Everything is fine? July 22, 2017 8:13 PM   Subscribe

Every so often someone proposes we avoid discussion of unhappy outcomes in general but more specifically the unlikelihood of an impeachment in the Trump threads, which now appears to be becoming de facto policy. It seems like it's worth talking over before it does.
posted by Artw to Etiquette/Policy at 8:13 PM (130 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

The point is not to avoid unhappy outcome discussion, but to avoid people writing end-of-the-world fiction that typically veers into the violent or apocalyptic, on the grounds that it's not a thing that is happening currently, it's triggering for a lot of people, and the dystopian fiction is wearing out the mods.

Moreover, at this point, it's awfully repetitive, which is a thing we're trying to avoid in the politics threads. We've been over it, 500 times, how we're all going to die because Trump did X, and we really need people to NOT just rehash the same thing over and over and over again that have been discussed in a post a week for the last two years.
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 8:17 PM on July 22 [50 favorites]


I can't speak for the mods, but I don't have the slightest problem with someone posting a reasoned comment about the unlikelihood of impeachment any time soon. I've said it myself. But there's a difference, in my opinion, between "impeachment is unlikely in the near term" and "nothing matters everything is black" which is what some comments feel like to me.
posted by Justinian at 8:23 PM on July 22 [30 favorites]


To be transparent about why artw is so mad, he wrote "thread police can fuck off" in reply to this comment of mine:

A few megathreads back there was some discussion about limiting the speculative slash-fic dystopian scenario-spinning. That was a good discussion.

That "fuck off thread police" was of course removed. Ironic indeed to be accused of thread policing by someone who immediately leaps to "fuck off."

There's a lot of bullshit on the current megathread, of a sort we had some consensus in earlier threads about avoiding to spare mods, readers, and browsers. I was gently reminding the thread of that prior discussion.

Fact.
posted by spitbull at 8:25 PM on July 22 [13 favorites]


It's Saturday night, people. Less infighting and more Nazi punching.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:29 PM on July 22 [25 favorites]


Good thing we're having a meta then.

From my point of view we're witnessing a complete collapse of Norns, discussing that in these threads seems appropriate. If we're going to aggressively oust people from the thread for having those discussions then those efforts you mention seem pretty pointless.
posted by Artw at 8:30 PM on July 22


Bringing up deleted comments is pointless and inflammatory. Fact.
posted by Etrigan at 8:30 PM on July 22 [7 favorites]


If it was just about the unlikelihood of impeachment that would be one thing, but stretching that into speculative consequences is wanky, and speculations that catch the imagination of, oh let's say, three people have a way of larding down the thread by yes, fanfic.

"Oh, Mr. Darcy Spicy!"
posted by rhizome at 8:32 PM on July 22 [2 favorites]


I should say I didn't see any of the deleted stuff, TMK.
posted by rhizome at 8:32 PM on July 22


The distant speculative fiction is just so unnecessary to me, whether positive or negative. I'm not sure what's gained by either the apocalyptic speculation or the "let's go into detail on how everyone will be in jail" wish fulfillment fantasies. If sending members of the administration to Gitmo in your mind is part of your coping strategy, by all means you do you, but it only needs to happen so many times in the thread. The "he needs to be impeached," "but that will never happen as long as Republicans control Congress" discussion is pretty done at this point, barring actual signs that the situation has changed.

If you have the urge to write dystopian fiction, perhaps it is better channeled into discussion of what norms have been broken and what it means for the country not to have those norms. That discussion is unlikely to be festive and fun, but it's totally possible to do that without writing sci-fi or arguing yet again about the likelihood of impeachment.
posted by zachlipton at 8:34 PM on July 22 [24 favorites]


Thw deleted comment in this case is germane, and a subtext for artw's metatalk post.
posted by spitbull at 8:34 PM on July 22 [4 favorites]


So... Trump rehashing isn't ok... but Trump slash fiction is alright?

Challenge: Best Trump / Sessions slash fiction short...
posted by Nanukthedog at 8:34 PM on July 22 [5 favorites]


Dystopia is an easy path to walk down, a simplistic story to write.

Navigating the dark storm we are in, figuring out how to survive, is hard enough without jumping overboard.
posted by Celsius1414 at 8:34 PM on July 22 [9 favorites]



From my point of view we're witnessing a complete collapse of Norns,


my blood ran cold. autocorrect or not, that would actually explain everything.
posted by queenofbithynia at 8:34 PM on July 22 [57 favorites]


A Norn is a quantum of dystopic fiction.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:36 PM on July 22 [6 favorites]


I think Urðr, Verðandi, and Skuld are still going strong and probably have a lot to do with the current situation. But if we must bring them into it, I see the mods' approach here as asking us to focus more on what we know about Verðandi (present) and making reasonable inferences about Skuld (future) rather than obsessing endlessly over Urðr (fate). I'm with zachlipton and healthy, happy mods.
posted by biogeo at 8:46 PM on July 22 [15 favorites]


A Norm is a sitcom archetype, as seen on "Cheers".

And to quote one of MY deleted comments... this guy. Because we just live in KC Green's dystopia.
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:46 PM on July 22


Navigating the dark storm we are in, figuring out how to survive, is hard enough without jumping overboard.

Where do we draw the line on that though? Spitball has it at, in my mind, entirely reasonable things like impeachment not happening and republican inaction in the face of damning evidence.
posted by Artw at 9:01 PM on July 22


my blood ran cold. autocorrect or not, that would actually explain everything.

That's actually a J. Geils Band first draft. Fact.

posted by Barack Spinoza at 9:02 PM on July 22 [29 favorites]


Adding a +1 to less dystopian fanfic. It's fine to say "that won't work and here's why." Or better yet "that won't work, but this might." But scrolling through pages of how the world may end is upsetting, and I really want to keep reading these threads. I need the info, and I want the opinions of the like-minded. But when it starts getting like this, I start thinking I should bail on the threads and just get the news from What The Fuck Just Happened Today. So my vote is to limit the extended doomsday scenarios and keep the comments actionable, as much as possible.
posted by greermahoney at 9:03 PM on July 22 [16 favorites]


"Spitball has it at, in my mind, entirely reasonable things like impeachment not happening and republican inaction in the face of damning evidence."

