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See them fighting in the street, 'cause they can't make opinions meet. May 11, 2012 10:09 AM   Subscribe

PONY: Applying the same higher standard to FPPs about "the crisis in academia" as the one that's applied to other outragefilter FPPs? They come up regularly, they turn into trainwrecks. In fact, they always turn into the same trainwreck. I realize that these FPPs are not quite "newsfilter" and sometimes seem substantive, but experience shows that they never lead to respectful discussion, just acrimony and meticulous, systematic trolling.
posted by Nomyte to Etiquette/Policy at 10:09 AM (152 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

It's a subject I'm not particularly tuned into, so I don't immediately have a clear sense of what you're thinking of. Can you link to some examples?

As a general line on this stuff, if you feel like posts that aren't so great are going up, it's always a good idea to flag and beyond that to drop us a line if it's sort of a complicated or subtle pattern-of-behavior thing that needs some explaining.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:13 AM on May 11, 2012


This is the current crisis in academia post. It has 430+ comments and no one has flagged it. Many people have flagged many of the comments especially recently and I've left a note in the thread that people maybe need to calm down. There's not really any metric by which posts like that one could be speedily deleted, though if people want to be a little more assertive flagging comments they think are breaking the guidelines, that would be helpful to us.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:13 AM on May 11, 2012


It would help if you had links to show that this is a regular problem or even what caused the birth of this MeTa.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:14 AM on May 11, 2012


Feel free to provide an example link or two, because this sounds like exactly the sort of trainwreck I like to read when I'm trying to avoid doing my job.
posted by Sternmeyer at 10:14 AM on May 11, 2012 [28 favorites]


These threads do seem to always go down the same way, with people adopting the "science vs humanities" fight to the death thing. Which is stupid.

But I get caught up in it too, as I am now. This is not good for me or for the site so maybe I'll just quit these kinds of posts from now on.
posted by rtha at 10:18 AM on May 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


I always avoid these threads for this very reason; they just turn into a cacophony of people shouting past each other and not listening.

Of course, that's why I got out of academia, too.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:24 AM on May 11, 2012 [6 favorites]


May 8
April 28
March 26

I respectfully suggest that these FPPs don't get flagged because outragefilter is fun.
posted by Nomyte at 10:26 AM on May 11, 2012


People flag the other outragefilter posts. Out of the three posts you linked to, there was one flag between all of them, one. I totally get what you are saying here but I feel like, like a lot of politicalfilter posts, they seem to work for some people and not for a lot of other people and that's okay. They haven't reached, to my mind, a "this is a site problem" level but again I'm open to people telling me otherwise it's possible it's a blind post I have.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:28 AM on May 11, 2012


"These threads do seem to always go down the same way, with people adopting the "science vs humanities" fight to the death thing. Which is stupid."

Do they really? As in lots of people saying that the humanities are worthless and people should be majoring in science or engineering? That makes me really sad. And angry. And I'm by nature a science/math guy (but I went to St. John's, so that sort of explains my feelings about the whole "college is vocational school" thing).

People can have debates about liberal education and vocational education, and that's fine because I'm willing to concede that it's obvious that a very important social utility of education is vocational preparation. (But I'd argue that our problem in the US is that we've made undisguised vocational education low-status while otherwise turning higher-status four-year degrees into an unholy compromise between liberal education and vocational education that basically sucks at both.)

What bothers me is if a lot of people take for granted that education should only be vocational and then judge all education on that basis, and then consequently devalue the humanities and say that those folk were foolish to get such an education in the first place. That's upsetting because it's begging the question.

Anyway, I don't mean to bring that argument into here, I'm just saying that this is something about MeFi that I've not paid any attention to, haven't read those threads, and I'm pretty disappointed to learn that there's either a majority or a large portion of the membership that's this narrow-minded about what education is and what it's for.

And, really, isn't a lot of what's driving the emotion and participation in those threads the unhappiness at the current economy and job situation and the problems with graduate education and the over-promising of available jobs within academia? Humanities vs Math/Science/Engineering is a distraction.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 10:35 AM on May 11, 2012 [9 favorites]


There seem to be a handful of topics that people here enjoy fighting about, despite the fact that they've been done to death and we can't just seem to say "hey, let's agree to disagree." I guess some people like blowing off steam that way (not me), so if no one flags it then I suppose it does no harm.

Those topics seem to be:

The state of education in America
Whether drugs should be legalized
Cat declawing
How racism/sexism should be dealt with in the workpace
What should be done about the mentally ill or homeless

I'm sure I'm missing a few...
posted by Melismata at 10:39 AM on May 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm sure I'm missing a few...

Circumcision, Israel/Palestine, religion, cats in scanners....

posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:42 AM on May 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


....messing up your HTML tags....
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:42 AM on May 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't think it is actually is "lots of people" shouting about how the humanities are terrible. I think it's two or three people I am guessing are Ron Paul fans, successfully chumming the waters.
posted by thehmsbeagle at 10:42 AM on May 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


PONY: Applying the same higher standard to FPPs about "the crisis in academia" as the one that's applied to other outragefilter FPPs?

PONY: Applying the minimum standard to METAs that they link to what they're f***ing talking about.

Please.
posted by philip-random at 10:43 AM on May 11, 2012


PONY: simmer down now.
posted by Nomyte at 10:45 AM on May 11, 2012


Undoubtedly, at some point in your life, a recipe has told you to simmer a pony for 5-10 minutes. As many frustrated cooks have found through experience, this step of the recipe is a damned lie.
posted by griphus at 10:46 AM on May 11, 2012 [21 favorites]


You need to simmer the pony outside, though, or it's really going to stink up the place.
posted by curious nu at 10:47 AM on May 11, 2012


Many people have flagged many of the comments especially recently and I've left a note in the thread that people maybe need to calm down.

But the note you left seems not to address the actual ongoing problem with the thread, which is that a small handful of people are perseverating on the "humanities are worthless" argument — which is a complete derail in the first place — and taking on all comers. Making the entire thread into a referendum on two or three people's personal opinions is not a desirable result.
posted by RogerB at 10:48 AM on May 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


I always braise my pony first to seal in the flavour.
posted by arcticseal at 10:48 AM on May 11, 2012


This is a great example of the potentials of cooperation and collaboration: we need liberal arts majors to flag inflammatory comments, and science and engineering majors to do the hard work of measurement and analysis.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:48 AM on May 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


I've only ever barbecued seals.
posted by griphus at 10:49 AM on May 11, 2012


EmpressCallipygos: " Circumcision, Israel/Palestine, religion, cats in scanners...."

Ayn Rand. Politics. Obesity. Fedoras, Atheism, Tone, Pronunciation of "Mefi", Apple/Google/Android/Microsoft/Linux, Advertising/Public Relations, Abortion, Women's rights, Racism and Sexism (altogether, not just in the workplace,) Poverty, etc., etc.
posted by zarq at 10:53 AM on May 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


griphus: "I've only ever barbecued seals."

You have to be careful. Heidi Klum might be vexed.
posted by zarq at 10:55 AM on May 11, 2012


We didn't start the fire...
posted by griphus at 10:55 AM on May 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


The humanities are worthless discussion is a derail. The thread is not about the value of some educational pursuits over others. It is about a deepening financial crisis in our underfunded educational system. But because one person referenced in the FPP studied Medieval History, and one person in that thread though this was ridiculous, the whole thread is now about whether art is a luxury when people are blind in Africa, which is the very definition of a non-argument, as nobody is going blind because some people study art.

It is interesting, though, in that it points out different presumptions about the inherent value of education and research. If you do not believe it to be inherently valuable, even if it does not show an obvious profit, you're going to think, well, what did these idiots expect, studying a worthless (or, even more contemptuously, a "hobby" degree). And that's the sort of argument that helps support defunding education when the benefit of it isn't immediately quantifiable in dollars and sense.

Perversely, this is an uneducated argument. And, in this case, a derail.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:57 AM on May 11, 2012 [32 favorites]


Yes, sense.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:58 AM on May 11, 2012


That FPP started with a link to an inflammatory article that fanned passions with the daily plights of two professors while minimizing the point that neither worked more than 20 hours a week. The subsequent thread was bound to become a trainwreck simply because the source material had established that as the direction.
posted by Ardiril at 10:58 AM on May 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


We are not automaton, pushed inevitably toward robotic acrimony because a linked story is imperfect.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:00 AM on May 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


But I get caught up in it too, as I am now. This is not good for me or for the site so maybe I'll just quit these kinds of posts from now on.

I always avoid these threads for this very reason; they just turn into a cacophony of people shouting past each other and not listening.

(LobsterMitten said this in-thread too)

I agree, it really is extremely discouraging and makes me want to take a semi-permanent break from these threads. When every thread on the destruction of the university turns into the same predictable, repetitive, idiotic derail about "humanities drools STEM roolz," it destroys the possibility of having a better, more on-topic discussion, takes the air out of the thread, and drives away the people who have the most and the best things to say about the subject in favor of allowing a few deeply ignorant commenters to grind the same repetitive anti-intellectual axe again and again.

