Join 3,438 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)

Filtering for Dollars
February 28, 2005 10:06 PM   Subscribe

'Filtering for Dollars: Let's ignore the questions about the veracity of the claims of the particular user here. Where is the line when it comes to soliciting money via Metafilter? [more inside]
posted by daveadams to Etiquette/Policy at 10:06 PM (179 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

What's okay and what's not? Charitable causes? Personal hardships? Political movements? Investment opportunities? Maybe some of these are acceptable, maybe none are, but I don't think all of them are. I think the example I linked crosses a line of both etiquette and common sense on a site with twenty thousand members. If u.n. owen's story is true, I feel deeply sorry for her, but I don't think it's wise to hand out cash to any members who ask, and I don't think we want to see what becomes of MetaTalk if it becomes acceptable behavior.
posted by daveadams at 10:09 PM on February 28, 2005


Send me $5 and I'll tell you.

All in all, it's probably a bad idea.
posted by drezdn at 10:13 PM on February 28, 2005


It's probably a bad idea. Sorry it had to be me who brought it up. If you want it to all be given back, I can do that (minus paypal fees, sorry to say).
posted by u.n. owen at 10:17 PM on February 28, 2005


Ummm, if you refund a payment, there are new fees.
posted by drezdn at 10:20 PM on February 28, 2005


Is this really necessary? It's wrong and inappropriate. Any questions? No? Good.
posted by Witty at 10:21 PM on February 28, 2005


no fees
posted by drezdn at 10:22 PM on February 28, 2005


Here is the line:


______________________________________________________



And until Matt opens up a dedicated sparechangeguv.metafilter.com, there it shall stay.
posted by flashboy at 10:25 PM on February 28, 2005


u.n. owen: I didn't contribute, but if I'm any judge of ethics I'd say keep the money. People understood your need despite not knowing a thing about your personal life. They chose to give because of that need, and that need hasn't stopped existing regardless of anything said in that thread.

That said, it's very clear that either a community-enforced or Matt-enforced moratorium on solicitation of funds regardless of situation will be the result of this debacle. Consider yourself lucky that you were the first (that I'm aware of) and last recipient of this generosity, take the money for what as was intended regardless of what the thread became, and move on with your life.
posted by Ryvar at 10:30 PM on February 28, 2005


on a site with twenty thousand members.

We see this number a lot, but is it really accurate? Are there really twenty thousand active members around here? It sure doesn't seem like it. Maybe a few thousand, but not twenty.

Anyone have a more solid idea about this?
posted by odinsdream at 10:40 PM on February 28, 2005


Yeah. And frankly, ummm...it's not like I'm getting rich. $250 helps me out a TON right now, but if I were in more normal circumstances, it'd not be much of a big deal and I certainly wouldn't go to this much trouble for it. Wow. I didn't expect it to cause this shitstorm or I'd have waved my arms and said NO NO NO STOP JESUS FUCK STOP.
posted by u.n. owen at 10:41 PM on February 28, 2005


u.n. owen - you didn't solicit for money. I wouldn't worry about it. Oh, and I'd keep the money - people have donated because they wanted to do so. I wish I could help.

odinsdream - I believe mathowie has mentioned a figure of 3,000 or so active members. I could be wrong.
posted by deborah at 10:45 PM on February 28, 2005


I think this is being blown way out of proportion.
posted by mcwetboy at 10:47 PM on February 28, 2005


odinsdream: take this for what you will, but last summer (before new user signups) I found 12.7% of users hhave made more than 100 comments,
posted by Quartermass at 10:48 PM on February 28, 2005


Listen, there are tons of other members that are in dire situations, even more than u.n. owen; some who have no family, friends, jobs, or homes...but they at least retain their sense of prudence. How could this be possibly misconstrued as a decent idea? (as u.n. owen flippantly states: "It's probably a bad idea.") u.n. owen, since you've joined metafilter, I've noticed that you are really keen on attention-whoring yourself. The whole "OMG I"M GOING TO BE ON JEOPORADAY. OH NOES NEVERMIND," was really self-absorbed.

on preview: you managed to suck $250 out of mefi'ers? SUCKAS!!!
posted by naxosaxur at 10:48 PM on February 28, 2005


odinsdream - I believe mathowie has mentioned a figure of 3,000 or so active members. I could be wrong.
deborah: is that before or after signups were reinstituted? I'd always gotten the impression that the number of newcomers was very close to the number of active, older users. Which is what caused the misconception that the newcomers only constituted 20-25% of the site when it was more like 50%.

I think this is being blown way out of proportion.
Metafilter: this is being blown way out of proportion.
posted by Ryvar at 10:49 PM on February 28, 2005


I didn't expect it to cause this shitstorm or I'd have waved my arms and said NO NO NO STOP JESUS FUCK STOP.

You know, despite comments like that, it's not clear at all that u.n. really understands why her greenlighting pf a personal sparechange thread is problematic for the site. It's hardly enduring a "shitstorm" to take a moment to consider the larger community in relation to one's own temporary personal needs, and then acknowledge that the community is more important.

Why are you still not getting that, u.n.?
posted by mediareport at 10:50 PM on February 28, 2005


When I was young, we used to whore ourselves out for spare change. Kids today are so lazy.
posted by Kleptophoria! at 11:09 PM on February 28, 2005


I really didn't like the creepy feeling that she'd basically gotten a friend to post it for her. That betrays guile. I really didn't like the whole heres-my-edgy-little-life-history bit either. Way more than I ever wanted to know about un owen. And I think it shows a lot of gall and a complete lack of shame to post such a plea when you're 20 and a little behind on the rent.

When someone who's contributed a lot here pulls the cancer card and loses their job in the same month, wake me up. But people who (IMHO) post annoying comments here and then get suspended from work for... uh... posting annoying stuff to their blog...? Let me sleep through their $250 tragedies, please.

Thank Christ it's closed.
posted by scarabic at 11:15 PM on February 28, 2005


u.n. owen, since you've joined metafilter...
posted by naxosaxur at 10:48 PM PST on February 28


u.n. owen member since: March 14, 2001
naxosaxur member since: April 2, 2004

Just sayin'...
posted by spaghetti at 11:19 PM on February 28, 2005


I didn't expect it to cause this shitstorm

And you've been reading MeFi for how long? No offense, but you helped start quite a shitstorm yourself over a legitimate question about a cat. But leaving that aside, there are thousands of people on this site (at least a few of whom are no doubt in worse straits than you) -- did it truly not occur to you (or to Flaming Bore) how inappropriate it would be to ask for money?

Jeanette, you have quite the life story, and make quite the storyteller -- even though the particular details of my teens and early 20s can't compete with yours for sheer color, it's something I actually relate to rather strongly. But there came a time when I had to realize that my constant and very public Hokey-Pokeying on the Edge of the Abyss act was not charming or entertaining or fascinating for everyone else around me. I was the star of the show in my own head, but I was also wearing out the patience and goodwill of many of the people around me with my constant "love me, love my dysfunction" tragic indie-rock queen schtick. I started a lot of shitstorms (or allowed them to be started on my behalf) that ended up with me saying some version of "gee, I had no idea, I would have waved my arms and said stop stop stop" after the fact -- but you know what? I was full of shit -- I learned early on what kind of drama I could start; hell, it became my stock-in-trade. But no matter the short term gains (sympathy, money, sex, an extension on my master's thesis, a song written for me -- you name it, I could get it), I look back on those days and I grieve for the relationships I lost or permanently altered, not to mention the price I paid in terms of my own self-respect.

Having gotten my boring 30-something words of semi-wisdom out of the way, may I make a practical suggestion? Have you considered freelance editing to supplement your income on an ongoing basis? Some decent sources of gigs here, here, here, and here.
posted by scody at 11:20 PM on February 28, 2005 [11 favorites]


Perhaps I'm all nastified about it because today I offered money to a close friend who's been out of work and unable to work for almost a year due to a wrist injury, and she refused. The insurance company and the state have basically conspired to deny her the disability she's entitled to. She can barely lift a fork to feed herself some nights because she can't get the treatment the insurance is supposed to provide . She's down to her last 80 dollars and 2 months behind on rent. And she wouldn't hear of it.

There's that. And then there's this:
I write blog entries for a living. Go on, be jealous. You know you wanna.

Uh huh. Care to redefine "a living," at this point?
posted by scarabic at 11:23 PM on February 28, 2005 [1 favorite]


Sorry, never mind.
posted by spaghetti at 11:30 PM on February 28, 2005


You know, what kills me about this is that I've been in the same situation that un owen is in. I've been so broke that I didn't have money for dinner. I've been laid off without rent money and had overdue bills. I've been that precocious train wreck of a girl. It gets old. I moved in with family members in order to go back to school and finish my degree so that I could guarantee myself some element of financial security. It's hard and it sucks a lot of the time, but I did it because it's what I had to do. In my most desperate moments, I was blessed enough to have a relatively supportive family behind me, but I have to tell you...even if I didn't, I would never have accepted $250 from complete strangers. That just seems tainted to me.

I have no problem giving money to people who deserve it. Kottke got my cash because I'm curious to see what he'll accomplish. Charities get it because they help people who are down and out. A girl who got fired and is a little behind? Not so much. Go out and get a job if you're so fucking brilliant.
posted by amandaudoff at 11:44 PM on February 28, 2005


constant "love me, love my dysfunction" tragic indie-rock queen schtick.