There are at least five comments in that thread about impeachment not being likely, not to mention dozens and dozens in past threads. I'm not sure what conversation you think is being cut off or categorically disallowed?
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 9:08 PM on July 22 [7 favorites]


Contributions I find a bit less helpful than others:
  • Dystopian fantasy/doomsday scenarios. The situation we're in is bad enough, so I don't think it's useful to borrow trouble. I'm not sure that these sorts of posts end up being helpful either in resisting in the moment or planning for worse outcomes.
  • Suicidal ideation. It can trigger the same phenomenon in others and still be very upsetting for others who are not prone to that sort of coping mechanism. If you're having issues with that, please please check out some resources.
  • Violent revenge fantasies--upsetting to read, not especially helpful for resisting, possible that they may open people/the site up to legal exposure. Plenty of places on the internet exist for this sort of thing--MeFi doesn't need to be one.
  • Endless rounds of impeachment vs. never gonna happen. As has been noted, that particular aspect of the discussion has been done over and over again. I do think, however, that discussing how to most effectively advocate for impeachment and conviction are quite useful because they can give specific tactical and strategic advice about how to proceed.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 9:31 PM on July 22 [40 favorites]


what is the general content of these deleted dystopian comments? I feel like I hang out in those threads rather a lot and I have no idea if what gets deleted are statements like "he is not going to be impeached" or "he is not going to be impeached therefor we are all going to die in the resulting nuclear war."
posted by lalex at 9:52 PM on July 22 [1 favorite]


also I love this MeTa; it's just like the good ol' days!
posted by lalex at 9:55 PM on July 22 [9 favorites]


It's not negativity I object to in the political threads it's elaborate multi-paragraph conjecture with no sources or facts, positive or negative. I don't want to read people's fanfic sorry, take it to AO3.

These threads are thousands of comments long and the noise to comment ratio is incredibly frustrating at times. The current thread is particularly bad I think with comment after comment workshopping the Democratic slogan, and long strings of jokes etc. It was like 700 comments right after it went up and it was mostly noise. My personal preference would be for people to have some self restraint, particularly the people who contribute hundreds of comments to every single political thread. If you're unable to do this then yes, please mods zap comments you feel aren't contributing to the discussion meaningfully.
posted by supercrayon at 10:23 PM on July 22 [44 favorites]


This politics thread there are about 20 deleted comments, which are mostly (~50%, super-quick count) repeated postings of the same link; the other half include some penis jokes, a tasteless Ivanka joke, a derail about the term "white trash," some murder/suicide fantasizing, a comment hypothesizing nuclear war, and the comment mentioned above telling other commenters to fuck off (and responses).

"what is the general content of these deleted dystopian comments?"

"I've figured out what's going to happen! [Lengthy Game of Thrones-style hypothesizing about plot.] And then we all die in a nuclear war!"

Sometimes, and more disturbingly, specific suicidal ideation, because of feeling "there's no point" because of how terrible the political situation is. Occasionally fantasies of violence towards others.
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 10:55 PM on July 22 [19 favorites]


Those sound like reasonable deletions!
posted by lalex at 11:19 PM on July 22 [19 favorites]



It's not negativity I object to in the political threads it's elaborate multi-paragraph conjecture with no sources or facts, positive or negative. I don't want to read people's fanfic sorry, take it to AO3.

yes to this.
posted by philip-random at 12:18 AM on July 23 [3 favorites]


What I object to is people saying 'he will never be impeached' as if that is certain and they know it because of reasons and the rest of us are just too stupid to realise that they are right. I also don't see why it needs to be said over and over again.

'It's unlikely because...' is fine with me.
'I believe it's never ever going to happen'.... go right ahead. Believe anything you want. Just allow some of us a bit of room to believe that as unlikely as it is, it's still possible. Because unlikely things have been known to happen sometimes, and some people use thoughts like these to cope.
Let's try not to break each others coping mechanisms. Can we do that?
posted by Too-Ticky at 12:34 AM on July 23 [12 favorites]


I think there is an upper bound i.e. a line from the other side. If somebody (me) who reads Noam Chomsky or Slavoj Zizek (those are examples, i.e., fill in with whoever you judge is worth listening to) talks about long-term social disturbances (Chomsky), or has actually discussed dystopian literature in connection to political issues (Zizek), and if the comment introduces information and perspectives in a fair, non-triggering way that doesn't exclude other users, etc., then that seems reasonable. Easier said than done but I think that's fair.

So there's a difference between discussing dystopian fiction and the particular way that it might be discussed and how one commenter can affect other people. It's not that dystopian fiction or whatever other subject matter in and of itself is problematic; it's specifically what and how it is brought to the table.
posted by polymodus at 1:02 AM on July 23 [1 favorite]


Let's try not to break each others coping mechanisms. Can we do that?

Pretty sure all the dystopian fanfic stuff that everyone is agreeing should be deleted is likely to be someone's coping strategy, too.

Coping strategies are not and should not be holy. They can be maladaptive or downright counterproductive, for both the individual performing them, and everyone else.
posted by Dysk at 2:27 AM on July 23 [29 favorites]


...and even where they do help the individual, if that happens at everyone else's cost, then fuck that too. "It's a coping strategy" might explain some behaviours, but it excuses none.
posted by Dysk at 2:32 AM on July 23 [15 favorites]


Challenge: Best Trump / Sessions slash fiction short...

So I just took a flying leap at this because I'm a filthy degenerate weirdo with insomnia, and I managed to get about three paragraphs into the start of something rather awful... and I just can't.

I already feel so dirty I'm not sure when or if I'll ever feel clean again.

