Fair Deletion? May 13, 2012 10:14 PM   Subscribe

This was an interestingly selective deletion on the askme Ron Paul thread, no?

So this in this thread here, I made a comment saying Ron Paul voted more liberally on certain things than Democrats.

1) Only Republican to vote against the war in Iraq
2) Generally against U.S. intervention in foreign policy
3) Against the indefinite detention act that Obama signed. (previously on metafilter)

And these are non-minor reasons why people might support him.

This got deleted because:


[If your answer is just about Ron Paul and not about this question, please email it to the OP, this thread is for answers. Thanks.]


But bunch of other, um, other stuff remains? I'm having a hard time discerning between my comment and the other comments in the thread that were really opinions about Ron Paul.

And seriously, I could really give a crap about Ron Paul, but this deletion seems a tad unbalanced.
posted by The ____ of Justice to Etiquette/Policy at 10:14 PM (81 comments total)

The question encouraged a referendum on Ron Paul, and in my opinion may have been a troll, but you still have to try to answer it on AskMe.
posted by michaelh at 10:18 PM on May 13, 2012


I felt like the question [which had already garnered a few off-topic and odd name-calling responses] was pretty straightforward

1. Am I being too harsh about Ron Paul? Are there thoughtful, empathetic people who support him?
2. on OKC, is it better to cast a wide net for unexpected results, or go for the close match?

If your comment isn't at least addressing one of those topics, then it should be directed to the OP and not put in the thread because it's not about the question being asked. If your point was that yes you are a thoughtful empathetic person who supports him, great. If your point was that there are people like this who follow him, also okay. Your comment was about how he votes more liberally than Democrats which, while perhaps true, had very little to do with the question as I saw it. It's entirely possible there are other answers equally off-topic, this was the one that was flagged and brought to my attention.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:20 PM on May 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Thanks for the response jessamyn.

I had a feeling it was deleted because it was flagged and all the other opiniony-stuff simply wasn't because my comment didn't fit the average metafilter user's political views.

Well, kinda sad, but I'll keep that in mind for the future.
posted by The ____ of Justice at 10:26 PM on May 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


METATALK RON PAUL
posted by special-k at 10:39 PM on May 13, 2012 [5 favorites]


!!!VOTE RON PAUL!!!
posted by Nomyte at 10:47 PM on May 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why "kinda sad"? Jessamyn said that your comment was deleted NOT because it was in favor of Paul but because it didn't address the question being asked.

Sounds like if you just spelled out a little more explicitly why your comment is addressing the actual question, it would be fine. You just gave a list of his positions, which is not quite an answer. Connect the dots a little more clearly and you're good.

Say explicitly "A person could have fairly 'empathetic' reasons for liking Paul's record, for example [your list]. So Paul supporters are not necessarily un-empathetic; it does sound like you're being too quick to judge." That would be an answer to the question and it seems like it would stand.
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:51 PM on May 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


If the answer was worded more or less exactly as this thread implies, it's a fine line indeed, I think. It didn't answer both parts of the question and it could have been more explicit about why those things were important, but it did sort of answer the question 'Are there thoughtful, empathetic people who support him?' by saying why such people might do so. I guess framing is sometimes everything, after all.
posted by dg at 10:58 PM on May 13, 2012


The first part of the question was dodgy. I'm no Ron Paul fan, but it seemed quite rude of the OP to speak to us collectively as if none of us are Ron Paul fans, or to speak to us as if it's ok to imply that those of us who do support RP are probably lacking in empathy.

The question would have been better framed if it generalized about political differences, rather than specifically tweaking the nose of one particular party. Poor form, not conducive to polite discourse; bordering on troll-baiting.
posted by quivering_fantods at 11:06 PM on May 13, 2012 [5 favorites]


Say explicitly "A person could have fairly 'empathetic' reasons for liking Paul's record, for example [your list]. So Paul supporters are not necessarily un-empathetic; it does sound like you're being too quick to judge." That would be an answer to the question and it seems like it would stand.


I can see that now, thanks.

I guess I was taking my cue from the answers above, which were, um, far Paul-opiniony than my answer was, IMHO.

As far as sad, goes, it's just sad because several of the above comments did similar things, were far snarkier, and apparently didn't get flagged. And thus, were allowed to stand, by virtue of whether or not they fit the political leanings of the site.
posted by The ____ of Justice at 11:13 PM on May 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


by virtue of whether or not they fit the political leanings of the site.

Sure seems like you already had a firm opinion about this before you brought it up in here.
posted by mwhybark at 11:19 PM on May 13, 2012 [9 favorites]


Sure seems like you already had a firm opinion about this before you brought it up in here.


I've certainly felt like that about metafilter at times. But not generally ask me, which was why I was surprised.
posted by The ____ of Justice at 11:23 PM on May 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


it's just sad because several of the above comments did similar things, were far snarkier, and apparently didn't get flagged. And thus, were allowed to stand, by virtue of whether or not they fit the political leanings of the site.

Like which ones? The other ones answer one of the two questions, as far as I can tell.
posted by oneirodynia at 11:41 PM on May 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Another deleted comment was basically "Here's an awful story about Ron Paul" which was also flagged and deleted – so also sort of a "let me tell you some thing(s) about Ron Paul" answer that may be suggesting something but not actually answering the question.

