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Please stop deleting my comments
May 3, 2012 5:15 PM   Subscribe

In a thread apparently inspired by a comment I'd made elsewhere a few days ago, I have had a comment deleted. Hardly my first time, but what I don't understand is why mods delete comments presumably because they disagree with the content itself. I responded in-thread a few minutes ago, but Metatalk seems more appropriate. And I'm sure my in-thread comment has already been deleted.

ArmyOfKittens made this comment, and I replied. I don't believe my comment was inflammatory, or attacked any users personally, or was impossibly vitriolic. I do believe whichever mod deleted it simply didn't like the content. I cannot do so, but presumably a mod could post the comment here as a reference.


Separately, I also in that thread made this comment:
So... why the double standard for the different genders?
joe lisboa: 300,000 years of patriarchy, give or take?
Okay, now this is getting far afield, but isn't "patriarchy" a relatively recent invention, that there was far more gender equality in pre-historic times, even outright matriarchy in cultures 5,000+ years ago and earlier? I am not actually sure of the history here, but I didn't think patriarchy was some written in stone social organization since our hominid days, but a relatively recent occurrence around the time of (and possibly related to) to the rise of civilization and more hierarchical social orders and castes; the latter naturally leading to hierarchy, which in turn can lead to patriarchy. I think it's a Sinead O'Connor lyric that says "the opposite of patriarchy is not matriarchy, it's fraternity". I'm genuinely curious about the scholarship here- someone more knowledgeable, please chime in or MeMail me?

I think I once read an essay or book that argued the rise of written symbolic language over visual imagery and iconography led to patriarchy due to the emphasis on left-brain rational/linear "masculine" thinking instead of holistic "feminine" thinking. I didn't say it was a good essay, I just said I once read it. :)
and it was responded to by newg (which I flagged) with I think unnecessary condescension, here:

I highlighted all the phrases that indicate you are casually inventing a convenient-to-you story of human society without actually basing it in any kind of knowledge or fact. Your one appeal to authority is Sinead O'Connor. If you are genuinely curious about the scholarship, I would recommend that you trundle over to scholar.google.com and search for "patriarchy." The numbers next to claims made in the body of those papers? Those are called references, and they will correspond to an appendix at the end of the paper which indicates that the claims made in the papers are not the fiction of the author. Have fun!
I mean, I re-read my comment over and over, and can't see it as anything sincere: it was my understanding that societies organized with some matriarchy or gender equality even 8-10,000 years ago, and I'd recalled ready about Catalhoyuk some years ago in a Terence McKenna book. I asked for someone to either MeMail me or respond about what the history is of patriarchy as a social organization, and if it is more recent than "300,000 years" as joe lisboa claimed.

Instead, I got a really snide response about "casually inventing a convenient-to-you story" and an "appeal to authority" of a Sinead O'Connor lyric (what appeal to authority?), followed by a not-likely-sincere suggestion to go do my thesis at scholar.google.com, with an oh-so-helpful explanation of what "references" are.

I mean, my comment got deleted presumably because of flagging and because of the content, but are we really saying newg's comment is somehow more fitting to the spirit of Metafilter?

All I ask is that comment deletions be reserved for threatening, harassing, or overly personal attacks (including posting personal information, etc) but that sincere, in-good-faith disagreements between site members not be pruned for any 'dissenting' viewpoints. Is that really so exceptional a request?
posted by hincandenza to Etiquette/Policy at 5:15 PM (305 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

I got comments responding to you deleted so life is hard I guess
posted by the young rope-rider at 5:19 PM on May 3, 2012 [15 favorites]


There are some (several?) comments that have already been deleted from that thread. I am not surprised. I am somewhat surprised that it took that many comments to get to this point.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 5:21 PM on May 3, 2012


I don't know who deleted your comment, but restless_nomad feels free to delete anything she doesn't like, including anything that makes her look bad.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 5:21 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


hincandenza, I don't know what your comment was, but considering the conversation in there, I can't imagine that it was deleted for content or viewpoint purposes.
posted by Navelgazer at 5:26 PM on May 3, 2012


I don't know who deleted your comment, but restless_nomad feels free to delete anything she doesn't like, including anything that makes her look bad.

if you keep acting like a toddler you are going to be eaten by a lion

i am just saying
posted by elizardbits at 5:27 PM on May 3, 2012 [113 favorites]


additionally, I thought your question was in good faith, and that newg was oddly fighty in response to it, but that's a very touchy thread and I think everyone in it (including myself) would do well to remember that other people are people.
posted by Navelgazer at 5:28 PM on May 3, 2012


Irregardless of everything, that newg comment is pretty gross in its smugness.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 5:31 PM on May 3, 2012 [6 favorites]


I mean, I re-read my comment over and over, and can't see it as anything sincere: it was my understanding that societies organized with some matriarchy or gender equality even 8-10,000 years ago, and I'd recalled ready about Catalhoyuk some years ago in a Terence McKenna book.

I think that comment would have gone a lot better if you had mentioned Catalhoyuk and where you read it. It seemed like there wasn't a lot of substance to respond to, otherwise, so it got people's backs up a little.

All I ask is that comment deletions be reserved for threatening, harassing, or overly personal attacks (including posting personal information, etc) but that sincere, in-good-faith disagreements between site members not be pruned for any 'dissenting' viewpoints. Is that really so exceptional a request?

There's a big discussion in Meta about comment deletion a little down the page, and I think it is a little more liberal than you are feeling like it is? I mean, talk about that by all means if you want, but I don't think it's a new thing and I don't think you're being deleted with prejudice or anything, although it totally feels sucky when it happens.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 5:31 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


if you keep acting like a toddler you are going to be eaten by a lion

But you're the "small and scampery" one, elizardbits.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 5:33 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Alvy Ampersand, it got a lot of bookmarks, though.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 5:33 PM on May 3, 2012


We have deleted, from that thread

- someone making a nasty comment about your comment
- someone making a nasty comment about THAT comment
- the original commenter making a response to that and an additional snarky comment

At this point we left a note in the thread for people to please cool down.

Then I went to dinner, talked to Matt about that thread, and he was minding it. He deleted two more comments, one from you and one from someone responding to you, I presume because you were continuing to bang the drum of "it's dumb to sleep with a visibly douchebag guy who's "negging" you." Not disagreeing with it, but it's flamebait in that thread same as it was the first time you made a similar comment. So then when you made a comment that started "Why did my comment get deleted?" that was a speedy delete with a note to come here, and here you are.

Two days ago I deleted a comment from you that said "No, it's a Jessamyn thing- she just likes to delete my comments. But not the fighty one I responded to, or the follow ups. Go ahead, delete this one too- but no one else's, jessamyn. Couldn't have that, oh no."

So I'm here to say that wasn't me today, that was mathowie. You're a longtime user. We've repeatedly asked you to try to dial back the over the top responses and reactions to people and especially being unable to avoid tossing yourself in the middle of threads and make them go worse than they were before your appearance. You seem to simultaneously be a bit of a button pusher (not that unusual here) but also be unable to deal with other people being similarly pointed or snide back at you. It's a problem and one that you need to find a way to manage.

I axed that newg comment, you're right it was uneccessarily shitty.

restless_nomad feels free to delete anything she doesn't like, including anything that makes her look bad.

We keep a loose eye on the work she does and it totally checks out according to the rest of the mod team and I see no evidence at all of this nasty allegation. Examples or GTFO.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:34 PM on May 3, 2012 [71 favorites]


I don't know who deleted your comment, but restless_nomad feels free to delete anything she doesn't like, including anything that makes her look bad.

I'm not a religious reader of MeTa, so I'm doubtless missing some counterexamples, but I find it striking how often I've read similar snide and unpleasant comments directed first at Jessamyn and now at the new female moderators. It's like female authority figures bring up memories of someone's mommy taking away their lollypop or something.
posted by Forktine at 5:35 PM on May 3, 2012 [101 favorites]


During a Mefi Mail exchange when I lost my shit at taz recently (but we're Swell Internet Pals again, so it's all good, I think) I found out that I've had more than 100 comments deleted since comments were first being deleted. Not sure when that was, but it may be all the way back past the shimmering veil.

This was extremely shocking to me, because well, I had no idea. I literally thought it was zero, or near enough to that. Every time I do notice one of my sallies and bon mots getting shitcanned, it makes me very upset, and I've only really noticed it happening in the last year or so, so finding out that it'd happened as much as it had was an eye-opener.

So clearly it's been happening for a long time, and mostly, I just didn't notice. What timeless Wonderchicken Wisdom for The Ages has disappeared as a result?

Probably not a lot, when it comes to it. Despite my kneejerk reaction to deletions (which come from my own personal issues, I reckon, as much as my Important Principles), if I am honest, not much of what I recall being deleted was something I'd fight to preserve. Mostly it was just being all STAV SMASH over something trivial.

All that said, I am still very much of two minds on comment deletions -- I understand they are done (hopefully) without exception to try and keep threads from spinning out of control into shitfights that will embarrass us all, let alone the instigators, but I do sometimes feel there is some erring on the side of caution these days.

I wish I had enough faith in folks that even if and when things take a turn for the angry because someone has said something inflammatory, we could trust ourselves as a community to just let it play out. But I guess, sad as it makes me, I am inclined to agree with what seems to be the moderation consensus that, at the scale and volume we've reached here, laissez-faire would up meaning a nosedive in the quality of the conversation.

It's a tough question, and I don't our moderation team having to navigate it every day.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:35 PM on May 3, 2012 [6 favorites]


Crabby Appleton: I don't know who deleted your comment, but restless_nomad feels free to delete anything she doesn't like, including anything that makes her look bad.

This is the first thing I've flagged in MetaTalk, I'm pretty sure. I actually recoiled in my chair. This is a really personal attack, rather vicious in my opinion, and especially because the way in which you've attacked restless_nomad means that any response is vindication of your attack. That is ugly.
posted by gilrain at 5:35 PM on May 3, 2012 [60 favorites]


[insert missing words at your discretion above]
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:37 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


i flagged the comment where you complained about your deletions. i didn't flag for content reasons, but because "why did my precious comments get deleted" plus snark at the mods doesn't have a place in an already fighty thread.
posted by nadawi at 5:37 PM on May 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't know who deleted your comment, but restless_nomad feels free to delete anything she doesn't like, including anything that makes her look bad.

This is silly, deluded bullshit. You have a well-established shitty attitude toward moderation in general here and we pretty much expect that, but if you think Jeremy is running around nixing stuff just because she doesn't like it or wants to cover her ass you have gone well and truly off the deep end.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:37 PM on May 3, 2012 [44 favorites]


it was responded to by newg (which I flagged)

If we want fewer comment deletions, perhaps a good place to start would be by not flagging so many comments for deletion.

I have absolutely no opinion on this particular set of deletions but do agree that it feels like there has been a lot of it. This is I think a more or less inevitable result of the combination of having five or six people ready to delete things and a button for everyone else to click to say "hey somebody delete this thing."
posted by ook at 5:37 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


I do sometimes feel there is some erring on the side of caution these days.

I think that is strictly because there are more mods now, not because the mods are more conservative. If you only have two harvesters, you're going to leave a lot of apples on the trees. Once you add more hands, less stuff slips through.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 5:38 PM on May 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's a difficult thread with a lot of people having a heated argument. hincandenza, I thought the thread was getting back on track and the fighting of who was at fault for these weird PUA dudes was simmering down when you left a comment basically blaming women almost completely for falling for these guys, which quickly ramped everything back up again in that I saw two responses almost immediately. I've already devoted several hours of reloading that thread and didn't want to see the same tired argument revive itself so I cut it off at the pass -- you already had half a dozen comments in a single thread and it was starting to become you vs. everyone else and that's never a good thing.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 5:40 PM on May 3, 2012 [10 favorites]


By the way, I can have discussions and arguments with people of the opposite sex and find the implication that it's hincandenza's penis that bothers me (and not his personality or his comments) to be insulting. I hope I'm misinterpreting that particular mod note.
posted by the young rope-rider at 5:40 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Can we NOT have this end up being another re-run of "Crabby makes it all about him" again?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:41 PM on May 3, 2012 [8 favorites]


I hope I'm misinterpreting that particular mod note.

Yes, you totally are.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:42 PM on May 3, 2012


Well, cortex, clearly she wouldn't feel any need to "cover her ass", so just include the "makes her look bad" property in the category of "anything she doesn't like".
posted by Crabby Appleton at 5:42 PM on May 3, 2012


Yeesh.
posted by ook at 5:45 PM on May 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Can we NOT have this end up being another re-run of "Crabby makes it all about him" ?

I don't think that's the way to prevent it.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 5:46 PM on May 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


Seriously, Crabby Appleton, your allegations are not supported by the data as we understand it. If you want to have a discussion with us about this, you can use the contact form and we will talk to you about this. Or open your own MeTa thread. Otherwise, we need you to not make this thread all about you and your unique view of how this site works. This is your first and last warning on the subject.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:46 PM on May 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


I cannot believe anyone is arguing about how many thousands of years patriarchy has been the norm in most human societies. Even if it's "only" 8,000 years, that's a pretty big fucking deal given that people rarely live more than 100 years.
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:46 PM on May 3, 2012 [10 favorites]


Yes, you totally are.

Awesome, i thought so and would have asked directly but figured you were already here.
posted by the young rope-rider at 5:48 PM on May 3, 2012


I apologize for being snide. I'm still a bit new here, so I will try to get a better handle on what kind of tone is and is not appropriate.
posted by newg at 5:48 PM on May 3, 2012 [25 favorites]


This is some bullshit in here.
posted by rtha at 5:48 PM on May 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


Can we NOT have this end up being another re-run of "Crabby makes it all about him" again?

With the caveat that Crabby doesn't have the power to make anything "all about him", amazingly enough I agree with this. Jessamyn: it's a little difficult to provide evidence when all the evidence is gone. Comment deletion needs more accountability. And I didn't really intend to derail hincandenza's completely legitimate complaint. So please carry on with that and leave me out of it.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 5:48 PM on May 3, 2012


Quick someone make a bad joke to defuse the tension.
posted by J. Wilson at 5:49 PM on May 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


Two pies are baking in an oven. First one says, "Hey, is it me or is it getting hot in here?" Second pie says, "What the hell, a talking pie!"
posted by Snarl Furillo at 5:51 PM on May 3, 2012 [33 favorites]


newg: I apologize for being snide. I'm still a bit new here, so I will try to get a better handle on what kind of tone is and is not appropriate.

Also, after you've been here a while longer you'll probably learn how to handle a Meta call-out in a properly dramatic manner, rather than gracefully de-escalating.

Flagged for inoffensiveness
posted by gilrain at 5:52 PM on May 3, 2012 [54 favorites]


A salesman is lost in a rural area and stops at a farm to get directions. As he is talking to the farmer he notices a pig with a wooden leg. "How did the pig get a wooden leg?", he asks the farmer.

"Well", says the farmer, "that is a very special pig. One night not too long ago we had a fire start in the barn.

"Well, sir, that pig set up a great squealing that woke everyone, and by the time we got there he had herded all the other animals out of the barn and saved everyone of them."

"And that was when he hurt his leg?" asked the salesman.

"Oh no" says the farmer. "He was fine after that. Though a while later I was in the woods out back and a bear attacked me. Well, sir, that pig was near by and he came running and set on that bear and chased him off. Saved me for sure."

"So the bear injured his leg then," says the salesman.

"Oh no. He came away without a scratch from that. Though a few days later my tractor turned over in a ditch and I was knocked unconscious. Well, that pig dove into the ditch and pulled me out before I drowned."

"So he hurt his leg then?" asks the salesman.

"Oh no," says the farmer.

"So how did he get the wooden leg?" the salesman asks.

"Well", the farmer tells him, "When you have a pig like that, you don't want to eat him all at once."
posted by modernserf at 5:52 PM on May 3, 2012 [24 favorites]


I disagree strenuously that R_N is not a fantastic mod, but I do think expressing that opinion is fair game for a Meta discussion. No need to pile on Crabby.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:54 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

ook: If we want fewer comment deletions, perhaps a good place to start would be by not flagging so many comments for deletion.
Hey, when in Rome... :)
I thought the thread was getting back on track and the fighting of who was at fault for these weird PUA dudes was simmering down when you left a comment basically blaming women almost completely for falling for these guys
This is kind of what I find difficult to really grok, I guess. First, I don't think my comment was inflammatory in its nature, and I think it's an uncharitable reading to say I "basically blam[ed] women"- not to resuscitate the argument here, but yes I do believe that if you sleep with crummy people, or date them, well... that's on you to learn to be better at filtering. I then compared it with other bad choices, because I think in general, you have to be responsible for the choices you make even when you regret them.