Now if you'll excuse me I'm going to go try to not have nightmares about a handful of cheetos unzipping the fly on some cheap polyester slacks and fishing out another cheeto.
posted by loquacious at 3:04 AM on July 23 [8 favorites]


If we're going to aggressively oust people from the thread for having those discussions

Says the guy who told me to "fuck off" for expressing a gently phrased opinion. Typical leftist fragility though, screaming fascism while wearing jackboots.

Glad you know how it all ends. No spoilers please.
posted by spitbull at 3:15 AM on July 23 [2 favorites]


Good grief. Can EVERYONE stop with the hyperbolic overreactions? Please? Or else I'll have to do something ... something really, really, really big and exaggerated and wild, while wearing mismatched socks and with my hair uncombed. And it will not be pleasant, nosiree.
posted by taz (staff) at 3:40 AM on July 23 [48 favorites]


Taz, I think you're veering into dystopian wish fulfillment. I suggest a soft-boiled egg in an egg cup to go with a cup of tea you MOST DEFINITELY did not heat up in a microwave so you can calm down.

But seriously, I've noticed an incredible amount of hostility in the most recent thread if anyone at all suggests moderation or has a point of view that's even a little outside the bubble. That combined with endless amounts of, "Oh, he's Republican, therefore he wants babies to die in cages with wild dogs" is just an unbelievable downer. It doesn't seem necessary. There's plenty to talk about without catastrophizing.
posted by xyzzy at 3:46 AM on July 23 [15 favorites]


So I pretty much avoid the US politics threads these days. I will scan the links in the post, and sometimes read the comments if it's just getting started, but once I thread gets longer than about 100 comments, I'm pretty much guaranteed to find the thing too stressful, and I end up feeling less informed and less able to deal with the situation in a productive way.

Clearly, a lot of people find them valuable, and MetaFilter is a big tent, but those threads are not for me. My voice to text and AutoCorrect keep trying to change "thread" to "threat," which is pretty on the nose.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:56 AM on July 23 [13 favorites]


Metafilter: the other half include some penis jokes, a tasteless Ivanka joke, a derail about the term "white trash," some murder/suicide fantasizing, a comment hypothesizing nuclear war, and the comment mentioned above telling other commenters to fuck off (and responses).
posted by Melismata at 5:05 AM on July 23 [5 favorites]


I used to follow the threads. Now they just seem like the same 15 people saying the same few things over and over, with increasing vitriol. I only follow them via "popular comments" now and even that is too much at times. And I'm no fucking delicate flower.

If you want to really talk about how norms have changed, compare the discourse in the political megathreads to anything else allowed on metafilter in the last decade. They are breaking every established site norm, and then people feel entitled/emboldened to bring that shitty behavior to the rest of MeFi. They are a net drain on the site, however any individual may feel it "helps" them.
posted by donnagirl at 5:07 AM on July 23 [37 favorites]


I've been reading through almost all of these political threads for the last two years (though I'm no Tehhund, and I'll jump to the new post without reading the dregs of an old thread when I'm behind) and while on the whole I've found them helpful, I also really wouldn't mind if there was a limited number of posts per day for users in hopes of slowing down the threads, slowing down the derails, and slowing down the eight zillionth round of attempts to relitigate things between the same half dozen users.
posted by TwoStride at 5:15 AM on July 23 [16 favorites]


Endless rounds of impeachment vs. never gonna happen.

as long as trump's president, this is going to be part of our country's politics

also the solution to the threads being too long and unmanageable is to just start one every day and/or shuttle it off to a new subsite - this whole situation is a game changer and it's about time that was recognized
posted by pyramid termite at 5:18 AM on July 23 [2 favorites]


politics.metafilter.com/us/
posted by Nanukthedog at 5:29 AM on July 23 [1 favorite]


/dev/null
posted by Wolfdog at 5:45 AM on July 23 [11 favorites]


alt.future.politics.us.trump.drag.erotica
posted by Nanukthedog at 5:49 AM on July 23 [12 favorites]


Hyperbolic overreactions are absolutely the result you get from letting users try to police conversation like that. It's not a thing that's going to make anyone calmer.
posted by Artw at 7:13 AM on July 23 [1 favorite]


I follow and occasionally comment on the threads.

It's tough, I follow primarily for current event updates and some of the discussion of implications of a particular policy decision, which the mods are happy to let stand.

Politics has changed so much. And our attitudes, feelings. Frustrations and fears are important.

But these threads aren't about that. Sometimes I wish they were, but really they aren't. And the hopelessness and fear of the end of the world may be a great discussion somewhere, it's not here.
posted by AlexiaSky at 7:51 AM on July 23 [2 favorites]


It's Saturday night, people. Less infighting and more Nazi punching.

Saturday night's alright for fighting. Get a little action in.
posted by hippybear at 7:57 AM on July 23 [6 favorites]


Says the guy who told me to "fuck off" for expressing a gently phrased opinion. Typical leftist fragility though, screaming fascism while wearing jackboots.

Woah. Calm down, son. His comment got deleted - you can probably stop harping on it now.
posted by dazed_one at 8:03 AM on July 23 [7 favorites]


Another vote here for improving the SNR by self-restraint: if people really really need to riff on slogans or Italian opera characters there's a chat room. I don't feel like it's the mods' responsibility to cut down on noise, it's ours. The threads are only as useful as we make them.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:17 AM on July 23 [18 favorites]


In retrospect the slogan announcement could have safely been it's own thread not tied into this one.
posted by AlexiaSky at 8:23 AM on July 23 [1 favorite]


If only there were some kind of way to avoid reading topics/discussion that you dislike or a way to leave a conversation that you're not enjoying. Hmm....
posted by Fizz at 9:01 AM on July 23 [5 favorites]


I have a love/hate relationship with Thread, but I do find myself stopping in at least once a day. It can be so useful when the news is approaching warp speed and folks are linking to great articles that I'd probably miss because everything is happening so damn fast.