As a general rule, it's always better to be more explicit about how your answer addresses the question, but in a thread about a contentious topic it's even more helpful for us to be able to respond without having to decipher if something is just stating a pro- or anti- stance about the subject in general, for example, or is attempting to help the OP with his/her specific concerns.
posted by taz (staff) at 11:43 PM on May 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


The questioner is showing no thought nor empathy in her closed-minded prejudice just by asking such a question.
posted by Ardiril at 11:48 PM on May 13, 2012


Why "kinda sad"? Jessamyn said that your comment was deleted NOT because it was in favor of Paul but because it didn't address the question being asked.

And, as Jessamyn says, because it was flagged. ("It's entirely possible there are other answers equally off-topic, this was the one that was flagged and brought to my attention.")

So I think that's what he meant by sad -- that he thinks his comment was no less an answer than some others were, but those other non-answers were a closer match to the local politics and therefore were not flagged by the locals and deleted by the moderators.

If I were him, I guess I'd quote (and flag) all those other non-answers so people could see what he's on about. It's too tl;dr for me to go back and figure out which other ones should have been cut.
posted by pracowity at 12:06 AM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ron Paul is sliding into the same category as anime for me, in that I'm at this point where I don't know or care about his merits because hearing his fans talk and talk and talk about him constantly has left me not wanting to hear about him ever. Especially since it's so often coupled with the SILENCED ALL OUR LIVES stuff about how no one is covering this dude I can't go a day without hearing about.
posted by EatTheWeak at 12:44 AM on May 14, 2012 [19 favorites]


In case I need to mention this... just as that thread shouldn't become a Ron Paul yay-or-nay debate, neither should this one.
posted by taz (staff) at 12:50 AM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Your comment sounds pretty similar to this one marked best answer so I have trouble believing that pro-Paul comments are getting selectively deleted.
posted by salvia at 1:19 AM on May 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


And, as Jessamyn says, because it was flagged. ("It's entirely possible there are other answers equally off-topic, this was the one that was flagged and brought to my attention.")

For those of you doing studies of online communities, this is one of the subtle ways that groups prevent the encroachment of different ways of thinking. Not by outright shunning, not by administrative fiat, but simply by holding them up to the spotlight.

Interestingly the administrators can be totally neutral or even welcoming to new ideas, but in as much as their limited resources are directed by the user base, their actions will result in bias.

Needless to say this is not restricted to online communities.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 1:40 AM on May 14, 2012 [10 favorites]


It's entirely possible there are other answers equally off-topic, this was the one that was flagged and brought to my attention.

And the nuked comment could have been the one where, after users seeing other similar comments, the one where people decided to take action and flag.

Sure, other comments may have been flag or delete worthy, but that comment came at that break point where it was clear that the thread was going south and the flagger(s) did not go back and hit all the other possible infractions.

Luck (or should I say, bad luck) of the draw.
posted by lampshade at 2:19 AM on May 14, 2012


Ron Paul's opposition to US military interventionism is not in any way reflective of "liberalism". He's an isolationist. [1]

You can share a policy perspective for completely unrelated philosophical reasons. Paul isn't opposed to killing (brown) people as such, no matter how much he thinks they are subhuman, he just believes correctly that killing foreign people never works to increase US security and usually is intended to enrich those who order the killing and require taxation he opposes. Let's not let the side point stand simply by stipulation.


[1] And a raging bigot who has no idea how the modern world economy functions, who attracts an awful lot of fascist losers as supporters.

posted by spitbull at 2:50 AM on May 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'm personally not seeing anything like a consensus in the answers, so I'm sort of surprised that some people are. Doing a quick count, it seems like about an equal amount of people are saying definite yes (go out with the guy) or definite no (with "yes" group leading slightly), and a larger number of people are saying "it depends." It also seems to me that most people are trying to answer the question.

If I had to guess, maybe some pro-Ron Paul people are reading it and for them the anti-Paul sentiments are sort of jumping out at them, and probably vice-versa for people who are strongly anti-Paul. With a hurried sort of count I'm seeing what looks like about 17 negative (don't date him) opinions, 19 positive opinions, and 22 It-Depends opinions.

That doesn't really seem like displayed bias to me, and it doesn't actually seem to me like the thread is going south, either.
posted by taz (staff) at 2:50 AM on May 14, 2012


Another deleted comment was basically "Here's an awful story about Ron Paul" which was also flagged and deleted – so also sort of a "let me tell you some thing(s) about Ron Paul" answer that may be suggesting something but not actually answering the question.


Yeah, I think that was the comment that most bothered me. The bar just seemed so precipitously low after that comment, I was just astonished my comment was deleted and the other one allowed to stand. I thought mods routinely did a bit of a "sweep" instead of just delete the one comment that violated some rule, so that's why I posted here. Otherwise I would have just ignored it and went about my way.

