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Enough fat jokes please April 3, 2013 9:10 PM   Subscribe

The Jim Morrison thread is a series of fat jokes.

Thank you Jessamyn for the public request that people change their tone, but the tone continues. I'd be grateful if folks were more mindful about what they're posting, and also think the thread could use some more active modding. (Or perhaps there is more that I'm not seeing?)
posted by latkes to Etiquette/Policy at 9:10 PM (147 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

I thought the jokes were a bit thin myself.
posted by michaelh at 9:15 PM on April 3, 2013 [14 favorites]


Jim Morrison, who was not really a fat guy, is interviewed talking about how it was good to be more robust. It was an interesting post. People are making jokes about how Morrison liked to eat, or jokes about Doors songs changed so that the lyrics were about eating. I deleted one comment after which I left that note. I can't see any other comments I might reasonably delete.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:18 PM on April 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


How do you reduce a person's whole life to "he choked on his own vomit" then be proven wrong and just shrug it off like "oh well I thought he did."

Metafilter commenters can be simply hideous. I guess that's why I find myself visiting less and less often. Who needs it?
posted by chronkite at 9:27 PM on April 3, 2013 [11 favorites]


Yeah, Morrison didn't choke on his own vomit, he died of a heroin overdose. There is a fine distinction, guys!
posted by KokuRyu at 9:31 PM on April 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


This is an issue, like some others (trans* issues spring to mind), where tighter, more harsh moderation would IMO be of benefit not only to the thread but to Metafilter. If MeFi is a place where you can make gross jokes/remarks and they'll be let to stand, then gross jokes/remarks will be made on MeFi. If MeFi is a place where you can be really nasty about something and the mods won't remove your posts, then people will be really nasty about it on MeFi. The mods set the tone, and what is or is not deleted- what is or is not allowed to stand- establishes what one can expect to see when one clicks the comments link.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:31 PM on April 3, 2013 [19 favorites]


If I can't laugh at fat people, short people, and Canadians, what good are they?
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 9:37 PM on April 3, 2013 [5 favorites]


People are way too sensitive.
posted by dfriedman at 9:43 PM on April 3, 2013 [13 favorites]


Oh, I don't think people are too sensitive. People are too sick of wading through oceans of juvenile bullshit disrespectful nonsense in hopes of finding some nugget of value worth the swim. Half the metafilter comment threads I read anymore are just one clown after another, throwing pies and farting and pointing at one another with giant foam clown hands.

You may not remember when this site was more refined and interesting than a standard youtube comment thread, but I do.
posted by chronkite at 9:51 PM on April 3, 2013 [17 favorites]


People are also way too insensitive. It's this issue we're attempting to sort out here.
posted by carsonb at 9:52 PM on April 3, 2013 [31 favorites]


Morrison's attitude and story is very much pro-mass and girth and speaks of his enjoyment of food...

I'm not sure what there is to be offended about. Changing Doors lyrics to be about food is just silliness for silliness sake and anyone who was ever a huge fan of the "Lizard King" and his metaphysical pomposity will enjoy changing doors songs to be about something as innocent as food...

I can't believe that even needs explaining. It's all about the context, Should everything that has any depth to it be unallowed if it's misunderstood by someone and taken as insulting because that person doesn't have the full knowledge as to why something is funny??


I vote this thread get closed. If someone has a problem with the general deterioration in the tone of comments let it be a MeTa about that, but pointing this FPP out as an example is barking up the wrong tree with the wrong dog in the wrong place.
posted by Skygazer at 9:54 PM on April 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh, I think it's A-OK to judge him as a person for this. Kids starving, misery and poverty everywhere and this dickbag with a muffin top spends more than I make in a year on some horrible looking shoes? Screw him, and screw anyone that approves of him. He represents the worst we have to offer as a species.
posted to MetaFilter by chronkite at 12:07 PM on March 26, 2013 [8 favorites +]


Yeah, dude, your additions to the discourse set a bar few could hope to match.
posted by griphus at 9:55 PM on April 3, 2013 [39 favorites]


Right! That was a clear and accurate description of the dickbag the thread was about. Go back and read the article. IF you can't see a difference between that comment and "LOL I HERE HE CHOKE ON VOMITS LOL" then well, you're a clown too.
posted by chronkite at 10:01 PM on April 3, 2013


I'm trying to think of an analogy that will make sense. Since I'm queer, I'll use this one: Imagine if a video of Freddy Mercury was posted, where he makes some quirky but positive comments about his queerness. I think most folks here would be uncomfortable if there was then a series of comments on that post turning Queen lyrics into sodomy puns.

For me, this differs from jokes about Canadians (or, since I'm from California, jokes about Californians), since Californians are not subject to any particular oppression, historic or present, nor legal or economic restrictions, nor public shaming for being Californians, whereas many queer people (and fat people) are.

I don't think the intent of the comments was to be hurtful, and it is true that Jim Morrison was talking about eating through the video, so it's not inherently troubling to me that anyone would talk about Jim Morrison eating in the thread, but the tone of the thread just became, I felt, a series of what I perceive as fat jokes. I found it objectionable, but if there are fat mefites who feel differently, please do say. I"m sure there are a range of opinions.
posted by latkes at 10:03 PM on April 3, 2013 [10 favorites]


one clown after another, throwing pies and farting and pointing at one another with giant foam clown hands.

This is a bad thing?
posted by Bookhouse at 10:05 PM on April 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


Metafilter: a clear and accurate description of the dickbag the thread was about.
posted by michaelh at 10:08 PM on April 3, 2013 [11 favorites]


are just one clown after another, throwing pies

Quiche pies?
posted by JohnnyGunn at 10:08 PM on April 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


Latkes, that is a terrible example. Reducing Freddy Mercury discussing his homosexuality to jokes about sodomy would clearly be wrong and fucked up.

Morrison is speaking specifically about making certain foods for breakfast in college, not to mention that there are quite a few DOORS songs that use eating or drinking, or sustenance and hedonism and excess as a metaphor for love and for knowledge and for lust and sexuality etc.
posted by Skygazer at 10:11 PM on April 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


I actually thought it was cool that Jim Morrison was saying "fat is beautiful" and didn't mean the post in a derogatory or even ironic way. I'm a bit dismayed that it's become so... well, mean-spirited. I would actually be happy for the whole thing to be deleted.
posted by Athanassiel at 10:12 PM on April 3, 2013 [7 favorites]


This is a bad thing?

For people who want to have serious, respectful conversations, of course it is.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:13 PM on April 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


chronkite You may not remember when this site was more refined and interesting than a standard youtube comment thread, but I do.

What time period are you referring to? I would genuinely like to know. There were appalling comments made during the 1999-2004 era that would never be allowed today so there has been tremendous progress and moreso there is tight moderation.

Which is not to say I am all "Peace, Love and Understanding" when it comes to the mods. I disagree with the way they handle some moderation issues but to suggest that they do not work hard at moderation (the comment above that there needs to be tight moderation) is absurd.

Your complaint reminds me of a decline narrative, something that Miko pointed out many years ago in another Metatalk thread.
posted by mlis at 10:15 PM on April 3, 2013 [13 favorites]


Yeah, if there's anything Jim Morrison was about, it was serious, respectful conversations.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:16 PM on April 3, 2013 [12 favorites]


I liked the video and I think the puns are excellent. I am also a chubbier person. That is all.
posted by dame at 10:17 PM on April 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yeah, the message was extremely positive. Morrison said "Fat is beautiful."

It's like, hey love yourself even if you got an extra few pounds roll with it, (no pun) and enjoy your sense of presence and enjoy it. It's okay. Food is great. Be sexy and happy anyway.

Not sure what could be more respectful than that,
posted by Skygazer at 10:18 PM on April 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


I also miss the old days.I remember whole threads of beautifully crafted illustrations tackling the important issues of the day. How far we've fallen, forced to craft our images from a few ill suited characters.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:19 PM on April 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


Historians even have a term for the perennial idea that everything's going to hell in a handbasket. It's called a "decline narrative." In a few more years, this gets to be "the good old days."
posted by Miko at 4:38 PM on March 26, 2008
posted by mlis at 10:20 PM on April 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


Yeah, well, the thing about the old days is they the old days.
posted by mlis at 10:21 PM on April 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


i wish the thread had been deleted (and flagged it). i think it's maybe an interesting little video but it seemed obvious it was just going to be veiled fat jokes and shitty comments about bmi. but whatcha gonna do? sometimes the mods disagree.
posted by nadawi at 11:08 PM on April 3, 2013


Metafilter: I can't see any other comments I might reasonably delete.
posted by telstar at 11:11 PM on April 3, 2013 [5 favorites]


To clarify my personal position, I enjoyed the post itself, but took issue with the tone of the comments.
posted by latkes at 11:12 PM on April 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, if there's anything Jim Morrison was about, it was serious, respectful conversations.

That, and riding snakes.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:34 PM on April 3, 2013 [6 favorites]


To clarify my personal position, I enjoyed the post itself, but took issue with the tone of the comments.

Metafilter is a lot more fun if you don't do that.
posted by heyho at 11:37 PM on April 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


"Half the metafilter comment threads I read anymore are just one clown after another, throwing pies and farting and pointing at one another with giant foam clown hands."

My clown hands are actually made of gold, but your point is taken.
posted by bardic at 11:46 PM on April 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Am I, like, the only person thinking that the entire interview was Morrison trying to reassure people he was clean and ingesting food instead of just drugs and that the accompanying thread was a bemusing kneejerk misinterpretation of a time before Barbara Walters when people didn't gleefully detail their drug abuse in the media? Or no?
posted by fshgrl at 11:56 PM on April 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Jim Morrison goes to a cafe and enquires from an attractive member of the service staff as to the potential for a quickie. The waitron responds "Perhaps you are referring to our egg pie? And may I say how closely you resemble a less bloated Val Kilmer?"
posted by biffa at 12:03 AM on April 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


I found it objectionable, but if there are fat mefites who feel differently, please do say. I"m sure there are a range of opinions.

*puts down fried chicken leg*

The comments in the original thread are mild humor and not offensive.

*picks up fried chicken leg*
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:03 AM on April 4, 2013 [15 favorites]


You may not remember when this site was more refined and interesting than a standard youtube comment thread, but I do.

Your memory is faulty. If you'd like to go and find a thread that you feel meets your standards from some time back in this past time that you believe existed, I'm quite sure I could find a horror show of a thread from the same week, or at least something full of people snarking and not treating the subject of a post with respect, whether earned or not.
posted by LionIndex at 12:27 AM on April 4, 2013 [7 favorites]


but it seemed obvious it was just going to be veiled fat jokes and shitty comments about bmi.

Amazingly there are very few "veiled fat jokes" or "shitty comments about bmi."

But hey peoiple really wound up about this, let's all pretend we know what we're talking about in regards to some "idyllic" Metafilter past or some "obviously" "shitty" current state of Metafilter decline.
posted by Skygazer at 12:52 AM on April 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


one clown after another, throwing pies and farting and pointing at one another with giant foam clown hands.

I see it as mirroring the decline of Slashdot. I had a 14,XXX slashdot user id, so I remember when it was not dumb. But over the years the amount of unfunny in-jokes increased to ridiculous levels. When I stopped visiting the site, every thread was guaranteed to have dumb comments about first post!, grits, Natalie Portman, and beowulf clusters.

And the same thing is happening at Metafilter, albeit more slowly. Metafilter: X is our beowulf cluster. Eponysterical is our grits. Our 3 step business plan in-joke was actually copied directly from Slashdot.

I wish the mods would do more to discourage mindless memes that stopped being funny or clever after the first couple weeks. I know a lot of people will defend stuff like eponysterical as part of the site's culture. But it's not culture, it's just dumb repetition. I really hope no one is coming to Metafilter for the eponysterical jokes.
posted by ryanrs at 1:06 AM on April 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


You may not remember when this site was more refined and interesting than a standard youtube comment thread, but I do.

I have no idea how these humorless prigs got their sticks wedged into their behinds, or why.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:11 AM on April 4, 2013 [7 favorites]


Nice one, BP.
posted by Lizard at 1:14 AM on April 4, 2013


See, that's the thing. The "wedged" joke was clever the first time, but not anymore. Thankfully it doesn't show up in every thread like eponysterical.
posted by ryanrs at 1:14 AM on April 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Mr. Ho Hos Rising" makes me laugh. And I say that as someone who needs to put the cakes and cookies down and back away (with a beeping sound for public safety).
posted by pracowity at 1:17 AM on April 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


The "wedged" joke was clever the first time, but not anymore.

I think the point is less that repeated jokes are tired (which I don't necessarily disagree with, in principle) and more that the site was never really the LRB.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:20 AM on April 4, 2013


Anyhoo.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:21 AM on April 4, 2013


"You may not remember when this site was more refined and interesting than a standard youtube comment thread, but I do."

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

You do realize that people used to regularly post .gif's of defecating elephants when they weren't pleased with a particular FPP, yes?
posted by bardic at 1:54 AM on April 4, 2013 [8 favorites]


Also chicken fucking.
posted by disclaimer at 1:59 AM on April 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


That we've been one way in the past is no reason to be that way in the present, especially if that way is, uh, suboptimal.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:16 AM on April 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


One man's optimal is another man's chicken-on-a-dick…
posted by Pinback at 2:37 AM on April 4, 2013


Also chicken fucking.

And that was just the moderators!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:51 AM on April 4, 2013 [10 favorites]


You may not remember when this site was more refined and interesting than a standard youtube comment thread, but I do.

Didn't need no welfare state,
Everybody pulled his weight.
Gee, our old LaSalle ran great.
Those were the days!
posted by zarq at 3:20 AM on April 4, 2013 [17 favorites]


"That we've been one way in the past is no reason to be that way in the present, especially if that way is, uh, suboptimal."

Who is "we"? People get different things out of this place.

And it's patently ridiculous to say Mefi ca. 2013 is somehow less polite/genteel/respectful than is used to be. If anything, I'd argue the moderation has gotten out of hand (but I understand why this was kind of necessary).

I mean really, if "eponsyterical" or "Metafilter: Fuck that chicken!" bothers you the Internet probably isn't for you.

Also, what does "suboptimal" mean? As if there's a normative standard / Platonic Ideal for how Metafilter is supposed to run? That's not what this place is about, by design.
posted by bardic at 3:28 AM on April 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


You may not remember when this site was more refined and interesting than a standard youtube comment thread, but I do.

wat

You do realize that people used to regularly post .gif's of defecating elephants when they weren't pleased with a particular FPP, yes?

I feel moved to point out that the best-known elephant was depicted in the act of micturation, not defecation. We weren't savages.

Our 3 step business plan in-joke was actually copied directly from Slashdot.

That seems unlikely.
posted by jack_mo at 3:38 AM on April 4, 2013 [7 favorites]


*Picks up fried chicken breast*
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:41 AM on April 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


Don't worry, it gets butter.
posted by spitbull at 3:43 AM on April 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also, what does "suboptimal" mean?

For the mods, probably "disruptive."

For at least some of the rest of us, perhaps also "disruptive," but more likely "alienating."

I'm guessing.
posted by zarq at 3:49 AM on April 4, 2013


*Picks up fried chicken breast*

Details!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:51 AM on April 4, 2013

You may not remember when this site was more refined and interesting than a standard youtube comment thread, but I do.
I've only been here since 2005, but I don't think things are any worse than they used to be.

I am also pretty sure I could distinguish between Metafilter threads and YouTube comment threads with 100% accuracy.
posted by dfan at 5:09 AM on April 4, 2013 [7 favorites]


Some folks is fat
Some folks is thin
Some folks is dead
But not me, which is nice.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:11 AM on April 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


I see it as mirroring the decline of Slashdot. I had a 14,XXX slashdot user id, so I remember when it was not dumb. But over the years the amount of unfunny in-jokes increased to ridiculous levels. When I stopped visiting the site, every thread was guaranteed to have dumb comments about first post!, grits, Natalie Portman, and beowulf clusters.

I'm thankful for this thread for teaching me the term "decline narrative" which the above comment is a good example of. I had a <10,000 slashdot user id and from the day I signed up there were first! in-jokes and the petrified, grits, etc. "jokes" or similar (if not as enduring) were already present or soon to come. Of course, there were many good threads with none/minimal of that just as there have been great/lousy MetaFilter threads throughout history.
posted by mikepop at 5:14 AM on April 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


You may not remember when this site was more refined and interesting than a standard youtube comment thread, but I do.

If anything, this place has become prissier than in earlier days. In fact, I wonder if I'm allowed to use the word prissy? You're all googling up ever so obscure, uncertain, and entirely etymological evidence against "prissy" now, aren't you?
posted by pracowity at 5:34 AM on April 4, 2013 [22 favorites]


Yeah, remarks which are degrading to people, particularly to gender and sexual minorities, are less likely to meet with approval. What a bunch of pearl-clutching, over-reacting old ladies we are.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:38 AM on April 4, 2013 [14 favorites]


I am also pretty sure I could distinguish between Metafilter threads and YouTube comment threads with 100% accuracy.

I like this thing.
posted by box at 5:41 AM on April 4, 2013


^ I enjoyed the post itself, but took issue with the tone of the comments
If you cared that much you could have attempted to elevate the tone of the post by commenting in it or just read the fpp and scrolled on.
This is a very prissy call out and your upthread analogy sucks as skygazer has indicated.
posted by adamvasco at 5:52 AM on April 4, 2013


I don't know what's wrong with everybody, but it would really be a relief if you would try to not be as ugly as possible to each other. Metatalk is the place expressly designed for people to discuss possible problems and interaction on the site. It's not KickTheDog.Metafilter.com.
posted by taz (staff) at 6:02 AM on April 4, 2013 [34 favorites]


If anything, this place has become prissier than in earlier days. In fact, I wonder if I'm allowed to use the word prissy? You're all googling up ever so obscure, uncertain, and entirely etymological evidence against "prissy" now, aren't you?

Jesus, people who complain about others being too sensitive sure are sensitive.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:28 AM on April 4, 2013 [18 favorites]


It's not KickTheDog.Metafilter.com.

Seriously. I removed the "This is what you look like jerking off" comment. If people want to have a real discussion about real things, do it without being totally awful to each other.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:34 AM on April 4, 2013


Back when I joined, the pies and clown shoes were free. And a matinee was only 5 bucks!

"Mr. Ho Hos Rising"

Or, "Mr. Biscuits Rising" as he's known in my house:

Mr. Biscuits Rising ...
Gotta keep them rising!
rising, rising!
rising, rising!
soufflé! Oh, yeah ... eat 'em!
posted by octobersurprise at 6:51 AM on April 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


Oh, it's always been like this? My bad. Here, let me try to add to the discourse:

THHHHBBBBBT!

BURP BURP DERP!

BURPA DERP!

Not my usual mode of communication, but hey, when in Rome.
posted by chronkite at 7:06 AM on April 4, 2013


latkes: "I found it objectionable, but if there are fat mefites who feel differently, please do say."

I'm overweight and thought the jokes were rather tame and not particularly mean or offensive. We've seen worse. But I only checked the thread this morning and did not see anything that might have been deleted overnight.

For whatever it's worth, I do think it's good to bring stuff like this up and talk about it as a community. Thanks for posting.
posted by zarq at 7:08 AM on April 4, 2013 [8 favorites]


In Rome it's pronounced HURF DURF actually.
posted by 0 at 7:10 AM on April 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


You may not remember when this site was more refined and interesting than a standard youtube comment thread, but I do.

Quite right old chap.

Carson! Bring us a bottle of Ginger Ale. Something from '10 perhaps, that was a good year
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:11 AM on April 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


did not see anything that might have been deleted overnight.

I deleted no fat jokes. Two comments were deleted from that thread, one of which was making angry "Americans, you're so fat!" generalizations and one which was better suited to MetaTalk. That's it.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:13 AM on April 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Metatalk is the place expressly designed for people to discuss possible problems and interaction on the site. It's not KickTheDog.Metafilter.com.

Good luck with that. I think this part of the site is a spectator sport for a good bunch of people who need more drama in their lives. For actual problems, I advise anyone to use the contact form, because the mods are much more pleasant to deal with than the other users.
posted by smackfu at 7:20 AM on April 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ah. OK. Thanks, jessamyn.
posted by zarq at 7:24 AM on April 4, 2013


Didn't need no welfare state,
Everybody pulled his weight.
Gee, our old LaSalle ran great.
Those were the days!


Disco Duck and Fleetwood Mac
Coming out of my 8-track
Michael Jackson still was black
Those were the days!
posted by entropicamericana at 7:31 AM on April 4, 2013 [11 favorites]


The only thing in there that could be considered questionable at this point* is this:

"By 1960s standards, Morrison is a big guy. Today he's HWP; a picture of reasonable health and self control."

...I've bolded the questionable part.

The rest of the thread seems pretty reasonable.

Maybe folks are flinching at the potential for it to turn? We all know how tumultuous weight conversations can get here, I think, and maybe have a bit of edginess when we see the subject being explored.


* I'm obese and generally considered extremely (over) sensitive, so I consider myself a good canary for this coalmine.
posted by batmonkey at 7:39 AM on April 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Metafilter commenters can be simply hideous.

Have you been to the rest of the internet???
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 7:41 AM on April 4, 2013 [8 favorites]


Half the metafilter comment threads I read anymore are just one clown after another, throwing pies and farting and pointing at one another with giant foam clown hands.

I think half is about the right proportion. If all of the discussion on this site was "Well, I did my dissertation on North Korea and here's what I think..." or "I know more about why your comment is offensive than you can possibly imagine..." then I'd avoid this place the way Jim Morrison avoids the gym. which is a lot, because he's dead. from choking on his vomit

A certain amount of clowning has always been tolerated and encouraged, the same as insightful discussion. I'm all for being enlightened and sensitive, but freedom of expression and humor is what keeps me engaged in the discussion.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 7:46 AM on April 4, 2013 [10 favorites]


I'm obese and generally considered extremely (over) sensitive, so I consider myself a good canary for this coalmine.

So you're a sort of pudgy budgie, and perhaps a judgy pudgy budgie?
posted by pracowity at 7:50 AM on April 4, 2013 [9 favorites]


pracowity: more nudgy than judgy, but, yeah.
posted by batmonkey at 7:52 AM on April 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


In Rome it's pronounced HURF DURF HVRF DVRF actually.

fixa quod pro vobis
posted by arcticseal at 7:53 AM on April 4, 2013 [30 favorites]


I was curious enough to go read the thread, and for the life of me I can't see that the thread is overrunning with fat jokes. It's possible that they're simply too subtle for them to register with me.

But if that's the case, then the accusation that the thread is "one clown after another, throwing pies and farting and pointing at one another with giant foam clown hands" seems to be even more aggregiously wrong than the accusations of fat jokes are. Then again, I'm not sure someone who considers "dickbag with a muffin top" to be a polite form of discourse is someone I'd take seriously.

Wait, isn't the "muffin-top" accusation in itself a fat joke? Chronkite, care to explain why you're coming down on "fat jokes" in this thread, but making them yourself in another?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:01 AM on April 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


"You may not remember when this site was more refined and interesting..."

Yes, I do.

- luv m. ;-P
posted by Ardiril at 8:03 AM on April 4, 2013


Seriously. I removed the "This is what you look like jerking off" comment.

Thank you. I'm sorry for making this thread uglier and wasting your time in cleaning it up. I have an impulse control problem, and I made a poor choice. Though I still think my characterization of pracowity's contribution is apt, I've been apologizing to you and the other mods too frequently of late. I have been inconsiderate again, and this time I will take my own advice and stay off MetaTalk until I can be a useful contributor.

Believe it or not, I had written quite an essay about how we work against our own selves when we draw unkind conclusions about each others' motives -- insulted people stop listening and thus any point surrounding an insult goes unheard -- but on preview I decided instead to go for the low-hanging fruit.

I made a bad choice. I'm sorry.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 8:08 AM on April 4, 2013 [23 favorites]


(((((((HUGS)))))))
posted by batmonkey at 8:22 AM on April 4, 2013


If you cared that much you could have attempted to elevate the tone of the post

i cared enough to flag it, and flag some comments. i think my view of the thread might have been skewed because i saw the super ugly comment that was deleted early in the thread. i think it's pretty ridiculous that the poster who made that comment got to stay in the thread making shitty (but i guess less delete-able) comments. but, like i said in my original comment - i get that it's a mod decision and i respect that. also, i'm not sure who you're talking to in the second half of your comment but it sure as shit isn't me.
posted by nadawi at 8:31 AM on April 4, 2013


I didn't read the original thread, but chronkite you're doing yourself no favors. None. In this thread at least, you've been decidedly the worst commenter, and your response to people pointing that out was "BUT I'M RIGHT!!"

Please.
posted by kavasa at 8:34 AM on April 4, 2013


A post which, on the front page at least, consists entirely of a quoted insult toward thin people never should have been allowed to stay.
posted by rocket88 at 8:45 AM on April 4, 2013


Eh, its thin people, they can easily move out of the way.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:48 AM on April 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


I can tell I spend too much time here when I can pretty well guess who favorited a comment.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:57 AM on April 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


This is a bad thing?

For people who want to have serious, respectful conversations, of course it is.


What about people who like a little levity mixed in with their "serious, respectful conversations"? Is MetaFilter not the place for them? Or would it be better for everyone to accept that it's a big tent, and sometimes you might have to (gasp) ignore content you don't really prefer?
posted by pardonyou? at 8:57 AM on April 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


It used to be that you could comment on how great things used to be and no one would jump all over you. Those were the days.
posted by found missing at 8:57 AM on April 4, 2013 [10 favorites]


You may not remember when this site was more refined and interesting ...

Ah, yes. But, monocles and smoking jackets are so out of style these days.
posted by ericb at 9:10 AM on April 4, 2013


A post which, on the front page at least, consists entirely of a quoted insult toward thin people never should have been allowed to stay.

I've flagged a couple similar FPPs in recent months, and I used the contact form twice about it. The conclusion I've come to is that "Look at these assholes!" FPPs are not as forbidden as I once thought they were. This might reflect an actual change on MetaFilter, or it might be just my perception. Regardless, I'm probably less inclined to flag a "Look at these assholes!" FPP in the future, since I don't expect anything to come of it. I'll just ignore them.

Half the metafilter comment threads...are just one clown after another, throwing pies and farting and pointing at one another with giant foam clown hands.

I agree with this. (Irrespective of any "good old days" sentiment, which I redacted.) Without calling out anyone in particular, I've noticed a couple usernames that seem to pop up in a lot of threads, and that only ever seem to contribute this type of comment. Participating on MetaFilter by means of one-liners seems very popular. I believe it's a consequence of favorites; but either way, personally, I think it makes MetaFilter less interesting to read and a lot more like YouTube, etc.
posted by cribcage at 9:24 AM on April 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


Regardless, I'm probably less inclined to flag a "Look at these assholes!" FPP in the future, since I don't expect anything to come of it. I'll just ignore them.

The fact that we didn't necessarily act on the flag you flagged in a few instances, really doesn't mean the flagging feature doesn't work as much as it may mean that your calibration of how the site should work and ours and the rest of the community's may not be in sync. Which is fine, really. If there are posts that you don't like on the front page of MetaFilter, you should flag them.

There are days where we see a post that looks like it's going to be positively terrible for MeFi and yet it only get a flag or two and we are sort of confused because they seem like bad posts. Flagging is the simplest way to register an "I don't like this" vote on something. I appreciate that it's discouraging to not have us always agree with your flags, but it seems pretty defeatist to just move on without taking the time to flag something. It helps us and it helps the community.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:40 AM on April 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


...and pointing at one another with giant foam clown hands.

WANT.

With MetaFilter logo in Metafilter blue. Thanks.
posted by Skygazer at 9:44 AM on April 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Can we also get a MeTa grey one that's a middle finger?
posted by griphus at 10:06 AM on April 4, 2013 [12 favorites]


it seems pretty defeatist to just move on without taking the time to flag something

I didn't intend to imply that the flagging system doesn't work, nor that I expect you (pl.) to always agree with my flags—nor that I would stop using flags altogether. But if, through prior experience with X, I don't have a realistic expectation that anything will come of flagging X, then why flag it? I don't see any point in calling moderators' attention to something just because I dislike it.

For the record, if you don't delete something I flag, I'm not going to take that personally or feel angry. In fact, LobsterMitten explained the decision not to delete something recently—which I would have deleted—and it made perfect sense and was something I hadn't considered. But I see flagging as a call for deletion. "This comment/FPP should be deleted because..." One reason is noise, and boy could I flag a lot of comments as noise. I think you (again, pl.) have a stricter definition of what constitutes noise, however, so that's the one I try to keep in mind when deciding whether to flag.
posted by cribcage at 10:10 AM on April 4, 2013


For a few minutes I thought this MeTa was motivated by offensive fat jokes. More fool me! Now I realize this is about a thread full of inoffensive pablum. Indeed, it was lame. All I can say is thank goodness self policing is working as intended. Oh, and remember, always read the fucking link in case you make a fool of yourself.
posted by Chuckles at 10:20 AM on April 4, 2013


I was surprised no one did 'Come on baby light my barbecue' (possibly out of respect for the vegetarianism I'd almost swear I've heard about, but couldn't confirm with Google just now).
posted by jamjam at 10:44 AM on April 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


I see it as mirroring the decline of Slashdot. I had a 14,XXX slashdot user id, so I remember when it was not dumb.

I have a user ID around 11xx. It was always filled with dumb in-jokes and trolls, even before we had user ID's. It's just that at certain points, people get tired of it and leave for places with new in-jokes and fresh trolls.

One day, I'll probably wander off and go into "occasional lurker" mode here, and that will be despite awesome moderation and interesting new users. Interests change, the amount of time and emotional energy invested in an activity will be re-apportioned as life unfolds.

Sometimes our indication that it's time to move on is when the memory of a way a place was is more valuable than the reality of the way a place is.
posted by Slap*Happy at 10:45 AM on April 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


I was surprised no one did 'Come on baby light my barbecue'

Come on baby light my grill
Then watch me while I eat my fill
Watch me while I eat my fill, yeah,
Watch me while I eat my fill!

(On topic of the video, Morrison gave surprisingly lucid interview and the animation was adorable.)
posted by octobersurprise at 10:59 AM on April 4, 2013 [8 favorites]


Wait, did I get called out here and not even realize it?
posted by 2bucksplus at 11:08 AM on April 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm assuming I'm one of the hated clowns. I'm okay with that, I guess. Everything floats down here.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:16 AM on April 4, 2013 [8 favorites]


arcticseal: "In Rome it's pronounced HURF DURF HVRF DVRF actually.
fixa quod pro vobi.
"

Whoa. You just realized me that clavdivs's name ain't pronouced like I thought it was.
posted by barnacles at 11:17 AM on April 4, 2013 [6 favorites]


It's actually claw-dews
posted by 2bucksplus at 11:19 AM on April 4, 2013


I'm glad you're still alive too stavrosthewonderchicken.
posted by edgeways at 11:25 AM on April 4, 2013


Don't cry, IRFH. I can't bear the tears of a clown.
posted by octobersurprise at 12:14 PM on April 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm the crying on the inside kind, I guess.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:18 PM on April 4, 2013


If you hear someone being snarky in a thread, just pretend they're saying it in a light-hearted way, like this.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:49 PM on April 4, 2013


"You may not remember when this site was more refined and interesting than a standard youtube comment thread, but I do."

・_ ;
posted by klangklangston at 1:09 PM on April 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm the crying on the inside kind, I guess.

And it does indeed prove difficult to cry openly, whilst one is wearing a monocle, sir. Good day to you.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:14 PM on April 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm the crying on the inside kind, I guess.

Quick Change
posted by to sir with millipedes at 1:15 PM on April 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


La Commedia è finita!
posted by octobersurprise at 1:21 PM on April 4, 2013


People are too sick of wading through oceans of juvenile bullshit disrespectful nonsense in hopes of finding some nugget of value worth the swim. Half the metafilter comment threads I read anymore are just one clown after another, throwing pies and farting and pointing at one another with giant foam clown hands.

Well I was going to ask how you know it's this factor that's keeping the smart people away from the site and not a whole host of other things but then I imagined this whole crazy scenario where Matt Haughey must have asked himself this exact question some time ago and I'm pretty sure it went like, "hey," Matt Haughey thinks, "I can answer this, I know a guy who knows a guy," and he calls Merlin Mann who calls John Hodgman who calls Nate Silver and Nate Silver is the dude! Matt asks Nate Silver "where did all the smart people on Metafilter go? Is it the blowhards, the prigs, the pricks, or the yuksters that are driving them off?" and Nate Silver is like "this'll take me a couple of weeks" and it does and in the meantime Matt entertains himself by grinding his teeth to nubs reading atheism discussions on the blue and then getting root canals but then: results time. Nate meets with Matt in his Manhattan corner office and shows him Powerpoint after Powerpoint but Matt says "this doesn't tell me whether it's the blowhards, the pricks, or what is driving off the smart people" and Nate says "because that's not your problem. Your problem is that there are no more smart people!" At this point Matt frowns all "but then who are you Nate Silver" and it is at this precise moment that the light vanishes from Nate Silver's eyes and Nate Silver excitedly begins to show Matt all the Doctor Who fan art he's drawn over the last month.
posted by furiousthought at 1:45 PM on April 4, 2013 [6 favorites]


> A post which, on the front page at least, consists entirely of a quoted insult toward thin people never should have been allowed to stay.

I'm a thin person who is irritated by verbal potshots at the "skinny bitches" as a rallying cry of self-esteem, the humility rule excluding thin women from being permitted to express any dissatisfaction with their bodies, the dismissive exhortations to eat a sandwich implying anorexia, etc.

But what are you talking about? This isn't an insult toward thin people:

"It’s terrible to be thin and wispy, because, you know, because you could get knocked over by a strong wind or something, man."
posted by desuetude at 1:58 PM on April 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


Man, I did not see Friday evening coming early this week, but there is a lot of grar here. We're all upset about Ebert, but Jesus... let's just hug it out, people.
posted by psoas at 2:25 PM on April 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I just liked that Morrison knew more about mashed potatoes than a fair number of people in AskMe low carb eating threads.

If he were alive today, I bet he'd have a few things to say about quinoa.
posted by gnomeloaf at 2:36 PM on April 4, 2013


This is an issue, like some others (trans* issues spring to mind), where tighter, more harsh moderation would IMO be of benefit not only to the thread but to Metafilter. If MeFi is a place where you can make gross jokes/remarks and they'll be let to stand, then gross jokes/remarks will be made on MeFi. If MeFi is a place where you can be really nasty about something and the mods won't remove your posts, then people will be really nasty about it on MeFi. The mods set the tone, and what is or is not deleted- what is or is not allowed to stand- establishes what one can expect to see when one clicks the comments link.

Yes, we should ban jokes and snark from MeFi. Then the only people commenting on a post will be people who agree with it and MeFi will be awesome.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 3:36 PM on April 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


Man, I did not see Friday evening coming early this week, but there is a lot of grar here. We're all upset about Ebert, but Jesus... let's just hug it out, people.

Between this and the 'Indian Giving is an offensive phrase even in a question about whether Indian Giving is an offensive phrase' callout, I think people are feeling pressured.

In my own view 'offensive' is not the same as 'offended'. And neither are that important. There's a quote I live by, I wish I remember the exact wording, but it went something like: 'the wise are never offended by the words they hear. For the truth is always worth hearing and lies are beneath their notice'.
posted by Sebmojo at 5:19 PM on April 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


> Yes, I do.

Darn, missed it, I was napping that afternoon.
posted by jfuller at 5:53 PM on April 4, 2013


Yes, we should ban jokes and snark from MeFi. Then the only people commenting on a post will be people who agree with it and MeFi will be awesome.

There's a difference between jokes and snark and bigoted shit.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:26 PM on April 4, 2013


As long as they aren't scary clown hands.

Because scary clowns creep me right the fuck out.
posted by double block and bleed at 7:27 PM on April 4, 2013


That we've been one way in the past is no reason to be that way in the present, especially if that way is, uh, suboptimal.

'Suboptimal', like 'problematic', means 'I don't like it'.

Which is fine, but I think presuming there's an objective standard here begs the question. And that gets peoples' hackles up.
posted by Sebmojo at 7:48 PM on April 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I am of no fixed opinion in regards to this matter.
posted by y2karl at 9:05 PM on April 4, 2013


As a fat person myself, I would ask that you save your insensitive fat rock star jokes for Axl Rose, because, well you know... christ, what an asshole.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:32 PM on April 4, 2013


Did he ever lose those cornrows?
posted by heyho at 9:40 PM on April 4, 2013


Did he ever lose those cornrows?

Yup.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:48 PM on April 4, 2013


> There's a difference between jokes and snark and bigoted shit.
> posted by Pope Guilty at 9:26 PM on April 4 [+] [!]

I'm waiting with great interest for someone to figure out once and for all what the difference is and where to draw the line, but not holding my breath.
posted by jfuller at 6:34 AM on April 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, bigotry is in the eye of the beheld. In practice, if not in theory.
posted by y2karl at 12:13 PM on April 5, 2013


Ah, so in other words it's those awful minorities whose responsibility it is to take whatever's thrown at them , and not your responsibility not to throw shit at them.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:26 PM on April 5, 2013


You are responsible for the words you say, yes.
posted by Sebmojo at 12:43 PM on April 5, 2013


Ah, so in other words it's those awful minorities whose responsibility it is to take whatever's thrown at them , and not your responsibility not to throw shit at them.

This approach you have to dealing with people who probably agree with you mostly philosophically and disagree with you tactically is toxic for community discussion. Everyone draws their own line where jokey and snarky becomes bigoted and racist but insisting that other people agree to the exact same lines as you do or you'll rip them a new one is a recipe for discontent. If you want to help these community discussions go more smoothly and at the same time try to point out examples where you feel that people have crossed that line, it would really be a good idea if you could find some less ascerbic ways of getting those points across. Otherwise people just look at your comments and learn nothing from them except that you seem to be fundamentally angry at basically everyone and don't really like it here.

You want to turn it back on us and say the mods are making it that way, great, let us know what you think would help make things better, including how to pick apart what is bigoted bullshit and what is just someone making an ill-considered or clueless joke. And then how to moderate that so that only those who are pure of heart are allowed to make sarcastic jabs at other commenters. It's super easy to point at a conversation going badly and say we just need to ban the people who hold the beliefs we disagree with. In practice it's more complicated than that if we want to keep this place from becoming more of an echo chamber than it already is.

Back to the topic at hand, I am still not seeing gross jokes in that thread. Morrison was a (briefly) slightly pudgy guy who loved food. Good on him. Pointing that out and riffing on Doors lyrics is okay here. We're open to discussing why people might think it should not be, which is why we're here listening.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:27 PM on April 5, 2013 [10 favorites]


Ah, so in other words it's those awful minorities whose responsibility it is to take whatever's thrown at them , and not your responsibility not to throw shit at them.

No, in other words, it is easier to accuse other people of doing bad things than to work on the bad things we do ourselves. It is easier to preach than to practice. It is easier to speak than to hear and end up tilting at a windmill of one's own device .

What is hard is to see the world as others see it and give them their due respect as honorable and well intentioned human beings trying to make sense of the world, however much we disagree on particular points.

As audi alteram partem more elegantly put it elsewhere:
We all operate from narratives about how the world works, and it is difficult to read a contrary narrative on its own terms instead of seeing it as a deviation from our own preferred narrative. For example, a worldview that emphasizes individual agency can have trouble reading arguments in this thread about language, society and power, recasting them as arguments about personal offense and censorship.... I think it is less helpful to speculate about what our interlocutors' many worldviews are than it is to get to know those worldviews firsthand as they are revealed in our dialogue. This is slow, difficult work, though, easily frustrated because what we think we hear/read is at times not what another intended.
Jokes are difficult because humor is transgressive and irreverent -- it steps on eggshells and breaks the frame by nature. Where do we draw the line ? No one person gets to make the call.
posted by y2karl at 2:32 PM on April 5, 2013 [8 favorites]


Thank you y2karl, that was nicely put.
posted by Sebmojo at 4:33 PM on April 5, 2013


Pope Guilty: " Yes, we should ban jokes and snark from MeFi. Then the only people commenting on a post will be people who agree with it and MeFi will be awesome.

There's a difference between jokes and snark and bigoted shit.
"

I totally agree, and I see that as being the sticking point in these discussions. Some people see bigoted shit as just jokes and snarks, and say, "Don't be so prissy, it's just a joke!". Some people see jokes and snarks as bigoted shit and say, "This is offensive and horrible and if MeFi allows this stuff, then MeFi is a big pile of shit." And then those two groups argue at each other a whole lot about political correctness and invisible backpacks and which person is clearly the horrible one, and which is the spotless stalwart defender of what is true and good in the world.

And then some folks say "well, there's a difference between jokes and snark and bigoted shit". Fortunately, from what I've been able to tell, all the mods fall into this third camp, which is why MeFi is still a great site. If the people starting the vehement metas, or disagreeing vehemently with the vehement metas, actually started getting their way, this place would go to shit in a handbasket so fast that when people said, "I remember when MeFi was better", they'd actually be right.
posted by Bugbread at 5:28 PM on April 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also, this thread reminds me that I need to broaden my YouTube viewing. Since I use it 99% for music, I think I've only really encountered the following four comment types:

"This music is really good, unlike the music of Justin Bieber"
"This music is really good, unlike the music of Skrillex"
"I am currently high"
"Thumbs up if you got sent here by the same site I got sent here by"

That's about it. So if MeFi comments started looking like my experience of YouTube comments, I'd get very confused.
posted by Bugbread at 6:06 PM on April 5, 2013


Well, for a fact, I was responding to jfuller's remark above:

I'm waiting with great interest for someone to figure out once and for all what the difference is and where to draw the line, but not holding my breath.

I came in late and wasn't following any conversation -- so, I'm guessing that Pope Guilty thought I was addressing him via jfuller's quote of him instead of just jfuller's one sentence. I was not. So, his response was a bit off putting for me -- it was as if he was putting words in my mouth. Or, as coming from under my fingers in this context, I suppose. But, in regards to the topic in general, my position is unchanged.
posted by y2karl at 6:18 PM on April 5, 2013


I made a bad choice. I'm sorry.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist


Apologizing to the mods is great, but they're just doing their jobs. Your apology really should have been directed towards pracowity in specific and to the community in general. The fact that you still think your deleted comment was "apt" makes me wonder if you actually understand the utter shittiness of what you said or are rather just apologizing because you got in trouble for it. (I also wonder how many people who favorited your apology saw the original comment.)
posted by 0 at 4:16 AM on April 6, 2013


> If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, bigotry is in the eye of the beheld. In practice, if not in theory.

I'm pretty sure that was a direct answer to me. Y2k said it was, for one thing, and it was the very first comment after mine for another. I understood y2 as saying "It's those on the receiving end who get to decide what's bigoted speech and what isn't."

To see y2karl, of all people--the y2karl of all those thousands of comments and hundreds of well-received posts, who's been around mefi forever and has earned no trace of a reputation for bigotry, who has in fact a well-established record of anti-bigotry--to see y2karl jumped on like that (and for a misreading!) shows exactly how hair trigger this kind of thing has become. My anti-bigotry weapon is locked and loaded, my anti-bigotry trigger finger is itchy, somebody's gonna get it. Maybe a real baddie, maybe not, doesn't matter. Somebody.
posted by jfuller at 11:27 AM on April 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


On a sidenote, I want to say that jfuller's kind words make me feel ashamed, for I was once very unkind to him in this very way a long, long time ago. It's something I have acknowledged in the past and I know he saw it but, all the same, if I haven't made a formal apology for it to him, I do so now. I am not going to link to it because it is deeply embarrassing to have gone back to read it again. And I would wish that no one link to it because it is so far in the past and because I find it shameful, to tell the truth.

In America, the young are always ready to give to those older than themselves the full benefit of their inexperience, Oscar Wilde once observed. (and he didn't ever experience them checking their texts whenever their phones buzzed while he was talking to them...) I grew up in a place and time where the parents of my peers could applaud the use of police dogs and firehoses on civil rights protestors and whose grandparents could have excused, if not nonchalantly posed in, the postcards of Without Sanctuary. That the word racism can be applied to acts like that and the innocent use of a word like, say, gypped without ever making the connection to the word gypsy, well, I just find that incomprehensible. Because I know how people talked about race, sex and gender when I was a child and of what they were capable of doing or applauding themselves. We may have far to go but I know for a fact how far we have come.

I was once a righteous fire breathing anti-racist here, myself, already to jump on the slightest deviation but, you know, accusing someone of doing something racist or sexist or whatever is and always has been something about which I am deeply ambivalent. After living through the 70s among very left people who used the phrase 'politically correct' to bash people for not hyper-correctly pronouncing Nicaragua or referring to Iranians as Persians (when the few Iranians I knew then did so all the time....), and, in short, used these sort of things to prove their own righteousness by alleging racism in others -- or as the phrase among the est graduates I knew went, to make themselves right by making other people wrong.

Because that is what we do. We all walk around feeling like impostors who are shining on the world and praying that no one ever finds out how awful we truly are. And the one way we can do that is attack other people for their shortcomings first. We learn to do this from childhood and it becmes as unconscious as rding a bike. And it is easiest to do this to the people we know the least and here, we are almost all strangers.

Unless you think being a Facebook friend is the same as being a friend in real life. I don't.

And by the way, I don't think Pope Guilty owes anyone any apology, least of all to me, nor does Ice Cream Socialist. It is so hard to apologize here. If a person here can barely acknowledge being in the wrong, in my experience, that is a big deal.

And I also know that people get upset for all sorts of reasons that having nothing to do with the conversations here and bring all that to a forum where it is impossibly easy to blow over something and then have a hard time backing down. That part I know all too well. So, I try to stay away from dumping on people and dumping on people for dumping on people and so on. Not that I don't fail from time to time.

Because I think self-policing should be just that -- we own our own shit and we should work on our own shit and we should all attend to the logs in our own eyes instead of the motes in those of strangers.

But that is the hard thing and we are all, all too human here. So, like jfuller, I am not holding my breath.

But as Bob Dylan once sang, I will let you be in my dream if I can be in yours, I says that.
posted by y2karl at 1:58 PM on April 6, 2013 [7 favorites]


That was beautiful and expresses my feelings better than I could.
posted by Sebmojo at 2:56 PM on April 6, 2013


I agree, to a large extent, y2karl; I want to work on my own shit. I think about it a lot. And it's been hard I grew up, like a lot of Americans, with a fractured, uncertain sense of community. My neighborhood was not my community. I never knew my neighbors. I did not particularly participate in school. I feel like much of my life has been spent in the company of acquaintances who shared some coincidence of taste or activity, none of whom I felt especially close to. I have had a few friends over the years, and many of them faded away. I have moved from state to state, on average, about once every three years. And so I feel unmoored, and know I am not alone in this -- the subject of the breakdown of community is a subject of relentless academic and popular social science investigation. Many of us bowl alone.

And, while I am not actually an extrovert, I don't really like this way of doing things. I hasn't worked well for me. There are a lot of things in life that communities do better than individuals. I have always been somebody who made my living from my ability to interact with a large group of people -- as a performer, a writer, a social media professional. But I have just been casting out to groups of strangers, and relying on their support, without doing anything to support them back. They were my audience, not my community, and I think I have gone through life treating the world as my audience.

But that doesn't work very well. When I have needed the sort of profound support that you sometimes need in this world, it has often come from strangers, and from strangers that knew themselves to be part of a community, and knew there were needs in that community, and were expansive enough to include my needs, even though I was a stranger to them.

And so I have been trying to be a good community member. A good citizen. I have been trying to participate in a way that adds value -- and I mean real value. I am an inveterate jokester, and I can always tell myself that there is value to my sense of humor, and I think there is, but that again treats my community as my audience.

So that's what I have been working on, and it is very hard, because it goes against 40-some-odd years of habits. And if there is one thing that has helped me in this -- this working on my own shit -- it has been people who have been willing to support me in this. And sometimes the support is just pure generosity, but sometimes its just pure honesty, and that honesty ends up feeling pretty generous to me, even if it is unwelcome when I hear it.

Like you, I go back and read some of my past comments with mortification; aside from the relentless jabber of my jokinees, there was a snideness, an abuse of irony, an argumentativeness that I do not want to engage in anymore. I actually retired my previous MetaFilter name so I could break from that; I also took a literal break to ask myself what I wanted my participation on this site to be.

So that's the shit I have been working on, but I can't do it in isolation. I have to do it in public, and fail in public, and do better in public; that's part of being part of a community. Metafilter is one of my communities, and the shit I want to work on is being a good community member. And that involves listening when people tell me maybe I am being a bit of a dick, or insensitive, or a bully, or mean. I don't want to be any of those things, but sometimes the urge to be funny, or the urge to be snippy, or the urge to be right overwhelms my desire to be better. And I need my community to reflect that back to me.

I may end up disagreeing. But I would never get upset at somebody for telling me, and would never tell them they need to grow a thicker skin. I have questioned people's motivations in the past, and concocted elaborate narratives where they are self-evidently in the wrong, but now try to take what they are saying at face value. If I have upset them, I have upset them. If they feel I was mean, they really feel I was mean, and they aren't looking to superimpose some PC agenda (or some right wing agenda, or whatever narrative I find easiest to use to dismiss somebody) onto me for reasons I need not respect.

I mean, again, I don't need to agree with them. But I have voluntarily chosen to interact with them, and that comes with the recognition that they may not like the interaction and may speak up, and that's the deal. And it's a good deal, because it is through honest and clear communication that we strengthen community. And, weirdly, this is my longest lasting community -- I've been a part of it through four different states and seven different jobs. It's the longest I have spent as part of a specific group, even if none of you are actually real and this is some weird prank on the part of an especially malicious rouge AI. Which, let's admit it, all of you probably are.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 4:21 PM on April 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


I am definitely a weird prank.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:27 PM on April 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


So are we all, amen.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 5:40 PM on April 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


I am a malicious rouge AI. (On mefi, rouge and pancake.)
posted by jfuller at 6:01 PM on April 6, 2013


Ahh chronkite... I've been reading since 2001 and have no idea what you're talking about. The snark and one - liners were way out of control and the site was still awesome and the discourse level was still unprecedented. /former BBS, usenet dork
posted by lordaych at 7:01 PM on April 11, 2013


« Older My very first post on Metafilt...  |  Metafilter gets a shout-out in... Newer »

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