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Generational issues April 23, 2003 3:02 AM   Subscribe

Old farts; hippies; soixante-huitards; baby boomers - there are a few of us on MetaFilter who are over 40, aren't there? To what extent is a lot of internal conflict here attributable to simple generational differences that are commonplace - though no less violent and, I should add, inevitable and ultimately unimportant - in our everyday lives?
posted by MiguelCardoso to MetaFilter-Related at 3:02 AM (95 comments total)

To a very very small extent, I suspect. Although I've often wondered what a graph of age distribution of regular users would look like.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:27 AM on April 23, 2003


I'll bite. 42/m/Philly. That what you're looking for?

LOL!!
posted by luser at 3:57 AM on April 23, 2003


To answer your question, I believe that political/geographical differences probably outweigh any generational differences.
posted by walrus at 4:27 AM on April 23, 2003


i just has a double geritol and can't concentrate.
posted by quonsar at 4:35 AM on April 23, 2003


I'm 44 with almost 20 years of online experience at stirring up the 'newbies'. ;-P
posted by mischief at 4:38 AM on April 23, 2003


Experience suggests that old people are fans of both musing and wild speculation, oft times dealing in the realm of banality that never crosses the young minds of modernity's apathetic soldiers. But through this experience, one also senses a shared sense of loss, an interrelationship between the two brackets resulting in a duality that can, perhaps, if all goes well, be bridged into a better, more understandable, tomorrow, if only, through some means of communication--a network of sorts that exists as a means of building understanding that takes the form of a vast and wide-ranging "inter" net--we can at one time reconcile our differences and strengthen our bonds.

Old people, take me to the one you call leader!
posted by The God Complex at 5:06 AM on April 23, 2003


I'm 44 in June.

"Hey you kids! Get outta my virtual yard!"
posted by jpburns at 5:07 AM on April 23, 2003


At 41, I am way too old to bother with worrying about crap like that. These young dickheads have no idea what they are talking about and that is all there is to it.

Actually, I suspect that Miguel may be on to something - younger people tend to be more emphatic about their opinions, because they do not have the tempering that life gives, so are able to hold absolute beliefs that those of us who have seen more sides to life can often understand the other side of, no matter how much we disagree with it. That graph would certainly be interesting and lots of conclusions could be drawn from a comparison of ages and posting history, stavrosthewonderchicken. Just what we need, another way to pigeon-hole one another.
posted by dg at 5:08 AM on April 23, 2003


I'm 34. I like to take long walks along the ocean during sunset. I'm tall, fit and enjoy keeping my body in shape by hiking, swimming and kayaking in the wilds of British Columbia. One of my favourite activities is reading a good book by the fireplace with some great jazz playing softly on the stereo. I have laugh lines.

But seriously, I don't think the conflicts around here arise from a generational gap. My guess is that it's more due to politics and ego than anything else. As a matter of fact, I'm not sure which is more of a factor, the politics or the ego, but it's probably not important.

As to commonplace differences, I see more arguments here than in my everyday life. It seems that what might be a commonplace difference is augmented to a much more emotional point here at metafilter. I think that it's easier to have violent discussions with people when you aren't face to face with them. I'm fairly certain that people would be far more polite and have more respect if they were physically in the same room together. I'm also certain that fisticuffs would occur, but to a far lesser extent.
posted by ashbury at 5:11 AM on April 23, 2003


lots of conclusions could be drawn from a comparison of ages and posting history

I was thinking more along the lines of anonymous stats, but yes, you're right, of course.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:20 AM on April 23, 2003


I'm 30, with twelve years online and more than twenty spent around computers. I try to stay clear of flamewars here and elsewhere, but I can confidently say that I've seen people of all ages who don't know what the hell they're talking about.
posted by Songdog at 5:34 AM on April 23, 2003


