Everyone needs a hug. October 24, 2011 5:38 PM   Subscribe

I think MeFi needs more hugs. You can join me if you want.

There's a lot of unhappiness and ill feelings around here lately. The perceived uptick in negativity is frustrating many people.
I think it feels like we can't do much about it except endless discussions (and yes, arguments) on MeTa, and that's discouraging.

I've been trying to practice the Gentle Art of Being The Change You Want To See. This is what I think that path looks like:

*I will try my hardest not to Be The Problem
*I will treat members as if they're acting in good faith (unless they prove otherwise) and give them the benefit of the doubt
*I won't fight or make personal attacks, no matter how righteous I feel
*if someone makes a derailing or crappy comment, especially right at the beginning of a thread, I will flag it and I will NOT respond to it
*I will RTFA and also I will RTFComments before I comment
*I will only comment when I have something of value to add to the discussion
*I will not make too many comments in a thread
*I will graciously admit when I'm wrong
*I will make comments and posts of the kind I want to see
*I will encourage other members when they make comments and posts of the kind I want to see
*I will remember there are lots of readers and lurkers out there and I will comment in a way that makes them feel welcome to join in
*I will refuse to have a sense of doom about MeFi; MeFi has made many positive changes in the years I've spent here, and it can continue to evolve

I bet lots of other members are trying to do something similar. But I find it's lonely and mostly invisible work.

I've heard before that "it takes ten positive comments to match the impact of one negative comment". I think we've seen it doesn't take much negativity, relatively speaking, to create more negativity; and especially a perception of negativity, stubbornness, snark, and dismissiveness that can really make the community feel unwelcoming and unpleasant. It drives people away. We've already lost a bunch of good members over the years, directly from this perception - and who knows how many potential good members have been out there, wanting to participate, but deciding not to bother?

MeFi is shaped by its membership. This has often meant that the loudest voices set the tone. Practicing the Gentle Art is pretty quiet. And if you're too intimidated or too frustrated or just plain too tired to share your thoughts out loud, to take the time and the energy to discuss and defend them, then walking away and taking a break feels crummy, not empowering. If someone is quietly trying to be a Good Citizen, their effort just isn't going to be very noticeable - as an individual.

It's my thought that if enough of us say out loud, collectively, that we want to Be The Change - then it would be encouraging. It would make these efforts visible. And we'd all feel like we were working together to overcome the not-so-great stuff. Every time you flagged a comment or restrained yourself from a righteous rant, you'd know you're part of a team. It would help to shift the perception that This Is Just How MeFi Is And There's Nothing We Can Do About It - because I firmly believe that isn't true.

If you feel that way too, you're welcome to join me on Team LESS GRAR, MORE HUGS.
posted by flex to Etiquette/Policy at 5:38 PM (190 comments total) 36 users marked this as a favorite

The problem is that it's fashionable to be cynical. Sneering at people makes other people admire you.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 5:45 PM on October 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


I endorse this platform.
posted by reenum at 5:46 PM on October 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't admire sneery people. I like huggy people, though.
posted by Specklet at 5:48 PM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


The substance of this post should be reformatted and included in the FAQ.
posted by troll at 5:51 PM on October 24, 2011 [12 favorites]


Hug it and move on.
posted by yeoz at 5:52 PM on October 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


Every time you GRAR you have to put a dollar in the GRAR JAR.
posted by brain_drain at 5:54 PM on October 24, 2011 [8 favorites]


Here's some music to get you started
posted by The Whelk at 5:56 PM on October 24, 2011


Maybe it's a cyclical thing -- I start as nice and reasonable, forget to be nice when something really gets me going, make an ass out of myself, eat a big piece of humble pie, and then try to be nice again.

Or that may just be my brand of crazy. Anyways, I approve of this platform, also.
posted by angrycat at 5:56 PM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well said, flex, and thank you for saying it.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 5:57 PM on October 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


This manifesto should be the first thing people see when they sign up.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 5:57 PM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I start as nice and reasonable, forget to be nice when something really gets me going, make an ass out of myself, eat a big piece of humble pie, and then try to be nice again.

I think that is the way most people operate, to be honest. But you know me, I like hugs.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:57 PM on October 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


*moves away from jessamyn*
posted by eyeballkid at 5:58 PM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


(maoist self criticism! /rabblerousing)
posted by The Whelk at 5:59 PM on October 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


I believe in Staying Positive so much I plan on getting a tattoo that represents that idea, but I've spent enough time here to sometimes resort to snark. So sorry to all the animals, disco fans, Australians, and story-base videogamers I've insulted!
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 6:01 PM on October 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


You people are weird.
posted by unSane at 6:03 PM on October 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


There's a lot of unhappiness and ill feelings around here lately.

And a lack of graphs.
posted by DU at 6:03 PM on October 24, 2011 [4 favorites]




I sinned against AskMe today; I hug you all in penitence. Now let's drink.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 6:07 PM on October 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


I sinned against AskMe today

did you ask about Against Me! ?
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 6:07 PM on October 24, 2011


Hey, y'all ought to give a favorite hug to kittenmarlowe, for her fantastic FPP tonight: The Best Thing Since Sliced... As one who buys high-gluten flour in 25-lb. bags every few months, I offer a toast to this post! Cheers!
posted by MonkeyToes at 6:08 PM on October 24, 2011


did you ask about Against Me! ?

I gave dental advice in a distinctly not dentalic thread. Not claiming anti-dentism or anything, not playing that card, I actually reported myself like the guilt-sodden sinner i am.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 6:11 PM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


OK, you are breaking me out of my cynical shell but don't expect me to get all huggy right away.
posted by govtdrone at 6:13 PM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hey mom, a guy named "flex" wants to hug me on the internet. Is this a good idea?
posted by hal_c_on at 6:16 PM on October 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


OK, you are breaking me out of my cynical shell but don't expect me to get all huggy right away.

Of course not, let's get some alcohol into you, after we get some into me.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:17 PM on October 24, 2011


villanelles at dawn: ANTI-DENTITE

Sorry, one of my only Seinfeld memories
posted by deezil at 6:19 PM on October 24, 2011


Flex is a lady. And a very sweet lady at that.

Thanks for making this post.
posted by Phire at 6:19 PM on October 24, 2011


Let's get you out of that cynical shell and into some gin.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 6:20 PM on October 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


I can't stand hugs, but I will nod in a companionable fashion from a safe distance.
posted by HopperFan at 6:22 PM on October 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Hey mom, a guy named "flex" wants to hug me on the internet. Is this a good idea?

He's safe to eat.

Wait, what was the question?
posted by Dasein at 6:23 PM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


My next inner-forearm tattoo is going to read "Let none be harmed by my persuasion". I'm not convinced I'll follow it most of the time, but it helps people see what a gentle and caring soul I am.
posted by tumid dahlia at 6:25 PM on October 24, 2011


I can't read it when your fist is heading toward me but I appreciate the sentiment.
posted by The Whelk at 6:26 PM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I love you all.
posted by yellowbinder at 6:27 PM on October 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


*grabs and forcibly hugs eyeballkid*
posted by loquacious at 6:29 PM on October 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


I will only comment when I have something of value to add to the discussion
This is clearly a devious plan to exclude me from the site.
posted by Abiezer at 6:32 PM on October 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Here's some music to get you started

I thought the official song for this kind of thread was "I Did it All for the Shmoopy" by Limp Bizkit. Or is it that "You're My Little Shmoopy Face" song from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang?
posted by villanelles at dawn at 6:33 PM on October 24, 2011


GET ON THE SHMOOP JOHN B
posted by The Whelk at 6:34 PM on October 24, 2011 [10 favorites]


I like it here! I think Metafilter is a nice place filled with good people. Everyone should be kind.

More seriously, I have noticed that every time I give in to my urge to basically post ADVICELULZ or whatever, an angry rant, a snarky answer, all that stuff, I don't feel that productive afterward. I usually end up feeling like, man, I had a chance to actually help a person, but I gave in to my urge to do a comedy routine using someone else's life, I joked around and got approval for it by getting a bunch of favorites. I couldn't even just keep walking! No, no, my threesome joke was critical to the revolution.

On the other hand, I've noticed like six times in the last week that when I come back to threads after I have bitten back my desire to post something snarky, the thread has taken a neat and interesting turn, and people have gone in a totally cool direction that I would have curtailed if I had blown in all "DECLAWTHATCAT, AMIRITE?" It's a cool phenomenon. I like it. It makes me like it here.

