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Overzealous comment deletion
September 26, 2012 6:16 PM   Subscribe

Just had the comment below deleted from this thread. I don't feel that the deletion was merited.

I know it's hard being a woman in a patriarchal world, but it was pretty damn hard being a man in a patriarchal world, too. There's not a lot of male solidarity, and where it does exist it is very often quite dark and misogynistic. I'm pretty happy to work with mostly women, to be married to a woman, and to teach mostly women.

When I think about having a son, it freaks me out to try to consider the ways in which a son will have to navigate confidence, friendships, sex and romance. How do you explain the difference between chauvinism and gentle-manliness to a teenager? How do you hope for your career son's success while also wishing for more women in his field? How do you discourage his tendency to mansplain while encouraging his confidence?

What if he's not nice to his girlfriend? What if he's a jock? In other words, what if he's an asshole? A lot of men are assholes, after all. Especially white men like me and my hypothetical son.

In contrast, with a daughter I can navigate all those issues without anxiety: I can hate her asshole boyfriend. I can support her confidence. I can hope for her to be president. It just seems simpler. But of course, simple is usually bad and unreflective, so I guess I've got some more work to do.
posted by anotherpanacea at 6:00 AM on September 26


It must be really hard to be a man if your father is a living, breathing apology for it who thinks that, because you happen to be male, your personality will inevitably threaten his egalitarian vision, which he values more highly than your success as an individual, and who thinks that your confidence would be something to feel guilty about and who wouldn't hope for you to be president. Maybe people who load that much baggage and negativity onto the sex of an innocent child shouldn't have a son, or a daughter either.
posted by knoyers to Etiquette/Policy at 6:16 PM (96 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

It must be hard to be so passive aggressive.
posted by desjardins at 6:21 PM on September 26, 2012 [29 favorites]


I explained to you over MeMail why I felt the deletion was merited and I explained how you could make a comment with similar content and impact but that would not seem quite so much like it was going after another commenter. You did not decide to take that advice so here we are. I think your comment was inappropriately aggressive towards anotherpanacea and I'm a little dismayed that you chose to copy the entire comment over here.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:25 PM on September 26, 2012 [51 favorites]


I wonder if it was the " A lot of men are assholes, after all. Especially white men...." comment?

If you were to substitute "women" for "men" or "black" for "white", it probably wouldn't fly either.

And, you could have contacted a mod via the contact form to find out why it was deleted, they are typically very willing to help folks understand these things.
posted by HuronBob at 6:26 PM on September 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's a messy thread and I'm sure the mods have been busy. I'm fairly sure they deleted my comment, too. But you know what? Them's the breaks.

I'm not going to say they shouldn't have deleted my comment on the one hand and still say they generally do a good job of moderating on the other. I'm not a special snowflake and I guess my comment was a bit more of a stinker than the thread needs.

Take it on the chin, dude. They have a tough job.
posted by chimaera at 6:26 PM on September 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I suggested that after school specials were good examples of right-wing television, and that got deleted. A lot of this
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:28 PM on September 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


is simply down to whim, or at least it feels that way, sometimes. After a while you get numbed to it.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:29 PM on September 26, 2012 [7 favorites]


I think that small paragraph at the bottom, starting "it must be really hard to be a man if your father is a living, breathing...." is the one posted by this person, not the one in italics.

And I am fully in agreement with the deletion. "Maybe a person like you shouldn't have children" is a pretty low blow in any argument, and making a personal attack against another commenter in a thread breaks a typical AskMeFi rule.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 6:34 PM on September 26, 2012 [20 favorites]


I explained to you over MeMail why I felt the deletion was merited and I explained how you could make a comment with similar content and impact but that would not seem quite so much like it was going after another commenter. You did not decide to take that advice so here we are. I think your comment was inappropriately aggressive towards anotherpanacea and I'm a little dismayed that you chose to copy the entire comment over here.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:25 PM on September 26


You said that if I still felt the deletion was unfair, I should post it here, and so I did.

I am not sure how or why I would do so without posting the actual comment, so that others can judge it in context.

I wished to respond to the other commenter. His comment deserved a direct response. I thought we could respond to each other here, rather than speaking to the walls or in allusions. I don't think this comment crosses a line. Maybe someone can explain how it does. I think my point was well taken.
posted by knoyers at 6:35 PM on September 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I wished to respond to the other commenter. His comment deserved a direct response. I thought we could respond to each other here, rather than speaking to the walls or in allusions.

Why don't you use MeMail for that?
posted by Snarl Furillo at 6:38 PM on September 26, 2012 [8 favorites]


What is it about your comment that you'd like to live on? Can you rephrase it so it's less of an attack on anotherpanacea and perhaps more of a response to what they said?
posted by carsonb at 6:38 PM on September 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't think this comment crosses a line. Maybe someone can explain how it does. I think my point was well taken.

Simply put, one can presume a lot about anotherpanacea from his comment. A better idea, more helpful action would be to respond to the points mentioned, instead of the individual making him.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:39 PM on September 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


Maybe people who load that much baggage and negativity onto the sex of an innocent child shouldn't have a son, or a daughter either.

