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September 4, 2013 9:11 AM   Subscribe

I realize this might be spitting into the wind, but I would like to request that Mefites refrain from making comments of the "That says more about you than it does about ____" variety.

While I noticed a couple of these this morning that made me reach the boiling point, I hesitate to call out any individual instances since it is a general annoyance I've had for years that I've finally decided to comment on, rather than finding one individual instance particularly egregious.

I think these comments are a detriment to site discussion for the following reasons:

A) The "That says more about you than it does about _____" convention is a conversation stopper. It appears to almost always be intended as an insult, not a means of engendering discussion.

B) The comment is among the worst sort of "Oh, SNAP!" remark, where the end goal seems to be more about trying to increase favorite counts than making a meaningful contribution to a thread.

C) Ironically, using this convention tends to say more about the commenter, namely their inability to come up with an original response to a comment they disagree with and instead relying on a tired cliche, than it does the person they are responding to.
posted by The Gooch to Etiquette/Policy at 9:11 AM (300 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

Gooch, I know exactly what thread you're talking about, and in that instance it does seem justified.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:14 AM on September 4, 2013 [18 favorites]


I think that yes, it may be a conversation stopper, but it's meant in a way as the original poster should probably strongly reflect upon what and why they said. Or in another way, perhaps the way the conversation might go based upon the directed comment might not be a good path, and the conversation stopper might be a feature rather than a bug.

The last time I remember it was regarding the naked teaching FP. I thought the commentor that it was directed at misread the article or carried a lot of baggage with them which caused them to misread the article. I thought the "says more about the poster than the article" was quite appropriate.

I'd appreciate if there were fewer times that it was appropriate to use the "says more about you" thing, but the world doesn't change that fast.
posted by nobeagle at 9:20 AM on September 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


I think you say more about this cliche than it does about you.
posted by oceanjesse at 9:20 AM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I wouldn't miss it if that particular rhetorical gambit took a sabbatical. At best, the sort of pro forma OH SNAPness of it distracts from the whatever worthwhile point about a problem of perspective might otherwise be in the offing, and a lot of the time it feels more like just a template for the snap itself.

Of course, that goes for a lot of fixed phrases that show up in arguments. It's a hard thing to practically tackle since it's not like folks are actually directly consulting an official playbook and checking the errata for updates; people come across these phrases organically and a lot of the time I think the difficulty is someone encounters it in a striking or novel way and internalizes it as something to try out themselves some time. Language is addictive, rhetoric's catching.

C) Ironically, using this convention tends to say more about the commenter, namely their inability to come up with an original response to a comment they disagree with and instead relying on a tired cliche, than it does the person they are responding to.

I have been thinking off and on for a couple weeks now about trying to sit down and do a blog post in the form of an inductive proof that ever saying anything necessarily says more about the speaker than about the subject being spoken of. I'm pretty sure it's turtles all the way down once you work it out as a formal argument.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:23 AM on September 4, 2013 [22 favorites]


For seriouslies though, how did the conversation end after someone said "that says more about you than it does about ___"?

Maybe we attribute different meanings to the words "conversation" and "end".
posted by oceanjesse at 9:24 AM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


At best, the sort of pro forma OH SNAPness of it distracts from the whatever worthwhile point about a problem of perspective might otherwise be in the offing,

Yeah, right. Not in the case that prompted this particular meta, where the cluelessness was strong in that one.


And while I love the ideals of MetaFilter being a safe place for discussion where we always play the ball and not the man, I would not object to a bit more shaming of people who consistently do the whole harassment isn't real dance in every friggin thread we have about it, because they make MeFi much more hostile a place than a cpuple of "That says more about you than it does about _____" remarks.
posted by MartinWisse at 9:31 AM on September 4, 2013 [41 favorites]


I second (or third) this bit spittle in the wind.
posted by 0 at 9:36 AM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Just for the record, I'm sorry for being such an idiot towards the end of that thread. I have an idealistic streak that sometimes rears its head, and man, that was the wrong time, place, circumstance, target and subject. Apologies.
posted by zarq at 9:36 AM on September 4, 2013


I'm trying to talk about the rhetorical move in general, in the spirit of The Gooch having brought up specifically as a generality rather than an argument about its relative worth in that one thread. Please don't read me as having that specific argument when I'm not.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:36 AM on September 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


I don't really look at that as a conversation stopper, because it's easy to come up with common examples where it's perfectly valid (e.g. jealousy in romantic relationships are often not about the other partner and rather about the person who's jealous).

As with any tool, I think the question comes down to intent. If someone's in a frame of mind to be dismissive, they'll haul out this chestnut. If this chestnut somehow becomes rhetorica non grata, they'll just find some other turn of phrase to accomplish the same thing.
posted by DWRoelands at 9:42 AM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Clearly, my comment in that thread did not stop the conversation. But "that says more about you" is a lot better than the alternatives, which was to simply say shut the fuck up, or DIE MISOGYNIST SHITHEAD. So there's some utility in it.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 9:46 AM on September 4, 2013 [33 favorites]


I'm trying to talk about the rhetorical move in general,

Fair enough, but I think that's part of the problem; as MisantropicPainforest just said, it was written out of frustation and it seems unfair to attack them for this less than sanguine comment while ignoring the context in which it was made, when the sort of indirect snide and obnoxious remarks it was a response to are tolerated here to a far greater degree.

And yes, of course it's harder to police the latter sort of behaviour than comments that directly attack other posters. But I think that mods should be careful with contextless condemnation of conversational tropes like this.

(Where there other prominent examples of the use of this trope recently? If so, I haven't seen them. A quick search doesn't turn them up either, so I think I'm right in treating this as a complaint about a specific use of this phrase the poster disagreed with, where IMO that usage was justified.)
posted by MartinWisse at 9:54 AM on September 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


Thanks to the trick of nature that produces pattern recognition, AKA thought, it is impossible to form thoughts and opinions without a subjective perspective, often called "I" or the "self" for convenience, arising. This "self" is limited by contexts of time, space, and society, and as such many things which it believes objectively to be true are not true.

Telling a person that something they've said reflects back on who they are and what wrongheaded thoughts they may have, rather than actually offering some insight into an issue, is a useful and polite way to help people recognize this. It is far more polite than most other options, most of which involve insults or put-downs, and it is far more concise than the amount of analysis required to explain to somebody all the assumptions inherent in their fallacious arguments.

I like it.
posted by Rory Marinich at 9:56 AM on September 4, 2013 [19 favorites]


Usually (I think), I tend to say something more like "You are picking this one teeny thing to discuss as if that's all there is to discuss about this fpp. Why is that?" (Although I have surely been much less coherent than in that exact quote there, which is totally made up.)

But the concision of "That says more about you than it does about _____" is pretty great. And in my experience (here and out in the world), it's rarely a conversation-stopper, since the people it gets said to often seem to be unable to actually reflect on their own words and motives. So....maybe not at all useful. I dunno.
posted by rtha at 9:59 AM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


But I think that mods should be careful with contextless condemnation of conversational tropes like this.

I could have made this more explicit, but this is me having an opinion about language as a person rather than me laying down the law about what's permitted on Metafilter.

The mod response to "can everyone collectively stop saying fixed phrase x" is basically always "not in any enforceable sense, no." We're not blacklisting a phrase or otherwise prohibiting its use in any way, both as a matter of general policy (the list of things you're powerfully discouraged from saying around here is very, very small) and as a matter of practicality (see above re: difficulty of formally tackling a bit of rhetoric in a large, shifting group).

As some guy with opinions, my opinion is that that particular phrase gets overused and is generally less effective for anything other than a kiss-off than trying to communicate the same underlying notion in a nonce, organic fashion. It's not a value judgement about the substance of or context surrounding any given deployment, it's a frustration with the overall trend of the usage as something more distracting and less utile than just saying what that template stands in for.

But that's just me feeling the way I do about it. And in the spirit of different perspectives on stuff, I readily acknowledge that I may see it used more often in annoying ways and less often in apparently righteous ways than some other folks, just based on the conversations I end up reading and the places I end up reading them in. Maybe part of the result of working as a moderator and thus being exposed to a higher concentration of comments and arguments that people find annoying than the average person, I dunno.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:09 AM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have been thinking off and on for a couple weeks now about trying to sit down and do a blog post in the form of an inductive proof that ever saying anything necessarily says more about the speaker than about the subject being spoken of. I'm pretty sure it's turtles all the way down once you work it out as a formal argument.

Turtles, indeed: "Who am I? Why am I here?" [SLYT]
posted by notyou at 10:19 AM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


MeFI: ...contextless condemnation of conversational ...

Is there enough detail in the downloadable parts of the MiFi database to do a timebase analysis of a particular phrase like the current proto-meme in question?

Do phrases grow or wane in popularity?

Has this question been addressed in a multitude of master thesisi?

And does this meager post say more about me?
posted by sammyo at 10:19 AM on September 4, 2013


I know that once you make a post to Mefi or Meta it sort of takes on a life of its own and it is considered poor form to try to "direct" the conversation. But just for the sake of clarification, this has been a major site related pet peeve of mine for years. Seeing some examples in a contentious thread this morning may have prompted my "Maybe I should finally say something about this" reaction, but this post was intended to bring up a general site-related issue that has bugged me for a long time (the, to me, overuse of an insulting trite cliche as a rhetorical weapon). To be more direct, I don't find the use of the phrase in the "Teach Naked" thread any more egregious than any other examples I've seen on the site over the years and this post was not intended as an indirect callout of that thread (or the use of this rhetorical device in that thread specifically) in particular.

On preview - As further clarification, by "conversation stopper" I don't mean that use of this phrase makes the thread come to an end, since obviously that is simply not the case. But I do think it ends the conversation between the user of this rhetorical device and the person it is being directed at, since it usually signifies the end of civil discussion and the beginning of the "now let's just insult each other" phase.
posted by The Gooch at 10:25 AM on September 4, 2013 [8 favorites]


I agree for reasons I stated in this previous MeTa from last month.
posted by spaltavian at 10:35 AM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I feel as if the phrase is really handy as a sort of teachable moment*. You can pull the "this says more..." and follow it up with an explanation of your concern, what the comment puts you in mind of, that type of thing. Which is nice - one major set of things I've learned a great deal on Mefi is in the vein of "here is what I hear when you say this phrase", which is something that I wouldn't or even couldn't know about, not having the lived experience of whoever is explaining that to me. Knowing about the unintentional statements that we all make is helpful.

But that's a different mechanism than just dropping the phrase by itself. Which, yeah, I agree with The Gooch is a conversation stopper, because what do you respond to it? "No it doesn't"?

* I...may be only using that phrasing because of the teach naked thread rattling around my head, but still.
posted by Lemurrhea at 10:39 AM on September 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


On the other hand, that Decani (especially), three blind mice, shivohum and a couple others can be counted on to consistently defend, minimize and excuse sexual harassment does, in fact, say a lot about them. It says that they at least enable sexual harassment, and implies that they very might well enjoy engaging in it. And as they have no problem being judgmental about the women it occurs to, it seems that they wouldn't have very much of a leg to stand on when it comes to rebutting that charge.

Further, the idea that a conversation stopper is inherently wrong implies that their attempts to defend, minimize and excuse sexual harassment are a conversation worth having, rather than habitual ejaculations of ignorance and chauvinism. Stopping that conversation in its tracks is not a bad thing.
posted by klangklangston at 10:43 AM on September 4, 2013 [49 favorites]


A "lets all insult each other" phase definitely started after that, I am inclined to agree.
posted by oceanjesse at 10:43 AM on September 4, 2013


I don't like it. (Though I sure don't like the comment that prompted the example linked by EmpressCallipygos.) It is name calling, using a tiny little diaphanous veil. In general we should all be good enough at engaging the offensive argument or attitude to avoid making our disagreement into a personal attack.
posted by bearwife at 10:43 AM on September 4, 2013 [8 favorites]


an inductive proof that ever saying anything necessarily says more about the speaker than about the subject being spoken of

I have concerns about this proof and give as a counterexample any statement which is about the speaker (e.g. "I am hungry"), which would seem to not say more about the speaker than it says about "the subject being spoken of" (i.e., the speaker), since they are the same thing.

To suggest otherwise would be to risk contradiction, where "more" would equal "equal to", and "freedom" would equal "nothin' left to lose".
posted by the quidnunc kid at 10:57 AM on September 4, 2013 [12 favorites]


implies that they [specific MeFites in good standing] very might well enjoy engaging in [sexual harrassment].

Mods, seriously, why is shit like this tolerated?
posted by 0 at 11:07 AM on September 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


I tend to think decani is simply a dismissive "so and so should just suck it up" contrarian in response to anyone being offended by anything. I mention this not to defend him (because what he's doing frankly feels damned hostile to women) but merely to point out that this behavior is not unique on his part to sexual harassment threads.
posted by zarq at 11:08 AM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Mods, seriously, why is shit like this tolerated?

This is basically the only place where it is, and really mostly as an "it's okay to address what you see as long-standing issues with fellow mefites' behavior" aspect of how this place works. Doing it in the most constructive and least jerky way possible would be ideal, for sure.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:09 AM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


specific MeFites in good standing

On the issue(s) being discussed in the thread referenced, they are in pretty shitty standing.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:12 AM on September 4, 2013 [9 favorites]


Decani is a lovable grumpy fiftysomething. I often appreciate his ability to see that David Foster Wallace is overrated, among other things. However, the nice thing about the Internet and about threads in particular is that we can collectively tell him he's wrong and saying sorta hurtful things in threads about sexual harassment but also let him be him in places where having a strong contrary opinion isn't contributing to the beshittening of the human race.
posted by Rory Marinich at 11:14 AM on September 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


And fuck "good standing". Harassment is harassment. This isn't a boy's club, we don't get anniversary plaques. If somebody's being an ass I don't care how long they've been here. I'd hope that if I was being crappy people would call me out just as swiftly.
posted by Rory Marinich at 11:15 AM on September 4, 2013 [30 favorites]


"I agree for reasons I stated in this previous MeTa from last month."

That's interesting, because you criticized my use of it in this sentence:

"I'll mention that [some mefite's] presumption that [another mefite] was motivated by a desire for self-aggrandizement says more about [first mefite] than it says about him."

I think that's appropriate. You claimed that it and similar comments are wrong and condescending. But it's presumptuous to attribute a motive of self-aggrandizement to someone and, furthermore, while I grant you that many kinds of statements don't say very much (or anything notable) about the speaker, statements that are assumptions about other people's secret (and shameful) motivations are very much the kind of thing that tends to reveal much about the person making those assumptions about other people.

