Best of the Web? November 3, 2017 6:11 PM   Subscribe

Hi, all! Question: I've been away for a bit and am an infrequent user. Just wondering, is the old saying "Best of the Web" still the motivation for MetaFilter? I might be missing it but I don't see it anywhere. One of the reasons I ask is I've been seeing a lot of posts from the New Yorker, Guardian, etc. and, although these might be interesting articles, I wouldn't consider them "Best of the Web". Perhaps the days of WWW innovation and post-worthiness (because of that fact, that being innovation) are gone and the subject matter alone determines the decision to post.

And full disclosure: I've been around here for I'm guessing 12 years or so in different incarnations. I see that some of the old-timers are still here, but many of my favorites are gone and I'm wondering why. Of course, being gone, they can't answer the question but those who are still here can. There's obviously an inherent criticism in this post but I'm being sincere. I have a lot of great memories of what's gone on here over the years and MetaFilter has enriched my real-world life quite a bit. Frustration too, but that has been some of the fun of it. So I guess the bottom line here is I would like to know what everyone thinks about the state of Metafilter and the direction it's going, some stories about how it has affected your life and a mention of people here of whom you have fond memories. Number one on my list is vronsky.
posted by Michael Tellurian to MetaFilter-Related at 6:11 PM (277 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

Just because the old timers aren't here, doesn't mean we aren't here. You feel me? And best of the web is all relative and it always was.
posted by The Great David S. Pumpkins at 6:33 PM on November 3 [13 favorites]


Just because the old timers aren't here, doesn't mean we aren't here. You feel me? And best of the web is all relative and it always was.
posted by The Great David S. Pumpkins at 6:35 PM on November 3 [2 favorites]


Weird. Double. Speaking of time warps. That's some doppelganger shit, right there.
posted by The Great David S. Pumpkins at 6:37 PM on November 3 [3 favorites]


I've been here since 2001, and New Yorker articles have always been heavily linked.

Also, you can post things. I don't have a whole lot of patience for people who complain about one kind of thing being posted more than some other kind of thing. Go ahead and post that other kind of thing; ignore posts about the first kind of thing.
posted by LionIndex at 6:40 PM on November 3 [40 favorites]


What makes a good thread post to MetaFilter?

A good post to MetaFilter is something that meets the following criteria: most people haven't seen it before, there is something interesting about the content on the page, and it might warrant discussion from others.

From the posting guidelines. I don't think it has materially changed in the last 12 years, and there never was anything at all about "best of the web" in it.
posted by yhbc at 6:40 PM on November 3 [7 favorites]


Times changes, and we change with them my friend.

I'm assuming you're male - cause if you are a woman, it's a lot harder to get dewy-eyed about the days of yesteryear, where drive-by misogyny was the order of the day, and mobs regularly hounded users from threads - or the site entirely - if they "couldn't take a joke" or didn't pay adequate respect to site norms.

This is not to takeaway from the good times that were had, but the bag was decidedly mixed, and it's easy to forget that. To me, Metafilter of the Olden Days was noticeably more racist, sexist, homogenous, and bullying.

Likewise, a random dump of the front page 2003 doesn't seem all that different from a random page from 2017, to me (though 2017 has noticeably fewer US politics posts, a change I welcome).

For me, the state of metafilter has been getting better and better. We are kinder, more diverse, more tolerant of different viewpoints and less tolerant of sexism, racism, privilege (there is still much room for improvement, of course). We have new subsites delivering great conversation on tv shows, a chat room for those that want it, and more.

I'm glad the site has changed, and long may it continue to change. Our obligation as mefites is to ensure it's changing in the right ways, for the better of our community, and broadly speaking I think it has.
posted by smoke at 7:04 PM on November 3 [92 favorites]


From the posting guidelines. I don't think it has materially changed in the last 12 years, and there never was anything at all about "best of the web" in it.

No, if I recall correctly, "Best of the Web" was a sub-title. There was a difference between traditional media and what was posted here. When 30% of FPPs are linking to mainstream media outlets the phrase then becomes meaningless. That's my point. I'm not saying it's necessarily a bad thing, but it seems to me to be a thing worth noting.
posted by Michael Tellurian at 7:08 PM on November 3


There was a difference between traditional media and what was posted here.

I think if you go back through the archives and comments that speculation will not be borne out.

I might also note that these articles are on the web and they represent some of the best material on it.

There has been a lot of conversation over the years about "best of the web" not being a particular mission statement but more of a descriptor the goal of MetaFilter being, well, a filter- sorting the best readables/viewables/hearables/playables on the web from the less-best. It still does that well.

The rest of your question is so darn broad I might recommend just paging back a few MetaTalk pages and reading some of the "whither" discussions that have been had in the past year or two.
posted by Miko at 7:27 PM on November 3 [9 favorites]


Miko, you might be right but "a filter- sorting the best readables/viewables/hearables/playables on the web from the less-best" just doesn't have the same ring to it! I guess the distinction is that there was a distinction between what was happening online versus traditional information media. That distinction no longer exists.
posted by Michael Tellurian at 7:42 PM on November 3


"Best of the web" was officially noted by jessamyn as being deprecated in 2009. It hadn't appeared as a tagline for a while before that, I think circa 2007. That's a long time ago, and I kind of wish people wouldn't bring it up as a club in MetaTalk threads all the time. Just my two cents.

I would say that to the extent the site is less "here's some wacky web page about snails from this guy in Alberta" it's because there is less of that sort of thing on the web than there used to be. The web is markedly more homogeneous than it was when Metafilter was founded. There is still some of it out there, and to LionIndex's point, you are actively encouraged to post it. The site is user-driven, you can help make it more like you want it to be.

As far as non-content issues, I agree with smoke - I think the discussions on the site feature a lot less assholish behavior than it used to. There are some folks I miss, definitely, but the place was kind of a jungle, and I don't miss that aspect.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:44 PM on November 3 [41 favorites]


"Best of the web" was officially noted by jessamyn as being deprecated in 2009. It hadn't appeared as a tagline for a while before that, I think circa 2007.

Link?

The web is markedly more homogeneous than it was when Metafilter was founded.

I don't see that as a good thing.

the place was kind of a jungle, and I don't miss that aspect.

I do. MetaFilter has been a social crucible.
posted by Michael Tellurian at 7:59 PM on November 3 [2 favorites]


Link?
"best of the web" even though it's a deprecated phrase" -- posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:04 AM on October 20, 2009
In context, she was saying we should still be talking about stuff available online, not freeform chat, but clearly, post links do not have to meet some superlative criterion.

I don't see that as a good thing.

I don't either, particularly, but it's not something any of us have a great deal of control over. It's genuinely harder to find weird stuff than it once was. You could put something creative on the web yourself, and post it to Projects.

I do. MetaFilter has been a social crucible.

It seems to me - and maybe you've missed this having been away - we've had many, many, many MeTas from people who aren't white/male/hetero/cisgendered feeling like they've been treated like shit. I'm okay with taking people at their word that they're being crapped on. And through that dialogue, we've made progress on people being respectful to one another. If you feel that that respect equates to blandness, I respectfully disagree, but I would point out that there are a wealth of other places online where people are super aggressive to one another, and maybe one of those would be a better fit?

Maybe this all comes off as hostile, and I don't mean it to. But you seem to have two complaints: 1) not enough weird links, and 2) (and this is less clear from your post) maybe you don't care for the current tone of discussion. For 1) - it's a knockon effect of the changes in the web itself over the years. It's not a great thing, I agree, but it's something you can have some impact on as a user, if you want to. As for 2) I don't think we're going back to the shouty days. Some people have left because they wanted to shout; some people left because they were tired of being shouted at. I would prefer the latter to come back, by and large.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:16 PM on November 3 [67 favorites]


You are not coming off as hostile. Just telling it like it is. There is a lot of history worth reading in MetaTalk that has made MetaFilter what it is today and it is not the same as it used to be. That doesn't make it bad or less than it used to be.
posted by Roger Dodger at 8:25 PM on November 3 [1 favorite]


But you seem to have two complaints: 1) not enough weird links, and 2) (and this is less clear from your post) maybe you don't care for the current tone of discussion.

1 )No, I'm not longing for "weird" links, but your inference that I do is weird, and 2) What tone are you referring to? I'm not aware of a tone.

we've had many, many, many MeTas from people who aren't white/male/hetero/cisgendered feeling like they've been treated like shit.

I have no idea where this is coming from and what relation your comment has to my post.

To reiterate: So I guess the bottom line here is I would like to know what everyone thinks about the state of Metafilter and the direction it's going, some stories about how it has affected your life and a mention of people here of whom you have fond memories.
posted by Michael Tellurian at 8:36 PM on November 3


It seems like it's a pretty fair interpretation of the idea that you miss the 'social crucible' days?
posted by sagc at 8:40 PM on November 3 [7 favorites]


ok what is a social crucible
posted by lalex at 8:46 PM on November 3 [38 favorites]


1 )No, I'm not longing for "weird" links, but your inference that I do is weird,

Well, I thought so because you apparently don't think links to The New Yorker or the Gaurdian or wherever are good Metafilter material? You said, "although these might be interesting articles, I wouldn't consider them "Best of the Web" So, apologies if I've misinterpreted that, but you pretty much seem to be asking for the less mainstream stuff we saw more of in early days.

I have no idea where this is coming from and what relation your comment has to my post.


I (and smoke) had said we thought the tone was better here these days, you said you liked it better when it was a "social crucible." I'm not sure how to interpret that other than you liked it better when it was okay to be kind of a dick, maybe social crucible is some term of art I'm not familiar with.

So I guess the bottom line here is I would like to know what everyone thinks about the state of Metafilter and the direction it's going, some stories about how it has affected your life and a mention of people here of whom you have fond memories.

I think the state is fine, as is the direction it's going. I've learned a lot from interesting people here over the years, and I still like it. I miss eriko, I did miss maxsparber but he came back, and I'm blanking on his name, but he was a huge Apple fanboy.

I'll bow out now, I feel like I'm derailing the thread with this much engagement.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:48 PM on November 3 [13 favorites]


I lurked for a long long time and joined late. I mostly like the state of Metafilter. I mostly like the direction it's going. It's had no small part in making me think and act more and more carefully. I don't miss the old days at all. This place could be a real shithole at times back then. The web is just as weird as it used to be but there's just a lot more of it to sift through. I have fond memories of the first time I voted #1 for quidnunc kid.
posted by introp at 8:57 PM on November 3 [19 favorites]


I think that it feels like you're fishing for something in particular, and maybe you should have the guts to come right out and say it. There is, as you say, obviously an inherent criticism in your post. So tell us what it is.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 9:00 PM on November 3 [39 favorites]


For me 'Best of the Web' has always been about finding interesting things to click on and interesting discussions that generate from those clicks.

Sometimes it's something weird or happy or serious or unexpected. It's all of those things and sometimes none of them. An essay, a blog post, a video game review, a single youtube video, a discussion about the current U.S. President, a comic strip parody, new scientific breakthroughs, a question about bed sheets, an argument about what is a sandwich, and on and on and on.

It's always a surprise when I load up MetaFilter. And for me it's mostly about the people. The moderators, the regulars, the lurkers, the people who fly by and only post once or twice a year. It's never going to be what it was 7 years ago. And it's not going to be that 7 years from now. I'm ok with that. And that's all I'll say.
posted by Fizz at 9:00 PM on November 3 [20 favorites]


I agree, in the large, that "Here's the Guardian article everybody is already talking about on Facebook so now you can also talk about it here" isn't what i come to MetaFilter for, but it is for lots of people and it doesn't really damage my experience. For myself -- I guess an old-timer now -- I try to post things from more outlying parts of the web that MeFites really may not have seen. I think you should do the same. I'll like your posts and you'll like mine. Everything will be OK.
posted by escabeche at 9:12 PM on November 3 [14 favorites]


When I infrequently make front-page posts, the old "best of the web" mantra is surely still in my head—like is this interesting? Is this unique? But as Fizz alludes to, "can we have a good discussion about it?" is in and of itself a question that informs some great posts. The community and discussion are both best of the web to me. People here know about all kinds of things I don't—or can seriously plumb the depths of things I already do know well. All the time I see posts where people here happen to know the writer, creator, or subject and can offer more interesting commentary than I could find anywhere else. I've found myself reading things I otherwise wouldn't because someone has posted them here. I've learned so much from that.

Anyway, if I look through my contact list, sure, there are people with names blacked out who I definitely miss. In some cases those accounts were just shed but the people remain. In other cases, the accounts aren't disabled, but their owners are on hiatus one way or another. Yeah, I miss people. But I delight in getting to know those still here through their comments and posts and collaborating on new projects. Some people favorite my stuff all the time, though (as far as I know) we've never met. I appreciate that at least a few people enjoy my perspective.

So yeah, there are multiple ways to be "best of the web," and I think the site fulfills a lot of them, even if that's no longer explicitly the mission.
posted by limeonaire at 9:18 PM on November 3 [6 favorites]


ok what is a social crucible

i saw goody lalex with the devil!
posted by poffin boffin at 9:25 PM on November 3 [117 favorites]


anyway this post comes off pretty "sjws roont good old mefi" and "blah blah pc echo chamber" and whatnot so i'm not super interested in taking it too seriously
posted by poffin boffin at 9:30 PM on November 3 [33 favorites]


Well, I thought so because you apparently don't think links to The New Yorker or the Gaurdian or wherever are good Metafilter material

Sorry, now I understand what you're getting at. My point was this: Being traditional and pre-WWW they do not (usually) qualify as "Best of the Web", the web being a new technology. Having adapted to the changes in the way information is gathered and disseminated, these old media outlets have apparently made their way to the top of the heap again, to "The Best of the Web". There was a time when pundits predicted their inevitable demise. They survived and, here at MetaFilter, thrive. The implication I made was a question of the continuing purpose of MetaFilter as a filter for the WWW. I think it's a reasonable question and from my point of view, MetaFilter's usefulness is diminished to a degree because of the changes and adaptations of the media giants. Matt's original vision summed up in the slogan "Best of the Web", which was a human-filter of all the good stuff and all the crap on the WWW, was brilliant. I'm not sure it is as relevant today as it once was. Personally, I read these publications and don't need a filter to direct me to these sources. They are concentrated and not diverse, nor needful of filtering.
posted by Michael Tellurian at 9:30 PM on November 3 [3 favorites]


My own view is that the value of MetaFilter has mostly transitioned away from best of the web/things people haven't seen before and become a place where the value is largely in the community.
posted by lalex at 9:33 PM on November 3 [44 favorites]


the true best of the web is the friends we've made along the way
posted by notquitemaryann at 10:00 PM on November 3 [65 favorites]


It's not the best of the web we deserve, but it's the best of the web we need right now.
posted by The Great David S. Pumpkins at 10:05 PM on November 3 [6 favorites]


Personally, I read these publications and don't need a filter to direct me to these sources.

An interesting fact is that not everyone is just like you.
posted by Miko at 10:37 PM on November 3 [65 favorites]


Miko, and because of this fact I'm not allowed to express my opinion here? Your comment is belittling and disrespectful.
posted by Michael Tellurian at 10:53 PM on November 3 [3 favorites]


the true best of the web is the friends we've made along the way

no, notquitemaryann, the true best of the web was inside of you the whole time
posted by ActingTheGoat at 10:57 PM on November 3 [13 favorites]


Same as it ever was
Same as it ever was
Same as it ever was
Same as it ever was
Same as it ever was
Same as it ever was
Same as it ever was
Same as it ever was
posted by kirkaracha at 11:01 PM on November 3 [1 favorite]


Miko, and because of this fact I'm not allowed to express my opinion here? Your comment is belittling and disrespectful.

lol no one said you weren't allowed to express your opinion. you are so obviously looking for a fight, it's simultaneously laughable and sad.
posted by poffin boffin at 11:05 PM on November 3 [46 favorites]


If you feel like you need a filter for your 'filter, I highly recommend perusing the links in the New & Noteworthy sidebar on the blue.

