some holy 'leftist' bravely restates their constant theme and variation, it's to be rewarded and commended because it's, like, For The People™.

Hrrm. Metafilter biased? Nooo!
posted by evanizer at 3:28 PM on March 29, 2002


aaron, try reading some comments in those threads. Remember all the comments about the president's penis, the open hate for hillary, etc.

I'm not suggesting a statistical analysis of anti-bush vs. anti-clinton posts and comments, but you're going to have to accept the fact that the president came into power after a very controversial race and decision. This has been an administration of many controversies too. Not to mention his contant gaffs which are endlessly entertaining to some.

Also, from what I can tell a lot of mefites are under 30, urban dwellers which demographically speaking means metafilter has its fair share of liberals. Don't act too surprised when you don't find many free-republic like posts here and if you want free republic like posts, well you can just visit the site.

Lastly, I can't stand the use of the words "Bush bashing." What a conveinant way to discredit those critical of this administration. I think Matt does a good job deleting posts that go over the line. I don't see too many "Emporer Asscroft" posts cluttering the front page.
posted by skallas at 3:47 PM on March 29, 2002


how come you let so many Bush-bash threads stay up?

If there is nothing novel in them, I don't enjoy them either. Pointless bush bashing is about as interesting as pointless palestine bashing to me, and I'd prefer not to see it. I can't recall any recent "bush bashing" threads, but if i think back a few months there have been a good number of fairly dumb posts meant to make bush look bad.

The liberal conspiracy isn't the issue here though, the issue is how many times can someone post on the same subject before they become annoying enough that people start calling them names and/or ignoring them completely?

Does anyone mind if i post the latest news in model railroading today? How about another post on monday that covers the hot N vs. H gauge debate in model railroading? Next Thursday I might post about Lego's new foray into model trains, and the tuesday following, I'd love to entertain everyone with a link to the bestest model train museum on earth. The following Friday I might post a link to a flash based model train controller and ask everyone what their favorite train car is.

See where I'm going with this? Paris, I think everyone's just getting tired of you hogging the soapbox with your point of view. I don't care if it's pro-PC or anti-PC because, as I've said before, the Israel/Palestine conflict is about as interesting as listening to two siblings fighting in the back of a car (and yes, I know people are dying horrific deaths every day from this, but I still think there is heavy blame on both sides and everyone involved needs to wake up and stop it), and hearing about it week after week on metafilter is getting to be rather pointless.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 3:49 PM on March 29, 2002


But the eyes only glaze over when the person's convictions support Israel or Ayn Rand or Libertarianism

I think you clearly missed the point of Matt's post. The telling statement here is when Matt defined what he thinks of axe-grinding:
(it seems to happen in every online forum that there's always "the libertarian guy" that can eek an argument from any subject, and tell you why less gov't intervention would make for a better situation)
In other words if I post about how wrong littering is, Joe uber-Libertarian will do his best to co-opt the thread to make small government the solution to this problem. This x10 for every subject is just plain over the top agenda pushing and proselytizing.
posted by skallas at 3:54 PM on March 29, 2002


But the eyes only glaze over when the person's convictions support Israel or Ayn Rand or Libertarianism...

Jesus Fucking Christ. I'm getting pretty tired of having every word I post on this site examined under a microscope, then made ridiculous with wild assumptions of my supposed intent.

Evanizer, never once did I say I only had a problem with people grinding axes because of their stated position. ANYONE who grinds an ax about ANYTHING REPEATEDLY on the site will get an email from me, telling them to mellow out on whatever it is they are doing over and over, as it annoys people and weakens their position if people just start tuning them out. Is that clear enough for you?

I don't care if someone is pro-cannibis legalization, anti-gun control, or pro-choice, if that's their only contribution to the site, they're going to annoy me and be told to take it down a few notches. Am I a leftist hater now evanizer?
posted by mathowie (staff) at 3:56 PM on March 29, 2002


I don't see too many "Emporer Asscroft" posts cluttering the front page.

