Breaking news - Not any more? June 5, 2014 8:55 PM   Subscribe

This post on the shooting of three Mounties was deleted with the reason that we should wait until the situation has been resolved before posting. I don't have a problem with that per se but it seems like a serious departure from previous policy on huge breaking news stories (and this story is massive in Canada) for a post that was, IMO, well constructed with authoritative sources and even video of the event. Has there been a shift in policy to curtail discussion of breaking news until all the details are in? More generally should we be moving away from giving stories like these time on the front page until they move off the 24 hour news cycle?

There doesn't seem to be much difference between this and for example two posts on the Boston Marathon Bombing, the post on MH-370, intial coverage of Deepwater Horizon, or heck even the 9/11 post that was so pivotal for the site amongst many other breaking newsfilter posts.
posted by Mitheral to Etiquette/Policy at 8:55 PM (121 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

The difference is that there's unlikely to be anyone here who is involved in that shooting.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:58 PM on June 5, 2014


Not a policy change per se, no; that we end up with breaking news stuff sometimes is more sort of an exception than the rule and usually reflects a combination of chance (some stuff stands, but not everything) and ideally the situation having developed enough that it's a little clearer what's going on.

In that case there's the extra twist of oddness of having a post specifically noting above the fold that the authorities are essentially saying "also, maybe don't make posts about this because that'd actively counterproductive", which I think may have been an extra bit of straw on the camel's back when Matt was looking at that the other night.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:58 PM on June 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


The difference is that there's unlikely to be anyone here who is involved in that shooting.

No.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:01 PM on June 5, 2014 [37 favorites]


I would think that a story with aspects like

The shooter, 24-year-old Justin Bourque, is still on the loose. Police are asking people to stop sharing details about the manhunt on social media, as they fear the killer may be monitoring social media.

might be better off covered after the loose ends are tied up.
posted by carsonb at 9:18 PM on June 5, 2014 [5 favorites]


So, apparently the shooter has been caught.

Should someone try reposting the story (with updated links, of course)?
posted by el io at 9:19 PM on June 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


If it feels like a worthwhile post—basically something more to it than "here is a bad thing that happened"—then there's not really a problem with that, yeah.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:21 PM on June 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


The shooter, 24-year-old Justin Bourque, is still on the loose. Police are asking people to stop sharing details about the manhunt on social media, as they fear the killer may be monitoring social media.

This is why I flagged it.

I also would prefer if MeFi didn't have breaking news posts. If people want to have somewhere to talk and engage in wild speculation, chat might be a good option.
posted by MoonOrb at 9:26 PM on June 5, 2014 [3 favorites]


While Matt is on record that Mefi is specifically not intended for breaking news stories, that parameter has long since been abandoned. Weather events, mass-shootings, and the like have become standard fare here for quite some time. I have flagged them as breaking the guidelines when spotted, but I don't think that I've ever seen one deleted. (?) The idea that this community is a place to post cool things you found on the web seems to be more honoured in the breach than it is in the practice these days. I'm guessing though, but things evolve, my own observation is that this case seems to be one of them, for whatever that's worth.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 9:40 PM on June 5, 2014 [3 favorites]


but I don't think that I've ever seen one deleted.

I have for sure deleted a number of them over time, and I am not alone. Like I said, we don't nix every one that comes along but we also don't flag them happily by without thought, and it tends to depend a lot on specific circumstances and a lot of whammy factor.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:42 PM on June 5, 2014


Oh hey, I said I wasn't sure. It's not like I'm keeping score. My own best guess is that, in all likelihood, I only remember the ones that stood. That said, it's still true that breaking news stories are now an accepted part of the front page.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 9:48 PM on June 5, 2014


I don't like breaking stories either.

Metafilter isn't the place for wild speculation...

...that's what CNN is for.
posted by el io at 9:49 PM on June 5, 2014 [6 favorites]


Okay, Americans, the next time there is a shooter on the loose someplace in your country and someone makes a post, I guess I will flag it, and point to this Meta.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:55 PM on June 5, 2014 [12 favorites]


That's a weird thing to say.
posted by MoonOrb at 9:59 PM on June 5, 2014


That's a weird thing to say.

Well, it does seem superficially a bit like a double standard.
posted by Celsius1414 at 10:04 PM on June 5, 2014 [11 favorites]


It's not that weird. We get at least a few shooters a year on this side of the border. We just had one today about a mile from where I go for coffee, in fact.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:05 PM on June 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


Shootings are becoming a weekly occurrence = not best of web, and just plain 'ole crappy news to read about. Every week.
posted by buzzman at 10:06 PM on June 5, 2014 [9 favorites]


The authorities specifically asked people not to post stuff online about it while it was still happening. MeFi isn't discriminating against you.

In the US they're becoming so common that today's campus shooting isn't even getting that much news. Ugh, this country is off the rails.
posted by heyho at 10:11 PM on June 5, 2014 [8 favorites]


So hey I just noticed a 'Mounties always get their man' sorta post on the Blue and I flagged it and moved on because it seemed like a really strange STORY IS OVER kind of post without any deeper context, and then I came here to Meta and saw this whole deal, so I don't know.
Still think it wasn't a good enough post about this whole awful thing.
posted by chococat at 10:13 PM on June 5, 2014


nevermind.
posted by chococat at 10:14 PM on June 5, 2014


There doesn't seem to be much difference between this and for example two posts on the Boston Marathon Bombing

I remember deleting a bunch of posts about it as it was breaking during the manhunt saga, along with some hand-wringing metatalks saying this is was unique and bigger than just another breaking news thing which I eventually caved on.