If you feel like you need a reminder for "same as it ever was," I recommend (less highly) clicking the 5/10/etc years ago in Day in MeFi History.

I've been here since 2006 (still a n00b, I know) and I don't see a vast difference in the amount of fluff/cruft/awesome-weird.
posted by rtha at 11:14 PM on November 3 [7 favorites]


the true best of the web was never real. we just needed it to be real so we could believe.
posted by notquitemaryann at 11:19 PM on November 3 [6 favorites]


sometimes I wish I were a mod just to know what peoples' previous usernames were.
posted by lalex at 11:24 PM on November 3 [31 favorites]


lalex, do you want to know what names people have used previously in general or do you want to know about me specifically? And if the latter, why? Would that help you in forming an opinion about what I have said here? You could always pm me and ask. If you promise to keep it to yourself I'll tell you. BTW, I assume "lalex" is not your real name, right?
posted by Michael Tellurian at 11:48 PM on November 3


Probably better to just focus on the question and cut out the personal stuff. The "best of the web" was never a big deal, just a part of the phrasing on the posting page for a while before it was changed so people would stop fighting about whether a post or topic was "the best of the web."

Here's monju_bosatsu in 2006:
"Best of the web" is deprecated. Originally, the post page stated: "Just to be clear: the point of metafilter is to find the best and most interesting of the web to share with others, not things described here." Now it just says: "Found something cool on the web and want to share it with everyone else? Great!" The phrase "best of the web" is not found on either the about page or in the guidelines.
posted by taz (staff) at 11:53 PM on November 3 [12 favorites]


And here's a Metatalk post from 2005, by which time people already couldn't remember where the phrase had appeared. Jairus notes that "I recall very strongly that the 'best of the web' phrase was on the new post page, many years ago," and WestCoaster clears up confusion about whether it was ever one of the slogans that used to appear below the Metafilter logo (apparently not).
posted by taz (staff) at 12:00 AM on November 4 [11 favorites]


I think part of the problem is the way I worded my post. There are really two parts to it. The first is a criticism the second is not. I was feeling nostalgic and they both came out of the same place. It was a poorly structured post. Apologies.
posted by Michael Tellurian at 12:01 AM on November 4 [4 favorites]


Being traditional and pre-WWW they do not (usually) qualify as "Best of the Web", the web being a new technology. Having adapted to the changes in the way information is gathered and disseminated, these old media outlets have apparently made their way to the top of the heap again, to "The Best of the Web"

I mean, you pretty much just answered your own question here - "Old" Media adapted and became major players in the "New" Internet. They could do so because they had money and experience, and a lot of the smaller weirder stuff from the earlier days of the web turned out to be unsustainable for financial reasons, or people burned out, or lost interest, or got bought out. In one of the fairly recent discussions on here (I think in MetaTalk, but I don't remember exactly), quite a few people pointed out that a ton of hobby or special-interest groups used to congregate on forums or small websites, and they all moved to Facebook groups because it was cheaper/simpler/had a wider reach.

So, even if MetaFilter were still aiming at "Best of the Web", it would be the Best of the Web as it exists in 2017, not as it existed in 2003 or whenever. If the Washington Post website is the one writing the detailed articles about the current political situation, that's what goes into an FPP. Maybe in '06 it was Alternet, or some guy with a page on blogger.com, or whatever, but that's not the Internet we have now. Things change.

a question of the continuing purpose of MetaFilter as a filter for the WWW.

Not everyone thinks this is the "purpose" of MetaFilter (see: Ask MetaFilter and Fanfare), and for many simply having an Internet community and a place for discussion is equally as important.

MetaFilter's usefulness is diminished to a degree because of the changes and adaptations of the media giants.

You seem to be taking a rather starkly utilitarian approach to the existence of this place. Again, not everyone cares if this website is "useful."

I'm not sure it is as relevant today as it once was. Personally, I read these publications and don't need a filter to direct me to these sources. They are concentrated and not diverse, nor needful of filtering.

And, well, that's you, and that's fine, you do you, but not everyone has time or energy or emotional bandwidth to read the mainstream publications/websites; not everyone is on social media, or at least not checking it regularly, or using a heavily filtered version, so "That Guardian article that's all over Facebook" will still be new to some people. Take a look at some of the "Fucking Fuck" (about the current US (& UK) political situation) MetaTalk threads - no small number of users are happy to let MetaFilter filter out the noise from the daily barrage of news. And that's just politics stuff - while the current front page certainly has things from CNN and The New Yorker and The Atlantic, there's also stuff from "cinephiliabeyond.com" and The Seattle Weekly and "tedium.co". None of which I would have known about if not for someone here deciding to make an FPP.
posted by soundguy99 at 12:07 AM on November 4 [21 favorites]


If you wanted to criticise 2017 posts, I think it's incumbent on you to put up some examples of what you are talking about. I showed you a random front page from 2003; it had plenty of traditional media links so I submit that the yearning you're feeling is built more around false memories than actual reality.

Further, I would argue that there are plenty of links to the NYT and The Guardian that do qualify as best of the web. My last post, in fact, was from the New York Times (my first time link to them, actually), and I was very proud of the find - thought it was great in both presentation and content! Had you read the post?

I think also playing into the reception to your post - aside from framing which you've acknowledged was problematic - is the fact that you are not an active user - outside this thread you've posted 4 things this whole year. Quiet mefites are an important part of this community, but it's hard not to get a little squiffy when someone when less than thirty comments and an unknown prior presence here posts something that could be interpreted as a bit of cringe.
posted by smoke at 12:18 AM on November 4 [11 favorites]


I'll also just point out "My Mefi" that can help narrow the sorts of posts you see via favorite tags and excluded tags. There's also the front page sidebar option for skipping US politics posts.
posted by taz (staff) at 12:28 AM on November 4 [7 favorites]


I've been a member since 2000. One of the things that makes Metafilter special is that I consider it a living, breathing document that moves with the times way more so than any other website.

The web is far different right now than it was in 2000 or 2007 or 2012. It got bigger but also got homogenized. However, I think a big chunk of the web is also cycling back to the more creative. It's all cyclical.

As to why people disappear...well, you know life happens. People get mad and leave, people get happy and leave, people get sad and leave, people have families, people die, people change their user names, people change focus, etc., Again, it's all cyclical. A bunch of people who were initially around when the site started just naturally went away due to being ages where marriage and family happened 5-10 years in.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 3:36 AM on November 4 [19 favorites]


As always, I would suggest to be the change you want to see in the world. If you want more weird links and fewer mass media stories, put them up yourself, but if you're loath to do the work, why should I care?
posted by MartinWisse at 3:42 AM on November 4 [10 favorites]


People get mad and leave, people get happy and leave, people get sad and leave, people have families, people die, people change their user names, people change focus, etc.

also, most importantly, horrible toxic people get banned.
posted by poffin boffin at 4:04 AM on November 4 [51 favorites]


Re: Best of the Web --- it seems to me that some of the confusion and hostility in this thread is down to the fact that you seem, Tellurian, to still think of the web as a separate place, somewhere you can visit, which has its own qualities that make it distinct from the old world.

Most people don't think that way, anymore. Once we were swimmers. Now we are fish.

It would never occur to most people that a newspaper article could not or would not be best of the "Web" because a newspaper were creatures of the old, physical media world. Nothing which has a hyperlink is foreign to us. It all goes in the maw and gets squeezed out the tubes. You're soaking in it, Madge. So "best of the web" simply becomes "interesting things" because the internet is the world. The invisible aether through which light is propagated.

We await our Einstein to destroy that illusion, but in the meantime, to wildly mix my methaphors, we swim. You're selling bicycles, man.
posted by Diablevert at 4:51 AM on November 4 [42 favorites]


I personally missed that "best of web" was deprecated but do have more recent perception that it's been suggested aspirationally, perhaps during the posting contest months and perhaps not with that exact meme like phraseology.

And just look at some of the wacky stuff on the front page the last week, mifi is not just politics/sjw/kittens (although it's been a bit since the last great cute animal post, wasn't there something about furry's tho'?)

There's been really really great posts this year, but deconstructing the essence of this thread, the memory of this year will be much better than the what we discover in 2020, it always is, it's the nature of nostalgia perceptions. The good old days were always so much better, well except....
posted by sammyo at 5:41 AM on November 4 [1 favorite]


The invisible aether through which light is propagated. We await our Einstein to destroy that illusion

Irresistible pedantry: it was the Michelson-Morley experiment that essentially disproved the existence of the luminiferous aether; Einstein was the guy who (20 years later) figured out how to explain the propagation of light given the results of that experiment.
posted by soundguy99 at 6:27 AM on November 4 [10 favorites]


Geocities is gone, man. The 2003 web is over, and the remaining shadows of that world (RIP) are often not what’s “best” out there these days. Metafilter isn’t here to put the toothpaste back in the tube.
posted by sadmadglad at 6:28 AM on November 4 [6 favorites]


There's obviously an inherent criticism in this post but I'm being sincere.

After reading your vague and reference-free post I don't believe you, and your 'spoiling for an argument' comments reinforce that impression. But, I'm sitting on the toilet and cursing my 49 year old colon so in the same spirit I'll answer a few of your 'points' before nature takes its course.

...Guardian, etc. and, although these might be interesting articles, I wouldn't consider them "Best of the Web"

Nonsense. An example from 2015, which is a superb essay and generated over 50 comments and 90 favorites on here.

...what everyone thinks about the state of Metafilter...

Overall it's gradually improved over time. I often read it over the years but didn't like the pack mentality and often sheer rudeness (2006 example) and so didn't join until roughly five years ago when it was becoming a less hostile environement to new people.

I'm glad that the US political content is mostly corraled into one thread, that there's a smorgasbord of topics on the front page every day, that Jessamyn (who did a massive amount to make this place a better place) is back modding away, that all of the mods are on the ball, at the inventive and clever dark humor that many MeFites are really good at (and is oft necessary to many of us in these times), and that Uncle Cortex, who firmly rejects the 'bro' culture that is simultaneously toxic and pathetic (too little too late, Reddit) is at the wheel. I'm also glad that MetaFilter has stayed resolutely text-only so I can access it on even the crappiest of devices with a net connection. A lot of other positive things, and these far outweigh the negative things.

Though one of those few negative things are content whines on MetaTalk, like this post. The Man in the Arena text by Theodore Roosevelt is very apt for the net and MetaFilter. What LionIndex says above; if you used the time you spent on this post doing posts about topics you were interested in, then MetaFilter would be more to your liking, surely? Be more like folk like Fizz, or - and this is as big a contrast in community contribution as you can get - this poster from just a few MetaTalks ago.

tl;dr - contribute and be a part of the community, or don't and snipe instead and ... appropriately I need toilet paper now bye
posted by Wordshore at 7:07 AM on November 4 [14 favorites]


Just wondering, is the old saying "Best of the Web" still the motivation for MetaFilter?

Although this isn't really a thing any longer, that doesn't mean you can't keep it as a standard for your own posts.

That's what I do. I generally run into articles from the Guardian long before I run into them on the blue, which I don't much care for, but it's a bugbear I tolerate. Would I post a SL from the Guardian myself? No, because I would consider it low effort on my part. I'd be going to town on that baby and pulling in lots of links for background, further analysis, other views, etc.

You can continue to make a valuable contribution by crafting high quality posts, and the more that you do, the bigger an example it sets to others. That is to say, SLnewsmediaarticle is fine and good and helpful, yet there is so much more you can do with that kind of content, and here is my high quality example.

So why not, you know, go create some more high quality posts?

[scuttles off to write down new post idea]
posted by Juso No Thankyou at 7:10 AM on November 4 [3 favorites]


Leaving aside the "US politics is a trashfire and MeFi cannot fully escape the flying sparks" issue for the moment, both the current status and direction of MeFi for me are "a lot better than they used to be, still plenty of room for improvement." I have zero concerns about newspaper links being frequent, and zero desire for this place to be a social crucible or to be in any way like it was in its early years, other than having Jessamyn as a mod. Any time I feel slightly nostalgic, I can read an old thread and am quickly disabused of any nostalgic feelings I might have been harboring.

As for affecting my life, although the details are lost to time and fuzzy memory, I'm pretty sure this was the, or one of the, places where my now-best-friend's digital life first bumped into mine, and my life is infinitely better for having them in it. I would forgive MeFi a lot of faults, for that.
posted by Stacey at 7:32 AM on November 4 [4 favorites]


Seems to me that there are few places on the web that are respectfully, intelligently, and often expertly disputatious about Things and Ideas, some of which I may have seen somewhere else. I like to think that MeFites and their discourse are what is really is the Best of the Web here. Between the posters who bring interesting things to my attention, irrespective of their source, and the mods, who make sure the discussion remains relevant, MetaFilter is still the online community I like best. I'm not a real old-timer, having been here for nine years, so can't speak to the good old days. But this place is special enough that I toss a few bucks its way each month to keep it going.
posted by angiep at 7:34 AM on November 4 [12 favorites]


Assuming that this is a good faith thing and not another round of "SJW's are ruining Metafilter," then I guess I'm both sympathetic and unsympathetic. I'm sympathetic because I, too, miss the weirder, more-diverse web that existed before social media took over. I miss the era when I read a lot of blogs that were labors of love by people who weren't earning any money but just had a lot to say about some totally random topic. But I also think that you can't be what you were, so you'd better start being just what you are. It's not 2005 anymore, and we have to deal with the world that we actually live in. I understand the impulse towards nostalgia, but I don't think that these changes are things that anyone here has much control over.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:47 AM on November 4 [3 favorites]


This is a remarkably passive-aggressive "get off my lawn" post followed up by a series of passive-aggressive "why are you all being mean to me, I'm just sayin'" comments, and like poffin boffin I don't see the point in taking it too seriously. Nobody's going to get off your lawn; get used to it.
posted by languagehat at 7:47 AM on November 4 [37 favorites]


One of the reasons I ask is I've been seeing a lot of posts from the New Yorker, Guardian, etc. and, although these might be interesting articles, I wouldn't consider them "Best of the Web".

There was an era where I was feeling like the site had basically become the comments section to Boing Boing.
posted by thelonius at 7:58 AM on November 4 [9 favorites]


Make the posts you want to see. MetaFilter is a bit of an organic creature so what you put into it also helps more of that grow in it. Look back at our recent best post contest extravaganza, the amount of engagement and the variety and breadth and depth of the posts during just one month. Or at our months where we've been encouraging people to be more, for lack of a better word, FUN with their posts.

The effects of those sort of events linger for a good month or two after they end, because people tend to FPP things similar to what they've seen as FPPs on the site recently. It's a matter of "oh, this somehow brings that to mind, so I'll make a post". If the posts are more diverse, brains respond by seeing a more diverse set of "what is found on the web" as being post worthy. If the front page is heavy with social outrage posts, political posts, blogs about surviving abuse/cancer/something, and posts like that, the front page gets heavier with those over time.

