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Thanks, y'all.
November 7, 2012 10:41 AM   Subscribe

I want to thank the mods for their stewardship of the site during this U.S. election season.

Speaking for myself, I thought y'all did a great job of balancing giving people room to talk about this stuff with preventing PoliticsFilter from taking over the site during what has been the longest and loudest US presidential campaign. I like mefi's variety, and I enjoyed the site tremendously during the past few months. I'm grateful that you were able to keep the leviathan on course.

I suppose I could have said all that in an email, but I wante to make a grey post because hopefully the rest of the 'fites agree. And if not i'm sure they'll want to talk about it.
posted by Diablevert to Etiquette/Policy at 10:41 AM (87 comments total) 33 users marked this as a favorite

You're welcome. I can't tell what parts of my relief are the way the election went or the fact that stuff will be significantly more chilled out around here. Also want to thank all the MeFites who didn't fuck up the very long threads we had, who have made (mostly) responsible use of the edit window and the chat room and have made our jobs significantly easier these past few difficultly newsy months.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:46 AM on November 7, 2012 [12 favorites]


Curious, how's the server holding up? Did we break anything?
posted by Melismata at 10:46 AM on November 7, 2012


Site held up pretty well, all in all. pb did a lot of gear changes last night (and debate nights previously) to keep the site from falling over, disabling some features (site search, even Recent Activity for a while last night) and it seems to have kept the Jruns to brief, unlikely appearances. He gets a lot of credit for doing the grunt work on the backend that nobody could see happening. The chatroom was also a late-breaking effort, he and Matt got that going in basically no time and we got the whole thing working pretty well in time for some spill-off chatter.

And I'm right there with Jess in having this confused mess of generally liking the political outcomes as far as that goes on a personal level but also just feeling like, thank christ, we survived and the election cycle's done and life will start to seem a little more normal on the site again. Political season on mefi is subtly exhausting above and beyond the obvious spiky bits of madness it brings on and I want to reiterate the appreciation to everybody who made the effort to help the site mostly just work and be cool even during heated situations. I like this community a lot and that's part of why.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:52 AM on November 7, 2012 [16 favorites]


Seconded. Despite vowing to take a break from all such social media things online, the US presidential elections are crack cocaine to folk like me, and I got sucked in. But on various other forums, websites and social media, repelled and largely didn't return. Apart from today to unfriend/unfollow various people.

But the MetaFilter threads, and the beautifully retro chat room, were all fine and good places to dip in and out of repeatedly, with no user-on-user anger, venom, hatred, abuse or whatever that was evident in a lot of other places.

I like MetaFilter, the people "on" it, and the way the mods handle high traffic, emotionally involving and potentially explosive events such as US presidential elections. It ... well, it just works, basically.
posted by Wordshore at 10:55 AM on November 7, 2012


I'm just going to leave this here for y'all.
posted by unSane at 10:57 AM on November 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


Thirding (or nthing, depending on my speed here) the thanks. This has been a rough election season; hope you guys have some quality time to relax over the holidays.
posted by immlass at 11:12 AM on November 7, 2012


I hit my favourited limit for the day. Woohoo! 100 club!
posted by Artw at 11:14 AM on November 7, 2012


Me, three! *waves* You sysadmins & mods did yeoman's duty the last few months. Thanks!!!
posted by wenestvedt at 11:19 AM on November 7, 2012


Huge thanks from me, too. This is the only place I hung out for politics, because for every link that made me want to scream there were five links or comments that made me laugh or think. Special thanks for allowing the punchiness that accompanied the winding-down of threads, too; the love expressed for those threads was a little goofy, but was obviously an expression of appreciation for the unique place MeFi provides.
posted by Room 641-A at 11:24 AM on November 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Talking of elections ... congratulations to mod Jessamyn who was elected as a Justice of the Peace yesterday. The long road to the White House for many presidents starts with winning elections such as these :)

Jessamyn/Mathowie 2032
posted by Wordshore at 11:33 AM on November 7, 2012 [20 favorites]


