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A Deficit of Deficit posts December 26, 2012 8:38 AM   Subscribe

Why was the post on the blue today about common deficit misconceptions taken down? I don't remember who submitted it, but it seemed very interesting and useful, given that financial analysis is not Metafilter's strong point.
posted by wolfdreams01 to MetaFilter-Related at 8:38 AM (192 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

You can read the deletion reason on the deleted post. Interesting financial stuff is fine, but this wasn't exactly a primo example of posting material.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:39 AM on December 26, 2012


Yeah presented as a "Here's a thing that makes it all clear" post, when it points to Yet Another Slanted Report on what is actually sort of complicated is not so great. If someone wants to do a good post about the weirdness that is the fiscal cliff posturing, that would be great, but this post wasn't that.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:42 AM on December 26, 2012 [7 favorites]


when it points to Yet Another Slanted Report

See, the alledged "slant" is exactly the thing that I wanted to see more discussion on. Renoroc's post had only one link (to the report), but the report itself had a lot of facts and figures that it linked to in order to back up its assertions. Meanwhile, all the criticisms of it in the MetaFilter comments seemed reactionary and had no factual data cited. In other words, it seems that because this analysis was more conservative than what Metafilter likes to hear, it got taken down.

Personally, I like to educate myself and expand my knowledge by studying real data, regardless of whether the conclusion of said data agrees with my political views or not (and sometimes, I change my views based on said data). I was hoping that the post would remain up so that eventually people could actually shed more light on the validity of the data it links to, instead of making useless and logically irrelevant comments like "this writer is a conservative Wall Street stooge who is obviously biased!" Granted, we would have seen quite a bit of that, I'm sure, but I feel that at least some people would eventually have relevant comments that could either prove or disprove the article's sources, and thus expand our knowledge. I feel like my financial views are very conservative when compared to the rest of Metafilter, and I'm trying to be open-minded and understand the liberal finacial analysis that is often provided here. However, it makes it hard to respect Metafilter's liberalism when instead of challenging conservative data, such studies simply get taken down.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 8:53 AM on December 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


In other words, it seems that because this analysis was more conservative than what Metafilter likes to hear, it got taken down.

The deletion reason says nothing of the kind, and you're talking to the person who wrote the deletion reason. If this policy question is just an excuse to beef generally about your feelings about Metafilter, you are not using Metatalk correctly.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:00 AM on December 26, 2012 [27 favorites]


In other words, it seems that because this analysis was more conservative than what Metafilter likes to hear, it got taken down.

Okay, but that's not accurate, as we've both just said.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:02 AM on December 26, 2012


Hey, it's your decision. I'm sure you know the interests of your userbase better than I. I just wanted to express that there are at least some users who were interested in seeing where the discussion could have gone on that one.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 9:06 AM on December 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Craft a decent post about the fiscal cliff, then. You can even run it by the mods before posting, to see if it would float, I think? The subject matter isn't the problem, it's the framing.
posted by Solomon at 9:12 AM on December 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


It wasn't analysis, it was a highly biased opinion piece masquerading as analysis. Single-link opinion pieces are probably the most frequently and routinely deleted category of posts on Metafilter, and the political orientation of the userbase means that most such deleted posts come from a liberal perspective, so your accusations of bias are unwarranted. Bad post (for Metafilter, regardless of its ideology), good deletion.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 9:14 AM on December 26, 2012 [18 favorites]


but the report itself had a lot of facts and figures that it linked to in order to back up its assertions.

Nah, the article was purposefully opaque about the figures it did cite. Saying 'this element is responsible for X% of the deficit, but this element over here increased by Y%, and this other element cost $Z' is misleading because none of those figures can be directly compared to one another-- it's deliberately muddling things in order to project a specific reading. That's why it's slanted.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:22 AM on December 26, 2012 [8 favorites]


there are at least some users who were interested in seeing where the discussion could have gone on that one.

Man, that wheel of MetaTalk just keeps spinning 'round, don't it?
posted by carsonb at 9:26 AM on December 26, 2012


See, the alledged "slant" is exactly the thing that I wanted to see more discussion on. Renoroc's post had only one link (to the report), but the report itself had a lot of facts and figures that it linked to in order to back up its assertions.

This isn't that post, so I'm not going to go into detail, but it doesn't take an especially keen analytical mind to see how the facts presented in the article don't directly the assertions it makes, and how those assertions in turn don't really support the article's main thesis. I'd love to see a real in-depth discussion of tax realities here, but it should be founded on a well-argued source.
posted by invitapriore at 9:31 AM on December 26, 2012


but it should be founded on a well-argued source.

That's an important point. So often, people argue against deletions saying "But the discussion would have been good!" In my experience, good discussions rarely arise from bad sources. They set the tone for grar from the get-go.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 9:37 AM on December 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


I don't know about the moderators, but I often see MeFi posts that feel editorial-ish to me, and I flag them when they do, regardless of where they lie on the political spectrum. Posts on a politically-controversial subject should (IMHO) follow the pattern of posting counterpoint articles offering different perspectives – e.g. "Some say X is the cause of Y, but others disagree. Academics have also lent their opinions on X. And here is a piece for historical context on the cause of X." The post should acknowledge the existence of the controversy, and should strive to begin a civil conversation by anticipating the bipartisan name-calling. It is the burden of the poster to identify that the post they have submitted is such a subject, and to cater their submission to Metafilter's community guidelines. There are a lot of sites where posting a single-link fiscal cliff submission is fair game, but I don't think MeFi is such a place.
posted by deathpanels at 9:38 AM on December 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


When you write an article that addresses what purports to be 4 separate myths and each of them concludes that taxes on the rich are PLENTY high, you have to wonder if there's an agenda.
posted by DU at 9:41 AM on December 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


If the policy is that "OMG fiscal cliff!" is a complicated discussion that requires more from an FPP than merely a single advocacy article, that seems pretty easy to agree with.

To the extent anybody is separately proposing that the problem is how "well argued" a particular single piece of advocacy is, I'd take exception. Nine-tenths of MetaFilter is never going to find any conservative article to be "well argued."
posted by cribcage at 9:42 AM on December 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


When you write an article that addresses what purports to be 4 separate myths and each of them concludes that taxes on the rich are PLENTY high, you have to wonder if there's an agenda.

That's a reasonable suspicion but I wouldn't rest a rebuttal of that article on what is essentially an instance of affirming the consequent. It's easy enough to rebut the arguments on their own.
posted by invitapriore at 9:46 AM on December 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hey, it's your decision. I'm sure you know the interests of your userbase better than I. I just wanted to express that there are at least some users who were interested in seeing where the discussion could have gone on that one.

It's hard to think this is all in good faith.
posted by OmieWise at 9:56 AM on December 26, 2012 [8 favorites]


I agree with wolfdream's concerns; nonetheless, there is a whole internet out there from which wolfdream can read opinion pieces of this sort. Metafilter has proven itself unfriendly to certain topics, this kind among them. I understand that it has chosen to be unfriendly to them because mods can only handle so much, etc.

No doubt the mods will object to the above; that is their choice and their right.
posted by dfriedman at 9:59 AM on December 26, 2012


Let me clarify my intent: I don't think that the article's conclusion was correct - in fact, if you look through my comment history, you'll see that I've always been a strong believer in raising taxes on the rich.

And it's obvious that some of the links were biased with the intent of supposing the premise. For example, any link citing the American Enterprise Institute is unlikely to give factual data.

However, other links - such as the Washington Post article which fact-checked Rex Nutting - seemed to check out under scrutiny, and I'm usually really good about scrutinizing things. So it bothered me that I couldn't find anything off about this.

To give you some context, I have regular debates with a really smart Republican friend of mine (who accuses me of being too liberal - as laughable as that may seem to you) and when I engage him with anything less than fully fact-checked sources, he gleefully finds those holes and uses them to tears my arguments to shreds like a cat ripping into tissue paper. So I was hoping that a liberal place like Metafilter could easily get me some valid data here to support my case, and I saw this post as a potential avenue for that. With the explanations provided here, I now understand that this causes a lot of work for the mods and so I understand the reasons for them taking it down. I was just a little disappointed to see a potential resource disappear, that's all. :-(
posted by wolfdreams01 at 10:10 AM on December 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


No doubt the mods will object to the above; that is their choice and their right.

I need to remember to do this more often.

It's a shame today that so many people are secretly colossal armies of aphids dressed in human skin, waiting for the moment to rise up as the rulers of earth. Chief among them, of course, are many members of this community. Doubtless, the aphid-mods will object to my calling them out-- that's their choice as lying aphids.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:17 AM on December 26, 2012 [17 favorites]


I have all sorts of complicated thoughts about how political debates can/should go on metafilter. It is a hard thing to get right on metafilter or in real life.

