Another Bad Deletion - It Ain't What U Post, It's How U Say It
May 14, 2012 11:14 AM   Subscribe

This is a bad deletion.

I posted this because I found it to be crazy, unexpected, and interesting, not because it's "outrage of the day." A person who has been featured on Metafilter at least twice (with the most recent thread receiving 274 comments), having been a fairly prominent conservative figure for years, suffering from cancer, suddenly outs himself as a white supremacist - to me, this is Best of the Web in the sense that it's darkly fascinating without just being, say, a single link to something we're all supposed to get worked up about.

If this is "outrage of the day" and deleted as such, why wasn't Ironmouth's thread on "The Talk: Nonblack Version"? If anything, that post was more "outrageous" than this one.
posted by a_girl_irl to Etiquette/Policy at 11:14 AM (136 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

I flagged it, because one of the links took me to a white pride site that was a donation solicitation page. No, thanks.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:18 AM on May 14, 2012 [21 favorites]


A person who has been featured on Metafilter at least twice (with the most recent thread receiving 274 comments)

The recent thread being pretty darned recently and about Derbyshire being fired for being racist. Even that post was not super great and only stood because we we're trying to find a compromise point after a previous iteration had been deleted.

It is totally fine for you to find Derbyshire's rapid transit into full-on white supremacist whackadoo interesting. I think it's sort of interesting too. But that's not the same thing as it being a good idea to make another post about the dude just to point out that, yup, he sure is racist just like he was a month ago and to throw traffic at a site like VDARE in the process.

You seem to have a sort of This Is An Important Issue approach to the site, which as a personal motivation thing I get but as a way of finding your way to making non-outrage posts on the front page is not so good, or at least is certainly not working so well in how it manifests itself in the posts you have made so far.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:21 AM on May 14, 2012 [6 favorites]


Ironmouth's post was more thoughtfully-written and well-rounded, a post about a controversial bit of journalism, the context in which it happened, and its aftermath. Yours was "hey, here's some more crazy from this racist" rubbernecking. What kind of discussion were you hoping to come out of it?

Also- Contact form.
posted by mkultra at 11:21 AM on May 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is emphatically not the best of the web, no offense, a_girl_irl. It's the worst of humanity.

As a Derbyshire-centric post, it's really not a cool thing on the web but rather another chapter in the personal and professional crash-and-burn of a former journalist. In that reading, it would be minor news at best, and thus not a strong post anyway, but with the direct link to a white supremacist hate site it's totally beyond the pale for Metafilter.

A very good deletion.
posted by clockzero at 11:21 AM on May 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


A person who has been featured on Metafilter at least twice

And each time, it's been a nightmare, due to the subject matter. This writer sort of pushed racist ideas without coming right out and saying it in the past and those previous posts were heavily flagged, This time, he seems he went fully over the edge and is now spouting flat out racist diatribes on a white supremacy site. We don't normally allow links/traffic to white supremacist sites and we already covered his descent into being kicked off the National Review the last time around.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 11:22 AM on May 14, 2012 [10 favorites]


You seem to have a sort of This Is An Important Issue approach to the site

I really don't, although I'll admit I find politics and adult human culture more interesting than the latest thing about Dr. Who or What A Dude Built Out of LEGO This Week. When a prominent conservative writer outs himself as a white supremacist or an American border patrol advocate and politician does a multiple-murder-suicide, I find it worthy of examination.

On preview, mathowie's expressed Divine Fiat on the issue and I'll drop it.
posted by a_girl_irl at 11:29 AM on May 14, 2012 [6 favorites]


jessamyn's feedback seemed clear enough to me: it wasn't the link itself that was problematic, but the way you framed and presented it. She didn't say you couldn't post it, she said go back to the drawing board and try again, try better.

mathowie seems to be saying: hey, we've been there, done that. Let's not do it again.

What's the big deal? Try again, try better and consider your deletion an interesting challenge to present controversial material in a productive, informative and useful way. That's all, nothing more, nothing less. No need to get all worked up.
posted by space_cookie at 11:32 AM on May 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


I really don't

Well, again, what we have to work with is what you've actually done on the site, which has been going three for three on deletably problematic "here's a link to something super shitty" posts about racists being racist.

If you really don't think of yourself as having that bent in how you want to participate here, what I am saying is that something is badly amiss. You need to figure out what the disconnect is on your end, because what you're communicating in your actual posting decisions so far as badly at odds with what you seem to be saying your interests are.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:34 AM on May 14, 2012 [8 favorites]


I think it might make a good FPP in a couple of days, after there is enough press on it in other spaces so that no links to white supremacist sites are necessary? There's a grim/funny discussion of it going on right now at Wonkette.com.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:35 AM on May 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


But we can haz lazy posts to crappy, stupid pop songs. Yay, us.
posted by ambient2 at 11:47 AM on May 14, 2012


Yeah, my only issue with the post was having to click on some gross racist site to read the article in question. It would be rad to have a YOU ARE ABOUT TO CLICK ON A LINK TO A GROSS RACIST SITE warning or something, for those of us who are not familiar with the urls to/names of gross racist sites.
posted by elizardbits at 11:49 AM on May 14, 2012 [15 favorites]


I flagged it, because one of the links took me to a white pride site that was a donation solicitation page. No, thanks.

Exactly the same for me. Well, I might not have used the comma.
posted by Shepherd at 11:51 AM on May 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


I flagged it. I think the deletion was good and the post was not.
posted by rtha at 11:52 AM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


But we can haz lazy posts to crappy, stupid pop songs. Yay, us.

This is not a binary where we've only got so much room on the front page and it was either a pop song or HERE'S A RACIST BEING RACIST ON A RACIST SITE. Lot's of folks are interested in both or in neither and to the extent that they're posted about well both pop music and weird journo trainwrecks can and do get posted about. To the extent that they're posted not so well both can and do get deleted, too.

But beyond that, it should be pretty obvious that pop music and hate sites carry very different payloads from the word go and are going to be pretty apples and oranges in terms of what sort community and moderation stuff comes into play. Not all posts start with the same set of merits and handicaps. It is unreasonable to expect otherwise.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:00 PM on May 14, 2012 [6 favorites]


MetaFilter is not the news. That is good.