Because, maybe yeah, but also maybe not. Vacillating on such a pointed argument is kind of (heh) shitty.
posted by carsonb at 6:39 PM on September 26, 2012


Why did the rest of us need to get involved?
posted by batmonkey at 6:44 PM on September 26, 2012 [8 favorites]


Why don't you use MeMail for that?

No kidding. Is there any way you can argue that this is making your day better, the mods' day better, or anyone else's day better?
posted by Forktine at 6:45 PM on September 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Your opinions are bad and your kids should feel bad.
posted by gerryblog at 6:56 PM on September 26, 2012 [7 favorites]


Yes, the patriarchy hurts men. But when the thread isn't about that, it's sort of... derailing.
posted by subbes at 7:02 PM on September 26, 2012


I wished to respond to the other commenter. His comment deserved a direct response. I thought we could respond to each other here, rather than speaking to the walls or in allusions.

You can do this but doing it in an incredibly sarcastic and patronizing way doesn't really count as a 'direct response' the way I normally think of it.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:02 PM on September 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


Just so I'm clear: the italicized comment wasn't yours, knoyers, right? The text below the italicized comment was your comment that was deleted?

I'm armchairing here, but your comment just feels so very loaded with personal hurt. There are definitely ways you could have made your point without using such vitriol.
posted by cooker girl at 7:04 PM on September 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


"If you were to substitute "women" for "men" or "black" for "white", it probably wouldn't fly either."

Meh. If a woman said that a lot of women are assholes, or a black guy said that a lot of black guys are assholes, I don't think very many people would have a problem with it.

In fact, a lot of women and blacks and Latinos and Asians are assholes — one of the best lessons I've learned is that it can be really helpful to just realize that instead of trying to say that someone is being an asshole because they're a woman, or black, or Latino, etc.
posted by klangklangston at 7:06 PM on September 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Looking at the original comment that sparked your response knoyers, it's best just to think of it as a potential parent freaking out. People do that all them and say things that sound outlandish or even crazy. So if you want to respond, perhaps something like the following would be better:

"Hey, not all men are bad. You know that, I know, everyone knows that. Sure there's are some bad men in the world, but there's nothing inherent in being a male that makes them bad. So your worries aren't that big. You know what you don't want your son to be. That leaves plenty of room to help shape him into a good man, to be more what you hope or envision men should be. That's start with you believing that things can be good, that a child, any child can be good, no matter the bad influences that society exerts. It happens all every day, it's completely natural and there's no reason that you or anyone else can't raise a good and decent male child."
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:06 PM on September 26, 2012 [13 favorites]


Also, while Anotherpanacea's comment was kinda based on bad stereotypes, your snippy response that he shouldn't breed was at least, if not more, shitty. Sometimes shitty comments get through, but that's not a justification for your shitty comment to not be deleted.

I know from whence I speak on this one.
posted by klangklangston at 7:08 PM on September 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Brandon only says that because he has daughters.
posted by klangklangston at 7:08 PM on September 26, 2012


I often think Jessamyn dials things back further than I would. I'd leave comments with more of an edge that she deletes sometimes. But I would have deleted this as well. A living, breathing apology? Someone who shouldn't have children? I think that's over the line.
posted by tyllwin at 7:09 PM on September 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


hmmm.. I evidently misunderstood the source of quote posted by the OP, in which case my comment above isn't relevant....
posted by HuronBob at 7:12 PM on September 26, 2012


It seems to me (as a nonparent) that parents and parents-to-be take an incredible amount of shit for daring to express their anxieties out loud. We ought in fact to recognize that dealing with those anxieties directly is much liklier to make them good parents, instead of attacking them for admitting the problems that they're trying to work through.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 7:13 PM on September 26, 2012 [58 favorites]


Klangklangston... yep, there's no monopoly on assholeishness, by any gender or race... for me it sort of steps over the line with the "Especially white men..." part...

I demand equal assholes.
posted by HuronBob at 7:15 PM on September 26, 2012


Nope, bought the expansion kit, made a few tweaks and now it's just ferrets. Less trouble that way. Saved a ton on college bills too!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:16 PM on September 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Please don't get your knoyers twisted over comment deletions!
posted by vidur at 7:17 PM on September 26, 2012


Good deletion. Personal attacks are out of bounds.
posted by arcticseal at 7:18 PM on September 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


I wished to respond to the other commenter.

Writing them a polite email is an okay way to go there, then. If you didn't concurrently let them know you were going to Metatalk with this, this isn't really accomplishing that in any case.

And basically what Jess said and what folks in here have said; I think finding a way to express the substance of your thoughts without the pretty crappy personal dig would be fine and a productive way to respond to the deletion, more so for sure than trying to recreate the exchange in here for public vetting.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:21 PM on September 26, 2012


Fight The Power!
posted by Egg Shen at 7:21 PM on September 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


knoyers: “I wished to respond to the other commenter. His comment deserved a direct response. I thought we could respond to each other here, rather than speaking to the walls or in allusions. I don't think this comment crosses a line. Maybe someone can explain how it does. I think my point was well taken.”