But that article was hella shitty. Less than 1000 words, with four or five vaguely relevant points? Not worth metafilter's time.
posted by lrobertjones at 10:18 AM on December 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


It didn't disappear. You can go to the link and bookmark it.

You can also redo the post with more fleshing out and run it by the mods at the contact form.

I've also seen people post this sort of thing to AskMe to find out what the real deal is on what's being claimed and get awesome answers, so that's an option, if you frame it right.

And I'm really not seeing anything from the mods saying that this would be too much trouble or whatever - it's just not a very good post.

Renoroc is just coroner backwards, right?
posted by batmonkey at 10:20 AM on December 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


And it's obvious that some of the links

What "some of"? There was one link in the FPP.
posted by rtha at 10:22 AM on December 26, 2012


What "some of"? There was one link in the FPP.

The one FPP link goes to an article that has a ton of links in it meant to substantiate the premise. Those are the links that I am referring to.

It didn't disappear. You can go to the link and bookmark it.

I know, but I wasn't interested in the post itself so much as I was interested in the potential rebuttals that would occur.

You can also redo the post with more fleshing out and run it by the mods at the contact form.

I didn't make the post, so I can't redo it (although if Renoroc does, it would make me very happy).

I've also seen people post this sort of thing to AskMe to find out what the real deal is on what's being claimed and get awesome answers, so that's an option, if you frame it right.

That's actually a really good idea. Thank you!
posted by wolfdreams01 at 10:24 AM on December 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Metafilter has proven itself unfriendly to certain topics, this kind among them.

An op-ed is a format, not a topic. The topic in question is fine; it's complicated and interesting and a good solid post about it could be I think pretty easily practically accomplished.

The failure to acknowledge the distinction between the actual content and presentation of a given deleted post and the notion of some better made, better constructed post that has not been made yet and wouldn't be deleted if it had been is one of those things that always leaves me dizzy in these discussions.

So I was hoping that a liberal place like Metafilter I could get some valid data here to support my case, and it was just a little disappointed to see a potential source disappear, that's all.

For future reference, that's a personal bummer for you but not really a good reason to start a Metatalk post. The site does not exist specifically to help you win arguments against your friends, deletions of posts you'd hoped to leverage for that purpose aren't actionable at a policy/moderation level, and if you want to take a direct approach to gathering resources on a topic the thing that makes the most sense is to go to Ask Metafilter and explain what you need.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:25 AM on December 26, 2012 [10 favorites]


Sure you can remake the post. A deleted post is not owned by the person who made it.
posted by rtha at 10:26 AM on December 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Aphid mods?
posted by zarq at 10:28 AM on December 26, 2012


Sure you can remake the post. A deleted post is not owned by the person who made it.

Oh, I didn't know that - I assumed it would be. My mistake.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 10:28 AM on December 26, 2012


Oh, yeah. I mean, it's courteous to check with the OP (but not mandatory) and it's good to run the new post by the mods, but nobody owns their deleted posts.
posted by rtha at 10:41 AM on December 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Craft a decent post about the fiscal cliff, then

There is an extremely excellent post about the fiscal cliff that is still open, thankyouverymuch.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:41 AM on December 26, 2012 [9 favorites]


Man, some people don't know the difference between horseshoes and horseshit but that doesn't stop them from bloviating about how well they can perform dressage.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:44 AM on December 26, 2012 [7 favorites]


I know, but I wasn't interested in the post itself so much as I was interested in the potential rebuttals that would occur.

You are doing Metafilter wrong.
posted by desjardins at 10:46 AM on December 26, 2012 [2 favorites]



Man, some people don't know the difference between horseshoes and horseshit but that doesn't stop them from bloviating about how well they can perform dressage

My camel dressage post stayed up, for the record.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 10:51 AM on December 26, 2012 [17 favorites]


With the explanations provided here, I now understand that this causes a lot of work for the mods and so I understand the reasons for them taking it down.

Again, this is not a "oh hey this is likely to be a hassle so we don't want to deal with it DELETE" situation. We'll tell you when we're doing that; we were not doing that. This was not a good post. Someone, maybe you, could make a better one. Please be aware that if you decide to ask for more sources in AskMe--a great idea by the way--that the AskMe post pretty specifically needs to not be a MeFi post-by-proxy [that is, feel free to ask for sources, do not start a debate in AskMe]. There are many ways to turn this situation to the advantage of both MetaFilter and yourself.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:04 AM on December 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


Aphid mods?

Yeah, they literally played cause and affect with the garden this year, breeching the pesticide perimeter, leaving a grizzly scene of plant destruction, e.g. a massacre. It was uncredulously unbarable.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:19 AM on December 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


FWIW if you wanted to put it up and make it stick a bunch of supporting links would be the most likely way to do it.
posted by Artw at 11:28 AM on December 26, 2012


I would prefer seeing all such links to opinion and analysis pieces as well as blog posts deleted, drawing the line only at hard news articles.
posted by Ardiril at 11:41 AM on December 26, 2012


I'm still upset that my submitted article yesterday, Eight Reasons Obama Would Support Regulating Banks And Gay Marriage If He Were A Stooge Of The Lizard Men, was flagged and deleted. Not that I think Obama is really a stooge of the lizards, but I'd like to see MetaFilter's flagrant disrespect for the Lizard conspiracy be challenged, and the linked article offered at least four hundred different cited proofs as to why the Lizard threat may be more real than liberals would like to believe.

It's hard for me to take the disgustingly obsequious political views on MetaFilter seriously when the cold-blooded moderators censor any whispers of discontent, and for that reason I would like to request my thread be undeleted. Looking through my commenting history you can see that I am not a supporter of the Lizard theory myself, but I dislike other users enough that I would consider it a success just to enrage them a bit and waste their time. Of course the moderators may have their reasons for deleting my thread, but it is probably because they are stooges too.
posted by Rory Marinich at 11:48 AM on December 26, 2012 [16 favorites]


Ravenous aphid homunculi vs. Lizard Men: Decision 2012.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:57 AM on December 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


I opened this article in a tab to read right after the FPP went up this morning. I eventually got around to it, got half-way through and thought, 'wait ... whaaaa...how is this ... I bet I won't find it on the front page any more.' And yeah, it was deleted and I wasn't surprised.

The reason I thought it would be deleted is (and this is an extension of the reason given) because it doesn't really seem to add much to the fiscal cliff debate or offer enough in-depth analysis to really be worth talking about. Just sort of ... filler.
posted by Tevin at 11:58 AM on December 26, 2012


I know, but I wasn't interested in the post itself so much as I was interested in the potential rebuttals that would occur.

Yeah, it has occurred to me on occasion to post the odd piece of wrong-headed tripe just to watch the generally intelligent crowd here rip it to shreds, but that's not really what the site is for, so I have always demurred.
posted by Devils Rancher at 12:14 PM on December 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


Well, okay, not always, but lately.
posted by Devils Rancher at 12:17 PM on December 26, 2012


Metafilter: presented as a "Here's a thing that makes it all clear" post, when it points to Yet Another Slanted Report on what is actually sort of complicated
posted by John Cohen at 12:26 PM on December 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


Looking through my commenting history you can see that I am not a supporter of the Lizard theory myself, but I dislike other users enough that I would consider it a success just to enrage them a bit and waste their time.

That's exactly right, Rory, my only purpose here is to enrage you and waste your time. The truth is that each day, my first thought upon waking up and my last thought upon going to sleep are to find ways to get you angry. And you know exactly why I'm doing this, don't you? It's vengeance for not enspousening me on Metafilter! You shall pay for spurning my love, Rory Marinich! I'm over you... really I am...

::collapses into a ball and sobs inconsolably::
posted by wolfdreams01 at 12:46 PM on December 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Kids, c'mon now, you're making Baby Jesus cry.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:53 PM on December 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


He's only a day old, what doesn't make him cry?
posted by shakespeherian at 12:57 PM on December 26, 2012 [14 favorites]


Cat videos seem to soothe the Baby Jesus and keep him from crying. Especially cat-in-christmas-tree videos.
posted by frimble at 1:01 PM on December 26, 2012 [1 favorite]




Just gargle some wine at him, that'll probably calm him down.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:22 PM on December 26, 2012


He's only a day old, what doesn't make him cry?

The Caganer, according to this comic.
posted by radwolf76 at 1:34 PM on December 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


bones festes y'all
posted by elizardbits at 1:38 PM on December 26, 2012


I ain't bonin' nuthin in this thread, nope.
posted by rtha at 1:46 PM on December 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


ON META TALK, THREAD BONES YOU!!!
posted by zarq at 1:51 PM on December 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


A single link to a terrible article? Why on earth would anyone expect that to stand?
posted by wierdo at 2:05 PM on December 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


analysis is not Metafilter's strong point.
posted by infini at 2:21 PM on December 26, 2012


Ravenous aphid homunculi vs. Lizard Men

Dear Guillermo del Toro...
posted by griphus at 2:21 PM on December 26, 2012 [7 favorites]


Yes?
posted by "Doctor" Terence Malick at 2:25 PM on December 26, 2012


NM
posted by "Doctor" Terence Malick at 2:25 PM on December 26, 2012 [9 favorites]


YOU GET BACK TO PAINTING THAT FENCE, MALICK
posted by griphus at 2:31 PM on December 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Any article that uses a list in its title (Top 4 Myths About etc, Top 10 Whatevers) should be considered linkbait, especially if said article is from struggling Time Magazine.

