good faith flagging September 10, 2014 2:17 PM   Subscribe

⚑ a proposal for a "good faith" flag

I feel like an important thing to take away from recent MeTa threads is that we should, by default, be assuming good faith on the part of other members. This is kind of a nebulous thing that's easy to forget in the heat of the moment & it's understandable that we sometimes get caught making contributions that are more-heat-than-light when we feel defensive.

I thought perhaps using a small visual reminder would help: ⚑

We could include this little flag with our comments as a signal that we're commenting in good faith - a reminder that our comments are sincere, not meant to be hurtful, not snark, and that we're hoping other members will recognize that there's a person behind the comment & take this into consideration when responding to us.

The way I see it working is that you could just use the good faith flag at the beginning of any comment you're making that you feel warrants that little extra disclaimer, visually adding a tiny note to the rest of the members reading that displays you're approaching the (perhaps touchy) discussion with a bit more care in mind & showing that you hope the other members participating are doing so as well.

*This would be completely opt-in - if you don't want to use it, no one would expect you to.
*This would not require anything on the part of the mods - if it's a comment that they would normally delete, a good faith flag would make no difference.
*A good faith flag should never be aimed at another member (as a taunt).
*If you felt someone was not using the flag in good faith (trolling but pretending it's sincere), that little flag would serve as a useful reminder not to engage with their comment - just leave it be & move on.
*This is not a pony. The only thing we'd need to do is type the ⚑ (cut & paste the symbol) at the beginning of our own comments.

I feel like a positive, gentle, but visible initiative that's member-led might help these discussions go more smoothly. If we went into a thread and saw a bunch of these little flags on people's comments, it might prompt us to step a little more carefully & considerately when we contribute to the thread.
posted by flex to Etiquette/Policy at 2:17 PM (147 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

I think that's a lovely idea. ⚑
posted by Rock Steady at 2:26 PM on September 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


*If you felt someone was not using the flag in good faith (trolling but pretending it's sincere), that little flag would serve as a useful reminder not to engage with their comment - just leave it be & move on.

With respect, I'm not really sure how this follows.
posted by kagredon at 2:39 PM on September 10, 2014 [13 favorites]


It's nice, but honestly, I tend to assume all comments on this site are made in good faith: the mods smack down the trolls and the out-of-line (and by the way, I beg pardon for that comment you guys deleted a few days ago....) with verve and alacrity; the membership is generally sincere and reasonably well-behaved.

I may not agree with everything everyone posts, but I do believe they comment in good faith.
posted by easily confused at 2:40 PM on September 10, 2014 [22 favorites]


This is ridiculously complicated and I can't imagine explaining it to new members. Plus it looks like you're surrendering. ⚑
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:44 PM on September 10, 2014 [25 favorites]


I don't know, this proposal seems like kind of a minefield to me.

⚑⚑ ⚑ ⚑ ⚑⚑ ⚑ ⚑⚑ ⚑
posted by selfnoise at 2:45 PM on September 10, 2014 [20 favorites]


Yeah, like Dumbo's magic feather, I imagine every comment had an implied sincerity flag already since the dawn of the site.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 2:45 PM on September 10, 2014 [33 favorites]


Seriously though, I like that unicode flag and would totally consider swapping the [!] someday for a [⚑] instead.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 2:46 PM on September 10, 2014 [83 favorites]


Yeah, I think the implication that any comment not flagged this way (which, FWIW, is displaying for me as a box with the numbers "2691" stacked in it) is not posted in good faith is a harmful one.

I also dislike the idea that this would somehow, what? render a comment off-limits to snark or criticism? If the text of somebody's comment reads to me as "this person is not engaging honestly", then them having pasted a small graphic at the beginning won't make any difference to my assessment. If somebody thinks there's a good chance their comment will be misinterpreted, I'd rather they take the time to rewrite it more clearly and to specifically address the parts they think will be misinterpreted.

If you think somebody's engaging in discussion in bad faith, flag that.
posted by Lexica at 2:46 PM on September 10, 2014 [23 favorites]


I guess I'd prefer a MetaFilter in which it was presumed that comments were made in good faith and then there could be a flagging system for those cases where it seemed as if good faith was really in question.
posted by MoonOrb at 2:46 PM on September 10, 2014 [6 favorites]


Plus it looks like you're surrendering.

Wouldn't that be a white flag (⚐)? A black flag is a declaration of anarchy.

⚑⚑⚑⚑⚑⚑CHAOS REIGNS⚑⚑⚑⚑⚑⚑
posted by Iridic at 2:48 PM on September 10, 2014 [10 favorites]


It's a white flag on my computer! ⚑ ⚑ ⚑ ⚑
And now it's a Christo installation ⚑ ⚑ ⚑ ⚑ ⚑ ⚑ ⚑ ⚑ ⚑ ⚑ ⚑ ⚑ ⚑ ⚑ ⚑ ⚑ ⚑
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:49 PM on September 10, 2014 [27 favorites]


This is also the reason the smiley face :) was invented. A problem as old as electronic communication!
posted by rebent at 2:51 PM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]




I'm just saying ⚑
posted by travelwithcats at 2:51 PM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


Omg, Christo is awesome. Was able to visit his latest installation last year and was blown away. His artistic imagination rocks.
posted by travelwithcats at 2:53 PM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think that this is a very lovely idea which probably wouldn't work out in practice; I think it's likely that in some cases if a person used a flag and others felt that they were NOT acting in good faith, the flag would become another way/reason to attack them by implying that they're acting in double plus not good faith by using the flag itself.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 2:54 PM on September 10, 2014 [7 favorites]


Note: Some platform/browser combinations/user settings/installed fonts may show only a box.

Source: Looking at this page on this device.
posted by sageleaf at 2:55 PM on September 10, 2014 [5 favorites]


And for me it's just boxes.





little boxes...
on the hillside...

posted by Jahaza at 2:55 PM on September 10, 2014 [20 favorites]


The general notion interests me, but to be completely honest, I believe that some people have so-long adopted a posture of disingenuousness that they no longer recognize how it has distorted their every movement; no amount of Alexander Technique will relieve the unwilling.

The flag, were it to be used in the manner you desire, would require people to spend some time to pause and challenge their own assumptions. This is a rare thing.
posted by adipocere at 2:55 PM on September 10, 2014 [6 favorites]


If we went into a thread and saw a bunch of these little flags on people's comments, it might prompt us to step a little more carefully & considerately when we contribute to the thread.

