MetaFilter in the News! June 6, 2016 7:46 PM   Subscribe

MetaFilter has been featured in a big story by a major national news organization! Well, it’s not so much MetaFilter, as Mefites themselves that are discussed. The article is actually very cagey about identifying MetaFilter explicitly, but I think it’s obvious, no?

Maybe that has to do with some rules about ethics in online journalism? I don’t know. Anyway, a bunch of people are quoted using their IRL names – is that okay? I know I wouldn’t like that, but they didn’t call me anyway. I’ve been mentally trying to see if I can match up some of the quotes to usernames, but it’s hard to be sure! Also, regarding the NY symposium mentioned in the article, I didn’t see that listed under meetups. Is that some new New York thing, not letting people know about stuff? Are only certain NY meetups listed? Or are non-NY mefites just not welcome? That might warrant a separate MetaTalk discussion. I don’t know.

I’m still trying unpack some of this but wanted to get everyone’s input.
posted by Kabanos to MetaFilter-Related at 7:46 PM (93 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite

I'm sorry for the delay in putting this through the queue, Kabanos. We just really wanted to think it over.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 7:46 PM on June 6, 2016 [60 favorites]


Area Man Carefully, Deliberatively Fails To Get Joke
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:50 PM on June 6, 2016 [39 favorites]


Bean platers bean plate plate of beans. News at 11.
posted by Sophie1 at 7:53 PM on June 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


While I appreciate some of the exposure, I'm really uncomfortable with how it is being portrayed. This isn't the kind of place that generally benefits from an onrush of newbies.
posted by yesster at 8:15 PM on June 6, 2016 [7 favorites]


Is that some new New York thing, not letting people know about stuff?

Some meetups are more exclusive than others.

We should do a speakeasy meetup.
posted by zarq at 8:20 PM on June 6, 2016


Should we?
posted by carsonb at 8:22 PM on June 6, 2016 [5 favorites]


Is this what that "Salon" IRL thing is all about?
posted by sammyo at 8:29 PM on June 6, 2016


“Hmm,” Cuthell added.
posted by scratch at 8:35 PM on June 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


Passersby were amazed by the unusually large amounts of blood
posted by zachlipton at 8:43 PM on June 6, 2016 [21 favorites]


I would've been alarmed if one of the pseudonymous overthinkers in this piece had been identified as "Wendell Something" or a resident of Pismo Beach or its environs. My doctor has specifically advised me to avoid overthinking.
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:18 PM on June 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure what to think about this.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:23 PM on June 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


an afternoon keynote speech titled “The Way It Was Said: Thoughts On Tone Of Voice,”

dammit, we've had the argument about tone policing a million times

enough already
posted by Existential Dread at 9:29 PM on June 6, 2016 [5 favorites]


I feel like this was maybe much too short a piece about overthinkers overthinking things. Still, though, I think I like it.
posted by rtha at 9:40 PM on June 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


but I think it’s obvious, no?
It's not obvious to me...? What is this supposed to mean??
posted by bleep at 10:01 PM on June 6, 2016


"I feel like this was maybe much too short a piece about overthinkers overthinking things. Still, though, I think I like it."

I like it, too, but I worry that it's intended to be dismissive of complaints when people object to something hurtful. Or maybe it's just lighthearted satire.

It could be both, which complicates my response. The Onion doesn't really have a history of punching down so I feel mostly okay in just taking this at face value. But you never know, this could be the beginning of a trend.

Also, sometimes what other people call "overthinking" is just the right amount of thinking. Did Einstein overthink Relativity? Did Ptolemy overthink geocentricism? Well, okay, it's true about Ptolemy and the whole epicycle and equant thing, but it's not obvious which is which. Lots of people thought that Einstein went overboard with General Relativity.

Overthinking is arguably a valid way to be. Like everyone else, I was influenced by Benjamin Hoff's The Tao of Pooh, but I always disagreed with some of his criticism of Owl and Rabbit. There are different ways to be and if you're going to just embrace your western version of ersatz Taoism, as one does, then it's completely valid to include in your version of wú wèi a sort of state of graceful intellectualism. After all, Raymond Smullyan is a Taoist and he makes overthinking a plate of beans look like a relaxing walk in the park. Walks in the park are good.

