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March 10, 2013 11:27 AM   Subscribe

O'rly

I would just like to clarify that I haven't been silenced all my life, neither am I interested in dying on hills.
posted by adamvasco to Etiquette/Policy at 11:27 AM (259 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

The title suggests otherwise.
posted by StrikeTheViol at 11:31 AM on March 10, 2013 [5 favorites]


Unfortunately, Metafilter is NOT a democracy. I don't have a dog in this particular fight, but I have been here long enough to know threads on that subject go worse than just about any topic thread one can think of. It's a shame but it is what it is.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 11:31 AM on March 10, 2013 [7 favorites]


I would just like to clarify that I haven't been silenced all my life, neither am I interested in dying on hills.

Then what is your point?
posted by desjardins at 11:32 AM on March 10, 2013 [7 favorites]


I'll admit to not following the I/P meta threads too closely, so my question is, was this "break" actually announced prior to this deletion?

This thread at least looked promising out the gate for once, and while the fact that the promising ones in this topic are so rare could certainly be justification for why such a break is needed, it still feels like we might have lost an opportunity to break the trend.
posted by radwolf76 at 11:39 AM on March 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


MetaFilter shuts down women.

MetaFilter deletes truth to power.

These are indeed interesting hills to die on, despite your protestations. I respectfully request you reconsider, adamvasco.
posted by carsonb at 11:39 AM on March 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


I/P threads have been going so poorly here in recent months that we are taking a break from them

Sounds like a reason to disable comments.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:40 AM on March 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


You've chosen a provocative/sarcastic stance for your post, which speaks more of a fit of pique than any attempt to discuss something.

Which in turn describes most I/P discussions, so I guess you're thematically on target.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 11:42 AM on March 10, 2013 [10 favorites]


*lies down in front of moddozer*
posted by R. Schlock at 11:43 AM on March 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


*moddozes over R. Schlock*
posted by Nomyte at 11:44 AM on March 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Welcome to the MeFi Cliche Festival.
posted by jonmc at 11:45 AM on March 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Aaaaaaaaaaugh!!!

free MetaFilistine!!!
posted by R. Schlock at 11:45 AM on March 10, 2013


After the last fighty I/P thread and its associated fighty MeTa, the mods talked about having either a moratorium or an extra high bar for I/P posts. When this post came up today, we kicked it around on the mod list a bit and I waited a little to see what the comments would look like, but in the end I made the call to delete it.

If people could discuss this civilly, and without going around and around in the same old circles, then we could have nice things. Adamvasco, if you want threads on this subject to stay alive, you should examine your own role in making those threads toxic. You are definitely not the only one, but this is really a case where a handful of people play an outsized role in making it impossible to have a conversation on this issue.

Also, this MeTa needs to not become a discussion of Israel by proxy.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 11:46 AM on March 10, 2013 [12 favorites]


You've chosen an provocative/sarcastic stance for your post

The meta I was drafting in my head on my way over here before I saw someone else had made one would have had the title "Gimme a break/Gimmie a break/Break me off a piece of that Kit Kat GRAR", and the question I posted upthread. If it helps the discussion, feel free to mentally sub in that as the original post instead.
posted by radwolf76 at 11:51 AM on March 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


Petition to extend this policy to:
  1. Things where groups of largely like-minded progressives / liberals / leftists scream at each other about whether participation in the political process is or is not useful
  2. Fights about bicycles.

posted by brennen at 11:52 AM on March 10, 2013 [14 favorites]



*lies down in front of moddozer*
posted by R. Schlock at 11:43 AM on March 10 [+] [!]


Oh, let's not.

(I still shudder at that incident, and I am not averse to gallows humor in principle.)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 11:56 AM on March 10, 2013 [18 favorites]


I would just like to clarify that I haven't been silenced all my life, neither am I interested in dying on hills.

Then why did you make this meTa? If you have a point, make it. The coy approach is tiresome.
posted by rtha at 11:57 AM on March 10, 2013 [18 favorites]


Apologies to kliuless, but that wasn't a great framing of the OP anyways. Michaeli devotes what, 10 seconds to the Palestinians? It's much more of a feminist/intersectionalist/Occupy-type speech about Israeli society, but the pull-quote is going to get us talking about Palestine for no good reason.
posted by Lemurrhea at 11:58 AM on March 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


If you get your own blog nobody can silence you.
posted by COD at 12:00 PM on March 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


what is an IP thread?
posted by clavdivs at 12:03 PM on March 10, 2013


I hate I/P threads as much as the next person, but this was a bad deletion. The post might not have cleared any useful bar, but if the result of a mod having "waited a little to see what the comments would look like" was that thread getting deleted, I despair of any I/P post ever surviving the front page. Assuming no comments were deleted (since no indication was made in the thread or in LobsterMitten's comment), the conversation had not been anywhere near uncivil or "going around and around in the same old circles."
posted by Etrigan at 12:03 PM on March 10, 2013 [8 favorites]


what is an IP thread?

Flip answer: it's a pissing contest that everyone takes too personally.

Serious answer: a post on the subject of Israel/Palestine.
posted by radwolf76 at 12:07 PM on March 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Leotrotsky's comment in that thread merits repeating:

Remember, keeping a civil tone in a comment thread is a mitzvah!
posted by arcticseal at 12:07 PM on March 10, 2013 [6 favorites]


Etrigan, to be clearer, yes, only the last comment in the thread was edging into same-old-circles territory. This deletion was in line our prior mod conversation about a moratorium, and the votes on the mod list. I was on the fence a bit - since the speech is good and doesn't go in the same old circles , as Lemurrhea says, it's more general and doesn't focus at all on the Palestinians. But the framing of the post was misleading in a way that invites axe-grinding, and some people love to grind their axes. I sat with it for a little while, and we discussed a bit on the mod list. I was inclined to delete it and then that last comment came in and I figured, ok. (Which is not to say that comment was particularly bad, but just that it was evidence of the gravitational pull of the same-old same-old.)
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 12:17 PM on March 10, 2013


Well I guess a flat out ban on discussing Israel rather than a defacto one is progress of a sort.
posted by Artw at 12:19 PM on March 10, 2013 [9 favorites]


If there's a new or temporary moderation police regarding I/P threads, that may indeed be worth having a MetaTalk thread about. However, the title of this post along with its more-inside "disclaimer," and the fact that the poster doesn't appear ready to immediately discuss it, makes this particular MetaTalk thread look a lot like a troll.

And I don't think trolling is exactly going to help discussion of the I/P topic. If there needs to be a discussion, maybe let it be started on a different note.
posted by cribcage at 12:21 PM on March 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


same old gravity
posted by clavdivs at 12:21 PM on March 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


i flagged the original post because of the framing. it seemed designed to start a fight.
posted by nadawi at 12:24 PM on March 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Taking it as a given that Mefi's official unofficial "I/P posts need to meet a higher standard of quality and fairness than typical posts" rule is fairly well known to anyone who participates here with any frequency, I can see why a SLYT-post to a speech that essentially amounts to, "Here are all the things that are screwed up about Israel" would not surpass that bar.
posted by The Gooch at 12:24 PM on March 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


LobsterMitten: Thanks for the clarification. I agree that the post didn't surpass the bar that MetaFilter should have for I/P "discussions," but it should have been killed at the outset rather than been given a not-really chance to develop.
posted by Etrigan at 12:34 PM on March 10, 2013


I would just like to clarify that I haven't been silenced all my life, neither am I interested in dying on hills.

What about at the foot of a hill?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:36 PM on March 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


The post might not have cleared any useful bar, but if the result of a mod having "waited a little to see what the comments would look like" was that thread getting deleted, I despair of any I/P post ever surviving the front page.

And in a way, that's everything working as intended. Anything about a contentious issue needs to pass a minimum bar of being something excellent because without it being really amazing or major, it's going to rehash the same old arguments that lead to people shouting past each other, saying MeFi sucks for discussion, etc.

Substitute in "gun control" or "abortion" for "I/P" in the quoted sentences and you'll see it's not any personal biases on the part of moderators or prominent members of the community, we just don't need to have the same fighty discussions about the same subjects here.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 12:40 PM on March 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


This post? This post is immediately antagonistic before we even get to "More Inside". It makes me think that what you really want is a fight, not a conversation. Take it somewhere else — heck, you can take it almost anywhere else and have that fight.
posted by benito.strauss at 12:41 PM on March 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


Etrigan brings up a good point, perhaps threads should be given a once over before going to press so to say.

thoughout history, hills have been made covering the dead. So it is really about survey and survive. and in the case of UR, we have pits, everyone took part, what a party.
posted by clavdivs at 12:43 PM on March 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


After the last fighty I/P thread and its associated fighty MeTa, the mods talked about having either a moratorium or an extra high bar for I/P posts.

I never get into those posts, but it would be a good idea to alert people to the existence of an “upgraded” policy on I/P (even if it is just a slight adjustment). Not sure if everyone will see this MeTa thread or how you alert people the adjustment, but this new direction could initiate a slew of new MeTa Threads about I/P deletions.
posted by lampshade at 12:55 PM on March 10, 2013


I think the I/P ban is a great policy, because we can now focus our energies on FPPs about sex offenders and other deviants.
posted by Nomyte at 1:00 PM on March 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


this new direction could initiate a slew of new MeTa Threads about I/P deletions

If that happens, maybe. We currently have a dataset of 1 metatalk post, and this isn't a "new direction". A quick search of MetaTalk reveals a post from seven years ago that reads very close to today's. We've had this "higher bar for contentious threads" thing for quite a while.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 1:01 PM on March 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


I read the speech and thought much of it had universal appeal. These two paragraphs in particular:

The speeches and debates in this house over the past month have focused on “an equal sharing of the burden’. Astonishingly, this demand isn’t coming from weakened minorities. It isn’t coming from those excluded from the centers of power, from money and from justice. We’re not seeing the poor demand that tycoons share their burden and resources; women aren’t standing here and demanding equal pay. No. The powerful stand here, those that control Israeli society, demanding an ‘equal sharing of the burden’ from the minority. An upside down world.

No one is demanding sharing the burden of the demeaning income and conditions of contract workers; no one is demanding the burden of racism faced by Ethiopians be shared; no one is volunteering to participate in the burden of unemployment carried by college-educated Arab women. Only the most privelaged in society are demanding equal participation in the burden of “serving”, which itself guarantees them those key positions in Israeli society.

we just don't need to have the same fighty discussions about the same subjects here.

I'm not that in tune with the toxicity of the IP discussions, so I'll take the mod's word for it. Some contentious discussions are worth having and repeating, gay rights and women's rights come to mind, to raise awareness and "educate," imo. I think setting the bar at 'fighty' is a little high.

While we're on the topic, this recent deletion of a comment by markkraft irk'ed me a bit. I didn't think he was "drowning people out." Seemed to me he was responding, very well, to challenges to his previous comments and responding with challenges of his own. I can think of far, far worse comments in GunFilter that were left standing.
posted by Golden Eternity at 1:08 PM on March 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


What does it mean, "we are taking a break from them".

How long until I can make an I/P post?
posted by andoatnp at 1:09 PM on March 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


We've had this "higher bar for contentious threads" thing for quite a while.

yeah....that is pretty much SOP and I agree with it (as well as this current reduction). It was just the way the deletion reason was worded that it sounded, I don't know, a bit more "onerous" than usual? (sorry if that is not the best word to use)

Whatever the case, I am not complaining about the policy or this deletion. I/P Threads just cannot get out of their own way 90% of the time and I am happy to avoid them.
posted by lampshade at 1:10 PM on March 10, 2013


How long until I can make an I/P post?

Depends on how you interpret Revelations.
posted by Rory Marinich at 1:13 PM on March 10, 2013 [20 favorites]


How long until I can make an I/P post?

Until you can make one that doesn't turn into a snarky fighting match between the same five people. It's possible. We've seen it happen. We'd like to see it happen again. It didn't happen today.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:14 PM on March 10, 2013 [5 favorites]


And just to note, the last one that happened on my shift required me to spend literally my entire ten-hour shift refreshing the thread so I could delete the utterly ridiculous bullshit that the subject brings out in people before the whole thread became unredeemable. And that was a well-crafted thread on a major issue.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 1:17 PM on March 10, 2013 [8 favorites]


Thankfully, threads automatically refresh themselves now.
posted by cribcage at 1:21 PM on March 10, 2013


NOT FAST ENOUGH.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 1:22 PM on March 10, 2013 [23 favorites]


Actually, that's a weird downside sometimes. People refresh threads instead of reload them and don't notice that we've deleted comments which they then reply angrily to. Not sure if there's a way to resolve that, but it's a problem in fast moving angry threads and basically not a problem 95% of the rest of the time.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:23 PM on March 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Hmm ... so you could have the "load new comments" button also remove deleted comments (causing everything to move up a little, which would be a small hint that something had been deleted), or you could have it gray out deleted comments without removing them. The second one will draw too much attention to deletions, right? But the first one might be workable. It will make people occasionally doubt their sanity, but not necessarily more than usual.
posted by jhc at 1:38 PM on March 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


Not sure if there's a way to resolve that, but it's a problem in fast moving angry threads and basically not a problem 95% of the rest of the time

In the payload for the 'new comments' update, you could theoretically also send a list of comment IDs on which to perform DOM surgery, deleting them or graying them out of the user's browser without a reload. Or you could target this issue in particular, e.g. in the 'new comments' notice just note that the thread has many deleted comments and offer a link to reload alongside the usual link.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 1:39 PM on March 10, 2013


Leotrotsky's comment in that thread merits repeating:

Remember, keeping a civil tone in a comment thread is a mitzvah!