I mean, really? A single link to a Time Magazine article?
posted by KokuRyu at 2:31 PM on December 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's just not a holiday without someone accusing the mods of deleting things due to their political agenda.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 2:58 PM on December 26, 2012 [12 favorites]


Isn't the point that there is already an open and excellent fiscal cliff post sufficient grounds for deletion of a link that, obviously, should go in that thread, where lots of people with very different political positions and opinions are vigorously debating many related issues with a plethora of links and facts?

wolfdreams, you just missed this? what you seek is there already. many conservative voices in that thread, by the way.
posted by spitbull at 3:13 PM on December 26, 2012


Renoroc's post had only one link (to the report), but the report itself had a lot of facts and figures that it linked to in order to back up its assertions.

Lots of links, sure, but not high quality ones. The 'US Taxes are the most progressive' link goes to another opinion piece talking about three other opinion pieces. Then the actual study they talk about studies income inequality and not progressiveness in tax codes. And even then the study contradicts some of his main points. Choice quotes below, and these are just from the summaries.

Despite the substantial gains of high-income earners in some countries, income taxes played a relatively minor role in moderating trends towards higher inequality. The reason is that trends towards lower income taxes, on the one hand, and more progressive taxation, on the other, had opposite effects on redistribution and partly cancelled each other out.

Taking into account consumption taxes widens inequality, though not by as much as the narrowing due to taking into account public services.
posted by Garm at 3:45 PM on December 26, 2012


Le sigh.
posted by Wordshore at 4:10 PM on December 26, 2012


It's just not a holiday without someone accusing the mods of deleting things due to their political agenda.

And now that that's out of the way, we should be moving on to Feats of Strength soon, because I don't want to miss those.
posted by amyms at 4:45 PM on December 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


i will now lift this enormous chzbrgr to my face and nom it
posted by elizardbits at 4:53 PM on December 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


There is an extremely excellent post about the fiscal cliff that is still open, thankyouverymuch.

Holy $#*^! I totally missed this one. This is actually exactly what I was looking for - thanks!
posted by wolfdreams01 at 4:56 PM on December 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


i will now lift this enormous chzbrgr to my face and nom it

Can I give you a lift?
posted by Pudhoho at 4:58 PM on December 26, 2012


This is the internets, you are allowed to write "shit".
posted by elizardbits at 5:07 PM on December 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


Holy dollar sign pound key asterisk caret!
posted by shakespeherian at 5:11 PM on December 26, 2012 [8 favorites]


"asterisk caret" has been added to my cussin' lexicon. Thank you.
posted by nacho fries at 6:34 PM on December 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Let me introduce you to my friend, Emma Effer.
posted by boo_radley at 6:48 PM on December 26, 2012


That's 'Holy dollar sign hash asterisk caret', if you don't mind, and I'm willing* to fight about this.

* Of course I'm not. Piss off.
posted by pompomtom at 6:51 PM on December 26, 2012


For the record, I actually meant to say "Holy dollar-pounding ass-carrot," since you're wondering. I believe the saying is French.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 9:04 PM on December 26, 2012 [6 favorites]


don't the French use Guilders?
posted by boo_radley at 10:11 PM on December 26, 2012


That's not all they use, they are cunning linguists.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:25 PM on December 26, 2012


How do the French hold their liquor?
posted by Pudhoho at 10:35 PM on December 26, 2012


The aphid mods have destroyed The Green.
posted by MuffinMan at 11:34 PM on December 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Now there's a thought I can get behind.
posted by infini at 2:24 AM on December 27, 2012


The fiscal cliff? That's when the Republicans try to #*@$ over the Democrats with a giant cluster#*@$, all so they can themselves get finger#*@$ed by the mother#*@$ing One Percent of the One Percenter #*@$ers who paid for the #*@$ing privilege.

The rest of us? We're fucked.
posted by zippy at 3:02 AM on December 27, 2012


This is the internets, you are allowed to write "shit".

From a careful content study, I am pretty sure that, for the internets, you are required to write shit. A little quality gets through now and again, but we are developing better and better filters every day.
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:32 AM on December 27, 2012 [6 favorites]


Ravenous aphid homunculi vs. Lizard Men: Decision 2012.

A key point will be whether the Lizard Men's get out the vote software, code named "Ladybug", works.
posted by TedW at 6:21 AM on December 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


To give you some context, I have regular debates with a really smart Republican friend of mine (who accuses me of being too liberal - as laughable as that may seem to you) and when I engage him with anything less than fully fact-checked sources, he gleefully finds those holes and uses them to tears my arguments to shreds like a cat ripping into tissue paper.

You should get this guy on MetaFilter!
posted by escabeche at 9:54 AM on December 27, 2012


You should get this guy on MetaFilter!

That would be difficult without having a good answer about what would be in it for him. If he uses logic to disprove a liberal trope, it's not like anybody's ever going to say "Oh, good point; maybe I'll stop being a Democrat now." Instead, they'll do what people always do when their faith is challenged, which is to double down and go into attack mode. He'll get snarky comments, outright insults, and be expected to defend a lot of straw-man conservative ideology. So where would the percentage be in that? I mean hell, it took him over ten years of debate with me before I reluctantly conceded he had enough good points to change my party affiliation from Democrat to Independant, and I'm relatively open-minded in that respect. I'm quite sure there are people on Metafilter who would die before becoming Republican, and he simply doesn't gain anything from directly interacting with them. My friend is a classic INTJ type: he's very analytical and doesn't do anything without a good reason.

For what it's worth, I have already introduced him to Metafilter and he sees the utility in terms of getting interesting news and becoming more educated about the world, but I strongly doubt he'll ever become more than just a lurker... which is too bad, but such is life.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 10:43 AM on December 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


> If he uses logic to disprove a liberal trope, it's not like anybody's ever going to say "Oh, good point; maybe I'll stop being a Democrat now." Instead, they'll do what people always do when their faith is challenged...

...and defend with the logical rationale and analysis that led to their acceptance of the trope?

People do not necessarily get argumentative because they're being contradicted. It is because nobody is a being of pure reason, and because emotion is a natural and valuable component of social interaction. If some guy comes sweeping into a room and picks a bunch of arguments and then sweeps out again, of course he's going to be yelled at -- it's because he's being an asshole.
posted by ardgedee at 11:15 AM on December 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


> They set the tone for grar from the get-go.

Without this callout I would never have seen this sentence, and the jewel of a phrase it contains, and would be the poorer for it. I feel that "grar from the get-go" (which per google appears nowhere else on the web) should be used for something. The name of a wordpress blog? A sockpuppet account? A New York Times bestselling book on internet dialogue? But it's your call, Mr. Rumpole.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:16 AM on December 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


It would be a good cat name.
posted by rtha at 11:28 AM on December 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


grar from the get-go

I see a new acronym -- GFTGG -- as short hand for "you posted this just to get people riled up."

"Oh, yeah, I totally flagged that as GFTGG."

I proposed that it be pronounced "guff-TUG."
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:32 AM on December 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


I second that e-motion.
posted by infini at 11:52 AM on December 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


he gleefully finds those holes and uses them to tears my arguments to shreds like a cat ripping into tissue paper.

He doesn't sound like such a great fit for here, actually, just as well that he continues to lurk.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:55 AM on December 27, 2012 [9 favorites]


If he uses logic to disprove a liberal trope

Then MY magical unnamed liberal friend (in, um, Canada) of even greater cogitative might will hypothetically join Metafilter and ULTRAdisprove his disprovery!

Next week: What if Superman fought Galactus? Stay tuned for the pulse-pounding answer! 'Nuff said!
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:50 PM on December 27, 2012 [8 favorites]


If some guy comes sweeping into a room and picks a bunch of arguments and then sweeps out again, of course he's going to be yelled at -- it's because he's being an asshole.

Being an asshole doesn't necessarily mean somebody is wrong, you know.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 1:14 PM on December 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


> I'll have an extra dose of hostility, please hold any genuine effort at intellectual engagement.

Well, the reason you get so much hostility is because you're mostly just blathering on about how eminently logical and well-informed you are, and yet your arguments routinely are just nothing more than blather. It's good that you've managed to figure out the world so well, I guess.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:17 PM on December 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


Being an asshole doesn't necessarily mean somebody is wrong, you know.