I've watched the pendulum swing for years, and try to keep my own posts more in the fluffy range deliberately as a result.
posted by hippybear at 7:59 AM on November 4 [9 favorites]


Put me in the “make the posts and comments you want to see” camp. I’m an infrequent poster and pretty selective in what I read and comment on here because I have limited time and energy, but that doesn’t mean I want the site pruned for my interests — that would just be MeFilter, and who wants that?
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:14 AM on November 4 [1 favorite]


that would just be MeFilter

Oddly enough, still shortened to MeFi.
posted by hippybear at 8:26 AM on November 4 [3 favorites]


hippybear: "that would just be MeFilter

Oddly enough, still shortened to MeFi.
"

But of course that MeFi would be pronounced altogether differently.
posted by chavenet at 9:13 AM on November 4 [5 favorites]


Yes, it would be pronounced "meffy."
posted by Miko at 9:18 AM on November 4 [6 favorites]


I got annoyed a while ago about how many Guardian links there were on the front page, and in a ranty way I counted them. They made up 6% of the links on the front page at that point. That actually helped me to get over my somewhat petty annoyance by reframing 6% as not objectively a problem.
posted by paduasoy at 9:18 AM on November 4 [4 favorites]


Remember the bad old days when people were complaining that there were too many Cracked.com links on the front page? Those pretty much disappeared (but ironically, the quality of Cracked's content is improved since then, in spite of their continuing dependence on the 2-page-listicle format).
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:30 AM on November 4 [2 favorites]


MetaFilter: actually helped me to get over my somewhat petty annoyance by reframing 6% as not objectively a problem.
posted by hippybear at 9:34 AM on November 4 [3 favorites]


I've been seeing a lot of posts from the New Yorker, Guardian, etc. and, although these might be interesting articles, I wouldn't consider them "Best of the Web"

Regarding the notion that there were once fewer mainstream link sources, there was a conversation on that here in 2010 at which time I did an informal survey of one day's link sources as we discussed how much MetaFilter relies on content generated by professional information organizations and writers as opposed to labor-of-love content generators. So at least as far back as 7 years ago, there was a sample on that, and it argues that using such content in FPPs is nothing new.
posted by Miko at 9:55 AM on November 4 [1 favorite]


It's also a dessert topping.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:06 AM on November 4 [2 favorites]


So does MetaFilter have a mission statement?
posted by jeffamaphone at 10:07 AM on November 4


Heaven forfend.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 10:09 AM on November 4 [13 favorites]


Oh dear god. Please don't open up trying to negotiate a mission statement from this crowd. That process would be contentious and never-ending.
posted by hippybear at 10:10 AM on November 4 [9 favorites]


Yeah, what hippybear said. We tried this on a forum that was bobbing along happily back in uh 2002 or 2003. It went really disastrously wrong, and the process made us realise that we had fundamental differences and opinions, and largely disliked each other. In some cases, immensely. The forum was shuttered before the year was out and then deleted off the server. Though not before we had managed to come up with a mission statement, which was:

"Be nice to each other."
posted by Wordshore at 10:29 AM on November 4 [9 favorites]


More seriously, there are the good old New User page and Guidelines page, which more or less cover the broad idea.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 10:32 AM on November 4


that Jessamyn (who did a massive amount to make this place a better place) is back modding away

I'm done now. I just removed all the politics and harassment threads from my Recent Activity and am back to being a plain old user. I really enjoy filling in around here when someone is on vacation or whatever and I'm glad the feeling is mostly mutual.

I do have some feels about this general topic and some users I miss. A lot of them are RL friends who drifted away after this place wasn't our corner bar anymore (I took some pretty aggressive Time Off when I stopped working here originally) and I do miss seeing some of my RL friends here. Which I imagine is how mathowie must have felt way back when and part of what probably, over time, made him see this place more as Just a Job and less the place he created to hang with his friends. I think cortex (and the amazing mod team) do not view this place as Just a Job and it shows.

That said, I find the current endless political thread aspect of this place not to my liking. Which is fine, everything doesn't have to suit me, it works for a lot of other people for every good reason. But I do think is has a slightly negative drain on the site. That being said, so does the awful US political environment. So I'm not sure what I would do about that, if it were my choice to make, but I do think about it from time to time. I work on being the change I want to see here the rest of the time, and sometimes I just go outside.

I like that this place bans toxic assholes much sooner than it used to. I like that I feel I can Internet While Female and not have that paint a target on me. I have made many real life friends here and met my long-time partner here. I like that when we all get together in real life people laugh at my jokes and tolerate my nonsense maybe a bit better than my non-internet-people friends. I like that this is a benefit that is actually available to almost everyone, not just to me because I am special. It's not civics exactly but it is a community that, unlike most other places that claim to be communities, it operates like one.

So, in the grand tradition of answering the question you want to answer, that's how this place feels to me.
posted by jessamyn (temp) at 11:12 AM on November 4 [63 favorites]


I remember the good old social crucible days when Metafilter wasn't just a bunch of mainstream media links. Back then it felt like the site had real purpose, trying to determine if the real enemy was Boing Boing or Little Green Footballs.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 11:32 AM on November 4 [6 favorites]


The web has changed a lot over time. The old days of catching up with the latest memes are long gone; it’s no longer a place where some eccentric can become famous overnight by genuine chance. Now the place is full of people striving for exposure, people who make a profession of trying to produce viral content.

The age of the blog is pretty much over, too, with the audience gone to social media and generally a less supportive environment from Google etc.

So it’s no good telling people to post old skool best-of-the-web stuff if that’s what they want to see, because it isn’t really there any more. Mefi is living off a diet that isn’t really the one it grew up on. It accepts cat pictures, single link videos, chatty threads, and perpetual political newsfilter, and there are other signs of what looks in some lights like decadence.

It is honestly a bit of a dinosaur, one that has somehow hung on into a changed world. I say that as someone who really likes dinosaurs.
posted by Segundus at 11:51 AM on November 4 [7 favorites]


Oh dear god. Please don't open up trying to negotiate a mission statement from this crowd.

I suppose my pont request for a Quarterly Visioning Process is out of the question, then....
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:56 AM on November 4 [6 favorites]


When fully half of your FPPs consist of single links to youtube, your protestations regarding old media posts from The Guardian et. al. as not being Best of the Web ring less than hollow, as youtube hasn't been best of the web in many a Scaramucci.

JAQing off and insulting bedrock members of the site is by no means Best of the Web behavior.

Oh, my framing is off, apologies.

Yeah, that's my real name.
posted by riverlife at 12:00 PM on November 4 [10 favorites]


I remember the good old social crucible days when Metafilter wasn't just a bunch of mainstream media links. Back then it felt like the site had real purpose, trying to determine if the real enemy was Boing Boing or Little Green Footballs.

OK, I'm going to echo lalex's as-yet-unanswered question from earlier, because I have no idea WTF a "social crucible" is supposed to be. Whatever it is, it doesn't sound pleasant.
posted by teraflop at 12:01 PM on November 4


ok what is a social crucible

A pot with lots of friends.
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:03 PM on November 4 [18 favorites]


a place where the value is largely in the community.

People on Monkeyfilter used to say that kind of thing when it became clear the place was on the downhill slope.
posted by Segundus at 12:06 PM on November 4 [4 favorites]


A pot with lots of friends.

Not recipe time already, is it?
posted by MonkeyToes at 12:06 PM on November 4 [6 favorites]


I imagined a social crucible was when we all shared the accusation of witchcraft evenly -- you know "from each according to their wickedness, to each according to their proximity to the Dark Alter" -- but then I remembered that was a socialist crucible.

PS. "pont request" above should be "pony request." What a pony mistake.
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:10 PM on November 4 [7 favorites]


What a silly pont you've been!
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:13 PM on November 4 [2 favorites]


Post. Comment. Lurk. Or don't.
posted by Fizz at 12:19 PM on November 4 [2 favorites]


It's not civics exactly but it is a community that, unlike most other places that claim to be communities, it operates like one.

{Nods vigorously} Hmmm, wait a minute... {Shortens the text a bit}

a community that ... operates like one

{Tweaks it a bit more}

MetaFilter: a community that operates like one.

Oh! Mission statement done!
posted by Wordshore at 12:22 PM on November 4 [10 favorites]


> "Be nice to each other."

Wordshore, I'd settle for Don't be an asshole.
posted by theora55 at 12:28 PM on November 4 [5 favorites]


GRANDPA VOICE: I remember when you had to wait 78 hours to make a new post. And we didn't have favorites. If you liked something, you had to just keep it in your brain. And everything was blue.
posted by Fizz at 12:43 PM on November 4 [9 favorites]


I've been here in one way or another since 2002? 2001? Somewhere in there. Seems to me to the same amount of weird and 'lets talk about what everyone is talking about.' There differences in conversations and what the web is just in general is different, but Mefites post what interests them and engage in what they want to talk about. There's also the issue of just what people are living through. I've been sitting on a post for a couple weeks that you might find as part of the weird web? But current events make it so the conversation will immediately go to sexual assault in 2017 so I'll hold it for a less fraught time. It's been a hard year. We're all getting through the best we can.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 12:44 PM on November 4 [6 favorites]


Oh and yeah, you might just search Metatalk posts for 'Youtube' to see that plenty of people think your style of posting is bad for the site (I disagree, but that's neither here nor there). The only system that works is people post what they want and if it ends up being all Lady Gaga or Mallory Ortberg or Apple or whatever topic the mods step in and say "hey, maybe a little less for now."
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 12:51 PM on November 4 [2 favorites]


Michael, you understand that Metafilter is a community website. It is as good as the posts and comments made by members. Moderation thankfully weeds out the trolls and the worst ass-hattery.

I enjoy NYTimes and New Yorker posts because MeFi is a good place for the ensuing discussion. Weird, interesting and/or obscure stuff still bubbles up. There is certainly no other site that does a better job. The #potus45 threads are consuming much of the energy of the members with stuff to say and that is unlikely to change soon. I really wish the #uspolitics threads were daily, as I just can't manage the huge threads, but that's me. MeFi did an awful lot to help me through the election, and, now, its aftermath.

So, you have a very thin profile and history, but you basically come in and say This place is going downhill and all the cool kids have left. The only response I can give is that it's your job, as much as mine, to find great content and post it. Make good comments. Encourage members who post cool stuff. If you miss individual users, many have an email or site address in their old profile and can be contacted.

I miss MiguelCardoso among many others. I miss fishfucker just because I love the username.
posted by theora55 at 12:56 PM on November 4 [5 favorites]


I thought mission statement was "Everyone needs a hug?"
posted by Roger Dodger at 1:05 PM on November 4 [4 favorites]


As big as news politics looms in the mind, there are plenty of awesome, unexpected and interesting FPPs making up at least half the posts on the front page right now, and the news/politics posts definitely aren't a monoculture of traditional media outlets. So, yes, having thought about it, I think best of the web still fits just fine.
posted by Zalzidrax at 1:40 PM on November 4 [3 favorites]


MetaFilter: pot with lots of friends.
posted by jessamyn (temp) at 1:42 PM on November 4 [23 favorites]


man, first half of this is a solid web 2.0 2005-era-style fight
posted by hleehowon at 1:50 PM on November 4 [7 favorites]


2005-era-style fight
needs more people absolutely losing their shit about someone wearing a hat indoors
posted by chococat at 2:53 PM on November 4 [7 favorites]


Is this the place where I can ask what happened to greg nog?
posted by valkane at 3:12 PM on November 4 [6 favorites]


My point was this: Being traditional and pre-WWW they do not (usually) qualify as "Best of the Web", the web being a new technology.

Hail, fellow oldster. You may have fallen through a time warp from 2009. The web is now mainstream. The real bizarre stuff is going on in people’s basements with occasional dispatches on Instagram.
posted by warriorqueen at 3:13 PM on November 4 [1 favorite]


P.S. half the people I work with were BORN after Amazon and eBay went live.
posted by warriorqueen at 3:16 PM on November 4 [3 favorites]


Is this the place where I can ask what happened to greg nog?

I know it's an unreasonable wish that intrudes into people's privacy, but I do wish there were a place to go to see when people left and why, because there are many I miss. Somehow knowing why they left might bring a bit of closure.
posted by hippybear at 3:21 PM on November 4 [3 favorites]


greg nog and his delightful wife like_a_toaster made a very small human and this small human has a lot of needs.
posted by poffin boffin at 3:22 PM on November 4 [34 favorites]


idk why this small freeloading human doesn't have a job yet but i am not and will never be a parent
posted by poffin boffin at 3:23 PM on November 4 [25 favorites]


Very well. Thank you.
posted by valkane at 3:23 PM on November 4


Honestly, old enough to crawl puts them at the right height to harvest strawberries. Ship the kid off to California and restart your account, greg nog!
posted by hippybear at 3:25 PM on November 4 [2 favorites]


idk why this small freeloading human doesn't have a job yet but i am not and will never be a parent

automation shrinking the workforce
posted by beerperson at 3:54 PM on November 4 [5 favorites]


> The only system that works is people post what they want and if it ends up being all Lady Gaga or Mallory Ortberg or Apple or whatever topic the mods step in and say "hey, maybe a little less for now."

And yet: still no post about "Take to the Sea," the song Mallory Ortberg wrote for Lady Gaga. (Possibly because it's only available on iTunes?)

[fake]
posted by Spathe Cadet at 3:56 PM on November 4 [2 favorites]


it is a devastatingly adorable small human so I can see why it's hard to look away
posted by lalex at 4:03 PM on November 4 [1 favorite]


idgi i have each of my twentysix children positioned over a unique letter on the keyboard allowing me to write metafilter comments using a system of named shouts and bellows
posted by beerperson at 4:07 PM on November 4 [24 favorites]


SMART
posted by lalex at 4:09 PM on November 4


i like how you spelled out 26 to get past the potential problem of someone asking which children are responsible for typing numbers
posted by poffin boffin at 4:12 PM on November 4 [17 favorites]


interns
posted by beerperson at 4:16 PM on November 4 [17 favorites]


This post makes me feel old because I realize I'm coming up on my 13th anniversary. That all said, I don't see Hamsterdance-type links here as much any more, but I also don't think those things really exist. The internet-based weirdness has evolved from one-off websites of animated dancing hamsters to in-jokes that evolve and start stretching across social media platfoms and whose ultimate punchlines come in many forms and are hard to "get" unless you've been following the joke from the first.

Other than that, the major difference I see between Metafilter and now is that there aren't periodic megathreads in Metatalk where women bang our heads against the wall as we explain that it's not OK to call a rape victim a "slut" and why it's OK to wear short dresses and no it is not science when you argue women are best at homemaking.
posted by schroedinger at 4:40 PM on November 4 [17 favorites]


(Metafilter used to have a LOT more sexism)
posted by schroedinger at 4:43 PM on November 4 [12 favorites]


just the other day someone favorited a ten-year-old comment of mine where I pushed back on someone's declared "right" to call Ann Coulter an [offensive word for trans*] c**t
posted by lalex at 4:49 PM on November 4 [5 favorites]


"Best of the web" is deprecated.

"it's the plastic.com it's OK to like" is still in effect though, right?
posted by octothorpe at 4:54 PM on November 4 [11 favorites]


I remember when New Scientist would post an article, and one week later, it would appear in the NY Times. Then I remember when The Huffington Post appeared as a news organization, web paper, and it had never been an IRL newspaper, (I get it that many still don't view it as a veritable news outlet.) I remember when suddenly all the papers had to get online, or else, and then they had to keep up. Then Metafilter wasn't so out ahead, because everyone else was catching up. The news was happening, and being made in the same instant by billions of amateurs using the viral web. The web changed so much as to be alienating, and Metafilter decided to be more careful about what treatment is rewarded here, allowed here. Then Metafilter became more homey as it became less of a number of unpleasant actions. I remember guys "yelling" at me because I thought the water bottles, acting as Fresnel lenses in slum tin roofs were a remarkable way to coolly light tin shanties, in hot climates. There was a lot of jumping of folks, that has subsided, and I am glad for it. Once that happened, then newbies started to post, maybe some introverts, and input has differentiated. The politics is pretty one sided at this time, maybe it was more back and forth, more balanced. Oh and people in general are now more used to discourse on the web, and discourse is enormous, and broad when compared to how it was ten years ago, much less 15 years ago. The web is a much bigger animal than it was, it has a bigger mid-range.
posted by Oyéah at 6:32 PM on November 4 [2 favorites]


greg nog and his delightful wife like_a_toaster made a very small human and this small human has a lot of needs.

Clearly, MeFites have a lot of needs, too, yet Ms. Toaster and Mr. Nog are strangely unmoved.
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:52 PM on November 4 [3 favorites]


It's like the firm of Toaster & Nog is a Dickensian villain. Why won't they be moved by the plight of MeFites who remember them fondly? Because they WON'T be!
posted by hippybear at 6:56 PM on November 4 [3 favorites]


ActingTheGoat: "Back then it felt like the site had real purpose, trying to determine if the real enemy was Boing Boing or Little Green Footballs."

