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Flagged as Bad/Good Deletion May 12, 2012 11:43 AM   Subscribe

I suggest that it might be useful to implement the ability to flag deleted posts as "bad deletion" (and possibly "good deletion"). This would be a harmless way for users to show their distaste at (or favor of) a deletion without starting yet another Meta thread on the subject.

As with normal flagging, the mods would not be obligated to act on or disclose the flags, but could use them as fairly drama-free form of community input. The numbers wouldn't be immediately useful, but over time the mods would get a feel for what is standard pushback against a deletion, and what is a genuine outlier that indicates a large amount of resentment.
posted by gilrain to Feature Requests at 11:43 AM (151 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

I think it'd make more sense for folks to just drop us a line via the contact form when they want to let us know how they feel about a deletion; better than a flag since it gives us some rationale on what's likely to be a slightly nuanced thing.

And for what it's worth that's something that does happen regularly already. Would be fine if more folks chose to do so, certainly, but the system is already basically working in that respect.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:49 AM on May 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Past history has shown that MetaTalk (and contact form email) pretty much serves this purpose already, letting users say that was a bad deletion and let's discuss why.

Was there a specific post that prompted this idea?
posted by mathowie (staff) at 11:50 AM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


mathowie: Was there a specific post that prompted this idea?

Fair enough, to both you and cortex, of course.

There wasn't a triggering post, actually. In fact, I nearly always agree with the deletions here. It just occurred to me that this could reduce the discussion of deletions while still allowing users to vent and mods to get feedback. If the team is happy with the current feedback options, though, then obviously there is no need.
posted by gilrain at 11:56 AM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, as long as we're at it, why was #115868 deleted?
posted by Nomyte at 11:58 AM on May 12, 2012 [8 favorites]


I've achieved the opposite of my intent! I should have anticipated this. ;)
posted by gilrain at 12:01 PM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Write a browser plugin that posts all your favorites to a database, then run a cronjob that e-mails the mods for every post that has since been deleted.

While you're at it, write a browser plugin that posts all your flags (except fantastic) to a database, then run a cron that e-mails the mods for every flag that hasn't resulted in a deletion within 24 hours.
posted by michaelh at 12:40 PM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I mean, don't actually do that, but you know.
posted by michaelh at 12:42 PM on May 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Well, as long as we're at it, why was #115868 deleted?

Actually I'm curious about that too. I assume there's information in play that we users don't know about, but it's all so mysterious :-)
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 12:54 PM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yes, I was surprised by the deletion of #115868, which was a thin post but not obviously deletion-worthy.
posted by verstegan at 1:03 PM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Voicing disagreement about a deletion is meaningless if mods never undo a deletion. It doesn’t matter what anyone thinks about a choice the mods would never reverse.
posted by joeclark at 1:03 PM on May 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'll tell you one I'm not at all happy about that restless_nomad did just a few minutes ago, the Game Over for the Climate FPP.

r_n's stated reason:

This post was deleted for the following reason: Single-link op-eds are not usually great FPP material, and this one isn't really rising above. -- restless_nomad

In fact, this op-ed, which appeared in the NYT several days ago, is by James Hansen, who is almost certainly the most prominent, important, and well-respected climate scientist in the world.

Hansen is an employee of the federal government, and his op-ed contains some of the strongest public criticism of a sitting President I have ever seen a federal employee make, much less make on the editorial page of the most important newspaper in the world. This alone raises it far above the general level of op-eds in any publication.

The Bush administration was so frightened of Hansen that they wouldn't let him testify before Congress without a minder.

Moreover, the editorial is full of links which are quite interesting in their own right, rendering the criticism that it's only a single link irrelevant and inapplicable, and contains very significant information which is new to me, at least, and I have been following the issue of Global Warming fairly closely. Such as:
The global warming signal is now louder than the noise of random weather, as I predicted would happen by now in the journal Science in 1981. Extremely hot summers have increased noticeably. We can say with high confidence that the recent heat waves in Texas and Russia, and the one in Europe in 2003, which killed tens of thousands, were not natural events — they were caused by human-induced climate change.
and
Canada’s tar sands, deposits of sand saturated with bitumen, contain twice the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by global oil use in our entire history.
And you couldn't ask for a more authoritative source.

I think this is a bad deletion for a stated reason which is absurd on its face.
posted by jamjam at 1:04 PM on May 12, 2012 [6 favorites]


Re: 115868 What was the problem. I found that a very interesting read, both the posts and the comments especially jack-mo 's comment and the info about Tails which I had never heard of.
Belle de Jour and Nightjack were quite a big deals in the UK eapecially as the Scumday Times
( another Murdoch Publication) hacked Richard Horton's email to out him.
posted by adamvasco at 1:10 PM on May 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


It was probably deleted after getting über flagged. People wanted it deleted.
posted by Brocktoon at 1:15 PM on May 12, 2012


My guess is that "not really okay" is a coded "we think this is a self-link/friend-link but don't want to out you".
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 1:20 PM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Re: 115868 What was the problem.

I wonder if there's a self-link/friend-link in there and Cuppatea's getting the benefit of the doubt as a relatively new user?
posted by jack_mo at 1:22 PM on May 12, 2012


I too am wondering what the problem was there. Was the post construed as encouraging or assisting in the outing of bloggers who would prefer to be anonymous?
posted by Scientist at 1:25 PM on May 12, 2012


Cuppatea's getting the benefit of the doubt as a relatively new user

Cuppatea joined in 2001.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 1:27 PM on May 12, 2012


Cuppatea joined in 2001, so not exactly new by a long way. but this was his/her first post in over ten years.
posted by adamvasco at 1:31 PM on May 12, 2012


cuppatea linked to sexnomics in earlier posts and mentioned growing up in Clearwater, which is where Brooke grew up. Likely someone found out it was a self-link. She/he's not banned so maybe not though.
posted by neustile at 1:32 PM on May 12, 2012


And never really all that active in the first place.
posted by LionIndex at 1:34 PM on May 12, 2012


I'll tell you one I'm not at all happy about that restless_nomad did just a few minutes ago, the Game Over for the Climate FPP.

OTOH, that link would fit fine in the open thread on the Rolling Stone interview which Hansen was responding to, or the fresh thread on fossil fuel subsidies.
posted by homunculus at 1:40 PM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I suppose I should point out that the quotation from Hansen's piece I put second in my comment is factually incorrect:

Canada’s tar sands, deposits of sand saturated with bitumen, contain twice the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by global oil use in our entire history.

I'm sure he meant to say 'contain the potential for twice the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by global oil use in our entire history.'
posted by jamjam at 1:51 PM on May 12, 2012


If it's that important to you, make a MeTa about it, rather than complaining about it in one that has nothing to do with the issue.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:54 PM on May 12, 2012


> Voicing disagreement about a deletion is meaningless if mods never undo a deletion. It doesn’t matter what anyone thinks about a choice the mods would never reverse.

You know they've undeleted a bunch of posts, right? Anyway, why do you keep coming here if all you do is bitch?
posted by Burhanistan at 1:57 PM on May 12, 2012 [10 favorites]


Before I could move on, I realized I had to flag this little brazed-on clip on my bicycle frame. Why, you ask?

