Meta Slander? August 19, 2014 1:58 PM   Subscribe

I have had three comments deleted from the thread re the alleged murder of Michal Brown. From the OP Escalating Tensions in Ferguson, Missouri August 19, 2014 2:45 AM Subscribe We are now entering day 10 of protests in Ferguson, MO, protesting the murder of unarmed teenager Michael Brown by local law enforcement officer Darren Wilson on August 9th.

I simply pointed out that accusing a cop of murdering a black teen was adding fuel to the fire and in fact is very germane to the whole conversation about the problems not only in Ferguson, but around the country. It seems that the admins also have a shoot first and ask questions later policy when it comes to pointing out the fault in the FPP.

They have suggested I take it here...Let's see over in the Blue there are 648 posts and counting...here, not so much.

This is not the first time I have been edited for either pointing out something grossly wrong in an FPP or assuming a contraty position. Methinks the editors are a bit aggressive.
posted by Gungho to MetaFilter-Related at 1:58 PM (341 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

There was nothing grossly wrong in the FPP. Moreover, everyone knows that pointing out problems with an FPP goes in Meta or the contact form.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 2:01 PM on August 19, 2014 [15 favorites]


Gungho: "They have suggested I take it here...Let's see over in the Blue there are 648 posts and counting...here, not so much."

You're complaining about a post's lack of comments in the post itself?
posted by brundlefly at 2:02 PM on August 19, 2014 [39 favorites]


I think shooting an unarmed person to death is murder. I don't really understand what your problem is with describing what happened accurately.
posted by prefpara at 2:02 PM on August 19, 2014 [10 favorites]


Are you counting the comments where you complained about site policy, an obvious no-no?
posted by tonycpsu at 2:02 PM on August 19, 2014 [4 favorites]


And yeah, whether you like it or not, this is the place for this sort of discussion. You're not being oppressed. This is just how the site works.
posted by brundlefly at 2:02 PM on August 19, 2014 [17 favorites]


Sorry, in case that came off as rhetorical, I would appreciate it if you could explain why it is that you think it's a bad thing to describe the murder of Michael Brown as a murder.
posted by prefpara at 2:03 PM on August 19, 2014


the admins also have a shoot first and ask questions later policy

No one shot you, you utterly ridiculous person. You had comments deleted on a website. Stop pretending you are facing the same injustice as the subject of the FPP.
posted by elizardbits at 2:03 PM on August 19, 2014 [215 favorites]


They have suggested I take it here...Let's see over in the Blue there are 648 posts and counting...here, not so much.

This hadn't even been posted when you wrote that.
posted by Room 641-A at 2:03 PM on August 19, 2014 [11 favorites]


Apropos of nothing, please don't say "methinks". You are not the narrator in a Victorian farce.
posted by Jofus at 2:03 PM on August 19, 2014 [84 favorites]


I will be continuing to refer to the not-terribly-ambiguous murder as a "murder" regardless of the feelings of murder cop or any of his supporters.
posted by Artw at 2:03 PM on August 19, 2014 [39 favorites]


I think the OP should have said "killing" instead of "murder". That's about the only valid thing in your entire silenced all my life performance though, IMO.
posted by Justinian at 2:03 PM on August 19, 2014 [14 favorites]


What, you new here? Unclear on the process?
posted by Floydd at 2:03 PM on August 19, 2014


What the heck is Meta Slander?
posted by rtha at 2:04 PM on August 19, 2014 [5 favorites]


Discussions of the framing of posts or of moderation go here, not in the thread. That's the way the site is structured. MetaTalk gets less traffic, it's true, largely because it's very specific in its purpose, but this is the place to have public discussions with the moderators about stuff. We're obliged to read and reply to posts here - we do not (and cannot) read or reply to every thread or every comment.

As for this particular post, none of us on the mod team is thrilled with that framing, but the site needed a spillover post and it was the best we were offered. We do not unilaterally edit people's content (with very few and trivial exceptions, none of them relevant here.)
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 2:04 PM on August 19, 2014 [8 favorites]


It seems that the admins also have a shoot first and ask questions later policy when it comes to pointing out the fault in the FPP.

it reminds me of that time cortex murdered a donut
posted by desjardins at 2:04 PM on August 19, 2014 [35 favorites]


Not only was that FPP the best roundup of links I've seen anywhere, it showed surprising restraint in its framing. It's an exemplary post.
posted by naju at 2:04 PM on August 19, 2014 [45 favorites]


Methinks the editors are a bit aggressive.

Would you say they are abusing their authority and need to be demilitarized ?
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 2:04 PM on August 19, 2014 [7 favorites]


I will be continuing to refer to the not-terribly-ambiguous murder as a "murder" regardless of the feelings of murder cop or any of his supporters.

QFT
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:04 PM on August 19, 2014 [5 favorites]


The murder of unarmed teenager Michael Brown by local law enforcement officer Darren Wilson

What would you find acceptable as a description? Execution? Slaughter? Killing? Homicide? How should our rage be polite?
posted by RedOrGreen at 2:05 PM on August 19, 2014 [16 favorites]


The mods are just a bunch of comment murderers. We all know this.
posted by mudpuppie at 2:05 PM on August 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


You are not the narrator in a Victorian farce.

Well, not Victorian...
posted by Floydd at 2:05 PM on August 19, 2014 [11 favorites]


Metafilter is not a court of law. If calling the death murder is slander then the murderer is free to sue half the internet.

Accusing metafilter of 'adding fuel to the fire' is a bit silly, I think. Cops arresting journalists is adding fuel to the fire. Tear gassing neighborhoods indiscriminately is adding fuel to the fire. Revoking the right to assembly is adding fuel to the fire.

Some commentary on metafilter is not making the situation worse for the people in Ferguson.
posted by el io at 2:06 PM on August 19, 2014 [36 favorites]


First of all, I don't see any of your comments that were edited. They were deleted, because they were complaining about framing issues and site policy stuff that goes on MetaTalk. When told that, you whined about how you needed a bigger audience for your complaining. Now you're comparing shooting actual people to deleting comments on a website (in accordance with established policy that provides ample opportunity to discuss your issues here).
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 2:06 PM on August 19, 2014 [3 favorites]


The OP has 184 favorites and counting…my comment here, not so much.

DRAW YOUR OWN CONCLUCSION!@!!
posted by mazola at 2:07 PM on August 19, 2014 [12 favorites]


I don't know about you, but I could murder a pork chop.
posted by Melismata at 2:07 PM on August 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


Maybe shooting an unarmed man isn't murder. Maybe it's wire fraud. Maybe it's performance art, or street magic.


Did I just blow your mind?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:07 PM on August 19, 2014 [50 favorites]


This is not the first time I have been edited for either pointing out something grossly wrong in an FPP or assuming a contraty position.

Actually, I'd bet you've never been edited. Deleted, sure. But the mods are very averse to editing posts, doing so almost never, and pretty much 100% opposed to editing comments.
posted by Lexica at 2:07 PM on August 19, 2014 [3 favorites]


They have suggested I take it here...Let's see over in the Blue there are 648 posts and counting...here, not so much.

MetaTalk is the appropriate place for complaints and concerns about post framing. Raising them within the post itself will derail it, shifting the conversation away from the topic at hand.

Lots of people will likely respond to this post. Don't worry, you'll get an audience.

Caveat emptor.
posted by zarq at 2:07 PM on August 19, 2014 [5 favorites]


Maybe let's not automatically throw the OP out with the racist cops because they had the nerve to post about formatting/framing issues to MeTa, the place they are supposed to go.
posted by Think_Long at 2:07 PM on August 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


What the heck is Meta Slander?

I saw Goody Rtha with the devil!
posted by elizardbits at 2:08 PM on August 19, 2014 [94 favorites]


What the heck is Meta Slander?

Imaginary thought crimes.
posted by Pudhoho at 2:08 PM on August 19, 2014


What the heck is Meta Slander?


I think that's what Ron Artest is calling himself now.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:08 PM on August 19, 2014 [16 favorites]


I have always thought it was a ploy of the mods that posts I made did not have 600 comments on it at the time of posting....
posted by DynamiteToast at 2:09 PM on August 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


We have a dead man who didn't need to be dead, I don't know what to call that except murder.

The latest autopsy report says no sign of struggle (ie: no torn or bruised skin on Brown's knuckles, indicating that he did **NOT** punch the cop), suggests that he probably had his hands up when he died, and found no traces of powder on his clothing indicating that the lie the cops told about him grabbing the cop's gun and shooting it in the car is a lie.

I don't know what you'd call it when you kill an unarmed person with their hands up, but I'd call it murder.
posted by sotonohito at 2:09 PM on August 19, 2014 [12 favorites]


As for this particular post, none of us on the mod team is thrilled with that framing, but the site needed a spillover post and it was the best we were offered.

It's an accurate description of what has happened. Just because Team Mod feels that's potentially inflammatory, it doesn't make the post a bad one.
posted by zarq at 2:09 PM on August 19, 2014 [5 favorites]


somewhat offtopic: it'd be awesome if the mods edited my posts... I use bad grammer, poor sentence structure, absurd spelling, insert commas where,they,are,not,needed. With a mods editing i'd get a ton more favorites.

I'm sure not everyone feels this way, but edit away, grammar-ninjas!
posted by el io at 2:10 PM on August 19, 2014 [4 favorites]


Your character needs more of an arc.
posted by Artw at 2:11 PM on August 19, 2014 [6 favorites]


What the heck is Meta Slander?

MetaSlander is going to be a new part of the site where people insult each other without mod interference. I predict it will be much more popular than MetaTalk.
posted by homunculus at 2:12 PM on August 19, 2014 [51 favorites]


A green regular, with no comments on the gray.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:12 PM on August 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


> I saw Goody Rtha with the devil!

And we were dancin'! Dancin' the dance of ..... whatever you dance with the devil!
posted by rtha at 2:13 PM on August 19, 2014 [10 favorites]


Maybe let's not automatically throw the OP out with the racist cops because they had the nerve to post about formatting/framing issues to MeTa, the place they are supposed to go.

Lol this is metatalk - the place where people whose views don't fit in with metafilters dominant narrative post confused threads that we then all get to make sarcastic comments about to make them feel bad. Have you never seen how one of these threads goes before?
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 2:13 PM on August 19, 2014 [12 favorites]


el io, the mods do edit posts when asked. They're usually super nice about it. A bunch of my posts have had broken links, stupid typos and other stuff fixed. By all means, don't hesitate to ask if something is bugging you.

A while back, I asked if a typo could be corrected on one of my posts through the contact form. Jessamyn kindly did so, and also sent a list of 3 or 4 other tiny things she had corrected while she was in there. Such as (I believe) a broken link, etc. :)
posted by zarq at 2:13 PM on August 19, 2014 [4 favorites]


This is not the first time

Then maybe you should finally learn and make it the last?

This is a pissant complaint about a post and disingenuous in the sense that you clearly want to make an issue out of what you think is a rush to judgment or something. As if the whole point of a discussion area isn't judgment. You're just butthurt that the majority of the crowd ranges from disagreeing with you to not caring what you think.

Tough noogies. Try having more interesting or nuanced opinions and maybe someone will care.
posted by phearlez at 2:13 PM on August 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


Also if we're going to get all semantic, "murder" in that sentence relates to the word "protesting." They are not protesting the mysterious shooting of someone, they are protesting a murder. I didn't protest an alleged Wall Street fraud, I protested Wall Street fraud.
posted by naju at 2:13 PM on August 19, 2014 [21 favorites]


"I don't want to talk about framing problems in the part of the site that's explicitly set up to do that, I want to talk about them here, because there are more people here" is not a complaint that's going to get you a lot of traction.
posted by KathrynT at 2:14 PM on August 19, 2014 [21 favorites]


Is this now the appropriate thread to discuss other issues with the moderation of Ferguson threads, despite OPs unjustified whining? Because if so:

It's clear that this type of discussion is not common for MeFi, so there's likely to be a somewhat different approach to moderation. Based on my attention in the two relevant threads, most of the deleted comments engaged in speculation are giving the benefit of the doubt to cops. Speculation in the other direction (and there has been a ton of it) has mostly been let through. It seems most people are fine with that type of moderation given personal attitudes to the issues in play here, but I wanted to check if it's typical to have somewhat "one-sided" moderation in order to avoid lots of in-thread arguing and inflammatory attacks.
posted by MetalFingerz at 2:14 PM on August 19, 2014 [4 favorites]


whatever you dance with the devil!

morris dancing prolly
posted by elizardbits at 2:15 PM on August 19, 2014 [23 favorites]


I would be surprised if you could get three people to agree to your core assertion, that the moderation is too heavy handed in general and especially egregious in this case. So you are wrong.
posted by shothotbot at 2:15 PM on August 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


You guys probably know by now that I completely support justice for Mike Brown and am appalled by the behavior of the police in my hometown. But a little while ago, after reading one of Gungho's comments, I did separately contact the mods to suggest that "murder" be changed to "killing" in the lead of the post, to make it more objective and avoid any potential charges of libel being thrown around. I actually think Gungho's comments had a point. But restless_nomad wrote back to let me know exactly what she said above, and I completely respect and accept the mods' difficult decision to leave it as written, unless Phire decides to request a change to her post herself.
posted by limeonaire at 2:15 PM on August 19, 2014 [11 favorites]


zarq: you're right. i meant to say 'comments', not posts (not going to abuse the edit window though). this is exactly the kind of sloppy writing that makes me wish the mods would edit my comments.
posted by el io at 2:16 PM on August 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


The implied argument about concerns not getting sufficient attention if posted in MetaTalk is incorrect. The mods respond to Meta posts and there are often hundreds-of-comments-long (to 1000+) threads.

The quality of discussion is sometimes lacking, but I also often see people patiently and generously engaging in substantive discussion of site policy here.
posted by audi alteram partem at 2:17 PM on August 19, 2014


this is exactly the kind of sloppy writing that makes me wish the mods would edit my comments.

If they would surf and make comments for me, that'd be awesome. I'd be able to get so much done at work...
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 2:18 PM on August 19, 2014 [3 favorites]


Shouldn't that be Meta Libel?
posted by griphus at 2:18 PM on August 19, 2014 [12 favorites]


Is this whining complaint a fucking joke?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:21 PM on August 19, 2014


Also on the subject of metacommentary of that thread: goddamn Phire did some great work there.
posted by griphus at 2:21 PM on August 19, 2014 [34 favorites]


Meta Slander is when MetaFilter accuses itself of slander or slanders itself.
posted by Golden Eternity at 2:22 PM on August 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


Slander?

I figure there's reason to believe there's some factual basis here and I don't think you can say this wasn't adequately researched. We have eyewitness accounts and autopsy results that suggest an unarmed guy got shot by this cop while a) running away and later b) facing the cop with his hands up, with c) no signs of a struggle apparent, apparently all because he was jaywalking and talked back. Sounds like you could call it murder without fear of "slander" or whatever.

Also if we're going to get all semantic, "murder" in that sentence relates to the word "protesting."

And also this, if you don't trust my wikipedia legal advice.* I think my conscience would be clear either way.




*this is not actually legal advice. hoopo is an idiot, not a lawyer, and you should not listen to what he has to say on legal matters
posted by Hoopo at 2:24 PM on August 19, 2014 [3 favorites]


WHAT? WHAT? WAIT A SEC-

[carefully puts down tools, takes off goggles, removes ear plugs]

Sorry about that. I couldn't hear you while I had my Metal Sander going. Just polishing some of the rust off this iron patio furniture.
posted by Iridic at 2:24 PM on August 19, 2014 [45 favorites]


Apropos of nothing, please don't say "methinks". You are not the narrator in a Victorian farce.