I also give myself timeouts if I get too, like, into being the first person in a thread with a joke or a one-liner or whatever. I'll just be like, "You are on timeout until Monday. Your only responsibility is to read and laugh at the stupider stuff." It turns out that I think MeFi needs a certain ratio of one-liners to thoughtful paragraphs-long comments and that I PERSONALLY MUST PRESERVE IT or the engine won't hold, Captain! So I have to mentally hand off the torch for a weekend or whatever. I just tell myself, "No, it's only Sunday! SOMEONE ELSE MUST MAKE THE JOKE!" It's weirdly effective.

Anyway, that's what helps me be less grar-y. Maybe it will help others!

But I do sometimes secretly imagine gong on a rampage- "I don't know, even if he did steal your credit card number, you should give him another chance!" "It's totally okay to just give the dog back to the shelter, you didn't know he'd be a puker!" "Please, Apple has an app for that." "Smith machines are for girlymen!!!!" I can imagine it- the sound of shattering glass, the flames rising out of the flowing gasoline...
posted by Snarl Furillo at 6:34 PM on October 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


GET ON THE SHMOOP JOHN B

Yeah that's not leaving my head for quite a while now.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 6:36 PM on October 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


I approve of this at my core.

In the same respect, I am assuming you just need to hook me up to this little meter for a sec and ask me some questions for your records.

I am all about the love.

Some days I am better at that than others.
posted by timsteil at 6:37 PM on October 24, 2011


I will refuse to have a sense of doom about MeFi

Can I still have a sense of doom about everything else?
posted by Trurl at 6:39 PM on October 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


MeFi is pretty much the only thing I don't have a sense of doom about right now.
posted by The Whelk at 6:43 PM on October 24, 2011


Don't touch me unless you just showered.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 6:44 PM on October 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Schmoopy is a really annoying word.




GET ON THE SHMOOP JOHN B

Yeah that's not leaving my head for quite a while now.


here's a more depressing version!

this whole 'staying positive' thing is hard work
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 6:46 PM on October 24, 2011


but just for you, I avoided posting a troll-bait Lady Gaga article
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 6:46 PM on October 24, 2011


Buck up, people. The McRib is back!
posted by crunchland at 6:47 PM on October 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


I think people aren't trying hard enough to make MetaFilter a better place for me to sneer at.

Oops. Ended a sentence with a preposition. Everybody drink.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 6:52 PM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also I have good news about the continuing state of health of Generalissimo Francisco Franco.
posted by DU at 6:53 PM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Here's the original version of the toon song The Whelk pointed at above...

Smile, darn ya, smile
You know this old world is a great world after all
Smile, darn ya, smile
And right away watch "Lady Luck" pay you a call

Life is really only what you make it
Stand right up and show them you can take it
Make life worthwhile
Come on and smile, darn ya, smile


that Warner Bros. character "Foxy" is probably one of the reasons Disney became so hard-assed about copyright...
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:53 PM on October 24, 2011


For some reason this reminds me of how I hated calculus with a passion because it was the first time a math class totally and completely hurt my brain after each session. I sort of failed the second half of the first year and had to repeat it and I was only ahead for the first few weeks before I started suffering again.

Anyway, eventually we got to that part were you graph everything to the limits of stuff, that whole lim x → a thing and then the professor introduced the idea of positive infinity. I was totally smitten with the idea of an endless upper bound that lacked any negative.

It became my new life motto, then and there at age 19. Seriously. I had this dumb nickname at my stupid night time college job at a pizza place, people called me "Mr. Sunshine" sarcastically because I was always a total grump. For some reason, just knowing the idea of +∞ existed perked me up. I also decided if I ever got a tattoo, it would be a giant +∞ on my upper arm, and nothing more.

Everything got better in college after I embraced it. Seriously.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 6:54 PM on October 24, 2011 [24 favorites]


For some reason, just knowing the idea of +∞. I also decided if I ever got a tattoo, it would be a giant +∞ on my upper arm, and nothing more.

wow... the tat I want to get that represents the same idea is a + in an infinity symbol
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 6:57 PM on October 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


and it will also be on my upper arm
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 6:57 PM on October 24, 2011


Oops, forgot half a sentence so I edited my comment to reflect that.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 6:57 PM on October 24, 2011


I can't read it when your fist is heading toward me but I appreciate the sentiment.

Is fisting allowed on the grey?
posted by hal_c_on at 6:58 PM on October 24, 2011


The increasingly dark hemisphere leads to lots of GRARing. We should start a fund for SAD lamps.
posted by J. Wilson at 6:58 PM on October 24, 2011


They're called oo's now, btw.
posted by The Whelk at 6:58 PM on October 24, 2011


people called me "Mr. Sunshine"

I'll be honest...this would make a badass moniker for the mefite boss.


"Don't start another thread on the grey about why your shit got deleted...mr sunshine is just looking for someone to fuck with his mods.

And you don't want to fuck with mr. sunshine."
posted by hal_c_on at 7:02 PM on October 24, 2011 [8 favorites]


Lovecraft In Brooklyn: this whole 'staying positive' thing is hard work

I'm 100% positive you know how to use capital letters and punctuation. Slow down a bit, bud.
posted by gman at 7:03 PM on October 24, 2011


MetaFilter: An endless upper bound that lacked any negative.

If pvr blog can come back, anything's possible.
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:03 PM on October 24, 2011


It may sound badass now, but chicks most certainly did not dig it, and rightfully so. Who wants to date a grumpy gus that thinks everything sucks?
posted by mathowie (staff) at 7:04 PM on October 24, 2011


Teenage girls who should know better, in my experience.
posted by The Whelk at 7:06 PM on October 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


It may sound badass now, but chicks most certainly did not dig it, and rightfully so. Who wants to date a grumpy gus that thinks everything sucks?

Great thing about being married, dude, is you only have to care about what 1 chick does. You got a daughter so its 2.

Also, why did you not get involved with the goths or vamps, new-wavers or whatever they called them when you were in college. They would have eaten that shit up...you probably would have needed a joy division shirt, though.
posted by hal_c_on at 7:06 PM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]




Man, when did floppy Mohawks come back? Is this a thing?
posted by The Whelk at 7:08 PM on October 24, 2011


Weirdly calculus was the first math class I actually felt comfortable in and actually quite engaged by; and I ended up doing all right - despite being epically lackadaisical about homework and really only kicking it into gear before a test -- managing a higher grader than I had in any other math class in high school, only to take the AP test, not remember a thing, leave the second half of the test completely blank and score a 1 - literally the exact score a five year old would get if he had managed to fill in his name correctly. But! The other day I answered a math question brilliantly on metafilter to resounding applause and marriage proposals by memail, so kids, never give up. Another round of hugs!
posted by villanelles at dawn at 7:09 PM on October 24, 2011


GRANOLA!
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:12 PM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


OMG Monkey
posted by The Whelk at 7:13 PM on October 24, 2011


You are all my sunshines.
posted by Phire at 7:18 PM on October 24, 2011


So Matt was called Mr. Sunshine when he thought everything sucks. Then he embraced the +∞ of life, founded an Internet Institution and moved where it rains 150 days a year.
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:18 PM on October 24, 2011


Oops, forgot half a sentence so I edited my comment to reflect that.

Spurm, grub is in! I mabba edit to!
posted by cjorgensen at 7:20 PM on October 24, 2011


Solid potato salad, boy, take a plate, fill it up, bring it right back!
posted by crunchland at 7:22 PM on October 24, 2011


Enjoy some solid potato salad with your crunchy granola?
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:30 PM on October 24, 2011


Each morning, I look myself in the mirror and repeat the following...

Every Day, In Every Way, I Am The One With The Problem
Every Day, In Every Way, I Am The One With The Problem
Every Day, In Every Way, I Am The One With The Problem
Every Day, In Every Way, I Am The One With The Problem
Every Day, In Every Way, I Am The One With The Problem
posted by slogger at 7:30 PM on October 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


I have not RTFComments. But I agree that everyone needs a hug. ("Note: everyone needs a hug." are my five favorite words on the Internet, and that's saying a lot.)
posted by madcaptenor at 7:31 PM on October 24, 2011


It may sound badass now, but chicks most certainly did not dig it, and rightfully so. Who wants to date a grumpy gus that thinks everything sucks?

Awesome tattooed Goth chicks with excellent drug connections and trust funds, that's who.

We had completely different college experiences, I think.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 7:31 PM on October 24, 2011 [8 favorites]


a giant +∞ on my upper arm

Did somebody say INFINITE FAVORITES?
posted by hermitosis at 7:32 PM on October 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


Thanks, flex, that was a great post. Yeah, I don't know what the hell is up with MetaFilter these days. Grar seems to be carrying over between threads. Some threads it's like walking into a room right after everyone in it had a horrible, personal argument. And I'm not just talking about Apple threads.
posted by Kattullus at 7:36 PM on October 24, 2011


You know, I used to be very grar-y here. Anyone can tell you. And though it sometimes creeps back, for the most part, I try and let it go. Life is too short to get into heavy drama with strangers on an internet message board. I mean, really. Do you really want to be lying on your deathbed thinking about all the time you wasted butting heads with other buttheads?
posted by crunchland at 7:39 PM on October 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


OMG Monkey

that is pretty much exactly how I feel about Pringles too.
posted by elizardbits at 7:43 PM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Did somebody say INFINITE FAVORITES?