It guides the brake lines.
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:58 PM on May 12, 2012 [6 favorites]


yeah, posts have totally been undeleted. and now for a humorous walk down memory mod lane - keystone kops.
posted by nadawi at 2:19 PM on May 12, 2012


Cuppatea joined in 2001.

Oops, I just saw '5 posts , 24 comments' and assumed new person.

cuppatea linked to sexnomics in earlier posts and mentioned growing up in Clearwater, which is where Brooke grew up.

And this 2001 post by cuppatea links to Brooke's old linkblog, Methylsalicylate.

Without getting too stalkerish and linking to lots of old comments, it seems really quite likely that cuppatea is indeed Brooke Magnanti.
posted by jack_mo at 2:22 PM on May 12, 2012


What the internet is missing is options for outraged people to express themselves.
posted by EatTheWeak at 2:25 PM on May 12, 2012 [9 favorites]


it seems really quite likely that cuppatea is indeed Brooke Magnanti.

"How to get and stay anonymous," indeed.
posted by Cortes at 2:30 PM on May 12, 2012 [6 favorites]


jamjam, an FPP on a hot-button issue requires more than "Here's a link." That was a good deletion.
posted by Etrigan at 2:34 PM on May 12, 2012


That is too funny.
posted by Edogy at 2:35 PM on May 12, 2012


"How to get and stay anonymous," indeed.

Heh.

I feel slightly odd tracking down Belle de Jour's other secret identity (it definitely is her, FWIW - she's used the cuppatea alias elsewhere on the web linked to her real name).
posted by jack_mo at 2:38 PM on May 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Conspicuously cage deletion reason is probably intentionally so, yes. Would be nice if people would run with that sort of thing.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:44 PM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


it seems really quite likely that cuppatea is indeed Brooke Magnanti.

Then she should be banned. That's a shitty thing to do, let alone more than once - we've banned users for less.
posted by smoke at 2:44 PM on May 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


Conspicuously cage deletion reason is probably intentionally so, yes. Would be nice if people would run with that sort of thing.

Fair enough. How come she's not banned, though? The deleted post is a cut and dried self-link, and the one from 2001 is iffy too (a via link to her own site).
posted by jack_mo at 2:51 PM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


"cage"? Stupid iPhone.

Banning people as soon as possible is not really our top priority even if we expect it might be the outcome, basically.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:53 PM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't understand. There is one rule. Apply the one rule if it applies. Don't if it doesn't.
posted by Nomyte at 2:58 PM on May 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


michaelh: "Write a browser plugin that posts all your favorites to a database, then run a cronjob that e-mails the mods for every post that has since been deleted. While you're at it, write a browser plugin that posts all your flags (except fantastic) to a database, then run a cron that e-mails the mods for every flag that hasn't resulted in a deletion within 24 hours."

That's exactly what I came in here to say. In fact, I'm a bit surprised this thread is still open, given the fact that there's an easy solution that any user can implement for themselves in a few minutes.
posted by koeselitz at 3:00 PM on May 12, 2012


Self links don't always result in bannings. When someone is considered to have been plausibly acting in good faith but with a misunderstanding of the rules, they are usually just given a stern talking-to wherein the rules are explained more clearly and the user is put on notice. I guess that's what happened here.

Why the cageiness about it, though? Is there a particular reason for not informing the userbase that the post was a self-link and that the poster is hereby informed that they should Never Do That Again, or else suffer a no-questions-asked banning? That is the way that it's usually been handled in the past to my knowledge, when someone makes a self-link post that for whatever reason doesn't merit the full bannination handed out to spammers and such.

It's the sort of thing that would make one wonder if the mods had a personal connection to the self-linker, or something like that. I generally consider Team Mod to be beyond reproach around here, so I'm reaching for another reason why you would be cagey about the deletion reason. I can't think of one, though. Sorry to keep harping on this, but what's the deal?

I realize this is kind of tempest-in-a-teapot already, and I really don't mean to go all Spanish Inquisition on you, I'm just sort of bemused.
posted by Scientist at 3:02 PM on May 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Banning people as soon as possible is not really our top priority even if we expect it might be the outcome, basically.

Ah, okay.

I'm amused that she used her other account, methylsalicylate, to post a link to a site (now dead) with a 'cuppatea' subdomain, squaring the self-linky circle.

At this point I wouldn't be surprised if she also turned out to be jenleigh.
posted by jack_mo at 3:02 PM on May 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Nomyte: "I don't understand. There is one rule. Apply the one rule if it applies. Don't if it doesn't."

There is in fact no unbreakable rule on this web site. Even the rule against self-links has been broken more than once, and that was allowed by mathowie of all people. Accepting and forgiving is better than strict and unstinting.

Also, when a deletion reason is obviously and blatantly engineered toward being discreet, apparently in order to be sensitive about some aspect of that deletion reason, I would propose that demanding to know the backstory publicly in the middle of an unrelated MeTa thread is kind of unnecessary and unwise, particularly given the fact that there are private ways to ask the mods this question if you truly must know.
posted by koeselitz at 3:06 PM on May 12, 2012 [9 favorites]


Yeah, fair enough koeselitz. It just seemed like a really odd deletion that really jumped out at me, and I guess at some others too. And it still seems odd even though I now know more about what was going on. I wouldn't have brought it up here, but when people started talking about it I figured I'd register my voice in the chorus. I'll leave it off now myself, maybe someone else will make a MeTa about it, maybe not, I don't need to know that badly.
posted by Scientist at 3:10 PM on May 12, 2012


Wow it's just like that move were River Phoenix' parents get a message from Karla in a dead fish and Sydney Poitier has really white teeth.
posted by Brocktoon at 3:22 PM on May 12, 2012


I don't see why we suddenly can't talk/ask about a deletion because the deletion reason is "discreet", koeselitz. If the mods don't want to tell us they can just not tell us.
posted by the young rope-rider at 3:24 PM on May 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


Conspicuously cage deletion reason is probably intentionally so, yes. Would be nice if people would run with that sort of thing.

Mathowie specifically asked if there was a deletion the OP was wondering about. Not a huge surprise for other people to then ask about a recent deletion with an unclear reason.
posted by John Cohen at 4:20 PM on May 12, 2012


Also, when a deletion reason is obviously and blatantly engineered toward being discreet, apparently in order to be sensitive about some aspect of that deletion reason, I would propose that demanding to know the backstory publicly in the middle of an unrelated MeTa thread is kind of unnecessary and unwise

Her MeMail is turned on. A mod leaving an obscure message in a place only read by the most curious of users was hardly the most discreet way to deal with the situation.

I mean, it's not like we have our own enthusiastic detective squad or anything.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 4:23 PM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


It doesn’t matter what anyone thinks about a choice the mods would never reverse.

That depends on whether you believe the mods are behaving in good faith or not. Beside the fact that they do reverse themselves on occasion, feedback on today's deletion can affect the decision to delete tomorrow.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 4:26 PM on May 12, 2012


an obscure message in a place only read by the most curious of users

FWIW, Google Reader seems to poll the MeFi RSS feed frequently enough to catch most posts before they get deleted.

