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Steve Jobs obit threads
October 31, 2011 6:53 AM   Subscribe

It isn't a mod issue, really, but since there are now functionally two Steve Jobs obit threads, would it be possible or desirable for the community to relocate arguments about his moral worth and/or Apple's products to one rather than the other?

There's the original Steve Jobs, RIP thread, and now a thread on Mona Simpson's eulogy.

I know that any famous and influential person is likely to polarise opinions somewhat, but a) Steve Jobs wasn't Colonel Gadaffi and b) it feels like this dual-thread coincidence could be turned into a stroke of good fortune. Would it be possible, or desirable, to suggest that theses like Steve Jobs was not fit to wipe Bill Gates' feet could move over to the Steve Jobs, RIP thread, which is already burning merrily?

(To be clear, I don't think the mods should be moving or deleting posts, nor do I think they would; I was thinking more than maybe people could agree to do the Jobs vs Gates/Google vs Apple fighting in the thread that's already full of it rather than the one about a sister's eulogy to her brother.)
posted by running order squabble fest to Etiquette/Policy at 6:53 AM (263 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

The more likely result is that we're now going to have a third thread in here where we judge his worth as a human being.
posted by empath at 7:05 AM on October 31, 2011 [13 favorites]


In addition to the one hate-thread and one love-thread, how about one list-of-exactly-what-he-did-thread that omits stuff Woz, Xerox, the BSD community and a bunch of graphic designers did?
posted by DU at 7:07 AM on October 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


See what I mean?
posted by empath at 7:08 AM on October 31, 2011 [28 favorites]


I'm pretty sure that mods don't move comments from one thread to another. Jobs was a controversial figure and posts about him naturally stir up a lot of passionate opinions from many sides, I'm not sure how or why you'd want police threads based on which side the comments is arguing from.
posted by octothorpe at 7:14 AM on October 31, 2011


I'm not sure how or why you'd want police threads based on which side the comments is arguing from.

I think running order is making an appeal to all of us to self-police, to be perfectly accurate.

Such efforts meet with limited success, alas.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:21 AM on October 31, 2011


I'm not sure how or why you'd want police threads based on which side the comments is arguing from.

As I said:

To be clear, I don't think the mods should be moving or deleting posts, nor do I think they would.

It was more a suggestion about community response to avoid repeated derails, but, as empath notes, it looks like I might have been aiming a little high.
posted by running order squabble fest at 7:22 AM on October 31, 2011


Maybe the Mona Simpson eulogy post would be better as a comment in the open thread.

(Or maybe not--just trying to cover the possibilities.)
posted by box at 7:22 AM on October 31, 2011 [5 favorites]


Oh, sorry. Reading fail.
posted by octothorpe at 7:23 AM on October 31, 2011


Was wondering then the Jobs backlash would hit metafilter. Can we just leave it unstated that he made Woz cry? That was like 50 years ago.
posted by Ad hominem at 7:24 AM on October 31, 2011


This is what it sounds like
When Woz cries
posted by shakespeherian at 7:33 AM on October 31, 2011 [23 favorites]


I agree with those saying it should go in the existing post.
posted by Edogy at 7:39 AM on October 31, 2011


Wait...you posted this MeTa to suggest that fighting about Steve Jobs' worth should go in the obit thread?
posted by iamkimiam at 7:41 AM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


but Microsoft cast a dark shadow over personal computing for decades, and the true cost of that

So hard to ignore.
posted by Ad hominem at 7:45 AM on October 31, 2011


Jobs was a controversial figure

It is really weird that this is true.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:46 AM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's turtlenecks all the way down, from this point.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 7:48 AM on October 31, 2011 [17 favorites]


The more likely result is that we're now going to have a third thread in here where we judge his worth as a human being.

It doesn't have to be this way. Surely there's someone else we can judge?!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:55 AM on October 31, 2011 [4 favorites]


Sure. What were you thinking, with those pants?
posted by middleclasstool at 7:56 AM on October 31, 2011 [4 favorites]


Easy access, obviously.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 7:57 AM on October 31, 2011 [4 favorites]


since there are now functionally two Steve Jobs obit threads

Yeah, here's the first problem.

Jobs was a controversial figure

It is really weird that this is true.


I don't know why. He was a great businessman who made great strides in making computing easier for the masses, who was also by nearly every account a raging narcissistic asshole with anger management issues.
posted by dirigibleman at 7:58 AM on October 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


Verily metatalk is like those asshole genies that give you the exact opposite of your wish.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 8:00 AM on October 31, 2011 [24 favorites]


Well, I've never known brandon b to wear pants, so even that disaster is an improvement.
posted by Think_Long at 8:00 AM on October 31, 2011



It's a single NY Times link to a subject that already has an open thread running.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:01 AM on October 31, 2011


If you're trying to change behavior in the eulogy thread, running order, you should probably post a link to this thread there.
posted by mediareport at 8:06 AM on October 31, 2011


Well, I've never known brandon b to wear pants, so even that disaster is an improvement.

Pants are like a cage. I need a nature preserve.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:10 AM on October 31, 2011 [5 favorites]


iamkimiam: Wait...you posted this MeTa to suggest that fighting about Steve Jobs' worth should go in the obit thread?


Put like that, I can see it's counter-intuitive, but... well, yeah. The obit thread is currently hosting a debate about the ethics of Apple patenting slide-to-unlock, a debate about whether the iPhone copied the LG Prada and a further debate about the extent to which Android was changed between the launch of the iPhone and the launch of the G1 to copy iOS. It's pretty much evolved (or rotted, depending on your PoV) past RIP at this point.

So, it seemed like the posting of a new thread about the eulogy specifically could have been positive, by having one thread about the eulogy and one thread which continued to focus on general Apple/Jobs controversies. But, actually, possibly the problem, as dirigibleman says, it that there are two effectively-obit threads running parallel, which inspired my cockamamie idea in the first place.

mediareport: Good point, but I was more asking "is this a sane thing to propose, given the unusual circumstance of these two threads existing at the same time"? And, from the feedback, it looks like it isn't, so there's not a lot of point in pointing people to an unworkable proposal.
posted by running order squabble fest at 8:14 AM on October 31, 2011


shakespeherian: "Jobs was a controversial figure

It is really weird that this is true.
"

It comes with the territory. Bill Gates is a controversial figure too. So are Mark Zuckerberg, Eric Schmidt, and Jeff Bezos. We've had threads about all of them with arguments about their respective merits.
posted by octothorpe at 8:17 AM on October 31, 2011


I need a nature preserve.

What sort of tourist amenities are offered? I assume there's at least a cable car or sightseeing train.
posted by elizardbits at 8:20 AM on October 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


Threads don't get deleted, they achieve deletion.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 8:21 AM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: Oh, sorry. Reading fail.
posted by Deathalicious at 8:24 AM on October 31, 2011


It comes with the territory. Bill Gates is a controversial figure too. So are Mark Zuckerberg, Eric Schmidt, and Jeff Bezos. We've had threads about all of them with arguments about their respective merits.

Mother Theresa was a controversial figure. There's really no way not to get noticed without also becoming somewhat controversial.
posted by Deathalicious at 8:26 AM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


What sort of tourist amenities are offered?

Sadly, there is at least one bear mauling a season. Keep your treats away from your tent.
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:27 AM on October 31, 2011


Remember those guided cars in Jurassic Park? Same thing, but you can stick your hands out the window.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:27 AM on October 31, 2011


Man, some of the comments in that eulogy thread are just vicious.
posted by zarq at 8:28 AM on October 31, 2011


I agree with this Meta. It's pretty awful the way some people will take a beautiful eulogy about an amazing, if flawed, human being and use it as an opportunity to be nasty. Not particularly new or surprising, unfortunately (I still remember the Godwinning of the Charlton Heston obit thread that caused at least one long-time user to leave), but no less awful.
posted by Dasein at 8:32 AM on October 31, 2011


so there's a t-rex in your pants. this is what you're saying.
posted by elizardbits at 8:33 AM on October 31, 2011


There's been at least 2 threads specifically about Jobs since the still open obit thread (Mona Simpson, Isaacson biography). And at least another 2 about Jobs and related topics (LSD, cancer treatments).

(This is not a criticism of modding, BTW. Just noting that there are plenty of threads people can post in about Jobs.)
posted by kmz at 8:34 AM on October 31, 2011


As odd is it is for me to meet people who think they are awesome based on the machines they buy, it's even more bizarre for me that there are people whose awesomeness depends on the fact that they don't buy those machines, and will state the fact loudly and publicly every chance they get.

I don't buy CAT scan machines, but you don't hear me making a fuss about the fact.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 8:38 AM on October 31, 2011


Bunny Ultramod: " I don't buy CAT scan machines, but you don't hear me making a fuss about the fact."

Me too. I have no idea how these people get those cats wedged into their scanners, or why.
posted by zarq at 8:40 AM on October 31, 2011 [4 favorites]


I don't buy CAT scan machines, but you don't hear me making a fuss about the fact.

I have no idea how these people got their cheaply bought sense of self-worth wedged into their scanners, or why.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 8:41 AM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Grr.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 8:41 AM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


FIRST!!1!
posted by zarq at 8:42 AM on October 31, 2011


so there's a t-rex in your pants. this is what you're saying.

More like a Dinobot. But more cuddly.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:45 AM on October 31, 2011


It is a side effect of I'm a mac/I'm a PC type marketing. You aren't a person who owns a PC, you are a PC person. Any attack on a PC is an attack on you. That is just the way modern marketing works. Things are not sold by impressive specs, the marketer presents a lifestyle you can be part of, if only you buy the product.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:45 AM on October 31, 2011


(This is not a criticism of modding, BTW. Just noting that there are plenty of threads people can post in about Jobs.)

Hell, he's got his own subsite now.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:49 AM on October 31, 2011 [12 favorites]


I'd just like to go on record as being tired of the usual suspects threadshitting the Jobs / Apple threads.
posted by entropicamericana at 8:52 AM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


"You aren't a person who owns a PC, you are a PC person. Any attack on a PC is an attack on you. That is just the way modern marketing works. Things are not sold by impressive specs, the marketer presents a lifestyle you can be part of, if only you buy the product."

Yeah, I don't think it's the PC side you're thinking of there.
posted by joannemullen at 8:53 AM on October 31, 2011 [9 favorites]


Wait, just so I'm clear, which thread is it ok to shit in? This one?
posted by crunchland at 8:54 AM on October 31, 2011


I left a note in the eulogy thread and people can knock that shit off right now. I've pretty much had it with "you guys are liking a thing so I'll show up just to hate it and not interact with either the content of the link or the other people contributing in the thread" contributions. It's lazy and it's taking advantage of our generally light moderation policies to threadshit. And just to head people off at the pass, it's totally fine to have a critique of Jobs, his policies, his practices or even his fashion sense but just to dump it in a thread where people are talking about something else entirely just because it upsets you that people aren't seeing the "full picture" is the Meat Is Murder equivalent for bacon threads. Do better please. Thanks.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:55 AM on October 31, 2011 [39 favorites]


Does dinobot cock make that Transformer sound when it tumesces?
posted by Horselover Phattie at 8:57 AM on October 31, 2011


Yeah, I don't think it's the PC side you're thinking of there.

There is a Cult of Mac, but there is also a Cult of Mac Haters, who wont have anything to do with Apple, period, end of statement.
posted by eriko at 8:57 AM on October 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


There are hardcore PC people, but I used PC people in the example because I don't want people thinking I hate Macs just because I used them as an example. Plus I am a PC person.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:59 AM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


It doesn't have to be this way. Surely there's someone else we can judge?!

Surely judging people isn't a zero-sum game.
posted by aught at 8:59 AM on October 31, 2011


You aren't a person who owns a PC, you are a PC person. Any attack on a PC is an attack on you. That is just the way modern marketing works. Things are not sold by impressive specs, the marketer presents a lifestyle you can be part of, if only you buy the product.

Just noting that generally Apple is the marketer who's has used this tack - to the point of embodying Mac and PC in the infamous John Hodgman / Justin Long ads - not the various PC makers or IBM or Microsoft.

posted by Ad hominem at 11:45 AM on October 31 [+] [!]

Also, eponysterial, sorta.
posted by aught at 9:05 AM on October 31, 2011


Surely judging people isn't a zero-sum game.

Oh, sure, YOU would think that.

i win!
posted by davejay at 9:06 AM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


OH WOW. This thread has gone nasty.
posted by foggy out there now at 9:07 AM on October 31, 2011


I'm a PC, and I'm not alone.

PC has certainly pushed the lifestyle approach to advertising as well. The Mac vs. PC ads were the most blatant, and were from the Mac side (and misconceived, really, I think; who wouldn't rather be John Hodgeman than Justin Long?), but both have been pushing their computers as lifestyle accouterments for about as long as they have been making computers.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 9:09 AM on October 31, 2011


I think that was a pun on usernames...not nastiness. :-)
posted by 1000monkeys at 9:10 AM on October 31, 2011


I imagine the Gates obit thread being filled with hundreds of tiny Windows icons.
posted by Edogy at 9:12 AM on October 31, 2011


Wait but so meat is still murder, right?
posted by shakespeherian at 9:13 AM on October 31, 2011


Only if you kill it first.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 9:14 AM on October 31, 2011


Delicious delicious murder.
posted by kmz at 9:15 AM on October 31, 2011


If you don't kill it first, it's torture.