Hear hear; well done mods! And many congratulations to jessamyn on her win. The chatroom, by the way, was epic fun silliness and just the thing to break the tension of the day. REMEMBER PIZZAGATES I-III AND MEATSTICK MADNESS
posted by Mister_A at 11:42 AM on November 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


I too would like to thank the mods and the community. As a European MeFite, there is only so much I want to read about U.S. politics on-line, but when I do want to want to read, Metafilter is a pretty good place for dipping into the discussions. Having a fair bit of election-related threads during the election seasons is fine with me. I'll just read as many as I feel like reading. And it's good to know I can trust them to be well moderated and non-venomous. (Borrowing some useful words and phrases from Wordshore here.)
posted by tykky at 11:43 AM on November 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Congratulations, Jessamyn and thank you to all the mods. This is the most civilized place on the web, even with our occasional flameouts and not so occasional bickering/snark, and that wouldn't be the case without you.
posted by agatha_magatha at 11:43 AM on November 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


I was hoping this thread would be started, and was a bit bashful about starting it myself, so thank you Diablevert.

That said, congratulations mods. Best Metafilter election year modding evah!
posted by klarck at 11:44 AM on November 7, 2012


It produced some kinda epic threads and a shit tone of info and humor. Thanks one and all.

I worked as an election judge yesterday and registered about 420 people for same day voting here in MN, those 15 hours literally flew by.
posted by edgeways at 11:44 AM on November 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


As a show of appreciation to the SysOps I'm going to upload three or four full-screen Max Headroom animations, but it'll have to wait until after midnight because that's the only time I can get in at over 300 baud.
posted by mintcake! at 11:46 AM on November 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Seriously, thanks for not letting electionfilter take over the entire site and giving me a place to get AWAY from campaign news occasionally.
posted by dersins at 11:46 AM on November 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


So... was there a huge thread that was where all the election discussion went, or was it all on the chat channel?
posted by running order squabble fest at 11:48 AM on November 7, 2012


rosf: this one
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:49 AM on November 7, 2012


Yes indeed! Thank you all, moderators of great distinction here on Metafilter and congratulations to our newest elected official, Jessamyn! Special shoutout to xtreme coder pb!
posted by Lynsey at 11:52 AM on November 7, 2012


A tip of the hat to all of you for enviable even-handedness and level-mindedness. I would have deleted so much stuff in an anti-politics fury these past few months, you have no idea.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:57 AM on November 7, 2012


I thanked pb in a different thread, but really, thanks to all the behind-the-scenes folks who kept Mefi up and running during a long, busy, difficult day.
posted by deborah at 11:59 AM on November 7, 2012


"... congratulations to mod Jessamyn who was elected as a Justice of the Peace yesterday."

So that means you are like a notary public who gets to marry people and has a really badass sounding title? Thats so cool!
posted by Blasdelb at 12:00 PM on November 7, 2012


My favorite of this all was when Ohio was called for Obama, meaning he wo,n and Metafilter more or less hiccuped for a few minutes while everyone tried to comment. Mefites on Facebook were like "Oh shit, we broke Metafilter".

Really odd and fascinating that the election day thread will break the "most comments" record about 36 hours after it was created.

But yeah, thanks to all the mods and especially pb for keeping the wheels turning.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:08 PM on November 7, 2012


Just in time for Thanksgiving!
posted by schmod at 12:29 PM on November 7, 2012


It was epic. I didn't realize pb did so much constant load switching on the back end, but it makes perfect sense. The whole endeavor was a triumph, both technologically and socially.

Plus basically every single election I could vote in went the way I hoped it would. It looks like Washington has successfully passed marriage equality, btw.
posted by KathrynT at 12:48 PM on November 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think pb needs a knighthood for keeping up with the site under the onslaught that was the election thread. I got a couple JRUNs/whatever where it wasn't loading but otherwise, flawless execution. The thread was a lot of fun so thanks to all, but especially the mod team!
posted by arcticseal at 12:50 PM on November 7, 2012


I think Jessamyn can give him one now.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:59 PM on November 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


Thanks, Metafilter.

Thetafilter.
posted by emelenjr at 1:03 PM on November 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


Well handled, indeed, by the mods and generally. Better than previous occasions and honestly pretty flawless, all things considered. Handshakes, high-fives and hugs all round as appropriate.