Usually it's obvious before clicking through to MeFi which ones will be deleted -- spammy or lightweight or hot-buttony single-linky with low comment counts. It's like a Be Your Own Moderator game.

But anyway: for me it's not normally super-curiosity that brings me to deleted posts (and deletion reasons); just my normal RSS-driven reading habits.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 4:43 PM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Personally, I love that there is discussion of deleted topics. It's how we grow as a community. If one doesn't want to read yet another post on the subject, then they just don't have to click the link. It's just that easy. There's no need to regulate everything to death.

I've never once felt opinionated about a deletion one way or the other, but I was so curious about the #115868 deletion that I actually used the contact form to ask why before realizing I should come to MetaTalk. "It's not really okay" isn't specific and would make anyone naturally curious as to the nature of the broken rule.

If it's true what's being said about a self-post and it's not just hot buttered rumor, then.. yeah, OK.
posted by trixare4kids at 5:05 PM on May 12, 2012


Her MeMail is turned on. A mod leaving an obscure message in a place only read by the most curious of users was hardly the most discreet way to deal with the situation.

Maybe this is me overthinking it or something, but as I see it we have four choices when there's something sort of weird involved in a post that we don't want (usually just for reasons of being a little discreet) to broadcast to the world:

1. Delete without mentioning that at all. Fine when the post is awful on the face of it, not when the post seems otherwise fine.

2. Delete without a reason. Not an option really, people would notice and be like WTF.

3. Lie. Not an option, period.

4. Try to be discreet and hope people take the hint and let us handle whatever is up on the assumption that we are thinking about what we're doing.

So, weird stuff with no obvious cover tends to get something in the vein of that last option. Mefimailing the poster is a side issue; we have to choose a deletion reason regardless. And it's not bulletproof, because people here are observant and curious and there's not really any firm "don't be indiscreet about apparent guidelines violation" rule, but, yeah, it'd be nice if folks could sort of stop and think for a second that if we're keeping a close eye on stuff and choose not to do the public declaration of wrongdoing thing that maybe it'd be better to skip the Scooby Squad stuff in public and just inquire over email if they want to know what's up or need confirmation-or-not on a hunch.

Not a huge deal, but we're not big into drama and things that minimize it are generally a good idea all else being equal.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:06 PM on May 12, 2012 [6 favorites]


the young rope-rider: "I don't see why we suddenly can't talk/ask about a deletion because the deletion reason is "discreet", koeselitz. If the mods don't want to tell us they can just not tell us."

I'm not really thinking in terms of "can't" here, as I said above. I'm only noting that the deletion reason made it pretty clear that they didn't want to tell us. But there's really no ban on talking about any given subject. Everything is permitted, not everything is beneficial, like the man said.
posted by koeselitz at 5:21 PM on May 12, 2012


But there's really no ban on talking about any given subject.

Off the top of my head, I can think of two topics that we're both not allowed to talk about and not allowed to talk about the fact that we're not allowed to talk about them.
posted by longtime_lurker at 5:27 PM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Both of those topics are more along the lines of "Please don't cause trouble for the site by talking about that stuff in public" We'll talk about any of it over email & you know how to find us.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:37 PM on May 12, 2012


In future cases like this I would prefer to see a deletion notice to the effect of "this post is problematic for reasons we prefer not to disclose in public, please contact the mods if you have questions." Whether or not it's reasonable, a veiled message makes me think that the moderators are not being entirely honest with me and the user community at large.
posted by Nomyte at 6:03 PM on May 12, 2012 [16 favorites]


"Voicing disagreement about a deletion is meaningless if mods never undo a deletion. It doesn’t matter what anyone thinks about a choice the mods would never reverse."

That's not true, even if the mods hadn't sometimes undeleted. Past complaints can influence future actions.
posted by klangklangston at 6:29 PM on May 12, 2012


Off the top of my head, I can think of two topics that we're both not allowed to talk about and not allowed to talk about the fact that we're not allowed to talk about them.

You do realize that you have just locked my brain into an endless loop, right?

--> Must ask what they are.

--> Can't ask what they are.

--> Must ask what they are.

...
posted by Forktine at 6:44 PM on May 12, 2012 [17 favorites]


Well, if someone does know what they are, can you MeMail me and tell me what they are? I promise not to break the seal by mentioning them on the actual site, but I have been here on and off for a long time and I honestly have no idea whatsoever what these could possibly be.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:20 PM on May 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


Unless it's a stacking effect thing, like hipster feminist academics circumcising obese declawed Christian Tea Party kittens in North Korea.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:21 PM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


END SIGNA
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:21 PM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Whether or not it's reasonable, a veiled message makes me think that the moderators are not being entirely honest with me and the user community at large.

I honestly don't know what to say other than that if you otherwise trust us to know what we're doing and to be straightforward and transparent as much as we can, but suddenly start wondering because of the phrasing of a deletion reason, you are putting far too much weight on the phrasing of deletion reasons. I chewed on how best to go there with this one a bit before I went with that, which I felt was reasonably decent as far as being obviously sort of tiptoeing around the issue in a way that should signal to folks who cared that this was better as an email thing than a public discussion thing.

We try to walk some fine lines sometimes to both be communicative to the userbase and also be a little on the cautious/respectful side about identity or privacy stuff with people who aren't like shitheel driveby spammers. Some of these feel like sort of no-win situations, but I'd at least expect the benefit of the doubt.

Also, as far as the very rare and really mostly not even very interesting things we don't feel like having people rehash on the site, it mostly comes down to crazy people being crazy and us not wanting to invite any extra crazy into our personal lives or into Metafilter's business. If you've never dealt with serious crazy, you have my envy; it may make for awesome gossip but it makes for lousy actually-dealing-with.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:36 PM on May 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


I have been here on and off for a long time and I honestly have no idea whatsoever what these could possibly be.

I'm pretty sure I know what one is. I have no idea as to the other. I don't care and I'm not going to trouble the moderators with an email, but yeah, just for the knowledge of newer users: Whatever these things are, they aren't obvious to everybody who signed up before you.

This "mystery" talk happens in MeTa, and unfortunately it's something you have to get used to.
posted by cribcage at 7:39 PM on May 12, 2012


maybe it'd be better to skip the Scooby Squad stuff

yeah, right.
posted by PugAchev at 7:55 PM on May 12, 2012


The weird thing to me is that the contact form really works very well when you actually use it.

Like, I'm all about the vigorous flagging and moving on, or at least trying to move on by means of looking at an endless variety of cute cats until it's past my bedtime and hey, I've forgotten what I was mad about. But when I have used the contact form, I got results in astoundingly quick fashion, and the mods were cheerful and understanding while going about helping me, and it was extremely professional and fulfilling and so forth. I'm not impossibly difficult to please, but I really do think this is one of the most satisfying consumer experiences I have on a semi-regular basis, you know?