My mind tells me that if favorites were infinite, they would be worthless.

But my heart knows otherwise.
posted by Trurl at 7:44 PM on October 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Awesome tattooed Goth chicks with excellent drug connections and trust funds, that's who.

First the chicken salad...then the hookups. If you're ever in my neck of the woods, or vice versa, I'll like to take you out and tear up whatever unlucky town we're in.
posted by hal_c_on at 7:44 PM on October 24, 2011


I'm on board with flex's path of the gentle mefi. I've been consciously trying to be less LOL and GRAR in my comments, and not posting in threads just for the sheer damn need to make a comment. I think this place is amazing and it continues to astound me.

Can't believe no-one has made a "THIS" comment this far in.
posted by arcticseal at 7:47 PM on October 24, 2011


I think cortex should set up a grar confessional next time he goes jet-setting. A MeFite woodworker in each state builds a beautifully stained confessional booth where a mefite who feels they have grared or otherwise made an ass out of themselves for no good reason can sit down next to a gen-u-ine mod and cry it out and be forgiven.

Also, we could have a grar anonymous subsite for people who want to work through their grar addiction one step at a time. And a photoboard where we post nothing but shmoopy.

And in addition, I think we need a hug button on everyone's profile page and under every AskMe question. It'd be analogous to the poke button on Facebook, but softer and more cuddly-wuddly, and require no effort but send a nice gesture, like a Halmark card.
posted by mccarty.tim at 7:48 PM on October 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


I think that it's natural people are upset and hostile. We're living in very difficult times. It is a good thing to have this thread, though, so we can try to do a partial reset on the grarometer.

Alack I do not have the skills to make a text-based grarometer illustration.
posted by winna at 7:53 PM on October 24, 2011


On the other hand, do you want to be lying on your deathbed knowing that the other asshole got the last word?!?
posted by Curious Artificer at 7:54 PM on October 24, 2011 [11 favorites]


I appreciate the intent, I really do, and those of us who want to preserve what we feel to be the best of the Metafilter community should be vocal (while trying not to be too annoying) about it, and do our best to lead by example.

But, for my part, I do not take pledges.

Nor do I find 'hugs' in this context -- even aware that it is a Metafilter Phrase to be much other than cloying and a bit infantilizing. (And 'grar' too, for that matter.) Yes, I'm a cranky old fuck, but I am a big fan of hugs from people who are in the same room as me.

Online, not as much. Here at Metafilter, I'm not as keen on hugs and artificial affection (or made-up blanket terms for a whole spectrum of anti-communitarian behaviour) as I am in reasonable, reasoned, clever, funny palaver somehow related to the content found at the other end of interesting links.

Which is not to downplay the importance of community and fellow-feeling. Far from it.

There've been a lot of posts here lately that have said something along the lines of 'X is the biggest problem with Metafilter these days'. I reckon that X, these days, is the tendency we see so often on the blue for someone -- not always the same people, sadly, because that would make it easier -- just take a big steaming dump on everything that gets posted to the front page -- the link, the linker, the topic, the way in which it was posted, whatever seems the easiest target for the 'it's stupid it sucks i hate it' brigade. I think this is happening a lot more these days, even with the mods trying to tamp it down. It's the standard interaction model on the rest of the internet with only a few happy exceptions, of which Metafilter has been traditionally one. There's enough knee-jerk negativity out there already. We don't need it here, too.

So even if I'm not keen on this 'hugs' business or taking pledges, I am very much in favour of positivity and enthusiasm and intelligence and humour and making an attempt to begin by thinking the best of people rather than the worst.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:59 PM on October 24, 2011 [9 favorites]


On the other hand, do you want to be lying on your deathbed knowing that the other asshole got the last word?!?

Will the deathbed be full of naked and nubile bodies lying amidst mounds of drugs and cheeseburgers?

'Cause they can have the last word then.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:11 PM on October 24, 2011


Also, why did you not get involved with the goths or vamps, new-wavers or whatever they called them when you were in college. They would have eaten that shit up...you probably would have needed a joy division shirt, though.

I was too depressed for the goths
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 8:17 PM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well said stavros. I think there's no need for a 10 point pledge that basically amounts to "try not to be an asshole" and "try not to take everything so seriously." People that are assholes can't be fixed by 10 bullet points.

I appreciate the good intent behind this post, but I just don't agree. MeFi has always (like any large community) had its share of cranks, reactionaries, idiots, geniuses, comedians, etc. I've not noticed any dramatic shift one way or the other in the time that I've been active here. With growth has come more arguments, yes, but that growth has also brought countless excellent posts, hundreds if not thousands of new, bright, and involved members, and a continuing sense that MeFi is a worthwhile dot on the digital landscape.

Frankly, if everyone were singing from the same hymn sheet and there was no disagreement on contentious topics, MeFi would not really be the enjoyable community that I enjoy visiting. Likewise, I find the "TEAM HUGS" stuff somewhat infantalizing, especially when used in conjunction with absurd catchphrases like "MeFi is notoriously bad at $postersbugaboo".
posted by modernnomad at 8:36 PM on October 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


I will graciously admit when I'm wrong

I will graciously admit when I'm wrong

I will graciously admit when I'm wrong

I will graciously admit when I'm wrong

I will graciously admit when I'm wrong




(Just to be clear, that's for me, not y'all.)
posted by mediareport at 8:57 PM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


My problem with "group hugs" is that I associate them with that classic scene at the end of the last episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, so they end up representing the end of something and I certainly don't want that. Maybe I can accept the group hug, but let's NOT all sing "It's a Long Way to Tipperary"...
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:58 PM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


WUV
posted by The otter lady at 9:08 PM on October 24, 2011


Time to do my part to reduce the amount of negativity, nihilism and bullshit on this site. I'm out. Been lurking forever, so I'll still keep lurking, but part of the reason I loved this place is because it was mostly free of the teenage BS I spread.

I'm not hard to find if anyone wants to contact me.

Adios.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:16 PM on October 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


Huh. Be well, dude.
posted by mintcake! at 9:20 PM on October 24, 2011


LiB, your contributions will be missed, I've always enjoyed your posts on the Blue. Come back and see us when you can.
posted by arcticseal at 9:21 PM on October 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


you probably would have needed a joy division shirt, though.

Oh man, I listened to "Atrocity Exhibition" for the first time in over a decade this afternoon. Have you heard that song lately? Crank that shit up and try telling me those guitars, that percussion and the way Curtis dissolves the meaning of the chorus don't count as genius.

I was too depressed for the goths

Yeah, they tolerated depressed me in a decaying red house called The Palace of Blood in my mid-80s college days. They were ahead of the southwestern Ohio fashion curve and would regularly get spit on and have donuts thrown at them from passing cars, but were totally ok with their housemate's dumb un-fashiony jeans and boring t-shirts because they told me it was obvious I was "goth on the inside."

I still love that.

On preview, yow. Don't hold back, Lovecraft.
posted by mediareport at 9:23 PM on October 24, 2011


I guess I'll take this opportunity to share my latest realization about Metafilter:

It is remarkable – remarkable – how much smoother discussions are, how much more respectful interactions are, how much annoyance and anger and bile one can avoid, if one simply makes a steadfast promise to oneself to eliminate all sarcasm of any kind. Seriously, I am certainly not perfect at it yet, and I still catch myself doing it now and then, but stopping every single time before I click "post," looking for any and all sarcasm in my comment, and eliminating it completely – it's amazing how far that goes toward making my tone better and keeping me from starting silly fights. This is pretty much the biggest epiphany I've had in a long time about how the internet works: it's much, much better without sarcasm.

Also, lately this has been my theme song. It's an amazing idea – to make things precious, and to let it apply to all you do.

And, on preview:

Lovecraft In Brooklyn: I really value your contributions around here. We all have ups and downs, like Jessamyn said above. I understand how it is, though; I've taken breaks, too. Hope this is just a break; and remember you're totally always welcome here.
posted by koeselitz at 9:24 PM on October 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


part of the reason I loved this place is because it was mostly free of the teenage BS I spread

Holy shit LiB just pulled a reverse Groucho!


