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December 29, 2012 2:13 PM   Subscribe

So are we officially too sensitive to talk about religion on the blue these days?

I understand both posts were a bit irreverent, but that's hardly something we usually shy away from. The posts were a bit flimsy, but that wasn't what the mods who cancelled them used as justification.

Both posts had a pretty reasonable conversation going and both were cut short early on with no real compelling reason given beyond "I don't really like the tone of this thread."
posted by es_de_bah to Etiquette/Policy at 2:13 PM (176 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

Yes. Yes, it is.

Threads about religion go nowhere, change no minds, and cause animosity.
posted by Argyle at 2:16 PM on December 29, 2012


Religion is a high-grar issue and posts criticizing it that are thin and/or particularly flippant get flagged a lot and tend to lead to pointlessly angry threads. (And I'm totally lumping atheism in with religion, which will annoy people but in terms of its effect on Metafilter threads it's exactly the same.)
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 2:18 PM on December 29, 2012 [5 favorites]


The posts were a bit flimsy, but that wasn't what the mods who cancelled them used as justification.

Actually it was part of the delete reason in the first one.
posted by advil at 2:18 PM on December 29, 2012


hopefully we can discuss it a little bit more sensitively than just doing a point-and-laugh session.
posted by taz at 6:41 on December 29


I think there's a lot of interesting things that could have been said about the Boyfriend Bear, but that thread was mostly jokey.
posted by dubold at 2:18 PM on December 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


High-Grar Issue is the best band name I've heard in ages.
posted by Argyle at 2:19 PM on December 29, 2012 [7 favorites]


Additionally, it seems that some topics* tend to bring out a chorus of comments from group A, which then inspires someone from the Anti-A brigade to take on all comers and you get one prolific angry person's viewpoint over and over while a bunch of other people all say similar things in disagreement with them.


*religion, pizza

chicago-style is an abomination
posted by dubold at 2:22 PM on December 29, 2012 [7 favorites]


I think what bothered me most was the assumption of bad faith, both by the moderators and certain users, like I posted it for lulz. Anyone who is even barely familiar with my post history knows I don't make stunt posts. So that was pretty shitty to see happen. Meh.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:25 PM on December 29, 2012 [5 favorites]


I respect religion. If Jesus hadn't defeated Hitler, we'd all be rotting under communist rule by now.
posted by Nomyte at 2:25 PM on December 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


There's actually a decent post to be made out of "Christian" culture, but one link to one particular product isn't really good enough for this sort of thing.
posted by MartinWisse at 2:38 PM on December 29, 2012


My main objection to the atheist one, aside from it just being crap in the way all overtly conservative comedy is for some reason, is that they misspelled the word atheist in the video.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:39 PM on December 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think what bothered me most was the assumption of bad faith, both by the moderators and certain users, like I posted it for lulz.

Actually, BP, when I saw it, my first thought was "this is SO not his best". The LOLXTIANS was inescapable, regardless of your intent.
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:43 PM on December 29, 2012 [5 favorites]


I think what bothered me most was the assumption of bad faith, both by the moderators and certain users, like I posted it for lulz. Anyone who is even barely familiar with my post history knows I don't make stunt posts. So that was pretty shitty to see happen. Meh.

Were comments deleted that accused you of making a stunt post? In all sincerity, I didn't see them. And Taz' in-thread comment didn't accuse you of anything.
posted by zarq at 2:44 PM on December 29, 2012


Blazecock Pileon, was your post the one you referred to in the subsequent thread as being "about creepy religious practices that treat women like sex chattel?" If so, I'd say the deletion reason given by LobsterMitten was pretty spot on, in spite of the fact that you avoided coming right out and saying that's why you posted it. It doesn't look to me like bad faith was assumed, but instead that the mods correctly ascertained your tone. It seems a bit disingenuous for you to pretend that wasn't your intent after you characterized the post the way you did in a subsequent comment.
posted by The World Famous at 2:50 PM on December 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


I thought the "Atheist Convention" video was actually really badly done satire until I read the comments.
posted by hellojed at 2:52 PM on December 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Futile New Year's wish: Could avoid the word "grar"? It is so lazy, cloying and patronizing. When jessamyn first used it, it was most amusing but after 1447 uses (and counting) it is like fingernails on a blackboard. I would offer a prescription, which I believe is another jessamyn-ism: "use your words." (No offense intended to you, r_n, yours is simply one usage of thousands)
posted by madamjujujive at 2:52 PM on December 29, 2012 [12 favorites]


I liked both posts.
posted by the young rope-rider at 2:52 PM on December 29, 2012


"Athiests" are the most athy, much more athy than the common or garden atheist.
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:05 PM on December 29, 2012 [6 favorites]


Also, I can never spell atheists right.

Anyway, once a 15 year old is to the point where she is running a sanctioned non-profit and soliciting donations, that non-profit is not safe from scrutiny just because she's 15. If people are getting weirdly personal and critiquing her hair or something, yes, that sucks, but the organization itself? Not off limits at all.

I found the video interesting enough for a post.

It seems to me like both of these would be fine as long as someone made a token effort to pad them out with critiques or made it into the mefi equivalent of a trend piece. Which seems like a waste of time and energy to me.
posted by the young rope-rider at 3:12 PM on December 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


There's a difference between padding and framing. One or two other links could take the post into a discussion of teenage sexuality, a discussion of modern fundamentalist Christianity, or an analysis of introductory sex toys. Any of those might be terrible or might be great, but a single link post can go in all of those directions at once, which tends to make people super-cranky when they read jokes about sex toys as commentary on female sexuality or whatever. Framing is important.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 3:21 PM on December 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Don't know what to tell you, other than that I don't make stunt posts, and I'm getting resentful of the assumptions of bad faith on my part by moderators. It's kind of axe-grindy at this point.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:24 PM on December 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure where you're getting an "assumption of bad faith," Blazecock. I don't think that post was stunty - and judging from the emails I'd seen, neither did any of the other mods discussing the deletion. We all pretty much agreed it was too thin for the content, but that's not a question of intent, just execution.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 3:26 PM on December 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm getting resentful of the assumptions of bad faith on my part by moderators

Maybe I'm missing something but, as I'm reading it, the only assumptions of bad faith I'm really seeing here are you accusing other people of jumping to conclusions about you.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 3:30 PM on December 29, 2012 [9 favorites]


GRAAR!
posted by BitterOldPunk at 3:31 PM on December 29, 2012 [18 favorites]


The tone of those threads wasn't "let's have a sincere and reasoned discussion about X". I didn't see a lot of discussing religion happening, I saw a lot of knee-jerk reactions and lulz, regardless of the poster's intentions. There wasn't enough provided in the posts to spark a worthwhile conversation and the threads were going to get obnoxious fast. I think the mods did a good thing in deleting both of them.
posted by windykites at 3:33 PM on December 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


which I believe is another jessamyn-ism: "use your words."

This has been used in my family for decades, generally directed at the five-and-under crowd.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 4:04 PM on December 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Anyone who is even barely familiar with my post history knows I don't make stunt posts.

You mean you really like Apple that much?
posted by Chuckles at 4:07 PM on December 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


Around here we seem to use it with the point oh five and over crowd.
posted by ODiV at 4:07 PM on December 29, 2012


Futile New Year's wish: Could avoid the word "grar"?

I'd submit "agro". (Although I don't actually think "grar" is a problem in need of a solution.)
posted by likeatoaster at 4:20 PM on December 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Athiests" are the most athy, much more athy than the common or garden atheist.

Oh come on, athiests are people who don't believe that dieties exist.
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:30 PM on December 29, 2012 [14 favorites]


I like the word "grar". I think it encapsulates the concept well and has a solid history here.
posted by batmonkey at 4:51 PM on December 29, 2012 [13 favorites]


I'd submit "agro".

