What does it mean to say "Don't make this the _____ show"? May 27, 2013 11:15 AM   Subscribe

Over in this post, Artw was taking a stand that no one else in the thread was. And he did it by providing close readings, links, and cogent arguments. He was told "don't turn this into the Artw show." I'm wondering what that means.

Does it just mean Artw should talk less? That seems unreasonable, considering that he was taking an unpopular position, and therefore had to post more for that position to be adequately represented. Does it mean "Talk about the subject of the post, don't just turn the thread into a back-and-forth about what Artw says"? That doesn't seem to be happening, as people are continuing to post replies to Artw, with no pushback.

So what does it mean? I would like clarification here, because it sure does sound to me like saying "You, user who has been called out by name, should be quiet now," but I'm not sure that's the intended meaning.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard to Etiquette/Policy at 11:15 AM (303 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

Does it mean "Talk about the subject of the post, don't just turn the thread into a back-and-forth about what Artw says"?

That mixed in with a little bit of Artw throttling back at the time, yeah. Thread dynamics are tricky things and sometimes you end up with someone, by intention or not, sort of acting as a magnet in a thread and getting into a sort of aggravating call-and-response routine with other folks in a way that gets distracting and can take the conversation from being fairly open and free-ranging to being more all-about-that-person's-take.

It's always a dilemma because we don't want someone to feel singled out, but at the same time we can't just ignore the user-centric dynamics that come up in discussions and ultimately if someone's ended up as the locus of an argument we're likely to have to address them in that context.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:19 AM on May 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


And part of the thing to keep in mind is that the goal is generally a local and specific one—to get the thread to rebalance a little, to let a conversation settle down and widen out to more varied participants instead of a few loud voices—and not so much to convey to someone that the ideal world is the one in which they don't talk. Artw eased off a bit, stuck around in that thread, and things have been going fine, which is pretty much the ideal outcome.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:21 AM on May 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Artw was taking a stand that no one else in the thread was."
Not every thread about a heavily-charged issue needs to have TWO sides; there are usually a frustratingly large number of subtle factors and when you are the only Voice of Opposition, you are most often doing something wrong. MetaFilter is NOT and never SHOULD BE the web's answer to CNN's Crossfire. (Remember that? I hear they're bringing it back... another reason to avoid it)
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:55 AM on May 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


I would like clarification here, because it sure does sound to me like saying "You, user who has been called out by name, should be quiet now," but I'm not sure that's the intended meaning.

Quoting from one of the MeMails I sent you
To my read I wasn't telling Artw to pipe down I was telling other people to quit hassling him but also maybe encouraging him to have a discussion and not just make wry "Yes?" comments. Should have been clearer about that. Nothing is keeping him from making comments that are conversational....

However if the thread is on one topic and Artw wants to make it about something different, he maybe needs to make his own post. Wikileak threads go poorly on MeFi because they mean vastly different things to different people who all use them as a jumping off point for their own personal angles. This post is about a specific thing not "Is Assange a rapist" or "Is Wikileaks a worthwhile project?"

If folks think that the linked content says it's doing one thing and is really doing another, great, have a conversation about it. Everyone jumping in with their snark and accusations fresh from the last Wikileaks thread does not actually make a good conversation and everyone just gets pissed and starts going on flagging tears and hollering at each other.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:00 PM on May 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


when you are the only Voice of Opposition, you are most often doing something wrong.

C'mon. Seriously?

Metafilter is a community subject to just about every group bias I can think of. There were times when the now-commonly-accepted perspective on feminism, for instance, would be represented by a lone Voice of Opposition.
posted by downing street memo at 12:01 PM on May 27, 2013 [38 favorites]


"when you are the only Voice of Opposition, you are most often doing something wrong"

Not necessarily. You may be raising the consciousness of others who have not thought through the issue, and are mindlessly following the crowd. Opposed to the king's tax on tea? Opposed to slavery? Speak up!
posted by Cranberry at 12:33 PM on May 27, 2013 [9 favorites]


when you are the only Voice of Opposition, you are most often doing something wrong

yeah, the better way of wording something like this is to address what the Only Voice Of Opposition is actually saying, and to present an argument as to why it's wrong. Anything else is really just rolling with the herd and definitely "... doing something wrong".
posted by philip-random at 12:43 PM on May 27, 2013 [6 favorites]


he was taking an unpopular position, and therefore had to post more for that position to be adequately represented

Wow, I really gotta disagree with this. I think when someone has a minority position, providing clear, good faith arguments backed up with cites (when relevant) is totally awesome, and that's what Artw was doing. But I don't think someone with a minority position needs to keep posting their position, even while repeating themselves, in order to "adequately represent" themselves against the majority. Making your point clear and solid is enough, barring responses to actual questions and rebuttals. I don't think Artw was repeating himself, I'm just saying - having the minority opinion doesn't mean "post more for greater visibility" or something.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:04 PM on May 27, 2013 [7 favorites]


However if the thread is on one topic and Artw wants to make it about something different, he maybe needs to make his own post. Wikileak threads go poorly on MeFi because they mean vastly different things to different people who all use them as a jumping off point for their own personal angles.

My only issue with this, in this context, is that both the movie and the rebuttal from wikileaks use the things he was discussing as talking points.

The type of "well they said foo, then the other guys said bar... Hmm" or "hey look, the first guys brought this up and when responding to them the other guys just kinda repositioned instead of responding"(or whatever) type of stuff seems perfectly on topic to me.

I could agree that "and?/so?/yes?" Posts are pretty threadshitty, but the width and breadth of wikileaks are kinda what's up for discussion in this movie and in the response. If wikileaks threads go badly, this seems to be the equivalent of "Israel and Palestine, discuss" or something. Even the discussions in response to the comments about Manning's sexuality and how it was handled aren't off topic here since the entire post is "well there's this movie covering wikileaks and wikileaks responded", with all the contentious stuff that's happened with relation to wikileaks essentially being the discussion.

I think I might have driven over the same ground twice there in trying to explain what I meant, but I hope you get what I'm saying. This thread is inherently about basically everything related to wikileaks, and that's probably kind of :/ in and of itself.

Then again, you have to run this site jessamyn, and I don't, so maybe this kind if thing is easier to call from the control room(especially if your main point was "yes?" Being shitposting, which I agree with).
posted by emptythought at 1:07 PM on May 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Not every thread about a heavily-charged issue needs to have TWO sides; there are usually a frustratingly large number of subtle factors and when you are the only Voice of Opposition, you are most often doing something wrong. MetaFilter is NOT and never SHOULD BE the web's answer to CNN's Crossfire. (Remember that? I hear they're bringing it back... another reason to avoid it)

So Artw is wrong and should shut up? I disagree. People should express their opinions, even if unpopular. He could have had allies, but nothing has actually changed in the Wikileaks story for months, so no reason to step in. As for past developments I've already made my points.

The point about the show is that you can't respond to every attack. On the other hand, the mods don't often take into account how people use the site, especially on mobile. They drop in, review comments, respond to them and then move on. Results in a lot of comments as a person moves down the thread, but not over participation.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:11 PM on May 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


On the other hand, the mods don't often take into account how people use the site, especially on mobile. They drop in, review comments, respond to them and then move on.

I wouldn't say we don't account for it so much as we don't agree that that's necessarily a good way to catch up on a thread regardless of whether it's personally convenient for the person making that string of comments. It's pretty much always been best practice to catch up and put your responses to a few things in a single larger comment rather than peppering a bunch in a thread all at once. Not required, but certainly less likely to create that BAM BAM BAM BAM feeling for readers and interlocutors alike.

And this is something that predates significant mobile participation, though I can totally understand how the smaller visual footprint and less featured toolset of a phone exacerbates the issue. But that's sort of on the user to figure out on their end, not for the site to just shrug at and say "well I guess start posting a bunch of little comments then" about.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:18 PM on May 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't think Artw was particularly out of line and mostly stayed civil and made some good points, but he had a really unfortunate early comment (the handjob one) that was not a good way to begin. I've noticed the take on all comers type situation is frequently started by making an early splash people see as a personal attack. When people feel that way they aren't going to want to back down from the debate.
posted by Drinky Die at 1:35 PM on May 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah and to be clear, we only deleted one comment from that thread and that was one that was basically starting a derail about moderation which is more appropriately placed here. Usually we'd prefer to just leave notes and hopefully keep things on track.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:38 PM on May 27, 2013


That seems unreasonable, considering that he was taking an unpopular position, and therefore had to post more for that position to be adequately represented.

He represented it. But having all positions represented adequately is not in metafilter's mission statement.
posted by empath at 2:00 PM on May 27, 2013


I missed the mission statement. Where is it?
posted by cjorgensen at 2:02 PM on May 27, 2013


That was kind of my point.
posted by empath at 2:10 PM on May 27, 2013


Also I apologize that Lupus and I kind of spiraled off-topic there. I knew it was happening but couldn't find a way to bail on it that didn't feel like capitulation.
posted by newdaddy at 2:18 PM on May 27, 2013


"Feeling like you're conceding" is often a shitty reason to continue a discussion, just saying.

I know we're all guilty of it sometimes, but whenever I consciously realize that I'm doing it and just have to get the last word in, I feel really gross for a minute.
posted by emptythought at 2:23 PM on May 27, 2013 [11 favorites]


Per Jessamyn's request, I'll say this here rather than in that thread: This comment is unrelated to the FPP and should be deleted.

I don't follow Homunculus's contributions except as they appear in my Recent Activity feed. Limited to that perspective, I've noticed this a few times recently. I've flagged some of them. This thread, for instance, was not just a free-for-all conversation about gay marriage, and many of the follow-up links weren't relevant to the FPP. We had another member with a similar habit of posting follow-up links; if you're going to do that, I think it's important to keep them pertinent.
posted by cribcage at 2:31 PM on May 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yeah I agree with you and deleted it. I really like homunculus's contributions generally especially on older threads, but in threads with active discussions dropping in links that are only just barely on topic with no other contextualizing information is a bit problematic.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:45 PM on May 27, 2013


I assumed The ArtW Show would be a superhero-themed burlesque revue, so I'm very disappointed.
posted by homunculus at 3:51 PM on May 27, 2013 [6 favorites]


Artw and I have a kittybus understanding.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:57 PM on May 27, 2013


We had another member with a similar habit of posting follow-up links

I still miss ericb. :(
posted by homunculus at 4:10 PM on May 27, 2013 [5 favorites]


nobody must talk more than others

nobody must raise their voice or disagree or cause undue trouble or stress

nobody must argue or interrupt the schmoopy or the hugs with uneeded grarrar

nobody should bring in negative vibes

I got told off for critisizing Kai the Heroic Hippie Hitchhiker here. a few months later he kills a dude. i'm just saying. sometimes buzzes need to be harshed
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 4:23 PM on May 27, 2013 [5 favorites]


nobody must talk more than others

nobody must raise their voice or disagree or cause undue trouble or stress

nobody must argue or interrupt the schmoopy or the hugs with uneeded grarrar


Maybe you could talk about this site instead of the Bizzarro MetaFilter that exists only in your mind?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:26 PM on May 27, 2013 [27 favorites]


I have never seen anybody so oblivious.
posted by empath at 4:26 PM on May 27, 2013 [1 favorite]




nobody is saying any of those things
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:36 PM on May 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


I miss ericb too.
posted by zarq at 4:45 PM on May 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


And he did it by providing close readings, links, and cogent arguments.

And handjobs.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:47 PM on May 27, 2013 [5 favorites]


I have never seen anybody so oblivious

Occam's Razor: He's not.

Assume he's acting this way deliberately. The question becomes: Why?
posted by zarq at 4:49 PM on May 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


And handjobs.

Well, we all make unfortunate throw-away comments now and then. No one bats a thousand.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:50 PM on May 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


"Fuck you, that's why."

This was the Standard Response my evil twin and I gave to anyone who questioned our trail laying methods (when we where in the same Hash).
posted by the man of twists and turns at 4:52 PM on May 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


I got told off for critisizing Kai the Heroic Hippie Hitchhiker here. a few months later he kills a dude. I'm just saying. sometimes buzzes need to be harshed

Is this the criticism you mean? Sounds more like admiration. And I can't see you being told off anywhere in that thread.

So what? What are you 'just saying'? That one time you said a thing, and then a thing happened?
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:08 PM on May 27, 2013


i made a bunch of other more negative comments and they got deleted.

i'm saying that sometimes negativity is the best policy.

anyway i'd watch Artw's show
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 5:10 PM on May 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


You made two sequential comments one minute apart talking about how annoying MetaFilter was and how annoying Kai was. And no one told you off except for my mod note to please stop doing that thing again which didn't even call you out by name. We're here to talk if you'd like to discuss how you feel that you've been treated, however it would be helpful if what you reported matched what everyone else can see and/or corroborate.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:16 PM on May 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Maybe you could talk about this site instead of the Bizzarro MetaFilter that exists only in your mind?

So, in the Bizzaro Metafilter, the Blue is the Green, and the Green is the Blue, right?
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:27 PM on May 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


And everyone loves your favorite band.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:28 PM on May 27, 2013 [13 favorites]


/me hugs everyone
posted by Annika Cicada at 5:30 PM on May 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


When I've seen the "userX show" mod warning, I've taken it as meaning we're getting too hung up on debating that user's perspective (and we're piling-on), rather than that the individual needs to shut up.

MetaFilter has been very useful to me in that it frequently drives home the lesson that I do not benefit in any way from having the last word. Not only does no one care, but the other person is usually going to continue to be wrong, and probably to bring up his or her wrong perspective at the next available opportunity. So any time I find myself starting to think, "How many times do I have to say the same thing to get my point across?" I realize "Wait, I have just slid a few minutes closer to oblivion just trying to teach someone how wrong s/he is, and s/he is having none of it," and I move on. I have been able to use this handy lesson almost daily in my meat-world life.

This relates to the UserX Show thing in that if a half-dozen people are already trying and failing to convince UserX of something, then I am very unlikely to achieve anything by jumping in.
posted by gingerest at 5:31 PM on May 27, 2013 [11 favorites]


I don't know why Lovecraft in Brooklyn bothered to come back if he hated the site so much.
posted by empath at 5:37 PM on May 27, 2013 [9 favorites]


When I've seen the "userX show" mod warning, I've taken it as meaning we're getting too hung up on debating that user's perspective (and we're piling-on), rather than that the individual needs to shut up.

This has always been my understanding, too, although I think the dynamic cuts both ways - to an extent.

Like if someone drops a bombshell in the midst of a thread, and this is followed by five or six people quoting the same sentence and responding with emotions ranging from sincere reflection to sarcastic dismissal to outrage, at that point $USER has a number of choices in terms of response (or non-response, although I think it better to respond than not). You can set up a little fort in the thread and start returning escalated fire from all directions, respond but nudge the conversation back to TFA, respond selectively and so on.

So while yeah, the "don't make this thread all about $USER" usually seems to be made to prevent a tailspinning pile-on, $USER can make matters worse or better.

What's less awesome, I think, is when someone drops into a thread to quote like eight or nine people in a single post, responding to each with the kind of comments guaranteed to elicit a defensive response. This is bringing the $USER Show to the thread by selective audience. A kind of MeFi Price of Right, if you will. "Hey asshole, come on down! You're the next contestant on Your Opinions Are Wrong!"
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:40 PM on May 27, 2013


The question becomes: Why?

Attention.
posted by rtha at 5:40 PM on May 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


Well, we all make unfortunate throw-away comments now and then. No one bats a thousand.

That was one of many throw-away comments by Artw in that thread: derailing threadshits dropped left and right to bait others. I don't know why he wasn't banned from that thread, in all honesty.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:50 PM on May 27, 2013


Please expand on which Of my comments you found to be "derailing threadshits".
posted by Artw at 5:54 PM on May 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yeah I think "derailing threadshits dropped left and right to bait others" is pretty harsh. Unless there was like a bunch of stuff deleted or something, it doesn't look like YOU WA BAN territory to me honestly.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:56 PM on May 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Like a lot of people that post a lot, me included, artw gets carried away sometimes, and I think he knows that. I don't think anybody did anything super wrong in that thread.
posted by empath at 6:10 PM on May 27, 2013


You are wrong, blazecock.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 6:23 PM on May 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


He represented it. But having all positions represented adequately is not in metafilter's mission statement.

See, this is exactly what I *am* worried about. I mean, empath, it sure sounds to me like you're saying "The perspective he was representing has no place on this site, and should be silenced." And that's not cool. I mean, I agree that there are perspectives we needn't indulge, but "Wikileaks is problematic" ain't one of them... right

But is that not what you're saying here?
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 6:53 PM on May 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


"The perspective he was representing has no place on this site, and should be silenced."

That's not what I said. He expressed his viewpoint. Nobody said he shouldn't. But we're not a debating society and when it turns into One Person Versus Metafilter, it gets boring and drowns out any other conversation that could be had.
posted by empath at 7:23 PM on May 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah. There's a difference between "specific perspective x is not welcome" and "there is no mandate or entitlement for any given perspective to be hashed out in any given thread". The latter is more the issue. The idea that if someone is ever discouraged from going on as long as the feel like however they feel like about whatever they feel like then There's A Problem is an idea that does not actually work well in practice, as much as I can appreciate the motive toward free and open discourse that can motivate it.

We don't need all threads to be homes for all things; it's okay to touch on something and then let it go in any particular discussion. In actual face-to-face conversations the value of being willing to say your piece and then drop it is immediately obvious to just about everybody; that gets lost a little sometimes in online discussions even though it remains just as valuable as an approach to maintaining a workable shared discursive space in a group setting.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:35 PM on May 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


I just want to know if in Bizarro MetaFilter I'm a jerk or not.
posted by mazola at 8:32 PM on May 27, 2013


not
posted by a humble nudibranch at 8:52 PM on May 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


But you do have squids for hands.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:16 PM on May 27, 2013 [9 favorites]


he was taking an unpopular position

How so? It may have differed from a few others but how do we know if it's unpopular or not? Not everyone contributes to a thread or am I mistaken in that more people read threads then contribute to them?

