Updates to Election Thread Guide on the Wiki August 7, 2017 12:52 PM   Subscribe

Taking advantage of what actually appears to be a slow news day (?!), I re-vamped the Election Thread Guide on the MeFi wiki to be a new "U.S. Politics Thread Reference" guide. I've enjoyed (as much as one can enjoy) the politics megathreads, but there certainly is a learning curve. Please feel free to add your own content directly or, if you'd like, add info/suggestions here and I can work it in.

Some new terms I've added so far:
-Cake
-Covfefe
-National Treasure [X]
-Tick tick tick and "that tick tick tick guy"

I also added a note about the mods' request to avoid apocalyptic end-game scenarios.
posted by whitewall to MetaFilter-Related at 12:52 PM (42 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

Doing yeoman's work, whitewall. Thanks for sprucing that up.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:53 PM on August 7


Oh this is very helpful (says someone who has been avoiding a lot of these threads but may be filling in a few days next week). Thank you!
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 1:35 PM on August 7 [1 favorite]


Thank you, whitewall! It's fun to read the wiki--kinda amazing to see, actually (all the wit! energy! community!). I've taken up your invitation and tried out a couple edits.

Question/suggestion: There's a section of "Frowned Upon" actions, but where should we put "Encouraged" actions? (I would like to add tips about how to cite links helpfully and reminders to think of the mods, stay on topic, etc. I take it that "Protips" are more tech/meta-oriented tips rather than for content?)

Maybe I'm thinking about this because there was a recent MeFi discussion about how positive instructions (Do This) are more effective than negative ones (Don't).
posted by Sockin'inthefreeworld at 1:55 PM on August 7 [1 favorite]


Maybe I'm thinking about this because there was a recent MeFi discussion about how positive instructions (Do This) are more effective than negative ones (Don't).

I missed that and it sounds interesting. Do you have a link, please?
posted by Wordshore at 2:03 PM on August 7 [1 favorite]


Very helpful, thank you. And a lot easier to read than the actual election threads.
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 2:31 PM on August 7


(on preview: Apologies for how long this turned out. Mods, please delete/move as necessary.)

Wordshore: I'm trying to remember where it was. I don't think it was a full thread to itself--more a sub-discussion within a bigger one, maybe one of the politics ones? (Sorry, trying to go back and Ctrl+F but not seeing it...) I do recall that someone commented that, especially as they get older, they'll see the "Do/Don't X" but later have trouble remembering whether it was a Do or Don't. We also see an angle of it in the discourse on "Democrats need to go beyond We're Not Trump and offer a positive message."

Since I can't find the exact MeFi link, I offer this as consolation: There are studies that discuss, for example, signs in parks, where the conclusion was that "No Littering" is counterproductive because it reinforces the existence of littering in people's minds and makes it seem ok to litter; seeing the prohibited behavior go unpunished also makes others more likely to break the rules (e.g., The reversal effect of prohibition signs, with layperson summary in Pacific Standard magazine). (See also the petrified wood study below.)

But then we also get studies like this: an article from National Park Service Park signs and visitor behavior: A research summary, in which effectiveness depends on whether the message is descriptive vs. injunctive and prescriptive vs. proscriptive:
[Study on theft of petrified wood:] The least theft occurred in the presence of the sign presenting desired behavior in negative terms (i.e., injunctive-proscriptive), “Please don’t remove the petrified wood in the park”...The message associated with the most theft highlighted the unwanted behavior and was negative (i.e., descriptive-proscriptive): “Many past visitors have removed the petrified wood from the park, changing the state of the Petrified Forest.”

[Study on trails:] Comparing just the desired-behavior messages (i.e., injunctive), it was better to tell people not to go off the trail (negative/proscriptive; 5.1% left the trail) than to stay on it (positive/prescriptive; 15.9% left the trail). Messages describing typical behavior (i.e., descriptive) revealed a different pattern: the most effective (11.8% left the trail) were positive (i.e., prescriptive) rather than negative (i.e., proscriptive; 18.7% left the trail).
Another approach: What Shamu Taught Me About a Happy Marriage (Amy Sutherland, NYTimes) covers the ideas of
- rewarding small steps toward desired behavior vs. criticizing undesired behavior
- "incompatible behavior:" "Rather than teach the cranes to stop landing on him, the trainer taught the birds something else, a behavior that would make the undesirable behavior impossible. The birds couldn't alight on the mats and his head simultaneously."
posted by Sockin'inthefreeworld at 3:25 PM on August 7 [5 favorites]


Thank you, Sockin'inthefreeworld
posted by Wordshore at 3:44 PM on August 7


I think this might be the comment:

"If you want someone to not pull their card from a slot while a transaction is processing, one of the worst things to do is to send them a message phrased as "Do NOT do X." We know (too lazy to look up and link an article, sorry, but the day is heating up and I got some lawn care to do) that the human brain will instinctively parse a message like that as "DO THE VERB" because brains evolved to follow instructions to do things to survive much more so than to not do things."
posted by whitewall at 5:23 PM on August 7


Wow, this is well-organized, clearly-written, and entertaining to read! Kudos to whitewall and the other folks who've been crafting this page.
posted by lalex at 6:15 PM on August 7 [1 favorite]


Thanks for taking this on, as I've completely neglected it. This is great.