Let's not conflate our atrocities.
posted by stebulus at 9:16 AM on October 31, 2011


As a bid to restore peace and harmony I offer Billg chillin with Steve at the 1983 MacWorld. With special guest star Mitch Kapor and some other random dude.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:18 AM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Holy crap. Bill Gates looks like he's 12 years old in that video.
posted by crunchland at 9:23 AM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


We need to give the atrocities some time to achieve results before we rush to a premature peace we'll all regret.
posted by Meatbomb at 9:26 AM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Double eponysterical.
posted by kmz at 9:27 AM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wait but so meat is still murder, right?

If you check out the zombie FPPs currently running, you will see that meat is doing the murdering!
posted by GenjiandProust at 9:27 AM on October 31, 2011


That was back when Bill was still drinking Shirley Temples at software conventions.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:30 AM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


As a bid to restore peace and harmony I offer Billg chillin with Steve yt at the 1983 MacWorld. With special guest star Mitch Kapor and some other random dude.

I'm probably very late to this but Tom Cruise will star in the biopic, yes?
posted by villanelles at dawn at 9:31 AM on October 31, 2011


Metafilter: The Meat Is Murder equivalent for bacon threads.

Ok, not at all true, thanks to the mods, but beautifully phrased. Hugs to all the bacon eaters and hugs to all the bacon haters! Wherever they may be, because I sure haven't met them, even living in vegetarian housing.
posted by ldthomps at 9:39 AM on October 31, 2011


It isn't a mod issue, really, but since there are now functionally two Steve Jobs obit threads, would it be possible or desirable for the community to relocate arguments about his moral worth and/or Apple's products to one rather than the other?

That would be a good argument for not having a double thread.
posted by Artw at 9:48 AM on October 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


Huh, it's been my experience that anything less than glowing praise/hagiography about him was being deleted. Are we allowing dissent again?
posted by Eideteker at 10:23 AM on October 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


Come on, that's hardly fair and you know it.

If I was on LJ right now I'd be using a "get off my side, you're not helping" icon.
posted by kmz at 10:25 AM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Are we allowing dissent again?

Yes. Also insulting hyperbole.
posted by middleclasstool at 10:26 AM on October 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


Huh, it's been my experience that anything less than glowing praise/hagiography about him was being deleted. Are we allowing dissent again?

They just deleted a whole back and forth on whether he was a narcissist or not, so I guess not.
posted by empath at 10:26 AM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]



If you're wondering why there's snarks and GRAR
and if the modding's lax
Say to yourself it's just a thread
I should really just relax.

For MYSTERY MOD THEATER 3000
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 10:31 AM on October 31, 2011 [5 favorites]


Are we allowing dissent again?

I can't believe this comment made it through the multiple levels of the Approval Gauntlet! Ye mods!
posted by shakespeherian at 10:40 AM on October 31, 2011


it's been my experience that anything less than glowing praise/hagiography about him was being deleted. Are we allowing dissent again?

Here is the place to talk about this. I am sick of people acting like this is us having some sort of issue with people not being totally fawning/glowing about the subject of an obit or obit-like thread. Eidetecker, your comment was

"Wow, can't wait to watch the fanboys fall all over themselves to outgrieve one another. I use and enjoy certain Apple products, but I never met the guy. Condolences to his family and friends."

in the initial obit thread. That is not dissent.

empath, you are grubi were having a debate about how much of an abusive narcissist Steve Jobs was. You were talking to each other, not to anyone else in the thread and we'd already left a note about please taking the GRAR stuff here in MetaTalk since there was an open active discussion happening here.

We do not mind thread drift. We do not mind dissent. We do not even mind spirited debate. What we mind is having to babysit threads where people who would like to talk about the loose topic of a thread get continually derailed by people who act like if you're not both praising and angrily complaining about someone, you're somehow not being intellectually honest or you're maybe a little slow. It's exhausting and it's somehow acting like your own view of what needs to happen in these sorts of threads or any other threads is the correct one and other people who want to do something different aren't thinking about it properly.

That sort of behavior isn't very useful for discussion, it's disrespectful to the people who are trying to have a conversation, and it makes MetaFilter look like it's populated by people who lack the ability to interact with people who don't have the same emotional makeup as they do.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:42 AM on October 31, 2011 [17 favorites]


Huh, it's been my experience that anything less than glowing praise/hagiography about him was being deleted. Are we allowing dissent again?

Eideteker, I don't know if this is one of your "I'm helping through hyperbole!" moments or one of your "I am actually clearly stating what I believe" moments. Assuming for the sake of discussion it's the latter, that's a way off the mark.

That people being assholish or fight-starting in threads get there stuff deleted sometimes has nothing to do with Jobs or obit threads and everything to do with the general expectation around here that people not act like assholes on the site. Dissent's fine, but wrapping up dissent in crappy framing and failing or declining to read the room before lobbing bombs into a conversation is a crappy way to state it, and man I wish people trying to stand up for dissent would make that distinction more often and more carefully.

This is a community full of smart, nuanced people. I believe very much in the ability of most mefites to find an appropriately careful and well-presented way to broach criticism or contentious opinions when they want to go there. It doesn't always happen, and that's frustrating and mess-making and sometimes leads to deletions.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:44 AM on October 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


would it be possible or desirable for the community to relocate arguments about his moral worth and/or Apple's products to one rather than the other?

Maybe the usual threadshitters can post a separate thread about Bill Gates. We can then talk there about how Gates made his vast fortune, instead of dragging it into a thread about someone else's eulogy.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:50 AM on October 31, 2011


When Bill Gates dies, and you fanboys start threadshitting in his obit, I'm SO flagging you.
posted by crunchland at 10:52 AM on October 31, 2011


who wouldn't rather be John Hodgeman than Justin Long?

That was always my problem with those commercials. Do I want to be the smart funny ironic geek or the annoyingly smug hipster?
posted by octothorpe at 11:01 AM on October 31, 2011 [5 favorites]


You'll be pleased to see that in Hodgeman's preview for his new book, Justin Long is apparently trapped in the limnal space of those commercials, not doing anything with his life, just waiting for Hodgeman to show up.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:09 AM on October 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


who wouldn't rather be John Hodgeman than Justin Long?

Charlie Brooker on why the problem is even worse for the similar UK ads:

The ads are adapted from a near-identical American campaign - the only difference is the use of Mitchell and Webb. They are a logical choice in one sense (everyone likes them), but a curious choice in another, since they are best known for the television series Peep Show - probably the best sitcom of the past five years - in which Mitchell plays a repressed, neurotic underdog, and Webb plays a selfish, self-regarding poseur. So when you see the ads, you think, "PCs are a bit rubbish yet ultimately lovable, whereas Macs are just smug, preening tossers." In other words, it is a devastatingly accurate campaign.

(Trigger warning: Article is titled "I hate macs". Not advised for anyone with emotional attachment to macs and/or lacking anything resembling a sense of humour about this sort of thing. You know who you are.)
posted by Artw at 11:15 AM on October 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't usually post in these kinds of threads (or really any for that matter) because I usually feel that someone has said what I would have said already, and probably better. But after seeing a really unrelated thread turned into the same damned argument, I had to speak up.

And now I find I need to do so again. crunchland, maybe I need to recalibrate my sarcasto-meter, but that comment is precisely the sort of tone deaf thing a lot of us are calling out. What the fuck does Bill Gates have to do with the original subject of the post? Why do I need to hear about anyone's opinions of anyone else's personal electronics choices or patterns of charitable giving in the context of the original post?

I've got to hold to my promise to avoid reading the endless Apple vs. Microsoft or Google threads, because it's too hard to find the interesting bits amidst the crap.
posted by lackutrol at 11:15 AM on October 31, 2011


You know, it's amazing to me how personally people take mod decisions to leave something up. I get why someone who posted something would be upset about it getting taken down, but for those who are truly offended that something is allowed to stand...I don't get you.
posted by inturnaround at 11:17 AM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


I met Steve a couple of times. In a work context where he was evaluating my output (and then again in the halls, or in the Apple parking lot). I have a several friends who worked with him much more closely over the years. Every time I see the "but, but, he was a narcissistic asshole" trope come up I think "oh, great, another person who watched Pirates of Silicon Valley but never met the guy".

As a friend who worked for him at NeXT said: That shows why you wouldn't want to work for him, it doesn't show why you would. And, yet, people still clamored to work for him, and to continue to work for him. My own experiences with him were great, he said something on the order of "wow, this stuff is really cool, and I hope it's good enough to cover some of the flaws elsewhere in this project". He "got it", and where he didn't, he didn't pretend.

So, really, unless you knew the guy? STFU about "narcissistic asshole". Judge him on his work. That's what he wanted. It really gets old to see people who think they're smart because they've read a book once pontificate on someone who could, yes, be an asshole, but who could also be a decent human being with good ideas.

And, yeah, it's great that Bill Gates is giving money to fighting malaria. Good on him. Populations grow to their Malthusian limits, and malaria raises the standard of living and good crop years lower it. Basic economics.

Steve aspired to use his resources to change the world in other ways, to rework how we thought about the world, to transcend those old patterns. He believed in Pixar, to the tune of tens of millions of dollars back when that was a lot of money, when nobody else did. I, personally, loathe the design principles that drive modern Apple products, I don't like his vision for computing, but the people who chose to continue to work for him did so because he had a great ability to bring together smart people and help keep them inspired and motivated.

I don't know why the mods delete what they do, but if they're deleting yet another person who read a book on Steve and who came away only with "narcissistic asshole", it's because ignorance like that is, frankly, boring.
posted by straw at 11:18 AM on October 31, 2011 [4 favorites]


I miss Lemon vs. Trash-80 threads.
posted by jfuller at 11:22 AM on October 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


Populations grow to their Malthusian limits, and malaria raises the standard of living and good crop years lower it. Basic economics.

*blinks*

Am I reading this right? Are you actually complaining about trying to fight malaria?
posted by kmz at 11:25 AM on October 31, 2011 [18 favorites]


Jack Tramiel is still alive, but when he goews he has both sides covered for yer Atari Vs Commodore argument.
posted by Artw at 11:26 AM on October 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


Am I reading this right? Are you actually complaining about trying to fight malaria?

In the other thread there's someone arguing that current patent laws are perfect, just perfect. Absolutist partisan thought leads to some strange statements.
posted by Artw at 11:28 AM on October 31, 2011 [4 favorites]


STFU about "narcissistic asshole". Judge him on his work.

I said 'narcissistic sociopath', and I said it's how he came across from the book. I'm a fan of Apple products, I think he was a brilliant guy who often got the best out of people -- and yes made the world a better place for a lot of people, but he also took advantage of people, was needlessly cruel, and used and abused people when it suited him.

Just my impression based on the book by his approved biographer, and on anecdotes in the book which nobody disputes.
posted by empath at 11:31 AM on October 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


I've got to hold to my promise to avoid reading the endless Apple vs. Microsoft or Google threads, because it's too hard to find the interesting bits amidst the crap.

If it helps, I've discovered that a thread about Nokia - the world's largest producer of mobile phones, lest we forget - will just sort of groove on by on wheels of disinterested curiosity.
posted by running order squabble fest at 11:32 AM on October 31, 2011


If it helps, I've discovered that a thread about Nokia - the world's largest producer of mobile phones, lest we forget - will just sort of groove on by on wheels of disinterested curiosity.

I pretty much avoided it because I assumed it would be the usual battleground, FWIW.
posted by Artw at 11:34 AM on October 31, 2011


I said 'narcissistic sociopath', and I said it's how he came across from the book.

I just listened to an interview with the author of the book, and he made it absolutely clear that for every instance in the book of him behaving badly, there are dozens of instances of him praising, or behaving in a kindly manner, and that his "bad" behavior developed in response to the fact that he was an upstart, and not some Brahmin company, and so had to act a little irrational in order to avoid what he called the "bozo explosion" where the middle ranks are filled out with incompetents.

I've seen it often in the arts -- people who affect something like a lunatic persona, because it simultaneously keeps them from being fucked with and because it makes sure that they people who surround them are pushing for the highest standard of excellence. I've done it myself. If you ask people who know me how I am on the subject of money, they'll warn you that I absolutely lose my mind when I feel like I am getting shorted.

I don't actually care about money that much, but it's useful to have people think that I a maniac on the subject, because then they steer clear of the temptation to screw the artist.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:37 AM on October 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


running order squabble fest: " If it helps, I've discovered that a thread about Nokia - the world's largest producer of mobile phones, lest we forget - will just sort of groove on by on wheels of disinterested curiosity."