Look, I disagree with anotherpanacea too, and I guess I might have some things to say about it. So I want to be sympathetic here. But, friend – you just told a person that he's unfit to be a father. And not in some round-about way, you actually came out and said "maybe [people like you] shouldn't have a son, or a daughter either." That counts as a personal insult, and good god it's a biting one.

I know this can be a personal issue; it is for me, and I get the feeling it is for you too. So it can be tough not to take disagreement personally. But even when someone is wrong about something really important, being insulting about it doesn't really help anything, and in fact it makes it worse. Trust me on this. I've got a lot of practice at making futile insults and personal attacks. It doesn't help anything.
posted by koeselitz at 7:36 PM on September 26, 2012 [19 favorites]


Here are two ways to make a similar point that aren't so personally-attacking and fight-starty:

-I think that view of what it's like to raise a son is unnecessarily focused on the bad parts. There are plenty of traps and difficulties in raising both sons and daughters.

-It worries me if any parent would think it's more "egalitarian" to raise a son to be less-confident than a daughter.
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:45 PM on September 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


However, even if your point is the second of the two I mentioned, I don't think anotherpanacea was saying he would deliberately raise a son with less confidence than a daughter.

He was saying it's tough for boys (having not as strong a culture of solidarity as among girls).

And further, it's tough as a parent if your kid's individual bad behavior - eg being a bad boyfriend during a particular phase of life - reflects what you see as a larger social problem. I think by the same token it's tough raising girls if they go through a phase of being interpersonally manipulative or teasing their girl friends about their weight/looks, for example - both of which a parent might see as larger social problems for girls.
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:53 PM on September 26, 2012 [2 favorites]



I'm a bit frustrated trying to find a decent and inexpensive antenna for working 20/40m bands at somewhat low power and still fit somehow on my property. The search isn't going well and I think I'm going to have to make some uncomfortable compromises. This annoys me.

I don't think this comment crosses a line. Maybe someone can explain how it does.

Your comment does not inform or enlighten. It insults and offends. That's not great for Metafilter.

There are a thousand ways you could have approached your response - including walking away - and you chose Churlish Asshat. Your response was uncharitable and unnecessarily mean.

Be the change, man.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:15 PM on September 26, 2012 [6 favorites]


To me anotherpanacea's comment itself is borderline deleteable. The misandry is really rather offensive, but it is an honest reflection of personal feelings expressed in a reasoned and balanced way. In the end it is valuable contribution. Almost the exact opposite of the situation with your response knovers. Your response contained reasonable ideas couched in inflammatory language and personal attack. That isn't how you do MetaFilter well.
posted by Chuckles at 8:23 PM on September 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


maybe if you could read, you would have realised that it directly crosses this line:
Note: Help maintain a healthy, respectful discussion by focusing comments on the
issues, topics, and facts at hand—not at other members of the site.


oh, you don't like nasty personal attacks? Well maybe people like you shouldn't make comments here then.
posted by jacalata at 8:28 PM on September 26, 2012


Nasty attacks as an object lesson aren't helpful.

It's a lesson the ferrets never learned.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:35 PM on September 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


It must be hard to be so passive aggressive.
posted by desjardins at 6:21 PM on September 26


Passive?

I wonder if it was the " A lot of men are assholes, after all. Especially white men...." comment?

If you were to substitute "women" for "men" or "black" for "white", it probably wouldn't fly either.

And, you could have contacted a mod via the contact form to find out why it was deleted, they are typically very willing to help folks understand these things.
posted by HuronBob at 6:26 PM on September 26


THE ITALICIZED TEXT is the comment that I was responding to in the original thread.
I did voice my issue to a mod before posting this here.

And I am fully in agreement with the deletion. "Maybe a person like you shouldn't have children" is a pretty low blow in any argument, and making a personal attack against another commenter in a thread breaks a typical AskMeFi rule.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 6:34 PM on September 26


I don't think the implication was excessive in this case. The original poster indicated that he would feel ambivalence towards achievements by his hypothetical male offspring. Such negative prejudice against a child from its own parent would be deeply discouraging, harmful and unfair to that child and an enormous psychic burden to overcome.

Arbitrary elevation of either sex is as distorting and as sexist as the denigration of the other. Someone with such a bias is not seeing the child (whether male or female) as an individual person, but as a symbol of what is wrong. Children in particular should not be thought of that way, especially in their own homes. I stand by my conclusion. I think I was right to say it.

Why don't you use MeMail for that?
posted by Snarl Furillo at 6:38 PM on September 26


It would not occur to me to respond to a comment in a public discussion, from someone I don't know at all, by private email. There is no secret here.

Simply put, one can presume a lot about anotherpanacea from his comment. A better idea, more helpful action would be to respond to the points mentioned, instead of the individual making him.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:39 PM on September 26


I responded to his points by summarizing what he was saying in a contrasting point of view.

Vacillating on such a pointed argument is kind of (heh) shitty.
posted by carsonb at 6:39 PM on September 26


OK I could have left out "maybe"

Yes, the patriarchy hurts men. But when the thread isn't about that, it's sort of... derailing.
posted by subbes at 7:02 PM on September 26


Wasn't the thread about (purported) social bias against male children?