Feh. Starting a contentious thread by claiming civility as a quality endorsed by one side comes off kinda trolly.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:41 PM on March 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


YOU'RE OFF THE TROLLEY!

Wait. I may have misunderstood an idiom.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 1:44 PM on March 10, 2013


free sixcolors!
posted by special-k at 1:54 PM on March 10, 2013 [6 favorites]


How long until I can make an I/P post?

If you have to ask, then never.
posted by jacalata at 1:59 PM on March 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


New Metafilter cheer:

'IP, IP, IP-- No Way!'

And I mostly agree with that.
posted by jamjam at 2:13 PM on March 10, 2013


If there's a movement to protest this policy we could call it "I/P Freely".
posted by George_Spiggott at 2:41 PM on March 10, 2013 [32 favorites]


Metafilter: Dying on hills since 1999
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 2:54 PM on March 10, 2013


so you could have the "load new comments" button also remove deleted comments (causing everything to move up a little, which would be a small hint that something had been deleted)

I would like to ride this pony (as long as its hooves wouldn't stomp the server to death).
posted by radwolf76 at 3:01 PM on March 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


I would have liked to see the post stand (no, I'm not the one who has to moderate it, of course) but this kind of shit stirring Meta is a bit questionable. If you're going to post a callout, make a friggin' point. Don't just slap it up there with a cutesy title.

Do you think the post should have stood? (One assumes yes). Why? What about the post makes it a good one for Metafilter? If you can't answer these questions you shouldn't be posting this callout.
posted by Justinian at 3:04 PM on March 10, 2013 [13 favorites]


How long until I can make an I/P post?

Not until Jessamyn reaches Operating Thetan VII.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:13 PM on March 10, 2013 [5 favorites]


spend literally my entire ten-hour shift refreshing the thread so I could delete

I realize this may fall under the super-sekrit-we're-better-off-not-knowing category, but is the number of deletions per thread tracked? I guess I could make a pretty good guess from the infodump, but I'm curious if it's a metric you guys pay attention to.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 3:21 PM on March 10, 2013


Substitute in "gun control" or "abortion" for "I/P" in the quoted sentences and you'll see it's not any personal biases on the part of moderators or prominent members of the community, we just don't need to have the same fighty discussions about the same subjects here.

And then there was that time that Planned Parenthood opened a gun shop in downtown Tel Aviv. Now *that* was a thread.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 3:23 PM on March 10, 2013 [15 favorites]


Tell Me No Lies: "And then there was that time that Planned Parenthood opened a gun shop in downtown Tel Aviv. Now *that* was a thread."

HANDGUNS
CIRCUMCISION
CAT DECLAWING WHILE U WAIT
posted by dismas at 3:26 PM on March 10, 2013 [15 favorites]


I realize this may fall under the super-sekrit-we're-better-off-not-knowing category, but is the number of deletions per thread tracked? I guess I could make a pretty good guess from the infodump, but I'm curious if it's a metric you guys pay attention to.

Flags per thread are tracking in a highly-visible way, but deletions aren't specifically. It's so easy to scan and count that I don't think we've ever asked for a tool.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 3:26 PM on March 10, 2013


Nobody ever "asks" for a tool, but an I/P thread is a great way to scare some up.
posted by timsteil at 3:28 PM on March 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's not nice to call your fellow mefites tools. Even if they are.
posted by radwolf76 at 3:31 PM on March 10, 2013


Unfortunately, Metafilter is NOT a democracy.

It is also not a cheerocracy.


It is a cheertatership.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 3:39 PM on March 10, 2013 [6 favorites]


About the above suggestion about comments that were loaded to and rendered on a user's browser but were since deleted -- I agree with having the deletion displayed by 'graying out' or other such visual cue, and I'd add that you might also want a count of such deletions visibly displayed next to the comment input box so that people who are in the process of responding to something that turns out to be gone have the opportunity to skim back through the thread before sending. I suppose you could even have a compact list of links to the deleted comments, though I'm not sure that'd be all that necessary.
posted by Anything at 3:47 PM on March 10, 2013


It's not nice to call your fellow mefites tools. Even if they are.

Point taken. I believe the people I was referring to deserve a special category of "power tool."
posted by timsteil at 3:49 PM on March 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


SYTL, on a super fighty topic? Yeah, not mourning this one.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:00 PM on March 10, 2013


SYTL? Is that a Single Yink to the Tue Lube?
posted by emilyw at 4:04 PM on March 10, 2013 [5 favorites]


After the last fighty I/P thread and its associated fighty MeTa, the mods talked about having either a moratorium or an extra high bar for I/P posts.

So, is this now happening? Or was adamvasco's post deletion at the normal moderation bar for I/P posts?

I'm uh... asking for a friend who posts a lot.
posted by zarq at 4:15 PM on March 10, 2013


Oddly, I saw 'SYTL' and immediately parsed it as "single YouTube link", even though most people use SLYT, and it seemed to make more sense to me.

I think I will use SYTL in the future, as it seems more grammatically appropriate and then go make some beans.
posted by mephron at 4:18 PM on March 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


There's been a high bar for a long time. This isn't so much a change as an acknowledgement that the last couple of times we let something through went predictably badly.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 4:19 PM on March 10, 2013


SYTL? Is that a Single Yink to the Tue Lube?

Yes. Yes it is. I find the Tue Lube superior to other brands of lube. For free flowing angry discussions!
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:20 PM on March 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ok. I know there's traditionally a high bar. Was just wondering if it had gotten more stringent.
posted by zarq at 4:21 PM on March 10, 2013


the mods talked about having either a moratorium or an extra high bar for I/P posts.

I vote for a high bar, not a moratorium. The kind of post that has 17 thoughtful links on a specific sub-issue is the kind of post that might generate good discussion. An outright moratorium would be depressing, not least because...

whether participation in the political process is or is not useful
bicycles
gun control
abortion
handguns
circumcision
cat declawing


Things people have mentioned on this thread so far as moratorium candidates. Ugh. Maybe I/P discussions have gotten so ugly that a time-out is required but I really don't want this to become a precedent.

Metafilter does not do X well ~= Metafilter cannot do X at all and should not try
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 4:28 PM on March 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'd add Lady GaGa, Dubstep, and My Little Pony to the list but maybe that's just me.
posted by jonmc at 4:45 PM on March 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


How high is the bar for Israeli Pickles posts?
posted by found missing at 4:46 PM on March 10, 2013


It is a cheertatership.

Did someone say taters?
posted by penguin pie at 5:01 PM on March 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


And as far as the stated mod reason on deleted threads...I get tired of people rules lawyering those. I appreciate they are there, even enjoy some of the reasons, but these aren't dictates handed down from the highest court in the land. We don't need Nina Totenberg to explain their ramifications.
posted by cjorgensen at 5:02 PM on March 10, 2013 [7 favorites]


I didn't watch the video or enter the thread because the framing of it seemed so slanted that I was sure it wasn't going to last long. I mean, the only context in the FPP is a single quotation which basically calls Israel a bully with a victim complex.

Perhaps that's not what the actual video is about, but if so then kliuless should've made that clear in the FPP. He didn't, and to me it just looked like a setup for a giant fight. I say this as someone who is pro-Palestine and who thinks that the sentiment expressed in that quote is probably roughly true.

I am totally unsurprised by this deletion, except that it took so long. The framing of the post was terrible and seemed to me like a deliberately-incendiary choice.

The framing of this MeTa isn't any better, either. Cryptic above-the-fold description? Crying censorship while denying that you are crying censorship? Abusing the "speaking truth to power" cliché? If you wanted to make an argument that Metafilter could've had a civil discussion based on that thread, this wasn't a great way to do that.
posted by Scientist at 5:03 PM on March 10, 2013 [10 favorites]


And I tried to give us a relaxing Sunday.
posted by cjorgensen at 5:04 PM on March 10, 2013


I, for one, am relaxed. I'm positively fucking sanguine.
posted by jonmc at 5:09 PM on March 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


Hey, jonmc is back. How 'bout that.
posted by Scientist at 5:12 PM on March 10, 2013


Despite the fact that this isn't a democracy, I vote for this thread's closure. People are being oddly economical with their words in initial post framing as well as comments, and frankly making it hard to parse your comments on an already-contentious topic is just a subtler way of spoiling for a fight.
posted by pahalial at 5:19 PM on March 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


GYOB. HTH. HAND.
posted by GuyZero at 5:28 PM on March 10, 2013


And just to note, the last one that happened on my shift required me to spend literally my entire ten-hour shift refreshing the thread so I could delete the utterly ridiculous bullshit that the subject brings out in people before the whole thread became unredeemable.

This is why we need replicants.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:30 PM on March 10, 2013


I was a bit sad to see that particular thread get closed. The topic was unusual enough in the general subject that it got my attention. The call for civility was nice and I was hopeful that people would be a little less fighty. I don't mind mods shutting down a thread after it's gone full Greater Internet Shitwad, even on a hair trigger. I know people are all "UGH I/P let me break out my talking points", but it seems like individuals won't change their tones if they perceive those threads as closure countdowns where they have to rush in and talk bumper stickers at each other.
posted by boo_radley at 5:52 PM on March 10, 2013


Good Evening
I see Metafilter is up to its favorite sport of attacking the messenger and ignoring the message.
The post was not the best presented but it was still a highly interesting speech for several reasons and the second or third link gave a good transcript. The conversation before the axe was civil.
The deletion was basically '' I can't be bothered to moderate this'' which is appalling.
Lobster Mitten then basically calls me out when as far as I know I have not had a comment deleted in an I/P thread in the last few years as I don't fight. I have opinions but that is it. (Please correct me if I'm wrong and further if you think I am a trouble maker why have you not emailed me?)
Jessamyn then mentions 4 or 5 constant offenders but as far we know they are not immediately sent on holiday for 24 hours as soon as they misbehave which would stop the thread from disintegrating.
Further we now learn in this thread that I/P posts or Israel posts are not allowed until further notice. Like most others I seem to have missed this message.
posted by adamvasco at 5:53 PM on March 10, 2013 [12 favorites]


adamvasco: "The deletion was basically '' I can't be bothered to moderate this'' which is appalling."

When it comes to Israel or Palestine that seems like a perfectly fine reason for deletion.
posted by Mitheral at 6:16 PM on March 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


I see Metafilter is up to its favorite sport of attacking the messenger and ignoring the message.

My, what a nice horse you have. It's a bit tall, don't you think? 'High', one might say.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:16 PM on March 10, 2013 [7 favorites]


Decent speech, too bad people can't help but shit the bed when it comes to the topic. That they still don't get why they can't have nice things doesn't bode well for future FPPs on the subject.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 6:17 PM on March 10, 2013


That's a lot of negatives. I blame the Israelis and the Palestinians.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 6:18 PM on March 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Like most others I seem to have missed this message.

And the point.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:26 PM on March 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Jessamyn then mentions 4 or 5 constant offenders but as far we know they are not immediately sent on holiday for 24 hours as soon as they misbehave which would stop the thread from disintegrating.

It's really really easy to outline how things should go. Giving people an instant day off just for having the same old arguments would actually be a new and problematic (to me) moderating trend. I don't think that's what MeFi wants.

There's a huge internet where you can argue about really complex and intractable political problems with other people and other sites have staffing and infrastructure to support it (and/or a revenue model that benefits from that sort of thing in a way that ours doesn't) If people want to have similar conversations here, there are ways those discussions need to go differently from the internet at large and we've made some moderator decisions about those and tried to be very very communicative about that. Most people understand that and a few don't. It is literally less than a dozen people who make I/P discussions nearly impossible for a single person on MetaFilter to moderate.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:31 PM on March 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Sounds like a reason to disable comments.

A deleted thread referenced in MeTa looks to me like Metafilter's mechanism for doing just that.
posted by flabdablet at 6:31 PM on March 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


I just realized... it wasn't adamvasco's post. The original FPP was made by kliuless. Sorry, adamvasco. I should have paid closer attention.

