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RTFA Day
May 6, 2011 10:03 AM   Subscribe

In the light of this FPP I would like to propose that today be declared RTFA day, in order to promote awareness of Reading The Fucking Article before posting comments.
posted by Artw to MetaFilter-Related at 10:03 AM (285 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

There are people who are reading the article who just disagree as well. I'm not sure additional hollering at them is going to really change things up much.

That said, I can get behind RTFA Day as a concept and I declare 5/6/11 MeFi RTFA day henceforth.

also most of those happy-looking lemurs have scrofula and/or head injuries.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:06 AM on May 6, 2011 [46 favorites]


Neal Adams brought it on himself.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:06 AM on May 6, 2011 [23 favorites]


I would like to call that thread a disaster generally. A few people have clearly not read but there are other people who have who are getting "RTFA!!!!" screamed at them, which is probably just as unproductive.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:07 AM on May 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


I guess we need to get this chestnut out of storage:

tl;dr
posted by mccarty.tim at 10:08 AM on May 6, 2011


The whole point of the political tactic at the heart of that thread is trying to manipulate people by framing facts out of their context, so I sort of thought the obvious didn't read the article responses served as helpful illustrations.
posted by nanojath at 10:08 AM on May 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


DBIOATF (Don't Be Intentionally Obtuse About the Facts) Day?
posted by jabberjaw at 10:10 AM on May 6, 2011


Neil Hamburger
posted by Eideteker at 10:11 AM on May 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


when your comment indicates a complete lack of reading the article, or a deliberate and willful ignorance of the facts in evidence - when I have to quote a part of one of the linked articles to point out where people are apparently traipsing through the field of dandilions of ignorance with a happy tra-la-la...

...I'm wondering whether or not it's time for that lobotomy I've been considering, because my reading comprehension hurts and I want the pain to go away.
posted by mephron at 10:12 AM on May 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


That said, I can get behind RTFA Day as a concept and I declare 5/6/11 MeFi RTFA day henceforth.

yay!

5/6/11

Wait a second...

Dammit!
posted by Artw at 10:13 AM on May 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


can it be rtha day instead?
posted by liketitanic at 10:13 AM on May 6, 2011 [32 favorites]


Sure, I was one of those people. I still stand by my statement in-thread that the framing of the post was deliberately incendiary and misleading. I could easily write exactly that same post which had its facts straight, had all the same links, and which didn't lead people into a mistaken belief about what happened.

The Blue should be about having accurate and interesting information and links conveyed in a clear manner. Not a gotcha game of propaganda where the links MUST be read before the basic truths are known.

Usually in threads where there are non-RTFA comments, it's because there are small details which are being mistaken. This is not a case of that, and is obviously due to the FPP being misleading from the end of the second sentence.
posted by hippybear at 10:14 AM on May 6, 2011 [8 favorites]


People are allowed to have differing opinions about stuff, you know.
posted by empath at 10:14 AM on May 6, 2011


Oh man that thread has inspired me to take a walk. Outside.
posted by The Whelk at 10:15 AM on May 6, 2011 [7 favorites]


Since I was personally outraged and annoyed by the lack of RTFA in that thread, and today is my birthday, I am going to consider Jessamyn's declaration a birthday gift to me. Thanks, Jessamyn. Today has just become awesome.
posted by crackingdes at 10:16 AM on May 6, 2011 [6 favorites]


wait, what about my suggestion!?

it doesn't have to be in ALL CAPS. it could be rendered in Chancery font and could have koalas & pandas nestled in the curly bits to make it friendly & light-spirited.

with Kitteh getting full credit, of course. except for the koala/panda-enhanced Chancery part. that's all mine.
posted by jammy at 10:17 AM on May 6, 2011


I'm going to join you, The Whelk.
posted by zizzle at 10:17 AM on May 6, 2011


Happy birthday, crackingdes! I got you a card that says RTFC.
posted by cmyk at 10:17 AM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Happy Birthday, Crackingdes.
posted by mephron at 10:19 AM on May 6, 2011


It's somewhat insulting to presume that people who disagree with you haven't read the article. And it really doesn't help the discourse to shout RTFA over and over again.
posted by grouse at 10:19 AM on May 6, 2011 [6 favorites]


5/6/11

Oh god are you British? Or do I not know what day it is? Or is it the 11 thing?

MAY SIXTH IS RTFA DAY.

better?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:20 AM on May 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


Sure, I was one of those people. I still stand by my statement in-thread that the framing of the post was deliberately incendiary and misleading.

Errr, really? It's a 245-word FPP. If anything, it explained too much. I think when folks post a "headline version" of an FPP, without too much of their own explanation, it actually gets people to read.

The burden is on you to read and then comment. Don't blame anyone else for your uninformed reactions?
posted by Avenger50 at 10:20 AM on May 6, 2011 [7 favorites]


I think this is a terrible, terrible idea. But then again, I didn't even RTFT.
posted by Plutor at 10:21 AM on May 6, 2011


/still holding out for an annual event and parade.
posted by Artw at 10:21 AM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I would prefer a "Treat your fellow community members with respect" day.
posted by grouse at 10:23 AM on May 6, 2011 [6 favorites]


Wow. I got mefimail adumbrating me for not reading the article: "Again, that is IMO completely not ok. Please knock it off."

Wow, I enjoy Neil Gaiman's work as much as the next guy, but wow.
posted by orthogonality at 10:23 AM on May 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


What's up with all the John Astin hate?
posted by ryoshu at 10:23 AM on May 6, 2011


Once every hundred years for RTFA day seems about right, yeah.
posted by ODiV at 10:24 AM on May 6, 2011


*memails orthogonality about overuse of "wow"*
posted by ODiV at 10:25 AM on May 6, 2011 [11 favorites]


What's frustrating about that thread is not "people who disagree", it's people who are the NINETY-FIFTH PERSON to come in and make the same incorrect comment that's already been addressed REPEATEDLY. Not only did they not RTFA, they also aren't RTFT before commenting.

I have rarely read a thread that made me want to go bang my head against the wall as much as that one does.
posted by OolooKitty at 10:25 AM on May 6, 2011 [5 favorites]


The end of April and the start of May is turning out to be one of my favorite times of the year!

-Victory of the Vietnamese people over imperialism
-Celebration of workers' struggles around the world
-Victory of the Rebellion over the Galactic Empire
-Victory of the Mexican people over the French Empire
-RTFA Day
-Victory over Fascism in Europe

I've got reasons to stay drunk all week!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:25 AM on May 6, 2011 [12 favorites]


I like this idea. Would have liked to see it applied to last night's OBL thread, too, but Santa only comes around once a year, I guess.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:26 AM on May 6, 2011


If anything, it explained too much.

It explained them WRONG. The post says the talk took place in a high school, which it didn't. It says the pay is one thing, when it was less than that. It juxtaposes the phrase
cited as an exemplar of wasted public spending" with the phrase "those wishing to determine if it was worth the dollah"... it provides context about the complaint by Dean, but offers basically nothing about Gaiman's responses.

I'm not blaming others for my lack of reading before I commented. I actually did read the first article. But if this FPP had been composed properly it would have been made clear that Gaiman's responses weren't simply responses, but they set the record straight about all the wrong facts in the first link, and emphasized that the things the Representative was ranting about were spin.

The burden may be on me to read and then comment, but the much greater burden is on the person composing the FPP to actually put the real facts in the FPP instead of outright lies.
posted by hippybear at 10:26 AM on May 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


5/6/11

Oh god are you British? Or do I not know what day it is? Or is it the 11 thing?


No, I think it's that 5 + 6 = 11. 5/6/11 = .75 repeating.
posted by Eideteker at 10:27 AM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


hippybear: Sure, I was one of those people. I still stand by my statement in-thread that the framing of the post was deliberately incendiary and misleading. I could easily write exactly that same post which had its facts straight, had all the same links, and which didn't lead people into a mistaken belief about what happened.

I realise that I wrote the FPP, and that being accused of, as far as I can tell, being a member of the Tea Party by you may be clouding my judgement, but can I just ask in all sincerity - what mistaken belief about what happened is being encouraged? Whose side do you think I am on in this bunfight? Where has my framing been incendiary and misleading?

Because, as far as I can tell, I am being criticised by you for your failure to RTFLinks, and I'm afraid your hurt feelings about being called on that by others do not entitle you to douche out at me.
posted by running order squabble fest at 10:28 AM on May 6, 2011 [12 favorites]


To me, it appears most of the RTFAs were directed at commenters that clearly had not RTFAs, or even read the post very carefully (i.e. statements about how did a high school get that money, why wasn't it spent on teachers...).

Unfortunately, in a fast moving thread, several comments were posted between the RTFA-inducing comment and the RTFA request. When a RTFA request pops up without a specific user name called out, I can see where the commenter immediately prior to the RTFA request might think it is directed at them.
posted by superna at 10:28 AM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Too many folks are trying to engineer the thread over there. Gaiman's high speaking fee is relevant to the discussion, and criticism of it is not "missing the point".
posted by rocket88 at 10:29 AM on May 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'm not blaming others for my lack of reading before I commented. I actually did read the first article. But if this FPP had been composed properly it would have been made clear that Gaiman's responses weren't simply responses, but they set the record straight about all the wrong facts in the first link, and emphasized that the things the Representative was ranting about were spin.

you know what, hippybear, i think you're right. i went back and looked at this FPP and i think it was miserably presented. "incendiary" might be too strong a word, but "misleading" may not be.

can we agree that the less you write in your FPP that isn't a direct quote or paraphrase, the betterer?
posted by Avenger50 at 10:30 AM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


The post says the talk took place in a high school, which it didn't. It says the pay is one thing, when it was less than that. It juxtaposes the phrase
cited as an exemplar of wasted public spending" with the phrase "those wishing to determine if it was worth the dollah"... it provides context about the complaint by Dean, but offers basically nothing about Gaiman's responses.


Addressed in reverse order:

* Gaiman's responses are in the article. And probably in the heads of most readers before clicking on the article.
* The NET pay Gaiman took was less than what the school spent. The figure quoted is what the school spent.
* It strikes me that objecting to a post on the basis that it was incorrect about the location of the event is....not being able to see the forest for the trees.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:31 AM on May 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


5/6/11

Oh god are you British? Or do I not know what day it is? Or is it the 11 thing?


This is why I prefer 2011-05-06. I have yet to see anyone confuse that for June 5th (except to be obnoxious). On the plus side, it naturally sorts when using it in a filename.
posted by narwhal bacon at 10:31 AM on May 6, 2011 [9 favorites]


being accused of, as far as I can tell, being a member of the Tea Party by you

Wait, what? Those words never were written by me, and if that's your takeaway from my criticism of your failure to have composed this FPP properly, then you've got deeper problems than I can address via a website conversation.
posted by hippybear at 10:32 AM on May 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


can we agree that the less you write in your FPP that isn't a direct quote or paraphrase, the betterer?

Actually, extensive quoting to get around the "don't editorialize" is pretty sketch behavior as well. I know it's a little tough to find the right balance but relying on quotes doesn't always solve the problem.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:33 AM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


The FPP text, including the 'more inside' seems pretty clear and straightforward to me. Rather then being 'incendiary' I read it as mocking the legislator's indignation.
posted by delmoi at 10:33 AM on May 6, 2011 [7 favorites]


To put it another way: those of you complaining about the FPP, what should have been included that you think wasn't?
posted by delmoi at 10:34 AM on May 6, 2011


Yeah, that's the tone I took from it as well.
posted by ODiV at 10:35 AM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


"This is why I prefer 2011-05-06. I have yet to see anyone confuse that for June 5th (except to be obnoxious). On the plus side, it naturally sorts when using it in a filename."