Now that the guy is caught, I think a nice all arounder post on everything that happened would be fine.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:16 PM on June 5, 2014


Well, it does seem superficially a bit like a double standard.

If you want my personal opinion I don't really like that there was a post about Rodgers, either, but it was at least more of a "a thing happened and here are some weird notable details surrounding it" rather than "guy shooting people at UCSB, not much info yet". There have been, in that thread, links since it went up to a couple of other shootings, neither of which were made into posts but which had they been would have almost certainly been deleted for being precisely that.

I don't think it's possible to get entirely away from the demographic media bias of US media being likely to report US shootings in a way that feeds into US-driven internet response, so as far as that goes I kinda of hear you, but (a) we basically don't like any of these as mefi posts qua mefi posts and (b) the weird media biases are a distinct thing from Metafilter policy which is a distinct thing from what individual users choose to post, and those distinct things shouldn't be collapsed together into one notional homogenous clump.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:19 PM on June 5, 2014 [4 favorites]


I seem to recall a relatively recent discussion about the pros and cons of a breaking-news related MeFi subsite, but I can't remember in which thread it took place (or even if I'm remembering correctly). Not unlike FanFare, functioning as something of release valve for the Happening Right Now stuff.

I know Chat has been suggested for that purpose, but I think the MeFi format has its advantages (persistence of the discussion text if nothing else).
posted by Celsius1414 at 10:24 PM on June 5, 2014


I don't want to build a dedicated breaking news site.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:43 PM on June 5, 2014 [47 favorites]


this is was unique and bigger than just another breaking news thing

Those shit-shows of threads are a nice counterpoint to the now thirteen year old standard NewsFilter justification.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:48 PM on June 5, 2014


Breaking newsfilter is up there in my MeFi pet peeves list alongside weak sauce SLYTs and Gawker links (especially Jezebel links).

It's not that none of that is worth discussing.

It's just that even though I'd consider myself to be an extremely liberal person, if I want to read breaking news with comments that skew heavily liberal, I have plenty of other places to go for that. It's not what makes MeFi special.
posted by Old Man McKay at 12:06 AM on June 6, 2014 [6 favorites]


I like breaking-news posts on MF. I wouldn't want to see them become a majority of the posts here, but occasional ones are fine.

OP: after having several FPPs deleted with no explanation under my main account, I just decided not to do any FPPs anymore. I'm much happier on the site as a result.
posted by persona au gratin at 2:39 AM on June 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


I also would prefer if MeFi didn't have breaking news posts.

I'd rather have a breaking news post than an obituary post.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:08 AM on June 6, 2014 [15 favorites]


after having several FPPs deleted with no explanation under my main account

Every deleted FPP has an explanation attached (see the Deleted MeFi blog), even if it was spam.
posted by zombieflanders at 4:15 AM on June 6, 2014 [3 favorites]


I hate breaking news posts. I like when Metafilter substantively covers a topic; I feel like there's productive and informed conversation, with an information density higher than most of the Internet. But when it's breaking news, there tends to be a high volume of low quality comments, and the thread grows extremely quickly, and the usual Metafilter quality discussion winds up scattered with a lot of uninformed speculation. What's worse is that the good discussion that should happen, winds up happening 600 comments down on a thread that takes forever to load. So I am all for the continued deletion of these threads.
posted by graymouser at 4:32 AM on June 6, 2014 [3 favorites]


persona au gratin, if you haven't opted out of site notices, when you make a post you get an automated Mefi mail from mathowie which will include the post url. It looks something like this:
Your Post: The Title of Your Post Will be Here

Message :
Your post has been added to MetaFilter. Here are the details:

[details will be here, including the url]
If you go to that url you will either see your active post/thread -- or that it was deleted and the reason will show up under the post, before the comment area.

Here's an example of a deleted post from a spammer, so you can see where / how the deletion reason shows up.

Looking at your earlier posts, it was just a couple deleted. One was basically a double, and the other was kind of a thin jokey thing from a retail site ("thin" stuff often does get a pass, but if there are additional problems it is more likely to be nixed, and a link to a commercial site just tends to get more hackles up and flags raised.) So no big problems there, really. I'm sorry you felt discouraged; most people have had a few posts deleted, it's not a mark of shame at all. You can always contact us if you have questions, too.
posted by taz (staff) at 4:38 AM on June 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


How many times are we going to have the same discussion over posts people think shouldn't grace the front page of Metafilter? Look, I think cat videos are pretty useless and don't exactly elicit quality comments because, well, what the hell is there to discuss? But I don't come in here attempting to persuade the powers that be to disallow them. You like vanilla ice cream, I like chocolate; I'll consume what tickles my taste buds and avoid what doesn't. It's a choice anyone can make.
posted by gman at 4:44 AM on June 6, 2014 [6 favorites]


If we never covered breaking news, MeFi would never have found the missing Malaysian airplane, and then we would be forced to rely on donations instead of advertising.
posted by spitbull at 4:47 AM on June 6, 2014 [3 favorites]


Heh, wow, that spammer didn't even try.
posted by Melismata at 4:54 AM on June 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


You like vanilla ice cream, I like chocolate;

Way to leave out the mocha fudge ripplers. Check your ice cream privilege.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:45 AM on June 6, 2014 [6 favorites]


it tends to depend a lot on specific circumstances and a lot of whammy factor.