A living, breathing apology? Someone who shouldn't have children? I think that's over the line.
posted by tyllwin at 7:09 PM on September 26


I think "living breathing apology" is a fair summary of the original poster's attitude towards being male based on his post. He says that many white males such as himself are frequently assholes, that there is little male solidarity, that male solidarity tends to be "dark and misogynistic", that males have a tendency to "mansplain" (i.e., are untrustworthy?), that he prefers to work with and teach women. He implies that he would not hope for his son to become president (or in other words, he is not happy about a male being a leader). He obviously has a very strong bias against his own sex.

Whether someone who harbors these feelings can raise a son, or children in general, in a reasonably positive atmosphere is a matter of opinion I guess.
posted by knoyers at 8:41 PM on September 26, 2012


Whether someone who harbors these feelings can raise a son, or children in general, in a reasonably positive atmosphere is a matter of opinion I guess none of our business.
posted by Miko at 8:45 PM on September 26, 2012 [24 favorites]


It is fundamentally presumptuous to think you can read a short internet comment and make a judgment about whether or not its author is fit to have children (unless it is some sort of danger will robinson sign like "Yum yum I love to eat children for breakfast"). And it is fundamentally rude to say what you did.

Metafilter is best when it is a thoughtful, diplomatic place, which is why both presumptuousness and rude behavior are discouraged.
posted by sallybrown at 8:46 PM on September 26, 2012 [10 favorites]


Whether someone who harbors these feelings can raise a son, or children in general, in a reasonably positive atmosphere is a matter of opinion I guess.

1. "That's a terrible attitude to take, and here's why."
2. "You are a real asshole."

See the difference?
posted by facetious at 8:47 PM on September 26, 2012 [15 favorites]


Seems to me, knoyers, that your comment shows you falling straight into the patriarchy's "keep the feminists at each other's throats" trap.

When anotherpanacea says

I know it's hard being a woman in a patriarchal world, but it was pretty damn hard being a man in a patriarchal world, too.

he's putting an absolutely solid point. The problem is the patriarchy, not the men. Any system that assigns rigid gender-based roles and expectations is bound to cause misery for everybody who is uncomfortable with their assigned roles.

Personally, I wish that discussions about the patriarchy would focus more on the archy than the patri. Who actually is in charge? It's not "the men". It's a small minority of selected men, who remain able to hold the positions they do because of a well-established system of oppositional power relationships that most of us seem to buy into without too much reflection.

So when anotherpanacea says

There's not a lot of male solidarity, and where it does exist it is very often quite dark and misogynistic.

I say "tell it, brother". And when he says

I'm pretty happy to work with mostly women, to be married to a woman, and to teach mostly women.

I say "Good for you".

I have nothing but sympathy for his concerns about how the hell he's going to manage to raise a happy feminist son inside the patriarchal culture we all occupy. And when he finishes with

In contrast, with a daughter I can navigate all those issues without anxiety: I can hate her asshole boyfriend. I can support her confidence. I can hope for her to be president. It just seems simpler. But of course, simple is usually bad and unreflective, so I guess I've got some more work to do.

I can only agree with him: simple is usually bad and unreflective, and he does indeed have some more work to do. Because raising a happy feminist daughter inside this patriarchy is a job that comes with at least as many traps and pitfalls as raising a son - more so for a father, if anything, because of the lack of shared gender-assigned experience.

I don't see any of what he wrote as any kind of justification for unleashing a personal attack, and I'm glad that your comment that did so was deleted.
posted by flabdablet at 8:59 PM on September 26, 2012 [53 favorites]


Such negative prejudice against a child from its own parent would be deeply discouraging, harmful and unfair to that child and an enormous psychic burden to overcome.

Thank you Dr. Spock.

Anyway, you're barking up the wrong metatalk here. At this point, the truly manly thing to do is to challenge your interlocutor to a duel or an Axe deodorant spray-off or something. Settle it like men, then go get hammered and swear to love each other like brothers.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:03 PM on September 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


There's not a lot of male solidarity, and where it does exist it is very often quite dark and misogynistic.

Is homosexuality dark and misogynistic?

I'm pretty happy to work with mostly women, to be married to a woman, and to teach mostly women.

Is it bad for a man to marry a man?

I know he is not making accusations, but stating the downsides of "the company of men". I think it might be hurtful for men who choose to spend their lives with other men instead of women though.

I'm curious what people think.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:11 PM on September 26, 2012


That thread is such an utter mess that perfect mods would have deleted the thing from the get-go. The subject is interesting but it is booby trapped with primal taboo miasma.

One of the fundamental mythical problems of humanity is hacking fate. Oedipus came to the most horrible end of any human ever because he tried to outwit the script the gods had written for him. This is like the fundamental attribution error. Do not tempt fate. Amor fati. It is coded in our beings in a manner which we do not understand although we all understand it can drive us to madness.

That is what you are dealing with when you do offspring sex selection. Do not ever do it unless you feel you have to. And if you do it do not ever talk about it.