I can only speak for myself, but it would absolutely not do this for me.
posted by Greg Nog at 2:58 PM on September 10, 2014 [23 favorites]


to be completely honest, I believe that some people have so-long adopted a posture of disingenuousness that they no longer recognize how it has distorted their every movement

Now THAT'S commenting in good faith! Or more specifically, reading in good faith.
posted by dialetheia at 2:58 PM on September 10, 2014 [5 favorites]


I think it's a good idea in concept, but honestly I can't imagine it not eventually descending into a shitstorm of "why did my horrible comment get deleted? It had the little flag and everything!"
posted by griphus at 2:58 PM on September 10, 2014 [10 favorites]


And by "eventually" I mean "literally in the first contentious thread after widespread adoption."
posted by griphus at 2:58 PM on September 10, 2014 [15 favorites]


I was thinking about "what is a positive way to deal with this issue?" today. I mean, I do think personal attacks & not assuming good faith (or not remembering to assume good faith) is definitely an issue on MeFi. I don't think "more flagging" and "more deletions" are necessarily the answer to that, especially with the smaller mod team.

I personally find that visible reminders & support unite people and serve as a great prompt. For example, we have people speeding down the really narrow street next to our school - so my neighbour put up "drive like you live here" signs near the road. And people see them & slow down. It's a positive, personal way to gently reach people.

It might work for some people. I thought it was worth considering. I specifically said in my post it's not a get-out-of-jail-free card to cover trolling or something that would get deleted anyway.
posted by flex at 3:00 PM on September 10, 2014 [4 favorites]


I can only speak for myself, but it would absolutely not do this for me.

Totally get the good intention here but I do feel like this is a situation where the thing that would help is only useful if it's used by the people (both in employing it but also in seeing it) who are the ones who have been unreachable by other means already/so far. We should all be presuming good faith and we do not. Maybe more awareness of that point in the first place would be a goo idea, but you wind up in a situation where the absence of the good faith flag itself can become an indicator and that gets weird.

I've always liked the notations under the comment boxes as helping remind me to be my best self and I think that's the general vibe you're going for, I'm just not sure if it's the direction I'd go in.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 3:02 PM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think we'd probably be better served by people flagging when they're playing devil's advocate or being sarcastic. Everything else should be assumed good faith.
posted by jacquilynne at 3:03 PM on September 10, 2014 [6 favorites]


dialetheia: Please, tell me you have never seen a comment by someone and thought, "Oh, it's them again," then allowed that to color your acceptance or rejection of that comment in even the slightest manner.

I will allow a tiny chance you have not, but I am guessing you have. I wouldn't expect otherwise of anyone who had been on the site for more than a month or so. As a fellow intelligent being with a long-term memory, I would expect you and everyone else to learn from their experiences.

So, yes, I have definitely come to expect different things out of different people on the site. Some will be strident, some sincere, some will come with the aforementioned disingenuousness, others with an honest lack of knowledge.

Would you really expect otherwise? Can you claim the same for yourself?
posted by adipocere at 3:06 PM on September 10, 2014


people flagging when they're playing devil's advocate or being sarcastic

For the latter we have the hamburger tag, and for the former I suggest an ascii peen.
posted by poffin boffin at 3:08 PM on September 10, 2014


I just assume that if I stop swearing for 50 consecutive words people will see that I am trying very hard
posted by NoraReed at 3:10 PM on September 10, 2014 [21 favorites]


Yeah, I'm sorry but I cannot imagine the average concern troll or "what about white men as an oppressed class" or whatever not hitting that good faith flag with such unalloyed sincerity and enthusiasm that their keyboard splits.
posted by George_Spiggott at 3:10 PM on September 10, 2014 [9 favorites]



posted by dhammond at 3:10 PM on September 10, 2014 [4 favorites]


if that keyboard-splitting thing got those trolls to shut the fuck up for however long it takes to get a new keyboard, I propose we adopt this internet-wide
posted by NoraReed at 3:12 PM on September 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


dialetheia: Please, tell me you have never seen a comment by someone and thought, "Oh, it's them again," then allowed that to color your acceptance or rejection of that comment in even the slightest manner.

Of course I have, but I would never say they were being disingenuous, much less that it had "distorted their every movement."

Reading someone's comment and assuming they're being disingenuous is the very definition of reading in bad faith. I assume they believe what they say, even if I completely disagree with it and am reasonably certain from the username that I will end up dismissing the argument after a short moment's consideration.

To me, participation in good faith means not only commenting in good faith, but also reading others in good faith. I assume people believe what they say until they say otherwise (even when I embarrass myself by failing to read sarcasm!).
posted by dialetheia at 3:13 PM on September 10, 2014 [7 favorites]


I don't think I could resist using this feature sarcastically.
posted by Drinky Die at 3:13 PM on September 10, 2014 [7 favorites]


We could maybe ask when in doubt. You know. Just ask.

And then use the "I am not being disingenuous" flag so they'd know we had a serious question.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 3:14 PM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


I thought for sure a "good faith" flag would be another item in the list of ways we can flag comments, that would say "I don't think this comment is being made in good faith". I'm never sure how to flag those. (When in doubt, "it breaks the guidelines".)
posted by leahwrenn at 3:16 PM on September 10, 2014 [3 favorites]


mathowie: "Seriously though, I like that unicode flag and would totally consider swapping the [!] someday for a [⚑] instead."

is this a font thing? because I see the default unicode "i can't figure out this glyph, lol" empty box.
posted by boo_radley at 3:18 PM on September 10, 2014


This is an idea that seems destined for failure. If you're doing it in bad faith, then there is nothing stopping you from indicating that you're not, and in fact it would be your go-to move. If you're doing it in good faith, every time it gets rebutted or deleted, you will either be upset that no one took it as such or it will be assumed that for some reason you were found to be doing it in bad faith. To borrow from Michael Scott: This would be a lose-lose-lose situation.
posted by zombieflanders at 3:24 PM on September 10, 2014 [3 favorites]


That is where you and I differ then, dialethia. People's narratives, their self-stories, create a muscular tension against their day-to-day actions. How many times have you seen bullies cast themselves as victims, and do a really good impression of believing it? What matters — to me at least &mash; are the accumulated actions of a person rather than what they profess to when pressed.

That's why I compared it to the Alexander Technique: often, people are no longer even aware of what it is they have done to themselves.
posted by adipocere at 3:25 PM on September 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


This sentiment hits me in all the right places. It reminds me of that video recently that showed someone driving around in Japan, and instead of road rage, there's a social practice of using your emergency light to blink twice quickly when someone lets you in as a way of saying "thank you." People were doing it all over the place, and it gives you a warm fuzzy.

But I don't know that something like this would be tenable, mainly because people would use it as a smoke screen when they feel like being jerky, or just not being honest with themselves. People would be in a position of wondering whether the "good faith" flag is actually being used in good faith. Or, we'd see it so much that we'd become blind to it.

