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Should a joke-heavy thread on a serious topic be thinned out?
December 14, 2011 8:06 AM   Subscribe

Has the standard for deleting comments changed? It's been clear for a long time that early comments in a thread that tend to poison the thread ("This will end well"; "Getting popcorn," etc.), and comments likely to provoke a fighty derail, will be deleted. But is it now mod policy to delete jokes on the grounds that there are enough jokes already? Are we required to have serious discussions? This is the first time I've seen inoffensive jokes deleted on the blue, and I think it's something worth talking about.

One thing to consider is that humour has social value, and that you learn something about a community by seeing how its members use humour to deal with the world. Given the despair I think many people in that thread are feeling, I don't see the extensive use of humour as noise, but as an expression of helplessness. That people would respond with humour says something about who they are, how they interact with the political system, and how they view the world.

Even in threads where humour is just humour, I worry that deleting jokes because they're not serious enough is not conducive to fostering a community where people want to hang out and comment, sometimes lightheartedly. In short, it will annoy people unnecessarily and make Metafilter a less friendly place. Discussions should be allowed to evolve organically as much as possible, even if that means that some users miss out on the discussion they would like to have.

I'd be interested to know what other people think.
posted by Dasein to Etiquette/Policy at 8:06 AM (981 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

We were talking about that on email this morning a bit, yeah; taz tackled the thread in the middle of the night but wanted feedback on the whole thing since it was sort of a weird "do we or don't we" thing what with a bunch of flags on the early jokes and the question of whether to ignore it all, nix the early stuff and ignore the rest, or try to put the whole thread back on rails.

My take is that it's generally better to reserve serious cleanup on the blue for stuff that's more angry/clusterfucky hollering matches than just riffing. If I'd been going after that thread with no one else around at the time, I'd have probably left most of that in place rather than going through and pulling stuff out; I think that's more in line with general practice and we haven't made any sudden recent decision to change that.

Which is I think partly just a difference in culture on the green vs. the blue. And I spend a lot more leisure time on the blue whereas I think taz spends a lot more on the green, so that personal filter for how utility comes into evaluating a sort of on-going derail thing is probably different for us.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:14 AM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I support any policy that brings more fart jokes to Metafilter. Whoever deleted it peeted it.
posted by The White Hat at 8:17 AM on December 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


Whoever removed it, tooted it?
posted by Talez at 8:20 AM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


a mighty broken wind ensues...
posted by y2karl at 8:26 AM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Did this dumb joke not get deleted because it had so many favorites? Why the hell did so many people favorite that?
posted by Burhanistan at 8:26 AM on December 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


I think taz spends a lot more on the green, so that personal filter for how utility comes into evaluating a sort of on-going derail thing is probably different for us.
What?
posted by unliteral at 8:28 AM on December 14, 2011


Burhanistan: Did this dumb joke not get deleted because it had so many favorites? Why the hell did so many people favorite that?

Probably a name recognition thing, as previously discussed.
posted by gman at 8:29 AM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


I have the 30 Rock writing staff working on some very smart fart jokes for me right now. Stay tuned to that thread, y'all.
posted by mintcake! at 8:31 AM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


What?

I accidentally a word. "I think taz spends a lot more time on the green", or rather has historically done so, than I do.

And askme is by far the most utility-driven part of the site. Stuff that is not serving the ostensible purpose of a thread—getting someone's question answered—pretty much goes, as a rule, regardless of whether it's angry derail or just jokey riffing derail. Which is, I think, part of what colored her thinking on what to do with this kind of mess of a thread in the wee hours, is what I'm saying.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:32 AM on December 14, 2011


It was a pretty spot-on reaction. And it was early in the thread. And Mr. The W

I also found the deletion of ocean/arctic fart jokes kind of annoying. The thread's bouncing around all over, some in the putting it into perspective direction, some in the hahaha ocean fart hahaha direction.

I kind of hope that the jokes deleted were de-rail-ish and heavily flagged. Otherwise it kind of interrupts the natural digestion of the FPP. If you know what I mean.
posted by From Bklyn at 8:35 AM on December 14, 2011


Burhanistan, I favourited the comment because it succinctly captured my own reaction after reading the article.
posted by AD_ at 8:37 AM on December 14, 2011 [18 favorites]


Is Markov in play?
posted by unliteral at 8:37 AM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


> And it was early in the thread. And Mr. The W

And yet there was a comment before his that was a bit less dopey reactionary and it got deleted. And if one user is getting allowances to make dumb jokes where others would get deleted, then I can see why people have left over that particular user.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:37 AM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


I appreciated it. That thread has actual scientific information and the jokes even left are overwhelming the info.
posted by agregoli at 8:39 AM on December 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


I can see why people have left over that particular user.

To the best of my knowledge, no, "one user" isn't getting any particular allowances from us. I'm aware people feel like this is the case and I'm not sure what to say except that from our vantage point that isn't really happening.

The whole thread was a mess of trying to figure out what to do, as cortex said. It's rare that there are situations where there's a set of stuff that some people are flagging a lot and other people are really enjoying as the main content of the thread. Usually there's some jokey sideline stuff and then the main discussion. This was probably the first thread like this that taz has dealt with and it was in the middle of the night when she didn't have us to bounce her thoughts off of.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:41 AM on December 14, 2011


that was a bit less dopey reactionary and it got deleted.

yeah, I must have got there after that because it was the one left.


That thread has actual scientific information and the jokes even left are overwhelming the info.

I didn't think the jokes were too much. But I'm just one person.
posted by From Bklyn at 8:41 AM on December 14, 2011


On good days
posted by From Bklyn at 8:41 AM on December 14, 2011 [8 favorites]


As I was telling zarq the other day, if I were mod my first act would be to immediately delete all unfunny jokes posted at the beginning of threads from posters hoping to score stupid favorites.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:41 AM on December 14, 2011 [19 favorites]


And yet there was a comment before his that was a bit less dopey reactionary and it got deleted. And if one user is getting allowances to make dumb jokes where others would get deleted, then I can see why people have left over that particular user.

I do not believe The Whelk's comment standing has anything to do with The Whelk having posted it, and this is sort of a weird sudden swerve for this thread to take.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:45 AM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


If I were mod, my first act would be to immediately release pb from the dank, dark hole they keep him in. Bastards.
posted by phunniemee at 8:46 AM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


This was probably the first thread like this that taz has dealt with and it was in the middle of the night when she didn't have us to bounce her thoughts off of.

Sounds like a good scenario for using a light rather than heavy moderation hand. (Especially if that hand, whether fairly or not, carries a different association with it, due to its comparatively less experienced nature.) Everything is easier in retrospect, of course.
posted by litnerd at 8:46 AM on December 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'd be interested to know what other people think.

I disagree with you. If Cortex is saying these deletions by Taz aren't necessarily representative of mod policy, then I'd like that to change. I think there are a lot of things making MetaFilter a "less friendly place," as you say, and if that's something we're concerned with, there are much better places to start. MetaFilter culture has a limited ability to distinguish between "jokes" and "snark," and the latter not only makes the website a less friendly place but also much less pleasant to read (in my opinion).

If half the community is capable of an informed and insightful conversation about methane plumes, I'd much rather read that than the peanut gallery's fart jokes. (And I agree with Taz that one interferes with the other.) The Internet already has too many places for the latter, and too few where the former consistently happens. It would make this place cooler and is something toward which we should strive.
posted by cribcage at 8:47 AM on December 14, 2011 [16 favorites]


I hate to say this, but I think Metafilter has gotten a touch heavy handed in the moderation as of late. And anything that makes the blue more like the green is a mistake, IMO.
posted by nathancaswell at 8:47 AM on December 14, 2011 [41 favorites]


Doom exhaustion.
posted by iamabot at 8:47 AM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Burhanistan, I favourited the comment because it succinctly captured my own reaction after reading the article.

Ditto.

And frankly if it isn't your reaction too then you are a bit weird.
posted by Artw at 8:51 AM on December 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


Of all the recent "did the mods overdo it?" threads, this is the only one I agree with.

I've become accustomed to threads on the blue being a chaotic, wild mess of jokes, snark, science, anti-jokes, anti-snark, anti-science, and occasional brackets where offensive stuff used to be. I would hate for jokes and snark (or anti-jokes or anti-snark) to start being considered offensive.
posted by AugieAugustus at 8:51 AM on December 14, 2011 [23 favorites]


I'm with Dasein. If ever there was a thread which needed a heavy dose of gallows humour, it was this one. My first reaction when I saw taz's comment after catching up on the thread this morning was "oh no, don't tell me the 'set the Arctic Ocean on fire' comment is gone" (which it isn't, fortunately) (and props again to Dasein for that one).

As for the Whelk's comment, my own response to the story in question was a tumble of expletives I didn't want to post in the thread myself, so his comment made a useful proxy by way of a favourite. I suspect it served the same for others, and spared the thread a lot of "me too" shakings of angry fists at the sky.
posted by rory at 8:52 AM on December 14, 2011 [7 favorites]


And if one user is getting allowances to make dumb jokes where others would get deleted, then I can see why people have left over that particular user.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:37 PM on December 14


Yeah, and the same applies to personal insults. Some people sure seem to get cut more slack with those than others, eh?

I hate to say this, but I think Metafilter has gotten a touch heavy handed in the moderation as of late.
posted by nathancaswell at 4:47 PM on December 14


I agree. And I don't hate to say it.
posted by Decani at 8:52 AM on December 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


> And frankly if it isn't your reaction too then you are a bit weird.

Maybe I did have that internal reaction, but frankly if you conflate having an internal reaction with slamming out a favorites bait comment as being the same then you are a bit weird.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:52 AM on December 14, 2011


The Internet already has too many places for the latter, and too few where the former consistently happens.

Warts Fart jokes and all, I haven't found anywhere online that is as funny and simultaneously free of (or at least light on) racism, sexism and dumbass meme humor as MeFi.
posted by griphus at 8:55 AM on December 14, 2011 [21 favorites]


This is the first of these OMG THE SKY IS FALLING NEW MODS Metatalks which I've thought actually made a good point. Jokes shouldn't be deleted simply because they're jokes. Thanks for posting something which wasn't just grar whining, Dasein. Uh, that sounds sarcastic but it isn't. Too many of these Metatalks are just "my special snowflake thing got deleted" and this one is not.

Lets have fewer comment deletions and more post deletions.
posted by Justinian at 8:55 AM on December 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


If the users of this site want to take a "serious" subject and make it jokey, who are the mods to challenge that?
posted by smackfu at 8:55 AM on December 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


I didn't care that much myself; I had one joke removed, and wasn't going to start a Metatalk about it or even email taz about it. Not a big deal. And I don't really think that what stayed and what got removed had much to do with who said it.

But I did think it was weird that, instead of removing all the jokes or removing none of the jokes, the decision was made to remove a lot of the jokes. Which seems to imply that if you want to joke around on the Blue you had better make sure your material is good. And which puts the mods in the position of actually judging the quality of the content of a given post, rather than whether or not the content is relevant to the thread at hand or within the acceptable guidelines. And that seems like maybe a road down which neither the mods nor the other users would want mods to have to go down.
posted by penduluum at 8:56 AM on December 14, 2011 [25 favorites]


Did this dumb joke not get deleted because it had so many favorites? Why the hell did so many people favorite that?

That was actually in response to a bunch of dumb jokes before that comment that got deleted. So now it makes it look like whelk was laughing at the content of the post instead of being annoyed at all the people making jokes about it.

Deleting all the jokes was a terrible idea and ruined the continuity of the thread.
posted by empath at 8:56 AM on December 14, 2011 [16 favorites]


And are there actually people flagging jokes because there are jokes? Do they not understand the blue?
posted by smackfu at 8:56 AM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


cortex: I do not believe The Whelk's comment standing has anything to do with The Whelk having posted it, and this is sort of a weird sudden swerve for this thread to take.

Really, there's nothing "weird" about it at all, and I find your use of that word rather dismissive. taz (and no, this is not some attack directed at the new mod) made a conscious decision to delete a bunch of jokes, including the one above The Whelk's, which actually happened to be a complete sentence. Personally, I'd like to know why his comment was left standing.
posted by gman at 8:58 AM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


ERROR. ERROR. THIS "HUMOR" YOU SPEAK OF DOES NOT COMPUTE. beep beep boop
posted by entropicamericana at 8:58 AM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]

The whole thread was a mess of trying to figure out what to do
Only if you start with the assumption that you need to do anything.

If folks want to joke, that's their right, as long as there aren't any published guidelines to the contrary. Arbitrary moderation decisions, even if they're agreed to by all the mods, stifle participation. If you want to continue calling this a community-driven site, then you need to justify deletions with explicit references to explicit guidelines.
posted by MrMoonPie at 8:59 AM on December 14, 2011 [21 favorites]


This was probably the first thread like this that taz has dealt with and it was in the middle of the night when she didn't have us to bounce her thoughts off of.

If someone's first urge is to delete a dozen comments from a post, maybe they should wait until the morning. This isn't Ask Me, there is no bright line for commenting rules on Metafilter proper.
posted by smackfu at 9:00 AM on December 14, 2011 [13 favorites]


I read more of that thread, and therefore the ensuing links in the comments, because of the jokes. The gallows humor contributed to me learning more about the topic.
posted by maryr at 9:02 AM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think fart jokes in a thread about the impending death of the human race can probably constitute a derail.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:06 AM on December 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


Yes, this is the first of these concerns that rings true to me (or with which I agree). Sometimes the line between joking and snark is hard to see, but here, the jokes seemed appropriate to how dire the news was. I didn't click through to the article because it was not something I wanted to ruin my evening with, but I got a good chuckle out of the gallows humor in the thread.

Of course people may feel differently about the joking, but I don't think the jokes precluded serious conversation in the way that thread-shitting can.
posted by OmieWise at 9:08 AM on December 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


Overlyspecificfilter: I for one am utterly sick of the fart jokes in any and every thread that even in passing mentions methane. Done with it ten years ago. METHANE DOESN'T SMELL AND IS A VERY MINOR COMPONENT OF MOST FARTS. I'd be heavily in support of fart jokes in any thread discussing mercaptans, however, so my hypocrisy is showing. I will atone by making a large pot of red beans and rice for everyone to share.
posted by zomg at 9:08 AM on December 14, 2011 [13 favorites]


Not all of the deleted jokes were fart jokes, nor were all of the deleted jokes early in the thread. That's part of what makes this case a little different than some others, which seems to be something the other mods are acknowledging too.
posted by penduluum at 9:10 AM on December 14, 2011


cortex: " Which is I think partly just a difference in culture on the green vs. the blue. And I spend a lot more leisure time on the blue whereas I think taz spends a lot more on the green, so that personal filter for how utility comes into evaluating a sort of on-going derail thing is probably different for us."

By my count this is at least the fifth or sixth Meta complaint thread devoted to a deletion made by taz in the last two months since she became a mod. I agreed with her deletions that have been called out, and have said so in those other threads, but this does seem to be an ongoing issue.

Being able to contest with deletions is a Meta feature, not a bug. At the same time it would be nice if taz's deletions were the center of less of them. I like taz and am really, truly happy she's a mod. But at the same time I am also wondering why the hell this keeps happening. Is the userbase having difficulty adjusting to the new round-the-clock moderation that restless_nomad and taz provide? Are people being overly touchy? Is there something she's doing that is atypical? Perhaps a combination of all three?
posted by zarq at 9:10 AM on December 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


Not that I want to put words in anybody's mouth.
posted by penduluum at 9:10 AM on December 14, 2011


I'd be interested to know what other people think.

Having The Whelk's comment remain does seem weird. It was a dumb joke, straight outta the gate, while other jokes made later got deleted. It sort of breaks my brain to try and figure out why it was allowed to stay, but then I don't get why people love pecan pie and/or Star Trek.

That said, the mods haven't been known, as far as I can tell, to favorite a particular user. It's probably just one of those times where a certain someone, who wasn't you (the general you), was able to do something that you (the general you) weren't, but some strange fluke of human nature. I know that kinda sucks and can get one's hackles up, but it happens, you know? Life goes on.

Otherwise, the only solution is to think that the mods have special love/admiration/whatever for The Whelk and really, don't they seem as though they have better taste?

Overall, I think the joke deletions were really strange in this specific instance and shouldn't have happen. It's not the end of the world and Taz isn't suddenly power mad in my eyes. But let's not do this again, alright?

If there was anything to learn from the November experiment with favorites is that sometimes the mods think one thing in their actions, which come off as something wildly different to users and clusterfucks result. Let's not assume the worst of anyone, particularly people who have clearly shown they're not out to harm others.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:13 AM on December 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


Maybe non-jokey FPPs should be tagged SERIOUSBUSINESS.
posted by jquinby at 9:13 AM on December 14, 2011 [7 favorites]


The blue is different than the green. This is a feature, not a bug.
posted by winna at 9:15 AM on December 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


Personally, I'd like to know why his comment was left standing.

The same reason several other not-serious-and-substantial comments were left standing while some of the more overtly let's-make-fart-jokes comments were deleted: that was the line taz was trying to walk when she tried to rerail the thread.

Which, again: it's not how I would have dealt with that thread or I think how Jess would have, and having chatted with taz this morning / her evening about our rationales and theory of moderation for this specific sort of "derail of non-GRAR riffing" case she gets that and will recalibrate her meters for the next time it might come up however long from now. Learning accomplished.

Being new to moderating this place is an ongoing learning experience, and we can try and tell her everything we know about moderation but an actual Matrix-style brain dump isn't possible, so she's gonna get stuck dealing with middle-of-the-night judgement calls that we didn't manage to lay out backstory or specific rules of thumb for. Which is the same way the evolution of moderation policy worked in the first place back when Matt started the site up, and how it worked for Jess and then for me when each of us came on and took solo jaunts with the tiller because no one else is around, and it's an ongoing process for Jeremy as well. It doesn't happen overnight.

By my count this is at least the fifth or sixth Meta complaint thread devoted to a deletion made by taz in the last two months since she became a mod. I agreed with her deletions that have been called out, and have said so in those other threads, but this does seem to be an ongoing issue.

I think it's mostly just normal acclimation period stuff. It happened to jessamyn too, it happened to me as well, it's happened to restless_nomad. Being a mod takes adjustment; getting used to a new mod does too.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:15 AM on December 14, 2011 [7 favorites]


I don't get why people love pecan pie

Because it's sugar-heavy and DELICIOUS.
posted by cooker girl at 9:15 AM on December 14, 2011


cortex: "and it's an ongoing process for Jeremy as well."

Wait, is there another new mod now??
posted by Grither at 9:16 AM on December 14, 2011


Sorry, Jeremy = restless_nomad. Was slipping into first names there.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:16 AM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


No one was arguing, and the jokes weren't hurting the discussion in any real way. If this is the start of a new policy, that would be unfortunate for Metafilter.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:18 AM on December 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


Members can't shape a thread. You make your post, and you have to let it go the way it goes. Jokey comments are sort of fun, but rapidly become annoying when people have interesting information to share. I think the best response is to post thoughtful comments. Taz, I'd recommend a little less deleting in this case. But, I keep in mind that I don't see the flags.
posted by theora55 at 9:19 AM on December 14, 2011


If this is the start of a new policy, that would be unfortunate for Metafilter.

Again, this is not the start of a new policy. This is taz making a call in the middle of the night for what was to date a novel predicament for her, and us giving her some feedback this morning once we were around to talk it out.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:19 AM on December 14, 2011


This is a feature, not a bug.

Off-topic: I am so tired of seeing this line trotted out again and again and again in increasingly irrelevant situations. Just say what you want to say!

On-topic: I understand the desire to prune one-line jokes if they are becoming the bulk of comments early on in a thread, because it does make substantive discussion hard to have. In contrast, jokes more thinly spread in a large thread (even if its the same # of jokes total) don't have that effect. Striking the balance of at what point to prune them is, undoubtedly, one of the finer points of moderating. In the referenced threat, the balance seems ok to me (thanks to the deletions).
posted by modernnomad at 9:20 AM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


modernnomad: " Off-topic: I am so tired of seeing this line trotted out again and again and again in increasingly irrelevant situations. Just say what you want to say!"

Was it somehow not clear? I sincerely think that's the most concise way I can express that sentiment.
posted by zarq at 9:22 AM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Being new to moderating this place is an ongoing learning experience, and we can try and tell her everything we know about moderation but an actual Matrix-style brain dump isn't possible,

If us users can tell that moderation is out of the norm for the site, I'm surprised that a mod can't. If it's a case of "they were a user on the green, not the blue", maybe they should moderate that way too.
posted by smackfu at 9:22 AM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Leaving the site over The Whelk seems bizarre to me, and complaining because someone gets a lot of favorites on something you think is dumb seems extraordinarily whiny/jealous. But hey, different strokes.
posted by the young rope-rider at 9:25 AM on December 14, 2011 [11 favorites]


> complaining because someone gets a lot of favorites on something you think is dumb seems extraordinarily whiny/jealous. But hey, different strokes

Meh. It was a reasonable question and not at all about favorite envy as I have more than I deserve. Perhaps I should've framed that less personally and asked if it didn't get deleted because of the favorites count. At any rate, the deletions were capricious-seeming and clarification is good.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:27 AM on December 14, 2011


the young rope-rider: Leaving the site over The Whelk seems bizarre to me, and complaining because someone gets a lot of favorites on something you think is dumb seems extraordinarily whiny/jealous. But hey, different strokes.

Who said they were leaving the site over The Whelk? I'm not sure if there's some sort of reading comprehension issue going on, but the topic of favourites only came up because someone in this thread couldn't believe that a half-formed sentence received 100+ of them. The complaints stem from the fact that his comment remained at the top of the thread, while the one just above it (and several others) were removed.
posted by gman at 9:30 AM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


If us users can tell that moderation is out of the norm for the site, I'm surprised that a mod can't.

Eh, everyone has bad days or makes bad calls. The mods, I think, have a different view of the site in terms of often thinking about the entire site as opposed to their particular views or cares. Their desire to keep the boat or the dinghy's from sinking might cause them to make mistakes at times, especially when they're starting out.

We should tease them when they do mess up, make a note in the back of our head in case it becomes an ongoing issue and then get back to making sweet ass multilink posts about manned spaceflight or kinky alien sex. Possibly both. Can you believe the things people want to do with Greedo's mouth?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:31 AM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yeah it's clear Zarq, it's just that it's entered into "cool story, bro!" or "you keep using that word. I don't think it means what you think it means." territory for me -- just painfully overused. I just felt the need to vent, not calling for it to be banned or anything. Carry on!
posted by modernnomad at 9:31 AM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


If us users can tell that moderation is out of the norm for the site, I'm surprised that a mod can't.

I think taz has a pretty good handle on the site across the board. Generally speaking I think she's easily modding as well as we could hope any one new to the process to do, and she's been doing a great job of seeking feedback on stuff when she's not entirely sure how to handle a new situation.

But by virtue of being the person working in the middle of the night, she's getting stuck a lot sooner in the moderation process with having to make calls when no one's around, so she doesn't get the luxury of sanity-checking everything the way that I did when I was starting up around here. She's stuck in the spotlight, more or less, a lot more than would be ideal for minimizing possible tricky-call situations.

Mods don't come with superpowers, and we misstep on stuff sometimes. Part of the challenge there is just getting to having an understanding of what some of the territory looks like so that you can recognize it in the future and know how to deal with a situation. And there has to be a first time for every single one of those discoveries, which means a little bit of risk in deciding what action to take. It's a process of learning, by example where possible but a lot of the time by best guess and learning from feedback on those.

One of the things with becoming a mod is that there is a whole pile of stuff that you are familiar with from a user side but have not seen in action, let alone been in charge of taking action on, from the mod side, until it actually happens. I remember this very clearly from my first year or so in particular.

So, it would surprise me if a mod were constantly misreading the site in significant ways. It does not surprise me at all that a new mod occasionally does so, because I can't imagine how they would ever entirely avoid that. I sure didn't.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:32 AM on December 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


I for one am utterly sick of the fart jokes in any and every thread ... however, so my hypocrisy is showing. I will atone by making a large pot of red beans and rice for everyone to share.

I might be overthinking this, but, uh, zomg, you do know what kind of jokes red beans and rice lead to, right?
posted by gauche at 9:32 AM on December 14, 2011


Who said they were leaving the site over The Whelk? I'm not sure if there's some sort of reading comprehension issue going on, but the topic of favourites only came up because someone in this thread couldn't believe that a half-formed sentence received 100+ of them. The complaints stem from the fact that his comment remained at the top of the thread, while the one just above it (and several others) were removed.


And if one user is getting allowances to make dumb jokes where others would get deleted, then I can see why people have left over that particular user.
posted by the young rope-rider at 9:34 AM on December 14, 2011


If us users can tell that moderation is out of the norm for the site, I'm surprised that a mod can't. If it's a case of "they were a user on the green, not the blue", maybe they should moderate that way too.

But the problem with that logic is that only SOME users agree that the moderation is out of the norm/not a good thing. SOME others of us think something else. SOME others don't know what's going on. That's why comments aren't upvoted here and why Metafilter is better for it.

And again, just because Cortex (or any mod) gave one reason for why something might be different doesn't mean (a) it's the only reason and (b) it's something that ever will happen again.

There may be problems here, but excessive deleting of shitty joke comments isn't one of them (see the number of my comments that embarrassingly remain despite my regrets); the constant 'gotcha' in trying to find holes in arguments about deletions is another story.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:34 AM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Who said they were leaving the site over The Whelk?

I think that's referring to this, from Burhanistan's comment upthread about The Whelk's comment.
And if one user is getting allowances to make dumb jokes where others would get deleted, then I can see why people have left over that particular user.
And that's what I was talking about with it seeming like a weird swerve, not just the idea of discussing what got deleted vs. not. Burhan, I appreciate the followup and, yeah, I think a less personal framing of that if that's what you wanted to talk about would have been better.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:35 AM on December 14, 2011


modernnomad: "Yeah it's clear Zarq, it's just that it's entered into "cool story, bro!" or "you keep using that word. I don't think it means what you think it means." territory for me -- just painfully overused. I just felt the need to vent, not calling for it to be banned or anything. Carry on!"

Ah. Okay. Thanks. :)
posted by zarq at 9:38 AM on December 14, 2011


Burhanistan: Did this dumb joke not get deleted because it had so many favorites? Why the hell did so many people favorite that?

There were also two jokes flanking this comment when it was first posted, neither with comments of "we're doomed," so the initial feeling (I had) was that The Whelk was laughing along, and providing the reminder that this might signify some serious global change. But now it's an early comment with a lot of favorites from a known commenter on the site.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:43 AM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


the young rope-rider: " And if one user is getting allowances to make dumb jokes where others would get deleted, then I can see why people have left over that particular user."

Someone did indeed leave the site earlier this year, citing The Whelk's high frequency of short jokey comments. That person returned relatively quickly.
posted by zarq at 9:45 AM on December 14, 2011


" Off-topic: I am so tired of seeing this line trotted out again and again and again in increasingly irrelevant situations. Just say what you want to say!"

I did say what I wanted to say. I don't think that the fact that the blue is full of inane sophomoric jokes and the green is tightly moderated to focus on the question is something that should be changed. It is supposed to work that way or at least it has worked that way for years.

However stupid I might have found that thread with its fifth grade japery, it was not any different than a thousand other threads. I am grateful that AskMe is not run that way, but if the whole site was run like AskMe it would be pretty stultifying.

I could have written one of my multi-paragraph epics on why this is so, or I could have used a single phrase that is apposite to the question of how an application is administered.
posted by winna at 9:45 AM on December 14, 2011


I'd much rather read that than the peanut gallery's fart jokes.

"The peanut gallery"? That is some haughty stuff right there. To which I am responding with fart sounds.
posted by Hoopo at 9:49 AM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


the young rope-rider: " And if one user is getting allowances to make dumb jokes where others would get deleted, then I can see why people have left over that particular user."

Just to be clear, I didn't say the quote attributed(?) to me here.
posted by the young rope-rider at 9:51 AM on December 14, 2011


so my deleted joke was:

*packs bags for kepler 22b* so long, assholes

which is not a fart joke and in my opinion in exactly the same vein as The Whelk's joke that was left, with the exception of the word "asshole". So, totally honestly: was it deleted because of the word "asshole", or because I was ostensibly calling other members assholes?
posted by neuromodulator at 9:51 AM on December 14, 2011


the young rope-rider: "Just to be clear, I didn't say the quote attributed(?) to me here."

No, burhanistan did. I used the quote thing on your comment to show I was replying to you directly.
posted by zarq at 9:53 AM on December 14, 2011


So, totally honestly: was it deleted because of the word "asshole", or because I was ostensibly calling other members assholes?

Totally do not know. We can ask taz when she's back around. I know it's not particularly satisfying to not know and this is one of the tough parts about having an antipodal-type mod who works when we're sleeping and who sleeps while we work. And one of the reasons we held off so long before getting one because we needed to find someone who could work pretty independently, make generally good judgment calls and be willing to handle the occasional wake-up-to-a-MeTa-thread-where-people-have-been-talking-about-you-for-eight-hours situation.

If us users can tell that moderation is out of the norm for the site, I'm surprised that a mod can't.

So it's harder to do a time-pressured on-the-spot assessment of what's going on in new situations and determine what to do. And easier to assess in hindsight. So yeah, there aren't new guidelines, this was a decision taz made because she felt like she was presented with a "Destined to go to MeTa any way you slice it" thread with a lot of flags and made a choice. With threads that are mostly discussion and some lulzy noise that gets flagged and may be derailing, sometimes we'll pluck out the lulzy noise. With a thread like this where the balance is different, it's much less clear what to do. And I think it's tougher for new mods to ignore bunches of flags, though sometimes cortex and I definitely do just that if we think people are flagging stuff that doesn't need our attention.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:04 AM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure if there's some sort of reading comprehension issue going on, but the topic of favourites only came up because someone in this thread couldn't believe that a half-formed sentence received 100+ of them.

Again, taz's deletions stripped his comment from its context. There were 3 or 4 jokes before his. So he looks like he's joking right out of the gate instead of responding to a bunch of jokes before his. Deleting the context makes his comment and the people favoriting look a lot more out of place than they were.

I personally think the deletions in the thread should be reverted. They were done so late that any derailing was already done, and a lot of the remaining thread makes no sense without them.
posted by empath at 10:04 AM on December 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


This sucks. If the new metafilter involves mods new or old nipping at our heels like sheepdogs herding the discussion into 'acceptable' grooves, I'll be out of here sharpish.

MeFi is not a classroom where the teacher needs to steer the discussion.

Moderators are not facilitators or pastoral advisors.

Mods, when was the last time you heard a clamour for MORE moderation?

Maybe the current trope of 'MeFi is overmoderated' MeTa posts is indicative of something?
posted by unSane at 10:05 AM on December 14, 2011 [17 favorites]


jessamyn: "this is one of the tough parts about having an antipodal-type mod who works when we're sleeping and who sleeps while we work. "

She needs a red hotline MetaTalk phone. With flashing lights and a wake-up siren ringtone ;)

(Y'all get to sleep? I'm jealous!)
posted by zarq at 10:06 AM on December 14, 2011


MORE MODERATION PLEASE
posted by shakespeherian at 10:07 AM on December 14, 2011 [6 favorites]




Maybe the current trope of 'MeFi is overmoderated' MeTa posts is indicative of something?
posted by unSane at 10:05 AM on December 14 [+] [!]


Or maybe the people that like signal more than noise aren't clamoring for attention.
posted by Stagger Lee at 10:08 AM on December 14, 2011 [12 favorites]


empath: Again, taz's deletions stripped his comment from its context. There were 3 or 4 jokes before his. So he looks like he's joking right out of the gate instead of responding to a bunch of jokes before his. Deleting the context makes his comment and the people favoriting look a lot more out of place than they were.

I only remember there being one comment before his, but I'll defer to you. Anyway, there have been two dozen favourites added to the "joke" since the deletions, so it really doesn't seem to matter about the context, or lack thereof.
posted by gman at 10:11 AM on December 14, 2011


I think fart jokes in a thread about the impending death of the human race can probably constitute a derail.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:06 AM on December 14



Eponironical?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:13 AM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


*adjust dials and settings on shakespherian*
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:13 AM on December 14, 2011


when was the last time you heard a clamour for MORE moderation?

We get "Why didn't you delete this?" email literally every day. There are a few recent ones in MeTa, not many. However, we see fewer deletion requests in MeTa since people use the flagging feature for that. However there isn't a "you shouldn't have deleted this" option, so we have long conversations about things that people think shouldn't be deleted. And it's a balance. The community contains people that think we should delete more and people who think we should delete less. MeTa is where those groups talk to each other.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:13 AM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I believe this is the only time I've agreed with an "over-moderation" MeTa. IMO the mod was wrong.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:15 AM on December 14, 2011


Mods, when was the last time you heard a clamour for MORE moderation?

On a regular basis, actually, for years. Opinions on how to deal with stuff that is contentious or is disliked by some folks for one reason or another are very mixed, and have always been, and there are plenty of folks on this site who feel like we don't delete enough stuff or discourage enough of what they see as negative behavior or come down quickly enough or hard enough on people who do things they see as not great for the site.

There is no single monolithic group attitude toward moderation here. Opinions differ, and people coming from opposing but legitimate, understandable positions of preference about this stuff have always been in tension with each other and with the status quo on the site. We try to keep moderation in a workable compromise state that will, unfortunately, never satisfy everyone, but that is life.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:16 AM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


As I was telling zarq the other day, if I were mod my first act would be to immediately delete all unfunny jokes posted at the beginning of threads from posters hoping to score stupid favorites.

If the comment's getting favorites, my guess is that some are finding it funny. In the context of the contentious ...

Ahahahaha we're so fucking doomed hahaha
posted by The Whelk at 5:57 PM on December 13 [125 favorites +] [!]


... I am left wondering at what might have preceded it. Specifically, if it's a handful of lame fart jokes, then The Whelk is suddenly not being level one "funny" (ie: laughing at the Apocalypse) so much as level two "funny" (ie: laughing at the fact that laughing at the Apocalypse is ... well, just not that funny). In other words, it's got some gravitas. Pity that we seem to have lost its context.
posted by philip-random at 10:19 AM on December 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


So if I'm reading the situation right, Taz deleted a bunch of jokes while making a judgment call to let some stay, and THEN asked for guidance from other mods. Shoot first, ask questions later.

This is troublesome IMO. I know that Taz has been called out in a lot of MeTa's already for heavy-handed, deletion-happy moderation. I know that a standard response from her fellow mods has been, "You're just noticing her actions more because she's new. She's doing a good job."

But this latest development gives credence to the idea she might be a bit...not power-mad, but "Woo! I'm a moderator! Time to do some MODERATIN'! (rolls up sleeves)." And I don't think my misgivings are based on not giving the new mod a fair shake or whatever.
posted by mreleganza at 10:19 AM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


When all you have is a hammer, everything starts to look like nails.
posted by entropicamericana at 10:22 AM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


I personally think the deletions in the thread should be reverted. They were done so late that any derailing was already done, and a lot of the remaining thread makes no sense without them.

I agree; a large part the actual discussion in that thread is not about the horrible news about methane plumes but about peoples' reactions to that horrible news - running the gamut from whistling-past-the-graveyard and gallows humor to denial to hopelessness to preparing for the inevitable. To me, actually, thinking about and seeing how people react to news that is almost incomprehensibly bad is actually more interesting than discussing the incomprehensibly bad news itself; for a more extreme version you can imagine if there were actual 100% indisputable proof that the end of the world would be next Tuesday -- there's not a lot to say about that news other than WELP but how people face that news and react to it is the interesting part. Deleting the jokes which spawned that discussion isn't really doing that thread any favors, even without the added aspect of people coming here and declaring that this New Totally Official Mod Policy Of Deleting Lame Jokes will ruin Metafilter forever.
posted by mstokes650 at 10:22 AM on December 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


I had a joke deleted from this thread. It doesn't bother me too much, and other comments of mine remain. In this instance, it did seem rather arbitrary though.

Early on in the thread, stbalbach described it as "the very definition of whistling past the graveyard." I completely agree with him, but I feel that "whistling past the graveyard" and other forms of gallows humor are very human reactions to a horrible situation.

I also favorited The Whelk's first comment because it almost exactly described how I felt reading the article.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:24 AM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I disagree with the deletions.

But just because they've done something we don't like doesn't mean that it's the beginning of the end. Mods do mostly good, sometimes mess up, it does not signal a trend.
posted by Think_Long at 10:24 AM on December 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


So, totally honestly: was it deleted because of the word "asshole", or because I was ostensibly calling other members assholes?

I would guess it's because once you start deleting stuff for nebulous reasons, it's hard to tell when you should stop.
posted by smackfu at 10:24 AM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


> But this latest development gives credence to the idea she might be a bit...not power-mad, but "Woo! I'm a moderator! Time to do some MODERATIN'!

I like taz and while I clearly disagreed with the way that all went down I would be fine with waiting to see how she explains it whenever she can get to this thread rather than projecting some kind of amped up characterization. It's just a silly web forum after all.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:24 AM on December 14, 2011


Or what mstoke650 said just before me.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:25 AM on December 14, 2011


A few months ago, when we had one of these discussions before, one of the new mods said something along the lines of, "While I'm new and uncertain, my goal is to delete more rather than less", which I thought was a depressing thing to see a new mod say. It seems like both the new mods have taken that tact in their learning periods, and it's a severe disappointment. The only thing that saddens me more is when I see a mod say they deleted something because they thought it might be too much work later on. What's the point of having paid mods if not to give them work to do? I'm not saying lets all be assholes and give them grief, but isn't the point of having mods with the power to delete comments, that they can wait until there is a mess, to fix it up? I'd much rather we have more discussions than less, and let me decide what level of 'quality' I can live with.
posted by nomisxid at 10:25 AM on December 14, 2011 [10 favorites]


So if I'm reading the situation right, Taz deleted a bunch of jokes while making a judgment call to let some stay, and THEN asked for guidance from other mods. Shoot first, ask questions later.

It was the middle of the night. The options she had were take action and ask for feedback in the morning or not take action and ask for feedback in the morning. It's not "shooting first" except in a metaphor where all moderation is the equivalent of discharging firearms, which I realize is more or less how some folks feel about it but this is a site where we do in fact routinely remove stuff.