We should be able to do better than this as a community, but we have to take a stronger line on not feeding the trolls.
posted by RogerB at 11:02 AM on May 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


"We are not automaton" - Stop drinking the kool-aid.
posted by Ardiril at 11:02 AM on May 11, 2012


I don't know what that means.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:04 AM on May 11, 2012


Here I was thinking that "We are not automaton" would be a great lead in for a Kraftwerk song or something.
posted by Chekhovian at 11:07 AM on May 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


It's how I approach all my comments RADIOACTIVITY.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:09 AM on May 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


Mostly these posts and threads are a mess. I liked the one about the woman who was twenty years into her religious studies PhD.
posted by bukvich at 11:09 AM on May 11, 2012


We are not automaton.

We are Devo.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:09 AM on May 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


But the note you left seems not to address the actual ongoing problem with the thread, which is that a small handful of people are perseverating on the "humanities are worthless" argument — which is a complete derail in the first place — and taking on all comers. Making the entire thread into a referendum on two or three people's personal opinions is not a desirable result.

There is a distinct difference between "humanities are worthless" and "not every humanities PhD is going to be able to earn a living in his or her field of expertise." The former would be a problem, because it's trolling. The latter is what people are actually saying, and is not a problem just because it's a different opinion from yours and you feel it shouldn't be said.

Either of them isn't a derail -- if there were an OPP about how the American Ultimate Disc League is going out of business, wouldn't it be a valid point of discussion that professional frisbee might be an unsustainable business model and the professional ultimate players should find other jobs?
posted by Etrigan at 11:11 AM on May 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


It would if the backdrop of the thread were that sports as whole is being systematically defunded for political reasons, and people picked up on the fact that one of the subjects just happened to play ultimate frisbee, and decided to make the entire thread about how ultimate frisbee is not a real sport, because it does not make money, while football is a sport, because it is profitable.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:17 AM on May 11, 2012 [15 favorites]


It is not obvious to me that liberal arts are being systematically defunded. On the contrary, there is very little government spending on liberal arts; they are mostly funded by tuition revenues. Which are rapidly increasing. It's true that there's now a huge pool of adjuncts who are paid almost nothing, but there's still roughly the same number of tenure-track academics.
posted by miyabo at 11:26 AM on May 11, 2012


There is a distinct difference between "humanities are worthless" and "not every humanities PhD is going to be able to earn a living in his or her field of expertise." The former would be a problem, because it's trolling. The latter is what people are actually saying

You must be reading a different thread ?
posted by RogerB at 11:31 AM on May 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


"The meticulous troll never picked the same Internet cafe twice, and he always wiped down the keyboard when his time allotment ran out. If you saw him shamble out on the streets after a long night in a cafe, unshaven and disheveled, bags underneath the eyes, you might think him a pitiful specimen — a WoW refugee, perhaps. But pride in the work ensured that his trolling was always clean and neat, leaving little evidence behind for embittered Internet police and rules lawyers to make use of."
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:32 AM on May 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


In fact, they always turn into the same trainwreck.

Actually, the quote is, "Happy threads are all alike; every unhappy thread is unhappy in its own way."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:32 AM on May 11, 2012 [8 favorites]


RogerB - this one, too.
posted by rtha at 11:35 AM on May 11, 2012


I'm sure that particular FPP is very agitating, but the real question is whether we want to apply a higher standard to threads like this in the future. Please, let's not replay the argument in miniature.

There have been plenty of deletions where the stated reason was "Metafilter doesn't do this topic well." Well, here's a topic Metafilter consistently fails to do well. I am not sure whether those deletions were entirely based on flagging, or more abstract considerations. If there's any leeway at all, I myself would be happier if the moderators took a more cautious stance toward FPPs like this one. They're not hard to identify.
posted by Nomyte at 11:42 AM on May 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


I don't think it is actually is "lots of people" shouting about how the humanities are terrible. I think it's two or three people I am guessing are Ron Paul fans, successfully chumming the waters.

I agree, and have been trying to do more sitting on my hands and less yelling.

It is not obvious to me that liberal arts are being systematically defunded. On the contrary, there is very little government spending on liberal arts; they are mostly funded by tuition revenues. Which are rapidly increasing. It's true that there's now a huge pool of adjuncts who are paid almost nothing, but there's still roughly the same number of tenure-track academics.

Hey, guess what? There's an entire FPP going on where you can have that argument.
posted by Forktine at 11:47 AM on May 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


If there's any leeway at all, I myself would be happier if the moderators took a more cautious stance toward FPPs like this one. They're not hard to identify.

Well, to reiterate: basically no one is signaling us, in any capacity, about these threads when they get posted. If the request is that we start vetting every post for the possibility that it will lead to academic grar, that's an unrealistic request. That's not what we do with other posts or topics so much either; we look at stuff when it actually comes to our attention somehow.

So, totally feel free to take action on this stuff when you see it by flagging or dropping us a note, and we can try and take a look sooner rather than later when we have that to work with. But step one is us having a specific reason to look, and that step hasn't occurred for any of the examples that have been brought up so far; there'd be nothing to apply a more cautious stance to in a timely fashion as things stand.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:47 AM on May 11, 2012


Clearly you guys need to apply some keyword heuristics that automatically nuke threads with any chance of grar before any feelings have been hurt. It would be the metafilter equivalent of W. style preemptive war!
posted by Chekhovian at 11:50 AM on May 11, 2012


Yeah again, I think the post is a slightly editorializing news article with a few people in it who seem to be monopolizing conversations. We left a note for them to stop doing that. If they don't stop doing that we'll step in a bit more. The problem really isn't the post except that it inclines people somewhat towards fightiness. If there are specific people who need to be called out, feel free to do that here. And please stop responding to people who you think are trolling.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:52 AM on May 11, 2012


The original article is about a specific subset people who are on welfare and don't think that they "deserve" to be. Pointing out that they have no useful job skills is absolutely relevant to the original post - in fact, one of the professors says so himself in the original article.

I agree that the post is getting very fighty, but most of what I've seen on that thread is still very relevant to that core point of contention, namely, whether they have useful job skills or not.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 12:08 PM on May 11, 2012


"humanities drools STEM roolz,"

I thought I was being clever when I wrote that in thread, but your changing rules to roolz is sublime. I'm awed.

The original article is about a specific subset people.

Yes. And that subset includes but is not limited to humanities professors. Which is why discussing the worth of humanities vs. other degrees is a derailing.
posted by Gygesringtone at 12:17 PM on May 11, 2012


One of the more depressing things about that thread is that it reinforces the stereotype of engineers lacking any sort of breadth of view or willingness to try to understand things in a holistic sense. It's something I encounter a lot with engineering students, but real-world civil engineers seem to grow out of that mindset quickly. CS engineers- well, the ones I know personally are well rounded, interesting people and I don't work with any at school, so I can't comment on them. Still, it's an unfortunate stereotype to promote by being dogmatically unavailable for other viewpoints. My field is pretty much the intersection of art, biological science, social science, ecology, history, and engineering, so arguments that there's "no reason for anyone to learn X" just sound completely ludicrous to me.

But anyway, yeah, I didn't flag, just got out once it was clear that some people were really emotionally invested in their viewpoint. I feel the same way about Obama threads. I should flag more, but to me it feels like we see the same thing over and over and you can't really flag people for being annoying in the same way in the same threads repeatedly. I mean, you can, I guess... but I hate any sort of response from me that maybe nudges things in the direction of "don't argue with people or your comments might be deleted"- I don't think this is how any mods operate, it's just my personal ethos. It's not really going to go away, because people are like that. I've just developed a finely honed sense of recognizing intractable MetaFilter commenters in their first two sentences, then using that superpower to skim past.
posted by oneirodynia at 12:22 PM on May 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


Pointing out that they have no useful job skills is absolutely relevant to the original post - in fact, one of the professors says so himself in the original article.

Teaching and researching are useful job skills.

Right now, there are programmers and coders in India who are being hideously underpaid. Does the fact that they're doing the best they can to function in a system that sets them up to be exploited mean they have no useful job skills?
posted by rtha at 12:35 PM on May 11, 2012 [14 favorites]


The point of contention is labeling whole fields as "useless" according to economic theory. By that assertion some of the humanities should never have even existed in the first place. Which would undeniably be a tragedy, no matter how much you think the world moves according to the money that changes hands. If you want to make a point about smart career moves, talking specifically about that person making different choices would be smart move in and of itself.
posted by Rocket Surgeon at 12:35 PM on May 11, 2012


It's not a regular problem but just, wow:

1. Thin article. I read the CHE here and there, and a lot of times they output really weak stuff when you think about it.

2. The subject covers very personal experiences for a lot of mefites. Even Ph.D.'s who haven't gone through the particular kind of life described in the article can relate to what's going on. It is *not* easy to convey the perspective that is picked up after 5-7 years of the journey.

I am serious. Some of the remarks in that thread really stung, and mefi threads do not usually do that to me. I still read them because:

3. Lots of non-Ph.D.'s who have legitimate concerns and criticisms to offer (because academia does indeed have a lot to be critiqued), but aren't acknowledging the different places that people are coming in from. For some of us, this is really our livelihoods that is the general subject of conversation.

