Legitimate post v. Wackadoodlery July 28, 2011 10:07 PM   Subscribe

What is chat filter? Why isn't this post chat filter?

[This is my first question on MetaTalk, and I SERIOUSLY don't mean to be disrespectful to the OP who wrote the post to which I refer, but... anyway, please be kind!] Once in a while I'm completely baffled by some of the posts I see on Ask.Me, and I think, 'well, that's chatty (or inappropriate).. It'll be closed down soon.' Sometimes that happens and sometimes it doesn't, yet other times I think a question or comment is fine, and it's removed for being overly vague or chatty. So, how is it the question about the cute babies of other races is neither chatty nor inappropriate? To me, that question seems to be: non-white babies are really cute, am I right, folks? It's such a muddled post with equally muddled responses. I'm not against it as a conversation piece, but I'm just trying to figure out why it's not... 'chatfilter'? I'm just trying to strengthen my understanding of what is and what isn't okay on Ask.Me, and sometimes post/response deletion seems almost arbitrary. Please don't yet at me! And, sorry to the OP. I don't mean to attack you or your opinions (which, to be honest, I don't share, though I did agree with the comment about wackadoodlery). Feel free to delete this (or ignore!) if it's 'vague or nonsensical' (although that would just confuse me further and probably scare me away..)
posted by Mael Oui to Etiquette/Policy at 10:07 PM (68 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

I have no opinion about the AskMe but I'd like you to dispense with all this mealy-mouthedness, you have a point and you may be right so say it.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 10:12 PM on July 28, 2011 [6 favorites]


I think it's a legitimate question with some potential serious candidates for answers. In my years as a teacher and camp counselor, I can attest this topic did come up every now and then, and we had earnest discussions about it. There are possible answers based on sociology, on genetics, and on aesthetics. I think it's an instance of someone genuinely wondering something, with a real problem to be solved, and that there is at least the potential for useful answers. To me, it seems to meet ask criteria.
posted by Miko at 10:22 PM on July 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I flagged the question as I found it somewhat overly chatty, but obviously the mods decided to leave it up or it never crossed their radar. I don't think it was a very good AskMe, but it's not all that big of a deal, and I've seen worse questions certainly.

The general guidance I've seen before on this is that a question is probably chatfilter if all possible answers are equally valid or all possible answers are simply personal opinions of the commentators. There's a bit more leeway if the question is actually of some use to someone (hence the "I'm writing a short story about X" quasi-loophole), and a bit less if the question is completely frivolous ("what's your favorite color?"), but that's why it's a general guideline.

In that sense, this question at least had a little possible merit, as some of the answers touched on potential scientific/evolutionary reasons and at least one study of attributes that people find attractive in babies. Again, not a great or well-framed question, but it's at least somewhat answerable, and some of the answers did provide a degree of insight into the overall topic.

And yes, I agree with Ice Cream Socialist. You've been around since 2007 and are free to speak your peace. Any snark or criticism you may get on MetaTalk will likely be more or less good-natured and does not reflect on your worth as a human being, robot, or Venusian sanitation worker.
posted by zachlipton at 10:26 PM on July 28, 2011


My initial response was 'meh', but upon reflection and reading some of the responses, I agree with Miko.

There are some pretty crap chatty answers in there, though.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:27 PM on July 28, 2011


How cute babby formed????
posted by babbyʼ); Drop table users; -- at 10:29 PM on July 28, 2011 [14 favorites]


The men's room question was chatfilter.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 10:32 PM on July 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


It's kind of an odd, unanswerable question that makes me feel a bit weird and uncomfortable, but only because I find babies more terrifying than cute. I know, I am a monster.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:47 PM on July 28, 2011 [6 favorites]


It's got some chattiness to it, definitely, and picked up a few flags but not many. I didn't talk about it with Jess at all but I'm guessing we both had pretty much the same reaction: a little chatty but the core question wasn't too obscured by that and was potentially pretty answerable.

Part of the thing with chatfilter is that it's necessarily a spectrum, and while we can divvy that up into three buckets (Totally Not Chatfilter, Borderline Chatty, Totally Chatfilter) there's no thorough codification of what goes where and people are going to reasonably disagree about which stuff is completely fine vs. borderline vs. slamdunk deletion.

The stuff in the two buckets on the ends don't tend to cause much consternation because they're generally really clear cut; the borderline stuff is, well, borderline and so it's more likely that people are going to disagree about how to go with it.