Kudos and sympathy to the mods because the same old fights and all the ignored warnings are making Thread so big so fast every single time. It's kind of amazing.
posted by not that mimi at 9:24 AM on July 23 [3 favorites]


Let's try not to break each others coping mechanisms. Can we do that?

I think it goes both ways.

I made one of those "he cannot be impeached while Republicans control everything" comments. That is my coping mechanism. I cope with the current situation by trying to counter fiction-based assertions with facts. At the end of my comment I tried to include constructive things I think are currently within our reach, so we're all not spinning our wheels.

The dystopian fantasy story writers do not have a monopoly on people's coping mechanisms.
posted by zarq at 9:38 AM on July 23 [6 favorites]


I made one of those "he cannot be impeached while Republicans control everything" comments. That is my coping mechanism. I cope with the current situation by trying to counter fiction-based assertions with facts.

"He cannot be impeached while Republicans control everything" is not a fact, and claiming that it is one (and the connotation that anyone who doesn't admit it is dumb) is a huge part of the problem.
posted by Etrigan at 10:11 AM on July 23 [7 favorites]


If only there were some kind of way to avoid reading topics/discussion that you dislike or a way to leave a conversation that you're not enjoying. Hmm....

Oh come on. It's been said over and over that even if we, the readers, can scroll past the troubling posts, the mods can not, and they have asked us, for their own sanity, to cut back. It's a reasonable request.
posted by greermahoney at 10:23 AM on July 23 [25 favorites]


a huge part of the problem.

This is what I said. it was in response to what seemed to me to be a hyperbolic ALL CAPS freakout that said (inaccurately) I was somehow trying to teach Trump how to be a human being.

If you have a reasonable counter argument, by all means one. But looking at my own response, I don't think there is anything inaccurate or wrong with either of my comments. Not the one about Truman, nor the one about impeachment.
posted by zarq at 10:50 AM on July 23 [5 favorites]


Sorry, that should read "by all means make one."
posted by zarq at 10:56 AM on July 23


This is what I said.

You, yourself, actual zarq, characterized it as "one of those 'he cannot be impeached while Republicans control everything' comments." and said you were using facts. If you don't want people to think that you're claiming that "He cannot be impeached while Republicans control everything" is a fact, then maybe don't do that.
posted by Etrigan at 11:00 AM on July 23 [2 favorites]


It's been said over and over that even if we, the readers, can scroll past the troubling posts, the mods can not, and they have asked us, for their own sanity, to cut back. It's a reasonable request.

You're right. I don't envy that job. And I appreciate how hard our mods work to keep this place running smoothly.

That being said, I think that much of the stress of these political oriented threads would lessen if people learned to disengage occasionally. To pull back and take a break, a breather from that subject.

I know it's helped me immensely.
posted by Fizz at 11:03 AM on July 23 [3 favorites]


Honestly I disagree with zarq on whether Trump can/will get impeached by the current Congress, but his comment is fine.
posted by lalex at 11:06 AM on July 23 [5 favorites]


Just in general I wish we could be more generous with one another in the political threads. We can disagree -- we *should* have disagreements, otherwise what's the point? -- but we should strive to be actual allies.

In my case, recently I chimed in that I thought folks can be too quick and too fervent in condemning mentions of the importance of economic issues to the Dems moving forward. In response I was told that I should stop claiming that Rahm Emmanuel is progressive, which hello? never happened. Kind of proved my point, IMO.

I get it, how old the economy-vs.-identity-politics argument is by now. That said, I would love to be able to have rational discussions about that argument. It's not relitigating the primaries, it's pondering the future.

Be excellent to each other!
posted by Lyme Drop at 11:20 AM on July 23 [12 favorites]


You, yourself, actual zarq, characterized it as "one of those 'he cannot be impeached while Republicans control everything' comments." and said you were using facts. If you don't want people to think that you're claiming that "He cannot be impeached while Republicans control everything" is a fact, then maybe don't do that.

*sigh* Okay.

Can we all maybe try not to jump down people's throats and make an effort to be kind to each other? Can we perhaps try to make an effort to be better than that? Rather than, like artw, telling each other to fuck off? I'm including myself in this.

I mean, ye gods, I get it. I really, truly do. We're all on edge, worried, angry, depressed and stressed and the causes of that aren't going to improve in the near future. It's like a recipe for prickliness.

I cut back my participation in the election threads a couple of months ago because (a) people were being pretty nasty to each other and (b) I was finding I was starting to take out my stress on people in threads, and that is not the person I want to be in real life or on metafilter. I'm working on the latter. Would truly love to see more of us working on the former.
posted by zarq at 12:41 PM on July 23 [7 favorites]


On non-preview, also seconding what Lyme Drop said.
posted by zarq at 12:43 PM on July 23 [1 favorite]


So I pretty much avoid the US politics threads these days. I will scan the links in the post, and sometimes read the comments if it's just getting started, but once I thread gets longer than about 100 comments, I'm pretty much guaranteed to find the thing too stressful, and I end up feeling less informed and less able to deal with the situation in a productive way.

Clearly, a lot of people find them valuable, and MetaFilter is a big tent, but those threads are not for me. My voice to text and AutoCorrect keep trying to change "thread" to "threat," which is pretty on the nose.


I agree with every word of this, for whatever that is worth.
posted by Dip Flash at 1:19 PM on July 23 [4 favorites]


Another vote here for improving the SNR by self-restraint: if people really really need to riff on slogans or Italian opera characters there's a chat room.

Is part of the problem here a disagreement over what constitutes signal and what constitutes noise for the signal-to-noise ratio? For me, the riffing is a big part of why I come to Metafilter. If I just want to read the news, I'll read the news. The Metafilter politics threads are for getting a wider range of perspectives that are still grounded in reality, ideas and motivation for positive action, and de-stressing the pretty crappy state of the world by bringing humor to bear on it. Metafilter riffing is a big part of what keeps me from hating everything and everyone. Based on others' contributions to the threads, and what gets favorited, that seems to be a pretty common opinion.

