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Would you reject these posts?
August 22, 2013 6:59 PM   Subscribe

I believe my posts are being arbitrarily deleted and would be grateful for an objective opinion about them.

The moderators never tell me why they delete them or even that they have. The posts just don't appear, with no explanation. When I ask they always say I've not framed my question directly enough, though they seem to me like many others I read and respond to regularly. The one before the last was about how best to treat a feral cat mother who has adopted us. While observing her with her kittens I noticed some very profoundly positive interactions which led me to wonder if, by going through with an upcoming neutering, I'm doing the right thing ethically. I said, all of that, adding, "I understand perfectly the need to neuter and spay our pets. I really do get it. I can't help wondering, though, if I'll be depriving this, particular mother from the life she was meant to lead. Have you ever wondered about this?"

Tonight I asked, "During particularly bad fights with your spouse have either of you ever said that you wanted to kill the other?" The moderators will probably say something like, "You give no details about why you are asking this" but cannot give details in this situation and the need for the help is very real.

It's also troubling how quickly my posts disappear, and this is one of the factual parts of this mystery that the moderator...got wrong. Both of the last two posts appeared then were gone within mere seconds. This seems to suggest they're being targeted rather than flagged, as the moderators indicate. They said the last post was up for several minutes before it was flagged by another user but it definitely was up for no more than ten seconds, perhaps much less.

I know I probably sound paranoid to some but this is the fourth time this has happened. I know you can't speak to that but do you agree that the two posts here are inappropriate?
posted by R2WeTwo to Etiquette/Policy at 6:59 PM (151 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

What did the mods say when you contacted them to ask about the deletions?
posted by koeselitz at 7:04 PM on August 22, 2013 [9 favorites]


Neither question sounds like a great fit of AskMetafilter. As explained in the FAQ on "chatfilter", Ask Metafilter questions need to have some possible answer or should be asking for information that will be put to some practical use. Chatty open-ended questions diminish the usefulness of Ask Metafilter and push other questions off the front page. Both of your questions, as stated, seem to fit that "chatfilter" definition, because it's not clear what the problem is you're trying to solve.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:05 PM on August 22, 2013 [16 favorites]


The posts just don't appear, with no explanation.

No, they are still online, just not linked from the archives or front page. You can go back to every post via the MeFi mail you automatically get when you make a new post. Here is your post from tonight, for instance.

When I ask they always say I've not framed my question directly enough, though they seem to me like many others I read and respond to regularly.

If I had to pick a pattern among the four questions you've had deleted, they'd all fall under some form of chatfilter. Here is the FAQ entry on chatfilter. You're polling everyone on the latest one, the earlier ones don't really have any concrete question or problem to be solved, just serve mostly as jumping off points for discussion.

Ask MetaFilter is a question and answer site, and in designing the site, we wanted to put some limits on idle curiosities that people wonder about but have no real answer, mostly as a way to keep out noise and fluff and keep things a little more practical.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 7:06 PM on August 22, 2013 [9 favorites]


You want an objective opinion. Why, then, did you not include LINKS to the posts so we can look at them and judge for ourselves?
posted by Unified Theory at 7:06 PM on August 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


If your question is "Have you ever wondered about this?", "Have you ever experienced this phenomenon?" or some vague "what does the community of MetaFilter think about this?" that sounds a lot like chatfilter.

Questions like "what do yall think about X" usually don't go over well here.
posted by Sara C. at 7:07 PM on August 22, 2013 [21 favorites]


If you want a question like tonight's to stay up, try and form it in a way that people can answer with concrete advice/answers. Perhaps say your spouse mentioned a subtle (or unsubtle) death threat in an argument and ask for ways to cope with that, how to steer conversations towards more productive paths, or if the situation is more grave, how to get yourself out of the situation and to safety.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 7:07 PM on August 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


Both of the last two posts appeared then were gone within mere seconds. This seems to suggest they're being targeted rather than flagged, as the moderators indicate.

I deleted the last one due to the flags it picked up. Trust me when I say that I can't possibly read every single question that goes up on Ask MetaFilter within seconds of them being submitted. Nor do I target specific users because the last I checked, we had over 12,000 active users of the site submitting things. You are not being targeted, people are noticing weird questions on the front page of the site and flagging them very quickly, and that's what moderators react to.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 7:10 PM on August 22, 2013 [18 favorites]


Koeselitz they said what I indicate they said, that I'm not asking a direct question but rather asking for a discussion. To me these are the exact same thing, always.

Unified Theory I do not have links to give you.

Sara C. Nice to know, thanks. I had no idea.
posted by R2WeTwo at 7:10 PM on August 22, 2013


Stop asking all of us about ourselves. That doesn't make sense as an AskMe question. Ask for help with your own problem.
posted by John Cohen at 7:11 PM on August 22, 2013 [56 favorites]


mathowie, "weird?" Really now?

I didn't presume you were reading everything, rather that the system was automatically chucking my posts.
posted by R2WeTwo at 7:12 PM on August 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


I agree with the moderators that this post was inappropriate, since you ask for my opinion. It's an impossible question. All that can be said to that is 'yes' or 'no' and we can only guess what the real question is, which is (possibly?) some kind of urgent need for legitimate help. If you had asked a question like "I had a fight and I'm not sure how to react, what should I do", followed by a description of the situation, then at least there would be enough information to offer advice and perspective and compassion. As it stands, it's anyone's guess what's actually going on and what kind of advice or information is being asked for, which would lead to a thread full of confusion and speculation. You could be writing a play for all we know. Such threads are deleted because they don't help anyone and the community prefers to encourage framing questions in a way that leads to productive helpful conversations.
posted by PercussivePaul at 7:12 PM on August 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


John Cohen, I appreciate your putting it in these terms. Please consider that I might have another perspective. I work in a non-profit that gives money to schools and agencies developing curricula and policies that appreciate the perspectives of everyone involved. Perhaps it's a whole different paradigm. Can anyone tell me how you help anyone except from your own experience? We find that those who speak lucidly about their struggles have the most productive things to say about mine. It's a conversation, always.
posted by R2WeTwo at 7:17 PM on August 22, 2013


the system was automatically chucking my posts

Sorry about my interpretation then. You said something about being targeted by moderators and I happened to write the system so I can assure you it's neither chucking your posts nor are moderators singling you out.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 7:17 PM on August 22, 2013 [10 favorites]


Please consider that I might have another perspective. I work in a non-profit that gives money to schools and agencies developing curricula and policies that appreciate the perspectives of everyone involved. Perhaps it's a whole different paradigm.

That's fine, but that paradigm is not what Ask MetaFilter is set up for. It seems to be working pretty well under its current paradigm, which is that questions must be concrete requests for specific assistance. There are many other question asking sites out there if you want a more free form experience.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:26 PM on August 22, 2013 [34 favorites]


Koeselitz they said what I indicate they said, that I'm not asking a direct question but rather asking for a discussion. To me these are the exact same thing, always.

I guess a good trick would be to look at your questions as you are writing them, or think back on the questions you already wrote, and then look at the AskMe's that don't get deleted (which are the only ones you can see, because they haven't been deleted), and figure out the disconnect there, and then attempt to bridge the gap.

"While fighting with your spouse have either of you ever said you wanted to kill the other?"

While this is a question in the strictest sense and bound to generate responses, it's not going to generate an answer. Anybody with more than an hour's experience of humankind already knows that of course sometimes spouses say they want to kill one another, so posing the question is meaningless and serves no purpose.

What is your purpose for asking the question? If it's just a poll you should be able to answer it with your own brain: "Yes, sometimes in some cases spouses will say this to one another, for a whole host of reasons." But if it's because your spouse just told you that they'd like to kill you, perhaps because you are just incurably curious about things, then you'd frame the question as something that can be answered: "My spouse just offered to kill me, what should I do about this?"
posted by turbid dahlia at 7:27 PM on August 22, 2013 [6 favorites]


The moderators never tell me why they delete them or even that they have.