Please tell me your friend is Walter Sobchak.
posted by griphus at 1:17 PM on December 27, 2012 [8 favorites]


Forgive the heavy-handed sarcasm above, but the idea that the only reason liberal 'tropes' continue to exist is because nobody's tried logic amused me.

In any event, self-appointed towering intellects of a right-wing persuasion coming to MeFi to destroy all comers with their inexorable logic is not exactly a hypothetical. I'm not going to name names but one turns up every year or two. They end up in Metatalk a lot.
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:24 PM on December 27, 2012 [12 favorites]


George, in response to your comment, here is one example of a silly liberal trope that comes up from time to time on Metafilter - namely, that public schools are underfunded.

Here is where it gets refuted with hard data.

And here is a video where the person who bought into the liberal trope examines the hard data, uses logic and common sense to realize how silly she was being, and is mature enough to admit she was wrong.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 2:02 PM on December 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


wolfdreams01, I'm not sure what your gripe is here. Are you upset that the user base here leans left? Are you making an implication that conservative arguments are being censored? Are you just upset that some unnamed liberals have been mean to you or some unnamed conservatives? What changes to MetaFilter would make you happy, keeping in mind that the particular post you've pointed to was terrible on substance, regardless of its political slant?

"and be expected to defend a lot of straw-man conservative ideology"

I think your characterization of liberals on the blue is itself a straw-man, because one can generally make modern American conservative Americans look foolish by citing their actual policy positions. I know you say you're one of those youstabee-Democrats we always hear about, but mostly what I've seen from you in political threads is a clear pattern of advocating conservative policy positions. That's fine, but if you're going to do that, you need to come correct, and in your recent attempt to "debunk" Keynesian economics, you completely failed.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:14 PM on December 27, 2012 [5 favorites]


angrycat is one hell of a singer!
posted by Drinky Die at 2:18 PM on December 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


George, in response to your comment, here is one example of a silly liberal trope that comes up from time to time on Metafilter

Maybe don't do this here? The calling out of other users from old threads, the picking fights AND the rickrolling?

Being an asshole doesn't necessarily mean somebody is wrong, you know.

Being right doesn't mean I want to spend time in my online home with them either. You seem to act like the purpose of MetaFilter is to find the Actual Truth in all the things, and I think for most people it's not. For many people, they hang out here to learn things about the world and other people and get some social time with people whose company they enjoy or who they find interesting. People who come here determined to lecture and harangue other people into agreeing with them are maybe not going to find this place to their liking. Since there are many many other places for those sorts of people to hang out online, we're usually not that reticent to say so.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:22 PM on December 27, 2012 [19 favorites]


The calling out of other users from old threads, the picking fights AND the rickrolling?

wolfdreams01, I pointed this out to you literally yesterday that you aren't supposed to do this.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:37 PM on December 27, 2012


citing their actual policy positions. I know you say you're one of those youstabee-Democrats we always hear about, but mostly what I've seen from you in political threads is a clear pattern of advocating conservative policy positions.

First of all, I advocate conservative fiscal policy, not social policy. Furthermore, my policy is conservative only in the sense that I think it's incredibly unwise to think a deficit is acceptable in the first place, and that I think all deficit spending should have a repayment plan built in, that cannot be altered. This is conservative, but I just want to make sure we are clear on the fact that this is completely different than what Republicans think "conservative fiscal policy" is - ie, supply side economics (which hopefully we all know does not work).

I'm not sure what your gripe is here. Are you upset that the user base here leans left? Are you making an implication that conservative arguments are being censored?

This is sort of a derail, but I'll answer you. My gripe with Metafilter isn't the left-leaning attitudes - that can actually be refreshing from time to time. In fact, I changed my attitude on the death penalty because MeFites made a very compelling case for why it was harmful to society. My problem is the arrogance and the snark in combination with each other. When you have liberals who are so confident in the logic of their positions that they call anybody who might disagree "moronic fucking morons" - example linked to below - then clearly they have an attitude problem. When examination of the evidence indicates that not only are they being arrogant and rude, but also factually incorrect, then that's an even bigger issue. In the real world, people who do stuff like that get it rubbed into their face a bit to teach them how to fact-check in the future. Metafilter's policies stop this from happening to majority viewpoints - but that is a separate issue.

Our debate regarding Keynesian economics (which I will respond to you shortly on - I didn't realize that you had already responded) is actually an example of a thread that is going right, in my opinion. Even though we disagree, all the main people involved are making logical arguments and being respectful to each other. We are using data and examining each others facts. That thread speaks very highly of you. Due to the skew, you could call me a "moronic fucking moron" and probably get away with it - in fact, you would be supported by people and would probably get a lot more favorites if you chose to behave like an ass to me - just look at how often Angrycat's comment got favorited, even though it was clearly wrong and demonstrates a total unawareness of the actual data.

What changes to MetaFilter would make you happy, keeping in mind that the particular post you've pointed to was terrible on substance, regardless of its political slant?

Quite honestly? I would try to encourage more logic-based comments, and less vicious snark. In other words, more commentors like you, and fewer like Angrycat.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 2:52 PM on December 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Being an asshole doesn't mean that someone is right. Saying you are logical doesn't make you logical. Saying you've refuted an argument doesn't mean you've actually done so.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:52 PM on December 27, 2012 [10 favorites]


George, in response to your comment, here is one example of a silly liberal trope that comes up from time to time on Metafilter - namely, that public schools are underfunded.

Here is where it gets refuted with hard data.


So I wouldn't argue this point if it weren't MeTa relevant on some level but this is a perfect example of the flaw in a lot of your thinking here. That "hard data" is not the end of the discussion, because public schools are funded by local taxes, so a tabulation of state-wide spending isn't going to tell you about the poor districts where underfunding is indeed a problem. Again, this isn't the first salvo in an argument about this, but my point is that you have this simplistic fetish for "hard data" and Difficult Truths that you confuse for rationality, but is actually a case of you persistently under-thinking arguments that confirm aspects of your worldview. That's something everyone does, but the fact that you hold yourself up as a particularly rational person is both clouding your vision on how discussion works here and is probably drawing the ire of a lot of people who find your arguments just as flawed as you find theirs.
posted by invitapriore at 3:01 PM on December 27, 2012 [27 favorites]


wolfdreams01, shouldn't you be writing about how you've "debunk[ed] Keynesian economics" or something?

Or is expecting you to provide an analysis of how aggregate demand doesn't drive the economy a misinterpretation of your statements?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 3:07 PM on December 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


just look at how often Angrycat's comment got favorited

This is not the metric by which you should be gauging your personal grudges. Not everyone uses favourites to express their agreement with the statement made in the comment, and not everyone who favourites a comment expressing an opinion that opposes yours has some kind of personal vendetta against you.
posted by elizardbits at 3:25 PM on December 27, 2012 [6 favorites]


When examination of the evidence indicates that not only are they being arrogant and rude, but also factually incorrect, then that's an even bigger issue. In the real world, people who do stuff like that get it rubbed into their face a bit to teach them how to fact-check in the future.

The thing is, when someone is yelling about generalized idiots, they are yelling about generalized idiots and not User X the specific idiot. When User X rubs facts in someone's face -- and I assume you're using that specific turn of phrase to indicate an action entirely different from saying "hey, listen, this thing you said is wrong and here is why" -- to both refute them and teach them some sort of lesson about civility, they are behaving odiously. And behaving odiously toward a specific individual, idiot or not and wholly regardless of what it is in response to, reflects a lot worse (or, at least, just as poorly) on the person behaving in such a manner. While these face-rubbers may very well exist in the real world, most people don't like them.
posted by griphus at 3:28 PM on December 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Favourites work best in retrospect. Turn them off, then gasp, moan and weep over them later in the profile section.
posted by infini at 3:44 PM on December 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


People who come here determined to lecture and harangue other people into agreeing with them are maybe not going to find this place to their liking. Since there are many many other places for those sorts of people to hang out online, we're usually not that reticent to say so.

Yes, thank you for this. I get really weary really fast of the Argument Grist Mill. Motivation is an important factor in why someone gets involved in a discussion. Coming in looking for a fight is not the best way to make discussion happen, but it will definitely creating a trench warfare effect in the conversation. That's why I find it weird to think such an attitude would have any positive effect here, especially alongside the complaint that there is too much sneering as it is.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:53 PM on December 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


While these face-rubbers may very well exist in the real world most people don't like them.

Yeah, I did that this weekend at a party (I lost my patience with a family member known for dominating conversations). Almost immediately I realized I was acting like a huge jerk and later I apologized to just about everyone involved. Everyone was a little shocked that I had done it in the first place, but appreciated the apology.

I think it was shocking not just because I don't generally act that way, but because very few people generally do. So I think that maybe the perception that it would happen to any particular person about any particular subject might be flavored by that person's atypical social group. Of course, it could be my experience that's off.