That sucks.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 9:24 PM on October 24, 2011


LiB it's a shame you don't feel you can separate the more juvenile aspects you present on the site with the value you oft-times contribute. I look forward to your return when you feel you're able to engage in a more consistently positive way, and I'm sure - if you care about it - it won't be too long.
posted by smoke at 9:27 PM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wait, wut? I came in for hugs, not flame outs.

Also, let's not dissect LiB's behavior, juvenile or otherwise, after he's denied himself the ability to defend eh?
posted by Cold Lurkey at 9:33 PM on October 24, 2011


Count me among those who hope Lovecraft comes back, the place will be more boring without him. I do admire that, ever the contrarian, he flames out in a hugs thread.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 9:34 PM on October 24, 2011 [11 favorites]


I'm out.

Oh, come on. You've become a valued member here; few would celebrate your departure. I admit that I had a hate-on for some of your views (e.g. fuck trees and animals) while I was still lurking, but I've come to appreciate them for defying the MeFite mold. Homogeneity is not a virtue.

You're like that guy in the choir who purposefully sings off key because he hates the song. We need more of that around here.
posted by troll at 9:41 PM on October 24, 2011


re: being someone's sunshine -- my wife and I love overcast, murky grey days. Its like the whole sky is hugging you, keeping you cosy, so long as you can stay at home.

But sunshine can be nice, too.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:43 PM on October 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


troll: "I'm out.Homogeneity is not a virtue.

You're like that guy in the choir who purposefully sings off key because he hates the song. We need more of that around here.
"

Regarding things that are virtues - and disagreeing with your latter point - neither is knee-jerk contrarianism.
posted by barnacles at 9:48 PM on October 24, 2011


Hugs for some; small American flags for others.
posted by Occula at 9:58 PM on October 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


You're like that guy in the choir who purposefully sings off key because he hates the song.

No, that guy is intentionally being a jerk. As much as LiB annoys me on occasion, he's not doing it maliciously.
posted by zamboni at 10:01 PM on October 24, 2011


Well, I'll miss LiB's good posts.

But I won't miss the belligerently arrogant ignorance and threadsitting. Overall, I guess, that makes me one of the few that troll mentions.

"Homogeneity is not a virtue."

Neither is unfettered heterogeneity.
posted by Pinback at 10:04 PM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Lovecraft, come back! You're not supposed to flame out in the hugs thread, y'know. It's poor form.

That, and, well, get your ass back here.
posted by Ghidorah at 10:05 PM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


You know, I normally would chalk this sort of thing up to confirmation bias, or think "eh, doesn't matter" or "just one person's opinion"...but I can't escape the feeling that it's true, there's been a substantial uptick in hostility lately. It makes me want to spend time doing other things instead. Which might actually be a good thing, but that doesn't mean I want it to happen like this.

eh, its still probably confirmation bias
posted by davejay at 10:09 PM on October 24, 2011


As a long-time lurker, one of the new member perks I was looking forward to was getting to know LIB. No joke.
posted by Occula at 10:12 PM on October 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'll raise your confirmation bias with anecdata. It definitely seems more hostile than usual.

though maybe I'm the only one who thinks so
posted by Ghidorah at 10:12 PM on October 24, 2011


Ghidorah: "I'll raise your confirmation bias with anecdata. It definitely seems more hostile than usual."

Then, like flex said originally, be the change you want to see. To me it seems like there's been a lessening of threadshitting in recent weeks, and that's been nice. For a while I was flagging threadshitters like it was going out of style, but I haven't needed to as much recently.
posted by barnacles at 10:17 PM on October 24, 2011


People seem more GRARy lately, but I think it's the larger world outside of the site. The Occupy Wall Street protests don't seem to be making much in the way of real change no matter how many people support them, politics in the US is at a stalemate, the economy is in the crapper, etc.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:29 PM on October 24, 2011


On the other hand, the movie version of Midnight's Children, with the screenplay written by Rushdie himself, is coming out next year. Maybe people are just antsy for 2012 to hurry up and get here.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:35 PM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Nobody has a job and everyone is here.
posted by The Whelk at 10:38 PM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, this autumn has sucked rubber baboon butts. I realize the new year is just some arbitrary line drawn in time and all, but I'm sorta banking on January to be the start of much better things.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:41 PM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Annndd LiB continues to confound, well played sir. Give us a bell if you're down Melbourne way - I'll buy you a beer or three (none of that Toohey's Spew rubbish though). I'll miss the aussie pile ons you used to inadvertently provoke. Who will we get to playfully call seppo now?

More broadly though, this thread was well timed for me - have had the wikileaks thread opened commenting fingers twitching for half an hour now. How dare they say such things about our only bond-esque super-villain!!!!
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 10:42 PM on October 24, 2011


I'll bet you think this thread is about you
posted by fleacircus at 10:47 PM on October 24, 2011 [9 favorites]


It was also a werid angry summer.
posted by The Whelk at 10:50 PM on October 24, 2011

But then, kind of horrifically, everyone in the room started milling around wildly and hugging each other. It was like somebody'd thrown a switch. There wasn't even very much conversation. It was just hugging, as far as Erdedy could see. Rampant, indiscriminate hugging, where the point seemed to be to hug as many people as possible regardless of whether you'd ever seen them before in your life. People went from person to person, arms out and leaning in. Big people stooped and short people got up on tiptoe. Jowls ground into other jowls. Both genders hugged both genders. And the male-to-male hugs were straight embraces, hugs minus the vigorous little thumps on the back that Erdedy'd always seen as somehow requisite for male-to-male hugs. Johnette Foltz was almost a blur. She went from person to person. She was racking up serious numbers of hugs. Kate Gompert had her usual lipless expression of morose distaste, but even she gave and got some hugs. But Erdedy — who'd never particularly liked hugging — moved way back from the throng, over up next to the NA-Conference-Approved-Literature table, and stood there by himself with his hands in his pockets, pretending to study the coffee urn with great interest.

But then a tall heavy Afro-American fellow with a gold incisor and perfect vertical cylinder of Afro-American hairstyle peeled away from a sort of group-hug nearby, he'd spotted Erdedy, and the fellow came over and established himself right in front of Erdedy, spreading the arms of his fatigue jacket for a hug, stooping slightly and leaning in toward Erdedy's personal trunk-region.
Erdedy raised his hands in a benign No Thanks and backed up further so that his bottom was squashed up against the edge of the Conference-Approved-Literature table.

'Thanks, but I don't particularly like to hug,' he said.

The fellow had to sort of pull up out of his pre-hug lean, and stood there awkwardly frozen, with his big arms still out, which Erdedy could see must have been awkward and embarrassing for the fellow. Erdedy found himself trying to calculate just what remote sub-Asian locale would be the maximum possible number of km. away from this exact spot and moment as the fellow just stood there, his arms out and the smile draining from his face.

'Say what?' the fellow said.

Erdedy proffered a hand. 'Ken E., Ennet House, Enfield. How do you do. You are?’
The fellow slowly let his arms down but just looked at Erdedy's proffered hand. A single styptic blink. 'Roy Tony,' he said.

'Roy, how do you do.’

'What it is,' Roy said. The big fellow now had his handshake-hand behind his neck and was pretending to feel the back of his neck, which Erdedy didn't know was a blatant dis.
'Well Roy, if I may call you Roy, or Mr. Tony, if you prefer, unless it's a compound first name, hyphenated, "Roy-Tony" and then a last name, but well with respect to this hugging thing, Roy, it's nothing personal, rest assured.’

'Assured?’

Erdedy's best helpless smile and an apologetic shrug of the GoreTex anorak. 'I'm afraid I just don't particularly like to hug. Just not a hugger. Never have been. It was something of a joke among my fam—’

Now the ominous finger-pointing of street-aggression, this Roy fellow pointing first at Erdedy's chest and then at his own: 'So man what you say you saying I'm a hugger? You saying you think I go around like to hug?’

Both Erdedy's hands were now up palms-out and waggling in a like bon-hommic gesture of heading off all possible misunderstanding: 'No but see the whole point is that I wouldn't presume to call you either a hugger or a nonhugger because I don't know you. I only meant to say it's nothing personal having to do with you as an individual, and I'd be more than happy to shake hands, even one of those intricate multiple-handed ethnic handshakes if you'll bear with my inexperience with that sort of handshake, but I'm simply uncomfortable with the whole idea of hugging.’