Anonymous stats? That would be no fun. I want to be able to correlate the MeFi Political Compass with the MeFi Age Distribution Graph and the #mefi Usage Stats (a frightening document on its own) to confirm some theories I have.
posted by dg at 5:44 AM on April 23, 2003


I think on MetaFilter the date you joined has more relevance than your age. Because I turned three today! I am super dooper elite now!!! I rock!!! 813 of you rock!!! The rest don't!!! Hahahaha!!!
posted by riffola at 5:45 AM on April 23, 2003


(38, I alternate between feeling like I'm 17 and feeling like I'm 75)

It's true you can learn lots of things by looking at age, but I like the fact that I can't be sure what age people are when I read their comments. Judgments about people based on age, clothes, etc. come to mind whether I want them to or not, and I'm always happy when I can suspend my automatic categorizing of people a bit and just focus on what they are saying.
posted by fuzz at 5:46 AM on April 23, 2003


fuzz, me too (38, but usually feel either 8 or 88)

and happy anniversary riff! (u oldie!)

and what dg said.
posted by amberglow at 5:50 AM on April 23, 2003


*Bows to the Riff Lord riffola*
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:51 AM on April 23, 2003


I'm forty-four and female. And for what it's worth I do think age makes a difference. I thought I knew everything twenty years ago.

At this age, there are some opinions I hold more strongly than ever-but I also know by now I don't have to have an opinion on everything. Keeps my blood pressure down, for sure.
posted by konolia at 6:19 AM on April 23, 2003


I think on MetaFilter the date you joined has more relevance than your age. Because I turned three today! I am super dooper elite now!!! I rock!!! 813 of you rock!!!

As one of those who rock, I order you to fetch me a fried mars bar and a beer.

As for the rest of you, if it's too loud, your just too old..hahaha!!
posted by jonmc at 6:40 AM on April 23, 2003


a/s/l/Filter
posted by matteo at 6:53 AM on April 23, 2003


i'm in the middle. not a kid but also no kids. ;-)

i'd actually like to see an age-graph, but only anonymous one. for the heck of it, i lurve graphs!
posted by dabitch at 7:28 AM on April 23, 2003


My guess is that it's more due to politics and ego than anything else. As a matter of fact, I'm not sure which is more of a factor, the politics or the ego

I think, at heart, they are perhaps the same thing.

Metafilter: People of all ages who don't know what the hell they're talking about.
posted by rushmc at 7:38 AM on April 23, 2003


Heh, you 40+ers suck big time. *Just taking advantage of last few days I'll be able to say that*.

FWIW I was very dogmatic when younger but now just drift in an endless morass of cynicism and apathy. I expect this to get worse rather than better as I get older. I don't think generational factors have much effect on the degree of argumentativeness here. Ashbury has the right idea IMHO, it's much easier to be abusive in an anonymous medium such as this.
posted by squealy at 7:41 AM on April 23, 2003


Depends on the thread. Sometimes I simply discount opinions because of the topic. A few days ago I couldn't even read this thread without silently wondering what the perspective of age would do to some of the pontificators. Mostly, age doesn't seem to matter but every now and then I'd like to know more about the demographics of the participants in order to gauge responses.
posted by dhacker at 7:52 AM on April 23, 2003


I'm 68. I've always had tinkerings with machines, and when this computer thing came about, I dove right in. My grandkids always get mad because I know more about the things than they do, and sometimes we get into arguments. My beautiful wife Pia has to frequently pull me from the engrossing chat rooms every night so that I might enjoy dinner.
posted by angry modem at 7:53 AM on April 23, 2003


I do think the younger, the more idealistic and the more stamina to stick by them. (Even if for the sticking only, not that they *really* know what they believe.) Time/experience does temper. That being said, I think most folks in a forum setting, regardless of age,

1) speak [type] before they think
2) aren't careful with word choice to say what they really mean, leaving opportunity for easy misinterpretation.
3) suffer from ego stroke deficiency!