Now, I can understand people disagreeing with that, or strenuously disagreeing with the tenet as applied to PUA... but can't we have a healthy discussion about it without deleting things because it either offends someone as content, or because you think other people react[ed] to it badly? I can't control the reactions of others, and I think judging anyone's comments on whether the community agrees with them is not a healthy standard, unless this is meant to be milquetoastfilter.

Also:
jessamyn: You're a longtime user. We've repeatedly asked you to try to dial back the over the top responses and reactions to people and especially being unable to avoid tossing yourself in the middle of threads and make them go worse than they were before your appearance
I rather resent the chiding tone, or the implication that I "make [threads] worse". Granted, I'll cop that sometimes I lose my cool- I can understand your deletion of my comment a few days ago as being more baiting/fighty, although the comment I was responding to was also inflammatory (I think it got removed later as well), but not every time someone says something others don't like is it a candidate for deletion. I mean, I think I favorited a couple, but even I'd admit darth_tedious was being pretty "devil's advocate" in that thread... but I also think his comments deserve their space because he wasn't attacking anyone.

I guess I lump this in with the "trigger warning" fad: sometimes, other people aren't responsible for your well-being or mental state, you are. And just because people say things you don't like doesn't mean they are inherently disruptive.

I can honestly say that I almost never have commented in a way that wasn't sincerely authentically me- I don't troll, and my fightiest comments are at worst overly emotional responses. Which... are not unique to me on this site.
posted by hincandenza at 5:55 PM on May 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


I disagree strenuously that R_N is not a fantastic mod, but I do think expressing that opinion is fair game for a Meta discussion.

I think that there is a big difference between disagreeing with a mod's moderating style or choices and the kind of insinuation about why r_n would make those choices that was made in this thread. "I wouldn't mod that way" or "I think X deletes way too many comments" is fair game; "X deletes everything that makes her look bad" is WTF.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:00 PM on May 3, 2012 [11 favorites]


hincandenza requested:
"that sincere, in-good-faith disagreements between site members not be pruned for any 'dissenting' viewpoints."

Disagreements aren't why we're here, though, so we can't expect them to be allowed to go on. There are other places on the internet for disagreements.


Crabby Appleton claimed:
"restless_nomad feels free to delete anything she doesn't like, including anything that makes her look bad."

1. Oh, COME ON.
2. ...wait - you're kidding, right?
3. If not, you need to back that up, 'coz that's a pretty strong accusation, right there.
posted by batmonkey at 6:01 PM on May 3, 2012


I think it's a Sinead O'Connor lyric that says "the opposite of patriarchy is not matriarchy, it's fraternity"

FYI, that's off the album "Universal Mother," the track is called "Germaine", and it is a sample of a speech by Germaine Greer.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:03 PM on May 3, 2012


That's not expressing an opinion. That's flinging poo.
posted by rtha at 6:03 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


oooops. shoulda previewed. sorry!
posted by batmonkey at 6:04 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


What Crabby said about r_n, that is.
posted by rtha at 6:04 PM on May 3, 2012


I rather resent the chiding tone, or the implication that I "make [threads] worse". Granted, I'll cop that sometimes I lose my cool

When you lose your cool you go on rants about the sorts of people you hate and despise, people who are often represented and commenting in those threads, like "pretty people" or women in general. You go on huge wall-of-text tirades that have much less to do with the topic of the thread than some button that topic has pushed for you. You occasionally talk about suicide. All of these things are incredibly destabilizing in threads. You rant about the mods in MeFi when you know that stuff needs to go here. You have been a member over ten years.

I sympathize that there are real thought-out emotions behind these sorts of statements, but being able to turn them into discussion topics with other people, some of whom may also be emotional about those topics, is something that needs to go better. I appreciate that you're not trolling. We do not think you're trolling. But there is a short list of people I'd call "overly emotional" in this sort of "I'm going to go on a tirade about people I fucking hate and/or how worthless my life is" way and it's really a site problem.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:09 PM on May 3, 2012 [24 favorites]


Aren't you tired of doing this every single time, dude?
posted by EatTheWeak at 6:10 PM on May 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


Okay, now this is getting far afield, but isn't "patriarchy" a relatively recent invention, that there was far more gender equality in pre-historic times, even outright matriarchy in cultures 5,000+ years ago and earlier?

Theories about a matriarchy-oriented society in pre-historic europe was a real thing for a while. It was championed by Marija Gimbutas, who did a lot of highly respected work in bronze-age linguistics and history, and then went kinda nuts near the end of her career (I like to call this "Linus Pauling Syndrome.")

Because she was such a heavy hitter in her field before she wrote The Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe and the two follow on books, lots of people took her very seriously before they came to the uncomfortable realization she had some really odd and unscientific, ahistorical notions.

On the other hand, she did shine a light on a very advanced civilization that thrived in central Europe from about 8000BCE on, and the archeological work she inspired has turned up the oldest written document, the oldest coins (barter tokens, actually), and pushed back the dawn of civilization further into the past, so it was useful in that regard.

Modern references to her works are largely new-age nonsense.

There. I'm going to derail the MeTa with actual content to hopelessly sidetrack the bickering. REVENGE! THE BLUE CLAIMS ITS VENGEANCE!!
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:10 PM on May 3, 2012 [27 favorites]


While I understand the need for MeTa in general, I wonder if it might not be worth asking if an issue brought here is something truly community wide, or something that only affects you. I am seeing a lot of "Why did my comment get deleted?" threads, and perhaps I am just not seeing how they relate to the larger community, unless they are to be part of a larger policy question, which few of them really seem to be.

I know it's frustrating getting your comments axed. But I wonder of this wouldn't be a situation where it is better to use the contact form. For one, most of us haven't seen the deleted comment, and so it's not a conversation most of the site's members can participate in. For another, I think there is an unfortunate tendency to pile on the person making the MeTa post, and if you're already feeling a bit sensitive because you had a comment deleted, this probably isn't all that fun.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 6:11 PM on May 3, 2012 [16 favorites]


but not every time someone says something others don't like is it a candidate for deletion

Trust me, we would delete so much more stuff on this site if that were in fact the case. People say things here that other people don't like all the time. Sometimes it goes okay, sometimes not so much, and it's the details of the situation that tend to decide things, not the phenomenon of disagreement about or dispreference for a given argument in isolation.

Matt gave you a breakdown of the dynamic he felt like was going on in there, and I'm basically right there with him: regardless of whether your intent was to rile things back up, and I can buy that it wasn't and it was just you being sort of stuck on an argument you were interested in, it was having the effect of sort of re-derailing the thread between you and folks responding to you.

I feel like it's part of the way that everybody's just a little different that different folks react to arguments or manifest emotional responses to subjects that are close to them whether in a positive or negative way. And that's fine as far as it goes, heterogeneous user base and spice of life and all that, but some folks seem to get more overt and over-the-top than others and you are for whatever reason one of those folks a lot of the time in threads. I can appreciate that that's coming from a real place for you and you're not just fucking around for the lulz or whatever, but that doesn't make it any less of a recurring issue thing as far as what Jessamyn is talking about. If you want to work with us on that stuff, that's fine, but it is a long-running thing.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:13 PM on May 3, 2012


I honestly don't know about the thread in question or hincandenza's comments there, but this
I guess I lump this in with the "trigger warning" fad: sometimes, other people aren't responsible for your well-being or mental state, you are. And just because people say things you don't like doesn't mean they are inherently disruptive.
is something I find myself in sympathy with, but.

Big but. I think it's complicated, and, as usual, text is a hard place to discuss complicated things. I'll try anyway, because why not.

Let me be specific, instead of wandering off into handwavy generalities as I so often do. Note that I am not in any way proud of this, and in fact it's embarrassing, but hopefully it will be of some use to somebody if I talk about it.

The comment that got me all up in taz's grill recently when it was deleted was in the Greg Ham obit thread. I usually stay the hell out of obit threads, but you know, I loved Men At Work and Greg and I was emotionally engaged. Unfortunately, it was Friday night, and I also had some beers in me, and I was breaking my self-imposed rule of the last 7 or 8 years to not post here while drinking.

I responded to one particular user who was focussing on the minutiae of the copyright case that so upset Greg before his death with an accusation of behaving as if he or she were autistic, by which I meant completely oblivious to the emotions of the other people in the thread and focussing on numbers of notes in a song. Yeah, I know.

It was a perfect storm of stupid and angry on my part, basically. And when the comment was deleted -- and I agree that it was for the best -- I got even angrier.

But coincidentally, a day or two later, I watched the recent Louis Theroux documentary on autistic kids, and it was heartbreaking. It shouldn't have taken that much to make me think about it, but it did make me realize very strongly that it's entirely possible that parents with autistic kids are members of this site, almost certainly in fact, and the last thing that folks like that need is me getting all shouty and using 'autistic' as a pejorative.

I was being wrong in all sorts of ways, even if in some ways for the 'right' reasons, at least by my lights at the moment.

But here's the rub, for me. Although I agree very strongly with the idea that we are individually responsible for our own reactions to what people say, and that the inverse is implied, that we are not responsible for others' reactions to what we say (and I've argued that point with varying levels of nuance here before), it is still true that we don't have to be boorish. I'm not talking about anyone but me, here.

Even if we are not in the end responsible for others' reactions to our words, we are responsible for what we say, and if we are striving to be Good People, it makes sense to at least make some effort to say things to people that do not hurt them. Like they say in the movies, we're trying to have a society, here.

I don't think it's possible or wise in any way to constantly be on our guard, making sure nothing we say offends anyone. That's just dumb. I don't think we should bottle up our anger, or not use strong language and forceful to make our points sometimes.

But I am starting to understand better as the years go by that the only really important thing in this life is to be kind.

At least as kind as we're able.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:16 PM on May 3, 2012 [69 favorites]


For one, most of us haven't seen the deleted comment, and so it's not a conversation most of the site's members can participate in. For another, I think there is an unfortunate tendency to pile on the person making the MeTa post, and if you're already feeling a bit sensitive because you had a comment deleted, this probably isn't all that fun.

On the gripping hand, if people took the time to sit and make calm decisions before posting metatalk threads we'd have have about 50% fewer metatalk threads.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 6:17 PM on May 3, 2012


Bunny Ultramod: "I am seeing a lot of "Why did my comment get deleted?" threads, and perhaps I am just not seeing how they relate to the larger community."

My bad-faith assumption is that the posters of such MeTa threads are hoping to receive comments from others saying "yeah, that was a bad deletion, the mods are wrong" and the mods will have to apologise and finally, finally, they will be vindicated for something.
posted by subbes at 6:18 PM on May 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


newg: I apologize for being snide. I'm still a bit new here, so I will try to get a better handle on what kind of tone is and is not appropriate.

Way to be a class-act here. Seriously. We all get swept up in stuff here, but few of us own up to it. Good example for all of us.

That thread is really odd. I thought darth_tedious had made it all about him much more than hincandenza had, but I might not have seen any of the comments that got deleted. It's about a subject that almost everybody in the thread finds intensely distasteful (the PUA community) and I would say our disgust is justified. That said, darth_tedious, being the lone defender of PUA and the main dissenting voice, is being assiduously polite while saying things that I don't think he realizes are as offensive as they are, while the rest of the conversation (my contributions included) are more in the "right" by my estimation but also much more personal in debating him.

That said, it's been far more civil in general than I would have guessed when I started reading it, which is nice. I don't doubt that Matt has been spending hours monitoring it. It's the kind of thread that would normally look like breeding grounds for a flame-out, and thankfully that no longer looks like it's going to happen.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:20 PM on May 3, 2012


I think I once read an essay or book that argued the rise of written symbolic language over visual imagery and iconography led to patriarchy due to the emphasis on left-brain rational/linear "masculine" thinking instead of holistic "feminine" thinking. I didn't say it was a good essay, I just said I once read it. :)

I believe you're thinking of The Alphabet Versus the Goddess: The Conflict Between Word and Image, hincandenza, by Leonard Shlain.
posted by jamjam at 6:21 PM on May 3, 2012


On the third hand, having a comment deleted reminded me of my own powerlessness (as a mere cog in the MeFi machine), and I can see how one would want to make a MeTa in order to get some of that power back.
posted by subbes at 6:21 PM on May 3, 2012


I found out that I've had more than 100 comments deleted since comments were first being deleted.

This made me think "is it really possible to get the number of deleted comments you've had?" And while I know that some people (in this very thread) would make a major shitstorm if they were given the number (even without any further data), I would like to know, purely out of curiosity. I've seen a few of my comments killed and have usually accepted the decision at some level (even if I was not that far out of line myself, I was starting a derail that would go very bad). It would be interesting to me to see if the number of deletions I didn't notice is higher or lower than my own mental estimate. Please include my old nick 'wendell' and any sockpuppet you may suspect I have in separate totals. :)

And, getting back on topic, I have come to fully accept that this is NOT my private blog and some of the things I want to express on it will, in retrospect, turn out to be bad for the site and/or bad for me. My personal low point for my opinion of moderation involved my attempt to flesh out someone else's deleted 'single link' post with related material that itself was deleted for a reason that quoted my own self-effacing disclaimer. You know who you are, Penny-Arcade-lover. But you know what? I got over it. (Although re-reading my last few sentences, not completely)

It's a tough job dealing with hundreds of opinionated users like myself, stavros, hincandenza, Crabby and so many others I should not be naming here. And with all its imperfections in moderation, MetaFilter is still the Best of the Web, both cumulatively and singularly. Nobody does it better.

I just hope the somewhat silly post I have planned for tomorrow is deemed worthy. No pressure... (wow, I didn't know I could be so passive-aggressive)
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:23 PM on May 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm always surprised people notice that their comment was deleted. I think I have noticed it, like, once or twice in the past seven years or however long I have been here, and I might have been surprised, but I never thought "Well, that's a pity; that conversation really needed that comment."

I think, like Stav, I'd actually be mortified if I were to discover how much of my stuff has been deleted over the years. But I feel like my mortification would be along the lines of "wow, have I really made so many idiotic comments?" And then I would think about it, and think, "Jeez, there's probably a lot more comments that I wish would have been deleted."
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 6:23 PM on May 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


oneswellfoop: This made me think "is it really possible to get the number of deleted comments you've had?" And while I know that some people (in this very thread) would make a major shitstorm if they were given the number (even without any further data), I would like to know, purely out of curiosity.

The contact box tends to be overlooked, maybe partially because of the common experience of it being a black hole on other sites... but yes, in my experience you can ask just about anything via the contact box, within reason. (And anything related to your own account or site history is likely within reason.) You'll get a prompt response from probably multiple mods, in my experience.

I give the contact box two big thumbs up!
posted by gilrain at 6:28 PM on May 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


Indeed. For anyone who doesn't know, the mods here are remarkably approachable. And based on my sole personal experience, quite good at Rock Band as well.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:31 PM on May 3, 2012


I apologize to the mods in advance if they suddenly get a storm of messages requesting comment deletion tallies. That was not my intention!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:31 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Eh, it comes up now and then, it's no big.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:43 PM on May 3, 2012


Maybe we need a 24 hour lock out period on starting MetaTalk threads if you've had a comment deleted.
posted by COD at 6:48 PM on May 3, 2012


Disagreements aren't why we're here, though, so we can't expect them to be allowed to go on. There are other places on the internet for disagreements.

That may be the case in general, but I can't imagine anybody went into a pua/men's rights thread looking to hold hands and sing kumbaya. That thread was pretty much custom designed to raise a ruckus.
posted by empath at 6:49 PM on May 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


> I can honestly say that I almost never have commented in a way that wasn't sincerely authentically me- I don't troll, and my fightiest comments are at worst overly emotional responses.