LobsterMitten, were there comments deleted from the post? Because yes, I get that you're collectively trying to nip posts that are likely to go all hoppitamoppita in the bud as early as possible and I can totally understand why. But if nothing was deleted, that one barely got out of the starting gate and hadn't accumulated any negative comments yet.
posted by zarq at 7:08 PM on March 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


"O'rly" is not a message. Moreover, MetaTalk is for having conversations, not delivering messages. (The contact form is for that.) I don't believe for a second that anybody savvy enough to post a MeTa about an I/P deletion thinks that it's community-appropriate to drop "O'rly," disappear for a few hours, then come back all "Who, me?!" about how the thread has gone.

It astounds me that this thread has remained open and the OP hasn't been given a timeout. Especially given that the FPP was closed.
posted by cribcage at 7:08 PM on March 10, 2013 [5 favorites]


Further we now learn in this thread that I/P posts or Israel posts are not allowed until further notice.

Am I really misreading the thread or is that not happening?
posted by zarq at 7:09 PM on March 10, 2013


Am I really misreading the thread or is that not happening?

It is absolutely not happening.

I talk a lot about the pendulum effect we see (and some what create) here about certain topics and behaviors. There had been, until recently, a few I/P posts made that were were concerned about but didn't pre-emptively delete that actually managed to go decently okay. And so we figured maybe we were overreacting, or the community had changed a little, or who knows. And then we had some doozy shitstorms that just never got right, there would be a discussion for a few comments and then back to poo-flinging and then they'd turn into complaining email and closed accounts and MeTa threads and no end of headache and hassle and they take over the time we normally spend running the entire site just dealing with the fallout from one thread. So, we're nudging the pendulum a little bit back the other direction. We only deleted one comment from the thread before we decided after some discussion to close it.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:20 PM on March 10, 2013


"we are taking a break from them" does not equal "are not allowed until further notice"? Huh?
posted by Big_B at 7:31 PM on March 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


It is pretty clear the mods have gone insane. I know there is a no kickstarter policy but you just deleted a post about a new Ultima game. Don't you understand, a new Ultima game!
posted by Ad hominem at 7:36 PM on March 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Heh. I understand more about that than you could possibly imagine. (And I caught myself thinking "Oh, good, I'll go make a post about this Kickstarter!" last night before my mod brain caught up with my fan brain.)
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 7:50 PM on March 10, 2013 [8 favorites]


I don't know what is crazier, UO is 15 years old or that it is still around. I'm going to play UO and leave you guys to whatever it was you were talking about before I burst in.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:10 PM on March 10, 2013


Giving people an instant day off just for having the same old arguments would actually be a new and problematic (to me) moderating trend. I don't think that's what MeFi wants.

To the extent that a very small number of people prevent these discussions from happening, what's problematic to me is that this is allowed to continue. The needs of the many....

No guess what "MeFi" wants, but the instant day off or similar is exactly what at least one person wants.
posted by ambient2 at 8:31 PM on March 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


dismas: "HANDGUNS
CIRCUMCISION
CAT DECLAWING WHILE U WAIT
"

Needs something about Apple.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:36 PM on March 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


My feelings/opinions on I/P are absolute, to the point that I cannot imagine anyone seeing it differently -- it's just so crystal clear. Are they blind?

Hard as it is for me to believe/think/write this, it does appear to me that others -- others who I respect, admire, want to be like when I grow up -- others have other feelings/opinions that are also absolute, but their feelings/opinions appear to be the opposite of my own.

On matters which my feelings/opinions run absolute, I'm not polite. A case could easily be made, no matter what side of the argument anyone is on, that I'm a big fat jerk. In fact, that case *has* been made. Successfully. More than once.

I wouldn't moderate here for a million, billion dollars. Not I. I've disagreed with things I've seen mods (and rockers!) do here, sure. But I don't sit in that chair, I'm not qualified to do so and I know it, it's not my job and I'm glad that it isn't.