I'd just be concerned that the increased hostility would lead to the development of an agro-culture.
posted by dubold at 4:53 PM on December 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


I like "aggro". I'm used to seeing two gs, but I don't feel so strongly that I'd get grar-y over the difference, though it could be a favo(u)rite battle waiting to happen.

However, I think aggro means something different than grar. Aggro is a mindless, possibly automatic response, usually one that's from beasts or monsters of some kind, at least in the MMORPG context it's taken from; grar is more of a futile mashing of teeth and threatening. Aggro is what happens when you, I don't know, accidentally bring in Anonymous or Reddit on something. I think of it (probably because of Penny Arcade) as involving mobs. Metafilter can be aggro'd, but the teeth-mashing grar is much more common.
posted by NoraReed at 5:06 PM on December 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Aggro vs Agro.
posted by pompomtom at 5:10 PM on December 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Nothing's especially interesting about either link. There are plenty of misogynist, creepy, religious things out there, but unless they're more fascinating than, say, Michelle Bachmann's creepy misogynist face then they're not worth a post on MetaFilter.

Judging from the response I got the last time I dared suggest on MetaFilter that I disagreed with a particular atheist attitude, I will say that the theists on this site are WAY nicer and more reasonable in discussions than the atheists are. On aggregate, that is; there are plenty of wonderful atheists here, and we've had some excellent discussions about religion with participants from both sides. But the more sensitive religious sorts have been hunted off the site almost to extinction, to the extent that two years ago when I was a new member there was a thread about whether a particular religious person should be banned for saying out loud that, like, she believed in her religion and such.

Anyway, religion is a touchy subject that leads to sore feelings from just about everybody, so it's no surprise that moderators shut down these two single-link Posts To Incendiary Things. Like I said, the standard should probably be "creepier than Michelle Bachmann", and that's a high bar.
posted by Rory Marinich at 5:11 PM on December 29, 2012 [7 favorites]


I think it was the thinness, not the religion, that makes me think that it was delete-worthy. I mean, if it were linked with some good articles discussing the nexus between slut-shaming and these weird purity things, I would be angrily gesticulating at its deletion.
posted by angrycat at 5:13 PM on December 29, 2012


Aggro is a mindless, possibly automatic response, usually one that's from beasts or monsters of some kind, at least in the MMORPG context it's taken from

'Aggro' has been Australian for 'grar' or 'flack' or 'hassle' for about ever. One gives aggro, or doesn't need this aggro etc..
posted by pompomtom at 5:14 PM on December 29, 2012


"use your words."

This has been used in my family for decades, generally directed at the five-and-under crowd.


I'm sure I'd read it used previously on MetaFilter, but I first noticed "use your words" when a non-mod used it on the green and it was taken by the purportedly unwordly party as being patronising (a quick search isn't finding the thread, sorry). Now I find that that interpretation has coloured what I'd otherwise hear as a cheery nudge in the direction of clearer self-expression. The phrase has the potential to cause ructions.

'Aggro' has been Australian for 'grar' or 'flack' or 'hassle' for about ever. One gives aggro, or doesn't need this aggro etc..

Similarly synonymous with "aggravation" in UK usage, for a few decades at least. Not sure if it's an expression like "Uni" which came across with the Aussie soaps, parallel coinages or what. Excuse my idle speculation though, I'm not looking for any aggro here!
posted by comealongpole at 5:34 PM on December 29, 2012


I didn't see the bear post itself as THAT problematic (pretty thin tho, I could have probably helped steer the OP into other links to pad it out) but the tone of the discussion, particularly because, yes, this is a fifteen year old we are talking about, was not one that I was happy about. There are a lot of people here who could and do post on these topics with some basic respect for even those people whose world view they just. do. not. get. but also too many who go for the cheap lulz and the mockery. The site is poorer for it.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 5:39 PM on December 29, 2012 [5 favorites]


I mean, if it were linked with some good articles discussing the nexus between slut-shaming and these weird purity things, I would be angrily gesticulating at its deletion.

Link padding shouldn't be necessary just to keep the usual handful of religious people from behaving badly.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:48 PM on December 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


chicago-style is an abomination

Begone foul beast! I abjure thee! Begone!
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 5:49 PM on December 29, 2012 [5 favorites]


Link padding shouldn't be necessary just to keep the usual handful of religious people from behaving badly.

Come on, man.
posted by The World Famous at 5:55 PM on December 29, 2012 [19 favorites]


The Boyfriend Bears was drive-by-lol-thin, acceptable as a link in a comment, but most certainly not worthy of an FPP. The atheist convention was so horrid, I was unable to watch more than a minute of it. The creators of that 'film' should have the aggregate time wasted by their endeavor subtracted from their lives and added back to their victims'.

Thank you for both deletions.
posted by Pudhoho at 5:57 PM on December 29, 2012 [5 favorites]


Link padding shouldn't be necessary just to keep the usual handful of religious people from behaving badly.

There's no evidence of that in your deleted thread either.
posted by zarq at 6:20 PM on December 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Link padding shouldn't be necessary just to keep the usual handful of religious people from behaving badly.

lulz.
posted by Stynxno at 6:21 PM on December 29, 2012


Like I said.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:23 PM on December 29, 2012


Unfortunately "shouldn't be necessary" and "isn't necessary" are not the same.
posted by Bugbread at 6:25 PM on December 29, 2012


There's no evidence of that in your deleted thread either.

At least three people came in to my post and accused me (and probably others, as well) of writing it for laughs.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:28 PM on December 29, 2012


Like I sd
posted by Pudhoho at 6:29 PM on December 29, 2012


Who? Were they deleted? There are no comments in that thread accusing you of posting for lols. None accusing you of stunt posting.
posted by zarq at 6:35 PM on December 29, 2012


There were at least four, and that includes the deletion reason.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:40 PM on December 29, 2012


Can I trouble someone from the mod team to please answer my question? Were comments deleted from the thread?
posted by zarq at 6:40 PM on December 29, 2012


Sorry, disregard, mods. I previewed, but didn't catch BP's answer.
posted by zarq at 6:41 PM on December 29, 2012


No - there were two comments deleted in that thread, a bit of anti-religious sarcasm and a response thereof. Nothing to do with Blazecock or metaconversation at all.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 6:41 PM on December 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Religion is a high-grar issue and posts criticizing it that are thin and/or particularly flippant get flagged a lot and tend to lead to pointlessly angry threads.

OTOH, no one gets pushed in front of a train, so we've got that going for us.

Futile New Year's wish: Could avoid the word "grar"?

Futile indeed. I've begged you people to spare me the schmoopy to no avail.

There's a difference between padding and framing

One goes on the ass, the other the shoulders.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:42 PM on December 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Thank you, restless nomad.
posted by zarq at 6:44 PM on December 29, 2012


I like Agro. Affleck's finally gonna get that Oscar.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:57 PM on December 29, 2012 [5 favorites]


Agro was kind of unwatchably bad!

Also, grar is a doltish word. Consider eliminating it.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:11 PM on December 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


If Aflac wins an Oscar I will go aggro. That duck is so annoying.
posted by The World Famous at 7:13 PM on December 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


The one with Gilbert Gottfried? I thought he was a parrot, not a duck.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:18 PM on December 29, 2012


There's nothing wrong with Argo. As a matter of fact, I just used it to thicken a stir-fry. You can even make Oobleck with it!
posted by Room 641-A at 7:21 PM on December 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Frankly, even if you leave out the religion element, it seems like kind of a thin post - it's really nothing more than "here is a link to a thing".

Yeah, I know that happens a lot, but those tend to be hit or miss, and a bit more support framing usually helps.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:44 PM on December 29, 2012


I like grar and am spreading its usage. The word, I mean, not the thing it describes. I hope.

I like hoppita moppita even more, though.

hopita mopita? hoppitamoppita? hopitamopita?
posted by rtha at 7:51 PM on December 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


There were at least four, and that includes the deletion reason.