I should mention the last time some dork posted a link describing the Attorney General as "Emporer Asscroft" the post was deleted and they were banned from posting on the site.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 4:03 PM on March 29, 2002


Sorry Matt, I didn't mean to put you under the microscope. I just didn't see your point the first time around, as I got caught up in your example. Skallas's example made me see what the issue is more clearly. Convictions and blinkered myopia are indeed different things. I'm just always afraid that since we all have some degree of ideological blinders, we may not see when we're unfairly singling out one viewpoint rather than another for essentially the same infraction. I don't want to accuse you of that, I just reacted in haste and I apologize.
posted by evanizer at 4:29 PM on March 29, 2002


Paris made his point, has proven he is not willing to listen to anyone else’s point, and continues to make the same exact point time and time again. That is fucking annoying.

If he was open to other’s ideas it would be wholly less annoying. From his perspective people are wrong not because of the facts — which they may well be, who knows — but because they hold a differing opinion. Preach to the flock, friend. Know there are no lamb skins here.

MetaFilter makes for a poor soapbox for the simple reason that people (by “people” I mean me) don’t come here to be preached to. We are just not interested. We want new and interesting links. Occasionally, we’ll read the threads if the subject interests us or we want more information.

About this bias conspiracy.

The Chomsky and Nader-bashers simply wait for the latest thing to come along to make the same one or two homogeneous points. The same tribe of Chomsky and Nader-haters just wait for something to post then make the exact same dismissive and insulting comments.

When a conservative idea gets a ribbing all MetaFilter’s conservatives play the victim, decrying the inhumanity of it all. When someone they don’t support gets the same treatment they remain silent. The do not decry the inhumanity and keep their victim skirts in the closet. These conservatives are quite open with their bias.

They are biased, they are part of MetaFilter, MetaFilter has a conservative bias. I demand mathowie take action to rectify the demonization of dissenting views.

(Or I can believe everyone has their own biases even if they are ignorant, that in a public forum those biases will be aired, that being “honest” or “fair” and biased are not mutually exclusive, that this site doesn’t purport to be unbiased, that this site was never built as a nexus of political debate, that the site owner never had an agenda to push and if he did have an agenda I disagreed with I am welcome to my opinion as long as I know no one really cares that much about it anyway.)

Seriously, I can hope you say what you think civilly or just be silent. I am biased against jerks.
posted by raaka at 4:45 PM on March 29, 2002


Fuck, that post was long for no reason.

“are some on Metafilter simply annoyed by points of view they don't like?”

Yes. However, that is no different from anywhere in reality land. MetaFilter is not an oasis of civility and logic. There really isn't any way I can think of to force it to be one without completely changing it.
posted by raaka at 5:01 PM on March 29, 2002


raaka: "Paris made his point, has proven he is not willing to listen to anyone else’s point, and continues to make the same exact point time and time again. That is fucking annoying."

Sure. No one else would ever do that (well, except for about 90% of the people on MeFi).

I don't agree with most of PPs views, but I think it's absolutely clear that there's a double standard at work.
posted by pardonyou? at 5:57 PM on March 29, 2002


but I think it's absolutely clear that there's a double standard at work.

pardonyou? but, uh pardon you? What double standard is absolutely clear here? PP has been grinding the ax so long I don't even read the posts anymore, and people are saying the same things, that they are tired of seeing his repeated posts. I'm not a supporter of Israel nor Palestine, and I don't even care what side he's taking, but it's getting to be annoying.

What's the clear double standard that you're seeing? I'm seeing someone telling us their opinion over and over through a bunch of front page posts and what their point of view happens to be isn't a consideration.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 6:17 PM on March 29, 2002


Who else does that kind of ax-grinding (and often in extreme terms) and doesn't come in for some abuse? I'll believe in a double standard when I see some examples, as opposed to generic "everyone's against us" talk.
posted by rodii at 6:46 PM on March 29, 2002


The sad thing is, on topics other than politics Paris can be a pleasant, interesting guy. But the relentlessness of his political opinions is driving people to avoid anything he writes, which is bad for him and bad for us. Rest assured, we know where he stands on all matters middle eastern. Now before it's too late he may want to move on to other things or he'll just become a one-trick pony.
posted by jonmc at 7:28 PM on March 29, 2002


'No one else would ever do that (well, except for about 90% of the people on MeFi).'