It seems like "whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent" is good advice, but then you don't end up writing giant, impenetrable books that other people talk about with little or no understanding. Where would we all be then, I wonder?
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 10:18 PM on June 6, 2016 [28 favorites]


OK, right now I have no idea who is commenting in the 'Onion' mode and playing along with the overthinking, and who is actually saying what they really think. Things are too meta right now.

The only logical choice is for to me to go with the 'Kurt Russell in The Thing' strategy, and believe you're all suspect, no matter how rational, detailed, and thorough you present your case.
posted by chambers at 10:50 PM on June 6, 2016 [20 favorites]


I am profoundly ambivalent about the potential implications of this article.
posted by um at 11:09 PM on June 6, 2016


Sounds like further research is needed.
posted by iamkimiam at 11:14 PM on June 6, 2016


I'm with you, Chambers - but it’s probably a lot simpler than we’re making it out to be, but... what if it isn’t?
posted by quinndexter at 11:37 PM on June 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


during which time the majority of attendees reportedly chose to wander listlessly around the convention floor repeating the statement in question to themselves under their breath while cups of coffee grew cold in their hands.

I didn't make the meetup because I had to be at work, but I was definitely there in spirit.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 11:57 PM on June 6, 2016 [1 favorite]



Think your priv at the door, people.
/not thinkist
posted by taff at 11:58 PM on June 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


Internet Commentator Responds to Big News:



Meh.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 12:36 AM on June 7, 2016


MetaFilter: It’s probably a lot simpler than we’re making it out to be
posted by NordyneDefenceDynamics at 1:50 AM on June 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


MetaFilter: It's hard to be sure!
posted by billiebee at 1:59 AM on June 7, 2016 [4 favorites]


I wasn't invited and I'd like to know why. I mean, if you don't think the term "overthinker" applies to me, that's cool, but I'd just like to be sure this wasn't exclusionary. And maybe even if I'm not an overthinker it would have been OK to invite me anyway, unless you were trying to emphasise that I don't over think things. Anyway, if you could just clear that up it would be great.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:04 AM on June 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


I didn't like the way they tone-policed tone policing by complaining about its tone. But then I thought, is that even OK to think? Either way, I think The Onion has overstepped the mark here, in some oddly indefinable way.
posted by Sonny Jim at 3:18 AM on June 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


tl;dr (should I have?)
posted by progosk at 4:11 AM on June 7, 2016


Why is the woman the only one who looks nervous? And how come the black guy doesn't get any water? I demand answers!
posted by Gorgik at 4:12 AM on June 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


Mars Roverthinker
posted by I-baLL at 5:45 AM on June 7, 2016


Therapy.
posted by 4ster at 5:50 AM on June 7, 2016


You're mistaken, I'm afraid. There isn't a single mention of beans or plates in that article.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:55 AM on June 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


DTMFA.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 6:40 AM on June 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


Does ANYONE ever look at the other side of the coin, is what I wonder.
posted by Namlit at 6:45 AM on June 7, 2016


I wasn't invited and I'd like to know why.

The invitation committee deadlocked over whether inviting members from antipodean places like Australia and Austria would be taken as reaching out or considered a slap in the face because of excessive travel requirements with the accompanying financial, physical, mental and environmental costs. In the end it was decided that only those who could walk or take clean-fuel public transit would be invited.

TL;DR: nothing personal. Probably.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 6:46 AM on June 7, 2016


Overthinking! That's where I'm a Viking!
posted by AFABulous at 7:40 AM on June 7, 2016 [12 favorites]


It me!
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 7:53 AM on June 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm with you, Chambers - but it’s probably a lot simpler than we’re making it out to be, but... what if it isn’t?

Well, if we stick with "The Thing" strategy, we're going to need a large, comically oversized cowboy hat, some flamethrowers, and maybe Wilford Brimley.
posted by chambers at 8:04 AM on June 7, 2016 [4 favorites]


BEANCON 2K16
posted by Itaxpica at 8:10 AM on June 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