Generally speaking, we're going to try and let a question get its legs if it seems sort of borderline but redeemable—sometimes we'll leave a note in the thread if it needs a nudge toward answerability and away from chattiness, either because answerers are getting chatty or because the asker is doing that themselves. So, even setting aside the differing personal thresholds every mefite has for what is or isn't over the chatfilter line, it's a given that some sort of chatty stuff is going to live by that benefit of the doubt. It's totally fine to flag it if you think it's over the line; if it doesn't get deleted, most likely that just means that whether we agree or not about it being chatty, we didn't decide it was far enough over that line to need to go.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:58 PM on July 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sorry about the mealy-mouthedness! I just felt like a chump being the only one to air a grievance over a fairly innocuous post. I mostly didn't want to offend the OP. I'd be upset to discover a post complaining about something I said or asked in good faith over here.. I agree the poster did genuinely want insight into the supposed phenomenon, and I hope they receive/d that.

Thanks to zachlipton, and, of course, cortex, I do understand now!

Ha, I'm sorry I missed that men's room question!

(stavrosthewonderchicken - I'm in your camp all the way. We are not monsters!!)
posted by Mael Oui at 11:17 PM on July 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


[Oh, and MeTa scares the crap out of me.. It's like the wild west over here!]
posted by Mael Oui at 11:27 PM on July 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's not chatfilter; it's begging the question.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:44 PM on July 28, 2011


By which I mean, it's more or less chatfilter. It's like asking "so, what's with all those green people? Why do they like eating popcorn so much?"
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:45 PM on July 28, 2011


Oh, and MeTa scares the crap out of me.. It's like the wild west over here!

But we have pancakes!
posted by killdevil at 11:46 PM on July 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's like asking "so, what's with all those green people? Why do they like eating popcorn so much?"

But that question would be verifiable since the Association of Corn Growers did a study explaining why that's so!
posted by Mael Oui at 11:54 PM on July 28, 2011


Bah, facts. You can prove anything with facts.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:56 PM on July 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


No you can't! I can prove it!

Oh, wait ...
posted by dg at 11:59 PM on July 28, 2011


The men's room question was chatfilter

oh thanks for mentioning that - not because I have an opinion one way or the other if it was chatfilter, but because I really wanted to say how reading that made me so glad to be a girl and it wouldn't have been appropriate to say so over there. (Over here in the wild west, however... hoo-ee, thanks ladies for being so polite in the restroom)
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 2:26 AM on July 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


You're allowed to post an AskMe question based on curiosity even if it doesn't solve a personal problem of your own. Or, the problem is simply curiosity about how the world works.
posted by John Cohen at 2:30 AM on July 29, 2011


Please don't yet at me!

LOOK! HA HA HA! YET AT HIM, EVERYONE! YET QUICKLY AND YET LOUDLY AND YET CONTINUALLY AT HIM!

YET! YET! YET! TAKE THAT, YOU! YET!
posted by the quidnunc kid at 2:51 AM on July 29, 2011


(Over here in the wild west, however... hoo-ee, thanks ladies for being so polite in the restroom)

You've clearly been in nicer places than I have.
posted by jgirl at 3:14 AM on July 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


thanks ladies for being so polite in the restroom

Yes...all the nastiness is done in the privacy of your own stall, which really adds to the element of surprise. Hmm, what will I find today? Piss all over the seat? A used tampon just stone cold sittin' on the floor? A fully formed deuce in a toilet conspicuously absent of toilet paper? The opportunities are endless!

Which is to say, just because a lady might not wash her bald head in the sink, doesn't mean she doesn't have the capacity to be just as nasty as a dude. It's all about equality, yo.
posted by phunniemee at 3:53 AM on July 29, 2011 [9 favorites]


hoo-ee, thanks ladies for being so polite in the restroom

Where is this mythical place? Here they back their dainty asses up to the toilet and spray piss all over the seat like cats.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 4:54 AM on July 29, 2011 [12 favorites]


Not yet mentioned: In the future you can use the contact form in the lower-right corner link on every page to email a question directly to the mods as an alternative to opening a MeTa. The contact form is great for "Why did X happen on the site" questions of personal curiosity that don't really need a public referendum. MeTas are great for "I noticed this thing happens on the site and would like for the community to comment on it" type stuff.
posted by BeerFilter at 4:59 AM on July 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


Where is this mythical place? Here they back their dainty asses up to the toilet and spray piss all over the seat like cats.

Not just piss.

*shudders*
posted by elizardbits at 5:46 AM on July 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah by the time that thread was attracting figthy people [and flags] there were a few people who had jumped in and said "Look there are actual reasons for this, let's look at what we know about these things" which took it from a general "Why do I feel this way about babies?" sort of chatty whatnot question to more of a "Is there a reason this thing I think I'm observing is happening?" It's weird and a little chatty but not even really borderline as cortex says.