It might bear saying more often: Mefi done good.
posted by Segundus at 1:54 PM on November 7, 2012


My thanks as well to all the mods (and special *mwah!* to pb for the technical side of things).
posted by scody at 1:57 PM on November 7, 2012


Good job, everyone! Honestly, if Matt decided to close MetaFilter for a few days to let us all sit in a dark room reflect on what we have done, it wouldn't seem out of line.
posted by Kattullus at 2:11 PM on November 7, 2012


I really appreciate it as well. You folks are wonderful. Happy holidays, stay safe, and keep on being the best.
posted by cashman at 2:15 PM on November 7, 2012


Many thanks to the mods. Huge sigh of post election relief noted.
posted by Splunge at 2:45 PM on November 7, 2012


Yeah, thanks. I followed the entire election on MeFi. I lost a lot of sleep, but I also got a lot out of it, and that's entirely due to the world-class modding in here.
posted by deo rei at 3:01 PM on November 7, 2012


That thread was wonderful. News arrived faster than Twitter, accompanied by a constant stream of very funny comments and group sharing of stress/fear, personal stories of voting, hope, and finally joy. And I did notice how smooth it was to track the thread, even on my Ipad. So thanks loads, awesome mods.

Also, thanks for the smart post deletes. I never get enough politics so I felt a little stab of regret as the posts arrived and disappeared, but I also thought they were the right mod decision for each.
posted by bearwife at 3:26 PM on November 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hear, hear. Very well done, Mod Squad. I hope you each get some good rest now.
posted by MissySedai at 4:32 PM on November 7, 2012


I particularly want to say thanks for the 'Show New Comments' thing, which has been around for a while, of course, but was indispensable for me yesterday. I was on a bus for 6 hours from about the time results started coming in, and instead of having to refresh an enormous freaking thread on my phone to see what was happening, I could just sip down the new comments and not explode my data allowance for the month in one go. It was good.

[Also, speaking of, could we get a little CSS in the mobile stylesheet to make the X new comments, show a little bigger and more finger-friendly?]
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:37 PM on November 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yes, this was a great service. I was basically channel surfing and reading the thread. Metafilter was often way ahead of the cable news. In retrospect, the hiccup as the race was decided was perfect, and the temporary absence made me realize (once again) what a cool place this is.
posted by carter at 4:56 PM on November 7, 2012


The live chat was fantastic, just the right mix of information and humor to keep me from dissolving into a fit of panic while Florida flickered like a bad neon sign.

Thank you, mods and Mefites and everybody.
posted by cmyk at 5:01 PM on November 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Mod Squad saves the day. As far as why Metafilter is located in a wooden building with wet floors, well I will leave that question for another day. But at least we know the squad apparently runs everywhere to keep the site going.

Well done folks.
posted by lampshade at 5:17 PM on November 7, 2012


nth-ing the "Thanks!" and compliments to the mods for dealing with all the election wackiness in their usual moderating way.
posted by benito.strauss at 5:23 PM on November 7, 2012


nth-ing the nth-ing the 'Thanks!,' the 'Thanks!'
posted by box at 5:29 PM on November 7, 2012


Congrats to jessamyn for her glorious victory, to the MeFi community for being such great fellow election watchers, and to the American people for not screwing the pooch on an apocalyptic scale.
posted by brundlefly at 5:56 PM on November 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Chiming in to also say "Thanks!"-- y'all made it look smooth and easy, and I'm sure it wasn't. All the work is much appreciated.
posted by ambrosia at 6:06 PM on November 7, 2012


Yes thanks for all the behind-the-scenes efforts to keep us from making fools of ourselves (most of the time). And I'm consistently amazed at the stunts pb manages to pull off around here. He deserves a special "achievement unlocked" award, but I can't think what to call it.
posted by misha at 6:33 PM on November 7, 2012


This election was long and ugly. Metafilter was a great place to escape from the rancor on FB and everywhere else. The chat room was a brilliant idea and was (and hopefully will continue to be) a lot of fun.

