Leukemia story makes (inter)national headlines, but is deleted from mefi October 11, 2011 8:46 AM   Subscribe

Maybe it was not written dispassionately enough, but a post I feel is newsworthy was deleted - please weigh in?

I've read the guidelines (honest injun) and would never post a "please support this fundraising drive for my friend" on here. But I'm certain this is a trending story, with the bounty now at $30000, that should be in the blue. Thoughts?
posted by ancillary to Etiquette/Policy at 8:46 AM (45 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

How many "I don't yet trust the new mods" posts are we going to get?
posted by Melismata at 8:52 AM on October 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


If you find yourself defending a post in the actual post itself, that's generally a bad sign:

"However I felt that the increasing bounty, worldwide attention, and twitter trend make this worthy of a mention in the blue."
posted by smackfu at 8:52 AM on October 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


Click here to support this cause posts are pretty much always nixed. Even when, as the delete comment noted, the cause is worthy.
posted by Babblesort at 8:53 AM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


The bounty part alone could make an interesting post. Bone marrow donation as lottery!
posted by smackfu at 8:55 AM on October 11, 2011


Similarly to what I just wrote in the post below, I think there's a great FPP to be made about the ban on paid organ donation. In fact, Virginia Postrel has written (and linked) to a lot of great articles and discussions about it. But I don't think this is that great post.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:55 AM on October 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


(Postrel wrote the article that the OP linked to above.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:56 AM on October 11, 2011


ancillary: “Thoughts?”

We've been through this many, many times – the search function for metatalk would have told you this – fundraising through the front page isn't cool, even if the person isn't "your friend." Bringing this here was a little underhanded, if you ask me, because it looks distinctly like an attempt to spread the word through another avenue just because the front page seems to be closed to you.

Please don't do this.
posted by koeselitz at 8:58 AM on October 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


You already have Seth Godin on your side. What do you need us for?
posted by crunchland at 9:01 AM on October 11, 2011


"This story is trending" is not a good reason to make a post. If you have a good post to make about something, it doesn't matter if it's a trending story or a cold case or what: solid post justifies itself by its content, not its context. Newsworthiness is at best a tertiary consideration in what makes a good Metafilter post.

That entirely aside, framing something as advocacy, however well-meaning, is a pretty surefire way to get a post nixed. That's messy and complicated territory and something we approach from a moderation perspective with a fairly bright line "don't do that here" policy as far as the front page goes, not because good causes aren't worth pursuing but because the front page of this site is not really designed to be the place to stage those pursuits.

I think a post about the situation could work here. The post that actually got made was not something that works here. If someone wants to give it another shot, that's fine.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:03 AM on October 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Send me money.
posted by cjorgensen at 9:05 AM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I appreciate discerning posts for causes that aren't newsworthy from the hackneyed 'click here to support' posts, thus the defensive comment. What I'm trying to understand is that, considering Bloomberg is picking the story up today (albeit from the legality-of-bounty angle), whether the original post two days ago was not newsworthy?

I guess to restate this post as a more direct question: Could the post have been written dispassionately enough to fall within guidelines?
posted by ancillary at 9:05 AM on October 11, 2011


Anytime your FPP includes the explanatory phrase "However I felt that..." you're doing it wrong.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 9:06 AM on October 11, 2011 [8 favorites]


Cortex's response answers the question, thanks.
posted by ancillary at 9:08 AM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


You made a post in which you were already trying to find an excuse for posting, it got deleted and now you've come to MetaTalk to complain? Double plus ungood.

Besides, I've seen this story all over the place. It's going to take some work to come up with something worth posting on MeFi. Given that MetaTalk posts are almost never deleted, perhaps your work is done now anyway.
posted by tommasz at 9:10 AM on October 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


I would think a post on the topic could pass muster if it didn't include the invitation for people here to get swabbed or donate cash. Although without that stuff, there really isn't anything to look at- just Twitter search results. Too bad. I'd be curious to discuss the mechanics of how a "bounty" would work for a bone marrow match. I was under the impression donors and recipients had to remain anonymous to one another until a year after the procedure was done, but maybe that's not the case if you enter a drive for a match for a specific person.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:12 AM on October 11, 2011


I've been seriously supporting the Amit-swab thing on my facebook and Twitter and I'm in the marrow donor registry. The fact that something is trending doesn't necessarily mean it will make a good post for MeFi. Part of this is the pretty explicit distaste for "sign my petition" or activism stuff on the front page, which has to be administered somewhat egalitarianly otherwise it turns into "you can use teh front page to hype stuff we agree with, but not stuff we don't agree with" which is less okay. I know you care a lot about this topic and I sympathize, but it wasn't an okay post for here.

