Why are we promoting Daesh on MetaFilter? February 8, 2015 5:37 AM   Subscribe

Why is this post allowed on MetaFilter? Everything ISIS does is aimed at propaganda and promoting their cause. By post this link MetaFilter is furthering the cause of ISIS. There is nothing worthwhile to discuss, and this post is a form of violence.
posted by Nevin to MetaFilter-Related at 5:37 AM (98 comments total)

People can weigh in on whether they think posting it here furthers the cause of ISIS and therefore should be deleted, but it's been linked in various places (including The Guardian and NPR), and is something on the internet that people may want to talk about. It's a bit too early to say how it's being received as a post. There's only one flag on it so far and only a couple of comments, not even really addressing the content. It didn't seem like an autodelete to me.
posted by taz (staff) at 5:46 AM on February 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


the first comments do though.
posted by cjorgensen at 5:47 AM on February 8, 2015


Simply mentioning a thing does not mean that you're promoting it.

It would be promotion if it were being framed as "read this, it is awesome". But it clearly looks to me like the framing is "look at this shit, can you believe it?" That's not promotion.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:49 AM on February 8, 2015 [21 favorites]


Firstly, is it really your contention that there can be no possible value from reading, discussing and understanding the viewpoint of a despicable group like ISIS?

Secondly, are you honestly worried that the Metafilter community is substantially in danger of feeling sympathy towards this document?
posted by firechicago at 5:51 AM on February 8, 2015 [16 favorites]


But you could use these same justifications for linking the beheading and burning videos.
posted by cjorgensen at 5:52 AM on February 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Was this post heavily flagged?
posted by bukvich at 5:54 AM on February 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


There is nothing worthwhile to discuss

Well, hang on; that's just projecting your own personal "I have nothing I want to discuss" view. If there's no discussion after a while then yes, your second-guess was right. Or the discussion could end up being low-grade graring. But there could be stuff that's worthwhile to discuss that gets discussed: the use of propaganda by ISIS, feminism, patriarchy and politico-religious reinforcement, and a whole bundle more.

Small side-point. You did do a recent post yourself on an aspect of mass media propaganda. Why was that post allowed on MetaFilter? Everything Putin does is aimed at propaganda and promoting his cause. By post(ing) that link MetaFilter is furthering the cause of Putin.
posted by Wordshore at 5:57 AM on February 8, 2015 [13 favorites]


even if someone used these justifications for the beheading and burning videos, there are plenty more arguments against them.
posted by nadawi at 5:58 AM on February 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Bukvich, it looks like that was flagged a few times pretty quickly.
posted by taz (staff) at 6:05 AM on February 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


I wouldn't say I find it difficult to distinguish morally between a propaganda document and a video of humans being murdered. I also wouldn't say I'm worried posting it here will create any new recruits for ISIS.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 6:08 AM on February 8, 2015 [6 favorites]


Nothing to discuss and promotes violence? That's a silly outlook.
posted by Invisible Green Time-Lapse Peloton at 6:11 AM on February 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


the only reason i favor deletion is because i think it would be a better post if we waited a week or more for the rebuttals by women in that area of the world.
posted by nadawi at 6:15 AM on February 8, 2015 [14 favorites]


wouldn't say I'm worried posting it here will create any new recruits for ISIS.

But of course it is part of that strategy, and ISIS (and other radical groups) have been really good at using women to recruit other women online, for example, as well as using women to present a face of the group that is not reflective of the lives women in the places they control actually live.

My issue with the post (though I didn't flag it) is that it is thin -- just a link to the manifesto, rather than any exploration of context. I think difficult and problematic content here is fine and even something actively good for discussion, but it needs to be done well and carefully.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:23 AM on February 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


The document contains an introductory section which does explore the context. It's worth reading for that alone.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 6:48 AM on February 8, 2015


Yeah, it's very thin. Also editorialised in a nonsensical way: apparently this "piece of propaganda" is "providing insight into the reality of life for women". The linked pdf itself contains commentary saying that it's "an ideologue’s idealised picture of living conditions for women in its territory" and that "the portions of it that talk about the “reality” of life in the Caliphate or the Arabian Peninsula are undoubtedly exaggerated", and so on.
posted by Pyrogenesis at 6:48 AM on February 8, 2015


The Guardian has had quite a few articles exploring the phenomenon of young women traveling from the West to join ISIS, some of which I've linked to in my comment (Guardian search term 'british women join isis'.) I found the fpp phrasing provides a valuable insight into how IS is speaking to women in the Islamic world and providing insight into the reality of life for women under IS rule really wrong-headed and hope it will provoke discussion of how correct or not the assumptions being made are.
posted by glasseyes at 7:09 AM on February 8, 2015


Bad framing, good topic, post should stay.
posted by Etrigan at 7:23 AM on February 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


This should be deleted. Just because it jibes with our values is no excuse for a post this thin piece of propaganda, especially when a well-sourced anti-Isis post like the one linked above gets deleted.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:40 AM on February 8, 2015 [6 favorites]


I was pretty on the fence about ISIS before, but now thanks to that FPP their ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to their newsletter.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:42 AM on February 8, 2015 [20 favorites]


It's just too dangerous! When that video about holy roller kids was posted, I became a holy roller and lost my kids to Christian boot camp! And then there was the time we all learned about Xenu, and so I joined Scientology and lost my savings and home! Now I've read ISIS propaganda, and with nothing left to lose, I guess I'll be heading east!!

