I Am Curious (Grey) August 28, 2013 6:30 PM   Subscribe

When posts are "bad" on Meta or AskMeta -- doubles, or inappropriate, or whatever -- they're deleted. When posts are "bad" here on MetaTalk -- like, questions that belong elsewhere, inappropriate posts like "can someone do a FPP about XYZ," and the like, they're closed instead of being deleted. My OCD is having trouble with this. So, why? And what happens to bad posts on other parts of the site, like Jobs, Projects and Music?
posted by BlahLaLa to Etiquette/Policy at 6:30 PM (67 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Bad posts on the blue or green are not deleted. They're rendered invisible, but they're still there.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 6:32 PM on August 28, 2013


(I think for the intents of this question deleted/rendered invisible are the same thing, at least in terms of the general user.)
posted by BlahLaLa at 6:34 PM on August 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Metatalk posts do actually get deleted-as-in-hidden-with-a-deletion-reason just like stuff on the blue and the green (and everywhere else), though for many years (through maybe 2007?) Metatalk was an oddball in that deleted posts were deleted-as-in-removed-from-the-database, which is where the thread closure option came from as a less-destructive compromise at the time.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:38 PM on August 28, 2013


We actually have two (well actually three) options for MetaTalk. One is closure where people just can't comment any more, the other is the deletion you'll see on the rest of the site (example), and the last is "black hole deletion" where the post is vanished from the site. We use that option pretty rarely, usually when someone is having a major "this should never have been on the site at all" meltdown or when something is pushing illegal. This used to be what happened to MeTa threads that were deleted. Right now I think only pb/mathowie can do this.

On MeFi and AskMe (as CP mentions) the posts are still there, they're just removed from general viewing and unavailable unless you have the URL to the deletion post (which the OP would have since it was MeMailed to them). Here's an example of one from MetaFilter from a few days ago.

So there are three options sitewide.

1. Closure - folks can't add comments anymore but everyone can see the thread.
2. Deletion - thread is removed from view but still viewable by knowing the URL and viewable by mods in admin view
3. Black Hole - gone entirely (possibly deprecated/no longer used)

Other subsites have the same "deleted with reason" option which is #2 on that list, we just almost never use it. Not totally sure if it looks the same for Jobs/IRL.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:39 PM on August 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


And here's a recent example of a deleted metatalk thread, just to add to the ho-hum demystification.

We delete relatively few Metatalk posts compared to blue posts, though, even with the modern non-nuclear/non-black-hole process, just because there's not quite so much curatorial process going on over here; usually, if someone wants to talk about something it's gonna be okay to bring up even if its a case where there's a real simple answer and a quick closure.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:43 PM on August 28, 2013


One potentially unique thing about MetaFilter that often sets off OCD alarms is that we don't have a unified code base. Each subsite has its own code that changes organically to suit its needs over time. So not every subsite has every feature of every other subsite. They're very similar, but there are slight differences that can be either charming or maddening depending on how you look at it.
posted by pb (staff) at 6:46 PM on August 28, 2013 [25 favorites]


Huh, my understanding was that mods wanted some posts be seen in MeTa, so that people would know an issue had already been discussed or covered. That wouldn't scale on the main site and wouldn't make sense on Ask.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:53 PM on August 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Okay, well I guess that explains it. Maybe you should go ahead and close this up? ;)
posted by BlahLaLa at 7:02 PM on August 28, 2013


Huh, I figured it was so that MeTa posters wouldn't feel like they'd been SILENCED ALL THEIR LIFE.
posted by hattifattener at 7:21 PM on August 28, 2013 [10 favorites]


I am curious orange.
posted by planetesimal at 8:15 PM on August 28, 2013


MetaFilter: charming or maddening depending on how you look at it
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 8:50 PM on August 28, 2013 [14 favorites]


How many times has the 'blackhole' option been used?
posted by hal_c_on at 10:02 PM on August 28, 2013


Like cortex says, that was the way things used to be deleted from MeTa so there's a bit of ambiguity about whether we were doing it on purpose, in older threads. Someone could check the info dumpster for missing thread numbers (which is also complicated because Ask and MeTa shared some numbering for a while) I can't remember the last time we used it intentionally, it's been years I think.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:07 PM on August 28, 2013


Yeah, it's more a matter of the old way of doing things than any contemporary practice. I can't remember specifically when the last time we actually nixed a thread from the database was, the last couple events were some time in the last several years and involved one sort of legitimate crazypantness or other from someone operating like several standard deviations off any kind of reasonable use of the site.

Ever since we've had a proper delete mechanism in place we just, y'know, delete the occasional really weird or ill-considered thread, same as the rest of the site.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:14 PM on August 28, 2013


Is the use of OCD here ableist?
posted by spunweb at 11:04 PM on August 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh my god.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 3:59 AM on August 29, 2013


"god" should be spelled "God" or "g-d".
posted by lalochezia at 4:58 AM on August 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


How about a fourth option where clicking on the thread just reveals the poster's name, and the word "SHAME" gradually materializes over it in large red letters?
posted by Wolfdog at 5:10 AM on August 29, 2013 [9 favorites]


My OCD is having trouble with this.

If it might help to have a reason for this, I've always figured it was because MetaTalk threads are, in large part, discussions about the site and how it is run, and they don't get deleted deleted in part out of Matt & the Mods' commitment to having a great deal of openness about how the site is run. Frequent deletions in MeTa would, I think, undermine the impression of that openness, so the bar to deletion in MeTa is much, much higher and one-and-done questions about the site don't make it over that bar.

That's my backward-reasoned, cargo-cult explanation anyway.
posted by gauche at 5:31 AM on August 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


even with the modern non-nuclear/non-black-hole process

I remember the old days. It was dirty, dangerous work being a mod, never knowing if the next deleted thread would incinerate you or rip you to atoms. Must've lost at least a couple dozen of the critters before Matt decided there must be a better way.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:10 AM on August 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


"god" should be spelled "God" or "g-d".

Or plural, if you're pagan. Check your privilege, MONOTHEIST
posted by Greg Nog at 6:11 AM on August 29, 2013 [28 favorites]


when neil hilborn's ocd love poem was going around a couple weeks ago he responded to some questions on reddit and he was asked about the overuse of the term ocd. his answer hits the closest to how i (someone with a less severe, but still very present case, of ocd) feel about it.

"It does bother me a little bit, but I also remind myself that OCD, like most if not all mental illnesses, works on a spectrum. So it is entirely possible that people who describe their "OCD tendencies" actually do experience obsessions about or compulsions to clean/organize."
posted by nadawi at 6:21 AM on August 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Well, clearly if a post was deleted on MetaTalk, we'd need a MetaMetaTalk to deal with it, then perhaps a MetaMetaMetaTalk to deal with problems there.
posted by Static Vagabond at 6:35 AM on August 29, 2013 [6 favorites]


One potentially unique thing about MetaFilter that often sets off OCD alarms is that we don't have a unified code base. Each subsite has its own code that changes organically to suit its needs over time.

Interesting. Didn't know that, and just wrongly otherwise that it was the same lump of code, with a few e.g. "IF MetaTalk THEN background=EnglishSkyGrey" like procedures.
posted by Wordshore at 7:04 AM on August 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


MetaTalk is its own Metatalk. So M(M(MF)=M(MF) where MF=Metafilter

And thus is follows that if Metatalk functions as MetaMetaTalk then it is also MetaMetaMetaTalk and so on...:
Proof: M(M(M(MF)))=M(M(MF))=M(MF)
posted by vacapinta at 7:18 AM on August 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


Static Vagabond: "MetaMetaMetaTalk"

MegaTalk
posted by zarq at 7:57 AM on August 29, 2013


How about a fourth option where clicking on the thread just reveals the poster's name, and the word "SHAME" gradually materializes over it in large red letters?

This sounds like a job for Greasemonkey!

Interesting. Didn't know that, and just wrongly otherwise that it was the same lump of code, with a few e.g. "IF MetaTalk THEN background=EnglishSkyGrey" like procedures.

The distinct codebases thing also explains in part how Metatalk ended up with only a delete-as-in-nuke option for so many years; it's not that that was written in specifically for Metatalk as a good idea, it's that that was what the site originally did on the blue back in the very early days and the grey's codebase was forked off from that before the deleted-as-in-hidden functionality was added.

So Metatalk inherited the gene a bit before Metafilter mutated it out of the gene sequence. Ask has it's on odd history of being a conjoined codebase (and even database table for posts) with Metatalk for a while before it split off on its own and firmed things up a bit.

If you did through the Infodump's post_data files you can figure out some of the history of this stuff forensically by looking for where e.g. the mefi data rows stop having significant gaps form missing-as-in-nuked posts or where ask and meta data begin to weirdly overlap and then get stable again as independent lists of rows.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:14 AM on August 29, 2013


EnglishSkyGrey

One of the nicer descriptions of that odd color that I've heard.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:19 AM on August 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


Well, clearly if a post was deleted on MetaTalk, we'd need a MetaMetaTalk to deal with it, then perhaps a MetaMetaMetaTalk to deal with problems there.

Take it to PataTalk.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 8:24 AM on August 29, 2013 [7 favorites]


The only music double I'm aware of off the top of my head:
Post 1
Post 2
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 9:05 AM on August 29, 2013


Closed meta threads are like severed heads on a post.
posted by mullacc at 9:13 AM on August 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


MetaTalk is its own Metatalk. So M(M(MF)=M(MF) where MF=Metafilter

You are ignoring MetaTalk Talk, that band from the 80s, with hits like "MetaTalk Talk" and (tellingly) "Such a Shame."
posted by GenjiandProust at 9:15 AM on August 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


"god" should be spelled "God" or "g-d".

That "G-d" thing always cracks me up. Folks must have a pretty low expectation of Mr. Tetragrammaton if they think He doesn't have enough of a grasp on the basic principles of semiotics to know a signifier when He sees one.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:59 AM on August 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


They're very similar, but there are slight differences that can be either charming or maddening depending on how you look at it.

Didn't the logos have different fonts for a long time or something? Once someone pointed it out I could never unsee it again.
posted by Rock Steady at 10:06 AM on August 29, 2013


Sys Rq: "That "G-d" thing always cracks me up. Folks must have a pretty low expectation of Mr. Tetragrammaton if they think He doesn't have enough of a grasp on the basic principles of semiotics to know a signifier when He sees one."

That's not why Jews do so.
posted by zarq at 10:11 AM on August 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


Some Jews, at least. I doubt all of us follow the tradition to the same degree, if we do it at all.
posted by zarq at 10:13 AM on August 29, 2013


lalochezia: ""god" should be spelled "God" or "g-d"."

I always go for "gawd" as it sidesteps the "taking in vain" aspect and approximates a Southern accent in a manner that totally livens this phrase up.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:27 AM on August 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


Weird. Using the built-in search engine I can search for the number of times I've written "god" on mefi: 11 posts and 241 comments. But I can't search for the number of times I've written "G-d" and I know I've done so.
posted by zarq at 10:41 AM on August 29, 2013


The dash is throwing things off. It's very hard to search for punctuation the way full-text searching works with the database we use. It treats punctuation more as a word-separator than something to be searched for.

You might try the same search at Google with the additional phrase "posted by zarq" and see if you can get some results that way.
posted by pb (staff) at 10:44 AM on August 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


That's not why Jews do so.

It's to avoid erasing it, right? But if the expurgated version is effectively the name by which He is referred, then surely erasing that is effectively the same?
posted by Sys Rq at 10:47 AM on August 29, 2013


pb: " You might try the same search at Google with the additional phrase "posted by zarq" and see if you can get some results that way."

LOL, that's how I found the one I linked to in that comment! :D

Am not complaining or asking y'all to change anything, btw. Just found it weird.

Sys Rq: "It's to avoid erasing it, right?

My (lay) understanding is that it's to avoid defacing or erasing the written name out of respect, and/or not taking an action which might lead to someone else defacing/erasing the name inadvertently. There's a passage in Deuteronomy which is usually interpreted to mean that one shouldn't destroy the name of G-d, but even that isn't supposed to include euphemisms. There are disagreements as to whether non-Hebrew language name(s) for G-d are considered euphemisms or not, so not everyone believes that the English word "god" even counts.

I'm not an expert on this and even though I do say "G-d" every once in a while it's more out of habit than belief. It's not something I pay much attention to. Someone who has studied the subject formally would probably be a better person to ask.

But if the expurgated version is effectively the name by which He is referred, then surely erasing that is effectively the same?"

Euphemism vs. actual name. Perhaps an analogy might be that a person's full name is not the same as an acronym, abbreviation or nickname. When it comes to G-d, some Jews consider the former sacred but not the latter.
posted by zarq at 11:16 AM on August 29, 2013


FWIW, I do think it's nitpicking. But the whole religion is filled with nitpicks, so it's not exactly out of character. :)
posted by zarq at 11:27 AM on August 29, 2013


The Jews who write G-d are building fences around fences. It's called Gezeirah: It's a law that isn't a law, but is intended to keep people from accidentally transgressing a law. There is only one real name for god in Judaism, the tetragrammaton, the four letters yud, heh, vov, and hey that nobody really knows how to pronounce but is sometimes rendered Jehovah and sometimes Yahweh.

Jews are supposed to be careful about this name -- there is a variety of prescriptions and proscriptions about its usage. Indeed, it is almost entirely defined by proscriptions. Nobody gets to say it, nobody gets to use it, it is not pronounced out loud, it is not erased, if it is in a book, the book is buried like a body, and when the word is seen in print, a substitution word is said out loud. Elohainu, as an example, meaning "our god," or "adonai," meaning approximately "The Lord." That's the first fence.

But now, in order to make sure we don't get confused by the substitution and accidental violate a commandment regarding the actual name of God, the substitution words are replaced with substitutions. Many observant Jews will only use the original substitution words during prayer, and otherwise say "hashem," meaning "the name." Or they will say "Elokenu" instead of "Eloheinu." And even then, when writing any of these substitution words, will use substitution letters, such as H-shem.

And so we end up with an additional fence built around English versions of these words. God is spelled G-d. Lord is spelled L-rd. None of this is for the sake of God, who, were He to exist, probably wouldn't care. The point of fences around fences is, initially, to make sure a commandment isn't violated, and, eventually, to represent ongoing cognizance of the commandment, and the importance of the commandment. When we wend down to G-d, we enter a purely symbolic area, where people do it almost exclusively as a representation of caution, a signifier of respect. And the name of God gets the most of these signifier, because, in Judaism, it is one of the most profound symbols of the religion. It is the unknowable, unspeakable name of the divine, and Jews will build as many fences as they feel are required to represent the power of that symbol.

It seems silly, maybe, but, then, we say the word "bear," which just means "brown thing," instead of ursu, which is the actual name of the animal, because we once had a taboo against naming things we thought were important. We say "deer," which just means "undomesticated animal," instead of the actual name of the animal, hart, for exactly the same reason. So we're all a bit silly like this.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:28 AM on August 29, 2013 [52 favorites]


*bows to Bunny's far better explanation*

Thanks, man. Much appreciated.
posted by zarq at 11:46 AM on August 29, 2013


So we're all a bit silly like this.

Thanks Bunny Ultramod. I never really understood that before. It's Cockney rhyming slang without the rhyme. Now it makes sense. Sort of.
posted by three blind mice at 12:31 PM on August 29, 2013


Well, sort of like Cockney rhyming slang — but more like the ritual make-believe approach to gun safety, where you make a point of treating unloaded guns as if they were loaded, and partly-disassembled guns as if they were fully-assembled, and fake guns as if they were real...
posted by Now there are two. There are two _______. at 1:12 PM on August 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


> Thanks Bunny Ultramod.

From me as well. I pretty much knew that stuff, but could never have put it so well, and now if it comes up I can just point people to your comment. This is why I love MeFi.
posted by languagehat at 2:07 PM on August 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


I so wish one of the mods would hide-with-a-deletion reason the closed thread here on MeTa re "facial transplant." It makes my heart hurt for the AskMeFi poster that the closed thread is still up.
posted by bearwife at 4:59 PM on August 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


Weirdly, I misread that post as somebody wanting to do a DIY fecal facial, and discovered there is such a thing.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 5:17 PM on August 29, 2013


NOT CLICKING.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:50 PM on August 29, 2013 [9 favorites]


Wise.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 6:27 PM on August 29, 2013


Spoiler: that Thing is bird poop (nightingale poop, to be specific). Powdered. $180 a pop.
posted by beagle at 6:32 PM on August 29, 2013


vacapinta: "MetaTalk is its own Metatalk. So M(M(MF)=M(MF) where MF=Metafilter

And thus is follows that if Metatalk functions as MetaMetaTalk then it is also MetaMetaMetaTalk and so on...:
Proof: M(M(M(MF)))=M(M(MF))=M(MF)
"


Whoa. Flashbacks to fanfiction!
posted by deborah at 7:01 PM on August 29, 2013


MetaTalk is its own Metatalk. So M(M(MF)=M(MF) where MF=Metafilter

And thus is follows that if Metatalk functions as MetaMetaTalk then it is also MetaMetaMetaTalk and so on...:
Proof: M(M(M(MF)))=M(M(MF))=M(MF)


Word of the day: idempotent
posted by Johnny Assay at 8:48 PM on August 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Unrelated to anything, I just realized Greg Nog's name sounds like Egg Nog.

This is like when I realized Clavdivs' name was pronounced Claudius.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 9:30 PM on August 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


This thread is like a word cloud for a pretty good liberal arts degree.
posted by Divine_Wino at 10:59 PM on August 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Johnny Assay: "Proof: M(M(M(MF)))=M(M(MF))=M(MF)

Word of the day: idempotent"

That's so awesome. I was actually going to ask... it's not recursion, it's not an identity function, but something in between. And there it is. Thanks.
posted by team lowkey at 12:39 AM on August 30, 2013


I just got it, right this moment, something I heard 15 years ago.

This dude was going on and on and on about how drunk he had been last week. This girl looked up at the sky and said 'Geedashdee in the sky, please shut this motherfucker up right now' and her friend responded with 'Amen!'. Praise Geedashdee, I am a wiser man today than I was yesterday.
posted by Doroteo Arango II at 1:51 AM on August 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


"There is only one real name for god..."

El is the true god, yahweh is an upstart imposter. It was El who visited Abraham. And El is a much nicer god too, he sits and has dinner with you. Yahweh is all "Don't do this, don't do that," and "attack that town, kill them all, men, women, and children."
posted by marienbad at 8:49 AM on August 30, 2013


What you want is Zurvan.
posted by planetesimal at 8:56 AM on August 30, 2013


Don't blame me, I voted for Zardoz.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:05 AM on August 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


Don't blame me, I voted for Zardoz.

Go ahead! Throw your vote away!
posted by like_a_friend at 9:24 AM on August 30, 2013


In fairness, he does vomit guns onto us.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:17 AM on August 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


Stone heads floating in the sky distributing firearms is no basis for a system of government.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 11:45 AM on August 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


I was actually going to ask... it's not recursion, it's not an identity function, but something in between

It's a fixed point or fixpoint.
posted by hattifattener at 12:21 PM on August 30, 2013


pb: "One potentially unique thing about MetaFilter that often sets off OCD alarms is that we don't have a unified code base. Each subsite has its own code that changes organically to suit its needs over time. So not every subsite has every feature of every other subsite. They're very similar, but there are slight differences that can be either charming or maddening depending on how you look at it."

help i am hyperventilating and breathing into a paper bag right now

having a bit of trouble dealing with this idea

HRF HRF HRF find my happy pla OH GOD IT'S ALL DIFFERENT hf hf hf hfhfhfhfhfhfhfhf
posted by scrump at 1:11 PM on August 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


AND IT'S FILLED WITH STARS...
posted by a humble nudibranch at 2:34 PM on August 30, 2013


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