Join 3,494 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)

.
May 4, 2012 11:04 AM   Subscribe

What happened to the Metafilter post about NYC police sexually assaulting protesters?

It was there, now it isn't. Is it me? Is it my computer? Is it creeping censorship? Just wondering.
posted by crazylegs to MetaFilter-Related at 11:04 AM (70 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

This post was deleted for the following reason: Combination OWS + lousy cops + provocative pullquote +single link outrage filter really needs to be a different sort of post for MetaFilter. Otherwise it's just outragefilter with nothing much to discuss and a bunch of people angrily agreeing with each other with a lot of free ranging bad feeling that they use on each other. If this is going to be a MeFi post, make it differently. -- jessamyn
posted by Edogy at 11:06 AM on May 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Thanks Edogy.
posted by crazylegs at 11:09 AM on May 4, 2012


Glad to help. Have a great day, everyone!
posted by Edogy at 11:10 AM on May 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


crazylegs install this script and you can keep informed on all the deleted goodness.
posted by HuronBob at 11:14 AM on May 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


You can always MeMail the mods to get the scoop. Only bring it to MetaTalk if you think its a community-wide problem that needs to be discussed.
posted by Falconetti at 11:15 AM on May 4, 2012


There's also the deleted threads blog where you can keep track of what's been removed and why. It's pretty up to date.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:33 AM on May 4, 2012 [6 favorites]


Why do people always seem willing to allow for censorship as a reason for any official action on MetaFilter?

I sincerely can't think of a site less likely to actually engage in honest-to-buttons censorship.
posted by batmonkey at 12:06 PM on May 4, 2012 [13 favorites]


honest-to-buttons

I'm totally stealing this expression.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:11 PM on May 4, 2012 [11 favorites]


The system is inherently anti-fastener at its core and is regularly dishonest to buttons.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:21 PM on May 4, 2012 [19 favorites]


Not complaining or anything, but I thought the post was really interesting, and I'm sad that it was deleted. Controversial topic, outrage, etc etc, yes I get it. I hope someone takes the time to make it a better post, though, because I really hate how silent we have become on this topic.
posted by rebent at 12:27 PM on May 4, 2012 [9 favorites]


This seems to be a slam on the zipper community.
posted by found missing at 1:10 PM on May 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


GOOGLE VELCRO
posted by Horace Rumpole at 1:13 PM on May 4, 2012 [12 favorites]


This site is totally in the pocket of big snaps.
posted by Occula at 1:34 PM on May 4, 2012


I prefer the alternative lifestyle that elastic allows me.
posted by Think_Long at 1:39 PM on May 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


"JUAN TRIPPE!"
juan trippe-juan trippe
trippe

posted by clavdivs at 1:48 PM on May 4, 2012


I was actually thinking about doing a MeTa on this. I really disagree with the deletion. I can understand not wanting metafilter to be a site with a lot of outrage and hurt feelings, but I don't think a good solution is to sanitize the news.

I think it's unfortunate that the American news media ignores a lot of stories because they're too depressing to talk about or something. I don't think metafilter should be like that.

The first post on Trayvon Martin was removed, which also bothered me, but much better post got put up later. Hopefully someone will follow up on this do a good FPP on it.

On the other hand hero-worship politics filter crap like this stays around.

A post about cops molesting activist gets deleted. A post about how "cool" a powerful government official is stays (And yes, I obviously realize Obama has no authority over the NYPD :P)

Again, I can understand wanting to avoid acrimonious threads, simply to lighten up on moderator resources - but like I said, even though there's a beginning intention, the result is a systematic bias that I think is both prevalent and problematic throughout the US media.
posted by delmoi at 2:01 PM on May 4, 2012 [22 favorites]


I would love to see a stronger post on this topic, even though I think it's likely to lead to a highly contentious thread. As the story develops, I think there will be a good FPP to be made.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:12 PM on May 4, 2012


I can understand wanting to delete all news threads entirely. 'Cuz, you know, this isn't a friggin' current events blog.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 2:15 PM on May 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


I do not like that deletion.
posted by jamjam at 2:35 PM on May 4, 2012


I agree, it was a lousy deletion. What else is new?
posted by entropicamericana at 2:44 PM on May 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


because I really hate how silent we have become on this topic.
posted by rebent at 2:27 PM on May 4


Durr.... what?