"Woo! I'm a moderator! Time to do some MODERATIN'! (rolls up sleeves)."

Between knowing taz as an internet person and level-headed Metachat admin type for years and working with and talking to her over email about mefi stuff for the last while, I can assure you this is not the attitude she has taken or is likely ever to take to the site.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:26 AM on December 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


If the comment's getting favorites, my guess is that some are finding it funny.

When I'm mod, humor is no longer subjective.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:27 AM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think the increasing moderation at Metafilter is itself caused by climate change. I just blew my own mind. dammit i'm joking again
posted by neuromodulator at 10:27 AM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


I found this particular example of thread clean-up to be quite chilling for my appreciation of, and inclination to contribute to, the heterogeneous nature of the blue.

No sir, I didn't like it.
posted by seanmpuckett at 10:28 AM on December 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


Were people flagging the comments?
posted by Danila at 10:31 AM on December 14, 2011


[Deleted a bunch of comments, because seriously, if anyone did want to actually discuss the post, it was going to be impossible to wade through about a hundred jokes first.]

Whereas, seriously if anyone wanted to joke about it, as they self-evidently did, they were SOL.
posted by unSane at 10:32 AM on December 14, 2011 [13 favorites]


Completely unrelated to taz and fart deletions, but! I feel this is the appropriate time to confess that I have always been ever so slightly disappointed that, as far as I can tell, none of the mods have ever gone a-moddin' wildly under the influence and had to apologize for it the next day, shamefaced and hungover.
posted by elizardbits at 10:32 AM on December 14, 2011 [21 favorites]


neuromodulator: "So, totally honestly: was it deleted because of the word "asshole", or because I was ostensibly calling other members assholes?"

Metafilter doesn't do kepler 2b well.

I'm likewise in the general set that on balance finds moderation along these lines to not be a good thing. It's difficult enough to try to mod-nudge community discussions to follow guidelines of "less grar at one another, please," but "don't make dumb jokes!" is even more quixotic than that.
posted by Drastic at 10:33 AM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Shoot first, ask questions later.

We were all asleep. This is what she has to deal with. If moderating is going to be done she will have to act independently and deal with the consequences. This was not true for any other mod who has worked here and it's sort of objectively a raw deal. The only other way to handle staffing is either put one of us on the overnight shift [not happening] or give her a buddy, also new, in her timezone to bounce things off of. Or, alternately, not moderate the site in the middle of the night which was what we were doing before and was sub-optimal for many people not in the US timezones.

I don't know what the sequence was about her asking us [via email] and what decisions she made and actions she took. And we've also said that this is something that while we think her judgment is sound generally, she made a decision when faced with a "you have to make a decision" [either delete comments or remove flags and ignore them, deciding to actively ignore something is a decision] which we would not have made, and we talked about it and she'll deal with those sorts of "threads erupt into jokes" situations differently in the future. I'm sure she'll show up here to talk about it once she's awake.

I see a mod say they deleted something because they thought it might be too much work later on.

Part of the reason we have moderators is so that we can use our judgment on these sorts of things. An AskMe thread that has a few judgmental comments removed is a better sitewide response to a situation than "waiting and seeing" and an angry MeTa thread that pops up because those comments stuck around and started a fight and a derail and people quitting the site. It's not "too much" work per se, it's work that could be avoided if we had eyes on the site at all times. This is sometimes true in MeFi where a few jokey comments nixed early in a serious thread can sort of help get a thread back on track, avoid a MeTa, angry emails, people quitting. Doesn't always work and isn't always a good idea, but part of what we do is make the judgment call about what we think is best for the site which I assure you is what taz was doing. And helping the new mod learn the ropes is something that people sort of have to deal with also and we'd appreciate your patience.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:33 AM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


The options she had were take action and ask for feedback in the morning or not take action and ask for feedback in the morning.

Yes, but the latter option allows for a routine action (deleting comments) to occur some hours later if mod consensus is with her (although I realize you don't necessarily work on consensus) , while the former action, the one she chose, is rarely reversed as I understand it.
posted by mreleganza at 10:33 AM on December 14, 2011


When I'm mod, humor is no longer subjective.

Were I a mod, humor would be subjunctive.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 10:35 AM on December 14, 2011 [22 favorites]


also i think it would be great if we could have a King of the Bean style thing every winter holiday season where one user would be selected randomly from a pool of willing participants to be the Worst Mod Ever for one day.

unfortunately for the sake of historical accuracy i guess we would have to sacrifice that user to the horned god at the end of that day.
posted by elizardbits at 10:36 AM on December 14, 2011 [10 favorites]


This is odd because jessamyn and cortex keep responding to posts but taz is the only one who can really answer the questions.
posted by smackfu at 10:37 AM on December 14, 2011


Yes, but the latter option allows for a routine action (deleting comments) to occur some hours later if mod consensus is with her

But if she waited hours to do it, that would pretty much defeat the purpose of deleting the comments, because any damage would be long done by that point.
posted by Think_Long at 10:39 AM on December 14, 2011


This is odd because jessamyn and cortex keep responding to posts but taz is the only one who can really answer the questions.

taz is sleeping, I'm pretty sure.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:40 AM on December 14, 2011


I thought people were picking on taz at first, too. But she seems to be deleting stuff based on personal whims and with an eye toward pushing discussion in her preferred direction (there have been other threads where she's done similar, but I can't remember the specific thread that made me notice this a while back), whereas restless_nomad, cortex, and jessamyn seem to mostly moderate to prevent social problems like fightiness and flamewars.
posted by empath at 10:40 AM on December 14, 2011 [9 favorites]


mreleganza: " Yes, but the latter option allows for a routine action (deleting comments) to occur some hours later if mod consensus is with her (although I realize you don't necessarily work on consensus) , while the former action, the one she chose, is rarely reversed as I understand it."

It's harder to delete comments after they've been sitting in a thread for a while, because people respond to them. Let's say a comment spawns 5 responses. And each of those spawns a response or two. And each of those... Suddenly, cleaning up a thread becomes much more complicated. Assume you're the mod. Do you delete them all once you realize that the first comment is problematic? If you don't, you're going to wind up with a lot of orphaned comments.

Delaying deletions often means that something doesn't get deleted.
posted by zarq at 10:41 AM on December 14, 2011


Yes, but the latter option allows for a routine action (deleting comments) to occur some hours later

Trying to respond to stuff as it develops often precludes a wait-for-several-hours approach. This is part of why we have a middle-of-the-night mod now, because it's been not so great to people awake on the other side of the world that Team Mod has always been functionally non-responsive to problems on the site for several hours in a row every night.

This is odd because jessamyn and cortex keep responding to posts but taz is the only one who can really answer the questions.

If it was two in the morning here the situation would be reversed. If you have a problem with not everybody being on the same schedule, I do not know what to tell you. I'm not going to march over to Greece and grab her by the ear so you can get the response you want.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:42 AM on December 14, 2011


shakespeherian: taz is sleeping, I'm pretty sure.

Some sort of early evening nap?
posted by gman at 10:42 AM on December 14, 2011


I complained about the deletions in-thread, then went to sleep, now there's a meta. I considered a meta at the time, but it didn't seem *that* big a deal to me, to be hassling taz & all.

Anyway...I did find the deletion logic circular: "there are so many people discussing this post that we can't hear ourselves have a discussion in here!"

Only, the majority of the discussion was jokey. Sometimes it just goes like that, and in this case I think it was a combination of gallows humour & the fact that there was precious little science to actually discuss. Nobody knew the scientist making these claims, there was no peer-reviewed article or other citations supporting it, in a complex area unfamiliar to most people, and just not that much edification & enlightening going on - IMHO not a factor of the jokes drowning it out, but more because there simply wasn't enough meat to get a bite of.

It was a fun, rollicking thread up until the deletions, and I don't recall many fart jokes at all.

There was the obligatory Cthulhu stuff, jibes at Republicans & change-deniers, all kinds of different funny angles. I riffed off something Burhanistan said, and it ended up as a joke around a modern version of Noah's ark, with two of every surviving creature: merchant bankers, media moguls, other 1 percenters, & two Kardashians. Just some light-hearted & inoffensive fun, and around a dozen people either liked it, saved it as a bookmark, or used a favourite to mark where they were up to in the thread at the time, so it can't have been all that bad.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:43 AM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is odd because jessamyn and cortex keep responding to posts but taz is the only one who can really answer the questions.


It's 8 PM in her time zone (and mine). She's probably having dinner or something, just like any other normal human being.
posted by daniel_charms at 10:44 AM on December 14, 2011


Suddenly, cleaning up a thread becomes much more complicated. Assume you're the mod. Do you delete them all once you realize that the first comment is problematic?

The right answer is generally a note from a mod saying: [any further posts about comment or topic x in this thread will be deleted, thank you]]
posted by empath at 10:44 AM on December 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


I'm not going to march over to Greece and grab her by the ear so you can get the response you want.

No, not with rising sea levels. You'll need to wait for the next Ice Age before that will be possible.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:44 AM on December 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


elizardbits: "also i think it would be great if we could have a King of the Bean style thing every winter holiday season where one user would be selected randomly from a pool of willing participants to be the Worst Mod Ever for one day.

unfortunately for the sake of historical accuracy i guess we would have to sacrifice that user to the horned god at the end of that day.
"

I figure the internet equivalent would be to post the user's email in plaintext in highly populated areas of the net, possibly next to a post about hating puppies and ice cream.
posted by Karmakaze at 10:50 AM on December 14, 2011


Zarq, Cortex, Think_Long, I didn't grasp that a delayed mod decision is sort of immutable regardless of which door is chosen, so I withdraw that statement from the record.

Also, sheesh people - if she works the overnight US shift, then that means VERY early morning in Greece, and hence, probably odd sleeping schedules. It's absurd to say, "It's a time in Greece that is still awake time for most people - WHERE THE HELL IS SHE?"
posted by mreleganza at 10:51 AM on December 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


Did you guys get a fucking groupon for fucking with the new mod or something?
posted by iamabot at 10:53 AM on December 14, 2011 [38 favorites]


. I riffed off something Burhanistan said, and it ended up as a joke around a modern version of Noah's ark, with two of every surviving creature: merchant bankers, media moguls, other 1 percenters, & two Kardashians. Just some light-hearted & inoffensive fun, and around a dozen people either liked it, saved it as a bookmark, or used a favourite to mark where they were up to in the thread at the time, so it can't have been all that bad.

Wow. Of all comments a mod chose to delete that one? That is a terrible comment deletion.
posted by Artw at 10:54 AM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


I thought people were picking on taz at first, too. But she seems to be deleting stuff based on personal whims and with an eye toward pushing discussion in her preferred direction

A pretty serious accusation. Some actual evidence would be nice.
posted by Melismata at 10:54 AM on December 14, 2011


If it was two in the morning here the situation would be reversed. If you have a problem with not everybody being on the same schedule, I do not know what to tell you. I'm not going to march over to Greece and grab her by the ear so you can get the response you want.

Chill out. I mean you two aren't obligated to respond and defend, if you don't know the answers.
posted by smackfu at 10:56 AM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


You probably just do a blanket revert though.
posted by Artw at 10:58 AM on December 14, 2011


empath: " The right answer is generally a note from a mod saying: [any further posts about comment or topic x in this thread will be deleted, thank you]]"

It's not so simple.

Sometimes that might work. Sometimes it won't. How many people will see that one comment in a thread, skip to the bottom and respond without reading the rest?

Plus... something else, from MeTa history:

Hasna posts an FPP, thanking the community for the advice and support shown to her when she posted an AskMe about being sexually assaulted in a foreign country. A user, Biru posted a couple of comments that essentially said, "You're not that special, and no one cares," that blew up the thread. The comments were left undeleted. mathowie banned him, saying:
I can see why Biru's comments were left in this thread, they were dickish and contrarian, but worth having the community respond to. I mean, they're difficult to read and have around but not quite tripping the line of outright attacks on anyone.

But when I took a deeper look at Biru's history, he already had two timeout strikes against him. Nearly 25% of all comments he has ever posted to Ask MetaFilter have been deleted as noise. Of the three of us mods, I'm usually the last one to say we should drop the banhammer and I'm usually the "give this user one last chance" guy, but in this case I think the guy has fully worn out his welcome and I've went ahead and banned his account.

I disagreed and asked for them to be removed. jessamyn replied:
Because deleting it means making the thread turn into a "what did he say?" exercise instead of a "This is what he said. This is what happened" situation. His comments would likely wind up being reposted anyhow.

hasna and everyone else have already read what he said. This is a story with a beginning, middle and an end. It's clear that what Biru said was out of line. It's also clear that it's not-okay. We don't like to delete comments in MetaTalk and we especially don't like to delete heavily-discussed comments even if they're noxious. This is generally how we do things.

I'm not terribly concerned that someone coming to MetaFilter will read those comments and get the wrong feeling about the community. At some level we have to trust people to not overgeneralize based on a few comments in a site with millions of comments.
FWIW, looking back I still disagree and think they should have been deleted. But I do still think it's great that the mods take every incident on a case by case basis and don't have a firm guideline in place to handle followups to deletions, the way you're suggesting.
posted by zarq at 10:58 AM on December 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


There are tens of thousands of things every day on the website on which a mod can make a mistake. Our mods - all of them - seems to be working at some six sigma level. It is quite heartening that there are so few moderation issues, really.
posted by vidur at 11:03 AM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


iamabot: Did you guys get a fucking groupon for fucking with the new mod or something?

This shit's getting pretty tiresome. As stated more than once in this thread (as if it's not obvious enough) this particular call-out has sweet fuck all to do with the fact taz is new.

mreleganza: Also, sheesh people - if she works the overnight US shift, then that means VERY early morning in Greece, and hence, probably odd sleeping schedules.

Not really sure what's going on here with people having issues with time zones, but if cortex on the west coast finishes up at, say, midnight, that's 10am in Greece.
posted by gman at 11:03 AM on December 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


zarq: Metatalk has completely different standards, though. I don't think I've ever seen a comment deleted in MeTa. If you want to blow up here and make a complete ass of yourself, no one will stop you; however, you'll also have no one to blame for the fallout but yourself.
posted by daniel_charms at 11:04 AM on December 14, 2011


smackfu: "Chill out. I mean you two aren't obligated to respond and defend, if you don't know the answers."

I'm confused, someone posts a metatalk thread asking if it's a new mod policy to delete jokes, but you only want to hear answers from the one mod who happens to be asleep/in a different time zone/unavailable?
posted by Grither at 11:06 AM on December 14, 2011


mreleganza: "Zarq, Cortex, Think_Long, I didn't grasp that a delayed mod decision is sort of immutable regardless of which door is chosen, so I withdraw that statement from the record."

FWIW, it took me a while to grasp it, too.

daniel_charms: "zarq: Metatalk has completely different standards, though.

True.

I don't think I've ever seen a comment deleted in MeTa.

I've had at least one deleted by cortex. I know a few other people who have had comments deleted, too.

If you want to blow up here and make a complete ass of yourself, no one will stop you;

There are lines that can be crossed. Digging through someone's history to attack their character, etc. Being too vicious and nasty, etc.

however, you'll also have no one to blame for the fallout but yourself."

Definitely true.
posted by zarq at 11:12 AM on December 14, 2011


I read that thread before the deletions and it was completely clear to me that The Whelk's comment was actually commenting on the jokes that preceded it. It's not a joke about the article, it's a (humorous) comment on how odd it is to be cracking wise about something with such serious implications. So it makes perfect sense that it didn't get culled along with the other jokes because it was making the very point that animated the culling itself.

That said, I think this was an unwise deletion. In general, I think "derailing" threads happens less often than people think. That is, people make a post and have, in their mind, an image of the wonderful rich discussion that the post is going to provoke. When that discussion doesn't eventuate, or goes in a radically different direction from what they imagined, they blame this on the discussion being "derailed." But in most cases it's just that Mefites aren't actually interested in the topic or don't have the same approach to it as the poster.

Joking responses don't preclude serious ones and I've seen lots of threads with a ton of snappy one-liners (which I often heartily enjoy--god knows I'd hate to see Metafilter lose its wit) followed by serious and impassioned debate. We're capable of joking about things we also care deeply about. In fact we mostly joke about things we care deeply about.
posted by yoink at 11:14 AM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Oh, and a P.S.: I've read all the metatalk threads about Taz's moderating and, from my p.o.v., not one of them has had the slightest merit until this one. Taz is obviously doing a bang-up job as a moderator if this minor slip is her biggest (and only) error to date.
posted by yoink at 11:18 AM on December 14, 2011 [17 favorites]


Oh, and a P.S.: I've read all the metatalk threads about Taz's moderating and, from my p.o.v., not one of them has had the slightest merit until this one. Taz is obviously doing a bang-up job as a moderator if this minor slip is her biggest (and only) error to date.

This is my sentiment as well.
posted by neuromodulator at 11:20 AM on December 14, 2011


A pretty serious accusation. Some actual evidence would be nice.

I really can't remember the thread now, I think it was a european political thread that I wasn't posting in, but the deletions struck me as weird at the time. I can't remember exactly what it was about, now, though.
posted by empath at 11:22 AM on December 14, 2011


Mods, when was the last time you heard a clamour for MORE moderation?

I'd like more moderation, particularly of comments on the blue. I'm comfortable with the fact that the mods take a path between my preferences and those who would like less.

Regarding the methane thread, it was one of those where I spent a little time trying to find the substantive information among the weak one-liners, then decided it was quicker to Google an intelligent blog or even one of the better subreddits to get a quality discussion. Basically, what cribcage said. Sadly, the signal to noise was such that it would have required even more deletions than I'm comfortable with to turn it around.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 11:23 AM on December 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


Okay, the mods have basically replied, over and over again, "Taz made the call. Probably not what we would have done, but there is learning going on."

This seems to answer the question of "is this a new policy?" with "no".

So, what do you want at this point? Remember, Taz probably won't be here to respond for quite a while.
posted by charred husk at 11:27 AM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Delete the early jokes, please!

More specifically, if we are going to keep favourites, which have a really shitty effect on the noise level of this site, strong moderation in reaction to the favourites whoring is appropriate. It seems as if taz failed to delete the biggest favourites whoring comment in the thread (I said 'seems'!), and if that is the case, that was the only mistake.
posted by Chuckles at 11:31 AM on December 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


Wow. Of all comments a mod chose to delete that one?

Apart from the irony that the people who were most responsible for, or who benefited most from the destruction of the planet would also be the only ones saved, I liked the implication that, come hell or high water, people would still be tuned in to the Kardashians right up to the bitter end, including whatever reality TV shenanigans they get up to when deciding which two of the three gets to go on the ark: "Meanwhile, Kourtney is still trying to decide what to pack, and heads down to the Gucci store to pick up a few new season accessories, when who does she bump into....?"
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:32 AM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


is it chthulhu? i hope it is chthulhu.
posted by elizardbits at 11:39 AM on December 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


OK, I'm usually all for the mods, but deleting what must have been fart jokes? I'm for giving them a pass.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:41 AM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Which seems to imply that if you want to joke around on the Blue you had better make sure your material is good. And which puts the mods in the position of actually judging the quality of the content of a given post, rather than whether or not the content is relevant to the thread at hand or within the acceptable guidelines. And that seems like maybe a road down which neither the mods nor the other users would want mods to have to go down.

I had this issue a few months ago, albeit just the once and not about jokey comments, and at that time I expressed this specific concern, that taz in that case had deleted things because they weren't important/interesting enough and because they "didn't add value". It bothers me that I don't appear to be alone in that concern, because that means it might be becoming a real, if almost certainly subconscious, pattern.

I did not make a MeTa about it because it was a) past 2 in the morning on the US West Coast and b) it was only a few comments between myself and one other user that were deleted and it wasn't worth making yet another taz-moderation angerfest. I largely don't have a problem with her moderation. I kept it to memail between us instead, which seemed like the best thing to do. But I have to say that I don't think this is taz's only error, and I think it looks very much like other things I have thought were errors for the same reasons.

I completely agree that she is learning and that it's understandable that moderation is going to be a little different while she (and restless_nomad) are learning. What I would like is for the mod team to examine the possibility that deletions for "value" are happening, and, if so, to control for that unintentional tendency. I very much doubt that deletions for value will ever be policy, but I worry that the deleting mod is using the perceived value of a comment as a tiebreaker of sorts between deletion and retention, and I don't think that's a good strategy here.
posted by Errant at 11:42 AM on December 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


Delete the early jokes, please!

Fuck that. Please focus on threadshitting and actual real issues.
posted by Artw at 11:46 AM on December 14, 2011 [7 favorites]


Fart jokes? I'm for giving them a pass.

I see what you did there.
posted by joe lisboa at 11:48 AM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Please focus on threadshitting and actual real issues. Arnt early jokes threadshitting?
posted by wheelieman at 11:50 AM on December 14, 2011


Early jokes are early jokes. Threadshitting is threadshitting. Sometimes they overlap, but one is not inherently the other.
posted by griphus at 11:51 AM on December 14, 2011 [7 favorites]


Not the first time this happened, actually:
[some comments deleted; I know obese monkey jokes are irresistible, but they were taking up a little too much room in this thread.]
posted by smackfu at 11:52 AM on December 14, 2011 [8 favorites]


I can clear a bit of this up. I made the joke I believe immediately preceding The Whelk's comment: to the effect that I had spoken to the ocean about this problem and it was blaming the dog. It got some favourites for whatever that's worth.

I was pretty ticked to see the suggestions later on that this was inappropriate for joking about or that I wasn't taking the subject seriously. As a matter of fact, I blogged about melting permafrost and the dangers it poses years ago; I take the subject extremely seriously, and I'd like to think I'm better informed on it than the average person.

I also have young children. Reading the FPP brought on a lot of deep despair, to be honest. And I have real problems day-to-day with depression. My reaction? The idea of these kilometre-wide plumes of methane rising non-stop being blamed on a dog... a little funnier than panicking or talking about stocking up on guns or whatever.

This degree of climate change, and its resultant effects - in my children's lifetime - is a very, very, very depressing thing to consider. Levity helps, it really does.
posted by stinkycheese at 11:57 AM on December 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


to the effect that I had spoken to the ocean about this problem and it was blaming the dog. It got some favourites for whatever that's worth.
posted by stinkycheese


epony...

Nah, too easy.
posted by futz at 12:00 PM on December 14, 2011


what must have been fart jokes? I'm for giving them a pass.

I see what you did there . . .
posted by Think_Long at 12:00 PM on December 14, 2011


Fart jokes? I'm for giving them a pass.

I see what you did there.
posted by joe lisboa at 11:48 AM on December 14 [+] [!]


GOD DAMMIT
posted by Think_Long at 12:01 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Heh.. Right in that Obese Monkeys thread we get this first comment:
What could possibly go wrong?
That is threadshitting.

And for the second time since it was possible to disable favourites, I've turned it on to find out..... Oh, how surprising, 53 favourites for that turd.
posted by Chuckles at 12:02 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


what must have been fart jokes? I'm for giving them a pass.

I agree. If we get enough of us together, we can start a movement.
posted by empath at 12:03 PM on December 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


Is this the thread where we can tell jokes? Because I know a lot of jokes.
posted by dios at 12:04 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I agree. If we get enough of us together, we can start a movement.

We Are The #2%
posted by mannequito at 12:07 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yes, but punchlines only: "So the octopus looks at the bagpipes and says "Play it? I'm going to fuck it once I can get its pyjamas off."
posted by Jofus at 12:07 PM on December 14, 2011 [29 favorites]


I was pretty ticked to see the suggestions later on that this was inappropriate for joking about or that I wasn't taking the subject seriously. As a matter of fact, I blogged about melting permafrost and the dangers it poses years ago; I take the subject extremely seriously, and I'd like to think I'm better informed on it than the average person.

That's great and all, but how are people who only see your joke about the dog to know that? If you don't want people to appear annoyed that you are not taking things seriously, then I think it's on you to, you know, show that you are taking them seriously.

As I noted upthread, I don't have a problem with the jokes, but I also understand a desire on the part of the mods to not let the entire thread derail into a jokefest and nothing else. It's a fine line. But if you're going to comment with just a one-liner, then I think you have to be prepared for others to treat you like you're not contributing anything substantive, and if it happens to made at the same time a whole bunch of other people make similar jokes, then it may get removed in the interest of the thread as a whole. I think it's bizarre that people are interpreting this as a "mods are now deleting all jokes!" situation, when it's patently not.
posted by modernnomad at 12:08 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


A baby seal walks into a rabbi. The rabbi shouts out "NUMBER THIRTY SEVEN" and the blonde turns to him and says "death by 'fraid not."
posted by griphus at 12:08 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also -- MetaFilter: I take the subject extremely seriously, and I'd like to think I'm better informed on it than the average person.
posted by modernnomad at 12:11 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


punchlines out of context are usually funnier than the jokes themselves.
posted by Think_Long at 12:11 PM on December 14, 2011


Moderators are not facilitators or pastoral advisors.

But if you want them to be, vote Pater Aletheias for moderator in 2012! Pater Aletheias: he'll pastorally advise the hell out of your threads.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 12:12 PM on December 14, 2011 [18 favorites]


A baby seal walks into a rabbi.

the best part is that i am reasonably certain this is hilarious in russian.
posted by elizardbits at 12:13 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Obviously my own background vis a vis melting permafrost is not apparent from a one-line joke. I explain this here because we're debating the reason behind these jokes (I think?) and my reasoning was basically a) I can just despair basically because this is so overwhelming and or horrible, or b) I can inject some levity. Of course the third choice is always to not post a response at all, but I did and I'm trying to convey my thinking in doing so.
posted by stinkycheese at 12:13 PM on December 14, 2011


Of course the third choice is always to not post a response at all

Or put more effort into your jokes.
posted by daniel_charms at 12:16 PM on December 14, 2011


punchlines out of context are usually funnier than the jokes themselves

/silently stands on one leg, covers one eye, and flips you the bird.
posted by jquinby at 12:17 PM on December 14, 2011


I stand by my joke. But slightly off to one side.
posted by stinkycheese at 12:17 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think taz has been unfairly called out before, but to just add my voice, this was a pretty bad decision.
posted by maxwelton at 12:19 PM on December 14, 2011


I stand by my joke. But slightly off to one side.

Which side, though? To the left, or to the right? I can't tell you why but it's very important.
posted by daniel_charms at 12:21 PM on December 14, 2011

[ Removed a couple comments. Please let's not go the reductio ad absurdium route here. Thanks. ]
Hey, restless_nomad, was there was something going on here besides the rhetorical fallacy? Things would get a little thin around here if all fallacious argumentation was removed.
posted by zamboni at 12:22 PM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


If you have a problem with not everybody being on the same schedule, I do not know what to tell you. I'm not going to march over to Greece and grab her by the ear so you can get the response you want.

Well, short of assault, it seems like the issues surrounding an antipodal mod could be addressed by not having an antipodal mod but instead hiring two mods, one of whom lives a few hours earlier than Greece and one who lives a few hours later, while both overlapping in their shifts, and moreso with the shifts of more experienced mods. This way, the period of time when any one mod is on the dark side of the moon could be reduced. Maybe that's overkill for a minor problem, but it's not logistically insurmountable even though it increases organizational complexity and cost.

This could also be addressed by simply changing the clock-in, clock-out time associated with moderation duties to make them independent of location. With the advent of electric lighting, there's no reason anyone needs to live in Europe to work those hours.
posted by Jeff Howard at 12:25 PM on December 14, 2011


Which side, though? To the left, or to the right?

Upwind.
posted by stinkycheese at 12:25 PM on December 14, 2011


A few months ago, when we had one of these discussions before, one of the new mods said something along the lines of, "While I'm new and uncertain, my goal is to delete more rather than less", which I thought was a depressing thing to see a new mod say.

That is a serious misrepresentation of what restless_nomad actually said. Actually, it's flat-out false.

Here are her actual words from the earlier discussion:
It's totally possible that it was an overreaction. That's probably going to be my failure mode for the first couple of months.
That's not "Mwa-ha-ha, prepare to have comments deleted with prejudice, puny MeFites!" It's an acknowledgment that errors in one direction (deletions) will be noticed in a way that errors in the other direction (failure to delete) will not be.

The verbose explanation I wrote at the time:
As has been previously discussed above, that wasn't an apology or a non-apology, it was an explanation that because of the way such things work, the way in which any "failures" by restless_nomad will appear is as an apparent overreaction.

Imagine a 2x2 grid representing whether the members of the mod team would or would not delete a particular comment. The top axis represents "existing mods would delete this comment" (Yes or No) and the side axis represents "restless_nomad would delete this comment" (again, Yes or No).

Top left quadrant: existing mods would delete the comment and restless_nomad would delete the comment. Fine, it gets deleted and any complaints that arise are about excessive moderation in general, not about restless_nomad's moderation specifically.

Bottom left quadrant: existing mods would delete the comment but restless_nomad wouldn't. Fine, she leaves it up until one of the other mods sees it and deletes it, and any complaints that arise are about excessive moderation in general, not about restless_nomad's moderation specifically.

Bottom right quadrant: existing mods wouldn't delete the comment and restless_nomad wouldn't delete the comment. Fine, it stays and any complaints that arise are about something other than excessive moderation (whether in general or specifically related to restless_nomad's moderation).

Top right quadrant and we get to the place there's trouble and the place that restless_nomad was trying to explain: She deletes it but because the other mods wouldn't have, it gets reinstated. And then come the complaints about how she's moderating excessively and all that.

This is where "problems" and "failures" in her moderation will show up, because by the nature of the situation it's about the only place they can.
If you want to read restless_nomad's own explanation of errors of commission being more visible than errors of omission, it's here.
posted by Lexica at 12:25 PM on December 14, 2011 [7 favorites]


Things would get a little thin around here if all fallacious argumentation was removed.

Heh, I didn't see the particular comments removed in that thread but man can I get behind the reasoning.
posted by Hoopo at 12:29 PM on December 14, 2011


[ Removed a couple comments. Please let's not go the reductio ad absurdium route here. Thanks. ]
Hey, restless_nomad, was there was something going on here besides the rhetorical fallacy? Things would get a little thin around here if all fallacious argumentation was removed.


I flagged one of the comments in that flag that has since been removed. It was a comment to the effect that if people angry about the way date rape trials currently went had their way, then men would be locked up and their lives ruined all of the time because of some woman's say-so. And then there were subsequent comments rebutting that.

The comments remaining in the thread from the same poster demonstrate the same concerns, but in a more substantive manner that allows for more of a conversation than the earlier, shorter, more inflammatory version.

The thread's been re-railed, in other words.
posted by rewil at 12:41 PM on December 14, 2011


This is odd because jessamyn and cortex keep responding to posts but taz is the only one who can really answer the questions.

Sure, but more to the point, people keep posting and posting and posting and beating this mostly dead horse. Obviously Taz isn't around and I agree, it's clear at this point that certain people aren't going to feel satisfied until they hear something from her. So, okay. Wait for her to return. The more comments get posted in the meantime, the more she'll need to read and the longer it'll take her to respond.
posted by cribcage at 12:42 PM on December 14, 2011


Hey Taz, how's it going?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:47 PM on December 14, 2011


I'm going to re-post one of my deleted comments from the original thread, as it is now becoming increasingly relevant to the current discussion:

"Welp, time to start welding spikes to the ol' dune buggy."
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:47 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


zamboni: "
[ Removed a couple comments. Please let's not go the reductio ad absurdium route here. Thanks. ]
Hey, restless_nomad, was there was something going on here besides the rhetorical fallacy? Things would get a little thin around here if all fallacious argumentation was removed
"

I saw what got deleted - it was a misunderstanding/misrepresentation that was set to derail things seriously in a charged thread. A good, quick call.
posted by charred husk at 12:48 PM on December 14, 2011


The verbose explanation I wrote at the time:

You were wrong then and you're wrong now.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 12:56 PM on December 14, 2011


That was a depressing post. The gallows humour was the only thing keeping me from feeling completely overwhelmed by the news. If nothing else, it reminded me of metafilter in the ruins. Thanks Dasein for a well-written Metatalk post.
posted by saucysault at 12:59 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yeah, what I deleted was the following:
"So, in this brave new world would any woman be able to get any man locked up for life simply on her say-so?"
Which was immediately flagged to death and responded to with a couple of accusations of trolling. I pulled all of that and the point's been made in less-hyperbolic fashion and the derail seems to have died. So, yay for flagging!
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 12:59 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, I actually posted in-thread about how the huge number of (almost wholly crappy) jokes made reading the thread a somewhat frustrating experience, but this said I recognise that's just my preference, as dropping Rodney Dangerfield lines into every thread they can is the preference of other users - and however much it irritates me, each choice is as valid as the other.

I do think, however, the line between threadshit and joke is at-times a gossamer-thin one from a mod perspective, very hard to delineate sometimes - and once again I'm surprised at how worked up people get about having a comment deleted, let alone a pretty wan joke that makes the world and mefi neither a better or worse place really in the long run.

I can't help but wonder what direction that thread would have taken if the first twenty or so comments were from people who bothered to read the link and respond to it - but then, that's my fantasy version of mefi and I fully acknowledge the real-life version has no duty to adhere to it, and once you make a post it's free to evolve however.

Mostly, I'm glad I'm not a mod, really. You poor bastards get raked over the coals for the most trivial shit. If mefites were restaurant patrons, that umpteen-returned-to-the-kitchen burger sure would have a lot of spit in it by now.
posted by smoke at 1:01 PM on December 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


You poor bastards get raked over the coals for the most trivial shit.

At heart, 99.9999% of this site is trivial shit.
posted by smackfu at 1:03 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Crabby Appleton: " You were wrong then and you're wrong now."

Because....?
posted by zarq at 1:04 PM on December 14, 2011


I didn't mean to imply any sort of ill-will motivation, but

... an overreaction. That's probably going to be my failure mode for the first couple of months.

Is exactly what I'm talking about, defaulting to being over-reactive, rather than defaulting to hands-off is a serious failing in a mod, imho. You are free to disagree, but it was disappointing to see then, and it's disappointing to see you championing it now. You hand-wave away to extra deletions with "it gets reinstated", which is complete BS. The mods rarely re-instate deleted comments, and due to the fast moving nature of conversation here, even if they did put it back, the conversation has moved on, so unless un-deletes occur at the end of the thread, few people will see what was temporarily disappeared. Much like it's hard to clean up a thread gone bad, it's hard to un-delete something in a way that makes any sort of conversational sense.
posted by nomisxid at 1:05 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


One person's opinion: The snark-machine members of this community are tiresome and self-indulgent, come across like the site is more about their having an audience than being part of a community.

By the way, some recollection that at least one mod has related a lack of enthusiasm for threads that begin and continue with snark/noise when it's clear so little time has passed that people haven't read much or any of the post.
posted by ambient2 at 1:07 PM on December 14, 2011 [12 favorites]


Because....?

Go read the thread. There you will find orthogonality's original interpretation of restless_nomad's comment, as well as comments by those who agree, and those who disagree with his interpretation. You can make up your own mind.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 1:18 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I just noticed I still have the thread up in a tab opened last night, and everything is intact up to 9:19 pm US Central time, several hours before the deletion explanation. Drop me a memail if you'd like to see a screenshot of something specific.

The first few comments, including the bit preceding The Whelk's "we're doomed" comment, is up on my flickr stream, which you can access via my profile page. (Assuming this comment is allowed to stand.)
posted by heyho at 1:27 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


You know what, Crabby? Many of us did read the thread. We read orthogonality's original interpretation of restless_nomad's comment, and we read the comments by those who agreed and those who disagreed with his interpretation. We then made up our own minds.

And we still disagree with you.

If you actually want to get people to change their minds, you need to make an argument for your position. Telling people to go reread something they've already read, with the implied "and THIS time you'll see that I'm right!" is pretty much guaranteed to be ineffectual.

If, however, you just want to continue the "I'm right and you're all wrong and stupid" posturing, carry on.

nomisxid, if you think restless_nomad was proclaiming her intention to "default to being over-reactive, rather than defaulting to hands-off" I think you have misread or misinterpreted her explanation, not to mention my attempt to expand on it. That was the whole point about errors of commission being visible while errors of omission aren't; it's not an attitude of "errors of commission, WOO HOO!" it's "yeah, the errors of commission are the only ones you're likely to notice (since the errors of omission are by definition omitted)".
posted by Lexica at 1:29 PM on December 14, 2011 [8 favorites]


Seeing the original screenshot, I'm even more perplexed why The Whelk's comment was allowed to stay, or any better than the ones that got deleted.
posted by litnerd at 1:33 PM on December 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


For what it's worth, Lexica's explanation is totally dead-on in re: errors of omission vs commission. However, at that point I was also talking about my own tendency to be the Iron-Fisted Overlord (which at this point I think I have firmly under control.) It's just a matter of prior training and habit, which takes a while to shift.

It's also really, really hard to look at something that's getting flagged and just shrug and move on. People are asking me to do something, so there must be something I can do! It took me a while to find a balance between "delete ALL the things!" and "don't delete but leave a stern note" and "shrug and move on" and I'm still tweaking it - and I have a couple months on Taz plus the benefit of almost always having someone else in email range when I'm working to double-check my though process.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 1:37 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Lexica, you opened with this:

That is a serious misrepresentation of what restless_nomad actually said. Actually, it's flat-out false.

And followed up with your tortured revisionist explanation of what she really meant, as if that obviously settled the issue. Sorry, no. I'm not interested in changing your mind, or really that of anyone who's read the thread and made their decision. And I'm certainly not interested in recapitulating the thread. I mainly wanted to point out, for those who haven't read the thread that the issue is not as cut-and-dried as you made it out to be. And stop putting words in my mouth.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 1:38 PM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


rhetorical fallacy

Actually reductio ad absurdam is not a rhetorical fallacy. It's not a logical fallacy--it's a way of pointing out a fallacy in the argument it addresses. It points out that the argument, if taken to its logical conclusion, leads to an absurdity.

Here is the argument that my deleted comment was referring to:

We need a different system for sex crimes. Our criminal justice system is woefully inept at dealing with them. I often think that maybe we should at least try out a system that is pretty old school- labeling predators as "sexual deviants" and having them involuntarily committed. That way, they can never get out.