pb is a god among sysadmins.
posted by double block and bleed at 6:41 PM on November 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


#EGG SHEN/LO PAN 2012
posted by Kurt Russell at 7:15 PM on November 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Many thanks. It astounds me that the site has quintupled in size since I fell in love here and has lost little. If it crumbled under its weight one day I would still be eternally grateful for what it was, and here's hoping for many more years of intelligent discussion, drunken snark, respectful Godwinning, and general tomfoolery. Yahoos like me have nowhere else to go.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 7:26 PM on November 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


That thread was the only news I read or listened to up until quite late. It was super great.
Although I thought the overabundance of comments in the thread about the thread length crown were artificially inflating its numbers.
posted by Glinn at 7:33 PM on November 7, 2012


Eight years here, and I still love Metafilter. Just had to say it. Thanks, everybody.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 8:11 PM on November 7, 2012


Adding my thanks to the pile. I rely on MeFi for US politics news, and love the links to solid reporting and silly gifs equally. But I don't like it taking over the whole site either, because that way lies frothing insanity. Moderate insanity in a contained area is just what I need :) 'Tightrope-walker' must be one of the qualifications for being a mod, you all do a great job of balancing the load. Thanks again...
posted by harriet vane at 8:33 PM on November 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Sometimes I forget the mods are human beings.

The rest of the time I'm sleeping.
posted by mazola at 8:34 PM on November 7, 2012


Thanks all, so much!

I am into "alternative" political ideas, because our 2 party diviseness in the US is pure theater, and I long for a wider discussion.

It was the longest campaign, ever. It annoyed me how much the fundraising detracted from our elected officials actually doing their jobs for the last 2 damn years.

MetaFilter helped me ignore the fluff, propaganda, and shear fucking anger I feel about campaign messages.

I live in a state (California) where we get to vote on ballot initiatives and propositions, all of which are phrased in weasely ways, so much so that it is difficult to vote your conscience without heaps of research.

Somehow, I made it through the last 2 years, and especially 2 weeks, without losing my temper.

If this site were run differently, who knows? I'd likely require blood pressure meds!

Thanks all!!
posted by jbenben at 1:53 AM on November 8, 2012


Nthing the thanks. everythingwentbetterthanexpected.jpg.

Other than the time out to vote I was on here pretty much the entire day. Special thanks to pb for the chat that was quite entertaining and a real blast.

Bang up job everyone.
posted by Twain Device at 3:57 AM on November 8, 2012


it seems to have kept the Jruns to brief, unlikely appearances

heh diarrhea
posted by nathancaswell at 6:54 AM on November 8, 2012


As someone who reads all the time but rarely posts, let me also say thanks for making the reading so worthwhile.
posted by bowline at 8:08 AM on November 8, 2012


I want to say that the moderation was good, as leading up to the election there wasn't too many posts. But there seems to have been a bit of post-election crap which has been allowed through. I mean a weak post about an old text message? A separate post about exit polls? Somebody's bizarre (I think it is meant to be funny) ramblings in the New Yorker? These posts are either meaningless and add little, or should have been made in the main thread.

(I mean, an old text message made the front page? Take it to Buzzfeed already.)
posted by Jehan at 8:10 AM on November 8, 2012


I used to think the Sarah Palin thread was obnoxiously long four years ago, but the long threads went swimmingly and did not take over the rest of the site. Thanks mods!
posted by ersatz at 8:23 AM on November 8, 2012


These posts are either meaningless and add little, or should have been made in the main thread.

The main thread is unusable for many people now and a thread talking about election results seemed to be an okay place to have available for people to chat about election results. The text message thing was just one of those goofy "tech meets awwwww" things that wasn't bothering anyone and I didn't even see the New Yorker post. We deleted a few "hey weed is legal!" and "hey voting machines malfunction!" and "hey npr is continuing to talk about the election!" posts but nothing was really getting a lot of flagging otherwise.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:36 AM on November 8, 2012

The main thread is unusable for many people now and a thread talking about election results seemed to be an okay place to have available for people to chat about election results.
I mean, I appreciate that this is a bigger issue, but if new threads are being opened and allowed because an existing thread is too big, I think that should be a bit more explicit. Part of the reason why big threads are good is that they hold in a lot of talk and links that would otherwise spill out everywhere. Saying that all the main run election stuff (actual results and reactions) should go together is great, but any new thread doesn't needfully have the same broadness as the original.