Please say "MeThinks" instead.
posted by Pudhoho at 2:24 PM on August 19, 2014 [33 favorites]


I also find it odd that Gungho just made this meta then disappeared.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 2:24 PM on August 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


I also find it odd that Gungho just made this meta then disappeared.

It looks like they got what they were fishing for.
posted by codacorolla at 2:26 PM on August 19, 2014 [8 favorites]


el io: zarq: you're right. i meant to say 'comments', not posts (not going to abuse the edit window though). this is exactly the kind of sloppy writing that makes me wish the mods would edit my comments.

Heh. I haven't asked the mods to modify any of my comments since the edit window was set up. But man, I used to do that too. I type slowly and think faster than I can move my fingers so I make a lot of typos.

Also, sometimes I say stupid things. "Sometimes." :D

The mods are very patient. Thank heaven.
posted by zarq at 2:27 PM on August 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


I mean for God's sake, an unarmed 18 year old kid is dead at the hands of a cop, shot while surrendering; an entire town is a warzone; cops have lied repeatedly about the events of that day; cops even refused to allow a nurse to attend to Michael Brown--the murdered, unarmed kid, and you're concerend that people are using the word murder?

Have a sense of fucking proportion.

I also find it odd that Gungho just made this meta then disappeared.

I think you mean 'odd.' This is shit-stirring and nothing more. Worse, it's not even good shit-stirring.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:27 PM on August 19, 2014 [7 favorites]


MetaSlender is kind of like SlimFast, but with more beans.
posted by desjardins at 2:27 PM on August 19, 2014 [9 favorites]


Given that the majority of that FPP was initially posted as a comment, had the mod team given me a heads up when requesting my repost that they had issues with the framing I would've been happy to take their concerns under advisement. For that matter, if someone had emailed me within an hour of the FPP going live and asked if I would consider requesting an edit, this MeTa may very well not exist right now.

However, as the thread is now approaching 700 comments, I am loathe to have any changes made to the original post. Whatever issues people may have with the framing, it has already impacted the discussion, and to edit it twelve hours into the conversation strays too close to revisionism for my comfort.

For the record, from a personal perspective I absolutely stand behind my use of the word 'murder' in that situation, but I can understand why a different word might have been more desirable for a platonic ideal of an FPP.
posted by Phire at 2:28 PM on August 19, 2014 [72 favorites]


Also on the subject of metacommentary of that thread: goddamn Phire did some great work there.

It was an exemplary post. Lots of information. Lots to chew on. But presented very well. Her skillfully created post is a big reason there haven't been many derails given the controversial topic
posted by zarq at 2:30 PM on August 19, 2014 [11 favorites]


I think part of the problem here is that terms are not being defined clearly enough, and there is some confusion over how people are using "murder":


-There is murder as a legalistic term, which has clear definitions that are usually codified in one statute or another, depending on jurisdiction

-Then there is murder in the more general sense, which can be used to describe a number of different events, such as when you witness someone shoot an unarmed man and say, "Holy crap! You just straight up murdered that guy!"

-Then there is murderation, which is something people used to shout out at dancehall shows, back in the '90s.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:31 PM on August 19, 2014 [23 favorites]


Yeah, it was murder. The Ferguson PD is welcome to sue me for slander if they want.

And this is only "adding fuel to the fire" if someone is cruising through Ferguson with a giant monitor strapped to the top of their car, displaying Phire's thread, while using a bullhorn to direct the cops' attention to it.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 2:36 PM on August 19, 2014 [12 favorites]


This post is silly but given the snarky pileon it's not surprising that the OP ran away. Might as well close it.
posted by Invisible Green Time-Lapse Peloton at 2:37 PM on August 19, 2014 [8 favorites]


The OP ran away because they were dropping a turd and didn't want to stick around for the smell.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:38 PM on August 19, 2014


As I said, patient and generous.
posted by audi alteram partem at 2:39 PM on August 19, 2014


I also find it odd that Gungho just made this meta then disappeared.

How long do you lurk on the toilet after you've finished pooing?
posted by Pudhoho at 2:39 PM on August 19, 2014 [5 favorites]


if someone is cruising through Ferguson with a giant monitor strapped to the top of their car, displaying Phire's thread, while using a bullhorn to direct the cops' attention to it.

And that STILL wouldn't be as cool as the Thomas the Tank Engine part of the non-violent non-militarized night of protesting in Ferguson.
posted by rmd1023 at 2:40 PM on August 19, 2014 [3 favorites]


It seems that the admins also have a shoot first and ask questions later policy

Putting your heightened sensitivity on full display here. Do go on.

As for "murder", well, there are different degrees of murder, you know. One of them also goes by the name voluntary manslaughter, which might be a more technically accurate phrase here, but it's a bit of a mouthful.

But basically, you know, cops are public servants and their actions are done in the name of the people, and as such, they have to expect public scrutiny. Acting to circle the wagons 'round the marshal is sort of the inverse of the way it's supposed to work.

Gasping with a blush and nigh to faint is a bit silly when we're talking about an actual human being who has died. Maybe it will, maybe it won't meet the legal standard for murder, but discussing whether it would is certainly the sort of thing that free speech protections are designed for, and in an adult democracy practically a requirement if you take civic responsibility seriously.
posted by dhartung at 2:40 PM on August 19, 2014 [8 favorites]


Oh I forgot the other part of a good metatalk thread, the "killer comment" by a popular member which then gets loads of passive aggressive favourites from their friends just to ensure everyone knows that the OP is bad and should feel bad.
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 2:41 PM on August 19, 2014 [10 favorites]


And then there's the obligatory drive-by sneering at the community as a whole, man, that never gets stale.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 2:43 PM on August 19, 2014 [49 favorites]


Or perhaps that should be "murderous comment" given the subject of this thread...
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 2:43 PM on August 19, 2014


Whups. I forgot to include the link for Thomas' visit to Ferguson. And I'm not using the edit window because I figure the mods have enough annoyance at the moment.
posted by rmd1023 at 2:43 PM on August 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


OP should feel bad given that they got told directly by mods to bring their meTa comments here but decided that, what, they didn't have to because reasons and could just repost them in the thread.
posted by rtha at 2:49 PM on August 19, 2014 [3 favorites]


You are bored of that after less than a month? Mefi might not be the right website for you.
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 2:49 PM on August 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


Or perhaps that should be "murderous comment" given the subject of this thread...

Your joke is bad and you should feel bad.
posted by griphus at 2:49 PM on August 19, 2014 [31 favorites]


/something about jokes "dying" on stage.
posted by Artw at 2:52 PM on August 19, 2014


You are bored of that after less than a month? Mefi might not be the right website for you.

This is not my first incarnation!

Also, pretty rich suggestion considering your withering indictment of everyone involved.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 2:52 PM on August 19, 2014 [11 favorites]


Some of the comments in the thread which are bothered by the relative dearth of this story on Facebook/Reddit are kind of ticking me off. I mean I get that this is a big deal; no question. But thinking less of everyone for not putting their normal life on hold when this terrible thing is happening... I mean... there were really terrible things happening last month too and I didn't notice a bunch of comments judging everyone for not spreading the word online.

Maybe I'm just taking it too personally?
posted by ODiV at 2:57 PM on August 19, 2014 [6 favorites]


I also find it odd that Gungho just made this meta then disappeared.

Yeah, people in Meta want an argument, dammit!
posted by smackfu at 2:58 PM on August 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


I also find it odd that Gungho just made this meta then disappeared.

Please. In the alternative scenario, Gungho would have been (quite rightly) accused of threadsitting.
posted by Shmuel510 at 2:58 PM on August 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


It seems that the admins also have a shoot first and ask questions later policy when it comes to pointing out the fault in the FPP.

I suppose you realize that this constitutes an implicit acknowledgement on your part that the shooting of Michael Brown was in fact a murder.
posted by jamjam at 2:58 PM on August 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


This is not my first incarnation!

Are you the past come back to haunt us?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:59 PM on August 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


somewhat "one-sided" moderation in order to avoid lots of in-thread arguing and inflammatory attacks

You're misreading. The moderation of those comments isn't because of their lean, it's because of their delivery. There is for sure some amount of moderation lest things turn into a shitshow, but Metafilter handles cordial and thoughtful disagreement quite well. But when you come into a thread with a prevailing sentiment and take a contrary position you need to do it in a thought-out and sensible manner.

I saw some of the comments excised in the first thread. They weren't abusive but they were prone to derail by virtue of being off-point and poorly considered. For the mods to decide to remove them lest the whole thread lurch to one side because of one person's contribution seems reasonable to me.
posted by phearlez at 3:01 PM on August 19, 2014 [3 favorites]


Are you the past come back to haunt us?

Maybe it's the ghost of a besmirched cop!
posted by Artw at 3:03 PM on August 19, 2014


Truth defense, yo.
posted by klangklangston at 3:05 PM on August 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


It looks like they got what they were fishing for.

The great white fail whale
posted by elizardbits at 3:05 PM on August 19, 2014 [5 favorites]


> Are you the past come back to haunt us?

Future come to warn us.
posted by rtha at 3:07 PM on August 19, 2014 [3 favorites]


Oh I forgot the other part of a good metatalk thread, the "killer comment" by a popular member which then gets loads of passive aggressive favourites from their friends just to ensure everyone knows that the OP is bad and should feel bad.

People who complain about having comments deleted often present their loss as "fascism," "oppression," "censorship," or some similar outrage and try to stir up a Fight the Power argument against the mods. Except many of us who have been active on the site for a while have seen our comments disappear and most of us recognize that it's No Big Deal.

Those of us who have been around a while also know why the mods delete comments: to try and keep the peace. We know they aren't trying to enforce a specific political agenda. Accusing them of such things may come across as either ignorant or dumb to many regulars.

Someone who seems bound and determined to screw up a thread on the Blue by making complaints there that should rightfully be made here might get attacked for it. Some frequent posters (myself included) don't appreciate people derailing threads.

Consider this: most of the time, those"killer comments" tell the OP to have a more appropriate perspective about what's happening. It's a consistent pattern. Whether they mock the OP or not, they're very often telling them to calm down and get a grip.

It's not surprising that they get favorites for that.
posted by zarq at 3:08 PM on August 19, 2014 [19 favorites]


It seems that the admins also have a shoot first and ask questions later policy

HANDS UP! DON'T SHOOT!
posted by pyramid termite at 3:09 PM on August 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


This is like, the shittiest possible MeTa we could have about this thread or this situation.

I'm actually vaguely impressed, it's like a darwin award for internet posting or something. Good job, chief. You really shattered the backboard with that slow motion space jam-esque slam dunk of "silenced all my life!"
posted by emptythought at 3:17 PM on August 19, 2014 [9 favorites]


I have had three comments deleted

allegedly deleted
posted by Greg Nog at 3:23 PM on August 19, 2014 [43 favorites]


those comments were liberated in the name of freedom
posted by elizardbits at 3:25 PM on August 19, 2014 [7 favorites]


well they were charging at the mods
posted by phearlez at 3:27 PM on August 19, 2014 [15 favorites]


To attempt a charitable reading of this post, I could see what Gungho is arguing against isn't just the term "murder" but that Darren Wilson hasn't even yet been charged and thus shouldn't be identified as the unequivocal perpetrator. I don't share that opinion, but it makes more sense to me as an objection.
posted by psoas at 3:27 PM on August 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


rhino style even
posted by phearlez at 3:27 PM on August 19, 2014


allegedly deleted

True story: once I posted a comment from my phone and when I went home at lunch and got on the computer it was gone. I emailed the mods because it seemed like a weird comment to have deleted and it turned out they hadn't and it was because of a greasemonkey script I installed to filter out certain words and keep me from getting all angry on the internet.

It can happen to you
posted by Hoopo at 3:33 PM on August 19, 2014 [25 favorites]


Eh. Nothing is going to stop people in the thread from calling Brown a murderer and there's no reason to try; this isn't a court of law. I mean, I can call OJ Simpson a murderer all I want and he was actually acquitted rather than not charged yet.
posted by Justinian at 3:36 PM on August 19, 2014 [7 favorites]


I don't share that opinion, but it makes more sense to me as an objection.

While maybe technically correct, this seems like such a minor quibble in the context of everything else that I'm really surprised by the use of "slander"* and the tasteless "shoot first" there to describe the natural request to take stuff like this to MeTa.

Also, Mefi 9th District Court operates in an extrajudicial zone when it comes to the strict definition of crimes.

*Also serves as a great reminder to never end a headline with a ?, as the answer is always "No." QED.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 3:38 PM on August 19, 2014


I mean, I can call OJ Simpson a murderer all I want and he was actually acquitted

Not in the civil case!
posted by Room 641-A at 3:39 PM on August 19, 2014


I am disappoint in you guys.

It would be "libel" not "slander".
posted by Justinian at 3:40 PM on August 19, 2014 [4 favorites]


I am disappoint in you guys.
It would be "libel" not "slander".


That was in the comment the mods deleted along with Gungho's deleted stuff.
posted by rough ashlar at 3:41 PM on August 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


Justinian: "It would be "libel" not "slander"."

I was wondering when someone would point this out.
posted by brundlefly at 3:42 PM on August 19, 2014


Maybe you didn't get the memo, but it is sort of become déclassé and out of fashion to come here to rant about how the mods are censoring and mistreating you. (Hint: If you want a soap box to stand on in order to exercise your presumed RIGHT TO FREE SPEECH, MetaFilter is not it. If that is your goal, then start your own blog instead.) The new trend is to ask for constructive feedback on how you can communicate more effectively when faced with x, y or z site concern.
posted by Michele in California at 3:43 PM on August 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


There are examples of 'legal' killing that I still consider to be murder. Capital punishment, as an example. Killing in a time of war, as another.
posted by ersatzkat at 3:45 PM on August 19, 2014 [5 favorites]


This is not the first time I have been edited for either pointing out something grossly wrong in an FPP or assuming a contraty position. Methinks the editors are a bit aggressive.

Just so you know, that post was a second attempt made by someone else after mine was deleted because people liked Phire's comment better than my very neutral and brief post. Literally, people (whose critical comments were quickly deleted) commented in the thread I made to mention exactly how much better Phire's comment was than my post. Frankly, making FPPs is fricking hard.

My point is, with something like Ferguson, making a quality FPP that will please everyone is damn near impossible. If Phire had chosen to use the term "shot" instead of "murdered" then I would bet money that there would be people complaining that she wasn't "telling it like it is" or was "supporting a murderous cop." As you can see, both Phire and I were Doing It Wrong according to someone. For a tragedy of this magnitude, there really is no perfect way.
posted by Shouraku at 3:46 PM on August 19, 2014 [5 favorites]


I simply pointed out that accusing a cop of murdering a black teen was adding fuel to the fire and in fact is very germane to the whole conversation about the problems not only in Ferguson, but around the country.

I agree. I also think that it's total bullshit that John Wilkes Booth is famously defamed for the murder of Lincoln.

What kind of bullshit is that? Let's wait for the trial first. Until then, it's just self-defense.
posted by hal_c_on at 3:54 PM on August 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


Do we really have to pretend this is really about the quality of the FPP? This was a tired and obvious effort to grind the "wait and see" ax. Which has been brought up already, ad nauseum, and was specifically called out any number of times in the thread and in a very good Salon article posted in the thread.
posted by phearlez at 3:59 PM on August 19, 2014 [12 favorites]


More like a small dog barking at a summer breeze and then going back to sleep.
posted by Pudhoho at 4:01 PM on August 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


This is like, the shittiest possible MeTa we could have about this thread or this situation.

