Post deletions officially getting ridiculous. September 19, 2015 9:12 AM   Subscribe

Completely harmless posts in a non-contentious thread. What the hell is up?
posted by Trochanter to Etiquette/Policy at 9:12 AM (402 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

A little more detail, please.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 9:13 AM on September 19, 2015 [5 favorites]


For context, this is about a couple of comments deleted from the thread about how pop songs are all written by the same guy (link goes to my note in the thread).

The comments were about Taylor Swift's short-shorts and her legs. My prediction was, this would cause a pointless derailing fight in the thread, so I deleted them. These were the comments:
These kids today probably don't have time to write. The energy they put into these elaborate stage shows.

Plus TayTay walking around New York in her short shorts avoiding the paparazzi...
and
I got a kick out of one pic of Taylor and her legs sitting on the floor of a fabulous all white garret jotting down tablature.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:17 AM on September 19, 2015 [29 favorites]


Needs a wtf? tag.

*hopes this devolves into a thread like this one* (Also, you too could join the long list of people who have favourited Fred's comment over the years.)
posted by marienbad at 9:19 AM on September 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


Those mods, man, one time they deleted this one thing, omfg, I was like "wut? That thing was mega rad" it hardcore sucked
posted by a strong female character at 9:20 AM on September 19, 2015 [21 favorites]


Yay, bodyshaming for the win! Totally harmless!
posted by crush-onastick at 9:21 AM on September 19, 2015 [13 favorites]


The angriest tempest in the smallest teacup.
posted by ardgedee at 9:21 AM on September 19, 2015 [11 favorites]


Thank you, LM.
posted by Bruce H. at 9:21 AM on September 19, 2015 [6 favorites]


Those comments aren't completely harmless, they're sexist and gross.
posted by shelleycat at 9:23 AM on September 19, 2015 [168 favorites]


This post seems to be moving up our scheduled intervals for "Modding here is the WORST" threads.
posted by TwoStride at 9:23 AM on September 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


And it's so unnecessary. For that second comment all they had to do was take out "and her legs" and it would have been fine.
posted by shelleycat at 9:24 AM on September 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


Would you say there is "bad blood?"
posted by drezdn at 9:27 AM on September 19, 2015 [12 favorites]


Man, this is a MeTa that didn't take full advantage of the fact that there's a queue now. It seems like even five minutes of reflection could have been enough for the OP to realize he was really going to show his ass to all of us here.
posted by MoonOrb at 9:35 AM on September 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


No. Modding here is great. The community is great. Obviously in large part because of the modding.

But. Sometimes, maybe many times, there is too much of an erring towards deleting posts.


And as to Taylor's legs, well she's made her legs central to what she's doing, in terms of her image. In the "tablature" pic she has her legs prominently featured as she always does.

And the point of both posts is that these artists are engaged in things other than writing songs that they don't have time to hole up and write. What are they as artists?


I fully expect the thumping I am going to take. Fully expect the piling on always happens in these threads.

Yes. A tempest in a teapot. So why the deletion?

I ask lobstermitten for permission to quote the email I was sent asking if I wanted the post to go live.
posted by Trochanter at 9:41 AM on September 19, 2015


Sure, here's the email I sent:
Hey there,
I'm seeing your MetaTalk post in the queue. I'm sorry, it took me a few minutes to leave a note in the thread explaining what the deletions were about.

Does that note answer your question in this post? It's mainly that I think those comments (although it's clear to me they were intended in a harmless way) are very likely to cause a big fight, and the thread isn't about her clothes etc anyway, so it would be pretty much a derail from the get-go.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:43 AM on September 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


Please be kind to each other.
posted by benito.strauss at 9:44 AM on September 19, 2015 [39 favorites]


(You had submitted the MetaTalk before I put my note in the thread, so I wanted to check if you wanted to go ahead after seeing the note/hearing the rationale. And you did, and here we are.)
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:45 AM on September 19, 2015


Deleting comments like those is one of the reasons I love the moderation here so much. Add me to the "yep, not harmless, rather sexist and gross" tally.
posted by KathrynT at 9:46 AM on September 19, 2015 [69 favorites]


Those were pretty meh comments at best, and we'll survive without them, as will the thread. Nothing of value was lost here.
posted by Too-Ticky at 9:50 AM on September 19, 2015 [11 favorites]


I reject the premise of this Meta: your comments were not "completely harmless", they were sexist and demeaning.
posted by msbubbaclees at 9:50 AM on September 19, 2015 [18 favorites]


i flagged those comments and i was so glad to see they were deleted! thanks mods for doing a great job!
posted by nadawi at 9:51 AM on September 19, 2015 [54 favorites]


it's also weird to me that when people want to make points about the vapidness of celebrities or whatever they always, always, always focuses on the body parts of women.
posted by nadawi at 9:52 AM on September 19, 2015 [152 favorites]


And the point of both posts is that these artists are engaged in things other than writing songs that they don't have time to hole up and write.

And this is a point that's easy enough to make without objectifying female artists at the same time. That's why I found it so unnecessary, just a few moments extra thought would have avoided the grossness, it's just that too many people don't see any reason for putting that extra thought in. I'm quite happy that the bar is higher here.
posted by shelleycat at 9:53 AM on September 19, 2015 [13 favorites]


My post about Willie Nelson's legs was not deleted. So, Mods: Great Job! Metafilter: A++++! Would post again!

(oh, wait, I didn't mention Willie's legs. My bad.)
posted by valkane at 9:54 AM on September 19, 2015 [16 favorites]


Post deletions officially getting ridiculous.

Shake it off.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 9:56 AM on September 19, 2015 [136 favorites]


Aside from the obvious sexism, there is literally no way to write a comment that begins with the words "[t]hese kids today..." and have it taken seriously. If you're making a serious critique, it's best not sound like Dana Carvey's Grumpy Old Man character from the early 1990s.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:58 AM on September 19, 2015 [6 favorites]


These kids today probably don't even get that reference, what with their youth and legs.
posted by Drastic at 10:00 AM on September 19, 2015 [42 favorites]


I fully expect the thumping I am going to take. Fully expect the piling on always happens in these threads.

So would it be fair to say that the point of this post is not to get feedback from the community, given that you already know what it's going to be?

The reason this deletion feels so extreme to you is a product of society's default assumptions about how it's OK to talk about women. That's not specifically your fault, so you don't need to feel like this action was targeted at you. But that doesn't make them comments we need.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 10:00 AM on September 19, 2015 [112 favorites]


Yep, the comments were gross and the deletion was fair.

The N*SYNC guys (who also have music written by the same guy) are all about the legs, too, what with all of that dancing.
posted by mochapickle at 10:09 AM on September 19, 2015 [1 favorite]



So would it be fair to say that the point of this post is not to get feedback from the community, given that you already know what it's going to be?


Hoping I'm not alone, I guess.







"comments we need"
posted by Trochanter at 10:10 AM on September 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


What's with the cutesy celebrity names? How hard is it to just write someone's name? Did we get this from British tabloids, fanfic influence, or somewhere else?

(Is this age or just grumpiness?)
posted by ODiV at 10:11 AM on September 19, 2015 [5 favorites]


It's infantilizing to demonstrate contempt. Taylor Swift can't possibly be writing her own music because she is a baby and an object with legs. Gross and rightfully deleted.
posted by Squeak Attack at 10:17 AM on September 19, 2015 [50 favorites]


> Hoping I'm not alone, I guess.

You're not alone, but you're in a much smaller minority than you would have been, say, eight or nine years ago, when your comments would not have been deleted. Moderation has indeed changed around here, and thank goodness.
posted by languagehat at 10:17 AM on September 19, 2015 [54 favorites]


(Is this age or just grumpiness?)

It's all about the knee surgery, grampa.
posted by valkane at 10:18 AM on September 19, 2015


Hoping I'm not alone, I guess.

I promise you, you are not alone. There are plenty of people, on Metafilter1 and elsewhere, who feel it is their God-given right to discuss women's bodies in whatever terms they choose without sanction or criticism. Glad we could clear that up!

1. thankfully fewer on Metafilter than elsewhere
posted by KathrynT at 10:19 AM on September 19, 2015 [70 favorites]


Whatever it is, ODiV, we're suffering from the same thing. What's with that indeed?

Also: Just throwing my name in the hat with everyone else saying "these comments seem unnecessary and gross to me, and I think the site is better off with them deleted." I'll quote Horace Rumpole upthread, because they said it better than I could:
The reason this deletion feels so extreme to you is a product of society's default assumptions about how it's OK to talk about women. That's not specifically your fault, so you don't need to feel like this action was targeted at you. But that doesn't make them comments we need.
posted by Alterscape at 10:19 AM on September 19, 2015 [7 favorites]


"comments we need"

Yes, comments we need. The rules and standards of the community have always factored in how germane comments are to the topic of the FPP, and whether they're likely to spiral into unproductive derails. At the very least, even if you think Taylor Swift's legs should be a significant focal point of discussion in a thread about pop music, you must be aware that doing so is going to create a derail that's likely to go meta pretty quickly, and if you didn't know that before posting, you know it now.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:20 AM on September 19, 2015 [6 favorites]


Yay, bodyshaming for the win!

Well, tablature shaming, too
posted by thelonius at 10:25 AM on September 19, 2015 [5 favorites]


Please, if we're going to tut about the vapidness of pop music, the accepted phrase is "ass-jittering cattle". We've been over this.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:40 AM on September 19, 2015 [35 favorites]


Unless we’re talking about something relating to prosthetic limbs, any comment that mentions a person “and their legs” should get given the side-eye.
posted by Going To Maine at 10:43 AM on September 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


Maybe think of that thread like a dinner party conversation. Your comments didn't get polite laughter, they got frowns of disapproval, and somebody said "dude, really?" That's about the level of significance of a couple of deleted comments, it's not like being thrown out of the house.

For what it's worth, more and more of my in-person conversations would have gone just like that, too. This is a good thing, but takes some adjusting to.
posted by FishBike at 10:53 AM on September 19, 2015 [28 favorites]


> Hoping I'm not alone, I guess.

Not alone in what sense? Getting comments deleted? Nope, not alone. Making kind of gross comments that will make people think "wtf dude"? Nope, not alone there either. Thinking that moderation here has gone over the top, man! Nope, there are people who agree with you there, too.

So, yeah. Not alone.
posted by rtha at 10:57 AM on September 19, 2015 [9 favorites]


I'll give you that pop music and sex are often intertwined. But that is not what the thread was about. Your comments were derails. Move on.
posted by Roger Dodger at 11:06 AM on September 19, 2015


TayTay is a reference to how she's referred to in the gossip mags. It's a meme in the culture how often she's photographed in shorts.

The reason I did it with Swift is that aside from the legs, she's selling herself as some kind of sensitive, teen Joni Mitchell. Which is what the tablature pic means to convey.

Also brought her up because of that. I kind of thought she did write her own stuff. Obviously with help, but...

And as well I'd like to say that I have no problem with people sexualizing themselves. It works and it's always worked. But to pretend not to notice that's part of the shtick?

Your comments didn't get polite laughter, they got frowns of disapproval, and somebody said "dude, really?

No they didn't get anything. They were disappeared. Well I guess nadawi flagged them. Semper Vi.

Plus to get lumped in with the ass shaking cattle thing. Well done.
posted by Trochanter at 11:17 AM on September 19, 2015


Dude, you just keep coming across as a creeper who wants us to share in your leg kink.
posted by TwoStride at 11:19 AM on September 19, 2015 [39 favorites]


No they didn't get anything. They were disappeared. Well I guess nadawi flagged them. Semper Vi.

That's how it works here, yeah? People flag, mods react based on how much flagging the comments are getting as well as their own judgement. The mod note was clear about the reason for deletion, but you insisted on opening this MeTa. And here we are. What is the result you're looking for out of this?
posted by tonycpsu at 11:22 AM on September 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


When I sit on the floor I usually bring my legs with.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 11:24 AM on September 19, 2015 [95 favorites]


With this website interested in keeping a level of peacefulness and concord going I approve of these deletions as I do not believe the users capable of discussing the topic in a peaceable fashion.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 11:32 AM on September 19, 2015


Post deletions officially getting ridiculous.

I really like when people state that things are official based on their opinions because it positions them as the governing body in charge and makes me imagine them having serious meetings with themselves where all the parties come to a consensus that yes, it's not just de facto anymore, it's time to degree officially that things are getting ridiculous. Then I imagine the person-committee getting a piece of parchment stating "Post deletions are getting ridiculous." and signing and stamping it with sealing wax and maybe a nice ribbon as part of a very somber ceremony.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 11:33 AM on September 19, 2015 [88 favorites]




And the point of both posts is that these artists are engaged in things other than writing songs that they don't have time to hole up and write. What are they as artists?

Right, because her career would do totally fine if she quit touring and just hid in her apartment all the time writing songs. She is (or isn't) a songwriter, but she's also a performer and a celebrity, and both of those have specific requirements which aren't just "hide in a garret doing ART".
posted by jeather at 11:39 AM on September 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


Oddly enough,I just got around to listening to 1989 a few weeks ago and it really is a perfect pop album. No wonder all the youths of today love her.

Now get off my lawn before we have bad blood.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:40 AM on September 19, 2015 [5 favorites]


I kind of thought she did write her own stuff. Obviously with help, but...

Why "Obviously with help"? I don't think your clarifications are actually making your earlier comments seem less problematic.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 11:42 AM on September 19, 2015 [13 favorites]


I've requested before that we not say TayTay on the grounds that I'm a 31 year old man, and I definitely couldn't have spent hundreds of dollars to have a magical transcendent experience at the "TayTay Concert."
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:43 AM on September 19, 2015 [23 favorites]


I'm OK with these specific comments being deleted. I'm also OK with the mods deleting comments that I would find harmless but that the mods see as contributing to derails or fighting.
posted by audi alteram partem at 11:43 AM on September 19, 2015 [5 favorites]


Tilting at windmills. Sometimes it's stupid shit like this. Sometimes posts are deleted from threads about important issues. I think the mods get heavy handed in the interest of equanimity. Yes, if two people are going back and forth forever on a side issue, fine. But even then a warning should happen.


When I sit on the floor I usually bring my legs with.


It was a posed, staged photo. She was in costume.


Why "Obviously with help"? I don't think your clarifications are actually making your earlier comments seem less problematic.


Because that's how the industry works. George Martin was huge to the Beatles. Producers have always been important.
posted by Trochanter at 11:45 AM on September 19, 2015


So mystery meat Metatalks that turn into a thinly-veiled proxy discussion of how Taylor Swift can't be a serious artist because some guy likes her legs are a-okay. I know we had a discussion of how the queue is being used after the last incoherent silenced-all-my-life debacle, but maybe we should discuss it again because what the fuck.
posted by kagredon at 11:45 AM on September 19, 2015 [31 favorites]


"She was in costume" doesn't excuse it dude, it never does.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:46 AM on September 19, 2015 [6 favorites]


But even then a warning should happen.

Completely disagree. Just because a mod hasn't yet weighed in on the fact that someone's comment is shitty does not mean they should be allowed 1 shitty comment to stay since they hadn't been warned yet. Shitty comments are shitty comments, and nobody is deserved a freebie to puke whatever they feel like into a thread and have it stay up.

Your deleted comments were shitty. They were deleted. It happens. Get over it.
posted by tocts at 11:55 AM on September 19, 2015 [13 favorites]


... aside from the legs, she's selling herself as some kind of sensitive, teen Joni Mitchell.

Because Joni Mitchell didn't have legs, never wore garments that made them visible, never wore outfits even a little bit in sync with the fashion of her time as a pop singer, and for that matter never marketed her own image, either. Because everyone knows, a woman simply can't be 'sensitive', intelligent and attractive. That is beyond the laws of god and man. Be reasonable, people.

Also, Taylor Swift is a grown woman in her mid-twenties.

This is pathetic, Trochanter. Enjoy your MeTa.
posted by daisyk at 11:58 AM on September 19, 2015 [45 favorites]


I know Joni Mitchell is still alive (yay), but she's no longer actively working as a singer, hence the past tense.
posted by daisyk at 11:59 AM on September 19, 2015


Dude, you just keep coming across as a creeper who wants us to share in your leg kink.

I disagree, but that’s me. I think Trochanter is sincere. While a comment about how Swift sells herself as both a sex object and as a singer-songwriter would be warranted and well received, “I got a kick out of one pic of Taylor and her legs sitting on the floor of a fabulous all white garret jotting down tablature.” doesn’t convey that. “I got a kick” and “and her legs” both make it seem like this is about Swift as sex object, not as crafted consumer good.

(For instance, I think this comment would be acceptable: “I get a kick out of how TayTay sells herself as both a singer-songwriter and an object of desire. See, say, this picture of her (and her legs!) sitting on the floor of a fabulous all-white garret jotting down tabulator.”

But that’s me, and your mileage may vary.
posted by Going To Maine at 11:59 AM on September 19, 2015 [8 favorites]


I know we had a discussion of how the queue is being used after the last incoherent silenced-all-my-life debacle, but maybe we should discuss it again because what the fuck.

I expect folks to have seriously varying opinions about what Metatalk is for and more specifically what the queue is for and how it's adjudicated, and so I hear you on your personal annoyance here.

But unless we move to a model along the lines of "no, you can't post to Metatalk because we think your opinion is wrong"—and we aren't moving to a model like that—then I don't think there's a situation where this post, as framed and after a "are you sure" exchange with a poster who doesn't have some specific obvious history of repeated Metatalk axegrinding (and Trochanter does not), isn't in the "okay, we'll put it through for you" stack.

People can disagree with the post and the poster—I do, I think the weren't great comments and that shrugging at the deletion would have been the appropriate response—but this is kinda why we have Metatalk, and so okay.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:03 PM on September 19, 2015 [18 favorites]


But. Sometimes, maybe many times, there is too much of an erring towards deleting posts.

Oh man, I Wish You Would have been more clear in expressing this sentiment. All You Had To Do was stay focused and not make vague wisecracks!

But you instead you were all snarky and now its all like Welcome To New York, you know? I can see your point here and even kinda agree with the Style of the specific examples of your Taylor Swift comments (not posts) getting deleted. Their absence leaves a specific Blank Space which is missing from conversation. But a lot of members are ok with that.

Sure, those comments were minor, but not really Clean for the "dinner party" motif of MeFi. This Love of a generally polite and calm atmosphere can be annoying at times, but it's for the greater good of the site. Those sort of comments just wind up creating Bad Blood and derailing posts because people aren't going to tolerant comments like that anymore.

We could have a philosophical discussion (again) about whether that's good or bad, but we're Out The Woods on that subject. The reality is that these sort of comments are and will continue to be deleted. So arguing about it, for the nth time, is moot. Deletions are the status quo and each person has to decide whether they're ok with that and to what extent. By and large, the membership is VERY happy with this happening and the moderation matches their Wildest Dreams, so it's doubtful anything will change except you and others will get aggravated and upset. I Know Places on the interwebs where those comments are ok, but that ain't here. So don't hate. Just Shake It Off!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:05 PM on September 19, 2015 [34 favorites]


But unless we move to a model along the lines of "no, you can't post to Metatalk because we think your opinion is wrong"—and we aren't moving to a model like that—then I don't think there's a situation where this post, as framed and after a "are you sure" exchange with a poster who doesn't have some specific obvious history of repeated Metatalk axegrinding (and Trochanter does not), isn't in the "okay, we'll put it through for you" stack.

Really, those are the only two options you can think of? You can't say "Please explain what thread and comments you're talking about, a pissed-off one-liner is not going to fly"? You can't say "Please be specific about what you're trying to accomplish, and it needs to be something more than wanting a place to air the same sexist bullshit"?
posted by kagredon at 12:07 PM on September 19, 2015 [17 favorites]


Because that's how the industry works. George Martin was huge to the Beatles. Producers have always been important.

I get this but people generally don't say "I kind of thought Paul McCartney did write his own stuff. Obviously with help, but..." and they DO say that about young women. My point is, even if you think that your comments are completely innocuous on their own, they are coming from a context that questions and undermines women in a way that it generally doesn't do to men. You seem to be not aware of or ignoring this context but I think the context relates to why those comments were deleted -- they are likely to cause a derail as people try to explain to you why what you are saying is part of a larger way of talking about the world that is really harmful to women.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 12:07 PM on September 19, 2015 [51 favorites]


When I am in costume I usually bring my legs with, too. Women don't, like, put on body parts at will in order to signify that they are trying to be sexy now.
posted by jaguar at 12:07 PM on September 19, 2015 [19 favorites]


Look, if your point was that the image and persona of today's pop stars is as carefully cultivated and managed as their music - which, if I squint really hard and have an extremly charitable mindset is what I think I might see behind your comments - then it is possible to make that point without needing to refer to the style and manner of someone's dress.

Otherwise, I'm afraid I'm out of shits to give, as well as out of wtfs for expressing outrage in any direction.

Enjoy the rest of your day.
posted by nubs at 12:10 PM on September 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


Really, those are the only two options you can think of? You can't say "Please explain what thread and comments you're talking about, a pissed-off one-liner is not going to fly"?

We could have, and if the circumstances were different we may well have done so, but the post came through right on the tail end of a conversation in email with the poster, the context was clear to us, and was made clear to everybody immediately in LM's opening comment. If it was true mystery meat, we'd have pushed on the poster harder to clarify it, but this wasn't really that case and so we didn't need to.

As framing goes, I think opaque "WTF" is a poor choice, but I'm not going to force someone to workshop a Metatalk every time just to make things look more well-constructed if we're going to get essentially the same result as is. The bar for "no, you absolutely need to workshop this with us" is a little higher than this, basically, even if it's not anything like a model metatalk post.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:13 PM on September 19, 2015 [6 favorites]


i've had many conversations off of metafilter about whether or not i want to write or workshop a metatalk thread about the way that metatalk is used as an end run around the guidelines against shitty sneering sexist comments, but every time it comes up i say that i honestly don't see the point, that i think any effort to try to discuss it here will just once again turn into those same comments being made, accusations of pile ons, and hand wringing about sjws/the pc police/silenced all my life, etc. by letting metatalk threads like these through (especially ones where it's obvious the post isn't thoughtful or even including of, say, a link to the thread in question) it discourages other people from trying to discuss these things in better ways. it also gives the impression that everything posted to the queue gets through, which is not the case. i think sometimes the mods efforts to appear unbiased actually biases them towards posting shitty meta threads like this one.
posted by nadawi at 12:18 PM on September 19, 2015 [24 favorites]


Yes, thanks to LobsterMitten for adding the context. I couldn't do that.

The mods are great here. They just get too heavy handed sometimes.
posted by Trochanter at 12:21 PM on September 19, 2015


i think sometimes the mods efforts to appear unbiased actually biases them towards posting shitty meta threads like this one.

We mostly just put stuff through, and the stuff we don't put through because it needs talking about or reworking or just plain rethinking definitely includes a bigger proportion of the shittier stuff than the goes-right-through chunk. It's a still a weird balancing act and we'll have to keep tuning it, but basically while I hear you on the perception I guess I can guarantee you that it's not so much the case in fact.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:21 PM on September 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


nadawi, could you accuse me of any other bad motives?
posted by Trochanter at 12:23 PM on September 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


it's an interesting double blind - we can't see the queue, so we just have to take your word for it, and i was fine with that until i got wind of some of the things that didn't get through and then to keep seeing things like this that do get through, and sure you have the fuller picture, but from what i've seen i disagree with your statement of fact. but, there's not much to be done about it, which is why i don't workshop those metatalk threads when i'm approached. there's a silencing effect that you don't get to see just like we don't get to see the entirety of the queue. i don't know how to solve that, but i think you guys could have at least asked the poster here to make a coherent point and include a link before letting this through.
posted by nadawi at 12:25 PM on September 19, 2015 [11 favorites]


I bet they could, but why would you want them to?
posted by Too-Ticky at 12:26 PM on September 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


Is this new policy? Is it only the case for when it's specifically about comment deletions? Because I know that there are cases of asking for modifications--phrasing, links, etc.--on more general site/community Metas, both via conversations I've had offsite and comments here (I rounded up a couple in the earlier thread, but that was based on a very cursory search.)

All that aside, if a post like this is clearing the bar, maybe it's time to move the damn bar.
posted by kagredon at 12:26 PM on September 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


Sure, those comments were minor, but not really Clean for the "dinner party" motif of MeFi. This Love of a generally polite and calm atmosphere can be annoying at times, but it's for the greater good of the site. Those sort of comments just wind up creating Bad Blood and derailing posts because people aren't going to tolerant comments like that anymore.

Ya, that's not why I joined MetaFilter. Intelligent, incisive, informative, challenging, thought provoking, enlightening, even entertaining. But fuck no, not "dinner party", not in the way you mean it at least.

Of course I've known that I'm done with this place for a couple of years now--just hard to actually stop completely.
posted by Chuckles at 12:27 PM on September 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


Trochanter: nadawi, could you accuse me of any other bad motives?

The entirety of your MeTa content:

Post deletions officially getting ridiculous.
Completely harmless posts in a non-contentious thread. What the hell is up?