Metafilter: Perfectly good thread you got here. Shame if something were to happen to it.
posted by zarq at 11:40 AM on October 31, 2011


kmz: "I'm I reading this right? Are you actually complaining about trying to fight malaria?"

I've got no beef with trying to fight malaria, or with building a better tablet computer, or whatever. I believe that the latter will have more impact on what the world a century hence looks like than the former. That without the vision of web browsing in your pocket and interconnected networks and all that stuff, the malaria fighting will be net neutral in three to five generations.
posted by straw at 11:40 AM on October 31, 2011


Wow. I feel like I should screengrab that or something.
posted by Artw at 11:41 AM on October 31, 2011 [17 favorites]


That's what favorites are for!
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:43 AM on October 31, 2011


that his "bad" behavior developed in response to the fact that he was an upstart, and not some Brahmin company, and so had to act a little irrational in order to avoid what he called the "bozo explosion" where the middle ranks are filled out with incompetents.

And that explains why he refused to acknowledge his own daughter? Why he shafted a lot of the early employees at apple on options? There are dozens of examples of completely pointless cruelty and dishonesty in the book.
posted by empath at 11:43 AM on October 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


And that explains why he refused to acknowledge his own daughter?

You have read far enough to get to when they reconcile, I presume? That she lived with him for three years, and he paid her education at Harvard? She was at his deathbed.

There are dozens of examples of completely pointless cruelty and dishonesty in the book.

And there are literally hundreds of examples of him behaving well. Have you lived a life without dozens of examples of behavior that people might find questionable? Would you be okay with the latter end of those stories, where you make good, being left off? Would you be okay with only those stories being used to judge you, and, as a result, you are declared as having an Axis II personality disorder?
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:51 AM on October 31, 2011 [8 favorites]


That without the vision of web browsing in your pocket and interconnected networks and all that stuff, the malaria fighting will be net neutral in three to five generations.

Hey, how about this, we release a ton of malaria carrying mosquitoes in NorCal and then we'll see where your priorities are.

Fucking hell, this phrase has gotten trite and annoying, but this is like that idea personified: first world problems.
posted by kmz at 11:52 AM on October 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


I pretty much avoided it because I assumed it would be the usual battleground, FWIW.


You'd think, but actually it was lovely - like a walk in Autumn. I think that the people who get passionate about Android or iOS don't really see Windows Phone as a worthy subject for their passion. It's just there, like a distant aunt or a second-hand furniture shop on a side street. Someone's trying to get into an argument now about how much better Samsung phones are selling than iPhones, but everything's so chilled, so polite, so ...Nordic that it's like trying to lick a glacier to nothingness, or punch a mint.

Obviously, the downside is that you get 40 posts rather than 900, but it feels like a worthwhile trade-off.
posted by running order squabble fest at 11:59 AM on October 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


STFU about "narcissistic asshole". Judge him on his work.

My instinct is to agree with you, but I think writing an autobiography brings your perceived character flaws into scope. That said, I'll never understand the fervour surrounding people that found companies; nor the consumer loyalty and/or hatred toward those companies.
posted by doublehappy at 12:40 PM on October 31, 2011


Have you lived a life without dozens of examples of behavior that people might find questionable?

Sorry, I like Steve on the whole, but he did abandon his daughter, he did get a new AMG Mercedes every 6 months so he could park in handicapped spaces without getting a ticket, and he did fuck over quite a few of his friends and colleagues to get what he wanted. That's not "questionable behavior." That's a sign that you are incapable of having empathy for others when it conflicts with your personal goals, and a good indicator that you need a therapist.

He was a successful businessman and a shitty person, and if he had run some bland corporation instead of Apple, no one would be denying it. In fact, no one would care.
posted by deanklear at 12:41 PM on October 31, 2011 [5 favorites]


"Eidetecker, your comment was

"Wow, can't wait to watch the fanboys fall all over themselves to outgrieve one another. I use and enjoy certain Apple products, but I never met the guy. Condolences to his family and friends.""


That was one of them. The other one, which was dialed way back and along a different line entirely, was also deleted.

"Eideteker, I don't know if this is one of your "I'm helping through hyperbole!" moments or one of your "I am actually clearly stating what I believe" moments. Assuming for the sake of discussion it's the latter, that's a way off the mark."

Definitely the latter. I realize that my first comment was not well-received, but I can't believe the second one was removed simply because I failed to praise Jobs sufficiently.
posted by Eideteker at 12:48 PM on October 31, 2011


That seems pretty disingenuous.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:52 PM on October 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


I can't believe the second one was removed simply because I failed to praise Jobs sufficiently.

The mods were direct and candid in relating that "failed to praise Jobs sufficiently" had nothing to do with it.

Not clear if you genuinely don't grasp what's been clear or if there's a real commitment to strident, contrarian obnoxiousness.
posted by ambient2 at 1:04 PM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, let's pull this back and make it less confrontational. I know you can't back up every deletion; that's ridiculous. But some feedback from time to time would help. It's probable that this is just a case where we don't see eye-to-eye (I'm a mac user, but don't feel particularly close to Steve Jobs), but you folks have a tendency to say "I'm not reading the room right" or whatever that means. Without more meaningful feedback, it's probable that I will A) keep stating my opinion regardless of how popular it is or B) stop commenting entirely. B doesn't seem likely to me. But honestly, I'm not going out of my way to intentionally make more work for you guys. I like you. Well, most of you... *glares at vacapinta*

I don't know. I feel like maybe I think I have a little more good faith/goodwill banked with you guys than you feel I have. I don't usually engage in grudges or fighty derails. I can understand wanting to avoid a derail (though in a thread moving that fast, I would have been surprised if my comments gained any traction whatsoever), but I was perfectly content to say my piece and be out. If that's not your impression, then yes, we have a mismatch between our concepts of my participation on the site.

FWIW, I *did* stay out of the current Steve Jobs thread, though I flagged it since there was already an open thread. I'm not looking for baby sitting. I just don't understand what you folks want/expect sometimes. [To the point that I actually thought of pony-requesting some kind of automated "hey, this comment was deleted" notification so I'd know when something fell flat or missed the mark. But I realize it's not a great suggestion and will invite more "Why was this deleted?" MeTas. But I thought about it, because it would be helpful to me and wouldn't take more mod time after the coding/implementation in my ideal world of well-meaning users.]

Still, that's sort of my style. I'm capable of exercising judgement, but it's sometimes not the same as other people's. I try, and I hope that shows, but I'd rather say something and have it deleted than feel SILENCED ALL MY LIFE (tee hee) because I'm too scared to make an even slightly controversial comment (and yes, most of my comments are probably slightly controversial in some small way, because agreement is boring and rarely tells you anything you didn't already know. I like to probe deeper huh huh. Yes, I realize this sometimes makes people uncomfortable. I don't feel that being comfortable is the most important thing in life, or even desirable. And... that's me).
posted by Eideteker at 1:06 PM on October 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


Definitely the latter. I realize that my first comment was not well-received, but I can't believe the second one was removed simply because I failed to praise Jobs sufficiently.

The second one where you were beefing in-thread about the deletion of the first one? How much you were or weren't praising Jobs certainly was not why it got deleted, no. I'd guess (lucky me, traveling that day) that your third one got deleted because folks on the mod team were tired at that point of giving your I WILL NOW SAY SOMETHING CONTENTIOUS IN THIS THREAD schtick the benefit of the doubt for that next little while. Fool me once, fool me twice, etc.

This, seriously, has zero to do with Jobs. It is not a Jobs-specific issue. It is a not-crapping-in-threads-specific issue in the broad sense and a you-seem-to-pick-fights-a-lot-and-that-sucks issue in the narrow sense of your particular pattern of behavior. I don't know what else to tell you.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:06 PM on October 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


The other one, which was dialed way back and along a different line entirely, was also deleted.

It was this: "He supported closed systems, and the walled garden. He ran one of the wealthiest corporations in the world, charged what he wanted, and took no prisoners. And... he's gone now. My condolences to the friends and family who knew him. For the rest of us, life goes on."

I can't believe the second one was removed simply because I failed to praise Jobs sufficiently.

Your second comment took place after we had already told people to maybe make an effort to determine if their comments were appropriate for the thread. After you had already characterized the thread as being "Much gnashing of teeth and rending of breasts." After we had already deleted your first comment for being inappropriate for the thread it was a part of [and arguing about a deletion which should be something that goes here anyhow]. And then we gave you the night off because you seemed to be unable to figure out how to interact appropriately and then we had to deal with argumentative email about it.

I'm capable of exercising judgement, but it's sometimes not the same as other people's

At some point this becomes your responsibility, not ours. We do not have time to scale the sort of feedback that you seem to require with the number of users that we have. You need to figure out how to make this work for you, on this site, with the amount of feedback that we are able to give you. Maybe you want to enlist another user to help you with it, or just decide that you don't fully understand it but that you trust us to run the site in a way that tries to optimize for most people with the understanding that that may mean that it's not always optimized for you. I'll be happy to outline what we think the problem is, you can determine how you'd like to personally address it. I'd suggest MeMail at this point.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:13 PM on October 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


"you-seem-to-pick-fights-a-lot"

OK, yeah, you're definitely seeing something I'm not. I may dig my heels in at times, but I rarely get fighty with people. I always try to keep it polite (though definitions of polite may vary as well).

At any rate, I'll take that under advisement and be on guard about it in the future. I can't see my second deleted comment, so I'll have to take your word for it that it was about bitching about my deletion (rather than simply mentioning it, by way of apology; ISTR it being more like, "I can see my previous comment was deleted, so I'll say what I have to say more politely.")
posted by Eideteker at 1:15 PM on October 31, 2011


In the other thread there's someone arguing that current patent laws are perfect, just perfect.

I wonder idly what it would take for Artw to stop with his constant stream of passive-aggressive bullshit. Worlds would need to collide. Something grand like that.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:21 PM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


After you had already characterized the thread as being "Much gnashing of teeth and rending of breasts."

That wasn't directed at the thread, but rather at the stuff I was seeing at facebook and twitter. Then I came to MeFi, and it was like, oh great, here we go again. That was my mistake—bringing in baggage from other sites—and I fully admit it, mea culpa. I realized after I made it that it wasn't a great comment for MeFi, but figured it would get buried under the deluge (and so didn't bother to flag it or e-mail you guys).

I still don't see the problem with the second comment.

"You need to figure out how to make this work for you, on this site, with the amount of feedback that we are able to give you."

Here's the thing; you sent me a reply to my contact form message. That single message would be sufficient if it was more helpful and less hand-wavey. Maybe you don't know how to communicate what you're trying to say. I'm just saying that's not going to make it any easier for me to be less of a nuisance. =\

I try to be polite in my dissent. I do slip up at times; everyone's human. But I don't see the point in participation in the site if we're not allowed to disagree with the prevailing sentiment (in non-fighty terms).
posted by Eideteker at 1:25 PM on October 31, 2011


But I don't see the point in participation in the site if we're not allowed to disagree with the prevailing sentiment

You are continuing to mischaracterize your participation in that thread. I'm aware that is how you see it. However it is not the way that we see it. You have to figure out how to make yourself less of a nuisance if that's what you want. Or we can keep on with this deletions-then-long-MeTa-argument-about-them-and/or-occasional-time-out. Up to you.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:31 PM on October 31, 2011


Blazecock Pileon: " I wonder idly what it would take for Artw to stop with his constant stream of passive-aggressive bullshit. Worlds would need to collide. Something grand like that."

Probably. On the other hand, he's right. Your partisan position with regard to Apple is leading you to make a strange, even counterintuitive statement in that thread.

Apple's actions regarding patents may make good business sense, but they are most likely not so great for the industry, the free market and the end consumer. And if Microsoft were to do the same, you'd no doubt be baying for blood, rather than being blithely dismissive of criticism.
posted by zarq at 1:32 PM on October 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


I wonder idly what it would take for Artw to stop with his constant stream of passive-aggressive bullshit. Worlds would need to collide. Something grand like that.

I would like it for Artw to show better restraint about some of this stuff. I would like it for you to show better restraint about this stuff as well. I've talked to both of you about it before. Making obnoxious comments about comments you think are obnoxious is, itself, obnoxious and it'd be great if you'd cut it out.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:32 PM on October 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


Eh? What?
posted by Artw at 1:36 PM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've got no beef with trying to fight malaria, or with building a better tablet computer, or whatever. I believe that the latter will have more impact on what the world a century hence looks like than the former.

Talk about a #firstworldproblems moment.
posted by aught at 1:38 PM on October 31, 2011


I try to be polite in my dissent.

Actually, speaking of which (and I realise this is a tangent, but at least I'm rotting my own thread), I'd like to retract my phrasing in re: the Nokia thread. Nobody's having an argument. There's a disagreement about the specific import of some quarterly sales figures and their significance for the industry. That's all.

Angle bracket slash nordic close angle bracket.
posted by running order squabble fest at 1:41 PM on October 31, 2011


Probably. On the other hand, he's right.