You'd think the contact form was a sucking black hole of doom into which desperate pleas disappeared, never to be seen or heard from again, the way people behave sometimes.
posted by SMPA at 8:06 PM on May 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


Yeah, I've sent the mods random questions about things (not at all gripes or pressing issues or anything) and they've invariably responded in good time.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:11 PM on May 12, 2012


I can also testify to the contact form being an amazingly expedient way to experience precisely how spoiled we are as a userbase. Fast, courteous, informative responses, as if they weren't already doing a million other things.

MetaFilter isn't like other sites, and way the contact form is handled is one of the big pluses that prove it again and again.
posted by batmonkey at 8:21 PM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Whether or not it's reasonable, a veiled message makes me think that the moderators are not being entirely honest with me and the user community at large.

As cortex said we have to draw a line sometimes and people are going to pick at it no matter where we draw it. In this case we had some questions about the post that we needed to talk to with the OP and we felt it was significantly less transparent to make up some other deletion reason, especially if people asked us about it. You'll also see this very rarely in AskMe when we think someone has skirted the seven day limit with a sock puppet. We need to talk to them and straighten things out and if folks in the community, of the super-small subset who read deletion reasons, have questions we trust them to contact us to ask.

At some level we are as transparent as we reasonably can be and still run this community. That doesn't mean that everyone gets every detail about everything. It means, usually, that you trust us to make effective decisions when discretion is called for and that you trust us to let folks know what's up in a private way if doing so publicly causes problems. This is something that happens so rarely that we don't have any more of a system for it than that. We appreciate your patience.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:24 PM on May 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


In future cases like this I would prefer to see a deletion notice to the effect of "this post is problematic for reasons we prefer not to disclose in public, please contact the mods if you have questions."

I'm not sure what you're missing when a deletion reason is specifically addressed towards the creator of the post and doesn't explicitly state the problem. That's an obvious "there's a problem here with the original poster and we need to talk to them about it"
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:47 PM on May 12, 2012


I honestly don't know what to say other than that if you otherwise trust us to know what we're doing and to be straightforward and transparent as much as we can, but suddenly start wondering because of the phrasing of a deletion reason, you are putting far too much weight on the phrasing of deletion reasons.

Well, that's not entirely fair either. I suggested one way the deletion could have been phrased so that it was vague and, at the same time, innocuous. I realize that you have no reason to consult with me on any topic. I offered feedback and explained how I felt. As a site moderator, it is entirely up to you to take (or not take) users' feedback into account.

I understand the need for discretion and judiciousness, but, as you can understand, I am wary of unilateral decision-making. Although I'm sure the moderators have the site's best interests in mind, contentious decisions are exactly that — contentious. There is usually no reason to be discreet with a straightforward issue.

I understand that I am being uncharitable, but making a difficult decision unilaterally and then posting a veiled message and suggesting that it's best not to ask disturbs me more than a little, and suggests that the mods and I may not be on the same page regarding site stewardship.
posted by Nomyte at 8:49 PM on May 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah, every time I've used the contact form a mod has responded via email very quickly. Usually within 10 minutes -- even if just to say, "That's a question for pb, who will look into it as soon as he's awake." Their accessibility is kind of amazing.
posted by zarq at 8:57 PM on May 12, 2012


1) Their job is to make unilateral decisions at times and 2) you can use the contact form as has been mentioned multiple times.

This is not a difficult situation to understand. There is no reason to make it so.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:01 PM on May 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


I understand the need for discretion and judiciousness, but, as you can understand, I am wary of unilateral decision-making.

It is literally our job to make decisions. That's why Matt employs us. And wary as we are of violating the "why wasn't I consulted" principle about major site changes, of pulling the rug out from folks here with sudden disruptive redirections of site policy or operations, deleting a post is not something that rises to that level.

And, again, if you need to ask you can do so. We have email, we have a contact form. At the end of the day, we have Metatalk for this stuff too even in the situations where we think it'd be a more reasonable move for folks to follow the implications of a bit of discretion and skip publicly chatting about something in favor of inquiring privately. We're not trying to pull wool over anyone's eyes or refuse to discuss stuff that someone's concerned about.

So, I dunno. Yes, I think you're being seriously uncharitable. This does not feel like a thing where there is a real problem in terms of how moderation works or where there's a reasonable complaint about the actual level of transparency in moderation here; I feel like we're consistently pretty extraordinarily transparent compared to pretty much everywhere else I've spent time a user, and that's something that's actually pretty important to me.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:01 PM on May 12, 2012 [9 favorites]


Metafilter: Weighing merits of a deletion of your contribution, whether comment or FPP, are not at the whim of a Democracy despite the accolades of meritocracy the favorites might imply.
posted by vozworth at 9:01 PM on May 12, 2012


Metafilter: So, I dunno.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:03 PM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


It is literally our job to make decisions. That's why Matt employs us.

Holy shit, I never realized it... cortex is the decider!
posted by Meatbomb at 9:07 PM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


In future cases like this I would prefer to see a deletion notice to the effect of "this post is problematic for reasons we prefer not to disclose in public, please contact the mods if you have questions."

I agree 100% with the above. It's a balance thing, sure, but cortex's framing seems needlessly coy. Just a tiny bit more explicitness in the deletion reason, while still honoring the tentative nature of the suspicions, would have been much better.

Users shouldn't have to email the mods to understand how deletion works here.
posted by mediareport at 9:17 PM on May 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


I understand that I am being uncharitable, but....

....I'm frankly surprised that someone could even follow up the observation "I understand that I am being uncharitable" WITH a "but". If you have the self-insight sufficient to realize "Huh, I'm kinda being uncharitable," usually that's where you stop.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:25 PM on May 12, 2012 [11 favorites]


Not if you think the person you're addressing doesn't deserve charity. But then I suppose you'd be unlikely to offer the disclaimer in the first place. Maybe if you're ambivalent about whether charity is warranted?
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 9:31 PM on May 12, 2012


Just a tiny bit more explicitness in the deletion reason, while still honoring the tentative nature of the suspicions, would have been much better.

Could you explain how it would be better? I do not understand what the problem is and am curious what it is.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:35 PM on May 12, 2012


Users shouldn't have to email the mods to understand how deletion works here.

Generally speaking, I agree. Generally speaking, they don't have to. Occasional weird exceptions arise that don't jibe perfectly with generalities.

That said, I honestly don't read the suggested alternate deletion as any less coy than the one I actually ran with. Both (a) make it clear that there's a problem and (b) decline to explain what that problem is. I'm not making any claim that the deletion reason as written is perfect, but the alternate seems to have the exact same problems in terms of conspicuously avoided information, which makes sense because in both cases the only reason the specific rationale is not included is a pretty strongly implied intentional move toward discretion.

Barring a "never be discreet" policy on deletion reasons, I don't see an actual general solution to this sort of (again, rare, odd) case.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:36 PM on May 12, 2012


I think you're being seriously uncharitable. This does not feel like a thing where there is a real problem in terms of how moderation works or where there's a reasonable complaint about the actual level of transparency in moderation here; I feel like we're consistently pretty extraordinarily transparent compared to pretty much everywhere else I've spent time a user, and that's something that's actually pretty important to me.

