It's not ok to link to NAMBLA
July 22, 2005 11:54 AM   Subscribe

"A link to NAMBLA is just wrong". I agree. At least on the front page, it's wrong. (more inside)
posted by matteo to Etiquette/Policy at 11:54 AM (150 comments total)

This is a very popular website, apparently, and we're giving the NAMBLA people traffic, courtesy of our Front Page. I don't care about NSFW tags, it's a bad precedent.
posted by matteo at 11:56 AM on July 22, 2005


I thought this was a [insert sexual orientation] friendly site?
posted by dios at 12:02 PM on July 22, 2005


I know we're sex-for-money friendly but I'm not sure about pedophilia.
posted by beth at 12:05 PM on July 22, 2005


Hey, if Dios says pedophilia is a sexual orientation, it must be true.
posted by Rothko at 12:05 PM on July 22, 2005


Oh, it's a very [insert sexual orientation] friendly site, dios. It's only when people start advocating the insertion of their respective sexual orientations into non-consenting children that things get a little hostile.

That said, does anyone else think dios has a sexual attraction to straw men?
posted by Faint of Butt at 12:10 PM on July 22, 2005


Rothko : "Hey, if Dios says pedophilia is a sexual orientation, it must be true."

Has he said that?
posted by Bugbread at 12:11 PM on July 22, 2005


Haven't we discussed the various female-teachers-seducing-their-young-male-students cases here without a problem though?
posted by beth at 12:14 PM on July 22, 2005


He may have linked to them, but you mentioned their name which is surely just as bad.

NABLA is "just wrong". A link to them, in the context of yet another metafilter post about how crazy some shit on the web is, is not.
posted by sfenders at 12:15 PM on July 22, 2005


(See, I didn't even give them the courtesy of spelling it right. Ha! Victory!)
posted by sfenders at 12:16 PM on July 22, 2005


Has he said that?

Yes, indeedy.
posted by Rothko at 12:17 PM on July 22, 2005


"NAMBLA does not provide encouragement, referrals or assistance for people seeking sexual contacts. NAMBLA does not engage in any activities that violate the law, nor do we advocate that anyone else should do so." (ref.)

I think they are totally creepy, but I don't think they should be censored. As long as they abide by the law, I don't mind that they challenge it. We should tolerate this.

Allen Ginsberg was a (vocal) member, and they have several prominent academics and sexologists speaking in their favor. Again, I disagree with them absolutely, but I don't want to shut them up.
posted by ori at 12:18 PM on July 22, 2005


If it was a site advocating the rape of women, it would be deleted. NAMBLA's whole stance is that men should be able to fuck kids. Metafilter could probably do without giving any publicity to their organization.
posted by angry modem at 12:18 PM on July 22, 2005


That said, does anyone else think dios has a sexual attraction to straw men?

Ha! A culmusexual! Awesome.
posted by Rothko at 12:20 PM on July 22, 2005


Haven't we discussed the various female-teachers-seducing-their-young-male-students cases here without a problem though?

There is a difference between an adult woman seducing a 15 year old boy and an adult male raping a toddler.

Second matteo. Horrible post that should have been deleted.
posted by mlis at 12:20 PM on July 22, 2005


Faint of Butt: "Oh, it's a very [insert sexual orientation] friendly site, dios. It'sonly when people start advocating the insertion of their respectivesexual orientations into non-consenting children that things get alittle hostile.

"We condemn sexual abuse and all forms of coercion. Freely-chosen relationships differ from unwanted sex." (ref.)

posted by ori at 12:20 PM on July 22, 2005


Nam Pla
posted by brownpau at 12:22 PM on July 22, 2005 [1 favorite]


MLIS: "There is a difference between an adult woman seducing a 15 year old boy and an adult male raping a toddler."

Do you see anything about toddlers? Maybe I missed it.
posted by ori at 12:23 PM on July 22, 2005


Hmmm.... I hadn't planned to read it since it wasn't a link that would interest me in the slightest, but I took it as humor/ irony. Maybe it should go, upon reflection.
posted by puddinghead at 12:24 PM on July 22, 2005


I seem to recall one of the teachers having started her affair with her student when he was 12 or some such...