Words have destroyed my life! Thanks for nothing, MetaFilter!
posted by five fresh fish at 7:52 AM on February 8, 2015 [9 favorites]


This MeTa went up about half an hour after the post it references—some kind of record for a MeTa of this kind, perhaps? I am wondering whether the OP tried the contact form first, or perhaps flagging plus contacting the mods, before going to the gray with his beef? Requesting a deletion and/or an explanation for why a deletion didn't happen seems like pretty standard contact form stuff.

If there's still some dissatisfaction after that exchange then I can understand the utility of polling the wider community as a sort of reality check regarding the popularity of one's views, but this came on so fast that I wonder if the OP even bothered asking the mods to explain why the post was being allowed to stand.

(I'm also not a fan of the "This post is objectively bad and should be deleted as there is nothing worth discussing" framing. Would have much preferred an "I'm concerned this post might have some unintended consequences, what do we think about posts like this?" framing.)
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 7:56 AM on February 8, 2015


Man, trust a Mind to defend another Mind's post.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:59 AM on February 8, 2015 [19 favorites]


Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The: I am wondering whether the OP tried the contact form first, or perhaps flagging plus contacting the mods, before going to the gray with his beef?

Doesn't really seem all that necessary since MeTas are in a mod-approved queue these days. I have to assume the mods would simply respond with an email/deletion if they wanted to, rather than choosing to post the MeTa.
posted by gman at 8:02 AM on February 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


the mods have indicated that they might ask someone if they want to rewrite their meta post, but i thought they were still committed to posting anything that came through the queue (except for absurdly egregious stuff like threats of harm to themselves or others, spam, etc). do you have any evidence to the contrary, gman?
posted by nadawi at 8:14 AM on February 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


The problem with this post is that it is thin, and allows most of the framing of a discussion about the product of an obvious batshit-crayonic ideology to be done by a more stealthily ideological group, namely Quilliam. It would have been better, as nadawi points out, to have waited for there be a more fleshed-out corpus of criticism before posting.

However, the idea that a bunch of MeFites snarking about this shit helps ISIS's cause is a total non-starter, even if it were true instead of absurd.

MeFites who think that ISIS is anything other than a tragic farce with unusually sophisticated PR, raise your hands. I thought not.

As for non-MeFites who stumble on this: we're not responsible for how other people deal with information. There is a Wikipedia article on ISIL, as well as videos, circulated by bog-standard western corporate media outlets, of its representatives pontificating. I don't see the additional danger posed by a piece of criticism of ISIS propaganda that happens to quote the propaganda in its entirety.

I guess I can imagine a (very hypothetical) ISIL sympathizer posting a MeTa like this, to head off the FPP's comment's inevitable public criticism of their bullshit, more easily than I can imagine the original FPP having a measurable positive effect on ISIL's efforts. Obviously that's not what happened here, though, because there are most probably very few ISIL sympathizers reading MeFi.
posted by busted_crayons at 8:20 AM on February 8, 2015


People can weigh in on whether they think posting it here furthers the cause of ISIS

I don't believe it does (obviously as I posted), but it's already going the way of every other post on ISIS, which I feel a bit ambivalent about. It's good to bring up the reasons why this sort of extremism takes hold, but blaming *all* of this on Western intervention or always bringing that up as the most important thing to discuss in any mention of ISIS in a kneejerk response, seems not only disingenuous to me but infantilzing to people in the Middle East. Not every thing the world does is a reaction to the west.

And some people are self-motivated wankers with their own home-grown delusions that they then sell to the west (note the number of ISIS supporters, male and female, who come from the west).
posted by lesbiassparrow at 8:29 AM on February 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


> There is nothing worthwhile to discuss,

This is weird, because there is discussion happening right there in the post. Do you mean it is discussion you don't think people should have? Or it's the wrong discussion? Something else? Because it's happening.
posted by rtha at 8:36 AM on February 8, 2015 [15 favorites]


MeFites who think that ISIS is anything other than a tragic farce with unusually sophisticated PR, raise your hands.

Raises hand.

They're doing a lot of damage in the world. They might not be more than a tragic farce to those of us who aren't in the Middle East, but dismissing them like this isn't doing anyone any favors either.
posted by Etrigan at 8:36 AM on February 8, 2015 [8 favorites]


They're doing a lot of damage in the world.