I apologize for my lack of charity. I've explained how I feel and offered feedback. If you think my feedback is unreasonable, it's entirely sensible to disregard it. I am by no means demanding an across-the-board change in site policy. I am generally very leery of moderation, but MetaFilter is the best-moderated online community I've been a part of. The moderators here practice wonderful restraint and judgment. They are responsive and make themselves very accessible. I am generally very happy with my experience here. This is why this particular incident seems so out of the ordinary and counter to my experience, and why I expressed my feelings about it in the first place. I offered an alternative that I would've been happier with. You graciously explained your rationale. I am happy with the exchange.
posted by Nomyte at 10:26 PM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


4. Try to be discreet and hope people take the hint and let us handle whatever is up on the assumption that we are thinking about what we're doing.

Well I do apologize for being one of the hintless this evening, but I gotta say: I can not imagine that strategy working very often with this particular crowd.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 10:43 PM on May 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


Well I do apologize for being one of the hintless this evening, but I gotta say: I can not imagine that strategy working very often with this particular crowd.

It's fraught with peril, yeah. It tends to work best when we can be right on top of the followup to give a gentle "no, really, maybe just leave it" nudge, but I was watching a parade in the sunshine on a Saturday afternoon when it suddenly became a topic of conversation in a random Metatalk thread, and, so, oh well.

Again, not a huge deal and I get that folks around here are the keen-eyed and inquisitive types so it's often more just hoping for the best than anything when it's tantalizing mystery vs. a bit of discretion, but we still try to do right by folks (even folks who seem to have done something uncool) as far as the discretion thing when we're able and it seems like there might be some decent reason for it.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:57 PM on May 12, 2012


I must admit that I find it odd that a self-link got treated with kid gloves. I'm fairly confident that a self-link from me would've gotten my ass banned and the URL changed to example.com.

But then I'm not Internet Famous. A different set of rules for a long-time user who has apparently self-linked more than just this last time, and for us lowly non-famous folk?

I do trust cortex and all the other admins, and the deletion reason doesn't bother me one whit. Letting a self-link slide because the poster in question is somehow "notable," though, frankly smells a bit.
posted by chimaera at 11:06 PM on May 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


chimaera, you're the only person who has used the word "notable" on this page. No one has suggested that reason except you. A much likelier reason is that there exists reasonable, but not overwhelming suspicion that this was a self-link. Although that kind of reasoning didn't work for the Mael brothers…
posted by Nomyte at 11:17 PM on May 12, 2012


I'm not aware of any deletions where the reason was "we're suspicious that this may be a self-link." My understanding is that sufficiently-sneaky self-links probably happen periodically and get left up, though the admins might keep a close eye on the suspected self-linker in the future. And when there's enough suspicion to delete a thread for a self-link, the URL gets changed to example.com and the user would have to ask kindly for reinstatement, if it's forthcoming at all.
posted by chimaera at 11:31 PM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Late to the discussion, and without a huge dog in this fight... but I think it a notionally good idea, and even after trying I fail to see any harm in it.
posted by jjjjjjjijjjjjjj at 11:37 PM on May 12, 2012


chimaera: It's got nothing to do with the poster being "notable". They let it slide because she's a long-time user and not a spammer. It's hardly the first time this has happened, either. And I personally find nothing wrong with it: it's one thing to ban SEO spammers whose only contribution to the site is three throwaway comments and a self link; but outright banning someone who's otherwise an active member of the site is actually counterproductive, since you lose their contribution without gaining anything in return (unless you're a bastard moderator from hell for whom kicking people off the site is the only pleasure in their otherwise miserable existence).
posted by daniel_charms at 11:49 PM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I must admit that I find it odd that a self-link got treated with kid gloves. I'm fairly confident that a self-link from me would've gotten my ass banned and the URL changed to example.com.

Hmm. Having hung around this place a good long while I suspect that you are wrong about that outcome. The infamous "Self link. Banned." deletion reason seems to be reserved for obvious spammers.

People who have been participating on the site in good faith seem to get more leeway.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 11:54 PM on May 12, 2012


Letting a self-link slide because the poster in question is somehow "notable," though, frankly smells a bit.

First, not instantly banning is not the same thing as letting it slide. Sometimes these things play out at less than breakneck pace. With drive by spammers there's generally no need for that, but this isn't that (far more common) case.

Second, none of this has to do with the poster's notability; no one on the mod team has suggested that it does. That doesn't come into it either way.

There are all sorts of bits of private user information that we have structured our policies and moderation practices here around protecting as a matter of principle, because we think its important to try and preserve user privacy in a whole lot of different respects. Please just consider that that remains the case even when someone does something crappy, and that trying to be decent about this stuff necessarily means not explaining the details in public, even if people are curious.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:08 AM on May 13, 2012 [5 favorites]


Isn't this perfect brand new day territory in the "Look you've fucked up" variety, "as you are a valued long time user take another ID forget the $5 and carry on" ?
posted by adamvasco at 1:27 AM on May 13, 2012


Brand New Day is rarely not an option. We even monitor typical super-obvious spammyspamster drive-by offenders who've come back after being banned, just in case they've maybe decided that they wanted to participate normally.
posted by taz (staff) at 2:22 AM on May 13, 2012


I honestly don't read the suggested alternate deletion as any less coy than the one I actually ran with.

FWIW, I don't think the one you used was coy in any way. It was pretty obvious (a) what the reason was (b) that there was some reason why you were handling it this way.

And fuck, it's pretty obvious that it has nothing to do with any kind of "notable"-ity of the poster. It's obviously being handled this way to either protect the site, protect the poster, protect a third party, or some combination thereof.
posted by BurnChao at 3:26 AM on May 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: I've achieved the opposite of my intent!
posted by yoink at 6:52 AM on May 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'm not aware of any deletions where the reason was "we're suspicious that this may be a self-link."

They've probably just escaped your notice. In the past few years we've had a few weird "longtime user posts link that looks really sketchy" situations that we've dealt with not dissimilarly, possibly not with this exact wording but not that differently.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:11 AM on May 13, 2012


The infinite patience of mods with teenagers who have not yet overcome their basic battle with authority never ceases to baffle me. The worst part it that most of the protesters think that they could be mods themselves, as if knowing how to ride a bike would be enough qualification for winning the Tour de France.

I know: it's MetaFilter way. mathowie and mods want it that way. But wow! What calm, what patience, what kindness bestowed on rude people on Sunday morning. I couldn't do it. I couldn't ride one stage of the Tour de France either. Nobody teaches moderation in universities yet, but I know where to find great teachers.
posted by bru at 8:08 AM on May 13, 2012 [12 favorites]



At this point I wouldn't be surprised if she also turned out to be jenleigh.


All these years later and you're still pining for the Dundonian seductress ?
posted by sgt.serenity at 8:10 AM on May 13, 2012


chimaera: "I must admit that I find it odd that a self-link got treated with kid gloves. I'm fairly confident that a self-link from me would've gotten my ass banned and the URL changed to example.com."

My understanding of the situation is this:

Spammers who have expressed no interest in interacting with and being part of our community through posts and comments get insta-banned. They're clearly showing they're not interested in being contributing members.