The people talking about their experience doing this in the original post are fucking idiots and there probably isn't any benefit for us in talking about them.
posted by bukvich at 9:13 PM on September 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm curious what people think.

I think that's a question for anotherpanacea. Generally speaking if people are talking about what they think and feel in a hot-button thread and they are not attacking other commenters or actively derailing stuff, that's fine. At the point at which stuff starts getting really aggressive, trollish or attacking other commenters we'll step in. To me, finding a reason to find offense with anotherpanacea's comment is something that could be taken up either with him directly or in the thread where his comment occurred.

I think talking about how his personal opinions "might be hurtful" to other people is so far afield from the topic of this thread that it comes across as concern trolling, even though I don't think that is your intent.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:20 PM on September 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ok I'll drop it.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:21 PM on September 26, 2012


Ad hominem, one of anotherpanacea's points was that "it was pretty damn hard being a man in a patriarchal world" and I'm quite sure that includes the difficulty of being a homosexual man.

The point that many forms of male solidarity are misgynistic doesn't at all imply that male homosexuality is one of those forms. I imagine he had in mind "bro"/fratty culture, which is often as homophobic as it is misogynistic.

And he says he is happy to spend his time around women, be married to one etc. I take this to be just a positive assessment of women, not a negative assessment of what it would be like to be married to a man.

I think the sentiments you're suggesting are not there at all, on any reasonably charitable reading.
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:22 PM on September 26, 2012 [11 favorites]


Oops, preview fail. Sorry.
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:23 PM on September 26, 2012


Yum yum I love to eat children for breakfast
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 9:25 PM on September 26, 2012 [16 favorites]


Ok I agree we should be charitable. I think you are most likely right and he is talking about men's rights types, not papi chulo, or snugglethug night at the local gay bar.

Officially dropped.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:26 PM on September 26, 2012


I flagged this MeTa, hoping it'd get deleted before any comments were made. But, since the mods went with it, and the poster is asking for community input, I'm going to give some.

I think anotherpanacea's comment was valid and within guidelines. I think knoyers comment broke the guidelines and that it was a valid deletion. I think the explanation given was legitimate, and the offered alternative [your opinion is fine, reword it to fit guidelines/so it's not an attack] is fair.

More specifically: I think, knoyer, that you're completely missing the point anotherpanacea's comment was trying to make. I did not get, at all, that he was trying to say that he'd root more for a daughter than a son, or he'd favor her successes over his. What I got was that we live in a patriarchy, and so it's hard to try and balance raising a son to "be all he can be", while at the same time try to actively fight the overbearing male dominance that the patriarchy provides. Which is so, so true. I see my sister struggle with it with her two children, and I am faced with the same issues when I deal with my niece and nephew. And it's not just checking how you raise a boy, though I feel like raising a feminist boy is harder than raising a feminist girl.
posted by FirstMateKate at 9:31 PM on September 26, 2012 [12 favorites]


I flagged this MeTa, hoping it'd get deleted before any comments were made

I'm pretty sure that's not how MeTa works.
posted by pompomtom at 9:52 PM on September 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yum yum I love to eat children for breakfast
Well, they do say that children are the most important meal of the day.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:52 PM on September 26, 2012


they're usually kind of fatty so you really shouldn't have more than one per day.
posted by elizardbits at 9:54 PM on September 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


In all fairness, most comments should be deleted from AskMe.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:57 PM on September 26, 2012


they're usually kind of fatty so you really shouldn't have more than one per day.

only the American kids, right?
posted by jacalata at 10:05 PM on September 26, 2012


FirstMateKate: "I flagged this MeTa, hoping it'd get deleted before any comments were made."

I get what you're saying, but they're moderators on a web site and not... I dunno... the NTSB. MeTa posts rarely rarely get deleted for a bunch of reasons, even if they're gauche and petty.

Honestly, look at this:
knoyers: "It must be really hard to be a man if your father is a living, breathing apology for it who thinks that, because you happen to be male, your personality will inevitably threaten his egalitarian vision, which he values more highly than your success as an individual, and who thinks that your confidence would be something to feel guilty about and who wouldn't hope for you to be president. Maybe people who load that much baggage and negativity onto the sex of an innocent child shouldn't have a son, or a daughter either."

If you are super-polite -- like state department diplomat training levels of dispassionate -- maybe you'll muster a response similar to "I would tend to disagree with you".

As it is, we have this this mealy-mouthed turd of a declaration; this back-handed, feckless, wormtongued feigned sympathy of a petulant and insecure simp. To suggest in any way that what you read was an affront to the hypothetical boy-child should instead confirm your gross illiteracy. Illiteracy in the service of stunted, insecure machismo, white-knighting for a hypothetical son that exists in the mind of one man confronting his existential filial worries. Anotherpanacea is pouring out his insecurities about his skills as a potential father; his disappointment clearly would lie in his own self and not his son.