Come on mammy, throw me that whammy.
posted by octobersurprise at 5:53 AM on June 6, 2014


But I really wanted breaking news about kick boxing cats in Atlanta. At least, I assume there were cats, that's why the Internet exists.
posted by arcticseal at 6:12 AM on June 6, 2014


I don't want to build a dedicated breaking news site.

What about a pre-news site? I still don't get why that post survived.

As far as mass shootings go we could have a perpetual post. Every Monday, we just post that week's open thread. "Mass Shooting of 5/9/2014 Discussion Thread." If we want to get away from the US-centric aspect we could probably just have a daily thread. There could be "metashooter" or "shooterfilter" the new subsite. We might have to call it something else though, since "shooter" hurts the NRA's feelings. murderfilter? evilfilter? Let's make this happen!

I keep trying to get people to make bets with me on mass shootings. I say, "I bet you $1,000 dollars that we don't go this week without a mass-shooting in the US. Mass-shooting is defined as more than three people hit by bullets. No one has to die, but more than two people need to be shot." I can never get anyone to bet me, but I would shove my money into that pot every Monday if I could.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:16 AM on June 6, 2014 [7 favorites]


I'm thinking something like this, but not just for Chicago.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:32 AM on June 6, 2014


What about a pre-news site? I still don't get why that post survived.

Especially when the post I made about the iPad only a few hours before it was announced was deleted.

How much longer must we suffer under this cruel injustice?! When will every MeFite be free to make a post about Apple whenever they choose?!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:32 AM on June 6, 2014


That one was bad because they poster even admitted, "Partly it's here so there'll be a livethread during tomorrow's announcements," which is pretty much the definition of "breaks the guidelines."
posted by cjorgensen at 6:35 AM on June 6, 2014 [8 favorites]


I like breaking news posts, but after a few minutes I decided to flag that one. The link directly to the accused's Facebook page weirded me out, along with the request not to discuss it on social media.
posted by Drinky Die at 6:44 AM on June 6, 2014 [3 favorites]


I'd like a site that features breaking newscasters. With various means of torture, that is.
posted by planetesimal at 7:07 AM on June 6, 2014


yuck ^
posted by Sebmojo at 7:28 AM on June 6, 2014


While I do not favor Breaking News posts, I feel obligated to say that I like Breaking Bad posts, so let's have more of those please.
posted by MoonOrb at 7:28 AM on June 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


Schedule a rewatch on FanFare. I'd participate.
posted by heyho at 7:39 AM on June 6, 2014


gman: "How many times are we going to have the same discussion over posts people think shouldn't grace the front page of Metafilter? Look, I think cat videos are pretty useless and don't exactly elicit quality comments because, well, what the hell is there to discuss? But I don't come in here attempting to persuade the powers that be to disallow them. You like vanilla ice cream, I like chocolate; I'll consume what tickles my taste buds and avoid what doesn't. It's a choice anyone can make."

Couldn't agree more. If you don't like Breaking News posts, you don't have to make them. You don't have to read them. There's no law that says we have to participate or pay attention to every single post.

Why not simply create posts on topics you want to read and discuss, and enjoy yourselves?
posted by zarq at 7:40 AM on June 6, 2014 [3 favorites]


I don't like the breathless updates and repeating of misinformed reporting that tends to fill breaking news stories. The apple one was actually more interesting than most because there was some substance to discuss, even if the FPP did appear to break or bend some guidelines.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:44 AM on June 6, 2014


The Apple post would have been fine if it had held off until the Keynote was done. It would have been a way better post if it had actually included the new announced technologies and had some actually analysis of what these were going to allow. Even the same post done when the Keynote started would have been better. Instead that post existed solely so someone had a place to chat. It was just a way of making sure no one else made the post in a timely manner.

Firstz!
posted by cjorgensen at 7:51 AM on June 6, 2014 [6 favorites]


>How many times are we going to have the same discussion over posts people think shouldn't grace the front page of Metafilter? Look, I think cat videos are pretty useless and don't exactly elicit quality comments because, well, what the hell is there to discuss? But I don't come in here attempting to persuade the powers that be to disallow them. You like vanilla ice cream, I like chocolate; I'll consume what tickles my taste buds and avoid what doesn't. It's a choice anyone can make.

You can enjoy stories about chocolate ice cream and I can enjoy stories about vanilla, and it's cool because we're all still talking about desserts. But people keep posting stories about artichokes or whatever, even after the guy in charge says "this really isn't a place to discuss artichokes."

So I guess I'd agree with you if we were only debating over what's "best of the web" and what's not. I personally like cat videos and hate Game of Thrones; your mileage may vary. But I think there's a distinction to be made between "here is this awesome already-existing thing I found on the web" and "let's discuss a thing which happened so recently that there's not a lot on the web to link to". And it's my understanding that MeFi encourages the former and discourages the latter.
posted by xbonesgt at 8:02 AM on June 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


xbonesgt: "But people keep posting stories about artichokes or whatever, even after the guy in charge says "this really isn't a place to discuss artichokes.""

What mathowie has said in the past and what posts have survived on the Blue are two different things. More often than not, the mods don't seem to delete breaking news posts. Even when they do, the deletions aren't consistent.
posted by zarq at 8:12 AM on June 6, 2014


Oh, thanks. That's helpful to know.
posted by persona au gratin at 8:12 AM on June 6, 2014


Torn on breaking news posts. Done a few, and obituary posts, but they've never felt quite right (and I've been called out over a couple of them), nor the kind of right thing to post.

