April Showers March 13, 2015 8:07 AM   Subscribe

I'd like to propose a negative- free month. As in BEST of the web. As we transition from Matt to Josh, I think it would be nice to re-visit metafilter and get back to it's core business. Best of the web. Let me repeat that. Best of the web. If it's fighty, don't post it. If it's political, don't post it. Well, go ahead, but it's not part of April Showers. You know what I mean. Can we spend April ignoring the Worst of the web? Is it possible? Are you folks willing to just find stuff that brings a smile to people's faces? It's a challenge. I'd like to keep metafilter somewhat happy. And give the mods a month of fun.

And celebrate cortex and the rest of the mods having the best of the web. Because they deserve it.
posted by valkane to MetaFilter-Related at 8:07 AM (377 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

We should call it Golden Showers
posted by wheelieman at 8:10 AM on March 13, 2015 [39 favorites]


I mean, if you could get real life to agree to this as well, then it'd be super awesome, but otherwise...
posted by kmz at 8:10 AM on March 13, 2015 [17 favorites]


In all seriousness, maybe we can tag posts April Showers and by May the mods can just click that tag and see a page full of hapiness
posted by wheelieman at 8:13 AM on March 13, 2015 [15 favorites]


I do think this is a really cool idea. There is so much outrage-filter stuff posted nowadays, and it would be nice to take a break.
posted by smackfu at 8:16 AM on March 13, 2015 [9 favorites]


I definitely appreciate the spirit of the idea. I don't think reasonably speaking a no-negativity project would be workable or even really ideal—sometimes there's topics that are utterly unhappy but also really great posts—but I'd be all for everybody just recalibrating their personal "is this a neat thing or is this Important" meter a little bit toward the neat-thing side if they're able. Not really for mods' sake so much as because I like this being a place where folks find and share cool stuff and have fun kibitzing with each other.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:16 AM on March 13, 2015 [48 favorites]


I think spending a month posting cool, positive stuff is a great idea and I will absolutely participate. It should just be clear that people are still free to post the latest grar as well, just having this run as a separate project.

In general I think people should be free to organize this stuff and "tag projects" in general as long as it's not being used as a way to shut other people down, or make some kind of political point within the site. That would be my worry; that someone's definition of "positive" ends up being "I want to drown out someone else's voice that I don't find to be positive".
posted by selfnoise at 8:17 AM on March 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


YES. Seconded.

I would say this past week has been a trial-by-fire for cortex but since he's had a long training period...

{{{{{{{{MORE HUGS }}}}}}}}}} (or not - we respect your body bubble!)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 8:17 AM on March 13, 2015 [7 favorites]


Sure. I will add any positive posts I make to the hashtag.
posted by zarq at 8:19 AM on March 13, 2015


SILENCED ALL NEXT MONTH

(just kidding)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:22 AM on March 13, 2015 [39 favorites]


I'm not positive about "April Showers" as it does not immediately connote what the initiative is all about? (Is it okay to express negativity in this thread? ;))

How about PROJECTSUNSHINE.

(That's awful.)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 8:24 AM on March 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


Honestly, sometimes the things that makes me happy, that make me smile, that bring joy to my day are "negative things", such as Metafilter's response to bad news. Hangman's humor is a thing that makes me feel better. Arguing about things online can make me feel better about things happening in my "real" life - either as a distraction from something sad that has happened recently or to put a crummy day of work in perspective.

Terry Pratchet's death yesterday - is that a "negative thing"? It certainly saddened a lot of people. But it also involved people all over the internet spending the day sprouting Pratchet quotes about DEATH, which was wonderful.

I appreciate your idea, but no, I don't think we should spend a month hugging it out. I don't think it solves anything. If anything, it's likely to remove the moderate middle ground from debates. Fighty threads aren't that hard to avoid (except for mods, sorry guys). If you [generic you, GENERIC YOU] find they are, maybe you need to step back for a bit and find a way to handle that. Because April is a short month and spending May 1st with an explosion of declaw debates doesn't sound like a good solution.
posted by maryr at 8:26 AM on March 13, 2015 [12 favorites]


Honestly, anything to lessen the flood of LOOK AT THIS TERRIBLE THING would be great at this point. Sometimes the site feels like like it's going full on advocacy as opposed a place with a variety of interesting and fun things.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:27 AM on March 13, 2015 [47 favorites]


Negative as in anger, not as in sadness.
posted by smackfu at 8:27 AM on March 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


"Negative" is a poor word choice then. And why just April, then?

Sorry, apparently I am generally anti-theme month.
posted by maryr at 8:29 AM on March 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


#CruelestMonth
posted by zarq at 8:29 AM on March 13, 2015 [31 favorites]


Yaypril
posted by zamboni at 8:33 AM on March 13, 2015 [51 favorites]


#RayOfLight and it's just non-stop posts about middle-period Madonna LPs.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:35 AM on March 13, 2015 [31 favorites]


sunshinelollipopsandrainbows
posted by MonkeyToes at 8:36 AM on March 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


That used to be my childhood dream, cortex.
posted by maryr at 8:36 AM on March 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


Can we spend April ignoring the Worst of the web?

Speaking only for myself, no, and also, fuck no.
posted by Greg Nog at 8:36 AM on March 13, 2015 [27 favorites]


#RayOfLight and it's just non-stop posts about middle-period Madonna LPs.


YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSS!
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:37 AM on March 13, 2015 [6 favorites]


I will have been here for thirteen years on Sunday, and I still don't know where the whole "best of the web" notion came from.
posted by yhbc at 8:38 AM on March 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


sunshinelollipopsandrainbows

For a while, my custom ringtone on my cell for my wife was Darth Vader's March. She made me change it to Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows.

Before, I got some good laughs when my phone started playing DVM and I said it was my wife. Now, I get bigger laughs.
posted by nubs at 8:39 AM on March 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


"Best of the Web" is the community & how it responds, not the material it's responding to.
posted by chavenet at 8:41 AM on March 13, 2015 [20 favorites]


Just tossing this out there: Bob Rosstober.
posted by bondcliff at 8:44 AM on March 13, 2015 [21 favorites]


#EternalAprilonaSpotlessMifi

Let's rewrite history and propose aggro threads for deletion - leaving a highly-distilled pure form of MeFi to rise from the mash.
posted by guy72277 at 8:46 AM on March 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Could we all maybe just spend next month treating each other well and engaging with the site in Good Faith(TM)? And then just not stop?
posted by trunk muffins at 8:46 AM on March 13, 2015 [21 favorites]


As an alternative has there been a "first time poster" month before? I feel like the best thing that can come out of these is more voices on the front page, certainly that's been a great thing about the two woman-focused months.
posted by selfnoise at 8:49 AM on March 13, 2015 [9 favorites]


Can we spend April ignoring the Worst of the web?

Half of we is you.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:49 AM on March 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


Could we all maybe just spend next month treating each other well and engaging with the site in Good Faith(TM)? And then just not stop?

#Forevertober
posted by chavenet at 8:49 AM on March 13, 2015


Sorry, I'm with maryr on this. We already have guidelines about outrage-filter and good faith that work just fine, and given that "positivity" is largely a subjective thing, I worry about this being used as a silencing device for posts/topics/posters that aren't sufficiently congenial, which is something we've been talking about a whole lot recently.

I love, love the first time posters idea, though. #NewSpring?
posted by kagredon at 8:56 AM on March 13, 2015 [13 favorites]


Such a great idea. Stuff worth sharing with, not shouting about. Best of the grar-free web, all the way. 👍👍👍
posted by a lungful of dragon at 8:58 AM on March 13, 2015


Half of we is you.

I think you can make a case that 'u' is two thirds of 'we'.
posted by zamboni at 9:01 AM on March 13, 2015 [11 favorites]


I think arguing with people who dislike this idea would be to counter productive to the goals.
posted by smackfu at 9:02 AM on March 13, 2015


I think arguing with people who dislike this idea would be to counter productive to the goals.

this is kind of what I mean though? Arguing shouldn't have to be "negative", disagreement shouldn't have to be "negative". The solution isn't to stop disagreeing or start biting one's tongue, it's to make the arguments we have better.
posted by kagredon at 9:05 AM on March 13, 2015 [17 favorites]


The decision to avoid political posts is itself a political decision.
posted by Greg Nog at 9:07 AM on March 13, 2015 [47 favorites]


I like the idea of focusing on positivity, or trying to rein in bad faith, because it feels like a lot of places on the internet (not just here, but sometimes it gets bad here) fall into a habit of lazy adolescent sarcasm and toxicity, and then it gets harder to get out of that mode.

But in practice? I don't think trying to reduce "negative" posts works at all--what's "negative" is going to vary too much from individual to individual. There are a lot of subjects that I know lots of people consider "negative," but which are, to me, just...reality. Real life is just...like that. Like kagredon, I'd worry that this ends up curbing posts about social issues or marginalized groups because that stuff is pretty much by nature unhappy and angry.

An effort to nurture more positive posts without worrying about the negativity ratio, especially in topics that aren't negative but still generate lots of bad comments (music, biology, um...) is probably a good thing, though.
posted by byanyothername at 9:08 AM on March 13, 2015 [6 favorites]


I'll always be on board with encouragement to be positive. However, one person's positive is another's negative. Also, I've always interpreted "best of the web" to include the best i.e. humane, productive responses to the problems we face.
posted by audi alteram partem at 9:08 AM on March 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Really? People are raising their hands against a totally voluntary thing that the suggester says right there in the post won't displace anything?

"Hey, we should go get ice cream after work!"
"I think that's unfair to people who don't want to get ice cream."
posted by Etrigan at 9:08 AM on March 13, 2015 [27 favorites]


If this is going to happen, it should be made clear that it's strictly a suggestion, not a mandate and people shouldn't be disparaging of posts they think don't fits the "Happy posts only" theme.

Because otherwise there will probably be constant bickering about whether this or that post meets the theme.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:09 AM on March 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


Of course.

I think people disparaging posts would be against the whole idea.
posted by smackfu at 9:12 AM on March 13, 2015


People are raising their hands against a totally voluntary thing

yeah, this is the part of the site for discussing the site
posted by Greg Nog at 9:13 AM on March 13, 2015 [27 favorites]


I think you can make a case that 'u' is two thirds of 'we'.

2U + E, which, given Einstein's famous formula, means U + MC2.

Due to (let's say) the Inverse Square Law, not only is there no I in TEAM, it's physically impossible for YOU to be half of WE since our mass would become infinite and destroy the universe.
posted by Celsius1414 at 9:13 AM on March 13, 2015 [4 favorites]


"Hey, we should go get ice cream after work!"
"I think that's unfair to people who don't want to get ice cream."


it's more that I don't want to be told I'm anti-social or "not a good fit" because I'm lactose intolerant and don't want to go for ice cream, and am voicing that I don't want to go for ice cream. Sort of like you're doing right now!
posted by kagredon at 9:14 AM on March 13, 2015 [11 favorites]


"Hey, we should go get ice cream after work!"
"I think that's unfair to people who don't want to get ice cream."


Obviously, in a vaccum, a reminder for folks to try to be less fighty is a good thing, but when it is phrased as a special (if unofficial) month of trying to do so, it's going to end up causing confusion about how unofficial it is, and about which posts aren't positive enough. Whether you go and get ice cream doesn't affect anyone who chooses not to go get ice cream, but if you think for a moment that this voluntary "hey let's try to do better" thing wouldn't at some point mainfest itself as someone taking that as a license to raise objections to FPPs on the grounds that they're too fighty or not positive enough, well, have you met MetaFilter?
posted by tonycpsu at 9:15 AM on March 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


Did anyone else see that new CGPGrey video on how angry links spread better than nice ones?
posted by smackfu at 9:16 AM on March 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


not only is there no I in TEAM

Common misconception based on bad kerning in early logic texts; it's actually the material equivalence TI ≡ AM, of which I is of course a term.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:16 AM on March 13, 2015 [8 favorites]


I <3 the idea of a "never posted before" month to encourage virgin posters to create fpps. WHO WILL PICK UP THE GAUNTLET? We need a viggorlijah or someone like viggorlijah to, you know, turn the key.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 9:19 AM on March 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


I like the idea, but only if we follow it up with Melee in May, a Purge-style month during which nothing gets deleted, and Do What Thou Wilt is the whole of the law.
posted by Atom Eyes at 9:20 AM on March 13, 2015 [9 favorites]


I actually really like the idea of having a tag for "feel good" posts for April and encouraging people to post fun/cheerful/inspiring stuff using that tag. This way, if someone is looking for something to brighten their day, they can filter for posts with this tag and enjoy a page filled with FPPs linking to adorable animal videos and other fun, happy stuff.

However, I don't think this should discourage anyone from posting less happy things. It just encourages people to post more happy things and makes it easier for people to find these posts.
posted by litera scripta manet at 9:22 AM on March 13, 2015 [14 favorites]


A lack of decent reasons to object to an FPP has never stopped anybody before.

Haters gonna hate. MeFites gonna fight.
posted by zarq at 9:24 AM on March 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


I appreciate the intention behind this, but I don't think it'd be good in practice. Anger and sadness have a purpose, and for all MetaFilter's flaws and all the things we "don't do well," it's still one of the better places on the internet for discussing uncomfortable subjects.

Encouraging happy (or at least outrage-free) posts is something I'm on board with, but not to the exclusion of negativity. Maybe a month-long Happy Post contest would be a better idea?
posted by Metroid Baby at 9:31 AM on March 13, 2015 [7 favorites]


Haters gonna hate. MeFites gonna fight.

Oh my god it's right there in the name! Are.. are we doomed?!
posted by curious nu at 9:32 AM on March 13, 2015 [5 favorites]


I actually really like the idea of having a tag for "feel good" posts for April

Beexcellenttoeachother
posted by MonkeyToes at 9:33 AM on March 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think this MeTa suffered for its framing. By leading with "a negative- free month", everyone thinks this is primarily about excluding negative posts, which is of course a non-starter. But it really doesn't take much steelmanning at all to reinterpret this as a post about boosting the signal of positive posts, in exactly the same way as every other recent themed-month proposal.
posted by Jpfed at 9:37 AM on March 13, 2015 [17 favorites]


I'd like to propose a proposal-free month. MetaFilter has been perfectly nominal, let's not change a thing.
posted by Rob Rockets at 9:37 AM on March 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


How about just "feelgood" as a tag? Seems straight-forward.

(I don't like it implied that I'm not being "excellent" to others if I post a critical thing...)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 9:38 AM on March 13, 2015 [6 favorites]


FeelGood April sounds great. I'm also glad it's after WomensMarch.
posted by corb at 9:41 AM on March 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


Greg Nog: The decision to avoid political posts is itself a political decision.

But what if it is the decision of a (benevolent) god-king?
posted by filthy light thief at 9:45 AM on March 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


How about just "feelgood" as a tag? Seems straight-forward.

now is the happiest time of your life ...

except regrettably, Daevid Allen just died ... although if it wasn't for Metafilter, I would never have known that George Jefferson was the world's biggest Gong fan.

Sorry, what were we talking about?
posted by philip-random at 9:47 AM on March 13, 2015


I'm on board for YAYPRIL even if no one else is.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 9:48 AM on March 13, 2015 [52 favorites]


Nice as this sounds on first reading, I know that a deliberate effort to make all our front page posts with the idea of making people smile would take away almost all I value about this place -- the critical examination of important topics, the ability to mourn deaths of public figures with a full appreciation of the value of the life that is gone, the quick access to key information about breaking news stories, and the regular confrontation of bias in ourselves as well as the wider world. Fun and playful posts are fine but for me personally, not even close to the Best of the Web, and also not something that brings out the fire and intelligence and good information that make this site so special.
posted by bearwife at 9:49 AM on March 13, 2015 [18 favorites]


BOOPRIL.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 9:52 AM on March 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


The I in TEAM is hiding in the A-hole.
posted by maryr at 9:53 AM on March 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


I propose DISMAY, a month in which existing site rules are abandoned and the mods are issued extremely poisonous and accurate blowdarts.
posted by mintcake! at 9:58 AM on March 13, 2015 [34 favorites]


Actually that would make me feel really good, so someone please post about it during April. #sunshine
posted by mintcake! at 9:58 AM on March 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


NihilisticNovember
MelancholyMarch
MehMay
FightyFebruary
DecapitationDecember
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 9:59 AM on March 13, 2015 [5 favorites]


BOOPRIL.

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED
posted by zarq at 10:01 AM on March 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


JeJune
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:01 AM on March 13, 2015 [39 favorites]


I know it's thinking ahead but I'd suggest Pablovember: nothing but Chilean poets, Spanish painters, and Dirty South rappers.
posted by selfnoise at 10:01 AM on March 13, 2015 [4 favorites]


excluding ""negative"" posts: nah
encouraging ""positive"" posts: sure, why not
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 10:02 AM on March 13, 2015 [6 favorites]


"I propose DISMAY, a month in which existing site rules are abandoned and the mods are issued extremely poisonous and accurate blowdarts."

I like this idea, I think we should have a Carnival month, similar to wot they had in Shakespeare, where mods are users and users are mods, and there is massive banning and unbanning, and so forth. Masks are worn, identities switched, punch drunk, etc.

"heteroglossia, carnivalesque reversals, subversion of authority, masquerade, and disguise..."
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 10:02 AM on March 13, 2015 [7 favorites]


I've been a longtime advocate of an annual Return Of The Img Tag carnival day, but apparently the mods don't want every thread to fill up with gifs of dogs chewing on dildoes
posted by Greg Nog at 10:05 AM on March 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


> a post about boosting the signal of positive posts

Yeah, I like this. If someone is having a crappy day, they can click on whatever tag gets agreed on and they'll see YAY posts.
posted by rtha at 10:07 AM on March 13, 2015 [8 favorites]


Every time I think about the img tag in a sort of fond nostalgiac light, something happens like e.g. the tweet today about an old thread on the blue where someone posted a hand-made animated "bukottke" gif and it's like, nope. Nope nope nope.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:07 AM on March 13, 2015 [4 favorites]


someone posted a hand-made animated "bukottke" gif

it was hand-made, cortex, why do you hate the artisans
posted by Greg Nog at 10:09 AM on March 13, 2015 [8 favorites]


I've been a longtime advocate of an annual Return Of The Img Tag carnival day, but apparently the mods don't want every thread to fill up with gifs of dogs chewing on dildoes

Greg, I made a post yesterday you may be interested in...
posted by maryr at 10:09 AM on March 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

And then, one Thursday, nearly two thousand years after one man had been nailed to a tree for saying how great it would be to be nice to people for a change, a girl sitting on her own in a small café in Rickmansworth suddenly realized what it was that had been going wrong all this time, and she finally knew how the world could be made a good and happy place. This time it was right, it would work, and no one would have to get nailed to anything.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:14 AM on March 13, 2015 [8 favorites]


I can see how this might be a little problematic, since the tag would be about the content of the posts rather than the poster, and there could surely be posts that the posters think are positive and happy that others will take issue with. But I don't think that's a reason to not do this!
posted by rtha at 10:14 AM on March 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


JeJune

Au-gusto
posted by a lungful of dragon at 10:31 AM on March 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


if that means August is food month...
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:33 AM on March 13, 2015


wait that would be Au-gastro
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:33 AM on March 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Is my thinking to myself 'Who the fuck is Josh?' violating the principle? The things you learn...
posted by phearlez at 10:34 AM on March 13, 2015


No-fucking-vember.
posted by spitbull at 10:35 AM on March 13, 2015 [6 favorites]


Could we all maybe just spend next month treating each other well and engaging with the site in Good Faith(TM)? And then just not stop?

Now that's funny!
posted by MikeMc at 10:42 AM on March 13, 2015


July's Lies Lies
posted by a lungful of dragon at 10:43 AM on March 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


wait that would be Au-gastro

Ugh, "gastro" is the worst. You can keep your gastronomy and gastropubs. For me it's so strongly evocative of gastroesophageal reflux and gastric juices and gastric bypass surgery and gastrointestinal distress.
posted by Jpfed at 10:44 AM on March 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


> Haters gonna hate. MeFites gonna fight.

With the regime change, this no longer rhymes.

I propose a month to adjusting all wordplay to match cortex's ideolect.
posted by halifix at 10:52 AM on March 13, 2015


No, no, I say "meh-fight", so the rhyme's fine. Also "the rhyme's fine"'s a fine slant rhyme.

Dragon.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:54 AM on March 13, 2015 [10 favorites]


How about August August (/ɔːˈɡʌst/ /ˈɔɡəst/)?
posted by zamboni at 10:54 AM on March 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


I named a character in a story I'm working on Dr. Baigman, in honor of cortex.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 11:01 AM on March 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


I believe Yaypril may be the best name ever.
posted by blurker at 11:06 AM on March 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I gotta say, YAYPRIL is really growing on me too.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:13 AM on March 13, 2015 [8 favorites]


If you change the A in April to a B, you get Beerpril. I will be drinking beer and thinking positive thoughts while participating on Metafilter in YAYPRIL
posted by 724A at 11:15 AM on March 13, 2015


Okay, but can we have a Schadenfreude September later?
posted by aubilenon at 11:16 AM on March 13, 2015 [8 favorites]


Nice as this sounds on first reading, I know that a deliberate effort to make all our front page posts with the idea of making people smile would take away almost all I value about this place

I absolutely don't think the focus should be on eliminating or even cutting down on less cheerful posts. I feel like it's totally possible to encourage people to post fun things and more importantly make it easy for people to find these posts without discouraging people from posting about more critical/heavy/depressing/etc topics.

I'm totally on board with Yaypril as a tag for something month-specific, but in addition to that, I also like the idea of encouraging people to use "feel good" as a tag for happy posts not only for April but as a sort of tradition going forward. Not as a mandatory thing, but just a suggestion.

As a side benefit, maybe seeing the "Yaypril" or "feel good" tag will encourage people to think twice before coming in and threadshitting all over a post filled with videos of kittens playing with yarn.
posted by litera scripta manet at 11:16 AM on March 13, 2015 [6 favorites]


I will have been here for thirteen years on Sunday, and I still don't know where the whole "best of the web" notion came from.

I think it used to be a tagline that appeared under the main metafilter graphic. I could be wrong.

I wish people would quit using the term, since it's almost always used to question someone's post. "Are pictures of Llamas really 'best of the web' these days?" "Is a single link Obama post really 'best of the web'?" "Are we really counting a link to an Apple ad as 'best of the web?'"

I'd rather that concept die in a fire.

Visit the front page at any given time and score how many links you would classify as best of the web. Memail each poster and ask if they consider the content they linked to to be best of the web. I bet your results will be vanishingly small.

If this site was ever about "best of the web" I don't think it's even managed to achieve that, and I don't think it's any worse for the this.
posted by cjorgensen at 11:17 AM on March 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


If this site was ever about "best of the web" I don't think it's even managed to achieve that, and I don't think it's any worse for the this.

I concur with chavenet that "best of the web" as a tagline is most properly parsed to mean that Metafilter itself is among the best of the web, not that we should only post stuff that is the best of the web.
posted by dialetheia at 11:21 AM on March 13, 2015


If you change the A in April to a B, you get Beerpril. I will be drinking beer and thinking positive thoughts while participating on Metafilter in YAYPRIL

Radical thought:

A month full of posts about showerbeer.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:21 AM on March 13, 2015 [4 favorites]


Septinder, we'll just all be swipin' like crazy.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:23 AM on March 13, 2015 [6 favorites]


Okay, but can we have a Schadenfreude September later?

Why limit ourselves to one month of ill will? After Yaypril, we'll have the rest of the year to balance out the positive feelings:

MAYhem

doom and gloom June

Boo-ly

A-UGH-ust

Schadenfreude September

so over it october

nope-vember

diss-ember
posted by litera scripta manet at 11:25 AM on March 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


A-UGH-ust

I think you mean Aghast.
posted by selfnoise at 11:26 AM on March 13, 2015 [13 favorites]


On a more sincere note, maybe I'll use Yaypril as encouragement to finally make my first FPP.
posted by litera scripta manet at 11:28 AM on March 13, 2015 [7 favorites]


Yaypril is adorable. It has my vote.
posted by greenish at 11:34 AM on March 13, 2015


selfnoise: "As an alternative has there been a "first time poster" month before? I feel like the best thing that can come out of these is more voices on the front page, certainly that's been a great thing about the two woman-focused months."

There hasn't, but we talked about it as a sideline in the planning thread for WomensMarch. I suggested doing it in July (planning in June), as quasi-traditional-ish timing, which got a tiny bit of traction. I made a note in my calendar to start a thread June 15ish if it hadn't already occurred. I really think it's a great idea, and I was thinking we could use the thread to be encouraging, talk about how to do it, volunteer as mentors/readers/collaborators/etc ... it would have to be structured a bit differently since encouragers would be starting the thread, but I'm hopeful it would work out nicely.

If anyone wants to jump the gun and do it in May or June, awesome!
posted by julen at 11:36 AM on March 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I think a general first-time poster thing could be a lot of fun and would be a great way to encourage folks a little more on the lurk-and-favorite side of things to experiment with new interactions on the site. Organizing that for some time this summer sounds great.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:38 AM on March 13, 2015 [4 favorites]


Is there a tag for first-time posts? That would be fun to have.
posted by alms at 11:43 AM on March 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


FIRST!!!
posted by pearlybob at 11:55 AM on March 13, 2015 [1 favorite]




dammit I posted Don't Worry Be Happy too early. maybe I'll repost it in #DecemberDoubles
posted by billiebee at 12:01 PM on March 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


April Showers lead to Mayflowers. Mayflowers lead to THE DEATH OF MOTHER NATURE.

Enjoy! :)
posted by charred husk at 12:04 PM on March 13, 2015


Which one is the Month of the Tucks Medicated Pad?
posted by backseatpilot at 12:06 PM on March 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


I like the idea of #Yaypril, although I probably won't use the tag or significantly change the kinds of things I make topics on. Mostly what appeals to me is not so much the idea of having more positive topics, but the idea of making sure to try to be kinder to each other. I have to say, I'm not quite sure how to encourage more positive interactions, though. My experience with feel-good threads about kittens and apolitical biology threads is that they don't generate all that much discussion, which doesn't necessarily build positive feelings with other members (as opposed to making individuals feel positive at the moment).

(I am all for #FirstiesTakeJuly, though.)
posted by sciatrix at 12:08 PM on March 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


I thought Yaypril was all about the hyphy.
posted by klangklangston at 12:24 PM on March 13, 2015


I don't know if you already have plans for the annual site April Fools Day Prank (and if cortex does, it's probably awesome), but if a "no negativity month" is not really feasible, doing a "no negativity day" on April 1st makes more sense. Of course, it may be more appropriate to do an "ALL negativity April 1st" leading into a #YAYPRIL for the next 29 days. Or just make Good Friday (April 3rd) the BEST EVER Friday.

Who says MeFi Themes have to all be month-long? Looking at April holidays, anniversaries and events, we have U.S. Tax Day April 15th (your most taxing posts), Earth Day April 22nd (remember when we celebrated that? I do), World Intellectual Property Day April 26th (steal something and post it here)... April 6th alone has the founding of the Mormon Church in 1830, the first modern Olympic Games in 1896, and the first Tony Awards in 1947... everyday is a special day!
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:26 PM on March 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


"I'd rather that concept die in a fire.

Visit the front page at any given time and score how many links you would classify as best of the web. Memail each poster and ask if they consider the content they linked to to be best of the web. I bet your results will be vanishingly small.

If this site was ever about "best of the web" I don't think it's even managed to achieve that, and I don't think it's any worse for the this.
"

That's not much of a case, honestly. I mean, if you like thin, crappy posts, just go ahead and say that. You prefer a MetaFilter with great big holes in the filter, and a lot of thin, crappy posts. You don't think that striving for finding the best content on the web is important. I think you're wrong, and I think that people posting things that they want to talk about or argue about rather than share with other members leads to a lot of the general problems that MeFi has with ongoing grudges and essentially irrelevant posts, including that too many people don't bother to actually read the links before launching into whatever pet cause is important to them.
posted by klangklangston at 12:30 PM on March 13, 2015 [7 favorites]


So thanks to this thread, I've been singing Mötley Crüe's "Dr. Feelgood" for the last few hours, so, despite my initial misgivings on the idea as a whole, that is certainly a point in favor.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:44 PM on March 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


So thanks to this thread, I've been singing Mötley Crüe's "Dr. Feelgood" for the last few hours, so, despite my initial misgivings on the idea as a whole, that is certainly a point in favor.

I doubt this and demand video evidence!
posted by winna at 12:47 PM on March 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Well, not a couple of hours continuously.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:52 PM on March 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


You prefer a MetaFilter with great big holes in the filter, and a lot of thin, crappy posts. You don't think that striving for finding the best content on the web is important.

Nah, I'm saying what the reality is not "best of the web," nor reflective of what the site has been for 16 years. I don't think there are many thin and crappy posts. But I also don't think that a post need be something that strive for "best of the web." I don't think that's ever really existed. I don't think this is a bad thing. I think it's working out just fine. Like I said, I'm not hung up on things needing to have some weird level of gravitas in order of being worth posting. I am fine with kitten videos and whatnot.

I just get irritated that the only time we hear about something not being "best of the web," is when, in somebody's eyes, it's failed to meet this non-existent standard, and those words are used as a cuddle to make someone feel bad for posting something that was perfectly fine to post (or it would have been deleted).

It gets beyond tedious.
posted by cjorgensen at 12:53 PM on March 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


I vote #Decembeard in which we only post about the hirsuite among us.

And for the love of god, no mustaches!
posted by Lemurrhea at 1:00 PM on March 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


But what if it's the gorgeous Haley Atwell in a stolen mustache?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:03 PM on March 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


If you're looking for sources for positive news stories, you might have a look at this Ask: Where can my wife read heartwarming news stories on a regular basis?
posted by MonkeyToes at 1:10 PM on March 13, 2015


those words are used as a cuddle

ok I know this was probably a typo or autocorrect but it's pretty funny given the context
posted by kagredon at 1:15 PM on March 13, 2015 [4 favorites]


I wish I could update that AskMe with my wife's current go-to, /r/examplesofgood.
posted by Jpfed at 1:21 PM on March 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


I mean, if you like thin, crappy posts, just go ahead and say that. You prefer a MetaFilter with great big holes in the filter, and a lot of thin, crappy posts. You don't think that striving for finding the best content on the web is important.

This seems like an unreasonably contentious way to characterize cjorgensen's comment. I mean, I've made 74 FPPs that have survived, and although I'm pleased with all of them (or I wouldn't have posted them) I wouldn't claim that any of them are "the best of the web". Interesting, sure. Thought-provoking, maybe. Funny, sometimes. But "the best content on the web"? Nope.
posted by Lexica at 1:47 PM on March 13, 2015 [6 favorites]


I hate this idea. I think it's ridiculous and infantilizing the membership of this site. I always suspect that proposing stuff like this to adults is anything BUT motivated by positive intentions, but rather to spread groupthink and control what other people do. You put people in the awkward position of looking negative if they argue against it.

It reminds me of elementary school bulletin boards ... you know, "April is POSITIVITY MONTH!" all done up in colored construction paper and smiley faces.

I mean seriously, fuck that.

This is a space for diversity and different people's takes on things. There's lots of bad stuff to talk about. Some people aren't in positive happy moods. Things like this are alienating to some people. And initiatives like this strike me as childish and unbefitting a community of adults who all have different takes on things and have different things going on.

Plus, I hate gimmicky stuff like this. I think it's corny as hell.
posted by jayder at 1:49 PM on March 13, 2015 [7 favorites]


"Best of the Web" is the community & how it responds, not the material it's responding to.

lol.
posted by hal_c_on at 1:50 PM on March 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


It reminds me of elementary school bulletin boards ... you know, "April is POSITIVITY MONTH!" all done up in colored construction paper and smiley faces.

now I am jealous of Mod HQ because I bet that's exactly what the bulletin board will look like
posted by billiebee at 1:52 PM on March 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Have you seen my bedroom?
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:55 PM on March 13, 2015 [13 favorites]


"Are pictures of Llamas really 'best of the web' these days?"

The answer to this is clearly yes. Double yes to the llamas are wearing dresses.

Also, Yaypril just makes me giggle every time I read it.
posted by Deoridhe at 1:58 PM on March 13, 2015 [4 favorites]

all done up in colored construction paper and smiley faces.
You say that like it's a bad thing. The only thing that would make that display better would be glitter.

Anyway, I'm all for Yaypril, although I will still probably be a relentless font of negativity, despite my fondness for construction paper, smiley faces, and glitter.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 2:01 PM on March 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


ok I know this was probably a typo or autocorrect but it's pretty funny given the context

Cudgel was what I was going for. Time to clip my nails!
posted by cjorgensen at 2:03 PM on March 13, 2015


I liked the idea of a 'first FPP' month so much that I couldn't wait, and made my first FPP.

Edit: Incidentally, I'm into a 'second FPP' month now, too!
posted by destructive cactus at 2:05 PM on March 13, 2015 [12 favorites]


Wait, so cortex lives in a giant piece of swirly hard candy?

Pretty sweet digs.
posted by byanyothername at 2:11 PM on March 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


This is a space for diversity and different people's takes on things. There's lots of bad stuff to talk about. Some people aren't in positive happy moods. Things like this are alienating to some people. And initiatives like this strike me as childish and unbefitting a community of adults who all have different takes on things and have different things going on.

An additional benefit of tagging posts with "feel good" or "Yaypril" is that anyone who wants to not see these posts can set up their My Mefi preferences to exclude posts with those tags. It's a win-win for everyone!
posted by litera scripta manet at 2:15 PM on March 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


After Yaypril, comes Meh.
posted by Kabanos at 2:16 PM on March 13, 2015 [28 favorites]


The feel good tag is a really good idea and should be a thing, going forward.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:16 PM on March 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


"I worry about this being used as a silencing device for posts/topics/posters that aren't sufficiently congenial, which is something we've been talking about a whole lot recently."

I'm extremely ambivalent about this proposal because insofar as it would be "yay, lots of happy and fun things for this month!" that would be great. I'm totally in favor of that proposal. But insofar as it would be "there should be fewer unhappy, upsetting things this month, you're doing it wrong", I'm extremely opposed.

I'm trying to figure out how we could have the former without the latter. Seems like people would inevitably infer the latter from the former, regardless.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 2:17 PM on March 13, 2015 [6 favorites]


Edit:

Periodic no-biggie general reminder: please don't use the Edit function to add content or elaborate on thoughts in a comment or otherwise change things more significant than a typo; if you need to add or amend something, just post another comment.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:17 PM on March 13, 2015


I was marginally in favor of this concept but jayder has convinced me to be strongly in favor of it.
posted by phearlez at 2:18 PM on March 13, 2015 [11 favorites]


I'm trying to figure out how we could have the former without the latter. Seems like people would inevitably infer the latter from the former, regardless.

JulyByWomen and WomensMarch did not discourage posting by men. I'm not sure where the analogy JulyByWomen : Women posting :: Yaypril : positive posts falls down, but there might be something I'm missing, because there are a lot of people that seem to be getting a different impression here.
posted by Jpfed at 2:26 PM on March 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


jayder has convinced me

Because the best reason to favor the idea of nothin' but nice posts in April is that another MeFite will be irked by that? Even if you are joking, I for one would rather you not do it at someone else's expense.
posted by bearwife at 2:27 PM on March 13, 2015 [5 favorites]


I could go either way on this, but I'd be on board with no Metatalk strife for a month. Maybe that's too ambitious.
posted by naju at 2:34 PM on March 13, 2015 [4 favorites]


I'm fine with April showers, as long as it leads to May growers.
posted by Sternmeyer at 2:37 PM on March 13, 2015 [10 favorites]


Which one is the Month of the Tucks Medicated Pad?

Well, if April is the Month of Glad...last September?
posted by zeptoweasel at 2:43 PM on March 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm trying to figure out how we could have the former without the latter.

WE, as in the entire community, can't because cats will not be herded. so there's no reason to worry about it! Just shoot for something more on the "hey that's neat" end of the scale and skip the other stuff if you're so inclined and don't sweat the rougher stuff, 'cause everyone has different priorities.

If another terrorist incident occurs during April or something really foul, then yeah, it's going to get posted, because it's new. But that doesn't mean you (the general you) has to pay a lot of attention to it or stop posting that more fun post.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:51 PM on March 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


For Jayder, we could pair Yaypril now with Hatetober later.
posted by Mid at 2:51 PM on March 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


I am loving these month names; you guys rule.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 3:01 PM on March 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


This is a terrible idea.

I do like the name "Yaypril," though.

A little.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 3:04 PM on March 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


> Because the best reason to favor the idea of nothin' but nice posts in April is that another MeFite will be irked by that? Even if you are joking, I for one would rather you not do it at someone else's expense.

Well, if you use words like "ridiculous," "infantilizing," "childish," "unbefitting of adults," and toss out suspicions that this was posted to spread groupthink and control, compare it to elementary school, and say that an opt-in tag is alienating, it just maaaybe feels like someone is talking down to you.

I appreciate all non-mandatory efforts to consider not adding unnecessary negativity and dismissal to discussions.
posted by halifix at 3:33 PM on March 13, 2015 [13 favorites]


Even on the grey, I'm kind of baffled by the outright negativity being shat out at an idea that boils down to "hey, wouldn't it be nice to post more cool things and maybe one or two fewer grary things?"
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:42 PM on March 13, 2015 [12 favorites]


I don't know, as soon as i read this i immediately thought back to rorgy's comments here, and my later comments to that effect there and elsewhere.

"Positive things only!" is a political statement. And it's something that can only be really said from a position of privilege.

I realize we're talking about posts on a website on the internet, but a lot of good and important posts would not have been posted if they happened during a month where this was being pursued in earnest.

And with that said, i think this is mostly a framing issue. I support the tag, and i support the idea of "lets try and make as many positive posts as possible!". But "no grar!" is a bit too close to that weird posi-posi virus that keeps hanging out in the background of white progressive person culture, and "that stuff bums me out and it's someone elses problem" to me.

Even if that isn't how you meant it, that's immediately how i receive it. I also think i have a bit of a sore spot or rash when it comes to this sort of "positive stuff only!" in generalized discussion spaces though, because of who it ends up benefiting.

Important discussions about big shitty things have happened here, and often times this was the best place out of anywhere i went to follow what was still going on with for example, ferguson. And that wasn't really a positive post. I mean, sorry to politicize this, but as i said, no negative things is a political statement.
posted by emptythought at 3:43 PM on March 13, 2015 [26 favorites]


I'm not sure where the analogy JulyByWomen : Women posting :: Yaypril : positive posts falls down, but there might be something I'm missing, because there are a lot of people that seem to be getting a different impression here.

It's probably coming from the first sentence of the post, which is "I'd like to propose a negative- free month." If the first sentence of the JulyByWomen post had been "I'd like to propose a men-free month," I suspect it would have been received differently too.
posted by dialetheia at 3:47 PM on March 13, 2015 [9 favorites]


🎶uuuuuuunBREAKable🎶
🎶we alive dammit 🎶
ITS A MIRACLE
🎶uuuuuuunBREAKable🎶
🎶we alive dammit 🎶
🎶these MEFITES is STRONG as HELL🎶
posted by Potomac Avenue at 3:54 PM on March 13, 2015 [9 favorites]


Even on the grey, I'm kind of baffled by the outright negativity being shat out

I know! It's like, cool it yousens. #Snarktober is months away.
posted by billiebee at 4:00 PM on March 13, 2015 [5 favorites]


I thought it was #hatuary?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 4:02 PM on March 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


#Novemgrar?
posted by billiebee at 4:03 PM on March 13, 2015 [4 favorites]


"Nah, I'm saying what the reality is not "best of the web," nor reflective of what the site has been for 16 years.""

And I don't think you're making any coherent case for why you don't think that fits, aside from that you don't like how it's applied every so often by people who don't like other posts. But that's an empty objection — without "best of the web," people would still object to those posts not meeting the standard of the filter. I don't think you have a coherent definition for "best of the web" that you're working from, but your lack of coherent conception doesn't mean the standard is bad.


I don't think there are many thin and crappy posts. But I also don't think that a post need be something that strive for "best of the web." I don't think that's ever really existed. I don't think this is a bad thing. I think it's working out just fine. Like I said, I'm not hung up on things needing to have some weird level of gravitas in order of being worth posting. I am fine with kitten videos and whatnot."

Again, I think this is incoherent. "Best of the web" doesn't have to imply gravitas — it should imply that the web is a medium with some pretty inherent constraints (e.g. there's a ton of art that's great to look at but terrible for actually seeing through the web, like most Rothkos. A photo of a Rothko painting rendered at 72dpi on a 1024 monitor will convey very little of what makes that painting great, and discussion will thereby be limited). Recognizing that there can be a "best of the web" is part of what makes a lot of the really great posts here really great.

I just get irritated that the only time we hear about something not being "best of the web," is when, in somebody's eyes, it's failed to meet this non-existent standard, and those words are used as a cuddle to make someone feel bad for posting something that was perfectly fine to post (or it would have been deleted)."

I get irritated when someone dismisses a pretty helpful schema because they either don't understand it or are against schemas in general. I also get annoyed at posts on MetaFilter that are essentially not about sharing content but rather about generating discussion, and think that keeping "best of the web" in mind while posting helps avoid some of the lazy, thin posts that fall into the various OutrageFilter, ChatFilter, Newsfilter, etc. categories that are both better handled by other sites and that make it harder to rely on MeFi to see great stuff that I haven't seen before. That doesn't necessarily mean gravitas — there's plenty of silly shit that's still both great web-as-medium and great posts — but it does mean less of the Look At These Assholes or News of the Weird or posts where the links are essentially irrelevant to the ensuing discussion.
posted by klangklangston at 4:06 PM on March 13, 2015 [6 favorites]


In the schema of things, great idea.
posted by clavdivs at 4:21 PM on March 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


Are you folks willing to just find stuff that brings a smile to people's faces?

No. So many of my favorite posts here have nothing to do with how they make people feel. And yet it's also true that I would love to see less grar and drama here.

Perhaps a #happier tag, for the sort of milk of human kindness/smile-inducing posts the OP is talking about? I could live with an April contest, with fantastic flags on posts tagged with #happier to determine a winner in the cruelest month.
posted by MonkeyToes at 4:24 PM on March 13, 2015 [4 favorites]


An additional benefit of tagging posts with "feel good" or "Yaypril" is that anyone who wants to not see these posts can set up their My Mefi preferences to exclude posts with those tags. It's a win-win for everyone!

I'm in favour of this. If people want to post a certain way for whatever reason (theme month, etc.), then have fun doing so, but others who do not post this way should not be penalized or critiqued for their non-participation.

One reason I like this site is because there are so many different kinds of posts: science, art, literature, politics, weird-inventions, religion, etc. You never know what you'll see or click on and that is what keeps me coming back.
posted by Fizz at 4:30 PM on March 13, 2015


I propose a mornth where we use troo many Rs.
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 4:31 PM on March 13, 2015 [9 favorites]


""Positive things only!" is a political statement. And it's something that can only be really said from a position of privilege.

I realize we're talking about posts on a website on the internet, but a lot of good and important posts would not have been posted if they happened during a month where this was being pursued in earnest.
"

I don't think either of those things are inherently true. The first, that "positive things only" is both inherently political and intrinsically related to privilege, is overstated in general (though the OP did explicitly ask to avoid political topics, which I agree is a political stance in itself). But from working on communication strategy for social justice orgs (both the one I worked for until recently and coalition stuff), the decision to focus on "positive" or uplifting content can both be strategic and effective for traditionally marginalized groups (depending on their goals). I think framing it like that can be problematically reductive for individuals in traditionally marginalized groups who, at least some that I've known, often aren't all that enthused about getting into identity fights that turn their multifaceted interests into one simplified experience (I'm reminded of a gay pal up in SF who doesn't care about marriage complaining about how during Prop. 8 once anyone found out he was gay, everyone wanted him to have a passionate or well-considered opinion).

Secondly, I think it's dubious to assert that there have been all that many "important" posts here, and think that in general "important" is a terrible quality to shoot for when posting. It tends to become very dated very quickly, and while there have certainly been posts here that have been important for the members overall (though fewer of those than would support an argument of "important" being important for posts, e.g. the 9/11 post was important here, but I think only maybe a handful of posts over the 16 years of MeFi rise anywhere near that level), the idea that somehow these posts are of real import to the world at large lacks perspective on the impact of MeFi. Frankly, the average AskMe post is probably 100 times as important as even a top-tier MeFi post, if only because AskMe posts actually strive to solve some problem.

And thirdly, the idea that those posts would have been constrained by a "positive" framing is dubious in itself. If "important" posts is granted, I can't think of any examples that had a "look at these assholes" framing that also made a lasting, positive contribution to MeFi or the world at large. I certainly think some of them were fun (e.g. the Palin VP post), but I just don't think that it's a supportable thesis without a lot of special pleading.
posted by klangklangston at 4:37 PM on March 13, 2015 [6 favorites]


nthing delight in "Yaypril"
posted by Jacqueline at 5:04 PM on March 13, 2015


I do agree with "the decision to focus on "positive" or uplifting content can both be strategic and effective for traditionally marginalized groups (depending on their goals)" but not so much the rest, above.

I think posts definitely can be "important" when they present us with new ideas we might not have heard before or new angles we might not have considered, or simply a quality overview on a topic. They give us the opportunity to discuss these things with other people and hear many different points of view. They give us the opportunity to form an opinion on an issue and then revise it and revise it again; the opportunity to understand why people different from us have formed different opinions and what their reasoning is.

Exposure to well-written, well-argued concepts is important. Metafilter posts often do provide these, and then discussions with a range of above-average comments (for internet comment sections); links that might go deeper than elsewhere online, links to ideas or niches we might not be otherwise exposed to because this is truly general-interest in a way many spaces online no longer provide - in content posted and somewhat less so (but still relevant) in members who participate.

I do think these posts can have real import on the world at large - the impact on individual members here who walk away to be vectors of these ideas to their personal networks, that's impact that slowly seeps through groups. You can see how the window has shifted away from "boyzone" on MeFi through the years - you can see how individual posters' stances have evolved and morphed - through posts that may hardly have been sunshine & lollipops but were definitely good and important to consider, to discuss and to absorb.

These posts are often hard to make and hard discussions to have; I do think they would be constrained if people felt compelled to "keep it light". I think they are valuable and it is worth being wary of possibly silencing people who might want to post on those issues just because there is a general weariness that may well be another issue - more about how members can treat each other here in negative ways. I definitely identify with wishing there were more positivity around here but my feelings are more focused on how members behave rather than what topics they post.
posted by flex at 5:08 PM on March 13, 2015 [11 favorites]


#notthecruelestmonth.
posted by clavdivs at 5:10 PM on March 13, 2015 [5 favorites]


I suggest the all-bovine facial hair month of #moovember
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 5:12 PM on March 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Pollyannapril
posted by Sys Rq at 5:22 PM on March 13, 2015


"Positive things only!" is a political statement. And it's something that can only be really said from a position of privilege.

Oh my god no. When I spend all day dealing with racism, the last thing I want to do is open up my browser and read about how Racism is an Important Problem. (for example) I swim in racist/sexist/homophobic water every day, so taking a break to talk about Harry Potter or cats that have inexplicably been put in scanners is very welcome.
posted by betweenthebars at 5:23 PM on March 13, 2015 [11 favorites]


I have to admit, this is rubbing me the wrong way because we're not even halfway through Women's March and because of the OP's insistence on "BEST of the web" and getting back to the "core business" of Metafilter. I have no idea about the intentions here of the OP or anyone else, but as someone who has been a member here for 10+ years and just made her 5th post because of Women's March, it definitely feels like I'm being told that I and all the rest of the women posting in March are doing Metafilter wrong and next month will be a chance to set things right that we messed up.
posted by hydropsyche at 5:51 PM on March 13, 2015 [11 favorites]


I feel like that's an extremely uncharitable read, hydropsyche. I myself, thought of it more along the lines of "let's keep this great march thing going!". Given the OP isn't trying to overlap the theme, or mentions March at all in their comment, I think we could stand to be a little more generous?
posted by smoke at 6:12 PM on March 13, 2015 [9 favorites]


I thought of it more as "See the *$@% that's been going down in MetaTalk the last few days? Let's try and dial back the grar-bait posts."
posted by kimberussell at 6:25 PM on March 13, 2015 [5 favorites]


That too, would work!
posted by smoke at 6:26 PM on March 13, 2015


I think it's a great idea and I'll try to participate in good faith.

I also think that troublesome topics should not be avoided. What SHOULD be avoided are people being mean to each other.
posted by disclaimer at 6:26 PM on March 13, 2015


"I have to admit, this is rubbing me the wrong way because we're not even halfway through Women's March and because of the OP's insistence on "BEST of the web" and getting back to the "core business" of Metafilter."

Oh man, I hope that's not the message that people are taking away — one of the big things I loved about July and like about March is specifically that by getting a bunch of women who hadn't participated before, we got a bunch of fantastic posts about things that I wouldn't have seen otherwise. I thought July was an argument for increased participation leading to the "best of the web," not against it. I haven't had as much time in March to read the front page, so I don't want to generalize, but it felt like the signal went way up in July and part of that was that a lot of women really put effort into going beyond newsfilter and making great posts. It also felt like the overall effect was a generally more positive MeFi, if only because having so much new participation allowed us to get beyond a lot of the perennial shit-shows from the usual gang of idiots. Some of that could just be my confirmation bias and selective memory, but I'm a proponent in general of positive (i.e. active, not happy) encouragement to members of traditionally marginalized groups because it's something that's been repeatedly shown to encourage a conversation that's much more representative overall. I haven't had time to delve into your Sarkesian post yet but my wife and another friend were talking about it last night, and your post in June about that keynote speech was something that was both interesting then and something that I've come back to a bunch of times because it really effectively articulates the costs of doctrinaire rights-based liberalism against egalitarianism. Like I said, I haven't gone into the Sarkesian thing, but I don't see either of those as particularly negative either.
posted by klangklangston at 6:42 PM on March 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


#WeirdFilter. Any post with that tag gives commenters license to take things into Night Vale/Cloud Cuckoo Land.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:28 PM on March 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Jainuary - posts about Eastern religions only
Feedbruary - RECIPES PLOX
Merch - Free-for-all spamming
Flaypril - Torture, cannibalism, and leatherworking
Meh - who cares
Choon - Music!
Youlie - Fraudsters, con artists, and politicians
Floggust - Whips and chains!
Shemptember - Everyone's favourite Stooge
Rocktober - you who are about to shred, we salute you
Growvember - Pot cultivation and/or Colorado
Kecember - Dead Star Trek characters
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:39 PM on March 13, 2015 [14 favorites]


Kecember - Dead Star Trek characters

JanuYary, surely.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:44 PM on March 13, 2015 [4 favorites]


I have to admit, this is rubbing me the wrong way because we're not even halfway through Women's March and because of the OP's insistence on "BEST of the web" and getting back to the "core business" of Metafilter.

The idea is to increase positivity. And generous readings, rather that jumping straight to the uncharitable reading. Not censor, not devalue, not force - encourage. Like this month's theme was designed for.

Not every suggestion is silencing or marginalising, just like they don't all have to be considered oppressive rather than something you don't agree with. It would be nice to have a month with a bit more of a lean towards posts and comments that allow for people trying for their best than people being their worst. It could be an improvement over MetaFilter becoming more a place where commenters discuss in great detail why everything sucks.
posted by gadge emeritus at 8:11 PM on March 13, 2015 [10 favorites]


Yaypril

November.
posted by busted_crayons at 9:50 PM on March 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


Literally every other instance I've ever encountered, in my entire life, of a vague, general request for "positivity" has been made in a bid to marginalize some interesting point of view or another. Why not just acknowledge that "best of" has mostly to do with how interesting shit is, and just ask that MeFites continue to make interesting posts? Since there is no dearth of interesting posts, why bother to ask anything at all?

The Olympian of our Voluntary Titanomachia seems like a pretty rad dude who appreciates interesting shit, so just focusing on making Good Posts (which we all know when we see, like they're obscene) seems fine from the whom-shall-we-disembowel-and-toss-down-the-pyramid's-steps-to-appease-Huitziloportex point of view.

I don't understand the point of this MeTa at all, except maybe as the sort of clever bid for attention where it is hard to call out the attention-seeker without looking like an asshole, which is a depressingly common, though generally mysteriously-motivated, tactic.
posted by busted_crayons at 10:08 PM on March 13, 2015 [4 favorites]


clever bid for attention[...]

That's not a helpful direction to go here. Let's stick to discussing the idea rather than personal speculation about the poster.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 10:34 PM on March 13, 2015 [7 favorites]


YAYPRIL made me grin too. Yay Jessamyn.

I'm not keen on a "cheerful topics only" month; but a "feel free to use this cheerful tag on your cheerful posts" month sounds delightful.

the annual site April Fools Day Prank

mathowie flameout MeTa; banned by cortex after several "take a walk, Matt" warnings; site goes dark some minutes later.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:05 PM on March 13, 2015 [8 favorites]


(On reread, yay zamboni! and yay jessamyn for boosting it.)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:08 PM on March 13, 2015


Yaypril™ may not be for everyone. IANAD; ask your local shaman if Yaypril™ is right for you. Side effects may include excessive grinning. If you are pregnant or nursing, congratulations. See the latest advertisement on MetaTalk for instructions on how to obtain a 30-day trial of Yaypril™. If you experience an erection lasting longer than four hours, congratulations.

Yaypril™. Isn't it about time?
posted by not_on_display at 11:17 PM on March 13, 2015 [5 favorites]


People need to get over themselves. The uncharitable readings are a problem with the reader. People are usually pretty blunt around here. No one in this thread, including OP, has done anything like denigrate this month's community effort.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:17 PM on March 13, 2015 [7 favorites]


I dislike the 'best of web' formulation but I would love a month (or better, a year) with a conscious move away from negativity and manufactured grar. If a targeted month is a way to move towards that in the long term, then hell yeah, let's give it a try.
posted by Dip Flash at 12:27 AM on March 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


I don't know why you'd choose April for this experiment. The worst things always happen in April. April should just go take a break one year and let May go for 61 days. May is awesome; April never is.
posted by barnacles at 12:31 AM on March 14, 2015


April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.

Also, tax time.
posted by gingerest at 1:36 AM on March 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


After all these month puns, no one thought of Grarch?
posted by emptythought at 2:03 AM on March 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


"The idea is to increase positivity. And generous readings, rather that jumping straight to the uncharitable reading. Not censor, not devalue, not force - encourage."

As dialetheia pointed out, the first sentence of this post is "I'd like to propose a negative- free month." The rest of the post has mixed messaging, though. But some of the response prove that people are thinking in terms of "less thing I don't like" rather than "more thing that I do like".

That the post itself is ambiguous in this way and that people have responded this way prove that the impetus is a reaction against negativity in the site as a whole. If you independently decided that you wanted to promote more of something, you'd not frame it in terms of reducing something else. The negative framing and the similar responses demonstrate that they're an opposition, first and foremost.

That being the case, then the problems that several people have discussed are real. I very strongly disagree -- I can't really express how strongly I disagree -- with those who claim otherwise. More than three-quarters of the topics/posts that people have in mind as being the opposite of happy and fun -- and, again, the poster himself gives us clues to what he's thinking about when he mentions "fighty" and "politics" -- are topics where not discussing them is a defense of privilege. Advocacy of "being positive" very much is a common tactic for silencing the less privileged.

It's true that if you're doing advocacy yourself, then positive, feel-good messaging can be more effective -- but that's a completely different thing than telling other people that they shouldn't talk about unpleasant things. When an anti-racism organization orients its messaging away from negative stuff and toward positive stuff, that's fine. When an anti-racism organization tells other anti-racists and people who suffer from racism that they shouldn't talk about the negative stuff, that's a long, long way from fine.

A lot of us would like to see less grar and more productive conversation. A lot of us would like to see, just because, more happy-making stuff. I mean, why wouldn't we? I sure would. But others here would like to see less of some particular topics that, by their nature, are upsetting and depressing and frequently elicit difficult conversations -- and I think that some of those people are represented in this thread, and that they and the like-minded would leverage this in ways that marginalize the voices that they don't like and just don't want to hear. I'm very not okay with that.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 2:11 AM on March 14, 2015 [15 favorites]


leverage this in ways that marginalize

I've never understood the presumption that more of something means less of something else on MetaFilter. I mean, it's a big front page. It can contain multitudes. We could double the number of happy, cheerful FPPs and that is not going to stop someone from posting whatever grary, poutragey, butt-lolling, argument-inducing stuff they want on the same front page. While a limited good, the front page is not that limited.

Is it wrong to just want more cute animal videos in between the posts about racists cops and science fiction?

Because the answer to every conundrum posed in this thread is likely just "moar cats."
posted by spitbull at 2:27 AM on March 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'd really like a lot more positive posts; I usually don't comment on them but I do like things that make me laugh, and a lot of posts that are a bit thin are ones that make me happy, because jokes. It seems like the "let's not do negative" thing has been pretty thoroughly shot down in favor of a more positive approach, which is good! It'd also be nice if folks would avoid MeTa grarystuff, but I think that's been on a general downswinging trend after the mods stopped allowing quite so much shit, even if the last few days have been really nasty. It seems like they're taking it seriously, anyway.
posted by NoraReed at 4:00 AM on March 14, 2015 [6 favorites]


I was marginally in favor of this concept but jayder has convinced me to be strongly in favor of it.
posted by phearlez at 2:18 PM on March 1


thanks for helping prove my point that support for stuff like this is often motivated by negativity
posted by jayder at 4:37 AM on March 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


I was not trying to be grar, and I hope no one took me as being grar. I just realized that something about this post was bothering me, and it actually took me awhile to figure out what it was. I don't know valkane and I bear neither grudge nor grar against them. I hope that people keep making good posts, whether those posts are happy or sad. I like good posts, and to me that is the BEST of the web and is what Metafilter is about.
posted by hydropsyche at 4:39 AM on March 14, 2015 [7 favorites]


I can totally see how this:

I'd like to propose a negative- free month.

May have set things off to a not so great start. I would never support a "no negativity" month or even one day. There are a lot of things that suck about the world, and I don't think we should ignore or shy away from them.

I don't have time to go back in and re-read this entire thread right now, but other than the original post by valkane, it seems like pretty much everyone who has chimed in to support this idea (including myself) have said let's try to increase positive posts and tag them so they're easy to find, but not try to decrease negative posts.

Also:

we're not even halfway through Women's March

I can't speak for valkane or anyone else, but I absolutely am pro-Women's March, and my support of increasing "feel good" posts is not at all in response to Women's March. I kind of assumed that the main inspiration was the shitstorm that has been MeTa over the last couple days.
posted by litera scripta manet at 5:19 AM on March 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


Oh, and the other reason I support this idea is because it's been a miserable winter up here in New England, and it's still cold and overcast, and there are mountains of grey snow that refuse to melt and OH MY GOD WILL WINTER NEVER END.

Sorry, I got a little carried away. My point is, after this brutal winter, I could totally go for some springtime cheer to help me forget the fact that I chose to live somewhere that gets this much snow.
posted by litera scripta manet at 5:27 AM on March 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm all for neat things and kibbitzing. (I'll just pretend to know what kibbitzing means. )
I'm not such a fan of a lot of political grar. So this cruelest month sounds great to me.
posted by jouke at 5:38 AM on March 14, 2015


Rocktober - you who are about to shred, we salute you

I am so on board for Rocktober!
posted by billiebee at 5:49 AM on March 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Ah, I see somebody came before me with exactly the same T S Eliot joke.

April is the cruelest month, breeding neatness out of the grar ground.
posted by jouke at 6:00 AM on March 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Better then my roman joke.

Tired
Of jokes.

Tired of seeing you all rip another apart.
Tired of my own complicitious jute and lumber skit.

I want party hats and the worlds fantastic heart to blur the skein.

Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!
posted by clavdivs at 6:15 AM on March 14, 2015 [7 favorites]


thanks for helping prove my point that support for stuff like this is often motivated by negativity

It is unsurprising that you would interpret my statement in that in that manner but you are wrong.
posted by phearlez at 7:06 AM on March 14, 2015


I'll bite.

Then what did you mean?

I don't see another way to read it other than you thought maybe it was a decent idea, but once someone else said it was a shit idea, you were now firmly on board, because fuck that guy's sensibilities. You've managed to pull off something amazing. You end up supporting the idea of Yaypril! primarily because you know it'll piss someone off.

You're the guy who eats the last piece of strawberry cake even though you hate strawberries just to keep someone else from having it.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:01 AM on March 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


Kibbitzing is, I think, one of cortex's favorite words (he says it a lot in mod notes on the Green when threads take a chatty turn). It's Yiddish and it means to chat in a friendly way.
posted by sockermom at 8:37 AM on March 14, 2015


No, no. It's when Israelis live in a communal fashion.
posted by gman at 8:41 AM on March 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


I always think of kibitzing as kind of friendly nosiness, offering advice over someone's shoulder, when they haven't asked you, kind of thing. Like backseat driving except not as annoying.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:43 AM on March 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yes it can also mean "to offer unwanted opinions" but I always thought cortex meant it in a "chatting in a friendly way" way. It is very close linguistically to "kibbutz" and that's probably because people do a lot of kibitzing of both varieties in kibbutzim.
posted by sockermom at 8:54 AM on March 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


I believe it's also a brand of dog food.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:01 AM on March 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


And a measure of lost bandwidth.
posted by cgc373 at 9:10 AM on March 14, 2015


I could get behind this.
posted by jonmc at 9:23 AM on March 14, 2015


valkane: I'd like to propose a negative- free month.

That's not something I can get behind. Some things are negative but still need to be talked about, because they're important.
A month with more happy feelgood posts, and a special tag for them, on the other hand, is something that won't hurt anyone and may very well bring people joy. So that is something I can get behind.

The OP seems to conflate non-happy subjects with 'the worst of the web' and I do not really understand why. I wish valkane would explain. They are very different things to me.
" You know what I mean. "
No, I don't, but I want to.
posted by Too-Ticky at 9:42 AM on March 14, 2015 [10 favorites]


I'm all for a permanent, not-month-limited, "happy/heartwarming/apolitical" posts tag, that's both opt-out and opt-in. As has been said, it's a win-win for everyone. If some people want to spend all of April making posts like that, hey, no skin off my back.

That said, the OP and the rest of the discussion around the idea stinks to high heaven. Basically, what busted_crayons said.
posted by The Master and Margarita Mix at 10:27 AM on March 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


tx sockermom and lobstermitten. These colloquial phrases can be hard to understand in their socio-emotional subtleties.
My old Manhattan mother in law grew up speaking jiddish. It sounded so familiar; something halfway between german and dutch. But kibbitz not so much; maybe it's of hebrew or ukrainian origin.
posted by jouke at 11:47 AM on March 14, 2015


kibitz the verb has one "b," kibbutz the noun has two.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 12:03 PM on March 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


Some things are negative but still need to be talked about, because they're important.

Honestly I think the "Important" posts are some of the worst ones for Metafilter. They're usually political, usually controversial, and usually cause a fighty shitshow or bad feelings on a lot of community residents.
posted by corb at 12:38 PM on March 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


This request, innocuous as it may be on its face, really bothers me. Calling for things that are "fighty and political" to be not posted, for a month? That seems kind of problematic, especially coming as it does from presumably cisgender heterosexual white guy, when most of the recent "fighty and political" things I've seen have been related to things like feminism and campus sexual assault and transgender issues. Which, you know, really looks on its face like a request from someone not affected by any of these things to see fewer things that make them uncomfortable. This may be an uncharitable reading, on my part, but considering the most contentious things I've seen recently, I don't think it's unfair (and I'm apparently not the only person seeing it that way; see comments above re "not talking about things as an expression of privilege").
posted by Pseudonymous Cognomen at 1:51 PM on March 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


I don't see another way to read it other than you thought maybe it was a decent idea, but once someone else said it was a shit idea, you were now firmly on board, because fuck that guy's sensibilities.

To be most brief and blunt, I am not excited by the idea for the reason that it would bother jayder precisely because it would take a miracle for me to give less of a crap about hir opinion on the posts.

Now, it's possible jayder has come into this meta and gone right to the ranting; it would seem consistent with this sort of vitriol. But anyone who actually read the comments would have at bare minimum seen cortex comment on what seems to be the consensus idea: an effort at a month with positive, cool, interesting shit. Maybe uplifting. I dunno. Whatever seems like it would fit in the idea of Yaypril as a word.

My coming around on it is that it seemed like eh, nice enough idea and I'm cool with that, but why a concerted effort for a fixed period? Then jayder drops this load of rant about how infantilizing it is for people to coordinate an effort at shit that makes people happy, comparing it to the lamest of elementary school pep rallys rather than just a bunch of people trying to have some happy fun and post some extra things.

To say that this proposed idea even could make someone unhappy by it happening is madness. It's more posts, which someone can opt not to read. Upstream stuff talks even about ways to flat-out filter it out. Even the mods don't have to read every single posts, so to suggest that a women issue month or a positive post month somehow can make someone angry and not recognize that that is entirely on them is baloney.

I guess you can tilt your head to the side and squint and look at that as a "fuck that guy's sensibilities" if you include not giving a rat's ass about making people happy who are aggressively bordering poisoningly unhappy about what other people do as "fuck that guy." But it's more a "these are the forces hanging around here and maybe there's more need to lean towards the other side of the boat after all" thing in my opinion. The "I do not mind some of the GRIMDARKS having to skip over a few extra posts that month" isn't malice, it's just the only sensible way to get through life.
posted by phearlez at 2:03 PM on March 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


First two weeks: Yaypril. Last two weeks: Naypril.

Teach the controversy!
posted by horsewithnoname at 2:12 PM on March 14, 2015 [6 favorites]


"But kibbitz not so much; maybe it's of hebrew or ukrainian origin."

No, looking it up, it's definitely Yiddish and probably from German kiebitz.

"Honestly I think the 'Important' posts are some of the worst ones for Metafilter. They're usually political, usually controversial, and usually cause a fighty shitshow or bad feelings on a lot of community residents."

In my past incarnation, I was somewhat prominently the MetaTalk participant who advocated against such posts. I felt then, and still feel now, as klangklangston does that "Best of the Web" is actually a pretty good rule-of-thumb metric for what should and shouldn't be posted. Basically, really cool stuff that one feels like the rest of the community would appreciate. That can include news and controversial stuff if it's, well, really good and would appeal to a large portion of the community. But what I mildly didn't like then, and still slightly don't like now, are posts that are very niche (in terms of the size of the MetaFilter audience), very "issue-advocacy" and "important", widely reported news stories, or are really just about the anticipated discussion and not the post itself. What I still moderately dislike these days are posts that combine several of these at once.

But, all that said, I think the ship sailed a long time ago with regard to newsfilter and advocacy posts and, sadly, posts that exist mostly for the discussion. Even ten years ago, there were a lot of people who said that these sorts of things were the main reason they read MetaFilter, and that's even more true today.

And I've come to value a fair portion of the newsfilter posts. I've come to value the advocacy posts and the "this is important" posts. And it's undeniably true that the discussion, in the end, is what makes MetaFilter so exceptionally good. I continue to worry about slippery-slope stuff; but slippery-slope arguments and worries are usually exaggerated fears -- things have gotten more this way than they were, but not much more as it turns out, and, anyway, in many other ways MetaFilter has improved. The sky hasn't fallen.

What I'm left with is that "I think this is important and we should talk about it" really isn't quite a strong enough reason for a post and, if the posts are very weak in this way, it's difficult to see that the grar that often results is worth it. Even so, I'm extremely wary of pushing this line very hard for the precise reasons I've been arguing in this thread -- that the MRA trolls are brought to the fore by sexism/feminism threads and that the "important" posts end up involving people behaving badly isn't the fault of the topic, it's the fault of the people how behave badly. But limiting the topic ends up limiting the voices for whom these issues are their lives and are very important, and who normally are silenced elsewhere in our culture. Silencing those voices -- or, for that matter, public discussion about how our society is unjust -- is absolutely not acceptable collateral damage in service of making things more pleasant. Not even remotely. The right answer is to insist that people behave better.

"To say that this proposed idea even could make someone unhappy by it happening is madness."

It's not madness when it's realized as "less of something" rather than "more of something". I don't understand why people like yourself keep insisting that such an orientation is a crazypants non sequitor when a lot of the language in the OP and subsequent discussion has been about "reducing" and not "increasing". I totally agree that an "increasing" formulation (at least in theory) doesn't hurt anyone and that had all the discussion only been talking about "increasing" then it would be weird for people to get very upset about it being "reducing". But the negative, oppositional orientation is right there in the post and in the thread.

And the reason why I included that "at least in theory" parenthetical is that even if the framing was without exception a positive framing, this particular message isn't sui generis, it is very familiar and has a cultural context. And it does, in fact, strongly connote a reduction in "negative" speech, not just an increase in "positive" speech. It's no accident that the post and comments have had so much negative language, because this whole concept inevitably couples the "more of X" and the "less of Y" together. When a manager says at the office that "we need to be more positive", absolutely no one interprets that as "we should continue to be just as negative, but also increase the number of things we do and say that are positive". They interpret it as "we should be less negative and replace that negativity with more positivity". And that's what this post is really advocating, what many of the commenters are advocating, and that's going to be the mindset of many of the people participating. That being the case, there's very good reasons to be concerned that there will be censorious peer-pressure that results. Maybe not -- and I hope that this discussion will have the effect of making that be unacceptable. But it's a reasonable concern even if the framing and discussion had all been positive -- which, as it happens, it wasn't.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 2:28 PM on March 14, 2015 [11 favorites]


If I can add to the "this feels weird to compare to WomensMarch" discussion--this feels weird to me because WomensMarch, and the much-discussed Month of the First-Time Posters, are both about encouraging people to post because of who they are. It's about lowering the (real or perceived) barriers to getting a post up for groups of people who are underrepresented. It's about mentoring and making people feel welcome. Comparing that to "let's get more topics up about non-grar-y topics" is a shift from focusing on the people making the posts to focusing on the content of the posts themselves. I'm really uncomfortable with this, because I think it minimizes the effect of focusing on the people. And that is especially true in the context of WomensMarch still happening and going on--it's still the goddamn 14th and you want to spend the next three weeks planning this?--and, oh, I don't know, it feels very like "okay, done with this, time to do a NEW variety about something I want to see more of!"

And on top of that.... well, all of the comparisons and the name jokes and thing in this thread have made me feel additionally uncomfortable, because WomensMarch has been really important to me in figuring out how to feel good about posting. It's been an important resource to me to check in on, both about community norms and also as a resource to seek feedback on weird anxieties and insecurities about posting. This is important. It's a community thing. It's a networking thing. It's a "get out there and share accumulated wisdom with new people" thing.

And the impression I'm getting from the thread is that people basically think about the impact of WomensMarch and initiatives like it is "monthly gimmicks yay" rather than "let's get more people involved in the fabric of this community!" Because let me be clear, neither "more positive topics whoo" nor "less negative grar please" is about people.
posted by sciatrix at 3:11 PM on March 14, 2015 [21 favorites]


Comparing that to "let's get more topics up about non-grar-y topics" is a shift from focusing on the people making the posts to focusing on the content of the posts themselves. I'm really uncomfortable with this, because I think it minimizes the effect of focusing on the people.

Hmmmmmmn. I come here to read the interesting links, and stay for the commentary. Identity-over-content is not the way forward for this site, I sincerely hope.
posted by amorphatist at 3:28 PM on March 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


Oh for christ's sake. I'm talking specifically about behind-the-scenes initiatives about getting more/less of X kind of posts on the blue, not about the posts on the blue themselves. I'm also talking specifically about initiatives to get more people to post topics about whatever they find interesting.

If anything, if you want to see more interesting posts about a variety of topics you should be more put off by initiatives like this one which encourage a shift in topics, rather than initiatives whose basic goal is to get more people posting about whatever the heck they think is cool.
posted by sciatrix at 3:32 PM on March 14, 2015 [11 favorites]


I loved JulyByWomen and I'm loving WomensMarch. So much good stuff! So I just took it as someone seeing how it's actually possible to mobilise people to get behind a collective initiative, which is no small feat with such a large userbase. I think that shows the MonthByWomen ideas were successful and actually inspirational. I don't think of it as gimmicky at all. (The name jokes were just a bit of Meta lols rather than taking the piss out of the #MonthName thing, at least on my part).

But I do think that tagging some more positive stuff on an opt-in basis (rather than not posting negative or "important" stuff, which I'm not in favour of) is about people, and the fabric of the community. I spend a lot (read:way too much) time here, and sometimes it feels like a heavy place to be. And while that can be informative and enlightening it would also just be a nice thing to have some more silly or happy things to click on when I need a breather, that's all.
posted by billiebee at 3:33 PM on March 14, 2015 [6 favorites]


What confuses me about arguments against "advocacy" posts is that, if I make a post or comment in something that seems advocacy-y to others, it's because I find it interesting or important or otherwise worthwhile to do so. I feel like that's probably the case with everyone; I don't think anyone is sitting around rubbing their hands together writing posts to push some nefarious agenda on the site (I mean, I also don't understand how an agenda that would essentially boil down to, "Let's be less terrible human beings" is nefarious either, but whatever). People just post things relevant to their interests and experiences.

Of the, like, vanishingly small number of times where I've felt like the mods showed bad judgment in deleting a FPP, most of those were things where the topic seemed fighty or advocacy-y from an outside perspective, but which I think were just unpleasant parts of ongoing history. It felt like the eject button was pushed because these aspects of history aren't nice, and ideally should be packaged that way. That's kind of what I meant way up above when talking about an emphasis on reducing negativity pushing out things that more or less just are but which aren't enjoyable to look at. Negativity is so subjective that it's impossible to enforce that in any way, anyway, so it'd be a backwards approach.

Encouraging stuff that is enjoyable to look at, and encouraging better, kinder communication in threads on stuff that's maybe not, are still great things. But the site is probably a little more diverse than it often pretends to be; we have a lot of different interests and passions and experiences. We should be more about celebrating that than trying to force everything to fit a particular privileged culture. It's not like anyone is objecting to kittens and rainbows here, either. Basically everyone is pro-kittens-and-rainbows, but some don't want an absolutist kittens-and-rainbows autocracy.

Plus, again, insiduous conspiracy of improving society and humanity? Probably not a problem worth worrying about.
posted by byanyothername at 4:04 PM on March 14, 2015 [6 favorites]


One comment deleted. If you don't want to listen to what people have to say, you don't have to read the thread.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 4:40 PM on March 14, 2015 [6 favorites]


It's galling to have the comments saying it's marginalising for a number of reasons. For one thing, there's comments with an uncharitable, ungenerous reading in a thread about a suggestion for reducing that phenomenon. The first presumption is that it's a negative idea, this trying to be more positive, and that not only is it immediately going to be used to oppress, but in a couple of cases it's being suggested that the OP had malicious intent in this asking for a bit of a nicer month. valkane may have opened with asking for a negative-free month, but also followed it up with,

If it's fighty, don't post it. If it's political, don't post it. Well, go ahead, but it's not part of April Showers.

But still people take it as a personal attack.

For another thing, it immediately presumes the worst about the userbase in how they would interpret posting nicer things, even though the vast majority of the thread seems to suggest that what they took away from the post was less 'Nothing Bad' and much more 'Let's Add More Good', in between the month puns.

But even if you presume that, OK, a few users might indeed try and be the Fun Police - and it's a large enough userbase, it's not that out of the realm of possibility - it also presumes the mods are at best ineffectual and at worst actively part of the marginalising, silencing process, because for that to happen, they would have to not be doing their jobs. It suggests that the people we've entrusted to keep this place on an even keel, the main reason this site is at all worth visiting, and also very visible members of the community, have no idea about such things, and it's strongly suggested that it requires the brave speaking up of the commenters suspicious of a request for a bit more niceness to prevent the rest of the users from rampaging over the voices of the marginalised.

There was a thread in the blue awhile back about a father who recorded his toddler daughter crying, and how he stopped her by asking her to be a cow, or a ventriloquist's dummy, or to miaow, and she'd immediately do the impression and stop being upset. And one person commented to say that this was a bad thing, would teach her bad skills, and would in effect scar her for life. The prophecies of doom in regards to a request for more niceness that the mods have already weighed in on in how they would let it go reminds me of that response, especially when hyperbolically presuming the worst of the OP because of their presumed identity.
posted by gadge emeritus at 4:44 PM on March 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


Speaking for myself, I've found literally one person in this thread (jayder) who said outright that they believed valkane was speaking in bad faith, and that wasn't framed in any way with respect to "marginalizing" anyone. What I have seen people talking about is the broader consequences of requesting that we focus the site more on "positive" topics, and discussing the implications of what gets construed as "negative" in the first place. I certainly don't see anyone saying that an intentional modly conspiracy would result in this thing taking the blue straight to hell.

I am allowed to feel uncomfortable about something that a person has said, even if I don't think they intended to cause discomfort. (Hell, how are they supposed to know there were unfortunate implications unless I say something? Should I just feel uncomfortable and leave the conversation entirely?) I gotta say, gadge, I'm not sure what responses aside from unmodulated cheering would make you feel happy with this thread.
posted by sciatrix at 4:59 PM on March 14, 2015 [7 favorites]


…in a couple of cases it's being suggested that the OP had malicious intent in this asking for a bit of a nicer month.

But apparently we need to listen to those people, or our posts will be deleted.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:01 PM on March 14, 2015


fff, if you'd like to make a point about this proposal, go ahead, but don't come into a thread where people are trying to discuss something in seriousness just to drop a dismissive one-liner that's guaranteed to piss people off.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 5:04 PM on March 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


I think it's a bad idea because it encourages in-group and out-group behavior. I think it's great to have a "goodfeelings" tag so those who want if can read it. I think we have too many special snowflakes who think every post contains coded language meant to harm them. I think it'd be great to have fewer advocacy posts, and I think "Best of the Web" is a useful metric when considering whether one should post about this or that. I think MeFi is a dying community, because too many people won't get over themselves.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:12 PM on March 14, 2015 [7 favorites]


special snowflakes who think every post contains coded language meant to harm them.

I applaud your innovative discarding of code and your use of direct insults like "special snowflakes" rather than actually engaging with anyone's points. Obviously this is the road to a more vibrant community with an enhanced quality of discussion.
posted by sciatrix at 5:17 PM on March 14, 2015 [9 favorites]


We don't have a community, we have factions.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:21 PM on March 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think MeFi is a dying community, because too many people won't get over themselves.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:12 PM on March 14 [2 favorites +] [!]


pot, kettle, etc.
posted by kagredon at 5:23 PM on March 14, 2015 [9 favorites]


"...because too many people won't get over themselves."

I'd like to see a hell of a lot less of this kind of thing. Or, really, this exact thing in this thread by you, since you've already written it twice.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 5:37 PM on March 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


Bullshit.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:39 PM on March 14, 2015


Cut it out, please.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 5:41 PM on March 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


I totally got over myself when I closed the wendell account. Now I'm seriously wondering if I need to get over oneswellfoop. I need a Brand New Yaypril.

First two weeks: Yaypril. Last two weeks: Naypril.
The 15th is US Tax Day... it's gonna take a lot of Yay out of the month.
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:45 PM on March 14, 2015


Uh, yeah, so, maybe more bluntly, I think "Best of the Web" is generally the principle that is being followed by most "advocacy" posts, in the sense that they're made with the intention of, "Here is something that is interesting/resonant to me." I'm still confused and a bit weirded out by "Best of the Web" having some implicit specific meaning beyond that for some people. I don't think "advocacy" or "identity" posts are a real problem; most of the potential issues are already covered by the site's basic rules. Maybe there are scads of bad posts I never see, but if so the problem is taking care of itself.

It does feel like there is sometimes a pushback against posts on feminism, race issues, trans issues, topics that affect different people in different ways and often encompass ugly things. I'm sympathetic to people who would maybe be okay with seeing less of those kinds of posts because they're wearying and draining and Real Life is bad enough. I'd be happy if they slowed down, personally, and if posters put more thought and care into writing them. But there's also a certain vibe that feels like, "Don't talk about that here at all" and I don't really know what to say to that. That box has been opened; political posts are not going back in it.

Anyway, again, I'm pretty much on board with pro-Yaypril, anti-Mehy here. I just wanted to echo why putting away certain topics instead of adding to the diversity of posts is problematic.
posted by byanyothername at 6:29 PM on March 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


I don't know why you'd choose April for this experiment. The worst things always happen in April. April should just go take a break one year and let May go for 61 days. May is awesome; April never is.

See, to me that's why you need a "Yaypril" tag (as an optional thing): combat all of that bad juju or whatever. Plus it's my birthday month so hey, it's usually pretty good for me, hah. There's spring! There's bunnies! Every weekend there's another festival of some sort to attend!

I see nothing wrong with a possible incentive to post tags on happier posts in the same way that we're WomensMarching this month. I wouldn't be down with a ban on no bad news posts, but I don't think we'd end up doing that anyway. Just...hey, a slight incentive to try to post happier shit.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:45 PM on March 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


I loved JulyByWomen and I'm loving WomensMarch. So much good stuff! So I just took it as someone seeing how it's actually possible to mobilise people to get behind a collective initiative, which is no small feat with such a large userbase. I think that shows the MonthByWomen ideas were successful and actually inspirational. I don't think of it as gimmicky at all.

Yes, I'm a woman who loved #julybywomen and has posted under #womensmarch and now I feel bad for thinking that #yaypril seemed like a really fun idea. I didn't feel diminished by it at all, but now I'm sort of wondering if I should.
posted by lalex at 6:50 PM on March 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Speaking for myself, I've found literally one person in this thread (jayder) who said outright that they believed valkane was speaking in bad faith

Try rereading busted_crayons, The Master and Margarita Mix's agreement with such, and Pseudonymous Cognomen's comments. See if somewhere in those words you can't find an accusation of bad faith even when not specifically stated.

How byanyothername ends their comment, with, I just wanted to echo why putting away certain topics instead of adding to the diversity of posts is problematic is true and fine and not a problem. It's the previous paragraph, talking about the vibe of 'Don't talk about that here at all', which is a problem, because it's a big presumption, both of the users who think the niceness thing is a good idea, and of the whole userbase as essentially being a bunch of undifferentiated shitbags who don't care about people different from them.
posted by gadge emeritus at 6:53 PM on March 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


Gadge emeritus, I'm really at a loss for how folks like byanyothername and sciatrix and I would have to talk about this for you to not read it as being an attack on Yaypril or other users.
posted by kagredon at 6:55 PM on March 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


like, it's really not reassuring me to see folks who are saying "hey, you know, I'm a little uneasy with the framing of "political" as negative and the emphasis in the OP on not posting several things" getting the response of "wow, how DARE you bring your negativity and bad-faith assumptions into here, you special snowflake." It's pretty much an exact demonstration of what we're talking about.
posted by kagredon at 6:57 PM on March 14, 2015 [11 favorites]


Okay, I think I found the perfect theme song for Yaypril (at least according to some people). Recorded in 1965, almost exactly 50 years ago! THAT's good news, I guess.
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:01 PM on March 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Huh. I thought saying which part was fine and not a problem was a way of saying which criticisms weren't perceived as being an attack on Yaypril or other users. The not instant assuming of bad faith, the actual reading of what the other person is saying rather than what you only think they're saying.

Try reading again.
posted by gadge emeritus at 7:24 PM on March 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think I'm just really frustrated by people that say anyone tired of advocacy must be a white male whatever, because that is neither my identity nor my experience. Because I'm a Hispanic lady, and yes if there's some MRA shit up or whatever, I'll sigh and roll my sleeves up and start shoveling, but at a certain point for a lot of us it feels like duty and I for one could use a fucking break regardless of how important it is. If I want to see nothing but overwhelmingly depressing political posts, that's what my Facebook feed is for.
posted by corb at 7:26 PM on March 14, 2015 [8 favorites]


Try rereading busted_crayons, The Master and Margarita Mix's agreement with such, and Pseudonymous Cognomen's comments. See if somewhere in those words you can't find an accusation of bad faith even when not specifically stated.

Nope, sorry. I don't think the OP is in bad faith, I just think it's a bad proposal, made in perfectly good faith by someone who has a completely different idea of what Metafilter should be about, and what is "wrong" with it, than I do.

I'm sure plenty of the posters who I pretty much inherently disagree with on MeFi are in perfectly good faith, and there are some who I like or tend to agree with who do occasionally act in what I'd consider to be bad faith; things like commenting on FPPs ostensibly about grar-y topics without actually reading the links. There are also users who, for lack of a better word, I think are constantly trolling the mods in bad faith with how they approach discussions.

I'm sure the OP is sincere and his intentions are well-meant. I just think what he was actually proposing was bad, stupid, and wouldn't be good for MeFi.

Read the OP again: Are you folks willing to just find stuff that brings a smile to people's faces? It's a challenge. I'd like to keep metafilter somewhat happy. And give the mods a month of fun.

That's accusing people who post "grar-y" topics or anything the OP personally doesn't find "happy" of being in bad faith. It's also pretty arrogant and presumptuous. There is a real difference between affirmative positive support and negative, clearly implied disapproval, whether you keep choosing to deny it or not.

Again, I'm sure he's sincere in thinking that negative, clearly implied disapproval of certain kinds of "insufficiently happy" posts would make for better Metafilter, I just think that's horseshit and it wouldn't. Instead of "LET'S POSITIVE POSTING! \o/", it's "you're talking too loud", aka, just another formulation of SILENCED ALL MY LIFE. Certainly, no one has ever been stopped from posting Yaypril-type just because it's positive or heartwarming or happy. There are plenty of those posts now. The call to action in the OP doesn't make a lick of sense if it's not implying a negative prescription. It doesn't mean it was made in bad faith, but call a spade a spade.
posted by The Master and Margarita Mix at 7:28 PM on March 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yes, I'm a woman who loved #julybywomen and has posted under #womensmarch and now I feel bad for thinking that #yaypril seemed like a really fun idea. I didn't feel diminished by it at all, but now I'm sort of wondering if I should.

Dude, no, if you think it's great, think it's great! I'm not trying to make anyone feel worse here, I just wanted to explain where I was coming from wrt my feelings of uneasiness. I am not the arbiter of your feelings, either, and you get to be happy and excited about new stuff if you want to.
posted by sciatrix at 7:36 PM on March 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


I think I'm just really frustrated by people that say anyone tired of advocacy must be a white male whatever, because that is neither my identity nor my experience. Because I'm a Hispanic lady, and yes if there's some MRA shit up or whatever, I'll sigh and roll my sleeves up and start shoveling, but at a certain point for a lot of us it feels like duty and I for one could use a fucking break regardless of how important it is. If I want to see nothing but overwhelmingly depressing political posts, that's what my Facebook feed is for.

I totally hear you on this, but I don't know - would you ever try to keep other people from doing advocacy stuff? For me, that's the big clear distinction, and that's one that I do think you can pretty well cut along privilege lines most of the time. At least, I think there's a big difference between "god, I am so tired of speaking up for myself and not being heard, my voice is raw and I feel defeated, I just want to look at pictures and kittens" and "shut up, you're talking too loud".

I think the incarnation of Yaypril that's slowly being hammered out is the former, and that's great. The version that was proposed in the OP is definitely the latter, and eff that.
posted by The Master and Margarita Mix at 7:43 PM on March 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Ha that riffing on month names of you guys! I prefer to think that that's what kibitzing means. I'm already looking forward to april.
posted by jouke at 7:45 PM on March 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


The intention of this is good but yeah the framing is poor and I too was uneasy with it and am glad there's discussion to clarify intention.

The WomensMarch/Julybywomen projects were trying to get women to post more, not telling men to post less. In fact when that was suggested by someone it was shot down.

If people don't like the push-back, imagine a how a WomensMarch thread that said, "We want women to post more! So try to post more women, and also maybe less posts by men?" would have gone. Because it would have been hell of a lot more ugly and contentious than this thread has been.

Rerouting the conversation to the topic, in nursing training we're taught to assess patients using a strength based approach, meaning in a nutshell you focus on what people having going for them instead of what they have going against them. So if I wanted to contribute to Yaypril but still maybe talk about a topic that was more heavy than cats in scanners, I would approach it this way. For example if the topic was women's health I might try and make a post showcasing awesome innovations in women's health, or advancements in legislation or advocacy, or people doing rad things, rather than shitty things happening in the world of women's health. It allows me to post about whatever I want, but it just allows me to refocus and explore a topic from an angle I might not always default to. I'd like to contribute if it goes ahead and this is probably the approach I will take.
posted by supercrayon at 7:52 PM on March 14, 2015 [9 favorites]


Try rereading busted_crayons, The Master and Margarita Mix's agreement with such, and Pseudonymous Cognomen's comments. See if somewhere in those words you can't find an accusation of bad faith even when not specifically stated.

I'll give you busted_crayons, but I can't see anything in Pseudonymous Cognomen's comment that can't be read just as equally as "I am uncomfortable with the implications of this." Actually, I read PC bending over backwards to go "on its face" as an attempt to say "I see how this could seem like a good idea, but..." (Sorry for missing that one, by the way; I was searching for accusations of bad faith by using a ctrl+f and missed out on the keywords.)

And man, that's two commenters then who went to the bad faith place. In a 250-comment thread, where a lot of critical posts (emptythought's, for one; Ivan Fyodorovich's, and hydropsyche's as well) made sure to express that they did not think the OP was in bad faith, necessarily, and that they thought the OP hadn't necessarily seen some of the more negative implications.

And I actually disagree pretty emphatically with you about byanyothername, because how else are we supposed to talk about the feelings we get from conversations? I didn't get the impression byanyothername was talking about a huge sitewide conspiracy or anything, just a tone from the conversation. That's not necessarily accusatory unless you are looking for accusations. I'm still very much in the dark about how you'd like us to present these conversations. Can we talk about general feelings, or does everything have to be hedged with "I am sure you're a great person and you meant all the best, but..." whenever we bring up a critical point? Because assuming that people are great and that they intend only the best is my fundamental baseline assumption, but it does get old having to throw in lots of appeasement phrases when I bring up what (I think) is a very, very mild statement.

Huh. I thought saying which part was fine and not a problem was a way of saying which criticisms weren't perceived as being an attack on Yaypril or other users. The not instant assuming of bad faith, the actual reading of what the other person is saying rather than what you only think they're saying.

Try reading again.


I'm sorry, gadge, but I can't make heads or tails of this. Can you please try explaining again, maybe a little less defensively? Specifically, "which part was fine and not a problem" refers to what again? I keep squinting at it and I am not comprehending how you meant to parse this at all.
posted by sciatrix at 7:53 PM on March 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


Dude, no

I'm actually a lady, but I take your point.
posted by lalex at 7:56 PM on March 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


As a dead white French engineer, the American politics / social justice stuff is all very parochial and exhausting but it's easy enough to just not click on to the comment threads attached to single link op-eds about hot topics. It's a chore when people bring the point-scoring and posturing into more innocuous threads but I think people are generally able to code-switch. Definitely happy to support this initiative!
posted by nicolas léonard sadi carnot at 7:57 PM on March 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm actually a lady, but I take your point.

My apologies! Knew you were a lady, but I have this tendency to use a gender-neutral "dude," which has, ah, landed me into hot water before. I'll try to work on that in the future.
posted by sciatrix at 7:58 PM on March 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


"Dude," at the start of a sentence is gender-neutral. Also often just in general! Hell, 99% of the time when I refer to dudes, they don't even have gender. Or exist.

Because I am in your base, killing them.
posted by The Master and Margarita Mix at 7:58 PM on March 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


My apologies!

No worries! I am actually trying to wean myself off the same habit.
posted by lalex at 8:00 PM on March 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah, but that's the second time someone has gently corrected me on that front on Metafilter, and I try to err on the side of referring to people in a way that they feel is accurate. Regardless of what is going on in my own personal idiolect. And *especially* in Internet conversations where the gender of individual posters is a salient aspect of the conversation (i.e. in a discussion of our own personal feelings about WomensMarch).
posted by sciatrix at 8:01 PM on March 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


For example if the topic was women's health I might try and make a post showcasing awesome innovations in women's health, or advancements in legislation or advocacy, or people doing rad things, rather than shitty things happening in the world of women's health. It allows me to post about whatever I want, but it just allows me to refocus and explore a topic from an angle I might not always default to.

I think this is really well expressed.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:01 PM on March 14, 2015 [10 favorites]


My reading comprehension is just fine, gadge emeritus, I just plain don't agree with you, because you're reading some really weird shit into byanyothername's post. Sorry you're having trouble dealing positively with disagreement.
posted by kagredon at 8:04 PM on March 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


Yeah, but that's the second time someone has gently corrected me on that front on Metafilter, and I try to err on the side of referring to people in a way that they feel is accurate

Thanks in no small part to MetaFilter, I've eliminated an awful lot of offensive words from my repertoire over the past few years.

You know that old saying that you have to say a new word three times to really have it be part of your vocabulary? You probably also have to mess up a few times to eliminate one.
posted by lalex at 8:07 PM on March 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


Hm. So, I think the thread itself here was posted in good faith, and curbing combativeness, hostility and aggression are things I can get behind. My thoughts have been more along the lines of, "Here's one way focusing on curbing vaguely defined negativity can possibly go wrong," which is mostly informed by...having seen that happen before. Less in the moment commentary, more bringing it up as a possibility early to nip it in the bud. There's only been a little bit of it in the actual thread, and eh, whatever. It's not a big deal here, right now, but it's something to keep in mind mid-Yaypril.

There are lots of legitimate reasons to feel less than enthusiastic about a glut of political posts. It's wearying to have to have the same discussions over and over (and to feel like you have to stand up for yourself every time). It does sometimes feel like the site is a bit too heavy. It can be very parochial. That's fine--some positivity, inspiration, fluff and fun can be good there. But there's also sometimes harumphing about "advocacy" and "identity politics" and I feel like that side of things gets weaselly, because these are very vaguely defined terms and the arguments surrounding them look a lot like walling-off certain kinds of topics.

I like supercrayon's idea of refocusing on positive aspects of topics, too, but I also feel like that's expected with certain things, and when the expectation is there it gets very glurgy. Which is kind of the distinction--posting positive stuff is great, but there shouldn't be an expectation that it's exclusively what's acceptable on something.
posted by byanyothername at 8:12 PM on March 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


HATEPRIL
posted by Joseph Gurl at 8:17 PM on March 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


CRAPRIL
posted by lalex at 8:22 PM on March 14, 2015


craypril, the month on Metafilter where we discuss cetacean supercomputers
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:29 PM on March 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


BAD-PRIL
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 8:34 PM on March 14, 2015


I totally hear you on this, but I don't know - would you ever try to keep other people from doing advocacy stuff?

Oh if there was a roommate who was constantly advocating in the community space, they'd be asked to give a break for a while.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:37 PM on March 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


I'm not sure if you're missing the metaphor entirely, just using it badly, or failing at a joke, but I don't think that's a value-adding comment.
posted by NoraReed at 8:50 PM on March 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure if you're missing the metaphor entirely, just using it badly, or failing at a joke, but I don't think that's a value-adding comment.

I think I am genuinely missing the metaphor or the joke here. Can you expound?
posted by lalex at 8:58 PM on March 14, 2015


April?
Or C-MINUS-PRIL?
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:02 PM on March 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Metafilter is a community space, much like a living room or a kitchen, in a house full of roommates. If one roommate is always doing something that another find annoying, say baking cinnamon muffins every day, they'll probably be asked to get it rest at some point. And that's just for something people generally like.

The Master and Margarita Mix point seemed to be saying that stopping people from doing advocacy shouldn't be or isn't done. Perhaps, but they're often often asked to give a rest for a bit. And that's generally ok if not taken to extremes.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:11 PM on March 14, 2015


I feel like we can do a Yaypril voluntary for-fun challenge thing, without it being a 'do less advocacy' thing.

Another aspect of "positivity" I've been liking during WomensMarch has been people making interested comments in the posts.

I don't mean happy-happy comments, I mean comments that draw out an interesting aspect or something cool about the post etc -- placing focus on what's good or enjoyable or interesting, which bits are plausible, how this connects to something else interesting, rather than jumping to skepticism/mehness/counterexamples/flaws (which I think a lot of us internet nitpickers can be quick to do). Or if you like a post but otherwise wouldn't say anything, maybe pop in to say that you like it; we've all seen those great posts that don't generate much discussion, maybe make a comment there.

Anyway, I've been noticing it and it makes posts more enjoyable to read and I think it especially encourages newish posters. For people who are on board with trying some consciously-being-positive stuff for Yaypril, that might be another thing to try out.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:22 PM on March 14, 2015 [12 favorites]


(or obviously, something to keep up with, if you're already doing it for WomensMarch)
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:23 PM on March 14, 2015


Okay, here's a more sincere theme song for #yaypril "Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate The Positive"
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:34 PM on March 14, 2015


craypril, the month on Metafilter where we discuss cetacean supercomputers

Arthropod supercomputers. The cetaceans are in whalgust.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:01 PM on March 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


I've read every comment so far and I'm in agreement with what I'd consider the summary: Cheery posts greatly encouraged for the month of April/Yaypril, with no reduction or restriction on more sober posts, advocacy posts, political posts, etc.

IOW, no great change other than a nudge toward things that bring a smile or warm feelings.

I think it's a great idea. The posts thus far this month have been enjoyable and informative, full of good stuff - and it would seem to me that the more-posts-by-women thing should be able to continue indefinitely - why not? - and still be compatible with a mild push towards Happy Spring! posts at the same time.
posted by aryma at 10:18 PM on March 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


You'll have to pry that smile out of my cold, dead hands.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 12:23 AM on March 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


It isn't spring where I am but happy posts sound nice to me, especially if they don't come at the cost of talking about stuff that some people think is too heavy or brings the party down. I like posts about animals.
posted by gingerest at 12:56 AM on March 15, 2015


I'm sorry, gadge, but I can't make heads or tails of this.

In my comment, I pointed out which bit of byanyothername's I thought was fair criticism and which bit I thought went in the wrong direction.

And there's been long discussions about the higher impact of negative voices over the positive ones in threads. Which is part of why I think this is a great idea.
posted by gadge emeritus at 1:11 AM on March 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Brandon Blatcher: Metafilter is a community space, much like a living room or a kitchen, in a house full of roommates. If one roommate is always doing something that another find annoying, say baking cinnamon muffins every day, they'll probably be asked to get it rest at some point.

I'm not sure why it seems necessary to explain that a thread, which you can click open or leave closed quite easily, is different from things like smells or sounds that you cannot avoid so easily. Also a website is different from one's living room or kitchen in that I can easily go to a different website, but not as easily choose to have a different kitchen.
Surely you understand all of this, and thus, you know that your metaphor doesn't make a whole lot of sense?

If we're going to compare Metafilter to a living space, then threads are rooms, that I can walk into or stay out of.
posted by Too-Ticky at 2:55 AM on March 15, 2015 [6 favorites]


"You've got to ac-cent-chu-ate the positive,
E-lim-in-ate the negative,
E-vac-u-ate the premises..."
no, that's not it.
posted by oneswellfoop at 4:04 AM on March 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


I just want to say that I really appreciate hydropsyche and sciatrix both clarifying why they feel uneasy about this idea. As I've expressed, I like the idea of tagging positive posts, and I didn't really make the connection to how it could be seen as taking away from Women's March, but after reading these comments, I think I have a better idea of where you guys are coming from.

This also reminded me that that I still really want to put together a post for Women's March.
posted by litera scripta manet at 5:13 AM on March 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


So, trying to use supercrayon's line of thinking...

If you're posting a light-hearted, uplifting, happy-making FPP during April, would you please tag it as "Yaypril"?
posted by MonkeyToes at 6:30 AM on March 15, 2015


If we're going to compare Metafilter to a living space, then threads are rooms, that I can walk into or stay out of.

Perhaps, but the front page is the living room you have to travel through to get to another room. You can't ever escape what's going on there, you just have to grin and bear it.

Which is fine usually, it's a community space, no one is going to like everything on the front page. But it's not odd to ask that particular repeating themes be given a rest for a bit.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:04 AM on March 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure why it seems necessary to explain that a thread, which you can click open or leave closed quite easily, is different from things like smells or sounds that you cannot avoid so easily. Also a website is different from one's living room or kitchen in that I can easily go to a different website, but not as easily choose to have a different kitchen.
Surely you understand all of this, and thus, you know that your metaphor doesn't make a whole lot of sense?


Makes perfect sense. If cinnamon muffins are grary/SJ/advocacy threads, the problem is when we're having curry night, and three bites in, said annoying roommate announces "Oh, you're eating food! Muffins are also food. Cinnamon is the best spice" and now we're taking about cinnamon again. On curry night.
posted by amorphatist at 7:13 AM on March 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


Perhaps, but the front page is the living room you have to travel through to get to another room. You can't ever escape what's going on there, you just have to grin and bear it.

Dude, just keep scrolling. There are plenty of posts that I have zero interest in, so I just don't click through to read them.

The front page is less like a living room and more like the lobby of a large building. Scan the list of names on mailboxes to figure out who or what is in which unit, then visit the unit you want to visit and don't visit the ones you don't want to.
posted by Lexica at 7:43 AM on March 15, 2015 [12 favorites]


Wait, SJ is social justice, right? Do you see that as a bad thing? Do you prefer social unjustice? Antisocial justice?
So many questions.

In any case, derailing threads on the blue is never okay, and that's why modding is a Good Thing.
posted by Too-Ticky at 7:46 AM on March 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


The front page is less like a living room and more like the lobby of a large building. Scan the list of names on mailboxes to figure out who or what is in which unit, then visit the unit you want to visit and don't visit the ones you don't want to.

In this analogy, there's a Cinnabon on every floor, and cinnamon muffins are served at every conference call.
posted by amorphatist at 7:53 AM on March 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Wait, SJ is social justice, right? Do you see that as a bad thing? Do you prefer social unjustice? Antisocial justice?

One could favor, say, socialism, and yet be opposed to the methods of, say, the Bolsheviks.

In any case, derailing threads on the blue is never okay, and that's why modding is a Good Thing.

You should flag or point out any derailing if that's the mood you're in.
posted by amorphatist at 7:56 AM on March 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


Dude, just keep scrolling. There are plenty of posts that I have zero interest in, so I just don't click through to read them.

Sure, but one has to read a bit of post to decide whether its of interest. Then you keep strolling. But one hast to read through various things first and having to repeatedly read similar subjects that you're not interested gets irritating after a while.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:15 AM on March 15, 2015


In this analogy, there's a Cinnabon on every floor

where is this paradise
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:30 AM on March 15, 2015 [11 favorites]


In this analogy, there's a Cinnabon on every floor, and cinnamon muffins are served at every conference call.

Okay. So let's examine this analogy and whether it's actually accurate to the number of specifically social justice oriented topics out there. Me, I have posted four FPPs this week relating to things I thought were interesting or cool. Maybe one of those things (the Captain America and labor song history FPP) has been social justice oriented in nature, dealing as it does with class issues. Of those four posts, I don't think social justice topics were explicitly touched on in any of the three that didn't deal with class struggle. I mean, it's hard to bring up social justice in a thread about rodent vomiting or one about standing up straight.

But all of that is really me-centric--it informs my perception of the community as a whole because obviously I have paid attention to those posts and found those topics interesting. So let me look at the broader makeup of the site. Let's focus on the last full day of posting, yesterday, March 14. On that day, I see 27 posts, total. Of those, I see 3 (this post on a Dachau survivor, this post on a teenager who was unjustly imprisoned, and this post on there being no such thing as "correct" English ) as being explicitly about issues that pertain to social justice. I followed a subset of these and read the discussion in full yesterday, which is admittedly a biased subset inasmuch as I am a person with a different set of interests than other people here. However, I'm biased towards finding conversations about social justice issues interesting and frequently insightful, so I'm going to talk about the discussion of those things here.

So okay, I follow five of those posts--the Jane Goodall one, the one I made on science, the testicles thread, the backpacking thread, and the German meme-off thread. None of these are explicitly social justice oriented in nature. Of these, social justice ideas with respect to feminism come up in the testicles thread and the Jane Goodall thread.

If we assume that I am picking an unbiased subset of not-into-social-justice FPPs to follow and that that is the ratio that social justice pops up in conversations, extending that 0.40% ratio gives us a total of 9 or 10 of those remaining not-framed-as-social-justice threads where social justice perspectives might crop up in discussion. Not necessarily which are a huge part of the discussion, but just might turn up in a couple of comments. (I actually kind of doubt that ratio applies more broadly and would be happy if someone wanted to check the total ratio of social justice-informed comments, but whatever.) That leaves you with a whole 14 or 15 posts per day that have nothing to do with social justice. Nothing at all! They never appear! If you wanted, you could avoid those topics completely and still have plenty to read and think about. What this looks like to me is that approximately half of MeFi threads might be informed by social justice issues and approximately half are on subjects where this never turns up. So honestly, this idea where there's a Cinnabon on every floor (lots and lots of social justice-informed FPPs) and cinnamon muffins are served at every conference call (social justice-informed comments pop up on all the FPPs) seems like a pretty intense overexaggeration to me. Especially when, as pointed out, no one is making you read those threads.
posted by sciatrix at 8:30 AM on March 15, 2015 [13 favorites]


IMO a good advocacy post is created, not discovered. It requires multiple links and some written content. It becomes "Best of the Web" by the care the poster puts into it.

Whereas cat-scan quality "Best of the Web" content is often a single link because there isn't much to be said: it's a one-off gimmick.

IMO MeFi would benefit by increasing the front page post time-out from once per day to once per week.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:45 AM on March 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


But it's not odd to ask that particular repeating themes be given a rest for a bit.

Almost by definition, something interesting or important is amenable to ad nauseam discussion. I don't like prescriptive edicts involving the words "positive" and "negative" (or the phrases "drop it", "give it a rest", and their synonyms) because, in my experience, they are almost always used by people who are, for whatever reason, unwilling to give some subject the rumination it deserves to impose their idea of tranquility.

But one hast to read through various things first and having to repeatedly read similar subjects that you're not interested gets irritating after a while.

We're deep in bizarre-complaint territory. You know what I hate? SLYT-type posts with little or no explanation about what they are. I'm very unlikely to ever click on the link, so it may as well not be there, but does take up space, which means (the horror!) that I have to scroll past a lot of posts sometimes, performing (the horror!) a quick calculation to determine whether each post is a genuine post or autoplaying-mystery-meat irrelevance.

This state of affairs rates so low on the pain-in-the-ass scale that it would be deeply weird to me to spend more effort (above and beyond the tiny cumulative effort of scanning the front page for poorly-described SLYT-type posts) creating and then defending a rather unfaithful metaphor about it.

Analogously, if certain topics do not interest you, then the whole problem is: scanning through the front page and ignoring posts on those topics. If this is irritating above and beyond the type of low-level, inconsequential irritation I described above, then it would be worth considering why you find other people having discussions, barely within earshot, about topics that don't interest you irritating enough that it's worth asking those people to cease those discussions.
posted by busted_crayons at 8:52 AM on March 15, 2015 [11 favorites]


so just to recap, are we still "special snowflakes who think every post contains coded language to harm them" or jumping to the " uncharitable, ungenerous reading" now that people are explicitly saying that they think Yaypril should be about fewer posts on social justice?
posted by kagredon at 9:21 AM on March 15, 2015 [8 favorites]


Fff, I am trying so hard not to take personal offense at your comment in light of a) linking to a conversation I had upthread about feeling I was overwhelming the front page and b) commenting about the multiple posts I made this week immediately before your response. I am trying so hard. Was that an accident? Because if so, goddamn your timing could use some work.
posted by sciatrix at 9:30 AM on March 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


You know, we're talking about "social justice" posts as if they're explicitly intended to solely be advocacy, but I think a lot of the time when someone posts something that gets read as a "social justice" post, it's just them posting and sharing stuff that's relevant to their lives. I mean, even if I were to post stuff as innocuous as highlighting a PoC artist or discussing something queer happening, I know that there's a chance that it'll descend into a fight. I'm really bummed about that too, but it's not like I post stuff relevant to my background and interests because I'm angling for a fight or because I'm trying to sway people's minds on an issue - I'm just trying to post something cool to my own niche that might resonate with someone else here too. I sometimes feel like anything that doesn't align with the white-cishet-male interests implicitly gets labelled as "social justice", inviting a fight as the usual crowd jumps in to defend the status quo, but that shouldn't ought to be my fault.
posted by Conspire at 9:50 AM on March 15, 2015 [27 favorites]


Kadregan: "now that people are explicitly saying that they think Yaypril should be about fewer posts on social justice?"

That highlighted bit, that's the key.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:28 AM on March 15, 2015


So I mean, the cinnamon buns analogy falls apart for me. It seems like, rather it's like I'm a roommate with a white guy and I cook with soy sauce in my own food a lot, because you know, I'm Chinese, and he's comes up to me and insists that I should stop using soy sauce all the time because it bothers him and he doesn't use soy sauce all the time, and am I trying to force him to put soy sauce on his ice cream by having a bottle of it around and actively using it, even though it's my own food.
posted by Conspire at 11:28 AM on March 15, 2015 [6 favorites]


sciatrix, if I want to pick on you, I will do it by using your name and being blunt in a manner you will not mistake.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:31 AM on March 15, 2015


That highlighted bit, that's the key.

So you've never grabbed an umbrella when it's cloudy outside though it hasn't started raining?
posted by kagredon at 11:37 AM on March 15, 2015


And then if we were to talk about the comments in this MeTa specifically it would be like he said "why can't you make normal person food" when talking about my use of soy sauce, and me responding "I'm Chinese, this is normal for me," only to have him throw up his arms and go "omg why does everything have to be about identity you're such a SJW." And then say he wouldn't have started the fight in the first place if I just would stop cooking with soy sauce and make mac and cheese.
posted by Conspire at 11:39 AM on March 15, 2015 [16 favorites]


My mistake for confusing that post with the other passive aggressive little one liners you've been threadshitting all over MeTa, then. I'm sure you'll be just as proficient at active aggression as you've been in those.
posted by sciatrix at 11:49 AM on March 15, 2015 [7 favorites]


So you've never grabbed an umbrella when it's cloudy outside though it hasn't started raining?

You unjustly accuse clouds of harbouring rain and that's one thing; but accusing users of using coded language and harbouring ill intentions toward women is something else entirely. I suggest that you should treat OP with more respect and less ill will than you do clouds.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:51 AM on March 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


More seriously: Conspire, thank you for trying to de-escalate the conflict. I am in total agreement with how I see you thinking here. I just don't know what to DO about any of it.
posted by sciatrix at 11:54 AM on March 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


In a thread called "April Showers" you better believe I'm gonna give fat, dark clouds some side eye and umbrella-brandishing-at. I see what you're up to, clouds! No Precipitation Without Representation!
posted by byanyothername at 11:56 AM on March 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


I am kind of dizzy with the ongoing mix of analogies and headbutting in here.

I feel like there's (a) the discussion about the actual, pretty laidback idea of people tagging fun stuff next month with #Yaypril that we've actually formally supported as mods, and (b) the theoretical things-that-aren't-that that some folks have been digging into in a way that's really not so great. This thread's gonna be a lot more useful if it's organizing stuff regarding point a than it is in escalating point b, so if folks could please try and reorient their participation in here at this point in that direction (whether that means talking more about point a or just leaving it at having said your piece on point b and doing something else) I'd really appreciate that.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:57 AM on March 15, 2015 [5 favorites]


You unjustly accuse innocent clouds of harbouring rain

It has nothing to do with "coded language", people are just responding to the actual language in the OP where they request "negative-free month" and imply that political posts are all big downers and shouldn't be posted. The whole thing is framed around decreasing the political stuff that the OP apparently feels is just a big downer. "I'd like to propose a negative- free month. ... If it's fighty, don't post it. If it's political, don't post it. Well, go ahead, but it's not part of April Showers. You know what I mean. Can we spend April ignoring the Worst of the web?"

OP even goes so far as to imply that the political stuff isn't really MeFi, that it's outside of our "core business" and is in fact "worst of the web". Of course people are responding to that! Everyone has a different idea of what the "core business" of MeFi is and it's unsurprising that those assertions would be challenged by the people he's trying to basically exclude from the "real" MeFi community.

For as poorly as the post was framed, I'm actually surprised people have been as kind about this idea as they have. I'm fully on board with Yaypril as a voluntary fun thing, but the original idea very explicitly requests no negative political posts this month. People are actually being pretty gentle for such an incredibly loaded request.
posted by dialetheia at 12:00 PM on March 15, 2015 [13 favorites]


his thread's gonna be a lot more useful if it's organizing stuff regarding point a than it is in escalating point b, so if folks could please try and reorient their participation in here at this point in that direction

In the interest of clarity, it might be worth making a new Yaypril MeTa, containing some version of the original proposal (but without the shitty framing and explicitly devoted to productive organizational stuff), and then closing this thread.
posted by busted_crayons at 12:03 PM on March 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


I dunno if it's that abstract, cortex. The way I'm reading this thread is that people are asking other members not to post things that will "start fights." But within Metafilter, there's a culture where anything perceived as being on social justice - even if it's not and just something that comes from the perspective of someone with a different background than the white male norm - instantly is fuel for a fight. I don't know how to reconcile the request of "don't post fighty things" without feeling like I can't actually talk about myself on Metafilter for all of this month.
posted by Conspire at 12:04 PM on March 15, 2015 [16 favorites]


I didn't accuse anyone of anything, fff. I stated that the language being used seemed like it could also be used to silence certain topics, and that I was sort of leery of it for that reason. And then, guess what, that exact thing happened. You really have no business telling people to act more charitably given your own posts in this Meta, tbh.
posted by kagredon at 12:05 PM on March 15, 2015 [6 favorites]


I just want to say that as someone working on a Yapril post, it is on those of us who may use the tag not to use it as some kind of weird, crypto aggressive political tool and I will be mindful of the thoughtful concerns that some in this thread have with the concept.

Maybe we should think about relaunching this with a more procedural thread later in the month which also removes some of the language people are objecting to? I think some space would be good also because Women's March is still going on and I don't think we should step on that.
posted by selfnoise at 12:09 PM on March 15, 2015 [6 favorites]


I don't know how to reconcile the request of "don't post fighty things" without feeling like I can't actually talk about myself on Metafilter for all of this month.

Well, again, my first comment right up at the top wasn't endorsing a "don't post fighty things" initiative, and I think the bulk of the folks saying "hey, Yaypril sounds good" aren't doing so either. That there's been some discussion here about how people feel about the idea of that counterfactual initiative or about the possibility that the framing of the initial post could suggest it is fine as far as that goes, but at this point it feels like at this point there's a lot of ongoing acrimony based on that kind of abstract, not-something-actually-being-supported-as-a-plan idea, is all.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:21 PM on March 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


I can't understand what the ballyhoo is all about. It's right there in the op:

" If it's fighty, don't post it. If it's political, don't post it. Well, go ahead, but it's not part of April Showers."

Nutshell? Post what you want, as always. Participate in Yaypril if you'd like to.

Christ. Nobody is being silenced all their life.
posted by Klaxon Aoooogah at 12:55 PM on March 15, 2015 [6 favorites]


I thought it had already been decided that there would be no restriction on what could be posted, no change, no reduction in social justice posts, no need to limit what anyone wants to share, absolutely no cutting back or reducing or changing any posts that anyone might want to contribute, that the only difference in the April program from the January, February, or March program would be the encouragement to post more happy posts in celebration of Yay! It's SPRING! At Last!

Why does this continue to come back around and back around about not being allowed to post serious, feminist-oriented or advocacy-oriented subjects? The initial post has been discussed, hashed over, picked apart and debated, just as it should be, and anyone reading the entire thread will find the result is: No change to the normal, just more happy stuff would be nice.

It's already been decided, hasn't it? There are no restrictions - post anything, just like usual. At least that's what I've gotten out of reading the entire thread. There is no change to worry about. Those who wish to will post more light and happy material, those who wish to post other material will do so. And everyone will read what they want and ignore what they want.
posted by aryma at 1:11 PM on March 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


And everyone will read what they want and ignore what they want.

Apparently, some people find that last bit really hard.
posted by Too-Ticky at 1:15 PM on March 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


Because people keep coming in and talking about how they want fewer posts and comments about social justice issues. It's not like people are making up that thread of this conversation.
posted by jaguar at 1:18 PM on March 15, 2015 [13 favorites]


people keep coming in and talking about how they want fewer posts and comments about social justice issues.

Yes. Those are the people that should learn how to ignore things they do not enjoy reading about. Sorry if that wasn't clear.
posted by Too-Ticky at 1:21 PM on March 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


Because people keep coming in and talking about how they want fewer posts and comments about social justice issues.


Yes, there are multiple perspectives coming in here and yapping about the initial post despite the fact that aspects of it were flat-out rejected by cortex within 5 comments. It is possible to be a pointless jackass from a seemingly infinite number of directions. None of them should throw their arms out patting themselves on the back.
posted by phearlez at 1:26 PM on March 15, 2015 [6 favorites]


still relevant
posted by kagredon at 1:29 PM on March 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Big fan here of people posting what seems to them important; but I am also all in favor of focusing on the sunny side while the focusing is good, because folks, keep in mind that the 2016 U.S elections are teeeeetering on the brink of coming down on us like a thousand-ton shit avalanche. And in those dark times we will need all the Yay! we can get.
posted by Kat Allison at 1:35 PM on March 15, 2015


What's funny is that if one wasn't really looking at the tags of individual posts or saw this weird thread beforehand, then their experience of the front page probably won't be any different than usual throughout next month.
posted by Abon Sapi at 1:52 PM on March 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yes. Those are the people that should learn how to ignore things they do not enjoy reading about. Sorry if that wasn't clear.

Sorry, Too-Ticky, yes, I got that! I was responding to the comment before yours.
posted by jaguar at 1:59 PM on March 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


Nobody is being silenced all their life

Nobody we've heard from anyway
posted by aubilenon at 2:05 PM on March 15, 2015 [10 favorites]


Have you seen my bedroom?

That's beautiful! Much better than the pentacle.
posted by bendy at 2:15 PM on March 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Why does this continue to come back around and back around about not being allowed to post serious, feminist-oriented or advocacy-oriented subjects?

Because there is a persistent attitude on the site that indicates those of us who post about SJ-oriented stuff are posting material that in itself is fighty. We're posting about stuff that's relevant to our lives, and it's only seen as fighty because there's always pushback in a culture that is heteronormative/white supremacist/patriarchal/transphobic/etc to stuff that challenges the status quo. A lot of us are sick of being told that we're doing some kind of agenda-driven provocative thing when we talk about these things that effect our lives. Conspire's soy sauce metaphor is a really good one, and I think this is something that happens to a lot of us on a lot of axes; the whole "why do you have to make everything about (SYSTEM OF OPPRESSION THAT FUCKS WITH YOUR LIFE)" thing is something a lot of us spend our whole lives dealing with, and we already have to check what stuff we're allowed to talk about ALL THE TIME to avoid having to fight that fight when we don't have the stamina for it.
posted by NoraReed at 2:29 PM on March 15, 2015 [20 favorites]


Because people keep coming in and talking about how they want fewer posts and comments about social justice issues

So? Metafilter isn't a one-hit wonder and everyone is entitled to their opinion. The mods have stated that it's business as usual and there's no restriction on posts of any particular topic. Nobody is being forced to participate in Yaypril. There is no problem here.
posted by Klaxon Aoooogah at 2:33 PM on March 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


That pervasive attitude, though, means that marginalized people get more pushback when they talk about their issues, and it's part of an underlying vein of sewage that runs under much of the site and occasionally erupts onto the surface, generally on MeTa. I know that it actively drives women off of the site; it probably drives others away too.
posted by NoraReed at 2:40 PM on March 15, 2015 [5 favorites]


I feel like this might have gotten lost in some of the other back and forth, so I just want to reiterate the idea of having a designated "feelgood" tag that is not tied to any particular month, because I think it would be neat to have an easy way to filter for cheery, upbeat posts.* If other people are in favor of this, maybe they would even want to back tag their relevant posts. Of course, this is totally an opt in, do it if you like the idea kind of thing.

Even if some people don't like the Yaypril idea, a feel good tag might side step some of these more fraught issues. Not that we can't still do the Yaypril thing, but the feelgood tag seems like it might appeal to a wider audience.

*Unless something like this already exists and I just didn't know about it.
posted by litera scripta manet at 2:45 PM on March 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Or maybe I should just stop trying to make fetch feelgood happen.
posted by litera scripta manet at 2:46 PM on March 15, 2015


I'm going to get a jump on the feel-good month with this link, which I don't think warrants a post in the blue. Tempting to make it an "update to previous posts" grey link, but finding the OPs on this device is painful:

Jazz has landed commercial work with J&J.. Very, very cool. Jazz rocks.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:55 PM on March 15, 2015


This thread is bewildering. Who has catered teleconferences? The whole point of a teleconference is you aren't meeting in person. How can clouds be unjustly accused of harboring rain? Clouds are made of water droplets. Why are some people saving happy posts for April when we could be happy now?
posted by gingerest at 3:04 PM on March 15, 2015 [11 favorites]


let us post and lol, for tomorrow we die?
posted by NoraReed at 3:06 PM on March 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


#marchofides
posted by clavdivs at 3:13 PM on March 15, 2015 [7 favorites]


Because people keep coming in and talking about how they want fewer posts and comments about social justice issues

I personally would simply like site tools to hide particular posts from the front page on my computer. Yeah, that's not gonna happen, so it goes.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:34 PM on March 15, 2015


it's called the scrollbar and you hide things by moving it down. here is a useful video explanation
posted by NoraReed at 3:43 PM on March 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


MyMefi. Very helpful.
posted by zarq at 3:46 PM on March 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


Also.
posted by zarq at 3:49 PM on March 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


MyMefi. Very helpful.

Thanks, but that's relies on people tagging posts as the user sees fit, so it's hit or miss. Not a terrible idea, but I'm looking for something a bit stronger

Also.

Yes, I've heard of that theory, but not quite the situation here.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:53 PM on March 15, 2015


I personally would simply like site tools to hide particular posts from the front page on my computer.

That is my dream never-gonna-happen pony for above the fold content I find extremely upsetting; frex stuff dealing with animal abuse or loss of a pet.
posted by lalex at 4:09 PM on March 15, 2015


Does MeFi Nope no longer work?
posted by Elementary Penguin at 4:16 PM on March 15, 2015


it's called the scrollbar and you hide things by moving it down. here is a useful video explanation

Hey, since we've disagreed so vigorously in the past, you should knock off the snide jokes and putdowns. I'm reading them as a passive aggressive attack and its not helping this thread at all.

If you want to helpful, then do so. Otherwise cut it out.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:27 PM on March 15, 2015 [7 favorites]


Does MeFi Nope no longer work?

It does, somewhat. But my browser of choice is Safari, not a big fan of Chrome or Firefox so it's like trading one irritation for another to use it. Plus it isn't tied to my MeFi account and I use several computers throughout the day usually, so it's like playing whack a mole as I move around.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:29 PM on March 15, 2015


"If you want to helpful, then do so. Otherwise cut it out."

Something reflexive about physicians.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 4:49 PM on March 15, 2015 [8 favorites]


I don't even know with this thread anymore. If everybody could just ask themselves "is one of my primary motivations with this comment to get in someone else's face" and just skip posting it if the answer is yes—even if you feel like they deserve it or whatever other justification—then we'd be collectively a whole lot better off.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:04 PM on March 15, 2015 [11 favorites]


Don't have a dog in this Yaypril foolishness* but I doubt BB is quite so completely oblivious to the contradictory nature of his response.

*Referring to the direction this MeTa has taken, not disparaging valkane's motivations.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 6:05 PM on March 15, 2015


I love the idea of YAYPRIL. It's much better than my original phrase/concept, and I'm really happy that I could suggest something and metafilter could make it even better.

This was really all I had in mind. And I'm sincerely sorry if anyone thought I was trying to put anything else in the shade. That really, really was not my intention.
posted by valkane at 7:32 PM on March 15, 2015 [13 favorites]


So I went down to the ice cream parlor to meet everyone after work, but no one was there, what happened? Did y'all go to Cinnabun instead?
posted by riverlife at 7:51 PM on March 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


"Honestly I think the "Important" posts are some of the worst ones for Metafilter. They're usually political, usually controversial, and usually cause a fighty shitshow or bad feelings on a lot of community residents."

For me, the Platonic "bad 'Important'" post is of the "sign my petition" variety. In other words, it's something where the desired effect of the post is to achieve a positive action outside of MetaFilter by rhetorical means of the post. I recognize that definition isn't dispositive by itself; "positive action" is too vaguely defined as part of keeping the definition viewpoint neutral, and can fall down when filled with things like "have someone outside of MeFi read and enjoy the post," but I think it's robust enough in general to get at what I don't like about them.

From there, I think the mistake that can be made is regarding political or controversial posts as therefore activist-framed "important," when there are plenty of political or controversial posts that are still great content.

"That seems kind of problematic, especially coming as it does from presumably cisgender heterosexual white guy, when most of the recent "fighty and political" things I've seen have been related to things like feminism and campus sexual assault and transgender issues."

Right, but that's not inherent. Consider one of the most recent campus sexual assault posts, the law review article. While I honestly think that it was a decent post for MetaFilter despite the ensuing argy-bargy, it was one that a fair number of people who are emphatically not approaching MeFi with a bias toward cisgender heterosexual white guys thought shouldn't have been posted because it was thin and seemed aimed at provoking a debate on MeFi. While the objection can be problematic, it's a position that isn't inherently tied to kyriarchical power.

"In my past incarnation, I was somewhat prominently the MetaTalk participant who advocated against such posts. I felt then, and still feel now, as klangklangston does that "Best of the Web" is actually a pretty good rule-of-thumb metric for what should and shouldn't be posted. Basically, really cool stuff that one feels like the rest of the community would appreciate. That can include news and controversial stuff if it's, well, really good and would appeal to a large portion of the community. But what I mildly didn't like then, and still slightly don't like now, are posts that are very niche (in terms of the size of the MetaFilter audience), very "issue-advocacy" and "important", widely reported news stories, or are really just about the anticipated discussion and not the post itself. What I still moderately dislike these days are posts that combine several of these at once."

I think "best of the web" is a good schema for MeFi posts; I think it consistently generates good content for the community and that good content (with either good or little conversation) will ultimately bring in better members overall than good conversation about crappy content. I don't think it's the only rubric for MeFi posting; I just posted an article from a random fruit club magazine that's a PDF of the layout — I think that PDFs are generally a pretty crappy format for the web, both decreasing the accessibility and mucking with the user's design preferences. As a use of the medium, it's not nearly "best of the web." But I thought that the content in there was really interesting, and would be interesting to other people, and would be something they likely hadn't seen unless they were in a niche of California rare fruit growers.

"But, all that said, I think the ship sailed a long time ago with regard to newsfilter and advocacy posts and, sadly, posts that exist mostly for the discussion. Even ten years ago, there were a lot of people who said that these sorts of things were the main reason they read MetaFilter, and that's even more true today."

Yeah, that was an awkward point in Rory's recent comment about what kind of members MeFi wants to attract and a real consequence of a shift in the starting niche audience of MeFi being people who were really involved in building the nascent web to a general audience that wasn't as skewed toward the geek creators working in solitude.

That said, I still think that the advocacy post as I think of it is a generally bad impulse for MeFi members, and distinct from newsfilter, which I also generally think of as bad for different reasons. The combination thereof is usually extra terrible — I don't know how much my conception of that is colored by the quality of advocacy journalism and general contempt for advocacy journalists. There are a few places that do that really well (e.g. Center for Investigative Journalism), and a ton of places that do it cheap, lazy and stupid (e.g. 90% of HuffPo identity politics verticals).

"And I've come to value a fair portion of the newsfilter posts. I've come to value the advocacy posts and the "this is important" posts."

That's fair, though I think that there can still be a fruitful discussion about those categories, starting with whether or not they're assumed to be pejorative. For example, Limeonaire's Fergusson stuff eventually got translated into an FPP, if I recall correctly, and while it both advanced an agenda (broadly) and was current events focused, it was also some awesome content that gave a view of events that was full of relevant information that was obscure on the national or international news level. So, it was political and newsfilter, though without much of a positive external agenda outside of furthering public discussion. And you could certainly argue that it was "important," though I think that part of my objection to using that as a criterion is apparent in that — "important" is at best a second-level virtue due to the underlying quality. "Important" doesn't add a lot.

It was also a topic that was controversial, political and engendered fighty shitshows, which kind of illustrates the problem with arguing either from those characteristics or from consequences.

"The sky hasn't fallen."

uh it pretty much resulted in the cortex coup #truth2power

"It's not madness when it's realized as "less of something" rather than "more of something". I don't understand why people like yourself keep insisting that such an orientation is a crazypants non sequitor when a lot of the language in the OP and subsequent discussion has been about "reducing" and not "increasing". I totally agree that an "increasing" formulation (at least in theory) doesn't hurt anyone and that had all the discussion only been talking about "increasing" then it would be weird for people to get very upset about it being "reducing". But the negative, oppositional orientation is right there in the post and in the thread."

I can recognize the "If you can't say anything nice" vibe that people are picking up, and tangentially it's interesting to me to think about this in terms of the ongoing MeFi "skip it if you don't like it" anti-deletionist argument. Especially when remembering that basically no one reads all of MeFi anymore except that shut-in bot that cortex made to see if you can Markov generate cocktail party chatter.

"What I'm left with is that "I think this is important and we should talk about it" really isn't quite a strong enough reason for a post and, if the posts are very weak in this way, it's difficult to see that the grar that often results is worth it. Even so, I'm extremely wary of pushing this line very hard for the precise reasons I've been arguing in this thread -- that the MRA trolls are brought to the fore by sexism/feminism threads and that the "important" posts end up involving people behaving badly isn't the fault of the topic, it's the fault of the people how behave badly. But limiting the topic ends up limiting the voices for whom these issues are their lives and are very important, and who normally are silenced elsewhere in our culture. Silencing those voices -- or, for that matter, public discussion about how our society is unjust -- is absolutely not acceptable collateral damage in service of making things more pleasant. Not even remotely. The right answer is to insist that people behave better."

Yeah, I just don't think there's a coherent enough definition of what the problem is to come out with anything but advocating that users post more things that make them themselves happy in the theory of shifting MeFi focus as a whole. Because I think you're right that there's not a clear enough line to ask for mod intervention, at least not in anyway that's not based on the sort of subjective slippery sands that lead to endless acrimony.

"And the reason why I included that "at least in theory" parenthetical is that even if the framing was without exception a positive framing, this particular message isn't sui generis, it is very familiar and has a cultural context."

There are multiple contexts in which something like that can be written and, with the good faith assumption that the OP didn't intend the request to lead to hermeneutics, understanding that a fair number of folks are reacting to the post through that problematic framing can just as much be an argument about the framing as the putative content of the request.
posted by klangklangston at 7:54 PM on March 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


#marchofides

Seems a bit specialized. I mean, I'm a little surprised there hasn't been a post on Visual Studio Community Edition, but a month is kinda overkill.
posted by Jpfed at 8:13 PM on March 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


hermeneutics

Dude, I hadda look that up, and I still don't exactly know that I grasp what you're saying. That's not a slur on you, but a comment on my lack of understanding. i think I agree with you.

All I was thinking (saying) was maybe if we tried to post happy stuff for a while, maybe happy would be something that carried over.

I worked in the media for a long time, and the rule there was fear was what sold. Now it's clickbait. As newsfilter has become an accepted thing (I'm not complaining, I cherish the smart folks at meta's take on the headlines) metafilter has become a reflection of the media.

But I think we also have the (amazing) ability to ignore the "thing of the day" and bring to light aspects of the web propelled by passion and love. These are the things that I implied when I said something that brings a smile to your face.

Now, that might include any political article (how I hate that I used that word in the post for lack of a better word) that shows a way forward, a way to eliminate the grar that might be fomented.

I know the world has suckass shit going on. For some folks. But it's also got good shit going on. For some folks. The idea was to look at some of the good shit. Because I think the bad shit sells more clicks. So, I've argued myself out of a job.
posted by valkane at 8:26 PM on March 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


Yeah.
posted by clavdivs at 8:28 PM on March 15, 2015


"I don't even know with this thread anymore. If everybody could just ask themselves "is one of my primary motivations with this comment to get in someone else's face" and just skip posting it if the answer is yes—even if you feel like they deserve it or whatever other justification—then we'd be collectively a whole lot better off."

By this point, I assume a good 30 percent of MeTa is "Lookit that asshole postin' comments like they own the place."
posted by klangklangston at 12:36 AM on March 16, 2015 [8 favorites]


"Dude, I hadda look that up, and I still don't exactly know that I grasp what you're saying. That's not a slur on you, but a comment on my lack of understanding. i think I agree with you."

Close examination of the text in order to parse all its implications.
posted by klangklangston at 12:40 AM on March 16, 2015


So, Cortex, when Matt left and stopped drawing a salary, his former salary got divvied up and you mods all got raises, right? Please tell me you all got raises.
posted by Bugbread at 6:10 AM on March 16, 2015 [5 favorites]


He told me there was some valuable treasure under a rock on a hill near his house, but I went and looked and all it was was someone wrote "peace on earth" on the bottom of the rock and then someone else drew a picture of a dick and also there was a gum wrapper.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:16 AM on March 16, 2015 [26 favorites]


Those Bazooka Joe comics are so funny.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 7:32 AM on March 16, 2015 [11 favorites]


some valuable treasure under a rock on a hill near his house, but I went and looked and all it was was someone wrote "peace on earth" on the bottom of the rock

My god, was that a "One Tin Soldier" reference? I'm gonna have that song in my head all day.
posted by cwest at 8:31 AM on March 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


He told me there was some valuable treasure under a rock on a hill near his house, but I went and looked and all it was was someone wrote "peace on earth" on the bottom of the rock and then someone else drew a picture of a dick and also there was a gum wrapper.

I hope you took these items. You will need them later for your quest. Press I for Inventory to see.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:40 AM on March 16, 2015 [8 favorites]


My god, was that a "One Tin Soldier" reference? I'm gonna have that song in my head all day.

The weird thing is that I already had "One Tin Soldier" in my head an hour before cortex posted that.
posted by hydropsyche at 8:54 AM on March 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


"I hope you took these items. You will need them later for your quest. Press I for Inventory to see."

If you put the gum wrapper on the rock and throw it at the tree, the owl reads it and and gives you the key to the room behind the bookcase.
posted by klangklangston at 9:51 AM on March 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


But you need to solve a sliding block puzzle to reveal the keyhole.
posted by Iridic at 10:02 AM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


But what about the dick?
posted by Abon Sapi at 10:08 AM on March 16, 2015


Kerning problem.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 10:09 AM on March 16, 2015 [7 favorites]


You've been eaten by a grue. Too bad you didn't keep the rock.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 12:42 PM on March 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


I have spent so much of my 'adventure gaming' time inside a grue's stomach, I've started to get comfortable there. The wifi is pretty good.
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:32 PM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


So...this is what we do instead of posting recipes now?

Because this is funnier...but not really different.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 4:31 PM on March 16, 2015


You have been eaten by a grue. 
He sauteed your liver and giblets with eggs and onions, 
in a delicious butter sauce. 
Grue recipes!
posted by zarq at 4:52 PM on March 16, 2015


Pedernales River Chili.

Attributed to Lady Bird Johnson, but I found the same recipe with LBJs' name on it in the The Congressional Club Cookbook, 1961.

Figures.
posted by clavdivs at 4:58 PM on March 16, 2015


Nixon used Lowry's seasoning and bacon in his meat loaf.
posted by clavdivs at 5:00 PM on March 16, 2015


"I am not a cook."
posted by tonycpsu at 10:04 PM on March 16, 2015 [12 favorites]


Ah, but Nixon's secret ingredient in all his dishes was to let a bit of that upper lip sweat he was always surreptitiously wiping to drip in the pot.
posted by Abon Sapi at 10:10 PM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Pats' Sherry.
posted by clavdivs at 2:34 PM on March 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


Just a friendly reminder that in 1978 in Hutto v. Finney the U.S. Supreme Court upheld an order that the grue diets be disallowed:
Prisoners in isolation received fewer than 1,000 calories a day; their meals consisted primarily of 4-inch squares of "grue", a substance created by mashing meat, potatoes, oleo, syrup, vegetables, eggs, and seasoning into a paste and baking the mixture in a pan. …
… A filthy, overcrowded cell and a diet of "grue" might be tolerable for a few days and intolerably cruel for weeks or months.
posted by Kabanos at 7:55 AM on March 19, 2015


Kerning problem.

C = 3 was a hint for the substitution cipher later on.
posted by kagredon at 9:09 AM on March 19, 2015


If there was an award for "comments showing up in recent activity are the least helpful for remembering a thread you commented in (enjoyable edition)", this thread would have just got my vote.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 5:56 AM on March 20, 2015 [11 favorites]


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