Not with such consistency. Every topic that even mentions Arabs, or Jews, or something vaguely Middle East, or Islamic, or religious ends up with 1 or normally more PP posts explaining why the Palestinians are in the wrong. OK, perhaps an exaggeration, but it sure does seem like that. His posting history speaks for itself.

That said, I don't want to discourge PP from posting on this topic, I would just suggest that he alter his style a touch. I for one am happy to listen, but am more receptive to those that don't shout, and who provide information to back up their opinions.
posted by RobertLoch at 7:31 PM on March 29, 2002


I've spent time in the West Bank, have very definite opinions about the situation there, and will never post said opinions here because rationality dips to zero with the mention of either Israel or Palestine.

What does amaze me is that so many other disasters are taking place simultaneously in the world, but none inspire either the energy or the righteous indignation that this issue does. AIDS? 20,000,000 infected with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa? Child sex-work in Asia? Earthquakes in Afghanistan? High death rates due to SUV rollovers or SUV collisions with smaller cars? No other political, economic or social issue gets as much airplay as Israel, here or anywhere else, and I believe that very few political issues have as inflexible opinions thrown about with as little evidence to back any of them up.

All I'm saying is that A) Israeli/Palestinian topics usually resort to knee-jerk name-calling in under 10 seconds, so think about whether you too are being a knee-jerk reactionary or are actually leveling valid and interesting points; and B) there are plenty of issues in the world that could use a little of the extra energy expended spinning our wheels about Israel/Palestine channeled their way. There are plenty of issues in the world. We could talk about any one of them!
posted by readymade at 8:22 PM on March 29, 2002


After raaka's post, I needn't even weigh in.

My sentiments exactly.
posted by crasspastor at 8:49 PM on March 29, 2002


(Re : 'Bush bashing'. What skallas said -

I can't stand the use of the words "Bush bashing." What a conveniant way to discredit those critical of this administration.

If it were some other set of bastards doing the same sorts of things as the Bush administration, I for one would be staring at them just as hard, and calling just as loudly for their removal and imprisonment. That said, owillis does have a point that focussing on the trivial Bushy foolishness distracts us from the Big Evils.

I was recently accused of being a 'troll' as well, presumably because I am so stridently opposed to the current american administration, and posted a link that, if not supporting that viewpoint, at least came from a similar set of assumptions. Do I care? Nah. But then, no-one started a MeTa thread about it.)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:00 PM on March 29, 2002


This and other obstinate issues such as Postroad's tragic spelling, on the next "As MetaFilter Turns." Yes, raaka said it all.
posted by machaus at 9:30 PM on March 29, 2002


Glad I wasn't home to follow this discussion.

1. I am not a "rightie". I don't know what I am every day, but that certainly isn't it.

2. artifex and y2karl, you may not have noticed the strange gray region on the right side of your screen. It is called a scroll bar. You may want to consider why exactly either of you felt the need to personalize this discussion; I certainly can't fathom why.

3. jjg, to use an example at hand, I would consider the in-thread comment Paris made wishing someone would "just bump off" Arafat to be pretty far along the road to Trollville. By contrast, the FPP that was labeled a troll merely expressed as fact an opinion held by many -- that regardless of whether or not one approves, the end of the Arafat and PA era is at hand. Note that I am not saying it was a post winning awards for open-minded, open-ended discussion hooks.

4: raaka, Of course, MeFi is like any other place. I have no problem with X or Y taking Z to task on what he said, but they (examples elided) appear to have tired of that and would prefer the easier practice of derailing the thread entirely; which they seem to admit here. Which is one of those says-more-about-the-person-doing-it things, if you ask me.

