It's not fundraising if you're not asking for donations
June 8, 2012 11:19 AM   Subscribe

I don't quite understand why this FPP (about pet adoptions) was deleted. The reason given is that 'Heya, posts built around charity/fundraiser stuff are kind of not okay in general. If you want to make a post about adoption stuff in abstract independent of the sort of Get Out The Adopt angle, that'd be more okay.' Except that the charitable foundation mentioned in the post doesn't solicit donations, so there's no fundraising aspect involved, zero, zip, nada. As far as I know it's funded entirely by some rich person's bequest in memory of a beloved dog. They don't even have a donate button on the website, and the text of the FPP made it clear that they were in the giving-it-away business rather than the taking-it-in business. I'm not quite sure how to do a post about pet adoptions 'independent of the sort of get out the adopt angle.' Unless it's a post saying 'why you shouldn't adopt' or 'the dark side of pet adoptions' or something. This FPP was about a) the cool commercial video, which is a cut above most efforts of this type and b) the existence of resources for people who are interested in adopting a pet but might be worried about the cost.
posted by anigbrowl to Etiquette/Policy at 11:19 AM (123 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

What did the mods say when you emailed them for more information?
posted by Admiral Haddock at 11:26 AM on June 8, 2012 [34 favorites]


The video is indeed really... something.
posted by Perplexity at 11:28 AM on June 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


As a Rule ...
posted by de at 11:29 AM on June 8, 2012


The problem is primarily the additional c) here's a currently going adopt-a-thon event. Without that I think the post would be fine, but with that it gets into tricky activism/advocacy territory.

I didn't intend "fundraising" in a literal sense, more in a problematic category way. Sorry about the confusion.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:30 AM on June 8, 2012


As someone who's done a lot of professional fundraising, most of fundraising happens when you explicitly *aren't* asking for donations.

And, to be fair, the first link certainly does have a donation page.

Posting anything that's of the sort, "hey, this is a great cause! check it out!" is problematic, because it is sort of Charity Blue, even if it isn't explicitly "give to this cause." Doesn't mean it isn't a cool project, just means it isn't a great post. At least that's my understanding.
posted by Lutoslawski at 11:30 AM on June 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


There is a donate button on the San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals site.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:31 AM on June 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Same reason they don't allow kickstarter posts and other activism posts.
posted by empath at 11:33 AM on June 8, 2012


I honestly think that there needs to be some sort of require challenge put into place in MeTa in order to post a question/complaint about a deletion. The frequency of this is, to me, getting absolutely ridiculous (and I don't mean that as a specific callout of anigbrowl; this is genuinely an observation about the general trend).
posted by scody at 11:33 AM on June 8, 2012 [40 favorites]


Oh. The adoptathon is just an event with a lot of pets that happens to be going on, with some of the usual costs (neutering, vaccinations) already taken care of. I guess I can repost it without that, but it's not like a telethon or anything, it's just a bunch of shelters bringing a large number of animals to a single location.
posted by anigbrowl at 11:34 AM on June 8, 2012


There is a donate button on the San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals site.

Er, yes, but I was specifically referring to the charitable foundation which I believed had caused the confusion. Does this mean that it's not cool to link to an SPCA-type organization in an FPP, ever, because they do take donations? I ask because I've seen several other posts on similar topics over the last few years.

I honestly think that there needs to be some sort of require challenge put into place in MeTa in order to post a question/complaint about a deletion.

An email (similar to the auto-generated email when you make a new post) would go a long way towards simplifying this. As it is, the deletion seemed arbitrary and not well founded in fact (because the FPP is not attempting to promote any kind of fundraising).
posted by anigbrowl at 11:39 AM on June 8, 2012


As it is, the deletion seemed arbitrary and not well founded in fact (because the FPP is not attempting to promote any kind of fundraising).

It basically seemed like an advocacy post with "Here is why this is a good idea, by the way we're having a fundraiser this weekend in SFO" as the reason the post was made today as opposed to any other day.

I know it's tough to make posts about issues that people feel strongly about without there being some sort of "This is why this matters NOW" aspect that is often a fundraiser, but we're pretty consistent in the "If this is mostly a fundraiser/petition situation, please make it differently" application. This seemed less like something cool on the web and more "There is an event that you should maybe go to if you're in the Bay Area" which isn't always the best jumping off point for a post.

If the post was mostly about this video that you thought was exceptional, maybe a repost with that and explaining why you were posting it might be an improvement which I think is what cortex was saying.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:44 AM on June 8, 2012


I would love to read an interesting post with excellent links on pet adoption. This was not that post.
posted by Wordwoman at 11:45 AM on June 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


posted by anigbrowl but I was specifically referring to the charitable foundation which I believed had caused the confusion.

Both the links you posted have donation-solicitation buttons.
posted by mattdidthat at 11:46 AM on June 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Make it into a meet up and post it to IRL.

I personally didn't have a problem with anything in that post other than the title, but I am a softy for animals.

I honestly think that there needs to be some sort of require challenge put into place in MeTa in order to post a question/complaint about a deletion. The frequency of this is, to me, getting absolutely ridiculous (and I don't mean that as a specific callout of anigbrowl; this is genuinely an observation about the general trend).

Hey, quit hijacking other people's threads and start your own!
posted by cjorgensen at 11:54 AM on June 8, 2012


Possibly a better example of how to link to an advocacy video? You'll notice that the emphasis was on the video, not on a call to action. Even though the OP didn't include a lot of links to flesh out the topic, other commenters did so immediately, and a pretty good discussion resulted. What did you expect from the commenters? RSVPs?
posted by acidic at 11:56 AM on June 8, 2012


Both the links you posted have donation-solicitation buttons.