Just talking about this makes me feel less stressed, though, so thanks for sharing your idea.
posted by SpacemanStix at 3:25 PM on September 10, 2014 [7 favorites]


"i can't figure out this glyph, lol"

For the thousandth time: when it's on a Stargate, we call it a "chevron."
posted by griphus at 3:26 PM on September 10, 2014 [6 favorites]


I'm being informed by my producers that the chevrons are the stationary triangular thingies that lock and the glyphs are actually called glyphs and also that I'm fired.
posted by griphus at 3:31 PM on September 10, 2014 [23 favorites]


there's a social practice of using your emergency light to blink twice quickly when someone lets you in as a way of saying "thank you." People were doing it all over the place,

Don't we do that in the US too, though? When you give someone "hand love"? The little half-wave, sticking up your paw and letting it rest in the air for a moment to say "thank you!"
posted by Greg Nog at 3:32 PM on September 10, 2014 [5 favorites]


Oh, and one more thing: I don't agree that it wouldn't require anything more on the part of the mods. I think it would make the in-thread back-and-forth and resultant MeTas even longer and more contentious, and would invite trolls to wreak havoc (given that abusing good faith is both their raison d'être and their MO).
posted by zombieflanders at 3:34 PM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


hand love means something very different i think
posted by poffin boffin at 3:34 PM on September 10, 2014 [10 favorites]


What a terrible idea :)
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:35 PM on September 10, 2014 [3 favorites]


As an atheist, I demand a flag to indicate that I'm posting in good lack of faith.
posted by Atom Eyes at 3:35 PM on September 10, 2014 [13 favorites]


This is even worse than HAMBURGER, and that was the worst thing already.
posted by Invisible Green Time-Lapse Peloton at 3:40 PM on September 10, 2014 [7 favorites]


That is where you and I differ then, dialethia.

I'll keep in mind that you prefer to read people in bad faith, then. Thanks for being so up-front about it.
posted by dialetheia at 3:43 PM on September 10, 2014


🍔?
posted by effbot at 3:46 PM on September 10, 2014 [7 favorites]


Love flex for proposing this. It's a big-hearted, creative, thinking-outside-the-box idea for a prominent site problem. Thank you, flex.

Unfortunately I don't think it would work. I think most people wouldn't do it. Or if they did it would confuse casual readers. I suspect it would probably be abused, too. And people would assume that the presence of the flag meant their comments were inviolable.

Still... cool idea.
posted by zarq at 3:46 PM on September 10, 2014 [14 favorites]


Don't we do that in the US too, though? When you give someone "hand love"? The little half-wave, sticking up your paw and letting it rest in the air for a moment to say "thank you!"

Maybe we do. It just seemed a little bit cuter, and if the video was accurate, perhaps happens a bit more often.
posted by SpacemanStix at 3:52 PM on September 10, 2014




.
posted by 4ster at 3:56 PM on September 10, 2014 [3 favorites]


Instead of QED, this is how I'm going to end any post where I win an argument:

♙ e4 e5
♕ Qh5 Nc6
♗ Bc4 Nf6??
♕ Qxf7#
posted by michaelh at 4:04 PM on September 10, 2014 [7 favorites]


I don't like the idea of the flag icon being used that way. But when I read this proposal I was thinking "If this were a thing then maybe when you feel compelled to use the flag -- because you think your comment may seem disingenuous or insincere or sarcastic or whatever -- it would be a good idea to use your actual words to make your good faith intent more clear."

So yeah, use your words. I'm going to try that myself and see how it works.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 4:04 PM on September 10, 2014 [3 favorites]


I was thinking "If this were a thing then maybe when you feel compelled to use the flag -- because you think your comment may seem disingenuous or insincere or sarcastic or whatever -- it would be a good idea to use your actual words to make your good faith intent more clear."

Yeah, as well-intentioned as this idea is, it feels like an engineering solution to a people problem, unfortunately. The way to get around potential communications problems with our own writing is to write better. And in terms of our own writing, if we can't hit the tone we want, maybe the comment doesn't need to be made.

I'm glad to see an approach to this kind of problem that's positive and proactive, though, and aimed at getting people to police their own comments instead of policing other people's.
posted by immlass at 4:15 PM on September 10, 2014 [3 favorites]


Instead of QED, this is how I'm going to end any post where I win an argument:

Your opposing poster will just reply:

♙ f3 e5
♙ g4?? Qh4#

And tell you where to stick your Scholar's. ;)
posted by Celsius1414 at 4:17 PM on September 10, 2014 [3 favorites]


Seeing just the white missing-character boxes, I can only assume this is an Emperor's New Clothes deal, only properly visible to those reading in good faith?
posted by nobody at 4:17 PM on September 10, 2014 [17 favorites]


I love those little unicode squares; I love them so much I figured out a way to do an FPP with them in the title (and actually struggled with what kind of box to use: empty or filled?).

But this seems like a technological short-cut, instead of doing the harder thing which requires a more human solution: just ask the person, directly, if they're being sarcastic/sincere/joking/etc.

I've seen plenty of comments along the lines of "I cannot tell if you're joking or not" or "I cannot tell if you're sincere or not", and there's never been a bad consequence in the thread to asking. Never.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 4:18 PM on September 10, 2014


What would one indicate by using the Zalgo font? That's what I want to have.

I think something along the lines of 'I am the hapless meat puppet of a blind and malignant entity which squats in the space behind all light.'
posted by winna at 4:23 PM on September 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


I feel like a bit of a dolt if I have to ask, but not as much as if I respond wrongly
posted by NoraReed at 4:24 PM on September 10, 2014


Just consider all my posts permanently marked as 🍔
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:24 PM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


Along the same lines, how about an app that requires certain posters to blow on their phones, appending a 🍺,🍸or 🍻 depending on their level of inebriation.( By certain posters I mean the Whelk. (🍔))
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:29 PM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


I oppose this idea.
posted by Drinky Die at 4:30 PM on September 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


I have no problem with doltdom. Dolt, dolt, dolt am I!
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 4:30 PM on September 10, 2014


Actually more seriously, I wouldn't want those little boxes clogging up the thread. Visually, it would be a nightmare (for me, at any rate).
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 4:31 PM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


"... and there's never been a bad consequence in the thread to asking. Never."

So you're saying me weeping alone in my kitchen for hours isn't a bad consequence? Not to the thread, I guess.

(I am joking, just fooling around in good faith.)
posted by Lesser Shrew at 4:36 PM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


The problem we're having isn't with people being unsure whether other users are posting in good faith. The problem is with people being unwilling to trust that other users are posting in good faith.

And someone who's not willing to trust others on that score aren't going to be any more likely to do so just because they look at a flag.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:06 PM on September 10, 2014 [8 favorites]


Don't we do that in the US too, though? When you give someone "hand love"? The little half-wave, sticking up your paw and letting it rest in the air for a moment to say "thank you!"

Yes of course we do this with our hands because we are humans doing human things. *stare*
posted by fleacircus at 5:07 PM on September 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


If there's one thing I've learned from the last twelve or thirteen years living in the US, it's that widespread application of little flags doesn't fix anything.
posted by Wolfdog at 5:11 PM on September 10, 2014 [34 favorites]


It is, of course, only to the whip-sick beast, pining for the cold comfort of the yoke and chain, that anarchy could ever be confused for chaos.