In conclusion, the comments needed to be more patient, sensitive, and well-informed, because of the sensitivities involved. The bar needs to be higher for a level-headed discussion.

(The problem with lack of flags—I would theorize that philosophical types tend to be nonflaggers. I think it explains a lot.)

Less I-know-it-all, more humility and sharing of perspectives. TREAD LIGHTLY. PLEASE.
posted by polymodus at 12:48 PM on May 11, 2012 [6 favorites]


Well, if our mods were proper STEM graduates, instead of -- what, musicians and librarians? -- they could automate this, and we wouldn't need this kind of call out. Maybe empower the user to do up/down voting, or something. Then pb would be the only one we'd need.

(Hey, it's a joke, ok?)
posted by tyllwin at 1:02 PM on May 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Can we have some fastidious trolling?
posted by Burhanistan at 1:11 PM on May 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


The subject covers very personal experiences for a lot of mefites. Even Ph.D.'s who haven't gone through the particular kind of life described in the article can relate to what's going on. It is *not* easy to convey the perspective that is picked up after 5-7 years of the journey.

For some of us, this is really our livelihoods that is the general subject of conversation.


That's exactly the problem. People who are invested in something have disproportionate responses to questioning the value of it. Claiming to be interested in intellectual discussion and then getting upset because the discussion brings up the fact that your field might not be relevant is "special pleading" and logically fallacious. If the case for PhD salaries is so compelling, it ought to be able to hold up under scrutiny without appeals to emotion or holding certain subjects exempt from inquiry.

For example, a lot of people have brought up the relevance of CS majors (something I majored in) and some have made really vicious comments about their usefulness, but I'm not perturbed by it, because I feel the logic of an argument should stand on its own. Saying a line of inquiry "makes people feel uncomfortable" is no grounds to discontinue it.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 1:48 PM on May 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


But the note you left seems not to address the actual ongoing problem with the thread, which is that a small handful of people are perseverating on the "humanities are worthless" argument — which is a complete derail in the first place — and taking on all comers. Making the entire thread into a referendum on two or three people's personal opinions is not a desirable result.
posted by RogerB


Market fundamentalists truly put the fundament in fundamentalism, and they are perfectly oblivious to the failure of all their prophecies and the complete disconfirmation of their entire world view embodied in the collapse of 2008.

Maybe WWIII will get their attention, but I doubt it.
posted by jamjam at 1:49 PM on May 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


> Saying a line of inquiry "makes people feel uncomfortable" is no grounds to discontinue it.

I wonder how it would have altered the current crisis in academia thread jessamyn linked up above if the field of the Ph.D. discussed therein, who is surviving on food stamps, had been not medieval history but theology.

It's been an academic discipline of overarching importance since the founding of the earliest universities. And it's sho'nuff definitely non-STEM. Would we have people bold enough to argue "Don't dare say the non-STEM fields I like are useless... but yeah, that one, don't waste a public penny on it"?
posted by jfuller at 2:12 PM on May 11, 2012


profound insanity inducing grief

If the bar around here is going to be "don't offend crazy people", then no one will be able to say anything.
posted by Chekhovian at 2:13 PM on May 11, 2012


jfuller: you may find this FPP good reading.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:26 PM on May 11, 2012


Well, if our mods were proper STEM graduates, instead of -- what, musicians and librarians? -- they could automate this,

have you ever seen what scientists do with information management? they need librarians and other archival types so badly.

/I love my scientists, but some couldn't find a PDF quickly on our share drive if their lives depended on it, let alone make sure the bibliographic citations are complete and properly formatted. As for archiving data and documentation...
posted by jb at 2:31 PM on May 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


they need librarians and other archival types so badly

OMG I fucking hate the librarians in charge of our library. The book search system is total trash. It frequently fails to find the book, ISBN searches work about 20% of the time, and when it does work its slow as balls. So most of the time I go to google books and hit "find in library" when its there, then go through WorldCat. Its sooooooo much faster than using the actual system.

Now what pisses me off is that if you complain to the librarians in charge, they won't admit that there are any problems with the system.

Search, don't sort.
posted by Chekhovian at 2:40 PM on May 11, 2012


> Saying a line of inquiry "makes people feel uncomfortable" is no grounds to discontinue it.

"TREAD LIGHTLY. PLEASE" is different than "don't discuss," and I think everyone will agree several people HAVEN'T been treading lightly in that thread.
posted by Gygesringtone at 2:50 PM on May 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


several people HAVEN'T been treading lightly in that thread

Well I was accused of perfectly executing passive-aggressive-not-quite-line-crossing-not-quite-insults, which if true, I would find very emproudening. That's what scientists and engineers do, OPTIMIZE ALL THE THINGS.
posted by Chekhovian at 3:01 PM on May 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


> Saying a line of inquiry "makes people feel uncomfortable" is no grounds to discontinue it.

Your specific behavior in that thread was not an example of a line of inquiry. It was, at best, gloating that you happened to stumble on a career that is temporarily profitable, and was at worst making weird, disingenuous arguments that somehow being concerned for the humanities and wanting society to make an active decision to support it was the equivalent of letting people lose their sight in Africa.

If you wish to raise lines of inquiry, it helps to engage in good faith. And part of that is recognizing when you may not be approaching the line of inquiry with the amount of respect it deserves. You literally did as much or more than anybody in that thread to push the train off the tracks and onto a weird side road of libertarian argument about whether pure research is worthwhile if a volatile and feckless market does not support it at this moment.

Please don't do that and then come in and act as though the problem is that others don't have Spock-like reactions to you blunderingly suggesting that their social worth as a highly educated, skilled academics are essentially equivalent to being deluded hobbyists because they didn't study VCR repair when VCRs were in vogue, or whatever you were trying and failing to say.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 3:12 PM on May 11, 2012 [36 favorites]


Well I was accused of perfectly executing passive-aggressive-not-quite-line-crossing-not-quite-insults, which if true, I would find very emproudening.

Is this one of those fancy self-demonstrating comments?
posted by kagredon at 3:12 PM on May 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't flag, but I basically never read them any more. CHE's race to the bottom is nearing completion; they are often little better than HuffPo with a mortarboard, and watching the same tired arguments hashed out every time, bleurgh.
posted by smoke at 3:18 PM on May 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Claiming to be interested in intellectual discussion and then getting upset because the discussion brings up the fact that your field might not be relevant is "special pleading" and logically fallacious.

I find your analysis really one-sided. Just because Ph.D.'s are supposed to deal with open-ended problems and unsettling questions doesn't mean other people can't try to be a little sensitive, thereby making things easier for everybody.

It was already recognized, at several points, that the academic system of culture is in need of a dose of self-critique. The various questions regarding its societal value are both interesting and pertinent. Instead I have been talking about the need for:

• Intellectual sensitivity. I saw a lot of "reasoning" that was full of holes. I felt that I could see problems with every single one of their sentences, but that it wasn't worth my time because there's not enough textual bandwidth for me to do so. I think that the burden should be on initiators to write better arguments, not for others to correct their sloppy thinking.

• Basic humility. I saw a lot of egos colliding, i.e. people being alternatingly hostile and defensive towards perceived threatening information. I saw virtually no attempt at self-criticism, which is the core of intellectual honesty.

• Acknowledging the minority. Post-graduates are literally a small segment of society. Therefore an adversarial exchange is not likely to lead to an authentic discussion. Treading lightly is a well-established idea, I feel like I shouldn't have to explain how to do this.

• Level-headed discussion. It is actually possible to have a deep discussion about emotionally sensitive subjects. I think the K-12 term for that is "constructive criticism". I think it's stupid that I should even try to explain the advantages of keeping the discourse supportive and civil.

Saying a line of inquiry "makes people feel uncomfortable"* is no grounds to discontinue it.

I am talking about how things should be done better, not that they shouldn't be done at all. How an argument is conveyed is as important as the content of the argument. A hostile and unintellectual atmosphere turns away people who would otherwise have had a great deal of insight to offer. And that was the real loss to that thread.

*If this was intended to paraphrase me, you are mistaken. I am saying the line of inquiry was shitty, not "uncomfortable". Just because there's gold to be extracted from some shit doesn't mean people should continue to write shit.
posted by polymodus at 3:24 PM on May 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


Post-graduates are literally a small segment of society.

Maybe I've been totally desensitized to the word but this strikes me as a hilariously underwhelming, if accurate, use of the word "literally."
posted by en forme de poire at 4:03 PM on May 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


The (small number of) people who are trolling that thread probably don't think of themselves as trolls. Trolling is often not meant as such. But if someone goes into a thread about poor pay for humanities adjuncts, which is bound to be visited by every humanities academic or grad student on Mefi, and starts talking about "hobby degrees" or how part of the problem with the humanities is "really dumb intellectuals", they're trolling the thread, no matter how firmly they believe it.