When I get stuff deleted, I usually get a MeMail about it. Have you checked?

Alternatively, you could use the Deleted Posts greasemonkey script so see the deleted posts. Which is how I saw that you were, in fact, given a reason for your most recent AskMe post being deleted, specifically:
This post was deleted for the following reason: This feels like polling the audience/chatfilter instead of asking an answerable question. -- mathowie
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 7:28 PM on August 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


I flagged tonight's question between the time it went up and the time the first answer was posted. That was within the first minute. There are many users, and a question like that is going to pile up flags pretty quickly and get mod attention pretty quickly too.
posted by grouse at 7:28 PM on August 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


John Cohen, I appreciate your putting it in these terms. Please consider that I might have another perspective.... Can anyone tell me how you help anyone except from your own experience? We find that those who speak lucidly about their struggles have the most productive things to say about mine.

There's no rule that people aren't allowed to draw on their own experiences in answering AskMe questions. But it all starts with a question by the OP about the problem s/he is facing. Once the OP posts that question about the situation they're dealing with, then everyone else can use their judgment in deciding how to frame their answers — and some of those people might take a more objective, impersonal "Here is the definitively right answer" approach, while others might take a more subjective, personal "Here's what I did when I was in a similar situation" approach. But if there's no reference to any problem the OP is having at all (other than the "problem" of wanting to satisfy your curiosity about how people with Metafilter accounts feel about something), then there isn't a starting point for us to even try to help you.
posted by John Cohen at 7:28 PM on August 22, 2013 [7 favorites]


Please consider that I might have another perspective. [...] Can anyone tell me how you help anyone except from your own experience? We find that those who speak lucidly about their struggles have the most productive things to say about mine. It's a conversation, always.

No one is actually debating this "perspective"; an enormous number of questions on Ask Metafilter are answered on the basis of people sharing their own struggles, experiences, etc.; all you have to do is click on, well, practically any question to see this in action (though the Human Relations questions are the most vivid illustration of this).

One of the most basic guidelines for questions on Ask MetaFilter is that they must be posed as some sort of specific problem needing to be solved. Polling the membership with a general open-ended question (or, as John Cohen characterized it, "asking all of us about ourselves") does not meet that guideline, hence the deletions.
posted by scody at 7:28 PM on August 22, 2013 [7 favorites]


R2WeTwo, I've always been under the impression that the system doesn't automatically delete any posts on Metafilter. That's always done manually by the mods. And there are a LOT of active users, so it's really not surprising your questions would pick up a lot of flags in just a few moments.

Everyone is free to chime in with their own experiences, but the point of AskMetafilter isn't to facilitate an ongoing discussion of everyone's experiences; it's to help solve an asker's specific stated issue. I already know about myself. Unless I know what YOUR problem is, I have no way of addressing it appropriately.
posted by Diagonalize at 7:30 PM on August 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also, R2WeTwo, given that 32 questions you've posted since you joined two years ago stayed up, you may want to compare your questions that were deleted against the ones that were not. Can you identify any differences between them in terms of how they were framed? (This is not sarcasm, though it might be coming across that way.)
posted by scody at 7:32 PM on August 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ugh. R2WeTwo, I just looked back over your previous AskMes (of which there are quite a few, all phrased perfectly well) and you seem like a really nice and good person and I feel shitty for my snark. Sorry.
posted by turbid dahlia at 7:32 PM on August 22, 2013 [8 favorites]


The one tonight was up long enough for someone to comment and for people to see it, including myself. Without context, it seemed like a very odd question that was either so broad as to have no good resolution or merely a tiny peak into an iceberg of a problem. Neither of those seem like a great fit for AskMe.
posted by jetlagaddict at 7:33 PM on August 22, 2013


The simplest possible way to make this work for MetaFilter is to ask it like this:
Recently, during a particularly bad fight with my spouse, my spouse said that they wanted to kill me. What do I do now?
That's still not great since it doesn't really give much direction on the kind of advice you want, so maybe something like this would be better:
Recently, during a particularly bad fight with my spouse, my spouse said that they wanted to kill me. What should we do to keep our arguments from going in this direction?
posted by grouse at 7:34 PM on August 22, 2013 [8 favorites]


Would you reject these posts?

Yes.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:38 PM on August 22, 2013


I think it's important to distinguish between 'this post was a bad post' and 'this post did not fit the established guidelines for this site'. There are lots of awesome, thought-provoking posts that would not be a good fit for Ask Metafilter. So the only judgment really intended here is that you're clearly taking a little longer than some to pick up on the distinction between chatfilter and not, but especially if you didn't previously know how to find your deleted posts to see the reason, I don't blame you. There's a learning curve. Don't take it personally.
posted by Sequence at 7:39 PM on August 22, 2013 [10 favorites]


R2WeTwo, you should be able to find all of your deleted posts by following the links from your Mefi Mail automated notification messages. See here for more detail about how to check: If a post has been deleted, how can I find it again?
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:05 PM on August 22, 2013


I know you can't speak to that but do you agree that the two posts here are inappropriate?

Absolutely. Both were classic examples of chatfilter.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 8:18 PM on August 22, 2013 [6 favorites]


Please consider that I might have another perspective. I work in a non-profit that gives money to schools and agencies developing curricula and policies that appreciate the perspectives of everyone involved. Perhaps it's a whole different paradigm.

Everyone has a different perspective. People appreciate multiple perspectives all the time. To suggest that people here are not considering that is really rather bizarre. The site has guidelines. Your most recent posts do not abide by them at all. That's all there is to it.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 8:20 PM on August 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


I work in a non-profit that gives money to schools and agencies

Then like me, you're definitely familiar with bureaucratic red tape. No offense to the moderators, but I think that's a useful analogy to understand this aspect of AskMe. The rule is this: you need to state a concrete question. If you follow that rule, your question won't be deleted for being chatty.

Let's say you want to ask people what God looks like. Compare:

VERSION 1: "What do you think God looks like?" This will be immediately deleted.

VERSION 2: "I'm writing a novel. I need to describe God's appearance, and I want my description to resonate. What do you envision God looks like?" This will not be deleted, and you will get 200+ comments.

Another analogy is justiciability. (I'm a lawyer, so that's how I think.) In order to have a court hear your issue, you must present a genuine controversy. You can't just walk into court and tell the judge, "I've always wondered, what would happen if somebody did X and Y? Can you give me a ruling saying that's okay?" Your case will only be heard if you can say, "My neighbor did X, and now I want Y. Please settle our dispute."

To answer your question, yes, I agree with the moderators that your posts were inappropriate under AskMe's guidelines. Tonight would have gone differently if you'd posted, "My spouse and I just had a huge blowout, and I said something inappropriate. I want to know if what I did was wildly unusual, or if I'm still within the range of normal inappropriateness. While fighting with your spouse have either of you ever said you wanted to kill the other?" That post would have stayed up, I think, and gotten many, many answers.
posted by cribcage at 8:20 PM on August 22, 2013 [26 favorites]


Although not a mod, based on my experience with AskMe this seems like the kind of question that would easily stay up if it had even a little more information. For example, "During an argument, my spouse said 'I want to kill you when you get like this!' During particularly bad fights with your spouse have either of you ever said that you wanted to kill the other?" Optional: "Is our relationship doomed? I'm scared/disoriented/in despair and don't know what to do."

Or, "During an argument, I told my spouse 'I want to kill you when you get like this!' During particularly bad fights with your spouse have either of you ever said that you wanted to kill the other?" Optional: "Is our relationship doomed? I'm scared/disoriented/in despair and don't know what to do."
posted by Lexica at 8:24 PM on August 22, 2013


To pick something a little more concrete and take it out of the relationship context:

My car is making a funny noise, any idea what it could be?

vs.

My car, a 2007 Toyota Corolla, is making a weird noise from the left front wheel when I turn it all the way to the left. It only does this in the mornings and only when it's cold. Any idea what it could be?
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 8:36 PM on August 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


R2?