...what? I'm sorry I wandered off there, this is a nice idea, but I fear it will not work.
posted by Divine_Wino at 5:13 PM on September 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


For maximum effect it should definitely be an Elephant Man flag.

With a little work from PB we could probably even support U+1F418, Unicode Character 'ELEPHANT'.
posted by alms at 5:25 PM on September 10, 2014


Take it away, John Prine...
posted by drjimmy11 at 5:30 PM on September 10, 2014 [4 favorites]




> I think something along the lines of 'I am the hapless meat puppet of a blind and malignant entity which squats in the space behind all light.'

I just assume that's true of all MeFites. It explains so much!
posted by languagehat at 5:33 PM on September 10, 2014 [4 favorites]


There are over 70 comments in this thread so far but - according to the new site protocol we just adopted - NONE of them are marked as being made in good faith. Why even post here if your faith is not even good? What are you people - Lawful Evil? Chaotic Neutral??? MetaFilter is a party of over 100,000 Player Characters, but when people wonder why we can even kill one lousy Orc, this is my answer why. A poor alignment mix. I swear, if I had a 10' pole with me right now I'd be polling you all something fierce. Vote #1 quidnunc paladin for chief Lawful Goodnik.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 5:43 PM on September 10, 2014 [25 favorites]


If Metafilter were to become a place -- and judging by some recent lengthy knock-down-drag-outs, there are those who feel it's already on the way -- where I could not assume by default that people were engaging me in good faith (and assuming good faith on my part), Metafilter wouldn't be a place that I'd hang out any more.

That would not be a happy day. For me, at least.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:44 PM on September 10, 2014 [5 favorites]


I just assume that if I stop swearing for 50 consecutive words people will see that I am trying very hard

My working assumption would be that your account had been hacked, or perhaps that you were posting under duress and trying to send us a signal somehow.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 5:54 PM on September 10, 2014 [6 favorites]


practice of using your emergency light to blink twice quickly when someone lets you in as a way of saying "thank you."

This has actually kind've been a trucker thing in the U.S. for years - if a truck signals that they want to move into your lane in front of you, you flash your brights twice as a signal that they've got the physical clearance to move over, and then once they're in the lane they'll tap their brakes twice quickly (just lightly enough so the lights flash but the truck doesn't actually slow down) or flash their emergencies twice quickly or turn all their lights on & off twice quickly as a way of saying, "Thanks for letting me move over."



And just to keep this comment kind of on topic; Mostly I honestly don't think people are commenting in bad faith - I think even people that I disagree with strongly about almost everything actually pretty much believe what they're posting. (Which is why they tend to repeat the same points or positions in a variety of threads.) I just think they're wrong, that's all, or they haven't really thought through the implications and repercussions of the positions they're taking, or they're just so convinced that the world should work in a certain way that they're unable to accept evidence or arguments that it doesn't work they way they think it should.

Having a little flag in front of comments arguing positions I strongly disagree with wouldn't change my perception of those comments, is what I'm saying.
posted by soundguy99 at 6:03 PM on September 10, 2014 [5 favorites]


Camou⚑ed

is autological.
posted by painquale at 6:06 PM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


The flag was inside you all along!
posted by Justinian at 6:11 PM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


The dispatcher told me not to pull it out and let the EMTs take care of it.
posted by Invisible Green Time-Lapse Peloton at 6:23 PM on September 10, 2014 [5 favorites]


My working assumption would be that your account had been hacked, or perhaps that you were posting under duress and trying to send us a signal somehow.

this is not a bad assumption if the content of the post in question is not about how I can barely hold back tears because of the overwhelming amount of emotion I have about (Bioware game/Marvel character/book about dragons)
posted by NoraReed at 6:25 PM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


Like when a politician had to wear a flag pin or be called out, soon every post would have to wear a flag pin or be assumed in bad faith..
posted by Obscure Reference at 6:25 PM on September 10, 2014 [6 favorites]


Flagged as partly cloudy ☁
posted by octobersurprise at 6:32 PM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


Why even post here if your faith is not even good? What are you people - Lawful Evil? Chaotic Neutral???

I'm Lawful Good but whenever I try to explain this to people (surprisingly often!) they say "I thought you were Chaotic Neutral".
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 6:38 PM on September 10, 2014


Nice try. Oh sure yeah we'll all use these flags, and then before you know it, you'll have to have one of these flags on your hand or forehead to buy or sell anything

Fwd: Life in Obama's America PLEASE READ!! **VERY** SCARY
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 7:00 PM on September 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


Like when a politician had to wear a flag pin or be called out, soon every post would have to wear a flag pin or be assumed in bad faith..

Comrade! I see your comment has only one flag beside it today, hm....?
posted by Wolfdog at 7:03 PM on September 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


I can't tell if this is a serious proposal or not.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:36 PM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


Omg, Christo is awesome. Was able to visit his latest installation last year and was blown away. His artistic imagination rocks.

Know who else was blown away by Christo's art?

Lori Keevil-Mathews.

⚑ Too soon?
posted by cjorgensen at 7:39 PM on September 10, 2014


I can't tell if this is a serious proposal or not.

If it's implemented, in the future you won't have this problem!
posted by MoonOrb at 7:40 PM on September 10, 2014 [5 favorites]


I think it's important to be up front about it. While you can personally pledge comment in good faith, not everyone does so, consciously or not. Should I simply uncritically swallow everything? Assume that, gosh darn it, nobody ever cherry-picks their stats or has a blind spot, perhaps a cultivated one?

Skepticism is important, if this is a discussion site. If it was a consensus site or an activism form or a general hallelujah, yeah, go nuts. Otherwise, I'm going to remember that people will forward me a chain-email about the "War on Christmas" after returning home from their holiday shopping a whole two months prior to the date itself and will do it with some apparent sincerity. I will recall that a section of the population who is an absolute majority in this country will wail about how they're a persecuted minority because of some rumored nonsense about the Supreme Court making all nativity displays on private property illegal. They sure seem distressed when they make those noises.

What am I to make of this? I can only surmise that people live with and shoulder an enormous amount of cognitive dissonance about whatever their personal hobby horse happens to be, take account of it, and watch for it in myself. I'm not some credulous rube who will buy a deed to a bridge and I don't expect anyone else to be, either.
posted by adipocere at 7:42 PM on September 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


Flex, I think it is a lovely idea, coming as it is from a positive position of implicit acceptance (as opposed to my rather more cynical Metatalk).

But I think, for all the reasons everyone else has said, it would not work in the positive way you envision in actual practice.
posted by misha at 7:53 PM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


But it could have been fun finding a way to work

I think, we all think the flags was a nice idea, but not pointin’ any fingers (pause), they could’ve been done better, so how about no flags this time, but next time, we do the flags right? And then we go full regalia!