I'm actually vaguely impressed, it's like a darwin award for internet posting or something. Good job, chief. You really shattered the backboard with that slow motion space jam-esque slam dunk of "silenced all my life!"


When he gives his acceptance speech, he'll have to share the Shittiest MeTa award with plenty of other folks here, because this looks a lot like a team effort.
posted by MoonOrb at 4:08 PM on August 19, 2014 [6 favorites]


i'm actually starting to agree with you moonorb. i don't think i've ever felt this way about mefi snark, or at least not more than once or twice, but the "well he was charging at the mods" type stuff just really kinda offput me. i just can't lol at it.
posted by emptythought at 4:14 PM on August 19, 2014 [6 favorites]


I am disappoint in you guys.

It would be "libel" not "slander".


Totally true, but let's be clear here - there's no way in which using the word "murder" is enough to transform it to libel. The fact of the death of Michael Brown at the hands of Wilson is unquestioned. So that part's a true fact. Phire isn't saying that Wilson has been convicted of (the crime of) Murder in whatever degree - that actually probably would be defamatory, given that it's a provably false statement that harms his reputation.

Instead, murder is one of those words that has a precise legal definition and a colloquial definition, that overlap a great deal. The statement is no different in terms of libel-worthiness than if I said "I believe OJ murdered Nicole, regardless of the court outcome."1 As long as it's clear that you're talking about murder in the sense of "volitional or reckless act that killed another person" rather than "crime under section XYZ" it's clear that you are giving an opinion which is based on generally-known and true facts. Aka no libel.

And even if that were true, naju makes a good point that technically, Phire is talking about the protests. I think we'd all be hard-pressed to say that the protesters themselves would call it anything but murder, and we can probably find actual statements of such. That means Phire's comments are part of the "fair and true report" / fair comment privilege.

There is seriously no concern about libel in this kind of scenario.
posted by Lemurrhea at 4:19 PM on August 19, 2014 [12 favorites]


I think the lopsided *~concern~* for the use of the word "murder" is what's setting people off more than "oh no he dare question the mods" or whatever.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 4:23 PM on August 19, 2014 [3 favorites]


I agree. I also think that it's total bullshit that John Wilkes Booth is famously defamed for the murder of Lincoln.

What kind of bullshit is that? Let's wait for the trial first. Until then, it's just self-defense.


This is why actors need to have active video recorders attached to their bodies at all times.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 4:31 PM on August 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


Shouraku, as someone who made one of those comments -- it wasn't actually meant as a criticism of you, since you were trying to be helpful given the older thread was dragging the server down. It just was that phire's writeup had much more information and thus made a better thread starting point.
posted by tavella at 4:44 PM on August 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


So, does anyone refresh the drinks down here?
posted by vrakatar at 4:49 PM on August 19, 2014


So, does anyone refresh the drinks down here?


What were you having? :-)
posted by Michele in California at 4:53 PM on August 19, 2014


Pretty grossed out by people using this man's death as an excuse to trot out murder-killing puns here to get yucks and favorites in this Meta.
posted by nacho fries at 4:55 PM on August 19, 2014 [11 favorites]


Gallows humor.
posted by GrammarMoses at 4:56 PM on August 19, 2014 [7 favorites]


It just was that phire's writeup had much more information and thus made a better thread starting point.

I get you tavella, I just personally prefer neutral and brief to mountains of writeup and links. Just a personal preference, and one that I don't have a problem deferring to the community.

More my point with my above comment was that everyone has an opinion about what constitutes a quality FPP. No matter whose FPP stood, there would be someone saying that the language was inaccurate, or that there wasn't enough summery, or that there was too much. When you have such a complex topic as the protests, there will always be someone who doesn't like the way that it was presented.
posted by Shouraku at 4:59 PM on August 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


Pretty grossed out by people using this man's death as an excuse to trot out murder-killing puns here to get yucks and favorites in this Meta.

This is just the overture. When the real Brown/Ferguson jokes start I promise you'll be able to move up from grossed out to appalled.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 5:04 PM on August 19, 2014


Please say "MeThinks" instead.

Hey! I use Apple products! It's the "iThinks."

[slurps cappuccino while wearing black faux-turtleneck]
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 5:10 PM on August 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


MetaFilter: Narrating a Victorian murder farce about Metal Sanders since 14 July 1999.
posted by seasparrow at 5:13 PM on August 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


*shrug* Gallows humor is about all I have right now. This has impacted my sleep and my concentration at work. I have to resist yelling when it comes up in real life - in part because how little it comes up, which just gobsmacks me. But I am not using Brown's death as an excuse; I am using this clown car of a meta as an excuse.

I sure as hell have never shilled for favorites (people pay attention to whether they get favorites?) as I have long thought they should have been named bookmarks and have never used them myself for anything other than a way to find posts I wanted to remember.
posted by phearlez at 5:43 PM on August 19, 2014 [8 favorites]


You could all just say "too soon" about the off-color jokes here if absurdist humor on the Internet has suddenly given you the vapors.

Personally, there are too many quotes about laughter being the best medicine and the importance of having a court jester and the like for me to be upset at people trying to lighten this godawful death spiral of misery.

On what-should-have-been-a-preview: Case in point right above this post.
posted by Johann Georg Faust at 5:46 PM on August 19, 2014


On top of which, when the OP leads with an accusation of the mods "shooting first", I'm pretty sure the commenters aren't the problem.
posted by Tknophobia at 5:48 PM on August 19, 2014 [5 favorites]


I'm pretty sure there will be enough horror to make you want to vomit with disgust in the main thread tonight, if you want to keep things sober.
posted by Artw at 5:50 PM on August 19, 2014


People in that thread also called a web op-ed on the Washington Post site a Post "editorial."
posted by OmieWise at 5:52 PM on August 19, 2014 [5 favorites]


I think you mean 'odd.' This is shit-stirring and nothing more. Worse, it's not even good shit-stirring.

yeah but good shit-stirring isn't as easy as it looks - i can never get it to form stiff peaks
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 5:53 PM on August 19, 2014 [5 favorites]


Ya'll crack me up. It doesn't matter how negative MetaTalk posts are, everybody just comes on into the thread and has a party anyway. I love it, though if I had been the OP, it might piss me off.

But I don't really agree with the OP. If there had been some serious evidence that murder isn't what happened, we could talk about that. It hasn't shown up in any believable form.

And we're not a newspaper or a court of law, so we can say "murder" when the technical term might be "alleged" or "manslaughter" or what have you. We can use "murder" in the colloquial sense of "person kills another person non-accidentally and not in self-defense."
posted by emjaybee at 5:56 PM on August 19, 2014 [7 favorites]


How about "assassinated"? I kind of like the sound of "Darren Wilson assassinated Michael Brown in the street, in broad daylight."
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:05 PM on August 19, 2014 [4 favorites]


i can never get it to form stiff peaks

Try not to over beat and mind the refractory period.
posted by rough ashlar at 6:06 PM on August 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


I had a comment deleted today too. It was pretty funny imo but I get it, it was too aggro. Just thought I'd bring up that I may be drunk posting the word GOGURT in memoriam for it in this thread later.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:08 PM on August 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


So, does anyone refresh the drinks down here?

There's still well over 40 gallons remaining in my 55 gallon drum of pure grain alcohol.
I'm not getting much help here.

Maybe I should post this in Projects...
posted by Pudhoho at 6:20 PM on August 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


I also find it odd that Gungho just made this meta then disappeared.

Perhaps he made a post in a fit of frustration but then calmed down and decided to lay off the internet for a while.

[I've never done that.]
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 6:21 PM on August 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


Those were good deletions. Concern that emotive phrasing will make a conflict more violent is usually asinine, and this instance of it is no exception.

That said, getting comments deleted is no big deal. Your profile says you've been here since 2006, so you should know this by now. The mods have deleted plenty of my comments, and even if I didn't like the deletions when they happened, reflection brought me to agree that a lot of those comments were indeed too incendiary for the mods to let them stand. I hope this MeTa prompts some similar thought and you have a better MeFi experience from here on out.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 6:23 PM on August 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


You could all just say "too soon" about the off-color jokes here if absurdist humor on the Internet has suddenly given you the vapors.

Personally, there are too many quotes about laughter being the best medicine and the importance of having a court jester and the like for me to be upset at people trying to lighten this godawful death spiral of misery.


Look, people can make whatever jokes they want, but people can also say they find the jokes inappropriate. Personally, I think excusing things away as "gallows humor" if this also doesn't really affect you in a visceral, personal way is inappropriate, and seems like people who just like making so called "dark humor" and don't want to get called out on it because, you know, this is how some people grieve.

Just because I disagree though doesn't mean I don't understand humor or have "the vapors" or whatever.
posted by sweetkid at 6:24 PM on August 19, 2014 [25 favorites]


I objectively admire people who stick around here despite holding opinions or politics that are contra the prevailing norm, especially on social issues. I do, I really do. I almost never agree with them, but I admire them, the way I admire an Eisenhower Republican. Hail fellow, well met, sportsmanship kinda thing.

But I sometimes wonder if there is some kind of false troll renaissance a brewing on the greater internet. Some of our now infrequent policy metatalk posts have this wide-eyed wadda ya wadda ya smirking tone that I associate with a smartass. Of course, I could just be indulging in my third favorite organic vice; paranoia. Should probably switch to sativa for a while.
posted by Divine_Wino at 6:32 PM on August 19, 2014 [7 favorites]


Some of our now infrequent policy metatalk posts have this wide-eyed wadda ya wadda ya smirking tone that I associate with a smartass.

Metafilter needs an intern. Specifically it needs someone we can get to go through posts over a period of years and characterize them based on a list of qualities. There are so many questions about site norms and progressions that we could answer...
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 6:35 PM on August 19, 2014


we had an intern a while back, didn't we? but i think he got et by a grue.
posted by elizardbits at 6:36 PM on August 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


Oh, yah- them grues love an intern. Just snap 'em right up.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:40 PM on August 19, 2014


Mmmmm tasty interns

But we don't do recipes in meTa anymore, do we. Sorry.
posted by rtha at 6:43 PM on August 19, 2014 [2 favorites]




This is not the first time I have been edited for either pointing out something grossly wrong in an FPP or assuming a contraty position.

The words "special little snowflake" come to mind.
posted by fuse theorem at 6:53 PM on August 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


Though, Barrington Levy said it better: Murderer.
posted by chunking express at 6:55 PM on August 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


I agree. I also think that it's total bullshit that John Wilkes Booth is famously defamed for the murder of Lincoln.

What kind of bullshit is that? Let's wait for the trial first. Until then, it's just self-defense.
posted by hal_c_on at 3:54 PM on August 19 [2 favorites +] [!]


Maybe Booth was a vampire.
posted by 4ster at 7:25 PM on August 19, 2014


As much as I think Wilson is and should be found guilty of murder, this thread isn't making me prouder of Metafilter, and I don't think it needed to happen. In a thread full of speculation about what happened, what excuses the cop might make, etc., pointing out that the word "murder" in the FPP (as opposed to in a comment, as Phire seems to agree) might be a poor idea -- and indeed, it apparently failed to thrill the mod team -- isn't necessarily a derail, nor do I think it likely that it would have generated 150 snarky comments about things like "edited" vs. "deleted" (let me fix that for you: "edited out" -- was that really a hard leap to make?) or "why didn't you stick around to be insulted?"
Gungho could be a cop-sympathizing racist neo-fascist special little snowflake contrarian for all I know, but this MetaTalk thread didn't have to exist. He/she was told to take some deleted comments (that, again, I doubt would have seriously derailed the Ferguson thread) here.
Sometimes you make things worse by trying to head them off. If you don't believe me, I can find you a live feed where that's happening right now.
posted by uosuaq at 8:23 PM on August 19, 2014 [6 favorites]


What was the alternative to this gray thread other than a time-out? I saw at least two of the deleted comments and they led to many follow-up comments that were also deleted. Letting him just derail a very fast-moving thread with meta-issues really isn't helpful.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:33 PM on August 19, 2014 [4 favorites]


They derailed the thread to the tune of about ten comments or so that just I happened to see in the space of maybe a minute or two that they were up at all, so... yeah, it was a derail. What, you thought the rhetorician of this Meta put their objections more delicately on the Blue?
posted by gilrain at 8:35 PM on August 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'm a little skeptical that 10 or 20 out of maybe (at the time) 500 comments on a continually developing situation (up to 880-ish now) would have amounted to a derail. But I could well be wrong, and anyway I'm more tolerant of "derails" than most people seem to be.
I'm much more convinced that this didn't have to be a 150-comment MetaTalk thread where everyone piles on someone (quite possibly a total jerk) who may not even be reading.
Honestly, I find it odd to be (seemingly) taking sides with a contrarian, since I'm totally against contrarianism.
posted by uosuaq at 8:42 PM on August 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


it's total bullshit that John Wilkes Booth is famously defamed for the murder of Lincoln.

As an aside I got curious about it and took a look. As far as I can tell Booth was never actually convicted.

All of the surviving conspirators were hauled up in front a military tribunal based on the reasoning that attacking the Commander In Chief during a time of war made everyone involved enemy combatants. Booth's name and history were part of establishing the conspiracy at the tribunal, but when it came down to assigning guilt and sentencing people his name was absent (as was another person who was already dead).

And that's one to grow on.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 8:50 PM on August 19, 2014


a shoot first and ask questions later policy

WHAT THE FUCK.

Ban this troll and close this up.
posted by anotherpanacea at 9:14 PM on August 19, 2014 [7 favorites]


Narrating a Victorian murder farce about Metal Sanders since 14 July 1999.

Metal Sanders, of course, is Colonel Sanders lesser known kid brother. Surprisingly, his attempts to open up a fried chicken restaurant that loudly played rock music at all hours never managed to catch on and he died penniless.
posted by Literaryhero at 9:28 PM on August 19, 2014 [4 favorites]


uosuaq: "I'm a little skeptical that 10 or 20 out of maybe (at the time) 500 comments on a continually developing situation (up to 880-ish now) would have amounted to a derail."

10 or 20 comments posted within 120 seconds or so. In a fast moving thread, the responses and counter-responses start piling on fast, and...yeah, that momentum is pretty much the definition of a derail.
posted by desuetude at 9:31 PM on August 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


Whoo-hoo! MetaFilter pile-on! Let's verbally kick the shit out of the OP! Too much is never enough—everyone best get in on it!

Jesus, people. Did you really need to throw a punch? Did you really need to prove you're part of the gang?

Classy as fuck.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:47 PM on August 19, 2014 [16 favorites]


Whoo-hoo! MetaFilter pile-on! Let's verbally kick the shit out of the OP! Too much is never enough—everyone best get in on it!

Jesus, people. Did you really need to throw a punch? Did you really need to prove you're part of the gang?

Classy as fuck.


Yeah, yeah. This is how the metafilter gang rolls.

1. You get jumped in the first time you post on metatalk.

2. You leave when you:
A. Die
B. Get disabled (account)
C. Banhammer(doesn't exist in street gangs)
posted by hal_c_on at 10:09 PM on August 19, 2014


Should probably switch to sativa for a while.

Indica is generally less paranoia-making because of the higher cannabidiol content, I thought.
posted by en forme de poire at 10:27 PM on August 19, 2014


And then there's the obligatory drive-by sneering at the community as a whole, man, that never gets stale.