Where? Neither the Maddie's Fund page nor the adoptathon page have any donation buttons that I can see. The SPCA website accepts donations, but they're only linked to as the creators of the video.

we're pretty consistent in the "If this is mostly a fundraiser/petition situation, please make it differently" application

But this is simply not the case, and if there was any doubt it would only have taken a few seconds to look at the links. It's more 'if you wish to adopt a pet, here is a particularly convenient way of doing so because there will be a lot of animals with the usual costs paid for by someone else.'

Nobody is being asked to do anything, the FPP is about the availability of resources for people who might otherwise be unable to adopt a pet. How people get the idea that this is a fundraising post is beyond me.
posted by anigbrowl at 11:59 AM on June 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's an activism post. Forget the fundraising.
posted by empath at 12:01 PM on June 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


What if this was reposted by someone who hates animals?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:03 PM on June 8, 2012 [8 favorites]


It's an activism post. Forget the fundraising.

fundraising was the stated reason for deletion. If it's an activism post, then every post noting the availability of resources for something people might want to do is an activism post. I'm not even an SPCA member,; we were just thinking about adopting a dog but were worried about the costs. Oh, there's a national organization that helps with that, how neat. I happened to see the commercial on TV last night and it's well-produced and clever.

Sheesh, last time I try to do a good deed on MeFi.
posted by anigbrowl at 12:09 PM on June 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


perhaps write up an article about adopting pets and resources available that are more general in nature?

An article that talks about San Francisco pet adoptions is inherently limited in interest.
posted by 2manyusernames at 12:09 PM on June 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sheesh, last time I try to do a good deed on MeFi.

This is the crux of the problem with the post.
posted by The Gooch at 12:11 PM on June 8, 2012 [48 favorites]


Sheesh, last time I try to do a good deed on MeFi.

This is not what metafilter is for.
posted by andoatnp at 12:12 PM on June 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


"Sheesh, last time I try to do a good deed on MeFi."

...and that you were trying to do a "good deed" by posting to the blue is the problem. This isn't rocket science.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 12:12 PM on June 8, 2012


Whatever. There are FPPs every day featuring people noting the availability of stuff and being thanked by others for passing the information along, so that does in fact appear to be one of the things Metafilter is for.
posted by anigbrowl at 12:13 PM on June 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


fundraising was the stated reason for deletion.

Actually, "charity/fundraiser", and I immediately clarified my intent in here and other mods have elaborated as well.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:15 PM on June 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


For someone who posted this looking for answers, you don't seem very interested in hearing them.
posted by lazaruslong at 12:16 PM on June 8, 2012 [10 favorites]


At least I got to talk about my cats and post links to their pictures (again) before it got deleted, so okay.

But I did kind of wiggle my eyebrows at the post itself. I didn't flag but I thought about it.
posted by rtha at 12:20 PM on June 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


To clarify, the FPP is not 'you should do this' but 'here is help if you want to do this'. It's not advocacy, it's not a fundraiser, the organization mentioned is national in scope, and it features cute puppies. Contrast this FPP from a few months ago, on a similar topic but with a dearth of information.

These post-hoc justifications do not stand up to empirical or critical analysis. Plainly I should have just posted the amusing video as an SLYT instead of trying to provide context or useful information for interested readers.
posted by anigbrowl at 12:20 PM on June 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


For someone who posted this looking for answers, you don't seem very interested in hearing them.

Not if they're completely counterfactual, like the repeated insistence on the existence of donation buttons on pages that don't include any.
posted by anigbrowl at 12:21 PM on June 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


There are FPPs every day featuring people noting the availability of stuff and being thanked by others for passing the information along, so that does in fact appear to be one of the things Metafilter is for.

Where? Seriously... I can't think of an FPP in the last year that has done something like that. A comment in a related thread, yes; AskMetafilter answers -- definitely ('cause that's what it's for)

But passing on limited-by-geography information for events with a limited time frame? Forget daily... I can't think of any recent examples. I'm really interested to see what different ways you're looking at the site, as it just sticks out as a hugely different read on what the expectation is here.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:22 PM on June 8, 2012


[more outside]
posted by Eideteker at 12:24 PM on June 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


Not if they're completely counterfactual, like the repeated insistence on the existence of donation buttons on pages that don't include any.

That's not what counterfactual means.
posted by empath at 12:27 PM on June 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


That's not what counterfactual means.

Glad I previewed on that one.
posted by andoatnp at 12:29 PM on June 8, 2012


contrasting that FPP with yours, the link doesn't include a donation button or information about a specific event that's going on. so, it seems like it actually makes the mods point, not yours. even if it was exactly like your post, the mods have said many times that sometimes posts that break/bend the guidelines sneak through and some don't. yours didn't.
posted by nadawi at 12:29 PM on June 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Contrast this FPP from a few months ago, on a similar topic but with a dearth of information.

OK, I'm game. The contrast is that that FPP was not advocacy and your was.
posted by Rock Steady at 12:30 PM on June 8, 2012


I was trying to point out that your questions have been specifically addressed by the mods here. Don't mind the rest of us, we just have opinions. =)
posted by lazaruslong at 12:30 PM on June 8, 2012


Plainly I should have just posted the amusing video as an SLYT instead of trying to provide context or useful information for interested readers.