It might be worth removing (or exiling to another page), some of the old election stuff that we just don't do anymore. Nobody is TTTCSing or talking about the DNC gavel anymore (sadly; I haven't forgotten you gavel!), so this might be more usable as a reference if we took that stuff out. I may take a crack at it later if I get a chance.

The cake section could also be expanded to include "cake bets" around future events as opposed to just celebratory cake.
posted by zachlipton at 6:39 PM on August 7


Holy shit, I'm in the wiki.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:13 PM on August 7 [3 favorites]


Re: cake
The wiki currently cites the McCain healthcare vote as the first instance of cake bet, but wasn't it around earlier than that? Cake was already a thing when I caught up on the politics threads, and that was before the vote... or does my memory fail once again...

PS: I just received my order of cake pans and look forward to facing the consequences of my deliciously wrong proclamations.

posted by Sockin'inthefreeworld at 10:40 PM on August 7


First cake I'm aware of is for the original AHCA vote in the House, which failed. Sotonohito was the cake wagerer.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:45 PM on August 7 [1 favorite]


I spent a bit trying to find the origin of cake bets, and I think it was Sotonohito who started the "if I'm wrong, I'll eat my words on a cake" bet concept, but Mrs. Pterodactyl introduced the idea of celebratory cake eating 16 minutes earlier with:
I am avoiding sugar during Lent but if Paul Ryan steps down I will declare it a feast day and I will bake a celebratory cake and I will write Go to Hell Paul Ryan with icing in lovely cursive on the cake and then I will eat the cake.
It came up again a few times in the thread after that, turning it into A Thing (including my cheating by making a cake bet on something that was never possibly going to be verified), and on April 3, Melismata commented:
"Is "betting a cake" now officially part of Metafilter Important Lore? I hope so..."
And now it is, officially.
posted by zachlipton at 10:53 PM on August 7 [1 favorite]


Ah I see, different healthcare vote. The wiki cites the [July] Senate vote, not the AHCA House vote earlier this year.
posted by Sockin'inthefreeworld at 10:54 PM on August 7


Excellent work. Thank you and all who contributed.

It might be nice to include a link to this at the beginning of each new politics FPP. I don't think people generally check FAQs if they run across a puzzling reference (Egg? Meredith!? 🍰?) midway through a 1000+ post thread.
posted by LeftMyHeartInSanFrancisco at 1:01 AM on August 8 [3 favorites]


Wait… are we missing the real news here? Did I just read that we may be getting a cameo mod appearance by jessamyn?

Thanks for sticking around in this community even after stepping down from moderating, jessamyn. You've always been a great mefite as well as a great mod.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 5:07 AM on August 8 [1 favorite]


It is fun keeping this updated. Ya'll gonna miss me when maternity leave is over and I have to go back to doing real work. I moved all the Election 2016 content to an archived page. A "Things Generally Smiled Upon" section to precede the "Things Generally Frowned Upon" section is a great idea. I added a few more definitions, like congresscritter and "surely this?"
posted by whitewall at 5:23 AM on August 8 [1 favorite]


I spent a bit trying to find the origin of cake bets, and I think it was Sotonohito who started the "if I'm wrong, I'll eat my words on a cake" bet concept, but Mrs. Pterodactyl introduced the idea of celebratory cake eating 16 minutes earlier with:

I am avoiding sugar during Lent but if Paul Ryan steps down I will declare it a feast day and I will bake a celebratory cake and I will write Go to Hell Paul Ryan with icing in lovely cursive on the cake and then I will eat the cake.


Oh my God, thank you so much for this! I know it's unbelievably stupid and petty but I brought up cake in that thread because I was feeling happy and excited about making the Go to Hell Paul Ryan cake and then someone else brought up cake and made it and ate it and the whole fucking thread was about his amazing cake idea and I know it's stupid and dumb but it made me so sad and angry, like, once again I say something and some guy says almost the same thing like ten minutes later and everyone talks about how great it is and no one even realizes I've ever said anything and if I bring it up I look like a petulant child (accurate) because who gets angry at someone else for making cake?