They may air their views in good faith, and robustly defend them, and leave secure in the belief that they really got one over those silly humanities types thanks to the righteous truth of their arguments; they may not for one second think that what they were doing was trolling. But trolling is best defined by its effect, not by its intention, and someone who trolls is, at least within the bounds of the thread in question, a troll.
posted by rory at 4:03 PM on May 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


(Sorry, that reads like a massive non sequitur, doesn't it. It's a deleted comment I posted to the thread just before the request to bring comments about trolling over here, so here it is.)
posted by rory at 4:11 PM on May 11, 2012


No, that's not a non-sequitar at all since some people don't seem to understand what is actually the problem with framing their arguments about Phds with the words "useless" and "hobby".
posted by Rocket Surgeon at 4:42 PM on May 11, 2012


I had a great deal of slightly depressing fun in that thread today. I have to cut myself off now. Thanks, y'all, for your tolerance.
posted by kengraham at 4:50 PM on May 11, 2012


Reading that thread, and trying to get into the viewpoint that the PhDs in history are hobbies because they don't pay, instead of "It is fucked that universities fund semi-pro sports teams while paying adjuncts and lecturers below-poverty wages ..."

Oh, the humanities.
posted by zippy at 5:20 PM on May 11, 2012 [9 favorites]


I understand the criticism aimed at these types of threads, and they sure don't always bring out the best in people. But the reason they pop up so much is that the discussion is interesting to a lot of people. Which is more than I can say for most FPPs.
posted by WhitenoisE at 5:22 PM on May 11, 2012


The length of a discussion is no mark of the quality of an FPP.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 5:26 PM on May 11, 2012


Said the guy whose FPPs typically get, like, five comments.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 5:27 PM on May 11, 2012


Can we have some fastidious trolling?

but of course ...

this gray background really is an awful thing - not only is it unprofessional, i'm afraid that continued use of it is going rub off on my pixels, turning them into a dull, lifeless, washy mess and then i'll have to buy a new monitor

you have no idea how many nights i stay up worrying about this
posted by pyramid termite at 6:48 PM on May 11, 2012


I think it's two or three people I am guessing are Ron Paul fans, successfully chumming the waters.

This is an unfair characterization. Some of them are probably Ayn Rand fans.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 7:20 PM on May 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


probably Ayn Rand fans

Right! The STEM prof moved on to a cushy job. The philosophy prof had to flip burgers! Now I understand that subtlety!!
posted by tyllwin at 7:37 PM on May 11, 2012


I (as an academic) found that thread to be depressing and terrible, but I guess I didn't flag it or anything in it because it seemed like more of a cultural reflection on how education, thought, and learning is currently viewed, at least in the US, rather than something metafilter per se doesn't do well. It (and the few semi-trolling posters) did make me completely uninterested in participating in any such discussion on metafilter, fwiw, but it is hard to see what was breaking the guidelines that I could have flagged.
posted by advil at 8:38 PM on May 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


Really, to be serious again for a sec, I would be much less gloomy over that thread if I thought the "hobby major" people were just trolling to raise hell.
posted by tyllwin at 8:48 PM on May 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, the first guy to use the term goes by H. Roark.
posted by Trochanter at 9:14 PM on May 11, 2012


Funny that Ayn Rand was only skilled through the Humanities. If you want to call what she did skilled. Is there much call for 3rd rate novelist these days?
posted by Rocket Surgeon at 9:49 PM on May 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Are you kidding? Dan Brown? John Grisham? Twilight Lady? How many others? Is there much call for any other sort?
posted by Trochanter at 9:54 PM on May 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Hmmm...

It was a dark and stormy night. The handsome, brooding young vampire sparkled quietly to himself....
posted by Trochanter at 9:55 PM on May 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


>Making the entire thread into a referendum on two or three people's personal opinions is not a desirable result.

Yeah, I almost got sucked into reacting to one of the comments by a person who posted multiple times, that many people were reacting to.

> which is that a small handful of people are perseverating on the "humanities are worthless" argument — which is a complete derail

Right, and one of those is what I almost reacted to. So easy to see what's wrong and correct it. But we should have marked this as derail. I didn't clue into that fast enough. I don't do much flagging.
posted by Listener at 11:45 PM on May 11, 2012


Are you kidding? Dan Brown? John Grisham? Twilight Lady? How many others? Is there much call for any other sort?

I think writing pablum that is readable and fairly entertaining to a large audience while not promising anything more than pablum is different than writing dull, ridiculous, nonsense drek and labeling it as philosophy. Also, if you think what you listed is representative of all current novelist, I think perhaps you may want to visit the library more often.

And yes, I was kidding. Because, you know, the Humanities are worthless and Ayn Rand was... oh, forget it.
posted by Rocket Surgeon at 12:03 AM on May 12, 2012


I only read a couple hundred comments in that thread, but I have to say that the pro-Humanities people were doing a piss-poor job making their case. I didn't even see any elements of a case, it was like a giant blind spot in the conversation, an unexamined premise. To me it looked like the pro-Humanities people were getting their asses kicked and didn't even realize it.
posted by fleacircus at 3:41 AM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure if I'm one of the people who srsly lowered the tone of that thread. I do know that jessamyn's admonition to simmer down occurred suspiciously close to a post of mine that was (I thought) unambiguously a (I thought) fairly harmless troll.

The non-humanities-v.-humanities thing was a total derail. However, my attitude is that once certain vicious, socially and spiritually destructive cats are out of their bags, it becomes important to neuter them. I tend to think that neutering the anti-intellectualism/blind-commercialization-of-everything kitten is important enough to warrant a certain decrease in civility*. I'm somewhat cynical about the effectiveness of the rational, civilized modes of discourse often associated humanities majors in the face of people who, basically, are not on board with the premise that rational, civilized, honest discourse is a good thing (as evidenced by their disdain for the humanities). I sort of think the only way (and not a very effective way) to deal with the troglodytes, Randroids, and invisible-handroids is to confuse, abuse, and accuse and then move on.

BUT: yesterday, when deploying my mixture of "serious" discussion and like rhetorical nuttiness, I lost sight of the fact that this is an extremely complex and shockingly functional community, to which I'm a relative newcomer, and the surprisingly high standard of discourse 'round these parts is most probably the result of a bunch of people following some "empirically verified" behavioural norms, with which I should not fuck, especially if all that is to be accomplished by fucking with them is to impose my own questionable opinion about how to have a discussion with people that I think are idiots (and with whom more mature people would not even engage).

So, even though I suspect most of the complaints here deal with the anti-humanities trolls, I apologize for contributing to a situation in which a bunch of people who probably had valuable contributions to make did not find it to be worth the emotional energy needed to make those contributions in the midst of a fighty clusterfuck.

(Also, some things that were said over there were very excellent, and if I weren't running NoScript, favourites from me would have been flowing like the blood of neutered kittens.)

(Finally, at risk of Talk that is non-Meta, I think that the real large-scale issue over there is not about "humanities good/bad", but about whether non-economic standards for valuing stuff are valid. The evidence for this is the the "don't fund the humanities" crowd refused to answer my repeated question about whether a particular piece of (non-profitable) scientific research warranted public funding. It seems clear that Paulbot extremism was being framed as being a lot more specific -- dealing only with the issue of humanities funding -- than it is. Somebody's "people will make art under any circumstances" comment also bears this out.)

*Although, saying this, I feel uncomfortably like certain assholes who hold that neutering the imaginary terrorism kitten is important enough to warrant a certain decrease in civil liberties...
posted by kengraham at 7:35 AM on May 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Sorry, Rocket Surgeon, that was nothing against what you said.
posted by Trochanter at 7:53 AM on May 12, 2012


I'm not sure everyone was picking up that "Also, fuck people who think blindness is somehow inherently more problematic than depression. Fuck them with infinite anhedonic despair, and may they die of thirst glued to a folding chair in an efficiency apartment, soaked in their own urine, because they couldn't justify, due to depression, getting up to consume or eliminate water." was an unambiguously harmless troll. I can totally see why you thought it was, but we've got a lot less data to go on, about you, and it's totally something that other members of this community would say on a bad (or maybe even a good) day. So yeah your comment and karmiolz's response to it were what made me step in.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:11 AM on May 12, 2012


Treading lightly is a well-established idea, I feel like I shouldn't have to explain how to do this.

If this was intended to paraphrase me, you are mistaken. I am saying the line of inquiry was shitty, not "uncomfortable". Just because there's gold to be extracted from some shit doesn't mean people should continue to write shit.


See, this is what baffles me... that you can say things like "tread lightly" and in the same comment refer to other people's ideas as "shitty" and utterly fail to see your own hypocrisy. Is this obliviousness natural, or did you have to get a PhD to develop it?

I saw a lot of "reasoning" that was full of holes. I felt that I could see problems with every single one of their sentences, but that it wasn't worth my time because there's not enough textual bandwidth for me to do so. I think that the burden should be on initiators to write better arguments, not for others to correct their sloppy thinking.

Oh, of course! You could totally demolish those arguments if you wanted to, but you're much too busy having profound intellectual thoughts to minister to us poor benighted souls. Maybe when we humbly visit the mountaintop you're living on and bring a tablet to inscribe your wisdom upon, then you'll see fit to share the crushing burden of your knowledge.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 9:14 AM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Man, what is wrong with you?
posted by rtha at 9:16 AM on May 12, 2012 [13 favorites]


Well, according to some people, apparently I have "spock-like logic" and this is somehow a problem. :-P
posted by wolfdreams01 at 9:18 AM on May 12, 2012


You have a massive chip on your shoulder, from what I can tell. A massive trolly, deraily chip.
posted by Summer at 9:21 AM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Man, what is wrong with you?