On the other hand, bald assertions of future doom as if it were already settled fact and repeated rehashings of the same tired fights over and over and over again are noise for me. I don't see any new information, any useful ideas, or any emotional relief in them, so I skim or skip them when I see them. Thanks probably to the hard work of the mods, this noise level isn't too high for me. But if you find the riffing to be noise just as much as I find these things to be, I can see how that would be frustrating.
posted by biogeo at 1:31 PM on July 23 [10 favorites]


My personal perspective is that the current value of MetaFilter is no longer in providing new or interesting links - there are now a billion other places that do this better and faster. MetaFilter's value is in the community.

Obviously there are plenty of links in the megathreads, but consuming ONLY "news headlines" or "breaking news" or "in-depth analysis" is something best suited to Twitter lists or RSS feeds or whatever. (And I'm sure many of us would be happy to share our lists with interested folks; here's mine.)

I like the jokes and riffing and amateur punditry in the threads. I get Just the News from Twitter. I'm here because I want to hang out and talk about this stuff with a community, and specifically this community.
posted by lalex at 1:56 PM on July 23 [16 favorites]


Is part of the problem here a disagreement over what constitutes signal and what constitutes noise for the signal-to-noise ratio?

I think that's one of the factors, yeah, probably sort of inevitably so in a large group. And really I think there's at least a couple different aspects of that:

1. People having fundamentally different personal preferences about what they want out of a thread.

2. People wanting to diagnose/solve the problem of these being large, fast-moving, hard-to-keep-up-with threads.

On the first point, folks are just always gonna differ. I know we have folks who genuinely would prefer there wasn't a bunch of riffing in these threads ever. I know other folks who strongly value the riffing. That sort of disagreement isn't really reconcilable, it's just the sort of thing that folks have always had to and will always have to navigate individually and find compromise solutions to.

But on the second point, I think we get sometimes a kind of second-order effect where it's no so much that a given person thinks behavior x is itself bad, it's that they think behavior x is contributing to the core problem of big long hard to track threads. In other words, "maybe if there weren't x happening, the threads wouldn't be as much of a problem". It's a kind of theoretical problem-solving through behavior proscription.

And I mean to sum both of those up as basically neutral factors; I don't think anybody's wrong to have whatever personal preferences they have, and I don't think it's a bad thing that folks try to figure out what might help threads go better or be more useful for everybody. Those are normal parts of participation here.

But I want to outline my perception there because I think some of the friction we get in the discussions of what's signal vs. what's noise comes from investing too much in a "maybe x is the problem?" theory and forgetting that that's what it is. It ends up being perceived as a handwavy rule, and then folks who aren't on the same page are seen as violating that rule, even if there's not really a solid basis for it.

And so we can get into a spot where we have people upset at other people's behavior for behaving in okay or at least okay-ish ways because it's at odds with what they've internalized as Part Of The Problem, and it come out in grumpiness and friction and so on.

I think one of the pieces of community maintenance we have to all keep doing is double-checking our individual reactions to some of that stuff, like: am I annoyed that people are doing x because it's fundamentally a problem, against the guidelines, at odds with what the mods have recently specifically requested? Or am I annoyed at it because I just sort of have a feeling that people doing x isn't ideal/isn't what I'd prefer? And trying to regulate how we react to stuff accordingly.

So maybe try to let stuff slide that is less "this is a clearcut rulebreaker" than "this is personally or theoretically annoying"; focus some of the energy that could go into feeling GRAR about that stuff into just trying to improve the thread yourself through what you see as constructive behavior, or just giving it a shrug and letting it pass you by in the moment and re-engaging with whatever next time around instead.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:17 PM on July 23 [12 favorites]


I would add:

3. The volume of news coming out of this administration is fucking insane.

To me people are behaving like they always have in threads - posting substantive links, making jokes, riffing, providing analysis, sharing their opinions - but now there are like 10 or 15 major events per thread.
posted by lalex at 2:31 PM on July 23 [21 favorites]


Honestly, I feel like some of the problems being discussed here are happening more when some strange fluke causes the volume of news to temporarily dip. In the spirit of cortex's "giving it a shrug and letting it pass you by in the moment," I've been trying recently to spend more of those times away from the thread, preferably outside and/or with other people.
posted by zachlipton at 2:40 PM on July 23 [8 favorites]


Hello babies. Welcome to Earth. It's hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It's round and wet and crowded. On the outside, babies, you've got a hundred years here. There's only one rule that I know of, babies—"God damn it, you've got to be kind.”
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 3:09 PM on July 23 [11 favorites]


Nuke the Trump mega-threads. Nothing good can come of them.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 3:14 PM on July 23 [6 favorites]


So maybe try to let stuff slide that is less "this is a clearcut rulebreaker"

I get and agree with most of your comment, but you and the mods have been asking us from the start to be better in those threads and we have instead gotten worse. If the solution to that is to ask us again to be better...well...huh. The quote above would also make more sense if this site functioned more on "clearcut rules" than on loose, context-aware guidelines. I mean, it's a feature not a bug that this is a guideline site, but that means that "clearcut rules" are few and far between.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 3:17 PM on July 23 [2 favorites]


For all of the long, stressful, argumentative political threads, I just have to say that the rest of the site more than makes up for them. For example, the current Ask on the romantic implications of heated car seats is just AWESOME.
posted by Melismata at 3:26 PM on July 23 [9 favorites]


the "unidentified McCall's model" AskMe is currently causing me more stress than the megathread. I NEED TO KNOW!!!
posted by lalex at 3:48 PM on July 23 [10 favorites]


Nuke the Trump mega-threads. Nothing good can come of them.

This isn't true at all. Myself (and likely others) has found motivation and resources for activism in those threads, whether it's form letter providers or direct links to contacting representatives and other related actions.

There has also been incredibly informative analysis in parts.