Blogging sites are easy to find and get started on. You can link to your blog in your profile and those who are interested in your take on the news (or just your newsy finds) can follow it and have fabulously high-minded discussions or share surprised gasps with you.

I think a lot of bitterness about what doesn't fit on MetaFilter would be circumvented by folks recognising this perceived gap in coverage on the site gives them a guaranteed audience share for very little effort.
posted by batmonkey at 12:01 PM on May 14, 2012


I think it might make a good FPP in a couple of days, after there is enough press on it in other spaces so that no links to white supremacist sites are necessary? There's a grim/funny discussion of it going on right now at Wonkette.com.

Having seen quite a few of these MeTa posts in recent years (well, OK, all the years I have been here), it seems like breaking news is something that often doesn't go very well on Metafilter (there are exceptions). It seems like waiting a bit for some context develop elsewhere is almost always a good idea.
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:03 PM on May 14, 2012


We need an "Appeal this deletion" button on deleted posts.
posted by swift at 12:04 PM on May 14, 2012


I feel like the Venn diagram of "is a conservative", "is a racist" and "has cancer" could use some work.
posted by DU at 12:05 PM on May 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


But we can haz lazy posts to crappy, stupid pop songs. Yay, us.

You do realize what you think is crappy and/or stupid isn't necessarily so for other people on Meta Filter, don't you?

It's an important lesson for real life, too.
posted by Tarumba at 12:06 PM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I know nobody can get inside my head to determine this metric, but anytime I'd rather see the Gawker version of the story rather than visit the site involved probably means it's a bad link for Metafilter.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:08 PM on May 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


Just in general, it's almost never a good idea to start a metatalk thread about your own post being deleted. If it was really an egregious deletion, someone else will be around shortly to stick up for it. And if no one does, then you've just been spared an easily avoidable community pile-on.
posted by empath at 12:13 PM on May 14, 2012 [12 favorites]


It's weird when people are so bent out of shape because they can't post about something to metafilter, when if they really cared they would presumably post a long piece of writing about how important it is somewhere that a medium for commentary and activism exists, like their own blog. I don't do that because I'm lazy, and the things I love are goofy and meaningless, and if they get deleted it's like OK cheers then.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 12:14 PM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


But we can haz lazy posts to crappy, stupid pop songs.

I've never had to click through to a white supremacist site for one of those.

I mean, seriously, a SL to VDARE is just ew. Not everyone wants to see that shit, ever.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:14 PM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I, for one, while I understand the deletion and the explanations completely, wouldn't mind reading the text the OP referred to but NOT at a racist site, I'd prefer to point my click's elsewhere. All those are great reasons to axe the post and ask for a redo from the OP.

Pony request: anyone have a link to where I can read the rant and watch the trainwreck in a SFW (double points for something approaching plaintext/no commentary) fashion?
posted by RolandOfEld at 12:14 PM on May 14, 2012


I mean, seriously, a SL to VDARE is just ew. Not everyone wants to see that shit, ever.


It's also great when your corporate firewall pops up with a 'blocked hate site' message.
posted by empath at 12:15 PM on May 14, 2012 [12 favorites]


And I think this is a fascinating story, don't get me wrong, largely because Derbyshire has been so "HOW DARE YOU CALL ME A RACIST?" for so long and now he's just saying, "Yeah, I'm a racist and I'm proud of being a racist" and that is grimly hilarious, but.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:15 PM on May 14, 2012


RolandofEid, I haven't seen the full piece reproduced elsewhere, but this bit that the folks at Wonkette reproduced gives the flavor:

This isn’t because conservatism is hostile to blacks and mestizos. Very much the contrary, especially in the case of Conservatism Inc. They fawn over the occasional nonwhite with a puppyish deference that fairly fogs the air with embarrassment. (Q: What do you call the one black guy at a gathering of 1,000 Republicans? A: “Mr. Chairman.”)

Yes, someone used the word "mestizo" in English to refer to Americans who self-identify as Hispanic.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:18 PM on May 14, 2012


A well-rounded blog that posts thoughtful and thorough commentary and roundups of racism issues and related developments of slightly-morbid trainwreck interest would make a good thing to post to projects, and it would hopefully make its way to the front page once it's got enough content. Linking to hate sites on the front page is not a good thing.
posted by Mizu at 12:20 PM on May 14, 2012


Roland, Andrew Sullivan also has a few paragraphs up.
posted by gauche at 12:21 PM on May 14, 2012


I posted this because I found it to be crazy, unexpected, and interesting

Guy who spouted lazy racist thoughts finally admits to being a racist. That isn't unexpected or interesting, but crazy might fit.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:22 PM on May 14, 2012


This was a good deletion. The links really added nothing new to the story of this troglodyte, and there wasn't really anything to discuss in the thread except how white supremacists are bad etc etc.

It would have been a good post if National Review had not jettisoned him first.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:23 PM on May 14, 2012


Thanks for the links...

At a glance, shit like this is the reason why I can't help but want to watch with morbid interest:

White supremacy, in the sense of a society in which key decisions are made by white Europeans, is one of the better arrangements History has come up with. There have of course been some blots on the record,

Yea, so Hitler and the whole Native-American thing come to mind really quick. Glad they were only 'some blots'. Understatement ftw!
posted by RolandOfEld at 12:24 PM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


It is so telling that he sees the lack of racial and ethnic diversity in the conservative movement as a feature, rather than a bug. Christ, what an asshole.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:25 PM on May 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


But we can haz lazy posts to crappy, stupid pop songs.

The purpose of MetaFilter is not to please everyone, all the time.

From the About page:
What makes a good thread post to MetaFilter?

A good post to MetaFilter is something that meets the following criteria: most people haven't seen it before, there is something interesting about the content on the page, and it might warrant discussion from others.
I don't know why some MeFites find this so difficult to grasp.
posted by tzikeh at 12:26 PM on May 14, 2012


MetaFilter: There have of course been some blots on the record
posted by batmonkey at 12:27 PM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have a strange urge to give into to the "FPP-by-proxy on MeTa" instinct.

I will not repost quotes from Andrew Sullivan, I will not repost quotes from Andrew Sullivan, I will not repost quotes from Andrew Sullivan. Help me to be strong!
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:27 PM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Eeeeppp, sorry, didn't consider the FPP-by-proxy thing, my request for a link stands but I'll not comment anymore if it is indeed 'a thing'.
posted by RolandOfEld at 12:28 PM on May 14, 2012


It is totally fine for you to find Derbyshire's rapid transit into full-on white supremacist whackadoo interesting. I think it's sort of interesting too.

