Remember: Everyone needs a hug. January 6, 2017 7:24 AM   Subscribe

At the bottom of every post on MetaTalk thread is the topic of this post. Be kind to other Mefites and practice empathy.

It might be because of the US election, as well as other losses and hardships that 2016 brought, but I feel like there's an undercurrent of snarkiness on the site lately. It also seems like Mefites are lashing out at one another more often as of late. MetaFilter is better then this. Be kinder to each other, everyone.
posted by INFJ to Etiquette/Policy at 7:24 AM (48 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

Here's to kindness.

Last year was rough and the change of calendars doesn't change the prevailing conditions; a lot of folks are raw and tired and stressed and there's worrying news coming down the pipe every day, and so it's no mystery that folks find themselves a little more on edge, a little quicker to snap or snark or respond uncharitably at times. It's an understandable phenomenon. Everybody has bad moments.

But there's a lot of value in trying to help this place be a little more positive and a little less negative, in looking for the opportunity to reach out in commiseration or conciliation at moments where it wouldn't be hard to lapse in the opposite direction. To fight those bad moments off.

And for all that things have been tense and hard, I do see people do that here every day, and I want to say thanks for that. I see people manage to deescalate or reroute, see an extended hand of friendship or sympathy over the unsettled waters of a brewing dispute. It's not necessarily easy, but it's good. It's part of why I believe in and care about this place.

Look out for each other, as best you can. We're all in this together.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:32 AM on January 6 [28 favorites]


2017 needs to be the year of the hug.
posted by pizzakats708 at 8:05 AM on January 6 [6 favorites]


Last year was rough

As a pop star-hating fascist, I take issue with this statement.
posted by beerperson at 8:12 AM on January 6 [19 favorites]


Cortex said it better than I could.
posted by INFJ at 8:32 AM on January 6


I find myself going back to the quidnunc kid's Dear Hearts post when I am feeling down.

Hugs all around.
posted by blurker at 8:32 AM on January 6 [2 favorites]


*hugs MetaFilter*
posted by Fizz at 8:33 AM on January 6 [1 favorite]


this is a good post
posted by zutalors! at 8:37 AM on January 6 [1 favorite]


*hugs coffee cup*

OW! That's Hot!
posted by jonmc at 8:40 AM on January 6


As a pop star-hating fascist, I take issue with this statement.

OMG, Uncle Frank, is that you?!?
posted by briank at 8:49 AM on January 6 [1 favorite]


Hugs for all that wants them. If you don't want a hug, a high five instead. Or a respectful nod. Not everyone likes to be touched.

Appreciate everyone around this site so much.
posted by nubs at 8:50 AM on January 6 [3 favorites]


Y'all is good people.
posted by bondcliff at 8:57 AM on January 6


OMG, Uncle Frank, is that you?!?

Pass the goddam mashed potatoes brian
posted by beerperson at 8:59 AM on January 6 [10 favorites]


They're good potatoes Brent.

I think I'm doing this wrong.
posted by Etrigan at 9:14 AM on January 6 [20 favorites]


Potatoes Brent sounds like a hearty dish. Something caasserolesque, maybe.
posted by jonmc at 9:14 AM on January 6 [8 favorites]


I decided in 2017 to add to my daily prayer/meditation/talk to imaginary friends/YMMV that I carry peace, stability, and tolerance into the world. Like my boycott of Walmart, McDonalds, and the Bay, it probably doesn't change anything, but it makes me feel better.

(I've just realized that as a Canadian, living under a constitution that values "peace, order, and good government", I'm making a particularly Canadian prayer.)

MetaFilter: Probably doesn't change anything, but it makes me feel better
posted by angiep at 9:18 AM on January 6 [9 favorites]


*hugs desk cactus*

don't poke me
posted by strelitzia at 9:30 AM on January 6


I am being kind today by favouriting all comments which spell aluminium in the correct and proper manner. You know who you are.

Also - for Northern Hemisphere types going "Argh, it's so dark so early" - pointing out that sunset is happening later every day (and sunrise is getting earlier) and it's getting noticeable as the rate of day-on-day daylength difference increases. Pump your location into here for tables and whatnot. Bonus: the clocks go forward for daylight/sunshine evening boost in 11 weekends time in the UK - and just 9 weekends time in Canada and the USA. Yeah, a single digit number of weeks for you folks and then it's long daylight time.
posted by Wordshore at 9:33 AM on January 6 [12 favorites]


Aluminium.
posted by holborne at 9:37 AM on January 6 [4 favorites]


As long as I don't have to be nice to myself, I'm on board.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:40 AM on January 6 [1 favorite]


I went to school with Al U. Minium. Nice kid. Not exactly magnetic, IYKWIM, but he polished up nicely, and he was into absolutely everything.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:44 AM on January 6 [11 favorites]