On the plus side...

- Breaking news posts (as opposed to much wider 'news posts') are only a small fraction of MetaFilter.
- It's a place for the community to discuss.
- It's an update mechanism of use to people e.g. if there's a slow-moving storm.
- The quality of debate is better than probably anywhere else because MetaFilter.
- As others have pointed out, the 9/11 thread makes for compulsive reading.

On the minus side...

- Most breaking news is negative, and the net is already overwhelmingly skewed towards negative.
- A site without a specific breaking news story is a sanctuary away from it being everywhere else.
- Many breaking news stories are shooting-related, and the comments quickly become identical arguments to those in previous shooting posts.
- There's a ton of other places online where such things are being discussed.
- Emotive discussion might be better on chat.
- A heavy level of mod involvement is probably needed.
- MetaFilter is arguably best as the place to find cool stuff you didn't know about and go into depth about it.
- It's notable that when people cite an example of a good breaking news thread, it's the 9/11 one from 13 years ago now rather than a more recent one.
- Remembering the Mensis Horribilis of April 2013 (Boston Marathon, Boston capture, Thatcher's death), several big breaking news event is draining for the community, and for the mods.

Actually, on that last point, if there was another 'April 2013' am not sure how MetaFilter would cope with the now reduced level of mods.
posted by Wordshore at 8:12 AM on June 6, 2014


Couldn't agree more. If you don't like Breaking News posts, you don't have to make them. You don't have to read them. There's no law that says we have to participate or pay attention to every single post.

Why not simply create posts on topics you want to read and discuss, and enjoy yourselves


A breaking news post that stands in the Blue means that a later post, when Mefites have had time to digest the news and make some intelligent and informed comment on the topic at hand, would be a double. The same thing goes for "first!" obit posts – a quick obit post on the Blue means that a well-curated one with thoughtful links about a person's life and work won't be able to be posted.

Because of the double rule, a given topic is effectively a zero-sum game for 30 days or so. A breaking news post creates a bad space where good discussion goes to die.
posted by graymouser at 8:30 AM on June 6, 2014 [3 favorites]


graymouser: A breaking news post that stands in the Blue means that a later post, when Mefites have had time to digest the news and make some intelligent and informed comment on the topic at hand, would be a double.

As you can see by the two Boston Marathon posts linked in this MeTa, that's simply not true. They were four days apart and the second one certainly didn't suffer from a lack of interest considering it garnered almost 5,000 comments. And there have been several MH-370 posts; I can't even count the number of 9/11 posts. Of course the first one up as the story breaks is going to be full of misinformation, but within a few days or even hours, things sort themselves out. You can either post what you feel is relevant in the breaking story post, or if it's a big enough development, post a new thread and avoid the first one you don't think should be there altogether.
posted by gman at 9:09 AM on June 6, 2014


I admit it, for a brief moment I did think there might be a double standard at work here; after all, the aforementioned Boston bombing thread was allowed to stand, and the situation in Moncton was fairly similar. Why delete one and let the other stand?
Of course, a moment's thought cleared that up for me. What would that thread look like? It would have turned into Moncton Mefites (I assume there are Mefites in Moncton; we are EVERYWHERE!) basically giving us a running narration of where the police were and how many, etcetera. Precisely the thing the RCMP requested we don't do...
So, yeah, tl;dr... I'm okay with this deletion. And I'm looking forward to someone way smarter than me putting together a post on the Blue about this so we can have a discussion about it.
posted by Jughead at 11:13 AM on June 6, 2014


MoonOrb: I also would prefer if MeFi didn't have breaking news posts.

Agreed. Remember the fun mess of balloon boy?

Also, MetaFilter has less staff than a month ago, so I can appreciate trying to avoid some heated topics that will have a lot of speculation and little factual information to discuss.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:32 AM on June 6, 2014 [5 favorites]


Shootings are becoming a weekly occurrence = not best of web, and just plain 'ole crappy news to read about. Every week.

Well, we already know that the answer to a lunatic with a gun is another lunatic with a gun.
posted by y2karl at 12:07 PM on June 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


I feel like this suggestion must've been advanced in the past, but would it be possible to setup a user-driven flag system so that posters can categorize their posts and people who hate anything along those lines can opt to never see them?

Examples:
Politics
SLYT
Obituary
Breaking News

...and any other category that has God-knows-how-many Metatalk complaints associated with it.
posted by Ryvar at 12:54 PM on June 6, 2014


Oh, duh, the obvious one: NSFW.
posted by Ryvar at 12:55 PM on June 6, 2014


Ryvar, you can use My MeFi for that. Just click over there, then 'set preferences' at the top of the page, and add tags to your 'list of excluded tags'. That doesn't guarantee that every post that touches on politics will get the politics tag, but it should filter out a good number of them.
posted by pb (staff) at 1:03 PM on June 6, 2014


Should've known based on the "this seems really obvious" quality of the suggestion that something of the sort existed. Maybe it needs to be more prominently called out?
posted by Ryvar at 1:11 PM on June 6, 2014


Maybe it needs to be more prominently called out?