What's interesting about this story is the demonstration that he was always a full-on white supremacist whackadoo, almost certainly, NR just made him keep his freak flag at half mast. About that arrangement I'd like to know more, everything else here falls into the "Francisco Franco is still dead" category.
posted by octobersurprise at 12:29 PM on May 14, 2012


This was a great deletion, thanks.
posted by shelleycat at 12:30 PM on May 14, 2012 [5 favorites]


I think it might make a good FPP in a couple of days

I don't see how. Crazy racist dude is crazy. And racist. Is there any more discussion to be had about that? This is textbook "single link to something we're all supposed to get worked up about".
posted by ook at 12:30 PM on May 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


"I have a strange urge to give into to the "FPP-by-proxy on MeTa" instinct."

That wasn't my intention, by the way; my other post about J.T. Ready committing a multiple-murder-suicide was deleted, then this one was, so I was trying to suss out why these are "bad" but posts about other "outrageous" things in the same vein aren't a problem.
posted by a_girl_irl at 12:31 PM on May 14, 2012


I think the story may develop further as other journalists uncover more connections. Or not.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:31 PM on May 14, 2012


Conservatism, Inc. or otherwise, is a white people's movement, a scattering of outliers notwithstanding. Always has been, always will be. I have attended at least a hundred conservative gatherings, conferences, cruises, and jamborees: let me tell you, there ain't too many raisins in that bun. I was in and out of the National Review offices for twelve years, and the only black person I saw there, other than when Herman Cain came calling, was Alex, the guy who runs the mail room. (Hey, Alex!)

Derby needs to be punched in the dick.
posted by nooneyouknow at 12:34 PM on May 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


I think it might make a good FPP in a couple of days

I don't see how.


Well maybe on Thursday he'll make a keen Flash game set in the Blade Runner universe. You don't know.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:35 PM on May 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


nooneyouknow: " Derby needs to be punched in the dick."

More than once. And at least once for capitalizing History the way he did in the previous quote.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:38 PM on May 14, 2012


Lófaszt! Nehogy már! Te vagy a Keen, Commander Keen!
posted by griphus at 12:38 PM on May 14, 2012


And at least once for capitalizing History the way he did in the previous quote.

Yea, the whole allusion-to-capitalization of 'Providence' a la writers of past ages does not quite fit when the word is 'history' nor when the writer is an asshat.
posted by RolandOfEld at 12:39 PM on May 14, 2012


I preface this by saying I have not looked at the other deleted posts in question:

Given the level-headedness with which a_girl_irl had engaged the feedback and critical advice of the mods, it might be nice to dial back that rhetoric and cut her some slack in this discussion. I mean, it's not like she's exhibiting any 'straight to flame out' drama shit here.
posted by spicynuts at 12:42 PM on May 14, 2012 [14 favorites]


so I was trying to suss out why these are "bad" but posts about other "outrageous" things in the same vein aren't a problem.

Because you're not communicating effectively enough why these types of posts are darkly fascinating and you're not providing enough depth of argument, context, credible sources and commentary to support darkly fascinating.

Ironmouth's post did and that's why it flew better than yours.

May I suggest scanning metafilter for threads about controversial matter to train yourself pick apart all the elements that make it successful. Usually there are several.
posted by space_cookie at 12:43 PM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I feel like the Venn diagram of "is a conservative", "is a racist" and "has cancer" could use some work.

Am I reading this right, DU... are you wishing more people get cancer?
posted by Dano St at 12:45 PM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


trying to suss out why these are "bad"

One of your other deleted posts linked to the Minutemen site. This one linked to VDARE. Metafilter, in general, doesn't like to drive traffic to sites like these (Stormfront, crappy stolen-content-photo-rebloggers, etc.). Could you compose posts that don't send traffic directly to the people being outrageous/awful/racist? It's no promise of them standing, but it's a place to start, and a way to avoid a slam-dunk delete.
posted by donnagirl at 12:45 PM on May 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Given the level-headedness with which a_girl_irl had engaged the feedback and critical advice of the mods, it might be nice to dial back that rhetoric and cut her some slack in this discussion.

Hmmm.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 12:50 PM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have attended at least a hundred conservative gatherings, conferences, cruises, and jamborees: let me tell you, there ain't too many raisins in that bun.

Abundant dick-punching is called for here, but I hope that won't stop Derb from sharing more stories like this. I want to know all about the jokes he shared in the NR break room with the rest of that crowd, their reactions, and what he thought about everyone there (I just don't want to go to a white supremacist website to find out).
posted by octobersurprise at 12:50 PM on May 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't know if I've ever agreed with a deletion more.
posted by lwb at 1:04 PM on May 14, 2012


One of your other deleted posts linked to the Minutemen site. This one linked to VDARE. Metafilter, in general, doesn't like to drive traffic to sites like these

Exactly. And if you're going to drive traffic to sites like this, you need to have a super duper damn good reason and be able to be super duper clear about that reason and at the same time be okay that folks may not agree that your reasons are substantive enough to avoid flagging or deletion.

This isn't a criticism of you, just an observation that your methods need some tinkering so that your intent is more readily accessible to your audience.

To me, the most predictable response to your Derbyshire thread is "yeah, what an unrepentant, crazy asshole." Its not very interesting and doesn't give me much to chew on other than "Racism. Bad. Derbyshire. Bad." I want more to chew on.
posted by space_cookie at 1:04 PM on May 14, 2012


One of your other deleted posts linked to the Minutemen site. This one linked to VDARE. Metafilter, in general, doesn't like to drive traffic to sites like these

This was one of the big "Hey I think we need a bit of a correction here" points for me. Let me be clear, this was not a borderline delete. This was a cortex and I overwriting eachother's deletion reasons in order to delete this situation. According to your profile you're very new here. You've made two posts which link to hate sites and one to a reddit discussion thread about race with a super-touchy and somewhat cryptic, for this site, post text. This is either an serious of honest mistakes or a serious troll.