If you have a shred of honesty, I'd ask you to quote what I said, if you really think that.

I never said that "current patent laws are perfect", nor anything near it.

I realize I'm not always everyone's favorite chocolate in the box, but you and Lord Smug(*) don't have to outright lie about what I say.

(*: And that's now the second time he's pulled that trick.)
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:45 PM on October 31, 2011


Probably shouldn't have closed that Nordic tag, on reflection.
posted by running order squabble fest at 1:47 PM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Note: Everyone needs Lord Smug.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:49 PM on October 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


"You have to figure out how to make yourself less of a nuisance if that's what you want. Or we can keep on with this deletions-then-long-MeTa-argument-about-them-and/or-occasional-time-out. Up to you."

Got it.

Have a Happy Halloween, everybody!
posted by Eideteker at 1:49 PM on October 31, 2011


I'm not sure how seriously we're supposed to respond to straw, but there's strong evidence that slowing the spread of disease in developing countries can curb overpopulation. Bill Gates gets asked about this a lot.
posted by roll truck roll at 1:54 PM on October 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


The mods have about 850 million times the amount of patience I have.
posted by ambient2 at 2:01 PM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


I bank it in mason jars during slow weeks. Worried about the diminishing supplies at this point.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:02 PM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Blazecock Pileon: "If you have a shred of honesty, I'd ask you to quote what I said, if you really think that.

If I have a "shred of honesty?" Are you kidding?

What you said was:

Blazecock Pileon: "Another weapon for the patent war that Steve Jobs' ego started.

Google entirely changed their phone design after the release of the iPhone, to copy that of the iPhone. This is just a fact. We can argue about individual patents etc., but patent law exists to stop outright theft of designs and implementations. Jobs' ego has nothing to do with Google not having the technical and creative chops to come up with an original idea.
"

Blazecock Pileon: "Tech bloggers can complain about Apple all they want, but this didn't happen out of some hermetic fit of pique, nor are judges ruling in favor of Apple because of a dead man's supposed fit of pique. The patent system isn't broken, just because Apple holds some for inventing something new. Whether a patent here or there deserves criticism is one thing, but at some point it would be good to hear some facts acknowledged. And one of those facts is that Google scrapped their old phone design, once the iPhone came out, and they replaced it with a design nearly identical to that of an iPhone. In light of that fact, a legal dispute seems inevitable."

Anyhoo:

I never said that "current patent laws are perfect", nor anything near it.

No, you defended their practices without bothering to address the larger picture, which was what had been brought up and was currently being discussed: how what they are doing by leveling patent lawsuits will affect the industry. how it will affect the end consumer. how it will affect the free market. No one had said that Apple's actions happened in a vacuum, and they had already acknowledged that while the company may have had a legal leg to stand on, what they were doing was not going to help anything but their own bottom line. You deliberately ignored all of that to engage in what I think is a (predictable) knee-jerk defense of Apple's business practices.

Out of curiosity, do you have a cite on your statement: "Google scrapped their old phone design, once the iPhone came out, and they replaced it with a design nearly identical to that of an iPhone."?

I realize I'm not always everyone's favorite chocolate in the box, but you and Lord Smug(*) don't have to outright lie about what I say.

I'm not really a fan of Art's. If you'll notice, the part of my comment above in response to your description of what he was doing was not complimentary. But I also don't devolve discussions into name calling when I speak with or about him. It is possible to disagree with the way someone comports themselves around here without calling them names.
posted by zarq at 2:07 PM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you have a shred of honesty, I'd ask you to quote what I said, if you really think that.

Seriously? You just made a post about the evolution of the smart phone that completely ignores Windows CE smart phones that predate the iPhone by 6 years, and ignores the fact that the Newton was developed while Jobs was out of the picture.

When it comes to Apple and Steve Jobs, you lack perspective.
posted by Chuckles at 2:11 PM on October 31, 2011


maybe we need some kind 'topic-specific' time out mechanism to deal with some of these things. can't have a civil conversation or stop yourself from getting hot under the collar repeatedly on the same egregiously boring topic again and again and oh my god again? no posting for you in any thread with the tag apple/israel/circumcision/feminism/etc for 1 month.

repeat as necessary.
posted by modernnomad at 2:14 PM on October 31, 2011


I never said the patent system was perfect, nor did I imply it was. Neither of those two quotes contradicts that.

(Nor am I voting Republican, for that matter.)
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:17 PM on October 31, 2011


modernnomad: "no posting for you in any thread with the tag apple/israel/circumcision/feminism/etc for 1 month. "

If this is enacted, I promise to post an "Ayn Rand-loving Hipsters are circumcising their babies and declawing Palestinian cats in Israel using the sharp bottom edge of an Apple iPad" FPP once a month for life. :D


Also, I posted about the dawn of popular feminism today and nobody derailed it. Woo!
posted by zarq at 2:24 PM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


So I (swear to god) was just reading Michael Ondaatje's family memoir and this part jumped out at me,
It is important to understand the tradition of the Visitors' Book. After a brief or long stay at a resthouse, one is expected to write one's comments. The Bandaranaike-Ondaatje feud began and was contained within the arena of such visitors' books. What happened was that Sammy Dias Bandaranaike and my father happened to visit the Kitulgala resthouse simultaneously. Sammy Dias, or so my side of the feud tells it, was a scrouger for complaints. While most people wrote two or three curt lines, he would have spent his whole visit checking every tap and shower to see what was wrong and would have plenty to say. On this occasion, Sammy left first, having written half a page in the Kitulgala resthouse visitors' book. He bitched at everything, from the servivce to the badly made drinks, to the poor rice, to the bad beds. Almost an epic. My father left two hours later and wrote two sentences, "No complaints. Not even about Mr. Bandaranaike." As most people read these comments, they were as public as a newspaper advertisement, and soon everyone including Sammy had heard about it. And everyone but Sammy was amused.

A few months later they both happened to hit the resthouse in Avissawella for lunch. They stayed there only an hour ignoring each other. Sammy left first, wrote a half-page attack on my father, and complimented the good food. My father wrote on and a half pages of vindictive prose about the Bandaranaike family, dropping hints of madness and incest. The next time they came together, Sammy Dias allowed my father to write first and, after he had left, put down all the gossip he knew about the Ondaatjes.

This literary war broke so many codes that for the first time in Ceylon history pages had to be ripped out of visitors' books. Eventually one would write about the other even when the other was nowhere near the resthouse. Pages continued to be torn out, ruining a good archival history of two semi-prominent Celyon families. The war petered out when neither Sammy Dias nor my father was allowed to write their impressions of a stay or a meal. The standard comment on visitors' books today about "constructive criticism" dates from this period.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 2:25 PM on October 31, 2011 [10 favorites]


Blazecock Pileon: "I never said the patent system was perfect, nor did I imply it was.

Funnily enough, neither did I.

Here's what I said: "Your partisan position with regard to Apple is leading you to make a strange, even counterintuitive statement in that thread.

Apple's actions regarding patents may make good business sense, but they are most likely not so great for the industry, the free market and the end consumer. And if Microsoft were to do the same, you'd no doubt be baying for blood, rather than being blithely dismissive of criticism.
"

Do you understand what I meant by this?
posted by zarq at 2:31 PM on October 31, 2011


I have no complaints about this thread, not even about the false equivalency.
posted by Artw at 2:32 PM on October 31, 2011


Populations grow to their Malthusian limits, and malaria raises the standard of living and good crop years lower it. Basic economics.

You had me until this point. That is some crazy, ignorant, entitled bullcrap right there, and I'm kind of gobsmacked that anyone would say something like it for a mere rhetorical flourish, and then actually come back to defend it and argue that tablet computers are more important than curing malaria - sweet zombie jesus!

I realise this may be seen as a derail, but lawks if that's your idea of "basic economics" you need to get back to school. You've already wrecked yourself, but it's not too late to check yourself and - much like those you derided - do a little education before blithely spouting off ignorant, destructive nonsense like that.

Economic Costs of Malaria Many Times Higher Than Previously Estimated.

Human Toll and Economic Cost of Malaria: "In general, families highly affected by disease of various kinds may turn from growing higher value crops to less labour demanding and yield-sensitive products – with consequences for household income and nutrition (10). An analysis of economic growth over 25 years found that countries with intense malaria had rates of GDP growth that were 1.3% lower than those in comparable countries with less intense malaria (11). Another analysis found that countries with more than 50% of the population living at risk of infection from malaria parasites had average income levels that were one third of those in countries with less intense rates of disease, even when other confounding factors were removed (12)."

Re-Thinking The Economic Costs of Malaria at a Household Level: "Only two of the studies reviewed compare how cost burdens vary by socio-economic status. These studies suggest that costs of malaria are highly regressive; i.e. the poor spend a significantly higher proportion of their income on malaria than their least poor counterparts [8,16]. In Malawi for example, total cost burdens averaged 7.2% of monthly household income but the poor incurred an average cost burden of 32% [16]. "

And finally this picture really says a thousand words.

Malaria is the most destructive disease in the history of humanity. It has killed more people than any other human disease and its costs go far, far beyond death. Please don't trivialise something so serious with ill-founded trickle-down nonsense in order to defend what brands you like to buy. Ugh.
posted by smoke at 2:35 PM on October 31, 2011 [38 favorites]


I have no complaints about this thread, not even about the false equivalency.


Sorry, did I do a bad thing? Didn't mean to!
posted by running order squabble fest at 2:43 PM on October 31, 2011


Funnily enough, neither did I.

This is what you said, in response to Artw's comment:

"Probably. On the other hand, he's right."

I asked you to substantiate this and you could not. Quit making things up out of whole cloth. Thanks.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:45 PM on October 31, 2011


So now we're arguing about who said what?
posted by crunchland at 2:48 PM on October 31, 2011


Sometimes when I am disagreeing with someone I find that the best way to facilitate understanding and agreement is by repeatedly calling them a liar.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:51 PM on October 31, 2011 [8 favorites]


Well, I'd certainly agree that I'm right.
posted by Artw at 2:53 PM on October 31, 2011


Sometimes when I am disagreeing with someone I find that the best way to facilitate understanding and agreement is by repeatedly calling them a liar.

No you don't.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 2:57 PM on October 31, 2011 [5 favorites]


Populations grow to their Malthusian limits, and malaria raises the standard of living and good crop years lower it. Basic economics.


I don't really understand what this means. Or is supposed to mean?
posted by sweetkid at 2:59 PM on October 31, 2011


Sometimes when I am disagreeing with someone I find that the best way to facilitate understanding and agreement is by repeatedly calling them a liar.

I guess this a snarky way of saying that it's okay to repeatedly make up what people say and then argue with a complete fabrication — apparently, this is now no longer a dishonest thing to do. So it goes...
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:02 PM on October 31, 2011


Blazecock Pileon: "Funnily enough, neither did I.

This is what you said, in response to Artw's comment:

"Probably. On the other hand, he's right."


Yes, I did. About the following statement:

Artw: "Absolutist partisan thought leads to some strange statements."

Which I have now addressed two or three times at length, and substantiated quite thoroughly. If you choose to deliberately, misinterpret what I have said, then sadly Blazecock, that's really not my problem.
posted by zarq at 3:03 PM on October 31, 2011


By the way, BP, have you happened to notice that while I (for the most part) have been quoting you in your entirety, you've been cherry picking my comments and ignoring the greater context of them?

I have.
posted by zarq at 3:06 PM on October 31, 2011


If you can't back up your claim and now you want to die on that hill, that's not my problem, either. It doesn't lower my impression of you any further than it has gone in the last couple hours, honestly.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:08 PM on October 31, 2011


I don't really understand what this means. Or is supposed to mean?

When there's good crop years, people have fuller bellies and are thus more restful and content, which makes them less likely to go spend money at The Apple Store, thus lowering the standard of iliving. Contrariwise, when lots of people are dead and dying from malaria, the survivors want to take their minds off of troubles, and thus are more likely to spend money at The Apple Store, thus leading to increased standard of iliving. This is basic economics. It does get more complicated in hypotheticals like large scale nuclear exchanges or epochal solar flares, because of the complicating factors of global EMP effects reducing the practical rewards of spending at The Apple Store. However, when electronics can be hardened without sacrificing design aesthetic and the user experience, this will even out again.
posted by Drastic at 3:08 PM on October 31, 2011 [5 favorites]


I don't like it when people argue about whether or not the other guy is arguing fairly. It generates a lot of words that have already been heard or read. "You said this" is almost always a waste of time.

The other thing that bothers me is when two or three people make the entire thread about themselves. It doesn't matter to most of us if you were right and the other person is wrong. You're not generating new information. You're rehashing and rewording old information.

I suggest that the few of you who continually do these things should rethink your engagement with this site and elsewhere. You almost always seem to be pissed off. Do you like that feeling? If so, carry on and I'll ignore you. Otherwise, try to collaborate.