It's not what's wrong with him, it's what's wrong with us: we weren't paying enough attention to him anymore.

We really need a rule, guideline, more community pressure, or just a quotable "don't do that" catchphrase or something, about this kind of pot-stirring and axe-grinding. More than any specific content of the argument, the problem with that thread was the repeated Me vs. All Of You commenting, the hyper-responsiveness to every response, which turns the thread away from any other possible discussion into "let's all talk about what I think." That's the functional definition of trolling under discussion.

People don't often behave this boorishly out of good-faith desire to discuss a subject (wolfy is a case in point here, I think), but even if they do, it's toxic to discussion no matter the reason. Could we all just start telling people to Let It Go After Three comments (LIGAT) or something like that?
posted by RogerB at 9:52 AM on May 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


He's been here two or three weeks. There used to be a phrase that applied in these circumstances: Lurk moar.

The polite way of saying it, wolfdreams01, is that you have not participated on the site long enough to be familiar with its conventions. If you find yourself causing, or at the center of, something that is considered to be disruptive of the site, it's a good idea to ask yourself if that disruption was necessary, or if it was because you don't quite know how people participate on this site. The rest of the web is pretty much a free for all, and people can take over discussions with their own agendas or hobby horses, and that sort of thing is seen as being great sport, or, at least, not problematic.

It gets to be a problem here. I dunno -- maybe it's not your fault this time, and maybe you were trying to participate in good faith, and maybe you felt the discussion was perfectly applicable. Maybe it was. But if this sort of thing keeps happening, it may be worth taking a step back and seeing whether or not your contribution to it is valuable.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 9:58 AM on May 12, 2012 [8 favorites]


Is this obliviousness natural, or did you have to get a PhD to develop it?

Please, just nuke this from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.
posted by zippy at 11:36 AM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


No offense taken, Trochanter. I thought what you wrote was funny and maybe I had a bit to much coffee yesterday, so I apologize for my seemingly intense but rather lackluster and dry return.
posted by Rocket Surgeon at 11:44 AM on May 12, 2012


apparently I have "spock-like logic" and this is somehow a problem.

Has it ever occurred to you that the running bit on Trek was that Spock had a very high "obliviousness" to human interactions?
posted by Rocket Surgeon at 11:57 AM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I (as an academic) found that thread to be depressing and terrible, but I guess I didn't flag it or anything in it because it seemed like more of a cultural reflection on how education, thought, and learning is currently viewed, at least in the US, rather than something metafilter per se doesn't do well. It (and the few semi-trolling posters) did make me completely uninterested in participating in any such discussion on metafilter, fwiw, but it is hard to see what was breaking the guidelines that I could have flagged.

Yeah, this sums up my reaction to the thread, too. I couldn't help reading it, though, despite the fact that it caused me grief. But really participate in it? No, I didn't feel like doing battle with the couple of posters who were on an anti-humanities crusade there.
posted by jokeefe at 2:41 PM on May 12, 2012


I never posted anything in the open thread on the blue, but here's my derail-y paean to grad students.

Doctoral grad students, on average, rule. They are awesome. The ones I know are some of the most persistent, dedicated, and professional people I've met: relentless in pursuit of evidence and spectacular in the flexibility of their thinking. These things are especially true of students in the humanities and social sciences. They can work on a complex project for years without losing sight of the ultimate goal. They take initiative to identify skills they need in order to make progress, then acquire and apply those skills independently. They are competent multitaskers who work well independently and on teams. They never quit. And they do it all with a smile.
posted by Nomyte at 3:13 PM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


It wasn't until I was at St. John's in the early 90s that there was any sort of placement/career office established. And it was done only then very grudgingly, and basically was just one person. The school has always been extremely adamant that it's not a vocational education and doesn't pretend to be a vocational education and will not be judged on the basis of its vocational utility. Even so, in various publications and even from many of us associated with the college, it's hard not to defend its vocational utility from time to time because of the general cultural context of education in North America.

I mention this because SJC is way outside the norm of North American academia in this regard. Even in pretty much all other liberal arts colleges, and certainly universities and their humanities departments, it's taken for granted that somehow, in some way, the education being offered will provide somehow for employment. All education in North America is essentially assumed to be vocational. Which is perverse, really, as North America has a poor excuse for explicit vocational education (at both the secondary and post-secondary levels). Well, on the other hand, I guess that would follow, wouldn't it, from the assumption that all secondary and post-secondary education is already vocational education? Anything that needs to be even more explicitly vocational must be something that's hardly education at all. And so truly explicit vocational education becomes extremely low-status.

In that context, it's no surprise that both the following are true: a) that a large number of people judge the social merit of a course of education on the basis of its vocational outcome; and b) that a large number of people argue that whatever course of study they prefer should necessarily have some favorable vocational outcome. Because in North America, education is All About Jobs.

And, you know, the funny thing about this for me as a johnnie is that while it's not uncommon for recent SJC graduates to grouse about their ability to find jobs, my own experience is that it was always an asset for me and not a liability. But, more importantly, it never even occurred to me to think of my education there in those terms in the first place. I could, and did, make it an asset. But that's not why I got that education. And, to some degree, that's due to the college never selling itself as an investment in an eventual vocational outcome. It practically drips disdain for such concerns and while this might strike some as elitist or out-of-touch or whatever, I think it's doing its students a favor.

Also, as a more math/science oriented person with some science education and many, many friends over the years who are scientists or have degrees in science, I think it's weird that it's not a central point of discussion that the same thing happens in the sciences. People get advanced degrees in a science (or, worse, only an undergraduate degree) and expect to find work in that field — not just in academia — and they don't. It's much more the exception than the rule that such degrees are vocational preparation in their respective fields. There's lots of people with science degrees who are driving cabs, too. I can only imagine that the people who are arguing for the inherent vocational and social utility of STEM degrees are those whose particular STEM degrees are in the small minority of disciplines that are widely marketable and lucrative. Lots of STEM degrees are pretty much as vocationally "useless" as many humanities degrees.

The sorry truth of North American higher education is that it's generally crappy as vocational education and for the most part has little social utility in general. A very large portion of college graduates never find work specifically in the field they were trained; those who do, often change careers later. Therefore, the majority of Americans end up working most of their lives in fields other than which they were specifically trained. And, for most of them, the training they received in those fields was not very vocationally useful in comparison to the training, formal and informal, they receive as part of their employment and via mentoring in the workplace. If the metric of social utility is built around vocation, North American higher education in general gets a failing grade. It's ironic that one group of partisans would attack another group of partisans on this basis, when they're almost all pretty much losers in this system.

And, obviously, as a johnnie, I'll argue that on the basis of the social utility involved in liberal arts education, North American education also largely fails. So the internecine arguments are there, too, ironically depressing.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 3:16 PM on May 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


The place to comment on that thread's topic is in that thread. I haven't looked in there for 36 hours because it was disgusting me. I made my points there, or summary versions.

I object to comments directed at me or replying at me in that thread (and others) which were attacks on me, not the points I made, with no debate or contradiction to the points I made. I have not attacked anyone here. As I see it.
posted by caclwmr4 at 3:59 PM on May 12, 2012


People probably didn't flag the post because the link, while not great, wasn't that bad. It was really the userbase which stepped out and embarassed itself. "Trainwreck" isn't a flag, and only the psychic know what to do with Other. I'm not comfortable blaming it all on "humanities, wtf" given the histrionic response to the suggestion that labor market outcomes are the result of changes in supply, demand, or rents and subsidies. You might have some luck detecting grar with the rapid accumulation of favorites to short replies and prevalence of exclamation points. I wouldn't be surprised if a bag-of-words model could detect vocabulary more common in grar.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 4:51 PM on May 12, 2012


> And they do it all with a smile.

You lost me right there. In my experience, grad students smile when they're around their lords and masters ("Yes, professor, it's a good life!") and when they're out having fun and trying to forget the whole miserable business (on the rare occasions they can allow themselves that luxury). When they're actually dealing with the hell of grad school and in each other's company, there's a lot more grar than smiling. In my experience.
posted by languagehat at 4:56 PM on May 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


"That's exactly the problem. People who are invested in something have disproportionate responses to questioning the value of it. Claiming to be interested in intellectual discussion and then getting upset because the discussion brings up the fact that your field might not be relevant is "special pleading" and logically fallacious. If the case for PhD salaries is so compelling, it ought to be able to hold up under scrutiny without appeals to emotion or holding certain subjects exempt from inquiry."

Counterpoint: While people invested in a field can have a self-interest in defending that investment, that doesn't mean that their arguments are necessarily special pleading. Further, it's reasonable to point out that you don't seem to know much about what you're talking about with regard to how the economy of higher education functions, nor any real familiarity with what can be done within the disciplines described. Ergo, you are a poor judge of their value as well. Appealing to the market on a question of value — especially while ignoring the local distortions in the market (e.g. glut of students vs. death of tenure model; state defunding; academia's shifting "corporate" model…) — begs the question that money is a legitimate proxy for value. (E.g. We value motherly love; few of us pay our mothers for it.)