Both of which are, ironically enough, vastly different than they were then.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:37 PM on November 4 [4 favorites]


man I just thought to myself, "wow, that whole Violet Blue/BoingBoing thing seems like forever ago" and...it kind of was. Over NINE YEARS ago! Now I feel old. (2553 comments though; I feel like that was a massive thread for the time.)
posted by lalex at 8:41 PM on November 4


What was surprising about that thread (at least as I recall it), is that it was still going semi-strong when it closed after a month.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:03 PM on November 4


I can't believe I didn't comment in there; I remember feeling incredibly invested in it at the time.
posted by lalex at 9:41 PM on November 4


The mods and comments are the best on the web that I've found. In tone (polite yet snarky and witty), scope (broad and narrow if you know what I mean), variety of view points (not that the political right is really well represented these days but, as someone who is probably more conservative than a bunch of folks here, I'm ok with that these days), not to mention punctuation and spelling decency, nay excellence.

Just don't bring up bike helmets/lanes nor a few other subjects and it'll be ok.
posted by RolandOfEld at 10:14 PM on November 4 [2 favorites]


"Best of the Web" is the "Shazaam" of Metafilter.
posted by bongo_x at 11:17 PM on November 4


Back then it felt like the site had real purpose, trying to determine if the real enemy was Boing Boing or Little Green Footballs.

So ridiculous. We have always been at war with Reddit.

Ms. Toaster and Mr. Nog

Not as good as The Avengers, but better than Adam Adamant or Honey West.
posted by bongo_x at 11:23 PM on November 4 [4 favorites]


I feel like the first half of this post was a grumpy, 'The internet is different now. MetaFilter's on the internet. So now it's different like everything else.' And because of that everyone ignored that there was a softer, more 'hey, remember when the internet was different?' part to it as well, with the asking after former members and the like. Which I understand because the first half was a criticism and above the fold, but still.

I also think that making it into a 'SJW GRAR' post was more the work of other users like smoke, Chrysostom and poffin boffin explicitly saying it's better because social justice reasons, rather than anything in the original post particularly hinting at there being a secret agenda along those lines. So the accusation that this was just a way to complain about progressives seems projected onto the original post and poster rather than something he was actually talking about. Though, yes, I'm wondering what the 'social crucible' comment means as well, and whether it was about the way users used to welcome pile-ons as inevitable in MeTa or what.

I think one negative change in more recent times is how quickly there are people assuming the worst of any comment or word choice that sounds dubious, this assumption about connotations of word choice being universal and that if you use certain words or phrases you must be, say, a Trump supporter, because everyone knows only they would say certain things.
Or that, as in this case, only someone who wants the site to be more boyzone and unwelcoming to minorities could ever miss anything about how the internet used to be. It certainly discourages cultural diversity, because the expectation becomes that you already know all the shibboleths or you're treated as an invader, with all the scorn and aggression that comes with that. And not just US culture (thank you, political dumpster fire and attendant threads), but MeFi culture as well.

Perhaps people should 'lurk moar' to get a better sense. Perhaps it's a good assumption to make, because it means people are here only when they're a 'good fit'. But it's still something I notice, and something I think is a net negative for the site.
posted by gadge emeritus at 1:40 AM on November 5 [14 favorites]


I also think that making it into a 'SJW GRAR' post was more the work of other users

Not really. Michael Tellurian made a MeTa post that wasn’t well framed, sort-of asking two unrelated questions (“are posts worse than they used to be?” and “who do you miss from the old days?”) wrapped in a tone of “I miss the way things used to be.” Which, OK, fine, if read as charitably as possible could just be a request for nostalgic reminiscences that was badly phrased, but...

In the last 6-8 years, that tone usually gets to “I remember when Al Swearengen could shoot someone in the street without the mods making such a fuss about it” pretty fast, and MT’s dropping the “social cruicible” phrase in response to smoke’s rather mild observation that, while the site has changed, many of those changes have been good — subsites offering specific kinds of discussion as well as a more welcoming atmosphere to a wider range of users — made me, at least, think that what MT was saying was that he misses the Al Swearengen days.

Which, I guess, he’s welcome to, but a lot of people have worked very hard to make MetaFilter a place that is more inclusive and welcoming than it used to be, and appeals to the “good old days” are going to leave them, at best, unmoved. MT’s bluster and coy refusal to say what he really means doesn’t do him any favors. If he really wanted some nostalgic stories about the old days, he should have asked for that. I wouldn’t have contributed, because I’m not quite 9 in MF years, but I would read that thread, because I love hearing my elders spin tales of when they were young and everything was sepia.

So, at the very best, MT did not frame his post to get what he wanted. At worst, he was trying to stir shit in a plausibly diniable way. Someone who’s been around as long as he apparently has should know better, having seen how they play out.

Also, gauge emeritus, could you not pretend that letting people be shitty is some kind of “cultural diversity?” I’ve watched the site lose many good users over my time here because they could no longer deal with the level of internet toxicity which, while it’s lower here, isn’t gone. Despite the “echo chamber” canards, there is room for dissent from the norm here because there are a whole bunch of norms jostling for space — what isn’t allowed is the sort of toxic jerkery so prevalent elsewhere on the web, partly because, as the last few years have showed us amply, tolerating toxic jerkery quickly leaves you with a site, forum, or platform full of toxic jerks. I’ll suggest that that’s rather less culturally diverse than the MeFi police state you decry.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:34 AM on November 5 [25 favorites]


So for some reason I have been completely overtaken lately by the desire to write a comic book called "Pilcrow & Octothorpe — Victorian PIs."

They solve crimes in the horseshat streets of Victorian London — but Octothorpe, unbeknownst to his Crimean War veteran partner, is secretly a time traveler from tomorrow!
posted by adamgreenfield at 3:35 AM on November 5 [3 favorites]


Metafilter FPP’s seem to me like they have become more “metaproxy” and I would like more of “filter” part back myself. The weird shit. The literary journals. The subculture stuff. I’m cool with Johnny Wallflower’s posts of the humorous clickbait of the web. I like seeing people pick a theme and explore that for a while. I’m tired of pedantry. I’m tired of bagging on shit. I wanna read stuff here and walk away from it saying “today on metafilter I read the neatest/funniest/insightful thing...” because like, WE ALL are the filter. We are only the effort we put into making this site something that enriches our lives.

I’m trying to be the shepherd here, I’m probably failing at that.

And to the future:

We all (with healthy doses of assistance from the moderators) strike a balance between affinity and diversity. The joy of the site is when people are able to share their affinities with diverse groups and explore that particular affinity. The hell of the site is the exact same damn thing shifted a micro degree towards all of us reflexively engaging our arbitrary rightness muscles.

(Aside: I used to be an major asshole. I like to think this place made me less of one, and will continue to do so)

People come and go, people go, people die, people stay, new people come and the site moves across the arc of the time. It will end eventually, we all know that. In the end maybe metafilter will have eras and epochs and dynasties that will be remembered, or maybe this will all just be forgotten, this site and its history and our experiences all recorded to SSD drives which are unceremoniously wiped, erased, ecycled and crushed and made back into earth again.

Maybe more people like me will download their own comment history and compile them into chronological diaries.

To wit, my desire for what’s to come:

The future is always death, may we all be continually remade into lesser assholes along the path. It’s not a glamorous vision but it’s also not the worst thing to want.
posted by Annika Cicada at 4:19 AM on November 5 [7 favorites]


I’d like to just pop in here and say this has nothing to do with me (and this username weirded me out a bit)
*Logging back out of this old account*
posted by tellurian at 4:49 AM on November 5 [9 favorites]


Metafilter mission statement: the future is always death.

Is it just me or has the nr of metatalk flameouts dropped to almost zero?
I'm not sure I miss the laborious arguing and heated name calling. But they tended to taper off in a kind of goofing off that I enjoyed.
Strangely I can't name the erswhile offgoofer users. Nor can they name me probably. Which seems strange given the amount of time we spent together.
posted by jouke at 5:29 AM on November 5 [2 favorites]


I've been posting fairly frequently recently, and in each case but one it's because I've happened upon something on the internet and thought, huh cool. If I post something - even if it's from the NY Times or another straight news source, it's because I think it will strike a chord here - and usually that's been the case, for various degrees of chord striking. The internet is out there, metafilter is still here, and if you post it, they will come. They might snark a little, they might not favorite much or comment much, but making posts is how I make sure my voice and perspective show up here, too.
posted by ChuraChura at 5:49 AM on November 5 [4 favorites]


At worst, he was trying to stir shit in a plausibly diniable way.

And what I pointed out was that there's always a few users who presume that worst and run with it. Such as, well, yourself, later in the same comment:

could you not pretend that letting people be shitty is some kind of “cultural diversity?”

Why is it about letting people be shitty? Where in any of what I said was that stated, or even implied? It seems that 'cultural diversity' means something different to you than it does to me, if that's the presumption you're making, which also reinforces my point; you've clearly made assumptions that allow you to argue that. Instead of engaging with what I said, you seem to think you know my secret meaning behind the words that let to make a whole different argument that you'd rather have.

It's bad faith. I feel like I see more of it nowadays, or at least in more topics. And it supports my comment's point neatly, to boot.
posted by gadge emeritus at 5:50 AM on November 5 [8 favorites]


> I think one negative change in more recent times is how quickly there are people assuming the worst of any comment or word choice that sounds dubious, this assumption about connotations of word choice being universal and that if you use certain words or phrases you must be, say, a Trump supporter, because everyone knows only they would say certain things.

I heartily agree, and in the old days I might have made a post about it, but what would be the point? A few people would agree, most would yell at me, and it would lead to a net increase in grar. But I want to provide some support to gadge emeritus here, so he'll have at least one piece of positive feedback. Please, people, don't be so quick to assume the worst. We're all MeFites here.
posted by languagehat at 6:38 AM on November 5 [24 favorites]


Concur x2.
posted by jessamyn (temp) at 6:48 AM on November 5 [14 favorites]


I think one negative change in more recent times is how quickly there are people assuming the worst of any comment or word choice that sounds dubious, this assumption about connotations of word choice being universal and that if you use certain words or phrases you must be, say, a Trump supporter, because everyone knows only they would say certain things.

Huh, I view this as a positive change- it's forcing people to examine their own words and word usage, it's encouraging people to use more words to describe their thoughts instead of just putting vague and unclear comments out there, it's making it clear that the onus is on the commenter to be understood. I don't think there's anything wrong with assuming the worst (or rather, "assuming the worst" is no worse than "assuming the best") as long as you allow for the possibility that your assumption might be wrong.
posted by 23skidoo at 7:03 AM on November 5 [4 favorites]


Some of us SJW’s on mefi are like neo in the matrix waking up into reality for the first time. Those people have to go through the stages of awakening and based on my personal actions and behaviors and feelings I can see now my behaviors (and the behaviors of many others like me, yes) can best be described as “insufferable and strident” and still others of us are like the spoonbenders and we are far less ruffled by the dualities, contradictions and eternally problematic statements and situations that make up our world.

So, how do we be better spoonbenders to the Neo’s who have just woken up from the matrix and now see how absolutely horrific everything really is? That’s the work I’m trying to do online these days.

I’m talking about fight club aren’t I. I should stop talking about fight club shouldn’t I.
posted by Annika Cicada at 7:03 AM on November 5 [3 favorites]


Concur x2.

Thirded
posted by tavegyl at 7:16 AM on November 5 [1 favorite]


Fourthing. I'm seeing this happening to someone of the most respected members of this community. Maybe it's a holdover from the days when there were many more people acting in bad faith, but I feel like community reputation doesn't mean as much as it used to.
posted by Room 641-A at 7:45 AM on November 5 [2 favorites]


Please, people, don't be so quick to assume the worst. We're all MeFites here.

This is something with meat on it, something worth all of us making a point of returning to as a sort of ongoing maintenance of how we interact on the site. It's not the only thing, and it's a complicated thing so I'll try and unpack some of my thoughts about it. But that much I think is really worth trying to be mindful of, because we could be better about it collectively.

I think about immune response metaphors a lot because I think it's a good way of characterizing how these quick-to-jump responses can be the product of useful, generally healthy systems that can nonetheless react more strongly or quickly or overtly than they need to and do secondary damage to the community in the process of trying to help.

Because "ugh, not this again" is an understandable reaction. And having your guard up against what you fear is going to be the nth reiteration of a tired, hostile line of argument is understandable. And there are things on the site that have improved over the years partly through people beginning to push back more consistently and promptly on old problem behaviors. The allergy to ambiguous paeans to The Good Old Days reflects that, not because the old days didn't have plenty of good bits but because for folks who relate to that period of site history through the lens of remembering the plentiful bad, it's hard to not tie up those yearnings with an implication of prioritizing allowing the old-bad along with the old-good over the current less-of-the-bad state of things.

But at the same time: not all yearning for old MetaFilter is yearning for the crappiness. And it's an example of something where I think its easy to conflate (a) some of the crappy things folks have said on the subject over the years with (b) the reality that lots of people who like it here and are invested here just do actually remember some of the goofiness etc. of the old days and miss that.

For folks focused on how bad the bad stuff in the old days were, any "man I miss that sometimes" riff can end up in the same bucket as the occasional asshole who actually was lamenting not being able to be as nakedly assholish anymore. Because you remember those assholes, and didn't buy their bullshit the first time around, and someone coming along and saying something that reminds you of what they were saying triggers that immune response.

And so we end up jumping past "person is being an asshole, I'm responding to the assholery" to "person reminds me of an asshole, I'm responding to the possibility of assholery". And that can take the conversation in a self-fulfilling direction where when confronted with a sort of zero-to-sixty hostility or declaration of ill intent, people are inclined to bristle in turn and then things are heated in a way that they had zero need to be.

And that dynamic applies to a lot of stuff; I'm just using the old-days-hearkening as a ready example. I think we also have difficulty with this overactive immune reaction dynamic on a broad array of topics on the site.

And the thing is: it's complicated. Because there are axe-grinding assholes out there, and people who aren't so much stumbling or phrasing something poorly as they are actively trying to get away with something. And pushback on bad actors is actually useful.

But I think folks could be better about choosing when and how to react. I think people could defer more often on the hopping-into-the-trenches bit. I think stepping back from "my eyebrow is hitched, so take this" to "my eyebrow is hitched, maybe I'll keep an eye on this, maybe let a mod know something might be up" would be a good move a lot of the time because instead of immediately escalating and polarizing a discussion it gives the community some room to either route around and move on from a clumsy or ambiguous comment or let the speaker elaborate in a way that much of the time may make it clear they weren't warming up The Asshole Position On The Subject. And if it becomes clear that it's the opposite, we can shut it down then anyway.

So a simple—maybe not easy, but simple—nudge is this: given the option of laying into someone about assumed bad intent, on a "you said something that reminds me of assholes, ergo you are a probably asshole" situation, defer on it and aim for just talking about the subject/context instead. Drop a line to a mod if you feel like something's murky, and we can watch it, and if someone goes from saying-a-thing-you're-eyeballing to saying-a-thing-that's-unambiguously-shitty, we can get on it promptly at that point, and shut them down on it for the future. Help the mods be the heavy when needed and let us do more of the target selection about when that is.

I think if we did a little more of that, while otherwise generally keeping our community's collective eye out for problem stuff, that would help keep up the useful immune responses that have benefited the site over the last several years while reducing somewhat the sense of over-responsive hostility that can come out on difficult topics.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:23 AM on November 5 [16 favorites]


Oh, FFS. This was manifestly a shitpost. If this is where you want to make a stand on people overreacting and can't we all just more of an effort to be understanding...

...you know what? I'm out.
posted by Shmuel510 at 8:40 AM on November 5 [4 favorites]


And what I pointed out was that there's always a few users who presume that worst and run with it. Such as, well, yourself, later in the same comment:

OK, but the flipside of this is that posts and comments are not divorced from history or the social world we experience on MetaFilter, the internet, and the world. Sure, it's possible that MT was not longing for the "good old days" where racism, sexism, and homophobia were A-OK, but his reactions to his critics certainly don't challenge that assumption.