ISO 8601
posted by Eideteker at 10:37 AM on May 6, 2011 [8 favorites]


To put it another way: those of you complaining about the FPP, what should have been included that you think wasn't?

Chronological delineation between the initial event, and the uproar it caused, and what happened last week/this week.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:40 AM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


It explained them WRONG. The post says the talk took place in a high school, which it didn't.

Stillwater Junior High School


Neil Gaiman to speak at Stillwater Junior High School.


The link to the MPR broadcast of the speech, which you have clearly not even listened to the first minute of, says it took place in front of a large crowd at Stillwater Junior High School.

High schools have assembly halls where you can give speeches to large numbers of people. Libraries do not. Even thinking for a moment about this before you got your rage on might have allowed you to realise that.

It juxtaposes the phrase
cited as an exemplar of wasted public spending" with the phrase "those wishing to determine if it was worth the dollah"...


Really? This is what you have? This is your evidence for "inflammatory"? The deadly power of juxatposition?Oy.

It provides context about the complaint by Dean, but offers basically nothing about Gaiman's responses.

It provides two links to Neil Gaiman's full and detailed responses, having established the clearly political context of Dean's objection and the unseemly language he used.

So, you are now making things up and making factually incorrect statements - what I believe you describe as "outright lies" when you think I am doing it. At what point, out of interest, does "RTFA" mutate into "Be Able to R at all"?
posted by running order squabble fest at 10:40 AM on May 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


Oh man that thread has inspired me to take a walk. Outside.

Be careful!
posted by rtha at 10:40 AM on May 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


running order squabble fest: "bunfight"

Bunfight?
posted by zarq at 10:50 AM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


running order etc, do chill out.

I think we can all admit or agree that a chronological framing could very well have worked better. "One such and such a date, Neil Gaiman appeared in X place to give a talk requested by the Stillwater library. He collected a fee for this talk, paid for by the MN legacy amendment, and contributed that fee to charity. A year later, MN house majority speaker Dean called him a pencil-necked thief."

Etc.
posted by kavasa at 10:51 AM on May 6, 2011


I've been feeling like my comments have been high-grump and fighty lately (which I've been consciously dropping out of threads and not commenting to try to cut back on), but based on this thread and the FPP it's based on, it's not just me. "Everyone needs a hug" indeed.
posted by immlass at 10:52 AM on May 6, 2011


delmoi: "To put it another way: those of you complaining about the FPP, what should have been included that you think wasn't?"

Well, a bit more nudity would have been nice. Comic Sans. A John Woo-style guns-blazing shootout. Hobbits. Tonight's winning lottery numbers. Muppets. Also: popcorn.
posted by zarq at 10:53 AM on May 6, 2011 [10 favorites]


Eideteker: "ISO 8601"

I only know two RFC numbers by heart. RFC-1918 (private IP ranges), and RFC-3339 (pretty much the same as that ISO standard).
posted by Plutor at 10:53 AM on May 6, 2011


Bunfight - a.k.a. a crumpet-scramble &/or muffin-worry
posted by jammy at 10:54 AM on May 6, 2011 [15 favorites]


The link to the MPR broadcast of the speech, which you have clearly not even listened to the first minute of, says it took place in front of a large crowd at Stillwater Junior High School.
Yeah man but Junior highschools are totally different from regular highschools! (Junior high is usually 7-8th graders)
posted by delmoi at 10:54 AM on May 6, 2011


No, I haven't listened to that speech. I don't care what he said, and didn't wish to determine if it was worth the dollah.

Interesting that Gaiman goes out of his way repeatedly to state that he gave the speech at a library. He uses the word 13 times in his first blog post, and the word "school" twice, neither time is it actually connected with the events being discussed.

So now the waters are even muddier, because either he's lying, or someone else is.

And yes, libraries have event halls capable of holding 500 people. Or if not, they frequently find a way to have audiences for such events right in the library space itself. I've seen it done, and have attended more than a couple lectures where the audience is kind of situated around the stacks.

To put it another way: those of you complaining about the FPP, what should have been included that you think wasn't?

Okay, I can be constructive here and not just critical. Here's my take on this FPP:

GOP targets Legacy funds for MPR, arts.
House Republicans are reexamining state funding for some key arts and cultural heritage groups -- a move that may take political aim at Minnesota Public Radio, the Minnesota Zoo and other entities that have gotten special appropriations.
[more inside]
-----------------------------
Targeted specifically as an example of wasteful public spending was Neil Gaiman. "[House Majority Leader Matt] Dean also singled out a $45,000 payment of Legacy money that was made last year to science fiction writer Neil Gaiman for a four-hour speaking appearance. Dean said that Gaiman, "who I hate," was a "pencil-necked little weasel who stole $45,000 from the state of Minnesota." "

Gaiman, however, has responded to these charges in a blog post, where he not only sets the record straight about the exact nature of this speaking engagement, but also explains why he charges so much and what he does with speaking fees such as these.

A more recent post by Gaiman also addresses Dean's name-calling as political language, and examines the entire kerfuffle again a year after the events.

For his part, Dean has apologized for his language, but not for his message.

Those interested in Gaiman's speech can listen to it in its entirety here.
posted by hippybear at 10:56 AM on May 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


Well, a bit more nudity would have been nice. Comic Sans. A John Woo-style guns-blazing shootout. Hobbits. Tonight's winning lottery numbers. Muppets. Also: popcorn.

Hobbits and Muppets? Sir, you ask too much. But I applaud the vision.
posted by jabberjaw at 10:56 AM on May 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


Put the article in the basket!
posted by clavdivs at 11:03 AM on May 6, 2011


To put it another way: those of you complaining about the FPP, what should have been included that you think wasn't?

I think a clearer explanation of Minnesota's Legacy Fund Amendment would have been valuable, as there was confusion in-thread about whether this was public or private money, and it's kind of an unusual little constitutional thing we Minnesotans did there.
posted by nickmark at 11:04 AM on May 6, 2011


Has anyone here ever been to Stillwater, MN?
posted by ZeusHumms at 11:05 AM on May 6, 2011


People are allowed to have differing opinions about stuff, you know.

I disagree.
posted by Mister_A at 11:06 AM on May 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


Well, a bit more nudity would have been nice. Comic Sans. A John Woo-style guns-blazing shootout. Hobbits. Tonight's winning lottery numbers. Muppets.
Also: popcorn.


Hey, this is MetaFilter. Popcorn is BYO.
posted by nickmark at 11:07 AM on May 6, 2011


ZeusHumms, I am sitting in Stillwater at this moment. Well, OK, in its suburb of Oak Park Heights. They run into each other and are indistinguishable to those who don't know where the boundary lines are drawn.
posted by superna at 11:09 AM on May 6, 2011


Put the article in the basket!
posted by clavdivs at 11:03 AM on May 6 [+] [!]


Er ... it puts the article on its skin, or else it gets the hose again?
posted by jabberjaw at 11:09 AM on May 6, 2011


So an FPP needs to make up for the fact that people won't ready any of the links at all? That seems broken to me, though I agree your hand-holding version would result in less stupid in the thread. Probably.
posted by cj_ at 11:10 AM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


neither time is it actually connected with the events being discussed.

So now the waters are even muddier, because either he's lying, or someone else is.

And yes, libraries have event halls capable of holding 500 people. Or if not, they frequently find a way to have audiences for such events right in the library space itself.


Gaiman knows his base and it's emphatically not irritable internet people, it's irritable librarians and sci fi readers who buy his books in record numbers. He's a sort of phenom in the library world because he is very popular and also at the same time is a big library fan. His blog tends to cater towards those people with the occasional nod that people might come there to learn something about him when he's been in the papers. We're lucky at some general level to have this symbiotic relationship with well-known authors.

And many many libraries do not have the space for 500 people, though suburban libraries sometimes do. However, it makes more sense if you're having a Big Famous Person do a Very Expensive Talk that maybe you do it someplace with good acoustics and seating, a place that is set up for this sort of event, and not just push some shelving aside and set up the folding chairs. I don't know why this is a particular sticking point, but the fact that there was a library event that happened someplace that wasn't the library is not that notable as these things go.

I don't have a strong opinion one way or other other about the larger topic, but I do have some strong feelings about libraries.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:11 AM on May 6, 2011 [13 favorites]


Does that thread qualify Minnesota for the "aw, look at the cute foreign countries with their own politics!" theme this week?
posted by norm at 11:11 AM on May 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


There are articles?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:13 AM on May 6, 2011


I don't have a strong opinion one way or other other about the larger topic, but I do have some strong feelings about libraries.

I noticed you were in here like a shot...
posted by Artw at 11:13 AM on May 6, 2011


ZeusHumms, I am sitting in Stillwater at this moment. Well, OK, in its suburb of Oak Park Heights. They run into each other and are indistinguishable to those who don't know where the boundary lines are drawn.

Funny. I live in St. Paul. It would have never occurred to me that Stillwater has suburbs.
posted by ZeusHumms at 11:14 AM on May 6, 2011


Has anyone here ever been to Stillwater, MN?

Sure. Lovely town.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:16 AM on May 6, 2011


jessamyn: That said, I can get behind RTFA Day as a concept and I declare 5/6/11 MeFi RTFA day henceforth.

Next year I am going to post SUCH a long article, you won't even believe it. And it'll be about something people just can't ignore, too, like child labor being used to circumcise out-door cats.

It'll be like a 235,000 word essay.

And you'll all have read every word.

It'll be amazing.
posted by paisley henosis at 11:16 AM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'd like to see Gaiman's long-form invoice to the library.
posted by Zozo at 11:16 AM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


The "had to use the money" is an assumption on our part. I'd rather believe they thought he was worth it. I do.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:16 AM on May 6, 2011


In the light of this FPP I would like to propose that today be declared RTFA day

Which FPP?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:17 AM on May 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


You'll have to wait for May 6th, 2111, paisley.
posted by ODiV at 11:17 AM on May 6, 2011


Whoops. Wrong thread on the topic!
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:17 AM on May 6, 2011


Bunfight - a.k.a. a crumpet-scramble &/or muffin-worry

and/or fistimuffins, biscuit battle, fritter fracas, doughnybrook, calwarzone, bagel beatdown, pirogi pogrom, high-stake cupcakes, dangerous danish, brioche brio, bear claw clusterfuck, or nerd thunderscone.
posted by fleacircus at 11:18 AM on May 6, 2011 [22 favorites]


Jessamyn I don't know why this is a particular sticking point, but the fact that there was a library event that happened someplace that wasn't the library is not that notable as these things go.

As far as I can tell, it's a big sticking point because hippybear wants to use the fact that I said it was in a high school rather than a library as an example of the "outright lies" I am telling, and is now just getting deeper and deeper as a result of this unwise tactic. If I am not telling lies about this, apparently Neil Gaiman must be. This conspiracy must go to the very top!

(Incidentally, kasava, re: chilling out, I just got accused of being deliberately misleading, of telling "outright lies" and of some undefined political agenda by someone for having AFAICT correctly identified the location of a speech. I don't like being called a liar. I am happy with that about myself.)
posted by running order squabble fest at 11:20 AM on May 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


... and, at croiss' purposes.
posted by fleacircus at 11:21 AM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


You'll have to wait for May 6th, 2111, paisley.