Doesn't come across as "the community as a whole;" it comes across as a small group within the community that's so fast to be in so many of these threads with an aggressive, sanctimonious approach and a snide, angry tone.
posted by ambient2 at 10:31 PM on August 19, 2014 [14 favorites]


Indica is generally less paranoia-making because of the higher cannabidiol content, I thought.

Lateral moves man, serpentine...
posted by Divine_Wino at 10:54 PM on August 19, 2014


I couldn't hear you while I had my Metal Sander going.

When you Slander Meta, sparks fly.
posted by Chutzler at 11:14 PM on August 19, 2014


The tag "censorship" has been used 27 times in MeTa. If you need a break from watching the news out of Ferguson, Iraq, and Gaza, you can relive some of MeTa's most acrimonious moments by reviewing these posts.
posted by gingerest at 11:48 PM on August 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


There's no way here for this topic to not lead to a train wreck; this event passed the derail stage way back there in the WTF era, when no facts had yet been presented.

I'm with the folks who dislike bandying the word "murder" around without qualifying it. Using it as colloquialism may be okay to some here, but it follows that the person doing this is using hyperbole in an attempt to convey distress. The killing of an unarmed person is not automatically murder. Calling a person a murderer ought to be a considered act, not a statement of outrage.

The escalation of violence in Ferguson has transcended the killing. Other issues--organizational, racial, maybe even class--have been conflated to evoke some sort of creature lurking beneath the "issues." Talking heads are using this young man's death to comment on the militarization of our police forces. Really. These issues are real, but it's and act of pure sleaze to use this tragedy as a platform for airing them--especially while the outrages, curfew, arrests and shootings are ongoing. When the facts are assembled and a panel of calm jurors sort this out, then the status of the dead man and his killer will be more clear than it is now.

I am somewhat familiar with the application of demonstrations, and their various permutations. A demonstration, by its definition, has some sort of objective. I realize that one objective can be the escalation of force, creating an opportunity for a reactionary-minded authority to over-react. This can be an effective tool, but the objective is to create casualties. That's not what's going on here. This is an enraged animal chewing on its own feet.

The riots, and the reactionary posturing of the authorities are a separate and disgraceful set of circumstances. Neither the police officer, the dead man, or his family are well served by any of this. The sly comments of some of the folks here indeed reflect a gallows humor that I respond to viscerally, but the precious outrage of others merely disgusts me. This is one time the word sanctimony might be used to some good effect.

For the train-wreck part, I refer back to the original pebble in this particular shoe: someone abused the word murder. And the dog fight began. It seems we have sides taken where only smoke defines the issue.
posted by mule98J at 11:56 PM on August 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


Some thoughts:

1)This was a ludicrously framed and terrible post
2)I actually think the point, hiding in there, that killing would be a better word to use than murdered is fair.
3)I just noticed that people use the tag "metafilter" on metatalk. Isn't that a little tautological?
4)Looking at the censorship tag, I have found the metatalk post with the most obvious answer anyone has ever posted.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 11:59 PM on August 19, 2014 [6 favorites]


3)I just noticed that people use the tag "metafilter" on metatalk. Isn't that a little tautological?

Could be about AskMe.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 12:00 AM on August 20, 2014


Cannon Fodder:

Wow, that is a gem of a metatalk post. Sure, any jackass can cry censorship when you delete his goat sex post. But to be very serious about your original post, and sincere in your confusion as to why the post might not be a good fit for the blue - that's ineffably awesome.

Then words from Mathowie: "If you find the deletion of completely dumb things offensive, you're welcome to start your own blog or find somewhere more fitting."
posted by el io at 1:16 AM on August 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


What was the alternative to this gray thread other than a time-out?

The contact form.
From my personal experiences the contact form, and its subsequent email exchanges, provide the best arena for discussing contentious issues with the mods.
First and foremost, it's private - which removes the distraction and frustration of a gaggle of other users quacking in your face.
Using the contact form also hands you the opportunity to calm down - to step back and consider your position before you commit your words.

Gungho had already ignited an uproar and antagonized other users in a fast-moving thread whose subject is the source of anxiety and despair.
This person determined their best course of action was to immediately drag that uproar into this forum. The outcome was most probably not the one they desired.
Color me unsurprised by the mockery and outright horselaughs expressed here. The allegations of censorship and the antagonistic pitch of fury that frames this post incited the reaction it received.
I have no doubt Gungho understands how the captain of the Titanic felt when he drowned in the icy waters of the Atlantic.

The comments I find inappropriate are those whose authors derided the members of our community who expressed their disappointment with the tone and content of this thread.
Each of these individuals most certainly did not deserve their opinions or their capacity to express and enjoy humor disparaged.
posted by Pudhoho at 1:35 AM on August 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


I'd like to clear up a couple of things: I was on duty when the new post went up, and asked phire to make the post after the first one preceded it by moments and she had posted the text as a comment there (and Shouraku said she'd be fine with phire's version becoming the new Ferguson post).

I should have noticed, and asked phire about modifying that one word (to "killing" or "fatal shooting"), but didn't even register it at the time, as I was trying to move sort of quickly to transition to the new post while comments were flying in. That's my fault and I'm sorry, it would have saved some trouble – and here's the part I want to be clear about: We thought phire's post was excellent, and only that one word could have been changed to reflect the current legal status and avoid a bit of editorial bias, which the rest of the post handled brilliantly.

It is a really good post, and I could have helped that one hitch a bit if I had been more careful in the moment.
posted by taz (staff) at 2:04 AM on August 20, 2014 [29 favorites]


This ain't a court of law and considering the incident, murder is perfectly good description.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:28 AM on August 20, 2014 [12 favorites]


Seconding that. 'Murder' is a fine description.
posted by zarq at 3:45 AM on August 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


Taz, that's a very gracious comment. Gungho, please consider that your comments were inflammatory in threads that are already rather heated. I didn't see your comments, but bringing the issue to MetaTalk is a fine response. This is an opportunity for you to learn how to have better conversations on the Web. When people on MeFi get thoroughly riled up, usually for good reason, not always for great reasons, they aren't necessarily welcoming of differing views. So, yeah, just like in any community, if you take a contrary stance, you're going to have to put it well. The events in MO are a national outrage, making fine distinctions baffles me, but making that distinction with any ass-hattery whatsoever is trolling.

Meanwhile, in general, since I didn't see the comments, MeFites could do a better job of responding to differing views.
posted by theora55 at 3:51 AM on August 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


Taz is awesome. She displays so much more grace and decency than the rest of us... some of us... most of us... a proportion of us.

That is all.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 4:15 AM on August 20, 2014 [6 favorites]


This thread kills me.
posted by Decani at 4:51 AM on August 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


I disagree strongly that it's inappropriate to use the word "murder" in circumstances short of a jury verdict. Just because this word is also used in a legal sense does not make it solely a term of art.
posted by prefpara at 5:00 AM on August 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


Yes, it's ridiculous to object to the term 'murder' in this instance. I can't see a reason to do so, honestly, unless you are starting out from the position of attempting to mitigate what that cop did.

It would be slightly less disingenuous if the same people were objecting to the term 'strong-arm robbery' being used in the case of the cigarillos. Curiously, one has not observed the same finicking respect for the terminology of law in that regard in reference to this incident.
posted by winna at 5:08 AM on August 20, 2014 [10 favorites]


So: I don't think its an injust conclusion to declare that the killing of Michael Brown as murder. It certainly fits an account given by many witnesses. However, the account is disputed, and the facts are not entirely clear. I don't think the thread content was slanderous, merely that it did slightly editorialise, and could (and did) lead to unecessary derails.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 5:08 AM on August 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


It's also a journalist thing to not use the word murder. For instance, the AP style book:

"Do not say that a victim was murdered until someone has been convicted in court. Instead, say that a victim was killed or slain. Do not write that X was charged with murdering Y. Use the formal charge – murder – and, if not already in the story, specify the nature of the killing"
posted by smackfu at 6:08 AM on August 20, 2014 [6 favorites]


That may be true, but it is also irrelevant. MetaFilter is not governed by the AP style book.
posted by Pudhoho at 6:13 AM on August 20, 2014 [14 favorites]


This thread kills me.



Murderation!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:19 AM on August 20, 2014


First let me edit myself. It should be Meta Libel. As it is written not spoken. Mea Culpa. Second, I use the term edit instead of censor, as it seems less inflammatory...I guessed wrong on that part since apparently most Mefites stop reading the dictionary after the first meaning of the word. Finally, thanks to all of you who commented. Sad that so many decided to ridicule instead of discuss the issue at hand. I still believe my original comments in the blue were germane to the discussion. Labeling the cop a murderer is exactly why they have been protesting in Ferguson for the past 10 days. No one would be protesting if the deceased was charging at the officer with a knife, as was the case yesterday. But jumping to conclusions like murder by cop is a call to arms. Calling someone a murderer as was done in the FPP was in my opinion something that should not have been allowed. If the mods felt that it was OK in this instance my comments should not have been deleted, but rather commented on by the mods to justify their own conclusion.

EDIT: c : to alter, adapt, or refine especially to bring about conformity to a standard or to suit a particular purpose

3: delete —usually used with out

posted by Gungho at 6:30 AM on August 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter is not governed by the AP style book.

Nope. But some people feel that front-page posts should have a neutral tone, and news org standards are a pretty good place to look for guidance on what that looks like. (News org practices, not so much.)
posted by smackfu at 6:30 AM on August 20, 2014 [5 favorites]


Labeling the cop a murderer is exactly why they have been protesting in Ferguson for the past 10 days.

No the cop murdering him is why they have been protesting in Ferguson for ten days. If you think Metafilter is somehow making this worse, you might want to consider getting some perspective.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 6:33 AM on August 20, 2014 [28 favorites]


No the cop murdering him is why they have been protesting in Ferguson for ten days. If you think Metafilter is somehow making this worse, you might want to consider getting some perspective.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 9:33 AM on August 20 [+] [!]


You still don't get it. This is not about whether or not he did it, it is about an FPP in Metafilter stating that he did. Imagine for a minute if CNN, FOX, ABC, NBC, CBS, UPN, BBC and your local news started saying X was murdered by Y before a trial, before even an indictment. Couldn't happen, shouldn't happen.
posted by Gungho at 6:38 AM on August 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


You know I don't really think any useful purpose is served by allowing people to use MetaTalk threads to challenge decisions. The rule should probably be that if you want to challenge something - rather than floating something neutrally for discussion - you should just contact the mods.

These palpably doomed public appeals - sorry Gungho - are pretty unedifying exercises.
posted by Segundus at 6:38 AM on August 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


See, this ain't the BBC, it's some old coot's blog.
posted by Segundus at 6:40 AM on August 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


If the mods felt that it was OK in this instance my comments should not have been deleted, but rather commented on by the mods to justify their own conclusion.


Nope. A derail is a derail, and generally speaking discussions about thread content should either involve private messaging with mods or posting in talk. Thats how metafilter works. Whether you are correct or not about the murdered/killed thing (and I have sympathy with your position, although not your manner of expressing it) your comments would be deleted.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 6:41 AM on August 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


I absolutely "get it," it's just that your incessant harping on this inane complaint is irritating. I'm not going to imagine CNN calling it murder, because the comparison between CNN and an FPP is ridiculous. Is the choice of the word murder for the FPP one I would have made? Probably not. Is accusing Phire of contributing to the protests in Ferguson the most utterly insane thing imaginable? No, but it's close.

In any event, you didn't bring that complaint here, despite longstanding clear site policy that that's what you do. You tried to derail the thread about the murder of a black teenager to be about something anything other than that murder. It's typical, but it's still disgusting.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 6:46 AM on August 20, 2014 [17 favorites]


This is not a news outlet, newsfilter posts notwithstanding.

You were wrong to keep bringing the meTa discussion up in the fpp when it belongs in meTa.
posted by rtha at 6:48 AM on August 20, 2014 [14 favorites]


See, this ain't the BBC, it's some old coot's blog.

Did you just call mathowie an old coot?

Jeez. He's my age. Ouch.
posted by zarq at 6:51 AM on August 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


If Mathowie's officially an old coot then someone, somewhere owes me a Hoveround.
posted by Pudhoho at 6:53 AM on August 20, 2014 [4 favorites]


You were wrong to keep bringing the meTa discussion up in the fpp when it belongs in meTa.

This is about as clearly as anyone can say it.
posted by Wolof at 6:53 AM on August 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


Anyway, given some of the appalling coverage and language and framing I've seen on some of the news sites you mention, it doesn't seem like a good idea for this site to emulate them, if those are supposed to be examples of neutral, objective journalistic framing.
posted by rtha at 7:08 AM on August 20, 2014 [9 favorites]


*extremely journalists voice* my objectivity
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 7:16 AM on August 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


*puts on copy of Weird Al's Word Crimes*

As long as the topic is the "correct" word I shall channel Techdirt.

[C]ops are not murderers. No officer goes out in the field wishing to shoot anyone, armed or unarmed.

Sure. And most people aren't saying that cops are murderers. But they are calling them out for deploying excessive or deadly force far too often. That's homicide (in the rare cases when it results in charges). Murder is premeditated and while there are likely a very small number of cops who commit murder, there is a far larger percentage deploying excessive force -- force that sometimes results in death.
posted by rough ashlar at 7:24 AM on August 20, 2014


Gungho: If the mods felt that it was OK in this instance my comments should not have been deleted, but rather commented on by the mods to justify their own conclusion.

Is this some kind of performance art where you keep pretending that you don't understand that complaints about post framing and site policy go here, not no the blue? You clearly aren't so stupid as to not understand this by now, so I really don't get how you can keep insisting that you have some special right to violate this bright-line rule of MetaFilter.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:27 AM on August 20, 2014 [10 favorites]


It is 2014 and people still think that the mefi mods are some shadowy consortium of sneering tyrants out to crush anyone in their path who dares to speak anything but the sacrosanct words of the Little Blue Book, instead of being just a handful of people who would like to avoid having ulcers.

idgi
posted by elizardbits at 7:37 AM on August 20, 2014 [21 favorites]


"Murder" was not the right word for that context, but it's not exactly something I'd think about for more than two seconds. Take a chill pill. Your going HAM on this issue is making me feel weird for even kinda-sorta agreeing with any part of it.
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:39 AM on August 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


No matter our choice of words, Mike Brown is dead forever.
posted by Pudhoho at 7:45 AM on August 20, 2014 [7 favorites]


You clearly aren't so stupid as to not understand this by now

When ever I had said or thought this, later on more information comes to light that invalidates my claim.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:50 AM on August 20, 2014 [4 favorites]


Labeling the cop a murderer is exactly why they have been protesting in Ferguson for the past 10 days.

Lotta pedants in Ferguson I guess
posted by shakespeherian at 7:58 AM on August 20, 2014 [35 favorites]


[C]ops are not murderers. No officer goes out in the field wishing to shoot anyone, armed or unarmed.

There was an op-ed posted at the Washington Post yesterday which was linked in the main thread, by a former member of the LAPD who is now a professor of homeland security and criminal justice at Colorado Tech University. In it, he explains at great length the police may justifiably hurt and even shoot people who act legally (under normal circumstances, Americans have a legal right to protest and peaceably assemble,) and challenge them when questioned. Per Mr. Dutta, the only acceptable response from a civilian is submission and compliance, under all circumstances. That is the only way civilians can remain safe from harm from the police officers empowered to protect them. Note that Mr. Dutta has over a decade and a half of experience as a cop, was a member of the LAPD's IA division and now teaches criminal justice. He's considered an expert.