Members who post a self-link that have shown minimal involvement and have offered contributions to the community in the form of posts or comments seem to get a stern talking to, and the mods do consider banning them on a case by case basis. In other words, they aren't banned instantly. They're initially given the benefit of the doubt. The mods tell them "this is absolutely not okay" and open the lines of communication.

Longterm members that post a self link who have established themselves as part of our community aren't banned instantly either. They're treated in much the same way as a minimally-involved member might.

When we become members here, we agree not to self-link in posts. But the mods still assess each situation individually, in case a member who has shown promise but has posted a self-link might still be salvaged. We are a small community, so it's possible for the mod team to give individual attention to infractions. Feature, not a bug, imnsho.
posted by zarq at 8:22 AM on May 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wait, what? Self-linking (more than once!) isn't an instant ban now? We're supposed to mind-read deletion reasons and realize not to talk about them on metatalk (the subsite specifically for talking about the site)? WTF?

I'm not trying to be an asshole here (and I don't think the mods are being assholes) but people keep acting like this stuff is obvious and apparent. It's really not.
posted by the young rope-rider at 8:30 AM on May 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wait, what? Self-linking (more than once!) isn't an instant ban now? We're supposed to mind-read deletion reasons and realize not to talk about them on metatalk (the subsite specifically for talking about the site)? WTF?

If we can determine that you willfully and knowingly linked to something that you wrote/created then yeah that's still an instaban.

If there's something fishy that we're not totally sure is yours, or if it's a friendslink thing where there appears to be either a big misunderstanding or we can't determine authoritatively that you were trying to self/friendslink we'll usually drop you a note, explain the situation, put you on the watchlist and then keep a close eye on you. Nothing has changed here. No one's supposed to mind read anything.

There's a difference between us stating "We assume you guys will know how this stuff works in all cases" and us stating "We assume you guys will trust us to deal with the edge cases in line with how we've always moderated the site. Please ask if you have questions, but if it seems like we're trying to keep certain things from being easily Googleable, we'd prefer if some of those questions went to email."
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:37 AM on May 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


If we can determine that you willfully and knowingly linked to something that you wrote/created then yeah that's still an instaban.

Is cuppatea then not actually Brooke Magnanti? Because from the viewpoint of someone who doesn't care about this particular situation, it looks like she did exactly that.
posted by Etrigan at 8:43 AM on May 13, 2012


We don't know for 100% certain. We had to talk a bit on the mailing list about whether the information that we had matched closely enough to warrant that conclusion. And it was the weekend, I took an entire day off yesterday and had to get chatting with the other mods to figure out what we know and don't know. And we were still hoping maybe we'd hear from that user so we could have a more useful closure on the whole thing. But that didn't happen so this morning we banned the account.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:45 AM on May 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Streisand Effect strikes again.
posted by NoraCharles at 8:48 AM on May 13, 2012


No one's supposed to mind read anything.

I'm talking about the comments in this thread about the userbase using discretion or the contact form when discussing certain deletion reasons. If it doesn't say that in the deletion reason but we're supposed to figure it out anyway, then yes, we're being asked to mind read. It's not a big deal, but if you want people to use the contact form for questions about something it helps to say "please use the contact form for questions".

It also helps if users are less keen to jump on people every time they say anything that could be construed as remotely critical of the moderation here, but whatever. People gonna people.
posted by the young rope-rider at 8:51 AM on May 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


> I am generally very leery of moderation, but MetaFilter is the best-moderated online community I've been a part of. The moderators here practice wonderful restraint and judgment. They are responsive and make themselves very accessible. I am generally very happy with my experience here.

Then don't poke them with sticks (aka "being uncharitable"). If what I quoted from you truly represents your feelings, you should damn well be charitable.

> The infinite patience of mods with teenagers who have not yet overcome their basic battle with authority never ceases to baffle me.

Yup.
posted by languagehat at 8:52 AM on May 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


If it doesn't say that in the deletion reason but we're supposed to figure it out anyway

In this thread we suggested that people use the contact form for further questions/feedback about deletions in comments one and two, not guess what we were thinking. Very few people need the level of detail that some people prefer about situations like this. We can handle email from those people if they need more than we're willing to share publicly.

Not every single bit of what we do here is okay to discuss in a publicly Googleable forum. When people ask about things that we feel that we can't discuss publicly, we ask them to contact us privately.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:57 AM on May 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


the young rope-rider: "I'm not trying to be an asshole here (and I don't think the mods are being assholes) but people keep acting like this stuff is obvious and apparent. It's really not."

Hold on - you seriously read the phrase "please reach us at the contact form if you're not clear why" and thought they were asking you to ask about it in MetaTalk? I appreciate that sometimes things can be unclear. I agree that nobody should be asked to read minds. But discretion is not an unreasonable request, and moreover discretion is asked for of this community in situations that are much more unclear than this one all the time. In this situation, cortex said right there in the deletion reason that people should use the contact form to ask about this one. People made the leap to assume that that applied only to Cuppatea, not to them, but again, I feel as though that was an unwarranted leap, and with a little consideration it's obvious that it wouldn't even make sense to ask only one person not to make the issue too public.

As for the self-link-banning thing, I really feel that nobody has said this is an absolute and automatic rule before. It's emphasized more than any other rule, but it's also been emphasized that every rule here has some exceptions.

Finally - this seems kind of contentious, so I feel like I should be clear. I think that discretion is sometimes asked of this community - please don't make meta posts wondering about the identity of anonymous askers, etc. The fact that discretion is sometimes asked of this community doesn't mean it's demanded at gunpoint, and it doesn't mean we're required to read minds and know when it's desired or else we are in big trouble. I don't think anybody who asked this question here did a terrible horrible thing for which they should not be forgiven. I am only saying that I think the request for discretion was pretty much explicit in this case, and that I think it would have been wise to comply. But I have been wrong before, and apparently the request was less obvious to others than it seemed to me.
posted by koeselitz at 9:10 AM on May 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


We don't know for 100% certain. ... And we were still hoping maybe we'd hear from that user so we could have a more useful closure on the whole thing. But that didn't happen so this morning we banned the account.

There is something transcendentally ironic about an FPP providing a how-to guide to anonymity turning out to be, shall we say, less than totally anonymous.
posted by Forktine at 9:35 AM on May 13, 2012


Honestly, you've been asked to use the contact form you bunch of unreasonable, authority hating teenagers - how dare you all keep discussing this issue in the publically googable forum known as metatalk ? It's massively disrespectful.
posted by sgt.serenity at 9:40 AM on May 13, 2012


If I did something bonedheadedly revealing (or revealingly boneheaded) on this site I'd be pretty relieved to be admonished with a "coy" deletion reason and a more private followup. I mean Christ, how can one not see the mods' response here as anything other than engendering user trust?
posted by klarck at 10:03 AM on May 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


or if it's a friendslink

I originally read this as friend-slink, a phrase I will now be using to describe secret friends-with-benefits situations.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 10:58 AM on May 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Can I just be sure of something? When we talk about self-linking and friends-linking, we are talking about FPPs, right? Only I know a bunch of people who crop up on MetaFilter intermittently, in various ways: I've never done an FPP about any of them (obvs), but I have probably linked in the thread discussions of things that have been FPPed to things they have written or done, which I thought was OK ... (hoping this is not bringing an instaban hammer down on my head...)