Saying that rapists should not be afforded the protections of the criminal justice system and be committed for life to insane asylums seems to me to be a pretty obviously "absurd" proposal. As far as I can see asking
"So, in this brave new world would any woman be able to get any man locked up for life simply on her say-so?"
is the obvious follow up question to such a bizarre statement.
posted by yoink at 1:41 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


yoink: "is the obvious follow up question to such a bizarre statement."

Not obvious at all. They were talking about punishment, you were talking about conviction.
posted by charred husk at 1:42 PM on December 14, 2011


Let me add: I think it's a bit disingenous of restless_nomad, above, to quote the deleted post without giving even a hint of the very specific comment to which it was a response.
posted by yoink at 1:43 PM on December 14, 2011


Has there been any consideration for mods maybe taking it to Meta preemptively if they aren't sure and there are no mods around to bounce the topic off of? User feedback isn't as good as mod feedback, but it could help a bit.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:44 PM on December 14, 2011


I saw dem ears too!"
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 1:44 PM on December 14, 2011


They were talking about punishment, you were talking about conviction.

Given that the FPP is about a case that was tried and (at least in the FPP's telling) did not secure a conviction, that seems like an unwarranted reading of what is meant by the phrase "criminal justice system." The entire discussion was about trials, not about punishment.
posted by yoink at 1:45 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


> Correction: Now that I'm thinking/looking at this properly, I'd just clicked the show new comments button, so I have the entire thread intact, before deletions.
posted by heyho at 1:48 PM on December 14, 2011


yoink, that is how reduction ad absurdam is supposed to work. The original comment could certainly be interpreted to mean something like that, if carried through to its seemingly natural conclusion.

However:

It's also a very common, reactionary rebuttal to criticisms of the way our justice system handles (or doesn't handle.) rape, and it's often made in what seems like very poor faith.

Since it's the internet, and not everyone knows you, you probably don't want them thinking that you're that kind of jackass.

Under the circumstances everyone could probably afford to be careful about how they lay out their opinions, it's a real mine field.
posted by Stagger Lee at 1:49 PM on December 14, 2011


yoink: "The entire discussion was about trials, not about punishment."

Yes, but the only suggestion that had been made, and the one you quoted, was about punishment. No one had said anything about what changes they wanted for trials yet. You jumped the gun and inserted an less than generous reading of what they might actually wanted.
posted by charred husk at 1:49 PM on December 14, 2011


Yeah, your reply totally logical and I actually agree with your point. It's just that as a rhetorical technique it doesn't work very well in emotionally-charged threads, because people a) read it as sarcasm and bristle and b) in general aren't very good at tracking the argument backwards to what specifically you're saying is absurd. In this case, I think people were reading your statement as an attack in victim testimony in general, rather than a response to that specific proposal (even though you quoted it specifically.)

In general one-line responses that depend on a reading of hyperbole or sarcasm in an emotionally charged thread often lead to shitstorms. People's ability to read for tone seems to go all to hell when they get emotionally involved. Being either more literal or following up a line like that with a more specific criticism tends to work a lot better. It's not a criticism of you personally, yoink, or your position - this was just a rhetorical misfire, that's all.

(And of course we'd all prefer if people didn't respond to sarcasm with in-thread accusations of trolling, but that's a different argument.)
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 1:49 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


> Has there been any consideration for mods maybe taking it to Meta preemptively if they aren't sure and there are no mods around to bounce the topic off of?

Heh. That would pretty much kill the benevolent dictator model going on now.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:50 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Like heyho, I had this open in another tab this morning. If I've gotten the regular expressions right, this is the thread as of around 9pm Pacific, with deleted comments highlighted. If that's not something I should do, please feel free to delete this comment, mods.
posted by hades at 1:51 PM on December 14, 2011 [27 favorites]


Oh, yeah; much better, hades.
posted by heyho at 1:54 PM on December 14, 2011


That's really arbitrary.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:54 PM on December 14, 2011 [11 favorites]


Has there been any consideration for mods maybe taking it to Meta preemptively if they aren't sure and there are no mods around to bounce the topic off of? User feedback isn't as good as mod feedback, but it could help a bit.

I feel like that wouldn't (a) scale well as a regular thing or (b) work well for getting a decision on the quick side about a specific moderation decision. There's a lot of sort of social and temporal overhead that would go with the idea.

We've definitely gone the "hey, here's a new idea/feature, what do you think" route a few times when we're working on something significant and that can work out okay but that's partly because it's something that can be a conversation over a couple days. I think bringing something preemptively to metatalk from the mod side is a lot more workable for that sort of thing than day-to-day realtime mod work.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:55 PM on December 14, 2011


Wowser, that's a lot of deletions.
posted by smackfu at 1:56 PM on December 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


Like heyho, I had this open in another tab this morning. If I've gotten the regular expressions right, this is the thread as of around 9pm Pacific, with deleted comments highlighted.

Wow... WOW. That's a lot of deletions. What a shit show. Jesus, that's not weeding the garden, that's turning all the shrubs into poodles and shit.
posted by nathancaswell at 1:57 PM on December 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


thanks for laying it out like that hades. that is a lot of deletions.
posted by mannequito at 1:58 PM on December 14, 2011


Totally. And to be clear, I wouldn't normally post something the mods have seen fit to delete, but this was beyond the grey, as it were...
posted by heyho at 1:58 PM on December 14, 2011


That is arbitrary bullshit right there.
posted by unSane at 1:58 PM on December 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


God I keep scrolling and there's more and more. I hereby retract my previous "I hate to say this." This is kind of fucked ya'll.
posted by nathancaswell at 1:59 PM on December 14, 2011


So, at what point would a mod transition from "they're learning, give them time" to "there's a problem with this mod's approach"?
posted by litnerd at 2:00 PM on December 14, 2011


It seems to me that it would have been wiser to just nuke the whole thing and ask the OP to post it again. At least that's what I would have done, but I guess that's why I joined Iron-Fisted Dictators Anonymous.
posted by daniel_charms at 2:00 PM on December 14, 2011


At any rate, I'd just as soon give taz a Mulligan, though, and maybe move on from all this.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:01 PM on December 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


Wow, I think that's like 60 deleted comments?
posted by lalex at 2:02 PM on December 14, 2011


Like heyho, I had this open in another tab this morning. If I've gotten the regular expressions right, this is the thread as of around 9pm Pacific, with deleted comments highlighted. If that's not something I should do, please feel free to delete this comment, mods.

I've stayed out of this because I wasn't participating in the original thread...but what the hell? The pick-and-choose deletions were very weird. It's like loading a gun with moderation, stepping back 20 feet, and closing your eyes before firing.
posted by phunniemee at 2:02 PM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Guess which one was not deleted:

a) Everybody just chill the fuck out - I got this one.
b) This vexes me.
C) remain calm, all is well and in good hands
posted by smackfu at 2:03 PM on December 14, 2011


It seems to me that it would have been wiser to just nuke the whole thing and ask the OP to post it again.

I think the best plan would have been to go way lighter on the pruning or just throw hands up and hope no one started a "why didn't you delete all this noise fucking up this thread" metatalk, mostly. The problem wasn't with how the post was made, so nuking the post entirely would be probably not a great solution; I think we actually did that once or twice in the past and the bulk of the feedback was that folks weren't really fond of that approach, in any case.

So, at what point would a mod transition from "they're learning, give them time" to "there's a problem with this mod's approach"?

When it seems like there's actually some recurring problem with a mod's approach rather than an odd situation that we've talked about. Again, this is not how I would have approached the thread, and we chatted about the whole thing this morning with her.

There have certainly been threads where we've done serious fruit-of-the-poisonous-tree pruning at this scale. It's not something that really translates to hardcore riffing rather than hardcore aggro was the main point of disconnect.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:05 PM on December 14, 2011


On one hand, I kind of feel bad for Taz now because this really holds her work up in a light that is probably unprecedented. I mean, all the mods have admitted to making mistakes but I don't think anyone of them has had their dirty underwear thrust into the light in this way.

On the other hand, that underwear is dirty.
posted by mreleganza at 2:08 PM on December 14, 2011


I think the point is we could smell the underwear before we saw it.
posted by unSane at 2:08 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Holy fuck that's a lot of deletes.
posted by entropicamericana at 2:09 PM on December 14, 2011


That's really arbitrary.

My guess is that it's every comment that was flagged. Or flagged twice, something like that. So it's not arbitrary to someone working through the flag queue.
posted by smackfu at 2:11 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I will atone by making a large pot of red beans and rice for everyone to share.

BYOBeano
posted by y2karl at 2:11 PM on December 14, 2011


See, my joke about global warming and moderation was meant to point out the parallels between climate change doomsayers and deniers and the general this-is-the-end-of-the-world tone of most metatalk moderation discussions. I think I failed to properly highlight the parallel I was making, but I do think there's a good joke in there somewhere. Please pretend I made the ideal joke from those parameters and be impressed by my wit accordingly. In fact, if everyone could just agree to pretend all my comments are ideal comments combining wit, insight and a stunning command of language, then I think we'll all be better off.

Having said that, unSane I get that you're extending a metaphor but talking about smelling mods' underwear is somewhere I don't think we should go.
posted by neuromodulator at 2:11 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


My guess is that it's every comment that was flagged. Or flagged twice, something like that. So it's not arbitrary to someone working through the flag queue.

Can we have some feedback on that? (Unless I missed it above) I'd be very interested to know.
posted by phunniemee at 2:12 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I feel like that wouldn't (a) scale well as a regular thing or (b) work well for getting a decision on the quick side about a specific moderation decision. There's a lot of sort of social and temporal overhead that would go with the idea.

Yeah, I would not do it regularly, but the question of the appropriateness of this many deletions in one thread was always going to land in Metatalk anyway.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:13 PM on December 14, 2011


If flags were equal to "delete-worthy" there wouldn't be any need for real-live moderation; the comment or post would automatically get deleted after so many (or any) flags.
posted by litnerd at 2:13 PM on December 14, 2011


Linking the post so more people can pile on when a clear consensus has already been reached = not helpful, imo.
posted by Glinn at 2:13 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Linking the post so more people can pile on when a clear consensus has already been reached = not helpful, imo.

On the contrary, seeing actual data versus "a lot of stuff was deleted" is extremely helpful and shows the extent of the problem in a much clearer manner.
posted by Big_B at 2:16 PM on December 14, 2011 [21 favorites]


No, it is totally helpful. I went from "I have the vague feeling that Metafilter has been over-moderated lately and from what I am hearing in this thread it may support my feeling" to "this was kind of shocking, tbh."
posted by nathancaswell at 2:17 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


at what point would a mod transition from "they're learning, give them time" to "there's a problem with this mod's approach"?

At the point at which you have more than one or two data points that indicate that there is a consistent problem that is visible in their approach. One thread that went badly is not at that point, to me. I get that people are upset about this. I think we can clearly state that this is not how similar MeFi threads will be handled in the future. If, despite our assurances, people feel that this is the tip of the iceberg and some sort of ongoing problem base don other similar occurrences by the same mod, then yeah we should have that conversation.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:18 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Can we have some feedback on that? (Unless I missed it above) I'd be very interested to know.

Most of them weren't flagged, at a glance. If we go and try and clean up a whole branch of something from a thread it's usually more of an issue of having identified what seems like the problematic string and going from there, which flagging may or may not line up with.

Humor's a subjective enough thing that that's tricky to do with deletions, which is part of why I think it's generally a better idea to sort of leave riffing alone unless there's something specifically more problematic about it in play.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:19 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I would never have read the original post except I saw that The Whelk had a post with 125 favorites. I was sure it must be damn good! So I read the comment. I was underwhelked.

But I read the rest of the post anyway and was glad I did. So thanks, The Whelk!

I am also sad that Taz pruned so much. I like Taz a lot and admire her but I am really, really troubled by heavy-handed moderation. To me heavy-handed moderation says that we contributors can't be trusted; that we must be guided and steered down the path in a certain way. As a fully-fledged adult that is a maddening thought. Please don't do that.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 2:23 PM on December 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


'a bunch of comments' = 59 as far as I can tell
posted by unSane at 2:25 PM on December 14, 2011


Or 'about a hundred jokes' = 59.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 2:29 PM on December 14, 2011


this is the tip of the iceberg

see she's talking about an iceberg here i really think i'm onto something with this joke guys
posted by neuromodulator at 2:30 PM on December 14, 2011


One person's opinion: The snark-machine members of this community are tiresome and self-indulgent, come across like the site is more about their having an audience than being part of a community.

I feel the same way, although I think it's broader than just 'snark'. There are a few people here who seem to take up a lot of space, commenting with astounding frequency. Many times, it's in an almost stream-of-consciousness way, sometimes coming across as a series of half-thoughts within a single thread. Often these comments are quite witty and charming by themselves, but in series it's sort of like 'that guy' at a party who never. shuts. up.

The phrases 'familiarity breeds contempt' and 'absence makes the heart grow fonder' both come to mind; I'd appreciate these people a lot more if they gave it a rest once in a while.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 2:31 PM on December 14, 2011 [8 favorites]


I am also sad that Taz pruned so much. I like Taz a lot and admire her but I am really, really troubled by heavy-handed moderation. To me heavy-handed moderation says that we contributors can't be trusted; that we must be guided and steered down the path in a certain way. As a fully-fledged adult that is a maddening thought. Please don't do that.

Not to mention there were all kinds of replies and people riffing off each other that didn't get the axe, so they make no sense any more. She butchered the thread.

The blue is not the green, and it shouldn't be treated that way.
posted by empath at 2:31 PM on December 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


Wait, was my Stan Rogers link deleted and then restored? That's even weirder.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:34 PM on December 14, 2011


The blue is not the green, and it shouldn't be treated that way.

How many times do cortex and jess have to explain that this is not reflective of general policy?
posted by soelo at 2:47 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's probably just a mistake in my regular expression, The WhiteSkull. I think maybe it tagged anything with a youtube link as deleted.
posted by hades at 2:47 PM on December 14, 2011


Not to mention there were all kinds of replies and people riffing off each other that didn't get the axe, so they make no sense any more. She butchered the thread.

Like they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. It looks to me taz tried to re-rail this thread and I agree that it was a bad call, since in this case, that train was long gone, with the end result even worse in many respects than the original situation (that's why I said I would have nuked it altogether, though now I've reconsidered this). I trust, though, that she's not a madwoman bent on ridding Mefi of humor and she understands what she could have done differently. So perhaps we shouldn't make her walk the plank just yet?
posted by daniel_charms at 2:50 PM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


It looks like it just turned into a mess she didn't know how to back out of gracefully. You delete a joke because it seems like it derails a good conversation people want to have, but then you need to delete another joke, and another, and another, and the jokes keep coming so you keep on deleting until you're squirming under a heap of deleted jokes. And so you think maybe you ought to ask for a little help, but you'd have to wake people up.

Shit. I'm glad I don't have so many people judging every step I take at my job. I can undo my mistakes pretty quietly.
posted by pracowity at 2:52 PM on December 14, 2011 [12 favorites]


You know, I think at some point you have to cut people some slack and realize they will make the occasional mistake. In this case, taz trimmed out a bunch of jokey fart-related comments on an environmental disaster. This might very well have been going a little too far in the moderation of this particular thread, but to read some of the reactions here you'd think comments were redeemable for their character count in grams of gold.

People stumble, relax already.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:53 PM on December 14, 2011 [26 favorites]


I totally understand about the difference between the Green and the Blue: The Green is a place of serious business where the only agenda is answering the specific question posed. The Blue, on the other hand, is a place of opinions, questions, jokes, feelings, arguments, experiences, stories, and links. Some people are aggravated that there is too much joking and snark. I'm sure there are places on the internet where you can discuss serious topics seriously. MetaFilter is not the Old West where anything flies, but over the years we have established an atmosphere of trust in ourselves and in the mods that we can discuss things as a community with good-natured humor and some side-derails without coming unglued.

The one thing that would really hurt this community is a loss of faith in our moderators.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 2:54 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Threadshitting should be removed, but I don't think threads should be "steered" or "rerailed". The first action is more of a defensive move, and that's fine. Offensively or proactively trying to make a better thread just seems difficult- whose idea of "better" does one aspire to? What should be removed to point the thread in that direction? That just seems like a quagmire in a tar pool on quicksand. I feel like the weird deletions I've seen have been efforts to make threads behave a certain way, instead of just cleaning out cruft and letting the thread go on its merry way.
posted by oneirodynia at 2:55 PM on December 14, 2011


Like they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. It looks to me taz tried to re-rail this thread and I agree that it was a bad call, since in this case, that train was long gone, with the end result even worse in many respects than the original situation (that's why I said I would have nuked it altogether, though now I've reconsidered this). I trust, though, that she's not a madwoman bent on ridding Mefi of humor and she understands what she could have done differently. So perhaps we shouldn't make her walk the plank just yet?

This is an astounding paved railroad at sea that is apparently attacked by nuclear weapons.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:56 PM on December 14, 2011 [13 favorites]


In this case, taz trimmed out a bunch of jokey fart-related comments on an environmental disaster.

This is simply not true. A lot of these weren't even "fart jokes."

It is a good thing that this is all part of the liberal conspiracy, and not real!
posted by tarantula at 6:33 PM on December 13 [1 favorite +] [!]


First thought, Waterworld. Second thought, the last episode of Dinosaurs, the muppetated sitcom.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:22 PM on December 13 [3 favorites +] [!]


at least the apocalypse will purge all the unworthies and shape this weak decadent society into something strong and vital and righteous hey wait a minute i died, i wasn't supposed to die, this apocalypse is some bullshit tell cormac mccarthy i want my fucking money back
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 7:30 PM on December 13 [8 favorites +] [!]


No one could have predicted... NO one.
posted by darkstar at 8:00 PM on December 13 [+] [!]

posted by nathancaswell at 2:56 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Someone put too many farts in this engine! It's about to explode!"
posted by drjimmy11 at 2:58 PM on December 14, 2011


Well, I actually posted in-thread about how the huge number of (almost wholly crappy) jokes made reading the thread a somewhat frustrating experience

It's kind of funny your comment is still there and wasn't deleted, since it makes a lot less sense after all the deletions.
posted by smackfu at 2:59 PM on December 14, 2011


My point still stands, nathancaswell. This was arguably a mistake, but I think the reaction is in some cases disproportionate.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:00 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Mods over deleting comments = SBD
posted by stinkycheese at 3:03 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


oh man, it would suck to wake up to 200+ comments on your job performance


so glad i'm not a mod
posted by insectosaurus at 3:04 PM on December 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


Yeah, having now read Hades' screengrab of the thread pre-deletion, I've gotta retract my previous upthread support for what I had assumed was some judicious pruning of a bunch of jokes right at the start of the thread. Those deletions look wholly arbitrary and made without any kind of consistent thought process or rubric.
posted by modernnomad at 3:05 PM on December 14, 2011


Yeah, I mean ultimately the reaction is disproportionate, we're talking about an internet message board here.

Still there is just something kind of insulting about someone machete-ing their way through the thread like THIS IS AN ADULT PLACE FOLKS WE'RE GOING TO HAVE AN ADULT CONVERSATION HERE FOLKS NONE OF YOU ARE UP TO SNUFF
posted by nathancaswell at 3:07 PM on December 14, 2011 [7 favorites]


I understand the feeling that threads are getting too noisy and jokey and snarky, especially right out of the gate. Despite the fact that I occasionally join in, against my better judgment, I agree.

But so the culture of drive-by jokes and snarky comments and not reading the links or the thread is to some extent destructive to the culture of the Blue that we know and love, yes. Heavy-handed moderation of those same threads is destructive of the culture too. And this isn't to heap on to taz even more; I think this was a mistake but see no reason to believe it's part of a pattern of anything. At this point everybody knows what happened, everybody knows all the mods' responses to it, it's a settled issue. We can all move forward.

Okay but as I was saying: if being jokey and not really engaging with posts and threads is destructive, and heavily modding in an attempt to shape general behavior is destructive too, all we can do is try to self-moderate, which is what Metafilter's been about since the beginning. Moderate each other, sure, a little bit, where appropriate and in good faith. But mostly moderate our own selves.

Make good posts, write good comments. If you don't have a good post or a good comment, don't make one. Ignore or flag bad comments, with the understanding that even if you flag you might have to ignore also. Try to rise above the instinct to get to the joke first and instead add something to the discussion. We can all get better, and it would solve both problems. I know we love this place and we want it to be the kind of place we love. I think that's doable. This whole extended discussion has certainly inspired me to try.
posted by penduluum at 3:07 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is the single worst moderation of a thread I recall seeing on Metafilter.

That is both a condemnation of what has happened and an honest compliment to the mod team as a whole.
posted by Saydur at 3:09 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wait, was my Stan Rogers link deleted and then restored? That's even weirder.

Not when you consider the fact that Stan Rogers is fucking awesome.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 3:13 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Still there is just something kind of insulting about someone machete-ing their way through the thread like THIS IS AN ADULT PLACE FOLKS WE'RE GOING TO HAVE AN ADULT CONVERSATION HERE FOLKS NONE OF YOU ARE UP TO SNUFF

While I can totally appreciate the frustration with having stuff deleted, there's really zero "NONE OF YOU ARE UP TO SNUFF" thing going on here or in moderation in general. Thread cleanup stuff is pretty much always focused on trying to deal with a problem at the thread or comment level, identifying a thing that needs dealing with in terms of what's going wobbly in a thread and why and trying to mitigate that. In the rarer cases where there's actually a more per-person "the way you are commenting is not okay" situation at play, it's part of some recurring issue with how that particular user has interacted with threads and with other mefites that we're dealing with, and that's not what was going on here.

It looks like it just turned into a mess she didn't know how to back out of gracefully. You delete a joke because it seems like it derails a good conversation people want to have, but then you need to delete another joke, and another, and another, and the jokes keep coming so you keep on deleting until you're squirming under a heap of deleted jokes.

That's basically my feel for it, yeah. I've been there, there's been a few times where I was like "shit, this is going bonkers" and tried to find a path to getting things in order by going through and culling stuff and then just realized, man, this is gonna leave more than a dent in the thread, and then it's a tough call. There have been times that I went ahead and pruned heavily and times I systematically undeleted stuff two minutes later and took a different tack (put a note in thread, write someone a quick email asking them to ease off, etc).

I'll usually try and reassess sooner in my decision making at this point and opt for whatever seems like the minimal workable set of deletions and leave a note if it seems like there's still-brewing trouble or derailbait in a thread, but that can be tricky too since as we've said opinions on how to deal with this stuff differ and we've gotten lots of "why didn't you get rid of that mess" complaints in the past.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:16 PM on December 14, 2011


While I can totally appreciate the frustration with having stuff deleted, there's really zero "NONE OF YOU ARE UP TO SNUFF" thing going on here or in moderation in general.

Yeah, I actually regretted including that right away. The main point I wanted to make was the deletions all seemed like they were comments that weren't considered "mature" or "deep" or "adult enough" or something. Like the host of a dinner party trying to redirect everyone to talk about the nuance of the wine, against the mood of the room.
posted by nathancaswell at 3:19 PM on December 14, 2011


I have a bad feeling about this.

This place has gotten weird. I'm just about ready to start petitioning (in vain, of course, because it'll never happen) that we go back to self-policing. I'm starting not to like the way things have been going around here.

My suggestion: please do not delete user comments. There's a Big Rethink needed here, I believe. A better way needs to be found to deal with bad actors in threads than summary deletion and disappearance of their unacceptable comments.

I had written 'do not delete user comments unless they are so far beyond the pale as to be utterly destructive to conversation' above but to hell with that. Just don't delete comments any more, is the go, I think. If you feel you must, then maybe we need to reopen those long, fruitless discussions of yore about alternatives to outright deletion.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:19 PM on December 14, 2011 [24 favorites]


We can all move forward.

The problem with that is that complaints about over-moderation seem to be a recurrent theme (eg the admission about 200 posts into the thread about him that Faze had been banned for reasons which didn't not make this poster feel too smiley). So far the response has been mainly 'nothing to see here, move on' but an egregious example like this plays exactly into that meme.

The Faze thing moved me a couple of tables towards the exits. This moves me another one.
posted by unSane at 3:20 PM on December 14, 2011 [9 favorites]


But so the culture of drive-by jokes and snarky comments and not reading the links or the thread is to some extent destructive to the culture of the Blue that we know and love,

What, that's not the culture of the blue?

...

I've made a big mistake.
posted by empath at 3:20 PM on December 14, 2011 [7 favorites]



But so the culture of drive-by jokes and snarky comments and not reading the links or the thread is to some extent destructive to the culture of the Blue that we know and love,


Fart jokes are a hell of a hill to die on.
posted by Stagger Lee at 3:22 PM on December 14, 2011 [7 favorites]


nathancaswell: Still there is just something kind of insulting about someone machete-ing their way through the thread...

More like this dude got ahold of taz's account for a bit.
posted by gman at 3:22 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hey look, there's a cave at the bottom of this crevasse.
posted by Artw at 3:23 PM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Does this deletion make my crevasses look fat?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:25 PM on December 14, 2011


Fart jokes are a hell of a hill to die on.

"Hill to die on" is an extremely overwrought image when its literal translation is "catalyst for a conversation I would like to continue having about an action that has really bothered me."
posted by Pater Aletheias at 3:26 PM on December 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


Fart jokes are a hell of a hill to die on.

If I gave the impression that I was defending fart jokes, particularly in the part you quoted, I assure you it was unintentional. What I was trying to get across is that the statements "people should be allowed to make fart jokes" and "people should probably know better than to make fart jokes" ought to both be simultaneously true.

And that puts the onus back on all the people here to behave better (myself included) even when we're not being forced to. Because the forcing makes everything worse, and makes this place less like a place we want to be. It makes Metafilter less like its ideal self.
posted by penduluum at 3:27 PM on December 14, 2011


The problem with that is that complaints about over-moderation seem to be a recurrent theme

With a vocal minority of users. I'm not saying those feelings aren't valid, but let's not make this out to be bigger than it is. Even among high-profile regular users of the site, there's been a minority that have voiced an opinion about this one way or the other, especially wrt to it being a "regular" thing.

Also, Unsane, dude, shit or get off the pot already. You've been "threatening" to leave for what feels like six months already. Message received.
posted by smoke at 3:28 PM on December 14, 2011 [7 favorites]


My suggestion: please do not delete user comments. There's a Big Rethink needed here, I believe.

Yeah, this now seems like a fairly inevitable consequence of the "delete early threadshitting" tack which people were fairly on board with.
posted by smackfu at 3:28 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


maybe we need to reopen those long, fruitless discussions of yore about alternatives to outright deletion.

OK, here's mine: everytime a comment gets flagged, instead of just alerting the mods, it changes color just a tick closer to blue (or professional white), and if it's flagged enough it just becomes invisible unless you want to highlight it to see what terrible thing was said.
posted by Hoopo at 3:29 PM on December 14, 2011 [14 favorites]


More deletions = more mods, what we have here is a fart joke deletion / moderator industrial complex.
posted by nathancaswell at 3:30 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Ooooh, I like Hoopo's idea.
posted by stinkycheese at 3:30 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


penduluum I agree entirely with that sentiment.
I really just want to see good conversations happen.
posted by Stagger Lee at 3:30 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


My suggestion: please do not delete user comments. There's a Big Rethink needed here, I believe.

That didn't even work when this place was a whole lot smaller; it seems basically entirely impractical to try and go there today. It would be a seismic, site-upending change with no clear path to anything but a messy slide downhill.

The problem with that is that complaints about over-moderation seem to be a recurrent theme (eg the admission about 200 posts into the thread about him that Faze had been banned for reasons which didn't not make this poster feel too smiley).

It took Faze ten years and basically a complete refusal to take any responsibility for his own behavior on the site to get him banned, despite tons of complaints. I'm not sure how much more under-moderated he could have been short of us making a "never ban anyone ever no matter what" rule. I get that some folks are bummed that it went down at all, and I appreciate that, but geez.

More like this dude got ahold of taz's account for a bit.

Oh for god's sake.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:30 PM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


/lights Torch of Eternal Vigilance outside of the cave in the crevasse at the base of the hill.
posted by Artw at 3:31 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh please, oh please no self-policing. I think that way lies madness and much fighting. My worst performance on metafilter was when somebody took it into their head to tell me to shut up, shut up, shut up.

Maybe I just like authority.
posted by angrycat at 3:33 PM on December 14, 2011


We know from previous infographics and infodumps that only a small percentage of MeFi users participate in Metatalk; does that mean that Metatalk discussion and suggestions shouldn't be considered for site-wide criticism and policy change, because we're a "vocal minority"? We'll always be a vocal minority.
posted by litnerd at 3:34 PM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


For my part, I'm not particularly bothered that my joke was deleted, but it does seem odd to go back and read the thread now and see lots of jokes after taz's announcement in-thread about comment removal.
posted by stinkycheese at 3:34 PM on December 14, 2011


cortex: Oh for god's sake.

Do you think I'm honestly comparing what occurred here to the UC Davis incident? Or might that be my attempt to make light of the situation through obvious hyperbole? I expect that sort of response from a new user or an extremely sensitive person, but not you, dude.
posted by gman at 3:35 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


More like this dude got ahold of taz's account for a bit.

Hm ... I'm not sure there's enough hyperbole in this comparison. Maybe you could come back with a likening to the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre, or a South American junta. You know, spice it up a bit, go all the way.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:36 PM on December 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


Oh please, oh please no self-policing.

I have seen how the downvote button works out over at Reddit as soon as there is a disagreement about something. It's a very dark path.
posted by Artw at 3:36 PM on December 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


Ha! Cold busted.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:36 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've pretty much stayed away from 'I don't like deletion' threads in te past, but yeah, this one was pretty upsetting. I read through the links, and the comments grabbed my attention. It's such a potentially huge dread badness on the horizon, and there is essentially fuck all I, or anyone I know can do about it. Laughing instead of crying is a pretty standard human reaction, and I like that here we've been able to do that, especially since, in a lot of other places, it wouldn't have been jokes, it would have been climate denial crap (just look in the comments on the linked guardian article).

I liked how it was working, we said our jokes, and then people were asking for information. People who wanted to keep reading did. I do think that, just this once, the moderation was excessive.
posted by Ghidorah at 3:36 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Self policing will lead to redit with cover charge which will asymptotically approach redit. Surely giving the new mod a little time to get some nuances of the job is OK? In the end, some jokes and snarks got deleted which is just not a huge deal. No one got banned, no one got substantive comments removed, no one is silenced as we have demonstrated amply in this thread.
posted by shothotbot at 3:38 PM on December 14, 2011 [12 favorites]


Self policing is a bad idea. Redit is really annoying to read.
posted by nathancaswell at 3:39 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


On the other hand, Reddit has very little in the way of outright threadshitting - if a post is disliked it's maybe downvoted but more likely just ignored.
posted by Artw at 3:43 PM on December 14, 2011


Do you think I'm honestly comparing what occurred here to the UC Davis incident? Or might that be my attempt to make light of the situation through obvious hyperbole?

Didn't read that way to me.
posted by shothotbot at 3:44 PM on December 14, 2011


the statements "people should be allowed to make fart jokes" and "people should probably know better than to make fart jokes" ought to both be simultaneously true.

woah, woah, woah. I don't want to live in a world where Rodney Dangerfield can't ask if someone just stepped on a duck.
posted by Hoopo at 3:44 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Antipodean" feels odd when applied to Greece... maybe "omphaloid"?
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:46 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


I seriously don't understand what the problem is with jokes in a thread. Even a lot of jokes. Even if the entire thread is jokes. Sometimes it just breaks that way.
posted by empath at 3:49 PM on December 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


A return to self-policing (which never really did exist, basically) is not going to happen -- REPEAT NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN -- as I suggested in my original comment, so don't waste time going into a sidebar tizzy about it, folks.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:51 PM on December 14, 2011


Do you think I'm honestly comparing what occurred here to the UC Davis incident? Or might that be my attempt to make light of the situation through obvious hyperbole? I expect that sort of response from a new user or an extremely sensitive person, but not you, dude.

I know you well enough to know that your intent was almost certainly some kind of joking. I also thought it was kind of an obnoxious and ambiguous joke to be making, and don't know how other people are going to read it, and have more than gotten tired of dumb "this is just like real world abuse of serious authority x" comparisons both joking and frothingly earnest over the years. I rolled my eyes hard and chalked it up as one more jab ("Ha ha geddit" intent or not) that my coworker is gonna get to read through when she gets up and digs into this mess. Four words expressing all that is maybe on the terse side but it was the path of restraint. I don't think your joke was very good at all, even if I appreciate that your intent was probably benign.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:53 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Can you feel that? The wind of change! Look! The torch of justice grows bri-
posted by Artw at 3:57 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


cortex: I don't think your joke was very good at all...

Yeah, well, that's just, like, your opinion, man.

There was nothing ambiguous about it at all. Unless, of course, you think it's in any way possible for a human being to draw a comparison between a police officer pepper spraying a group of innocent and unarmed students, to, oh, I dunno, a bunch of fuckin' comments deleted on a blog.
posted by gman at 3:58 PM on December 14, 2011


Now I have The Scorpions stuck in my head.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:59 PM on December 14, 2011


Unless, of course, you think it's in any way possible for a human being to draw a comparison between a police officer pepper spraying a group of innocent and unarmed students, to, oh, I dunno, a bunch of fuckin' comments deleted on a blog.

Honestly, have you read the internet? There's a lot less of that here but even in Metatalk there have been a bunch of shitty comparisons along those lines over the years. Occupational hazard I'm sure and maybe something I get grumpier about than I ought to, but, yes, in case you missed it, that is a thing that people actually kind of do a lot for some reason.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:01 PM on December 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


/lands in field some distance away, clutching a copy of TIME.

Look! We all made person of the year!
posted by Artw at 4:01 PM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


*whistles past the graveyard*
posted by stinkycheese at 4:03 PM on December 14, 2011


Occupy the graveyard.
posted by Sailormom at 4:06 PM on December 14, 2011


Can we just slow down for a second here and be reasonable? I'm not a fan of fart jokes, I tend not to make them or laugh at them.

But come on, this was a thread about the silent but deadly repercussions of an uncontrollable gas release. If not then, when?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:06 PM on December 14, 2011 [10 favorites]


That's great and all, but how are people who only see your joke about the dog to know that? If you don't want people to appear annoyed that you are not taking things seriously, then I think it's on you to, you know, show that you are taking them seriously.

Some of us will know because we feel exactly the same way and it's touching to see that we aren't be only ones.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 4:08 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Is there a middle ground we can shoot for, though? I agree that the deletions were rather capricious in this case, but the thread was absolutely terrible, full of awful unfunny one-liners. There wasn't much air left in the room for people to come in and talk about the actual subject of the thread. I'm no expert, but I have some academic background in atmospheric science, and I have zero interest in coming into a thread that is nothing but "ha ha, the death of the human race and major disruption of the entire global ecosystem is totally hilarious! U MAD BRO" and trying to make sense out of such terrible, alarming news. I can't be the only one who was dissuaded from trying to get a serious word in edgewise between "ha ha, farts and road warriors" jokes.

Honestly, deleting at least the most egregious, noisy jokes in this case doesn't seem too outside of the MeFi norm if you consider the gravity of the subject matter to be akin to that of an obituary post. We have different standards for obits, and it's not completely insane to apply that sort of standard to a post that could amount to an obit for a staggering number of living beings. I'm not arguing that it should be treated this way, only pointing out that there are other occasions where we routinely treat jokey comments differently.

More than that, though, this really seems like an example of the difficulty that comes with the growth of the community, and the problems of scale. When the site was smaller, a few jokes and snarky comments here and there didn't disrupt the whole discussion. Now, when there are tons of those comments, it's a whole different situation. What happens to those great long-form serious comments from people who know what they're talking about when they're lost in a sea of snarky noise? I'm not saying we've reached joke event horizon or anything, but I do think it's a real growing pain in the community that we will need to seriously discuss at some point.
posted by dialetheia at 4:10 PM on December 14, 2011 [16 favorites]


or an extremely sensitive person

WHAT
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:17 PM on December 14, 2011


There was nothing ambiguous about it at all. Unless, of course, you think it's in any way possible for a human being to draw a comparison between a police officer pepper spraying a group of innocent and unarmed students, to, oh, I dunno, a bunch of fuckin' comments deleted on a blog.

I find it wholly ironic that you're arguing about sensitivity when you can't let this go. It was a derisive comment towards a derisive joke, get over it.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 4:19 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


We have different standards for obits, and it's not completely insane to apply that sort of standard to a post that could amount to an obit for a staggering number of living beings.

I think one of the deleted jokes hit on what made this different, "at least the apocalypse will purge all the unworthies and shape this weak decadent society into something strong and vital and righteous hey wait a minute i died, i wasn't supposed to die, this apocalypse is some bullshit tell cormac mccarthy i want my fucking money back."

In that, a lot of us are scared shitless because this could be a funeral for ourselves or our families. People need to break that tension somehow. Global warming threads don't always turn out like that here, but this one just obviously somehow touched an emotional nerve with people and sometimes you just have to ride that wave.

There is also some exasperation with talking to deniers about this stuff for so many years, it starts to feel like intelligent discussion is pointless because nobody who needs to hear it is going to listen anyway.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:19 PM on December 14, 2011 [9 favorites]


Aren't a great deal of threads here full of awful one-liners? The methane thread was hardly unique in that. And really, one can scroll past one-line comments to the presumably more serious multi-paragraph scientific information comments without even paying much attention, should you be inclined.

Like furiousxgeorge said, if ever a thread called for fart jokes, that was it.
posted by stinkycheese at 4:20 PM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


I hope nobody's actually frightened by this stuff. The Population Bomb and Limits to Growth came out during my "formative years". I regret every minute I ever spent as a teenager worrying about their stupid predictions. If you're young and lack the perspective required to assign the appropriate importance level to this stuff, then listen: I've been hearing this incredibly serious gloom and doom stuff for the last 40 years at least.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 4:28 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Pff. Imminent nuclear Armageddon, that was the real deal in terms of looming childhood threats.
posted by Artw at 4:31 PM on December 14, 2011 [7 favorites]


And therefore, it will never happen.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:31 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


If this all blows over, I'll buy you guys a Coke.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:32 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I really don't think we should be enforcing seriousness here, ever. Enforcing non-laziness is a different standard; maybe it's okay to cut some of the cheapest jokes, and some more of the most thoughtless Serious Opinions. But I hate feeling like we're collectively moving toward enforced earnestness the last couple of years; many of my very favorite threads here are the ones that were, often unexpectedly, almost entirely composed of jokes, emergent eruptions of topical riffing or in-jokery or satire. Jokes are, no doubt, harder to moderate, because some people don't get them and others don't like them; but that doesn't mean MeFi should become SRS BSNS. Earnestness has its place but it shouldn't be our only mode; and mods shouldn't be the rhetoric police.
posted by RogerB at 4:34 PM on December 14, 2011 [7 favorites]


If you're young and lack the perspective required to assign the appropriate importance level to this stuff....