What I'm saying is that, maybe, when a thread is too big for many folk to use, then it's simply too big fullstop, and should be ended with an explicit #2 opened in its stead. Sure, the Reign of the Big Threads would come to an end, but you know, Chicxulub Crater and all that.
posted by Jehan at 9:24 AM on November 8, 2012


Chicx! U LUB Crater! U cannot get enuff of Crater, amirite??? You crazee Chicx!
posted by the quidnunc kid at 10:37 AM on November 8, 2012


Yeah, I'm late to this party but I, too, appreciate work of team mod over the past couple of months. Thank you and get some rest!
posted by gauche at 10:58 AM on November 8, 2012


Thanks from me too! I hope things are getting back to the normal dull uproar now that the election is done.
posted by TedW at 11:12 AM on November 8, 2012


Hear, hear!
posted by ob1quixote at 1:55 PM on November 8, 2012


I also appreciate the efforts of the mods. I think I did have a few problems with moderation, but that was mostly I think because mods weren't necessarily constantly moderating the enormous threads and were relying on flags, while anti-Republican asshattery tends to get flagged less than anti-Democrat asshattery. All in all, though, I think a great job was done in difficult circumstances.
posted by corb at 4:34 PM on November 8, 2012


I think I did have a few problems with moderation

Me too, dude - I was pretty much stone drunk by Pennsylvania.
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:10 AM on November 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


that was mostly I think because mods weren't necessarily constantly moderating the enormous threads and were relying on flags

Just FYI, no we weren't. I get that this is a concern you have about this site generally, but whoever is working at the time has read every single comment in all of those long threads and is reading all the comments as they come in, usually. Waiting for flags is waiting too long, though we do use them as a general community litmus test.

However, in a thread with 2000+ comments, someone flagging something that happened a few hours ago might as well be flagging something from a year ago in terms of how likely we are to do something about it. We try to keep the asshattery down to a minimum generally but just making fun of Democrats and/or Republicans in a thread that is specifically 1) about the election and 2) going at about 10-20 comment per minute, isn't an insta-delete.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:19 PM on November 9, 2012


We are an overwhelmingly left-oriented (or as I prefer, anti-fascist) community. Yet we are very civil for the most part to ideological minorities who show up. Not asskissingly so, but compared to almost any other site you can name where one political orientation prevails so strongly....we are very good to the few republicans with the balls to out themselves as such here. We give you plenty of rope. Even if we are mean the mods will have yor back.

But come on, there's less than a dozen vocal conservatives out of hundreds of active political voices on this site. Deal with being in the minority. Your party has to do the same to survive, so it's good practice for the indefinite future.

The thing that always gets me about conservative whinging is their constant claim that they represent a majority of "real" Americans. Most of us read that as code for "white" and find iit offensive.

Not here you don't, and apparently not in America either anymore. Yay for the end of that bullshit.

Your "common sense" is illogical here in this highly diverse and highly educated community.

And that's one reason I love metafilter.

Yes, thanks mods for everything you do. Good thing pb wasn't asked to help out with Project ORCA the Fail Whale!
posted by spitbull at 4:19 AM on November 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


BTW corb, did you see Pres. Obama got a majority of the Cuban American vote in Florida? Over 50%! First time that's ever happened for a dem.

When the GOP loses Los Cubanos, it's headed for the exit ramp to irrelevance, to paraphrase Brian Williams on Donald Trump's self-immolation.

I'm sure you saw this, but if not I thought you'd find it interesting.
posted by spitbull at 4:28 AM on November 10, 2012


Purely a datapoint, but the Election night thread at 6000+ posts is killing my browser when I try to post, and if I were Fox, I would be trying about something. I do think the 3,000 post pagebreak is a good idea, and I can't recall where I saw that.