It was an appropriate use of it in the comment EmpressCallipygos linked. It's often appropriate.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:16 AM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


"That says more about you than it does about ____"

sort of country cousin to "you're either part of the problem, or you're part of the solution", because A. it's smug, B. even if it carries a small measure of truth, it's far more wrong that right, C. it's far more likely to engender enmity than any kind of conciliation.

Or more to the point, it endeavors to oversimplify, and in so doing, generally serves as either a direct insult or a corrective, both of which carry all manner of condescension. So, as cortex put it a while back ...

At best, the sort of pro forma OH SNAPness of it distracts from the whatever worthwhile point about a problem of perspective might otherwise be in the offing,

So yeah, if you've got a point to make, make it. Don't reach for the nearest available provocative cliche, which no doubt is worthy of its own smug dismissal.
posted by philip-random at 11:16 AM on September 4, 2013 [6 favorites]


Half of the front page today looks like The Airing of the Grievances, or 2-Minute Hate. It seems provocative & controversial subjects are all the rage amongst the posting kids, lately. So much shouting, so little fun.
posted by Devils Rancher at 11:18 AM on September 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


it's probably because summer vacation's over
posted by philip-random at 11:21 AM on September 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Decani is a lovable grumpy fiftysomething.

Two out of three ain't bad, I guess. I do not find it lovable that he seems to have appointed himself a Keeper Of Knowledge of Things That Are Actually Sexist, And What You Are Discussing Is Not It.

Also, it amuses me when he accuses people of overreacting to "trolls" when he drops one, shit-stirring comment in a thread and then goes away.
posted by rtha at 11:22 AM on September 4, 2013 [18 favorites]


Half of the front page today looks like The Airing of the Grievances

l'shana tovah everyone!
posted by elizardbits at 11:24 AM on September 4, 2013 [32 favorites]


Yes, but at least he went away.
posted by MoonOrb at 11:27 AM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


This seems like a good time to say that sometimes to cheer myself up I like to imagine Decani as a six year old in various situations.

Lil' Decani learns to ride a bike.
Lil' Decani when the shop is out of his favorite ice cream.
Lil' Decani and the new girl next door.
posted by that's how you get ants at 11:27 AM on September 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


I agree, this construction is bullshit and should go away. Whenever someone says it, what they are really saying is, "That says more to me about what I think you are probably like but am choosing to be mysterious and arch about than it does about X."
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 11:27 AM on September 4, 2013 [9 favorites]


So yeah, if you've got a point to make, make it. Don't reach for the nearest available provocative cliche

This is a website that has a little button under everyone's comments, and the zingier your comment, the more people press that button, which then gives you proof that gosh darnit, people like you.

It is utterly inevitable that Metafilter is the way it is. Righteous outrage and zingers are rewarded, opinions that disagree with everyone else aren't. It's increasingly rare that actual conversations happen here - just competitions to see who can post the zingiest thing.
posted by downing street memo at 11:28 AM on September 4, 2013 [21 favorites]


I would go so far as to say that those conditions were present prior to the existence of favorites.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:30 AM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I would actually prefer if people just came out and said "Strongly reflect upon what you said and why you said it."
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 11:32 AM on September 4, 2013 [8 favorites]


I suppose the world does look mean to people who think they are cool contrarians with nifty ideas, but are actually simply wrong about a lot of shit.
posted by bleep-blop at 11:33 AM on September 4, 2013 [11 favorites]


Ah yes, another MeTa along the lines, "The words you use to challenge a shitty worldview are making people uncomfortable!"
posted by frecklefaerie at 11:34 AM on September 4, 2013 [9 favorites]


It is utterly inevitable that Metafilter is the way it is. Righteous outrage and zingers are rewarded, opinions that disagree with everyone else aren't. It's increasingly rare that actual conversations happen here - just competitions to see who can post the zingiest thing.

It's not exactly as if those that "just disagree" aren't doing the same. Maybe people are saying shitty things, either because they believe it or for the lulz. You can claim that women aren't being harassed or that trans* people aren't being treated as non-entities or that minorities have equal or more rights, but it doesn't mean you're right just because you disagree. Contrarianism or LOLIBERALS just for its own sake doesn't mean you're Raging Against the MeFi Status Quo, it means you're trolling.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:39 AM on September 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


Righteous outrage and zingers are rewarded, opinions that disagree with everyone else aren't

So.....when I express an opinion that the thing we're discussing is an example of sexism and the person writing about it called it out in a good way, and then a lot of people come along and are all "That wasn't really harassment" and "The writer totally overreacted" and "Come on, there's so much worse stuff, why bring attention to trolls" and "This is the kind of thing that really turns people off to feminism" and "But the writer probably hurt the guy's feelings, and should have handled it differently" and some version of "I don't believe this happens" - am I expressing outrage with zingers, or am I in the group where everyone is disagreeing with me? This is confusing, so I'd appreciate some clarification.
posted by rtha at 11:39 AM on September 4, 2013 [20 favorites]


Honestly, I'm pretty glad this is a website where "opinions that disagree" with the fact that the things discussed in that thread are a problem are not rewarded, in whatever form that lack of reward takes place.

Really, if people back down from saying shitty, wrong things because they don't get enough favorites for saying shitty, wrong things, then it's an awesome day all around.
posted by griphus at 11:40 AM on September 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


... I would like to request that Mefites refrain from making comments of the "That says more about you than it does about ____" variety.

I'm down with that. That convention tends to kneecap a healthy, respectful discussion by focusing comments on the other members of the site, instead of the issues, topics and facts at hand.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:41 AM on September 4, 2013 [8 favorites]


But just for the sake of clarification, this has been a major site related pet peeve of mine for years.

A google search on the phrase you used in this post turned up seven usages, one of which being this one.

For a pet peeve it seems amazingly little used.
posted by MartinWisse at 11:44 AM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


am I expressing outrage with zingers, or am I in the group where everyone is disagreeing with me? This is confusing, so I'd appreciate some clarification.

First, this thread is about the general phenomenon of zingers taking the place of actual conversation, not solely the "teach naked" thread. If we limit our discussion to that thread, I agree that those minimizing harassment in that thread were wildly off-base, and that the weird back and forth does not constitute actual discussion.

But I think that characterizing that thread as a bunch of people disagreeing with you is inaccurate. I've read through the whole thing. There are maybe five people who could be even remotely described as making excuses for the student/harasser. Everyone agrees with you.

My point is that this kind of behavior - snarkily dismissive zings designed for triple-digit favorites - is prevalent outside cases like this, when right and wrong is relatively well-defined.
posted by downing street memo at 11:48 AM on September 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


Righteous outrage and zingers are rewarded, opinions that disagree with everyone else aren't.

I agree with this, and also wonder, though, if by "rewarded" you mean by the accumulation of favorites?

I know I've said it a number of times in MeTa, but turning off the visibility of favorites in-thread has completely enhanced my MetaFilter experience and totally mitigates against this type of "but why are people rewarding that comment feeling that I used to have when I'd see which comments were accumulating lots of favorites.
posted by MoonOrb at 11:49 AM on September 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


It is utterly inevitable that Metafilter is the way it is. Righteous outrage and zingers are rewarded, opinions that disagree with everyone else aren't. It's increasingly rare that actual conversations happen here - just competitions to see who can post the zingiest thing.

Eh, MetaFilter was a bit like this before the little button, it just made it easier.

To the topic at hand - yeah, I don't know. I agree with everyone, sort of. I think the "That says more about you than it does about X" often is exactly as it sounds, and really does describe what's going on with a comment or thread. But I also think, as with all other language, that once it's been released out into the world, it takes on a life of its own. Maybe most people who say that really are trying to get someone to do some self-examination, but it's a damn handy "booyah" and it's more or less inevitable that people are going to use it that way. What should be done about that is a whole other question; it may be possible to call out its use in specific instances, or it may die out on its own after those of us who read this MeTa think twice the next time we're tempted to use it.
posted by jennaratrix at 11:50 AM on September 4, 2013


I found it interesting that in the "Teach naked" thread, which was about a teacher who reacted to harassment not with anger or vitriol but chose to treat it as a "teaching moment", many early comments praised the teacher's approach to the issue, but when some offensive comments were made the thread devolved into anger and vitriol.
It could have been a teaching moment.
posted by rocket88 at 11:51 AM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


snarkily dismissive zings designed for triple-digit favorites

Ooh, triple digits? They go that high?
posted by jennaratrix at 11:52 AM on September 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


For a pet peeve it seems amazingly little used.

This is actually a tricky part of paramaterized fixed phrases, of which this is an especially tricky one since it's got a bunch of points of potential variation. It's easy to search for a specific string, but trickier (especially with generalized tools like google's limited wildcarding) to search for a complicated variable expression.

Because it's not just "That says more about you than it does about"; it's a bunch of inflections of a more general template. You could try and write it like this, say:

X says more about Y than [it does] about Z

Where X, Y, and Z could all be just about any noun or pronoun, and that "it does" may or may not be there. That covers a lot more ground but is hardly inclusive of the variations; people use other verbs than "say", might invert it to be e.g. "less about Z than it does about Y", might engage other small variations.

A google search for "says more about * than * about" turns up about 32 million hits for me. Many of those are likely to be false positives for phrases that happen to fit that wildcard structure while having different semantic content, but it's a more representative picture of the commonality of this usage than a search that turns up seven hits.

There's no easy way to search for this on Metafilter directly from the user side, but I might go plumbing at some point and see what I can turn up with a direct search of the db.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:52 AM on September 4, 2013 [9 favorites]


As with any tool, I think the question comes down to intent.

And in this case, the tools in question had ill-intent.
posted by octobersurprise at 11:52 AM on September 4, 2013


My point is that this kind of behavior - snarkily dismissive zings designed for triple-digit favorites - is prevalent outside cases like this, when right and wrong is relatively well-defined.

A quick check of the "Popular" comments, especially those with actual triple-digit favorites, casts serious doubt on this theory.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:55 AM on September 4, 2013 [15 favorites]


implies that they [specific MeFites in good standing] very might well enjoy engaging in [sexual harrassment].

Mods, seriously, why is shit like this tolerated?


That's actually one of the things MeFi perhaps doesn't do well. There are some people who are reliably awful on certain sorts of threads, who get a fair bit of room to do so because they don't attack other posters but rather belitttle the subject, often leading to the sort of outburst that this Meta is about as another poster is sick of their shit.

but when some offensive comments were made the thread devolved into anger and vitriol.

Case in point: the thread devolved into anger and vitriol with those offensive comments, while the response to them has been remarkably calm.
posted by MartinWisse at 11:55 AM on September 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


Rory Marinich: "Decani is a lovable grumpy fiftysomething. I often appreciate his ability to see that David Foster Wallace is overrated, among other things. However, the nice thing about the Internet and about threads in particular is that we can collectively tell him he's wrong and saying sorta hurtful things in threads about sexual harassment but also let him be him in places where having a strong contrary opinion isn't contributing to the beshittening of the human race."

So what you're saying is, "It's okay behavior, but only when I agree with him."

It's not, though.

For example, he's (at least once) completely misunderstood the dynamic of an FPPs given situation and let loose with a misapplied anti-religious rant. That sort of thing can be harmful to polite discourse.

Set the bar higher.
posted by zarq at 11:58 AM on September 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


many early comments praised the teacher's approach to the issue, but when some offensive comments were made the thread devolved into anger and vitriol.
It could have been a teaching moment.


The difference there is that she was a teacher speaking to students, and we are not. Metafilter is not a class room and other Mefites are not your teachers. It is not my responsibility to teach Remedial Respect Towards Other Humans 101, and especially it is not my responsibility to do it for free.

And besides, we have offered repeated free courses in other threads which have all gone ignored. The fact that other people have already flunked out of all of those is no longer my problem.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:02 PM on September 4, 2013 [13 favorites]


It's often appropriate

I don't how you are using "appropriate" here. I said it's often wrong, and usually worse than the comment if refers to. I think your use of it there met both of my criteria for not liking it. I don't think it did say more about the speaker, but even if it did, you're use of an "oh snap"-y, arch-sounding comment is worse, or at least sounds worse, to me than the original offense. A haughty tone may bother me more that others.
posted by spaltavian at 12:03 PM on September 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also, I'll add that the weasel words bother me. If you're so sure that it says more about the speaker, than what, exactly does it say? Own up to the accusation you are making.
posted by spaltavian at 12:06 PM on September 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


On the other hand, that Decani (especially), three blind mice, shivohum and a couple others can be counted on to consistently defend, minimize and excuse sexual harassment does, in fact, say a lot about them. It says that they at least enable sexual harassment, and implies that they very might well enjoy engaging in it. And as they have no problem being judgmental about the women it occurs to, it seems that they wouldn't have very much of a leg to stand on when it comes to rebutting that charge.

FFS. Really? This seems waaaay out of line and over the line and through it. It is a fine line between disagreeing with someone's world view and branding them a sexual harassment enabler. I'd prefer to give them all the benefit of the doubt and lean toward disagreeing.
posted by tafetta, darling! at 12:08 PM on September 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


Clearly, my comment in that thread did not stop the conversation. But "that says more about you" is a lot better than the alternatives, which was to simply say shut the fuck up, or DIE MISOGYNIST SHITHEAD. So there's some utility in it.

a) Your comment certainly makes me less interested in reading your future comments in that particular thread.

b) Your comment reads as "shut the fuck up" implicitly.

Maybe the real solution to this is to move the "Note: Everyone needs a hug" text to just above the post box, and also tick its font size up a notch.
posted by Going To Maine at 12:09 PM on September 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


"I agree for reasons I stated in this previous MeTa from last month."

That's interesting, because you criticized my use of it in this sentence:

"I'll mention that [some mefite's] presumption that [another mefite] was motivated by a desire for self-aggrandizement says more about [first mefite] than it says about him."

I think that's appropriate.


The whole gang's back together! I'm the [some mefite] that Ivan F. was referring to. And I do actually dislike this phrase for the reasons that Steely-eyed Missile Man gave above, particularly the "mysterious and arch" bit. But also I think it's a bit cowardly. If it says more about PERSON than it does about X, then why not just enumerate what the statement says about PERSON?

In Ivan F's usage of it towards my comments, I really wasn't certain which particular flavor of moldy quiche was being flung, so my initial reaction was "Really? Well why don't you just spell them out then instead of insinuating?", but I figured my comment had already become a bit of a derail so I demurred.

I'd be happy to see it deprecated, but if not, I'd also be happy if some mefite took it upon themselves to follow up every usage of it with "Why so arch? Explicate your intended insult".
posted by amorphatist at 12:11 PM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also, I'll add that the weasel words bother me. If you're so sure that it says more about the speaker, than what, exactly does it say? Own up to the accusation you are making.