On the other hand, if you're old and lack the cognitive flexibility to recognise the difference between two popular best-sellers and decades of peer reviewed science that has the UN, the IEA, just about every country in the world, every insurance agency and bank alternately shitting their pants and trying to scrabble together some kind of globally coherent response, then listen: you still have a small opportunity to stop this slow motion car wreck for probably about 10 years, you just have to recognise the gravity.
posted by smoke at 4:36 PM on December 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


Just because there are many different predictions of doom at different times doesn't mean all predictions of doom are wrong. Or right. Not saying anything about global warming in this thread (as that seems beyond the purview of the subject header) but sometimes the sky can fall.
posted by Kevin Street at 4:36 PM on December 14, 2011


Occupy the graveyard.

We all will eventually.
posted by jonmc at 4:38 PM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


On the other hand, if you're old and lack the cognitive flexibility to recognise the difference between two popular best-sellers and decades of peer reviewed science [...]

Oh, no, man, the Club of Rome had computer models. What could be more scientific than that?
posted by Crabby Appleton at 4:40 PM on December 14, 2011


The ongoing characterization of the deletions being "a bunch of fart jokes" doesn't seem to reflect reality to me. There were a few fart jokes. Not all that many, though. I didn't pore over the deletions, but at a brief glance I counted five, plus three more that might be fart jokes that I don't fully understand.
posted by Flunkie at 4:42 PM on December 14, 2011


But so the culture of drive-by jokes and snarky comments and not reading the links or the thread is to some extent destructive to the culture of the Blue that we know and love, yes.

You know what? Drive-by jokes and snarky comments are my personality. This is how I tend to interact to things offline as well. It's just how I am. God knows I take many things seriously, and my comment history will also reflect that, but a large part of my life involves sarcasm and facetiousness, as well as a dark sense of humor and a good deal of word-play. It's how I engage the various communities I belong to, both virtual and actual. I appreciate that not everyone enjoys this all the time, but if this sort of personality is absolutely unwelcome here, by all means let me know.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:45 PM on December 14, 2011 [15 favorites]


Actual discussion of how serious the issue is probably fits better back in the thread.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:46 PM on December 14, 2011


Earnestness has its place but it shouldn't be our only mode; and mods shouldn't be the rhetoric police.

Totally agree. And my feeling is that, poor execution aside, this wasn't taz even trying to be the humor police so much as trying to deal with a derail situation that happened to come mostly in joke-and-sarcastic-oneliner format. And there have definitely been times when folks have sort of (intentionally or otherwise) undercut a good conversation by launching full bore into jokey derails, sometimes in a way that may have been actionable and other times more of just an obnoxious "hey would you guys maybe cut it out" sort of thing.

A similar thing to maybe give a concrete example of what I'm thinking of: we had a recipe Thing a while back in metatalk, where for whatever reason it got faddish for a while to start posting recipes out of nowhere into metatalk threads while discussion was still ongoing, as some sort of "this is awkward/uncomfortable/boring/whatever" statement of intent to change the subject.

And the intent was understandable as a kind of community reaction or commentary on the direction a thread was going but in practice it was actually pretty disruptive, and we ended up straight up telling people to cut it out and deleting at least a few recipe comments. It was sort of making a mess of people trying to have a conversation in a way that wasn't super helpful and was legitimately annoying a lot of other users.

Our goal with that wasn't to demonize recipes or cooking or even to bar metacommentary on the direction of a metatalk thread, all of those things are obviously fine in their own right, but it was seeming like there was a specific "this is making conversation, what this site is basically about, untenable" problem incidental to the content of the comments.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:46 PM on December 14, 2011 [7 favorites]


The recipes thing doesn't really seem like all that much of a match to me. It was "now I'll post a non sequitur because not only do I not want to discuss what's being discussed, but I want others to stop discussing it too." Whereas the stuff deleted in this thread was not a bunch of non sequiturs intended to stop conversation; it was related (maybe marginally related, but related nonetheless) gallows humor about the topic in question.
posted by Flunkie at 4:53 PM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Take two eggs and half a pound of butter......
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:53 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Taz, I totally disagreed with your deletions, but I know your human just like me and I know that I am not perfect-i make mistakes all the time. Keep your chin up and don't let the critique get you down. On the whole I think you're doing a good job.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 4:57 PM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Flunkie, yeah, I don't mean to say that the dynamic of the recipe thing vs. the comments in that thread was the same—I'm saying that this is more the perspective we're coming at a potential derail thing from, that our perspective is not that jokes suck or recipes suck but rather that we're asking ourselves "is this going in a bumpy direction and what can help mitigate that?"

In this case, I think the problem is specifically that the jokes in the methane thread weren't really functionally analogous to e.g. the recipe thing, that the sort of design pattern for moderation doesn't apply as well to both cases as maybe taz was hoping it would when she started digging into the thread. But there's at least a context for why this would be a way we'd end up approaching a thread that is different from some sort of, however understandable, mistaken It Is Humor Patrol Time read on the whole thing.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:00 PM on December 14, 2011


I don't feel like I made myself understood well, having tried twice. I apologize. I wasn't trying to tell you not to act like yourself, TheWhiteSkull, or advocate for enforces seriousness. Good night.
posted by penduluum at 5:02 PM on December 14, 2011


1) Shut-ins as mods

A certain type of person is attracted to the "job" of moderator. Often someone who does not interact well with others in real life, who cannot shape a conversation in real time with real humans. The temptation, the rush of being able to arbitrarily transform a conversation from the security of one's cocoon with but a simple click of a button is too tempting to ignore. These people make the worst mods. Period. Taz should be gone.

2) Excuse: late night, not able to "call" the other mods for triangulation

This is just bad policy. Further, she made the edits independently BECAUSE there was no oversight. No vetting process in place (Haughey's preference). She knew full well she'd never be able to justify 60 or more deletions and so flushed them away.

3) Restoring the comments

Is this even possible? Has this ever even been done? Has a mod *EVER* offered a mea culpa, full retraction, full retreat on MeFi? Doubt it. I suspect the comments are 100% gone (but for the thread saved by a user). That's the game. Once gone, then gone for good.

4) Fuck

I said it.

5) Humor

No one -- and I mean NO ONE -- who claims to have ANY motherfucking understanding of the Internet can ever, ever, ever, EH-VER claim that humor is inappropriate. I mean what is the Internet if not unchecked, full on organisms banging in the muck and slime to create a never-before-seen virulent strain of ebola-like funny? You really think it's a good idea to put a freaking librarian, dog fancier, middle brow hausfrau into the roll of online Humor Czar? And yes, that remark was meant to rope Jessamyn in as well, as I consider her entirely on board with this kind of dour ha-ha killing.

6) Flags

Fuck flags.

Some cramp-ass, dyspeptic, muffin-chunt flags a remark and it gets flushed? Did it ever occur to you that the people who garner the most flags *AND* the most likes are almost always the most interesting, the most informative, the most entertaining, the most loved, and… the most despised? I absolutely guaran-fucking-tee that if I remain on MeFi for the next ten years (or ten minutes), I will be the most hated contributor and the most loved. The real issue here is that the moderators are afraid of the "wrong" kind of posts getting likes even as they're being flagged. I mean, really. Have any of you ever spent any time in a little place called the United States of America? You can't order a salad without 50% coming out in bitter opposition and 50% for. If you arbitrarily created a thread called "Blue is good." You'd get half who vehemently disagreed and 50% who… other. You see where I'm going. Can you name *ONE* fucking comedian, author, director, musician, politician who actually crafted an enduring legacy who was not at least as despised as loved? So, MeFi aspires to be the Paul Anka of Inter-talk. Fine.

7) Mods posting on this thread

My preference is that NONE of the other mods post on this thread, period. There's only one mod who should be posting on this thread, and EVERY LAST FUCKING POST ON THIS THREAD SHOULD remain. How's that for crazy? No more ass-covering by proxy. Let the accused stand forth and face her accusers.

8) "New"

Fuck that. The mod in question is 43. She has thousands of on-site activities to her name and likely years on other sites as well. The "new" argument is straight up bullshit. She knows.

I got more. Let's see if I last. Generally, my on-base percentage at MeFi is like 25%. Your thin skinned cyber-Stasi hack at my remarks with childish abandon.
posted by Lon Mem at 5:02 PM on December 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


who the hell are you again?
posted by jonmc at 5:03 PM on December 14, 2011 [37 favorites]


Get your own fuckin blog.
posted by iamabot at 5:06 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Everyman.
posted by Lon Mem at 5:06 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Lon Mem: "I absolutely guaran-fucking-tee that if I remain on MeFi for the next ten years (or ten minutes), I will be the most hated contributor and the most loved."

You got one right.
posted by hapax_legomenon at 5:07 PM on December 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


Ummmm maybe you should think about being less emotional when you shitpoast.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 5:07 PM on December 14, 2011


I got more. Let's see if I last. Generally, my on-base percentage at MeFi is like 25%. Your thin skinned cyber-Stasi hack at my remarks with childish abandon.

You've had a number of comments deleted in the past because you started dumping angry metacommentary stuff into threads on the blue instead of taking it to the grey where it belongs. Congratulations, you are in the right place this time at least.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:07 PM on December 14, 2011 [11 favorites]


Your thin skinned cyber-Stasi

DINGDINGDINGDINGDINGDINGDING!

Tell him what he's won, Bob!
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:07 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


You really think it's a good idea to put a freaking librarian, dog fancier, middle brow hausfrau into the roll of online Humor Czar

wat
posted by jquinby at 5:08 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


what is a muffin-chunt?
posted by shothotbot at 5:08 PM on December 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


One dark night, while we were all in bed
The newest moderator took an eraser to the thread
And as she nuked half the comments, she winked her eye and said
"It'll be a hot time in MeTa tonight!"
posted by SpiffyRob at 5:09 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Everyman.

Heh.
posted by jonmc at 5:09 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I do love how word-effluent threadshitting seems to go hand-in-hand with delusions of grandeur and persecution, too. Here we were, just about to descend into Scorpions remixes, when along comes this.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:10 PM on December 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


>> what is a muffin-chunt?

I don't know, but it's good, right?
posted by Lon Mem at 5:11 PM on December 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


I gotta say, #4 is pretty spot-on.
posted by gman at 5:11 PM on December 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


No one has ever been brave enough to tell off a mod before! What will happen now?
posted by shothotbot at 5:11 PM on December 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


another vote for "that was too much moderation" - look, when you feel that 59, non-grarish comments out of a hundred or so are inappropriate to community standards, maybe, just maybe, you're misreading the community itself

i'd also like to vote for having the comments reinstated - one of this place's assets is the way that things can go a little silly sometimes, even in what would seem to be a serious discussion

this kind of thing is going to stifle that and we'll be worse off for it
posted by pyramid termite at 5:13 PM on December 14, 2011 [8 favorites]


I'll get up. she'll get up. It'll be anarchy!
posted by jonmc at 5:13 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


I gotta say, #4 is pretty spot-on.

There's a spot? Curse my short fingers.
posted by maxwelton at 5:13 PM on December 14, 2011


I didn't even have an internal notion of "dumbest comment on MetaFilter" until just now.
posted by 0xFCAF at 5:14 PM on December 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


I like #6. Flagging something always seems to me like running off to tell mommy.
posted by stinkycheese at 5:15 PM on December 14, 2011


this will end well.

did I do it right?
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 5:15 PM on December 14, 2011


I absolutely guaran-fucking-tee that if I remain on MeFi for the next ten years (or ten minutes), I will be the most hated contributor and the most loved.

that's because after 10 years of this, you'll be the only one left
posted by pyramid termite at 5:16 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


>> that's because after 10 years of this, you'll be the only one left

Thunderdome.
posted by Lon Mem at 5:17 PM on December 14, 2011


Just wanted to say that I'm not really a jokey kind of guy (at least not here on Mefi) but I've got no problem whatsoever with humorous comments, including the one in that thread that was responding to me and got deleted. Conversations can happen in many different ways, and can oscillate between funny and serious at any particular moment.
posted by Kevin Street at 5:18 PM on December 14, 2011


Under the circumstances, he's been shockingly nice.
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:19 PM on December 14, 2011


we don't need another hero
posted by pyramid termite at 5:19 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Often someone who does not interact well with others in real life, who cannot shape a conversation in real time with real humans.

That is most ironic, considering its context.
posted by y2karl at 5:19 PM on December 14, 2011 [12 favorites]


Congratulations, you are in the right place this time at least.

I respectfully disagree.
posted by box at 5:19 PM on December 14, 2011


Man, I keep thinking that this conversation can't possibly find new lows.
posted by gauche at 5:20 PM on December 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


You really think it's a good idea to put a freaking librarian, dog fancier, middle brow hausfrau into the roll of online Humor Czar?

That isn't cool, dude.

The deletions were a bad call. But seriously? Christ.
posted by Lutoslawski at 5:20 PM on December 14, 2011 [13 favorites]


There's a legitimate issue to be worked out and discussed here about moderation and the community, and it would be exceedingly frustrating if that got shunted aside b/c of Lon Mem's decision to throw his/her toys out the pram.
posted by modernnomad at 5:20 PM on December 14, 2011 [8 favorites]


I vote we show Lon Mem the door. We all know it's going to happen eventually.
posted by empath at 5:24 PM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


>> We all know it's going to happen eventually.

Agreed.
posted by Lon Mem at 5:25 PM on December 14, 2011


Can we have a set of special flags setup specific for MeTa? I'd suggest including "dickmove", "dickbaggery", and "fuck this guy, srsly".

I suspect that last one would get a pasting right about now, 'twere it available.
posted by coriolisdave at 5:26 PM on December 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


Just remember: you can never get the last nail in by yourself.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:26 PM on December 14, 2011


you can if you suck hard enough
posted by pyramid termite at 5:27 PM on December 14, 2011 [8 favorites]


The Man can't handle the truth he's kicking! He's just too real!
posted by box at 5:27 PM on December 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


I'm just thrilled my comment has stayed up this long.

Almost an entire half hour.

Though you just *KNOW* the mods are working hard on this in the background.

They'll find a reason.

And then...

Blip!
posted by Lon Mem at 5:28 PM on December 14, 2011


God, please let Lon Mem be taz's sockpuppet account used for the sole purpose of drawing all fire and pitchfork attention in one fell swoop. It would be the greatest act of professional thread-shunting since cortex's QWOP hijack.
posted by Errant at 5:28 PM on December 14, 2011 [12 favorites]


Yeah, no kidding. I really feel uncomfortable with all the personal details about Taz-- it feels a little stalkerish to me. He also comes across as sexist and I don't even want to engage this person in discussion. Just, No.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:29 PM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Aw fuck, and I was just about to go finish watching White Ribbon
posted by nathancaswell at 5:30 PM on December 14, 2011


well, anyway, is there any kind of consensus that moderation might be better used to keep people from being dicks than to enforce a certain level of seriousness - (although there are kinds of threads where 59 jokes would be really inappropriate)
posted by pyramid termite at 5:31 PM on December 14, 2011


That's ok, people. He's been anticipating being silenced all his life.
posted by hades at 5:32 PM on December 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


I will be the most hated contributor and the most loved.

And when almost no one backs you up or even favorites your comments, that'll be because they're scared of the backlash of non-comformity to your brave truths, right? And if/when you are banned, those same silent supporters will silently curse the loss of their antihero. "I should've said something. I should've done more. First they came for the trolls, and I said nothing, for I am not a troll..."

Also, you know they've already said how rarely they delete comments on the grey, right? I bet they don't delete it now because they don't want to give you the satisfaction! Rock on, Lon Mem, you beautiful loser!
posted by mreleganza at 5:32 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Sure, I might offend a few of the blue-noses with my cocky stride and musky odors.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:32 PM on December 14, 2011 [13 favorites]


God knows I take many things seriously, and my comment history will also reflect that, but a large part of my life involves sarcasm and facetiousness, as well as a dark sense of humor and a good deal of word-play. It's how I engage the various communities I belong to, both virtual and actual. I appreciate that not everyone enjoys this all the time, but if this sort of personality is absolutely unwelcome here, by all means let me know.

Same here, as well.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:34 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


They didn't favorite rosa park's comments either. Or jesus'.

Just saying.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 5:34 PM on December 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


>> stalkerish

It's in her MeFi profile, champ.
posted by Lon Mem at 5:34 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


There's a legitimate issue to be worked out and discussed here about moderation and the community, and it would be exceedingly frustrating if that got shunted aside b/c of Lon Mem's decision to throw his/her toys out the pram.

On the other hand, an over the top to the tenth power response to an over the top spate of deletions regarding providing comic relief in a thread about providing comic relief is pretty darn meta something or other. Talk about not farting around with shooting yourself in the foot. How could anyone take so nasty a personal attack seriously ? It's like watching Sideshow Bob stepping on ladder after ladder.
posted by y2karl at 5:34 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


look, i'm sorry for participating initially, but could we just forget about this lol me person?
posted by pyramid termite at 5:35 PM on December 14, 2011


It's conceptual. Dude is a methane geyser.
posted by neuromodulator at 5:38 PM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Metafilter used to be fun.
posted by bardic at 5:38 PM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Man, this makes that day where I had two students tell me off and march out of class look like a walk in a park.
posted by angrycat at 5:39 PM on December 14, 2011


ladder after ladder

Your yard must be a mess in Autumn.
posted by SpiffyRob at 5:39 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


>> He also comes across as sexist

Don't forget racist.

And baby puncher.
posted by Lon Mem at 5:40 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Metafilter used to be fun.

Used to? You clearly didn't watch the bearded dragon playing ant crusher.
posted by Lutoslawski at 5:40 PM on December 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


Lon Mem is greatly enjoying the spotlight I feel.

FWIW, on the subject of comment deletions:

In the most recent MeFi podcast, I found the throwaway "oh yeah, we deleted a lot of rah-rah-good-job comments from the identify-the-licence-plate thread" chat a little jarring in a wait-what-is-that-normal? kinda way.

I guess I normally don't notice "good" deletions. But it did start me wondering how routinely noisy-but-harmless stuff like that gets pruned; and whether that's a good thing.

(the quote above is my paraphrase, not verbatim)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 5:41 PM on December 14, 2011


I'm just thrilled my comment has stayed up this long.

This is MetaTalk, things don't get deleted much in here AFAIK. You can say all kinds of crazy shit here, but you apparently already know that.
posted by Hoopo at 5:42 PM on December 14, 2011


This methane leak is worse than I feared. It's nasty effluvium is suddenly wafting its way through this thread. Pewwwww.

Merry Christmas, taz ... sorry that you find yourself the Yule Log here. Let me spike your eggnog, girlfriend, this too shall pass. I thought my work week was bad, but thankfully my many mistakes and errors in judgement aren't scrutinized by multitudes.
posted by madamjujujive at 5:44 PM on December 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


In the most recent MeFi podcast, I found the throwaway "oh yeah, we deleted a lot of rah-rah-good-job comments from the identify-the-licence-plate thread" chat a little jarring in a wait-what-is-that-normal? kinda way.

It was an unusual situation, because on the one hand Askme has really pretty firm no-random-chanting guidelines (so just sort of chatting about the thread in the thread is a non-starter) but on the other hand it was a really neat outcome and got some external attention when it got sidebarred I think and Matt tweeted about it, and so there was a lot more post-solution traffic to the thread right away. So there was a ton of "omg that's neat" stuff in that thread that normally wouldn't show up in an askme thread in the first place.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:44 PM on December 14, 2011


Mensa Methane Chili Recipe

30lb. Beef, course ground
6 lb. can kidney beans
6 lb. can tomato paste
6 lb. can crushed tomatoes
1 ½ qt Dried onion chips
1 ¼lb. Chili powder
½c Cayenne pepper, ground
3 Whole garlics, peeled and chopped
½c Ground cumin
½c Fennel seed (optional)
6 Bell peppers, diced (optional)
Salt to taste
Water

This is the basis for a reasonable chili for a large crowd of hearty beer drinking eaters like Mensans, bikers, cavers, and their ilk.
It may be varied to the chef's peculiarities.
Cook meat in dutch oven until browned.
Drain and dump into a 40 quart pot.
Continue browning meat until all cooked, drained and placed in larger container.
Add the three cans of beans, paste, and tomatoes.
Begin cooking over low heat.
Add water to bring to right consistency.
Add chili, cayenne, cumin, diced pepper, fennel seed, and prepared garlic.
Thoroughly mix ingredients with a large wooden spoon or baseball bat.
Continue to cook until pot gently simmers.
If placed on very low heat, this may take all night (all the better).
Add salt and any other condiments desired to taste.
This savory collation best started one day in advanced and allowed to age by the slow overnight simmer and allowed to sit or cook until at least noon the next day or even better the evening.
Sprinkled with shredded cheese and chopped onions and washed down with cold beer, the guests will blow each other apart in a few hours after consuming two or three bowls.
John Hartman Cook Circle City Regional Gathering '97 Central Indiana Mensa 1 February 1997
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:45 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Boo hoo.

Man talk loud on computer.

New?
posted by Lon Mem at 5:45 PM on December 14, 2011


>> sorry that you find yourself the Yule Log here.

Deletes 60+ comments, gets hair stroked gently, soothing words cooed into her ear: "There, there. You don't deserve this kind of abuse."

Apparently, those who had their remarks shitcanned did.

Up is down, black is white in Bizarro World.
posted by Lon Mem at 5:48 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Man?
I don't think I'd classify that behaviour as particularly becoming of a "man". A cross-grained sulky teenager, perhaps.
posted by coriolisdave at 5:48 PM on December 14, 2011


What was the QWOP hijack?
posted by Flunkie at 5:49 PM on December 14, 2011


Oh, look. It's Mr. "Sinewy man beauty."

Joy.
posted by zarq at 5:49 PM on December 14, 2011


I thought the Finger Lakes joke was funny.
posted by Hoopo at 5:50 PM on December 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


I feel like I'm witnessing some sordid act that I shouldn't. Like opening the restroom stall door and finding somebody there naked and pooping.
posted by angrycat at 5:52 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


... on themselves.
posted by gauche at 5:53 PM on December 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


>> Joy.

You type that like you don't mean it.

Also, it sounds sexist.

Stalkerish.

And I'm pretty sure I heard the sound of a baby being punched.
posted by Lon Mem at 5:53 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure you're not talking about QWOP, but I'm going to link to it anyway because it is the best.

Time to threadjack: 1 comment. Incredible skill.
posted by Errant at 5:55 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Jesus Christ, can we end this tiresome, banana-smearing self-flagellation/masturbation already?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:55 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Deletes 60+ comments, gets hair stroked gently, soothing words cooed into her ear: "There, there. You don't deserve this kind of abuse."

Jesus pogosticking Christ, enough already. We get that you love the attention you're getting and enjoy being all 'edgy' and 'controversial' but it's tired and it's annoying.

Lurk more, or contribute something that doesn't sound like you're a 16 year old getting back at your mom via proxy.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:55 PM on December 14, 2011 [19 favorites]


I'll get the fire hose.
posted by zarq at 5:56 PM on December 14, 2011


Is there a point to this Lon Mem or is this performance art. Better say your piece because people are going to start tuning out.
posted by shothotbot at 5:56 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Lon Mem, if you've got something substantial you actually want to talk about, maybe get to it. If it's just gonna be a bunch more of the same here you should go ahead and give this thread a break because it's not getting better at this rate and you seem to be mostly fucking around for the sake of fucking around.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:57 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Lon Mem: " Stalkerish."

Nah. Stalkerish would have been commenting that a man in his 40's should really sound more mature than to make such an ass out of himself on Metafilter.
posted by zarq at 5:57 PM on December 14, 2011


I'll get the fire hose.

I'll get the fire.
posted by jonmc at 5:59 PM on December 14, 2011 [8 favorites]


Holy shittin' fuckweasels, y'all. I think it's just likely we had a case of Taz being the lone moderator and maybe things just got away from her. (Moderatin' ain't hatin'.) Not sure what the holy fuck is up here that is inspiring such venom. Everybody have a hug and a donut.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 5:59 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Like many other people I didn't think that the other Taz callouts had much merit, but this was a bit much. I LOLed at several of the deleted jokes and thought many that stayed were uselees noise...but I'm not a mod. Overall, I think TAZ is doing a great job overall.
posted by schyler523 at 6:00 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


i'll get the marshmellows
posted by pyramid termite at 6:00 PM on December 14, 2011


I'll get the overalls. And the pitchforks.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 6:01 PM on December 14, 2011


Marisa Stole the Precious Thing: "banana-smearing self-flagellation/masturbation"

Worst. Recipe. Thread. Ever.
posted by zarq at 6:02 PM on December 14, 2011 [18 favorites]


Best Worst. Recipe. Thread. Ever.

FTFY
posted by Hey, Zeus! at 6:03 PM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Okay, okay, Pollyanna.

I'll dial M for Mundane.

I'm going out for pizza. I promise not to post anything on this thread anymore. Ever. Period.

I'll return to the regular front page threads where my remarks are kettled at a rate of about 1-in-4 by whichever unpaid joykiller Haughey has stationed at the the snow fence.
posted by Lon Mem at 6:04 PM on December 14, 2011


I want to add my voice to those saying a) that taz and the mods are doing, in general, a great job here, and b) what happened last night was probably, all things considered, a mistake. It happens.
posted by gauche at 6:04 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


The bus just jostled and I accidentally flagged Lon Men's comment as "fantastic". Someone please kill me.
posted by 0xFCAF at 6:07 PM on December 14, 2011 [20 favorites]


Joykillers around here make a decent wage, son. And don't you forget it.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:07 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is it just me, or does Lon Mem have a very well-thumbed Roget's?
posted by ocherdraco at 6:09 PM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


They didn't favorite rosa park's comments either. Or jesus'.

Just saying.


Source?
posted by Sailormom at 6:09 PM on December 14, 2011


if this thread were closed up and then a hotel built over it i bet we could cause some Shining-type shit.
posted by neuromodulator at 6:12 PM on December 14, 2011 [35 favorites]


Is it me, or does Unpaid Joykiller sound like an honorific in a Stephen Donaldson novel? Chronicles of the Unpaid Joykiller? Joykiller's Bane? Return of the Unpaid Joykiller?

Sorry.
posted by running order squabble fest at 6:13 PM on December 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


The bus just jostled and I accidentally flagged Lon Men's comment as "fantastic". Someone please kill me.

Don't worry. "Fantastic" has a number of different connotations.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:15 PM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


I know we don't "do" recipe threads here, but I have the perfect recipe for this thread. Cup of hot chocolate, shot of peppermint schnapps. It's what a Thin Mint cookie would be if it were liquid and alcoholic.

What, you thought it would be related to farts? I'll pass, I have far too much class for crass ass gas sass.
posted by Saydur at 6:17 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Is it me, or does Unpaid Joykiller sound like an honorific in a Stephen Donaldson novel? Chronicles of the Unpaid Joykiller? Joykiller's Bane? Return of the Unpaid Joykiller?

I like it better as a Homeric epithet.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 6:18 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure how much more under-moderated he could have been short of us making a "never ban anyone ever no matter what" rule.

No, you could have just not banned him.
posted by unSane at 6:18 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


[Deleted some totally awesome comments from people seems were having too much fun. Dial back the fun people.]
posted by unpaid joykiller at 6:21 PM on December 14, 2011 [19 favorites]


I'm gonna make some of that NYC halal cart chicken & rice. Also, some Latvian chicken liver pate. Not to go together, though. The pate might work OK on the side of some pastrami & rye. Also, red cabbage sauteed with apples, vinegar, and maybe a touch of cinnamon, nutmeg and/or a clove or two. Or some star anise; I haven't decided yet. I wonder if there's any fennel left? Fennel with red cabbage could go nicely, but part of me is just thinking of working some carraway into something. Maybe just carraway butter, to go on bread. Hm, hungry.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:21 PM on December 14, 2011


Here's what I don't understand after a bajillion comments: what does the mob want?

I agree with everyone upthread who, basically, said "of all the Taz complaining MeTas that have spawned, this is the first one with any merit." As an extension of that, personally, I think that all of those previous bullshit complaints are acting as a force multiplier to this one legitimate complaint. Everyone with staff by their name has basically said "yeah, this was kind of a botch, we'll do better." What more does everyone really want?

Is anyone other than Lon fucking Mem suggesting she get the axe? What is the desired outcome here at this point in the game?
posted by absalom at 6:22 PM on December 14, 2011 [9 favorites]


What is the desired outcome here at this point in the game?

restoring the comments and reaching an understanding that this went too far and shouldn't happen again

that's reasonable
posted by pyramid termite at 6:28 PM on December 14, 2011 [8 favorites]


What is the desired outcome here at this point in the game?

How about what somebody suggested upthread - that in the absence of any guidelines about not making jokes, jokes are OK to make & shouldn't be arbitrarily deleted, as long as they're not offensive.

That'd be dependent on context, eg an early joke with derailing potential could be OK to nuke, but if the community is in a joking spirit in a particular thread, then deleting jokes to save the community from itself is like cutting off your nose to spite your face.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:29 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Festivus just got real with the airing of grievances.
posted by iamabot at 6:29 PM on December 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


That Taz will understand humor has its place on the Blue and if she is deleting 60 comments on one thread that might be a sign she is going overboard.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:29 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


(bearing in mind that it's absolutely typical for a LOT of threads to start out with all the drive-by one-liners, then settle into some serious discussion amongst people who know or care about the subject matter in the middle of the thread, before moving on to shit-flinging between two or three psychos at the end when everybody else has ceased reading & moved on to something else)
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:31 PM on December 14, 2011


In reading this thread and the blue thread attached to it, I've come to the following conclusions:

1. Some of y'all in that methane did shrooms last night and didn't invite me. I'm mad at you.
2. Lon Mem did crack today and didn't invite me. I'm not mad at him/her/it for the lack of invitation.
3. In this vein, one might imagine that taz deleted all those comments last night in an Ambien stupor and go easy on her. She's good people, you know, from way back.
posted by brina at 6:31 PM on December 14, 2011


The mods aren't really unpaid, are they? They should totally be paid.
posted by Flunkie at 6:31 PM on December 14, 2011


There is no reason to be mean to taz. I will not quote so as not to direct more attention, but as a general statement, please stop saying really mean things, because it's not constructive and it's nasty and your comments are aimed at a human being. The people in this thread who are being mean to taz have made me completely forget all of my opinions about overmoderation because I am totally consumed with anger because YOU NEED TO STOP BEING MEAN TO A REAL PERSON WHO IS TRYING TO DO HER BEST.

By the way guys, you do realize that in every profession there is a moment when the training wheels come off and you start flying solo? When doctors operate, there's a first time they do it solo. Same for student drivers. And many other professions where, literally, lives are at stake. So it strikes me as a bit hysterical to demand that Taz not do anything without checking in with other mods, especially since the point of hiring her was that other mods are asleep when she's working. Even if you think Taz's moderation of the thread in question was a mistake, guess what, no one died, the site policy you want has been unanimously confirmed, and it's pretty much time to move on and NOT BE MEAN TO TAZ.

Oh my god, I don't even like everything I see on this site, for all that I love it, but NOTHING that MeFi mods do is worth vicious personal attacks! For shame.
posted by prefpara at 6:32 PM on December 14, 2011 [40 favorites]


I would like to see a presumption that comments stay unless there is a compelling, and I mean compelling reason that they be deleted. In my opinion is no more up to mods to determine the direction of a thread hanging off a FPP than it is the OP.
posted by unSane at 6:33 PM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Man, remember this? Seems such a long time ago.

Does taz even get paid for this?

"But if you want to get to know someone, watch how they treat wait staff, taxi drivers, people are in a position of service."
posted by catchingsignals at 6:36 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


i, like basically everyone here, wishes this all went down differently, but i want to come out in full favor of early pruning of derailing, shitty comments in general.
posted by nadawi at 6:37 PM on December 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


How about what somebody suggested upthread - that in the absence of any guidelines about not making jokes, jokes are OK to make & shouldn't be arbitrarily deleted, as long as they're not offensive.

This really is honestly basically where we are already and taz's attempt to keep a thread from going off the rails in this instance was a misfire, not an announcement of a new policy. We've said that a few times already.

The mods aren't really unpaid, are they? They should totally be paid.

We are paid well and reliably. Matt is a generous and conscientious guy to work for.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:38 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


YOU NEED TO STOP BEING MEAN TO A REAL PERSON WHO IS TRYING TO DO HER BEST.

I can only see one person being "mean." I assume that taz is a grown-up and got into the mod position with her eyes open and that she can defend herself when she gets home/wakes up/whatever. And as for the first time when the training wheels come off, if you fuck up bad enough it's perfectly fair to be called on it. That's not 'mean', that's training too.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 6:42 PM on December 14, 2011 [9 favorites]


We've said that a few times already.

Sorry, was out buying chicken livers & pastrami, and there's a lot of noise in this thread making it hard to see the serious comments.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:43 PM on December 14, 2011


Not all of the deleted jokes were fart jokes

My deleted "MEH-thane vs MEE-thane" joke was my own way of going "AHAHAHA". It seems to have been a common reaction. If I was crowding out someone with more to contribute, I'm sorry. I don't think I was.

So yeah, I don't agree with the deletions. But is anyone going to seriously claim that the site is meaningfully impoverished by the loss of the fart jokes?

Moderation would have to get a lot more "heavy-handed" than this before I would start complaining.
posted by Trurl at 6:47 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


But Idomeneus Unpaid Joykiller swung his bronze tipped spear
Against the clamouring Trojans, killing several
Sending them quickly to the houses of the underworld
Seized by anger and the whispers of Eris
Yet more came, sent by Zeus the Thunderer
Smashing their shields against those of the Argives
Their eyes flashing

posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:48 PM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


So yeah, I don't agree with the deletions. But is anyone going to seriously claim that the site is meaningfully impoverished by the loss of the fart jokes?

But it wasn't a "few" (it was 60) and they weren't all fart jokes-- in fact most of the deletions were not fart jokes.

Just because you don't care doesn't mean this isn't important to the rest of us.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:53 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


UbuRoivas: "NYC halal cart chicken & rice"

I work around the corner from the cart. Could bring some to a meetup....
posted by zarq at 6:58 PM on December 14, 2011


Thanks, but AQIS wouldn't let it into the country.

*Australian Quarantine Inspection Service
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:05 PM on December 14, 2011


I hope that elizardbit's comment re:looking forward to the zombie apocalypse because she felt that would be her time to shine remained up, because I found that oddly just hilarious.
posted by angrycat at 7:05 PM on December 14, 2011


I got some maple creme cookies at Duane Reade yesterday. They're surprisingly delicious.
posted by jonmc at 7:07 PM on December 14, 2011


Oh no. This is all my fault. I truly did not mean to derail the thread. I was up very late on MeFi and saw that I was alone there reading that post. After spending a lot of time over the holidays with my Norwegian grandfather, whose bottomless sea of terrible fart jokes always bubbles up, I felt somehow obligated to make a joke. I sat there for some time debating whether to say anything. At first, I didn't have anything that was even slightly contextual, just bare, dry, easy fart jokes. But then I was inspired.

I posted "Who pulled the Finger Lakes?"

I sat there so long thinking of it, that I never thought it would be first. And honestly, after posting it, I felt bad. Especially after someone else made a fart joke after me. I imagined that just like I quickly checked back on my joke, that Joe_in_Australia also was checking back on his post and maybe wasn't happy to get a whiff of such low-brow humor rising to the top of his thread.

However, The Whelk's comment is what made it right. It was the one-two punch of "Here is a fart joke", followed by "Nervous laughter, uhhh, but we are all going to die" that was brilliant. I don't mean to toot my own horn, but I was ecstatic to get a few favorites for my line -- but the reason that The Whelk had so many favorites is because it spoke to both ideas: a) c'mon this lends itself to obvious fart jokes, and b) while everyone is laughing, does anybody notice this giant plume of methane!?

So, I have no problem with having my joke deleted and culling the thread down to just the most substantive responses. But if this thread survives our impending doom, and somebody reads this, The Whelk's comment will make no sense without it!

And if we can't put a cork in the sea floor, why should anyone put a cork in us!!
posted by This_Will_Be_Good at 7:07 PM on December 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


[Deleted some comments falsely claiming the mods are paid with halal white sauce. Folks, it's ok to discuss mod salaries and what have you, but please leave the street meat out of it.]
posted by unpaid joykiller at 7:08 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm glad that there is a consensus between users and mods here that this particular example of moderation was heavy-handed and wrong-footed.

Meanwhile, I'd like to point out to the mods that this is an example of the growth of the site continuing to overwhelm both the social and the technological capabilities of both users and you. My solution, proposed before, was a waiting period on opening threads. Criticism of that was: it's a technology solution to a social problem. Well, so is deleting a bunch of stuff, or anything at all. I still think some new locks and alarms might be called for to keep things running as smoothly as they have been.

Anyway! Mefi is always going to be a highly curated and pruned sort of web discussion environment. In order to steer between the rock of offensive insanity and the hard place of stultified censorship, the folks making judgement calls have to be tone-(opposite of deaf...attuned?). They have to be able to sense what a thread is going to do, and sometimes they have to say, 'you know what? This may annoy the majority of readers but I have to take action/do nothing, because it is the right thing to do.' Here it seems like that heartbeat of the discussion wasn't felt, the point was missed, and the mod listened to the flags and complaints instead. That's ok. That pain you're experiencing--it's called THE QUICKENING!
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:12 PM on December 14, 2011


IT REALLY REALLY WOULD THOUGH I WOULD BE SO AWESOME

- no immediate family to worry about potentially having to hack to pieces
- i am small and scampery and can flee with ease
- field hockey and lacrosse have surely prepared me for wielding a machete SURELY
- i am an excellent shot with a rifle
- i have in the past proven very good at using random junk lying around in the garage to build medieval siege weapons

and most importantly, I have a whole fucking lot of barely suppressed rage.
posted by elizardbits at 7:13 PM on December 14, 2011 [22 favorites]


Also, whew holy crap the wheels are really coming off the bus here with the randoms popping up eh? It's the holidays, time for NUTS!
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:15 PM on December 14, 2011


Not you elizardbits, though also, maybe quite possibly you.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:16 PM on December 14, 2011


But it wasn't a "few" (it was 60) and they weren't all fart jokes-- in fact most of the deletions were not fart jokes. Just because you don't care doesn't mean this isn't important to the rest of us.