Look again: "How do you explain the difference between chauvinism and gentle-manliness to a teenager?" The burden is not on the boy, but the father. And it's certainly not "because you happen to be male". Instead, because the father could and should have done better by his son. Not a living, breathing apology. A living, breathing person who would be owed an apology. Then he tacitly admits he's totally in the dark about what to be worried about when raising a daughter and you find a way to be pissy about that.

You creep. You insouciant carpet-shitter. You cart out your little precious from the deleted comment cesspool to rail against it and expect what? Praise? Commiseration? Reinstatement? No. You get nothing. What you said is idiotic and you have no excuse for hauling anotherpanacea's comment back out of the void for private review, let alone bringing it up for public comment.

You don't feel like the deletion was merited? I feel like you owe the mods twice over: thank them for deleting a comment you are clearly unequipped to remark upon, and once for this god-awful metatalk thread.
posted by boo_radley at 10:17 PM on September 26, 2012 [41 favorites]


Was that satire? I can't even tell anymore
posted by reprise the theme song and roll the credits at 10:33 PM on September 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


boo_radley for president.
posted by hamandcheese at 11:04 PM on September 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


I love self-callouts.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:14 PM on September 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Christ, what an asshole.
posted by grouse at 12:43 AM on September 27, 2012


You creep. You insouciant carpet-shitter. You cart out your little precious from the deleted comment cesspool to rail against it and expect what? Praise? Commiseration? Reinstatement? No. You get nothing. What you said is idiotic and you have no excuse for hauling anotherpanacea's comment back out of the void for private review, let alone bringing it up for public comment.

How come on the Blue, personal attacks get deleted, yet on the Grey they rack up favorites? I still don't understand this place.
posted by mannequito at 1:05 AM on September 27, 2012 [17 favorites]


People don't make a whole of sense, according to ferrets.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:17 AM on September 27, 2012 [7 favorites]


silenced all my life.
posted by Justinian at 1:22 AM on September 27, 2012


Just wait until you see people getting the night off on the grey, that's always entertaining.

Who else likes waffles? Blueberries go great with maple syrup.
posted by Shit Parade at 1:58 AM on September 27, 2012


How come on the Blue, personal attacks get deleted, yet on the Grey they rack up favorites?

In this case, I suspect it's more the style than the content. "(B)ack-handed, feckless, wormtongued feigned sympathy of a petulant and insecure simp" is such a fluid volley of invective that, read aloud in the coolest of tones, it would communicate its vitriol to someone unfamiliar with English.
posted by gingerest at 2:02 AM on September 27, 2012


You creep. You insouciant carpet-shitter. You cart out your little precious from the deleted comment cesspool to rail against it and expect what? . . .

How come on the Blue, personal attacks get deleted, yet on the Grey they rack up favorites? I still don't understand this place.
posted by mannequito at 1:05 AM on September 27


Seconded. This hardly seems the way to help someone improve their MeFi contributions. If it was ironic, it was too ironic for me to understand.
posted by StephenF at 2:05 AM on September 27, 2012 [6 favorites]


How come on the Blue, personal attacks get deleted, yet on the Grey they rack up favorites

Are you asking why there are different standards for behavior in different places?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 3:10 AM on September 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


O hai you guyz. I'm not here right now (day off), but I just dropped by to say please be decent. Sometimes people contact us about disagreements with deleted (or non-deleted) comments or posts and when, after some effort, we cannot provide an explanation that seems to make sense to them, we tell them that they can bring it up in Metatalk to get a larger picture of how the community views this. Because Metatalk is the least moderated area of the site, this can sometimes lead to much harsher treatment than we'd like, and this is a problem.

We need this to be a channel where people can get feedback on aspects of the site that they disagree with or don't understand without being bullied or attacked. And we'd like this to remain a space where people can engage those questions pretty freely. It's fine to be plainspoken, wry, or blunt, but insult theatre is not cool, and is the sort of thing that can kill the intended functionality of Metatalk and/or force a retooling of how this part of the site is moderated. We'd rather that didn't happen.
posted by taz (staff) at 3:47 AM on September 27, 2012 [10 favorites]


How come on the Blue, personal attacks get deleted, yet on the Grey they rack up favorites? I still don't understand this place.
posted by mannequito at 4:05 AM on September 27


General site philosphy, as far as I'm aware anyway, is that stuff on the Grey rarely gets deleted. It isn't that personal attacks are more acceptable here, pretty sure they're not, just the standard for deletion is much higher. As far as favorites, pretty sure that a well written personal attack on the blue would rack up favorites, until it was deleted anyway, at a higher rate than on the Grey, just because of the increased eyeballs.
posted by Apoch at 4:13 AM on September 27, 2012


You insouciant carpet-shitter.

This was a Cheever story, wasn't it?

So, look - you've noticed "Wow, that went down poorly." Hopefully you've taken a second to think, "Now why was that?" And that second part is the important thing. "Why was that?"