IMO the moderation structure of the Blue very strongly discourages this, because if it's wildly blatant racism/sexism/etc, then the comment and responses get deleted. If it's not, then at best your response can suggest it, lest it be deleted instead.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:11 PM on September 4, 2013


A quick check of the "Popular" comments, especially those with actual triple-digit favorites, casts serious doubt on this theory.

You know what? Let's break it down. The popular favorites are currently re:

-Being a good neighbor
-Being a member of a tax-paying society
-An explanation of the teacher's actions in the thread that spawned this MeTa
-A confirmation that just because you are not told something of a person's experience does not mean the thought of it is absent and the experience non-existent
-An expert explanation of chemical vs. biological weapons
-A request for more civility when discussing violence against women
-A expert explanation of demographic shifts
-A personal history of the difficulties encountered by the women crew of a sailing ship
-Another, similar explanation replying to the person comment #4 was replying to
-A quote about poverty
-A joke about child-rearing
-A joke about babies
-Some optimism about the news
-A joke making light of mansplaining
-Being a member of a tax-paying society

So we have:
1 piece of advice
1 bit of optimism
1 quote about a significant social issue
2 detailed explanations of individuals' fields of expertise
3 jokes at the expense of no one
2 comments that may be considered "zingers" replying to a frankly ridiculous statement

and

5 requests for more open-mindedness and less contrarianism when discussing difficulties women encounter in society.
posted by griphus at 12:13 PM on September 4, 2013 [25 favorites]


a) Your comment certainly makes me less interested in reading your future comments in that particular thread.

If you were more put off by my comment than the comments the apologists for sexual harassment were making, well then...
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 12:17 PM on September 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


IMO the moderation structure of the Blue very strongly discourages this, because if it's wildly blatant racism/sexism/etc, then the comment and responses get deleted. If it's not, then at best your response can suggest it, lest it be deleted instead

So, if I understand you correctly (and apologies if I've misread), your understanding of the use of this phrase is that it's a conveyance to suggest an insult that one might like to make but one knows will be zapped by the mods.

I think I might agree with that. Which is why the phrase is problematic.
posted by amorphatist at 12:18 PM on September 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


So, if I understand you correctly (and apologies if I've misread), your understanding of the use of this phrase is that it's a conveyance to suggest an insult that one might like to make but one knows will be zapped by the mods.

No, I'm saying that saying "women/minorities/etc deserve to be treated poorly and this is why" outright will get zapped, responding to someone very strongly implying why women/minorities/etc deserve the treatment they get with "you're sexist/racist/etc" will get zapped, but doing neither will not. There are very strong cases where people are being sexist/racist/etc and calling them out on it is not an insult.

I think I might agree with that. Which is why the phrase is problematic.

Do you think that MeFi allowing people to be discriminatory windbags as long as they don't say it in plain English would be less problematic?
posted by zombieflanders at 12:25 PM on September 4, 2013


I feel as if the phrase is really handy as a sort of teachable moment*

I think this is honestly one of the things that makes that phrase so offensive and so much like dropping red meat into sharkwater. It's patronizing, condescending, and serves no other purpose besides making the person who says it feel like they are Enlightening the other person.

I've been irritated when I've seen it as well, Gooch, and it does seem like it happens with an annoying frequency. There are a few other short phrases that do the same, so it's not alone, but it's definitely there.
posted by corb at 12:28 PM on September 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


I always rephrase "this says more about you" as "check your premises."
posted by octobersurprise at 12:29 PM on September 4, 2013 [8 favorites]


Contrarianism or LOLIBERALS just for its own sake doesn't mean you're Raging Against the MeFi Status Quo, it means you're trolling.

At the same time, I think sometimes people interpret things as Contrarianism or LOLliberals when in fact it's just simply someone's opinion. I know this happens a lot with me - I have to sometimes very carefully make it clear that I'm not just trying to thumb my nose at people. If I come in and comment genuinely the first thing that comes into my head - kind of like I would in an actual conversation in RL where you can't take twenty minutes to think out your statement - it's often taken as trolling, even when it's not, and even when someone else commenting the first thing that comes into their head but from the other direction is not taken as trolling.

Which doesn't mean I'm necessarily Raging Against the MeFi Status Quo either, but it does mean that sometimes the dynamic sucks for someone who is arguing from a different position than a lot of people, is hard for people to identify with, and thus doesn't get given the benefit of the doubt in the same way that people who are agreed or identified with do.
posted by corb at 12:36 PM on September 4, 2013 [14 favorites]


Do you think that MeFi allowing people to be discriminatory windbags as long as they don't say it in plain English would be less problematic?

I'm not handing out awards for less or more problematic. The phrase is still a bit dodgy IMHO.
posted by amorphatist at 12:37 PM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Do you think that MeFi allowing people to be discriminatory windbags as long as they don't say it in plain English would be less problematic?

An intelligent comment calling out a discriminatory windbag is always a good read, and something that I think adds to the site. But then, I've probably favorited more comments of the "Oh, Snap" variety myself (in addition to making one or two when I should have held my tongue).
posted by Going To Maine at 12:42 PM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I tend to keep scrolling when people use stock phrases I find irritating, rather than letting my annoyance gather for years before typing up a MeTa about it.

At the same time, I think sometimes people interpret things as Contrarianism or LOLliberals when in fact it's just simply someone's opinion. I know this happens a lot with me - I have to sometimes very carefully make it clear that I'm not just trying to thumb my nose at people.

Well, if people think you're Raging Against the Mefi Status Quo sometimes, I think they can be forgiven. This comment of yours immediately sprang to mind as deliberately provocative - you brought up a point barely tangentially related to the subject of the thread in what looks like just one big smirk at those liberals and their fear of guns. I'm not telling you what your motivations were, mind you; I'm telling you why it comes across the way it does. And if this is, as you say, something that comes up a lot, maybe the problem isn't "the dynamic" of the site but rather how you make your point. I mean the great thing about an online discussion is you can take your time and rephrase your responses many times before making your opinion known. I've been trying to use that advantage more, myself - I started writing this comment about 20 minutes ago. Couldn't hurt, anyway.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:48 PM on September 4, 2013 [7 favorites]


An intelligent comment calling out a discriminatory windbag is always a good read, and something that I think adds to the site.

FWIW, contrary to the belief of members like downing street memo, I think that these far outweigh the prevalence of "zingers." A cursory glance at the statistics backs up my theory, and I'd wager that a full examination of the history of the site would do so as well.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:48 PM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's a fair point, I tend to do most of my commenting in politics-related threads, and I don't believe that the site is uniformly bad on this point. But in politics threads, its absolutely an issue that actual conversation is very frequently short-circuited by early zingers.
posted by downing street memo at 12:51 PM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


If I come in and comment genuinely the first thing that comes into my head ... it's often taken as trolling, even when it's not

At a strictly rhetorical level it's often hard to distinguish between bad faith trolling and genuinely held fantasies. If I insist that I'm being hunted by the Lollipop Guild and that those goddamned dwarfs will be the death of me, then it may not be immediately obvious that I'm not trolling, simply because dude what the hell? the Lollipop Guild?
posted by octobersurprise at 12:57 PM on September 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


This comment of yours immediately sprang to mind as deliberately provocative - you brought up a point barely tangentially related to the subject of the thread in what looks like just one big smirk at those liberals and their fear of guns.

Actually, that comment was exactly what I was thinking of in terms of being jumped on and not being given the benefit of the doubt. It was my first response to the subject of discussion - something that I happen to be very passionate about, which is the voluntary disarmament of the Left - which, you know, outside of Metafilter, I am generally considered a member of. To the extent of getting death and rape threats from conservatives, which makes this whole thing bizarrely surreal, I assure you.

The criticism of liberal nonviolence doesn't only come from the Right, and it's not all sneering people from West Virginia in stereotypical pickup trucks. Did I express it in a well-thought out three-paragraph response? No, absolutely not - because I had an emotional moment of frustration no different from those that many people have elsewhere on Metafilter without being jumped on. But viewing that as only tangientally related I would argue is a mistake, and one brought on more by what people perceive my motives to be, or would like my motives to be, than what they actually are.
posted by corb at 1:07 PM on September 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Corb, all that is being suggested to you is that a) aiming to respond to the post will keep you from being perceived as tangential and b) while passion may motivate a comment, careful re-reading and editing will vastly improve its reception. Posting in an emotional moment of frustration is something you should try to avoid doing -- indeed, all of us should. None of us communicate best then.
posted by bearwife at 1:13 PM on September 4, 2013 [7 favorites]


Corb, all that is being suggested to you is that a) aiming to respond to the post will keep you from being perceived as tangential and b) while passion may motivate a comment, careful re-reading and editing will vastly improve its reception. Posting in an emotional moment of frustration is something you should try to avoid doing -- indeed, all of us should. None of us communicate best then.

I'm going to reiterate my request that we make the "Note: Everybody Needs A Hug" text larger. Or maybe force people to preview their contents before posting? Or (alternately) give them an "undo post" button a la Gmail? (That last one is a bit iffy in a forum context, I'll grant.)

But that's all assuming that we have a systematic problem.
posted by Going To Maine at 1:16 PM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm going to reiterate my request that we make the "Note: Everybody Needs A Hug" text larger.

I'm already hugged out for this week, thank you very much. Also, is anybody else growing a little suspicious that Going to Maine is an agent of Big Hug? Hmmmn.
posted by amorphatist at 1:24 PM on September 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think this is honestly one of the things that makes that phrase so offensive

Right. It's a real affront to human decency, alright.
posted by Ipsifendus at 1:25 PM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Perhaps not, but the phrase is a personal slam. And most people feel offended at that.

Also, I'm happy to append a Big Virtual Hug to my comment to corb. It was meant to read as friendly.
posted by bearwife at 1:28 PM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Teachable moment" is indeed a truly condescending phrase.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 1:33 PM on September 4, 2013 [12 favorites]


Aw, thanks bearwife. I didn't take it badly. I agree that we're not all at our best when posting while frustrated - but I think sometimes articles posted do create those reactions all around, but people's reactions are tempered by what they think they know of the person or their interactions with them.

I'm going to reiterate my request that we make the "Note: Everybody Needs A Hug" text larger. Or maybe force people to preview their contents before posting?

Actually, I think more importantly than that, would be a stronger stance against personal attacks on the blue. The fact that we have a phrase which has been created to be able to get around being obvious about insulting another member, but in fact is designed for that, is kind of a problem. We should be striving for less ways to insult each other, not more - and honestly, maybe more deletions for things that contain an insult inside them rather than deletions only for jerkish moments that are content-free.
posted by corb at 1:35 PM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


something that I happen to be very passionate about, which is the voluntary disarmament of the Left

I say, that's extraordinarily generous of you given your fears of a communist revolution and your general fondness for the Maggie Thatchers and Mitt Romneys of the world.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:35 PM on September 4, 2013 [6 favorites]


When someone goes into great detail about how they're certain that when their neighbor asks to borrow the leaf-blower to clear their yard, what the neighbor really wants to do with it is to have two-stroke sex with a gardening tool (while wearing fishing waders, a straw hat, and nothing else) and that they can tell that this is true by how the neighbor asked about the leaf-blower, how the neighbor looked at that sexy, sexy plastic-and-metal machine with larceny in their heart and their loins inflamed ...

... I reserve the right to say that they'e just told me more about themselves than they have about their neighbor. Going into detail is best left for their therapist.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 1:37 PM on September 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


"Teachable moment" is indeed a truly condescending phrase.

BINGO!
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:38 PM on September 4, 2013


we don't get anniversary plaques

Speak for yourself!
posted by Mister_A at 1:41 PM on September 4, 2013


It's obviously meant to perform "condescension" in every instance.

We are mostly debating when it's ok to condescend to an interlocutor. My own view is that there are more prevalent and nastier ways condescension gets performed here though, most especially in the tolerance for maximally snarky paraphrase in rejoinders.

But it's the Internet. MeFi isn't better, just more nerdy.
posted by spitbull at 1:43 PM on September 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


I say, that's extraordinarily generous of you given your fears of a communist revolution and your general fondness for the Maggie Thatchers and Mitt Romneys of the world.

It's entirely possible to believe that people - whether right or left - should keep arms to defend themselves against state violence whether totalitarian or communist. I know this may seem strange to you, but I assure you it is not really as contradictory as it may appear on first glance, and in fact, may be naturally complementary.

But I think you probably already know that and are just trying to demonstrate to everyone the efficacy of zingers. In which case, well done!
posted by corb at 1:43 PM on September 4, 2013


Worldviews. We has them.
posted by spitbull at 1:44 PM on September 4, 2013


I always rephrase "this says more about you" as "check your premises."

"Strongly reflect upon what you said and why you said it."

Both of these alternatives offered upstream strike me as MORE condescending than the "says about you" construct.

Of course, many of the people who this is often aimed at are frequent commenters with often distinctive patterns of thinking and responding, so in those cases, it's more of a 'shutdown' than for inexperienced commenters about whose worldview we don't know a lot. A lot of us have made long comments detailing experiences that informed our worldview, so maybe an alternative should be along the lines of "tell us what in your background leads to THAT set of assumptions" (although it might be better with more anonymity - like the questionnaire in the original post!)
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:50 PM on September 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


When someone goes into great detail about how they're certain that when their neighbor asks to borrow the leaf-blower to clear their yard, what the neighbor really wants to do with it is to have two-stroke sex with a gardening tool (while wearing fishing waders, a straw hat, and nothing else) and that they can tell that this is true by how the neighbor asked about the leaf-blower, how the neighbor looked at that sexy, sexy plastic-and-metal machine with larceny in their heart and their loins inflamed ...


...go on...
posted by MoonOrb at 1:50 PM on September 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


When someone goes into great detail about how they're certain that when their neighbor asks to borrow the leaf-blower to clear their yard, what the neighbor really wants to do with it is to have two-stroke sex with a gardening tool [...] I reserve the right to say that they'e just told me more about themselves than they have about their neighbor.

Yes, yes, but what if the neighbor has also recently borrowed the Dyson, the WD-40, the slip n' slide, and the power-augur?
posted by amorphatist at 1:51 PM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Remind them that WD-40 isn't a lubricant.
posted by Quonab at 1:56 PM on September 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


I must respectfully disagree with cortex's analysis about searching for the phrase, since substituting X for "you" in "says more about you" opens it up to manymanymany false positives and almost no real examples.

I searched for "says more about you than" site:metafilter.com and got 485 results, but then noticed that 7 of 10 on the first page were from AskMe and were mostly in the context of questioning the context of the original asker...

So I refined it to remove ask.metafilter and it was cut down to 114 results.