I didn't use the word "few". I didn't say anything about the number of deletions. You're thinking of someone else.

And yes, I know that the deletions weren't all fart jokes. I identified my own as one of them at the beginning of my comment.

And yes, you clearly think it important. I just don't see why.
posted by Trurl at 7:17 PM on December 14, 2011


rick

rick

rick

the thrill is gone

haha just kidding

what is a metafilter

nm I need five bucks
posted by jquinby at 7:20 PM on December 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


leave the street meat out of it

Not kosher?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:21 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


And as for the first time when the training wheels come off, if you fuck up bad enough it's perfectly fair to be called on it. That's not 'mean', that's training too.

One person verbally shitting on taz with such grandiloquent withering contempt and at such unrelenting length is not training, it's a derail on steroids. Withering contempt is best served by the shot rather than the barrel, for nothing offends so many so fast, so sows the wind to reap the whirlwind, as withering contempt. Tonight's sideshow has been a spectacle of one person nuking himself from orbit in an epicene fit of narcissitic exhibitionism.

That someone who does not interact well with others in real life, who cannot shape a conversation in real time with real humans is such Comedy Gold, though.
posted by y2karl at 7:39 PM on December 14, 2011


And yes, you clearly think it important. I just don't see why.

For me (and I think for most of us) the comments are why we are here. The interaction with the other posters is what makes this place so special. Our community consists of people from all over the world, from all walks of life, with a wide range of ages and what I find so compelling is this exposure other people's views and ideas.

For a mod to come along and decide that some comments are not important enough to keep, to censor them so I will not be able to read them, that angers me. I should be able to decide if they are funny enough or interesting enough to read. If I had written something that was deleted I would be angry that a mod decided my comment was too inconsequential to keep.

I know that we are a big community and we sometimes have to compromise a little, but the bar for deleting comments should always be as high as possible.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:45 PM on December 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


I looked up epicene (hey, I can admit it when I don't know a word!)... and I STILL can't make sense of that sentence. But I LOVE the way "epicene fit of narcissistic exhibitionism" sounds (even if you did leave out that third "s" in narcissistic).

My goal is to use that phrase in a sentence tomorrow.
posted by tomswift at 7:56 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I know that we are a big community and we sometimes have to compromise a little, but the bar for deleting comments should always be as high as possible.

I agree, and as has been emphasized repeatedly in this thread, there is no change to the moderation policy being made wrt comments, and this was mistake made in a single thread. I wish we could give the people we've shared a lot of time with together on this site the benefit of the doubt when it comes to their motivations and practices.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:10 PM on December 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


I wish we could give the people we've shared a lot of time with together on this site the benefit of the doubt when it comes to their motivations and practices.

I agree, It's not like Taz was deleting those comments out of malice. She was obviously trying to do good by the site and in the process made a mistake. Granted as I have stated upthread I disagree with the deletions, but in the interactions I've had with the mods I've never gotten the feeling that they were trying to silence me or my viewpoints. Rather the opposite; they were prodding me to frame my comments in ways that were more conducive to open communication and exchange of ideas.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 8:22 PM on December 14, 2011 [9 favorites]


For the record and for what it's worth: taz is awesome, as are the rest of Team Mod.

But I am leery of what seems like a trend towards... I don't know what, exactly. Too-rapid growth meaning too many new people who don't understand the site culture as she has developed? Agressiveness or don't-give-a-fuckery among too many users? Overmuch threadshitting? General negativity? Favorites rewarding the quick one-liner over the less crowd-favority comment, in proportion to time spent? Actual overzealous moderation happening? Barack Obama? Any number of other things we could name and blame?

I don't know. But I do worry, a bit.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:31 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Thanks, but AQIS wouldn't let it into the country.

*Australian Quarantine Inspection Service


Clarification for all the non-Aussies: This wasn't a joke. AQIS is a very real entity. They taste everything before it comes into Australia. Of course, they make a show of throwing it into the bin, but you know the bin is connected to an underground warehouse. We all play along.
posted by vidur at 8:35 PM on December 14, 2011


Keep your head up Tazzie.
posted by Divine_Wino at 8:42 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


But I LOVE the way "epicene fit of narcissistic exhibitionism" sounds...

It really does sound great, doesn't it ?

I must confess, however, I stole epicene fit from Lester Bangs*. In a piece on Lou Reed in Creem way when, he wrote something like who else would scamper across the stage in epicene fits, like a crossbreed of Jerry Lewis of idiot movie fame and a monkey on cantharides... and then puke up a gargantuan slab of maggoty rancor like Berlin ? I remember or, rather, misremember those lines to this day. If you are going to go over the top in style, Lester Bangs is your template.

And, man, I only wish I had remembered that puke up a gargantuan slab of maggoty rancor now, too. That would have been of more use. But all that came to mind was epicene fit.

*If you are going to steal, steal from the masters.
posted by y2karl at 8:43 PM on December 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


Of course, it helps to make sense, too. Can't say I did that. *sigh*
posted by y2karl at 8:50 PM on December 14, 2011


I end up talking to AQIS every damn time because I never remember that I have, like, a roll of Life Savers in my purse until I'm past the bins and the dogs begin to smell me. (And then, in the giant line, I got time, time to wait for tomorrow.)

Sometimes I wish there was a public/visible flag for "eyeroll/deep sigh". Although "gargantuan slab of maggoty rancor" would be an awesome reason to flag.
posted by gingerest at 8:53 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Thanks, but AQIS wouldn't let it into the country.
Tell me about it. Just this Sunday the bastards confiscated a bag of Kopi luwak my loved one was bringing me from Bali.
posted by unliteral at 8:57 PM on December 14, 2011


*If you are going to steal, steal from the masters.

in re: Lon Mem; mefites are frankly terrified by this crotch-grabbing, ape-walking, gun-waving, gold bedizened reactionary, with his aggressive and violent promotion of the most conservative moderation vision imaginable, and its imperialist spread across the site.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 8:59 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Spoken like a completely depraved pervert and pathetic death dwarf and everything else you want to think he is...
posted by y2karl at 9:08 PM on December 14, 2011


Hey, it's me.

I've read about a third of the comments, but I'll put this here before I read the rest, and try to answer whatever I can.

SO, to begin with, I responded to some flags on that thread and deleted a couple of things that seemed just jokey derailing and then saw a comment about it being hard to follow the thread because of the jokes, and tried to clean that up a bit... but then I realized that it was basically all jokes, pretty much the whole thing. I was like, hm, maybe this is Bad Science, or bad science reporting... something about the post source must be screwy, because people usually act like this in threads where they've written off the post in one way or another. So I went back to the original post again (I had looked at the first link earlier in the day, but not that closely) and went through all the links and scanned the comments to see where someone would be saying something like "oh, this is a bullshit article because of X." But there was nothing like that; the post seemed fine, the sources were fine, so I was confused about what was happening in the thread -- and here is where I would have loved to poke the other moderators to say, "uh, what do you think is happening here, and why, and what should we do, if anything."

But I had to decide that on my own, and I needed to either go back and undelete what I had deleted, or try to clear some kind of a pathway so that if people did want to find serious comments it would be easier. Now, obviously, I really wish I had just back away slowly. But I didn't. I tried to go a middle way as much as possible, but there was not really a middle way there: it was pretty much Do, or Do Not. I tried to leave every comment that was sort of referencing the post in any fashion, and I left anything that was referred to in a later comment. (The whelk's comment was referred to later by somebody who also was commenting about the article, so that's what that was about.)

Anyway, I really and truly felt totally in the weeds with that. I didn't want a situation where the rest of the moderators would wake up the next day and think, "My God, what was taz thinking to let this post go totally batshit," but, unfortunately, I managed to obtain the same end result with what I did do.

I sent an email to everyone about the thread, because I figured if anyone did wake up in the middle of the night they might weigh in, and say "whoah, bad idea!" or "why did you leave all this other stuff," or whatever they thought about it. And I still thought maybe someone might see something that I was missing there.

At any rate, I made the wrong choice, and I'm so sorry about that. Now I have to read the rest of the comments in this thread, and I'll try to answer whatever else I can – but that's my nutshell summary. I actually had a very clear and specific feeling of being in (TV trope) quicksand there: there was nothing that felt appropriate, neither flailing around (which is basically what I did), nor sinking.
posted by taz (staff) at 9:22 PM on December 14, 2011 [99 favorites]


I just realized "dour ha-ha killer" would have been a better user name.
posted by unpaid joykiller at 9:35 PM on December 14, 2011 [7 favorites]


quicksand there: there was nothing that felt appropriate, neither flailing around (which is basically what I did), nor sinking.

I can understand that. But I would also say if the worst thing that is happening is that a thread that could be OK ends up being LULZ, that is too bad but nothing needs to happen, as opposed to fighty, name calling threads.

Ignore Lon Men. Our puny minds cannot comprehend his awesomeness.
posted by shothotbot at 9:36 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Now I have to read the rest of the comments in this thread, and I'll try to answer whatever else I can

Wish you could skip it -- you don't deserve it.
posted by catchingsignals at 9:39 PM on December 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


Hey taz, thanks for the explanation about what happened. Sounds like a difficult situation that you handled as well as you could.


My take: mod makes mistake. mod admits mistake. really not that big of a deal in the long run.
posted by insectosaurus at 9:39 PM on December 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


Taz,

don't beanplate this. Your "nutshell" comment explains well what happened.
posted by HuronBob at 9:41 PM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Now I have to read the rest of the comments in this thread

Commendable, but have a couple fingers of bourbon first.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:42 PM on December 14, 2011 [9 favorites]


Love you, taz. Don't let it get you down.
posted by ifjuly at 9:51 PM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Taz, you acted with best intentions, and thank you for sharing your thought process. That's more important in the long run than fart jokes :)
posted by SakuraK at 9:52 PM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


I think you're doing a great job, Taz, and I apologise, I think it may have been my pissy comment re: stupid jokes that triggered the holocaust of one-liners.

Like you, I suspect, I did not realise people are so invested in their five second one-liners, but there you go; different strokes.
posted by smoke at 9:56 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


>> At any rate, I made the wrong choice, and I'm so sorry about that.

Restore *ALL* of the comments or this apology is worthless.
posted by Lon Mem at 9:56 PM on December 14, 2011


Commendable, but have a couple fingers of bourbon first.

How does that old Greek saying go? Something like "there's no bourbon like breakfast bourbon." Or is it "there's no breakfast like bourbon breakfast?"
posted by villanelles at dawn at 9:56 PM on December 14, 2011


I actually think that the deletion was not a bad one in principle. It may have caused more trouble than it was worth because of its interaction with the community we happen to have.

I think jokes really do degrade the S/N ratio on the Blue. I make too many jokes myself, and often after posting a joke, I will regret my padding the conversation with useless noise.

I wish there was a site essentially identical to Metafilter except with more aggressive moderation. I can't realistically ask Metafilter itself to change for me, because the path-dependent state of the community is what it is and apparently few others here (or at least, not most people here) want the same thing I do.
posted by Jpfed at 9:58 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Someone get Lon Mem a sandwich or something. Dude is starving.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:59 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


On the bright side, Taz, at least you didn't have a bag of civet poop coffee confiscated. That should help put things in perspective.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:59 PM on December 14, 2011


Restore *ALL* of the comments or this apology is worthless.


Don't you have some other place to stomp your petulant little feet?
posted by iamabot at 10:00 PM on December 14, 2011 [16 favorites]


They took your kopi luwak? Bastards.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:00 PM on December 14, 2011


Lon Mem: I promise not to post anything on this thread anymore. Ever. Period.
posted by madamjujujive at 10:01 PM on December 14, 2011 [11 favorites]


Eek... yeah, I'm still only halfway through this thread, so still catching up, but furiousxgeorge asked upthread, Has there been any consideration for mods maybe taking it to Meta preemptively if they aren't sure and there are no mods around to bounce the topic off of? User feedback isn't as good as mod feedback, but it could help a bit.

Oh, man! I was so wishing there was a Metatalk thread about it. I even did consider it, but figured that was probably a pretty dumb idea. Just one in my bouquet of dumb ideas at that point...
posted by taz (staff) at 10:01 PM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


It's pretty simple.

If she is sorry (as she claims)...

And she made a mistake (as she claims)...

The next logical step is to rectify that mistake.
posted by Lon Mem at 10:01 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Nah, the cow's already out of the barn anyway so why pretend that it didn't happen?
posted by Burhanistan at 10:04 PM on December 14, 2011


Saying she is sorry is rectifying that mistake.
posted by painquale at 10:06 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


No.
posted by Lon Mem at 10:06 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Restore *ALL* of the comments or this apology is worthless.

If we were going to do that we had all to day to get it done. At this point there's a great big thread discussing the state that thread has been in all day, and there's a couple archives of the thread for folks who want to go looking.

This is not a taz-must-do-this-thing situation, you have not put yourself in the position to make any kind of statement about what constitutes good behavior, and you claimed you were done with this thread earlier and here you are again. Give it a rest.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:07 PM on December 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


Is "Lon Mem" supposed to be "Long Memory" minus the "gory"?
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:08 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yes.

Here I am again.
posted by Lon Mem at 10:08 PM on December 14, 2011


Nah, the cow's already out of the barn anyway so why pretend that it didn't happen?

Because Lon Mem has some kind of bone to pick with the mods and feels the need to make some kind of point. I have been unable to figure out what that point is. Something is certainly worthless, but I don't think it's Taz's apology; it seems to be Lon Mem's contribution to this thread.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:09 PM on December 14, 2011


Here I am again.

And aren't you a fine little fellow too!
posted by Wolof at 10:10 PM on December 14, 2011


My theory is: Lon made a really good joke in that thread but can't now remember it. IT MUST BE REINSTATED SO THE WORLD MAY SHARE ITS GLORY.

Or he just likes stirring shit.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 10:10 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh, I see. He's doing some suicide by mod thing. How lovely.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:10 PM on December 14, 2011 [11 favorites]


Lon Mem:The next logical step is to rectify that mistake.

The only mistake I'm seeing, really, is the one of allowing a particularly obnoxious blowhard oxygen.


That and I seem to have run out of rum and noone is bringing me a refill

posted by coriolisdave at 10:11 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh, I see. He's doing some suicide by mod thing. How lovely.

What's in the [comment] box?!
posted by joe lisboa at 10:11 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Is this where someone requests for a some balls to grow?
posted by P.o.B. at 10:13 PM on December 14, 2011


Not a doormat.

That seems to pisses many off.

I can live with that.
posted by Lon Mem at 10:13 PM on December 14, 2011


Your haiku is all fucked up.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:15 PM on December 14, 2011 [20 favorites]


I keep hoping they are going to be haikus.
posted by juliplease at 10:15 PM on December 14, 2011


(And I will stop feeding it, sorry.)
posted by Burhanistan at 10:15 PM on December 14, 2011


Is "Lon Mem" supposed to be "Long Memory" minus the "gory"?

Nopes. It's Long Member, minus the gber, which is gibberish minus the ibish, which is a bird (h silent). You think this doesn't make sense? Just look at Lon Mem's comments.
posted by vidur at 10:16 PM on December 14, 2011


Restore the comments.

Every one.

A MeFi first.

We'll all be part of history.

A mod apology *AND* actual rectification of the admitted mistake.

Could this be the day, people?
posted by Lon Mem at 10:17 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was not mastered
by my betters, resolute
against common sense.
posted by Errant at 10:18 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ah: stirring up shit, then.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 10:19 PM on December 14, 2011


>> Your haiku is all fucked up.

Yes.

We can add "comment editing" to the MeFi To Do List along with "rein in the moderators."
posted by Lon Mem at 10:20 PM on December 14, 2011


>> Ah: stirring up shit, then.

No.

Holding the shit stirrer accountable.
posted by Lon Mem at 10:21 PM on December 14, 2011


Taz, you are pretty awesome. Not only for doing a great job thus far, but for being willing to engage when you feel that things could have been done differently. I wasn't personally bothered by the decisions that you made in weeding through the thread, but I do have a lot of admiration for how you are going about addressing it now. I hope this hasn't been discouraging for you.
posted by SpacemanStix at 10:21 PM on December 14, 2011 [8 favorites]


No, Donny, these men are nihilists, there's nothing to be afraid of.
posted by iamabot at 10:21 PM on December 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


Oh, I see. He's doing some suicide by mod thing. How lovely.

It appears that way. Lon Mem since you seem to be failing so hard in your quest to get banned see this meta for some pointers.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:22 PM on December 14, 2011


Wasn't shit stirrer one of the jobs Mike Rowe did on his show, Dirty Jobs?
posted by P.o.B. at 10:24 PM on December 14, 2011


This war gives me life,
reason enough, and purpose
not found in my porn.
posted by Errant at 10:24 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Insisting she correct her admitted mistake is a terminal offense here?

Noted.
posted by Lon Mem at 10:24 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I observed your rules,
your fascist conflagration,
but I was not warmed.
posted by Errant at 10:27 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Insisting she correct her admitted mistake is a terminal offense here?

Being an aggressive jerk is certainly a frownable one. Failing to have any sense of how this place works beyond whatever weird narrow imagined site dynamic you're operating on the illusion of doesn't really help things.

Go to bed or go for a walk or whatever makes sense in your time zone. You've done the freakout-over-moderation thing enough times at this point and have been far enough out of line with the shit you've written in the original thread this afternoon and in here that I basically don't trust you not to be weird aggro jerk for the next however long tonight and nobody should have to keep dealing with that. Cool it and come back tomorrow.

Have a good day, taz, talk to you in the morning/evening.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:28 PM on December 14, 2011 [10 favorites]


When you clearly don't understand the community, it's time to leave. When you choose not to leave, it's time to be ejected.
posted by HuronBob at 10:28 PM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


or what cortex said...
posted by HuronBob at 10:29 PM on December 14, 2011


Thanks for the explanation taz. One question: how did you get The Sorcerer's Apprentice to play in the background while I was reading it?
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 10:36 PM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


(the Mickey Mouse version)
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 10:39 PM on December 14, 2011


If I had written something that was deleted I would be angry that a mod decided my comment was too inconsequential to keep.

Angry? Really? Not just barely irked for for about 40 seconds before it's forgotten? Yeesh.
posted by ambient2 at 11:00 PM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


The Sorcerer's Apprentice! Oh, wow. That's exactly what it felt/feels like. I'm listening to it now. Exactly that.

I mentioned this in conversation with Jess, Josh, et al, but one big mistake I made there was feeling like I would have been "taking the easy way out" if I didn't do something... Like I was just leaving it there for them to deal with later, and also that I had seen situations where I left things before because I thought there were too many to really clean up at all and that it would be too disruptive, and then they cleaned it up the next morning.

But the essential and critical difference was that those things were big flaming angry fighting derails, not jokey derails. Big, big difference. Big mistake.
posted by taz (staff) at 11:06 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


On the bright side, Lon Mem's ridiculousness has really put every other side in this debate and poster in this thread into great perspective. Now I just think you're all fantastic, even you Crabby, you irascible scamp.
posted by smoke at 11:10 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Cool it and come back tomorrow.

Honest question: why? I mean he's basically said he's expecting to get banned and, consistent with that behavior, is demonstrating the going-out-guns-blazing commenting style of those itching to be a martyr to the cause of Free Speech. His entire behavior in this thread is one big "ban me please". Why not do him and the rest of us a favor?

The only reason I can guess is that there have been instances in the past where people demonstrating this behavior made a complete 180, in which case, sure, I guess. But this type of aggressive threadshitting doesn't really bode well.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:16 PM on December 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


Goddamn, I hate liars.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:16 PM on December 14, 2011


His entire behavior in this thread is one big "ban me please". Why not do him and the rest of us a favor?

Because the biggest "fuck you" you can give to a would-be martyr is to deny him his matryrdom?
posted by daniel_charms at 11:22 PM on December 14, 2011 [9 favorites]


cortex: "We are paid well and reliably. Matt is a generous and conscientious guy to work for."
Sucking up won't get you anywhere ;-)

taz: "Big mistake."
Mistake? Sure. Big mistake? Not even close - just a run of the mill mistake like the ones we all make every day at work, except that most of us don't have tens of thousands of people looking over our shoulder while we work.
posted by dg at 11:34 PM on December 14, 2011 [12 favorites]


Cheers, taz. You're a good egg.
posted by Errant at 11:42 PM on December 14, 2011 [9 favorites]


Because the biggest "fuck you" you can give to a would-be martyr is to deny him his matryrdom?

In a sort of "real sadists refuse to beat their masochists" sorta way?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:46 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Because the biggest "fuck you" you can give to a would-be martyr is to deny him his matryrdom ?

All of his MetaTalk comments are in this thread. It not an auspicious start. Letting him stay is likely an ongoing big fuck you to the rest of us.
posted by y2karl at 11:53 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Mayonnaise is mainly just egg, and yet eggs with mayonnaise are so much better than just eggs.

mayonnegg > egg

Mayonnaise - how the fuck does it work?
posted by Meatbomb at 11:53 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Thye do the color change trick over on hacker news, It is actually kind of annoying because they comment takes up the same space but now it is in an unreadable color. If I was on a PC I could hilight it to read it, but on a tablet or phone I just gotta scroll past it.

I would like to suggest a technological fix. We should have two views of each thread, jokes had no jokes. How do we know what comments are joke? For each comment 5 jobs get submitted to Amazon Mechanical Turk, 5 real live people who are not invested in the site read each comment and vote joke or not joke. Majority wins. After a thread has been up 30 days we do a postmortem of the thread and the votes an do some metrics on how many jokes were correctly identified.

We will also need to feed random control comments to Turk, obvious jokes and non jokes. These will help us ensure quality joke identification,


Mayonaise is an emulsion of egg and oil. I have been thinking about mayo a lot lately. I have been thinking about a version of the Arch Deluxe peppercorn sauce that would contain egg,oil, verjus, ground mustard seeds, cracked black pepper. Pretty much Dijon Mustard and mayo. I may try it is weekend.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:59 PM on December 14, 2011


Yes, but how will we differentiate for the germans ?
posted by iamabot at 12:02 AM on December 15, 2011


The last time I saw Lon Mem suck himself off in a thread was when he was trying to argue that the US was an occupying power in Germany.
posted by klangklangston at 12:11 AM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


By my count this is at least the fifth or sixth Meta complaint thread devoted to a deletion made by taz in the last two months since she became a mod. I agreed with her deletions that have been called out, and have said so in those other threads, but this does seem to be an ongoing issue.

I was thinking about the larger picture today and realized that taz is sort of hosed in this regard.

Simply put the adoption of taz increases moderation coverage on Metafilter by 50%, and more importantly brings the total mod coverage from 16 hours a day to 24 hours a day.

A lot of slush used to come through during PST night time. Jokey threads started and finished, grudge matches got out of hand, recipes were openly shared...

And now the after-hours party has been cancelled in favor of a 24 hour site, and the person in charge of enforcing that is taz. Nobody likes the cop who busts up the party.

Basically even if taz made zero mistakes she would be taking serious flack for her deletions. And anyone moderating her time slot will take flack until everybody adjusts to the fact that after-hours Metafilter doesn't exist any more.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 12:23 AM on December 15, 2011 [22 favorites]


Marisa: exactly. You wait until they've stopped begging to be hurt and then you smack them hard.

y2karl: the fact that this is his first MeTa thread is the reason why I'm arguing for not banning him outright. He's also already been given a stern warning (and a recommendation to go and take a walk), which should be sufficient for now. If he's not willing to change his attitude, then yes, it's time for him to go.
posted by daniel_charms at 12:31 AM on December 15, 2011


Big, big difference. Big mistake.

Taz, big mistakes are things like driving whilst drunk or accidentally burning the house down or leaving the unreleased iPhone prototype at a bar. This was not a big mistake. This was a call that in retrospect, was the wrong side of the spinning coin to choose. But you know, in the grand scheme of things, you took jokes out of a thread about climate change. You didn't single-handedly deplete the ozone layer.

I also totally agree with Tell Me No Lies that there's a substantial sea change from "Mods are asleep, post ponies!" that means you are under a degree of scrutiny I frankly find tiresome. Sorry if it's been a rough ride some days.
posted by DarlingBri at 12:31 AM on December 15, 2011 [13 favorites]


Mefi just gave me a "page not found" for a couple of seconds. TAZ WHAT DID YOU DO TO METAFILTER GRAR
posted by daniel_charms at 12:37 AM on December 15, 2011


Marisa: exactly. You wait until they've stopped begging to be hurt and then you smack them hard.

As a sadist with some years experience in the field: masochists never stop begging to get hurt.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:42 AM on December 15, 2011


Oh crap, sorry about that daniel_charms!

Actually, I kind of wish I had had that exact problem for about 45 minutes or so at a certain spot in time yesterday.
posted by taz (staff) at 12:44 AM on December 15, 2011


Crabby Appleton: "Go read the thread. There you will find orthogonality's original interpretation of restless_nomad's comment, as well as comments by those who agree, and those who disagree with his interpretation. You can make up your own mind."

Ah. But I did at the time, and commented in the thread. Also here. I haven't seen any evidence of dictatorial behavior which might prompt me to change my mind about his comment since then.
posted by zarq at 12:46 AM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Tell Me No Lies: " Basically even if taz made zero mistakes she would be taking serious flack for her deletions. And anyone moderating her time slot will take flack until everybody adjusts to the fact that after-hours Metafilter doesn't exist any more."

That makes sense. It's tiresome, though.
posted by zarq at 12:47 AM on December 15, 2011


masochists never stop begging to get hurt.

They surely must get tired at some point, don't they? And then they want to get some sleep, but you won't fucking let them and make them watch Twilight movies instead.
posted by daniel_charms at 12:47 AM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


daniel_charms: " They surely must get tired at some point, don't they? And then they want to get some sleep, but you won't fucking let them and make them watch Twilight movies instead."

Substitute Winnie the Pooh for Twilight movies and this describes any parent up at oh, say, 3:49am with a sick 3 year old. :P
posted by zarq at 12:49 AM on December 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


Kids need to learn at an early age that Vampires should not *sparkle* unless they're chomping on someone who has fallen into a vat of glitter.
posted by zarq at 12:50 AM on December 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


Real vampires ride motorcycles on the beach and go to topless saxophone concerts.
posted by mannequito at 12:53 AM on December 15, 2011 [12 favorites]


mannequito: "Real vampires ride motorcycles on the beach and go to topless saxophone concerts."

Damn straight.
posted by zarq at 1:00 AM on December 15, 2011


Topless saxophones wouldn't make a whole lotta noise. It'd be cool if they were played by a band of headless horsemen.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:13 AM on December 15, 2011


I still believ--

FART.
posted by stinkycheese at 1:18 AM on December 15, 2011


First time I've ever seen a constructive fart joke.
posted by daniel_charms at 1:40 AM on December 15, 2011


They surely must get tired at some point, don't they?

They do, and of course you let up then. Lon strikes me as the type without a safe word, and man, he really needs one.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:41 AM on December 15, 2011


I didn't even have an internal notion of "dumbest comment on MetaFilter" until just now.

I did, and it's such an obvious troll it doesn't make it.

I'll put beer on it being a brand new day user.

I don't know why Taz seems to have attracted such opprobrium, but I have a hard time believing it has anything to do with her actual behaviour. People seem to have been looking to give her a kicking from day one, and I say that as someone who isn't thrilled with appointing a mod whose last pre-mod comment I remember in MeTa was essentially arguing that you shouldn't be allowed to particpate in certain threads unless you'd read the Right books and fallen in line with the Right opinions before you kicked off to spare her the uncomfortable experience of being disagreed with.

But most of the Taz callouts seem like pointless dickery by people who... I dunno. Don't like her and don't want to to be a mod? Have a problem that they didn't get to be a mod? Have a bad case of Quonsaresque delusions of granduer that the site is for them? Fuck knows. "Get Taz" seems to have aquired a life of its own.

(Also, you whiny fuckers are lucky Matt's not stupid enough to make me a mod.)

i, like basically everyone here, wishes this all went down differently, but i want to come out in full favor of early pruning of derailing, shitty comments in general.

Indeed.
posted by rodgerd at 1:47 AM on December 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


early pruning of derailing, shitty comments

Pruning of derailing, shitty comments? That's 3 different metaphors in 4 words.

Aside from that, "pruning"?!? The point of pruning is to encourage vigorous regrowth.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:31 AM on December 15, 2011


I would vote for early punning of shitty comments.

Taz, you're alright by me. Thanks for taking the kicking with good grace, we all learn from our mistakes and I'm sure you'll be a better mod once the bruises heal. As others pointed out, this was not a BIG deal in the grand scheme of things.
posted by arcticseal at 2:41 AM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Kids need to learn at an early age that Vampires should not *sparkle* unless they're chomping on someone who has fallen into a vat of glitter.


zarq, sometimes I question your commitment to sparkle motion of vampires into sunlight.
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:33 AM on December 15, 2011


Someone just posted over on Ask about how they can kill themself with heroin...and Taz has to handle that topic too.


So, anyway, we kind of need to give mods respect because that kind of thing is not something you just handle with your message board experience.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:34 AM on December 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


570 comments read on an iPhone! Argh! Why do I never have any self control with a MeTa... Ok... Breathe...

Taz, totally empathize with your plight and want to thank you for being open about your thought process and how it went down.

All mods (including Taz dangit), why in the world can't we just un-delete the lot? Honestly. The re-insertion of them is a lot less damaging the the sign posted 'JOKES DELETED! Let YE be warned!' halfway through the thread. I agree that it must have felt like quicksand to Taz and we all agree 'woe-if-only-it-were-different' so come on -- it's a bunch of database flags! Flip flip flip flip!

I don't know what the hells up with lon men or whatever, but that's the only other comment I caught asking for an un-delete and I totally don't see how that restoring of comments would damage the thread. As it stands the thread is one big damaged bit when a new person stumbles on to it and sees the deletion reason.

We all agree it could have been handled differently. Why can't we attempt a fix? Again, the current state of the thread could only be proved by the "undo" of that sweep -- IMHO.
posted by cavalier at 3:58 AM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Welcome to the jungle, indeed.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:58 AM on December 15, 2011


Improved. FFS.
posted by cavalier at 4:00 AM on December 15, 2011


The thread is old now. It's no longer at the top of the front page and therefore less likely to be the focus of an ongoing conversation by people who happen upon it. Adding the comments back now, to a thread which is less active and less immediate, will prove nothing about whether they should or should not have been deleted in the first place.

It would give a false impression.
posted by zarq at 4:11 AM on December 15, 2011


Could not disagree more. That's almost fatalist. It can be rolled back, and not have that scar on it for someone seeing it new. How does that not have value?
posted by cavalier at 4:17 AM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


A clusterfuck occurred, let it stand as a reminder of what not to do. Scars are useful that way.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:26 AM on December 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


This thread bears far more "what not to do" scars than the one on the Blue.

Remember the sub-discussion in MeTa not long ago about why some people who post on the Green don't post on the Blue? Almost 600 comments on the deletion of fart jokes from a serious Blue post coupled with a sinisterly creepy"we-must-punish-the-mod" undertone? Almost enough to make me Green-4-Life.

Taz, you're doing a fine job. I never modded a site of this magnitude, but even in my tiny forum modding days I'd have culled the jokes as derails too.
posted by ladygypsy at 4:33 AM on December 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


To me this wasn't about Taz at all - kudos to her for showing up and taking her licks.

It was about the culture that makes deleting 60 comments from a thread seem like a remotely appropriate way to moderate a forum like MetaFilter.

I sincerely hope that the message that gets across isn't 'Taz screwed up and apologized' but 'We need to respect the userbase more'. Because otherwise in my opinion we do have a problem.
posted by unSane at 4:39 AM on December 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


I never modded a site of this magnitude, but even in my tiny forum modding days I'd have culled the jokes as derails too.

That's great and all, but it's never really been the spirit of MetaFilter.

Where would we be without 9622, portabello mushrooms, and Sketchzilla? Perish the thought.
posted by knave at 4:40 AM on December 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


It was about the culture that makes deleting 60 comments from a thread seem like a remotely appropriate way to moderate a forum like MetaFilter.

I don't get why you're harping on this when the other mods have said, repeatedly, "That's not how do things, that's not how we're going to do things and this was a one time goof".
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:45 AM on December 15, 2011 [10 favorites]


It was about the culture that makes deleting 60 comments from a thread seem like a remotely appropriate way to moderate a forum like MetaFilter.

At no point has anyone, even the mods, even the mod deleted 60 comments, described this as remotely appropriate. They have all said it was a mistake.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 4:46 AM on December 15, 2011


The sky is falling!
posted by pracowity at 4:53 AM on December 15, 2011


It obviously did seem 'remotely appropriate' to Taz, or she wouldn't have done it.
posted by unSane at 4:54 AM on December 15, 2011


It obviously did seem 'remotely appropriate' to Taz, or she wouldn't have done it.

Did you read her entirely reasonable explanation? She describes it as a mistake, recognizes it as a mistake, and the overall mod response has been that it was a MISTAKE. How do you get from there to this being seen as an appropriate way to moderate Metafilter? What seems right in the moment can be reflected upon and disowned. That is what happened here, and it's that reflection that indicates policy.

(This isn't Facebook, where apologies about privacy violations read as "shoot, we wish you hadn't caught us, we'll try to hide our nefarious actions better next time." If you feel like it is, then I agree that there's a serious problem here, but not that it's with the mod policy.)
posted by OmieWise at 5:08 AM on December 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


barf. give it a rest.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 5:08 AM on December 15, 2011


And thanks for the explanation taz. As far as I'm concerned you're doing a great job a'moddin'.
posted by OmieWise at 5:10 AM on December 15, 2011


unSane I don't know what realms you dwell in online besides mefi but in my experience it has always been an extremely heavily modded place. Most other forums ive been on are more about quick one liners and blazingly raw putdowns. One forum I was on instituted a rule where posters could no longer threaten to murder each other and we all accused them of facism. So, yeah, this is a controlled environment.

My point being, please stick around toreminds lovers of wild nature remind the moderators that less is sometimes more in terms of thread-guidance. You are a great poster.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:16 AM on December 15, 2011


toreminds = with us

Somehow
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:18 AM on December 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


I would have been "taking the easy way out" if I didn't do something...

I believe this would be better than the action taken. I understand you felt like you were damned if you do and damned if you don't, but in a situation where truly feel there is no clear better option, I think erring on the side of less intervention is better, and fits better with Metafilter culturally.
posted by spaltavian at 5:30 AM on December 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


One forum I was on instituted a rule where posters could no longer threaten to murder each other and we all accused them of facism.

One site I was on had a rule where you'd be banned for a week for grammatical errors or using slang words. At the same time, all sorts of bigoted shit was completely kosher. So I guess what they were maintaining there was just an illusion of control.
posted by daniel_charms at 5:35 AM on December 15, 2011


I mostly imagine a big group of serious climate scientists discussing this news:

"This is really bad, what can be done about this problem?"

"We don't know, we haven't modeled this situation, and it will take weeks for the supercomputer to re-run our sophisticated climate model."

"Has anyone called Karl Pilkington to get his advice?"

"We've been trying all night, but he isn't answering his phone!"

"Well, I guess our only choice is to consult metafilter. Surely they will have come up with a solution."

-click-

"Gaaaaah! It's all fart jokes. We're doomed!"
posted by snofoam at 5:35 AM on December 15, 2011 [15 favorites]


If I could ban Lon Mem and unban Faze with a click of a button right now I'd do it.
posted by Aizkolari at 5:50 AM on December 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


1) Taz, I'm glad you were chosen as a mod-- I was glad when I first heard the news and I am glad still. You are a lovely, sensible person and I know you will always strive to do a good job. What's a little mistake among friends?

2) Remember the sub-discussion in MeTa not long ago about why some people who post on the Green don't post on the Blue? Almost 600 comments on the deletion of fart jokes from a serious Blue post coupled with a sinisterly creepy"we-must-punish-the-mod" undertone? Almost enough to make me Green-4-Life.

Good. Stay in the Green. We wouldn't want to hurt your delicate sensibilities with any of our nasty fart jokes. Jesus, I get the feeling that you have no real idea of what this entire MetaTalk thread was about. Hint: It wasn't about "punishing" Taz and it wasn't about saving a few fart jokes.

3) One site I was on had a rule where you'd be banned for a week for grammatical errors or using slang words.

Over on TWOP they closed the Duggar thread because....we were discussing the Duggars. Yeah, that's right. They are so particular in how you may discuss the TV shows that you have to read separate rules for each show. I have a warning because I didn't understand the rules sufficiently and talked about a Project Runway Finalist's final runway-- not in the general thread but in that particular person's thread. That place drives me crazy because their rules often seem so arbitrary. Another example is that in the present Downton's Abbey thread discussions of the episodes that just aired in Britain must be spoiler-barred because it hasn't aired in America yet. Pages and pages of black bars.

But the worst part of TWOP is there is no "board-on-board" discussion. You cannot talk about the general feeling of other posters or how the TV show is being discussed. You cannot argue with the moderators. In short, there is no MetaTalk-type area and that often leaves people very frustrated. Thank God for Matt Haughey.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:06 AM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Mods, you could regain a hell of a lot of credibility by restoring the comments. Otherwise, this is an enormous black eye. You made a mistake, and you have the ability to fix the mistake.

Fix it.
posted by MrMoonPie at 6:15 AM on December 15, 2011


One site I was on had a rule where you'd be banned for a week for grammatical errors or using slang words. At the same time, all sorts of bigoted shit was completely kosher.

Was it Something Awful? Man, that place is....something awful.
posted by mreleganza at 6:25 AM on December 15, 2011


Otherwise, this is an enormous black eye.