So I really don't have any more concerns. Apologies if this thread has inconvenienced anybody.
posted by The ____ of Justice at 3:13 AM on May 14, 2012


Oh, don't worry about that – it's no problem at all. As for sweeping, we do that if we can, depending on what else is happening, but when we can't sit on a thread, we rely on flags to see problems. Also, it was the weekend, which means fewer mod eyes available at any given point, and also late night, right around transition time, moving between restless_nomad's shift and my shift, where I think Jess was briefly checking flags to cover any gap. Additionally, with that timing, significantly fewer people online reading and flagging.
posted by taz (staff) at 3:42 AM on May 14, 2012


I understand the argument about context and being explicit. But considering the manner in which the question was asked, I think the answer was totally appropriate. The question carries with it huge baggage and assumptions: Ron Paul supporters lack empathy and lack analytical skills. The implied starting point for this question is that democrat = good, smart and republican = bad, dumb. The deleted answer was just a quick offering of a few ways that Ron Paul positions might align with the supposed values of Democrats. In this way the answer was attempting to refute the implied premise and in so doing answering the question. I don't think any additional context was necessary. To me it was crystal clear.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 3:45 AM on May 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


Yeah, it was one of those AskMes which comtained a number of actual questions, one of which was "-Am I being to harsh about Ron Paul? ". That positively cries out for opinions on Ron Paul, unfortunately. i gave mine, but I also tried to answer what seemed to be the essence of the question which was "Is it okay to make a potential partner's liking of something I really don't like a deal-breaker?"

I assume the answers that got deleted were judged as leaning too far towards the "Here's what I think of Ron Paul" side and not enough towards the "What should I do about this situation and what do you guys think of my doubts?" side.
posted by Decani at 3:54 AM on May 14, 2012


There's a big difference for us whether answers are framed in terms of answering the question or in terms of general chat or discussion of the subject. Ask Metafilter has tons of interesting questions about interesting topics that people want to discuss, debate, or chat about, so a lot of threads could easily go off the rails to become conversations among commenters who just want to opine about the topic, which is why we're really strict about the "answer the question" guideline. If someone answers in a way that they feel implicitly answers the question and it's deleted, they can talk to us about it and restate it to make that more clear. If they haven't saved their text and need it to rework their answer, we can supply that.
posted by taz (staff) at 4:06 AM on May 14, 2012


Well, kinda sad, but I'll keep that in mind for the future.
posted by The
Sigh of Justice at 1:26 AM on May 14 [+] [!]

"Wheel of Fortune was created by Merv Griffin. Produced by Columbia/Tristar Television. Distributed by KingWorld."
posted by octobersurprise at 6:03 AM on May 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


For those of you doing studies of online communities, this is one of the subtle ways that groups prevent the encroachment of different ways of thinking. Not by outright shunning, not by administrative fiat, but simply by holding them up to the spotlight.

A group didn't act here, individuals did. Holding things up to a spotlight illuminates them, which is an odd metaphor for this alleged suppression of a "way of thinking," the promulgation of which was arguably irrelevant in that particular space.

Interestingly the administrators can be totally neutral or even welcoming to new ideas, but in as much as their limited resources are directed by the user base, their actions will result in bias.

The use of passive voice can result in all sorts of nefarious things.
posted by desuetude at 6:24 AM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I dunno. I don't have a dog in this fight, but on reading the thread, I don't see a huge problem w The Blank of Justice's answer, at least as he describes it here.

In fact it reads to me sort of like Sara C.'s response, which I see essentially boiling down to "the thinking of someone who supports Ron Paul may be more nuanced than you imagine, and so maybe this person is more than just a tool."

But then I don't have to moderate Metafilter all the live-long day either.

Though I am sorely tempted from time to time to pretend to moderate threads by claiming to have deleted several preceding comments and offering head-scratchingly obscure explanations of the strange derail that allegedly brought on this deletion, and warnings to avoid very unlikely inappropriate behavior in the future.
posted by Naberius at 6:52 AM on May 14, 2012


Bias is inevitable when humans are involved. Arguing against the possibility of unconscious or inadvertent bias is a bit silly.
posted by the young rope-rider at 6:55 AM on May 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Hey, OP here.

Sorry if this seemed harsh or troll-y. I was trying to examine whether my knee-jerk response was too narrow, and was looking to MetaFilter, as a group of people who's opinions I generally respect to see what their personal experiences were.

I think the "thoughtful" wording really riled people up, but I was trying to deal with the fact that here are certainly some first-glance things about Ron Paul that are appealing.

Anyway - thanks for the responses.
posted by mercredi at 7:00 AM on May 14, 2012


Were I single, I would contemplate dating someone who likes Ron Paul just for the free dirigible rides on that GOOGLE RON PAUL blimp that I can only assume functions like a co-op.
posted by griphus at 7:01 AM on May 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


That would be groovy awesome.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:24 AM on May 14, 2012


This comment (different thread) may be a better example. Doesn't answer the question, at all. It also ignores repeated moderator warnings. If it had expressed the opposite sentiment, it would have attracted a dozen flames also ignoring those moderator warnings and the entire derail would have been deleted, but as it stands it got 13 favorites and probably only a few flags.

But hey, it happens. There are probably thousands of comments posted on AskMe daily. Things slip through cracks.
posted by cribcage at 8:04 AM on May 14, 2012


Ron Paul is an excellent politician, but the real question is, is Ron Paul a better politician than Obama?
posted by KokuRyu at 8:08 AM on May 14, 2012


FIND OUT TONIGHT ON AMERICAN GLADIATORS
posted by griphus at 8:10 AM on May 14, 2012 [10 favorites]


mercredi, sorry for saying trollish. I looked through your question history and can see you definitely aren't like that.
posted by michaelh at 8:22 AM on May 14, 2012


I don't understand what is so exciting about a LIBERtarian voting LIBERally. Aren't they supposed to be the most liberal voters out there that could still be considered voters? Maybe the problem is that you define liberal as "liberal"?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 8:32 AM on May 14, 2012


as it stands it got 13 favorites and probably only a few flags.