Yeah, maybe so. Around 800 people have set My MeFi preferences. So it's not completely unknown. It's one of those things that you find poking around the site a little. Or maybe you'd spot it in the FAQ. For the people who really want to filter the front page or get help spotting their favorite subjects it's great. I'm not sure it's something that everyone needs so I don't think a note on the front page is necessary. I think it works kind of like Recent Activity—you'll find it as you start looking for answers to the problems it solves.
posted by pb (staff) at 1:19 PM on June 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


Why does leaving both fields blank get rid of everything but adding one word to the exclusion list give everything but that word?
posted by Big_B at 1:48 PM on June 6, 2014


You need to have something added to use it--either a favorite tag or an excluded tag. If they're both blank you can just use the front page.
posted by pb (staff) at 1:57 PM on June 6, 2014


Wordshore: "- Remembering the Mensis Horribilis of April 2013 (Boston Marathon, Boston capture, Thatcher's death), several big breaking news event is draining for the community, and for the mods. "

I am embarrassed to say that I completely forgot that Margaret Thatcher died. This moment of American brought to you by America, Best In The Wordl (TM).
posted by scrump at 5:02 PM on June 6, 2014


breaking newscasters

I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!
posted by arcticseal at 10:31 PM on June 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


I am embarrassed to say that I completely forgot that Margaret Thatcher died. This moment of American brought to you by America, Best In The Wordl (TM).

It was a big moment in UK recent history. Since her time in office, the topic of what happens when Thatcher dies had been a constant topic. Most divisive politician in living memory. Some people wanted to almost venerate her as someone who saved the country; others wanted to dance on her grave and have street parties.

This always was going to be a hellish thread for the metafilter mods. And talking about Thatcher is still one of the quickest ways of starting a fist fight in an English pub.
posted by Wordshore at 3:08 AM on June 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


Not a policy change per se, no; that we end up with breaking news stuff sometimes is more sort of an exception than the rule and usually reflects a combination of chance (some stuff stands, but not everything) and ideally the situation having developed enough that it's a little clearer what's going on.

This just says nothing. I think a lot more people would understand this policy if you just said "it's basically arbitrary...or depends on which side of the bed the mod got out of?

In that case there's the extra twist of oddness of having a post specifically noting above the fold that the authorities are essentially saying "also, maybe don't make posts about this because that'd actively counterproductive", which I think may have been an extra bit of straw on the camel's back when Matt was looking at that the other night.

The "authorities" we're requesting you not do it? Of all the reasons I have heard for a post being deleted, this one takes the cake.

By the way, Iran has requested that metafilter not make any more references to Hoder and every other political prisoner. So would you mind deleting it? Criminals may be following it on social media and all.
posted by hal_c_on at 4:21 AM on June 7, 2014


The delete reason was "This is awful breaking news, but you might want to wait until it is over to make a post about it," And cortex added, "that we end up with breaking news stuff sometimes is more sort of an exception than the rule."

The point of the site is not for liveblogging shooting incidents. Discussing later, with more information, background, etc., is something we are more likely to do. This isn't a new thing, but we don't make absolute statements that NO LIVE NEWS ITEMS WILL EVAR EVAR BE POSTED ON METAFILTER, and this is also not a new thing; Metafilter has very few absolute rules, and it's always been that way. I understand that this can feel infuriating to some people, but that's how we do it here.
posted by taz (staff) at 4:49 AM on June 7, 2014


Metafilter skews liberal, radfem, very white, wealthy, gay, trans*, south of the 49th parallel on the contintental North America and specifically New York with a soupçon of Chicago and a little San Francisco mixed in. Our friends from Australia have all but disappeared.

I have no idea why anyone pretends otherwise.

What the fuck is this though?

"This isn't a new thing, but we don't make absolute statements that NO LIVE NEWS ITEMS WILL EVAR EVAR BE POSTED ON METAFILTER"

Evar? All Caps?
posted by vapidave at 7:08 AM on June 7, 2014


There doesn't seem to be much difference between this and for example two posts on the Boston Marathon Bombing

Look, I know I'm in Boston so you are welcome to take this as being terribly biased on my part. But.

The Boston Marathon bombings themselves were a major news event because they concerned mass civilian (not police, civilian, including children) casualties at a 100+ year old international sporting event with no history of violence. Yes, only 3 people died, the same as in these shootings, but dozens were maimed and wounded. It was indiscriminate terrorism with no sign of motive.

The follow-up manhunt is a little harder to justify, but it did completely shut down a city about ten times as large as Moncton in a way that is unprecedented (in my memory, please correct me) in the US. The manhunt lasted for something like 20 hours and involved the suspects throwing car bombs from moving vehicles. The surviving suspect was caught hiding in a boat. A boat.

These shootings shouldn't be ignored because they happened north of the border. They shouldn't be ignored because Moncton is smaller than Boston or because the victims were policemen instead of 8 year olds. There have been so many shootings recently that we in the US are becoming, have become, inured to them. But this was not news in the same way the Boston Marathon bombings were.
posted by maryr at 7:49 AM on June 7, 2014


maryr: Look, I know I'm in Boston so you are welcome to take this as being terribly biased on my part.

This is a common theme among Americans. Other people's tragedies are never as bad as what happened to them. I remember being in Thailand soon after the tsunami in 2004 and hearing Americans refer to it as Asia's 9/11. It's just a fuckin' revolting way to look at the world. This was the second worst multiple-police shooting in Canada's history, and while mass shootings may be your norm, it's certainly an important and tragic event for us.
posted by gman at 8:04 AM on June 7, 2014 [11 favorites]


For the rest of the world, the day a man shot several cops, it was the most important day of their lives. But for the US...it was Tuesday.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:16 AM on June 7, 2014


It's not just Americans, though we see that in Canada more than other places because of their proximity. Everyone cares more about stuff that happens closer to home. EG: how many Canadians or Americans heard of let alone discussed at depth the recent knife attack in Kunming that killed 29 people and injured ~140? Practically none.