You can read this whole thread and either 1. Think we're all big bag of assholes who can go jump off a bridge. or 2. You can see that people have reacted pretty strongly to your deleted comment. Lots of people. Why did so many people react so strongly? It's not just funsies, not just cause whatever, it's Thursday and lets pile onto this schmo today. No, people are objecting to specific things. Now, you can either try and figure it out, or not. And who knows what you'll do. I'm cynical about people, I think you'll delete your account and storm away in a huff. But I wanna tell you, you figure it out you're gonna make the going a lot easier for those around you if you do. And for yourself. And frankly taken as a whole, the many voices of the MeFi fall on the right, fair side of things way way more often than not. OK, this happened, but what you do now is going to decide what it all means.

posted by From Bklyn at 4:19 AM on September 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


As it is, we have this this mealy-mouthed turd of a declaration; this back-handed, feckless, wormtongued feigned sympathy of a petulant and insecure simp.

fuck dude get a grip
posted by obiwanwasabi at 4:43 AM on September 27, 2012 [15 favorites]


Sometimes a mod will close a Metatalk post so there are no more comments that can be posted but deleting a post is rare. I can remember two deleted Metatalk posts, both in 2005.
posted by mlis at 4:46 AM on September 27, 2012


Well, I agree with the deletion, because you were being a dick. And not in the kind of way that makes you a man or a good male role model.
posted by J. Wilson at 5:44 AM on September 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


I guess most of us are aware that things are rarely deleted from metatalk, but why is that the case? Why is even the dumbest and most insulting metatalk post or comment sacred (unless it mentions Tom Cruise in a way that might arouse his lawyers)?
posted by pracowity at 5:45 AM on September 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


At first, it looks like this isn’t about me; it’s just a deletion query. But then I see that you really want to continue the conversation. But based on what? Because even though this is a personal attack, a callout of anotherpanacea, unfit parent, it’s also not really about me at all. It can’t be. You don’t know me. You have to invent a meaning and intentions to hate, twist my words so you can attack them. But where did the twisted words come from? Who are you really attacking?

You see, I’m not just casually interested. I'm about to be a father, and I find myself wondering: how can I avoid raising an asshole like you? Some time ago, somebody screwed you up so bad that you think that showdowns are the best way to settle disagreements. Something I said insulted your honor, so you had to have your duel. You're one of the ways that men go bad, but the question is: how can it be prevented?

Was your dad too weak to raise you well? Or was he one of those dads who hides his weaknesses with his fists? Did a teacher abuse you? A priest? Or are you the product of a comfortable suburban existence, all the more screwed up because you know you're broken but you've got no one to blame?

What if it cannot be prevented? Sure, maybe your dad or some other man in your life was too weak or too strong or both, but was he really the cause of your obtuse failure to introspect, to self-reflect? Or were you destined from birth to be the thug who doesn't even realize he's the henchman and not the boss?

I doubt you’ll be able to answer, given your lack of self-understanding, but I’d really like to know. It's important.
posted by anotherpanacea at 5:57 AM on September 27, 2012 [15 favorites]


Lots of posts have been deleted from Metatalk this year.
posted by Burhanistan at 5:57 AM on September 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm about to be a father, and I find myself wondering: how can I avoid raising an asshole like you? Some time ago, somebody screwed you up so bad that you think that showdowns are the best way to settle disagreements.

Yeah, this is helping...
posted by modernnomad at 6:04 AM on September 27, 2012 [9 favorites]


Why is even the dumbest and most insulting metatalk post or comment sacred (unless it mentions Tom Cruise in a way that might arouse his lawyers)?

Comments that say "fuck you" are deleted with extreme prejudice (usually), even in Metatalk, along with similarly aggressive statements.

But yeah, generally you can say pretty much whatever you want in MeTa. I think it's because the grey was designed to be a pressure valve for the entire site. So rather than derailing threads on Ask or the main site, users can come here and feel as though there's one place on the site they can say pretty much whatever they want, within some loose boundaries.

The flip side is that the nasty things one writes in MetaTalk are on display for everyone to see and judge one by.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:06 AM on September 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


That thread is such an utter mess that perfect mods would have deleted the thing from the get-go. The subject is interesting but it is booby trapped with primal taboo miasma.


Absolutely not. Primal taboos fade and wither under a harsh spotlight, not by being swept under the deletion carpet and ignored.

OP: I don't think the implication was excessive in this case.

Hopefully this thread has shown you that you are universally considered in the wrong about that by the community. So if you want to say that kind of thing, here is not the place for it, no matter how much you think it is justified. Your opinion is still valid (although I think you are very much reading into that post with your own slant) but you don't get to state your opinion in such a combative and aresholish manner on this site. So that's that. Hopefully you are much closer to accepting that than it appears from your follow up response.
posted by Brockles at 6:17 AM on September 27, 2012


Is there any chance we can close this before someone gets hurt? This thread is doing no one any favors.
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:20 AM on September 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


I think Brandon makes a good point - I think people (myself included, at first) often see "take it to MetaTalk" as advice to bring it before a kind of morally empowered non-legislative assembly, a concilium plebis, if you like, which acts as a counterbalance to the moderators, who have legislative power but are mandated to exercise it in the interests of the community.

Whereas it's often "if you have to have a fight, take it out of the bar and settle it in the alley, where it won't disturb the customers".