It only got one flag and I hadn't actually seen it until now which is odd considering that I had basically been sitting on that thread trying to keep people on topic for most of the first part of it. And while I take your point about what if it had expressed the opposite perspective, the point is that it didn't. And this is an open question in society at large (and on MetaFilter in specific) about the difference between being tolerant of everyone's opinions and being intolerant of intolerance. Is it really the same statement to say that you think gay people should be able to get married as to say that you think they shouldn't?

Politics and religion and GLBT issues raise this into starker relief than others because if you really believe that abortion is murder or if you really believe that the gay marriage issue is one of absolute civil rights (taking two very opposing types of viewpoints to show contrast, not to argue either point) then you will have a much stronger reaction to someone saying "Well in my opinion...." and arguing the other side. And the maid of honor thread was further complicated by additional updates from the OP with more nuance about her fiancee's belief system which cleared things up for some people and didn't for others.

To some people it was about her choosing to marry a bigot and asking her maid of honor to be complicit in that through her silence. To other people it was a politeness issue, plain and simple. People expressed a wide variety of variations on those topics and the comment you linked to was part of that. We deleted about 15% of the comments in that thread, expressing various sides of the argument many of which were the side that I personally agree with and many of which weren't.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:46 AM on May 14, 2012


Libertarianism and liberalism are very different. Here's a cartoon sketch of some differences:

Libertarians want to maximize civil liberties, and minimize government's role. So, they think government's powers should be limited to basic policing, basic deterrent national defense, and enforcing contracts (necessary to keep the free market operating). They don't think government should be collecting taxes to spend on things like building roads, running schools, funding scientific research, offering social welfare programs like food stamps, enforcing programs to promote racial integration or housing nondiscrimination, etc. One

The way Americans use the term, "liberals" see a role for government in lots of those areas - they think government should collect taxes and use them to provide social services like food stamps, free public schools, low-cost medical care for the poor, etc; to fund scientific research; to promote commerce by building roads, etc. Liberals also favor placing various restrictions on the free market, forbidding certain kinds of transactions as being too prone to coercion or deception (eg you can't legally sell yourself into slavery, or sell your organs), certain advertising as deceptive, enforcing things like FDA regulations about food quality, etc.

So yes, libertarians and liberals agree on some hot button civil liberties issues, and agreed on not declaring war on countries that haven't attacked us. So far so good. But they disagree about taxation and the government programs that taxation funds, and many liberals would say that those programs are necessary for a reasonable quality of life for much of the non-wealthy population. Hence the thought about empathy, I assume.
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:01 AM on May 14, 2012


And seriously, I could really give a crap about Ron Paul, but this deletion seems a tad unbalanced.

You're expecting nuance and sophistication on political matters, on a site where that is rare to find, particularly in an election year when most have circled the wagons around the establishment. You're simply asking too much for a considered, broader view on the subject. The question had answered itself as soon as it was asked, as intended.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:13 AM on May 14, 2012


Libertarianism and liberalism are very different.

I had to read this three times to make sure you weren't talking about librarians.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:15 AM on May 14, 2012


One of the two questions was: Am I being to [sic] harsh about Ron Paul? Are there thoughtful, empathetic people who support him?

The mods seem to have missed the fact that the OP actually did solicit opinions about Ron Paul. It wasn't just "should I date this Paul supporter or not" but also "is my negative view of Ron Paul warranted?" So in response to that, it would be 100% appropriate to offer info that might contract the prevailing impression of his politics.

The question may not have been optimally worded, but this was not a fair deletion given the wording that was given.
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 9:15 AM on May 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


All happy librarians are alike.
posted by michaelh at 9:17 AM on May 14, 2012


Two Librans
posted by Burhanistan at 9:19 AM on May 14, 2012


I made a comment saying Ron Paul voted more liberally on certain things than Democrats.

1) Only Republican to vote against the war in Iraq
2) Generally against U.S. intervention in foreign policy
3) Against the indefinite detention act that Obama signed. (previously on metafilter)


did it answer the question?
posted by Ironmouth at 9:19 AM on May 14, 2012


This was an interestingly selective deletion on the askme Ron Paul thread, no?

So, no. "YAY RON PAUL" comments that didn't (in the mods' opinion) answer the question were deleted, as were "BOO RON PAUL" comments that didn't (in the mods' opinion) answer the question. The ___ of Justice, I appreciate your graciousness in getting this when you had that information.

Lately, it seems like people are going right to the Gray instead of contacting a mod first. My guess (which may be crap) is that if people contacted a mod first they'd get an answer (like "we also deleted comments that were "BOO RON PAUL" but that didn't address the actual question") that might obviate the need for a thread here.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:26 AM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


The mods seem to have missed the fact that the OP actually did solicit opinions about Ron Paul.