Anyway, I too am glad that it's been explicitly stated that sort of thing isn't welcome here. Personally I wish there had been a mod around to tell me to knock it off this weekend.
posted by Gygesringtone at 4:19 PM on December 27, 2012


Due to the skew, you could call me a "moronic fucking moron" and probably get away with it

no, he really could not. that is not how things work here.
posted by desjardins at 4:28 PM on December 27, 2012 [5 favorites]


You seem to act like the purpose of MetaFilter is to find the Actual Truth in all the things, and I think for most people it's not. For many people, they hang out here to learn things about the world and other people and get some social time with people whose company they enjoy or who they find interesting.

You're right, Jessamyn. That's a valid point - finding truth may be what I'm about, but that's not necessarily what Metafilter is about. I need to understand and be more tolerant of that. But please, let's apply this standard globally. You're telling me I need to be more tolerant of users calling people with different beliefs "moronic fucking morons?" Is that what Metafilter is supposed to be about?

BTW elizardbits, I'm not "calling out" Angrycat - I don't have a grudge against him or her. I honestly don't even know them. The only reason I use examples like this is because I have a semi-eidetic memory and from my perspective it is very frustrating when I bring something up and other people don't remember it and deny that something like that happened until I show them proof. So over time I have made it a habit of presenting evidence of something happening beforehand. It helps to jog people's memories.

Angrycat, just to clarify, I'd like to apologize beforehand if what I said here offended you. I disagree very strongly with your attitude in the comment that I referenced but I want you to know that I don't think that statement was necessarily representative of you as a person. We've all said stupid things on Metafilter at one point or another, and I am no exception, so please don't take this as a criticism of anything more than this one specific instance of something you said.

Also, my saying "we need fewer users like you" was definitely a little harsh. On consideration, I didn't mean that and I'd like to retract that comment.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 7:56 PM on December 27, 2012


You're telling me I need to be more tolerant of users calling people with different beliefs "moronic fucking morons?" Is that what Metafilter is supposed to be about?

No. You know that and I'm not sure why you are asking me this. I will refer you to what griphus said above. angrycat wasn't talking about you. They were talking about people who hold beliefs that, I am guessing, are similar to yours in some way. Despite my telling you to stop making this thread and your concerns about another user, you seem unable to let it drop. angrycat is not in this thread and this thread is not about angrycat. They are not here, please stop talking to them and about them.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:12 PM on December 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Jessamyn/Griphus, when men in the workplace freely say things that diminish or insult women, it doesn't matter if they're not talking about specific woman X who happens to be in the room. They are diminishing an entire class of people - that woman X happens to be a part of - and creating a hostile environment for her.

Similarly, when you allow users to freely diminish and insult an entire bunch of opinions that includes user X, it shouldn't matter if they're not talking about specific user X who happens to be in the thread. They are creating a hostile environment for people who share that opinion. (Metafilter isn't the workplace, so it's completely your prerogative to do so if you choose - but if that's the direction you want to go, I think you should be honest about it.)

Referencing that user was not the best practice on my part perhaps, but you saw that I tried describing the behavior I am talking about in vague generalities and was met with skepticism. So I thought a specific example might help. I seriously have no idea what normal people remember or don't, so I generally assume that refreshing their memory is always helpful.

Anyway, I'll drop it. I just wanted you to understand how I feel about this, even if you don't necessarily agree.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 8:32 PM on December 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


I have a semi-eidetic memory and from my perspective it is very frustrating when I bring something up and other people don't remember it and deny that something like that happened until I show them proof.

Hm. So this how artificially intelligent wolves think. I've learned something here tonight.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:45 PM on December 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


People with a specific sort of opinion on public education funding are not a class of people.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:48 PM on December 27, 2012 [14 favorites]


As a woman in the workplace, I'm not particularly free to change either my sex or my job (given the economy right now); whereas as a holder of a specific opinion, I am readily able to change my thinking, given a convincing counter-argument to do so.

The comparison doesn't hold up.
posted by nacho fries at 8:51 PM on December 27, 2012 [6 favorites]


Oh hey is this the thread where we're playing PC Calvinball? Yay! Okay, odd-numbered commenters are declared to be phallocratic oppressors until someone links to the green!
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:44 PM on December 27, 2012 [5 favorites]


angrycat wasn't talking about you. They were talking about people who hold beliefs that, I am guessing, are similar to yours in some way.

Whatever. People abuse the hell out of that here. If you are arguing with someone making specific points and suddenly "everyone who argues these points is a fucking moron" it's not much different than just saying it to their face. It's deployed as provocation around here.
posted by Drinky Die at 10:02 PM on December 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


(Very similar to how we act like saying someone is an asshole is some hugely different thing from saying they are acting like one. People know these rules and use them, just insult in the proper form.)
posted by Drinky Die at 10:05 PM on December 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Your statement is indicative of the logical framework of a buttmunch.
posted by fleacircus at 11:50 PM on December 27, 2012 [5 favorites]


I also think there's a huge difference between "it is moronic to believe X" and "you, User X, are a moron". The distinction is so obvious I'm surprised it needs pointing out.

And comparing some very specific conservative viewpoint to being a woman in a mostly male workplace is one of the worst examples of persecution complex I've seen on this site in a while. Spare me.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:49 AM on December 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


If you are arguing with someone making specific points and suddenly "everyone who argues these points is a fucking moron" it's not much different than just saying it to their face.

Flagging works.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:44 AM on December 28, 2012


I also think there's a huge difference between "it is moronic to believe X" and "you, User X, are a moron". The distinction is so obvious I'm surprised it needs pointing out.

Maybe. But there isn't any obvious gap between "Anyone who believes X is a moron," said right after someone says that he or she believes X, and "You, who just said that you believe X, are a moron."

(I agree that the workplace analogy is stretched pretty thin.)
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 2:45 AM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


But there isn't any obvious gap between "Anyone who believes X is a moron," said right after someone says that he or she believes X, and "You, who just said that you believe X, are a moron."

From what I can tell, that isn't what happened in the thread in question.
posted by shakespeherian at 4:55 AM on December 28, 2012


From what I can tell, that isn't what happened in the thread in question.

That looks right.

I took myself to be making a generic point -- not a point especially in reference to that angrycat comment. I probably wasn't clear enough.
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 6:01 AM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Well as long as we're making unrelated points, I dislike it when people respond to an FPP with "meh".
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 7:42 AM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah! Making unrelated points has been on my mind a lot, lately!

What is it with lack of reading comprehension in AskMe by answerers?! It's like they skim the first three words then jump in with whatever wackadoodle impression they formed upon a glance and write multiple paragraphs that have only a passing acquaintance with what was actually written.

Phew. Thanks. That was getting to me.

....but back on topic: flagging does work, participating in good faith is made easier and more sincere by turning the other cheek when someone else breaks the guidelines/social contract around here, and "grar from the get-go" should definitely be in the official MF lexicon from here on out.

Also: logical != assholish.
posted by batmonkey at 8:30 AM on December 28, 2012


I apologize for jumping back in, but a few of the arguments I see posted after I left seem kind of surreal to me.

As a woman in the workplace, I'm not particularly free to change either my sex or my job (given the economy right now); whereas as a holder of a specific opinion, I am readily able to change my thinking, given a convincing counter-argument to do so.

I see. So it's OK to call people "moronic fucking morons" as long as we base it on beliefs rather than things that they can't change. So by that rationale, it's totally fine to call Buddhists or Muslims "moronic fucking morons" right? After all, their religions are just a belief, and obviously not rooted in logic.

And comparing some very specific conservative viewpoint to being a woman in a mostly male workplace is one of the worst examples of persecution complex I've seen on this site in a while. Spare me.

(I agree that the workplace analogy is stretched pretty thin.)


Okay then. I will move away from the workplace analogy and make this very simple. Look, when you allow users to say publically "Anybody who believes X is a fucking moron" than you are basically ensuring that any rational person who believes X will never join Metafilter - because why would a rational person join a place where their views are treated with such disrespect? In that regard, you are creating a hostile environment for them. Maybe not in the "persecution" sense, but more in the "Why would any sane person join a group that allows them to be so openly mistreated?" sense. And so they don't join.

Since there are many many other places for those sorts of people to hang out online, we're usually not that reticent to say so.

In other words, Metafilter does not welcome folks with those views. Got it.

And here's the thing, Metafilter shouldn't welcome all viewpoints. In that regard, I totally agree. For example, Metafilter has a hostile environment towards racists, and you know, I am totally OK with that. In fact, I will help contribute to that hostile environment now by saying something we all know: racists are assholes and have no place here.