At any rate as cortex's firmly worded no shows we shouldn't be getting into disaster dick measuring contests as a determination of post deletion.

PS: For those who asked: This meta was posted within 15 minutes of being submitted (I was busy submitting a minor bug report and didn't notice exactly when it went live). 8:30 pm Pacific on a Thursday isn't exactly a challenging time but turn around was very quick IMO.
posted by Mitheral at 8:25 AM on June 7, 2014


Metafilter skews liberal, radfem, very white, wealthy, gay, trans*

Have you ever read any actual radfem sites? MeFi is not that. People are welcome to tilt at whatever windmills they want to but just because a site may have more feminist sympathies than the general internet (lord help us) does not mean the site "skews radfem" in any way. Breaking news threads of all stripes tend to suck and I've always been surprised more of them weren't deleted here.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 8:37 AM on June 7, 2014 [27 favorites]


"This is a common theme among Americans. Other people's tragedies are never as bad as what happened to them."

I agree that "Other people's tragedies are never as bad as what happened to them.". I disagree that it's specific to Americans. New York, where everything bad is OMG$pocalypse is a center for media.

My estimation is that the perception is more a symptom of the concetration of media as opposed to a lack of empathy.
posted by vapidave at 8:41 AM on June 7, 2014


Breaking news threads of all stripes tend to suck and I've always been surprised more of them weren't deleted here.

A few days off the job and she's already complaining about the mods. :P
posted by Drinky Die at 8:45 AM on June 7, 2014 [5 favorites]


Mods haven't deleted them historically because they weren't flagged so much and so we'd all sit around and look at each other and sort of shrug. Now that there's doing-more-with-less moderation, more decisions have to be made in a forward-thinking way which makes a lot of sense. I think that's actually a good idea, I'm just expressing my own non-mod opinion that I've always hated those threads, but I never deleted them either.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 8:48 AM on June 7, 2014


I know, just joking.
posted by Drinky Die at 8:49 AM on June 7, 2014


Your jokes have an edge to them that frequently makes them not that funny.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 8:51 AM on June 7, 2014 [8 favorites]


"Have you ever read any actual radfem sites? MeFi is not that. People are welcome to tilt at whatever windmills they want to but just because a site may have more feminist sympathies than the general internet (lord help us) does not mean the site "skews radfem" in any way."

Sure it does. Why are you protesting my observation? I said Mefi skews radfem. I didn't say Mefi is a radfem site, you said that.

Again, Metafilter skews liberal, radfem, very white, wealthy, gay, trans*, south of the 49th parallel on the contintental North America and specifically New York with a soupçon of Chicago and a little San Francisco mixed in.
posted by vapidave at 8:53 AM on June 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


Sure it does. Why are you protesting my observation?

Because it was presented obnoxiously as a part of a weirdly-specific and dismissive laundry-list complaint in the same comment where you gape at taz's choice to riff on internet speak? I dunno, it's just coming off as belligerence that's not very clearly responding to things we've actually said in here. If you're just venting to vent, fine, but you're not alone in the room and other people are going to take exception when it comes off as crappy.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:58 AM on June 7, 2014 [8 favorites]


Why are you protesting my observation?

Because saying that something "skews radfem" when it's just not a terrible sexist cesspit like the rest of the internet is a hyperbolic misstatement. And it's the type of hyperbolic misstatement that people use regularly to be dismissive of feminism and women in general, by acting like anything that tries to level the gendered playing field even a little is somehow "skewing radical" It's not, it shouldn't be, and people making those sorts of statements should be rightly called out for it.

There's nothing at all radical about trying to make MetaFilter a site that isn't actively hostile to women, something that I feel that MeFi has barely achieved.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 9:01 AM on June 7, 2014 [49 favorites]


I apologize, it was not my intention to be edgy.
posted by Drinky Die at 9:05 AM on June 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


"There's nothing at all radical about trying to make MetaFilter a site that isn't actively hostile to women,..."

What the fuck? When did I say that I wanted Metafilter to be actively hostile to women?

Listen Dude, my parents were divorced in 1968. My mom had two choices, marry someone or work as a typist at the local garbage company. I'm the only person you know who had a house key when they were 5. Please tell me about feminism.
posted by vapidave at 9:36 AM on June 7, 2014


You seem to have come in here raring for precisely this fight. Shall we pick another from your laundry list next?
posted by nobody at 9:53 AM on June 7, 2014


She's telling you that the site has barely achieved the status of "not actively hostile to women," which is very far from "skewing radfem." And that goes for at least one of your other qualifiers too; about 2 months ago we had a large percentage of trans* members leave the site, some apparently permanently, because of an incident that was a capstone of the shit being flung at them by a determined group of assholes. The problem is't how the site skews, it's how your view of it does.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:56 AM on June 7, 2014 [7 favorites]


Oh, man, stick a fork in this thread -- it's done.
posted by y2karl at 10:05 AM on June 7, 2014 [3 favorites]


I'd argue that it was radfems being hostile to transfolk, especially m->f which caused that particular schism. Fell free to reread and see which comments the mods let stand, both in the original thread and the subsequent meta and especially look at the reason ArmyofKittens listed for leaving. So I disagree with radfems, not feminism.