I know I've done all of the above at some point. BTW, I'm checking in at 40 even.
posted by yogaboat at 7:54 AM on April 23, 2003


Before any of you get carried away in generalizations about the younger MeFiers speaking before they think while the older MeFites are more measured, remember that ~model of moderation~ Paris Paramus is 40.

To answer the original question: none of the conflict here is caused by generational differences. Some people mellow as they age; others get more extreme.
posted by anapestic at 7:58 AM on April 23, 2003


remember that ~model of moderation~ Paris Paramus is 40.

and ~model of propriety~ quonsar is 73.

Or is he off the shitlist these days? I can't keep track anymore.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:01 AM on April 23, 2003


Sometimes I lay awake nights wondering if something I said on MeFi went too far. Words in blue and white swirl around in my mind and I clench my fists and grind my teeth and think about taking it all back. Sometimes I cry, thinking of the abuse that others have gone through on this site. I fear for the people being stalked by a resident looney. I don't think my emotional response stems from my age, 16/female for those who are interested. I think it has more to do with a strong empathetic sense and an imbalance of chemicals in my brain. And the drugs.
posted by eyeballkid at 8:03 AM on April 23, 2003


Some of the most obsessed (nay, cranky) folks I've known have been middle-aged eternal 68-ers and Trots, and I also know some very insightful young people, so I think it would be pretty difficult to tell by age; try taking a bunch of posts, stripping off posters' names, and then attributing an age to the poster. Maybe the amount of use of MetaFilter would be a better indication, as I'm guessing that there are would be (Zipf wise) a relatively few very active users, and very many low/non users; and a lot of the debates/arguments seem to be as much between frequent users as they are between points of view. I'm 40+, BTW - with an intermittent fascination with computers and typing onto a screen for about 25 years - and MeFi is some of the best fun I've had in my not-too-extensive online experience.
posted by carter at 8:09 AM on April 23, 2003


Well, I have to admit that the whole hullabaloo over that Whitestripe thing was lost on me. Before yesterday, I didn't even know what a whitestripe was... (and frankly, I'm still not entirely sure, nor think I care to know.)

It did make me feel poignantly out of touch. But then I remembered that I've forgotten more than those little whippersnappers ever knew.
posted by crunchland at 8:10 AM on April 23, 2003


How old do you think I am?
posted by timeistight at 8:30 AM on April 23, 2003


Well, I'm younger than Postroad, angry modem and quonsar--if stavros isn't making that last one up. quonsar was in high school in World War II? Man, I'm going to go lie down now.
posted by y2karl at 8:38 AM on April 23, 2003


stavros is making it up. quonsar is actually one of the last living veterans of the american civil war.
posted by crunchland at 8:43 AM on April 23, 2003


sorry, should've said ~73~

But after the Logan's Run best-by date, what's a decade or five, nicht wahr?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:48 AM on April 23, 2003


I'm 35, but in my head, I contain the wisdom of millenia.
posted by UncleFes at 8:54 AM on April 23, 2003


The Miguel MetaTalk post generator.
posted by y6y6y6 at 8:57 AM on April 23, 2003


...but in my head, I contain the wisdom of millenia.

Well, if I was drinking coffee and had a monitor, I'd be spewing... but alas, I'm just a brain in a vat.

an good appreciation

[Tina Louise] Oh, Sullivan..[/Tina Louise]
posted by y2karl at 9:01 AM on April 23, 2003


Wow, Miguel, you went six whole days without posting a pointless, manufactured MetaTalk thread. That must have been excruciating.
posted by Skot at 9:02 AM on April 23, 2003


(Brilliant, y6, but needs more inscrutable somewhat random teeny font phrases and a dependable [more inside] at the ends)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:02 AM on April 23, 2003


RUNNERS>>>>>>>
posted by clavdivs at 9:07 AM on April 23, 2003


You forgot the annoyingly perky and cheerful tone, too.
posted by y2karl at 9:07 AM on April 23, 2003


Yes, good work, y6.

As a technical note, the apostrophe trick didn't quite work - it printed out literally - "avoiding things we don\'t do well." But that's a small price to pay for interactive humor!
posted by soyjoy at 9:09 AM on April 23, 2003


Give it up, quonsar--did you vote for Stevenson or Eisenhower?
posted by y2karl at 9:10 AM on April 23, 2003


Stevenson
posted by clavdivs at 9:20 AM on April 23, 2003


What is your favorite color? You misspelled colon, y6!
posted by xiffix at 9:28 AM on April 23, 2003


Actually, it should be: What is your favourite colour?
posted by xiffix at 9:32 AM on April 23, 2003


"Brilliant, y6"

No. I was going for the clumsy prat fall rather than the well crafted snark. I considered making it more clever, but then thought, "What the fuck am I doing this for?"

People beat each other up minutia here enough as it is. We don't need chat-starter posts. We just don't. Not that I ever expect them to stop.

"Lately I've been thinking about air. Do others here like air? What sort of air do you like? Is air important to MetaFilter? What would MetaFilter be like with less (or more) air??"
posted by y6y6y6 at 9:33 AM on April 23, 2003


FYI, Quonsar isn't even 50.
posted by dgaicun at 9:42 AM on April 23, 2003


Quonsar always votes for Eugene Debs. For everything. In every election.

I'm, how's it go? "As old as my nose, and a little older than my teeth."
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 9:51 AM on April 23, 2003


MetaTalk is the place to discuss MetaFilter and that's what this post does. While it's true mathowie has said that he never expected MetaTalk to be so chatty, he probably never expected MetaFilter to turn into a current-events discussion site, either.

I could spend all my time boring you all about what I'd like MetaFilter to be and flaming anyone who pushes it in what I think is the wrong direction, but what's the point? MetaFilter is what mathowie is willing to tolerate; it's completely within his power to stop MiguelCardoso from doing these posts and he doesn't. Therefore, they're kosher. If you don't like 'em, don't read 'em.
posted by timeistight at 9:53 AM on April 23, 2003


Well, y6, clumsy prat fall or not, it still made me laugh. Out loud. Hope Miguel appreciates the homage.
posted by widdershins at 9:55 AM on April 23, 2003


"If you don't like 'em, don't read 'em."

I read almost everything here. Get used to it.

Sorry I bored you. I try to avoid that while whining here. And if you think that was a flame I think you don't know what a flame is. So there.

Everyone here nudges things in the direction they want, either overtly or not. That's all I'm doing, and I think it's fair play. If people want to feel that's all I ever do here then fine. I won't argue it. But I will say that I contribute more than enough to keep my conscience clear. YMMV.
posted by y6y6y6 at 10:19 AM on April 23, 2003


If you don't like 'em, don't read 'em.

Nothing personal, timeistight, but I'm pretty tired of this line altogether. It's basically shorthand for "criticize nothing, post whatever feels good," which I just can't hang with.
posted by Skot at 10:24 AM on April 23, 2003


Dagnabbit, y6 - that's uncanny. Should I start shutting down my brain when I'm not using it? I feel some inroads made into it already, all stamped over by your muddy workman's boots.

I know I'm digging my own grave here but I actually, honestly found myself going "Ooh...but that's a good question!" Luckily for you all, I then had to realize "Damn this guy - now I'll never get to post that one."

I wish you'd kept it to yourself and offered it to me privately for a not unconsiderable fee. ;)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 10:26 AM on April 23, 2003


Well, I'm tired of the constant sniping against a member who has broken no guidelines. Why don't you go after the people who keep posting about Iraq dispite mathowie's pleas on the posting page that they refrain?
posted by timeistight at 10:33 AM on April 23, 2003


I like oxygen, myself, though I have found inhaling helium or nitrous oxide to be quite amusing upon occasion.
posted by y2karl at 10:37 AM on April 23, 2003


"Should I start shutting down my brain when I'm not using it?"

It's all good buddy. The vast majority of people here are on your side. Trying to make me happy would be pointless, and I don't expect anyone to try. MataFilter isn't what I want it to be (new and interesting web-related links), but I still enjoy it more than is healthy.

I'm just trying to push my petty little agenda in entertaining ways.

"Why don't you go after the people who keep posting about Iraq"

I did. I gave up. What's the point of trying to shout down Iraq posts when the whole place has turned into the Sunday paper? A newcomer to Metafilter would assume the point of the place is to discuss news. Right? Attacking news posts at this point would be just be depressing. MetaFilter *is* NewFilter. You can get used to it or bail. I choose not to bail.
posted by y6y6y6 at 10:41 AM on April 23, 2003


Well, I'm tired of the constant sniping against a member who has broken no guidelines. Why don't you go after the people who keep posting about Iraq dispite mathowie's pleas on the posting page that they refrain?


Hey, what happened to:

I could spend all my time boring you all about what I'd like MetaFilter to be and flaming anyone who pushes it in what I think is the wrong direction, but what's the point?
posted by Skot at 10:50 AM on April 23, 2003


Ok, I guess this isn't the place for it, but while reading through this thread I remembered part of a dream I had last night. In the dream I noticed that some cans on a grocery store shelf were labeled "MiguelCardoso." At that point in the dream I didn't have time to study the cans but in the later part of the dream I was trying to determine if MiguelCardoso was a brand name or a flavor.
posted by gluechunk at 10:58 AM on April 23, 2003


quonsar shall not comment further on these matters until such time as y6y6y6 rightfully includes him in the "internal conflict attributable to" drop down field of the MiguelCardoso MetaTalk generator. Thank you for your support.
posted by quonsar at 11:03 AM on April 23, 2003


You know, you're right; I am being inconsistant. I should follow my own advice and ignore stuff I don't like.

How about those canucks, eh?
posted by timeistight at 11:09 AM on April 23, 2003


What does the "L" in a/s/l stand for again? It's been so long I forgot.
posted by ZachsMind at 11:23 AM on April 23, 2003


Luser said "Philly" so I'm thinking "List your favorite brand of cream cheese".

Or possibly "Location".
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 11:30 AM on April 23, 2003


I didn't have time to study the cans but in the later part of the dream I was trying to determine if MiguelCardoso was a brand name or a flavor.

Hmmm... Canned corn....
posted by y2karl at 12:20 PM on April 23, 2003


I'd expect some kinda' fruit, myself. ;-)
posted by Wulfgar! at 12:22 PM on April 23, 2003


amber, stav, and jonmc, thanks you guys!! You love me!!! You really love me!!! :)
posted by riffola at 12:24 PM on April 23, 2003


Well, I'm 19, and I do know everything. I have factual documentation of this.

No, really.
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 12:39 PM on April 23, 2003


I didn't have time to study the cans but in the later part of the dream I was trying to determine if MiguelCardoso was a brand name or a flavor.

Moist, edible cigars, stuffed with strained sushi, packed in heavy wine syrup, arranged upright in the can like asparagus spears.
posted by Opus Dark at 12:47 PM on April 23, 2003


how old do you want me to be?
posted by sugarfish at 1:57 PM on April 23, 2003


Metafilter: Trying to determine if MiguelCardoso is a brand name or a flavor.
posted by rushmc at 4:34 PM on April 23, 2003


Age is but a number, but when they make movie titled after your birthdate, you got some kind of bragging rights.
Unless, of course, John-Boy was the star...

BTW, I'm also 3.99 times more elite than riffola.

I also believe a MetaMiguel thread in MetaTalk once a week is good for the soul, but more often can raise your cholesterol (and that is quite relevant for us old geezers).

And I vote for brand name, but he's going to have to be as diligent as American Greetings to protect it. ("American McGee's Miguel"? Think about it.)
posted by wendell at 4:51 PM on April 23, 2003


Christ, quonsar looks just like my dad. That's creepy. My wife just looked over my shoulder and went, "where'd you get that picture of your dad?"

I turned 30 last thursday, fwiw.
posted by hob at 5:23 PM on April 23, 2003


*cries*
posted by quonsar at 5:49 PM on April 23, 2003


the really sad part is that q is only 22. ; >
posted by amberglow at 5:50 PM on April 23, 2003


Christ, quonsar looks just like me. That's creepy.
posted by y6y6y6 at 5:58 PM on April 23, 2003


(offers salutations to the king)
posted by clavdivs at 6:38 PM on April 23, 2003


That's creepy.

Ya think? Try having dinner with him.
posted by y2karl at 7:17 PM on April 23, 2003


MiguelCardoso. The soup that eats like a meal.
posted by thatweirdguy2 at 7:30 PM on April 23, 2003


...must check Meta more often to avoid jumping on threads before they decay and rot...

The funny thing I find is that sitting in front of a computer, I find I constantly assume everyone is exactly the same as me; Male, 23, tanned, and undeniably sexy. I was kind of shocked when I discovered that 40 year old men were hanging out on an IRC channel, posting on a community blog and entertaining us all.
posted by Jimbob at 9:23 PM on April 23, 2003


Yeah, Jimbob, I agree. I too thought everyone was young (21) and sexy like myself. But as has often been the case in my short life, I've found that I am, as usual, well below the median age around here... The best thing to do is quietly accept that noone will ever understand what it is like to go through life as a perfect and beautiful creation like ourselves.
posted by kaibutsu at 12:26 AM on April 24, 2003


in flagrant violation of my previous pledge to avoid further discussion, on september 29 i shall mark my fifth decade as an entity of varying awareness levels existing on this planet. punks. :-)
posted by quonsar at 4:40 AM on April 24, 2003


Ah, a Libra. I just knew it.
posted by ginz at 6:05 AM on April 24, 2003


WTF?
posted by yogaboat at 6:40 AM on April 24, 2003


I've found that I am, as usual, well below the median age around here...

Don't worry, kaibutsu, you'll catch up soon enough and then you'll wonder where all these young punks around you came from.
posted by ashbury at 7:10 AM on April 24, 2003


Oh, and happy birthday in advance, quonsar.
posted by ashbury at 7:11 AM on April 24, 2003




i shall mark my fifth decade as an entity of varying awareness levels existing on this planet.

Baby.
posted by timeistight at 8:29 AM on April 24, 2003


Baby.
so THAT explains your handle... :-)
posted by quonsar at 8:38 AM on April 24, 2003


Yep.
posted by timeistight at 9:27 AM on April 24, 2003


i shall mark my fifth decade as an entity of varying awareness levels existing on this planet

Just thank God he finally agreed to the surgery...
posted by y2karl at 10:11 AM on April 24, 2003


The water's fine here in the sixth decade—c'mon in!
posted by languagehat at 10:48 AM on April 24, 2003


*waves to yogaboat* a/s/l?
posted by ginz at 11:02 AM on April 24, 2003


The water's fine here in the sixth decade—c'mon in!

languagehat, of course, is a literal translation of the Quecha for the striped llama wool cap of the high priest who speaks to the gods and in an idomatic slang phrase peculiar to the slum neighborhoods of self-described Inca nationalists in Lima, it translates to Senor Momento.
posted by y2karl at 3:47 PM on April 24, 2003


Old 27 in July. *sniff*
posted by adampsyche at 6:31 PM on April 24, 2003


ginz: (& threaders) apologies: yogaboat & yoga are one and the same. The brainfa*t must've been due to my old age. ;)
posted by yoga at 2:59 PM on April 25, 2003


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