Still, all in all, some good level-headed things have been said on this thread, for which I thank those contributors.
posted by dhartung at 10:41 PM on March 29, 2002


My attempt to troll for any latent expertise on what the neuroscientists / psychologists know about solving fundamentalist religious violence resulted in deafening silence by the usual cabal of anti-non-linearity advocates. Perhaps the scientific method is out of vogue?
posted by sheauga at 11:23 PM on March 29, 2002


Not too long after I first started participating here, Sudama, who posted from a decidedly liberal point of view, came in for a lot of abuse for repeatedly posting on the same topic. It got tiresome. He got called on it in the threads (including by me, and I fully supported his point of view on the matter), and he got hauled into MetaTalk.
posted by anapestic at 6:41 AM on March 30, 2002


As someone who's somewhat sympathetic to PP's POV, I just gotta say that he's been irking me more often than not lately as well. Some illustrative examples, addressed to him:I don't have anything against ParisParamus posting to every Israel thread that comes along; after all, I thoroughly enjoy that topic myself. But his whole style reeks of bombastic self-righteousness; he's consistently short-circuiting any attempt to actually engage in discussion, instead merely offering up his opinions with VoG (Voice of God) authority. And when your opinions include that Arafat is a thug who should be killed and 'many, if not most' Palestinians are depraved, that's not nearly good enough.
posted by boaz at 8:38 AM on March 30, 2002


Ahimsa can be observed in full in the following 9 ways :

Mentally not to do injury oneself,
Mentally not to get injury done by others,
Mentally not to approve injury done by others,
Orally not to do injury oneself,
Orally not to get injury done by others,
Orally not to approve injury done by others,
Physically not to do injury oneself,
Physically not to get injury done by others, and
Physically not to approve injury done by others
posted by sheauga at 9:39 AM on March 30, 2002


Orally not to do injury oneself

Ooh, that sounds so dirty! Is 'injury' the same kind of euphamism as 'self abuse'. If so, sign me up for Ahimsa!
posted by evanizer at 12:05 PM on March 30, 2002


You're on, evanizer. Good luck, bro! Sometimes levity and irreverence succeed after all else has failed.


posted by sheauga at 1:14 PM on March 30, 2002


My thoughts exactly, sheauga. I often practise what I call 'respectful irreverence' toward all manner of things.
posted by evanizer at 3:28 PM on March 30, 2002


As do I, or so I would like to think... Even when tweaking someone who got the Jud & Strunk Elements of Style , April Fools edition, with the Insert Needless Words in it.
posted by y2karl at 3:50 PM on March 30, 2002


Is it ironic that people are upset that Paris Paramus posts to every Israel thread, yet people aren't upset that Owillis can be relied to post to every Britany Spears thread? Is it because Britanny is happy-happy, and Israel isn't?
posted by crunchland at 3:56 PM on March 30, 2002


If Owillis made a post about Brittany Spears once a week, we'd not only ask him to stop, we'd suggest he seek counseling. Although, the day Brittany Spears tours in Israel will be a most wonderous day here on Metafilter.
posted by Doug at 4:15 PM on March 30, 2002


You are all off base, and pathetically so. I've created less than five Israel-related threads, so go check your facts. Nor have they been sans-substance.

And now a word from our sponsor: THERE ARE NO PALESTINIAN ARABS; ONLY ARABS WHO, AU HAZARD, LIVE IN PALESTINE.

Sorry I offend your leftist and no one's that evil CNN sentiments, but I plan to continue!

Thanks, by the way Crunchland.

Brittany: in her domane, marginally less offensive than Arafat: ick.
posted by ParisParamus at 5:01 PM on March 30, 2002


THERE ARE NO PALESTINIAN ARABS; ONLY ARABS WHO, AU HAZARD, LIVE IN PALESTINE.