Into a Fanfare thread. Especially one for a Quarantino movie.
posted by misha at 8:00 PM on September 10, 2014


there's a social practice of using your emergency light to blink twice quickly when someone lets you in as a way of saying "thank you."


Where I lived in Japan (rural Kansai), it was a short beep of the horn as you passed. For at least the first couple of weeks I drove there, more than a few Japanese people would have passed a white Toyota and been very confused by the large Canadian screaming, "WHY THE FUCK ARE YOU HONKING AT ME I LET YOU IN GODDAMMIT!"



Cultural differences are fun.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:00 PM on September 10, 2014 [15 favorites]


They sure seem distressed when they make those noises.

I think it's important to remember that assuming good faith is not the same thing as assuming the other person is correct. Assuming good faith means assuming the other person is presenting their point of view in a way that reflects their actual beliefs, and is not doing something with the specific intent of annoying another user.
posted by jaguar at 8:11 PM on September 10, 2014 [7 favorites]


I think it's important to be up front about it. While you can personally pledge comment in good faith, not everyone does so, consciously or not. Should I simply uncritically swallow everything? Assume that, gosh darn it, nobody ever cherry-picks their stats or has a blind spot, perhaps a cultivated one?

Adicopere, I think the "good faith" in this instance isn't necessarily about the content of people's comments, but rather is more about "this person didn't say that to deliberately be a jerk".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:12 PM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm really bad at keeping track of usernames, although occasionally I do the confused dog head tilt then look at the username and go "oh, that explains it". Not necessarily in a negative way, often because there seems to be some sort of implicit knowledge necessary for understanding the comment. Sometimes in a negative "who the fuck would say...oh, you. You would say something like that." way, but mostly when I don't understand a comment and I am trying to get extra information via who the poster is.

I pretty much figure everyone is in good faith unless they start with something suggesting this is a thought exercise, or a 'what if' and even then, I figure good faith for why but I'm a little more on edge.

And in Australia we just wave at each other for the merging and the lane changing etiquette and WOE UNTO THE NON-WAVER WHEN YOU TOTALLY LET THEM IN EVEN THOUGH THEY WERE ONE OF THOSE JERKS WHO CHANGE INTO THE LANE THAT ENDS IN ORDER TO MERGE IN FRONT OF A FEW CARS. Then the wave might turn into something else. Really laconic Aussies do a nod and lift a few fingers from the steering wheel.
posted by geek anachronism at 8:57 PM on September 10, 2014


I'm really bad at keeping track of usernames, although occasionally I do the confused dog head tilt then look at the username and go "oh, that explains it".

It's interesting/challenging as a mod to sort of have to be better at it than average while at the same time not wanting to always be trying too hard to do it; there's a certain necessity for us to be able to track continuity of behavior over time when there's something maybe weird or aggro or otherwise problematic going on with someone but we also basically don't want to treat every interaction on the site as some sort of mental This Is Going On Your Permanent Record thing, because everybody has bad moments/days/months and we pretty much don't want to judge people by those if they're trying. (We have a literal permanent record too, with the admin notes stuff on the back end, but even that we use pretty sparingly and as much for particularly neat things as for "this is getting to be a recurring problem" things. If we made a note every time someone was grouchy or sarcastic it'd be information overkill and my own admin page would be a mile long itself.)

But I also try to just slow down and check myself on the occasions where I do feel like I have a clear memory of some sort of problem or issue with a user, because however much it may be part of my job to try and be aware of that whole continuity of behavior thing it's also not something that I'm perfect at. And I don't want to chew someone out for something that wasn't them, and every once in a while I have a bad day where wires get crossed and I end up doing just that, and it feels rotten to all around to give someone a hard time for something someone else did. So I try to remind myself to measure twice and cut once on any sort of "wait, wasn't that the guy who..." reaction to stuff.

Everybody's human, everybody has their own baggage and their own accumulated assumptions and reactions and sometimes-spotty memory. I think that's definitely worth keeping in mind and trying when possible to be generous about, even if that's only a part of the overall picture of getting along in a community space. I get where the good thought behind this proposal is coming from, and though I agree with various things folks have said above about why it specifically does not seem workable, I think that in that spirit we can get a lot of good done by just reminding ourselves periodically to try and make that sometimes little, sometimes not so little effort to try and revisit where we're coming from with a reaction. Recalibrate now and then, at least.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:44 PM on September 10, 2014 [10 favorites]


Aren't there mod-side notes on user accounts to help keep track of who's been naughty and who's been nice?
posted by item at 11:25 PM on September 10, 2014


I can only surmise that people live with and shoulder an enormous amount of cognitive dissonance about whatever their personal hobby horse happens to be, take account of it, and watch for it in myself. I'm not some credulous rube who will buy a deed to a bridge and I don't expect anyone else to be, either.

I think you have to weight the risk v. reward. There's basically no risk in assuming good faith on this site, where you're not giving anyone money and you're not having anyone's babies (or, not with at least some additional vetting!). There is a reward in assuming good faith where there is some, though, because that's the only way that discussion can occur (as opposed to sniping or maybe, on a good day, argument).

When someone's trying to get something from you, like money, then yeah, I think you have to be skeptical that the person is being disingenuous, and lying to you/manipulating you for their own personal gain. However, when someone is blathering on about their thoughts on [whatever], it's probably not that essential to be skeptical *about their own belief in what they're saying.*

You can still think they're completely, utterly wrong. People on here and everywhere are often completely, utterly wrong (myself included). But disingenuous =/= wrong. Someone can be disingenuous but right and someone can be perfectly genuine and wrong. Those two concepts exist on two different axis. Which is why assuming everyone is acting in good faith doesn't mean assuming everyone is correct.
posted by rue72 at 11:27 PM on September 10, 2014 [12 favorites]


Thank you for your excellent summation, rue72.
posted by Pudhoho at 11:41 PM on September 10, 2014


Aren't there mod-side notes on user accounts to help keep track of who's been naughty and who's been nice?

In a sense, but I don't think they make Santa's job any easier. It goes both ways: cortex already goes into this a bit, they can help provide a kind of context for these things but they can just as well create unneeded baggage on our end. Plus, most of the stuff in there is just honestly quite mundane administrative observations, i.e. "this person works at the galactic federation as junior supreme leader and apparently signed up to comment in this post about interplanetary politics" or "disabled account, taking a break to focus on building their backyard particle accelerator" and so on.

By "unneeded baggage" I just mean to echo cortex's observation about using notes sparingly / preventing info overload. It'd be tedious if not pedantic just among ourselves to write stuff like "this guy did that thing again where he makes jokes about axolotls in a thread specifically about fish but this one's not so bad, C-".

