I am Adaptive Systems' wife.
February 9, 2013 7:19 PM   Subscribe

The wife of a reclusive author has appeared in a thread about him.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants to MetaFilter-Related at 7:19 PM (89 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

Well that's cool.
posted by sacrifix at 8:01 PM on February 9, 2013


I just read that. I don't buy it.
posted by cmoj at 8:38 PM on February 9, 2013 [6 favorites]


shenanigans
posted by dersins at 8:47 PM on February 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, after the holdkris thing, this kind of thing rings alarms for me... but whatever. Doesn't seem to be manipulative or anything.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:06 PM on February 9, 2013 [6 favorites]


My best friend's sister's boyfriend's brother's girlfriend heard from this guy that knows this girl who's going with a guy that saw Adaptive Systems passed out at 31 flavors last night. I guess it's pretty serious.
posted by carsonb at 9:11 PM on February 9, 2013 [20 favorites]


Eh, whatever floats someone's boat.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 9:43 PM on February 9, 2013


Even money on that being true, I'd say. The internet has so many lies; but given that's quite an unobtrusive affair, easily possible.

I'll always recall when I was 13 and raving about this obscure Spanish rock band I had found somehow the bassist came into the thread (presumably because it quickly became one of the premier search hits for the band).
posted by solarion at 9:51 PM on February 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


Feels awfully shenanigandery to me too, but: shrug.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:20 AM on February 10, 2013


Yeah unless "school" was mighty small, no one could read "every new book that came into the university library." Any significant university library is buying well more than a few books a day.

So that's some bullshit right there.
posted by spitbull at 3:09 AM on February 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Eh, my University used to have a shelf where they put new books for a while before they were added to the collection. It wasn't a small number of books, several display shelves worth, and you probably couldn't keep up with reading them indefinitely. But someone who was a fast reader and willing to skim a bit through the ones that were less interesting could totally read them all before the display was changed and a new set of books put up. I also doubt that every single new book was put up there, probably just the interesting ones (although they certainly implied it was all of them), and I also expect that most books were bought all at once at the start of each new year (and new budget allocation).

But pulleduphill didn't claim he read every new book ever, just "for a time", and I think that's totally doable at my old University at least (we had 10,000 students for what it's worth).
posted by shelleycat at 3:40 AM on February 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


And he walked uphill to and from the university every day in a blizzard. Barefoot.

Also, shelleycat, guarantee that was selected new books, not all of them.
posted by spitbull at 3:49 AM on February 10, 2013


And most university libraries buy books continuously, not once a year when they get a new budget allocation. Of course much of it is digital now, and most purchasing isn't one title at a time.

"He read every book that came in to the library" is sort of low level hyperbole, but it is obviously untrue for any value of university library greater than Slippery Grass Community College.
posted by spitbull at 3:55 AM on February 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


"He read every book that came in to the library" is hyperbole of the exact sort that people often use to describe other people, and to take it literally, and then prove it demonstrably false, doesn't weigh much either way for me in considering whether the post is genuine.

[Funny, that new books display in my very large university library is a weird guilt zone for me, and I more often scurry past it than stop to browse...]
posted by Mngo at 4:31 AM on February 10, 2013 [9 favorites]


True or not, someone spent $5 to make that happen.
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:32 AM on February 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


It sounds to me like hyperbole one would use to describe oneself, just saying.
posted by spitbull at 6:52 AM on February 10, 2013 [7 favorites]


Mngo, I know that guilty feeling, although I often wonder why half the books I see in that display were published, as there is unbelievable junk publishing of camera-ready-copy paper books going on these days to wring the last few bucks out of "we buy every new academic title" major research libraries (disappearing even among the richest universities now, however, and now subsumed in digital e-book aggregators where you get 10 crap books bundled with every good one). Last year I had an article republished 20 years later in a volume that basically printed out a bunch of JSTOR articles, got permission from journals, and charged $100 for a collection of dated articles any student could download for free plus a brief incoherent introductory essay. So much of that these days. I hate for profit academic publishing vehemently.

Anyway, I hope that really was Adaptive Systems' wife, but it seems an odd gesture as a way to ask for privacy. Punked again, more likely.
posted by spitbull at 7:03 AM on February 10, 2013


I'm not sure why people are skeptical. She isn't asking for money or anything else. I think it's fairly shitty to accuse someone who is living with a mentally ill husband of lying about it.
posted by empath at 8:29 AM on February 10, 2013 [6 favorites]


That comment just pisses me right off.