You also seem to appeal to just world and self-serving fallacies (both that you made the right choices through pure will, ergo deserve your fortune; Ph.D.s made bad choices and are punished), the undistributed middle (i.e. that the only options are profs paid extravagantly or be on food stamps) compounded by the prior inference that you don't have a good frame for valuing the humanities anyway.

So, your comments have kind of been a frustrating morass of obnoxious assertions and glib pseudo-logical attacks on something you don't seem to understand very well. I'd wager that everyone in the thread understands the point you're trying to make, even as the mode of your argument shows that you don't really understand the objections.

"For example, a lot of people have brought up the relevance of CS majors (something I majored in) and some have made really vicious comments about their usefulness, but I'm not perturbed by it, because I feel the logic of an argument should stand on its own. Saying a line of inquiry "makes people feel uncomfortable" is no grounds to discontinue it."

You don't necessarily get to decide what annoys other people, especially using yourself as a benchmark. And neither does that others have made attacks on CS mitigate; if something is bad when someone else does it, it's bad when you do it. I understand your point was that you don't think it's bad, but if you're going to argue that it's the strength of arguments which should control, I'd be remiss if I didn't point out that you're not making good arguments.

And you're both misrepresenting and missing the point being made about treading lightly: "Treading lightly" is not "discontinuing." However, it's worth treading lightly if you're interested in having an honest discussion because making emotionally inflammatory remarks leads to people being distracted and sloppy in their rebuttals; if you actually want the strongest argument against your claims, you should endeavor to present the opposite claims fairly and clearly. That you haven't even done that in this comment makes it hard to take your protestations seriously.
posted by klangklangston at 5:36 PM on May 12, 2012 [8 favorites]


"See, this is what baffles me... that you can say things like "tread lightly" and in the same comment refer to other people's ideas as "shitty" and utterly fail to see your own hypocrisy. Is this obliviousness natural, or did you have to get a PhD to develop it?"

I know that I'm not usually the posterboy for restraint, but think about how much less of an asshole you'd read as if you'd thought out that comment for a moment. There's a very different conversational tone on MeFi than on MeTa, and calling something "shitty" here doesn't disprove the prior implicit assertion that treading lightly was warranted. "Shitty" is something that's mean-spirited, not just vulgar — something like asking if someone had to get a Ph.D to be that oblivious, while simultaneously mistaking the context and using it as an excuse to ignore the broader argument.

This is also the second time that you've mistaken what "treading lightly" means. I might hold off on the accusations until you can get that one.
posted by klangklangston at 5:47 PM on May 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


You lost me right there.

I admit that the last sentence of my paean was not entirely serious. The rest of the paean is meant more seriously, but it's not a tone I can maintain for long. I apologize for my shortcomings in this regard.
posted by Nomyte at 6:14 PM on May 12, 2012


"The place to comment on that thread's topic is in that thread. I haven't looked in there for 36 hours because it was disgusting me. I made my points there, or summary versions.

I object to comments directed at me or replying at me in that thread (and others) which were attacks on me, not the points I made, with no debate or contradiction to the points I made. I have not attacked anyone here. As I see it."


Looking at your comments in that thread and in some others, you have zero credibility when arguing about how other people are behaving badly. Comments such as "Maybe I can print the article and have a Medieval History PhD read it and give me her opinion on the statement, when she gets her break at Big Lots" are not valuable and well-intended contributions to the conversation which deserve thoughtful, substantial responses. They're contributions which are insulting and which are effectively soliciting insults in return. Don't be surprised or hurt when you receive them.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 9:17 PM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think it is ridiculous that schools that charge students up to 40K a year pay their faculty less than 40K a year. Tuitions keep going up but that money clearly isn't being spent on the people employed to teach at the postgraduate level.
posted by emd3737 at 1:22 AM on May 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


He's been here two or three weeks. There used to be a phrase that applied in these circumstances: Lurk moar.

The polite way of saying it, wolfdreams01, is that you have not participated on the site long enough to be familiar with its conventions. If you find yourself causing, or at the center of, something that is considered to be disruptive of the site, it's a good idea to ask yourself if that disruption was necessary, or if it was because you don't quite know how people participate on this site. The rest of the web is pretty much a free for all, and people can take over discussions with their own agendas or hobby horses, and that sort of thing is seen as being great sport, or, at least, not problematic.


I guess I just feel like there's something inherently arrogant in basically saying "Well, I think it should be the responsibility of the people submitting comments to be more logical." EVERYONE thinks they're logical. That's sort of like a starving artist saying "I am a great artist, and if the rest of the world doesn't think so, they're all idiots." It's a solipsistic way of looking at the world. I may not know (or care) much about feelings, but I do know logic, and I know that comments like the first aforementioned one are ways to circumvent it.

As far as metafilter, I care more about rules than conventions. If you're saying that I have less "social currency" on metafilter because I haven't been here long, I totally agree with you. That's why I tend to stick to logical arguments that stand on their own - because I'm not going to be agreed with simply for "being one of the popular kids." I also make sure apologize when I say something illogical or extreme (as you would notice if you read the thread in more detail). If you're saying that people who are relatively new have less right to participate in a discussion, then I think metafilter might be missing out on a lot of intelligent dialogue.

But hey, maybe I'm wrong. I'll reread the FAQ to see what the rules are, and make sure to comply with them strictly.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 6:27 AM on May 13, 2012


As far as metafilter, I care more about rules than conventions.

Rules here are pretty minimal and social conventions carry a lot of weight. I hope you'll reconsider this stance, because ignoring the conventions is a way to find yourself in conflicts you may not wish to engage in.
posted by immlass at 7:28 AM on May 13, 2012 [11 favorites]


Yeah, there's a phrase for the concept of you're describing. Except MeFi is the virtual equivalent of a cocktail party and not a steel mill, so you're probably not going to get very far on that philosophy.
posted by griphus at 8:40 AM on May 13, 2012


Not caring about conventions - especially when you're not familiar with the particular conventions you disdain - is not a good strategy if what you want is to communicate, be understood, and have your point engaged thoughtfully. It's an excellent strategy if what you want is to "win" and/or make something All About You.
posted by rtha at 9:47 AM on May 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


"I guess I just feel like there's something inherently arrogant in basically saying "Well, I think it should be the responsibility of the people submitting comments to be more logical." EVERYONE thinks they're logical. That's sort of like a starving artist saying "I am a great artist, and if the rest of the world doesn't think so, they're all idiots." It's a solipsistic way of looking at the world. I may not know (or care) much about feelings, but I do know logic, and I know that comments like the first aforementioned one are ways to circumvent it."

Reread this. Your logic and argumentation skills aren't up to the hectoring presumption of your comments.
posted by klangklangston at 9:54 AM on May 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


There is a risk of mistaking our own prejudices, unexamined assumptions, and undereducated philosophies as logic, and, when expressing them, believing ourselves merely to be speakers of unwelcome truths. That is not the mark of a logician, but a boor.

I am not saying this is what you have done. I am saying that the moment you mentioned Adam Smith's Invisible Hand, you left the world of logic behind.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:21 AM on May 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


> As far as metafilter, I care more about rules than conventions. If you're saying that I have less "social currency" on metafilter because I haven't been here long, I totally agree with you. That's why I tend to stick to logical arguments that stand on their own - because I'm not going to be agreed with simply for "being one of the popular kids."

Failure to acknowledge and navigate consensus is a pretty strong indication of the solipsism you decry.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:38 AM on May 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


because I'm not going to be agreed with simply for "being one of the popular kids."

I don't think you understand Metafilter yet. The few people here who are actually know well enough to be liked are liked not because they are the homecoming king and queen, but because they've done something to further discussion on the site. They've been observant, kind, and engaged.

That said, while the site isn't a popularity contest, it's still a good idea to be observant, kind, and engaged, because these are qualities that lead to good discussion.
posted by zippy at 11:26 AM on May 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


They've been observant, kind, and engaged.

wolfdreams01, you could do way worse than read through Miko's history; she sets a standard here. It's not the only standard, and it's not the only good standard, but it's way better than those set by lots of other people, including me.
posted by rtha at 11:59 AM on May 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Not caring about conventions - especially when you're not familiar with the particular conventions you disdain - is not a good strategy if what you want is to communicate, be understood, and have your point engaged thoughtfully.

Incidentally, I think that taking pride in a disdain for learning about other people's conventions, emotions, cultural norms, and motivations -- a disdain that I would imagine is not widely shared, at least not to such an extreme degree -- is also not a useful stance for evaluating the importance of studying the humanities. After all, the humanities are in no small part concerned with the study of human conventions, emotions, norms, and motivations.

And rejecting the importance of these areas outright would be an extreme but potentially defensible position, and one that, if stated tactfully, would not have been inappropriate for Metafilter (at least IMHO). Making an argument like that, though, is different from accusing people who place a higher value on those things of being illogical or unintelligent.
posted by en forme de poire at 1:11 PM on May 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is one of the only sites where people will honestly try to explain to you how to better make your points so that people will respond to them in a way that leads to good conversation, as the past few have done. It's one of the good things about the site, and the suggestions offered are good.