Well, yeah, that's the tragic part.
posted by busted_crayons at 8:38 AM on February 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


So you're saying that they're only a thing that's doing a lot of damage in the world? I don't get your point in asking for a show of hands of people who disagree with that.
posted by Etrigan at 8:44 AM on February 8, 2015


How can a post be a form a violence?
posted by Bonzai at 9:07 AM on February 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


I don't get your point in asking for a show of hands of people who disagree with that.

Well, if the FPP is really "a form of violence", then surely someone thinks that the existence of ISIS is non-tragic, or will be induced by the FPP to reevaluate their views on the subject. ("Thinks it is non-tragic" is a significantly lower hurdle than "supports ISIS's cause", actually, and I think the idea that the FPP constitutes violence is unbelievable unless that higher bar is cleared by someone who read the FPP; even then, that assertion is still very questionable.)

My point is that I doubt that even this low bar is cleared in the MeFi community, with or without the FPP. In other words, I doubt that any member of the MeFi community is an ISIL supporter or is in danger of becoming an ISIL supporter on the basis of this post, because presumably most MeFites don't even clear the lower bar, and instead durably recognize that (1) the existence of ISIS is tragic; and (2) the existence of ISIS is partly predicated on a farcically silly worldview.

As far as the claim that the FPP furthers ISIS's cause, the above pretty much reduces the discussion to one about non-MeFites who see the post. These people are addressed by the second part of my comment.
posted by busted_crayons at 9:17 AM on February 8, 2015


> By post[ing] this link MetaFilter is furthering the cause of ISIS.

You're going to need to make a whole lot of really good argument for me to believe this, as I can't even think of any realistic mechanism whereby this post would actually further the cause of ISIS.
posted by benito.strauss at 9:36 AM on February 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


But I do like the point implicit in this post that we should refer to the group as Daesh.
posted by benito.strauss at 9:41 AM on February 8, 2015 [23 favorites]


On the subject of "discussing something is not promoting it," I'm going to use this thread to object really, really strongly to the deletion of this FPP, which links to a BuzzFeed article about the history of a caricature. The post should probably have had a warning for people who didn't want to look at the image itself, but as a Jew, I find the implication that "we can't talk about anti-Semitism because it's too upsetting" a rather alarming thought.
posted by neroli at 9:45 AM on February 8, 2015 [5 favorites]


I'm going to use this thread to object really, really strongly to the deletion of this FPP

Please just open up another MeTa instead of derailing this one.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:48 AM on February 8, 2015


Please just open up another MeTa instead of derailing this one.

You're probably right about that, sorry. I don't have time today to post a MeTa, so if anyone else wants to take this, feel free.
posted by neroli at 9:55 AM on February 8, 2015


But I do like the point implicit in this post that we should refer to the group as Daesh.

I will do this from now on. I can't tell: is the Daesh acronym clusterfuck as funny as KEVIN?
posted by busted_crayons at 10:09 AM on February 8, 2015


Here is a small sample of the many posts on Metafilter about terrible things that we have discussed like rational adults with no ill effects:

348 posts mention Hitler

229 posts mention The Holocaust

111 posts mention Stalin

61 posts mention Auschwitz

39 posts mention Kim Jong-il

12 posts mention Mein Kampf

6 posts mention The Protocols of the Elders of Zion

4 posts mention Pol Pot

1 post mentions Blood Libel

I'm sure that I could go on and on with examples. Censoring the existence of terrible people and ideas prevents us from understanding, analyzing and ultimately rejecting them.
posted by double block and bleed at 10:16 AM on February 8, 2015 [12 favorites]


Metafilter: this post is a form of violence
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 10:25 AM on February 8, 2015 [7 favorites]


Censoring is when governments do it. The private owner of a private website can choose to publish or not publish whatever they want.

Sure, it would be silly to delete the post, but it's not censorship and the conflation there is really grating.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:25 AM on February 8, 2015 [8 favorites]


Here is a small sample of the many posts on Metafilter about terrible things that we have discussed

Under the Dome
posted by Room 641-A at 10:29 AM on February 8, 2015 [23 favorites]


feckless fecal fear mongering: "Censoring is when governments do it."

So the heckler's veto doesn't apply?

I understand that Matt & Co. can delete or not delete whatever they see fit. The OP posits that we shouldn't be allowed to discuss something unpleasant because it's somehow bad for the site. I'm open to a better term than "censorship", but my larger point that these posts aren't bad for the site still stands.
posted by double block and bleed at 10:52 AM on February 8, 2015


I wouldn't click on any page of Quilliam's website if it had recipes for making your own chocolate truffles, and surely there are better sources of ISIS' ideology, with accompanying analysis. I agree the post is thin, but there is demonstrably plenty to discuss on this subject.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 10:54 AM on February 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


but my larger point that these posts aren't bad for the site still stands.