There's a palpable difference between these two approaches to beefing up a cute video:

SF SCPA posts cute video about online pet adoption. Last year XYZ dogs and cats were adopted online, according to this report (pdf) by University. The American College of Veterinarians has found that pets adopted online are zz% more likely to have undiagnosed congenital problems leading to early deaths. Attorneys General in six states are taking action against online puppy mills. And for good measure, more puppies!

Versus:
SF SCPA posts cute video about online pet adoption. Foundation will help defray cost of adopting! And SF SCPA has its adoptathon this weekend!

More context is great, but the context needs to fit within the guidelines for the site.

Cute video though.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 12:31 PM on June 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


Having clicked all the links, I don't think it was that bad of a post, but I can understand why it may have seemed a little like advocacy and/or fundraising from your word choices. I know it's frustrating when people have knee-jerk reactions, but I would encourage you to post again tomorrow, making it a little more clear that Maddie's Fund is an already-established (and HUGE) fund that supports shelter animals, not donation-seeking org. Maybe flesh it out with a little more about puppy mills and/or the no-kill movement, as long as you can do so thoughtfully, as opposed to shock-value stuff.

anigbrowl, you're good people and I hope you can just take it easy and try again with this. Post deletion is not a reflection on your character, and this one in particular is just, hey, try again with a bit of different framing, that's all.
posted by Gator at 12:32 PM on June 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


More puppies!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:32 PM on June 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


That's not what counterfactual means.

Counterfactual is an adjective meaning 'running counter to the facts'. It's also a term of art in philosophy, but it's used quite correctly above. I am aware of the general ban on fundraising posts on MeFi, and I'm irritated about this because I checked the pages I was linking to before posting in order to make sure that people who followed the links would not be hit up for money.
posted by anigbrowl at 12:34 PM on June 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


More puppies!

Bless you, not only for a puppy cam which is awesome, but for a puppy cam that works with an iPad browser, which prevents diappointment in attempting to view the awesome. Because puppies.
posted by Mooski at 12:36 PM on June 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


"...like the repeated insistence on the existence of donation buttons on pages that don't include any."

You wrote in your MeTa post that "they" don't have a donate button and while some careful reading of your MeFi post and this one reveals that you meant "they" as "Maddie's Fund", the SFSPCA link is the first link of your post and, as you admit, does contain a donation button. And the second link is a YT link to the SFSPCA video.

And you seem to be arguing, or attempting to imply, that the real focus of your post was the unusual video and the rest came along for the ride. But the post itself has a strong sense that it was the message of the video that you found interesting, and then the existence of Maddie's Fund. So a SLYT post to the video as a "funny video" would have been an entirely different post; not the same post but with less added content.

In my opinion, your post exists in a bit of an ambiguous area. It's not entirely any sort of advocacy post, you clearly think you're posting something that would be a relatively wide interest to the membership, which is sort of the litmus test. And you also found the video noteworthy in itself. However, the result reads to me, and I think many other people, as the sort of post that were this acceptable, there'd be a thousand a day others like it that would be acceptable. More than anything else, it's a post about a local pet adoption marathon. That's extremely unremarkable. Maddie's Fund itself is interesting to a certain degree, though you can't really say that it's that unusual, either, there's lots of charities that do this sort of thing in other contexts. I think that if you didn't have the particular personal experience you've had &madsh; you're about to adopt a pet yourself and you saw the commercial last night and you'd not heard of Maddie's Fund — you'd be much less likely to feel that this was a good MeFi post.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 12:37 PM on June 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


An email (similar to the auto-generated email when you make a new post) would go a long way towards simplifying this. As it is, the deletion seemed arbitrary and not well founded in fact (because the FPP is not attempting to promote any kind of fundraising).

I'm still unclear how this has any impact on your ability (or the ability any member who disagrees with a deletion) to email the mods directly first.
posted by scody at 12:37 PM on June 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


OK, I'm game. The contrast is that that FPP was not advocacy and your was.

What is it advocating? There are a lot of people who would like to adopt a pet but don't know how to go about it. If you don't want to adopt a pet, then you would probably not be interested in those resources. And for the last time, I questioned the deletion because it was explicitly premised on the idea that the FPP was an attempt at fundraising. It is not, and linking to the SPCA does not violate that. Go search for Metafilter posts including the word 'donate' and you will find FPPs that we re left to stand that explicitly say things like 'you can donate here.'

Here is an example from last february, referencing a local event and explicitly soliciting donations within the FPP that went undeleted.
posted by anigbrowl at 12:40 PM on June 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


s. And for the last time, I questioned the deletion because it was explicitly premised on the idea that the FPP was an attempt at fundraising. It is not, and linking to the SPCA does not violate that.

They've told you multiple times that it wasn't. Are you trying a case here or trying to figure out why your post was deleted?
posted by empath at 12:42 PM on June 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


I'm irritated about this

Just let it go already. Post deleted, no big deal. Not getting exactly the Bright Line Here Is The Absolute Rule You Violated answer you wanted, also not a big deal.
posted by rtha at 12:46 PM on June 8, 2012


well, it's advocating you go adopt a pet at a specific event.. also, There are a lot of people who would like to adopt a pet but don't know how to go about it. that's the thing people are saying - that you're stumping for a cause and looking to inform us all. that's why it feels like a fundraising/call to action post. your video link would make a good fpp, the other links are better saved for answering a question on ask.
posted by nadawi at 12:48 PM on June 8, 2012


I think they should have deleted the Phelps post, too. Just cause one advocacy / activism post slipped by them doesn't make more OK.
posted by tyllwin at 12:48 PM on June 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I am aware of the general ban on fundraising posts on MeFi