I sometimes think I can almost hear the phone conversations between mods, discussing how they want to choke this person or that one. Then, a deep breath. And then they write and drop into the thread a polite yet firm, intelligent, cogent response. I want to buy them all a hat.

~~~

I'm pretty sure I'd have pulled the post had I been sitting in The Big Chair, just erring on the side of caution, so as to not have a totally screwed Sunday, for the mod(s) and for the whole site, everyone getting hateful to one another on a pretty spring day. The quote pulled from her speech was not at all representative of it, it was representative of just the tiniest piece of what she said, and framed as it was and with just a SLYT, almost anyone who's been here more than ten minutes would know the thread would be shut down.

Too bad. A great speech. I've been reading about Michaeli through the afternoon and evening today -- I'd never heard of her before -- I really think she's great, I sortof love her. A feminist in the best sense of the word -- everyone benefits if both men *and* women have a say in how societies are run.

And not just a say but the power to make that say stick.

I know almost nothing about Israeli politics and it's structure, I wonder if a freshman pol can effect change, and not just make waves, sound-waves as it were. She's damn sure got a great pedigree, her family deep into Israel since day one, before day one actually.

I wish the post had been framed differently. I wish it had been framed such that it was about Michaeli, not just a tiny piece of her speech but perhaps the whole of the speech, and also her background, who she is, maybe her family. Maybe about Israeli political structure (though maybe not, as everyone here would almost certainly go insane) and perhaps the possibility of her doing what she'd like to do there, getting done what she'd like to get done.
posted by dancestoblue at 8:57 PM on March 10, 2013 [6 favorites]


They all have hills to die on except for Lin Tai Yu
posted by Ironmouth at 8:58 PM on March 10, 2013 [11 favorites]


jessamyn: "Giving people an instant day off just for having the same old arguments would actually be a new and problematic (to me) moderating trend. I don't think that's what MeFi wants… It is literally less than a dozen people who make I/P discussions nearly impossible for a single person on MetaFilter to moderate."

Jessamyn, you and all the other mods have my sympathies, it can't be easy to deal with all this.

That said, I would be in favour of such timeouts. I suspect the folks repeatedly using inflammatory rhetoric know what they're doing, and there are a gazillion other places on the web where they can have their flamewars. MetaFilter is a great site, and I think it's kinda embarrassing that we can't find a way to have reasonable discussions of part of the world.
posted by vasi at 8:58 PM on March 10, 2013 [5 favorites]


adamvasco: "The deletion was basically '' I can't be bothered to moderate this'' which is appalling."

I know. Back in the 1950's, when we had a real country the mods would have worked to the bone to moderate that. Now they just delete it.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:59 PM on March 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


All these years I thought he was saying 'Little Tae Goo.'
posted by jonmc at 9:00 PM on March 10, 2013


I'd add Lady GaGa, Dubstep, and My Little Pony to the list but maybe that's just me.

I'd give a lot to see Lady Gaga produce a dubstep version of the My Little Pony theme.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:04 PM on March 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm fine with this deletion, well Israel threads are usually more heat that light, but "raising the bar" sounds worrying. I've frankly noticed too many interesting posts being deleted.

There are natural technical measures that'd reduce the moderator workload without outright disabling comments though.

How about a comment waiting period for "bad" topics? After posting, users may not comment again for 1min per 5 characters in their last comment, which works out to 9-11% of a typed page per hour, or 2.2-2.7 type pages per day, although a single final comment could exceed that limit. I'd delay comments appearing for 15-20min as well to give the mods a chance to preemptively delete them.
posted by jeffburdges at 9:28 PM on March 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


I pee, you pee, we all pee for ..er.. ..um.. Metafilter?
posted by deborah at 9:30 PM on March 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


I would one hundred percent be in favor of thread banning people from certain topics, even if I'm one of those people at some point. Even if I agree with the people in question.
posted by empath at 9:34 PM on March 10, 2013 [8 favorites]


I also like the idea of throttling comments on contentious topics. One post per 6 hours or something, as long as people know they can say their piece and move on without getting into extended back and forths or the mass interrogation of contrarians that sometimes happens here.
posted by empath at 9:37 PM on March 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


I wish the post had been framed differently. I wish it had been framed such that it was about Michaeli, not just a tiny piece of her speech but perhaps the whole of the speech, and also her background, who she is, maybe her family. Maybe about Israeli political structure (though maybe not, as everyone here would almost certainly go insane) and perhaps the possibility of her doing what she'd like to do there, getting done what she'd like to get done.

Nothing stopping anyone from making that post.
posted by jacalata at 9:59 PM on March 10, 2013


"It is literally less than a dozen people who make I/P discussions nearly impossible for a single person on MetaFilter to moderate."

Jessamyn, you and all the other mods have my sympathies, it can't be easy to deal with all this.

That said, I would be in favour of such timeouts. I suspect the folks repeatedly using inflammatory rhetoric know what they're doing, and there are a gazillion other places on the web where they can have their flamewars. MetaFilter is a great site, and I think it's kinda embarrassing that we can't find a way to have reasonable discussions of part of the world.


I have no hill in this silencing, or life in this dog, or plate under these beans, or whatever the phrase is here. But it's always seemed to me that it doesn't really matter that the literally-less-than-a-dozen whoevers who are, from a practical results standpoint, allowed to simply close off an entire topic of discussion for indefinite periods of time at will know what they're doing, or if they don't. It really doesn't matter much if they're all steeple-fingered mwahahahaing over achieving that effect, or just blindly stumble into it because of personal blind spots or whatnot. Sure, sure, intent matters and whatnot, but at the end of the day, what matters more is what actually happens--and what actually happens is apparently that, by moderators own tired description, a handful of posters can simply make a topic impossible to have.

I don't know what metafilter wants, and like any online community of any given size I'm mostly just really glad I'm not in any position other than peanut gallery because the peter principling involved would probably be pretty funny to watch unfold from a safe distance. But what I want is a site where people either act like adults posting in good faith, or are gone.

Now, I know, this is just a pipe dream. There are real world considerations about the give and take and compromise and administrative headaches about the cat-herding that is any organization numbered above five people that means it'll never happen that way, and if it were attempted with that level of draconian focus would spectacularly implode.

But I can dream.
posted by Drastic at 10:11 PM on March 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


I would be in favor of bullies being given timeouts when they repeatedly bully users, to send a clear message that bullying is not acceptable, even if there are contentious topics that bring out the bullies from under their rocks.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:22 PM on March 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


I wish the post had been framed differently. I wish it had been framed such that it was about Michaeli, not just a tiny piece of her speech but perhaps the whole of the speech, and also her background, who she is, maybe her family. Maybe about Israeli political structure (though maybe not, as everyone here would almost certainly go insane) and perhaps the possibility of her doing what she'd like to do there, getting done what she'd like to get done.

Nothing stopping anyone from making that post.


Is this true? Would a post about this woman be within the bounds of the no "I/P posts" rules? Because I don't know anything about her and I am very glad this made it to MetaTalk so that I could read her speech. It's worth reading.

I understand why the mods didn't want to deal with it, but I would much rather the repeat offenders get time outs. I know this has happened with other users in the past, so it's not without precedent.
posted by small_ruminant at 10:57 PM on March 10, 2013 [1 favorite]



11:27 AM  adamvasco posts thread.
11:32 AM  desjardins asks for clarification on point of thread.
12:00 PM  adamvasco does not clarify.
12:30 PM  adamvasco does not clarify.
1:00 PM   adamvasco does not clarify.
1:30 PM   adamvasco does not clarify.
2:00 PM   adamvasco does not clarify.
3:30 PM   adamvasco does not clarify.
4:00 PM   adamvasco does not clarify.
4:30 PM   adamvasco does not clarify.
5:00 PM   adamvasco does not clarify.
5:30 PM   adamvasco does not clarify.
5:53 PM   adamvasco shows up and snidely complains that people
aren't talking about what he thinks the point of the thread is.

I'm going to suggest that if you can't hang out for five minutes to help people understand what you're talking about you should:

a) probably not post in the first place
and
b) not get too snippy when no one can figure out what the hell you're on about.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 11:00 PM on March 10, 2013 [21 favorites]


In space, no one can hear you scream argue about the Middle East.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 12:32 AM on March 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


If the thing that is causing I/P threads to go bad really is just that there are a handful of vocal users who can't behave themselves, then yeah, maybe the mods should take a tougher stance against those users rather than against I/P threads per se. Maybe not give the chronic offenders so many warnings before issuing time-outs and bans?

I would like to be able to have respectful, nuanced discussion of this topic on MeFi and I had always thought that it was something that we as a community were bad at. Is it really just that a few users are poisoning the entire topic for everyone? Because to me it seems like the obvious solution there would be to tell those users "cool it or we will cool it for you," and then to follow through.
posted by Scientist at 12:40 AM on March 11, 2013 [9 favorites]


O'rly Taitz
posted by Deathalicious at 12:45 AM on March 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


And just to note, the last one that happened on my shift required me to spend literally my entire ten-hour shift refreshing the thread so I could delete the utterly ridiculous bullshit [...]

If it really comes down to a small number of people making it impossible for everyone else to talk about certain things, just shut down that small number of people. To make it easy to manage, decide on a certain number of comment deletions within a certain amount of time that will trigger an automatic timeout. Then delete freely. That small number of people will soon accumulate enough deletions to get timeouts (or they will adjust their behavior).

It would also help the rest of us if you replaced deleted comments with a marker to remind us to step carefully here.
posted by pracowity at 1:11 AM on March 11, 2013


If the thing that is causing I/P threads to go bad really is just that there are a handful of vocal users who can't behave themselves, then yeah, maybe the mods should take a tougher stance against those users rather than against I/P threads per se. Maybe not give the chronic offenders so many warnings before issuing time-outs and bans?

Or the mods could just tell the repeat offenders that they're welcome to stay on MetaFilter as long as they don't post comments on this particular topic.

That tactic worked in the past with a certain user who used to say terrible things about gay people burning in hell at every opportunity, IIRC.

(I'm not really sure this is a good way of fixing the problem, but it seems better than outlawing a topic entirely.)
posted by jack_mo at 1:17 AM on March 11, 2013


my entire ten-hour shift

mathowie = slavedriver
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:33 AM on March 11, 2013


I don't think that the inevitable Metatalk posts that would follow such a policy would save us anything, either in moderation resources or community welfare, and the idea of establishing special moderation for a certain set of topics that aren't even the main focus of the site (neat stuff on the internet) feels like a non-starter, though we can continue to discuss these ideas.

I'm okay with the idea of tightening down on people who are determined to steer threads in aid of their particular axegrindy / soapboxing / inflammatory rhetoric, but I think that the current policy of super-contentious topics being allowed with the proviso that they have to be very well crafted, thoughtful, non-outragefilter, substantive, well-sourced posts will remain as the high bar that has been most useful in keeping such threads to a manageable number and also yielding the best discussion possible.
____________

Also, just btw, I know you're joking, PeterMcDermott, but Matt is a good boss, and knows better than anyone how stressful and exhausting mod duties can be since he did it all on his own for quite a few years, which is why he has hired more people as income will allow it – and Jessamyn juggles a bunch of disparate schedules and time zones for the site to be covered 24/7, organizing work during heavier and lighter times to make sure nobody gets burned out or overtaxed. I can honestly say that it's the sort of job that could be super miserable if the guys at the top weren't as wonderful as they are.
posted by taz (staff) at 2:07 AM on March 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


Just fyi, I'd originally listed several "moderators little helper" ideas, but ultimately posted only the last one, which included all the others' main elements. It worried overly much about long rants. In reality, a waiting period or delay between comments or topic penalties per user could all work.
posted by jeffburdges at 4:00 AM on March 11, 2013


I would be in favor of bullies being given timeouts when they repeatedly bully users, to send a clear message that bullying is not acceptable, even if there are contentious topics that bring out the bullies from under their rocks.

Agreeing on what is or is not bullying behavior is actually significantly more difficult than it appears. I don't disagree with you in spirit, that people who are bullying other people should be given some time off. But as a practical matter bullies rarely think that is what they are doing and other people's opinions on who is being a bully shakes out significantly more around ideological lines than behavior lines. This is not as simple a tactic as it appears.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:50 AM on March 11, 2013 [9 favorites]


I understand, and empathise with, the mods' reluctance to allow I/P posts and agree completely with the demand for a high bar.

A de facto ban is, however, unfortunate. It unconsciously biases in favour not discussing, reporting or debating important things. The closing down of debate - even if it can and does go on elsewhere on the internet - gives cover to those who benefit from the lack of publicity, reporting or debate.

This is equally true of I/P issues as it is of any other area where there is perceived injustice, abuse of power, lobbying, disinformation and media bias, discrimination and extremism.
posted by MuffinMan at 6:12 AM on March 11, 2013


A de facto ban is, however, unfortunate. It unconsciously biases in favour not discussing, reporting or debating important things. The closing down of debate - even if it can and does go on elsewhere on the internet - gives cover to those who benefit from the lack of publicity, reporting or debate.

As Jessamyn has already explained: It's a big internet. There are lots of places where Important Things can be discussed, reported and debated. The fact that something is not discussed on MetaFilter is hardly tantamount to "giving cover" to anything or anyone.

MetaFilter ain't the only site on the internet, people.
posted by DWRoelands at 6:17 AM on March 11, 2013


Can you take that to FightyFilter?

(Said in the same ticked off voice my old man used when telling us to take our wrestling/fighting out to the backyard.)
posted by R. Mutt at 6:28 AM on March 11, 2013


I wouldn't moderate here for a million, billion dollars.

That's crazy talk, man. Get the gig, collect a few paycheques, if the job sucks start phoning it in. Eventually you get a golden parachute and enjoy your retirement.

For more career advice, subscribe to my newsletter.
posted by Meatbomb at 6:29 AM on March 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


The fact that something is not discussed on MetaFilter is hardly tantamount to "giving cover" to anything or anyone.

I think there are two different principles. The first is to say, "It's a big Internet and there are other places to discuss this." That's totally fair. Separately, though, is, "We can't talk about this here, because ten or eleven people consistently poison the discussion." This seems more problematic, not least because in previous cases (to my understanding) the solution has been to rein in troublesome participants, so where does the line get drawn between short-leashing users versus short-leashing the topic?

I say this with zero personal interest in discussing I/P, for what it's worth (but I think it affects other issues), and full understanding that it's a complex issue and that neither of those proposed solutions is likely simple or easy from a moderation standpoint.
posted by cribcage at 6:32 AM on March 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