That's just my opinion. You can tell me to STFU if you want.
posted by stubby phillips at 3:14 PM on October 31, 2011 [6 favorites]


I have some fairly complex feelings about Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Apple, Next, pancreatic cancer and death. I'd like to talk about them to somebody some time. I'm not sure I feel safe doing that in any of these threads. Probably it doesn't matter what I think or how I feel. But it matters to me.
posted by stubby phillips at 3:21 PM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Blazecock Pileon: "If you can't back up your claim and now you want to die on that hill, that's not my problem, either. It doesn't lower my impression of you any further than it has gone in the last couple hours, honestly.

You accused me of saying something I didn't. Then you called me 'dishonest' when I explained to you repeatedly what I was actually saying. You chose not to address anything else I said, and are now once again lobbing personal insults.

This isn't a hill, no one is dying, and your impression of me as a person is frankly irrelevant to this discussion.
posted by zarq at 3:21 PM on October 31, 2011


I suggest that the few of you who continually do these things should rethink your engagement with this site and elsewhere. You almost always seem to be pissed off. Do you like that feeling?

There's a reason why there are 861,000 google hits for this URL: http://xkcd.com/386/
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 3:25 PM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Does anyone ever actually win internet arguments, or do they just go on forever? It seems like there'd have to be some kind of example to hold up; "In days of yore, Sir HANDLEMEME totally showed everyone, and his opponents ceded victory. It can be done, you see, it CAN be done!"
posted by curious nu at 3:26 PM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


In truth, what we're witnessing isn't an argument.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 3:28 PM on October 31, 2011


This is definitely the Abuse room.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 3:32 PM on October 31, 2011 [4 favorites]


Now there are at least 861,001 hits. Well, maybe not. We could argue about client-side analytics, I suppose.
posted by stubby phillips at 3:32 PM on October 31, 2011


It seems like there'd have to be some kind of example to hold up; "In days of yore, Sir HANDLEMEME totally showed everyone, and his opponents ceded victory. It can be done, you see, it CAN be done!"

Salviati totally schooled Simplicio once but then the mods asked him to tone it down and threatened to bahlete him like they did Giordano Bruno.
posted by kmz at 3:32 PM on October 31, 2011



Does anyone ever actually win internet arguments

Last person to comment before a mod closes up the thread, yeah.
posted by spitbull at 3:37 PM on October 31, 2011


Until next time. Of course.
posted by spitbull at 3:37 PM on October 31, 2011


Man, late-Renaissance Italy was almost as bad presidential election years, yeah. We eventually had to ban Galileo for sockpuppetry.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:39 PM on October 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


Horselover Phattie: "This is definitely the Abuse room."

Which way to the Champagne Room?
posted by zarq at 3:39 PM on October 31, 2011


For that kind of money, what you want is a shower (unless you like cheap champagne, I suppose).
posted by Crabby Appleton at 3:42 PM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Man, late-Renaissance Italy was almost as bad presidential election years, yeah.

Ahh, that takes me back. Who could forget the famous Juliet AskMe? If she had followed our advice and DTMFA'd they would both still be alive.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 3:42 PM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


...his "bad" behavior developed in response to the fact that he was an upstart, and not some Brahmin company, and so had to act a little irrational in order to avoid what he called the "bozo explosion" where the middle ranks are filled out with incompetents.

Just so everyone knows, this is why I'm an asshole too: It's all your fault.
posted by coolguymichael at 3:43 PM on October 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


When The Computer At The End Of The Universe tries to parse MetaFilter, it will fail and implode, causing the next Big Bang.

I think I just explained oscillatory cosmology.
posted by troll at 3:44 PM on October 31, 2011


GRAR!! GRAR GRAR!!!!! NO YOU GRAR!!!!!! GRAAAAAAR? GRAR GRAR GRAR.

Am I doing it right?
posted by spitbull at 3:45 PM on October 31, 2011


Even Steve Jobs agrees with me about the mandatory bazookaing of clowns. I've got the best medicine for you right here, you Patch Adams looking motherfuckers.
posted by Artw at 3:46 PM on October 31, 2011


I thought R&J were sweet. But dumb dumb dumb. Seriously, who does the fake death gambit without texting the other person first? I guess she was trying to surprise him, but we saw how well that went down when Dimitri AskMe'd about whether he should keep the Doomsday Device a secret until the next Party Congress.
posted by kmz at 3:46 PM on October 31, 2011


I don't think anybody cares about this but somebody was WRONG on the INTERNET and I feel the need to add a correction. This thread seems as good a place as any.

Forktine said: Honestly, I think it's too early to be castigating him over the question of charity. Most people I can think of who turned to philanthropy (including Gates) do so at least somewhat later in life; that same period for Jobs was consumed by his illness and cut short by his death.

Whereas actually, Bill Gates is 10 months younger than Steve Jobs and created his foundation in 1994, when he was 40 years old. Jobs certainly had some spare time in the last 18 years when he was both filthy rich and not dying, so this comment is inaccurate.

/phew
posted by jacalata at 3:54 PM on October 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


Actually, I'm remembering wrong. Dimitri asked about how to reveal the surprise Doomsday Device. In one of the only times I've disagreed with moderation here, all the comments saying to not keep it a surprise were deleted because they didn't answer the question asked. I think possible nuclear armageddon is a good reason to bend AskMe rules!
posted by kmz at 3:59 PM on October 31, 2011


Am I doing it right?

Oh my GOD, no! What is the matter with you? Everyone who does not live under your special rock knows that it's GRAR!! GRAR GRAR!!!!! NO YOU GRAR!!!!!! GRAAAAAAAAR? GRAR GRAR GRAR GRAR!1!11

See how different that sounds? Get it right next time!
posted by rtha at 4:01 PM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


I guess this a snarky way of saying that it's okay to repeatedly make up what people say and then argue with a complete fabrication — apparently, this is now no longer a dishonest thing to do. So it goes...

What? Why would I say that? That doesn't even make sense.

In any case I do wish people (myself included) would have less of a tendency to see social interaction as a contest and more as a participatory event. Like in improv you can't move a scene forward if, when someone starts taking the scene in one direction, you say 'No that's not what's happening!' You have to go with it or else you don't get anywhere. You have to assume that the other person is trying, or at least is not purposefully trying to fuck up the scene. You have to participate.

I wish conversations were more like that.
posted by shakespeherian at 4:08 PM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


"I wish conversations were more like that."

The kind of are like that. Mostly.
posted by stubby phillips at 4:10 PM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't really understand what this means. Or is supposed to mean?

I think... the Malthusian limits part means that populations grow to a certain level and then become unable to feed themselves. So, essentially, if you reproduce faster than you die, as a civilisation, you eventually run out of food and there is not only famine but social collapse.

However, what this is actually outlining is Neo-Malthusianism, not Malthusianism.

According to neo-Malthusianism, any population not living at or below subsistence level will increase in fertility, until its population outstrips its capacity to feed it - and, once again, social collapse. It's worth noting that this doesn't seem to be happening, exactly, and certainly is not happening universally - in much of Europe, people are eating a lot of food and not reproducing at replacement rate.

Anyway, if you subscribe to this theory, malaria is a good thing, because it moves the population further away from the Malthusian collapse. Good crop yields are a bad thing, because they move the population away from the breadline, which means they reproduce faster, which means the Malthusian collapse moves closer. You're basically killing Peter to avoid Peter having to eat Paul later.

This isn't a hugely sophisticated view of population growth - and it isn't economics, basic or otherwise - but I think that's what is being described.
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:14 PM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


"It's worth noting that this doesn't seem to be happening, exactly"

Mathus based his projections on the assumption that population growth is exponential, whereas resources grow geometrically.

What we've found is that population growth is not exactly exponential. It approaches a carrying capacity and forms a curve more like an "S" than an asymptote.

Also, resource growth may be geometric over a short time-frame, but there are these sharp angles in it whenever there is a technological breakthrough: industrial revolution, assembly lines, electricity, transistors, etc. Smooth out the curve, and it starts to look exponential.

I'm surprised they're still teaching Malthus in economics these days.
posted by stubby phillips at 4:21 PM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


With all the recent stories on world population there has been an exponential increase in Internet comments referencing Malthus, which will lead them to overwhealming all other comments by 2012.
posted by Artw at 4:29 PM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


I started out today thinking metafilter doesn't do nuance well, according to us Jobs is either practically a saint or a totally amoral sociopath. We have all see threads that swing from one extreme to another. But I think it might be something different.

These threads are like a game of telephone where every time a message gets repeated it gets a little harsher. Starts out as "dude could have given away some of his 6bn, just sayin'" 15 comments later someone is characterizing is as "For those of you who say he should have given away all his money and lived a life of extreme poverty......."

The guy who suggested Jobs could have donated a bit more is now on the defensive, "What? I never said that! Grar grar grar"
posted by Ad hominem at 4:39 PM on October 31, 2011


I'm surprised they're still teaching Malthus in economics these days.


I'm not sure they are, except as a theory - but the neo-Malthusians are a relatively recent phenomenon. If you were at school after, say, 1970 and before 2000 or so, I can imagine that you might have been taught it as a theory.
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:41 PM on October 31, 2011


(I mean, an undisproved theory)
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:41 PM on October 31, 2011


Mathus based his projections on the assumption that population growth is exponential, whereas resources grow geometrically.

Geometric growth and exponential growth are the same thing. Malthus assumed resource growth was linear, if memory serves.

What we've found is that population growth is not exactly exponential. It approaches a carrying capacity and forms a curve more like an "S" than an asymptote.

Both the logistic curve (which I assume you mean) and exponential curves have horizontal asymptotes. (The logistic has two, the exponential one.) Neither has vertical asymptotes.
posted by stebulus at 4:55 PM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Honestly, I just don't get why the Mac Mini has the power button and SD card on the back of it. That makes no damn sense.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:58 PM on October 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


We can be a site and/or a community. There's a difference between snarking somebody pretty hard in a standard news post and trash-talking the subject of an obituary. In a community, it's nice to give some people the chance to get together and say their nice things, or honest things, but maybe limiting the mean, rude, hurtful things, out of respect for the other members of the community, who are feeling a loss.

Yes, it seems to me that post and comment deletion is way up. It concerns me, and we should probably have a way to see what was deleted, because that kind of transparency is what keeps things honest, and keeps the conversation about what kind of community we want to be going.

I just purely hate it when things get too full of spite, hyperbole, and axe-grinding. Once you make your point, ideally, in a thoughtful and articulate manner, you don't have to beat it to death. Nobody has to agree with you, they just have to be as civil as possible if they need to disagree with you in a comment. Some of your posts and comments will get deleted. Have a dialog about it, raise some cogent points, make a case about why you think your comment should have stayed. Then would you please get over yourself?

How hard would it be to add a counter on someone's name, showing how many comments they have in a post?

Or, my preference, the ability to change the color of member usernames, so I can remember who's fighty, funny, smart, etc.
posted by theora55 at 5:10 PM on October 31, 2011


Neither of those last two things are things we are likely to do on the site. That said, it's something that could be done with greasemonkey, and has been at least sort of done as far as user-specific notes, so for folks that really want that functionality it's in principle achievable.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:26 PM on October 31, 2011


There is a greasemonkey script that shows how many comments each commenter had made in a thread.
posted by rtha at 5:30 PM on October 31, 2011


Yes, it seems to me that post and comment deletion is way up.

The statistics don't back this up, actually.

Comment deletions are up, but that just means they're averaging 10 out of 1600 comments every day. A lot less deletion goes on than people appear to believe.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 5:30 PM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Geometric growth and exponential growth are the same thing. Malthus assumed resource growth was linear, if memory serves.


The terms he used were geometric and arithmetic - which is to say, exponential and linear. But he seems to have been off the beam about both, right? Population doesn't continue to expand exponentially, and after a period of more-than-exponential expansion seems to level off. So it seems like Malthus was wrong primarily about the linear increase in food production and the Neo-Malthusians were wrong primarily about an inevitable relationship between the presence of food resources above subsistence level and increasing fertility.

Interestingly, as Henry George says, Malthus himself doesn't really expect there to be famine, but rather an escalation in things that control population - murder, war, political strife, poverty - and it seems to be the case that in modern times famines have largely not been caused by a simple division of the food output of a region by the number of people in it, but rather by civil strife, political mismanagement, war or corruption. The problems of sub-Saharan Africa don't seem to me to be likely to be resolved if more people were to die of malaria.
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:32 PM on October 31, 2011


Clearly the mods should add a "Someone is WRONG on the INTERNET" flag option (that goes to null, of course) so we can just feel like we did something and move on with our lives.
posted by DoctorFedora at 5:35 PM on October 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


stebulus,

right. i meant linear vs. exponential. sorry 'bout that.
posted by stubby phillips at 5:48 PM on October 31, 2011


Siri, was Steve Jobs Colonel Gadaffi?

BEEP-BEEP.

HAVE YOU EVER SEEN THEM BOTH IN THE SAME PLACE AT ONCE? THINK ABOUT IT.