IF Adaptive System was still around and actually wanted to remain anonymous and move on with his life, and IF he were now married, what kind of insensitive, staggeringly selfish spouse would you have to be to pay five dollars, open an account, come into that thread, and post about his ongoing daily struggles?

To remark on his failures! To as much as assert the man is failing at life, and then turn around and call him a hero, and brave, and talk about loving him for his bravery--that just smacks of pandering to the masses. It's fake and phony and far too pat a comment, just the move I would expect from some damned attention junkie getting a vicarious thrill off of riding the coat-tails of this once-famous (or infamous) Internet personality.

That would all be bad enough, but if Adaptive Systems was actually one individual (and not, as I suspect he could be, a conglomeration of writers, possibly students, letting their creative juices flow in a sort of fanfic joint effort), then the man was at least very troubled and possibly severely mentally disturbed.

And making sport of the mentally ill is the one surefire way to rile me the hell up.
posted by misha at 8:34 AM on February 10, 2013 [12 favorites]


This is such a strange thing for Scott Adams to post.
posted by found missing at 9:32 AM on February 10, 2013 [14 favorites]


Okay, so on the upside you scored some imaginary internet points against someone who isn't real, on the downside you might have just shat on someone who was already going through a really hard time.
posted by empath at 9:47 AM on February 10, 2013 [19 favorites]


I have a custard heart. I am soft. I am a doormat -- easily, tenderly affected. I am tempted to give money to the spangers on the subway with the most obvious, well-worn scam just because I've heard them give it three days in a row and they must be suffering. I am surprised at the endings of Shyamalan movies. I am, in short, a pushover.

And I looked at the above-referenced comment and said: yeah, you know what, no.

On the off chance that I am incorrect, then adaptive systems' wife is surely internet-literate enough to understand that her veracity would be doubted, and why, and is prepared to take skepticism in stride.
posted by Countess Elena at 9:55 AM on February 10, 2013 [5 favorites]


I just rewrote a comment about four times before I realized that empath pretty much nailed it. I would vote for shutting this down before we potentially say something that we would regret.
posted by HuronBob at 10:26 AM on February 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


"going to fantasy island... what would your fantasy be?"

I would love to snaffle that for the halloween post, pure gold.
posted by clavdivs at 11:00 AM on February 10, 2013


I say misha has it. If it's real it's cynical and narcissistic. If it's fake, it's the same.

What set off my alarms is that it's an obvious attempt at AS's style, if it's not AS him/her/itself.
posted by cmoj at 11:05 AM on February 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


I am Horse ebooks' cousin.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:05 AM on February 10, 2013 [17 favorites]


It seemed hyperbolic, and leaves the question - why here, why now?
posted by Devils Rancher at 11:30 AM on February 10, 2013


**resisting temptation to do a MetaFilter tag line**
posted by found missing at 11:44 AM on February 10, 2013


I over-shared, at least rashly if not "staggeringly selfishly," in my eagerness to give some small update to the people who have appreciated him for so long, because I enjoyed finding the thread about him. I'm sorry for that.
posted by pulleduphill at 11:53 AM on February 10, 2013 [7 favorites]


Don't be sorry, if you're who you say you are. MetaFilter has had its chain yanked hard recently by more than one imposter, and people get jaded, suspicious and cynical.
posted by Devils Rancher at 12:10 PM on February 10, 2013 [10 favorites]


Thanks.
posted by pulleduphill at 12:20 PM on February 10, 2013


I sometimes post on a software site that is particularly obnoxious because there is a strong anti piracy agenda there (one that I agree with, by the way) but a tendency to accuse anyone new to the board asking vague questions of stealing software. I’m always amazed by this, that people will call others, that they don’t even know, thieves and worse just so they can be out front if it’s true, just to say "I told you so" and not appear to be fooled.

Like Empath said. I don’t see the point of the callout. You’re calling someone a liar and telling them their doing their life wrong based on a funny feeling you have? Just so you can claim "first!". Someone you know absolutely nothing about. There is no financial scam going so what does it matter if they’re lying? I’m sure lots of people here are lying all the time about all kinds of little things, people are weird, I’m not going to call them all out.
posted by bongo_x at 12:23 PM on February 10, 2013 [6 favorites]


FWIW, what pulleduphill posted felt very genuine to me. I certainly had the thoughts "maybe scam" and "maybe Adaptive Systems him/herself, in disguise," but really, what does it matter? I'd rather have some faith in people.