By the time Johnette Foltz could break away and get over to them, the fellow had Erdedy by his anorak's insulated lapels and was leaning him way back over the edge of the Literature table so that Erdedy's waterproof lodge boots were off the ground, and the fellow's face was right up in Erdedy's face in a show of naked aggression:

'You think I fucking like to go around hug on folks? You think any of us like this shit? We fucking do what they tell us. They tell us Hugs Not Drugs in here. We done motherfucking surrendered our wills in here,' Roy said. 'You little faggot,' Roy added. He wedged his hand between them to point at himself, which meant he was now holding Erdedy off the ground with just one hand, which fact was not lost on Erdedy's nervous system. 'I done had to give four hugs my first night here and then I gone ran in the fucking can and fucking puked. Puked,' he said. 'Not comfortable? Who the fuck are you? Don't even try and tell me I'm coming over feeling comfortable about trying to hug on your James-River-Traders-wearing-Calvin-Klein-aftershave-smelling-goofy-ass motherfucking ass.’

Erdedy observed one of the Afro-American women who was looking on clap her hands and shout 'Talk about it!’

'And now you go and disrespect me in front of my whole clean and sober set just when I gone risk sharing my vulnerability and discomfort with you?’

Johnette Foltz was sort of pawing at the back of Roy Tony's fatigue jacket, shuddering mentally at how the report of an Ennet House resident assaulted at an NA meeting she'd personally brought him to would look written up in the Staff Log.

'Now,' Roy said, extracting his free hand and pointing to the vestry floor with a stabbing gesture, 'now,' he said, 'you gone risk vulnerability and discomfort and hug my ass or do I gone fucking rip your head off and shit down your neck?’
-david foster wallace, infinite jest.
posted by kaibutsu at 11:07 PM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


When it starts to feel so different, what we need around is a 1000 mirrors, and it's time, now its time, allow no sacrifice, no sacrifice, sacrifice showing us the fire on Babylon, it needs to be said we are still listening, burning, but with so many colours entering the flame, blue of a thousand shades to orange and yellows. I believe in you, the things each one can do. Sometimes "I wanna make something beautiful, for you, and from you, to show you, to, show you, adore you, oh you, and your journey". All apologies. House? Why? Angel. Thank you for sharing your voice. Jealous. Roger Waters, mother. Gonna change everything I can.

Headed back where you belong, down with me, preferably postponing the last day of our acquaintance, right here is where that is, but for now I want you to be happy. "No fight left or so it seems, I am a man whose dreams have all deserted, I've changed my face, I've changed my name, But no one wants you when you lose -- Don't give up 'cos you have friends", Don't give up you're not beaten yet, Don't give up, I know you can make it good, Don't give up you still have us, Don't give up we don't need much of anything, Don't give up, 'Cause somewhere there's a place; There's a place where we belong.

No one wants to be a red football. Winter is cold, yr' colder still, You made me cold, and you made me hard; the thief of my heart.
Don't give up 'cause you have friends,
Don't give up now we're proud of who you are,
Don't give up you know it's never been easy.

Theoretically everyone needs a hug sometime eventually.
In a world of duplication, one click copies, over and over a song that deepens with each sharing, each performance built on the transpired events; Nothing compares to you, In this heart.
∞+∞
posted by infinite intimation at 11:11 PM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


LIB, having favorited one of my raunchy song recommendations, I naturally find you delightful.

The rest of y'all keep on with your huggin's.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 11:47 PM on October 24, 2011


HUGS
posted by Cranberry at 12:01 AM on October 25, 2011


People seem more GRARy lately, but I think it's the larger world outside of the site. The Occupy Wall Street protests don't seem to be making much in the way of real change no matter how many people support them, politics in the US is at a stalemate, the economy is in the crapper, etc.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:29 PM on October 24 [+] [!]


mr. sunshine, everybody.
posted by hal_c_on at 12:01 AM on October 25, 2011


This
posted by lampshade at 12:03 AM on October 25, 2011


And here I've been disappointed in the lack of GRAR debates lately, no religion/TOS vs TNG debates (same importance really), no Apple/PC or Apple/Android etc. But maybe I just haven't stumbled across the really good parties lately.
posted by Chekhovian at 12:07 AM on October 25, 2011


And I will miss LiB, you were one of the important youngsters (age < 30) around here. There has to be some counterweight to all the burned out 40 year gen-X sysadmins.
posted by Chekhovian at 12:09 AM on October 25, 2011


What am I chopped liver?
posted by The Whelk at 12:24 AM on October 25, 2011


Don't touch me unless you just showered.

Don't touch me unless we're both in the shower.
posted by ambient2 at 12:29 AM on October 25, 2011


What am I chopped liver?

If you want to lead a secret cabal of moppets, I will carry the banner or beat the drum or whatever. We may have to some sort of shibboleth though. Maybe details about obscure 80's cartoons eg who lead the Zone Raiders in Spiral Zone?
posted by Chekhovian at 12:34 AM on October 25, 2011


"I don't admire sneery people. I like huggy people, though."

Me too. But I'm still felling meh.
posted by arse_hat at 12:37 AM on October 25, 2011


felling = feeling
posted by arse_hat at 12:48 AM on October 25, 2011


Having a shit week here and will accept any and all hugs I can get.
posted by alltomorrowsparties at 12:50 AM on October 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Limited horizons.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 12:52 AM on October 25, 2011


I hate hugs, especially from strangers, and I refuse to feel bad about it in spite of this shameless and offensive attempt to make me do so.

I will graciously admit when I'm wrong

Me too, if it ever happens.
posted by Decani at 1:12 AM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thanks, flex, I'm taking a long hard look at myself and my reactions to others.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 1:14 AM on October 25, 2011


WTF? Lovecraft in Brooklyn bailed, now? Oh, fucking great. At this rate I'm going to be the only cantankerous sod left who refuses to sign his soul over to the Church of Hugs 'n' Schmoopy. Ugh.
posted by Decani at 1:25 AM on October 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


How do you feel about Australia, Decani?
posted by malibustacey9999 at 1:46 AM on October 25, 2011


What am I chopped liver? I am a soothing bowl of chowder.

HUGS to everyone who wants them, doubly so for those that are having a bad time this year.
posted by arcticseal at 2:03 AM on October 25, 2011


hugs
posted by juv3nal at 3:16 AM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Chekhovian: "And I will miss LiB, you were one of the important youngsters (age < 30) around here. There has to be some counterweight to all the burned out 40 year gen-X sysadmins."

Hey, I'm a burned out boomer sysadmin!

QA engineer really but close enough.
posted by octothorpe at 4:48 AM on October 25, 2011


I think we have enough hugs. It's all the other crap we could use less of.
posted by dg at 5:09 AM on October 25, 2011


I think we have enough hugs. It's all the other crap we could use less of.

Hug a trifle less hard; it cuts down on the accidents.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:25 AM on October 25, 2011


That wasn't an accident. I was happy to see you.
posted by mintcake! at 5:43 AM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think cortex should set up a grar confessional next time he goes jet-setting.

I've actually got this covered already, it is one of the few things that is within my own personal remit as Astral Mod.

Your Brand New Day starts right now. Entirely your choice if you'd like to take one of the specific pledges outlined in this thread, to take mathowie's +∞ path, or just do your own thing, but I am here to help you draw a bright line as you walk into your new self:

1. Cue up this Meatbomb compliant confessional video on YouTube. If you are on a slow connection you might want to wait as the video loads.

2. Reflect on what specific changes you intend to make, think about how you'll explain this in a meaningful but succinct way.

3. Play the video, in full screen m ode if possible. I am here with you, listening.

4. Go in peace. Blessings of the masses, blessings of the state. Be happy.
posted by Meatbomb at 5:44 AM on October 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


And I will miss LiB, you were one of the important youngsters (age < 30) around here. There has to be some counterweight to all the burned out 40 year gen-X sysadmins.

I hope he takes the time to work on the shit that he hated about himself and the world (and it's not like he was shy about sharing that). He had his own issues around burnout and being cynical and jaded, and the way he participated here often didn't seem to help that at all.
posted by rtha at 5:56 AM on October 25, 2011 [6 favorites]


Oh hey, infinite intimation, I saw Sinéad O'Connor play the week before last. It was a really good show. I reviewed it here, and the review includes a video of her performing "The Emperor's New Clothes."
posted by Kattullus at 6:35 AM on October 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Aw, sad to see LiB go, since I enjoyed getting into hipster fights about music with him (our Venn diagram of taste seemed to overlap on everything but Titus Andronicus). If you're reading, dude, and you're on g+ or twitter or whatever, don't be a stranger.

Anyway, I was feeling some grar about site stuff, then real life forced me to take a step back, which was good. Funny thing--ask helped me recently when I really needed it. When it comes down to a crisis, I know metafilter is here for me. It helped me remember that MF is not just my fair-weather friend, and that I can be that sort of person to others, too, which is cool.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:15 AM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thing is that probably 90% of the contributors on the site (well, at least on the green) probably were nodding along with this post, thinking, "yeah, I do this!". It's that one in 10 comments that get us down (along with the Outside World), so maybe if a post like this takes it down to one in 15 we'll all start feeling a bit more like partying like it's 2012.