And I have occasionally felt jumped on in threads where I thought I had a reasonable point of view, and, even more often, I have pruned nuance from my comments because I thought it was going to do more harm than good. However, in each case, it was because the thread was already full of bad behavior and my nuance wasn't going to get heard anyway.

Anyway, I thought smoke and Chrysostom's early comments not particularly aggressive, and MT could certainly have diffused them by saying something like "oh, shit, no, what I meant was..." which he notably did not do. So, if he wasn't pining for the days of sexism, racism, etc, etc, he could have clarified how that was not what he meant instead of defensive bluster and coy allusions. And defending that kind of behavior with appeals to "cultural diversity" is pretty disingenuous, especially how often it comes up as a talking point from the Right.
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:41 AM on November 5 [9 favorites]


Wow, a buttoning. This IS like the old days.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:44 AM on November 5 [3 favorites]


Having said all that, I do think that taking a longer breath before jumping in is good advice. For my own part, I try to resist adding to a pile-on by not reiterating a response unless I have something extra and substantive to add. I mean, I waited a pretty long time to engage with this particular thread (outside of a few jokes) because I felt like what I would say had already been said.
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:48 AM on November 5 [5 favorites]


For folks focused on how bad the bad stuff in the old days were, any "man I miss that sometimes" riff can end up in the same bucket as the occasional asshole who actually was lamenting not being able to be as nakedly assholish anymore. Because you remember those assholes, and didn't buy their bullshit the first time around, and someone coming along and saying something that reminds you of what they were saying triggers that immune response.

There are different types of nostalgia - restorative nostalgia ("Make America Great Again"; "protect our heritage") and reflective nostalgia, which savors the fond memory but recognizes the past is past (and the fact that it is past is part of the fondness - "ah, the follies of youth"). Imprecise language can conflate the two and understandably evoke a hostile reaction. My personal feeling is that the zeitgeist is teeming with expressions of restorative nostalgia as well as actual attempts to restore the conditions of the past, and, given that cultural context, the burden of clarity falls on those expressing nostalgia.

Nostalgia isn't inherently bad, but in this cultural moment it is inherently suspect.

I think people could defer more often on the hopping-into-the-trenches bit. I think stepping back from "my eyebrow is hitched, so take this" [...] given the option of laying into someone about assumed bad intent,

I think these are uncharitable readings of the initial "pushback" in this thread. OP said they had a fondness for past Mefi; others said they were not as fond of the past Mefi because of [personal experience] -- the latter is not "laying into someone." One's fondness for the past is an emotion and therefore will not be universally held or experienced; expecting otherwise is unreasonable.
posted by melissasaurus at 8:50 AM on November 5 [10 favorites]


> this site and its history and our experiences all recorded to SSD drives which are unceremoniously wiped, erased, ecycled and crushed and made back into earth again

Caches to caches, DASD to DASD.
posted by lucidium at 9:02 AM on November 5 [8 favorites]


Oh, FFS. This was manifestly a shitpost.

Heya, to be clear I am talking generally about where this conversation has gotten to, not really trying to address the MetaTalk post itself, which mostly I just don't really care about. Like, I have opinions about it but I don't think it's very interesting or important and I share a lot of eye-rolling feelings about some of the framing of it that lots of other folks have gotten to first while I was having a day off.

So I apologize if that read like a thesis on the post. Not where I'm at, not what I'm focusing on. I think the more general phenomenon the thread has wandered toward discussing is worth talking about, and that's where my head was at.

And part of my comment there was about the utility of just moving on from a meh bit of thread/post/etc to talk about more interesting/substantive stuff instead of anchoring on one thing and making the conversation a yes-or-no, do-or-die line in the sand thing about it. I think the site is healthier all in all when we can do that. Not in lieu of trying to tackle assholery and bad behavior, because that has been and remains an important part of what we do as mods and as a community, but certainly in tandem to it.

And like I said, it's complicated. I don't find folks' impatience with that kind of stuff at all hard to understand; I think it's frequently pretty justified. And I think it often motivates good, thoughtful pushback on problematic stuff. But I think it's something worth making an effort to sometimes double-check and throttle reaction times on in general even so. Because that's part of what lets conversations here get more in depth and cover more detail and nuance. We can still shut down bad behavior when it manifests even if we make the effort to be a little slower about getting into an actively hostile posture on stuff. Doesn't mean the instinct isn't understandable.

Imprecise language can conflate the two and understandably evoke a hostile reaction. My personal feeling is that the zeitgeist is teeming with expressions of restorative nostalgia as well as actual attempts to restore the conditions of the past, and, given that cultural context, the burden of clarity falls on those expressing nostalgia.

Yeah, and I think that's a good point on why this is a maybe more difficult than normal context for checking these instincts. I certainly understand it being harder than usual to find patience with something that's vibing kinda hrmmmmm.

I think these are uncharitable readings of the initial "pushback" in this thread.

Again, I apologize for creating confusion there about the scope of my comment; I wasn't particularly thinking about this thread or those comments. The discussion has turned to a larger phenomenon that I do think is important and is having some negative impact on the feel of the community, and that's where my focus was.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:07 AM on November 5 [4 favorites]


> Huh, I view this as a positive change- it's forcing people to examine their own words and word usage, it's encouraging people to use more words to describe their thoughts instead of just putting vague and unclear comments out there, it's making it clear that the onus is on the commenter to be understood. I don't think there's anything wrong with assuming the worst (or rather, "assuming the worst" is no worse than "assuming the best") as long as you allow for the possibility that your assumption might be wrong.

Man, I didn't expect this kind of direct pushback: "I don't think there's anything wrong with assuming the worst." All I can tell you is that that shit (not in relation to this post, to be clear, but all over the site) is a main reason why I'm spending less time at MeFi and enjoying it less. People who react like you presumably want to spend their online time only with people who think exactly alike. That is, of course, a frequent complaint about MeFi in particular and progressivism in general, but it's depressing to see it celebrated rather than seen as an unfortunate aspect of human nature to be fought whenever possible.
posted by languagehat at 9:25 AM on November 5 [22 favorites]


I've had discussions entirely unrelated to this post with two other Mefites recently who both feel like it's become too much of an echo chamber and feels less like home than it used to be. Personally, I've had more contact with the mod team about various issues over the past 6 months than I've had in total across my entire time here.

Things are changing, certainly. Not always for the better.
posted by hippybear at 9:31 AM on November 5 [4 favorites]


Man, I didn't expect this kind of direct pushback: "I don't think there's anything wrong with assuming the worst." All I can tell you is that that shit (not in relation to this post, to be clear, but all over the site) is a main reason why I'm spending less time at MeFi and enjoying it less. People who react like you presumably want to spend their online time only with people who think exactly alike. That is, of course, a frequent complaint about MeFi in particular and progressivism in general, but it's depressing to see it celebrated rather than seen as an unfortunate aspect of human nature to be fought whenever possible.

*shrug* All I can tell you is that that shit is a main reason why I'm spending more time at MeFi and enjoying it more, for the reasons I already outlined. I have no idea why you're assuming the worst about me (assuming that I only want to spend "online time only with people who think exactly alike" seems pretty "worst" to me) after saying that we shouldn't assume the worst in other MeFites. Other people like you disagree, cool beans. None of the ideas you think about me are true, and it's weird as hell to think that "always assume the best about Mefites" is something where there can be no room for disagreement.
posted by 23skidoo at 9:44 AM on November 5 [3 favorites]


adamgreenfield: "So for some reason I have been completely overtaken lately by the desire to write a comic book called "Pilcrow & Octothorpe — Victorian PIs."

They solve crimes in the horseshat streets of Victorian London — but Octothorpe, unbeknownst to his Crimean War veteran partner, is secretly a time traveler from tomorrow!
"

I already have the outfit.
posted by octothorpe at 9:48 AM on November 5 [3 favorites]


And defending that kind of behavior with appeals to "cultural diversity" is pretty disingenuous, especially how often it comes up as a talking point from the Right.

The US Right, perhaps. I'm not American. Again, you're proving the point of my post, using your assumptions about what I meant based on your connotations and claiming I was being disingenuous, when that's because it appears to you that I should just know that I'm secretly using American Right rhetoric.

There's users who stop coming here for plentiful reasons, but I'm certain that one of the reasons is very much along the lines languagehat is saying. The difference is, those users don't make a big show of buttoning - they just fade away.
posted by gadge emeritus at 9:53 AM on November 5 [1 favorite]


Man, I didn't expect this kind of direct pushback

Shouldn't that be a good thing? I've heard it's bad to want to "spend [your] time online only with people who think exactly alike."
posted by melissasaurus at 9:58 AM on November 5 [6 favorites]


I don't think there's anything wrong with assuming the worst (or rather, "assuming the worst" is no worse than "assuming the best") as long as you allow for the possibility that your assumption might be wrong.

So I think "allow for the possibility" is the part of this that's doing the most work and there's a lot of room for interpretation on it. And that makes it tricky.

Like, the range of reads on that includes pretty different kinds of practice stemming from the same basic starting point:

1. "It's fine to assume the worst in your head and then quietly evaluate the conversation as it proceeds to test that assumption against what plays out."

2. "It's fine to assume the worst, and declare that assumption in thread immediately, so long as you're willing to back up if the person you've accused of bad intent makes a sufficiently convincing counter-argument about their motivations."

And I have seen both of those in action on the site! Depending on the context one or the other feels more understandable to me—sometimes someone's really acting like an obvious asshole and there's not a lot of motivation to put in the extra effort on a "hey, I think x is a problematic framing, did you intend that?" bridge-building response—but I think in general we could do better to lean towards 1 in a lot of situations where 2 feels temptingly within easy reach.

Because it's hard to put the toothpaste back in the tube once you've taken a conversation in the direction of calling someone out on presumed bad intent. It's fine to know in your heart that you'll reconsider your assumption given more info, but in practice someone's hackles are already going to be up once they've been put in that position of being basically told to prove that they aren't a bad actor or be assumed to be one. And other people who are basically sympatico with the site in general but see that sort of accusation or implication in response to something bail and never add their thoughts to the conversation.

One of the things that I think makes this dynamic tricky is this: it sucks to feel like you've extended the benefit of the doubt to someone who doesn't deserve it. That's true! It's happened to me a bunch of times over the years on the site, as a user and in my capacity as a mod. It sucks to feel burnt. And I think that can end up motivating a move to a more defensive posture: by withdrawing the benefit of the doubt, you avoid getting burnt. That's a really understandable instinct.

But it also does end up being a problem for the site when that defensive posture ends up becoming more the default. When the distance between "I have an uncharitable feeling about this" and "I'm going to drop an uncharitable challenge into this conversation" gets smaller, conversations become more hostile more quickly. I don't think that's inappropriate 100% of the time—context matters—but I think the balance gets off sometimes in a way that can be bad for MetaFilter even if it's ultimately deriving from an attempt to by and large do good.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:25 AM on November 5 [3 favorites]


Fourthing.

Am I fifth? Fifthing, which is a horrible non-word to say out loud.
posted by lalex at 10:28 AM on November 5


I have no idea why you're assuming the worst about me (assuming that I only want to spend "online time only with people who think exactly alike" seems pretty "worst" to me) after saying that we shouldn't assume the worst in other MeFites.

I don't think it's the "worst"—there are many, many worse things than a desire to hang out with people like oneself, and in fact it's a basic element of human nature—but if it's not true of you and you take it as an insult, I apologize. But I'm quite sure there are a lot of people around here who do want that, both from general principles (human nature) and from having been here since 2002. I don't expect it to go away, but I do encourage people to fight that tendency in themselves. And I honestly don't see how you can see "assuming the worst" as a good thing and as "a main reason why I'm spending more time at MeFi and enjoying it more." It seems we're unlikely to both enjoy the site at the same time.

> Shouldn't that be a good thing? I've heard it's bad to want to "spend [your] time online only with people who think exactly alike."

Ho ho, you are very witty. That kind of lazy, routine snark is another thing that's driving me away.
posted by languagehat at 10:44 AM on November 5 [6 favorites]


Hey, people assuming the worst of each other, making extremely uncharitable readings of ambiguous comments and regularly deploying lazy snark are things that were hallmark characteristics of Old Metafilter! Some traditions live on.

(For what it's worth I greatly enjoy the fact that the site has embraced "SJW" principles. It's what made me feel comfortable going from a lurker to a participant. But we have definitely not lost our tendency to be absolute assholes to each other, even if our collective politics have mostly improved.)
posted by zeusianfog at 11:12 AM on November 5 [5 favorites]


The only thing I feel I can contribute in a non-joking way is that the phrase "social crucible" threw up a small red flag for me. There are two main definitions of crucible; one is directly related to metallurgy, which doesn't seem relevant here, and the other is "severe test or trial"...so it seemed an odd and significant phrase to use.

I understand that not everyone feels like I do about this site, but spending time in a place where interactions are expected to be an ordeal is supremely uninteresting to me. When that sort of situation develops, generally my impulse is to either inject a bit of absurdity or nope out entirely and go look for something more interesting. I've stuck with this thread so far because people are giving their opinions on what they want this site to be, or at least become, which is of interest to me. Nevertheless it's distressing to still see some of that "crucible" type of behavior going on, even if its intent is different than it might once have been. Push and pull is inevitable, and likely will never go away; but I really wish the more pugnacious aspect of it would.

Anyway, a joke, 'cuz I just gotta:

Fifthing

It sounds like something out of a Viking saga - some sort of terrible beast or significant event.
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:17 AM on November 5 [4 favorites]


Fifthing

It sounds like something out of a Viking saga - some sort of terrible beast or significant event.


That distinctly sounds like some kind of adulterous practise in rural East England e.g. "'Ee were off fifthing with tha' pub landlady after closin' toime, tha' dirty beast him."
posted by Wordshore at 11:40 AM on November 5 [6 favorites]


> For what it's worth I greatly enjoy the fact that the site has embraced "SJW" principles. It's what made me feel comfortable going from a lurker to a participant. But we have definitely not lost our tendency to be absolute assholes to each other, even if our collective politics have mostly improved.

I agree on all counts.
posted by languagehat at 11:42 AM on November 5 [6 favorites]


Is it just me or has the nr of metatalk flameouts dropped to almost zero?

It's just you.
posted by elsietheeel at 11:53 AM on November 5 [1 favorite]


I don't think it's the "worst"—there are many, many worse things than a desire to hang out with people like oneself, and in fact it's a basic element of human nature—but if it's not true of you and you take it as an insult, I apologize. But I'm quite sure there are a lot of people around here who do want that, both from general principles (human nature) and from having been here since 2002. I don't expect it to go away, but I do encourage people to fight that tendency in themselves. And I honestly don't see how you can see "assuming the worst" as a good thing and as "a main reason why I'm spending more time at MeFi and enjoying it more." It seems we're unlikely to both enjoy the site at the same time.

I took "don't assume the worst" to mean "be charitable when reading what other people wrote", which is (I feel) how most people use that phrase. Like, figuratively-literally nobody actually assumes the literal-literal worst about people. In addition to the upsides to being charitable, there are downsides to being charitable, which I hinted at in my first comment in this MeTa- being charitable in reading other people's comments promotes unclear and needlessly troublesome comments, it encourages people to write comments before thinking about how other people might read them, and it places the onus on being understood on the reader instead of the writer. Telling people that they don't have to be afraid to assume the worst helps fight against all those things, and when I've pulled away from the site in the past, it's been because MeFi culture was pointing waaay more towards always being charitable in reading someone's comments to the point of ignoring technically-polite assholery. As cortex noted, assuming the worst exists on a spectrum, and while one side of that spectrum is troublesome, I don't think that means the whole spectrum is useless. If you still can't understand what I meant, that's as good as I can explain it, and there's probably no use in telling me that you still don't understand me.