Well, change 'queen' to 'angsty asshole' in my case, but yeah. That was the toughest lesson I ever had to learn - and I'm still learning it the hard way.
posted by Ryvar at 12:02 AM on March 1, 2005


The denizens of this thread and its previous incarnation have made me quit literally sick to my stomach.

I am ashamed to have associated with a good number of you. I am thoroughly disgusted with several users, who seem to have gone out of their way to be as vicious and condemning as possible.

I can't imagine what has driven you people to act this way. Jealousy, perhaps? Resentment that you have not similarly benefited by the generosity of others? A desire to bring others down to your level of hardship/hatefulness/whatever?

Any which way you care to slice it, a number of you have behaved absolutely shamefully.

What a truly nasty bit of MeFi history y'all have created here. The complete antithesis of vibrant, positive community.

I do so hope that as you drift off to sleep tonight, a good number of you reflect on how your contribution to these clusterfuck threads helped or hindered the development of MeFi as a "good place" to participate.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:42 AM on March 1, 2005 [1 favorite]


Ah, the inevitable righteous backlash. fff, what took you so long?
posted by aberrant at 12:58 AM on March 1, 2005 [4 favorites]


Qualms over hypocrisy no doubt. We all know FFF is all-sweet, all the time! ;)

With respect, F-cube, yeah, you're right. But "Jealousy, perhaps? Resentment that you have not similarly benefited by the generosity of others?"

Uh, no. It's called waking up and finding someone has turned MetaTalk into savekaryn.com. Outrage, sure. Disgust, sure. But you're right, it hasn't needed to be as mean as it's been.
posted by scarabic at 1:05 AM on March 1, 2005


Thankfully Jesus of Canada arrived to save our souls.

Taking the five (fresh) fish and the two loaves and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to set before the people. He also divided the five fish among them all.
posted by quonsar II electric boogaloo at 1:17 AM on March 1, 2005 [1 favorite]


What five fresh fish said. I think we hardly ever agree, but here we are in total agreement.

More than any thread, ever, that thread made clear just how thoroughly repugnant, in the most meaningful sense, some mefites really are. Let's see...

witty
beth
quonsar
angry modem
vacapinta
naxosaxur


...all reveal themselves in that thread to be worthless human beings.

Witty, against my better judgment, I thought had redeemed himself over the last five months. But he just goes stark raving mad in that thread and indulges himself in petty vindictiveness that is amazing to behold.

Beth, with her infinite capacity for self-pity coupled with misanthropy, felt the need to mention her own recent dire circumstances while simulataneously suggesting u. n. owen resort to prositution to make rent. (Well, that came as no surprise, as the moment I saw the post I knew that Beth would make an early sour-grapes appearance in it. And, yep, there she was.)

Quonsar, in case anyone was still unclear on this, is not a light-hearted gadfly but a black-hearted, withered-souled, middle-aged asshole.

The other three, and possibly cedar and a few others, don't reveal themselves to be quite as spectacularly noxious as witty, beth, and quonsar, but they do give it the old college try.

Of course there's lots of mefites who are worse off and more deserving of charity than u. n. owen. But that's not the point. One thing charity—generosity—isn't about is standing in judgment of someone, working through a list, and taking the opportunity to decide if they're deserving. 'Cause, you know? That's a power trip.

It's also not an opportunity to feel aggrieved because the world hasn't shown you a similar kindness. "Hey, what about me?" Well, fuck off, if that's your first reaction to someone else in need.

Making fun of someone else's difficulties? The mark of a bitter, lonely person.

Yes, such a thread is a bad precedent. Yes, it's always possible that someone is scamming you when they ask for help (or allow someone else to ask for help on their behalf). But getting all worked up about those things, focusing on them, is a tactic designed to hide one's lack of generosity, one's lack of generosity of spirit, behind a facade of high-mindedness.

In the world of kind and caring people it's understood that people's needs and opportunities to help them are capricious. There is no perfect justice; what is right for one person is not necessarily right for another; you may not know when someone is in truly dire circumstances while you do know when someone else just needs five bucks. That's okay, you help because you can, and you don't make it all about you by judging or being self-pitying.

How disheartening to see such ugliness in this community. I guess it shouldn't be a surprise.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 1:41 AM on March 1, 2005 [4 favorites]


EB and fff, you're taking cheap shots. Who do you think you're fooling with your righeous outrage? How dare you call a stranger a worthless human being over something they wrote? Your opportunistic cruelty is worse than what you decry.
posted by squirrel at 1:47 AM on March 1, 2005 [4 favorites]


Well EB, as a homeless person who still works full time and is having a particularly poop time at the moment I have to say that my sympathy-o-meter is not ticking past "meh" at this time, and this is after my "how to stop being nice?" AskMeFi post.

I would never assume to ask strangers for money. Maybe we just have different standards. I certainly wouldnt make light of u.n. owen's personal circumstances but by the same token, as long as there are people worse off than her they will get my charity.

No disrespect intended but frankly there are people in worse shape than her and they will be all their lives. I will put my effort in to raising their standard of living first.
posted by longbaugh at 1:54 AM on March 1, 2005


You know, I might feel badly about this if I felt that the person in question deserved my sympathy. The thing is, though...I don't. I guess that's where we differ, FFF and EB. I find it sad that you're willing to attack other MeFi members over this...that this discussion was brought to this level. The person that you seem to want to paint as a victim has been perfectly able to defend herself. She doesn't need you getting righteous for her.
posted by amandaudoff at 1:57 AM on March 1, 2005


c'mon, EB, you don't see the funny in the snark about the PANHANDLING FEDERAL-LAW-VIOLATING NO-CAR-HAVING JEOPARDY-AUDITIONING RARE-BOOK-SELLING LIVEJOURNAL-MEWLING CAT-CARE-CHASTISING EARLY-COLLEGE-GOING PROSTITUTING FLORIDIAN with a PENCHANT FOR INANE COMMENTRY who pretends to have been an ATTORNEY?

kee-reist, i know more about this u.n. owen broad than i do about frigging michael jackson! and it's all true! (allegedly)!

i say we all have a big glass of jesus juice and chillax for about twenty minutes. cheap moralizing will get you nowhere.
posted by quonsar II electric boogaloo at 2:02 AM on March 1, 2005 [3 favorites]


That thread is closed. This thread is not an excuse to continue that conversation.

That post was an emotional appeal that was not surprisingly met with emotional responses, on both ends of the spectrum. Now we have a post (wisely or not) asking about the propriety of such posts, and it's being hijacked for more recrimination and cross-recrimination of, again, a very emotional nature. EB, and fff, as two who are especially guilty of throwing out passionate accusations here, can't you see where this is leading? If you thought people were vicious before, what are you expecting to happen now that you've started poking the hornets' nest again?
posted by taz at 2:17 AM on March 1, 2005


Ok, so to try and answer the big question in this post: Where is the line when it comes to soliciting money via Metafilter?
Well, we all know that self-linking is frowned upon (even though monetary benefits may be miles away on that one, there's a definite fame-benefit in it). We all remember when someone posted a link to freeipods.com, with his/her free ipod special code in the link right? That was a no-no. We've seen people who post amazon-links with associates code in them on occasion, that's a total no-no... So lemme see, I think it's pretty clear that if you want money from metafilter, take out a textad.

I might be wrong though. Didn't look into any threads soliciting money for charitable causes for comparison, didn't we have any tsunami charities in posts here?
posted by dabitch at 2:26 AM on March 1, 2005 [1 favorite]


From what seems to have been established by custom so far, it seems that major disasters such as the tsunami will warrant some sort of site-sponsored ad or notice. Internet-wide observances such as AIDS Day usually also garner recognition, and it seems that good, nuanced posts that draw attention to certain issues may also include links to fundraising sites without drawing criticism.

If we ever did have some sort of informal membership space, on- or off-site, I imagine that member problems* would probably draw various helpful responses. That would be cool.

* No jokes about member problems! Though in the case of Pretty_Generic, even those problems might be addressed.
posted by taz at 2:47 AM on March 1, 2005


It's also not an opportunity to feel aggrieved because the world hasn't shown you a similar kindness. "Hey, what about me?" Well, fuck off, if that's your first reaction to someone else in need.

Don't know how well you were paying attention, Bligh, because the general feeling I got from the objectors was "Hey, what about everyone else?".

Really. Can you imagine it if everyone who needed some cash got a thread on Metatalk to plead their case? u. n. owen got away with it because she was the first. That doesn't make it reasonable or smart.

One thing charity—generosity—isn't about is standing in judgment of someone, working through a list, and taking the opportunity to decide if they're deserving. 'Cause, you know? That's a power trip.

But when one person gets a mention as deserving above all others, what do you expect people to do? It's a natural reaction. People want to know what makes them so damn special. Once again, if everyone was asking for money, would you give selflessly to them all without question?
posted by Jimbob at 2:48 AM on March 1, 2005


Yes, such a thread is a bad precedent.