I agree. I'm just saying that 'censorship' has an actual and specific meaning that doesn't apply here.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:55 AM on February 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


The OP posits that we shouldn't be allowed to discuss something unpleasant because it's somehow bad for the site. I'm open to a better term than "censorship", but my larger point that these posts aren't bad for the site still stands.

It doesn't look like people want to follow Nevin's suggestion. Indeed, there's a whole lot of pushback. I would push back myself, but it looks like everybody else has already said what I would have said, except better.

So, I guess I wouldn't worry about it too much?
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:57 AM on February 8, 2015


I'm sure that I could go on and on with examples. Censoring the existence of terrible people and ideas prevents us from understanding, analyzing and ultimately rejecting them.

Perhaps as a (weak?) parallel, there is a cost-benefit analysis when media outlets decide whether to release details of horrific stories or about horrific people. The public right to know is often balanced with whether or not talking about a serial killer will encourage copy-cats, that kind of thing. More often these days, after the fact, there are detailed discussions about whether the mode of media presentation had a moral component to it; whether it potentially glorified an event or sensationalized it, or whether a report named the name of someone bad too often to make them infamous, etc. The point being, there are always questions of cost-benefit and presentation method under the larger umbrella of the public needing to have access to information in order to participate in a public discussion about solutions to something bad.

In my mind, the post could have been a bit more fleshed out, but it certainly doesn't support ISIS. Its framing was done such that it caters to a discussion about something that may have previously been hidden. I think that benefit outweighs potential setbacks, because not being secretive about evil things is a good virtue that often promotes other virtues that are successful in encouraging more people to stand up against bad things. Additionally, I'm not sure there are clear setbacks to sharing this information. In the absence of being able to prove this leads to benefits for ISIS by talking about it directly, I think we should assume it's better to be more informed than less when it comes to the tactics and motivations of people who want to hurt us.

Some of the tension, perhaps, is in the distinction between description and prescription when it comes to propositional information (that is, I can describe it objective, or endorse it morally). The post was framed to describe something that is inherently and negatively prescriptive at the same time. There is of course the concern about the propositional content as it prescribes certain activities, but the post was framed to have a meta-discussion about it being out there and what the implications for that might be. I'm not sure how to have that conversation without actually looking at the content.

Also, I think part of me pushes back against the idea that silencing opposition and deciding not to hear what they are saying ultimately fix things. Ideological differences need to be addressed head on at times, if not for the opposition directly, but for those who may be swayed by it; and ideas need to be addressed in ways that aren't secretive. Sometimes it's a bit of a messy affair.
posted by SpacemanStix at 10:58 AM on February 8, 2015


And let me suggest "editing" or "redacting" instead of CENSORSHIP. Big-C censorship is a pretty vile thing that human beings in totalitarian countries have to deal with and struggle against. Redaction, over-moderation, or editing - whatever you want to call it - is more fitting something the scale of a community website.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 11:02 AM on February 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


My objection to the post is pretty well summed up here.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:29 AM on February 8, 2015


How can a post be a form a violence?

Ask Mussolini.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:43 AM on February 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


How can a post be a form a violence?

There was this post this one time that was covered in snow, and I backed into it with my car. I was certainly feeling violent, at least for a second.

My dad was pretty cool about it though, so I'm torn on the issue.
posted by SpacemanStix at 11:46 AM on February 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: this post is a form of violence

MetaTalk: this post is a form of violence

There. Just needed a tiny fix....
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:49 AM on February 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


I don't have time today to post a MeTa, so if anyone else wants to take this, feel free.

I asked about it in this still-open meta.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:50 AM on February 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


It seems that there are a bunch of people here who think just posting this will give succour to IS and another bunch who think I did not include enough left-wing contextual explanations that people will be distorted into Islamophobia. So overall I consider it quite a successful post. My basic aim is always to post interesting things of extremely high quality that are uncomfortable enough that it forces all of us to think.It is certainly not a standard I always reach (indeed sometimes I make a complete arse out of myself) or that makes me lots of friends but I think that is the best way to raise the discourse about any subject.

People say it was a thin post - yes, It was deliberately thin - i wanted to put the focus on one thing front and centre and force people to think about that thing.

P.s it would be nice to be notified when mods approve a meta about one of your posts - I know the meta is about the post not me but still, I just came across this 50 comment thread by chance with a typo in my browser bar.
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 11:54 AM on February 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


It seems that there are a bunch of people here who think just posting this will give succour to IS and another bunch who think I did not include enough left-wing contextual explanations that people will be distorted into Islamophobia. So overall I consider it quite a successful post.