(I was wondering about something like this recently when someone posted an FPP, and then immediately posted the first comment to the thread with a link to their blog, where they had written about the subject matter of the FPP - which wasn't deleted, but felt to me more problematic than e.g links to blog posts or "I wrote something about this" or "my friend John worked on something similar" 30 posts into a discussion would not... but maybe this is about SEO and things of that nature, and FPPs have a huge amount more "google juice" than links in the thread?)
posted by running order squabble fest at 11:33 AM on May 13, 2012


IIRC, comments are fine. FPPs are not.
posted by subbes at 11:37 AM on May 13, 2012


Yeah, self-links in comments are fine as a general thing. Our main provisos there are:

1. Don't be evasive about it. If you're not comfortable saying "here my relationship to this thing I'm linking", it's probably not something you should be linking even if it's otherwise okay. We don't want to feel like people are pulling a fast one on other users and we don't want to be put in the position of mediating the potential outing of your relationship with something you linked to.

2. Don't do it all the damn time. This is mostly an issue with brand new users who sign up to Mefi maybe not quite with spammy intent but still interact with the site mostly as an opportunity to mention and link to their blog/site/business.

So linking now and then to something you, or someone you know, made in a comment where it's relevant to the discussion? Totally fine, best with disclosure of some sort.

My advice on most stuff like that is that if it feels weird, the simplest solution is to give it a pass or drop us a line to ask.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:43 AM on May 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Comments are fine as long as it's not your only site participation and you're not being squirrely about it. When it's a problem, it's people repeatedly dropping links heavy with SEO terms and claiming they just happened across a site rhat it's later revealed that they own or work for the street team of or something.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:44 AM on May 13, 2012


Oh, cool - that's pretty much what I thought.
posted by running order squabble fest at 11:48 AM on May 13, 2012


Yes, comments are totally fine, as detailed in the latest post on my blog. Click here to read the full secrets of Metafilter self links and enter to win a chance to win 25 favorites!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:16 PM on May 13, 2012


teenagers who have not yet overcome their basic battle with authority never ceases to baffle me.

Did I miss the memo about submitting to authority?
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 12:33 PM on May 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


I can't believe I got beaten to the punch on that joke by Brandon. Maybe I can cheer myself up by dancing in front of my webcam, being as I am a hot coed in $town looking to meet $gender just like YOU! Just follow this link, and don't worry about the credit card details request - it's just to make sure you are over $age! That's all! Absolutely no other reason!
posted by running order squabble fest at 12:59 PM on May 13, 2012


Did I miss the memo about submitting to authority?

Nope. You missed the one telling people who have problems with authority that mods are not punching balls.

As klarck has stated it, the question here is about trust. Using this stage for practicing some authority theater is irrelevant.
posted by bru at 2:00 PM on May 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think the mods spend more time than they'd like wearing boggle goggles, agog at the scales of entitlement expressed by a certain segment of the membership.
posted by batmonkey at 2:51 PM on May 13, 2012


Apparently you missed the memo that this is like a social club owned by mathowie and staffed by several lovely people who have the authority to keep people from breaking the glassware and tracking mud on the carpet, which is the authority you agreed to when you bought a five-dollar membership in this social club.

I have certainly told mods when they made decisions I didn't agree with, just as I would tell the staff of a bricks-and-mortar social club that I think they should let children wear bathing suits in the dining room or that it was wrong of them to shut down the Millers' anniversary party for being too loud or whatever. What I wouldn't do is say "Hey, banquet manager, you're not the boss of me!" because I agreed to be part of a context where they were, in certain very specific arenas that I had been aware of before joining the club, the boss of me.
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:44 PM on May 13, 2012 [6 favorites]


This is just the internet.
posted by KogeLiz at 4:14 PM on May 13, 2012


Until you get offended, anyway.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:55 PM on May 13, 2012


mathowie: "Past history has shown ..."
It always amuses me when Americans try to use English ;-)

Being very late to this party, I read through the whole thread with increasing incredulity that a group of people that are, in my opinion, some of the smartest I come across on a regular basis, not only consistently failed to get the message that 'we are dealing with this, we can't talk about it right now and please don't go digging into this situation and publishing your findings' by responding with 'what are you trying to hide?' and 'how dare you exert your authority in a way not approved of by me?' and by digging into the situation and publishing their findings! Fuck me, what is wrong with you people today?
posted by dg at 5:25 PM on May 13, 2012


It's like when that kid pooped on the floor at Denny's.
posted by Burhanistan at 5:41 PM on May 13, 2012


It always amuses me when Americans try to use English ;-)

Really? Because it's fucking annoying when people make snarky comments about other people's minor writing gaffes. OH NO A REDUNDANCY! HOW DROLL!
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:42 PM on May 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


Emergency hug!
posted by Trochanter at 5:43 PM on May 13, 2012


In summary, gilrain, we suspect your idea won't work.
posted by Nomyte at 5:52 PM on May 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


OH NO A REDUNDANCY! HOW DROLL!

Pleonasterical?
posted by RogerB at 5:58 PM on May 13, 2012


Hold on - you seriously read the phrase "please reach us at the contact form if you're not clear why" and thought they were asking you to ask about it in MetaTalk?

No, I didn't think they were asking me to ask about it, I never said that, you didn't quote the entire sentence which was directed at the asker, and you're being condescending jerk.

I appreciate that sometimes things can be unclear. I agree that nobody should be asked to read minds. But discretion is not an unreasonable request, and moreover discretion is asked for of this community in situations that are much more unclear than this one all the time.


My point was that if the mods want discretion, that they should ask for it instead of hinting at it, because cortex's deletion reason was not clear in that regard. Multiple long-time users of this community didn't understand it as a request for discretion.

In this situation, cortex said right there in the deletion reason that people should use the contact form to ask about this one. People made the leap to assume that that applied only to Cuppatea, not to them, but again, I feel as though that was an unwarranted leap, and with a little consideration it's obvious that it wouldn't even make sense to ask only one person not to make the issue too public.

They assumed it applied to cuppatea because it seemed to be specifically addressed to cuppatea. It is very frustrating to me that you're calling people inconsiderate for misinterpreting an ambiguous statement.

I am only saying that I think the request for discretion was pretty much explicit in this case, and that I think it would have been wise to comply. But I have been wrong before, and apparently the request was less obvious to others than it seemed to me.

Apparently the request was not so obvious to some people, yes. I feel like I'm banging my head against a wall here. THAT IS MY WHOLE POINT. I have no idea why this is controversial besides the typical need of some people to defend/suck up to the mods whenever they encounter polite criticism. Jesus.

Fine, you're all way smarter, more considerate, and more appreciative of the moderators than the people who disagree with you. Enjoy.
posted by the young rope-rider at 7:10 PM on May 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


the young rope-rider: "It is very frustrating to me that you're calling people inconsiderate for misinterpreting an ambiguous statement."