Please clarify and/or expand. One area in which clarification would help me personally is how people are capable of living in a country that doesn't currently exist. But without actually being residents of said non-existent country. The only two possibilities I can come up with on my own (see point 3 above) is that this is either some Zen koan designed to lead me to Nirvana or you ducked as the clue brick went sailing by.
posted by boaz at 6:04 PM on March 30, 2002


Not sure this is the place, but since Gaza used to be part of Egypt, and the West Bank part of Jordan, the people at issue are seeking to create a new country, not "take back" "their" country. This doesn't delegitmize their right to create a new country, but alters the equities. Also altering the equities: a lot of the refugees are from other parts of the Mideast prior to the 1940s/50s...
posted by ParisParamus at 6:25 PM on March 30, 2002


Not sure this is the place,

No, this isn't; that's my bad. I'm sure you'll provide me with an opportunity to rebut this in an appropriate place at some other time though, so no great loss.
posted by boaz at 7:21 PM on March 30, 2002


mathowie: "pardonyou? but, uh pardon you? What double standard is absolutely clear here? ... I'm seeing someone telling us their opinion over and over through a bunch of front page posts and what their point of view happens to be isn't a consideration."

Matt, obviously it's your show, and I wouldn't for a moment presume to tell you how to run it. My "double standard" phraseology might have been poorly chosen, since it was intended more as a direct response to raaka's comment that PP is "fucking annoying" because he "won't listen to anyone else's opinion" and "makes the same point again and again." By "double standard" I meant only that I could name numerous people (some of whom have posted in this very thread) who "make the same point again and again" and "won't listen to anyone else's opinon." Unfortunately, I wasn't actually considering all of the arguments, including the number of gratuitious FPPs, which, I agree, might make a difference. Oh, and I don't know if this matters, but I think I was drinking last night, too.
posted by pardonyou? at 7:22 PM on March 30, 2002


In 1919 there were half a million Muslims, 75,000 Christians, and 50,000 Jews in Palestine. Whether this is a matter of taking back a country or creating one, under the principle of self-determination, in the last 80 years the disputed region of Palestine should have been allowed to become a Muslim state -- at the very least, a significant portion of it should have become a Muslim state.
posted by rcade at 7:27 PM on March 30, 2002


Take heart, MeFi-- only 490,999 more links to go. Lord God, as your son Jesus Christ was crucified for the sins of the world, we ask your forgiveness for those sins, both known and unknown, even as we continue to struggle with peace in the Holy Land, peace in our world, and peace among all people. May the cross be a blessing to us as we, too, walk the journey of this Holy Week. Amen.
posted by sheauga at 7:36 PM on March 30, 2002


Please take the Palestine discussion back to the Palestine thread(s), guys.
posted by Su at 7:59 PM on March 30, 2002


"One area in which clarification would help me personally is how people are capable of living" the people have a leader. his name is Yassir. right now (looks at watch) Mirkava Tanks and APC's along with...oh...a brigade of trooper ready to clear an already near empty building. empty buildings. the Mirkava is very clarifying. The Isreali army is postioning itself for an offensive. weither they do or not is only to god (in my eyes) Perhaps it is up to that kid whom right know is preparing his satchel or AK. perhaps it is up to him or HER alone to stop and NOT kill. whom would be a martyr? whom would be righteous?
posted by clavdivs at 8:21 PM on March 30, 2002


For the love-a-god people, her name is B-r-i-t-n-e-y. Sigh.
posted by owillis at 11:01 PM on March 30, 2002


Please take the Palestine discussion back to the Palestine thread(s), guys.

Sorry. I zagged when I should've zigged.
posted by rcade at 5:07 AM on March 31, 2002


I am annoying because I don't listen to anyone else's opinion? What does THAT mean? I listen, and sometimes conclude you're wrong. And you are.
posted by ParisParamus at 6:13 AM on March 31, 2002


Some of you people just can't deal someone who disagrees with you, and does so, not EVERY day or week, but when the subject arises; and in effective, colorful language. Get over it.
posted by ParisParamus at 6:15 AM on March 31, 2002


You just don't get it at all Paris. We don't disagree with your motivation, we disagree with your methods. If you can't gather one shred of contrition after reading what the founder of this site succinctly encapsulated, then maybe all that is left is to either ignore you or plead that you get you own weblog.
posted by machaus at 6:22 AM on March 31, 2002