The men's room question was more frustrating from my perspective because while there was definitely an answerable question in there ["What are the standards for behavior in restrooms, am I nuts if I think this sort of thing is beyond the pale?"] It quickly turned into a "Let's talk about gross bathroom behavior!" thread [with some participation from the OP] which was less than optimal.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:58 AM on July 29, 2011


[Oh, and MeTa scares the crap out of me.. It's like the wild west over here!]
posted by Mael Oui at 2:27 AM on July 29 [1 favorite +] [!]


I totally understand this although it's not always as scary as you think. Something that works well is using the contact form to communicate directly with the mods; whenever I've done this (even over something I worry might be a little frivolous) they've been really helpful and respectful and never been like "this is a stupid question why are you wasting our time you terrible woman?"
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 6:02 AM on July 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Where is this mythical place? Here they back their dainty asses up to the toilet and spray piss all over the seat like cats.

Yes. I can attest that, in all the jobs I've had that required cleaning public restrooms, the women's room always filled me with more dread than the men's room. In fairness, this is due in part to the lack of changing tables in many men's rooms. Which I personally found frustrating when I became a father myself. What am I supposed to do, lay her on the floor? In the sink? Maybe just change her right there on the café table?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:46 AM on July 29, 2011


The answer about the specific film and editing was great -- illustrating that sometimes questions that may seem amorphous do have really common-sense answers. I wish that I could unknow this factoid, though, because it makes me want to slap people.
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:50 AM on July 29, 2011


hoo-ee, thanks ladies for being so polite in the restroom

[Sitting here suddenly extremely grateful that I work with ladies that keep the restrooms clean.]
posted by Sophie1 at 6:55 AM on July 29, 2011


Yes. I can attest that, in all the jobs I've had that required cleaning public restrooms, the women's room always filled me with more dread than the men's room.

I once had a summer job as a housekeeper (maid) at our university's conference center (temporarily repurposed dorm) whose guests included like 500 perky dimpled teenage girls attending cheerleading camp. They brought new meaning to the phrase "whited sepulchre."
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:56 AM on July 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


the question looks for a scientific answer to a question. the premise of the question is not proved, however. Not chat filter.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:00 AM on July 29, 2011


Please don't yet at me!

I was going to, too, admins hope me! Glad I refrained.

Unlike some people.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:26 AM on July 29, 2011


They brought new meaning to the phrase "whited sepulchre."

I can't even figure out any old meanings to that.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:29 AM on July 29, 2011 [6 favorites]


Unlike some people

YET! YET AT YOU, KIRTH GERSON! YET! YET! YET!

WE DEMAND ... A SHRUBBERY!
posted by the quidnunc kid at 7:52 AM on July 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


They brought new meaning to the phrase "whited sepulchre."

I can't even figure out any old meanings to that.


I had to look it up -- even though I assumed it had a biblical origin and guessed the definition in context -- and I'm so glad I did. Thanks, FelliniBlank.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 7:58 AM on July 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think it is fair to say that we ladies make fewer...noises... based on that question.

And that is the best written bathroom complaint I've ever read.
posted by maryr at 8:36 AM on July 29, 2011


q kid, you're embarrassing yourself. Since you want shrubbery, I suggest you hide behind this bush.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 8:40 AM on July 29, 2011


Horselover Phattie: "The men's room question was chatfilter."

You shut your mouth right now. That question led to the best bathroom discussion since the washcloth/soapy hands debate of ought seven, with the possible exception of the '09 stand up/sit down controversy.
posted by misha at 1:47 PM on July 29, 2011


I think that babies in general help us realize just how glorious and beautiful the human race is to begin with.

I was reeling and projectile-barfing so hard after that comment I couldn't stick around to form a considered opinion on the thread. Life is pain.
posted by Decani at 1:48 PM on July 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Except on Friday, when we drink!
posted by Hoopo at 2:09 PM on July 29, 2011


misha, you forgot the great men peeing in the sink discussion.
posted by Melismata at 2:23 PM on July 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I agreed with you pretty strongly until I saw the early answer linking to the Exoticism wiki.

On preview, Miko said it better than I.
posted by herbplarfegan at 2:52 PM on July 29, 2011


If only there was a way to test out potentially chatfiltery questions before august and wise users before they were made...MeReview....
posted by The Whelk at 3:41 PM on July 29, 2011


This remains my favorite bathroom-related AskMe question.
It seems to me that most people just don't understand the necessity of fiber in their diets. More often than not, I am disgusted by the sounds of evacuation produced by the person in the next stall -- that poor fellow has obviously been in that stall for some time and, judging by his heavy breathing and grunting, still has some time to go.

