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This deletion is racist!
November 11, 2012 4:34 PM   Subscribe

Curious why this thread was deleted.

The deletion reason was "I think we all agree that racists suck. Let's try to contain this election-outrage stuff to the existing election threads."

I get that everyone's exhausted with election chat. I don't blame you, I'm pretty exhausted too. But honestly, this post wasn't about racists sucking, and didn't feel at all election dependent to me. It wasn't really framed in an outrage-y way, either. It was more about the permanence of posting online, and whether teenagers should be held accountable in perpetuity for their behavior as teenagers, even if it's repellent, public behavior.

I'm not overwhelmed with rage about the deletion or anything, but I thought the conversation was going pretty well, and it was a topic on which I felt metafilter would have some interesting things to say.
posted by to sir with millipedes to Etiquette/Policy at 4:34 PM (56 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

We actually are talking about that over here, and while I'm no happier than anyone else about reloading a massive epic thread to comment, it's already gotten pretty heated among the relatively few participants. So, combination of "already being covered" and "GRAR free speech + racism."

The post as written was pretty clearly framed around the election, and the conflation of angry racist teenagers with Secret Service-interest-generating assassination talk isn't perfect either. In a different time period, this post might well have stood, but right now we're being a little stricter about stuff with the potential to go badly sideways.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 4:42 PM on November 11, 2012


It does rather come across as outragefilter at first, but the discussion did seem to be developing towards a discussion of the way casual acts are now permanently visible context-free and how this changes things. Dunno, seems like a hasty deletion to me too.
posted by hattifattener at 4:44 PM on November 11, 2012


It's pretty well taken over the election thread. I'm hoping it goes away soon.
posted by octothorpe at 4:45 PM on November 11, 2012


We regularly delete posts that boing down to "hey everyone, look at these shitty people being shitty" which is how I'd classify a bunch of sites collecting people using the n-word on Twitter.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 4:47 PM on November 11, 2012 [7 favorites]


We actually are talking about that over here, and while I'm no happier than anyone else about reloading a massive epic thread to comment, it's already gotten pretty heated among the relatively few participants. So, combination of "already being covered" and "GRAR free speech + racism."

I have no problem with the deletion in terms of GRAR and shitty and so on. But that other thread now has almost 7000 comments; it chokes up my not-very-old Macbook pro and I'm not even going to test it on my phone. Saying that it's "already being covered" just isn't viable. It's there, but it's not there in a realistic sense.

There's a point when a thread like that gets long enough that it would be ideal to transition to a new, non-GRAR-y FPP. (Or, I suppose, implementing one of the various technical fixes that have been suggested, but a new FPP sounds easier to me than recoding the site)
posted by Forktine at 4:55 PM on November 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah, in this case it's more a handy testbed for "would this suck as much as "look at the terrible people" posts usually suck?" and the answer appears to be "yes."
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 5:03 PM on November 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Agree with the deletion. No matter how much one might try to frame "shitty people being shitty" outragefilter threads as "What are the social meta-implications of these shitty people?", it always comes down to talking about how shitty those people are.
posted by Etrigan at 5:12 PM on November 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


I thought it was an interesting post in that it was framed as "was ratting these idiot kids out to authority figures the right thing to do"

Just my two cents. Absent that angle, I think its a clear delete.
posted by JPD at 5:13 PM on November 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Agree with the deletion as well. Bad enough in the election thread, where there is a natural obstacle to too much back and forth (I think my iPad is going to kill me if I don't stop reloading that thread, or I will kill it.)

Even for those of us who see the exposure of these kids' tweets via Jezebel as not the worst thing that's ever happened, having a huge grar-y metafilter debate about it will not help those kids slink back into the googlemuck any sooner and it's already bad enough. If (as many in the election thread did) you see these kids as being victimized and subjected to vigilantism, then not having a post in the blue is a good thing, right?

We don't need to have that thread.
posted by spitbull at 5:31 PM on November 11, 2012


it always comes down to talking about how shitty those people are.

And then, how shitty you are for calling them shitty when other people are shittier, and how shitty someone else is for calling you shitty for calling them less shitty than shittier people.

Pretty soon there's shitty all over everyone.
posted by spitbull at 5:33 PM on November 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think that was a bad deletion, and typical of a number of deletions which have left the front page of MetaFilter ever more threadbare and insipid over the last few months.

This was another, and so was this.
posted by jamjam at 5:58 PM on November 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


No fucking kidding, spitbull.