However, my concern is that Metafilter has become a hostile environment for more than just fringe extremists. For example, I've lost track of the number of times I've heard Mefites use foul language to describe Republicans. When you use extremely negative phrases like "fuckers" or "dickless" to describe that entire huge group of people, why would any sane Republicans join Metafilter? To be subject to perpetual abuse? In other words, you have lost the potential membership of any Republicans with reasonable and well-crafted viewpoints. Then, since there are no sane Republicans on Metafilter, it creates an "out of sight, out of mind" effect where Mefites start to assume that sane Republicans don't exist. Ultimately you get an echo chamber where you never hear any intelligent voices of the opposition.

And you know what? Maybe that's OK too. After all, as Jessamyn said, people don't come here to find truth. "They hang out here to learn things about the world and other people and get some social time with people whose company they enjoy or who they find interesting." Hearing opinions that bother you would cause arguments, and that certainly gets in the way of social harmony. I totally agree with her about that.

But you know, if you prefer social harmony to intellectual integrity, you should at least be honest with yourselves about that. I can't tell you how often I see MeFites patting themselves on the back for being such an "intelligent" and "well-rounded" community, while simultaneously creating an environment so hostile to conservatives (who are half the world, may I remind you) that they effectively shut out all dissent. It seems kind of hypocritical to claim the mantle of "intelligent gatekeepers of social discourse" when you allow users to publically refer to various groups who hold dissenting opinions as "dickless fuckers" or "moronic fucking morons", thus excluding them and ensuring that those groups will never point out any of the flaws in your high-flung intellectual discourse.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 1:05 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


wolfdreams01, I am really losing your point about the value of not deploying insults in discourse in the closing hyperbolic language that equates the US with the world, Republicans with conservatives, and that implies that everyone has a party affiliation. I agree with you that not using sweeping insults is one piece of encouraging/maintaining community diversity (not the whole of it), but your criticism of the community here is...well, not well argued.
posted by EvaDestruction at 1:17 PM on December 28, 2012 [7 favorites]


What's wrong with being dickless?
posted by shakespeherian at 1:24 PM on December 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


if you prefer social harmony to intellectual integrity

Sounds like you've cooked up a narrative that works for you. At least I hope that's what it is rather than being argument bait. If it were left up to me I wouldn't dispute your interpretation at all; for the simple utilitarian reason that the probability of net benefit to anyone in making the attempt is roughly zero.
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:24 PM on December 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


conservatives (who are half the world, may I remind you)

*clears throat*

But you know, if you prefer social harmony to intellectual integrity, you should at least be honest with yourselves about that. I can't tell you how often I see MeFites patting themselves on the back for being such an "intelligent" and "well-rounded" community,

One of the most interesting things that has happened to the English language internet since I've been online (~ Fall 1995) is how well rounded it has become. When I first came online, the vast majority, or rather, in most of the places I hung out, everybody but me, was either from the United States or the UK and I dimly recall someone from NZ or CA, once in a way.

Today when we read comments from folks piping up from all kinds of places, with all kinds of backgrounds, not just here but everywhere, we can see the difference it makes to the discourse. Especially political discourse.

I've only been on MetaFilter since Spring 2005, when my last online forum went defunct. But in these few short years, I've seen it grow more and more global, at least in minimum in terms of locations, experiences, exposures, educations and backgrounds, if not culture, ethnicity or language.

A quick example that comes to mind for me is how MeFi is not "dead" anymore during US Pacific Time "night" hours, while it may be a tad slower around 0100 hrs to about 0300 hours USPT as that overlaps with early AM in EU or lunchtime in the "Far East" there's still enough "life" throughout the 24 hour cycle in a manner that was not visible even 3 or so years ago. Having experience logging into MeFi from a variety of time zones and continents, I can perceive this shift in "globality" more directly.

In this context and this scenario, MetaFilter is now more or less a global online community and ever increasingly so... The Republican Party of the United States of America is probably only one of the many political parties and views that may be held by the variety of members who frequent this "place" and thus, this "community".

We are neither half the "world" nor intellectually dishonest... it seems to me that if you perceive what you do with regard to the "political" bent of this place and if we correlate it to what I perceive with regard to 24/7 activity, then the only conclusion I can draw - and please, correct me if this is a completely inaccurate inference from the observed data points - is that the "world" is far more liberal leaning than those views upheld by one single political party of one single nation. One of many nations and many parties on this planet.

It seems kind of hypocritical to claim the mantle of "intelligent gatekeepers of social discourse" when you allow users to publically refer to various groups who hold dissenting opinions as "dickless fuckers" or "moronic fucking morons", thus excluding them and ensuring that those groups will never point out any of the flaws in your high-flung intellectual discourse.

Thus in this context, as a global minority facing the world's views, you are right that if you have been called these names, it is totally unacceptable and rude. We should flag offensive language and ad hominem attacks on any human being, regardless of their political persuasion or particular nationality.

But is it hypocritical of us, citizens of many other countries on this globe, to claim the mantle of intelligent discourse and well roundedness? I don't believe so.

In fact, sir, for the names that you have called us, me, others, everyone here, I wish that I were able to draw off my left glove and lightly tap your cheek with it.
posted by infini at 1:26 PM on December 28, 2012 [8 favorites]


On preview Evadestruction managed far better with far far less words.
posted by infini at 1:27 PM on December 28, 2012


In other words, Metafilter does not welcome folks with those views. Got it.

No, I did not say that and I do not think that. I have, again, reached the point where I am not going to continue this discussion with you because your rhetorical style is obnoxious and you seem more interested in making these "gotcha" type comments than actually understanding how things work here.

You found comments by one user obnoxious and think they reflect a larger, pervasive, and troubling-to-you trend here. Okay. You take my good faith comments trying to explain to you, yet again, how things work here and twist them to imply that I am, that the site is, somehow against "intellectual integrity" because we allow people including you to freely speak their minds here. Your argument isn't even internally consistent, much less well-argued.

What's wrong with being dickless?

It works well for me!
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:30 PM on December 28, 2012 [17 favorites]



What's wrong with being dickless?

It works well for me!



and me.
posted by infini at 1:32 PM on December 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


You found comments by one user obnoxious and think they reflect a larger, pervasive, and troubling-to-you trend here.

This is a continuing tactic, here, wolfdreams01: isolate one comment that you find objectionable, extrapolate to its worst-possible-world consequences, and then say that because it was not significantly challenged then the site's community, as a whole, is in favor of those worst-possible-world consequences.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:34 PM on December 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Ultimately you get an echo chamber where you never hear any intelligent voices of the opposition.

Yeah. That's how we ended up with an election thread that went more than 7,000 comments: it was all people agreeing with each other and slapping each other on the back about how awesome we all were. It's how we've got a thousands-of-comments thread about the Connecticut school shootings. Etc.

You pride yourself on being intellectually honest, rigorous, logical - but you are just as willing and able as a lot of the rest of us to at least sometimes ignore reality when it doesn't fit the narrative we've constructed.
posted by rtha at 1:45 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


while simultaneously creating an environment so hostile to conservatives (who are half the world, may I remind you)

This may come as news to you but the ideological identifications of the US don't at all map on to humanity like some simple division of male and female. I'm trying to imagine any way in which an assertion that "conservatives" (or "liberals") constitute "half the world" is remotely meaningful and I'm failing.

When you use extremely negative phrases like "fuckers" or "dickless" to describe that entire huge group of people, why would any sane Republicans join Metafilter? To be subject to perpetual abuse? In other words, you have lost the potential membership of any Republicans with reasonable and well-crafted viewpoints.

Remarkably, you've just described the current GOP's biggest problem as a functioning political party. If the GOP had people half as interested in making it hospitable to diverse views as the metafilter mods are here, it might actually be capable of something other than obstruction.
posted by octobersurprise at 2:26 PM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


What's wrong with being dickless?

Lots of dick manufacturers and laborers out of work, that's what.
posted by the young rope-rider at 2:39 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


What's more, if you feel strongly about the Republican Party, you should be more concerned about making it hospitable to metafilterians, since the GOP is, you know, an organization that can change the world while metafilter is just a forum for talk.
posted by octobersurprise at 2:46 PM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


wolfdreams01: "It seems kind of hypocritical to claim the mantle of "intelligent gatekeepers of social discourse" when you allow users to publically refer to various groups who hold dissenting opinions"

"Also, I want to pre-emptively say to the next person who claims there is a "hypocrisy" in objecting to intolerance of Republicans, you are a stereotyping idiot."