Congratulations, you've spread hate in both directions. Mission accomplished.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:13 PM on February 8, 2015


notsureifserious.jpg
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:15 PM on February 8, 2015


Bouncing off of AFPFTNF's comment, I'd like to say that I fully endorse the idea that posts do not have to come with Good Political Commentary That We Would Agree With already shrinkwrapped in the package. All jokes aside, we are all intelligent people, and we are all quite obviously capable of saying to ourselves, "hmmm, this propaganda translation seems interesting, but I don't trust this think tank...I wonder how we could explore this issue further".

It seems condescending and silly and counterfactual to pretend that we're all going to become Kristof-kissing neocons merely because we saw something which had come from an apparently neocon-ish think tank.

I'm fairly certain that only a tiny but vocal minority have anything resembling those beliefs, however.
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:21 PM on February 8, 2015 [5 favorites]


People say it was a thin post - yes, It was deliberately thin - i wanted to put the focus on one thing front and centre and force people to think about that thing.

Eh, a thin post from a group of extremists isn't the best way to "force" people to think about anything. That's usually what offering analysis that orbits around it is there for. I don't think your post should be deleted, but I don't think adding more substance should have been done for moralistic or political reasons - I think there should have been more to it simply because it makes for a better post, but as I said, I think the post is fine as is.

That said, it's kind of disappointing that you seem to think the mark of success where this post was concerned is that it got people's backs up. There's something pretty off-putting about the idea of "forcing" people to do anything, or that your FPP has some kind of mission to make people confront the TRUTH or whatever. Fortunately, that attitude doesn't show in the FPP itself.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 12:27 PM on February 8, 2015 [6 favorites]


A comment was made in thread that implied that this post was similar IS' 'female jihadist' propaganda that targets women in the West. Is this the reasoning behind this MetaTalk post? Because while the document under discussion is clearly a piece of propaganda it was also clearly written to target Saudi women. It paints a picture of corruption in Saudia Arabia that is then contrasted to the Utopia that is the Caliphate. The preface of the linked document does a pretty good job explaining this, and it makes me think that the OP of this MetaTalk post hasn't read a single world of the FPP they want to see removed.

You can take the "any news is good news" for the propagandist line of reasoning if you want, but I would not like Metafilter to take on such a philosophy. We should be dictating what goes up on the front page based on how it will be received by the Metafilter community rather than it's (modest-to-negligible) effects on the world at large.

This post has a better grounds for deletion on the basis of the (valid?) HJS link, but that is not the contention here. The criticism regarding better contextualisation in the post is valid (even propaganda can be explained in neutral terms), but the linked document does do that in the preface, so people who actually click on the link do get some degree of explanation.
posted by kisch mokusch at 12:47 PM on February 8, 2015


P.s it would be nice to be notified when mods approve a meta about one of your posts

I don't think "approve" is the right word, since I gather MeTas are queued but generally allowed to go through, but this is an excellent suggestion: if a post is the main subject of a MeTa, be sure to contact the original poster so they can have a chance to participate.
posted by uosuaq at 12:49 PM on February 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


As so often happens that FPP was saved by a multi link comment which gave it the depth it needed. Also I see that the poster of this Meta lives in Japan so he might well be a little bit upset at the moment.
posted by adamvasco at 12:57 PM on February 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


Yeah, mentioning the existence of a Metatalk post when it's substantially about a given post is generally a good idea and something that most commonly we'll see the person making the Metatalk post do; with the queue, the post may not go up immediately, but generally it will be quickly and they'll get a mefimail when it does, so ideally they're keeping an eye and will do so themselves.

We'll sometimes mention it as mods if that hasn't happened, but it's not something we really want to turn into an expectation of compulsory notification or whatnot.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:58 PM on February 8, 2015


Well, I guess I disagree, cortex. You say "with the queue, the post may not go up immediately, but generally it will be quickly and they'll get a mefimail when it does" -- what do you mean exactly? (Since you also say that it might not happen, and apparently it didn't for Another Fine Product etc. I also don't know if incolorinred was aware of this MeTa or not. I was entirely in favor of shutting it down, but also thought s/he should get a chance to respond.)
Obviously there's a judgment call as to how much a given MeTa is "about" a given post, but in many cases it's going to be pretty clear (like if the MeTa starts with "This MeTa post raises some serious questions..." or whatever).
My feeling is that, since mods are presumably choosing when to move a new MeTa out of the queue, it's not really that much work for them to send email *and* MeMail saying "FYI, someone has posted a MetaTalk concerning your recent post". Obviously you have no control over whether they check mail in time or not, but it seems like a simple enough thing to do.
posted by uosuaq at 1:37 PM on February 8, 2015


You say "with the queue, the post may not go up immediately, but generally it will be quickly and they'll get a mefimail when it does" -- what do you mean exactly? (Since you also say that it might not happen, and apparently it didn't for Another Fine Product etc.