But I am too lazy to dig up links.
posted by beth at 12:25 PM on July 22, 2005


I don't like censorship on moral grounds. NAMBLA is the least defensible moral institution I could name, but when deciding matters of principle, aren't you *supposed* to use the worst case as an example? If we censor this, we have to figure out where to draw the line, and it will wind up somewhere in the not-so-obvious moral territory we enjoy exploring/debating as a group. Discourage? Sure. Censor? No.
posted by scarabic at 12:25 PM on July 22, 2005


What scarabic said, pretty much.
posted by ori at 12:27 PM on July 22, 2005


Rothko : "Yes, indeedy."

I think you mislinked that, it just goes back to your comment earlier in this thread.
posted by Bugbread at 12:28 PM on July 22, 2005


Ok this memory is really really foggy but bear with me for a second...

Wasn't there a site discussed on mefi way back that basically took non-sexual pictures of prepubescent children and showed them in a sexual context, as in, surrounded by erotic poetry about adults getting sexually aroused by them?

And I thought after mefi poured attention its way that the site actually went down / disappeared / what have you.

Anyone remember this?
posted by beth at 12:30 PM on July 22, 2005


It should go to Dios' comment, the second comment in this thread.
posted by Rothko at 12:31 PM on July 22, 2005


Fair cop. I had either misread or misinterpreted his comment, and thought you were referring to something in the original thread. Sorry.
posted by Bugbread at 12:32 PM on July 22, 2005


If it was a site advocating the rape of women, it would be deleted.

How about a site proposing the legalization of marijuana? Near as I can tell NAMBLA suggests changning the law about something currently illegal and considered immoral. How is a pot legalization site different? This "just wrong" moral compass doesn't take us very far, does it?

Distasteful as it is, if some site advocated the legalization of the rape of women, it would have to go uncensored. For one thing, the whole "why give them traffic?" argument doesn't hold up, either. What about shining a light on something despicable so we can all be aware of the corruption in our midst, discuss it, respond to it, ultimately stamp it out? That takes some moral courage. Censorship is a policy of denial.
posted by scarabic at 12:34 PM on July 22, 2005


If we censor this, we have to figure out where to draw the line, and it will wind up somewhere in the not-so-obvious moral territory we enjoy exploring/debating as a group.

Here, I will draw a bright-line rule for you:

NAMBLA promotes pedophilia. Resolved: links to NAMBLA on Metafilter should not be allowed.
posted by mlis at 12:34 PM on July 22, 2005


Can anyone explain to me why the amount of web traffic they get is in any way meaningful, other than perhaps raising their bandwidth charges? Seriously - why is that a big deal?
posted by kyrademon at 12:35 PM on July 22, 2005


I agree with scarabic.
posted by OmieWise at 12:35 PM on July 22, 2005


On preview: First comment, I haven't thought about the second one yet.
posted by OmieWise at 12:36 PM on July 22, 2005


I visisted the site and now I have the pedophilia.

(not really though)
posted by ODiV at 12:38 PM on July 22, 2005


Like I tried to say in the Blue, Americans who can't handle freedom should move to China. Furthermore, foreigners who can't handle freedom should avoid moving here. That is, scarabic is half right.

If people could learn to accept the idea of "free speech" the Grey would get a lot less traffic.

[Did the "Post Comment" and "Preview" buttons change locations? And what happened to the spellcheck?]
posted by davy at 12:38 PM on July 22, 2005


Well, I still think the FPP is terrible, but after all, I deliberately did not click on the NAMBLA link for the precise reason of not wanting to a) have the site in my internet usage history and b) support the site in the way of traffic.

So censorship? Maybe not. Deleting the post because it plain old sucks? Yeah.

Do you see anything about toddlers? Maybe I missed it.

ori, I believe that NAMBLA members do not like adolescents (or even pre-adolescents), they like children.

On preview: although Rothko is being deliberately inflammatory, he's got a point about dios referring pedophilia as a sexual orientation. But then, dios is nothing if not deliberatley inflammatory himself...
posted by Specklet at 12:41 PM on July 22, 2005


It's a bad FPP for the simple reason that it lacks that intangible best-of-web quality, not because it links to a NAMBLA affiliate.

On preview, Scarabic nails it.
posted by Rothko at 12:41 PM on July 22, 2005


Alex, do you have any scientific proof it isn't an orientation?