Officers may not intend to shoot civilians when they go out into the field. However, it seems apparent that the current, widespread police mindset treats everyone as a potentially violent criminal and trains cops to enter every single interaction with the public as one which might escalate into danger.

Such a mindset primes the pump (so to speak) for violent interactions. If a cop expects violence everywhere, they will operate as if they are required to pre-emptively react violently. That attitude could conceivably be considered premeditation. It might contribute to the deaths of people like Eric Garner at the hands of an NYPD officer.
posted by zarq at 8:10 AM on August 20, 2014 [13 favorites]


Gungho- for what it's worth, I actually agree with you. It seems your larger point is that newsfilter threads ought to be moderated more strictly so they are even-handed and neutral, instead of encouraging one-sided commentary. I don't think what happened here was quite that extreme, but still, "murder" was a poor inclusion and someone should've caught it or changed it.

Unfortunately you've done a really poor job of making your point because you haven't followed the community's rules and mores in doing so... and what's more, you've been really unclear in explaining yourself. Your posts are hard to follow.

More importantly, though, you are wasting your time.

What you seem frustrated by here is something that happens everywhere on the net. Just about any large discussion forum on the net will struggle with a contentious news topic in the following manner.
  • You'll deal with lots of self-styled experts on the topic who have already made up their mind about what the "right" answer is, and if you either feel more discussion is needed, or that the facts aren't in yet, or that another perspective is worth considering, they'll tell you that you're wrong.
  • The community's demographics will naturally lead to a "right" answer and a "right" perspective on the issue on the whole- whatever answer or perspective is favored by a majority of participants.
  • Once the community comes to a consensus about what the "right" answer is, and the discussion will be biased to some degree in that direction from that point forward. Those agreeing with the "right" answer will naturally get away with more inflammatory posting and derailing.
  • Users will award each other internet points (likes, favorites, upvotes) for agreeing with the community opinion, leading to users trawling for internet points by making unnecessary posts. The best "takedowns" will score big points, even if they add nothing to the discussion.
  • Moderators will do yeoman's work to try to keep things neutral, but they will inevitably fail as they are human, and this failure will almost always happen in favor of allowing the community opinion to prevail (partly because if they do something that rankles community opinion, the community will raise a stink and create a bigger headache for them).
Whether it's conservative or liberal, sports team A or sports team B, politician A or politician B, Israel or Palestine, a large discussion community will naturally swing in one direction to some degree when it comes to contentious news. MeFi is no different on that point, despite the efforts of a great staff, and despite how many users insist that it is. Neutral, friendly, knowledgeable, calm discussions are a nice platonic ideal, but just not how things pan out in reality.

I would suggest you consider doing what I do... I enjoy reading and commenting on about 90-95% of this site. I love reading posts where people give each other great advice in Ask, have fun commenting on movies and other media in FanFare, find cool stuff on the web that I wouldn't have found myself on the Blue, et cetera. You get the idea.

But I try not to spend any time reading or commenting on breaking newsfilter threads as I just don't find the discussions valuable. If others do, good for them! Glad they enjoy it and get something out of it, but they're not for me. Why don't you give that a shot?
posted by Old Man McKay at 8:41 AM on August 20, 2014 [20 favorites]


Fine, then- if there are any MeFites in the St. Louis area who think that they might be called for a grand jury in the next month or so, would they please recuse themselves from the original FPP.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:44 AM on August 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


Murder is premeditated and while there are likely a very small number of cops who commit murder, there is a far larger percentage deploying excessive force

Second degree murder requires intent but specifically does not require premeditation, that being precisely what separates it from first degree murder, right?
posted by nobody at 8:53 AM on August 20, 2014 [4 favorites]


if there are any MeFites in the St. Louis area who think that they might be called for a grand jury in the next month or so, would they please recuse themselves from the original FPP.

There is a well-established process by which a Mefite can recuse themselves from an OP. Departing from this established process could unnecessarily inject legal uncertainty into this matter and potentially jeopardize the FPP.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 8:58 AM on August 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


Before we go too far down that path, as far as the WP Op-Ed posted above (&tc), just a reminder that we can't really have a bifurcation of the original thread happening here. We need to stick to talking about Metafilter site policy in this thread, please.

In terms of what is seen as okay from the moderator point of view, here is the general form of things: We don't go by stylebook standards, and we don't demand a "balanced" presentation or consider Metafilter a news site. We DO ask that posters not editorialize in their posts, or post in an inflammatory way. We ask that people not frame things as a "call to action," or choose the most incendiary pull quotes to grab attention and get people enraged off the bat. We ask that people use reputable sources, that they don't misrepresent information in the presentation, and that they don't use titles and tags as a way to wedge in their own personal Op/Ed agenda.

We ask that people not post bare news items with the expectation of "HEADLINE ITEM: DISCUSS," or make "Here's a Horrible Thing That Happened," posts just to point out something awful with no deeper context or insight. We also expect folks to remember that Metafilter is nobody's personal justice tool, or personal blog where they're free to insistently push their pet agenda to an automatic audience.

We also expect that even if someone makes a good post without editorializing/ranting, that they *not* then proceed to dominate and flood the thread and fight with anyone who doesn't go along with exactly how they would like that thread to play out. It's "post it and let it go." The OP can comment in their own threads, but they don't own it and shouldn't attempt to control the discussion.

We consider everything case by case, so this is an overview and it's not like there is a lengthy set of steel-clad DON'T DO rules for which crossing the line at all will necessarily automatically signify a delete. It's always going to be a judgment call, and really good posts with a small problem will often remain, and sometimes we will remove a post that actually links to something worthwhile because the presentation is too egregious (and we then typically ask the poster to reframe and repost).

This covers the main points, I think. People often assume we require that posters "show both sides" which isn't the case, though many posters do so because they want to show the larger picture.
posted by taz (staff) at 9:07 AM on August 20, 2014 [18 favorites]


>What was the alternative to this gray thread other than a time-out?

The contact form.
From my personal experiences the contact form, and its subsequent email exchanges, provide the best arena for discussing contentious issues with the mods.
First and foremost, it's private - which removes the distraction and frustration of a gaggle of other users quacking in your face.
Using the contact form also hands you the opportunity to calm down - to step back and consider your position before you commit your words.


Definitely. It's bad enough when I've emailed the mods about something and then realize that I was being unreasonable and cranky. At least then I can just avoid emailing them for a while (to allow a suitable number of other weird/cranky/other emails to arrive and thus, hopefully, blur the mods' memories of mine). If it were a MeTa? I'd probably crawl under the covers and never come out again.
posted by Lexica at 9:09 AM on August 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


Calling someone a murderer as was done in the FPP was in my opinion something that should not have been allowed.

You're entitled to your opinion. You were told several times no and that discussing it was a no-no. Yet you kept trying to post that again... Why? Well...

If the mods felt that it was OK in this instance my comments should not have been deleted, but rather commented on by the mods to justify their own conclusion.

Yeah, they don't owe you a public explanation (or even a private one) nor do they owe you a discussion about it. Nor do they owe you conformity with news media standards, in particular because your comparison doesn't even make sense.

From a libel standpoint Metafilter does not operate as a CNN when it comes to FPPs. FPPs are user written and submitted by volunteer community members and therefore subject to protection via section 230 of the CDA. In this case the original poster, Phire, could theoretically get singled out for attention via suit but Metafilter would be protected.

Even that is unlikely, as (2) the sentence construction is such that it can be read that this is describing the protesters positions and (1) nobody gives a ratfuck about a single word choice in a single paragraph on some website.

Except you. Or more apparently accurately, you care that nobody cares that you care. Plenty of people above agree with you that murder is not the right word here. But you're still beating the drum even after all the explanations and agreement. What's your endgame here? You're not getting an edit and you can't get everyone to validate your position.

You want to try to discuss the media implications of pre-judging Wilson over in the real thread I presume you can try. It's not even a new subject, which makes this foot-stoming seem all the more petty. It's been discussed, as had media impact, and links to good pieces about the racist undertones of that "oh no you have to wait and see" have been posted - one from Salon comes immediately to my mind.

I don't know if you just haven't been interested in what anyone ELSE has to say so you haven't noticed, if you don't think you can make a compelling case for those positions, or you only really care about it happening on Metafilter. But this horse is dead, ground up, fed to a new horse, and then that one beaten to death.
posted by phearlez at 9:31 AM on August 20, 2014 [8 favorites]


Second, I use the term edit instead of censor, as it seems less inflammatory...I guessed wrong on that part since apparently most Mefites stop reading the dictionary after the first meaning of the word. Finally, thanks to all of you who commented. Sad that so many decided to ridicule instead of discuss the issue at hand.

I have bolded a couple of things in the above outtake as an FYI concerning "Yeah, you know, this is part of why other people keep trying to get their licks in." Which doesn't justify it and maybe I should say this privately but, honestly, given your behavior here, I would rather there be public witnesses that I was not attacking you and was trying to give constructive feedback in good faith and some situations are just shitty as hell for trying to do that at all. Sigh.

FWIW, my first comment in this MeTa was not intended as part of the pile on. It was intended as "FYI - here is some Best Practices that work better" though, granted, I realized at the time I was taking a risk as potentially just looking like part of the ugly pile on. So maybe I did it badly yesterday and maybe I am also doing it badly today. I personally hate that ugly mob behavior is so acceptable on MeTa. I try to not participate in it and I sometimes just don't know how to participate in a MeTa while making it clear I am not trying to be part of the pile-on and also also not provoking the madding crowd lest they turn on me for some inane reason. (My days of being willing to take the proverbial bullet for a stranger on a forum are over, though I still attempt to participate in good faith and blah blah blah.)

Anyway, I will shut up now and stop digging my grave deeper. Have a good day Gungho.
posted by Michele in California at 9:32 AM on August 20, 2014 [5 favorites]


Fine, then- if there are any MeFites in the St. Louis area

at first I thought you were calling a meetup and I got really excited
posted by Greg Nog at 9:59 AM on August 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


Put the grapefruit back on the shelf, Greg
posted by phearlez at 10:06 AM on August 20, 2014 [6 favorites]


Is accusing Phire of contributing to the protests in Ferguson

Well, I mean, to be fair, I did send them a bunch of food and supplies via Amazon and gave some money to STL charities who are on the ground right now so if you want to get technical....

sorry not helping am I
posted by Phire at 10:07 AM on August 20, 2014 [15 favorites]


I mean, if we're going to get all technical, I'd call that contributing to the protestors, not contributing to the protests, in that it is not really furthering issues of systemic racism and police militarization.

I too sent food via Amazon!
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 10:16 AM on August 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


Don't worry, it sounds like the police raided a church and took supplies donated to the protestors, so maybe you supported the police, too? That would be nice and evenhanded of you, Phire.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:18 AM on August 20, 2014 [11 favorites]


WTF WTF SERIOUSLY? THAT WAS MY MONEY AND MONEY IS SPEECH NOW SO THE POLICE HAVE STOLEN MY FREE SPEECH SILENCED ALL MY LIFE.

(This is genuine serious anger and not an attempt to make light of the tragedy. Jesus, I just want to help and it turns into another way to keep people down. WTF. Jesus Christ. Raiding a church? Stopping people from assembling, speaking, publishing stuff, or petitioning for redress of grievances? Did they just have one more box on their First Amendment checklist and they wanted to get all the points? How unbelievably awful. UGH.)
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 10:23 AM on August 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


Calling someone a murderer as was done in the FPP was in my opinion something that should not have been allowed.

When you start your own blog you can create and enforce any rules your heart desires. In the mean time, I have a wad of gum to scrape off the sole of my shoe.
posted by Pudhoho at 10:26 AM on August 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


[Comment removed; to whatever extent there's a reason to have this thread exists, it should mostly be about the actual site guidelines and policy stuff tied up in the situation, let's maybe skip the free-form riffing re: the poster at this point.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:46 AM on August 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


Jesus, I just want to help and it turns into another way to keep people down.

No good deed goes unpunished by the police.
posted by Pudhoho at 10:47 AM on August 20, 2014


These kinds of threads are weird. Obviously, the OP made a bad point badly, but at some point I think we can safely say that message has been delivered back to him sufficiently. I have to wonder at the motivation of, say, the 107th person to let the OP know he is a bad person who should feel bad about himself. Does such a person honestly believe he or she will get the point across to the OP in a way the previous 106 couldn't or are they just wanting to go on record as the person who holds the Metafilter majority view most strongly?
posted by The Gooch at 11:09 AM on August 20, 2014 [16 favorites]


Well it certainly heads off the "That's just YOUR opinion!" rebuttal.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 11:13 AM on August 20, 2014


I think we can safely say that message has been delivered back to him sufficiently.

Well Gungho came into the thread earlier and insisted that metacommentary in the post should have been allowed, so perhaps not.
posted by zarq at 11:17 AM on August 20, 2014 [5 favorites]


Well Gungho came into the thread earlier and insisted that metacommentary in the post should have been allowed, so perhaps not.

Yeah, there is this little human thing called face saving where the more you try to publicly humiliate someone, the more they try to prove they were right and you were wrong as kind of a ham-handed means to say "Look, doggammit, I do not deserve some kind of huge public shaming for handling this badly or whatever." Because in most social situations, admitting you were Rong is like saying "Yes, I love eating your shit. Please feed me more of this yummy shit. I would like big helpings of it every fucking time I open my damn mouth around here, pretty please, with a cherry on top. I really, really enjoy the hell out of being everyone's bitch and I thought, you know, asking for everyone to shit on me here would be cheaper and easier than joining a bdsm club, so more shit for me please!"

btdt, got the t-shirt. I don't recommend it as a method.
posted by Michele in California at 11:23 AM on August 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


zarq - No, the message was delivered to Gungho ad nauseam. Whether or not he/she chooses to agree with the 100th person saying the same thing in a different manner is another question, but the piling on is pretty gauche and pointless, as usual.
posted by gman at 11:23 AM on August 20, 2014 [6 favorites]


Does such a person honestly believe he or she will get the point across to the OP in a way the previous 106 couldn't or are they just wanting to go on record as the person who holds the Metafilter majority view most strongly?

It's usually the second option.
posted by Mr. Six at 11:25 AM on August 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


Whether or not he/she chooses to agree

Productive conversations don't have to end in agreement. But they do have to move the discussion forward in some way, fairly summarizing and responding to the viewpoints put forward by interlocutors. Gunho repeated the assertion of their OP without responding to the substance of those who put forward fair, engaged responses to their original question.
posted by audi alteram partem at 11:28 AM on August 20, 2014


This thread seems a touch overly fixated on doing things with poo.
posted by Invisible Green Time-Lapse Peloton at 11:30 AM on August 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


At the end of the day it's not super important whether or not people feel like Gungho has gotten the message about moderation policy; we're going to keep enforcing that policy regardless and it's up to Gungho to make their peace with that and modify their behavior in the future if they don't want to run athwart of it again.

I'd say it's probably safe to just sort of shrug and move on in the absence of some specific lingering actionable issue; in general I think it'd probably be safe to say that (and we often have as mods more or less said that) about a lot of Metatalk threads that are where this one is at this point. If Gungho or anyone else has a specific clarification or elaboration of the issue they want to broach, let's worry about that when it actually happens instead of arguing to death the question of whether or not we should keep arguing in abstract about it.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:33 AM on August 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


This thread seems a touch overly fixated on doing things with poo.