In macro, it absolutely does give cover, not least because closing down debates by making them a shitstorm is a time honoured tactic applied in the name of various causes widely across the internet, site by site. Metafilter - like other high traffic sites and communities - is unimportant by itself but when the number of places that cover controversial x diminish, the likelihood that the remaining ones get worse goes up.
posted by MuffinMan at 6:32 AM on March 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


so where does the line get drawn between short-leashing users versus short-leashing the topic

Really concise way to frame the question — kudos.
posted by Wolof at 6:34 AM on March 11, 2013


Just to keep untangling this a bit. Having a higher bar for these sorts of posts is not a new thing, though we get looser and tighter on how much we enforce that. Lower bar tends to (lately) mean shitty threads. Higher bar means more "Why did you delete this?" MeTa threads. It's work either way, but talking policy in MeTa is often seen, by us, as a better use of our time.

So, to the "why don't you just timeout users more quickly" topic. Not disagreeing that this might not be a good plan. Here are the reasons we haven't, in the past, done this

- The amount of "this topic is IMPORTANT" agita we get whether we leave threads or delete them makes moderation difficult because every choice (to do OR to not do something) gets a lot of scrutiny and particular "You are doing this because of your ideology" scrutiny. This goes double or 10x as much if we time out one user and not another. The move will be perceived to have an agenda other than that person's bad behavior.
- The "bad behavior" bar is confusing and difficult to make a bright line rule about. I wouldn't think it but we even get pushback on the "Saying 'fuck you' is pretty much an insta-delete" guideline that I think is very straightforward. People in these threads often show up pre-outraged and giving someone a day off solves a problem for the site, maybe, but just means we get pissed off email from people rules-lawyering their timeouts and/or making a bunch of crappy "LAST TIME I said this I got a time out" metadiscussion in threads that are already difficult. We have been very clear with certain users (and by leaving notes in threads) that we need people to behave differently. They do not. Giving them a time out just postpones the problem, it doesn't solve it.
- I do not share the view that not having these threads means we are giving cover to a particular perspective. I don't disagree that it's a valid viewpoint, but it's not mine. I think one of the problems with topics like this is exactly that people think that the proper approach to it is the "Shout it from the rooftops!" one, which is not usually a very good starting point for a MeFi thread. I'm aware my opinion is just that, an opinion. I am also okay with the position that "MetaFilter is not for reporting or debating important things" especially if those things fall outside of what the general site purpose is. This is an open question: how many "You SHOULD know this" posts we have here.

I/P threads as they happen here may as well just be a link to CNN.com with the post text "Israel and Palestine, discuss" because that's what they wind up being. We don't tell people to focus on the links that often, people discuss what they want to discuss generally. But certain topics (not just this one) turning into the Same Old Fights means that the post is not really a MeFi post, it's just an excuse to have an ideological argument that isn't really going to go anywhere. And then entrenched people are going to be horrible to each other and horrible to us (again, no matter what we do, there is not a perfect set of behaviors that we could employ that will avoid the Bag of Hell response) and actively prohibit the actual topic of the thread being talked about. Not good for MetaFilter. There's no de facto ban on anything. But we've been asking people to do better at these and they're not doing that.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:09 AM on March 11, 2013 [9 favorites]


In macro, it absolutely does give cover, not least because closing down debates by making them a shitstorm is a time honoured tactic

Not to suggest no one has ever tactically tried to torpedo a discussion specifically by causing a distracting shitstorm, but on Metafilter at least we mostly see problems of the "recurringly contributes to discussion of x going badly" sort from folks who appear to actually very much want to participate in that thread. It's not some race to shut the thread down by scheming provocateurs so much as it is bad behavioral decisions by people apparently invested in the topic and in discussing it.

That's part of the problem, really; this'd be easier if the issue were straight up trolls doing a chorus of Lollin' In The Deep, but generally we're talking about that fuzzy line where you have to tell someone that the thing they care a lot about is a thing that they personally can't talk about anymore because they're just not managing it super well in aggregate, which tends to (a) generate an "okay but you have to prove to me explicitly and point-by-point the exact comment(s) that were problematic enough to justify this" which is an exhausting routine and often not the point, and (b) pisses the user in question off, and (c) pisses other people who agree with the user off, and (d) pisses off people who believe that no one should be asked to avoid a topic like, and (e) makes for Metatalk fandango wonderland time.

Which doesn't put it in "we can't/won't ever do that sort of thing", but to come back to a figure of speech that's already come up elsewhere, the bar is pretty high for it.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:25 AM on March 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


The idea that the mod's careful curation of posts is preventing anyone "speaking truth to power" is a ridiculous conspiracy theory. We all know that a number of users here are responsible for certain threads being extremely difficult for the mods to manage.

So too, I know some of you are thinking that maybe the "difficult users" I've mentioned are the MODS THEMSELVES - purposefully sabotaging dicussions and deleting the resulting trainwrecks, simply so they can put their feet up, grab a cocktail and relax on mathowie's dime. But anyone who thinks THAT must be hopelessly and childishly foolish.

Because - doesn't the problem here actually go deeper than all of that? I'm just saying, we've never actually seen Ismail Haniyah and cortex in the same room together. Or Benjamin Netanyahu and jessamyn. And isn't it quite "convenient" that the entire existence of the I/P conflict inspires certain people to make I/P threads very difficult on MetaFilter, which means the mods can delete them and grab that cocktail I mentioned?

Of course, I completely dismiss the theory that cortex and jessamyn personally created the ongoing Middle East conflict in order to get some more "downtime" at work as somewhat shallow. Because, isn't it true that Zeta-Reticulans from outer space are the REAL reason why all human conflict exists, given that they infected humanity's DNA with "war genes" 150,000 years ago (in order to breed fighting slaves for their alien circuses)?

In that context, is it really a stretch to wonder whether the mods are hyper-intelligent space-ferrets who escaped from their ferret-cage when their Zeta-Reticulan owners, who had come back to our planet to gather another slave-hoard, crash-landed on Earth (in the 1950s), and thereafter they decided to use humanity's propensity for conflict to their own advantage by growing mathowie from cloned human DNA in a test tube and teaching him the forbidden secrets of HTML and then waiting until he created MetaFilter and then taking jobs there, and then going, "cool, now we can kick back with a cocktail and just delete I/P threads instead of working" - ???

Because, if you think about it, IT ALL FITS.

This comment is in memory of Douglas Adams, whose birthday is today.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 7:25 AM on March 11, 2013 [23 favorites]


I got to the fourth paragraph of that comment before I detected any quidnuncicity. I am ashamed of myself.

Vote Douglas Adams #1 forever.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:29 AM on March 11, 2013 [7 favorites]


In macro, it absolutely does give cover, not least because closing down debates by making them a shitstorm is a time honoured tactic applied in the name of various causes widely across the internet, site by site. Metafilter - like other high traffic sites and communities - is unimportant by itself but when the number of places that cover controversial x diminish, the likelihood that the remaining ones get worse goes up.

Fair, but Metafilter can neither positively nor negatively affect the macro given its micro status.

Considering that the micro impact seems to be overwhelmingly exhausting and fighty, and the macro impact on x will be minute if any, MetaFilter should focus on what works best for its site. Further, as the debate closes elsewhere, MetaFilter could become the magnet for more of that activity.

Also, the debate around I/P is not closed - it has parameters. There is a big difference between those things, as it also applies to cat videos, breaking news and virtually everything else. Having parameters that can be achieved but are difficult to get to is very different from actively censoring a topic.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 7:32 AM on March 11, 2013


I do not share the view that not having these threads means we are giving cover to a particular perspective

To be 100% clear, I'm really, really not criticising the mods on this. You guys have reserves of patience most of us can only wish for and in your position I doubt I would do differently. My point explicitly was where non-debate favours a side, it may become a form of bias, however well-meaning the original intent.

we mostly see problems of the "recurringly contributes to discussion of x going badly" sort from folks who appear to actually very much want to participate in that thread

I agree, but the net effect is often the same even if conducted in good faith. Only a mug, or someone quite invested in the topic wades in to venture an opinion or ask a question where so many are intent on arguing the topic(s) to death.
posted by MuffinMan at 8:01 AM on March 11, 2013


As I see it, the problem with a mandatory-vacation punishment for people who escalate those threads is that they'll do their time and then they're right back on the streets. It'd force the mods to develop formal policies to deal with offenders and repeat offenders, and apply those rules "fairly." That's a huge administrative effort, and there's a huge chasm between it working in theory and it working in practice (especially in a fluid medium like a discussion forum).

Many places have tried to "solve" online moderation. Most fail to do so, often hilariously. And even though some sites (Slashdot, Reddit) have enjoyed relative success, their implementations end up enforcing a tone that is at least as problematic as the "No I/P threads unless we subjectively think it'll be civil" policy/guideline above.

The MetaFilter approach may be less transparent than a defined algorithm of votes, moderation, karma, and metamoderation, but it's much more accessible. If you have a problem, you can contact the mods directly. Or you can post to the grey, and we can all talk about it and see if there's a consensus, which may affect how the mods treat the issue in the future. It's a community-oriented approach that relies on a level of trust among the members and the mods, and for people to generally act in good faith.

It's not for everyone, and it's not foolproof, and the outcomes will sometimes be objectively unfair. And if you're in the mood for a heated argument (I know I sometimes am) then it's not going to scratch that itch. The beauty is that there's no shortage of sites that cater to that approach, and nothing stops you from being a member here and there at the same time.
posted by Riki tiki at 8:03 AM on March 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


An I/P thread is one where one side believes the Internet has always existed independently, and the other side believes that Protocols were there first and that the Internet merely usurped their domains.

No I'm not good at jokes, and everyone can make their own "Protocols of the Elders of..." joke!
posted by Pyrogenesis at 8:12 AM on March 11, 2013


Pyrogenesis: "everyone can make their own "Protocols of the Elders of..." joke!"
HEAD /conspiracy.html HTTP/1.1
---
HTTP/1.1 305 Use Proxy
Set-proxy: media ; scope=worldwide
posted by Riki tiki at 8:41 AM on March 11, 2013


Also, just btw, I know you're joking, PeterMcDermott, but Matt is a good boss

Yeah, just in case anyone was in any doubt, I was joking.

It's not like his staff ever leave because they're pissed off about the terms and conditions -- and I find it hard to believe that some of our mods mustn't get other offers from time to time.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 8:51 AM on March 11, 2013


I find it hard to believe that some of our mods mustn't get other offers from time to time.

I offered Cortex $20 bucks but he claimed that because I was out of town I needed to pay more. Totally left him a bad Yelp review.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 9:03 AM on March 11, 2013 [7 favorites]


I'm not worried about deleting Israel v Palestine threads because they're usually either opinion stuff, like this one, or current events that news feeds do well.

Imho, any posts about actual research into the conflict, reports by NGOs, etc. should stick around because few do those with the illuminating comments on the methodology.

I'm worried about "raising the bar" on topics in which comments often contain interesting details, anecdotes, etc., like say cop threads. I disliked this deletion too, but that's a different matter.

As an aside, google site:mefideleted.blogspot.com plus a user name or keyword, ala jeffburdges, Blasdelb, adamvasco, delmoi, zarq, etc. Israel has 1350 hits. Police has 2030 hits.
posted by jeffburdges at 9:06 AM on March 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


I wouldn't moderate here for a million, billion dollars.

For the record: I would totally moderate here for a million, billion dollars. Call me, Matt!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:08 AM on March 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


I've had about a dozen deletions. Most of them were doubles. A few were on topics that MeFi does not do well. I don't remember any of them being on Israel or the Palestinians, but I could be wrong.
posted by zarq at 9:13 AM on March 11, 2013


It is a big Internet, sure, though this part of it tends to be unusually interesting and people have uncommon perspectives on just about everything, no doubt to include I/P.

Me? I've lived in Saudi Arabia (during the second intifada) Kuwait (during the second Gulf War) and now Dubai, so I might have something to add to I/P conversations from a relatively uncommon perspective. My boss in Kuwait was Palestinian. We talked of many things.

I've no doubt that scads of people have all sorts of observations from perspectives people don't come across every day--or all over the Internet.

It's challenging to imagine that those conversations essentially don't and can't take place because there is no solution to dealing with less than a dozen jackasses.
posted by ambient2 at 9:22 AM on March 11, 2013 [9 favorites]


jeffburdges: " Police has 2030 hits."

Yeah, a lot of people have serious issues with Zenyatta Mondatta.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:23 AM on March 11, 2013 [6 favorites]


wish i had time to read all this but right now i've gotta throw the cat in the SUV and scoot down the street to her declawing appointment.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 9:30 AM on March 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


this'd be easier if the issue were straight up trolls doing a chorus of Lollin' In The Deep

There's a flame war starting on the Blue
Reaching a fever pitch and it's lookin' more like it's Fark
(Banhammer's gonna fall, LOLing in the deep)

And common MeFi experience tells us that a SLYT I/P post will never go well. Even if a transcript of the speech had been linked along with a good pull quote in the FPP and a bio of the speaker, the odds would still have been against it. Hot-button topics on the Blue require nothing less than the poster's A-game.

P.S. When did "Note: Everyone needs a hug." get appended to the MeTa comment input box?

posted by Doktor Zed at 9:33 AM on March 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


After some research, I have determined that as of right now, the summary of offensive MeFi sentences is "butthurt surrendermonkey frenchie zionist".
posted by Pyrogenesis at 9:40 AM on March 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Doktor Zed: "When did "Note: Everyone needs a hug." get appended to the MeTa comment input box?"

A long time ago.
posted by Riki tiki at 9:56 AM on March 11, 2013


EVERY TIME I read it as Intellectual Property thread.
posted by Zed at 11:33 AM on March 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


HEAD /conspiracy.html HTTP/1.1
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HTTP/1.1 305 Use Proxy
Set-proxy: media ; scope=worldwide
I foresee trouble getting that one out of Draft Standard.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 11:47 AM on March 11, 2013


EVERY TIME I read it as Intellectual Property thread.

If someone gets a license fee every time an Internet discussion is driven over a cliff, that person is very, very wealthy indeed.
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:45 PM on March 11, 2013


So I heard the refrain 'there are plenty of other places to talk on the internet about...' (and certainly, there are).

My question to all is: do you know where there is a place to hear rational, reasonable discussions of I/P issues?

I understand if the blue isn't the place (although it saddens me), but it would be great if someone could point me in the direction where I can find a reasonable discussion of these issues. (it is within my imagination that no such place exists on the internet, but it can't hurt to ask).

thx.
posted by el io at 9:13 PM on March 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


We don't need Nina Totenberg to explain their ramifications.

I read this as Ninja Totenberg at first. And that is what we need. We need Ninja Totenberg to explain the ramifications.