"they" in the bit you quote from cortex refers to the person who posted the MeTa, not to the person whose post on the Blue the MeTa concerns (if any). The poster of the MeTa is then free to notify whomever they wish.

it's not really that much work for them to send email *and* MeMail

If you choose not to have your MeMail automatically sent to your e-mail, it seems to me that that's your own lookout, and not for the mods to override routinely.
posted by Shmuel510 at 1:44 PM on February 8, 2015


Thanks, Shmuel510, you cleared up my misreading of cortex's comment, although I still have a question about why the person making the MeTa should be relied on to notify the original poster.
As to email vs. memail, I was assuming it wouldn't be hard at all to just send both in such a case, and while I wouldn't necessarily want all my memail (if I ever got much) sent to my registered email address, I think this is a case where I'd prefer to be over-notified rather than under-.
posted by uosuaq at 1:56 PM on February 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


We've also seen many instances where mods email someone at the email in their profile and they're like "Oh that? I never check that address."
posted by rtha at 2:27 PM on February 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


Yeah, Shmuel510 has it. Sorry for any confusion.

although I still have a question about why the person making the MeTa should be relied on to notify the original poster.

Because that's been the traditional route, basically. You choose to make a metatalk post; if you think it makes sense to alert a specific poster or commenter or set of commenters because of their stake in the subject of the post, do so via an email or by leaving a note with a link in the thread saying "there's a Metatalk thread about this" to give them a heads up. Not all Metatalk posts necessarily need that, so it's a judgement call; in cases where folks other than the person making the post think it'd make sense to let someone know, one of those other folks can do so. Sometimes one of those other folks is a mod, but most of the time it's not something we specifically take action on because people do a pretty good job in general working it out themselves.

I also don't know if incolorinred was aware of this MeTa or not.

About nine minutes passed between when he submitted it and when we posted it, and he got a mefimail as soon as we hit post, saying it was posted. Whether or not he was aware of it, I don't think there's anything else we could have practically done to make help him become so.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:32 PM on February 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


This is rapidly becoming a derail, so I'll just make one more comment, and if people think it deserves its own MeTa, let me know (or preferably, post one yourself...I'm lazy).

(1) I'm joining Another Fine Product in saying that while relying on MeTa posters to notify MeFi posters may be the traditional route, it may not be ideal, and I don't think it would take a lot to make a "best effort" to ensure that original posters know about MeTa posts. They may not pay attention to their registered email account or MeMail, but sending a note to both would constitute a best effort.

(2) I completely agree that you can only do so much (and shouldn't be expected to do *too* much), but Another Fine Product's complaint seems valid to me, and just doing (1) would take care of that.
posted by uosuaq at 2:47 PM on February 8, 2015


But that's taking as a given the idea that (a) a poster will want to be or be glad to be contacted if there's a Metatalk post that touches on something they posted on the site, which practice has shown us is not exactly a consistent outcome, and that (b) a Metatalk post touching on a post elsewhere on the site is necessarily a criticism of or commentary on the posting decisions/motivations/etc of the specific person making the original post, which is also very much not consistently the case.

So it's one thing to say "because AFP would have liked to have known about this metatalk, it'd be nice if they'd gotten a note from someone and that someone could have been a mod", because I don't disagree with that or anything; knowing that someone who would like to know about something is notified about it and taking action to notify them is a good thing in general.

But it's another to generalize that to "because there was a Metatalk post about content posted by user A, the mods should be expected to contact user A and user A should be expected to treat the Metatalk post as specifically concerning or criticizing their participation".

And running with that generalization, which I think in practice is actually sort of problematic in the way that it chucks out a bunch of discretion on our parts and on the part of the Metatalk poster, is the only way we get to the point of insuring that this specific case was answered the way it's being suggested it be ought to be answered.

Basically I don't see an advantage to creating a rule/expectation that collapses the whole thought process and organic process into a mandatory email alert. Like, my thought process on this case: I totally appreciate that AFP would liked to have been notified; I think it would have been a good idea for Nevin as the person broaching the subject to have dropped a note in the thread on the blue or via email to AFP just as a heads up; it is not clear to me from the post itself that this was intended specifically to be a criticism of or inquiry directed to AFP (which would make alerting them really relevant) or a general site policy/cultural argument (which would make it far less so); I don't think AFP is required to be reading this thread, or to be responding to it even if they are; I think if the discussion here turned more specifically to AFP's motivations or posting behavior and it wasn't clear that AFP was aware of the thread, making a more specific attempt to alert them would be very much appropriate; I think if it came up as a point of discussion that their knowing about the thread wasn't established and that people were hoping someone could leave a note or mail them about it, a mod would be a fairly likely person to do so.