I think the comments should be restored, but I think that calling it an enormous black eye is probably overstating the case.
posted by empath at 6:41 AM on December 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


Fix it.

At this point it may be more instructive for some people to realize it's not broken.
posted by P.o.B. at 6:43 AM on December 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


I think it's more like one of those zits on the bridge of your nose where you aren't sure if you should pop it and risk making it all red and inflamed or just let it sit there and take it's natural course.
posted by empath at 6:45 AM on December 15, 2011


he wiped it down and salted a little borax onto it but the stain remained. His parents are coming home in fifteen minutes and he's in a pickle

The smart user would simply turn over the cushion.
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:49 AM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Meh, skin blemish analogy still maintains the idea that somehow there is some kind of exposed wrong here. There was a change, but there was no loss and would be no rectification of any kind by returning the comments.
posted by P.o.B. at 6:52 AM on December 15, 2011


My theory is, they can't fix it, because that would create a temporal paradox in which the whole reason for this thread to exist will have been negated. Fixing it would, in effect, delete this thread.

We would all walk around with weird deja-vu memories of a bizzare, overly fighty conflagration and a strange person cackling madly in a language we could almost, but not quite, understand. Some of us might be wiped from existence entirely.

We have to choose between the blue universe and the grey universe, because right now they are on a collision course and only one will survive. So, which will it be?
posted by gauche at 6:53 AM on December 15, 2011 [6 favorites]


Devils Rancher: he wiped it down and salted a little borax onto it but the stain remained. His parents are coming home in fifteen minutes and he's in a pickle

The smart user would simply turn over the cushion.


I think we can assume the other side of the cushion was even more unspeakably soiled from previous incidents.
posted by gilrain at 6:54 AM on December 15, 2011


Wow. There's an awful lot of hyperbole flying around this thread. It's not a surprise to see that at least some of it is coming from people who have previously said in MeTa they are unhappy with with the way MeFi is moderated.

This was a mistake. It has been acknowledged by all the mods as a mistake, and not a change in site policy. Taz has apologized. We have been told repeatedly that this isn't a precedent of any sort and it's not going to happen again. It seems obvious that there was no malicious intent here. Taz is fallible, she was faced with a difficult situation and made what she acknowledges as the "wrong choice."

Just as we have a right to expect that the mods will be fair and even-handed in the way they treat all users, should they not also have a right to expect that we will not assume the absolute worst every single time they do something? That we won't predictably blow any given incident far out of proportion to what it deserves?

The unwillingness of some of us to take people at their word, assume they're trying their best, or accept their apologies and move on is frankly depressing as hell.
posted by zarq at 6:54 AM on December 15, 2011 [18 favorites]


Reinstall the deleted comments with the blink tag. That will clear everything up.
posted by stinkycheese at 6:55 AM on December 15, 2011 [6 favorites]


Nah, the cow's already out of the barn anyway so why pretend that it didn't happen?

because comment deletion is precisely that.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 6:55 AM on December 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


'We need to respect the userbase more'

After a thread like this, it's surprise anyone respects any of us at all. Frankly, considering what a bunch of self-entitled brats we always act like in MeTa, I think the mods give many of us far more consideration than we really deserve.
posted by absalom at 6:58 AM on December 15, 2011 [22 favorites]


My theory is, they can't fix it,

Again, maybe it's a crazy little theory of mine, but nothing needs to be fixed. If there is something that needs to be fixed could someone explain, what's broken?
posted by P.o.B. at 6:59 AM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Fix it.

Get a grip, seriously.

Oh, and someone before confused The Shining with Poltergeist.
posted by h00py at 7:02 AM on December 15, 2011


Admitted mistake = semblance of break?
posted by stinkycheese at 7:03 AM on December 15, 2011


The Overlook Hotel was built atop a native american burial ground.
posted by elizardbits at 7:05 AM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Frankly, considering what a bunch of self-entitled brats we always act like in MeTa, I think the mods give many of us far more consideration than we really deserve.

I get what you're saying, but MeTa is the steam valve for the site, right? The place designated for pressure release and site discussion so as to keep it off the blue and the green? That doesn't mean posters here have to act like brats but it does presuppose the expression of posters' self-interest.
posted by stinkycheese at 7:07 AM on December 15, 2011


Again, maybe it's a crazy little theory of mine, but nothing needs to be fixed.

I totally agree.

I was, um, having a little fun. Long as we're blowing things way out of proportion, you know?

I hope nobody took my little time paradox / colliding universes bit seriously.

posted by gauche at 7:08 AM on December 15, 2011


Can we vote lon mem off this fucking island already? I do not understand why the account has not been banned. There's being a dick, and then there's being a flaming motherfucking asshole, then there's being such a douchebag that you poison the well for everyone else who wants a drink.

I also think lon mem's commentary (and a lot of other mod-bashing, which mostly seems to target Taz or Jess) is overtly, explicitly sexist. "Hausfrau?" Give me a fucking break.
posted by spitbull at 7:08 AM on December 15, 2011 [20 favorites]


designated for pressure release

i see what you did there...
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 7:08 AM on December 15, 2011


I think it won't be long before someone mocks up one of those countdown timers for Lon Mem.
posted by P.o.B. at 7:12 AM on December 15, 2011


I think taz deserves to hit the banhammer red button.
posted by spitbull at 7:15 AM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm actually not upset about this. It won't really bother me if my comments aren't restored, and I totally understand that this was an honest mistake on Taz's part. I'd rather if it didn't happen again, but I think it was good to have a bit of discussion about the whole thing.

Getting everything out in the open like this, plus a bit of a drunken freakout, is starting to put me in the holiday spirit. Thanks everybody!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 7:16 AM on December 15, 2011


But he hasn't called anyone mom a whore yet.....
posted by wheelieman at 7:17 AM on December 15, 2011


You're at a party and bump into a someone, spilling some of their drink onto their shoe. You apologize, say you'll be more careful and try to move on. The person says, "No. Not good enough. Lick my shoes clean, too."

If the comments had been more substantive than jokes, I could see a reason to restore them. Otherwise, asking for their return just feels like asking the mods to lick your boots.
posted by charred husk at 7:17 AM on December 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Im not drunk I swear
posted by wheelieman at 7:17 AM on December 15, 2011


KILL LON MEN! SLIT HIS THROAT! SPILL HIS BLOOD!

That the honour of taz -- BE AVENGED!
posted by stinkycheese at 7:18 AM on December 15, 2011


You didn't fucking swear!
posted by h00py at 7:20 AM on December 15, 2011


But the essential and critical difference was that those things were big flaming angry fighting derails, not jokey derails. Big, big difference. Big mistake.

This is probably as good a time as any to publish the FishBike scale of Big Mistakes. Basically, you rate the size of a mistake by which field of study is affected by it.
Category 1: Journalism. Your mistake is big enough to be reported in the news somewhere.

Category 2: History. School children decades from now will be reading about your mistake in their textbooks.

Category 3: Geography. Your mistake is bad enough that maps are different afterwards. Entire towns or cities may have disappeared, or people change place names so they can forget about your mistake.

Category 4: Geology. Millenia from now, scientists will be wondering what made that giant hole in the ground or why that mountain isn't there any more.

Category 5: Astronomy. Scientists on other planets, peering at our solar system through their telescopes, will see a bright flash and ask themselves "What the fuck was that?"
So I think we can see this was so far not even a Category 1, which makes it, by definition, a small mistake rather than a big one.
posted by FishBike at 7:25 AM on December 15, 2011 [265 favorites]


cavalier: "Could not disagree more. That's almost fatalist. It can be rolled back, and not have that scar on it for someone seeing it new. How does that not have value?"

FWIW, I was specifically addressing this part of your previous comment:

cavalier: "Again, the current state of the thread could only be proved by the "undo" of that sweep -- IMHO."

What I meant was that it's been more than a day since the original fpp was posted. Because of this, adding the comments back in now would not prove that their deletion was right or wrong. It doesn't offer us evidence that the thread would or would not have derailed as a result of the jokey comments. The post has existed without them through and past the "hot time" during which it was visible on the front page and the userbase was likely to make comments, flag or favorite it. Adding them back now is not going to offer a good metric of how the thread might have gone if they'd been left in.

They were jokes: low-content noise. You're making an argument that they have value. Okay. What value? How was the post thinner without them? Why should the mods bother to reinstate them? On principle?
posted by zarq at 7:25 AM on December 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


FishBike: "Basically, you rate the size of a mistake by which field of study is affected by it."

You're missing, "Killed the observers, so they couldn't report it." :)
posted by zarq at 7:26 AM on December 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


Honest question: why? I mean he's basically said he's expecting to get banned and, consistent with that behavior, is demonstrating the going-out-guns-blazing commenting style of those itching to be a martyr to the cause of Free Speech. His entire behavior in this thread is one big "ban me please". Why not do him and the rest of us a favor?

Where I am with the dude is that what lingering benefit of the doubt I was willing to extend that he was just having aggro clueless acclimation problems is pretty much gone, and it's on him to either turn it around going forward or get invited to be elsewhere. I don't have high hopes, but for now I wanted to put that mess to bed last night and leave it at that; if he does suddenly see the light, great, and if not, that's fine with me too and that'll be that. Until then, he was a jerk in here, he got a time out, we'll see what happens.

Also maybe not so much with the gross jokey fantasy stuff even if he was being a jerk. I removed one comment from upthread, please let's not have any more of that.

Mods, you could regain a hell of a lot of credibility by restoring the comments.

You know, I don't think we're gonna do that. This whole conversation has been about the thread we ended up with, a thread that was not some cornerstone of high metafilter achievement, and bulk-restoring the comments to the thread just to satisfy the idea that it should be done when the comments themselves in this case aren't really the issue seems like a weird sort of "let's pretend this didn't happen" overcorrection. Like I said, there's a couple of ad hoc archives of the comments already if someone wants to review them, and if anybody specifically needs the text of their own deleted comments from that thread I'll be happy to dig it up and mail it to them.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:32 AM on December 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't particularly care whether the deletions get put back or not (though if the mods all agree their removal was a mistake...) but this --

They were jokes: low-content noise. You're making an argument that they have value. Okay. What value?

-- confuses me. Hasn't most of this thread been people debating the value of these jokes? Including people coming in to explain why they thought the jokes had value? The answer you're looking for is upthread.
posted by stinkycheese at 7:33 AM on December 15, 2011


stinkycheese: "The answer you're looking for is upthread."

And I remain unconvinced.
posted by zarq at 7:34 AM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


You gotta be fucking kidding me, whoever yanked that. That's the last time I give credence to your "high threshold for MeTa deletions" canard. Piss up a rope.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 7:40 AM on December 15, 2011


You're surprised the threshold stops at weirdly personal attacks?
posted by P.o.B. at 7:48 AM on December 15, 2011


FishBike, that is brilliant.
posted by knave at 7:49 AM on December 15, 2011


This is probably as good a time as any to publish the FishBike scale of Big Mistakes.

I like how it's a logarithmic scale.
posted by empath at 7:51 AM on December 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


This thread has been really disheartening. Comment after comment of aggressive tear downs followed by comment after comment of patronizing and passive aggressive tapping on head. Even many transparent attempts at ingratiating with "I understand your plight."

Anyway.. Let's not forget that the mods still have piles of thread shit to shovel. That tiny bit of lulz in that favourites whoring turd you just dumped in the first ten comments doesn't make yours smell like roses.
posted by Chuckles at 7:52 AM on December 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


And which category does your comment fall into, Chuckles? Bitter reprisals? Holier-than-thou posturing?
posted by knave at 7:55 AM on December 15, 2011


You gotta be fucking kidding me, whoever yanked that. That's the last time I give credence to your "high threshold for MeTa deletions" canard.

I'm not sure where the threshold would be in your mind vs. imagining scat-tinged masturbatory scenarios about other users, but I don't that's a particularly invasive "don't go there" sort of line to draw.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:58 AM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


FishBike won.
posted by gerryblog at 8:10 AM on December 15, 2011


Sometimes these threads make it seem like Metafilter is the last place on earth and people are fighting over food and water rather than some words. Too funny.
posted by orme at 8:13 AM on December 15, 2011


This is a really disappointing pile-on. The mods have admitted that it was an error in judgment, no need to call for the pillory. How would you feel if the rookie mistakes you made on the job elicited over 600 comments and scorching criticism? I feel like the last few months, taz has had to undergo the equivalent of a Metafilter hazing ritual and it bums me out.
posted by Lieber Frau at 8:16 AM on December 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


FishBike scale of Big Mistakes

it needs a theoretical physics section wherein the very fabric of spacetime is torn asunder.
posted by elizardbits at 8:18 AM on December 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


The mods have admitted that it was an error in judgment, no need to call for the pillory.

Yeah, that is disappointing. What else is disappointing is that when you get enough peope in any one place, you'll have outliers that are prone to be disappointing to the rest of the group by being loud and obnoxious and lacking a fair amount of grace, but because they are talking loud enough, they seem to represent more people than they actually do.
posted by SpacemanStix at 8:22 AM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Folks, if you're all stressed out from the holidays and need to vent, stop doing it here. Go play touch football or something.
posted by Melismata at 8:27 AM on December 15, 2011


it needs a theoretical physics section wherein the very fabric of spacetime is torn asunder.

Right, that's category six, and Human Relations (friends/family/coworkers) is category 0. Psychology (where you're the only person who cares) can be -1.
posted by gerryblog at 8:27 AM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Category 7: Ontological -- Causes all of existence to be erased. Past, present and future, gone.
posted by empath at 8:34 AM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Category 8: Retconning
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:38 AM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Fishbike, I'm stealing this, but crediting you. That's amazing. I think I've only hit Category 1 once or twice, which makes everything else seems a bit relative. No longer is "failing to turn in my degree plan on time" quite the epic failure that it seems to be...

...though it may lessen my chances of getting an academic building named after me. Does that count as a Category 3?
posted by SNWidget at 8:43 AM on December 15, 2011


The problem I have with the applying the fishbike scale here is that the incident is still ongoing. How are we to know that the deletion of the comments will not, butterfly flapping his wings style, precipitate the destruction of the earth.

Lets say an alien robot shows up in my apartment and says " beep beep boop. The human race is destructive and violent and has produced nothing of value" and I say "well, what about humor" the robot says "further inquiries needed beep boop beep" so I pull up metafilter hoping to find some jokes, but they have all been deleted. The robot would be forced to destroy the earth.

Only with the benefit of hindsight will we know how big a calamity this is. Hopefully the earth will not be destroyed by hostile robots but you never know.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:48 AM on December 15, 2011 [15 favorites]


I don't know about you guys, but if a muthafucker "beep boop"s in my face then he is one dead robot.
posted by P.o.B. at 8:51 AM on December 15, 2011 [6 favorites]


Oh, and someone before confused The Shining with Poltergeist.

Hoopy, you're right. And wrong.

In The Shining book there's no mention of an indian burial ground. However, in the Kubrick film The Shining, the hotel manager makes a point of telling the Torrances that the hotel is built on an indian burial ground. It's in the scene where they're outside the hotel walking to the snowmobile shed.
posted by veedubya at 8:53 AM on December 15, 2011


That is how robots talk. They can't help it.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:53 AM on December 15, 2011 [3 favorites]

If there is something that needs to be fixed could someone explain, what's broken?
I'm really not even sure if I understand this question. I think it's pretty obvious, from the point of view of the person who said "Fix it", that the thing that is currently broken is that a bunch of comments that didn't deserve to be deleted -- and even the mods themselves and in fact even the deleting mod in particular said it was a mistake to delete them -- are still deleted.
You know, I don't think we're gonna do that. This whole conversation has been about the thread we ended up with, a thread that was not some cornerstone of high metafilter achievement, and bulk-restoring the comments to the thread just to satisfy the idea that it should be done when the comments themselves in this case aren't really the issue seems like a weird sort of "let's pretend this didn't happen" overcorrection.
And I really don't understand this. Yes, the comments weren't the issue. That's the point. The comments were the innocent victims of the issue. They shouldn't be (remain) punished, when pretty much everyone is apparently on board with the idea that they shouldn't have been punished in the first place.

I'm actually fine with keeping them deleted, and some of the demands to reinstate them have been over the top (even other than Lon Mem's), but it just doesn't seem to make much sense to me, really.
posted by Flunkie at 8:53 AM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


The good news is that if the robot does a thorough enough job of destroying the earth, there won't be anyone left who does know.

It is for similar reasons that categories 7 and 8 are generally omitted from official scales—no one wants to do all that paperwork for it if they're just going to blink out of existence once those clauses become relevant.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:54 AM on December 15, 2011


I think I've only hit Category 1 once or twice, which makes everything else seems a bit relative.

That is sort of the point to it, yeah. We all make mistakes, and sometimes when I feel like I've accomplished a screw-up of earth-shattering proportions, I find this scale helpful to remind myself that in the grand scheme of things, it's probably not even a Big Mistake at all.

The problem I have with the applying the fishbike scale here is that the incident is still ongoing. How are we to know that the deletion of the comments will not, butterfly flapping his wings style, precipitate the destruction of the earth.

Well, it's like hurricanes, right? This is a mere tropical storm right now (at worst), and while that doesn't mean it won't be a Cat 1 tomorrow if some news outlet picks up the story, that seems kind of unlikely and we'll call it that only if it happens.
posted by FishBike at 8:54 AM on December 15, 2011


and even the mods themselves and in fact even the deleting mod in particular said it was a mistake to delete them -- are still deleted.

So any time a comment gets deleted, that means the thread is broken?
posted by P.o.B. at 8:58 AM on December 15, 2011


It is for similar reasons that categories 7 and 8 are generally omitted from official scales

But it has to be there, because you need to be able to say "it could have been worse." Even if you did just accidentally tear open a hole in space-time.
posted by empath at 8:58 AM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well I think alien time archeologists may be able to pinpoint the deletion of the comments as the temporal inflection point that caused the destruction of the earth. Mods really need to take the impact their actions will have on the entire time-space continuum into account. Tough job.

So right now we are at fishbike .0000001? I guess that is all we can say for now.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:58 AM on December 15, 2011


You're right, I need to chill out and get some perspective. Sorry about that.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 8:59 AM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

and even the mods themselves and in fact even the deleting mod in particular said it was a mistake to delete them -- are still deleted.
So any time a comment gets deleted, that means the thread is broken?
I'm not really sure how you reached that conclusion from what I wrote.
posted by Flunkie at 8:59 AM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Then I'm not sure how you got to the conclusion that something is broken and therefore needs to be fixed.
posted by P.o.B. at 9:00 AM on December 15, 2011


I think it's pretty obvious, from the point of view of the person who said "Fix it", that the thing that is currently broken is that a bunch of comments that didn't deserve to be deleted -- and even the mods themselves and in fact even the deleting mod in particular said it was a mistake to delete them -- are still deleted.

My feeling is that the thing that was the core concern here, the thing responsible for what was in a lot of cases sort of an outsized response to an issue of otherwise totally understandable concern, was the idea that what happened in that thread was a model of some policy plan or shift in moderation intentions.

Basically, the central issue is one of process and policy, not one of individual comments: the thing that most needed attention was the question of why there were more deletions in that thread than a whole lot of people would have expected, what led to that happening, what the implications are for the future, whether this is a model for future moderation.

And that's mostly what we've been trying to talk out in here, to make it clear where we as a moderation team are on this, where taz was coming from, what she's learned as a result through both conversation with her coworkers and feedback from the community.

And a ton of that discussion is based around the thread that actually exists, in the form in which it exists, and I think it makes sense to go ahead and leave that as is for posterity since the stakes on the actual thread and comments therein is pretty low. The fix is in making sure everybody understands the process, part of which is having the context for discussions about the process to continue to exist instead of retconning everything just to have done so.

I'd contrast that to, say, banning someone over a case of mistaken identity. That's something where the fix is in fact in changing the original outcome as much as it is in looking at the process.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:01 AM on December 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


P.o.B., there's a difference between "Comments that even the deleting mod said shouldn't have been deleted shouldn't remain deleted" and "Any time a comment gets deleted, that means the thread is broken."

I'm not going to continue a tit-for-tat with you about this.
posted by Flunkie at 9:02 AM on December 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


I guess my point is just because there was a mistake doesn't mean anything is broken or needs to be fixed. Those terms imply more than what you're saying and I think they're being misapplied as some kind of stick rather than carrot.
posted by P.o.B. at 9:06 AM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Category 9: Turtles. They get upset about the event, all the way down
posted by P.o.B. at 9:09 AM on December 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


someone before confused The Shining with Poltergeist

I DID NO SUCH THING HOW DARE YOU PISTOLS AT DAWN
posted by neuromodulator at 9:25 AM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


neuromodulator: "someone before confused The Shining with Poltergeist"

"HERE'S JOHNNY!"

"He's heeeeere!"


Totally honest mistake.
posted by zarq at 9:27 AM on December 15, 2011


you forgot to slap him with your internets glove first
posted by elizardbits at 9:28 AM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


i punched my screen off my desk when i read it, elizardbits
posted by neuromodulator at 9:29 AM on December 15, 2011


Was it Something Awful? Man, that place is....something awful.

It was a Russian Metafilter clone. Compared to them, SA is a pile of soft cushions.
posted by daniel_charms at 9:35 AM on December 15, 2011


In Soviet Russia, comments delete you.
posted by cooker girl at 9:39 AM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


This comment is the comment number of the number of the beast.
posted by cgc373 at 9:42 AM on December 15, 2011


This comment is laughing in the face of the comment of the comment number of the number of the beast.
posted by wheelieman at 9:45 AM on December 15, 2011


Ok mods we can close er up if were getting to this point......
posted by wheelieman at 9:46 AM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


That's just what Satan would want you to do, though.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:47 AM on December 15, 2011


Satan can kiss my ass
posted by wheelieman at 9:51 AM on December 15, 2011


Stunt post is stunty.
posted by empath at 9:55 AM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Man, that's a drag.
posted by OmieWise at 10:09 AM on December 15, 2011


I get what you guys are saying about it if you read it as a stunt post, but my initial reading of it was more, "Hey, is there an interesting discussion to be had around the funniness or non-funniness of fart jokes?". And given that I'm someone who generally eyerolls at fart jokes and think less of anything that includes them, but also thought Louis CK's bit on them was funny and have laughed at Family Guy clips, my reaction was sort of, "Yes, there probably is an interesting discussion there."

However, I get that given the quality of some of the links, it does read as more stunty and less substantial. But I still see room for some benefit of the doubt, no?
posted by neuromodulator at 10:13 AM on December 15, 2011


It's stunty on the heels of this thread, but I can't deny it's a legitimate decently-made FPP.
posted by mreleganza at 10:14 AM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


So I think we can see this was so far not even a Category 1, which makes it, by definition, a small mistake rather than a big one.

Even in the limited universe that is Metafilter, it only qualifies as Category 1 insofar as here we are talking about it in a different thread.

Category 1: Journalism. Your mistake is big enough to be reported in the news somewhere.
posted by philip-random at 10:19 AM on December 15, 2011


MetaTalk isn't NewsTalk.
posted by gauche at 10:21 AM on December 15, 2011


So any time a comment gets deleted, that means the thread is broken?

no, but it does mean the thread is a misrepresentation. revisionist history. personally, i subscribe to stavrosthewonderchicken's newsletter. but this entire issue was put to bed a long time ago. comments have been getting deleted for years, way before there were official mods. not gonna change.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 10:24 AM on December 15, 2011


Humorless prigs are humorless.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:25 AM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Not to stir up the nest since this has pretty much calmed down, but I would think that restoring the comments would be a better point to make from the perspective of "these kinds of comments are allowed to stay next time." Instead it feels like "yeah we f'd up, so what move on."

Vocal minority issues aside, we are the customers here, and without us there would be no Metafilter. Not all of us are great customers, but nonetheless your jobs here count on us.
posted by Big_B at 10:28 AM on December 15, 2011


I'm comfortable just giving everybody the benefit of the doubt on this and reading jbicker's fart joke post as a post about fart jokes and leaving it at that.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:29 AM on December 15, 2011


And the methane tag is just a weird coincidence....
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:29 AM on December 15, 2011


Stunt post is stunty.

The person who made this FPP hasn't even commented in this thread, so it is entirely possible that it's a coincidence. Besides which, it's a solid FPP.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:30 AM on December 15, 2011


Big_B: " Vocal minority issues aside, we are the customers here, and without us there would be no Metafilter. Not all of us are great customers, but nonetheless your jobs here count on us."

And? There's hardly a consensus one way or another from the userbase. And moderation on this site isn't a democracy.
posted by zarq at 10:32 AM on December 15, 2011 [4 favorites]

The fix is in making sure everybody understands the process
Oh, yeah, we understand the process, cortex. This is the mods' site, and they can do as they please. Oh, sure, some folks might object, but pfft.
posted by MrMoonPie at 10:32 AM on December 15, 2011


We're the customers?

If memory serves, Matt has said before that the $5 signup fees make up a trivial portion of the site income, and that by far the largest portion comes from advertisers.

And, again if I recall correctly, most logged-in members don't see the ads.

I could totally be misremembering all of this, though.
posted by box at 10:39 AM on December 15, 2011


Without the content makers, there wouldn't be anything upon which to advertise.
posted by litnerd at 10:43 AM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh, yeah, we understand the process, cortex. This is the mods' site, and they can do as they please. Oh, sure, some folks might object, but pfft.

If "pfft" was really as far as it went, we wouldn't have Metatalk and my day yesterday would have been a lot less stressful. I understand—you have made this very clear at this point—that your idealized Metafilter would have essentially no moderator footprint, but that's not tenable and is not going to happen.

That has basically nothing to do with us wanting to have our way with the site and everything to do with us trying very hard to keep this place the functional and interesting place it is. With a userbase in the tens of thousands we're stuck never making all the people happy all the time, and that's just kind of life. I'm sorry you're one of the folks in the not-happy camp, but fundamentally gutting the processes that have kept this place running for years is not a solution we're going to look seriously at.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:45 AM on December 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


nonetheless your jobs here count on us

I never knew that wasting time on Metafilter really meant that I'm a job creator.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:49 AM on December 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


HEY MY TAXES PAY YOUR SALARY
posted by griphus at 10:50 AM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh, sure, some folks might object, but pfft.

Some folks might object, some folks might agree. We work for all of them. We have heard and understood your concerns. There is a general range of opinions on how we should do our jobs and we are answerable to everyone's interpretation of what our jobs are. You personally are in a small group of people who wish that we would delete significantly fewer comments. We know. We have tried to set expectations clearly, that we think this site is unlikely to shift in that direction, though it might shift more in that direction if there was an overwhelming push from the userbase, a push we have not yet seen.

If this is enough to make you leave the site, I would be sorry for that but at the same time, if you want the site to be something that it's not going to be, you have to make a choice about what to do for yourself. This goes for people who flag stuff like where the word "vagina" or "blow job" or "scat fetish" appears above the fold as well. People will have to decide if they're okay occasionally flagging and moving on [or coming to MeTa and complaining] or if they truly can't bear it here. I think we've been very open in our discussions with people about what they can and can't expect from us and from the site generally.

You have direct personal contact with everyone who runs this site. You have the owner's phone number. There's not much more access you could have to the decision-making mechanisms of this site. I'm aware that you don't like the decisions we've made. Acting like we're doing this out of some sort of self-interest as opposed to just trying to balance a lot of differing and divergent opinions seems like it's misrepresenting what is actually going on here.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:50 AM on December 15, 2011 [12 favorites]


You know, I don't think we're gonna [restore the comments...] seems like a weird sort of "let's pretend this didn't happen" overcorrection.

Another option is to semi-restore the deleted comments in a way people could tell which ones they were, for example, with the vowels removed.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:50 AM on December 15, 2011


Another option is to semi-restore the deleted comments in a way people could tell which ones they were, for example, with the vowels removed.


Or possibly markov chain the first word in every comment?
posted by iamabot at 11:03 AM on December 15, 2011


with the vowels removed

Pfftt.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:12 AM on December 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


There should be a one day "no moderator" experiment.
With the IMG tag restored.
I predict there would be ponies.
Lots of ponies.
posted by charred husk at 11:13 AM on December 15, 2011


jessamyn: This goes for people who flag stuff like where the word "vagina" or "blow job" or "scat fetish" appears above the fold as well.

A bit off topic, I suppose, but is that considered problematic from a site perspective? I went back and forth on how much to put above the fold for my Mary Toft fpp, and eventually settled on marking it nsfw at the beginning. I know there was a comment or too linking mine to the Ask on the scat fetish and people being disturbed (well, the Mary Toft story is pretty disturbing), and now I'm wondering if I should have framed it a bit less graphically.
posted by kittenmarlowe at 11:14 AM on December 15, 2011


- i am small and scampery [...]

Why does this turn me on?
posted by Crabby Appleton at 11:17 AM on December 15, 2011


Pfftt

Who are you calling a pooff tit?!??
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:18 AM on December 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


and now I'm wondering if I should have framed it a bit less graphically.

I did a Xenomorph porn post with all the graphic stuff after the jump and NSFW before the jump, on the front page. The idea was that those who couldn't view the more risque content would still have something to see and enjoy, while others could get the full package, so to speak.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:22 AM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Everyone knows that pooff tits are endemic to only one tiny region (approx. 5 sq.mi) of the High Andes, and have been seen by fewer than 10 humans. They are nonmigratory. In short, it should likely be read as a compliment.
posted by rtha at 11:25 AM on December 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


is that considered problematic from a site perspective?

For me personally, no, but there were definitely people who flagged it and the only reason I could figure was because of the above-the-fold-corpse-and-vagina-juxtaposition though maybe it was just because it was a big paragraph. Same thing with the scat fetish. Not a big problem from our perspective [i.e. not requiring mod action, we didn't think], but maybe some people's?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:26 AM on December 15, 2011


I've always heard them called "puffies".
posted by Crabby Appleton at 11:26 AM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I did a Xenomorph porn post with all the graphic stuff after the jump and NSFW before the jump, on the front page.

I liked that, clicking [more inside] was like going down the steps into the neon pink florescent lit room, showing your ID, getting a booth and watching a sex show where a girl writhes around with a face hugger.
posted by nathancaswell at 11:32 AM on December 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


Someone should tell those aliens about side hugs. And by someone, I mean someone else.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:49 AM on December 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


With a userbase in the tens of thousands we're stuck never making all the people happy all the time, and that's just kind of life.

**spoiler alert**

There are a number of times in the life of this site that all the people are happy, and there are a small minority who are happy all the time.
posted by Meatbomb at 11:50 AM on December 15, 2011


Oh, man, did you hang out at Ripley's too? It's a shame that place got closed down.
posted by griphus at 11:51 AM on December 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Closed down? I BLEW IT OUT OF THE GODDAMNED AIRLOCK.
posted by davidjmcgee at 12:06 PM on December 15, 2011 [8 favorites]


there were definitely people who flagged it and the only reason I could figure was because of the above-the-fold-corpse-and-vagina-juxtaposition

Took awhile but this thread has officially lost me.
posted by mannequito at 12:09 PM on December 15, 2011


Above-the-fold-corpse-and-vagina-juxtaposition is responsible for 6% of officeplace talking-to's in North America.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:24 PM on December 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


Above-the-fold-corpse-and-vagina-juxtaposition

It's like origami, but for adults only.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:29 PM on December 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


I sometimes wonder how often this post of mine was flagged and what the demographic of the flaggers was.
It was about an incestual necrophiliac whose work specialised in Fetish photomontage.
posted by adamvasco at 12:32 PM on December 15, 2011


It got zero flags, in fact.

We don't really want people making like "boobs boobs dicks butts lol I said weenus vajazzler shitfuck a monkey anus" posts on the front page just to prove that they can, but beyond that some naughty words or blue language in a post when it makes sense is basically fine, yeah.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:40 PM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Took awhile but this thread has officially lost me.

If we're allowed to vote on whether to close up a MeTa thread, my vote is that we should never close this thread up ever. You can't put this kind of awfulness back in the bottle.
posted by gauche at 12:43 PM on December 15, 2011


my vote is that we should never close this thread up ever. You can't put this kind of awfulness back in the bottle.

I frankly don't see what you're getting at here. Just because in two weeks' time (or however long MeTa threads stay open) this thread will be closed to new comments, it doesn't mean the existing ones will disappear.
posted by daniel_charms at 12:48 PM on December 15, 2011


adamvasco: "I sometimes wonder how often this post of mine was flagged and what the demographic of the flaggers was."

cortex: "It got zero flags, in fact."

You'll need to try harder. :)
posted by zarq at 12:49 PM on December 15, 2011


It just keeps going. It's slowed and it's less spleeny now than it was yesterday, but it keeps going.
posted by gauche at 12:56 PM on December 15, 2011


We don't really want people making like "boobs boobs dicks butts lol I said weenus vajazzler shitfuck a monkey anus" posts on the front page just to prove that they can, but beyond that some naughty words or blue language in a post when it makes sense is basically fine, yeah.

PREVIOUSLY, MY CALLOUT
posted by shakespeherian at 12:57 PM on December 15, 2011


It just keeps going. It's slowed and it's less spleeny now than it was yesterday, but it keeps going.

And this makes it special because...?
posted by daniel_charms at 12:59 PM on December 15, 2011


jokey, fighty, douchebaggy, spleeny. i lern a lotta werds hear.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 1:02 PM on December 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


You're quite learny.
posted by mintcake! at 1:07 PM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


unSane I don't know what realms you dwell in online besides mefi but in my experience it has always been an extremely heavily modded place. Most other forums ive been on are more about quick one liners and blazingly raw putdowns. One forum I was on instituted a rule where posters could no longer threaten to murder each other and we all accused them of facism. So, yeah, this is a controlled environment.

Just as a data point, we only have a couple of thousand users over at Mefightclub. In the 4+ years we've been running, I've deleted comments only once that I can recall clearly, though I feel this morning like there was possibly another occasion (involving our only banned user) a couple of years back.

The recentish (ie in the last 12 months) time was me deleting my own intemperate, ill-advised comment when I lost my shit for a minute, and a couple of followup whaaaa? comments that referred to it, all within the space of about 2 minutes. And I took a lot of grief for it, and rightfully so, I guess.

Not all forums have or need heavy moderation, is what I'm saying. MFC is no MeFi in terms of scale, but still. MFC isn't a controlled environment, we just have a userbase that doesn't need or want active admin intervention (which is, again, probably a factor of scale to a degree).
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:08 PM on December 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


boobs boobs dicks butts lol
I said weenus vajazzler
shitfuck a monkey [anus]


Almost a perfect Haiku. If only a monkey and not a monkey anus.

Fun fact: If Only a Monkey and not a Monkey Anus was the working title of Decision Points.
posted by SpiffyRob at 1:10 PM on December 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


blue language in a post

Hey wait, I get it!
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 1:11 PM on December 15, 2011


which is, again, probably a factor of scale to a degree

It totally is. I've worked on sites that had maybe 15 active daily users all the way up to Metafilter, which is... rather higher. It's my general observation that moderation need to maintain a particular level of discourse goes up exponentially as the site grows (I have this wacky theory that it's explained mathematically by not the number of users, but the number of interactions between users.)

You can, of course, lower your standards as the site gets bigger, and for truly massive sites (the World of Warcraft forums are the canonical game-industry example) you pretty much have to or your headcount overruns your budget. We aren't at that point yet, and Matt has been very clear that he doesn't want to get there, but we are growing, albeit slowly, and so to maintain (or improve) the level of discourse, it does require way more moderation than a smaller site.

(I've ranted about this on my blog, but not in a way that really translates to Metafilter, alas.)
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 1:22 PM on December 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


Almost a perfect Haiku

No, traditionally a perfect haiku requires a seasonal reference.

Unless shitfucking a monkey is something popularly associated with, say, Spring, I can't see anything seasonal there.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:48 PM on December 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


boobs boobs dicks butts lol
I said weenus vajazzler
shitfuck falling leaves
posted by griphus at 1:49 PM on December 15, 2011 [11 favorites]


stavrosthewonderchicken: "(involving our only banned user)"

Considering who else just showed up at the club, we may have found our #2!
posted by Grither at 1:50 PM on December 15, 2011


boobs dick vagina
fuck this lousy weather
in december's butt
posted by daniel_charms at 1:52 PM on December 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


Ok, so once we sort out this humor thing, can we talk about what to do when comments are super-serious look-how-much-I-specially-snowflake-CARE about the issue (which I don't actually seem to grasp) and think of the children!!!! posts? Cuz those bug me and hurt my soul and fill me with dispair.

And they're a lot more work to scroll through, compared to a one-liner.

I don't actually want anything deleted, if at all possible, but to those folks who are picking all the onions off the nachos- that's what makes a nacho nach, even when you've slathered it with fake sour cream.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 1:52 PM on December 15, 2011


FishBike: "This is probably as good a time as any to publish the FishBike scale of Big Mistakes. Basically, you rate the size of a mistake by which field of study is affected by it.
At work, we have a simple binary test for mistakes/something that seems like a good idea but that little voice tells you that there's something not quite right about it - we call it the 'Courier-Mail test' Quite simply, when considering what to do or not do about an issue, we ask ourselves 'If I do/don't do something, how will it look on the front page of the Courier Mail?' because that's where mistakes by public servants tend to end up around here. If the answer is 'bad', then it's easy to see what to do. If the answer is 'won't even rate a mention', likewise (the Courier Mail pretty much never publishes good things public servants do, hence the missing 'good').
posted by dg at 2:15 PM on December 15, 2011


Quite simply, when considering what to do or not do about an issue, we ask ourselves 'If I do/don't do something, how will it look on the front page of the Courier Mail?

My grandfather, who was a lifelong public servant in the Auditor-General's department, used to say that the litmus test for the success of a public servant's career is if they never once found themselves mentioned in the newspapers.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:26 PM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Considering who else just showed up at the club, we may have found our #2!