You obviously believe that males being attracted to males is an orientation. On what basis do you suggest that a 30 year old male being attracted to a consenting 15 year old male isn't an orientation, as well? For someone who is so vocal about demanding acceptance for a particular orientation, its a little off-putting to see such a reaction to similar orientation only with an age component.

I understand you don't like hearing about some group of people who sexual activities aren't your own. But, this is but one link. Now, I could see how annoyed and tired of hearing about it you could get if there were posts practically every day talking about different issues with that orientation, though.
posted by dios at 12:43 PM on July 22, 2005


davy : "And what happened to the spellcheck?"

Spellcheck is now in the little grey bar with "B I link"

kyrademon : "Can anyone explain to me why the amount of web traffic they get is in any way meaningful, other than perhaps raising their bandwidth charges? Seriously - why is that a big deal?"

I'd like to know as well. Are we worried about Alexa ranking, or what?
posted by Bugbread at 12:45 PM on July 22, 2005


How about a site proposing the legalization of marijuana? Near as I can tell NAMBLA suggests changning the law about something currently illegal and considered immoral. How is a pot legalization site different? This "just wrong" moral compass doesn't take us very far, does it?

Ok, you are equating a group that wants to legalize pot with a group that promotes and advocates for the "right" to have sex with children (yes, toddlers are included)?

Wow. . .just. . .wow
posted by mlis at 12:46 PM on July 22, 2005


Dios, have you ever been to a Turkish prison?
posted by selfnoise at 12:48 PM on July 22, 2005


dios : "Alex, do you have any scientific proof it isn't an orientation?"

I dunno, according to wikipedia (and what I've always thought), sexual orientation is "the sex or gender of people who are the focus of a person's amorous or erotic desires, fantasies, and spontaneous feelings, the gender(s) one is primarily "oriented" towards." So unless children are a different gender than male or female, pedophilia would be, by definition, not a sexual orientation.
posted by Bugbread at 12:49 PM on July 22, 2005


Alex, do you have any scientific proof it isn't an orientation?

I rely on psychologists' analysis of child molesters. Molestation/rape is about power, not sex. Ipso facto it is not a sexual orientation, although a sexual act may be involved in the course of assault.
posted by Rothko at 12:51 PM on July 22, 2005


bugbread, I wasn't aware of that defintion being limited to gender. It seems the conceptual framework behind the term ought to permit an age factor.
posted by dios at 12:52 PM on July 22, 2005


If for no other reason, that post should get killed because of the completely asinine discussion it spawned.
posted by Galvatron at 12:53 PM on July 22, 2005


I rely on psychologists' analysis of child molesters. Molestation/rape is about power, not sex. Ipso facto it is not a sexual orientation, although a sexual act may be involved in the course of assault.
posted by Rothko at 12:51 PM PST on July 22 [!]


Can we get a confirmation from someone who knows what this group stands for?

Do they advocate rape of newborn infants? Or is a situation more like the consentual 30 year old on 15 year old thing I posited above?

Alex's demonization of the group because of who they are attracted to seems to very likely skewed.
posted by dios at 12:55 PM on July 22, 2005


Alex's demonization of the group because of who they are attracted to seems to very likely skewed.

Don't play devil's advocate, Dios; you'd have to change your name to something less ironic.
posted by Rothko at 12:57 PM on July 22, 2005


dios : "It seems the conceptual framework behind the term ought to permit an age factor."

But I thought the conceptual framework behind the term is that people's tastes in human-on-human sex fall on a spectrum between male and female, and that sexual orientation is the term to describe position on that particular axis. If you factor age into it, you're no longer working on a single axis, but adding multiple axises, at which point you could just as well add favored height, hair color, etc., resulting in sexual orientation meaning the same as sexual tastes.

After all, the conceptual framework upon which the term "mass" is built includes volume, length, electrical resistance, and the like, but you don't hear people argue that the term mass should include any of those.

Rothko : "I rely on psychologists' analysis of child molesters. Molestation/rape is about power, not sex."

Can you link us up? I've read that child molestation is primarily about power, but I've never read that it's not about sex.
posted by Bugbread at 12:58 PM on July 22, 2005


Near as I can tell NAMBLA suggests changning the law about something currently illegal and considered immoral. How is a pot legalization site different? This "just wrong" moral compass doesn't take us very far, does it?