Maybe you should think about what you just said.
posted by nangar at 5:58 PM on November 11, 2012


I feel like there is a pretty interesting post you could make about kids posting stuff online, but framing it in the "Jezebel is bullying teenagers" way that the past day or so of news seems to be circling around is a particularly button pushing way to do it. And it's tough because there really is an active interesting discussion going on in that monster thread so on the one hand yes a full post about that would be a good idea, on the other hand saying "here are all the hateful things teenagers say online and here's one crappy ripped from the headlines thing that happened" almost ensures that larger conversation won't happen because people will just get all bent out of shape about Jezebel which it seems like is basically Jezebel's job lately.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:02 PM on November 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


Too bad. I was looking forward to the debate about whether Jezebel crossed the line here or not. I'll just have to make up my own mind about it. Yep. They Did. OK, on the next thing. "Bratz Dolls: What's Up With Those?"
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:23 PM on November 11, 2012 [3 favorites]



Maybe you should think about what you just said.
posted by nangar a


I think about everything I say. What's your point?
posted by spitbull at 6:54 PM on November 11, 2012


Because if you are referring to my comments in the election thread, dude, what I said was Jezebel was kind of cruel and gross, but I wasn't bothered by these kids' public and non-anonymous tweets being publicized, and didn't see the "consequences" of that as incommensurate with the offense they give. Other people were comparing these consequences to "a gun to the head," "lynching," and "falling on the sword." And others were yelping about "free speech" as if Jezebel's article wasn't precisely that. I didn't say the kids deserved "to have their lives ruined." I disputed that this was the likely result of their shaming.

The theory of my argument is that hate speech is hurtful to other people, inciteful of violence, and something 17 year olds about to get sports scholarships to college should know better than to engage in, or accept the consequences if they do. As I said, it's a conservative position, taken more in sorrow than in vengeance. But presumably these Republican young people are believers in taking personal responsibility.

As far as we've heard, not one of them has taken responsibility or apologized.

This is the internet era. There is no putting this genie back in the bottle, as I said in thread, either in this case or in general. It's an important lesson for millions of other young people.

I personally disagree with Jezebel's pursuit of this as far as informing their schools (most of which seemed already aware of the tweets, actually). I don't much care for Gawker Media approaches to about anything. But I don't see what there is to do about it, since Jezebel enjoys the same freedom of speech as these racist kids do.

It bears repeating: these tweets are non-anonymous and in the public record already. No one was outed. People were called attention to. If the fact that they are minors is the problem, then Twitter should not allow minors to have accounts.
posted by spitbull at 7:02 PM on November 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


Kind Of amazing to me that people are still posting to the monster thread.
posted by Artw at 7:03 PM on November 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Folks, this thread needs to not become that thread.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 7:06 PM on November 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I wasn't aware that this had reared its head in the election night thread, and I certainly didn't mean for this thread to become a proxy argument. Watching spitbull outline his case in this thread has made your reasons for deletion much more clear.

Thanks for your answers, mods.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 7:06 PM on November 11, 2012


Kind Of amazing to me that people are still posting to the monster thread

Each comment brings Cthulhu closer to the surface.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:14 PM on November 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Artw writes "Kind Of amazing to me that people are still posting to the monster thread."

It's not choking my machine just a little slow loading. But then I've got practive surfing the web at 14.4.

It's surprising a newish anything let alone a macbook is having trouble as my six year old Vista laptop has been ok.
posted by Mitheral at 7:25 PM on November 11, 2012


This was another [bad deletion], and so was this.

JamJam, I note in the deletion reason in the second link, the reason was pretty much that "there's an existing thread on this main topic already". If the topic you want to discuss is already being discussed elsewhere, how does that make MeFi "insipid"?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:28 PM on November 11, 2012


This was another, and so was this.

That first one WAS heavy handed framing. I read it before it was deleted and immediately thought "wow, GYOB. That's a horrible FPP, and I hope it gets deleted."
posted by hippybear at 7:55 PM on November 11, 2012


It's surprising a newish anything let alone a macbook is having trouble as my six year old Vista laptop has been ok.

The only place I can't get that monster thread to load is my phone. I'm okay with that.
posted by crossoverman at 8:27 PM on November 11, 2012


I am only just seeing this thread, sorry for not replying earlier. My reason for deleting the Jezebel/racial slur thread has been elaborated pretty clearly above. The topic of online history for young people's indiscretions is absolutely interesting, and it would be great to have a discussion about that outside the context of this horribly charged case at the end of a long election season.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 12:17 AM on November 12, 2012


jamjam: “I think that was a bad deletion, and typical of a number of deletions which have left the front page of MetaFilter ever more threadbare and insipid over the last few months. This was another, and so was this.”

If we left those insipid posts up, the front page would have been more insipid, not less. But I guess maybe it would have been less "threadbare," whatever the hell that means.
posted by koeselitz at 12:22 AM on November 12, 2012


I don't think I've ever bitched about a deletion on Metatalk before but I hated this deletion.