Your post was a bad one. It was thin, produced a mostly lulz filled discussion (no matter your intent), and wasn't to anything particularly notable or interesting. I know that believing that Metafilter is against you is super important to your self identity, but just suck it up and move on.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 8:00 PM on December 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


MetaFilter: here is a link to a thing
posted by ODiV at 8:00 PM on December 29, 2012 [5 favorites]


...from high atop the thing.
posted by zarq at 8:02 PM on December 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


Then he ate a whole thing of candy beans.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:29 PM on December 29, 2012 [5 favorites]


As one of the usual handful of religious people, I am mystified by the suggestion that there was or would have been "bad behavior" in either thread on the grounds of religion.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:35 PM on December 29, 2012 [5 favorites]


hopita mopita? hoppitamoppita? hopitamopita?

Hopitamopitapoeia!

posted by Pudhoho at 8:45 PM on December 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


The Boyfriend Bears site was interesting as a stand-alone FPP, single-link, with no further context. That was not a good deletion. A lot of the comments in that thread were irritating, but the FPP was good.

I think any further "context" would have actually made the FPP worse; as it was constructed, mefites were responding only to the Boyfriend Bears site in its own words, rather than through other people's interpretations of the site and its place within the American religious landscape. To me, that "speaking-for-itself" aspect seems as fair as it possibly can be.
posted by Greg Nog at 9:58 PM on December 29, 2012 [8 favorites]


Wow, Boyfriend Bears is creepy as fuck.
posted by Artw at 10:49 PM on December 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


The Boyfriend Bears site was interesting as a stand-alone FPP, single-link, with no further context. That was not a good deletion. A lot of the comments in that thread were irritating, but the FPP was good.

In my humble opinion, and with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, the Bears post as it stood was much more likely to invite one-off snark and mockery by the anti-theist/anti-fundie crowd than if the post had linked to further explanations of the underlying philosophy behind the concept. They would have been more likely to invite discussion than the girl's description of her own site, especially if they had been from a non-biased, or at least more objective source.

Here we have two posts at opposite ends of the topic which were reacted to by the Metafilter community in similar ways. That seems to me like an obvious object lesson on gauging one's audience when constructing an FPP. That's a lesson I've had to learn the hard way, and am still learning. Sometimes, sensitive topics need to be framed a particular manner in order to not have their threads turn into a mock-fest. And yes, sometimes the mocking and backlash will be inevitable no matter how one creates a post with sensitive content.

This is not a critique of either griphus or BP, or of their posts. Neither of them are to blame for the community's reaction to something they posted here. But (again, in hindsight,) knowing how those threads went could be helpful in the future to all of us who make posts.
posted by zarq at 11:00 PM on December 29, 2012


I actually love posts that are just "here is a link to a thing."

But I love:
- "here is a link to a great/fun/interesting thing"
- "here is a link to a bad/backward/etc thing, but it's a noteworthy/distinctive example for some clear reason"

I don't love "here's a link to just one more example of something nearly all of us will agree is ridiculous, harmful, and backward." Whether such a thing is posted for lulz or for some other reason, it just isn't that great a kind of post.

But yes, it would be great if we could have better discussions about religious topics and/or atheism.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 11:08 PM on December 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


I've totally posted about organised atheisms shittier tendencies before without trouble.
posted by Artw at 11:34 PM on December 29, 2012


As far as the Boyfriend Bears post, yeah, Christianity + Sex + Tween/Teen Girls... it needed more help not to go reactionary "let's now joke about strap-ons," "make fun of the 15-year-old's name," "haha 'missionary'," etc. I was sort of hoping that people might shoot a little higher discussion-wise, but without some sort of framing to encourage that, conversations about religion tend to trend to automock, and discussions about religion and sex tend to spur raunchy hypotheticals, and the combo becomes a sort of de facto "let's sneer and make sex jokes about these young girls," which is ungreat for Metafilter.

We're perfectly capable of having adult conversations, but presentation goes a long way in determining whether we live up to that potential. One-link posts are fine for a lot of things, but not so much for this one.

None of us thought BP was posting in bad faith, for the record.
posted by taz (staff) at 11:48 PM on December 29, 2012 [15 favorites]


Pathetic. And kids, it has nothing to do with how thin or thick the post is, if the mods don't want to deal with the potential for trouble (or start with the infantilizing expectation that trouble is certain) you can write a masterpiece and be a long time respected user here and these days, too bad.

Bad faith, no faith, good faith ... A funny use of language on this case.

Increasingly many things we used to talk about are Not Right for Metafilter Anymore, or A Thing We Don't Do Well.

Or violate some special snowflake's ever so Safe Space, especially if they're cool.

Precious, and of course no coincidence that there are so many sheriffs patrolling here these days.

Metafilter is on its way to the big time.
posted by spitbull at 12:16 AM on December 30, 2012 [5 favorites]


especially if they're cool.

That seems to be the crux of it in both if these cases. I do not presume to speak for the mind of the kids or to be able to guess what their discussion was before deleting the posts. But both of them seemed like a case of showing the community something crappy rather than showing us something cool.
posted by The World Famous at 12:32 AM on December 30, 2012


conversations about religion tend to trend to automock, and discussions about religion and sex tend to spur raunchy hypotheticals, and the combo becomes a sort of de facto "let's sneer and make sex jokes about these young girls," which is ungreat for Metafilter.

I know! Mods could actually shut that stuff down and tell those determined to take that approach to stop doing it!!
posted by ambient2 at 2:40 AM on December 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


Or delete the thread even! Oh wait they did!
posted by klangklangston at 4:38 AM on December 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


Or violate some special snowflake's ever so Safe Space, especially if they're cool.

Yeah, it's actually me who memails the mods seconds before a deletion occurs; I admit it. My guess is that the mods have families and friends and they want to enjoy the holidays too, so either bring concrete examples that can be addressed or reconsider stirring the pot with vague intimations until after the holidays.
posted by ersatz at 5:35 AM on December 30, 2012


Yeah, sadly Mefi is a bit bloody wet when it comes to talking about religion. A good old religion/atheism thread is one of the great joys of life if you have any spunk in your soul but eh, what can you do?

That said, that atheist convention video was one of the most unfunny things I've seen in years. Just toe-curlingly bad.
posted by Decani at 5:54 AM on December 30, 2012


If you Whois "Boyfriend bears" it is owned by her dad, so the comments about mocking a 15 year old are just not true.
posted by marienbad at 6:00 AM on December 30, 2012


I do think there's probably a way to make a post about it that would encourage a reasonable discussion, if anyone wants to tackle it. I agree with Decani on the atheist convention video, though.
posted by taz (staff) at 6:13 AM on December 30, 2012


A good old religion/atheism thread is one of the great joys of life if you have any spunk in your soul but eh, what can you do?

If by "have any spunk in your soul" you mean "enjoy repeating the same five talking points while suggesting a wide swath of humanity suffers from a degenerative brain disease" well yup you hit the nail right on the head
posted by Rory Marinich at 6:35 AM on December 30, 2012 [24 favorites]


That Atheist Convention video was pretty awful, I was shocked to see that someone who should know MetaFilter better posted it. The whole 'no atheists in foxholes' thing is not only demonstrably wrong but a really perniciously aggressive attempt to tell other people who they are in a really fucked up way. I don't think that could ever really be done well on MetaFilter unless it was a sensitive and broadly inclusive history of the topic, which this video very much was not.