I'm sure that's true. On the other hand, I don't recall ever seeing a gender-related thread in which your involvement did not have a pretty seriously negative impact, and I would think by now you might have learned that it would serve you and everyone else best for you to stay out of those threads, just as other people have learned to stay out of certain types of threads that tend to make them fighty or just produce bad interactions. If you really enjoy getting into these battles, and then coming to MetaTalk to make pained complaints about deletions and/or unpleasant interactions, I guess you'll keep on doing it, but if I were you, I'd rethink my pattern of activity.
posted by languagehat at 6:55 PM on May 3, 2012 [16 favorites]


That said, it's been far more civil in general than I would have guessed when I started reading it, which is nice. I don't doubt that Matt has been spending hours monitoring it. It's the kind of thread that would normally look like breeding grounds for a flame-out, and thankfully that no longer looks like it's going to happen.

Yeah, I had to take at least one break and delete who knows how many lines of text. Even then I still wish I had done a little more editing. When I came back it read like everyone had stepped away for a deep breath.

So maybe the Meta did some good.
posted by Gygesringtone at 6:59 PM on May 3, 2012


All I ask is that comment deletions be reserved for threatening, harassing, or overly personal attacks

But that's not the standard by which Metafilter is moderated and hasn't been for years. Over time we've evolved a loose set of community norms that goes beyond merely tempering the most vicious sort of behavior. The number of comments deleted vs. comments made is a tiny percentage, and it demonstrates that most of the time most of the membership don't find it that big a challenge to stay within the bounds of site etiquette. You're entitled to disagree with that consensus, but you don't get to present your preferences as some minimal favor it would be churlish to deny you.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 7:04 PM on May 3, 2012 [16 favorites]


empath expressed:
"I can't imagine anybody went into a pua/men's rights thread looking to hold hands and sing kumbaya."

Time for some astonishment, then! Not that I thought it would be a love-in or nod-fest, exactly, but that the more negative/anti-woman views expressed by the pua/aggrieved men wouldn't get a lot of support here. On one hand, it's good to remember I don't have even this tiny piece of the world figured out. On the other...well, dang.

It's a really well-constructed post, anyway.
posted by batmonkey at 7:06 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Maybe we need a 24 hour lock out period on starting MetaTalk threads if you've had a comment deleted. -- That's called "adding insult to injury."
posted by crunchland at 7:07 PM on May 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


I have had a few comments deleted that I am aware of. Only one do I disagree with. I don't remember what that comment was though, so I figure at the end of the day I've had more crap deleted than not. Moderation of my comments improves my signal to noise ratio, so I am actually grateful for the comments I get deleted (even if I once had a great joke removed).
posted by cjorgensen at 7:14 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


I can honestly say that I almost never have commented in a way that wasn't sincerely authentically me- I don't troll, and my fightiest comments are at worst overly emotional responses. Which... are not unique to me on this site.

hincandenza, everyone gets really strong emotional reactions. The problem is the way we deal with them, and some of us do not deal with them as well as others. I have a trouble backing down from arguments combined with a temper that's produced a number of, well, heated rants during my time on the Internet. And for better or for worse, that's me, that is authentically me.

But just because it's me doesn't mean it's OK or should be tolerated. That reaction is disruptive to productive discussion and hurtful to other people trying to speak their mind. Ideally a comment in a heated discussion is composed to make a point, not put on a performance. It should be possible to make any decent argument in a halfway respectful manner. So if I fly off the handle and fail to achieve that, the mods should delete it, because frankly, I recognize my desire to throw my emotional vomit all over a webpage does not outweigh the desires of everyone else to have a sane discussion.



Not to mention deletions help avoid those moments when you look back at something you wrote in a ragefest when you were 20 and immediately start wondering what dark gods you can pray to in order to obtain the power to delete the Internet. #1 reason to not submit angrypost--realizing you are going to be mortally embarrassed about it in five years.
posted by schroedinger at 7:19 PM on May 3, 2012 [8 favorites]


I'm not a religious reader of MeTa, so I'm doubtless missing some counterexamples, but I find it striking how often I've read similar snide and unpleasant comments directed first at Jessamyn and now at the new female moderators. It's like female authority figures bring up memories of someone's mommy taking away their lollypop or something.

The mods are 75% female (60-75% depending on the status of vacapinta but I understand he's not around much.) The two newest mods are female and new mods naturally get the most scrutiny.
posted by michaelh at 7:23 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


I didn't go into that thread because I was pretty sure some of the comments would make me incredibly angry. Seems like a good call for me.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:24 PM on May 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


and I think everyone in it (including myself) would do well to remember that other people are people.

But what about the Cylons?!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:24 PM on May 3, 2012


and the Borg!
posted by jonmc at 7:27 PM on May 3, 2012


and I think everyone in it (including myself) would do well to remember that other people are people.

But what about the Cylons?!


You can only expect this kind of thread from humans. They don't respect life the way we do.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 7:28 PM on May 3, 2012


So...is there a way to see which of your comments have been deleted? I'm guessing not, since that could only start more threads like this, which I doubt the mods enjoy. Still, I'd really like to know. I've never known of a comment of mine being deleted, but I've had a couple of heated exchanges and I wouldn't be shocked. Dang, I'm curious as hell, now.
posted by Edgewise at 7:30 PM on May 3, 2012


that the more negative/anti-woman views expressed by the pua/aggrieved men wouldn't get a lot of support here.

It's the same three guys in every PUA thread. I wouldn't call that 'a lot of support'.
posted by empath at 7:31 PM on May 3, 2012 [9 favorites]


I have thus far employed Sidhedevil's approach to those topics, to be honest. This one was quite deep and the links drew me in, but I still stayed out of the comments, as with previous threads.

Perhaps I suspected and didn't want to be disappointed/squicked...?

Good to know, though.
posted by batmonkey at 7:34 PM on May 3, 2012


The mods are 75% female

Matt still counts, sort of. And pb does a lot of work around here though he's not technically a mod. So it sort of depends if you count them at all. vacapinta still comes in one evening a week usually, but he doesn't interact on the mod mailing list or other stuff. We are grateful to have him but he's rarely active enough to incur anyone's wrath.

The big deal is if you have issue with how any of us are doing our jobs, we'd appreciate you either taking the time to spell it out in your own MeTa thread (not just piggyback on an unrelated one) or if you don't like doing that drop a note to the contact form.

If you really think someone is fucking up on the job so badly that you think they're not doing the job they're paid to do, to the detriment of the site, you should email Matt directly and lay it out to him. He is ultimately the arbiter of everything since he's the only one who could fire any of us. We can get a lot of data out of the infodump and we'd be happy to go over it and have a talk about it but we really won't tolerate people just repeatedly making nasty accusations about the people who work here. Getting a certain amount of flak is part of the job, but having people go out of their way to target us individually is unpleasant, especially when those accusations are unfounded.

Edgewise: feel free to hit us up on the contact form and we can let you know.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:36 PM on May 3, 2012 [8 favorites]


It's the same three guys in every PUA thread. I wouldn't call that 'a lot of support'.

Folks that support it tend to leave or not join, is my guess. I can remember a few folks who left or were banned.
posted by small_ruminant at 7:37 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


I fear that viewing a list of my deleted comments would send me under the covers with a vow to never go near the internet again.
posted by angrycat at 7:40 PM on May 3, 2012 [12 favorites]


The big deal is if you have issue with how any of us are doing our jobs

I certainly have no issue; just pointing out the odds (which are a lot closer to 50% so maybe it's just the new mod effect.)
posted by michaelh at 7:46 PM on May 3, 2012


When I asked for my deleted tally, I found that I had a greater percentage nuked than even gman has had. gman! I'm still here, though. The number hasn't triggered the auto-banhammer as of yet. Some day, I expect to be puzzled as to why I'm suddenly logged out and am unable to log back in.

Because Metafilter is all self policing and shit.
posted by item at 7:52 PM on May 3, 2012


stavrosthewonderchicken: "I don't think it's possible or wise in any way to constantly be on our guard, making sure nothing we say offends anyone. That's just dumb. I don't think we should bottle up our anger, or not use strong language and forceful to make our points sometimes.

But I am starting to understand better as the years go by that the only really important thing in this life is to be kind.

At least as kind as we're able.
"

I'm a slow learner and it's taken me most of my 50 years to learn this shit. In fact, I sometimes wonder how different my life would be if I'd done both much earlier - been more forceful in putting myself forward in life and also been more kind. But that's the way of things, I guess.

I seem to remember a previous 'how many comments have I had deleted?' thing here not so long ago when I found I'd had more comments than I thought deleted. While that was something of a shock, I wish the number were higher. The comments I regret most are the ones that show me up as a boor and that haven't been deleted. Hopefully, they'll one day in the past act as a warning for a future time-travelling me to not be such a prick.
posted by dg at 7:52 PM on May 3, 2012 [6 favorites]


hincandenza, I thought the thread was getting back on track and the fighting of who was at fault for these weird PUA dudes was simmering down when you left a comment basically blaming women almost completely for falling for these guys

That's the problem: his comment was deleted because he expressed the supposedly wrong view. Even if he's totally wrong, why not let people discuss it? There's a different standard for gender discussions on Metafilter, where comments get deleted because the mods don't want to see certain viewpoints being expressed. This has been happening for years.
posted by John Cohen at 7:59 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


John Cohen: "comments get deleted because the mods don't want to see certain viewpoints being expressed. This has been happening for years"

Bull. Shit. And that's me being kind.
posted by dg at 8:02 PM on May 3, 2012 [7 favorites]


I'm pretty okay with there being one general interest site on the Internet where sexist comments get deleted.
posted by empath at 8:03 PM on May 3, 2012 [62 favorites]


I had a slew of comments deleted when I first joined and did not fully understand how AskMe worked. Since then, I'm sure I've had a handful deleted; occasionally I think "didn't I. . . just . . . right there? Well, I was kind of being a dick, it was probably deleted." There was one comment where I was genuinely mystified as to why it went away, but at the end of the day, I trust the moderators here and I have no doubt that it was for a good reason, even if I wasn't able to figure that out on my own.

But I am starting to understand better as the years go by that the only really important thing in this life is to be kind.

Parenting has really put this into stark relief for me, but I am not exaggerating when I say that my participation on Metafilter has helped me develop this understanding more than almost anything else. I've started working with my five-year-old on this, on the importance of being kind; I told her that being kind is more important that being strong, or smart, or pretty, that you can be smart AND strong AND pretty and still not be a good person if you aren't kind, and while not everybody can be smart, or strong, or pretty -- everyone, every single human being, can be kind. It is totally within your control. And sometimes it's easy to be kind to people, and sometimes it's hard; when it's hard to be kind to people, that's usually a sign that you need to take a step back and spend some time being kind to yourself. If you're hungry, you may need to be kind to yourself by eating some nutritious food; if you're tired, you may need to be kind to yourself by taking a rest. If you're scared, or angry, you might need to be kind to yourself by asking for help or support, or by talking to someone about what you're angry about so that you can fix it. Anything you can do to put yourself back into a place where you can genuinely be kind to others. I don't always do a great job of modeling this, but I try really hard to own up to it when I fail, at least.
posted by KathrynT at 8:04 PM on May 3, 2012 [57 favorites]


COD writes "Maybe we need a 24 hour lock out period on starting MetaTalk threads if you've had a comment deleted."

Some people might never be able to Meta.

Not that that is necessarily a bad thing
posted by Mitheral at 8:08 PM on May 3, 2012


There's a different standard for gender discussions on Metafilter, where comments get deleted because the mods don't want to see certain viewpoints being expressed. This has been happening for years.

Cite please.

As a man, I for one quite appreciate having a space where I am forced (allowed!) to accept a more egalitarian 'standard for gender discussion.' As opposed to the real world, where my country has had zero female heads of state and currently has a lower legislative body that is 84 per cent male.
posted by tivalasvegas at 8:13 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Brandon Blatcher is a Cylon?
posted by cjorgensen at 8:15 PM on May 3, 2012


I am the OP of the original thread, and I am an accidental pickup artist.

I spent my teen years believing in "friendzones" and "ladder theory" and that I was a nice guy and that I was in love with some girl because nobody understood her like I did and it had nothing to do with her D-cups. I of course expressed this love with a mix of supplication, condescension and grotesque imposition.

I grew out of this eventually and learned how to talk to girls, but a large part of that was removing the awe and leaving only the contempt. I was unfaithful yet possessive and a pretty shitty and unhappy person then as well.

For the last two years, I've been functionally single and much more aware of privilege and feminism and sensitivity, but consider this: What would you call a guy who hits on 10 women in a single day, keeps a count of his sexual partners, obsesses over dating technique (and evangelizes about his system) and wears a motherfucking ascot?

More and more I believe that culture has a malignant effect on gender relations, and its my duty as a citizen of the world to help undo the damage that I have inflicted and continue to inflict.Thus this thread is, to an extent, an exercise in self-flagellation.

I'm sorry to have created so much work for the mods while exorcising my personal demons. Where should I send cookies?
posted by modernserf at 8:26 PM on May 3, 2012 [7 favorites]


comments get deleted because the mods don't want to see certain viewpoints being expressed. This has been happening for years

This is probably true for values of, like, racism and sexism and so forth. I'm pretty okay with it.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:26 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Uh, thanks for dragging me into this, I guess? Get a life, bro-dude.
posted by joe lisboa at 8:28 PM on May 3, 2012


No, seriously: what the fuck does this have to do with me and what the fuck did I do to you to warrant this bullshit, hincandenza?
posted by joe lisboa at 8:30 PM on May 3, 2012


Wait, was that FPP a disguised callout of an AskMe user?

Weird. Odd. WTF?!
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:31 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


joe you seem pretty peripheral to the whole thing, tbh.
posted by kavasa at 8:33 PM on May 3, 2012


Yeah, Blatcher's a Cylon. But more Colonel Tigh than Brother Cavil. Anyway, what business is it of yours? We're all part Cylon, nowadays, aren't we?
posted by brina at 8:35 PM on May 3, 2012


Where should I send cookies?

PO Box 345, 05060. But I prefer dark chocolate. Cortex prefers scotch.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:35 PM on May 3, 2012 [10 favorites]


the man of twists and turns: Wait, was that FPP a disguised callout of an AskMe user?

The perp winds up being both the callee and caller! I can't wait for season two!
posted by gilrain at 8:36 PM on May 3, 2012


Thank God, kavasa. And thank you. Just checking in after a night on the town and discovering my name in the literally first comment to this thread leads me to believe otherwise. Would love to be corrected. Cheers.
posted by joe lisboa at 8:37 PM on May 3, 2012


SCOTCH COOKIES
posted by shakespeherian at 8:37 PM on May 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


And by "first comment," I mean name-checked and quoted in the actual post (such as it is). Not that I take a whit's wortha value outta of it, just defending defending my name (such as it is), cuz, you know, I was called out (literally) in this here very post.

(Such as it is.)
posted by joe lisboa at 8:39 PM on May 3, 2012


Chocolate-Whiskey Truffles Souffles with Caramel Sauce.

It is probably the hardest thing I have ever done but you guys then you end up with all these extra little truffles that are pure chocolate and scotch and life is so good!
posted by jetlagaddict at 8:41 PM on May 3, 2012 [9 favorites]


Fuck him, actually. If you have issues, email me. Don't drag me into this b/grade bullshit. #betterthingstodo.
posted by joe lisboa at 8:42 PM on May 3, 2012


SCOTCH COOKIES

You can't say such a thing and not follow up with the goods.
posted by zennish at 8:43 PM on May 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


(I spend a lot of time being an uppity lady on the internet, but I also spend a lot of time in the kitchen, mainly figuring out ways to introduce scotch into things. The truffles don't travel all that well, but if the mods are ever in Philly, I can try to bring you baked goods!)
posted by jetlagaddict at 8:43 PM on May 3, 2012


joe, hincandenza was just angry his response to you got deleted. He just wanted to debate you. I don't think he's specifically upset with you, nor is anyone else.
posted by gilrain at 8:44 PM on May 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


jetlagaddict - it looks, from a quick glance at that recipe, like I could make the truffles and skip the souffles. Is that right?
posted by Ragged Richard at 8:46 PM on May 3, 2012


Chocolate-Whiskey Truffles Souffles with Caramel Sauce

HNNNNNGH

if only I could cook without creating culinary Cthulhu evils
posted by zennish at 8:46 PM on May 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ragged Richard: "it looks, from a quick glance at that recipe, like I could make the truffles and skip the souffles"

Or you could just say 'fuck that shit', sit down with a block of chocolate in one hand and a bottle of scotch in the other and have at it.
posted by dg at 8:48 PM on May 3, 2012 [6 favorites]


Or you could just say 'fuck that shit', sit down with a block of chocolate in one hand and a bottle of scotch in the other and have at it.