I don't know why he wasn't banned from that thread, in all honesty.

Again, only because the end result didn't go your way.
posted by juiceCake at 9:23 PM on May 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't know why Lovecraft in Brooklyn bothered to come back if he hated the site so much.

Sydney is really boring.
posted by pompomtom at 10:24 PM on May 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


oneswellfoop: Not every thread about a heavily-charged issue needs to have TWO sides; there are usually a frustratingly large number of subtle factors and when you are the only Voice of Opposition, you are most often doing something wrong.

empath: But we're not a debating society and when it turns into One Person Versus Metafilter, it gets boring and drowns out any other conversation that could be had.

I don't think Metafilter should be a place where people can come to have their ideas validated, but not challenged. Echo chambers sound appealing, but they're intellectually useless.

Blazecock Pileon: I don't know why he wasn't banned from that thread, in all honesty.

You have a long-standing, mutually-disruptive grudgefest with artw that he appears to be attempting to let go of. I realize that you don't like each other, but would be nice for all of our sakes if you would please try to take the high road and ignore him as well.

Please.
posted by zarq at 10:33 PM on May 27, 2013 [8 favorites]


I don't think Metafilter should be a place where people can come to have their ideas validated, but not challenged. Echo chambers sound appealing, but they're intellectually useless.

Yeah, this. Ban racism, homophobia, etc but everything else should be up for debate. And angry debate at that.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 10:37 PM on May 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't think Metafilter should be a place where people can come to have their ideas validated, but not challenged. Echo chambers sound appealing, but they're intellectually useless.

From what I have seen, going back and forth a couple of times is usually okay here, unless someone is axe-grinding or knee-jerking.
posted by empath at 10:39 PM on May 27, 2013


If no one else on the internet but Charlemagne in Sweatpants agrees with me, I have to ask myself, just how far from the pack have I strayed?

;)
posted by zarq at 10:40 PM on May 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


"Is this the criticism you mean? Sounds more like admiration. And I can't see you being told off anywhere in that thread.

So what? What are you 'just saying'? That one time you said a thing, and then a thing happened?
"

He was remembering that time he was Miko.
posted by klangklangston at 11:04 PM on May 27, 2013


"You are wrong, blazecock."

About the handjobs?

Yeah, this. Ban racism, homophobia, etc but everything else should be up for debate. And angry debate at that."

That's a huge etc. in there.

I do think that if there was an ascii for mike drop, it'd be helpful when you've said your piece and need to walk away.

BOOM

I'M OUT

until later, because I'm still too drunk to sleep
posted by klangklangston at 11:08 PM on May 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


pompomtom: "I don't know why Lovecraft in Brooklyn bothered to come back if he hated the site so much.

Sydney is really boring.
"

More Antipodean meetups, then! Well, I suppose allyall out east do your part often enough. It's the rest of us that are total slackers.
posted by barnacles at 11:09 PM on May 27, 2013


You are wrong, blazecock.

He took over the WikiLeaks thread (again) and ruined it (again). But whatever.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:13 PM on May 27, 2013


Yeah, this. Ban racism, homophobia, etc but everything else should be up for debate. And angry debate at that."

A good debate doesn't need to be angry. Angry debates are usually unproductive.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 11:23 PM on May 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


He took over the WikiLeaks thread (again) and ruined it (again). But whatever.

I literally have no fucking clue what you're on about now.
posted by Artw at 11:59 PM on May 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


I don't know why he wasn't banned from that thread, in all honesty.

I think the answer to that is just above:

Artw eased off a bit, stuck around in that thread, and things have been going fine, which is pretty much the ideal outcome.

This is the system working, right?
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:26 AM on May 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


when you are the only Voice of Opposition, you are most often doing something wrong.

Wow. Just wow. Because insufficiently-considered groupthink couldn't possibly be the case.

When I've doggedly stuck around arguing an unpopular position I've been accused of thread-shitting. Then, when I've done nothing more than state my opinion, and refrained from getting into an intensive to-and-fro responding to the objections, I've been accused of hit-and-run trolling. Basically, if you state an unpopular opinion here be prepared to have a rough ride however you choose to follow it up (or not).

I don't see any significant problem with what Artw was doing on that thread, and I say that as someone who doesn't agree with his position on the subject.
posted by Decani at 5:16 AM on May 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


when I've done nothing more than state my opinion

lol
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:46 AM on May 28, 2013


When I've seen the "userX show" mod warning, I've taken it as meaning we're getting too hung up on debating that user's perspective (and we're piling-on), rather than that the individual needs to shut up.

The problem is that may be the case in theory, but it is rarely the case in practice. If the thread has heated to such a point that the slightest innocuous utterance by User X is met with a shitstorm, in practice, asking things to not be the UserX show often comes off like a request for User X to just shutthefuckup for a while.
posted by corb at 5:56 AM on May 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


It makes sense to say "You should state your position, and not repeat yourself." The problem is that on threads where one takes an unpopular position, it generally turns into:
• You state your position
• Several posters ask "Have you considered [x], [y], and [z]?"
• A couple of posters say "So you really want [women to be chattel]/[black people to be slaves]/[dissidents to be executed], hunh?"

At that point, you can be quiet. That means the legitimate points can't be hashed out and the baseless accusations stand unchallenged (because mods rarely take those down when they're leveled against unpopular positions). Thus solidifying groupthink, since the unpopular position gets replied to but not defended. Or you can reply, which brings accusations that you're turning the thread into your show.

This seems problematic as hell.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 6:00 AM on May 28, 2013 [7 favorites]


"don't make this the _____ show" is about the moderators giving the community the power to shut someone up by piling on.
posted by planet at 6:04 AM on May 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


This seems problematic as hell.

Again, metafilter is not a debating club. It's not for the free exchange of ideas. It's not an open political forum, and it's not a legislative body. We're primarily here to share interesting links from the web and chit-chat about them. If you're really invested in an issue (as opposed to being well-informed about it), you probably shouldn't be posting about it much at all here. I don't care if the topic is apple, israel, wiki leaks or gay marriage -- if its the kind of issue that you get so worked up about that you can't walk away from a conversation about it unless everyone agrees you are right, you should really limit your participation in those topics here.
posted by empath at 6:15 AM on May 28, 2013 [7 favorites]


If the thread has heated to such a point that the slightest innocuous utterance by User X is met with a shitstorm, in practice, asking things to not be the UserX show often comes off like a request for User X to just shutthefuckup for a while.

If the thread is heated to that point as a result of User X's interaction with it, it is possibly worth considering that maybe User X does not have a completely firm handle on what constitutes an innocuous utterance. Which doesn't make them a bad person, necessarily - sometimes it's hard to know what is or is not an innocuous utterance - but if it keeps happening it's a useful data point.
posted by running order squabble fest at 6:27 AM on May 28, 2013


If you're really invested in an issue (as opposed to being well-informed about it), you probably shouldn't be posting about it much at all here

But empath, if a user is at least as well informed as others on the thread (and artw was providing plenty information and making arguments, not just yelling), and is offering a perspective others are not, than they are making exactly the sort of comments I, as a reader, would find valuable. That's part of why I started this discussion in the first place---I felt like completely aside from where one stands on the issues, the "Yay Wikileaks you are awesome" comments weren't adding value, Artw's "This is the problem with that" comments were, yet Artw is the one who was getting silenced.

The same problem with rosf, here--- if the person who's getting piled-on is giving real information and making real arguments, and the pilers-on are just yelling, then why should the one who's adding value be quiet so everyone else can circle-jerk?

When everyone agrees on a topic, the comments are usually just a lot of "Yes!" "I think so too!" "Hoorah for us." This is uninformative, boring, and mind-eroding. When someone disagrees in a productive way (in a way that inspires them to make cogent arguments and provide information), the comments become worth reading. When people try to shut them up with content-free shoting, the comments become much less worth reading. So it bothers me that the criterion for "You need to be quiet now" is how much of a reaction you provoke in the yellers, not the content of your comments. This seems like a way of giving the very worst people an on/off switch for discussion.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 7:05 AM on May 28, 2013 [8 favorites]


We're primarily here to share interesting links from the web and chit-chat about them.

so "we" are just links in the chit-chat klatch.
posted by clavdivs at 7:52 AM on May 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


FWIW I don't feel particularly "silenced". It IS the kind of thread where getting locked into one user fielding questions usually ends up as a bit of a pile-on.
posted by Artw at 7:58 AM on May 28, 2013 [7 favorites]


The same problem with rosf, here--- if the person who's getting piled-on is giving real information and making real arguments, and the pilers-on are just yelling, then why should the one who's adding value be quiet so everyone else can circle-jerk?

Practicality. MetaFilter isn't a place where people are encouraged to stand firm until everyone who disagrees with them runs out of energy or admits they are wrong. There are certainly people who treat it as such, and sometimes they seem to be given a surprising amount of freedom in doing so (although no doubt plenty of communications behind the scenes yadda yadda).

I'm generalizing from my own experience. This thread, for example, was a gigantic douche-out, with a degree of support for the harassment and threatening of women than I had expected from MetaFilter (subsequent experience has given me a better understanding of the dynamic there). See also here, which led to this. I have no doubt that the people involved there were all pretty much convinced that they were adding value.

However, my firm and wholly correct (which judgement can be assumed to be as objective an assessment as corb's "innocuous utterance") conviction that there was a depressing amount of ill-informed apologia for the harassment, threatening and persecution of women and trans people going on didn't mean that I was going to get to filibuster the thread, and I was asked to take a knee when it looked like I was in danger of doing so, despite knowing more and making up less (in my naturally wholly correct opinion) than other participants with their own firm and, of course, wholly correct convictions.

That does create a situation where the mechanisms of moderation may appear to be protecting rabidity from a cogent, informed perspective (again, qv "innocuous utterance"). However, the function of moderation is not to ensure that good, by whatever value of good, prevails, but to ensure that the discussion proceeds within a set of behavioral parameters that are identified as encouraging good (not morally but practically) discussion.

So, there can be good or bad non-Fight Club threads, but Fight Club threads are, according to the current moderation logic, intrinsically not good.

(I was here briefly about ten years ago, when things were a _lot_ more rough and ready. Which had upsides and downsides.)

If one person is cogently and informatively expressing a view, and 20 people are piling on him or her, then on a purely community management level it's easier to ask the one person to throttle back than to start deleting every comment made by those 20 people, or even just trying to get them all to shut up.

Imagine the MetaTalk post that would follow that...

There are absolutely communities which are run differently - where social capital is conferred for one's skill in fighting one's corner against multiple opponents, or where a specific viewpoint is favored because of the political orientation of the board's moderators, where users are encouraged to self-regulate or where literally anything goes.

In this community, however, if you're having a running argument with a dozen or so people, the perceived ethical rightness of your cause, and indeed the quality of your sources, will ultimately be seen as less relevant than the damage you (and these dozen others) are doing to the enjoyment of people who want to participate in neither role but who still want to interact with the OP.
posted by running order squabble fest at 8:04 AM on May 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


I agree with a lot of what's been said about the pile-on effect, but I think the root problem isn't topical and it's far broader than just political threads: It's people posting too much. Maybe that's better reserved for a differently framed MeTa thread. It's hard to discuss without pointing to examples, which then comes off as calling people out rather than discussing the broader issue. But it definitely isn't about one person.
posted by cribcage at 8:18 AM on May 28, 2013


I know I'm late to the party, but this comment sums up how I see it as well. This post in particular was probably going to be tough no matter what, considering it's a line-by-line rebuttal of a documentary about Wikileaks. At first I wanted to write a comment about the link but I felt like the tone had been set by artw's comments and the responses those drew, so I didn't bother.

When Wikileaks threads come up, some people really want to discuss Wikileaks and some people really want to discuss Assange; I personally only find the former interesting, as the latter tends to attract the flames. I would've liked to talk about the film and the rebuttal and the topic of institutional transparency without defending the allegations against Assange, and without being labeled as a conspiracy theorist or Assange apologist.

That said, I understand the rape allegations were part of this FPP by it's very nature, so it's not out-of-line to bring them up, it just set a GRAR tone early and makes it less likely to create a substantive discussion on other topics.
posted by antonymous at 9:26 AM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm generalizing from my own experience. This thread, for example, was a gigantic douche-out, with a degree of support for the harassment and threatening of women than I had expected from MetaFilter

Totally disagree. There was very little support for the harassment and threatening of women from "MetaFilter" in that thread it's unfortunate that such accusations are pretty much expected and accepted now.

Hence, we have conversations.

In this community, however, if you're having a running argument with a dozen or so people, the perceived ethical rightness of your cause, and indeed the quality of your sources, will ultimately be seen as less relevant than the damage you (and these dozen others) are doing to the enjoyment of people who want to participate in neither role but who still want to interact with the OP.

Again, completely disagree. The thread you cited was all about the ethical position of people's arguments, real or imagined, and it got to the point where it was very difficult to make an argument that wasn't misinterpreted by some as supporting the harassment of women and threatening them so it became quite unpleasant though I'm glad it didn't become a witch hunt. Same sort of thing happened in the Academy Awards thread and the George R.R. Martin endorses rape thread.
posted by juiceCake at 9:46 AM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


But that's sort of on the user to figure out on their end, not for the site to just shrug at and say "well I guess start posting a bunch of little comments then" about.

I think that has to be reconsidered by Matt. Its nearly impossible for people to remember everything they just read, then respond to it all at once. And at some point a balance between putting out fires and usability has to be struck, especially as mobile and tablet use increases.

In my mind its where participants remain in a minute-by-minute tit for tat, often repeating the same argument where people get themselves and the site into trouble. Also comments with links to actual supporting evidence not linked elsewhere ought to be less likely deleted.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:51 AM on May 28, 2013


Totally disagree. There was very little support for the harassment and threatening of women from "MetaFilter" in that thread it's unfortunate that such accusations are pretty much expected and accepted now.

That's not what I wrote, although I missed a word, which may have been unnecessarily confusing. To insert it into the section you quoted:

I'm generalizing from my own experience. This thread, for example, was a gigantic douche-out, with a [greater] degree of support for the harassment and threatening of women than I had expected from MetaFilter

"From Metafilter" is controlled by the verb "expect". It doesn't make any statement about the absolute quantity, only my expectation of how much there would be. Much of that was coming from a small number of very voluble posters - standard power law stuff. Since then I have come to understand the constitution of the site better, and better understand why a thread involving a) a feminist and b) a situation where, if you squint hard, a coder lost his job because of the actions of a feminist is going to lead to some volatile neurochemicals mixing in some people's heads.

However, I don't think this is a good place to talk about the specifics of that thread - feel free to MeMail, though. The basic point - that people who are Being Wrong on the Internet generally do not think they are Being Wrong on the Internet, and MetaFilter moderation is set up to minimize the impact of that, even when it means people will continue to Be Wrong on the Internet - seems to hold.

Its nearly impossible for people to remember everything they just read, then respond to it all at once.

This feels like a good reason not to try to do this, especially on mobile devices, rather than a good reason to change the culture of the site to be more accepting of multiple sequential posts by the same person, each addressing one interlocutor.
posted by running order squabble fest at 10:00 AM on May 28, 2013


Rosf, the fact that you can still accuse users of "supporting harassment" or attribute their arguments to a "neurochemical collision", with no regard for the content of their comments, makes you seem to me very much part of the problem.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 10:15 AM on May 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


Its nearly impossible for people to remember everything they just read, then respond to it all at once.

Fortunately they don't have to remember. They can copy and paste. They can take their time and compose a comment. Again, I understand that for some mobile devices this is more of a pain, but while we are making a fair amount of effort to support mobile users who want to interact with the site, that effort doesn't extend to chucking out long-standing site culture just because it's sort of a pain in the butt to copy and paste on a phone.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:23 AM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Someone purchased the wrong brand of beans.

Get a rope.
posted by mrbill at 10:25 AM on May 28, 2013


people who are Being Wrong on the Internet generally do not think they are Being Wrong on the Internet, and MetaFilter moderation is set up to minimize the impact of that, even when it means people will continue to Be Wrong on the Internet - seems to hold.

I don't believe that's what moderation is setup to minimize at all, or if so, very minimally. Moderation is there to attempt to ensure the rules are followed (though like any other set of rules their are different interpretations) and that things remain relatively civil. Being wrong (which is itself a problem when defining wrong with different points of view) has little to do with it.
posted by juiceCake at 10:29 AM on May 28, 2013


But empath, if a user is at least as well informed as others on the thread (and artw was providing plenty information and making arguments, not just yelling), and is offering a perspective others are not, than they are making exactly the sort of comments I, as a reader, would find valuable

There are a million websites on the Internet where conversations like that can happen. Metafilter is not that place. One sacrifices a lot to have a place where people can have a civil, intelligent, interesting conversation with people who have a lot of divergent views, and one of those things is the ability of certain people to dominate every thread about a topic.

It's not like this policy was established out of the blue. There are problem users on metafilter who will absolutely ruin every thread about certain topics if they were allowed free reign to post.
posted by empath at 10:33 AM on May 28, 2013


tfb: Rosf, the fact that you can still accuse users of "supporting harassment" or attribute their arguments to a "neurochemical collision", with no regard for the content of their comments, makes you seem to me very much part of the problem.

That's the whole bit, yes.

(Although if you're saying we should steer clear of amateur psychiatry and personal judgments of people we don't know, I heartily agree! That's only going to lead to bad feeling...)