While the mods are apparently not assuming bad faith on your part Blazecock, I mean come on. If you are making a post to poke fun at a religion and a culture that are not your own or someone else's sexual choices that you do not make, that is a pretty damn strong indication that maybe you shouldn't be posting it to metafilter and you arn't new here.
posted by Blasdelb at 6:58 AM on December 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


man, I find the folks who are religious and on metafilter and have lasted a while are uber-cool in terms of conducting themselves well in threads. And my instinctive reaction when discussing Christianity is to jump to the snark, so.
posted by angrycat at 7:15 AM on December 30, 2012


If you are making a post to poke fun

That thing you guys keep denying you're doing? You're doing it again.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:24 AM on December 30, 2012


(And then The World Famous checks MeFi the next morning and realizes the iPhone autocorrected 'mods' to 'kids'. Sorry about that, mods.)
posted by The World Famous at 8:32 AM on December 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


I am neither the mods nor any of the posters who may or may not have assumed bad faith on your part, but then again, just because you're paranoid doesn't mean we're not all out to get you.
posted by Blasdelb at 8:40 AM on December 30, 2012


When the only content of your post aside from the link is a one-liner pun, the post is either jokey or poorly executed. Maybe both, but not none of the above.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:47 AM on December 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Out if curiosity, what was the intention of the post, because it scans as "weird religious people doing weird thing." Which, whatever your intention, seems like it might encourage a point and laugh response from commenters, which it got a lot of.

Knowing how you meant it would help me understand how something like this might be better framed. This comment suggests that you meant this to point out a creepy religious practice, but I can't tell from the link whether this is a widespread practice or some deranged outlier, and I am not sure how I am respond except to agree that it is creepy.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 8:57 AM on December 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


That thing you guys keep denying you're doing? You're doing it again.

For whatever it's worth, It didn't look to me like you were posting to poke fun. It looked like you were posting to draw the community's attention to something you think is terrible, in the hope that the community would do the editorializing that you thoughtfully left out of the post itself. I get that impression because of the editorializing you did about your own post in the thread about the video mocking atheists. As I said above, the main problem I have with both posts is that they both seem to depart from the "look at this cool thing I found" spirit of MeFi and instead exist apparently as an attempt to say "look at this terrible thing you should hate."

I'm curious. How did you come upon Boyfriend Bears in the first place? And can you offer some clarification as to your reasons for posting, since it was apparently not in "bad faith" (whatever that means here) or to poke fun? Am I right in my guess that you posted because you think it's a terrible thing?

P.S. I agree with you that it is terrible, and I more or less agree with your characterization of it in the subsequent thread.
posted by The World Famous at 8:58 AM on December 30, 2012 [5 favorites]


I don't know what you guys are on about, that Atheist Convention video was the most amazing thing I've ever seen.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:34 AM on December 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm not christian, I'm not religious, I'm not female, I'm not any of the things that site was about.. but I felt the FPP wasn't a great idea and the comments didn't reflect the type of discussion that makes us proud of Metafilter. It quickly became a point and laugh event... went all the way to comments about strap-ons... whatever sincere, intelligent comments were posted were lost in the lulz.

I agree with the deletion.
posted by HuronBob at 9:38 AM on December 30, 2012


Yeah the whole adding links to make the discussion more reasonable thing is...I see it as padding, or as a faux-objective/faux-academic framing from the OP. It strikes me as meaningless ritual done to make us all feel better about how reasonable we are while we point and laugh with bigger words or point and laugh at topics that more of us agree are mockworthy. Which, whatever. I have no problem with the mods deciding that posts don't fit the tone or feel of metafilter, but I do have a problem with that tone being equated with reasonableness, or with joking being seen as inherently unreasonable unless it's sufficiently wordy. It privileges this sort of uniform and uncreative way of posting to the site and it squelches a certain sense of discovery and adventure. Not everything has to be the New Yorker to be worth reading.
posted by the young rope-rider at 9:39 AM on December 30, 2012 [9 favorites]


In your opinion, are either of the deleted links worth reading/viewing?
posted by The World Famous at 9:42 AM on December 30, 2012


You're asking me? I already gave my opinion of them both.
posted by the young rope-rider at 9:46 AM on December 30, 2012


Not everything has to be the New Yorker to be worth reading.

I mean yesterday we had a post about libertarians and paleo, the FBI cracking down on Occupy, and pushes for marriage equality on the "let's discuss contentious issues" spectrum, and news bloopers, Michael Caine, and Bieber/Slipknot mashups on the "lolwut" spectrum, so it's not like MetaFilter is either clamping down on creative/interesting posts slash becoming as droll and dry as the New Yorker (god forbid!).

There just wasn't anything to talk about re: purity bears, it's a mixture of the usual women should lose control over their bodies and faux "innocence" that leads to the usual creepiness. That it was a fifteen year old's stupid idea makes it even more problematic because fifteen year olds don't need religion or stupid worldviews to do utterly idiotic things with their time. There was nowhere interesting for that discussion to go, and boy was it going to that precise nowhere.

The atheist convention one was at least unusual, and of the two that's the post I'd say would be more worth keeping around, but it was really a mixture of "atheist stereotypes" and "god the people who made this are fucking morons" that, while kind of hilarious, is sketchy territory.

I think the deletions were reasonable, and I think that on the nice people/dickishness spectrum MetaFilter is still way too far into dickishness territory for this claim that people here are being "stifled" to hold much water. We are actively still holding threads that involve people of faith/no faith getting shouty, this is still a commonplace phenomenon, and trimming down on threads that will inevitably result in blechiness is a good idea, not just for mods but for users. That neither post was more than a quickly-hashed single link means the weird attitude of "atheists are toiling and sweating to make reasonable links and moderators are meaniepants" is, well, weird.
posted by Rory Marinich at 9:56 AM on December 30, 2012 [5 favorites]


It looks like those Boyfriend Bears were ... bad news.
posted by octobersurprise at 10:02 AM on December 30, 2012 [10 favorites]


"god the people who made this are fucking morons"

They're not, though! I think nearly everyone missed out on the fact that the video was incredibly (and intentionally) camp. It wasn't very good camp, but I did find it genuinely funny for a number of reasons, none of which had to do with either lolathesists or loltheists. It was also a very different concept of proselytization that most MeFites are used to or even familiar with. As far as religious propaganda in the Internet age goes, we're pretty mired in Christianity, to the exclusion of all other sorts.
posted by griphus at 10:03 AM on December 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


I don't love "here's a link to just one more example of something nearly all of us will agree is ridiculous, harmful, and backward."

That's a pretty strong assumption to make about the entire userbase.

I would not have been surprised to see people commenting about their own nascent sexuality and how they have sympathy for the girl who created this project; or their experiences within anti-sex religious backgrounds; or interesting meditations on the sublimation of bodily urges into an inanimate objects; or people who suggest that virginity-until-marriage is actually reasonable, and that our own cultural milieux are informing our pro-sex stances in ways that might bear more examination than we're inclined to do.

And all of those could have been really interesting comments, even in the midst of LOL BEARFUCKERS cracks. Though, for the record, I also don't think there's anything wrong with LOL BEARFUCKERS comments; sentiments along the lines of "HOLY SHIT THAT IS RIDICULOUS AND HERE'S WHY" can also be really interesting, depending on the content of the "AND HERE'S WHY" portion.
posted by Greg Nog at 10:07 AM on December 30, 2012 [4 favorites]


yeah I was a fan of the strap-on comment myself.
posted by angrycat at 10:21 AM on December 30, 2012


Personally, once a discussion has gone down the LOL BEARFUCKERS path, I for one am exceedingly unlikely to contribute thoughts about "my own nascent sexuality" or anything else nuanced or delicate. Those two discussions (LOL BEARFUCKERS/thoughtful in-depth musing) don't go well in the same space.
posted by Lexica at 10:23 AM on December 30, 2012 [12 favorites]


Spare Me The Schmoopy is yet another great band name.