God, it took me this long to figure out what the problem with the declaration was. I am the dumbs.
posted by Errant at 11:22 AM on May 6, 2011


I also live in St Paul, just work in Stillwater/OPH.

There's probably a better work than suburb for this: two neighboring towns where one is much larger and better known, and their built up areas have run into each other such that there is no clear demarcation between the two. However, the larger is not a "core city", so suburb doesn't seem like the right word.

St. Cloud and Waite Park MN are another example.
posted by superna at 11:22 AM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


arggh, better "word", not "work"
posted by superna at 11:23 AM on May 6, 2011


I don't like being called a liar.

Can I call you a mongoose? No reason - I've just always wanted to call someone a mongoose.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:25 AM on May 6, 2011 [7 favorites]


Incidentally, if anyone wants to book Stillwater Public Library for an event, more information is available here. The maximum capacity is 300 people on the terrace, apparently.
posted by running order squabble fest at 11:25 AM on May 6, 2011


Whose side do you think I am on in this bunfight?

"Bunfight" might be my favorite-est word ever.
posted by octobersurprise at 11:26 AM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


cj_: "So an FPP needs to make up for the fact that people won't ready any of the links at all?

It can't hurt but let's face it, you can lead people to water but you can't make them drink.

(Apologies in advance to Ironmouth but I thought this was hilarious)

I made a post which said:
"Last Friday, an adolescent cobra escaped from the Bronx Zoo. Now, it has begun taunting its former captors. (Via)"

One of the comments:

"Animals do not "taunt." If they did, we wouldn't be able to tell anyway.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:09 PM on March 29 [+] [!]"

...moments later....

Ok, after reading that twitter feed, they do taunt. My bad.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:14 PM on March 29 [1 favorite −] [!]

posted by zarq at 11:28 AM on May 6, 2011


Well, a bit more nudity would have been nice. Comic Sans. A John Woo-style guns-blazing shootout. Hobbits. Tonight's winning lottery numbers. Muppets. Also: popcorn.

Not been invited to Metafilter Extra Plus? Oh well. *strokes Hobbit. Waves at Matt and Jessamyn holograms*
posted by Summer at 11:30 AM on May 6, 2011 [6 favorites]


Incidentally, if anyone wants to book Stillwater Public Library for an event, more information is available here. The maximum capacity is 300 people on the terrace, apparently.

I really love your band. I think the song "Fever Dog" is a big step forward for you guys. I think you guys producing it yourselves, instead of Glyn Johns, was the right thing to do. And the guitar sound... is incindiary. Incendiary. Way to go.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:32 AM on May 6, 2011 [5 favorites]


It's raining Florence Henderson - I'd love to be called a mongoose. Even better, you could call me a binturong - a member of the mongoose family, and housed in Minnesota Zoo. Funding for which might be under threat. It all dovetails, doesn't it?
posted by running order squabble fest at 11:34 AM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


You have no idea! I'm a woodworker, and I love making dovetails! Also, mighty binturong, doves are delicious!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:36 AM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Has anyone here ever been to Stillwater, MN?
Sure. Lovely town.
Runs deep.
posted by Floydd at 11:38 AM on May 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


They taste like Peace! And John Woo! (Don't ask me how I know.)
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:38 AM on May 6, 2011


I'll teach that durn pencil-necked library robber -- I'm going to borrow his books from the library!

Oh, wait. I already had Stories out of the library.
posted by Zed at 11:39 AM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Has anyone here ever been to Stillwater, MN?

Well, I rode a pack of dogs there once.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 11:45 AM on May 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


running order squabble fest - while I think "lie" is a very strong word, to me there is a connotational difference between what you posted:
Neil Gaiman received this sum for a speaking engagement at a Stillwater, MN high school
and what actually occurred.

Your post implies that Gaiman was engaged to speak by a high school. Yes, I know you wrote AT a high school, but by not including who actually engaged the speaker (apparantly a library system, which would find a Gaiman lecture much more relevant IMO), there is an implication that the school booked Mr. Gaiman for an assembly or the like.

Apparently you see no difference between a school speaking engagement and a public library speaking engagement, but many do. You also apparantly see no difference between a high school and a junior high school, so maybe I can speculate that you aren't from the USA?
posted by muddgirl at 11:48 AM on May 6, 2011


Are you kidding? Clearly the people who were accused of not reading the articles didn't read the articles. They are just defensive on getting called on it, because no one likes being proved wrong.
posted by smackfu at 11:50 AM on May 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Your post implies that Gaiman was engaged to speak by a high school. Yes, I know you wrote AT a high school, but by not including who actually engaged the speaker (apparantly a library system, which would find a Gaiman lecture much more relevant IMO), there is an implication that the school booked Mr. Gaiman for an assembly or the like.

A tangent -- While technically this is true, I'm just wondering why on earth this is a sticking point that matters as much as it does to some. Since you're one to whom this matters, can you explain?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:51 AM on May 6, 2011


Taterfight!
posted by ericb at 11:52 AM on May 6, 2011


Even better, you could call me a binturong

I think this guy'd have something to say about that.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:54 AM on May 6, 2011


Do two binturongs make a binturight?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:56 AM on May 6, 2011 [8 favorites]


Ask the bitumen. They're over there, laying pavement.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:57 AM on May 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


Hey guys, join my bintuwebring.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:59 AM on May 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Ask the bitumen. They're over there, laying pavement.

Sorry - the mixup isn't mongoosasphalt, it's mine. If it'll pave the way to making amens, pray, accept my meager apology for the sticky mixup. Wasn't trying to be viscous. Hope this issue is entirely soluble.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:02 PM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh, and while we're talking about outright lies:

hippybear: Interesting that Gaiman goes out of his way repeatedly to state that he gave the speech at a library. He uses the word 13 times in his first blog post, and the word "school" twice, neither time is it actually connected with the events being discussed.

Actually, the only time he mentions giving the speech at library is:

About a month ago I was asked if I’d go and talk in Stillwater Library on a Sunday afternoon.

It is said that the speech will be the first of a number of speeches at local libraries. And the fund is described once as bringing writers to suburban libraries. The other uses are unrelated to where he is delivering the speech.

When he talks about having given the speech, the word he uses is "auditorium". The Politics Minnesota coverage (which I should have linked in the FPP, although since you didn't read any of the links before weighing in, it would have done you little good) says that the Club Book event took place at Stillwater Junior High School, as does the flyer for the event.

Counting the relative number of times he says "library" and "school", of course, is about as useful as the right-wing pundits who counted the number of times President Obama said "I" in his announcement of the death of Osama bin Laden, but even within that context you're being actively misleading. When will the lies end?
posted by running order squabble fest at 12:03 PM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was about to call you all a bunch of silly [British slang word]s but then I looked it up and it seems to be chiefly offensive and I didn't want to inspire a whole 'nother Metatalk thread.
posted by Zed at 12:03 PM on May 6, 2011


*backs slowwwwwly out of the room
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:06 PM on May 6, 2011


Zed: Funny, I don't mind being called a "bint".

(I'm totally kidding and know what you meant really)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:07 PM on May 6, 2011


When will the lies end?

I think some chilling out may be in order here.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:09 PM on May 6, 2011 [10 favorites]


*steps out for lefse
posted by ZeusHumms at 12:09 PM on May 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


While technically this is true, I'm just wondering why on earth this is a sticking point that matters as much as it does to some. Since you're one to whom this matters, can you explain?

First off, I think the whole thing is tangetial to the important point, which is much more effectively highlighted by this re-write of the post.

But beyond that, I think that most people expect high school assemblies, which occur during school hours, to be tangentially related to academics (I begrudgingly concede that some had to do more with school spirit). Sometimes we would have a motivational speaker, but it would last less than one school period.

But Gaiman was speaking, apparantly, on a Sunday. To an audience that was not primarily made up of students. It seems perfectly consistent that a library would engage someone like Mr. Gaiman - an author - to speak to the public. That's kind of what libraries are for.

Many people would think it's a waste of money for a high school to pay Mr. Gaiman to speak, but would not think it's a waste of money for a public library to pay Mr. Gaiman to speak. Since the post was explicitely framed around the question "Is this a waste of money?" I think it unintentionally pre-biases the lazy reader to say "Yes."
posted by muddgirl at 12:09 PM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


The "had to use the money" is an assumption on our part. I'd rather believe they thought he was worth it. I do.

...

Whoops. Wrong thread on the topic!


Actually it works ok in this one too!

"It’s not from the library. It’s from the Legacy Fund, a Minnesota tax allocation that allows the library to pay market rates to bring authors to suburban libraries who otherwise wouldn’t be able to bring them in. They have to use the money now as it won’t roll over to next year and expires next month." (from the third link).
posted by solotoro at 12:10 PM on May 6, 2011


Hope this issue is entirely soluble.

I think a suspension of hostilities is gravelly needed.
posted by nickmark at 12:11 PM on May 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


it unintentionally pre-biases the lazy reader to say...

Screw the lazy reader.

And I say that as a lazy reader.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:12 PM on May 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


muddgirl: Your post implies that Gaiman was engaged to speak by a high school. Yes, I know you wrote AT a high school, but by not including who actually engaged the speaker (apparantly a library system, which would find a Gaiman lecture much more relevant IMO), there is an implication that the school booked Mr. Gaiman for an assembly or the like.

Well, I can't be responsible for what you imagine I have implied. As I keep saying, schools tend to have large assembly halls. They are often used for gatherings as a result of that, especially in towns without theatres and the like. If you imagined that Neil Gaiman did a 4-hour assembly for the kids, and was paid directly by the school, and that all the stuff I wrote about the Legacy Fund was just an unrelated tangent, that's what you imagined.

Apparently you see no difference between a school speaking engagement and a public library speaking engagement, but many do. You also apparantly see no difference between a high school and a junior high school, so maybe I can speculate that you aren't from the USA?

I see a speaking engagement that took place at a school as describable as a speaking engagement that took place at a school. So, at this point your complaint, as far as I can tell, is that I accidentally left the word junior out of the FPP? OK, I'll cop to that. That was, by the standard hippybear has advanced, an outright lie. Although I plead in my defence that Stillwater Junior High goes up to 9th grade.
posted by running order squabble fest at 12:12 PM on May 6, 2011 [6 favorites]


Many people would think it's a waste of money for a high school to pay Mr. Gaiman to speak, but would not think it's a waste of money for a public library to pay Mr. Gaiman to speak. Since the post was explicitely framed around the question "Is this a waste of money?" I think it unintentionally pre-biases the lazy reader to say "Yes."

Fair points.

However, then that begs the question -- if people have certain expectations about high-school speakers, and this is such an anomaly, I'm wondering why that dichotomy didn't serve as enough of a prompt to generate the reaction, "that's odd, I wonder whether he mght not have been speaking at a school assembly? I shall read the article, perhaps it tells me more," as opposed to, "what a shocking waste of money! I dont' need to read any further!"
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:12 PM on May 6, 2011


r.o.s.f. -- I think the point about not adding "on behalf of a library" to "at a school" is a fair point, actually. I still think it's not quite the sort of thing I'd get quite THIS het up about, but I can definitely see how it's a phrasing that has lead to some perhaps unintentional conclusions on the readers' part, and those unintentional conclusions are not wholly due to "they didn't read the articles".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:15 PM on May 6, 2011


Not been invited to Metafilter Extra Plus?