But after thirtyish years of having other people (men) say the same thing I did, often later, and get credit for it, and twentyish years of looking like a dick for belligerently claiming credit whenever I say something interesting or clever because I have to choose between seeming boorish or having my contributions be unrecognized it made me shockingly sad and upset to see everyone talking joyfully about this guy's cake when I had been so excited to make and eat my own cake. I know there are reasons this happened (like, he predicated his cake eating on a thing that actually happened that day and Paul fucking Ryan is still Speaker of the House so I haven't gotten to eat my cake yet) but it made me shockingly sad and hurt, more so than I would have expected (I even made a kind of ill-advised comment snarking about this and NO ONE GOT IT) and I couldn't complain because Jesus how fucking petty would that be? And it's not like my initial comment didn't get plenty of favorites, it did! And it's not like I haven't gotten plenty of positive recognition on Metafilter, for which I am deeply grateful, so caring about this so much seemed, at the very least, ungracious. So I spent a shocking amount of the day feeling like a stupid child for feeling hurt about this and then I saw it's in the wiki now and I was like "you have got to be fucking kidding me" and even typed that yesterday to say in this thread but then I deleted it (this happened like three times, I am not a woman of great self-control) so anyway this is a long and rambling and kind of weird comment to say thank you very very much for this, you'd be surprised how much it meant to me even though I feel dumb admitting it.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 5:45 AM on August 8 [20 favorites]


Wait… are we missing the real news here? Did I just read that we may be getting a cameo mod appearance by jessamyn?

Yep, in fact it'll be cameo number three or four in the last year or so! Jess has been picking up some shifts now and then to help us out with moderation schedule balancing when there's been time crunches, which I have super appreciated.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:14 AM on August 8 [2 favorites]


And yeah, irony being that the other comment was more memorable partly because I think there was in that case a fair amount of actual "yeah, you better eat that fuckin' cake" sentiment to the collective reaction. That that then spun out into relative mutual good humor was I think a relief for a lot of people and so that sort of amplified that chunk of events in people's minds because Man Does In Fact Eat Shoe is a weird twist (even if the shoe was a cake and the cake wasn't actually that guy's idea to start with).

Shit's weird sometimes. You sorta, yeah, got robbed by circumstance in part just for not being a jerk.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:28 AM on August 8


I can personally say that I was all "yeah, you better eat that fuckin' cake, sotonohito" as part of my stated irritation with people being militantly certain in these threads about stuff they are only guessing at. I can see how that played out in a How To Suppress Women's Writing sort of way, which was not intended. Sorry about that, Mrs. Pterodactyl.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:09 AM on August 8


Shit's weird sometimes. You sorta, yeah, got robbed by circumstance in part just for not being a jerk.

Thank you, that's very kind of you to say! This kind of thing comes up more than I'd like (in all aspects of life, it's not a Metafilter thing) and I really struggle with whether to be a jerk or seethe and it's rare I get credit for either choice.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 8:25 AM on August 8 [3 favorites]


Mrs. Pterodactyl, I hope you get to eat your Go to Hell Paul Ryan cake too and you get ONE MILLION FAVORITES.
posted by zachlipton at 11:11 AM on August 8 [4 favorites]


Oh look Mrs. Pterodactyl, you're in the wiki! ;)
posted by Sockin'inthefreeworld at 11:58 AM on August 8


That's really nice, thank you! I will practice my cursive for the day Paul Ryan loses his job and I laugh so hard I spray cake crumbs out of my nose.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 12:20 PM on August 8 [3 favorites]


Would it be possible to add in a mention of the bees, use, and uncanny wrath thereof, please?

The first mention I found was by Going To Maine, Feb 16

Improved upon by corb. On a rather weird night that lasted a couple of days. Bees seconded by angrycat, and others in the thread. With Sophie1 opposing. Also opposed by lydhre. But ctrl+F bees in that thread, it was as good as I remembered.

tivalasvegas and Rust Moranis had a touching exchange about the bees in another thread and more mentions followed. Including a link to the Oprah gif, and inevitable Nic Cage clip. A personal favorite, courtesy of murphy slaw and zachlipton.

Other threads:
Wherein cjelli answers a question about a possible eagle/bee collaboration effort. Coventry and Pogo_Fuzzybutt, respectively, re: bee trainability.

Indirect bees. diogenes helping the bee cause. General mention of new word references, includes bees. zachliption proposed an alternative equine alliance, but later advocating in favor of bee usage. Request for beekeeper, answered. Bees in the mail, see also. Ethics of bee usage in the face of crop needs.

poffin boffin has another excellent suggestion in a thread with scant bee activity.

Return of bees and shipping ideas. prize bull octorock invokes them with very good cause. Another alternate suggestion. Starts with pool, then CBO score, then come bees.

Invitation for the mods to use the bees. Previously against, lydhre goes strongly pro-bee use, is questioned, but promises to treat the bees well. A step further. Wasps are again suggested, alternatives sought, bees argued as traditional. Another alternative. Remember.