And the humor has personally been a much needed lift more than a few times.
posted by loquacious at 3:55 PM on July 23 [28 favorites]


Ain't nobody gonna nuke my trump threads.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:03 PM on July 23 [2 favorites]


As the Navy SEALs say: To every thing there is a season, and a time for every purpose under the heaven.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 4:28 PM on July 23 [13 favorites]


They're not going to take away my social media.
posted by box at 4:36 PM on July 23


They'll pry my hot takes from my cold dead hands.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 4:53 PM on July 23 [1 favorite]


"Honestly, I feel like some of the problems being discussed here are happening more when some strange fluke causes the volume of news to temporarily dip."

This is definitely a problem. People get attached to the high speed of the threads when crazy stuff is happening (like, 5 out of 7 days of the week), and when it slows down, some people go get some fresh air or make more reflective posts, and other people go digging into the darker corners of their brainpans just to keep up the speed, and that results in a lot of noise and a lot of speculative fan-fic-y stuff. (Not well-founded "here's some stuff that might happen and has implications interesting to discuss" but "hey can I tell you guys the stuff I worry about at 3 a.m. that has no foundation in reality, but make it extra-lurid?")

It's be nice if people also asked themselves, "Is this a point that I've already made twice in the past 30 days? Maybe I should just let it go and instead remind everyone of my opinion next month."

On a related note, someone parked a brand new car outside my house today with a "Bernie 2020" sticker and I had a VERY LONG MOMENT of wondering if MetaFilter was real-life trolling me.
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 4:55 PM on July 23 [43 favorites]


someone parked a brand new car outside my house today with a "Bernie 2020" sticker and I had a VERY LONG MOMENT of wondering if MetaFilter was real-life trolling me.

I saw a Chelsea 2020 t-shirt and felt the same thing.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 4:58 PM on July 23 [1 favorite]


On a related note, someone parked a brand new car outside my house today with a "Bernie 2020" sticker and I had a VERY LONG MOMENT of wondering if MetaFilter was real-life trolling me.

No, but we do keep hiding your keys.
posted by loquacious at 5:00 PM on July 23 [2 favorites]


"No, but we do keep hiding your keys."

Joke's on you, I stitch a spare set of keys to the lining of my purse.

I really do! I'm super-paranoid about being locked out of my car with three kids outside it -- or, god forbid, INSIDE it!
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 5:33 PM on July 23 [9 favorites]


We've been hiding your keys in the lining of your purse, though. Probably a good dozen of them in there by now.
posted by lazuli at 5:38 PM on July 23 [4 favorites]


the "unidentified McCall's model" AskMe is currently causing me more stress than the megathread. I NEED TO KNOW!!!

Pffft. I need to know whether we're collectively hallucinating an enormous ice cream come!
posted by MonkeyToes at 6:03 PM on July 23 [4 favorites]


i have your distributor cap in my wallet
posted by pyramid termite at 6:05 PM on July 23 [2 favorites]


I wouldn't want to see jokes and riffing and hot takes and all the rest go away entirely, it would just be my personal preference that they weren't run utterly into the ground. Not to pick on anyone but for example how many more times do we need to be reminded that Scarramucci's name reminds us all of Bohemian Rhapsody? The first few times were a crack up, the subsequent like 20 times not so much. It's not an issue of any one thing being wrong it's purely an issue of volume. If you're making the same comment, same joke, same observation, same hot take, same whatever that many many people have already made maybe consider not hitting post.
posted by supercrayon at 6:06 PM on July 23 [10 favorites]


Those covfefe jokes are timeless, though.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 6:12 PM on July 23 [1 favorite]


Those covfefe jokes are timeless, though.

I was hanging out in the megathread when the covfefe tweet was posted and the ensuing MetaFilter riffs made me laugh hysterically at something political for the first time in...maybe since the election? When something nuts happens it makes me happy and relieved to be able to share in the shock and amazement with my fellow community members.
posted by lalex at 6:19 PM on July 23 [12 favorites]


(Unrelated - I'm gonna sidebar those two AskMes -- the "who's this model" and "find this ice cream poster" ones. Let me know if anyone has other current favorite unsolved AskMe mysteries like that.)
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 7:11 PM on July 23 [8 favorites]


Don't look back, you can never look back.
posted by Meatbomb at 7:30 PM on July 23 [2 favorites]


Saturday night's alright for fighting. Get a little action in.

I thought it says "Girl I need a laxative"
posted by thelonius at 7:38 PM on July 23 [6 favorites]


Personally, the comments along the lines of "there is *nothing* that would ever make the Republican party turn on Trump, that's just a fact" (and I hear similar things from a few coworkers) are kind of annoying to me because they seem like the cheap faux-wisdom you hear in statements like "all politicians are corrupt" from people who don't even really follow politics -- you might right a lot of the time, but that's not really *thinking*, it's just a shortcut. Again, this is just a pet peeve of mine, but it's why I don't mind the trend towards discouraging some of these absolutist comments.
posted by uosuaq at 7:47 PM on July 23 [7 favorites]


Saturday night's alright for fighting. Get a little action in.

I thought it says "Girl I need a laxative"


My misheard lyric:

Who's always writing on the wall
Who's always pooping in the hall
Who's always throwing spit balls
Guess who (who, me) yeah, you

posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:48 PM on July 23 [2 favorites]


It's about ethics in commenting.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 9:07 PM on July 23 [2 favorites]


... and the implied despair is ultimately rather boring. Or as a friend likes to put it, enough with the Denethor shit, you're scaring the children.
posted by philip-random at 10:36 PM on July 23 [6 favorites]


This is such a surreal thread to me because I am prepping for a trip and forgot to make a comment in the New Thread and now I have to read from the beginning every time so am lost and resolving to catch up this week, by which time I assume years will have taken place in-thread and I'll be all out of culture sync.