Oh come on! I spent months trying to get into Metafilter Premium Black Label, and it took me forever to find all those ocelots and that Victorian grandfather clock was stupidly difficult to get to the top of that castle's spiral staircase.

Now your telling me there's something even more exclusive?

I can't take any more initiation rights! I swear, if I have to stand in one more thunderstorm on a tower with a "magic sword" held in the air trying to catch the lightning, I'm really going to throw a major fit. My hands still haven't fully healed from the last time.
posted by quin at 12:15 PM on May 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


All initates please report to the paddle room. Repeat: All initiates to the paddle room.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:17 PM on May 6, 2011


Hooray for rtha!
posted by Pronoiac at 12:18 PM on May 6, 2011


There is no sex in the paddle room.
posted by maryr at 12:19 PM on May 6, 2011


I can't take any more initiation rights!

It's not an initiation right, it's an initiation privilege.
posted by nickmark at 12:21 PM on May 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


Well, I can't be responsible for what you imagine I have implied.

Umm... yes, that's kind of how it works. You wrote a post. I read the post. I drew an assumption about the post that was later changed when I read the article. Others also read the article and got confused as to why you wrote what you wrote. Others didn't read the article.

I'm wondering why that dichotomy didn't serve as enough of a prompt to generate the reaction, "that's odd, I wonder whether he mght not have been speaking at a school assembly? I shall read the article, perhaps it tells me more," as opposed to, "what a shocking waste of money! I dont' need to read any further!"

This is Metafilter. People don't read the article if they think they don't have to. The best thing to do is either not put any editorial content in the FPP, or put accurate editorial content in the FPP. Hopefully this is a learning experience for all of us.

So, at this point your complaint, as far as I can tell, is that I accidentally left the word junior out of the FPP? OK, I'll cop to that

No, my "complaint", if I have one, is that you didn't have to mention the school at all. The location of the speaking engagement has nothing to do with anything. Why include it, rather than the source of the money, which is the important point? In the future, maybe consider including important points in the lede, rather than distracting ones.

Also, I already said that calling you a liar was too strong. Perhaps you should RTFC.
posted by muddgirl at 12:22 PM on May 6, 2011


This is Metafilter. People don't read the article if they think they don't have to.

And this very thread is about the fact that this trait is a bug as opposed to a feature.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:26 PM on May 6, 2011 [9 favorites]


The post should have mentioned the legacy fund.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 12:26 PM on May 6, 2011


running order squabble fest: I think you're mistaking my words for personal attacks. I have never attacked you as a person, said you have any hidden political agenda, or called you a liar.

I have said that your FPP contained propaganda. This can be true even if you don't espouse the viewpoint which the propaganda springs from. I apologize that my wording was ambiguous enough to be open to misinterpretation, and apologize for any hurt you carry because of my inability to write clearly.

I also said things about your post which involved the word "lies". At no time did I ever hold my thoughts that you, yourself, are now or were when you wrote this intentionally trying to lead anyone astray. Again, misinformation can be carried forward into one's writings without intent. And again, I apologize for my poor lack of word choice and inability to communicate well.

I do think it is a poorly written post. The small inaccuracies and at times flippant wording, combined with a bit of mystery meat about what one should expect in the posts following the first one (which is the one which set the tone for the FPP, in my case), led me to have the following thought processes as I read it.

"Wha-wha-what?!?! Oh, that can't be true." *click on first link* "Well, that is really odd. I'm not sure I understand, where can I go for more information? Well, I don't give a fuck about what Gaiman said, so I'm not going to listen to that speech. And Gaiman wrote a blog post justifying his fee? And then to examine the political use of name calling. Okay, I really don't care why he's justifying his fees, and while examining political speech is interesting, it's not going to provide me with any better context than that first article."

Now, obviously I'm not the only person who had such thoughts, because that thread is an utter train wreck.

I've made plenty of FPPs which have gone south, or haven't gone at all, usually because I didn't write them up correctly. The wrong word was emphasized, or I decided to make up a headline rather than use the one attached to the article itself. Or any number of other reasons. I'm trying to learn how to do them better, and I don't think I've made too many which have gone wrong right out of the gate due to my poor skills for a while now.

I really hold nothing against you, and hope you will acknowledge my apologies. I extend them again.

I also hope you will take just a bit of the criticism I (and others) have offered about how this post could have gone entirely differently if it had been written in a way which didn't push the outrage buttons from the first sentence.

I am now going to bow out of this thread, as I did the one this thread is discussing. I feel I've said my piece as well as I can say it, and tried to patch up the misunderstandings I've caused.
posted by hippybear at 12:27 PM on May 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


(I feel pretty chill, by the way - I'm just kind of interested about how far people are going to go to excuse themselves from not having RTFAs)

muddgirl Since the post was explicitely framed around the question "Is this a waste of money?" I think it unintentionally pre-biases the lazy reader to say "Yes."

Actually, the post wasn't explicitly framed around that question at all. Again, I can't change what a lazy reader might believe. I wasn't writing for lazy readers.

The post was specifically about the Minnesota House Majority Leader using a breathtakingly out-of-bounds piece of violent rhetoric while talking about Neil Gaiman as part of an assault on public funding of arts and cultural events, and the responses to that from Gaiman and the Majority Leader's mother. It's about the improbable collision of Minnesota politics and the Lord of the Dreaming.

Hippybear's revised FPP, contrariwise, is newsfilter about the Minnesota GOP attacking public funding - as is clear from the copy-paste of an article from the Minnesota Star Tribune as the opener. That wasn't what I was setting out to do.

Many people would think it's a waste of money for a high school to pay Mr. Gaiman to speak, but would not think it's a waste of money for a public library to pay Mr. Gaiman to speak.

It is made clear in the FPP that the speech fee was publicly funded as part of the funding for arts and cultural events:

Public funding for arts and cultural heritage projects came under the microscope of the new Republican majority, and Gaiman's apparently exorbitant speaking fee was cited as an exemplar of wasted public money.

(I'll cop to "apparently" being ambiguous there, for the lazy reader. "Allegedly" might have been more spoon-feedy.)

Again, this isn't even RTFA. It's RTFPost. I can't make you do that, but these contortions to make your inattention my fault feel kind of odd to watch.
posted by running order squabble fest at 12:29 PM on May 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


And I agree it's a bad post.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 12:29 PM on May 6, 2011


Viscous bunfight!
posted by a humble nudibranch at 12:32 PM on May 6, 2011


What does RTFA stand for?
posted by buzzman at 12:35 PM on May 6, 2011


Read the (taxpayer) Funded Art (project). Better hurry, though.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:37 PM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Screw the lazy reader.

What does RTFA stand for?

*Lubes up*
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:37 PM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


The fact that you keep framing the several, varied, valid objections to your post as "contortions" makes me really not want to engage with you on this any more. You clearly feel you have written an amazing post. I tried to help clarify why some people have a problem with it. You're not interested in the fact that people interpret your words different from your intention. There's no where else to go on this.
posted by muddgirl at 12:39 PM on May 6, 2011 [5 favorites]


What does RTFA stand for?

Red-tailed falcon.
posted by Zed at 12:40 PM on May 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Viscous bunfight!

I think that's "sticky bunfight."
posted by octobersurprise at 12:40 PM on May 6, 2011


It's not an initiation right, it's an initiation privilege.

Initiation rights are nothing without initiation responsibilities.
posted by Copronymus at 12:41 PM on May 6, 2011


Has anyone here ever been to Stillwater, MN?

Well, I rode a pack of dogs there once.




*Orson Welles applause gif*
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:43 PM on May 6, 2011


Fuck it dude, let's go bowling.
posted by iamabot at 12:49 PM on May 6, 2011


This is Metafilter. People don't read the article if they think they don't have to.

Is this true? That's not true. Come on now. I agree with rosf in that the burden of reading and comprehending is on you, regardless of the slant of a given FPP.
posted by Avenger50 at 12:52 PM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


What does RTFA stand for?

Re-Tweet For Applause
posted by nickmark at 12:52 PM on May 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


Hippybear: running order squabble fest: I think you're mistaking my words for personal attacks. I have never attacked you as a person, said you have any hidden political agenda, or called you a liar.

I hate to do this, but you said:

The burden may be on me to read and then comment, but the much greater burden is on the person composing the FPP to actually put the real facts in the FPP instead of outright lies.

From my point of view, it looks like you are now lying about having said that my FPP (not the links in my FPP) contained outright lies. Admittedly, the lies you cited turned out not to be lies, but let's not go into that again.

It's possible that you genuinely don't understand when you are calling someone a liar, though. I'll assume good faith. Let's say that you didn't mean to call me a liar, but the words you wrote and posted to MetaTalk called me a liar. I responded to those words, but I will trust that they did not reflect your intentions. The weird stuff about how many times Neil Gaiman mentioned libraries let's just put down to not knowing when to stop digging once you're in a hole, eh?

muddgirl: I'm totally fine with accepting it was a bad FPP. I had to leave the house in a hurry, I put in some bad adjectives, clearly I wasn't expecting the word "dollah" as a variation to avoid repetition to be taken as a jab at Gaiman. I was apparently flippant, although in my defence it was an FPP the punchline of which was a 45-year old Republican Majority Leader being told off by his mom for using bad language. I could certainly have explained more about the sales tax for legacy funding, although that wasn't really the aim of the post, because I didn't mean it to be newsfilter. I'm new at this.

What I am not fine with is your disquisition on how it was misleading to suggest that Gaiman's speech was at a school, when it was at a school. Or your claim that I implied that it was paid for by a school rather than a library, when the FPP said that it was paid for by public funds for arts and cultural heritage causes. That isn't exclusive of admitting that it was not a detailed enough post, or one that led lazy readers to think I was hating on Gaiman because I only linked to his two detailed dissections both of the original criticism of his fee and then of the abuse he got, rather than laying them out in the FPP, or any other rational criticism. That would be useful for me to know.

However, I kind of thought the point was that you posted links to MetaFilter, and people read them if they were interested enough to participate. The idea that one should write for lazy people rather than smart people is a new one on me, and I don't know if I need to take that on board.
posted by running order squabble fest at 1:10 PM on May 6, 2011 [11 favorites]


I find this whole thread much more amusing if I assume that anyone who can't RTFA for themselves is equally unwilling to wipe their own asses. I picture you all standing around complaining about the smell as if it had nothing to do with your own inaction.
posted by nomisxid at 1:11 PM on May 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


Shows what you know. I have orphans to wipe my ass. And a bidet. If only I could figure out how to use it...
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:13 PM on May 6, 2011


The idea that one should write for lazy people rather than smart people is a new one on me

Some of us are smart and lazy, like me and whats-her-name.
posted by Mister_A at 1:15 PM on May 6, 2011


Do they bite more or less than the geese?
posted by nomisxid at 1:15 PM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am bewildered. I think I'm gonna go see Thor instead!
posted by cabingirl at 1:17 PM on May 6, 2011


Tell 'im I said hi!
posted by Mister_A at 1:20 PM on May 6, 2011


This whole thread makes me thor.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:21 PM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


You're going to thee thor? I can hardly pith!