posted by medusa at 9:39 PM on March 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'm gonna take off my shoes, vote #1 the quidnunc kid, and not debatin' nobody about nothin'.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 10:43 PM on March 11, 2013


what is an IP thread?

Flip answer: it's a pissing contest that everyone takes too personally.

Serious answer: a post on the subject of Israel/Palestine.


I thought it was a thread about Intellectual Property.
All the comments about how fighty they get still made sense.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 1:26 AM on March 12, 2013


In space, no one can hear you scream argue about the Middle East.

The Space Marines are clearly the aggressive Israelies, and the xenomorphs are the plucky Palestinians who outmatch them with lower-tech, natural weaponry.

Or is that the Ewoks?
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 1:36 AM on March 12, 2013


Metafilter shuts it down.

No, no, Metafilter doesn't shut 'em down. Chuck D. shuts 'em down.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 1:44 AM on March 12, 2013


Maybe it would be good to ban particular people from arguing about a particular topic.

I mean obviously one big problem is the same people arguing the same points over and over again, and that gets pretty dull.

But, might be interesting to allow a discussion with new entrants, or perhaps restrict certain people from posting, like, half the comments in threads on certain topics.
posted by delmoi at 4:05 AM on March 12, 2013


I read the transcript posted by cman and it's a pretty standard maiden speech: finger-wagging and aspirations, but no details. I think this paragraph captures the feel of it pretty well:
... the discourse of victimhood cannot be a constructive one. Nothing can grow from it. I came here in order to change that discourse into one of empowerment, of mutual aid, of acceptance of the other. An authentic and deep acceptance. A discourse that replaces shrillness with cooperation and the nurturing of a safe place.
Yes, very nice, and how do you propose to do this as a junior MK whose party will probably not even be in government? You can't, obviously, so why not take advantage of your distance from power and propose concrete measures. You don't have any? Oh.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that the only reason this SLYT/SYTL was posted was because of the framing quote mentioning Palestinians. So why is the speech Metafilter- worthy? There are literally1 a zillion books, poems, texts, blogs and other media mentioning the Palestinians on the Internets. Why is this one especially worth reading? I think the bar can really stand to be lifted up a little higher than "so we have an excuse to generally discuss I/P again".

1 Not literally literally.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:53 AM on March 12, 2013


For the record: I would totally moderate here for a million, billion dollars. Call me, Matt!
I'll do it for a million million. Call me instead, seeing as I can't be contacted by you on LinkedIn, not having even got an invitation despite 99% of the earth's population having done so last week ;-)
posted by dg at 5:04 AM on March 12, 2013


I mean obviously one big problem is the same people arguing the same points over and over again, and that gets pretty dull.


Well sure, if you definitively insist Von Braun was evil after reading a few articles on the web.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:30 AM on March 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


But, might be interesting to allow a discussion with new entrants, or perhaps restrict certain people from posting, like, half the comments in threads on certain topics.

Is this a joke? Dude, you are pistorius notorious (look, science!) for doing this around here.
posted by Wolof at 6:32 AM on March 12, 2013


No no, let's go with his idea.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:44 AM on March 12, 2013


god bless you brandon for that. I saw some footage of his (von braun) capture, his craned arm and chain-smoking fingers looked scared, uncertain...
posted by clavdivs at 6:46 AM on March 12, 2013


delmoi: "But, might be interesting to allow a discussion with new entrants, or perhaps restrict certain people from posting, like, half the comments in threads on certain topics."

Says MeFi's Most Prolific Commenter. ;-)
posted by Scientist at 7:00 AM on March 12, 2013


Joe, did you perhaps miss the request not to turn this thread into the very discussion the original one was deleted to head off?
posted by flabdablet at 7:06 AM on March 12, 2013 [7 favorites]


I'll do it for a million million.

I'll do it for a million, Matt. Look! Capitalism!
posted by octobersurprise at 7:11 AM on March 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'll do it for a million million.

Hi, I'm Larry, this is my brother Darryl, and this is my other brother Darryl.

We will do anything for a buck.
posted by lampshade at 7:27 AM on March 12, 2013


flabdablet: "Joe, did you perhaps miss the request not to turn this thread into the very discussion the original one was deleted to head off?"

He's questioning whether the post was appropriate for Metafilter. I think that's exactly what MetaTalk is for, no?

Joe in Australia: " I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that the only reason this SLYT/SYTL was posted was because of the framing quote mentioning Palestinians. So why is the speech Metafilter- worthy? There are literally1 a zillion books, poems, texts, blogs and other media mentioning the Palestinians on the Internets. Why is this one especially worth reading? I think the bar can really stand to be lifted up a little higher than "so we have an excuse to generally discuss I/P again"."

I have been considering re-posting the video with more context and different positioning. There's no reason it can't help generate a reasonable discussion.

From an "is the speech appropriate for MeFi" perspective, there are a number of issues that she raises which are worth delving into and discussing. A great deal of Jewish history, religion and mythology are based on the idea that we were victims under an oppressor and either fought back or were saved/liberated by G-d. That we are perpetual underdogs. This theme appears again and again in our teachings and in our culture. "Never forget." "Never again." "In every generation they rise up against us." "Dayenu." The Holocaust firmly cemented that in many Jewish hearts and minds -- as well it should have. All of these cultural issues affect how Israel views and treats the Arab nations that surround her, as well as how they view, treat and deal with the Palestinians living within their borders, in Gaza and the West Bank. So yes, there are definitely subjects here that can be discussed civilly. There have been posts in the past where we've managed to do so, and hopefully we'll be able to in the future, too.

Also, there are many posts made that don't focus on solutions to a given problem. That's not a reason to find them acceptable or not. That's not a criteria I think we should be setting for I/P posts, either.

Just because you or I or anyone else personally agree or disagree with a post's subject doesn't mean they should be shut down out of hand. If she were misrepresented by the post, that would be one thing. But she wasn't. Nor was the quote particularly inflammatory.

Finally, whether or not she's currently a member of the majority party in government shouldn't matter when we consider whether this post is worthy of Mefi, either. She's known and influential and considering her history no doubt has strong support from Israeli women.
posted by zarq at 7:31 AM on March 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


Lacking the background that you clearly have zarq, I found the quote to be extremely inflammatory. Perhaps it is less so in context (though actually I would still disagree, but that's beside the point) but not if you are not already coming to the thread with the perspective that talking about Israel (and I guess you are saying Jews in general) as having a victimization complex is a non-controversial thing to say.

Not that it is never OK to put controversial statements above the fold of a thread, but it's rarely the best thing to do. Especially so when posting on a topic that has a tendency to bring out the partisan grar.
posted by Scientist at 7:59 AM on March 12, 2013


He's questioning whether the post was appropriate for Metafilter. I think that's exactly what MetaTalk is for, no?

Zarq, it seems to me that the paragraph you quoted is the only one he shouldn't have deleted before hitting Post.

Just because you or I or anyone else personally agree or disagree with a post's subject doesn't mean they should be shut down out of hand.

But that's not why this post was shut down. No mod has expressed an opinion on the substance of the post, only on the likelihood of its provoking the customary time-wasting flame war involving a minority of site users whose entrenched partisan positions make them disinclined to seek a good-faith reading of people who disagree with them.
posted by flabdablet at 8:28 AM on March 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Scientist: "Lacking the background that you clearly have zarq, I found the quote to be extremely inflammatory. Perhaps it is less so in context (though actually I would still disagree, but that's beside the point) but not if you are not already coming to the thread with the perspective that talking about Israel (and I guess you are saying Jews in general) as having a victimization complex is a non-controversial thing to say.

Ah. True. Yes, I can see that.

Worth mentioning that the victimization as motivator thing it's not a new concept. Folks who have been critical of Israel's policies wrt the Palestinians have been bringing it up for years. It's controversial tho.

Scientist: " Not that it is never OK to put controversial statements above the fold of a thread, but it's rarely the best thing to do. Especially so when posting on a topic that has a tendency to bring out the partisan grar."

Agreed.
posted by zarq at 8:37 AM on March 12, 2013


I have been considering re-posting the video with more context and different positioning. There's no reason it can't help generate a reasonable discussion.

Indeed. I might be saying something completely obvious, but not every I thread has to be an I/P thread. As was mentioned above, there was one sentence in the whole speech about Palestine, and pretty tangential to her main message.

Would it be fair, in a reframed new post, to delete people trying to turn it into I/P? The last comment in the deleted thread is an example of the kind of crap I am talking about here.

Imagine if every time people posted about Britain that the comments were flooded by noise about how it is different / the same in the US.
posted by Meatbomb at 9:00 AM on March 12, 2013


(sorry that last sentence is facetious)
posted by Meatbomb at 9:01 AM on March 12, 2013


But that's not why this post was shut down. No mod has expressed an opinion on the substance of the post, only on the likelihood of its provoking the customary time-wasting flame war involving a minority of site users whose entrenched partisan positions make them disinclined to seek a good-faith reading of people who disagree with them.


....pre-emptive modstrike?

I guess it's whether the inspired response is "ah crap...here we go again.." or "....now children, play nice..."

Go mods. I'm not worried. If I die on this hill, I'll get resurrected the next time I log on.
posted by mule98J at 9:06 AM on March 12, 2013


I'll do it for a million, Matt. Look! Capitalism!

Is anyone else imagining a horrific race to the bottom, a la journalism, where Matt ends up hiring a bunch of people who are prepared to moderate without pay, for the exposure?
posted by running order squabble fest at 10:27 AM on March 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


By this, do you mean, "will do it for free, so long as they don't have to put pants on"?
posted by frimble at 10:34 AM on March 12, 2013


You got that offer letter as well, eh?
posted by running order squabble fest at 10:38 AM on March 12, 2013


flabdablet: " Zarq, it seems to me that the paragraph you quoted is the only one he shouldn't have deleted before hitting Post.

Heh. Yeah.

But that's not why this post was shut down. No mod has expressed an opinion on the substance of the post,

Oh, definitely. I was just addressing the points raised by Joe.

...only on the likelihood of its provoking the customary time-wasting flame war involving a minority of site users whose entrenched partisan positions make them disinclined to seek a good-faith reading of people who disagree with them."

Yep.
posted by zarq at 11:01 AM on March 12, 2013


Meatbomb: " Indeed. I might be saying something completely obvious, but not every I thread has to be an I/P thread. As was mentioned above, there was one sentence in the whole speech about Palestine, and pretty tangential to her main message."

Actually, I believe it is not tangential and does directly apply. She referred to security pretty thoroughly throughout her speech. Heightened security within Israel's borders is a direct result of both the Palestinian situation and Hezbollah activities in Lebanon.
posted by zarq at 12:13 PM on March 12, 2013


Flabdablet, my point isn't that she's wrong, just that given how superficial it is ("My grandfather was someone important! We must be nice to puppies!") (a) it's not worth the screen space; and (b) it looks as though it was posted not for its content, but because it's an avenue for yet another I/P fight.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:26 PM on March 12, 2013


("My grandfather was someone important! We must be nice to puppies!")

This is not how I read it at all. In fact, I can't think of a worse faith way to interpret it. What's up with that?

My take, as an outsider: She's establishing credentials to show that she really DOES have a dog in this fight, and she's someone who, seems to me, would be hard to level accusations of anti-Semitism or anti-Israel-ism at, which seems like a common tactic these days against anyone who goes against Israel's current administration.

She is seeing some consistent behavior and trends that seem to her to go against what she sees as Judaism's? Israel's? mission statement, especially with regard to the corporatization of Israel, which is something most Americans can sympathize with.
posted by small_ruminant at 2:44 PM on March 12, 2013


she's someone who, seems to me, would be hard to level accusations of anti-Semitism or anti-Israel-ism at, which seems like a common tactic these days against anyone who goes against Israel's current administration.

Really? This ought to be easy to prove, but nobody ever seems adduce any actual evidence for it. On the other hand, quite liberal people - such as yourself - often make the claim that people speaking out against anti-Semitism are acting in bad faith: they want to silence debate. Can you not see that this is exactly the same thing as saying that women use claims of sexism and that African-Americans use claims of racism for their own advantage?

She is seeing some consistent behavior and trends that seem to her to go against what she sees as Judaism's? Israel's? mission statement, especially with regard to the corporatization of Israel, which is something most Americans can sympathize with.

You're reading your own thoughts into her speech: she makes no reference to mission statements or corporatisation.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:18 PM on March 12, 2013


Regarding corporatization, you could be right, but that's how I interpreted this:

We should be seeing a government that prides itself on a robust and growing economy taking responsibility for the workers it abandoned to the mercy of contractors.

Regarding mission statements, that's my shortcut word for this, though I suppose it's more what she hopes its mission statement will become:

A discourse that replaces shrillness with cooperation and the nurturing of a safe place. . A safe space is a place where I have a secure job, earn a living wage, can walk the streets secure that I won’t be spat at, beaten, harassed and excluded. Not because I’m a woman, or dark-skinned. Not because I’m Jewish or non-Jewish, Israeli or non-Israeli.

As for calling people who disagree with Israel's current policies anti-Semitic, we have seen it here on metafilter, we hear it in the US, and you hear it in the policies of Israel's own government.

If you don't believe that you can criticize Israel's policies without being anti-Semitic, there is no point in having a conversation.
posted by small_ruminant at 3:45 PM on March 12, 2013


Joe in Australia: "Really? This ought to be easy to prove, but nobody ever seems adduce any actual evidence for it."

A ton of people who have expressed anti-zionist sentiments have been accused of antisemitism instead. I mentioned Lerman above. He's just one high-profile example.

Criticism of Israel's policies is not antisemitism.
posted by zarq at 3:58 PM on March 12, 2013


Joe in Australia: "Really? This ought to be easy to prove, but nobody ever seems adduce any actual evidence for it."

Zarq: A ton of people who have expressed anti-zionist sentiments have been accused of antisemitism instead.

Saying "It happens a lot!" is not actually adducing evidence. If you did cite an example above it must have been deleted. Incidentally, if this is actually common then it's a remarkably unsuccessful tactic.

Criticism of Israel's policies is not antisemitism.

Does anyone say it is? You sound like someone saying "Criticisng Barack Obama isn't racist!"
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:16 PM on March 12, 2013


This is beginning to resemble the thread we asked people not to try to replicate here. In particular, in case anyone was wondering, the "criticising Israel is/is not antisemitic" is one of the tedious, infuriating, and seemingly inevitable arguments that makes these threads terrible.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 4:18 PM on March 12, 2013 [12 favorites]


One can always rely on nomads, particularly restless ones, to always be on the move to put a much-needed stop to this kind of silliness.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:02 PM on March 12, 2013


MUUUUUUUMMMM!

He's doing it again!
posted by flabdablet at 5:25 PM on March 12, 2013


You sound like someone saying "Criticiing Barack Obama isn't racist!

I beg your fucking pardon?

I'm walking away from this thread now. Before I call you the epithets you so richly fucking deserve and get my ass banned. You're not worth it.
posted by zarq at 5:27 PM on March 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


If you kids don't cut it out I'm stopping this car right here