I think you're construing the ban on fundraising more narrowly than the mods. It's not simply "don't ask for money" it's "don't advocate for a cause." lots of things people post one may broadly assume them to be in favor of. (or against, sometimes.) but when the post strays into hinting that people should take action beyond reading about it on metafilter, you've crossed the line into advocacy. Put together, you have a link to a video which depicts the horrors of commercial pet sales coupled with a link to an organisation that helps people find shelter animals and an ongoing charity event which pushes people to adopt. I understand that you felt the links were merely informative, but put them all together and the post seems to be saying "hey mefites! Puppy mills are terrible! You should adopt from a shelter! If you're in San Francisco, here's a way to do that right now!" sure, you're not asking for money, but it definitely seems like you're trying to sway people to a certain course of action.
posted by Diablevert at 12:49 PM on June 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


Dogpile on anigbrowl!
posted by euphorb at 12:51 PM on June 8, 2012


You wrote in your MeTa post that "they" don't have a donate button and while some careful reading of your MeFi post and this one reveals that you meant "they" as "Maddie's Fund", the SFSPCA link is the first link of your post and, as you admit, does contain a donation button. And the second link is a YT link to the SFSPCA video.

I can't help it if people read carelessly rather than carefully, though. Answering Cortex's complaint about 'charity/fundraising' with the observation that a specific charitable foundation (described in the FPP as a charitable foundation') does not solicit donations is not grammatically or semantically ambiguous to me.

Your other points are well taken, though as I say it's not hard to find examples of other FPPs which seem to be perfectly OK despite breaking the guidelines people are citing here.

I'm still unclear how this has any impact on your ability (or the ability any member who disagrees with a deletion) to email the mods directly first.

It would serve as a reminder that emailing them is preferable, for one thing. Frankly, I rarely find the mods' explanations insightful when I read deletion threads.
posted by anigbrowl at 12:52 PM on June 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: all ponies and dead horses.
posted by de at 12:52 PM on June 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


The link to the SPCA with the donate link would not have been a problem to me if it had not been presented along with the rest of the advocacy context. Otherwise, yeah, fine, I love those guys.

I've been looking into adopting a chihuahua and if you don't go to a government funded shelter it can be really expensive. They really do need the money, but there is also a political element to this kind of cause. A lot of people think breeding and pet stores are fine or just don't care about animal welfare, so advocating for it can be problematic if you don't try hard to take a neutral, passive tone.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:55 PM on June 8, 2012


Frankly, I rarely find the mods' explanations insightful when I read deletion threads.

insightful [adj] (ˈɪnˌsaɪtˌfool)

1. What the OP wanted to hear.
posted by Talez at 12:56 PM on June 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think another hang up here is that the deletion reasons aren't meant to be carved in stone and handed down as laws to the children of Abraham. They are quick throw-away curtesy nods as to what wasn't going to work about the post. People keep wanting to lawyer their way past what's written. "My post was not Pesi-blue because it was about COKE!"
posted by cjorgensen at 12:57 PM on June 8, 2012 [6 favorites]


The level of pile-on here is really getting uncomfortable. It is not required that every single comment by anigbrowl be systematically be disassembled and mocked, part-by-part.
posted by 0xFCAF at 12:57 PM on June 8, 2012 [11 favorites]


Dogpile on anigbrowl!

How about not? And what 0xFCAF said.
posted by Gator at 12:57 PM on June 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


It is not required that every single comment by anigbrowl be systematically be disassembled

Why not? It's his post.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:59 PM on June 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm not quite sure how to do a post about pet adoptions 'independent of the sort of get out the adopt angle.' Unless it's a post saying 'why you shouldn't adopt' or 'the dark side of pet adoptions' or something.

Well, you could just as well link to an extraordinarily well-done essay about "Why pet adoptions are a better idea than you think" or "How adopting a pet changed my life." That would be a pro-adoption post that could be just as acceptable as "the dark side of pet adoptions." Your post was different — you wrote it in an advertising style: "Want to [do something] but worried about ___? [Name of specific entity] is [something that does exactly what you're looking for]. [Details of a specific event in one city.]" Your interest in promoting this event is admirable, but it seems more appropriate to post on any number of sites like Facebook, Twitter, your blog, or maybe IRL, rather than the front page of Metafilter.
posted by John Cohen at 12:59 PM on June 8, 2012


be systematically be disassembled and mocked, part-by-part

I blame Andrew Sullivan
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:00 PM on June 8, 2012


I think you're construing the ban on fundraising more narrowly than the mods. It's not simply "don't ask for money" it's "don't advocate for a cause."

Well, that's what I don't get, because I see advocacy posts on MeFi all the time, from marriage equality to bicycle paths to environmental action to electioneering to privacy concerns. It looks to me like it makes up a good 20% of MeFi posts, so the criteria for acceptability (or not) seem very arbitrary.
posted by anigbrowl at 1:00 PM on June 8, 2012 [6 favorites]


Why not? It's his post.

First, thanks for cutting my quote mid-sentence to take it out of context and change its meaning.