I thought it bizzare that yet more trite posts about Princess Leah and Buffy the Vampire Slayer get to remain, and a really interesting subject like this got deleted.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:24 AM on November 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


It's fine to discuss all the reasons you think a post should stay or go, but the argument of some other post(s) staying while one you like is deleted isn't really relevant, because we aren't choosing between them, as in "Racist Teens or Buffy: which one will stay?"

At any rate, at all times we are trying to walk a difficult line with outragefilter, politics and news posts in terms of the site not being overwhelmed by these topics... but post-election, most people (and all mods) are bone-weary of the months and months of election/politics/racist/rapey news and angry threads, and we want that to wind down to fewer and better. We've left a few postpartum election posts up so people can discuss and analyse, but we don't want a post for every bit of bloody aftermath news.

We're never going to have every possible contentious news topic people want to discuss here because the main purpose of the site is still sharing something neat you've found on the web, and not arguing about every single awful thing that happened anywhere.

As with most things here, though, if someone wanted to spend some time to come up with something more in-depth that addresses some of the larger overall questions of teen activity in the internet age and the impact and consequences of instant unbridled communication options, etc., it might engender a thoughtful discussion beyond "which is worse, racist teen tweeters or Jezebel outing racist teen tweeters?"
posted by taz (staff) at 1:07 AM on November 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


Wait. "Boing down"?
posted by Jofus at 2:38 AM on November 12, 2012


I think it was supposed to be "boil down" -- though with all the hoppitamoppita grar boing down 'round here, we'll soon have our own language entirely.
posted by taz (staff) at 2:50 AM on November 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


(Scribbling down "hoppitamoppita grar" and hoping like hell I have a reason to use it soon)
posted by Sweetie Darling at 4:35 AM on November 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's surprising a newish anything let alone a macbook is having trouble as my six year old Vista laptop has been ok.

Firefox on my two year old Windows 7 laptop is straining against that thread too.
posted by octothorpe at 4:53 AM on November 12, 2012


I thought that said "hippopotamus grar" for a moment... I'm disappointed.
posted by HuronBob at 5:21 AM on November 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think it could have been framed better, but it was an interesting topic. But it will still be an interesting topic in the future and there is a way to frame it around the general question of whether one should live by one's posts on social media for the rest of one's life that doesn't place "Obama is a ******" at its centre.

Incidentally, I find it instructive from a security perspective that if one wants to tie up a lot of Secret Service resource ahead of doing Bad Things then a campaign of baseless threats on social media against the President seems like a good way to run interference.
posted by MuffinMan at 5:25 AM on November 12, 2012


I think it was a bad delete, just because that other thread is eating everybody's devices. I will go back to monsterthread, because I find this interesting, but boy is it going to be hard to keep track of. I really, really agree that if a thread has over a few thousand comments, maybe it's okay to split off a bit of it.
posted by corb at 6:07 AM on November 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm just glad people are complaining about stuff again.

The grey has been a revolting cesspool of tolerance and good cheer lately.
posted by Egg Shen at 6:41 AM on November 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think it was a bad delete, just because that other thread is eating everybody's devices.

The problem with this argument is there's not an expectation that Metafilter will house every discussion someone might want to have in a dedicated thread of its own. That people are discussing a subject in a singularly long thread doesn't mean in and of itself that there needs to be a new post for that topic, and complaining about the deletion on those grounds is misunderstanding Metafilter.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:47 AM on November 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


more trite posts about Princess Leah

Gender fascist.
posted by Artw at 6:55 AM on November 12, 2012


(Scribbling down "hoppitamoppita grar" and hoping like hell I have a reason to use it soon)

Pro tip: sing it to the tune of "follow the yellow brick road."
posted by nebulawindphone at 6:55 AM on November 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: hoppitamoppita grar
posted by jquinby at 7:13 AM on November 12, 2012


(Scribbling down "hoppitamoppita grar" and hoping like hell I have a reason to use it soon)

Pro tip: sing it to the tune of "follow the yellow brick road."


Goddammit nebulawindphone I fucking hate you forever
posted by tzikeh at 7:16 AM on November 12, 2012 [7 favorites]


Hoppitamoppita grar!
Hoppitamoppita grar!
Hoppa, hoppa, hoppa, hoppa, hoppitamoppita grar!
Grar at the zealots, grar at the squares,
Grar at the shitty thing right over there!
Hoppa, hoppa, hoppa, hoppa, hoppitamoppita grar!
posted by Meatbomb at 7:26 AM on November 12, 2012 [11 favorites]


I rebooted it as "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" and am more at peace now.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:37 AM on November 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


The problem with this argument is there's not an expectation that Metafilter will house every discussion someone might want to have in a dedicated thread of its own. That people are discussing a subject in a singularly long thread doesn't mean in and of itself that there needs to be a new post for that topic, and complaining about the deletion on those grounds is misunderstanding Metafilter.