I admit that "stereotyping idiot" is no "dickless moronic fucking morons" or whatever, but then again, you're the one playing civility cop. Physician, heal thyself.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:51 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


hypocritical to claim the mantle of "intelligent gatekeepers of social discourse"

whut
posted by George_Spiggott at 3:02 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


butts lol
posted by shakespeherian at 3:03 PM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Lord, let this mantle pass from us
posted by George_Spiggott at 3:08 PM on December 28, 2012


I may be a gatekeeper, but I'd hardly call myself "intelligent"; I don't think I'm even sentient, to be honest. Basically picture a big snappin' clam in front of a heavy iron door and that's me
posted by Greg Nog at 3:12 PM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Lickin' salt off the table, makin' everyone debate YouTube ethics
posted by shakespeherian at 3:15 PM on December 28, 2012


Gatekeeper on the outside, keymaster on the inside.
posted by griphus at 3:21 PM on December 28, 2012


I used to be a gatekeeper like you, but then I took an arrow to the knee.
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:22 PM on December 28, 2012


Also, Gatekeeper are an awesome band who sound like John Carpenter's movie soundtrack stuff.
posted by griphus at 3:24 PM on December 28, 2012


Turtles.
posted by infini at 3:30 PM on December 28, 2012


Holy hell. It'll take years before I will collect the guts to post anything on the blue. If it ever comes to that at all.
Years, I tell you.
posted by Too-Ticky at 3:36 PM on December 28, 2012


I see. So it's OK to call people "moronic fucking morons" as long as we base it on beliefs rather than things that they can't change.

You're putting words in my mouth. I neither said nor implied anything of the sort.

For someone who says he values logic, and wishes people would use less snark in posting, you aren't upholding either of those values in your own posts.
posted by nacho fries at 4:13 PM on December 28, 2012


Lots of comments from people basically saying "Oh, people on metafilter argue with each other all the time, so obviously we must have diversity."

How can I put this? If twenty colorblind people argue about whether to paint a wall light blue, sky blue, dark blue, or navy blue... to them, that may genuinely be the entirety of the color spectrum. But to somebody who can perceive other colors, like red or yellow, such a discussion doesn't really qualify as "diversity of opinion."

I admit that "stereotyping idiot" is no "dickless moronic fucking morons" or whatever, but then again, you're the one playing civility cop. Physician, heal thyself.

You know what I like about you Tonycpsu? You're one of the few people here who is so consistently rational that you're qualified to call me out when I occasionally say something dumb. Yes, I said that, and you're right - I was wrong to say that, and I totally admit it (which is more than most people do). In fact, since you're doing your research thoroughly, you'll see that I've admitted to being wrong on other occasions, when people actually use rational argument rather than snarky pile-ons. But tell me, do you think my failure to perfectly live up to my own standards invalidates my point about the level of hostility causing certain groups to be excluded? Do you seriously think Metafilter is ever going to get any intelligent Republicans to participate when mods allow people to publically refer to them as "assholes," "morons," and "dickless fuckers?" (I used Republicans in this case only because they are so commonly insulted here that even people with short memories can recall examples of this. There are other groups who have also been similarly treated, but I know some people get bees in their bonnet when I "call out" specific people to give examples, so I am trying to avoid it here.)

On an unrelated note, our Keynesian debate is far from over, but it will take me a while to reply, since I need to look up deficit statistics for the past 67 years in order to address your points. Apologies in advance for the protracted delay.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 4:17 PM on December 28, 2012


that you're qualified to call me out when I occasionally say something dumb

How does one qualify? Is there a test?
posted by shakespeherian at 4:39 PM on December 28, 2012


I think you just failed it.
posted by soundguy99 at 4:41 PM on December 28, 2012


Dammit. I really wanted to win that car.
posted by shakespeherian at 4:42 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Next time, remember the answer is "eleventy."
posted by soundguy99 at 4:50 PM on December 28, 2012


If it's any consolation I feel sure you're qualified to call me out for a beer.

Qualifications: have beer money, not fussy about who you're seen with.
posted by George_Spiggott at 4:58 PM on December 28, 2012


If twenty colorblind people argue about whether to paint a wall light blue, sky blue, dark blue, or navy blue... to them, that may genuinely be the entirety of the color spectrum. But to somebody who can perceive other colors, like red or yellow, such a discussion doesn't really qualify as "diversity of opinion."

You are comparing people who hold political opinions they can freely change to folks who have a genetic disorder they can do nothing to change.

People change their minds and learn stuff here all the time.
posted by zarq at 5:21 PM on December 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


wolfdreams01: " You're one of the few people here who is so consistently rational that you're qualified to call me out when I occasionally say something dumb."

I appreciate the compliment, but this is really just appeal to authority, and I'm no authority on political or economic matters by any means. To say that I've earned the right to criticize you but others haven't is preposterous.

In the exchange we had on economics, you made such a transparently false statement (that politicians never cut spending during boom times) that it only took a single Google search to disprove it. You kept digging in and shifting the goalposts ("oh, well, of course Clinton was able to do it, because he's SUPERMAN") so I went the extra mile to show that boom times are almost always accompanied by a decrease in spending as a percentage of GDP. At this point, I'm wondering if I spent too much time on it already, because you seem to be doing more faith-based analysis of things you know to be true despite the evidence than any sort of logical argumentation that you insist is your M.O. Then you spend much of this thread beating someone else up because they got their facts wrong?

do you think my failure to perfectly live up to my own standards invalidates my point about the level of hostility causing certain groups to be excluded?

It certainly undermines it. If you as the self-appointed czar of civility in political discussions can't keep your cool when you feel people are being idiots, how can we? You're bitching about our front yard being messy while your back yard is just as bad.

Sometimes conservatives on MetaFilter make logical arguments, but sometimes they don't. When they don't, sometimes we on the other side lose our cool. I've had several of my own comments deleted because I was overly snarky or ad hominem, and I've seen other lefty viewpoints deleted when others have crossed the line as well (plenty of times in the mega election thread, most recently in the Newtown shooting thread.) This undermines your contention that there's a double standard.

So far, your evidence of MetaFilter hostility toward right-wing views seems to be "some people said something mean in a couple of threads" and "the mods deleted a crappy post about the fiscal cliff while a better one was open." This is a very weak case. I don't know why there aren't more intelligent conservatives around here, but the relative lack of them is not proof positive that they're being kept away by heavy-handed left-leaning moderation or a nasty left-wing user base that says "fuck" a lot.
posted by tonycpsu at 5:27 PM on December 28, 2012 [17 favorites]


when I occasionally say something dumb […]On an unrelated note, our Keynesian debate is far from over, but it will take me a while to reply, since I need to look up deficit statistics for the past 67 years in order to address your points.

Holy Christ, you're tiresome. And, what, about 16?
posted by OmieWise at 6:33 PM on December 28, 2012


If people are having a spirited discussion about whether the age of the Earth is 4.5 billion years or 4.6 billion years, someone's contention that the age of the Earth is actually 6,000 years is, in fact, likely not to get much airtime in that discussion, no matter how many articles they point to in which someone else proves that contention to their satisfaction.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:12 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


If twenty colorblind people argue about whether to paint a wall light blue, sky blue, dark blue, or navy blue... to them, that may genuinely be the entirety of the color spectrum. But to somebody who can perceive other colors, like red or yellow, such a discussion doesn't really qualify as "diversity of opinion."

This isn't the land of the blind, and you're not the one eyed man.

Metafilter's a lot more enjoyable when you picture yourself as having a conversation rather than being the lone voice crying into the wilderness.
posted by Gygesringtone at 7:34 PM on December 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


...why would any sane Republicans join Metafilter...

Do you seriously think Metafilter is ever going to get any intelligent Republicans to participate...

...twenty colorblind people argue...


You just No-True-Republican'd yourself into a ridiculous corner. If Metafilter is so hostile to particular beliefs or opinions or viewpoints that no rational, intelligent people who hold those views would want to join, then existing mefites who hold those views are: not sane; not intelligent; not rational; don't really hold those views. According to you.
posted by rtha at 7:59 PM on December 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


You guys know what's wrong with using dickless as an insult. It is deployed to imply weakness and cowardice in a man in a manner that is degrading to women.

I see no reason you need to snark about it as if that isn't clear or as if wolf was implying there was something wrong with not having a dick. The much better response is to simply point out the last time that phrase was prominently featured on the blue as an insult to a Republican it was in a quickly deleted post.
posted by Drinky Die at 8:17 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


But you know, if you prefer social harmony to intellectual integrity, you should at least be honest with yourselves about that

I think first of all the obligation is a complete fiction, and second it is hard to see what "intellectual integrity" means if all we're doing is clawing at each other's throats. Meaning that any notion of intellectual integrity certainly presupposes some level of harmony. This extends from small things, like not biting each others throats off, to big things, like whether and when to use or not to use caps and punctuation. So I don't see at all, I mean if it wasn't already blindingly obvious, how these things are somehow separate or even opposites. And it seems a big mistake to me. The truth is: everyone needs a hug.
posted by deo rei at 8:30 PM on December 28, 2012


I see no reason you need to snark about it as if that isn't clear or as if wolf was implying there was something wrong with not having a dick.