The benefit of reading MeTa has no bounds!
posted by Argyle at 10:32 AM on December 30, 2012


just because you're paranoid

Armchair psychoanalysis of people you want to attack personally does a disservice to the mentally ill, so shame on you for that. If you don't like getting quoted verbatim, maybe don't comment. At all. But don't attack people for quoting you, either.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:42 AM on December 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


There is no call for personal attacks, this is not about BP personally, and there's nothing gained by pursuing that exchange here. Maybe let's just let that drop?
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 10:46 AM on December 30, 2012


While I agree that Mefi posts shouldn't require gratuitous link-padding to artificially add "depth", the Boyfriend Bear post was a context-free, one-link post to a commercial website. Would a similarly thin post that was nothing but a link to the ab GLIDER or Kirby Vacuum Bags and Parts be considered an acceptable post for Metafilter?

If not, that would imply that there was something specific to the religious/purity aspect of this product that made it worthy of discussion in a way that other "Here is a link to a product for sale" posts are not. Without adding to the tension by accusing the poster of putting this up just for laughs or as a "Look at these awful, ridiculous people" exercise, it does make me wonder what type of discussion this post was intended to lead to. I'm guessing "Neat product, might have to pick one up for my niece" or "What an enterprising young woman" was not the intended result here.
posted by The Gooch at 10:49 AM on December 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


They're not, though!

Okay, let me revise to, god the people who made this were fucking morons when it comes to understanding why and how people are atheists. The video production was entertaining, the proselytization still depends on assuming that atheists are a weird blend of hypocritical and unthoughtful.
posted by Rory Marinich at 10:52 AM on December 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


'Aggro' has been Australian for 'grar' or 'flack' or 'hassle' for about ever. One gives aggro, or doesn't need this aggro etc.

Same in the UK in my experience; the dictionary has it down as British/Australian informal and dates it to 1965-70 but without citation. A (very) quick search through google books turned up a reference to aggro in more-or-less this sense in an academic work from 1982 about sports supporters and culture, but the wording makes it sound like the author expects at least some of the audience will already be familiar with the term.
posted by Dim Siawns at 10:59 AM on December 30, 2012


"paranoid" has a colloquial meaning outside of the DSM definition of clinical paranoia. Regardless, this is a middling deletion upon which there will be no consensus.
posted by GuyZero at 11:20 AM on December 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Personally, once a discussion has gone down the LOL BEARFUCKERS path, I for one am exceedingly unlikely to contribute thoughts about "my own nascent sexuality" or anything else nuanced or delicate. Those two discussions (LOL BEARFUCKERS/thoughtful in-depth musing) don't go well in the same space.

I didn't really mind either post, but it is probably true that most jokes that include both a preteen girl and a dildo are premised on a deep misunderstanding of (early) female sexuality that is not corrected anywhere in mainstream culture, and it's not going to be a place where a lot of thoughtful conversation easily takes place. If only for the fact that 1) I like and make a lot of raunchy jokes and 2) I like talking about sexuality, but hearing preteen girl dildo jokes while thinking about the topic seriously is kind of jarring and inappropriate. If it were a post about Girlfriend Giraffes (which it's never going to be) and everyone were joking about holes being ripped in the crotch seams of the giraffes while we were also talking about boys' vulnerability to oversexualization it would still be quite ew.

But critiquing the premise of the Boyfriend Bears branding or business effort seems fine to me. I am also a little disillusioned when people throw out token "thoughtful" links that just serve to mask what is actually going on in the post.
posted by stoneandstar at 11:22 AM on December 30, 2012


BP what was it about that link that you found interesting?
posted by shakespeherian at 11:22 AM on December 30, 2012


I'm happy with both deletions and the reasons given.

On the Grar vs. Aggro question, I prefer Grar as Aggro strikes me as more combative with the potential for violence. I associate it more with football hooliganism than a community weblog.
posted by arcticseal at 11:29 AM on December 30, 2012


jokes that include both a preteen girl and a dildo

preteen girl dildo jokes


"Preteen"? The whole point of the boyfriend bear is that it's something you have instead of sex. It has nothing to do with preteen anything.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:34 AM on December 30, 2012


Preteen = 12 and under. Because everything after that has "teen" in it.
posted by elizardbits at 11:50 AM on December 30, 2012


My point being that the girl responsible for the project was 15 and therefore not a "preteen".
posted by elizardbits at 11:51 AM on December 30, 2012


Yeah the whole adding links to make the discussion more reasonable thing is...I see it as padding, or as a faux-objective/faux-academic framing from the OP.

I think that depends on what is being presented, and how it's done. Sometimes it's vital to give background, so people will get the context.
posted by zarq at 12:00 PM on December 30, 2012

"Preteen"? The whole point of the boyfriend bear is that it's something you have instead of sex. It has nothing to do with preteen anything.
"Boyfriend Bears is a non-profit organization that encourages pre-teen and teenage girls to live a life of purity."
posted by Flunkie at 12:19 PM on December 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


Now that's a mission that calls for a Mother Superior Moose, if you want to know my opinion.
posted by octobersurprise at 2:49 PM on December 30, 2012


Yeah the whole adding links to make the discussion more reasonable thing is...I see it as padding, or as a faux-objective/faux-academic framing from the OP.

In this case, though, it could have clarified precisely what BP found interesting and postworthy about it, rather than lots of people thinking he was posting it expressly to poke fun. BP has noted in here that he WASN'T trying to poke fun, but it's unclear what, in that instance, the post was about.

In other words: adding links to make the discussion more reasonable is one thing - adding links to guide the discussion out of LOL BEARFUCKERS territory may be a different thing.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:25 PM on December 30, 2012


I think there's an interesting discussion to be had about the commodification of "purity" and the arbitrariness of the different conceptions of "purity" and the way parents create business enterprises for which their children are the public face, particularly ideology-driven businesses.

There's also a lot of "Bearfuckers!" and "LOLXians" and "LOLUSA" to be had, though.
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:51 PM on December 30, 2012


I think there's an interesting discussion to be had about the commodification of "purity" and the arbitrariness of the different conceptions of "purity" and the way parents create business enterprises for which their children are the public face, particularly ideology-driven businesses.

How does one construct a post that launches that discussion?

I ask, because that subject seems inherently inflammatory for the Metafilter audience. Simply posting to links to such sites doesn't overcome that. A decent blog post or article about the subject might help, but it would have to particularly articulate and thoughtful.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:19 PM on December 30, 2012


I think there's a very interesting discussion to be had about all that too, but I'm not willing to have it at the expense of holding those girls up to ridicule, humiliation and abuse-- and that's what the thread was turning into.

Props to HuronBob for doing what could be done to stem the tide.
posted by jamjam at 4:20 PM on December 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's not a discussion I would want to try to have here myself, because I have a low tolerance for LOLXians, LOLUSians, and LOLwomen as a member of all of those groups.

Got no skin in the teddy bear or parenting games, though.
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:21 PM on December 30, 2012


Pathetic. And kids, it has nothing to do with how thin or thick the post is, if the mods don't want to deal with the potential for trouble (or start with the infantilizing expectation that trouble is certain) you can write a masterpiece and be a long time respected user here and these days, too bad.

Oh, come off it. The trouble was already there, the posts had very little worth discussing that hadn't been trod (poorly) already, and frankly I'm impressed that the mods haven't just shut down the site altogether during the Christmas-New Year's week given how shitty attitudes always tend to proliferate here during holidays.
posted by psoas at 6:01 PM on December 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


A decent blog post or article about the subject might help, but it would have to particularly articulate and thoughtful.

My feeling is that holding out for a particularly articulate and thoughtful blog post or essay or critical analysis is in fact a pretty solid baseline approach to posting on a potentially sensitive subject. Why not aim for that?
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:50 PM on December 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'd like ONE WEEK where NOTHING gets deleted, just to see what happens on all aspects of MetaFilter.

Would we really break down as a community without oversight?

Probably I am on crack with this. But sometimes, I'd like to see who we are, without the editing from above high.