It's a constant trade-off I think between "co-workers would do well to be aware of this dynamic/sensitivity/whatevs which informs discourse in some mod-significant way" and "axoLOLtl guy axol-offtopic-ling it up again it's *terrible* amirite" because here I'm just making up bullshitty-but-clear examples and in practice there's of course a huge grey area. Whenever mods talk about this here I think y'all would be forgiven for reading us as "oh, notes? there's nothing of any interest there, just bureaucratic boring stuff, it's boring" *shuffles feet, nervously hides folder of notes behind back* but as the latest-joining mod together with LobsterMitten I can confirm that really, had I been anxious to read Juicy Gossips I'd have come away very disappointed indeed.

Personally I honestly believe it helps to have a good but short memory about these things, if that makes any sense: of course we're aware of patterns in discourse, I mean it's our job to actively try to. But it's terribly easy to set ourselves up for forest-for-the-trees info glut or confirmation bias, and it'd neither be fair nor actually in our interest to approach this in a way coming anywhere close to resembling the harboring of grudges. (That's for the sake of clarity, I know you're not saying that.) I'll write an email to someone talking about how there seems to be a disconnect between what they're expecting from a discussion and how people read their contributions (already a rarity in itself) and some time later they'll say "hey gnfti remember when you said I was a terrible commenter" and I go, "er, no, sorry" and look back and it'll be like *two weeks* ago. I exaggerate, but only slightly really.

No idea why Santa has access to the admin panel in the first place.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane (staff) at 2:34 AM on September 11, 2014 [8 favorites]


Really laconic Aussies do a nod and lift a few fingers from the steering wheel.

The farmer wave, deployed frequently when driving in London due to streets only being wide enough for one frickin car.
posted by goo at 2:58 AM on September 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm off-duty today, so this is just me mentally meandering, and not some moderator statement about How To Do, but I think that for the majority of people, even though we know intellectually that other individuals have very different views and beliefs, and just fundamentally experience the world differently than we do, this is very difficult to internalize, so when something comes up that seems to us so amazingly, egregiously wrong, we cannot reconcile the idea that this is an honestly held opinion or position and cast about, thinking why would someone even say that? They must be just saying it to score points, or just saying it to rile me up, or just saying it to put me down, or just saying it to make themselves feel okay about their fundamental awfulness, or just saying it to go along with the crowd, or be cool, or show off, or [fill-in-the-blank].

I'm reminded of Gary Oldman's Playboy rant [ref], in which he is absolutely genuinely convinced that everybody uses hate language and racist slurs privately, and is just blown away by the "hypocrisy" of people who "act" shocked when they hear it publicly. He literally cannot conceive of other people experiencing life in such an entirely different way that they do not use racist, homophobic, etc. language all the time privately, and it seems to him that these people must be operating in bad faith when they protest.

So yeah, sometimes people really are being disingenuous for whatever reason, but not as much as we may suspect ( a la Gary Oldman), and if you are a person who engages public discussion it's useful to check yourself, and develop the habit of holding two models in your head when you encounter an argument that seems to be a bad faith statement: 1) this person is wrong / confused / misguided / misled / ignorant / dumb (in your view), but sincere, and 2) this person is operating in bad faith for reasons that may range from carelessness, to childishness, to pique, to lulz trolling, to intentional disruption, to actual malevolent intention. That's a lot of mental real estate to try to negotiate, but worthwhile, I think, because it forces us to at least take the time to apply some level of critical thought to what they have said and attempt to imagine a scenario in which they are earnestly mistaken (as you see it), and choose how to respond.

This doesn't mean that everyone has to be gentle and handholding about anything anyone wants to spout, but it means you can take a moment before entirely dismissing, ramping up or attacking, and the worst that can happen from that is that you might modulate an instant reaction toward an undeserving person in some instances, while in others giving the benefit of the doubt to someone participating in good faith who has expressed themselves awkwardly, or who truly doesn't grasp the nuances of situation.

It's totally a matter of choice; nobody has to do this. But there's always time and opportunity to bring the hammer of verbal justice down on the villainous scoundrels, and not so much opportunity to go back and fix a reflexive smackdown of someone actually relatively innocent, well-meaning, and open to honest discussion.

As a moderator, I've had quite a few experiences wherein I automatically thought some people were just totally fucking with us or otherwise simply Not Operating In Good Faith, but then found in behind-the-scenes conversation they are actually sincere and not understanding why X thing they said seemed pretty awful (and are open to an explanation of why something is a big problem), so I do try very hard to keep the two models in my head. It's not easy, I know(!), and I don't always succeed, but Gary Oldman is weirdly inspirational to me with that, just as a twisted reminder that what seems absolutely obvious to me ("this person is totally trolling with this comment," for example) may be absolutely wrong.

There are many possible variations on the two models (outside of straight-up classic trolling), the most common of which seem to be:

  • some folks may honestly and sincerely hold repellent (to me) views that they express earnestly
  • some folks may honestly and sincerely hold repellent views that they express using bad faith arguments
  • some folks may honestly and sincerely not be aware that they are expressing repellent views, and are operating in good faith
  • some folks may get tangled up in their rhetoric, but are attempting to discuss in good faith
  • some folks are on the side of the angels (my side, obvs) and argue in good faith
  • some folks are on the side of the angels and sometimes argue in bad faith
  • some folks aren't so interested in proving either side, but are fascinated by the mechanics and minutiae of a debate, and may seem like they are arguing one side or another in either good or bad faith
So, does it make a difference in how one responds to these different sub-models? Some may feel like it doesn't, and they just want to drive X message home as forcefully as possible in any instance. I get that, but it often means that an entire conversation becomes driven by the most dogmatic voices on both sides, and some opportunity is lost to tease out areas of intersection or greater nuance and complexity... that may often actually be in reaction to what some may perceive as bad faith commentary.

I actually think we do the latter most of the time – or "more often than not," is maybe more accurate, and that makes me very proud of the site. I've personally learned so much because of this. On the other hand, there's what I think of as the "Twitter" style of communication, which is so constrained in actual physical number of characters, that quick snark and short absolutist language ("That's fucked up. Stop now." type of thing) has become more normal in lots of communication, including here, occasionally. I'm not a fan of this dynamic because I think we lose a lot of opportunity to learn from each other that way, and this is the place where I've been schooled by so many thoughtful people who have been willing to express complex concepts and relate their personal experiences in ways that have changed me forever. I think some of those opportunities would have been lost if there was not sometimes generous assumption of good faith, even in often heated debate. Even with people who may not have been arguing in good faith.
posted by taz (staff) at 4:13 AM on September 11, 2014 [18 favorites]


I think a 'commenting while drunk' flag would be more use to me, and I would definitely use it a lot.
posted by Segundus at 4:29 AM on September 11, 2014 [4 favorites]


¯\_(ツ)_/¯
posted by Curious Artificer at 6:32 AM on September 11, 2014


⚑⚑⚑ Happy Patriot Day! ⚑⚑⚑
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 7:33 AM on September 11, 2014


Okay seriously how do I make the little empty box turn into whatever it is that other people are seeing do I need to take the red pill or what
posted by tzikeh at 8:57 AM on September 11, 2014


Weird. The flag showed up on my Safari on my Mac, but not in Chrome on the Windows 7 PC.