How do you know I have become silent on this issue? There's all kinds of self-important, feckless and ultimately meaningless acts that I personally do on this topic that are just as consequential as commenting in a post here. In fact, I just put something on twitter about this using 5 different hashtags. So you may be silent, but I'll have you know I'm speaking Truth to Power all day long.
posted by dios at 2:46 PM on May 4, 2012 [5 favorites]


(that is, when I'm not busy eating the biscuit)
posted by dios at 2:46 PM on May 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


I hope someone takes the time to make it a better post

I think there will be a good FPP to be made.

This is not meant as a callout of specific users, but, if you think there is a good post that incorporates the links from the deleted one, you could take the mod's advice and 'make it differently.'
posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:51 PM on May 4, 2012


Yes, of course it's creeping censorship. Now where's my nickle?
posted by crunchland at 3:12 PM on May 4, 2012


Mods must have cop relatives.
posted by telstar at 3:15 PM on May 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


but I don't think a good solution is to sanitize the news.

This presupposes that mefi is a news outlet rather than a general interest community blog where sometimes newsy stuff gets posted. We're not sanitizing any news by nixing not so great posts about news (good or bad, but honestly pretty overwhelmingly it's bad news that people post), we're nixing posts that seem like they're not great for this place.

There are lots of places to get news; this is not an underserved niche where a metafilter post is the difference between being able to find out about this stuff for people with even a minimal interest in following the subject. And I get that people like discussing stuff here because this is their hangout, but it doesn't come without significant social costs.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:17 PM on May 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


Mods must have cop relatives.

You have got to be fucking kidding me.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:18 PM on May 4, 2012 [18 favorites]


Mods must have cop relatives.

We don't. I bet I hate the cops even more than you do. Next conspiracy theory...?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:27 PM on May 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


Having had police brutality posts deleted myself, I understand why this got deleted. As a single link post maybe it would have fit better in the open May Day thread since it's related directly to OWS protests? I do think it's something that's happening and there's been a shift in how police in NYC are dealing with protesters, particularly smallish female ones. I have an personal experience that backs this up. It would probably make a good stand-alone post if Graeber's (ows+police brutality+Graeber= no way in hell would this go well on metafilter as is, unfortunately) article was buffered by articles linking to some other similar situations, historical and current, that he mentions. Maybe some previous studies or whatnot? I don't know, but I do think it's an interesting and valid topic and I'd like to read more about how these tactics have developed in other places and the sociology/psychology behind them.
posted by stagewhisper at 4:01 PM on May 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Next conspiracy theory...?

Can we do the Illuminati control the Banks?
posted by Rock Steady at 4:03 PM on May 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've never looked at the deleted posts blog until now. That should be required reading before posting! Very instructive.
posted by thinkpiece at 4:09 PM on May 4, 2012


I don't think a good solution is to sanitize the news

This site does not have to include every bad-news, cops-suck, protesters-suck, financial-system-sucks, universities-are-doomed, agriculture-is-doomed, antibiotics-are-doomed, democracy-is-doomed, civil-society-is-doomed, child-abuse-is-more-prevalent-than-you-think, elder-abuse-is-more-prevalent-than-you-think, animal-cruelty-is-more-prevalent-than-you-think, sex-trafficking-is-more-prevalent-than-you-think, modern-slavery-is-more-prevalent-than-you-think, racism-is-more-prevalent-than-you-think, we'll-all-die-alone, almost-everybody-is-cruel, Obama-sucks, Republicans-suck, manipulative-men-suck, manipulative-women-suck, religion-sucks, atheists-suck, people-who-make-pretentious-projects-suck, people-who-don't-care-suck, etc. story. YEEEEEEESH.