Second, reasons why we shouldn't do this:
1. The mods are smart people and can speak for themselves
2. Answers users give may not be on-policy in terms of actual deletion reasons
3. It turns MetaTalk into an embarrassing circus of oneupsmanship
4. It encourages a "take all comers" flame-out

Should I keep going?
posted by 0xFCAF at 1:01 PM on June 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


Only if you want to one-up someone.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 1:03 PM on June 8, 2012 [8 favorites]


tricky activism/advocacy territory

*eye roll*
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 1:05 PM on June 8, 2012


if he wanted the opinion of the mods solely, he would have emailed them directly. bringing it to metatalk seems to indicate he wants a discussion about it. it's not a pile on for people to debate points he brought up.
posted by nadawi at 1:06 PM on June 8, 2012 [7 favorites]


I've been looking into adopting a chihuahua and if you don't go to a government funded shelter it can be really expensive. They really do need the money, but there is also a political element to this kind of cause. A lot of people think breeding and pet stores are fine or just don't care about animal welfare, so advocating for it can be problematic if you don't try hard to take a neutral, passive tone.

The FPP's deeper point (under the amusing video, which intended as a hook), is that there's an organization (Maddie's fund) whose mission is to defray those costs. They're not asking for money, they don't solicit or take donations. Rather, the organization spends $3 million a year on making pet adoption affordable or even free. To help people like you.
posted by anigbrowl at 1:07 PM on June 8, 2012


It sounds like you had the best intentions, and I think this could have been a good post on the blue if it had been done differently. Unfortunately, the post reads like an advertisement for the SF pet adoption thing this weekend.
posted by unreasonable at 1:13 PM on June 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Frankly, I rarely find the mods' explanations insightful when I read deletion threads.

insightful [adj] (ˈɪnˌsaɪtˌfool)

1. What the OP wanted to hear.


I'm not just talking about mine. I read lots of MetaTalk threads but only comment in a few of them.
posted by anigbrowl at 1:14 PM on June 8, 2012


You find metatalk deletion threads unsatisfying, so you started another one?

Sorry, am I piling on?
posted by secretseasons at 1:18 PM on June 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


The FPP's deeper point

Then lay this on us:

According to a survey conducted by ABCD, the average cost of adopting a pet from a private shelter can exceed $XYZ dollars, and each year MNO pets that can be placed in homes are destroyed by shelters. (cite)

Maddie's Fund, a private foundation created and funded created by Dave Duffield (founder of Peoplesoft and Work Day), provides grants to would-be adopters to defray some of the costs of taking a pet home from the shelter, and gives support to dozens of no-kill shelters across the US. In 2009-2010, Maddie's Fund disbursed $11M in 156 grants to shelters in 42 states (annual report). The organization is entirely funded by the Duffields as their way of honoring the memory of their pet schnauzer, Maddie.

What's the alternative to adopting from a shelter? The SF SCPA lets you know adopting online is not all that its boosters say it is. In fact it's a crime!
posted by Admiral Haddock at 1:22 PM on June 8, 2012 [14 favorites]


It sounds like you had the best intentions, and I think this could have been a good post on the blue if it had been done differently. Unfortunately, the post reads like an advertisement for the SF pet adoption thing this weekend.

This I don't have any disagreement with. As I said, it was the 'charity/fundraiser' rationale that I found confusing.
posted by anigbrowl at 1:25 PM on June 8, 2012


As I said, it was the 'charity/fundraiser' rationale that I found confusing.

Ok, but that's been clarified several times now - the problem is that it was an advocacy post. The fact that some more borderline advocacy post cases sometimes squeak by onto the front page is not an argument for allowing all advocacy posts to stand.
posted by Ragged Richard at 1:28 PM on June 8, 2012


nadawi: "if he wanted the opinion of the mods solely, he would have emailed them directly. bringing it to metatalk seems to indicate he wants a discussion about it. it's not a pile on for people to debate points he brought up."

Agreed.
posted by zarq at 1:31 PM on June 8, 2012


You know the Mark Twain story about how he went to church and heard a sermon and was all "I'm going to give $10 because this sermon is so great!" and then the preacher went on for another ten minutes and he thought, "Eh, make that $5," and then the preacher went on for another twenty minutes and he thought, "Well, $1 would be fine," and then the preacher went on for another half hour, and so when the collection plate went around, Twain stole a dollar from it?

No! Well, maybe it's just me, but I am suddenly feeling awfully cantankerous toward my neighbors' adorable puppy.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:46 PM on June 8, 2012 [11 favorites]


> As someone who's done a lot of professional fundraising, most of fundraising happens
> when you explicitly *aren't* asking for donations.

Quick, I've got PBS on the line. Tell 'em!
posted by jfuller at 1:47 PM on June 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


I've been looking into adopting a chihuahua and if you don't go to a government funded shelter it can be really expensive.

Come to Tucson, we have billions of chihuahuas that need homes and can be yours from local rescues for a small fee that doesn't even cover the spay/neuter and vet visits the rescues have gotten for the dogs!

Maddie's Fund, a private foundation created and funded created by Dave Duffield (founder of Peoplesoft and Work Day),

The Peoplesoft guy, huh? That is interesting to me since I'm forced to endure his software every day at work. I'll think more kindly of it now.
posted by Squeak Attack at 2:38 PM on June 8, 2012


Not me. That software is fucking horrible.
posted by OmieWise at 2:57 PM on June 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't see a pile-on.

I also don't believe the mods would allow an incorrect statement on policy stand.

Even if this post was deemed to be totally fine it's one post. Make anothe run at it Monday and incorporate some of the suggestions made here. I bet it'll stand. It won't look like a shill for a time sensitive event and it should be easy to refocus on the subject, not the desired outcome.
posted by cjorgensen at 3:17 PM on June 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Come to Tucson, we have billions of chihuahuas that need homes and can be yours from local rescues for a small fee that doesn't even cover the spay/neuter and vet visits the rescues have gotten for the dogs!