This is a gross oversimplification, unless you do not think there are such things as 'morals'. To simply describe NAMBLA in the language of any public interest group is disingenuous and insulting, as well as comparing their advocacy as an analog for legalization groups like NORML.

Let's look at what acts the two groups promote:

One is an arbitrary, non-consensual, abusive act where one person is being coerced and violated. As you have euphemized their goals, they euphemize their behavior by calling it man-boy 'love.' The other is an individual act where and individual enjoys some bud and coerces nobody.

Naturally, you covered your tracks by appending that statement with some clever sophistry about censorship. What do you think about incitement, scarabic?
posted by tweak at 12:59 PM on July 22, 2005


Its a crap FPP and a link to a site that promotes an atmosphere of pedophilia. We don't let hate sites inhabit the front page, do we? Why let one that advocates what amounts to a hate crime against children?

Also, FWIW, I didn't click the link for many of the same reasons above. And that I don't care in the least what the pedophilia set thinks about Harry Potter.
posted by fenriq at 1:00 PM on July 22, 2005


Attraction to children would be classed as a paraphilia in psychological terms, the same way that attraction to shoes or to shit would be. Attraction to one gender or the other would be referred to as sexual orientation. (Homosexuality was previously and mistakenly listed as a paraphilia in earlier editions of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The classifications given above are now accepted.)
posted by OmieWise at 1:02 PM on July 22, 2005


Do they advocate rape of newborn infants? Or is a situation more like the consentual 30 year old on 15 year old thing I posited above?

I have not been to their site, but I saw a 60-minutes type story (perhaps by 60 Minutes; I don't remember) many years ago, and it was definitely Man-Boy not Man-Young Man. In other words, prepubescents.

I have little patience with the argument that there's some sort of continuum of sexuality and if you're tolerant of anything other than purely monogamous hetero sex, then you should be tolerant of everything else. This sort of argument is often used by people who want to compare sex between two adult males with sex between a person and an animal or sex between an adult and a child in order to make homosexuality appear evil. Senator Santorum leaps to mind.

It is really not that hard to say that having sex with a prepubescent boy is fundamentally different from sex between consenting adults. The line is informed consent, and it's relatively easy to draw. Or if the exact location of the line is difficult (15 or 16 or 18), the activities that NAMBLA wants to allow are nowhere near the gray areas.
posted by anapestic at 1:05 PM on July 22, 2005


Thanks OmieWISE
posted by terrapin at 1:10 PM on July 22, 2005


Wasn't there a site discussed on mefi way back that basically took non-sexual pictures of prepubescent children and showed them in a sexual context, as in, surrounded by erotic poetry about adults getting sexually aroused by them?

Beth: yep, but I can't find the darned thing.
posted by frykitty at 1:13 PM on July 22, 2005


It is really not that hard to say that having sex with a prepubescent boy is fundamentally different from sex between consenting adults.

so easy, we could perhaps make up our own minds without matteo saving us from the trouble?
posted by andrew cooke at 1:14 PM on July 22, 2005


But I thought the conceptual framework behind the term is that people's tastes in human-on-human sex fall on a spectrum between male and female, and that sexual orientation is the term to describe position on that particular axis. If you factor age into it, you're no longer working on a single axis, but adding multiple axises, at which point you could just as well add favored height, hair color, etc., resulting in sexual orientation meaning the same as sexual tastes.
posted by bugbread at 12:58 PM PST on July 22


That makes sense to me. Good point.

It is really not that hard to say that having sex with a prepubescent boy is fundamentally different from sex between consenting adults. The line is informed consent, and it's relatively easy to draw. Or if the exact location of the line is difficult (15 or 16 or 18), the activities that NAMBLA wants to allow are nowhere near the gray areas.
posted by anapestic at 1:05 PM PST on July 22


Thanks for the explanation, anapestic. To be honest, I was not certain of the group's goals. I never bothered to check them out. I just had an understand, from wherever derived, that it was more like a 30-15 thing. If it's more like 30-5, then I definitely see the issue of consent being outcome determinative.
posted by dios at 1:14 PM on July 22, 2005


OmieWise : "Homosexuality was previously and mistakenly listed as a paraphilia"

I'm not sure I can follow the use of "mistakenly" there. It was seen as deviant behaviour at the time, and is no longer seen as so, but since deviance is defined by societal mores, how was it 'mistaken'? Isn't that like saying that Alaska was mistakenly classified as being part of Russia before 1867, because it was later purchased from them?
posted by Bugbread at 1:15 PM on July 22, 2005


Like I tried to say in the Blue, Americans who can't handle freedom should move to China. That is, scarabic is half right.