But it does seem that the pace of the thread can be addictive. I don't know how to solve it, but that's definitely a thing. We're at our best when united against a common enemy, in times of peace the warlike Mefites attack ourselves.
posted by corb at 12:13 AM on July 24 [1 favorite]


If the pace of the threads is part of the issue, isn't doing things like dropping a comment in the thread to mark your place just contributing to the problem it's attempting to solve?
posted by Dysk at 1:50 AM on July 24 [6 favorites]


We're at our best when united against a common enemy

We're not united, as those threads exemplify pretty well--we vary widely in our priorities and ideologies.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 1:51 AM on July 24


You can also click the time stamp on the last comment you have read, and then make a bookmark in your browser.

I don't really understand the title of this Meta. No one is saying that everything is fine. It seems rather uncharitable to imply that people are saying that. So I don't want to jump to the conclusion that that was intended.
posted by Too-Ticky at 2:31 AM on July 24 [1 favorite]


Before Trump, I started my day with a cuppa and reading the metafilter front page, Jezebel, Gawker, and io9. Now it's just Thread, with looks at the NYT and the WaPo if there has been a big news drop. Thread eats all my internet time and then I go do other stuff. When Thread is slow, I have more internet time, and I will confess that's when I want to start theorizing about Canada's place in the world with a U.S./Russo axis, e.g. I am trying to be good but the urge to compare Scarmucci to Skeletor, say, is especially strong when the news is slow and my interior is not at its usual WHAT IN THE NAME OF ALL THAT'S HOLY IS HAPPENING.

I am sort of surprised that some see Thread as a menace, though. I mean, it would be good if this reality wasn't going the way it was, but it is.
posted by angrycat at 3:13 AM on July 24 [6 favorites]


The time stamp thing sort of works, but honestly has not worked for me well on mobile and doesn't have the ability for cross platform. Also, the comment-as-place marker is generally once every two or three hundred comments, and there's usually something substantive to comment on with that frequency.
posted by corb at 4:57 AM on July 24 [1 favorite]


who reads Noam Chomsky or Slavoj Zizek

Now wait, Chomsky/Zizek slash fanfic is allowed, no? What, no heavy beard tickling wrinkles while deconstructing Scaramucci fantasies allowed?
posted by sammyo at 5:39 AM on July 24


corb: The time stamp thing sort of works, but honestly has not worked for me well on mobile and doesn't have the ability for cross platform.

What about a favourite then? Would that work?
posted by Too-Ticky at 5:55 AM on July 24


This is what "add to activity" is for. You only get the last 10, but you can click through and look around.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 6:59 AM on July 24 [2 favorites]


Why even allow so many posts in Trump threads about, say, Real Christianity vs. Fake Christianity? You still have people talking about what constitutes left vs. non-left sites. That the ongoing Trump drama is gigantic is undeniable, but the threads have come to encompass the whole of all American politics. I realize that's because the system has been ill for some time, in a complicated way, with Trump being the cancer that's finally made this obvious to everyone, but...
posted by raysmj at 7:23 AM on July 24


The Scaramucci stuff was what led me to finally comment in one of these threads. His presser was as prototypical of anything Trump-ey as anything we've seen in all this, practically emblematic of the whole milieu. OF COURSE I went to Metafilter to see what people were saying.
posted by raysmj at 7:28 AM on July 24


I am sort of surprised that some see Thread as a menace, though. I mean, it would be good if this reality wasn't going the way it was, but it is.

Political catch-all: Thread or menace?
posted by Jpfed at 7:40 AM on July 24 [10 favorites]


^^^^ Take all my favorites.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:05 AM on July 24


It would be nice if we could sum up all this trump era uncertainty into a series of catch phrases, that way people can attach whatever baggage they want to it without having to explain every little horrific possibility in detail.

I just read Seveneves so my vote is we call the election period "Pre-Zero". And now, as we wait for the "White Sky" and the "Hard Rain" to destroy earth, we are trying to figure out what the fuck "Our Heritage" actually is before we start out on the "The Epic" to save the human race.
posted by Annika Cicada at 10:23 AM on July 24 [5 favorites]


the wailing and gnashing of teeth in November was just narcissistic rage but nobody can keep petulance simmering for THAT long

Both/and.

Yes, I am STILL angry that the current administration and election system have been compromised by a foreign government. I am angry, with good reason and with mounting evidence. I am wailing for the death of belief in expertise and in a shared reality. I am gnashing my teeth over how abnormal every day has become, over waiting for scoop o'clock and the latest tweet horror, over the millions of people whose lives and health have been put at risk. My country is in distress and crisis.
posted by MonkeyToes at 10:33 AM on July 24 [22 favorites]


3. The volume of news coming out of this administration is fucking insane.

Can I build on this? I haven't been in the megathreads for a good while and I've been taking a serious break from politics while I try and focus on my career for a minute, but I've been around on Twitter and I'm not making an active effort to insulate myself from all politics so I'm still catching the news as best I can...

and jesus, there's just a torrent of fuckery coming at me from all directions! How do you keep up? It's not even Metafilter itself, it's the actual level of People Doing Things and trying to make a difference and watch to see how this absurdly corrupt regime progresses, whether we can stem the damage or not, what we can do to stop our own descent into fascism. There's stuff happening constantly. And that kind of thing, it's not actually in our collective control--so it's important to take breaks and engage in self care and to maybe try to not build on each other in terms of anxiety so we don't burn out.