More posts about neutral or positive interesting things that are reasons to get out of bed in the morning. Those things are harder to find than yet more evidence that everything good is doomed.
posted by LobsterMitten at 4:19 PM on May 4, 2012 [9 favorites]


I think the deletion was justified. There's a lot to that story and that post seemed very one-sided. I had just posted a comment that was (if I may say) critical but accepting of the article linked. I'd be interested in a follow up post that has a little more context and links to reports and such. Obviously the original touched a nerve, but it touched it a little too hard from one side.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 4:21 PM on May 4, 2012


The post claimed "the NYPD are now carrying out an apparently coordinated tactic of widespread sexual assaults against female protestors." The article did not actually report that. It did report ongoing use of excessive use of force against protesters and a case of sexual battery. That's bad enough as it is, but what was reported was not a "coordinated tactic of widespread sexual assaults".

Use of partially untrue inflammatory rhetoric is not really great for MeFi posts. Somebody will point out that the article didn't actually say that. They'll be accused of hating women, being in favor of rape, and supporting the police. All hell will break loose. Fun thread. And how dare anyone criticize the poster, since they're our side.

Yeah, it needs to be made differently, starting with honestly.
posted by nangar at 4:26 PM on May 4, 2012 [10 favorites]


Mods must have carp relatives.
posted by cjorgensen at 5:37 PM on May 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


TOGGLES
posted by Joseph Gurl at 5:53 PM on May 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

I can understand wanting to delete all news threads entirely. 'Cuz, you know, this isn't a friggin' current events blog.
We always have news posts. Should there be a bias towards certain kinds of news over others? My last FPP was fairly "news-y" (albeit 'good' news if you don't like Zynga) and well received.

this post about police giving drugs to occupiers to just see what happened was allowed to stay, but unlike the NY issue, the only problem unethical "scientific" research, bad really happened to the "subjects" other then getting drugs they otherwise wouldn't have.

Obviously that FPP had more links, too.

Metafilter isn't necessarily about breaking news, but there are plenty of posts about "stuff that's happened in the world recently". And this is certainly a "thing that's happened", supposedly.
This presupposes that mefi is a news outlet rather than a general interest community blog where sometimes newsy stuff gets posted. We're not sanitizing any news by nixing not so great posts about news (good or bad, but honestly pretty overwhelmingly it's bad news that people post), we're mixing posts that seem like they're not great for this place.
Yeah, I disagree. "Sanitize" just means cleaning, or making something more palatable. Removing posts that are crap in general would fit the definition, but of course that's fine. The problem is that the rules you guy are using causes an emergent phenomenon that biases the news that does get posted. Just like how the NYT, supposedly, told a reporter it wasn't "news".

It's obviously not something you are intentionally trying to do, but the rules you're using to pick which posts stay have an emergent bias. I seriously doubt that if something like this happened in Yemen, or Afghanistan or Iran, it would have been deleted.

The problem isn't metafilter itself, but the fact that a general pro-establishment bias exists on most "mainstream" news sources. So unless someone is reading /r/politics or some other "radical" websites, they might not see something like this in the first place, because apparently even talking about this kind of thing isn't "mainstream".
posted by delmoi at 6:58 PM on May 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: a "mainstream" news source
I might be doing it wrong.

Also, reddit isn't radical as much as it is a total CF. Also-also, not seeing something doesn't mean you missed out on a "story".

Also-also-also: Pretty sure anyone who can find MeFi can learn to use RSS where they want "news".
posted by timfinnie at 7:20 PM on May 4, 2012


Also, reddit isn't radical as much as it is a total CF.

Different subreddits have different politics, but in /r/politics they tend towards anti-republican (more so then pro-democrat) and are extremely anti-authoritarian in general.
posted by delmoi at 7:39 PM on May 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


The problem is that the rules you guy are using causes an emergent phenomenon that biases the news that does get posted. Just like how the NYT, supposedly, told a reporter it wasn't "news".

Unlike the NYT, we are not a news agency, and the question is not whether or not it's news. I do not know how much clearer this can be: an argument that a post should stick around because it's core subject "is news" is a non-starter, much as I understand some folks would like that to be otherwise.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:10 PM on May 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: press studs
posted by flabdablet at 8:47 PM on May 4, 2012


Metafilter: using causes an emergent phenomenon
posted by ericost at 9:17 PM on May 4, 2012


Buttons are like steam punk velcro. And we are so sick of steam punk.
posted by LarryC at 11:07 PM on May 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


As part of the Anti Fastner League, I always use velcro.
posted by marienbad at 3:50 AM on May 5, 2012

Unlike the NYT, we are not a news agency, and the question is not whether or not it's news. I do not know how much clearer this can be: an argument that a post should stick around because it's core subject "is news" is a non-starter, much as I understand some folks would like that to be otherwise.
I'm not saying "it should stay because it's news", but rather the criteria used to determine which news stories stay and which go introduces is an systematic bias, which I don't think is a good bias to have. I guess the particular post wasn't that great, but I'm not a fan of the pattern.
posted by delmoi at 5:51 AM on May 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well. That took an unexpected turn. 0_o
posted by batmonkey at 7:31 AM on May 5, 2012


And I am not clear what you think the clear pattern is. "This post got deleted but that post stood" is not a pattern, it's a couple of distinct posts that are apples and oranges; and e.g. "cop-related posts aren't allowed" or "protest-related posts aren't allowed" definitely aren't patterns here, as even a cursory search of the site will indicate.

"Not every post that I think should have stayed stayed" is not something we can address meaningfully because we're not operating at the level of trying to satisfy the preferences of every individual mefite. If you can be a lot more specific about what you think the issue is, please do so, but we have had so many unfounded complaints about Metafilter's Refusal To Take A Look At General Issue X (That Metafilter Has Actually Had Posts About When You Go Looking) that I kind of don't feel like bearing the vague burden of proof on this.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:32 AM on May 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think if one is going to argue a systemic bias in news filtering, something more concrete than a few cherry picked data points on the confirmation bias scale is in order.

Which is not saying youa re wrong (or right), but that your argument as it stands lacks convincing supporting data.
posted by edgeways at 8:57 AM on May 5, 2012


Yeah, I think it was a good deletion. The core of the topic is fascinating and important and I'd love to see a good post on it. But I'm definitely one of those kneejerk anti-police people and, while that post was live I wrote out a sprawling 500 words rant--only tangentially relevant to the actual content of the post--in the comment box and then hit post. Fortunately, by that time, the post had been deleted.

Someone needs to make a post on it that doesn't trigger "fuck da police" outbursts quite so easily.
posted by 256 at 5:10 PM on May 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


I thought it was an interesting post, but I'm also okay with the deletion. delmoi, this whole "systematic bias" argument is weirdly out of place in this context, and you're misreading the Obama "cool" post, which is actually also quite an interesting look at the rhetorical strategies of the election and not at all hero worship.

This stuff doesn't just get systematically ignored in some circles, it also gets systematically overhyped in others. That's the fragmentation of the the American electorate and the American media at work. The mods are not the system, but it's also not their job to fight the system.

I'd just like to say two other things:

Wow! dios is back. That makes me nostalgically happy.

LobsterMitten is (almost?) always right.
posted by anotherpanacea at 7:45 AM on May 6, 2012


Mods must have cop relatives.