Furthermore, foreigners who can't handle freedom should avoid moving here.

And if people could learn to accept the idea of "free speech" then the Grey would get a lot less traffic.

And specklet, I believe that you are wrong about what NAMBLA likes -- unless they've totally changed from the '70s, '80s and '90s when I'd see them and read their handouts at Gay Pride events. I actually don't have time now (on the Friday evening of Lebowskifest) to sit here and read NAMBLA's web site and continue this argument, but my hunch is actually doing so would be educational for most of the participants in this thread. If NAMBLA has changed I'll be happy to admit it, of course.

[Did the "Post Comment" and "Preview" buttons change locations? And what happened to the spellcheck?]
posted by davy at 1:18 PM on July 22, 2005


From the horse's mouth:

NAMBLA's goal is to end the extreme oppression of men and boys in mutually consensual relationships by:

building understanding and support for such relationships;
educating the general public on the benevolent nature of man/boy love;
cooperating with lesbian, gay, feminist, and other liberation movements;
supporting the liberation of persons of all ages from sexual prejudice and oppression
.

The sticking point for me being "consensual". 30 & 15? Maybe. 30 & 5? No way.
posted by Specklet at 1:21 PM on July 22, 2005


who can't handle freedom

freedom of molestation?
posted by matteo at 1:21 PM on July 22, 2005


oh, davy, Americans who can't understand the word "boy" should move to China, too. maybe, over there, an English-speaking Chinese person will teach them a bit of English.
posted by matteo at 1:23 PM on July 22, 2005


Some things are just inappropriate for the site. Hard core porn is one example. NAMBLA is about the same. It's Matt's call, but that stuff just isn't right for MetaFilter.
posted by caddis at 1:25 PM on July 22, 2005


I just wanna say, brownpau made me laugh for the first time in 7.5 hours. I have nothing further to add.
posted by scratch at 1:26 PM on July 22, 2005


freedom of molestation?

my browser just molested me? i wondered what that was.
posted by andrew cooke at 1:31 PM on July 22, 2005


davy writes "Did the 'Post Comment' and 'Preview' buttons change locations? And what happened to the spellcheck?"

The post where the new live preview feature was discussed can be found here. This new Meta thread knocked it off the front page. You should find your answers there.
posted by terrapin at 1:34 PM on July 22, 2005


Do they advocate rape of newborn infants? Or is a situation more like the consentual 30 year old on 15 year old thing I posited above?

Has anyone else looked at the site? The group is fairly circumspect about what it does advocate besides legal reform that removes "age of consent" type laws. I've been reading over the site for a bit now and I have to say that I think some of the "OMFG they screw babies!" is a bit out of line, unless someone has information other than what I've been reading, and what I know about the group generally which sort of matches what davy said.

That said, I know that NAMBLA can also be a cover for creeps, however I think the same can be said for other organizations that don't get this sort of treatment. I know that many people believe that people who are underage can not consent to sexual activity, especially with adults. That said the Wikipedia entry [which is a very actively edited page that is SFW] seems to say two things that seemed important
"...media reports have suggested that for practical purposes the group no longer exists and that it consists only of a web site maintained by a few enthusiasts. NAMBLA maintains a web site at http://www.nambla.org that shows addresses in New York and San Francisco and a phone contact in New York, and offers publications for sale, including the NAMBLA Bulletin."

"Suspicion pertaining to the group's activities led both the U.S. Senate and U.S. Postal Service to conduct investigations of the group, both of which concluded without allegations of legal impropriety."
That said, the only way the site is NSFW is if you think NSFW extends to ideas as well as images, which was not my understanding of it, but I've been wrong before. Visually the site is dull, has few images -- none that were NSFW themselves -- and is not particularly interesting to look at.

dflemingdotorg included the name of the site after the link in case people moused-over and didn't get where the IP address went to. I don't think it's a great post, maybe not best of the web, but it gave people some good things to talk about and I think it was fairly straightforward in explaining what it was linking to.