You are missing the fish for the submarine under the boat.

-- I agree with all above that you are just not getting the chatfilter aspect.

-- also, i think you are not quite there with the, what at least I have always assumed, is an unwritten social contract here

i.e. - If you take the time to post something well considered, you will likely find a lot of folks both loving it, and then piling on with equally knowledgeable responses that only compliment what you have done.

-- in the same respect, if you post a question, framed in a way that is not too weird, and possibly answerable, you will probably get people who either;

a. care about your situation and want to help
b. are a complete expert in the field, and will give you the best info they have, as long as you don't sue them
c. Beware these qualities usually come in the same person.

Two things to know?

-- Almost everything you need is either in the FAQ, or a contact form away.

-- I might be wrong, but I don't think a single post ever got restored because the OP wanted to talk about it on MeTa.
posted by timsteil at 8:38 PM on August 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


R2WeTwo: I know you can't speak to that but do you agree that the two posts here are inappropriate?

Yes.
posted by dogwalker at 8:41 PM on August 22, 2013


To pick something a little more concrete and take it out of the relationship context:

My car is making a funny noise, any idea what it could be?

vs.

My car, a 2007 Toyota Corolla, is making a weird noise from the left front wheel when I turn it all the way to the left. It only does this in the mornings and only when it's cold. Any idea what it could be?


In this analogy, I think the first question would be more like "Has anyone here's car ever made a funny noise?"
posted by LionIndex at 8:43 PM on August 22, 2013 [18 favorites]


What's really ironic here is that it's obvious you're capable of writing questions that abide by the guidelines -- after all, this MeTa is exactly what AskMe questions are supposed to look like. Present a problem; ask for a solution and input.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 8:59 PM on August 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


the need for the help is very real

Look, this is something that mefites can understand. But you need to accept the limitations on form that allow Ask MeFi to work, because yours is not the only need for help that is very real.

So, reframe your Ask such that it invites guidance, directly, on the matter at hand.

If you need an anonymous Ask to do that, the mechanisms are available (provided by those same mods who you suspect are persecuting you, but are in fact not).
posted by snuffleupagus at 9:03 PM on August 22, 2013


What's really ironic here is that it's obvious you're capable of writing questions that abide by the guidelines -- after all, this MeTa is exactly what AskMe questions are supposed to look like. Present a problem; ask for a solution and input.

I disagree. The questions presented in this MeTa are very explicitly yes or no questions ("Would you reject these posts?") and there is no specific request in the OP for input towards forming more appropriate questions in the future.
posted by dogwalker at 9:06 PM on August 22, 2013


R2WeTwo: “Koeselitz they said what I indicate they said, that I'm not asking a direct question but rather asking for a discussion. To me these are the exact same thing, always.”

I will say that I really like conversation. I went to a school that valued conversation above all else; and it's what I hope to spend my life doing: having interesting and illuminating conversations with other people.

The only reason we have this rule here is because we've found it works better than anything else. Please rest assured that Metafilter people love conversation, and would like nothing more than to have endless conversations on many subjects. And know that the rules here aren't arbitrarily applied by the moderators, either. Many of us have spent a lot of years here – I've been here for nine years, myself – having careful discussions as a community in order to work out together how Ask Metafilter will work best.

In this case, while in general discussion naturally flows out of direct questions, it is necessary to try as much as possible to focus on a precise problem and try, as a group, to solve it. If we don't do that, we wander off into all sorts of side-discussions about things that ultimately have nothing to do with the original question. Either of your questions, for example, could end up being discussions about what brand of oatmeal is preferable to all others. Now, I like oatmeal – but that wouldn't help you, would it?

Keep in mind that this is an organic thing, not a mechanistic standard. It's a bit like sonnet form: we hem to the rules in order to do it correctly, but that doesn't mean we sacrifice artistic freedom. This is the way we've found to make ask.metafilter better, but it doesn't destroy all conversation there. It just serves to focus the conversation, sharpen it, and it induces us to constantly return to the source: the original question.

Like I say, this is something we've kind of worked out together over the years. It may seem weird, but believe me when I say we all really value conversation and discussion, and we've thought long and hard about making it work. Mathowie was the one who founded this site more than a decade ago, and of course it's his site, but one of the awesome things he's done is make the community part of the decisions to a large degree.
posted by koeselitz at 9:20 PM on August 22, 2013 [8 favorites]


AskMe threads somewhat resemble debates, with the asker playing the role of the judge. Everyone else is trying to persuade them.

This is no fun at all when it's unclear what the judge wants.
posted by LogicalDash at 9:32 PM on August 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's all in the phrasing, OP. You just need to rewrite your question to ask something along the lines of "Is this appropriate?" rather than "Have any of you ever..."?

SPOILER ALERT: the answers gonna be no.
posted by Justinian at 10:12 PM on August 22, 2013


I would flag that kind of post immediately. I don't want to be dragged blind into some stranger's "is it ok to threaten people with murder" argument.
posted by boo_radley at 10:12 PM on August 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


We find that those who speak lucidly about their struggles have the most productive things to say about mine.

Interesting sentence there.
posted by Splunge at 10:12 PM on August 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, not appropriate for AskMe. The question is not clear, and it is in chatfilter territory.
posted by arcticseal at 10:15 PM on August 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


> I don't want to be dragged blind into some stranger's "is it ok to threaten people with murder" argument.

Yes, without any sort of disclaimer or couching, that post just seems disturbed and disturbing. What's the point of bringing the internet into your fight? Maybe just take it easy.
posted by planetesimal at 10:18 PM on August 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Some examples of questions that might go over better:

"I'm planning to spay a feral cat that I've adopted. I know in general this is a good practice, but are there any ethical issues I should be considering?"

"My brother and his spouse often threaten to kill each other when they fight. Afterwards they both assure me that it's just said in the heat of the moment and neither of them mean it. Is this something I should be concerned about?"
posted by no regrets, coyote at 10:32 PM on August 22, 2013


The green is not for discussing things, though that may well be a byproduct.

The green is for solving problems. You keep framing your questions for open-ended discussion rather than answers. Don't do that; it is against the guidelines.
posted by rtha at 10:50 PM on August 22, 2013 [14 favorites]


"What did the mods say when you contacted them to ask about the deletions?"

He describes the responses he got from the mods when he asked them about past deletions — what's notable is that he makes a guess about their response to this most recent deletion, and his guess is at least partly correct. So he knows at least what part of the problem is, but he may not understand why it's a problem.

While many people have quoted the guidelines and explained that AskMetaFilter questions must be statements of a problem asking for a solution, the rationale for this requirement may not be clear, and this will impair comprehension of what is and isn't an acceptable AskMetaFilter question.

However, I think that cribcage's comparison to a court is very illuminating:
In order to have a court hear your issue, you must present a genuine controversy. You can't just walk into court and tell the judge, "I've always wondered, what would happen if somebody did X and Y? Can you give me a ruling saying that's okay?" Your case will only be heard if you can say, "My neighbor did X, and now I want Y. Please settle our dispute."
R2WeTwo, you should ask yourself: why must courts work this way? Isn't there utility in asking about the consequences of someone doing X and Y and having that answered by a court?

Well, yes, there is. Except that in practice, it wouldn't work. The court wouldn't have any time to do the urgent business of settling actual disputes, it would be spending all its time answering hypothetical questions about legal disputes that random people come up with, or answering questions like "what is this particular court's theory and inclinations with regard to Z?"

The resources of a court are limited, in time and manpower. If the types of matters that are defined as being acceptable to bring to the court aren't limited in some relatively strict fashion, the court won't be able to the do work that it is intended to do that is both more important and most urgent. The important and urgent would get crowded aside by all this other stuff.

