Wait What? August 5, 2015 4:04 PM   Subscribe

My first FPP post ever, and I'm accused of a political agenda. Did I do it wrong?

So after 7+ years as a member here, I finally did a FPP, Say It Ain't So, Joe, after finding an interesting article on Joe Biden and busing, showing someone I admire doing something that seems wrong (hence the title), and trying to fill it out with some related links and past FPPs. I was expecting people to be pro and anti busing, pro and anti Joe Biden, to talk about race and privilege and history. What I wasn't expecting is to have my posting be described repeatedly as somehow pro Clinton, despite my not mentioning her once. Is that normal for political FPPs, to be ascribed as having a specific political agenda?

Back when plastic.com was a thing I did posts there, and one of the good things was there was editorial help on a post before something hit the front page. Is there something like that I should have done?
posted by gryftir to Etiquette/Policy at 4:04 PM (67 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

Nah, you didn't do anything wrong - welcome to the beginning of the US presidential election season! People will read anything political in that frame for the next eighteen months or so - it's not really avoidable.

You're always welcome to use the contact form (link at the bottom of every page) to send us a draft of a post and we'll take a look and give our prognostication for how it's going to go, but political posts will basically always be lively, and twice as much during election season.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 4:06 PM on August 5, 2015 [48 favorites]


Life as a poster is greatly improved if you apply to MeFi the maxim so often applied to the Web as a whole:

Don't read the comments.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 4:14 PM on August 5, 2015 [20 favorites]


I'm afraid that many people will take criticism of X to mean support for Y, even if you haven't otherwise indicated. This is especially so, though not exclusively, in binary mainstream political systems, where people are conditioned to accept either/or framing.

The post was fine. And it's a long time til November 2016.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 4:14 PM on August 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


I haven't read your post, but in general, FPPs are strange beasts; you think they'll go one way, and then take this unpredicted turn. Once you release it, your part is done (unless you want to comment). Pat yourself on the back for taking a risk and posting something - that's reward in and of itself.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 4:15 PM on August 5, 2015 [17 favorites]


(I don't mean to be condescending in that last sentence, hope it doesn't come across that way. And congratulations on making a post! That's great.)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 4:17 PM on August 5, 2015 [8 favorites]


You're good! Hello!
posted by Greg Nog at 4:20 PM on August 5, 2015 [13 favorites]


I appreciated your post and wanted to talk about busing (because it was very important in my childhood).
posted by hydropsyche at 4:23 PM on August 5, 2015 [5 favorites]


I flagged that as a double because there was a post about Biden from the day before and I thought that link would be better there. But no, you haven't done anything wrong!
posted by lalex at 4:26 PM on August 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


Your post was fine and sometimes other people are the problem.
posted by boo_radley at 4:34 PM on August 5, 2015 [17 favorites]


That looked like a hit piece occasioned by the recent flutter of interest in Biden on the part of the increasingly desperate 'anybody but Hilary' crowd to me, too.

Then I saw you'd been around for a long time and shrugged.
posted by jamjam at 4:38 PM on August 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Thanks, this makes me feel better. Also Thanks for letting me know that the contact form can be used for that, restless_nomad.

latex, I saw the post on biden, and the post on recent integration previously, and felt like it was an interesting enough confluence, and the topic of busing in the 1970's was separate enough, that it deserved it's own post, but I completely understand.
posted by gryftir at 4:40 PM on August 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


Only 461 days until election day!
posted by Justinian at 4:52 PM on August 5, 2015 [7 favorites]


I thought it was a good post because it opened up conversation without having a preachy or one-sided agenda. I didn't really see it as pro or anti anybody but as a means to open up discussion.
posted by SLC Mom at 4:54 PM on August 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


I thought this was a good and interesting post on something that is very specific and relevant topic (busing and desegregation) relating to Biden. Honestly, if Biden is so vulnerable that your thread - which is discussing very public and readily available info on a small corner of the internet - is enough to hurt his potential candidacy, then he shouldn't (and wouldn't) be running in the first place. You're good. Keep making posts!
posted by triggerfinger at 4:58 PM on August 5, 2015 [6 favorites]


I also flagged it as a double because of the freshly-opened Biden post. I think that a post on busing that mentioned Biden in passing might be fine on its own, but a post primarily focused on Biden's history with regard to the topic seemed like a better fit for the already-open post. I've seen moderator decisions break in the direction of "put it in the open post" before, and it seemed like one of those cases, but I can also understand why it went the other way.