And please people, before you post "scammer," keep in mind that pulleduphill is here, and reading what you say. If I were her, and I was being honest, and had just opened myself up to a bunch of internet strangers because I encountered this cool thread about my husband that I was all excited about, and then they called me a liar and shenanigans, I would feel pretty crappy.

I mean, if I was a fake, I'd be all gloaty and stuff. But personally, I'd rather someone be able to gloat than feel crappy because of what I said in their presence.
posted by DoubleLune at 12:41 PM on February 10, 2013 [6 favorites]


really, what does it matter? I'd rather have some faith in people.

I guess this is my feeling. I like that MetaFilter is rather boring to troll.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:50 PM on February 10, 2013 [14 favorites]


Okay, so on the upside you scored some imaginary internet points against someone who isn't real, on the downside you might have just shat on someone who was already going through a really hard time.

No. Saying something doesn't ring true or you think it might not be true is not "scoring imaginary internet points" nor is it having "shat on someone." Good grief. If you post something on the internet someone else might say they don't think it's true and that is their right. You can't post things on the internet at large if you need for all the replies to only be hearts and flowers. If someone is mentally fragile enough that anything other than wholly credulous and supportive responses could send them into a mental meltdown, there are safe spaces for them to post where they can get those needs met.

If you as an adult put something on to the internet at large you are putting it there for other people to react to, with the range of reaction that exists. It's not for you to control their reactions or dictate what they have to be. If you put it on a certain site you are putting it there for people to react to within the range of agreed-upon behavior for the site. We have agreed, to this point that MeFi isn't a "safe space." I think hostility to people who think something might not be true, and express that, is pushing it in the direction of "safe space," which I personally am not interested in.

None of this is directed to pulleduphill.
posted by cairdeas at 12:54 PM on February 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


The people who came in here to tell the author's wife that she is a faker and or a shitty narcissist should disable their accounts. Seriously. You are awful people.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 1:43 PM on February 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Why would this alleged troll post here, instead of Something Awful, where people were asking about Adaptive Systems for years? Why would somebody pretend to be the spouse of somebody so reflectively obscure?
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 1:45 PM on February 10, 2013


Why holdkris, you mean?
posted by jacalata at 1:47 PM on February 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think hostility to people who think something might not be true, and express that, is pushing it in the direction of "safe space," which I personally am not interested in.

So people should feel free to be hostile without worrying about people being hostile to them for it? That's incoherent.
posted by empath at 1:48 PM on February 10, 2013


The people who came in here to tell the author's wife that she is a faker and or a shitty narcissist should disable their accounts. Seriously. You are awful people.

You appear to be directing this towards one person. No one should be disabling their accounts. It's fine to be skeptical. It would be good if people were decent about it.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:54 PM on February 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


The practical unresolvability of the question kinda suggests people should just take it easy, basically. Skepticism and credulity both have their upsides and we don't need to throw 'em in a pit with broadswords at the moment.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:07 PM on February 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


That would never work anyway. Skepticism would assume the game was rigged and Credulity would turn around and look the first time Skepticism yelled, "Hey, someone's behind you!"
posted by found missing at 2:15 PM on February 10, 2013 [7 favorites]


Skepticism has stolen Credulity's nose! Oh, the humanity!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:27 PM on February 10, 2013 [15 favorites]


I'm *still* skeptical about those two Russian girls, ferchristsake!
posted by PeterMcDermott at 2:34 PM on February 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm *still* skeptical about those two Russian girls, ferchristsake!

It turns out they're not real lesbians.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 2:39 PM on February 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


Easy, tiger.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:43 PM on February 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Charlemagne in Sweatpants, now that there's a MetaTalk thread open, may I ask you with the deepest respect and kindness to please stop posting things and then hectoring people who say they read them and didn't like them? This is the second time I've noticed you doing it, and it's so unpleasant that it makes me not want to read your FPPs. I admire your passion about the links you post, but thread sitting and arguing with everyone who doesn't agree is not the way to get people to dig the stuff you dig.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:45 PM on February 10, 2013 [8 favorites]


I just want to know how many books the dude really read at the university library.
posted by spitbull at 3:01 PM on February 10, 2013


The people who came in here to tell the author's wife that she is a faker and or a shitty narcissist should disable their accounts. Seriously. You are awful people.