We don't. I bet I hate the cops even more than you do. Next conspiracy theory...?
posted by jessamyn (staff)


Two ignorant statements don't make a right one.
posted by gjc at 10:27 AM on May 6, 2012


Two unfounded personal attacks on the mods don't deserve any more attention than one does.
posted by Phire at 2:06 PM on May 6, 2012


Based on comments in this thread I believe Cortex doesn't understand the uses of the site he moderates nor from Jessamyn's explanation is there a consist policy of what get's a pass on the blue and what doesn't; Delmoi is spot on in pointing to a systemic bias against controversial threads but I suspect a much more banal motive: moderators would rather delete troublesome threads instead of engaging in the migraine inducing task of engaging in angry and impassioned comments.

Metafilter, as a community, has certainly suffered from the heavy moderation, but it isn't surprising since most communities, as they grow, become more "mainstream" and conservative over time. Metafilter is likely more popular than ever and also less interesting.
posted by Shit Parade at 3:15 PM on May 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wow, so eponysterical.
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:43 PM on May 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


moderators would rather delete troublesome threads instead of engaging in the migraine inducing task of engaging in angry and impassioned comments.

Not really, we'd prefer to delete less stuff. However sometimes we see topics that are just repetitive "Let's all yell at each other" topics where the same people yell at the same people and no one really reads the articles. The same topics, in posts that were phrased more carefully and not written as provocatively, could turn into really decent and interesting threads. Our general role is to maintain the community here, and while there are a lot of factors that go into what is actually involved in that, part of it is not pissing people off with too many deletions, but part of it is also not letting really shitty fighting and derails ruin an otherwise good discussion topic. We'd rather delete and say "try again" than we would sit in a nasty thread where people bitch at each other, complain to us, flag the hell out of each other and quit the site.

We delete very very little here. We often engage in the migraine-inducing task of just sitting in really troublesome threads keeping an eye on stuff when we can. Bringing more moderators on has actually allowed us to do more of that, not less. However the site also has its own goals or mission and this isn't to be a place where people just talk about the news of the day. Sometimes they do, sure, but it's not the main purpose of the site. The main purpose of the site is sharing cool stuff you found on the web that you'd like to discuss with other people. For some people, this means news stuff, for others it means some random archive you found, for others it's new art exhibits.

So, we've been fairly consistent that this "try to make another post please, that doesn't set people off" is how we like to deal with weird provocative posts like this one [as many people have pointed out, the presentation in the post wasn't actually accurately describing what was actually happening] and since we're not a news blog, having this sort of stuff come down the pike a little later than right when it's happening is just fine. Actually it's preferable because it may mean there are better and more fleshed out sources to pick from. It's not a bias against controversial threads because of their topics, there are tons of posts on controversial topics that don't get deleted, it's requiring that people make a better-than-clickbait-style presentation of it on this site.

So I get that you think we don't understand aspects of how the site runs (despite the fact that we, with the input of the community, actually run it) but it doesn't seem to me that you actually understand how we do our jobs either. You seem to want this place to be something that it isn't and that it's never been.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:15 PM on May 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


Staff members respond with the same litany of explanations yet fail to understand the criticism leveled at them. There is a constant stream of metatalk threads which complain directly on how moderation works, yet the Moderators continue the status quo, waste time writing lengthy explanations, and are often dismissive and uncharitable (too often mods will assume someone who disagrees with them does not do so in "good faith").

What stays and what goes is subjective -- it is left to the mod's opinion -- it is often left to that particular mod on duty, there is a somewhat different standard from the weekday to the weekend and holidays. I've asked before for guidelines, but guidelines are not published, are general, and always given the clause of mod fiat -- so I suppose we can speak of deletions as consistent in the sense that they are consistently driven by the whim of a few individuals, but Metafilter certainly does not, and refuses, to have a rules driven, descriptive, and clear deletion policy -- all too often deletions are given explanations that are in "quotes", as if the mod is attempting to point to something outside of an explanation that can be given in writing.