Can I also say: I appreciate when mods mention [stuff they smack down] because it helps me calibrate.
posted by Mezentian at 5:05 AM on November 10, 2012


However, in a thread with 2000+ comments, someone flagging something that happened a few hours ago might as well be flagging something from a year ago in terms of how likely we are to do something about it.

That's certainly legitimate - I think I am slightly puzzled as to philosophically why, but I can understand that it might be a huge moderation burden.

Not asskissingly so, but compared to almost any other site you can name where one political orientation prevails so strongly....we are very good to the few republicans with the balls to out themselves as such here.

I think it's about half and half. There are some people who try for serious discussion, and some people who just seem to enjoy being jerks. But I don't actually think the quality of the individuals restraint is higher than any other site on the internet. I do think the mods delete the worst of things, though - but I think that those few conservatives on here get held to a somewhat higher standard both in terms of their own posting and in terms of what it takes to get insults about them removed than the non-conservatives.

The thing that always gets me about conservative whinging is their constant claim that they represent a majority of "real" Americans. Most of us read that as code for "white" and find iit offensive.

Who are these conservatives on Metafilter who are saying this? Or are you guys just using us as proxy whipping boys for all the people who won't ever come into here and thus you can't tell them these things to their faces?

BTW corb, did you see Pres. Obama got a majority of the Cuban American vote in Florida? Over 50%! First time that's ever happened for a dem.

Got a cite on that? Last I saw the Cubans went for Romney overall, but there was a lot of talk about how it didn't matter, because other Hispanic concentrations went much more overwhelmingly for Obama.
posted by corb at 8:25 AM on November 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


> we are very good to the few republicans with the balls to out themselves as such here.

You've got to be kidding me.
posted by languagehat at 8:42 AM on November 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


That's certainly legitimate - I think I am slightly puzzled as to philosophically why, but I can understand that it might be a huge moderation burden.


With a few exceptions the things we moderate are to keep the community running smoothy as a sort of active in-the-moment thing, not because there are things that should never be uttered here. So if someone makes some sort of slagging comment against some group and everyone is cool and ignores it, it's not a problem. However people usually do NOT ignore it and little snarky asides that are poorly timed can turn an entire thread into a mess where people pile-on and start interrogating people and it's un-good. Someone says something that's a little over the line snarky and everyone moves on, we don't have a moderation problem.

So in a slow moving thread an annoying comment that is a few hours old might still be collecting responses and people reading it and responding anew. In the fast-moving threads people pretty much ignore stuff that is that old. This isn't optimal in an overall sense (and part of having human mods is so that we can tell the difference between a fast-moving thread and a slow-moving thread and moderate them optimally) and I'm sure we'd change it up if fast-moving threads somehow became the norm. However, we'd like them to not become the norm. The fact that we had a weather disaster and a US election in the same month is still an unusual confluence.

People flag stuff in AskMe sometimes that is years old and I'm always a little confused by that but I jut assume they have a different view of how moderation works than I do and so we try to clear that sort of stuff up here in MetaTalk.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:47 AM on November 10, 2012


"Yet we are very civil for the most part to ideological minorities who show up. Not asskissingly so, but compared to almost any other site you can name where one political orientation prevails so strongly....we are very good to the few republicans with the balls to out themselves as such here."

LOL WHAT?
posted by Blasdelb at 8:59 AM on November 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


With a few exceptions the things we moderate are to keep the community running smoothy as a sort of active in-the-moment thing, not because there are things that should never be uttered here. So if someone makes some sort of slagging comment against some group and everyone is cool and ignores it, it's not a problem. However people usually do NOT ignore it and little snarky asides that are poorly timed can turn an entire thread into a mess where people pile-on and start interrogating people and it's un-good. Someone says something that's a little over the line snarky and everyone moves on, we don't have a moderation problem.

Thanks, Jessamyn, that actually does help explain a lot - both in terms of moderator response and also I think why I sometimes feel so frustrated with the tone of Metafilter as opposed to its stated ideal tone. I know sometimes I come late to a thread, and see that everyone's kind of been cheerfully slagging groups in pretty awful language, but no one commenting up until that point has been a member of that group, so it's gone unchallenged. And my response has often been to laboriously go through it and flag everything that's uncool - and then be not surprised, but a little frustrated, when really awful, egregious stuff is allowed to stand.