Perhaps I'm completely misreading koeselitz, but I believe the phrase "With a little consideration" in this case did not mean, "people are inconsiderate" but rather "with a little careful thought." No?
posted by zarq at 7:21 PM on May 13, 2012


I also did not initially understand the request for discretion and was slightly perturbed by what looked at first to be sort of a gag order regarding the deletion. I would appreciate clearer language in the future, though I understand that cortex thinks he was being perfectly clear and is genuinely confused that some people didn't understand the request. I'm over it now though, and I don't see this as a systemic issue with site moderation or anything. I just wanted to say that the young rope rider is not the only one who didn't get the message upon first reading.
posted by Scientist at 7:25 PM on May 13, 2012


The Mods' word is law. We have no say. I saw we ban bad deletion threads entirely.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:25 PM on May 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


"We?"
posted by NortonDC at 7:42 PM on May 13, 2012


though I understand that cortex thinks he was being perfectly clear and is genuinely confused that some people didn't understand the request.

For what it's worth, I think it was as clear as any effectively vague odd deletion reason situation could be while still being remotely discreet. Again, not claiming it was perfect, just that insofar as it was intended to try and not be DEAR INTERNET AT LARGE, HERE IS A VERY SPECIFIC BIT OF IDENTITY INFORMATION, HAVE FUN WITH THAT in the deletion reason it was doing about all it could do.

Being super duper explicit about a request for discretion is itself functionally pretty indiscreet. It's a catch twenty-two, straight up.

I'm not like angry at anyone for not getting the hint, and I've acknowledged already that I get that working by implication is fraught at best, so it's really not a huge deal. But to the degree that it feels like one of those things where there's a bunch of non-publicly-blurting options to resolving whatever confusion might arise from an unusual deletion reason, I'm gonna still be a little annoyed when public blurting is what folks end up doing. That's about as far as it goes for the most part; not the end of the world, but also not something where I feel like it's unreasonable to be a bit like GUH when things go slightly haywire for not really any great reason.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:44 PM on May 13, 2012


I have no idea why this is controversial besides the typical need of some people to defend/suck up to the mods whenever they encounter polite criticism.

Well, that's a charitable reading.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:50 PM on May 13, 2012


My goodness, how will we know if we're on the winning team without the smug gratification of judging everyone instantly.
posted by desuetude at 9:53 PM on May 13, 2012


Please publish the people to watch list I like to watch
posted by Brocktoon at 10:02 PM on May 13, 2012


The message was a little confusing but well-intentioned, and the people who were confused were also in general well intentioned. We are all trying here.

But mostly I wanted to say that MetaFilter is, in fact, the boss of me. Ooooooh, boss me around a little more, MetaFilter! Now let's all make jokes about how MetaFilter bosses us around!
posted by onlyconnect at 10:02 PM on May 13, 2012


I originally read this as friend-slink

I read it as friend-slunk. It brought to mind the little pet preemie calf I bought from Placenta Juan, the Afterbirth Tycoon.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:33 PM on May 13, 2012


Was about to post to metatalk asking why that particular post was deleted. Damn, am I glad I did a little digging before posting my question.
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 2:22 AM on May 14, 2012


I like MetaFilter.
posted by Packed Lunch at 7:02 AM on May 14, 2012


I was having a truly awful day/night yesterday and I took it out on you, koeselitz. I'm really sorry about that (and sorry to the community at large).
posted by the young rope-rider at 7:52 AM on May 14, 2012


Hope things get better for you, rope-rider.
posted by zarq at 8:18 AM on May 14, 2012


the young rope-rider: "I was having a truly awful day/night yesterday and I took it out on you, koeselitz. I'm really sorry about that (and sorry to the community at large)."

Well, I wasn't as conscious of my tone as I could have been, and reading back over my comments they seem more holier-than-thou than I wish they were. So I am sorry for sounding condescending. You're someone I kind of really like interacting with here, so I really don't want to come across that way.
posted by koeselitz at 9:44 AM on May 14, 2012


Bad, bad, bad idea. Being a mod is hard enough without giving the group enhanced tools to criticize them. I like the current system whereby if you criticize the moderation you have to open yourself to criticism, and more importantly, explain your own criticism.
posted by caddis at 9:59 AM on May 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


"You're someone I kind of really like"

I smell SITCOM!
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:31 AM on May 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


So there is this other site I go to, occasionally, but I don't contribute there, because they have a moderation policy of disaster: they write articles, often inflammatory ones, and if someone disagrees with them in a way they don't like -- which is hard to predict, they are quite inconsistent -- they lifetime-ban the people involved in the discussion, even tangentially, and then write an entire front-page article about the bad people they just banned to maintain the civility of the site, and how they expect nobody else will mention it again, or they will be banned too. It is all quite arbitrary and unpleasant.

There was this other site, too; one used by a lot of folks as a medical support forum. Trouble was, they would often ban folks for random, arbitrary things, and blocking their IP addresses as well, which sounds merely petty until you realize a lot of people were being cut off from their support resource right when they needed support the most. This community often tried to leave, but mail between members was not allowed, and posts featuring names of or links to alternative support sites were immediately deleted, and those persons banned/blocked. I ended up involved in setting up an independent forum for these folks and helping to find and use every loophole to get the community away from there, after which the community voted on someone to run the site and on some mods, and the site was turned over to the community. For my trouble, I was harassed at length by the other forum owner, including DMCA takedown attempts for the forum and for my personal ISP, horrible posts on backwater, neglected forums saying terrible things in my name (years later the google damage still slightly remains), and some lovely personal threats.

My point, if I have one, is that MetaFilter isn't great because they avoid arbitrary decisions or occasional bad choices; as long as it is run by human beings, those things will happen here, as they do everywhere. What makes MetaFilter great is that conversations like this can happen; that bannings don't happen lightly and don't come with a public shaming (unless, of course, one brings it on themselves in a flameout); that you have a voice, and are free to use it, even if you are using it publicly to challenge the site moderators (or each other) or privately to say "hey, let's go make our own site."

There is one big downside that remains, then: a surprisingly robust ability for people to take advantage of the existing policies to, well, be dicks. Or at least be less focused on the community and more focused on their own personal hangups*.

So hey, we all have it good here. Stop burning out the mods' patience; they're expensive to replace, in more ways than one.
posted by davejay at 2:12 PM on May 14, 2012 [5 favorites]


*this word autocorrected to "handguns", and had I not noticed I think the message might have been interpreted somewhat interestingly.
posted by davejay at 2:15 PM on May 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


the young rope-rider: "I was having a truly awful day/night yesterday and I took it out on you, koeselitz. I'm really sorry about that (and sorry to the community at large)."

Yeah, we all have those and yesterday wasn't one of my best either. Kudos for owning up to it.
posted by dg at 3:17 PM on May 14, 2012


....I'm frankly surprised that someone could even follow up the observation "I understand that I am being uncharitable" WITH a "but".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:25 PM on May 12 [11 favorites +] [!]


Eponysterical!
posted by chavenet at 7:30 AM on May 15, 2012


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