Never gonna happen. I know.
posted by jbenben at 12:18 AM on December 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


As somebody else pointed out, the bears are for preteen as well as teen girls, and joking about 15-year-olds with dildos still doesn't make very much sense. I knew exactly no 15-year-old girls with dildos or even vibrators at that age. Not until at least near-adulthood. YMMV, especially with vibrators, but it's definitely not a given.

Also 15-year-old girls are still vulnerable to oversexualization, which is a biggish part of this issue, so being like "haha 15-year-old girls fucking teddy bears with strap-ons" is still like a jarring note that doesn't even actually make sense in terms of how most girls probably learn to masturbate. Around that age. The last thing I want to do is actually personally discuss female sexual development in an environment where it could come off as explicit or raunchy, or where it's already clear that the tone of the discussion is about teddy bears and sex toys and actually discussing the fact that a lot of girls do masturbate with stuffed animals, or that most girls are more resourceful than just popping down to the sex shop for a dildo, will come off as weirdly TMI instead of serious.

I don't really understand why saying "preteen" is so shocking anyway-- these bears are to prepare young girls for a life of chastity, and preteen girls definitely masturbate, so the parameters of the joke are still fulfilled. Preparation for female chastity begins well before the teenage years. 12-year-old girls are learning about sex in school, and some of them are having sex. I don't want to draw imaginary lines where it's okay to make sex jokes about teen girls but not preteen girls and no preteen girls are experimenting sexually.
posted by stoneandstar at 1:47 AM on December 31, 2012 [7 favorites]


Also, yeah, laughing about preteen/teen girls graphically fucking their teddy bears out of shame might be funny with some actual work and thought put behind the joke but just as a one-off ha-ha it's pretty unattentive to the amount of shame most girls do deal with about masturbation and sexuality. There just seems like something slightly thoughtless about making crude sex jokes about girls who are probably both dealing with extremely unwanted sexual advances at that age (yes, even preteen 12-year-olds & younger) and who quite possibly feel very ashamed and confused about masturbation in the first place, and who also really probably are not into deep vaginal penetration at that point and maybe even find the idea disturbing.

Like let's just say I don't find the joke offensive in itself, but I would expect that kind of joke from someone with no personal experience of female sexuality before the alternative. So it creates a certain atmosphere.
posted by stoneandstar at 1:55 AM on December 31, 2012 [5 favorites]


I think the young rope-rider's view to framing/padding of posts is valuable. I agree that posts shouldn't need faux-academic framing just to pass an arbitrary "post must be THIS --> respectable to ride" bar. But I think it goes the other way around as well, in that the mods really don't need to provide a faux-academic justification just to delete a single link post. Even though personally I thought the Boyfriend Bears were certainly an "interesting thing". Apples for apples.
posted by deo rei at 2:27 AM on December 31, 2012


My personal feeling is that it seems like a good post for Fark (or similar) if the whole point is to just make dildo jokes and sneer. If framing in such a way as to encourage a different conversation is just padding and people shouldn't be discouraged from point-and-laugh posts/threads why not go to any of the 100 million sites on the internet that already exist for exactly that sort of interaction?

I get that most of them are probably a lot more racist, sexist and homophobic than we are here, but that seems to be sort of part and parcel of this sort of that dynamic. I just don't really see the need to make Metafilter more like that.
posted by taz (staff) at 5:03 AM on December 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


I don't think the point of BP posting it was to have people joke and sneer.
posted by Drinky Die at 5:08 AM on December 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


What else should one do with such a link? It's a ridiculous website and posting it as a single link to Metafilter is, right or wrong, an invitation to sneer or poke fun at or get angry about.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:25 AM on December 31, 2012


To maybe shittily and defensively defend my defense of the strap-on joke, at age 15, well, there were no sex shops in my little burgh and I definitely needed a sexual outlet. I made do w/o a strap on or another human or a teddy bear with a strap on, but, hey, if somebody was selling dildos with the message, hey, use this and by the way, try to hold off on sex 'til your eighteen, I would give it major props.

It might have prevented me from losing my virginity to a member of the Society for Creative Anachronisms (the people who dress up as knights and call each other King Arthur and such). I swear to fucking god, losing my hymen to dildo bear as opposed to a SCA guy would, if I could, be the way I would rewrite my past.

And I'm out!
posted by angrycat at 7:01 AM on December 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


I asked what BP found interesting about the link but I've been left hanging. It was a real question, though.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:02 AM on December 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'd like ONE WEEK where NOTHING gets deleted, just to see what happens on all aspects of MetaFilter.

Would we really break down as a community without oversight?


No, we wouldn't break down as a community. We'd just be a community with a lot more noise and some shitty posts and some spam and some arguments that spin up out of control instead of getting cut off and a lot of folks wondering why the hell one or another crappy thing that normally wouldn't fly on the site is being left to fester.

There exist essentially wholly unmoderated space on the internet. If that is what you want, you can find them, or shades of that; every community approaches its policies on moderation and content differently, so different takes on e.g. the balance between unchecked discursive freedom and community-centric moderation can be observed and interacted with in the wild.

We have the set of aspirations and expectations we have here because it's what grew out of Matt's original vision for the place and is what has matured and baked over the years as site policy got hashed out in Metatalk and built up by the moderation team. We don't imagine that it's perfect, or the only viable approach to a web community, or that a week without moderation would in and of itself destroy this place, but it is what works here and what we believe in as an approach that helps Metafilter be about as good of a place as we can make it with the resources and skills we have.

Turning off our moderation responsibilities for a week would be a confusing and disruptive experiment that wouldn't make any sense when we're already very sure that turning off those responsibilities long-term would be a bad idea.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:11 AM on December 31, 2012 [9 favorites]


Judging from the response I got the last time I dared suggest on MetaFilter that I disagreed with a particular atheist attitude, I will say that the theists on this site are WAY nicer and more reasonable in discussions than the atheists are. On aggregate, that is; there are plenty of wonderful atheists here, and we've had some excellent discussions about religion with participants from both sides.

If you're going to disagree with a particular atheist attitude, then there's no problem in calling out specific sources from the diverse and multifaceted phenomenon that is atheism. No one is particularly going to care if you criticize Dawkins this week. He's a man who can't fart in his own bathtub without starting a debate among atheists about tone.

If you're going to overgeneralize to the view that the diverse and multifaceted phenomenon that is atheism is universally anti-theist, fundamentalist (an oxymoron), puritanical, or hot-blooded, then you're likely to get objection from atheists who are members of interfaith or religious communities.

It's not a matter of "sides" it's a conversation among groups that share on some values and disagree on others. And frankly, I've come to the conclusion that if you don't identify as one of the religious communities engage in that conversation or as an atheist member of those communities, I'm not sure you can fully understand the work we put into building mutual respect.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 7:58 AM on December 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


No one is particularly going to care if you criticize Dawkins this week.

Is there some reason in particular why this week is different from any other? Because in my experience Dawkins is definitely a sacred cow to some members.

If you're going to overgeneralize to the view that the diverse and multifaceted phenomenon that is atheism is universally anti-theist, fundamentalist (an oxymoron), puritanical, or hot-blooded, then you're likely to get objection from atheists who are members of interfaith or religious communities.

Yes. It would be nice if we chose to address what other members actually say they believe rather than assuming every atheist or theist fits a particular stereotype.

But there are a few knee-jerk defenders of religion and religious practice here -- who will take offense and ignore the fact that their beliefs don't apply to everyone. And there are a few atheists and/or agnostics on metafilter who apparently universally despise theism and theists, and seem to consider us all apologists, even when we're actually criticizing, questioning or debating religious practices.

The folks who act this way on both sides are poisonous to reasonable dialogue. They're more likely to defensively claim victimhood and attack than try and listen to what other people are saying and have a decent conversation. It's frustrating.