And to answer your follow-up question, it's not the lack of passion that's necessary it's the lack of "GO DO THIS NOW" So if it was a "hey this thing went sort of viral and now it's helping someone with a medical condition" that's one thing but "Go help my friend, there are prizes" is another thing entirely and on much shakier ground.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:15 AM on October 11, 2011


I think I figured out how to do the FPP. Can I?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:25 AM on October 11, 2011


ThePinkSuperhero: "I think I figured out how to do the FPP. Can I?"

cortex: " I think a post about the situation could work here. The post that actually got made was not something that works here. If someone wants to give it another shot, that's fine."

I think you have your answer. :)
posted by zarq at 9:27 AM on October 11, 2011


Ok!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:28 AM on October 11, 2011


And to be super clear. No "you can make money" doing this and no "Go do this thing" and the post will go much better. The general rule is if you think this is something that people would like to know about, great. If you think it's about something they should DO, less great. There's always a balance.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:31 AM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thanks ThePinkSuperhero! Thanks for the thoughtful responses, cortex and jessamyn. And thanks for the benefit of the doubt tommasz.
posted by ancillary at 9:32 AM on October 11, 2011


Tada!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:43 AM on October 11, 2011


I think that worked out well.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:45 AM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Come to think of it, I did a post on bone marrow donation back in 2007. Funny, looks like it would've been deleted now.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:59 AM on October 11, 2011


I sort of feel like the "new post" form should have an additional text field with the description "What's cool about this?"

It wouldn't be used for anything or even stored anywhere. It would just be there to remind people to think about that question when posting.

So if the subject matter of your post is cool, great, there's the answer and that's why it's on the front page. There is seldom anything cool about "a bad thing that happened", though.

If you found an article that's particularly well-written, looks at the issue in a novel way, presents some new information that puts it in "this changes everything" territory, etc., then THAT (the article) can certainly be cool even if the subject matter isn't all sunshine and rainbows. So then you still have an answer to the "What's cool about this?" question.

But if you don't have some kind of positive answer to that question, then maybe it's not good material for the front page?
posted by FishBike at 10:26 AM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


(honest injun)

What the fuck????
posted by hal_c_on at 10:47 AM on October 11, 2011 [5 favorites]


And here I thought this was about to close up nicely.
posted by smackfu at 10:56 AM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Signing up for the register is a good thing and I encourage anyone who wants to do it to take that step. I signed up during the big drive in 2009.
posted by arcticseal at 10:57 AM on October 11, 2011


I also signed up then and encourage people to do it. Marrow donation is becoming a less and less noxious procedure the better the technology and knowhow get.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:01 AM on October 11, 2011


"This story is trending" is not only not a good reason to make a post, it's up there with "Some people are saying..." as self-fulfilling prophecies go.
posted by Wolfdog at 11:03 AM on October 11, 2011


What the fuck????

It's OK, it's like saying Asians are good at math.
posted by desjardins at 11:41 AM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's OK, it's like saying Asians are good at math..

Oh, ok. Works out well since I am Asian at Khan Academy.

Would it have been less racist had the OP said "(not a lying whitey)"?
posted by hal_c_on at 12:58 PM on October 11, 2011


I'ts one of those things that falls somewhere in the large gap between deleteworthy/bannable and "really a totally always okay thing to say here" so maybe you should take it up with the OP directly?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:04 PM on October 11, 2011


I'ts one of those things that falls somewhere in the large gap between deleteworthy/bannable and "really a totally always okay thing to say here" so maybe you should take it up with the OP directly?

I know everyone and their momma loves you, but that statement says absolutely nothing.
posted by hal_c_on at 3:32 PM on October 11, 2011


It says take it to email. If you need more help parsing it, please feel free to email us which is another way to take it to email.

For a longer explanation: sometimes people ask the mods stuff in MeTa after the main MeTa question has been dealt with or resolved. So, your very terse "What the fuck????" could have been directed towards us-as-mods or it could have been directed towards the people in the thread, or it could have been something else. In the absence of any useful input from you, I figured I'd make an effort to explain something as if you directed the question at us. And so my response was "Well that isn't the sort of thing we'd delete, though I sort of see why it's problematic to you, so maybe if you want to have a more extended conversation about why the OP used those words, you should contact them?"