The oddest thing is how defensive and aggressive the staff at metafilter is in defending this policy as something it isn't, to continue to beat the drum that deletions are all under some understandable and consistent banner. Deletions constitute a chilling effect, an effect the mods brush aside for some abstract notion of community. The best example I can think of this behavior that mods are always right is that they almost never roll back deletions, of course I've seen apologies, but roll backs are extremely rare and suggests that mods believe themselves near infallible.

To write
"However the site also has its own goals or mission and this isn't to be a place where people just talk about the news of the day. Sometimes they do, sure, but it's not the main purpose of the site. The main purpose of the site is sharing cool stuff you found on the web that you'd like to discuss with other people."
is a surprising gaff -- a significant proportion of threads and total comments of all threads come directly from "news of the day", and such threads which link to news sources from newspapers, magazines, journals, and blogs which discuss "news" are a significant chunk of your stake-holders and "community".
posted by Shit Parade at 5:25 PM on May 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


To write
"However the site also has its own goals or mission and this isn't to be a place where people just talk about the news of the day. Sometimes they do, sure, but it's not the main purpose of the site. The main purpose of the site is sharing cool stuff you found on the web that you'd like to discuss with other people."
is a surprising gaff -- a significant proportion of threads and total comments of all threads come directly from "news of the day", and such threads which link to news sources from newspapers, magazines, journals, and blogs which discuss "news" are a significant chunk of your stake-holders and "community".


That's an exceptionally uncharitable reading. Jessamyn said Metafilter "isn't to be a place where people just talk about the news of the day" (emphasis added). It's not a "gaffe" because there are posts about news of the day, it's very clear that the mods aren't imposing a ban on them, just that they have to in some way be "best of the web." For myself, I'm very grateful for their effort. Personally I would delete many, many more of these type posts, but that's just my own view.
posted by dsfan at 5:47 PM on May 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


defending this policy as something it isn't, to continue to beat the drum that deletions are all under some understandable and consistent banner. Deletions constitute a chilling effect, an effect the mods brush aside for some abstract notion of community.

The fact is that most people seem to understand and conform to the rules, in large part because they are clearly articulated and illustrated with many, many examples. They are largely stylistic rules, not about the content of posts but instead about how posts are presented.

What's more, there's no evidence of a chilling effect or inhibition when it comes to posting contentious matters: contentious things are being posted constantly, and usually they are not deleted.

So what's left? Your comment doesn't seem to be particularly interested in making true claims, but rather at articulating a bunch of random criticisms that have no relationship to their target. In my field, we call this bullshit: indifference to the truth of one's claims.
posted by anotherpanacea at 6:00 PM on May 6, 2012 [5 favorites]


Metafilter: a surprising gaff
posted by stoneandstar at 8:57 PM on May 6, 2012


For me, the biggest issue is the apparent tendency to delete posts that could potentially provoke anger and other "bad feelings" in people, which I guess is all swell and dandy if we are aiming to live in an utopian society. Only whenever I hear the word utopia, I think of Orwell. I think we should attempt to have more faith in people to try and make constructive comments from a less than shabby, imperfect post. I mean we all can't be articulate when we see something we want to share with the world (read: Metafilter). I think it is a shame we punish those eager to share something. I think that is the whole purpose of Metafilter, to share things, anything. Maybe it had a different start goal, but with the coming and going of people, the culture changes. The best kind of site adapts with those changes. Though, I think that is a simple enough and pure enough goal in and of itself. Now, I realize others can always repost, but I don't feel like there is a current avenue that encourages this or really helps people come up with a better post. For example, I would be embarrassed to see a post of mine deleted, so I wouldn't necessarily wish to try again.

I do understand that a mod's job is to moderate, but preemptive moderation usually results stands upon shaky ground (i.e. is always arguable). I mean look at this thread, clearly there are issues people have with this form of moderation. Yeah, there might be some form of consensus for the current style of moderation, but consensuses change and mods must be willing to listen and adapt to all forms of commentary. Maybe this isn't considered a big enough upset with the current style of moderation, but the mods don't even seem tempted to think otherwise. That's a little, disquieting.