My thought is that the act would be narcissistic and cynical. We've all done narcissistic things, probably especially on internet boards, it doesn't make all of us narcissists. It's not an attack on my part, it's one of the reasons it seems fishy to me. Nothing happens to me or for me whatever's true.

Why would this alleged troll post here, instead of Something Awful, where people were asking about Adaptive Systems for years?

I'm not sure why this is presented as an argument against trickery.
posted by cmoj at 3:03 PM on February 10, 2013


Actually, I do hope it's not true. I hope the writing students got bored/got book deals and there is no tormented but brilliant individual unable to voice what he wants to.
posted by cmoj at 3:05 PM on February 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


On behalf of everyone that's vacated mefi I'd like to apologise to mrs adapative for her reception by the banal, codependent dregs that have been left behind on site.

*goes back to the desert*
posted by sgt.serenity at 4:24 PM on February 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


I agree. Things were so much better back in the day. For example, you'd never see someone pop into a thread and drop a giant steaming broad brush insult directed at the entire user base of a web forum.
posted by found missing at 4:43 PM on February 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


On behalf of everyone that's vacated mefi I'd like to apologise to mrs adapative for her reception by the banal, codependent dregs that have been left behind on site.

*goes back to the desert*


On behalf of everyone still here, I would like to say that if you wish to be such an asshole to everyone here, you should damn well stay in the desert.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:55 PM on February 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


And on that note, please?
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:24 PM on February 10, 2013


MetaFilter: resisting temptation to do a MetaFilter tag line
posted by deborah at 6:00 PM on February 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


If I were married to someone who was mentally unstable and going through a difficult time, and spent much of my current life supporting him, I do not think there would be much left I could do that would be justly called selfish or narcissistic. I mean, really. You stick by someone when they are down, and help them, but a comment on a message board turns you into a heartless opportunist?

Of course it could be a fake, and that's a fine thing to be wary of, but if not I certainly don't agree with folks who are saying the post was selfish. I think that's quite mean, really.
posted by onlyconnect at 9:51 PM on February 10, 2013 [6 favorites]


married to someone who was mentally unstable and going through a difficult time, and spent much of my current life supporting him

Do we know these things to be true about Adaptive Systems and his wife or are you kinda guessing?
posted by Joseph Gurl at 11:25 PM on February 10, 2013


How´s your lawn sarge? You old curmudgeon.
posted by adamvasco at 5:22 AM on February 11, 2013


I don't think pulleduphill's post was at all narcissistic. It sounds like they've gone through a tough time & appreciated the validation of that effort that from a metafilter thread praising the work of the person they cared about.

Sure, maybe it's fake. Maybe I'm a dog. On the internet, who knows? We work with what we get.
posted by pharm at 5:53 AM on February 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


I'm *still* skeptical about those two Russian girls, ferchristsake!

I'm not, though I suppose it's because I met them and ate Japanese junk food with them. You can see their hands on the left side of this picture.

Maria Bamford, on the other hand, I now believe is entirely a figment of my imagination.
posted by Toekneesan at 10:23 AM on February 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


Which one was Ferchristsake?
posted by Burhanistan at 11:32 AM on February 11, 2013


The people who came in here to tell the author's wife that she is a faker and or a shitty narcissist should disable their accounts. Seriously. You are awful people.

The presence of a good number of people with a gimlet eye for internet bullshit is one of the things that I appreciate most about Metafilter.
posted by ryanshepard at 12:28 PM on February 11, 2013 [6 favorites]


Eh, my University used to have a shelf where they put new books for a while before they were added to the collection. It wasn't a small number of books, several display shelves worth, and you probably couldn't keep up with reading them indefinitely.

I've seen this, too - a "New titles" shelf that was changed once every other week or so. Blowing through them on a manic binge was totally possible - tho probably incompatible with classwork. No, they probably weren't the sum total of the library's haul, and I have no opinion of pulleduphill's identity, but it's a strange nit to pick.
posted by Slap*Happy at 12:40 PM on February 11, 2013


Man, y'all are cold.
posted by batmonkey at 1:50 PM on February 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Just y'all are cold, not all y'all, because some of y'all are fairly sympathetic.
posted by onlyconnect at 7:17 PM on February 11, 2013


pulleduphill, welcome and I apologize for the weirdness. As has been said, we've been screwed with for no real reason in the still-pretty-recent past, so some people are gunshy.