No, she solicited opinions about her opinion of Ron Paul. There's a difference, and if T_OJ had written their opinion of Ron Paul in such a way that it also answered the question it wouldn't have been deleted. Plenty of people with various opinions about Ron Paul have managed to do that in the very same thread.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:29 AM on May 14, 2012


I thought the Maid of Honor thread went (predictably) awful and I felt really bad for the OP (and for the mods who I'm sure had to do a ton of cleanup). It was an example of answerers getting so caught up in their disgust with a particular viewpoint (in this case the fiance's view on gay marriage) that many chose to answer a different question than was asked (subtle and some less subtle DTMFA responses to a question that was never "should I stay with my fiance")) or answers that seemed more about "punishing" the OP for choosing such a bad fiance than legitimately trying to help her with her dilemma.
posted by The Gooch at 9:42 AM on May 14, 2012


Wow, cribcage, that entire thread fucking depressing. It seems like MetaFilter is dominated by people who have intense hatred for anyone who's not exactly like them. The intensity of it is pretty amazing sometimes, and pretty appalling.

There's only so much the moderators can do about it, even though I realize they care. They can delete personal attacks and other comments that actually violate the guidelines, but if the site is dominated by hateful people, anyone who deviates from the norm and attracts their hatred, or who doesn't go along with the majority's hate, will eventually be driven off the site, if not by personal attacks, by shear repulsion at the hate.

I should have realized a while back that if somebody like Dee Xtrovert, who is one of the kindest, most thoughtful people I have ever run into on-line, can't be here any more because a lot of people don't think Muslims should be on the site, maybe I don't need to be here any more either.
posted by nangar at 9:58 AM on May 14, 2012


I should have realized a while back that if somebody like Dee Xtrovert, who is one of the kindest, most thoughtful people I have ever run into on-line, can't be here any more because a lot of people don't think Muslims should be on the site, maybe I don't need to be here any more either.

I really think you need to provide some evidence to back up a fairly extreme claim like that.
posted by Dasein at 10:13 AM on May 14, 2012 [5 favorites]


I don't think it's extreme to call Dee Xtrovert kind.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:31 AM on May 14, 2012


O O O O that shakespeherian joker
posted by Dasein at 10:40 AM on May 14, 2012


I bet shakes gets a little burst of serotonin in his brain every time someone demonstrates their awareness of his name not being a typo.
posted by griphus at 10:45 AM on May 14, 2012


oh yeah that's the shit
posted by shakespeherian at 10:46 AM on May 14, 2012


HURRY UP PLEASE ITS TIME
posted by griphus at 10:50 AM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Been more than a year since Dee Xtrovert posted.

Big loss.
posted by jamjam at 10:50 AM on May 14, 2012


if somebody like Dee Xtrovert, who is one of the kindest, most thoughtful people I have ever run into on-line, can't be here any more because a lot of people don't think Muslims should be on the site,

? What make you think that's why she left? Judging from her last comments it seems she left out of frustration with insipid posts. (Insipid being stupid SLYT posts, not bigotry).
posted by cairdeas at 10:56 AM on May 14, 2012


I hope this is where we can talk about Dee Xtrovert, by the way. I made her vegan pörkölt recipe a few weeks ago for a barbecue and it was excellent. (One of my friends wandered up to me while scarfing it and whispered "I'm eating... TOFU...." with a look of surprise.)

I hope that in her absence Dee Xtrovert is writing a book. Or an essay collection, or a graphic novel. Or even a bunch of replies to Yahoo Answers, something.
posted by cairdeas at 11:04 AM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


When the group of people "not exactly like them" are those who wish to deny human rights, then I'm going to have a hard time faulting someone for "intense hatred". I mean it would be better if we could all get along on MetaFilter, yeah, just like it would be better if we could all get along in real life.
posted by ODiV at 11:08 AM on May 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


that entire thread fucking depressing. It seems like MetaFilter is dominated by people who have intense hatred for anyone who's not exactly like them.

It's a silly question because the answer to "Should I befriend/date/fuck/marry someone who X?" will always be "Is X intolerable absolutely or is it more or less tolerable in the presence of other mitigating characteristics?" X might be smoking or eating meat or being a nerd or voting for Ron Paul but the answer is always the same: to what degree must Y be X?

So it's silly, yes, but it isn't any more depressing than the rest of relationship-filter. And it did produce this gem of a line which is like Dagwood Bumstead meets Bringing Up Father meets Ken and Barbie meets Ooog the Caveman:"Among well-educated, well-off families around me, there's nothing more common then right-wing husbands of left-wing wives"
posted by octobersurprise at 11:47 AM on May 14, 2012


I think that this is definitely something that happens. I do recall some posts that were "Boo, Ron Paul" in what seemed an excessive way without answering the question as well, without getting deleted-but I think that the commentary about flagging enforcing specific people's prejudices is quite correct. People who don't like Ron Paul see, "Oh, yay Ron Paul stuff that doesn't answer the question, how infuriating!" And then they flag the post. People who like Ron Paul see, "Ron Paul-bashing!" And they think to flag. Given that there are more of the former than the latter, the mods delete more of the former than the latter.
posted by corb at 11:49 AM on May 14, 2012


I should have realized a while back that if somebody like Dee Xtrovert, who is one of the kindest, most thoughtful people I have ever run into on-line, can't be here any more because a lot of people don't think Muslims should be on the site, maybe I don't need to be here any more either.