Sometimes I prefer the internet hugs to the awkward real life hugs.
posted by ldthomps at 7:18 AM on October 25, 2011


Oops, forgot half a sentence so I edited my comment to reflect that.

Oooh, well la-di-da!

Must be nice to be in the 1%.
posted by General Tonic at 7:36 AM on October 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


I spent the weekend hugging mefites, actually. We went to PDX to visit friends - friends we met on the internet, right here on this particular bit of internet! - and met new friends at the meetup on Sunday and ate and drank a lot with mefites we already knew and it was a fantastic weekend.

If we had transporter technology already, there would be less GRAR, because if you could just zap yourself and the people in the thread you're GRARing with/to/at/about to a nice bar or coffeeshop or Greg_Ace's house, GRAR levels would drop immediately. And everyone would run out to get an electric smoker just like Greg's so you could smoke chickens and briskets and salmons and every other thing that can be smoked and eaten. (Oh, maybe just me? Okay, that's cool.)
posted by rtha at 7:44 AM on October 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


I didn't want to see LiB go, at all, but I didn't appreciate the little anti-animal performance art yesterday that he did with his AskMe and then the NYC horses thread. His comments in the horses thread had nothing to do with the topic and were purely, "See? I REALLY dislike animals! Just like I said in my Ask!"
posted by sweetkid at 7:47 AM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oops, forgot half a sentence so I edited my comment to reflect that.

A gentleman would never interrupt a hug a thon to plead, no, beg, for such a feature for the plebians, but I am not--- hey, hugs everybody! Hugs all around!
posted by cavalier at 7:48 AM on October 25, 2011


WOAH HIDDEN FLAME OUT! I mean, not hidden, just, yeah, I didn't finish reading. Oh LIB, you ol' goth you, come on stomping back to us, y'hear?
posted by cavalier at 7:49 AM on October 25, 2011


It is remarkable – remarkable – how much smoother discussions are, how much more respectful interactions are, how much annoyance and anger and bile one can avoid, if one simply makes a steadfast promise to oneself to eliminate all sarcasm of any kind.

Similarly, a few years ago I decided that liking things ironically was a huge waste of time and effort. If I like something, I like something. It doesn't matter if it's cheesy, or weird, or whatever. I don't need to defend the things that bring me joy and I will take it where I find it, even if it is the most uncool thing in the world.

It's an affectation that is nothing more than a weight. Getting rid of it was one of the better things I've done.

But I'm not quite ready to completely give up on sarcasm... I want to, but it's just too ingrained into my wiring at this point. Still, it's something to strive for.
posted by quin at 7:53 AM on October 25, 2011 [6 favorites]


I think hugs are good. I do remember when the internets first started (or rather when I first started the internets) I joined some sites that were "support sites" of similar interests or similar problems and the like. And everything anyone said anywhere was met with "Hugs! You are wonderful and I'm so sorry you're going through something and your ideas are so super duper and everyone loves you!"

To the point that everyone could have just copied and pasted their standard response to anyone saying anything. "I'm sorry you have life pain and I care about you and love you!"

It did not seem real. Love is wonderful and compassion for every human being is wonderful. But honesty is also wonderful and I highly doubt that any of us feel moved by every single thing every single person says. It just doesn't work like that.

But encouraging in ourselves the ability to feel connected to what others are saying and where they are coming from and genuinely caring about their experience of life is a really good thing. And using that skill to make conversations and discussions about interesting topics get more to the point in a way that gives some amount of validation to the amount of differing perspectives that exist is a really good thing. I also think that most unpleasant human behavior happens for reasons and when people's perspectives seem off there is almost always a very specific reason their belief about the topic seems so off kilter.

Also; I think the mods do an unspeakably amazing job to make sure as many people as possible can participate, that varying perspectives get voices, and that specific behavior that is not acceptable is taken care of in a compassionate way while giving people chances to work on it if they really want to participate in the community. I have never been part of an internet community that takes that so seriously and does so much to make it happen.
posted by xarnop at 8:37 AM on October 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


I just popped in to say that I am proud I am a MeFite, a member of a place I proudly refer to as "You know, a lot of places on the internet refer to themselves as 'communities', but MetaFilter is the only REAL internet community I know of." I then go on to cite things like the Ask thread about the narrowly missed potential human trafficking issue and such.

Every places has it's GRARhounds. I try to not be one (unless it is GRRM or Disney literary revisionism), but rather a cheerful smartarse who refuses to take himself seriously. Yes, I can be sarcastic, but I try not to point it at any of the community.

And, to paraphrase quin, I feel strongly that joy is a rare commodity, and it is a fair and noble task to try to increase it's distribution.

So, before I ramble on, I just wanted to say I am happy to be here, and thanks for having me.
posted by Samizdata at 8:38 AM on October 25, 2011


(And I do SO love the weird and wonderful mix of people I see here on a regular basis.)
posted by Samizdata at 8:39 AM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


THREAD IS HIGHLY WONDERFUL
posted by Greg Nog at 9:14 AM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{everyone}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}
posted by Lynsey at 9:14 AM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I love MetaFilter. I've learned more here than anywhere else. It's like the best study hall in the world, and it's populated by interesting braniacs and enough class clowns to keep it interesting.

The GRAR could be a lot worse (but it could be better).

I, too, am happy to be here. I like learning from all of you and the kind (and even not so kind, when I need it) ways you point out when I'm wrong.

[Thumbs up to everyone and surprisingly smooth appreciative dance (whatever that is)]
posted by glaucon at 9:20 AM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


To get back to the original proposal, while I definitely appreciate the spirit (and I also sense a lot more grar recently) I don't think it will work. Unfortunately I don't have any better ideas, but there's not enough positive reinforcement in saying "Yay, me!" every time we refrain from being a jerk. Nobody else hears it, nobody sees us not being a jerk, and we don't rack up favorites for not posting. Which leaves us with the current system of negative reinforcement from the mods (warnings, deletions, banning) which they administer with care and which work pretty well generally.

In real life, people can see you're in the room even if you're not talking, and your silence can convey a message in itself. Online, you're invisible until you post something. It's human nature to seek attention - positive is good, but negative is better than nothing. It seems to me that many MeFites find it more rewarding to get into arguments than to FIAMO silently, and a private "Yay, me!" won't substitute for all the attention they get from being a jerk online.

Hellbans and slowbans address the need for attention (and encourage the jerk to voluntarily go elsewhere to find it) but they're devious and I can't imagine MeFi mods ever resorting to such non-transparent methods.

So is there a way to increase positive reinforcement for not being a jerk on the internet? The real world offers some rewards for keepin' yer yap shut, so can something analogous be brought online? I can't think of anything, but maybe people who are more clever and socially adept than me have some ideas.
posted by Quietgal at 10:52 AM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


In real life, people can see you're in the room even if you're not talking, and your silence can convey a message in itself. Online, you're invisible until you post something.

I wish people would remember this more often. We'd get less comments like, " I don't care about this topic at all, sorry," because it's not like we were all looking at you waiting for you to say something? It's like people think they're at some giant cocktail party, drink in hand, and everyone turns to them and says, "Hey, involve yourself! Right now! Whatever DO you think?"
posted by sweetkid at 11:00 AM on October 25, 2011


Katallus...excellent review. I especially like how sinead loves cheaters.

Excellent trash. It really is.
posted by hal_c_on at 11:19 AM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Quietgal: that was entirely the point of posting this - that this is how we're supposed to behave in order to improve things, but it's so quiet and lonely because no one can see us NOT posting, etc. - so therefore if a large enough group of people said out loud This Is A Thing That We Are Doing, it would make it visible and show us that we're not alone, that we're working together as a team, and hopefully give us some positive reinforcement; we're not going to get it all on our own, so we have to create an opportunity.

It's a lot harder to try to create some positive attention and feelings than it is to get negative attention, but I'm offering HERE is a moment that you can do it and be acknowledged for it and feel like part of a team - I'm trying to offer some visibility and some balance. Whether people want to use it for lulz or random chatter or showing off that they're cooler than all that is something I have no control over.

I was very much inspired by this comment from taz: trying to do something because we shouldn't just take the derails and negativity lying down.

It's not the perfect answer, but it's something. I'm not going to wait for the perfect answer to start trying to generate some optimism and thoughtfulness.