I think we can both enjoy the site at the same time, we probably just enjoy different things about it.
posted by 23skidoo at 12:10 PM on November 5 [1 favorite]


Okay, speaking as one whose first ID had an absurdly low number (and I never left; I just changed the name for reasons I won't go into here), I am getting more out of MetaFilter today than ever before in terms of links to the Best of the Web, quality knowledge, and guilt-free entertainment (a truly rare commodity). Two thumbs and (let me get my shoes off) two big toes off. My only frustration is that in recent months, I've been getting my comments deleted more often, as my jokey, snarky content contributions have become more hard-edged, but then so have some of my opinions. Yes, I'm a SJW now, I even bought the shirt. (Although as my sword-weilding has never been so good, I'm leaning more toward Social Justice Wizard) I do quietly seethe against over-moderation, but after a few moments of reflection, half the time I decide it was something I shouldn't have written at all and am relieved it's not part of the Internet Permanent Record.

I still use RSS to access a large number of websites (none of which are in megacorporation-consolidated places like Reddit and YouTube; that's where I draw the line), but I click to MetaFilter more often than the next five sources combined. Keep up the good work... in an internet that is steadily deteriorating into the Lowest Common Denominator of a deteriorating American Culture that was never very good to start with, MetaFilter is one of the few places that IS getting better all the time.
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:29 PM on November 5 [13 favorites]


Giving benefit of doubt doesn't mean being a naive person, but it's cognitively challenging because it means being attuned to my own feelings of invalidation when someone says something insensitive to me. It's partly about knowing my own boundaries and taking initiative and other things--and if I don't feel like I have all this stuff in order (on a given day), then the idea of charitability easily turns into resentment about capitulating into doing emotional labor for the other person who doesn't deserve it, that is, who doesn't seem to deserve it from my perspective and set of experiences. In this frame of mind, the whole notion can (and should) feel very, very oppressive. However--again, speaking for myself--CBT was helpful in seeing this a different way, and in particular, just a different way of nurturing the same liberal and progressive values people care about in the first place. In short, being charitable as a necessary condition for healthy communication is one of the ideas that I'm getting exposure to. So cortex's comment about the two ways to be more "allowing" really resonated with me.

Also, dunno if this helps, but I've noticed the reliance on the term push-back (myself included), but I've been thinking maybe talking about "nudging", in contrast to "pushing", helps capture the sense/significance of charitable interactions and communications.
posted by polymodus at 2:13 PM on November 5 [5 favorites]


it places the onus on being understood on the reader instead of the writer.

Say I'm surrounded by people who are different from me, and one of them says something that to my ears seems rude or uncouth. Knowing that the people around me don't share all the same knowledge and experiences I do, my instinct would likely be to ask for clarification. Because if I'm hanging out with a big, diverse group of people who have come together for the purpose of hanging out, then my baseline is that the people who came here for that purpose want that to hangout to peacaebly continue. Some people are dicks and maybe this one's being a dick to me, but let's see.

If I'm hanging out with a bunch of people who know each other quite well and one of them says something that seems to me rude or uncouth, my baseline is much more likely to be, they said that on purpose to be a dick, because they know how to read this room and they know how that's going to sound.

What kind of room is this? What should my baseline be, here?

I've said this before in this space, but my preference would be for a MeFi where I cannot presume that the other posters share my experience and world view. Where indeed, the onus is always on me, as the reader, to step back and get that clarification before I assume someone's being dick. Because such a MeFi would offer much, much more to me, as a reader. I know what I think. I know what I know. What I crave are new things, new ways of seeing, new ways of understanding. I doubt I will agree with all of those new views I am exposed to. But the challenge would enrich my life. Even unto the point of hearing someone express a view that makes me think, "man, that's a fucked up thing to think."

I have come to feel over the years that I am distinctly in the minority on this point. That the majority of MeFites value the community aspect of Metafilter, and that entails guardianship and shibboleths. Vigilant eyes posted at all corners of the punchbowl, forever on Poop Patrol. Troublemakers get bounced before they make trouble, and everyone in the VIP lounge can relax and toast each other, free from even the hint of a prospect of hassle.

Reading that last paragraph over, it was snide. I apologize. But I'll let it stand a monument to my frustrations. Simply to underscore the point: There is worthwhile world on the other side of the velvet rope.
posted by Diablevert at 2:19 PM on November 5 [10 favorites]


I'm not a fan of the snark, even in pursuit of laudable social justice goals. It has this really horrible tendency to misfire in a way that hurts vulnerable people who you never intended to target, and I think it brings the site down as a whole.

To explain my perspective, I'm a late-transitioning trans woman. I lurked since the early 2000s, and had an account here for a few years (for transparency my old username is linked on my profile, but I'd appreciate you treating it like a deadname - it doesn't need to be used in thread). I lived as a cis man for 40 years, and am only very slowly becoming comfortable with the idea that being trans isn't shameful. It's very, very hard to get rid of 40 years of training that tells me that I am just a shameful gross, deviant man, when I've been told that literally every day of my life.

So often on this site I have ended up in tears because of the way that people snark about men, always assuming that their witticisms are "punching up" at cis men. I'll avoid specifics, but think of things like referring to men "tarting themselves up" to look feminine, or dismissing the fears that men might have about wearing dresses etc. These are of course the mild examples, because I get shaky even thinking about how threads on sexual assault come across to me on this site as an AMAB survivor. But this "ha ha you are so gross and you deserve what you get" jokiness is exactly how violent transphobes talk about me as a trans person. Coming from them it's a veiled threat to trans women, but hearing that same language coming from progressives when talking about gender non-conforming men is still terrifying - you're invoking the same set of awful stereotypes that put me at risk, because you think it's funny.

It reminds me that you value your right to snark (at cis dudes) more than you value my right (as a trans woman) to feel safe, and if those are your priorities then I kind of don't want to hang out with you here, you know?
posted by saltbush and olive at 3:26 PM on November 5 [18 favorites]


All of which is just a long winded way of saying that I agree with languagehat -- I wish people would dial down the snark. I don't think it's as innocent as it appears.
posted by saltbush and olive at 3:31 PM on November 5 [1 favorite]


I know it's an unreasonable wish that intrudes into people's privacy, but I do wish there were a place to go to see when people left and why, because there are many I miss. Somehow knowing why they left might bring a bit of closure.

This would probably lead to endless scrutiny rather than helpful closure.
posted by zarq at 4:24 PM on November 5


Greg_Ace: The only thing I feel I can contribute in a non-joking way is that the phrase "social crucible" threw up a small red flag for me.

Diablevert: Knowing that the people around me don't share all the same knowledge and experiences I do, my instinct would likely be to ask for clarification.

Clarification has been asked for, and Michael Tellurian hasn't yet responded.
posted by juv3nal at 4:30 PM on November 5 [6 favorites]


A place that makes people uncomfortable for violating its norms will always be a social crucible for similar places, regardless of whether those norms are sexist or anti-sexist.
posted by Going To Maine at 4:31 PM on November 5 [1 favorite]


What does that even mean? And does it mean the same thing the OP meant? That's why clarification was asked for and in all of his early threadsitting, he didn't respond to that question. But now people are using this thread as evidence of bad faith reading and knee jerk reacting, when it seems pretty clear that at least some shit stirring came from the OP.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 4:54 PM on November 5 [7 favorites]


Clarification has been asked for and Michael Tellurian hasn't yet responded.

Here goes:

Someone who’s been around as long as he apparently has should know better, having seen how they play out.

Yeah, that's why I worded my post the way I did saying, “I know this is probably going to get some flak but I'm openly and sincerely expressing my opinion here in the hopes that we can have a respectful discussion.”..or that was my intention at any rate.

Regarding my “social crucible” metaphor: I didn't expect that to be such a stumbling block for some people. It seems obvious to me, but to clarify what I meant: MetaFilter refines the ideas expressed here; the bullshit is discarded, and the ideas refined in the minds of us all. There is no literary allusion or Satanism or evil intended. The discussion here is a perfect example of what I mean and is what I value most about this community. Thanks all for your comments!
posted by Michael Tellurian at 6:22 PM on November 5 [2 favorites]


I still have no idea what you meant by "social crucible".
posted by 23skidoo at 6:51 PM on November 5 [7 favorites]


Can we just talk about Satanism instead?
posted by Burhanistan at 6:52 PM on November 5 [10 favorites]


I've found the support for Satanism on MetaFilter to be encouraging, really.
posted by hippybear at 7:00 PM on November 5 [4 favorites]


Can we just talk about Satanism instead?

They make really good chocolate sponge cake (in this part of the world anyway), and my empty fridge drawer mocks me for only buying one and not the "three for four quid" offer last week. Idiot Wordshore.
posted by Wordshore at 7:07 PM on November 5 [6 favorites]


I think I understand what you mean by crucible here? You're talking about the idea of freewheeling discussion that helps to refine and clarify different people's ideas during the exchange? If so yeah I think that is something that metafilter still values, no less than on the old days. One of the big shifts on site culture, though, is that most online conversations don't really entail that because not everyone is starting with similar levels of social capital, so to speak. Tightening the ground rules for discussion is part and parcel of allowing a wider range of voices into the conversation: one man's crucible is another woman's Thunderdome, if you like. That necessarily means that sometimes people used to speaking their minds on a topic will be asked to stay quiet some times, but that's generally been a good thing when you look at the quality of ideas that emerge at the end. My biggest complaint, really, is that the site still has a lot of blind spots. We still allow nastiness that suppresses legitimate voices, and I think that's to the detriment of the community
posted by saltbush and olive at 7:08 PM on November 5 [8 favorites]


I took "don't assume the worst" to mean "be charitable when reading what other people wrote", which is (I feel) how most people use that phrase.

That's what I assume most people mean too. And I really don't need to hang out with people who think that's a bad thing.
posted by bongo_x at 7:51 PM on November 5 [3 favorites]


jessamyn: "I like that this place bans toxic assholes much sooner than it used to. I like that I feel I can Internet While Female and not have that paint a target on me. "

Quoted for motherfuckin' truth.
posted by scrump at 8:31 PM on November 5 [7 favorites]


originally best of the web meant charlottes web

posts were like

some pig

and people all agreed that was some of the best of the web

its confusing now though
posted by klangklangston at 11:26 PM on November 5 [11 favorites]


Where do old timers go? I joined in 2004 (after having my nose pressed up against the glass for several years before that) and participated quite a bit for four or five years. Then I found a new discussion site devoted to folks in my profession (I'm a university professor) and soon found myself spending more time there than here. I did not fade away for any MeFi related reason, just found somewhere else more relatable. Now I drop by once in a blue moon.
posted by LarryC at 12:50 AM on November 6 [2 favorites]


I still have no idea what you meant by "social crucible".

Someone makes a post. We all talk about it, discussing what's cool about it or stupid about it, but since we all have different things to contribute, the theory is that this group discussion ultimately processes the content of the post to the point that by the end of it, we all agree about what is coolest of the cool, and stupidest of the stupid.

Michael, perhaps the word you should use instead is "group discussion". Using "social crucible" carries connotations you may not have anticipated.

And - I also haven't ever seen that this kind of discussion isn't going on here. It's just that in the case of the US political posts these days, everyone already agrees on what is the stupidest of the stupid, so they may sound a bit all of the same opinion - probably because they are. (I honestly don't see how they could not, simply because of the depth of idiocy being discussed.) Other intense discussions have also happened over the past few years that were such powerful, er, "social crucibles" that they spread throughout the site and all users - and, additionally, made the site more welcoming for people who hadn't contributed before. Which meant that the site had even more varied perspectives on things, and even newer voices to contribute to the group's discussions. There are people who left over the population shift, but from my recollection, they were people who had prejudices against the newcomers, were called on those prejudices, and left themselves - or, they declared they had a right to treat the newcomers cruelly and were banned.

So my ultimate point is that maybe you haven't recognized that Metafilter looks the same because the population itself is a bit more varied. I know people are posting links to the New Yorker or the Guardian, but - take a look at what those links are about. That is when you will discover that those links are about a very broad range of topics indeed.

Or, sometimes people are making posts that don't need to be "discussed" as such. I mean, a lot of my posts are lighthearted fluff - companies that are clever on social media, or discussions about changing attitudes towards leftovers, or wacky Russian realtors or odes to my favorite bad movie. Not one of those things was about an idea that people had to test in any kind of "social crucible", but everyone still had fun talking about them (at least I assume so).

Not every interaction has to be an assault for Ultimate Truth, afterall - sometimes people just need to shoot the breeze.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:02 AM on November 6 [4 favorites]


perhaps the word you should use instead is "group discussion". Using "social crucible" carries connotations you may not have anticipated.

Not for me. It carries zero connotations. I still don't understand it. A crucible is a vessel that can withstand high temperatures. Yes, I looked that up.
Was it meant to indicate something like 'a melting pot for ideas'? If so, then it's simply not correct as far as I can see. But at least I'd understand that non-working metaphor.
posted by Too-Ticky at 3:05 AM on November 6 [1 favorite]


Okay, on the literal level - a crucible is where you purify a metal by heating it to very hot temperatures and pouring off the impurities.

It's not a melting pot, which implies mixing various things to a new, harmonious whole. I think MT is casting it as: bring in ideas, heat them via the cut and thrust of intellectual combat, get rid of the ideas exposed as bad, and be left with a stronger, purer, refined product.
posted by Chrysostom at 4:59 AM on November 6 [2 favorites]


It's a weird idea, though, that intellectual combat is the highest form of discussion. We tend to take it for granted, in part because it has such deep roots in the classical liberal tradition that so many of us are steeped in, but there's no reason that we have to accept that. Competition isn't necessarily better than cooperation. Maybe you refine your ideas by listening to other people's perspectives and sometimes incorporating them into yours, rather than by smiting other people's ideas with your giant manly intellect, until the truth emerges, bloody but triumphant, like the last man standing in a cheesy war movie.

The intellectual combat thing also tends to appeal more to relatively privileged people, who are unlikely to be put in the position of having to argue for their humanity, dignity, or fundamental rights. But I think we've done that discussion before, and I don't know that it's necessary to rehash it.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:03 AM on November 6 [21 favorites]


In the interest of helping to explain why the word "crucible" makes people wary, and at the risk of being Captain Obvious: one of the strongest associations with the word "crucible," especially for Americans, is Arthur Miller's 1952 play The Crucible, written as a response to the House Un-American Activities Committee led by Joseph McCarthy, which sought to identify and expose suspected Communiists and sympathizers in the U.S. government. The play used the 1692 Salem witch trials as an allegorical setting for a similar purge, often called a "witch hunt." Good old Cliff Notes on why Miller chose that title:
Miller's title, The Crucible, is appropriate for the play. A crucible is a container made of a substance that can resist great heat ; a crucible is also defined as a severe test. Within the context of the play the term takes on a new meaning: not only is the crucible a test, but a test designed to bring about change or reveal an individual's true character. The witch trials serve as a metaphorical crucible, which burns away the characters' outer shells to reveal their true intentions and character beneath. Throughout the play, Miller carefully peels away the layers of each character so that the audience not only can identify the character's motivation, but also can reevaluate the character through his or her actions. In other words, the audience observes the character as he or she is tested, and the audience ultimately determines if he or she passes the test.
Miller never uses the word "crucible" in the text of the play. Choosing it for the title makes it a gloss on the play's content , introducing the metaphor of the metallurgic crucible and applying it to a social scenario in which "impurities" - as in, impure or undesirable social elements - are burned off, and in which human beings' social veneer is burned away to show their deep character flaws or strengths. In the play and in the history it represents, people suffer, lose property, lose status, and some are punished by death, all because of interactions within a hierarchical social structure of unequal power.

A great many students in the US read this play as part of their high school literature studies. It's considered a very important document in American cultural history and continues to have a lot of resonance; it has been presented onstage frequently and been adapted into film several times, most recently in 1996.

For myself, I am among those who are wary when they see the notion of a "social crucible" raised, because the metaphor carries such strong connotations of a harsh social environment that creates tests of worthiness and metes out terrible punishments to those who fail. There are those social Darwinists who would agree this is a good project, and people on MeFi have in fact voiced this as an ideal - it's what underlay the old "get a thicker skin." With that frame in mind, the subtext can appear to be: MetaFilter should be a harsh and bullying environment which will accelerate the burning off of your "impurities," purging you of incorrect ideas.