The same is true for AskMetaFilter. There are much more expansive limits on both time and resources for the court of AskMetafilter, that's true. But there's a very real limit on attention. Questions of the form "what do you think about X", were they allowed, would make up the vast majority of questions posted to AskMetaFilter and the questions that are about specific, practical, and urgent problems would be immediately pushed off the main page and lost in the background of all these more unbounded, general questions.

In cribcage's analogy, both questions are questions someone very well may want to pose to AskMetaFilter:
  1. I've always wondered, what would happen if somebody did X and Y? Can you give me a [opinion] saying that's okay?
  2. My neighbor did X, and now I want Y. Please [advise on] our dispute.
Question #1 isn't an acceptable AskMetafilter question. Question #2 is. (With values for X and Y, of course.)

As for discussion, a limited sort of discussion is acceptable in AskMetaFilter. Discussion in general, without relatively strict boundaries, is not acceptable for similar reasons as apply to questions. That is, if discussion were generally allowed in AskMetaFilter threads, discussion which doesn't directly help the questioner solve their problem would overwhelm the comments which are directly helpful. Therefore, answerers are mostly dissuaded from conversing among themselves.

Also, extended back-and-forth between the questioner and answerers is also dissuaded, because that can turn into something that also goes outside the bounds of productively answering the original question.

So there's very little discussion, per se, but there's a sort of implicit discussion that occurs as the answers come in — later answerers will amplify on earlier answers, or address issues that they think earlier answers raised (or erred about), and people who initially have an opinion on the question may find that as they read already posted answers, their opinion evolves and affects the answer that they provide. So there's a kind of discussion happening, but it's implicit, not explicit. That's by design, and it's for good reasons.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:06 PM on August 22, 2013 [14 favorites]


"R2WeTwo, you should ask yourself: why must courts work this way? Isn't there utility in asking about the consequences of someone doing X and Y and having that answered by a court?

Well, yes, there is. Except that in practice, it wouldn't work. The court wouldn't have any time to do the urgent business of settling actual disputes, it would be spending all its time answering hypothetical questions about legal disputes that random people come up with, or answering questions like "what is this particular court's theory and inclinations with regard to Z?"
"

Just as a note, other court systems do not necessarily have this requirement — I had a friend who studied for the Spanish bar, and there judges are routinely asked to settle abstract questions of law (which often have an underlying dispute, because otherwise it's hard to justify paying for a lawyer). There are other mechanisms to triage court time, including, if I recall correctly (and I'm no expert on Spanish law, so this could be wrong) the need to present a novel question.

I think, more abstractly, that there simply must be some system; I do not think it needs to be this particular system.
posted by klangklangston at 11:49 PM on August 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


In addition to all the great advice above, you can also contact the mods (through the contact form) with a draft post that you're not sure about and ask for their feedback. They are an incredibly helpful group, and it's been my observation that they are super patient with users who genuinely want to follow the guidelines and need some extra guidance to get there.
posted by zachlipton at 1:47 AM on August 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Although in some ways I would miss them I think there is a case for barring 'why was my post deleted' questions. I can't remember one which was useful.
posted by Segundus at 1:54 AM on August 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


These questions are absolutely useful to people (like myself) who tend to lurk first to get an idea of what works and what doesn't. By having these threads here on MeTa regularly, members can get a really nuanced picture of this sort of thing without going through the deletion-fires.
posted by Mizu at 2:35 AM on August 23, 2013 [7 favorites]


I agree with Mizu; after all, AskMe is fairly idiosyncratic in certain respects - such as the need for a question to contain quite a lot of detail (but not too much!) and to avoid being chatfilter. Answers, too, are restricted by guidelines in certain ways, which can be, to me at least, counter-intuitive. For example, the prohibition on arguing with other answers: whilst I can see why you would want to stop people just going aggro on each other, it never made sense to me to write an answer which ignores what has been said before, especially when I am about top present the opposite point of view. Normally, this to me would be disrespectful, as though I see the person who I disagree with as nothing more than a dog howling in the desert. I mean, even if we disagree, we are still able to communicate, we should still acknowledge each other etc.

Ivan F., I think, explained above the rational of keeping things really focused, and now it makes sense to me. From now on I'll feel less churlish not engaging other posters, so to me this MeTa was useful.
posted by miorita at 2:43 AM on August 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


It also may be important to mention that these guidelines have evolved over time, so if you are looking at the very early history of Ask, you will find many questions and answers that would not fly at all today. For example, this question (which includes scarabic's famous "First, be smart from the very beginning..." answer) would be deleted right away if it were posters today, as would many of the "answers" posted to that question.
posted by Rock Steady at 3:23 AM on August 23, 2013


Mizu, I take your point, but there must surely be a better and more kindly way to get/provide guidance than watching as some misguided folk pass through the fire and thereby seeing what not to do? People treat this a court of appeal and sometimes (not always) I think that following deletion they come here and go through a further discouraging experience which achieves nothing (I'm not talking about R2WeTwo specifically here and apologies to him if I'm hijacking).

Sometimes a deletion may genuinely raise wider issues, and those wider issues should certainly be here, but I feel there's usually too much misplaced indignation over specific posts going on and I'm not sure it's all worth it.
posted by Segundus at 3:26 AM on August 23, 2013


Four of my first seven posts to the blue (not Ask) were deleted by the mods. All fair deletions in retrospect; if I'd spent a few more minutes reading the guidelines and wiki, and spent a bit more time getting the nuances of the site, I would not have had a high pull ratio early on.

If you're getting a run of posts to any part of MetaFilter deleted, probably wise to ease off the posting a bit, have a beer and a fuller read of the wiki, FAQs and other materials, look at similar posts and queries, and then try again.

Both of the last two posts appeared then were gone within mere seconds. This seems to suggest they're being targeted rather than flagged, as the moderators indicate.

Oh no no no; mine went very quickly. Not because I was being targeted, but because Matt runs a tight ship and the mods are super, often scarily, efficient. Several times I've had responses to contact form queries within a minute; Cortex once replied within 10 seconds, which was Whoa! Compare and contrast to e.g. the time and hassle it takes (when successful) to get personal attacks and misappropriation pulled from Facebook.

No, tbh if it takes longer than a few minutes to get a mod response, it probably means that Skynet is down.
posted by Wordshore at 3:37 AM on August 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


I do think the deletion system is confusing. "Oh, just find the email that said your question was posted (that you probably deleted), follow the link, and read the mods reason. Oh, you expected some notification? That's silly."
posted by smackfu at 4:27 AM on August 23, 2013


Just as a note, other court systems do not necessarily have this requirement — I had a friend who studied for the Spanish bar, and there judges are routinely asked to settle abstract questions of law (which often have an underlying dispute, because otherwise it's hard to justify paying for a lawyer). There are other mechanisms to triage court time, including, if I recall correctly (and I'm no expert on Spanish law, so this could be wrong) the need to present a novel question.

Common law courts (i.e. in the English tradition, as in the USA) do have some mechanism for declaratory judgments, but there still needs to be some nascent controversy that supports the need for a court's ruling (here's the Federal rule). Still, I thought cribcage's analogy was fitting for AskMe.
posted by snuffleupagus at 4:40 AM on August 23, 2013


I actually think that the delete on the "Have you or your spouse ever said you wanted to kill the other" was a bad delete, at least on the grounds of chatfilter. I think that question should have warranted one of those "we will help you rephrase this" responses - this seems like a totally valid, non-chatfilter question. What it does sound like is someone trying to avoid a particular point of view.

For example: let's suppose the person who said that is the spouse, not the mefite. In that case, there's going to be a whole round of DTMFA - possibly justified, but also not what the mefite would actually want to know - is this normal? Does this happen to other people? Is your relationship okay? Does it mean they really mean it?

Let's suppose the person who said this was the mefite, not the spouse. In that case, they're going to be barraged with "you are a shit." Which may even be the case, but also not what the mefite wants to know, which is, "What does it mean that I said this? Do other people do this and not mean it? Does it mean I mean it? Does it mean I want to leave?"

I think that if you find yourself writing a question that sounds this lacking in detail, that means it's the perfect place for an anonymous AskMe, where you can get into the details more without feeling like people will get judgey.
posted by corb at 5:07 AM on August 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


Would you reject these posts?

Yes.

I actually think that the delete on the "Have you or your spouse ever said you wanted to kill the other" was a bad delete [...]

But it's a binary question with only the possible answers of true or false, neither of which mean anything. If I say yes, what then? No, what then? There's no underlying purpose to the question. All it's going to do is sit out there until the OP comes back along and gives more info, with a good chance that the people who'd already answered it would have done so differently with more info.

There was no problem to be solved here. No information to be gained.
posted by cjorgensen at 5:49 AM on August 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


"Robot must answer question exactly as asked. Bloop bleep"
posted by smackfu at 6:13 AM on August 23, 2013


... but also not what the mefite would actually want to know - is this normal? Does this happen to other people? Is your relationship okay? Does it mean they really mean it?

... not what the mefite wants to know, which is, "What does it mean that I said this? Do other people do this and not mean it? Does it mean I mean it? Does it mean I want to leave?"

But none of us have any way of knowing that this is what the person wants to know, you're just filling that in from your own ideas. And even if the OP were given the chance to rewrite it this version would still be deleted. And rightly so because it's so lacking in information that we have actually no idea what's going on here or what the poster wants, it's just literally a yes/no poll.

R2WeTwo, not only can you contact the mods before posting a question to see how to best word it, you can also contact them after a deletion to maybe work on the wording so it can be reposted next week. They can also give advice with overall style issues so this is less likely to happen to you in the future. If you still have a question to be answered this might be a good option for you now? Alternatively, metatalk threads like this one can be helpful for giving specific advice about how to word things (and there is a lot of general advice already here), so you can post more specific questions or queries here if you're still trying to figure it out.

In the end we all like answering ask.me questions so more of them fitting the guidelines is generally considered a good outcome. So I hope you're able to repost your questions in a way that lets them be answered.
posted by shelleycat at 6:25 AM on August 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


I didn't flag your last post OP, but I definitely would have had I seen it. Pure chatfilter. Had a look back through some of your other deleted threads too. The question or problem to be solved was unclear in every single one of them. The feral cat one had a wall of information and no clear question.

But it's no big deal. A few deleted threads and comments (or this MetaTalk thread) won't get you on some blacklist where we'll all roll our eyes and start flagging every time we see your name. Just the opposite. I have found the mods and other users really helpful in figuring out how this thing works. So read the guidelines. Be concise. And have some fun with it.
posted by futureisunwritten at 6:38 AM on August 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Not only is the "I want to kill you" spouse-fighting question chatfilter, it implies something troubling while giving zero context. Questions like that don't go well, and people will jump to all sorts of conclusions.

If the question stood, I suspect a lot of answers would have assumed that you were talking about a very recent situation that happened to you or a loved one, and would have expressed concern or recommended domestic abuse resources. But maybe you were thinking of a former relationship, or something you heard your parents say years and years ago, or a conversation you read in a book. Context is important.

R2WeTwo, I don't know what brought you to ask that question, but I hope all is well with you. If you were reaching out for help, please don't interpret the deletion as smacking your hand away.
posted by Metroid Baby at 6:49 AM on August 23, 2013 [10 favorites]


cribcage: "I'm writing a novel."

Actually, this is the secret, dark, awful truth about Ask MetaFilter. Whenever you want to ask a lousy question, all you have to do is phrase it in terms of writing a novel and it will be accepted.
posted by Deathalicious at 6:51 AM on August 23, 2013 [9 favorites]


FWIW, I read your feral cat question before it was deleted and while I didn't flag it myself I immediately thought, "this is going to be deleted as chatfilter" because it seemed more like a long rambling blog post than a question and that in writing it you'd already made your mind up and weren't really looking for advice.
posted by Jacqueline at 6:59 AM on August 23, 2013


The feral cat question is so weird and probably wrong for metafilter in a bunch of ways besides the fact that it's completely and transparently chatfilter. It has weird gender assumptions and suppositions about animals (can animals have career destinies?) and I can't imagine that it would go any way other than a shit storm.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:11 AM on August 23, 2013 [7 favorites]


"Robot must answer question exactly as asked. Bloop bleep"

In the case of the "kill your spouse" post, what's the alternative? Making your own assumptions about the situation, and basing your comments on whatever you've assumed. That already happens way too much in AskMe.

Good deletion.
posted by in278s at 7:48 AM on August 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Robot must answer question exactly as asked. Bloop bleep"

Once, back when I used to drink a lot, and suffered from cholera (or perhaps it was malaria; I forget) I used to get these fever dreams something fierce. I would see God and the undersides of mountains. I would see the furthest edge of space and the back of my own skull. All consuming binges of pornography filled my days, and I knew what it was to truly be alive! It was both a dark time and a time of wonderment. Anyway, while on a bender of quinine, aspirin, quaaludes, coke, and a spot of ether (I should have died) I once said something I will forever regret. Yes, I told my spouse I wanted to kill her. She'd refused to share the cat you see, and that cat was an ur-cat, the mother of all cats worthy of the name. Not only would she not share (she knew how edgy I got on quinine when I had no feline fur to stroke), but she'd had the thing spayed! She'd purposefully deprived me and the universe of future generations of ur-cats solely out of spite, so I ask you, was I justified in wanting her dead in that one moment of sickness and drug fueled rage? You can disagree, but I say yes.

Don't even get me started on the time I had diphtheria and meningitis and she insisted on marathon viewing "All in the Family" (or perhaps it was "Golden Girls"). I still want her dead for that.

I'm all better now. I still drink a lot, but we got a new cat. Does anyone know the treatment for scabies?
posted by cjorgensen at 8:20 AM on August 23, 2013 [17 favorites]


koeselitz What did the mods say when you contacted them to ask about the deletions?

Can we stop doing this? Didn't we have a whole thread about this?

R2WeTwo I didn't presume you were reading everything

Really? Because your lone tag is "AbuseOfPower".
posted by spaltavian at 8:28 AM on August 23, 2013


Who cares. Here's my question, which is PRESSING. How do you trade in favourites for free gifts?

My understanding is the following are available from the MeFi rewards programme, MeWardsTM.

100 favourites = MetaFilter T-Shirt.
500 favourites = A one hour back massage or pedicure from the mod of your choice.
750 favourites = A MeFi-brand salad spinnner.
1,000 favourites = You know when people say on MeTa words to the effect of "Goshdarnit, I sometimes wish everyone would just stop using the following irritating term/expression/comparison/insult: [x]" - ? Well, for 1,000 favourites the mods will report that person to the NSA as a terrorist, and they will be arrested and locked up in a small cell for the rest of their lives.
5,000 favourites = The abililty to control space and time and all material things throughout the universe.
7,500 favourites = A MeFi-logo coffee mug.
10,000 favourites = A BIKE.

HOW do we access these MeWardsTM? Please note that I have already checked the FAQ.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 8:32 AM on August 23, 2013 [28 favorites]


I'm STILL waiting for my totebag.
posted by bonehead at 8:34 AM on August 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


I find it helpful to read the AskMeFi deleted posts list every so often to remind myself what's unacceptable. It seems like posts are most commonly deleted for being chatfilter, so it's a common misunderstanding (and for chatfilter, the line between "barely acceptable" and "barely not acceptable" is often blurry). You're in good company.

Anyway, seconding the ideas that your questions are definitely chatfilter and that there are good reasons why this isn't allowed here. Rather than trying to change the system, you're better off figuring out how to rephrase your questions so they're acceptable - and as mentioned, the mods can help with that.
posted by randomnity at 8:37 AM on August 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


It has weird gender assumptions and suppositions about animals

Smash the tomcatriarchy!
posted by strangely stunted trees at 8:53 AM on August 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


Yes, randomnity makes a good point. The deleted posts page is awesome for checking out the posts that didn't make the cut. I often see questions that I hope will be asked again in a less chatty way so I can either provide an answer or just sit back, read, and learn something new. Don't take your deletion as "YOU ARE NEVER ALLOWED TO TALK ABOUT X EVER AGAIN RAWR WE ARE JUDGING YOU" but ask yourself how you can re-frame it to fit on AskMe.

You have asked some very good questions that have stuck R2WeTwo. Keep asking. You got this!
posted by futureisunwritten at 9:01 AM on August 23, 2013


Well, for 1,000 favourites the mods will report that person to the NSA as a terrorist, and they will be arrested and locked up in a small cell for the rest of their lives.

Do you ever make fun of posters on equal terms Quidnunc ? Or do you just hang about the bushes waiting till someone that's maybe not quite right comes along ?

Pretty low hanging fruit there i'm afraid.
posted by sgt.serenity at 9:05 AM on August 23, 2013


Also, the "AbuseOfPower" tag is unnecessary and confrontational. The mods strike me as good, competent people with the best of intentions for making this site great. There is no abuse of power here, only guidelines that were not followed in your posts.
posted by futureisunwritten at 9:06 AM on August 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


I think if Mathowie managed not to be too offended by the tag, the rest of us can move on from it.
posted by cribcage at 9:12 AM on August 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


"Have you or your spouse ever said you wanted to kill the other" was a bad delete, at least on the grounds of chatfilter. I think that question should have warranted one of those "we will help you rephrase this" responses

"If you or your spouse* have ever threatened to kill one another, what, precisely, did you say?"

*Or spice, if poly.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:13 AM on August 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Do you ever make fun of posters on equal terms Quidnunc ? Or do you just hang about the bushes waiting till someone that's maybe not quite right comes along ?

My dear sgt. s., it wasn't my intention to pour scorn of the poster of this MeTa, if that's what you mean. Or are you suggesting that I'm taking an undeserved shot at someone else?
posted by the quidnunc kid at 9:15 AM on August 23, 2013


Please consider that I might have another perspective.

This is one of those cases where the "house style" of Metafilter is going to be different than your own perspective (and, perhaps, your own needs). The moderators have found that AskMe works best when the questions are posed in a concrete fashion and ask a specific question to be answered or present a problem to be solved rather than being posed as, "tell me about your experiences."

I haven't hesitated to flag a lot of Asks where the parameters of the question were so loose that it sounded like the Asker wanted to say, "I'm thinking about X. Let's have a conversation about it so I can hear more about these things," without more details about how to give the Asker a good answer. These questions stayed up, so clearly Askers have a lot of leeway.
posted by deanc at 9:19 AM on August 23, 2013


10,000 favourites = A BIKE.

123,456,789 favourites = time portal.
posted by aught at 9:26 AM on August 23, 2013 [13 favorites]


802,701 favourites = an Eloi of your very own.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:38 AM on August 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


I don't want a BIKE. How many fav's for a pony?

I've not been a member all that long. Getting a comment or post pulled seems to be a part of the learning curve. In my case it led to productive discussions with a couple of the mods....turned out to be a good thing, keeps me thinking I'm not just a troll with a password. I hasten to point out that, in my email exchanges with the mods, the word asshole never came up. Even so, I'm fairly sure I'm not exactly clear on all the blue/green/gray nuances, and I expect to be deleted again. Sooner or later.
posted by mule98J at 9:44 AM on August 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


If your bike isn't already a time machine then you're riding it wrong.
posted by planetesimal at 9:52 AM on August 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


5,000 favourites = The abililty to control space and time and all material things throughout the universe.

I would use that ability to get a bike without waiting for another 5,000 favorites. (I could also force the rest of you to give me favorites, but I'd like you to have free will.)
posted by Area Man at 9:54 AM on August 23, 2013


So can I trade my old Metafilter T-shirt in for 100 favorites? Or would that be pro-rated down?
posted by Mngo at 10:01 AM on August 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


How many favorites for a cat? One wedged in a scanner, perhaps?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:05 AM on August 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


15,000 favorites = A Pony!
posted by jgirl at 10:16 AM on August 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


15,000 favorites = A Pony!

What's 20,000?

Please say it's a unicorn!
posted by futureisunwritten at 10:24 AM on August 23, 2013


Not a unicorn, a narwhal!
posted by jgirl at 10:30 AM on August 23, 2013


I too think the post about how normal it is for one spouse to say they wanted to kill the other could be rewritten and reposted, and I agree with corb that the poster probably wrote their question without saying who was who on purpose. So R2WeTwo I would take what you learn here and try to repost your question.

But the speculation about the mods automatically deleting your posts is kind of crazy talk. That's not the way things work here. Honest. Still it sounds like you are going through sort of a rough time and I hope we can help you.
posted by onlyconnect at 10:44 AM on August 23, 2013


I think there is a case for barring 'why was my post deleted' questions. I can't remember one which was useful.

i disagree, not because i think they're particularly useful, especially if useful is defined by the poster, but because as this one shows, sometimes people really do worry that the mods are targeting them either by software or bias. now, most of us know that's pretty silly and trust in the metafilter mods is near the top of most of our lists on why we hang out here - but, one of the reasons i have such trust in them is that they entertain these threads every time they come up. they are always willing to discuss that fear with the community. for the person with that worry, if this thread was deleted because we don't allow that type of question on metatalk, they would have been much more upset and suspicious, i'd wager.
posted by nadawi at 10:57 AM on August 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


12,000 favorites= a djinni! On the one hand, it will trick you into a gruesome death; on the other, it's great to break the ice at parties.
posted by Mister_A at 11:03 AM on August 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


What's 20,000?

A Successories mousepad.
posted by MoonOrb at 11:29 AM on August 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


-- I might be wrong, but I don't think a single post ever got restored because the OP wanted to talk about it on MeTa.

I've seen posts get restored because of a MeTa post. I don't remember if they were AskMe posts. But it does happen. Also, these kinds of MeTa questions often lead to a helpful thread whether or not the post is restored.
posted by John Cohen at 11:37 AM on August 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Would I reject these posts?

No, because I am a firm believer in the beauty to be found in all things. What do you think about that? Is that a valid stance on this website?

*pauses*

No, but seriously, I'd hit them with the rubberstamp labeled REJECTED so fast and hard you'd think I was Muhammad Ali turned accounting department office worker.
posted by RolandOfEld at 11:41 AM on August 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


How many favorites do I need to get the set of steak knives?
posted by scody at 11:55 AM on August 23, 2013


How many favorites do I need to get the set of steak knives?

You only get these for outselling Ricky Roma.
posted by MoonOrb at 12:06 PM on August 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Third place is you're flagged.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:07 PM on August 23, 2013 [11 favorites]


But the speculation about the mods automatically deleting your posts is kind of crazy talk. That's not the way things work here. Honest.

Yeah, I'll be the first to admit I've tangled with mods but they've been nothing but good about my AskMes, and I don't think I've had one deleted. I don't think the mods would ever act with bad intention like that.
posted by corb at 12:21 PM on August 23, 2013


It may surprise people just how fast flags come in on questions that can be read as chatfilter. A chatty AskMe can get flagged to emergency-alert levels while the mod on duty is tying their shoe. (So can a question misposted to the Blue - my god do those get flagged fast.)

This one was not particularly borderline in terms of chattiness, and it's not at all surprising that it got flagged and deleted within a few minutes. The community is quick and we're generally pretty available to respond.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 12:35 PM on August 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Flag you. That's my name.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:37 PM on August 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm wondering why no-one's posted about Ben Affleck being Batman. I thought Mefi would be all over that.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 12:51 PM on August 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


That's reddit. It's easy to conflate the two if you are a user of the professional white background.
posted by cjorgensen at 12:55 PM on August 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Why do you need to tie your shoe on duty, restless_nomad?

Is the delete_o_tron powered by a foot pedal? Does the anonymous_a_matic require a quick run on the treadmill for each post? Will the speedy_reply_bot only work if you hold the door closed just so with your foot?

These are things we need to know.
posted by ambrosen at 1:01 PM on August 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Actually I own only one pair of shoes that have laces, and I never bother to tie them. I was looking for a more genteel image than "taking a quick whiz."

(Lengthy craps should be accompanied by one of the Metafilter-provided mobile devices so service does not suffer interruptions, of course.)
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 1:03 PM on August 23, 2013 [12 favorites]


The Metafilter-provided mobile device doesn't actually do anything except play Freebird, Layla, and Stairway to Heaven until you return.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:11 PM on August 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


It's easy to conflate the two if you are a user of the professional white background.

Only at work, man.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 1:14 PM on August 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


The Metafilter-provided mobile device doesn't actually do anything except play Freebird, Layla, and Stairway to Heaven until you return.

Oh, I have device like that at work called a commercial radio station.
posted by laconic skeuomorph at 2:34 PM on August 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


There are other mechanisms to triage court time, including, if I recall correctly (and I'm no expert on Spanish law, so this could be wrong) the need to present a novel question.

Yeah, I'm sure this doesn't result in the courts spending tons of extra time deciding which cases present a "novel question." /sarcasm
posted by John Cohen at 3:55 PM on August 23, 2013


Is is okay to post an AskMe asking if it is ok to love Mefi, or is that a better Meta?
posted by Annika Cicada at 4:14 PM on August 23, 2013


Patrick Stewart auditioned for Batman but the suit kept on disintegrating, since he's way too awesome to stoop to portraying that ratfuck Batman.
posted by planetesimal at 4:18 PM on August 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


After that last Superman film I think they should just bring back Nick Cage for another interview cos I think he'd be AWESOME! right now in the role.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 5:12 PM on August 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


NOT THE BATS
posted by tomboko at 6:39 PM on August 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

Patrick Stewart auditioned for Batman but the suit kept on disintegrating
It was too late. They'd seen everything.
posted by usonian at 7:17 PM on August 23, 2013 [7 favorites]


I've come to understand the rules of askme and I certainly don't feel I'm being specially targeted for deletion, but I have always been bummed that 'polling the audience' questions are so discouraged. For me, hearing a pile of different experiences or perspectives is one of the main tools I use to figure stuff out and make decisions. Seems to me, hearing a lot of mefites share that they have never threatened to kill their spouse seems like extremely useful feedback, and it seems fairly obvious from the question that this person is looking for a reality check based on community norms. I have often wanted to ask questions like, 'what do you and your partner fight about?' or other similarly polling-type questions which I think could serve to reassure me or maybe give me a nudge that something is out of wack.
posted by latkes at 9:56 PM on August 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's okay to ask a broad survey-like question. All you have to do is explain that problem you are trying to solve and tell people why you are asking what you are asking in order to help you solve this problem.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:01 PM on August 23, 2013 [8 favorites]


Me too, latkes.
posted by onlyconnect at 10:01 PM on August 23, 2013


jessamyn, that it cool, I never looked at it that way before.
posted by onlyconnect at 10:03 PM on August 23, 2013


Some large number of askme dating questions are along the lines of "This thing happened with this person I'm dating, and I feel XYZ; is this normal/outrageous/etc.?" and they're essentially polling, but with a defined problem as laid out by the OP explicitly that they would like to solve or get feedback on.
posted by rtha at 10:12 PM on August 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Actually I own only one pair of shoes that have laces, and I never bother to tie them. I was looking for a more genteel image than "taking a quick whiz."

I honestly had never considered that women took whizzes. I always assumed a penis was required for the taking of whiz. Is this something women regularly use in conversation? As in, "Order another pitcher, I'm gonna go take a whiz... FROM MY VAGINA."
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 10:26 PM on August 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Actually I own only one pair of shoes that have laces, and I never bother to tie them.

Don't you find it annoying how many people stop you and tell you that you'll trip over them? I've never tripped over my shoelaces in my life.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:18 AM on August 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's okay to ask a broad survey-like question. All you have to do is explain that problem you are trying to solve and tell people why you are asking what you are asking in order to help you solve this problem.

Here's a survey-type question that I asked and that stayed up.
posted by WorkingMyWayHome at 1:45 AM on August 24, 2013


I honestly had never considered that women took whizzes. I always assumed a penis was required for the taking of whiz. Is this something women regularly use in conversation? As in, "Order another pitcher, I'm gonna go take a whiz... FROM MY VAGINA."

We take whizzes, though, y'know, out of our urethras. Vaginas are busy with sex and menstruation and birthgiving and all.

Ok, I wouldn't say women use it regularly, since we're not supposed to talk about our bodily functions and particularly not in colorful ways, but among the right group of women a whiz shall be had indeed.
posted by stoneandstar at 2:01 AM on August 24, 2013 [19 favorites]


If you asked real questions, not wishy-washy ChatFilter, I bet they'd stay up. I mean, look: when trying to figure out if there's a real question embedded in the 'kill' one, the best I can translate it is "Have you ever used the common idiom 'I'm gonna kill you!' in conversation?", to which the answer is a bald Yes or No. Is that what you were looking for?

Are your posts being targeted? Yeah, right: deep in ModCentral, there's a giant computer where massive bells & whistles go off whenever you post anything, and the mods rush around saying "Ooooh looky, another post from R2WeTwo! Delete, delete, delete!" --- what makes you think you're so special?
posted by easily confused at 3:15 AM on August 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


"We take whizzes, though, y'know, out of our urethras. Vaginas are busy with sex and menstruation and birthgiving and all."

About 35 years ago, my mother and grandmother had a memorable argument with my great-grandmother where they had to convince her that she didn't urinate directly from her vagina, but from her urethra, which she didn't know about.

You watch the Vagina Monologues and see the women who discuss never even having seen their own anatomy, never examined themselves; and you wonder how this is possible. But there's times and places where this is not uncommon.

She had only one child, my grandmother; and my grandmother had three daughters. At that time, only my mother had any children, me and my sister. So my great-grandmother was utterly inexperienced with boys, but she doted on me. In many ways, she was my most grandmotherly grandmother, and I spent a lot of my childhood with her. She lived to be 86 and I was 23. Anyway, she frequently babysat me when I was a baby and one night she bathed me and apparently I got a little baby erection. This caused great consternation on her part, she was certain this was terribly abnormal.

I also recall a xmas when one of my aunts gave my mother a pair of edible underwear as a joke, everyone laughed, and my great-grandmother asked that this be explained to her. Everyone looked at each other like, okay, who wants to take a shot at this?

Ah, I really miss her. She made scrambled eggs just right.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 3:26 AM on August 24, 2013 [11 favorites]


I honestly had never considered that women took whizzes. I always assumed a penis was required for the taking of whiz. Is this something women regularly use in conversation?

Sure. I sometimes even tell people I'm off to 'siphon the python'.
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 7:21 AM on August 24, 2013


You definitely can ask "surveying the group" type questions; here's one of mine. I did work with the mods beforehand to make sure that I was within the guidelines, but they were very responsive and happy to help.
posted by KathrynT at 8:14 AM on August 24, 2013


I honestly had never considered that women took whizzes.

Nor do they fart. At least, not so you can hear them.
posted by flabdablet at 9:01 AM on August 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


I decided to reply as if this was on Ask.Me.
Would you reject these posts?
General consensus = yes.
I believe my posts are being arbitrarily deleted
There's a lot of arbitrariness. The moderators do not have perfect precision. Some days, your post is just one too many youtube videos. In your case, the posts are deleted for chatfilter, and are well within what the moderators and the community think is chatfilter. Me, I'd kind of enjoy some chatfilter, but that particular pony hasn't been made available.
would be grateful for an objective opinion about them.
You have gotten opinions, a few of them objective, along with a helping of useful advice and the usual snark.
The moderators never tell me why they delete them
You usually get an email. If not, use the contact form. A moderator will reply promptly. Hell of a service, actually.
how quickly my posts disappear,
There are 12,000 active users. Some of them are extremely fast at flagging. I am often quite surprised at how fast some members can respond, and often the responses are not only roughly intelligible, but often erudite, accurate, witty, well-written. I like to think of myself as non-doltish, but some of the people here are rather fast on the uptake.
seems to suggest they're being targeted rather than flagged
You are taking question-deletion as personal rejection. Unlikely. You have to be pretty colorful and post a heck of a lot to get that kind of personal attention. And then it's likely that it will be accompanied by serious chats from the mods, not silence. You're just having trouble understanding how and why chatfilter isn't permitted. Use the contact form; they'll help you define your questions effectively. If you don't feel comfortable being too revealing, be anonymous. Your anonymity will be respected, unless your question is genuinely scary or illegal. Or use a sockpuppet - a 2nd account just for asking or replying anonymously. (You still can't ask more than 1 question per week.)
I know I probably sound paranoid to some
You sound really defensive, a bit adversarial. Plenty of that going on all over the 'filters.
do you agree that the two posts here are inappropriate?
General consensus = yes.
AbuseOfPower
Sometimes posts are deleted, and I disagree. Sometimes comments are deleted, and I disagree. MetaTalk exists for things to be discussed. You've had that opportunity, and I hope it's helped. I don't think you've been roughed up too much, which is encouraging. You're welcome here; your perspectives are welcome here. There are rules and customs, and it might not end up being the right place for you, or it might end up being a great place for you. Diversity tends to be good for us. Here's a hug.
posted by theora55 at 10:15 AM on August 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


easily confused, I don't disagree with the meat of that but it seems a bit harsh given the rest of the thread. I think the OP probably gets it by this point.
posted by en forme de poire at 11:58 AM on August 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


I had a good friend in high school who would dismissively tell people to suck her dick, which I thought was hilarious.

But yeah, whizzing can be accomplished with any downstairs plumbing. If it can't, you have way bigger problems than not being able to use the word "whizzing."
posted by en forme de poire at 12:02 PM on August 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Don't you find it annoying how many people stop you and tell you that you'll trip over them? I've never tripped over my shoelaces in my life.

I guess I haven't officially tripped over my shoelaces, but I have stepped on the right shoelaces with my left foot and then tripped when I went to move my right foot. I am generally clumsy, but I suspect I can't be the only one to have ever done so.
posted by jaguar at 1:08 PM on August 24, 2013


Is the theory behind this that men go whizzz and women go weeee?
posted by Segundus at 2:30 PM on August 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


But yeah, whizzing can be accomplished with any downstairs plumbing. If it can't, you have way bigger problems than not being able to use the word "whizzing."

Is that a cue to start up with catheter anecdotes?
posted by ambrosen at 3:18 PM on August 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm wondering why no-one's posted about Ben Affleck being Batman.

Wait. The whole "Bruce Wayne" thing was just a cover story?
posted by yoink at 4:23 PM on August 24, 2013 [5 favorites]


Nor do they fart. At least, not so you can hear them.

I am one of those weird people that hates to fart.

I have rules about farting. 1. In the bathroom. 2. Outside. 3. Barring these: Say, "Excuse me."

I started dating my current girlfriend some 7 years ago. She'd never heard me fart even after 6 months. One late night the garage door wouldn't come down because of ice on the springs (Iowa winter). I had to lift her to bang on the spring. She's tiny, and weighs little, but still I as I was lifting her...riiiiipppppp!

I was mortified, said, "Excuse me," but she was laughing so hard I started laughing as well and nearly dropped her on the ice.

In the end we didn't get the garage door down. It was a rental. Other people needed to worry about this.

To this day we debate my farting rules.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:18 PM on August 24, 2013


Sorry, forgot the punchline!

After I farted, my girlfriend turned to me and said, "Thank fucking God! After six months I thought you were going to explode!"
posted by cjorgensen at 7:21 PM on August 24, 2013 [11 favorites]


My real secret fear is that I am an abnormally loud pooper and that all of my roommates are completely offended by it but too polite to say anything because seriously what do you even do if you are a loud pooper besides go to a special home for feral boys
posted by en forme de poire at 10:21 PM on August 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


Like, you grunt and vocalize really loud or your rectum the one making the racket?

Wait, how did it come to this?
posted by planetesimal at 10:23 PM on August 24, 2013


Farts are funny!
posted by flabdablet at 11:36 PM on August 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Well to answer the question raised in the AskMe I haven't been in an argument with a spouse or partner where threats of lethal violence were raised. This isn't because I'm not a hate filled ball of rage that could explode at any moment with the fury of a million suns, but more so because I missed the Great Enspousening, as I was but a lurker at the time. Which makes me angry. Angry, and unspoused.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 5:29 AM on August 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


My posts are being deleted just because they are 'doubles'.
posted by mazola at 7:43 AM on August 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


en forme de poire: "My real secret fear is that I am an abnormally loud pooper and that all of my roommates are completely offended by it but too polite to say anything because seriously what do you even do if you are a loud pooper besides go to a special home for feral boys"

Oh, you have no idea! I used to live with a girlfriend in the smallest apartment in the world! It was two bedrooms connected by a kitchen. The bathtub was IN the kitchen. And there was what you would call a toilet closet next to the bathtub. Right by the kitchen table. One of those toilets with the tank near the ceiling and a chain.

One time she had a party, many friends. All in the kitchen. And I stayed in the bedroom holding a massive poop in because I just couldn't GO that close to everyone.

Finally I couldn't hold it anymore. I walked into the little dinner party, introduced myself and went into the closet. Badow! Ploop! Blam. Blat! Pakow!

I cleaned up. and exited the closet.

The room was totally silent.

I said, "I'll be here all day. Tip your servers. And try the veal."

Then I went back to the bedroom and cried.
posted by Splunge at 8:28 PM on August 25, 2013 [21 favorites]


An online friend and I (both female) used to have long chats on IM and we'd see who could go pee and make it back to the computer fastest. We called it warpee - not war pee, but rather warp pee. We could get back in under a minute.
posted by IndigoRain at 10:42 PM on August 25, 2013


Splunge: I laughed, I cried, I pooped. And I admire your courage.

It reminds me of a female friend of mine who while at a huge party came out of the bathroom and proudly declared "I just pooped in there. I've decided to be 'out' about pooping." Out and proud poopers, I salute you.

But for real, I would love it if we could all just accept that especially in tiny city apartments, we could just accept that there is going to be a certain amount of (ahem) symphonic pooping in awkwardly close quarters. I mean life isn't always like a Metamucil ad.
posted by en forme de poire at 1:05 AM on August 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


(fuck, poop is probably going to be hella inflated in my next year's 1-grams, isn't it?)
posted by en forme de poire at 1:06 AM on August 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm wondering why no-one's posted about Ben Affleck being Batman.

Because they are relieved that it wasn't ME cast as Bruce Wayne!

No, really... Here's the text conversation I had with the kid about this...

Me: ben affleck, eh? interesting choice... I'll stop working on building the Bat Mobile.
The Kid: Not sure what happened. I was positive the gig was yours! You can keep building the bat mobile if you've got a cool design in the works...

posted by HuronBob at 4:31 AM on August 26, 2013


O'Batman? I hate that jerk.
posted by clavicle at 11:00 AM on August 26, 2013


I used to work at a small shoe store on 16th St in Brooklyn. Right by the D train. The bathroom was in the basement. One day I went down to poop. It was a huge log full of air I guess. So I was flushing and flushing. But it stayed in the toilet.

Meanwhile my boss let a customer come down to use the bathroom.

I was flushing and flushing. And the customer was like, I need to go.

So I left the bathroom and he looked in and said, "That's okay. It often happens. Don't worry."

I felt like shit.
posted by Splunge at 6:08 PM on August 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


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