In that light, I am all for deleting the dystopian fanfiction that isn't being grounded in direct, immediately actionable threats made by the administration. It might be a coping mechanism, but as Dysk says that doesn't make it an adaptive one. It seems like the sort of thing that hypes everyone up in an already anxiety-inducing and exhausting situation, not the sort of thing that drives good conversation and good tactics.
posted by sciatrix at 11:32 AM on July 24 [14 favorites]


A few deleted. nicolas léonard sadi carnot, I'm not sure what it is you are trying achieve, but we have enough to handle in the main thread alone; please don't troll here. And generally anyone who wants to make this into a ragefest, please take a breath, rethink, and have a little pity on us all.
posted by taz (staff) at 11:45 AM on July 24 [18 favorites]


nooooooooo i liked my comment
posted by lalex at 11:48 AM on July 24 [3 favorites]


And mine had favourites, mais c'est la vie.
posted by Too-Ticky at 11:50 AM on July 24 [3 favorites]


Thank you, taz.
posted by zarq at 11:52 AM on July 24 [2 favorites]


the flagging system works again! much victory to the moderators and all who cheer their illustrious reign
posted by sciatrix at 12:37 PM on July 24 [5 favorites]


je pleure la mort de l'expression libre!
posted by lalex at 1:28 PM on July 24


but I've been around on Twitter and I'm not making an active effort to insulate myself from all politics so I'm still catching the news as best I can...

and jesus, there's just a torrent of fuckery coming at me from all directions! How do you keep up? It's not even Metafilter itself, it's the actual level of People Doing Things and trying to make a difference and watch to see how this absurdly corrupt regime progresses, whether we can stem the damage or not, what we can do to stop our own descent into fascism. There's stuff happening constantly. And that kind of thing, it's not actually in our collective control--so it's important to take breaks and engage in self care and to maybe try to not build on each other in terms of anxiety so we don't burn out.


This is exactly what I'm doing, so you're not alone in this specific coping mechanism. I'm throwing myself into non-politics posts and video games. It's not for everyone, I get it. But it works for me. I hope people find their own thing to unplug and cope.
posted by Fizz at 1:30 PM on July 24


(And I'm sure many of us would be happy to share our lists with interested folks; here's mine.)

Lalex, the link you share isn't working for me. I'm super-interested to see it, and am wondering if the link is correct. Thx!
posted by greermahoney at 1:47 PM on July 24


et quelle mort tiède! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
posted by nicolas léonard sadi carnot at 1:49 PM on July 24 [1 favorite]


Lalex, the link you share isn't working for me.

hmmm is this the case for others? I and a friend have tried it while being signed out.
posted by lalex at 1:53 PM on July 24


Oh! I switched over from mobile to desktop and it works fine. Thanks, Lalex.
posted by greermahoney at 2:18 PM on July 24


yay!
posted by lalex at 2:22 PM on July 24 [1 favorite]


About two months ago I landed a pretty cool consulting gig, so I've been working more-or-less non-stop since late May. Because of this, I'm about midway through the Georgia on My Mind: All Bets are Ossoff thread. That's about 3.5 mega-threads back.

So here's the kicker: I wouldn't know it from reading this meta.
posted by ryanrs at 1:41 AM on July 25 [2 favorites]


(I'd say "no spoilers," but I don't think this metatalk has any.)
posted by ryanrs at 1:42 AM on July 25 [1 favorite]


It would be nice if we could sum up all this trump era uncertainty into a series of catch phrases, that way people can attach whatever baggage they want to it without having to explain every little horrific possibility in detail.

And it would make it easier for future generations of writers and composers to make the next Great American Musical or Opera about this time.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:18 AM on July 25 [1 favorite]


Every so often someone proposes we avoid discussion of unhappy outcomes in general but more specifically the unlikelihood of an impeachment in the Trump threads

This seems to presuppose that all Mefites would prefer the outcome of impeaching and convicting President Trump, i.e. that they'd prefer to have President Pence. I mean, it's not like impeachment can reverse the results of the election and make Hillary Clinton president; it would just take us down the line of succession. Pence seems generally more conservative than Trump, and most Mefites are left/liberal, so it's not even obvious that most (let alone all) Mefites would like to see Pence become president. Pence is also a more seasoned politician, as a former governor and member of Congress, so he could be more effective at getting his policies enacted. Anyway, it shouldn't be assumed that each and every Mefite shares the politics of the average Mefite.
posted by John Cohen at 1:39 PM on July 25 [2 favorites]


Yes, agreed--I'm anti-impeachment. My best hope is that Trump continues to be unable to accomplish stuff because he and his cronies are incompetent at DC bureaucracy. Pence knows the system and is liked by his peers--he could actually accomplish some of the ghoulish shit he wants, imo. And if Pence were to somehow go down? Paul Ryan would be even worse.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 3:08 PM on July 25 [3 favorites]


This seems to presuppose that all Mefites would prefer the outcome of impeaching and convicting President Trump, i.e. that they'd prefer to have President Pence.

This discussion is rather separate from the one being considered in this MeTa. Going over whether or not impeachment is or is not possible is not the same as whether or not impeachment is a desirable outcome. I'm not super enthused about the idea of having another go-round of whether or not the Douche Canoe should be impeached in the main thread, but it is a separate issue.

Mods: how do y'all feel about the impeachment, good or bad topic? My sense is that we've had a whole lot of commentary about that in the umpteen million politics threads over the last few months and that revisiting it isn't going to be super productive.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 4:16 PM on July 25


Mods: how do y'all feel about the impeachment, good or bad topic?

This is more a personal take rather than laying down policy, but my feeling is that there is a pretty finite amount of interesting, detailed, MetaFilter-doing-MetaFilter-well discussion to be had about impeachment as a topic of thoughtful discussion and a whole lot of room for wheel spinning, claim-staking, and generally feeling bad at each other speculatively there.

Impeachment lurks in the zeitgeist not because we are daily getting new substantial impeachment-related news but because the situation is so dumb and bad and the president such a remarkably awful piece of shit that the idea of impeachment as the thing up around the next bend on the moral arc of the universe is a great temptation. And so a lot of folks are tempted to talk about it, and that doesn't have much of anywhere to go because it ends up being more about predictions and anti-predictions and optimism vs. pessimism vs. cynicism vs. nihilism vs. etc about the abstract notion. It's conversation mostly taking place unconnected from whether or not such a thing will, at some point in the future, end up happening, but it's driven by strong feelings about the context.

My guess is that unless and until something significantly changes in terms of the facts on the ground, there's not gonna be a lot of new discussion on the subject of impeachment that I'm gonna find interesting. But that's me.

In any case I'd rather people didn't get into a detailed argument about impeachment, pro or con in here specifically.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:58 PM on July 25 [6 favorites]


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