So, we just want to be clear by having this discussion here the number of things that made this post not okay

- "crazy racist did something crazy" aspect
- provocative above the fold pullquote
- almost-single-link to hate site posting

And, the fourth item which is a sort of meta-item is the fact that these three posts which were all clearly-not-okay for here don't seem to strike you as clearly-not-okay. No big deal, we can totally talk about that stuff here but it is an extra aspect to the "I'm not really sure what you're hoping to get out of MetaFilter" question that I have as a site moderator.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:14 PM on May 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Even that post was not super great and only stood because we we're trying to find a compromise point after a previous iteration had been deleted.

I thought it was good. LOL.

Anyway, Derb is a nut job.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:23 PM on May 14, 2012


I really don't, although I'll admit I find politics and adult human culture more interesting than the latest thing about Dr. Who or What A Dude Built Out of LEGO This Week

BTW, a_girl_irl's twitter feed is great.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:26 PM on May 14, 2012


The notion that "adult human culture" stands in contradistinction to "the latest thing about Dr. Who or What A Dude Built Out of LEGO This Week" is funny!
posted by chinston at 1:38 PM on May 14, 2012 [8 favorites]


just wait till parry gripp joins the kkk, then we'll have a proper dust-up -
posted by facetious at 1:43 PM on May 14, 2012


I think the post in question was quite good except for the link to the white-supremacist site, which did make it deletable, and it's hard to see how that could have been avoided.

I just looked over most of your comments, a_girl_irl, and found them to be almost uniformly excellent. I would be happy with many returns.
posted by jamjam at 1:44 PM on May 14, 2012


"I really don't, although I'll admit I find politics and adult human culture more interesting than the latest thing about Dr. Who or What A Dude Built Out of LEGO This Week."

and

"But we can haz lazy posts to crappy, stupid pop songs. Yay, us."

Both these comments, but especially the first, exemplify the misunderstanding that "worth posting" has something to do with "important". When what is actually the case, and has always been the case, is that "worth posting" has everything to do with it being "interesting to a majority of the community".

Lots of important stuff is interesting, of course; and quite often the interest is in direct proportion to the importance. Other times, not at all.

A not-insignificant number of people agree with a_girl_irl's evident tendency to equate "not important" with "not interesting" and, worse, equate "not interesting to me" with "should not be interesting to anyone else". The irony is that I've never met a person in my life who doesn't have some interests and enthusiasms that are arguably trivial, unimportant, and/or juvenile. Because, you know, almost all people have a vast array of interests which run the gamut from Important Social Problems to Funny TV Shows. This is normal and acceptable for human beings.

There's a number of things posted to MeFi, prove to be popular and which I, naturally, think are stupid and uninteresting and sometimes juvenile and stupid. Also, stupid. Did I mention stupid? But I don't mistake my preferences for those of everyone else nor that it's reasonable for me to expect my preferences to be normative because they reflect some ideal. I'm inclined to think that way, because I'm a fallible and vain human, like everyone else. But I know I'm wrong when I think that way.

All that said, I'm ambivalent about this deletion, at least a little.

"I, for one, while I understand the deletion and the explanations completely, wouldn't mind reading the text the OP referred to but NOT at a racist site, I'd prefer to point my click's elsewhere. All those are great reasons to axe the post and ask for a redo from the OP."

and

"And I think this is a fascinating story, don't get me wrong, largely because Derbyshire has been so "HOW DARE YOU CALL ME A RACIST?" for so long and now he's just saying, "Yeah, I'm a racist and I'm proud of being a racist" and that is grimly hilarious, but."

Right. I don't think this is an everyday occurrence that's of interest only to those with an inclination for their fix of daily outrage. The interview all by itself is not very good both because it's a link to a white-supremacist site and because what's truly interesting here is what this means in context. Derbyshire was not some fringe member of the commentariat, he was a very high-profile and influential conservative blogger at what is the most highly-regarded and institutionally-powerful conservative magazine of opinion.

The context here is that oft-repeated Lee Atwater bit about how modern conservatives have necessarily learned to present their racism in code and never openly because American culture no longer allows open racism, even within the hard-right. So for thirty years it's presented in coded language and always with some plausible deniability — which is always plausibly denied ("plausible" to those with an investment in believing in the plausibility) when challenged. Derbyshire went off reservation and the how and why of his doing that, the response within conservativism to his doing that, and what this proves about what his colleagues almost certainly knew about his actual beliefs and his rhetorical goals, are all of wide interest. And important, too. But the key thing is that this is interesting, and not just in an inside-baseball way. It was widely interesting when Michael Kinsley argued, continually, that Buchanan isn't really an anti-semitic bigot. Because bigotry is maintained less by explicitly hateful agitprop and much more by continual, low-level and indirect messaging by those with influence. And by those who enable those people and/or make excuses for them because they're friends and associates with them.

What this posts needs is to be one that links to an examination and/or discussion of these issues in the context of Derbyshire's interview. The interview alone is not really what's most interesting, it's what it signifies. A post about this interview needs to be about the issues that this interview raises, not so much the interview itself (thought the interview itself should be available and central, in some respect).
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 1:48 PM on May 14, 2012 [14 favorites]


empath: Just in general, it's almost never a good idea to start a metatalk thread about your own post being deleted. If it was really an egregious deletion, someone else will be around shortly to stick up for it. And if no one does, then you've just been spared an easily avoidable community pile-on.

empath, your comment should pop on the screen before new users submit their first Metatalk post. I know I would have benefited from taking a moment to reflect on that in the past.
posted by misha at 1:52 PM on May 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


Another Bad Deletion

Worst. Early 90s hip-hop boy band. Ever.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 1:52 PM on May 14, 2012 [13 favorites]


Right. I don't think this is an everyday occurrence that's of interest only to those with an inclination for their fix of daily outrage. The interview all by itself is not very good both because it's a link to a white-supremacist site and because what's truly interesting here is what this means in context. Derbyshire was not some fringe member of the commentariat, he was a very high-profile and influential conservative blogger at what is the most highly-regarded and institutionally-powerful conservative magazine of opinion.

[...]

What this posts needs is to be one that links to an examination and/or discussion of these issues in the context of Derbyshire's interview. The interview alone is not really what's most interesting, it's what it signifies. A post about this interview needs to be about the issues that this interview raises, not so much the interview itself (thought the interview itself should be available and central, in some respect).