Wish I could, would probably be more expensive than the fee here.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:13 PM on June 8, 2012


*to get there and back I mean.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:14 PM on June 8, 2012


Mark Twain, The Facts Concerning The Recent Carnival Of Crime In Connecticut:
I never did a thing in all my life, virtuous or otherwise, that I didn't repent of in twenty-four hours. In church last Sunday I listened to a charity sermon. My first impulse was to give three hundred and fifty dollars; I repented of that and reduced it a hundred; repented of that and reduced it another hundred; repented of that and reduced it another hundred; repented of that and reduced the remaining fifty to twenty-five; repented of that and came down to fifteen; repented of that and dropped to two dollars and a half; when the plate came around at last, I repented once more and contributed ten cents. Well, when I got home, I did wish to goodness I had that ten cents back again!
posted by stebulus at 4:36 PM on June 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


(It's a character speaking there, not Twain himself.)
posted by stebulus at 4:41 PM on June 8, 2012


anigbrowl, I don't think you put the right lead in the post and that didn't help. You led with the organization, which made it sound a bit like a solicitation. Plus, the clip is the strong part of the post, imo. I think if you posted it something like this, it might have survived (I could be wrong tho):

Break the cycle of puppy mills - a cute clip from the SFSPCA aimed at educating people to the fact that pets ordered online often come from evil puppy mills. If this catchy tune gives you a yen for shelter puppy adoption but you worry about cost, check out Maddie's Fund, a charitable foundation that can help by underwriting the costs of sheltering, vaccinations, and other expenses. - more -

(Inside)
More cute & compelling shelter puppy adoption ads. And if you're in the Bay Area, Maddie's Matchmaker Adoptathon is this weekend. Or use the find a pet near you tool.

Brought to you from the "do as I say and not as I do" school since I have been known to bury my own strongest links on more than one occasion.
posted by madamjujujive at 4:51 PM on June 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


It would serve as a reminder that emailing them is preferable, for one thing.

The very first bullet point that comes up on the form when making a Meta post reads: "For specific, personal and/or immediate problems, contact mathowie or jessamyn directly or use the contact form." What is a question or complaint about a deletion if not a specific, personal, and/or immediate problem?
posted by scody at 5:01 PM on June 8, 2012


"I think you're construing the ban on fundraising more narrowly than the mods."

Well, that's what I don't get, because I see advocacy posts on MeFi all the time, from marriage equality to bicycle paths to environmental action to electioneering to privacy concerns. It looks to me like it makes up a good 20% of MeFi posts, so the criteria for acceptability (or not) seem very arbitrary.


I take your point. I think there's a difference, though I'd agree it's often subtle. Here's how I'd characterize it, bearing in mind that I am not a mod and these are just my jagoff opinions:

The remit of the site is "post interesting stuff that people will want to know about." So, say I do a post about some state that's trying to ban gay marriage, and my FPP contains the sentence "Opponents of the ban are trying to gather 250,000 signatures on a petition to prevent the measure from reaching the ballot."

Now, on the one hand, there's one level --- the surface level perhaps, but nonetheless true for that --- where I'm making the post because i believe people will find the topic interesting. Inasmuch as that's why I'm making the FPP, fine and dandy, that's what MeFi's for.

There's another level where, given the general ethos of the site and its audience, it can be assumed that most readers of the FPP favor gay marriage and would oppose such a ban, and that probably I as the OP share those opinions. That's a safe assumption, reading between the lines.

Given that, a lot depends on how, exactly, the FPP treats a sentence like "Opponents of the ban are trying to gather 250,000 signatures on a petition to prevent the measure from reaching the ballot." That's an important and relevant fact giving context to the story. If I just throw it into the sentence as plain text, I'd say there'd be no problem --- additional facts that give important context are good because the help make clear what is interesting and FPP-worthy about the subject, and thus serve the purpose of the site.

If I throw in a link on that sentence to the actual petition, however, things become a lot more problematic. Given the majority of mefite's opinions on this issue, linking to the petition would, I think, come off as a call to take action outside the site --- and that changes the meaning of the FPP. Instead of just being like, "hey, here's an interesting thing," it becomes "here's something you should do" or even "here's the right thing to do about this." There's a reason why "call to action" is a term of art in marketing --- it's the point where you transition from informing the customer about the product to actually making the sale. You're demanding a response from them, not simply interest.

I agree this isn't a cut and dried thing --- you see these sorts of issue around FPPs to funny ads and stuff as well, where people are like, "I posted it because I thought it was funny" vs. "It was an ad, ads have an ulterior motive besides just trying to be funny, therefore it doesn't belong on MeFi." There's a degree to which the good web etiquette of linking to sources so people can verify them themselves shades into this too --- what better way to learn about a petition than to actually read it? I'm sure there's plenty of posts which have links to things some people might read as "citing original sources" whereas others might interpret as "trying to sell me on something." There's grey areas. But I don't think it's an arbitrary guideline, myself.
posted by Diablevert at 5:04 PM on June 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


Part of the reason advocacy posts are discouraged is because the poster tends to take the thread's direction or its deletion personally.
posted by desjardins at 5:18 PM on June 8, 2012 [15 favorites]


Deletions can sometimes seem fickle. I remember a post being questioned as to why it survived and the answer was "Because it was a Sunday and no one flagged it and it had a lot of discussion that was going well." (Paraphrasing here.) So the idea that other advocacy posts made it through doesn't mean they should have.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:22 PM on June 8, 2012


Jesus, you guys are all assholes to people. Like, how hard is it to not be a condescending prick, internet? Apparently it is very, very hard.

Ask yourself, "How would I like a person to talk to me?"

And then talk to people like that.
posted by kbanas at 6:57 PM on June 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


Well, that's what I don't get, because I see advocacy posts on MeFi all the time, from marriage equality to bicycle paths to environmental action to electioneering to privacy concerns. It looks to me like it makes up a good 20% of MeFi posts, so the criteria for acceptability (or not) seem very arbitrary.

Some of my posts are what I think you are describing (e.g.). I think the difference is that while the "advocacy" aspect is what brings me to the stuff and may be some of the motivation for my posting, the links themselves should stand on their own as interesting content.

Maybe it's the difference between posts being being entirely descriptive (good) and being somewhat prescriptive (not so good).
posted by parudox at 7:12 PM on June 8, 2012


Metafilter: Jesus, you guys are all assholes to people

oh come on you'd have done it too if I hadn't gotten there first
posted by ook at 7:20 PM on June 8, 2012


I'm wondering why the post about the guy riding around the world, with a link to his donations page in the post managed to survive the mod gauntlet.
posted by crunchland at 8:00 PM on June 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


It had one flag. We didn't check it out or notice the donation aspect until now.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:03 PM on June 8, 2012


Lots of D&D rules lawyers in this thread.
posted by Justinian at 8:10 PM on June 8, 2012


Lots of D&D rules lawyers in this thread.

I'd hazard thats why there are very few actual rules on this site.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:22 PM on June 8, 2012


There are no rules. Only principles and natural laws.

(Yeah, I just finished Homeward Bounders. Thanks for the recommendation, Mefi!)
posted by maryr at 9:00 PM on June 8, 2012


OMG they are cute, roly-poly, plush puppies and they're Shiba Inu puppies and they're REAL! It is too much cute!
posted by Anitanola at 9:19 PM on June 8, 2012


Reasons for deletions are increasing exponentially. How can we know the latest additions to the list if they are not discussed in MeTalk?
posted by Ardiril at 9:31 PM on June 8, 2012


(That isn't meant as a shot at the mods. The variety of web content is also increasing exponentially, so the list of unwanted FPP topics is bound to grow as well.)
posted by Ardiril at 9:34 PM on June 8, 2012


Reasons for deletions are increasing exponentially.

Practically speaking I think they're actually growing logarithmically if you're sorting by kind—as the corpus of deletions grows, the mapping of distinct kinds of deletions grows more slowly because many (really, most) deletion reasons are generally similar to deletion reasons that have come before.

I suppose they're growing more or less linearly if you're just talking about raw number of deletion reasons issued without accounting for similarity.

For them to be growing exponentially, deletions would have to be growing exponentially as well, which is manifestly not true unless we're maybe talking about some exponent value that is very slightly greater than 1.0, and even then you may have a hard time finding a statistician willing to seriously buy into that model as a method for extrapolation.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:43 PM on June 8, 2012 [14 favorites]


I meant potential reasons as opposed to archived reasons, but yeah, what you said.
posted by Ardiril at 9:49 PM on June 8, 2012


For them to be growing exponentially, deletions would have to be growing exponentially as well,

Couldn't the number of deletions be constant but the reasons still be increasing if previously there were a small number of deletion reasons that were being used repeatedly and now new deletion reasons are being used?

This would imply that site members had gotten better about not committed obvious mistakes (all the old kinds of deletion reasons which are no longer being used) but are instead committing a multitude of new kinds of mistakes, creating the need for the exponentially increasing new reasons for deletion, even while the total number of deletions is staying roughly constant.
posted by andoatnp at 9:52 PM on June 8, 2012


I'm going to need a graph.
posted by maryr at 10:34 PM on June 8, 2012


Pie chart!
posted by SweetTeaAndABiscuit at 10:52 PM on June 8, 2012


Couldn't the number of deletions be constant but the reasons still be increasing if previously there were a small number of deletion reasons that were being used repeatedly and now new deletion reasons are being used?

Oh ho! As a short-term model it could work, sure, if we're going to postulate some sort of threshold event after which there's suddenly a significant increase in the percentage of deletion reasons that are truly new, but that's not sustainable over the long term with a constant rate of deletions because the percentage can't grown beyond an upper limit of 100%. At some point the rate of increase in percentage of new-type deletions will hit a ceiling—either abruptly, or by easing off.

So you might have something more like initial exponential-ish growth after the threshold event but then a flattening of the growth rate after a short while and then the flattening of the growth further into logarithmic-ish territory instead as the percentage approaches the upper limit sort of asymptotically. In other words, something in an S-curve. Epidemiology!

The questions there become: what is the threshold event? Why was there previously no such increasing growth in deletion reasons? What's the nature of the new deletion reasons? Where are posters coming up with these new posting errors? Where are the moderators coming up with these new deletion rationales?

Answer those as well and you've got a nice 5000-word speculative moderation fiction short story to send off to Analog.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:12 PM on June 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


So, we are approaching the Deletion Singularity ? Well, it is 2012..
posted by y2karl at 11:38 PM on June 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


MetaWormhole next exit.
posted by y2karl at 11:40 PM on June 8, 2012


Oh ho!
Oh yeah!
posted by a humble nudibranch at 11:45 PM on June 8, 2012


> There are no rules.

Another old hack on its last legs; of course there are rules, just like there are rules to language.
posted by de at 3:02 AM on June 9, 2012


It's just like with relationships--a lot of people keep committing the same old mistake over and over again, while a lucky few find fresh new ways to screw it up every time!
posted by drlith at 3:41 AM on June 9, 2012


Oh ho!
Oh yeah!