But he was easily foiled.
posted by jonmc at 9:51 AM on January 6 [14 favorites]


And not transparent.
posted by Melismata at 9:53 AM on January 6 [5 favorites]


You would have loved him, jonmc. He was a total metalhead.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:54 AM on January 6 [5 favorites]


And yet a lightweight.
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 10:00 AM on January 6 [5 favorites]


In practice, this is hard because (to use a third example) people read "racist" and think it describes them, not an action. A commenter calls out another commenter's minimizing language and it can read as an attack. This can then become a series of complaints about having to review some 101 material.
(There is a tension between universal kindness and rejecting the status quo.)

I guess what I'm saying is comment kindly, but also read kindly, and read closely. And past more threads of cat pics.
posted by Going To Maine at 10:04 AM on January 6 [5 favorites]


I was shocked you missed the barenaked ladies song, Wordshore.
posted by INFJ at 10:06 AM on January 6 [1 favorite]


alumium
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 10:16 AM on January 6


Going To Maine: I am a big fan of assuming people had the best of intentions and basing my actions/comments off that. In our haste to be sensitive and inclusive we can sometimes be intolerable of honest mistakes or unrealized privileges.

That's why I specified the practice of empathy. It's easy to say you're being kind to people, but not as easy to say you empathize with them. You can be kind without empathy.

For example:
  1. Jane says something insensitive, unintentionally.
  2. Bob, who is now offended at the insensitive words Jane spoke, calls her out on her insensitivity.
  3. Jane's immediate response is shame.. but shame is not a fun feeling to experience. She feels hurt, wounded. After all, she doesn't consider herself a mean or insensitive person.
  4. Jane, like many people, responds with anger at being hurt and misunderstood. Jane defends her insensitive remarks out of anger.
  5. Bob is incensed because Jane is continuing to be insensitive.
To be empathetic, you have to pause between feeling shame and responding with anger. You have to disrupt the desire to defend yourself. It's not easy.

It's easy to empathize with someone who's had to put a pet to sleep or has received a cancer diagnosis. It's a lot harder when that person has made you feel bad.
posted by INFJ at 10:24 AM on January 6 [2 favorites]


I think you can be kind without letting go of your feelings, too - just as a way of making everything just the tiniest bit better. Like in the example INFJ lists, this could also happen.

1. Jane says something insensitive, unintentionally. She pauses before she posts, and out of empathy, removes the most insensitive part.
2. Bob, who is now offended at the still insensitive words (though less than he would have been had Jane not checked herself), wants to call her out on her insensitivity. But Bob remembers that this is a tough time for everyone and wants to have empathy too. He writes,
Jane, I know you may not have meant it that way, but when you say this, it....
3. Jane's immediate response is shame and hurt and anger, but she also recognizes that Bob has tried to be kind and tries to be kind herself. She doesn't think she's mean or insensitive but Bob has also acknowledged that Jane may not have intended to be an ass. She defends her insensitive remarks, but takes time to acknowledge Bob's feelings in them. She writes,
Bob, I'm sorry I hurt you, I didn't mean to. I still think the way I think, and I'm not sure it was insensitive to say it, but I don't want you to feel bad.
4. Bob is angry that Jane is still doubling down on her insensitive comment not being insensitive, but slightly less angry because Jane is at least trying to acknowledge his feelings. He may send her an angry rejoinder, but it is slightly less angry than it would have been.
posted by corb at 10:36 AM on January 6 [2 favorites]


Last year was unbelievable. I was so very happy to see it end. Hell, yesterday I got hit by a car (me personally, not my car, though in a fairly non-violent way) and screwed up my back, but so what. If it happened last year, I would have ended up under the tires.

I'm trying to practice more empathy and assuming of good faith this year. Hugs to all.
posted by mudpuppie at 10:45 AM on January 6 [5 favorites]


I like this post. I think overall people are kind here - AskMe is full of empathy for example - but you can never have too much kindness and compassion so it's nice to have a reminder. I am open to all and any hugs please thank you and am happy to send them on as required.

cat pics

In the spirit of the post I have gone for some cats and dogs hugging I trust this will be acceptable
posted by billiebee at 10:48 AM on January 6 [9 favorites]


That last cat does not look thrilled.
posted by jonmc at 11:06 AM on January 6


That last dog is Trump.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:11 AM on January 6


Other animals give hugs too, you know.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 11:14 AM on January 6


The lesson I'm drawing from those pics is that if you want your dog and cat to get along, turn down the thermostat.
posted by jamjam at 11:15 AM on January 6 [4 favorites]


Sudden two-for-one idea to share hugs and fund MetaFilter: official MeFi pillows and squeezy-things. Pillows for hugging, foam stress-things when you'd prefer to squeeze something in your fist. All proceeds to support MetaFilter.

