The only thing it lacked was a Chris Elliott cameo July 16, 2012 12:19 PM   Subscribe

Indecent deletions.

As MetaTalk is for discussion of how we collectively use the site, these were two deletions that should not have happened (or at least one of them should not have happened; the second would have been a double post, which is fine to remove).

There was nothing wrong with either post, as written. If we can tolerate SLYT posts to raccoons and kitties etc., we can tolerate an occasional bit of humor. Sheesh.
posted by Blazecock Pileon to Bugs at 12:19 PM (240 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

My guess is that they picked up a lot of flags, something raccoons and kitties probably don't do. I don't think there's a real policy to it. Because one, not necessarily the other. Either way, I get this kind of stuff - kitties and raccoons included - elsewhere.
posted by IvoShandor at 12:24 PM on July 16, 2012


Humor's no problem, and I thought the Silverman bit was funny as far as that goes, but "yet another riff about the election" is something we've been actively talking about in Metatalk the other day as something that inevitably becomes problematic every election season and that we're going to be trying to keep from proliferating too much. Thin little one-off election-related jokes are part of that. There are several open threads related to the election right now, folks are free to go there to add updates.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:24 PM on July 16, 2012 [5 favorites]


Bleeped it would have actually been funny.
posted by cashman at 12:24 PM on July 16, 2012


MOAR POLITICS GRAR
posted by koeselitz at 12:25 PM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Either way, I get this kind of stuff - kitties and raccoons included - elsewhere.

Well, this isn't an argument, because everything comes from somewhere else, unless you created it, in which case you can't link it.
posted by desjardins at 12:27 PM on July 16, 2012 [7 favorites]


Well you know at least now thank god Sarah Silverman's lank-ass bikini-clad dog molestation has a place on MetaFilter. Thank you Blazecock Pileon. Thank you.
posted by carsonb at 12:28 PM on July 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


And god.
posted by carsonb at 12:29 PM on July 16, 2012


Cortex has it in a nutshell. If everyone wants to post their shitty little off-the-cuff piece about the election we'd just be drowning in it.

Find a thread to post it in. There's going to be a billion real ones over the next 4 months.
posted by Talez at 12:31 PM on July 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


MOAR POLITICS GRAR

That's the problem in a nutshell, because, politics are mostly incidental to the joke.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:32 PM on July 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


If the next one stands, I will scissor cortex while wearing a bikini.
posted by octobersurprise at 12:34 PM on July 16, 2012 [7 favorites]


Some of us would be happier with a lot fewer kittens, too.
posted by pipeski at 12:34 PM on July 16, 2012 [15 favorites]


Just out of interest do mods ever get sick of people flagging to the point where they filter certain people's (i.e. me) flags?
posted by Talez at 12:36 PM on July 16, 2012


Yes.
posted by crunchland at 12:37 PM on July 16, 2012


I don't know what's worse: the coming months of electionfilter, or the endless series of meTas about how THIS electionpost shouldn't have been deleted because....
posted by rtha at 12:38 PM on July 16, 2012 [31 favorites]


I was just wondering whether to start a MeTa about these deletions.

While I get that this video is election-related, it totally isn't related in the same way as a news story. This isn't another post about Romney's tax returns or Obama's birth certificate. This is a fresh piece of humor that touches on the election but is mostly a joke about having lesbian sex with an old conservative man. I'm all for the avoidance of newsfilter, but this ain't that.

I guess in general I'm pro-joke, though. And I don't even like Sarah Silverman all that well.
posted by Help, I can't stop talking! at 12:40 PM on July 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


That's the problem in a nutshell, because, politics are mostly incidental to the joke.

While that's arguably true, is there really any doubt about what the thread would revolve around ten comments in?
posted by shakespeherian at 12:41 PM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Just out of interest do mods ever get sick of people flagging to the point where they filter certain people's (i.e. me) flags?

No. There are situational times where one user is basically consistently spite-flagging either another user, a particular thread or a specific topic and we usually ask them to stop, but most of the time we don't even see who is flagging stuff unless we take an additional step to click so definitely not.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:42 PM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yep. That poor dog.
posted by cashman at 12:42 PM on July 16, 2012


If everyone wants to post their shitty little off-the-cuff piece about the election we'd just be drowning in it.

Do certain people really need comedy explained to them? You have a billionaire essentially buying a human being. She's taking that situation, making an absurdity out it by parodying a bit of pop culture. The politics are mostly incidental. Good god.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:42 PM on July 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


> That poor dog

Yeah, it looked like it needed cataract surgery in its left eye.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:43 PM on July 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Blazecock Pileon: “Do certain people really need comedy explained to them? You have a billionaire essentially buying a human being. She's taking that situation, making an absurdity out it by parodying a bit of pop culture. The politics are mostly incidental. Good god.”

It doesn't really seem like a joke to me. It wasn't really funny if it was.
posted by koeselitz at 12:43 PM on July 16, 2012 [5 favorites]


ready, all eyes on navels, let the clusterfap commence!
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 12:47 PM on July 16, 2012


It doesn't really seem like a joke to me. It wasn't really funny if it was.

Wait until the Disney Corporation buys the Republican party nomination. "Who Wants to Run for President?" is sure to be the hot new reality show hit for 2016.
posted by Talez at 12:47 PM on July 16, 2012


I understand that it's comedy, but it's comedy about the election, and about Romney in particular. I disagree that that is incidental to the bit. We've got an open Meta about deleted threads about Romney, and an open and active thread about him (at least one, I've only got one in my Recent Activity). This seems like a good deletion and a kind of known quantity for a deletion.

I think it's fine to have MeTa threads to talk about this stuff, but at a certain point I think we have to extend some understanding and benefit of the doubt to the mods. Even if you don't agree with this deletion, you must understand why it occurred, right? I mean it was obviously because there was political content here that is (broadly) already represented on the site. Acting like that's a mystery (which I kind of think this post does) makes these conversations even more tedious than they might otherwise be.
posted by OmieWise at 12:49 PM on July 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


spite-flagging

Awesome. From Hell's heart I flag at thee!
posted by octobersurprise at 12:50 PM on July 16, 2012 [21 favorites]


The worst thing about electionfilter is the people who come to to your house and put a gun to your head to make you click on the threads.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:51 PM on July 16, 2012 [17 favorites]


Even if you don't agree with this deletion, you must understand why it occurred, right?

Not particularly, which is why I wrote this post. It happens to involve a tertiary player who is newsworthy because he is throwing around a lot of cash, but there's not much that is particularly political in itself about the joke. Do people still click on links here? If people cannot click on links, perhaps there is some way that they can move on to other posts that may be more appealing to them?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:55 PM on July 16, 2012


The worst thing about electionfilter is the people who say just don't click.

That totally works for many things. Like, don't like flash games? Don't click the flash games fpps.

Posts on a topic that appear multiple times a day, generate hundreds of comments in the first hour, require lots of mod attention (because the people who *did* click are in the thread being aholes) and make meTa drama are not solved by "just don't click." There's going to be a shitload of crappy election-related posts in the coming months - there already have been - and the standard should not be "Aw, just let them be, and don't click if you don't like 'em."
posted by rtha at 12:56 PM on July 16, 2012 [11 favorites]


The worst thing about electionfilter is the people who come to to your house and put a gun to your head to make you click on the threads.

The worst thing about electionfilter is being the virtual stableboy having to shovel through piles and piles of shit dumped all over the place by ignorant animals.
posted by Talez at 12:57 PM on July 16, 2012 [5 favorites]


Well, ok, I guess that makes this post a bit more understandable, but I'll admit to being surprised by it. It seems like a pretty straightforward deletion of a political post, and that's what the mods seem to confirm. I think there's a conversation to be had about why that might be the wrong way to look at the post, and therefore obviate the deletion reason, but it's hard to have that conversation without acknowledging that politics is the reason the post was (maybe erroneously) deleted.
posted by OmieWise at 12:57 PM on July 16, 2012


How about if the post was deleted on the grounds of Sarah Silverman just plain not being funny?

I would totally be down with it if that were the reason it were deleted.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:59 PM on July 16, 2012 [18 favorites]


Not particularly, which is why I wrote this post. It happens to involve a tertiary player who is newsworthy because he is throwing around a lot of cash, but there's not much that is particularly political in itself about the joke.

It seems like the thing to do to get a link like this to stand in a FPP would be to have a larger post on Adelson, SuperPACs, Citizens United, the failure of U.S. politics to come to terms with campaign finance reform, the weird mega-money fund raising (I assume record breaking at this point) happening this election cycle, and maybe compare it to other nations' campaign financing, and then add the Silverman nasty jokey thing as a "bonus". Otherwise alone it's thin gruel for a FPP, right?
posted by aught at 12:59 PM on July 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


How about if the post was deleted on the grounds of Sarah Silverman just plain not being funny?

I'll be honest; I didn't want it to stand on Sarah Silverman offensive awfulness grounds alone.
posted by corb at 1:03 PM on July 16, 2012


the joke was political. the middle part where she discussed how all the billionaires are donating to romney, that's a current talking point in the election. it seems willfully obtuse to ignore that part - especially with the "paid for by" at the end.

JCER
In 2012, JCER is supporting President Barack Obama’s re-election effort with a series of high-profile initiatives in the spirit of the The Great Schlep. JCER will confront the scare tactics used to peel away Jewish voters from the Obama campaign and reenergize those in his base whose enthusiasm may have diminished from four years ago. Recognizing that the Jewish community is not one-size-fits-all, JCER is creating cross-platform initiatives to develop the community’s narrative about Obama and to shore up support for his campaign in key swing states.
posted by nadawi at 1:03 PM on July 16, 2012


The whole context of the joke is explicitly political. Silverman's not an idiot; this is gonna be making the rounds specifically because of the political context it's playing on.

I appreciate if you're coming from this from an angle of "the absurdity of the offer is the joke" and so not seeing the political content as key, but trying to paint the basis of the whole thing as totally incidental doesn't actually make any sense to me. This is Silverman playing very directly with the political zeitgeist in a timely fashion.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:04 PM on July 16, 2012 [8 favorites]


Otherwise alone it's thin gruel for a FPP, right?

Right. Absent the Romney angle it's basically a "Here's a Silverman joke" and that's not really going to fly as a post.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:05 PM on July 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


Do certain people really need comedy explained to them? You have a billionaire essentially buying a human being. She's taking that situation, making an absurdity out it by parodying a bit of pop culture. The politics are mostly incidental. Good god.

Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, your opinion, man. Others can see the joke in a different light. And if it wasn't for the political angle, this SLYT would probably not even have been posted. How many other one minute jokes from well-known standup folks have been posted on MeFi? Not a whole lot, I think. The joke is entirely political, in my opinion. It would have been a good post in an election grar thread for a bit of comic relief, but I don't see how it made a good FPP.
posted by vidur at 1:05 PM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is Silverman playing very directly with the political zeitgeist in a timely fashion.

Anyone here from HOLLYWOOD, USA? A single-camera remake of Murphy Brown starring Sarah Silverman is our key to the VIP room.
posted by griphus at 1:06 PM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


That video was a variety of things, but comedy wasn't one them. Post was weak.
posted by OsoMeaty at 1:08 PM on July 16, 2012


It seems like the thing to do to get a link like this to stand in a FPP would be to have a larger post on Adelson, SuperPACs, Citizens United, the failure of U.S. politics to come to terms with campaign finance reform, the weird mega-money fund raising (I assume record breaking at this point) happening this election cycle, and maybe compare it to other nations' campaign financing, and then add the Silverman nasty jokey thing as a "bonus".

"The food was awful, and the portions were so small!" More links does necessarily mean better post.
posted by Rock Steady at 1:13 PM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Do certain people really need comedy explained to them? You have a billionaire essentially buying a human being.

Mitt Romney a human being?

Pro: Has requisite number of arms and legs. Chiseled good looks.

Con: Glassy-eyed stare. Unconvincing social demeanor. Puts his dog on the roof. Sings in strange electronic voice. Needs regular winding.

Conclusion: Sarah Silverman can't afford a real vibrator so she has to cozy up to someone who owns a Roomba on stilts.
posted by anigbrowl at 1:22 PM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Like cotex says, there's no joke there if it's not political.
posted by benito.strauss at 1:29 PM on July 16, 2012


What? No love at all for a potty-mouthed Jewess with big naturals and a yen for scissoring the undead? Tough room.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:31 PM on July 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


"Silverman's not an idiot"

She just plays one every time she is on TV.
posted by Ardiril at 1:31 PM on July 16, 2012


someone who owns a Roomba on stilts

It isn't clear to me who's the roomba and who's the stilt in this construction.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:34 PM on July 16, 2012


pipeski: "Some of us would be happier with a lot fewer kittens, too."

Oh no, you di'n't!
posted by deborah at 1:34 PM on July 16, 2012


You know what we need? unmod.metafilter.com. A totally unmoderated subsection of the site. And all posts that are deleted for reasons other than being a double or spam, automatically go there, where they remain open. It would be like our own little "bad side of town."
posted by jbickers at 1:37 PM on July 16, 2012 [11 favorites]


The joke by itself wasn't worth keeping, but the Frontline/ProPublica article in the second post is actually pretty good. If it had been framed differently, maybe emphasizing the investigation and adding Silverman's joke as a punchline (and using her site which has more than just the video) it could have been a good post.
posted by homunculus at 1:41 PM on July 16, 2012


You know what we need? unmod.metafilter.com. A totally unmoderated subsection of the site. And all posts that are deleted for reasons other than being a double or spam, automatically go there, where they remain open. It would be like our own little "bad side of town."

Why the restriction on double and spam? Remove that, and you've got Reddit already for this kind of stuff.
posted by vidur at 1:41 PM on July 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


It would be like our own little "bad side of town."

It's called the rest of the internet. We have no interest in having anything on the site that isn't moderated for various king-of-the-shitpile reasons. There's a place on craigslist where deleted threads go and it's become sort of contentious because stuff that was deleted for "this needs to be deleted" reasons [outing users' personal information, death threats, etc] winds up there alongside stuff that was deleted for just not meeting community norms reasons.

I feel like part of the issue here is people want to be here and not the rest of the internet because of some of the good aspects of our community including the folks who gravitate here but also to some extent because of the moderation. But it's a double-edged sword because sometimes it means the place can't be exactly how you want it. While I sympathize I also find it sort of weird that the same people who aggressively argue that we don't do enough in some ways also harangue us for doing too much in others. Withouth being too flip about it, we feel like as long as there are complaints on both sides, we're probably doing okay staying in the middle.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:46 PM on July 16, 2012 [10 favorites]


"The food was awful, and the portions were so small!" More links does necessarily mean better post.

But an up-to-date post on SuperPACs could actually be really interesting! Check out this chart comparing outside spending so far in this election to the same date in previous ones. The rate of spending has been growing exponentially for the last 5 presidential elections. I mean literally 2^N -- it's been doubling every time. And Adelson alone could double it again if he chose to. What measurable effect has that had so far? What should we watch for as we get closer to the election? The Silverman bit is a tiny, calculated comment on a huge shift in the way elections are run -- a more in-depth post would be great.

(Or maybe we had a recent post like that and I missed it -- I confess I haven't been religious with my MeFi consumption recently.)
posted by jhc at 1:47 PM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Like cotex says, there's no joke there if it's not political.

I didn't say it wasn't political. I don't know why cortex said that, but I didn't claim that. What I said (twice, in fact) was that I thought that simplistic two-party-system politics that usually make up electionfilter are, quote, 'mostly incidental' to the joke, why the joke is funny, and that this is why these were bad deletions. This electionfilter stuff is doing a fair bit of collateral damage to the site, when we can't even laugh along with a situation as completely ridiculous as this. Kind of a shame, really.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:50 PM on July 16, 2012


MOAR SARAH SILVERMAN, YAY!
posted by Artw at 1:50 PM on July 16, 2012


Some of us would be happier with a lot fewer kittens, too.

If this is some kind of backhanded way to promote spaying and neutering, well, ok, but otherwise WHAT KIND OF MONSTER ARE YOU?
posted by juv3nal at 1:53 PM on July 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


I didn't say it wasn't political. I don't know why cortex said that, but I didn't claim that.

And I don't know why you're saying that I said you said it wasn't political. I heard you just fine and addressed your specific take on the politics being mostly incidental and disagreed with that take. Your argument seems largely to be that the political context in which the joke is rooted is basically immaterial to whether a post built around the video is as we see it problematic from a "yet another election riff post" perspective. I don't share that interpretation, at all, is all.

This electionfilter stuff is doing a fair bit of collateral damage to the site, when we can't even laugh along with a situation as completely ridiculous as this.

"Can't laugh along with" and "can't have a brand new post dedicated specifically to" are separate issues, hence the specific advice to add it to an existing topical discussion as a totally okay way to bring it up on the site.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:57 PM on July 16, 2012


From Hell's heart I flag at thee!

Khan... Khan, you've gotten all my fpps deleted, but you don't have me. You were going to kill me, Khan. You're going to have to come down here. You're going to have to come down here! KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAN!!!!!!!! KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN!!!!!!
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 1:58 PM on July 16, 2012


there's not much that is particularly political in itself about the joke

This is what you said Blazecock.

What I said (twice, in fact) was that I thought that simplistic two-party-system politics that usually make up electionfilter are, quote, 'mostly incidental' to the joke, why the joke is funny, and that this is why these were bad deletions.

You never said that once much less twice. You didn't say anything about the party system at all. Now I'm really confused.
posted by Danila at 1:59 PM on July 16, 2012


KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAN!!!!!!!!

Herman Melville never gets the credit he deserves for that movie.
posted by octobersurprise at 2:04 PM on July 16, 2012 [5 favorites]


This is what you said Blazecock.

As an aside, Danila, this is what I said in response to ELECTIONFILTERGRAR-style snark:

• "That's the problem in a nutshell, because, politics are mostly incidental to the joke."
• "...She's taking that situation, making an absurdity out it by parodying a bit of pop culture. The politics are mostly incidental."

That was twice I said "mostly incidental", not "totally incidental" or anything else. I'm assuming the whole ELECTIONFILTERGRAR comments are about the two-party system in the United States, and I also assuming that others who complain about ELECTIONFILTERGRAR are also talking about the two-party system in the United States. Does this help clear things up?

posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:06 PM on July 16, 2012


this was paid for by a group who has chosen a side in the two party system. that's not incidental. that's right there in the mission statement.
posted by nadawi at 2:11 PM on July 16, 2012


But it's a double-edged sword because sometimes it means the place can't be exactly how you want it.

Unless you're into double-edged swords, then this is the place to party! But carefully, it is a sword.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:14 PM on July 16, 2012 [6 favorites]


The flag queue required moderator action because that's what it does.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 2:21 PM on July 16, 2012


I'd be fine if there were no more videos with dogs in them.
posted by desjardins at 2:23 PM on July 16, 2012


Awesome. From Hell's heart I flag at thee!

IF YE SEE THE RED BOX SPLIT YER LUNGS WITH BLOOD AND THUNDARR!!
posted by Devils Rancher at 2:23 PM on July 16, 2012


I'd be fine if there were no more videos with dogs in them.

now we must fight to the death
posted by elizardbits at 2:40 PM on July 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


I paid little attention to anything she said once she appeared in the bikini - also wearing shiny pantyhose. Then, I spent the rest of the video figuring out if the waistband for the pantyhose was under the bikini top, or the bottom. Then I watched it again to look at the cute dog.
posted by peagood at 2:43 PM on July 16, 2012


benito.strauss> Like cotex says, there's no joke there if it's not political.

I didn't say it wasn't political.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:50 PM on July 16


And I didn't say you said it wasn't political. [I know, I felt just as bad writing that as you did reading it.] I'm repeating what I heard cortex say: The joke derives any significance it may have from its political nature. You have said that the politics are incidental to the joke. I am disagreeing.

People will have their own opinions about this, but there isn't really any way to decide based on facts. Or is there? Someone would have to come up with a similar financial-frottage-based joke that didn't involve politics. I'm curious to see what people will come up with.
posted by benito.strauss at 2:52 PM on July 16, 2012


If we can tolerate SLYT posts to raccoons and kitties etc., we can tolerate an occasional bit of humor. Sheesh.

Ah, the "But, Kittens" gambit. A solid intermediate move. Much more advanced than the "Censorship" defense, but lacking the boldness of "New Mod Attack".
posted by no regrets, coyote at 2:55 PM on July 16, 2012 [12 favorites]


If it's and all or nothing thing, then let's ditch all the slyt posts.
posted by crunchland at 2:59 PM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


"New Mod Attack" has demonstrated weakness, and is particularly vulnerable to the 'Tired of the 'New Mod' Bullshit' defense. Sometimes effective is a subtle 'This Used To Fly Before' gambit, but jessamyn demonstrated a countermove - tentatively named 'That Was Before.'

Current theory favors the 'Bogus Guideline Shift' maneuver.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 3:02 PM on July 16, 2012 [13 favorites]


I'm beginning to work up a "fuck the flaggers" attack, because seriously, fuck the flaggers. Bunch of boring killjoys that get disproportionately represented in moderation.
posted by Artw at 3:08 PM on July 16, 2012 [6 favorites]


Love you too, Artw.
posted by Talez at 3:15 PM on July 16, 2012


I like the video, and if hadn't been deleted and meta'd, I probably wouldn't have watched it. So, the system seems to be working.
posted by found missing at 3:21 PM on July 16, 2012


Love you too, Artw.

Shrugs. If people didn't use it like a Reddit downvote and lazy moderators didn't pander to that I might feel differently, but there you go.
posted by Artw at 3:24 PM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


You seriously did not just call us lazy... did you?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:25 PM on July 16, 2012 [5 favorites]


Oh Christ, I agree with Artw about something. I'm scared, somebody hold me.
posted by entropicamericana at 3:25 PM on July 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


You seriously did not just call us lazy... did you?

I have seen deletion reasons that amounts to "this has picked up a bunch of flags and looks like it might be trouble, I'm going to delete it because I don't wan't the effort." on what i consider perfectly good links, yes.
posted by Artw at 3:29 PM on July 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Bleeped it would have actually been funny.

Because the word "scissor" is too raw for the internet?
posted by ActingTheGoat at 3:31 PM on July 16, 2012


I have seen deletion reasons that amounts to "this has picked up a bunch of flags and looks like it might be trouble, I'm going to delete it because I don't wan't the effort." on what i consider perfectly good links, yes.

Oh jesus what bullshit.
posted by rtha at 3:37 PM on July 16, 2012 [17 favorites]


I have seen deletion reasons that amounts to "this has picked up a bunch of flags and looks like it might be trouble, I'm going to delete it because I don't wan't the effort." on what i consider perfectly good links, yes.

Keep at it, Artw.
posted by Talez at 3:46 PM on July 16, 2012


At some point there's going to be a compromise between "spend 95% of all mod power watching this one thread where people can't behave themselves" and "delete something because it's pretty much guaranteed to turn into one of those threads". disagreements among individual members about where that compromise should fall, but it's pretty ingenuous to attribute a limitation on resources to laziness.

Seriously, you know I think you're pretty rad Art, but this attack seems really out of left field. What would you propose instead of the flagging to signal community inclination towards/against something? The fact that some people abuse it isn't reason for dismissing the entire system, and unless you're in favour of abolishing moderation altogether, I can't think of anything less controversial than a silent, anonymous, behind-the-scenes nudge at the mods.
posted by Phire at 3:49 PM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have seen deletion reasons that amounts to "this has picked up a bunch of flags and looks like it might be trouble, I'm going to delete it because I don't wan't the effort." on what i consider perfectly good links, yes.

Aha! The "CAPS LOCK IS HOW I FEEL INSIDE" move. Interesting.
posted by vidur at 3:53 PM on July 16, 2012


Because the word "scissor" is too raw for the internet?

Well I was just thinking black bars over the dog's face. Poor thing doesn't deserve to get caught up in this mess.
posted by cashman at 3:56 PM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


The "it doesn't happen and it's perfectly fine!" counter move, I see.

Well let's just say that If someone linked a cool thing on the Internet, like the subject of this thread, that people find interesting, like the subject of this thread, and it picks up a bunch of flags from people who are NOT interested I'd like to see everyone else taken into account too. And some recent deletions and discussion of deletions, including this one, have me worried on that front.
posted by Artw at 3:59 PM on July 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


I have seen deletion reasons that amounts to "this has picked up a bunch of flags and looks like it might be trouble, I'm going to delete it because I don't wan't the effort."

No, you haven't. If you hear it that way inside your own head that says more about your own personal filter than ours.

If you have an actual legitimate concern with how the site works or even with specific moderator actions that we have taken in the past, you can tell us what they are, refer to examples, and help us find a practical or reasonable way to actually address and deal with that situation in the real world of MetaFilter As It Is not the crystal castles of the MetaFilter We Want And Can Never Have.

Go on, you have our undivided attention because this is where we work. Do you have more advice that isn't "don't be lazy"?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:00 PM on July 16, 2012 [14 favorites]


That totally works for many things. Like, don't like flash games? Don't click the flash games fpps.

Posts on a topic that appear multiple times a day, generate hundreds of comments in the first hour, require lots of mod attention (because the people who *did* click are in the thread being aholes) and make meTa drama are not solved by "just don't click."


I've found that one solution for discussion forums or any other business that can't keep up with the needs of the users is to bring in more staff, at least on a temporary basis for times of high volume. That seems preferable on a forum than to shut down what people apparently want to talk about.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:06 PM on July 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'll toss my "Not the best of the web" card on the table, because that Silverman video was some weak sauce.
posted by Devils Rancher at 4:14 PM on July 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


I disagree with the lazy thing, but Artw's comments resonate with me; there's been some weird new dimension to my MeFi experience lately that leaves me with a bad taste in my mind's mouth. As always with these situations, the issue is at least 50% me, but something's happening here, but I don't know what it is.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 4:15 PM on July 16, 2012 [9 favorites]


I have seen deletion reasons that amounts to "this has picked up a bunch of flags and looks like it might be trouble, I'm going to delete it because I don't wan't the effort." on what i consider perfectly good links, yes.

I have observed a move among the moderators from using flags as a guideline towards using the existence of some number of flags as ipso facto sufficient cause for deletion. You have a view about their motivation, you think it's because they're lazy and don't want to deal with it. I think your view is wrong, I think this is because there are more moderators than there used to be and they are more diverse in their approach to moderation. So it is a way for there to be some more consistency. Neither of us knows why it happens though, really. But even if your view is correct, it's not likely to be productive...it's not very nice either.

I also don't know how you know about the flagging patterns-are flags public information somehow? If not, it's just speculation how people use them. I only use them for posts that break the guidelines, you're probably right that people use them on posts they don't like, but who knows how many. There's not really a mechanism for dealing with posts that you don't like, you're just supposed to not read them. That usually works out ok for me, (though sometimes it doesn't) but there's nothing stopping people from flagging away on whatever.
posted by Kwine at 4:15 PM on July 16, 2012


Whenever I see a mefi post deleted for reasons I disagree with, I enable adblock on the site for the day and head over to reddit where I flit from thread to thread without adblock, clicking ads left and right. STICKING IT TO THE MAN, AWW YEAH.

Then I come back the next day with a reddit hangover and try to claw my way out of the shame spiral
posted by mullingitover at 4:23 PM on July 16, 2012


and it picks up a bunch of flags from people who are NOT interested

Maybe consider that a lot of people flagged because JESUS CHRIST ELECTIONFILTER ENOUGH ALREADY.

Maybe you'd prefer, rather than flagging, that people use their words and go into threads that they think suck (not, please note, that they are just not interested in) and announce that the post sucks, is thin, is bad for the site, etc.
posted by rtha at 4:24 PM on July 16, 2012 [6 favorites]


MeFi threads about obesity, serious sexual issues, and file sharing frequently end poorly. Maybe the mods think, "oh great, another one of these to keep an eye on," but they stand. It seems that metric isn't applied during election season and those political threads are nuked out the gate. Maybe it's a question of frequency.

One-off political joke posts are deleted and longer, newsier political posts are deleted. What would constitute a good political post anyway?
posted by girlmightlive at 4:24 PM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Maybe you'd prefer, rather than flagging, that people use their words and go into threads that they think suck (not, please note, that they are just not interested in) and announce that the post sucks, is thin, is bad for the site, etc.

Fuck no. And they do anyway, and I pretty much assume it's the same people.
posted by Artw at 4:26 PM on July 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


Even if you stay out of the thread, arguments / divisiveness / personal feuds carry across threads. Of course, this also applies to the Meta discussions of the threads, and so on. General hate levels rise. Low lying users may be flooded, please move to high ground.
posted by wildcrdj at 4:29 PM on July 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Fuck no. And they do anyway, and I pretty much assume it's the same people.

I FIAMO as much as I can. But keep going.
posted by Talez at 4:32 PM on July 16, 2012


I didn't even consider it was about politics when flagging it.

We don't need a post every time a mainstream comedian throws together a video rehashing their by-now-extremely-tired schtick. It's not Funny Or Die or College Humor.
posted by drjimmy11 at 4:33 PM on July 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


Do you have more advice that isn't "don't be lazy"?

If you *are* treating flags as down votes rather than alerts to particular issues, don't. And if you do use them that way please consider any favorites and ongoing discussion as a counterbalance. The number of links should not be a factor. Remember early flaggers/negative commuters most likely have not clicked through on the link and are just going by whats visible on the page - not the best basis for deletion decisions.
posted by Artw at 4:42 PM on July 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


What would constitute a good political post anyway?

ones that happen less often or aren't focused on the us presidential race.
posted by nadawi at 4:42 PM on July 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


One-off political joke posts are deleted and longer, newsier political posts are deleted. What would constitute a good political post anyway?

And hermitosis's post was both: the first link was Silverman's joke, the second link was Propublica's investigation of Adelson. Maybe it could have been framed differently, but I don't think it deserved to be deleted like the other one.
posted by homunculus at 4:45 PM on July 16, 2012


JESUS CHRIST ELECTIONFILTER ENOUGH ALREADY

Can you please stop it with the histrionics? Enough already, yourself.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:48 PM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Did dios' comment get deleted in the Bain thread? He did have a comment in that thread for a little bit, right? I keep having these moments of cognitive dissonance lately where things disappear, and that used to happen very rarely, and I used to be on the site WAY more than I am now. Like I used to spend four times as much time here as I do now.
posted by Kwine at 4:49 PM on July 16, 2012


Go on, you have our undivided attention because this is where we work. Do you have more advice that isn't "don't be lazy"?

Ooo. The "What do you have to say for yourself, young man?" gambit. That's always a tough one.
posted by octobersurprise at 4:49 PM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


dios didn't comment in that thread.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:51 PM on July 16, 2012


If you *are* treating flags as down votes rather than alerts to particular issues, don't. And if you do use them that way please consider any favorites and ongoing discussion as a counterbalance. The number of links should not be a factor. Remember early flaggers/negative commuters most likely have not clicked through on the link and are just going by whats visible on the page - not the best basis for deletion decisions.

Do you work for Burning Man? I only ask because you seem so adept at building giant strawmen then burning them down. If that's all that you have to say to jessamyn you really do owe the mods an apology.
posted by Talez at 4:54 PM on July 16, 2012


It would probably be easier to keep these posts if the same group of users didn't show up every. single. time. a thread is tangentially related to Romney or Obama in order to derail the thread into the same old fighty argument they've had a billion times before.

Some of the participants in this thread might want to examine their behavior in that regard.
posted by lalex at 4:55 PM on July 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Man, I was all ready to be like "yeah, I completely agree with Artw about how there seems to be a negative trend of flags being abused for posts people just don't like rather than the posts actually being bad," but then it went... somewhere else entirely. It's like those rare times on the train when somehow a public-ish conversation gets started and you're actually all ok with it and everyone's enjoying it and then the guy who started it gets all racist all of a sudden and you're like "what the fuck did I just get into here?"
posted by shmegegge at 4:58 PM on July 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


Politicsfilter or no, it was just another Sarah Silverman shtick, and not an especially funny one. Good deletion.

> If that's all that you have to say to jessamyn you really do owe the mods an apology.

None of the people who owe the mods an apology every seem to apologize.
posted by languagehat at 4:58 PM on July 16, 2012


If you *are* treating flags as down votes rather than alerts to particular issues, don't.

We've never treated flags as some auto-thresholded downvote function, specifically because we don't want it to work like some sort of Slashdot or Reddit thing where poking a button induces a moderation decision. That said, a bunch of people flagging something is a sign that something is up, and often that lines up with one or more of us looking at the thing and thinking it's not so great and ought to go.

But lots of stuff gets flagged and doesn't go, and there are things that go sans many or any flags. So I'm not sure there's a discrepancy here between what you're asking for and what is actually happening and has been ever since flags came into being.

And they do anyway, and I pretty much assume it's the same people.

The times I've gone looking I've seen in-thread complainers and flaggers to be mostly disjoint sets. That's not to say no one ever flags and fails to move on, but this assumption does not in my experience bear out in general, no.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:00 PM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


dios had a long comment in the MeTa about the deleted Romney thread.
posted by OmieWise at 5:08 PM on July 16, 2012


Coincidentally, Mitt Romney has just come out with a commercial saying that Obama owes the mods an apology.
posted by found missing at 5:29 PM on July 16, 2012 [9 favorites]


It may be due to my latent pre-adolescent sense of humor, but I thought the Silverman bit was pretty funny.

I also like the mods and all you folks and wonder if we really need to make this the WWIII of Meta. It's hot out… let's just chill with a nice beverage.
posted by jabo at 5:34 PM on July 16, 2012


jessamyn wrote....
"There's a place on craigslist where deleted threads go..."


Have you considered eBay? As far as I can tell there is nothing more valuable than a Metafilter thread, and ten times more so if it's been deleted. You guys could pick up a lot of cash.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 5:44 PM on July 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


Yeah, this conversation went wonky pretty fast, and for that I apologize. And I'm sure in general the mods are pretty hard working so I apologize for that crack.
posted by Artw at 5:47 PM on July 16, 2012 [6 favorites]


Thanks.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:52 PM on July 16, 2012


Just popping in to say that I didn't agree with artw's initial point, but I do agree with classy apologies. Well done.
posted by corb at 5:56 PM on July 16, 2012


However one wants to metaphysically parse Silverman's joke, I can't see a way in which politics is merely incidental to the joke. There would be no joke if not for the political content that frames the joke. I don't care about the deletion one way or the other, but it seems clearly to fall under electionfilter to me and I disagree with BP's characterization of it.
posted by Falconetti at 6:04 PM on July 16, 2012


I once heard her tell the aristocrats joke. Tell me that isn't about politics.
posted by found missing at 6:23 PM on July 16, 2012


It's a delightful disney picture about misplaced pets with occasional racist overtones.
posted by Artw at 6:25 PM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's funny, because if the post hadn't been deleted, I would've just scrolled by because I'm not a Silverman fan. But now I've gone and watched it - and I don't see how the politics is at all incidental either - so, yay, I guess? It got a click it wouldn't have gotten.
posted by rtha at 6:27 PM on July 16, 2012


I once heard her tell the aristocrats joke. Tell me that isn't about politics.

Class warfare, actually.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 6:27 PM on July 16, 2012


i just wanted to comment and say that this is the first time i've ever agreed with a meta - there was nothing deletable about that post - it was topical, it was sardonic, it was political, big deal.
posted by facetious at 6:32 PM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


But some people didn't like it!
posted by found missing at 6:33 PM on July 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


It's hot out… let's just chill with a nice beverage.

Fine. One Lemon, Lime and Bitters over here, please.
posted by vidur at 6:33 PM on July 16, 2012


I had bourbon because it' 60 degrees here. That's cold enough for bourbon, right?
posted by rtha at 7:28 PM on July 16, 2012


Ferenhieght or Celsiou?

Sorry, too much Jack to spell that shit correctly.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:36 PM on July 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


facetious: "i just wanted to comment and say that this is the first time i've ever agreed with a meta - there was nothing deletable about that post - it was topical, it was sardonic, it was political, big deal.

found missing: "But some people didn't like it!



How is it that we can go from

"Concern is raised!"

to

"Concern addressed in detail!"

to

"Concern is raised again!"

so goddamn always. It isn't because "some people didn't like it". This has been covered already:

cortex:... "yet another riff about the election" is something we've been actively talking about in Metatalk the other day as something that inevitably becomes problematic every election season and that we're going to be trying to keep from proliferating too much. Thin little one-off election-related jokes are part of that. There are several open threads related to the election right now, folks are free to go there to add updates.

Do people just not read the answers to questions that have already been asked and addressed? Seems like this happens every time a policy-oriented MeTa is started.
posted by lazaruslong at 7:56 PM on July 16, 2012


How do we make progress like that?
posted by lazaruslong at 7:57 PM on July 16, 2012




Just don't agree with the tight moderation policy, and feel that the post would still be there if some people didn't not like it. That's all.
posted by found missing at 8:06 PM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Fine. One Lemon, Lime and Bitters over here, please.

Sorry, all out. Can I interest you in a semi-cool Tecate with a bruised lime wedgie?
posted by jabo at 8:21 PM on July 16, 2012


There are many interesting comments in this thread.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:25 PM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


anigbrowl:Conclusion: Sarah Silverman can't afford a real vibrator so she has to cozy up to someone who owns a Roomba on stilts.

Pleasant.
posted by zarq at 8:30 PM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I want to hear more about this Roomba on stilts.
posted by Big_B at 8:37 PM on July 16, 2012


Gotta say it is getting tiring seeing Blazecock Pileon spam MeTa with crappy posts like this.

Dude, are you for real?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:47 PM on July 16, 2012


Well, this isn't an argument, because everything comes from somewhere else, unless you created it, in which case you can't link it.

I wasn't arguing anything. The sentence you quoted was more appended to my original point that I thought/guessed the deletions in question were flagged a lot, also not an argument.
posted by IvoShandor at 8:49 PM on July 16, 2012


Well if it hadn't been deleted, I wouldn't have seen the video or read the petition and read some of the history on Adelson. Sarah Silverman is brillant and fearless.
posted by what's her name at 9:02 PM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I love Sarah, but this was a weak bit and therefor a weak post.

More deletions please.
posted by LarryC at 9:08 PM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Has anything ever been un-deleted after a meta post?
posted by dazed_one at 9:34 PM on July 16, 2012


Yep.
posted by cashman at 9:43 PM on July 16, 2012


Why, yes. :D
posted by zarq at 9:43 PM on July 16, 2012


Has anything ever been un-deleted after a meta post?

Yeah, it's rare but it happens. The only one I can remember, for some reason, is the guy with the inflated scrotum (meta), though I'm sure there have been others.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:44 PM on July 16, 2012




How do we make progress like that?

Humans are largely incidental to progress.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 10:02 PM on July 16, 2012


But lots of stuff gets flagged and doesn't go,

Any examples? Not a link or anything, but a kind of situation where a post might get heavily flagged and still stay up. Have you had situations of serious dissonance, where posts get a pile of negative flags but you, as moderators, just don't see it that way?
posted by philip-random at 10:22 PM on July 16, 2012


Any examples? Not a link or anything, but a kind of situation where a post might get heavily flagged and still stay up.

Plenty of things get flagged moderately, like more than one or two flags, enough that we're definitely looking at it even on a busier day, but stick around. Sometimes there's several flags suggesting people don't like something that seems fine, and so we stick with it because, eh, it seems fine.

Stuff that gets more heavily flagged but stays is less common, and falls into probably two main categories:

1. Things that get flagged a lot but slowly;
2. Things that get flagged a lot but seem like maybe they're getting more Flagged As Dislike Website/Topic/Association X than flagged as actually a bad post in its own right.

Point one is often sort of middling stuff where we don't always think it's great but it's not like instadelete terrible, and we give it a bit to test the waters and there's no short-term groundswell of negative feedback (not a lot of flags, no contact form explications), so we leave it. And then it ends up steadily picking up some more flags. Sometimes those are late deletes as we get the feeling that it's not really going so well, sometimes those just stick around. They're rarely awesome posts, but we don't hold stuff to a strict AWESOME OR GTFO standard around here so there you go.

Point two is a subjective classification because we rarely know what's up, but we'll see a post to something that's not apparently awful or fight-starting that nonetheless gets a bunch of flags and maybe it'll be a topic that has recently been a target of metatalk ire or maybe it's a website that people seem to think is crappy or, I dunno, it'll be something sort of naughty or taboo but the link is good rather than just random pointless button-pushing. And we'll talk about those and stick by 'em if the post seems otherwise fine.

I guess there's also the rare point three where maybe a post is really on the stupid end of the silly stupid post spectrum but we've had a long day and think it's funny or fun and decide to just let it live by pure hardheaded fiat, but that's probably not more than once a month and pretty much never anything ostensibly fight-starting topic- or tone-wise.

Have you had situations of serious dissonance, where posts get a pile of negative flags but you, as moderators, just don't see it that way?

Yeah. Mix of see above and the occasional oddity where we just can't come up with a compelling theory. Every once in a while people seem to collectively haaaate something that seems fine if maybe weird. I figure it's attributable to a mix of noise in the system (law of large numbers makes the flag system work pretty great on average as aggregate community feedback but it stands to reason there's the occasional odd spike as an emergent effect) and just people being gloriously varied in their world views and so just not liking things that the whole mod team mostly think are okay.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:34 PM on July 16, 2012 [5 favorites]


For what it's worth, I had an absolutely hilarious one-liner about Mitt Romney running off to fix the London Olympics that was deleted at the start of that thread. It was a total derail to the Olympic thread and an appropriate deletion.

I'll try to restrain myself but sometimes my inner Leno comes out and I have to go for the low hanging fruit joke.
posted by Joey Michaels at 10:42 PM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

I disagree with the lazy thing, but Artw's comments resonate with me; there's been some weird new dimension to my MeFi experience lately that leaves me with a bad taste in my mind's mouth. As always with these situations, the issue is at least 50% me, but something's happening here, but I don't know what it is.
This. I am not proposing a concrete change in policy, just noting that probably one in five threads that actually pique my interest in Google Reader these days wind up having been deleted when I click through. To some extent this is because I really enjoy threads where Metafilter is allowed to talk about current US politics, but it's indicative of what feels like an increasingly overactive moderator culture - you guys have a lot more manpower* now than you used to, and I'm concerned that's given rise to a collective subconscious mandate to go out and use it.

So let me take the opposite tack from ArtW: please consider becoming lazier.

*(apologies for the gendered speech but "personpower" just sounded wrong here)
posted by Ryvar at 10:58 PM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


man i do not want to throw any disrespect at all because the moderators here are non-pareil. that being said, i've gotta agree that over the past few months or a year the moderation really seems to have kicked up a notch. and this is a terrible analogy that i hope isn't taken personally by anyone - but as in the case of the police, a little bit too few is just right. you really don't want perfect law enforcement, because overenforcement is more harmful than underenforcement. any healthy society requires a little play in the joints. now there're no gifs (the biggest single loss to this community ever), no recipes in meta threads, etc. - i.e. no release valves. let me argue it this way: if there are silly or throwaway threads, you can create a dynamic flow of silliness into those threads and away from serious threads. if the silly threads aren't there, it pushes people in the direction of "First Post"ing legitimate threads. (that argument would really take a lot to back up, which i really can't do now). you definitely need bad posts in here on a regular basis - not self-link bad, not gore-picture bad, but not-funny, not-relevant, not-best-of-the-web. if it were up to me, the mods would pick comments and threads to delete, then they would skip every other one and leave it in. but that's just my opinion and i'm not a mod.
posted by facetious at 11:52 PM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


if there are silly or throwaway threads, you can create a dynamic flow of silliness into those threads and away from serious threads... you definitely need bad posts in here on a regular basis - not self-link bad, not gore-picture bad, but not-funny, not-relevant, not-best-of-the-web.

I'm sort of curious what sort of posts those might be, though, because from my (obviously super-subjective, I know!) viewpoint it seems like we do that all the time. Some things that might seem kind of goofy/funny we do regularly nix if it's point-and-laugh at the mentally disturbed person, for example, but it doesn't feel to me like we are deleting posts that are harmless-silly.

Juggernaut topics like the U.S. election, and like Occupy was, for example, are a different situation, though: these are going to be corralled into a few active discussions at a time instead of every update, every joke, every Op/Ed, every celebrity reference or comedian bit, every embarrassing quote or bit of video, etc. becoming a whole new post, and that's the category this one fell into.
posted by taz (staff) at 1:46 AM on July 17, 2012


I kinda wish mods would put more of their attention and energy towards deleting comments rather than posts. It seems like many posts are deleted because of an anticipated (negative) response, but that sort of short-changes those who would otherwise enjoy reasoned, interesting discussions about the post, and punishes the post/poster for the actions of others.

Deleting posts that have a whiff of controversy inevitably creates a chilling effect that results in an increasingly dull, samey-samey environment of bland, inoffensive links. (Which end up getting crappy, obnoxious comments anyway!) But if you're going to produce a chilling effect, shouldn't it be applied to people who create shitty comments? If you know that any threadshitting or fighty or grar-y comments are very likely to be insta-deleted, you might not want to waste your time creating them.

(And I'm of course aware that many, many comments are deleted, but I'm suggesting that comment deletions should be kicked up to the point where we rarely see obnoxious comments in a thread, and that this should be the overwhelming focus of the mods' energies.)
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 6:05 AM on July 17, 2012


My friends:


Some of you may, like me, have seen Jessamyn's allusion to a thread about a man with an inflated scrotum above. You may also be mildly curious about what that may be all about, and you may be tempted to follow the link to the post, and then follow those links to see what this is referring to.

Before you do, take one small word of advice --

DON'T. Just....DON'T.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:35 AM on July 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


The best part was the totally innocent "low-hanging fruit" mention a few comments later. That really helped sear the image into my brain for all fucking eternity.
posted by elizardbits at 6:39 AM on July 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


you really don't want perfect law enforcement, because overenforcement is more harmful than underenforcement. any healthy society requires a little play in the joints.

I know you're not hanging your hat on this analogy, but to underscore the biggest problem with it no one suffers serious consequences from a post getting nixed, and we have been pretty straightforward about the idea that even a deleted post can almost always get turned around into a post that'll work just fine. The difference between "eh, not so great, maybe try harder tomorrow?" and "you are under arrest" is kind of a major one.

And as much as cops may end up having to work speed traps to hit monthly citation quotas or whatever, we're actually happiest when there's the least work to be done. We've slowly hired up to meet the staffing needs we have, not gone looking for work to keep the team busy to justify its existence; as much as I love that Metafilter is profitable and provides a for-reals grownup job, it's still a small site and bringing on extra bodies represents a real and significant financial cost, so it's not something that happens lightly.

now there're no gifs (the biggest single loss to this community ever), no recipes in meta threads, etc. - i.e. no release valves.

That's two very specific single sorts of release valves. The recipe thing is notable specifically as a problematic niche meme variant of what is otherwise generally considered totally fine side-chatter in threads, at least when people aren't actively trying to strong-arm an active discussion out of existence.

let me argue it this way: if there are silly or throwaway threads, you can create a dynamic flow of silliness into those threads and away from serious threads. if the silly threads aren't there, it pushes people in the direction of "First Post"ing legitimate threads.

But there are generally silly or throwaway threads. Like taz, I feel like this is a constant part of the mix on the front page and to some extent in metatalk (though it tends here to be silliness in threads more often than silly posts from the word go). One of the complaints that seems to come up in discussions about how the site works (and has here, and has in the other recent Romney-etc thread) is that too much silly bullshit gets let to stand while Very Important Stuff sometimes gets deleted. This is one of those "different people want very different things from the site" situations, which is what makes it so complicated.

But yeah, I feel like the idea that there's a lack of silliness allowed is really not well-founded at all. No silliness on mefi, no random riffing and punning on stuff or swapping anecdotes or making funny bullshit up or a million other things folks do here, would make for a mefi I was a lot less happy to spend time on.

And I'm of course aware that many, many comments are deleted, but I'm suggesting that comment deletions should be kicked up to the point where we rarely see obnoxious comments in a thread, and that this should be the overwhelming focus of the mods' energies.

Deleting comments a lot more aggressively is another one of those ideas that is not unanimously popular. There's plenty of people who feel like even the comment moderation that exists now is too heavy-handed, too confining, too chilling to their conception of how Metafilter should operate. Different things to different people; it's complicated shit.

And we think a lot about the obnoxious comment issue, because it'd be nice to find a way to make that less omnipresent an aspect of site discussion. Partly we do try to nix obnoxious derails and such when we see them in time (flagging helps, contact form helps, promptness is key here), and partly we're trying to be more upfront talking to people who seem to do this stuff repeatedly to make it clear there's a problem. But there's the further problem that one person's obnoxiousness is another persons laser-sharp insight or another person's speaking truth to power or so on. What's a problem and what's not varies in a lot of cases from person to person, and we've got thousands of people here.

This is all not to just wash my hands of dealing with this stuff, but it needs to be remembered that this is a big, complicated place with a lot of history and a lot of different perspectives from among the userbase about how it does and did and should work. We're most of the time trying to strike a balance that we know isn't going to make everybody happy; like Jess said upthread, if we're somewhere in between the opposing, contradictory complaints about any given issue we're probably at least in the right neighborhood.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:47 AM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Just listen.
posted by de at 6:52 AM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I would be interested in seeing what percentage of users generate what percentage of flags. I want to believe it's 2%/90% relatively, but I'm likely wrong. I mean what percentage of *active* users, not "everyone with an ID number."

I personally believe that you can't have "best most relevant of the internet" without some "election filter." I also believe that the responses should be moderated more than the posts (assuming legitimate sources, of course.) I also have no problem with timeouts or bans for people who can't fight nice. I also believe that if there is seriously not enough mod power (which clearly there's not, right? I mean that's what I'm reading here?) to provide that level of moderation, then you take on some more volunteer mods.

That, or you stop pretending to be friendly to all views and perspectives and interests, and you change the banner to "Where you can talk about anything but anything 'we don't do well.'"

WRT things "changing" around here, they certainly are, but I can't put my finger on it in a friendly way either. I might say it's less "let's talk about this" and more "let me tell you about this", but that's not quite accurate.
posted by TomMelee at 7:37 AM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, Mitt Romney is a goat.

I don't mean that in some symbolic sense, as in he's a demonic, oppressive force. (Though damn if that doesn't work pretty well too.) I mean he's literally a hooved ungulate of the bovidae family who has been surgically altered as part of a long-running plan to destroy America from the inside out. He is not a human being, and therefore not qualified to be president under the terms of the Constitution.
posted by Naberius at 7:52 AM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Look, the site policy has long been that we are going to have one or maybe two posts discussing us politics or any other ongoing news event at any one time.

I do however, think it would be nice to have some more formal mechanism for designating the current active thread(s) for us political news (or any other ongoing story). Maybe a "Current events" sidebar?
posted by empath at 8:00 AM on July 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


I personally believe that you can't have "best most relevant of the internet" without some "election filter."

I don't think anybody - including me - is saying "no electionfilter, none, zip, nada."

But the electionfilter fpps should be good fpps, good enough to stand on their own and not be something that should be folded into the one or two or three election fpps that are already live.

That, or you stop pretending to be friendly to all views and perspectives and interests, and you change the banner to "Where you can talk about anything but anything 'we don't do well.'"


The "you" in this is us. We have the power to do difficult subjects well, and we do more often than we give ourselves credit for, mostly because it's the posts where we're being shitty to each other that get attention from mods, create meTas, and so on. There was an abortion post just in the last couple of days that trundled along without - as far as I can tell - any mod intervention.
posted by rtha at 8:20 AM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


my argument's busted.
posted by facetious at 9:24 AM on July 17, 2012


Scrotum is a remarkable thing.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:31 AM on July 17, 2012


But the electionfilter fpps should be good fpps, good enough to stand on their own

Any post has to pass a bar *this* high. The bar for PoliticsFilter posts should be *this +* -- a smidge above the ordinary, to make up for the fact that it's PoliticsFilter, not a low-bar squeaker, like the deleted Silverman video. That would have been a weak post no matter what the subject of the joke was. Bad acting, a weak script, and a healthy dose of male-gaze titillation & objectification on top of that. It was just a plain old crap post before the politics even entered into it.

I'd like to see a serious roundup about this $100,000,000.00 Romney toady and the whole pile of muck that the Citizens Untied decision has resulted in this election cycle, but that post was not it.
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:36 AM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Tom, are you seriously saying that a post devoted to a SLYT featuring Sarah Silverman offering to perform a sex act with a Romney supporter was a strong post likely to prompt serious discussion about the election?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:44 AM on July 17, 2012


Election posts are tedious and boring to me. Based on the deletions, I would guess they're also stupid and boring to other people.

If a post about the election has something truly significant of value to contribute, then by all means I think it should stay up. But if it's just the standard Metafilter Republican-bashing, then I for one would totally flag it. Partially because it's intolerant, but mostly because it's lame and boring.

(Also, I want to pre-emptively say to the next person who claims there is a "hypocrisy" in objecting to intolerance of Republicans, you are a stereotyping idiot. Two of my best friends are die-hard Republicans, and yet they support gay marriage, have kinky sexual relationships, and are generally the most tolerant people you could imagine. Not all people in that political camp fit the same conservative mold, and I object to categorizing all people based on preconceptions.)
posted by wolfdreams01 at 9:46 AM on July 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


Also, I just want to preemptively burn this man of straw.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:48 AM on July 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Scrotum is a remarkable thing.

In a cruel joke sort of way.
posted by Sailormom at 9:49 AM on July 17, 2012


Scrotum is a remarkable thing.

Having read this article yesterday, my first thought was to wonder how would the TSA react to that guy?
posted by homunculus at 9:51 AM on July 17, 2012


Hi, I posted one of those deleted Silverman threads. I considered opening up a MeTa about it -- not to fight the deletion per se, but because I didn't really understand the reason or the threshold for deletion in this case. But I didn't want it to seem like I was trying to resurrect my post in MeTa, and anyway I've posted lots of borderline things in the past that actually stayed on the blue, so I figured I'd just just chalk this up to "you win some, you lose some."

I do think that lumping this in with Romneyfilter or electionfilter is very narrow. I can't think of an election thread that's currently open where this wouldn't have seemed like a derail into a separate discussion. And I know that Silverman is a polarizing personality, but not to the extent that this was "not a good subject for MetaFilter" or whatever. I also disagree that mine was a "weak post." I think some of my "best" or simplest posts were technically weaker than this one. You'd think that it would be validating to hear from a mod that they personally enjoy the content of the post even though they still felt obligated to delete it, but really it's just confusing.

Anyhow I haven't really seen any justification put forth here that makes the deletion seem particularly warranted, but like I said, every time you post it's a gamble. Timing, content, opening comments, pretty much anything can make or break a post. It does seem like we're doing a lot more pre-emptive deleting around here, which I think is unfortunate, if perhaps inevitable considering the larger population.
posted by hermitosis at 9:56 AM on July 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Out of curiousity, hermitosis, does the explanation from cortex:

"...yet another riff about the election" is something we've been actively talking about in Metatalk the other day as something that inevitably becomes problematic every election season and that we're going to be trying to keep from proliferating too much. Thin little one-off election-related jokes are part of that. There are several open threads related to the election right now, folks are free to go there to add updates."

just not qualify as a justification for deleting the thread? It seems to make perfect, simple sense to me. The video was a one-off riff about the US election that was thin and could go in one of several open threads about the election.

honest inquiry, your contributions to MetaFilter are pretty dang unimpeachable.
posted by lazaruslong at 10:06 AM on July 17, 2012


Empress-
No, and in actuality I'm one of the people who's 100% in favor of banning all SLYT fpp's, there's /r/videos for that. I mean, it doesn't take 4 minutes to google up some supporting linkage for just about any given topic.

What I'm thinking about is the general anti-politics vibe, especially WRT topics like Israel/Palestine, Ron Paul, etc. (Please don't get me wrong, I'd rather NOT see more Paul FPP's, but I have become a master of not clicking fpp's I don't want to read.)

Don't get me wrong, I've been the outlier in several threads where I took offense to thinks that most rational people think are ridiculous, and sometimes I played my cards well and sometimes I didn't.
posted by TomMelee at 10:17 AM on July 17, 2012


honest inquiry, your contributions to MetaFilter are pretty dang unimpeachable.

First of all, let me head off lots of people by saying this isn't true. I have made more than my share of embarrassing mistakes here. Some of them I don't even have the good sense to be embarrassed about!

just not qualify as a justification for deleting the thread?

I mean, not really? The Silverman thing is basically a comedy video, though it is politically motivated. The other link I posted was an article specifically about investigations into Sheldon Adelson's financial investments. So yeah, there is a political bent to the post, but it's sort of all about one outside figure who is suddenly made (a little bit) more prominent because of this comedy video.

I really can't imagine injecting this into a thread about Romney, or the election in general. It's pretty obviously a wholly separate topic in the same subject, and introducing Sarah Silverman into an ongoing conversation about politics is a legit derail (as you can see here, many people love to hate her).

Yeah, it was a riff on election stuff. But to me that's a lot different than posting yet another warmed over rehash of whichever campaign's attacks or talking points on any given day. Those are the posts I don't need to see, because I read the same news everyone else does. Was my post something people "need" to see? Obviously not, but it was different enough, and funny enough (to my taste) that I was genuinely surprised that it was deleted.
posted by hermitosis at 10:18 AM on July 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


What I'm thinking about is the general anti-politics vibe, especially WRT topics like Israel/Palestine, Ron Paul, etc.

I'm not seeing any anti-POLITICS vibe, more like an anti-OVERKILL vibe (I guarantee you that if the mods relaxed their hand on electionfilter, we'd be getting MeTas in here from people outside the US saying "for the love of coconuts there are other countries besides the US and we're sick of hearing about these people") and an anti-futility vibe (Israel/Palestine discussions usually end up being nothing more than "u suck"/"u suck moar" shoutfests, and what's the greater contribution those make?).
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:21 AM on July 17, 2012


This is the article I posted, by the way. It barely mentions elections.
posted by hermitosis at 10:24 AM on July 17, 2012


Incidentally, in the interest of showing that deletions just happen, I'd be very curious to know how many of my posts over the years have been deleted. I'm guessing two dozen? I know that between doubles, misfires, and misbehavior it's been quite a few. And maybe a tenth of my 200+ posts were pretty borderline and stayed up for whatever reason. So I'm not particularly sour about this one, even if I basically disagree.
posted by hermitosis at 10:44 AM on July 17, 2012


People usually don't guess high about their deletions, but you've actually only had nine mefi posts killed. A couple of "not great for metafilter" things, the balance are all doubles and one where the site you linked to fell over under the load.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:51 AM on July 17, 2012


If we get to choose, I'd take the material that hermitosis is talking about over Today's Big Election News any day. But I'm mostly just against politics overkill, and I just flagged the most recent Obama post as such even though it meets the guidelines in other senses.
posted by no regrets, coyote at 10:53 AM on July 17, 2012


I'm in favor of a policy of random deletions, in a kind of hunger games sacrifice to the institution kind of way. Also, random bannings.
posted by found missing at 10:57 AM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


kind of
posted by found missing at 10:57 AM on July 17, 2012


Empress-
Thanks for responding to me again.

Let the non-US folks complain, and let them post their own politicrap. I'd love to see more of it on an international level. I realize what you're saying, and I understand there can occasionally be an avalanche---but I don't honestly see a whole lot via the deleted posts script. Of course, I'm not a daily visitor anymore.

As for people being dicks in threads---kickban the user, not the thread. There's always something valid in them.

I realize MeFi isn't my huckleberry, but I try to form viewpoints as a melange of other peoples experiences. I want to read non-US-folks opinions on everything, I want to hear from the pro-X and anti-Y camps, it helps me be more informed---or at least feel like I have a more full understanding. I think that's part of why I only stop by once a week or so now (I know, big loss, right?), I don't feel like it's all inclusive, even though it probably still is.
posted by TomMelee at 11:00 AM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ack, I didn't mean to set you one pedestal not of your own making from which to be knocked down. Sorry! Of course we all make mistakes, I was just trying to make clear that I was asking in good faith.

All in all, looks like we just look at the issue differently. Word.
posted by lazaruslong at 11:36 AM on July 17, 2012


Election posts are tedious and boring to me. Based on the deletions, I would guess they're also stupid and boring to other people.

If a post about the election has something truly significant of value to contribute, then by all means I think it should stay up. But if it's just the standard Metafilter Republican-bashing, then I for one would totally flag it. Partially because it's intolerant, but mostly because it's lame and boring.


Honest question: why can't you just not skip past the political posts the way I do all contemporary fiction-related posts? I have no interest, so in the first half of the first sentence when I see "David Foster Wallace" I just scroll onward. I enjoy reading the vast majority of US, UK, and Australian political threads on MeFi, so I really would like them to stay. Why is simply ignoring them such a problem for you?

To heave a pot of gasoline on this: you know how the fundamental problem with opposing gay marriage is that it affects those opposed to the marriage basically not at all? The existence of any post no matter how tedious and boring should affect you not at all, unless you have a fairly serious need to control what other people see/hear/think, and I highly doubt you do. So... what gives?
posted by Ryvar at 12:26 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Fuck. Edit window. "Why can't you just skip past the political posts..."
posted by Ryvar at 12:26 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


To be pedantic, a squabble between two corporate stooges is neither an election or very political.

Wake me up when they've taken over the gpo and read the declaration.
posted by sgt.serenity at 1:21 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


To heave a pot of gasoline on this: you know how the fundamental problem with opposing gay marriage is that it affects those opposed to the marriage basically not at all? The existence of any post no matter how tedious and boring should affect you not at all, unless you have a fairly serious need to control what other people see/hear/think, and I highly doubt you do. So... what gives?

Ryvar, your "pot of gasoline" is actually a pot of highly flawed logic. By your rationale, there's no reason for Metafilter (at least, the "blue") to exist at all. After all, everything posted to the blue is on the Internet somewhere, right? So why can't we just find it on the internet ourselves, and skip all the annoying parts of the internet that we don't like? The existence of all the other internet stuff that we're not interested in doesn't directly affect us, right?

You seem to be missing the point of why it's called Metafilter - namely, that it's a filter. It filters out all the boring tedious crap that the rest of the internet is full of so that we can read the more interesting parts. If we start letting any and all links stay on here then Metafilter wouldn't be a filter; it would simply be a more polite version of 4chan.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 1:26 PM on July 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Honest question: why can't you just not skip past the political posts the way I do all contemporary fiction-related posts?

The problem is not that they bother readers. It's that they suck up mod time and get people all het up and angry at one another, which has spill-over effects for the rest of the site.
posted by gauche at 1:35 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


The problem is not that they bother readers. It's that they suck up mod time and get people all het up and angry at one another

Really sounds like the moderating team for this website is understaffed if the readers can't have threads they want because there is not enough mod resources to keep people from fighting.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:32 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Really sounds like the moderating team for this website is understaffed

You have mentioned this before. While we could maybe use another person to fill in so that we can more easily take vacations, we're not planning to beef up staffing to deal with a type of high-maintenance post that none of us particularly care for that isn't one of the core purposes of the site. We value the community here and keeping people happy. We are fortunate enough that the conversations and information that this community generates are interesting enough to the outside world that we can generate enough revenue to keep our small staff paid and insured.

However, the site does not sell anything and only has value to its members as long as it continues to be a place that they want to hang out. If we were going to hire more staff we'd either have to all take pay cuts or find ways to generate more revenue which I am certain many members here would find as much if not more distasteful than thread deletions.

I know that in the world of internet companies there is great value placed on rapid and not-very-controlled growth. That isn't what we are after. If we were, we could remove the sign up fee, advertise on other sites and let people post pretty much anything to any of the front pages that would guarantee us more traffic. We're not doing that. This is a decision that has been made, to have more moderate growth, to not go after eyeballs at any costs and to spend moderator time trying to return value to the entire community, not just put out fires and have robotic deletion algorithms. And to keep the group of moderators small and familiar to the extent that we can.

We trust the community to help keep itself from fighting and we see this as a shared responsibility. I don't consider it the large part of my job to keep adults who know and understand the guidelines of this site from adhering more or less with the guidelines of this site. And we're not interested in adding more moderators so that badly-behaved people can continue to behave badly here. My job is to set expectations accurately and be available to the entire community and that's tough to do when maybe one or two dozen people seem to have continual impulse control problems getting along with other members in certain types of threads.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:58 PM on July 17, 2012 [7 favorites]


METAFILTER: we're not planning to beef up staffing to deal with a type of high-maintenance post that none of us particularly care for that isn't one of the core purposes of the site
posted by philip-random at 3:23 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


This leads one to wonder what the core purposes of the site have become. It used to be sharing interesting things on the web, but now that seems less certain.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:26 PM on July 17, 2012


Maybe you need to re-calibrate your standard of what is interesting to what the larger community finds interesting, including the international audience. Sarah Silverman talking dirty to a political campaign contributor apparently didn't cut the mustard.
posted by crunchland at 3:33 PM on July 17, 2012


I know that in the world of internet companies there is great value placed on rapid and not-very-controlled growth.

I'm not talking about growing the userbase though, I was responding to the description of the problem that asserts that the current readers do want these posts.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:37 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


This leads one to wonder what the core purposes of the site have become. It used to be sharing interesting things on the web, but now that seems less certain.

Our take is actually that more of the "sharing neat stuff" angle and less of the "hollering at each other about bad news" angle is good for the site and largely what it's about. You have made it really, thoroughly clear that you disapprove of the deletion of this one specific thing, but that specific thing notwithstanding the thing you are saying "used to be" is actually more or less what we're in favor of and are trying to keep the focus on, pushback from newshounds or not.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:41 PM on July 17, 2012


gauche: “The problem is not that they bother readers. It's that they suck up mod time and get people all het up and angry at one another, which has spill-over effects for the rest of the site.”

furiousxgeorge: “Really sounds like the moderating team for this website is understaffed if the readers can't have threads they want because there is not enough mod resources to keep people from fighting.”

It's interesting how you don't really care if people get het up and angry one another, or if that makes the site as a whole more crappy. You may notice, however, that the various things that gauche was talking about are related to each other. Yes, shit threads suck up mod time. They will always suck up mod time. If there were ten billion mods, each with infinite banning powers, a shit thread would still not be worth even a nanosecond of mod time. So hiring more mods will not allow more shit threads to stay up. Sorry.
posted by koeselitz at 3:46 PM on July 17, 2012


No, I care, I just disagree that more moderation can't solve the problem. If I didn't I would not be suggesting more of it as a solution to such a dilemma.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:58 PM on July 17, 2012


Or we could avoid causing a Dilemma that had to get solved in the first place, by not having a bunch of testy PoliticsFilter posts toe gin with. Why cater to a small vocal, angry minority of users who want to make the place actually harder to manage when it's working pretty well as a community under the current guidelines and moderator regime?

If this place turned in to a bunch of "Here's a thing to be mad about!" posts, with a whole squadron of moderators having to constantly step in to tamp down flare-ups between irate users, there are a lot of us who feel that the site would lose the thing which we all value-- the community.

There's really, really already quite enough of that as it is.
posted by Devils Rancher at 4:20 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why cater to a small vocal, angry minority of users who want to make the place actually harder to manage when it's working pretty well as a community under the current guidelines and moderator regime?

Again, I am responding to the characterization of events in which readers do want these posts. If they don't I'm not disagreeing they should go!
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:22 PM on July 17, 2012


toe gin

Your very good health, sir!
*clinks*
posted by Wolof at 4:29 PM on July 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Okay, I guess I understand that. If it turned out that a large portion of MetaFilter members wanted more contentious hot news & politics posts, you're right -- it'd take more moderation if the posts were to stand.

Also, I haven't taken a poll, so I don't know where the membership at large actually stands on the issue on a percentage basis - I was voicing my general perception of the mood of the membership concerning politicslfilter as someone who's been reading these sorts of callouts for a number of years, now.
posted by Devils Rancher at 4:34 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


*clinks*

That's the sound of me tossing this idiot iOS device to the tile floor. Moderator please edit window me!
posted by Devils Rancher at 4:35 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Threads like this always make me wonder what percentage of mefites who seem to consistently disagree with how this place is moderated have been mods elsewhere. To be clear, I am not saying that one must have experience in order to criticize. I don't have any mod experience (for online stuff; I do have long-ago experience moderating/facilitating contentious meatspace meetings).
posted by rtha at 4:36 PM on July 17, 2012


For the third time, if a couple dozen people want to consistently threadshit to the extent that an entire species of posts is off the table, when thousands of other users play nice...Ban those users? Accommodating trolls serves the same purpose as feeding them.
posted by TomMelee at 4:44 PM on July 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


I never would have called it. All this? Over shitty Sarah Silverman? For serious mefi?
posted by cashman at 4:49 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


It is a puzzler, isn't it?
posted by Devils Rancher at 4:54 PM on July 17, 2012


I have a theory that it's the trivial, toss-off posts people get the most worked up over. I can't prove it and don't understand it.

P.S. Mods, your continuing abilities to keep calm, explain clearly and repeatedly, and to not respond to provocation always impresses me. Thanks as usual.
posted by benito.strauss at 4:59 PM on July 17, 2012


I have a theory that it's the trivial, toss-off posts people get the most worked up over. I can't prove it and don't understand it.

Sayre's Law: "In any dispute the intensity of feeling is inversely proportional to the value of the issues at stake."
posted by the man of twists and turns at 5:05 PM on July 17, 2012


I never would have called it. All this? Over shitty Sarah Silverman? For serious mefi?

Why not stretch your brain and imagine that other people like things you don't? I'm not a huge Sarah Silverman fan, but if she does or says something that strikes me funny, I'm going to laugh, because it costs me nothing and I have zero (well, less than five) percent of my identity wrapped up in liking the "right" things.

So, I don't think my post was a shitty post, nor do I think it would have required much moderating, except to deal with people with strong negative feelings about Sarah Silverman's comedy (see also: every comic ever)trying to run it into the ground for no apparent reason instead of shrugging and moving on to the next thread.
posted by hermitosis at 5:12 PM on July 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


For what it's worth, rtha, I *have* been employed as a moderator of an online community, though it was seven or eight years ago.
posted by hermitosis at 5:14 PM on July 17, 2012


Ban those users?

Banning a dozen or two users is a pretty scorched earth approach to this problem which we're not convinced needs such a radical approach. What we've found in the past when we've banned high profile shit stirrers is that there's often someone willing to step up to fill their place. And most people who behave terribly in political threads [or other really hot button topic threads] are often totally fine elsewhere on the site which is another difficult aspect to this whole issue. There are very for people on this site who I think are pure trolls.

Again, I appreciate that people have other ways of looking at and approaching this issue and we're interested in hearing what people have to say. At the same time, most of the changes we make here are incremental and not by fiat. Making some new policy pronouncement just because we think it might work is not really our style and probably wouldn't go over well here.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:15 PM on July 17, 2012




instead of shrugging and moving on to the next thread

Yeah, I still don't get why people who don't like a comedian can't just go to the next thread. It's weird.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:47 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


sorry, Sayre's Law
posted by the man of twists and turns at 5:52 PM on July 17, 2012


Blazecock Pileon: "Yeah, I still don't get why people who don't like a comedian can't just go to the next thread. It's weird."

By extension, why delete anything ever? Just skip to the next thread if you don't like it.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:00 PM on July 17, 2012


Exactly -- as long as a post isn't chatty, editorializing, self-linking, inflammatory, or otherwise breaking the rules, or a repeat of a past post, and seems to be of interest to at least a few community members, then why delete it?
posted by hermitosis at 6:05 PM on July 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


hermitosis: "Exactly -- as long as a post isn't chatty, editorializing, self-linking, inflammatory, or otherwise breaking the rules, or a repeat of a past post, and seems to be of interest to at least a few community members, then why delete it?"

I'm not cortex, but I think the point was that it was seen to have broken the rules. Certainly to have violated the guideline of "new and interesting."

In any case, again, if you can always just skip to the next thread, why delete any thread ever, whether self-linking, inflammatory, or double, or just generally lousy? Just skip it. It's not like they're running short of pixels. To me, that doesn't sound that enjoyable, but maybe we have different visions of an enjoyable Metafilter.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:14 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think the point was that it was seen to have broken the rules. Certainly to have violated the guideline of "new and interesting."

On what basis? It was a new video and a breaking story about alleged financial mismanagement. Not interesting to everyone, surely, but it's not like I posted a single link to a GQ profile of a well-known movie star or something...
posted by hermitosis at 6:32 PM on July 17, 2012 [7 favorites]


Well, hell, the posted link was pretty much asking for money, too. It was at least a "sign my petition please" wrapped up in a "comedy" bit.
posted by koeselitz at 6:46 PM on July 17, 2012


Just because you are one of the louder users does not mean you speak for the majority of users. Seriously, get the fuck over yourselves.
posted by absalom at 6:48 PM on July 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


what percentage of mefites who seem to consistently disagree with how this place is moderated have been mods elsewhere. -- I can imagine a scenario where people who have had experience with running an online community might be more apt to be critical of the way things go down here, and that dealing with control issues outweighs any empathy they might have for the people who have to put up with them here. Add to it that those people might feel like they've invested a lot of themselves here, because they're obviously addicted to this sort of social interaction.
posted by crunchland at 6:49 PM on July 17, 2012


hermitosis: "On what basis? It was a new video and a breaking story about alleged financial mismanagement. Not interesting to everyone, surely, but it's not like I posted a single link to a GQ profile of a well-known movie star or something..."

Ultimately, it wasn't felt interesting by cortex (maybe other mods, too-not sure if this one got kicked around first). In the end, there are three ways you can go here:

1) Every post stands Again, I don't think this is great, because there IS a cost to wading through poor posts. You can only read so much in a day, even if you just scan the post tile.
2) We vote on posts to see if they are interesting or not There are already sites that do this. I don't think they offer what Metafilter does, and they are vulnerable to gaming, etc.
3) Mods ultimately decide if something is interesting The people whom the owner of the site has hired to moderate it make this call. This means that some posts you personally like get deleted.

Have things I liked gotten deleted? Sure. Do I think there is a role for questioning if we think the general level of deletions is too tight/loose? Sure. But I think part of being a member is that sometimes, you won't agree with a deletion decision. The moderators try to reflect what they gauge as community norms, as influenced by Matt. You (or I) will not always agree with every decision.

I think it's notable that, almost without exception, every "why was this deleted/allowed to stand" thread is full of people on each side of the issue. You're never going to please everybody.

My personal feeling on this one was borderline delete. It didn't really bother me either way. I don't have any strong feelings about Sarah Silverman, except for the Matt Damon video, that was pretty good.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:00 PM on July 17, 2012


Ultimately, it wasn't felt interesting by cortex (maybe other mods, too-not sure if this one got kicked around first).

Uh, actually I was under the impression that it was because of the tight restrictions on posts that were perceived to be electionfilter. I thought we already covered this?
posted by hermitosis at 7:19 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


hermitosis: "Uh, actually I was under the impression that it was because of the tight restrictions on posts that were perceived to be electionfilter. "

Yeah, the "new and interesting" restriction has been tightened for election-related stuff. It's not like new and interesting requirement isn't there, it's that it's more tightly applied.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:30 PM on July 17, 2012


I think you're sort of talking out your ass on this one. The post basically met every standard for a "good" post listed in the wiki that you linked, and it doesn't meet any of the criteria in the "bad" post wiki. "New and interesting" is not necessarily going to save an election-related post, I've seen pretty good ones get chopped alongside pretty terrible ones. The mods (if I understand it correctly) are keeping an eye on how many political discussions are going on sitewide and sort of restricting the flow of new ones so they overwhelm the site.

Obvs if I concocted some miraculous election post that moved cortex to tears, it would probably be more likely to make it through, but I think most of us are just going to continue to post whatever we want to post, and let the chips fall where they may.

If you don't think the post was interesting, that's fine, but pretending that it didn't live up to some sitewide standard is pretty disingenuous. Anyhow, I'm not really contesting the deletion so you don't have to keep trying to explain it to me.
posted by hermitosis at 8:32 PM on July 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


Why not stretch your brain and imagine that other people like things you don't?

Whoa. Easy. I'm not going hard on Silverman, I'm saying I thought if there was some huge discussion where people were insulting the management here and taking stances and arguing with fervor and feeling like the site was coming to a halt, that it would be, say, the post on domestic violence that got deleted. Same thing - a short video featuring one woman, deleted, on a Tuesday afternoon.

This thread already has 3 times as many comments as that one did, and not nearly the rancor and defiance.

And as far as liking things people don't, I'm a rap and sports fan on metafilter so no brain stretching needed.

If it would have been the post about Iggy Azalea or Kitty Pryde that caused all this, I would have said the same thing. I wasn't insulting your post, and for the record, I have no problem with electionfilter and I wouldn't care if there were 5 posts a day on the election if they were good posts. I hope that clears up what I was saying with my comment.
posted by cashman at 8:51 PM on July 17, 2012


hermitosis: "I think you're sort of talking out your ass on this one. [...] If you don't think the post was interesting, that's fine, but pretending that it didn't live up to some sitewide standard is pretty disingenuous."

All I can say is that the decision seems consonant with site standards as I understand them. If you don't see it the same way, that's cool. Sorry that you seem to feel that I'm making stuff up for shits.

Have a good night.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:03 PM on July 17, 2012


> I think you're sort of talking out your ass on this one. The post basically met every standard for a "good" post listed in the wiki that you linked, and it doesn't meet any of the criteria in the "bad" post wiki. ... If you don't think the post was interesting, that's fine, but pretending that it didn't live up to some sitewide standard is pretty disingenuous. Anyhow, I'm not really contesting the deletion

Gee, the last sentence doesn't seem to match the first three. For someone who isn't really contesting the deletion, you've sure invested a lot of energy in arguing about it. Why not shrug and move on?
posted by languagehat at 8:32 AM on July 18, 2012


I swear I'm not being fighty on this, it just doesn't make sense to my brain:

It's "scorched earth" to warn and then ban users who can't play nicely, and we're talking "a couple dozen", which in my neck of the hood means less than or equal to 24 people.

It's *not* "scorched earth" to eliminate a species of posts to which some portion of the site obviously are interested in reading because a few dozen people can't fight nice.

And on another topic: if we're concerned with MeFi getting "Gamed" on par with the likes of the ultra-con cabal @ Reddit (no link, sorry), I would argue that we already *are*, if there are some people who will flag all posts of a type and if a type of post is prohibited because some people can't play nice.

(I really do understand how one flamey post can get people responding to it and derail an entire thread. I do get that. I do NOT get that the reason (nay, the excuse I think) for the deletions is because there isn't enough moderator time when adding volunteer mods would be trivial. I get that mods are a proud few, battle weary and well qualified. I don't think you'd need that level of *whatever* to allow some folks to dumster-hold a few posts here and there.)
posted by TomMelee at 9:52 AM on July 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's *not* "scorched earth" to eliminate a species of posts to which some portion of the site obviously are interested in reading because a few dozen people can't fight nice.

But no one on team mod has proposed eliminating the species. "Try a bit harder on these" and "keep the volume manageable" are compromise positions based on the associated systemic cost of dealing with them. This is how we avoid going scorched earth and banning all trouble topics by fiat or whatever.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:01 AM on July 18, 2012


OUT OF CONTROL MODERATION!
posted by Burhanistan at 10:03 AM on July 18, 2012


It's *not* "scorched earth" to eliminate a species of posts to which some portion of the site obviously are interested in reading because a few dozen people can't fight nice.

We haven't eliminated them, at all. The bar on hot button topics is raised to "make a better post" and electionfilter posts are going to be corralled somewhat into a few major threads so that the front page isn't all US elections all the time. This is not just because people are jerks in those threads and they can be tough to moderate. This is also because while there is a small subset of people who really like those threads, they're outside of the core mission for MetaFilter and there are many many other sites on the internet where people can have those discussions. As we said, we know we can add moderators. We've made a decision not to, at least not for the purpose of babysitting shitty threads where we feel that people should be more responsible for their own behavior.

And yes, banning 20-ish vocal and heavily-engaged people would be a big deal here and would take up a lot of moderator time [tracking warnings and determining if whatever behavior happened was "bad" enough to merit a banning, the rules lawyering arguments we'd have with users over email about it, the userbase backlash when people disagreed with our decisions] and would be a not-trivial decision. We'd have to change over a decade of practice and policy, all for an uncertain outcome. I know to some people it seems clear that if a few jerks were eliminated everything on MetaFilter would go more smoothly, but that really isn't a foregone conclusion to my mind.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:05 AM on July 18, 2012


When taz and restless_nomad came on as mods, there was a bunch of whining in meTa about how deletions were out of hand and these new mods were too quick to pull the trigger and so on and so forth - people were more than happy to leap to the least charitable interpretation of a post or comment deletion, and to do it in meTa rather than via the contact form. Those meTas also take up mod (and community, for the portion that chooses to engage in these things) time and energy. I don't see how adding a few volunteer mods would not add to this kind of thing. Do we then add more volunteer mods, in an ever-increasing spiral of playing catch-up?
posted by rtha at 10:06 AM on July 18, 2012


OUT OF CONTROL MODERATION!

WTF? What was wrong with that post?
posted by homunculus at 10:09 AM on July 18, 2012


taz just has it out for that guy.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:10 AM on July 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Okay, taz deleted her own damn fine post for some reason. I'm going to need more coffee to keep up with these whacky mod antics.
posted by homunculus at 10:12 AM on July 18, 2012


WTF? What was wrong with that post?

taz made a play on words in the post that was a little more jarring than she'd expected and got a bunch of people talking about that instead of the post, so she decided to take it down and maybe (hopefully?) redo it later. One of those mod prerogative things.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:15 AM on July 18, 2012


I hope she does redo it, it was a great post and the derail was just silly.
posted by homunculus at 10:56 AM on July 18, 2012


taz deleted her own damn fine post for some reason

We're slowly morphing into Wikipedia. I can't believe that I'm actually agreeing with Artw on something.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:08 AM on July 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Everybody's talking all this stuff about them
Why don't they just let them live?
Tell them why they don't need commission
Make their own decisions
That's mod prerogative
It's mod prerogative
posted by winna at 11:21 AM on July 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


taz deleted her own damn fine post for some reason

Too much garlic.
posted by de at 12:12 PM on July 18, 2012


Way too much garlic, for sure. Yeah, I didn't think people would think it was really about a serial killer, after "the results" part, but it was playful for no real purpose except some sort of persistent connect in my mind: the "shooting" heteronym, the eeriness of many of the images, the wonder that people were letting a total stranger stay the night... and then seeing this young girl, imagining her traveling around these strange countries with this sort of bizarre mission, how vulnerable she was but also how vulnerable the families were – both in the imaginary scenario of actual danger, and also in the reality of this sort of intimately revealing photo portraiture... it was all of a piece and atmosphere to me, in my head.

But heads are very different, and the construction just ended up being jarring, even disturbing to some, and altogether insta-derailing.
posted by taz (staff) at 2:00 AM on July 19, 2012


Next time just tell those obsessive ninnies to stuff it. The post was fine
posted by Burhanistan at 3:09 AM on July 19, 2012 [2 favorites]




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