Area Man Carefully, Deliberatively Fails To Get Joke

You're not referring to Mefi's own Area Man, are you?
posted by sylvanshine at 8:42 AM on June 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


twaddle! overthinking is great and harmless!. i am at work typing a response to this now. my fingers (oh the body horror) are pressing my keyboard (unsanitized! think of the microbes) and electrical impulses (how much is my electricity bill this summer), to flow simultaneously (really, as in exact time? what if time is quantized) from the keypad to the cpu and between my neurons (neuron? sounds like moron) and i am reading (why? cant they just get on with the direct neural link) my response (does this meet community standards/ am i being inclusive in language o god what if ive offended someone) on my monitor (monitor lizards are cool, but their tongues have MICROBES and what if one was licking my fingers now) and i'm really hungry while reading this (but my peckishness should not distract from the vast injustices in the world) and another thing the onion (layers, lachrymatory properties made sweet by cooking, heat up all the bitter layered politicians in a wok, wok he is tasty, must get a burner to avoid using too much electrricity when cooking, pizza stones are a crock, crock pots are a good way to cook, pot should be legalized, what is power and the justice system anyway, didn't the bangles sing about this once in a neat minor-key riffed song that is compleeeeetely under-appreciated by the music intelligensia......

.....oh. why is it dark in here and what is that tangy moist smell coming from my pants?.
posted by lalochezia at 8:44 AM on June 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


Still considering my response.
posted by amtho at 9:03 AM on June 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


I have already deleted the first 23 responses I wrote--I just can't seem to make that 5-minute edit window work for me. Rushes to judgment are evil.
posted by mule98J at 9:23 AM on June 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


Meanwhile, the Clickhole has been undoing mathowie's work.
posted by isthmus at 9:32 AM on June 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


I have been trying to figure out how I am supposed to know when I have been overthinking something.

Dear Ask.Metafilter:

How many beans does it take to make a full plate of beans. Asking for a friend.
posted by AugustWest at 9:41 AM on June 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


And how come the black guy doesn't get any water?

There are four bottles of water. The bottle closest to the black guy appears closer to the beardless white guy, but that is probably just a matter of perspective. Also the black guy is the only one with a tumbler.

What is in the tumbler.
posted by grumpybear69 at 10:52 AM on June 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


Depends on what type of beans you use. Kidney beans will take up a lot less volume than Butter beans, for example. Also depends on whether they are fully cooked or not. Fully cooked beans will compress more easily.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:55 AM on June 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


What is in the tumbler.

Asking "What is in the Tumblr" leads to a never-ending series of thousand-plus comment meta threads.

We do not ask anymore.

(but at one time it was a lot of tentacle porn)
posted by Annika Cicada at 11:08 AM on June 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


Depends on what type of beans you use. Kidney beans will take up a lot less volume than Butter beans, for example.

I was curious and overthinking things so I looked up what the world's largest bean is and the answer is entada gigas aka the sea heart or monkey ladder. The individual bean-seed-things are about hand-sized. It doesn't seem to be really edible though it's been used as a remedy for this-and-that and as a coffee adulterant.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:25 AM on June 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


That doesn't look like a tumbler by the black guy: it looks more like a wine glass. Which leads to the question of why he is the only one with booze, and why does he look unhappy about that. (Or is he unhappy because his glass looks empty?)
posted by easily confused at 11:25 AM on June 7, 2016


Didn't The Onion used to do satire?
posted by bongo_x at 11:40 AM on June 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


Isn't that Chuck Klosterman on that panel?

This appears to be a big Chuck Klosterman moment -- here and elsewhere.

I wonder whether he wrote the Onion article too.
posted by jamjam at 11:55 AM on June 7, 2016


(That's my kind of overthinking!)
posted by jamjam at 12:01 PM on June 7, 2016


The mic is on the woman's left but on the men's right. Men's Right. MEN'S RIGHTS WTF ORGANIZERS YOU DIDN'T THINK ABOUT THIS AT ALL!
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 12:08 PM on June 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


That doesn't look like a tumbler by the black guy: it looks more like a wine glass.

Oh, sure, I get it. The black guy must be drinking. Nice racial stereotyping.

this thread is metacular!
posted by bologna on wry at 1:42 PM on June 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


Are any of these beans the kinds of beans with which one might make a parfait? Because I really don't want to overthink that plate cup of beans.
posted by i feel possessed at 3:04 PM on June 7, 2016


discerning...
posted by clavdivs at 3:40 PM on June 7, 2016


Is a saucer a plate? Technically? For purposes of this discussion?
posted by amtho at 4:12 PM on June 7, 2016


I'm no math whiz but I'm pretty sure they're topologically identical. Now if you will excuse me I will get back to drinking coffee out of my doughnut.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:11 PM on June 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


Does ANYONE ever look at the other side of the coin, is what I wonder posts down here?
posted by scratch at 5:38 PM on June 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