How will people what I mean without the flag?!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:12 AM on September 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


Seriously though, I like that unicode flag and would totally consider swapping the [!] someday for a [⚑] instead.

Or [⛳]
(flagged as a-hole)
posted by Kabanos at 9:19 AM on September 11, 2014


Tzikeh, look up your browser/operating system and either "unicode characters" or "emoji". I did some futzing with mine to get ZALGO text show up a while ago, and that might be what's making it work, I'm not sure. I am guessing that anything that's configured to get emoji will also cover all the other, less cute, characters.

Then, you, too, will be able to add poop to any sentences you want 💩💩💩💩💩
posted by NoraReed at 9:32 AM on September 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


Okay seriously how do I make the little empty box turn into whatever it is that other people are seeing do I need to take the red pill or what

You need to install a font that includes characters for the Unicode flag symbols. I'm using Windows 7 with just the default fonts; obviously other people are seeing little boxes. I'm not sure what fonts are involved. They're included in Unicode block U+2600–U+26FF, "Miscellaneous symbols". You need to find a font that supports them.

Other MeFites who know more about fonts will be able help more.
posted by nangar at 9:46 AM on September 11, 2014


I get that, but it often means that an entire conversation becomes driven by the most dogmatic voices on both sides, and some opportunity is lost to tease out areas of intersection or greater nuance and complexity...

I love it. The more right we are (or convinced of it anyway), the more likely we are to fall into bad faith communicating. That is, the scoring of our points takes precedence over our respect for the others in the situation. I only made one comment in the other thread. In retrospect, it was kind of out of context by the time it finally landed (must hit PREVIEW before posting), but it remains pivotal in my understanding of how things really work. That notion, first heard espoused by a long dead friend, that the worst justification ever made was that The Ends Justify The Means. "No they don't," he would've said, "The ends are the means. If it took ugliness to score your point, then your point is ugly, however correct it may seem."

This to me is the heart of good faith communication. It's not about winning the moment. It's bowing to it. Because you're human and thus you MAY be wrong, and all the more wrong the more you feel convinced otherwise. Not because your point itself is WRONG. Of course, kittens shouldn't be fed to alligators. But if your choice of words and insinuations have not mollified the alligator enthusiasts, but rather inspired them out of SPITE toward increasing the kitten ratio in their recipe, then seriously, what have you accomplished?

I agree. That was a terrible analogy.
posted by philip-random at 9:58 AM on September 11, 2014 [4 favorites]


tl;dr but really, I don't get it. Call me naive but I always assume comments are made in good faith hence it's a default setting, no icon necessary. What's needed is a bad faith flag and I'm guessing those who make such comments would never choose to mark them..
posted by Rash at 10:23 AM on September 11, 2014


I don't really feel like intentional bad-faith posting is a major problem here; people are generally being sincere (when they're not being comical, anyway) even when they are being obnoxious. That is to say, I feel like people rarely start fights intentionally, though they often happen through errors of judgment of one kind or another. Also, people are generally pretty good about assuming good faith on the part of other members, and when someone percieves bad faith it's usually because of some percieved tone or behavioral pattern, the kind of thing that carries more weight than a little graphic which, after all, anyone can just paste in there if they feel like it regardless of how they're really interacting. You could easily have people using the good-faith flag in bad faith!

Also it's cryptic for the uninitiated, doesn't display properly for everyone, and does nothing that simply saying "I realize this may be hard for some of you to believe, but these are my genuine feelings on this subject and I promise I'm not saying it just to cause trouble" or even just "I promise that I mean this in good faith" doesn't do better.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 10:38 AM on September 11, 2014


What's needed is a bad faith flag and I'm guessing those who make such comments would never choose to mark them..

That would be akin to the "don't mind me, I'm an asshole" defense a guy I know used to use a lot. He wasn't a criminal or anything, just unnecessarily prickish more often than most. Finally, he used it on a woman he didn't know that well at a party. She just looked at him for a moment, then said, "Fuck you, asshole!" and shoved him hard into the food table.

Messy but effective. People applauded.
posted by philip-random at 10:44 AM on September 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


philip-random, that's okay, I understand your terrible analogy! :) And I agree with your basic point. The ends do not justify the means. ⚑

[I am taking a perverse delight in trying to come up with a bad faith reading of what you have written that also builds upon the terrible analogy, though. So far I have come up with:

You are so blind to your mammalian privilege. I bet you have never known what it is like to go hungry and have nothing but kittens walking around and have to make that difficult choice. I suppose you would rather starve to death than eat a nutritious, protein-rich meal? Do you eat fish? It's the exact same thing. Have you ever sat idly by while your friends chewed on a stick of beef jerky? Yeah, I thought so. I would prefer a fricking alligator FARM munching on whole litters of kittens all the livelong day to your beef-jerky apologist hypocrisy.

It's a fun thought exercise.]
posted by misha at 10:53 AM on September 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


Has this been mentioned before? Assuming good Fath and responding in kind doesn't mean you have to actually believe someone is acting in good faith. You only have to believe that acting in good faith and assuming good faith is the best way to communicate.

I happen to believe that, even if my skills don't always match my belief.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 11:01 AM on September 11, 2014 [4 favorites]



posted by flabdablet at 11:43 AM on September 11, 2014


Swear to Zuul I thought this said "Good Faith Flogging."

I'll see myself out.
posted by Mister_A at 11:53 AM on September 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


You know, I've put a great deal of effort into reading every comment with the presumption of good faith, using all the empathy and kindness that I can muster. Hell, even recently I put my full effort into attempting to see crayz's MeTa in the best light that I possibly could, even against the mob.

But here's the thing, over my years on MeFi, I've come to learn that like with crayz situation, if my instinct is that a commenter is acting in bad faith, I'm usually correct. Every time that I've gone against my gut, a longboat MeTa has surfaced that has resulted in the banning of the user for repeated bad faith posting. All the signs that I tried to ignore, of backhanded insulting another user just within the confines of not getting your comment deleted, instigating, or outright trolling, proved to be exactly what I initially thought they were, bad faith posting.

What I've ended up doing, is to stop trying to police myself into good faith reading, and instead have just adopted a policy of flagging comments as "against the guidelines," and/or just leaving the thread. This is why the little flag wouldn't work for me. If my gut is screaming that someone is acting in bad faith, then the presence of the flag won't change my mind, however, if there was a charitable read to the comment, I don't necessarily think that the flag would have somehow helped me notice it any better than if the flag wasn't there.

Again, this is my personal method of interacting with metafilter. I would have no problem with trying the flag idea out for a while and seeing how it goes.
posted by Shouraku at 12:28 PM on September 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


Like when a politician had to wear a flag pin or be called out, soon every post would have to wear a flag pin or be assumed in bad faith..