posted by flabdablet at 5:32 PM on March 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


and then we'll NEVER get to Carlsbad Caverns GOD why do you ALWAYS ruin EVERYTHING jeez I can't believe you're MY SISTER
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:40 PM on March 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


It would be awesome if people could take this sort of thing to MeMail or something that is non-public before it gets to this point. If anyone wants to know why I/P threads go so poorly, I'll be pointing them to this MeTa thread in the future.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:47 PM on March 12, 2013 [5 favorites]


jessamyn, you can just tell them "Because they're recursively bad — threads about why threads about I/P go poorly go poorly."
posted by benito.strauss at 6:05 PM on March 12, 2013


ROCKS FALL EVERYONE DIES. THE END.

Can we close this up now?
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:20 PM on March 12, 2013


I kinda want the mods to remind Joe in Australia to cool his rhetoric in the future. Then close away.
posted by mediareport at 7:16 PM on March 12, 2013 [7 favorites]


Yeah. If anyone should be banned from I/P convos, it's JIA.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 7:37 PM on March 12, 2013 [8 favorites]


Joe In Australia: Saying "It happens a lot!" is not actually adducing evidence.

This is actually so perfect as to be almost unbelievable .
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:51 PM on March 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'd give a lot to see Lady Gaga produce a dubstep version of the My Little Pony theme.

The search term you're looking for is "dubtrot".
posted by radwolf76 at 8:18 PM on March 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


The hard part is, people HAVE used the "you're falsely accusing me of antisemitism just to shut me up!" dodge in the past.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:18 PM on March 12, 2013


Seriously, stop it.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:26 PM on March 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


The European Union Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (now the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights) published a Working Definition of Antisemitism. It's probably a good starting point for reflecting on whether something is anti-Semitic or not.

For what it's worth, I don't think I generally use inflammatory rhetoric and I'll be happy to discuss any particular instances via email.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:34 PM on March 12, 2013


For what it's worth, I don't think I generally use inflammatory rhetoric

The problem is not the quality, it's the quantity, in your case, IMO. (I know, pot, kettle, black).
posted by empath at 8:44 PM on March 12, 2013


The search term you're looking for is "dubtrot".

Wow, you're actually not joking. How could I have been surprised given Rule P.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 9:13 PM on March 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


People have also preemptively used the "I can't discuss Israel without somebody calling me an antisemite" statement to shut down discussion as well. I'd say there's about equal marks in both columns, and they both suck.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:36 PM on March 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


To be clear, I was referring specifically to this instance; I often find Joe's comments in Palestine/Israel threads to be sharp, informative and challenging. But it's true that his zeal on the subject is one of the reasons I now tend to stay out of those threads; every thread seems to end up a Joe thread, so when he does get snippy - like he did above, I think, with that ridiculous Obama racist crack - it tends to spoil the discussion disproportionately.
posted by mediareport at 5:06 AM on March 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


So do we have a consensus that JIA is banned from future I/P threads? Can we draw up a list of the other 10 so we can get on with it already?
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 5:10 AM on March 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I get that the mods have a tough job, but count me among the folks who think "hassle of telling folks to cool it and dealing with their angry fallout" shouldn't count nearly as much as "benefit to the tubes of MeFi being a smart space to discuss Palestine/Israel issues, which is much rarer online than some folks above seem to imply."
posted by mediareport at 5:15 AM on March 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


As far as I/P threads go, there is angry fallout and a lot more work for moderators no matter what happens. We're not saying that we aren't going to come up with a "hit list" of people who are not allowed to comment in I/P threads just because then we will have to deal with a bunch of angry people who are unhappy that someone on "their side" of the debate isn't allowed to participate ... though that would surely happen. We'll have to deal with angry people no matter what we do or don't do about I/P threads – if we delete or don't delete posts, if we do or don't delete certain comments, if we sit on top of a thread and prune it ruthlessly to the exclusion of doing pretty much anything else, if we let people have their head with how the discussion goes... it pretty much all turns out the same: ugly and angry. With a few exceptions here and there.

We aren't going to come up with a banned-from-this-topic list because that would be setting a moderation precedent that we do not want to pursue. We aren't going to create lists of people who are not allowed to participate in various contentious "Metafilter doesn't do well" threads. It's something that we do occasionally (extremely rarely) when we negotiate with an individual user who is an otherwise valued member when the situation basically becomes, "it's either this, or banned from the site," because, for whatever reason, they cannot seem to moderate their own extreme behavior in regard to certain topics.

In my experience some users are pretty dependable about showing up and being fighty in I/P threads, but overall participation tends to be much, much worse than in other topics, and even if we took a handful of people out of the discussion there would still be plenty of the sort of outrage-posting, hyperbole, sarcasm, insinuation and personal attacks that make these threads toxic. It feels like most people enter angry, and the absence of a few specific participants will not keep people from turning on each other when they are hellbent on seeking a fight.

If people want to engage in I/P discussions, they need to make really good posts and then exercise some self control and put a bit of effort into communicating instead of performing their outrage, and then if there are one or two people consistently bringing down the level of discourse, flag/contact instead of 200 people responding in 30 seconds, and we will sort them out. But it has to be the will of the community to have decent discussion around this, not top-down moderation that splits up members into Can/Cannot Comment groups.
posted by taz (staff) at 5:57 AM on March 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


All of that's completely understandable, taz, but it's worth pointing out that in this bit:

they need to make really good posts and then exercise some self control and put a bit of effort into communicating instead of performing their outrage

there's an implication that even if someone makes a really good I/P post, *other* folks' lack of self control can get the post deleted, and that rankles. Nothing new there, of course, just pulling it out again.
posted by mediareport at 6:15 AM on March 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Plus one for an absolute *ban* on I/P threads on Metafilter from here on out. I'd rather see 400 posts about Lady Gaga's cat declawing and gun-siting service than one more argument between the usual suspects about a problem nobody seems to actually want to solve because then they'd have no reason to be outraged.
posted by spitbull at 6:16 AM on March 13, 2013


I've learned a lot about Palestine/Israel in threads here over the years - more than at any other site anywhere, actually. So I completely disagree.
posted by mediareport at 6:18 AM on March 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


there's an implication that even if someone makes a really good I/P post, *other* folks' lack of self control can get the post deleted

Not disputing that this may occasionally happen but what we see happening more often is that someone makes an average post about a good topic in the loose I/P category, by either making it a thin news post with a snarky headline "This shit again??!" or takes a provocative pullquote and uses that as the basis for their post and then gets surprised when the post goes badly. I rarely see posts that I think are just really great well-done posts that turn to shit in the comments. I see average posts which might stay if they were on another topic turn to shit in the comments.

And I see a lot of people making posts about I/P topics as if they were just normal old newsfilter posts which they are not and the threads go predictably. Newsfilter posts aren't great here anyhow. Touchy ones are awful and often get deleted on a variety of topics (cop violence, bike/ped "this shit again??!" topics, animal abuse, single link "US politician does something stupid" posts) And these aren't new users just stumbling into this quicksand, these are longtime users who, for whatever reason seemed to want to make a post about something happening in Israel with a provocative pullquote and a snarky headline. Those aren't okay here.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:35 AM on March 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


exercise some self control and put a bit of effort into communicating instead of performing their outrage

That right there is poetry and deserves to be embroidered on a sampler and put prominently on display inside the forehead of every person who uses any online discussion forum anywhere ever.
posted by flabdablet at 6:39 AM on March 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'd like to nominate myself for inclusion on the list of users who are banned from I/P threads. Here are my credentials:

1. I punched a kid in the stomach at my Bar Mitzvah, 'cos he disrespected the theme, Lower Cretaceous Follies!, by dressing as a gymnosperm - which actually predominated in the Upper Jurassic. He was Jewish.

2. I briefly worked at a kebab shop run by Hezbollah, in 1983. What attracted me was the humus. However, I stole $15.00 from the till one day because that asshole Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah disrespected my shawarmas. I still bear him enmity.

3. Whenever there's an I/P thread, I always take over the conversation by arguing passionately that the use of the backslash between "I" and "P" is evidence of a right-leaning ideology, which just goes to show how prejudiced you all are. Whch is true, of course. EVERYONE knows that a more sensitive inter-capital glyph would be 'n', i.e. "I 'n' P" (or "I 'n' fuckin' P," with a nod to my main man, W. Axl Rose).

4. I was grown in a test-tube from a single cell scrapped from Hitler's sole testicle by Eva Braun before their double-suicide, which was saved by the Red Army when they took Berlin and eventually sold to Albert Einstein in exchange for his moustache. I was thus raised by the great scientist, but had to hide in his unruly shock of white hair so that his love for his secret adopted Hitler-clone would never be discovered. This is why Einstein could not accept the job of President of Israel in 1952, as the role involved receiving daily scalp-massages. I would like to apologise to David Ben-Gurion for never admitting this before.

5. I am a pointless asshole whose mindless, irrelevant and unfunny comments have actually caused seventeen MetaFilter users to die of tedium. Fifty-three others also lost at least one limb, also from tedium. It is the silent killer.

6. I fully expect to be elected Supreme Pontiff of the Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church in the next few days, and I will be spending most of my time being "tough on sin, and tough on the causes of sin" (as per my election motto).

So please don't hesitate to vote #1 quidnunc kid on the abovementioned basis.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 7:26 AM on March 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


I always take over the conversation by arguing passionately that the use of the backslash between "I" and "P" is evidence of a right-leaning ideology

Even more sickening when we note that the aforementioned slash is actually a FORWARD SLASH, as if only the right-leaning slash is for FORWARD progress. Sick.
posted by gorbichov at 9:46 AM on March 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


we note that the aforementioned slash is actually a FORWARD SLASH

Oh here we go - another "back-or-forward slash" trainwreck on MeTa. God, will the mods just hurry up and ban gorbichov and myself??? We CANNOT be trusted to handle punctuation threads in a respectful manner. What about that time we almost came to blows in the "octothorpe vs. sharp-sign" debate of '06? Our views on the matter were only a semitone apart but as a result we descended into dissonance and the mods had to modulate us to D-flat minor, "the saddest of all keys". Now, only by swift mod-modulation to the dominant can MeFi hope to square the circle of fifths and give us all the major resolution we seek. BTW I have no idea how I got into this metaphor but I am asking you guys because otherwise, what's MeTa for? Riddle me THAT.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 10:27 AM on March 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is not the slash fic I was looking for.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:41 AM on March 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


Don't you judge me. gorbichov/the quidnunc kid OTP
posted by Elementary Penguin at 10:42 AM on March 13, 2013


"Their love demanded that its right to exist be recognised."
posted by the quidnunc kid at 11:10 AM on March 13, 2013


I will link to my previous MeTa post on the subject of political-ish Metafilter posts being taken down
posted by deathpanels at 12:03 PM on March 13, 2013


Jesus Christ, even the beauty queen thread is going south.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 2:58 PM on March 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


I will link to my previous MeTa post on the subject of political-ish Metafilter posts being taken down

It is the burden of the poster to identify that the post they have submitted is such a subject, and to cater their submission to Metafilter's community guidelines. There are a lot of sites where posting a single-link fiscal cliff submission is fair game, but I don't think MeFi is such a place.


I think posting quality for any subject has to bear this in mind; for more contentious subjects, the community bears a lot more responsibility in making it work, in the ways taz pretty deftly described.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:00 PM on March 13, 2013


And yes, that pageant thread turned to shit fast.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:15 PM on March 13, 2013


Maybe there should be an extra step on submit post workflow when certain keywords/tags are matched. A gentle note to the poster asking if they are aware that metafilter does not usually handle this topic well.
posted by humanfont at 8:38 PM on March 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, came in to talk about the beauty queen thread. IMO, mediareport was completely inappropriate in his choice of words. Depo provera birth control shots given without fully informed consent is abhorrent on many levels - and worth talking about - but is in no way "forced sterilization" - a loaded term by any definition, but especially so when it's demonstrably untrue but has been perpetuated against Jews in the past. But I flagged and ignored it like the turd in the punch bowl it was intended to be, because it was a good thread and didn't deserve the attention. But the comment was left to stand and I think it's unsurprising that now the thread's back in fighting territory again.

The irony is that both Joe and mediareport are linking to the same exact article to make opposing points - because mediareport won't back down that bad shit went down, and Joe won't back down that the point is that it wasn't "forced sterilization."

Frankly, if that phrase isn't seen here as fighting words aching for a fighty response, I don't know what is. Mediareport could have made the same exact post with accurate description like "unknowingly coerced into taking depo-provera", for example, and there wouldn't have been an issue.

It's incredibly frustrating.
posted by Mchelly at 7:30 PM on March 14, 2013


Mchelly is talking about this and this, which led to that and that.

Mchelly, it's not "just" the allegation that sterilisation took place which has been refuted; it's the idea that there was a conspiracy between several international NGOs and Israeli ministries to lower the birth rate of Ethiopian migrants against their will. That's an extraordinary claim to drop into a thread about a beauty pageant.

I think this demonstrates that it's not just I/P threads that cause problems. There are a few users who seem to scan every thread about Israel, trying to drop things like that into the conversation. I've held back from posting several FPPs about history or archeology in Israel because I know that a mention of archeology near Hebron, for instance, will be derailed by someone going off about Baruch Goldstein.

I don't think Metafilter should tolerate casual accusations of genocidal conspiracies, but I also don't think the moderators should be asked to nursemaid every thread that mentions Israel. The best solution might be to simply ban every FPP about Israel and discipline anyone pushing a conversation in that direction.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:09 PM on March 14, 2013


I'm happy to discuss this in the original thread, calmly, but since we're here instead:

Are you two seriously arguing that "unknowingly coerced into taking depo-provera" is hugely different from "forced sterilization"? That's shocking to me, but ok, how is it different? I have no idea where Joe got the conspiracy between NGOs and Israeli ministries stuff, because it's not in the Haaretz reporting I linked (which you can find in full by googling the title), but I do know that his claim that the reporting has now been "debunked" is fundamentally dishonest. Again, I'm happy to discuss this in the original thread, calmly.