Also, seconding following Miko. She's offers a standard that I try, and fail, to live up to.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 1:53 PM on May 13, 2012


Hey, I live in a world of logic. I like the world of logic. Conventions and traditions often have very little logic to them, except as a social tool for old-timers to subtly impose their personal views on newcomers. That just won't work for me. Metafilter is a very left-leaning site, and I don't feel like changing my political views just because Metafilter veterans are largely Democrats. I also think it's crappy how certain left-wing assumptions like "Adam Smith's invisible hand is OBVIOUSLY wrong" go unchallenged even though no factual reason is given for this claim, whereas any right-wing statement is piled upon.

That said, two of you who were actually polite (and didn't call me an illogical boor simply because you disagreed with my political leanings) recommended Miko, and that reflects well on her. I'll favorite her profile and check her out. Just out of curiousity (and for comparative purposes), are there any Republican members of Metafilter who are well-respected? I'd like to check out their profiles as well to see how they handle the "respectful disagreement" that is supposedly the gold standard.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 2:28 PM on May 13, 2012


wolfdreams01: Just out of curiousity (and for comparative purposes), are there any Republican members of Metafilter who are well-respected? I'd like to check out their profiles as well to see how they handle the "respectful disagreement" that is supposedly the gold standard.

This dude's a Republican, and although he's not around anymore (and should probably change the website listed in his profile), I've always respected the way he interacted with this site considering his limited ability.
posted by gman at 3:59 PM on May 13, 2012


(and didn't call me an illogical boor simply because you disagreed with my political leanings

Nobody called you a boor because they disagreed with you. I called you a boor because your conversational style seems mostly to consist of self-congratulation.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 4:17 PM on May 13, 2012 [8 favorites]


"Hey, I live in a world of logic. I like the world of logic. "

Assertion without evidence.

"I also think it's crappy how certain left-wing assumptions like "Adam Smith's invisible hand is OBVIOUSLY wrong" go unchallenged even though no factual reason is given for this claim, whereas any right-wing statement is piled upon."

Adam Smith's economic theories were based on a bunch of pervasive assumptions that the following centuries have fairly well debunked. The Invisible Hand is used sloppily by Smith, both as a metaphor and as a metric for predicting economic outcomes. His actual examples — whether asserting that a landlord will be guided by the hand to share his harvest, or that the hand will guide consumers to local producers over foreign ones — simply do not hold up to even casual scrutiny.

Smith's venerated for things he didn't write, and as such is easily abused (that his writing style doesn't lend itself to pithiness is likely part of the fault) to justify all sorts of free market claims.

That doesn't mean that it's not a handy descriptor for some sets of circumstances or for abbreviating narratives, but Smith is similar to Marx, in that Marx's actual predictions have been pretty inaccurate, but his explication of a material conception of history is a really valuable framework for re-evaluating any systemic conflict of interests.

You know where you learn how to evaluate arguments? Humanities.

"That said, two of you who were actually polite (and didn't call me an illogical boor simply because you disagreed with my political leanings)"

This is a handy way to dismiss criticism without engaging in it — it's lazy, and unpersuasive.
posted by klangklangston at 4:34 PM on May 13, 2012 [6 favorites]


Adam Smith was also pretty clear that an unchecked market leads to injustice, and supported the government stepping in to address poverty. Anybody who thinks Adam Smith was a supporter of unfettered capitalism hasn't read The Wealth of Nations, a good portion of which is galled by the India Trading Company. And probably isn't clear on the fact that the word capitalism was even in use at that time, and most of Europe was still feudalistic, and so it's pretty anachronistic to try to use Smith's ideas about economics in the modern market, which he wouldn't even recognize.

Of course, why would anybody who seriously wishes to discuss Smith actually read him? The man was a social philosopher. And philosophy is studied in humanities.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 4:44 PM on May 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


Of course, why would anybody who seriously wishes to discuss Smith actually read him? The man was a social philosopher. And philosophy is studied in humanities.

As is economics.

And, wolfdreams01, if you want an example of a conservative economist who is generally respected on MeFi (I can't speak to his political self-identification, though my guess would be that it was "libertarian"), perhaps adding dfriedman to your contacts list would be a good idea.
posted by Sidhedevil at 4:48 PM on May 13, 2012


Breeze.
posted by Burhanistan at 5:12 PM on May 13, 2012


Just out of curiousity (and for comparative purposes), are there any Republican members of Metafilter who are well-respected?

So, I'll let other folks address this if they want, but I'd like to suggest that you read Miko's (or any other person's) comments through a lens of how they saying things rather than what they're saying. With that in mind, I'd suggest reading through Miko's answers on askme specifically, at least to start, rather than diving in on any overtly political threads on the blue she's been engaged in.

But again, it all depends on what you want out of any conversations/discussions/fights here. Do you want to communicate your point of view as effectively as you can, or do you want to score points? It's not that they're mutually exclusive, but the latter generally does more to obfuscate the former than illuminate it.
posted by rtha at 5:12 PM on May 13, 2012


Oh blah. All this piling on is pretty lame.

I don't feel like changing my political views just because Metafilter veterans are largely Democrats.

Well my political views are far, far, far to the left of nominal democratic position and I don't thing wolfsdream did anything wrong. I tire of the continual pining for the lost golden age when all metafilter comments were above average.
posted by Chekhovian at 6:19 PM on May 13, 2012


"Hey, I live in a world of logic. I like the world of logic. Conventions and traditions often have very little logic to them, except as a social tool for old-timers to subtly impose their personal views on newcomers. That just won't work for me."

Oh, for fuck's sake. I somehow doubt that you know very much at all about logic in any of its major expressions and that, if you do have any education in logic, it's in in the context of CS and which has fuck-all to do with being rational or reasonable or in any sense about general intellectual analysis and comprehension.

And, as a matter of empirical fact, conventions and traditions often do have a great deal of "logic" to them, they're almost never arbitrary or irrational. The assumptions and desired outcomes involved may not be those one personally shares, but that does not by itself make them irrational or unreasonable.

There's been numerous right-leaning mefites here over the years with whom I got along well and who I respect — some of them have been or are widely disliked for their views. Being conservative is not, in my book, sufficient cause for my disdain. But statements like you've made in this thread? That are both self-congratulatory and aggrieved, and dripping with unearned hubris? That earns my disdain.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 1:02 AM on May 14, 2012 [8 favorites]


That just won't work for me.

And scene.
posted by Wolof at 5:59 AM on May 14, 2012


> Hey, I live in a world of logic. I like the world of logic. Conventions and traditions often have very little logic to them, except as a social tool for old-timers to subtly impose their personal views on newcomers. That just won't work for me. Metafilter is a very left-leaning site, and I don't feel like changing my political views just because Metafilter veterans are largely Democrats.

Not being Miko, and realizing that the kindly hand-holding others have provided is useless because you have no desire to learn, I'm just going to say it: you sound like you're sixteen and have just discovered one of the Most People Are Fools But You Are Special! books so attractive to maladjusted sixteen-year-olds. (And if you're about to tell me triumphantly that you're actually forty-five, don't bother, it will just make me feel sorrier for you. You should have outgrown it at least two decades ago.)

> There's been numerous right-leaning mefites here over the years with whom I got along well and who I respect

Same here. And I don't think they would have had any more patience with you than Ivan and I do.
posted by languagehat at 9:20 AM on May 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


...and have just discovered one of the Most People Are Fools But You Are Special! books so attractive to maladjusted sixteen-year-olds.

Man these spoiled rich kids and their private school libraries and their Amazons dot com. Back in my day, all we had to read was You're Worthless and No One Will Ever Love You and Are You There, God? No? Okay.

Oh, and that ratty old copy of Hardy Boys And The Mysterious Divorce That Was Their Fault.
posted by griphus at 9:26 AM on May 14, 2012 [8 favorites]


I also think it's crappy how certain left-wing assumptions like "Adam Smith's invisible hand is OBVIOUSLY wrong" go unchallenged even though no factual reason is given for this claim, whereas any right-wing statement is piled upon.

Actually, assuming you're referring to me, I said it COULD be wrong. I only bring this up because I think this is a great example of what's going wrong here.

I hope you'll excuse me while I make this about me, rather than you.

I haven't been here that much longer than you, just over 8 months. Which considering the communities been around long enough to have an option to see "This Day" from 10 years ago, isn't that long. The one thing that I think gives me an o.k. handle on how things work around here is that before I signed up I spent a good 2-3 days reading the archives of the "etiquette\policy" posts on MetaTalk (for a job). I highly recommend it (although not in one go), not only does it tell you what the conventions are here, but WHY they are here.

Anyway, what struck me was that things work here differently than they do on other parts of the web. I think (and this is just the result of my own interpretation, it could be way off) most of these differences stem from one thing: this site is fundamentally about sharing cool things. I mean, yeah there's bickering, and yeah things can get heated, but that's a side effect of the site, not the function. I took a quick look at the sidebar on the main page. With the exception of one, they're all sharing really cool information that the average person doesn't have access too. Now, I've failed to live up to that aesthetic a few times myself, I admit that. The one thing I try to always keep in mind is that the people here (for the most part) just want to share their knowledge. I may have my doubts about how factual of some of that knowledge is, but in general I appreciate the intent.