Comrade! I see your comment has only one flag beside it today, hm....?



I don't like to talk about my flair.



(Also, I agree that good faith is implied in all things. No need to add the good faith flag.)
posted by blurker at 12:30 PM on September 11, 2014


I don't follow this at all. It seems like you're preaching to the choir. Anyone who's operating in bad faith is an exception, and they certainly wouldn't use the indicator. Conversely, just because someone doesn't use the flag doesn't mean they aren't' interacting in good faith, they just have no idea about it. Had they known, they'd include the indicator on every single comment.
posted by odinsdream at 12:38 PM on September 11, 2014


You are so blind to your mammalian privilege
that you should have a subscription to Privelege Quarterly.
posted by shothotbot at 12:45 PM on September 11, 2014


Why is that post so flagist?! WHAT ABOUT THE BADGEZ?!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:46 PM on September 11, 2014


lowest hanging fruit ever: we don't need no stinking badgez!
posted by winna at 1:05 PM on September 11, 2014


I think the idea behind this is just that sometimes if you're on the wrong side of the mob on this site, it can be intimidating to say anything as you tend to get pretty quickly taken down. I remember learning this lesson as a very mild supporter of Hillary Clinton during the primaries in 2008 (if you weren't around, the site was heavily pro-Obama). Sometimes I try to offer alternate points of view, but more and more I just back out of discussions when it's clear there's a dominant position. I like trying to understand perspectives and work out arguments when everyone's respectful but it can be alienating when people seem to make assumptions about your attitude, so I understand the desire to be able to flag something as "This may be against the current but I mean no disrespect".

Probably it would be more effective to just anonymize comments from time to time, and see how responses/ favorites went then. Or make them look as if they were all authored by mathowie...
posted by mdn at 2:19 PM on September 11, 2014 [4 favorites]


we don't need no stinking badgez!

What did the badgers ever do to you?
posted by arcticseal at 4:32 PM on September 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


they ate my mushrooms
posted by pyramid termite at 5:51 PM on September 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


> instead of road rage... warm fuzzy.

When I get ragey cycling in traffic, I remember this guy's attitude. As-salamu alaykum!
posted by morganw at 5:53 PM on September 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think what would be better is if the flag indicated that the commenter is unsure of his wording/argument.

When I receive a short negative response, I mostly feel a sense of shame, but also some sadness-anger because I'm not sure what I did wrong (because I can think of multiple reasons I commented badly). I'm constantly erasing/truncating comments because I feel I don't have the sources or complete argument for each statement, and when I post anyways, I still miss a lot of statements related to whatever question/observations I make.

Looking through my comment history, sorry about all those comments I make with tangential questions/observations. Hopefully I'm learning.
posted by halifix at 6:50 PM on September 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


I think what would be better is if the flag indicated that the commenter is unsure of his wording/argument.

What a great idea! I'm picturing some sort of coded flag system through which I can express exactly how sure I am about a comment.

I'm not earnestly requesting this of course, but wouldn't it be great if every comment came with an estimate of uncertainty?
posted by dialetheia at 8:37 PM on September 11, 2014


Self-flagging is a slippery slope to re-education camps and loyalty oaths ⚑
posted by flabdablet at 9:00 PM on September 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think what would be better is if the flag indicated that the commenter is unsure of his wording/argument.

(grumble grumble Luddite grumble) I love this idea, in general. I definitely give people extra slack when they indicate they're not sure how they feel about something and are trying to figure it out, or they're trying to say something but aren't sure they articulated what they really mean, or anything like that. But please, let's just say that in words. We don't need new flags or visual indicators or anything! (end grumbling)
posted by Lexica at 9:02 PM on September 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


I'm 67% sure that you are all worse than Hitler.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 9:15 PM on September 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


You guys are thinking too small.
                                 o
                                /\
                               /::\
                              /::::\
                ,a_a         /\::::/\
               {/ ''\_      /\ \::/\ \
               {\ ,_oo)    /\ \ \/\ \ \
               {/  (_^____/  \ \ \ \ \ \
     .=.      {/ \___)))*)    \ \ \ \ \/
    (.=.`\   {/   /=;  ~/      \ \ \ \/
        \ `\{/(   \/\  /        \ \ \/
         \  `. `\  ) )           \ \/
   GOOD   \    // /_/_            \/
   FAITH  '==''---))))

 
posted by Mayor West at 5:36 AM on September 12, 2014 [10 favorites]


🐾

     🐾

  🐾
posted by Susu pitchounette at 6:05 AM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Y'know, when I see a quidnunc kid paragraph, I think to myself, "Oho, how is he going to exhort us to vote for him this time?" - and I always enjoy the subsequent circumlocutory effort. It's a remarkable strike rate, and I just thought I'd appreciate these comments a bit more obviously.

In other words, you've got my vote.
posted by gadge emeritus at 6:12 AM on September 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


Yes, later editors will collect Quidnuc campaigns into a very popular volume, suitable for gifts. It will become traditional to give a copy to a new couple upon getting married or after 2 years of shacking up. Shop #1...
posted by shothotbot at 7:09 AM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Or for anniversary No. 1, the "quidnunc" anniversary.
posted by MoonOrb at 7:30 AM on September 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


Doesn't this eventually boil down to the often-difficult task of discerning "good faith" vs. "good faith but terrible manners"? Which the site handily solves pre-emptively (as noted by man others upthread) by asking you to assume the former? Which by implication means we should probably also attempt patience with/ignore the latter when it occurs?

Here's my little thought-process for these scenarios:

1. Topics be Serious
2. People be moody, affected by weather, cosmos, etc
3. I am also People
4. Ok ok now just hold on for a second, take a breath and go back to #1
posted by Doleful Creature at 11:35 AM on September 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


"man others" = "many others"

ach, mein schpelling
posted by Doleful Creature at 12:07 PM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Allowing for cultural differences, bad manners are bad faith.

There are those cases, likely, where someone who is especially cautious might seem to someone from who's used to more assertive style as pulling "butter wouldn't melt in my mouth" BS. However, overall, good faith relies on trying to find common ground in style and meanings.

But I be moody. If hungry is a mood.

Nifty checklist. We should all staple it to our foreheads.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 12:19 PM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Drive out all cow monsters and snake demons.
posted by flabdablet at 6:30 AM on September 13, 2014


"I consider myself a feminist but [sexist statement]"

or

"I'm not a racist, I have [minority] friends, but those people . . . "

are both the rhetorical equivalent of "good faith flags" in discourse, the primary use of which appears to be to promulgate disingenuousness.

/good faith
posted by spitbull at 11:53 AM on September 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


It looks like an ISIS flag when using the professional white background. I prefer:

/good faith
posted by Golden Eternity at 7:37 AM on September 17, 2014


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