So it may be that "I didn't mean that kind of crucible" is representative of the true intent, but it might help to be clear about the specific associations of exclusion and persecution the metaphor raises in a subset of the users, which is why people wanted to clarify which meaning is intended.

Finally, I think we don't agree that the end goal of MetaFilter discussion is to refine ideas until we all agree. I actually used to think that, and I certainly have had ideas refined and clarified and even dispelled and reversed by participating here. It is a great tool for learning and thinking. But there are a lot of possible outcomes of discussion, of which agreement on the One True Idea is only one (and a chimera at that). Even when we reach such an agreement, there is always a further level of nuance that eventually is revealed that re-complicates matters and generates diverse perspectives.
posted by Miko at 6:09 AM on November 6 [9 favorites]


Flagged as breaking the guidelines. This just really reads as trolling. Yes, even 185+ comments later.

Be the Best of the Web you want to see in the world.
posted by jillithd at 6:58 AM on November 6 [2 favorites]


1. "Best of the Web" = quidnunc.
2. Quidnunc's still here.
3. Ergo, MeFi is still the best of the web.
posted by Capt. Renault at 8:55 AM on November 6 [8 favorites]


It's pretty simple for me: Personally, I DON'T have the time you say you have to read or even peruse all of the wonderful websites there are in the world. So I depend on Metafilter and other web aggregators to show me some wonderful things I might otherwise miss. And "best of" is a relative term. IMHO, Metafilter does a bang-up job.
posted by KleenexMakesaVeryGoodHat at 9:24 AM on November 6 [1 favorite]


So I guess the bottom line here is I would like to know what everyone thinks about the state of Metafilter and the direction it's going, some stories about how it has affected your life

1) I think this MeTa is a very thinly veiled attempt to talk about how Metafilter was way better when people could be more openly and antagonistically sexist/racist/transphobic/homophobic and if we're talking about the direction in which Metafilter is going I think it's going in the right direction (away from bigotry) but we still have a long way to go.

and a mention of people here of whom you have fond memories.

2) If I'm honest, I miss sixcolors.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 9:38 AM on November 6 [13 favorites]


NOW we've got some controversy!
posted by Chrysostom at 9:44 AM on November 6


I don't disagree that banning her was the right choice but sometimes I go back and read her old questions for fun.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 9:46 AM on November 6 [1 favorite]


As long as this is a place where people can write a paragraph or two without adding 'tl:dr' or 'sorry for the essay', I will be here.
posted by mippy at 9:48 AM on November 6 [1 favorite]


Not super convinced on the sincerity of this post but also not really bothered enough to get worked up about it.

I will say, however, that despite the deprecation of Best of the Web and despite (in some cases, because of) the endless 45 threads, MetaFilter is still both The Best of the Web and the best place to find other Bests of the Web, for me.

I miss Migs and I miss PinkStainlessTail and so, so many more that have left us...but MeFi is still my first and last click of the day with a million in between. I also have some fond memories of "the old days" but I also have a lot of really not fond memories - we allowed for some real awfulness that wouldn't fly today, and I was also very young and frequently pretty awful myself.

Every day that passes is the new Best Day in the History of MetaFilter, for me.
posted by lazaruslong at 9:50 AM on November 6 [1 favorite]


There's a phenomenon where it's a lot easier to miss someone who caused interesting trouble when they're not around causing trouble anymore, yeah. I think that generalizes pretty broadly to a lot of mixed bag stuff in the "man, remember the old days..." feelings, really; the comfort of a sense of shared history, and the draw of nostalgia, goes a long way to forgiving in our minds the downsides to past events and dynamics. In a way it's like telling drinking stories; its easy to talk about the crazy good times and not dwell so much on the damage done.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:50 AM on November 6 [6 favorites]


The scars that mark my body mark my map back to the shore.
posted by Annika Cicada at 9:54 AM on November 6 [2 favorites]


Meaning I’ll talk about how I got em and the stupid shit I said and did but the memories and the scars don’t hurt as much as getting them did.
posted by Annika Cicada at 9:56 AM on November 6 [1 favorite]


I'm sorta vaguely curious about who Mr. Tellurian was in his earlier incarnations but beyond that I feel nothing.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:57 AM on November 6


But, also, I like links to 'traditional' media. I'm not from the US, so don't habitually read foreign papers, and as politics in the UK is so depressing right now, there's a lot I'm going to miss by not engaging with the news as much as I used to.

I also like the culture here. When I use Reddit, I am very careful which subreddits I use (mostly cosmetics ones, because it's nice to discuss lipstick without having to defend why one wears lipstick, or why lipstick exists when men apparently prefer us all without) and when I veer into a subreddit that is not one of my regular reads, it's a shock that not all the site has the same thoughtful discussion and can actually be a very unpleasant place. (Plus, it makes me feel about 98 years old.) Twitter is not good for proper discussion, Facebook is a walled garden, and a lot of the old fora I used to post on aren't there anymore.

The internet has become more homogenized - beauty blogs being a great example. (Maybe other hobbies too, but I don't have the frame of reference there.) They started out as being a place where people could rant and review without the pressures of advertising, and talk about weird little obsessions and literary illusions and things that you didn't get elsewhere. Now the content has shifted onto YouTube; people don't write essays about how the new Lancome lipstick reminds them of seeing Greta Garbo as a child anymore, there is pressure to incentivise everything which means the voices that rise to prominence are those who are photogenic and willing to take sponsorship and be as mainstream as possible. Not all of it, of course, but it's a marked difference from ten years ago - I started online being told never to use your real name or your photo, and now you can't participate on Facebook under a pseudonym. I would bet many net users don't veer far from YouTube, Facebook, Amazon and Twitter much of the time. It's harder to seek odd little things out because the way we write and read the web has changed.

And what I particularly like is that people are willing to listen and learn from each other, rather than straining to seem like the smartest guy in the room (hello there, plannedchaos)

And if you don't like what's being posted, then you have two options - post more of what you want to see, or enjoy the discussion in the archives. Otherwise you end up sounding like someone's dad moaning about how all modern music is terrible and you can't hear the words these days.
posted by mippy at 10:05 AM on November 6 [5 favorites]


I'm still suspicious of people using their real names online, to be honest. Back in my day people had to send their dick pics to be developed in a darkroom before foisting them on the ladies!
posted by mippy at 10:06 AM on November 6


Wait! I do feel something!

many of my favorites are gone and I'm wondering why.

Ubi sunt qui ante nos fuerunt?

I tried to answer this a couple of years ago. Since then "Where Do They Go?" has appeared on YouTube, so I offer it for your enjoyment and edification.
posted by octobersurprise at 10:17 AM on November 6


I think MT is casting it as: bring in ideas, heat them via the cut and thrust of intellectual combat, get rid of the ideas exposed as bad, and be left with a stronger, purer, refined product.

Yes, that's almost exactly what I mean. But to be clear, I don't expect or wish there to be a "final truth". It's not my goal or desire that, in the end, we all agree. The value in this process is really a selfish one in that such discussions help me refine my ideas. It can be very uncomfortable and humbling sometimes but I feel I am a better person and enriched from these discussions. Although oftentimes these discussions are combative and perhaps competitive I don't think it is necessary or a good thing. Maybe stringent is the word I'm looking for.

I've read the play but was unaware of the political connections with the McCarthy hearings. The play had no influence on my choice of words. I'm interested in metalurgy, forging and knife-making and that was the source. It's a shame Miller has a monoply on the metaphor; it's a good one.

I think it's bizarre that some people are calling me sexist/racist/homophobe etc, etc when nothing I've said here has even the slightest hint that it's true or it's my hidden agenda. If you really believe that and are not simply trolling yourself, there's something seriously wrong with you. Get help immediately.

Otherwise you end up sounding like someone's dad moaning about how all modern music is terrible and you can't hear the words these days.

I am someone's dad moaning about how all modern music is terrible and you can't hear the words these days.
posted by Michael Tellurian at 10:30 AM on November 6


Mrs. Pterodactyl: If I'm honest, I miss sixcolors.

Gee, thanks. There goes my evening.
posted by Too-Ticky at 10:39 AM on November 6 [1 favorite]


It’s called shoegaze dad. Jeez.
posted by Annika Cicada at 10:54 AM on November 6 [4 favorites]


I think it's bizarre that some people are calling me sexist/racist/homophobe etc, etc when nothing I've said here has even the slightest hint that it's true or it's my hidden agenda. If you really believe that and are not simply trolling yourself, there's something seriously wrong with you. Get help immediately.

I think this is directed at me; I did not say you were sexist/racist/homophobic but that callbacks to the "good old days" of Metafilter are, in general, a way to say "this place used to be so great before all those snowflakes put limits on what we could say and now it's all wimpy because they just can't handle debate". It might not be intentional but I am telling you that that is how it reads to me (maybe not to anyone else but based on some of the comments in this thread it's not just me). It's possible that what's happening is that you're missing that what felt like fun intellectual cut and thrust to you felt like shitty, tedious, uninventive bigotry to other people so when you wax nostalgic for the old days we hear something different from what you're saying.

If you really believe that and are not simply trolling yourself, there's something seriously wrong with you. Get help immediately.

Honest to God not trolling but the phrase "there's something seriously wrong with you. Get help immediately." is absolutely delighting me. I think "get help immediately" sounds like "Good day sir!" and I also like the idea that maybe calling someone sexist when they don't think they're being sexist is an emergency and I should drop whatever I'm doing and get help IMMEDIATELY because this is a DIRE SITUATION that CANNOT WAIT, it is IMPOSSIBLE for me to function, my God if I am making that kind of mistake I probably don't know down from up or left from right and I think my officemate is a giraffe. I don't know, somehow it conjures up a whimsical world where people are constantly putting on hats while telling others "get help immediately" and then you go to a specific location and someone reaches into a big jar called "help" and gives you a dose immediately and then you sigh and say "Oh that's much better, thank you!" and your perception problems are fixed and you can go about your day. Perhaps someone should make a brief animated film?
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 10:54 AM on November 6 [30 favorites]


It's a shame Miller has a monoply on the metaphor; it's a good one.

Well, in the interest of making you a better person A) it would be Miller's estate who doesn't have a monopoly on that metaphor, not Miller; and B) a good metaphor should make a thought more clear, not less.
posted by octobersurprise at 11:10 AM on November 6 [3 favorites]


On the flip side though I’m much more able to handle oppositional (and even flat out ignorant) comments much better than I once was able, so in my case specifically I was an “easily offended snowflake” and I am absolutely certain that many people on this site got sick of my prescriptive demands for perfect intersectional discourse. Now I’m much more able to handle people being problematic, I still get pissed and I try to explain stuff and maybe I’m a twinge too strident at times but I really do hear people when they say “man you can’t say shit around here without pissing in someone’s Cheerios” and I think there’s a germ of truth in those statements that are valid and deserving of self reflection.

I dunno I guess I finally realized that I gave up the privilege of people giving a shit about what hurts, erases and harms me and it took me a few years finally just accept on its face that nope, people actually don’t give a shit and I’m not in a place where I’ve got the privilege to demand that they do.

So i gotta be a gentle influencer even if that means gritting my teeth and bearing a load of dumb, unfair bullshit on mefi at times.
posted by Annika Cicada at 11:11 AM on November 6 [3 favorites]


Get help immediately.

This is one of those indicators that maybe you are just here to start shit so you might want to consider how it is coming across. Start being more respectful of your fellow commenters, immediately
posted by jessamyn (temp) at 11:11 AM on November 6 [26 favorites]


What she said.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:16 AM on November 6 [10 favorites]


If you perceive sexism, please consult your doctor immediately.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:17 AM on November 6


Now I have Little River Band's "Help is on its way" stuck in my head. Could be worse.
posted by octobersurprise at 11:24 AM on November 6


jessamyn and cortex, I've been respectful throughout this entire conversation, up until my last comment. The same cannot be said of others here. To quote a certain mod: "Because it's hard to put the toothpaste back in the tube once you've taken a conversation in the direction of calling someone out on presumed bad intent. It's fine to know in your heart that you'll reconsider your assumption given more info, but in practice someone's hackles are already going to be up once they've been put in that position of being basically told to prove that they aren't a bad actor or be assumed to be one." I think I've sufficiently demonstrated a good-faith effort and yet, even this late in the thread, the same accusatory comments keep coming and are left standing. I remember the good old days when they were not.
posted by Michael Tellurian at 11:43 AM on November 6


I’m beginning to think I was too charitable in my analysis of this MeTa.
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:45 AM on November 6 [8 favorites]


The value in this process is really a selfish one in that such discussions help me refine my ideas.

You realize that it's selfish, but I really don't think you understand how massive an understatement that is, nor how harmful this is for people for who this isn't academic. Many of these questions revolve around the very existence of people here, their lives and the world they live in. The idea of, say, what bathroom transgender people should use might be academic to you; but for them just on the concepts of bodily autonomy and personal safety could easily become an actual life-or-death situation. If you honestly want to engage in productive conversations, you have to be able to absorb this and learn from it.

This specific approach and the selfishness behind it is a well-trod subject on both MeFi and MeTa, and it's frustrating that it seemingly gets rehashed pretty much every month or two. That this is apparently a hill that you want to die comes across as not just incredibly selfish, but incredibly dismissive of the people for whom "academic" really isn't "academic" at all.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:51 AM on November 6 [16 favorites]


jessamyn and cortex, I've been respectful throughout this entire conversation, up until my last comment

First, "I wasn't a jerk until I was" isn't good cover for being a jerk. Just don't be a jerk in the first place, or you pretty much flush away any benefit of the doubt folks might otherwise have tried to extend.

Second, your framing of the metatalk and some of your responses have left people feeling like something is up. And you can feel 100% sure that you meant no harm but if a lot of people are still having an "uh...what?" reaction you have to stop and confront the likelihood that you're not accomplishing what you think you are. Enough people say "this thing you said vibes like a not-great thing" in a way that surprises you, it's time stop and consider the likelihood that you're communicating more poorly than you think.

So I would just give this thread a pass at this point. If you came into this intending no harm and are just being misunderstood, stop digging. Look harder at your framing in the future based on the friction that the way you expressed yourself generated here. Because while I'm not assuming you kicked this off with the specific intent to be a jerk, I can really understand where other people are coming from in getting that vibe and your followup hasn't helped that at all.

I remember the good old days when they were not.

People were routinely vicious in the good old days in this kind of context, in a way that makes the limited critical response you've gotten in here look like tickling with feathers. If you did not notice or do not remember that, that's basically on you and resonates pretty well with the disagreement a lot of folks have expressed in here about just how good the unreflectively yearned-for good old days were.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:51 AM on November 6 [22 favorites]


I remember the good old days when they were not.

People were routinely vicious in the good old days in this kind of context, in a way that makes the limited critical response you've gotten in here look like tickling with feathers. If you did not notice or do not remember that, that's basically on you and resonates pretty well with the disagreement a lot of folks have expressed in here about just how good the unreflectively yearned-for good old days were.


I think this is a very good point! If what you long for is the "good old days" of vitriolic debate but all the people here saying "here's what I'm reading this as" and then stating their points is upsetting you when that kind of discussion is exactly what you're calling for, maybe what's changed is that now you feel like the target of the "debate" and it's way less fun which is why the rest of us would prefer not to return to it.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 11:56 AM on November 6 [15 favorites]


The grey used to be less strictly moderated, not more. It used to be almost impossible to get a comment deleted on here. It's easier now.

... or so I hear.
posted by Too-Ticky at 12:00 PM on November 6 [3 favorites]


zombieflanders almost perfectly expressed my unease with the whole “social crucible” metaphor. Thanks.
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:02 PM on November 6


My 13th Mefiversary is coming up. Ah, the awkward teen years.