I was exactly making the point that people on the Internet tend to be convinced of the rightness of their cause, whereas "rightness of cause" is not the only thing moderators test for, not least because people on the Internet tend to be conviced of ... and so on. See above, really.

At this point we're derailing your thread, though. If the memory of that thread is still raw for you, I apologise for the poor choice. My whole point was that with a bit of distance one can see the group interaction and community management logic behind what at the time might feel like allowing people to be Wrong on the Internet - and conversely, how what feels at the time like a necessary freedom of speech (man) might with hindsight appear to be the urge to fight Wrong on the Internet - a quixotic and ultimately self-defeating quest.

juicecake Being wrong (which is itself a problem when defining wrong with different points of view) has little to do with it.

Yes - that's also the whole bit.

I can't work out whether this is a moment of triumphant pedagogic success or utter failure..

"Being Wrong on the Internet" (caps intentional) is a reference to this cartoon - a fairly common Internet joke (although it seems not a universal one) referencing the tendency people have to persevere with arguments on the Internet far beyond the point at which they might otherwise have realised the vanity of the enterprise.

Anyway, like I say, derail. The takeout is "lots of people arguing with one person over a prolonged period isn't what a thread is meant to look like here" - pretty much what empath just said, really.
posted by running order squabble fest at 10:46 AM on May 28, 2013


A perfect example being here.

As soon as Corb shows up in a thread even remotely related to libertarianism it sucks up all the air in the room. From now on the entire thread will be about corb's weird worldview about pretty much everything until one of the mods asks her to leave.
posted by empath at 10:48 AM on May 28, 2013


There are problem users on metafilter who will absolutely ruin every thread about certain topics if they were allowed free reign to post.

Like Artw about this subject, whether it is handjob or rape apologist comments, he cannot discuss any issue even tangentially connected to Julian Assange without showcasing his hardon of hate, sucking the air out the room, and not allowing anyone else the merest dissenting opinion. If he can't stop doing this, maybe he needs to go somewhere else to get his fix on, like Free Republic or something, I don't know.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:00 AM on May 28, 2013


...showcasing his hardon of hate, sucking the air out the room...

What a bizarre mixed metaphor.
posted by BobbyVan at 11:12 AM on May 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Like Artw about this subject

Or you, about Artw.

I'm not immune to riding a hobby horse myself. I try not to even post in piracy threads any more because I've had a few turn into most-of-mefi vs me (even though I 100% know I am right and everyone else is wrong). Not because getting piled on bothered me in the slightest. I actually enjoy refining an argument against multiple attacks. Just because I know it must get boring for most other people in the thread.

Almost everybody who posts a lot has 'a thing' that they can't resist diving into every time it comes up. That doesn't make you a bad person or even a bad mefite. It makes you a human being with issues you feel passionate about like everybody else has. Just dial it back when asked, and maybe make an effort to see it happening and do something about it before being asked.
posted by empath at 11:20 AM on May 28, 2013 [7 favorites]


What a bizarre mixed metaphor.

Yet strangely arousing.

There are various _____Shows MeFites are treated/subjected to regularly; I don't think this was an example of one, nor do I think Artw was out of line. I think the bar for WikiLeaks/Assange FPPs could stand to be put a little higher than it already is, though.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:23 AM on May 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


I would be fascinated to see a hardon of hate suck the air out of a room. It would be way more interesting than watching blazecock beat a dead hobbyhorse.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 11:40 AM on May 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


A perfect example being here.

As soon as Corb shows up in a thread even remotely related to libertarianism it sucks up all the air in the room. From now on the entire thread will be about corb's weird worldview about pretty much everything until one of the mods asks her to leave.


Or here, on the failures of the Reconstruction.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 12:46 PM on May 28, 2013


On the other hand, literally every single other libertarian I can think of on mefi now seems remarkably reasonable in comparison.
posted by elizardbits at 12:51 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wasn't Hardon of H.A.T.E. one of those short-lived Man from U.N.C.L.E. clones?
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:54 PM on May 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'm sorry, but I don't see a request that we edge around a subject that's explicitly dealt with in the linked article as valid in the slightest.
posted by Artw at 12:56 PM on May 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


empath: "Just dial it back when asked, and maybe make an effort to see it happening and do something about it before being asked."

This doesn't always help.

The World Famous tends to spend time in threads about Mormonism and the politics of the LDS Church, because he is Mormon, and a Church leader. He typically debunks comments about his religion which are demonstrably wrong, explains the meaning of various rituals and traditions, and he also talks about his own objections to the LDS Church's influence in politics. He is probably one of the most patient and phlegmatic mefites I've ever interacted with. He rarely gets riled. He simply explains and explains and asks follow-up questions in good faith. He knows that his Church has done rather reprehensible things that have rightfully pissed people off, and has said repeatedly that he's on the side of the Church's victims and objects to those policies just as strongly as they do.

Yet he's been the focus of several pileons. Because he holds a minority opinion on a fraught topic, and people have repeatedly accused him of being an apologist for his Church.

The last time this happened, a MeTa was launched and the mods eventually demanded that he stop commenting. To stop answering people's questions. His presence was considered by the mods to be disruptive. Not because he was arguing or fighting with people. But because they weren't being civil to him.

By telling the person who was actually being calm and reasonable to sit down and shut up, you reward the people who are being disruptive and encourage them to be that way in the future.
posted by zarq at 12:57 PM on May 28, 2013 [22 favorites]


What I mean to say is....

I totally, completely agree with you that if people dialed it down we'd all be a lot better off. And I'm absolutely one of 'em. But every once in a while, the person being told to pipe down isn't actually the one causing the problem. Except by virtue of holding a minority opinion in a hostile room.
posted by zarq at 1:08 PM on May 28, 2013


As soon as Corb shows up in a thread even remotely related to libertarianism it sucks up all the air in the room. From now on the entire thread will be about corb's weird worldview about pretty much everything until one of the mods asks her to leave.

Or maybe, just maybe, people could stop assuming the worst and piling on just to show their we-hate-you credentials. For those not watching, we are currently at "Prove you hate slavery, corb! Would you have picked up a gun? Well, HOW MUCH would you have picked up a gun? How many people would you be willing to kill to end slavery?" We're also at people, including rosf, hopping into totally unrelated threads, to try to badly paraphrase my views and get people outraged over them.

Shocking, that I, being a military member, would show up in a thread about the renaming of military bases. I showed up to point out that our enemies can still be good men and worth honoring the remembrance. We are currently at an I-don't-even-know-what clusterfuck, and you want me to leave.

Yes, I'm a libertarian, and I dare to actually think that those views can get expressed without it being a flaming shitpile. What the hell is wrong with me? Really, I must have some gall.
posted by corb at 1:13 PM on May 28, 2013


"I showed up to point out that our enemies can still be good men and worth honoring the remembrance. We are currently at an I-don't-even-know-what clusterfuck, and you want me to leave."

We can treat them with compassion, but we shouldn't treat them as if they were doing anything but prolonging a civil war in which millions died in order to keep the most abhorrent institution of American history alive.

Fort Bragg is only a little less horrible than Fort Hitler.

Which is only a precursor to the general point of this thread:

"We are currently at an I-don't-even-know-what clusterfuck, and you want me to leave.""

You don't know what you're talking about, you're spouting stuff that's pretty damn offensive to a huge swath of people in an oblivious manner, and you're taking on all comers. If you'd made your point about military base naming and left, it wouldn't be a problem. But how much is that related to the articles of secession from Georgia? Pretty much fuck all, especially in your comments.

"Yes, I'm a libertarian, and I dare to actually think that those views can get expressed without it being a flaming shitpile. What the hell is wrong with me? Really, I must have some gall."

I don't think Jacquilynne (sp?) got a flaming shitpile, even though she derailed into True Libertarian space. One thing I've learned here is that if I'm frequently in the middle of a shitball, it's often less the topic than my comments.
posted by klangklangston at 1:25 PM on May 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


Jacqueline, not jacquilynne.
posted by elizardbits at 1:27 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I showed up to point out that our enemies can still be good men and worth honoring the remembrance.

And that the position discussed in the FPP constituted staggering stupidity, that the author was an asshole, that this was similar to desecration of graves, that the south was not rebelling to protect slavery but resisting a foreign invasion, and that the North can never make up for taking the South's property. And then like a million other things.
posted by Drinky Die at 1:44 PM on May 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Let's assume, for the sake of argument, that I said everything you said I did - which I did not. In which case is having fifteen people try to come up with varying degrees of how shitty they think I am a good conversation? Particularly when said people are so overwhelmed with the feeling of corb-is-shitty that they need to bring it to every conversation that isn't even about that?
posted by corb at 1:54 PM on May 28, 2013


corb: I said everything you said I did - which I did not.

Drinky Die:
FPP constituted staggering stupidity, that the author was an asshole, that this was similar to desecration of graves, here
that the south was not rebelling to protect slavery but resisting a foreign invasion: here
the North can never make up for taking the South's property., here
posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:00 PM on May 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


Maybe the people who responded to you, including myself, also made poor contributions. There are times when you do not provoke the reaction but get it anyway, this was not one of those times.
posted by Drinky Die at 2:01 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


the North can never make up for taking the South's property., here

Specifically, that the financial aid currently given to the South cannot financially make up for that, which I think is what was lost from Drinky Die's comment - as well as with a few of the others and klangklangston's. There are certainly seeds of truth, but the characterization is incorrect.

I also, early on in the thread, was violently offended by what I saw as completely inappropriate the day after Memorial Day/Decoration Day. I recognized I was being emotional, admitted it, and stepped out of the thread for several hours/a hundred comments or so. When I returned, I specifically asked people to message me if they thought I was being too hot-headed or emotional, because I knew it was something to watch out for. No one did.

Thus, I'd say that people piling on were not doing so because somehow the way I was saying something was so inflaming, but because of the actual content of the words. If you disagree, I would love to hear why.
posted by corb at 2:13 PM on May 28, 2013


I don't really want to debate the precise meaning of any of the arguments you brought up. I'm more pointing out you made a lot of them and they are contentious points. If you had simply argued that enemies can sometimes be good men as you suggested above you still might have gotten piled on, but that isn't what happened. In a contentious thread, 15 replies to one point and I'm more likely to blame the crowd. 15 replies to 15 points and I'm a bit less so.
posted by Drinky Die at 2:18 PM on May 28, 2013


As evidenced by this thread, corb can be reasonable, thoughtful, and provide information. Klangklangston cannot open his mouth without calling people names, misrepresenting their points, and insisting they really mean something they never said. And he drags all that baggage into many an unrelated thread. Metafilter without corb would be a much more groupthinky place. Metafilter without klang would be having much better discussions.

This has nothing, nothing at all, to do with the content of their comments, and everything to do with the willingness to assume good faith on the part of everyone, as requested in the site's rules. Corb assumes people mean what they say, and responds appropriately. Klang assumes people are just saying things to conceal hidden agendas that only he can discern. The fact that corb, who assumes good faith pretty consistently and speaks at a reasonable volume, is getting piled on, while a shouty dipshit like klang is allowed to run wild, makes me question the whole direction of moderation.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 2:22 PM on May 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


calling people names

shouty dipshit

pot, kettle, etc
posted by elizardbits at 2:35 PM on May 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


We're also at people, including rosf, hopping into totally unrelated threads, to try to badly paraphrase my views and get people outraged over them.


Well, my suggestion that something a little more complicated than "corb innocently steps into a situation with no idea that what she is doing or saying might be a little inflammatory" might be going on here is little undermined by recent developments, is another way of looking at it.

This is fine, though - we all have stuff in our lives, and we all deal with it in different ways. Some people play Call of Duty, others go on the Internet. But, as I've said elsewhere, it might be worth thinking about what's going on as you read and write this stuff. I get into loops myself, which is something I've been looking at in myself and working on. Which is kind of where I came in on this thread, conveniently.
posted by running order squabble fest at 2:47 PM on May 28, 2013


the characterization is incorrect.

Incorrect? Three phrases against your claim that you "did not" say those things, easily found because they contained the words that you yourself used, and you want to claim now that the "characterization" was incorrect?

When I returned, I specifically asked people to message me if they thought I was being too hot-headed or emotional, because I knew it was something to watch out for.

Could you link to that comment, the one where you asked people to contact you privately if they thought you were being too hot-headed or emotional? I can't find it. Is it this one? because that's not what that comment says. Is it this one? Because that's not what THAT comment says.

I showed up to point out that our enemies can still be good men and worth honoring the remembrance.

And this remembrance must be through base naming. And you did this by completely conflating decisions made by the generals of the Confederacy, oath-breakers, to fight on the Confederate side, with the decisions made by poor whites to fight and die along with their comrades. Because that's the only way your argument works - deliberately mixing two separate groups of people.

Or you're very, very concerned.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:52 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Incorrect? Three phrases against your claim that you "did not" say those things, easily found because they contained the words that you yourself used, and you want to claim now that the "characterization" was incorrect?

I'm a big fan of allowing people to clarify their meanings if they feel something has been paraphrased incorrectly or they communicated something they didn't mean to. I don't think in this case it makes much difference with what I was trying to point out either way but I did omit that she said financially.
posted by Drinky Die at 3:01 PM on May 28, 2013


No, elizardbits. "Shouty" is a characterization, and quite an accurate one. "Dipshit" is name-calling, but seems justified in a summation.

My point stands. The definition of arguing in good faith is assuming that those you are arguing against are making their case because they believe it. The definition of arguing in bad faith is assuming that your opponents' arguments are simply smokescreens for a hidden agenda. Corb generally does the former. Klang, Drinky, rosf, and mot&t regularly do the latter.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 3:15 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


TFB, I generally understand the phrase 'arguing in good faith' to mean making arguments that you yourself believe in (or, if you're just playing devil's advocate, being explicit about that), and believe to be relevant to the best version of the discussion. So bad faith involves saying stuff you don't believe, or saying stuff that you know is a misdirection, derail, or misrepresentation of your interlocutor's point.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 3:22 PM on May 28, 2013


Hey, is this just a thread to name people you don't like because of reasons, now? Awesome!

Um...

I feel like Zach Braff didn't really make a convincing case for his Kickstarter, but I guess people can do what they want with their money.

I suck at this.
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:23 PM on May 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


Lobstermitten: The problem with that definition is it's unverifiable. I have no way of knowing if anyone actually believes what they're saying---on the internet, no one knows you're a dog.

Misrepresenting what someone said, that's definitely arguing in bad faith, and that can be easily demonstrated. Insisting someone is saying something they aren't strikes me as falling under "misrepresenting what someone said".

If you insist that the people you're arguing with aren't really saying what they're saying, but are in fact saying what you insist they're saying, discussion can't happen, because no one can be believed---it's a discourse-killer. That's why it's no good. But to insist "You don't really believe what you're saying" is to commit exactly that error.

rosf: Nope, it's a thread to discuss what it means to argue in good or bad faith. Give it a try!
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 3:29 PM on May 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm not defending the practice of imputing secret motives to people. I'm saying, the phrase 'bad faith' isn't usually used to mean that specific thing. Just making a terminological point.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 3:34 PM on May 28, 2013


Name-calling can be justified if you're doing it, but it's unjustifiable if other people do it.
posted by rtha at 3:35 PM on May 28, 2013 [8 favorites]


ThatFuzzyBastard: corb regularly argues out of the side of her mouth. She regularly misrepresents her opponents' arguments. She regularly makes ugly insinuations about their beliefs. She does so in a polite way, but she isn't at all the paragon of good faith that you claim.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 3:36 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Klang assumes people are just saying things to conceal hidden agendas that only he can discern."

o_0

So, it's like I have a hidden agenda that only you can discern?

"Nope, it's a thread to discuss what it means to argue in good or bad faith. Give it a try!"

Man, I thought it was about people being told not to make X into the Y Show, meaning to not take on all comers.

Did the post you made have a hidden agenda that only you could discern?
posted by klangklangston at 3:38 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well, and I think a big part of what it comes down to is that this isn't a binary thing where someone either does this stuff well or doesn't. But there's also more than one vector along which stuff can be crappy discourse or conversational derail; I think it's a mistake to suggest that using curse words or being emphatic is problematic but that compulsive or tonedeaf commenting is not.

Like, I would be the last person to suggest that klang is an angel because he can frequently be kind of a dick, and we've talked to him publicly and privately about that, and I think there's legitimate criticism to advance there about how he undercuts his own arguments with some of the GRRR ARG shouty shit. I wouldn't call it bad faith argumentation but that doesn't make it unproblematic.

On corb's side, I haven't notice her engaging in that sort of posturing particularly, but she has done plenty of take-on-all-comers stuff and has a habit of digging into conversations by pushing on arguments about contentious issues and then niggling over the finer points in a way that feels more like an attempt to keep the arguments coming her way rather than to try and improve the thread for everybody. I don't know that that's bad faith argumentation necessarily either, but it's definitely problematic as well despite being a different sort of thing.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:39 PM on May 28, 2013


(hand klang a moist towel, offers a beverage)
hidden agenda, E-gads.
posted by clavdivs at 3:42 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


assuming that your opponents' arguments are simply smokescreens for a hidden agenda. Klang, Drinky, rosf, and mot&t regularly do the latter.

Oh wow. As I said I'm a big fan of allowing clarifications and trying to argue what is actually being said as I've been on the other side of the hidden agenda thing here and it stinkkkkkks. If I have argued someone is hiding an agenda recently I apologize.
posted by Drinky Die at 3:43 PM on May 28, 2013


On corb's side, I haven't notice her engaging in that sort of posturing particularly, but she has done plenty of take-on-all-comers stuff and has a habit of digging into conversations by pushing on arguments about contentious issues and then niggling over the finer points in a way that feels more like an attempt to keep the arguments coming her way rather than to try and improve the thread for everybody.

For what it's worth, from here, it feels more like about 70% of my opinions or more happen to be found contentious by MeFites, so the odds of what initially is supposed to be a simple comment turning into a prolonged "Corb is wrong and deserves ten minutes hate" seem to be relatively high on the whole. When that happens, I do try to keep discussing - but I'm not sure as to what specifically the qualitative difference between my continuance and others continuance is. "Niggling over the finer points" is by some known as "philosophical discussion."

In terms of the "Take on all comers" thing, though, I think that's kind of the point of this MeTa, really. What does it mean to "Take On All Comers"? Or more precisely, what does it mean to not "Take On All Comers"? Does it mean that when people ask you a lot of questions, you should try not to answer all of them? Does it mean that when a lot of people pile on, you should completely shut up? Does it mean that when a lot of people pile on you should pause to think more carefully about avoiding fighty language? Does it mean you should avoid completely the subject that is causing the pile-on? Because some of these seem good, but others seem, as said above, bound to stifle the minority perspective.
posted by corb at 3:46 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


"What does it mean to "Take On All Comers"?"

It's a phrase with an unfortunate etymological origin in pornography.

God, I need that moist towel.
posted by klangklangston at 3:48 PM on May 28, 2013


More seriously, it means that even when you're being piled-onto, you don't need to reply to every comment that you disagree with, nor make yourself the sole voice of whatever minority (or even majority, as that happens too). It's a bad habit that plenty, including me, can be guilty of here, because in the heat of an argument you rarely think to construct a solid argument which can synthesize several points and address them all at once. Also, realizing that not replying to assholes can sometimes be more effective than engaging with them.
posted by klangklangston at 3:52 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


/suspects it's more wrestling/amateur boxing than porn.
posted by Artw at 4:01 PM on May 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


More seriously, it means that even when you're being piled-onto, you don't need to reply to every comment that you disagree with, nor make yourself the sole voice of whatever minority (or even majority, as that happens too)

I want you to know that I actually looked that up on the off chance that you were serious. If my google history ever gets published, future giggling teenagers thank you.

Also in seriousness - I think that's still a really hard standard to understand. For example - let's say, hypothetically, that I make a statement with 15 specific aimed-at-me responses, usually questions, that I disagree with. If I respond to one of them, am I taking on all comers? Two of them? What if my response to that comment spawns 15 more comments?

And more particularly, what does it mean to "make yourself the sole voice of the minority"? How does that weigh out in practice? Does it mean that if you're the only person who believes a certain way, you only get one comment and then you need to leave the thread?
posted by corb at 4:02 PM on May 28, 2013


rosf: Nope, it's a thread to discuss what it means to argue in good or bad faith. Give it a try!

OK!

First up, it seems to me you've made a dangerous error in assuming that it's impossible to determine what someone actually believes, but that it is possible to tell with perfect confidence when someone is arguing in bad faith in your new definition - that is, misrepresenting somebody else's views.

It's actually not as easy as that. People don't always perfectly accurately divine other people's meanings, and people also do not always accurately interpret other people's statements of what they think other people mean. You've oversimplified, and your oversimplification bespeaks, I fear, an overconfidence in your own diagnostic powers.

Let's look for an example. The first time I noticed you, I think it was when you called me a racist. I was a little taken aback at the time - this is not something that happens to me very often - and did not respond as well as I should have. I had trouble divining your meaning, and my best guess would be that you didn't really know what you were saying, either. Certainly, you had failed to divine my meaning, which seemed to have combined with some form of spike in your aggression levels to lead to that outburst.

That provided useful data - it helped me, for example, once I got past the initial emotion, to decide that you had some sort of rage thing going on, and were probably not going to be a very fun person to hang out with. That seems to have been a useful conclusion for me to have drawn, in terms of my personal development. It is almost certainly not, however, a complete assessment of your character, or the value you bring. I'm sure you have a lot to give, which I have closed myself off to as a result of first impressions. Such is life.

So, it is my sincere belief that it's very, very dangerous to assume you have a totally clear bead on what other people both say and mean. It can lead to overconfident amateur psychiatry, or to deciding that abuse is justified when you use it, but not when other people do. Basically, it's a somewhat unwise way of interacting with the world, albeit also a very tempting one, and one which you probably get something out of.

I've been working on my oppositional tendencies lately, so I don't particularly want to get into an argument about your opinion of me (which you will believe to be accurate and complete, I guess?) or mine of you (which is pretty fuzzy, appropriately enough). You seem to have some anger, and your particular form of expressing it is something the mods seem to tend to deal with by letting the exhibitor of that anger tire him or herself out and hoping they will get through it and function more successfully in future.

That may or may not be a good idea, but it does come back to the topic of this thread - it's easier to get one stable and self-aware person to change their behavior than it is an angry, shouty person or group of people. So, sometimes, stable and self-aware people are called upon to exercise a restraint which is perhaps not strictly just for the greater good of the community, as with The World Famous above. It sucks, in some ways - I would love to hear more about The World Famous' faith, and was not aware he had been asked not to talk about it - but you hope that the more stable people understand what they are being asked to do and why they, rather than the angry people, are being asked to make that sacrifice.
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:10 PM on May 28, 2013


TFB, I generally understand the phrase 'arguing in good faith' to mean making arguments that you yourself believe in (or, if you're just playing devil's advocate, being explicit about that), and believe to be relevant to the best version of the discussion. So bad faith involves saying stuff you don't believe, or saying stuff that you know is a misdirection, derail, or misrepresentation of your interlocutor's point.

Huh. The way I tend to use the term, and think of it, is as you describe, but is also the layered with the idea of arguing-towards-mutual-understanding as opposed to arguing-towards-further-divisiveness or arguing-just-to-win. I am now worried that I have used it in this way in the past and have had whatever point I was trying to make about dialogue misunderstood because of my idiosyncratic take on it. Bum.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:12 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


More seriously, it means that even when you're being piled-onto, you don't need to reply to every comment that you disagree with, nor make yourself the sole voice of whatever minority (or even majority, as that happens too).

And part of what it means is that in a community discussion setting sometimes what's the more community-minded move doesn't line up with what feels like the move that serves your sense of personal justice best. Which is I think something anyone who has spent a lot of time discussing/debating/arguing stuff in a mixed group setting has probably run up against, and it's kind of a bummer to have to curtail your own conversation for the sake of everybody else, but that's part of making a place like this work.

To sketch it out explicitly a bit: if I have an opinion about X, and I state it and get into sort of a thing with a few other people about it where we're trading comments for a while, there's a few different things going on:

1. I'm feeling personally engaged. I like discussing/arguing, I'm doing that, okay. I'm enjoying being an active participant. I want to keep talking because it's fun.

2. If it's adversarial to some extent, I'm also maybe feeling challenged or on the defense: people are saying what I argue/believe/support is wrong, and I want to push back on that. I want to keep defending my position because I'm invested, whether philosophically or emotionally or both.

3. The folks specifically responding to me are likewise feeling engaged and/or defensive of their position. They want to keep talking and defending their own position.

4. Everybody else is also trying to have a conversation that doesn't involve my defense or my interlocuters' continued defenses. They're not going to benefit from me or those people responding to me continuing to have at it.

Those are some pretty value-neutral moving parts of a thread with a specific argument going on within it; there's nothing inherently good or bad about any of 1-4. But there's tension between those different things, obviously: for me I'm going to value (1) and (2) most of all; for my respondents, they're valuing (3); for everybody else they're valuing (4). We've got three groups of increasing size, and that third group, everybody else, is by far the biggest.

But finding a balance in any given thread is partly a matter of taking care to recognize that tension and to modify my own behavior out of respect to it. And that comes particularly to the fact that "everybody else" consistently is the biggest group and that a thread basically shouldn't be about me, even if it sucks for me to throttle back and de-emphasize my own role or my own capacity to argue back against things that I disagree with or challenges.

It's hard sometimes to stop and think about this stuff in terms of "is the community/readership at large really getting anything out of me refusing to let go of this, or is it really mostly just for my own benefit?" But it's important, and I think that's the biggest disconnect in these discussions about the idea that it's e.g. unfair that person x should be encouraged to lay off. Because of course it's a little bit unfair, at a personal level; this is a community, not a loose affiliation of sovereign states that happen to pass messages back and forth via a commenting box. There's no way for everybody to always get their way or to be the center of attention.

Accepting a little bit of personal disappointment because you recognize that you're one of a whole bunch of people all of whom have to do the same thing is part of being a good member of a functioning community.

All of this sort of goes ten-fold if we're talking not so much about "that one time that I got into it with some folks" but rather "that thing that's always happening where I'm getting into it with folks".
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:24 PM on May 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


I've always interpreted "arguing in good faith" as meaning "arguing in the belief that you and your interlocutor are arguing with the intention of honestly representing your beliefs, and that you are arguing with the intention of coming to a useful resolution or improving your understanding of a situation and/or each other", essentially.

Obviously, putting forward arguments you don't actually believe (unless clearly signposted as such, with the intent made clear) is not by that definition arguing in good faith. Nor, for that matter, is maliciously misrepresenting the argument of another. Habermas' discourse ethics seems to be a useful baseline - a good faith argument is expressed sincerely, with the aim of arriving at consensus - or at least mutual conceptual understanding or enrichment.

(That consensus may not be possible, of course, but it's at least one valid goal.)

So, you're arguing in bad faith if you claim that somebody else said that they believed x, if you know that they said that they believe y. And you are also arguing in bad faith if you, although you in fact believe x, claim to believe y in order to gain an advantage in a debate. A racist politician claiming that their opposition to immigration is purely financial, I think, would be arguing in bad faith - they would have no interest in moving towards consensus, to the point that they would not even advance their real beliefs, making consensus impossible.
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:34 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


4. Everybody else is also trying to have a conversation that doesn't involve my defense or my interlocuters' continued defenses. They're not going to benefit from me or those people responding to me continuing to have at it.

Yeah, the hardest part is understanding the conversation of other people is really damaged by this. You kind of figure if 15 people want to talk with me about this than the community wants the discussion. If someone wants to talk about something else, nothing is stopping them, right?

Well, think of conversation around the dinner table. You aren't going to physically shout anyone down on Mefi but you can still hurt the conversation. The fun is perspectives and insights bouncing off each other and flowing off to different places. That can't happen if someone is dug in on a point and won't let go. Have fun, enjoy the company, winning the argument isn't the primary goal. If everybody at the table disagrees with you but you still dig in, you are unfortunately going to be the one who looks like a crank if you won't stop. It's hard as hell to do sometimes and everybody messes up and people are dicks if they gang up on you when you aren't dug in, but you still need to strive to do as best you can with it.

The damage of sucking the air out of a conversation here is often exaggerated, but it is real and you need to try and avoid it. I am not at all a poster child for handling the situation right but it's worth trying to handle it better. corb is right to be confused by how to handle it in individual situations, because it is confusing. The best thing I can recommend is to listen to any specific advice the mods give you and ask questions when you feel you are on shaky ground before falling down a pit.
posted by Drinky Die at 4:40 PM on May 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


The way I tend to use the term, and think of it, is as you describe, but is also the layered with the idea of arguing-towards-mutual-understanding as opposed to arguing-towards-further-divisiveness or arguing-just-to-win.
-stav

arguing in the belief that you and your interlocutor are arguing with the intention of honestly representing your beliefs, and that you are arguing with the intention of coming to a useful resolution or improving your understanding of a situation and/or each other
-rosf

Yeah, I would agree with both of these addenda.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 5:25 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


rosf, just to clarify something that's been discussed many times on Metafilter: Calling something you said racist is not the same thing as calling you "a racist".
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 5:35 PM on May 28, 2013


J Smooth wasn't actually thinking of protecting the expressive freedoms of angry Internet dudes when he made that distinction, TFB.

In fact, I think that your comment might be a good example of arguing in bad faith, actually, in the traditional, conventionally understood sense - ignoring the discourse in order to try to rules-lawyer a minor detail. Jessamyn told you to knock off the personal attacks - to quote - in that thread, and I think I'm happy with that terminology.

You don't seem to have managed that wholly successfully, judging from this thread and elsewhere, but I wish you the best in doing so. I don't think I'm an appropriate person to help or reward you for that, however, for the reasons outlined above.
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:55 PM on May 28, 2013


No, it's true that there is a distinction acknowledged on Mefi between calling someone something and saying they sound like something or are acting like something. I don't particularly agree with the distinction, but it exists here to some degree.
posted by Drinky Die at 6:01 PM on May 28, 2013


Sure - and that is used both as a form of discursive exactness and as a way to try to make personal attacks mod-proof, although not always successfully, since mods are not automated search functions. This was identified as a personal attack, regardless of syntax, and I feel pretty comfortable with that taxonomy.

However, this is nonetheless what looks like an attempt to ignore the discourse and seek to derail at one point - that is, to argue in bad faith in the conventionally understood sense of the term.

Conversely, probably good-faith best practice would have been to link to the comment, which I did. So, anyone could look at it and see the exact phrasing. Since to this day I don't really understand what TFB was shooting for, my ability to put a marginal gloss on the wording is limited, but it's right there for anyone who wants to see it.

I'm not sure what this conversation is going to achieve, however. I do not believe that TFB is engaging with it in good faith right now (in the conventionally understood sense). That doesn't preclude the possibility that he can, or that he will, but I feel like we are where we are, and I don't think I am the best person to bring him back into a conversation about what good faith and bad faith arguments are.
posted by running order squabble fest at 6:12 PM on May 28, 2013


"But finding a balance in any given thread is partly a matter of taking care to recognize that tension and to modify my own behavior out of respect to it. And that comes particularly to the fact that "everybody else" consistently is the biggest group and that a thread basically shouldn't be about me, even if it sucks for me to throttle back and de-emphasize my own role or my own capacity to argue back against things that I disagree with or challenges."

Two things: First, this is something I totally struggle with sometimes.

Second, I think that often multiple people feel like the aggrieved minority, since what seems like monolith on point X doesn't necessarily agree on related point Y. "Everybody else" is always the biggest group, but both people can feel like they're set on by MeFite hounds.
posted by klangklangston at 7:28 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's hard sometimes to stop and think about this stuff in terms of "is the community/readership at large really getting anything out of me refusing to let go of this, or is it really mostly just for my own benefit?"

That does make a lot of sense, but what if the answer is yes? For example, by bringing a perspective people haven't considered, new data, explaining enough such that people can let go of preconceptions, or just by sticking in long enough to get past the anger and immediate rage-perception to the actual substance of the discussion?
posted by corb at 7:35 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


That does make a lot of sense, but what if the answer is yes? For example, by bringing a perspective people haven't considered, new data, explaining enough such that people can let go of preconceptions, or just by sticking in long enough to get past the anger and immediate rage-perception to the actual substance of the discussion?

As someone who has been a spectator in a lot of threads that have ended up with this "take on all comers" feel, I don't think it quite works the way you're describing. In a worst-case scenario, someone with that approach feels kind of insulting and patronizing, as if the only reason someone could disagree with them is that the reader still doesn't understand their position. I don't think that is usually the case.

Even when there IS misunderstanding involved, I find there's a diminishing returns effect at play here, and a fairly narrow window of opportunity in which to challenge a reader's stance on a topic. If a position is stated well in the poster's first message or three there's a chance it will affect me as an interested member of the peanut gallery. When someone takes more than - I dunno - 3-4 posts to explain themselves, they gradually lose the ability to be persuasive and end up coming across as stridently defensive. Whether I agree with their position or not, I start skipping further comments from such posters in that thread because I'm not really interested in who "wins" the argument - and at that point it really does feel like it's more about having the last word than about reaching any sort of meaningful understanding or benefiting anybody who may reading.

Obviously I only speak for myself, but if it takes more than 4 or so posts in a single thread to get a point across, it's probably too late - I'm either reading that poster for the lulz, or not at all.
posted by DingoMutt at 9:00 PM on May 28, 2013


I forget who, but someone here (on MetaFilter) talked about their "two and out" rule - that if they have failed to explain something successfully after statement and response, they walk away. That doesn't entirely answer the "what if 15 people are arguing with me at the same time" question - unless you aim for two bites of the same cherry - but it doesn't seem like a bad rule of thumb. If a hard one to live by...
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:01 AM on May 29, 2013


I agree with a lot of what's been said about the pile-on effect, but I think the root problem isn't topical and it's far broader than just political threads: It's people posting too much. Maybe that's better reserved for a differently framed MeTa thread. It's hard to discuss without pointing to examples, which then comes off as calling people out rather than discussing the broader issue. But it definitely isn't about one person.

What's wrong with that? If you have a problem, just post more. I hate the idea of a bland consensus instead of a passionate debate. One ARTW is worth 100 snarkers. I think for people lurking the site getting good information is more important than everyone in the site feeling warm and fuzzy.

The Thatcher thread was great for that: passionate anger lead to great information.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 4:21 AM on May 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


As for good faith, people can get accused of trolling for having innocuous disagreements with consensus. Specifically with the Assange thing, the hagiography around him hurt people who were actually molested by him.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 4:24 AM on May 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


I like passionate comments and debates, they are often some of the best. However, on contentious subjects they also often aren't that great and start fires that need moderator attention. The Thatcher thread probably needed a good amount of moderator attention, and it's not sustainable to have several threads a day where that sort of thing is going down. It's more about getting the best discussion quality possible with limited moderator attention across the entire site as opposed to getting the best possible debate on every subject.

Assange is a complicated figure, with both detractors and supporters that often try and make the truth about him more black and white than it is. Discussing him slams together some issues people feel very strongly about such as sexual assault and freedom of the press. It's always going to be a tough subject to discuss, especially when the FPP was not narrowed on any specific aspect of the story but a grab bag of potential topics.
posted by Drinky Die at 4:36 AM on May 29, 2013


That does make a lot of sense, but what if the answer is yes? For example, by bringing a perspective people haven't considered, new data, explaining enough such that people can let go of preconceptions, or just by sticking in long enough to get past the anger and immediate rage-perception to the actual substance of the discussion?


I'll make it easy for you: No. You don't usually understand the topics you comment on and you don't argue in good faith. You aren't bringing substance, you're bringing attention to yourself, which you seem to enjoy, and a lot of noise.
posted by empath at 4:44 AM on May 29, 2013


As for good faith, people can get accused of trolling for having innocuous disagreements with consensus.

Can they? Sure. Do they? Not often, I would think. Any examples that you care to point to?

Specifically with the Assange thing, the hagiography around him hurt people who were actually molested by him.

See, this is a really bad example of an 'innocuous disagreement'. Assange hasn't even been charged with any sexual assault offenses or similar, so a categorical statement that he is guilty is obviously going to raise hackles with some people.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:20 AM on May 29, 2013


What's wrong with that? If you have a problem, just post more.

What? Sweet lord, no.

I hate the idea of a bland consensus instead of a passionate debate.

It's not either/or, and when you approach a thread with this attitude, it often makes for a shitty thread for a lot of other people, including other people who might have participated if not for the two or three people in it who "just post more." That is not the sole metric by which one can measure or indicate interest in or passion for a topic.
posted by rtha at 5:47 AM on May 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


If one was just re-stating the same point, it would make sense to say "If you haven't explained yourself, you should hush." But as corb has noted elsewhere, it's usually not a matter of re-stating the same point, it's a matter of responding to (often cogent) objections that have been raised in the course of the discussions. Particularly when those objections are quite heatedly stated, demanding that the person not respond seems not just bullying, but also a good way to create an illusion of consensus, and a generally lower level of thought. Yes, one shouldn't just repeat oneself, but statement-objection-response is how discourse happens.

Oh, and empath? You may be a lovely person, but here, you are being boring and a bully and illiterate and you should be quiet if you don't have anything useful to say.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 5:58 AM on May 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


I realise there's not a lot of point in flagging things in MetaTalk, but dude. The mods are not bots. "You may be a lovely person, but here you are being [personal attack]" is not going to bamboozle them.
posted by running order squabble fest at 6:09 AM on May 29, 2013


Illiterate?
posted by rtha at 6:12 AM on May 29, 2013


Well, I can hardly take offense at being told to shut up after I basically just told someone else to stop posting.
posted by empath at 6:15 AM on May 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


This will probably go better if everyone sticks more to the site-issue aspects, and backs off the personal stuff.
posted by taz (staff) at 6:18 AM on May 29, 2013


To clarify, I don't want empath to shut up. I don't want anyone to shut up! Like Chairman Mao, I want a thousand flowers to bloom! The whole point of this thread is that I would like to see *more* discourse, always.

But in order for that to happen, one can't have posts that are totalizing blanket statements about certain users (a rule I sometimes fail to follow myself). That is the distinction that I think is real, even if rosf seems to think otherwise. To me, saying "this comment is bullying" is different from saying "you are stupid", because the subject of the sentence is very different. J-Smooth's distinction is real and useful in a lot of situations.

And, bringing it back to topic, this is why I'm bothered by some of the "don't make this the _____ show" stuff. As a reader, I'm interested in the movement of thought across the board, not in who's posting more. To me, a thread where people are batting the ball back and forth is more worthwhile than one where everyone is dittoheading. If having one person post more is necessary for preventing a stifling (and boring) consensus, then it's fine by me.

But I think that's a big distinction between different kinds of Metafilter users. Some people come to the comments in search of intelligent discussion, which means debate. Others come for a safe space where their beliefs can be wittily reaffirmed. These two goals are very difficult to reconcile, since one is sort of antithetical to the other---in order for debate to happen, someone must take a stance you disagree with, but if you're going to be upset when you "see someone [supporting bad thing] on Metafilter", debate is impossible.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 6:39 AM on May 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


Some people come to the comments in search of intelligent discussion, which means debate.

Debate in the adversarial sense of "two people arguing at length over some fundamental disagreement" is not the only form of intelligent discussion, though, even setting aside that pushing back on the nth round of X-takes-on-all-comers is not the same thing as saying "no debates". It's a false dichotomy and I'd say as much as anything reducing it to that does damage to the ability of folks to have intelligent discussions by stigmatizing the otherwise totally workable, totally part-of-how-mefi-works tradition of people having non-adversarial discussions about all the different angles of a thing.

A conversation doesn't need protagonists or antagonists or a greek chorus opining on who is who; the substance is the key, and the substance can (and smart money is it will) come from a whole bunch of folks in aggregate, if they're not chased out of the room by another tiresome wind-up by the same small set of vocal users who like to argue about a given topic at length.

Debate's fine for what it is but it is not the be-all-end-all of interesting, intelligent discourse. It's certainly not a trump card that obviates the value of community-minded situational awareness from individual participants. That's the tension that I was talking about upthread, the balance that needs to be minded by everyone involved in a discussion: when you're one of many in a crowd, it's fine to want to be heard but it's not okay to crowd out the crowd in pursuit of your own sense of satisfaction.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:52 AM on May 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


That is the distinction that I think is real, even if rosf seems to think otherwise

To be clear, I find J Smooth's distinction to be perfectly valid as a tool. Here's what I actually said:

J Smooth wasn't actually thinking of protecting the expressive freedoms of angry Internet dudes when he made that distinction, TFB.

Again, this is a question of reading and understanding things, which seems to be a recurring issue. I do not think it is particularly useful in this case, because you are not using it in good faith to interrogate racism. Rather, you are seeking to employ it as a tool to justify your lapses in temper and subsequent use of personal attacks. Issues around minority cultures have a significance and a weight beyond their usefulness in validating or permitting behaviors among the majority culture. This is a thing members of majority cultures need to take on board, and often struggle with.

If you are genuinely eager to have a dialog about racism, that's great! It's not what you were attempting to do, however, in the example cited. Likewise, if you want to compliment empath about how lovely he/she is, that's great! But this is materially different from seeking a way to call him/her illiterate without getting in trouble with the mods. This is not only bad faith, but also kind of insulting to the mods, as it assumes that they are automata unable to think their way through a set-up compliment or a specious assertion of a social justice argument.

In terms of site issues, this sort of stuff is... not useful. However, it is also a useful callback to my earlier point:
That may or may not be a good idea, but it does come back to the topic of this thread - it's easier to get one stable and self-aware person to change their behavior than it is an angry, shouty person or group of people. So, sometimes, stable and self-aware people are called upon to exercise a restraint which is perhaps not strictly just, for the greater good of the community, as with The World Famous above.
Clearly, I'm not a person who is going to help you through this, so ultimately all I'm doing here is responding to random rage spurts in a way that is not going to be helpful to you. As such, I ought to remove myself from this discussion. Peace out, dude.
posted by running order squabble fest at 7:04 AM on May 29, 2013


running order squabble fest: "It's actually not as easy as that. People don't always perfectly accurately divine other people's meanings, and people also do not always accurately interpret other people's statements of what they think other people mean. You've oversimplified, and your oversimplification bespeaks, I fear, an overconfidence in your own diagnostic powers."

*raises eyebrow*

It would be nice if you yourself would keep this in mind in the future.
posted by zarq at 7:36 AM on May 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


running order squabble fest: "I forget who, but someone here (on MetaFilter) talked about their "two and out" rule - that if they have failed to explain something successfully after statement and response, they walk away. That doesn't entirely answer the "what if 15 people are arguing with me at the same time" question - unless you aim for two bites of the same cherry - but it doesn't seem like a bad rule of thumb. If a hard one to live by..."

As well as this.
posted by zarq at 7:37 AM on May 29, 2013


This will probably go better if everyone sticks more to the site-issue aspects, and backs off the personal stuff.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:37 AM on May 29, 2013


See, this is a really bad example of an 'innocuous disagreement'. Assange hasn't even been charged with any sexual assault offenses or similar, so a categorical statement that he is guilty is obviously going to raise hackles with some people.

Because fled the country.

And the hagiography surrounding Assanfe doesn't just harm the alleged victims in this case, it harms all rape victims everywhere - its a full fledged flight into football town values.

I can't imagine any other thread where something being called "not true rape" wouldn't cause a major shitstorm - if anything we are too polite about this.
posted by Artw at 7:46 AM on May 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


jessamyn: "This will probably go better if everyone sticks more to the site-issue aspects, and backs off the personal stuff."

Suggesting that someone might want to think about following their own advice re: civility, allowing people to exit a conversation rather than complaining to a mod, and not creatively interpreting comments to pick fights is absolutely a "site-issue aspect."
posted by zarq at 7:52 AM on May 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


This will probably go better if everyone sticks more to the site-issue aspects, and backs off the personal stuff.

The thing with Artw is that he comes into Every. Single. Thread. Tangentially. Related. To. WikiLeaks. and starts a fight about his view on Assange right off the bat. Every. Single. Time. I was really hoping to discuss the director, his work and about his comments about Manning, and instead we get Artw going into apeshit rape derail mode within the first 10-20 comments. He ruined the thread, and instead of warnings to everyone else about making this the Artw show, maybe he should have been privately asked to abstain from this and future threads regarding Manning or anything tangentially connected.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:05 AM on May 29, 2013


It is not innocuous to categorically state Assange is guilty of the rape charges. It seems within reason to me that rape may not have occurred. He is not going to submit to the legal system, however, so complaining about people making their own conclusions is silly. Still, it's going to lead to heated debates with the people who are confident he is innocent.

In general the statement that accused rapists should allow the legal system to do its work should be innocuous, but this case is complicated by the international nature of the situation and Assange's cult of personality and his at least to some degree justified fear of the United States. I think working through all that should leave a person with the conclusion that he should return and face the inevitable charges, but it can be convoluted to understand why a lot of what Wikileaks/Assange says about the case is bunk when most people aren't lawyers or even familiar with the laws of the countries involved. When an otherwise trusted source starts to go off the rails, it can be tough to catch on to it.

I don't think people say he is guilty in bad faith, but it is a contentious discussion likely to provoke strong reaction so there are better examples of innocuous points.
posted by Drinky Die at 8:07 AM on May 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


The thing with Artw is that he comes into Every. Single. Thread. Tangentially. Related. To. WikiLeaks. and starts a fight about his view on Assange right off the bat. Every. Single. Time. I was really hoping to discuss the director, his work and about his comments about Manning, and instead we get Artw going into apeshit rape derail mode within the first 10-20 comments. He ruined the thread, and instead of warnings to everyone else about making this the Artw show, maybe he should have been privately asked to abstain from this and future threads regarding Manning or anything tangentially connected.

No fight was started in that thread. Interpretations were shared that some might disagree with, but that is not starting a fight. But seeing as how you cravenly dismissed all of our points of view on the Samsung/Apple lawsuit as dishonest and biased rather than truthful, I can see how you'd elevate the smallest contrary statement into the stratosphere at hilarious levels.
posted by juiceCake at 8:14 AM on May 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


but it can be convoluted to understand why a lot of what Wikileaks/Assange says about the case is bunk when most people aren't lawyers or even familiar with the laws of the countries involved. When an otherwise trusted source starts to go off the rails, it can be tough to catch on to it.

Without going into detail, this is exactly it. There is uncritical acceptance of one side's legal claims by a majority in these threads and that majority generally is trained in computers, not law. In non-legal situations this makes sense, people usually find a person who they trust and believe their opinion based on that trust. But when that person is the target of legal proceedings which could result, their opinion must be doubly checked. Further more, law, unlike beers or bands, very often has a right answer. Especially in criminal matters you will see one party go to the media because under the law, they don't have a case.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:16 AM on May 29, 2013


The thing with Artw is that he comes into Every. Single. Thread. Tangentially. Related. To. WikiLeaks.

I sincerely doubt that I do, Wikileaks getting a lot of threads.
posted by Artw at 8:18 AM on May 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Right. Artw was not "starting a fight". The information linked at the FPP contained a great deal of discussion of the rape charges---it was hardly "tangentially related to Wikileaks." Artw was discussing the issues in the FPP. Carrying around baggage is not helpful to anyone.

when you're one of many in a crowd, it's fine to want to be heard but it's not okay to crowd out the crowd in pursuit of your own sense of satisfaction

I hear that, but I guess I'd ask for more awareness that an unwillingness to "crowd out the crowd" can lead to groupthink, suppression of reasonable dissent, and an environment that's chilling to discussion. And when the topic is an accused rapist who is defending his right not to face rape charges (whether or not you think Assange is guilty, I think that's a perfectly accurate descriptor), that chilling effect can be really consequential.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 8:19 AM on May 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


If you don't think the handjob comment was fighty, you gotta at least understand how it could easily be perceived that way, right?
posted by Drinky Die at 8:22 AM on May 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


You know, if I'm going to have any regrets in this, implying Wikileaks fandom is a circlejerk is going to be the least of them.
posted by Artw at 8:25 AM on May 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


You know, if I'm going to have any regrets in this, implying Wikileaks fandom is a circlejerk is going to be the least of them.

A "hardon of hate" would say that.
posted by BobbyVan at 8:26 AM on May 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


It is not innocuous to categorically state Assange is guilty of the rape charges. It seems within reason to me that rape may not have occurred. He is not going to submit to the legal system, however, so complaining about people making their own conclusions is silly. Still, it's going to lead to heated debates with the people who are confident he is innocent.

For some of us, it doesn't seem possible at all that rape could not have occured, Assange, speaking through his own lawyer, admitted the essential factors of the charge, if memory serves. The issue is just whether we think people ought to be bound by rape charges in countries that have more stringent standards than the US. For some people, it's whether the sexual assault charges are political or not.

I'm glad that people aren't letting it be forgotten, aren't letting it fade into the background because "The other stuff" is more important. And I don't think making people who somehow think he's innocent, because women lie, or something, more comfortable, is the best place to start out from there.
posted by corb at 8:30 AM on May 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Blazecock Pileon: "The thing with Artw is that he comes into Every. Single. Thread. Tangentially. Related. To. WikiLeaks."

This is easily confirmable.

Here are the last 20 posts that have either mentioned Wikileaks, linked to it, or were tangentially related to it.

Do a Ctrl-F on all of them for "artw" and you find only six out of twenty where he left a comment. Less than half.

1) Transcript on the right; annotation on the left (This is the thread we're discussing now.)
2) Barrett Brown raided by FBI, indicted (1 comment by Artw which has nothing to do with Assange.)
3) "In general the furnishings are nice; relatively plush and comfortable but the embassy itself is really very small and even the ambassador's office, although pleasant, is not all that roomy." (Multiple comments about Assange by artw, some of which do reference rape)
4) Loose Lips Sink Ships (Artw's two comments here have nothing to do with Assange.)
5) "a clear and written threat that they could storm our embassy." (Multiple comments about Assange by artw, some of which do reference rape, including calling him a "celebrity rapist" and a comment about "rape apologists.")
6) Assange on RT (2 comments about Assange, no mention of rape)

So that's three out of the last 20 threads related to Wikileaks, where artw could have conceivably been a disruptive influence.
posted by zarq at 8:32 AM on May 29, 2013 [13 favorites]


A "hardon of hate" would say that.

Well, assides from that I'm being accused of jamming this issue into inappropriate threads by someone who is basically a MIRV of hobby horses. Irony abounds.

So that's three out of the last 20 threads related to Wikileaks, where artw could have conceivably been a disruptive influence.

All three of which are about his flight from said charges, I'd point out.
posted by Artw at 8:36 AM on May 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


The issue is just whether we think people ought to be bound by rape charges in countries that have more stringent standards than the US.

That makes zero sense. People should flat out be tried in the country where the act occured. This is the essence of criminal jurisdiction. No US court would take a rape case in which all the actions took place in another country. Otherwise, all rapes, world-wide, would be tried in the US. There is no legal issue of any substance riding on that question.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:37 AM on May 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


For some of us, it doesn't seem possible at all that rape could not have occured, Assange

I don't really want to debate the evidence in the grey. A lot of people do think he is innocent, wrong or right, that means that the issue is going to be contentious.

And I don't think making people who somehow think he's innocent, because women lie, or something, more comfortable,

The question I was discussing has no relation to the comfort level of people who believe he is innocent. I was commenting on if the issue is innocuous or not. Just because it is not does not mean anyone should avoid saying that they are confident that he is guilty in a relavent thread, which that was.
posted by Drinky Die at 8:37 AM on May 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't really want to debate the evidence in the grey.

And boy oh gosh do I not want y'all to do so either. This is well-trod ground, maybe start up a group blog if the pile of Wikileaks-related threads we've had haven't provided enough of a venue for it already.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:39 AM on May 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


"Otherwise, all rapes, world-wide, would be tried in the US. "

More like Saudi Arabia.
posted by klangklangston at 8:43 AM on May 29, 2013


I don't really want to debate the evidence in the grey.

Yeah, sorry, I don't really want to get into that either - I"m just trying to say that for some people, it is so patently obvious that it /is/ an innocuous statement to say "Assange is a rapist." In fact, if I dropped that into my next five conversations, I'm not sure anyone would even notice. I know that people differ on it, but it seems an unobjectionable statement, like, I can't see anyone getting /mad/ at someone for saying it.
posted by corb at 8:48 AM on May 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


I"m just trying to say that for some people, it is so patently obvious that

I get it. What often makes a contentious situation is having two sides that believe different obviously true things. That doesn't mean one side or the other needs to shut up. (Well, maybe on some subjects) It does mean you should tread cautiously though. To be clear, I think Artw was fine in the thread for the most part, my only issue wast with the handjob comment setting a fighty tone that may have unnecessarily contributed to the response he got.
posted by Drinky Die at 8:57 AM on May 29, 2013


Next 20: (Going back two years to May 2011)

He commented in 5 out of 20 threads tangentially related to Wikileaks.

1) Today WikiLeaks began publishing The Global Intelligence Files – more than five million emails from the Texas-headquartered "global intelligence" company Stratfor (Artw made a total of three comments in that thread, one of which complained about Assange's ego.)
2) Tupac the Kiwi (2 comments complaining about Assange's ego.)
3) In Mother Russia, Leaks Wiki You (Three comments, one referencing Assange's ego)
4) You are under arrest for breaching the Hot Gossip Act (Two comments, neither of which are about Assange.)
5) "Twitter Users Beware: Homeland Security Isn’t Laughing." (A handful of comments, none of which are about Assange)

As far as I can tell, he wasn't disruptive in any of those threads.

Am not going to bother looking further. But to recap: over the last two years artw was outspoken and could have conceivably been a disruptive influence in just 3 out of 40 threads tangentially related to wikileaks.

And he only commented in 11 out of those 40 threads, so a little over 25%.
posted by zarq at 8:59 AM on May 29, 2013 [7 favorites]


Doctor, heal thyself.
posted by Falconetti at 9:03 AM on May 29, 2013


zarq, I think we were both advised not to get into it with the other a while back - something about just rubbing the other the wrong way. That doesn't seem like it has become bad advice in the interim. To quote a wise man:

You have a long-standing, mutually-disruptive grudgefest with $dude that he appears to be attempting to let go of. I realize that you don't like each other, but would be nice for all of our sakes if you would please try to take the high road and ignore him as well.

I don't know what's triggered your resumption of grar in this case, but you seem like a good sort, and I'd rather not fight you, or be the catalyst for you having fights with the mods about your right to have fights with me, so I'll mosey for a while.
posted by running order squabble fest at 9:14 AM on May 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


I would be genuinely bothered by someone posting "Assange is a rapist," even though I think he probably is. He's an *accused* rapist, and that's an important distinction to maintain (and I wish commenters were careful about maintaining it for people they don't like as much as Assange). I think eliding these sorts of factual distinctions creates a lot of trouble on threads; it's important to always know what you don't know.

zarq: Thanks much for the "thread-count". It's really helpful to have these sort of totalizing discussions turned into matters of fact.

I want to ride a MIRV of hobby-horses like Slim Pickens at the end of Dr Strangelove.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 9:21 AM on May 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


zarq: Thanks much for the "thread-count".

Agreed. In a different context it might have gone weird, but I think it was constructive. For those of us who don't closely follow a particular topic on MetaFilter (Wikileaks, I/P, Apple, etc), it's interesting to have facts on the table.
posted by cribcage at 9:25 AM on May 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


Stop the rape talk now.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:49 AM on May 29, 2013


running order squabble fest: " I don't know what's triggered your resumption of grar in this case, but you seem like a good sort, and I'd rather not fight you, or be the catalyst for you having fights with the mods about your right to have fights with me, so I'll mosey for a while."

OK. That's fair, and far more gracious than I was being. You're right. Will leave it alone as well.
posted by zarq at 9:52 AM on May 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'd suggest maybe the thread should be closed, since there doesn't really seem to be much to discuss that isn't a rehash of the non-Meta thread.
posted by Artw at 9:57 AM on May 29, 2013


Well, to zoom out from the thing not under discussion to the thing that is: My point is that treating matters of opinion, or things that aren't settled, as though they were facts which only the deluded or deceptive could fail to acknowledge, is a big part of making threads go pear-shaped.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 9:58 AM on May 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


cribcage: "In a different context it might have gone weird, but I think it was constructive."

Believe me, I won't make a habit of it! :)

When accusations like that are made, it's helpful to be able to look at what has actually been happening. Better to know than speculate. If the situation was being described accurately, then we could address it. Otherwise, the facts might just defuse the argument.

Anyway, thanks. And thank you, TFB.
posted by zarq at 10:09 AM on May 29, 2013


"Well, to zoom out from the thing not under discussion to the thing that is: My point is that treating matters of opinion, or things that aren't settled, as though they were facts which only the deluded or deceptive could fail to acknowledge, is a big part of making threads go pear-shaped."

While I agree with that general sentiment, the specific example you cite is a pretty bad example, unless you think that "the Civil War was primarily about slavery" is only an opinion. That has more to do with your weird grudge than it does with my comment.
posted by klangklangston at 11:17 AM on May 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was thinking in particular of "Fort Bragg is only a little less horrible than Fort Hitler." That packs all kinds of assumptions into one statement, ranging from the nature of the Civil War to the appropriate means of commemoration. And while it's a defensible statement, treating it as a flat fact– and treating anyone who disagrees with its many assumptions as a liar or a bigot– is going to make conversation really difficult.

you think that "the Civil War was primarily about slavery" is only an opinion.

See, that's what I mean. A lot of people disagree about this, including a lot of very well-informed scholars. It is an opinion. It may be an accurate opinion, it may not be, but it's at the very least a contentious subject where well-informed people disagree. You don't get to just claim the very ground that's being argued over.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 11:24 AM on May 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


SRSLY why all the hate for librarians?
posted by Mister_A at 12:13 PM on May 29, 2013


"See, that's what I mean. A lot of people disagree about this, including a lot of very well-informed scholars. It is an opinion. It may be an accurate opinion, it may not be, but it's at the very least a contentious subject where well-informed people disagree. You don't get to just claim the very ground that's being argued over."

That's bullshit. The serious consensus on the Civil War is analogous to climate change — that a lot of very well-informed people disagree that global climate change is anthropogenic does not mean that this is an opinion. It means that they're wrong.

Or, to reduce to absurdity: That you believe the Civil War being primarily about slavery is only an opinion — regardless of weight or accuracy — is itself an opinion, ergo, you have no ground to demand that other people abide by it. You're positing a wishy-washy relativism that has no bottom, apparently (my opinion) because I've been a hair up your nose before.
posted by klangklangston at 12:27 PM on May 29, 2013


klangklangston, you remind me sometimes of my partner. You don't have to answer this, but are you by any chance an engineer, scientist, or programmer? You seem to demonstrate the same kind of "There is one right truth which everyone should know and if they don't they are wroooooooong."

It seems very effective in specific fields, but is less useful when dealing with actual humans who have different opinions, with no real method of testing their ideas immediately.
posted by corb at 12:32 PM on May 29, 2013


ThatFuzzyBastard: "See, that's what I mean. A lot of people disagree about this, including a lot of very well-informed scholars. "

As far as I've ever seen, the people who disagree that slavery was the primary cause of the civil war tend to be slavery apologists. All the justifications raised were inextricably tied to the institution of slavery: the economy and especially unfair taxation, Lincoln's election, the preservation of the union, the authority of the federal government and states’ rights. Etc.

Then you had the Abolitionist movement. The fugitive slave act. The publication of Uncle Tom's Cabin. John Brown's Raid. Dred Scott.

All of these were related, either directly or indirectly to slavery.
posted by zarq at 12:36 PM on May 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


Notice that this: "You don't have to answer this, but are you by any chance an engineer, scientist, or programmer? You seem to demonstrate the same kind of 'There is one right truth which everyone should know and if they don't they are wroooooooong.'"

Has nothing to do with this: "That you believe the Civil War being primarily about slavery is only an opinion — regardless of weight or accuracy — is itself an opinion, ergo, you have no ground to demand that other people abide by it."
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 12:38 PM on May 29, 2013


All of these were related, either directly or indirectly to slavery.

Related, sure - but that's because it would be hard to find anything not related to slavery in the South, because it was such a big part of every day life.

I personally think the biggest clash between the South and the North is that the North was a more heavily populated, industrial, urban area, while the South was a less densely populated agrarian society. Now, that can be tied to slavery, because without slavery, the plantations that allowed the wealth to maintain that society would not have existed. But it is not fundamentally about slavery in the same way.

And this is where the differences lie, in our thinking - but I don't think that believing one section was more important than slavery - again, in a nation that still embraced four slave states that refused to give up their slaves during the war - must necessarily be considered the mark of a "slavery apologist."
posted by corb at 1:00 PM on May 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Now, that can be tied to slavery, because without slavery, the plantations that allowed the wealth to maintain that society would not have existed. But it is not fundamentally about slavery in the same way.

*gives up*
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 1:04 PM on May 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


I personally think the biggest clash between the South and the North is that the North was a more heavily populated, industrial, urban area, while the South was a less densely populated agrarian society. Now, that can be tied to slavery, because without slavery, the plantations that allowed the wealth to maintain that society would not have existed. But it is not fundamentally about slavery in the same way.

All that is for the other thread, I'm certain we all agree.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:04 PM on May 29, 2013 [6 favorites]


"klangklangston, you remind me sometimes of my partner. You don't have to answer this, but are you by any chance an engineer, scientist, or programmer? You seem to demonstrate the same kind of "There is one right truth which everyone should know and if they don't they are wroooooooong.""

Nope. Writer. Degree's in journalism and political science. And despite the growing emphasis on quant in political science (especially America), most of what I studied was about theory. Since school, I've mostly worked in journalism, with detours into pornography, non-profits and photography. I'm pretty good with ambiguity and multiple valid viewpoints on issues, but that doesn't mean that all viewpoints are equally valid or worth serious consideration.

"Related, sure - but that's because it would be hard to find anything not related to slavery in the South, because it was such a big part of every day life."

Big enough that pretty much everyone cites it as their primary motivation for going to war, and the institution around which the Confederacy cohered as a nation.

"I personally think the biggest clash between the South and the North is that the North was a more heavily populated, industrial, urban area, while the South was a less densely populated agrarian society. Now, that can be tied to slavery, because without slavery, the plantations that allowed the wealth to maintain that society would not have existed. But it is not fundamentally about slavery in the same way. "

Right, it's a mistake in attribution, arguing that the proximate and preceding cause was actually because of the consequences rather than the obvious proximate and preceding cause. I mean, reparsing the thesis to be that the Civil War was actually about the downfall of slavery, which came about because of other causes x y z, does not mean that the Civil War was not primarily caused by slavery. If someone kicks you in the butt, their shoes may have been made by a factory in Indonesia, but the cause for your butt ache is their kick, not the inexorable force of global capitalism.
posted by klangklangston at 1:09 PM on May 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


Generally, when someone says that a major historical event had one and only one cause, that indicates that they don't understand the event very well. A lot of Marxist historians (not slavery apologists) have argued that the quarrel was around the structuring of an export economy, and slavery was like the German desire to stop paying reparations in the lead-up to WWII: a rallying cry rather than a cause. As evidenced by the extremely spotty abandonment of slavery in the north, and constricted supply of slaves in the south. Yes, the article of secession in most states centered around slavery, but the Reich's declaration of war said a great deal about Germany's need for living space and very little about racial purity, which doesn't make it true.

Again, I don't want to re-litigate the thread here. My point is that it's clear to anyone with even a passing understanding of any history that events are complicated, and people who insist that It Happened Like This Because of That And Everyone Else Is LYING! are generally revealing only that they're not well read on the subject. So a certain humility about one's knowledge of a big and complicated subject makes a thread go better. Total confidence in one's knowledge about a big and complicated subject makes it go much, much worse.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 1:36 PM on May 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


corb: "But it is not fundamentally about slavery in the same way. "

Yes, it is. Without slaves, the South's agrarian society could not have existed in the form it did. Their economy, their GDP, their entire society was supported and maintained by indentured labor. Their society was also sharply stratified by class and race divides. Slavery was in various ways, inherent to everything. You cannot accurately speak of the financial differences between North and South while ignoring slavery, or dismissing its influence.

ThatFuzzyBastard: "Generally, when someone says that a major historical event had one and only one cause, that indicates that they don't understand the event very well.

The question is not whether the war had a single cause. It's whether all the various justifications and listed causes have a common factor. In this case, demonstrably they do.
posted by zarq at 2:17 PM on May 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


Generally, when someone says that a major historical event had one and only one cause, that indicates that they don't understand the event very well.

Don't you think you're moving the goalposts just a tad here? Empath was arguing that slavery was the "primary" cause of the civil war -- a position that leaves plenty of room for "secondary" causes. Now you're setting up a strawman to make your argument appear that much more nuanced and measured by comparison.

I agree wholeheartedly that this isn't the place to re-litigate the thread, but just want to point out that as soon as one person distorts another's views in an effort to claim the rational high-ground, it often sets off a chain of tit-for-tat escalations that can undermine what could otherwise be a valuable, information-rich discussion or engaged, impassioned argument.
posted by BobbyVan at 2:19 PM on May 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


and when I said Empath I meant klangklangston... just missed the edit window
posted by BobbyVan at 2:30 PM on May 29, 2013


No one has ever seen klang and empath in the same room. Coincidence? Conspiracy?
posted by zarq at 2:56 PM on May 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Restraining order.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:01 PM on May 29, 2013 [9 favorites]


With this screen name, I can loudly proclaim that trance is bullshit. When I'm posting as empath, I have to pretend that I enjoy DJing all kinds of Goa.
posted by klangklangston at 3:47 PM on May 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


[ffs folks, this is not where we start talking about other rumor mill stuff we've heard about Assange.]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:08 PM on May 29, 2013


That's what Manning threads are for, apparently.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:59 PM on May 29, 2013


Battre un cheval mort.
posted by zarq at 6:36 PM on May 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


from this point, I shall call Artw "The Colonel"
posted by clavdivs at 10:55 AM on May 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


What gets my goat is when someone makes a comment that gets 15 replies, and they want to respond to some of them, but they nnnnnnnever pick out the replies with the strong counterpoints. Even when those points are restated, over and over, as the discussion continues—even when other people are begging them to address those points—the one-man-band keeps cherry picking the replies that let them continue to think they are right, or show how they are being attacked unfairly. (And sometimes they are being attacked unfairly...)

It's the multiplayer version of the pattern where you tell someone, "You are wrong because of W, X, Y, and Z," and they come back with, "Y is weak!!!" It's just harder for a group to bring the person back on point because there's no cohesion. So, the person can keep it going, answering only the easiest responses and still seem to be in the conversation shooting down (some) counterarguments. People who haven't been following the discussion may even come in on the side of the lone "champion" because they don't see what specific thing they said that has annoyed everyone.
posted by fleacircus at 11:27 AM on May 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


from this point, I shall call Artw "The Colonel"

Because of my blend of herbs and spices?
posted by Artw at 11:31 AM on May 30, 2013


Even when those points are restated, over and over, as the discussion continues—even when other people are begging them to address those points—the one-man-band keeps cherry picking the replies that let them continue to think they are right, or show how they are being attacked unfairly.

I think the crowd needs to just declare victory and move on when this happens. It would be great if people had the character to openly acknowledge the failure of one of their particular arguments and submit, but that's going to be a tall order in the best of cases.
posted by BobbyVan at 11:57 AM on May 30, 2013


That's a tough one, it absolutely happens that way sometimes. On the other hand, the OP is under pressure not to dominate the discussion so sometimes picking your battles reads as ignoring good points.
posted by Drinky Die at 12:02 PM on May 30, 2013


What gets my goat is when someone makes a comment that gets 15 replies, and they want to respond to some of them, but they nnnnnnnever pick out the replies with the strong counterpoints.

The problem with this is that no one thinks that their reply is a weak counterpoint. So no matter which of the 15 you choose to answer, guaranteed someone is going to feel Personally Offended that you didn't answer their point, and read some deep conspiracy into it.

Honestly, sometimes I do tend to respond to a point which can be answered quickly before the ones that require a long answer - not even because I'm against a long answer, but because people, in the silence, will then start actively taunting you for not having a response within minutes. It is really infuriating and I think really goes against the idea of good conversation. Let someone get back to the thread when they are done, don't assume if someone hasn't posted in fifteen minutes you have DEFEATED THEM UTTERLY AND MUST DANCE ON THEIR GRAVE.

(For me, this tends to appear when people demand that I cite something. Well, I don't know about most of you, but I don't have a rolodex full of cites, so if I want to find them, I need to make with the googles or the metafilter search, and that shit is not instantaneous, yo.)
posted by corb at 12:26 PM on May 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


(Like the people who ask the exact same question multiple times until you answer it. I don't know why that is not considered bad form. I'm thinking of starting to flag those as doubles, it's that irritating.)
posted by corb at 12:27 PM on May 30, 2013


people, in the silence, will then start actively taunting you for not having a response within minutes.

We will handle active taunting.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:38 PM on May 30, 2013


Well, I don't know about most of you, but I don't have a rolodex full of cites, so if I want to find them, I need to make with the googles or the metafilter search, and that shit is not instantaneous, yo.

My approach to this problem is to basically ask myself "am I asserting something that makes more sense with actual cites/examples?" and then put it on myself to either go do that work and incorporate it into my comment, or just realize I'm not going to be able to hold up my end of that and skip that comment or assertion entirely.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:16 PM on May 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


people, in the silence, will then start actively taunting you for not having a response within minutes.

We will handle active taunting.


This and this both seem to have a subtext of "you have not immediately provided a line by line breakdown of the source document, which we cannot be bothered reading, therefore you are some kind of liar", which I am not very fond of.
posted by Artw at 2:21 PM on May 30, 2013


I can appreciate that you're not fond of it but both of those comments seem to be

1. pretty standard MeFi commens and not, to my read, taunting
2. not flagged by anyone

For the system to work at all, people must use it. Pointing out things from days ago that you wish had been handled differently are going to just lead to "Well please let us know in a timely fashion next time, okay?" responses.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:25 PM on May 30, 2013


Given the general tone of the thread there didn't seem much point, but I would absolutely read them as hectoring.
posted by Artw at 2:33 PM on May 30, 2013


For me, this tends to appear when people demand that I cite something.

Which is pretty much every time, since you nearly always come into threads making claims that, to most people, seem unsubstantiated by reality. You can take offense to that and continue to offend others, or you can choose to deal with it constructively by measuring the impact of your words before posting them and trying to make a stronger case. Freedom of speech does not absolve you from responsibility for your freely chosen words.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:25 PM on May 30, 2013


Blazecock, now that your last totalizing statement about a user's behavior has been proven to be untrue, I would expect you to be at least a little more circumspect about a follow up.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 3:58 PM on May 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


Blazecock, now that your last totalizing statement about a user's behavior has been proven to be untrue

No, not really. The equivalent of a Google search for a few keywords doesn't change the fact that Artw usually comes into WikiLeaks threads ready to insult anyone who doesn't agree with him — often with the result of taking over and ruining discussion — and that the mods choose to look the other way when it happens, as it did here.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:12 PM on May 30, 2013


Anyway, the next time it invariably happens, I think I'll start a Metatalk post about it. His behavior is abusive and if it can't stop, it needs to be pointed out to the community, at least.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:18 PM on May 30, 2013


Still waiting on an explanation of your comment claiming "derailing threadshits", FWIW. I guess I shouldn't hold my breath.
posted by Artw at 4:34 PM on May 30, 2013


Blazecock, seriously. Your exact words were "The thing with Artw is that he comes into Every. Single. Thread. Tangentially. Related. To. WikiLeaks. and starts a fight about his view on Assange right off the bat. Every. Single. Time." Zarq has demonstrated that he came into 4 out of 20 Wikileaks related threads. You said something untrue. Stop digging in your heels, and just try to do better in the future.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 4:36 PM on May 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


I used to wish you guys could hug it out but now I just picture the nemesis cartoon and it's very uplifting.
posted by elizardbits at 4:36 PM on May 30, 2013 [4 favorites]



Still waiting on an explanation of your comment claiming "derailing threadshits", FWIW. I guess I shouldn't hold my breath.


The Derailing Threadshits are one of my bands
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 4:45 PM on May 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


I used to wish you guys could hug it out but now I just picture the nemesis cartoon and it's very uplifting.

Heh. Yeah, I guess that's about as good a reminder that I shouldn't engage any further as you can get. Have fun, all!
posted by Artw at 4:48 PM on May 30, 2013


Man, I just kinda feel like the nemeses of BP have really gone downhill. No offense, Artw, but you're no Dios. Like, at a certain point, isn't it like Batman going after the Ten-Eyed Man?
posted by klangklangston at 4:54 PM on May 30, 2013 [6 favorites]


Did those goalposts move all by themselves again?
posted by BobbyVan at 7:13 PM on May 30, 2013


I wish I had a better mortal enemy than clavdivs, he just keeps shouting quotes from Star Trek villains at me in latin. I don't know what the hell do do with that.
posted by Drinky Die at 8:31 PM on May 30, 2013 [6 favorites]


Klang, that's hilarious. :D
posted by zarq at 8:41 PM on May 30, 2013


I can see that it helps to know people.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:20 AM on May 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


If somebody who thinks that slavery is at best no big deal and at worst something you can simply "secede" from feels uncomfortable here than I 'd say things are going as intended.

Seriously, I've said so many stupid things here over the past decade. I've gotten angry. I've cried virtual salty tears of shame.

Sometimes though, it's really not us, it's you.
posted by bardic at 12:27 AM on May 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


"again, in a nation that still embraced four slave states that refused to give up their slaves during the war"

Oh jesus fuck Corb, lies lies lies from you. Always.

The Union didn't "embrace" the Mason-Dixon states where people still owned slaves. They quite actively went after people who were breaking the law. They quite effectively arrested and/or killed these people, whether through legal action or, you know, fighting the goddamn Civil War when they took up arms as secessionists.

I'm sure the mods are sick and tired of Civil War-filter by now, but seriously -- this place bends over backwards to accommodate less-than-popular ideas, and you repay their kindness by throwing out obvious bullshit masquerading as "Gee shucks I'm just a little lamb in the great big wilderness of fact and opinion."

I'm sure you'll continue to have plenty of defenders because contrarianism for its own sake somehow equals freedom of speech to some, but really -- your act is tired.
posted by bardic at 1:00 AM on May 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


change my name to Prince With A Thousand Enemies
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 1:00 AM on May 31, 2013


Corb, you need to drop the not-about-slavery argument here. Anyone who wants to follow up with her on that topic, take it to email.
posted by taz (staff) at 1:38 AM on May 31, 2013


Huh. This comment from me makes no sense now that the preceding BP comment disappeared.
posted by BobbyVan at 5:09 AM on May 31, 2013


Corb, you need to drop the not-about-slavery argument here. Anyone who wants to follow up with her on that topic, take it to email.

This is kind of a great example of the subject of the MeTa, because, since my last post about cites and pileons - totally on topic of a MeTa about how minority voices are treated - I haven't said anything about the Civil War. In fact, I haven't said anything at all since yesterday. Instead, two other people have come in to say things about the Civil War - but you're not calling out those guys, you're calling out me. You know, the one who wasn't talking about it.
posted by corb at 5:27 AM on May 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


This is the comment, corb. It's not about Metafilter issues, it's about your opinions on slavery/the civil war. This isn't the place for that, or for responses to that.
posted by taz (staff) at 6:11 AM on May 31, 2013


Instead, two other people have come in to say things about the Civil War - but you're not calling out those guys, you're calling out me.

You will note that taz's comment is also addressed to 'anyone who wants to follow [you] up' on the topic of the US civil war. So climb down off that rather tall horse you have there.

Where did you even find that creature? It's kind of freakish.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:21 AM on May 31, 2013


Corb's comment was from two days ago, when discussion was in a different place. THe more recent comments---many of them, profanity-filled and actively distorting corb's point (slavery is "no big deal"? Who said *that*?)---went unmentioned and unmodded. I'd say corb's point stands.

And while "anyone else who wants to talk" got mentioned, it was corb who was named, shamed, and told to shut up. For something said two days ago. While the ones who are actively distorting points and providing links that don't actually speak to the topic in an effort to seem informed go unmentioned.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 6:42 AM on May 31, 2013 [4 favorites]


Agreed. I'm a little surprised "Jesus fuck lies lies lies" doesn't get deleted, especially compared to the last comment in this thread that was deleted. And I don't see how it's useful for a mod (or anybody) to chastise somebody to "drop" something based on a two-day-old comment.
posted by cribcage at 8:17 AM on May 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


Wait, are MetaTalk comments being deleted also?
posted by suedehead at 10:13 AM on May 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Facts. They're worth looking in to.
posted by bardic at 10:38 AM on May 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm a little surprised "Jesus fuck lies lies lies" doesn't get deleted, especially compared to the last comment in this thread that was deleted.

bardic was being unnecessarily jerkish there, yes. We don't delete much from Metatalk, and obnoxious or not as a one-off thing so far in here (and bardic, it needs to stay that way) it's not really rising to that threshold. The deleted comment was the nth volley in a specific ongoing interuser squabble that we're just plain tired of seeing happen in here. Well, more tired yet than I think we collectively are of a bunch of the nonetheless tiring stuff from in here.

And I don't see how it's useful for a mod (or anybody) to chastise somebody to "drop" something based on a two-day-old comment.

Maybe not, and in taz's shoes, at that moment, I'd probably have probably generalized it to a general cut-it-out to all involved and left it at that. But it's not like it's appearing in a vacuum, and see above about being tired of this: after enough go-arounds in the same pattern of "oh, but I'm just trying to have my say" argument-baiting (and I do not care whether it is out of cluelessness or boredom or active intent to stir shit up), the benefit of the doubt on someone's behavior kinda goes out the window.

I don't really like being in this "we've tried a bunch to make this work for you and mostly gotten a bitter taste out of it" situation with someone and I don't think it brings out our best as moderators, but here we are.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:48 AM on May 31, 2013


Bardic, as I noted to you on meMail, the facts are actually with corb on this one. The statement of corb's that you took issue with was "a nation that still embraced four slave states that refused to give up their slaves during the war". There were exactly four states which remained in the union and did not give up their slaves until the Emancipation Proclamation, two years into the war.

cortex: I fear this will sound condescending and I really don't mean it to---you're the one doing the hard work here, not me---but if what you're doing isn't working, the problem may be with what you're doing. Which is imposing a very different set of discourse rules on corb and everyone else, without ever copping to it. "One-time" bad behavior from the politically impeccable gets wink-and-nodded, which means it's just trangressive enough to be fun, but tolerated enough to be common currency. Meanwhile, those on the right (or at least to the right of Phil Ochs) are just tolerated enough not to go away but sufficiently leaned-on that other users understand they can be treated as comical punching bags.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 11:05 AM on May 31, 2013


She is wrong in the "embraced," which suggests a friendlier relationship than existed, and in her inference that the Union's toleration of some slave states means that the controversy over slavery and its expansion was not the primary issue of the Civil War. She seems to lean toward the idea that North and South went to war because of irreconcilable economic and cultural differences: One irreconcilable economic and cultural difference springs immediately to mind.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 11:23 AM on May 31, 2013


Which is imposing a very different set of discourse rules on corb and everyone else, without ever copping to it.

The "do not allow yourself to become a constant spectacle in threads" thing doesn't apply specifically to corb, it applies to everybody. Most people, it's never an issue in the first place. corb is not the first person for whom it has become one, and will surely not be the last barring seismic shifts in the nature and constituency of the internet.

The tendency of mods to lean on people to the right of Trotsky, while wink-and-nodding at "one-time" bad behavior from the more politically impeccable

Actually, I have spent way more time in my years here yelling at people who I'm more or less ideologically aligned with than I have at people otherwise, and have put in a bunch of effort specifically to try and make it more possible for people with unpopular or controversial opinions to get along here. There's an intersection of a lot of things here, and I am genuinely frustrated at times that one of those things is the relative difficulty of facilitating civil discussions about challenging topics when its something that gets people het up or adversarial, but it's a hell of a lot more complicated than "you're too nice to the lefty jerks" and the perception that we're nice to Set X but not to Set Y is a recurring one that doesn't seem to depend much on which X and Y any given complainant has in mind.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:24 AM on May 31, 2013


This is just to add that I don't mean to defend bardic's calling corb a liar. I don't think, in that instance, that she's supporting her beliefs with deliberate falsehoods, though she's certainly wrong. You could also excuse "embraced" as verbal clumsiness, but her conclusion would still not follow.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 11:49 AM on May 31, 2013


Was there an edit? Those quotes from Cortex don't line up with TFB.
posted by klangklangston at 12:11 PM on May 31, 2013


Was there an edit?
Yup.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:12 PM on May 31, 2013


I have spent way more time in my years here yelling at people who I'm more or less ideologically aligned with than I have at people otherwise, and have put in a bunch of effort specifically to try and make it more possible for people with unpopular or controversial opinions to get along here.

I don't doubt that. Nevertheless, there remains an appearance that right-leaning troublemakers get more static from mods than left-leaning troublemakers. Most folks, I think, recognize that it's not about left/right but merely about numbers. There are more left-leaning people to yell at, and right-leaning jerkishness is more likely to derail a thread. If we acknowledge there's not an easy solution, I don't think it's unfairly critical to still characterize it as a problem.

And while that problem is mostly handled very well by the mods, this wasn't a great example. It's totally fair to point out that Corb has a history here, but that works both ways. This wasn't some brand-new user tossing profanity at her. A "one-off" bout of jerkishness? Come on.
posted by cribcage at 12:14 PM on May 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


She is wrong in the "embraced," which suggests a friendlier relationship than existed, and in her inference that the Union's toleration of some slave states means that the controversy over slavery and its expansion was not the primary issue of the Civil War.

This is goalpost-moving. Bardic specifically called the statement about the union embracing four slave states "lies lies lies". I don't know what makes allowing them to remain in the union while not surrendering their slaves not quite at the level of "embrace"---how were they kept more at a distance than any other state? But whatever you might think "embrace" means, corb's statement was most definitely not a lie. Bardic is simply doesn't know the history very well and is yelling to conceal that. Which is really bad for everyone.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 12:20 PM on May 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


klang: There was---I decided that "to the right of Trotsky" was unnecessarily hyperbolic and changed it to Phil Ochs, which is more accurate.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 12:20 PM on May 31, 2013


Lies lies lies yeah
posted by homunculus at 12:30 PM on May 31, 2013


> klang: There was---I decided that "to the right of Trotsky" was unnecessarily hyperbolic and changed it to Phil Ochs, which is more accurate.

I don't understand why people don't seem to grasp what's meant by "don't edit for anything but typos." It seems clear to me.
posted by languagehat at 12:34 PM on May 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


corb's statement was most definitely not a lie.

I agree. I think it was incorrect, but not a lie for that.

I don't know what makes allowing them to remain in the union while not surrendering their slaves not quite at the level of "embrace"---how were they kept more at a distance than any other state?

The Union did not cast out all the slave states; most of the slave states cast off the Union. The Emancipation Proclamation had little to do with the original objective of the war, which was the restoration of US authority over US territory. As for how the Union slave states were kept at a distance, it seems that they kept themselves at a distance from full-throated support of Union policy. The introduction to the Wikipedia link you cited in your comment says the following:
In all the border states there was a wide consensus against military coercion of the Confederacy. When Lincoln called for troops to march south to recapture Fort Sumter and other national possessions, local Unionists were dismayed, and secessionists in Arkansas, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia were successful in getting those states to also declare independence from the U.S. and to join the Confederate States of America.[3]

In Kentucky and Missouri, there were both pro-Confederate and pro-Union governments. West Virginia was formed in 1862-63 from those northwestern counties of Virginia which had remained loyal to the Union and set up a loyalist ("restored") state government of Virginia. Though every slave state except South Carolina contributed some white troops to the Union as well as the Confederate side,[4] the split was most severe in these border states, with men from the same family often fighting on opposite sides.

Besides formal combat between regular armies, the border region witnessed large-scale guerrilla warfare and violent raids, feuds and assassinations.[5] Violence was especially severe in eastern Kentucky and western Missouri. The single bloodiest episode was the Lawrence Massacre in Kansas in 1863.[6]
Further, this is not the behavior of a government that feels fully secure of its borders' loyalty:
Due to [Maryland's] key position, habeas corpus was suspended and a number of Maryland state legislators, as well as officials in Baltimore and other outspoken secessionists, were arrested and imprisoned. Twenty-seven state legislators (one-third of the General Assembly) were arrested and jailed in September 1861.[13]
Again, "embraced" may be excused as a brief unmindfulness of words' connotations.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 12:45 PM on May 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Folks, we're done with the civil war portion of this thread.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:54 PM on May 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


Now we can start the Sybil War portion!
posted by klangklangston at 1:46 PM on May 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


No we can't!
posted by klangklangston at 1:47 PM on May 31, 2013


Known to some as the War of Klangston Aggression.
posted by homunculus at 3:13 PM on May 31, 2013 [4 favorites]


General Klang!
posted by clavdivs at 8:12 AM on June 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


Ok I want something like google buzz for meta threads. Meta MetaTalk and sub-MetaTalk rolled into one but only mefites can participate. Chat doesn't quite cut it nor does MetaChat.
posted by lordaych at 8:50 AM on June 5, 2013


Let someone get back to the thread when they are done, don't assume if someone hasn't posted in fifteen minutes you have DEFEATED THEM UTTERLY AND MUST DANCE ON THEIR GRAVE.

Can I do that when that person has commented multiple times since, and it has been at least 24 hours?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:35 PM on June 6, 2013


I bet a man of twists and turns would do a helluva dance, grave or no.
posted by rtha at 11:33 PM on June 6, 2013


It depends. Are you the only person, or have multiple people also commented? It's kind of impossible to answer everyone, lest it be a wall of text that it truly awful to behold.
posted by corb at 1:16 PM on June 7, 2013


MetaTalk: a wall of text that it truly awful to behold.
posted by homunculus at 1:58 PM on June 7, 2013


I feel like when a primary challenge in your participation somewhere is "how do I find strategies to cope with all this attention I'm getting", it's not unreasonable to ask you to stop and reconsider the discursive strategies that are getting you all that unmanageable attention in the first place. Because this does not come down solely to "my opinions, to my surprise, generate responses", for anyone who has been around for more than a week or so. You pay attention, you learn from how these dynamics play out, and you adjust accordingly out of a degree of deference to the fact that there are thousands of other people here who may not be overly interested in discussions that orbit around you specifically.

While I sympathize at a personal level with not wanting to feel like you're being put upon by the crowd or having to compromise whatever is you feel like saying for the sake of people-who-are-not-you, this is not a free-for-all and everybody needs to acknowledge a degree of culpability and responsibility for the community and site resources they are consuming through the things they choose to dig into in discussion here. That certainly doesn't apply solely to you, corb, but the way things have been going it certainly does apply to the dynamics you've been involved in and which you ultimately are significantly responsible for perpetuating more than it does for the average user.

It's pretty tiring to have that come back around to "but gosh, what am I supposed to do?" on a regular basis, because what you're supposed to do is display some more self-awareness and help make this stuff better instead of just shrugging helplessly and then digging right back in, and we've tried to communicate this to you in a bunch of ways already.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:35 PM on June 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


cortex, are you seriously saying "Your opinions are making a lot of people angry, so you should stop stating those opinions here"? Does that not strike you as a really problematic position? The idea that a person should stop being "provocative" because their opinions make other people behave badly is deeply fucked up.

And this is central to the modding problem I addressed above. When you decide that the people cursing, threatening, or making claims without citation aren't the ones you should rein in, and instead the one who needs to be quiet is the person whose opinions "make" them get upset, you've put the site on a very bad path, and given the very worst people the start/stop button on all discussion.

If you want discussions to not orbit around corb specifically, try deleting comments that consist of "Corb, you suck! You're a liar! We hate you!" You'll find that goes a long way towards refocusing discussion onto the post topic. So long as you leave those posts up, you're going to find discussions going that way, and you really have only yourself to blame for that.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 9:16 AM on June 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


"cortex, are you seriously saying "Your opinions are making a lot of people angry, so you should stop stating those opinions here"? Does that not strike you as a really problematic position? The idea that a person should stop being "provocative" because their opinions make other people behave badly is deeply fucked up."

Two things: First off, you're ignoring the difference between what an opinion is and how it's stated, and then thoroughly smacking the hell out of a straw man because of it. And the idea that someone should stop being provocative because they're inflaming a discussion is pretty much the classic ant-troll moderation. If you think through your position instead of just getting some sort of third-party umbrage hard on, you'd realize that yes, presentation matters.

Secondly, the position that slaves were property for which slave owners deserve compensation, and that it's wrong to use force to free slaves absent compensation, is pretty much always going to be inflammatory, and positioning this as hard-done-by corb, instead of noting that this is an opinion that will always draw passionate challenge, really makes it seem like you aren't interested in being an honest interlocutor and are more interested in grinding your axe over moderation.
posted by klangklangston at 9:21 AM on June 9, 2013


cortex, are you seriously saying "Your opinions are making a lot of people angry, so you should stop stating those opinions here"?

No, I'm saying that "the reason I'm having a hard time here is because other people can't deal with my opinions" is a reductive exculpating dodge that implies that puts all of the responsibility for someone's behavior on other people. Lots and lots of people here have opinions that some other people here dislike, but most of them do not end up in recurring, high-visibility discursive drama type situations, and a big part of that is down to them choosing to actively manage how and when and whether they insert themselves into conversations about their opinions.

There's a conflict between person autonomy and getting along in a shared space that's central to this; anybody who wants total personal justice and freedom to do whatever they like in a community space is going to be frustrated, because this isn't a place where that can work. Absolute fairness or personal satisfaction isn't an option; there's a whole lot of people here and they all have to compromise some.

So when you find yourself consistently stirring up shit, even if your intention in your heart of hearts is not to be a shit-stirring, it is incumbent on you to stop and step back and say "man, what can I do differently to avoid functioning as a stirrer of shit in this way". It's unfair, it's frustrating, and it's also necessary and important. For autonomy we have personal blogs. This isn't one.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:30 AM on June 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


the position that slaves were property for which slave owners deserve compensation, and that it's wrong to use force to free slaves absent compensation, is pretty much always going to be inflammatory,

Cite? I don't recall corb saying either of those things.

So when you find yourself consistently stirring up shit, even if your intention in your heart of hearts is not to be a shit-stirring, it is incumbent on you to stop and step back and say "man, what can I do differently to avoid functioning as a stirrer of shit in this way". It's unfair, it's frustrating, and it's also necessary and important.

But it's also necessary and important for mods to maintain certain rules of discourse, and that's what I see consistently not happening where corb is concerned. Posts that distort corb's position, that yell profanity at her, or that simply attack her personally are allowed to stand, which makes the discourse consistently worse, and establishes a wink-and-nod rule of "This user is a punching bag."

Does corb have opinions other users don't like? Sure. Does corb often voice them? Yup. Does that result in frequent shit-stirring? No! What results in shit-stirring is a mod policy of "Users are not allowed to throw shit, except at corb."
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 9:40 AM on June 9, 2013


But it's also necessary and important for mods to maintain certain rules of discourse, and that's what I see consistently not happening where corb is concerned.

Except that it's not consistently not happening, regardless of whether or not you notice it. corb is by far not the only person we talk to about behavior on this site, and while I understand and empathize with your position that the result of this one-person-vs-the-crowd metadynamic is a degree of frustrating asymmetry in how things can play out, this is partly the systemic effect of having a large group of people where our primary mission as mods is not to guarantee that one of them, in particular, doesn't have to have an annoying time as a result of doing the thing they feel like doing.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:08 AM on June 9, 2013


I understand you delete more remarks from leftie readers- given the site's population, that's inevitable. But that's not what I'm talking about. I'm saying that you let users talk to corb in ways you would not permit vis-a-vis other users (a comment like "Jesus fuck lies lies lies" would normally get deleted , yes?). As a result, every time corb shows up, things get ugly, not because of anything corb is doing, but hecause of what you're not doing: deleting comments that are invective-filled personal attacks.

If you encourage people to intelligently refute corb (and her view on the civil war is quite refutable with available data), you'll get a healthy, engaged community. If you sotto voce inform users that a post from corb is their chance to behave badly, you'll get exactly that.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 10:30 AM on June 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


a comment like "Jesus fuck lies lies lies" would normally get deleted , yes?

Not in Metatalk, in my experience.
posted by mrmorgan at 10:35 AM on June 9, 2013


a comment like "Jesus fuck lies lies lies" would normally get deleted , yes?

Not in Metatalk, in my experience.


Yeah I'm not sure if you're forgetting that the rules of MetaTalk-- a completely optional part of the site--and MeFi/AskMe are very very different. We've been having some trouble over the past few years with the general "We never delete stuff from MeTa" edict as more and more users start pushing the boundaries with that and use it as a way to basically harass and abuse other users in a way that would otherwise not be allowed. So what we've been trying to do is redirect conversations away from specific users, encourage users who are not trying to be part of the active conversation to go elsewhere and remind everyone that except for the mods, no one needs to be here.

People who seem to be mostly on the site to harass and needle specific users will be (and have been) talked to about that. And we'd absolutely delete stuff like that from MeFi/AskMe. The person who made the comment that you objected to is voluntarily taking some time off. But culture shifts slowly and I stand with cortex in saying that everyone needs to manage their individual behavior (and be responsible to their past behavior to some degree) and work with us on making this a place where everyone can discuss things.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:02 PM on June 9, 2013


Cite? I don't recall corb saying either of those things.
here, latest of several.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 4:52 PM on June 9, 2013


The idea that you could read this and think it means this is exactly why I find corb a more valuable member of the community than her haters. Corb was posting a thoughtful comment, replete with experience-informed skepticism towards wars of liberation (a skepticism MeFites mostly share in every other context) and consideration of the legalities of compensation. Then klang either misunderstood corb's comment (she was talking about compensating slaves, not slaveholders) or deliberately misrepresenting her point in order to take more umbrage.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 6:42 PM on June 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Did you even read that thread, ThatFuzzyBastard? Let me illustrate.

slaves were property for which slave owners deserve compensation
You ask for cites: "we bankrupted them by taking their property without recompense," "I believe that Southern slaveholders should have been compensated for their slaves," "People are not property now, no - but they were at that time, and were acknowledged so by both the North and the South." "I think it's simultaneously possible to defend the right-to-liberty of slaves and the property rights of their owners."

it's wrong to use force to free slaves absent compensation
You ask for cites again: "But I am not justified in making war on my neighbor to gain the freedom of others."

Now, obviously, corb has deliberately ignored my good-faith direct question "When you say "property" do you mean "slaves,"" so under the standard that some people seem to be operating under (specifically, that it is impossible to understand someone's position outside of direct responses to direct questions) then I understand why you think that no possible conclusion can be drawn.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:06 PM on June 9, 2013


I'm not going to get back to the actual Civil War question, because there's a thread for that, except to say that I think that people have a tendency to get really confused about what I personally believe (slavery is wrong and owning people is wrong, I would arm and train slaves and defend escaped slaves with my life) and what I think the State (/Union) should have done in the 1800s under the laws of the 1800s for the purposes of reunification. the man of twists and turns, I also think it's a little disingenuous to get upset about my not answering your supposed direct question when you haven't answered my good-faith sincere question about where our differences is coming from that was my last contribution to that thread.

That said, yes, people do use invective towards me that I think would not be tolerated, or at least chastised.

Like "What the hell is wrong with you?" or it's nice of you to try and sound like a high-minded idealist,or holy fuck but is that a comment to make, or Jesus Christ this is insane...are you fucking serious?, or
Nothing but weasel-words and phrasings from you Corb, or Implying otherwise is nothing but ignorant, and additionally, disgusting, or the ever-charming what in fuck's sake the actual fuckity fucking fuck, corb?, or the one-liner URGH. Makes my face hurt., or Good lord, that's despicable...a disgusting, indefensible position from someone claiming to be oh-so-concerned with morality., or The entire argument is a sham wrapped in farce inside of a lie, or you have a deeply rotted, vile philosophy, with a repeat you show your philosophy to be rotten at its core. (which, to be fair, I think klangklangston was largely trying hard to be decent during that thread and those were outliers and much more cool in general.

Now, again in the interests of fairness: mods did do a lot of deleting in that thread, most particularly bardic, I think, who did get called out. But because his comments were so swiftly deleted, and the call-out (bardic, cut it out) wasn't specific, and the call-out immediately above suggested people take stuff to MeTa, I don't think it had any influence on other people's tone. A "Bardic, this is not a place where we insult other users" or some such would have been more useful, because that lets other people know that that behavior is not tolerated. Instead, mods come in and say things like, "This is not where we interrogate one person over their beliefs," which makes it seem like the problem is not the abusive language, it's asking only one person questions.

I also note that mods do seem to have a harder time finding abusive statements in longer comments. I'm not sure if it's that they don't want to delete comments that have other worthwhile stuff, or if it's just that they are so busy and skimming, but that is definitely something I noticed.
posted by corb at 5:20 AM on June 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


when you haven't answered my good-faith sincere question about where our differences is coming from that was my last contribution to that thread.

You go first.

No, seriously. I've made what I think are several good points directly refuting many of your claims, I've asked you several times on several different subjects within that thread to further explain your position, or react to new information. You claiming that it is somehow "disingenuous" of me to stop engaging with someone who is clearly not interested in engaging with me is laughable.

You seem to want a situation where every possible point you make has to be refuted line-by-line, but you pick and choose which claims to respond to, ignoring all but the weakest.
Of course, nobody is obligated to respond to anything unless that person said they'd do so. Like you did.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:02 AM on June 10, 2013


You've made points and requested cites, which I have provided. Actually, that has been one of the threads in which I've put the heaviest cites, and honestly, I think I'm going to try and use it for a model; I think often people are arguing on bad information, as when I came forward with cites for, for example, Lincoln's attempt to get the South to fire first, everyone kind of stopped yelling at me about that contention. It also encourages you to calm down as you recollect where you saw something and hunt up cites. So, regardless of the reasonings, I think something good came out of there.

But I don't know how many more times I can say, I do not consider people property, but the laws of the time did, so thus, it is not inappropriate to make references to that when I am discussing or dealing with the laws of the time. I do not know how I can rephrase it to make it more clear. So, from my point of view, at least, I have answered your question so many times as to make it confusing and strange that it continues to be asked.
posted by corb at 6:20 AM on June 10, 2013


I completely agree, your position on the legality of slavery is crystal-clear. From my aspect, this little episode kicked off when MoTLD seemed to think that it was a completely open question. But I'm talking about this question, and this comment and this comment.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:29 AM on June 10, 2013


Trying to think up a good analogy that won't offend: A good example would be the marriage of Anne de Mowbray (age 5) to Richard of Shrewsbury (age 4). At the time, this was considered a legal marriage; legal enough for Richard to aquire title to Anne's lands. However, if you ask me if I think a 4 year old and a 5 year old can get married, I would tell you, no, I do not think that they are old enough to be able to consent to the state of marriage. If you then asked me, 'Were they married?" however, I would have to give you a complicated answer. "Yes, by the laws of the time they were married, even though I personally do not believe anyone can be married so young."
posted by corb at 6:30 AM on June 10, 2013


"The idea that you could read this and think it means this is exactly why I find corb a more valuable member of the community than her haters. Corb was posting a thoughtful comment, replete with experience-informed skepticism towards wars of liberation (a skepticism MeFites mostly share in every other context) and consideration of the legalities of compensation. Then klang either misunderstood corb's comment (she was talking about compensating slaves, not slaveholders) or deliberately misrepresenting her point in order to take more umbrage."

Comments like this, where you ignore what she actually said to paint me as some unfair bully, is pretty much why your complaints are ignorant nonsense (though well-phrased). When she says, "I believe that Southern slaveholders should have been compensated for their slaves," I think, "the position that slaves were property for which slave owners deserve compensation," is a pretty fair rephrasing, and calling it "deliberately misrepresenting her point to take umbrage," well, that's you projecting again.
posted by klangklangston at 9:32 AM on June 10, 2013


Not speaking as a mod here but as a philosophy teacher-

"should have been compensated" could mean:
(a) Morally, in a perfect world, should have been... OR
(b) Pragmatically, in order to most peacefully facilitate the freeing of the slaves without a war, should have been

I take it corb has been arguing (b), and people have been accusing her of meaning (a).
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 10:19 AM on June 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


My understanding is that it is both, LobsterMitten.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:26 AM on June 10, 2013


I suppose this clarifying discussion about the content of the arguments should probably happen in the thread rather than here.

I just wonder to what extent this kind of dynamic is in play in these conversations more generally. I often see what seems to me like this kind of dynamic -

Step 1. corb says something that has two (or more) interpretations, one that is very contentious and one that is more reasonable.
Step 2. People interpret her as meaning the very contentious thing.
Step 3. Her attempts to clarify initially seem to say she only means the more reasonable thing... but then add some little piece that revives the contentious interpretation as a possibility.
Step 4. People continue to press on this, trying to get clearer or trying to show why the contentious thing is a bad thing to believe.

Step 2 happens more often than I would like in discussions here, with a wide range of people.

Steps 3 and 4 only seem to happen with people who, like corb, are often involved in fighty discussions. I think corb and the people who often mix it up with her would both do well to consider how to escape the loop in these stages - by being careful about phrasing, trying to be charitable in interpretation, resisting the temptation to bait or snark or hyperbolize, etc.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 10:40 AM on June 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


(Or of course, by just letting it go at a certain point)
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 10:42 AM on June 10, 2013


Lobstermitten, thanks, that is actually a very useful laying out of how things go. I'm honestly not sure on how to necessarily "escape the loop", but thinking about it and trying some of the things you're suggesting may be useful tools.
posted by corb at 11:11 AM on June 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Like Dead Can Dance said:

"Say what you mean, mean what you say."

That's it, really.

I often see what seems to me like this kind of dynamic

I do see this happen sometimes. Other times, I think she very clearly expresses her opinion; other people just disagree with it. That's alright, and in fact, preferable to the endless "What Does Corb Think?" mud wrestling tournies that go on here sometimes.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:33 AM on June 10, 2013


In my experience, the longer a comment is, and the more issues it tries to address, the greater the likelihood that I will say something I don't *quite* mean, and/or leave myself open to misinterpretation because of ambiguity, missing words, bad word choice, etc. that don't get caught on a quick proof for egregious typos.
posted by rtha at 11:39 AM on June 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm honestly not sure on how to necessarily "escape the loop"

I feel like in many cases there is a blanket, if overly broad and sometimes somewhat insulting, assumption that could be directly addressed and then people would shut up about it. So, for example, even though I don't care much about how this particular issue went down here.

"I am not saying that I think slave holders should have gotten compensated, I'm just saying that historically blah blah and blah"
"I am not saying that I thing slave owning should have been morally acceptable, I'm just saying that given that it was, there should have been more done to blahblahblah"
"In a strict letter of the law way, I think slave owners should have been compensated at the time, realizing that does sound a little nuts with the current societal ethics....."

So I think what would help is

- Clear statement of what you're saying in response to questions people are asking you
- Clear statement that you understand the impact that might have within this particular community or set of people you are conversing with (this is, in particular, a sticking point with conversations with you personally. You have a hard time reading the room to understand how your statements are likely to be interpreted or understood and your clarifying statements often do not clarify things)
- Willingness to drop it if you can't come to some mutual understanding with people after a few back and forths on any topic
- Openness to the possibility that people just disagree with you or your approach and are not hostile towards "all people sharing your belief system" and not taking a stand in service to the latter issue

And I'd add to this: not making any thread your personal platform for your personal politics after you've clearly stated what you believe in. This is something that I say to everyone (other than what is in the parenthetical) not just you. Some people are better at this than others. If people are going after you and not letting things drop, we're happy to step in and tell them to stop (except in MetaTalk where there's a looser definition of what's "on topic" in a given thread) but you also need to stop. Sometimes this means questions are left on the table. Sometimes this means you may not feel that you have fully explained yourself. Sometimes this means people misunderstand each other.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:46 AM on June 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Trying to focus on clarifying what I am saying when it is being misinterpreted and accepting other people's clarifications has improved my ability to avoid crapping up threads more than anything else. It can be tough on an issue like this because things related to race have so many associated dog whistles that people aren't as willing to accept you aren't saying more than you mean.

In my experience, the longer a comment is, and the more issues it tries to address, the greater the likelihood that I will say something I don't *quite* mean, and/or leave myself open to misinterpretation because of ambiguity, missing words, bad word choice, etc. that don't get caught on a quick proof for egregious typos.

Being too pithy can be a problem too, it's really a Goldilocks situation. Say enough to make your point clear but not so much that you muddle it up again.
posted by Drinky Die at 1:30 PM on June 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


- Openness to the possibility that people just disagree with you or your approach and are not hostile towards "all people sharing your belief system" and not taking a stand in service to the latter issue

Man, corb is so far down the list of MeFites with this particular problem...
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 3:24 PM on June 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


I HAVE ANALYZED YOUR STATEMENT AND I SEE A WAY TO CONTINUE THE SHIT-FIGHT.
posted by fleacircus at 2:29 PM on June 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


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