No link, or any details with which we could find the thread you're talking about. No indication of what policy you want changed other than something like "fewer deletions." Then you make the snide "semper vi" comment about one of the people who flagged your comment.

Perhaps you might look in the mirror for reasons people are viewing your contributions as being made in bad faith. If you're not doing so, you're posting in a way that's indistinguishable from someone just looking to start shit.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:28 PM on September 19, 2015 [26 favorites]


Hey, hey, hey
Just think while you been getting down and out about the posters
And the dirty dirty mods of the world
You could have been getting down to this sick beat
posted by 4ster at 12:28 PM on September 19, 2015 [22 favorites]


Intelligent, incisive, informative, challenging, thought provoking, enlightening, even entertaining.

I would not describe Trochanter's comments with any of these.
posted by kagredon at 12:29 PM on September 19, 2015 [25 favorites]


Is this new policy?

Is what new policy, exactly? I hear you that you think the Metatalk was underbaked, and I don't really disagree. In this case it being underbaked wasn't a huge problem for this to function as a Metatalk post because we had the context ready to hand and could fill it in instead of insisting that the poster sit down and rewrite, so we ran with it.

This falls into "not really a big deal" territory for me, basically. If I had to put metatalks we see into buckets of "really well framed", "not great", and "oh good lord no", this hits the second bucket, and the stuff that needs a rewrite or rethink before it goes through is really just the stuff in the third bucket.

And to be clear, there have been metatalk posts that haven't gone through that aren't in that "oh good lord no" badly-framed territory that had instead other timing/context issues that we ended up with talking to the posters about; to whatever extent there's a "you put through bad posts but not good ones" thing that nadawi's talking about, I guess maybe that's the point of friction, but it's really pretty much two entirely separate apples-and-oranges issues so it's difficult to talk coherently about it as all one bucket of stuff.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:36 PM on September 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


Is there anything left worth saying here? Because this appears to just be headed no where particularly helpful.
posted by nubs at 12:36 PM on September 19, 2015


You were warned? Dude, you warned yourself and you basically keep begging for it. Literally, even.
That's fine, but then don't complain, okay?
posted by Too-Ticky at 12:36 PM on September 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


Also, yeah, this needs to not turn into some sort of escalating thing. That goes both basically all around: Trochanter, if you want to talk about policy, your followup comments in the thread haven't been been all that great for doing that in a non-combative way; folks in general, getting into a sort of increasingly uncharitable pile-on mind-reading mode basically never makes these things go well and is as much as anything in the dynamic of Metatalk part of why this place can be so bumpy.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:40 PM on September 19, 2015 [11 favorites]


oh

if only there had been some way

to set the tone for talking about policy

before the thread went up

nah
posted by kagredon at 12:43 PM on September 19, 2015 [6 favorites]


to whatever extent there's a "you put through bad posts but not good ones" thing that nadawi's talking about

I mean, it's complicated, right? Because if you have someone who's pissed off and perhaps being a bad actor or even just not entirely familiar with the workings of the site, it's probably a lot easier to just put through their kinda-shitty MeTa post, knowing that you can fill in the context right away without having to try to workshop the thing with them first and risk them feeling even more Silenced All My Life; but at the same time when someone is in a more calm & thoughtful position and/or understands site culture and how the modding works, from what I've seen in conversation with folks whose MeTa posts don't make it through the queue those are the folks who often get a 'Let's wait until [X] has blown over' or 'We're worried that because of your history on the site that this post will be taken poorly' or 'How's about we wait until after the holiday weekend for this,' and the result seems to be (at least from my can't-see-the-queue perspective, but also from my know-good-thoughtful-folks-who-have-submitted-MeTas-which-didn't-make-it perspective) that MeTa fills up really quickly with dumb posts about censorship or groupthink or The Radical Left, and the posts which could generally be constructive because they are gently critical of some actual aspects of site culture get delayed or pushed back or end up never happening.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:49 PM on September 19, 2015 [15 favorites]


yep, definitely glad that gross creeper comments about women's bodies are rightfully being deleted. it's simultaneously hilarious and astonishing that the deletion of gross creeper comments caused someone outrage but honestly idgaf about the outrage of gross creepers.
posted by poffin boffin at 12:51 PM on September 19, 2015 [26 favorites]


And to be clear, there have been metatalk posts that haven't gone through that aren't in that "oh good lord no" badly-framed territory that had instead other timing/context issues that we ended up with talking to the posters about; to whatever extent there's a "you put through bad posts but not good ones" thing that nadawi's talking about, I guess maybe that's the point of friction, but it's really pretty much two entirely separate apples-and-oranges issues so it's difficult to talk coherently about it as all one bucket of stuff.

Okay, so you step in when the post is really bad, and also you'll sometimes step in when the post is not really bad. That doesn't seem "apples-and-oranges" to me at all.
posted by kagredon at 12:52 PM on September 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


kagredon, I'm really trying to be thoughtful and responsive here and it feels like you are, intentionally or otherwise, being a jerk to me in response, and that's a shitty thing to try and deal with. I hear you that you dislike that this was posted as-is and have thoughts informing that that go beyond just this specific metatalk post, but I don't know why the fuck this is the approach you're taking.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:53 PM on September 19, 2015 [12 favorites]


I'm sorry if I was being an asshole, cortex, but your explanation really does not make sense to me. You clearly recognize that it's okay to step in and talk to people about their queued Metatalks when there are context and framing issues, and you clearly recognize that this particular post had some of those issues, but then you're saying that there's nothing you/the mod team could've done.

I mean, where on earth was this Metatalk, as currently framed, ever going to go other than Trochanter baiting people into making him feel like a martyr and a lot of folks having to read and discuss gross comments about Taylor Swift's legs? You're enabling end-round around the moderation and then shrugging and saying "eh, you know, it didn't seem too bad" when people ask you why.
posted by kagredon at 12:59 PM on September 19, 2015 [16 favorites]


What the hell is up?

It is unclear.
posted by Namlit at 1:03 PM on September 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


and the posts which could generally be constructive because they are gently critical of some actual aspects of site culture get delayed or pushed back or end up never happening.

There's a flip side to this perception issue that I think doesn't hit the radar, though, and that's that the folks you're likely to hear from about a worthwhile metatalk that got delayed/reworked for context or timing reasons are themselves mostly going to be folks thoughtfully engaged with the community. The posts that get nixed because they're terrible, or are coming from someone with a rage-on for the site or whatever, and that get nixed, probably aren't going to turn into a conversation with other folks on the site about their experiences with the Metatalk queue.

So: terrible post, doesn't get posted. Result is unlikely to be a side-channel discussion between people who care about Metafilter on the issue of that non-post. Also unlikely to actually get reworked successfully, because the core issue tends to be poster raging out and workshopping is rarely a practical expectation.

Worthwhile post, doesn't get posted. Result is far more likely to be some of that side-channel discussion. Also a lot more likely to get reworked, or put through later, unless the the poster decides to drop it. Profoundly unlikely to be a "no, you can't talk about this" situation.

So, I dunno. I don't love that we have needed to move to the queue because there are aspects of the traditional instant-posting transparency of the pre-queue days that I think are good and I understand people's discomfort at the reduction of. On the other hand, there were a lot of really fucking terrible posts—like not even at all comparable to this one, not "eh, that's not great" but really really bad—that either stood or got hastily or not so hastily closed or deleted after a nasty mess hit a lot of people's eyeballs. It'd good to be away from that.

And so we're in this weird slightly different territory now, and still trying to work out on the mod side the details after a year and change. And folks in the community are still working out their feelings about it too, a lot of folks on the "I wish it were like it was" side, some on the "okay but filter even more so" side, and positions in between and orthogonal. It's gonna be bumpy for a while, and I totally appreciate frustrations that come with that. But I also really appreciate people being patient and kind about communicating about it.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:04 PM on September 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


And in the spirit of continuing to try to incrementally unfuck some aspects of how this place works sometimes, I've gone ahead and nixed double block's comment and some of the responses.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:06 PM on September 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


Maybe we could raise the bar for MeTas about specific posts to at least be required to include a link to the post in question? LM did step in and provide a link in this case, but the poster being required to do it might push them towards improving the framing beyond what we see in this one. Not a panacea, but might help avoid the initial "WTF are you talking about" and remove doubts as to whether the poster really wants us to consider the post in question, or might be trying to hide the ball.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:10 PM on September 19, 2015 [16 favorites]


I'm sorry if I was being an asshole, cortex, but your explanation really does not make sense to me. You clearly recognize that it's okay to step in and talk to people about their queued Metatalks when there are context and framing issues, and you clearly recognize that this particular post had some of those issues, but then you're saying that there's nothing you/the mod team could've done.

Except I didn't say there's nothing we could've done, I said in this specific case we had a choice with proceeding with putting it through and then providing the context or forcing the poster to sit down and write that down instead, and they were functionally pretty similar and so we made the tactical not-a-huge-deal-in-this-case decision to run with the former.

Again, I hear you that you think it wasn't the right way to go, and I don't think the feeling that pushing the poster to rewrite would be better is unreasonable. I just don't understand treating this like some categorical abdication of moderation responsibilities or whatever. This wasn't a post declaring new Metatalk policy, it was just a meh post from a community member, and those will keep happening because "meh" isn't where we've talked about drawing the line.

Maybe we'll look at that differently over time—I'm not hostile to the idea that we could squint harder at things if it's causing active problems—but I think it's odd to treat it like it's a violation of some policy we had already made when we absolutely haven't. This has been very much an incremental, case-by-case process and I feel like there's a thing where some speculative place-we-could-have-ended-up-at that's being treated as where-we-declared-we-are or something, which is confusing to me.

Because as much as this stuff is a work in process, I would expect (and would expect others to expect) Metatalk to when in doubt function more like how it has in the past than how it hasn't, I guess. Being interested in seeing it change, I can totally understand. Being surprised that it's a work in progress rather than a done deal, less so, especially when what that done deal is supposed to resemble isn't something I think there's anything like a clear community consensus on.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:16 PM on September 19, 2015 [8 favorites]


Trochanter: TayTay is a reference to how she's referred to in the gossip mags.

Ugh, really? Dude. Pick better role models. Swift is an impressively influential woman and the feedback she's getting from the general culture, along with the objectification and infantalization, is pretty par for the course for a sexist society attempting to minimize her wealth and influence. You don't have to pick up what they're dropping, though.

It was a posed, staged photo. She was in costume.

SO.... you're saying in the future her legs should be... green screened out? Seriously, legs are a lot of a person's body, and in the case of thin people a whole, whole lot of their body. They tend to ...show up a lot. This is rarely worthy of comment unless the person in question is a woman, in which case not only is it worthy of comment but she is blamed for other people choosing to comment on them - literally something she can't control - as you did here.

I'm getting a sense you're not a woman, so you may not be aware that most of us have experienced someone sexualizing something we were doing which wasn't sexual at all. I ate an apple once, and apparently it was incredibly sexy - I have no idea, and subsequent 'eating apple around him' gained no comment (I wanted him to find me sexy; I soon discovered I had no control over that so gave up), so I'm guessing his interpretation of my actions had a lot more to do with his focus at the moment and very little to do with me. In my experience, this tends to be par for the course; men I've interacted with have interpreted all sorts of things (wearing colorful clothing was the most mind boggling example) as an attempt to get their attention/be sexy/etc... and it never seemed to have anything to do with me at all.


Brandon: Oh man, I Wish You Would have been more clear in expressing this sentiment. All You Had To Do was stay focused and not make vague wisecracks!

Respect.
posted by Deoridhe at 1:18 PM on September 19, 2015 [20 favorites]


Okay. Thank you. Thinking about it on a case-by-case and iterative basis is exactly what I'm asking for, and I was confused because you seemed to be saying it was policy not to unless the post was totally off-the-rails, which does not match my understanding of how Metatalk or the queue has ever worked.
posted by kagredon at 1:20 PM on September 19, 2015


Every time I see the small text saying things have been deleted, I don't like it. I have to trust they were really bad. Sometimes I have seen the posts, and I think, hmph that didn't seem that bad to me, but maybe the mods have a sense for what's going to go south.

This time, it was my ox. So I made this post. I was mad at the time, so I framed it perfunctorily. But it's a general thing, too. A general vote for less deletions. That is what I wanted and want the discussion for.

Making this post was not an ideal solution. I don't think, though, that there's a mechanism for asking that your post be undeleted, which is what I would have wanted.

Like LobsterMitten said, these don't go well, but the willful, or at least casually sloppy misreading of what I've said here is pretty bad. With other threads like these, I don't really read them. I see the snark and half of me thinks the poster must be a bad actor in some way.

Partly, too, I've been on this site for quite a while. Some of you must know me. It feels bad to have, as I see it, been fighting the good fight for equality and stuff, and to have people assume I'm Rush Limbaugh because I made a joke about the way stardom works. And it wasn't that much of a digression from the topic of the thread.
posted by Trochanter at 1:20 PM on September 19, 2015 [8 favorites]


the mods deleting casually sexist comments actually helps you because no one would associate you with those casually sexist comments. by making this meta and digging in, you've made it more likely that people will associate defense of casual sexism with you. the mods were doing you a favor but you were determined to not let them.
posted by nadawi at 1:26 PM on September 19, 2015 [79 favorites]


i also just want to make clear that i have always been in favor of the queue and i'm still in favor of the queue. my hope is that with this and a few other threads in the recent past as a marker, that the mods move their thinking on what should be workshopped or held off on for a bit of time to see if the poster wants to take another stab or just drop it. none of us get our perfect metafilter, but i feel like hastily thrown together metas about things like casual sexism are a bigger deal than the mods are seeing them as right now.
posted by nadawi at 1:29 PM on September 19, 2015 [11 favorites]


Trochanter, I have a feeling that we'd understand you at least a little bit better if you'd stick to the difference between posts and comments.
posted by Too-Ticky at 1:31 PM on September 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


But that's the thing, Trochanter. You said that you wrote it when you were mad and the post was perfunctory, but then you're blaming commenters on willfully sloppy misreading of your angry, perfunctory post. The framing of your MeTa makes it very, very hard to give you the benefit of the doubt.

I'm positive you didn't mean any harm by your comments and I'm also positive it was a good thing they were deleted. I honestly believe if you'd taken a moment to count to ten, shake your head, and frame your concern more specifically in this MeTa (or post it in a few days, even, without being angry) that you'd have gotten much better results.
posted by mochapickle at 1:32 PM on September 19, 2015 [9 favorites]


the mods deleting casually sexist comments actually helps you because no one would associate you with those casually sexist comments. by making this meta and digging in, you've made it more likely that people will associate defense of casual sexism with you. the mods were doing you a favor but you were determined to not let them.

We've all learned a lot about each other.
posted by Trochanter at 1:33 PM on September 19, 2015


Maybe you missed it, but not that long ago there were a few Metas that covered in extraordinary detail how bone-wearyingly grinding it is to be a woman on this site (and in the world!) and have to endure just the sort of low-level-radiation-sexist-type comments you made today.

Community consensus was that members would appreciate mods taking a more active role in discouraging that kind of comments with the goal of making this the kind of place that all kinds of people like to hang out in.

I personally am happy when I see the small text saying something was deleted, because I know that it means a mod just made it so I had to endure one less bit of misogyny/meanness/derail in my day.

Thanks for throwing yourselves on all those grenades, mods!
posted by msbubbaclees at 1:34 PM on September 19, 2015 [80 favorites]


It's probably worth noting, Trochanter, that there's been a lot of very vocal requests from people for the mods to delete gross-but-not-egregious sexist comments, on the grounds that they form a "background radiation" of unpleasant hostility. To me, your comments definitely fell into that category, the sort of thing that just gives me a vague sinking feeling that this is going to be yet another dispiriting conversation in which people proudly trumpet their unfortunate views about women in ways that are carefully calculated to go right up to the line but not over it. I am heartened to see that they were deleted and the mods are still looking out for the userbase in that way, because those conversations are difficult to take and make me (and other women) less likely to want to participate here.
posted by KathrynT at 1:36 PM on September 19, 2015 [72 favorites]


Trochanter, I don't think you are sexist. But I think you wrote a sexist thing, and rather than hearing the people who thought it was sexist, you are digging in in a way that people are much more likely to remember over your posting history here. Instead of insisting that everyone else is wrong, and that the mods here are overzealous in this case, why not just say "I'm sorry, I didn't realize this would upset so many people, and I won't do it again." And then not do it again. You gain nothing from those comments staying up. Neither does the community. The conversation in that thread is not worse for losing those comments. I hope you stick around, but i also hope you realize that whether you meant it or not, those comments were sexist.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 1:48 PM on September 19, 2015 [18 favorites]


i feel like hastily thrown together metas about things like casual sexism are a bigger deal than the mods are seeing them as right now.

Yeah, this too. To the extent that shitty content is deleted not just because it's derailing but because of its microaggressive qualities, there's a degree to which these constant MeTa posts about shitty content being deleted basically forces regurgitation of microaggressions and then presents an entire conversation with back-and-forth about shitty opinions which, even if it's getting pushback from the community and/or mods, now still exists in exactly the way that the original content doesn't. I don't know what a workable middle ground is but I think it's something that should be discussed; at its worst, this is a scenario which could be purposefully forced by a bad actor intending to just create a place where it's okay to shit on certain segments of the userbase.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:49 PM on September 19, 2015 [23 favorites]


"But I also really appreciate people being patient and kind about communicating about it."

My impression is that whatever degree of conflict you think is happening is partly because you react defensively on this topic. A year and a half ago I wrote a comment about the queue change that supported it and expressed trust in the mods but which suggested that you should do some things to add some transparency to this new system so that trust doesn't get eroded simply as a function of people having no way of knowing what's really happening with MeTa posts. But you responded specifically to my comment, beginning by quoting from it, and wrote this long near-rant about how transparency isn't important in itself and emphatically that everyone should just trust you. It was condescending and dismissive and I'm still annoyed about it even after all this time. More so, in a way, because I think subsequent experience is beginning to demonstrate that not only are we having an ongoing discussion about how much the queue should be used to filter counter-productive posts, but that a complete lack of transparency about the degree to which and the pragma of using the queue to filter counter-productive posts is proving to be a problem. No one knows and, from ignorance, are free to make suspicious judgments on the basis of guess and hearsay.

What I didn't respond in that thread so long ago is that transparency is valuable in that it fosters trust and discourages distrust simply by virtue of the fact that people will naturally form opinion and judgements from whatever amount of information is available to them, and the less there is, the more those opinions will be a function of their biases and suspicions.

But my practical suggestion in the thread was a very tentative suggestion because then and now I recognize that this is a difficult problem to solve and pretty much every solution I can think of comes with its own set of new problems. I don't know what the solution is. One would be to never use the queue to filter. But it seems to me that both you mods and much of the community at this point don't want that -- there's more impatience with destructive MetaTalk posts than there is a desire for MetaTalk to be almost completely unmoderated. So that's probably not the best solution. But since the mods and much of the community does want some filtering, then we need to grapple with the problem that because we don't all agree about what should and shouldn't be filtered, then a lack of transparency about what is and isn't filtered ends up making things even more difficult and complicated because everyone can only guess about what is and isn't being filtered.

Maybe your frustration is because you're frustrated with the problem itself and it's a pain in the ass to deal with users being critical or suspicious on top of that. I get that. I understand. But you're going to keep getting this sort of questioning and feedback as long as there's filtering and it's not clear to the community how and how often you're deciding to filter.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 1:54 PM on September 19, 2015 [5 favorites]


The haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate
Moderaters moderate -ate -ate -ate -ate
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 1:59 PM on September 19, 2015 [51 favorites]


It sounds to me like you respect the mods, Trochanter, so why not assume their judgment is pretty good about what's likely to cause a derail? Given the responses in this thread to your comment itself, it sounds to me like they were right in this instance. You could have framed your comments more clearly about Taylor Swift's not-entirely-convincing image as a singer/songwriter, and some folks (myself included) might have agreed with you, but mentioning her legs and shorts was weird and distracting and likely to get into a long in-thread analysis of what precisely you meant by that and the implicit sexism (I find it hard to imagine anyone writing "[male popstar] and his legs").

I flag stuff that I want the mods to take a look at, in case it could lead to a big derail and make a mess of the conversation. Many times they don't delete the comments; sometimes they do. As I see it, they have lots of experience and know what they're doing, and that is the site working smoothly as a whole.

I don't think there's anything wrong with you asking what was up with those two comments, but I also don't think they're some kind of major loss, and your question seems to be well answered.
posted by thetortoise at 2:03 PM on September 19, 2015


By and large, the membership is VERY happy with this happening and the moderation matches their Wildest Dreams, so it's doubtful anything will change except you and others will get aggravated and upset.

The moderation makes me feel Safe & Sound.
posted by Pendragon at 2:06 PM on September 19, 2015 [6 favorites]


the mods were doing you a favor but you were determined to not let them.

No. The mods were doing the community a favor. Trochanter is part of the community, so gets some benefit as well. Threads are edited for the benefit of the community's spirit, not for a specific user.
posted by Going To Maine at 2:16 PM on September 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


I Know Places where you can go where those comments wouldn't have been deleted, but Everything Has Changed around here. I Knew You Were in Trouble All Too Well as soon as I saw this post. All You Had to Do Was Stay here, though, and it wouldn't take much for you to be Out of the Woods (seriously, Stay Stay Stay). Is The Last Time this will happen? Red 22 How You Get the Girl Welcome to New York Treacherous Blank Space Sad Beautiful Tragic.
posted by item at 2:19 PM on September 19, 2015 [9 favorites]


But you responded specifically to my comment, beginning by quoting from it, and wrote this long near-rant about how transparency isn't important in itself and emphatically that everyone should just trust you.

This one? I regret the Rube Goldberg framing because I wasn't really trying to be a dick about it; I apologize for coming off kind of crispy. I thought the suggestion was not great and was indeed kind of needlessly elaborate for what it was, but that's no big deal and I didn't mean for it to be one; the bulk of the comment was more directed at the general idea of the goals and methods of transparency on the site that had been the subject of a lot of discussion that last couple days (see also my previous comment the night before, which that's partly an elaboration of) than at your specific suggestion.

Anyway, I didn't realize that had been bothering you. I didn't mean for it to. I stand by the general thrust of that comment, that while we value transparency a lot in the mod work we do here it's something that is in the end going to have to be partly pragmatic and have practical limits that a basic level of trust and when necessary just straight up asking us about the less-visible details will have to cover for. But I recognized then and recognize now that that's complicated and is something that will always leave folks leaving uncomfortable sometimes, and I sympathize.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:21 PM on September 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


Making this post was not an ideal solution. I don't think, though, that there's a mechanism for asking that your post be undeleted, which is what I would have wanted.

Is that still what you would have wanted? In the face of several dozen people in here calmly telling you your comments were casually sexist and their deletion was well and truly justified? If not, then how many more dozens/hundreds/thousands of people is it going to take?
posted by gueneverey at 2:23 PM on September 19, 2015 [7 favorites]


I don't think, though, that there's a mechanism for asking that your post be undeleted, which is what I would have wanted.

For a comment, there's a mechanism for asking—literally just write to the contact form and ask us about it—but in most cases literally undeleting a comment in place is unlikely. (Not impossible, sometimes there's a massive misunderstanding of some sort.)

More likely is us talking out what the intent of the comment was, what the issue with the comment as it appeared was, and in a fair number of cases the inquiring user turning around and rewriting a new comment that takes that stuff into account to hop back into the thread in a more workable way. Given the fixed chronological order of thread comments, reworking and resurrecting a comment in place isn't really doable in general even in those cases where it's more of a "well, it's mostly fine but this bit was a no-go" case that could in theory be edited to fix it.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:28 PM on September 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


I've only been on Metafilter for 7 years but nothing has changed about the kinds of comments that get deleted in that time. These would have been deleted then as well, for being a derail if nothing else. You can like it or not, but pretending like this is new is silly. As is pretending like clueless self-righteous Metatalk posts are new and astonishing. These have always happened as well, and will continue to result in as much eye-opening education and hurt feelings
as they always have for as long as there's a Metatalk. Let's all relax with a nice hot cup of tea and watch the puppy video.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:45 PM on September 19, 2015


another thing that is not new is inane comments by people who post in the Metatalk just to say how much they don't care.
posted by kagredon at 2:52 PM on September 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


Another thing is subtweeting people passive aggressively instead of just addressing them directly. Hi kagredon, you need to chill in my opinion. You're taking a reasonable suggestion and grinding it into an axe.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:57 PM on September 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


So, guys.. MeMail?
posted by tonycpsu at 3:02 PM on September 19, 2015 [7 favorites]


Yeah, maybe let this exchange drop please.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:04 PM on September 19, 2015


> the willful, or at least casually sloppy misreading of what I've said here is pretty bad.