Oh god you're not talking about me, are you? Is it because I only want to talk about Dark Souls?
posted by neuromodulator at 3:07 PM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


We don't really want people making like "boobs boobs dicks butts lol I said weenus vajazzler shitfuck a monkey anus" posts on the front page just to prove that they can,

cum dumpster
posted by nathancaswell at 3:34 PM on December 15, 2011


Yes I know.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:39 PM on December 15, 2011


Deaf people need to talk shit too, ya know.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:47 PM on December 15, 2011


Will nobody think of the sun people and/or comet microbes?
posted by Artw at 4:04 PM on December 15, 2011


Is this fucking thread still fucking going on? It's the fucking holidays in fucking retail and I almost had to kick the ass of a co-worker who I don't like anyway for being a fucking smartass, and I found out that I might have fucking scabies that I probably picked up at fucking work. So fuck off.
posted by jonmc at 4:59 PM on December 15, 2011


It's the fucking holidays in fucking retail

BAH HUMBUG!!!!!
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 5:04 PM on December 15, 2011


jonmc: Is this fucking thread still fucking going on?

I think MeTa threads are open for a month, dude.

I found out that I might have fucking scabies that I probably picked up at fucking work.

Sometimes it's scabies, sometimes it's gingerbread cookies.
posted by gman at 5:06 PM on December 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


don't you mean gingerbread cooties?
posted by pyramid termite at 5:22 PM on December 15, 2011


Where does the line start for the Fuck Off ride?
posted by P.o.B. at 5:37 PM on December 15, 2011


That's several hundred comments back.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 5:48 PM on December 15, 2011


zarq: They were jokes: low-content noise. You're making an argument that they have value. Okay. What value?

But isn't that what's great about opinions? We can feel differently about the comment; humor is subjective, they were how some folks were dealing with the news.

How was the post thinner without them?

We crossed a really dark threshold here where comments were deleted, not because they were trolling/flame-bait/flame-out/attacks, but because they were "jokes". Someone felt that the commentators weren't being serious enough in the thread, and axed comments for not being serious. Isn't that a wildly dangerous precedent? (HANG ON - I KNOW we've already had mea culpa and this-is-not-how-we're-changing-policy, this is rhetorical) It's the fact that we had a huge swath of comments deleted for no other reason that a mod decided they weren't worth keeping. It's unprecedented here at MeFi and it damages one of the things I, for example, hold dear about this place: No over zealotry on the mod staff over what effectively is benign content. I want team MeFi on the case when people are attacking each other, attacking themselves, attacking the world, generally being "Bad"(Tm). Bad is pretty agreed upon per the terms of service here -- a set of conditions get you in hot water. This set of deletions crossed into this judgment area where it's a stretch to say that someone jokingly talking about lighting the ocean on fire was in any way under that "Bad" label.

Why should the mods bother to reinstate them?

It's an obvious disconnect I have with what's been further established in the thread, but basically: They were bad deletions. Because they've been already explained as being against the grain and not where MeFi is going. So if they're not representative of MeFi, why should the deletions stand? We have these magical things called computers that can undelete them. It's so beyond my comprehension why we're choosing to stick with that path -- I'm guessing due to not wanting to set the precedent of "things that can be deleted can also be undeleted" -- but I get that it's not going to change.

On principle?

Yes!
posted by cavalier at 6:15 PM on December 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


And P.o.B., what exactly is your disconnect with equating "problem needs being fixed" where problems were "comments were deleted unnecessarily" and fix is "undelete the comments"? You can not agree with the solution, but the tens of comments from you not grokking that is curious to me. So, you don't feel the deletions were a problem, that doesn't mean that it wasn't a problem for other people....?
posted by cavalier at 6:17 PM on December 15, 2011


Because they've been already explained as being against the grain and not where MeFi is going. So if they're not representative of MeFi, why should the deletions stand?

For me it's because it wouldn't be worth the button clicks.

If the mods started really buying into the idea that an individual thread was Very Important, or even that this particular set of comments were Very Important I would be worried about the future of site.

The fact that the mods have a level of perspective about this sort of thing -- which is to say that a dead thread really doesn't need editing --reassures me of their judgment. As demonstrated by many in this thread MetaTalk can get pretty hysterical (and not in the funny way) at times and I'm happy to see cooler heads prevail.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 6:23 PM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


The thread happened yesterday. How is that a dead thread?

Precedent... .ahhhhh, good night Irene.
posted by cavalier at 6:27 PM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Fucking scabies? No, no, no. Whether you get them from a handshake or from sexual activity, it's the same scabies - Sarcoptes scabiei, var hominis. Fucking lice, definitely - the crab or pubic louse (Pthirus pubis) is distinct from its cousins the head louse (Pediculus humanus capitis) and body louse (Pediculus humanus corporis). Sure, you can get crabs from fomites (towels and clothes, mostly, not toilet seats), but mostly they're fucking lice.

The more you know!
posted by gingerest at 6:55 PM on December 15, 2011


mostly they're fucking lice.

And let me tell you, that requires a great deal of precision.
posted by shothotbot at 7:29 PM on December 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Not to mention the tiny microphones to make sure you have consent

too much?
posted by unSane at 7:48 PM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


what exactly is your disconnect with equating

I'm going to set aside the idea that you can mind read and let's just say you're assuming I have some kind of "disconnect" on the strength of what I said, but I'm not sure if I can lay it out simpler than this. Maybe you can make clear your disconnect on what you think is my disconnect?

"problem needs being fixed" where problems were "comments were deleted unnecessarily" and fix is "undelete the comments"?

It looks like you might be, and remain, confused if that's your working definition. Cortex's comment may clear that up better than anything I've said.

You can not agree with the solution ex post facto for no good reason, but the tens of 6 comments from you not grokking that clearly understanding the word-play in use is curious to me.

FTFY. I know it makes my comment a bit gauche, but since you got so many things wrong and I could've done it throughout your whole comment I decided to mix it up. Speaking of getting things wrong:

So, you don't feel the deletions were a problem, that doesn't mean that it wasn't a problem for other people....?

I never said the deletions were not a problem.
posted by P.o.B. at 7:48 PM on December 15, 2011


Disconnects all the way down.
posted by box at 8:04 PM on December 15, 2011


You just described my dating life.
posted by P.o.B. at 8:06 PM on December 15, 2011


The thread happened yesterday. How is that a dead thread?

The thread has had three comments today, the last one was 8 hours ago.

It's pining for fjords that one.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 8:25 PM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Not to mention the tiny microphones

Bugs?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:33 PM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


This thread seems to be winding down (no, wait, it needs more comments!), and I'd like to thank just about everyone (with one obvious exception) for their good-faith contributions. This was a lot less argumentative than it might have been. I especially want to thank taz for her very gracious comment, and to cortex and Jess for nursing the thread until taz arrived. I hope that it didn't add too much to their stress.

There is, as lawyers might say, no property in a thread, but for what it's worth, as the OP, while I've stayed out of the thread I think it's been a generally constructive discussion and I think it's to Metafilter's credit on balance.

Happy holidays, all.
posted by Dasein at 10:16 PM on December 15, 2011 [7 favorites]


Testing.

Testing.

Is this thing on?

Testing.
posted by Lon Mem at 10:44 PM on December 15, 2011


Go to sleep, children.

Comments still deleted.
posted by Lon Mem at 10:45 PM on December 15, 2011


And let me tell you, that requires a great deal of precision.

And now I can't stop thinking of this Daniel Clowes comic (NSFW).
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:51 PM on December 15, 2011


It seems to me you're a lot more unhappy about the fact that yours still haven't been deleted.
posted by daniel_charms at 10:57 PM on December 15, 2011


Go to sleep, children.

Comments still deleted.


You're acting purely as an irritant here, and I suspect you know this and are deriving pleasure from it.

Exactly who, in this scenario, is the child and who is the adult?
posted by Wolof at 12:11 AM on December 16, 2011


I am not the only person to insist that rectification of this admitted mistake be accomplished by the full restoration of the sixty deleted comments.

If that irritates you, so be it.
posted by Lon Mem at 12:17 AM on December 16, 2011


This from the Hitchens thread:

>> So I have no peroration or clarion note on which to close. Beware the irrational, however seductive. Shun the "transcendent" and all who invite you to subordinate or annihilate yourself. Distrust compassion; prefer dignity for yourself and others. Don't be afraid to be thought arrogant or selfish. Picture all experts as if they were mammals. Never be a spectator to unfairness or stupidity. Seek out argument and disputation for their own sake; the grave will supply plenty of time for silence. Suspect your own motives, and all excuses. Do not live for others any more than you would expect others to live for you.

So, fuck all of the bootlickers who rolled over on this.

No shame for me.

Plenty for you.
posted by Lon Mem at 12:58 AM on December 16, 2011


24 hour ban for candor in...

3.

2.

1.

MeFi!
posted by Lon Mem at 1:03 AM on December 16, 2011


You seem to have drawn exactly the wrong conclusions from the Hitch piece. Seeking martyrdom is not rational behaviour.
posted by daniel_charms at 1:11 AM on December 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


i've licked some boots before. it was a gay old time.
posted by nadawi at 1:15 AM on December 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


> i, like basically everyone here, wishes this all went down differently, but i want to come out in full favor of early pruning of derailing, shitty comments in general.

> Indeed.

Basically, it seems like the thread was too far gone to salvage by the time taz got to it. Normally, if somebody had posted a MeTa asking why the jokes hadn't been deleted, we would have gotten an explanation from the mods that a lot of them had already been already been responded to and it was too late to delete anything. I hope the take-away message from this thread isn't to reverse policy on deleting early snark and threadshitting, because it's 'contrary to site culture'.

I realize that some of the comments in the original thread count as gallows humor. I get the distinction between jokes and threadshitting, and have no problem with people joking about a topic. But most of the jokes in the thread don't fall in that category. What's you're excuse for every other thread where you do exactly the same thing? It's a big FU to everybody who posts links here or bothers reading them. Yay, site culture!

I hope what the mods get out of this is 'we need to delete snark and threadshitting early if possible before it takes over the thread' not 'don't do it any more'.
posted by nangar at 1:30 AM on December 16, 2011


No shame for me.

Plenty for you.


Heh. Looks like the bit about "suspect your own motives" was especially overlooked.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:39 AM on December 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


>> I hope what the mods get out of this is 'we need to delete snark and threadshitting early if possible before it takes over the thread' not 'don't do it any more'.

You didn't read Taz's explanation closely. She said she started hacking, lost track of connections, responses, and flow, and then just started mass deleting in a panic.

And *THAT'S* the point.

Why should *ANY* one person be put in charge of "curating" a thread, adjudicating nuance, humor, tone, early or late? I wouldn't trust my own mother or any other human to "curate" a filter between myself and any source of information. My remarks before about the narrow scope of this one mod applies to all mods. Asking someone to "catch the 'threadshitting' early" is asking some bland, humorless rubber stamper to assess pre-crime. The intent of a remark. Where it's going to go. Whether it will be "significant" or "of value."

Conversation does not work that way. Never has. Never will. How is this fucking site still stuck in 1999 when sites like Gawker have figured out how to show all comments, but feature those which are deemed most "worthy" by the mods? The best this site can do is just to have one mod, acting in complete isolation shitcanning sixty comments? That's your best, huh? Really?

It is depressing and frankly pathetic how the majority seems not simply content, not just eager, but almost ravenous to allow this mod, or any mod, to whisk several dozen remarks into the memory hole.

No, I understand Hitchens very well. He's one of my heroes and his passing touches me deeply. I've read most of his books and hold him in the highest esteem. But that's neither here nor there. The fuck is wrong with you people just rolling over on this? Not all. But most.
posted by Lon Mem at 1:47 AM on December 16, 2011


I see you pretty much dropped into this site a few months ago. Maybe you're not aware, then, that before taz was a mod, she was just another user here, like the rest of us. She posted frequently, and counts many of us as her friends. She understands how this site works. That's advantage she has over you.

Also, maybe people are willing to "roll over" on this because we can accept that our friend made a mistake with her heart in the right place, will likely learn from the experience, and maybe most importantly, the comments themselves were not so valuable as to warrant the bile and vitriol you've been slinging around this thread like a chimp with a firehose.

So enjoy your martyrdom for your self-appointed, self-important "cause". It must feel great to be so utterly convinced of your moral superiority. The rest of us do what we can, the best we can, and give our friends the benefit of the doubt.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:56 AM on December 16, 2011 [16 favorites]


>> Seeking martyrdom is not rational behaviour.

You're an idiot.

One of many on this thread.

I never said I was seeking martyrdom. When I said I agreed that my banning was imminent, that was a statement concerning the behavior and tone of the mods and policies of this site, not my wish. An expectation of outcome. One I still anticipate. That a number of commenters have taken that canard and hoisted it upon their shoulders, so-called suicide-by-mod (a specious reference to the vile and dishonest bourgeois slur of suicide-by-cop), is guilt by association not related to my own opinion on the matter.
posted by Lon Mem at 1:59 AM on December 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Gawker has also found a way to draw more eyeballs with its bannings, something they call commenter execution, and other commenters who "turn in" bad commenters get a gold star. Seriously.

I do think they have a sort of different commenting culture there, for sure.
posted by taz (staff) at 2:07 AM on December 16, 2011


When I said I agreed that my banning was imminent, that was a statement concerning the behavior and tone of the mods and policies of this site, not my wish.

So, you don't want to be banned, but are convinced you will be, yet you continue to speak to other people on this site the way you do, even after being warned not to? Yeah, that's totally rational.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:09 AM on December 16, 2011


>> I see you pretty much dropped into this site a few months ago.

Wrong.

I read somewhere that MeFi has 49,000 registered users.

I'd guess there were another couple hundred thousand readers who are not registered.

Someone asked me upthread who the fuck I was?

Guess what?

Who the fuck is he?

I've been reading this site for ten years, honey. Did it ever occur to some of you in the inner circle that there might be people involved in your so-called community who are not known to you? Are not your friends? Have not taken the time to note and carefully catalog precisely who the most legit-as-balls, triple-A, dream team, elite tier MeFites are? I know it's really, really important to those of you who literally LIVE this site 24/7, but many of us have never taken the time to apprise ourselves of the Who's Who. The aristocracy. The true blue interbreeding pure bloods. Perhaps the mods would be kind enough to provide a list of those luminaries of whom rabble like myself should be aware.

From the comments (and vicious PMs I've received), it's clear Taz has many friends. Swell. I have friends too. Not many on MeFi, but that's okay. I don't care who she is, how many brownies she's baked, or how many hugs she's handed out at meet-ups. All I know is some humorless mod went on a late night slash-and-burn and some of my (not particularly amusing to most) remarks were part of the mayhem.

I'm here to demand that she clean up her poo poo. Her mess. Her fuck up.

If that qualifies as sexist, stalkerish, irritating, or whatever else is waiting on deck, bring it.

My initial post, though rude, crude, and rambling fucking nailed this, overturned some apple carts, and kicked over the bullshit barricades and mod filibustering in vicious fashion.

That's what I do.
posted by Lon Mem at 2:10 AM on December 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I never said I was seeking martyrdom.

Yet this is exactly what you've been doing the whole thread - asking to be banned. Because despite the calls by some people to ban you, there actually hasn't been any reason to. Yes, you've been behaving like an ass, but you're hardly a special snowflake in this regard. If you keep it up in long term, though (or post a self-link to the blue), you might have better luck.
posted by daniel_charms at 2:11 AM on December 16, 2011


>> yet you continue to speak to other people on this site the way you do, even after being warned not to? Yeah, that's totally rational.

And maybe the policy itself is irrational.

That ever occur to you?
posted by Lon Mem at 2:13 AM on December 16, 2011


>> asking to be banned.

Please direct me to the post that I made doing so.

I call you a liar.
posted by Lon Mem at 2:16 AM on December 16, 2011


My initial post, though rude, crude, and rambling fucking nailed this, overturned some apple carts, and kicked over the bullshit barricades and mod filibustering in vicious fashion.

You're giving yourself way too much credit for something you don't really deserve any for.
posted by daniel_charms at 2:17 AM on December 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


me: I ... have no problem with people joking about a topic. But most of the jokes in the thread don't fall in that category.

I guess I should clarify a bit. There's a difference between joking about something and ridiculing a post for existing, in this case because it was about global warming and had the word 'methane' in it, Ditto posts about poetry - Poetry! Pfft!, music - Bluegrass! Fucking yokels! Pfft!, Australian politics - What is this, fucking Australia? Pfft!

Lots of these kinds of comments on every conceivable topic do discourage people from posting here or trying to discuss topics. Jokes about bluegrass songs, Australian politicians or the global warming debate are a bit different and can be part of an actual conversation.
posted by nangar at 2:18 AM on December 16, 2011


I've been reading this site for ten years, honey. Did it ever occur to some of you in the inner circle that there might be people involved in your so-called community who are not known to you?

I'm not your honey, pal, and my point was to try and show you why maybe people aren't rending garments the way you are over deleted comments - because taz didn't drop out of the sky from Mod Heaven; she was, and still is, a part of the userbase.

My initial post, though rude, crude, and rambling fucking nailed this, overturned some apple carts, and kicked over the bullshit barricades and mod filibustering in vicious fashion.

Holy shit get over yourself. The only thing you managed to accomplish was leap up on a table and smack a dead chicken against your face, repeatedly, while shrieking at everyone else in the room.

And maybe the policy itself is irrational. That ever occur to you?

On sites I've been to where I didn't care for the moderation policy, I've tried to make my case with respect and courtesy. Not exactly the tactic you went for, at all, was it? When you come at people in the fashion you do, get your time out, and then come rolling back almost to the minute of the end of 24 hours to yell "Countdown to my next timeout!", that right there looks a lot like Free Speech Martyrdom.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:19 AM on December 16, 2011 [13 favorites]


I call you a liar.

Way above, you said: "I'm going out for pizza. I promise not to post anything on this thread anymore. Ever. Period."

Now I'm calling you one.
posted by daniel_charms at 2:19 AM on December 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


You got me on that one.
posted by Lon Mem at 2:22 AM on December 16, 2011


Memory game:
Card, top left: respect & courtesy
Card, bottom middle: smack a dead chicken against your face, repeatedly, while shrieking
Nope, not a match.
posted by Kerasia at 2:24 AM on December 16, 2011


Nope, not a match.

You're right, it's not a match. When someone makes an honest mistake with the right intentions, and the response is to come rolling in all shouty and fighty, you're neither showing respect nor warranting a helluva a lot of it.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:29 AM on December 16, 2011


Ok, so you've never said "please ban me" or anything like that, but you've been "expecting" it so hard that you're really splitting hairs here when you're saying that you haven't been asking for it. Because the difference is virtually nonexistent.
posted by daniel_charms at 2:31 AM on December 16, 2011


>> On sites I've been to where I didn't care for the moderation policy, I've tried to make my case with respect and courtesy.

Out of curiosity, how did that go? Because I've noted that in the past on this site, and also on this thread it usually ends with: "Thank you for your input, your patronage is valued, we respect you, now kindly fuck off because we've decided to do exactly as we please."

Respect and courtesy have their limit. Like fucking cops who pepper spray, kettle, and handcuff with a chirpy "Have a nice day, citizen!"
posted by Lon Mem at 2:32 AM on December 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


>> Because the difference is virtually nonexistent.

Thou sayest.
posted by Lon Mem at 2:33 AM on December 16, 2011


>> I'm not your honey, pal

Play your cards right. I'm just saying... don't rule it out. Stranger things have happened.
posted by Lon Mem at 2:38 AM on December 16, 2011


And I'm not your pal, honey.
posted by Lon Mem at 2:39 AM on December 16, 2011


Out of curiosity, how did that go?

Oh, it depends. I've seen changes made to moderation policy, e.g. regarding the posting of NSFW content, based on how the userbase have made their case to the mods and the strength of their arguments. Typically, it's a lot easier to get people to listen to what you have to say if your (at least initial) approach is one of giving the benefit of the doubt.

Naturally, there are some things mods won't budge on, and that leaves you with the choice of deciding whether or not that part of the policy outweighs your enjoyment of the site, or whether you can deal with it. What I do know is, responding with fighty, aggressive comment spam is a guarantee that your case is not really going to be considered.

Respect and courtesy have their limit. Like fucking cops who pepper spray, kettle, and handcuff with a chirpy "Have a nice day, citizen!"

Right ... so, fortunately, the mods aren't cops, or abusive cops, and no one is being pepper-sprayed or kettled or handcuffed here. What a strange conflation to make.

Play your cards right. I'm just saying... don't rule it out. Stranger things have happened.

Oh, I see. You're not actually interested in discussion; you're just here to be an asshole. Never mind then!
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:40 AM on December 16, 2011


Lon Mem, that's enough. You can continue to post here about what you think is wrong with the site, what I did, fine. Cut it out with attacking other users here.
posted by taz (staff) at 2:41 AM on December 16, 2011


"Attacking."

Add that to your symphony of sour notes.

Tin ear.
posted by Lon Mem at 2:43 AM on December 16, 2011


Restore the comments.

EOM.
posted by Lon Mem at 2:45 AM on December 16, 2011


> Why should *ANY* one person be put in charge of "curating" a thread ... My remarks before about the narrow scope of this one mod applies to all mods.

It's because the site is generally well moderated that it's worth reading and participating in. It's been around for over ten years because of that.

> The fuck is wrong with you people ...

We actually like the site.

> My initial post, though rude, crude, and rambling fucking nailed this, overturned some apple carts, and kicked over the bullshit barricades and mod filibustering in vicious fashion.

That's what I do.


> And maybe the policy itself is irrational.

Almost all human cultures have rules eventually kicking out people who continually attack other members in one way or another, otherwise they can't continue to exist as cultures. It's not irrational.
posted by nangar at 2:45 AM on December 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


You know, Lon Mem's behaviour actually reminds me of my early days on Slashdot. I had just discovered the joys of trolling and, like other trolls, started to imagine that what I was doing was something forbidden and dangerous, that the admins and mods were persecuting us just for who we were and, like you, expected to be banned for even daring to talk about it. Except that never happened because despite their delusions, nobody actually cared enough about trolls to start permabanning them systematically - unless they were being really disruptive by using spambots or trying to hack the site. Eventually, I did manage to earn the ban I had once been expecting to receive any moment - but it took some hard work to achieve it and even then it was just a 30-day timeout and I knew I had just been an asshole (although it's quite relieving to act as an asshole from time to time), not a victim of the site's irrational policies, nor a martyr.
posted by daniel_charms at 3:05 AM on December 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Right now I feel like some lesser incarnation of Ignatius Reilly is hanging out on Mefi.

I'm waiting for the pro-Feudalist screeds to appear at any moment.
posted by The ____ of Justice at 3:09 AM on December 16, 2011


Asking someone to "catch the 'threadshitting' early" is asking some bland, humorless rubber stamper to assess pre-crime. The intent of a remark. Where it's going to go. Whether it will be "significant" or "of value."

Conversation does not work that way. Never has. Never will. How is this fucking site still stuck in 1999 when sites like Gawker have figured out how to show all comments, but feature those which are deemed most "worthy" by the mods? ...

It is depressing and frankly pathetic how the majority seems not simply content, not just eager, but almost ravenous to allow this mod, or any mod, to whisk several dozen remarks into the memory hole.


Deleting comments is part of moderation and I like it because believe it leads to a better discussion. You disagree, which is good for you because there are many sites with less (in some cases, much less) moderation than Metafilter. There are also, as you point out, other sites which rank or display comments according to perceived value and others which don't.

I choose to spend time at Metafilter because I find the discussion format and moderation policy leads to contributions which are of a quality that I enjoy. Actually, I'd prefer a little more comment deletion to encourage higher-quality discussion, but I've made my peace with the fact that I differ from the mods and much of the userbase on this and simply don't read or contribute to threads that are mostly snark and jokes.

You seem upset that most users on Metafilter like the moderation at Metafilter, which in turn confuses me. I don't understand why someone who has contempt for the judgement of the mods, dislikes the degree of moderation and doesn't even agree with some of the core features of the discussion format here stays around. There is an internet full of comments and discussion, mostly much less moderated than here and it seems perverse to spend time on a site whose nature is so offensive.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 3:40 AM on December 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Can someone please just make with the ban hammer already?
posted by DarlingBri at 3:48 AM on December 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Can someone please just make with the ban hammer already?

A timeout at the very least.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:06 AM on December 16, 2011


I believe he already got one, or at least that's how I interpreted his sudden silence.
posted by daniel_charms at 4:13 AM on December 16, 2011


Nope. The other guys can decide what they want to do when they wake up, but I didn't really want to play the baiting game.
posted by taz (staff) at 4:22 AM on December 16, 2011


Rumor has it that the downtime this weekend is so that pb can implement the hellban.

Well, I can dream cant I?
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 4:29 AM on December 16, 2011


After reading this I think I'm starting to favor slowbans. Trolls have a very low frustration tolerance, not to mention the joy that would come from watching them shout "I've been slowbanned!" every time the site was just running slow.

In fact if I were feeling particularly mischievous I would start a rumor that Metafilter has a slowban but the moderators consistently deny it. (okay mods, I mentioned it again. You can delete this comment too).
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 4:44 AM on December 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh man slowban is kind of genius.
posted by nathancaswell at 4:55 AM on December 16, 2011


I think there should simply be a 'troll' badge like the 'staff' badge.
posted by unSane at 5:00 AM on December 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, but then everyone would be trying to earn one and that would be...annoying.
posted by daniel_charms at 5:02 AM on December 16, 2011


Release the Metafilter 60!
posted by Wolof at 5:02 AM on December 16, 2011


My initial post, though rude, crude, and rambling fucking nailed this, overturned some apple carts, and kicked over the bullshit barricades and mod filibustering in vicious fashion.

HOLY SHIT! LON MEM IS JESUS IN THE TEMPLE!
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 5:03 AM on December 16, 2011


I call you a liar.
posted by Lon Mem at 5:16 AM on December 16 [+] [!]


but are you willing to stake your right hand on that?
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 5:05 AM on December 16, 2011 [9 favorites]


I think Troll Mem is a pretty cool guy. Eh acts petulant and doesnt afraid of anything.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 5:09 AM on December 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


daniel_charms lied, kittens died!
posted by daniel_charms at 5:09 AM on December 16, 2011


From the comments (and vicious PMs I've received), it's clear Taz has many friends.

I'm not her friend, and think she fucked that thread up horribly. I still think you're an asshole.
posted by empath at 5:28 AM on December 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


because taz didn't drop out of the sky from Mod Heaven Hell; she was, and still is, a part of the userbase.

That would be pretty sweet.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:30 AM on December 16, 2011


If Lon Mem gets banned... which, to put my two cents in, he doesn't seem to have earned that yet, there are depths of 'holitude he has yet to reach... but if he gets banned, I would be thrilled if he came back with this username: (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻
posted by Kattullus at 5:33 AM on December 16, 2011 [8 favorites]


Lon Mem, that wasn't remotely helping with the whole threadbare benefit-of-the-doubt thing and I'm tired of your shitty misapprehending freakouts on the site. If you can't manage to act halfway decent to other people here and rein in your behavior, there is no reason the rest of this community should have to put up with you. You're done here.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:26 AM on December 16, 2011 [14 favorites]


Man, good riddance.
posted by OmieWise at 6:36 AM on December 16, 2011


It was pretty apparent that Lon Mem's account was always disabled, but it's nice to have it spelled out in black and white in his profile.
posted by gman at 6:40 AM on December 16, 2011


"My initial post, though rude, crude, and rambling fucking nailed this, overturned some apple carts, and kicked over the bullshit barricades and mod filibustering in vicious fashion.

That's what I do."


Oh, FFS. This sort of thing always makes me think of It's Saturday, by King Missile:
I want to be different, just like all the different people.

[...]

Unity is useless;
conformity is competitive, and divisive, and leads only to stagnation
and death.

If what I'm saying doesn't make any sense,
that's because sense can not be made;
it's something that must be sensed.
And I, for one, and incensed by by all this complacency.

Why oppose war only when there's a war?
Why defend the clinics only when they're attacked?
Why support the squats in the parks only when the police come to close 'em down?
Why are we always reactive?
Lets activate something.
Lets fuck shit up.

Whatever happened to revolution for the hell of it?
Whatever happened to protesting nothing in particular?
Just protesting ,'cause it's Saturday...

...and there's nothing else to do?
The song is incisive not because it simply mocks people who "want to be different, just like all the different people", but because it also includes those first six of the last ten lines. We should oppose war even when there's no war, defend the clinics before they're attacked, activate things and fuck shit up.

Rebellion isn't necessarily good, but it's not necessarily bad, either. In fact, sometimes it's just plain necessary. A lot of adolescent rebellion, of adolescents and those who never outgrow adolescence, is channeled into activity that is a necessary good. It's also often channeled into activity that is an unnecessary evil. And even more is just stupid and wasteful. It's value-neutral, it's what it accomplishes that determines its value.

That this is so, and that most people internalize their values regarding rebellion qua rebellion at an intense emotional period of their lives, is why there's a kind of personal tragedy for many people in it. They internalize a conflation of that positive utility (real or perceived) with their realization of self as a distinct individual, and forever after confuse the means with the end. Lon Mem's quote above is a clear example of this; how it explicitly connects his rebellion with his identity.

And because of how and when this connection is usually first made, it's very much a performance—the rebellion must be a public act because it is, first and foremost, a distinction of self from the mass of others. Therefore this personality seeks out communities specifically so as to subsequently distinguish itself from them. Over and over.

That's what it does.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 6:40 AM on December 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


Holy crap.

So, I just read "rebellion qua rebellion" in the comment above, went to go make a HILARIOUS Samuel Beckett parody and it turns out I did that before under almost identical circumstances. What the hell. What. The. Hell.
posted by griphus at 6:45 AM on December 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Hey, gman, that's not true. Even if I were going to lie about something like that, which I wouldn't, you can see when an account is disabled. We don't have some secret invisible disabling button... so that would be pretty much one of the dumbest lies ever.
posted by taz (staff) at 6:47 AM on December 16, 2011


I think he meant "disabled" in the "not able" sense, as a comment on Lon Mem's rhetorical abilities.
posted by OmieWise at 6:50 AM on December 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


I read it as a joke in the vein of that great Seinfeld episode where George gets a job while using a cane and...well, I won't spoil it, but the line is something like "Let's face it, Jerry, I've always been handicapped. I'm just now getting the recognition for it."
posted by the young rope-rider at 6:50 AM on December 16, 2011


Pb, can you adjust taz's humor chip? Looks like the signal is getting crossed with the literal upgrade 2.53 and the" taking gman seriously" neural net, which I warned ya'll about.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:52 AM on December 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


The worst thing about all of this is I learn about Christopher Hitchens' death from Lon Fucking Mem.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 7:01 AM on December 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


taz: "We don't have some secret invisible disabling button... so that would be pretty much one of the dumbest lies ever."

Rumors of a MeFi hellban are greatly exaggerated.... :D
posted by zarq at 7:01 AM on December 16, 2011


What?! Christopher Hitchens died? Oh, no. :(
posted by zarq at 7:01 AM on December 16, 2011


How do you feel about the fact that you just learned that from villanelles at fucking dawn?
posted by gman at 7:02 AM on December 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


How you feel about repeating that joke, g-heavypetting-man?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:08 AM on December 16, 2011


O god. Now the humor chip is going out. Just what I needed. Jesus.
posted by taz (staff) at 7:09 AM on December 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


Twilight IV: Fucking Dawn.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 7:10 AM on December 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


O god. Now the humor chip is going out. Just what I needed. Jesus.

The morality core will probably be next, and then it's time to release the deadly neurotoxin.
posted by daniel_charms at 7:18 AM on December 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


Metatalk: leap up on a table and smack a dead chicken against your face, repeatedly, while shrieking at everyone else in the room.
posted by stinkycheese at 7:25 AM on December 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


daniel_charms, if that happens, I fear this thread will reach Category 1 after all.
posted by knave at 7:27 AM on December 16, 2011


gman: "How do you feel about the fact that you just learned that from villanelles at fucking dawn?"

By way of Lon Mem, no less.
posted by zarq at 7:34 AM on December 16, 2011


I can't believe I just found out Christopher Hitchens died via Zarq via Gman via Villanelles at Dawn via Lon Mem.
posted by mreleganza at 7:50 AM on December 16, 2011


Vaya con Dios.
posted by pracowity at 8:05 AM on December 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I see that my "who the hell are you?" has tossed back my way. And the answer is this: someone who's been around this zoo since just about the beginning and who has seen dozens of jerkoffs like this come and go.
posted by jonmc at 8:08 AM on December 16, 2011


jonmc has gravitas, bitch.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 8:13 AM on December 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


....………………………………CEILING CAT IS WATCHING YOU PEE……………………………….....
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posted by griphus at 8:14 AM on December 16, 2011


SON OF A

DAMMIT

Cleanup, aisle 953631.

(The joke was supposed to be "jonmc is watching you troll" and also ASCII art that doesn't look like roadkill)
posted by griphus at 8:15 AM on December 16, 2011


oh man imagining Keanu's random "Vaya con Dios" at the end of all that kind of just made my day.
posted by nathancaswell at 8:16 AM on December 16, 2011


Maybe you missed the part where Lon Mem said they'd been here for ten years?
posted by stinkycheese at 8:17 AM on December 16, 2011


Maybe you missed the part where Lon Mem said they'd been here for ten years?

That was a short ten years.

Good call, mods.
posted by Dasein at 8:19 AM on December 16, 2011


Did you register the day you found out about the site? I lurked for years before I became a member (but then, I had no choice).
posted by stinkycheese at 8:20 AM on December 16, 2011


Dasein: " That was a short ten years."

Many of us lurked for years before shelling out $5. He might also have been a BND, with or without the mods' knowledge.
posted by zarq at 8:21 AM on December 16, 2011


Vaya con Dios.

But... dios just came back, and I like him! I wouldn't wish that dude on him, like that.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:22 AM on December 16, 2011


ASCII art designed in a proportional font is an abomination unto the Lord.
posted by knave at 8:23 AM on December 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


SON OF A

DAMMIT

Cleanup, aisle 953631.


FWIW it kind of looks like a fail whale
posted by Sailormom at 8:28 AM on December 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Chili con carne.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:34 AM on December 16, 2011


griphus, some would call this a grave misjudgment--perhaps even you--but I beg you think: how much poorer the world would be without those willing to risk themselves for a better metatalk--!
posted by the young rope-rider at 8:36 AM on December 16, 2011


ha ha yeah I've been reading trollope why do you ask
posted by the young rope-rider at 8:36 AM on December 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


I have a theory about what happened here and I think there's a lesson for all of us. I believe Lon Men to have been some sort of malicious internet spirit who was summoned by the sheer ugliness of this metatalk, and the lesson is that he's gone ... for now. But we need to be wary lest we open that pandora's box again. Lon Men is The Lurker In the Darkness, a malevolent entity watching every thread, everywhere, waiting for a community so toxic that it might accept him, and allow him to make the transition from his world to ours. We came dangerously close my friends. Stay vigilant.
posted by neuromodulator at 9:01 AM on December 16, 2011 [7 favorites]


in that case i hope he returns so we can be rescued by hotass winchesters.
posted by elizardbits at 9:06 AM on December 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Hi, my little scampery sharp-shooter! (tee hee)
posted by Crabby Appleton at 9:12 AM on December 16, 2011


Eh, Lon Men is simply what happens to a person if you subtract compassion and add anonymity.
posted by Mooski at 9:13 AM on December 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


My apologies. That was completely out of character. Tom Terrific's nemesis most definitely does not "tee hee". Carry on.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 9:15 AM on December 16, 2011


If I ever write a bodice-ripper set in the antebellum South, there's definitely going to be a character named Hotass Winchester.
posted by griphus at 9:17 AM on December 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


H. Otass Winchester III.
posted by zarq at 9:18 AM on December 16, 2011


elizardbits: "in that case i hope he returns so we can be rescued by hotass winchesters"

I'm pretty sure that you weren't referencing the anthropomorphic bunny girls who represented Winchester shotguns in Umineko No Naku Koro Ni, but I'm going to pretend that you were anyways.
posted by charred husk at 9:35 AM on December 16, 2011


Anonymity and the Internet, explained by Penny-Arcade.
posted by zomg at 9:41 AM on December 16, 2011


I've never ever seen that one.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:42 AM on December 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


we can be rescued by hotass winchesters.

I'm going to assume she means someone wielding a pair of Winchester Model 1894 Short Rifles with octagon barrels.
posted by nathancaswell at 9:48 AM on December 16, 2011


I swear that Lon mem isn't my sock puppet.
posted by Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory at 10:01 AM on December 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


On tempo, Jack!
posted by box at 10:07 AM on December 16, 2011


i prefer bolt to lever actually
posted by elizardbits at 10:08 AM on December 16, 2011


Maybe you missed the part where Lon Mem said they'd been here for ten years?

They called Marisa Stole The Precious Thing 'honey', which I'm thinking means they don't know MSTPT is a dude, which casts some doubt on the longtime user theory for me.
posted by winna at 10:15 AM on December 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


> i prefer bolt to lever actually

Yes, that was the famous shitcocking innovation that advanced rifle design and gave the US Army an edge over the Native Americans in the fight for the wild west.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:17 AM on December 16, 2011


There's a guy on King of the Hill that calls everybody 'honey.'
posted by box at 10:22 AM on December 16, 2011


anthropomorphic bunny girls

that just sent me down an hour-long wiki hole of madness.
posted by elizardbits at 10:24 AM on December 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah but you can't spin cock a bolt and let's face it, doing that shit on horseback would make you feel like the coolest motherfucker who ever lived.
posted by nathancaswell at 10:25 AM on December 16, 2011


Shit, should have linked to this rather than that nerd in his back yard.
posted by nathancaswell at 10:27 AM on December 16, 2011


There was some hot spin cock action in "Firefly".
posted by Burhanistan at 10:43 AM on December 16, 2011


Maybe you missed the part where Lon Mem said they'd been here for ten years?

I wouldn't take his word for it. If you've been around for ten years, yet the your only way of being contrarian (totally fine) is to be the worst sort of asshole, you're either lying or someone with serious social issues.
posted by daniel_charms at 10:44 AM on December 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


P.o.B.: I'm going to set aside the idea that you can mind read and let's just say you're assuming I have some kind of "disconnect" on the strength of what I said, but I'm not sure if I can lay it out simpler than this. Maybe you can make clear your disconnect on what you think is my disconnect?

Okay, first of all, geez, I certainly hit a nerve with you with my comment and I want to take a step back from there and apologize because I'm not trying to call you names or imply you're a bad person or anything like that -- I solely wanted to understand/want to understand your thought process on this and how we differ so that I can better appreciate and understand your viewpoint. I don't understand it right now, and that's why I wrote that. This is public because, well, maybe other people are curious too, but if you want to take this privately we certainly can.