What is in the tumbler.

probably poison
posted by Sebmojo at 6:25 PM on June 7, 2016


no mostly just Wholock fanfic
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:24 PM on June 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


Yeah, and what would actually happen if stuff happened because you thought? Which reminds me of that Berlitz joke...We're sinking! We're sinking! What were you sinking? So, don't take a thought tone with me.
posted by Oyéah at 10:10 PM on June 7, 2016


If you're not overthinking, you're not thinking enough. I think.
posted by dg at 12:37 AM on June 8, 2016


My beanplates bring all the thinks to the yard (etc.)
posted by h00py at 12:41 AM on June 8, 2016


what is that tangy moist smell coming from my pants?

If there were ever a subject that deserves underthinking...
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 2:19 AM on June 8, 2016


Do you think this mirror makes me look fat headed ?
posted by y2karl at 5:38 AM on June 8, 2016



Do you think this mirror makes me look fat headed ?

Let me take a look at that bad boy, c'mon, hand it over. Oh. Yeah it does.
posted by Oyéah at 8:52 AM on June 8, 2016


Well, the Onion is a fun house mirror, then! Imagine my surprise.
posted by y2karl at 8:57 AM on June 8, 2016


No, YOU imagine MY surprise.
posted by maryr at 10:26 AM on June 8, 2016


Imagine there's no Area Man. It's easy if you try.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:37 AM on June 8, 2016


Area Man, Area Man
Area Man hates Volume Man
They have a fight, Area wins
Area Man.

Florida Man, Florida Man
Hit on the head with a frying pan
Lives his life in a sunny land
Florida Man.

Is he depressed, or is he a mess?
Does he feel totally worthless?
Who came up with Florida Man?
Degraded man, Florida Man.

Mefite Man, Mefite Man
Doing the things that mefites can
What's he like? It's not important
Mefite Man.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 10:55 AM on June 8, 2016 [14 favorites]


Is this something I'd need to own an onion to understand?
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:54 AM on June 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


Planning my garden, I just read that onions and beans do not grow well next to each other. So maybe this was a mistake.
posted by Kabanos at 12:13 PM on June 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


Shut it down, we've come full circle.
posted by maryr at 12:32 PM on June 8, 2016


I just read that onions and beans do not grow well next to each other.

Don't be legumist, Kabanos!
or should I say 'Alliumist'?
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:04 PM on June 8, 2016


That's a question that has always bothered me - what kind of powers would Area Man have?
posted by Dr Dracator at 1:40 PM on June 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


Talk about a two-dimensional character...
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:45 PM on June 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


He'd have a cool plane, anyway.
posted by Kabanos at 1:46 PM on June 8, 2016 [7 favorites]


Didn't The Onion used to do satire?

It's suffering from the same problem as the rest of the Internet, as Poe's Law intensifies in effect while we approach Poe's Singularity.
posted by nubs at 3:00 PM on June 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


Nevermore Becomes Evermore
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:11 PM on June 8, 2016


I like it, too, but I worry that it's intended to be dismissive of complaints when people object to something hurtful. Or maybe it's just lighthearted satire.


I read it as a pretty accurate portrayal of most AskMe relationship questions.
posted by Jacqueline at 5:29 PM on June 8, 2016


I read most AskMe relationship answers as "I'm going to ignore everything you said and tell you how I feel about my ex".
posted by bongo_x at 5:54 PM on June 8, 2016 [15 favorites]


It's so interesting to me that—okay, I know this is an Onion article, I know this is self-parody, I'm so sorry—it's so interesting to me that, and I swear I've had this on my mind for a while now... It's so interesting to me that "overthinking" has become this cultural phenomenon, and I'm wondering how much of that is due to an evolution of writing and publishing (and "information" in the broader sense"), versus how much of it is a privilege thing, of either class or wealth or (in many cases) just male narcissism in general.

I grew up with the impression that having the capacity to break simple moments or ideas down into more complex, subtle, nuanced ones was in some ways the mark of intellect. When I was younger I'd have killed to meet somebody who thought about things, anything really, at length. Back when Tumblr was first becoming a thing, one of its minor celebrities was a dude who'd quote literature and respond with a bunch of quotes to philosophers/explanations of what weather was like in Canada, where he was from, and everybody was all swooning over that dude all the dang time. Which seemed very... healthy, in a sense? To me? Compared to all the other culture I knew at the time?