Oh, wait, that's not how that goes, is it?
posted by dersins at 1:21 PM on May 6, 2011


Thorry.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:21 PM on May 6, 2011


I should bring up that just because something is in one of the articles that people are saying to RTFA over and over again does not make it true. For example, Neil Gaiman says that his agent told him that the money could only be spent on speakers. People are treating this as gospel, and I don't think that has been determined. In fact, I find it unlikely.
posted by grouse at 1:22 PM on May 6, 2011


Grouse, in the original thread I linked two articles about the program in question which elaborate upon your concerns. I invite you to read them.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:23 PM on May 6, 2011


You guys are ruining my Friday buzz.
posted by neuromodulator at 1:23 PM on May 6, 2011


MetaTalk. First hit's free.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:27 PM on May 6, 2011


Friday Buzz is a thing?

Sweet.
posted by The Whelk at 1:28 PM on May 6, 2011


Actually -- grouse, now that I think about it, why do you think his agent would lie to him about the money like that? What purpose would that even have served?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:28 PM on May 6, 2011


posted by buzzman What does RTFA stand for?

Relentlessly Troll For Apple
posted by mattdidthat at 1:28 PM on May 6, 2011


"Excuse me, can I get two tickets to see Thor IN 3D?"

"I'm thorry, thir; Thaw 3D came out latht year."

posted by running order squabble fest at 1:32 PM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


The truth is that most commenters don't RTFA, just the FPP and the other comments. This only becomes obvious when the FPP is confusing or misleading.
posted by smackfu at 1:32 PM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Rockin' Thor Filesharin' Already.
posted by buzzman at 1:33 PM on May 6, 2011


Friday Buzz is what happens when you work at a university and it happens to between terms and no one is actually in the building so you listen to music really loud all day. It's pretty okay.
posted by neuromodulator at 1:33 PM on May 6, 2011


Oh. Guess I was doing it wrong.

*closes medicine cabinet
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:35 PM on May 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


I would love a Friday Buzz, but I'm pregnant and I hear it's not allowed.
posted by DrGirlfriend at 1:35 PM on May 6, 2011


Guys guys guys if we stop now I'll never get to my drum solo.
posted by The Whelk at 1:37 PM on May 6, 2011


Yanno, there are not many threads that I would call a train wreck, but that one has the locomotives all piled up.
posted by SLC Mom at 1:40 PM on May 6, 2011


I totally agree with you Artw, they absolutely should bring back Firefly!!
posted by infinite intimation at 1:45 PM on May 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


I mean read the linked articles!
posted by infinite intimation at 1:46 PM on May 6, 2011


The "had to use the money" is an assumption on our part.

If you take Gaiman at his word, which I have no reason to doubt, then he says as much in his dicussion of the fee amount:
So. I was asked if I’d come and talk at Stillwater, and be paid $40,000. I said, “That’s an awful lot of money for a little library.”

“It’s not from the library. It’s from the Legacy Fund, a Minnesota tax allocation that allows the library to pay market rates to bring authors to suburban libraries who otherwise wouldn’t be able to bring them in. They have to use the money now as it won’t roll over to next year and expires next month.


“Ah.”
posted by bonehead at 1:51 PM on May 6, 2011


You can just argue that stuff in the real thread.
posted by smackfu at 1:51 PM on May 6, 2011


The truth is that most commenters don't RTFA, just the FPP and the other comments. This only becomes obvious when the FPP is confusing or misleading.

Sometimes, they only skim the link text.
posted by ZeusHumms at 1:55 PM on May 6, 2011


I totally agree with you Artw, they absolutely should bring back Firefly!!

Stop that right now.
posted by The Whelk at 1:55 PM on May 6, 2011


You know how sometimes a bunch of people you really don't like get into it with each other, and you get the pleasure of seeing them take each other down?*

For me this thread and its related FPP are the opposite of that.

* half the fun of following primary elections
posted by jtron at 1:56 PM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


running order squabble fest

eponysterical
posted by ocherdraco at 1:56 PM on May 6, 2011


why do you think his agent would lie to him about the money like that?

It's possible that the agent lied, although that's not really what I was thinking. I think it's more likely that we are seeing the results of a massive game of telephone. The agent gets this invitation. He gets the details of the budgets from someone who perhaps got it from someone else (we have no idea, since none of these people are named). He tells Gaiman his understanding of how things work. Gaiman then passes it on to us. It's possible, and I think likely, that the end result is that we are told to believe something that is not true, without any person at any step along the way believing that they had misled.

Surely you folks have played telephone before?

If you take Gaiman at his word, which I have no reason to doubt

I could believe that all of those conversations took place verbatim just as he stated, while still believing that he may have been misinformed in the first place. And the state appropriation language says nothing about limiting a certain amount to speakers. The funds are appropriated "to provide educational opportunities in the arts, history, literary arts, and cultural heritage of Minnesota."
posted by grouse at 2:18 PM on May 6, 2011


They have to use the money now as it won’t roll over to next year and expires next month.”

As I said in the thread, I don't think this translates to "Oh crap! End of the year! We forgot to spend this money and we'll lose it!"

It could just as well mean there is no point in haggling, as we already budgeted the money and we would lose any savings anyway.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:24 PM on May 6, 2011


If Gaiman wants to spend his money on making love to beautiful fat women then that's a matter for him and them, no?
posted by biffa at 2:31 PM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


The funds are appropriated "to provide educational opportunities in the arts, history, literary arts, and cultural heritage of Minnesota."

Is it possible that libraries (and other qualified organizations) apply for the funds by saying "We would like $50K for speakers, and $25K for the Kids Art Fair" and then they are given those funds by MELSA and that is how they have to spend them?

I assume that grants your lab gets are restricted. The NIH (for instance) might have the overarching goal ofadvancing SCIENCE!, but if you apply for a grant to buy fruit flies, I'm pretty sure you can't just decide to spend it on bees instead.

I'd also point everyone to this comment in the other thread, which explains some of the bureaucratic process of who can be paid by the state and who can't.
posted by rtha at 2:33 PM on May 6, 2011


It's not the size of your neck that's important. It's what you do with it.
posted by Trurl at 2:44 PM on May 6, 2011


I just realized I've been confusing hippybear and bearwife. I think it's because I've never heard a dude describe himself as "hippy." I guess some dudes are into other dudes with facial hair and big hips? Right on, whatever lights your fire!
posted by Eideteker at 2:44 PM on May 6, 2011


Alas, no party hats.
posted by clavdivs at 2:44 PM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


rtha, all I know is that the Club Book program is a MELSA program funded by relatively unrestricted money. If they then restricted it or subcontracted it further in a way that caused a waste, I think that's on them.

The NIH (for instance) might have the overarching goal ofadvancing SCIENCE!, but if you apply for a grant to buy fruit flies, I'm pretty sure you can't just decide to spend it on bees instead.

This is a slight diversion but I think it's interesting stuff. The NIH is unlikely to give me a grant (or even a specific line item) to buy fruit flies per se, but they could give me a grant to do research on fruit flies. If I wanted to do the research on honeybees, that would be outside the scope of the grant. I could not do so without permission. But I could request permission to change the scope. I would also have authority in most cases to extend the grant period to spend previously allocated funds in the next budget year.

If I spent money on a piece of equipment that was within the scope of the project, but cost many times more than the expected cost, I would expect to get chewed out by a program officer, and to be considered less favorably for future grants.
posted by grouse at 3:10 PM on May 6, 2011


I think it's because I've never heard a dude describe himself as "hippy."

It should be "hippiebear", but I started using the nick back in the very early 1990s, and at the time, IRC only allowed /nicks with 9 characters. So "hippybear".

I do like the bigger bearded guys, however... But that's beside the point where it comes to my screen name.
posted by hippybear at 3:11 PM on May 6, 2011


I haven't tried to find what the intent of the framers and those who voted for the Legacy Fund might have been, but I'd guess it was meant to subsidize and recognize artists and others who are doing good, important work that doesn't get them enough money to live on.

From that point of view, $45,000 is not excessive.

Gaiman is making enough to live on, but he chose to honor the spirit of the fund by donating his fee to charity.

I'm sure his neck is plenty thick enough for him to be holding up his head with it, and that's a thing he certainly deserves to do.
posted by jamjam at 3:14 PM on May 6, 2011


Fun fact: To this day, most of my IRC nicks are exactly 9 characters. Reprazent.
posted by Eideteker at 3:15 PM on May 6, 2011


I was a bit shocked the first time (recently) that I typed in a long IRC nick and it worked. They've upgraded that software a bit in the past 20 years!
posted by hippybear at 3:20 PM on May 6, 2011


I'd guess it was meant to subsidize and recognize artists and others who are doing good, important work that doesn't get them enough money to live on.

Is there any reason you presume that? I know the NEA comes under fire a lot for giving large grants to artists who are already making a comfortable living, but I dug around in the framework documents and I don't see anything about the financial need of the people who receive grant money. You can read specifically about the money that goes to find library programs in this document (pdf).

The library programs for 2010 spent about 4,250,000 and served 2293 attendees overall. Part of the thing built into the grant is something they call the WOW factor [in addition to a ton of other actual measurable metrics] which is something that creates community excitement and new experiences. I suspect that's going to be one of the angles they pursue if this turns into a thing. It looks like, from reading that document, that they're hoping to add rollover language to future years of this sort of thing to keep the year-end stuff from happening.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:31 PM on May 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


The library programs for 2010 spent about 4,250,000 and served 2293 attendees overall.

Of which this Gaiman speech was 1% of the total spent and served nearly 1/5 of the total attendees?

Good grief. That's a really strange ratio. Seems like the program, as laudable as I find it, is really doing some fringe stuff that costs a lot of money and draws no people.
posted by hippybear at 3:38 PM on May 6, 2011


jessamyn, I think the 2293 attendees were only from the initial $227,765.97 in expenditure (which is about $99/participant).
posted by grouse at 3:44 PM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ah, yeah I was wondering how that was working out like that, thanks.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:45 PM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


hippybear: "1% of the total spent and served nearly 1/5 of the total attendees ... doing some fringe stuff that costs a lot of money and draws no people."

Does 1 person count as 1 attendee or 10 if they went to 10 events?
posted by idiopath at 3:46 PM on May 6, 2011


Does 1 person count as 1 attendee or 10 if they went to 10 events?

I'm sure it's counted as butts in seats, not individual participants over the course of a year.
posted by hippybear at 3:59 PM on May 6, 2011


How many of those attendees made more than the median household income?
posted by orthogonality at 4:26 PM on May 6, 2011


Thor was ok. The fight scenes were good.
posted by cabingirl at 4:35 PM on May 6, 2011


If I spent money on a piece of equipment that was within the scope of the project, but cost many times more than the expected cost, I would expect to get chewed out by a program officer, and to be considered less favorably for future grants.

But they didn't spend many more times than they were allowed. You can argue that they spent more than you think they should have for one speaker, but they had money for speakers and apparently no rule saying they couldn't spend more than X on any one person.
posted by rtha at 4:39 PM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


How many of those attendees made more than the median household income?

You going to grind that axe in two threads, now?
posted by dersins at 4:45 PM on May 6, 2011


Yes. Yes, he/she is.
posted by Kitteh at 4:47 PM on May 6, 2011


But they didn't spend many more times than they were allowed.

I didn't say many times more than allowed, I said many times more than expected. That is, there are wasteful expenditures that are legal and allowed, yet should be avoided nonetheless, and the grantee will look bad if they are seen to have made them.

You can argue that they spent more than you think they should have for one speaker, but they had money for speakers and apparently no rule saying they couldn't spend more than X on any one person.