EB - Isn't that the MeTa question answered? I always read your contributions because they're generally intelligent, but was it really necessary to call people "worthless human beings"? To say that being "middle-aged" is a character flaw, like being "withered-souled" and "black-hearted"?
As far as I can tell, pretty much everyone here thinks that Metafilter isn't the place to be asking for handouts and I think whatever points you had about charity were savaged by the viciousness of your own comments.
posted by bunglin jones at 3:32 AM on March 1, 2005


Hey bunglin, don't forget his down on the lonely people too.
posted by biffa at 3:45 AM on March 1, 2005


    "...as a homeless person who still works full time and is having a particularly poop time..."

So everyone else's misfortunes should be judged relative to yours? I'll notify all the various aid agencies.

    "I might feel badly about this if I felt that the person in question deserved my sympathy. The thing is, though...I don't...The person that you seem to want to paint as a victim has been perfectly able to defend herself. She doesn't need you getting righteous for her."

I'm not painting her as a victim and I'm not "getting righteous for her". Frankly, I don't know whether she's deserving or not, and that's not the issue. She's not the issue. The issue is ungenerous, self-pitying, and mean-spirited assholes. They're the issue.

    "If you thought people were vicious before, what are you expecting to happen now that you've started poking the hornets' nest again?"

That's not my concern. I think sickening behavior as evidenced in that thread deserves loud condemnation. If it makes anyone uncomfortable, well, tough.

    "Bligh, because the general feeling I got from the objectors was 'Hey, what about everyone else?'."

The mentions of everyone's own personal difficulties demonstrates that this isn't the case. Even if it were, you could say that in every single instance of a plea for charity. It's beside the point.

    "But when one person gets a mention as deserving above all others, what do you expect people to do?"

How exactly is that mention saying that she was "deserving above all others"? That people are so concerned with "who's deserving" is what's so ugly.

    "Once again, if everyone was asking for money, would you give selflessly to them all without question?"

No, I wouldn't and don't. Even if I were able, I probably wouldn't have offered to help u. n. owen because of a personal judgment I would have made. But I sure as hell wouldn't have made it an opportunity to attack her or to be self-pitying. When people feel the need to lecture a panhandler to "get a job" or whatever, it's all about them. It's about their resentment that people aren't helping them and their exagerated sense of pride expressed via contempt for someone else. It's a few of the most repellent and infantile human vices wrapped up in an ugly little package.

    "As far as I can tell, pretty much everyone here thinks that Metafilter isn't the place to be asking for handouts and I think whatever points you had about charity were savaged by the viciousness of your own comments."

As you say, pretty much everyone agrees that asking for charity on MeTa is a bad idea. So there's no point for this thread—the point is widely agreed upon. And I'm not trying to instruct anyone on charity. What I am doing is condemning in the strongest terms ugly behavior by ugly people. There are times when it's appropriate to do so. This is one of them.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 3:47 AM on March 1, 2005 [1 favorite]


"...as a homeless person who still works full time and is having a particularly poop time..."

So everyone else's misfortunes should be judged relative to yours? I'll notify all the various aid agencies.


And I'll notify the local cock-distribution centre to ensure that you can tuck one back in your mouth you ignoramus. Giving indication of my misfortune (without an attached plea for charity I might add) was simply to show that I am not pissing on her charity request but that I don't feel the need to seek it myself.

That's the first time you have ever really pissed me off EB - normally I'd say you are a pretty stand-up guy but don't ever make light of what I am going through unless you know the full story.
posted by longbaugh at 3:59 AM on March 1, 2005 [1 favorite]


So hey daveadams, you got your answer after a long while, yes to charitable causes in fleshed out FPP's a la AIDS Day, Tsunami, and internet-wide (worldwide) phenomena as taz points out has happened. No to personal pan-handling of any sort, including sneaking associates links into FPPs to score points or whatever. Flashboy said it much better though.
posted by dabitch at 4:03 AM on March 1, 2005


You know what is sickening behavior?

Self-righteous holier than thou hypocritical prigs passing sweeping judgements against people based on their reaction to the plot of a John Hughes movie.
posted by cedar at 4:36 AM on March 1, 2005


And the Oscar for Achievement in Mock Indignation as a Cover for Insipid Humorlessness goes to...
posted by quonsar II electric boogaloo at 4:52 AM on March 1, 2005 [1 favorite]


thank you for taking my inventory, bligh! now kindly fuck the fuck off!
posted by quonsar at 4:57 AM on March 1, 2005


q, he didn't mention the fish in your pants though.


...all reveal themselves in that thread to be worthless human beings.

really? how interesting, pastor. but at least they're not a self-righteous, crushing bore, so there's still hope.
posted by matteo at 5:21 AM on March 1, 2005


Thanks, mefi, for continuing to be as ugly as your reputation.
posted by crunchland at 5:41 AM on March 1, 2005 [1 favorite]


Money certainly does seem to bring out the worst in people. I tend to think that requests for donations to any cause should be forbidden without the express advance consent of Matt. Anyone who could not have predicted the ugliness (which includes the pointless moralizing and all the expressions of shock and disgust, oh please) has not been paying attention.
posted by anapestic at 5:42 AM on March 1, 2005


daveadams, I've never seen anyone ask for a handout here before and don't think its likely to be a problem in the future. At least I hope not!

Ethereal Bligh, your comments here were ugly.
posted by Tarrama at 5:49 AM on March 1, 2005


Can anyone spot me five bucks? There's this site a friend of mine wants to join...
posted by tpl1212 at 6:13 AM on March 1, 2005 [1 favorite]


Thanks, mefi, for continuing to be as ugly as your reputation.
yup. but not always, thankfully.

and ditto about ugly comments, EB--the people who attacked un in that thread don't in turn need to be attacked themselves. It doesn't make it better.
posted by amberglow at 6:14 AM on March 1, 2005


Snap. A picture was taken. Notice the dark edges. Notice the the madman in that dark shadow over there. Because the land is becoming poverty stricken. In every way. O/T You know why they debeck chickens don't you?
posted by JohnR at 6:17 AM on March 1, 2005


EB: Yeah, I agree, some people are being ugly ("Person A is having a hard time, but it's not as bad as person B, so person A can drill a hole in their forehead and fuck themselves"), but I think, fairly out of character for you, that you completely misinterpreted longbaugh's post, perhaps in your anger at other folks who were more deserving. Looking again at longbaugh:
Well EB, as a homeless person who still works full time and is having a particularly poop time at the moment I have to say that my sympathy-o-meter is not ticking past "meh" at this time, and this is after my "how to stop being nice?" AskMeFi post.

I would never assume to ask strangers for money. Maybe we just have different standards. I certainly wouldnt make light of u.n. owen's personal circumstances but by the same token, as long as there are people worse off than her they will get my charity.

No disrespect intended but frankly there are people in worse shape than her and they will be all their lives. I will put my effort in to raising their standard of living first.
It says longbaugh has suffered worse, and therefore doesn't feel a bunch of sympathy. Fine. Nothing unusual or immoral there. If longbaugh said no one else should feel sympathy, or that u.n. owen is undeserving of sympathy, that would be a different matter. As it is, it just says that longbaugh doesn't feel sympathy. Longbaugh points out that other people are suffering more, but doesn't use this as a basis to attack u.n. owen, but to point out that longbaugh would rather invest his/her time in helping people less fortunate. Again, not an attack on u.n. owen.

I think you need to calm down for a second, reread the post with a bit less preconception, and perhaps apologize. Not necessarily for all you've said in this thread, but for what you said to longbaugh.

Again, I have to say, I was pretty surprised. Reading in deep subtexts without foundation is usually the kind of thing you fight against, but this time it's something you did.
posted by Bugbread at 6:26 AM on March 1, 2005


Metafilter: A blowjob raffle for the righteous.
posted by Mean Mr. Bucket at 6:32 AM on March 1, 2005 [1 favorite]


Thanks bugbread, my pre-emptive apologies for the nastiness of my own answer to you EB.

/reminds self not to post angry/drunk/in any circumstances other then pure zen baby...
posted by longbaugh at 6:32 AM on March 1, 2005


"...as a homeless person who still works full time and is having a particularly poop time..."

EB: So everyone else's misfortunes should be judged relative to yours? I'll notify all the various aid agencies.



And you call other people's behaviour ugly???
posted by CunningLinguist at 6:47 AM on March 1, 2005


EB - You've really crossed the line separating "sort of a bore" from "raging asshole."

Good job on that.
posted by bshort at 7:21 AM on March 1, 2005


daveadams, I've never seen anyone ask for a handout here before and don't think its likely to be a problem in the future. At least I hope not!

At this point I agree with you. My goal with this post was to have a discussion about it, and to point out my opinion that members asking directly for money is not a precedent we want to set. I think the reaction to the initial thread was enough to make that unlikely, for sure.