The post's content and framing seem fine to me, though, and to think that it's some kind of attack from a Clintonista is pretty far-fetched.
posted by tonycpsu at 5:17 PM on August 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: Your post was fine and sometimes other people are the problem.
posted by Melismata at 6:01 PM on August 5, 2015 [30 favorites]


Hey there. I'm not sure if you think I was a poster accusing you personally of posting for politically motivated reasons, but I can assure you I didn't mean to. In fact, I tried in my comment in that thread to distinguish the sudden presence of articles online addressing Biden and race and the posting of said links to MeFi.

In a vacuum, I'd say your post was fine! Its appearing a day after another open thread on Biden gave off a weird whiff, so I suggested it was a double and should be posted in the other thread.

But that doesn't mean I disliked your post.
posted by Xavier Xavier at 6:13 PM on August 5, 2015


Justinian: "Only 461 days until election day!"

Ugh. Wake me up when it's over. If Trump wins, don't wake me up at all.
posted by double block and bleed at 6:23 PM on August 5, 2015 [7 favorites]


I know this sounds trite, but it's not you, it's me. Congrats on the first post.
posted by Toekneesan at 6:32 PM on August 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Only 461 days until election day!

Heh. And we Canadians are complaining about our longest election campaign in over a century, lasting a total of 79 days. Thanks for the perspective.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 6:41 PM on August 5, 2015 [7 favorites]


I thought it was a good and interesting post, and I detected no hint of an agenda, political or otherwise.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 7:17 PM on August 5, 2015


Needs more Bernie.
posted by Nevin at 7:28 PM on August 5, 2015


I'm a little confused. The post is showing on the front page for me, not deleted. (Which, sigh, because I'm not looking forward to more than a year of US Election posts, but so it goes.)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:34 PM on August 5, 2015

I'm a little confused. The post is showing on the front page for me, not deleted.
No one said it was deleted (though I jumped to that conclusion for a second too). This discussion is about the comments.
posted by dfan at 7:41 PM on August 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: don't read the comments.
posted by Juso No Thankyou at 11:31 PM on August 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


In the UK we are at the three month mark in our post general election, new leader of the opposition election, and there are another 5 weeks to go.
posted by biffa at 1:26 AM on August 6, 2015


Metafilter: You didn't do anything wrong, but I flagged it anyway.
posted by kimberussell at 4:06 AM on August 6, 2015 [11 favorites]


If you've been here 7+ years, surely you've realized that other Mefites (like any group of humans) can be petty and unfair sometimes, and you often need a thick skin to be more than a lurker here.

Two things to keep in mind: you can upset people without intending to, and others often project their hobbyhorses on you so they have someone to fight with regarding the topic they are always wanting to fight about.
posted by aught at 5:50 AM on August 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


Also, there are worse things in the world to be accused of than having a political agenda.
posted by aught at 5:50 AM on August 6, 2015


I didn't remember the FPP being particularly agenda-y, but then I went back and looked at it, and the phrase "perhaps it's a good time to explore..." jumped out at me this time. That's definitely an agenda. It's not necessarily a bad one, but it's right smack in the middle of my Gotta-Should-Must Rule:
"Oh, man, you gotta see this..." -- Probably a good FPP
"Hm, people should see this..." -- Possibly a good start to an FPP
"Everyone must read this!" -- Most likely not a good FPP

For "Should" FPPs, you need to be a little more careful on the visible agenda.
posted by Etrigan at 6:19 AM on August 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


It was a good post. Please make more of them. :)
posted by zarq at 6:30 AM on August 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


the man of twists and turns: Don't read the comments.

On the other hand (so to speak,) sometimes the comments are really helpful.
posted by zarq at 6:33 AM on August 6, 2015


what the hell did I just watch
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:38 AM on August 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


I think the title (Say it Ain't So, Joe!) helped make it look like you were declaring that Biden was unfit for office based on his track record on this issue, and thus "pushing an agenda." I didn't actually open the thread but when I saw it scroll by, I thought to myself, "Whups, looks like the knives are out already."

Don't get me wrong -- it's an interesting FPP, especially coming after the busing post on Tuesday. But the Palin flashback that was triggered by the title was a little painful (I think I actually winced) and might have colored some reaction to the post overall.
posted by Mothlight at 6:55 AM on August 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


You did the original post alright, but you're messing this up. You're not supposed to ask reasonable questions and obtain assurance - the form is to make indignant accusations, appeal to a non-existent groundswell of popular symnpathy, flame out, and cancel your membership.
posted by Segundus at 6:56 AM on August 6, 2015 [13 favorites]


Yeah, doncha wanna be SILENCED ALL YOUR LIFE??
posted by JanetLand at 7:26 AM on August 6, 2015


I didn't have a problem with the post, and I thought it was a very interesting take on Biden and busing, both of which are in the news.

It did have the effect of giving me three threads to read where I might have preferred two, but I don't think that's your fault.

I do--however--believe that the sudden interest in Biden's segregationist past is spurred by campaign issues. That doesn't mean that you were motivated in that way, but the existence of all those hit pieces so close together is clearly not just happenstance.

That's not bad, though: the whole point of elections, in the best accounts of democracy, is to give people an opportunity to learn about the issues before they vote! We're SUPPOSED to dig up dirt on the candidates so that voters can be informed, and the incentives are mostly for supporters of candidate A to attack candidate B and vice versa.
posted by anotherpanacea at 7:35 AM on August 6, 2015


MetaFilter: a not particularly memorable series of words.
posted by y2karl at 7:56 AM on August 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


Just when you thought it might never happen--

MetaFilter: Ask reasonable questions and obtain assurance.
posted by Bella Donna at 1:58 PM on August 6, 2015


You're not doing it wrong; you're doing it right. Everyone's first FPP tanks. Yours is just tanking for more interesting derails reasons!
posted by DarlingBri at 2:21 PM on August 6, 2015


"Quiet people avoid the question of the Presidency, for there will be a new election in three years and a half, and party feeling runs very high: the great constitutional feature of this institution being, that directly the acrimony of the last election is over, the acrimony of the next one begins; which is an unspeakable comfort to all strong politicians and true lovers of their country..."

--Charles Dickens, "American Notes."
posted by The Underpants Monster at 4:31 PM on August 6, 2015


God a good portion of the comments in there are borderline shitposts, and some i feel would be deleted in a thread on almost any other subject.

No, you didn't cause this.
posted by emptythought at 4:41 PM on August 6, 2015


I wish people would make a little more effort to strive for balance in posts on political figures. It strikes me as editorial when they don't. The Biden one seemed okay to me because it was so focused on a specific issue more than the man and his potential campaign, but the Corbyn one came off to me as pretty much exactly how a campaign ad for him would look.
posted by Drinky Die at 4:50 PM on August 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


No one said it was deleted (though I jumped to that conclusion for a second too). This discussion is about the comments.

Ah, whoops. I guess I'm too conditioned to "WHY IS MY POST GOT BELETED?!" threads (although, admittedly, there haven't been many of them lately).
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:57 PM on August 6, 2015


God, I hate that election season is now. I feel like it was hell last time too. I suppose we should all just brace for impact!
posted by corb at 7:01 AM on August 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


People can be mean and say stupid things on the internet. Thank God that doesn't happen to me.
posted by y2karl at 7:40 AM on August 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


> I wish people would make a little more effort to strive for balance in posts on political figures. It strikes me as editorial when they don't.

I totally disagree. A MeFi post is not a newspaper or a college course, it's a link to something interesting on the web. If there's an interesting article on Biden, or anyone else, post that sucker, and don't bother providing "supporting links" (because, among other things, I won't read them). We're all (well, mostly) grownups here and should be able to place a link in context without having it spoon-fed to us. If you have specific reason to think a specific post is actually an ad, contact the mods or start a MeTa about it; otherwise, give the poster the benefit of the doubt.

The linked post was a good one and the poster did nothing wrong; it's just fighty MeFites being fighty.
posted by languagehat at 7:49 AM on August 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


...and don't bother providing "supporting links" (because, among other things, I won't read them).

*cries*
posted by y2karl at 7:56 AM on August 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I totally disagree. A MeFi post is not a newspaper or a college course, it's a link to something interesting on the web. If there's an interesting article on Biden, or anyone else, post that sucker, and don't bother providing "supporting links"

No, I agree with you on that. My issue was with the Corbyn post, multiple supporting links all positive and written like a campaign ad. I'm not anti-Corbyn, I have no opinion on politics over there because I have no idea what is going on. I added a bunch of negative links on him just because the whole thing was so out of balance.

If someone posted something like that about an American Republican I think people would have an easier time seeing where I'm coming from on this. Posts introducing candidates should look more like the Paul Ryan post. Give the good and the bad.
posted by Drinky Die at 8:43 AM on August 7, 2015


> No, I agree with you on that. My issue was with the Corbyn post, multiple supporting links all positive and written like a campaign ad.

Oh, OK, sorry to have misunderstood. My general point still stands, and I'm glad you agree!

> *cries*

Oh, heck, y2karl, you know that doesn't apply to you! But not everyone can make a y2karl post.
posted by languagehat at 8:55 AM on August 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I totally disagree. A MeFi post is not a newspaper or a college course, it's a link to something interesting on the web.

Well, there are lots of kinds of posts. I've experimented with making many of them, from single link YouTubes to boarderline-acceptable stunt posts to brief link-packed rundowns on a topic to (the last time I checked) the longest post in Metafilter history. The biggest thing I figured out is that there aren't that many hard rules that aren't in the FAQ. (Although I have been edging away from making megaposts these days, I've been getting the sense they aren't appreciated so much anymore/aren't worth the trouble.)
posted by JHarris at 9:05 AM on August 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


> Well, there are lots of kinds of posts.

That's true, of course, and I myself have appreciated megaposts on occasion, however grumpy I tend to sound about them; I rail against them because I perceive them as having become some sort of de facto standard, to the point that people sometimes sound apologetic about not having enough links (and other people complain about posts not having enough links), and I say fuck that. If you're right that they aren't appreciated so much anymore, I'll ease off on the hostile fire.
posted by languagehat at 11:27 AM on August 7, 2015


Your post has a strong point of view; that's really okay, however, it does make it likely to get strong opinions hurled at it. Keep posting.
posted by theora55 at 11:35 AM on August 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's that megaposts are good as a once-in-a-while thing? I've never ever perceived them as becoming standard, and if I thought that my making them was pushing towards there being longer posts on average on MeFi, I wouldn't have made mine.

When I've made them, it's always as a result of a period of personal obsession over something, and it's usually the thing that ends my obsession, as I can barely stand to think about the thing afterward, so in a way they're kind of therapeutic for me, a way to produce an end product to justify the obsession and then say to myself "well, that's done now, time to move on." I really like that they can be made, but if all posts were megaposts, well, I don't think that would be good. It'd be super forbidding to new users at the very least. I think my difficulties in making them lately have come from not finding new things to obsess about for a while, at least not things that already have an outlet. (Steven Universe has been very active lately on FanFare, and I just made a Splatoon normal-post.)

In fact, I've thought about doing my old (ridiculous and arbitrary) stunt thing again and doing one short post a day for a month. I've got a lot of things built up that I don't seem to ever find time to post about. I might be able to go for longer than a month.

Er, this is all off-topic. I am rambling. Sorry. gryftir, please hang in there, everyone upthread is correct. Your post is fine, and I am sure you'll make many wonderful posts to come.
posted by JHarris at 12:22 PM on August 7, 2015


You got more comments than my first post ever, which means I must harbour grudging admiration and resentment simultaneously.
posted by arcticseal at 3:10 PM on August 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I totally disagree. A MeFi post is not a newspaper or a college course, it's a link to something interesting on the web.

Sometimes, they can be both! One of the ways making fpp's can be a lot of fun.

If there's an interesting article on Biden, or anyone else, post that sucker, and don't bother providing "supporting links" (because, among other things, I won't read them).

I like to add supporting links 'below the fold,' beyond the [More Inside.] This way, those people who just want to get right to the point can do so, and anyone looking to dive a little deeper can too.

We're all (well, mostly) grownups here and should be able to place a link in context without having it spoon-fed to us.

I think of it less as spoon-feeding and more as optional additional reading, supplied for the convenience of anyone who's interested.
posted by zarq at 3:52 PM on August 7, 2015


We're all (well, mostly) grownups here and should be able to place a link in context without having it spoon-fed to us.

This is the funniest thing I've read all week - thanks for the laugh!
posted by the man of twists and turns at 3:54 PM on August 7, 2015


JHarris, reading your MLP fanwork megapost was among the highlights of all my time on Metafilter. I can understand why the work might not feel totally worth it though. Blue posts are weird, they only are open to feedback for a month, but I can imagine a lot of people stumble on that from time to time and love digging in to the content. You just don't have a way to see that lasting impact.

I hope Fanfare grows in popularity because that might be a nice home for efforts similar to what you did there. Instead of a one off post that disappears from view after a little while, you create some in depth content that can be linked to and evolve along with new episodes and new fan contributions as they air. For instance, to add Horsewife :P . More of a wiki type feel.

The awesome, brilliant MST3K club is a good example of how you can build on this stuff over on Fanfare. I wish I was around more to do the live chat with you guys, but I mostly follow along a few days behind in the background.

So, TLDR, you are awesome JHarris.
posted by Drinky Die at 4:03 PM on August 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


I (admittedly quickly) skimmed the comments, and I'm only seeing 3 comments out of 51 that suggest that you might have a political agenda re: the election.

So...that seems like a pretty good signal/noise ratio? Maybe your expectations were too high.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 12:41 PM on August 9, 2015


Yes, you seemed to have a political agenda, because you decided to call the post: "Say it Ain't So, Joe!" That tells us exactly what you think we're all supposed to think about this. You take a different tone in this MeTa post, saying you expected Mefites to be on both sides of the busing issue. For instance, I wrote a long comment against busing. The way you presented the issue gives me the impression that you'll presume me to be against racial integration just because I agree with Biden (and most people) that busing was a bad way to go about trying to achieve that goal.
posted by John Cohen at 9:57 PM on August 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Titles are tricky like that. It's tempting to do something clever, but because they are so short they leave themselves open to interpretation about editorial stance. And now they're super prominent for most users.
posted by SpiffyRob at 5:24 AM on August 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


Down with front page titles!
posted by Drinky Die at 6:30 AM on August 10, 2015


The titles are bad
posted by Greg Nog at 11:18 AM on August 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


:0
posted by Xavier Xavier at 7:13 PM on August 11, 2015


Yes, you seemed to have a political agenda, because you decided to call the post: "Say it Ain't So, Joe!" That tells us exactly what you think we're all supposed to think about this.

Ridiculous. "Say It Ain't So, Joe" is a recurring cultural meme. It goes back as least as far as the days of Shoeless Joe Jackson. It was a catchy and familiar turn of phrase in an FPP about a guy named Joe.

But then, this is election season, so I guess we'll all be projecting the worst intentions onto each other for the next 16 months or so.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 11:12 AM on August 13, 2015


"Say It Ain't So, Joe" is a recurring cultural meme. It goes back as least as far as the days of Shoeless Joe Jackson. It was a catchy and familiar turn of phrase in an FPP about a guy named Joe.

It's a recurring cultural meme that expresses disapproval or disbelief (generally of the disapproving variety), yes.
posted by Etrigan at 11:16 AM on August 13, 2015


When aimed at Biden, I associate it with Palin. But no, I don't think there was anything wrong with it.
posted by Drinky Die at 1:44 PM on August 13, 2015


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