And I was not feeling schmoopy when I wrote this, nor was I trying to generate schmoopy. I was trying to communicate "positivity" and that is as hard to do as be a quiet Good Citizen. People can think less of the whole thing for using "hugs" as shorthand but hey, it was that or emoticons, the horror.
posted by flex at 12:03 PM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


It is very hard to not take things personally when some otherwise perfect stranger attacks you online. As it is very hard to not respond in kind. If you have any gift for sarcasm, it will get applause, which will lead you to think that a devastating perfect putdown is something to be admired. In real life, we may get insulted and later have a case of staircase wit and think, 'Oh, if only I had said that then!' And, often enough, we get the opportunity. And we comeback with the perfect devastating response. Then it turns out, the person putdown has a whole back story unknown to us and we find we have done damage, caused hurt far beyond what we intended and we feel like shit for making things worse.

Online, it is far easier to have both sides escalate, complete with cheering sections thrown in, and trade insult upon insult and hateful comment upon hateful comment. And I mean, hateful. I think of all the freelance drive by long distance psychoanalysis I have seen that was meant only to wound and damage, made by people who otherwise pontificated on how awful it was to do in the abstract. But, when their blood was up, well, katy, bar the door but the horse is out of the barn and he or she must suffer.

And suffer they do. I know the unspoken law is to admit to nothing, to pretend one is invulnerable. But in truth, hateful hurtful things said about us by perfect strangers hurt deeply and we feel the hate behind them perfectly. Yet these are things written by perfect strangers about imaginary monsters of their own creation. So, how is it that they sting so ?

It is so hard not to respond. But it really is best. So, do the right thing even if it is the hard thing. Keep trying even if you fail at first.

As Natalie Duddington translated* Ahkmatova:

I am staying with white death
On my way to darkness.
Do no evil, gentle one,
To anyone on Earth.

There are so many things I have said and done that I will always regret having said or done. I only wish I can get the strength to avoid adding more to that number.


*Or mistranslated, according to languagehat.... Still the sentiment has its point, whatever the order of stanzas ought to be.
posted by y2karl at 1:32 PM on October 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Flex, for what it's worth, I've been doing this all along. I have plenty of snarky, critical and eye-rolling responses which I keep to myself, but I suspect it's easy for me because I'm not entirely normal, socially. I further suspect that normal people would respond better to ongoing positive reinforcement than to a one-off event, while completely acknowledging that weekly/monthly "Yay for quiet people!" threads won't fly around here. It's a thorny problem and I respect your attempt to do something, if only to prod people into thinking about it.

I think it would be really interesting to discuss possible approaches to online jerkishness. In real life you can shun, ignore, and literally turn your back on a jerk before escalating to outright confrontation, but the internet doesn't provide nonverbal channels for communicating reprimands. Is the best we can do to remind each other constantly "Don't feed the trolls"? I dunno. Behavioral modification is difficult enough on an individual level, but large-scale social engineering is orders of magnitude harder.

Sigh. Anyway, props for trying, flex.
posted by Quietgal at 1:42 PM on October 25, 2011


y2karl that is dope and also fist daps for quoting ahkmatova!

i feel pretty bad sometimes on metafilter because i think i am maybe not nice, and it probably looks like i am threadshitting because i will get pissed about something and then just drop it when i realize i am trying to convince strangers on the internet of something that is real nuanced and maybe this is not the best way. i come from a much much trollier side of the internet and metafilter has been surprisingly good at teaching me how to interact with others respectfully on and off site hello i am beefetish and this is my post
posted by beefetish at 1:49 PM on October 25, 2011


It is very hard to not take things personally when some otherwise perfect stranger attacks you online.

Why would you care if someone who doesn't even know you attacks you verbally? Good Lord, you're making it hard for yourself if you do that. That's like getting upset if some snot-nosed urchin on the street gives you the finger.
posted by Decani at 2:22 PM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'd just like to note that for the first time ever did I parse beefetish correctly, as "bee fetish" and not "beef etish."

Decani, I'm sure other people can explain better than I that for some people their words and belief have a personal, emotional value for them. Furthermore, speaking in public can be a fraught experience for people, having people respond with dismissals and other verbal attacks can be painful. It may not be fully rational, but to expect words to exist in an emotionless vacuum is irrational too.
posted by Kattullus at 2:48 PM on October 25, 2011


decani i understand where you are coming from but im pretty sure this corner of the internet doesnt mesh well with the Brutal Upbringing.
posted by beefetish at 3:11 PM on October 25, 2011


Decani, I'm sure other people can explain better than I that for some people their words and belief have a personal, emotional value for them. Furthermore, speaking in public can be a fraught experience for people, having people respond with dismissals and other verbal attacks can be painful. It may not be fully rational, but to expect words to exist in an emotionless vacuum is irrational too.
posted by Kattullus at 10:48 PM on October 25


I understand that. But that doesn't mean that what I said isn't true.

You can embrace your weakness, and your fraught experiences or... you can fight them, wrestle with them, and stare them down. I tell you this, as someone who was the most thin-skinned, neurotic, tic-laden, fearful, hypersensitive person I have ever known: unless you resist and fight against that handicap - and make no mistake, it is a handicap - you are just accepting the fact that you don't cope with reality, life, and people very well.

Now, you can certainly try to deal with that by making endless demands and pleas that the rest of the world be nice and sensitive to your tender nature, but really. Come on. You might as well be a lame and bleeding Thompson's Gazelle trying to reason with the lions. It isn't going to happen unless you remove yourself from the wider world in some way. Maybe join a convent, or a monastery, or a church or something. But asking random people on the internet to be nice and expecting any sort of positive result makes Canute look like a realist.

When it comes to internet - or indeed RL - interactions with people other than friends and family, this is the rule. It really is. And you know the best thing? Once you actually concede that, it isn't that hard to accept it. And once you accept it, it isn't that hard to do.
posted by Decani at 3:54 PM on October 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Words are kind of a crazy powerful vector for reaching into other people's brains. The same thing that makes natural language so neat and useful and game-changing at a species level also makes it a lot harder in some ways to filter than it might seem like it should be when you look at it in terms of "it's just words".

Because it's just words, but to reject what someone has said to you as unimportant requires first that you hear what they're saying. And if what they're saying is something that generates shitty feelings for you, you can't just unfeel those feelings once you've decided that what's been said lacks merit or substance. The human language processing centers don't have a holding queue that isolates input at a macro level until it's been tested for validity or worthiness, there's no semantic pre-screening process that lets us only hear/read and react to the bits of incoming language that we want to have experienced and chuck the rest, parsed but unfelt, back out the door.

So on the one hand, yeah: there's not a lot of sense in feeling, reacting to, being made to feel shitty or dismissed or threatened or hurt by what someone says to you even when they're not someone whose opinion you think should have an effect on you or what they're saying is out of line.

But that doesn't mean folks aren't going to feel it and react to, aren't going to feel shitty about what's been said, aren't going to feel threatened even when it doesn't make rational sense. Language gets inside your head in a very direct sense, you can't know you don't want to be thinking about it until you're already thinking about it.

Different folks have, for what I'd guess are a greatly varied different set of reasons, different levels of sensitivity or vulnerability to this stuff depending on who its coming from and where and when and what is going on in their lives. Everybody has their more and less resilient moments, and I'm sure some folks are by chance or by effort more bulletproof than others when it comes to having someone firing negative communicative salvos your way, or if not bulletproof at least better at more or less immediately flushing that stuff out of their system.

But the more bulletproof folks need to keep in mind that not everybody is them, that there's a whole wide range of human experiences as far as how we deal with language that hurts, that reciting Sticks And Stones may work for some folks or some situations but that the right set of words can, even from strangers with no business having such agency, be cutting, gutting things.

Even for people who fight and wrestle and stare down that stuff when they can. Arguably, the people who do fight the hardest on this front are the ones who are most hurt by it in the first place, and if your position is that fighting it is the right way to go, it'd do to keep in mind that that may be easy for you to say because the fight is easier for you than it is for them. "Harden the fuck up" is another way of saying "why are you softer than I think I'd be if I were in your shoes", when in fact we're basically never in anyone else's shoes and we mostly don't know what they've gone through or what they're going through mentally and emotionally in their lives.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:26 PM on October 25, 2011 [15 favorites]


rtha: "And I will miss LiB, you were one of the important youngsters (age < 30) around here. There has to be some counterweight to all the burned out 40 year gen-X sysadmins.

I hope he takes the time to work on the shit that he hated about himself and the world (and it's not like he was shy about sharing that). He had his own issues around burnout and being cynical and jaded, and the way he participated here often didn't seem to help that at all
"

And works out all the shit that's going on in his head about Australia and living here and hating it. I'm certainly not going to miss the thoughtless anti-Australianism he drops into every single thread possible, even if only tangentially related.
posted by barnacles at 4:28 PM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


you were one of the important youngsters (age < 30)

Look, I respectfully disagree. Not that LiB isn't cool and all, except with the anti animal and anti Australia stuff, but I really wish we'd quit ranking people so much here. I feel like there's so much "most important" and 'most knowledgeable" and "best x question answerer" and...I don't like it so much is all. I feel like it excludes people, especially newer or shyer users -- and yes, you can be shy on the internet!
posted by sweetkid at 4:41 PM on October 25, 2011 [10 favorites]


You can embrace your weakness, and your fraught experiences or... you can fight them, wrestle with them, and stare them down.