That is exactly my argument. There isn't any rule against MELSA spending the entire $1.4 million on one speaker for an audience of 500 either, yet I doubt many here would be defending them if they had done that. If the grantee has some discretion in how they spend the money, they have to exhibit some responsibility too. My threshold for how much money is reasonable to spend on such an event is considerably lower than $45,000. Perhaps yours is higher, but I don't think an attitude that anything that is allowed by the rules is OK will lead to responsible expenditure of public funds.
posted by grouse at 4:57 PM on May 6, 2011


Tim Horton's Breakfats Wraps? Really fucking tasty.
posted by jonmc at 5:06 PM on May 6, 2011


I think that this attack on Robert Smith is appalling and questions need to be asked in the Parliament Of Spiders immediately.
posted by panboi at 5:16 PM on May 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


Perhaps yours is higher, but I don't think an attitude that anything that is allowed by the rules is OK will lead to responsible expenditure of public funds.

Like I was pretty much leaning towards on the main thread, what's high to you is fair to someone else. And too high is relative in the sense that the utility derived from this good is going to be different from person to person (or from audience to audience in this case). And this is especially true since we're dealing with a speaker that's imparting information that has no precise metric to measure results.

For example, If Neil Gaiman was a loan analyst and had a lecture helping people with foreclosures, we could measure if it was worth it by comparing the cost of him speaking to how much money he saved to those he spoke to.
posted by FJT at 5:18 PM on May 6, 2011


> Eponysterical.

Guilty as charged, but not intentionally. If I'd realized that I'd found a topic which would create a crossfire between libertarians, science fiction fans, democrats and librarians, I might have thought long and hard before sealing it in concrete and dropping it to the ocean floor. Short of Gaiman making the whole speech about how awesome Android is, I don't think anything could have been more bunfight-friendly.

But there's actually some good discussion in that thread, once people had helped each other through the failings of my original post. It was only in this MeTa that things got really nasty - between the increasingly stochastic quest to expose my/Neil Gaiman's lies about where the event took place1 and the apparent request to see my long-form birth certificate because I missed out the word "junior" from the FPP, a couple of people who hadn't followed the links were disproportionately violent in defence of not having done so. That was really unpleasant, and it's not the kind of thing I'm happy with letting go. More squabbled against than squabbling, I think. Possibly I ought to have flagged and moved on, but sometimes one's patience is limited.

1 "He said it took place at a junior high school, not a library. That must be an outright lie. So that means it took place at a library. But it seems to have taken place at a junior high school. Why would he mislead us?"
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:21 PM on May 6, 2011


I think the 2293 attendees were only from the initial $227,765.97 in expenditure (which is about $99/participant)

Correct. $45,000/500 people comes out at $90/seat, which is in the same ballpark.

Although I support this sort of program, that seems quite expensive.
posted by anigbrowl at 5:23 PM on May 6, 2011


Like I was pretty much leaning towards on the main thread, what's high to you is fair to someone else.

Oh, I agree. Deciding how much this is worth spending on is much more subjective. Although, I think it is high in this case, if for no other reason than because they probably would have been able to get Neil Gaiman to speak for less if they had asked.
posted by grouse at 5:27 PM on May 6, 2011


they probably would have been able to get Neil Gaiman to speak for less if they had asked.

That, to me, is actually the biggest WTF? of this incident. You run a program like this and don't think to ask for discounts or freebies? Always ask!
posted by rtha at 5:38 PM on May 6, 2011


I don't see any WTFs whatsoever. They had a short window of time to either spend the money or give it back, so they spent it. Why bother asking for a discount when it has nearly no effect either way? Maybe some small fraction of 3/5ths of Minnesota's state sales tax receipts were used unwisely. The real solution is to fix the rules for the allotment of that money ( perhaps by giving them more time to plan so that the money can be used more judiciously).
posted by idiopath at 5:58 PM on May 6, 2011


Why bother asking for a discount when it has nearly no effect either way?

I was thinking in general more than about this specific gig, but yeah, it seems like better planning and/or a rules change could have avoided this.
posted by rtha at 6:09 PM on May 6, 2011


It's somewhat insulting to presume that people who disagree with you haven't read the article.

This is MetaFilter where the insult of choice during heated discussions is telling people they need to educate themselves.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:22 PM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


What does RTFA stand for?
posted by buzzman at 3:35 PM on May 6

By the way, buzzman, it appears that people were too busy making jokes to actually answer your question, so...RTFA stands for Read The Fuckin Article. (or Fucking, if you prefer.)
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:32 PM on May 6, 2011


Read The Fantastic Article.

Please. Thank you.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:33 PM on May 6, 2011 [9 favorites]


Why bother asking for a discount when it has nearly no effect either way?

How much extra effort would it have been to offer two literary figures $22,500 each? I know they had a short window of time to use the money, but it's not Brewster's Millions, is it now?
- Oh shit!
- What?!
- There's another $45,000 here that we forgot to spend!
- How could you miss that! It's 4:57 - we've only got three minutes left to spend it!
- I know! I know! what are we going to do? Oh god, it's 4:58!!
- We're doomed, doomed...no! wait! I have an idea!
- What is it? What!
- Neil.
- Uh...OK.
- What are you doing?!
- You said kneel...
- No, fool...Neil Gaiman.
- Neil Gaiman! Why didn't I think of that?!
- Because I'm the one with the brains in this relationship. Get dialing.
- But it's a pushbutton phone...
posted by anigbrowl at 6:37 PM on May 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


Read The Full Article. After all, there are many articles which are noteworthy for failing to be even remotely fantastic.
posted by anigbrowl at 6:41 PM on May 6, 2011


If I had read the item pointed at me as "Read The Fantastic Comment" I guarantee my back wouldn't have gone up as bad as it did.
posted by norm at 6:42 PM on May 6, 2011


I was thinking in general more than about this specific gig, but yeah, it seems like better planning and/or a rules change could have avoided this.

I design and sell commercial audio/video presentation, tele-presence and sound reinforcement systems into the Government, Education and Corporate channels. Trust me when I tell you that it is absolutely normal to get a phone call on Dec. 30, or March 30, from a government purchasing manager wishing to buy $191,263.41 worth of A/V equipment for delivery on the 31st.

They often don't care what they buy as long as they spend the money. I have actually walked through my warehouse and made an inventory of physical items on hand,loaded them into my Jeep, and delivered them to the receiving site on New Years Eve; and then followed this up with a written Change Order the following week to reflect an operable system. This will never change as long as budgets are written with a "use it or lose it" mind-set.

This also happens more often in private enterprise than one might expect. I was doing installs myself right up until the opening of the Olympic Games last year.

Speaking of libraries, I designed the theaters for both the North Vancouver and West Vancouver libraries. The architects insisted on two sub-woofers in both locations, even though I had specified ceiling mounted speaker enclosures with 12" drivers in them through-out the space. The reason for this insistence was that they had budgeted the dollars for them. No amount of discussion could persuade anyone, at any level, that the last thing you want in a library sound system next to the computer study area are giant sub-woofers. So we installed them, and then attenuated them completely at the digital signal processor.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 6:49 PM on May 6, 2011 [16 favorites]


But if you actually read the article, take the time to mull it over, and post a thoughtful reply, then you can't post early and win all the juicy favorites.
posted by rain at 7:02 PM on May 6, 2011 [6 favorites]


The purchasing methods described above and in the thread here are a real problem. True, the GOP politician's rude complaint which sparked the FPP is just a cheap shot at the arts. But this whole approach to budgeting and money management is very wasteful. This is a Bad Thing.
posted by anigbrowl at 7:03 PM on May 6, 2011


It's wasteful, potentially, but it's not unique. A lot of departments in big companies have to spend as close to their full budgets as they can, because if they can get their year's work done without spending their whole budget they won't get their whole budget the next year. It's a bit ridiculous, and it doesn't incentivize parsimony, but it has its own purpose - it focuses minds on what savings have been made elsewhere for, and gives departments a chance to spend strategically rather than tactically.

That said, I've never seen such a department spring for Neil Gaiman. Possibly they should.
posted by running order squabble fest at 7:12 PM on May 6, 2011


You think this was expensive? You should see what he charged for pumping out my septic tank!
posted by jenkinsEar at 7:16 PM on May 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


How much extra effort would it have been to offer two literary figures $22,500 each?

Why shell out for a Van Gogh when you can get, I dunno, two Renoirs?

Oh, because there isn't an objective way to value things that have a unique emotional and artistic value to them; because it depends on the Van Gogh versus the Renoirs; because money is not a good predictor of value when it comes to these kinds of things; because two is not always better than the one; well, lots of reasons.

As noted by the librarian that set up the Gaiman gig, it's one thing to spend $2,000 on an author where 20 people show up. It's another thing to spend $45,000 on an author where 500 people show up.

If Dean is so worried about $45,000 of taxpayer money, maybe he should start with his own budget and salary.
posted by jabberjaw at 7:24 PM on May 6, 2011


So, this only applies to FPPs about articles, right? Cause I reserve the right to make dismissive comments about videos and flash games without actually clicking through.
posted by doublehappy at 7:28 PM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


paisley henosis writes "Next year I am going to post SUCH a long article, you won't even believe it. And it'll be about something people just can't ignore, too, like child labor being used to circumcise out-door cats.

"It'll be like a 235,000 word essay.

"And you'll all have read every word.

"It'll be amazing."


But you'd need someone else to post it to the front page so good luck. And I posted Dracula to the front page. Don't know how many words that is but it's a lot so a high word count at the link isn't unknown.

grouse writes "Surely you folks have played telephone before?"

Sounds like a lot less fun than post office.

anigbrowl writes "How much extra effort would it have been to offer two literary figures $22,500 each? I know they had a short window of time to use the money, but it's not Brewster's Millions, is it now? "

Like PareidoliaticBoy outlined this happens distressingly often. I was once given 2.5 hours to spend 50K and no single item could exceed $1000 including the tax. Not near as fun as it sounds. I imagine setting up a guest speaker takes several hours spread over several days; they might only have had time to organize one speaker. Especially considering budget year end tends to be a busy time already.
posted by Mitheral at 7:29 PM on May 6, 2011


Heh. I have a small game I play every fiscal year: how many multiples of may salary will I have to spend between the first of the month and the last. One year it was as high as 5. It's never been lower than 2. By comparison, my "annual" allocated budget is less than my salary. Essentially, I get one month per year to camel up, after which I go into hibernation eek by barely coving the phone bills for the rest of the year. The crazy thing is, it actually works more than it doesn't.
posted by bonehead at 7:44 PM on May 6, 2011


between the first and the last of the last month of the fiscal year.

Sorry.
posted by bonehead at 7:45 PM on May 6, 2011


Adumbrating is a fantastic word.
posted by santaslittlehelper at 8:03 PM on May 6, 2011


when my old man was in Saudi, he saw re-rod, about 300 pounds flown in a helecopter 200 miles. then another load, then another.

Had a buddy who tracked trucks. If a truck was late with parts to the factory, fly them in. What cost .08 cents a unit is now .28 cents a unit. i once saw a fork lift opertator dump 400 new alternators on the ground because it was his last day and by god, he wanted his break extra long and what better way then to just dump your load and have someone else pick it up.

my favorite is the trucker who wants a new tranny (stop.now) "but sir it's not the trann..."

"I don't give a got damded, put that it in"

"yes sir"

the problem was his engine. What was a 2500$ problem became a 7500$ profit.