I think that Paris has decided to become a MeFi martyr. His tactics here are the verbal equivalent of suicide bombings. One can only suppose that he believes that if he gets universal scorn and/or removal from MetaFilter (perhaps taking a large number of the infidels with him) then he will spend eternity in paradise with virgins who will put up with him.
posted by anapestic at 7:29 AM on March 31, 2002


Tactics? Where in the Metafilter Constitution does it require me to be diplomatic? Why am I being singled out? Because the subject involves life and death? I think you should all examine your own double standards.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:01 AM on March 31, 2002


Paris, some of us deal quite effectively with oppositional defiant disorder, on a daily basis! (Not me-- I'm generally surrounded by adoring fans and syncophants.) Even though you have enough passion about your topic to do a 24/7 cybercast on the Israeli position, it appears you're playing to an audience that is more interested in other things. Please, reconsider this approach: "And now a word from our sponsor: THERE ARE NO PALESTINIAN ARABS; ONLY ARABS WHO, AU HAZARD, LIVE IN PALESTINE." You may be convinced that it's best to take the line "This website, and most of the Internet, is all heavily monitored by the Mossad, and as the Palestinians are discovering, you're life's not worth two cents if you cross us!" However, the fact remains that someone was gracious enough to put this forum together for us as a non-commercial site. The crowd here places a strong emphasis on the importance of friendliness and co-operation to make an online community work. Seems to me you might find a certain value in asking yourself, "what can I do with this group to help make *friends* for Israel?" My guess is it would be using the power of hypertext, hyperlinks, and e-mail to keep MeFi readers connected with the calm, reasonable people working on the Israeli side of things. You clearly have the knowledge to put together an Israeli counterpart of the Rantburg blog. Why not give it a try?

Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, speaking on Israel Radio as the fighting took place, said: "Our decision not to harm Arafat still stands. There's no change. We don't want to turn it into a world war, into a regional war. We don't want to turn the entire world against us."

*cough*(funny he should mention that!) BTW, I'm not required to be diplomatic any more than you are-- it's a tactic that's an integral part of my personal double standards, namely, everyone else gets to be as verbally abusive as they want, but I have to try my best to do better. How about you?
posted by sheauga at 8:43 AM on March 31, 2002


Ganz um die Bank des Schusters, jagte der Affe das weasel, das der Affe dachte, daß aller er im Spaßknall war -- geht das weasel!

Ich habe keine Zeit zu plädieren und Kiefer, habe ich keine Zeit zum wheedle, küsse mich schnell und dann bin ich gegangener Knall! Geht das weasel!
posted by crunchland at 8:47 AM on March 31, 2002


Gesundheit.
posted by dong_resin at 9:09 AM on March 31, 2002


I have rarely been verbally abusive towards anyone here.
posted by ParisParamus at 9:11 AM on March 31, 2002


Matt ... "... never once did I say I only had a problem with people grinding axes because of their stated position. ANYONE who grinds an ax about ANYTHING REPEATEDLY on the site will get an email from me, telling them to mellow out on whatever it is they are doing over and over, as it annoys people and weakens their position if people just start tuning them out. Is that clear enough for you?"

I've got to add a few things here (just opinions). First, Having participated in, and even run, a number of discussion lists over the years (I consider MeFi simply a modern, web-based version of the relatively old email-based discussion lists of the listserv/majordomo variety) - and I've got to say I'm somewaht in awe of Matt ... he runs MeFi with an extremely light touch, and most of the time manages to achieve what very few BoardMasters achieve: A completely split personality ... i.e., he does post things to MeFi as a participant, and as a participant, certainly has his interests, and specific political orientation; on the other hand, when he administers this board, he appears to me to simply tend the garden well - he acts in a fashion that looks out for the health of the board as a whole with almost no reference to whether he is personally in agreement or disagreement with the positions of the poster in question. I wonder how many people appreciate how hard that perspective is to achieve and maintain.