Whoa.
posted by Effigy2000 at 5:55 PM on October 31, 2011


jacalata Whereas actually, Bill Gates is 10 months younger than Steve Jobs and created his foundation in 1994, when he was 40 years old. Jobs certainly had some spare time in the last 18 years when he was both filthy rich and not dying, so this comment is inaccurate.

The Mystery of Steve Jobs’s Public Giving is an interesting read.
posted by mlis at 6:09 PM on October 31, 2011


Or, my preference, the ability to change the color of member usernames, so I can remember who's fighty, funny, smart, etc.
posted by theora55 at 8:10 PM on October 31 [+] [!]


Neither of those last two things are things we are likely to do on the site. That said, it's something that could be done with greasemonkey, and has been at least sort of done as far as user-specific notes, so for folks that really want that functionality it's in principle achievable.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:26 PM on October 31 [+] [!]


Nooooo. My lack of memory is the only thing that keeps me from bearing grudges on this site (okay, I'm kidding, I actually have a real-life Brand New Day rule, where arguments from the day before disappear at dawn unless someone really screws me over (usually more than once) and I just wash my hands of 'em and move on). But anyway, sometimes my shitty memory is a feature not a bug :)
posted by 1000monkeys at 6:35 PM on October 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


I subscribe to the same line of thinking, for what it's worth. We keep the user notes type stuff we do to a minimum, and it lives off on a separate part of the admin interface, and is mostly keeping track of spam-related stuff, because even as mods we don't want to have every interaction we have be essentially "oh that's THAT user" if we can help it.

But at the end of the day, I'm okay with people using whatever they need to make it possible for them to find a balance where they're happy with their metafilter experience but also being good community members and respecting the spirit of the site and its guidelines. If using a usernotes type script helps you remember not to get in yet another tangle with someone you've had a bad interaction with, fine. If you really can't find any other way to ignore someone than a killfile, by all means install a killfile script. So long as you are making sure that you don't let your filtering mechanisms negatively impact other folks on the site, we're good.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:10 PM on October 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


I bank it in mason jars during slow weeks.

am now unwittingly picturing that first oglaf strip going very, very differently.

send halp
posted by elizardbits at 8:59 PM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


I looked that up. I hate you.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 9:03 PM on October 31, 2011


The one with the spider?
posted by shakespeherian at 9:08 PM on October 31, 2011


That's no spider.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 9:12 PM on October 31, 2011


This spider is fully operational.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:20 PM on October 31, 2011


"I feel a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced."

Totally sounds like sperm to me now.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 9:26 PM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


rtha: "There is a greasemonkey script that shows how many comments each commenter had made in a thread."

MeFi Navigator. Tres cool for stalking users.
posted by dg at 10:26 PM on October 31, 2011


Oglaf, previously.
posted by kmz at 10:33 PM on October 31, 2011


"Or, my preference, the ability to change the color of member usernames, so I can remember who's fighty, funny, smart, etc."

I think we know who's fighty, funny, and smart on this site. And you already have me in your contacts. ;)

(Halloween was awesome. I hope everyone else's was, too!)
posted by Eideteker at 11:38 PM on October 31, 2011


theora55: "Or, my preference, the ability to change the colour of member usernames, so I can remember who's fighty, funny, smart, etc."

You can sorta kinda do this with this - simply edit the script to replace <username> with <username [fighty, funny, smart etc]> and you're good to go.

Watch out if you quote people, though - make sure you remove the [snarky arsehole] from the pasted text before posting your comment.
posted by dg at 12:30 AM on November 1, 2011


I posted that New York Times article about the "Mystery of Steve Jobs Public Giving" as part of an FPP several weeks before he died, contrasting it with the work of the Gates foundation. It was deleted because it provoked argument. Glad to see it's now allowed on the site.
posted by joannemullen at 1:17 AM on November 1, 2011


Yeah, but your post was sucky flamebait.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 1:34 AM on November 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


Glad to see it's now allowed on the site.

I think there's a big difference between what can be posted as a link in a comment, and what can stand on its own as a front page post. It's not a question of the link being "allowed on the site."
posted by bardophile at 1:43 AM on November 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


It was deleted because it provoked argument.

It was deleted because it was a stunt post. Stunt posts are the type which get deleted here regularly, regardless of how brilliantly awesome their authors think of themselves while posting them.

Pro-tip: If you want to write a stunt post that sticks around, be a bit more subtle about what you're doing. Hint: Metaphorically holding up a big STUNT POST banner is not subtle.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:55 AM on November 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Eidecker, you wrote:

> ... agreement is boring and rarely tells you anything you didn't already know. I like to probe deeper huh huh. Yes, I realize this sometimes makes people uncomfortable. I don't feel that being comfortable is the most important thing in life, or even desirable.

and:

> ... I don't see the point in participation in the site if we're not allowed to disagree with the prevailing sentiment (in non-fighty terms).

Trying to make people uncomfortable because you think "agreement is boring" and you "like to probe deeper huh huh" (whatever "huh huh" is supposed to mean) is pretty different from actually having a substantive disagreement with people about something and engaging with them about it. I don't think the mods, or most of us, have any difficulty distinguish between the two.

What you're describing is a polite and somewhat intellectualized defense of trolling. What your deleted comments in the obit thread engaged in was mild taunting of "fanboys" who felt sad that Jobs had died. Even though it was fairly mild, they got deleted because they were just taunting and nothing else. It still counts as noise.

If you wanted to criticize the kind of hero worship that leads to mourning the loss of the head of a computer company by people who had no connection with the guy other than buying some of the products his company produced, you could have talked about that. That sort of criticism would be much less likely to get deleted, and there's no reason you would have to taunt people or gratuitously insult them to engage in that critique. (Doing that might make some people angry as well, of course, but that that's a bit different.)

As far as I can tell though, you just wanted to make people "uncomfortable" because you think it's fun to do that, and you wanted piss people off because you think it's funny when people get pissed off. You offered no critique or any real disagreement about anything here.

Eidecker, I don't know why you think the rest of are stupid enough to buy the idea the that pissing people off because you think it's funny is the same as engaging in "dissent". I'm quite sure you understand the difference. We understand it too, and it's really obvious. Your bullshit isn't working.
posted by nangar at 2:38 AM on November 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


But there's no real point to the fighty back-and-forths that happen here except to rile the other side up. No one is ever going to read a thread on Metafilter and say "hey, you know, maybe my next computer is going to be a PC, even though I've bought a Mac for the last 10 years," just like no one is ever going to say "Hey, this jewish thing just isn't working out. I'm switching to Allah."

Holy War debates only provide ample and easy ammunition for people on internet message boards to poke and troll the other side into reacting and over-reacting. And anyone who tells you otherwise is a no-good cheating liar.
posted by crunchland at 5:13 AM on November 1, 2011


Glad to see it's now allowed on the site.

It would have been fine as a comment in response to someone else who had posted a comment about Jobs and philanthropy. I liked the article b/c I thought it was balanced - it points out that Jobs may have been the donor responsible for $150 million to UCSF Medical School and reminds people that not everyone wants to advertise their giving -- that Jobs may have made anonymous donations and that it is too soon to judge him as his estate planning may reveal that he decided to give away large sums upon his death.
posted by mlis at 6:35 AM on November 1, 2011


I read this whole page. Do I get a cookie now?
posted by yesster at 6:52 AM on November 1, 2011


"What you're describing is a polite and somewhat intellectualized defense of trolling."

What's the difference between your definition of trolling and the Socratic Method? I'm not claiming to be Socrates (by a wiiide margin), but I am curious.

Nothing good ever comes from the comfort zone. You have to leave the comfort zone to get anything meaningful done. But I think people generally tend to take my comments as more "aggro" than they are. Just because I challenge you on something doesn't mean I disagree. And just because I disagree with you on something doesn't mean I don't like you or think you're great. I wouldn't bother talking to you if I didn't think you had something to say. And yes, I come from a weird family. We show love by arguing! So, I love you!

Someone said something earlier about how this kind of discussion must wear the mods down. Which was interesting to me, because this is the kind of thing that excites and electrifies me. Not arguing so much as dissecting points and trying to resolve conflicting points of view. I understand and realize that this is not true for everybody, and maybe that's why my comments (other than the original one that I apologized for, in this specific instance) are seen as "fighty" when I don't see them that way at all. I really do like most of you! =)

So I'll try not to push too hard, but I will probably step out of line occasionally. I'm fine with this. I will try to restrict my actual "grar" comments to other sites, and maybe folks' impression of me will improve. Or not. I'm ok with either, but I'll try to be better.

(Though it saddens me that you know nothing of "Beavis & Butt-head," nangar. It's one of the most sublime cultural meditations of our modern era.)
posted by Eideteker at 6:58 AM on November 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


What's the difference between your definition of trolling and the Socratic Method?

Well, you remember what happened to Socrates, right? As a teacher, I see great value in the Socratic Method. When I try it on my friends. they want to smack me up-side the head...
posted by bardophile at 7:02 AM on November 1, 2011


Nothing good ever comes from the comfort zone. You have to leave the comfort zone to get anything meaningful done. But I think people generally tend to take my comments as more "aggro" than they are. Just because I challenge you on something doesn't mean I disagree. And just because I disagree with you on something doesn't mean I don't like you or think you're great.

I think the point the mods were trying to make is that "Wow, can't wait to watch the fanboys fall all over themselves to outgrieve one another" is not an example of elenchus. It doesn't disagree with anything, dissect any points or challenge anything. In fact, it feels like it comes very much from within a comfort zone.

Maybe we just need to calibrate a bit on what constitutes elenchus?
posted by running order squabble fest at 7:14 AM on November 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


What's the difference between your definition of trolling and the Socratic Method? I'm not claiming to be Socrates (by a wiiide margin), but I am curious.

If you're sitting down with someone and you're all "hey, let's have a Socratic debate", or you know each other well enough to know that you're both game to slip into that mode without prior discussion, a Socratic dialogue is something that has mutual buy-in and god bless you both in whatever you choose to do.

If you're deciding to have a Socratic dialogue with someone who doesn't know it or doesn't care to, you're on much rockier ground discursively.

I'd say the main difference is context. Out of context, injecting a Socratic debate into a conversation unilaterally can indeed look an awful lot like trolling. Most conversations aren't actually informal debate club meetings. If you are trying to treat Metafilter as a long, ongoing debate club meeting which everyone has chosen to attend, you are in the wrong room.

But I think people generally tend to take my comments as more "aggro" than they are.

If people are consistently mistaking your intent, the problem is likely with the gap between your intent and your execution, not between your execution and other people's perception. Declaring that people are wrong to not approve of your discursive choices does not make it so, it just makes you pushy and unwilling to adjust to the context you're in.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:17 AM on November 1, 2011 [16 favorites]


I want to get something meaningful done! Please, someone rip me out of my comfort zone!
posted by The Deej at 7:24 AM on November 1, 2011


Well, you remember what happened to Socrates, right?

Socrates was persecuted for corrupting youth. Although now that I think of it that may have consisted of teaching them to ask smartass questions all the time.

Nothing good ever comes from the comfort zone.

Other than comfort you mean.

You have to leave the comfort zone to get anything meaningful done.

You're not the first to express this thought on MetaFilter and I'll warrant it's true for you. It's not true for a lot of other people though. Many people have a fairly wide comfort zone that includes plenty of room for learning and expansion. They have no need for strife in order to grow.

As such, the constant clashing looks more like people who like to shout shouting at each other. It's noisy and disturbing and exists for no reason at all. It's the garbage truck at 6am every Wednesday -- all pain and no gain.

As I say, this is true for a lot of people. Apparently it's not true for you but please don't fool yourself into believing you're performing a public service for everyone. A lot of the time you're just making noise.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 7:30 AM on November 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


I've never met anyone who thought that they were someone who was able to challenge other people to wake up or whatever who wasn't blinded by their own arrogance. It's more the people who are really living their convictions that serve to stimulate others in a kind of organic way (if you'll excuse the word). It's not something that you can just decide that you are good at. Mainly, you'll just be cacaphonous and then expect others to dig your awesome music.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 7:34 AM on November 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


Socrates was persecuted for corrupting youth.

To be pedantic, he was prosecuted for corrupting youth. Most likely he was persecuted because of his association with a number of the aristocrats involved in the oligarchy of the 400 and the tyranny of the 30 - the last being particularly bad due to its status as a puppet government of pro-Spartan aristocrats put in place after the Athenian surrender. Socrates would have been a potential target both for his aristocratic connections (without having an actual power base) and his quote-unquote antidemocratic use of his role as epistates - a largely procedural "Head of State" position an enfrachised member of the Athenian citizenry might hold for a day in his life - to hold up proceedings during the capital prosecution of the generals after the battle of Arginusae. Ironically, he also apparently refused to take part in the arrest of Leon of Salamis during the tyranny of the 30, thus managing to have non-violently resisted the overreach of two diametrically opposed Athenian governments.

Which is to say, Socrates did more to piss people off than just asking questions, and he was prepared to act on his principles beyond asking questions.
posted by running order squabble fest at 7:58 AM on November 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


It's the garbage truck at 6am every Wednesday -- all pain and no gain.