Now, I am sure someone will disagree with my opinion. I think my biggest fault here is being idealistic, but I enjoy Metafilter because the people here are generally mature. Yeah, sometimes there is just senseless comments and juvenile reception of certain posts, but not in high, upsetting frequencies. Though, maybe I don't see think it comes in high frequencies because there is more moderation/censorship going on here than I realized. Oopf, that is heart-breaking. Censorship. That also always make me think of Orwell.
posted by thetoken at 9:34 PM on May 6, 2012


I enjoy Metafilter because the people here are generally mature. Yeah, sometimes there is just senseless comments and juvenile reception of certain posts, but not in high, upsetting frequencies. Though, maybe I don't see think it comes in high frequencies because there is more moderation/censorship going on here than I realized. Oopf, that is heart-breaking.

If you enjoy the site and find that the posts and comments you read are mature, why would the thought that the mods remove the comments that aren't, regardless of how many comments and posts those happen to be, to be "heartbreaking"?

And it's not as simple as "they remove posts that could provoke anger in people". There are plenty of posts that get people het up, which still stand.

However, there are certain topics that the mods know, through experience, cause nothing but "you suck"/"well you suck more" back-and-forth carping; and there are some definite inexpert ways people can frame a post (the posting equivalent of "when did you stop beating your dog"). Those are the posts and comments that I believe tend to be axed, not simply "posts that could make people angry." And that's a very subtle, but real, difference.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:56 PM on May 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


> I've asked before for guidelines, but guidelines are not published ...

Have you tried reading the FAQ and the MetFilter Wiki? (They're both linked at the bottom of the page.)

Moderation relies on flagging and human judgment, but the policies are pretty clear if you take some time to familiarize yourself with the site.

relevant bits:
If you're planning to post a story to MetaFilter that is part of a longstanding, often-discussed topic (Israel/Palestine, the Iraq war, how stupid Republicans are, etc.), think hard about whether the site you're linking to actually has anything new to say on the topic. (Wiki)

axegrindfilter - you posted on a hot-button topic that you frequently post about and/or used heavy-handed editorializing language. (from the list of common deletion reasons in the FAQ)
Policy is publicly discussed and debated here on MetaTalk, as we're doing now, and any changes are announced here. It's not secret, and it's not based on whim.
posted by nangar at 4:03 AM on May 7, 2012


I think it's ludicrous to say that there's a problem with the moderation on this site based on the number of Metatalk threads that have been popping up recently. Metatalk is for questioning things on this site. People are encouraged to come here to thrash things out, rather than doing so in threads on the blue (and the green and the other subsites). So it seems that lots of people have been questioning deletions in public a lot more but how many other people, myself included, are happy with the mod's decisions? There's no way of seeing that.

So I'll say that I am happy with the mod's decisions. I don't like to have things deleted but it's not my blog so that's not my call! I like the things that I read on here and I do flag comments that I consider to be noise. That doesn't include things that I merely disagree with; when I flag something as noise it's because I consider it to be superfluous to the thread in question. Sometimes they go and sometimes they don't.

What I find impressive is that the mods are always happy and able to back up their deletions with a reason why. It's impossible to please everyone. It's impossible to quantify everything in advance. The world works in shades of grey and, thankfully, so does this website. It's a good thing.

Just as a small Shetland pony request, maybe the contact form link could be made slightly more prominent?
posted by h00py at 4:12 AM on May 7, 2012


stupid apostrophes
posted by h00py at 4:14 AM on May 7, 2012


As I stated earlier about my personal dislike for this deletion, I'd like to chime in on the other side as well. I have the "show deleted posts" extension installed on my browser (at home, anyway), which lets me see all the deleted posts on MeFi. Here's my guess at the breakdown of deletion reasons:

1% spam/self links
5% ragefilter
44% poorly written / sourced posts
50% doubles

I'd like to share a little story that I heard on the radio yesterday, and was able to find half-way down the page on this random site.
It all begins with the manuscript. Here’s a scenario attributed to Henry Kissinger. When he was Secretary of State, one of his aides was responsible for a writing assignment that had to be completed by the next day. The aide assured his boss that the report would be on his desk first thing in the morning.