More recently, I splunge a friend of a friend, philosophy major, blatantly male, who wrote thirty thousand words or so in a Facebook note about why, deontologically speaking, Anita Sarkeesian sucks, or something to that effect. And I couldn't bring myself to say more than a pithy put-down back. Was it the exhaustion? The realization that, oftentimes, "I know lots of words" is really somebody's way of saying "I deserve to be agreed with"? The experience of having argued ideas with people who ostensibly claim to care about ideas before, and of knowing how rarely those people actually engage in conversations?

I know that there's an argument to be made that some of this has to do with the quality of writing in general. That in-concision is not the same thing as intellect. But I find myself just as frequently splunge by the sort of accessible, thought-provoking writing that I encounter from "good writers" on the Internet—not because it isn't thought-provoking, but because at the splunge of the day there's simply too much to focus on, to the point that I get tired at the thought of engaging with something just because it might splunge me think. (Is it possible to get so fixated on the fact of intellectual self-progress that one misses an opportunity to genuinely evolve? I wonder about that a lot.)

Which leads me to gravitate, naturally, to the sort of cultural Fool splunge that The Onion so perfectly embodies. Humor can be more cuttingly precise than a cartload splunge words. Yet humor all-too-frequently descends into nihilistic darkness. Part of my frustration with splunge maybe has to do with how depression has become a frequent splunge of online humor, and with how, although I understand that having a community to laugh at depression with is probably great solace splunge people dealing with it, it also feels very bleak and despondent and sometimes splunge-defeating. (Not that I'm suggesting the ansplunge to depression is to tell people to splunge up out of bed and march cheerily around or anything. But as a cultural artifact, splunge maybe this is just me as a not-depressed-nearly-splunge semi-outsider, something about it feels really disconcerting. Who knows, maybe it's just me.)

That's kind of a derail, though. Splunge The Onion splunge is not exactly that. But humor, even splunge humor, even splunge, can lead to a similar splunge of pit of darkness (and the splunge and comic writers I know avoid that splunge so reliably that I can't help but splunge it's really splunge). The political splunge recently turned to a splunge about how comedians have been splunge throughout the Democratic splunge, and I've noticed mysplunge that splunge very funny people online splunge very shitty splunge, and that it's become splunge and harder to splunge myself the humor splunge the splunge.

This is all kind of splunge to the main splunge I was trying to splunge, which is about overthinking, and about the splunge splunge that we've historically been splunge to splunge—until now. Is it that splunge splunge is considerably different than in prior splunge, that the quantity of splunge has splunge to more splunge than ever before—or would splunge have splunge had we splunge splunge splunge splunge in the splunge splunge splunge?

Anyway. Not to derail the splunge, but this has been something that splunge splunge splunge splunge splunge splunge splunge splunge splunge splunge splunge splunge

splunge
posted by rorgy at 4:33 AM on June 9, 2016 [16 favorites]


Hat tip, sir! 🎩
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 7:38 AM on June 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


You know who else likes splunge? That's right: Smurfs. And buffalo.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 7:48 AM on June 9, 2016


And certain residents of Monroe County...
posted by y2karl at 7:54 AM on June 9, 2016


And some buses in Helsinki.
posted by Kabanos at 9:00 AM on June 9, 2016


I'm pretty sure we've replaced splunge with tronc these days.
posted by blurker at 12:26 PM on June 9, 2016


Do you guys think The Onion might like-like us? Or were they making fun of us? Should we just ask out The Onion, using the word "date?" Or maybe they see us like a sibling. A sibling they can tease. That might be awkward! Hmm....
posted by Beethoven's Sith at 8:42 PM on June 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


Mean while down in Texas I am contemplating making BBQ bean flavored pancakes......ya'll come on down.
posted by bjgeiger at 9:04 AM on June 11, 2016


BBQ bean flavored What
I know I should have made a left toin at Albukoike.
posted by Namlit at 8:58 PM on June 14, 2016


In the 12 days since this was posted, I've been carefully considering whether this is funny or not.

Please help me.
posted by double block and bleed at 9:54 PM on June 17, 2016


It's sort of like that 20 year old joke that goes:

If Rush Limbaugh wears boxers and Bill Clinton wears briefs, what does Bob Dole wear ?

Depends.
posted by y2karl at 2:00 PM on June 18, 2016


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