Massive gain - they remove your garbage, and coming at a fixed time means you know when to put the garbage on the street for them.
posted by Meatbomb at 8:00 AM on November 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Interesting point. On the other hand they could show up at 9am every Wednesday and give the exact same gain with no pain.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 8:06 AM on November 1, 2011


Or you could find out their route and then move to where they came later in the day. That's what Socrates would do, anyway.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 8:09 AM on November 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


The allegory of the trash route.
posted by kmz at 8:10 AM on November 1, 2011


Socrates would probably be up early and heading for the gym to meet his attractive young friends before the garbage truck arrived.

The examined life, per the dialogues, is a lot more like the volleyball scene from Top Gun than you'd expect.
posted by running order squabble fest at 8:19 AM on November 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


"Well, you remember what happened to Socrates, right?"

Yes! Oh, wait, you mean after the Bill & Ted stuff. =(
No, I've kinda made my peace with that if it happens. I'd rather be put to death than bored to death. But, you know, I'm not deliberately trying to piss people off. So I'll keep an eye on that.

"If you are trying to treat Metafilter as a long, ongoing debate club meeting which everyone has chosen to attend, you are in the wrong room."

More a forum (or academy or lyceum). But huh, if not for that, then what? Just an endless repetition of "I agree"? I mean, I understand not wanting more work for yourself, and I know "it's not about the discussion, it's about the links," but that doesn't make sense to me at all. If I can't disagree with you without you getting your hackles up, which one of us has the problem?

"Other than comfort you mean."

Which accomplishes nothing, except as a means to itself.

"They have no need for strife in order to grow."

See, that's interesting. I don't see it as strife. Because I tend to argue in good faith (including the times I'm playing Devil's advocate).

"I've never met anyone who thought that they were someone who was able to challenge other people to wake up or whatever who wasn't blinded by their own arrogance."

See, but that's the thing. Right there, you're saying it's arrogant to disagree or challenge you. This feels like an Ask vs. Guess thing, and right now I'm hearing from the Guesses (who may be the majority, or may just be the most vocal). I'm impertinent for making a comment that doesn't match the tone of the room, rather than you folks giving me the benefit of the doubt and hearing me out (listening to my tone?). As I said above, disagreeing with you doesn't mean I don't like you or respect you. I want to hear why you believe what you do, and I want to hear you refute what I have to say. I mean, you don't have to respond to it at all, but that's the reason I'm posting it. I'm actually saying, "You might have a valid point. Can you show me your work? Help me understand it and I'll try to do likewise." If it's inconvenient to you to examine your preconceptions and principles, you don't have to reply.

And I'm always joking. If you take offense, that's totally valid. We can talk about that, too. I feel like I apologize pretty often and pretty readily (and we can talk about that, too). I'm happy to be wrong, because it means I can learn something. =)
posted by Eideteker at 11:29 AM on November 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


But huh, if not for that, then what? Just an endless repetition of "I agree"?

I think that there are a lot of topics about which there are plenty of things to say that have virtually nothing to do with agreement.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:37 AM on November 1, 2011


This also reminds me of something a friend said once about tact filters. Something to the effect that nerds, used to hearing harsh criticism (at least those of us who were picked on, boo hoo) apply the filter to incoming message. Non "nerds" (in this case, at least; her word) apply the tact filter to outgoing messages. I don't think I'm asking you to do more work (or for special treatment) because I am always filtering what I read. Whereas you don't think you're asking for anything special because you're usually filtering whatever you're saying. But the reverse isn't second nature to either of us.

Not sure if that helps anyone understand (other than me), but it's what came to mind.

Anyway, aside from this MeTa, I haven't really been active on MeFi much lately (yay, life and mental health issues and stuff), so maybe it's not that much of a problem? For the time being?

Thanks to everyone willing to engage openly and honestly on this. It's not my goal to make it about me, but I am kinda curious about all this stuff (human relations, yay). It's always nice to learn how to piss people off less frequently (without, you know, shutting up or going away entirely, because that's just avoiding the issue).
posted by Eideteker at 11:38 AM on November 1, 2011


That bit about not replying is such horseshit.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 11:40 AM on November 1, 2011


But huh, if not for that, then what? Just an endless repetition of "I agree"?

Cat videos. Obviously.

Let me take a moment to try to pry you out of your comfort zone: Why is challenging people's viewpoints - when, admittedly, you may not even disagree with them - your special job? What do you need so badly that you can only get by provoking people?

Discussion and disagreement and shouting happen pretty organically around here, in my experience. If the "tone" of your comment gets in the way of the actual substance of it, then you haven't challenged anyone - you've just made the fight all about you. If you actually said something like "You might have a valid point. Can you show me your work? Help me understand it and I'll try to do likewise" rather than [snarky remark that doesn't necessarily even address the conversation that's happening], then you might have more people addressing your content rather than your form.*

* This "be genuine rather than snarky" thing goes for most of us around here, at least some of the time. I do try to take my own advice.
posted by rtha at 11:40 AM on November 1, 2011


But huh, if not for that, then what? Just an endless repetition of "I agree"?

There's a great teeming spectrum of conversational things that are neither reflexive me-tooing or volunteering people to have debate with you on your terms whenever you feel like it. My answer would be "all of that other stuff", and I honestly don't know how you can read this site on a regular basis and not see it, since it's what happens every single day. There's lots to talk about and lots of ways to talk about it.

And I'm always joking.

To sort of echo what I said above, if you have to tell people you're joking on a regular basis, the problem may not be with other people's collective sense of humor. "It's necessary that I challenge your comfort zones" + "don't take it so seriously, I'm just kidding" = pissing people off pretty easily, because lots of people don't actually react that well to having someone push their buttons and then laugh it off.

And that's something that I feel like one or the other of us has had to talk to you about in one form or another a whole lot of times. I appreciate you saying you're going to try on this, and I don't particularly want this to be an all-about-you thing either for either of our sakes, but I do feel like this is something you've said a bunch of times before and yet we end up back in this same spot again and it'd be nice for that to not keep happening.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:51 AM on November 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


And in the "read the room" suggestion I frequently give to you and others, I consider asking myself

- "Is what I am commenting basically going with the flow of conversation or is it somehow making it go in a different direction?"
- "Is what I am doing likely to make the thread go better or go worse?"
- "How much of a chance is there that what I am contributing is going to make the thread only about me and my opinions/suggestions/feelings at the expense of other people in the thread?"

If your comments frequently take the thread out of where it is, only to put it into a place where you are happier with it, but other people find their converstions derailed, sidetracked, disrespected or otherwise ignored, you are bad at being a community member. This happens frequently in MetaTalk [and in this case, though not previously, I am talking about you, Eid, specifically] where a discussion about a general topic becomes a back and forth about helping YOU understand something and a lot of YOU talking about YOU.

As I've said before, this doesn't scale. And as I've also said before, this is sort of on you to figure out how to adjust to the fact that this sort of thing keeps happening and is problematic. If your goal is to not be disruptive, not make everything about you, and not be making more work for us, it is not working. So, you can maybe go back and take a look and see what you might have done differently, but if you're simultaneously saying that you want to get along with folks here and not make more work for us and at the same time not understanding how your repeated comments in the Jobs obit thread were not doing that, I'd say there's some sort of cognitive dissonance happening that needs working on. You have priorities that are in conflict.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:51 AM on November 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


That bit about not replying is such horseshit.
posted by Horselover Phattie


I'm just going to go with "eponysterical" (eponasterical? LOZ).

You are always free to not engage. I do it all the time!

"Why is challenging people's viewpoints - when, admittedly, you may not even disagree with them - your special job?"

Huh? Who said it was?

"If you actually said something like "You might have a valid point. Can you show me your work? Help me understand it and I'll try to do likewise" rather than [snarky remark that doesn't necessarily even address the conversation that's happening], then you might have more people addressing your content rather than your form."

So what you're saying is I can't joke and debate at the same time? Where's the fun in that?

Srs-face for a second, but man. Joking when you're arguing with someone (like, I dunno, inserting a B&B reference) is a way to say, "Hey man, we're friends. Don't take this too seriously. We are just playing around with ideas, and at the end of the day, we're still going to go out for drinks." But hey, who knows. I've heard that I come across radically different at meetups. Maybe I need to start linking to pics of my facial expressions throughout my comments (like emoticons, but REALER!) so people know that I'm like, totally cool right now.
posted by Eideteker at 11:54 AM on November 1, 2011


Eideteker: I'm happy to be wrong, because it means I can learn something. =)

In which case, you're wrong. Specifically, you are wrong when you say of Horselover Phattie:

Right there, you're saying it's arrogant to disagree or challenge you.

What was actually written - and it weirds me out when people quote text directly and then appear not to have read it - was:

"I've never met anyone who thought that they were someone who was able to challenge other people to wake up or whatever who wasn't blinded by their own arrogance."

What is being described is not someone who disagrees or challenges at all. What is being described is someone who imagines him or herself to be a trickster figure in the manner of Coyote. A shatterer of reality tunnels. Something akin to a mindbomb. And so on. Whether you match this type is another question, but:

If it's inconvenient to you to examine your preconceptions and principles, you don't have to reply.

Is a pretty standard soi-pensant trickster figure gambit - it's trying to goad people into engaging by stating that failing to do so is a sign of laziness, complacency or fear of having one's mind totally blown.

So, that's one thing. Another problem you appear to be having is that you don't seem to understand that there are conversational environments which are neither a rhetorical contest - a long, ongoing debate club meeting which everyone has chosen to attend - or an echo chamber - an endless repetition of "I agree". Further, you seem on the available evidence to believe that the best way to get people to explain their views, and to show a willingness to explain yours in turn, is to say something like:

Wow, can't wait to watch the fanboys fall all over themselves to outgrieve one another.

And then to deny any right to offence by saying that you are always joking. Much like Coyote. A trickster figure.

So, yes. I think rtha is right, as I said earlier. This kind of behavior feels like it's a comfort zone for you. The challenging thing to do might be to respond to something by explaining how you actually feel about it, rather than blurting something attention-getting to shake up the jar of fireflies a bit.
posted by running order squabble fest at 12:00 PM on November 1, 2011 [11 favorites]


Joking when you're arguing with someone (like, I dunno, inserting a B&B reference) is a way to say, "Hey man, we're friends. Don't take this too seriously. We are just playing around with ideas, and at the end of the day, we're still going to go out for drinks."

This is one of those things that really depends on whether someone knows you well enough to get that implicitly. In person, with a friend, it's great: you can read each other's vibe, they know you well enough to get the "oh Eid is doing the jokey-debate thing again" and roll with it, you know them well enough to get the "man they are not in the mood for this thing" from little paralinguistic subtleties even when they don't literally say as much, etc.

On a site with ten thousand other people most of whom don't know you from Adam, there's no such active real-time negotiation of this stuff and no basis of familiarity from which to extend that kind of safe assumption that how you want to be interacting is how someone else wants to be interacted with. "Ha ha, just kidding around" may be great when someone knows you and expects that to happen, but to someone who's just trying to have a straight-faced conversation in a medium where emotional nuance is difficult at best to convey, it's really easy to read as, essentially, "lol u mad?".
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:00 PM on November 1, 2011


You are always free to not engage. I do it all the time!

And yet you said " If it's inconvenient to you to examine your preconceptions and principles, you don't have to reply." That's just simply disingenuous. It's pretty clear that you can construct all sorts of psychological edifces around your motives but they're seriously only in your head.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 12:05 PM on November 1, 2011


So what you're saying is I can't joke and debate at the same time? Where's the fun in that?

Yes, that's exactly what I said.

Oh wait, your comment was joking, right? Was it meant to challenge my assumptions about...something?
posted by rtha at 12:12 PM on November 1, 2011


"If your comments frequently take the thread out of where it is, only to put it into a place where you are happier with it, but other people find their converstions derailed, sidetracked, disrespected or otherwise ignored, you are bad at being a community member."

Frequently? I mean, I know obviously what's happened in this MeTa, but maybe you can point me to some examples? Because this is something I'm missing. I'm posting it to this thread because I'm opening it up to anyone. MeFiMail me or e-mail me, anonymously if you like, if you'd like to point to some of the threads where this frequently happens. I'm usually working for a re-rail of the conversation (one example I can think of that didn't go sparklingly well is here, but I did state my goal pretty clearly).

This is not a requirement. I understand if you feel like we've gone as far as we're going to get with this. I'd like to believe I'm not beyond redemption or whatever, but I know I've taken up a significant amount of the mods' time on this already.

I'm just saying, we have shockingly (to me, at least) different views of my participation on the site. Yes, I made one bad comment in the Jobs obit thread, and I apologized. But you're talking about a pattern of behavior that I'm just not privy to (maybe flags and/or complaint e-mails about me?). Shoot, I've made a point of asking you folks IRL at meetups if I was on your top 10 list of problematic users or whatever and you're always like, pooh pooh, you're fine. Maybe that's just politeness, but it's useless to me, especially if it leads to springing this on me when you've finally had enough. No, I don't want personal attention. Not really. I want to just be another commenter on this site, another participant. And up until now, I've thought that's pretty much what I was. Surprise!