They are born and still walk everyday

capitalism is great.
posted by clavdivs at 8:04 PM on May 6, 2011


Does that thread qualify Minnesota for the "aw, look at the cute foreign countries with their own politics!" theme this week?

I had an FPP with both Chuck Klosterman and Craig Finn this week.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 8:04 PM on May 6, 2011


So after some thought on this I'm finding one of the points that I find peculiar is people not seeming to make a distinction between:

"I'm going to demand $45,000 per talk."

and

"I don't really want to do public speaking engagements very much so I'll ask a lot of money for them."

and I think maybe that's where many repeated "RTFA" responses are coming from. That is, many people are, like me, seeing what reads as a response to the former, and concluding that they haven't read the article, which states the latter. When really they have read the article, understand that it's the latter, and don't seem to really care. Which I don't really grok.

All this is pushed into a different solar system by the "...and give the money to charity," but I think the distinction between my two quoted statements above is enough without that consideration...

There's a lot of hostility up ins these days. I just watched a falcon or some shit catch a fish while I sat in the rain. It was really pretty.
posted by neuromodulator at 8:22 PM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


That, to me, is actually the biggest WTF? of this incident

Really? Bigger than the fact that the state's Majority Leader insulted a private citizen and called him a thief whom he "hates," in a legislative panel? How is that not the major WTF?

I don't see any WTFs whatsoever

And to me that's the shame of this whole debacle. I think, if I'm not mistaken, that Dean's language and behavior was in fact the intended takeaway-WTF of the FPP, and while I did have some fun with this thread today, I also have sympathy for rosf about the direction the whole thing went (assuming that was indeed the intent, and I confess at this stage it's hard to tell and I may be projecting).

But I guess the way Minnesota politics are going this week, nothing's really shocking anymore.
posted by nickmark at 8:31 PM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Really? Bigger than the fact that the state's Majority Leader insulted a private citizen and called him a thief whom he "hates," in a legislative panel?

I'm feeling particularly cynical this evening, so I'm going to go with yes. Yes, I'm more surprised that the the guy tasked with booking speakers doesn't seem normally ask for discounts than I am by a politician who acts like a petulant, juvenile ignoramous - that shit is everywhere.

Ask me again tomorrow. I may have regained some perspective by then.
posted by rtha at 8:37 PM on May 6, 2011


Adumbrating is a fantastic word.
posted by santaslittlehelper at 8:03 PM on May 6 [+] [!]


Indeed it is, especially if you know what it means. I think this is hilarious:

Wow. I got mefimail adumbrating me for not reading the article: "Again, that is IMO completely not ok. Please knock it off."
posted by orthogonality at 10:23 AM on May 6 [2 favorites +] [!]


Really? Adumbrating? I'm wondering if "remonstrating" might be the word you were searching for here?
posted by littlecatfeet at 8:37 PM on May 6, 2011


Resheathe those claws, littlecatfeet.

Admonishing+umbrage+berating ==> adumbrating.

Far more useful than the dictionary definition.
posted by jamjam at 9:01 PM on May 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


Motherfuckers show some respect. The man wrote Discworld.
posted by Eideteker at 9:21 PM on May 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


. . . laughing so hard it hurts.

1. whenever anyone said "speaker" I thought they were talking about stereo speakers.

2. i don't know the difference between latter and former.

3. it's kinda fun reading stuff in MetaTalk without reading the linked post first.
posted by Sassyfras at 9:32 PM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


But I guess the way Minnesota politics are going this week, nothing's really shocking anymore.

After the past couple of decades, we've seen it all.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:13 PM on May 6, 2011


What does RTFA stand for?

righteous trolls fend-off arguments
posted by pyramid termite at 10:22 PM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I favorited my own post because I thought it deserved it, forgot that I did so, then excitedly checked to see who thinks I'm as funny as I do.

The answer was me. I'm the person who thinks I'm as funny as I do. Awesome.
posted by neuromodulator at 11:07 PM on May 6, 2011 [8 favorites]


"and to all the people who accuse the critics of not reading the article -"

Oh gee, I think the topic just did some shark jumping. This guy just came in and managed to tell off everyone for being partisan, starts a laundry list of government overspending that starts at Gaiman and goes all the way to current conflicts going on in the Middle East/South Asia, and then of course his coup de grace is to call the strawman created a liberal position.
posted by FJT at 11:50 PM on May 6, 2011


A badly crafted post, which seems only to exist in order to make fun of the Republican and his mommy.
posted by Brocktoon at 12:15 AM on May 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


then of course his coup de grace is to call the strawman created a liberal position.

no, my critique of government spending is a liberal position, from a liberal, and the point is that one doesn't have to be a GOP partisan to deplore how our government is spending its money, whether it be a local entity overpaying for a speaker or our federal government overpaying to be the superpower and bailer-out of the world
posted by pyramid termite at 1:26 AM on May 7, 2011


it's kinda fun reading stuff in MetaTalk without reading the linked post first.

RTFLP.
posted by Summer at 1:27 AM on May 7, 2011


You're going to thee thor? I can hardly pith!

I wanna get weighed.
posted by Meatbomb at 5:04 AM on May 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Motherfuckers show some respect. The man wrote Discworld.

You're confusing him with Terry Pratchett, Eideteker (although to muddy the issue, Gaiman DID co-author a book with Pratchett called Good Omens which is delightful).

Unless, of course, you were just trying to make some kind of joke about not RTFA, in which case carry on.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 5:29 AM on May 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Shows what you know. I have orphans to wipe my ass.

What sort of person sends mercenaries to a bunfight in his place?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:33 AM on May 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


1. whenever anyone said "speaker" I thought they were talking about stereo speakers.

Those fuckers spent all that money on Bose?!
posted by Devils Rancher at 5:47 AM on May 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Those fuckers spent all that money on Bose?!

$45,000 on Bose might be tricky, but a Linn Klimax 350 loudspeaker will set you back about $30,000, at which point just paying Neil Gaiman to stand in your living room and sing starts sounding pretty economical again.

He'd probably do that for scale, as well, because it's whimsical.
posted by running order squabble fest at 6:06 AM on May 7, 2011


Incidentally, nickmark:

And to me that's the shame of this whole debacle. I think, if I'm not mistaken, that Dean's language and behavior was in fact the intended takeaway-WTF of the FPP, and while I did have some fun with this thread today, I also have sympathy for rosf about the direction the whole thing went (assuming that was indeed the intent, and I confess at this stage it's hard to tell and I may be projecting).

That was pretty much it - although it wasn't the only thing that I thought was interesting (there is a whole bunch of stuff about Minnesota politics, the way funding is allocated, the abolition of earmarking in the Legacy Fund and how it might be used to avoid overpaying to clear funds or to attack public funding for, e.g. Minnesota Public Radio, and so on), that was the thing I thought was primarily interesting - that fairly soon after the Gabrielle Giffords shooting and the call for greater civility and an end to violent rhetoric, and right alongside the (more or less grudgingly) bipartisan praise of President Obama over bin Laden, this was going down.

But I didn't want to do outragefilter, and I also didn't want to do newsfilter, so I tried to highlight what seemed to me the interesting part while providing some context around the previous debates around the engagement, and about how Dean's particular angle revived the controversy.

What I've got from the non-crazy responses here is that it could have been a better FPP if it had been more newsy - if I had put in a timeline starting with April 2010 and going up to the present day - and if I had presupposed that some people were going to express strong opinions without having perused even the four short text links in the FPP, which I confess hadn't occurred to me, and summarised what Gaiman's response actually said at greater length. And also if I had taken more care to explain for people unfamiliar with Minnesota's arts funding how the Legacy Fund worked. That's all useful stuff to know.

So, when brocktoon says it was:

A badly crafted post, which seems only to exist in order to make fun of the Republican and his mommy.

I can sympathise with the analysis if not the tone. It's my third FPP. I hope I get better at them. I also hope that whatever made some people feel they could be huge assholes about my misleading, incendiary lies because Artw called them out for not reading the links was a phase of the moon or an unusually high pollen count or something.
posted by running order squabble fest at 6:28 AM on May 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


no, my critique of government spending is a liberal position, from a liberal, and the point is that one doesn't have to be a GOP partisan to deplore how our government is spending its money, whether it be a local entity overpaying for a speaker or our federal government overpaying to be the superpower and bailer-out of the world

Now that I've had my 4 hours of sleep, okay, I see some of that. Still, your going way beyond the scope of the topic and pretty much saying, "I (or the Tea Party) am right, you're wrong!".

And though I can find areas where the Tea Party agrees WITH ME (I say that instead of the other way around because I'm older than the movement), I don't think the Tea Party is actually serious about spending cuts. Especially when it's something that deals with their core interests. And I'm okay with that, they're human. One of the responses to your original post derided the name-calling, which is also what I'm not okay with. But, I think as a person that claims to be polite and courteous, I should refrain from directly calling them out and simply doing my own thing and hope they follow my example.
posted by FJT at 6:32 AM on May 7, 2011


littlecatfeet: Really? Adumbrating? I'm wondering if "remonstrating" might be the word you were searching for here?

I thought maybe "excoriate", which is another fantastic word. But "adumbrate" does sound like it should mean being put under a shadow (as in criticised or condemned) - linguistic false logic suggests that sketching something out should involve exumbrating it.

(I keep using "pusillanimous" to mean "petty" rather than "cowardly", even though I know it's wrong a split-second after I do it every time, because my morphological hardcoding tells me that it must be the antonym of "magnanimous". And because it's such an awesomely fun word to say, and I get to call people petty more often than cowardly.)
posted by running order squabble fest at 7:03 AM on May 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


rosf: thats a whole lotta victim playing. this is metatalk. welcome.
posted by lazaruslong at 7:16 AM on May 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


lazaruslong: Your opinion has been noted - thanks for your thoughts, and your welcome.
posted by running order squabble fest at 7:44 AM on May 7, 2011


my welcome what?
posted by mimo at 8:24 AM on May 7, 2011


Welcome is in this case a noun. (SLYT, WMVC (Welsh Male Voice Choir))
posted by running order squabble fest at 8:48 AM on May 7, 2011


You combine phases of the moon with pollen count, you get one of the deadliest creatures ever:

The wolfman with really irritating allergies.

Beware of his red and and befanged, sniffly snout!
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:35 AM on May 7, 2011


*rips up zombie teleplay involving Antihistimine seeking wolfzombodies.
posted by clavdivs at 10:38 AM on May 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


The children of the night - what mucus they make!
posted by running order squabble fest at 10:39 AM on May 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


wolfzombodies in kubelwagens smoking black tar herion and remixing Hentai clips and Funked out MIDI Shostakovich weilding machine pistols made of sterner stuff.
posted by clavdivs at 10:42 AM on May 7, 2011


I also hope that whatever made some people feel they could be huge assholes about my misleading, incendiary lies because Artw called them out for not reading the links was a phase of the moon or an unusually high pollen count or something.

Funny, I was hoping the same reason could be used for rejecting olive branches when they're extended in a thread such as this.
posted by hippybear at 2:56 PM on May 7, 2011


Sorry. Im not into shitty comic art. I get my gaiman news from one-liners. I also dont read "fucking" articles, as i prefer "good" articles.

So yeah, i will continue not reading the fucking articles, just as all you shitty artists choose not to read science articles and post with something like "well i dont remember this from 'plan 9'!"

And yeah...id rather that an already rich guy not get 45k from a school. I bet a very smart speaker could have figured how to turn the 45k fee into more than $50k for the school itself.