I don't think there's been any misreading. I think you're defensive about how your comments were read, which is, or should be, the signal for a learning experience on your part. One of the great things about MetaFilter is that it gives us all a chance to see the world in general, and one's own ideas and preconceptions in particular, from other people's points of view. There are a whole lot of things I wouldn't say any more as a result of interactions here, and I'm a better person for it. If you want to keep using "Tay-Tay" and talking about women's legs in public, be your bad self, I guess, but don't complain that people are misreading you. We're just reading you.
posted by languagehat at 3:18 PM on September 19, 2015 [46 favorites]


The fact that this almost entirely content-free silenced all my life whine made it through the queue is kind of ridiculous.

The apparent perception from the MRA crowd that metafilter is some hotbed of social justice should not be allowed to guide what posts make it onto metatalk just to further some nebulous equality of platform. That is what letting a completely pointless plaint like this one through the queue looks like to me.

I understand they would scream and moan if it didn't. Still, making them at least try to fig leaf their agenda would be something.
posted by winna at 3:22 PM on September 19, 2015 [10 favorites]


Now that I've had time to read it--that songwriting thread, trimmed of derails, is solid platinum.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 3:25 PM on September 19, 2015


MetaFilter: Nothing of value was lost here.
posted by MikeMc at 3:31 PM on September 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


"you can fill in the context right away without having to try to workshop the thing with them first"

This comment should be deleted for using "workshop" as verb. This fucking place gets worse every day...
posted by MikeMc at 3:53 PM on September 19, 2015


I've expressed concerns about the queue in the past so I've tried to keep an eye on the situation. I think the moderators do an excellent job with it. I haven't heard of any community members complaining that their meta was not allowed for no good reason. If Trochanter wanted to ask for public feedback about this issue, he should be allowed to and he was.

But yeah, I do think this may have benefited from a little more time for him to collect his thoughts and make his case. Especially since he now says he wanted to talk more about deletions in general. LM did a great job explaining the context, but Trochanter didn't start up by explaining himself well in the post so you have context but no real perspective from Trochanter beyond the ridiculous thing.

I'm sure the moderators explained to him what the harm was, so the post should have included a rebuttal to that if it was going to go up. Regardless, there is no way this community was going to agree with him on this, but I think it could have gone a little better if there was more clarity from him right from the start.
posted by Drinky Die at 3:54 PM on September 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


I read Trochanter's original comments (posted above by LobsterMitten) as expressing distaste for the spectacle of modern pop music, and so not really all that awful. Now, it's pretty clear the mods were right to delete them from the original thread in order to prevent a derail, given the reaction they've gotten here. Nor do I think Trochanter was justified in making a fuss about it by starting this MeTa.
I *do* think the reaction has been excessive. Irritation is understandable, but a lot of these comments are just plain angry. And I'm not even sure the reaction is coherent: is "Taylor and her legs" body-shaming, or is it the comment of a creeper with a leg kink? Why does a link to an animated gif of Taylor Swift's legs turning into "eldritch horrors" get a bunch of favorites here if even mentioning them counts as body-shaming? Does mentioning them *have* to be sexist, when it might be a comment about the highly sexualized pop music industry?
I repeat that I don't think it was a great idea for Trochanter to start this thread (and certainly not in the way he did). I just don't think the rest of us are exactly covering ourselves in glory with our angry and uncharitable responses.
posted by uosuaq at 3:56 PM on September 19, 2015 [9 favorites]


Does mentioning them *have* to be sexist, when it might be a comment about the highly sexualized pop music industry?

The framing here is minimal enough that I wouldn't guess about the intent, but it sure does come off as sexist. I mean, I've spent a more-than-average amount of time thinking about Taylor Swift's music and public image and cultural meaning (and I'm attracted to women, even!), and it literally never occurred to me to think about her legs and shorts until this thread.
posted by thetortoise at 4:08 PM on September 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


I don't really see too many "angry" or "uncharitable" responses, though. I see a lot of folks saying basically "yep, that wasn't a great comment and we aren't sorry it's gone".
posted by msbubbaclees at 4:11 PM on September 19, 2015 [19 favorites]


Who cares what the intent was? Sexist comments are sexist, it's okay that they're deleted, it would be nice if we didn't have to have a "moderating is officially ridiculous now" thread about it but life will go on.
posted by MoonOrb at 4:18 PM on September 19, 2015 [11 favorites]


I don't really see too many "angry" or "uncharitable" responses, though. I see a lot of folks saying basically "yep, that wasn't a great comment and we aren't sorry it's gone".

Of course not. But apparently it's that time again, when the usual gang get their licks in on the real criminals perpetuating misandry and such. Can't let them get away with criticizing sexism, nosirree.
posted by zombieflanders at 4:21 PM on September 19, 2015 [8 favorites]


Well, that's what I'd consider an uncharitable remark right there. Maybe we just disagree on how many is too many.
posted by uosuaq at 4:23 PM on September 19, 2015 [6 favorites]


The apparent perception from the MRA crowd that metafilter is some hotbed of social justice should not be allowed to guide what posts make it onto metatalk just to further some nebulous equality of platform.

The MRA crowd? Really? If that's a slam on members of the site, uncool. If that's about the manosphere, who cares? This is a metatalk, and metatalks are for members.
posted by Going To Maine at 4:23 PM on September 19, 2015 [5 favorites]


The MRA crowd?

MetaFilter Righteous Anger™ crowd (not to be confused with those other MRA types who would consider MeFi "MRAs" to be totally Beta).
posted by MikeMc at 4:28 PM on September 19, 2015


I think that we're all waiting for the thread that lays out specific nuanced grievances instead of just reflecting momentary passions at a particular deletion. I imagine it would go well, albeit with all the standard comments we've seen people complain about.
posted by Going To Maine at 4:28 PM on September 19, 2015


Maybe we just disagree on how many is too many.

Maybe, but this minimization of sexist BS and attacks aimed at anyone pushing back against it pops up like clockwork. I happen to think that's "too many," but it still happens, and here it is right on schedule.
posted by zombieflanders at 4:29 PM on September 19, 2015 [11 favorites]


> ... should not be allowed to guide what posts make it onto metatalk ...

Can a mod clarify? I thought the queue was put in place to give mods more control over when possibly controversial Meta posts appear, but generally not if they appear. To what extent do mods control which posts make it on to MetaTalk?
posted by benito.strauss at 4:45 PM on September 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


zombieflanders, I agree that the dynamic you're talking about is very real.
I just found it fairly easy to read Trochanter's comments (and I'm not saying they were brilliantly expressed or anything) as about the sexualized and sexist spectacle of pop music (where the "music" part seems like kind of an afterthought), and how if you want to be a top star like Taylor Swift you're going to need to play that kind of part. (That interpretation might be pure projection on my part, but at least it's a *charitable* projection, starting from the assumption that Trochanter is a decent person.)
And if you *do* read the comments as sexist, you could at least (like "to sir with millipedes") say "I don't think you're a sexist, but those comments are sexist".
Obviously that's easier to do if you're not annoyed at the person for starting an ill-advised MeTa thread, but still.
I'm also still wondering why the animated gif of Taylor Swift's legs gets a free pass here if the bar for sexism is set at mentioning them.
posted by uosuaq at 4:55 PM on September 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


That was one of the issues the Meta I linked above was about Benito. Cortex and Matt gave some good explanations on their philosophy in the first two comments. There are some posts that aren't gonna see the light of day under some circumstances.
posted by Drinky Die at 4:58 PM on September 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


Can a mod clarify? I thought the queue was put in place to give mods more control over when possibly controversial Meta posts appear, but generally not if they appear. To what extent do mods control which posts make it on to MetaTalk?

Here's the post about turning the queue on full time, from May of last year, and it's pretty much on target still. Most posts just go through as soon as we get a chance, or after a really quick mod chat if it's e.g. a tech issue and we want to get my or pb's take.

Of the the stuff that doesn't go through immediately, it's primarily just a delay thing—either short term because of busyness (e.g. "will get this up in an hour/day, now's no good") or occasionally more complicated/contextual (e.g. "this touches on a hot topic that will distract from the actual thing you want to discuss, hold off for a week maybe", "this is fine to talk about but please remove this specific really problematic phrase or unnecessary personal references").

The remainder of stuff is the small share of really-not-workable stuff (rage posts, drunk posts, non-sensical stuff) that would have been deleted or closed really quickly pre-queue.

In the ensuing year and change since that post, we've also had a few conversations in Metatalk about being a little more proactive about specific kinds of problematic posts that have gone from the "only if you really really want to post this as is" bucket to the "no, you've got to rework this some for it to work, period" bucket. That's still something we're trying to get a good fix on.

So the goal is: stuff goes through if it's not just outright crazy showstopper not-gonna-happen stuff. Not always immediately and not always without some reworking, but the goal is if you want it to go through and you're not mid-meltdown, we can get it through.

But part of that process is that sometimes it's only going to go through after some reworking or when the user comes back to it after some specified "hold off on this for a bit" period, and we can't force or require people to either (a) want to come back to it or (b) rewrite something they don't want to rewrite. So some stuff can fall off by the wayside and not get gotten back to, and some stuff can end up at a "this has to get reworked" "no, post it as is" impasse.

And I think that's a downside—maybe the biggest in my eyes—of the queue being in place, particularly for the bad-timing, doesn't-end-up-coming-back-around stuff, since I think it's mostly just a kind of natural friction that ends up causing a post to not happen sometimes when it otherwise could. I've checked in on a couple of occasions on those fell-by-the-wayside situations with mixed results, sometimes folks are really just "eh, nah, I don't really feel like pursuing it now" and that's totally their call but obviously isn't ideal from the more-talk-is-good-talk perspective I tend to have toward community stuff here.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:02 PM on September 19, 2015 [6 favorites]


I'm also still wondering why the animated gif of Taylor Swift's legs gets a free pass here if the bar for sexism is set at mentioning them.

Context. It's not that mentioning Swift's legs is forbidden. (little is, really.) It's when and how you do it.
posted by Going To Maine at 5:03 PM on September 19, 2015 [10 favorites]


And if you *do* read the comments as sexist, you could at least (like "to sir with millipedes") say "I don't think you're a sexist, but those comments are sexist".

has anyone in this thread called him a sexist besides himself? i just did a quick ctrl+f and every time "sexist" has been used about the topic of this thread "comments" was explicitly mentioned. is it just that everyone didn't also add "i don't think you're sexist" to "those comments were sexist"? because if we're going to critique comments for not writing enough for their point to be clear, i don't think it's the ones calling out the sexism but rather the ones that started this whole rigamarole.
posted by nadawi at 5:05 PM on September 19, 2015 [15 favorites]


And if you *do* read the comments as sexist, you could at least (like "to sir with millipedes") say "I don't think you're a sexist, but those comments are sexist".

If someone says, say, "Those comments aren't completely harmless, they're sexist and gross," (direct quote from this thread) then I don't understand why it's necessary to bracket that with any sort of disclaimer.

No one in this thread called Trochanter sexist. Everyone was very careful to point to the content of the comments, not to Trochanter's character. That's not polite enough?
posted by muddgirl at 5:06 PM on September 19, 2015 [25 favorites]


I mean, I've spent a more-than-average amount of time thinking about Taylor Swift's music and public image and cultural meaning (and I'm attracted to women, even!), and it literally never occurred to me to think about her legs and shorts until this thread.

Oh it seems to be a thing sure, but she's doing what many celebrity types do, show off their best physical features in fabulous clothes. Which is absolutely fine and nothing to get angry/weird/whatever about it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:06 PM on September 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


have i mentioned that i have a fish? in my pants?
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 5:16 PM on September 19, 2015 [19 favorites]


The apparent perception from the MRA crowd that metafilter is some hotbed of social justice should not be allowed to guide what posts make it onto metatalk just to further some nebulous equality of platform.

And just to be clear, I couldn't give a single bugfuck what the apparent perception of MeFi from the self-identified MRA crowd is, and it is not something that plays into the rubric of Metatalk queue handling described above.

And I really, really do hear and appreciate people's expressions of frustration with Metatalk threads they don't like showing up in Metatalk, and I understand the necessary weirdness of knowing there's a queue in place and thus the "well but this was okay?" knock-on reaction from that, however much we have tried to emphasize that the queue is only fractionally operating as a filter rather than just a time-delay mechanism.

I do think there is a skewed speculative perception effect here with what is and isn't getting through that queue—informed again I think by what I was talking about here about the relative level of awareness of different kinds of posts that haven't made it through (like, no group of good-faith users is having reasonable back-channel commiserations about how they're bummed the mods didn't put through their aggro rant about fascist mods or feminazis or how user x is a cancer, that stuff just isn't on anybody's radar except us)—but I totally acknowledge it's one of the tricky outcomes of having a queue, and I sympathize there even if I'm gonna keep asking for a reasonable level of trust in us on that front. If I had a simple and satisfying solution for it, I'd put in in place, but e.g. "queue that's totally visible" or other simple-in-some-respects solutions also have pretty significant, point-defeating problems. So, something we're stuck chewing on some more instead.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:21 PM on September 19, 2015 [6 favorites]


No, there aren't any comments that say "Trochanter, you are a sexist". If that's what you think my point was, then my point was clearly wrong.

Going To Maine, I generally agree with your comment about context; not sure about this case. I doubt it's worth getting into at this point and I think I've wasted enough of people's time on this thread for the moment. (Someday I may learn to make a comment and just leave it there, instead of indulging an xkcd-like "someone has *misinterpreted what I meant on the internet*!" habit of trying to clarify.)
posted by uosuaq at 5:29 PM on September 19, 2015


Your point seems pretty clear to me. You don't think Trochanter's comments were sexist. (I disagree) You think that commenters are angry (I disagree - this thread has been calm-headed albeit blunt).

Disagreement is not misunderstanding. First lesson I learned on Metafilter, but a hard one.
posted by muddgirl at 5:53 PM on September 19, 2015 [17 favorites]


Hopefully this isn't a derail...

But I'd like to take this opportunity to thank the Mods for comment deletion. I recently flagged 3 or so comments in a thread, and within 10 minutes they were all gone. I assume other people flagged them as well (flagged as derail, but some were passive-aggressive and/or aggressive personal attacks on members here).

Anyway, it seems that those comment deletions helped those threads not derail further in unhelpful fighty ways.

I'm going to try to in advance remind myself that when my occasional comment gets deleted, it really probably is for the best. And while I try not to think of myself as a terrible person, the comments that mods (very rarely) delete of mine might very well feed into the perception of others that I am not that great of a human being.

In short, thanks Mods, you rock!
posted by el io at 6:01 PM on September 19, 2015 [14 favorites]


Oh, and back on topic, Trochanter, to be pedantic about your post here...

You're title should have been "Comment deletions officially getting ridiculous", NOT "Post deletions officially getting ridiculous." People comment on posts, they don't post on posts.

I won't pile on harder about how I think you are wrong in your assertion, but I would put forward the idea that sometimes when comments are deleted, that is actually for your own good. As others mentioned here, sometimes inarticulate comments can be interpreted very poorly and lead to both thread derailments and people's personal negative perceptions of you.
posted by el io at 6:05 PM on September 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


Here's the thing Trochanter: I don't give a flying fuck if you get a 'kick' out of 'Tay Tay' and her legs in short shorts. I really really would actively prefer you to keep that kind of nonsense between you and your psyche. The fact you think putting your sexual behaviour into a thread about a pop star is somehow contributing effectively to the conversation shows just how much you care about your consumption of her image, and how little you actually care about the conversation.

And stemming from that 'kick' is the aggression that lots of men show when talking about women, like god forbid we forget you are a MAN and have a DICK and are ATTRACTED to WOMEN who have LEGS and BOOBS and ASSES. Your pithy little comment was a godawful way to try and talk about what is a very interesting element of pop music as an industry because all it did was contribute to it. It frames her in terms of your 'kick'. It devalues her while overvaluing your desire to talk about your 'kick'.

Particularly galling given just how much work Swift puts into marketing her image, this idea that it's about some rando getting a kick out of her legs.

They were good deletions because those comments didn't engage with the topic, they inserted Trochanter's desire into a conversation that really really didn't need it.
posted by geek anachronism at 6:19 PM on September 19, 2015 [44 favorites]


Kinda reminds me of Graham Greenes' comment about Shirley Temple back in the 1930s'.

He lost that one.
posted by clavdivs at 6:34 PM on September 19, 2015


Your point seems pretty clear to me. You don't think Trochanter's comments were sexist. (I disagree) You think that commenters are angry (I disagree - this thread has been calm-headed albeit blunt).
Disagreement is not misunderstanding. First lesson I learned on Metafilter, but a hard one.


I guess we'll have to consider that "close enough for jazz", muddgirl. I don't think Trochanter's comments *have* to be interpreted as sexist, but they certainly can. I probably shouldn't have used the word "angry" above because that's basically mindreading and very subjective.*** (I also wish I'd made it clear that I think the majority of the comments are just fine and on-target; but there were enough that didn't seem that way to me that I felt like making a comment.) I should have stuck with "uncharitable".
Obviously, I still misunderstand with you on whether I was being disagreed or simply misunderstood with.

***"calm-headed but blunt" is not how I'd describe geek anachronism's post above, mind you
posted by uosuaq at 6:39 PM on September 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


I don't think Trochanter's comments *have* to be interpreted as sexist

I got a kick out of one pic of Taylor and her legs sitting on the floor of a fabulous all white garret jotting down tablature.

I got a kick out of one pic of Taylor and her legs
posted by shakespeherian at 6:43 PM on September 19, 2015 [9 favorites]


uosuaq, you may not be aware of it, but labeling women who are objecting to sexism as being irrational and angry is a sexist trope that is often used to ignore women's thoughts.

If you are not intending to invoke that trope, you may want to back off on that line of argument.
posted by jaguar at 6:44 PM on September 19, 2015 [29 favorites]


Hi I'm back and would like to say a bit more about how I interpreted those comments.

I didn't think they were expressions of desire, I thought the "I get a kick out of" was "I am wryly amused by", and the comments were meant to be sort of observing how the machinery of fame requires people in Swift's position to be tactical about their supposedly offhand clothing choices in service of crafting a certain image.

But.

It was clear to me that the comments would not come across that way at all, and would instead lead to a fight, because they are very easily good-faith interpretable as being super duper sexist. Ordinarily I would email back and forth with somebody about this and how they could rework/express differently their main thought -- but in this case, I felt that even the main thought would be a derail from the thread (which was more about the guy who actually writes the songs than about the pop stars who form the other part of the collaborative enterprise) so I didn't.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 6:49 PM on September 19, 2015 [22 favorites]


Pretty sure I just backed off "angry" and never ever said "irrational", so are we good now?
posted by uosuaq at 6:50 PM on September 19, 2015


The remainder of stuff is the small share of really-not-workable stuff (rage posts, drunk posts, non-sensical stuff) that would have been deleted or closed really quickly pre-queue.

Awwww, youse guys are no fun. Why can't you let the occasional really wacky drunken rage post through? Remember us "grab a bowl of popcorn and watch the show" crowd are part of your demographic base also.
posted by sammyo at 6:52 PM on September 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


You called out geek anachronism's comment as not calm-headed. That was projection, and it was rude.
posted by jaguar at 6:52 PM on September 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


(In their defense, they always let my drunken posts through...)
posted by one4themoment at 6:53 PM on September 19, 2015


This is why LobsterMitten is a mod and I'm just some rando with a login. That was extremely well put. For my part I don't *quite* agree with "very easily good-faith interpretable as being super duper sexist", which is mostly what I've been trying to say here while only managing to muddy the waters. I like to think I'm getting a little better at not doing this, but one slips up from time to time.
posted by uosuaq at 6:59 PM on September 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


It was clear to me that the comments would not come across that way at all, and would instead lead to a fight

I think from reading through this thread a possible take away for the mods would be a bit of boilerplate emphasizing that point. I've had a few deleted posts that while a bit snarky would not have been "bad" but on reflection could have "harmed the thread". "say la V"
posted by sammyo at 6:59 PM on September 19, 2015


As another meta-derail, on reflection the mods have this insanely wide gap to straddle from posters that will go with incredibly subtle allusions thru to folks that need basic statements made even simpler. Go Mods!
posted by sammyo at 7:04 PM on September 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


Here's why I think interpreting the OP's comment through the lens of sexism is a reasonable good-faith reading.

If he wanted to make an observation about how the machinery of stardom requires Swift to make tactical decisions about her image that include a lowest-common-denominator appeal to her sexuality he could have just said that and added a link to the picture as an example, perhaps pointing out how it foregrounds her legs.

Instead, it's ambiguous. It's not so much that it's gross to say you get a kick out of her legs (though it is,) but it also has an overtone of scolding her for daring to try and be a Serious Artist and a Sexy Lady at the same time. As if those things are mutually exclusive!
posted by zeusianfog at 7:04 PM on September 19, 2015 [15 favorites]


I just want to say how glad I am that, if we absolutely had to have this conversation for the umpty-jillionth time, it was here and not in a perfectly good FPP.
posted by Etrigan at 7:07 PM on September 19, 2015 [8 favorites]


"say la V"

It's....actually spelled "c'est la vie". It's French for "that's life".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:15 PM on September 19, 2015 [7 favorites]


For me, the "ambiguous" part is where you can exercise some charity and not just assume the person was being sexist. And like LobsterMitten, I simply didn't read that comment as Trochanter saying he "got a kick out of her legs", and therefore needed to be called a creeper with a leg kink (or, sorry, just "coming across as" one) etc. You could read it as saying that it's a shame that you almost *have* to be a Sexy Lady to be a Successful (female) Artist "these days".
posted by uosuaq at 7:15 PM on September 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


You called out geek anachronism's comment as not calm-headed. That was projection, and it was rude.

But this is part of the rub. When I read Geek Anachronism's comment, I also read it as positively enraged. That is -to me- the most straightforward take away from it. Right or wrong, the comment reads (to me) as the product of anger.

Similarly, I think that the most straightforward reading of Trochanter's comments is as expressing a sexist oogle at Swift. I think that Lobster Mitten parsed them correctly as not being sexist in intent but most definitely in phrasing, timing, etc.

The fact that one projection of anger can be called out as rude while another, for sexism, can't be, is a tension that exists in the world and in this written site where we spend our time. I have no solutions (beyond rapidly clarifying comments and trying to listen to the better angels of our natures), but it seems like a big picture concern for the mods.
posted by Going To Maine at 7:18 PM on September 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


For me, the "ambiguous" part is where you can exercise some charity and not just assume the person was being sexist.

And women do this constantly. Seriously, all day long. I am constantly giving people the benefit of the doubt because if I called out every single instance of sexism I encounter on any given day, that's all I would do. So it would be helpful if guys could assume that women are giving most things a charitable read and still found those comments obnoxious.
posted by jaguar at 7:20 PM on September 19, 2015 [63 favorites]


“say la V”

It’s....actually spelled “c’est la vie”

I assume it’s intended as a pun, a la “Semper Vi” earlier in the thread. I don’t get it, but I believe it’s a jab at someone or something.
posted by Going To Maine at 7:21 PM on September 19, 2015


Oh man. I read jaguar's comment about my comment about geek anachronism's comment as irony. Am I now trolling *myself* by trying to read charitably? And what about EmpressCallipygos, is she the troller or the trollee?
(In philosophy these are called trollee problems, I believe.)
posted by uosuaq at 7:21 PM on September 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


"Semper vi" is just UNIX-speak for "EMACS users suck".
(I don't think "say la V" was a jab, personally.)
posted by uosuaq at 7:23 PM on September 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


The fact that one projection of anger can be called out as rude while another, for sexism, can't be, is a tension that exists in the world and in this written site where we spend our time.

Is the apparent anger due to oppression? It's probably justified. Is the apparent anger due to wanting to uphold an oppressive status quo? It's likely way less justified.

And I read geek anachronism's comment as calm and thoughtful. Coming out of anger, yes, as all objections to oppression are, but there's no reason to read it as not-calm.
posted by jaguar at 7:23 PM on September 19, 2015 [9 favorites]


For me, the "ambiguous" part is where you can exercise some charity and not just assume the person was being sexist.

Again, no one said he is sexist. We said the statement was sexist. Some of us even explained why. You can disagree that the statement is sexist, but stop with this false narrative of people insulting him directly.
posted by Deoridhe at 7:25 PM on September 19, 2015 [14 favorites]


these comments about bodies are never focused on adam levine or justin bieber or drake's chests - it's always nicki's butt and taytay's legs and bey's everything - women are always the ones using their sexuality, always the one showing too much, playing the game too hard (while pretending to not play it). that context informs how multiple comments about taylor swift's legs come across.
posted by nadawi at 7:26 PM on September 19, 2015 [29 favorites]


Say La V

/UNIX System V, of course.
posted by benito.strauss at 7:30 PM on September 19, 2015


The person is being sexist != The person is sexist.
posted by Drinky Die at 7:30 PM on September 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


there's no reason to read it as not-calm.