The next day, the aid kept his promise. However, later that same day, Kissinger called the aide into his office and asked him to rewrite it.

The aide took the report in hand and went about rewriting it; the next day, he proudly handed the work to Kissinger. Again, later that afternoon, Kissinger gave the report back to the aide with the instructions to rewrite it.

This back and forth went on for several more times. Finally, on this particular draft of the report, the aide, weary from all the work, said: “Here is the report, Mr. Secretary. This is the best I can do; I can’t make it better.”

Kissinger took the report, and then looked up at the aide, saying: “Good, now I’ll read it.”

You get the point, I trust.
My point is not that the mods are deleting things without reading them. My point is, they rarely delete something and say "You can't talk about this here." Almost always, they delete something and say "This is not good enough. Make a better post and submit it tomorrow."

That's exactly the sentiment that has been expressed throughout this thread. Yet, has anyone researched, compiled, and re-posted a better-sourced, more interesting post on this topic?

nope.

Draw your own conclusions about the community's consensus on the quality of this article.
posted by rebent at 6:21 AM on May 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


h00py, if you sometimes have trouble remembering where that contact form link is located, an easy thing to remember is that it's also at the bottom of the About page.
posted by taz (staff) at 6:48 AM on May 7, 2012


I know where it is because I have asked for really irrelevant typo fixes in the (recent) past. It took me a few years to discover though because it's not very prominent. I was just thinking that maybe there'd be fewer Metatalk posts if it was more obvious that a direct pipeline to the mods was readily available.
posted by h00py at 6:57 AM on May 7, 2012


Personally, I doubt it. A lot of people come to the contact form from whatever page they are having trouble with, or they come from the FAQ itself where it's linked a few times. I think there are just different styles of engagement, some people like to email us and some people would prefer discussing things is a more open forum. Other than typo fixes which, yeah, should mostly be in the contact form, we're fine with people opening up as many MeTa threads as they feel that they need to as long as they're not doing it in some sort of stunty fashion.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:06 AM on May 7, 2012


whenever I hear the word utopia, I think of Orwell

Metafilter: more equal than others
posted by flabdablet at 8:36 AM on May 7, 2012


Shit Parade: "Metafilter certainly does not, and refuses, to have a rules driven, descriptive, and clear deletion policy"

True, and thank your god for that, because the result would have to be either far more deletion or far more anger and mutual abuse and a much worse place to be either way. See, the problem with having clear and unambiguous rules is that then you have to follow them consistently. That means lots of stuff that currently gets to have its day in the sun but needs to be babysat to make sure it doesn't go too far off the rails would have to be deleted, or would have to stay with no room for judgement. You would also have far more moaning about moderation, because nothing upsets people more than when someone with authority doesn't comply with their reading of the rule.

I know about rules, trust me. I've worked within very descriptive comprehensive frameworks and more general ones and those responsible for making decisions about compliance with rules cop just as much shit either way. In a descriptive rules-based environment, they cop it for strictly enforcing the rules as they are written and, in a more flexible regulatory environment, they cop the same about what are seen as bad judgement calls. Either way, the result is much the same in terms of the amount of angst the regulators have to deal with, but it's for different reasons from different people. In fact, a strict set of rules make life easier for the regulators, because they can always fall back on 'that's what the rules say, it's not up to me', which isn't possible when judgements have to be made and, invariably, defended. The thing is, a flexible framework allows for the right decision to be made where strict rules often lead to wrong decisions being made for the right reasons.
posted by dg at 6:11 PM on May 7, 2012


« Older As a follow-up to my previous ...  |  C'mon guys, enough with "... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments