De mortuis nil nisi bonum? July 22, 2012 3:09 PM   Subscribe

I can understand closing a thread that becomes vitriolic, but there doesn't seem much point having obituary posts if we have to shy away from controversy - especially when the decedent notoriously embraced controversy himself.
posted by Joe in Australia to MetaFilter-Related at 3:09 PM (94 comments total)

Uh, link?
posted by Dasein at 3:12 PM on July 22, 2012


Once again I am confused. What thread are you talking about?
posted by cjorgensen at 3:20 PM on July 22, 2012


The thread wasn't closed and Jessamyn just said please refrain from getting overheated. Why not just include these links in the thread without controversial editorial? He died...RIP and all that.
posted by bquarters at 3:22 PM on July 22, 2012


Uh, you know that thread isn't closed, right?
posted by mathowie (staff) at 3:22 PM on July 22, 2012


See? MeTa works!
posted by xingcat at 3:25 PM on July 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't think he's saying it's closed. I think he's saying that he'd rather see a thread closed than have undesirable comments muted by a mod's comment.
posted by gman at 3:25 PM on July 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Obit threads can sort of flash over into major bad-feeling-generating disasters if people unload their "actually this person sucked and I hated them" rants in the same place where people are mourning. We try to enforce a slightly higher level of civility in them to prevent this. Controversy is not an automatic delete, but vitriol is.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 3:33 PM on July 22, 2012


Terms like "jew baiting" are not necessarily that well-known. Leaving comments in a fairly staid obit thread starting off on that sort of foot look a lot more fighty than "I want to have a discussion about this subtopic"

If people want to talk about Cockburn's anti-semitism they pretty much need to do so being mindful of the fact that it's an obit thread, we have a pretty longstanding "These are some things to consider when posting in obit threads" set of suggestions, and their own identity as being "that guy" on the particular topic. This is why I specifically said in my comment that if Cockburn's anti-semitism is really what you want to talk about, consider another thread at another time perhaps.

We're not saying don't talk about it here, we're saying consider not talking about it right now in a place where it's only borderline appropriate.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:39 PM on July 22, 2012


We try to enforce a slightly higher level of civility in them to prevent this. Controversy is not an automatic delete, but vitriol is.

Really? I happen to agree with much of the vitriol directed at Breitbart, but it would be unfortunate if the Cockburn thread is being more rigorously moderated because his political beliefs fell more in line with those of the community.
posted by lalex at 3:43 PM on July 22, 2012 [6 favorites]


Terms like "jew baiting" are not necessarily that well-known.

Interestingly, the iPad version of Boggle™ does not think "Jew" is a word.

I'm not sure what my point is here, but I've been flabbergasted since I discovered that, so I figured I should share it somewhere.
posted by hippybear at 3:49 PM on July 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Is Boggle like Scrabble where you can't have proper nouns?
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:57 PM on July 22, 2012


It thinks it's a slur word I think, and there are a bunch of other slurs it doesn't take as words. It's sad.
posted by Salamandrous at 3:57 PM on July 22, 2012


Is that because it is a proper noun? As a verb it would be pretty wrong.
posted by found missing at 3:58 PM on July 22, 2012


I was surprised that my link to a critical obituary disappeared. It's not like it's a minor part of his record; the "criticism" section comprises a big part of his Wikipedia biography and Cockburn actually wrote an ironically-titled essay (My Life as an Anti-Semite) defending his positions back in 2003.

I quoted the first paragraph of that obituary (Alexander Cockburn was, until yesterday, the living embodiment of the bridge between the far Right – in particular, the Jew-baiting far Right – and the far Left.) because it is (in my opinion) one of the most interesting things about him: he's nominally a figure of the left who, in some ways, was very much at home in the extreme right. He's not the only media personality to embrace controversial positions; if they can't be mentioned in their obituaries then we're left with an anodyne, mealy-mouthed fluff post about Death the Great Leveller Who Bears All Souls Away.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:00 PM on July 22, 2012 [5 favorites]


In Words With Friends "Jew" is a proper noun and not allowed.

On the actual topic at hand I don't remember the Michael Jackson thread being a loveliest for the recently departed wither.
posted by cjorgensen at 4:00 PM on July 22, 2012


What exactly was said that was deleted?
posted by zarq at 4:01 PM on July 22, 2012


I blame the dots. Really.
posted by found missing at 4:01 PM on July 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


It's kind of odd to think that Jew could only be thought of as a slur. I know many Jews that would disagree.

Crap, did I just insult them?
posted by item at 4:01 PM on July 22, 2012


Oh.

Did Joe's comment spur any reactions? Or was it deleted because it might have been problematic?
posted by zarq at 4:02 PM on July 22, 2012


Item: to "Jew" is a derogatory term meaning to cheat, or to drive a hard bargain. I'm very glad to hear that you're unacquainted with it.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:04 PM on July 22, 2012


I happen to agree with much of the vitriol directed at Breitbart, but it would be unfortunate if the Cockburn thread is being more rigorously moderated because his political beliefs fell more in line with those of the community.

There was some over-the-line stuff deleted in the Breitbart thread too. To be clear, there was one comment and a couple of direct replies to it deleted in the Cockburn thread - it's not like a major sub-conversation was cut out. The reactions were mostly sort of bristly "what the hell does "jew-baiting" mean" reactions, as Jessamyn alluded to.

Whether or not stuff gets flagged more because it espouses a position contrary to the average here at Metafilter is a different, and larger, question. I personally have no idea who Cockburn is and only the vaguest "oh I've heard that name before" reaction to Breitbart. I couldn't describe either of their politics without googling if you put a gun to my head. But that's not true of everyone here, obviously, and I think it's probably inevitable that the odds of people flagging something they disagree with are higher than something they agree with. That's one of the many reasons flagging is not used on any sort of mechanical auto-delete level - having a more or less impartial human judgement in the mix balances out at least some of that.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 4:04 PM on July 22, 2012


As cjorgenson says, "Jew" is a proper noun, which is not allowed in Words With Friends and Boggle. It's not barred from use because it might be considered a slur.

I realize this may be a futile request in Meta, but would it be at all possible to please not derail the thread from the outset over whether or not the word is a slur?
posted by zarq at 4:05 PM on July 22, 2012


"I realize this may be a futile request in Meta, but would it be at all possible to please not derail the thread from the outset over the rules of Boggle(tm)?
posted by zarq at 12:05 AM on July 23 [+] [!]

ftfy.
posted by marienbad at 4:09 PM on July 22, 2012


It's not barred from use because it might be considered a slur.

Not entirely so, since it has a usage as a verb, much less common nowadays but not unheard of, which is offensive and a slur.
posted by found missing at 4:10 PM on July 22, 2012


"Jew" is a proper noun

What? A proper noun??

"Joe" is a proper noun. "Jane" is a proper noun. "Jew" is a normal noun meaning, "a person of the Jewish religion."
posted by drjimmy11 at 4:11 PM on July 22, 2012


We can't even be proper anymore?
posted by gman at 4:12 PM on July 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


It's not barred from use because it might be considered a slur.

That's really up in the air, actually. Zynga hasn't gone on record, that I've seen, over why it's not a word you can use in WWF even though it's in the dictionary that WWF supposedly uses. This has been a longstanding issue with Scrabble as well.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:14 PM on July 22, 2012


To be clear, there was one comment and a couple of direct replies to it deleted in the Cockburn thread - it's not like a major sub-conversation was cut out. The reactions were mostly sort of bristly "what the hell does "jew-baiting" mean" reactions, as Jessamyn alluded to.

So here's the thing... the topic of antisemitism and how/whether it is used as a defense against criticism by supporters of Israel on both the right and left was actually one of the issues that Cockburn was really well known for. His commentary on the topic was super controversial. So was his denial of climate change, which infuriated a lot of people.

If we are not going to be allowed to talk about the things which were inherent to the man's political positions and career, in a thread about his life and death, then that's really problematic.

Yes, it might make people "bristle." So did the man and his writings.
posted by zarq at 4:14 PM on July 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


How many common nouns do we capitalize?
posted by found missing at 4:15 PM on July 22, 2012


This thread is probably useless without knowing what the deleted comment said.

If it was just a link to the obituary, and Joe in Australia accurately noted that it describes Cockburn as "jew-baiting," then I think this is a bad deletion.
posted by lalex at 4:16 PM on July 22, 2012



"Jew" is a normal noun

If I'm understanding their capitalization scheme correctly, Merriam-Webster disagrees with you.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 4:19 PM on July 22, 2012


It was a link to the obit with a pulled quotation about jew-baiting which was then followed by a handful of comments by people saying "jew-baiting, huh, cite?" No one is denying the guy was anti-semitic. Maybe try linking to the obit without the quote that got people ruffled and try it again, which makes it look a lot less like "I want to turn this obit thread into talking about Cockburn's anti-semitism without saying outright that is what I am doing" Would that work?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:21 PM on July 22, 2012


the topic of antisemitism and how/whether it is used as a defense against criticism by supporters of Israel on both the right and left was actually one of the issues that Cockburn was really well known for. His commentary on the topic was super controversial.

That's an explanation with enough context that I know what you're talking about. Just quoting a line referring to his connection with "the Jew-baiting Right" doesn't.

On preview, Jessamyn got there first and better.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 4:22 PM on July 22, 2012


Reposting three links as part of a MetaTalk post feels more like a stunt than anything else. It seems more like you just want to see the links online than have an honest policy discussion.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 4:22 PM on July 22, 2012


It was a link to the obit with a pulled quotation about jew-baiting

But that's...an accurate description of the article.
posted by lalex at 4:30 PM on July 22, 2012


It was a link to the obit with a pulled quotation about jew-baiting which was then followed by a handful of comments by people saying "jew-baiting, huh, cite?"

Just quoting a line referring to his connection with "the Jew-baiting Right" doesn't.

Arrrgh. I really need a script that lets me see deleted comments before I defend 'em. This is the second time in Meta in what, three days(?) that I've knee-jerk defended a comment without having seen it first, that didn't say what I believed it did. Sorry. Thanks for being patient with me.

Joe, get your tuches back in there with more context. ;)
posted by zarq at 4:31 PM on July 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


> How many common nouns do we capitalize?

None. That's the definition of a common noun. If it's capitalized, it's a proper noun.
posted by languagehat at 4:59 PM on July 22, 2012 [11 favorites]


And I have to say, Alex Cockburn would want to see vigorous discussion in his obit thread.
posted by languagehat at 5:00 PM on July 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


If it's capitalized, it's a proper noun.

Yeah, like we're going to take your opinion on these things. What do you know about language? Or for that matter hats?
posted by cjorgensen at 5:01 PM on July 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Hey guys! Words can have more than one definition! I didn't believe it either, but it's true!
posted by Scientist at 5:07 PM on July 22, 2012


This. Changes. EVERYTHING.
posted by Scientist at 5:10 PM on July 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's kind of odd to think that Jew could only be thought of as a slur.

I’ve been around people who act offended and won’t say "Mexican" when talking about someone from Mexico. To me, this says a lot more about them than they realize, and not in a good way.
posted by bongo_x at 5:12 PM on July 22, 2012


WWF kind of cheapens Scrabble in my opinion. I know!! Controversial!!

(which is why I kept losing on facebook- I didn't realize capitalized and slang terms were acceptable. Am old-school. And a sore loser.)
posted by bquarters at 5:22 PM on July 22, 2012


I’ve been around people who act offended and won’t say "Mexican" when talking about someone from Mexico. To me, this says a lot more about them than they realize, and not in a good way.

I have students who call each other 'immigrants' as an insult. I always find it weird and am like "I'm an immigrant. Tonnes of people are immigrants. What's bad about that?"
posted by bquarters at 5:24 PM on July 22, 2012


"I'm an immigrant. Tonnes of people are immigrants. What's bad about that?"`

Because it's tons, not tonnes, you fucking immigrant! Go back to your country where they don't get these subtle distinctions!
posted by cjorgensen at 6:09 PM on July 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


I think it's less common than it used to be, but lots of people used to be careful to avoid using the word "Jew" even in a non-derogatory context. They'd say things like "Hebrew" or "of the Mosaic faith" instead. The problem was the prejudicial environment infecting the terms, not the terms themselves. You can see similar patterns in the way people adopted and discarded terms for other ethnic groups, terms which became crystallised in the names of institutions. Those names seem hopelessly antiquated today, which is why we tend to refer to HUC and NAACP rather than giving their names in full.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:13 PM on July 22, 2012


No one is denying the guy was anti-semitic.

Nonsense. He was absolutely not anti-semitic.
posted by RogerB at 6:18 PM on July 22, 2012 [5 favorites]


And yeah, an obituary thread is not really the right place to have a back-and-forth about the pro-Israel right's amazing willingness to bruit substanceless, scurrilous charges of anti-Semitism as a means of silencing disagreement, a subject about which Cockburn edited a quite decent book, and about which we could talk in some other place. But nonetheless it's been amusing to see these slanders rear their heads in the thread one last time — evidence that, as Cockburn would doubtless have wished, he'd angered the right people.
posted by RogerB at 6:27 PM on July 22, 2012


"I'm an immigrant. Tonnes of people are immigrants. What's bad about that?"`

Because it's tons, not tonnes, you fucking immigrant! Go back to your country where they don't get these subtle distinctions!


I figure my status gives me carte blanche with creative spellings!
posted by bquarters at 6:27 PM on July 22, 2012


ITYM "card blanche with creative spellings", for raisins that are pretty obvious.
posted by boo_radley at 6:41 PM on July 22, 2012 [1 favorite]



And yeah, an obituary thread is not really the right place to have a back-and-forth about the pro-Israel right's amazing willingness to bruit substanceless, scurrilous charges of anti-Semitism as a means of silencing disagreement, a subject about which Cockburn edited a quite decent book, and about which we could talk in some other place.

Why not? He certainly wasn't afraid of discussing it? Why should we be?
posted by zarq at 6:52 PM on July 22, 2012


Nonsense. He was absolutely not anti-semitic.

Sorry sorry, has been accused of anti-semitism. Misspoke.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:59 PM on July 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't know what Alexander Cockburn had in his heart, but he published, befriended, and defended a lot of Jew-haters. I don't think anyone reading this review, published last year, can doubt that both the reviewer and the original author were nasty, conspiracy-seeking antisemites. The fact that they each found a home in Counterpunch says a lot about that website.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:03 PM on July 22, 2012


Why not? He certainly wasn't afraid of discussing it? Why should we be?

It drives all the other stuff out before it can happen, is why not. An obit thread that's full of the same two or three people axe-grinding over the deceased's imagined anti-Semitism is not a place that other people are going to want to post memories and stories about him, look back over his career and work, etc. — it's just a place people will either stick around to have the same old argument once more, or else shudder and rapidly back out of the thread.
posted by RogerB at 7:08 PM on July 22, 2012


An obit thread that's full of the same two or three people axe-grinding over the deceased's imagined anti-Semitism

That's not what you said, and is not what I responded to.

Here's what you said: "And yeah, an obituary thread is not really the right place to have a back-and-forth about the pro-Israel right's amazing willingness to bruit substanceless, scurrilous charges of anti-Semitism as a means of silencing disagreement, a subject about which Cockburn edited a quite decent book, and about which we could talk in some other place."

I repeat the question: why should we not be able to discuss something he actually did, and a stand he publicly took on a controversial issue. You are concerned that people are not going to be eager to "look back over his career and work etc" and I am asking you why we should be expected to censor ourselves regarding aspects of his work that were controversial.
posted by zarq at 7:32 PM on July 22, 2012


etafilter-may: on't-day e-bay hat-tay uy-gay.

-osher-kay anguage-lay
posted by vozworth at 7:51 PM on July 22, 2012


I repeat the question: why should we not be able to discuss something he actually did, and a stand he publicly took on a controversial issue.

What "issue" and "stand" are you even talking about? Was someone actually trying to start a reasonable discussion here? What I saw of what was deleted from the obit thread was pure thoughtless axe-grinding, and bore no resemblance to an actual discussion of Cockburn's work, writing, politics, or ideas, with which the poster(s) seemed to have little to no acquaintance beyond the mischaracterizations in the lunatic wingnut blog posts they linked. I think it's pretty reasonable to discourage taking an incendiary drive-by dump in an obit thread, where it has a strong tendency to kill any other conversation before it starts, and indeed I hope and believe such comments are discouraged/deleted in non-obit threads as well.
posted by RogerB at 7:56 PM on July 22, 2012


RogerB: I don't think Hurry Up Harry can be reasonably characterised as a wingnut blog. I'd call it a soft left blog: pro-union, anti-torture, multi-culti &c. It tends to present the views of a number of other English left-liberal bloggers so it's a handy touchstone for that section of English opinion. Anyway, that was a single link so it can't be the entirety of the "lunatic wingnut blog posts" you object to.

Apart from Hurry Up Harry I linked to things either (a) written by Cockburn, or (b) edited by him. Perhaps those are the "lunatic wingnut blog posts" you're talking about? In any event, they're probably the sort of thing that ought to appear in any appraisal of his work.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:39 PM on July 22, 2012


There was some over-the-line stuff deleted in the Breitbart thread too.

Sure, but on a cursory scan of that thread, here are some things that remained that I would describe as vitriolic or uncivil: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. There are more.

I am not suggesting that those posts should have been deleted, at all. I just think that the existence of such comments make the deletion of Joe in Australia's comment seem ridiculous.

As zarq says, "why should we not be able to discuss something he actually did, and a stand he publicly took on a controversial issue"? Cockburn, of all people, really would not have minded.
posted by lalex at 8:39 PM on July 22, 2012


I totally thought we weren't supposed to start metatalk threads just to use them as proxy discussions of stuff we didn't get to hash out in the original thread, but I guess it hasn't been really clear until now that that's what Joe was doing.

Anyway, I wanted to say that, if we're talking about words, I'd never heard the word "bruit" before this thread, and it's now one of my favorites.
posted by koeselitz at 9:45 PM on July 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


vozworth: "etafilter-may:"

Alomshay.
posted by boo_radley at 10:02 PM on July 22, 2012


The Breitbart thread is definitely among the worst of Metafilter. It should not be an example of how a thread should go.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:18 PM on July 22, 2012


"None. That's the definition of a common noun. If it's capitalized, it's a proper noun."

Wow, there sure were more proper nouns back in the 1700s/1800s, then, huh?
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 10:31 PM on July 22, 2012


Everything was more Proper then.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:33 PM on July 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Very Proper and Upright. This also explains the Germans, who have no common nouns at all.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 10:47 PM on July 22, 2012


I don't know what Alexander Cockburn had in his heart, but he published, befriended, and defended a lot of Jew-haters.

For what it is worth, what you linked to does not present the story you are trying to tell about Cockburn, for the benefit of those who don't read links. People pull this same FOX News-tactic bullshit with Assange and it makes me laugh, every time. Are journalists only supposed to report on subjects in a way that already agrees with reader's innate prejudices, or can they report facts as they are and ask if that presents a different narrative than what is commonly broadcast?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:56 PM on July 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Gotta agree with koeselitz. This is an attempt to inflect an FPP with pure axe-grindery masquerading as a "serious" Meta thread.
posted by bardic at 1:38 AM on July 23, 2012


The original thread is pretty much dead and I suppose this one may as well do the same. If anyone actually feels that I have been less than frank, or sincere, they had probably better raise it in the original thread.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:32 AM on July 23, 2012


Try as I might, I can't tell if that's a joke alluding to the fact that you don't have any comments standing in the original thread. People here are bringing up the idea that this MeTa seems to be you wanting to have the argument you can't have over there, here.
posted by gman at 4:47 AM on July 23, 2012


Gman, at this point I have no idea what people actually want or how it can be accommodated. I wanted to complain about the censorship of my original comment; anything after that was either a sidetrack about proper nouns or a (probably misguided) attempt to clarify my motives.

I think the original deletion was wrong; perhaps Jessamyn didn't realise that the pull-quote was actually the lede and not just some arbitrary quotation from within a more generalised obituary. But once it was done it was done and there doesn't seem to be much point revisiting it within the FPP itself. Or here, for that matter.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:30 AM on July 23, 2012


I also do not see the point of obituary posts.
posted by LarryC at 6:03 AM on July 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


hear, hear, LarryC
posted by Joseph Gurl at 6:14 AM on July 23, 2012


They're a rare opportunity for the period key to have the spotlight it deserves. Yeah, they always seem odd to me - it's a post to the blue that's pretty much moderated as heavily as one on the green.
posted by gman at 6:36 AM on July 23, 2012


I wanted to complain about the censorship of my original comment

You lost the game right there.
posted by Egg Shen at 6:43 AM on July 23, 2012 [4 favorites]


RogerB: " What "issue" and "stand" are you even talking about? Was someone actually trying to start a reasonable discussion here? What I saw of what was deleted from the obit thread was pure thoughtless axe-grinding, and bore no resemblance to an actual discussion of Cockburn's work, writing, politics, or ideas, with which the poster(s) seemed to have little to no acquaintance beyond the mischaracterizations in the lunatic wingnut blog posts they linked.

How many times do I have to quote your original comment before you address what you originally said and stop changing the goalposts in an effort to say something else?

You said:
"And yeah, an obituary thread is not really the right place to have a back-and-forth about the pro-Israel right's amazing willingness to bruit substanceless, scurrilous charges of anti-Semitism as a means of silencing disagreement, a subject about which Cockburn edited a quite decent book, and about which we could talk in some other place."
That's what I was referring to.

You didn't characterize a "back and forth" as "an incendiary drive-by dump in an obit thread" originally. You basically said it shouldn't be discussed there, and only should be talked about "in some other place."

If you would like to make a different point than your original comment, that's fine. But not acknowledging that I am addressing what you originally said when I'm quoting it back at you is ridiculous.

I am not trying to defend the original comment. I am addressing what you said: that we should not discuss the topic in the obit thread.
posted by zarq at 8:32 AM on July 23, 2012


By "I am not trying to defend the original comment." I mean, I'm not trying to defend Joe in Australia's original, deleted comment.
posted by zarq at 8:33 AM on July 23, 2012


Can I get my Gordon Hinckley obit thread re-instated?
posted by Brocktoon at 9:17 AM on July 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


From January 2008? No.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:26 AM on July 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


and here I thought this was going to be about the denialism.
posted by lodurr at 9:29 AM on July 23, 2012


Perhaps someone should write a script or make a bot or train a chimpanzee so that when a prominent individual shuffles off this mortal coil, a FPP is automatically posted with a single link to Wiki or CNN or whatever, and when people click through to comment, they'd find a Dot For The Dead button at the bottom, but no box in which to write a comment. Clicking the Dot For The Dead button would result in just that, a tasteful '.' to memorialize the deceased.

I personally perfer the Death Chimp idea.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:44 AM on July 23, 2012


Death Chimp

"Someone messed with the wrong primate..."
posted by Egg Shen at 12:48 PM on July 23, 2012


From January 2008? No.

Just you wait until David Bawden dies! *shakes fist*
posted by Brocktoon at 1:00 PM on July 23, 2012


Fred Phelps is 82.

Imagine what his obit post is gonna look like.
posted by zarq at 1:10 PM on July 23, 2012


The inconsistency of what is permitted and appropriate in obit threads is astounding and inexplicable, not just at the moderator level but moreso at the echo chamber level depending on whether the decedent is revered or persona non grata--which every decedent appears to one or the other. That's why I started to avoid reading any comments of an obit thread. Really only 1 of 3 things will happen:
1. I like the decedent and will get annoyed when others speak ill of the dead.
2. I dislike the decedent and will get annoyed when others try to defend the dead.
3. I don't know the decedent and will be perplexed why so many people are opinionated about this person.
Beyond that, I've never had any other reaction to an obit thread, and I can know which one of the three options it will be within a second of reading the post. At that point, there is no value in going through to the comments unless you want to witness the trainwreck. But you can do that by just looking at Metatalk.
posted by dios at 2:21 PM on July 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm with those who mostly avoid the obit threads. Either we're all jumping into the grave Laertes style to demonstrate how grief stricken we are or we're engaging in yet another round of this argument about whether or not it's appropriate to have a robust discussion of someone's overall career in an obit thread (answer: yes if Mefites in general don't like the person, no if they do).

I wonder if obit threads shouldn't be doubled? One thread for the dotters--in which any adverse commentary is strictly verboten--and another thread for the discussers, in which moderation basically follows Metafilter norms? I would liked to have engaged in a discussion of Cockburn's career--but given that I basically gave up on him when he became a serial apologist for genocide in the former Yugoslavia I knew that there was no point my joining in any discussion in the obit thread. That way those who will be genuinely hurt by seeing a beloved icon who has just died treated a little roughly can have a safe haven and those who would enjoy dishing the dirt can do so without upsetting anyone's sensibilities.
posted by yoink at 5:57 PM on July 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


dios back in time for the US election 2012?

Have fun mods!
posted by bardic at 8:06 PM on July 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Really only 1 of 3 things will happen:
1. I like the decedent and will get annoyed when others speak ill of the dead.
2. I dislike the decedent and will get annoyed when others try to defend the dead.
3. I don't know the decedent and will be perplexed why so many people are opinionated about this person.


If #1, post "."
If #2, post "*" (asshole)
If #3, post "?"
posted by a humble nudibranch at 11:22 PM on July 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


"dios back in time for the US election 2012?

Have fun mods!"


I don't really think that's fair or accurate. It was at one point in the distant past. Not so much now.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 1:30 AM on July 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ivan Fyodorovich: I don't really think that's fair or accurate. It was at one point in the distant past. Not so much now.

Yes, one hopes that people change, but much of the time they simply can't. Like when a dude is, say, creepy, etc. He's probably always going to be that way.
posted by gman at 3:52 AM on July 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


yeah, not that fair. there have been times I've missed having dios's perspective on some things.
posted by lodurr at 10:51 AM on July 24, 2012


Yeah, it was really insightful when he called for "Fuck AIDS Day."
posted by bardic at 5:39 PM on July 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


If he's not starting shit, why not just leave well enough alone?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:19 PM on July 24, 2012


Yeah, it was really insightful when he called for "Fuck AIDS Day."

It has been seven years. A long time. Perhaps he's changed. Why don't we wait and find out?
posted by zarq at 8:28 PM on July 24, 2012


This thread is about my right to be mean to dead people. If you want to be mean to living people you need to start another thread.
posted by Joe in Australia at 12:00 PM on July 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


« Older Metafilter: Making Thing Better For A While Now™   |   Malformed URLs get "fixed" in a weird way. Newer »

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