I'll thank you to remove those cameras from my apartment.
posted by Ragged Richard at 8:50 PM on May 3, 2012 [13 favorites]


I'm pretty okay with there being one general interest site on the Internet where sexist comments get deleted.

It's funny, I don't stray from Metafilter much for general interest sites, and sometimes I get a bit defensive in certain conversations on this site thinking people are a little over the top or whatever. During the NHL playoffs though I've been on some hockey boards and oh, my....Yesterday I actually found myself giving the same kind of talking-tos I find so condescending here to some random internet ass that was on about how Russian hockey players are all lazy drunks who don't compete at the level of North American players when "it really matters". And I can't tell you the number of times I've seen people call out a certain pair of hockey playing twins as "sisters" as if it's clever. I guess I've been really sheltered by spending most of my time here and giving people in general the benefit of the doubt way too often when it comes to racism and sexism.
posted by Hoopo at 8:53 PM on May 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


I am impressed, jetlagaddict. I would have made a pot of coffee before Step 1, and then said "fuck it" and gone off and eaten all the truffles before getting to step 2.
posted by catlet at 8:54 PM on May 3, 2012


Thanks, gilrain. Seeing as I cannot see deleted comments, I appreciate this info. I actually think fondly of hincandenza. The fact that there were deleted comments I didn't see actually makes much more sense, so thank you.
posted by joe lisboa at 8:56 PM on May 3, 2012


Oh, yeah, you can totally just make the truffles. Or eat the rich, alcoholic, creamy chocolate straight from the pot with a spoon. Or your fingers! It is the best kind of recipe.

You can also test out chocolate and scotches, you know, to make sure the truffles are just perfect, which may involve buying a ton of exciting little chocolate bars from Trader Joe's and camping out in the living room with scotches....hypothetically, of course.
posted by jetlagaddict at 8:58 PM on May 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


I simply post my comments and assume they have been deleted instantly, with ruthless me-oppressing efficiency. I have enough day-to-day baggage as it is, without having to worry about whether or not my comments live on more than, say, half a minute.

I will, of course, be refreshing this page incessantly for the next half hour to see if anyone responds
posted by davejay at 9:04 PM on May 3, 2012


hincandenza: "I can honestly say that I almost never have commented in a way that wasn't sincerely authentically me- I don't troll, and my fightiest comments are at worst overly emotional responses. Which... are not unique to me on this site."

Just a tiny point here - I don't think honesty or sincerity is really the point here. I mean, yes, this community values honesty, and trolling is bad. Using disingenuous and inflammatory arguments to heat up conversations just for the hell of it would be a bad thing. But that is not the only bad thing. It's totally possible to be honest and to express something that you feel deeply, but to do it in a disruptive way that's likely to lead the conversation down a path it probably shouldn't travel. I'm not necessarily saying you do this, but it's worth noting that most people who regularly derail threads don't do so because they're trolls; they do so because they have some cause they really believe in, and every conversation seems to them to be about that cause. I know I've done that before; it's easy to do when you believe in something. I think it takes some detachment to realize that sometimes the things you really believe in probably ought to remain unsaid in the name of general civility.
posted by koeselitz at 9:07 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hey, since we're veering off-topic anyway... has anyone heard from davejay in the past few months? It seems like he never posts anymore.
posted by gilrain at 9:07 PM on May 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


The comment about restless_nomad was so out of place that I at first assumed it was a joke from someone who was a friend of hers. Because otherwise, huh?
posted by Occula at 9:10 PM on May 3, 2012


And I can't tell you the number of times I've seen people call out a certain pair of hockey playing twins as "sisters" as if it's clever.

Gosh, Hoppo, I didn't know you read my fanfic.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 9:11 PM on May 3, 2012


Hoopo, even. I gotta stop posting after midnight.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 9:12 PM on May 3, 2012


Why do you sell everything you have so cheaply?
posted by Burhanistan at 9:21 PM on May 3, 2012


I also spend a lot of time in the kitchen, mainly figuring out ways to introduce scotch into things.

Introducing scotch into me is mad fuckin' easy.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 9:29 PM on May 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


"Scotch, Lexi. Lexi, Scotch."

Done and done.
posted by Lexica at 9:30 PM on May 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Chocolate-Whiskey Truffles Souffles with Caramel Sauce.

While I appreciate chocolate and scotch, I'd opt for bourbon. If you can get it and have the money to burn, Stranahans, would work well. It is a sort of a scotch and bourbon hybrid. For some reason cooking with good scotch seems like a sin and bad scotch is... bad. I think it's that you loose so many of the nuances (and let's be honest as much as I love bourbon, your average scotch is way more complex than your average bourbon).

Alternately, to save some money, you could substitute some beer. You'd loose some alcohol, but the only recipes I've come across where that's all that important either involve lighting something on fire, or inhibiting gluten formation (like tempura batters). Left-Hand's Fade to Black Vol. III, a porter with chilis added would work extraordinarily well. It has sweet malt, roasted coffee and coco flavors AND spicy chili flavors. I've made a couple flourless chocolate cakes with it that were fantastic. Most other chili beers tend to be crappy lagers with too much heat, but this one isn't. Dogfish Head's Theobroma might work too. It doesn't have the roasted flavors, but I remember it having a honey sweetness, and some dark fruits in there. Or if you don't want the chili, and want the vanilla of the bourbon, any number of bourbon barrel aged imperial stouts would work. Heck you could just use a regular Imperial Stout. Old Rasputin's my favorite, but there' a whole lot of good options out there.
posted by Gygesringtone at 9:49 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Bourbon would be good. I want to try those truffles with a good smoky Islay, though, for sure.
posted by rtha at 10:09 PM on May 3, 2012


I'm sure it's been done ad infinitum upthread, but just want to thank the mods for their transparency and reasoning in the moderation process. I think that's something that really separates this site from the pack.

That said, I generally appreciate hincandenza's comments and candor on various topics, but sometimes that can naturally lead to button-pushing from others' perspective. I really like metafilter the most when the back-and-forth between certain users is kept to a minimum and a more wide array of voices are comfortable chiming in - if that means mods have more discretion to delete fighty comments, that's something I can deal with. It's not easy to walk that line with every regular on the site, but the willingness to do it generally keeps worthwhile comments in place and the potentially derailing stuff out.
posted by antonymous at 10:15 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Jesus, would someone please just ban Crabby Appleton already? What a cowardly, jerky series of comments. There's no reason anyone should have to keep dealing with that shit.
posted by mediareport at 10:16 PM on May 3, 2012 [16 favorites]


There's a different standard for gender discussions on Metafilter, where comments get deleted because the mods don't want to see certain viewpoints being expressed.

I think a sentiment like that ignores the many mefite women that have expressed - articulately and sincerely - how those deleted comments often make them feel, namely; harrassed, devalued, and that metafilter is an unsafe place for them.

Now, you can argue the validity of those feelings until the cows come home, but you cannot argue their existence. In this context, I would argue that the mods moderate for MetaFilter, i.e. the great sum of mefites. Given that a large proportion of mefites have given voice to their discomfort around a particular set of sentiments (and no doubt many more feel them but have not given voice), I can't get to het up when the mods heed them.

After all, deleting those comments costs the people who made them very little, but may contribute a lot to the peace-of-mind of far more mefites, whose presence in threads and in general contributes to the overall utility and greatness of metafilter.

In summary: I think that - as a man, I'm afraid to say - you're grossly under-estimating the emotional effects that chauvinist comments have on many women, and failing to understand that for many people they are little better than a form of bullying (whether intended or no), and thus deleting them contributes far more to the overall health of this community than keeping them would.

I think it's hard for men to understand what the world is like for a lot of women. Every time I think I'm getting a handle on it, something comes along to surprise me. Example: Just this week my partner came back from a run complaining about the car of men that slowed down to match her past and shadowed her for a hundred metres before yelling some abuse and driving away. What shocked me was that she says this happens at least once - and often more than once - every single time she runs outside in our non-sketchy neighbourood. We live in a different world to women, you and I, John. Anyone - mods and mefites alike - trying to bring these worlds closer is a friend in my book.
posted by smoke at 10:18 PM on May 3, 2012 [24 favorites]


We live in a different world to women, you and I, John.

Indeed. When I was a young teenager, in my early days of working out how to be fashionable, I was wearing a quite unintentionally unfashionable thing while walking a few miles to a friend's house, and a carful of women slowed down and catcalled me. I was amused, but a few years later (and wiser) I thought about it again and realized just how fucked up it is that women generally go through that as part of their day-to-day existence, that a day without that might be the exceptional day they remember.
posted by davejay at 10:33 PM on May 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


hincandenza: "I can honestly say that I almost never have commented in a way that wasn't sincerely authentically me- I don't troll, and my fightiest comments are at worst overly emotional responses. Which... are not unique to me on this site."

It's good that you're true to yourself. I mean that.

However, your "fightiest" comments seem to end up mainly in the gender issues threads, where they have driven female commenters like me away from participation. I, personally, would love to be able to participate in a discussion about issues that directly affect my life, but I can't do so on this site without potentially drawing down YOUR wrath. It's happened before, it's sickening, and rather than let myself in for more of the same bullshit, I just don't participate in threads where I see that you're already commenting. Discussing those issues here isn't worth the chance that I'll have to deal with your "fighty" comments.

I don't think I'm alone in that.
posted by palomar at 10:35 PM on May 3, 2012 [36 favorites]


I find it striking how often I've read similar snide and unpleasant comments directed first at Jessamyn and now at the new female moderators. It's like female authority figures bring up memories of someone's mommy taking away their lollypop or something.
posted by Forktine at 1:35 AM on May 4


Ah, the ever-popular "Let's try to shut down criticism by insinuating bigoted intent without evidence" tactic. A Mefi classic.
posted by Decani at 10:44 PM on May 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


Jesus, would someone please just ban Crabby Appleton already? What a cowardly, jerky series of comments. There's no reason anyone should have to keep dealing with that shit.

The fact that he hasn't been banned is exactly what makes his 'This place is so awful and fascist and echo-chambery and cannot tolerate dissent' shtick so fucking hilarious.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:56 PM on May 3, 2012 [24 favorites]


Ah, the ever-popular "Let's try to shut down criticism by insinuating bigoted intent without evidence" tactic. A Mefi classic.

Totally. Like this:

I don't know who deleted your comment, but restless_nomad feels free to delete anything she doesn't like, including anything that makes her look bad.

posted by rtha at 11:04 PM on May 3, 2012 [11 favorites]


Wow. I was mentioned in a MeTa post? Clearly I should have been on the internet when I couldn't sleep, not listening to Bill Bryson.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 11:46 PM on May 3, 2012


Ah, the ever-popular "Let's try to shut down bigotry by pointing out when it tries to disguise itself as serious thought" tactic. A Mefi classic.
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:59 PM on May 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


Ah, the ever-popular MeTa circle jerk.
posted by Snyder at 12:25 AM on May 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Having the occasional comment deleted bothered me a little at first, then I realized that its not like I'm ever going to run out of objectionable opinions and coarse rejoinders. Its sort of like the Grand Hotel paradox. Maybe my comment gets deleted, but I can always make another deletion worthy comment to replace it.
posted by Chekhovian at 12:35 AM on May 4, 2012


Actually, the one thing that does really irritate is when you make a comment, go to sleep/work/or a different computer or something, load your recent comments to find the thread again, but its not there because its not indexed because your comment got nuked.

It would be really great if the list of "Posts you have commented on" included posts where your comment got deleted, just so you didn't have to find the thread again/doubt your sanity that you made the comment in the first place.

And also, Fuck You, you sentence ended with a preposition. How about "Posts on which you have commented" instead.
posted by Chekhovian at 12:49 AM on May 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


elizardbits: if you keep acting like a toddler you are going to be eaten by a lion

I understand that there is context to this, but I will use this line on my son as soon as he understands what I'm saying and doesn't just look up at me and grin.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:13 AM on May 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Discussing those issues here isn't worth the chance that I'll have to deal with your "fighty" comments.

This is where my head's at. Acknowledging your "fighty" tendencies is a fine first step, but declaring yourself aware of your problem behaviors does not excuse those behaviors. Ceasing to indulge them is the next step to take. Seeing thread after thread about gender issues become all about you is deeply tedious and demoralizing.

The premise of this MeTa was that the deletion of your textwall comments was onerous and heavy handed. You should know that there are those of us who believe you've been handled too leniently in light of this ongoing issue.
posted by EatTheWeak at 2:49 AM on May 4, 2012 [8 favorites]


I asked how many comments of mine got deleted once, and it was a much bigger number, as a percentage, than I expected. It's very rare that I notice it, or when I do that I get annoyed about it, or when I get annoyed about it, that I complain about it.
posted by empath at 4:25 AM on May 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


stavrosthewonderchicken: "But I guess, sad as it makes me, I am inclined to agree with what seems to be the moderation consensus that, at the scale and volume we've reached here, laissez-faire would hippopotamus up meaning a nosedive in the quality of the conversation.

It's a tough question, and I don't perpendicular our moderation team having to navigate it every day.
"

I don't understand what you're trying to say here.




stavrosthewonderchicken: "[insert missing words at your discretion above]"

hey man, you asked for it.
posted by Grither at 4:35 AM on May 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'm not certain on this, but I think the only times I've had comments deleted was when responding to someone who ended up getting their comment deleted, and the one time I made a sneering personal attack against another user on the Blue. I must really be in touch with this mythical Metafilter Hive Mind Of Righteous Thought!
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:40 AM on May 4, 2012


Ah, the ever-popular "Let's try to shut down criticism by insinuating bigoted intent without evidence" tactic. A Mefi classic.

Well, I know you hate the idea that there's sexism in the world, and that people might be culpable for that, but isn't the evidence here the repeated callouts of the female mods in strikingly personal language and disproportion to the callouts of the male mods?
posted by OmieWise at 5:09 AM on May 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm always surprised people notice that their comment was deleted.

The only time a comment of mine was deleted (or I noticed that...) the mod in question sent me a nice mail explaining why, but maybe I'm special?
posted by MartinWisse at 5:20 AM on May 4, 2012


I am continually astounded that people who get their feelings hurt to such an extent by such a monumentally insignificant event as the deletion of one of their comments on a website can muster the requisite armor to even get out of bed in the morning. I mean, there is real pain and tragedy lurking and hunting you out there and your going to whine and gnash teeth because you took a dump on a website and the custodians cleaned it up? Unbelievable.
posted by spicynuts at 5:35 AM on May 4, 2012 [10 favorites]


It doesn't even have to be because you took a dump on their website. Maybe you made a perfectly fine comment that other people appreciated and that just hit a mod on a bad day. It really doesn't matter. At best, it might be worth a 'hey wtf?' metatalk post, and maybe your comment gets undeleted or it doesn't, but it's not really worth an extended argument about.

At the end of the day, it's their site and you are here as a guest, and the reason that most people here is that they appreciate the way the mods run the place. If you don't like it here, you can always find another site to comment on.
posted by empath at 5:41 AM on May 4, 2012


At the end of the day, it's their site and you are here as a guest, and the reason that most people here is that they appreciate the way the mods run the place. If you don't like it here, you can always find another site to comment on.

It's not that simple though, now is it? You're not just a hit and run commenter on some blog or other, you're part of a community that isn't that easily or at all replicated elsewhere. MeFi is far more like what Usenet was, with everybody having a roughly equal stake in the community even if a handful of people have more (explicit) power over it.

And because of that, some people *will* sometimes take it personally when a comment is deleted, even if it's objectively not a big deal and happens regularly to everybody else too.
posted by MartinWisse at 5:49 AM on May 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


If you don't like it here, you can always find another site to comment on.

Or you can try to change it, possibly by starting a discussion in the section of the website helpfully titled "Etiquette/Policy." One of the neat/crappy things about MetaFilter is that its policies have evolved, and moderator decisions have even reversed, as a result of such discussions. And I guess if you don't like that, then you could always find another site to comment on...or hey, open a discussion about it.

would someone please just ban Crabby Appleton already?