I'm certainly not asking for any more attention than I've been getting. But, you know, when you talk to me, talk to me. Don't spare my feelings. I kinda feel like the annoying kid who asks his "friends" if he's annoying, and they're like, "Nahh, you're fine," until they're finally like, "We're sick of your shit!" And it's my fault for not realizing you were being disingenuous, when I flat-out asked you.

Unless it really was the fact that I attacked the Holy Jobs that's pushed people over the line. But I don't think anyone but Crabby Appleton thinks that (thanks, Crabs, I'm flattered by the attention).

It leaves a very unpleasant taste in my mouth. (And maybe that's what I deserve? Dunno.)
posted by Eideteker at 12:12 PM on November 1, 2011


Eideteker, sorry but it seems that all you've been doing is cherry picking bits of people's statements that fit your narrative while excluding the rest. I don't think that anything anyone will say will dissuade your self-characterization as someone who challenges others' realities as long as you can't see your own. I hope it's a soft landing.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 12:39 PM on November 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


You've asked for some more straight talking and this is me doing that.

people know that I'm like, totally cool right now.

You should be considering doing the same for other people. If they are repeatedly telling you that things are not cool and you'd like them to be cool, part of the onus is on you to change the interaction.

And it's my fault for not realizing you were being disingenuous, when I flat-out asked you.

I don't get what's with the accusation here. I assure you I'm not being disingenuous. You are not one of the all-time assholes on this site. You are, however, one of the all time "Makes MeTa threads all about himself and his issues at the expense of whatever the thread was originally about" users as well as one of the "Got involved in a big thing and then told everyone he was kidding which pissed everyone off" users as well as one of the top twenty "Will not drop it until we literally stop responding to him" users. Since you asked, and I would not say this otherwise, I will say what I tell other people about you which is "Eideteker is a big sweetie in real life and I have no idea why he comes across like such a dick on the site so frequently. It's weird."

it really was the fact that I attacked the Holy Jobs that's pushed people over the line.

You are still doing it. Hyperbole couched as "just trying to understand..." You shit in the obit thread. We deleted it. We left a note. You toned it down and did it again. We deleted it. We didn't trust you to not do it again in a fast-moving thread that was exhausting all of us and we gave you the night off. You objected vigorously as if we somehow should have trusted that you somehow suddenly "got" what you hadn't gotten before. You're still making snarky asides about the whole event ["Holy Jobs" really? That's hyperbole-asshole talk.] instead of being like "Well I don't totally get it but I'll try to just err on the side of caution next time since this is clearly a blind spot of mine" which is what I'd personally LIKE you to be saying at this point.

We are friends in real life. You are a pain in my ass on this site. I am confused by the fact that sentence one does not seem to have any effect on sentence two. This is me talking to you and not sparing your feelings. I expect you to figure some of this out on your own and show that you've made real changes in the "getting along with people" direction here or deal with the fact that you're seen as a self-involved irritant when you go on like this and then claim "hey we're all friends, I'm just kidding..." This thread is turning into the Eideteker show. If your stated claim is to not make that happen, then go for a walk or something or take this up with us on the contact form. Seriously, this is a problem.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:39 PM on November 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


["Holy Jobs" really? That's hyperbole-asshole talk.]

Which is why I said I didn't believe that. But that's what C.A. said in his MeFiMail where I was like, "c'mon gimme a break. This isn't just about that." I know it's not about that.

That was me being silly and falling flat, yet again. I can totally see where it wasn't clear, though. Because how could you know what someone said to me in a MeFiMail. That was a stupid way to put it, I'm sorry. (IOW, I'm not disagreeing with you here, at all.)

Aside from addressing that one point (and only to issue an apology, but maybe that should have been private rather than public, too? I don't know; I'm really second-guessing myself at this point), I'm out of the thread.

I seem to be fucking all kinds of things up in my personal life, too, so it's not just the site and I fully admit that. I have some stuff I'm working on.

Not hitting the Big Red Button (BRB, LOL) because that, to me, would make it even worse. Realer? Whatevs. I feel like it's more important for me to learn to moderate my behavior so it's not so destructive. Wah wah wah, still talking about me. It's my fucked up attempt at apology. I'm sorry that I've dragged whatever personal stuff into this thread and MeFi in general.

Thank you for your kind words. They really do mean a lot.
posted by Eideteker at 1:02 PM on November 1, 2011


Ouch. Remind me never, ever to ask a Mod to classify me by category.
posted by zarq at 1:10 PM on November 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't want to pile on anything additional here, but I wanted to apologize for letting the thread here derail me into philanthropy vs business-as-vision without simply saying "that's irrelevant to the conversation", and to thank roll truck roll and smoke for the additional reading and possible expansion of my worldview.

I will add one more thing: I've worked for a number of assholes. I never saw Steve's asshole side. One thing that leaves me conflicted is that I have done some of my best work for assholes. I would happily participate in a thread focused on psychology and management styles further exploring that conundrum, distinct from a eulogy like the thread under discussion was.
posted by straw at 1:34 PM on November 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


You guys need to lay off Eideteker. I mean, he's willing to essentially post the content of private MeMail so he can take a swipe at ol' man Crabby just to show you all that he's one of you! No, see, guys, he's one of you! Don't you get it? Guys? Guys???

(I didn't come up with the "Holy Jobs" line, btw, but it's pretty good, I'll keep it in mind.)
posted by Crabby Appleton at 4:38 PM on November 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't know if it can be blamed on the early derailing of the thread, or the heavy moderation that took place, but it's interesting that the thread that spawned this one never seemed to recover, getting only a handful of comments after all the others were deleted.
posted by crunchland at 8:30 PM on November 1, 2011


I like the idea of this thread -- but there's no real change -- but the noise/signal ratio of constructive discussion of Steve Jobs has gotten stupidly high. I will now go see about finally using the "remove from activity" link. I've never had to use it before, but for my mental health, now I need to.

It's really a shame a nice post filled with lots of "."'s is not basically crud. I feel bad about engaging with it now. It's a lesson I won't forget about RIP threads about controversial people.
posted by artlung at 8:47 PM on November 1, 2011


Huh, it's been my experience that anything less than glowing praise/hagiography about him was being deleted. Are we allowing dissent again?
posted by Eideteker at 12:23 PM


Not to pick on Eideteker, because I know he's taken the brunt of the criticism in this thread (and, well, deserves it), but I know the opinion I quoted is shared by many on metafilter, and I don't get it. It's like I'm reading a completely different site.

There was plenty of criticism of Jobs in the obit thread. There was plenty of debate. As long as your dissent had more substance than calling everyone fan boys, it stayed.

In a thread about Jobs sister's eulogy, clarknova calls Jobs a pig, while discussing a topic he obviously is clueless about. He gets double digit favorites. That doesn't surprise me. That's metafilter. It's too big not to have a small portion of membership that is simply angry and bitter.

But I don't get the claim that metafilter is largely pro Jobs, and even the vast majority of 'positive' comments on Jobs recognize that he was a man that clearly had faults. The word saint has been tossed around plenty, and yet no one on metafilter is calling Jobs a saint. Not even close.

He was a successful businessman and a shitty person
posted by deanklear


No he wasn't. He was a mixture of good and bad. In other words, human. I find it difficult to believe that an adult can see the world in such black and white terms.
posted by justgary at 8:48 PM on November 1, 2011 [6 favorites]


To be fair, I think many people who sound very "black and white" are sounding more that way in response to what they believe is unwarranted praise. It's like me and the LOTR films. I will talk about how I think they're actually kind of shitty movies. Do I really think they're shitty? Well, it's more nuanced than that and I recognize that there are things they do well. But I frame it a certain way because I'm having an emotional response to people calling them masterpieces.

So I'm trying to say, "They're probably smarter than black and white but are reacting to something they disagree with."
posted by neuromodulator at 7:59 AM on November 2, 2011


justgary: " In a thread about Jobs sister's eulogy, clarknova calls Jobs a pig, while discussing a topic he obviously is clueless about. He gets double digit favorites. That doesn't surprise me. That's metafilter. It's too big not to have a small portion of membership that is simply angry and bitter."

I flagged that. Assumed others did, but perhaps they didn't. Was kinda surprised it survived.
posted by zarq at 8:27 AM on November 2, 2011


neumodulator, I think the point is that the "reacting" thing is what we try to get beyond. When I react, and allow myself to be goaded into snap reactions and making un-nuanced judgements, I depersonalize those on the other side of the argument, and we have no room to find middle ground.

This morning, my wife thought some of my actions were stupid. Maybe, this morning, I was an asshole. I also, for a moment, thought she was an asshole for thinking I was an asshole. If we get into a cycle of reaction over that, we lose a lot of opportunity to help each other.

If I allow myself to brand someone "a fool and a pig", and think of marketing, understanding what people respond to and giving them what they desire, "the most despicable of human professions", then I'm not only creating "other"s, I'm blinding myself to possibilities.

When I was a kid, my family and the community they chose to associate with rejected mainstream culture. In that culture, in the '70s and '80s, radical music was swing jazz, television was nearly non-existent. Now there are aspects of popular culture that perhaps I'm richer to have missed, but there's a whole lot of complexity and detail in modern popular music that I only understood much much later, because in their eyes being a musician was primarily a matter of playing in lock step with the rest of the orchestra, hitting the beat, following the notes. It took me years to go from the knee-jerk "this is crap" culture I grew up in to understanding that, even if I didn't respond to it, the fact that other people found it compelling made it worth contemplating.

I still struggle with that huge blind spot, and play a lot of tricks with myself to get past the knee-jerk into the "what do they find compelling about that ?" stage.

I'd find more people who try to do that, who try to communicate with each other about why they find those alternate visions compelling. If I'm in a community where the knee-jerk is encouraged, well, maybe I should move.
posted by straw at 9:03 AM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Straw, I wasn't trying to defend/validate it. I was just trying to point out that maybe they're more reasonable than they seem if you just extrapolated from their black/white judgments of Jobs. I'm not saying we can't do better.
posted by neuromodulator at 9:18 AM on November 2, 2011


In a thread about Jobs sister's eulogy, clarknova calls Jobs a pig, while discussing a topic he obviously is clueless about. He gets double digit favorites. That doesn't surprise me. That's metafilter.

Doesn't surprise me, at all, either. That kind of hatred embodies a not-insignificant part of Metafilter, more or less. I reminisce about the closing scene of Chinatown.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:56 AM on November 2, 2011


Fuck it, Jake. Let's go bowling in Chinatown.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:01 AM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


That new bowling alley in Chinatown has a Bluetooth interface for your iOS device to track scores and order refreshments.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 10:04 AM on November 2, 2011


There was already a Jobs obit thread, and I stayed the hell out of it.

It's unreasonable to expect that every thread ever in perpetuity will be a Holy Jobs Blasphemy-Free zone.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 10:39 AM on November 2, 2011


Or an HJBFZ, as it were.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 10:49 AM on November 2, 2011


Fuck it, Jake. Let's go bowling in Chinatown and not pay.
posted by Meatbomb at 10:59 AM on November 2, 2011


Christ. This thread is just a masterpiece. I've actually lost count of all of the grudges and rehashed arguments at this point.
posted by kagredon at 9:12 PM on November 2, 2011


Well, just to make things more awesome it is now apparently Blazecock Pileon's excuse for posting weird racist crap in other threads. Joy.
posted by Artw at 9:21 PM on November 5, 2011


I think people should quit making jokes about other contentious/popular threads. I've noticed that a lot lately. Not everyone reads MeFi everyday and gets into every scrape.
posted by sweetkid at 9:33 PM on November 5, 2011


I'm not even sure I followed what was going on there, but yeah cross-thread lulzing rarely goes well.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:41 PM on November 5, 2011


Could we be in agreement that The cannibal-themed electronic cookbook is pretty popular with the locals. Though its tough to use a touchscreen when your hands are covered in human blood, so it's a good thing there are buttons for flipping through recipes in a thread about OLPC and the developing world is NOT OKAY even if you feel you have been dissed in another thread or are making near indetectable 'joke'?
posted by Artw at 9:50 PM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


As I said, I didn't get it. I thought it was in poor taste and there must be something I was missing. It was also a day and a half ago. This thread is not about that comment and you and BP need to find ways to basically leave each other alone as cortex said above.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:03 PM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I see. Wow. I can see there's not much point to discussing this further, though FWIW I'd be kind of alarmed at you giving a free pass to that kind of racist threadshitting no matter who it was.
posted by Artw at 10:16 PM on November 5, 2011


If you want to start up another thread to specifically talk about it further, please feel free, but getting into intense mod questioning about a comment from a day and a half ago 250 comments into a thread about something else entirely late on a Saturday night is somewhat problematic. Use the contact form or MeTa and follow up with us if you want.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:40 PM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


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