What now?
posted by oh yeah! at 4:50 AM on June 9, 2012


Jesus, you guys are all assholes to people. Like, how hard is it to not be a condescending prick, internet? Apparently it is very, very hard.

I often take pride in being an asshole, but I'm just not seeing it here. Explaining the same thing again and again does not an asshole make.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:51 AM on June 9, 2012


> If this catchy tune gives you a yen for shelter puppy adoption but you worry about cost, check out Maddie's Fund, a charitable foundation that can help by underwriting the costs of sheltering, vaccinations, and other expenses.

Nope, I don't think that's something that should be in a MeFi post. As many have said over the years, if your impulse is "Wow, look at this cool thing out there, I want to tell MeFites about it so they can enjoy it!" it'll probably make a good post; if it's "This is a Very Important Issue that I want MeFites to be aware of so they can Change the World and/or their Life," it's probably a bad post and may well be deleted (depending on how obvious you are about the advocacy). MetaFilter is not about Changing the World.
posted by languagehat at 7:58 AM on June 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


...it's about the sport.
posted by clavdivs at 8:02 AM on June 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


I often take pride in being an asshole,

For god's sake, why would that be a point of pride?
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 9:33 AM on June 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Happy as I am to see you here, languagehat, I must respectfully disagree (or, languagehat, you ignorant slut**)

It's not like we never see advocacy for nonprofits on the blue (...or, for that matter, advocacy for issues, events, and many commercial endeavors.) See also philantrhopy, fundraising and donations for more.

I don't think we should have verboten topics, but should hold touchy topics to a higher standard, and I'd put anything with a whiff of fundraising in that category. While I generally agree that "this is an interesting thing I found on the web and I want to share it" is a good guideline and "this is really important and I need to share/talk about it" generally is a piss-poor reason to post, nothing is black and white. What about the intersection of something really neat on the web with something that is also important? We even entertain neat ads as long as they are well-framed and don't cross over into sales and pepsi blue territory.

Now if you say this did not pass the "higher standard" bar, well OK, can't fault that line of thinking, I'm always down with our aspiring to better quality. But IMO, the main problem with the post is the hamfisted and local framing coupled with a local event. There was nothing wrong with the video and the article about puppy mills. And I don't think there is anything wrong with a link to Maddie's Fund, that is a neat and potentially useful thing I never knew about and am glad I do.
posted by madamjujujive at 10:54 AM on June 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Jesus, you guys are all assholes to people. Like, how hard is it to not be a condescending prick, internet? Apparently it is very, very hard. Ask yourself, "How would I like a person to talk to me?" And then talk to people like that.

Is there an irony flag?
posted by BurnChao at 12:22 PM on June 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


I do think this was a bad deletion.

1) Many posts are advocacy posts. In fact, maybe most, and certainly the philosophy, "Hey, found something cool on the web you want to share?" implies advocating for that content.

2) But explicit "cause" posts are frequently deleted, basically because of the same problem that plagues many other deletion categories, like self-link, spam, etc., that the ulterior motive (whether something to be admired, e.g. advocating for puppies, or not, e.g. pimping my new viral video) makes the poster a poor judge of the quality of the linked content.

3) Plus, they sow distrust in the community.

4) However, the moderation philosophy has always been guidelines, rather than rules, and deleting this because it seems close to breaking a rule about explicit advocacy is an overapplication of a rule, rather than adhering to a guideline.

5) I feel like this post was deleted because it could encourage other posts that were more explicitly advocacy, but itself wasn't. I don't feel like the link to the event hit the threshold of advocacy — there are plenty of links to events all the time, and that it's done by a non-profit doesn't mean that it's shilling.

6) The only reasonable deletion I could see of it is under the argument that the pages themselves weren't special enough, as "something cool on the WEB," however I believe that reason has been de facto deprecated, otherwise there would be a lot more deletions.
posted by klangklangston at 12:27 PM on June 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


certainly the philosophy, "Hey, found something cool on the web you want to share?" implies advocating for that content

Thus stretching the meaning of advocacy past the point of any utility.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:23 PM on June 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


> Many posts are advocacy posts. In fact, maybe most, and certainly the philosophy, "Hey, found something cool on the web you want to share?" implies advocating for that content.

Come on, klang, that's unmitigated bullshit and unworthy of you. Of course madamjujujive is right that nothing is black and white, and I certainly don't think this is; I was making an important point forcefully, but I'm always willing to discuss shades of gray. I don't think this post in particular can be effectively defended, but I'm not saying a post must never even hint at advocacy. But let's discuss it honestly and not use rhetorical tricks.
posted by languagehat at 2:59 PM on June 9, 2012


Well, I'm also not seeing how anigbrowl's post strayed further into advocacy territory than numerous other efforts that have stood, so I think his basic complaint has merit.
What sort of miserable bastard flags a post about puppies anyway? A puppy-hating oddball and all-round nogoodnik, I submit to the assembly!
(Went for straight-up ill-justified invective as I'm too thick for rhetorical tricks)
posted by Abiezer at 7:02 PM on June 9, 2012


But let's discuss it honestly and not use rhetorical tricks.

You should see the cartwheels some folks pull off in the political/war threads.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:10 PM on June 9, 2012


What if this was reposted by someone who hates animals?

And what if that someone fleshed out the video link with lots of links to puppy mills?

I bet that'd get deleted as well, sadly.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:54 AM on June 10, 2012


Sadly?
posted by cjorgensen at 7:17 AM on June 10, 2012


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