I find his shtick tired but not particularly disruptive, and although he may not be great about supporting his complaints with evidence, they are specific complaints and more substantive than just, "Hey moderator, you suck!" I don't especially want to die on my sword defending him; but for instance, in this thread, you have a serious conversation happening and then you've got random comments about Cylons and recipes (still?). Crabby's contribution to this thread sucked, but it was more on-topic than that nonsense.
posted by cribcage at 6:23 AM on May 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think being on-topic but throwing baseless and well-poisoning accusations at a mod is worse than posting recipes. But I might be saying this because I need new recipes.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:25 AM on May 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


There's a post out there on AskMe from a person who is always worrying in the morning about having said something stupid in conversation the night before.

I regard moderator comment deletion as being like having magical fairies who make the stupid things that I shouldn't have said the night before never have happened. They keep me from embarrassing myself before I even realize I should have been embarrassed. It's AWESOME. Thank you magical internet comment moderator fairies! *kisses all around*.


PS: I have bought a lot of love with Upstairs at the Pudding's Bourbon Brownies. They work fine with whiskey as well. And by "work fine" I mean "inspire wide-eyed worship".
posted by endless_forms at 6:30 AM on May 4, 2012 [7 favorites]


If I owned the banhammer, everyone posting recipes and putting in those stupid song jokes would get mandatory vacations. But that's because I'm cranky that way, and that's why kinder and gentler people are in charge here.

Ah, the ever-popular "Let's try to shut down criticism by insinuating bigoted intent without evidence" tactic. A Mefi classic.

I'm nothing if not classic. But I'm also right and have watched this happen many, many times; insinuating that I'm an uninformed insinuator of bigotry doesn't actually negate the pattern of crappy behavior over time.
posted by Forktine at 6:31 AM on May 4, 2012


If Forktiiiiiine had a hammer
He'd banhammer in the morning
He'd banhammer in the evening
All over this land

posted by Edogy at 8:23 AM on May 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


If your participation in certain types of threads tends to result in acrimony, hurt feelings, deletions and Meta posts, then you should probably avoid such threads, for your sake and the sake of others. Certain members seem to have a really difficult time with specific topics, whether it be Apple or homosexuality or gender. There is a wide variety of topics every day on Metafilter, exercise some self-restraint and paricipate in those thread where you won't inevitably find yourself in Meta.
posted by Falconetti at 9:21 AM on May 4, 2012


Jesus, would someone please just ban Crabby Appleton already? What a cowardly, jerky series of comments. There's no reason anyone should have to keep dealing with that shit.

The fact that he hasn't been banned is exactly what makes his 'This place is so awful and fascist and echo-chambery and cannot tolerate dissent' shtick so fucking hilarious.


I also think that the reluctance of the mods to ban people for anything short of the most egregious offenses is directly related to the number of comments deleted. I'm sure the mods could ban a relatively small number of users and drastically cut down on the number of comments that they delete. But they, and most Mefites, don't want this to be that sort of place. So instead, people who cause a lot of trouble get to stick around and the mods spend a lot of time mitigating and reducing the trouble they cause - mostly by deleting comments. This is probably the least bad way to do things, but that doesn't mean it isn't going to upset people.
posted by Ragged Richard at 9:27 AM on May 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


You know, I'd like to know my deleted comment tally, too.

If it's not a major, pb-actually-has-to-think-about-how-to-do-it change to make, I feel that among all the stats in our profiles like "Favorites" and "Favorited by", a simple tally or percentage of "deletions" would be a good thing to have.

Not the specific deletions, just a number. I don't want to cause a ruckus, get people stirred up. But it's not a bad idea to keep your (and by "your" I mean yours, mine and everyone's) contributions in perspective, and that means the negative as well as the positive feedback. I know sometimes I get worked up, and I would rather know if I've been going off the deep end a little too often and making myself obnoxious in general.

I recently had a meta myself, hincandenza, touching on the topic you touched on here, gender issues on Mefi. Some pretty harsh things were said about me personally, and that hurt, but it also humbled me.

That thread made me realize that a lot of people feel like I am not the sex-positive feminist I consider myself. In fact, some consider me anti-sexist or anti-women!

And the disconnect is entirely my fault.

A comment in the Meta showed me that I have a pattern of favoriting comments I agree with in contentious threads, which lately tend to be gender threads, and I think that's understandable. I generally only jump in to comment when I feel like someone is a) exaggerating or ignoring factual evidence, b) misrepresenting someone else's position, c) piling on or getting piled on because of a or b.

Well, you can see the problem right there. When I make those points, I am often bringing up unpopular opinions and fleshing them out, and those are the only comments of mine in the thread. My intentions, like yours, hincandenze, were good. The journalist in me feels the need to at least try to portray both sides of an issue accurately, even when I personally favor one over the other.

But I did a really poor job of that. Naturally other users don't care about my [+]s; they aren't clicking every comment to see who favorited what. Which means all they see from me are the criticisms. So instead of balancing both sides of an issue, now I have made myself look like I believe all the contentious stuff and support none of the pro-feminist, pro-woman positions I actually hold. Way to go, misha. You totally made things worse!

So I guess my point is that we really can't be objective about our own contributions and how we're coming across to others on the site. The mods are the custodians here, and when they delete stuff? They are basically striving for that objectivity themselves.

So, I don't think we should a "no Meta within 24 horus of deletions" rule, for just that reason. f you need a Meta to help you understand how you are coming across, and even to ask Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?, that's okay by me. I think we all come out ahead just by taking a serious look at these issues once in a while.
posted by misha at 9:32 AM on May 4, 2012 [9 favorites]


If it's not a major, pb-actually-has-to-think-about-how-to-do-it change to make, I feel that among all the stats in our profiles like "Favorites" and "Favorited by", a simple tally or percentage of "deletions" would be a good thing to have.

This is a firm but gentle no on that. Like we've said we're totally happy to let you know about the count or the details if you want to drop us a line at the contact form, but making it a public or semi-public statistic in general is not something we see any real upside to. It puts folks in the position of being confronted by something they may not want to think about, is open to pretty serious misinterpretation (everywhere from "oh god oh god i had a comment deleted I FUCKED UUUUP" to "pfft, 87% of my comments are FINE, I am clearly not a problem!"), and doesn't provide any distinction between stuff deleted because it was the problem vs. stuff deleted because it was replying to something problematic vs. stuff deleted because it was a typo correction or accidental double or so forth.

Again, if there's a consistent behavior problem it's probably going to come up directly, through email or in-thread discussion in Metatalk if its somehow germane. If there's not a consistent behavior problem, then there's really mostly just not a big problem; everybody tends to have their poorer moments and that's just life and not something we want people feeling neurotic about.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:51 AM on May 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


If it's not a major, pb-actually-has-to-think-about-how-to-do-it change to make, I feel that among all the stats in our profiles like "Favorites" and "Favorited by", a simple tally or percentage of "deletions" would be a good thing to have.


As cortex said, this will not happen. I get where you're coming from and we will be happy to discuss this with you in private but there are so many negative social issues with making something like this public and very few upsides. I understand why this would be helpful to you but most people would not want this.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:25 AM on May 4, 2012


I actually asked the mods to delete a comment I made. I think I've definitely turned a corner. I may have even leveled up.
posted by crunchland at 11:13 AM on May 4, 2012


I don't know how much this has been addressed before but is there any sense of whether there has been any significant trend in comment deletion, i.e. the number of comments deleted as a factor of total comment volume, over the last several years?

Aside from the issue of whether the reasons for a specific deletion are justified (which seem so subjective to me as to make a general resolution extremely unlikely) I have noticed a pretty consistent assertion from a few parties that moderation has become substantially more aggressive. I would think this would either bear out or not in sheer numbers. I realize that there is an issue of more uniform coverage via the addition of mods in non-US timezones, but it seems like that could be at least somewhat accounted for. It seems like a reasonable question, but I don't know if it's an easy one to answer.
posted by nanojath at 11:30 AM on May 4, 2012


Jesus, would someone please just ban Crabby Appleton already? What a cowardly, jerky series of comments. There's no reason anyone should have to keep dealing with that shit.

Yeah, if Metafilter had the same workplace policies as most places I've worked, that would be an HR issue, failure to provide a safe working environment.

That comment is so strange to me. I think it's the way it starts off with "I don't know who deleted your comment", it's like "I know this is in no way related to your issue, but it looked like a vaguely plausible opportunity to bash this person I don't like."

I half expect to see pony request threads where the first comment is "I have it on good authority that restless_nomad hates ponies and also has a majority share in a glue factory."

on a semi related note, elizardbits is unmitigated awesome and, though the lowercase helps, usually when a comment makes me laugh out loud I know that I will scroll down and see her username.
posted by lwb at 11:45 AM on May 4, 2012


I know it's Matt's site, and lord knows I won't convince you of anything. But unless comments are legally challenging, or completely beyond the pale in terms of being personal attacks or rat holing in an argument with another member that's completely off-topic... why delete them just because some people don't like them or the viewpoints they express?
Falconetti: Certain members seem to have a really difficult time with specific topics, whether it be Apple or homosexuality or gender.
I agree; I just think it's those members who have difficulty with other people in threads of these types, and can use sympathetic moderation to silence those they don't agree with. I guess I'd equate it to a post on the latest Apple gadget having someone point out "You know, there's a real security hole in the latest _____" and being deleted because hey, that's just going to rile up the Apple fans here, and that'd disrupt the thread.

I still maintain that my deleted comment(s) in that thread were not problematic from either content or tone... except insomuch as the opinions might be unpopular, or some users wish for certain topics to have a single viewpoint. Jessamyn explained yesterday in this thread that it was mathowie who was behind that particular deletion, but regardless of which mod I can't help but rankle at the idea that because I have a "history", all new comments are viewed through that lens and therefore color them. Jessamyn even said she personally didn't "disagree" with my comments, but hey, I have a known persona here, so...

I just disagree that my viewpoints are "flamebait" just because they aren't well-regarded. This is why I made that closing comment about "I'm not trolling here, this is what I believe"; I thought at issue might be that the perception was I was making comments in bad faith, just to stir shit up. And I've made a concerted effort to try to keep my comments focused and less emotional, which I believe I have mostly (but not universally) managed to do over the last few months. Also, at the time I posted this MeTa, the preceding comments related to mine were there, thus a part of my frustration. I'd be mollified greatly if it was "Each of your comments were deleted because now it's just the two of you arguing publicly; take it to MeMail", although less so when we're arguing about the topic at hand; my perspective at the time was "This seems pretty unilateral here!".

But if the core contention is simply "We don't like your thoughts, and you aren't welcome to talk about certain subjects because your thoughts are not good thoughts"? That's... that's hard to process.

Someone much earlier in this thread said "Metafilter is not for disagreements", but... we are human beings. If we wanted no disagreements, then why not just turn off commenting on any threads, and enforce a strict "SLYT ONLY" policy on all posts? I didn't think Metafilter ever had the goal of making people feel really happy and content and unthreatened; that's what zombo.com is for. And honestly? Any thread involving gender or sexuality at this point is equivalent to those old Israel/Palestine threads, yet instead of removing the class of post/thread as inherently flawed, the decision is to decide that people who believe or state [______] are clearly just "stirring up trouble" or derailing the thread. Empath (who as an aside I think just doesn't "get" me) even pointed out that basically, that thread was going to contain pointed comments by its very nature.
misha: So I guess my point is that we really can't be objective about our own contributions and how we're coming across to others on the site. The mods are the custodians here, and when they delete stuff? They are basically striving for that objectivity themselves.
I'm not sure objectivity is an inherent good. But that said, I actually agree with most of your comment, and as you describe I find it incredibly frustrating that the person I am outside of Metafilter would generally be regarded as a polar opposite of the way I'm regarded within these blue, green and grey walls as basically a textbook misogynist, serial rapist/murderer in training. Left undeleted at Metafilter are numerous comments by some members claiming to be "chilled" by my own comments, convinced I'm showing all the signs of being the next Ted Bundy. Luckily, I have no heart, so having people call me "haunted" or "troubled" or a borderline sociopath, etc won't actually hurt my feelings!


In any case, it was my incredibly foolish hope the mods would actually undelete the comment, or at least consider the possibility that the moderation of my comments is not always fair, or based on guidelines of pruning overly fighty comments- after all, I conceded that the deletion from a few days' past was actually justifiable- but sometime because they or others just don't like me or my opinions.

Plus, they have the unilateral ability to force me to take a "time out", as if I were an errant toddler, so... if you're done with this thread, you might as well close it on my account. It served whatever purpose it ever was going to serve, which was apparently for swapping recipes.
posted by hincandenza at 12:22 PM on May 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


Like I said above, a lot of my comments responding to you (which weren't that rude, IMO) were deleted. I think a lot of the moderation here is actually overly protective of you because it often serves to keep you looking more reasonable than you really are, and to keep people from piling on in response to your comments.

Either way, you seem determined to be a victim here, so okay, you're a victim of the unfair mods, of those of us who have a memory longer than three months, and of people who post recipes.
posted by the young rope-rider at 12:34 PM on May 4, 2012 [5 favorites]


But unless comments are legally challenging, or completely beyond the pale in terms of being personal attacks or rat holing in an argument with another member that's completely off-topic... why delete them just because some people don't like them or the viewpoints they express?

Because that's not how the site works. Comments that people don't like to the point where the thread turns into a total shitstorm over those comments get deleted, ideally before the full formation of said shitstorm. This isn't new.

They also get deleted for bitching about moderation or mods or how the site is run when they're made in threads that are not in metatalk. I saw that comment of yours where you complained about jess deleting an earlier comment (and it was matt who was baleeting! whoops!), which goddamn but you should know better than to make comments like that anywhere but here in the grey.
posted by rtha at 12:34 PM on May 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


why delete them just because some people don't like them or the viewpoints they express?

Your deleted comments were deleted cuz they broke the guidelines, because they were yet another attempt to make a gender thread all about you and what a victim you are of Mefi moderation. They were multiparagraph details at best. How this has happened over and over and over again without you getting the picture is truly baffling. On one hand, you seem to have grasped that your participation can be problematic when you get emotional, on the other you seem to have doubled down on the victim stuff. It's confusing. You're definitely very intelligent and yet this blindspot remains.

The mods have handled you quite gently and patiently, considering the chronic nature of this issue. Keep that in mind when you're thinking about complaining that your outbursts have not been indulged enough.
posted by EatTheWeak at 12:50 PM on May 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


why delete them just because some people don't like them or the viewpoints they express?

I think this is where the community/personality aspect of this place comes into play a little. If you're generally known as "the guy who comes into threads on X and jumps on his soapbox", your comments can bring a lot of baggage into a thread on that topic. Maybe someone with no such baggage could come into that thread, say the same thing, and it wouldn't cause the same ruckus. Bug or feature, you decide.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:18 PM on May 4, 2012


I can't think of a realistic down side to giving every user the ability to delete any Metafilter comment. Obnoxious, stupid comments would almost immediately vanish from any thread (as would the inevitable subsequent complaints by the commenters about their comment(s) being deleted), along with nearly all threadshitting and other annoying commenter behavior. Furthermore, tedious arguments would also cease to exist, either through the intervention of bystanders, or through mutual assured destruction by the arguers themselves.

The deletion of "good," substantive comments could be curbed by having deletions recorded as part of users' histories, and trollish users who went around deleting willy nilly could be flagged and banned.

Yes, 50% (at least) of Metafilter interaction would evaporate overnight, but again, I'm not seeing the down side.
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 1:42 PM on May 4, 2012


Can we delete stuff in Metatalk too, like if someone posts a really bad idea? :P
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:49 PM on May 4, 2012 [8 favorites]


I can't think of a realistic down side to giving every user the ability to delete any Metafilter comment.

.....May I remind you that the thrust of the original complaint was that there was too much censorship?....
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:00 PM on May 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


I can't think of a realistic down side to giving every user the ability to delete any Metafilter comment.

I can think of a whole lot.