I really just want to be all 'Hey buddy, cut back on the dairy and meat and eat more veggies.' It is a faceless conversation, but is it inappropriate?
As you might imagine, there were many, many deleted comments.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:42 PM on July 29, 2011


I remember the moment I gave up on Western civilization; it happened when a man in the airport bathroom stall next to mine made -- made! you will forgive me taking particular pains to stress that it was he who initiated, who made, he who inaugurated -- a phone call. Literally called someone en train de pooper. And I said softly to myself, "Old bean, it is closing time in the gardens of the West."
posted by villanelles at dawn at 6:28 PM on July 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


If only there was a way to test out potentially chatfiltery questions before august and wise users before they were made...MeReview....

Perhaps it could be orange.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 6:28 PM on July 29, 2011


Literally called someone en train de pooper.

Dave Sedaris once wrote that his sister told him she often talks on the phone while pooping. Her cover? "I'm just ... trying to get ... this jar of pickles ... open."
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 7:05 PM on July 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


A surprisingly not all that inaccurate euphemism.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 7:22 PM on July 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


On preview, Miko said it better than I.

Can I get this printed on a tshirt?
posted by FelliniBlank at 7:37 PM on July 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh man. My typo is sad. There's always ONE no matter how many times you read your post/comment. I swear typos are generated after you hit 'post comment'!
posted by Mael Oui at 7:59 PM on July 29, 2011


Yea, I would rather pee in a whited sepulchre than in a stall sprayed by them hovering cat ladies. So endeth the lesson...
posted by a humble nudibranch at 10:50 PM on July 29, 2011


You have not "lived" until you work for Giant Software Company and visit the lavatory.

1) "How in the fuck do you get that there?" Ew. I think I'll just take a break and drive home to use the facilities, thanks.

2) Dude, I know it's de rigueur to walk around without shoes or socks...but in the bathroom? Can I show you point #1?
posted by maxwelton at 3:32 AM on July 30, 2011


I think I'll just take a break and drive home to use the facilities, thanks

I have done that. Some idiot designed toilets that place the seat too close to the surface of the water, and my employer bought them. As a result, if I have sit-down business to do, I go home.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:10 AM on July 30, 2011


I have done that. Some idiot designed toilets that place the seat too close to the surface of the water, and my employer bought them. As a result, if I have sit-down business to do, I go home.

Why... what happens if the seat is too close to the water? Are we talking splashage or dangleage?

I have gone home at lunchtime to do sit-down business as well. Apparently I have a shy pooper, because it's rare that I can "go" in a public restroom. I sadly miss the one-seater at my old job.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 12:15 PM on July 30, 2011


Since this is chatfilter, I thought I'd ask this here instead of starting my own MeTa and risking the wrath of the wrathful etc

I just made my 100th FPP - do I get a prize? a pony? a gold star? huh? huh?
posted by infini at 12:22 PM on July 30, 2011


infini: I just made my 100th FPP - do I get a prize? a pony? a gold star? huh? huh?

Here you go.
posted by gman at 12:31 PM on July 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


> huh? huh?

Huh huh?
posted by Horselover Phattie at 12:48 PM on July 30, 2011


100th FPP is worth one Point.

+1
posted by The Whelk at 2:06 PM on July 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Are we talking splashage or dangleage?

If Kirth's experience is like my own, it's the latter. I think "disconcerted" is probably the mildest way to posit my reaction.
posted by maxwelton at 3:01 PM on July 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yup. Not life-threatening, but not something you can easily ignore, either. Given that toilets have been a mature product for many years, it's inexcusable that a design like that would be produced.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:39 PM on July 30, 2011


The exciting, jetset world of toilet design is a young man's game. They just don't have time to take into account my swingin' dadballs.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:13 PM on July 30, 2011


1.28GPF should save more ball juice in the next flush design, get cracking!
posted by clavdivs at 8:39 PM on July 30, 2011


Just so long as they don't get frozen to the seat.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 9:10 PM on July 30, 2011


clavdivs, I imagine that the low-seat design is an attempt at low GPF, low porcelain consumption, or maybe even handicap access, or an unholy combination of those. Whatever - as a design intended to be used by random humans, it fails. If I were to meet the person who approved it, I'd be sorely tempted to punch him in the sepulchre.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:30 AM on July 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


or put two right in the back of the tank.
posted by clavdivs at 9:36 AM on July 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Some idiot designed toilets that place the seat too close to the surface of the water

On the basis of the data I got from my toilet themed askMeFi (when I urinate, where should I aim?), I can add that a low seat toilet is also unhygenic for urination. Low walls won't keep urine from bouncing back out. Neither will high ones, but harm reduction is a good strategy.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 1:33 AM on August 1, 2011


[Oh, and MeTa scares the crap out of me.. It's like the wild west over here!]

DANCE VARMINT, DANCE!
posted by phearlez at 12:32 PM on August 1, 2011


Did clavdivs just make a top-self reference?
posted by pickinganameismuchharderthanihadanticipated at 2:47 PM on August 3, 2011


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