Who, exactly said Muslims shouldn't be on this site?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:19 PM on May 14, 2012


nangar: "It seems like MetaFilter is dominated by people who have intense hatred for anyone who's not exactly like them. The intensity of it is pretty amazing sometimes, and pretty appalling.
"
Yeah. I'm a pretty easy-going person and don't have any problem being friends with someone that has a completely different view of the world than I do. It really jars sometimes when I notice that intense attitude from quite a lot of people here that almost amounts to bigotry (no doubt the wrong word, but I don't know how else to describe it) itself - by insisting that, not only is the opposing view wrong, but holding that view makes someone intrinsically a bad person, you become more like the person you are criticising than the person you claim to be. I don't understand why people can't see that in their own behaviour when they are so quick to point it out in others.

Tell Me No Lies: "And, as Jessamyn says, because it was flagged. ("It's entirely possible there are other answers equally off-topic, this was the one that was flagged and brought to my attention.")

For those of you doing studies of online communities, this is one of the subtle ways that groups prevent the encroachment of different ways of thinking. Not by outright shunning, not by administrative fiat, but simply by holding them up to the spotlight.

Interestingly the administrators can be totally neutral or even welcoming to new ideas, but in as much as their limited resources are directed by the user base, their actions will result in bias.
"

This is very well put and explained a lot of the niggling discomfort I feel about this place sometimes.
posted by dg at 3:37 PM on May 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


> I really think you need to provide some evidence to back up a fairly extreme claim like that.

I don't know Dee Xtrovert personally, so I have no way of really knowing why she left.

We do have this comment from klang, who said he'd been in touch with her:
I will note that I was emailing with Dee Xtrovert lately and she specifically cited Islamophobia in posts like that (e.g. the public prayer thread) as the reason she's no longer here.
There was an uptick in Islamophobic rants after NATO and US intervention in Lybia. I'm not sure if I was Muslim, that could stay here knowing that so many people on the site hate me and so many others seem not to care about it. So I don't know that this is the case, but it makes me sick at the stomach to think it might be.

(Mostly I feel guilty for doing more to respond to and counter the hate. This thread didn't help much either.)


> It's a silly question because the answer to "Should I befriend/date/fuck/marry someone who X?" will always be ...

I was talking about this thread that cribcage referred to earlier.
posted by nangar at 4:00 PM on May 14, 2012


I'm a pretty easy-going person and don't have any problem being friends with someone that has a completely different view of the world than I do.

How often are these friends of yours actively working and voting to keep rights away from you and people like you, though? It's a little easier when the political issues are more academic and slightly removed from the here and now.
posted by ODiV at 4:04 PM on May 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Who, exactly said Muslims shouldn't be on this site?"

I talked with very long-time (but mostly lurking) Muslim mefite about this issue recently and it led me to refer to some of the threads she'd participated in and to reflect on her attested experience and what I've observed.

And, really, what's going on is that Muslim mefites exist at a very unfortunate and unfair conjunction of things. First, they're a very small minority because MeFi is anglosphere-centric. Second, they're overwhelmed by the combination of two larger and very outspoken anti-Muslim minorities — the conservatives who've embraced a very Islamaphobic view for conservative reasons, and anti-theists across the political spectrum who are inclined to be hostile to all believers but especially Muslims for reasons which vary according to their politics.

It's true, as some conservatives here claim, that there's a much larger portion of the community here who probably errs on the side of being tolerant to Muslims as a rule as compared to, say, being tolerant of Christians. And the site as a whole is more welcoming and diverse than most US-centric sites (that include a lot of provocative discussion). But because Muslims in the US, especially, are very culturally isolated in a context where factually wrong and bigoted ideas about themselves and their beliefs is more the rule than the exception, then MeFi ends up being, for them, a place that seems welcoming but, ultimately, somewhere that they end up having to deal with a lot of the same shit they do elsewhere. Except that since it's online and written, oftentimes it's even more offensive.

It's not that the majority of the community is unwelcoming to Muslims. Not at all. But that the fact that it's more welcoming than many other places and yet still often very unwelcoming makes for a very disappointing and aggravating combination. Not unlike how MeFi was with regard to women back in the boyzone days. There's a huge swath of the web that is more misogynist and unwelcoming to women than MeFi ever was, even on its worst days. That it is better than normal in the end just emphasizes how much bad stuff is still prevalent and widely tolerated. A normal and understandable human reaction is to say, dammit, I don't need this here, too, of all places and to leave. Or at least just largely be non-participatory.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 4:13 PM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


> I was emailing with Dee Xtrovert lately and she specifically cited Islamophobia in posts like that (e.g. the public prayer thread) as the reason she's no longer here.

Man, that's bad news. Dee, if you see this, please come back; you were a very valuable voice around here.
posted by languagehat at 4:27 PM on May 14, 2012 [7 favorites]


I felt like the question [which had already garnered a few off-topic and odd name-calling responses] was pretty straightforward

1. Am I being too harsh about Ron Paul? Are there thoughtful, empathetic people who support him?
2. on OKC, is it better to cast a wide net for unexpected results, or go for the close match?

The comment that was deleted --assuming the OP's description of it is accurate-- did answer the first part of that question. Unless, that is, the only acceptable answers to such a question are "Yes" and "No."

Who, exactly said Muslims shouldn't be on this site?

joeclark, probably.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:10 PM on May 14, 2012


Okay, let me get this straight, nangar. First, you write:

I should have realized a while back that if somebody like Dee Xtrovert, who is one of the kindest, most thoughtful people I have ever run into on-line, can't be here any more because a lot of people don't think Muslims should be on the site, maybe I don't need to be here any more either.