As to the larger question, when I posted this I was leaning towards the opinion expressed by dabitch:
yes to charitable causes in fleshed out FPP's a la AIDS Day, Tsunami, and internet-wide (worldwide) phenomena as taz points out has happened. No to personal pan-handling of any sort, including sneaking associates links into FPPs to score points or whatever.
But now that anapestic has spelled it out, I lean more towards the opinion that Matt should be involved in any decisions to solicit money via Metafilter however worthy the cause may seem.
posted by daveadams at 7:32 AM on March 1, 2005


Bugbread and longbaugh, the issue was never whether or not someone should help u. n. own or not, or whether they decided to or not. If, longbaugh, you somehow misunderstood my comment and thought that I was asking for an accounting of why someone would decide not to give to her, then I can understand why you wrote what you wrote. But I wasn't asking for such an accounting and I directed zero criticism toward those who decided not to help. My complaint is against those who took the opportunity to complain about and be resentful of u. n. owen, especially by justifying doing so by explicitly or implicitly stating that they are more worthy than she. It looked to me like that's what you were doing.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 7:44 AM on March 1, 2005


Wow...what a train wreck this place has become.
posted by dejah420 at 7:50 AM on March 1, 2005


*fastens dejah's seatbelt*
posted by dabitch at 8:04 AM on March 1, 2005


well as long as we're setting the "first time someone asks for something it's okay" precedent I'd like to take this opportunity to solicit sex from the attracive female population.

mercyfucks.metafilter.com
posted by brevator at 8:04 AM on March 1, 2005


EB - that doesn't strike me as an apology, it seems very much like justification for your comment. The misunderstanding was yours. There is nothing in my comment that would indicate disrespect for u.n. owen or her current situation, all it says is "other people have it worse and they are more deserving of my charity as a result".

Your comment directed towards me was unnecessary and avoidable if you had read my post through before suffering an attack of the knee-jerks. I have already apologised for my reply to you and I leave it to you to decide whether you feel that last comment was a suitable reply in turn.
posted by longbaugh at 8:07 AM on March 1, 2005


Scarabic, I don't understand--u. n. owen writes editorials for a living (she has explained that she does not actually blog for a living, but that editorializing is like writing blog entries), and because your friend has pride, and FlamingBore--not u. n. owen herself--asked people to help her out, you're offended? WTF?

In general I'm baffled by all the people who said that, because they or someone else they knew were having a hard time, they weren't sympathetic themselves. What? That makes no sense to me. I'll grant that you might become inured to bad situations, but why would you go announcing it? What does that accomplish? The badness of your or your friends' situations does not make anyone else's bad situation better. Especially the people who said or implied that u. n. owen didn't deserve or shouldn't get any help because her situations wasn't the worst with which they were acquainted. Of course, if you can't solve all the problems at once, you shouldn't bother to help anyone out. Right.

Unlike EB (the antipathy toward whom I don't generally share) I don't think the people who displayed their asshattery in that thread were any worse than they usually are or aren't. I just wish that the ones who weren't actually entertaining or funny would realize that (HAY NAXOSAXUR DID I DO IT RITE?).
posted by kenko at 8:15 AM on March 1, 2005 [1 favorite]


Over here, u.n. says that she traded a gmail invite for a dormant account, and a huge gap in the posting history suggests that to be the case. However, there are two places where u.n. has recently stated (not implied, but stated) that she is a long-term member:

On MonkeyFilter: In case anyone wonders, I'm u.n. owen on mefi. and evidently over there it's completely cool to call people newbs who've been there for 3 years, but if you say that someone's ridiculous redirect on a mefi user page and conduct on other sites probably makes them more of a liability than an asset, you set yourself up to be shit upon by the elite denizens of mefi.

On MeTa: Er, pikachulolita, I'm no newbie.

I do think that the "gmail trade" explanation is true, but the fact that she's misrepresented herself as a long-time MeFite due to her fortuitously low usernumber makes me wonder what else she's not being forthcoming about.
posted by the_bone at 8:20 AM on March 1, 2005 [2 favorites]


Where is the line when it comes to soliciting money via Metafilter?

Permitted Solicitations
Text Ads
mathowie-endorsed causes (i.e. tsunami relief)
A mention in your profile

Forbidden Panhandling
FPP on Metafilter
FPP on Metatalk
FPP on Ask Metafilter
Comment on Metafilter
Comment on Metatalk
Comment on Ask Metafilter

There is a ridiculous potential for abuse if pandering is acceptable on the main sites. It should not happen.
posted by frecklefaerie at 8:33 AM on March 1, 2005


can i get an amen.
posted by brevator at 8:40 AM on March 1, 2005


Amen.
posted by idest at 8:42 AM on March 1, 2005


amen!
posted by dabitch at 9:00 AM on March 1, 2005


Hmm...
u.n. owen's aperantly imperfict character makes me more intrested in helping her, not less.

Still, I'm broke myself.
posted by delmoi at 9:01 AM on March 1, 2005


I agree that panhandling on MeFi/AskMe/MeTa is A Bad Idea. And so, lo and behold!, I won't support it by donating. And, too, were it not for the quick-draw mcgraws here, I'd probably have MeTa'd it as Dave Adams just did.

See how easy it is to "vote no"? You just don't donate to her, and you say something as simple as "panhandling on MeFi is not a good idea."

All the personal attacks were unnecessary, and served only to show the true character of the participants.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:10 AM on March 1, 2005


I directed zero criticism toward those who decided not to help. My complaint is against those who took the opportunity to complain about and be resentful of u. n. owen, especially by justifying doing so by explicitly or implicitly stating that they are more worthy than she

Fair enough. How about people who decided not to give, and were offended by the misuse of MetaTalk, especially because there must be needier cases than hers? That's pretty much where I fell, and I didn't make the horrible person list, so I'm guessing there must be common ground here somewhere.

Scarabic, I don't understand--u. n. owen writes editorials for a living (she has explained that she does not actually blog for a living, but that editorializing is like writing blog entries), and because your friend has pride, and FlamingBore--not u. n. owen herself--asked people to help her out, you're offended? WTF?

kenko - un owen has an annoying habit of pointing out how cool it is that she gets paid to write her opinion. As far as I can tell she has a column in some godforsaken red state print newspaper, but she casts this as "getting paid to blog." That's a little retarded and not a little boastful if you ask me, especially once it becomes clear that your ooh-la-la dream job actually *hates* your blog and isn't paying your bills after all. I find the appeal for cash more ridiculous coming from someone who has spent a lot of time bragging about how great her job is. It's not a very important point, but there you have it.

And notice that immediately after FlamingBore posted the damn thing, she showed up to write her own [more inside] comment right at the top. I asked and never got an answer, but it seems more and more obvious to me that she was in on the idea from the beginning, but knew she couldn't post it herself. Getting someone else to do it makes it seem less ME-SO-GREEDY but the guile required to figure that out makes me feel super-icky and not at all generous.

My friend has nothing to do with it except to point out that there are worse places to be than 20, healthy, and a few dollars short. If my friend can stick her situation out with dignity, un owen can as well. Panhandling in MeTa does not qualify as dignity, sorry.

Where is the line when it comes to soliciting money via Metafilter?


May I suggest that we draw the line closely around Matt himself, and put this crap to bed?
posted by scarabic at 9:12 AM on March 1, 2005


See how easy it is to "vote no"? You just don't donate to her, and you say something as simple as "panhandling on MeFi is not a good idea."

Uh no. Nice try. That would be "abstaining." 99% of people could "vote no" as you put it, and the donations from the remaining 1% would still make it all worthwile. That's oligarchy, not democracy.
posted by scarabic at 9:13 AM on March 1, 2005


EB wrote: Witty, against my better judgment, I thought had redeemed himself over the last five months. But he just goes stark raving mad in that thread and indulges himself in petty vindictiveness that is amazing to behold.

I'd like to know what u.n. owen has to say about this. NSFW
posted by Witty at 10:33 PM PST on February 28 [!]


I am amazed that there wasn't any mention of this particular comment.

Ok, "ignore him', 'don't feed the trolls', blah blah blah - but then you realize that we have been here before with this particular person - he has earned himeself two callouts in the last year (which is two more than almost everyone else here [1] [2]

Plus numerious other callouts within threads. I won't rehash the criticism (there are already two whole threads of it), and I just think someone should pull out the ban-hammer.
posted by Quartermass at 9:21 AM on March 1, 2005


You know, last summer I begged for money on my own blog (saying 'give me money because i'm broke' rather then 'give me money to make the site great'), and I got $100 overnight.

Then in the morning the credit card processor shut down my account and refunded everyone's money because I made a $1 test donation to myself using the same card I did to open the account, and because my blog was porn related. (I hadn't noticed the anti-pr0n stance in the TOS which I thought I'd read carefully *sigh*).

That really sucked.
posted by delmoi at 9:24 AM on March 1, 2005


AAAAMEN!!!!!!!!!!

Oh. On preview I am a little late. However, I stand by frecklefilter's line above, and the line above that, and the line that says mefi is an inappropriate place to ask for funding. And if it isn't, well, I could use some money, and so could an art museum I know ;-) and if you think this thread is a clusterfuck, imagine how beautiful would be a Metafilter where every single member who needs some $$ or has a favorite charity puts up their own fpp.

Unless it was in one thread, and they had to fight for it.
posted by mygothlaundry at 9:25 AM on March 1, 2005



I'd like to know what u.n. owen has to say about this. NSFW
posted by Witty at 10:33 PM PST on February 28 [!]

I am amazed that there wasn't any mention of this particular comment.


Well, I flagged it. I'm sure several people did as well. I'd love to see witty banned, honestly.
posted by delmoi at 9:25 AM on March 1, 2005


look, the reaction was of a group of people who felt they were being lied- (or at the very least fibbed-) to.

it's obvious that every mefite is a would-be poirot (or angela lansbury), armchair detectives to the core, the lot of us.

it's why "google fu" is a meme (should probably be "Google 221b").

Now that the_bone has confirmed for us a case of fibbing that can't simply be exaggerated away (working in a juvenile court makes one an attorney? i'm calling my niece), it's more or less obvious that u.n. is a prevaricator of some stature.

this is why people were hard on her. not because they're awful or cruel or hateful.

it's because she was a fibber who was condoning someone else's solicitation of money for her. they wanted to bust her, and here i'll refer to the_bone's comment above again.

J'accuse!
posted by quonsar II electric boogaloo at 9:26 AM on March 1, 2005


scarabic... missed your question and I'm guessing you're pointing to me. u.n. owen didn't ask anything of me. I felt bad and offered assistance. My bad. Sorry for causing such a stir, I showed poor judgement. I've had my moment of indirect infamy. Can we all move along?
posted by FlamingBore at 9:31 AM on March 1, 2005


that "working as an attorney" reference is from the previous thread. the_bone was referring to her membership comments.

sorry for the confusion.
posted by quonsar II electric boogaloo at 9:31 AM on March 1, 2005


I dont get why people are jumping all over u.n.owen when she wasn't the person who solicited money to begin with - someone else posted and said "hey, we should help this person out".

I just sent her the last $3.50 in my PayPal account. If it helps someone out, great! I'm not going to demand a refund or that she show me her tits on a webcam in return or anything like that. It's all about people helping each other.
posted by mrbill at 9:34 AM on March 1, 2005


"Fair enough. How about people who decided not to give, and were offended by the misuse of MetaTalk, especially because there must be needier cases than hers? That's pretty much where I fell, and I didn't make the horrible person list, so I'm guessing there must be common ground here somewhere."

Like I said, I (probably) wouldn't have given and I think the whole thing was a bad idea. But I wasn't offended by it. It's possible to a) decide to now give to u. n. owen, and b) be concerned about the bad precedent, and c) be aware that there's lots of folks more needy than her without attacking her, or pointing out how much more deserving you are, or how much more respectable (or whatever) you are because you'd never ask for charity.

Go take a look again at witty's, beth's, and quonsar's comments in that thread. If it weren't for them, I probably would have been saddened and a little repulsed at people's lack of generosity (not materially, but spiritually) but I wouldn't have been as upset and angry as I actually became.

"look, the reaction was of a group of people who felt they were being lied- (or at the very least fibbed-) to."

I haven't much liked u. n. owen, that probably biased me against her, and yet I didn't see any reason whatsoever to assume that she had hatched some nefarious plot to con innocent mefites out of their hard-earned money. Being quick to jump to that conclusion is part of the problem. "Oh, hey, yeah you look like a down-and-out person on the street that's asking me for money for some food, but I bet you're really taking in hundreds of dollars a day from gullible people, aren't ya?" There is something deeply sickening about that attitude.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 9:36 AM on March 1, 2005


Go take a look again at witty's, beth's, and quonsar's comments in that thread. If it weren't for them, I probably would have been saddened and a little repulsed at people's lack of generosity (not materially, but spiritually) but I wouldn't have been as upset and angry as I actually became.

I agree with you EB. I don't think you were out of line in this thread. People calling out you and FFF for your "mock indignation" need to take a closer look at that thread.
posted by Quartermass at 9:53 AM on March 1, 2005


I agree with fff. Astonishing.

With the obvious exceptions, like EB, I am disgusted by the rest of you. Words fail me, and I am trembling with rage at the inhumanity you showed towards u.n. owen. Fuck you all. Your comments sicken me.
posted by gd779 at 9:53 AM on March 1, 2005 [1 favorite]


Still not reading anything like an apology there chief.
posted by longbaugh at 9:53 AM on March 1, 2005


This thread makes me sad. I understand Etherial Bligh's position, and was right there with it from the start, but now, reading along with the_bone's account, it's hard for me not to see requests for handouts in a couple of u. n. owen's posts, and I start to wonder about her veracity. This annoys me. I think frecklefaerie's solution is a rational one in this case.

However, I still feel a little bitterness about this whole thing. MeFi is an online community. I feel as funny about banning online "panhandling" as I would about banning it in real life, and more so: we're closer here, I hope, than strangers that meet on the street. At least, that's my impression. And the fact is, people are sometimes down on their luck; everybody needs some help from their friends every now and then.

I have a feeling that this will work itself out. If anybody tries this in the future, I hope to God they remember this "shitstorm" and refrain; it's much easier to keep it in email, and to mention it briefly, if it's necessary. This whole thing tends to make us all very unhappy, I think. E B 's right on this, of course: it's not only about protocol, it's about how we treat each other.

- Also beggan Zarathustras Untergang...
posted by koeselitz at 9:54 AM on March 1, 2005


well, you're confusing scarabic's suspicion that it was a scheme with my more general assertion that in some instances, she seems to be fibbing about stuff.

who she is, where she came from, when she started posting, that type stuff.

people don't like being lied to about that stuff.

i agree that assuming a panhandle is a scam is troubling.

but now you're sounding like someone who doth protest.

on preview:

With the obvious exceptions, like EB, I am disgusted by the rest of you. Words fail me, and I am trembling with rage at the inhumanity you showed towards u.n. owen. Fuck you all. Your comments sicken me.

sounds like the beginnings of a really coooool club you, EB and FFF got going there.
posted by quonsar II electric boogaloo at 9:56 AM on March 1, 2005


and "trembling with rage"?!

come the fuck on. get over yourself, and go tremble to your support group for Those Indignant at Maltreatment of Online Personae.
posted by quonsar II electric boogaloo at 9:58 AM on March 1, 2005


Baby Jeebus is crying so hard, his eyes are bleeding.

~Big Sigh followed by rueful shake of the head.~
Money does indeed make for ugly arguments. I personally would not mind leaving the door open a crack to future solicitation for our dear comrades, but not when it leads to this. I haven't felt so bad about a Mefi blow-up since....I don't know when. Sadly it looks as though solicitation for emergency funds is completely out of the question.

In the future if you know of someone in dire straits, email me. I may not always be able to help, but I'll see what I can do.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 10:00 AM on March 1, 2005


Fuck you all. Your comments sicken me.

Fuck me? I fucking gave her several good suggestions for freelance work so she wouldn't have to resort to this sort of stunt. So, you know, right back atcha, gd.
posted by scody at 10:04 AM on March 1, 2005


[enters left ... notes ugly, bitter fighting ... decides not to try to make a constructive comment ... exits left]
posted by WestCoaster at 10:13 AM on March 1, 2005


With the obvious exceptions, like EB, I am disgusted by the rest of you. Words fail me, and I am trembling with rage at the inhumanity you showed towards u.n. owen. Fuck you all. Your comments sicken me.

Wow. Now words are failing me.

Sadly it looks as though solicitation for emergency funds is completely out of the question.

I hope so. This just isn't the place. As frykitty pointed out in the original thread, something like Modest Needs is.
posted by daveadams at 10:16 AM on March 1, 2005


scody: Sorry, perhaps I was not specific enough. My comments were not directed at people like you. You were mostly civil, and your modicum of reproach came from your own life experience, which I can respect. You were also, as you noted, helpful. No, I reserve my anger and bile for the people, in this thread and in the last thread, that heaped unnecessary abuse and vitriol and bitterness on u.n. owen. I would have thought the difference to be obvious, but that is obviously my mistake. Sorry about the confusion.
posted by gd779 at 10:16 AM on March 1, 2005



I agree with fff. Astonishing.

With the obvious exceptions, like EB, I am disgusted by the rest of you. Words fail me, and I am trembling with rage at the inhumanity you showed towards u.n. owen. Fuck you all. Your comments sicken me.
posted by gd779 at 9:53 AM PST on March 1 [!]


Exactly! I am still pissed off at the way you all treated that poor dead girl, Kaycee Nicole! Why can't you vultures leave Kaycee alone!

We are lucky to have a brain surgeon/horse trainer/ former Vice-President like u.n. owen among us. For fucks sake, the woman can travel thru time! Think of how useful could be to us? We could have the most powerful community weblog in the universe. Do we really want Monkeyfilter to have the time travel advantage?

In conclusion, who the hell is Quonsar II?
posted by thirteen at 10:16 AM on March 1, 2005 [1 favorite]


I am trembling with rage at the inhumanity you showed towards u.n. owen.

Huh. I laughed when I saw this, assumin git was choice parody. I guess it wasn't.
posted by CunningLinguist at 10:17 AM on March 1, 2005


So. Some people equated u.n. owen with savekaryn. The two cases are not the same -- they never are -- but Jeanette ended up bearing the brunt of moral outrage that didn't have much to do with what the circumstances were, but the savekaryn-influenced context that was being used to interpret it. (She's been accused of fibbing about her circumstances, yet I don't see any concrete evidence thereof. Unless you arbitrarily choose to disbelieve her entire life story, which is your prerogative, but there's nothing empirical about your disbelief -- not enough to call her a liar, anyway.)

I'm also bothered by the gunslinger mentality here on MeTa. It's like we're trying to score points by taking down the latest offender, with extra points for spectacular displays of moral outrage, clever insults, or nastiness. You guys are responding to thuggish or prickish behaviour with even more thuggery and prickishness -- and then pointing fingers at the other side for their actions, ignoring your own. Not impressed. (And yes, I know I've done my share from time to time. That doesn't disprove my point.)

Which is not to say that I don't disagree with what some of you are saying; it's just that the tone is making people tune out.

Take a good look at what you're making a big deal over. In another era, the arguments in this thread could be summarized as follows:

"She's a witch. Burn her!"
"No she isn't!"
"Oh? Then you're a witch too! Burn him!"
"No, you're the witch!"

In a word, hysteria. Get over yourselves.

We can debate the question of soliciting money without the nastiness. For example, my two cents for u.n. owen and FlamingBore would be as follows: Though I empathize with the situation, posting about it here it sets a bad precedent for the site. We hadn't thought about this issue before, so you had no idea whether this was a good idea, but now it's clear that it isn't. Sorry you had to be the test case for a nasty discussion on etiquette, and I hope things improve in the future.
posted by mcwetboy at 10:18 AM on March 1, 2005 [1 favorite]


assumin git would be a great sock puppet screen name.
posted by CunningLinguist at 10:18 AM on March 1, 2005


I'd still like an apology before Matt locks the thread.
posted by longbaugh at 10:22 AM on March 1, 2005


I'm working on getting things together to present something to modest needs (they need quite a lot of documentation) and I thank you guys for the suggestions.

I don't mind suggestions -- in fact, those were some of the best parts of the thread -- but I think it contributes more and more to the feeling of metafilter-as-boyzone when people respond as they did. I do have to wonder if a guy would have been called out on the carpet for being a "former lethario" or something. I rather doubt it.
posted by u.n. owen at 10:26 AM on March 1, 2005


in answer to 13's question, I AM THE GHOST OF KAYCEE NICOLE! BOOOOOOOOOOOO!
posted by quonsar II electric boogaloo at 10:27 AM on March 1, 2005


Oh, and I agree that it probably wasn't a good idea, upon second thought. Maybe if there was a specific area or whatnot.

Initially, what happened was that FlamingBore sent me an email saying (paraphrased) "hey, I noticed you're having trouble again, anything that a few thousand random internet strangers could help with?"

Initially I said no (this was when I'd been ready to sell the books, but hadn't been suspended from work). When I found out about the suspension, I recanted and said "I don't know if much can be done, but right now my safety net is gone and I don't know what to do."

So she said she'd post it on the grey and maybe I'd get a little - that stranger things had happened.

That's the way the process began. I expected a few snarks, but nothing on the level of panty demands and she-males.
posted by u.n. owen at 10:30 AM on March 1, 2005


I find it amusing that EB, one of the most loudly self-proclaimed liberals on the site, has the hypocrisy to post his own Axis of Evil list. That's pretty amusing.
posted by Ryvar at 10:35 AM on March 1, 2005 [1 favorite]


I have a suggestion that might help those of you aiming for a more prominent sense of community on this site:

A good friend in my neighborhood set up an informal version of Neighbors Helping Neighbors. She owns the local bookshop/coffee shop and put a coffee can on the counter saying to feel free to donate. If there were a specific person or family that the collection was for, she would write a brief paragraph containing the (anonymous) story of the party in need in order to build the ethos in the organization's activities.

Starbucks had a similar program where employees could have a certain amount deducted from their paychecks to go to a special fund to help other employees who needed it. I can't find any links about it; it could still be going on.

As far as I know, unlike what happened here none of the people that my neighborhood friend gave the money to ever asked for help. As soon as bad news reached her, she was off to lend a hand. I am not sure how Starbucks handled it, although I am sure a committee somewhere chose the beneficiaries of funds.

I don't know that I can come up with a decent model for this, and if there is enough interest it may deserve its own post.
posted by frecklefaerie at 10:39 AM on March 1, 2005


I have been watching your posts for a couple months now UNO. Your timeline has been funny, and you have seemingly contradicted yourself, or had the appearance of misrepresenting yourself on several occasions beyond what has been discussed before. I am finding you interesting.

It is probably that you are a bit of a harmless exaggerating sort, tho I thought you were a construct ala Robert Dupree/Kool Man prior to yesterday's splash. What seemed off about you did not matter much until money started crossing the wires.

I am not saying you are a bad person, or that anyone deserves some of the more unsavory things that have been posted, but if you are dropping breadcrumbs, the birds are going to follow the trail.
posted by thirteen at 10:44 AM on March 1, 2005


Birds can follow my trail all they want. I've nothing to hide, as I've said. Anyway, here's a lovely gem sent via email -- allegedly from Optimus Chyme, though I won't necessarily instantly blame him, it'd be easy enough for anyone else to claim to be him.

Subject: Now that you've ripped a bunch of people off...

Text: please never post on Metafilter again.

You are vile.

O.C.
posted by u.n. owen at 10:48 AM on March 1, 2005


frecklefaerie: Involving money transfers between members of the site will merely result in a torrent of ugly shouting matches on MeTa and people exploiting the situation out of personal greed and amorality (fortunately I only possess the latter quality).

I like a good bit of vitriol here and there (although I think Matt closed the original thread at exactly the right moment because it was clearly heading into AlexReynolds territory), but what you're talking about would result in insanity run amok on MeTa. There's the occasional blowing off of steam to act as a pressure release valve for the community, and then there's an incessant community-destroying shitstorm. Money changing hands on Metafilter is probably the shortest path to destroying it.
posted by Ryvar at 10:51 AM on March 1, 2005


I would, however, like to see some sort of acknowledgement from O.C. as to whether or not he actually sent the email in question. I'll believe him if he says he didn't -- I've seen stranger things happen.
posted by u.n. owen at 10:53 AM on March 1, 2005


The detective work, the questioning of motives and back story - fine. That's Metafilter. But are the above comments excusable?

I thought they were pretty disgusting, but responding to each one was pointless. I flagged some of the worst. I think comments like gd779's and Ethereal Bligh's here paint with too broad a brush to be helpful in this discussion. Clearly I'm skeptical of u.n. owen's story and need, but I think I've behaved myself. Yet I still feel attacked when it seems I'm being told that my comments are sickening and inhumane because I'm on the same notional "side" as quonsar.
posted by daveadams at 10:57 AM on March 1, 2005


Yeah, ryvar, the more I wrote the worse an idea it sounded to me, too, and I especially agree with your last sentence.

Yet, despite that, the Pollyanna in me can see how there are lots of folks on this site who want to help the mefites in need, so I cling to the hope that there is some way that it can be done. Not everyone has to participate. I envision a sort of silent auction type thing. A webpage full of paypal buttons.
posted by frecklefaerie at 11:05 AM on March 1, 2005


daveadams, you're more than welcome to be skeptical. I likely would be. If it would ease your conscience -- not to get you to send money my way, but so that you would know no one else had gotten ripped off -- I would be more than happy to provide you with any documentation you might request, from my notice of suspension at work to just about anything else.
posted by u.n. owen at 11:06 AM on March 1, 2005


">>Some day, u.n. owen, and that day may never come, you will be called upon by MetaFilter to perform a service...
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:37 PM PST on February 28 [!]"

">>will it be a sexual service? 'cause I'd totally be up for that.
posted by u.n. owen at 6:39 PM PST on February 28 [!]"

posted by naxosaxur at 11:12 AM on March 1, 2005


naxosaxur: there's a difference between a joke at one's own expense and taking potshots at others. If you don't know it, I pity your friends.
posted by u.n. owen at 11:14 AM on March 1, 2005


Wow, naxosaxur...
That makes it all better? She was asking for it!
posted by Quartermass at 11:15 AM on March 1, 2005


In conclusion, who the hell is Quonsar II?

I don't know, but I suspect it's the same person as theatrical matriarch. Only mathowie can say for sure.

At least q2 stays (mostly) on topic.
posted by me3dia at 11:16 AM on March 1, 2005


Ok. So, what else needs to be resolved in this thread? In my opinion, asking for money should probably follow the guidelines as indicated here.

UN, we don't need you to defend yourself anymore. Nor, do we need anyone to question your merits anymore. That issue should be closed.
posted by Arch Stanton at 11:18 AM on March 1, 2005


Yet I still feel attacked when it seems I'm being told that my comments are sickening and inhumane because I'm on the same notional "side" as quonsar.

I'm not sure who has told you that you're on the same side as quonsar, and I hope you're not referring to my comments. Though I can't speak for anyone else, I hope it's perfectly clear that my broad brush doesn't include you, or the other MeFites who have asked perfectly reasonable questions, in a reasonable and civil tone, about the appropriateness of the request and the reasonable veracity of u.n. owen's claims. If you felt attacked as a result of anything I've said, then I apologize.
posted by gd779 at 11:19 AM on March 1, 2005


Agreed on frecklefaerie's guidelines. I think they pretty much nail it.
posted by Ryvar at 11:22 AM on March 1, 2005


Yeah Arch - I'd like an apology from EB.

And an amen.

Maybe a magical pony as well. One that shits cash or housing would be cool.
posted by longbaugh at 11:23 AM on March 1, 2005


*nod* Ok. Thanks to the people who've been anything but absolute dicks. Even if you were slightly a dick, thanks because I think you at least had the best interest of other community members at heart, and I get that.
posted by u.n. owen at 11:28 AM on March 1, 2005


and, uh, if he gets a magical pony I want one too.
posted by u.n. owen at 11:28 AM on March 1, 2005


What mcwetboy said.

And those who have ..um.. reservations about u.n. owen's truthfulness - she's posted plenty of fairly easy to verify info. Personally, I'm keeping my torch and pitchfork in the closet until it's proven she's a liar.
posted by deborah at 11:37 AM on March 1, 2005


well, after all this work, at least we have a funny new tagline:

MetaFilter -- I Expected a Few Snarks, But Nothing on the Level of Panty Demands and She-Males.

which is strangely fitting for this new phase of MeFi's growing pains
posted by matteo at 11:56 AM on March 1, 2005


u.n: I considered sending this personally but thought it was worthwhile to explain my reasoning in public -- I was a part of the pile-on and certainly don't want to minimize my role in the way you were treated -- anyway, it seems that we're back to discussing you.

For me, alarm bells started going off because of your responses when questioned about inconsistencies. They struck me as glib and rehearsed, "Oh... it was student council court," "It was with Cheap Trick," "It was with a college id that I got at sixteen." It's been my experience that life is complex and I always wonder about people who seem to have stock answers for incredibly personal questions and volunteer intensely intimate details of their lives to strangers.

Then I looked at your posting history and there seems to be a recurring theme of financial self-disclosure. Taken as isolated instances they don't stand out, but viewed in total one could easily get the impression of someone laying the groundwork for a wider ranging appeal.

Then, of course, there was the soap operatic aspect of the whole thing. Homeless waif turns to child prostitution after life as a child prodigy, pulls herself up by her bootstraps only to be smashed down by the hand of The Man after an innocent blog entry. C'mon, girl, this is Movie of the Week material and far too good pass up.

You are either a sociopath or an absolutely wonderful and intriguing young woman. If the former, I urge you to seek help and if the later applaud you for your wit and fortitude. I'm well past the point of being able to decide, so consider this my covering my ass post.

Oh yeah. Soliciting funds on MeFi for personal use is a bad thing, and shouldn't be permitted.
posted by cedar at 11:59 AM on March 1, 2005 [1 favorite]


UN, we don't need you to defend yourself anymore

Then we should get the fuck off her back, no? Seriously, every time I revisit this place it just gets worse, full of more vitriol and hypocrisy.
posted by tr33hggr at 12:42 PM on March 1, 2005


tr33hggr: Please. A couple of days of 'abuse' on a website she doesn't even have to read is well worth $250. It's not like she has to defend herself -- she chooses to defend herself and remain the center of attention.

Send me a couple of hundred bucks and you can say whatever you want about me.

You, and u.n.owen's defenders are missing a crucial point. By allowing someone to post a solicitation on her behalf *she* created this situation. You guys make it sound like we searched MeFi for some poor innocent to attack.
posted by cedar at 12:50 PM on March 1, 2005


No, I'm not. But you sure jumped at the chance to attack, didn't you? That "self-satisfaction driven by the desire to see others suffer, recant, just be wrong so I can be right" attitude is exactly what I was referring to.

Send me a couple of hundred bucks and you can say whatever you want about me.

Not surprising, really.
posted by tr33hggr at 12:53 PM on March 1, 2005


Send me a couple of hundred bucks and you can say whatever you want about me.

I'll take 100. right now I get flamed for free.
posted by matteo at 12:55 PM on March 1, 2005


"self-satisfaction driven by the desire to see others suffer, recant, just be wrong so I can be right"

Who are you quoting? I think it is pretty natural for people to say something when their truth-stretching detectors go off, especially when money is involved.
posted by redfoxtail at 1:55 PM on March 1, 2005


"But you sure jumped at the chance to attack, didn't you?"

Actually, I didn't. As I explained above, I took the time to look into her posting history, read that mess of a thread and consider her words. I'm not even convinced that I attacked. I don't think that expressing skepticism about the motives behind a solicitation for money on MeFi is an attack.

In the end, when this inevitably blows over, what we're left with is u.n.owen getting a bit of (jusitified or not) financial help and the lesson that begging on MetaFilter is a very bad idea. Sounds win-win to me, unless your in the vocal minority that would like to judge others based upon their reaction to a pretty damn bizarre tale of woe, in which case feel free to revel in the fact that your just a better person than us big ol' meanies. Meanwhile, u.n.owen is grocery shopping and the rest of us are just plain amused.
posted by cedar at 1:58 PM on March 1, 2005


Personally, it was worth the $25 I donated to u.n. owen just so these threads could illuminate so many fuckheads. The bile and whining by Witty et al. is fantastic.
posted by subgenius at 2:18 PM on March 1, 2005


And I'm still hungry.

I'm not saying the post was right or not. I'd rather not see it here, or at the least would like to see one for me! My original comment wasn't directed toward you Cedar. I never said YOU attacked. Just pointing out a continuing history in juvenilia at this site, not with you. Sorry - by "you" I meant that undefined mass of MetaFilter meanies.

redfoxtail - I wasn't quoting anyone, just a long adjectival phrase, pointing at what I see as a decline in the behavior here.
posted by tr33hggr at 2:19 PM on March 1, 2005


I just sent her the last $3.50 in my PayPal account.

That's the exact reason asking for money should not be allowed. Suckers are born every day.

It's kind of like how the lottery takes advantage of the poor (or so I've heard), so you vote against the lottery. Some girl asking for money is going to take advantage of the dumb, the naive, and those who are stuck in their basement wishing for any human contact.

We have to protect these people. Metafilter is better than that. Let people beg for money on their own blog, or at least tell us their going to quit their job and blog and then beg for money, like that kottke guy.

Besides, with the idiotic giving of money to this able bodied person being show right here, it's only a matter of time until it happens again.
posted by justgary at 2:22 PM on March 1, 2005


Metafilter: get flamed for free.
posted by Quartermass at 2:35 PM on March 1, 2005


People, sometimes I doubt your committment to Sparkle Motion.
posted by kindall at 2:41 PM on March 1, 2005


Reading this thread and a few others, I actually think a lot of people will start using that Metafilter killfile. It might be a good thing. I tried to killfile myself for kicks but never could get it working. I had no real desire to get rid of anyone, but I think it might actually be good for the site if some people did not have to see anything from certain posters.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 2:42 PM on March 1, 2005


scarabic... missed your question and I'm guessing you're pointing to me. u.n. owen didn't ask anything of me. I felt bad and offered assistance. My bad. Sorry for causing such a stir, I showed poor judgement. I've had my moment of indirect infamy. Can we all move along?
--FlamingBore

My question was more whether she knew about it before you posted it, and it appears that she did, and gave her consent to the idea. But I'm glad to know she didn't approach you with the idea. That woulda been a lot worse.
posted by scarabic at 2:49 PM on March 1, 2005


you fuckers are a real hoot.
posted by quonsar at 2:54 PM on March 1, 2005 [1 favorite]


justifying doing so by explicitly or implicitly stating that they are more worthy than she

I never said this or implied this. My point was merely "life sucks all over". I certainly wasn't asking for donations from anyone. Frankly, I don't need them at all anymore. Plus, I'd be the first to admit: I'm *not* worthy. I'm an adult capable of doing basic math and living on a budget. The fact that I got overdrawn was nobody's fault but my own.

EB you read a bit much into what people say. And calling myself and others completely worthless human beings (or whatever, I'm paraphrasing) is a bit much. Surely some of us would make decent organ donors or something. :D
posted by beth at 2:55 PM on March 1, 2005


uno:

I don't mind suggestions -- in fact, those were some of the best parts of the thread -- but I think it contributes more and more to the feeling of metafilter-as-boyzone when people respond as they did.


Can we PLEASE fucking stop this "Mefi is a boyzone" complaint? It's old, it doesn't hold water in this particular case (note that not all of the people making "inappropriate" comments identify as male), and dilutes the real issues in favor of one that is hard to defend and even harder to rebut.

Just a guess, as I haven't done the research, but the same people who cry "boyzone" are likely the ones who triumph in the knowledge that this is a politically left-leaning site and discount the conservative minority's attempts to paint mefi with the brush of liberalism with a "get over yourself. You choose to post here" attitude.

I would humbly suggest that these people take their own advice. At the risk of being branded a conservative (oh NO!!! though I feel compelled to explain that such a tarnish is not accurate), I'd like to point out that when political correctness takes the overtone of righteous indignation it's lost what little effect it already possessed.

Metafilter: Get over yourselves.
posted by aberrant at 2:57 PM on March 1, 2005 [1 favorite]


Ethereal Blight, you spend the greater part of your day obsessing and overanalyzing the most banal horseshit on the planet. Do yourself a favor and stop pretending to have all the mental ailments and wealth of knowledge you so diligentely attempt to convey to anyone who happens to be around you at the time. You're a bald, peerless loser who has no place in calling people pathetic.

It's no coincidence that half of the people you listed as pathetic are the people that make fun of your irritating behavior in #mefi on a regular basis and use you as a butt of many jokes. Quit taking things so personally and get a job, and a life, Mr. Lebowski.
posted by angry modem at 3:03 PM on March 1, 2005 [1 favorite]


you just pissed on his carpet!
posted by matteo at 3:17 PM on March 1, 2005


So the girl gets $250 bucks......from a total of maybe 3000 active posters. WOW. Big deal. No one came round and said give to the lady or we shoot your dog.
Machoegofilter. So it gets a little rough so does life. Get one. There's the little ! tab for people who want to cry to daddy. However I suspect some people want to see a formal contest in the ring so to speak.
Until the next train wreck...........
posted by adamvasco at 3:20 PM on March 1, 2005


I'd welcome a thousand naked Suicide Girl ads over another one of either of these threads. There sure are a lot of angry, nasty, petty people around here and that's a lot more embarrassing than a couple of boobs could ever be.
posted by LeeJay at 3:23 PM on March 1, 2005


There's the little ! tab for people who want to cry to daddy.

That, I am ashamed to say, made me laugh.
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 3:25 PM on March 1, 2005


Kindall is the only person here who transcends the parent-teacher bridge.
posted by Man O' Straw at 3:28 PM on March 1, 2005


what i can't get over is that everyone is pretending that these two threads weren't entertaining as all fuck.

you've got all the classic dramatic elements. money, greed, lies, love, hate, trembling, rage, sex.

why, i've gone through two bags of popcorn in just these u.n. owen threads.

we're not fucking drama queens, we're drama HOUNDS, and the sooner we admit it, the better we all will feel.

for instance, how see-thru is someone's indignation who chimes in at the bottom of a >100 post thread? *looks at tr33hugga*
posted by Hat Maui at 3:36 PM on March 1, 2005


Hat Maui - I'm so going to start using Drama Hound now. Thank you!
posted by FlamingBore at 3:39 PM on March 1, 2005


don't you start, FlamingBore. next you'll be posting to the grey: "has everyone noticed that Hat Maui needs some fiscal help in his drama seeking? [more inside]
posted by Hat Maui at 3:41 PM on March 1, 2005


"Hi, my name is Quartermass. I am a drama hound."


Hey, I do feel a little better.
posted by Quartermass at 3:48 PM on March 1, 2005


Reading this thread and a few others, I actually think a lot of people will start using that Metafilter killfile.

Wait. What? We have killfiles? Where?

(I remember somebody tried to make one, once, but I don't think it worked, right?)
posted by gd779 at 3:58 PM on March 1, 2005


Woof
posted by adamvasco at 4:00 PM on March 1, 2005


If you feel the need to vomit up there, just swallow it.
posted by kindall at 4:03 PM on March 1, 2005


And how did you feel, being denied these hungry, hungry hippos?
posted by Man O' Straw at 4:06 PM on March 1, 2005


No Duh. Duh is a product of fear.
posted by flashboy at 4:14 PM on March 1, 2005


The amen can go hang but I still want my damn apology.

And my house-pooping, cash-crapping shetland pony. And maybe a Drama Hound, just a small one in a sailor suit.
posted by longbaugh at 4:17 PM on March 1, 2005


longbaugh, that's at least the fourth time you've demanded that damn apology in this thread. Give it a rest.

I've learned that the more I demand an apology, the less satisfied I am when I get one.
posted by mcwetboy at 4:33 PM on March 1, 2005


Longbaugh - I'm sorry. OK?
posted by tristeza at 4:42 PM on March 1, 2005


Though round here it seems more meeeow than woof
posted by adamvasco at 4:45 PM on March 1, 2005


MetaFilter: more meeeow than woof.
posted by Man O' Straw at 4:53 PM on March 1, 2005


someone please kill this thread. it's like watching a rom full of people try to kill each other with Kevorkian machines.
posted by shmegegge at 4:57 PM on March 1, 2005


room. a room full of people.
posted by shmegegge at 4:58 PM on March 1, 2005


To the people complaining about my comments... are you fucking kidding me?

I'll agree that the NSFW link was perhaps inappropriate and certainly a cheap addition to the melee. I'm not the first to be guilty of such shenanigans. At the point in the thread, I didn't think it mattered. I did warn you it was "not safe for work". So if you clicked on it, tough shit.

The "WHORE" comment was a joke (although not that far off the mark)... sorry you didn't get it. As for the rest of my comments, where is the "bile" and disgust? Gimme a break.
posted by Witty at 5:18 PM on March 1, 2005


First we all scream for less moderation, and then this happens. Good job, guys.

u.n. owen, I am truly surprised and sorry that people were so vicious to you.
posted by grouse at 5:18 PM on March 1, 2005


Let's not forget that Metafilter has responded supremely in the past to non-solicited charitable causes. (Well, I can think of one). I see no reason to start setting things in stone. Truth is, that every now and again somebody will ask for some help. They'll get a bit of help from the nicer / more gullible members (delete as applicable) and dependent on the perceived trustworthiness of the poster, there will be either anger or charity. flamingbores request resulted in anger. If Madam Jujujive had asked us to help out a struggling pretty_generic, the response would have been completely different.

To u n owen I'd say, don't take this personally. It's how the group ensures that we're not seen as easy targets. I've every belief that things are difficult for you, and it appears sad that the MetaFilter charitable response is so draconion but neither your nor flamingbore's reputation (more so flamingbore) is strong enough for you to ask what you asked of the group.

If you must think of the almost hysterical response, think of it in terms of a Spam Filter classifying your request as a false positive.

To answer the original question. There is no line. Group concencus will route around the most probable rip offs.
posted by seanyboy at 5:25 PM on March 1, 2005


I disagree, seanyboy. Apparently leaving it up to group consensus results in shit storms. Understandably. Matt ought to pipe up at this point and give his input and then close the thread. I vote for absolutely no personal financial requests here, and for larger charity requests going through Matt.
posted by squirrel at 5:48 PM on March 1, 2005


If Madam Jujujive had asked us to help out a struggling pretty_generic, the response would have been completely different.

PayPal ***@gmail.com, all currencies gratefully received. Trying to get myself through college here. I promise to/not to [delete as applicable] spend it on hookers.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 6:19 PM on March 1, 2005


First we all scream for less moderation, and then this happens. Good job, guys.

The first thread was closed at exactly the right moment - just before it became another AlexReynolds scatfight. This one drifted way off topic a long time ago, but clearly the community here has some issues it wants to resolve with itself.
posted by Ryvar at 6:25 PM on March 1, 2005


To the people complaining about my comments... are you fucking kidding me?

I am not "fucking kidding" when I say that I find you to have no redeeming qualities whatsoever. Your sole purpose in belonging to MeFi appears to be to amuse yourself at the expense of others, and you do so in a mean-spirited manner.

The MetaFilter network would be better-off without your presence. I can think of no other user I'd sooner see leave us for good.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:31 PM on March 1, 2005


Wow...what a train wreck this place has become.

You mean to say, dejah, that MeFi never saw fiascos like this until recently? I'd call that debatable, at least.

On preview, walk away from the keyboard, five fresh. You're locked into a bizarre and ugly groove right now, and each post only makes it worse. You're not the only one, but christ you're in no position to be yelling about others poisoning the atmosphere around here.
posted by mediareport at 6:36 PM on March 1, 2005


Monoculture: boring teaparty of people with objects rammed a wee bit too tight for circulation.

Contrariwise: diversity of opinion, good.
posted by nearlife at 6:39 PM on March 1, 2005



First we all scream for less moderation, and then this happens


heh. you wouldn't know a train wreck if you saw one.
it's clear from this thread that the n00bs are a bunch of pantywaists.
posted by quonsar at 6:43 PM on March 1, 2005 [1 favorite]


*Turns pint glass upside down on bar top*
posted by adamvasco at 7:15 PM on March 1, 2005


I think that fff has just seen, for the first time, the true face of the beast we call MetaFilter. I'd seen it before, but it just shocked me this morning. Whatever community was once to be found here is long dead, unless you are perhaps looking for a community based on vitriol and snark.

What's really surprising, to me, is that so few people are opposing this sort of crap. If we could all agree that some of us had crossed the line, then anger wouldn't be justified or necessary. Everybody makes mistakes, that's not a big deal. But I think most people here, to say nothing of the offenders themselves, believe that u.n. owen deserved what she got, that the whole thing was permissible. And that's just not right.
posted by gd779 at 7:25 PM on March 1, 2005


the true face of the beast we call MetaFilter

Jesus. And here I though I was skilled at hyperbole.

Metafilter: Please mark hand with 666 before posting.
posted by Ryvar at 7:40 PM on March 1, 2005


I think that fff has just seen, for the first time, the true face of the beast we call MetaFilter. I'd seen it before, but it just shocked me this morning. Whatever community was once to be found here is long dead, unless you are perhaps looking for a community based on vitriol and snark.

I'm looking for a community based on sensationalism and hyperbole. Have I found it?
posted by underer at 7:45 PM on March 1, 2005


I'm looking for a community based on sensationalism and hyperbole. Have I found it?

By Jove and Hitler, a thousand million horsefucking times no!
posted by Krrrlson at 7:49 PM on March 1, 2005 [2 favorites]


we could use a few good horsefuckings around here. then it would truly be like the old days.
posted by quonsar at 7:53 PM on March 1, 2005


I think a lot of the anger and suspicion in the thread was actually people being protective towards members like amberglow whom they felt u.n.owen might be taking advantage of.
posted by Tarrama at 7:58 PM on March 1, 2005


I think that fff has just seen, for the first time, the true face of the beast we call MetaFilter. I'd seen it before, but it just shocked me this morning. Whatever community was once to be found here is long dead, unless you are perhaps looking for a community based on vitriol and snark.

Oh stop being such a Drama Queen!
posted by Dreamghost at 8:01 PM on March 1, 2005


« Older Hotlinking... In the Ryan thre...  |  Census Time! Which valued (or... Newer »

This thread is closed to new comments.