What does this say about people who respond badly to the "says more about you" cliche? It says they read more of AskMe than the Front Page, right?
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:59 PM on September 4, 2013


I assure you it is not really as contradictory as it may appear on first glance

Oh, there's nothing contradictory in believing that happiness is a warm gun.
posted by octobersurprise at 2:05 PM on September 4, 2013


Remind them that WD-40 isn't a lubricant.

Orly?

Myth: WD-40 Multi-Use Product is not really a lubricant.
Fact: While the “W-D” in WD-40 stands for Water Displacement, WD-40 Multi-Use Product is a unique, special blend of lubricants. The product’s formulation also contains anti-corrosion agents and ingredients for penetration, water displacement and soil removal.

posted by amorphatist at 2:05 PM on September 4, 2013


It was a joke.
posted by Quonab at 2:07 PM on September 4, 2013


Oh, good. I'll just put that mini can of WD-40 back in my bedside drawer with the condoms, then.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 2:07 PM on September 4, 2013 [6 favorites]


corb: It's entirely possible to believe that people - whether right or left - should keep arms to defend themselves against state violence whether totalitarian or communist. I know this may seem strange to you, but I assure you it is not really as contradictory as it may appear on first glance, and in fact, may be naturally complementary.

But I think you probably already know that and are just trying to demonstrate to everyone the efficacy of zingers. In which case, well done!


If I may offer a well-intentioned observation: I think a lot of the impression of insincerity that some people have of you would be hugely reduced if you could sort of pull back on the comebacks like that second paragraph.

From reading your posts I get that you have a fairly atypical background and that that's led to a belief set that's very unusual in the USian discourse space. That *particularly combined with* your utterly standard and typical habit of frustrated snarky comebacks, (which has gone down a lot since you started posting and is really less than a lot of people here but whaddayagonnado) I think, tends to lead people to believe that you're coming from a disingenuous place.

So in terms of you feeling less frustrated, I think you'd get a lot of mileage out of really trying not to engage in that sort of back and forth. Not claiming it's fair or whatever, but I think it would be effective.

(I know you've done some traveling in social justicey circles so think of us as having internalized gunphobia if that helps.)
posted by PMdixon at 2:09 PM on September 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


So I refined it to remove ask.metafilter and it was cut down to 114 results.

What does this say about people who respond badly to the "says more about you" cliche? It says they read more of AskMe than the Front Page, right?


I never read Ask, and I'd say 114 times is a lot of times. See a stock phrase ten times and it will start to seem pretty trite.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 2:11 PM on September 4, 2013


I think, tends to lead people to believe that you're coming from a disingenuous place.

There have also been a number of times where corb was called out for selectively quoting and misrepresenting source material. IIRC, in one thread she said that there were no references to slavery in one of the southern state's secession documents, and provided a bunch of quotes to back her up, then a bunch of other people opened the document, ctrl+f'd slavery, and there were a couple dozen references. So, you know, stuff like that.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 2:19 PM on September 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


It was a joke.

Insufficiently lubricated augur is never a joking matter...
posted by amorphatist at 2:20 PM on September 4, 2013


Let's please not make this All About Corb.
posted by MoonOrb at 2:21 PM on September 4, 2013 [8 favorites]


For the record, I'm also semi-sad that the "FTFY" (Fixed that for you!) zinger has been socially banished from the site, although I still occasionally see somebody striking out and replacing part of a phrase to change it meaning in a snarky but insightful way.

Snark and insight are not mutually exclusive, although they often do not blend together cohabitate well. Fixed that for me.
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:23 PM on September 4, 2013


"I never read Ask, and I'd say 114 times is a lot of times. See a stock phrase ten times and it will start to seem pretty trite."

For the sake of argument, let's assume that those 114 instances actually constitute all the non-AskMe usage of that expression on MetaFilter during its history. How many comments do you think you'd have to read in order to more likely than not have seen that expression here ten times?
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 2:24 PM on September 4, 2013


How about if we keep the sentence, but people stop using "trope" all the time, I would love that.
posted by windykites at 2:25 PM on September 4, 2013


Maybe if every time someone uses the word "trope" they must link to the appropriate TVTropes page. That'll discourage its use.
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:28 PM on September 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


I must respectfully disagree with cortex's analysis about searching for the phrase, since substituting X for "you" in "says more about you" opens it up to manymanymany false positives and almost no real examples.

I'm open for discussion on this point but it would be helpful to know whether you've determined the false positive rate based on an actual survey of the results or just what you're guessing you'd see.

I haven't done a thorough survey in this case, though I've looked into this one before and am going partly off what I recall finding a year or two ago. I only informally scanned the first couple of pages I got this morning, but I wasn't seeing a high rate of falses at all; it was people using variations of the phrase in the same sense we're talking about here. The biggest variation in form was that many of those citations involved a third party ("says more about him", "says more about Ted") rather than than a second person pronoun. It's the same construction, regardless. I'd be curious to see more thorough results.

For the sake of argument, let's assume that those 114 instances actually constitute all the non-AskMe usage of that expression on MetaFilter during its history. How many comments do you think you'd have to read in order to more likely than not have seen that expression here ten times?

The phrase is not unique to Metafilter; you do not have to have encountered it on Metafilter ten times to have encountered it ten times. You might have encountered it a hundred times elsewhere and only once here and it'd be enough to be reminded here that it is annoying/stale/etc. Certainly my annoyance with it is not constrained to Metafilter, by a long shot.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:30 PM on September 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


cortex, ban this phrase everywhere, and for all time! You have the power! You are teh modulator!
posted by Mister_A at 2:32 PM on September 4, 2013


many early comments praised the teacher's approach to the issue, but when some offensive comments were made the thread devolved into anger and vitriol.
It could have been a teaching moment.

The difference there is that she was a teacher speaking to students, and we are not. Metafilter is not a class room and other Mefites are not your teachers. It is not my responsibility to teach Remedial Respect Towards Other Humans 101, and especially it is not my responsibility to do it for free.

And besides, we have offered repeated free courses in other threads which have all gone ignored. The fact that other people have already flunked out of all of those is no longer my problem.


Convictions, opinions, and attitudes can and do change, but rarely through name-calling, shaming, or driving people from the site. My own have changed markedly since I became a mefite - I used to be quite conservative and libertarian. Mostly it was because some good people took the time to point out where my premises and assumptions were flawed and nobody ridiculed or insulted me. The site has changed, though, and too many now would rather get angry and offended than try to change hearts and minds.
I think many here are attracted to threads about controversial topics because they know they can get their fight on.
posted by rocket88 at 2:34 PM on September 4, 2013 [6 favorites]


Is this the thread where I say how much it bugs me when people say something like "mods, delete this if you want"? THEY DON'T NEED YOUR PERMISSION PEOPLE! THAT'S THE POINT!
posted by PMdixon at 2:34 PM on September 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


What? The word "Trope" comes from Greek, and is a term of classical poetics going back to Aristotle. It means a recurrent form of figurative language. That meaning is both precise and necessary in many contexts of use -- there is no better or more precise word. It is no more an example of trendy jargon than "theodicy" or "aesthetics."

(on edit, that was in response to windykites)
posted by spitbull at 2:37 PM on September 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


As pop jargon it's sort on a big rise the last few years, though. TVTropes probably as a major culprit for internet/metafilter types, though in general I think the rise of a much more active realtime media pop criticism/analysis/discussion culture has driven it into use both out of actual utility and a bit of faddish novelty.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:40 PM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


How about if we keep the sentence, but people stop using "trope" all the time, I would love that.

I'd be up for keeping the sentence, and even getting rid of trope (that one never even crossed my mind as being annoying, why the hate?), if we could ditch teachable moment.
posted by amorphatist at 2:40 PM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Theodicizr.com has ruined that one too.
posted by Mister_A at 2:41 PM on September 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


Is this the thread where I say how much it bugs me when people say something like "mods, delete this if you want"? THEY DON'T NEED YOUR PERMISSION PEOPLE! THAT'S THE POINT!


I say that, and now you mention it... Although I think I mean it as shorthand for "I will not start a MetaTalk thread about WHY WERE MY BEAUTIFUL WORDS MURDERED YOU WORDERERS!"
posted by running order squabble fest at 2:47 PM on September 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Not to mention theodicy.stackexchange.com

("So I'm trying to initialize my universe using a C-style constructor. It runs fine until I load the freeWill libraries, and then I'm getting all kinds of 'justice out of bounds' errors. Anyone seen this before?")
posted by PMdixon at 2:48 PM on September 4, 2013 [7 favorites]


(Oh, and as a classicist, it weirds me out that people now use trope to mean topos, but there probably isn't any harm in it.)
posted by running order squabble fest at 2:48 PM on September 4, 2013 [8 favorites]


If I were in just a tiny bit crankier mood this morning, I'd be tempted to say 'go fuck yourself: I'll use that construction or its equivalent if I feel like doing so is necessary or appropriate'.

But I'm not, so I won't. Which speaks volumes about me, I know.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:52 PM on September 4, 2013


I don't think I've ever used it here, though. Just principle, my good fellow or madam.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:53 PM on September 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


people stop using "trope" all the time, I would love that.

Especially because they almost always really mean "topos."
posted by RogerB at 3:00 PM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Jesus christ i fist pumped when i saw this post

I feel as if the phrase is really handy as a sort of teachable moment*. You can pull the "this says more..." and follow it up with an explanation of your concern, what the comment puts you in mind of, that type of thing.

Yea, and i agree with you except:

A. i've only seen someone do that like once, and i think the last time was in another meta when someone got specifically called out mid-comment stream for using that exact thing

B. the entire post could still do without it. It's just an irritating construct. You could write a post of "here's how this seems to me, and here's a break down of what's wrong with your approach/framing/attitude/entire post". That specific line is ENTIRELY there to be "checkmate, atheists!" style zing.

And yea, 99% of the time it's used to just shut down the other side when you don't have anything else worthwhile to say in response to what they're saying. Pulling out a few righteous "but they were teh sexist!" instances doesn't change that. It's like a super unfair special attack one character would have in an unbalanced fighting game.

Half of the front page today looks like The Airing of the Grievances, or 2-Minute Hate.

I've been wanting to make a MeTa on this honestly, but i couldn't decide how to frame it. That was definitely part of the feeling that lead to my "why do we need 20 syria threads" MeTa, but definitely yea.

It's like everyone is trying to start a big controversial fight in which they can see their hobbyhorse roll to victory with the backing of lots of like minded folk. Several of them have really felt like they were basically posted so everyone could go "yea, this thing is fucked up because XYZ!" and slap eachother on the backs and crack a beer because basically everyone agrees with the same viewpoint anyways.

I think what really bugs me is that there's been such a high frequency of posts that seem to exist to start not a discussion, but an argument or debate. And i always thought "lets discuss this" was a bit thin as the premise of creating an FPP even when i went "ohh, this discussion will be interesting". But no, now it's "here's a super controversial thing, have fun kids!" often based on just a really thin FPP that seems to exist solely as a toll booth ez-pass to get it on to the front page.



OH AND WHILE WERE AT IT!

Can we take a moment to shame the hell out of the people who seem to go in to (especially human relations) AskMe threads to basically fire a modified version of this same cruise missile at the threadstarter? The formula of

OP: Hey, i have a question, bla bla bla in my life has been like XYZ with this other person and...

Butthead: OH, Well hmm, maybe you should reflect on how you've been interacting with them rather than how they're treating you and how you're probably the cause of the problem and really the way you approach this says more about you and bla bla bla

It makes me angry basically every time. It's SO condescending, somewhat of a derail, doesn't answer the question and is generally tiresome. The only exceptions really are slam dunk "i fart in my girlfriends face and it makes her angry, how can i get her to stop being so upset with my teasing?" type posts.
posted by emptythought at 3:00 PM on September 4, 2013 [7 favorites]


Convictions, opinions, and attitudes can and do change, but rarely through name-calling, shaming, or driving people from the site.

"Shaming" is an ancient, tested, and still valid method of breaking grown adult minds (which a student in University is) from "stupors" of institutional training towards ignorance of Justice (such as the apologia of the Dean), and trained behaviors defensive of the loss of some piece of privilege; (Soccer Tee's Via The Plagiarist Plato approved). Maybe not The "perfect" (platonic, wait, it actually is, sort of) method of "changing minds", but none is, and the perfect is known as the bizarro of the good.

CRITICISM OF THE ELENCHUS
The following objection may be made to the method of elenchus: it only tells you that you are wrong, and does not also tell you why. Real conversion makes you no longer even want to hold your former thesis, because it shows you the reason why you held it and the inefficiency of that reason. But Socrates rarely does this; there are few parallels to that part of the Gorgias where, having disproved the view that Pericles and the rest were good statesmen, he goes on to show us why we thought they were. And this is why the elenchus so often misses its avowed aim, the actual convincing of the answerer (Grg. 513C), and why what seems to Socrates a conviction may be described by others thus: 'he was bound and gagged by you in the discussion' (Grg. 482E).
Plato does not take account of this objection anywhere in his writings. Yet we can indicate with confidence the sort of answer that his writings suggest, the sort of answer that he would have given if the thought had been brought to his notice.

The aim of the elenchus is not to switch a man from an opinion that happens to be false to an opinion that happens to be true. It is not satisfied by any exchange of one set of opinions for another, even if the new set is true and consistent whereas the old set was false and inconsistent. The aim of the elenchus is to wake men out of their dogmatic slumbers into genuine intellectual curiosity. The conviction of one's own ignorance involves and includes some dim realization of the difference between knowledge and all opinions whether false or true. In other words, the notion of the elenchus contains a germ of the Platonic conception of knowledge as absolutely distinct from opinion. The elenchus does not directly give a man any positive knowledge; but it gives him for the first time the idea of real knowledge, without which he can never have any positive knowledge even if he has all the propositions that express it. It is important to separate the realization that you are wrong from the realization why you are wrong or what the truth is, in order that the mind may dwell on the question what constitutes being wrong or right.
....
Leaving aside that writing is clearly incompatible with what Socrates was actually conducting, and that the pale shadows of elenchus written out by Plato were fairly bad at communicating what was happening in a live situation, before he ruined the immanence of oral culture replacing it with the delayed, easy-to-hide-opinion-and-deserved-shame forms of written philosophy, taking the passionate, messy, truthful, and honest moment, and extending it into a false, subjective, Proustian sophistry fuelled eternity.
posted by infinite intimation at 3:21 PM on September 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


"i fart in my girlfriends face and it makes her angry, how can i get her to stop being so upset with my teasing?"

This is the Platonic ideal of the deleted AskMe relationship post, isn't it?
posted by Doktor Zed at 3:22 PM on September 4, 2013 [11 favorites]


I'm going to quote myself from the Chelsea Manning thread because I just worked this out.

There are two things that complicate this kind of discussion (and it is a kind of discussion).

First, the underlying goal is to increase empathy. That's an awesome goal. To do that on a societal level you need to change the way people think.

But changing the way people think on a societal level is really goddam hard. So you have to group together, with other like-minded people, and all push at the same time.

This makes it an essentially tribal endeavour. While this is both effective (collective action > individual action) and comforting (it's great being in a group of like minded people) it can lead to shrillness, and hair-splitting and schisming and and casting-out and all that stuff associated with tribalism. People from outside the tribe can look at this and question whether the goal was ever that important - which is completely unfair, but there you go. You don't change the way a society thinks and still get to be fair to everyone.

Second, while the way the change is headed is towards more empathy, (which is a fantastic direction, more empathy is what the world needs) acting as a tribe kind of intrinsically denies empathy outside the tribe. There is your side, and the other side. And your side is right and the other side is wrong. Though this can result in a little unfairness, you don't get to change society and still be fair to everyone.

The feeling that people who want more empathy in society (because that's a great goal) but aren't in the tribe can end up with is that the only moral option is to be In The Tribe. And if they're not In The Tribe they're acting immorally. Even though they agree with what the tribe is trying to accomplish.

So these people get testy, and the tribe registers that as OTHER and words get written and spoken, and eventually people in the tribe start saying things that come across as (paraphrased) screaming HAVE SOME MORE EMPATHY YOU FUCKING MONSTER into people's spittle-flecked faces.

posted by Sebmojo at 3:55 PM on September 4, 2013 [9 favorites]


Ah yes, another MeTa along the lines, "The words you use to challenge a shitty worldview are making people uncomfortable!"

and

If you were more put off by my comment than the comments the apologists for sexual harassment were making, well then...

(From different people)

I'm sorry, but isn't one of the rules of metafilter to treat people with respect even if you disagree with them, even if you strongly disagree with them? This isn't challenging a user, this is attacking them. That's not helpful to the community here, even if you think it's justified. If that's the behavior you want, there's tons of other places on the internet to hang out and get your rage on.
posted by aspo at 3:56 PM on September 4, 2013 [8 favorites]


MetaFilter: I'm going to quote myself from the Chelsea Manning thread because I just worked this out.
posted by amorphatist at 4:09 PM on September 4, 2013


Something I see in this thread that I don't like so much is this sort of "Why don't we just trot out this thing you said months ago and see how that squares with what you're saying now, shall we?" thing. That's pretty crappy.
posted by MoonOrb at 4:10 PM on September 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


isn't one of the rules of metafilter to treat people with respect even if you disagree with them, even if you strongly disagree with them? This isn't challenging a user, this is attacking them.

What exactly in those quotes was "disrespectful" of the posters they were directed at, and indicative of "getting your rage on"?

Especially when they were responses towards people who continue after years of challenges to just not get that they are disrespecting US?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:11 PM on September 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


This was used against me, and the person was way off base, but the only way to defend myself would have been to give a long biography that would have been way off topic, so it sat there like some rhetorical triumph. It took me a few ays to let it go, and if I had the kind of memory that could associate usernames to what they say, I would think, "Ah, that's that asshole," every time I read that username going forward. So yeah, i'm not a fan of this phrase either, but I make the assumption people know how it reads and intend to be an asshole.

I've got little problem with this.
posted by cjorgensen at 4:14 PM on September 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


Butthead: OH, Well hmm, maybe you should reflect on how you've been interacting with them rather than how they're treating you and how you're probably the cause of the problem and really the way you approach this says more about you and bla bla bla
It makes me angry basically every time.


Can you link to any examples? I don't recognise this attitude on AskMe.
posted by billiebee at 4:28 PM on September 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


I am intrigued by the paradox at the heart of this phrase, because in using it you are essentially accusing a person of mainly talking about him or herself, and the truer that is, the closer it is to the limiting "That says more about you than it does about you" (which must be true as a limit of increasingly true statements), which instantly explodes from a point into an entire universe-- kind of like the big bang.

Of a rather narcissistic, Randian cosmos, but still.
posted by jamjam at 4:32 PM on September 4, 2013


I am intrigued by the paradox at the heart of this phrase, because in using it you are essentially accusing a person of mainly talking about him or herself....

Not sure if you're trying to make a joke here, but - no, it doesn't mean that. It's more accusing a person of having based their statement on a worldview that is itself flawed. To wit:

"Y'all are fools to pay income tax because the government is just wasting it on Annie Sprinkle videos!"

"The fact that you believe this says more about you than it does about me."

Meaning: "the fact that you actually believe that the government devotes all our income tax to fund Annie Sprinkle videos indicates that you are the fool for believing this is true of our government, as opposed to me being the fool for paying income tax."

Or whatever.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:15 PM on September 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


Oh noes.
posted by Squeak Attack at 5:19 PM on September 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Especially when they were responses towards people who continue after years of challenges to just not get that they are disrespecting US?

As the person who the first quote was directed at (which I just passed off as drive-by snark that is sort of par for the course whenever you post a Meta), I am curious what comments I have made here or elsewhere on the site that would in any way justify this accusation you've made toward me.
posted by The Gooch at 5:19 PM on September 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Gooch, I did not mean you personally with that and I apologize for making it sound way.

But I would gently suggest that perhaps, if you'd intended this MeTa to be solely about a conversational habit in and of itself, it may have gone a bit smoother if a less-contentious thread exhibiting that habit wasn't the one that was in the forefront of people's minds. That's what my initial snark was about - more of a "oh, come on, why try to hide the thread where you just saw it" kind of thing; becuase the other thread was so contentious this kind of had a whiff of back-door critique of the topic of that other thread itself.

Saving this for a thread about guacamole, say, may have let things go a bit more smoothly for you, maybe. As it is, we're all a bit worked up, and I apologize for sounding like I was implying something I didn't mean.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:27 PM on September 4, 2013


How exactly does one pronounce "elenchus"?

el en chuss?
el en choos?
Ellen chess?
elenk huss?
George?
el en chihs?
posted by zarq at 5:29 PM on September 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


Oh noes.

It is very helpful to us-as-mods if you use more than two words to explain why you are linking to a thing. In this case, I have a decent idea why that comment was linked to, but now I'm trying to backread the thread to figure out if was was said was deletworthy-bad or just annoying-but-acceptable.

But if we're airing grievances, I'd like

- Fewer people who tiredly snark away at mods or the site in MeTa but never flag or otherwise help us do our jobs
- More people who have strong opinions about things and can explain them succinctly and decently and then not make every comment in the thread have to be processed through them
- Fewer people taking advantage of the MeTa exclusion as far as comment deletions and not act extra jerkish here just because they can
- An end to the "It's okay to shame/harass/taunt people with truly unpopular opinions" talk. It's not, not here.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:33 PM on September 4, 2013 [18 favorites]


How exactly does one pronounce "elenchus"?

http://www.forvo.com/search/elenchus/
posted by cairdeas at 5:35 PM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh noes.

Referring to:

[...] says a lot about her and her disposition.

I don't think this is a valid example of the phenomenon... call me a prescriptivist, but I believe it must be of the form says more about X than Y.
posted by amorphatist at 5:40 PM on September 4, 2013


That actually is awfully prescriptivist, considering that upthread you said that you found the "conveyance to suggest an insult that one might like to make but one knows will be zapped by the mods" to be "problematic." The follow-up comment by cupcake1337 makes it crystal clear that's what they were doing.
posted by zombieflanders at 5:46 PM on September 4, 2013


Aaand the comment got zapped by the mods. That answers that.
posted by zombieflanders at 5:48 PM on September 4, 2013


An end to the "It's okay to shame/harass/taunt people with truly unpopular opinions" talk. It's not, not here.

I really wish that were true, and I'm not doubting that's the intention, but it happens constantly. People bring it up and object to it constantly, I don't think every last person who brings it up is just imagining it.
posted by cairdeas at 5:52 PM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


it happens constantly

Flag it or bring it up here and we will talk about it. On most parts of the site that sort of behavior is grounds for deletion. In MeTa where we delete almost nothing it falls under the "shitty but tolerated" banner and we'll talk to users who seem to do it often.

I don't think every last person who brings it up is just imagining it.

My statement was not at all meant to imply that

1. we handle this every time it comes up with deletion of offending comments, or
2. that people who say that they see this happening are, as a result, making something up

I have wishes for a site that is more like I would prefer even when I fully realize that I can't have that and that we can't mod the site specifically in that way. My wish was a wish that I can back up somewhat with actions, but not as much as I'd like.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:56 PM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


can everyone please just stop fighting

you are all ruining this blessed and holy day

it is beyonce's birthday for fuck's sake
posted by elizardbits at 5:57 PM on September 4, 2013 [16 favorites]


It's my birthday tomorrow, so yes please get it out of your system.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:57 PM on September 4, 2013 [10 favorites]


"It's more accusing a person of having based their statement on a worldview that is itself flawed.

Some people use it that way. I mostly don't — that's fine that others do, I'm not interested in policing how other people use a common expression.

And, yeah... many, many things that people say about other people reveal more about them than those other people. Like, for example, "she's just an hysterical, angry, man-hating woman without a sense of humor" is pretty much the platonic ideal of a certain kind of statement that says much more about the speaker than it does the target of the statement.

There's no need to spell out the specifics of this hypothetical person's misogyny. Indeed, it would be a waste of time to do so with regard to productive discussion with them, because they've already demonstrated that this isn't possible. For those with whom a productive discussion is possible, the nuances of the statement are self-evident.

And if a mefite feels condescended to by such a statement in this kind of situation, it's probably because they deserve nothing better.

However, I mostly don't use it that way. I use it in a different, yet similar, context.

The Google search reveals that the only occasion I've ever used the expression was the one time last month mentioned in this thread (indirectly).

In that case, and I think generally, I'm likely to use this expression only when I think someone is projecting a negative psychological trait onto someone else, usually by way of asserting an ulterior motive with little or no evidentiary basis.

Thus, when someone asserts that a MetaTalk poster is "trying to find reason to be offended", "mount[ing] the drama llama", and "[hoping to] demonstrate how [they are] More Better Enlightened than the rest of all ye chauvinists", yes, I do indeed believe that these claims say more about the person making them than they do about their target.

What these different applications of the expression have in common is that the person in question is being critical of someone else unjustifiably, and in a way that reveals their own preoccupations. It reveals these preoccupations because it's unjustified. It reveals their preoccupations because, being unjustified, the particular choices the person makes about how and what to criticize are by necessity more determined by their biases than they are by any actual evidence available to them. And those biases, as biases often do, reveal things about history and psychology.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 5:58 PM on September 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Happy early birthday, jessamyn!
posted by cjorgensen at 5:59 PM on September 4, 2013


I am DYING for a thread about or related to somebody named "Yu" so I can comment, "That says more about you than it does about Yu"
posted by Renoroc at 6:12 PM on September 4, 2013 [6 favorites]


Back in law school, in Professional Responsibility, we had a discussion question involving the infamous John Yoo torture memos. There was much confusion and humor when people misunderstood the prof's ensuing "how would Yoo handle this other situation" hypos.
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:32 PM on September 4, 2013


...the "It's okay to shame/harass/taunt people with truly unpopular opinions" talk. It's not, not here.

(Sorry Jessamyn; my comment seems a bad fit in this thread after all, I do hope it wasn't read to encourage taunting, or harassment of other users, I don't actually want to encourage, or argue for that, it does now seem some sort of ode to shame, and on reflection, that disconnected understanding of a very circumscribed definition of a very particular sort of 'shame' [which really, like Justice, and other virtues, don't line up so well with their modern meanings/common understandings, and so can derail discussions about the words] may be something that is interesting in some abstract way, distinct from the specific issues here, but not conducive to talking about making "here" work, and not helpful participation (and hey to the original poster, sorry if it seemed as off-topic snark, wasn't meant that way, but I can understand how intentions really don't matter, it is the actions and effects of the actions that impact or hurt the site/you/us/the world.

Happy Birthday, Bonne Fett, Blaster for Hire; will try harder.

(I usually go with George, Zarq [but I never got a 'classicist badge' - a new band name])
posted by infinite intimation at 6:37 PM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't think this is a valid example of the phenomenon... call me a prescriptivist, but I believe it must be of the form says more about X than Y.

That actually is awfully prescriptivist, considering that upthread [...]


That was actually intended as humor ("no sir, your insult is improperly formed!" or such), but obviously didn't hit the mark (very obviously being that I just needed to explain it).
posted by amorphatist at 7:05 PM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yesterday was my daughter's birthday! She is 8 and loves horses and should be president. Of something.
posted by Mister_A at 7:23 PM on September 4, 2013 [7 favorites]


I got it, amorphatist. I'm with that next-level shit.

And my 2¢ - that 'says more about you' formulation is extremely patronizing (or matronizing) and insulting, and I would not use it on one of my children, or one of your children, or one of any one's children. It suggests that because you have espoused an opinion with which I disagree, there is something essentially rotten about you.

God bless Beyoncé, long live the Elenchus, and please use the remaining comments in this thread to figure out how a benevolent deity can be part of this wicked universe, and also whether said deity can create a rock so heavy that he or she can't lift it.
posted by Mister_A at 7:30 PM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


it is beyonce's birthday for fuck's sake

God save the Queen!
posted by octobersurprise at 7:31 PM on September 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


I feel like we need a form letter for responding to people who minimize women's experiences of sexual harassment and/or assault, because while it's often different people, it's usually the exact same comments, with the exact same responses to them, (including the inevitable, "hey I know some women and they agree with me!")
posted by empath at 7:35 PM on September 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


I hear you empath, it can be frustrating, but you have to take people as they come, and many of those who are merely clueless, not actively awful, can be steered away from engaging in or condoning these behaviors, if they are treated with respect even by those of us who vehemently oppose their attitude toward sexism, casual or otherwise.
posted by Mister_A at 7:45 PM on September 4, 2013


octobersurprise: "it is beyonce's birthday for fuck's sake

God save the Queen!
"

Eh, she ain't no human being.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:01 PM on September 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


You're saying that as a compliment, I assume. She was in Philly last weekend! Her boyfriend is a promoter.
posted by Mister_A at 8:04 PM on September 4, 2013


"...and many of those who are merely clueless, not actively awful..."

I don't know. My observation of these threads is that each one might have one new person saying such things, but two or three others who appear consistently in these threads, saying such things.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 8:15 PM on September 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


Now it's after midnight on the US east coast, which means it's Jessamyn's birthday! Yay!

The fact that I stayed up an extra 8 minutes to post this comment says more about me than it does about, uh, something/someone else.
posted by rmd1023 at 9:01 PM on September 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


It does! :)
posted by cairdeas at 9:03 PM on September 4, 2013


"Trope" is pretty alright I guess but people have been just throwing it around willy-nilly all over the place lately and it's starting to grate on me, and I'm not at all convinced that it's always being used correctly.

The sentence that started this whole thread seems very iffy to me. It could just as easily be a legit expression of a viewpoint that a poster should consider as it could an insult. I think checking your intention is the best way to deal with that one.

(Also, the strikethrough FTFY thing is out? I had no idea... )
posted by windykites at 9:13 PM on September 4, 2013


It is also my girlfriend's birthday. Last I talked to her she was on her client's deck and still mad at me because Kanye West exists.

happy birthday Michele Brown, yes with one l, baddest of the bad bitches, from East Flatbush, there is nobody like you.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:40 PM on September 4, 2013


Well, not because he exists, but because I always defend him even IRL and she just heard yeezus. To say she didn't like Blood On The Leaves is an understatement. A couple years back she did a show about Billie Holiday and Kanye is now her sworn enemy.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:04 PM on September 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Happies Birthsdays!
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:24 PM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


An end to the "It's okay to shame/harass/taunt people with truly unpopular opinions" talk. It's not, not here.

Of course it can never be officially encouraged, but it's not so much about people with truly unpopular opinions as it is about shaming the people who time and again make sexual harssment threads, or trans threads, or racism threads that much shittier for everybody with their apologia, denial and (passive) agressive needling. There are a couple of people who should just stop posting to those threads and I'm personally not that bothered if they do out of enlightenment or because they were "harassed" into doing so.

If MeFi as a whole is more concerned with policing the responses to this persistent bad behaviour than the bad behaviour itself, it won't make the site better. I do understand that it's harder to moderate this, that there is no bright line between genuine, honest disagreement and contrarianism rooted in sexism, but just asking for a little bit of understanding when people targeted by this might behave slightly less well than they would in the platonic ideal of MeFi.
posted by MartinWisse at 11:00 PM on September 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


MartinWisse, I'm not even just thinking of the liberal vs. conservative or liberal vs. radical types of things, where you're not allowed to say anything that is not strictly mainstream liberal talking points. I remember this one incident involving a user with opinions about child-care that are very mainstream, but disliked by a lot of people who post in child-care threads here -- to some degree for tone only. She was mocked into taking a break from the site in a manner that really reminded me of 7th-grade-girl queen-bee kind of mocking, literally mocking her in part for her own posting quirks and unique asides she says sometimes, things that had nothing to do with her opinions. That really sucked. It upset me. I generally do not participate in child-care threads or care very much about them. I saw absolutely no official objection or countermeasures for the mocking and pile-on. I'm glad she came back but... it happens all the time.
posted by cairdeas at 11:07 PM on September 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


It is going to be a lot easier for us to see what you're talking about if you link to the actual thread, and provide some examples of this queen bee behavior.

If it happens all the time, I am not seeing it. Perhaps I am in the wrong threads.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:11 PM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I really don't want to Bunny Ultramod because I don't want to make an "example" out of that particular person, because I think it was out of character for that particular poster who did the petty mocking and it's not about just them. If the thing to do really is to post examples in MetaTalk to show that it's a problem, I can save them up as I see them and make a post about it when I have a bunch, which will not take long.
posted by cairdeas at 11:14 PM on September 4, 2013


Yes. Actual examples would be useful.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:15 PM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


While on the topic of MeFi phrasing that annoys us, I move to nip further use of "platonic ideal" in the bud. Thanks.
posted by MoonOrb at 11:22 PM on September 4, 2013


What's your complaint about "platonic ideal"? It's been in use since the 4th century BCE, so it may be a little late to clip the bud on that growth.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:32 PM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I personally prefer the English translation "form" to "ideal", as I think it gets a little closer to the heart of what Plato was getting at, but most people know it as "ideal" and I can see the argument for preferring "ideal", so hey, I'm super bendy on this point.

Also, happy birthday, jessamyn. You are as near to the Platonic Form of Excellent Modding as a human being could be. I hope you're not having to follow this thread today.
posted by middleclasstool at 1:02 AM on September 5, 2013 [7 favorites]


I'm not even just thinking of the liberal vs. conservative or liberal vs. radical types of things, where you're not allowed to say anything that is not strictly mainstream liberal talking points.

Which, really, isn't the case here. There may be a majority of middle of the road liberal types here, but I haven't seen that much pushback on those who have more conservative or actual leftwing opinions, just for those opinions. What I have seen is people reacting against sloppy and bad faith arguments, though granted, certain political threads can become a bit heated at times.

I agree with Bunny Ultramod that examples of this sort of bad behaviour would be useful.
posted by MartinWisse at 2:14 AM on September 5, 2013


"It's like everyone is trying to start a big controversial fight in which they can see their hobbyhorse roll to victory with the backing of lots of like minded folk. Several of them have really felt like they were basically posted so everyone could go "yea, this thing is fucked up because XYZ!" and slap eachother on the backs and crack a beer because basically everyone agrees with the same viewpoint anyways."

Speaking as the OP who posted what turned out to be the shitstorm du jour, I posted it when I found it on /r/twoxchromosomes with an awesome discussion, because I saw it as a really interesting thing on the internet discussing things that affect many of us like administrative tonedeafness in academia, sexual harassment, and dipshit students in a novel and subtly elegant way. Our local aggressively stupid about women brigade doesn't always come to these threads to fuck them up, and besides, our community would probably benefit more from their carefully maintained ignorance of basic gender concepts being better policed than the site just collectively censoring anything that might happen to offend their amazingly delicate sensibilities.
posted by Blasdelb at 4:03 AM on September 5, 2013 [6 favorites]


Flag it or bring it up here and we will talk about it. On most parts of the site that sort of behavior is grounds for deletion.

The problem as I see it is that it's not, really. It is only grounds for deletion if someone flags it in the mysterious time-window that allows it to be deleted. Which means that insulting or mocking stuff stands if the first posters to a thread don't have a problem with it.

I understand how that stuff is kind of hard to delete and make it look organic, but the problem is that it then combines to produce impressions that this kind of behavior is okay - look, it hasn't even been deleted by the mods!

Even though I'm possibly one of the more prolific consumers/users of Metafilter, I sometimes find myself flagging threads once they're already 300 comments in, even though I know that it's unlikely to be tended to at that point. I wish I'd been there at the beginning of the thread to flag then, but I wasn't - but any newcomer to the thread still has to read through a thread full of insults and mockery and bad behavior.

It would be really awesome if that were reconsidered to some degree, or at least the degree that it could be.
posted by corb at 4:17 AM on September 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Corb, you do know you can flag individual comments, right? So maybe the more fighty comments could be deleted and a thread that's borderline-but-tolerable would still be able to stay.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:25 AM on September 5, 2013


(Skipped the last half of the comments here)

Maybe it's a coincidence, but it was only a few comments after that "more about you" one that I stopped reading the teacher thread. It looked like the entrenched forces had reached a stalemate, and I wasn't getting anything new from them.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:34 AM on September 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Empress: yes, absolutely - it was my understanding that fighty-but-old would be allowed to stay even if individually flagged. If that's not the case it's encouraging, but that's the premise I was operating under.
posted by corb at 4:40 AM on September 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Of course it can never be officially encouraged, but it's not so much about people with truly unpopular opinions as it is about shaming the people who time and again make sexual harssment threads, or trans threads, or racism threads that much shittier for everybody with their apologia, denial and (passive) agressive needling. There are a couple of people who should just stop posting to those threads and I'm personally not that bothered if they do out of enlightenment or because they were "harassed" into doing so.

i too agree that people who do not say what i want to hear should not speak
posted by Sebmojo at 4:45 AM on September 5, 2013 [7 favorites]


I haven't seen that much pushback on those who have more conservative or actual leftwing opinions, just for those opinions. What I have seen is people reacting against sloppy and bad faith arguments

If you base your opinions on what you think is rational and true, then you're going to think other opinions are based on sloppy arguments. I have yet to hear an argument made by the Tea Party that I think is rational and not based on sloppy thinking. That's why I'm not in the Tea Party. However, that doesn't mean I think people in the Tea Party shouldn't post here.

Another way of putting it is that if you thought the "other side" had good arguments, then their opinions wouldn't bother you so much. But I am talking about situations where people are bothered by each other's opinions and think they are wrong and bad.

So, I don't really think you can separate out "reacting to someone just for their opinion that you don't like" from "reacting to someone just for their opinion which you don't like and think is based on sloppy thinking/argumentation." I think there is probably close to complete overlap for those two, unless you willfully decide to dislike opinions that you think are logical and true, for other personal reasons??

I also have no problem with people "reacting to" those opinions per se, I am just talking about the idea of just banning opinions you don't agree with or, as jessamyn put it, of shaming/harassing/taunting those people.

Anyway I'll start bookmarking threads where this happens and I'll post when I get to 10 examples. I estimate it'll take me a week or two.
posted by cairdeas at 4:56 AM on September 5, 2013 [8 favorites]


Yeah, attack the argument, not the speaker.
Also, in the thread under discussion, plenty of folks had addressed that comment before the 'sez more about you' comment. I sort of cringe to see a pile-on like that topped with a personal attack, like a cherry. I mean, it does no one any good, yeah?
posted by angrycat at 4:57 AM on September 5, 2013


Non sequitur: I actually am a pretty big fan of the "says more about you" phrase in real life because I think it is a really great thing to say to bullies who are trying to hurt people. Like, if someone is letting loose a string of insults on an innocent person who doesn't deserve it and is on the verge of tears, I will totally tell them that their insults say more about them than the other person, that all that vitriol is coming out of them.

The last time I used it for myself was when I was in college. I had a job delivering packages that was extremely taxing physically, and would be hard on the body over time. It was a lifetime job for the men I was working with.

One of my relatives got mad at me for something totally unrelated and, in a singsong voice, started to mock me about my job, how mindless and repetitive it was, even the physical motions you make when you move packages. The implication was that I must not be that great if that was the job I had.

I was just stunned watching this because I had never, ever heard her be nasty about the prestige of someone's job before. I wasn't upset because I didn't identify with this job, I was in college, soon I would be doing something else. I was just shocked at her.

She mistook my being shocked for having hurt feelings, and triumphantly said something like, "That smarted, didn't it?" I said, "Honestly, no, it said way more about you than it did about me."

And I think that was the appropriate thing to say in that situation. We were both quiet after that.
posted by cairdeas at 5:09 AM on September 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


I also have no problem with people "reacting to" those opinions per se, I am just talking about the idea of just banning opinions you don't agree with or, as jessamyn put it, of shaming/harassing/taunting those people.

Anyway I'll start bookmarking threads where this happens and I'll post when I get to 10 examples. I estimate it'll take me a week or two.


I don't think this will end well. For one, It sounds like ignoring the 99% of comments that are informed and relatively measured responses to unpopular opinions (that may also be pretty offensive or just plain trolling). It also depends on what your definition of shaming/harassing/taunting is. Does that mean that when a large number of people say "no, you're wrong and here's why" that they're harassing someone? Or when someone points out something pretty racist/sexist/etc and gets called on in a blunt manner that they're being shamed or taunted? Because that doesn't seem very productive unless you point out the behavior being responded to as well.

For instance, in the thread in question, cupcake1337 decided to dive into it after what appears to be a quick read of this MeTa, ignored the entire conversation above him apart from the comments he favorited as well as least one link in the OP, makes an "ugh, feminazis amirite?" quip, and runs with it. I honestly think that it's mostly trolling, but the majority of responses have been "actually, no, and this is my rebuttal" or "can you expand on this?" Considering that several members (including cupcake1337 and shivohum) have characterized the professor's actions and other members' responses as equal or worse harassment, who's to say they're not the ones engaging in taunting?
posted by zombieflanders at 5:29 AM on September 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


For one, It sounds like ignoring the 99% of comments that are informed and relatively measured responses to unpopular opinions

I don't mean to ignore or minimize those, but I don't think it's 99% and I still think it's a problem if even 1% is harassing/etc. and gets a total pass.

It also depends on what your definition of shaming/harassing/taunting is

Personal insults and statements that the person with the unpopular opinion should post less, not post at all, or leave the site.

Does that mean that when a large number of people say "no, you're wrong and here's why" that they're harassing someone?

No, totally not, I'm not talking about civil disagreement even if it's from a large number of people.

Or when someone points out something pretty racist/sexist/etc and gets called on in a blunt manner that they're being shamed or taunted?

I couldn't parse this sentence for some reason but are you saying, if someone says something that's pretty racist/sexist and people bluntly say that they have a problem with it? I'll say, about sexism, someone should be able to post their honest thoughts even if they are egregiously sexist, as long as they aren't obviously trolling etc. The problem I'm referring to is making personal insults towards that person or telling them to stop posting their opinion if they don't change it to the prevailing opinion. Acting like because their opinion is bothering people, by posting their opinion they are ipso facto trolling. But, again, I'm not objecting to civil disagreement.
posted by cairdeas at 5:45 AM on September 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'm not talking about cupcake1337 in particular at all because I think he was absolutely trolling, like the kind of trolling where you think nobody can out-logic your brilliant gotchas. But I don't think every time someone says something super sexist, they are trolling.
posted by cairdeas at 5:47 AM on September 5, 2013


Ah yes, another MeTa along the lines, "The words you use to challenge a shitty worldview are making people uncomfortable!"

In the most recent case, it was used to challenge a worldview that I would also label as shitty. But this MeTa is not about the most recent case. It's not a call for deleting that comment. It's about the general pattern of usage.
posted by Jpfed at 5:49 AM on September 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


But I don't think every time someone says something super sexist, they are trolling.

I only wish every time someone said something super sexist, they were deliberately trolling, and would go home to be really unsexist and laugh about the trolling they were doing.

Which is to say, I agree.
posted by corb at 5:51 AM on September 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


The problem as I see it is that it's not, really. It is only grounds for deletion if someone flags it in the mysterious time-window that allows it to be deleted. Which means that insulting or mocking stuff stands if the first posters to a thread don't have a problem with it.

As I understand it, from conversations about probably very different posts but with the same core goal, flagging a comment that has been extensively responded to is not going to result in a deletion in most cases, because it would disrupt the readability of the thread.

However, if someone whose posts cannot be deleted has a pattern of behavior which you think the moderators should be aware of, you can bring it to their attention, and they might then have a conversation with that someone, probably in private, about that.

Flagging threads means "this thread should be deleted" or "this thread needs a moderator to look at it/keep watch on it", whereas flagging comments generally just means "this comment should be deleted", and if the comment can't be deleted for other reasons that won't happen. So, flagging isn't the appropriate tool there, because the message it sends is "this is an actionable and fixable problem now", and flagging things that are not actionable at or shortly after the moment of flagging is therefore not useful.
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:52 AM on September 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


P.S. I am not going to post in this thread again until Friday because it's Jessamyn's birthday, but if anyone replies to me I will read it.
posted by cairdeas at 5:55 AM on September 5, 2013


Thanks for the clarification, cairdeas, I think we're pretty much on the same page.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:04 AM on September 5, 2013


> It also depends on what your definition of shaming/harassing/taunting is

Personal insults and statements that the person with the unpopular opinion should post less, not post at all, or leave the site.


I can see an exception to this rule of thumb in one instance - we have a handful of people who frequently complain that the site is changing into something they don't like, or that the mods are intentionally squelching some comments while allowing others to stand, or being priggish thugs who hate unbridled free speech - you know, they just generally grumble that the site is something they don't like, and they say that again and again and again and again. I do think the retort "well, you can just leave, you know" would certainly be warranted in that instance.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:20 AM on September 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Empress: But doesn't - or shouldn't - that largely happen on the grey, anyway? Both halves?
posted by corb at 6:29 AM on September 5, 2013


It does, Corb - I was responding to cairdeas, though, who as I understood was saying that such a thing shouldn't be said, and should be considered harassment. I was pointing out that there was a context in which it may not be thus.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:32 AM on September 5, 2013


Empress: But doesn't - or shouldn't - that largely happen on the grey, anyway? Both halves?

Does it not?
posted by zombieflanders at 6:34 AM on September 5, 2013


If you base your opinions on what you think is rational and true, then you're going to think other opinions are based on sloppy arguments.


I'm not talking about poster x's ideas about keeping guns keeps America safe from tyranny are silly or dumb or whatever, more so whether or not poster x is honest in debating a gun control issue based on a specific incident. There are a fair few people here whose political opinions I disagree with but who are honest in their disagreements.
posted by MartinWisse at 6:42 AM on September 5, 2013


I'm not talking about poster x's ideas about keeping guns keeps America safe from tyranny are silly or dumb or whatever, more so whether or not poster x is honest in debating a gun control issue based on a specific incident.

The problem is that there is very rarely One Objective Truth that cannot be disputed, and most of the time, the truths disputed are subjective, rather than objective truths, anyway. Anytime you use the words "mostly" "almost never" "almost always" "often" "rarely" or similar language, you are talking about your personal perception of the data that you see, which is impossible to quantify. And so two people may look at the exact same data, and one person see "This is practically built on blah" while the other person sees "Yeah, it's there, but it's not that prevalent." And each person could, if they didn't consider the subjectivity, have reason to suggest that the other person isn't being honest. Or people use terminology that means a specific thing to them, but not others, and so people think that person isn't being honest, even when they are.

For example - it really gets my goat when people talk about automatic weapons in gun control threads, when they are really referring to semiautomatic, because automatic weapons have a really precise meaning concerning how the weapon fires once you pull the trigger - (It fires until you stop pulling the trigger, essentially). Or who talk about "assault weapons", which is a really loosely defined term that operates mostly on aesthetics rather than actual functions. But I don't think people who use that language are dishonest, persay - just that they are operating off a commonly used, but imprecise term, and one that I think is incorrect.

It's easy to assume people are dishonest, rather than just wrong or different. But I think it's almost always wrong. People have reason to be dishonest in lobbying, political ads, speeches as public figures. But what reason would anyone have, really, to be deliberately dishonest on Metafilter of all places? Are the stakes that high? Is everyone not capable of looking up the same data you are? It just feels like an easy out so you don't have to think about why the person might possibly believe that thing.
posted by corb at 6:53 AM on September 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


I know the one time someone used it against me, they were saying "I think you're an idiot and I can't possibly imagine that one could have experiences leading someone to view this thing differently than me." It was definitely an attempt to 'politely' call me an idiot. I definitely wasn't being sexist. It's definitely within the realm of possibility that particular hangups were colouring my perspective to such an extent that I wasn't being clear-headed, which would actually be a prime use of the phrase. But I wasn't being told I was being over-emotional (insert nonsexist phrase, I guess), I was being told I was stupid.
posted by hoyland at 6:55 AM on September 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


[Er, I mention that I wasn't being sexist because the disagreement was about something unrelated to gender or sexism.]
posted by hoyland at 6:56 AM on September 5, 2013


It is only grounds for deletion if someone flags it in the mysterious time-window that allows it to be deleted.

The time window isn't really mysterious, it's just changeable. If deleting a comment can help smooth out a bumpy thread at the time, we'll consider it. If the comment has already been responded to and hashed out and moved on from, we won't (with a few major exceptions). People who go back into threads and flag stuff from days ago, or who complain about undeleted comments from days ago that no one, including them, flagged, aren't helping us do our job. Which, hey, that's their prerogative but we try to make the system and the way the site runs as transparent as possible so that people who want to help out can help out. We also try to set expectations correctly so that people who are wanting things from the site that they are unlikely to get can be informed of that.

In an after-the-fact moderated site, you're not going to get away from people making comments you don't like or that make you angry or whatever. I think people know that. However what you can get is an explanation from us about why we did what we did and, if you want, a discussion with us in an open forum. Nothing should be mysterious here.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:58 AM on September 5, 2013


it's probably because summer vacation's over

It's probably because a growing number of people who use the site like to post controversial subject matter for the sake of "promoting discussion." There are a lot of smart people here and occasionally we can learn things from them, but when it's all "Here's a line, let's choose sides of it to stand on," there's nowhere for the discussion to go except shouting across the line.

It's causing a measurable decline in my participation on the site, overall.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:24 AM on September 5, 2013 [7 favorites]


Yeah, sorry jessamyn, you in fact have been really clear about that. I do think it would be better if we removed them because I think they contribute to an overall impression of acceptable negativity, but that's more of a pony than anything else.

What I meant when I said mysterious is that I'm never quite sure what that time period actually is - which may be because there's no hard-and-fast rule about it. Fifteen minutes? An hour? A few hours? A day? Time also telescopes when you compare slow moving threads and fast moving ones. So it's more the case that I never know when it's appropriate to flag, and when it's not.

I do want to point one thing out though: you said People who go back into threads and flag stuff from days ago, or who complain about undeleted comments from days ago that no one, including them, flagged, aren't helping us do our job. But that makes it really unclear as to what the appropriate thing is to do in that case if someone sees something that really offends them that is a few days old. They can't flag it, since it's days ago, and as there is no functionality where users can see flags, there's no way to know if a comment was undeleted because no one flagged it, undeleted because it was flagged too late, etc.
posted by corb at 7:27 AM on September 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


there's no way to know if a comment was undeleted because no one flagged it, undeleted because it was flagged too late, etc.

"Undeleted"? You don't mean "it was deleted but then restored," do you?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:48 AM on September 5, 2013


that makes it really unclear as to what the appropriate thing is to do in that case if someone sees something that really offends them that is a few days old.

In my ideal MetaFilter people will do one of a few things

- email us and ask "Why wasn't this deleted?" and get an answer within 15 minutes
- add it to a list of "Gee I don't think MeFi does this well and I'd like to discuss it with other community members in MeTa" things and save it for later
- open a MeTa thread if the first two options aren't okay/acceptable
- lump it and deal with the fact that it's not a perfect website, was not designed for you personally, and that there is a lot of give and take with thousands of other people trying to have discussions about a wide variety of topics.

More to the point it may help to understand what moderation does. In a general sense we don't see ourselves as the arbiter of what specific things people say are not allowed on the site. We see ourselves as trying to help facilitate discussions. We have some ideas of what does that. Mostly that's deleting comments that make discussion difficult-to-impossible (on this website with this group of people), leaving notes to remind people how we expect interactions to go, setting expectations in a forward-looking way here in MeTa and with the FAQ and the notes we leave, and trying to make that all happen in the least intrusive way possible. And we look at all flags within a few minutes and mostly (outside of AskMe) respond to multiple flags.

If a user is flagging things that seem to only bother that one user, it's possible that one user has expectations for the site that are not in line with how we run the place. And that's fine, happens sometimes. But if it's happening consistently over time there is either a problem with that user's expectations or a problem with how we're setting expectations on the site or some combination of things. Most of us aren't getting our ideal MetaFilter. Some of us seem to have ongoing problems with the friction that presents.

And so comments from a while ago that are annoying-but-not-insta deletes don't really fall under our heading of things we feel that we need to do something about if they're not affecting current discussion, not part of an overall trend, and not on the short list of things we try to always delete (I do go back and axe old AskMe comments from time to time, but not often). And again I don't think there's something unclear here, I think it's more that the answer isn't what people want to hear. Sometimes people are going to get offended by a comment that isn't against the rules. That is something they will need to deal with.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:50 AM on September 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


"Undeleted"? You don't mean "it was deleted but then restored," do you?

I read that to mean, "not deleted"
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 8:09 AM on September 5, 2013


The thread in question was bound to be full of this sort of passive-aggressive snark towards anyone daring to question the reaction of the protagonist and/effectiveness of the situation described therein. It's almost funny how predictable it is. That, and the gross misrepresentation of the points made that were not in complete lockstep with the approved position.
posted by Decani at 8:29 AM on September 5, 2013


The thread in question was bound to be full of this sort of passive-aggressive snark towards anyone daring to question the reaction of the protagonist and/effectiveness of the situation described therein. It's almost funny how predictable it is. That, and the gross misrepresentation of the points made that were not in complete lockstep with the approved position.

The recursive nature of this comment impresses me.

More substantively, the "questioning" that went on in that thread was standard issue dismissal of how women experience sexual harassment. That was what was predictable: people said she overreacted, she shouldn't have said anything, she should have kept quiet, boys will be boys, etc etc. Moreover, it was clear that those expressing concern about the effectiveness of the professors actions were not doing so in good faith--it was criticism, plain and simple, not constructive criticism.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 8:55 AM on September 5, 2013 [17 favorites]


anyone daring to question

Oh, is that what you did?
posted by rtha at 9:17 AM on September 5, 2013 [10 favorites]


You know, if you people would just stop caring about things and accept that everything is shit, you too could achieve such heights of self-satisfaction and happiness as are on display.

Cynicism is a poor excuse for complacency but a common one.
posted by PMdixon at 9:25 AM on September 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


Sturgeon's Law applies to Sturgeon's Law. Also, EMACS
posted by blue_beetle at 9:33 AM on September 5, 2013


I know you think you're an iconoclast and you're one of the rare few speaking truth to power, Decani. But you basically agitate for the status quo in a really backwards predictable way. and you do it in every single thread.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 9:46 AM on September 5, 2013 [17 favorites]


lump it and deal with the fact that it's not a perfect website, was not designed for you personally...

Wait, what?!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:16 AM on September 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Exactly.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:16 AM on September 5, 2013


Decani, can you point to a single instance on metafilter where you found any woman's response to sexism be a good one, or even just not wanting in someway you felt better placed than her to understand? Just show us one and I'll be happy.

Because we both know you could fill this thread with examples of you doing the same thing you always do.
posted by Blasdelb at 10:18 AM on September 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


You're doing that jerky thing you do again, Blasdelb.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:44 AM on September 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh my god seriously? Did you not get enough digs in in your earlier meTa?
posted by rtha at 10:49 AM on September 5, 2013 [18 favorites]


That Thing You Do (dir. Hanks)
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:50 AM on September 5, 2013


Wait, does this mean rap battles again? *crosses fingers*
posted by corb at 11:06 AM on September 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


Exactly.

Tired of the mod oppression!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:10 AM on September 5, 2013


ibid, re: lump it.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:10 AM on September 5, 2013


I wonder what rhymes with 'Blazecock Pileon'.
posted by zarq at 11:18 AM on September 5, 2013


ibid, re: lump it.

Whatever, I'm asking for a mistrial because the moderator is high on buttercream frosting.

I wonder what rhymes with 'Blazecock Pileon'.

Reebok Cyclon
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:20 AM on September 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


It's probably because a growing number of people who use the site like to post controversial subject matter for the sake of "promoting discussion."

That really isn't true and it's somewhat insulting to insinuate that people post about trans issues, or harassment issues, just because they want to stir up shit.

What has happened this week is that all y'all yankees took the weekend off to stuff yourself with cheap beer and bad barbeque (except in Georgia) to celebrate "Labor" day. The place was almost dead until late Tuesday. Once everybody was back and bored at work again, people started posting and as always after an American holiday, you got a bit of a backlog of posts being published.
posted by MartinWisse at 11:21 AM on September 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


You're doing that jerky thing you do again, Blasdelb.

Nee, gij.
posted by MartinWisse at 11:24 AM on September 5, 2013


OTOH, the childfree post did feel like a collection of weak links (to fluff news stories) in search of an argument.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:25 AM on September 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


You're doing that jerky thing you do again, Blasdelb.

DID THAT MOTHERFUCKER GENEROUSLY OFFER TO SHARE ACADEMIC ARTICLES AGAIN?!?!?!
posted by SpiffyRob at 11:37 AM on September 5, 2013 [31 favorites]


cheap beer and bad barbeque

You come say that to my bourbon-drinking, meat-smoking face. I dare you.

That came out kind of weird but you know what I mean.
posted by rtha at 11:37 AM on September 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


... doing that jerky thing you do ...
posted by octobersurprise at 11:38 AM on September 5, 2013


DID THAT MOTHERFUCKER GENEROUSLY OFFER TO SHARE ACADEMIC ARTICLES AGAIN?!?!?!

Not in this thread, but his bullying comment does seem to be another one of those "queen-bee" moments mentioned earlier in this thread, and what I have experienced before and which the moderators had to deal with by deleting his comments. It's a shitty way for him to behave, even if it is tacitly endorsed by some.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:43 AM on September 5, 2013


I really do not think you understand what the word "bullying" means.
posted by lalex at 11:46 AM on September 5, 2013 [7 favorites]


I would appreciate it if people would open their own MeTa threads for grievances that are not actually the topic of this thread.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:46 AM on September 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


Re-exercising your grudge against Blasdelb is also a shitty thing to do.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 11:46 AM on September 5, 2013 [7 favorites]


I really do not think you understand what the word "bullying" means.

No, but I've got MeTa bingo!
posted by zombieflanders at 11:48 AM on September 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Plenty of people make shitty comments in meTa, BP. Maybe you might think about how you are not best positioned to be calling out Blasdelb and only Blasdelb, given your history.
posted by rtha at 11:50 AM on September 5, 2013 [7 favorites]


OTOH, the childfree post did feel like a collection of weak links (to fluff news stories) in search of an argument.

I also got that feeling from the tweaking Vs Syria thread. Not weak links, but just "ok guys fight lol!" And as it just pouring a bunch of gasoline on two topics to light a huge HURR DURR AMERICA, AMIRITE? Fire.

Also this, and several others I can't find right now.

Oh and on a semi related note about post quality and frequency in general. How there's a healthcare in America circlejerk thread like every three days. Or at least there was for a while.

But meh, we might be getting too far afield here.
posted by emptythought at 11:52 AM on September 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Not weak links, but just "ok guys fight lol!"

You mean those various links to academic blogs and peer-reviewed social science research?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 11:54 AM on September 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


I also got that feeling from the tweaking Vs Syria thread. Not weak links, but just "ok guys fight lol!" And as it just pouring a bunch of gasoline on two topics to light a huge HURR DURR AMERICA, AMIRITE? Fire.

That thread was actually remarkably interesting and went well relatively speaking, considering the topic, even though people didn't seem to read many of the articles.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:54 AM on September 5, 2013


tweaking is something different though
posted by elizardbits at 11:59 AM on September 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Thanks! That was my post.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 11:59 AM on September 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


No, but I've got MeTa bingo!

Comand+f: "unpack" not found.

Damn. So close.
posted by Devils Rancher at 12:02 PM on September 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


Whatever, I'm asking for a mistrial because the moderator is high on buttercream frosting.


I read that as "I'm asking for a mistral", which sounded quite mystical and prog-rock, like "summon the dry wind of France!"
posted by running order squabble fest at 12:04 PM on September 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


I liked the Syria/Twerking thread. I also feel as if many of the posts in the last few days have been sort of OutrageFilter, but it could also be confirmation bias or me getting older.
posted by MoonOrb at 12:13 PM on September 5, 2013


Devils Rancher: "It's probably because a growing number of people who use the site like to post controversial subject matter for the sake of "promoting discussion." "

I'm always very skeptical of observations of content/tone changes in the site over time. Confirmation bias seems to play a VERY strong role.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:32 PM on September 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm always very skeptical of observations of content/tone changes in the site over time. Confirmation bias seems to play a VERY strong role.

I believe the ones about rampant sexism, for one, if only because I've seen testimonials from both members that were upset by it say they're glad it's not around and members lamenting the free-wheeling boy's club atmosphere of early MeFi.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:38 PM on September 5, 2013


That should be "...lamenting the loss of the free-wheeling boy's club" etc.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:49 PM on September 5, 2013


Oh, sure. I'm not saying the site has not changed at all since its inception. Just saying that it can be hard to judge changes objectively, especially a) over shorter time periods, and b) on somewhat subjective criteria.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:57 PM on September 5, 2013


"That thread was actually remarkably interesting and went well relatively speaking, considering the topic, even though people didn't seem to read many of the articles."

God, it made me so angry to see how many people hadn't read the fucking links there. It's one of my biggest ongoing grievances with MetaFilter, but there's no technological solution.

You can't kill stupid.
posted by klangklangston at 1:32 PM on September 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


God, it made me so angry to see how many people hadn't read the fucking links there. It's one of my biggest ongoing grievances with MetaFilter, but there's no technological solution.

Seriously — looking back at some of my recent posts, it's been a real problem. People just don't read links, anymore. Or they read the synopsis, they get their 2006-era hate on and that flips their switch to comment without reading the content in the links. It really sucks.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:36 PM on September 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm with you 100 percent on that, though I'd expand it out to say that people fail to read the links in pretty much every post that requires more thought than ZOMG KITTEH!

What I will say is that usually after a while, threads settle down and folks who have read the content start commenting. It's just that waiting out that shitstorm is so fucking frustrating, especially when people are raising objections that are already addressed within the content without acknowledging that.

If I could kill with my mind, it'd pretty much be for that and tailgaters. GIVE ME THE POWER, GOD!
posted by klangklangston at 1:48 PM on September 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


Then you get the posts where people don't really read the comments themselves to see how the discussion's been going and just jump in with their own questions, not bothering to see whether those questions have already been answered further up in the thread.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:50 PM on September 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Maybe some people are just irritable and the site is mostly fine?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:56 PM on September 5, 2013 [7 favorites]


NO YOUR WRONG
posted by elizardbits at 2:00 PM on September 5, 2013 [6 favorites]


i mean happy birthday please have cake
posted by elizardbits at 2:00 PM on September 5, 2013 [6 favorites]


NO YOUR WRONG

ಠ_ಠ
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:03 PM on September 5, 2013 [8 favorites]


even though it was a deliberate typo it is still going to plague me until the end of time
posted by elizardbits at 2:04 PM on September 5, 2013 [6 favorites]


Maybe some people are just irritable and the site is mostly fine?

So tired of the propaganda from Big Moderation.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:08 PM on September 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


Look, I can either click the links and read the fucking articles or I can type out my feels, because reasons, but I can't do both.

I just realized I hate Tumblr.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 2:14 PM on September 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


You're doing that jerky thing you do again, Blasdelb.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:44 PM on September 5


Physician, heal thyself.
posted by Falconetti at 2:46 PM on September 5, 2013


I'm always very skeptical of observations of content/tone changes in the site over time. Confirmation bias seems to play a VERY strong role.

It's probably just years upon years of it building up in my mind, so you could be right. Short-term though, the last week or so has seemed more fighty than usual.

Also, I am old and tired and just no longer want to fight on the internet at all, so maybe I'm skipping more threads that I would have lustily dived into in my (relative) youth.
posted by Devils Rancher at 2:53 PM on September 5, 2013


elizardbits: "NO YOUR WRONG"

HATE HATE HATE HATE

pause

HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE
posted by scrump at 4:13 PM on September 5, 2013


zombieflanders misquoted me and suggested things about me in a bad-faith way.

decided to dive into it after what appears to be a quick read of this MeTa

your assumption was wrong there

ignored the entire conversation above him apart from the comments he favorited as well as least one link in the OP

wrong again

makes an "ugh, feminazis amirite?"

i never said that

but the majority of responses have been "actually, no, and this is my rebuttal" or "can you expand on this?"

i didn't respond to them because i thought they were disingenuous and obviously missing the point. that, or they were so insulated in their ideology that no amount of explaining could get the point across.

Considering that several members (including cupcake1337 and shivohum) have characterized the professor's actions and other members' responses as equal or worse harassment,

"characterize" is a wishy-washy word. since you say several members, i suppose maybe you're not talking about me, but then you name me explicitly. it's a way to plant the idea in somone's mind and claim it's true without actually having to say it. so, are you saying i did that, or what?


------



Does that mean that when a large number of people say "no, you're wrong and here's why" that they're harassing someone?


here's the test for harassment: do they think it's harassment? if yes, it is harassment. the great thing about that test is that it works for all kind of harassment, not just sexual harassment.
posted by cupcake1337 at 4:20 PM on September 5, 2013


You got all bent out of shape that we were talking about sexual harassment in an fpp that was about sexual harassment, instead of talking about whatever it was you specifically thought we ought to be talking about. You think we/some people/I have no idea are wrong (I think?) for including "sexual" in the harassment part. A lot of people here and elsewhere think it's actually pretty damn relevant.
posted by rtha at 4:30 PM on September 5, 2013 [10 favorites]


"Maybe some people are just irritable and the site is mostly fine?"

My ass is mostly free from sand but BY GOD YOU WILL HEAR OF THE GRAINS!
posted by klangklangston at 4:49 PM on September 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


At least until I can make buttpearls.
posted by klangklangston at 4:51 PM on September 5, 2013 [7 favorites]


At least until I can make buttpearls.

I want this to be a MeTa neologism so bad.
posted by zombieflanders at 4:57 PM on September 5, 2013 [9 favorites]


you can sing it to the tune of the ducktales theme song
posted by elizardbits at 4:58 PM on September 5, 2013 [7 favorites]


You know what to do, Blasdelb.
posted by zombieflanders at 5:01 PM on September 5, 2013


here's the test for harassment: do they think it's harassment? if yes, it is harassment.

That's just not true. Not everyone has the same reality. I've seen people say that someone who didn't even talk to them in a meeting was directly harassing said person because voices were raised and this made that person uncomfortable.

This is a super poor test for harassment. Sometimes people think the world is out to get them, just because they think this doesn't make it so.
posted by cjorgensen at 5:03 PM on September 5, 2013


BTW, did anybody make the article MeTa rap battle into a track yet? If not, they should get on that.
posted by zombieflanders at 5:03 PM on September 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


BUTTPEARLS

WOOO OOO
posted by elizardbits at 5:06 PM on September 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


"Butt pearls" could mean so many different things to different people. You can go ahead and list them, if you like that sort of thing.
posted by planetesimal at 5:28 PM on September 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Guys! Guys! We can't solve every problem with a rap battle! That way lies Rap War! Rap Mutually Assured Destruction! Rap Armageddon!
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:31 PM on September 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


(All of which sounds pretty amazing, actually. But!)
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:33 PM on September 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Guys! Guys! We can't solve every problem with a rap battle! That way lies Rap War! Rap Mutually Assured Destruction! Rap Armageddon!

Obviously it's a prerequisite for the Rapture.
posted by zombieflanders at 5:34 PM on September 5, 2013 [6 favorites]


That's just not true. Not everyone has the same reality. I've seen people say that someone who didn't even talk to them in a meeting was directly harassing said person because voices were raised and this made that person uncomfortable.

This is a super poor test for harassment. Sometimes people think the world is out to get them, just because they think this doesn't make it so.


--

The most important thing anyone ever said to me about sexual harassment is that intent doesn't matter - it's perception.

There is no conspiracy to define harassment as something that only happens to women, that it only counts or is worthy of serious attention and consequences if it is sexual harassment, and we have to treat any action as being harassment if anyone says they feel harassed, even if they are only trolling to make a reach of a point.

As a previous poster pointed out, harassment is about perception. One person's harassment can be another person's inappropriate but not concerning comment.
posted by cupcake1337 at 6:50 PM on September 5, 2013


sweet dude, you learned a href. next you might learn to make a point!
posted by klangklangston at 6:52 PM on September 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


(Also, I now have "butt pearls" stuck in my head, to the tune of the chorus of the theme tune to Sega Mega CD classic "Night Trap". So, thanks for that. You monsters.)
posted by running order squabble fest at 6:53 PM on September 5, 2013


i'm not responsible for klangklangston's poor reading comprehension.
posted by cupcake1337 at 6:58 PM on September 5, 2013


But you are clearly responsible for his buttpearls. We got it.
posted by corb at 7:00 PM on September 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


You've spent your entire participation in that thread complaining about, questioning, and challenging what the author's perception of harassment is in fact harassment, and then here you state that perception is totally the definition, and then you provide a couple context-free links to someone who disagreed with that from two completely different commentors that aren't even part of the conversation you think you're having.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but I don't think it's klangklangston who's having the problem here.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:08 PM on September 5, 2013 [10 favorites]


-but the majority of responses have been "actually, no, and this is my rebuttal" or "can you expand on this?"

-i didn't respond to them because i thought they were disingenuous and obviously missing the point. that, or they were so insulated in their ideology that no amount of explaining could get the point across.

It seems incredibly inefficient to being understood to write off pretty much everyone who tried to engage with you fairly as not worth an honest response.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 7:10 PM on September 5, 2013 [6 favorites]


As someone who used that exact phrase today on the blue, though not directed at a fellow mefite, or in a thread that had or required 'lively' discussion and debate, the points made here have convinced me of its problematic nature, and I'll happily refrain from it's use in the future.

I had not given much thought to it being such a conversation stopper before, but now can easily see its potential to be used as a needlessly combative tool of deflection. For every single use where such a phrase might, in certain rare contexts, glean further useful information, there must be hundreds where it would just not be appropriate or of any benefit to the discussion.
posted by chambers at 7:12 PM on September 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


cupcake, there's a difference between "you may have not intended what you say to be harassing but the sum total of the experiences typical to every woman alive and the context of the culture we are living in have made what you say a harassing and threatening message to someone else", and "it's harassment if you feel like someone's being mean to you".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:50 PM on September 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


... wow. did you ever think there may be a point to "challenging what the author's perception of harassment is in fact harassment, and then here you state that perception is totally the definition"? either way, to some people, i'm wrong.

my quotes were not "context-free." i quoted people long enough, and linked to their original comment. that you don't like the point i'm making doesn't make the supporting references "context-free."

that those people i linked to "aren't even part of the conversation" (however you define that? since it's the same website and, you know, the internet? and one link is to a post by cairdeas, who has been posting in this thread?) isn't really relevant, because their points that i quoted weren't questioned in the original thread, and they were related to a specific question (i.e. how do you define harassment?).

i don't think you're having the conversation you think you're having.
posted by cupcake1337 at 7:57 PM on September 5, 2013


empresscallipygos: that's a distinction without a difference.
posted by cupcake1337 at 8:00 PM on September 5, 2013


i don't think you're having the conversation you think you're having.

And I don't think you're going to pick up the "Let's all argue about my definition of harassment" argument in this thread because you feel that you didn't get a fair hearing in the other one. People are welcome to continue to argue with you about this, but I'd suggest they not do that.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:00 PM on September 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


my quotes were not "context-free." i quoted people long enough, and linked to their original comment. that you don't like the point i'm making doesn't make the supporting references "context-free."

No, the fact that you didn't specify the point you were trying to make by quoting - that is, the context of the quotes - makes it 'context free'. Because, you know, you didn't provide any context.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 8:06 PM on September 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


this thread isn't context?
posted by cupcake1337 at 8:07 PM on September 5, 2013


to me, the juxtaposition was obvious.
posted by cupcake1337 at 8:07 PM on September 5, 2013


i'm sorry you couldn't make that connection.
posted by cupcake1337 at 8:07 PM on September 5, 2013


to me, the juxtaposition was obvious.

That nice for you, but the rest of us don't live in your head. So, if you want to talk about this, it would be helpful if you could spell out what you're trying to say.

i'm sorry you couldn't make that connection.

I honestly can't tell if you're trying to be condescending here or not, but either way, your apologies are unnecessary.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 8:19 PM on September 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


"characterize" is a wishy-washy word. since you say several members, i suppose maybe you're not talking about me, but then you name me explicitly. it's a way to plant the idea in somone's mind and claim it's true without actually having to say it. so, are you saying i did that, or what?

"Characterize" is not a wishy-washy word. "Several members" explicitly includes yourself. He is saying you did that. As usual, you are trying to pull a rabbit that isn't there out of a hat that isn't there either.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 5:50 AM on September 6, 2013 [8 favorites]


That says a lot more about the rabbit than it does about oh God it's so bright outside and I thought I'd still be drunk.
posted by running order squabble fest at 8:53 AM on September 6, 2013 [5 favorites]


So, if you want to talk about this, it would be helpful if you could spell out what you're trying to say.

Why bother? It would just be more defensive vagueries and goalpost-moving. And I can get that in the comments section of any given Daily Mail article.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:34 AM on September 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


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