Not for you, but there is for me. Personally, when someone addresses someone else by saying “I don’t give a flying fuck” it reads as angry and uncontrolled. Always has, always will. Calm-headedness and anger aren’t opposites, true, but that’s where I am and where I’m likely prudish enough to remain. Reading emotion on the web is a tricky game for everyone, and that’s why we pay for moderators to delete things that go over the line for too many folks.
posted by Going To Maine at 7:33 PM on September 19, 2015 [9 favorites]


MetaFilter: Just some randos with logins.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 7:34 PM on September 19, 2015 [8 favorites]


Not for you, but there is for me

And my original point was that this assumption of anger tends to disproportionately fall on women, racial minorities, and other oppressed people when they are objecting to being oppressed. I'm sure that people genuinely are reading angry-rant mode into various comments here, but that doesn't mean those comments were made in angry-rant mode, and it's worthwhile looking at whether such readings are reinforcing an oppressive status quo.
posted by jaguar at 7:42 PM on September 19, 2015 [20 favorites]


This wasn't a post declaring new Metatalk policy, it was just a meh post from a community member, and those will keep happening because "meh" isn't where we've talked about drawing the line.

I think it is worse than "meh," by a fair margin. For one, the primary function seems to have been to be able to post, attract attention to, and discuss a set of semi-gross and clearly sexist deleted comments. They were deleted for good reason, and just because MeTa is a more permissive space doesn't mean that giving grossness more air time is the right use of it.

For another, this MeTa is at best half-assed. Making the person rewrite sufficiently to be at least minimally clear about their point and the post's purpose is such a paltry baseline that I am surprised that it wasn't used. There is a queue, and I'd hope that one of its functions is to reduce the actively bad posts. Yes, there have been much, much worse in the past, but just because this one is better than those doesn't mean that it isn't bad, as framed and presented.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:51 PM on September 19, 2015 [19 favorites]


And my original point was that this assumption of anger tends to disproportionately fall on women, racial minorities, and other oppressed people when they are objecting to being oppressed… that doesn't mean those comments were made in angry-rant mode, and it's worthwhile looking at whether such readings are reinforcing an oppressive status quo.

That’s fine, and I wouldn’t disagree. I responded to your comment because you said there was “no reason” to read that particular comment as not-calm. I explained what my reason was, and I think it would apply whatever Geek Anachronism’s race/gender/etc. I don’t consider it something that I’ve tacked on after-the-fact, and I agree that that exercise is something that people should try to practice. (“Metafilter: Read the comments… twice!”)
posted by Going To Maine at 7:55 PM on September 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


I've seen the term "tone argument" misused so frequently on sites that aren't focused on feminism/antiracism that it's almost a surprise to see the real thing in the wild, but that's exactly what jaguar is talking about here. benson-upside-down, I think you are coming at this from a good place, and I don't want to pile on, but I don't know what difference geek anachronism's anger (or anyone else's) makes to the content of their comment. Conversations about sexism are often emotionally charged because they matter a great deal to the people in the conversation. If you're redirecting the argument to tone rather than content, you might want to examine that redirection and what it means.
posted by thetortoise at 8:01 PM on September 19, 2015 [9 favorites]


I think it might make sense to kind of wrap up this sidebar about angry comments or just-how-angry-is-okay stuff. The whole reason I deleted the comments in the first place was they were bound to make people angry, and lo, some people are angry. Saying "but don't be angry" doesn't really move the discussion forward, you know?
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:05 PM on September 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


About posting this MeTa.

Deletion standards have changed here over time, and it's fair for people to find that surprising or uncomfortable at times in one direction or another. It's fair for somebody to complain they feel a deletion was heavy-handed, and we have MeTa so those conversations about moderation can happen out in the open. Discussing moderation standards concerning a particular case in a transparent way is a textbook use case for MetaTalk.

In this case it seemed pretty clear to me what Trochanter's objection was, so I felt fine supplying the context. I emailed him with an explanation of why I had deleted the comments, and he replied that he wanted me to post the thread anyway. My read of the interaction was that he was indignant, didn't want to listen to me on the subject, and in that frame of mind, I thought asking him to expand on his grievances would make the post worse (i.e., more likely to provoke an angry thread), so it was better to go with the short version.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:08 PM on September 19, 2015 [10 favorites]


I've already retracted my use of the word "angry" as being too subjective (even, apparently, for geek anachronism's comment), and said I should have stuck with "uncharitable". I don't know if it's a tone argument or not (and I don't actually think the concept of the Tone Argument makes it okay to say any damn thing at all as long as you're on the Right Side), but the gist of my previous remarks was that some of the responses to Trochanter's comments were excessively judgmental, even taking into account people's annoyance at his starting the MeTa at all (and framing it so poorly).
posted by uosuaq at 8:14 PM on September 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


It's hard to read not calling Trochanter as sexist when it's already been brought up that his comments are about sharing his leg fetish, the idea of MRAs getting their voices in MetaFilter, and calling any response the misandry crowd comes up.

It's also hard to think the response is reasonable and not part of an angry pile-on when identifying any reaction as angry not only gets irrational added to it where it wasn't before, but also states that saying the response is angry is itself sexist.

The post should have been fleshed out. The complaint... eh, they're not exactly comments that the gist of can't be reposted without inflaming the commentariat, if the point was about the sexualisation of pop stars and pop music.

But an increasingly common part of MeTa, especially in these sorts of threads, is posters being aggressive, dismissive and bad-faith. But because they feel they have been wronged, and they are the voice of the dispossessed standing up for themselves and indeed other minorities, then it's fine for them to have their angry reaction, and if that rubs you the wrong way, then you're part of the original problem. You can't have a different interpretation of a turn of phrase like 'get a kick' - it's all about sexualising a woman, and that's it, no matter what. You can't think the queue worked as intended, because this is sexist bullshit that brings the whole idea of MeTa into question and to claim otherwise is to be as bad as the original comments, which again are MRA and about misandry and about someone running up to to MeFites and slavering about how much they want to have sex because of women's legs...

It's always 'my anger is righteous, therefore justified and acceptable. Yours makes the site bad.' There's always 'I'm not saying you're a bad person, but I'll associate you with MRAs and hate groups and boyzone and The Bad Old Days - but because I didn't say it outright, just implied it, how dare you accuse me of doing so.'

And the mods are great - unless they've let a disliked topic be brought up, in which case it's time to talk about changing the rules and the lack of transparency, because they're only great until they start doing their job for people I disagree with.

If the OP should have walked away for a bit and not posted so angry and briefly, then that can and should apply to commenters as well. Instantly assuming any suggestion that things are too heated is a silencing tactic designed to marginalise dismisses the possibility that anyone of any kind of minority could ever be over-reacting, misinterpreting, or just plain wrong. And also ends up requiring you to be part of a minority, though we are all pseudonyms here, to even broach that idea - and even that is unlikely to go well, because questioning another person's reaction if they're outraged is verboten.

Being kind to each other goes both ways.
posted by gadge emeritus at 8:23 PM on September 19, 2015 [15 favorites]


Instantly assuming any suggestion that things are too heated is a silencing tactic designed to marginalise dismisses the possibility that anyone of any kind of minority could ever be over-reacting, misinterpreting, or just plain wrong.

No, it doesn't.
posted by jaguar at 8:28 PM on September 19, 2015 [7 favorites]


"Just plain wrong" is strong language. Would you agree it could occasionally be mistaken?
posted by uosuaq at 8:35 PM on September 19, 2015


Sometimes a lot of people voicing vehement disagreement with you isn't an angry mob. Sometimes it's just that you are clownshoes wrong.
posted by kagredon at 8:42 PM on September 19, 2015 [22 favorites]


"The reason I did it with Swift is that aside from the legs, she's selling herself as some kind of sensitive, teen Joni Mitchell. Which is what the tablature pic means to convey."

So why didn't you just say that?

No really, why didn't you just say that?
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 8:48 PM on September 19, 2015 [9 favorites]


the comment even says aside from the legs

even trochanter agrees the legs were not a part of any point about how pop stars are marketed
posted by kagredon at 8:49 PM on September 19, 2015


A non-pithy dismissal of what was said would work better to make it seem like it was actually considered that there might be something in this reaction that could be changed. After all, it's not like mobs have a known inability to reverse course or think they might have reacted in a less than stellar fashion.
posted by gadge emeritus at 8:50 PM on September 19, 2015


I do not owe you anything.
posted by kagredon at 8:51 PM on September 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


> Can a mod clarify? I thought the queue was put in place to give mods more control over when possibly controversial Meta posts appear, but generally not if they appear. To what extent do mods control which posts make it on to MetaTalk?

Yeah, bouncing off this (and cortex' post), I think a MeTa I made a while back falls under that category--went into the queue because I was pissed off about how Metafilter treats rural/Southern folk, mods basically asked me "hey, this okay? I worry it's going to set off a bunch of grar in the community because of existing discussions and also points XYZ about human nature," and I... walked away from the computer and right into a bunch of family stuff that required attention and energy from me. And so I didn't follow up--I was exhausted and distracted!--but I did talk about the topic as I was writing the MeTa and so I think it got sort of lost in the shuffle.

Thing is, I think Metafilter really could use a conversation on that topic. I still do, even though I don't think that I have the energy to stare deeply at it and, mmm, invest a ton of myself into the discussion the way I did when I wrote it in the first place. And sometimes I wonder whether it should have gone through, because even if I didn't have the energy to be a big part of that conversation, well, maybe it was a conversation lots of other people would have been able to weigh in on meaningfully.

I don't know. Maybe it would have been a massive shitshow; who can say? But I wonder whether people who are, mmm, sensitive to community building and generally trying hard to be engaged in the community are more or less likely to feel that they shouldn't let a post through if they, personally, can't be deeply involved in its discussion. And whether people who are less sensitive to consensus building are more likely to say "put it through" even when the topic is something that is definitely going to shed more heat than light.
posted by sciatrix at 8:52 PM on September 19, 2015 [27 favorites]


The rural/Southern thread idea is...I was about to say a good one, but it's probably true it could get ugly and would need a lot of moderation. But as a pretty urban Northerner I could no doubt use some readjustment of my biases. I hope it'll happen at some point in some form and not be a massive shitshow.
posted by uosuaq at 8:59 PM on September 19, 2015


FTR I'm Australian which I've come to realise means that what is perfectly normal vernacular to me ('flying fuck' is a phrase I have said to: bosses, my mother-in-law, my own mother, my grandmother) (admittedly it has rarely been about them, it's been about something else, although occasionally it has been about something like "I don't give a flying fuck about the tea room state, we've got 400 kids at the door"). So there's that.

There's also the sheer goddamn exhaustion of having to give dudes a well-meaning charitable reading about them telling me their fetishes. I don't care, I don't care, I. Don't. Caaaaaaaaaare. *twirls*. It's the equivalent of trying to discuss clothing and some dude just HAS to interject about how hot retro fashion is, under the guise of being supportive of fat acceptance/fashion choices, but it still centres the argument on their sexual response.

Now, the relative meaning of 'got a kick' is probably valid except Trochanter decided they had to make two comments about Swift's legs, while infantilising her with a nickname, while devaluing her artistic and creative work, and then complained because he thinks they are actually valuable additions to the conversation. Even though they don't actually explain what he means, they instead centre it on his (apparently most valuable) feelings.

To a certain extent I am beyond angry about these things - to get angry is emotionally labouring over people determined to cover themselves in shit. I am exhausted by it. I am exhausted by men covering things in this kind of ugly version of scent marking, no matter the topic.

So read it as angry, read it as calm, I don't much care. Just, next time you think a pithy one liner based on your attraction to the topic of an FPP is helpful, ask yourself "do the women of this site need to be reminded about how much I want to fuck/look at/leer at X?".

(being kind runs a lot of different ways - I am being unkind to myself, and to the other women of the site, and to men, and to society, to tacitly approve of the sexism that does make participating in conversation harder).
posted by geek anachronism at 9:00 PM on September 19, 2015 [60 favorites]


No-one here owes anyone anything. But a suggestion that maybe things don't have to go all pile-on, that there's a benefit in civility when dealing with a large group of random people trying to take part on a community website together, is more of a 'general requirement' than a 'personal demand'.

Everyone has to file off the edges when in public. This is a public space, policed by mods and with certain rules and regulations, but an awful lot more in grey areas, personal judgements and soft lines. Getting along with the other people in the community is only something you 'owe' if you find the idea of doing so galling or restrictive, and doesn't encourage the idea that continued participation will be in good faith should anything ever happen to displease you, or even if you contribute pre-displeased.

Though perhaps a useful warning to expect angry blow-ups on the regular, it seems more a red flag than anything else.
posted by gadge emeritus at 9:02 PM on September 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


People have been civil. If others are reading angry or irrational tones into civil comments, that's not the commenters' fault.
posted by jaguar at 9:05 PM on September 19, 2015 [11 favorites]


Here's the thing Trochanter: I don't give a flying fuck if you get a 'kick' out of 'Tay Tay' and her legs in short shorts.

What I "got a kick out of" was the fact that the staged photo, in order to make it's point, had Swift jotting down her song ideas in musical notation. Which, speaking as a long time musician, would be extremely idiosyncratic. But as calculated image building it's exactly what you'd do.

I went back and added "and her legs" as an afterthought, as a little joke. Because I'd earlier said the thing about her always being photographed in high waisted shorts. And that was a reference to there actually being a meme about that. It was called "Taylor Swift Walking". Maybe it came and went so fast that it was a dated reference.

TayTay is how Swift is referred to in the tabloids.


(I've been looking for the photo and I can't find it.)
posted by Trochanter at 9:05 PM on September 19, 2015


while infantilising her with a nickname, while devaluing her artistic and creative work

The Rock calls her TayTay and if you disagree with The People's Champion, well, you're just racist and uncool.
posted by MikeMc at 9:16 PM on September 19, 2015 [6 favorites]


Context is everything. More words, and less irony and little jokey add-ons, can help to make your intent clearer.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:19 PM on September 19, 2015 [17 favorites]


I do not owe you anything.

No-one here owes anyone anything.

Then MetaFilter is not a community, after all. Which is fair. It’s a bunch of small communities, with different values.
posted by Going To Maine at 9:20 PM on September 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


The Rock can call people whatever he wants. The rest of us mortals lack the privilege granted by possessing copious amounts of charm.
posted by Gyre,Gimble,Wabe, Esq. at 9:20 PM on September 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


Well, I, for one, am just so thrilled that we could have a thread where the same 5 guys who come out in every goddamn thread to tell the community that they are an angry, irrational, hysterical mob who gets off on outrage and think that disagreeing with a minority is automatically an -ism could get to, once again, have their say while the mods twiddled their thumbs, because, you know, you wouldn't want to alienate anyone. A+ community management. Have fun with that.
posted by kagredon at 9:26 PM on September 19, 2015 [22 favorites]


So all the comments have been civil, and aggression is in the eye of the beholder (not irrationality - again, no-one said that) - but the comments from the OP were clearly sexist and, for example, a display of his fetish, and none of that is in the eye of the beholder?

And, a misinterpretation of his 'get a kick' phrasing is understandable and expected, but the use of 'flying fuck' is to be ascribed to Australianism and perfectly normal vernacularism? (And point: not all Australians use swearing so cavalierly, and considering the arguments about use of the c-word in this primarily American space, dismissing its impact based on home usage has been considered weak sauce in the past.)

I don't expect this to get anywhere, honestly. I mean, I agree with the complaints and think the comments were fine to go. But the jumping on every aspect of them as if every single word chosen was a sign of a sexist forcing his sexuality on everyone, rather than say acknowledging that Tay-Tay is one of many celebrity nicknames that get used in environments from awards shows to news articles to interviews and isn't an inherent sign of disrespect...

These things could go much better, is all, instead of becoming increasingly uncharitable pile-on mind-reading mode, but it doesn't get listened to by the users who consistently enter that mode and take no responsibility for it. It's more than just the OP who should use more words and less snark, and that's applied to many more than just the OP of this particular MeTa.
posted by gadge emeritus at 9:26 PM on September 19, 2015 [10 favorites]


People have been civil. If others are reading angry or irrational tones into civil comments, that's not the commenters' fault.

Despite my pooh-poohing of ctrl-F above -- uses of "irrational" in this thread:
jaguar: 2
gadge emeritus and I complaining that no one said that: 1 each [editing for content: 2 for gadge now]
me being accused of false narratives: 1 [okay, that was a little gratuitous]
posted by uosuaq at 9:28 PM on September 19, 2015


Context is everything

For a second there, I was thinking Oh, great, now we have to sell everything we own and start a religion devoted to the moderation. But, nope, just the tiny type again.
posted by y2karl at 9:28 PM on September 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


The comments about Taylor Swift's legs remind me of Lauren Mayberry (of the band Chvrches) recently getting online comments calling her a slut because she appeared in a video in a black mini-dress and wet hair.

“I’m genuinely a very positive person – I much prefer to talk about positive things than list what I hate... But unfortunately I’ve learned there are certain people who want to discredit you based on the fact you’re a female.”

If you think your comments are better than the comments Lauren Mayberry is getting for wearing clothing that makes her legs (gasp) visible - or if you think you're more dignified than 4chan, which is where she got some of those comments - than you're missing that this is all contributing to the same spectrum of devaluing women in music for simply being women. And you're part of what is making the entire industry so miserable.

I also refer you to this post containing thousands of stories of women experiencing harrassment and prejudice in the music industry. Do you really want to contribute to this state, or rise above it. Your call.
posted by naju at 9:32 PM on September 19, 2015 [24 favorites]


For the record I simultaneously want to agree with a lot of gadge's last couple comments while edging politely away from some of the "everyone/all the time/always/everywhere" language which is a valid expression of feeling but isn't quite in line with the sort of measured language I advocate and occasionally manage to use.
posted by uosuaq at 9:34 PM on September 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


"Sexist" is not an emotion. Saying a comment is sexist has nothing to do with the emotional state of the commenter.

"Angry" is an emotion. Saying a comment in angry is projecting an emotional state onto a commenter.
posted by jaguar at 9:35 PM on September 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


...and it looks like kagredon buttoned.
posted by Iris Gambol at 9:36 PM on September 19, 2015


People have been civil. If others are reading angry or irrational tones into civil comments, that's not the commenters' fault.

Not calling out this comment, but replying to this idea: I really, really appreciate all the work the mods have done and are doing to make MetaFilter a better place, and comments made upthread about removing the background radiation of low-level sexism just clicked for me (cis-gendered straight white guy, too often oblivious to the world).

But there are some comments in this thread that read to me as being pretty aggressive towards the OP. I know MetaTalk has a different threshold for comment deletion, so maybe it's a soft ask to some in the community: I get the rage, and venting is great, but when you're venting against a person who is there but not there (as in: not in the same physical space as you, but likely to read the comments), and the comments have significant permanence, you don't need to vent it all into your final comments. Write the worst of what you're thinking, let it sit on the screen for a moment, then tone it down. Your message will still come across without the inflammatory language.

In re-reviewing this thread, there's less of this than there has been in the past, but it's worst when the OP doesn't show back up, and the venom builds as people read further into the limited words from the OP, and reactionary comments pile up without a response to clarify (or hopefully for the OP to say "shit, my bad, I didn't see how my language was read by others.") I've done it in the past, and reading my comments makes me feel like a jerk for piling on when my views have already been stated a dozen times and a dozen different ways, but I felt I had to add my "me, too."

If anyone is still thinking of MeFi merch to make, I'd buy a "screaming pillow" or two, to vent my frustrations in the confines of my home, away from my keyboard so my moments of rage aren't set in semi-permanence.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:38 PM on September 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


I think most comments in here have been pretty non-pissed-off and patiently explaining why the original comments come across as offensive/sexist/whatever. I think on the tail end of the thread here there were a few pissed-off comments and then a lot of back and forth about how pissed-off is too pissed-off, and at a certain point that's counterproductive -- it ends up as just repeatedly poking people who are already pissed off, saying "but why are you so pissed off?" That's not a recipe for increased civility.

I think some folks have an urge to argue in the abstract for "balance", and although I sympathize with the general impulse, in some cases that really just makes things worse. It escalates the very thing it's trying to defuse.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:43 PM on September 19, 2015 [10 favorites]


naju: I also refer you to this post containing thousands of stories of women experiencing harrassment and prejudice in the music industry.

Oof - I don't think I read the linked storified page before. naju, this topic made me think of your post on women working with technology, which started with Björk's great interview with Pitchfork about all the times and ways people questioned her role in the creation of her own music. That alone was enough to punch me in the gut and make me re-evaluate how I viewed female artists.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:43 PM on September 19, 2015 [9 favorites]


In re-reviewing this thread, there's less of this than there has been in the past

But this is key, and something that happens all the time. People push back against the oppressive status quo, and they're read as being aggressive when they're not actually being aggressive. The escalation comes from the people whose privilege is being challenged, but they have the advantage of being seen as "objective" or "impartial" and so their escalated rhetoric is read as reasonable, even while the not-that-escalated rhetoric from the not-privileged is read as aggressive.
posted by jaguar at 9:44 PM on September 19, 2015 [24 favorites]


Here's why I think interpreting the OP's comment through the lens of sexism is a reasonable good-faith reading.

If he wanted to make an observation about how the machinery of stardom requires Swift to make tactical decisions about her image that include a lowest-common-denominator appeal to her sexuality he could have just said that and added a link to the picture as an example, perhaps pointing out how it foregrounds her legs.


I think this framing could also be construed as sexist. MF is a particularly sensitive environment in this regard. The difficulty is that some are willing to let such a comment slide, some are not, so mods gotta mod.
posted by 2N2222 at 9:46 PM on September 19, 2015


LobsterMitten -- when you get a chance, could you elaborate (or maybe rephrase) the "balance" comment? I'm honestly not sure I know exactly what you mean with that word, is all.
posted by uosuaq at 9:48 PM on September 19, 2015


I think there are some folks who see a bunch of people arguing for one side, and want to step in to argue for the other side -- either out of a sense of fairness, or defending a piled-on person, or devil's advocacy, or defending an abstract ideal of what civil discourse should look like, etc. I understand many places that comes from, believe me. But I've come around to see that in some discussions, or at some points in a discussion, it can come across as hostile or needling rather than calm and reasonable, and it can really make things worse fast.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:54 PM on September 19, 2015 [11 favorites]


Maybe in between every comment on a MetaTalk thread we could have a little line that reads:
remember, there's a whole world of interesting posts on the Blue that have nothing to do with this
I hate it when people do a full nope-out because of one of these threads.
posted by uosuaq at 9:56 PM on September 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


me being accused of false narratives: 1 [okay, that was a little gratuitous]

Oh for fucks sake. I was trying to clarify that talking about how what someone SAID was sexist is different from CALLING them sexist and claiming the latter is happening when people are doing the former is creating a false narrative. I'm sorry for using the fancy words.

Also, I sympathize with kagredon. Sometimes it really does seem like ones energy is best used elsewhere.
posted by Deoridhe at 9:57 PM on September 19, 2015 [24 favorites]


remember, there's a whole world of interesting posts on the Blue that have nothing to do with this

Sexism is on the blue, too. In fact, this post is about people objecting to reigning in sexism on the blue (in the form of deletion of sexist comments).

Every woman has to decide what her limit is in terms of how much sexism she'll swallow in a given context, given the awareness that a certain amount of sexism is completely unavoidable. Personally, I find people arguing in favor of sexist comments remaining a lot more discouraging than the sexist comments in the first place - the sexist comments could simply be out of ignorance, but people arguing to keep them when they're identified as sexist? Difficult to consider that accidental or unconsidered.
posted by Deoridhe at 10:03 PM on September 19, 2015 [38 favorites]


Oh *that* kind of balance. Thanks LM.
posted by uosuaq at 10:04 PM on September 19, 2015


I think some folks have an urge to argue in the abstract for "balance"

In my case, and this is the last I'll put here for awhile, it's not about abstract balance. I'm not looking for some fabled middle ground or 'both sides do it' rhetoric.

It's that there's a reasonable complaint to be made - in this case, the comments were going to be derail-y, were easily considered sexist, and deserved to be deleted - and then that becomes an increasingly bigger problem - MRAs, marginalising oppressed voices - until the original offence and the terms people are using to rail against it don't have much connection. I inevitably end up thinking that the arguments against the original comments were strong enough, but what was actually said gets lost in how it gets portrayed.

And it's also that time and again behaviour that isn't great - e.g. name-calling, focussing on the poster not the comments, consistent misreading or bad-faith reading to prove that another user is secretly A Bad Person - starts to escalate in these situations from users who believe that their righteousness allows them greater leeway to bend or break the behavioural guidelines of MetaFilter. And it so often can be boiled down into that 'Mine is right, yours is wrong' mindset, where something unacceptable from others is exactly what they're engaging in, but it's OK when they do it.

I think it's a hypocrisy that's especially galling because, at the heart of it, I agree with their stance, but the comments have gotten too far away from what was actually under discussion, into a straw-man version of the arguments. It's a recurring problem that can turn a mild disagreement into a highly-charged environment in a way that I don't think is good for the site or the community, but it becomes hard to address because this 'You agree and are Right or you disagree and are Bad' line gets drawn, and the idea that there might be even a little nuance or grey area gets you put in the Bad pile.