Sure, sure. I suppose what I should have said was more: "I think that topic (the issue of teenagers being tarred, the issue of newspapers getting involved in the news process) has substance aside from Electionfilter, (though perhaps with a little more substance added) and it might be nice to let it have a place to discuss without getting inextricably linked with an enormous thread that is already breaking people's devices." So maybe more worthy of a "Hey, this is workable but add this and this" rather than "people being shitty, and it's already being talked about."
posted by corb at 7:48 AM on November 12, 2012


But several mods have already basically said as much, LM herself included. The deletion reason was certainly on point for the specific problematic context of the post itself; "reframe better and try again" is basically a standing offer on every subject under the sun. It feels weird to shortcut from "I think a better post would be okay" to "bad delete", basically.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:51 AM on November 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Mornington Crescent.
posted by Wordshore at 7:51 AM on November 12, 2012


Basically basically basically. I need more caffeine.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:53 AM on November 12, 2012


I'm pretty sure there's a Thought Police subtext running around here somewhere, quietly looking for a few quotation marks.

Not the Metamods, in the thread. Teen uses the n-word, media holds breath. This is getting into things that go bump in the night. It used to be--back in my day, I mean--that your mommy had to be a commie before you turned her in.

I never hurts to pay attention. Nobody expects the Inquisition.
posted by mule98J at 8:21 AM on November 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


But several mods have already basically said as much, LM herself included. The deletion reason was certainly on point for the specific problematic context of the post itself; "reframe better and try again" is basically a standing offer on every subject under the sun. It feels weird to shortcut from "I think a better post would be okay" to "bad delete", basically.

Gotcha. I think I read the deletion reason as being discouraging for another try, but you make a fair point that there's always a second or third chance to do things right.
posted by corb at 8:35 AM on November 12, 2012


I'm pretty sure there's a Thought Police subtext running around here somewhere, quietly looking for a few quotation marks.

Not the Metamods, in the thread. Teen uses the n-word, media holds breath. This is getting into things that go bump in the night. It used to be--back in my day, I mean--that your mommy had to be a commie before you turned her in.

I never hurts to pay attention. Nobody expects the Inquisition.


This post brought to you by the agitprop markov filter.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 8:37 AM on November 12, 2012


I have never read a deletion reason that ended 'let us never speak of this again.'

Even after this tortuous series of posts, we ended up with a good fpp.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:40 AM on November 12, 2012


I also thought it was a fine post, well framed, about an interesting subject, and don't think it should have been deleted.
posted by Greg Nog at 9:02 AM on November 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have never posted before to say this, but I think the deletion was wrong. I thought it was a good story, and would have ignored the framing entirely to follow whatever the most interesting parts of the discussion turned out to be.

Eeek! This is a terrifying feeling, like saying there is no God!
posted by wenestvedt at 9:25 AM on November 12, 2012


There's a lot to be said about this and Adrian Chen/violentacrez doxing incidents and who reveals what to to an erstwhile mob that doesn't need the still-hot embers of a days-old, multi-billion dollar electoral cycle fueling it.

The 'in other news' portion of the FPP was pretty much there to explicitly frame it as a witch-hunting, look-at-these-dumb-assholes kind of post. As good, conscientious citizens of the world, we should probably try to do less of both of those things.
posted by dubusadus at 11:30 AM on November 12, 2012


I can understand the sense that it was a bad deletion; I agree there's a really interesting potential discussion there. All I can do is to lay out my reasoning.

At the time when I deleted it, there was already a fight about it in the election thread, and I thought a full post would just draw a larger crowd for a fight. I made a guess about how it would go, factoring in the election fatigue, the angry-post fatigue, and the super charged subject matter. (I agree the framing of the post was fine, ericb did a fine job and this is no slight on his phrasing etc; it was really about the timing and the who's-more-of-an-asshole nature of the case.)

It's possible I was wrong and the thread would have developed into a real discussion on the substantive general question, rather than angry talk about who supports tabloids bullying children vs who coddles racists. I haven't had a chance to look since yesterday, but it sounds as if the discussion in the mega thread went better than I would have guessed (?) and if so, that is great.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 1:51 PM on November 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think an FPP would have gone significantly off the rails.

The 2012 election thread has a built-in subject - namely,m the election (and now responses to it). The Jezebel article, et al., is a tangent, or subtopic. By this point, there are fewer commenters still active in the electionthread, and those site members are more active, and therefore more involved, in maintaining good discussion and adhereing to site norms. The influx of more election-related information also acts as a brake on the high-speed GRAR that 'look at these assholes' type posts can generate.

Conversely, an FPP draws new readers and commenters, and it is the mainline topic - no throttling effect is possible until a large tangent happens, and then it may rightly be eliminated as a derail.

I think there is a good FPP there, and with good links and good framing, a good discussion can result.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 3:29 PM on November 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


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