From my view, I would think that the kind of keep-the-community-running-smoothly-in-the-moment actually tends to cause problems that actually make the community harder to deal with in the long run. For example: if the kind of "be generally kind to each other, don't be an asshat, don't generally denigrate specific groups" mentality were something that were working all the time, and posts that violated it were deleted, I think you'd see a lot less asshattery even in the fast-moving threads, because it'd be clear that it was not something the community tolerated.

But instead, it works kind of like sexism and other isms, right? Somebody says something, and it doesn't get challenged because it's in line with the views of the majority, even if it is a bit awful. And then, someone else comes along a little later and sees that that comment was allowed to stand, thus implying endorsement from the community. And maybe they can up the ante. And again, if unchallenged, until even though sometimes things are getting deleted, the general feeling is that it's okay to do these things, as long as the annoying minority don't come along and complain and ruin your fun. Or okay if you can get away with it.
posted by corb at 9:47 AM on November 10, 2012


This is a concern you seem to frequently bring up. And in discussions we've had with you, the examples you have pointed out in the past do not reach our level of "This is something we feel we need to do something about as mods" and there's been an ongoing disconnect about the things that you think are not okay and/or actionable for MetaFilter and the things that actually are not okay and/or actionable for MetaFilter according to us.

If you feel that there is a systematic and unmoderated problem on MetaFilter that concerns you, you should be prepared to bring it up, in MetaTalk, with examples. Or drop us a note to the contact form and ask specifically "Why do you think comments like this one are okay?" and we will be happy to answer you. Specifics like comments which are "cheerfully slagging groups in pretty awful language" for a start. There are probably a few comments like that that sneak through but honestly, not many in our opinion.

Absent anything concrete, we just have these circular discussions where you say that a thing is happening, we don't see the thing happening to any large extent, and we can't really talk to each other about anything specific, just how we feel about what we think is happening and you give us suggestions for how to run the site better and express your dissatisfaction that you think we're supporting existing negative power structures through our inaction.

I'm not saying it's awesome to be someone who has a minority voice on various topics here, but I think most of the time people can express dissenting opinions if they're not acting like trolls and people will hear them out and respond civilly to them. Not always, but more often than most other places I've been where people are politically engaged.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:59 AM on November 10, 2012


"I'm not saying it's awesome to be someone who has a minority voice on various topics here, but I think most of the time people can express dissenting opinions if they're not acting like trolls and people will hear them out and respond civilly to them. Not always, but more often than most other places I've been where people are politically engaged."

This is an honest question, have you or any of the other mods ever found yourselves in this kind of position of dissenting on the site with one of the topics that mefites don't do well?
posted by Blasdelb at 10:46 AM on November 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Me personally? Occasionally. However I usually don't like having the sorts of discussions that tend to evolve around the really hot button topics so I stay out of those threads a lot of the time unless I'm there in a mod position. Most of the time I think it doesn't matter what I personally think as much as what I want to talk to other people about which is, ostensibly, what I am doing here when I'm participating in threads as a non-mod.

I didn't vote for Obama, for example. And I'm only mentioning it here because you asked a specific question. And if people decide to pick my choices apart, they are welcome to try but I'm not going to turn that thread into a referendum on my opinions. Because as much as I love it here, I'm mostly here because I share a lot of commonalities with people here and it's important to me that I'm here (outside of work) because of those shared values, not to convert people to my way of thinking and certainly not to harass people who are different from me.

And sometimes this means I'm in the minority on certain topics, some of which I mention and many of which I don't. And there are some of these topics that are the focus of my activism work outside of MetaFilter and are more and less appropriate to hobby-horse about here.

So I feel that there are some hot button topics that go weird specifically because there are multiple supportable opinions on those topics that people discuss. I also feel that there are some that go weird because there is a strong majority opinion (either on MetaFilter or in the US or world at large) and people who see themselves in devil's advocate roles either through personally held beliefs or just because they like to have philosophical arguments and so there's this ongoing "But what about THIS?" thing going on. And then there are trolls. And there are the clueless and/or the undecided.

And the problem is that people often confuse one of these types of people with the other and from their own right-feeling position decide to be a little extra snarky or a little extra aggressive, possibly because they feel that other MeFites will have their back. And as mods we try to keep that down, no matter what the topic, because it's often toxic to community discussion. And sometimes this means we wind up inadvertently supporting the majority opinion and sometimes it means we support the minority opinion. Often it just depends on who is being an aggressive jerk.

I think there's a larger discussion to be had about whether having civility as a site value winds up reinforcing existing majority/minority dynamics in the larger world, but this thread isn't about that and I'm hitting my "I think I'm turning this into a 'lets talk about me'" limit, so feel free to hit me up on email if you want to talk more about this
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:09 PM on November 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


If you feel that there is a systematic and unmoderated problem on MetaFilter that concerns you, you should be prepared to bring it up, in MetaTalk, with examples.

I do think so, and have considered this from time to time and am interested in doing so - I think I am currently trying to figure out a way to do so 1) without it seeming like a call-out on specific users that said the specific comments, and 2) while being fair to moderators, because I have no way of knowing if said comment is one that slipped through, is one that took place while the fur was flying so wasn't deleted, or is one that was looked at and decided against.

However, there's also a strong possibility that most of the recent stuff was all "heat of Electionfilter" stuff, so I also want to give it some time to see if that kind of thing cools down.
posted by corb at 6:53 PM on November 10, 2012


I'm totally serious, by the way. Any of you ever read DailyKos or Redstate?

Look at the endless relatively patient back and forth with corb over her claim that the VA is worthless in the first debate thread. No one shouted her down or called her names. It was a litany of facts and personal experiences that contradicted her claim.

Course I'm not surprised at who thinks I was kidding.
posted by spitbull at 6:59 AM on November 11, 2012


Got a cite for that?

Well turns put it might be 48% or 49%, so maybe he just missed winning the Cuban American majority in Florida, but the previous high for a dem was 35% in 2008, also Obama. The GOP grip on the Cuban American vote is almost gone. Exit polls aren't necessarily accurate to within a percentage point on questions of ethnicity so no one is entirely sure whether Obama won it outright or not, but he got close enough to cause GOP dismay.

Maybe we shouldn't run Julian Castro in 2016!
posted by spitbull at 7:07 AM on November 11, 2012


"I'm totally serious, by the way. Any of you ever read DailyKos or Redstate?"

I don't know about you, but I'd really rather we not use DailyKos or Redstate as a standard for how shitty our discussions should be, or well, just about anything.
posted by Blasdelb at 8:29 AM on November 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


> I'm totally serious, by the way.

Have you asked any actual Republicans or other "ideological minorities" to verify your complacent views? (I want so badly to make a historical analogy or two, but I fear it would not have the desired effect.)
posted by languagehat at 9:07 AM on November 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I am here to serve, fire away.
as I was deeply imbedded in a nap during the count.
posted by clavdivs at 9:37 AM on November 11, 2012


This place may not treat conservatives as well as it could, but it certainly treats them better than nearly everywhere else treats minority opinions. It's amusing to me that this discussion is changing so rapidly from "hey, thanks mods!" to, well, whatever this other thing is.

So, hey, thanks mods! It is truly amazing to me that at least one of you read every. single. comment. here and kept all four wheels out of the ditch. This is really an amazing place, and it was a lot of fun to experience the election (mostly exclusively) filtered through the eyes of this community. Of course, it was probably more enjoyable to me since I had already decided there was no way my candidates were going to lose, but still.
posted by Nabubrush at 7:54 AM on November 20, 2012


> This place may not treat conservatives as well as it could, but it certainly treats them better than nearly everywhere else treats minority opinions.

You're not a conservative, right? (Given "there was no way my candidates were going to lose.") So your statement is exactly equivalent to a white person saying blacks have it pretty good, or a guy saying women should quit their bitching. In other words, you should be embarrassed to have made it. But you're probably not, since liberal self-congratulation is as satisfying as every other kind.
posted by languagehat at 11:02 AM on November 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


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