Television choices = Rape March 23, 2013 1:06 AM   Subscribe

So uhh, some of the discussion in this particular trainwreck of a thread seems pretty way out of line to me. I understand folks are weirded out by the story in the link but I think some folks should consider not going quite so over the top in the future in how they handle criticizing entire fanbases. That was an extremely volatile accusation to throw out with such a wide net.
posted by Drinky Die to Etiquette/Policy at 1:06 AM (32 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

Cortex and I discussed that at hand-off, and it was basically that he was getting ready to comment with a warning there since there had already been responses, but at that point the poster had stepped out of the conversation and we thought it was probably better to let it die a natural death and for the conversation to carry on in more normal tones.

At any rate, at this point, late-night in the U.S., he is presumably offline and not able to answer this callout, and since he is the only one who has used those terms – or is likely to – I'm not sure how much we can resolve right now.
posted by taz (staff) at 1:18 AM on March 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, it sucks. Not to be ironically over-the-top, but if we can get a break from visits by the Junior Anti-Sex League, that might help threads go a little better.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:06 AM on March 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


I think the extreme defensiveness of many of the MLP fans is also an issue, and I'm a bit worried that MeFi might end up as a 'safe space' for many of the Internet's creepier subcultures. The poster in question was specifically addressing the large volume of pornographic and violent (Google 'cupcakes'. Or don't) material made about characters created for and representing young girls that is created by a largely male audience. I find it odd that we're not allowed to say that's a bit mysogonistic when that charge is leveled at pretty much everything else on MeFi, like this blog post posted today. There's also no property or fandom immune to that - or would I be banned from pointing out that Supernatural, for example, tends to constantly kill off its female characters?
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 2:12 AM on March 23, 2013 [21 favorites]


I think there was a lot of willful misreading of that comment, personally. imo it was directed at specifically the subset of the brony fanbase that sexualizes them; then throughout the thread responses kept characterizing it as "oh, you said that guys can't like MLP because it should be pure for empowering girls," or somesuch, which is really like someone saying he doesn't like pickles and then being represented as being against all vegetables.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 2:13 AM on March 23, 2013 [12 favorites]


"Bronies are rape by proxy."'

not

"A subset of Bronies are rape by proxy."

though I'm not sure as creepy and weird that subset is it's fair to go with calling them people who want to rape women back into place. He was also suggesting non-creepy fans have a responsibility to walk away from the fandom over this.

I think the extreme defensiveness of many of the MLP fans is also an issue

I think one can reasonably expect that if they tell people they are guilty of rape by proxy for liking a television show defensive reactions may occur.

I find it odd that we're not allowed to say that's a bit mysogonistic


Absolutely nobody is stopping you from saying that. I doubt you will find any MLP fan on Mefi who disagrees with that interpretation of the creep content. Such discussion was absolutely on topic for this particular thread that was highlighting the underbelly of the fanbase. It's not so hot when it shows up in threads about the show in general or when it is applied broadly to all fans of the show.
posted by Drinky Die at 2:26 AM on March 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


I find it odd that we're not allowed to say that's a bit mysogonistic

I'm not sure what you are talking about here. If you are talking about Metafilter, this is certainly not true, nor would you "be banned from pointing out that Supernatural, for example, tends to constantly kill off its female characters."

To be clear, our problem with the comment, and others like it, is a) the "[THING THAT IS NOT RAPE] is like rape" framing, which we consistently very strongly discourage here, and b) the suggestion that any adult, male fan of the show, including those commenting in that thread, is complicit or part of the group that promotes "rapiness."
posted by taz (staff) at 2:35 AM on March 23, 2013 [19 favorites]


if we can get a break from visits by the Junior Anti-Sex League

I love the smell of good faith in the morning! It doesn't smell anything like this!
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:26 AM on March 23, 2013 [32 favorites]


I certainly don't think that it helped that it was a thread that was framed as mocking something and then linked to an article that mocked that thing.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 3:27 AM on March 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


I dunno. I mean, I get the unease about the interest and "colonizing" by older men of something that could reasonably be said to be intended solely for young girls. And the sexualization and pathology at the edge of this fandom makes it extra uncomfortable. However, the same kind of argument could be developed for almost anything. "When video games were first marketed, they were aimed at children. There are video games that glorify rape, violence, etc. Why do adults have to soil what was meant as entertainment for children? If you play video games, and you are older than 16, you should be ashamed of yourself...." And so on. Any fandom, in fact, anything outside of a pretty narrow "mainstream" (which mostly serves to feed workers into production systems) can be pretty easily villainized and turned from a source of comfort and identity to a source of shame. Which might create some defensiveness in the fanbase, who are already aware of, and uncomfortable about, the skeevy corners of their world.
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:22 AM on March 23, 2013 [7 favorites]


I love the smell of good faith in the morning! It doesn't smell anything like this!