But y2karl is probably right.
posted by vapidave at 10:21 AM on June 7, 2014


My policy on MeFi, as in life, is to try to not go out of my way to offend people. We each have a role in making this site welcoming and where everyone can feel their voice is heard without being attacked. If a user feels that they can't post without doing so, then that particular thread may not be for them.
posted by arcticseal at 11:30 AM on June 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


.
posted by cjorgensen at 12:35 PM on June 7, 2014


> What the fuck? When did I say that I wanted Metafilter to be actively hostile to women?

Nowhere, which is why nobody said you did.
posted by The corpse in the library at 1:45 PM on June 7, 2014 [3 favorites]


Today I learned the word 'radfem'. Thanks metafilter!

(also: if this site was that, for good or bad, i imagine i would have learned that word here earlier).
posted by el io at 2:00 PM on June 7, 2014


especially look at the reason ArmyofKittens listed for leaving

Using someone who has left as your stalking horse to critique feminists is a not particularly polite or respectful thing to do.
posted by Deoridhe at 2:06 PM on June 7, 2014


The people AoK were complaining about have also left. It's like Hamlet up in here.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 2:11 PM on June 7, 2014 [8 favorites]


Using someone who has left as your stalking horse to critique feminists is a not particularly polite or respectful thing to do.

Also, while of course there are feminists who are tremendously bad about trans stuff, that in no way maps onto how "radical" they are. (If it did, "TERF" wouldn't have struck anyone as a useful term to distinguish a specific sort of subset.) And it seems well more than safe to suggest that the proportion of transphobes is significantly smaller within feminism than without.
posted by nobody at 2:20 PM on June 7, 2014


As far as mass shootings go we could have a perpetual post.

Here you go.
posted by homunculus at 2:31 PM on June 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


Just for clarification, if the police tell metafilter to do something, metafilter will do it?

Is that where the site is at now?
posted by hal_c_on at 2:56 PM on June 7, 2014


He may be asking for clarification, but I'm going to go ahead and ask the same exact question for the purpose of provocation.
posted by carsonb at 2:59 PM on June 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


I've installed a browser add on that automatically translates that to "In order to flirt right up to the edge of being an asshole, I'd am compelled to ask..."
posted by Dip Flash at 3:17 PM on June 7, 2014


I'll be honest, hal, I don't have the emotional reserves right now to do more than roll my fuckin' eyes at that question.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:43 PM on June 7, 2014 [12 favorites]


's all it really deserves, maybe a little sigh too.
posted by carsonb at 3:51 PM on June 7, 2014


Have you ever read any actual radfem sites? MeFi is not that. People are welcome to tilt at whatever windmills they want to but just because a site may have more feminist sympathies than the general internet (lord help us) does not mean the site "skews radfem" in any way.

Serious question: What specifically delineates "radical feminists" from Metafilter feminists?
posted by misha at 5:15 PM on June 7, 2014


What specifically delineates "radical feminists" from Metafilter feminists?

Feminists on this site span a full spectrum of views. We don't all share the same beliefs or goals on every feminism-related topic. And we may very well reach similar conclusions on specific issues, but differ greatly in our reasoning.
posted by zarq at 5:41 PM on June 7, 2014 [3 favorites]


Radical feminism is an actual thing with a philosophy, ideology, etc. It's not synonymous with "way-out-there feminism".
posted by Lexica at 5:46 PM on June 7, 2014 [7 favorites]


And there are variations of radical feminism as well. Some believe that gender is a wholly social construct, and others acknowledge that some people's lived experiences (the trans* community) contradict that.
posted by zarq at 5:54 PM on June 7, 2014


Perhaps "recognize" is a better word than "acknowledge" there? I don't know.
posted by zarq at 5:56 PM on June 7, 2014


Radical feminism is an actual thing with a philosophy, ideology, etc. It's not synonymous with "way-out-there feminism"

Yes, exactly. From Lexica's links:
"Radical feminism is a "current"bwithin feminism that focuses on the theory of patriarchy as a system of power that organizes society into a complex of relationships based on an assumption of "male supremacy" used to oppress women. Radical feminism aims to challenge and to overthrow patriarchy by opposing standard gender roles and the male oppression of women."
That's how I would define radical feminism, too. Which is the dominant philosophy in feminist threads here. Hardly seems controversial to say that Metafilter skews that way?
posted by misha at 6:33 PM on June 7, 2014


The language here is, on average, considerably softer. As far as I can tell, for instance, yours might be the first use of "male supremacy" in metatalk's history (out of a mere 22 results site-wide). And the only use of "male oppression of women" on the entire site is Ethereal Bligh in 2007 using it as an example of a virtually taboo topic at the time.
posted by nobody at 7:00 PM on June 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


Maybe vapidave didn't put it well, but I think I agree that MeFi has a core demographic. Anecdotally, it definitely seems dominated by white, urban, fairly wealthy, fairly educated, fairly liberal posters. I think if you deny that, you're being disingenuous. And since there's a core demographic, there are certain kinds of posts and discussion topics that keep coming up here over and over again, for better or for worse.

In any case, the main point is this: the blue is best when it is "best of the web." It's not best when it's the same thing over and over and over again. It's not best when the same kinds of empty threads lead to the same kinds of debates and same kinds of comments.

I think we can trust the mods to simply make good decisions in order to fend off repetitive posts.

Breaking news largely leads itself to the same repetitive schtick in the comment section, so in this case, I can see why Matt deleted the topic. How many shooting threads do we need around here? When a topic is pretty thin and it's repetitive, is it a discussion we really need to have? Odds are, thin, repetitive discussions are also the ones the mods have to micromanage, which is even less workable these days.