But instead, they only got neil.
posted by hal_c_on at 2:57 PM on May 7, 2011


posted by hal_c_on And yeah...id rather that an already rich guy not get 45k from a school. I bet a very smart speaker could have figured how to turn the 45k fee into more than $50k for the school itself.

The money did not come from the school or the library. The money came from the Legacy Fund, a Minnesota tax allocation that allows the library to pay market rates to bring authors to suburban libraries who otherwise wouldn’t be able to bring them in. cite
posted by mattdidthat at 3:23 PM on May 7, 2011


hal_c_on: Sorry. Im not into shitty comic art. I get my gaiman news from one-liners. I also dont read "fucking" articles, as i prefer "good" articles.

So yeah, i will continue not reading the fucking articles, just as all you shitty artists choose not to read science articles and post with something like "well i dont remember this from 'plan 9'!
"

How can you possibly know the quality of the article without having read it? The point of this MeTa post isn't to force you to read anything, but people here would prefer that should you choose not to, you simply refrain from making ignorant comments about something you haven't bothered to read. See how I didn't comment in that thread? It's because the topic doesn't interest me and I didn't read the "fucking" article.
posted by gman at 3:39 PM on May 7, 2011


Shhhh! Let hal_c_on keep thinking Neil Gaiman is still doing "Sandman!" Don't tell him he's a Newberry-winning author now!

It'll be the awesomest joke ever to ask if he's seen the most recent "Sandman" and watch him scoff!
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:44 PM on May 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


mattdidthat, gman, abort! Do not engage the troll!
posted by dersins at 3:46 PM on May 7, 2011


EmpressCallipygos: Well, the Sandman is one of the Endless - maybe in way Neil Gaiman is always doing "Sandman"?

hippybear: I didn't reject your olive branch, dude. But what you did is still what you did, and it leaves a mark. I'm generally trying to be nice about that, or at least light-hearted. I'm a nice person. I'm not divine.

Back on topic, can I give a post-RTFA day shout-out to this thread?
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:52 PM on May 7, 2011


When I say hello or goodbye, I like to handwave also.
posted by P.o.B. at 5:43 PM on May 7, 2011


mattdidthat, gman, abort! Do not engage the troll!

That's right. You best leave this bridge while you have a chance to.
posted by hal_c_on at 7:14 PM on May 7, 2011


Looking at the length of this thread, I think maybe a GAFL day may be in order for some.
posted by jonmc at 7:56 PM on May 7, 2011


You should've Red T other FP.
posted by running order squabble fest at 8:02 PM on May 7, 2011


*smokes a bowl in jefferies tube
posted by clavdivs at 8:15 PM on May 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Incidentally, I think this post roughly contains the information I would have put in if I'd know that people didn't RTFAs. Hopefully this will undo some of the damage to my karma, and help out the people still hanging in there. I do wish I hadn't been kept busy with the accusations in this thread, rather than being able to help out in that one, but c'est la vie. I imagine people who don't RTFA would probably also not read longer FPPs, or comments made explaining the FPPs.
posted by running order squabble fest at 7:57 AM on May 8, 2011


That's right. You best leave this bridge while you have a chance to.

You came in and made a comment that makes it seem like not only have you not read the article, you haven't bothered reading any of the comments in this thread or the fpp either. If you have in fact read the article and/or the comments, then you seem to have commented for the lulz. Why should anyone take you seriously?
posted by rtha at 8:41 AM on May 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


Listen folks, I've only got two hands right now and they're busy!
posted by P.o.B. at 11:53 AM on May 8, 2011


... because somtimes I have more hands...



Yay, non-editing ability!
posted by P.o.B. at 11:55 AM on May 8, 2011


Doesn't matter though, I don't need to edit. I'm to busy waving my hands.
posted by P.o.B. at 12:01 PM on May 8, 2011


So what are you typing with?

Oh.


Oh.

posted by jtron at 12:10 PM on May 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm that talented!

Admittedly, copy and paste is kind of tough.

I like to use hyperbole instead.
posted by P.o.B. at 12:25 PM on May 8, 2011


In the It's Just a Word and in the Neil Gaiman thread, a lot of users expressed political attitudes which surprised me, that I wouldn't have expected to hear from user X or user Y -- I wish some of you folks would get back in your pigeonholes. A lot of effort went into my web of assumptions, I'll have you know.
posted by EatTheWeak at 12:49 AM on May 9, 2011


How much extra effort would it have been to offer two literary figures $22,500 each? I know they had a short window of time to use the money, but it's not Brewster's Millions, is it now? - anigbrowl

I found one of the greatest weaknesses of the thread and the discourse was this kind of ignorance. Two literary figures is two events. Or getting them back to back. That in and of itself is a huge job. The more people you invite in, the harder it gets. Most of these grants explicitly do not cover staffing, so organizational time is coming out of overtime or overwork. Two people is double (or more) the staffing time, and it only goes up the more speakers or attendees you have. Reporting is more difficult, as is the actual labour of paperwork. Hours and hours spent on the phone, choosing dates and playing with calendars and booking venues and getting dicked around by people who think booking an event and a speaker is just a matter of "hey you, rock up and ten, k?" and yanking $45k out of the till.

It is honestly the most irritating part of my job as a librarian, and it's also the most time consuming since most of my interaction with patrons is through programming. I'd much rather a bollocking from some loser politician than sitting at my desk trying to balance four calendars, a financial services department out for blood, speakers who want far less money (but a whole lot more negotiation and attention) while still doing the collection development, occasional bit of reference, designing the current space and working out what is happening in twelve months time. Which will no doubt have some sort of issue and need the same last minute dancing.

But I'm sure you're right, and it's totally simple.
posted by geek anachronism at 3:38 AM on May 9, 2011 [14 favorites]


dude wasn't talkin' bout Gaiman's all
posted by solipsophistocracy at 10:32 PM on May 10, 2011


But I'm sure you're right, and it's totally simple.

Come work on an independent film and learn to schedule 20-50 people, props and equipment in different locations every day and/or night, for a month, for peanuts. Then pull it apart and reschedule large chunks of it every day or two. From a clipboard, because you don't have a desk and may need to do this in the back seat of a car or with the aid of a flashlight. Industry standard is 12 hour days, meal break after 6 hours, and if you're not organizing there's usually plenty of equipment that needs lifting and carrying. It's not very glamorous work most of the time. If the schedule goes pear-shaped - weather being the most common cause - then that can get a lot longer. My record is 36 hours straight. Planning my wedding (in a library, coincidentally enough) was a breeze by comparison.

I can appreciate why you would find event planning/management the most irritating part of your job as a librarian. It's incidental to the primary task, and in many ways the complete opposite of the quiet and orderly environment that typifies libraries. But it does not strike me as difficult, at all.
posted by anigbrowl at 12:51 AM on May 11, 2011


Can we just assume that all of our jobs are more challenging from the inside than they look from the outside, rather than getting into comparisons of how super challenging our jobs are and how easy other people's jobs look in comparison?
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:49 AM on May 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


anigbrowl, I'm a theatrical stage manager, and often deal with the same kinds of schedule mayhem you have.

What's strange is that that has taught me to be understanding of other people's attempts to schedule things, rather than dismissive. I'm wondering why the opposite happened in your case.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:27 AM on May 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


I did try to take a more open-ended and inclusive approach in earlier comments (here and in the original thread), in hopes of stimulating discussion about how to make better use of scarce resources, both to deliver greater value to the public and to avoid exposure to cheap political attacks like that of the GOP politician. If you look at my posts up the thread, I think you'll agree that they were good-humored and respectful.

My most recent comment was, in contrast, quite snippy. To be honest, I felt insulted that a friendly suggestion, especially one offered in a humorous context, was dismissed as ignorant; also, the idea that nobody else could appreciate or imagine the effort and process involved in the task struck me as somewhat arrogant. Finally, anyone who read the original thread would have noticed that I specifically directed my criticisms about inefficient use of funds at administrators, not at librarians.

I don't wish to dismiss anyone's effort, and I wasn't born knowing how to do these things either; I had to learn, often the hard way and often by making mistakes. I too try to be understanding of others' attempts to do things, and appreciative of the difficulties that are sometimes involved. But I could do without the presumption of ignorance in response to an honest suggestion.
posted by anigbrowl at 11:46 AM on May 11, 2011


Well, it looks like the fund has learned, in those terms - Urdahl hasn't tried to remove their speaking fees for Walter Mosley or Garrison Keillor from their 2012-3 budget (yet), so maybe after the first Gaiman brouhaha in April of last year they took care from then on that parsimony was not only done but seen to be done...
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:40 PM on May 11, 2011


Are you kidding? What better negotiation tool to lower speaking fees can a library have?

"Listen, I really wish I could pay your speaking fees, but you remember that whole Gaiman fiasco ... yeah ... I know, it was ridiculous. In good faith, we just have to ask for a discount. Oh, you're too kind. How much? 25% ... no, not a 25% discount, we only want to pay 25% of your fee. Yeah .... thanks. We'll see you April 25th."
posted by jabberjaw at 3:48 PM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


anigbrowl: To be honest, I felt insulted that a friendly suggestion, especially one offered in a humorous context, was dismissed as ignorant; also, the idea that nobody else could appreciate or imagine the effort and process involved in the task struck me as somewhat arrogant. Finally, anyone who read the original thread would have noticed that I specifically directed my criticisms about inefficient use of funds at administrators, not at librarians.

You asked a question. If you 'knew' the answer (i.e. it isn't hard, suck it up princess) then why ask? You wanted to know if it really was more effort for two speakers and I anwered you. In a stroppy manner, but if you don't want to appear like you've got no clue, don't ask a rhetorical question that you only think you know the answer to. Theatre/film management is not equivalent to these sorts of events. As librarians we most do not train to be event managers, as librarians this management of events and time takes place in and around our general duties (and event if we have a programs/events librarian, they're still working their other duties on top of the specially funded event) (which, as I mentioned, generally comes with more work an no pay to fund extra staff). The mechanics of reporting and accounting are huge as well, given the source of the funding.

And seriously, this isn't 'bought a giant printer that never even got hooked up because I had $7k left over in the budget'. They got a successful speaker in, who ticked all the boxes they needed ticked. If they didn't want that, they wouldn't have even looked at him, simple as that. Expensive yes, but why would two (arguably less impressive/less well known) less expensive speakers be more acceptable? It's still the same money (and money that probably wouldn't have gone straight into charity either).

And as far as timing - on Tuesday I received notice that I was successful applying for a grant to run a program next year. They were giving me the money this financial year, giving me six weeks to spend the (not insignificant) amount of money for a program for next year because money doesn't roll over with my employer. Unless I go and get it tagged something different, which is a whole reporting/accounting mess in and of itself. So I'm dealing with that, on top of my regular job, on top of sorting out the next 18 months of programming. But yeah, I should split that money up since X/2 for two events instead of X for one event is OBVIOUSLY easier to spend and organise.
posted by geek anachronism at 5:51 PM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


You asked a question. If you 'knew' the answer (i.e. it isn't hard, suck it up princess) then why ask?

As you say yourself, it was a rhetorical question: one which invites the reader to consider things from the questioner's viewpoint. I thought the little comic dialog that came immediately afterwards made that sufficiently obvious. It wasn't meant as a dig at you, because you hadn't posted anything at that point. You chose to take it personally, I don't know why.
posted by anigbrowl at 10:54 PM on May 13, 2011


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