And frankly, I've come to the conclusion that if you don't identify as one of the religious communities engage in that conversation or as an atheist member of those communities, I'm not sure you can fully understand the work we put into building mutual respect.

We have people who do both on mefi. There's no reason why that understanding can't be encouraged.
posted by zarq at 8:46 AM on December 31, 2012 [6 favorites]


Is there some reason in particular why this week is different from any other?

It's primarily a reference to the fact that Dawkins is in the news this week because of repeated comments he made, and Higgs' comments about Dawkins. (I think they're both a bit guilty of a bit of hyperbole.) It's high tide in the Dawkins news cycle right now, and if you're going to criticize Dawkins, you'll find plenty of support all around right now.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 9:05 AM on December 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ah. Thanks. Had no idea.
posted by zarq at 9:21 AM on December 31, 2012


It's because Dawkins has been dipping his parsley into salt water this week, and also reclining.
posted by ChuraChura at 9:30 AM on December 31, 2012 [5 favorites]


Daw, daw, Dawkins! Daw, daw, Dawkins! Daw, daw, Dawkins! Dayenu, dayenu!
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:04 AM on December 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


I see. Dawkins is saying 'religion is child abuse' again, only now he's saying that it's worse than sexual abuse. The diminishing of survivors of child sexual molestation / rape / abuse is of course all the more sad and infuriating because Dawkins was molested as a boy himself, and so people will assume he has the right to speak as a knowledgeable authority for the rest of us.

I'm with Higgs.
posted by zarq at 10:54 AM on December 31, 2012


I'm with Higgs.

Reading that article, I'm having a hard time imagining anyone could reasonably disagree with what he's saying - including Dawkins. It looks like a bit of a tempest in a teacup to me.
posted by The World Famous at 11:25 AM on December 31, 2012


The Bears post absolutely should have been deleted and it was posted either for the lulz or to create a Christian bashing thread. One need to look no further than the lone comment about "It is not quite what I thought it would be" to see that this is not about sharing the actual information. I'm guessing that was some pun about bear boyfriends or some other sexual joke. Why else would it need a "SFW" which implies that one needs clarification that it is not-"NSFW"?

If it was not about lulz--despite the framing of it as such--then it is either about two things: (1) the organization and concept itself or (2) the organization and concept as stand-in to critique Christians and their crazy ideas writ large despite any correlation with this group and the beliefs of a sizable portion of this world that is Christian. (1) isn't particularly interesting because all it is a group that promotes chastity, of which there is not a lot to say. And it's not like this is a widespread phenomenon on the "promise keeper" level. (2) is wrong-headed and not good for Metafilter.

Good deletion because it is a sensitive enough topic that posts critical of religious beliefs and practices need to be at a higher level. This place is suppose to be a community. And I cannot imagine in your community you would go up to your fellow members and just start insulting their beliefs to their faces. I know people don't do this at meet-ups. At those, people tend to show others mutual respect and avoid such things. Seems like a community here should be sensitive to that as well.
posted by dios at 11:25 AM on December 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


My minor quibble with Higgs is with the erosion of the word "fundamentalism" which people throw around in discussions of religion/philosophy with all the precision and grace as my teen cousins appending "gay" to every negative value statement. For a similar reason I disagree with the category of "evangelical atheists." Both fundamentalism and evangelicalism are specific religious movements, with key authors and principles at the root. "Fundamentalist atheist," makes about as much sense to me as "Franciscan Atheist" or "Yellow Hat Atheist." And if we're going to respectfully disagree on matters of religion, we probably shouldn't be using the names of religious schools of thought as insults.

Dawkins did something awful there, but he does so with such frequency and is so routinely criticized for it that "Dawkins said something stupid and hateful" becomes something of a skipping record. He, Silverman, and Harris get used as authorities primarily because the news media has a conflict bias and love to put them oppositie the likes of Gingrich, O'Reilly, Huckabee, and Hannity.

And well, I know I'm biased in this, but the seasonal media blitz staring with intrusive cross-examination of our participation in Thanksgiving rituals, immediately followed by the "War on Christmas," with a special bonus of being scapegoats for the Newtown Massacre bother me a bit more than Dawkins said something stupid, round thirty-eight.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 11:49 AM on December 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


One need to look no further than the lone comment about "It is not quite what I thought it would be" to see that this is not about sharing the actual information.

I agree, but if you do look just a little further than that lone comment, you'll find Blazecock Pileon commenting in the "Atheist Convention" thread:
"We can protect Metafilter from posts about creepy religious practices that treat women like sex chattel, but when it comes to atheists, they're fair game, I suppose. :|
I and others have repeatedly asked Blazecock Pileon in this thread to clarify what his intent was in making that post. He has not responded. But he already characterized his own post as being "about creepy religious practices that treat women like sex chattel." So we have the answer already.
posted by The World Famous at 11:54 AM on December 31, 2012


I agree with both deletions BTW.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 12:01 PM on December 31, 2012


The World Famous: I think that was a post hoc attempt at coming up with some different angle for his post. The contemporaneous wording ("I was expecting something different... "SFW") implies to me that this was a pun when conceived and posted. And after it was deleted with the rejoinder that the post was too "point and laugh", there was an attempt at being aggrieved in the Atheist post by implying the bear post was meant as a serious expose of bad stuff. Now we have a new round of being aggrieved here in this post.
posted by dios at 12:04 PM on December 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


If only Douglas Adams was still around.
posted by Artw at 12:18 PM on December 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


*Applauds Dios*

Well delineated.

I know people don't do this at meet-ups.

I saw jackmo throw a guy through a window at a meetup in Glasgow for dissing Apple in conversation - so I honestly dread to think.

Yet again though, BP adds another dash of honest to goodness, warts and all tabasco sauce to the site - so I salute his incredible vivacity and interestingness, anyone that can get Dios out of retirement to comment should be applauded.
posted by sgt.serenity at 12:45 PM on December 31, 2012


Picking apart people's motivations for posting after they've explained their reasoning always gives me the unpleasant impression that we're engaging in a witch-hunt rather than taking the OP at their word.

Why not simply assume that BP's telling the truth, and did not intend to make a stunt post? What is there to gain by pushing him further, if you've already decided not accept his initial explanation?
posted by zarq at 1:05 PM on December 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm not doing any pushing, but as I did ask BP, I'll point out that he hasn't offered an explanation, just explained that the post wasn't made for [reason X]. I'm not interested in hunting him down over it, I was just hoping that he could offer his perspective on why he considered it an interesting post, since a lot of the conversation here seems to revolve around intent.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:08 PM on December 31, 2012


I'm fairly certain no one would be discussing his motivation if he had not taken the aggrieved stance in this thread and made it an issue.

Otherwise, this thread would probably go like countless others: people agreeing and disagreeing with the moderation decision irrespective of the purposes of the original poster.
posted by dios at 1:23 PM on December 31, 2012


I'm really not sure a poster's motivation in posting to the front page is relevant, unless that motivation comes through in the post itself in a way that poses a problem. I was curious, but I don't know that the answer would have any bearing on whether it was a good or bad deletion.
posted by The World Famous at 1:27 PM on December 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'd agree with that; I'd be curious to see a defense of the post other than 'it shouldn't have been deleted.'
posted by shakespeherian at 2:22 PM on December 31, 2012


I was unopposed to the deletion at first, but now that dios has stepped up to defend it I'm reconsidering my position.
posted by octobersurprise at 2:35 PM on December 31, 2012


I dont actually think he's allowed to argue with dios on mefi anymore - so i dont think he can comment, or he's stepping away from the thread so as not to get into a fight, like seriously.