The mods regularly apply this principle to other kinds of threads outside of BreakingNewsFilter. For example, recently, restless_nomad deleted this post on the grounds of repetition.

I'm not saying the mods do a perfect job, nor am I saying I agree with all of MeFi's policies... but I think in this instance, they do a great job of killing off repetition to keep the site fresh, interesting, and engaging. I appreciate it.
posted by Old Man McKay at 7:28 PM on June 7, 2014 [3 favorites]


Which is the dominant philosophy in feminist threads here.

Is it? I don't think it is.
posted by zarq at 8:04 PM on June 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


> For example, recently, restless_nomad deleted this post on the grounds of repetition.

I think it was more because that was stinking turd of a blog post than repetition. The deletion reason seemed kind of polite.
posted by planetesimal at 8:31 PM on June 7, 2014


Fair enough, zarq.

Given the prevalence of radical feminist terminology here, though ("oppress women", for example, nets 2690 hits, according to Bing, and "patriarchy" gets 2660 results), I would disagree. Certainly don't think it is rare enough to be controversial to suggest the site skews that way.

I'll stop derailing now, though, and maybe consider a Metatalk asking the community another time when it is more appropriate to the subject at hand.
posted by misha at 9:08 PM on June 7, 2014


Hardly seems controversial to say that Metafilter skews that way?

This isn't your first rodeo and you know exactly how controversial that assertion is going to be. If you really want to have that conversation, why not open up a new MeTa instead of derailing this one?
posted by Dip Flash at 9:09 PM on June 7, 2014 [4 favorites]


In any case, the main point is this: the blue is best when it is "best of the web." It's not best when it's the same thing over and over and over again. It's not best when the same kinds of empty threads lead to the same kinds of debates and same kinds of comments.

Yes; good point. Core, central point.

The "Best of the web", which MetaFilter is or was or should be, trumps reasons for news posts. I repeatedly forget this myself and get sucked into "This is important right now and so must be discussed" type things (the nature of social media). Which can do on a thousand other websites.

Half-wondering if there should be a "Posts should strive to be the Best of the Web" reminder message, or "Does this post represent the Best of the Web?" checkbox you have to tick before submitting.
posted by Wordshore at 12:38 AM on June 8, 2014 [2 favorites]


The Apple post would have been fine if it had held off until the Keynote was done. It would have been a way better post if it had actually included the new announced technologies and had some actually analysis of what these were going to allow. Even the same post done when the Keynote started would have been better. Instead that post existed solely so someone had a place to chat. It was just a way of making sure no one else made the post in a timely manner.

Ahahahaha holy shit cjorgenson. If you think I care about firsties you've got another thing coming.

I post things that I find interesting, period. Sometimes what I'm interested in is "oh man something's about to happen". Sometimes it's "oh wow something just happened". Sometimes it's "hey this thing from the 90s is really cool, I just discovered it, wow!"

In the case of the Apple keynote, I find UX/UI really neat, as I find the keynote presentations themselves, and thought it would be nice to have a post full of reviews of older OS Xs and older UI/UX keynotes on hand, so there'd be a nice context for the actual presentation. As it happened, Apple had a whole massive set of developer releases which they'd successfully kept hidden, so my prediction that Yosemite was gonna be the big news was off. But I enjoyed the discussion beforehand and I think other people seemed to have too.

I will confess to only posting my Sparks megathread because my spies confirmed that Rhaomi and Zarq were working on Sparks megathreads of their own, and I didn't want there to be a "Sparks megathread gap", so to speak. But that was an extenuating circumstance and what I did was merely my patriotic duty. The rest of the time I just fling shit at the wall and try not to be an asshole towards all the other shit-flingers whose posts are not my thing.
posted by Rory Marinich at 12:10 PM on June 8, 2014


Calm down.
posted by planetesimal at 12:26 PM on June 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


Rory Marinich: "I will confess to only posting my Sparks megathread because my spies confirmed that Rhaomi and Zarq were working on Sparks megathreads of their own"

Ha! (Nope!)
posted by zarq at 6:26 PM on June 8, 2014


Having said that about the Best of the Web, am personally finding that every week, John Oliver is doing one epic piece that appears on YouTube and is arguably the Best of the Web. Last week Net Neutrality, this week the corruption of FIFA.

But it's also news, and current news at that. And doing a post every monday about the feature piece on Last Week Tonight from the evening before is repetitious (thankfully this week there's an existing thread to comment it in on).
posted by Wordshore at 3:46 AM on June 9, 2014


There's an enormous difference between "breaking news" and "news analysis" or "news commentary," though. MetaFilter is great for the latter: if I had my way, breaking news pieces would not be subjects of FPPs, and we could wait to make FPPs out of news once there were some links to higher quality commentary pieces.
posted by MoonOrb at 7:40 AM on June 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


Rory Marinich: "In the case of the Apple keynote, I find UX/UI really neat, as I find the keynote presentations themselves, and thought it would be nice to have a post full of reviews of older OS Xs and older UI/UX keynotes on hand, so there'd be a nice context for the actual presentation. As it happened, Apple had a whole massive set of developer releases which they'd successfully kept hidden, so my prediction that Yosemite was gonna be the big news was off. But I enjoyed the discussion beforehand and I think other people seemed to have too."

Thank you for illustrating GYOFB so eloquently.
posted by Big_B at 8:45 AM on June 9, 2014


« Older GraphFi Injector   |   New labels at FanFare for special case threads Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments