Should we just stop posting topics that involve weightloss issues? June 28, 2015 2:50 PM   Subscribe

It's weird for me to post one of these about my own FPP. But I have noticed a pattern of every post that discusses weight loss/obesity/medical issues (regardless of the context) devolving into people talking about how yeah, bad stuff happens, but you really should lose weight, you know! And then people describing why no, really, they can't or have trouble, and being generally disbelieved, and it all goes downhill. This is a pointless and unpleasant discussion. But we always end up there instead of discussing the underlying political/sociological issues or what have you. I think there's a lot to be said about healthcare, sexism, and how we treat fat people and fatness in that post. But...that's mostly not what happened.
posted by emjaybee to Etiquette/Policy at 2:50 PM (376 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite

Weight loss (and medical issues in general) are an odd subject to discuss, because you have many people that talk about their personal experiences, but it's always going to be patients, not doctors. Doctors, in general, are hesitant to talk about their own patients or their own practice in any sort of specificity for very valid ethics and legal reasons. I don't know how an entirely one-sided discussion can occur with useful results.
posted by saeculorum at 2:56 PM on June 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's a frustrating thing about discussions of weight and health in general, yeah. I think it's a difficulty that's a lot like the difficulties that come with e.g. some of the stickier human relations stuff in Ask Metafilter: when a big driving part of people's take on something are driven by their specific experiences, and it's something where those takes can differ really significantly, it's sort of an instant and basically unresolvable tension in any conversation on the subject.

I don't know if this sort of thing goes more poorly when it's driven by a personal narrative, but I wonder about that sometimes; not that there's anything at all wrong with a post built around a good personal narrative (and I want to say it's super neat that the author of the linked piece showed up to say hello about it), just that it may be one of those things where some folks instinctively feel a need to be like Yes But Personal Counter-narrative for whatever structural reason.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:57 PM on June 28, 2015 [4 favorites]


Yeah, I got to that first "However..." and just noped out of there. Concern-trolling and victim-blaming--two great tastes that taste great together! (Yes, why DIDN'T she push the magic weight-loss button?! Golly!)

You guys know I rarely show up and grump/snark/grar in MeTa threads, but yeah, that went badly (though looking back at it now, I appreciate the many Mefites who spoke back to the concern-trolling and victim-blaming).
posted by wintersweet at 2:58 PM on June 28, 2015 [28 favorites]


I noped outta that thread in a flash, and upon revisit and scroll through wowza I made the right choice. I don't understand why that happens (I know why it happens, of course) in posts on here because what do people think is going to happen when they declare every fat person being told to lose weight should listen? Do they somehow think that there is a single person any more than five pounds overweight who hasn't been bombarded with this "advice" from medical professionals and laypeople alike?
posted by Mizu at 2:59 PM on June 28, 2015 [14 favorites]


I can see how the inevitable "but fat is unhealthy" comments can be really, really wearing, but speaking as an outsider, this thread was valuable for me because I got to read this comment from E. Whitehall.

In other words, the thread isn't necessarily about the fight, even though the fight is happening on top of the genuinely enlightening links and discussion
posted by ferdydurke at 3:01 PM on June 28, 2015 [7 favorites]


Basically, jerks are gonna jerk. I have never once seen a thread that has anything at all to do with weight that hasn't turned into a shitshow of smug holier-than-thous showing up to smug everyone else to death. I wish they'd shut the fuck up, but people like this have some uncontrollable need to be jerks about this specific issue.
posted by palomar at 3:01 PM on June 28, 2015 [46 favorites]


One big improvement is if people could refrain from talking about how awesome their weight loss was--especially as it's usually tangential at best to the subject. It's just naked boasting (and weak sauce because lots of us are much more in shape anyway) and only adds noise.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:09 PM on June 28, 2015 [9 favorites]


I was just about to remove that thread from my Recent Activity. "Yeah but fat people really should lose weight!" comments should be considered the derails that they are in almost every single thread where they come up.
posted by jaguar at 3:21 PM on June 28, 2015 [7 favorites]


[Comment removed, I have zero interest in this being a second venue for arguing about the actual content of the linked post in the thread on the blue. Do it over there if you need to and can do so in a decent way, but don't spin it up here as well.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:24 PM on June 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


That's a good point, cortex, though I am not sure that entirely study-based posts (or stats-based) go any better. Maybe it's just a subject that's inherently difficult to talk about in a useful way for lots of people. Or maybe our science is still so bad on the topic that it's hard to find a neutral ground to occupy. We know a more about the science of drug addiction than we do about what happens in our gut flora, weight interactions with disease (cause and effect), good and bad genetic inheritances, the roles of pollution and stress and so on.

I kind of don't get that. Are you upset when people's responses aren't 100% supportive of the stance you have? I don't really see anybody insulting other members on here. I'm sure some people will say "these are the comments i hear everyday, i don't need to hear it on metafilter". Is our response to that "well lets not post about it anymore"?

I think it would be better to stick to the discussion around how we treat people who are fat (and why, and what are the consequences, and what can we do about it) than divert to discussion of why they shouldn't be fat.

If someone thinks that's not an important discussion to have, because fat people should just stop being fat, that's fine, but I'd rather they didn't jump in and divert the discussions into that dead-end. Because it absolutely is a dead-end. If someone wants diet advice, they'll go to Ask.
posted by emjaybee at 3:29 PM on June 28, 2015 [23 favorites]


Should we just stop posting topics that involve weightloss issues?


Regarding the general issue of "Should we just stop posting topics that involve weightloss issues? ". I don't know. Are you calling for "mefites don't do this issue well" kind of standard for this? It could be lumped with Dawkins and Israel/Palestine issues.

I kind of don't get that. Are you upset when people's responses aren't 100% supportive of the stance you have? I don't really see anybody insulting other members on here. I'm sure some people will say "these are the comments i hear everyday, i don't need to hear it on metafilter". Is our response to that "well lets not post about it anymore"?

I think it would be better to stick to the discussion around how we treat people who are fat (and why, and what are the consequences, and what can we do about it) than divert to discussion of why they shouldn't be fat.

I don't get this at all. Are you saying we can only discuss what the OP wants to be discussed. I think there is a big line between saying something which members disagree on, and saying something which actively insults the members here. I don't see people in that thread crossing the line.
posted by hal_c_on at 3:37 PM on June 28, 2015 [10 favorites]


Questioning the veracity of someone when they're recounting their lived experience isn't great behavior. If you wouldn't do that to someone talking about their assault, why is it okay when they're talking about poor medical treatment?
posted by palomar at 3:42 PM on June 28, 2015 [32 favorites]


Do they somehow think that there is a single person any more than five pounds overweight who hasn't been bombarded with this "advice" from medical professionals and laypeople alike?

I haven't been bombarded by medical professionals. I posted about it in the thread. I don't think I'm alone on that. I feel extremely uncomfortable in these threads because I feel the popular social justice inspired perspectives on the issue are in error at times when it comes to the topic of weight loss (not the topic of promoting the humanity and dignity of overweight people) and unrepresentative of my views and of many (possibly most, I haven't done a poll) fat people.

I don't like the pressure from users and (occasionally) moderators alike to portray any such disagreement as fat shaming or fat hated. When it's been aimed at me, when I have been very open about my own struggles with weight, feels like being told I am a self-hating fat person and I just don't know what to do with that. It's an unfair accusation that makes me scared to even open my mouth about my own life. Respecting that we should not universalize our own experiences goes both ways. Just because you are in a situation that makes weight loss impossible/more difficult or easy/moderately difficult does not mean you should universalize that out to all fat people who may have different circumstances.

If we are going to do these topics, we have to be truly open to all sensitively presented (I flagged several comments I agreed with because I sensed the lack of sensitivity) perspectives from people who have lived this experience.
posted by Drinky Die at 3:43 PM on June 28, 2015 [47 favorites]


Cortex: It's a frustrating thing about discussions of weight and health in general, yeah.

It was a mess. I don't know what you could have done about it, as a Mod.

That said, I think there are better things we can do about it as a community, and not rely on the mods as the harbinger of it all.

I think we should be more respectful toward fat people. I am a fat people, according to my doctor. I get a lot of crap over it. I remember when I was a thin person, and people treated me differently. I remember when I was younger and people treated me differently. It really sucks to be one person in your life and then suddenly become a pariah. But my inside person screams "but no! I am the same person! Please look at me! Please. Please just look at me. Me. I am the same on the inside, please, just look at me."
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 3:43 PM on June 28, 2015 [38 favorites]


I'm inclined to believe that it's entirely possible that fat women are treated differently than fat men, in that our fuckability and therefore our societal worth is tied to our body size. Maybe that's why you, a dude, have a different experience than the many other people who have commented? I believe a majority of them are likely lady-gendered...
posted by palomar at 3:47 PM on June 28, 2015 [50 favorites]


The thing is, the article was not about weight loss; it was about how fat-phobic attitudes lead to dangerous outcomes. The fact that the thread turned into a discussion of weight loss is the exact problem.

It's like the physical equivalent of the tone argument. "You'd stop experiencing so much discrimination if you'd just be thinner!"
posted by jaguar at 3:48 PM on June 28, 2015 [66 favorites]


Do they somehow think that there is a single person any more than five pounds overweight who hasn't been bombarded with this "advice" from medical professionals and laypeople alike?

There exists a single person who is currently (much) more than five pounds overweight who hasn't been bombarded with advice from either medical professionals or laypeople alike. I am that person.

I was approximately 70 pounds overweight ("morbidly obese") and my health was (and is) reasonably good, and I only went to the doctor for some fairly minor issues. For what it's worth, I've never had a doctor blame ear infections, which I have had many of, on my weight, which seems to me a quite reasonable response by a doctor. In fact, I never had anyone comment about my weight at all - positively or negatively.

To be honest, I wish they had. It took me a significant time to do anything about my obesity, and I wish I had sooner. It made my life better, and hence, I try to support people that have weight issues. I do so on Ask MeFi when they specifically ask for it, not on MeFi when they don't.

I don't pretend to think that other people have had the same experience that I have (and I fully believe that this is at least partially gender-influenced, as palomar alludes to), which is why I wouldn't consider posting in the referenced thread. However, I find it odd that "lived experience" is considered of paramount importance here - but only so long as it fits with the generally accepted opinion of the day.
posted by saeculorum at 3:50 PM on June 28, 2015 [23 favorites]


I'm inclined to believe that it's entirely possible that fat women are treated differently than fat men, in that our fuckability and therefore our societal worth is tied to our body size. Maybe that's why you, a dude, have a different experience than the many other people who have commented? I believe a majority of them are likely lady-gendered...

I think my experience with Doctors is mostly down to chance, because I know a lot of fat guys who have not had the same experience as me. I've recommended my GP to the ones I know who live nearby and a couple have been really happy with switching. But yes, I do believe Doctors and society in general are more fat shaming to women.
posted by Drinky Die at 3:52 PM on June 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


The thing is, the article was not about weight loss

I should add that weight and health in general are the topics where I feel out of sync, not just the topic of weight loss.
posted by Drinky Die at 3:55 PM on June 28, 2015


I'm a little troubled by the reflexive "maybe we shouldn't post about this topic anymore" solution that's been floated on a number of topics in the past few weeks because the comments got derailed a bit by someone saying something insensitive and dumb that someone else found unpleasant.

Flagging as derail and refraining from counter snarking seems like a better solution than a blanket ban on a topic.
posted by Karaage at 3:56 PM on June 28, 2015 [25 favorites]


That thread affected me so badly I went for a three-mile run and had to fight the urge not to eat anything today.

But a bunch of smug assholes got to talk about how fat people deserve to be hounded about being fat because health so it was a good thread for some.
posted by winna at 3:58 PM on June 28, 2015 [79 favorites]


Similar effects here too, winna. Trying to turn that shitty feeling into a productive self-care Sunday.
posted by palomar at 4:00 PM on June 28, 2015 [5 favorites]


Are you upset when people's responses aren't 100% supportive of the stance you have?

No, it's upsetting to have people say "oh weight loss is easy! (because it was easy for me personally and my experiences are universal and if yours are different you are a lazy fatty!)" in every single fucking thread about weight. Every single one. Every one of them. All of them. Every one we have ever had here. It's not about a need for support or personal validation, it's about the need for less threadshitting. Comments like "well maybe your fatness really IS the problem" are no more necessary or useful than comments in feminism threads where people feel inexplicably compelled to say "well some women i know really ARE sluts".
posted by poffin boffin at 4:02 PM on June 28, 2015 [138 favorites]


The fact that the thread turned into a discussion of weight loss is the exact problem.

But here's the thing, almost every thread on the blue changes from one subject to another.

I'm inclined to believe that it's entirely possible that fat women are treated differently than fat men, in that our fuckability and therefore our societal worth is tied to our body size. Maybe that's why you, a dude, have a different experience than the many other people who have commented? I believe a majority of them are likely lady-gendered...

Doctors are assholes. But, they are assholes because this USUALLY works. I had my tonsils removed and I couldn't eat anything because of the pain. My doc gave me vicodin tablets which I couldn't swallow. I went to him and complained that I had lost 10 lbs in less than a week because I couldn't eat. He looked me up and down with his 87 year old body and said "maybe three more weeks will keep you from being obese".

Totally humiliating. Totally uncool. And totally dismissive. Do women get it more...I don't know. I bet women who have male docs get it more than women who have female docs. Probably worse with older docs too.

I'm a little troubled by the reflexive "maybe we shouldn't post about this topic anymore" solution that's been floated on a number of topics in the past few weeks because the comments got derailed a bit by someone saying something insensitive and dumb that someone else found unpleasant.

Count me in as another person troubled. Asking for more policing is the problem here. I'm sorry you feel your post had people talking about stuff you didn't want them to...but check out any thread on the blue. Thats how mefites roll.

That thread affected me so badly I went for a three-mile run and had to fight the urge not to eat anything today.

I can't say it with 100% certainty, but I'm fairly confident that people who commented were not thinking that someone might go out and run a 5k and have trouble eating because of what they wrote. I'm sorry you have that problem, but you should have just opted out of the thread, rather than reading it and causing yourself harm.


No, it's upsetting to have people say "oh weight loss is easy! (because it was easy for me personally and my experiences are universal and if yours are different you are a lazy fatty!)" in every single fucking thread about weight. Every single one. Every one of them. All of them. Every one we have ever had here. It's not about a need for support or personal validation, it's about the need for less threadshitting. Comments like "well maybe your fatness really IS the problem" are no more necessary or useful than comments in feminism threads where people feel inexplicably compelled to say "well some women i know really ARE sluts".

Great point, although I see this as being dramatic and not really consistent with reality. Can you show me one example of "some women I know really are..." on METAFILTER. I would be aghast if that has happened on here. Or even a "weight loss is easy" in the thread we are discussing? Or are these issues from other places on the web? If so, I don't think what you said is pertinent here.
posted by hal_c_on at 4:05 PM on June 28, 2015 [7 favorites]


like how can you look at comment after comment from people saying "so it turned out that my health problems had nothing to do with my weight despite what many doctors told me to the contrary" and still feel the need to insist that you, a rando on the internets, know otherwise. not just how, but why? why the hell.
posted by poffin boffin at 4:06 PM on June 28, 2015 [47 favorites]


Do women get it more...I don't know.

Yes. Yes, they do.
posted by dialetheia at 4:06 PM on June 28, 2015 [15 favorites]


Can you show me one example of "some women I know really are..." on METAFILTER. I would be aghast if that has happened on here.

there's a 2000 comment meta about that exact comment on the blue. word for word.
posted by poffin boffin at 4:07 PM on June 28, 2015 [60 favorites]


Nice. People shouldn't try not to be dicks, we just all need to avoid threads where people might be dicks. That's such a great solution.
posted by palomar at 4:07 PM on June 28, 2015 [20 favorites]


Oh, and shitty treatment from docs? I've gotten it more from females than males. Waaaaaay more.
posted by palomar at 4:09 PM on June 28, 2015 [4 favorites]


Exactly! Instead of perhaps considering that mindless 'well losing weight is easy' comments don't help and actually hurt, we need to just never read anything about issues we understand.

how dare I give an illustration of how that kind of talk actually impacts real people. how inconsiderate of me!
posted by winna at 4:09 PM on June 28, 2015 [22 favorites]


Can you show me one example of "some women I know really are..." on METAFILTER.

I think part of the point of comparison is that we mostly don't see that response on the site, though, as noted, there was a fairly shitty thread recently that we had a very long discussion indeed because of.

I think the dynamics of how discussions about weight and health play out are complicated (if they weren't, it'd be an easy fix), but I don't think that "no, it's probably not really as much of an issue as you think" is anything other than a deeply ironic bit of tonedeafness here.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:10 PM on June 28, 2015 [8 favorites]


Or even a "weight loss is easy" in the thread we are discussing?

"Losing weight is easy"
posted by poffin boffin at 4:10 PM on June 28, 2015 [32 favorites]


Every single one. Every one of them. All of them.

And the doubling, tripling, quadrupling down, when told the behavior isn't helpful. It's always "no but health risks" LIKE MAYBE SOMEONE HADN'T HEARD. Like, if you just tell fat people that they're stupid enough times they'll magically be thin.
posted by Lyn Never at 4:12 PM on June 28, 2015 [34 favorites]


I very much don't think that health- and weight-related topics (or in this case, the medical profession's attitudes towards those issues) should be on a "we don't do that here" list. At the same time, I'd be fully in support of raising the bar on how those topics are discussed. We all have tone deaf moments, but there's no reason to accept as normal some of the severely tone deaf responses that seem to be an easy default in those discussions.

Can you show me one example of "some women I know really are..." on METAFILTER.

That was said, pretty much word for word, in one of the gross comments in the FPP about lower back tattoos.
posted by Dip Flash at 4:12 PM on June 28, 2015 [6 favorites]


I had my tonsils removed and I couldn't eat anything because of the pain. My doc gave me vicodin tablets which I couldn't swallow. I went to him and complained that I had lost 10 lbs in less than a week because I couldn't eat. He looked me up and down with his 87 year old body and said "maybe three more weeks will keep you from being obese".

So you were in pain and starving? That doc is more than just an asshole.
posted by futz at 4:13 PM on June 28, 2015 [12 favorites]


I mean, I don't mean to drown you in receipts here, but I think maybe you didn't show up into that thread until after comments had been deleted for shitty behavior and whatnot.
posted by poffin boffin at 4:13 PM on June 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


poffin boffin, in a later comment that exact same user downplayed that phrasing to accept the more nuanced presentation of "simple but difficult". It is unfair to say that anyone in that thread took and held the position that weight loss is easy for everyone.

Edit: It's possible I didn't see any comments that later ended up deleted, but I don't remember any other instances of it being described as easy.
posted by tiaz at 4:13 PM on June 28, 2015 [4 favorites]


no, it's probably not really as much of an issue as you think" is anything other than a deeply ironic bit of tonedeafness here.

point taken.

"Losing weight is easy"
posted by poffin boffin at 13:10 on June 29 [1 favorite +] [!]


Dude. you are totally taking that out of context. Check out the next line:

What makes it difficult is that we have a food culture that is fundamentally disordered.

Also, I remember that tattoo thread, but don't recall that comment. That sucks it was used, and I hope that person has been "enlightened", or just isn't on here anymore.
posted by hal_c_on at 4:15 PM on June 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


followed by...What makes it difficult is

And then a story about how how a person close to them who was convinced no diet could work eventually died of obesity related disease without making an attempt. That's the hopelessness I've experienced at times in my life. It's a comment that reflected my experiences as an overweight person. It's a comment that should have been phrased better, but it wasn't one of the smug assholes. (And yes, they were definitely present.)
posted by Drinky Die at 4:17 PM on June 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


you are totally taking that out of context. Check out the next line:

"What makes it difficult is that we have a food culture that is fundamentally disordered."


This is not helpful when so many of us are talking about thyroid issues, hormonal problems, mobility issues. That's just a code-switched sentence that ultimately means "fat people are unfamiliar with nutrition" - the old "stop eating McDonald's" bullshit.
posted by Lyn Never at 4:20 PM on June 28, 2015 [51 favorites]


My practical solution, which I have tried a couple times, is this. If a thread has low-quality comments, you deliberately ignore those and pick out the reasonable/interesting comment that you liked, and respond to that. And sometimes that spawns off a higher-level conversation e.g. looking at an issue from a sociopolitical viewpoint, as opposed to the snarky/ignorant comments.

The few times that I don't succumb to the temptation of picking at internet comments I think are wrong or problematic, and instead respond to specific intellectually mature, informed, and well-formed ideas, I literally feel happier about it. So I highly recommend people try this if they haven't already.

And then of course there's the assumption that one still retains the discipline and willpower to do so after having seen a discouraging comment, and that for the moment it is not an urgent matter to rebut someone else's piece of misinformation. But in practice it can be done sometimes, and I just think it helps to remember this tactic and try it when one is able to, when dealing with these types of controversial posts.
posted by polymodus at 4:22 PM on June 28, 2015 [12 favorites]


Maybe what we really need is a blanket ban on assholes waltzing into weight-loss threads and reciting the old canards of "weight loss is easy/simple" and "all you need to do is run a caloric deficit". That shit is the "Actually, it's about ethics in game journalism" of weight-loss threads.
posted by scrump at 4:23 PM on June 28, 2015 [82 favorites]


So you were in pain and starving? That doc is more than just an asshole.

I have been called "litigious" in the past. But I didn't have the courage to say something to that old-ass doctor after he humiliated me like that. So I understand the concept of shaming someone so hard, they are just stunned into doing nothing. I feel for you. Thats horrible. And people react to shit differently, so I can't say stuff like "well i just got home and melted ice cream and drank it through a straw, and that was all i needed. you should do the same and just 'get over it'".

So you have my sympathy. But honestly, I don't think the medical community is going to do anything about this. Those fuckers ain't going to move on fat-shaming because they have no incentive to.

Said another way, there is no disincentive for them, when they engage in this attitude. Unless people start getting litigious. And shit, I couldn't even speak up. So...
posted by hal_c_on at 4:23 PM on June 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm inclined to believe that it's entirely possible that fat women are treated differently than fat men, in that our fuckability and therefore our societal worth is tied to our body size. Maybe that's why you, a dude, have a different experience than the many other people who have commented? I believe a majority of them are likely lady-gendered...

I'm a woman and my adult weight has ranged from high-end "normal" to obese; I have spent more of my life overweight than not. I haven't gotten fat-shamed by my doctors. Dates, acquaintances, strangers, etc., etc., yes, but never doctors.

However, when other people say that they've been repeatedly and consistently fat-shamed and ignored by their doctors, I believe them.
posted by Metroid Baby at 4:29 PM on June 28, 2015 [38 favorites]


Doctors are assholes. But, they are assholes because this USUALLY works. I had my tonsils removed and I couldn't eat anything because of the pain. My doc gave me vicodin tablets which I couldn't swallow. I went to him and complained that I had lost 10 lbs in less than a week because I couldn't eat. He looked me up and down with his 87 year old body and said "maybe three more weeks will keep you from being obese".

Totally humiliating.


Awesome comment. Tell me more about how to talk on MetaFilter.
posted by phaedon at 4:36 PM on June 28, 2015


"all you need to do is run a caloric deficit". That shit is the "Actually, it's about ethics in game journalism" of weight-loss threads.

For me, coming to understand what that meant led me to research how I could apply it in my own life. When I put my plan into action I saw vast improvements in my psychological well being because it gave me a sense of control that helped me understand how and why I lost and gained weight. It wasn't a magic key to permanent weight loss, but it helped me to know my own body and mind better. I understand for some people it is simply a dog whistle, but that isn't true for every overweight person. I would appreciate if both perspectives were allowed on this site.
posted by Drinky Die at 4:41 PM on June 28, 2015 [15 favorites]


Oh, and shitty treatment from docs? I've gotten it more from females than males. Waaaaaay more.

I don't understand what you are saying are you saying that female doctors are worse to women than male doctors when it comes to shitty treatment, or that females get more shitty treatment?
posted by hal_c_on at 4:43 PM on June 28, 2015


I would appreciate if both perspectives were allowed on this site.

But they do not have to be in every thread. Again, for me, the ongoing issue is that threads about fat discrimination turn into threads about weight loss, which reinforces discrimination against fat people. Arguing about why weight loss was a good thing for you is absolutely and completely off topic.
posted by jaguar at 4:44 PM on June 28, 2015 [47 favorites]


The "simple/easy", "caloric deficit" trope has been revealed as a crock of shit by actual empirical research out of places like Harvard. The plural of anecdote, even REALLY AWESOME ANECDOTE, is not data.
posted by scrump at 4:44 PM on June 28, 2015 [30 favorites]


If you wouldn't do that to someone talking about their assault, why is it okay when they're talking about poor medical treatment?

See, but there ARE people who WOULD do that to someone talking about their assault (go read the Schroedinger's rapist thread for one).
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:45 PM on June 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


Not sure what's hard to understand... I am a woman, and in direct contradiction to the assumption that all fat women receive worse treatment from male doctors, I received perfectly fine treatment from male doctors. It was female doctors (ie doctors who are female) who treated me the worst.
posted by palomar at 4:51 PM on June 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


If you wouldn't do that to someone talking about their assault, why is it okay when they're talking about poor medical treatment?

See, but there ARE people who WOULD do that to someone talking about their assault (go read the Schroedinger's rapist thread for one).


All due respect, but no shit. Why are you telling me to go read a thread I was an active participant in? Is this supposed to be helpful or are you being snipey and snarky in a way that seems cute and fun for MetaTalk but really just makes things worse? Why do people do that?
posted by palomar at 4:54 PM on June 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


I would appreciate if both perspectives were allowed on this site.

But they do not have to be in every thread.


I agree, my comment there was about the blanket ban idea. I discussed my own issues there only to point out there are times where I consider it relevant because of my own lived experience.

I actually flagged your comment on the topic of calories in/out as continuing a derail before replying to it only after I felt enough time had passed that the mods did not consider it one. Probably should have just gone with my first instinct, because the person who replied after me took my comment places I would not go, it was one of the comments I flagged for insensitivity on the issue.
posted by Drinky Die at 4:55 PM on June 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


The thread in question and this resulting meta have reminded me why I mostly lurk and rarely get involved in discussions on the blue. Any comment--even sensitively worded and well thought-out comments--that doesn't match the whatever is implicitly agreed on as an "acceptable response" for the topic at hand is shouted down, and the user behind the dissenting comment is unfairly called out for (or passive agrresively implied as) being smug/an asshole/fat-shamer/-ist/-phobic/whatever. It's exhausting.
posted by Kevtaro at 5:07 PM on June 28, 2015 [23 favorites]


As exhausting as, say, reading a bunch of comments from MeFites who have been fat-shamed by their doctors, posting my own comment about being fat-shamed while seeking medical care, and then seeing one from someone who's all, "I work in healthcare, everyone I know works in healthcare, and I don't believe that this happens all that much"? Because it's really exhausting to have people flat-out refuse to believe you when you talk about your own life. I'd like to see a whole hell of a lot less of that kind of comment, to be honest.
posted by palomar at 5:13 PM on June 28, 2015 [39 favorites]


Palomar, I meant no offense and I apologize - I didn't know you were asking a rhetorical question, is all.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:14 PM on June 28, 2015


Fun times.
posted by phaedon at 5:24 PM on June 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah. I am fat as hell and I've been fat-shamed by my doctors remarkably little, probably because I grew up sort of tangentially in the field (both my parents are research scientists) and I know how to speak enough of the lingo in terms of both vocabulary and rhetoric in order to get my health concerns taken seriously, and probably also because of a sizable helping of luck. But I didn't go on about that in the thread, because the fact that it hasn't happened to me more than half a dozen times doesn't mean anything. It happens to a LOT of people. I've heard stories from close friends and people I trust of their doctors blowing off a dizzying array of chronic and acute symptoms on account of obesity. Like, if your patient has intermittent numbness, tingling, and weakness in one leg that leads to an occasional inability to stand or walk, that's a big goddamn problem regardless of whether it's due to her weight or not! There's a big difference between educating people that their complaints may be caused or exacerbated by their weight, and refusing to investigate or treat worrying symptoms because the patient is fat.
posted by KathrynT at 5:30 PM on June 28, 2015 [12 favorites]


metafilter doesn't do fat/weight well, but not in the same way it doesn't do i/p well. with i/p, the solution is to not talk about it with f/w, the solution is for some of y'all to grow some fucking empathy and respect our lived experiences as fat people.

yes i am angry about this

no i will not apologize
posted by subbes at 5:32 PM on June 28, 2015 [44 favorites]

I think it would be better to stick to the discussion around how we treat people who are fat (and why, and what are the consequences, and what can we do about it) than divert to discussion of why they shouldn't be fat.
Yes, I did bold, italicize, and blockquote that. I'd also put a fucking blink tag on it and make the font 72 pixels high if I fucking could, because god damn this is the entire fucking point and what else could you even need to hear because GODDAMN.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 5:32 PM on June 28, 2015 [41 favorites]


Because it's really exhausting to have people flat-out refuse to believe you when you talk about your own life. I'd like to see a whole hell of a lot less of that kind of comment, to be honest.

If you are referring to my contribution to the thread, I never said or implied that you or anyone else was not telling the truth about your experience. To me your reaction just reinforces the sentiment of my previous comment. In a thread full of personal anecdotes, why should the experience of someone who has never witnessed or experienced "fat shaming" in health care be any less relevant than the anecdotes of those who have?
posted by Kevtaro at 5:36 PM on June 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


Yes, obesity is a potentially fixable problem that can cause of lot of related issues for a person. But it doesn't negate that personhood. And it ought not preclude doctors making any effort at all to see if there are other health issues that might be making them sick or might make them die.

I don't give a damn how fat my dead dad was. He deserved for someone to read his chart properly and find the defects on his heart before they killed him. "Why bother? Fat people gonna get sick," is not a valid health care approach.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 5:39 PM on June 28, 2015 [46 favorites]


Kevtaro, why do you think she's talking to you?
posted by KathrynT at 5:39 PM on June 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


If we just banned every discussion that went badly there would be nothing left but cat videos and other random neat stuff and um ..
posted by bleep at 5:43 PM on June 28, 2015 [6 favorites]


Sorry for the grar. This is personal for me, obviously.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 5:44 PM on June 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'd say metafilter generally doesn't do unsolicited advice well. I have no advice for fixing this.
posted by michaelh at 5:45 PM on June 28, 2015 [4 favorites]


why should the experience of someone who has never witnessed or experienced "fat shaming" in health care be any less relevant than the anecdotes of those who have?

I'm curious as to what you think your anecdote contributed in a thread about how fat-shaming in medical settings can be harmful, in a thread with people posting their personal experiences of being shamed by medical professionals. Why was it important for you to let everyone know that you've never seen the thing people are discussing in that thread? It's analogous to dudes coming into street harassment threads and saying that they've never been a victim of that. Why make the comment? What purpose did it serve?
posted by palomar at 5:46 PM on June 28, 2015 [27 favorites]


In a thread full of personal anecdotes, why should the experience of someone who has never witnessed or experienced "fat shaming" in health care be any less relevant than the anecdotes of those who have?

Generally, the experiences of people who have experienced or witnessed the topics being discussed are pretty much always more relevant than the experiences of people who have not experienced or witnessed the topics being discussed. That is pretty much what "relevant" means.
posted by jaguar at 5:48 PM on June 28, 2015 [39 favorites]


Is there a BMI number above which I completely stop mattering? Please specify.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 5:50 PM on June 28, 2015 [12 favorites]


/ehug for DOT if you want it.
posted by Drinky Die at 5:52 PM on June 28, 2015 [7 favorites]


In a thread full of personal anecdotes, why should the experience of someone who has never witnessed or experienced "fat shaming" in health care be any less relevant than the anecdotes of those who have?

Because as a general rule, if you come in to a conversation where a bunch of people say "X happened to me!" to say "Well, X never happened to me", people will take from this that you doubt their stories -- they never happened, or they didn't happen the way you said, or they don't happen often, etc etc.

You can sometimes avoid this if you word things carefully, but in general that's what interpretation you are going to get and it's not clear why you would be saying it otherwise.

(I don't remember what you said specifically.)
posted by jeather at 5:52 PM on June 28, 2015 [24 favorites]


"Why bother? Fat people gonna get sick," is not a valid health care approach.

Christ onna fucking bike, THANK YOU.

If ONE doctor had just listened to my concerns instead of only looking at the scale, my kids could have had me at my best. They're grown now, and they tell me I did a good job and they never felt unloved or burdensome. But knowing that I had a FIXABLE problem that my doctors just flat out ignored because I'm toting some junk in the trunk makes me INCANDESCENT.

I'm not the only one who suffered because docs couldn't be bothered.
posted by MissySedai at 5:58 PM on June 28, 2015 [39 favorites]


It feels to me like part of the reason threads like these go off the rails is that people get divided into Team Fat Acceptance and Team Not Fat Acceptance, and it gets extremely difficult to tease out just one aspect of that -- or, as soon as you try to tease out one aspect of that, it gets taken as an argument that's bigger than it is: Not just, "Fat people face bias and misdiagnosis in medical treatment," but "Team Fat Acceptance is right about everything!" -- which becomes an argument that needs refuting. It's almost like when you feel really strongly about US partisan politics, so on the rare occasion that your party demonstrates corruption or wrongdoing, you have to go yell about how it's insignificant and overblown and the other party is way worse anyway. Because it's so hard, psychologically, to cede even one occasional tiny point to the other side.

Maybe on contentious topics like this, it's more important for the mods to rerail conversations, keep the topic of discussion narrow, and not let things get to the point of "Let me tell you all my opinions about being fat!" -- and I respect that the mods worked hard to do this!
posted by Jeanne at 6:01 PM on June 28, 2015 [11 favorites]


(I don't remember what you said specifically.)

I believe this is the anecdote in question, but it's towards the end of a longer conversation Kevtaro was involved in. I think the reason the anecdote got more pushback then say, mine, did was that it came from the clinical perspective and spoke more broadly about the topic which may have suggested denial that fat shaming leading to misdiagnosis is a major problem.

On the one hand, you don't want to deny people's experience. OTOH, I think we should welcome professional perspectives. So, it's kind of on a weird borderline where it has to be really carefully phrased not to push people's buttons. I think if you want to speak about it as a professional/expert you should back up anecdote with data, as a start. Is there evidence this isn't really a problem? Maybe try and present that if you can find it. Otherwise, be pretty clear that you are just talking about what you have seen and that you may be missing things you wouldn't about the subject if you experienced the perspective of the patient.
posted by Drinky Die at 6:01 PM on June 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


I didn't see fat acceptance enter in to that thread at all.
posted by futz at 6:04 PM on June 28, 2015 [8 favorites]


That wasn't Team Fat Acceptance in that thread, that was Team I'm A Fucking Human Being, Have Some Compassion. It's weird that that's so hard to recognize.
posted by palomar at 6:05 PM on June 28, 2015 [89 favorites]


Dude. you are totally taking that out of context. Check out the next line:

What makes it difficult is that we have a food culture that is fundamentally disordered.


Yes, and the line after that which blames it on eating junk food and snacking too much, which many people stated repeatedly was not a thing that they do. The whole "eating your emotions" thing also felt pretty unpleasant.
posted by poffin boffin at 6:11 PM on June 28, 2015 [27 favorites]


Yeah, definitely, which is why it seemed so weird to me in the thread that people needed to be all "But the obesity epidemic!" -- and it really only makes sense, to me, if some people are prepared to get het up about anything that even looks a tiny bit like fat acceptance out of the corner of your eye -- "kill it on sight! It pattern-matches to my ideological enemy!"
posted by Jeanne at 6:13 PM on June 28, 2015 [10 favorites]


So, it's kind of on a weird borderline where it has to be really carefully phrased not to push people's buttons.

This forum, and many others like it, have become a sanctuary for smaller voices that do need to be heard. The problem is sometimes those voices want to yell, maybe even make gross comments for effect. Is anyone going to correct that? I try to sometimes. But by and large, the message is don't do that. You'll either be moderated or shat on if you match the emotional tone of anyone else in the conversation with an opposing view.

Positive anecdotal data shouldn't trump negative anecdotal data. But the truth is fat shaming is an emerging issue, and as such requires space to be described, expressed. The touting of negative anecdotal data is more of the same. And with so many people falling into this category, I think it's best to think forward and realize, of course there are going to be issues like this that pop up. So let people have some space to talk about this.

However, calling out all doctors as old, wrinkly misogynists, driven by greed, the need to spend, the need to save, citing misread articles to try to prove these miserable generalizations, frankly it's fucked up. It makes MetaFilter less about insight and more about rhetoric, and has a paralyzing, dumbing effect on the reader.

People are really mean to eachother, I don't care what side of the aisle you stand on.
posted by phaedon at 6:14 PM on June 28, 2015 [17 favorites]


I appreciated hearing other people's experiences with fat shaming doctors. It helps to know that it isn't just me. That's what I get out of these threads.
posted by kanata at 6:17 PM on June 28, 2015 [14 favorites]


Funny, I didn't see anyone calling out ALL doctors in that thread. Not even close. In fact, pretty sure I saw plenty of praise for good doctors in there.
posted by palomar at 6:17 PM on June 28, 2015 [11 favorites]


and it really only makes sense, to me, if some people are prepared to get het up about anything that even looks a tiny bit like fat acceptance out of the corner of your eye -- "kill it on sight! It pattern-matches to my ideological enemy!"

I don't think that's really a necessary explanation in general, though. People are often—I'd say by far most of the time, really—more likely to be just sort of tonedeaf or a little thoughtless or both about when and how they talk about their perspective or point of interest or personal experience with something like that than to be e.g. ideologically driven to give people shit about their weight.

And that's the tricky part, because if it was "lol fatties, eat a salad" we wouldn't be having this discussion. That'd just be a delete and a timeout if it was a one-off or a ban if it wasn't. What we actually deal with on this stuff is more complicated because, as frustrating as the manifest behavior and dynamic can be, it's more one of people not really reading the room or being on the same wavelength than one of them being cackling-or-furious ideologues.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:18 PM on June 28, 2015 [6 favorites]


There are definitely some responses in that thread that seem to come from the anti-fat-acceptance angle of "we can't EVER let it be okay for even a minute to be fat, or-" (I don't know? We'll take over? We'll eat their dinner? I suppose we'll force them to be fat, is the fear.)

I don't have any investment in the actual FA movement, but I demand that people accept I exist and have a right to do so as an equal human being, even if they don't like it or agree with me choosing to be fat because it is 100% a choice (and such a fun one!) and only a result of my clear and obvious stupidity and can't have anything to do with anything else ever.
posted by Lyn Never at 6:19 PM on June 28, 2015 [29 favorites]


Look, I'm really happy for you that you were easily able to lose 10 pounds by switching to diet pop and walking up the stairs instead of using the elevator. That's really great. I would need to lose 183 pounds to get to the high end of "normal" BMI. My hormonal, emotional and mobility issues make it very unlikely that will ever happen.

You like to say insensitive things about obesity on metafilter. You claim you're concerned about my health. Don't I want to know that I will probably die early? I already do know, thank you very much but I'm pretty tired of hearing about it.

Let's cut the bullshit: you find obese people to be morally weak and physically disgusting. That's really your problem and not mine. So maybe you should just skip the obesity posts altogether and stick with ones that talk about how great crossfit is. I promise I won't go in there to shit on your parade by saying anything bad about it.
posted by double block and bleed at 6:19 PM on June 28, 2015 [50 favorites]


Funny, I didn't see anyone calling out ALL doctors in that thread. Not even close. In fact, pretty sure I saw plenty of praise for good doctors in there.

Feel free to read this, the article I'm referring to is posted right here, and scroll up.

These comments stand, of course; I'm gleaning that many of the oppositional comments that are being referred to in this thread have already been deleted.
posted by phaedon at 6:21 PM on June 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


I demand that people accept I exist and have a right to do so as an equal human being

amen :)
posted by subbes at 6:22 PM on June 28, 2015 [9 favorites]


What we actually deal with on this stuff is more complicated...

Aside from at least a couple of "Energy out > energy in = weight loss" comments.
posted by Etrigan at 6:23 PM on June 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


Seriously? You're going to characterize a comment like this:

"Are there really people in the thread who believe that the rush to blame just about any medical problem on obesity isn't driven, at least in part, by a) the pressure on primary care physicians to reduce costs and referrals for costly procedures by any means necessary, and b) a very strong tendency to dismiss the medical concerns of women, sometimes on incredibly spurious grounds?"

...as calling out all doctors as horrible? Seriously? How is that arguing in good faith?
posted by palomar at 6:24 PM on June 28, 2015 [10 favorites]


Palomar, not only was this data point submitted by a man who has no anecdote to share with regards to his comment about women, but his assertion that there is pressure on PCP's to reduce costs and referrals by HMO's was thoroughly debunked by me later on in the thread.
posted by phaedon at 6:26 PM on June 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


Going further to read the next comment you linked... nope, still not seeing where anyone said what you're accusing them of saying. Calling out some problems in the medical industry is nowhere near close to calling out all doctors as horrible. To claim that it is is ridiculous.
posted by palomar at 6:26 PM on June 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


Still, phaedon, no one said anything like the words you put in their mouth. You're not arguing in good faith on this point.
posted by palomar at 6:27 PM on June 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


I've been wondering whether trite questions or comments could be headed off at the pass by directing the commentator to little "Subject X 101" things curated by knowledgeable users.

For instance, I've seen posters incorporate "Trans 101" links in their posts. I realise that those FPPs can still be contentious, but I believe that these links do help, and that they would help more if we would internalise their use and recommend them to commentators who are derailing discussions.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:27 PM on June 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


Palomar, get over yourself. I didn't say "horrible," you did. I said:

However, calling out all doctors as old, wrinkly misogynists, driven by greed, the need to spend, the need to save, citing misread articles to try to prove these miserable generalizations, frankly it's fucked up.

I have pointed to every comment that ties into what I said, correctly.
posted by phaedon at 6:28 PM on June 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


I would like to chime in as a young woman who has been shamed repeatedly based on my weight in doctor's offices, most recently when I went in for persistent shortness of breath and inability to breathe at all when running, and someone who is currently avoiding scheduling several appointments based on those negative experiences. (Hilariously, the main concern I have is that I would like to be able to try exercising more, only the whole not-being-able-to-breathe thing is not really helpful about that. It would be nice to have my concerns listened to instead of being immediately dismissed, but there you have it...) Which is to say I saw the thread this morning, saw the discussion that followed, and noped the fuck out.

There is so much pressure on women to be constantly worrying about their weight. It gets ascribed to all kinds of ills. And it's so hard to sit into a discussion and read people push "oh weight loss is easy WHAT IF THEY DON'T KNOW THEY SHOULD DO IT" in every goddamn thread about the existence of fat people. I don't even identify as fat, but that doesn't actually matter with respect to my interactions with the medical community. I want to talk about how fat people are perceived by doctors and how over-emphasis on weight loss often leads to medical outcomes that are not exactly ideal. For one thing, that is a conversation that is way more interesting than the thousandth iteration of "oh well why don't people eat less and exercise more then."

I get that people are often being thoughtless or not thinking carefully about what they say. And I get that being expected to be careful about what you say can feel like treading carefully through a minefield--hell, I've previously advocated hard for assuming better faith here. But damn, I need to live with the weight of that judgement and that background pressure to lose weight my whole life. I navigate it all the time, I gird myself against it when I go to the doctor and count myself lucky if it's just a perfunctory "have you thought about exercise more?", and I deal with the internalized constant need to apologize for my decisions about my health and my activity all the time. (You have no idea how many apologizing clauses I have deleted from this comment already; you get socialized, you see, to provide reasons for the decisions you make about your body and your life with every turn.)

I guess what I'm trying to say is... I don't actually care what people think about obesity vis a vis health. I don't care if you think weight loss is easy or if it's impossible or somewhere in between. But I'd like there to be more empathy and respect for people's lived experiences here. In the absence of that, I'm going to continue to nope out of those conversations, because they remain just another note in the same old background song telling me that any issue I have with my body or my health is my own damn fault, for not prioritizing everything else above my weight.
posted by sciatrix at 6:31 PM on June 28, 2015 [63 favorites]


[A few comments removed, cool it.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:35 PM on June 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


Way past the MeMail threshold, y'all.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:35 PM on June 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


metafilter doesn't do fat/weight well, but not in the same way it doesn't do i/p well. with i/p, the solution is to not talk about it with f/w, the solution is for some of y'all to grow some fucking empathy and respect our lived experiences as fat people.

Don't want to derail this meta. But what kind of ignorant statement is that? All you have highlights is that fat/weight issues are more important to you than Israel/Palestine issues.

That's fine, but don't go around sayin "yeah, we can just not talk about that middle-East problem...and that's the end of that. But when it comes to my personal problem, you should me more sympathetic".

Dude, I'm sorry you are treated the way you are because of some reason that shouldn't exist. But seriously, work on your empathy for things that are not as important to you as they are for others.

That was basically your own advice, right?
posted by hal_c_on at 6:37 PM on June 28, 2015


[Another comment removed; cool it means cool it, phaedon.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:42 PM on June 28, 2015


If it makes you feel better, hal_c_on, I do think we should be able to talk about I/P and it would be great if people could be nicer to each other when they do. Just like it would be great if people could be nicer in obesity posts. And all the other posts, really.
posted by double block and bleed at 6:46 PM on June 28, 2015 [6 favorites]


nope, hal_c_on, "we don't talk about i/p because MeFi doesn't do it well" is a site more that's been repeated in post deletion reasons and MeTa upon MeTa upon MeTa. I've been away from MeFi for a couple of years so if the prevailing wisdom on that has changed, that's nice and I look forwards to seeing some non-fighty I/P threads :)
posted by subbes at 6:47 PM on June 28, 2015


[Seriously, I am not going to babysit this personal argument all night. phaedon, I tried to be pretty clear that you needed to drop it, and a couple warnings are enough, so take the day off. palomar, you need to drop this as well.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:48 PM on June 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


All I did was ask why you're deleting comments that clarify the claims phaedon was making. I don't think that's an unreasonable request, considering that I was no longer engaging with him.
posted by palomar at 6:50 PM on June 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


I will just never, ever understand why some people insist that it should be fine to be assholes to one another.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:51 PM on June 28, 2015 [22 favorites]


I'm not really sure which comments of an evolving personal argument ought to be deleted and which not, but I'm not very happy with one that includes "get over yourself" being among those that remain. Or, at least, it should be acknowledged how egregiously and needlessly provocative that phrase is.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 6:51 PM on June 28, 2015 [10 favorites]


Yeah, I asked about that comment. I guess questioning why that's allowed to stand is... not allowed. :/
posted by palomar at 6:52 PM on June 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


I would actually be very interested in a thread discussing the more aggressive deletion policy on the gray, but I think it belongs in a separate MeTa.
posted by lalex at 6:54 PM on June 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


I was deleting stuff phaedon posted and stuff responding to that, and I think one comment from you earlier in that chain with an escalatory "get the fuck over yourself" bit that was getting out of hand. At a certain point being willing to just say "okay" and cool it when a mod ends up needing to kill stuff and leave notes is part of getting along here, even if you don't think the specific arrangement is wholly personally just.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:54 PM on June 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm fine with that, cortex, but some evenhandedness in deleting shit would be really great. I'm guessing it's okay for people to be all "get over yourself", since that comment is staying. That's not really okay with me. DOesn't seem okay with others.
posted by palomar at 6:55 PM on June 28, 2015


I will just never, ever understand why some people insist that it should be fine to be assholes to one another.

Because they are right and that means they have all access pass to any kind of behavior.

Also, I would like to say that I feel pretty awesome for not being banhammerred. I wonder if that has anything to do with the fact that even though I'm 100% right (as always), I don't feel I can treat people like shit because of it.
posted by hal_c_on at 6:55 PM on June 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


I would actually be very interested in a thread discussing the more aggressive deletion policy on the gray, but I think it belongs in a separate MeTa.

This is highly unlikely to actually end up being a "discussion".
posted by NoraReed at 6:55 PM on June 28, 2015 [8 favorites]


I'm fine with that, cortex, but some evenhandedness in deleting shit would be really great.

Let me emphasize here that you are not the person who got a day off. Please just set this down at this point.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:56 PM on June 28, 2015 [13 favorites]


Or, at least, it should be acknowledged how egregiously and needlessly provocative that phrase is.

The entire conversation from both sides was egregiously and needlessly provocative. Frankly, palomar should just thank cortex for not giving them a forced break too.
posted by Drinky Die at 6:56 PM on June 28, 2015 [5 favorites]


Can we talk about how to nudge conversations about fat people (and especially about the intersection of weight and medicine) back over to the "basic respect for other people's lived experiences" again now? I am not super into the discussion of "are people who believe in social justice TOO NASTY" and tend to agree with NoraReed that it's a discussion that doesn't... exactly wind up being a discussion.
posted by sciatrix at 6:57 PM on June 28, 2015 [15 favorites]


lalex: "I would actually be very interested in a thread discussing the more aggressive deletion policy on the gray, but I think it belongs in a separate MeTa."

Deleting a tit-for-tat exchange between two users isn't a new thing.
posted by double block and bleed at 6:57 PM on June 28, 2015 [4 favorites]


i think it's

more aggressive deletions == fewer dramapyres == less work for a smaller mod staff
posted by subbes at 6:58 PM on June 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


What is the point of deleting a comment, and then paraphrasing or printing in verbatim that whole "get the fuck over yourself".

besides that, I thought the Gray was the place where there is a higher threshold to be reached before deletions.

What is the policy on the Gray now regarding deletions?
posted by hal_c_on at 6:58 PM on June 28, 2015 [1 favorite]




" I want to talk about how fat people are perceived by doctors and how over-emphasis on weight loss often leads to medical outcomes that are not exactly ideal"
[...]
"I don't actually care what people think about obesity vis a vis health. I don't care if you think weight loss is easy or if it's impossible or somewhere in between"

I'm glad you made that distinction as it was one reason why I Noped the fuck outta that thread.
posted by clavdivs at 6:59 PM on June 28, 2015 [5 favorites]


Oh my fucking god.
posted by sciatrix at 7:00 PM on June 28, 2015 [6 favorites]


Let me emphasize here that you are not the person who got a day off.

If any mod ever wants to write me a love letter, start off with those words.
posted by hal_c_on at 7:00 PM on June 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


hal_c_on, I've talked with you before about how you sometimes seem to hyper-engage with metatalk threads in a way that's problematic. This is turning into one of those times, please chill.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:01 PM on June 28, 2015 [18 favorites]


Ok. Sorry. Good luck with the rest of the thread. Also, don't forget about that love letter.

Hypo-engagement in 3...2...1..
posted by hal_c_on at 7:03 PM on June 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


besides that, I thought the Gray was the place where there is a higher threshold to be reached before deletions.

I don't understand this comment. 'Higher threshold' doesn't mean 'nothing gets deleted ever.'
posted by shakespeherian at 7:05 PM on June 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


Drinky Die, all you have to do to figure out my gender is take one quick look at my profile page.
posted by palomar at 7:11 PM on June 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


your profile page indicates your genitalia, not your gender, unless you're talking about the "status" slot and not the "gender" one
posted by NoraReed at 7:13 PM on June 28, 2015 [4 favorites]


Drinky Die, all you have to do to figure out my gender is take one quick look at my profile page.

Sorry.
posted by Drinky Die at 7:13 PM on June 28, 2015


never fucking mind.
posted by palomar at 7:14 PM on June 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


tangent but can people please stop it with the edit window.
posted by lalex at 7:18 PM on June 28, 2015 [7 favorites]


Yeah, I appreciate in this case it may be people trying to help de-escalate comments but as a general reminder please do not use the edit window for anything other than typos. If you regret a comment enough that you want to cut a significant chunk of it out, just hit the contact form real quick and tell us and we'll zap it real fast; otherwise, followup comment to clarify/elaborate is the way to go.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:20 PM on June 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


I don't actually think that the situation with regard to fat-shaming has improved much here over the last eleven years. Sure, it's less explicitly "LOLFATTIES" but the sentiment is still prevalent and motivates many comments which are essentially equivalent but superficially more polite.

I feel like this and the religion MeTa threads are arguments I've seen continue on MeFi for all these years without much real improvement in behavior. The very existence of both these two threads just exhausts me. Over the years, I've posted many comments in many of these threads but now I sort of feel like I can't expect much improvement on these topics because the simple truth is that the bad behavior that's being objected to simply expresses the majority viewpoint on MetaFilter. As long as this is true, things aren't going to change very much.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:31 PM on June 28, 2015 [9 favorites]


Cortex, want me to airlift you some kittens or something?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:44 PM on June 28, 2015 [20 favorites]


I thought my post from a little while on the obesity topic went pretty well all things considered, some really interesting insight (particularly from Miko) and not too much rancor. I think the choice of article has a lot to do with this - if there's a little more meat to the story then you can use that as a launching point for more considered analysis, move it away from the personal.
posted by nicolas léonard sadi carnot at 7:59 PM on June 28, 2015 [4 favorites]


I did a post on a weight related topic back in 2013 that I thought went pretty well too, though scanning back over it I can definitely see some problematic stuff. I wouldn't say this is a topic we do as awful as some others in general, though it varies from thread to thread.
posted by Drinky Die at 8:06 PM on June 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


Should we just stop posting topics that involve weightloss issues?

I think we either need that, or to do a trans 101 or I/P thread type of "We are not going to be discussing this here. Read some of these things before you post, ffs".

I did notice this tiresome trend to these threads, and it really reminded me of the generally shitty wave of "but what if the victim/group of people crying in pain here is actually the wrong one!" that happens in all kinds of threads.

Maybe just add this to the list, along with other recent "we need to fucking stop this" feminism stuff of things that really need to get smacked down hard?
posted by emptythought at 8:18 PM on June 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


That list only ever grows. It should really stop. It's easy.
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 9:32 PM on June 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


Personally I'd really love to see the humourists and the 'but, let's consider the aggressor' people take a step back before they post. I know it's real tempting to bust into a thread with your super important opinions and jokes, even when you don't actually have much to add (and 'lose weight' is actually a shitty addition to a thread about medical maltreatment of fat people), but this is about conversations, and the community having them, not your need to participate even when your participation is actively unhelpful. God knows I fuck it up sometimes, but we can aim higher people.

I mean why is it so important to defend the doctors who missed a woman's fucking lung cancer because fatties breathe heavy right?

If you aren't engaging with good faith, GTFO in other words - humour, devils advocate, one liners, speaking just to be heard, I don't much care, GTFO and let the real conversation happen.
posted by geek anachronism at 9:40 PM on June 28, 2015 [31 favorites]


"I have never seen this happen" does not trump "I have seen/experienced this happening" for the simple reason that a problem does not need to arise in every single applicable situation without fail before it becomes a problem worth discussing. It's exactly the "not all men" fallacy.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:53 PM on June 28, 2015 [30 favorites]


I know the "that thread was awful and a lot of people noped out" parade was mostly in the upper part of the thread but, yeah, that was an awful thread and I noped right out of it. I did read past the first "however", and it was a mistake. If people feel the need to say "however" in the context of "why fat-shaming is bad", maybe they should look at their life and look at their choices before hitting post.
posted by immlass at 10:06 PM on June 28, 2015 [9 favorites]


Was phaedon banned or did they button?
posted by lalex at 10:16 PM on June 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


Buttoned (or more precisely asked me to go ahead and close it up for him since you can't button when you're on a time out).
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:18 PM on June 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


On the plus side, the author of that piece showed up to the thread and also graciously took questions!
posted by en forme de poire at 10:33 PM on June 28, 2015 [9 favorites]


Yeah, and really handled it well without taking umbrage at the sometimes personal nature of the questions. Takes a lot of courage to put yourself out there like that.
posted by Drinky Die at 10:34 PM on June 28, 2015 [8 favorites]


I mean why is it so important to defend the doctors who missed a woman's fucking lung cancer because fatties breathe heavy right?

Well, I know that the actual OP is just a launchpad for the ensuing discussion, but in this instance, it wasn't entirely clear to me that the emotional and moral (and factual) truths people were expressing were fully connected with what I could understand of the particular events described by the author (though they were in sync with events as originally described by the author). It didn't seem to me that her cancer was missed predominantly because of bias against obese people; as I understood it, she was shorted by a genuinely tragic convergence of a number of factors, and it seemed important to try to look at what those factors might be.

(Why bring it up - well, I thought aiming at what I saw as the wrong target - wrt the original circumstances, not the personal experiences people shared later - in some way undermined what came later. And because I think looking at relevant situational constraints can shed light on how they intersect with bias, which is to my mind a way of moving towards addressing it. I can see how I might have missed the mark [on multiple levels], though.)
posted by cotton dress sock at 10:39 PM on June 28, 2015 [9 favorites]


There might have been a reasoned dissection of everything that went wrong but instead it was like "Yes, the thing the author identifies as wrong is truly a thing, and it's wrong." "That's not a even a thing, and it's not wrong." What else can you say to that but "No yeah it's pretty wrong and it's a thing, I've seen it." And what response to that is there other than "It's not wrong, it's correct! And it's not a thing! The actual problem was some other thing that I don't seem convinced is wrong or a thing" ad infinitum. There was no where to go in this conversation but circling a drain.
posted by bleep at 10:49 PM on June 28, 2015 [9 favorites]


It didn't seem to me that her cancer was missed predominantly because of bias against obese people; as I understood it, she was shorted by a genuinely tragic convergence of a number of factors, and it seemed important to try to look at what those factors might be.

Her essay is titled My Cancer Pt. II, Medical Fat Shaming Could Have Killed Me. She is undoubtedly far more aware of the events surrounding her misdiagnosis; neither you nor I know more than the details she has revealed. I can't see any good reason to dispute her analysis.
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:57 PM on June 28, 2015 [7 favorites]


The reasons I saw, I mentioned (or sometimes favourited) in the thread, and I'm doubting whether it's useful for me to repeat them here (though I could, I guess?).
posted by cotton dress sock at 11:11 PM on June 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


I wonder if adding disclaimers to the top of a post would help? Like: "If you are considering giving weight loss advice, don't. You are adding nothing new to the discussion.
"If you are coming in here to express doubt that this shitty thing happens, don't." Etc.
posted by Omnomnom at 2:40 AM on June 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


It didn't seem to me that her cancer was missed predominantly because of bias against obese people; as I understood it, she was shorted by a genuinely tragic convergence of a number of factors, and it seemed important to try to look at what those factors might be.

Fyi, this is like a classic tiresome and almost platonic reply to any sort of "i was the victim of an *ism" statement.

"But there's a perfect reasonable explanation of how it was all just a coincidence or other explanations!"

Maybe just listen to and believe the people who have been experiencing it all over the place for years, rather than the fig leaf explanation that only defends the aggressors/harm through inaction types in these situations?
posted by emptythought at 2:47 AM on June 29, 2015 [12 favorites]


Fyi, I believe anyone who says they've experienced bias. I've experienced it myself (having been at BMIs ranging from 19 to 30, and a woman, who's had mental health issues and complex medical problems, and been angry at doctors herself, and why does mentioning this kind of thing have to matter so much here). It still does not seem to me that it in this case fully or even predominantly explains what happened.
posted by cotton dress sock at 3:05 AM on June 29, 2015 [4 favorites]


But it would be great if we could not go on and on about what I personally think. The broader discussion isn't about that, I recognize.
posted by cotton dress sock at 3:10 AM on June 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


Considering obesity and weight loss as purely a social issue and not a health issue is one way in which sexism ends up cheating women out of information about their health. And that can be frustrating to see. Women are so used to anything related to obesity and weight loss being used as a cudgel against us that there seems to be little to no room for actual information about those topics to be discussed. We hear the words and expect the cudgel because we are intelligent and have learned that the cudgel is coming. It sucks because women actually need real information about these issues. Instead our options tend to be limited to "get the most information we need for our health while feeling like utter shit in a counterproductive way" or "avoid information we need about our health so that we can maintain the reasonable self-esteem everyone is entitled to".

I personally feel like there should be more room for accurate health information about obesity and weight loss that doesn't make women feel like shit, but I think the topic is so poisoned for so many people that there might not actually be such a thing. We miss out on something really important because it's been completely and thoroughly blended with shit. It sucks and is depressing but it's real.

If you genuinely want to inform women about obesity and weight loss you need to be aware of the fact that you are quite likely to make a significant number of women feel like shit because of the context and history. You should also be aware that some women who are not seeking out that information are likely to consider you deciding to share it with them as an act of aggression even if that's not your intent, because it is such a painful topic and is tied up with so much negative baggage.

And certainly a discussion about someone who had a serious health problem that could have led to her death (and that had NOTHING TO DO WITH HER OBESITY) is a terrible venue for informing women about weight loss and obesity. Even if other people brought it up first or whatever. It's just a bad choice. It's not just unsolicited, it's unsolicited and it's in response to a lot of people's very real fears about their own health being seriously compromised because of bias against their weight. Just not a good move.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 4:06 AM on June 29, 2015 [81 favorites]


(For context, I am obese, have definitely encountered discrimination as a result and still do, but also have had success at losing weight and wish that information about doing so wasn't so heavily freighted and necessarily ideological).
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 4:10 AM on June 29, 2015 [5 favorites]


I also absolutely do not think women should have to try to lose weight if they [we] are obese and it's possible. Like literally everything, we are entitled to weigh the risks and benefits of staying at our current weight, and sometimes the benefits will outweigh the risks. I am a mother and that means a lot to me and takes up a lot of my time, and I want to prioritize it. I love my current friendships and relationships and want to prioritize them, too. I love learning and reading and writing and want to prioritize doing those things. Hell, I love reading metafilter. And I choose those over doing what I would need to do to lose weight. That has to be okay and respected as a decision that individual women can make for ourselves.

Making it about "can lose weight so must lose weight" or "cannot lose weight so is therefore excused from losing weight" loses sight of the fact that it is okay to be able to lose weight and simply decide that it's not worth it or that we'd rather do something else. Losing weight does not need to always be priority number one no matter what. We're much, much more than our weight and all of those other aspects of ourselves matter. So even if weight loss isn't impossible, that doesn't mean we'd be obligated to do whatever it would take to achieve weight loss.

Whew. Turns out I have a lot of opinions about this (and am definitely enjoying sharing them much, much more than I'd enjoy an early morning run or whatever the putative Noble Weight Loss thing to do would be!)
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 4:23 AM on June 29, 2015 [85 favorites]


I would give multiple favorites to each of those comments if I could, thanks for posting ifds,s#9.
posted by Drinky Die at 4:25 AM on June 29, 2015 [6 favorites]


Just to chip in and register as someone else surprised by how relentless the "but you SHOULD lose weight REALLY" brigade were in that thread. It's possibly a measure of how people I know elsewhere online and IRL seem to have accepted that folks should mind their business over this stuff, but it was honestly a bit of a shock.
posted by ominous_paws at 4:26 AM on June 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


First we have a thread about 'obsession with irrelevant weight loss issue caused life-threatening misdiagnosis' which fills up with irrelevant weight loss advocacy. Then we have a meta about how these threads get angry and don't go well - which gets angry and doesn't go well. This is Metafilter.
posted by Segundus at 4:28 AM on June 29, 2015 [4 favorites]


In a thread full of personal anecdotes, why should the experience of someone who has never witnessed or experienced "fat shaming" in health care be any less relevant than the anecdotes of those who have?

I'm late to the party and am now responding to a user who has elected to leave the site, but: this shit makes me furious, and while I assume that it's the rule everywhere else, it's an attitude I really didn't expect to see expressed so openly on the Blue. I am literally not able to generate the empathy it takes to assume that comments like this are made in good faith. It's indistinguishable from me saying "I've never been catcalled, and I've never seen anyone catcall a female friend when I'm out walking with her... all those hundreds of anecdotes of women relating their stories of harassment and assault must just be making it up to prove a rhetorical point." To assume that your own narrow band of experience is universal enough that you can project it on to other people, and use it to question the veracity of their stories, is the height of arrogance and bad faith.

I'm also overweight, and have never suffered from doctors treating me badly because of it. Do you know why that is? It's because I'm a dude, and I picked a PCP who is also an overweight dude, and I advocate strongly for myself, and I can code-switch well enough that medical professionals sometimes think I'm much more knowledgeable than I really am. It's not because discrimination doesn't exist. It's because I'm lucky enough to be able to project a bubble around myself where discrimination aimed at me doesn't exist. But it would be one hell of an act of hubris to try to extend that into "my experiences are just as representative of objective reality as this woman who nearly died from cancer because of her shitty fat-shaming doctor."
posted by Mayor West at 5:36 AM on June 29, 2015 [30 favorites]


I noped out of the thread too. Threads about cosmetic judgments masquerading as health advice don't need people coming in and contributing more cosmetic judgments masquerading as health advice. I assure you, fat women are experts at this, we can fucking tell the difference.
posted by almostmanda at 6:06 AM on June 29, 2015 [18 favorites]


Joe in Australia: I've been wondering whether trite questions or comments could be headed off at the pass by directing the commentator to little "Subject X 101" things curated by knowledgeable users.

For instance, I've seen posters incorporate "Trans 101" links in their posts. I realise that those FPPs can still be contentious, but I believe that these links do help, and that they would help more if we would internalise their use and recommend them to commentators who are derailing discussions.


My .02¢, it wouldn't work. Being fat is still taboo throughout Western culture, primarily because it's seen as either a gluttonous, unacceptable choice or laziness, not either an inherent biological tendency, possible disease state (or a healthy one) and/or side-effect of a condition or one's metabolism. Body shaming and fat shaming are still considered acceptable targets in books, movies, television and film. Western culture, which tends to idolizes physical attractiveness, simultaneously does its best to render the unattractive invisible. That may stem from people's insecurities, similar to anti-intellectualism. It's still harmful.

These are ingrained attitudes resistant to education, acceptance and empathy. They're taught to children by their parents and to people of all ages by television and other media. They result in no small share of self-hatred in our societies.

A link to "fat shaming 101" links won't work if no one is willing to learn from them.
posted by zarq at 6:48 AM on June 29, 2015 [8 favorites]


I feel like the increased specificity of mod notes, as we've been discussing the past couple of months, has been even more effective than I imagined (or maybe I'm slow enough that I don't see the much higher number of subsequent deletions and I'm mis-attributing the success of the notes), and I think we've reached the point now where a note to the effect of [Let's take as given that everyone here is aware of the health risks associated with obesity, and this is not a weight loss advice thread.] might have been helpful, and cut to the point faster than any sort of 101.

This is a topic that goes badly in two ways: 1) People jump in to enjoy one of the last prejudices available that are socially acceptable to have in most company, assuming that they will be welcome to do so here as well, 2) Some people are overly-engaged in trying to save the world from this scourge for reasons that are often deeply emotional but easily camouflaged as scientific, but they do not need to be practicing medicine on Metafilter. Those people don't need 101ing, they know full well what they're doing, they just think it's okay or that someone's going to give them a medal for spreading the word.

There will always be a few people who are only just discovering they have made a bunch of assumptions about how the world works that don't hold up when exposed to scrutiny. They can go 101 themselves or not, but the above disclaimer would be sufficient to redirect them from doing their thinking out loud, in-thread, at the expense of people who have thought harder about it.
posted by Lyn Never at 6:59 AM on June 29, 2015 [30 favorites]


A link to "fat shaming 101" links won't work if no one is willing to learn from them

I don't think that's true - because you're assuming that the point is for people to learn that fat-shaming is stupid, ignorant and unacceptable, when all that we really need them to learn is that it won't be allowed to stand in the thread.

I've found that when I need to prevent something in a group I facilitate, signposting that this is not the place for certain conversations really helps. You scaffold for people, when someone starts something you point back to the original mission statement and then the banhammer/"no, we aren't having that conversation here" comes down. And starting things off with "this is not a space where we have that conversation" helps other people to disengage rather than jumping in - it's a lot easier to say "I'm not having that conversation with you, we've already decided that this isn't the place" when that's been signposted.

Also, it avoids at least some rules-lawyering because people have been warned.

I would enjoy posts where we could talk in more depth rather than spinning off into the same old conversations, but I know that there are threads where I do that myself.
posted by Frowner at 7:51 AM on June 29, 2015 [10 favorites]


It sucks that phaedon buttoned, because he/she was a valued member and this comment was 100% on the money.

This forum, and many others like it, have become a sanctuary for smaller voices that do need to be heard. The problem is sometimes those voices want to yell, maybe even make gross comments for effect. Is anyone going to correct that? I try to sometimes. But by and large, the message is don't do that. You'll either be moderated or shat on if you match the emotional tone of anyone else in the conversation with an opposing view.
...
... calling out all doctors as old, wrinkly misogynists, driven by greed, the need to spend, the need to save, citing misread articles to try to prove these miserable generalizations, frankly it's fucked up. It makes MetaFilter less about insight and more about rhetoric, and has a paralyzing, dumbing effect on the reader.

People are really mean to eachother, I don't care what side of the aisle you stand on.

posted by jayder at 8:35 AM on June 29, 2015 [4 favorites]


It sucks that phaedon buttoned, because he/she was a valued member and this comment was 100% on the money.

You mean the comment that was pretty definitively rebutted several times? This lionization of comments and commentors that misrepresent what was said in order to make yet another "OMG Metafilter sux" point are part of the problem.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:43 AM on June 29, 2015 [33 favorites]


The problem is sometimes those voices want to yell, maybe even make gross comments for effect. Is anyone going to correct that?

That's problematic stuff, even if read sympathetically. A, we don't all agree what "the problem is..." and the content of the statement amounts to a tone argument. B, who decides who needs "correcting?" And what points of view are "correct?" I can agree insofar as it would be great to achieve a higher standard of evidence and insight in general, but not about the tone business or making sure we keep people with marginalized voices in line and "corrected."
posted by Miko at 8:56 AM on June 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


Even one of the Metafilter mods (I can't remember which one) has articulately explained why this "tone argument" thing is such nonsense. Tone matters.
posted by jayder at 9:06 AM on June 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


Even one of the Metafilter mods (I can't remember which one) has articulately explained why this "tone argument" thing is such nonsense. Tone matters.

Link? Sometimes "tone" is used as a silencing tactic in arguments. Telling minority voices that they're not being polite enough for the majority to deign to listen to them, matters.
posted by zarq at 9:09 AM on June 29, 2015 [5 favorites]


I can guarantee you that while we have had things to say about why framing matters and even justifiable frustration and anger can lead to problematic kinds of expression, "this 'tone argument' thing is such nonsense" is not within spitting distance of where we actually stand on the subject. Please don't volunteer us as hazily-recalled backup like that; link to the actual thing we said in the actual context or don't.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:11 AM on June 29, 2015 [27 favorites]


Tone matters, but always as part of a larger context. Sometimes, when you feel uncomfortable with someone's tone, it's because it's getting through to you and you don't like the feeling of having to reconsider or defend what might not be the most fair or generous opinion.
posted by Miko at 9:11 AM on June 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


Even one of the Metafilter mods (I can't remember which one) has articulately explained why this "tone argument" thing is such nonsense.

I never said it was nonsense but I've pushed back pretty heavily in the past when people said they felt it wasn't okay to tell people to be civil to one another because it amounted to a tone argument. This would have been years ago at this point. That said, as cortex says, it's only sort of germane to what people are talking about here as I understand it. People need to not dig in and make a thread about something else about their own nervous tic that people are doing math wrong which is how a lot of the responses to many threads on weight and weight loss seem to go. The "okay you've made your point now drop it and let other people talk" thing which works well most of the time goes poorly in some kinds of threads on MeFi and this is one of them. Nothing angers people like perceived lack of math skills. I think Lyn Never is on the money, the increased mod notes have been helpful, now if they get more specific "we're not going to have these 101 discussions in this thread about something else" so much the better.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 9:24 AM on June 29, 2015 [6 favorites]


I thought jayder was referring to LobsterMitten's series of comments about tone in the Too Much False Rape thread, although if so I think the characterization is exaggerated.
posted by lalex at 9:30 AM on June 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


On the one hand, you don't want to deny people's experience. OTOH, I think we should welcome professional perspectives.

Pertaining to the topic at hand - namely, doctors who completely ignore the complaints of fat folks, concentrating on their weight instead - I really don't care to hear "professional perspectives" about why the only thing about me in need of treatment is the plushness of my ass, rather than, say, why I might have a years-long cough, punctuated by coughing up blood.

No, seriously. What benefit would we get from a "professional perspective"? Remember, the topic isn't whether or not weight loss is beneficial, but whether concentrating on weight instead of addressing other concerns can lead to poor outcomes for patients.
posted by MissySedai at 10:01 AM on June 29, 2015 [12 favorites]


Well, professional perspectives might tell us something about how biases work in general, even among well-meaning (or even just ignorant and unaware) professionals. From that we all might be able to find ways to work with our professionals to help them get over their professional biases, whatever they are, and dig deeper into our own individual circumstances requiring professional intervention.
posted by notyou at 10:21 AM on June 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


There was this.
posted by ambient2 at 10:21 AM on June 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


There was this.

There's a ton of context in that conversation, both from LM and other mods and commentors, that you're missing and that also makes it far less of a slam-dunk than it's being characterized here.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:27 AM on June 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think that the author of the linked piece gave us some more details that weren't in the original story, and perhaps if she had included that info, some of the earlier comments might not have appeared. I did have some questions and her post answered them.
posted by Ideefixe at 10:38 AM on June 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


There was this.

A little later in the thread, someone said "if feminists would just dial down their fiery rhetoric, maybe Those Guys would lay off"

And this was the reply from LM:
"I apologize if this is how I sounded. It's not what I meant. If I could rewind this discussion I wouldn't get into that set of thoughts here. The situation for women on the site is important to me, and the ability to have a community is too, and I have a whoooole lot of thoughts about that, and this wasn't the place for them.

I'm sorry that the recent part of this thread has been discouraging for people who have described their frustrations in here."
Jayder later described this comment as LobsterMitten being browbeaten and bullied into retracting that statement by feminists.

So the axe has apparently been grinding for a while.
posted by zarq at 10:40 AM on June 29, 2015 [17 favorites]


I think that the author of the linked piece gave us some more details that weren't in the original story, and perhaps if she had included that info, some of the earlier comments might not have appeared.

Alternatively, if people had possessed even an ounce more humility about the fact that they don't know everything in the universe about a complete stranger's complex medical situation, some of the earlier comments might not have appeared.
posted by dialetheia at 10:40 AM on June 29, 2015 [30 favorites]


"Alternatively, if people had possessed even an ounce more humility about the fact that they don't know everything in the universe about a complete stranger's complex medical situation, some of the earlier comments might not have appeared."
Which the complete stranger wrote about. Geeze, it's not like we stole her locked diary from her upper drawer and read it.
posted by Ideefixe at 10:45 AM on June 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


I knew from the first seven words of the post exactly what kind of argument was going to try to take over that thread.
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:54 AM on June 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


Which the complete stranger wrote about. Geeze, it's not like we stole her locked diary from her upper drawer and read it.

One assumption that was made: if she had just lost weight, doctors would have suddenly paid attention to her symptoms, done proper medical tests (which they should have been doing in the first place -- and especially when someone presented coughing up blood,) and stopped fat shaming her.

She wrote about it, sure. People seem to have missed the point.
posted by zarq at 10:57 AM on June 29, 2015 [6 favorites]


Which the complete stranger wrote about. Geeze, it's not like we stole her locked diary from her upper drawer and read it.

I think the point was people assumed a depth of knowledge of the details situation that was completely unwarranted. That's where the lack of humility is.
posted by Gygesringtone at 11:04 AM on June 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


I never said it was nonsense but I've pushed back pretty heavily in the past when people said they felt it wasn't okay to tell people to be civil to one another because it amounted to a tone argument.

This is something that gets confused at times. It's a tone argument to discredit people's arguments because of how they say it. It's not a tone argument to expect certain quality of discourse (which can appropriately include things like anger, calling people out when it's needed, along with general civility). I like that we set the bar a little bit higher on the latter while also having some flexibility to let some people be a bit rough around the edges, or to have a bad day or whatever.

That being said, I always try to take to mind what Miko is saying. If something is bothering me because of how someone is saying something, it might be because I need to double-check my own motives. Also, I find that it's easy to assume someone is smuggling in other propositional content without actually saying it by the way it is conveyed, and I need to keep this in check. For example, if I ask someone, "Why is there a red spot on the carpet?", I may be sincerely inquisitive, or I might actually know already why it is there, and I'm upset that someone brought kool-aid into the living room. Context is important, but the inflection in my voice may also be communicating, via a question and without saying it, that "You should not have done [x]." If I say it loud enough and with enough incredulity, it may be interpreted as shaming.

So when we get upset at perceived tone, we sometimes get upset at what we think is beings smuggled in without actually saying it. I think sometimes what is negatively interpreted through perceived tone (correctly or not) are things that make us feel shamed (appropriately or not) rather than part of a community discussion among peers. It give us a good opportunity, I think, to check our own motives for possible personal change that is needed, but also practice simply taking things at face value without reading hidden motives into things perceived as tone, as a practice, because it's way too easy to do in a strictly written medium. (I like what grumblebee says here.) Sometimes the hidden motives are there, but I think the grown up thing to do is to learn to operate on what people give us directly, not mind read what they might be trying to smuggle in indirectly (if people can't say things directly about their hidden irritations or intentions, that's their thing to work on). However, we can still do this by carefully discerning what sorts of overt styles of discourse are contributing to an unhealthy mode of communication that doesn't allow for progress, and discourage those kinds of things.
posted by SpacemanStix at 11:04 AM on June 29, 2015 [11 favorites]


I think that the author of the linked piece gave us some more details that weren't in the original story, and perhaps if she had included that info, some of the earlier comments might not have appeared.

Alternatively, if people had possessed even an ounce more humility about the fact that they don't know everything in the universe about a complete stranger's complex medical situation, some of the earlier comments might not have appeared.


The thing is - this also applies to medical professionals too, and is why I nope out of these threads for two reasons in addition to the general grossness of fat shaming that inevitably shows up in two or three uneducated opinions.

I'm married to a health care professional and a damn good one. She sees two things - diet-related illnesses (rather than genetic obesity) and smoking-related illnesses all god-damned day. She does not look at this as failures of the individual, but understands all of the determinants of health that are almost always not the fault of the individual that drive people to a hospital bed.

She hates that the overall shaming that we do to people who are obese makes it exceptionally hard to talk about behaviors. She has conversations where she knows the persons' takeaway was shame because they talked about their obesity as one element of their health-care plan of attack. It would be irresponsible of her not to talk about it - but she sees this moment where, when she mentions someone's weight (in addition to glucosamine or what have you that they came in for) as a potential opportunity to avoid knee- or hip-replacement surgery in the future (and all of the science that's behind it) they treat it as different than, say, a physiotherapist telling you that you need to stretch every morning to avoid back pain.

She sees people leave in a huff, or get defensive that they are doing all the right things (despite cholesterol levels and heart rates that say otherwise) and then disregard her professional advice as hurtful. Their only takeaway will be about their weight, and it's not as though it was the only thing she would talk about - but it's the only thing they heard.

So while we're loading up on doctors or other health care professionals being jerks (and should take people at their word when they say they were being treated as such by one), we should also recognize the heart-breakingly small box that many of our good health care providers are working in as a result of our broader societal disgust with fat. People who've dealt with fat shaming their whole life do not arrive at a health care professional with a healthy sense of ability to treat that topic as others with respect to their health. That is all of our fault.
posted by buoys in the hood at 11:34 AM on June 29, 2015 [30 favorites]


[WARNING: WALL O'TEXT]

One of the biggest issues with this entire...issue is that those of us who are overweight, even a little, are deeply familiar with our weight immediately becoming the primary focus of our healthcare team even when there are multiple chronic conditions also intersecting with our weight.

The only reason I've been able to come up with for this is that, unlike damn near everything else in medicine, weight APPEARS to be low-hanging fruit, and straightforward. Unlike, say, insulin-dependent diabetes, or thyroid syndrome, or cancer, or, or, or.

There are a shitload of people out there (and I'm one of them) who are dealing with multiple intersecting chronic conditions. One of the consequences of multiply-intersecting health conditions is that the situation often generates outcomes that are frankly orthogonal to what the doctor or the patient expects.

For example: when you combine obstructive sleep apnea with insulin-dependent diabetes, shit gets real weird, real fast. The OSA affects overnight blood glucose levels. And those blood glucose levels derange the endocrine system. Which leads to poor sleep. Which increases the negative outcome of the OSA. Which further deranges the endocrine system. And on, and on, and on.

For a clinician, it very rapidly turns into "why the hell, when we twiddle THIS knob, is THAT setting going apeshit?". And it's twice as much fun for the patient. "I'm monitoring my blood sugars every three hours, and treating my sleep apnea. Why am I still seeing elevated blood glucose numbers in the morning?"

On top of that, you get shit like insulin-dependent diabetes throws at you, where you can eat the exact same thing on two different days, take the exact same insulin dose, and wind up with wildly different blood glucose results. Nobody knows for sure why this happens. It's just part of the fucked-upness of chronic conditions like this.

So.

When those of us who deal with having multiple chronic conditions walk into our doctors offices, and we're overweight on top of everything else, I can totally see how the clinician would grab onto the life preserver of AT LAST, SOMETHING THAT WE CAN ACTUALLY ATTEMPT TO FIX AND HAVE WORK.

If I were my doctor, I would probably be in the same boat. Everything else is a crapshoot at best: maybe if we can just get this guy's weight down, SOMETHING will start to make sense, and maybe one or two of his systems will start to behave the way they're fucking supposed to, and we can actually HELP this guy.

It's well-intentioned, and it comes from a place of desperately wanting to find something that will help your patient function better in the world. Because, very often, even the best doctors can't get multiple chronic conditions to fucking BEHAVE for more than ten minutes at a time, and the reason these people became doctors in the first place was to help people, not make things worse.

So they see the weight, and they go after it, because, out of everything that the patient is dealing with, the weight loss looks (note: LOOKS, not IS) like a way forward that might actually work.

Unfortunately, this is not how things work. Just like all the other chronic conditions, weight loss is complicated, and difficult, and as you stack up other health issues on top of it, it gets steadily more intractable. As we've heard countless times from peoples' lived experience, where they recount gaining weight on a 1200-calorie diet, or doing literally everything that they're told, and still gaining weight.

Even doctors, and maybe especially doctors, are human. And they hope for the impossible, and believe in miracles, just like everyone else. And I'm inclined to believe that the whole "just lose weight, and everything will get better" attitude is that kind of magical thinking on the part of the medical establishment.

That doesn't excuse it. That doesn't make it better, or mean it's okay. It's just something I've observed from both sides of the healthcare situation, as both a provider and a patient. Doctors want to make things better, and it is intensely frustrating to them to not only be unable to make things better but be unable to understand why things aren't getting better.

I imagine there are a lot of reasons why this has come to pass: one of the biggest is probably the fallacious notion that because we understand large parts of the human body, that the human body and its disease processes are therefore easily understood and predictable.

Among many others, Abraham Verghese is doing yeoman's work in dismantling this idea, but it's a relatively recent phenomenon to see physicians as a class saying "we have no fucking idea why this happens, or how to fix it" instead of leaping directly to "the patient must be doing it wrong".

tl;dr: it's complicated, and I suspect an awful lot of the judgey bullshit is coming from a place of naive expectation on the physician's part that IF X THEN Y, when for many if not most of us, it's more like IF X THEN BLUEBIRD OR MAYBE ALSO UNICORNS BUT SOMETIMES SPEAKING CHEESE, BUT ONLY RARELY Y.
posted by scrump at 12:37 PM on June 29, 2015 [29 favorites]


Being overweight is not something I've ever had personal experience with and there is some cringeworthy stuff in my comment history. Over the years, I've learned a lot from people who have shared their stories. I hope they feel safe enough to continue.
posted by desjardins at 12:57 PM on June 29, 2015


It doesn't get much clearer than this:

Yes, watch your tone. Tone matters. If you want to see why it matters, I can compose a blistering comment that everyone will object to because it has a shitty nasty tone that will make discussion go badly.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 10:17 A
M on February 23
posted by jayder at 1:09 PM on June 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


It doesn't get much clearer than this:

It doesn't get much clearer that you're taking stuff out of context to prove a point not really related to this conversation?
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 1:13 PM on June 29, 2015 [26 favorites]


Definitely tone matters, but that doesn't mean that people who shoot down statements purely from tone arguments aren't also wrong. It's not a really a binary situation.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:13 PM on June 29, 2015 [4 favorites]


Or what Mrs. Pterodactyl said.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:14 PM on June 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


Two reasons doctors shouldn't talk about weight unless it's directly related to the matter at hand:

1) It's a waste of time. The only difference might be if the doc said YOU'RE SO FAT YOU'RE GOING TO DIE, but that has to be actually true in order for it to have any effect. Or if the patient is really completely oblivious, which I think does happen occasionally, but not too often.

2) A patient who is ashamed and embarrassed is less likely to go to the doctor for routine things in the future, which may cause much worse problems later on.
posted by miyabo at 1:14 PM on June 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


It doesn't get much clearer than this

It requires a dedication to narrow reading that reaches a state of absurdity to point emphatically to one small stretch of words, pointedly taken in isolation from context, while ignoring the people to whose authority you are notionally appealing on the subject in doing so.

It's not the position of the mods that the idea of tone arguments is "nonsense". Our position is a lot more complicated and a lot less dismissive than that. But that a mod said it was nonsense was your representation up thread, and it was incorrect. If you're making that misrepresentation because you don't understand that that's not our position, here's your chance to say "oops, I misunderstood". If you're making that misrepresentation because you're just hoping we won't argue with you about it, then tough shit, because it's a misrepresentation and we are not on your side on that line of argument.

That tone matters is not the same thing as tone being the only thing that matters, and one can both want people to make an effort to frame stuff carefully and acknowledge that people will indeed sometimes use tone as an excuse to dismiss arguments they don't want to engage with the merits of.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:32 PM on June 29, 2015 [33 favorites]


jayder: "It doesn't get much clearer than this:

Yes, watch your tone. Tone matters. If you want to see why it matters, I can compose a blistering comment that everyone will object to because it has a shitty nasty tone that will make discussion go badly.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 10:17 A
M on February 23
"

From the outside, FYI: your behavior in this thread at this point is, to me at least, indistinguishable from trolling. You may want to consider the fact that behaving in a way that cannot be distinguished from trolling, even by people who are trying to give you the benefit of the doubt, may have an outcome you neither expect nor desire.

tl;dr: check yourself before you wreck yourself.
posted by scrump at 1:54 PM on June 29, 2015 [17 favorites]


She sees people leave in a huff, or get defensive that they are doing all the right things (despite cholesterol levels and heart rates that say otherwise) and then disregard her professional advice as hurtful.

This is the exact problem. What she says is hurtful because she is making the unwarranted assumption that the patient is lying. If the patient is doing all the right things and the weight and the cholesterol are not improving then that is a symptom that something else is wrong and that something else needs to be addressed. Weight gain and heart rates and cholesterol that do not respond to "all the right things" are symptoms of an underlying medical condition that deserves to be taken seriously. A medical condition that deserves to be diagnosed and treated so that the issues which are preventing "all the right things" from having the effect on the weight and the heart rates and the cholesterol they're supposed to have. It is not the patient's fault that "all the right things" are not producing the result the doctor expects. It is not some magic evidence that proves the patient is lying. It is a symptom that deserves investigation and the doctor needs to pay attention to those symptoms and do their job instead of jumping to the hurtful conclusion that the patient is lying. A doctor whose first assumption is that the patient is lying is disrespectful to the patient, is damaging the patient-doctor relationship, and is failing at their job.

That assumption on the part of doctors is what damages the trust patients have in their doctors. That assumption on the part of doctors is what makes it so much more difficult for fat people, and especially fat women, to access the medical care they are entitled to by virtue of being human beings.
posted by talitha_kumi at 2:15 PM on June 29, 2015 [34 favorites]


From the outside, FYI: your behavior in this thread at this point is, to me at least, indistinguishable from trolling.

My contribution to this thread involved expressing regret for pardon's departure and referencing an astute comment they made. Perfectly reasonable comments.

When Miko weighed in that phaedon's comment can be dismissed because it makes a tone argument,.I pointed out that even the people who run this place don't accept that tone argument stuff.

If that's what you call trolling,then you've defined trolling to.include any comments you don't agree with.
posted by jayder at 2:33 PM on June 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


you're defending a comment that is a bad faith retelling of other comments and supporting that with a bad faith retelling of a mod's comment. turtles all the way down.
posted by nadawi at 2:37 PM on June 29, 2015 [18 favorites]


It would look less like trolling if you acknowledged the mods did not back up your description of their position on tone arguments. They left you plenty of room to still hold the position that phaedon's comment should not be dismissed if you want.
posted by Drinky Die at 2:38 PM on June 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


What she says is hurtful because she is making the unwarranted assumption that the patient is lying.

Or it might be she is assuming not that people are lying, but might (if they're typical people) be kind of bad at estimating calories and portions (hence the usefulness of food diaries, food scales, etc in weight loss). Which is of course far from the only reason someone might not lose weight, but it's usually the first thing to tick off. Weight is overdetermined by metabolic processes, the food industry, genetics, and little cognitive biases like that; bodies are just kind of caught in the middle. But completely agree that talking about any of these can definitely be hurtful, for the reasons everyone's described.

KathrynT's doctor's approach (described in the thread) sounded like a great one to me.
posted by cotton dress sock at 2:48 PM on June 29, 2015 [10 favorites]


> I pointed out that even the people who run this place don't accept that tone argument stuff.

And you are incorrect in your interpretation of that, as has been pointed out several times.
posted by rtha at 2:49 PM on June 29, 2015 [8 favorites]


It feels to me like part of the reason threads like these go off the rails is that people get divided into Team Fat Acceptance and Team Not Fat Acceptance, and it gets extremely difficult to tease out just one aspect of that

Yeah, this. This times a million.

I'm a fat lady. It's real. I have been a not-fat-lady in the past but am now sailing on the Good Ship Fatterson. And I have complex feels about that - like, I really hate that fatshaming goes on and I hate that it is assumed by society that I'm just going to be matronly and if I show any cleavage people freak the fuck out because WHAT FAT LADY SEXY WHAT NO. But at the same time, there are real health problems that I absolutely have that are majorly impacted by my weight - like, half my family has died or been significantly impacted by diabetes, for one, not to mention other more personal shit. And I know I am not in the prime of fitness because I've been fit before and now I can't run two miles without sucking in air like I'm drowning. And I would like to lose weight, but not have people be mean about it.

But it feels like if I post about my experience of the former, like, fatshaming bullshit, then it's going to be assumed I'm on Team Fat Acceptance and that I am blithely ignoring health risks and think that being fat makes me even MORE healthy. And if I post about the latter, people are going to assume I'm on Team Not Fat Acceptance and I want to toss every fat lady, myself included, into a shame muumuu. And that's a problem, because really, I only want to be on Team Don't Be An Asshole.
posted by corb at 3:21 PM on June 29, 2015 [25 favorites]


But it feels like if I post about my experience of the former, like, fatshaming bullshit, then it's going to be assumed I'm on Team Fat Acceptance and that I am blithely ignoring health risks and think that being fat makes me even MORE healthy. And if I post about the latter, people are going to assume I'm on Team Not Fat Acceptance and I want to toss every fat lady, myself included, into a shame muumuu. And that's a problem, because really, I only want to be on Team Don't Be An Asshole.

See, this is what I don't understand. How hard is it to phrase things as either "this worked for me" or "this is what I personally worry about." and follow it up with: "I know my concerns don't apply to other people and I would never judge someone else for being overweight."

Team Don't Be An Asshole doesn't preach at people. They don't announce to the group that a doctor is correct to ignore serious, chronic symptoms because someone was fat. They don't tell the world that fat people are lazy or eat crappy food. Or worse.

How hard is it to have empathy and not treat people like cartoonish caricatures?
posted by zarq at 3:35 PM on June 29, 2015 [26 favorites]


See, this is what I don't understand. How hard is it to phrase things as either "this worked for me" or "this is what I personally worry about." and follow it up with: "I know my concerns don't apply to other people and I would never judge someone else for being overweight."

How hard is it to read something and think, "This comment doesn't apply to my circumstances and this comment isn't talking about me specifically?" It's weird to me that a standard disclaimer needs to be added all over the place and that that should absolve the commenter of blame, instead of the reader just assuming good faith and reading with some charity.
posted by chrchr at 3:40 PM on June 29, 2015 [16 favorites]


Because people constantly move quickly from "here's what worked for me" to "fat people have no self control." They generalize, and in doing so join Team Asshole. This is a problem. This isn't the first problematic thread we've had. And man, the fat shaming seems endless in these threads. You should have seen the unbelievable pile of shit that was deleted from this thread when it was progressing. Back in the meta that was opened for that thread someone got themselves banned for being an unrelenting asshole about the topic towards overweight folks. And there are still comments that survived in both threads calling the man's character into question simply because he's fat.

I'm all for assuming good faith. I don't ever see very much of it in those threads. And believe me, I look for it.
posted by zarq at 4:00 PM on June 29, 2015 [21 favorites]


chrchr: "See, this is what I don't understand. How hard is it to phrase things as either "this worked for me" or "this is what I personally worry about." and follow it up with: "I know my concerns don't apply to other people and I would never judge someone else for being overweight."

How hard is it to read something and think, "This comment doesn't apply to my circumstances and this comment isn't talking about me specifically?" It's weird to me that a standard disclaimer needs to be added all over the place and that that should absolve the commenter of blame, instead of the reader just assuming good faith and reading with some charity.
"

The burden in these heated discussions is not on the reader. The burden is on the speaker.

Without the disclaimer, it's entirely too easy and common for comments to read as judgemental, sweeping statements of implied fact, because that's how they sound. People extrapolating their own individual experiences to be universal.

Readers aren't telepaths. Your good intentions are not immediately visible to everyone. And, if you want to communicate good intentions, you need to actually communicate your good intentions, not just assume that everyone knows. Because there are plenty of people right here on this site who don't know that their experience doesn't generalize, and it's impossible to tell your good intentions from their bad intentions just by reading.

Your argument demands good faith reading of statements that are indistinguishable on their face from statements issued in bad faith, and the benefit of that doubt has, for better or worse, been comprehensively destroyed on MetaFilter by years and years of people acting poorly.

That ship has sailed. Nobody gets blanket good faith any more, with the possible exception of jessamyn and the moderators, and for you to ask for it is a fundamental denial of MetaFilter's reality.
posted by scrump at 4:01 PM on June 29, 2015 [15 favorites]


Actually no. It looks like the person in question got himself banned at a later date. I stand corrected.
posted by zarq at 4:05 PM on June 29, 2015


If the expectation is that I have to dig up and display every one of the sometimes intense personal experiences that have informed a statement I might make, or produce 50 citations to back up a widely known fact, or go to mthrfckng medical school before I'm considered qualified to comment on this site, I am going to have to reconsider my participation in it.
posted by cotton dress sock at 4:07 PM on June 29, 2015 [4 favorites]


How hard is it to have empathy and not treat people like cartoonish caricatures?

This is a two way street, as is the topic of generalizations. If you want to make the argument that weight loss is hard or impossible for you, make it for you. If you want to make the case that it is easy for you, be clear on it. Both get pushback when presented as generalizations because both can be harmful to overweight people depending on the personal situation they are in. Overweight people as a group do not have a one size fits all answer to their various challenges. And of course, always make sure it is even relevant to the thread in the first place.
posted by Drinky Die at 4:12 PM on June 29, 2015 [4 favorites]


There is an enormous, vast, yawning chasm between "communicate your good intentions" and "display every personal experience/produce 50 citations/go to medical school".
posted by wintersweet at 4:12 PM on June 29, 2015 [9 favorites]


[Comment removed, let's keep it cool in here if we can.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:14 PM on June 29, 2015


This is a two way street, as is the topic of generalizations.

How many times does one have to explain the concept of false equivalencies and the differences between punching up versus punching down in conversation, before it sinks in?
posted by zarq at 4:16 PM on June 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


Yeah, sorry. There were some deletions from the thread that people might not know about, one comment directed at me upthread, and I'm not sure but maybe some allusions here and there. In any case, everyone's right, yup, need a break. Sorry. Carry on.
posted by cotton dress sock at 4:16 PM on June 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


That ship has sailed. Nobody gets blanket good faith any more, with the possible exception of jessamyn and the moderators, and for you to ask for it is a fundamental denial of MetaFilter's reality.

I really disagree with this (and much of your comment). I don't feel like the benefit of the doubt has been completely lost for everyone because of the behavior of some people! That is a really sad statement to me, and I just don't find it to be true.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 4:21 PM on June 29, 2015 [7 favorites]


I apologize. I'm losing my temper over this and being uncivil and I shouldn't be. Going to also walk away for a while.
posted by zarq at 4:26 PM on June 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


cotton dress sock: "Yeah, sorry. There were some deletions from the thread that people might not know about, one comment directed at me upthread, and I'm not sure but maybe some allusions here and there. In any case, everyone's right, yup, need a break. Sorry. Carry on."

As the author of a deleted comment, I'm taking a break from the thread as well. And I apologize for my overreaction to what you wrote.
posted by scrump at 4:28 PM on June 29, 2015 [5 favorites]


How many times does one have to explain the concept of false equivalencies and the differences between punching up versus punching down in conversation, before it sinks in?

I understand that concept, I do not think it is germane to my point. What I am trying to tell you is that what is a punch to some fat people can be life saving to others, so we can't broadly proclaim one posted opinion a punch in all cases. We have to be more careful than that.

If you can't trust me on that, as someone who has nearly been "punched" to death by fat shaming bullying abuse and knows a lot of other people who have too, I would ask if you aren't falling into the same tendency towards caricature and lack of empathy that we both agree is a major issue on this site.
posted by Drinky Die at 4:28 PM on June 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


internet fraud detective squad, station number 9: "I really disagree with this (and much of your comment). I don't feel like the benefit of the doubt has been completely lost for everyone because of the behavior of some people! That is a really sad statement to me, and I just don't find it to be true."

It's definitely been true in threads with feminist topics. Good faith stops being applied to borderline comments very quickly because too many assholes start with "innocent" borderline probing and then (nearly without fail) it turns into something terrible.

This is definitely a pattern that seems to be repeating in threads with any sort of tangential relation to weightloss.
posted by erratic meatsack at 4:29 PM on June 29, 2015 [10 favorites]


I apologize for my overreaction to what you wrote.

No worries, you weren't wrong. (I didn't mean your deleted comment.)
posted by cotton dress sock at 4:32 PM on June 29, 2015


I don't want to engage in any of the debates that are going on here, and I'm mostly a lurker anyway, but I just want to drop this in here:

That thread made me sick. It ruined my day. It made me feel unwelcome here. It made me seriously consider leaving Metafilter for good.
posted by mmoncur at 4:41 PM on June 29, 2015 [6 favorites]


Cortex, want me to airlift you some kittens or something?

$3.99 overnight shipping with Amazon Prime.
posted by SpacemanStix at 4:54 PM on June 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


The kitten better not be declawed.
posted by chrchr at 5:05 PM on June 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


Are they boy kittens or girl kittens?
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:08 PM on June 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's definitely been true in threads with feminist topics. Good faith stops being applied to borderline comments very quickly because too many assholes start with "innocent" borderline probing and then (nearly without fail) it turns into something terrible.

This is definitely a pattern that seems to be repeating in threads with any sort of tangential relation to weightloss.

I though scrump was talking about every topic/thread? Would be happy to be wrong. I do misread sometimes! :)
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 5:21 PM on June 29, 2015


You might be right there, I think it was the phrase "in these heated discussions" that narrowed it down a bit for me at least.
posted by erratic meatsack at 5:25 PM on June 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


I definitely do regret participating in that thread, for sure.
posted by E. Whitehall at 5:43 PM on June 29, 2015


I'm still not clear on why all the weight loss stuff wasn't just an obvious derail. The thread was not about how to lose weight, or even about losing weight at all - it was specifically and explicitly about how fat shaming hurts health outcomes for fat people. The argument should have started from the premise that some people are fat and will remain fat even when they get sick with other, non-fat related issues, since that is just bog-standard reality, and it should have been a non-sequitur to talk about losing weight at all unless you're really willing to go to the mat for the argument that people should have to lose weight before they deserve to have a doctor take them seriously. Which is also offensive but at least then people are being honest about the implications of their arguments and not hiding behind this "I'm just saying, losing weight is easy and great, don't forget how great it is to lose weight! Just sayin'!" stuff.

I honestly wonder if some people see the words "fat people" and instantly assume it's a weight-loss conversation by default. If so, this is part of the problem, both on the site and with respect to fat stigma. Fat people are not morally obligated to be losing weight at all times. They wouldn't be obligated that way even if being thin actually made you immortal. They are allowed to exist independent of any weight-loss framing. We should be able to have a thread about the experiences of fat people without it turning into a referendum on weight loss every single time.

I think there was also a pretty big dose of "women are confused about their own experiences" going on in that thread, which intersected with the fat stigma in some pretty obnoxious ways. If I had to guess, I'd say that many commenters would rank their knowledge of the situation thusly, compared to the other involved parties: 1) the woman's doctor who made an incorrect diagnosis, 2) our brave rando internet commenter, and 3) the woman who lived through every minute of her own experience and was right that it had nothing to do with her weight. This pattern of disproportionate doubt of womens' accounts is a big problem throughout the site (not to mention the internet), and it really exacerbated an already terrible conversation.

Anyway, if you find yourself about to make a comment like "well, I think she's totally wrong about this very important thing that almost killed her, because I have spent all of ten seconds thinking about it and have found a TROUBLING HOLE IN HER STORY" - maybe just reconsider next time. Or at least give yourself the same "just being a skeptic" third-degree fisking about whether you'd distrust and poke holes in a man's personal account in the same way.
posted by dialetheia at 5:46 PM on June 29, 2015 [70 favorites]


E. W,

I am glad that you participated. I think you made your point well imo.
posted by futz at 5:49 PM on June 29, 2015 [17 favorites]


futz, I think I made it at the expense of a more productive conversation. Coming out swinging the way I did -- and this subject is rather a lightning-rod for my temper, given The List -- poisoned the well a little, IMO. Other people could and did chime in with their experiences, but as bleep said upthread, it poised for a conversation that was "that didn't happen", "uh yeah it did", "uh no it couldn't've, because x y z", "uh yeah, x y z are part of how it happened" and then detail-nitpicking and so on.

Which is in its own way a conversation, but not ultimately all that fruitful or engaging, and I regret contributing at all but also to the narrowness of how the thread ultimately turned out.
posted by E. Whitehall at 6:01 PM on June 29, 2015


I haven't read the whole thread, will do so, but my vote is more modding, and more annotated modding, of crappy 'but have you tried not being so fat?' turdbombs in weight loss, fatphobia, bodyshaming, etc threads, not less of those threads. Let's try making a new normal and a higher, better standard for these kinds of discussions.

Also, everything dialethia said. That whole thread was gross but it was a massive derail, and in the future I think when that happens it should be modded accordingly.
posted by The Master and Margarita Mix at 6:04 PM on June 29, 2015 [5 favorites]


I'm glad you commented. I'm sorry people treated you like crap for it.
posted by double block and bleed at 6:05 PM on June 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


But it feels like if I post about my experience of the former, like, fatshaming bullshit, then it's going to be assumed I'm on Team Fat Acceptance and that I am blithely ignoring health risks and think that being fat makes me even MORE healthy.

I really, really hate this characterization of what someone who practices fat acceptance believes. It's honestly pretty nasty and smacks of the fat-shaming bullshit you claim to hate.
posted by palomar at 6:07 PM on June 29, 2015 [29 favorites]


Coming out swinging the way I did -- and this subject is rather a lightning-rod for my temper, given The List -- poisoned the well a little

I think the comment implying sonic meat machine thinks fat people deserve cancer was over the line. Otherwise, I think you handled yourself very well in an emotionally charged situation.
posted by Drinky Die at 6:11 PM on June 29, 2015


The burden in these heated discussions is not on the reader. The burden is on the speaker.

There are two problems with this. First, most people subscribe to a more nuanced formulation where the burden is shared, and this sentiment—which I agree with you is widely held among MetaFilter's reality—ignores that middle. Second, most people who subscribe to your formulation seem to fail to recognize that it is an opinion. It's an opinion that anyone is more than welcome to advocate, but ardor doesn't change opinion into fact.

Anyway, if you find yourself about to make a comment like "well, I think she's totally wrong about this very important thing that almost killed her, because I have spent all of ten seconds thinking about it and have found a TROUBLING HOLE IN HER STORY" - maybe just reconsider next time.

Fair enough. There's a flip side. If you find yourself reading a comment that you feel falls along those parodic lines, then maybe just flag it and move on—recognizing that those are two distinct components and that moving-on is not conditional upon getting the result you desired from flagging.
posted by cribcage at 6:12 PM on June 29, 2015 [6 favorites]


I think there was also a pretty big dose of "women are confused about their own experiences" going on in that thread, which intersected with the fat stigma in some pretty obnoxious ways. If I had to guess, I'd say that many commenters would rank their knowledge of the situation thusly, compared to the other involved parties: 1) the woman's doctor who made an incorrect diagnosis, 2) our brave rando internet commenter, and 3) the woman who lived through every minute of her own experience and was right that it had nothing to do with her weight. This pattern of disproportionate doubt of womens' accounts is a big problem throughout the site (not to mention the internet), and it really exacerbated an already terrible conversation.

Oh lordy, yes, and about this whole "just bein' scientifically skeptical" deal, skepticism means withholding judgments and not leaping to conclusions about patterns and generalizations or "facts" until sufficient data has been amassed. It's not compulsively challenging someone's report of something or doubting their veracity or basic cognitive and observation ability without cause. Never in a billion years would the most rigorous peer-reviewed publication ever send out a rejection letter for a study saying:
Dear Mr. Einstein (if that is even your real name):

We read your article on general relativity with interest, but we have a few questions for you. First, are you SURE the length of the framostat was 4 centimeters? Absolutely sure? Perhaps you were holding the ruler wrong. etc."
That kind of crap is not skepticism: it's disconfirmation bias (aka motivated skepticism) or just plain arrogant rudeness.
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:14 PM on June 29, 2015 [20 favorites]


I really, really hate this characterization of what someone who practices fat acceptance believes. It's honestly pretty nasty and smacks of the fat-shaming bullshit you claim to hate.
-
But it feels like if I post about my experience of the former, like, fatshaming bullshit, then it's going to be assumed I'm on Team Fat Acceptance and that I am blithely ignoring health risks and think that being fat makes me even MORE healthy. And if I post about the latter, people are going to assume I'm on Team Not Fat Acceptance and I want to toss every fat lady, myself included, into a shame muumuu

To me these read as two non-literal statements meant as exaggeration of the positions born of frustration. I don't think that was meant as a description of what corb thinks fat acceptance means.
posted by Drinky Die at 6:18 PM on June 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think it would be best if you let corb speak for herself.
posted by palomar at 6:19 PM on June 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think you should accept as true her personal account that she has experienced fat shaming and doesn't like it rather than accusing her of falsely claiming she hates it.
posted by Drinky Die at 6:23 PM on June 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


Um, I'm not disputing that. Dude, wtf.
posted by palomar at 6:24 PM on June 29, 2015


I apologize for misreading.
posted by Drinky Die at 6:25 PM on June 29, 2015


Even if your interpretation is correct, that she's wildly mischaracterized the position of someone who practices fat acceptance out of frustration... still not okay. It's not accepted here to do that to any other group of people. Why are you excusing it and telling me to back down when I'm pointing out someone doing it about people who just try to accept themselves as they are and do their best with what they've got instead of torturing themselves because they're not skinny? That's all fat acceptance is. Seeing it continually demonized and misrepresented in this manner is really, really fucking tiring.

Team Have Some Fucking Compassion, over and out. This is some bullshit, y'all.
posted by palomar at 6:30 PM on June 29, 2015 [6 favorites]


Even if your interpretation is correct, that she's wildly mischaracterized the position of someone who practices fat acceptance out of frustration... still not okay.

My interpretation was that her exaggerated view is how she thinks opponents of fat acceptance see it. Like if I said, "It's hard to get voters from the South to vote for Democrats because people think they are all a bunch of baby murdering latte drinking hippy elitists!" Her complaint was that moderate comments from either side are sometimes read incorrectly as extremist views on the subject out of touch with what was originally said. Thus, one side portrayed as wanting to stick all fat people in shame garments and the other in total denial of potential health impacts.
posted by Drinky Die at 6:37 PM on June 29, 2015 [5 favorites]


Could we let corb speak for herself if she chooses to do so?
posted by futz at 6:42 PM on June 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah, maybe just let this back-and-forth drop at this point all around.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:43 PM on June 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


At any rate, the latest comment in that thread from (I guess) a doctor is interesting.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:48 PM on June 29, 2015 [4 favorites]


I was going to share some of my own experiences and some experiences of women I know who have been mistreated by doctors in a similar way in that thread, but the amount of work involved in including enough excruciating detail to make it immume to "Oh, that's sad, but the REAL problem is XYZ, so she should have done ABC" was just too exhausting to even think about. so, I ended up not participating.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:50 PM on June 29, 2015 [10 favorites]


I didn't read the original post. I haven't read a discussion anywhere on Metafilter about being fat or weight loss or fat acceptance for years. Whatever useful information I could take away would never outweigh the negative, judgmental and dismissive comments about overweight people, what they are presumed to eat, how they are presumed to live their lives.

I've almost given up on exercise topics for the same reason, although I could use some inspiration there, and am even considering skipping AskMes about depression in the future, despite being very relevant to me, because I don't think I can stand to see another person chirp, "Exercise!" as their entire answer to something that ruins lives.

In short, skip all the things.

Or maybe, for me, I need to stop reading MetaTalk.
posted by Squeak Attack at 7:23 PM on June 29, 2015 [5 favorites]


To be fair, everyone needs to stop reading MetaTalk.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:37 PM on June 29, 2015 [18 favorites]


Fair point.
posted by Squeak Attack at 7:44 PM on June 29, 2015


Far Pointe
posted by clavdivs at 8:27 PM on June 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


Palomar, yeah, Drinky Die had the right of it. I think each side is looking at the other side and demonizing, and the polarization makes it hard to be a moderate. I don't think those are accurate representations of each side. Sorry, I was on a Metafilter-assisted date and didn't get to this for a while.
posted by corb at 9:29 PM on June 29, 2015 [9 favorites]


Jeanne: It feels to me like part of the reason threads like these go off the rails is that people get divided into Team Fat Acceptance and Team Not Fat Acceptance, and it gets extremely difficult to tease out just one aspect of that -- or, as soon as you try to tease out one aspect of that, it gets taken as an argument that's bigger than it is: Not just, "Fat people face bias and misdiagnosis in medical treatment," but "Team Fat Acceptance is right about everything!" -- which becomes an argument that needs refuting.

What you're talking about here, this "teas[ing] one aspect out" is the same thing we see in other civil rights-related threads - you want the right to ignore what people in the unprivileged group are telling you so that you can selfishly follow your thought experiment to its conclusion regardless of who you hurt along the way.

I don't remember anyone in either the MetaFilter thread or this MetaTalk thread making the claims you're positing regarding being right about everything. I'm going to need citations for your assuredly hyperbolic assertions. And I'm pretty sure no one needs you to refute their stories about the myriad ways they've been discriminated against. We don't need watchdogs like you to make sure fat people don't try to rise above their station in life, thanks.

It's almost like when you feel really strongly about US partisan politics, so on the rare occasion that your party demonstrates corruption or wrongdoing, you have to go yell about how it's insignificant and overblown and the other party is way worse anyway. Because it's so hard, psychologically, to cede even one occasional tiny point to the other side.

No. Nooooooooooooo. Just. Stop. Fat people's life stories don't need to be compared to a bipartisan debate where moral correctness is decided by party affiliation. There are no "sides" here, there are fat people being discriminated against in healthcare (and society) and there people who don't want to have to treat fat people like fellow human beings. What, pray tell, are fat people supposed to "cede" to "the other side"? Their humanity? Their desire for acceptance? Their dignity? What you just wrote is some of the most dehumanizing bullshit I have ever, ever read in my entire life.

corb: I think each side is looking at the other side and demonizing, and the polarization makes it hard to be a moderate. I don't think those are accurate representations of each side.

Again, there are no "sides" here. In the thread that this MetaTalk is about, I didn't see any fat people demonizing anyone. I didn't see any demonizing by fat people in this MetaTalk thread, either.

I saw:

1. fat people who have been discriminated against sharing their stories of discrimination or expressing their frustration

2. unhelpful, incredulous people questioning their descriptions of said discrimination or butting-in to remind fat people that being fat is bad

In light of that, your hyperbolic comments were in extremely poor taste and in context they display your clear unease with the idea of fat acceptance. This false dichotomy that you and Jeanne have constructed, the concept of "Team Fat Acceptance" and "Team Not Fat Acceptance", is highly repugnant. Do you honestly think these two "teams" are meeting on a level playing field?

You write about polarization as though it sprang forth, fully formed from Zeus's head, perpetrated by two equal but opposing "teams" rather than being a lens flare by-product created by the massive glare of incredulous people questioning the medical biases that fat people face. "Polarization" is a political term and you're using it here to talk about human beings seeking acceptance. You're painting fat people as empowered strategic units in some war for public opinion. Yes, it's a heated debate: one where a team of disingenuous thought experimenters value their need to constantly remind fat people that being fat is bad more than ceding the right to basic human dignity to their "demonizing", "right about everything!" foes.
posted by i feel possessed at 2:34 AM on June 30, 2015 [35 favorites]


they display your clear unease with the idea of fat acceptance.

corb has already clarified that her comments were not meant to describe her own view of fat acceptance. She posted that she has experience with being fat shamed. I think we should accept that she is a person struggling with weight issues like a lot of us and not accuse her of being a person who has reservations about accepting people like herself who struggle with weight issues any further.
posted by Drinky Die at 3:16 AM on June 30, 2015 [7 favorites]


I've got a crazy idea. This time, maybe we can just ignore corb when she hits the metatalk hornets´s nest with a stick instead of making it all about her again.
posted by double block and bleed at 4:46 AM on June 30, 2015 [11 favorites]


I think that is also an unfair characterization of her participation in this thread. But I am in agreement with the general concept of not making this all about corb.
posted by Drinky Die at 4:51 AM on June 30, 2015 [10 favorites]


Should we just stop posting topics that involve weightloss issues?

I find I'm sort of moving towards 'yes'.
posted by Segundus at 5:33 AM on June 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


if you want to stop making it all about corb then you can be the change you want to see and stop clarifying what she said over and over again when all her words are right here in front of us. let her speak for herself, let others respond. you can speak for yourself. as a team i think we can all move this thread forward.
posted by nadawi at 6:21 AM on June 30, 2015 [16 favorites]


I would like to second everything that dialethia said upthread.

I'm still not clear on why all the weight loss stuff wasn't just an obvious derail. The thread was not about how to lose weight, or even about losing weight at all - it was specifically and explicitly about how fat shaming hurts health outcomes for fat people.

THIS. Whole-heartedly seconding this. We've certainly had threads that were about weight loss recently (for example); if people want to pontificate about weight loss, there are places to do it. This thread was (IMO at least) not the place to do that.

I think there was also a pretty big dose of "women are confused about their own experiences" going on in that thread, which intersected with the fat stigma in some pretty obnoxious ways.

And also this. I can think of a couple other threads about women's health or women's health experiences in the past few months that went pear-shaped in similar ways (and had nothing to do with weight).
posted by pie ninja at 6:54 AM on June 30, 2015 [6 favorites]


I am starting to feel that people coming to complain that a thread is becoming all about me because they think I'm somehow trolling is starting to be its own unreasonable thing. I posted three times in this thread, and the only one of substance was a personal confession.
posted by corb at 6:57 AM on June 30, 2015 [29 favorites]


stop clarifying what she said over and over again when all her words are right here in front of us.

The words are in front of us but unfortunately some people have misread them. She has made that clear in her own words. As long as nobody else makes that mistake, I don't think it has to be a further derail.
posted by Drinky Die at 7:00 AM on June 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


Dude, you misread things too. Stop castigating people for misreadings, just fucking accept that it happens, move on, stop speaking for other people. Just stop.
posted by palomar at 7:10 AM on June 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


I am starting to feel that people coming to complain that a thread is becoming all about me because they think I'm somehow trolling is starting to be its own unreasonable thing. I posted three times in this thread, and the only one of substance was a personal confession.
posted by corb at 1:57 PM on June 30 [1 favorite +] [!]


I agree.
posted by Reggie Knoble at 7:11 AM on June 30, 2015 [7 favorites]


Dude, you misread things too.

I definitely did. I'm sorry. I am not intending to castigate anybody for doing so, just pointing them to the correct reading so we can move forward in the thread.

stop speaking for other people. Just stop.

In light of several comments along these lines I have reached out to corb to ask if she feels I am speaking for her or participating in way she does not appreciate and she has told me that I am not. So, at this point I think we can put that worry to rest as well.
posted by Drinky Die at 7:15 AM on June 30, 2015 [5 favorites]


In light of several comments along these lines

This is a repeating pattern with you, though, which is probably why you're seeing repeated comments about please laying off. Whenever I see anyone criticizing corb or a handful of other members, I can pretty much set my watch by how long it takes you to show up and start doing this thing where you speak for them. I'm sure you're going to keep doing it and I'm probably going to be reprimanded some more and told to shut up, but hey, that's Metafilter. :/
posted by palomar at 7:29 AM on June 30, 2015 [7 favorites]


Just like it works better to discuss the ideas and not the person, it works better to defend the ideas and not the person. If your inclination is to jump in just because you feel someone is being attacked, and not because you personally hold the beliefs that you're defending by proxy, you're contributing to the dynamic in exactly the same way that you would if you attacked the person and not the ideas. Sometimes - in MetaTalk - what we're discussing *is* the person, but it's a fine distinction, and worth thinking hard about before turning the conversation in that direction.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 7:36 AM on June 30, 2015 [7 favorites]


Whenever I see anyone criticizing corb or a handful of other members, I can pretty much set my watch by how long it takes you to show up and start doing this thing where you speak for them.

I've also noticed this.

In this situation, however, the person who is actually being spoken for has given it a green light. I don't think it's in anyone's best interest to quash support.
posted by zarq at 7:41 AM on June 30, 2015 [4 favorites]


It does seem to me that there's some kind of malicious campaign against corb by a small clique.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 7:50 AM on June 30, 2015 [14 favorites]


palomar, I do not feel that further conversation between us in this thread will result in a positive, productive discussion relating to the topic at hand. I reiterate all of my previous apologies in this thread. I wish it had not played out this way.
posted by Drinky Die at 7:56 AM on June 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yes, it's a heated debate: one where a team of disingenuous thought experimenters value their need to constantly remind fat people that being fat is bad more than ceding the right to basic human dignity to their "demonizing", "right about everything!" foes.

What? Seriously?
posted by cotton dress sock at 8:03 AM on June 30, 2015 [4 favorites]


You know, I'm only checking in on this thread periodically so maybe I'm just missing the uglier stuff, but several times now I've seen static arise between a few members where those members have subsequently apologized and tried to remove themselves from a contentious derail. Just wanted to say that I think that is pretty damned cool, and unusual for an internet argument. While I have my own opinions on who is more "right" in these back-and-forths, the fact that both sides have been fairly respectful of each other (at least from what I've seen, without the mod-deleted comments) speaks well of this community.

Gives me a case of the warm fuzzies, it does.
posted by DingoMutt at 8:09 AM on June 30, 2015 [9 favorites]


Drinky DIe - you seem to relish in playing the devil's advocate. maybe consider that it's a role that isn't needed as much as you do it. i agree with corb that in this thread she hasn't made it all about her - but you have. and corb's not the only one you do that with. it might be useful to consider why you feel like that's a thing you personally need to do.
posted by nadawi at 8:09 AM on June 30, 2015 [8 favorites]


And likewise this probably isn't the best place to interrogate Drinky Die further on his rhetorical habits - it's a complicated enough thread otherwise without going round and round on this now.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 8:17 AM on June 30, 2015 [13 favorites]


i'm totally willing to stop discussing it if he's willing to stop doing it in this thread.
posted by nadawi at 8:19 AM on June 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


i'm totally willing to stop discussing it if he's willing to stop doing it in this thread.
posted by nadawi 1 minute ago [+]


Or you could just stop because a mod told you to.
posted by Reggie Knoble at 8:22 AM on June 30, 2015 [23 favorites]


nadawi, I will take your opinion under advisement. I'm serious. I will consider it. I reflect on all feedback I get because I have been a huge pain in the butt to the site and the mods in the past and I don't want to do so again. But, to be frank, I'm pretty confident I am going to continue to believe this to be unfair criticism. Especially in context of how the dynamics played out in this thread. I was not being a devil's advocate for corb. She isn't the devil she was portrayed as. When I tell people my reading on a comment is different than the reading another person had, it's not to be contrary, it's because I think it's the correct reading. I think my batting average on that is really good because, no matter who it is, I start with an assumption of good faith.
posted by Drinky Die at 8:26 AM on June 30, 2015 [4 favorites]


Okay, so can we talk about the tendency to just straight up disbelieve what people (especially women) say about their own experiences and tell people they're confused? Dialethia discussed it very eloquently upthread, but I want to mention it again because it has such a profound effect on what I do and don't post. Every time I find myself writing to express an opinion in a thread like that, I wind up writing several paragraphs of worried self-justification about how no really I know what exercise is like, about how I do my very best to eat well in the constraints of my own life and issues with food, about how my experience just makes sense if you consider that I have these food issues and that bit of history and this extenuating circumstance, because maybe people will believe me then...

...well. That's exhausting, and it does not at all help us chime in on nuanced conversations. I do it because I have been trained by long experience to hedge my experiences with qualifiers against the skepticism that always appears to pop up, but it would be nice to not have that experience here--and I see other people getting holes poked at their "story" of their lives all the time. Can we have a moratorium on posters trying to poke skeptical holes in other people's lived experiences, as long as people are only applying their own experiences to themselves? Is that a thing that we could use direct mod nudges about? I'm just spitballing here--is this something that sounds remotely practical?
posted by sciatrix at 8:27 AM on June 30, 2015 [28 favorites]


"Disingenuous thought experimenters" who hate fat people and deny their experiences of discrimination, now - really!

Look - I've experienced discrimination due to being overweight, and have been pained by seeing happen to people I care about. I know it happens - of course it does - and I don't think I once said otherwise. I don't think anyone did. I'd never dream of suggesting anyone should be mistreated, for any reason, including one of which I have personal experience. I can't imagine that any of the people you called "thought experimenters" feel differently (though I am not speaking for them, jeez).

What I said was that although bias and discrimination surely occurs, it did not seem that it explained the author's medical treatment and outcomes. I based this on the facts presented by the OP (age; treatment history); facts presented by medical people here; the little bit I happen to know about the subject (from my own experiences with diagnosis and treatment of chronic bronchitis, and some reading I'd done around the issue (prompted by a bit of concern around the possibility of lung cancer, given some familial risk, and risk I generated on my own via smoking tons for years); and my experiences as a human (thin and fat at different times; always female) of good, bad, and indifferent care for both easily resolvable health problems and ones that are seemingly harder to parse (given some apparently unsettled science, and issues around access to appropriate care in my area).
posted by cotton dress sock at 8:28 AM on June 30, 2015 [5 favorites]


I really hope the approach of not posting on certain topics doesn't end up extending to this one. I mean, it probably already does to some degree, in the sense that people decide it's not worth the potential aggro. But making it official seems like it would be really sad. This is a topic that seems to attract an awful lot of what you might call "thinsplaining," but that is so identifiable. I realize it's asking a lot of the mods to try and get to that stuff and prune it but even if they don't and the thread tanks, I think it is worth a try.
posted by BibiRose at 8:29 AM on June 30, 2015 [4 favorites]


I think my batting average on that is really good because, no matter who it is, I start with an assumption of good faith.

I do not get this sense of good faith when you misread my comments and attack me for that misreading.
posted by palomar at 8:30 AM on June 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


can we talk about the tendency to just straight up disbelieve what people (especially women) say about their own experiences and tell people they're confused?

Sure. The link in the OP was a first-person narrative, written by the author in what she later said here was an emotional moment. I do not see how this kind of narrative (written by a man or by a woman or by anyone) is necessarily the final statement on the objective truth of a series of events that involve facts beyond the author (e.g. biological facts, facts about the state of the science of the time, facts about the nature of care available). The author herself updated with a more complete explanation.
posted by cotton dress sock at 8:34 AM on June 30, 2015 [5 favorites]


That's fair. I actually had the experiences of posters here rather than the experience of the subjects of FPPs in mind when I wrote that, though.
posted by sciatrix at 8:36 AM on June 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


Ah, ok, sorry.
posted by cotton dress sock at 8:36 AM on June 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think there was also a pretty big dose of "women are confused about their own experiences" going on in that thread

Oh, God, yes. Do NOT get me started on the number of pregnancy tests I've had done behind my back in the ER, despite being a grown-ass woman WHO KNOWS HOW BABIES ARE MADE, thank you very much. I'm actually amazed that my insurance has paid for all the post-hysterectomy pregnancy tests I've been given, despite the fact that they also paid for said hysterectomy.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:37 AM on June 30, 2015 [34 favorites]


I'm actually amazed that my insurance has paid for all the post-hysterectomy pregnancy tests I've been given, despite the fact that they also paid for said hysterectomy.

Insurance likely pays for it because even if a person's uterus has been removed, it may be possible to develop an ectopic pregnancy if their ovaries (and I guess the fallopian tubes?) are left intact. I have a cousin who very nearly died last year thanks to internal bleeding resulting from an ectopic pregnancy, five years after her hysterectomy. Surprised the hell out of all of us.
posted by zarq at 8:46 AM on June 30, 2015 [3 favorites]


Not that anyone should be giving you one behind your back. That's really nasty and rude.
posted by zarq at 8:47 AM on June 30, 2015 [3 favorites]


Insurance likely pays for it because even if a person's uterus has been removed, it may be possible to develop an ectopic pregnancy if their ovaries (and I guess the fallopian tubes?) are left intact.

I'm sorry; I should have mentioned that it was a total abdominal hysterectomy and bilateral Salpingo oophorectomy.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:56 AM on June 30, 2015 [8 favorites]


I'm sorry; I should have mentioned that it was a total abdominal hysterectomy and bilateral Salpingo oophorectomy.

*facepalm*

Idiots!

How appallingly stupid and rude of them.
posted by zarq at 9:05 AM on June 30, 2015 [6 favorites]


How appallingly stupid and rude of them.

And frighteningly incompetent as well - performing the test after the history and physical means there's a disconnect between the doc and the protocol, and charging for the test regardless of when it was done suggests an outrageous disconnect between documentation and billing.
posted by Mooski at 9:17 AM on June 30, 2015 [6 favorites]


I think corb has become a Metafilter scapegoat that people attack with a ferocity all out of proportion to any presumed offense.

I did it myself in the Dolezal Meta without realizing it until later.

By stepping in to defend her when he perceives that to be happening I think Drinky Die is doing us a service.
posted by jamjam at 10:05 AM on June 30, 2015 [13 favorites]


Seriously, if people want to talk about corb and/or Drinkie Die, please make a separate thread. That is a dynamic only tangentially related to the topic of this one.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 10:20 AM on June 30, 2015 [8 favorites]


That's the mods job, not Drinky Die's.
posted by agregoli at 10:20 AM on June 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


We're all volunteers here, and barking at other people how they should behave has apparently become acceptable behavior on Metafilter anyway.
posted by phearlez at 11:00 AM on June 30, 2015 [4 favorites]


barking at other people how they should behave has apparently become acceptable behavior on Metafilter anyway

Oh, behave.
posted by The Master and Margarita Mix at 12:10 PM on June 30, 2015 [3 favorites]


See!
posted by phearlez at 12:15 PM on June 30, 2015


So about active things we can do to make this site a better place for this kind of discussion....
posted by sciatrix at 12:15 PM on June 30, 2015 [5 favorites]


When it's been aimed at me, when I have been very open about my own struggles with weight, feels like being told I am a self-hating fat person and I just don't know what to do with that. It's an unfair accusation that makes me scared to even open my mouth about my own life.

This sort of thing isn't limited to discussions of weight, sadly. Comments taking issue with the accepted oppressed-person narrative, even when actually spoken by oppressed persons, often seem to devolve into accusations of self-hatred or internalized biases. It's really frustrating, and I don't have a good answer for how to deal with it, other than to just make sure I don't take part in those sorts of discussions, for the most part.
posted by holborne at 12:43 PM on June 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


So about active things we can do to make this site a better place for this kind of discussion....

Follow Wheaton's Law.

....really, if you think about it, an astonishingly large number of codes of ethics, ideals for behavior, and hell, even religions can be boiled down to "follow Wheaton's Law." I quoted it in the orientation for a new job recently and the head of HR liked it so much she's actually started using it herself in subsequent orientations.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:12 PM on June 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


So about active things we can do to make this site a better place for this kind of discussion....

I can think of two things. First, I admit: the constant noise of “fat is a moral failure” of our culture sometimes makes me numb to hearing it again, and again, and again. I don’t always notice how toxic some of those comments are until someone else points it out. Maybe if more people tried pointing it out/flagging earlier, that would help.

Second, the people who post “calories in, calories out, simple math!!” type comments would do well to remember that this reductive answer is not only NOT as simple as it sounds, but hearing it is actually painful for a lot of people. I once had a student (18 years old herself) tell me that her family was struggling with the fact that her whole family ate exactly the same meals, but her baby sister (around nine years old) was obese, and was still gaining weight. This little girl was eating the same food as literally every person in her nuclear and her extended family, and yet she was becoming fat while everyone else had a normal BMI. My student told me it was a real dilemma for her family, partially because it seemed so unfair. Why did everyone else have bodies that could eat that food without gaining weight? It wasn’t like the rest of them were running 5Ks or anything. Was it metabolism? Was it illness? Was it hormonal? Why was she so different from her own family? It didn’t seem fair to any of them, let alone the nine-year-old herself.

And it doesn’t seem fair to anyone who goes through it. I have lost enough weight to move from obese to somewhat overweight through calorie counting, so I KNOW that it works. What pisses me off is that it sucks an incredible amount to be counting out almonds and measuring 1/3 of a cup of whatever and gritting my teeth through the hunger only for the end result to be: I am still bigger than my friends who regularly eat pizza and pasta carbonara and drink wine. It sucks HARD to feel like you are doomed to a life of carefully rationed parcels of food units while everyone else just gets to eat. It sucks to eat all the dishes that people say make you stay full longer!!!!!!! and still go to bed hungry and wake up hungry. It sucks to know that a trick of body chemistry allows some people to eat lasagna and stay skinny on ten minutes of walking a day while my body squirrels away calories for some hypothetical ice age. It sucks it sucks it sucks. And I think part of the reasons these discussions go so wrong is because some people come in and say “let’s be real: simple math” and don’t understand that their experiences, while real, are not definitive.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 1:24 PM on June 30, 2015 [51 favorites]


Some people perceive themselves to have very good, scientifically backed answers to those questions. It is frustrating to learn that advice is completely not desired in the sorts of threads where it comes up. But, nonetheless, it's something they must learn because many people have made it clear it is a hurtful dynamic if they do not.
posted by Drinky Die at 2:44 PM on June 30, 2015


That's impressively passive-aggressive, Drinky Die.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 2:54 PM on June 30, 2015 [30 favorites]


Seriously. There are lots of "true facts" that are nonetheless inappropriate in certain contexts.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 3:01 PM on June 30, 2015 [26 favorites]


As well as a lot of "true, but" facts that are narrowly "correct" but are misleading in the context of a given discussion.
posted by en forme de poire at 3:11 PM on June 30, 2015


My comment was not passive aggressive. I am sorry for miscommunicating.

Seriously. There are lots of "true facts" that are nonetheless inappropriate in certain contexts.

Yes, my comment ends with noting that it would be inappropriate in that context for someone with that belief to offer personal advice.
posted by Drinky Die at 3:11 PM on June 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


I agree that this has become a pointless topic, because all sides have a deeply invested social interest in receiving positive validation for their worldview.

"I'm healthy fat!
"I do Crossfit!"
"Monsanto is fucking with us!"
"It's a thyroid condition!"

Objective facts -- which are themselves hard to determine -- are beside the point.

A plague on (all) your houses. They have made worms' meat of me.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:16 PM on June 30, 2015 [3 favorites]


Some people perceive themselves to have very good, scientifically backed answers to those questions. It is frustrating to learn that advice is completely not desired in the sorts of threads where it comes up. But, nonetheless, it's something they must learn because many people have made it clear it is a hurtful dynamic if they do not.

Except as this thread has amply demonstrated, if they're giving pat, blanket advice they don't actually have good, scientifically backed answers, nevermind the fact that the questions aren't even being asked. The "frustration" is really more just narcissistic rage lashing out at people who point that out and mess up their perception of themselves as knowing more than they do.

The hurtful dynamic matters, of course, in the sense that it's bad in and of itself to condescend to people and ignore their lived experiences as reported, but that's not at all the only problem with the "have you tried not being fat?" dynamic. It's not even the main problem, just like "this thread is colored blue and not green" is not the main problem. The problem is assholes. "Stop being a Dunning-Kruger blowhard, you are not a doctor or medical researcher, this is an incredibly hard problem complicated by a host of different factors, and you do not have The One True Answer" is the answer, not excusing that shit with a framing that's just a nicer way of formulating "the mods are muzzling your True! Science! Rational! Argument! because it makes the fatties cry fat tears into their cake and because they want to make people poiny up $5 for the green". It's condescending and also factually wrong to frame it that way.
posted by The Master and Margarita Mix at 3:16 PM on June 30, 2015 [16 favorites]


A plague on (all) your houses. They have made worms' meat of me.

"My shit don't stink."
posted by Burhanistan at 3:28 PM on June 30, 2015 [6 favorites]


Wow if this thread has taught me anything, it's how truly invested people are in being assholes about this and how deeply engrained it is to the point that they actually buy the boilerplate reasoning people give for stating that stuff.

People should know that anyone they'd be saying this to would have already heard it a thousand times, but they just have to say it again.

It reminds me of the eagerness described in that slavery museum FPP that people had about repeating slurs or "facts". It's like it's some kind of thing pent up inside them that they just have to ejaculate out at whoever they deem as the wrong people who need to be educated.

I realize mefi is just a microcosm of society at large, but you really can't get away from this stuff, and you can't get away from that horny eagerness to shart this stuff out. It sidled right in to the MeTa even and just got a response of essentially stacking more of it in despite pushback.
posted by emptythought at 3:28 PM on June 30, 2015 [12 favorites]


My framing noted "perceived" beliefs because I wanted to be clear we are not talking about science fact. I followed that up by pointing out that the dynamic itself is hurtful on it's own regardless. I was not posting that I wanted the mods to make me cry fatty tears into my cake.
posted by Drinky Die at 3:30 PM on June 30, 2015


Can we please give Cool Papa Bell the plaudits and kudos he deserves for being able to lay down the cold hard truth in every thread he chooses to participate in? Few MeFites are so brave as to be able to really see through all the bullshit and give it to us straight like he is somehow able to do consistently. Really, just excellent work and it deserves to be acknoweldged.
posted by griphus at 3:30 PM on June 30, 2015 [28 favorites]


A hit, a very palpable hit!
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:35 PM on June 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


Some people perceive themselves to have very good, scientifically backed answers to those questions.

What questions? Have you seen anyone in the original thread ask for advice on weight loss? Or in this thread?

If you want to give weight loss advice (which, as my comment mentioned, I don't actually need, because I ALREADY KNOW HOW TO LOSE WEIGHT, it is just difficult and demoralizing), then go to AskMe. When people want advice, they will ask for it. When they ask for it, go nuts. But it is almost never relevant on Metafilter discussion threads, and its irrelevancy in those threads is part of why people react badly to it.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 3:45 PM on June 30, 2015 [4 favorites]


I know. My comment said people need to learn not to do that.
posted by Drinky Die at 3:47 PM on June 30, 2015 [3 favorites]


sciatrix: So about active things we can do to make this site a better place for this kind of discussion....

Set up 24-hour bunny petting stations for members and call it "The Hoppitamoppita"

Open bar for the mods

infini's Hugging Booth

Artisanal doughnut station for cortex
posted by zarq at 3:51 PM on June 30, 2015 [13 favorites]


Whoa, I completely read Drinky Die's comment as telling the "lose weight it's easy because science!" crowd to back off because it's not asked-for or appropriate advice in these threads.
posted by lalex at 3:54 PM on June 30, 2015 [10 favorites]


Yeah - he has been trying to clarify that that was his meaning. I think there might be some room for ambiguity in the "they" in "they must learn" - you mean the people who feel they have advice to give are the people who have to learn to not offer it, not the people saying they don't want the advice, right?
posted by cotton dress sock at 3:56 PM on June 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yes.
posted by Drinky Die at 4:00 PM on June 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


Zarq, in addition next to The Hoppitamoppita a sphere filled with happy puppies. We'll call it Sphere of Barkimedes.
posted by barchan at 4:08 PM on June 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


Whoa, I completely read Drinky Die's comment as telling the "lose weight it's easy because science!" crowd to back off because it's not asked-for or appropriate advice in these threads.

And the point that some of the rest of us are trying to make is that it's also not good advice. Those things are all true, but they very often completely beside the point. Unsolicited, blanket advice is bad advice, especially when it's backed up with "BUT SCIENCE!", when you're talking about a subject as complex and as hard as weight loss. This is something even trained professionals have a great deal of trouble with, there is no actual consensus on the best approach or even any one particular cause of obesity, because such a thing does not and quite possibly never will exist.

At least in the context of an AskMe, posters are usually going to present some background to make the largely lay advice of MeFi en masse a bit more targeted: "here is my history, this is what has worked for me and this what hasn't, here are my snowflakes aren't they the specialest", etc etc. It's not just a question of which venue is appropriate, even though one is and one isn't, but that the kind of advice handed out in the appropriate venue (AskMe) is practically by definition much better and more relevant than the kind of advice handed out on the Blue, or the Grey or Fanfare or where the hell ever the context is not "a specific user asks for specific advice for their specific situation and explains what that is".

It's not just that the unsolicited advice contributes to a bad dynamic (it does), or furthers the mistreatment of overweight people (it does) or is inappropriate outside of AskMe (it is); it's that it's all of that and also shitty advice.
posted by The Master and Margarita Mix at 4:17 PM on June 30, 2015 [5 favorites]


"Stop being a Dunning-Kruger blowhard, you are not a doctor or medical researcher, this is an incredibly hard problem complicated by a host of different factors, and you do not have The One True Answer" is the answer.

Yes, this is one of those topics where Modern Jackass Syndrome is an especially widespread and pernicious problem.
posted by FelliniBlank at 4:51 PM on June 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


And the point that some of the rest of us are trying to make is that it's also not good advice.

Yes, I would completely agree with that, and I think that's part of the point Drinky Die was trying to make with his use of the word "perceived" and his followup.
posted by lalex at 4:58 PM on June 30, 2015 [4 favorites]

Some people perceive themselves to have very good, scientifically backed answers to those questions. It is frustrating to learn that advice is completely not desired in the sorts of threads where it comes up. But, nonetheless, it's something they must learn because many people have made it clear it is a hurtful dynamic if they do not.
posted by Drinky Die at 5:44 PM on June 30

That's impressively passive-aggressive, Drinky Die.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 5:54 PM on June 30

Seriously. There are lots of "true facts" that are nonetheless inappropriate in certain contexts.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 6:01 PM on June 30
Drinky Die's statement is wholly supportive of those pushing back against fat shaming, but some people seem to be completely missing that.
posted by NortonDC at 4:58 PM on June 30, 2015 [9 favorites]


Oh the delicious irony of this series of comments trying to decipher Drinky Die's comment . . .
posted by chrchr at 5:01 PM on June 30, 2015 [5 favorites]


I think Drinky Die's statement is actually an excellent example of what might be keying these types of threads up and making them more difficult for Mefites when they don't have to be. The issue of good-faith vs bad-faith readings is a very real one. Those who read Drinky Die's semi-ambiguous comment - Metafilter Rorshach, if you will - assuming that he had good intent had no trouble parsing it as suggesting that people who want to bring science of weight loss into these things are being inappropriate. Those who - for whatever reason - read him as having bad intent were quick to assume he was engaged in some shenanigans and was actually talking about how those people should be able to say those things.

And that's a really difficult thing to deal with. Our interactions, on the whole, go much better when people assume good faith. But that's sometimes hard to do. Sometimes the user in question is one that has rubbed you the wrong way before. Sometimes the topic in question is one you're used to seeing jerks in or jerks repeating those phrases. How do we handle this, as a community? Do we leave notes, do we flag, do we privately memail? What is a good way moving forward that would let us have these and other difficult conversations?
posted by corb at 5:05 PM on June 30, 2015 [18 favorites]


Your article is about how your weight affected your health Care Providers' approach to your health. However, I have An Opinion about weight and I must share it here.

I can understand this, as I have Opinions about many things, including weight and health. I was very glad you posted the link, it was a good read and I enjoyed the introduction to the writer.

My Fat 101 would be:
Is this a thread about how to lose weight, whether someone should lose weight? Probably not, so those are useless, derailing comments.
Didja read the article? Go read it.
Do you have something new to say about the issue of Weight? Probably not. Sit on your hands.
Some people are overweight, fat, obese, chubby, etc. There are a lot of reasons why, but it just doesn't matter. Make an effort to listen to peoples' substance, and to ignore their age, gender, weight, race, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, etc., unless it's really germane to the discussion. It seldom is.
Be civil, thoughtful and respectful, or keep your hands off the keyboard.
posted by theora55 at 5:19 PM on June 30, 2015 [7 favorites]


Oh the delicious irony of this series of comments trying to decipher Drinky Die's comment . . .

Yes--and this happens on MetaFilter all the time, and moreover, people will not only interpret comments, but they will tell you what your own comment meant, when you're the one who made it and is in the best position to know what you meant when you said it. I often think we could stand to do more "as I see it" and "I take your comment to mean" and "in my view" around here to help clarify that we are not intending to tell people what their own words meant.

My feeling is that Drinky Die's real sins above were not in attempting to offer his view of a comment in general, but that he attempted to offer his view of corb's comment. And, also, that he didn't let the issue go immediately.
posted by MoonOrb at 5:39 PM on June 30, 2015 [7 favorites]


Drinky Die, sorry for misinterpreting what you said. I read your "it is frustrating" as a comment on your own experience, not as an attempt to describe how others might potentially feel. I wasn't reading it as a bad faith comment, I just misread what you were actually saying.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 6:38 PM on June 30, 2015 [3 favorites]


Thanks, it's fine.
posted by Drinky Die at 6:45 PM on June 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


r_n and jessamyn's responses to Drinky Die's comment are hilarious.
posted by jayder at 6:48 PM on June 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


still grinding your axe jaydar?
posted by futz at 6:51 PM on June 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


Not much about any of this is hilarious.

Even if there's something about chronic misunderstanding that tickles your funnybone, at the core this is a discussion about health and image and personal worth and how to care for oneself and one another. Not super hilarious - some of the most difficult and challenging stuff of human existence. Of course it should be discussed sensitively and compassionately.
posted by Miko at 7:43 PM on June 30, 2015 [17 favorites]


r_n and jessamyn's responses to Drinky Die's comment are hilarious.

Show us on the doll where the mod touched you, etc. Or maybe it's time to not find so many petty ways to dig in like an adolescent, eh?
posted by Burhanistan at 7:46 PM on June 30, 2015


Show us on the doll where the mod touched you

ugh these jokes
posted by lalex at 7:47 PM on June 30, 2015 [19 favorites]


Not hilarious, right?
posted by Burhanistan at 7:49 PM on June 30, 2015


And stop acting so melodramatic.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:49 PM on June 30, 2015


Everyone, I know that the Supreme Court did something awesome last week and the country started being a bit better, but that doesn't mean that everyone has to step up being jerks to balance it out or anything.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:55 PM on June 30, 2015 [5 favorites]


Or maybe it's time to not find so many petty ways to dig in like an adolescent, eh?

I'm sorry. Can you clarify, in this formulation, who is acting like an adolescent?
posted by Miko at 7:59 PM on June 30, 2015


Zing, I guess.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:00 PM on June 30, 2015


ugh child molestation jokes aren't funny
posted by NoraReed at 8:09 PM on June 30, 2015 [22 favorites]


Last time I encountered that borrowed "show me on the doll" trope it was from a doofus Facebook troll making fun of people objecting to the Confederate flag.

I don't exactly know what this thread is open for, at this point, but once we're at that level, I'm not really sure whether there's anywhere good left to take this.
posted by Miko at 8:15 PM on June 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


I have personal hork at that "joke", and also, wow, that is incredibly offensive to say about the mods. You know that, right? Your moderators? You know what you're implying?

I submit that this sort of "joke" is not going to help the moderators moderate. Uncalled for.
posted by E. Whitehall at 8:17 PM on June 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


I had to google the doll thing, that's how ignorant I am.

DONT LIKE IT!
posted by clavdivs at 8:18 PM on June 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


Well, that was ill-conceived but the "etc" was my personal shorthand for it not being funny. But I'll take this right out of Recent Activity.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:18 PM on June 30, 2015


I didn't like the joke but I don't think it's a good reason to close a MeTa thread where people are still talking.
posted by lalex at 8:19 PM on June 30, 2015


Our loss...I guess.
posted by Miko at 8:19 PM on June 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


Thanks for clarifying, Burhanistan.
posted by lalex at 8:21 PM on June 30, 2015


Well that stinks. Vaya con dios*, Burhanistan.

*The other dios.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:16 PM on June 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


I have personal hork at that "joke", and also, wow, that is incredibly offensive to say about the mods. You know that, right? Your moderators? You know what you're implying?

That form of joke is never about the people who are the subject of "show us on the doll where X touched you", the target is those who are complaining about those people, the implication being that they're massively overreacting. I'm not saying it's not offensive, but you're reading it wrong.
posted by The Master and Margarita Mix at 9:47 PM on June 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


And yet another buttoning. That's at least two for this thread.

Who will be the last Mefite?
posted by notyou at 9:51 PM on June 30, 2015


I'm not saying it's not offensive, but you're reading it wrong.

I feel like those jokes are offensive no matter the angle, given the subject matter and implications, but I do see how that interpretation would be primary to others.

Glad we're agreed it was offensive, though!
posted by E. Whitehall at 9:57 PM on June 30, 2015 [4 favorites]


I feel like those jokes are offensive no matter the angle, given the subject matter and implications, but I do see how your interpretation would be primary to someone else.

It's very well-established slang phrase, it's been around for years and years and years. That's not my "interpretation", that's what everyone who uses it means, because that's the meaning.
posted by The Master and Margarita Mix at 10:00 PM on June 30, 2015


I'm not sure scolding people on not being hip to the correct usage of child molestation jokes is the way to go here.
posted by NoraReed at 10:20 PM on June 30, 2015 [20 favorites]


MetaScold!

Who will be the last Mefite?
My money's on not you.
Bases: Covered
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:29 PM on June 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


I wouldn't call "correcting someone accusing someone else of implying yet a third party is a child molester based on a factual error" scolding. I'm also not of the opinion that "pretend there is no such thing as the use/mention distinction" is the way to go here.
posted by The Master and Margarita Mix at 11:06 PM on June 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


If that was a 'mention' and not a 'use', then that mention came fully out of thin air as far as I'm concerned, and I have no idea why it popped up, and it still seems to bring child molestation into the discussion for no good reason that I can see.
posted by Too-Ticky at 12:45 AM on July 1, 2015 [4 favorites]


I'm still concerned that the guy who has been (1) really gross about women's body image, health, and safety over and over again; and (2) willing to misrepresent the mods' words and viewpoints in order to do so, is being allowed to troll the thread.
posted by zombieflanders at 3:53 AM on July 1, 2015 [13 favorites]


Are we still talking about the subject?

the "etc" was my personal shorthand for it not being funny

I'm sorry the fact that I questioned it was upsetting to Burhanistan, but the comment was completely inscrutable to me and it seems I am not alone in having trouble parsing it. I'd rather never see that joke, but when I do, I think it's reasonable to conclude the person making it is mocking someone who is complaining about something in sincerity.
posted by Miko at 6:44 AM on July 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


Oh good, something new to keep this thread going for another 100 comments.
posted by smackfu at 6:55 AM on July 1, 2015 [5 favorites]


I'm sorry the fact that I questioned it was upsetting to Burhanistan, but the comment was completely inscrutable to me and it seems I am not alone in having trouble parsing it. I'd rather never see that joke, but when I do, I think it's reasonable to conclude the person making it is mocking someone who is complaining about something in sincerity.

I've seen other people in this thread suggest that jayder is ax-grinding or even trolling; I have nothing to say about that but Burhanistan wasn't the first to imply that jayder isn't acting in good faith. Of COURSE the 'show me on the doll' thing is gross and inappropriate, but I don't really understand how Burhanistan's underlying message (which I'm parsing as "jayder is grinding an anti-mod ax" - I'm not talking about the inappropriate 'joke' framing) was new or uniquely objectionable? Maybe I'm misunderstanding what Burhanistan was trying to say.

On the other hand, this seems like a derail within a derail ... now that I'm looking at the last 50 or so comments, if that were all I were going by I would have no idea what this thread is about. From an actionable perspective, do we have any solid takeaways here? Several people have made really good points about how we have a problem with people chiming in with weight loss 'advice' and judgment in any thread pertaining to overweight people; this behavior does seem (to me) like a derail in a lot of these threads and thus something that it'd be great to see more moderator intervention on. Is there anything approaching a general consensus on this? Any takeaways from the moderator perspective?
posted by DingoMutt at 7:47 AM on July 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


My main thing in terms of of mod stuff specifically is that it'd be worth it for us to be a little more aggressive about specifically noting/curtailing some of the predictable not-really-even-the-topic moves toward some of the same old roundabouts on this stuff. The basic idea that e.g. "yeah but calories in vs. calories out" isn't really either new or on topic in a thread just because that thread touches on weight/obesity issues is, I think, a pretty reasonable one—it's not something that has a bright-line "this is off limits" distinction going for it and conversations will always wander, but encouraging people to cut it out sooner or just not start with that would likely help these things be less bumpy.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:59 AM on July 1, 2015 [6 favorites]


I wouldn't call "correcting someone accusing someone else of implying yet a third party is a child molester based on a factual error" scolding.

That's okay, I don't care if you do or not. At first I was going to make the same point - to think Burhan was implying the mods are paedos, rather than taking the piss out of jayder's beef, is a laugably far reach, but I can't see anything to be gained by engaging with people who are that obtuse. But it's all scolding. I'm a scold, you're a scold, everyone's a scold. It's scolding all the way down.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:32 AM on July 1, 2015


That's not very fair; there are a lot of folks in this MeTa who've clearly and sincerely articulated their positions regarding the meat of the matter and i definitely don't want to paint them with a dismissive brush, but when we're criticizing the critique of a criticism of a zing of a snark, then I think we're firmly entrenched in scoldtown.

MeTa: It's scold inside.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:38 AM on July 1, 2015 [4 favorites]


Maybe I'm misunderstanding what Burhanistan was trying to say.

I definitely did. I was trying to own up to that, but also in defense of myself, to say that I lost the thread of all that who's-axe-grinding-now somewhere and the comments didn't make it clearer.
posted by Miko at 8:46 AM on July 1, 2015


i don't care what that joke means. i don't care who the target was. i don't understand why people throw child molestation into conversations that aren't about it. i wish people would stop doing that. it has a real emotional cost to other people.
posted by nadawi at 10:02 AM on July 1, 2015 [21 favorites]


I really think users should be allowed to delete their own comments. It would hopefully save mods some time and maybe prevent some of these slow-burning wankstorms from forming.
posted by bgal81 at 10:06 AM on July 1, 2015


Yeah, it's shitty slang that's hard to correct - I found myself almost saying it the other day. But it's important to make the effort, especially honestly when the implications are so shitty. It's not just a joke about child molestation, it's a joke whose humor relies on minimizing accusations of child molestation as hyperbolic. And even if it's passed so far into our cultural consciousness that no one remembers that anymore, it still affects people.
posted by corb at 10:15 AM on July 1, 2015 [10 favorites]


My main thing in terms of of mod stuff specifically is that it'd be worth it for us to be a little more aggressive about specifically noting/curtailing some of the predictable not-really-even-the-topic moves toward some of the same old roundabouts on this stuff. The basic idea that e.g. "yeah but calories in vs. calories out" isn't really either new or on topic in a thread just because that thread touches on weight/obesity issues is, I think, a pretty reasonable one

We do allow bunny-trails and tangentially related comments in threads pretty often, even ones that have been done before. I think what would work is have a subset of these kinds of bunny-trails that we know to be especially painful because they are often tone-deaf to people's real life hurtful experiences, and we say that those particular things are off-topic as side trails. I'm very happy saying that side tracking discussions into potentially weight shaming experiences for people, when not directly related to the topic on hand, would be one of those things. As much as we hate how these MetaTalks go at times, I do think they are at least helpful for us recognizing topics that are especially painful to people, which would be helpful in determining what a hurtful and potentially shaming derail might look like, if we decide to intentionally avoid those things as a matter of policy.
posted by SpacemanStix at 10:26 AM on July 1, 2015


Here's my solution, personally as Sophie1, a longtime MeFite and person with an eating disorder and a lot to say about the FUCKED up way every discussion on the blue is handled re: fat/weight. I am no longer participating in these conversations. Period. I don't read them. I'm not commenting and I will just let the whole thing go to hell in a handbasket without interjecting any of the experiences 10 years of hard core recovery and 25 years of anorexia and bulimia has given me because it has never not been triggering and full of grar.

I am still open to discussion of EDs one on one in memail, which I have participated in a few of over the years.
posted by Sophie1 at 11:33 AM on July 1, 2015 [7 favorites]


That's okay, I don't care if you do or not. At first I was going to make the same point - to think Burhan was implying the mods are paedos, rather than taking the piss out of jayder's beef, is a laugably far reach, but I can't see anything to be gained by engaging with people who are that obtuse. But it's all scolding. I'm a scold, you're a scold, everyone's a scold. It's scolding all the way down.

It has nothing to do with anybody implictly accusing anyone of anything. It has to do with using that doll phrase as a jokey trope/metaphor. Like how asshole gamers use the language of sexual violence to describe losing or being vanquished in a game. Or how people throw around the term "lynching" rhetorically in conversation in really inappropriate gross ways. People can use whatever slang they like, but if they choose loaded language like that, one result is that others will be offended because it trivializes or makes a punchline out of the thing that's the source of the phrase.
posted by FelliniBlank at 11:35 AM on July 1, 2015 [8 favorites]


Of course jayder is constantly grinding axes; that doesn't mean it's a great idea to start dropping child molestation jokes. It is not, despite what other people have stated in the thread, actually that hard to avoid making child molestation jokes. You just don't do the thing.
posted by NoraReed at 12:46 PM on July 1, 2015 [10 favorites]


I stand corrected that I failed to know the popular intent of a joke about child molestation and somehow formented a derail where the most important part of someone making a child molestation joke in MeTa was analysing my apparently wrong-headed reaction to the child molestation joke. Gotcha.

Can we please get back to topic?

I think cortex's note about further mod notes and watching for irrelevancies that seem related to the topic but aren't related to the FPP itself is a good one.
posted by E. Whitehall at 4:29 PM on July 1, 2015 [9 favorites]


I just want to say fuck ski pants. I'm a US 2X in everything else. Why am I a fucking 7X in ski pants?
posted by obiwanwasabi at 6:35 PM on July 1, 2015 [7 favorites]


There is a longstanding dynamic here where certain people see more comments than you really left saying worse things than you really said, and in some cases whole things that you never actually said, mutually supported and whirlwinded into a suggestion that you are a HORRIBLE TROLL POSTING IN BAD FAITH when all that really happened was you hit the wrong person's hot button and a witch hunt ensued. Something similar prompted me to button out my previous persona of 13 years, because I could never honestly claim that I could ever again feel as safe to be myself here as I did with the site I joined in 2002. The main reason I'm back (ENJOY THE FIVE BUCKS GUYS) is that Hannibal S3 opened and I wanted to talk about it on FanFare.

The difference between 2015 and 2007 is that this time at least two mods were part of the whirlwind. As has happened, I see, in this thread. You might want to seriously think about working on that.
posted by Bringer Tom at 3:28 PM on July 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


Oh yay another person playing the "consider the kind of people you may be driving away"card that's so fun
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:11 PM on July 3, 2015 [12 favorites]


The main reason I'm back (ENJOY THE FIVE BUCKS GUYS) is that Hannibal S3 opened and I wanted to talk about it on FanFare.

Which is totally fine as far as that goes, but it's kind of a weird straddling of the gap between some full-disclosure "I just felt like changing to a new handle but hey guys here I am again" deal and the spirit of a pseudonymous Brand New Day starting-from-a-clean-slate thing to show up with zero continuity to your old account other than re-raising a beef from before at the tail end of a difficult Metatalk thread.

I'm comfortable with you choosing either one direction or the other to go with, whichever fits better with your goal for participating on the site going forward, but this specific BND-but-with-a-grudge setup isn't viable.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:25 PM on July 3, 2015 [23 favorites]


CDS, I think you're arguing on behalf of two people I very specifically responded to and whose rhetoric I repurposed in order to showcase its vulgarity and dehumanizing qualities. I wasn't responding to any of your comments here or on the MeFi thread. If you feel affronted by what I wrote perhaps that means you should take some time and examine why rather than attempting to clarify what you said, which I had no trouble understanding the first time you said it.

If you'd like to discuss further, I'd be happy to talk about via MeMail. I wish you a peaceful weekend and a good holiday if you celebrate it.
posted by i feel possessed at 11:33 PM on July 3, 2015


obiwanwasabi: "I just want to say fuck ski pants. I'm a US 2X in everything else. Why am I a fucking 7X in ski pants?"

Something something BIG AIR something
</TRENCHANT>
posted by scrump at 10:28 AM on July 6, 2015


God, it's hard to separate from grudges how much is good analysis from experience and how much is developed from self-sustaining annoyance. Memail me if I've been doing it.

Hope everyone had a good weekend, and gets all the medical care they need so they're in good moods. And that those good feelings lead to more charitable comments (and refraining of needless ones).
posted by halifix at 6:04 PM on July 6, 2015


This is an example of the kind of project that I think would make the start of an interesting FPP, if only people could refrain from doing the whole "calories/BMI/so easy" refrain:

Same B.M.I., Very Different Beach Body

"The illustrations here were created from scans of six people, who were all 5 feet 9 inches tall and 172 pounds. This means that though their bodies look very different, they all have exactly the same body mass index, or B.M.I. At 25.4, technically each of them could be considered overweight. (By the most common definition people with a B.M.I. over 25 are overweight and those with a B.M.I. over 30 are considered obese.)

How is it possible that the same B.M.I. can look so different? The simple explanation is that muscle and bone are denser than fat and some people carry more or less weight in their torso or legs. As B.M.I. factors in only height and weight, it sidesteps these differences.

This is a crucial shortcoming as some research now suggests that body fat percentage and body composition are more important indicators of health than weight alone. That puts the emphasis on exercises that don't just burn calories, but also build muscle. This also means that, to get a summer "beach body," a strict weight loss goal might not be the right path."

Look at Person 2 and Person 3. And yet every time someone on MF says "My BMI says I'm overweight but I'm not", it seems like at least a few users jump in to scoff at the idea.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 9:37 AM on July 7, 2015 [7 favorites]


I'm very glad I didn't see all of this before now, because I really needed a holiday weekend.

Much has been said well. But I've seen no mention of the fact that every single time I see an AskMe about low carbohydrate eating -- something that glucose impaired people often must do -- there's at least one egregiously incorrect answer in it. Usually more.

It's hard to take "it's so simple, fat people!" attitudes about nutrition seriously here, when there are plenty of denizens who don't seem to know that gluten and carbohydrates aren't the same thing.
posted by gnomeloaf at 12:39 PM on July 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


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