Then, when I ask you for some evidence, you say:

I don't know Dee Xtrovert personally, so I have no way of really knowing why she left.

I mean, Jesus fucking Christ. You accuse unnamed members of this site of being a bunch of anti-Muslim racists creating some kind of poisoned environment that has actually drove out a specific member, then you admit you just made the whole thing up? What the fuck? In my opinion, people who throw around shit like that should be the ones leaving the site.

I will note that I was emailing with Dee Xtrovert lately and she specifically cited Islamophobia in posts like that (e.g. the public prayer thread) as the reason she's no longer here.

This is the problem with taking one person's perceptions as truth. There are a bunch of comments in that thread calling French secularists Nazis, because they happen to believe in a form of securalism that is different. There are also people who express a concern about the role of Islam in France, and a general skepticism of public accomodation of religion. So is it Islamophobia? On a quick read, there's a hell of a lot more hostility and overheated language directed at secular liberals than at Muslims. Some people might perceive Islamophobia; that doesn't mean it's real.
posted by Dasein at 6:30 PM on May 14, 2012


that has actually drove out

Ugh. Speaking of things that should get you banned.
posted by Dasein at 6:37 PM on May 14, 2012


ODiV: "I'm a pretty easy-going person and don't have any problem being friends with someone that has a completely different view of the world than I do.
How often are these friends of yours actively working and voting to keep rights away from you and people like you, though? It's a little easier when the political issues are more academic and slightly removed from the here and now.
"

Honestly, I don't think I know anyone that is actively working to keep rights away from me or anyone else. If I did, I certainly wouldn't want to be friends with them. I do know and am friends with some people who vote differently to me in elections, which I'm assuming is what you are referring to with the voting comment? Are you really saying that you can't be friends with someone that doesn't vote the same way you do? I'm kind of floundering here to understand your point, to be honest (which is my fault) - can you expand on how someone who has 'a completely different view of the world' must be my enemy?
posted by dg at 9:09 PM on May 14, 2012


Sure, yeah. I was mostly thinking of this since we were on the subject of gay marriage. I'm not saying you can't be friends with someone who doesn't share your beliefs and that they must be your enemy. I'm just saying it's got to be a bit different when it's your rights that are the subject of debate.
posted by ODiV at 9:38 PM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I also think it is a perfect kind of answer for the question asked (am I being too harsh on him?) I have no idea of it's accuracy, but it answers the main question asked.
posted by BurnChao at 10:13 PM on May 14, 2012


Yeah, I can imagine that, if I were gay, I would have trouble reconciling a friendship with someone that would vote against same-sex marriage, as I would see that as taking active steps to deny me something that I consider an absolute right.

As a straight, healthy, white male, I guess it's not always so easy to put myself in the shoes of being denied one of the basic things that I take for granted, because my default view of being denied my basic rights is somewhat skewed by, well, basically never having been denied them in any real sense.

I do still agree with nangar though, that there is a tone here from many people that comes across as 'if you aren't 100% with us (US political version of) Liberals, then you are against us and don't deserve to be here'. This is where I see a touch of truth in the 'echo chamber' criticism, too. To me, there are many many shades of belief on all sorts of topics and an individual can have differing positions across the board compared to the 'official' Liberal (or conservative or any other) viewpoint, but lots of people take the 'if you ain't for us, you're agin us' approach. For example, a person could be in favour of same-sex marriage but pro-life and that's a position that many people here don't seem to be able to cope with. I hesitate to point the finger at Americans again, but I get the impression that political designation is much more important there than it is in most other countries and that it defines a person in a much more binary way there.

I think that this problem is at the heart of why certain topics are so fraught here - it's not possible to discuss certain things here without them inevitably becoming a shit-fight partly because of the disconnect that half the members feel that the other half could countenance such a position and still be 'one of us'. I don't have any evidence to back this up, of course, but it was interesting to me that a couple of other people made comments in this thread that indicated I'm not the only one feeling this way.

I don't know much about Ron Paul, but it seems that he presents this very conundrum - a conservative who is, by definition, expected to hold certain views on everything. But doesn't seem to and it appears to puzzle people here a bit.
posted by dg at 10:29 PM on May 14, 2012 [5 favorites]


How often are these friends of yours actively working and voting to keep rights away from you and people like you, though? It's a little easier when the political issues are more academic and slightly removed from the here and now.

All the time. This is also, by the way, how libertarians often feel about more conventional liberals who support higher taxes, or gun control, or a host of other issues. "These people are working to take my hard-earned money and spend it on things I not only don't like, but strongly morally disapprove of!" "These people want to take away my right to protect myself and my family!" Even the right-wingers that I admittedly think are bigoted believe in this fashion. "These people are taking away my right to raise my own children how I see fit!" "These people are taking away my right to practice my faith!"