My disconnect from that link, and maybe directly from your earlier comment here:

P.o.B: Again, maybe it's a crazy little theory of mine, but nothing needs to be fixed. If there is something that needs to be fixed could someone explain, what's broken?

It started there for me. Your linked 'this' which followed it:

P.o.B: I guess my point is just because there was a mistake doesn't mean anything is broken or needs to be fixed. Those terms imply more than what you're saying and I think they're being misapplied as some kind of stick rather than carrot.

So, to more clear as to my disconnect, I'm not understanding how the term 'fix' can not be used to handle the mistake. In re-reading all of your comments on this, I'm left wondering if that is where we're missing each other. If I could posit this -- You acknowledge the mistake, you state it is not something you agree with, but you disagree that the terminology fix is appropriate because ... why?

Is a mistake not fixable?

Flunkie got into it a bit with you on this and I find myself agreeing with him -- why is there a special niche for 'broken' here that can't be applied to this situation? Is it because you don't think 'broken' applies to the removal of the 60+ comments? I am asking this sincerely, I'm not trying to rhetorically call you a doody head.

I think this gets much clearer when we look at (your link to) cortex's explanation of where we got to with this thread. It's very clear and I read it and I appreciate the sentiment while I, like I previously stated, do not agree with the proposed (or rather in this case, final) outcome. In cavalier-world the fix would involve restoring the comments, but we can all fully agree that this is the really-real world and not my personal paradise so that's not going to happen. Anyhoo, so when you link to that, you're telling me that there's nothing left to fix -- that, being cortex's statement, is the fix that was applied. And that's great -- I now understand where you're coming from in so far as you're stating that there is nothing left to fix, and cortex's fix resolves the issue. I think that pretty handily encapsulates the disconnect between you and I on the situation unless I am over-reading your linkage to his comment.

I was, and still remain, confused as to your stated refusal to acknowledge the mistake and/or "broken" term as being something fixable -- but I think the answer here might be that, following cortex's statement, the "Fix" has already been applied and there is no more problem. If that's the case -- we disagree, to no future pending agreement, but at least I understand our disagreement now. Or disconnect. You know, one of those Web-Biz-2.0 words. Thanks!
posted by cavalier at 10:45 AM on December 16, 2011


Please, we're talking about cock.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:46 AM on December 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Ah ha! I see that now. Excuse me, cock a doodle do all day long as it were.
posted by cavalier at 11:16 AM on December 16, 2011


Man, you could not make this shit up. Standing astride the barricades, shoulder to shoulder with Hitchens and Che, Mr. Harrison Bergeron In His Own mind has turned this into Shirley Jackson's The Lottery on acid. Pretty much all by himself.

There should be an extra channel where all the banned can go and pee in their own pool while watching the Green, Gray and Blue through the glass, the weblog equivalent of a reality TV show. Color it Comedy Gold and call it IGottaBeMeFilter. It could be both purgatory and a premium channel. I'm smelling revenue streams, Matt...
posted by y2karl at 11:22 AM on December 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


you're either lying or someone with serious social issues.

My favourite part of Meta threads are where we insult and character assassinate users who aren't here to speak for themselves.

Alright! Great job!
posted by stinkycheese at 11:29 AM on December 16, 2011


My favourite part of Meta threads are where we insult and character assassinate users who aren't here to speak for themselves.

In this case I'm comfortable letting a preponderance of evidence stand in for the accused.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 11:50 AM on December 16, 2011


My favourite part of Meta threads are where we insult and character assassinate users who aren't here to speak for themselves.

Alright! Great job!


I was actually trying to avoid talking specifically about Lon Mem there and I slightly regret posting that comment now since I totally agree with you.
posted by daniel_charms at 12:02 PM on December 16, 2011


After reading this ...

OMG.. I'd heard the term "hellban" before, but I thought it was just an expression. I had no idea it was an actual thing or any idea of what it might be. That sounds like the worst kind of cyber torture imaginable. I'm so glad we just outright ban people here even with all the ensuing drama. I'd never want to take part in a site that practiced anything like "hellbanning".

(we don't do that here, right? and we won't, right?)
posted by marsha56 at 12:02 PM on December 16, 2011


we don't do that here, right? and we won't, right?

Right, and right. We joke about it sometimes, for sure, but it's not in the cards.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 12:04 PM on December 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


psssst everyone ignore marsha56 pass it on
posted by nathancaswell at 12:06 PM on December 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


fucking restless nomad fucked it up boo
posted by nathancaswell at 12:06 PM on December 16, 2011


Yeah we basically have two bans: permanent and temporary. Even most people who get "permanent" bans can come back with a new username. A few can't. There was an old kind of ban where anyone coming to MetaFilter from your IP address would be redirected to Plastic.com and could literally not load the site, but that was waaaaay back in the early days and was reserved for specially terrible types of people.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:10 PM on December 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


i wish i could implement a nyanban irl so that when irritating people barge into my office to talk to me about tedious rambly mishegoss, they'd open their mouth and the only thing coming out would be nyans.
posted by elizardbits at 12:10 PM on December 16, 2011 [6 favorites]


There was an old kind of ban where anyone coming to MetaFilter from your IP address would be redirected to Plastic.com and could literally not load the site, but that was waaaaay back in the early days and was reserved for specially terrible types of people.

Wow, I didn't know about that either. I'm kind of an old timer too. Started reading in spring of 2001 and joined in the fall of 2002. When did that happen?
posted by marsha56 at 12:15 PM on December 16, 2011


I've my views about the amount of jokes, essentially that some people spew way too much rarely funny nonsense--about nobody is that funny; if they are, they're writing for Conan or Apatow they're LCK--but fair play that others think differently.

It is hard, though, hard to get my mind around how wound up some people are about this, seeing this as a really dark threshold, demanding that comments be restored, etc.
posted by ambient2 at 12:19 PM on December 16, 2011


I can't remember exactly when, it didn't come up much. There was an ongoing problem because someone lived on the same street as someone who had tried to hack the site and we blocked the IP block [or redirected, I can't even remember] and the other person got blocked by accident and it was a mess. I thought it was when I was working here, but here's a mention of it happening in 2001 and here's another from the same time period so it was pretty early on.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:20 PM on December 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thanks Jess and r_n too.
posted by marsha56 at 12:26 PM on December 16, 2011


i wish i could implement a nyanban irl so that when irritating people barge into my office to talk to me about tedious rambly mishegoss, they'd open their mouth and the only thing coming out would be nyans.

I once bought a boss of mine this for his birthday. One of the worst work-related mistakes I ever made. I mean, the first 500 times you're cut off in mid-sentence with "Quit yo jibba jabba!" it's pretty funny, but over time it just became increasingly funny for him.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:28 PM on December 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have one of those which I occasionally use to confound voice recognition customer service systems.
posted by elizardbits at 12:30 PM on December 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


i wish i could implement a nyanban irl so that when irritating people barge into my office to talk to me about tedious rambly mishegoss, they'd open their mouth and the only thing coming out would be nyans.

An IRL "manamana" ban would rock.

Boss: "TMNL, your TPS reports are manamana."
Coworkers: "Do doo be-do-do"
Boss: "Manamana"
Coworkers: "Do do-do do..."

I'd probably get more work done, although I would definitely spend more time annoying my boss in hopes of some mid-afternoon light entertainment.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 12:32 PM on December 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


Color it Comedy Gold and call it IGottaBeMeFilter.

If that excellent combination gets wasted on the banned and not used on the forthcoming talent show portion of the site, I will be very sad.
posted by gladly at 1:00 PM on December 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


TMNL

From now on your secret username is Teenage Mutant Ninja Lurtles.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:13 PM on December 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


i just had a conversation with a young coworker where i explained to her that in the comic they ALL had red headbands and her mind was blown
posted by neuromodulator at 1:37 PM on December 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Teenage Mutant Ninja Lurkers.
posted by daniel_charms at 1:40 PM on December 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


You've got to hand it to Eastman and Laird. They were sitting around one night and for a laugh combined a bunch of popular elements that were appealing to kids at the time. Made the characters teenagers, ninjas, and mutants. The turtles part was the gag, but it didn't matter because kid's love dinosaurs and by proxy reptiles. Cerebus was big then and anthropomorphistic characters didn't hurt them at all.
posted by P.o.B. at 2:05 PM on December 16, 2011


Wait, Faze, joannemullen, and now Lon Mem?

Wow.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:06 PM on December 16, 2011


combined a bunch of popular elements that were appealing to kids at the time. Made the characters teenagers, ninjas, and mutants.

don't forget pizza
posted by nathancaswell at 2:07 PM on December 16, 2011


You've got to hand it to Eastman and Laird. They were sitting around one night and for a laugh combined a bunch of popular elements that were appealing to kids at the time.

Was the Ridgemont High surfer speak also a part of the comics book version? Because that's what I found most hilarious about the franchise. I mean, why do they talk like that? They live in a sewer, right? The biggest waves you can get are maybe a foot, tops, and that's during a Super Bowl halftime.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:09 PM on December 16, 2011


Though if you take Eastman and Laird out of the picture and you get Samurai Pizza Cats or what the fuck ever, so I'd say it was more than just formula.
posted by Artw at 2:10 PM on December 16, 2011


Maybe you missed the part where Lon Mem said they'd been here for ten years?

uh, yeah, I'm reasonably certain someone bursting at the seams for attention and soapboxery wasn't able to restrain him/herself from paying 5$ and sermonizing for a decade.
posted by mannequito at 2:14 PM on December 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


My favourite part of Meta threads are where we insult and character assassinate users who aren't here to speak for themselves.

But it's OK if the person can theoretically respond ? If not, then I suppose one can make the argument that to say anything critical about Mr. Mem, would be to sink to his level, which is a low bar, indeed. 'Cause he started out with insults and character assassination in spades, and, on the evidence of his own words, he felt permitted to say whatever he wanted because, somehow, in his own mind, he was speaking truth to power.

I find it very hard to worry about his unsullied reputation, given the way he spoke for himself out the door. Look at his first comment -- he went straight to his corner and painted himself in. As to why he did that, I know not. I do know that people here, when challenged, find it very hard to admit to any wrong, or back down on anything, and would rather make themselves right by making someone else wrong. But even that can be done without verbally throwing shit like a monkey. I have seen a number of people come here and throw themselves out because they could not be wrong about anything. Me, I feel more comfortable with someone who with a modicum of self-doubt, which is to say, self-awareness, who doesn't need to 'enter right, contemptuously sneering.'
posted by y2karl at 2:26 PM on December 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Was the Ridgemont High surfer speak also a part of the comics book version?

That was Archie Comics spin. They ate pizza but I think they turned the dial on that bit also.

Though if you take Eastman and Laird out of the picture and you get Samurai Pizza Cats or what the fuck ever, so I'd say it was more than just formula.

I don't know. It looks like Samurai Pizza Cats came out in '91 so was more of a response to TMNT than anything else. Even Usagi Yojimbo came after the turtles. Overall, I think they just got lucky, but you still have got to hand it to them for making a buttload of cash off of such a stupid idea. Then again, Time Warner exists because of a couple of young guys wanted to make a story about a guy who had eye lasers and was extremely strong.
posted by P.o.B. at 2:37 PM on December 16, 2011


Wait, Samurai Pizza Cats is a real thing and not Artw being clever?
posted by nathancaswell at 2:43 PM on December 16, 2011


Both.
posted by P.o.B. at 2:44 PM on December 16, 2011


I meant that in a way that wasn't a dig.

So much for brevity and wit.
posted by P.o.B. at 2:53 PM on December 16, 2011


They called Marisa Stole The Precious Thing 'honey', which I'm thinking means they don't know MSTPT is a dude

???

...

I need to re-edit most of my mefi slash-fic then.
posted by empath at 4:02 PM on December 16, 2011


Don't bother. It will be much easier to re-edit MSTPT.

C'mere, dude.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 4:03 PM on December 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't know, the original stories were pretty awesome, I think. I don't think it was just like a formulaic thing so much as pretty inspired. I haven't actually seen one in approximately "ohgod i'm getting old" so I could be peeking through the ole' nostalgia glasses on that one.
posted by neuromodulator at 4:05 PM on December 16, 2011


If you tried to extrapolate from "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" what title a cash-in attempting to make the most money with the least effort would be, and your formula assumed utter braindead soullessness and lack of creativity, then you'd probably arrive at "Samurai Pizza Cats", which is probably exactly what they did, so it works as both actual Real Thing and theoretical exercise.
posted by Artw at 4:06 PM on December 16, 2011


Now we know empath is impersonating someone who has been here many years, too! Shocking!
posted by winna at 4:32 PM on December 16, 2011


I think it's OK to rep somewhat for Samurai Pizza Cats. There's some quite loving humor about anime convention and the illogicality of Saturday morning cartoon series in there. And I don't think it was ripping of TMNT - if anything, the English dub - which is effectively a Rifftrax of the original Kyattou Ninden Teyandee rolled TMNT into its parodic armory.
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:46 PM on December 16, 2011


But it's OK if the person can theoretically respond? If not, then I suppose one can make the argument that to say anything critical about Mr. Mem, would be to sink to his level, which is a low bar, indeed. 'Cause he started out with insults and character assassination in spades, and, on the evidence of his own words, he felt permitted to say whatever he wanted because, somehow, in his own mind, he was speaking truth to power.

Does it ultimately matter why someone is hurling abuse? If User X comes here, slags off all and sundry and is banned as a consequence, the only logical reason why that person may be pilloried in turn by 'the good users' is to massage the group mind here basically, to unperson the outcast. Otherwise, condemning an action only to turn around and engage in it yourself is just straight-up hypocrisy, yes?

This has zero to do with how I might feel about Lon Mem, by the way. If his remarks in this thread were so agregious, let them stand and serve as an example of what not to do, let the user's own words condemn them. Why jump around on their grave, as it were, after they're out of here? Because you think they're an asshole? Because it feels good to vent? Isn't that what Lon Mem was doing?

I understand from a sociological POV why groups close ranks around leaders and disparage their critics - but in so many ways Metafilter daily proves itself beyond the simple brutish dynamics that make up so much if society. I wish we could be a little more civil when people are banned. They're punished, they're rejected, they're gone. When Metatalk threads become a post-mortem pile on, in my opinion that's the site at its very worst.
posted by stinkycheese at 5:51 PM on December 16, 2011


I kind of agree, with the exception being "Hey, if you're reading this, I just wanna say ____" followed by whatever hopefully helpful stuff you wanted to impart. But having said that, it's not only natural and expected but also a bit stabilizing, in the wake of a social disturbance, to sort of unjangle each other's nerves with some joking around about what just happened. In other words I don't think stroking the group mind is the only reason why people do that.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:03 PM on December 16, 2011


I agree. But does joking around extend to calling people liars and suggesting they're crazy?
posted by stinkycheese at 6:07 PM on December 16, 2011


Not to negate your main point stinkycheese, but is it insulting if you call a liar a liar, or is it pointing out a fact? I agree that I don't care for any of the post-banning snarking, but it's a little weird to have someone show up guns-a-blazing, insult everyone (and some of us pretty specifically and pointedly) and then have that not be a topic of discussion even once they're absent. It's a fine line, certainly.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:24 PM on December 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was really into the original TMNT when I was young. I recall the TMNT cartoon went on television in the summer of '86, afaict the Samurai Pizza Cats weren't around 'till '90 or '91.
posted by P.o.B. at 6:24 PM on December 16, 2011


It turns out that I do have scabies.

Yarr. or something.
posted by jonmc at 6:33 PM on December 16, 2011


Merry Christmas, little scabies crawling on jonmc!
posted by Burhanistan at 6:35 PM on December 16, 2011 [9 favorites]


Fair enough, jessamyn. I guess it really rubs me the wrong way. I understand the need for banning users occasionally, and even the need for a discussion of what happened, but so often these threads feel like people lining up to punch somebody who's already unconscious. Even if they acted like a humongous jerk while they were active and posting, once they're gone, it feels underhanded to me to take pokes at them. I should probably just avoid looking.
posted by stinkycheese at 6:47 PM on December 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, if you decide to start naming your little friends I think we can come up with something appropriate.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:50 PM on December 16, 2011


Lots of these kinds of comments on every conceivable topic do discourage people from posting here or trying to discuss topics. Jokes about bluegrass songs, Australian politicians or the global warming debate are a bit different and can be part of an actual conversation.
posted by nangar at 2:18 AM on December 16 [+] [!]


To be fair, a good proportion of Australian politicians, and Australian politics in general are somewhat of a joke. E.G. Mad Bob Katter.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 8:30 PM on December 16, 2011


I'm with stinkycheese on this one, even though I was the one who started the namecalling. The irony here is that I was actually attempting to shift the conversation away from Lon Mem's person and towards that kind of disruptive behaviour in general, to make sense of what had just happened. But I wrote that comment in a hurry and didn't think it through at all. I tried to be civil, yet ended up doing the opposite. So I guess it would be hypocritical of me to claim a morally superior position here.

What I've been wondering is if a misperception of behaviour appropriate for MeTa could be a part of the problem here. There's always bound to be a lot of shouting about basically anything here and someone might easily misread the situation completely and it might seem to them that it's perfectly fine to put on your absolute worst behaviour here, that it's actually the norm. That in order to be noticed, in order for your idea to be accepted (and this is what people want here, right? To be noticed and that things were done the way they would like them to be done), you have to shout the loudest. Except that's actually not the case. The conversation still follows certain unwritten rules (one of them being that you don't hit someone if they can't hit you back). But these rules can be hard to follow if you haven't been hanging out here much.
posted by daniel_charms at 9:34 PM on December 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Along the lines of the Hellman, I was wondering whether a reverse kill file would work, where the misbehaving user would be able to post but no one could see his comments, they'd effectively wear themselves out shouting into the silence.
posted by arcticseal at 12:19 AM on December 17, 2011


When was the last MetaTalk thread with over 1,000 comments?
posted by knave at 12:33 AM on December 17, 2011


For the record, because it took some time for me to write my comment (transcribing the lyrics...and I still missed a typo), I was writing it when cortex banned him, posted my comment, and only then saw he'd been banned by cortex. I very possibly wouldn't have posted my comment had I known he'd been banned.

But I still might have—because I think that jessamyn's point is a very good one. It does certainly seem like it's a bad thing to dance on someone's MeFi grave; but at the same time, it also seems like a weird and wrongheaded "rule" to forbid anyone discussing some that just happened. I think that a distinction should be made between yelling after someone's been carried away by the police, "Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!" and one person saying to another, "Wow, that guy was really a jerk." The latter is pretty normal and not necessarily mean-spirited, it's people discussing stuff the way we always discuss stuff.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 2:10 AM on December 17, 2011


What I've been wondering is if a misperception of behaviour appropriate for MeTa could be a part of the problem here. There's always bound to be a lot of shouting about basically anything here and someone might easily misread the situation completely and it might seem to them that it's perfectly fine to put on your absolute worst behaviour here, that it's actually the norm. That in order to be noticed, in order for your idea to be accepted (and this is what people want here, right? To be noticed and that things were done the way they would like them to be done), you have to shout the loudest.

I think that's an extraordinarily generous supposition. There's a pretty clear line between shouting and insulting, even in this thread, where many of the previous comments had been (too) highly critical of the mods. The community is actually very good, perhaps too good, about re-norming folks who stray outside the bounds of polite discourse (where the value of polite is determined by reasonable and standard usage here). The truth seems to be that some people don't give a shit if they are acting outside those norms.
posted by OmieWise at 2:27 AM on December 17, 2011


If User X comes here, slags off all and sundry and is banned as a consequence, the only logical reason why that person may be pilloried in turn by 'the good users' is to massage the group mind here basically, to unperson the outcast. Otherwise, condemning an action only to turn around and engage in it yourself is just straight-up hypocrisy, yes?[...]I understand from a sociological POV why groups close ranks around leaders and disparage their critics - but in so many ways Metafilter daily proves itself beyond the simple brutish dynamics that make up so much if society. I wish we could be a little more civil when people are banned. They're punished, they're rejected, they're gone. When Metatalk threads become a post-mortem pile on, in my opinion that's the site at its very worst.

I disagree. I believe it happens in part to emphasize in-group and out-group affiliations, and some of that can be pretty distasteful, even if it's understandable. But some of it (a large portion of it?) serves to reaffirm group norms for acceptable behavior. I don't think it's hyprocritical for some of that reaffirmation to approach the behavior that has been condemned. I think there's a pretty clear line, although sometimes it has to be mod-reinforced, between acceptable discussion of the banned person and unacceptable discussion. In this case, certainly, none of that discussion has even approached what Lon Mem brought to the table. And, yeah, the reinforcement serves to remind people that if they are in-group now, they could be out-group if they choose to behave badly over time. I don't think that's a bad thing, particularly as I think the standards for behaving well and behaving badly are entirely reasonable. In this case the difference between in-group and out-group is not just that one cannot login, it's also that one may be criticized without being able to respond.
posted by OmieWise at 2:37 AM on December 17, 2011


Ivan Fyodorovich: It does certainly seem like it's a bad thing to dance on someone's MeFi grave; but at the same time, it also seems like a weird and wrongheaded "rule" to forbid anyone discussing some that just happened.

I think that's the exactly the distinction we want to make. It's fine to discuss what happened, but it's not so fine to dance on someone's grave. It's a line that's easy to cross without meaning too, but it's important to make the effort.
posted by Kattullus at 4:54 AM on December 17, 2011


the reinforcement serves to remind people that if they are in-group now, they could be out-group if they choose to behave badly over time.

And this is where it gets weird for me. It's the difference between sentencing someone to jail time and putting them in the stocks so people can throw tomatoes at them. I understand it, but it's a side of folks here that's deeply unpleasant to witness. Particularly when the comments aren't of the "wow, that user sure was a jerk and out of line" variety, but are actually reading the banned user's mind and telling us what they were thinking, speculating that their comments are untrue or that even the user themselves didn't believe what they were saying, that they're sock puppets, crazy, etc. These are the sort of user-related comments anyone should be able to respond to IMO.

Again, one of the things I love most about Metafilter is the general independence and freedom of thought and expression, the lack of group dynamics that stifle conversation in the real world, and so much of the online world as well. Those same ugly group dynamics are never more apparent here than when someone is overtly or aggressively critical of the site, its mods, or its user base.
posted by stinkycheese at 6:13 AM on December 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


When was the last MetaTalk thread with over 1,000 comments?

It was back in September of this year. The one about languagehat. There were five such MetaTalk threads in 2010 and this one here is the fifth one in 2011, so they're not actually all that rare any more.
posted by FishBike at 6:37 AM on December 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


the reinforcement serves to remind people that if they are in-group now, they could be out-group if they choose to behave badly over time.

The reason why I'm against this is because while this is one way to create cohesion and solidarity in the user base to reaffirm group norms etc, and while it is probably the easiest and cheapest way in the short term, it's also the most unreliable, in that the solidarity will disappear as soon as the "common enemy", the outcast is forgotten. And then you'll have to find a new "enemy", then another one etc. Basically, it's a vicious cycle. And I would argue that this method of affirming group identity is not suitable for a democratic community. It's also not really applicable in the case of Metafilter, since we don't have any strict rules or clear lines (and we don't even pretend to have them; that's part of what makes MeFi a democratic site).

Our identity should be inclusive, not exclusive, based on what's good about "us", not what's bad about "them" (yeah, I tend to mess this part up from time to time). Similarly, then, healthy discussions of the behaviour of banned users - which I think is a valid thing to discuss - should focus on not what we think might have been going on in their heads (a question we can't reasonably answer) but on what might have brought that person here, what in our past behaviour might have appealed to that person and what might have inspired his behaviour - a question we should be able to find an answer to, based on our knowledge of their posts and the unwritten rules of the community.
posted by daniel_charms at 8:57 AM on December 17, 2011


omg yall
posted by nathancaswell at 8:59 AM on December 17, 2011


the hurricane one was like 2k comments, wasn't it?
posted by elizardbits at 10:38 AM on December 17, 2011


There's also just a sort of logistical issue here where, in an asynchronous medium that people catch up on in discrete chunks of reading, you'll have a kind of constant rolling window of responsiveness to relatively recent events where people will be responding to something when they encounter it rather than when it happened. Or people respond to something that happened at point x in a thread without really incorporating everything said from x+1 to now into whether or not their response is really new or still on target.

Which is part of how we get people piling on to something less intentionally than it might read in aggregate—in this thread you can see it in people reacting to Lon Mem even after he'd been timed out or later banned, and you can see it in people bemoaning the possibility of a new no-jokes policy even after that idea had been explicitly debunked several times in the thread.

That sort of momentum-of-commenting thing is tricky because it's very much an emergent property of a lot of individuals being maybe only slightly lax or inattentive in their personal engagement with the thread but because it's a big crowd the effect can be more significant when viewed as a whole. It's pretty easy for a bunch of people to each not mean to be part of a pile-on type situation and still end up collectively creating that dynamic.

I've personally gotten a little bit explicitly tactical about trying to avoid that: at this point when I'm catching up on a busy thread (metatalk or otherwise) and I'm halfway through when I come across something I want to respond to, I'll kick open a new tab with the thread in it, scroll down to the comment box, paste the bit I have a response to into italic tags, and then just let that sit and wait until I've gotten done reading the thread.

And so sometimes I'll end up with two or three different things pasted into my spare comment box; sometimes as I read through the rest of the thread I'll find that something I wanted to respond to has been responded to just fine, or has been elaborated on or clarified in a way that my original motivation to respond has been mooted, and so I'll just nix that quotation altogether.

I've found that as a system that's a lot more manageable than trying to remember that I had things to respond to, and a lot less likely to lead to me responding unnecessarily to stuff as I might if I just jumped down to the comment box right then and there to speak my mind.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:25 AM on December 17, 2011 [6 favorites]


i find it disgusting that people are celebrating the banning of a user. and in find it silly that he was banned for merely being a jerk, impolite, rude, difficult to talk with, but so what? just ignore him, you aren't forced to engage with him.

this thread was about heavy handed modding and the thread is it itself another example. I thought the gray had a high tolerance, but apparently all one needs to do to be banned is annoy a mod and get users to openly call for your banning, that is bullshit.
posted by Shit Parade at 12:10 PM on December 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


scabies
posted by Burhanistan at 12:12 PM on December 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


but apparently all one needs to do to be banned is annoy a mod and get users to openly call for your banning, that is bullshit.

That would be bullshit, if that's what happened, but to my mind it wasn't. Shame you see it that way, but them's the breaks, I guess.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:18 PM on December 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Lon Mem, that wasn't remotely helping with the whole threadbare benefit-of-the-doubt thing and I'm tired of your shitty misapprehending freakouts on the site. If you can't manage to act halfway decent to other people here and rein in your behavior, there is no reason the rest of this community should have to put up with you. You're done here.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:26 AM on December 16 [15 favorites +] [!]


hard to see it any other way.
posted by Shit Parade at 12:31 PM on December 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


apparently all one needs to do to be banned is annoy a mod and get users to openly call for your banning, that is bullshit.

That is not what's happening and that is not how the site works. Without getting into too much behind-the-scenes dishing, we've been having our own back and forth emails with this user in addition to what was happening in this thread. People who are community members, who seem to have any other role in this community besides stirring up shit and insulting people, are given quite a few benefits of the doubt. People have bad days, people have bad weeks, whatever. People whose only role appears to be to insult and harass people have a shorter list of options.

Our approach is and has always been "If you are not trolling, you need to take some steps to make it look like you are not trolling. You must be cognizant of the fact that you are one of many many users of this website all of whom share the resource that is MetaTalk and the ability to email and interact with the mods. Please don't abuse this." Nearly every user is able to do this, if not at first then after we've sort of spelled it out. Calling for the banning of a mod (and insulting the other mods) when you're someone who has been on the site for five months is a really weird way to make your entrance into a thread and things did not improve after that.

hard to see it any other way.

Making a thread all about you, being given the night off after you can't step away on your own, and then coming back to again make the thread all about you bodes poorly for your ability to be a community member here. We have minimum standards, they're not very restrictive. There are many other sites on the internet where you can be as much of an asshole as you want to be, this is not one of them.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:33 PM on December 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


I can't respond to the "behind the scenes" stuff, but the banning from what I see comes down to the politeness police deciding what is acceptable, and, for the gray, that seems like a low bar indeed.

It is what it is, I just think mods should reconsider what they say about meta being an open and accepting community where many many views are acceptable and being banned is difficult to the point of needing to transgress some clear "bright lines" or what have you. It makes mods seem somewhat disconnected.
posted by Shit Parade at 12:42 PM on December 17, 2011


Hey, guys. Neil deGrasse Tyson!
posted by Burhanistan at 1:00 PM on December 17, 2011


It is what it is, I just think mods should reconsider what they say about meta being an open and accepting community where many many views are acceptable and being banned is difficult to the point of needing to transgress some clear "bright lines" or what have you. It makes mods seem somewhat disconnected.

Holy christ if you can't see that what he said was way beyond what's acceptable behavior anywhere on metafilter, then you're probably the one who is disconnected.
posted by empath at 1:41 PM on December 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


but apparently all one needs to do to be banned is annoy a mod and get users to openly call for your banning, that is bullshit.

There would be so many fewer people here if that were actually the case. A big part of what makes this place function is folks actually making an effort to meet the community halfway on points of disagreement or difficulty, and the vast majority of people actually do that just fine, even the folks who might specifically degree really strongly with parts of how this place works or who are for whatever reason perennially grumpy. We'll work with people pretty hard to find that compromise, to help them make it work in some way.

In the rare case where there's zero of that coming from the user—where what we've got is someone repeatedly acting out in a kind "fuck your site guidelines" way and being basically unresponsive to any attempt to get them to recognize that that's not gonna work, that they need to at least seem like they're trying to be here—we don't really have much else we can do besides explain to them that it needs to stop and then hope that it does.

I don't know what Lon Mem's motivation to be on Metafilter was. What I do know is that he made zero effort to meet us halfway on stuff while putting a lot of energy into flipping out in threads, being a jerk to people, and sending angry email. It's not a workable way of interacting with us or with the site, and it's really atypical.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:41 PM on December 17, 2011


Consider that perhaps it is not only the mods he annoyed. You have already acknowledged that you don't know what happened behind the scene, so maybe there's stuff that happened that you don't know and don't need to know.
posted by rtha at 1:49 PM on December 17, 2011


Kind of suprised anyone had any reaction other than "oh, one of THOSE, I wonder how long it'll last."
posted by Artw at 1:57 PM on December 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


i habba bad code
*HONK*
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 2:17 PM on December 17, 2011


It reminded me of Bart, and Lisa, Simpson when realized that they couldn't fight, but of course were allowed their own agency to do what they wanedt in their own space. So, the bright idea was to shut their eyes, flail they're arms and legs around, and everyone else should watch out because "it's not my fault if you're in the way and get hit!"
Anybody who's a grown adult knows that shutting your eyes to avoid looking at where the lines for rules exist doesn't quite work. If I go up to a policeman and start mocking them about giving me a ticket for disorderly conduct, then that doesn't mean I'm making social commentary about police brutality by poking them harder and harder. It means I'm an idiot for thinking that yelling out "Don't taze me bro!" will actually negate the need for tazing, when in fact the tazing is mutually exclusive from the obtuse pretense and is a result of breaching well known rules and lines.
posted by P.o.B. at 2:40 PM on December 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I can't respond to the "behind the scenes" stuff, but the banning from what I see comes down to the politeness police deciding what is acceptable, and, for the gray, that seems like a low bar indeed.

Well, your myopic response doesn't surprise me, as, given your previous behavior here, if I had to pick one user who might have used Lon Mem as a sockpuppet, it would be you.
posted by OmieWise at 2:41 PM on December 17, 2011


Why, there could be a sockpuppet in this very parlor ... as we speak.

*sips brandy, as thunder crashes outside*
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:50 PM on December 17, 2011 [6 favorites]


I heard cortex was Lon Mem.
posted by nathancaswell at 3:00 PM on December 17, 2011


Ivan Fyodorovich - like it's a bad thing to dance on someone's MeFi grave

Agreed, but so often it is only after the bannation that one can make sense of the senseless behavior of the person in question. While the final act of the drama is playing out, I think people may be in a little shock and reluctant to stoke the fire. After the the gong has been struck, then at least one can begin to makes sense and comment as to what was going on without a fear of verbal retribution and of course, further derailment.

In a way, it is like a sigh of relief.


Shit Parade - i find it disgusting that people are celebrating the banning of a user.

I find it disgusting that a person cannot control themselves to the point where the inevitable banning will happen. We all know the the basics of site etiquette. Lon was clearly not a user just out of the woods and seeing an online forum for the first time. He knew all the tricks and played his hand to the final card. In my eyes, he has been on a path to test how far he could go before being banned from when he started. This was just his magnum opus.

If Lon acted in a bit more realistic manner, that disgusting feeling would not exist as the discussion would not have been derailed and Lon would still be here.

Excessive site moderation is not the problem here.
The lack of personal, realistic and self imposed moderation is.
posted by lampshade at 4:15 PM on December 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


After the the gong has been struck, then at least one can begin to makes sense and comment as to what was going on without a fear of verbal retribution and of course, further derailment.

Or contradiction from the person you're talking about even.
posted by stinkycheese at 4:19 PM on December 17, 2011


So, there's people here looking at Lon Mem's departure and saying "shit, I wanted more of that!" or is this one of those abstract general prinicple things?
posted by Artw at 4:21 PM on December 17, 2011 [5 favorites]


If the contradiction was to be something more than the same verbal blather, then sure, it sucks that a person cannot comment after being banned. The thread could have moved forward.

But this was not the case. Lon's comments were not discussion. They were plain old button pushing flavored with the topic. Lon wasn't here to contradict either, Lon was here to poke, prod and otherwise distract.
posted by lampshade at 4:34 PM on December 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


MOAR BANNINGS!
posted by P.o.B. at 5:05 PM on December 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh, wait. The sarcastic tag is supposed to go backwards or some bs.
posted by P.o.B. at 5:07 PM on December 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Artw: So, there's people here looking at Lon Mem's departure and saying "shit, I wanted more of that!" or is this one of those abstract general prinicple things?

For me it's a general principle thing. I don't like bannings, though I recognize that sometimes they're necessary. I don't think Lon Mem had quite reached that level yet, but I don't know what he was writing in e-mails or MeMails. It seemed foreseeable that he'd continue being a prick, but humans are unpredictable, so I'd always like to err on the side of forgiveness.
posted by Kattullus at 5:57 PM on December 17, 2011


Oh, wait. The sarcastic tag is supposed to go backwards or some bs.

Sarcasm in e-mail needs to be signalled. Yeah, right
posted by Dasein at 8:28 PM on December 17, 2011


Good riddance to bad rubbish. Took long enough.
posted by spitbull at 3:18 AM on December 18, 2011


oh, for pete's sake, he WANTED to get banned and is probably reading this, giggling and patting himself on the back for his "cleverness"

yawn
posted by pyramid termite at 5:49 AM on December 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Pretty much - from my experience as a moderator, pretty much anyone who says "you will probably delete this post, because you can't handle the truth" or "I expect that my truthsaying will lead to a ban" is at the very least hedging their emotional bets. They're hoping to be able to guilt the forum into continuing to provide a platform, but also setting up a feedback mechanism where any form of moderation will reinforce their self-presentation as a trickster figure truth-bombing the greyfaces.

Basically, I wouldn't worry too much about their feelings. In most cases, they win either way - or at least, the mechanisms of their losing are extrinsic to the board.
posted by running order squabble fest at 6:29 AM on December 18, 2011


Lon Mem reminded me of no one so much as Davy.
posted by klangklangston at 9:34 AM on December 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


the politeness police

The Internet Police Law:
Any comment that makes reference to "the _____ police" can be safely ignored.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 12:18 PM on December 18, 2011


Hmm, no that doesn't work. It could apply to "the fuckin' police" towed my car. A little help here?
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 12:19 PM on December 18, 2011


the scabies police?
posted by Burhanistan at 12:21 PM on December 18, 2011


Any self-appointed police?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:22 PM on December 18, 2011


karma police, obviously.
posted by empath at 1:16 PM on December 18, 2011


I'm more concerned with the dream police. Because they're waiting for me. They're looking for me. Every single night, they're driving me insane.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:23 PM on December 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Library Police
posted by empath at 1:31 PM on December 18, 2011


Jazz police I hear you calling.
posted by Proofs and Refutations at 2:05 PM on December 18, 2011


cortex: "... when I'm catching up on a busy thread (metatalk or otherwise) and I'm halfway through when I come across something I want to respond to, I'll kick open a new tab with the thread in it, scroll down to the comment box, paste the bit I have a response to into italic tags, and then just let that sit and wait until I've gotten done reading the thread."

Mefiquote does this for you pretty much automagically - click 'quote', press back button and you are back where you were reading with a nicely formatted quote of the comment you may or may not respond to waiting for you at the bottom of the page.
posted by dg at 2:44 PM on December 18, 2011


"It's the fashion police." "I love their belts!"
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:23 PM on December 18, 2011


Dog Police, nobody knows who you are.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 6:14 PM on December 18, 2011


Motion to longboat.
posted by neuromodulator at 9:07 PM on December 18, 2011


lots of jokes in that kim jong il thread....
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:09 PM on December 18, 2011


lots of jokes in that kim jong il thread....

They'll all be in reeducation camps soon.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:09 PM on December 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


lots of jokes in that kim jong il thread....

Yup.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:14 PM on December 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


...and as someone who is on the liberal side when it comes to jokes, it looks like the thread mostly works around any of the distraction pretty well.

It helps when the subject is someone who has pretty much universal contempt though, would be more problematic in the Hitchens thread where some folks are really mourning.

I guess that is how I feel about what went wrong with the original thread here, the seriousness of the global warming topic is not really in dispute here. Sometimes you may have to moderate the humor, this was just a bit of a miscall on the need to do it.

/still taz fan #1.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:18 PM on December 18, 2011


They'll all be in reeducation camps soon.

reëducation

/serious commentary
posted by Wolof at 11:36 PM on December 18, 2011


diaereeducation?
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:18 AM on December 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


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