That's not to say that it might not be an interesting experimental model for some discussion space somewhere, and I'd be curious to see how it played out in an established community that already had a fairly strong community ethos, a sense of collective identity, and generally healthy mutual respect between fellow users. But I sure wouldn't want to volunteer my own favorite place for the experiment. Maybe I'm too much of a gamer not to see it through the lens of just how universal and powerful a lure griefing can be, but yikes.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:00 PM on May 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm reminded of that online playlist app, and the dick who kept deleting everyone's added tracks.
posted by crunchland at 3:18 PM on May 4, 2012


And honestly? Any thread involving gender or sexuality at this point is equivalent to those old Israel/Palestine threads

There is a shortlist of users who are implicated in this and you are one of them. If you want to change your reputation here, we have given you many opportunities to do so. However, at some level you need to be on board with the fact that this is a community moderated site, that you have gained a reputation as being That Guy in threads on certain topics and in order to make it clear that you're not That Guy one of the things that you need to do is show some awareness about the context of the situation and do things differently next time.

You can do this on your own. You can Brand New Day it. You have options. What we'd appreciate you not do is what you're currently doing where you act like this is some problem external to yourself endemic to the site where you spend a lot of time. All this site is is the people who make it up, that's it. You can basically write your own story here and you've gotten a lot of feedback in this thread that what you're currently doing is not getting across the image you'd like to present. This is your situation to improve and has very little to do with your viewpoints and very much to do with the manner in which you are able to discuss them in mixed company.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:26 PM on May 4, 2012 [24 favorites]


I'm deleting this entire thread.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 8:45 PM on May 4, 2012


Two things: Wow, that was politic, Jessamyn.

Second, wow, MeTa is so much more polite than it used to be.
posted by klangklangston at 9:01 PM on May 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


I can't think of a realistic down side to giving every user the ability to delete any Metafilter comment.

I can think of a whole lot.


What about: every user has the ability to delete one comment, ever. They can police, but it better be important because you don't get a chance to delete the next thing that might be even worse.

Or you get deletes that you can spend where you like, but deleting a comment will give you a timeout for the next 24 hours. You can silence something that needs it, but only if you are willing to remove your ability to participate in the conversation.

(these are fun ideas but really, don't ever let us delete comments)
posted by BurnChao at 11:24 PM on May 4, 2012


I can't think of a realistic down side to giving every user the ability to delete any Metafilter comment.

Buhuhhahahaha. Seriously? This place would cease to exist. Any even remotely controversial thread (and I think we would all be shocked to find just what other people found controversial) would become a ghost town.
posted by adamdschneider at 6:56 AM on May 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh my goodness, if I had the ability to delete any comments, I would abuse it with such gusto, cackling each time I did so.
posted by Greg Nog at 7:36 AM on May 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


OK, OK, maybe being able to delete each others' comments is too much power and invites abuse. What about editing each others' comments? That'd probably go well.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 7:38 AM on May 5, 2012


OK, OK, maybe being able to delete each others' comments is too much power and invites abuse. What about editing each others' comments? That'd probably I'm a butt lol butt butt butt hey everyone look at my but it is the coollest butt ha ha ha this is great
posted by Greg Nog at 7:39 AM on May 5, 2012 [17 favorites]


That's more creative than my plan, which would be to post a comment inthread and then edit all subsequent comments to quote me and say "Excellent point", "Very thoughtful response", "This is so insightful that I am sure you are probably devastatingly sexy with a heart of gold" and such. But more to the point, it's that butt butts and buttity butt butt butt wooo lololollo
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 7:45 AM on May 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


That's more creative than my plan, which would be to post a comment inthread and then edit all subsequent comments to quote me and say "Excellent point", "Very thoughtful response", "This is so insightful that I am sure you are probably devastatingly sexy with a heart of gold" and such.

Spot on as always, MStPT. Your cunning flows like your gorgeous locks.

Edited by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:37
posted by SpiffyRob at 8:37 AM on May 5, 2012 [7 favorites]


EDITED ALL MY butts lol
posted by longtime_lurker at 2:59 PM on May 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


PONY: You can edit comments, but only one part of speech a day. Nouns on Monday, adjectives on Tuesday, prepositions on Wednesday, articles on Thursday, verbs on Friday, adverbs on Saturday and punctuation on Sunday.

The system will be opt-in through participation. The more total characters you edit in other user's comments, the more total characters may be edited in your own comments. Don't start none, won't be none.

GAME ON
posted by EatTheWeak at 3:18 PM on May 5, 2012


Changing other user's words to curses, acronyms or emoticons incurs a double character penalty to the editor's vulnerability.
posted by EatTheWeak at 3:23 PM on May 5, 2012


Maybe someone with no such baggage could come into that thread, say the same thing, and it wouldn't cause the same ruckus. Bug or feature, you decide.

I'll venture that it's a bug, on the basis that it is the behavior of people who can't let it go who make Metafilter a worse place. And I'm not talking about the people who "get on a soapbox", but the people who follow them around, who the moderators choose to do little or nothing about because the "soapbox" people are easy and unpopular targets.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:13 PM on May 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


I see the mods put the smack down on that kind of crap all the time.
posted by Mitheral at 5:42 PM on May 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


That's a pretty serious accusation, Blaze: that some members actually follow others around in order to, what, flag comments in order to attract the attention of the mods, who then delete unpopular viewpoints? I'm not clear on what, precisely, you are suggesting, but it seems like a suggestion that you should be utterly clear about. Also, one that perhaps you ought not make without backing it up.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 6:29 PM on May 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Some people will never realize that they are the problem, not others.
posted by Falconetti at 10:05 PM on May 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


Some info that might help make some things a little clearer:

1) there is no class of "protected" poster/user/flagger. If there was, I would have to know about that in order to fulfill the oft-charged but entirely imaginary protection directive.

2) Most of the time, we don't even look at who flagged a given post or comment. You know why? It takes a whole extra click to pop open a window to see who flagged, and while a single click seems like a small thing, that would actually amount to an awful lot of clicking and viewing over the day. I rarely do it unless I don't understand why something's been flagged, I think it might be self-flagged, or there's something else odd about it.

3) We don't want to be influenced by who is flagging... if we did, we wouldn't have the built-in speedbump of an extra click to see that.

4) If the charge is about some conspiracy of posters who have collaborated to rack up flags on a specific member, I have to say that I can't imagine this not being glaringly obvious to us, since any behavior outside the ordinary pattern stands out. If I see 20 single flags in one thread on fairly typical comments, for instance, I already know it's probably the same person who has flagged them all, and probably because they aren't understanding, say, the difference between Ask Metafilter where you need to stay strictly on-topic, and the blue where conversations can sometimes meander. If I see one person's ordinary comments flagged every time consistently in a thread, I have a look, because I'm pretty sure it's going to be one person doing it, who just disagrees with the other person's position, and seems to mistakenly think of the flag function as [I disagree with this!].

If we were consistently seeing a lot of flags on comments that don't trip the usual alarms we'd be looking closely to see if it was the same people or what was up with that, and it would be a huge big fucking deal to us if there was any indication that there was a "flagging conspiracy." Like Bannable big fucking deal... But more importantly it wouldn't work. That's one of the reasons we have humans looking at this stuff instead of autodeletes after X number of flags.

Flags can influence us if we are on the fence about something, or cause us to look into something that isn't obvious to us, but we don't delete something that would ordinarily stay because of flags. If 10 people flagged a comment that looked fine to me, I'd be contacting some of those people to find out what the deal is. Maybe a link in the comment is throwing up a virus warning that I'm not seeing or something?

At any rate, the "mod-protected user" is a mythological figure with many identities, and one of them is you, BP. We are often accused of "protecting" you, while you are simultaneously accusing us of protecting people you see as targeting you. The truth is that you annoy some people, and some people annoy you, and this mutual annoyance seem to take over a lot of threads, so we are forced to sift through lots of spats and derails as a consequence – usually with the result that neither side is satisfied that the other has been dealt with harshly enough, and it must be because the mods favor them.
posted by taz (staff) at 12:54 AM on May 6, 2012 [15 favorites]


Well it appears Crabby has left the building, huh.
posted by the_artificer at 10:46 AM on May 6, 2012


That is a shame, Crabby's contributions are a valuable resource for the community and the site is diminished when he is away.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:23 AM on May 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


I eagerly await his brand new day persona, Cantankerous Bartokomous.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:57 AM on May 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Crabby's contributions are a valuable resource for the community and the site is diminished when he is away.

That may be the case, but Crabby's sense of how this place is and should be moderated had diverged far enough from the mods' ideas that it had grown to a significant point of contention, leading to endless drive by accusations, as was demonstrated in this thread. And that's fine -- Crabby did not have to like how this place is moderated, and maybe be right about that. But there gets to be a point when you can't fight city hall, and if your needs or desires are not being met by one particular website, there are a lot of other websites, and sometimes it's good to look for the one that fits what you want, instead of turn yourself into a disruptive presence on the one that doesn't.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:33 PM on May 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Unless... He was banned?!?!?!?!?!
posted by to sir with millipedes at 12:42 PM on May 6, 2012


He was, actually, after yet another weird complaining-in-thread-about-moderation thing right after all that discussion. At a certain point it stops making sense to try to be accommodating for the umpteenth time when someone seems to just be holding the site or the mods in active, casual contempt to the point where they can't rein in obviously crappy and confrontational behavior even when it's just been an active topic of discussion.

If it's a thing where he decides in the long run that he wants to give this place another go and do the Brand New Day thing, we'll as usual be willing to see how that goes. For now he needs to just be doing something other than what he's been doing here or, maybe less optimistically, at least doing it somewhere else.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:08 PM on May 6, 2012 [9 favorites]


Crabby's contributions are a valuable resource for the community and the site is diminished when he is away.

OK, I'll bite: how? Because even in the realm of challenging moderation - which is an absolutely necessary part of an online community, I feel - his charges were never backed up with any evidence, he never made any meaningful contributions, he held pretty much everyone here in contempt, and eventually resorted to some strange, baseless and nasty accusations towards the staff.

I know you like the guy, and I think you've got a good head on your shoulders, so I'm curious to know what I'm missing here; why was he "a valuable resource" when he didn't contribute anything but grief?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:44 PM on May 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Crabby Appleton opened his memoirs with a simple sentence: "I was born in a house my father built." Today we can look back at this little house and still imagine a young boy sitting by the window of the attic he shared with his three brothers, looking out to a world he could then himself only imagine. From those humble roots, as from so many humble beginnings on this website, grew the force of a driving dream. A dream that led to the remarkable journey that ends here today, where it all began beside the same tiny home, mail-ordered from back East, near this towering pepper tree, which back then was a mere seedling.

Crabby Appleton's journey across the Metafilter landscapes mirrored that of this entire site in this remarkable decade. His life was bound up with the striving of our whole userbase, with our crises and our triumphs.

When he became a user here, he commented on matters from cancer research to environmental protection and foreign policy. He came to the site at a time in our history when Mefites were tempted to say we had had enough of the internet. Instead, he knew we had to reach out to old friends and old enemies alike. He would not allow Metafilter to quit the web.

Remarkably, he wrote many of his best comments after he left the site the first time, working his way back into the arena he so loved by writing and thinking and engaging us in his dialogue. For the past year, even in the final weeks of his time here, he gave me his wise counsel, especially with regard to Russia. One thing in particular left a profound impression on me. Though this man was in his seventh year of participating on the site, he had an incredibly sharp and vigorous and rigorous mind. As a public man, he always seemed to believe the greatest sin was remaining passive in the face of challenges, and he never stopped living by that creed. He gave of himself with intelligence and energy and devotion to duty, and this entire site owes him a debt of gratitude for that service.

Oh, yes, he knew great controversy amid conflict with the mods as well as highly favorited comments. He made mistakes, and they, like his accomplishments, are a part of his life and record. But the enduring lesson of Crabby Appleton is that he never gave up being part of the action and passion of his times. He said many times that unless a person has a goal, a new mountain to climb, his spirit will die. Well, based on our last chat session and the memail he wrote me just a month ago, I can say that his spirit was very much dedicated to the Metafilter community to the very end.

That is a great tribute to him, to his wonderful family, whose love he so depended on and whose love he returned in full measure. Today is a day for his family, his friends, and his Metafilter contacts to remember Crabby Appleton's contributions here in totality. To them, let us say: may the day of judging Crabby Appleton on anything less than his entire life and comment history come to a close.

May we heed his call to maintain the will and the wisdom to build on Metafilter's greatest gift, its freedom, and to lead a user base full of difficulty to the just and lasting peace he dreamed of.

As it is written in the words of a hymn I heard in my church last Sunday, "Grant that I may realize that the trifling of life creates differences, but that in the higher things we are all one." In the twilight of his time on this site, Crabby Appleton knew that lesson well. It is, I feel, certainly a fate he would want us all to keep.

And so, on behalf of all banned former Metafilter users who are here, and on behalf of a grateful website, we bid farewell to Crabby Appleton.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:46 PM on May 6, 2012 [7 favorites]


That's just fucking confusing.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:55 PM on May 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


*throws bouquet of roses onto the stage, gives standing ovation*
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:56 PM on May 6, 2012


Laughs.








Cries.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 3:57 PM on May 6, 2012


What the fuck
posted by to sir with millipedes at 4:26 PM on May 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Can't tell if serious.
posted by empath at 6:04 PM on May 6, 2012


And so, on behalf of all banned former Metafilter users who are here, and on behalf of a grateful website, we bid farewell to Crabby Appleton.

Not me, sorry. The guy went out of his way to try to get me banned on several occasions. He's not the only troll who has tried that stunt, either. Good riddance.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:23 PM on May 6, 2012


lo, it's all so personal with you, isn't BP? Crabby's problems extended well beyond you. I won't miss his sneery and atomic-clock-regular cries of "Help! I'm being oppressed!" one bit.
posted by smoke at 6:44 PM on May 6, 2012


I have a morbid interest in seeing BP's enemies list. (now with one name crossed out)
posted by empath at 6:58 PM on May 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Come on, be polite, don't compare people to Nixon just because of their behavior on a website.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:07 PM on May 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hey now, Nixon created the EPA. It could've been a compliment.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 7:13 PM on May 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


The narcissism of small differences.
posted by Falconetti at 7:14 PM on May 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


The guy went out of his way to try to get me banned on several occasions

Welp, he wasn't all bad then.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 7:19 PM on May 6, 2012


furiousxgeorge: man, you know I have a hard time with sarcasm.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:41 PM on May 6, 2012


I have a morbid interest in seeing BP's enemies list.

I used to keep mine in a little tiny matchbook-sized notebook but I got tired of all the small fiddly scribblings and crossings-out.

Now it's a txt document on my desktop, far easier to manage. At one point I thought I might eventually move on to something more in-depth wherein I can do some cross-entry links between grievances but that seems awfully like the Crazy Fuckhead Liz Wiki I've been trying to avoid all my life.


Supervillany! It's not just all stroking fluffy white cats, I'll have you know. It's also database management, quite tedious.
posted by elizardbits at 9:19 PM on May 6, 2012 [9 favorites]


furiousxgeorge: "Come on, be polite, don't compare people to Nixon just because of their behavior on a website."

Because I despise all pleasant deceptions like high school proms and Santa Claus and surprise birthday parties and kittens, and cling to the light of truth no matter how cold and antiseptic its bloodless limpidity may be, I would like to point out to those who haven't yet gotten the joke that furiousxgeorge is funning us a little here.
posted by koeselitz at 11:40 PM on May 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


I think I asked for an enemy tag in contacts once but that didn't fly. I also seem to remember someone having an enemy list on their contact page.
posted by adamvasco at 1:13 AM on May 7, 2012


I wonder if some of the people who complain about excessive moderation are just upset they haven't been invited to be a mod.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 4:03 AM on May 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


i.e., U JELLY, HATERS???
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:11 AM on May 7, 2012


I also seem to remember someone having an enemy list on their contact page.

For a bit of Metafilter history, that was discussed here.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:24 PM on May 7, 2012


For a bit of Metafilter history, that was discussed here.

Holy shit what an ugly thread. Is this the Golden Age of Metafilter that I see people mourning whenever they complain about mod censorship?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:58 PM on May 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


It was a Golden Age in the sense that that meTa didn't even break 200 comments. These days, I bet it would easily go twice that!
posted by rtha at 1:09 PM on May 7, 2012


...in the first two hours, yeah.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:18 PM on May 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think I asked for an enemy tag in contacts once but that didn't fly.