I agree with all of this.
posted by a_girl_irl at 2:14 PM on May 14, 2012


I feel like the Venn diagram of "is a conservative", "is a racist" and "has cancer" could use some work.

Am I reading this right, DU... are you wishing more people get cancer?


WTF? No.

I'm saying the first two have so much overlap as to be nearly indistinguishable while the last one seems irrelevant to whatever interest this story had.
posted by DU at 2:51 PM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's so funny how people seem to think this is a political website.
posted by downing street memo at 3:34 PM on May 14, 2012


Another Bad Deletion

Worst. Early 90s hip-hop boy band. Ever.


A-B-D... it's easy as 1-2-4...
posted by grog at 3:50 PM on May 14, 2012 [4 favorites]



I'm saying the first two have so much overlap as to be nearly indistinguishable while the last one seems irrelevant to whatever interest this story had.

I don't know, DU, cancer itself and chemotherapy each have the side effect of increased anxiety, and a recent study showed that the widely used anxiolytic propranolol could markedly reduce unconscious racism.

I think it's entirely possible to come out of cancer treatment more racist than you went into it.
posted by jamjam at 3:53 PM on May 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


What this posts needs is to be one that links to an examination and/or discussion of these issues in the context of Derbyshire's interview.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 3:48 PM on May 14


No, not here on Metafilter. That's not what we need.

Don't get me wrong: I would be very much interested in reading your view and about a dozen other poster's views on the topic. Under laboratory circumstances, it could be a very interesting and enlightening discussion.

But not here on Metafilter. We have been here long enough to know how this would go. It would just be snark and a bunch of comments about how secretly They Are All This Way which is why this nutjob fit in perfectly. It would be roasting of the entire out-group based upon the claim that Derbyshire is How They Really Are. It would be treating a rather substantial portion of the body politic as being something morally repulsive based on one diseased viewpoint. In other words, it would be sloppy, nasty, and strident. You can see the prior Derbyshire post as an example which somehow started breaking down in to Supreme Court critique and other generalized grievances crammed through a prism of how awful They are.

Would that the discussion you described could happen it would make for interesting reading. But that's not the kind of discussion we have on charged topics. There's plenty of history here to prove that.
posted by dios at 4:09 PM on May 14, 2012 [10 favorites]


Wow, I agree with dios.

Also, for those of you who did click through to VDARE: did anyone else notice Michelle Malkin is writing for them? I felt my brain trying to punch through the top of my skull when I saw her by-line. Apart from the obvious, um, conflict of interest there, why is this not news, i.e., network news? She's a regular commentator on Fox. Do they not know? Because if they do, no one in any network seems to care.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:27 PM on May 14, 2012


> But I don't mistake my preferences for those of everyone else nor that it's reasonable for me to expect my preferences to be normative because they reflect some ideal. I'm inclined to think that way, because I'm a fallible and vain human, like everyone else. But I know I'm wrong when I think that way.

This is why I'm glad Ivan is back. That ability to see past your own inclinations is incredibly valuable and I hope it's contagious.

> I agree with all of this.

Do you agree that you're having problems seeing what's clearly-not-okay for MetaFilter?
posted by languagehat at 4:33 PM on May 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


I am totally OK with racists not being given a platform on Metafilter to express their moronic opinions.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:39 PM on May 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


"But not here on Metafilter. We have been here long enough to know how this would go. It would just be snark and a bunch of comments about how secretly They Are All This Way which is why this nutjob fit in perfectly. It would be roasting of the entire out-group based upon the claim that Derbyshire is How They Really Are. It would be treating a rather substantial portion of the body politic as being something morally repulsive based on one diseased viewpoint. In other words, it would be sloppy, nasty, and strident. You can see the prior Derbyshire post as an example which somehow started breaking down in to Supreme Court critique and other generalized grievances crammed through a prism of how awful They are."

I see merit in your argument. But it's sort of like the Catholic Church threads. Those get a huge amount of hyperbolic conversation derailing crap because, in no small part, the in-group/out-group thing you describe. But that, by itself, doesn't mean either that such posts shouldn't be made when they otherwise have merit, nor that there's not a lot of good discussion that occurs in those threads despite this.

It's hard to discuss this with you because we're on opposite political sides on this, but, in an effort to approach it more from your side of the fence, I'l say that I think this is very similar to antisemitism on the left that disguises itself (and often self-deceives) that it's purely about criticism of Israel's policies. It's deeply problematic and provocative to discuss this because portraying, by default, criticism of Israel as antisemitic in motivation and essence is deeply offensive while, on the other hand, it happens and sometimes the accusation is quite true. And, more to the point, it's institutionally protected by a) institutions that have a vested interest in criticizing Israel and so don't mind who they're in bed with; and b) institutions that are genuinely antisemitic.

I think, as in this similar case of Israel and antisemitism, there's some hard-to-define minority out there who is bigoted, cloaks their bigotry in plausible deniability, and is supported by a larger political/institutional context either deliberately or through negligence. It's very much wrong to tar every conservative position on race as racist or every progressive criticism of Israel as antisemitic. But both things exist and run like threads through a lot of their respective institutions. And that they do exist and while, though a minority, are widely-distributed, means that they inevitably create guilt by association. A refusal to discuss this at all because of defensiveness just compounds the problem. And both issues are interesting and important.

On balance, we often have to concede that some conversations are so poisoned by bad feelings that they cannot be productive enough to overcome the destruction. But I'm not convinced this is true on this topic here, and I'm not really convinced that it's true on the topic of Israel, though history has shown that it very well may be true.

Put another way, it's not just those who are quick to provocatively make categorical assertions about how terrible all members of group X are because they all believe, at least secretly, offensive belief Y, who poison discussions. It's also the group that is highly defensive about even the possibility of such assertions and right away makes the conversation all about those assertions sometimes even before they're made. A lot of the worst stuff that happens in MeFi isn't merely because there's an oppressive majority in-group who is needless insensitive to a minority. Often the worst conflict that happens is because there's a minority who is hypersensitive to even the possibility of this occurring and, ironically, because of this, ends up playing a large role in ensuring that it does.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 4:46 PM on May 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


Thank you for the clarification,DU. Sorry for misunderstanding.
posted by Dano St at 4:49 PM on May 14, 2012


Ivan: I think you are incorrect that we are on "opposite sides of this"--whatever that means--but nevertheless, my point still stands: you just perfectly showed why it would be a worthwhile discussion if you (and other equally charitable and thoughtful posters) discussed this topic. But we know from ample historical evidence that the conversation that would occur would not be that one in the main.
posted by dios at 5:06 PM on May 14, 2012


the claim that Derbyshire is How They Really Are

Here is the thing: He didn't suddenly become racist. He has always been a racist writing racist columns for National Review, which has had a multi-decade history of publishing racist authors for the purpose of supporting racist public policy.

He was paid by that well-respected organ of the conservative right-wing because of those views, not in spite of them. Aside from his views on race, the only thing notable about him were his articles on math, and I'm fairly sure that isn't why he was hired at a conservative, racist magazine.

The magazine continues to publish racist, islamophobic and homophobic articles by other authors, every day, btw, to no outcry or scorn that I can see from the supposedly non-racist, non-homophobic, non-islamaphobic right win.
posted by empath at 5:22 PM on May 14, 2012 [5 favorites]


It's also the group that is highly defensive about even the possibility of such assertions and right away makes the conversation all about those assertions sometimes even before they're made.

It's not a pleasant truth, and I know you don't want to acknowledge it, but there is most definitely a contingent here that does get away with accusing other users of anti-Semitism. Even in a "joking" fashion, and even though it is a handful of people who do it, it is as much of an ugly and poisonous thing as everything else you've described. The worst part is when people look the other way when it happens.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:25 PM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Can we please maybe stop casting general aspersions about groups of users and their supposed behavior/biases without at least linking to a single example of this behavior/bias happening?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:42 PM on May 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


What if I sincerely believe most Republicans are racists, dios? Is that just bullying the poor gentle "out group" (most of whom would call me a "socialist" if not a "lib tard")?

I love noting how damn sensitive righties are about criticism when they are in general the far more vicious faction in American politics.
posted by spitbull at 5:47 PM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Can we not do the FPP-by-proxy here? It seems like this conversation is right in between talking about how the FPP would go, and talking about the substance of the FPP, and listing into the latter.

(I know, I know, I linked to some of Derb's piece earlier...)
posted by gauche at 5:55 PM on May 14, 2012


most of whom would call me a "socialist" if not a "lib tard"

Please do not start these fights in here and do not start generalized fights with groups who aren't here. If you want to talk about something going on on MetaFilter you can link to stuff. Otherwise all the overgeneralization stuff is just non-useful poo flinging. This is not the FPP-by-proxy thread and don't make it one.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:56 PM on May 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Marisa Stole the Precious Thing, it does boggle my mind that Malkin writes for a white supremacist website, seeing as she is Filipina herself. Cognitive dissonance abounds.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:13 PM on May 14, 2012


And I believe it did come up during the flap about Malkin's pro-Manzanar column, too.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:15 PM on May 14, 2012


Might as well close this up, seeing as how the account is now disabled.
posted by unliteral at 6:43 PM on May 14, 2012


Whoa, wait, what?
posted by hermitosis at 6:54 PM on May 14, 2012


Where'd she go?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:02 PM on May 14, 2012


"she".
posted by to sir with millipedes at 7:17 PM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


did anyone else notice Michelle Malkin is writing for them? I felt my brain trying to punch through the top of my skull when I saw her by-line. Apart from the obvious, um, conflict of interest there, why is this not news, i.e., network news? She's a regular commentator on Fox. Do they not know? Because if they do, no one in any network seems to care.

It's more of a general anti-immigration site. I believe Malkin's column is syndicated, too. Syndicated columns in any publication is less of an affiliation than being a staff writer or contributor.
posted by michaelh at 7:33 PM on May 14, 2012


There are people who won't put up with the usual Metafilter air of fond and faintly contemptuous superiority.

I think she was one, and for very good reason. She would have been a spectacular contributor.
posted by jamjam at 7:34 PM on May 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's more of a general anti-immigration site. I believe Malkin's column is syndicated, too. Syndicated columns in any publication is less of an affiliation than being a staff writer or contributor.

She's syndicated by Creative Syndicate, which is huge, but she also has one of the site's staffers working for her, too, apparently, and cites the group's founder as a friend*. And they do publish white nationalist crap. But this has apparently been the case since at least 2006, so guess I missed the boat on that story.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 7:47 PM on May 14, 2012


I've never had to click through to a white supremacist site for one of those.

I mean, seriously, a SL to VDARE is just ew. Not everyone wants to see that shit, ever.


You never HAVE to click on ANY link. So there's that..

Also, way back in the dark ages we had "A link to NAMBLA is just wrong". Here's my opinion from back then, it hasn't changed:
Even though much of this post is devoted to evaluating what 'most' means, I don't actually think catering to the majority is a worthy or useful goal in any way. In fact, regardless of how the majority feels, the notion that 'a link to ---- is just wrong' is repugnant.
Alas, the ship has sailed, and MetaFilter doesn't agree with me.
posted by Chuckles at 8:12 PM on May 14, 2012


Are we seriously mourning an inability to post to white supremacist sites here? Is there's some worthwhile viewpoint we are at risk at missing unless we head out to read the words of white supremacists?

To give consideration to either of those two premises strikes me as the most pointless kind of hand-wringing.
posted by Ipsifendus at 8:19 PM on May 14, 2012


michaelh, it's definitely a white supremacist site. (After all, Virginia Dare was an immigrant herself!)

Michelle Malkin has commented favorably on the site's founder, Peter Brimelow, in her columns, calling him a friend. She's quoted the site in at least one column. Her ties with the site go beyond them simply syndicating the column.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:42 PM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


michaelh, here's a link to Malkin quoting VDARE approvingly, one of several that turned up in a quick Goog.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:44 PM on May 14, 2012


This is not a binary where we've only got so much room on the front page...

The remindsThe reminds me of when M&M's got rid of the tan m&m. I called them and asked why, and they told me it was so the could introduce a new color (which ended up being blue, after everybody voted between purple, pink, or blue). So basically the reasoning was that THEY COULD ONLY FIT SO MANY COLORS IN ONE BAG! I still have grar about it. They could've at least include him in the election.
posted by BurnChao at 10:26 PM on May 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


"It's not a pleasant truth, and I know you don't want to acknowledge it, but there is most definitely a contingent here that does get away with accusing other users of anti-Semitism."

You know wrong. What in my comment gave you the impression that I disagreed with this?

I'd like to think that you would read my comment and consider your response right here (with your complaint) and reflect on the possibility that perhaps making these kinds of accusations when the politics are reversed and where you're inclined to think such accusations are likely true is not a good idea, either. Because I know you've been on that side of the fence with regard to this sort of behavior. If you're aggrieved when it's done to you, maybe you'll reconsider doing it to others.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 12:11 AM on May 15, 2012


So basically the reasoning was that THEY COULD ONLY FIT SO MANY COLORS IN ONE BAG!

Adding another color would mean adding another machine at the factory.
posted by empath at 5:33 AM on May 15, 2012


You never HAVE to click on ANY link.

NevRTFA?
posted by running order squabble fest at 6:29 AM on May 15, 2012


Wait, what? Theres no tan m&m any more?
posted by dabitch at 6:47 AM on May 15, 2012


I can only speak for the US, but they got rid of tan when they introduced blue in 1995.

That article also includes voice actor information about the cartoon ones in TV ads. I knew Billy West was Red, but I didn't know that JK Simmons is now Yellow. The wife and I are re-watching Oz so that's an interesting time to make this discovery. I am not prepared to hear Schillinger's voice coming out of the Yellow M&M next time I see one of those.
posted by SpiffyRob at 7:29 AM on May 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


It would just be snark and a bunch of comments about how secretly They Are All This Way which is why this nutjob fit in perfectly.

Why did this nutjob fit in so perfectly? Not everyone who identifies as "conservative" or "Republican" or "right-of-center" is as nutty-racist as Derbyshire; that is obviously not so in my experience. But the question remains: how does an avowed white-supremacist—a man who has always exhibited a "flog the wogs" view of the world even when he wasn't openly avowing his white-supremacism—spend a decade or more writing for the flagship publication of the American right without, somehow, fitting in?

I don't have an answer to that question, but I'd be delighted to hear hypotheses.

But that's not the kind of discussion we have on charged topics. There's plenty of history here to prove that.

Possibly sad and possibly true. But don't sell yourself short, dios. You're no slouch yourself.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:45 AM on May 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


JK Simmons is now Yellow. The wife and I are re-watching Oz so that's an interesting time to make this discovery. I am not prepared to hear Schillinger's voice coming out of the Yellow M&M next time I see one of those.

The best was when Simmons was simultaneously playing Schillinger on Oz and the infinitely patient psychiatrist Skoda on Law & Order, because holy instant readjustment of expectations, Batman.

He'll always be J. Jonah Jameson to me, though.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:19 AM on May 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


He'll always be J. Jonah Jameson Cave Johnson to me, though

chariots chariots
posted by Elementary Penguin at 8:28 AM on May 15, 2012


Might as well close this up, seeing as how the account is now disabled.

Twitter feed went away too.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 9:31 AM on May 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think I'm going to start a tally sheet for the number of times Ivan has beaten me to the punch. Yes, that's exactly the conversation I want to be engaged in! And what does that say about previous Derbyshire posts-and also what does it say about the effectiveness of forcing racism underground if we're still having racism, only coded?

That may not have been the conversation that would have happened with the first post, though. I don't know that I would have deleted it, at least with the reasoning given, though. Jessamyn's last reasoning was sound, but I wish that clarity had been given to the OP originally.
posted by corb at 9:40 AM on May 15, 2012


Twitter feed went away too.

Scorching the Earth to spite your faceMetafFilter?
posted by Gator at 10:10 AM on May 15, 2012


There are people who won't put up with the usual Metafilter air of fond and faintly contemptuous superiority.

I think she was one, and for very good reason. She would have been a spectacular contributor.


FWIW, the account was banned, jamjam.
posted by stagewhisper at 10:29 AM on May 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I wish that clarity had been given to the OP originally.

The mods have indicated that all three of the OP's fpp's have been deleted for similar reasons ("And, the fourth item which is a sort of meta-item is the fact that these three posts which were all clearly-not-okay for here don't seem to strike you as clearly-not-okay."). How many hints/delete reasons/behind-the-scenes memails does it take before the OP gets it?
posted by rtha at 10:30 AM on May 15, 2012


Was the account banned and not buttoned?
posted by Gator at 10:35 AM on May 15, 2012


Stupid grocer's apostrophe, how I hate you.
posted by rtha at 10:46 AM on May 15, 2012


The account was banned, yes. Without wanting to get into detail, it belonged to a user who had left previously under kind of bridge-burning circumstances after a lot of trouble with their interactions on the site. a_girl_irl was only around for as long as it was because we were taking it on good faith that the similar behavior and style was a bad coincidence rather than that user actively fucking around on the site again while deliberately obfuscating their identity.

Once it became totally clear that it was not some confused new user trying to find their feet, we were firmly in This Is Not Okay territory, and so the account is banned. We're pretty frustrated to have had to deal with this at all.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:03 AM on May 15, 2012


I guess that explains the Twitter feed disappearing, then.
posted by Gator at 11:07 AM on May 15, 2012


We need an "Appeal this deletion" button on deleted posts.

Aside from firing up the popcorn machine, what exactly would this button do? "Appeal this deletion" implies that there is a formal appeal mechanism, which I'm pretty sure there is not.

As an alternative, how about: "If you would like to discuss this deletion with the moderators, please use the contact form." (visible to OP only) as a way to way to reduce unnecessary redundant supererogatory Meta threads of this kind ("I would like to flog this dead horse in public.")?
posted by shoesfullofdust at 11:13 AM on May 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sorry, did everybody not figure out who a_girl_irl really was months ago?

It's not like he made any effort to conceal the fact that he was obsessed with the exact same things and wrote about them in the exact same way.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 11:15 AM on May 15, 2012


I... don't really bother to pay attention for that kind of thing, honestly.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:21 AM on May 15, 2012


I guess that explains the Twitter feed disappearing, then.

?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:22 AM on May 15, 2012


Oh, somebody upthread said it was gone. Like shakes, I don't pay attention to this stuff and hadn't even looked at it.
posted by Gator at 11:25 AM on May 15, 2012


Without wanting to get into detail...