So if what you are saying is that the OP of this MeTa said something racist, or is a racist, or makes your racist spidey senses go off, use your words and talk to people about it, don't just wave your hands angrily and expect people to intuit what you mean. I do not know what you mean. I do not know what you want. I was offering what I was hoping was a somewhat useful explanation covering my own role in what I thought you were getting at. It had meaning in the language that I speak, I'm sorry if it didn't in yours.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:40 PM on October 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


Metafilter: Use your words.
posted by benito.strauss at 3:56 PM on October 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wow, I had no idea there was a racist connotation to that idiom - it was simply meant humorously as "no bullshit, I really did read the guidelines." I've always used it that way, and have lived here (the US) my whole life. FWIW I actually am Indian American and pretty sensitive to that Asians-good-at-math shit.
posted by ancillary at 5:29 PM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well it is a racist expression. Overtly so. And now you know. It's worse than "Asians are good at math." it's predicated on a negative stereotype, and "injun" is a slur in its own right.

Should always merit deletion, no different than any other racial slur.
posted by spitbull at 5:34 PM on October 11, 2011


I apologize. It was said typed in ignorance, won't happen again.
posted by ancillary at 6:49 PM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


ancillary: “Wow, I had no idea there was a racist connotation to that idiom - it was simply meant humorously as "no bullshit, I really did read the guidelines." I've always used it that way, and have lived here (the US) my whole life. FWIW I actually am Indian American and pretty sensitive to that Asians-good-at-math shit.”

Yeah, probably not a good idea to throw that phrase around, as a lot of people will be quite offended by it. But – I don't think it's a massive deal here; you didn't mean it that way, so no worries. Just a thing to remember, that's all.

Also, this give me an opportunity to say – my earlier response was slightly over the top, ancillary. It wasn't "underhanded" of you to post this metatalk thread. I was having some trouble at work this morning, and through that frustration I think I didn't give your original post and your post here the reading they deserved, and saw them through angry red glasses. So, yeah, sorry about that.
posted by koeselitz at 6:52 PM on October 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Seeing as Languagehat isn't around so much lately, in case anyone else was curious:

HONEST INJUN - From Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, has been traced back to 1851, but it is probably much older than that. Originally it was probably an expression of sarcastic derision - 'as honest as an Indian.' But later it came to mean about the same thing as the British 'honor bright' or the American 'scout's honor' - a pledge of truth and honesty.
[Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins, William and Mary Morris (HarperCollins, New York, 1977, 1988.]

Here's the actual quote, by Tom, when Ben asks to be allowed to white-wash the fence:
"Ben, I'd like to, honest injun; but Aunt Polly -- well, Jim wanted to do it, but she wouldn't let him; Sid wanted to do it, and she wouldn't let Sid. Now don't you see how I'm fixed? If you was to tackle this fence and anything was to happen to it --"

It should be noted that the only depiction of a Native American in these books is "Injun Joe", a violent and manipulative character, because Twain was all about using satire to force the reader to examine stereotypes.

Anyway, if someone finds the expression offensive, it's certainly easy to refrain from using it.
posted by misha at 9:08 PM on October 11, 2011


It had meaning in the language that I speak, I'm sorry if it didn't in yours.

I'm often wrong here, and its no big deal. On the grey, I have no problems just leaving the thread when I'm wrong.

But here, I'm not.

I'm glad you consider your language to have meaning, but is it really accurate to say that there isn't meaning in mine? I still haven't said what the problem was, but others in the thread (including you) have figured it out.

Wow, I had no idea there was a racist connotation to that idiom

No problem dude. Thats pretty cool of you to apologize to those who may have been offended. Damn cool.

And so my response was "Well that isn't the sort of thing we'd delete...

Oh, ok. I guess offensive and racist stuff is ok for metafilter. I hope there's enough meaning in those words for you.
posted by hal_c_on at 11:35 PM on October 11, 2011


I guess offensive and racist stuff is ok for metafilter.

No, it's not. There are levels of "okay for MetaFilter" that depend significantly on the part of the site where people are posting and the context in which they are posting. In this case, this was posted to MetaTalk where we almost never delete anything. It was a question by a person who basically was using a phrase that's racially charged,, inadvertently [as we later found out] and not using it to call other people names. Given all of those parts, it's not something we'd delete off the bat. We'd prefer if people talked it out, yes. Which is, actually, what happened here. And yeah, it's the sort of thing where if people were mindful of how their words affected other people more, we'd like to see less of the touchy language stuff but it's a necessary part of what happens when you have a site that is lightly moderated. We try to set expectations appropriately.

So, racist stuff is not "okay" in that it's always going to be alright under any conditions, but neither is it always going to be deleted. This is what I meant initially, where there is a gap between "We're going to delete this" and "We're totally fine with you saying that."
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:49 PM on October 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


I missed the part where it's bad to be honest.

Honestly.
posted by mannequito at 1:56 AM on October 12, 2011


Thank you, Jessamyn. I appreciate your comment.
posted by hal_c_on at 9:43 AM on October 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


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