Brief mention amongst a calling for birthday wish poxes.

A little fly by. Another. Bees as practical alternative to shades (includes reference to cake).

Bees are back. But only for a moment. Explanation. However.

Bees are reportedly given up for avians.

A few threads later, bees are back, though not in traditional form to start. This is a return to form.

May 16: Bees in London. First uncanny event.

Bee reference, in translation, by former President of Mexico Vincente Fox. Bonus.

May 30: Bees find refuge with Rust Moranis. June 2: Bees attempt to take back New York, are removed but preserved by bee sympathizers. A bee sympathizer carefully spinning in case the They are watching.

June 6: As is his way, zachlipton is the first to report the news that bees have gained the trust of key players and have been granted access. In context with other news.

June 13: Bees make second attempt on New York, this time going for big media impact (bees in the offices of Vox Media, report by The Verge).

Bee popularity rises after media push: Bee jumpsuit, fluttering hellfire's dream of Freedom and Beedom, Justinian's realization, Floydd takes it even further. But it comes at a cost: Bees stolen in California. Maybe the bees had other plans. Rust Moranis updates on his bee hosting. zachlipton's stinging admission. Mod reminder to keep the bees on the downlow.

After that, only occasional mentions are made, occasionally. Cakes and Bees, together.

National Treasure Alexandra Petri may know about the bees, but she's probably ok.

I'd apologize for this, but I'd be lying if I did. My Favorites are full of bees. I love the bees, and I understand that we don't talk about them anymore, but they deserve to be commemorated. They tried.
posted by monopas at 6:33 PM on August 8 [12 favorites]


That is an incredibly impressive amount of research on the bees. Bravo.
posted by zachlipton at 11:17 PM on August 8 [1 favorite]


Thanks, zachlipton! The current thread was both dark and slow, until it became all doom and gloom, and tracing the history of the bees provided an enjoyable afternoon of distraction.
posted by monopas at 12:58 AM on August 9


monopas, bees, and zachlipton: the expanded Glossary is abuzz with the addition of all of you. :)
posted by Sockin'inthefreeworld at 1:09 AM on August 9 [2 favorites]


Thank you, Sockin'inthefreeworld! I didn't want to add the bees to the wiki myself, as my judgement in that area is clouded by my emotional attatchment.
posted by monopas at 1:37 AM on August 9


monopas, a summary by me couldn't possibly do justice to your research so that's why I linked to your post here. Your impressive beeception took over my mind and I actually went and got some toast with honey for a snack.

More additions include:
-lalex (actually I added earlier but neglected to do a shout-out here)
-Russia and link to OnceUponATime's Active Measures website
-credit to whitewall for the revamp and link to this MetaTalk

Suggestion/question:
-Any interest in adding a section on resources for taking action? For things like links to Congressional or state govt contact info, letter templates and phone scripts, the Mueller firing contingency plan, orgs to donate to, which journalists to follow for X topic, etc.
For now I've put in a "Take Action" in the Things Smiled Upon section, mostly as a placeholder as this topic could probably have a section to itself.
posted by Sockin'inthefreeworld at 2:05 AM on August 9 [1 favorite]


Question: You know that thing where someone posts a comment containing Pithy Description and someone else, a few comments later, returns with "Metafilter: Pithy Description"? Is that sitewide or specific to the politics megathreads? Should it go on the wiki?
posted by Sockin'inthefreeworld at 6:14 AM on August 9


It's a sitewide thing.
posted by Jpfed at 7:06 AM on August 9 [2 favorites]


Yeah, sitewide and very long-standing rhetorical joke on the site. Here's a 2012 thread on the subject, which includes some links to older discussions and to some automated slogan-herding I'd done a while back.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:13 AM on August 9




I made an entry for taglines but it's not very funny. Can someone make it funnier?
posted by whitewall at 8:15 AM on August 9


Metafilter: Can someone make it funnier?
posted by Chrysostom at 12:20 PM on August 9 [8 favorites]


Thanks for including my opposition to using bees as weapons monopas. As a beekeeper, they're really quite a wonderful and fascinating super-organism and they really do deserve more respect than being caught in a cage with anyone as foul as can be found in this administration.
posted by Sophie1 at 6:10 AM on August 11 [2 favorites]


You're welcome, Sophie1.

As with cakes, it is important to tell the whole story about the bees.
posted by monopas at 1:48 PM on August 11


Can I just also say how lovely it is that we have a wiki where users can create their own stuff for the benefit of other users? Want to give a shoutout to pronoiac and adrianhon and (I think?) richardp who all work behind the scenes to keep it spam free and mostly working. Nice work folks!
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 2:12 PM on August 11 [4 favorites]


The best illustration of the "people do stuff because you told them not to" principle is this song
posted by emjaybee at 10:52 PM on August 12


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