That said, if we're having a conversation about the kinds of comments that wreck Palestine/Israel threads, I think this comment from ocschwar is exactly the kind of worthless insulting noise that should be immediately deleted:

Oh, come on, Joe. If you say anything that calls into question the veracity of an Israel-bashing story, or dare to suggest that its most lurid elements are false, then you are a terrible, terrible, terrible no good person. You know that.
posted by mediareport at 8:56 PM on March 14, 2013


mediareport, your comment was a derail and axe-grinding and should have been deleted, imo.
posted by empath at 9:17 PM on March 14, 2013


Well, I think it was directly relevant, given the framing of the post, which pointed to the social issues at play in the pageant's decision-making in the past. I read the entire article, saw the references to racism against Ethiopian Jews in Israeli society (I mean, other folks saw those direct statements about racism against Ethiopian Jews, right? They were in the linked article, right there, readable), and thought immediately of the controversy about the birth control shots being given without informed consent, and wondered why Tablet hadn't mentioned them in an article about an Ethiopian immigrant. It was a huge deal in Israeli society over the last few months, and certain to have been on Israelis' minds when the decision was announced.

In other words, perfectly appropriate to bring up, empath. We'll just have to disagree.
posted by mediareport at 9:25 PM on March 14, 2013


Mediareport that dog won't hunt. Time to cowboy up and admit you blew it. You can keep digging the hole deeper, but you should probably walk away from this one, while you still can. You tried to bring something to the thread, but you framed it in a very inflammatory way, and ultimately the article you brought was shown by those with more expertise to be inaccurate. Your credibility is gone. No one is going to trust your information at this point, the more you push it the worse it is for your long term credibility. You should thank Joe for his clarifications and admit you were wrong here.
posted by humanfont at 9:43 PM on March 14, 2013


*pfft*

I have no idea how to respond to that kind of insulting garbage, so I'll just ignore it. I'm also going to continue discussing Joe in Australia's links in the thread on the blue, calmly, slowly, and rationally, and if anyone wants to continue to engage there in similar fashion, I'll be happy to. For the record, the argument that the hugely disproportionate use of Depo Provera in Ethiopian women immigrating to Israel is best explained by the fact that those women are lying about being forced to take the shots because they don't want to tell their husbands they're on birth control is, to me, deeply troubling. That this theory is being held up as a settled fact that refutes all claims of institutional racism in this case strikes me as a stretch, at best.

Joe, I'm serious about discussing this with you thoughtfully, without insults.
posted by mediareport at 10:52 PM on March 14, 2013


Does your memail not work? No possibility of talking to him about it via email? Why do you need to talk about it in a thread about a beauty pageant?
posted by empath at 11:00 PM on March 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


mediareport, that post is not about the Depo Provera thing, and it's not okay to hijack a thread to make it into a post that would be deleted if it were posted. Some amount of discussion stray is fine, but this has been brought up and discussed, is now chasing its own tail, and shouldn't completely overtake the whole conversation. If you want to engage Joe further, see if he's open to emailing about it.
posted by taz (staff) at 11:20 PM on March 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


mediareport, to answer your question, yes, I am saying that using the actual description of what happened is hugely different from forced sterilization. It's the difference between saying that someone didn't get a meal or two and that someone was starved.

This is not a new M.O., either. It looked to me like you were so determined to derail that post that you also responded to a joke about "beta" Israel with a link to a book attacking Israel's policies w.r.t. the Hareidi - which also has no relation to the subject of the post. I get it. You clearly think Israel is evil and nefarious and need to point this out at every turn. That is not what this site is here for.

Joe, I always really appreciate your insights and while I agree with you that the issue itself is deeper and refuting the worst claims would have been warranted had it come up, in this particular case on this post, those details weren't mentioned and refuting them is only magnifying the derail. Give mediareport more credit - he/she linked to Haaretz, and stuck to the acknowledged facts, even if the language was unnecessarily inflammatory.

I don't want to see an end to Israel posts, though I think it's clear they need far more moderation than the majority of posts and that's rotten. And I think the fact that people on both "sides" are unhappy about how the posts go is a pretty good sign that by and large things are handled here better than in many places, which is heartening.
posted by Mchelly at 5:02 AM on March 15, 2013


I really wanted to do a post on the recent election in Isreal because the coalition government is really struggling because of domestic divisions. However it would just be a trainwreck. I'd get no insights, just a grarfest.
posted by humanfont at 7:05 AM on March 15, 2013


The thing that's so frustrating is that neither side will give an inch. It's all or nothing. Either Israel is the shining city on the hill in the Middle East or its a genocidal racist regime. The Palestinians are either Genocidal terrorists or pure as the wind driven snow freedom fighters. Now of course there are commenters who take a more nuanced approach, but they are usually drowned out by the extremist positions on both sides who will accept no criticism of their "side". I often wonder how many of these commenters are actually Israeli and Palestinian, and if not, why the fuck are they so invested in this fight? I mean I have some strong opinions about the matter myself, but honestly both sides come out looking dirty to me. And by sides I mean the elite leaders of the respective parties; not the majority of the populace who, as mentioned above, are caught in the middle of a huge game of dickwaving and clusterfucking...which seems to also be what most I/P thread tend to devolve into. Metafilter can and has done better; it just takes a little effort.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 8:01 AM on March 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


I often wonder how many of these commenters are actually Israeli and Palestinian, and if not, why the fuck are they so invested in this fight?

I think it's easier to be extreme when you're NOT there. In San Francisco during the 1980s the most extreme IRA supporters were Irish Americans who'd never been to Ireland, and therefore didn't have to worry about living next door to the people whose kids they'd recently advocated bombing in the name of The Cause. When it's 100% "the principle of the thing," the rhetoric can get appalling.
posted by small_ruminant at 10:59 AM on March 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Either Israel is the shining city on the hill in the Middle East or its a genocidal racist regime.

I am on neither side of that. I think both Israelis and Palestinians are deserving of both criticism and congratulations, depending on what they do they, and they do both. I have, in the past, tried to participate in I/P threads in good faith, and when I was critical of Palestinians, was met with accusations of being a Zionist stooge -- oddly, when I was critical of Israel, it went unremarked upon. But the former example was so hostile and so vitriolic that I no longer participate in I/P threads, and suspect that I am not the only one who steers clear as a result of the shrillness of the discussion.

And so that may be part of the problem. Some who are unreasonable have driven away many who are reasonable, and so there is a much higher percentage of people looking for a fight, or to make points, and much less people who are looking for discussion.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:05 AM on March 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


Some who are unreasonable have driven away many who are reasonable, and so there is a much higher percentage of people looking for a fight, or to make points, and much less people who are looking for discussion.

Yep. I/P is the only subject I avoid threads about because I know what to expect, and it's really, really tiresome to see the same two or three chihuahuas barking at each other through the chainlink fence.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:18 PM on March 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


> I no longer participate in I/P threads, and suspect that I am not the only one who steers clear as a result of the shrillness of the discussion.

Yup, me too. It's too bad, but there seems to be no help for the situation.
posted by languagehat at 2:04 PM on March 15, 2013


Old City of Jerusalem: 1967

Uzi Narkiss: "Moshe, you want to do what?"

Yitzak Rabin: "General please reconsider..."

Moshe Dayan: "Do you want peace or not."
posted by clavdivs at 2:28 PM on March 15, 2013


I also avoid I/P threads. I mean, I look inside of 'em sometimes, but more out of a sense of morbid curiosity than anything else. I still stand by the idea that I/P threads would go a hell of a lot better if we just took the ten most prolific commenters in those threads and told them to stay the hell out so that the other ten thousand of us could have a decent discussion. It ruins the whole thing for everyone and it sucks.
posted by Scientist at 11:24 AM on March 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


I still stand by the idea that I/P threads would go a hell of a lot better if we just took the ten most prolific commenters in those threads and told them to stay the hell out so that the other ten thousand of us could have a decent discussion.

I find this idea that a few commenters prevent other MeFi's from having a discussion highly dubious. This isn't "meatspace" where only one conversation can happen at a time. I don't see why several conversations can't be successfully multiplexed within a single thread. Frankly, a lot of these comments about how "we" should tell "them" to "stay the hell out," just seem like thinly veiled jabs at people "we" don't like. Several users that make comments I find to be offensive and assholish also make comments I find to be valuable. I don't think anyone should be told to stay out of a thread unless they are egregiously violating the guidelines.
posted by Golden Eternity at 1:49 PM on March 16, 2013


Coming over from the MeTa on moderatorial policy on single link cute cat posts.

As I said there, the deletion of this post troubled me in that I was uncomfortable with the idea that MetaFilter would avoid certain issues merely because they were contentious, and that there were unwritten conventions surrounding posting content (that was the first time I had heard of the higher bar for Israel-Palestine posts). It made me feel a little bit distanced from MetaFilter and less invested in the MetaFilter community.

I'm sensitive to the issue that tone of debate in the comment threads affects the community. My very first MetaFilter comment was kind of shot down in its thread without much discussion on its own merits. At the time, I was only a casual MetaFilter reader, just kind of dipping my feet into commenting because the post seemed to have the potential to fuel a very interesting discussion. The experience disappointed me and lowered my opinion of the potential of MetaFilter, and I didn't really come back for several months or a year (eventually my friend who originally alerted me to the existence of MetaFilter kept sending more links, and enough of them raised my interest enough to start commenting again). So I'm not trying to argue for letting fighty discussion threads continue to be fighty.

As noted in the other MeTa, one of the things that makes MetaFilter what it is is the moderation; the fact that we can have (mostly) decent discussions on a wide variety of topics, with a wide variety of people. I understand that this can take a great deal of moderator time. So one possible solution for israel-Palestine posts that i would be more comfortable with than how this went down would be if it was clearly and boldly stated on the posting guidelines page that, due to finite moderation resources, certain topics that historically and empirically take up too many of these resources are disallowed (with list of such topics). Because not all of us have been around from the beginning and are aware of these policies, and even if this doesn't describe the people posting the contentious links, how the deletion is handled affects the rest of us as well.

But I'd much rather see this dealt with in ways that hopefully can be reasonable on moderation resources but also not involve blacklisting certain topics. I've seen it posited that it's only a certain mangeably-sized collection of people who get too fighty in Israel-Palestine threads; if so, could just those users be disallowed from posting and commenting on just that topic? Could there be a requirement that, rather than a strict blacklist, posts on this topic have to be run past a moderator prior to posting, and/or include a moderator-approved warning/reminder of guidelines for productive commenting? In other words, perhaps instead of avoiding the topic, could we train ourselves, as a community and with the help of our moderators, to "do" this topic better?
posted by eviemath at 8:33 AM on March 17, 2013


I'm really uncomfortable with the "can't we just ban certain users from posting on this topic?" suggestion that keeps coming up in this thread. I have a hard time believing that such a ban, unless it happened to run perfectly equal along ideological lines in terms of who given the boot, would not come off, whether intended or not, as Mefi determining the "correct " opinion one is allowed to express on the topic.

Also, this is a topic where I think people who loudly hold a minority position (for Mefi) are likely to be more remembered as "problem" users. For example, Joe in Australia has been frequently brought up in this thread as someone who causes issues during I/P discussions. And I'm not saying that his participation has always been ideal. But as one of the few strongly pro-Israeli voices on Mefi, I think he gets remembered in ways equally problematic pro-Palestinian Mefites do not since they represent pretty much the vast, vast majority of the site and are harder to remember individually. Kind of the same way it's easy to remember the usernames of the firmly anti-abortion or gun-rights-advocate Mefites and point them out as "problematic", but not as easy to individually point out their ideological opposites since there are simply too many to remember by name.
posted by The Gooch at 9:15 AM on March 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


I often wonder how many of these commenters are actually Israeli and Palestinian, and if not, why the fuck are they so invested in this fight?

Because it is a matter of Right and Wrong.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 7:19 PM on March 17, 2013


I'm coming back after taking a few days off to apologize for the way I handled this. I'm sorry for being stupidly, thoughtlessly provocative in the original comment; instead of modeling the kind of behavior I hope to see in Palestine/Israel threads, I did the opposite. I'd also like to apologize for the way I dug in my heels above; I'm sorry for that, and felt myself getting more ridiculously angry and flamey as it went on, and am glad I eventually took humanfont's advice to back away and go deal with whatever it was that was making this so hard for me to see clearly.

I'm embarrassed at the way I behaved; the original comment was rushed and unnecessarily pointed, and the digging in I see above is frankly a blot on my time here I hope will be quickly forgotten. I'm sure gonna try to forget it. But I am sorry for what I did; I like to think I'm better than this here. Usually, anyway.
posted by mediareport at 6:21 AM on March 18, 2013 [8 favorites]


That's a good point, The Gooch.
posted by eviemath at 6:54 AM on March 18, 2013


as one of the few strongly pro-Israeli voices on Mefi, I think he gets remembered in ways equally problematic pro-Palestinian Mefites do not since they represent pretty much the vast, vast majority of the site

I'm unconvinced that the vast majority of site users here would be comfortable being thought of as "pro-Palestinian". I'm certainly not; I'm with Judith Butler in finding that kind of language "reductive, if not embarrassing".

It seems more likely to me that the majority of people who comment here, like the majority of people who live in the Middle East but apparently unlike the majority of those who purport to represent them, are pro peace, pro negotiation in good faith, and anti being a dick to your neighbour.
posted by flabdablet at 8:25 AM on March 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


I will be watching this post with interest.
posted by Artw at 11:16 AM on March 18, 2013


Mefi determining the "correct " opinion one is allowed to express on the topic.

But to expand on the analogy you raise later, this already happens on other topics. Social conservative viewpoints are discouraged on the site. The default conversation assumes that they aren't present. Liberals are "we" and "us," while conservatives and Republicans are referred to as "them." If somebody opines a conservative viewpoint, they are either questioned from a dozen different directions or else rudely shouted down, or both. People who do it continuously risk being banned.

The result, in political threads, is indeed one-flavor conversation with "right" and "wrong" viewpoints, often explicitly so. I find it less interesting to read these conversations (and other negative things that I'll skip saying). But they don't pose the same moderation problem; and although I dislike them, I'm vastly outnumbered by the number of people who participate and appear to enjoy them. So at least from a utilitarian perspective, it's a successful tactic.
posted by cribcage at 11:24 AM on March 18, 2013


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