Anyway, thanks for the updates and all.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:26 PM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


I am perpetually astonished, though I suppose I shouldn't be anymore, that some people are not only very credulous about unsubstantiated things they read online, but also so very defensive about their own assumptions. Like empath said upthread:

I'm not sure why people are skeptical. She isn't asking for money or anything else. I think it's fairly shitty to accuse someone who is living with a mentally ill husband of lying about it.

I think the point here is that everything after the word "skeptical" in that comment is an assumption, including the pronoun "she". We don't know if the person posting is a woman, or indeed if Adaptive Systems was one person, or if that person was a dude. I mean, do we? Where exists any evidence of anything about the situation? We certainly don't know that the poster in that linked thread was the wife of a man who is mentally ill, though obviously it could easily be the case.

I don't mean to pick on you, empath, and I think your willingness to defend people you perceive as vulnerable is commendable.

But we don't know anything for certain about the identities of the people behind this. Pointing that out is not an act of aggression or criticism; this is just the nature of the internet. It's entirely possible that the situation is exactly what pulleduphill suggests, but we have no way of knowing if it is or not. Those inclined to do so give the benefit of the doubt, but I think it's bizarre (and not entirely fair or civil) of them to react angrily when someone notes that we know exactly zero facts about the real-world situation underlying this one.

I don't think it's cold to withhold judgment about a situation when you don't know anything for sure. I also don't think it's necessarily kind to berate other people for not being credulous.
posted by clockzero at 8:27 PM on February 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


I just think it's strange that in most respects Metafilter is nice to the point of self-parody. I've seen MeFites give the benefit of the doubt to George W Bush, Catholics, and Juggalos. But then there's this case, where there seems to be doubt for no reason. I recall a similar thing ages ago, and somebody said "if you get fooled, what's the worst that can happen? You were nice enough to trust and try and help sombeody".
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 8:38 PM on February 11, 2013


"if you get fooled, what's the worst that can happen? You were nice enough to trust and try and help somebody"

That may have been me. But as per usual people overgeneralize about MetaFilter when it suits them and assign certain characteristics to the whole site and/or rogue individuals. Some MeFites give the benefit of the doubt to Catholics and some do not. Likewise with Bush and Juggalos as well as this situation. I don't think most people would agree that MetaFilter is nice to the point of self-parody in almost any respect. I think your nice-o-meter may be maladjusted.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:46 PM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


It isn't not-nice to be unsure if the truth is being told in a situation where you have no way of knowing what's what. It's okay to not accept something at face value when the only thing you have to go on is a very sympathetic story.

But then there's this case, where there seems to be doubt for no reason.

The reason is that we don't actually know anything.

People who want to believe this story are not being taken to task. Similarly, there's no need to suggest that people who are not sure about the situation are being unkind.
posted by clockzero at 8:53 PM on February 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


"if you get fooled, what's the worst that can happen? You were nice enough to trust and try and help sombeody".

What is the worst that can happen in an environment where you're deemed an asshole just for saying you don't believe something that others believe or want to believe? Really? You can't think of the worst that can happen in that situation?

I just think it's strange that in most respects Metafilter is

I find this thread strange from the other direction.
posted by cairdeas at 9:25 PM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Likewise with Bush and Juggalos

What a Gathering that will make!
posted by yerfatma at 8:53 AM on February 12, 2013


But we don't know anything for certain about the identities of the people behind this.

What you are asking for here is a recipe for a poisonous society. We take each other at face value here and assume, generally, that people are being honest about who they are and what they are talking about. We can't have conversations here if our default position about each other is skepticism about their identity.
posted by empath at 10:21 AM on February 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


> We can't have conversations here if our default position about each other is skepticism about their identity.

I think that ship has sailed, though. A bit of skepticism on the front end is a good thing, and people who make claims on the internet should be prepared to wade through a bit of it, provided it is done politely enough.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:23 AM on February 12, 2013


It isn't not-nice to be unsure if the truth is being told in a situation where you have no way of knowing what's what. It's okay to not accept something at face value when the only thing you have to go on is a very sympathetic story.

Completely true. And you keep your mouth shut about it.