Oh, that's just feckless fecal fear mongering again.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 11:35 AM on August 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


Because in most social situations, admitting you were Rong is like saying "Yes, I love eating your shit. Please feed me more of this yummy shit. I would like big helpings of it every fucking time I open my damn mouth around here, pretty please, with a cherry on top. I really, really enjoy the hell out of being everyone's bitch and I thought, you know, asking for everyone to shit on me here would be cheaper and easier than joining a bdsm club, so more shit for me please!"

You might think about examine your assumptions here. That isn't how I, or most intelligent people I know, feel or act about being wrong.
posted by OmieWise at 11:36 AM on August 20, 2014 [25 favorites]


It seems to kinda work that way here on MeFi and, even if it doesn't, members exist out in the world and if they live with the above social consequence whenever they admit they are wrong, then they will bring that baggage here. That's just reality.

It is not based on assumption. It is a thing I have kind of studied, both formally and informally. There are ways to handle it so that doesn't happen but not everyone has those skills.
posted by Michele in California at 11:41 AM on August 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


...we're going to keep enforcing that policy regardless...

It feels like a lot of the time metacommentary on the framing is not deleted. Are you saying we can expect it to be more routinely deleted in future or just in cases like this where it's in an already high-emotion thread and is likely to spark a derail?

It could be my "feeling" is off though or just confirmation bias. When I have some time I can go back and try to find examples, but it seems like when people generally agree with the framing quibble, when it's less offensive, then it's left standing.

I also have been reading MetaFilter for so long now that I'll often remember a post or comment from "the other day" that was literally five years ago, so it could be I'm way off and this metacommentary has been routinely deleted for a while now.
posted by ODiV at 11:45 AM on August 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


Probably depends on flagging. The mods don't see every comment.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:56 AM on August 20, 2014


the piling on is pretty gauche and pointless, as usual.

C'mon, I favorited, like, three comments, that's hardly piling on...
posted by gauche at 11:58 AM on August 20, 2014 [9 favorites]


Metafilter: a touch overly fixated on doing things with poo.



well, SOMEONE was going to...
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 12:01 PM on August 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yeah, probably just survivorship bias.
posted by ODiV at 12:01 PM on August 20, 2014


I'm sure some commentary and metacommentary about post framing, link choice, etc. ends up not being deleted, as a mix of chance and circumstance, and there's shades of grey here. The general policy has been a consistent thing for a long time and it'll remain so, is the thrust of that comment; folks are free to talk about specific cases as they want but there's not really a "but that other time you didn't delete a comment so what's the deal with this purported policy" angle here.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:04 PM on August 20, 2014


Yeah thanks. I just remember wishing it was a little more strict a few times, but I'll continue flagging and moving on.
posted by ODiV at 12:06 PM on August 20, 2014


Because in most social situations, admitting you were Rong is like saying "Yes, I love eating your shit. Please feed me more of this yummy shit. I would like big helpings of it every fucking time I open my damn mouth around here, pretty please, with a cherry on top. I really, really enjoy the hell out of being everyone's bitch and I thought, you know, asking for everyone to shit on me here would be cheaper and easier than joining a bdsm club, so more shit for me please!"

This hasn't been my IRL experience with being wrong and admitting it. Obviously, peoples' mileage varies, but the people I admit my wrongness to generally don't point/laugh/sneer, and I have not been ostracized, nor have I felt like I was somehow eating shit.
posted by rtha at 12:08 PM on August 20, 2014 [9 favorites]


To be clear it wasn't meant as a "Hey, you left stuff before, why are you deleting this, hypocrite?" More of a, "Can I expect comments about framing to be deleted even when they're completely reasonable?" to which the answer is probably, "It depends."
posted by ODiV at 12:15 PM on August 20, 2014


Yeah, there is this little human thing called face saving where the more you try to publicly humiliate someone, the more they try to prove they were right and you were wrong as kind of a ham-handed means to say "Look, doggammit, I do not deserve some kind of huge public shaming for handling this badly or whatever." Because in most social situations, admitting you were Rong is like saying "Yes, I love eating your shit."

I agree with you that mocking is super counterproductive, which is why I personally try to give even-handed, calm answers to serious metatalk posts unless I think the question being asked is over-the-top offensive... or I guess if it bugs me in some way. But I'm trying to pay attention to that when it happens.

That said, admitting when you're wrong is a sign of maturity and there's nothing wrong with it. Viewing those admissions as a sign of weakness to a point of irrationality is not helpful. Been there. Looking back, whenever I was in that situation, where I was wrong and refusing to acknowledge it, I was being an ass.
posted by zarq at 12:15 PM on August 20, 2014 [5 favorites]


Because in most social situations, admitting you were Rong is like saying "Yes, I love eating your shit. Please feed me more of this yummy shit. I would like big helpings of it every fucking time I open my damn mouth around here, pretty please, with a cherry on top. I really, really enjoy the hell out of being everyone's bitch and I thought, you know, asking for everyone to shit on me here would be cheaper and easier than joining a bdsm club, so more shit for me please!"

I don't mean to seem like I'm piling on on this (ah, the irony) but the thing is, the only one who can do anything about this is you. If your opinion or position is wrong, it's wrong, and me refraining from saying so doesn't make it less wrong. If you're wrong, you need to process that yourself because there is nothing that anybody exterior can do that will make you less wrong. If you double down on your argument because you can't admit you're wrong, that's on you, not on the person or people pointing out that you're wrong.

My family of origin is the kind where being wrong is a bad thing; knowing things and being right is a sign of competence and worth. The kind where telling somebody something they already know can be a passive-aggressive attack. So I definitely sympathize with the feeling you're describing. But at the same time, I can say from experience that working through my own emotional stuff around this and getting to the point where I can cheerfully say "Hey, I was wrong about that" is one of the most freeing things ever. It feels really good to be able to say and mean "I don't know", "I've learned more and changed my mind because of it" and even "Yep, you're right, I was wrong about that".
posted by Lexica at 12:20 PM on August 20, 2014 [13 favorites]


Lexica (et al), I am really super freely willing to admit when I am wrong. So I know the above in part from writing sincere, heartfelt public apologies on an email list during a difficult time in my life any time I could not manage to write without sticking my feet in my mouth. And the result was that I became the list scapegoat and any time someone was in a bad mood, hey, just take it out on Michele and then announce "There SHE goes again, stirring up shit and misbehaving" and you could bet money most folks would be on your side, even the mods.

So my point is kind of, with all due respect to zarq (whom I do personally respect, though I don't know how to do this dance with him very well -- we seem to keep talking past each other), after so many people have piled on, adding yet another criticism amounts to abuse in much the same way that a light touch can be enormously painful if you are covered in, say, road rash.

Anyway, I don't really want to argue it further. I stand by my observations. I am aware that many people here do not agree with me.

Gungho, I am sorry I opened my mouth. My feedback was probably not helpful to you just because of the atmosphere in which it was given. And I am really wishing I had said nothing.
posted by Michele in California at 12:48 PM on August 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


"You still don't get it."

I don't know or care who you are referring to as 'you' but 'I' do get it, 'you', Gungho, do not. There is no 'we' here.

When you find yourself at the bottom of a hole-- stop digging.
posted by sunslice at 12:49 PM on August 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


> I stand by my observations. I am aware that many people here do not agree with me.

Well, you know that it's not because you're expressing some edgy, outlier radical opinion, it's that you express your thoughts in really counterproductive ways.
posted by Invisible Green Time-Lapse Peloton at 1:21 PM on August 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


it's that you express your thoughts in really counterproductive ways

I think it's a good deal more complicated than that.

I also think it's basically off topic.
posted by Michele in California at 1:29 PM on August 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think that it's also worth mentioning that, when the post was made, the Mefi server hand just gone down, come back up, was becoming heavily taxed again, and mathowie was asking in thread for someone to make a new post to take the load off so that the server wouldn't go down a second time.

Phire had to make her post fast. I mean, its not like she had the time to turn out a finely handcrafted artisan post. She made that high quality summery in an amazingly short amount of time; at fricking 4am. So the fact that she only messed up a single word (and even that is debatable) is a serious accomplishment. I mean, can we give taz and Phire some credit for FPPing under threat of server collapse?

The thing is Gungho, I do get where you're coming from. I just think that you seem to be treating Phire's post as if it was a treatise that she had a month to construct and edit, and that just isn't the case. I don't think that she was attempting to be biased; she just had to act quickly and therefore some biased slipped in. Taz is generally very even handed with FPPs, but was also under time constraints. That post was not made under idea conditions, but is damn good given what they had to work with.
posted by Shouraku at 1:42 PM on August 20, 2014 [6 favorites]


The best thing about this whole post is the Mods did exactly what I would like to have had done. Look upthread where Cortex removed a comment and explained why.
posted by Gungho at 1:55 PM on August 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


and there's shades of grey here.

Ah hah! It *is* a BDSM thing!
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 2:02 PM on August 20, 2014


The best thing about this whole post is the Mods did exactly what I would like to have had done.

I am not really clear on what you mean here. What you would like to have had done in the original thread on the blue? What happened there is some comments were removed and a mod left a note; your complaint in this post was that you had comments removed and that the mods were being too aggressive.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:12 PM on August 20, 2014 [10 favorites]


It seems to me that Gungho just needed a way to get down from that tree while keeping hirs tail in the air. If this works for hirm, why not?
posted by Too-Ticky at 2:35 PM on August 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


I just want to say that for all the people writing "stop being mean to Gungho!", and concern about malicious "pile-ons", that I can personally view this sort of situation as a Mefi Rite of Passage. I lurked for many years here before cautiously beginning to comment. But even then I never really felt like I belonged until I made my own asinine Meta and people jumped in and gave me what-for. That is when I knew I had really arrived-- Metafilter was now my home on the internet. All I'm saying is that you don't necessarily have to view this as all bad, you can choose to have the opposite reaction. So yeah, Gungho, welcome to the club! Glad to have you here.
posted by seasparrow at 4:16 PM on August 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


Certainly, the rite of passage is one way to look at it. I think there's a lot of truth to that. But more so, I think if you deliberately and repeatedly try to derail a thread with some weirdly disproportionate concern over how we describe shooting an unarmed kid in the back - especially when you've been around long enough to know better - and then take that fight on over to MeTa with some gross analogous shooting language, I think that this is a lot more repugnant than a bunch of smart-ass comments.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 4:34 PM on August 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


That Zubin Mehta is a TERRIBLE conductor! I've seen clearer downbeats from a clockwork monkey!
posted by The Underpants Monster at 5:21 PM on August 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


The options aren't limited to saying "I was wrong" or doubling down. Saying nothing is a choice.
posted by gingerest at 6:10 PM on August 20, 2014 [4 favorites]




I've always hated that idea that you have to take your beatings before you're a proper member, on MeFi just as much as anywhere else. After JulyByWomen, where a number of the comments expressed how reluctant they were to post largely because of their fear of negative reactions, I was hoping the idea that you need to be insulted a few times to really be a member here would finally die off.

Sure, this place is rough and tumble, and weathering a few hits will make you stronger. You have to be prepared for pushback - but it shouldn't be thought a requirement, however unofficial.

(This is not to say it doesn't have its personal rewards, if you manage to survive, just that an individual sense of achievement after getting harangued here and not leaving forever shouldn't be extrapolated to other users.)
posted by gadge emeritus at 10:04 PM on August 20, 2014 [8 favorites]


I've always hated that idea that you have to take your beatings before you're a proper member

The cycle of family violence. It's fucking moronic. If this place is supposed to be better than most of the web, more intellectual, more socially aware, then why the hell does it abuse its family members so much? Answer: Gotta prove you're in the cool kids crowd. Gotta jerk that circle. It's a disgusting embarrassment.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:11 PM on August 20, 2014 [6 favorites]


gadge emeritus: "I've always hated that idea that you have to take your beatings before you're a proper member, on MeFi just as much as anywhere else."

But...you really don't need to take your beatings.

A lot of people have acknowledged that there could be a legit community-standards question to be explored about the boundaries of editorializing. A lot of people have acknowledged the complexities of word choice used to describe people being killed by another. Murdered, slain, killed, executed, death from [foo].

The moderation/deleted comments issue could have been a private conversation initiated through the contact form. The question of biased language re "murder" could have been raised as a response to other commenters in the context of the discussion rather than analyzing the framing of the post.
posted by desuetude at 11:34 PM on August 20, 2014


I get why people were put off by this Meta. I really get it. But y'all should treat people better. You can make your points without mocking and insulting.

I love MF. I spend a bunch of time here. This is a great community. It would be better if we were kinder to each other.

On preview: Bravo, Taz. Really well-done in this thread.
posted by persona au gratin at 12:47 AM on August 21, 2014 [4 favorites]


Shorter desuetude: "It's her fault for wearing that dress."
posted by five fresh fish at 3:02 AM on August 21, 2014


That's a fucking gross trivialization of rape in service of an argument, man.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:16 AM on August 21, 2014 [55 favorites]


Shorter desuetude: "It's her fault for wearing that dress."

This is a sentiment you could have expressed in a less incendiary way. A less offensive way. Less over-the-top and shocking. Simply by saying that you feel desuetude is victim-blaming.

But you let your feelings control your tone. So now you'll probably get emotional feedback from people who would otherwise have been happy to discuss what you have to say.

Which is also what's happened here in this thread, to Gungho.

Are you looking to have a conversation or just venting to be nasty? Sounds like the latter. People will probably respond in kind.
posted by zarq at 3:45 AM on August 21, 2014 [9 favorites]


The options aren't limited to saying "I was wrong" or doubling down. Saying nothing is a choice.

You evidently missed the many comments criticizing the OP for not responding earlier in the thread. I agree that this was mostly a stupid complaint* expressed stupidly, but there was no winning for him here, and the righteous warriors above would have taken almost any action as proof of trolling or evil.

*I think FPPs about news events should have a neutral journalistic tone, so "killing" is preferable in the post itself. The idea that "sensationalism" is causing the violence is of course idiotic. A racist cop caused the violence in Ferguson.
posted by spaltavian at 4:22 AM on August 21, 2014


No, no, I can and did read the thread. I was just noting that *other* people seemed to think there were only two approaches to responding.
posted by gingerest at 4:55 AM on August 21, 2014


You evidently missed the many comments criticizing the OP for not responding earlier in the thread.

You mean, criticizing the OP for making an inflammatory and insulting initial post and then not responding earlier in the thread. That's a pretty big difference; the thread didn't coalesce naturally. The "righteous warriors" in this case are also right warriors - there is no way this issue would not have been handled better by talking to the mods using the moderation form, and being told that yes, that was a tricky word, and they understood the concern, but they needed a new thread quickly and this was the best one available, so it slipped in.

That was an option, and would probably have constituted "winning".
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:59 AM on August 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


[hates pile-ons] [makes a comparison likely to draw one onto self]
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 5:00 AM on August 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


[is tone deaf]
posted by Wolof at 5:58 AM on August 21, 2014


This subject is one that won't be resolved in a single conversation, unfortunately.
posted by Brainytexan at 6:06 AM on August 21, 2014


five fresh fish: "Shorter desuetude: "It's her fault for wearing that dress.""

What the fuck are you talking about?
posted by desuetude at 6:48 AM on August 21, 2014 [5 favorites]


desuetude, fff's been saying stupid shit for years and years. It's practically a tradition. I wouldn't take him seriously, on anything.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:53 AM on August 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


It's more than a little overwrought to call the intial "post inflammatory and insulting". The "shoot first and ask questions" phrase was a bad note, but was exaggerated all out of proportion by those who just couldn't wait to tell him he was a bad person. It certainly wasn't "pretending [he was] facing the same injustice as the subject of the FPP", which was a highly favorited, but wholly fallacious description of the post.