The post is gone, get over it.
posted by sgt.serenity at 2:38 PM on December 31, 2012


Not that it happened in these posts, but I have a request of my fellow atheists: If you feel compelled to make a comment the includes the term "sky-wizard", please just move on and let it go.
posted by double block and bleed at 3:43 PM on December 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


Also, dildo jokes about children (including teens and pre-teens) should be reserved for the many slimy places on the internet where pedophiles fester.
posted by double block and bleed at 3:50 PM on December 31, 2012


People are really reading horrible things into the fact that someone mentioned a dildo. I think it's safe to say that suggesting that most boyfriends include phalluses (whereas stuffed bears generally do not) and that therefore adding a phallus would make the bear resemble an actual boyfriend is not actually in any way related to pedophilia.
posted by the young rope-rider at 3:59 PM on December 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh come on, adding a phallus does a hell of a lot more to those boyfriend bears than make them symbolically anatomically correct. These girls, for their own reasons and in their own way, are signalling in no uncertain terms that they don't want to be sexualized and want to still be seen as kids - like those who would be into teddy bears. Mainstream American culture already does so much to force sexuality on children their age and younger while taunting kids who don't want to participate, along with kids that do; why do we need to pile on? Especially in a post that is built as five minutes of hate for them, their families, and everything they believe (also backhandedly billed that way elsewhere), it is pretty intensely creepy to not only sexualize their idea but do so by going all LOL what they really need is some penis. I really don't see what isn't supercreepy about adding a device for a creepily specific sex act to a fucking teddy bear.

Are we really so profoundly unwilling to respect these kids saying no to the legitimately terrifying prospect that is live 15 year old boyfriends raised to hate and fear the frilly pink things they seem to like, expect sex and attraction from them, devalue the choices of women and girls in general, consider women and girls to be forces of nature to be controlled rather than people to be related to, and think the kind of penetration that strap-ons are for is what all women much less all girls are into as well as the sum extent of sex? Of course the obvious simple answer is for their communities to raise their boys better, but how could they when even metafilter reflects that misogyny so strongly?
posted by Blasdelb at 5:28 AM on January 1, 2013 [6 favorites]


It is interesting that some take an overwhelming bleak view of humanity or the site because of that particular post. I do not understand why.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:29 AM on January 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


My overwhelmingly bleak view of humanity was formed a while back.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:36 AM on January 1, 2013


A week of dis-modification would be unpleasant and dehumanizing but how about on April 1 give the mods a day totally off, turn on image posting, seriously and intensely warn the full user base and have:

4chan day on MiFi


woo what could possibly go wrong
posted by sammyo at 7:45 AM on January 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


but how could they when even metafilter reflects that misogyny so strongly?

Please do not make this MeTa thread into a MeFi-post-by-proxy. Thank you.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:57 AM on January 1, 2013


Blasdelb: Are we really so profoundly unwilling to respect these kids saying no to the legitimately terrifying prospect that is live 15 year old boyfriends raised to hate and fear the frilly pink things they seem to like, expect sex and attraction from them, devalue the choices of women and girls in general, consider women and girls to be forces of nature to be controlled rather than people to be related to, and think the kind of penetration that strap-ons are for is what all women much less all girls are into as well as the sum extent of sex? Of course the obvious simple answer is for their communities to raise their boys better, but how could they when even metafilter reflects that misogyny so strongly?

Ah, this is a new one. I am familiar with the Slippery Slope and the Strawman logical fallacies, but you're really going out on a limb here. Deflecting criticisms of a site promoting fetishistic plush toys by arguing that they are simply the natural by-product of a society overrun by hordes or rape-mongering, women-hating teenage boys reaches an entirely new level of bad faith debate. It's bold, it's brash, it's breath-taking in its sheer audacity.

It's also bullshit. This is what happens when you decide that, as a feminist, you must defend to the death against any and all criticisms of those born with XX chromosomes. Inevitably, you run into someone like Michelle Bachmann and the cognitive dissonance is just too great. You find yourself in a Metatalk thread, actually defending something that, were it created by a man, you'd be hellbent on blasting off the face of the earth. Now, rather than admitting that sometimes the tinfoil hats are, yes, worn by young women, there's nothing left to do but resort to creating some mythical Teenage Rape Monster scenario, in which you paint them as the ones attempting to control the very girls who dreamed up this scheme. Bravo. *golf clap*
posted by misha at 6:04 PM on January 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


I wasn't talking about them, or the many deep and interesting problems with their product, I was talking about us and how sickening it is that we seem so willing to mock these teenagers and their understanding of their sexuality - much less do so in such a crude and misogynistic way. I'd love to have a thread where we could actually critically examine something like the boyfriend bears, and tease apart the complex pile of baggage they come with, but there was precious little in the way of actual criticism in the middle of the creepy mess that was that thread; and I don't think we could do it even if we wanted to.

MetaFilter has a massive blind spot when it comes to conservative Christianity, where the gap in understanding seems to generally get filled in with absurd musings over brain damage, sky wizards, mental illness, projections of our own failings, and other assorted bullshit. If we're ever going to do something actually interesting like try to understand their culture, we'd need to approach it with a hell of a lot more humility than we're generally capable of and probably at least lay off the creepy child strap-on jokes.
posted by Blasdelb at 2:34 AM on January 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


"It's also bullshit. This is what happens when you decide that, as a feminist, you must defend to the death against any and all criticisms of those born with XX chromosomes. Inevitably, you run into someone like Michelle Bachmann and the cognitive dissonance is just too great."

These feminists you are imagining that get upset over any conceivable criticism of women, they don't really exist. However, it would be wrong to ignore the fact that women and girls get criticized more and in a fundamentally different way. This is why even though Bachmann is horrible its still fucked up to criticize her makeup, and why the mods delete the rape jokes that seem to keep coming up in Palin and Bachmann threads.
posted by Blasdelb at 2:52 AM on January 2, 2013


What Jessamyn said.
posted by taz (staff) at 4:14 AM on January 2, 2013


Seriously.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:27 AM on January 2, 2013


MetaFilter has a massive blind spot when it comes to conservative Christianity, where the gap in understanding seems to generally get filled in with absurd musings over brain damage, sky wizards, mental illness, projections of our own failings, and other assorted bullshit.

To bring this conversation back to a MetaTalk acceptable topic, one that is indeed Metafilter-related:

As much as we can truthfully speak about Metafilter having a majority voice on any subject, this is really a reflection of many members' attitudes towards religion in general, and especially towards fundamentalists. This is not a problem restricted to metafilter threads about conservative Christianity. It happens in many threads whose topic is religion and/or politics.

If the level of misinformation about conservative religious practices in certain threads bothers you, a suggestion might be to try to be a voice of helpful reason in response. Clarify and correct misconceptions when you can. Ignore / Flag the snark. I've been trying to do that in recent months and have found it much less stressful.
posted by zarq at 8:49 AM on January 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


Out of curiosity, were the flags on those posts mostly offensive/sexism/racism flags? I'm wondering if the flags reflected what seems to be the consensus: the atheists disliked the atheist convention post and the religious folks disliked the bears post, or if people flagged them because they thought the material was to thin to justify an FPP.

I guess if the flags were mostly "other", there is no way to tell.
posted by misha at 4:53 PM on January 3, 2013


Pretty evenly split between other/breaks guidelines/offensive.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:33 PM on January 3, 2013


...the atheists disliked the atheist convention post and the religious folks disliked the bears post...

When I'm in a flagging mood, I've flagged both. I'm not always in a flagging mood though.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 8:02 AM on January 4, 2013


Just for the record, my annoyance with the dildo jokes had nothing to do with pedophilia, just the fact that I thought they were lazy jokes counterproductive to certain types of discussion. And if not lazy, then just counterproductive, to what I would have found more interesting but don't think was necessarily the only worthy goal for that post.
posted by stoneandstar at 9:13 PM on January 4, 2013


Though I did get a sense of "that teddy bear oughta fuck the religion out of 'em!" Nothing leering about it, just obnoxious.
posted by stoneandstar at 9:15 PM on January 4, 2013


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