Until then, {{hugs for everyone}}

(tryin' to throw my arms around the world often comes to mind)
posted by filthy light thief at 11:31 AM on January 6 [1 favorite]


Here's to kindness.

Agreed. Cortex, you taught me this and I am forever grateful.

o/*\o

High fives everyone. Help is here if you need it. This AskMe changed my life last year, no lie.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 11:36 AM on January 6 [8 favorites]


Don't hug me today, dude - I've got the flu. Wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy. Because why waste ill wishing on something like the flu? Go full evil, or go home. Sorry - that's as positive and life affiming as I've got in me under the circumstances. Best wishes to all.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:38 AM on January 6 [5 favorites]


It might be because of the US election, as well as other losses and hardships that 2016 brought, but I feel like there's an undercurrent of snarkiness on the site lately. It also seems like Mefites are lashing out at one another more often as of late. MetaFilter is better then this. Be kinder to each other, everyone.

The snarkiness has always been here, it's just that in most threads, we usually don't have reasons to turn that snark on each other. I think this site has always valued a high degree of snarkiness, and the US election highlighted how oftentimes that's not the best communication style to value. "Be kind" and "practice empathy" are great advice, and I think another great piece of advice is "evaluate how your personal snarkiness level affects others' interactions with you on Metafilter". A round of hugs for everyone.
posted by 23skidoo at 11:41 AM on January 6 [1 favorite]


That last dog is Trump.

No, Trump is an overfed Pomeranian lapdog that thinks it's a pitbull.
posted by jonmc at 11:46 AM on January 6


Going to Maine and INFJ and corb & co., you are all so right.

I am embroiled in a yuuuge emotional mishegas with my sons' Youth Activity Leader because he heard a statement picking a fight when it was really a question asked in simple ignorance.

It turns out that he was feeling fighty because someone else was an entitled dick to him just before we walked in, but he took it out on us, in front of other kids. Then he doubled down, and had his committee double-double down like bullshit backgammon, and now everyone is so totally invested in not admitting that it was a mistake that I can't even believe they aren't toddlers fighting over a shovel in the sandbox.

My kids look to me for guidance and I would laugh if it wasn't also tied up in a bunch of other prickly emotional family things that Youth Leader wasn't even aware of -- and which he had to pretend aren't important once they were pointed out. I'm sure he's a great guy and all, but this desire to have a fight with someone, anyone -- even when they are big supporters and volunteers in the organization -- is just....*runs hands through what's left of hair*

Like Vonnegut said, "There's only one rule that I know of, babies-'God damn it, you've got to be kind.'”
posted by wenestvedt at 11:46 AM on January 6 [5 favorites]


One thing I've noticed on here that I think we can all do better at is that sometimes people just assume the worst possible interpretation out of someone's comment (myself not excluded, I know I do this too unfortunately...). They then comment in what they see as the same level of hostility or more as a response and the original commenter is left trying to explain they never meant that or whatever. I think part of practicing kindness and empathy is to understand that this is a text-based format and to not automatically assume the worst out of others. It's tough I know since we all bring our different perspectives and experiences to this site and that affects how we read things and in what tone. Plus sometimes people word stuff badly since we are not all amazing writers 100% of the time. Anyway, just my 2 cents. I hope this year we can all be more kind to each other. Hope you all are well.
posted by FireFountain at 12:11 PM on January 6 [6 favorites]


Potatoes Brent sounds like a hearty dish. Something caasserolesque, maybe.

Brent's Cajun Seafood and Oyster Bar in Edmond, OK offers Potatoes Brent as a possible side with its grilled redfish (pdf menu). I didn't quite feel like bothering an employee to find out what, exactly, potatoes Brent are, but it's nice to know it's a thing.
posted by jedicus at 12:29 PM on January 6


Uncle Frank would HATE that restaurant.
posted by briank at 12:48 PM on January 6 [1 favorite]


Someone I knew from the mid-90's internet days, taken too soon from this world in their early 20's by cancer, had this as their email signature back in the late 90's:

~more light less heat

I've never forgotten that.

More Light Less Heat.
posted by Annika Cicada at 2:08 PM on January 6 [7 favorites]


I am never confronted by my conscience when I encounter the results of my kindness. It is almost like being erased, if you do it right. No karma is good karma.
posted by Oyéah at 6:57 PM on January 6 [3 favorites]


More Light Less Heat.

Less Heat, More Warmth.
posted by aubilenon at 1:47 AM on January 7 [4 favorites]


Hugs from my Chicken, Parmesan.
posted by Sophie1 at 4:17 PM on January 10


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