If you're talking to me, I can tell you that the reason I snarked about 'dickless' is that the self-seriousness of this whole deathmarch to epistemic closure is pretty funny to me.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:31 PM on December 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


I think jessamyn's point was that "dickless" is a meaningless insult unless understood in the context of misogyny, and therefore an insult that is both shameful for the person uttering it and either offensive or ridiculous* to their interlocutors.

*Or combo platter, like so much from Chez Misogyny.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:49 PM on December 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


"Blurring the conventional lines between trolling and narcissism."
posted by Burhanistan at 9:20 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Deathmarch to epistemic closure would be a bad name for a cat but a great name for a band. Or a sockpuppet.
posted by rtha at 9:23 PM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Or a really super pretentious interactive installation.
posted by elizardbits at 10:12 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


wait a minute
posted by elizardbits at 10:12 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


You got me!
posted by shakespeherian at 10:13 PM on December 28, 2012


You just No-True-Republican'd yourself into a ridiculous corner. If Metafilter is so hostile to particular beliefs or opinions or viewpoints that no rational, intelligent people who hold those views would want to join, then existing mefites who hold those views are: not sane; not intelligent; not rational; don't really hold those views. According to you.

Sorry, you think I'm Republican? That's funny. If you think I'm Republican, you're so far on one side of the spectrum that you can't see past the midpoint. Maybe Metafilter might consider me right wing, but in the real world - the one outside of Metafilter - I'm actually a moderate. I believe in universal health care and a socialized education system - those things alone would disqualify me from the Republican party.

Allow me to give you some context here - it may make my attitude easier to understand. It's true that I get very upset when Mefites insult Republicans thoughtlessly, and from that you may have assumed that I follow all their views. That's not it at all. The reason I like Republicans is that a long time ago, I was a fiery Democrat, all passionate like you guys about "causes" and "equality" and all that nonsense. I had a ton of Democrat activist-type friends, and we used to give very passionate speeches to each other about Making The World A Better Place. Looking back on that time, I feel like I was practically a goddamn Care Bear. And not just any Care Bear - Tenderheart Bear, "who helps everyone show and express their feelings and helps his fellow Care Bears be the most caring they can be." It was just that awful.

Then the tech market crashed back in 2000, and seeing as how I was a programmer, I was suddenly unemployed and without a job. I had to scrape by on short-term consulting gigs, and for a little while, I was legitimately worried that I might become homeless. My Democrat friends whom I thought I had been so close to were all like "Sorry dude, you're on your own." But both of my Republican friends (I only had two at the time, and while we were not that close then, today they are my very best friends) approached me privately and told me that if the worst happened and I lost my apartment, as long as they were around, I would never have to worry about a place to stay or putting food on the table.

That experience changed me substantially. Ever since, I've found that I don't really care that much about equality or fairness as much as I used to - what I value more is loyalty and trust. It's not like I've completely given up on all the stupid idealism of my youth: my friends still tease me somewhat about my belief in universal healthcare and free higher education, but I think those two things are valuable enough to defend, and I hope one day I can get my besties to believe in them as well. I believe I'm making headway. But honestly, if it ever came down to a choice between my ideals or my Republican friends, I would pick my friends in a heartbeat. My ideals (and the people who believed in them) didn't do shit for me when I was worried about living on the street, whereas my Republican friends probably saved my life. And that's why I get angry when Republicans are so casually demonized here, and that's also why I put actual effort into trying to understand their viewpoints. Because despite all the bullshit I hear on Metafilter about how Republicans are Bad Horrible People Who Don't Care, they've shown me far more kindness and compassion than all my Democrat friends ever did, even at a time in my life when I was passionately opposed to their value systems and beliefs.

So I don't know what you're talking about with this "No-True-Republican" nonsense. I'm not a Republican at all, and I never claimed to be. I care about Republicans not because I'm one of them, but because I've personally seen what good human beings they can be, regardless of what the rest of you may believe. That's why I find it so offensive when the mods allow people to name-call them so blithely. (This is certainly not to say that they're always good human beings; some of them can be pretty horrible - but hey, I've looked at the bottom of the Democrat barrel, and it ain't pretty down there either.)
posted by wolfdreams01 at 10:51 PM on December 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


I don't think you're a Republican. You've made it clear in other threads that you are not a card-carrying etc.

You totally missed my point.
posted by rtha at 10:59 PM on December 28, 2012


Also, it's late where I am and even later where you are. Maybe tomorrow, after caffeine.
posted by rtha at 11:00 PM on December 28, 2012


You keep getting further and further from making an actual point, but I think it's that some of your friends helped you out when you were down on your luck and you attribute it to their political affiliation?

That's dumb as shit.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 11:02 PM on December 28, 2012 [6 favorites]


ProTip: Your Republican friends can be caring, generous people and also completely wrong about everything. I don't understand why you seem to have changed portions of your ideology based on who offered to help you out in a jam. That would be a pretty small sample size even if their personal generosity toward you had any bearing on whether their political views make sense or not, which it certainly doesn't.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:12 PM on December 28, 2012 [6 favorites]


I know nice people who are Republicans, too. That doesn't make the Republican party platform any less of a shitpile of bigotry and bad economics and science denialism and knuckling under to Christian Dominionists.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:13 PM on December 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


wolfdream01, this is has become a whole lot about you, and not actually a lot about Metafilter, and not at all about the deleted post that is the supposed subject of this Metatalk. I'd suggest you either get a blog or maybe update your profile with all the personal background you think people should know, and not use Metatalk posts as way to corral an audience for randomly complaining about other users, talking about your personal history, general venting, and just pursuing arguing comments that have nothing to do with this post.

In the future if you want to know why something was deleted, just contact us. If you want to post a Metatalk to see what others think, it needs to stick to that and not become a platform for your personal issues.
posted by taz (staff) at 11:15 PM on December 28, 2012 [13 favorites]


And "the real world" != "the United States". In most of the world, wolfdreams, you'd be a conservative and I'd be a moderate.

Fuck, Nixon and Eisenhower would be way out on the left of today's US political discourse with Bernie Sanders in their fiscal policies.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:18 PM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


And "the real world" != "the United States".

If you can't get your political shit together really soon, we're all going to get to join you for tea and sympathy.

So there's that!
posted by Wolof at 4:12 AM on December 29, 2012


I note the globalization point was overlooked in favour of a donkey or is that the elephant?
posted by infini at 7:46 AM on December 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


A sparrow once dropped a slice of bread in front of me so I turned into a sparrow
posted by shakespeherian at 8:56 AM on December 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


So, literally hunt & peck typing, huh?
posted by soundguy99 at 9:11 AM on December 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


they've shown me far more kindness and compassion than all my Democrat friends ever did

That must be all that super duper rationality talking.

Also, "Democrat" as an adjective? You may not consider yourself a Republican, but you're showing your true colors here.
posted by WorkingMyWayHome at 10:03 PM on December 29, 2012


Not to interrupt the fun -_-

But could a woman get the link for the thread that wolfdreams01 and others were referring to in regard to the excellent discussion about the death penalty?
posted by Shouraku at 12:14 AM on December 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


This, I think, is the latest post about the death penalty, though perhaps that comment was about aggregate discussions, or something earlier.
posted by taz (staff) at 1:42 AM on December 30, 2012


I know fundie Christians who are excellent bakers and who are super complimentary about my English is even though I didn't grow up "in this country". They'd probably even help me move if I asked nice enough. That doesn't mean I can't condemn racist, misogynist, delusional theocratic bullshit for what it is.

It's nice that some friends helped you out once, and you're certainly free to conclude that your "Democrat" [sic] friends didn't lift a finger to help you because liberal conspiracy or something, but that doesn't mean the onus is on us to be nice because some hypothetical people's feelings might be hurt that their policy ideas are not embraced by people who can see the harmful consequences that those policies would bring. I mean, seriously now.
posted by Phire at 4:32 AM on December 30, 2012


Yeah, that isn't the reason to be nice. The reason to be nice is because this is generally meant to be a site for civil discussion for people of diverse perspectives. Wolf's request that people find an alternative to the "fucking morons" approach does not require one to embrace conservative views.
posted by Drinky Die at 5:11 AM on December 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


I wonder if iamkimiam's data on place of birth (wrt accents ) might have some points of interest?
posted by infini at 5:17 AM on December 30, 2012


I'm not sure how useful it is to keep this open if we don't need to discuss the deficit post any further. Wolfdreams01 got a little sidetracked with other stuff, but a pile on of responses to that is not great, and how we are or aren't civil in discussion might be a very good topic for another Metatalk, and others may have some complaints to air, but, again, maybe in a Metatalk for that purpose.

I'd say give us a couple of days and as soon as the holiday is over (just a couple of days!), we can tackle all the things, as needed.

So, I'm going to close this one up at this point.
posted by taz (staff) at 6:01 AM on December 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


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