The rest of the post wasn't inflammatory. He simply had an annoyingly aggrieved tone. Overall, par for the course on MeTa, where threads, that, for example, compare the use of "wackadoodle" to the n-word have been allowed to stand.

Let me restate, that I think this was mostly a stupid complaint worded stupidly. That, however, does not make this a particularly egregious MeTa, compared to what normally goes on here.

The moderation form is not interchangable with MeTa, and is not a replacement for it. They don't do the same things, and if the Mods didn't see fit to delete this thread, calls for the contact form are out of place.

The contact form is for asking why the mods did something you disagree with. A MeTa is to have a public conversation about something you disagree with, and presumably to show that other people agree with you. The OP obviously failed if he had the second listed intent, but, no, he would not have got what he wanted out of the contact form.
posted by spaltavian at 7:20 AM on August 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


This is the thread about what to call the protests sparked by deadly excessive police force used on an unarmed citizen, right?

Just wanted to make sure the irony of how difficult it is for people to admit they're wrong is not lost. Can everyone in the conversation centered around Michele in California's comment make some kind of after-school special and send it to the Ferguson city council? Thanks.
posted by Johann Georg Faust at 7:21 AM on August 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


That's a fucking gross trivialization of rape in service of an argument, man.

The pile-on shit-kicking of OPs in MeTa is a fucking gross tradition that mods do fuck-all to rein in. Your initiating a new pile-on instead of addressing this issue is fucking gross.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:25 AM on August 21, 2014 [4 favorites]


Log off, dude.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 7:33 AM on August 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


This is a sentiment you could have expressed in a less incendiary way. A less offensive way. Less over-the-top and shocking. Simply by saying that you feel desuetude is victim-blaming.

But you let your feelings control your tone. So now you'll probably get emotional feedback from people who would otherwise have been happy to discuss what you have to say.

Which is also what's happened here in this thread, to Gungho.


I think this is illustrative of the point some of us having been trying to make, though. Cortex weighed in immediately in an official capacity to let fff know his analogy was seriously offensive. You did the same. A few other folks have made similar comments expressing offense at fff's phrasing.

I think "fff used an offensive analogy to describe what is happening to the OP in this thread" has now been well established. It is not necessary for literally over 100 other Mefites to now weigh in with their official stance on the subject. The point has been made.
posted by The Gooch at 7:42 AM on August 21, 2014 [5 favorites]


Where the fuck do you see me shit-kicking the OP? I acknowledged the issues raised by Gungho which would be a legit (in my opinion) area for discussion in MeTa. I was disputing that taking your hits in Meta is hazing ritual required for acceptance here. I didn't call anyone names, I wasn't even responding directly to the OP.

Gungho isn't being raped, for fuck's sake, and I'm not victim-blaming him.

Your initiating a new pile-on instead of addressing this issue is fucking gross.

You took a nasty, unprovoked swing at me, but instead of being offended, we all should blame the moderators instead? Come ON.
posted by desuetude at 7:42 AM on August 21, 2014 [6 favorites]


> The cycle of family violence. It's fucking moronic. If this place is supposed to be better than most of the web, more intellectual, more socially aware, then why the hell does it abuse its family members so much? Answer: Gotta prove you're in the cool kids crowd. Gotta jerk that circle. It's a disgusting embarrassment.

> Shorter desuetude: "It's her fault for wearing that dress."

> The pile-on shit-kicking of OPs in MeTa is a fucking gross tradition that mods do fuck-all to rein in. Your initiating a new pile-on instead of addressing this issue is fucking gross.

Thank you for your contributions toward making MetaTalk a better, nicer place!
posted by languagehat at 8:06 AM on August 21, 2014 [30 favorites]


but was exaggerated all out of proportion by those who just couldn't wait to tell him he was a bad person

Speaking of exaggeration. Lotta people chimed in to tell the OP they thought this meTa was framed badly, that he used a bad analogy, that he did bad by bringing up a meTa issue in the blue. That is not the same as telling him he is a bad person - or are we now at a point where we can't actually tell someone that the thing they did was bad because that is the same as telling them they are bad, and that isn't allowed?
posted by rtha at 8:07 AM on August 21, 2014 [9 favorites]


Seems like there's not much point to keeping this discussion open at this point, no?
posted by Old Man McKay at 8:08 AM on August 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


gadge emeritus: I've always hated that idea that you have to take your beatings before you're a proper member, on MeFi just as much as anywhere else. After JulyByWomen, where a number of the comments expressed how reluctant they were to post largely because of their fear of negative reactions, I was hoping the idea that you need to be insulted a few times to really be a member here would finally die off.

I've been a member here for almost six years, and I don't recall ever being harassed. Then again, I've steered clear of most contentious topics, or stayed on the side of general site consensus on hot topics.

But this is not to say there is any "hazing" tradition on MetaFilter for those who speak out against the communal norms or broader agreement. From my view, the push-back and verbal abuse comes when someone throws the first punch, either at mods for bias in deletion of posts or comments, or taking jabs at an individual user or a group of users. The pile-ons come when the initial poster doesn't come back to respond, so the echo chamber builds up, trying to suss out meaning, or picking apart the original post because there's no clarification or elaboration to address responses, from mods and other users. Yes, it sucks to come in, full of piss and vinegar, and have your criticisms denounced as baseless by user after user and the mods, but to then say nothing for half a day, you're doing yourself no good.

My suggestion to new users who take issue with the site or other users: start with the contact form, and contact users directly. Also, don't come out swinging, but try to state your concerns without a lot of steam. For instance, if this post could simply have stated "I have an issue with the Ferguson post framing, in stating that Michal Brown was murdered, because that's a decision to be made by the courts." Or better yet, this could have been a comment to the poster and the mods, asking for an edit to the post.

But by adding a snarky comment about the moderators "have a shoot first and ask questions later policy" and citing the number of comments (posts?) compared to MetaTalk, you're muddying the waters with other issues and concerns. Especially if you can't come back in a few hours and respond to the comments and questions from other users, keep your issue simple and focused.

Anyone who challenges the moderators will likely get a lot of push-back, or who questions which comments are deleted and why. This is because a lot (probably the majority) of users feel that the moderators are good, honest people who are trying to manage noisy, contentious topics as well as they can with limited staffing. Many people realize that with limited staffing, there will be a few more comments deleted, to prevent strife in threads. Some of those comments could stand if they were worded differently, but again there are only so many mods with so many hours in the day, so they can't provide a nice write-up to every user whose comment is deleted as to why a comment was deleted, but the mods are pretty darned good at getting back to questions from the contact form or via MeMail.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:09 AM on August 21, 2014 [10 favorites]


Desuetude: I read your post as yet another "you don't need to take your kicks in meta, you can take it to mod memail to avoid the bullies here."

On re-reading your post, I'm wrong.

That was only half of your solution: take the deletion complaint to memail, post the murder/killing beef in meta.

You are right, that probably would have avoided a lot of pile-on.

It is still tainted by victim blaming: there shouldn't be any piling-on anyway. OP shouldn't have to avoid it. The fault is with the pilers-on, not the OP.

My sarcastic reaction was to the victim-blaming part of your post, exacerbated by my not reading it closely enough to see the realpolitik practicality of the solution you offer.

So, sorry. I condemned your practical solution because it isn't idealistic. Given the nasty reality of meta, I am wrong to do so.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:12 AM on August 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


On the topic of members who hold views contrary to the vocal majority of the site: there are some great users who constantly bring in opposing viewpoints on the site, and they generally do it with patience and tact, and they seem to be well-regarded by most other (vocal) members of the site. Sure, they don't get a lot of agreement, and there are disagreements with moderators on deletions of comments in contentious topics, but those alternate voices seem to generally agree with the activities of moderators, on the whole.

On the flip side, there are many users I would consider to be within the realms of some broad MetaFilter consensus who push back against deletion of comments from moderators from time to time, so it's not all GroupThink.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:15 AM on August 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


Meta has no reality. It's time to stop believing in a place called Metafilter and calm the fuck down already.
posted by Invisible Green Time-Lapse Peloton at 8:15 AM on August 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


which was a highly favorited, but

I always think I can't hate favorites and how people use them more than I already do and I'm always wrong. I guess I could open yet another meta about them and get my day in the barrel and really make this circular.
posted by phearlez at 8:56 AM on August 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


The best thing about this whole post is the Mods did exactly what I would like to have had done.

I am not really clear on what you mean here. What you would like to have had done in the original thread on the blue? What happened there is some comments were removed and a mod left a note; your complaint in this post was that you had comments removed and that the mods were being too aggressive.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:12 PM on August 20 [9 favorites +] [!]


NOTE" my original post in the FPP (in the blue) was deleted without comment. YMMV, but I would have been very satisfied with an explanation and not got my panties in a twist.
posted by Gungho at 9:00 AM on August 21, 2014


The contact form is for asking why the mods did something you disagree with. A MeTa is to have a public conversation about something you disagree with, and presumably to show that other people agree with you.

This is a pretty fighty-centric way to look at both things. The contact form is for contacting the mods. One possible use of it is to say "I disagree with your deletion of my post", although, really, who has the time? Another is to ask questions - like "is the use of 'murder' in this FPP breaking the guidelines by editorializing?", or "why were my posts about this deleted?"

The first question would have received essentially the content of the posts by taz to this thread. The second would have received the answer "because policy discussion goes to MetaTalk".

Ah - on preview, it turns out that you are mistaken, spaltavian. To quote gungho:

NOTE" my original post in the FPP (in the blue) was deleted without comment. YMMV, but I would have been very satisfied with an explanation and not got my panties in a twist.

So... the contact form would have been _precisely_ the right tool for this job. Seriously, so much unpleasantness can be avoided by using the contact form, it's not even true.
posted by running order squabble fest at 9:05 AM on August 21, 2014 [4 favorites]


NOTE" my original post in the FPP (in the blue) was deleted without comment. YMMV, but I would have been very satisfied with an explanation and not got my panties in a twist.

We do not leave notes about one-off deletions most of the time; there's less impact on the flow of the thread that way, is a big part of it, since removing something that's distracting but hasn't been responded to and then replacing it with something talking about it is a little bit three-steps-forward-two-steps-back in a lot of cases.

If you want to know why something was deleted and there's no note about it, the way to go is to drop us a line at the contact form. We'll get back to you reasonably promptly and be happy to answer questions or explain moderation guidelines and practices if there's something you're unfamiliar with or confused about.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:16 AM on August 21, 2014 [4 favorites]


I think this is illustrative of the point some of us having been trying to make, though. Cortex weighed in immediately in an official capacity to let fff know his analogy was seriously offensive. You did the same. A few other folks have made similar comments expressing offense at fff's phrasing.

Only three people responded to fff's intial comment. Cortex, me and desuetude, who fff's comment was originally directed to. the man of twists and turns' comment was directed at desuetude.

Considering what he said and how far over the line it was, it's kind of a relief to see more people didn't rip him a new one.

I think "fff used an offensive analogy to describe what is happening to the OP in this thread" has now been well established.

Each of the three people who responded to him reacted differently.
cortex told him it was offensive.
desuetude said, "WTF"
I pointed out that his comment was likely to spark angry responses, not a conversation.

It is not necessary for literally over 100 other Mefites to now weigh in with their official stance on the subject. The point has been made.

I agree. But if they have something to add to what's already been said and can do so constructively, then that should also be okay.
posted by zarq at 9:22 AM on August 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


Meta has no reality. It's time to stop believing in a place called Metafilter and calm the fuck down already.

Is this a variation of "sticks and stones..."? 'Cuz whoever told you that was very misguided.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 9:27 AM on August 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


I always think I can't hate favorites and how people use them more than I already do and I'm always wrong. I guess I could open yet another meta about them and get my day in the barrel and really make this circular.

You can turn off the viewing of favorites. The site is much more relaxing not knowing or caring what comments and posts are getting favorites, yet you still click the Popular link and check for useful or fun stuff. It's the BEST way to view the site.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:33 AM on August 21, 2014


We'll get back to you reasonably promptly

In under 5 minutes in my experience. Even with non-urgent issues, even with "just wanted to bring your attention to this, you really don't need to respond."
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:44 AM on August 21, 2014 [7 favorites]


Sure, this place is rough and tumble, and weathering a few hits will make you stronger.

I don't think it is particularly rough and tumble. I just think there are ways it can be even betterer.

Some snippets from the OP:This is not the first time I have been edited for either pointing out something grossly wrong in an FPP or assuming a contraty position. Methinks the editors are a bit aggressive.

NOTE" my original post in the FPP (in the blue) was deleted without comment. YMMV, but I would have been very satisfied with an explanation and not got my panties in a twist.


This is not a criticism of the OP nor of the mods. This is an observation about social dynamics in a certain frame of context.

One of the things that goes on is that the mods here are very professional, decent people who generally do a superlative job. They thus get adoring remarks from their many fans and they know they are not intentionally targeting specific members, they feel unfairly accused and so on when some member takes the position "Y'all are meanies who are just harshing on me, man. How about you give me a fair shake?"

But no matter how good a job they generally do with the site overall, they still have, in some sense, a personal or individual relationship to each individual member here. So when some member has had, say, three whole interactions with the mods and each and every of those interactions felt really negative to them (because it was a deletion or whatever), they are going to tend to not feel too comfortable memailing the mods and saying "Hey, what's up with that? I am curious why it got deleted. I am wondering if it would be okay to say the same thing but maybe less inflammatory or on the grey instead of the blue ...or whatever."

So then they get deleted, they feel all SILENCED ALL MY LIFE (and maybe they have personal crap going on contributing to that) and they make a kneejerk comment expressing their subjective experience of their entire history of interaction with the mods. And then it turns into a public shitshow where the many fans of the mods are all "hey, dude, show some respect!" and whatever.

So I realize the mods do this like 10 million times a day and are deservedly loved and adored by many of the members here, but that does not change the fact that some members here will still have that experience that "every single time I interact with the mods, it is a negative experience and I feel unfairly treated." And acting like they are merely being assholes only worsens the problem. It fails to meet the standard the mods try to set of "...and if you have any questions, just ask." Instead, it becomes "If you are one of the cool kids whom we like and yadda, then just ask and we will lovingly and respectfully explain why this specific thing is done this specific way -- everyone else: QUIT BOTHERING ME AND STOP MISBEHAVING." and, also, on top of that, then the entire class of bullies beats them up for daring to not love and adore their favorite teacher.

The gang problem in Atlanta started with, iirc, a mere nine hispanic children who were being ganged up on endlessly by both blacks and whites until they decided to band together and, as one of the original gang members said in in interview, "Then when I walked down the street, other people were afraid of me instead of me being afraid of them." So I try to not be one of the endless nameless, faceless members of the mob who thinks my little pebble didn't matter, it was everyone else's rock that caused the real damage. Because it kind of doesn't matter how little I did if I am one of many people attacking a single individual, it adds up until it is just too much. Arguing about which straw broke the camel's back seems pointless to me. Arguing that the camel's back should have been stronger seems pointless to me.