Second, look at the evidence - Matt seems to rarely step in to actively assert power as a board admin. Paris, if Matt has asked you to look at how you are being perceived, rather than reacting defensively, perhaps just take a moment to reflect? There are different motives here ... any individual poster is going to be primarily concerned with his/her ability to express a particular viewpoint. Naturally, anyone receiving a comment about what they are expressing will at first feel singled out. However, Matt's motive seems to genuinely be to cultivate a healthy discussion board, and the thriving nature of MeFi - users numbering in the thousands, and serious bandwidth constraints being an issue - seems to suggest he's pretty damn successful. It would seem that this would earn his comments at least a moment of consideration?

Finally, despite the fact that I'm probably perceived as a strident Libertarian (though I'm really less so than I'm generally accused here of being), and Matt seemed to single this particular ideology out in this thread, I've got to say he's never written me personally to tell me to tone it down ... but if he did, my first reaction would be to perceive his input as being helpful, not as an unfair personal attack. Please do consider this Paris ... we all get deeply emotionally involved in our persepectives (it's difficult for me, for instance, to pay a couple of hundred thousand in taxes, and then read countless posts at MeFi about how "selfish" the rich are without having a fairly strong reaction) ... but if Matt bothers to say something, what might be worth reflecting on is whether moderating your tone may actually help you be more effective in communicating your perspective.

That's it.


posted by MidasMulligan at 9:13 AM on March 31, 2002


Magnanimous and way cool, Midas. Props to ya.
posted by nikzhowz at 9:29 AM on March 31, 2002


For the love-a-god people, her name is B-r-i-t-n-e-y. Sigh.

Oliver, you need counseling.
posted by y2karl at 9:41 AM on March 31, 2002


I say he needs Britney.

If we can get a two-note chick like her on the radio, we can certainly get her on owillis. C'mon, people.
posted by dong_resin at 10:01 AM on March 31, 2002


If you love me, you'll do it. I know I have a problem. It's a problem I'm willing to live with.
posted by owillis at 1:55 PM on March 31, 2002


Oliver: Like Kryptonite to the stupid.

Britney: Stupid.

Therein lies a paradox!
posted by aaron at 2:32 PM on March 31, 2002


If the objection consists of calling, a few times, posters "dellusional," or "a fool,"; I have no problem with refraining from such. What I don't understand is the allegation that I have authored "many" posts on the subject in question. I just don't get the specifics of the complaint. May I have a Bill of Particulars, please. I am totally serious and sincere about this.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:02 PM on March 31, 2002


Therein lies a paradox!

That's no paradox! Clearly, Britney is helpless against Oliver, and will succumb on contact....
posted by mattpfeff at 4:22 PM on March 31, 2002


While you're getting Britney for Oliver, would it be too much to ask to get Alyson Hannigan for me....

I mean, while you're at it and everything....

BTW, Oliver, good to see ya back man, we missed you.
posted by jonmc at 5:07 PM on March 31, 2002


Britney: Like Kryptonite to Oliver.
posted by y2karl at 5:19 PM on March 31, 2002


And I do mean Kryptonite.
posted by y2karl at 5:23 PM on March 31, 2002


Oliver has the coolest damn banner in all blogdom.
posted by aaron at 8:23 PM on March 31, 2002


Actually, if you're going to go with the whole geeky comic book metaphor it would be Britney: Like A Yellow Sun to Oliver. Which means an instant invigoration of power and glory which makes me the most powerful being on Earth. Well, next to Britney (I guarantee you'll want to visit that link) that is.
posted by owillis at 11:52 PM on March 31, 2002


Hey owillis, Britney sez hi. She's a little busy at the moment, if ya know what I mean...

(woops, gotta go-- she's got my pancakes ready)
posted by StOne at 6:36 AM on April 1, 2002


Can you guys chill on the Britney/Oliver thing, or have we completely run out on non-stupid things to talk about?
posted by rodii at 6:55 AM on April 1, 2002


So much for a serious indictment of ParisParamus.

Also, is Matzoh Brei an acceptable alternative to pancakes for the next few days?
posted by ParisParamus at 8:18 AM on April 1, 2002


Sorry, rodii & everyone. I'm all out of non-stupid things to talk about, but I'm chillin'. (No foolin'.)
posted by StOne at 9:52 AM on April 1, 2002


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