MetaTalk used to be a free-for-all. Callouts, accusations and name-calling were common. Nasty jokes and comments about women, trans people and other minorities happened much more often than they do now -- and especially in the early days, went unchallenged by members and mods. People got into fights, held grudges and in one epic moment, a guy (son of minya) even declared his intention to cut off his own hand to win an argument with quonsar. It didn't wendell. Mod oversight activity was much less frequent. We didn't have a queue and comments were only very rarely deleted. I once had a comment deleted (this was years ago) for saying "reading comprehension is not your strong suit" to another mefite and was shocked that such a silly, milquetoast insult had rung the deletion bell. Hadn't even realized there was one.

It was the good old days if you were in the majority. But not so much if you weren't. But it took years for the changes to happen.

I like the new mefi better. It's not perfect, but it's far more tolerant and respectful. This is a nicer place than it used to be, for the most part.

So here is us, on the raggedy edge.
posted by zarq at 12:20 PM on November 6 [13 favorites]


Wait -- did the OP's comment about his transgender kid disappear? I didn't imagine that, did I? Where'd it go? Did I miss a banhammering? DAMMIT.
posted by Capt. Renault at 12:22 PM on November 6


I deleted a comment, no banhammering. If a mod says "hey, time to give this thread a pass", it's time to give the thread a pass.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:23 PM on November 6 [7 favorites]


Aah, fair enough. Thanks for clarifying that I'm not crazy (on this point).
posted by Capt. Renault at 12:24 PM on November 6


You know it’s motherfucking gourd season, how about that pumpkin spice y’all. W00t who’s having Tofurkey for thanksgiving?

Also you know tofurkey is making a tofu duck this year right?!
posted by Annika Cicada at 12:32 PM on November 6 [3 favorites]


That seems like a complicated branding move given how their portmanteau works.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:34 PM on November 6 [25 favorites]


Also you know tofurkey is making a tofu duck this year right?!

TOFUcky?
posted by zarq at 12:34 PM on November 6 [2 favorites]


Oh man, is it recipe time now? Let's talk stuffing!
posted by elsietheeel at 12:35 PM on November 6 [1 favorite]


I think it's bizarre that some people are calling me sexist/racist/homophobe etc, etc when nothing I've said here has even the slightest hint that it's true or it's my hidden agenda.

Sometimes it's what you don't say. I'm trying to think of a blunt, simple-to-understand analogy...Say someone came in and said, "I miss the good ol' days," where "good ol' days" could mean, for example, pre - Civil War when slavery was explicitly legal, or, for another shockingly recent example (20th century!) when women in America didn't have basic rights such as voting, sitting on juries, holding bank accounts independently, etc. etc....(putting aside for the moment that inequalities are still rampant today)

Does it seriously not occur to you that someone coming in and spouting a blanket "I miss them good ol' days" might come across as hostile or at best clueless and obtuse to some members of society (minorities, women, the disenfranchised, more groups who are being mistreated but we haven't even acknowledged yet)? It's calling for the return of times that weren't so great for them, to put it too mildly. And our society's at a historical point where such a revival is too easily plausible--or have you not noticed that either? The tenseness, the fear, the anger at something more dire than "this webpage doesn't have the same oomph it used to."

So do as cortex and other members here said. Look closer at how you frame things. Give specifics. Think hard about what you didn't notice or remember but what others did because they didn't have your blinders on.
posted by Sockin'inthefreeworld at 12:36 PM on November 6 [6 favorites]


Oh man, is it recipe time now? Let's talk stuffing!

I'm not sure how well it'll do as turkey stuffing but I've recently been trying variations of bacon + chicken thigh + butternut squash + spices in various dishes. It's so autumn-y and hearty! Inspired by the filling from this pie recipe from Kimberley on Great British Bake Off.
posted by Sockin'inthefreeworld at 12:41 PM on November 6


elsietheeel: "Oh man, is it recipe time now? Let's talk stuffing!"

Maybe we could quote from our favorite treaties? I'll go first:

In the name of the most holy and individual Trinity: Be it known to all, and every one whom it may concern, or to whom in any manner it may belong, That for many Years past, Discords and Civil Divisions being stir'd up in the Roman Empire, which increas'd to such a degree, that not only all Germany, but also the neighbouring Kingdoms, and France particularly, have been involv'd in the Disorders of a long and cruel War....
posted by Chrysostom at 12:42 PM on November 6 [2 favorites]


Have just learned that I may be at home alone for Thanksgiving proper (a not uncommon occurance - when my brother is at his in-laws for Thanksgiving, that just leaves my parents and me for dinner, and we all tend to say "fuck it" and meet at a restaurant the weekend before instead, and I've come to loooooooooove solo Thanksgiving). I also just came back from a trip to Berlin and to Budapest with some spice mixes in hand that I picked up at various markets...

So I may be making either sauerbraten or turkey paprikash.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:47 PM on November 6 [1 favorite]


Tofurky is best prepped in a roast bag w/ everything you'd love in a roast - potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, onions, garlic, and whatever else - then add some oj or frozen oj concentrate. Spice it really aggressively - not over salt and pepper necessarily , Mrs. Dash has some good stuff, a little smoked paprika, mustard powder (or seeds, or some v good mustard). Cook according to directions in a roast bag (if they don't put them on the box anymore there are lots of suggestions online), then separate the veg for a side dish (broiled for a second w/ some kind of cheese? whipped into something? served just as soft roast veggies?) and douse the tofurky in the juice again. Slice to serve (don't carve ahead of time). It's delicious - if you like fake meat.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 12:52 PM on November 6 [2 favorites]


(Inner voice) don’t explain the joke annika, don’t explain it...
posted by Annika Cicada at 1:00 PM on November 6 [3 favorites]


Turkey tip: cover the turkey in bacon -- about 1# for a breast, 2# for a whole bird -- and there is NO BASTING. The bacon bastes the turkey as it melts away during the long cooking and you get beautifully moist turkey with a sort of crispy bacon skin, and whoever carves it gets to eat the remaining bacon bits and pieces as they carve, it's great. Cover it in bacon, pop it in a 325*oven for 20 min a pound, and don't fuck with it until it's done. Turkey complete!
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 1:00 PM on November 6 [5 favorites]


Make 1/4-1/2 inch slits over the turkey - getting through the skin and into the meat. stick a garlic clove in each slit. When the bird is done remove all the garlic cloves and put them in your mashed potatoes.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 1:11 PM on November 6 [1 favorite]


Turkey tip: cover the turkey in bacon

Same effect can also be done in a kosher way with pastrami bacon strips. Add a thin coat of non-dairy vegetable shortening under the turkey skin and/or under the bacon for a "fattier" effect.
posted by zarq at 1:11 PM on November 6 [1 favorite]


Maybe we could quote from our favorite treaties? I'll go first:

OH!
WHEREAS a Treaty between the President of the United States Of America, the President of the German Reich, His Majesty the King of the Belgians, the President of the French Republic, His Majesty the King of Great Britain, Ireland and the British Dominions beyond the Seas, Emperor of India, His Majesty the King of Italy, His Majesty the Emperor of Japan, the President of the Republic of Poland, and the President of the Czechoslovak Republic, providing for the renunciation of war as an instrument of national policy, was concluded and signed by their respective Plenipotontiaries at Paris on the twenty-seventh day of August, one thousand nine hundred and twenty-eight,
I'm working up a post on this one.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:23 PM on November 6


You know, if you sent holiday cards to other MeFites, you could enclose a recipe! Or even a favorite treaty!

(I hate holiday cards. But I love it that Mefites send stuff to one another.)
posted by MonkeyToes at 1:26 PM on November 6 [2 favorites]


As an alternative to bacon, you can mash up semi-soft butter with seasoning herbs of your preference (minced garlic, thyme, tarragon, oregano, salt, pepper, whatever), dish it out onto a sheet of wax paper, roll it into a log, and freeze it. Once it's frozen slice it into disks and shove them up under the turkey skin - to your preferred density, just be sure to cover as much area as you can. Roast the turkey, sans basting, and end up with tasty crispy skin AND moist seasoned meat (being under the skin barrier, the herbs more effectively season the meat itself).

The first time I made a post-divorce Thanksgiving dinner on my own, my friend and I stood in the kitchen hovering over the still-piping-hot bird, pulling off bits of crisp brown skin and devouring them while growling like mad dogs. Success!
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:29 PM on November 6 [6 favorites]


Oh man, is it recipe time now? Let's talk stuffing!

Here's what you do. You sauté finely chopped onion and celery in, like, a whole stick of butter until the vegetables are soft. Then you stir in a bunch of chopped pecans, some dried cranberries, and a tablespoon or two of chopped chipotles in adobo. Mix it all together so it's well incorporated. Then you mix that whole mess with cubes of cornbread that you've let dry out for a couple of days. Moisten it all with chicken stock until the cornbread is damp, but don't let it get soupy. Bake at 450-ish until it's crusty on the top.

Adding the pecans to the hot, buttery vegetables is key, because your cornbread stuffing will be infused with pecan flavor and that is a very happy-making thing.

Also, it's puh-CAHN. That's the only acceptable pronunciation. The onliest.
posted by mudpuppie at 2:01 PM on November 6 [5 favorites]


I'll give you the pronunciation, but I can't hold to the nuts and peppers in stuffing. Apologies.

ARTICLE 1st. -- The said United Nation of Chippewa, Ottowa, and Potawatamie Indians, cede to the United States all their land, along the western shore of Lake Michigan, and between this Lake and the land ceded to the United States by the Winnebago nation, at the treaty of Fort Armstrong made on the 15th September 1832--bounded on the north by the country lately ceded by the Menominees, and on the south by the country ceded at the treaty of Prairie du Chien made on the 29th July 1829--supposed to contain about five millions of acres.

Oh wait, that's not my favorite treaty, that's one of the worst...
posted by elsietheeel at 2:13 PM on November 6 [1 favorite]


What mudpuppie said.
posted by Greg_Ace at 2:31 PM on November 6 [1 favorite]


Also, it's puh-CAHN. That's the only acceptable pronunciation. The onliest.

When I lived in Texas I learned this, quick. A PEE-can is what you take fishing.
posted by Room 641-A at 2:31 PM on November 6 [4 favorites]


Also, it's puh-CAHN. That's the only acceptable pronunciation. The onliest.

Growing up in Texas and having been surrounded by people who went with the alternative WRONG "pee-can" pronunciation drove me bonkers. I'm glad at least some parts of MetaFilter are getting it right.
posted by Fizz at 2:43 PM on November 6


I made a frittata for the first time tonight!
posted by mippy at 2:51 PM on November 6 [4 favorites]


Also, it's puh-CAHN. That's the only acceptable pronunciation. The onliest
Oh hell no.
posted by chococat at 3:11 PM on November 6


We got ourselves a peecan vs packahn war!!! YESHHHHH
posted by Annika Cicada at 3:19 PM on November 6 [11 favorites]


Wait, what if you pronounce it like pee-con?

I just sat here, alone, saying pecan out loud in a variety of different ways for a little bit too long.
posted by Ruki at 3:37 PM on November 6 [1 favorite]


Puh-CAHN for the nuts.
PEE - can for the pie.
posted by soundguy99 at 3:37 PM on November 6 [1 favorite]


Wait, what if you pronounce it like pee-con?

You're probably very posh.
posted by Room 641-A at 3:39 PM on November 6 [1 favorite]


PEE - can for the pie pah.
posted by Greg_Ace at 3:41 PM on November 6 [1 favorite]


Pih-CAHN, almost as if Christopher Walken were pronouncing "pick on"
posted by 23skidoo at 3:46 PM on November 6


You're probably very posh.

I just asked the mister how to pronounce it, and he said "Peecan. Well, I guess properly puhcon." Our best guess is that I spent so much time between peecan and puhcon territories when I was young that I just mentally smushed the pronunciations together in my head. I... I think I may have crouton petted the pronunciation of a word when I was a small Ruki.
posted by Ruki at 3:55 PM on November 6 [4 favorites]


Do you say "pumkin" or "pumpkin"?
posted by The Great David S. Pumpkins at 4:44 PM on November 6 [3 favorites]


Or punkin?
posted by The Great David S. Pumpkins at 4:46 PM on November 6


Do you say "pumkin" or "pumpkin"?

Halloween is over. A more appropriately timed question is: "Christmas" or "X-Mas"?
posted by Fizz at 4:47 PM on November 6


pumpkin sumpkin
punkin dunkin
pampkin hampkin
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 4:47 PM on November 6 [1 favorite]


Halloween is over.

Halloween isn't over until the last pumpkin has collapsed into a puddle of its own rot.
posted by The Great David S. Pumpkins at 4:49 PM on November 6 [4 favorites]


Jeez, Fizz. Let him be his own thing!
posted by elsietheeel at 4:51 PM on November 6 [9 favorites]


Halloween isn't over until the last pumpkin has collapsed into a puddle of its own rot.
posted by The Great David S. Pumpkins at 7:49 PM on November 6 [+] [!]


Jeez, Fizz. Let him be his own thing!
posted by elsietheeel at 7:51 PM


I just snort laughed coffee.

:)
posted by Fizz at 4:55 PM on November 6 [4 favorites]


Do you say "pumkin" or "pumpkin"?

Why'dja wanna know, punkin'?
posted by Greg_Ace at 5:30 PM on November 6


(Yay! I'm part of it!)
posted by elsietheeel at 5:44 PM on November 6 [5 favorites]


I still have an uncarved pumPkin sitting in a chair in my living room. The kid has the day off from school tomorrow. I need carving ideas!
posted by Ruki at 5:50 PM on November 6


There was an update thread on twitter the other day about what all the Flava of Love contestants were up to - Pumkin works at an accounting firm, probably doesn't spit on people who can kick her ass anymore.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 5:50 PM on November 6


I still have an uncarved pumPkin sitting in a chair in my living room. The kid has the day off from school tomorrow. I need carving ideas!

Carve it in the shape of a jack o'lantern!
posted by The Great David S. Pumpkins at 6:02 PM on November 6 [1 favorite]


You should turn that pumpkin into a bong.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:35 PM on November 6 [3 favorites]


Next October on SNL: David S. Bongs!
posted by Greg_Ace at 6:36 PM on November 6 [4 favorites]


Going by DSP, the SNL writers need better weed.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:50 PM on November 6 [1 favorite]


Or you do?
posted by elsietheeel at 6:53 PM on November 6 [1 favorite]


"Any, uh.......what were we talking about?"
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:06 PM on November 6 [2 favorites]


420 Floors of Frieds
posted by The Great David S. Pumpkins at 7:35 PM on November 6 [1 favorite]


I have ridiculous MEGAFUCKSTORMTHC-level weed
posted by Burhanistan at 7:56 PM on November 6


I grew up vegetarian and am approaching 40 years of meat-free eating, and I have never had even decent Tofurkey. Everything else they do, I like, but their namesake — the five or so times I've had it — is always my least favorite part of a Thanksgiving feast. (The best part is a broccoli quiche, a dish that might have done more to crack the edifice of performative masculinity than anything else in my life.)
posted by klangklangston at 8:27 PM on November 6


Lot fewer posts from Fark and Boing Boing too... just sayin.
posted by French Fry at 6:45 AM on November 7 [3 favorites]


Or punkin?

"Punkin" was the woman who cut my hair up until I graduated from high school. Yay Texas.
posted by mudpuppie at 9:19 AM on November 7


I grew up vegetarian and am approaching 40 years of meat-free eating, and I have never had even decent Tofurkey.

If it's available in your area, can I recommend a Field Roast Celebration Roast? It's delicious and it's even prestuffed!
posted by mosst at 10:27 AM on November 7 [3 favorites]


Oh yes! The Field Roast one is so much better - like with most things they make.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 11:39 AM on November 7


Halloween is over. A more appropriately timed question is: "Christmas" or "X-Mas"?

I'm one waiting-to-be-released advert away from completing an official Christmas FPP. So soooooon. Am sitting at the keyboard, sweating in anticipation.

Though not for the same reason as this man in Ireland.
posted by Wordshore at 12:12 PM on November 9


Better include the GREATEST CHRISTMAS SPECIAL OF ALL.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:45 PM on November 9 [1 favorite]


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