The point is calling someone a liar with no provocation, and then people ganging up to help. If someone is a liar, and you have not voiced that opinion in advance, you will be OK. Your internet points will not go down.
posted by bongo_x at 10:46 AM on February 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Since it seems to be a contentious enough issue that I have been asked to, after nearly 6 years here, disable my account, I'll let you all know where I was coming from when I challenged pulleduphill.

i was skeptical at first because of the relationship; why would Adaptive Systems himself not come in to say he was married? Why his wife? And if he didn't want to get into it (which, really, why now after all these years?), why would his wife then go behind his back to update us, internet strangers not even on Something Awful, on how he was doing?

To me, that was seriously fishy. Either pulleduphill is, yes, selfish and more concerned with her own needs than her spouse's, or she isn't Adaptive Systems' spouse at all. So I said what I thought: I feel you are either a fake or selfish. Even if she is genuine, by describing AS as this emotionally and mentally troubled man even while she is going behind his back to tell us about him, she comes across as narcissistic. The narcissistic part came from the obvious need to make this about HER. All of that comes from what she wrote, just as the defenses of pulleduphill do, so I was unprepared for the backlash I got.

The vitriol that ensued made me decide to look into this more. That's not too easy to do, as I don't have a Something Awful "archival" account (unlike Matt, they charge more for all kinds of access privileges, which means viewing threads prior to a year ago costs you an additional $10 bucks, on top of the $10 sign-up. Twenty bucks, SAIT.)

Still, you can get around some of that stuff, and after five minutes of Googling and I could access some background info. To get you all up to date on this: Back in 2004, when Adaptive Systems was most prolific on the Something Awful forums, no users knew who AS was. Comments were often made about how this person must be a genius, etc. A moderator at the time went by the Something Awful nick of Call me Abey.

Adaptive Systems disappears, and is sorely missed, as can be imagined. People wonder where he's gone, and another user even starts a wordpress blog of Adaptive Systems' posts, which was linked in the FPP that spawned this Metatalk.

Finally, in a recent (20211) thread where Call me Abey, who has been on Something Awful for 10 years, and other long-time users were reflecting on the past glory days of Something Awful and how things were better then (much like we do here on Metafilter), the subject of Adaptive Systems comes up. Call Me Abey comes out with the bombshell that Adaptive Systems is actually the brainchild of a certain prolific poster, who was also behind many of the more popular threads, and mentions what a great storyteller this user was. None of the SA old-timers in that thread seem to doubt that information or its source. I emailed the link to that thread to Lobster_Mitten via the contact form, and didn't comment in here further.

Then pulleduphill Mefimailed me, with no prior contact from me, with a civil email basically asserting she was who she said she was. Now, according to MetaTalk etiquette, I can't disclose any of the actual content of pulleduphill's messages to me. We don't do that kind of thing here.

I think it is allowable to give you the gist, though, which was I asked pulleduphill about that other, prolific username that, according to an SA mod, was also Adaptive Systems, and she had no idea what I was talking about.

I also have a link. It is supposedly to an SA archive thread, and may indicate that the person posting here as pulleduphill and Adaptive Systems met on the Something Awful forums--whether this is true, whether the meeting was IRL or online, I don't know, because, since it is an Archive thread, I cannot access it.

For me, at least, that's not really any kind of substantiating evidence that pulleduphill is now married to Something Awful's Adaptive Systems, especially given the mod's contention about who Adaptive Systems really was.

Of course, YMMV, and you are all free to believe what you want. I do want to note that saying you are married to a mentally ill person doesn't mean you are, so accusing me of being mean for questioning the wife of a mentally ill person is just--well, it doesn't follow from your own logic, I'll just leave it at that.

Why question pulleduphill to begin with? What's the harm done? We've heard of people gaming AskMe for fun, making up fake questions, and maybe I'm alone, but I think that's harmful. We've had Givewell, and Kaycee Nichole before that, and we've seen a long-time, trusted member scamming us with a fake suicide. "Not asking for money" isn't the only metric for whether something is harmful (and the way frauds do work, when they happen, is that the fraudster starts out establishing fake credentials--for instance, on cancer threads, they'll research cancer symptoms and treatments to make their posts more believable. It's only after others have been drawn into the web that requests for aid, money, etc. usually come in, anyway).

So I guess I just don't see why questioning someone is seen as so surprising, let alone mean! If pulleduphill is who she says she is, I'm sure she can handle it. She could always ask Adaptive Systems to verify that yes, she is my wife, and I'll apologize if that happens, no problem.

If ya'll want to question me, I'm up for it, and I won't be offended, because this is the internet, and if you've been around long at all you have to know that people are not always who they claim to be.

What I am not going to do is disable my account because to_sir_with_millipedes says I'm an awful person for being skeptical about something I read on the internet.

Thank you, by the way, to cairdeas, clockzero and others, who said some of this already, and much better than I just did.
posted by misha at 11:56 AM on February 12, 2013 [8 favorites]


I was under the impression that the larger problem was not in posing the question but in the kinda harsh language used? It seems many folks agreed that asking the question at all was understandable.
posted by Glinn at 12:49 PM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


empath >

But we don't know anything for certain about the identities of the people behind this.

What you are asking for here is a recipe for a poisonous society. We take each other at face value here and assume, generally, that people are being honest about who they are and what they are talking about. We can't have conversations here if our default position about each other is skepticism about their identity.


Empath, I really hear what you're saying, and I am entirely sympathetic to your larger point about trust and sociality. Really, I am, and I appreciate you making that point. I think we're talking past each other about two different things, though. On one hand, we have disinterested skepticism (that is to say, not accusatory or inflammatory) about an unusual claim, that is, what pulleduphill is saying about their identity and relationship with Adaptive Systems, whose identity is itself a mystery. And on the other hand, we have the kind of knee-jerk radical incredulity you characterize above. I'm engaging you in conversation right now, for instance, without making any claims about who I am: we're just talking. Normal online socializing doesn't necessarily raise issues about identity claims, but conversations that are specifically about such claims clearly do.

bongo_x >

It isn't not-nice to be unsure if the truth is being told in a situation where you have no way of knowing what's what. It's okay to not accept something at face value when the only thing you have to go on is a very sympathetic story.

Completely true. And you keep your mouth shut about it.


It is not your prerogative to tell other site members to shut up, bongo_x. This is not your blog and we're not talking about anything that violates the rules or guidelines of the site.

The point is calling someone a liar with no provocation, and then people ganging up to help. If someone is a liar, and you have not voiced that opinion in advance, you will be OK. Your internet points will not go down.

I was voicing my opinion about reactions to what pulleduphill said. I was not stating that I thought pulleduphill was lying, but rather noting to everyone else that we do not know whether or not the claims being made were true, and that there was no obvious or immediate way to verify them. There's a difference between accusing a speaker of lying and reminding the rest of the audience that we do not know if a claim is true, and that it's not even clear how we would go about making such a determination. I think that's entirely fair when the conversation is about the claim itself. I'm not defending some imputed, perceived right to accuse people of lying. This need not be acrimonious.
posted by clockzero at 3:23 PM on February 12, 2013


It is not your prerogative to tell other site members to shut up, bongo_x. This is not your blog and we're not talking about anything that violates the rules or guidelines of the site.

I’m telling anyone to shut up. The claim was "It isn't not-nice to be unsure" (which I need a chart to follow). It’s fine to be unsure, but if you say it out loud then you’re being rude. It’s not the doubting, it’s the accusing.
posted by bongo_x at 3:49 PM on February 12, 2013


"If you keep your mouth shut" would have been a better way to say it.
posted by bongo_x at 3:53 PM on February 12, 2013


I don't know who the hell you are, but you don't get to tell me to keep my mouth shut.
posted by dersins at 6:25 PM on February 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


I did not intend or anticipate this drama and again I regret my decision to post the other night. I will contact a moderator to verify my identity and maybe then we can move on.
posted by pulleduphill at 8:34 PM on February 12, 2013


As she says here, pulleduphill has contacted us to offer to verify her identity.

But since nobody knows Adaptive Systems' identity in the first place, there's really no verification possible... at least without getting into a much more complex exercise than seems warranted by the relatively low stakes of the discussion here.

So that leaves us still in the position of saying, people can believe or not believe, and either way please be reasonably civil.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:12 PM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


pulleduphill, there was no reason for you to anticipate the drama - you didn't do anything wrong, and please don't worry about it.

What is happening here is that, a little while back, a long time user, who was much loved for his comment based storytelling, faked his own death. He did this by cretaing a sockpuppet account for his 'wife', who reported his death. This was exposed shortly after, and many mefites were extremely burned by it, felt angry and betrayed, and obviously still do.

This mistrust you are seeing here is a byproduct of that experience, and similar incidents. It has nothing do you with you personally.

I am choosing, as many have suggested, to take you at your word that you are who you say you are, because that's the kind of place that I personally want this to be.

But you don't have anything to prove to anyone. People can choose to believe you or not - but that's on them, not you. I hope that you'll understand why some people are skeptical, but please don't feel like you did a bad thing, or caused discord. You didn't.

I hope you stick around, and that you enjoy your time here.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:24 PM on February 12, 2013 [7 favorites]


I just think it's strange that in most respects Metafilter is nice to the point of self-parody. I've seen MeFites give the benefit of the doubt to George W Bush, Catholics, and Juggalos. But then there's this case, where there seems to be doubt for no reason.

CiS, don't fool yourself that people have 'no reason' to be doubting here. The holdkris thing is clearly fresh in many people's minds (mine included), and there are unfortunate similarities to that event here. Skepticism, while undesirable, is certainly not unwarranted.

...if you get fooled, what's the worst that can happen?

You lose faith in humanity, and become even more cynical and jaded. You feel personally humilated for your gullibility. I don't know about you, but I want avoid feeling like that. Again.

But in this particular case, the stakes are low - I think we can afford to take the risk. And we all love it when the topic of a discussion drops in and participates, and I think a default presumption against takeing people at face value will discourage that.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:42 PM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


CiS, don't fool yourself that people have 'no reason' to be doubting here. The holdkris thing is clearly fresh in many people's minds (mine included), and there are unfortunate similarities to that event here. Skepticism, while undesirable, is certainly not unwarranted.

I apologize. I honestly did not know about the holdkris thing until this thread.

You lose faith in humanity, and become even more cynical and jaded. You feel personally humilated for your gullibility. I don't know about you, but I want avoid feeling like that. Again.

That's attaching stakes that are too high to these interactions.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 10:32 PM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


So I guess I just don't see why questioning someone is seen as so surprising, let alone mean!

Look. In your first comment here you told us that "That comment just pisses me right off" and then went on to assert that the poster was either an "insensitive, staggeringly selfish spouse" or a faker.

I don't mind skepticism, but if the poster is NOT faking, I do find it quite mean for you to just come out and baldly declare, without knowing anything about her life or circumstances, that she is "staggeringly selfish" to have posted details about someone she loves in a thread dedicated to appreciating that person. Saying someone is "staggeringly selfish" is not questioning someone, it is insulting them, in a thread that you fully expect them to be reading. So yes, I do think that was mean.

But I also certainly don't think you should disable your account, and I'm sorry anyone here would suggest that to you, fwiw.
posted by onlyconnect at 10:38 PM on February 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


I apologize. I honestly did not know about the holdkris thing until this thread.

That's cool, no big deal. But it's necessary context for the reactions in this thread.

I apologise for my multiple typos in my last few comments. Even the edit window cannot save me from my dubious typing.

That's attaching stakes that are too high to these interactions.

Perhaps. But I was upset by holdkris' death - that grief was real, notwithstanding that I never met him, and we weren't friends of any sort. I was even more upset by the revelation that it was deception.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 10:43 PM on February 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


but it's a strange nit to pick.

I was being silly, ferchrissake. "I used to read every new book in the University library" is the kind of bullshit claim a certain sort of auto-didact might make about himself. Anyone who spends time around university libraries (as I do) finds that as amusing as someone saying they wrote "Bell Bottom Blues" for Eric Clapton and just never got credit for it (something a barstool liar once said to me, is why I thought of it). It's harmless hyperbole, but it's the sort of thing you'd say about someone else only if you sort of believed it was possible, but would say about yourself if you didn't really think others would find it a laughable claim. To repeat, and to pick the odd nit, the new books shelf is not "every new book in the university library" for any value of "university library" above the level of a community college. You. Could. Not. Possibly. Do. It. My university library, admittedly in the top 10 sizewise, buys hundreds of new print items a week. Hundreds. Never mind that most acquisition is now digital. It has something on the order of 10 million print volumes in total.

I wasn't really challenging the truth value of the statement literally, because it could not possibly be literally true. I was having some fun with evident hyperbole. Capiche? WHen someone claims they walked across the Gobi desert barefoot with only a liter of water, it isn't necessary to call them a liar. But it is fun to call attention to the scale of the hyperbole.

And what it suggests is that other elements of the comment in question were also hyperbole, at best.

I didn't give a flying f**k about holdkris, which struck me as bullshit from the get go. This just struck me as amusing.
posted by spitbull at 5:34 AM on February 13, 2013


I'm sorry, but do you asterisk with that mouth?
posted by found missing at 3:24 PM on February 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


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