Just friend them ironically. This also works on Facebook.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 2:12 PM on May 7, 2012


furiousxgeorge: "I disagree strenuously that R_N is not a fantastic mod, but I do think expressing that opinion is fair game for a Meta discussion. No need to pile on Crabby."

Really? When moderation is your job, being accused of moderating specifically to make yourself good is like a doctor being accused of murdering his patients. There are ways to constructively criticize; Crabby's comment wasn't constructive, it basically said "restless_nomad is a terrible mod and that's just the way it is". There are opinions and then there are insults. Technically, an insult is an opinion, but I think insulting someone else absolutely makes you open to criticism from others.

And, honestly, I feel like I see the same people come into MeTa to make the same complaints over and over again. Hey guys, I know you think each of your comments and posts are precious babies, but maybe, just maybe, if you didn't take it all so seriously it wouldn't be as big of a deal if some of your material occasionally gets trashed. This website is not a democracy; hell, it isn't even a meritocracy. It is what it is and you can have fun here and learn things and meet friends and occasionally get dumb shit you post deleted. Enjoy!
posted by Deathalicious at 6:27 AM on May 9, 2012


He is entitled to his opinion, as I said I disagree emphatically on this point but I have seen him be right quite a few times and still face a lot of backlash for it. If someone is doing a bad job as a moderator, this is the appropriate forum to discuss it. Way more vile insults get tossed around on the grey than that someone isn't doing their job well.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:02 PM on May 9, 2012


If you think someone is doing such a bad job that they are actively moderating the site in line with their personal preferences, that's a serious allegation. If you are making it, you need to make it seriously and follow up, or take it up with us, preferably mathowie, privately.

The fact that Crabby Appleton never did this, despite our specific requests that he should talk to us if he didn't want to deal with the repercussions of MetaTalk indicated to us that he mostly wanted to make those comments for the shock/troll/needling value of making them, not because he wanted to actually address the issue or seek any sort of discussion or resolution about it. If that was not the case, he had multiple opportunities to clear that up.

This is not someone showing up here and saying, in their own MeTa thread, "Hey I've got a serious concern with the way one of the mods is doing their job and I think it's negatively affecting the site" This is, instead, one disaffected continually-aggravated user being unable to not make threads about entirely other topics become about them and their unsupported cryptic grousing.

After repeated requests from us to contact us if he actually wanted to discuss or resolve these issues and to please stop making MeTa a difficult place for us to do our jobs, we'd more or less had enough. He is welcome to a Brand New Day, same as anyone, but he'd gone well beyond the point where most people could seriously believe he was actually bringing up his concerns in MetaTalk in good faith because something was troubling him. At some point the burden for making it clear that you're acting in good faith rests on you.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:13 PM on May 9, 2012


Way more vile insults get tossed around on the grey than that someone isn't doing their job well.

And way more vile insults are easier to dismiss and less emotionally resonant for people than the charge they aren't doing their jobs well. It's a serious accusation that cuts right to the core of many people's self-identities (who doesn't like to be thought of as competent, valued, good-working?), and can be far more sensitive because this. As such, accusations of that nature should be treated with caution, caveat and courtesy.

By that count, Crabby was once, twice, three times a douchebag.
posted by smoke at 9:01 PM on May 9, 2012


Considering he's not able to defend himself, it's bad form to insult him now.
posted by crunchland at 9:14 PM on May 9, 2012


He spent most of the last three years defending the right of vitriolic insult; I feel confident he'll be okay.
posted by smoke at 9:25 PM on May 9, 2012


He's better off banned anyway. Metatalk is a shitty therapist.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:39 PM on May 9, 2012


I've worked in customer centric industries my entire life, trust me I know how shitty and off base their complaints can be, however they do have a right to get stuff off their chest in the appropriate forums.

Back in the day I once took an order for a sandwich with extra salt and then faced a dressing down from a manger when the customer complained of too much salt!

Crabby went out in the end because he again took it to the blue, and I don't support that, but when you earn a salary to work with people you end up taking some shit, no one should take it too personally.

It's kind of unseemly a mod would still want to publicly pile on after he is gone though. Cutting ties is one thing and always your right with what you consider a problem customer, but no need to keep going after them when they are gone.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:51 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Do you mean jessamyn? It seems like she's just explaining the decision, not going after him.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:02 PM on May 9, 2012


Cortex explained it several days ago.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:04 PM on May 9, 2012


Surely reducing this community and the role to mods play in it to a transactional model with customer and servant does everyone a disservice? I think we can look for better metaphors...
posted by smoke at 10:06 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Servant is an oddly anachronistic choice of words there for folks who work in customer service industries, but regardless the moderator experience with Crabby, from their perspective, is more like if someone went into a bar and started talking shit to the owner and his managers in a manner in which they found both off base professionally and personally.

Have the bouncers remove them for the good of the crowd and because you just don't do that and expect to stay, but there isn't much reason to go on bashing them when they are gone. If you want to do that, take it to a forum where they can respond.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:12 PM on May 9, 2012


(or do it privately with your co-workers if you just need to get it off your chest)
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:28 PM on May 9, 2012


Jesus Christ, dude. I appreciate that you are trying to do right by the guy or whatever, but he made an active habit of being a shit in metatalk and I don't feel like two whole references from separate mods to the reasoning behind his banning when its a recurring topic of discussion in a large and bumpy thread is the sort of outsized punitive response that merits the extended defense routine. We've honestly been remarkably polite, all things considered, but being in a position with customer service aspects doesn't mean refusing ever to speak frankly about recurring shitty behavior. If he'd pulled this shit in a post office he'd have been thrown out the first time.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:31 PM on May 9, 2012


The post office may deny you service that day if you complain in an inappropriate fashion, but you aren't losing your delivery privileges and they aren't posting about how much of a shit you are and publicly condemning your complaints as cryptic grousing at usps.com.

As a Catholic I would appreciate it if in the interest of politeness we did not take the Lord's name in vain on this, it's not a big deal, I was responding to deathalicious's comments which were about how Crabby behaved here in the grey which was not the ultimate catalyst for his banning. I'm much more sympathetic with taking people to task for what they do in the blue, it is not the appropriate forum for this and I regret when I have done the same.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:55 PM on May 9, 2012


I'm pretty sure cortex is not a Catholic, and so, while you certainly shouldn't use Jesus' name in a manner that feels inappropriate to you, he is not bound by your morality in regards to language. And while you already used the customer service metaphor for mod/user interaction, it is not one I think most of the user base agrees with, nor the moderators, nor the site owner.

I like my mods cussy, and, while this is not a democracy, I'm putting my vote in for the use of Jesus Christ as an exclamation of frustration. It was well-earned here.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:38 AM on May 10, 2012


I'm not a Muslim but I'm not pumping out the Mohammed cartoons either. It's a rather simple request for civility, I think.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:40 AM on May 10, 2012


"As a Catholic I would appreciate it if in the interest of politeness we did not take the Lord's name in vain on this,"

Seriously? Seriously?

As an honest person, I'd appreciate it if sanctimonious hypocrisy was kept to a minimum.

Also, the customer service model is a terrible one for MetaFilter. The general understanding that mods are members first who have extra powers because they've been good community members for long enough to be trusted makes a lot more sense and gives a lot more healthy dynamic to interactions, I think.
posted by klangklangston at 1:35 AM on May 10, 2012 [6 favorites]


Oh fun, the guy who defends to the death his right to lob personal attacks in the blue is here to google posting histories for us. Isn't there another thread you might want to go address?

The bulk of that stuff is quotes of other people, and the rest is comments I will be the first to express regret about.

I'll take Crabby's moderation complaints in the blue before your insulting personal attacks, that is for sure.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:55 AM on May 10, 2012


Another thread? No, I don't think so.

Coupla things:

1) It's not like I had to google — finding out that you're no stranger to exclaiming Jesus Christ when the mood suits you took, like, two clicks and five letters worth of typing.

2) Pretending that the ejaculation "Jesus Christ" is particularly impolite is bullshit (if that Anglo-Saxon doesn't wilt your flowers too much), especially when placed in the context of the many "impolite" things that you say on a regular basis, or the comments Crabby (God rest his soul) made.

3) If you don't want to be accused of hypocrisy, being consistent on your concern over politeness in general. Like, maybe don't go apeshit in grudge matches all over the site. That's a little bit more impolite than saying, "Jesus Christ" in exasperation. But you only seem to care when its your ox being gored. Maybe a little less focus on form and a little more on function would make me care when you complain about me being insulting.
posted by klangklangston at 2:29 AM on May 10, 2012


It seems you have very little interest in actually discussing the topic of this thread and are just off on one of your personal attack tangents again now, combing through years old post histories and ranting about how it's your right to to be impolite.

Well, the mods have you instead of Crabby now, enjoy!
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:50 AM on May 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't know what's up with you, furiousxgeorge, but you're the one who's been pushing more talk about crabby. One neutral comment from cortex affirmed that he had been banned, and Jess' comment above was in reaction to your continued pursual of the issue. She was responding to you.

Now with the weird scolding about language? At this point I have no idea if this is some version of a joke, or you are just sort of going down some weird personal rabbit hole of dissatisfaction and frustration with Metafilter generally, but the amount of attention you personally demand from us is extreme, and now becoming a bit weird. I feel like there's some agenda that we have no clue about, and you don't let us know, but are constantly demanding satisfaction. You can take up further discussion about crabby with us if you'd like, and please drop the grudgeposting here.
posted by taz (staff) at 3:02 AM on May 10, 2012


I believe you will find I responded to deathalicious because of a direct response to my six day old comment about how Crabby behaved in this thread.

His banning was again brought into the topic by Jess, not me. I'm sorry if it seems weird that I respond to posts addressed to me by name addressing my comments, but I don't know what to do about that. The explanation Cortex gave for the banning several days ago before Jess decided to bring it up again seemed entirely satisfactory to me.

And again, with Klang googling through my post history, I'm not sure why you find it weird that I would respond to that? If that is a valid topic I will discuss it but I'm pretty sure you don't want me to start googling him right back because it would be, you know, retarded
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:10 AM on May 10, 2012


"Jesus Christ" = not okay, but "retarded" = okay. Far out, quit while you're behind, man.
posted by smoke at 3:27 AM on May 10, 2012


I'm just googling here, man. Klangklang is my guide for good behavior. Isn't this a great way to have conversations?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:28 AM on May 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, this took a turn for the even odder.

Never a dull moment!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:34 AM on May 10, 2012


furiousxgeorge, take some time off. Come back in a week.
posted by taz (staff) at 3:35 AM on May 10, 2012


When you're at the bottom of a deep hole, the best thing you can do is to stop digging.
posted by dg at 3:47 AM on May 10, 2012


Furiousgeorge was given a week off for what exactly?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:23 AM on May 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Seriously, what is reasoning behind the week off?
posted by Dano St at 4:50 AM on May 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


I asked him to stop the grudgeposting and talk to us about crabby, and he stuntposted a comment using "retarded" so that someone would complain and he could then reply with a google thing with klangklangston. This is after attacking Jessamyn for replying to him, and cortex for saying "Jesus Christ," and posting odd Crabby tribute stuff (Nixon obit, for reasons unclear), all of which seem to be some cryptic needling Metatalk theatre for making some point that is probably clear to him, but that just ends up hijacking this thread which is not about him, or crabby, instead of making his own Metatalk thread addressing whatever the issue is clearly, or talking to us. I asked him please to stop, and talk to us, and instead he decided to double down on the thing with klang. We spend a lot of time dealing with furiousxgeorge, pretty much every day, which we're willing to do, but amping that up is really not something that we even have the means to handle.
posted by taz (staff) at 5:03 AM on May 10, 2012 [5 favorites]


Basically ya'll need a week off from him.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:20 AM on May 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


//We spend a lot of time dealing with furiousxgeorge, pretty much every day, which we're willing to do, but amping that up is really not something that we even have the means to handle.//

I think y'all should be a lot less willing to deal will disruptive members. It sours the site for everybody.
posted by COD at 5:35 AM on May 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


I know that I annoy the mods from time to time, but I swear I don't do it on purpose. If I disagree with a mod decision, I generally just say it once and leave it at that. I don't get why you'd needle them for days at a time about something, especially something that doesn't even involve you.
posted by empath at 5:40 AM on May 10, 2012


Thanks for explanation and I appreciate that you may have to 'deal' with him in ways not evident in this thread, but wow this seems really arbitrary to me.

I don't understand how his comments were here "grudgeposting" (grudge against who?). Or how his use of retarded was a "stuntpost", which to me almost always refers to a FPP. You think he used the word as some sort of calculated plan to attack Klang, rather than in-the-moment frustration? That's a really uncharitable reading and, frankly, to use a favorite word of yours, weird.

And how did he attack Jessamyn? Because he was of the opinion her explanation of Crabby's banning was an unseemly pile-on? Come on, she is not that thin-skinned and you all have heard much worse without banning anyone.

FWIW, I agree with him on the Jesus Christ thing. It's really offensive to a lot of people and this would be a nicer place if there were less of it here. I'm not under any illusion that it will ever go away completely, but mods should not be propagating its use IMO.

Can I ask one more question ... was the decision to give furiousxgeorge a timeout discussed among the moderation team before it was done?
posted by Dano St at 5:41 AM on May 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think y'all should be a lot less willing to deal will disruptive members. It sours the site for everybody.

Reminding everyone that we don't know what the mods may be saying to members privately, or how often they may be doing so.

Can I ask one more question ... was the decision to give furiousxgeorge a timeout discussed among the moderation team before it was done?

....Why would anyone think it wouldn't have been?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:44 AM on May 10, 2012


FWIW, I agree with him on the Jesus Christ thing. It's really offensive to a lot of people and this would be a nicer place if there were less of it here.

He could care less about the Jesus Christ thing. He was just trying to make a passive-aggressive point about Crabby.
posted by empath at 5:45 AM on May 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


This doesn't seem like a surprising thing, somehow.

but wow this seems really arbitrary to me.

There's a lot that often goes on behind the scenes that we never know about. Sometimes this makes things look arbitrary when they're really not.
posted by rtha at 5:46 AM on May 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Beacuse it happened at an hour when most of the mods were likely to be unavailable,
posted by Dano St at 5:46 AM on May 10, 2012


re: ....Why would anyone think it wouldn't have been?
posted by Dano St at 5:47 AM on May 10, 2012


Yes, Dano, you're right. It would have been preferable... but not possible.
posted by taz (staff) at 5:48 AM on May 10, 2012


I'm sorry, "it" refers to what? The discussion?
posted by Dano St at 5:50 AM on May 10, 2012


Yes, it definitely would have been preferable to me to discuss this situation with the moderation team, but that wasn't possible. However, there have been other conversations.
posted by taz (staff) at 6:11 AM on May 10, 2012


I think y'all should be a lot less willing to deal will disruptive members. It sours the site for everybody.

At the risk of going overly meta on this MeTa, I think that there are two issues here. One is that the community sometimes (but far from always) does a poor job of interacting with minority voices, particularly on social and political issues -- I don't know that this is a moderation issue really, as much as a bad feedback loop where the only people willing to stake out those kinds of iconoclastic positions have a tendency to enjoy, or at least seek out, high conflict interactions, and that draws a certain kind of pile-on response, which ensures that the only people taking those positions will be a certain kind of personality. I'd love to see those feedback loops disrupted somehow, to allow better discussions and interactions, though I don't have any great suggestions beyond "hugs for everyone."

And then there's the issue of moderator tolerance of socially disruptive members, and I agree that it can be taken too far. Maybe because so many of their interactions (via email and within threads) are with those disruptive people that it starts feeling normal? I don't think that there's anything wrong with basically saying "This site is meant for certain kinds of interactions and uses, and your current use of this site falls outside of that line, so please take a short break and rethink your choices about how to interact here." I know that this actually does happen -- my point is that I'd rather it happen less based on how much of a pain in the ass the person is being to the moderators, and more on how much of a pain in the ass the person is being to the full community. Some cases are clearly both, but not all.
posted by Forktine at 6:12 AM on May 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Something to consider:

I think [the mods] should be a lot less willing to deal will disruptive members.