So, as a result anything that gets in the way of people enjoying the benefit of having a place where lots of people put cool stuff is frowned upon. Spammy posts get deleted, as do posts that are there go rile people up rather than inform. The same principle applies to comments, including the tone of the comment. Aggressive language that would be fine in the wider world of the web is generally considered a misstep here. It gets in the way of others considering the information you want to share.

Which is what happened with my question, "Who says that your anthropomorphized Market can accurately value a field of knowledge's future contributions to society?" It didn't really share any information, and was just aggressive enough to get your back up. There was a better way to prove my point.

Basically I just provided an example rtha here. If you want others (even those who may disagree with you) to consider all the cool stuff you know and think, I suggest trying to figure out how you can. The one thing I can tell you that doesn't worki s going into it with "You" vs "everyone else" attitude.

The social conventions are what makes MetaFilter Metafilter, which is what we payed to participate in. I try to pay attention to them because I would hate to play a part in it being transformed into another generic website.
posted by Gygesringtone at 9:27 AM on May 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


Actually you know what, let's make that: The one thing I can tell you that doesn't worki s going into it with "You" vs "X" attitude. I certainly didn't think it was me taking on all comers in the thread, but I still fell into the trap of making it about my view against another way of looking at it. That was enough.
posted by Gygesringtone at 9:31 AM on May 14, 2012


wolfdreams01 - here is some good advice: if languagehat and IvanF (EB) have lost patience for you, then you have seriously gone in the wrong direction. They are both supremely even-handed and accepting of people in good faith. So take their comments to heart. To be honest, I haven't a clue about anything you have written or who you are. I probably skipped over your comments. But when I see those two in agreement that someone is acting poorly, I know that the person likely is.

Thanks for letting me share.
posted by dios at 12:09 PM on May 14, 2012


As to folks who are Republican and respected, I disagree with Dios about a LOT of stuff, but he regularly makes me step my game up and I respect the process by which he's come to his views.
posted by klangklangston at 1:11 PM on May 14, 2012


Can we start taking bets on flame-out versus time-out yet, or would that be poor form?
posted by entropicamericana at 1:32 PM on May 14, 2012


It's poor form. I get no feeling that wolfdreams01 isn't approaching this issue in good faith even though his approach may be different from many people's. He's heard what people have to say on the topic and the next time we get into this sort of situation, it will be with wolfdreams01 understanding how a chunk of the community feels about the way he's chosen to interact and he can do what he wants with this information.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:35 PM on May 14, 2012


this is good faith?
posted by entropicamericana at 1:45 PM on May 14, 2012


In Peter Pan, Barrie's novel, "bad form!" are Captain Hook's last words. He shouts them triumphantly as he plummets toward the crocodile that is his doom.

Just thought I should mention it.
posted by Nomyte at 1:47 PM on May 14, 2012


this is good faith?

Nope, and I deleted it. wolfdreams01: it's okay for you to take some time acclimating to how the community generally works, but giving users off-topic lectures on grammar in a thread because you're having trouble being understood by them is generally seen as a dick move and one you should probably avoid in the future.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:51 PM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Jessemyn, one of my pet peeves is when people misrepresents what I'm saying, either deliberately or accidentally. I'm OK with insults (in fact, I even thanked one person who were being insulting because they pointed out a reasonable flaw in my argument) but when somebody completely misrepresents what I'm saying due to a completely unreasonable inference: for example, if I say "bald men are generally older" and they say "How can you say you hate bald men?" then I think I'm entitled to correct them as to what I actually meant.

Point 1) How would you recommend I correct people when this happens, ie, I'm utterly misrepresented by somebody else telling me "You said X" when actually I said Y, and they only thought I said X because their own minds draw a false correlation between the two?

Point 2) When I do get misrepresented in such a way, and you delete my comments, I've noticed you don't delete the other comment that misrepresented my opinion in the first place. So basically somebody else gets the chance to make a false statement about something I said, but I don't get the chance to set the record straight. Do you really perceive this as fair?

Point 3) How can I get the original comment where somebody misrepresented my stance taken down? Should I be flagging other people's comments? Philosophically I tend to support free speech so I've never flagged anybody, but now I'm wondering if that's the only way to establish parity.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 6:32 PM on May 14, 2012


How would you recommend I correct people when this happens, ie, I'm utterly misrepresented by somebody else telling me "You said X" when actually I said Y, and they only thought I said X because their own minds draw a false correlation between the two?

My advice in general there is maybe correcting it once, briefly, as a "I didn't say X, I said Y", and if they can't figure that out then just walk away from that back and forth. If someone's really not reading you right, sometimes that's something to just let go and make your peace with instead of dragging out a side-argument in a thread that everyone else has to sit through.

More generally, I feel like you just need to try throttling it back some, because this feels like a thing where you're entrenching and then not letting things cool down. And whether or not it's actually your intent to make threads where that happens be all about you, that's the effect it's having, and it's not a good one. I'd strongly recommend you just take a breather from that thread in particular and maybe from arguing with people on mefi in general for a few days and let thing settle down.

If after that you're still feeling like there's something specific you need help figuring out, we're happy to try and talk that out with you, but it feels sort of counterproductive to try and detail this stuff when it feels like you're sort of keeping on digging into arguments while also wanting to know how to not have this stuff go badly. "Stop digging" is pretty much step one.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:52 PM on May 14, 2012


There is the possibility that people were not understanding the point you were trying to make because you weren't expressing yourself clearly. The professor whose office is next to mine has a PhD in Rhetoric. She teaches writing. Imagine the utility in somebody gaining that skill and getting paid a living wage to teach people how to express themselves clearly.
posted by hydropsyche at 7:49 PM on May 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


I guess I just feel like there's something inherently arrogant in basically saying "Well, I think it should be the responsibility of the people submitting comments to be more logical." EVERYONE thinks they're logical. . . . I may not know (or care) much about feelings, but I do know logic, and I know that comments like the first aforementioned one are ways to circumvent it.

So everyone thinks they're logical but they're actually illogical--except for you, you are Logic Paragonman. Can't wait to examine your logical arguments.

Is this obliviousness natural, or did you have to get a PhD to develop it?

Huh, I think that's just an insult, not a stunning logical argument. Let's try again.

You could totally demolish those arguments if you wanted to, but you're much too busy having profound intellectual thoughts to minister to us poor benighted souls. Maybe when we humbly visit the mountaintop you're living on and bring a tablet to inscribe your wisdom upon, then you'll see fit to share the crushing burden of your knowledge.

. . . Hmm, that's not any kind of logical argument, that's also just an insult! Surely these are flukes?

I also make sure apologize when I say something illogical or extreme (as you would notice if you read the thread in more detail).

But I notice you haven't apologized for the two above insults, despite their extreme implication that the poster is so oblivious they required a PhD to attain their level of obliviousness! But insulting someone on the Internet over an Internet argument without apologizing is almost like you're being irrationally angry, but you'd never be angry because that would be illogical and interfere with your Spock-ness, right?!

Conventions and traditions often have very little logic to them, except as a social tool for old-timers to subtly impose their personal views on newcomers. That just won't work for me. Metafilter is a very left-leaning site, and I don't feel like changing my political views just because Metafilter veterans are largely Democrats. I also think it's crappy how certain left-wing assumptions like "Adam Smith's invisible hand is OBVIOUSLY wrong" go unchallenged even though no factual reason is given for this claim, whereas any right-wing statement is piled upon.


Crap, these also aren't so much logical arguments as they are sweeping assumptions based solely on your personal interactions with members of the site and your subsequent negative feelings leading to you lashing out against said members!

and didn't call me an illogical boor simply because you disagreed with my political leanings

Shit this is another sweeping assumption!

Wolfdreams01, where are the logical arguments? All I'm seeing are a mix of assumptions and passive-aggressive attacks couched in the explanation that your viewpoint is superior because of logic skills that you have yet to demonstrate. I am kind of worried that you may not actually be as logical as you're claiming, and maybe all the arguments about your Spock-ness is the kind of thing young people get into somewhere in their late teens when they're trying to prove to the world they're counterculture and better than everyone else! But I'm sure this is not the case so maybe you can clarify your training in epistimology and reasoning a bit better.

Point 1) How would you recommend I correct people when this happens, ie, I'm utterly misrepresented by somebody else telling me "You said X" when actually I said Y, and they only thought I said X because their own minds draw a false correlation between the two?

Attacking someone over grammatical errors rather than providing clarification of your statement? That almost sounds . . . illogical.
posted by schroedinger at 8:49 PM on May 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


You pointy eared, green-blooded hobgoblin, haven't you an ounce of human feeling?
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 9:08 PM on May 14, 2012 [6 favorites]


It's his revenge for all those arguments he's lost.
posted by zarq at 9:43 AM on May 15, 2012


Can someone make a Greasemonkey plugin that checks if there's a full stop after an instance of the word "illogical" and inserts a ", Captain" before the punctuation?
posted by griphus at 10:11 AM on May 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


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