All of that up there is the kind of chain of thinking I think is representative to how this stuff usually flows here. The upside of a mandatory mod-produced "there is a metatalk about a thing you did" email is that people would more often or more quickly get notified that a thing they did has come up in metatalk; the downside is the loss of every bit of consideration about whether and when and how that's actually helpful or appropriate or is going to improve either their day or the metatalk thread itself. It's easy to look at a case of "well this time they said they wanted to know" and say the upside beats the downside, but it's a mistake to extend that case to being an obvious basis for a change in policy and practice in all cases.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:27 PM on February 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


I don't think language is violence, primarily because I think violence is violence and words mean things.
posted by Sebmojo at 3:58 PM on February 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


Okay, sorry to go back on my promise above, but cortex, you said "touching on" a couple times in your first paragraph, and I was trying to be specific about MeTas that were like "THIS POST IS ALL WRONG AND HAS NO PLACE ON GOD'S GREEN EARTH" which is admittedly *still* a judgment call in some cases but not, I hope, very many.
I'm not talking about MeTas that may touch on "content posted by user A", I'm talking about a MeTa post starting with "Why is this post allowed on MetaFilter?"
Sorry, I thought this was a request for a pony that would be in danger of being trampled by an Eohippus, or I wouldn't have argued so much.
posted by uosuaq at 4:14 PM on February 8, 2015


The better one knows his enemy, the more success he'll have in the battle.

This material is offensive because extremism is offensive, but that doesn't make it less important. How effective hate is is as much a matter of its shock value as anything else and this organization is fueled by hate, which is reflected in the shocking levels of violence they demonstrate. Many ordinary people just don't want to know the ugly details about a group whose every action outdoes the one before it in the level of horror and shock; beheading was so overwhelmingly sickening when the videos began to appear that people ran to hide from the vision; apparently the overall shock value of beheading is no longer ringing the bell, so now they've moved to burning people alive. My God, how can anyone stomach this?

But seriously, will it do any good to hide from it? Doesn't that just give them more power, really? Think of how effective hiding and turning away from the knowledge of what's going on has been in the past when something horrible beyond description was going on - it's never worked, has it? It only prolongs the agony and encourages the viciousness to step it up a level.

Today on Facebook there was a post about a young Christian woman in this country who says that if she's anything less than a good homemaker she blasphemes the word of God - but that's another story; or is it?
posted by aryma at 4:20 PM on February 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


The post isn't a form of violence, jesus. Get a grip. Depiction isn't support, implicit or otherwise, and it's folly to take it as such.
posted by gadge emeritus at 4:42 PM on February 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


It's kind of weird seeing this MetaTalk post coming literally right after someone bemoaning too much "censorship" on MetaFilter
posted by DoctorFedora at 4:55 PM on February 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm not talking about MeTas that may touch on "content posted by user A", I'm talking about a MeTa post starting with "Why is this post allowed on MetaFilter?"

But even that doesn't collapse the ambiguity between "I have a problem with the content of this post's links" and "I have a problem with this user believing it's okay behavior to make the posting decisions they've made". And the big difference there is whether the intention of the Metatalk post is (a) to discuss the larger question of type and presentation of some sort of content or (b) to call the user to the carpet.

I think it's a lot more important in the latter case than the former to be sure that the user is aware there's a Metatalk post going down regarding something they posted. And to be clear, in that latter case if there hasn't already been a note in the original thread or someone noting that they've mentioned it to user in question or that user showing up on their own, I'd be personally very inclined to drop 'em a note one way or the other or check and see explicitly if someone else has. That's the system working pretty well while maintaining the discretion that comes with not setting an expectation of immediate, compulsory mod-driven summonses to Metatalk threads on the basis of someone else's indirect complaint.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:02 PM on February 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Okay, thanks cortex. I think I see less difference between (a) and (b) than you do, and I never pictured the suggestion as "an expectation of immediate, compulsory mod-driven summonses to Metatalk threads on the basis of someone else's indirect complaint". Hence the disagreement. This thread should probably get back to promoting jihad, or whatever the original idea was.
posted by uosuaq at 5:23 PM on February 8, 2015


"Ask Mussolini"

Whistle while you work.
Hitler was a jerk.
Mussolini
Bit his weenie,
Now it doesn't work.

I forget the topic but I feel better.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:46 PM on February 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


My basic aim is always to post interesting things of extremely high quality that are uncomfortable enough that it forces all of us to think.It is certainly not a standard I always reach (indeed sometimes I make a complete arse out of myself) or that makes me lots of friends but I think that is the best way to raise the discourse about any subject.

My my, now we have Metafilter members who think they need to force us to think about what they think is interesting as long as it makes us uncomfortable. No thanks, I can think for myself.
posted by Lynsey at 9:48 PM on February 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


"My my, now we have Metafilter members who think they need to force us to think about what they think is interesting as long as it makes us uncomfortable."

We've always had such members.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 10:44 PM on February 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


I don't want people to think. I want them to drink Red Bull.
posted by philip-random at 11:53 PM on February 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Way ahead of you there bro. I drink 72 Red Bulls every morning before cracking my thumbs and hoppin on the grey ready to shoot hot takes on the plebes like truth-rain from above. Metatalk:I live for this shit.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 3:55 AM on February 9, 2015 [8 favorites]


My my, now we have Metafilter members who think they need to force us to think about what they think is interesting as long as it makes us uncomfortable. No thanks, I can think for myself.

Happily, another fine feature of MeFi is that you can apply your faculties to decide whether to skip over the things you don't want to be made uncomfortable by.
posted by biffa at 5:49 AM on February 9, 2015


Happily, another fine feature of MeFi is that you can apply your faculties to decide whether to skip over the things you don't want to be made uncomfortable by.

Applying my own faculties for a moment, I don't think it's the ISIS/Quilliam link itself that Lynsey's rolling their eyes at.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 6:38 AM on February 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's kind of weird seeing this MetaTalk post coming literally right after someone bemoaning too much "censorship" on MetaFilter

I find that sometimes some people's definition of "censorship" is kind of porous, depending on whether they like the thing that was being said or not.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:50 AM on February 9, 2015


but not much to discuss here beyond the atrocities

Since when is having something to discuss a requirement for an FPP?
posted by likeatoaster at 7:57 AM on February 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


this post is a form of violence.

No
posted by Greg Nog at 9:30 AM on February 9, 2015 [5 favorites]


This should be deleted. Just because it jibes with our values is no excuse for a post this thin piece of propaganda, especially when a well-sourced anti-Isis post like the one linked above gets deleted.

Yeah, I'm really uncomfortable with a good post on ISIS being deleted because it's just awful people doing awful things and nothing to talk about, while ISIS's puff piece is allowed to stand because somehow there's more substance there?
posted by corb at 11:21 AM on February 9, 2015


One was agendafilter and the other was not.
posted by Invisible Green Time-Lapse Peloton at 11:41 AM on February 9, 2015


No

I think you mean "Pow!"
posted by octobersurprise at 11:56 AM on February 9, 2015


Someone already mentioned Mein Kampf, but I thought I'd throw in that you can buy it on Amazon, in more than one edition. (All of which seem to be rated at about four stars, which is... disturbing.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:57 PM on February 9, 2015


☆☆☆☆
Would conquer again!
posted by octobersurprise at 12:59 PM on February 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Halloween Jack: "Someone already mentioned Mein Kampf, but I thought I'd throw in that you can buy it on Amazon, in more than one edition. (All of which seem to be rated at about four stars, which is... disturbing.)"

I only gave it four stars because it was a real lifesaver when I ran out of toilet paper.
posted by double block and bleed at 3:12 PM on February 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


No shit, I saw a copy of Mein Kampf for sale at a freakin' airport bookstore in Sulawesi, Indonesia about four years ago. I guess it's about as good as Ambien to put you to sleep for your flight.
posted by Invisible Green Time-Lapse Peloton at 4:36 PM on February 9, 2015


(There was a fair amount of propaganda for sale there next to the decadent western magazines.)
posted by Invisible Green Time-Lapse Peloton at 4:37 PM on February 9, 2015




Here is a small sample of the many posts on Metafilter about terrible things that we have discussed like rational adults with no ill effects

Then why did I get this moustache in Cambodia?

WHY
posted by obiwanwasabi at 12:40 AM on February 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


@pourmecoffee: "1861 Sex Guide: Guys, if you don't screw good, your kids will be stupid"

Paris Review: Imprudent Acts and Great Bastards - Sex advice from 1861
(From) An 1861 work by one James Ashton, M. D.—a “lecturer on sexual physiology,” The Book of Nature; Containing Information for Young People Who Think of Getting Married, on the Philosophy of Procreation and Sexual Intercourse; Showing How to Prevent Conception and to Avoid Child-Bearing. Also, Rules for Management During Labour and Child-birth.
Coition, or sexual union, may be compared to a fit of epilepsy, or to an electrical shock. It entirely engages both the mind and the body; we neither hear nor see, but the soul is entirely absorbed in the act. When a man is performing this act, if his thoughts wander, the product will be feeble, and if his wife become pregnant the offspring will be inferior. This fact is applied to the offspring of great geniuses, who are supposed to be thinking of something else when they beget their children, and hence their descendants are often much below them in intellect. In further confirmation of this theory, history informs us that some of the greatest men the world ever saw were bastards—children begotten with vigor, and when the minds of the parents are supposed to have been absorbed in the one idea of a loving sexual embrace.
posted by Golden Eternity at 5:47 PM on February 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


Then why did I get this moustache in Cambodia?

It will fly away when you trim it and then you have a real problem.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 9:16 PM on February 13, 2015


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