Comments April 29, 2014 10:38 AM   Subscribe

I think it is detrimental to discussion on MetaFilter for people to bring trolling or offensive or just stupid comments from other sites into this one, so that people here can be duly outraged that somebody is wrong on the internet.

There are seven billion people on the planet and the chance that one of them, somewhere, has said something dumb about the topic of any given thread is very high. What purpose is served by seeking these comments out and repeating them (or linking to them) from within the Metafilter thread?

It is a way of doing an end-run around the Metafilter moderation by introducing comments into the discussion that would never have stood had they been made in the thread here, with the frequent result that the discussion is totally derailed into a referendum on something some anonymous commenter said on another site.

Obviously, there are times when comments on another site are the specific topic of a thread, but that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about cases where the FPP links to a news article or blog post, and then somebody posts a comment here that says something like "Look at comment #26 on that link, I can't believe they said that, how awful!" This has happened most recently in the Jen Sorenson thread, but it happens often in all kinds of threads, and it kind of defeats the purpose of having a higher level of moderation here if we are going to just drag in comments from other places with no moderation.

I flagged the comment earlier today and it's still there, so I am assuming that the mods countenance this practice. I think they should reconsider and I would like to know how others feel.
posted by enn to Etiquette/Policy at 10:38 AM (103 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

I'm pretty sure it's actively discouraged to do what you are describing, but I don't really see what you are describing in that linked comment.

It was an innocuous comment about a fairly innocuous comment. Not exactly delete-worthy in my opinion.
posted by cjorgensen at 10:43 AM on April 29, 2014


In general, I hear you, but it was a tiny offhand remark at the end of a comment, and it did make a point about how subtle sexism creeps into things. I thought the original comment was fine.

I flagged the comment earlier today and it's still there, so I am assuming that the mods countenance this practice. I think they should reconsider and I would like to know how others feel.

By the time people flagged it, there were 4-5 replies and I didn't feel like deleting half the comments in a thread was a better approach. It's a derail clearly and people want to talk about that derail, but I'm not making a mod proclamation from on high that this is a good thing, it was a borderline case that I decided to sway towards not deleting a ton of comments.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:44 AM on April 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


I totally agree that MeFi should not be dependent on off-site stupidity. It's a matter of basic "site sovereignty" that we can supply our internal stupidity demands without resorting to foreign imports. That's why the quidnunc kid Inc. has proudly supplied nothing but class A tedious bullshit to the citizens of MeFi for nigh on 10 years now. So the next time you face a choice between off-site stupidity and the domestic product, "think local" and vote #1 quidnunc kid. And God bless MetaFilter.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 10:49 AM on April 29, 2014 [145 favorites]


This is the sort of thing that you really have to just dedicate yourself to promoting in the world, one-to-one, with every single person you encounter who's thought (or didn't think, I guess) to repeat and perpetuate stupidity. Starting a MeTa is a halfway decent way to get word out, but you're mostly preaching to the choir here. Come up with some kind (but cutting) words that lay out your argument why one shouldn't do that, and be ready with them whenever you see someone doing it. Because I don't think you're going to get any above-and-beyond preventative measures enacted here, this way.
posted by carsonb at 10:51 AM on April 29, 2014


I've asked a similar question before. Led to some weird tangents, but I really appreciated cribcage's point about moral superiority.
posted by psoas at 10:57 AM on April 29, 2014


The original comment wasn't the most content-full thing in the world, but it was related to the FPP. The replies to it weren't, and they're the ones that should probably be the actual subject of this thread.
posted by invitapriore at 11:04 AM on April 29, 2014


I think a lot of the time, it comes from a decent place, though it is misguided. That is, people see horrible comments elsewhere and want the reassurance that people here feel said words are as crappy as they do.

I used to do that occasionally. But in one case where I quoted such a comment, someone told me something that stuck with me. They said that we all know pretty well the kind of crap that's out there -- which is why some of us spend so much time on Metafilter instead. We shouldn't feel like we need to bring that mess here.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:19 AM on April 29, 2014 [20 favorites]


As soon as people routinely begin quoting from youtube comments I'm outta here. As it happens, people don't. So I guess we're fine.
posted by Namlit at 11:21 AM on April 29, 2014


I am not sure that pointing out the way women artists are defined by attractiveness as well as talent is out of line in an FPP about the first women to win an award. escape from the potato planet's minimizing reply was a reply guaranteed to get pushback, and I'm hardly surprised that people pushed back. On the other hand, one or two pushes would have probably done the job and lessened the derail.
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:21 AM on April 29, 2014 [4 favorites]


Thank you, DirtyOldTown, that is a much better summation of something I was trying to say above.
posted by enn at 11:26 AM on April 29, 2014


pony request for a feature that automatically closes a user's browser every time that users states or implies that people are getting outraged for the sake of getting outraged
posted by ominous_paws at 11:34 AM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


pony request for a feature that automatically closes a user's browser every time that users states or implies that people are getting outraged for the sake of getting outraged

Start with yours ;)
posted by esprit de l'escalier at 11:35 AM on April 29, 2014 [5 favorites]


Don't forget the Usenet effect though: if you see three or four comments pushing down on an earlier one, it's often not so much a pile on as several people noticing the same comment at the same time.
posted by MartinWisse at 11:35 AM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


that users states or implies that people are getting outraged for the sake of getting outraged

No one here has so stated or implied. Perhaps you should request your pony in a thread where it is on-topic, or start your own.
posted by enn at 11:41 AM on April 29, 2014


We shouldn't feel like we need to bring that mess here.

That's mostly how I feel about the general phenomenon too, yeah. I don't think this specific example is a particularly pointed one—I tend to worry more about "here's this awful shit somebody said" being imported into threads than something more at the level of "man, here's a frustrating little tidbit"—but definitely it's helpful if (a) people think hard about what to bring over into a thread and (b) consider whether engaging with that stuff if it does show up is improving the thread or just sort of wandering off into the weeds.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:42 AM on April 29, 2014


Hmm, I must have drastically misunderstood the last part of your first sentence then enn. Apologies if so.
posted by ominous_paws at 11:44 AM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


I flagged the comment earlier today and it's still there, so I am assuming that the mods countenance this practice.

Also, this is not really a great way to proceed. Matt has already explained his specific thinking when he was dealing with this one case this morning, but that's also an explanation you could have gotten by dropping us a line just to ask and had some actual mod perspective to work with instead of drawing an assumption from a specific case and levering a metatalk post off of it.

We make a pretty serious effort to be available to actually discuss this stuff. Speculating about our thinking isn't really necessary.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:48 AM on April 29, 2014 [9 favorites]


Thing is, people are always going to be bringing quotations in from other sites (comments sections or otherwise) when they think it adds to the discussion. At its most fundamental level, that's sort of what MetaFilter is all about: showcasing content from the web, and talking about it. That's how the site is supposed to work.

However, people draw the line in different places regarding what they think adds to the discussion. Sometimes people are going to bring in things that others would've rather left out of the conversation, and there's not a ton to be done about it. The best thing to do if you see an example that you think actively harms the discussion is to flag it and move on.

I'm OK with the spirit of this post though, inasmuch as I think it's fine to have a reminder that we maybe should think twice about bringing a quote in from outside if all we have to say about it is "hey y'all, this sure does suck doesn't it?". Especially if the quote is only tangentially related to the nominal topic of the thread. Exceptions should be made however for comments that are so terrible as to be hilarious.
posted by Scientist at 11:49 AM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


I agree with enn.

If we're honest with ourselves, we know that the people who have the most problem with the imposition of aesthetic value are people who have suffered the most for it. So, it's as much an indictment of society as it is a response to personal insecurities.

Why do we need to "make a point about how subtle sexism creeps into things"? Why does every thread have to become a reflection of people's profound insecurities desperately looking to metafilter for reassurance that there exists a world that is less vain and unromantic? Sometimes, it's up to the disturbed individual to make their own peace with the world — why does it become everyone else's work to reassure them?

It's an article about a cartoonist. Let's talk about cartoons.
posted by esprit de l'escalier at 11:54 AM on April 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


I am sorry but it looks like you are saying that sexism and racism are actually a product of the discriminated parties' personal insecurities and that those who suffer from bigotry should just make their peace with it? Is that what you are saying? I need to know how big of a fire to set, please clarify.
posted by elizardbits at 12:09 PM on April 29, 2014 [64 favorites]


If we're honest with ourselves, we know that the people who have the most problem with the imposition of aesthetic value are people who have suffered the most for it. So, it's as much an indictment of society as it is a response to personal insecurities.

huh?

Why do we need to "make a point about how subtle sexism creeps into things"?

If the one comment under an article about the first woman to win a prize is sexist, it's relevant. It shows how far there is to go despite the woman's achievement.

Why does every thread have to become a reflection of people's profound insecurities desperately looking to metafilter for reassurance that there exists a world that is less vain and unromantic? Sometimes, it's up to the disturbed individual to make their own peace with the world — why does it become everyone else's work to reassure them?

lol ok

It's an article about a cartoonist. Let's talk about cartoons.

Yeah, I agree. Which is why the right response to an outburst of frustration about society's pervasive sexism, as displayed, for instance, in a comment under an article, is at least "Yeah, that's pretty gross, and too bad. The cartoons are really good, though, and" instead of "Well, actually, it's not sexist, because it isn't in the article, it's a comment."

***

But that's all getting away from the main point of the MeTa, which is about posting bad comments from other sites over here. I've done it once or twice before, and I've been reproved for it once or twice. I don't think it's a good idea unless it's a really good comment or a comment that could change the way we look at the article above it - like Rory Marinich's comment in the recent FPP about work in games.

My two cents.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 12:11 PM on April 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


The right response is to flag the comment as "derail" and forget about it.

One random person on the internet shows nothing about "how far there is to go despite the woman's achievement". It is nothing more than an anecdote.
posted by esprit de l'escalier at 12:14 PM on April 29, 2014


Why do we need to "make a point about how subtle sexism creeps into things"?

The FPP is specifically about "the first female winner of the Herblock Prize for political cartooning." Seems like sexism in the graphic arts world is fair game for the conversation, regardless of whether it was introduced by picking on the comments section or not.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:16 PM on April 29, 2014 [12 favorites]


It is nothing more than an anecdote.

luckily the same applies to your ~*opinions*~
posted by elizardbits at 12:18 PM on April 29, 2014 [7 favorites]


The right response is to flag the comment as "derail" and forget about it.

Done. I consider your comments in this MeTa so far to be derail bait, even if you mean them sincerely. They have little to do with the issue in the OP. I flagged your latest comment as a derail, and I'm not taking the bait again. I encourage other commenters to ignore what you say if it's not about the issue in the OP.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 12:20 PM on April 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


A sub, or perhaps superset of this is the refrain "Whatever you do, don't read the comments." which effectively directs people toward the comments.

Whatever you do, don't think about the game.
posted by vapidave at 12:38 PM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I agree. Which is why the right response to an outburst of frustration about society's pervasive sexism, as displayed, for instance, in a comment under an article, is at least "Yeah, that's pretty gross, and too bad. The cartoons are really good, though, and" instead of "Well, actually, it's not sexist, because it isn't in the article, it's a comment."

Maybe you could have some sort of button to mark comments as "right" or "wrong" so we’d know going forward.

The comment in the article in question mentioned how great her work was, and wished there was more available. At the end was a "cute" comment, made as an aside. It didn’t say "her work is good/not good because of her looks" or make any other connection between her looks and anything else. I know some people think it’s never appropriate to comment on someone’s attractiveness, but I don’t think that’s a universally held opinion. I feel it’s bad to connect someone’s attractiveness to their worth, or as a factor in rating their work, but not as a general comment, although there doesn’t really seem to be any reason for it in this case.

When an article talks about "Hillary Clinton, the attractive politician", and doesn’t do the same for males, I’d consider that sexist. If my friend thinks Hillary Clinton is attractive I don’t. If my friend thinks Hillary Clinton job performance is somehow connected to her attractiveness I would think it was shallow and stupid, as it would be for a male.

What if someone commented "she’s also a great cook"? What if she’s very happy with the "cute" comment? Is it OK to compliment anyone else on their attractiveness, and exactly who is it allowed for and who not?

"Things that rub me the wrong way" and "things that are a societal problem that must be changed" are not the same.
posted by bongo_x at 12:45 PM on April 29, 2014


Speculating about our thinking isn't really necessary.

Why would there ever be a problem with speculation?

I'm just kidding! Don't hurt me!
posted by cashman at 12:47 PM on April 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


When a big chunk of the original topic is about how women are regarded in media, I think it's totally fair game to use comments as specific examples of the problems of how women are regarded in media. Where perceptions like that aren't germane to the discussion, bringing up awful comments is another story. But this wasn't even that awful, it was just a good, concrete example of the sort of thing women have to deal with in these situations.
posted by Sequence at 12:47 PM on April 29, 2014 [13 favorites]


The example referred to in this Meta is pulled from one of the links in the FPP, and as such can never be irrelevant or extraneous, in my opinion.
posted by jamjam at 12:49 PM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


It's an article about a cartoonist. Let's talk about cartoons.

It's an article about a political cartoonist. Let's talk about politics.
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 1:11 PM on April 29, 2014 [6 favorites]


An article about a political cartoonist who is a woman and who is furthermore the first woman to win a prestigious prize for political cartoonists but OH NO let's not drag in sexism because it's so unrelatated and is just one random person's opinion anyway. Christ.
posted by rtha at 1:24 PM on April 29, 2014 [29 favorites]


I think it is detrimental to discussion on MetaFilter for people to bring trolling or offensive or just stupid comments from other sites into this one, so that people here can be duly outraged that somebody is wrong on the internet.

But this wasn't a case of someone pointing out trolling or offensive or just stupid comment from a random website from somewhere on the internet. This was a case of someone pointing out what they read on the first link of the post.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 1:27 PM on April 29, 2014


One random person on the internet shows nothing about "how far there is to go despite the woman's achievement".

Can I please have your Internet where it's just the one random person? Please?
posted by Kitteh at 1:27 PM on April 29, 2014 [8 favorites]


Or, you know, what jamjam said.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 1:28 PM on April 29, 2014


grrrar, really? I mean that wasn't Pulitzer worthy comment but really a MeTa thread over it? A throwaway observation of an ironic nature?

I'll try and not beat my head too hard on the desk

It's an article about a cartoonist. Let's talk about cartoons.

There is nothing stopping you from talking about cartoons. It is an article about a person and the cartoons she writes.. anything surrounding that is fair game within the boundaries of not being an asshole.

At the end of the day it was a friggen comment that had some relevance to the topic. You don't like it, make your own friggen comment about some other aspect of the topic. A 300 word complaint over a 60 word comment is a lot of effort that could have been spent trying to improve the thread in question. there will be no site changes because of this, there is no real question that will be answered, the comment will not be deleted.
posted by edgeways at 1:30 PM on April 29, 2014


Actually, I think this is the first time a comment of mine ended up inspiring a MeTa - I guess after 1000 posts that's not bad. But I want to take the opportunity to thank the mods for their work, and although I do believe (as others apparently do) that my comment was on topic, I'm not someone who gets fighty about their comments being deleted. I understand the tough calls you have to make, and if it had been or will get deleted, that's cool.

I mean, I know you know it's cool because, you're the mods and all, but I just wanted to say that.
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 1:30 PM on April 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


Why does every thread have to become a reflection of people's profound insecurities desperately looking to metafilter for reassurance that there exists a world that is less vain and unromantic?

I read this as "uggos complaining because men like hot ladies lol".
posted by jess at 1:40 PM on April 29, 2014 [11 favorites]


It is a way of doing an end-run around the Metafilter moderation by introducing comments into the discussion that would never have stood had they been made in the thread here, with the frequent result that the discussion is totally derailed into a referendum on something some anonymous commenter said on another site.

This is a pretty declarative and definitive sounding statement for it just being what you think someone elses motives are by internet psychoanalyzing them.

I mean, i mostly agree that bringing comments from other sites over here is garbage(although i can think of at least one bristle-inducing instance in which a post including a comment quoted got 86'd when it was bringing up a good point), but you're stating it like "this is exactly what it does every time". You didn't even slap a sometimes, or a generally, or a mostly or something in there.

This post sounds an awful lot like "I called the cops because i heard a weird noise down the block and they're STILL not here!". The system is working, just because it isn't working exactly the way you personally want it to 100% of the time doesn't mean it isn't doing its job.
posted by emptythought at 1:44 PM on April 29, 2014 [2 favorites]



Actually, I think this is the first time a comment of mine ended up inspiring a MeTa - I guess after 1000 posts that's not bad. But I want to take the opportunity to thank the mods for their work, and although I do believe (as others apparently do) that my comment was on topic, I'm not someone who gets fighty about their comments being deleted.


This reminds me so much of Travis' speech from Clueless when he won Most Tardies.
posted by sweetkid at 2:00 PM on April 29, 2014 [5 favorites]


esprit de l'escalier: "Why do we need to "make a point about how subtle sexism creeps into things"?

Because if we don't voice our objections, it will continue unimpeded.
posted by zarq at 2:11 PM on April 29, 2014 [15 favorites]


Why does every thread have to become a reflection of people's profound insecurities desperately looking to metafilter for reassurance that there exists a world that is less vain and unromantic?

I read this as "uggos complaining because men like hot ladies lol".


Ultimately, all of these discussions posit on one hand the marginalizing and dehumanizing nature of aesthetics against its (possibly instinctive) exaltation. Social change is brought about by convincing others to contemplate the suffering of the marginalized group. For that reason, the spontaneous reaction to bring up personal suffering (or the personal experience of other people's suffering) is often beneficial. (In this way, one can be "at war" with the world despite being "at peace" with the fact of the war.) The problem is that the guy who wrote the comment is not here to be affected by your sharing of the pain associated with his comment.

The guy may be twenty years old and unconscious of the many ways it would be taken. Maybe the cartoonist reminds him of his first love or his dead younger sister. He isn't here to explain himself.

I thought Metafilter was comments about the "best of the web" — not comments about "what random children say in internet comments sections".

Some people want to make it into the latter — to derail the conversation about an article into one about some child's comment. Why do they do this? Why does this issue touch them more than others? I think if we're honest with ourselves, we can get to the bottom of our motivations so that we can channel them into appropriate actions.
posted by esprit de l'escalier at 2:16 PM on April 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


I think if we're honest with ourselves

You've used this phrase twice. In the context, I get the sense that "we" and "ourselves" actually means "you" and "yourself", because you appear to be telling others what the real, secret source of their thoughts are. I think you might consider only speaking for yourself unless you have strong evidence about someone else's motivations, because speaking for others -- particularly those who you disagree with -- looks a bit presumptuous.
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 2:27 PM on April 29, 2014 [13 favorites]


esprit de l'escalier: "Why do we need to "make a point about how subtle sexism creeps into things"?

Because if we don't voice our objections, it will continue unimpeded.


I addressed this in my last comment, but just to tie it together: that would be true if the guy who wrote the comment were here. Is society affected by preaching to the choir of metafilter? I think it has more to do with either the "spontaneous reaction to bring up personal suffering" or a debilitating need for reassurance.
posted by esprit de l'escalier at 2:27 PM on April 29, 2014


esprit de l'escalier, how exactly are you suggesting we're dishonest with ourselves?
posted by koeselitz at 2:33 PM on April 29, 2014


esprit de l'escalier: "The problem is that the guy who wrote the comment is not here to be affected by your sharing of the pain associated with his comment.

The guy may be twenty years old and unconscious of the many ways it would be taken. Maybe the cartoonist reminds him of his first love or his dead younger sister. He isn't here to explain himself.
"

There was a CNN story posted to Facebook yesterday about a 23 year old man who has adopted 24 Rwandan war orphans. On Facebook, the headline read, "Why does this 23 year old have 24 children?" It included a caption that said he'd adopted Rwandan war orphans, but that didn't matter: the racists came out of the woodwork. Quite a few disparaging comments were made by different people about Jean Claude Nkusi's race, including some pretty nasty ones about "black people" having babies, welfare, poverty, etc.

I believe that no matter the commenter's motivation, age or supposed maturity level, responding to them is always the right thing to do. Because racists function through intimidation and the implied strength/power of the oppressive majority. You're right. It has something to do with reassurance. Speaking out signals those being targeted that people are willing to stand up to bigots and clearly delineate right from wrong. It reassures them that they don't stand alone and someone is willing to speak up to defend them against hatred and vicious stereotypes. It also tells the people making the racist statements and everyone else listening that someone disagrees and isn't afraid to say so.

Racism is a dark shadow that can only be eradicated by direct and steady sunlight. In this case, being willing to stand up and say, "That's wrong and here's why."

By the time I spotted the CNN story this morning, hundreds of people had done so, countering the racist rhetoric. It was nice to see.
posted by zarq at 2:33 PM on April 29, 2014 [6 favorites]


I'm with you zarq, but don't you think it makes more sense then to reply to the comment you don't like in the same comments section?
posted by esprit de l'escalier at 2:37 PM on April 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


I think if we're honest with ourselves, we can get to the bottom of our motivations so that we can channel them into appropriate actions.

Royal "we"? Editorial "we"? Maybe you're a Gemini? (I am two out of three, but rarely use "we" in contexts like this because it comes off as so supercilious.)
posted by rtha at 2:38 PM on April 29, 2014 [4 favorites]


esprit de l'escalier: "I'm with you zarq, but don't you think it makes more sense then to reply to the comment you don't like in the same comments section?"

Sure. But I don't have a problem doing it over here, too. When we link to an article, we're increasing its visibility.
posted by zarq at 2:40 PM on April 29, 2014


I lie to myself all the time.. just now I said I don't care that it's snowing, really I don't... no wait I didn't, I guess I'm actually lying to all of you. Damn. It's all a house of cards.

We are not amused... my special friend and I
posted by edgeways at 2:41 PM on April 29, 2014


Royal "we"? Editorial "we"? Maybe you're a Gemini?

Gollum "we"?
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 2:43 PM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


Since I was called out by name, I started writing a comment here to defend (or at least explain) my comment on Philosopher Dirtbike's comment about the "she's cute" comment on the original article...

But you know what? Fuck it. I'm not going to change anyone's mind, and I have better things to do. If you have a problem with anything I post on MetaFilter, please just flag it and move on. I don't go out of my way to upset people, but I'd stress myself to death if I tried to please every single self-appointed moral guardian around here. Trying not to offend people whose hobby is taking offense is a no-win situation.

(And, based on that last paragraph, I'm sure large swaths of those people just wrote me off as an unrepentant male supremacist, which is pretty hilarious given what I actually believe / preach / practice.)

I do agree that dragging shitty (offsite) comments into an FPP should be discouraged.

Bye.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 2:44 PM on April 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


Trying not to offend people whose hobby is taking offense is a no-win situation.

(And, based on that last paragraph, I'm sure large swaths of those people just wrote me off as an unrepentant male supremacist, which is pretty hilarious given what I actually believe / preach / practice.)


It's pretty fucked up that those hypothetical people you made up would do that to you. They sound like dicks! I'm particularly shocked that they would use the term "male supremacist." It's a little beyond the pale, if you ask me. Mods, can we give those people a hypothetical banning for their hypothetical smear campaign?
posted by Greg Nog at 3:04 PM on April 29, 2014 [22 favorites]


escape from the potato planet: “If you have a problem with anything I post on MetaFilter, please just flag it and move on.”

Wouldn't it make more sense for people to just say "hey, I disagree with what you just said"? Flagging is for when people break the guidelines. As far as I can tell nobody thinks you broke the guidelines here.
posted by koeselitz at 3:06 PM on April 29, 2014


Uh, y'all know that esprit is a regular in the Bizarro Anti-Feminist Logic Olympics, right? You're never going to convince him that his particular framing is a bower bird nest of weird assumptions, flawed syllogisms, incoherent projections and hyper-individualistic rationalizations because he built it himself out of shiny things and he hopes one day to lure a mate to live in it with him.
posted by klangklangston at 3:08 PM on April 29, 2014 [46 favorites]


Wouldn't it make more sense for people to just say "hey, I disagree with what you just said"?

Yes, I think particularly because escape from the potato planet's post was essentially "hey, I disagree with what you just said". You don't get to freely respond to others, and then demand that disagreement with you be in the form of flags.
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 3:10 PM on April 29, 2014


It's pretty fucked up that those hypothetical people you made up would do that to you.

Oh, I can assure you from tiresome experience that they're not just hypothetical.

Bizarro Anti-Feminist Logic Olympics

Prime example.

Flagging is for when people break the guidelines.

"It breaks the guidelines" is one of the possible reasons for flagging a post. "Offensive/sexism/racism" is another. I encourage you to use it.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 3:10 PM on April 29, 2014


yeah i realized that by his second moronic comment
posted by elizardbits at 3:10 PM on April 29, 2014 [4 favorites]


> I'm sure large swaths of those people just wrote me off as an unrepentant male supremacist, which is pretty hilarious given what I actually believe / preach / practice

Then you might want to express yourself more clearly, because that's the way you're coming across.
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:12 PM on April 29, 2014 [4 favorites]


klangklangston: "Uh, y'all know that esprit is a regular in the Bizarro Anti-Feminist Logic Olympics, right? You're never going to convince him that his particular framing is a bower bird nest of weird assumptions, flawed syllogisms, incoherent projections and hyper-individualistic rationalizations because he built it himself out of shiny things and he hopes one day to lure a mate to live in it with him."

Yeah, I hesitated to mention it lest it seem like history mining but we're largely having this conversation because of the same small group of axe grinders that love to jump in whenever this topic comes up.
posted by invitapriore at 3:16 PM on April 29, 2014 [5 favorites]


"It breaks the guidelines" is one of the possible reasons for flagging a post. "Offensive/sexism/racism" is another. I encourage you to use it.

It wasn't either of those, at least not at the level unacceptable on the blue, it was just uninformed and dismissive. I mean, that's the basis for a lot of sexism, but you didn't call her a bitch or say that cartoons are a man's work or make a "I'd hit it" quip or any of a number of things those flags are used for.
posted by zombieflanders at 3:18 PM on April 29, 2014


I just want to say I think you have the situation you want to see already. Mods generally don't like that, and I know I've seen mod notes to that effect when people have brought over comments. They don't always get everything before it's been used/replied to, but I think I see that response a lot from mods.
posted by corb at 3:49 PM on April 29, 2014


The guy may be twenty years old and unconscious of the many ways it would be taken. Maybe the cartoonist reminds him of his first love or his dead younger sister.

Maybe. He also could be a time traveler or a koala. In this case, it's substantially more likely that he (if he is a he and that picture isn't just a blind) is just being casually sexist, in the way that people do all the time on the internet and in real life. Since it's a comment from one of the articles linked in the FPP, and it's highly germane to the topic (why is Jen Sorenson the first woman to win this prize? There is a really good chance that at least part of the reason is sexism, and the quoted comment is a great example of the more casual end of that behavior). So posting a comment that copied that particular comment was not as outrageous an act as some people are asserting (it's not like PD pulled it from some weird gooey corner of the internet; he got it from the first link in the FPP).
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:09 PM on April 29, 2014 [26 favorites]


GenjiandProust: " He also could be a time traveler or a koala."

On the internet, no one knows you're a koala?
posted by zarq at 6:00 PM on April 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


Dear AskMe: My girlfriend spends all of her time eatin' nothin' but freakin' eucalyptus leaves. Can you help me find a nice vegetarian restaurant that caters to furries where she might expand her horizons? Bonus points if it's located at the top of a tree in Phillip Island.
posted by zarq at 6:05 PM on April 29, 2014 [5 favorites]


have you seen a koala? their claws are so damn long no way they can type. This guy can't be a koala. Unless he's using dictation type.
posted by sweetkid at 6:12 PM on April 29, 2014 [4 favorites]


Have you ever heard a koala? No way he's using dictation software unless the comment reads, "belch snort belch snort."
posted by ActingTheGoat at 6:49 PM on April 29, 2014 [7 favorites]


Koalas have to spend so much time foraging and eating that I don't know they'd have time to leave casually sexist comments on a website, even if they can type or use dictation software.
posted by rtha at 7:19 PM on April 29, 2014 [12 favorites]


I love the telephone games these threads become.

Soon we'll have a comment like, "What? First koala to win political cartoon prize? AND she's cute?"
posted by sweetkid at 7:25 PM on April 29, 2014 [5 favorites]


So nicely said, Genji. It's the equivalent of the of horses vs. zebras, in medical speak - the obvious thing is in fact the most likely.

I did sigh heavily when I read that comment. I chose not to confront it, or the more pressing issue of her being the first female awardee, in creating the post, only because today I am tired of that fight, not because it doesn't need fought. Tomorrow is another day. With more koalas, hopefully on mute.
posted by Dashy at 7:27 PM on April 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


horses not zebras exactly.

BTW great post Dashy.
posted by sweetkid at 7:28 PM on April 29, 2014


Koalas don't really do much foraging as such, more like detect favoured eucalypt, climb, then chew, but they do sleep for between 18 and 22 hours per day.

Another mitigating factor is all.
posted by Wolof at 7:29 PM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


Thx. I thought she really deserved the attention!
posted by Dashy at 7:35 PM on April 29, 2014


I'm with you zarq, but don't you think it makes more sense then to reply to the comment you don't like in the same comments section?

Sexism isn't just something that one person perpetrates against another; it's a whole set of cultural/institutional norms and practices that will take a LOT of new norm-setting to change. Calling out sexist behavior is useful as a tool of norm-setting to the people who read the call-out, even if those people don't include the person who perpetrated it.

As a side note, I've noticed that the people who tend to not believe that sexism is really a problem are the ones who just think about it at the individual level. It's easy to brush it off as something present in random people's individual experiences, perpetrated by random deviant individuals. It misses the larger context that causes and excuses that behavior. As far as norms that need to be changed, that kind of thinking is at the top of my list.
posted by quiet coyote at 8:10 PM on April 29, 2014 [18 favorites]


Soon we'll have a comment like, "What? First koala to win political cartoon prize? AND she's cute?"

THAT'S NUMBERWANG!
posted by carsonb at 8:20 PM on April 29, 2014 [7 favorites]


Koalas have to spend so much time foraging and eating that I don't know they'd have time to leave casually sexist comments on a website, even if they can type or use dictation software.

They probably do it while waiting in the lobby at the STD clinic.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 8:21 PM on April 29, 2014


Stop yelling, I'm right here.
posted by That's Numberwang! at 9:47 PM on April 29, 2014 [15 favorites]


Have you ever heard a koala? No way he's using dictation software unless the comment reads, "belch snort belch snort."

I am sure there's a subreddit for that.
posted by gingerest at 9:52 PM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


"It breaks the guidelines" is one of the possible reasons for flagging a post. "Offensive/sexism/racism" is another. I encourage you to use it.

I was under the impression that that flag was for instances when comments break the guidelines on sexism/racism/etc. It's just a more specific flag.
posted by Dysk at 11:54 PM on April 29, 2014


I've seen some women with really impressive fingernails still manage to keep up a pretty fucking decent WPM, so I wouldn't dismiss koalas on purely claw-related grounds.

Though I suppose it's possible that those women are taken less seriously as typists because of the nails being read as feminine and patriarchy devaluing feminine traits by default.

It's also likely that if they won a typist award and someone commented on their appearance one of the same half-dozen commenters would show up in the thread to explain how not sexist that was
posted by NoraReed at 1:47 AM on April 30, 2014 [6 favorites]


Claws are not fingernails - depending on the attachment mechanics they could even be an advantage, but I am just speculating here since IANAKoala.
posted by Dr Dracator at 2:09 AM on April 30, 2014 [3 favorites]


but I am just speculating here since IANAKoala.

I notice you are not denying being a time traveler....
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:58 AM on April 30, 2014 [2 favorites]


Between the bowerbirds and the koalas, there's a lot of Australian fauna in this thread. Hilarious! Bunch of laughing jackasses.
posted by Westringia F. at 5:31 AM on April 30, 2014


Now, I don't like to speak Illawarra, but I was shocked, I mean how much can a koala bear?

shoot me and kill me now I was very young and it's scarred into my brain

I know they're not bears

posted by h00py at 5:54 AM on April 30, 2014 [2 favorites]


They probably do it while waiting in the lobby at the STD clinic.

Aww, that poor koala in the picture is probably just this struggling character actor looking for a break, but now he's the face of koala STD's for the rest of his life.

Little guy will be writing AskMe for advice on his dating profile, wondering why he keeps getting snubbed by the other cute koalas (who may or not be political cartoon award winners, I hear that's a thing with koalas now).
posted by misha at 6:11 AM on April 30, 2014


This is a pretty declarative and definitive sounding statement for it just being what you think someone elses motives are by internet psychoanalyzing them.

I get how it reads that way, I probably phrased it poorly. I didn't mean that bit about an end-run around the moderation to be a statement about motive, but about effect. Referencing or quoting a comment from some other site often has a similar effect on the discussion as if the comment had been posted here in the first place.

I certainly didn't mean to imply that Philosopher Dirtbike was, like, secretly scheming to evade the iron hand of the mods by this clever strategem, or anything. I'm sure their motive was simply to express frustration at a frustrating thing. I'm sure I've done the same thing in the past.

This post is basically just a request that people consider whether and when it is worthwhile to bring a frustrating thing from elsewhere into Metafilter because, as DirtyOldTown said above, some of us come to MetaFilter primarily because the comments here are not like the comments you find on random newspaper articles.
posted by enn at 6:31 AM on April 30, 2014 [2 favorites]


This post is basically just a request that people consider whether and when it is worthwhile to bring a frustrating thing from elsewhere into Metafilter

I think this is definitely a worthwhile thing to think about, enn, and I'll keep it in mind in the future (though I can't say that we'll always be on the same page about specific examples, of course).
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 6:50 AM on April 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


This seems like a difficult example to build the case on, though. That wasn't a thread about the Puppy Olympics that someone derailed by quoting a comment from whitepowerhatespuppies.com to show how awful people are.

It was quoting a comment on the link in the FPP, as an example of the normalized attitudes about women - such as that it's appropriate to add a comment on how attractive you find them to any mention of one - that might have contributed to Jen Sorenson being the first female political cartoonist to win the Herblock Prize. That feels ontopic.
posted by running order squabble fest at 6:59 AM on April 30, 2014 [7 favorites]


I'm not saying we hate puppies, alright? Some of my best friends are puppies. I just don't think we should intermingle like that. Keep the puppy blood for the puppies.
posted by Think_Long at 7:04 AM on April 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think if we're honest with ourselves, we can get to the bottom of our motivations so that we can channel them into appropriate actions.

If I didn't know better, I'd think we were all unwitting participants in some kind of masterwork concern trolling art project/social experiment.
posted by kmz at 7:17 AM on April 30, 2014


I think this, from the Donald Sterling thread, may be a little better example of what this Meta is getting at? It's not a random user comment, so maybe a little more fair game, but very much a "Let's drag what a small minority of 'the other guys' are saying over to Metafilter so we can get righteously indignant over it".
posted by The Gooch at 7:56 AM on April 30, 2014


Well, no. First of all, as you said, it's not random users, it's media personalities. That very much puts it into "fair game" territory IMO. It's also not a small minority, either. This is pretty much an entire sector of the media industry getting involved and complaining about accusations of racism, many of whom have made a lot of complaints about POCs and sports (and are often confused about the concept of free speech vis-a-vis private industry). Taken together with the Cliven Bundy fracas, what these people are telling their viewers and how they react/attack/vote isn't just "look at these assholes." This is horrible, dangerous stuff.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:12 AM on April 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


yeah, I don't think it's the same thing at all. It's a round up of the same old characters (Fox news etc) doing some concern trolling (denying a man of his financial livelihood etc).

I'm really tired of the "righteous indignation" argument. If I'm upset about something, I'm upset about it. Personally I'm a bit neutral about the whole Donald Sterling thing so haven't really commented - neutral in the sense that I'm glad the banning happened but it hasn't been something I want to discuss passionately. But if I do discuss something passionately it's not because I want to look good in front of other people. I really couldn't care less about that. I've been in real life conversations when I've said things that frankly are fairly uncontroversial for progressives and have brought people to uncomfortable silence and stares. I don't want to do that as much as I don't want to score brownie points, it's just a thing that happens.
posted by sweetkid at 8:22 AM on April 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


(That's not concern trolling, which refers to feigning concern specifically for the cause of your ideological opponent. Concern trolling would be arguing that banning Sterling is counterproductive to the cause of stopping racism because, I dunno, it paints antiracists as extremists or something.

Though I may be fighting a losing prescriptivist battle here.)
posted by dontjumplarry at 9:26 AM on April 30, 2014


The level of snarky burns against esprit de l'escalier is kinda disconcerting to me. It's not that i don't think they deserve it for quintupling down on their bizarre narrative of persecution and shit, but i think it takes the conversation to some sort of snarky, jokey rap battle place where all anyone is doing is trying to get the last punch in.

I always feel like metas get pretty gross when they reach that point, and somehow it makes it even grosser to me when the burns start getting 40+ favorites*.

It's just really like... reddit to me. Which is pretty damn meta in a thread about bringing over comments from other sites.

Did people simultaneously decide that instead of bringing over shitty comments, we'd just start posting like we were on other shitty sites? Because sometimes MeTa really feels like "the place i can be the snarky dick i truly want to be that i'd get shut down for being on the blue or something".

And yea, as i said, i don't even think it's uncalled for here. I just think it's like... where do you take the conversation after that, if you're the person being railed? Do you just duck out?

Am i just not super versed in what this person posts? do they have a long track record of this kind of shit i've just happened to miss and everyone is totally fed up with it?

*i don't need the speech again about how favorites mean "different things to different people". When a post is just a so sick burn on someone else and lacks any other real content and it accrues that many favorites, i think it can be pretty reliably inferred what the motivation of the people clicking that button was.
posted by emptythought at 11:22 AM on April 30, 2014 [2 favorites]


do they have a long track record of this kind of shit i've just happened to miss and everyone is totally fed up with it?

For me, at least: Yeah.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 11:46 AM on April 30, 2014 [8 favorites]



do they have a long track record of this kind of shit i've just happened to miss and everyone is totally fed up with it?


yes, especially in re: sexism.
posted by sweetkid at 11:50 AM on April 30, 2014 [6 favorites]


Am i just not super versed in what this person posts? do they have a long track record of this kind of shit i've just happened to miss and everyone is totally fed up with it?

Yes. Context matters.

*i don't need the speech again about how favorites mean "different things to different people". When a post is just a so sick burn on someone else and lacks any other real content and it accrues that many favorites, i think it can be pretty reliably inferred what the motivation of the people clicking that button was.

I think one interpretation is: "This person keeps doing this really uncool thing and appears to be deaf to the constructive criticism that's been offered repeatedly regarding their disingenuousness/bullheadedness/jerkiness regarding sexism. Maybe seeing THIS will finally be a good indicator to them that they're really out of line."
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 1:12 PM on April 30, 2014


emptythought : " Am i just not super versed in what this person posts? do they have a long track record of this kind of shit i've just happened to miss and everyone is totally fed up with it?"

Yes. As klangklangston pointed out, y'all know that esprit is a regular in the Bizarro Anti-Feminist Logic Olympics, right?

emptythought : " *i don't need the speech again about how favorites mean "different things to different people". When a post is just a so sick burn on someone else and lacks any other real content and it accrues that many favorites, i think it can be pretty reliably inferred what the motivation of the people clicking that button was."

No, that's projection. Your "pretty reliable inference" is somebody else's "groundless supposition based on insufficient information and not having paid attention to past interactions".

hurdy gurdy girl: " I think one interpretation is: "This person keeps doing this really uncool thing and appears to be deaf to the constructive criticism that's been offered repeatedly regarding their disingenuousness/bullheadedness/jerkiness regarding sexism. Maybe seeing THIS will finally be a good indicator to them that they're really out of line.""

That was my thinking when I favorited it. I can't speak for anybody else.
posted by Lexica at 1:16 PM on April 30, 2014 [3 favorites]


And yea, as i said, i don't even think it's uncalled for here. I just think it's like... where do you take the conversation after that, if you're the person being railed? Do you just duck out?

I think that is an idea, yes!

I mean, I think one of the most favorited posts on MetaTalk is an actual rap battle - there's a point at which there's obviously not going to be a productive resolution with which all parties are happy, and the frustration created by that is expressed in different ways. Number of favorites is not really an indicator of mass or majority approval, but if a large number of people are favoriting posts finding humorous ways of venting that frustration, I think that's a good sign that either what you're doing isn't working, or it really isn't working for that number of people. Ducking out might be a way to respond to that.

(Multipling down is, of course, another...)
posted by running order squabble fest at 1:22 PM on April 30, 2014


The level of snarky burns against esprit de l'escalier is kinda disconcerting to me. It's not that i don't think they deserve it for quintupling down on their bizarre narrative of persecution and shit, but i think it takes the conversation to some sort of snarky, jokey rap battle place where all anyone is doing is trying to get the last punch in.

Read esprit de l'escalier's comments again. The dripping condescension and over-the-internet-psychoanalysis doesn't leave much room for conversation. Saying that people here [specifically me, I suppose?] have a "debilitating need for reassurance" and that "I think if we're honest with ourselves, we can get to the bottom of our motivations so that we can channel them into appropriate actions." (implying that if we were "honest" we'd act appropriately, presumably like esprit de l'escalier) is not the best way to have a conversation in good faith. People in the thread have dealt with this through humor. I don't see the piling on here.
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 2:26 PM on April 30, 2014 [6 favorites]


yea also with the constant assertion that people who don't like to see common themes of sexism on the internet (like "she's cute," "I'd hit it" whenever a woman does anything) are "unromantic."

I follow a few women tech bloggers online and every time they post something on Facebook most of the comments are like "add me pls" "single?" "u r so cute" so...there's actual basis/crappy history behind the casual sexism Philosopher Dirtbike pointed out here.
posted by sweetkid at 2:31 PM on April 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


yea also with the constant assertion that people who don't like to see common themes of sexism on the internet (like "she's cute," "I'd hit it" whenever a woman does anything) are "unromantic."

Welp. I didn't know that was a thing. That's awful.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:41 PM on April 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


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