I think you need to understand that not everyone is you. I've developed a pretty thick hide over the years, and used to wonder why some people let such tiny things get to them. Then I realized that while, yes, some of these people were "embracing their weakness" in order to get the comforting, a very good many have other factors to contend with that I didn't know about or didn't fully appreciate. Sometimes it's in the form of a chemical imbalance, or a childhood trauma, or a chronic physical pain that has their nerves constantly tightly wound - none of which are things that exactly come up in casual conversation. So while I can appreciate the whole "man up and stare down your fear" approach - trust me, it's one I try and use myself - I also think it's important to have in mind that what works for you might not necessarily work for everybody. It's not a one-size-fits-all world.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:02 PM on October 25, 2011 [5 favorites]


I'm 100% with Decani on this FWIW. I think my first couple of years on the internet I was upset by things people said to me but since then, seriously, forget it Jake, it's strangers on the internet. It's not even a question of HTFU. It's just... why allow people you don't know that power over you?
posted by unSane at 7:13 PM on October 25, 2011


The only problem with that mindset is the next logical step -- if you think it's no concern about what others say to you, then you may simultaneously feel that it's no concern about what you say to others, which is just the sort of vicious circle that this thread laments.
posted by crunchland at 7:23 PM on October 25, 2011 [7 favorites]


The only problem with that mindset is the next logical step -- if you think it's no concern about what others say to you, then you may simultaneously feel that it's no concern about what you say to others, which is just the sort of vicious circle that this thread laments.

That's what I wanted to say, better than I would have said it.
posted by sweetkid at 7:30 PM on October 25, 2011


if you think it's no concern about what others say to you, then you may simultaneously feel that it's no concern about what you say to others

If you check my posting history you will discover that this is not the case.
posted by unSane at 8:20 PM on October 25, 2011


To Lovecraft in Brooklyn:

If I've learned to know you at all, you'd be reading this thread or checking in on it some point. That's not a value judgment. If I just buttoned, I would be too.

We've crossed horns a lot and I've often bludgeoned your outlier opinions and attitudes with my own outlier opinions and attitudes with not a small amount of expertise in arguing with people on the internet - but let it be known I do give a shit because I see you as bright and interesting and not a bad person at all. I've enjoyed many of your posts even if I think you post a little too much - but that's just my opinion, and not a site rule.

Seriously. I wish I could take you on a vision quest through a lovely desert somewhere in the American Southwest, or through a decadently green and riotously living old growth rain forest in the Pacific Northwest and make you eat weird berries, fix your fear of natural places and your part of it and then tell you over and over that everything is going to be totally OK.

Like rtha mentions, I wish we had teleporters and that we could visit each other much more often and easier. Share a meal, a cup of coffee, a beer or a smoke. I wish I could walk and talk with you as someone just a little older and different, that I could emote and gesture, and learn from you while I teach as others have done for me.

I don't spend the energy get up in your grill because I wish you ill, but more likely because in many similar and typical ways I used to be you, and in many ways I still am.

What I'm trying to say is not that you're wrong - but that you could be so much better and generally more awesome and super great. I wish for you to be super great.

Yeah, I guess that's judgmental. Wait till you start getting old - and if I'm still around, get back to me about that. You envy the potential and energy of youth, especially when you see yourself with similar challenges and potentials. It's like watching a horror movie, like "Oh fuck, don't open that door!"

Be well, man. Take care of yourself, and the people in your life. Dance like no one is watching.
posted by loquacious at 12:00 AM on October 26, 2011 [7 favorites]


Conflicted.

I had some contact with LiB, and found him interesting and sweet and eager to understand strange Aussie customs. But then I started to feel as though anything Australia-centric would get his back up, and I'd start to second-guess if something I thought was interesting was worth FPP-ing or not.

I'd think "I'd like to get Mefite's take on this" or "how cool is this? And no-one outside Australia will know about it if I don't shove it out there". It's either the best of the web, or the ensuing debate on Metafilter is the best of the web. Get what I mean?

I've come across Australia-centric stuff that I yearned to post lately, but my first thought is "we're in the same time zone so LiB will be putting a derogatory comment up before the rest of the planet even sees what I've posted". So I'd move on, not posting something that I thought was way cool.

So I hope LiB either moves somewhere which makes him happy (like country NSW, get the hell out of that awful city), or comes to terms with the fact that he's lived here for years, and insulting his adopted country doesn't earn him any brownie points with those of us who live here and love it.

Be well, LiB. I'd be pleased to see you both back here and a little more mellow.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 2:33 AM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


All this volunteer psychoanalysis is starting to feel rather gauche, classless, and paternalistic.
posted by Chekhovian at 5:02 AM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


So I hope LiB either moves somewhere which makes him happy (like country NSW

because that's bound to help with his perception of Australia as filled with racist bogans...
posted by russm at 5:55 AM on October 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


I endorse this platform wholeheartedly, but I also value that contingent who doesn't. Those people way over the line will be given time-outs or banned, no doubt. Mostly, though, I trust the self-policing of y'all, as well as the skilled and patient moderation of the staff.

MetaFilter: SPERAMUS IN VEXILLUM
posted by not_on_display at 12:17 PM on October 26, 2011


... I think my first couple of years on the internet I was upset by things people said to me but since then, seriously, forget it Jake, it's strangers on the internet.

The same is true for us all in time. But I was surprised in the beginning at how mad I could get and how long I would stay in the fray, punching away and getting punched. I remember getting into a fight with stavrosthewonderchicken early in my time here over something really stupid and we just went at it for far too long and said horrible things to each other. Someone wrote me after that and said how horrifying it was for her to see two people she liked go at it like that, that it was like listening to her parents fight.

I don't know why it is a person can get upset and angry over a personal attack online from a perfect stranger but it happens. It can happen even when one knows better. It happens faster when it turns into one against all comers. I have seen all sorts of people here, moderators included, get their hair up -- moderately as it might have been in the case of the latter -- and start punching back when they got their blood up.

I have a much thicker skin nowadays, but, boy, when I was first online, it came as a shock at how easily I could get into a fight and sling back with the insults.
posted by y2karl at 1:53 PM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't understand what people liked about Lovecraft in Brooklyn. He occasionally posted interesting things to the blue, but on balance that dude dragged down the collective intellect of this website, and we're better off without him. I know he's not around to defend himself and all, but that was his decision, so I'm having a hard time feeling bad about slagging him.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 12:05 PM on October 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


well, at first I felt like it was unfair that people would say, "don't post so much," because everyone can post as much as the site rules allow. And some of his stuff was interesting. I didn't like the anti Australia stuff, but it also seemed like he was doing that just to rile people up, and people are free to do that as an experiment or whatever, but I don't like to engage with people who do that type of stuff. Then he lost me with the "I don't like animals, is that creepy" ask followed up by dumping anti animal stuff in the carriage horse Metafilter thread, which was really just another attempt at play on his part. I was thinking, man I hope he takes a break or something. And then he did!

I think it's weird that people want to take LiB for walks and teach him about life and all, but I think it's because they recognize some young-person socially awkward loner tendencies in him that they had when they were younger, socially awkward loners and maybe they see his missteps as unintentional because theirs were. I don't think we know if his are unintentional or not. I don't agree with it. but I guess I see why some people feel attached and might want to 'guide' LiB.
posted by sweetkid at 12:36 PM on October 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've been sick this weekend and it's been the first time in what feels like forever that I've actually had much time to really read MetaFilter, and I'm personally in kind of a space where I'm trying to be positive without necessarily feeling like I need to be chipper all the time to do that, so I think my dwindling contributions to the site have taken a dip into silly shrugs and run on sentence (you're welcome for the album title) more than anything. I've been a little disappointed with much of the overall atmosphere around here, lately, and I was considering making a MeTa post about the perceived negativity, but I wasn't really sure how to do that in a way that would work...

Anyway, I'm way late, but I wanted to add that I want MetaFilter to be a little nicer, lately. Ordinarily, I'd just keep my thoughts to myself at this point, but I'd rather say that LiB's hiatus makes me sad than not.

Have a good rest and come back soon.
posted by byanyothername at 5:30 PM on November 6, 2011


Silly Shrugs & Run On Sentences, to get the title right.
posted by byanyothername at 5:32 PM on November 6, 2011


oh I give up
posted by byanyothername at 5:33 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


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