This isn't some impersonal appeal to reason, though it is an appeal to reason. These are issues that affect me personally and deeply as well, though I edit myself to try and not use my various minority statuses and an appeal to authority or emotion, so it's not about trying to cold logic out of others' lived experience.

But in MeTa, which is meant to be about discussing how the website and communities we are all part of are run, I believe there should be room to point out that even people who are fundamentally right can behave in ways that are toxic, that their being correct doesn't mean they can't also be contributing better. Because increasingly it has felt like there has been a strong pushback to that, that if someone is saying the right things then they can't be faulted in any other way, and that is not a good trend on a community level.

That is where my pushback lies, which so often gets twisted into wanting to continue things like, in this case, misogyny, mythical accusations of misandry, the boyzone days, and so on. That is also something I'd rather didn't happen, obviously.
posted by gadge emeritus at 10:17 PM on September 19, 2015 [16 favorites]


remember, there's a whole world of interesting posts on the Blue that have nothing to do with this

Sexism is on the blue, too. In fact, this post is about people objecting to reigning in sexism on the blue (in the form of deletion of sexist comments).


Oh, okay...I suggested that as a kind of imaginary-pony-solution to keep people from getting too caught up, or bogged down, in these frustrating MeTa posts by constantly reminding them there's a lot more to this site than what's happening in this little gray box right now, so they don't wind up quitting because of a particularly heinous MeTa thread. But you're right, there's sexism everywhere, so...?
posted by uosuaq at 10:23 PM on September 19, 2015


I mentioned the Australian thing simply because it's come up fairly frequently for me (and a non-insignificant element is that I am a woman I think, but I can't be certain). I swear, a lot, and I did ponder if I wanted to use 'flying fuck' or if I wanted to put a bunch of effort in to flanderise and prettify my comment (effort that Trochanter did not, for all that 'legs' were added on as an afterthought...) to ensure nobody got upset at my perceived angriness.

I've said it before, but if I am supposed to put a bunch of effort into reading a sexist bit of nonsense as something harmless (like, say, most of the media and the rest of the damn world) then I am going to demand the space and grace for them to read my comments through the lens of exhaustion and pain.

Because it hurts to watch one's achievements dragged down to the level of 'hur hur hur'. I've referred to it elsewhere but I recently got a pretty goddamn neat freelance writing job and damn I am proud of that. More than one person responded to the news with "ha they know you're a woman don't they" and "did you get it before or after skype chatting?" to my face. When you expand that out to the wider world you have shit-heels saying the only reason women get any work in this industry is putting out for editors.

Sure, I can just shrug this stuff off. But I am tired of having to do that, and make nicey-nice with people who think they're hilarious and erudite with their ironic sexism lest I hurt their feelings and make them feel unwelcome.

Be sincere, cynicism and irony is a dreadful way to communicate.
posted by geek anachronism at 10:27 PM on September 19, 2015 [46 favorites]


uosuaq, you're kind of doing the thing right now. Please just step back for a bit.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 10:29 PM on September 19, 2015 [13 favorites]


Personally, I find people arguing in favor of sexist comments remaining a lot more discouraging than the sexist comments in the first place - the sexist comments could simply be out of ignorance, but people arguing to keep them when they're identified as sexist? Difficult to consider that accidental or unconsidered.

This is why I find conversations like this so dispiriting. I go in being idealistic and not a little socially clueless, thinking, oh, the poster doesn't realize that was a sexist statement, but fortunately there are many patient people here willing to explain. And after many go-rounds, I realize, they get that it's sexist. They do, and everybody here does. And it doesn't matter how many explanations are offered, because some folks won't hear it no matter how many ways you say it.
posted by thetortoise at 10:31 PM on September 19, 2015 [15 favorites]


Because increasingly it has felt like there has been a strong pushback to that, that if someone is saying the right things then they can't be faulted in any other way

I'll just cite a few comments from mods in this very MeTa that undermine this notion that people on the "correct side" of an argument can't be faulted:

Also, yeah, this needs to not turn into some sort of escalating thing. That goes both basically all around: Trochanter, if you want to talk about policy, your followup comments in the thread haven't been been all that great for doing that in a non-combative way; folks in general, getting into a sort of increasingly uncharitable pile-on mind-reading mode basically never makes these things go well and is as much as anything in the dynamic of Metatalk part of why this place can be so bumpy.

kagredon, I'm really trying to be thoughtful and responsive here and it feels like you are, intentionally or otherwise, being a jerk to me in response, and that's a shitty thing to try and deal with. I hear you that you dislike that this was posted as-is and have thoughts informing that that go beyond just this specific metatalk post, but I don't know why the fuck this is the approach you're taking.

And in the spirit of continuing to try to incrementally unfuck some aspects of how this place works sometimes, I've gone ahead and nixed double block's comment and some of the responses.

Look, it's obvious that people who have the same position on an underlying issue are less likely to call fouls on one another than are people on opposite sides. None of us can totally step away from our own biases, and we're more likely to see someone with whom we have common cause as "maybe having a bad day" instead of "kind of an asshole." But this notion that Team MetaFilter Consensus regularly gets away with whatever jerkiness they want is simply not borne out by the facts, and you don't have to go beyond this thread to see that.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:40 PM on September 19, 2015 [11 favorites]


Personally, I find people arguing in favor of sexist comments remaining a lot more discouraging than the sexist comments in the first place - the sexist comments could simply be out of ignorance, but people arguing to keep them when they're identified as sexist? Difficult to consider that accidental or unconsidered.

YES. This is where the clusterfuck happens imo. We all say stupid ignorant shit now and again, and yes you will feel stupid if someone points it out to you, but if you just say, "Whoops my bad." and walk away then the whole conversation often sort of halts. It's not the end of the world, I promise. Everyone in this thread has said stupid ignorant shit and felt foolish afterwards and the sky didn't fall when they were made aware of it. Have a little confidence that people are strong enough to hear "Hey buddy that's some stupid ignorant shit!" without falling to pieces.

But if you dig your heals in (did Trochanter wake up this morning knowing they would have a weird ass argument about Taylor Swift on the internet? is this the hill they thought "Yes I will die on this hill!" about when they woke up this morning?), then suddenly it's like debate club time. People start coming up with bizarre twilight-zone arguments which only ever boil down to either 1) this isn't sexist ("I didn't mean it that way so it's not sexist!"), or 2) trying to change the subject, ("Why are you so mean?!"). It's always the same group of people making these arguments, and I find this galling in light of the fact that I find these users pretty cool in other subjects, but I don't get why they seem physically unable to just WALK AWAY from the topic of sexism on Metafilter given that their collective contributions can be boiled down to "Nuh uh!"
posted by supercrayon at 11:41 PM on September 19, 2015 [27 favorites]


kagredon: Well, I, for one, am just so thrilled that we could have a thread where the same 5 guys who come out in every goddamn thread to tell the community that they are an angry, irrational, hysterical mob who gets off on outrage and think that disagreeing with a minority is automatically an -ism could get to, once again, have their say while the mods twiddled their thumbs, because, you know, you wouldn't want to alienate anyone.

Of course this place would consistently be a hell of a lot nicer for the majority without the behavior of those usual suspects. But that would require recognition on the part of the mods that the people the usual suspects mock, dismiss and/or talk down to are in fact being alienated regularly.

It seems apparent that certain problematic behaviors have been deemed acceptable and will be allowed to continue. After all, those people are not being asked to stop except in the most milquetoast, inconsistent terms by Team Mod. If there was interest in fixing the problems you mention they would be modding differently. More aggressively.

So we're stuck with a community that has made some improvements toward being less incessantly shitty and sexist towards women. Until the next incident which alienates women and/or their allies, who either leave or feel silenced enough not to bother trying anymore.

It's sad, really.
posted by zarq at 12:55 AM on September 20, 2015 [19 favorites]


I went back and added "and her legs" as an afterthought, as a little joke

As a women I'm really tired of being the butt of men's jokes. It's a power play, specifically aimed and putting and keeping me in my place. This may not come from the individual person doing it, but it sure comes from them buying into a pervasive idea in society that joking about women in a demeaning way is acceptable (whether consciously or not on the part of the person doing it). And, again, I'm glad that there is a higher bar for discourse here.
posted by shelleycat at 1:25 AM on September 20, 2015 [79 favorites]


gadge emeritus: I think you are describing a real social phenomenon on this site, but I think this thread is a weaksauce example of it to the point where it's almost a derail imo. I'd drop it, and maybe bring it up in a new Meta with some better examples if you still want to talk about it.
posted by Drinky Die at 1:30 AM on September 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


One comment deleted. Trochanter, I'll ask that you stick to talking about deletion policy rather than arguments about why you dislike Taylor Swift. The comments you made in the thread were not explanations of anything and seemed like sarcastic commentary about her body rather than discussion about if she writes her own music.
posted by taz (staff) at 1:34 AM on September 20, 2015 [7 favorites]


That deletion is awful. Just awful. You ought to be ashamed. The stuff that's left to stand in this thread and you delete that?

Where do I go to complain about that?
posted by Trochanter at 1:51 AM on September 20, 2015


You can contact us. This isn't the place to have an argument about what you don't like about Taylor Swift, which is huge derail for the purpose of this thread.
posted by taz (staff) at 1:53 AM on September 20, 2015 [4 favorites]


It was justifying the comments. That's a terrible abuse of power.
posted by Trochanter at 1:55 AM on September 20, 2015


Might be time to discuss closing this down. We have heard him out but Trochanter is no longer expressing himself constructively. We seem unanimous (sorry if I missed an objection somewhere in here) besides him that it was a reasonable deletion so the community view on the original question seems pretty clear.
posted by Drinky Die at 1:56 AM on September 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


Please don't call for MeTas to be closed.

It's kind of obnoxious—like, go ahead and do the rest of your impartial middleman schtick if you must, but please, if you (or anyone) personally feels that there is nothing more to be gained, just feel free to close the window and go away and stop trying to control the conversation.
posted by nom de poop at 2:24 AM on September 20, 2015 [37 favorites]


The comments don't need to be justified. If you have something to say about Taylor Swift that is on topic for that thread you can still go and do so without being objectifying and sexist. And if you can't do it without those two things then it's not really our problem. Either way, the rest of us don't need sexist comments lying around the place and it's been a pretty standard rule to delete them for a while now.

Personally I don't see why this is even a big deal. Not being allowed to make gross drive-by sexist comments and instead having to use your words to make your actual point in a more meaningful way shouldn't be some kind of hardship.
posted by shelleycat at 2:38 AM on September 20, 2015 [28 favorites]


I extremely rarely ask for closing Metas to be discussed. It seems like a Meta is very off the rails though when the OP can no longer even make his case in such a way as it does not have to be deleted and is now convinced Mods are abusing their power over him to the tune of three separate complaints (one deleted) about it. It's a warning sign for a possible flameout to me.
posted by Drinky Die at 2:49 AM on September 20, 2015


Trochanter, I don't know what kind of fuel you're adding to the fire here, but I gather the intent of your original comments was something along the lines of what I said upthread. I disagree with 2N2222's opinion that the more carefully worded restatement I suggested would have been prima facie deleted as inflammatory and sexist, but the mods can weigh in on that if they want. (As LM notes, given the context the comment I think you were trying to make was irrelevant anyway, so it probably would have gotten deleted regardless, but just for the sake of argument let's say the only problem was the sexism.)

The thing is, intent doesn't matter when it comes to doing and saying things that break the guidelines and deteriorate the community. Based on the words and phrasing you used and the basic mechanics of sexism, your comment is easily parsed as being sexist. Now that I have more information I know that's not what you meant. It is, however, what you said. Let this be a lesson on being less glibly dismissive when it comes to the sensitive topic of women being asked or obligated to call attention to their sexuality for whatever reason.

And for god's sake, move on. You've taken a boneheaded remark and turned it into a take-on-all-comers donnybrook that creates a much more hostile conversation for women then the original thoughtless comment did in the first place because you're prioritizing your desire to fight for the right to offend wide swaths of the site's population over their right to a respectful and civilized discussion. It seems like you couldn't stand the thought of the fighty derail from the original thread not taking place, so now you want to take it here. And for those who think others have been unfair to the OP: what value are we gaining by being "fair" to people who are determined to make their increasingly tone deaf shitfit a problem for the site at large and the mods in particular to micromanage?
posted by zeusianfog at 3:06 AM on September 20, 2015 [25 favorites]


Drinky_Die, I'm happy to let the mods be the judges of that. This isn't exactly their first time at the rodeo. We can just let them do their jobs as they see fit, yeah?
posted by Too-Ticky at 3:14 AM on September 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


Part of the process of using their judgement in Metatalk is to evaluate feedback. If they feel the discussion should continue, it will. Anyway, I'm gonna be on the road all day and discussing if people should offer that feedback or not when it comes to closing threads is kind of a derail so that's the last I have to say about it. I've heard the criticisms and will keep them in mind.
posted by Drinky Die at 3:21 AM on September 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


Generally our intent is to try to keep threads open so that people who haven't seen it yet can weigh in and because we hope some useful information is shared or productive thinking arises about site issues. When things become just fighting or insulting each other, it's not worth it to keep open because it takes up all our time and results only in grudges and hard feelings that go on to negatively affect other discussions.

I feel like this one would have been better handled as a discussion between us and the OP, and this is one reason we ask if people need the input of the community in the Metatalk submission form, because otherwise, it's really generally easier and less hackle-raising if they talk directly to us about why something was deleted, for example. And we'll usually try again to discuss it with them if it seems like it's going to be a pile-on or otherwise not really that useful as a discussion, but if they want to hear what everyone thinks, this is the way of it.

We've moved to higher bars for Metatalks that target individual users, or, for another example, use an Ask Me thread about a sensitive question to illustrate a problem dynamic in answers, say, because the first is a vector for personal attacks, and the second is unfairly putting someone already in distress (Ask Me OP) under an unexpected spotlight. In those instances we will work with the Metatalk poster to rework a post to avoid those problems, if they are willing.

If people feel like Metatalk posts that are about deleted comments that are related to sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, etc should not be allowed, that is a thing that people can discuss, but it's not our policy at this time. It's a tough question, because I can understand people who say it's just bringing attention to stuff we don't want on the site (ie a way to make the same statement, that isn't deleted), but on the other hand, it's also a way of making clear to members generally what is/isn't acceptable and why. I often use some of the metatalk threads discussing these problems as pointers for people who have questions about why something was deleted, for instance. Perhaps there's some sort of middle ground.

As far as moderators choosing posts to go through because of nefarious reasons, I can promise you that we are not feeling pleased about a post/thread like this one. It's stressful unpleasant and wearing for us, even if people agree that the deletions are fine, and so not our idea of a good time. If anyone wants to ask details of anything that did not go through as-is for any reason, we are available for that via the contact form.
posted by taz (staff) at 4:49 AM on September 20, 2015 [6 favorites]


Oh, okay...I suggested that as a kind of imaginary-pony-solution to keep people from getting too caught up, or bogged down, in these frustrating MeTa posts by constantly reminding them there's a lot more to this site than what's happening in this little gray box right now, so they don't wind up quitting because of a particularly heinous MeTa thread. But you're right, there's sexism everywhere, so...?

So the fact that "there's more to the site" doesn't work as a pony because the sexism is also on the site too, and apparently some people seem to think that there's nothing wrong with that (or worse, don't seem to believe that or think it's a big deal) and so they make little imaginary-pony jokes about it.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:56 AM on September 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


I went back and added "and her legs" as an afterthought, as a little joke

If I were talking about the guys from One Direction and made some crack about the size of their dicks as an afterthought, would it be equally as funny in your opinion?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:59 AM on September 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


uosuaq: you're right, there's sexism everywhere, so...?

So now we see the violence inherent in the system.
posted by Too-Ticky at 5:15 AM on September 20, 2015 [4 favorites]


Man, that totally sucks that kagredon buttoned, but I understand their frustration. It's incredibly tedious that somehow the onus is on people calling out sexism to be "calm and rational", but more than this, even when you are people will still blithely compare their fellow community members to a "mob", we will still have all kinds of uncharitable motivations projected onto us, and we will still be told we "sound angry" as if that was at all germane to "yo is this sexist?"

Tone arguments and devil's advocacy are dishonest forms of engagement, but they get dumped on us anytime sexist remarks are called out, no matter how spockified our criticisms are made. I realize this is MeTa and there's more leeway for commenting standards, but this long, tedious derail over "sounding angry" could have been nipped in the bud and possibly prevented kagredon from bailing. At the very least, we could have talked about the actual subject of the OP instead of once again having to entertain accusations of not being polite enough for a single user.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 5:19 AM on September 20, 2015 [30 favorites]


And to clarify, I am not saying mods dropped the ball here. I'm advocating for less leeway for dishonest deraily rhetoric tactics such as tone arguments and devil's advocacy.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 6:18 AM on September 20, 2015 [6 favorites]


blithely compare their fellow community members to a "mob",

I've started reading that phrase as "I am a sexist jackass who isn't smart enough to know how obvious I am being about my sexist jackassery." It's an irritating phrase that I'm increasingly tired of at this point, but it falls within the bounds of how sexism is permitted to be expressed here, so I know I'm going to keep seeing it.

I will say that the endless patience and second chances upon second chances approach of the moderators is impressive to watch. I don't have that kind of patience, especially with people, like the poster of this MeTa, who are obviously not engaging seriously and in good faith.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:38 AM on September 20, 2015 [15 favorites]


The fact that this almost entirely content-free silenced all my life whine made it through the queue is kind of ridiculous.

In my experience, pretty much all "why was my comment deleted" MeTas go bad. Either they turn into back door discussions of the topic of the deleted comments, in which case they might as well have been left to shit up the Blue threads they were dropped in, or they turn into a mass of commenters saying variations on "that was a terrible comment, good on the mods," which usually ends up looking like a pile on, or it gives the "MetaFilter was better in the past when people could say any noxious thing without getting called on it" brigade a chance to trot around. Or, most often, all three.

I propose, for the health of the community, that deletion MeTas be held to very high standards before exiting the queue: the poster should, at a minimum, clearly state their grievance and link to the thread in question. Maybe there should be a back-and-forth with the mods that could be included in the initial post, so it would read

Member: why was this deleted?
Mod: X, Y, and Z
Member: that's unreasonable
Mod: based on past practice it's not
Member: I want my MeTa
Mod: OK, but brace yourself. You'll need to state your grievance more clearly
META

Then me mods should prune as rigorously as an AskMe. Comments that relate to the deletability of the comment or not, stand. Everything else goes. "Why was my comment deleted?" "X, Y, and Z." is asked and answered; everything else is noise or belongs in its own thread.

It would be a radical departure from site policy, but these threads always seem to descend into an orgy of defensiveness and bad feelings.
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:38 AM on September 20, 2015 [25 favorites]


Nice idea in theory, GandJ, but that kind of ruthless pruning would reinforce the justification for the MeTa in the OP's mind, and would probably spawn child-MeTas like Hurricane Andrew spawned tornadoes. This thread is more civil than threads from even a couple of years ago, so I guess we just have to let enlightenment proceed at its own pace.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 6:51 AM on September 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


This thread is more civil than threads from even a couple of years ago, so I guess we just have to let enlightenment proceed at its own pace.

IMO it's been about 95% egregiously sexist assholes being banned and maybe 5% actual enlightenment, if that. Unfortunately, it took several years of them being egregiously sexist assholes, with second chances being extended into 2375th chances, for it to happen.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:29 AM on September 20, 2015 [12 favorites]


I had this whole big thing typed out about how civil was in the eye of the beholder, and that certain ways of viewing what's civil can exclude people of different background. I deleted it, because I'm not at all sure that "civil" is proper goal for conversations right now. The one thing that has done more to bring me around from a conversation watcher who agreed in principle with the push-back against sexism to someone that tries to visibly support women who are calling it out, and call it out myself, was seeing how tired and/or angry those women are. The civil standard is often used as a bludgeon by people trying to mute those very justified reactions. The other thing, as jaguar has repeated pointed out, is that the very framework and how the concept of being civil is applied to women is inherently unfair, and part of the system of sexism.

I mean, in a world absent all the background sexism that gets wrapped up in all of the ways we interact, and expect others to act, maybe calls for civility would have their place. This is not that world. I don't have a better standard, other than no personal attacks while keeping in mind Drinky Die's formulation that "The person is being sexist != The person is sexist."
posted by Gygesringtone at 7:51 AM on September 20, 2015 [9 favorites]


In my experience, pretty much all "why was my comment deleted" MeTas go bad.

Perhaps a specific caution in the metatalk submission page that deleted comments are not reinstated 99.9% of the time (if ever), so please be sure that your meta has a solution other than putting your comments back.
posted by Going To Maine at 7:52 AM on September 20, 2015


Dip Flash: I've started reading that phrase as "I am a sexist jackass who isn't smart enough to know how obvious I am being about my sexist jackassery." It's an irritating phrase that I'm increasingly tired of at this point, but it falls within the bounds of how sexism is permitted to be expressed here, so I know I'm going to keep seeing it.

Funnily enough, the first person to use it in this thread was kagredon. It was certainly their usage which I responded to. Much like the first and only person to say the userbase was being described as irrational was jaguar.

tonycpsu: I'll just cite a few comments from mods in this very MeTa that undermine this notion that people on the "correct side" of an argument can't be faulted

So I suppose I'll point out that I said users repeatedly because I meant users, not the mods, and also that just because cortex in this instance responded in such a way, it doesn't take much besides looking at the responses to him that kept the conversation going, or how the thread is categorised as the defenders of sexism triumphing again, to see where I might be coming from.

And frankly, just because a user has buttoned shouldn't mean that it can't be pointed out that the behaviour described in their last comment just isn't there. No-one used irrational or hysterical or any synonymous word, no-one claimed an -ism was occurring, no-one except the OP, definitely not the same five guys, came in to say this was an unacceptable deletion. The closest you get is one or two saying that they understand why, they might not have, it's a mod's call. But no, the sexist assholes are apparently out in force in MeTa again.
posted by gadge emeritus at 8:01 AM on September 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


Do people who post "this comment should not have been/why was my comment deleted" MeTas want their comments rebirthed? I can't remember when or if I've seen that requested. It seems these MeTas are made more to get an answer they could also get from the contact form or to have a proxy conversation, as G&P pointed out and has been demonstrated here.

And gadge, you're ignoring the huge and ridiculous tone argument horseshit that went down here, which I think is an unfair exclusion in your discussion summary.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 8:03 AM on September 20, 2015 [8 favorites]


Jumping Jesus, people, this thread is even dumber than the dumb Atlantic-inspired thread that spawned it. And that's some work.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:12 AM on September 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


Is that helpful, octobersurprise? No one's making you read either thread.
posted by sciatrix at 8:16 AM on September 20, 2015 [19 favorites]


gadge, you're doing some serious "I'm not touching you! I'm not touching you!" hairsplitting, and it's infuriating, and it's exactly the problem that people are talking about with people making these threads monumentally worse.
posted by jaguar at 8:26 AM on September 20, 2015 [16 favorites]


Funnily enough, the first person to use it in this thread was kagredon. It was certainly their usage which I responded to. Much like the first and only person to say the userbase was being described as irrational was jaguar.

You said "angry pile-on", which was then paraphrased as "angry mob" (without the quote marks.) This is a distinction without a difference, as you seem to have understood when you were happy to accept the paraphrase in your response.

So I suppose I'll point out that I said users repeatedly because I meant users, not the mods

This is what I was responding to:
users who believe that their righteousness allows them greater leeway to bend or break the behavioural guidelines of MetaFilter.
Regardless of what users believe, their actual leeway to bend or break the guidelines exists at the discretion of the moderators, who haven't been shy about trying to step into this thread and correct those who've gone too far. There have been some angry responses in this thread, but I don't see them breaking down out of proportion to the split on the underlying issue of the merits of the OP's argument. This notion that only people with a certain view are getting a free pass has no basis in fact that I can see, but if you'd like to make that case explicitly rather than implicitly, please do so.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:28 AM on September 20, 2015 [11 favorites]


gadge emeritus: definitely not the same five guys,

You and benson are both here.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:30 AM on September 20, 2015 [8 favorites]


In my experience, pretty much all "why was my comment deleted" MeTas go bad.

I think it is in large part because such metas are not in fact asking, "why was my comment deleted?". In reality, even though some contain a question, this kind of meta is almost always just a thin veil over what is actually a declarative statement: "my comment should not have been deleted, the mods are censoring me, they are corrupt / biased / whatever and I want everyone to know it".

Treating this like it's a good faith question by someone who wants to learn how to interact more constructively with the site is giving it way too much credit. It's also a great way to bang your head against the wall, because you then put yourself in a position of trying to have a reasoned discussion with someone who was already dead-set against anyone else's view on their comments having any merit before they even hit "post".
posted by tocts at 8:36 AM on September 20, 2015 [28 favorites]


you put yer bean plate in
you put yer bean plate out
you put yer bean plate in
and you taylor swift's legs.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 9:03 AM on September 20, 2015


In my experience, pretty much all "why was my comment deleted" MeTas go bad.

I would like to second this and throw my weight behind GenjiandProust's comment. I have pretty well never seen one of these threads go well, and they inevitably go to a "but deleting my sexist comments is CENSORING" place. I also absolutely do not think they come from a place of good faith, either. And as we've noticed, they draw the same four or five people every time.

Do these ever forge new ground for the site, or do they inevitably just increase the irritation level in the community and focus a lens on why some commentors think microaggressions need to be left up? As other people have noticed, I find these threads much more depressing from a sexism standpoint than just the original comment. At least for the original (now deleted) comment, I can assume it comes from a place of ignorance. A thread like this really grinds it in that it's much more important for some people to get to say their microaggressions and make the rest of us hear it than for this place to be welcoming to everyone, including women.

What, in short, is the goal of threads like this? This certainly isn't the first one we've had recently on deleted comments. Is there a way that we can do them better, if they're going to happen? This is a recurring topic here, and that makes me think we need to have a meta-meta-discussion on these kinds of comment deletion MeTas.
posted by sciatrix at 9:09 AM on September 20, 2015 [13 favorites]


The big issue with changing how deletion discussions work is, it changes the transparency of the site moderation. Even if these kinds of topics don't typically go well, having them squashed by the mods without ever being seen by the community could create a perception that the mods are killing legitimate metatalk threads without allowing the community to have input.

One possible technological solution, which I admit may be too far afield for MeFi's moderation ethos, would be to require some community buy-in before a deletion could be discussed. Something like: a deletion meta goes up with the submitter's complaint and the moderator's explanation, and comments are disabled. Regular users can then vote on whether they think this is something that would benefit from a deeper discussion. If some threshold of 'yes' votes is not met within a reasonable time period, the meta is left forever un-commentable but nonetheless with a visible complaint and response.

This would preserve the relative transparency of not having complaints just disappear, while also preventing these kinds of pointless threads since if the community largely thinks the deletion was sound and there's no reason to debate it, the process will terminate at that point.
posted by tocts at 9:23 AM on September 20, 2015 [3 favorites]


As other people have noticed, I find these threads much more depressing from a sexism standpoint than just the original comment.

To be fair, the comments are sometimes racist, homophobic, and/or transphobic, too.
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:03 AM on September 20, 2015 [6 favorites]


The big issue with changing how deletion discussions work is, it changes the transparency of the site moderation. Even if these kinds of topics don't typically go well, having them squashed by the mods without ever being seen by the community could create a perception that the mods are killing legitimate metatalk threads without allowing the community to have input.

Well, I would also be in favor of just a notice of the user/mod back and forth about the deletion in a closed thread. I don't really like the idea of a "vote to discuss" model, because I'm not sure other people's opinions are all that valuable in this particular case. I mean, if user X says "this comment was deleted, and that's unfair/I don't understand why" and a moderator says "it broke this or this guideline/it was massively flagged/whatever," I'm not sure what else there is to discuss other than "yes it was/no it wasn't," which just gets people riled up and leads to nasty fighting and flaming out/buttoning (come back, kagredon, when you feel like it!).

If we are going to have a site discussion about, say, casual sexism, I think I would rather have that discussion openly instead of sort of side stepping into it from a "deleted comment" thread. For one thing, I think there would be less baiting and maybe less defensiveness (or, at least, less focused defensiveness).
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:15 AM on September 20, 2015 [4 favorites]


> I think a MeTa I made a while back falls under that category--went into the queue because I was pissed off about how Metafilter treats rural/Southern folk

I hope someone makes this MeTa, because it's a serious problem that I've complained about before (as have others). Huge blind spot.
posted by languagehat at 10:16 AM on September 20, 2015 [20 favorites]


Oops, hit "post" too soon -- having deletion posts closed from the start or very tight pruned would preserve transparency while keeping the thread from erupting into the liveliest awfulness.
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:18 AM on September 20, 2015


At this point, most of these threads seem to go bad from a lot people getting overly involved in a MeTa and letting anger get the best of them. That's just a blanket statement, it happens all around on the various sides.

As a whole the site has agreed to delete and another wise not tolerant sexist/racist/etc comments. Any chance of Tronchater's comment being undeleted was slim. Nothing was changing about policy. So what was the point of pretty much anyone getting involved in this MeTa, other than the mods, especially if it's the "usual suspects" doing their usual thing?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:22 AM on September 20, 2015 [3 favorites]


Imagine if we could take some sort of unofficial tally for when a thread has reached consensus - some kind of sidebar voting or something; a proxy might be a top-level "close this up" comment that people could favorite if they think the thread should be closed. When it gets to some arbitrary, context-specific number, the mods start looking more closely at shutting down the thread.
posted by Going To Maine at 10:22 AM on September 20, 2015


So what was the point of pretty much anyone getting involved in this MeTa, other than the mods, especially if it's the "usual suspects" doing their usual thing?

To push back against casual sexism, whether by addressing the specific deleted comments or the underlying concepts?
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 10:26 AM on September 20, 2015 [11 favorites]


So what was the point of pretty much anyone getting involved in this MeTa, other than the mods, especially if it's the "usual suspects" doing their usual thing?

Most of the site’s heavy users hate making just one “I believe this was a terrible comment and it was rightfully deleted.” statement. That might be how they arrive in the thread, but for better or worse everyone wants to have a discussion and wrangle. And given that threads remain open until it’s clear that nothing can be gained from them -I mean, look where this thread has gone- people want the last word. (Including me, for goodness’ sake.)
posted by Going To Maine at 10:26 AM on September 20, 2015 [5 favorites]


To be fair, the comments are sometimes racist, homophobic, and/or transphobic, too.

Yeah, I have some leftover thoughts inspired by the black rights and "respectability politics" thread. I didn't post there because my thoughts weren't fully formed, and because as a white woman I didn't want to be nudging the focus of that thread over to my persoanal experiences.

But I'm pretty damned tired of the "ask nicely" argument, which takes the form of almost parent to child "Well, I would have granted you the right to do this thing, but I didn't like your form of address. You stepped on my toes a little. You should have asked nicely... then I would have (perhaps) granted you the access/freedom/whatever."

This is always galling. It emphasizes the power imbalance that cuts against the person who feels the oppression. It metaphorically feels like having one's face ground in the dust. It sucks. And even worse, I seriously doubt that it is ever fucking true. (Fuck for emphasis, not for anger.)

When the pebble of a request for civility is tossed, this is the baggage that also gets shaken down the slope.

I'd be up for a discussion (someday on the gray) of the issues around calls for a more supplicant tone or a completely inoffensive and civil form of expression. (I don't think that on this thread the request for civility was patronizing, but it often is. And I am generally pro civility.)
posted by puddledork at 10:33 AM on September 20, 2015 [23 favorites]


To push back against casual sexism, whether by addressing the specific deleted comments or the underlying concepts?

Totally understandable, just not sure that's a great reason for for really diving into these threads if makes some people angry and hostile. But whatever makes the individual happy...
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:38 AM on September 20, 2015


I think it's great that an appropriate and natural consequence of being petulant and intemperate about the removal from the site of your casual sexist comment is that the community will let you know that you were, in fact, on the wrong side of things. It's regrettable that there are always a few people who seem to be frustrated by this and make predictable and consistent handwringing comments suggesting that nothing good can come of this, though.
posted by MoonOrb at 10:44 AM on September 20, 2015 [17 favorites]


The most helpful thing would be to switch from viewing MetaFilter as a 'shared discussion or conversation' to something like, 'MetaFilter is a communal lounge.' Many deletions stem from certain people (in, yes, certain positions of privilege) believing that anything they contribute to a conversation has value. When those contributions disappear, it's taken as a personal attack, they double down on the importance of those comments and these accusations of censorship and over-moderation come in.

(This is separate from the issue of some 'discussion' styles being more argumentative than others. Some people don't actually participate in conversations, they engage in conversational Darwinism.)

If the site is viewed as a shared space, it becomes, hey, so you tracked mud into the room and onto the sofa, making the place unusable for others -- it happens, it's been tidied up, this is a just routine maintenance issue.

(Which is not to say moderators long for the opportunity to clean up after you, so maybe think about what you're carting in with you when you choose to hang out in the lounge.)
posted by Iris Gambol at 10:53 AM on September 20, 2015 [3 favorites]


That might be how they arrive in the thread, but for better or worse everyone wants to have a discussion and wrangle.

Physician, heal thyself.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:09 AM on September 20, 2015 [6 favorites]


This one time I made an extremely snarky comment, and it got deleted. At first I was thinking like, "Aw come on, that was just supposed to be funny", and also feeling the sting in the sense of: a) "maybe the mods would think would less of me now", and b) "somebody actually flagged it because, wow, they surely were offended by what I said". However, on further reflection I came to believe that my snarky comment likely would have been quite invalidating to some members (any of whom I probably know and like and enjoy their comments on this site) should they have read it. My comment was snarky because it used lazy and grumpy language to express my opinion about the article/topic, in a way that did not serve general readers, nor represented my usual self. Thus, I've been glad the system we have here worked, in this instance. So a few lessons from this. Don't take deletions so personally; you can always rewrite your joke or whatever piqued you in a way that reflects the better parts of yourself; it's the internet so it's tempting to rage and get caught up in self-worth, but to be encouraging, we can learn and grow from this.
posted by polymodus at 11:54 AM on September 20, 2015 [7 favorites]


I think it's the causal sexism making people mad, not the discussions.
posted by Gygesringtone at 12:18 PM on September 20, 2015 [21 favorites]


i think there's a value in letting people speak, even when they are wrong or offensive. and i think that value comes not just from allowing the error to be understood and corrected.

a first source of value is "keeping the borders open". i was here some years ago, left, and returned recently, and as far as i can tell, the site is remarkably less tolerant and welcoming to people who are not "insiders". now, to some extent, being an "outsider" means being white, privileged, sexist, etc. but the more the group turns in on itself, the more it excludes people at the boundary who might otherwise learn something. unfortunately, accepting people at the boundaries comes at a cost - you can't simply erase an occasional statement, with no discussion or feedback, and expect them to stay, because, to them, that feels very cold and unwelcoming. there has, then, to be work invested in maintaining diversity, and in supporting the very people you disagree with.

second, i think there's value in simply avoiding absolutism. maybe it's not my call, and maybe microagressions sum to some something much larger. but the feeling i get from some here is that they want a "zero tolerance" policy. if you feel "zero tolerance" is, in general, for people who are too dumb or doctrinaire to see the complexities in life then i hope you can understand what worries me there.

third, i really distrust groups. when i see someone posting saying, in effect "we have all decided; you are wrong" it makes me immensely uncomfortable. it doesn't matter that i agree with the argument - there's something terribly unsettling about that "we". even when right, someone standing up and making that statement makes me uncomfortable.

none of these are terribly strong arguments, i know. and i think a lot depends on the context from which you view the "debate" here. from the outside, yes, there's a lot of casual sexism in life. but from within metafilter, my impression is that this is a pretty safe place. it's not perfect, but i would suggest that you guys are pretty much in charge here. and so perhaps you may see some value in being benevolent dictators of your kingdom. i am not sure people here recognise they power they have, or see the society they have constructed, but it does appear, to me, from outside, that you have quite significant power, and perhaps do not need to be so defensive.
posted by andrewcooke at 12:36 PM on September 20, 2015 [5 favorites]


A "zero tolerance" policy of deleting sexist comments is okay, right? You can still happily participate on the site; just don't include sexist things in your comments.

And when striking the appropriate balance between "welcoming to all manners of newcomers" and "tolerating sexist comments from newcomers who haven't yet learned that sexist comments are deleted," I'd favor the former, since it places the burden on the people who make the sexist comments moreso than on the women who endure them. I do recognize that a cost of this approach is that we may miss out on contributions from people who could have been encouraged to stick around if everyone is really nice and forgiving and patient with them during that phase when they initially say sexist things on the site.
posted by MoonOrb at 12:45 PM on September 20, 2015 [28 favorites]


andrewcooke: i would suggest that you guys are pretty much in charge here

Sorry, which guys are you talking about here?
posted by Too-Ticky at 12:48 PM on September 20, 2015


from the outside, yes, there's a lot of casual sexism in life. but from within metafilter, my impression is that this is a pretty safe place. it's not perfect, but i would suggest that you guys are pretty much in charge here.

From within metafilter, but also being sensitized to this as a woman? My impression is very different. If "we" were in charge, if this place was safe? Those comments wouldn't have happened to be deleted in the first place, because it wouldn't have occurred to anyone to just go "well that person couldn't write her own songs because she wears short shorts everywhere", in the same way that no one throws dismissive comments about male performer/writers' work into discussions about them based on the amount of skin they're showing. It just doesn't happen in spaces which are actually totally safe for women.

And there certainly wouldn't be long Metadiscussions about the acceptability to removing those comments and rules-lawyering about whether the comment was sexist "enough." Just the fact that this comment thread exists says that of course "we" (where "we" is I guess "the people who feel strongly about sexism on metafilter?" feminists??? god knows) have not "won". It's a pretty common thing that I see among general interest sites which are open to everyone with varying levels of cluefulness, actually--which hey! good news! is exactly what MeFi is.
posted by sciatrix at 12:51 PM on September 20, 2015 [46 favorites]


> third, i really distrust groups. when i see someone posting saying, in effect "we have all decided; you are wrong" it makes me immensely uncomfortable. it doesn't matter that i agree with the argument - there's something terribly unsettling about that "we". even when right, someone standing up and making that statement makes me uncomfortable.

I hope you can see that the people who make casually sexist comments, and then defend them with "it was just a joke/there's sexism everywhere/tabloids do it jeez" are also representative of a really, really big group. A group I presume falls under your "I do not trust..." umbrella.
posted by rtha at 12:52 PM on September 20, 2015 [51 favorites]


i think there's a value in letting people speak, even when they are wrong or offensive. and i think that value comes not just from allowing the error to be understood and corrected.

I agree, and in this case Trochanter's goal with this MeTa was to see if he was alone in thinking the deletion of his comments were a step too far. He wanted a broader read from the community, and he got it.

i am not sure people here recognise they power they have, or see the society they have constructed, but it does appear, to me, from outside, that you have quite significant power, and perhaps do not need to be so defensive.

I'll point back to something KathrynT wrote: there's been a lot of very vocal requests from people for the mods to delete gross-but-not-egregious sexist comments, on the grounds that they form a "background radiation" of unpleasant hostility. This is a fantastic goal for the community, so the mods know full and well the power they have, what community they're building, and the "need to be so defensive" against such comments.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:53 PM on September 20, 2015 [14 favorites]


but from within metafilter, my impression is that this is a pretty safe place.

Then you're obviously not listening to the people who state outright that it isn't, at least once a month on average.

On preview: sciatrix says it better and more eloquently.

it's not perfect, but i would suggest that you guys are pretty much in charge here. and so perhaps you may see some value in being benevolent dictators of your kingdom. i am not sure people here recognise they power they have, or see the society they have constructed, but it does appear, to me, from outside, that you have quite significant power, and perhaps do not need to be so defensive.

I have no idea what this is supposed to mean. Like, it's okay to stoke the background radiation level of bigotry just to maintain some sort of power balance and openness to hypothetical outsiders? If said outsiders want to contribute to that sense of "casual" bigotry, and can't stand pushback, then they're telling a large part of the userbase that they'd rather be antagonistic than part of the community.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:56 PM on September 20, 2015 [15 favorites]


Many moons ago, when Andrewcooke left, I thought my chiding him from time to time, was a factor. Well I apologized and found out he is a pretty cool person and speaks with honesty.

He may still hate me, but I don't ever recall him advocating for a ban. As I recall, we worked it out and glad he's back. The place has changed, it had too because a few of us could be just down right...fighty and name cally to a real fault. Coming back to make peace with folks or just to get back into the swing is tough at times.

I would rather listen to someone who speaks with honesty on these matters then have them not speak at all. I do think all the community needs to remember, if your going to dish it out, make soup.
posted by clavdivs at 1:23 PM on September 20, 2015 [4 favorites]


Brandon: So what was the point of pretty much anyone getting involved in this MeTa, other than the mods, especially if it's the "usual suspects" doing their usual thing?

Personally, when I write about how sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, etc... are wrong, I'm almost never focused on the person I'm responding to. In my experience, the people I respond to aren't really interested in what I have to say about discrimination; they are far more focused on dismissing me and what I say. Usually when I speak up in these kinds of threads it's to communicate what I think is wrong about those things to the far larger audience of people watching. I have the benefit of being prosy, which tends to come off as "level-headed" on MetaFilter, though feedback from those I've responded to multiple times indicate they experience it as "bullying".

I comment on these threads because I haven't given up on MetaFilter, yet. If I ever stop commenting on these sorts of threads (with allowances for my personal self-care, as I find these threads exhausting and depressing and so they can really fuck with me) it means I've effectively given up on MetaFilter as a place worthy of my time or attention.

I want to make a better world - one where people are treated as valuable no matter what their demographics; where musicians aren't dismissed because they're women and lives aren't minimized because they're black and people aren't used as a way of insulting others because they're mentally ill. Speaking up in places where I hope people will listen, hear, and rethink their assumptions is part of how I do that.
posted by Deoridhe at 1:27 PM on September 20, 2015 [52 favorites]


I mean I guess, are we supposed to decide on an okay amount of bigotry? 'Oh, that comment wasn't really really bigoted, so let's let it stand, hopefully that guy will be our friend!'
posted by shakespeherian at 1:31 PM on September 20, 2015 [13 favorites]


"I mean I guess, are we supposed to decide on an okay amount of bigotry?"

I think that would be up to the individuals sense of proportion?
posted by clavdivs at 1:47 PM on September 20, 2015


Ever since I heard W. Kamau Bell's "10% shit in your milkshake" riff on racism I've been able to contextualize my revulsion to conversations about how much $discrimination is "too much".
posted by Deoridhe at 1:49 PM on September 20, 2015 [30 favorites]


Hey, clav, are we back on good terms? I have no idea what happened for a while there.
posted by languagehat at 1:49 PM on September 20, 2015


I think it's great that an appropriate and natural consequence of [posting a metatalk] about the removal from the site of your [any kind of] comment is that the community will let you know that you were, in fact, on the wrong side of [general community standards]. It's regrettable that there are always a few people who seem to be frustrated by this and make predictable and consistent handwringing comments suggesting that nothing good can come of this, though.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:59 PM on September 20, 2015


^generalized MoonOrbs comment cuz I think it's wise in a number of contexts.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:01 PM on September 20, 2015


Thanks for taking the time to explain Deoridhe, that makes a certain amount of sense.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:14 PM on September 20, 2015


Partly, too, I've been on this site for quite a while. Some of you must know me. It feels bad to have, as I see it, been fighting the good fight for equality and stuff, and to have people assume I'm Rush Limbaugh because I made a joke about the way stardom works.

I say this without sarcasm or malice, to you or anyone else that might feel something like this at any point: get over yourself.

If you want to fight the good fight, you do so because it is the good fight - not because you're looking for recognition or pats on the back or some kind of free pass when you fuck up.

And when you fuck up, it's actually pretty simple: You apologize, you reconsider your actions and words, you make amends if you can, and (very important) you get on with your life.

The good fight is not about you and your feelings.
posted by jammy at 2:21 PM on September 20, 2015 [34 favorites]


Happy to, Brandon.
posted by Deoridhe at 2:22 PM on September 20, 2015


Could we set up some sort of community vote on whether to keep having these silenced all my life metatalks? They're very entertaining and everything, but I don't think anybody is ever any the happier for having taken part in them.

We have the contact form for genuine queries, so can we keep MetaTalk for proper site discussions and just skip the "wah my comment was deleted" rantfests? You can start a debate about general deletion policy or other people's comments that got deleted if you really must, but we could have a blanket ban on starting Metas about specific deletions of your own personal comments.

I'm sure it would get abused and the same people would post disingenuous stuff about general deletions "and as an example, here's one of mine that got deleted just today". But I do think that half of the problem with first offenders is that people get very defensive about their own comments, and at least having the veneer of depersonalising the discussion might keep the level of grar down. At worst people would have to spend at least five minutes thinking up reasons why their comment deletion was part of a larger site issue, beyond "the mods are literally the same thing as Hitler".

And it would also send a clear message that nobody else cares if your rubbish comment got deleted. Which we don't, and that's a good thing as people have said upthread. Comment deletion is a fairly neutral event, like a promotion going to a better-qualified candidate, and it doesn't require a massive internal investigation into the interviewing panel every time thanks. The mods should feel more empowered to tell people to bugger off.
posted by tinkletown at 2:51 PM on September 20, 2015 [5 favorites]


i think there's a value in letting people speak, even when they are wrong or offensive.

Think of commenting on the internet like international currency trading. Some comment currencies like the Reddit Dollar are allowed to fluctuate wildly (depending on the subreddit) from, say, a Community Consensus Value of CCV-20 to CCV+20 while the MetaFilter Renminbi is only allowed to trade in a very narrow band from, say, CCV-1 to CCV+4. So if you're looking to strike it rich in in the comments market the Renminbi isn't your play. If you're looking for a low return, safe play this just may be your spot. Of course if you want to diversify you can trade in both but you have to change trading strategies when changing currencies.
posted by MikeMc at 3:05 PM on September 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


I still don't understand getting upset about having a comment deleted in a thread on a website. It's not like someone set fire to your only copy of your PhD thesis, it's just a comment on a website. Make better comments if yours keep getting deleted. Or go comment somewhere else. Or get your own fucking blog. Or get a Facebook account. Or Twitter or whatever. It's big internet out there.

I've had a handful deleted over the years and they were probably for a good reason, but even if they weren't I don't really give a crap. Life goes on with our without your comment on a website.
posted by octothorpe at 3:06 PM on September 20, 2015 [9 favorites]


that nobody else cares if your rubbish comment got deleted. Which we don't

Yet here you are reading and commenting in this very thread. Nobody really wants these type of threads to go away because this is where all the good spleen venting happens. If nobody cared there wouldn't be hundreds of comments, there would be zero.
posted by MikeMc at 3:13 PM on September 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


I took that to mean nobody cares as in "nobody is going to invest any great moral weight in the fact that you had a comment deleted, i.e. it's not a big deal", which seems to be pretty much the case for most folks, rather than "nobody has any interest in the practice and policy of and community perspective on comment deletion as a part of site moderation", which obviously is not true.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:20 PM on September 20, 2015 [8 favorites]


A friend asked me why I was participating in "arguing with bigoted dumbasses" (different site) and my response was:

I have had enough women (and men) PM and message me to say thank you for speaking that I can see the value. If I have the capacity to deal with the discussion, I am going to weigh in, because here's the crux - if you don't, then you get the 'well nobody said anything therefore it isn't that big of a deal'.

In this specific context, being Trochanter's comments, I wanted to address the part of it that irritates me the most - the way men seem to think their sexual desire is something that is a positive addition to a conversation. See: using erections as an analogy for enjoying media. It's far less 'civil', IMO and IME, than angry words. When I'm using angry words (not necessarily angry - as I explained before I'm just exhausted by this and thus can't be arsed to prettify it enough for the 'ask nicely for humane treatment' crowd) I am communicating person to person. When you tell me about your dick, about your sexuality, in a conversation that isn't explicitly about your dick and your sexuality, you are participating in a culture that prioritises male desire over just about anything women do, say, or think.

Remember the days of "I'd hit it" as discussion? "I get a kick out of X" when you've already discussed that person in sexualised terms is the same level of discourse. Which is to say no level, it's scent marking and mating displays of the ugliest type.

I'm not 'venting my spleen', I'm not in a 'safe space', I'm trying to participate in a conversation that others want to be of the very lowest, very ugliest sort. You want to go blather about Swift's sexual appeal? There's a billion other sites our there. You want a space where you can be sexist without angry pushback? Again, there are a lot of sites out there for you. Metafilter isn't those sites, and is in a state of flux, because women (and men) on the site said "enough" and spoke up, in threads like this. Sometimes even using angry words! Why, it's almost like being subjected to rampant sexist assholery has an effect on the target...
posted by geek anachronism at 3:25 PM on September 20, 2015 [77 favorites]


People still do that "you responded, ergo you care" gotcha?

Let me put it this way, speaking solely for myself: I agree that "why my commented was deleted" threads are, on general principle, not likely to satisfy the original poster and will most likely result in some ugliness towards the OP, the community or the mods. If they were nixed altogether I would not miss them and don't really care to defend them. BUT. At the same time, that doesn't mean that when someone double-downs on their comment to expand on their thoughts, that people should just ignore them and let them feel as though they are shouting into the wind. Maybe someone who said something bigoted honestly had no idea, and is coming from a place of good faith, in which case they might let the responses of others sink in later on. Maybe someone is genuinely bigoted and doesn't give any fucks, in which case they get the picture pretty fast that they're not likely to find much support around here.

In other words I can see what value can be gained from these threads, even if I personally do not care one way or the other if such threads ceased to be tomorrow. I don't even care when my comments get deleted, and never felt they were so important that they warranted a public hearing. Even still I can see the value that can arise from people participating in these threads.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 3:27 PM on September 20, 2015 [4 favorites]


I get a kick out of X

Is this a phrase that confers sexual connotations in the US? In my experience this is a neutral phrase that would need an adjective or some context to qualify intention.

The misunderstanding of this phrase in the sentence 'I got a kick out of one pic of Taylor and her legs sitting on the floor of a fabulous all white garret jotting down tablature.' seems to have resulted in a number of people writing comments that are extremely fighty and unnecessary.

Trochanter failed to make his point clear, as LM has commented: Context is everything. More words, and less irony and little jokey add-ons, can help to make your intent clearer.

Meeting one flippant comment with another flippant comment isn't really raising the level of discource.
posted by asok at 3:40 PM on September 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


No, it has no sexual connotations. The connotation comes from "Taylor and her legs." Since her legs don't have a lot to do with anything in this context so mentioning them is completely gratuitous.
posted by Justinian at 3:42 PM on September 20, 2015 [4 favorites]


People still do that "you responded, ergo you care" gotcha?

Considering MikeMc's several other contributions to this thread, which tbh are representative of his participation in Metatalk in general, haven't been good-faith efforts in any form, why let them continue? I'm having a hard time understanding why he's given so many chances to do it when the net effect ranges from nada to openly dismissive or antagonistic.
posted by zombieflanders at 3:45 PM on September 20, 2015 [14 favorites]


People still do that "you responded, ergo you care" gotcha?

When one jumps into a thread solely to drop a smug paragraph about how much you don't care about the subject being discussed it's usually considered bad form no?

I'm having a hard time understanding why he's given so many chances to do it

I try to stay within the narrow trading band. Also, I feel the exact same way way about others here. And yes, I know that not all opinions are equal but, you know, we all consider our opinions to be inherently more valuable.
posted by MikeMc at 3:52 PM on September 20, 2015


When one jumps into a thread solely to drop a smug paragraph about how much you don't care about the subject being discussed it's usually considered bad form no?

But that's not what happened, at all. See *
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 3:59 PM on September 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


When one jumps into a thread solely to drop a smug paragraph about how much you don't care about the subject being discussed it's usually considered bad form no?

Jumping into a thread solely to drop a variety of not-really-contributing-substantially-to-the-discussion-in-progress things isn't really great, and if we're gonna put a fine point on it that is something you have done on a number of occasions in Metatalk which is not great, and beefing on your perception that someone else has done so isn't really great either.

I would say maybe work on that on your end—less coming into a discussion in progress to take some wry shot at something, etc—and let octothorpe work on that on octothorpe's end (your read and mine don't agree here on what happened there, in any case), and hit up the contact form if it's something you need to talk out more.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:59 PM on September 20, 2015 [4 favorites]


Hat, of course not, I'm too fucking embarrassed to memail you, so I will and you can smack me around in Hungarian.
posted by clavdivs at 4:06 PM on September 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


ooooh, sounds a bit Hungarianist to me.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 4:08 PM on September 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's not a sexual comment--it's a sexist comment. There's a significant difference, although many sexist comments are about sexualizing women in inappropriate comments. The reason referring to Taylor Swift's legs (particular as their own entity or as a prop) and Taylor Swift' choice of shorts in a thread about songwriting is offensive or derailing is not because it necessarily sexualizes Swift or even because it makes the poster's sexual response to Swift a point of conversation but because once again a woman songwriter must be discussed in the context of her body, choice of clothes and presentation of that body. It's sexist, as well, because it reduces a person to her body parts (read up, sometime, on how advertisting photos frequently decapitate models) and presents her capability as a songwriter as a direct reference to the presentation of her body.
posted by crush-onastick at 4:48 PM on September 20, 2015 [25 favorites]


as far as i can tell, the site is remarkably less tolerant and welcoming to people who are not "insiders". now, to some extent, being an "outsider" means being white, privileged, sexist, etc. but the more the group turns in on itself, the more it excludes people at the boundary who might otherwise learn something. unfortunately, accepting people at the boundaries comes at a cost - you can't simply erase an occasional statement, with no discussion or feedback, and expect them to stay, because, to them, that feels very cold and unwelcoming. there has, then, to be work invested in maintaining diversity, and in supporting the very people you disagree with.

There's been plenty of feedback--which the OP asked for. Many people said they found the comments that were deleted to be sexist and overall contributing to a depressing climate where women are reminded they're always under physical scrutiny in a way that men are not.

Part of being willing to learn something (ie that one is, in fact, privileged and unaware) is responding to "Your privilege is showing--what you said was offensive" not by saying "well I feel piled on and that was unfair and really, you are being sensitive and that wasn't what I meant anyway" but by saying "Oh. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to come across that way, but I'll avoid that from now on because now I know it contributes to people feeling unwelcome."

second, i think there's value in simply avoiding absolutism. maybe it's not my call, and maybe microagressions sum to some something much larger.

Yes. That is the point of defining something as a microaggression. They are a big deal because in the aggregate, they have the same effect as one big aggression. They're not somehow better and more tolerable because they're micro in nature. That's the point. That's the point of the "shit in the milkshake" analogy. This tiny amount of shit--sexist comments casually tossed into a thread and then defended as a joke, or not that bad, or being taken the wrong way--it fucking ruins the milkshake and I'm tired of it. And so are LOTS of other people, and I'm perfectly OK with that being an object lesson in threads like these.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 4:59 PM on September 20, 2015 [24 favorites]


"say la V"

It's....actually spelled "c'est la vie". It's French for "that's life".



Oh, sweetie, bless your heart for confirming my point. The misspelling was totally intentional. The Mods clearly, well not clearly or it would not be such a challenge to get their point across to such wacky 'demos' ... have an obfuscatory burden to bear.
posted by sammyo at 5:14 PM on September 20, 2015


2 minutes, TWO. Your getting slow old man.
posted by clavdivs at 5:15 PM on September 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


I once read, in something by Mihaly Csiskzentimihalyi, if I recall correctly, that, for poetry, at least, Hungarian was easier to translate into than out.
posted by y2karl at 5:23 PM on September 20, 2015


there was a taylor swift post last winter in which a mefite said something like,"taylor swift isnt hot to me, her knees are too knobby" and i commented that no one cared what gave him a boner. this led to my receiving a couple of messages from him being angry and defensive, and telling me i was "fucking rude" and he didn't mean anything sexual by his comment. (i blocked him since each message from him was getting longer and angrier and some people...you just cant reason with.)

there was a post about tina fey before the TS one last winter, and there was a similar comment, some mefite coming in to say that he thought she was hot and would have sex with her.

i know both swift and fey and lots of other female entertainers are professionals who have to put these random guys declaring how attractive they find them out of their minds. these guys, like those who do catcalling, think it's supposed to be a compliment somehow) i dont know how they do it. bodyguards help, but only so much.

they get super angry and defensive about it, just so they dont have tonfeel . the whole "i wasnt making a sexual comment!" and "im a male feminist and all i do is help women and fight for them!" turns pretty quickly into "you're oppressing and shaming my need to express myself as a man! she wears short shorts and is begging for it! i cant take women who wear short shorts seriously because my penis."
posted by discopolo at 5:31 PM on September 20, 2015 [43 favorites]


"At the same time, that doesn't mean that when someone double-downs on their comment to expand on their thoughts, that people should just ignore them and let them feel as though they are shouting into the wind."

No, that would be bad.

But I'm very close at this point to a strong position on these sorts of MetaTalk posts. Either they need to clear an unusually high bar to make it through the queue, or the community and mod-enforced standards for acceptable discussion in such threads need to be quite restrictive.

One or the other, or some of both, because these threads are doing more harm than good.

I understand the objections to much higher standards for these posts. MetaTalk is intended to be an open channel for such discussions about site moderation and policy, and so a restriction on especially these sorts of posts will make some people more suspicious and aggrieved. Also, if the raised standards are specific only to deletion posts, then that would just encourage people to cloak their deletion grievance in some other kind of post, which might be just as troublesome. That said, in my opinion those are not problems that cannot be ameliorated to some extent, nor are they are too costly to justify the other good things that would come from restrictions on deletion posts. But this is a discussion worth having.

Alternatively, I think that if we are going to have these threads, then they absolutely, positively have to be threads that do more good than harm. And that won't happen under the prevailing standard for MetaTalk thread participation.

These threads end up being ways to express the very things that caused comments/posts to be deleted in the first place. These threads come with some polarization baked into them, and then the way that they progress, they become even more polarized and the odds that one or more people writes something that makes six people just blow their top goes up with every new comment. The end result is that the person with the grievance is never satisfied and sometimes buttons or is banned, the people who agree with the deleted poster's grievance aren't satisfied and they sometime button or are banned, the people who are tired of the kinds of comments which have been deleted are made even more tired by such comments that appear in this thread and they are hurt, angry, and sometimes button or are even banned (if they really lose it).

These threads do more harm than good.

The small amount of good they do is that they continue to collect and reinforce an evolving community standard and sensibility about these sorts of comments and posts. That's good. I think that's more than good because MetaFilter has improved a great deal as a result of this.

But I'm not sure that we need to be doing this sort of consensus building and standards setting in deleted and "silenced all my life" MetaTalk threads, nor that the only way that we can do this sort of community work is within the context of threads that progress in the negative ways that I just described.

Therefore, I think that there's a strong argument to be made for altering community and mod-enforced standards for how we are expected and allowed to participate in these threads -- both the posters with the grievances and everyone else. I think these threads need to be heavily moderated. That's the only way that we can get the good without it being overwhelmed by the bad.

I recognize that this conflicts with the site and MetaTalk ethos of openness and being very lightly moderated. Either of the two approaches I describe will create some problems associated with tighter moderation. But, as I wrote earlier, it seems to me that there's a clear trend here toward tighter moderation of MetaTalk, and not because anyone likes deletions and heavy-handed mods -- you can be sure that I don't -- but because it's the lesser evil. It's not just some mefites who are moving in this direction -- despite their misgivings, the mods have been moving this direction for awhile. I think it's reasonable to move much farther, at least with regard to deletion posts.

Also, I didn't reply to cortex's thoughtful and friendly response to my earlier comment -- I appreciated it. And I'm not at all sure how and how much more the mods ought to be transparent about this stuff, but I feel like I've noticed in this thread subsequent numerous mod attempts to explain and clarify both the general process and their particular decisions, as well as making it clear that people are welcome to write to them and ask about more specific detail; and I want to say that I appreciate this effort. As I wrote earlier, personally I'm not among the group who are upset or suspicious or whatever, but I see some concern expressed by others and it just seems to me that openness about this stuff goes a long way towards answering those concerns.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 5:38 PM on September 20, 2015 [9 favorites]


(sorry for the tumblr-like run on writing, etc . i lost my detachable keyboard. i mean it is here somewhere. but it's the same color as everything else.)
posted by discopolo at 5:39 PM on September 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


jaguar: gadge, you're doing some serious "I'm not touching you! I'm not touching you!" hairsplitting

I'm well aware of the problem of being perceived to be taking on all comers, and the impossibility of replying to everything that I would otherwise wish to reply to. Of course, if I don't, it's also quite possible to be asked why specific points were ignored, or have it regarded that if it's not addressed then I cede the point. But I will say that what you call hairsplitting, I call actually using the words and terms that were being discussed rather than adding in extra inflammatory content just because it could be there.

To me, it's not hairsplitting to point out that nowhere in this thread did anyone say anything about supporters of the comment deletion were being irrational, hysterical, crazy in any sense. It's just accurate. But also, it's not hairsplitting to point out that there's not actually a group of men protesting the comment deletion. And yet over and over people are commenting as if that's what's occurred, rather than it being the one user.

'Don't be an asshole' is often put forward as a guiding light here. By saying 'You can be right and still an asshole', I am being told I'm one of the same guys who come here and protest about accusations of sexism, and then with it all the other ways it's been described, such as asking for a baseline level of bigotry or my using the words of the people I'm replying to, or in a conversation with, doesn't mean I'm attempting to share language, but that I'm attempting to be (intentionally or not) offensive.

I'm not saying, nor have I said, the comments shouldn't have been deleted. I'm not say, nor have I said, that if only people had been nicer I would have listened to their points, but because they were argumentative I don't agree with them.

Instead, I've been saying that your case is strong enough, you don't need to include things that didn't happen. They happen, of course they do, but they didn't this time and there's no need to say that they did.

That gets put into trying to defend sexist comments, amongst many other egregious sins. Which is a behaviour, strongly believe is bad for the site, which is why I bring it up. Commenters always lament the users who say 'enough of this' and button, but there's certainly users who have found themselves on the end of a pile-on from people they agree with because they were misconstrued, or only disagreed on a small aspect of what's under discussion, or definitely because they felt like no matter how they tried to explain themselves they were ignored for the strawman version of their position.

If people tell you they're offended, the only valid response is not just to accept it, apologise, shut up and learn something. That would make being offended a simple conversation stopper than one could play as a trump card. It is also valid, especially in a written forum, to look at what you wrote and say, "I didn't say what you claim I did. You're reacting to something I didn't do."

No matter what is being said, I'm not disagreeing with the vast majority of commenters here, and I'm not going to start just because of how they're responding. But there's a number of comments certainly making it sound like I do. It isn't hairsplitting to point that out, either.
posted by gadge emeritus at 5:56 PM on September 20, 2015 [6 favorites]


These threads end up being ways to express the very things that caused comments/posts to be deleted in the first place...

These threads do more harm than good.


I am inclined to agree.
posted by y2karl at 5:56 PM on September 20, 2015 [3 favorites]


Recently somebody asked, "what is this new leafy green I bought at the farmers' market?" It was hot so I figured, "it must be Malabar spinach; nothing else leafy and green grows this time of year." I looked at the picture. Sure enough. Two or three people had already posted comments that said "looks like it could be Malabar spinach." But could I move on? No. I had to contribute the helpful information that I can't stand Malabar spinach and not only that, I hate everything else that grows this time of year, too. Then I listed everything I hate that grows in the summer and is commonly sold at farmers' markets. I can't say I wondered why it happened when this comment disappeared as if it had never been. It is true that for some reason it never occurs to me until after they're deleted that my ridonk rants are not called for. I like to charge myself $5 for each of these. Sometimes I'll wait 'til I've done two and then send in $10. I suggest this course of action to anyone whose fappy noise gets deleted. It cools the burn and makes you feel great about yourself again. By God, thank heaven I'm here! Everyone else is so bloodlessly "helpful" and "polite," all "answering" the "questions" or whatever, always "staying on topic" when they could be screaming about exciting unrelated issues and offering their valuable opinions about minor vegetable crops. If it weren't for me, this place would wither and die!
posted by Don Pepino at 6:10 PM on September 20, 2015 [34 favorites]


But I will say that what you call hairsplitting, I call actually using the words and terms that were being discussed rather than adding in extra inflammatory content just because it could be there.

And your exceedingly literal interpretation of what people write is not necessarily correct, though it has the veneer of rationality. Language has nuances and implications that means that doing a word count for "mob" or whatever reflects very little about the conversation actually happening. Invoking negative stereotypes without actually using inflammatory words still invokes those stereotypes while giving commenters plausible deniability when called on it (basically variations on "I'm not touching you!"). This is the entire idea behind the concept of dogwhistles. People are not making things up to be offended by, and, ironically or not, claiming that we are does, in fact, go right back to invoking the stereotype of women being irrational and overly emotional and hysterical.

"I'm just being reasonable" (with the very-much-implied "unlike you people") is a schtick that members of non-marginalized groups often use to shut down members of marginalized groups. It's anti-intellectual while claiming the intellectual high ground, and it's tiresome.
posted by jaguar at 6:25 PM on September 20, 2015 [21 favorites]


And it's also inflammatory in and of itself, even if it's intended to be a way of cooling things off, because it's extremely dismissive.
posted by jaguar at 6:27 PM on September 20, 2015 [9 favorites]


there has, then, to be work invested in maintaining diversity, and in supporting the very people you disagree with.

Why do pleas for diversity and learning and openness and community always appear in threads in which men have been taken to task for sexism? Why is "diversity" always the code word for "we should be allowed to call women sluts if we want to"? Why do people always bring up "learning about other points of view" when they mean "i want to say nasty shit about people who are different from me without being censured"?

why, after all this fucking time, do people think that using the almost cliched by now language of social justice 101 puts a legitimate face on their requests for a return to the boyzone
posted by poffin boffin at 6:41 PM on September 20, 2015 [84 favorites]


It's not a sexual comment--it's a sexist comment. There's a significant difference, although many sexist comments are about sexualizing women in inappropriate comments. The reason referring to Taylor Swift's legs (particular as their own entity or as a prop) and Taylor Swift' choice of shorts in a thread about songwriting is offensive or derailing is not because it necessarily sexualizes Swift or even because it makes the poster's sexual response to Swift a point of conversation but because once again a woman songwriter must be discussed in the context of her body, choice of clothes and presentation of that body. It's sexist, as well, because it reduces a person to her body parts (read up, sometime, on how advertisting photos frequently decapitate models) and presents her capability as a songwriter as a direct reference to the presentation of her body.

This is a very clear and concise explanation of the issue. And (to carry it forward) the reason this is objectionable to so many women is because, despite the fact that men think they're making a harmless throwaway comment about one specific celebrity, they're actually contributing to a culture that makes women and their body parts commodities that can be freely used and talked about. And this culture affects all women, every day of their lives. It affects their professional lives, their social lives, their love lives - there is literally not one area of my life that hasn't been impacted by our culture of casual sexism.

And when I'm in a space - any space, online or IRL - where there's a discussion going on that is generally unrelated to women's looks, and someone comes in and makes a comment (ANY kind of comment) about a woman's looks or body parts...that's the precise moment when the atmosphere turns slightly more hostile. Because it's a reminder to me that if I don't have [bodypart] like [celebrity] (and I don't), that I am less valuable as a woman. Regardless of any and all of my accomplishments and strengths unrelated to my appearance. When I'm in a space where up to that point I maybe hadn't even considered that, it can actually seem aggressive when a man says something like that. It almost feels like a way to put me in my place. I know it's not intended that way most of the time, and that men who say this think they're being harmless or don't even realize what they're doing, but I'm here to tell you that for some women anyway, that is absolutely the effect. And the reason it has a much stronger effect on women than so many men realize is because, as jaguar and KathrynT mentioned above we spend our whole lives being given fucked up messages about our bodies and looks. And men don't. At least not nearly to the extent that women do.

So while in itself one little comment might seem harmless, for us it's like death by a thousand paper cuts. As KathrynT said, a small, seemingly harmless comment adds to the "background radiation" of an overall culture both harshly unforgiving of a women's appearance while at the same time making it the be-all-and-end-all of her worth. When you say those things, you're feeding that culture, and (as much as I hate citing Carly Fiorina), women hear your message loud and clear, though it's probably not the message you intended.
posted by triggerfinger at 6:43 PM on September 20, 2015 [48 favorites]


gadge, that it one of the most pompous, dismissive, and condescending comments that I have ever read on this site.
posted by futz at 6:48 PM on September 20, 2015 [4 favorites]


Well, futz, perhaps I don't like people constantly saying I'm engaging in behaviour they, themselves, are doing. And that includes comments that may not be pompous, but are certainly dismissive and condescending.
posted by gadge emeritus at 6:51 PM on September 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


gadge emeritus, I think once one reaches the point of a long comment of iterations of "I'm not saying x", it's a sign that part of the discussion is getting kind of wound around itself in a way that maybe is better to step back from. The meta-issue that you're raising is a separate thing and by raising it again in here it sort of reads like diverting attention from the discussion of the original comments.

We've got a lot of people in here explaining how the comments were a problem for them, what the connection is to other wider issues, and so on. And then a meta-discussion of the tone of (a subset of) those comments. The latter ends up seeming like misdirection, or just kind of bluff ignoring of the many other helpful careful patient etc comments that include detailed explanations and so on. I understand that you don't mean it that way. But it comes across that way.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 6:57 PM on September 20, 2015 [9 favorites]


"It is also valid, especially in a written forum, to look at what you wrote and say, 'I didn't say what you claim I did. You're reacting to something I didn't do.'"

No, and especially in a written forum, that is completely and utterly the wrong thing to do. It feels unfair and blah blah blah, but the bottom line is that almost never does anything productive come from "I didn't say what you claim I did. You're reacting to something I didn't do", whether or not it's true. It doesn't matter if it's true, it doesn't matter if it's fair. It's an argument that in a context like this is almost never productive and almost always polarizes people and twists into stupid arguments about semantics and intention and whatever. Let it go. That is, in this sort of situation, almost always the most productive thing you could possible do.

† Most contexts, really. In an argument with your partner? Let it go. At work? Let it go. But definitely here in MetaTalk, where the whole interaction makes many of the rest of us want to stab things.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:00 PM on September 20, 2015 [12 favorites]


One of the saddest and most illuminating comments of the thread. Thanks, I think.
posted by uosuaq at 7:44 PM on September 20, 2015


i know both swift and fey and lots of other female entertainers are professionals who have to put these random guys declaring how attractive they find them out of their minds. these guys, like those who do catcalling, think it's supposed to be a compliment somehow) i dont know how they do it.

The first podcast of Mark Maron's I tried to listen to was him with a woman actor as his guest, and part of his improvised ad copy was that people could use the sexual aids being advertised to masturbate to her. Every time since I've thought of listening to his show, I've remembered that and fell physically ill, and thus not been able to continue. He was clearly, otherwise, thinking of her as a person - and a person he liked and admired - but the impulse a lot of men have to communicate that women exist as fantasy masturbatory objects remains and is so freaking pervasive it makes me sick.
posted by Deoridhe at 7:59 PM on September 20, 2015 [27 favorites]


Well, futz, perhaps I don't like people constantly saying I'm engaging in behaviour they, themselves, are doing.

It's hard to raise the level of the conversation while you're stooping to other people's. Just let it go. No one is going to be reading this (or any other thread) and believe that you're this monster you think you've been made out to be... until you prove it.
posted by Etrigan at 7:59 PM on September 20, 2015


I didn't want to drag any of this thread over here, but it's an interesting read and might perhaps shed some light on how something as innocuous-seeming-to-some as "and her legs", can be of a piece with the kind of thoughtless and offhand body-related commentary that contributes to lasting unhappinesses and anxieties.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 9:29 PM on September 20, 2015 [12 favorites]


And, of course, there was a deletion three comments into that thread of someone who apparently couldn't help but tell us about what kind of thighs he likes. But by all means, let's litigate exactly how much vituperation is acceptable in response to gratuitous comments about a female musician's body.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:58 PM on September 20, 2015 [19 favorites]


Good deletions, right call. I did chuckle a little finding out that apparently deletions are now "officially ridiculous," like there's a seal of ridiculousness that shows up next to them.

"I think there are some folks who see a bunch of people arguing for one side, and want to step in to argue for the other side -- either out of a sense of fairness, or defending a piled-on person, or devil's advocacy, or defending an abstract ideal of what civil discourse should look like, etc. "

It can be frustrating when "I don't think this is a good guideline" is interpreted as "You are for X-ist comments," and there's a lot of loaded rhetoric used in discussions like this. For example, MoonOrb's "A "zero tolerance" policy of deleting sexist comments is okay, right? You can still happily participate on the site; just don't include sexist things in your comments. " Well, no, pretty much every zero tolerance policy is a dumb policy, unless your goal is to keep ibuprofen out of teens and clocks out of schools. I can be against sexist comments and also against zero tolerance policies, and since I assume the general ethos of MeFi to be also against sexist comments, that the issue is how the inevitable sexist comments that are posted get handled, in which case a zero tolerance policy would be both out of MeFi historical norms and a dumb idea on its own.

"Personally, when I write about how sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, etc... are wrong, I'm almost never focused on the person I'm responding to. "

I like getting comments from people when I've said something they agree with or that encourages them to say something on their own from a similar point of view, but I also recognize that not intending to engage with the person you're nominally in a conversation with is definitionally bad faith, as well as a motivation toward grandstanding. I think, in general, your comments are written with enough kindness and care that you're not grandstanding and would engage with someone who seemed like they were making an effort back, but I don't think that's necessarily true of everyone who thinks of their comments as being written for the cheap seats.
posted by klangklangston at 12:04 AM on September 21, 2015 [6 favorites]


All seals are ridiculous.
posted by Omnomnom at 5:10 AM on September 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


Until you get to the seventh one. This chess game is not going well.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 5:36 AM on September 21, 2015 [12 favorites]


think a MeTa I made a while back falls under that category--went into the queue because I was pissed off about how Metafilter treats rural/Southern folk

There was this MeTa six years ago about how it's sort of jerkish to refer to everything between the coasts as "flyover country" and assert that only a chump would live there unless they had to. Maybe it's time for another.

On the other hand, about half that thread is people saying "But those places are really terrible, how dare you suggest I not say so?" And that's how it would probably be again.

Just wait until I get peeved enough to drop my glorious

you sound like a jerk when you use the word "suburban" as a synonym for "privileged," or "boring," or "racist," or "closed-minded", or "Republican," or "unsophisticated"

MeTa.
posted by escabeche at 5:55 AM on September 21, 2015 [8 favorites]


I hope it will be full of Math, escabeche.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 6:43 AM on September 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


Someone with free time and artsy graphical design skills should create an Officially Ridiculous seal. It could go in Projects.
posted by Drastic at 7:28 AM on September 21, 2015


octothorpe: I still don't understand getting upset about having a comment deleted in a thread on a website. It's not like someone set fire to your only copy of your PhD thesis, it's just a comment on a website.

It's ridiculous, but I think it's a one-two punch of someone on the internet is wrong, followed by "silenced all my life." You feel strongly enough about something to comment about/against it, then your comment is deleted. You felt the comment was appropriate and didn't cross any boundaries, yet *poof* it's gone. Your rebuttal was silenced.


Ivan Fyodorovich: ...I'm very close at this point to a strong position on these sorts of MetaTalk posts. Either they need to clear an unusually high bar to make it through the queue, or the community and mod-enforced standards for acceptable discussion in such threads need to be quite restrictive.

One or the other, or some of both, because these threads are doing more harm than good.


I understand your idea that these MetaTalks are opportunities to re-hash the themes of the deleted comments, but I think there's some value in that. On one hand, I completely understand it's emotionally draining for people who end up reiterating the same points made against the theme of the deleted comment, but I think there's still people who learn from these threads. In this case, Trochanter wanted to know if anyone else thought his comment was really deletion-worthy, and he got more than a resounding "yes," he (and anyone else who might have found his comments to be passable) were educated by patient MeFites (though I'm not sure he listened, or just bolstered his stance on his comments and views).

If nothing else, I learned things from this thread, and I continue to appreciate the efforts by the patient mods who take their time to explain their actions, and the MeFites who write out their views and experiences. {{hugs}} aren't enough, but that and my gratitude are all I can share through text.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:37 AM on September 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


You feel strongly enough about something to comment about/against it

Right. You invested your non-renewable resource, time, into this communication. You cared enough to write it down. Maybe you worked at it, maybe you just barfed up some half-baked junk. But it was yours - of course you care. And we, as humans, are hard-wired to care about what we perceive as fairness. Hopefully that understanding evolves in the time since we're crapping ourselves, but our little monkey minds screech at us when we perceive an imbalance.

None of which means maybe people shouldn't think twice about how they react to these things, but wondering why someone cares - via a message you cared enough to post - never made any sense to me.
posted by phearlez at 9:15 AM on September 21, 2015 [3 favorites]


I completely understand it's emotionally draining for people who end up reiterating the same points made against the theme of the deleted comment, but I think there's still people who learn from these threads.

As someone who is emotionally drained and exhausted by just by reading (let alone participating in) these conversations, where women's existence as a class is blithely tossed around and discussed with clinical distance just as it is in the rest of world politics and religion and society and culture, I feel like the cost of these threads is currently much, much greater than the presumed benefit. Maybe it wasn't five or six or ten years ago, but in 2015, yeah, I think it is.

When it comes to telling a dude that what he said is sexist, on MeFi just as it is in life, chances are slim that he will even attempt to see the matter from any point of view but his own. Even lower are the chances that he might consider his blind spot w/r/t sexist microaggressions as likely to be the result of his being, you know, a man. But chances are very high that he will double-, triple-, and quadruple-down and want to tell everyone how wrong they are for believing that what he said was sexist. Usually this comes in the form of "why are you calling me a sexist? it's not like I'm talking about taking away women's right to vote" or "what I said can't be sexist, I have a mother/daughter/wife/female co-worker and I think she's great." And then, no matter how gentle women are in explaining why he is wrong, or how "what you said was sexist" is not equivalent to "you are a sexist person," the usual suspects will come in to ask whether we've considered whether or not we are simply overreacting to imagined slights.

We've already had a ton of these "who, me? I'm not sexist at all, deleting my perfectly reasonable comment was unfair censorship" MeTas, including one where the OP was moaning about the deletion of one of his comments, which compared a woman on the green who had asked about staying friends with a man after he had expressed romantic feelings for her to a literal rapist. (Fun fact: That woman was me.) At this point, I can't imagine that we're experiencing anything but diminishing returns.

So when I watch it happening again and again and again, I'm like, how much more endlessly patient hand-holding and tip-toeing do women need to do here? And I'm coming to the sad conclusion that the answer is, "All of it, always, same as it ever was."
posted by divined by radio at 9:17 AM on September 21, 2015 [58 favorites]


The first podcast of Mark Maron's I tried to listen to was him with a woman actor as his guest, and part of his improvised ad copy was that people could use the sexual aids being advertised to masturbate to her. Every time since I've thought of listening to his show, I've remembered that and fell physically ill, and thus not been able to continue. He was clearly, otherwise, thinking of her as a person - and a person he liked and admired - but the impulse a lot of men have to communicate that women exist as fantasy masturbatory objects remains and is so freaking pervasive it makes me sick.

I listen to a ton of comedy podcasts and find this dynamic very frustrating. In my experience, it's hard to find examples of male hosts that don't sexualize their comedy with female guests and it's quite rare for that to happen with an all male show. Even someone like Jesse Thorn, who wouldn't dream of sexualizing a female guest on Bullseye, will do it with a female guest on Jordan Jesse Go-not like Maron and guys like him will, but he'll do it. There's probably a social science dissertation lurking.

I have a lot of other thoughts about sexism in podcasting but I have a lot of work to do, buy me a beer sometime and I'll tell you them.
posted by Kwine at 9:20 AM on September 21, 2015 [3 favorites]


On the other hand, dbr, it seems like someone almost always tantrum-buttons out so maybe there are some returns. I'm not sure whether the decrease is faster than the increase, though.
posted by phearlez at 9:21 AM on September 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


Someone with free time and artsy graphical design skills should create an Officially Ridiculous seal.

dozo
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 9:57 AM on September 21, 2015 [34 favorites]


Haha!
posted by Omnomnom at 10:27 AM on September 21, 2015


I still think there is some value to these conversations. Maybe not to the same old people who dig their heels in and double-down on their position, but for the silent spectators (Deoridhe put it nicely above). I know I have learned a ton over the years, and continue to learn, from just reading people explain things over and over (I'm grateful to all of you people, wherever you are), and I have also changed my mind on a few things. And I've seen other people (both men and women) commenting in various threads to say the same thing. A lot of women get exhausted by it and I don't blame them one bit, because I get exhausted too. I haven't yet gotten to the point where I just say "fuck it" and opt out, but I know a lot of women have, and I think it's a real loss to the rest of the us when that happens.

(A big part of the reason I'm willing to stay in the conversations is without a doubt because of the moderation and the fact that rude and nasty comments in a contentious topic generally aren't allowed to stand. It's a LOT less emotionally draining for me when a discussion is kept civil.)
posted by triggerfinger at 10:31 AM on September 21, 2015 [5 favorites]


The banner looks bitmapped, maybe redraw in a vector format? :)
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:31 AM on September 21, 2015 [3 favorites]


I used the Wand tool for the banner, ergo why it needs cleaning around the edges.

That's right, Wand. In GIMP. You're dealing with a graphic design wizard over here.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 10:34 AM on September 21, 2015 [4 favorites]


dozo

Your sealmotional labor is very appreciated!
posted by Drastic at 10:34 AM on September 21, 2015 [8 favorites]


Can we get an official take on the use of GIMP among members? Isn't it bad for their health or the cause of puppies being kicked or something?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:37 AM on September 21, 2015


maybe redraw in a vector format? :)

Graphic artists gotta graphic.
posted by valkane at 10:38 AM on September 21, 2015


For you, Brandon: as clean as I'm willing to make this ridiculous seal.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 10:44 AM on September 21, 2015 [5 favorites]


Ah, thank you, so much better.

Now what about the font, are we happy with that? REALLY happy?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:48 AM on September 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


I liked the bitmappy banner edge better for this purpose. Every white pixel is a tiny light of pure irony.
posted by mochapickle at 10:48 AM on September 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


GIMP won't even let me have Impact. How am I supposed to have fancy olde timey medieval fonts? Make an offering at an altar to Richard Stallman?
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 10:50 AM on September 21, 2015


> Now what about the font, are we happy with that? REALLY happy?

Ridiculously happy.
posted by Too-Ticky at 10:50 AM on September 21, 2015 [5 favorites]


divined by radio: As someone who is emotionally drained and exhausted by just by reading (let alone participating in) these conversations, where women's existence as a class is blithely tossed around and discussed with clinical distance just as it is in the rest of world politics and religion and society and culture, I feel like the cost of these threads is currently much, much greater than the presumed benefit. Maybe it wasn't five or six or ten years ago, but in 2015, yeah, I think it is.

Thanks, dbr. I'll shut up now.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:31 AM on September 21, 2015


Can we make that seal banner officially official? Like, add it to the wiki or something?
Or would that be too meanspirited?
posted by Omnomnom at 11:46 AM on September 21, 2015


It might be officially meanspirited.
posted by Drastic at 11:48 AM on September 21, 2015 [4 favorites]


And yet, oddly, not officially ridiculous.
posted by Etrigan at 11:50 AM on September 21, 2015 [3 favorites]


Who is the keeper of the seal? And how do we decide when to apply it?
posted by nubs at 11:50 AM on September 21, 2015


SEALENCED ALL MY LIFE
posted by phunniemee at 12:21 PM on September 21, 2015 [20 favorites]


You don't have to harp on about it.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 12:28 PM on September 21, 2015 [10 favorites]


Who is the keeper of the seal? And how do we decide when to apply it?

Who will check to make sure that it's being output properly, according to the style manual?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:29 PM on September 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


Ask The Walrus?
posted by mochapickle at 12:59 PM on September 21, 2015


koo koo kachoo
posted by phearlez at 1:20 PM on September 21, 2015


You don't have to harp on about it.

Harping on about things is what we do here on the grey. Try not to harbor a grudge; a leopard won't change its spots. At least they aren't posting pictures of elephants.

As for the rest of this MeTa: This will Weddell.
posted by jedicus at 1:24 PM on September 21, 2015 [12 favorites]


I am not proud of that comment. No, wait, the other thing.
posted by jedicus at 1:24 PM on September 21, 2015 [4 favorites]


I was the walrus - Paul wasn't the walrus! I was just saying that to be nice, but I was actually the walrus!
posted by languagehat at 1:25 PM on September 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


Ridiculous seals? AsMe has the question, eh answer.
posted by Namlit at 1:36 PM on September 21, 2015


I listen to a ton of comedy podcasts and find this dynamic very frustrating. In my experience, it's hard to find examples of male hosts that don't sexualize their comedy with female guests and it's quite rare for that to happen with an all male show.

The only almost-always-all-male podcast I listen to that I haven't skipped at least once due to sexim is the Cracked Podcast, which baffles me since it's almost always mostly white men and they call out sexism and racist REGULARLY. Like... all the times I would. It baffles me and makes me very happy. At this point, I half continue listening to it because it's so reassuring to know some white men get it. In my personal activism, I'm trying to put more of an emphasis on positivity and encouraging things because otherwise I get depressed.
posted by Deoridhe at 1:50 PM on September 21, 2015 [21 favorites]


"That's right, Wand. In GIMP. You're dealing with a graphic design wizard over here."

People who can whip out shit that looks decent in GIMP are indeed wizards. (I kid a little, since my memory of using it is that it has an odd handful of things that it does better than Photoshop, but that the controls tend toward the abstruse rather than the intuitive — maybe because by now Photoshop is so crufty that it also has kinda crappy controls for a lot of things, so GIMP folks don't have a good model for what intuitive graphic design software should feel like.

(Something else that's kind of a shame is that though I know there are a bunch of scripts and plugins for GIMP, they're almost always a hunt to find the right ones — integrating an easily accessible repository of crowdsourced plugins and filters within the GIMP interface itself would be something that could improve the utility a lot, but doesn't seem to be on anyone's radar. It used to improve Photoshop's utility, but Adobe makes sure to break everything for no apparent benefit every couple of years, so there's no guarantee that some macro to apply batch film filters will still necessarily work with whatever project you're on.)

"Who will check to make sure that it's being output properly, according to the style manual?"

My Christ, lemme tell you about the time that State Farm finally decided that they gave a shit about the award they'd sponsored for like three years and started freaking the fuck out that their logo didn't have the required distance between it and text ON A WEBSITE BECAUSE THEY MEASURED IN INCHES. Once we got it to their dumbass specs on whatever fucking monitor they must have been using back at their office, we get a frantic email that it's wrong on the mobile site because it's too close again! After a bit of back and forth, I just told my bosses that the request they were making didn't make sense at all, and got chewed out for not having the web design expertise to be able to fix the problem. About a week later, some poor designer down in their bowels had been contacted about it and sent another style guide that had digital requirements and was like, "I don't understand what they mean about it being too close, it's more than enough pixels away," and I was like, "Dude, how do you not poison all of your bosses?" and they were like, "How do you not poison all of yours?" and then we had that mutual internet sigh and I remembered that I was only the web designer because everyone else had left.

"I listen to a ton of comedy podcasts and find this dynamic very frustrating. In my experience, it's hard to find examples of male hosts that don't sexualize their comedy with female guests and it's quite rare for that to happen with an all male show."

I hear it as less a problem with sexualization and more a problem with objectification — tons and tons of male comedian banter is sexualized; there are tons of routines that are basically just "This is how I jerk off! Isn't it shameful!" And there are plenty of women doing similar routines — there's certainly enough background radiation around female sexuality that they're not likely to run out of material any time soon. Where it gets ugh — and I think I tried to start Maron on the same episode, since I remember the same "Fuck this" feeling — is that so many guys, both comedians and in general, only relate to women in the context of sexuality as objects, not subjects, so instead of being able to have a conversation where it's assumed that every comedian has weird sex issues, it's making the woman the object of those weird sex issues rather than a partner in joking about them. If all you're interested in about a person is that they get your dick hard, why bother interviewing them? Why even tell them that? Whereas the presumption of heteronormativity means that at least when guy comedians do sexualize each other, there's a joke there; when it's aimed at women, it's just a weird literal confession that doesn't leave the woman with any natural setup for riffing on it. There are ways to make that funny, but it's really hard and really rare that you hear it pulled off well, and usually when it is it's because the woman is the lead writer.
posted by klangklangston at 2:14 PM on September 21, 2015 [6 favorites]


Something else that's kind of a shame is that though I know there are a bunch of scripts and plugins for GIMP, they're almost always a hunt to find the right ones — integrating an easily accessible repository of crowdsourced plugins and filters within the GIMP interface itself would be something that could improve the utility a lot, but doesn't seem to be on anyone's radar.

I'm using 2.8.10 at the moment, have been using it since 1.X, and can report GIMP has come a very long way in terms of usability and options. But the plugin problem still remains. And I still don't know why Impact disappeared from the default fonts. Cracking down on bad image macros maybe? Who can say.

The only almost-always-all-male podcast I listen to that I haven't skipped at least once due to sexism is the Cracked Podcast

You know, if someone used the words "Cracked Podcast" together in any other context I would likely dismiss it out of hand. I'm glad to hear they're well ahead of the game in this area anyway.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 2:24 PM on September 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


so many guys, both comedians and in general, only relate to women in the context of sexuality as objects, not subjects, so instead of being able to have a conversation where it's assumed that every comedian has weird sex issues, it's making the woman the object of those weird sex issues rather than a partner in joking about them.

This is a very astute observation, and nicely delineates some of the things I've felt very uncomfortable and uneasy about with some "edge" comedy. Thank you!
posted by KathrynT at 2:35 PM on September 21, 2015 [7 favorites]


they call out sexism and racist REGULARLY. Like... all the times I would. It baffles me and makes me very happy.

Deoridhe you might also be interested in I Don't Even Own A Television, a quite funny podcast about bad books where the hosts regularly call out sexist/racist/colonialist/etc content.
posted by trunk muffins at 3:13 PM on September 21, 2015 [9 favorites]


We got seals!
posted by clavdivs at 4:18 PM on September 21, 2015


And badges. Don't remember the creator of this beauty, but +1 whoever you were.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 5:04 PM on September 21, 2015 [7 favorites]


The only almost-always-all-male podcast I listen to that I haven't skipped at least once due to sexism is the Cracked Podcast

You know, if someone used the words "Cracked Podcast" together in any other context I would likely dismiss it out of hand.


Same. But I listened to half of the recent Benjamin Franklin one (they're long) on my way home from work tonight and I really liked it. Glad to have another podcast to add to my lineup!
posted by triggerfinger at 5:35 PM on September 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


[If nothing else is achieved in this thread, I would just like to thank trunk muffins and Deoridhe for the podcast recommendations. I have the same issues with a lot of very popular ones, and it bums me out.]
posted by ltracey at 6:23 PM on September 21, 2015 [5 favorites]


I always come to these threads late (because I don't check MeTa every day) and somehow I feel compelled to read through them, even though I don't have any specific dog in this fight and there's not much to be gained but aggravation. Masochistic I guess. Really I think I just want to understand where we are as a site and if we're making progress or not. I think we are, but it so often feels like a two-steps-forward-three-steps-back sort of thing.

I know we'll never get to a point where casual sexism/racism/hurfdurfism/othering is Fixed on Metafilter™, but I wish we could someday get to a point where we could metaphorically throw up some kind of Mission Accomplished banner so that maybe some of the folks who've thrown up their hands and left in disgust in the meantime will think about coming back. Every time I see somebody button in one of these threads, I feel like that's a failure of all of us. It's a loss for all of us, certainly; one more voice lost along the way and missing from the conversation. I wish we could do better than this.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 6:46 PM on September 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


I really miss some of the people who have quit. My guess is that they are getting so much of this shit IRL that that they don't need any more.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 7:15 PM on September 21, 2015 [3 favorites]


Deoridhe you might also be interested in I Don't Even Own A Television, a quite funny podcast about bad books where the hosts regularly call out sexist/racist/colonialist/etc content.

OMG THEY JUST DID FLOWERS IN THE ATTIC I LOVE SNARK ON FLOWERS IN THE ATTIC thanksfortherec

( Since we're recommending podcasts - highly recommend The Read, Another Round, Metis in Space, Rocket, Isometric, Spawn on Me, Unconsoleable, Fresh Out of Tokens, Less Than or Equal, Isometric, Rachel & Miles X-Plain the X-Men, and Rocket. I'm currently trying out Chromatic Life, Belabored by Dissent, Switched on Pop, and Popaganda, but haven't heard enough to make a solid recommendation. I have personal reasons to love Anglo-Filles, but the audio quality will bug some people. FanBros is a really mixed bag; I tend to end up skipping the all male lineups a lot (due to either boredom or sexism) but they have several women associated with the show who are wonderful and some of the episodes are fantastic. )
posted by Deoridhe at 7:42 PM on September 21, 2015 [9 favorites]


Ooh, are we talking podcasts now? Because I recently discovered Food News on Deadspin and I am really enjoying it. David Jacoby and Juliet Litman talking for 15 minutes about all the new food news of the week. They're very entertaining. Highly recommended.
posted by triggerfinger at 8:02 PM on September 21, 2015 [3 favorites]


I don't mean to turn this pleasant derail back to the unpleasantness of the thread in general, but I finally had a chance to read the whole thing, and I just wanted to add my support to the idea that MetaTalk posts about deletions of offensive comments often end up just as bad, if not worse, for the community than the hurtful comments that spark them, and I agree that there should be a higher bar for letting them through the queue. I think it's probably worth discussing more fully in it's own MeTa, separate from discussion on any specific deletion. Perhaps one of the mods would be willing to post it, so that no individual user or users becomes the focus of the post?
posted by Rock Steady at 8:25 AM on September 22, 2015 [19 favorites]


Oh, I like that idea, Rock Steady. Second! And that will bring the topic up to members of the community who didn't want to stick around for the schadenfreude or the fight, too. That way we could have a discussion that is more likely to reach everyone.
posted by sciatrix at 8:49 AM on September 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


Post deletions officially getting ridiculous.
Entertainingly so.
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:12 AM on September 23, 2015


I also wonder, if aside from having a generally higher bar for these kinds of comment deletion MeTas, it might be worth considering having some sort of cooling off period before they get posted. Like, a user submits their comment deletion post to the queue, and then a mod could give them the option of either talking about it via the contact form with the mod right away (particularly if the goal is to find a way to repost it), or if they think it needs to be a MeTa they need to wait for 72 hours (or whatever) and then if the poster still wants it to get posted, they can contact the mods to tell them to put it through.

I just think that a lot of times there's this desire for the instant gratification of having your outrage be validated or at least broadcasted to everyone, but maybe if posters have to wait a couple days or a week, it just won't seem that important any more. And if it still does seem that important, then it gets put through assuming the mods think it's okay to be posted.

During this cooling off period, the poster would also have a chance to do revisions (if mods think that's necessary). They also could be encouraged to go through and read some of the previous silenced all my life posts (maybe we could collect some in the wiki), and they can see just how poorly these usually go. Ideally, they would consider whether there is anything that differentiates their post from all these other posts that go terribly, although maybe that's too much to hope for.

After wading through this whole thread, I figured I'd throw this out there, although I apologize if it's been discussed elsewhere, and I missed that. This might also be something we could discuss if we have a MeTa devoted to this issue, as suggested above by Rock Steady.
posted by litera scripta manet at 12:29 PM on September 23, 2015 [5 favorites]


I think that something like that would help, but probably that it should be an informal thing.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 1:23 PM on September 23, 2015


...which is to say that it should just be part of the suggested feedback (per earlier comments) that the mods give people when they make MeTa deletion-complaint posts. As in the case of this post, that may not help as many people will just want to go ahead -- I can see why it would need to be an automatic thing. I dunno. This is all pretty complicated and all suggested solutions will have follow-on complications, but it does seem to me (and to others) that raising the bar for these kinds of posts/threads is something we should seriously consider.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 1:28 PM on September 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


Select twelve random Mefites to review the (anonymized) post and deleted comment. Deletee reads their (anonymous) feedback and then decides whether to proceed to MeTa.

Doesn't help with people just trying to stir shit up, but would give the deletee a chance to dip their toe in the water.
posted by stebulus at 5:03 PM on September 23, 2015 [4 favorites]


Sortition has a long and useful history, I concur.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:15 PM on September 23, 2015


One idea for helping out with problems with MetaTalks from “good” users vanishing into the ether would be for the mods return to the user when timing is better and actively solicit them to resubmit the MetaTalk.
posted by Going To Maine at 3:26 PM on September 25, 2015


Yeah, and I've informally done that a couple times, but it may be something we need to develop a slightly more robust practice for. One of the wrinkles of the queue that we didn't really deal with previously. Generally speaking I think folks have been pretty good with following up but there's definitely stuff that feels like it's more fallen through the cracks than explicitly been disclaimed later as "eh, I'm over it" (which has happened a few times as well).
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:20 PM on September 25, 2015


If we're going to allow grar-y, indignant "why was my post/ask/comment deleted" posts on MeTa, I think there should at least be a multi-day, perhaps even a week, cooling off period before those posts are allowed through the queue. It would give the person asking why some time to cool off and confirm that they really want to take this path. It would also remove the immediate gratification that bad-faith actors get from rehashing and end-running.

It's possible to be transparent while still keeping a buffer between new users or bad actors and the general populace.
posted by i feel possessed at 8:04 AM on September 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


I don't have a ton to add, but i just wanted to cast another vote of displeasure for this post making it through the queue, AND for the "hey maybe this shouldn't be a pile on of Trochanter" mod note.

If we're going to allow vague and almost immediately adversarial/fighty presented shitposts like this to go through then whoever posted them better be ready to put on a blast helmet.

The proxy discussion of sexist junkposts was lame, but shielding an OP looking for a fight from the correctly placed, IMO, anger of the rest of the posters is dumb. It feels like letting one kid pour juice on the rest of the kids of the table then stopping them from retaliating almost instantly.

I not only agree with the point about allowing proxy presentations of sexist bullshit and essentially a mega-derail about it being draining, but also that this kind of meta just shouldn't go through?

I know almost no metas that get through the queue get deleted, so there's no real point in flagging them, but i guess i'm going to refresh the grey more often so i can call bullshit bullshit when it first pops up.

I really miss some of the people who have quit. My guess is that they are getting so much of this shit IRL that that they don't need any more.

I really miss norareed and hope she comes back, and a lot of other people who have left since i plugged in my $5. Sometimes i look at older threads and realize just how many people bailed before we shaped on these sorts of issues.

Why do pleas for diversity and learning and openness and community always appear in threads in which men have been taken to task for sexism? Why is "diversity" always the code word for "we should be allowed to call women sluts if we want to"? Why do people always bring up "learning about other points of view" when they mean "i want to say nasty shit about people who are different from me without being censured"?

And this is why this thread should never have been allowed to get through the filter.

What the hell is the point of a queue if an almost blank shitpost can get through? That concept, that you're calling out there, is the entire purpose of this stupid silenced all my life thread. What, and whom, does that actually serve? It's basically the Sad Puppies party line BS.
posted by emptythought at 4:27 PM on September 26, 2015 [7 favorites]


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