Everyone's beliefs, at their heart, are about rights. We still have to learn how not to be assholes about it, though, and to find a way to coexist.
posted by corb at 5:38 AM on May 15, 2012


Thanks for your thoughtful response dg. I've seen the types of comments you're referencing that imply or maybe even outright state 'if you aren't 100% with us (US political version of) Liberals, then you are against us and don't deserve to be here'. I wouldn't put the people who make unwelcoming, shit-fighty comments anywhere near half the membership, but not having been the subject of such comments I could be less aware of them. I trust the mods to get rid of direct attacks like "fuck you". Maybe it's my rose coloured glasses, but I'd like to think that around here the "unwelcoming comments" are usually directed at the position held.

For example, a person could be in favour of same-sex marriage but pro-life and that's a position that many people here don't seem to be able to cope with. I hesitate to point the finger at Americans again, but I get the impression that political designation is much more important there than it is in most other countries and that it defines a person in a much more binary way there.

It's interesting you say that, because I've always felt that I could get some very interesting commentary here about the different factions within the American parties and the conflicts between them. It could be we're just reading different threads.

corb: True enough. And I guess it's my own bias that makes it seem like "Bill wants my take-home income to be lower," is an issue that could probably be overlooked in a friendship while something like, "Tom doesn't think I should be able to visit my husband in the hospital," would not be. I imagine the farther your ideal is from reality the more compromises you'd have to make though. A woman in the mid 19th century, for example, probably had to be friendly with more people who thought she didn't deserve the vote than she would like. Today, I can't imagine such a view being met with much politeness.
posted by ODiV at 8:01 AM on May 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't know if we've reached the point where people are more discussing the general than the specific, but in the interest of accuracy, in the Maid of Honor thread that cribcage referenced, if I'm reading the OP correctly, her fiance holds more of a "Call it a civil union and let gay couples have the same rights as married straight couples, just don't call it 'marriage'" position. Not exactly the most progressive stance on the issue, nor one that I agree with personally, but the guy should not be confused for a hardcore, politically-active anti-marriage equality crusader either.

Part of the problem I had with that thread is that many responders did seem to hold a strong "with us or against us" viewpoint, which turned the fiance into a evil antagonist who deserved no consideration. The answers the OP received seemed less about helping her through a difficult situation rather than informing her that her fiance was a terrible person.
posted by The Gooch at 8:37 AM on May 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


ODIV: Yeah, I think we're all really focused on our own biases. I can tell you that it's hard even when it's not marriage-or-no-marriage. For example: I'm a veteran, which means I received a fairly substantial amount of benefits from the government in exchange for my service, including health benefits and my college education. A former friend of mine was absolutely outraged that I and others like me receieved and will continue to receive substantial benefits for the rest of our lives, benefits that she thought were unfairly beneficial, from taxes that she paid into. It really affected our friendship, how upset she was over these things. It's not something that you would think-but it is very, very difficult for people to let go their deeply held beliefs no matter what they are about.

In regards to the maid-of-honor situation, I think that was generally poorly handled. I know I and others commented about why the maid-of-honor might be acting that way, including her perception of the fiance's bigotry, but I think we definitely could have stressed harder that his beliefs didn't make him a bad person. I think many of us didn't mention it because we assumed it in the question-of course the OP really loved and found sterling qualities in her fiance, or presumably she wouldn't be marrying him. I don't think anyone was arguing that she call the wedding off.
posted by corb at 9:03 AM on May 15, 2012


ODiV, you could be right that we are reading different threads. I stay away from US political threads both because they are so often the same shit-fight between the same members over and over again and because I don't understand US politics enough to participate. I guess, with so many contentious issues around at the moment, staying away from those threads might hide some of the background about the way people interact with one another elsewhere.

Interesting that you mention factions within US political parties. From my perspective, things look pretty binary in comparison to here (Australia). There seem to be so many factions within so many parties here that it's almost as if every politician has their own party. I'm kind of aware that there are parties other than Democrats and Republicans in the US, but we don't really hear anything about them and the view I have of US politics is very much of an absolute two-party system, exacerbating the 'for or against' impression that I get. We also don't have the extreme opposite positions between the two major parties and, if you heard most Australian politicians speak, even about their pet subjects, you'd often be hard pressed to tell which party they came from. It hasn't always been the case, but it seems that as Australian politics moves to a narrower spectrum, US politics is taking the opposite road and moving towards a position of absolute extremes, with no room for compromise on either side.

Not sure what it says about Australia, but the country is far more divided on Ford vs Holden ('I don't really follow motor racing' is an unacceptable answer to the question 'are you a Ford or a Holden supporter?' - there is no middle ground here) or the State of Origin than about pretty much any political issue. Australian Prime Ministers will inevitably be asked to publicly declare their allegiance to Red (Holden) or Blue (Ford) in early October each year and no equivocation is allowed. The Premiers of Queensland and New South Wales have standing bets on who will win the state of Origin, with the usual stake being that the losing state must fly the winner's state flag from a prominent landmark. Australians are much less likely to publicly declare their political allegiance and it's generally considered a private matter who you voted for.

I agree that discussions about the differences in the positions of politicians would be fascinating if only we could take away the partisanship that would naturally attach to such a discussion. I'd be surprised if everyone couldn't find some point of similarity in views with every politician if they could step away from the party politics for a moment. The biggest barrier to doing so, I think, would be the inevitable 'well they would say that, they're a fucking republican' as if that defines an entire person.
posted by dg at 3:15 PM on May 15, 2012


« Older The Popular Tags cloud on ask.me just doesn't   |   Another Bad Deletion - It Ain't What U Post, It's... Newer »

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