Consider: there is probably a very real chance that for each one of us, someone else on the site thinks we're "disruptive."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:18 AM on May 10, 2012


Yes, but they are wrong.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:23 AM on May 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Consider: there is probably a very real chance that for each one of us, someone else on the site thinks we're "disruptive."

If I'm being a pain to the community (rather than just to the one or two stupid jerks who don't appreciate my brilliance), then ban my ass. Either I'll get a clue and come back reformed, or I'll go find a new home somewhere else. In both cases, the community wins.
posted by Forktine at 6:41 AM on May 10, 2012


//Consider: there is probably a very real chance that for each one of us, someone else on the site thinks we're "disruptive//

I chose the word disruptive on purpose, in the sense that some people make this place work worse for the rest of us. Are there people that don't like each one of us or think that we are always wrong? Probably. But being on the wrong side of a polite debate is not disruptive. Being unable to participate in a debate politely is disruptive. The fact that we are all still here thousands of posts later is evidence that there aren't many truly disruptive folks. And I'm fine with the ban hammer being used early and often against that minority.

That right, I'm prejudiced against a minority., Deal with it ;)
posted by COD at 7:26 AM on May 10, 2012


I believe the eyeballkid hates us all, but its a sort of pleasant warm hate which has kittens and puppies and baby goats with it.
posted by adamvasco at 7:34 AM on May 10, 2012


Yes, it definitely would have been preferable to me to discuss this situation with the moderation team, but that wasn't possible. However, there have been other conversations.

Yeah, for context on this, there's a couple of things at play. One is that giving people time off is enough of a rarity around here that we haven't talked explicit gameplan for every sort of scenario with taz—there's no "how to give time off" stylesheet, it's something we chatter about on the mod email list when something is happening or seems like it might be on the horizon—so where my inclination would be to make it a night off and then discuss in the morning and convert it to a week then if it makes sense (and in this case I think it really does), it was down to her to make a call with no backup. That's her job, she did it, and 24 hours vs. a week is functionally a cosmetic difference, since in the worst case scenario of a really bad call we could talk about it in the morning and change it; the machinery doesn't rust after we hit the button or anything.

The other is that in this case, see above, I think a week off is totally a reasonable call that I'm fine with her having made, because there's a long history here and this whole set of threads and interactions has been a super-tiring slowburn thing that included back channel stuff as well and that seemed to not be winding down with him. I'm hoping taking some time off will let furiousxgeorge sort of clear his head on some of this stuff and reset a couple things. When we've got a single user eating up a really disproportionate amount of site oxygen and mod resources with no end in sight, that's really, really a problem and not fair to us or to the other several thousand people here. It sucks that it has to come down to time off, but at some point it sucks more to not go there out of an attempt to be accommodating.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:12 AM on May 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


a really disproportionate amount of site oxygen and

Siddhārtha G. Buddha!! I told ya'll to replace one of the holodecks with a greenhouse, to avoid exactly this problem.

Hopefully the advice about waste recycling and matter replicators was followed.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:24 AM on May 10, 2012


I dunno, Brandon - from what adamvasco says, it sounds like eyeballkid will be overwhelming the waste recycling with all the poop from his puppies and kittens and baby goats. Although I guess the goat poop can be used as fertilizer in the greenhouse, eh?
posted by rtha at 8:41 AM on May 10, 2012


I believe the eyeballkid hates us all, but its a sort of pleasant [still] warm hate which has [freshly killed] kittens and puppies and baby goats with it.
posted by jamjam at 2:08 PM on May 10, 2012


Why would a simple action like giving someone a time-out have to be decided by a committee? That's exactly the sort of thing that mods are supposed to do - it's actually their job to moderate the site and dealing time-outs is part of that job. A huge favour was done to furiousxgeorge by that action, by the way - blind freddy could see that he was heading for a meltdown that, had it not been nipped in the bud, would likely have led to him sitting on the kerb next to crabby appleton. That whole sequence was exactly like watching a train wreck happening in slow motion and having someone swoop in at the last minute and snatch the baby away to safety, albeit with a few minor scrapes and bruises.

I think you're all overthinking the hate that eyeballkid has for us - it's pure and unadulterated.
posted by dg at 2:46 PM on May 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


FWIW, I agree with him on the Jesus Christ thing. It's really offensive to a lot of people and this would be a nicer place if there were less of it here.

Oh, for fuck's sakes.

Now it's going to be my turn to go on a half-crazed rage-stomp in this thread.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:22 PM on May 10, 2012


Jesus McGillicuddy save my sorry ass before it gets nailed to a stick, that first bit was meant to be a QUOTE.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:23 PM on May 10, 2012


I agree, that's the mod's or mods' call. I think the surprise comes with the "week" part of it. An entire week off is kinda not a usual thing.

I've seen people get time outs of 24 hours. In rare cases, I've seen users banned, and generally thought, "About damn time!"

A week long time-out, though...Can't remember the last time that happened. Anyone know?

Anyway, just seemed odd.

Weird how we had an earlier callout about klangklangston, this callout started out about hincandenza (no problem with either you personally and I don't care for personal callouts myself), and yet we ended up with two completely different Mefites gone as a result.

I totally did not see that coming.
posted by misha at 3:34 PM on May 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


All MeTas are honeypots.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:37 PM on May 10, 2012


Oh, for fuck's sakes.

Arguably, this offends a lot of people too, and the site would be better without it. Certainly, one may request, but it can be tricky when you wish others to live up to your standards of moral speech. Especially when that speech doesn't hurt anybody, but is just something that your particular group says is forbidden, but isn't forbidden among other groups.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 4:00 PM on May 10, 2012


I'm not sure why I wrote that in response to stav, when it was intended to be to furious, who is off for a week anyway.

Sigh.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 4:04 PM on May 10, 2012


Can't remember the last time that happened. Anyone know?

A few days earlier? We have a few longtime users who go off a deep end from time to time. Not often, but occasionally. When this happens it's usually a night off at first but if they're someone who we frequently give a night off too, we may leave a note "Talked to this guy already, next time is a week"

There is a lot of backstory that we're not going in to with this particular situation. Usually a night off is "There's a short term problem, maybe you need a sleep it off" a week off is more like "You seem to be having some problem with how we do things here, we're going to talk to you about this and you can come back in a little bit and let us know what you think"

I'm happy to talk more about the night off/week off thing in general. I'm not really going to talk more about this specific instance.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:23 PM on May 10, 2012


Can I ask one more question ... was the decision to give furiousxgeorge a timeout discussed among the moderation team before it was done?

I'm really not a fan of this kind of question. It implies that taz is not competent to make decisions as a mod on her own, and that whatever decisions she has made would have been decided differently were the full mod team to weigh in. This seems like a position that is not supported by the facts as we know them over the several threads where this type of suggestion has been put forth, and I think it unnecessarily personalizes criticism of what should be a policy issue. There is plenty to talk about re the timeout handed to furiousxgeorge, although I think it was fine, but I assume that if there are disagreements about mod actions internal to the mod team those can be worked out and resolved by the mods offline. If the consensus among them is that the temp banning was a mistake, I trust that they will modify their own behavior so that things are changed in the future. I'm not sure what essentially claiming that a particular mod got a call like this wrong does, and publicly trying to split the mod team seems to me like a recipe for personal disrespect.
posted by OmieWise at 4:25 PM on May 10, 2012 [8 favorites]


Maybe we should all avoid saying anything that might possibly offend someone, somewhere, sometime, someday. For that matter, maybe we should all just avoid saying anything.
posted by crunchland at 4:41 PM on May 10, 2012


I've tried that at home - it just makes things worse ;-)
posted by dg at 4:42 PM on May 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Can I ask one more question ... was the decision to give furiousxgeorge a timeout discussed among the moderation team before it was done?

I'm really not a fan of this kind of question. It implies that taz is not competent to make decisions as a mod on her own, and that whatever decisions she has made would have been decided differently were the full mod team to weigh in.


It seems like if the Euro mods had to discuss every decision with the North American mods, it would sort of defeat the purpose of having them, which is (partially, to my understanding) to have eyes on the site during the US overnight. Seems counterproductive to have overnight mods if they have to wait until the morning to do anything.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 5:03 PM on May 10, 2012


As cortex said above, the mod team can talk this sort of thing over in the morning and frequently does. There's a lot of overlap when taz and cortex and I are all more or less awake and can chitchat about this sort of thing. Worst case a week off becomes a night off or a banning becomes a week off or something like that. In an absolutely edge case, someone who is just being terribly misunderstood by a mod has a few hours when they can't post to MeFi. And not to make light of that sort of thing, but even that never happens.

At some level, yeah, taz really needs to be able to work independently and make these sorts of judgment calls and if people have issues with it, they should talk to us about it, either here in MeTa or privately. It's a lot better to ask "How did this go down?" than to imply that maybe there's some sort of protocol that isn't being followed that maybe we're not being straightforward about.

We know it's a little weird having two newish mods who have big stretches of time where they may have to make decisions unilaterally when they can't talk to the old timers to get a second opinion, but that's exactly why we have those two people doing the jobs that they're doing. It's good to remember that they are long time users, they're just not long time mods.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:15 PM on May 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Maybe we should all avoid saying anything that might possibly offend someone, somewhere, sometime, someday. For that matter, maybe we should all just avoid saying anything.

I certainly never implied that that's how we should proceed. If you think that's what I was suggesting I think you read my comment incorrectly.
posted by OmieWise at 4:08 AM on May 11, 2012


(More likely, I think I posted that in the wrong thread. Sorry.)
posted by crunchland at 6:21 AM on May 11, 2012


I'm really not a fan of this kind of question. It implies that taz is not competent to make decisions as a mod on her own, and that whatever decisions she has made would have been decided differently were the full mod team to weigh in.

I know not what other questions of this kind you are speaking of, so I cannot comment on your general point. But in this case I deny any such implication. This is a single decision that I believe was hastily made and that I questioned specifically. Nowhere did I question her competence or other decisions she has made. Nowhere did I imply she went beyond the boundaries of her job.

The exchange that begins with Deathalicious responding to a furiousxgeorge comment from days before and ends with the week-long timeout is inconsistent with my understanding of site policy. When I have seen that punishment given it has been after somebody has caused a much longer and/or continuing ruckus on the site. Some harsh words for the mods regarding a ban-for-life and a spat with Klang eight days into an unrelated meta does not usually end in a week-long timeout. Again as I have read the history of the site.

I've also seen a lot of mod comments lately along the lines of "we've discussed foo among the mod team a bit and the consensus is generaly bar". I think these have mostly been about deletion decisions but I have surmised from these comments that as the mod team has grown these sort of discussions of decisions and their implications for future site policy have become the norm. This seems like a good idea.

So taz's decision seemed sudden to me. About 1/2 hour passed between the time she fist joined the exchange and the timeout. She provided no explaination for the decision. So I asked for one and she graciously responded, but her response only confused me more. So I asked more questions. If you decide that they were of a certain kind, an unsavory kind, that is mostly beyond my control. I will still ask them and I will only take responsibility for my own words.

At some level, yeah, taz really needs to be able to work independently and make these sorts of judgment calls and if people have issues with it, they should talk to us about it, either here in MeTa or privately. It's a lot better to ask "How did this go down?" than to imply that maybe there's some sort of protocol that isn't being followed that maybe we're not being straightforward about.

Which are you implying that I did in this case? Am I the one who is asking for clarification or the one implying improper protocol? Am I both? I believe a week-long time-out in this instance to be out-of-line with my understanding of how things work around here. What is the ideal way for me to express this belief? I cannot, of course, meet that ideal nor do I feel I should be expected to. I should be expected to try though, and I did make an effort to be as neutral as possible in my comments. There have been numerous statements about negative implications I made. These are not fair readings of my comments, in my opinion. I am confident the level of pique in my comments to my friend taz are within site norms and even compare favorably to others made within this thread, including Mr Jesus Christ himself. So I do not understand what you would have me do differently next time I feel a mod has made a mistake. If here in meTa is an appropriate option, do you mean I should have opened another thread? Why would it better to express my opinion privately?
posted by Dano St at 7:26 AM on May 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm not saying that your question was unsavory and I'm sorry if it sounded like I was implying it.

There has been an undercurrent of "New mods don't know what they're doing!" in MetaTalk for the past six to nine months or so. I don't think that's so unusual, it's probably a normal process of getting adjusted to new faces and slightly different ways of doing things. However after the really out-of-left-field slamming of restless_nomad by Crabby Appleton and the reaction to that by furiousxgeorge (not all of which was in this thread), we've been a little more touchy than usual as well as careful to be clear that we are really happy with how the new mods are doing and if people have concerns with that, they need to be explicitly talk to us about it.

So, you were not making a sideways comment on what taz was doing, okay. You asked about the reasoning behind the week off, fine. At the point at which you start asking whether she's talked to the rest of us, it's starting to sound like watch the watchers. There's no requirement that she speak to us before she does her job, therefore it's not really germane to the discussion whether she did. If the question is "Do the other mods agree with this decision?" feel free to ask that.

So, I hear what you're saying. At the same time I hope I've explained why our response and the response of other people here is a little more pointed than you would expect. You're not responsible for the weird tone that has been in MeTa this past week, but it's been setting the tone somewhat for discussion here.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:51 AM on May 11, 2012


That's clear enough, jessamyn. Thank you.

I kind of feel like the difference between "was the decision to give furiousxgeorge a timeout discussed among the moderation team before it was done?" and "do the other mods agree with this decision?" is splitting hairs. I could not ask your version when I did not know whether they had even been consulted. I apologize to taz if poor timing on my part contributed to an already stressful situation.
posted by Dano St at 8:09 AM on May 11, 2012


I think it's mostly because you probably wouldn't have even asked that question of Jessamyn or Cortex.
posted by empath at 8:23 AM on May 11, 2012


Perhaps not that specific question. I may not have asked restless_nomad either. All for different reasons and unique contexts. But I would like to be clear that I regard any implication that I think of taz as the "new mod" as absolutely specious.
posted by Dano St at 8:37 AM on May 11, 2012


I think many people would have wondered about it being a week instead of a day, even had mathowie done it.
posted by crunchland at 8:37 AM on May 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I wonder about it being a week instead of a day, and Dano, I think you should absolutely question it and question it vigorously. I support everyone's right to do that. I think there is a difference between saying, "That decision does not make sense to me, why did you do it? I disagree with it," and asking what you did, which, still, to my mind implies that taz either cannot or should not be operating independently. You say that was not your intent, and I accept that. I do think, however, that there has been an awful lot of general questioning of taz's decision making, and I'm surprised you have not seen that, as I know you to be a pretty close reader of MetaTalk. Had you asked the exact same question of cortex (although that question never seems to get asked of cortex), I would not have read quite the same implication into it. Context cuts both ways in this case, I think.
posted by OmieWise at 8:47 AM on May 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


it's probably a normal process of getting adjusted to new faces and slightly different ways of doing things.

The flavour of taz's modding is different; sort of business like instead of the god like voice of mathowie, the jokeyness of cortex and the librarianess of jessamyn. I haven't really taken issue with anything she's done but in a place that is as invariable as Metafilter it stands out like the feel of a new pair of socks.
posted by Mitheral at 12:37 PM on May 11, 2012


it stands out like the feel of a new pair of socks.

Well, there we are then!

*opens washing machine door* Taz, in you get.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:43 PM on May 11, 2012


Honestly, I thought Taz was the most jokey of the mods; cortex is the most geeky, with humor and the occasional "enough of your shit", to match; Jessamyn is the sensible, helpful library who's not taking any of your crap, young man or lady; restless_nomad is the bouncer and pb is smiling mechanic who's always tinkering under the hood. Not sure how to describe matthowie, the new mod.

As to meatbomb, well, how do you describe that?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:49 PM on May 11, 2012


Goateed.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:50 PM on May 11, 2012


Meatbomb is the astral mod, right?
posted by empath at 12:56 PM on May 11, 2012


how do you describe that? - Ersatz.
posted by crunchland at 12:56 PM on May 11, 2012


You know, if you believe in shit like the astral plane then you would know that the terrestrial mods are also astral mods.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:58 PM on May 11, 2012


Cortex is the mod who once made a "yo momma" joke about fonts. And it was funny.
posted by KathrynT at 1:04 PM on May 11, 2012


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