Wait, what does this mean?! I can't read your mind!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:26 AM on May 15, 2012


It's alimentary!
posted by Burhanistan at 11:33 AM on May 15, 2012


It's not like he made any effort to conceal the fact that he was obsessed with the exact same things and wrote about them in the exact same way.

Creepy.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:42 AM on May 15, 2012


Wait, what does this mean?! I can't read your mind!

It's been a really rough week or so in modtown and if people could just say what they mean and not maybe make jabs at other users and other fights from the past few days that would be terrific. cortex gave a bare bones explanation and we'd like people who need to get into specifics for some reason to email us. We can talk about generalities here if people need to.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:55 AM on May 15, 2012


Creepy.

What's the creepy part: noticing similarities in posting styles and topics between a new user and a departed one, or the topics and posting styles of said person?

Also, I am not at all curious about who this person is/was, because it all feels very high school study hall talking about it.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:02 PM on May 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


I appreciate knowing there were reasons for the banning that I (at least) couldn't see here.
posted by jamjam at 1:10 PM on May 15, 2012


Well, I had no idea who he/she/it was (though I guess I can now surmise based on all the heavy hinting here) but I think it's a shame to lose him/her/it, when a_girl_irl was making a lot of great, hilarious and insightful contributions to MeFi threads. And I guess it's water under the bridge at this point but I think the Derbyshire thing could easily have made for a very interesting post and discussion. This whole thing seems like a shame and I would love it if the hard-line "Not Okay" response could be reconsidered.
posted by RogerB at 2:58 PM on May 15, 2012


I spent most of my study halls napping due to an undiagnosed case of mono, so this doesn't feel anything like high school study hall at all.
posted by subbes at 8:01 PM on May 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


This whole thing seems like a shame and I would love it if the hard-line "Not Okay" response could be reconsidered.

Agreed. We have had far more problematic Brand New Days around here.
posted by lalex at 10:50 PM on May 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I really dislike the coy 'I know who it was' nonsense that occasionally pops up in threads like this. If you do and you want everyone to know how smart you are? Name 'em and deal with the consequences.

If you're not going to, then don't say anything at all. What on earth good does it do?
posted by pseudonymph at 12:04 AM on May 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


For the record, I'm in favor of the ban. It seems like a good decision to me.
posted by Ipsifendus at 4:54 AM on May 16, 2012


cortex gave a bare bones explanation and we'd like people who need to get into specifics for some reason to email us.

What does this mean? You'll tell anyone who e-mails you who a_girl_irl was? Either decisions are transparent or they are not; I don't feel you need to explain every decision, but it seems like you're trying to have it both ways.
posted by spaltavian at 6:52 AM on May 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


ahem
posted by empath at 7:00 AM on May 16, 2012


Agreed. We have had far more problematic Brand New Days around here.

Depends entirely on how you define problematic, I guess. We've had essentially none where someone effectively lied to our faces about it. Most BND situations are really cut and dried and don't even hit the radar because there was little to no drama in the first place; every once in a while it's bumpier, for one reason or another, and sometimes that bumpiness is mostly public-facing and sometimes not so much.

To the extent that part of the idea with the whole thing is we're willing to give folks a chance to sort of reset their behavior and reputation on the site, we've always tried to make it a thing where even if it feels to us like they're not really doing it right on their return we'll try and leave the identity stuff out of it publicly. Even if it's not some super locked-down secret or something, it's pretty much what we always try to do.

What does this mean? You'll tell anyone who e-mails you who a_girl_irl was?

What it means mostly is that if someone has some sort of legitimate reason for needing to know, beyond "I like gossip, dish!" they can write to us and let us know what the deal is and we'll get back to them. Barring that, our preference would be for folks to just leave it alone, because sitting around kibitzing about BND identities or the identities of banned folks after the fact feels like drama for drama's sake.

Either decisions are transparent or they are not; I don't feel you need to explain every decision, but it seems like you're trying to have it both ways.

We try to make our decisionmaking as transparent as possible. We are willing to talk about just about everything. Very occasionally, usually for privacy/identity reasons, there are aspects of specific situations we don't want to broadcast publicly.

Anybody who expects absolute 100% "we will answer every question always" transparency is expecting too much. We're enormously transparent about moderation on this site and I have actually been finding it seriously weird and frustrating how much kind of crappy pushback there has been the last few days on a couple things over the fact that we have any boundaries whatsoever, because that's a really seriously unreasonable level of expectation.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:13 AM on May 16, 2012 [6 favorites]


I don't feel you need to explain every decision, but it seems like you're trying to have it both ways.

It means we're not going to get into a discussion in absentia about the personal details of a banned user here in MetaTalk. Not every single thing we have to handle here is best discussed in MetaTalk. We don't discuss the content of private emails from users, we don't discuss our vacation schedules, we don't discuss the anon question that we don't approve, we don't discuss user's real names/details, we don't link people to their sock puppets. However, if users have questions about those sorts of things and/or legitimate reasons they need to know, they should contact us privately.

This is the flip side of the privacy that users are allowed to have here. The mods know many more details about users than we publicly reveal and users trust us, by and large, to do this consistently. You are welcome to Brand New Day it here, but there are some guidelines to how that has to happen. And, similar to the Scott Adams thing, it's problematic when we see someone fucking with or lying to the community and we have to balance their privacy as a user with the not-okay stuff that we can see them doing. The fact that this privacy situation can very rarely be abused by people for whatever reason is a side effect of the fact that we are trusting and that we are discreet with everyone's personal details.

There is a very short list of mod things that we do that are not open to public community input and discussion and usually it has to do with, as cortex said, privacy/identity issues. It's a crappy line to have to draw, but we think drawing it on the side of "more privacy for users" even if it comes at the expense of some people feeling that they don't get to talk about the full story in MeTa is an okay compromise.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:26 AM on May 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


I have actually been finding it seriously weird and frustrating how much kind of crappy pushback there has been the last few days on a couple things over the fact that we have any boundaries whatsoever

Must be the Terrible Twos(days).
posted by octobersurprise at 8:02 AM on May 16, 2012


I bet it's because Venus is in retrograde.
posted by rtha at 8:29 AM on May 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm fine with that. I hope you are as well.
posted by Gator at 9:06 AM on May 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


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