MetaTalk as a talking shop kind of puts the UN in Thunderdome.
posted by running order squabble fest at 6:22 AM on September 27, 2012 [6 favorites]


This is ugly on both sides. I don't see the benefit of publicly gawking at Problem User 1 (you shouldn't have kids!) attacking Problem User 2 (do you suck because you were molested?).
posted by prefpara at 6:29 AM on September 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


only the American kids, right?

not really, most babies on earth are sausagey.
posted by elizardbits at 6:31 AM on September 27, 2012 [6 favorites]


I agree with the general point that your comment was trying to make. Having a confident personality is nothing to be ashamed of. There's a certain personality type (I call them "hippies") who want to gentle the whole world, and they often see people who are instinctively more aggressive - and channel that aggression towards our goals - as somehow "flawed" or "wrong", even though our only crime was being born this way. So when I see somebody call out this B.S. culture of passivity, it makes part of me want to cheer.

That said... let's be fair. I think your comment unduly escalated the hostility level of the conversation. Anotherpanacea didn't say anything hostile or insulting to you, yet you thought it was absolutely necessary to suggest he was an unfit parent. Since somebody he haven't even spoken to actively insulted his parenting capabilities, Anotherpanacea would have been well within his rights to respond with even more aggression to your comment. And then of course, you would have been even more insulting, since you're clearly not the kind of person who holds things back.

So in my opinion, even though your comment wasn't the worst one in the world, and even though you did have a valid point, it was phrased in such a way that it would have very easily led to an escalation of hostilities. And that benefits no one.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 6:42 AM on September 27, 2012


Since somebody he haven't even spoken to actively insulted his parenting capabilities, Anotherpanacea would have been well within his rights to respond with even more aggression to your comment.

Sorry, I should have hit "preview" before posting - looks like he already responded with more aggression. You see? This is what the mods were trying to prevent.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 6:46 AM on September 27, 2012


This is ugly on both sides. I don't see the benefit of publicly gawking at Problem User 1 (you shouldn't have kids!) attacking Problem User 2 (do you suck because you were molested?).

Personally, I think this should have been deleted immediately. This isn't a deletion complaint, it only pretends to be so it can smuggle the personal attack back onto the site. But the mods have come and gone, and they've left the post up and open even though he made it clear he wanted to "bring the fight outside":

I thought we could respond to each other here, rather than speaking to the walls or in allusions.

Of course, all the manuals on how to deal with trolls say that the right move would have been to just watch from afar. The real problem is that I'm an asshole, too, at least sometimes. The reason I espouse "hippy" ideals is because I'm not one. Real hippies are too chill for such nonsense.
posted by anotherpanacea at 6:48 AM on September 27, 2012


I'm about to be a father, and I find myself wondering: how can I avoid raising an asshole like you?

I completely understand your desire to kick back at the ridiculous, almost parodic insult you received, but I'd humbly suggest that you don't need to go any further here. Fatherhood will be sufficiently amazing to tune this sort of crap right out. I hope it all goes without a hitch. All the best! I know the waiting part is horribly stressful.
posted by Wolof at 6:48 AM on September 27, 2012 [12 favorites]


I could have gone all day without picturing Tom Cruise's lawyers becoming aroused.
posted by Egg Shen at 6:54 AM on September 27, 2012 [6 favorites]


Perhaps this is a disagreement that would best be settled over memail.

anotherpanacea: "The real problem is that I'm an asshole, too, at least sometimes."

Lowering yourself to his level isn't going to solve anything.
posted by zarq at 7:02 AM on September 27, 2012


I could have gone all day without picturing Tom Cruise's lawyers becoming aroused.

But what about all night?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:04 AM on September 27, 2012


Yeah, this is helping...

I get that it's not actually helping, but attacking the parenting suitability of a stranger who is about to be a father is the kind of provocation that basically means that you deserve whatever you get. If you chose to attack someone on what is basically the most primeval level possible, you're going to get that kind of reaction, even from laid back humanities professors.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:04 AM on September 27, 2012 [12 favorites]


I had to find out, and it turns out that Carpet Shitter is apparently a German metal band.

The more you know!
posted by jquinby at 7:09 AM on September 27, 2012 [6 favorites]


You see, I’m not just casually interested. I'm about to be a father, and I find myself wondering: how can I avoid raising an asshole like you?

I spent a fair amount of time talking to you and to the OP of this post over email/MeMail last night trying to avoid just this sort of mess.

This is absolutely not an okay way to deal with or respond to this (likewise boo_radley, I don't know if you were kidding but hey man, not cool). We try to keep MeTa an open place where people can talk about their problems with the site or other people without having to worry about being moderated, and people seem to be taking this and running with it in ways that are problematic to the community at large.

the mods have come and gone

We're here now, we were here on and off last night. taz gets one night off. We're hiring someone so that maybe she gets two. This is how MeTa works. I was really clear to you over email that I thought not engaging at this point would be the best plan but that it was also up to you.

I'm closing this up. If people feel the need to have a discussion about this topic you can open a new MeTa thread or hit us on on the contact form.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:16 AM on September 27, 2012 [12 favorites]


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