So, basically, unless and until the mods decide someone is so bad that they deserve to be banned, I try to operate on the assumption that they are acting in good faith, even if they cannot get it right, and they have their reasons for feeling the way they do even if I don't understand it. And I try to engage them from that place. And if I just cannot find that place, I do my best to just shut up and walk away. And when I can't get that right, I always appreciate it when people say hey, MiC, let me help you remove your foot from your mouth, I know you didn't mean to sound so awful, instead of launching some attack and explaining to me why it is my fault they did so.
posted by Michele in California at 9:51 AM on August 21, 2014 [9 favorites]


This is not directed at ANYONE in particular but I can say with ZERO hesitation that this site has the most responsive, reasonable, patient Mod staff of any website I have ever graced.

I have frequented sites where some paranoia about the moderators is, at minimum, healthy, but this site is not one of them. The level of transparency consistency and willingness to server the community of our Mods is something to be quite proud of.
posted by Twain Device at 10:52 AM on August 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


The gang problem in Atlanta started with, iirc, a mere nine hispanic children who were being ganged up on endlessly by both blacks and whites until they decided to band together and, as one of the original gang members said in in interview, "Then when I walked down the street, other people were afraid of me instead of me being afraid of them." So I try to not be one of the endless nameless, faceless members of the mob who thinks my little pebble didn't matter, it was everyone else's rock that caused the real damage. Because it kind of doesn't matter how little I did if I am one of many people attacking a single individual, it adds up until it is just too much. Arguing about which straw broke the camel's back seems pointless to me. Arguing that the camel's back should have been stronger seems pointless to me.

I think a lot of people in this thread specifically did address OP's problem with accurate and helpful observations, some of them couched in humor. A couple of people were less than friendly. It's great that you've been very nice to him and all, but this analogy kind of insults me, to be honest. I grew up in a violent neighborhood. I think this comparison might be a bit hyperbolic, scolding, and not entirely helpful to characterize people as being similar to those who contribute to gang violence.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 10:59 AM on August 21, 2014 [9 favorites]


I wasn't characterizing anything as gang violence. It is a real world example that demonstrates a principle in fairly concrete terms which can be incredibly difficult to elucidate for interactions in the virtual world. If you can think of a better example that would demonstrate the principal equally well without sounding so unacceptable to you, I would be happy to add a new tool to my repertoire.
posted by Michele in California at 11:03 AM on August 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


Damn Twain Device, why you callin' out handsome black men, what have we ever done to you?!

We just want to live our lives without being harassed.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:06 AM on August 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


I dunno, MiC, my go-to is always Bill and Ted's "be excellent to each other".

I don't see why we need these disproportionate comparisons between snarking and bullying or gang violence. This doesn't seem like the greatest way to convince people to be nicer to others.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 11:09 AM on August 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


It would also seem that according to my previous comment the mods plan to Server us. Not sure if pb will be hitting us all over the head with a server rails or not, but I think we need body armor either way.
posted by Twain Device at 11:14 AM on August 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


*sidles over and puts an arm on your shoulder*

Hey pal, you know who was just aces at convincing people to be nicer to others?
posted by shmegegge at 11:14 AM on August 21, 2014


It's Jesus.
posted by shmegegge at 11:15 AM on August 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


They nailed him to cross, so that's not a good role mode.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:19 AM on August 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


It's Jesus.

Yeah, he died on a cross. That's not really on my bucket list.

I dunno, MiC, my go-to is always Bill and Ted's "be excellent to each other".

I haven't personally found that generic platitudes do much to improve things. I have had some luck with trying to give explanations of social dynamics and concrete examples which demonstrate them, both in their best and worst case scenario form. So "be excellent to each other" doesn't really work as a substitute for the example I currently have of how things go when a whole bunch of people are simply not nice to some small number of others when that not niceness is consistent enough.
posted by Michele in California at 11:21 AM on August 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


This is not a criticism of the OP nor of the mods. This is an observation about social dynamics in a certain frame of context.


Again, I think that you're bringing a whole lot of assumption about people's intent to your reading of interactions. I notice that people responding to a poster are "bullies," but those posting are extended the benefit of the doubt that they are acting in good faith. In your many comments here, it is hard not to see that you view yourself in the role of the bullied person acting in good faith. Certainly your stories, frequently brought up by you, are presented as tales of a good but misunderstood person being mistreated by "cool kids."

You may want to examine some of these assumptions. I think they are much more about you than about any Metafilter context.
posted by OmieWise at 11:21 AM on August 21, 2014 [12 favorites]


Speaking of exaggeration. Lotta people chimed in to tell the OP they thought this meTa was framed badly, that he used a bad analogy, that he did bad by bringing up a meTa issue in the blue. That is not the same as telling him he is a bad person

"No one shot you, you utterly ridiculous person"
posted by spaltavian at 11:22 AM on August 21, 2014 [5 favorites]


Because, yeah, the comparison to gang violence is not useful. It may be concrete (although I tend to disbelieve the Atlanta story), but it's not applicable because the context here (and the potential damage) is so radically different. Defending it as the most useful thing is a weird choice.
posted by OmieWise at 11:22 AM on August 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


It would also seem that according to my previous comment the mods plan to Server us.

"To Server Mefites."

It's a dev guide and best practices log! A dev guiiiiiiiiiide!
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:24 AM on August 21, 2014 [9 favorites]


I have adhered to one simple maxim throughout my long and adventuresome life: If you can't kill it, make sure you can out-run it.

This is the EVE forum, isn't it?
posted by Mister_A at 11:31 AM on August 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


I haven't personally found that generic platitudes do much to improve things.

I was only half-serious; of course "platitudes" do not work. But I think quoting Bill and Ted would still be a lot more helpful than drawing analogies from gang violence or bullying when telling people not to snark too hard, especially after we just had one of our other users compared to a rapist ffs. Your heart is very likely in the right place here, but you're reading some very mean-spirited intent in the posts some people have made here, on top of these analogies, which seems to run counter to your contention that you assume everyone is posting in good faith. I'm not saying that you don't actually believe what you say you do; only that I think maybe these extreme examples are working against your point.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 11:38 AM on August 21, 2014 [5 favorites]


Your heart is very likely in the right place here, but you're reading some very mean-spirited intent in the posts some people have made here, on top of these analogies, which seems to run counter to your contention that you assume everyone is posting in good faith.

No, I am not reading any kind of mean-spirited intent in. I am assuming people are posting in good faith. My hope was to get people to think about how it gets experienced from both all sides, not to characterize anyone here as anything in particular.


I'm not saying that you don't actually believe what you say you do; only that I think maybe these extreme examples are working against your point.

Duly noted. Thank you.
posted by Michele in California at 11:44 AM on August 21, 2014


Not sure why you would define "ridiculous" as "bad person" when the very clear and obvious usage was for "silly, laughable, absurd," etc.
posted by elizardbits at 11:46 AM on August 21, 2014 [4 favorites]


The thing about MiC is that at least she's making an attempt to be empathetic, even when she strongly disagrees with a poster's premise. Even if she is completely wrong about why a person chose to act as they did, it's still a great deal better than responding with snark, bullying, condescension, or some other form of low level aggression.
posted by Shouraku at 12:08 PM on August 21, 2014 [12 favorites]


I don't remember anyone saying MiC was better or worse than any other poster here.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 12:10 PM on August 21, 2014


I don't remember anyone saying MiC was better or worse than any other poster here.

Neither do I...

Which doesn't change my point. I was making a statement about my observations regarding MiC. Frankly, Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane, I hadn't read your comments before I made that remark.
posted by Shouraku at 12:17 PM on August 21, 2014


Fair enough, no harm no foul. But at this point, some of us are reading very different threads, or parts thereof. I think there's a lot more to this conversation than a lot of these characterisations would have us believe. Par for the course when it comes to online conversations, I know.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 12:20 PM on August 21, 2014


Sure, the word murder is used in ways other than how it's legally defined, but I am reluctant to do that when someone has been killed. It's not a figurative usage in this case. If we insist that it's murder, will that put pressure on prosecutors to charge the cop with murder, and letting him walk free if the facts support manslaughter instead? It wouldn't be the first time that's happened.
posted by in278s at 12:38 PM on August 21, 2014


If we insist that it's murder, will that put pressure on prosecutors to charge the cop with murder, and letting him walk free if the facts support manslaughter instead? It wouldn't be the first time that's happened.

I think the use of a single word on a community weblog whose total active membership is under 100,000 people is unlikely to have a significant influence on prosecutors. If at all.
posted by zarq at 12:50 PM on August 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think the use of a single word on a community weblog whose total active membership is under 100,000 people is unlikely to have a significant influence on prosecutors. If at all.

True, but protesters are using that word and insisting on that charge, going by reports I've heard on NPR.
posted by in278s at 12:53 PM on August 21, 2014


If we insist that it's murder, will that put pressure on prosecutors to charge the cop with murder, and letting him walk free if the facts support manslaughter instead?

Yes, of course.

Who run Bartertown? MetaFilter.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:53 PM on August 21, 2014


When I say "we" I mean any of us, not just in the MetaFilter context.
posted by in278s at 12:55 PM on August 21, 2014


You can turn off the viewing of favorites. The site is much more relaxing not knowing or caring what comments and posts are getting favorites, yet you still click the Popular link and check for useful or fun stuff. It's the BEST way to view the site.

Holy shit, that is the best thing anyone has taught me in a month. Now I just need a script to suppress any posting with the word "favorites" in it and my every wish is granted.

other than weight loss, social justice, an end to cancer, peace on earth, no more capri pants, a ban on all reggaeton, resurrection for freddy mercury, and an end to the infield fly rule and probably other stuff. but this is great too.
posted by phearlez at 1:01 PM on August 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


They nailed him to cross, so that's not a good role mode.
Yeah, he died on a cross. That's not really on my bucket list.

But by comparison, getting ragged on by a bunch of largely anonymous people on the Internet--due to a fight you started yourself--isn't such a big deal. Maybe somebody needs to climb down from their cross.
posted by fuse theorem at 3:34 PM on August 21, 2014


You can turn off the viewing of favorites. The site is much more relaxing not knowing or caring what comments and posts are getting favorites, yet you still click the Popular link and check for useful or fun stuff. It's the BEST way to view the site.
Holy shit, that is the best thing anyone has taught me in a month. Now I just need a script to suppress any posting with the word "favorites" in it and my every wish is granted.


Believe me, turning off favorites will get you where you're going. Comments mentioning them just slide by as Somebody Else's Problem.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 4:25 PM on August 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


Anecdata: I started at least one really dumb MeTa when I first transitioned from lurker to participant and if I was piled on, I don't remember it as particularly traumatic even though I am socially anxious and timid of temperament. Being made fun of in a single-thread Internet fight you picked (even unwittingly) is not even remotely comparable to being stoned, crucified, or raped.
posted by gingerest at 5:40 PM on August 21, 2014 [7 favorites]


It's not a figurative usage in this case. If we insist that it's murder, will that put pressure on prosecutors to charge the cop with murder, and letting him walk free if the facts support manslaughter instead?

But the purpose of Metafilter the website is not to effect positive social change. Or negative change. Or any change. So "this might help worthy cause X, Y, Z" is not a reason in and of itself to allow or disallow any particular site policy. Individual members might work to effect social change. Or groups of members. They might even use the site's functionality to do so what with Projects or AskMe or Metatalk or IRL or any of the other subsites. But that's still the purpose of the individual users or groups of users and not Metafilter itself, whose purpose is completely neutral.

Even if you reject that argument the word in the title should have been "killing" rather than "murder" because it doesn't cost anything and it prevents train wreck Metatalks like this one. Everybody wins.
posted by Justinian at 8:44 PM on August 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


But the purpose of Metafilter the website is not to effect positive social change.

Unless there are hedge fund charities or young Russian women involved. Then we're all over that.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 10:44 PM on August 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


wow
posted by Packed Lunch at 6:24 AM on August 22, 2014


I'm not sure if that "wow" was a good or bad exclamation, so I'll expand upon Tell Me No Lies comment: I think "hedge fund charities" refers to the Givewell debacle, and "young Russian women" was MeFites helping friends of a fellow MeFite get out of a super-sketchy situation (it ended well).
posted by filthy light thief at 7:17 AM on August 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


Thanks FLT, it's been a long week. I hadn't read that comment in a good light.
posted by Packed Lunch at 7:32 AM on August 22, 2014


I thought that might have been the case. I know there's a lot of in-jokes on MetaFilter, and some weird bits of history that can sound pretty shady when encapsulated in just a few words. May your weekend be relaxing!
posted by filthy light thief at 8:50 AM on August 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


I don't see how that contradicts anything I said, though? Groups of Mefites did both those things rather than something intrinsic to the purpose of the site itself?
posted by Justinian at 11:31 AM on August 22, 2014


You could all just say "too soon" about the off-color jokes here if absurdist humor on the Internet has suddenly given you the vapors.

Personally, there are too many quotes about laughter being the best medicine and the importance of having a court jester and the like for me to be upset at people trying to lighten this godawful death spiral of misery.


I would suggest that I'm not the one letting the vapors get the better of me. Those who choose to become overwrought and feel the need to blurt out not particularly clever wordplay in order to relieve their internal pressure, those are the ones who need the smelling salts and a soft fainting couch. Their anxiety and distress, while understandable and shared by many here, does not entitle them to contribute to the Othering of a fellow man who was killed; and it does not entitle them to do so while hiding behind the tired old shields of "It's just a joke; get over it"; "It's the internet; what do you expect"; "It's gallows humor".

Gallows humor isn't about going for the cheap an obvious pun -- it is much more nuanced and deep than that, and usually means the person using it has a deep connection to the experience she or he is critiquing. It requires a gravitas that is not in evidence by the cheap quips I'm seeing here.

And making ill-considered jokes in a public space (Metafilter) about killing and murder, in the context of this particular set of events, contributes very much to normalizing the situation. And it makes it harder for those of us out in the real world who are working to make changes to have our work taken seriously; and it makes it harder for those we might be able to help to take us seriously, and to trust us. The nature of my work, and that of others I am aware of here on Metafilter, requires that we keep a cool head, think before speaking, and not let the hot-heads ruin what we are working for.

Am I taking all this too seriously? Perhaps. But it's also possible that others aren't taking it seriously enough.
posted by nacho fries at 1:56 PM on August 22, 2014 [4 favorites]


Is the server being unable to handle long threads the new normal? I'm not complaining, we just need to find a new way to handle long threads if it is. Because the server is choking on the new Ferguson thread that was made to replace the old Ferguson thread on which the server was choking.
posted by Justinian at 2:31 PM on August 22, 2014


Erm, that may have been partially my fault. I tweeted a link to a comment from the thread which got picked up by someone else and between the two of us there are a few hundred RTs at least (their tweet had around 180 last time I looked at it), so I imagine it might be "a larger than usual amount of people all simultaneously trying to load a 2,500-comment thread" that's killing the server, rather than the length in and of itself.
posted by Phire at 2:37 PM on August 22, 2014


Ohhhh. Why do you hate Metafilter?
posted by Justinian at 2:40 PM on August 22, 2014 [5 favorites]


sorry
posted by Phire at 2:41 PM on August 22, 2014 [6 favorites]


I don't see how that contradicts anything I said, though? Groups of Mefites did both those things rather than something intrinsic to the purpose of the site itself?

No, it was not my intent to follow you into that philosophical territory. I will say that the de facto purpose(s) of the site may be different than the whatever official one there is.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 5:16 PM on August 22, 2014

rtha: What the heck is Meta Slander?
Correction: WHERE the heck is MetaSlander?

I tried www.metaslander.metafilter.com, www.metaslander.com, www.meta-slander.metafilter.com, www.meta_slander.metafilter.com, ...

DAMMIT, I WANT METASLANDER!
posted by IAmBroom at 1:55 PM on September 18, 2014


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