That would be insinuating other commenters are pedophiles. Unfortunately there is no way for me to win this game, I'm sure you will say it is my persecution complex taking.

I am all for SAs efforts to eject pedophiles, I'm just not sure there are as many as they think. I don't know what would cause SA to become so concerned with pedophiles hiding in their ranks. They probably know someone I don't about the habits of pedophiles.
posted by Ad hominem at 4:34 AM on March 23, 2013


Yeah, taz is on target, using the term "rape" for things that are not sexual assault is pretty crap.

I don't think the point I was trying to make in the thread was really coming across.

I am not very concerned with the objects of the scorn, here. Whether they or he will be ok (or is perhaps fictional) is out of our hands.

What I would like to avoid is a metafilter where we have a hierarchy of hobbies and the primary thing we do with the people on the bottom is scorn them.

FWIW, I'm coming at this from the perspective of someone that was pretty into a website that spun off of the original portal of evil, PoE news. People posted links to news stories and then talked about them in the forums, and the thing it did well was that there was an easy button to effectively "flag as fantastic" and the cream of the posts got featured as lines added to the original news post saying "Extra insight from our forums". Some very funny stuff happened there, and there was a really healthy community to start with, but the basic culture was this sort of shitty one-upsmanship around who was the least into fandom sorts of things. I eventually just felt like I didn't need that kind of place occupying the finite number of seconds in my life - perhaps because I was deployed to Afghanistan at the time - and stopped visiting.

I gather the site has since died.

So that's where I'm coming from.
posted by kavasa at 5:00 AM on March 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


I certainly don't think that it helped that it was a thread that was framed as mocking something and then linked to an article that mocked that thing.

I flagged the post from the get-go for that reason--it's a classic point-and-laugh. Not that I'm above having the same reaction to behavior that extreme, but it doesn't tend to make for a very edifying thread.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 5:30 AM on March 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


Bronies are rape by proxy.

Well, I know that I'd never get away with saying something like this in a thread. I'm both disgusted and inspired.

This is one of those rare instances of mefi and 4chan coming so close to DaVinci's Creation of Adam.
posted by coolxcool=rad at 5:43 AM on March 23, 2013


Bronies are rape by proxy.

That subculture should be called Broxies.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:46 AM on March 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


That would be insinuating other commenters are pedophiles.

No, it isn't. It's calling Blazecock's comment in bad faith.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:56 AM on March 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


I find it odd that we're not allowed to say that's a bit mysogonistic when that charge is leveled at pretty much everything else on MeFi

This is a weird comment.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:10 AM on March 23, 2013 [13 favorites]


That's a fucked up thread on so many levels.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:23 AM on March 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't think I'll look at a Pony Request in MeTa in quite the same way again.
posted by gimonca at 6:28 AM on March 23, 2013 [9 favorites]


It blows my mind how ready and willing people are to engage in a sexual/identity politics fight on a freaking weekend. Exhausting!
posted by Think_Long at 6:36 AM on March 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


People were using so much shorthand in that thread -- both bronies slang and identity politics jargon -- that posters would refuse to explain things because "you know what I'm talking about!" and I, as a casual reader, had NO IDEA and would really have appreciated clarification. I'm a little unclear whether specific posters had had these specific fights with each other on metafilter before, or whether posters had had these fights with other people on other sites before, but for the 90% of readers who don't follow these issues closely enough to know all the backstory, it was confusing and it seemed like questions asked in good faith were being rejected as being in bad faith.

I have literally no idea what some of the things meant that people got upset enough to have to leave the thread over.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:52 AM on March 23, 2013 [29 favorites]


If you're a large Internet community -- be it SA, Reddit, 4chan, MeFi, Equestria Daily or whoever -- the probability of your community containing some seriously disturbing elements over time approaches one.

Of course, in some communities it starts at one.
posted by delfin at 7:17 AM on March 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


That was a terrible post that shouldn't have been able to pass through the mod gauntlet without getting its head lopped off. As I mentioned in the thread, I'm no longer much of an AV Club fan, and the linked article wraps everything that's ugly and mean and useless about that site up in a neat little package.

It'd be lovely if, in the future, folks would reconsider before making single-link AV Club posts. The Onion has been in financial trouble for several years, closing offices and laying off employees, and this has been reflected in the AV Club's content shift. The focus has gone from thoughtful interviews and articles to snarky Perez Hilton-esque entertainment reporting, because that's what draws the masses' eyes to ads.
posted by item at 7:33 AM on March 23, 2013 [9 favorites]


Rough night, and I was ticked off before even entering the thread. Bad mojo. I need to do a better job of walking away when I'm sleep deprived and fighty... any point I was trying to make was lost in over the top grar. So, yeah, call out well deserved, and sorry.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:33 AM on March 23, 2013 [40 favorites]


I certainly don't think that it helped that it was a thread that was framed as mocking something and then linked to an article that mocked that thing.

I was very on the fence about even leaving it up, because of shades of that and I didn't love the Onion-esque tone of the AV Club write up, though compared to a couple other things I saw touching on this it was indeed more in the sort of "admiration and bemusement" territory that the poster referenced early on than other sites. But there was not much flagging, and the discussion seemed to be more about the phenomenon and the context than about simple point-and-laugh meanness, and so I rode it out for a while and handed it off to taz when we changed shifts.

There's always this conflict on Metafilter with posts about weird-stuff-on-the-web, this tension between looking at something that's weird just so people can point and laugh and affirm it's weird vs. looking at something weird so that people can have a good conversation about why it's weird, or perceived as weird, or the roles that weirdness has in culture/society/normativity/art/etc, or the cultural influences or historical context that led to what we're looking at, etc. And the former is not great metafilter pretty much ever, while the latter is one of my favorite things about this place.

So it felt like trying to walk a line on that to let the latter, the let's-dig-into-this-earnestly discussion happen, which I feel like Slap*Happy's over-the-top presentation of their thesis really was not helping but then they excused themself from the thread after a few comments and things didn't spiral out of control. I'm not 100% convinced I shouldn't have just nixed the thread outright for not being a super great way to frame the whole thing, but I also feel like the discussion we ended up was largely okay and kind of interesting.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:38 AM on March 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


My daughter is sick and kept me up a lot last night. She kept waking up crying and I'd comfort her and get her back to sleep. At one point, I just gave up trying to get myself back to sleep and read Metafilter for a while. That thread made for some pretty strange reading in my addled, sleep-deprived state. There was a lot of talk about someone being a "goon," some inappropriate rape rhetoric, discussions of what I think is another cartoon character that people sexually fixate on, and some defensive comments from people who like My Little Pony but who are not planning to marry cartoon characters (I don't get how that would work). In the morning, I checked the thread again to make sure it wasn't all a dream.
posted by Area Man at 7:44 AM on March 23, 2013 [9 favorites]


People were using so much shorthand in that thread -- both bronies slang and identity politics jargon -- that posters would refuse to explain things because "you know what I'm talking about!" and I, as a casual reader, had NO IDEA

Indeed; I've never been a fan-culture person or particularly enlightened/educated on ID politics, so reading that conversation was like listening to really excited bilingual people tearing through something in franglais. You can catch every third word and sentences sound like they're making sense, but *woosh*.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:28 AM on March 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


Now that Slap*Happy has come back with a gracious apology, would people feel okay about me closing up this thread?
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:51 AM on March 23, 2013 [8 favorites]


I don't have a pony in this race, but I do have a new low bar for "gracious."

I'm sorry some folks' self-worth is so tied up into adult men obsessing over a cartoon for little girls. I'm very disappointed.
posted by 256 at 9:36 AM on March 23, 2013


The apology was gracious, not the initial comments.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:43 AM on March 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't have a pony in this race, but I do have a new low bar for "gracious."

"any point I was trying to make was lost in over the top grar. So, yeah, call out well deserved, and sorry."

Not sure what you are referring to, but the order of operations I saw was

comment - callout - apology
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:45 AM on March 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


now i wish i had followed my gut and flagged the post. it seemed to not pass over the "lets laugh at the weirdos" bar to me.
posted by nadawi at 9:51 AM on March 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Ok, having let this sit for another hour with no strong objections to closing, I'll close it up.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 10:01 AM on March 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


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