I guess the question is whether NAMBLA is just an oogyboogeyman just-barely-there group that makes people feel squicky when they think about it, but does no actual harm, or if their ideas and/or actions are so dangerous that they're equivalent to inciting people to commit criminal acts. If someone has information other than what I've been reading that could clear this up, I'd love to read it.
posted by jessamyn at 1:38 PM on July 22, 2005


Can you link us up? I've read that child molestation is primarily about power, but I've never read that it's not about sex.

Bugbread, it sounds like I'm hand-waving but I don't have literature on me at this very moment.

From what I understand, however, the "power" aspect I am referring to is understood colloquially as the "feminist" theory on sexual assault, with the establishment of a patriarchal relationship between dominant and submissive parties — the sex of the parties involved is incidental to the power relationship, although commonly male and female, respectively. In child molestation the submissive party is the child.

There is a competing and controversial "evolutionary" theory that might tip the scale further in your direction, which suggests that sexual assault stems from mate selection pressure under stressful reproductive conditions (e.g. starvation, disease, etc.), though this is contentious given that rape as a behavior continues even with the lack of most stresses.
posted by Rothko at 1:43 PM on July 22, 2005


Does no actual harm? I think we can safely assume that at least some of the people who support the abolishment of age-of-consent laws are engaging in sexual activities with people below the age of consent. And NAMBLA is known specifically for the member's interest in boys (again, not adolescent or pre-adolescent, although of course there will be people who are attracted to both).
posted by Specklet at 1:48 PM on July 22, 2005


Rothko:

Thanks. I understand not having resources immediately on-hand, and I won't take that as hand-waving (but, on the other hand, I won't take it on faith either, so it's a statement-on-hold, like me telling you I had curry for dinner: you would neither disbelieve it nor believe it unless presented with evidence otherwise, I would assume).

I think one of the several things that always threw me on the "it's not sex, it's power" issue (as opposed to the "it's more about power than sex", which I'm more prone to believe) is that, from what I understand, child molestors tend to molest one gender more than the other (by which I mean, Bob T. Molestor may almost exclusively molest girls, while John E. Molestor may almost exclusively molest boys, not that all molestors favor boys over girls or vice-versa). If sex wasn't an issue, I doubt there would be so much focus by individuals on what genders they chose to molest.

Again, that's not evidence, either, just explaining why I'm reluctant to take the position "it's not about sex" on faith.
posted by Bugbread at 1:51 PM on July 22, 2005


my browser just molested me? i wondered what that was.

They don't call 'em browser plugins for nothing, you know.
posted by me & my monkey at 1:57 PM on July 22, 2005


First they came for the rape haiku, and I did not speak out because I was not a rape haiku'er.
Then they came for NAMBLA ...
posted by mr_crash_davis at 1:58 PM on July 22, 2005


"I rely on psychologists' analysis of child molesters. Molestation/rape is about power, not sex."

Yes and no. With both sexual abuse of children and rape there is likely a spectrum ranging from predominantly sexual to predominantly subjugation. Especially with paraphilias, it's more likely to be on the sexual side. And yet, most molesters and most rapists (certainly stranger rapists) are more likely to lie on the subjugation side. Does that make sense? It may seem not to, but you have to consider the distinction between people who have a certain sexual fixation involving something highly illegal and disapproved and those who act on that fixation. The latter group are going to be distinct from the former in some ways, and the sociopathy involved in their expression of their fixation implies many things unrelated to sex.

The "rape is about power, not sex" is an overstated but necessary corrective for the previous dominant belief that rape is all about sex and the implicit blaming the victim that went along with that belief.

My understanding and personal experience with child molesters is that it is certainly very much about power. But again, these are the people that are willing to deeply violate the social norm. I'm always astonished at the ability for molesters to rationalize: completely independent from the inherent morality of adult-child sexual relations, there is the undeniable fact that our culture so highly stigmatizes it that within the context of our culture, such relations are necessarily harmful to the child. And a child cannot possibly give informed and self-responsible consent in that situation.

Now, in this context, while we may be very suspicious of groups like NAMBLA, assuming they do not engage in this behavior but only advocate social change, then (looking at direct effects only) you cannot condemn them unless you are quite certain that the act itself is inherently immoral. That places you firmly in the camp of moral absolutists, which is typically not a leftist moral position; and it means that you must unequivocably condemn all such acts in current and historical cultures where it was considered perfectly acceptable.

The comparison of (advocating) pedophilia to (advocating) the rape of adult women (or men) is provocative but questionable. To be qualitatively the same, both must be an inherently violent act and for that to apply to all pedophilia we must then assume that all such relations are non-consensual. This is arguably not the case necessarily or historically; while, in contrast, rape by definition must be non-consensual even if culturally acceptable. If you reject that ever, in any case in any culture, pedophilia could be consensual and thus it is immoral merely on that basis, then you're led down a path that would find a great many impositions of adults on children to be suspect. Unless, of course, you believe that there's something uniquely exceptional about sexuality. Many do believe this, but I'd like to repeat that this is a very absolutist belief, not harmonious with the general tendency of the left to relativist morality.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 2:04 PM on July 22, 2005


Like I tried to say in the Blue, Americans who can't handle freedom should move to China.

And Americans who can't disagree with someone without using the "America: love it or leave it" argument should STFU.
posted by anapestic at 2:04 PM on July 22, 2005


I agree that the reduction of rape to power goes too far and fails to explain the sexual nature of the act. Pedophilia is certainly partly about power, but it's also about sex and sexual arousal.
posted by OmieWise at 2:07 PM on July 22, 2005


I think the activities of most NAMBLA members is clearly offensive, but NAMBLA is also a running joke on South Park and The Daily Show and it's always interesting to hear about popular culture through the creepy ass lens of someone in a fringe group.

I'm not entirely comfortable with links to nambla on mefi either, but I didn't see anything totally offensive aside from the ideas (thoughtcrime!). I thought we could all take the high road, but it's clear people are really against it.

I'll delete it because of the wishes of most people here, but I think it's possible to discuss a site like this or the KKK or something else in a constructive way (this post in question isn't really it, we're all kind of laughing at one kook looking for something in a story).
posted by mathowie (staff) at 2:13 PM on July 22, 2005


We don't let hate sites inhabit the front page, do we? Why let one that advocates what amounts to a hate crime against children?

Uh, what? You might want to check out nationalvanguard.org, which the FPP I just referenced links to, to see what they advocate. No one squeaked in MeTa.
posted by ori at 2:15 PM on July 22, 2005


I think it's possible to discuss a site like this or the KKK or something else in a constructive way (this post in question isn't really it, we're all kind of laughing at one kook looking for something in a story).

Wait, and the FPP in my previous post isn't?
posted by ori at 2:17 PM on July 22, 2005


Wait, and the FPP in my previous post isn't?

Not really, it was a bunch of music from some racists.

There's a big muddy gray area between offensive and not offensive and from time to time the community speaks up and says something is unacceptable. This is one of those times. For some reason, no one complained about the white power music post.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 2:27 PM on July 22, 2005


To simply describe NAMBLA in the language of any public interest group is disingenuous and insulting, as well as comparing their advocacy as an analog for legalization groups like NORML.

Some people would say that referring to a legalization lobby as a "public interest group" is

You need to learn to abstract issues if you're ever going to make any kind of judgment call or develop the thing called principles.

Arguing with people who like to throw out the principle and discuss the instance of their choice (in this case, that NAMBLA != NORML) is pointless.

If you and MLIS nderstand that this is about censorship, and not about fucking children, then you'll have a clue. Come back then.

mathowie: Your math escapes me.
posted by scarabic at 2:29 PM on July 22, 2005


"I agree that the reduction of rape to power goes too far and fails to explain the sexual nature of the act. Pedophilia is certainly partly about power, but it's also about sex and sexual arousal."

Yes, and Rothko's contention that the feminist theory of rape and the evolutionary psychology theory of rape are both monolithic and necessarily contradictory is not true. People rape for a variety of reasons, and for a variety of combinations of reasons, just as they do most everything else. The definition of the word "rape" has a very broad application: it's non-consensual sexual activity. The word is simply descriptive of the act, not the motivation of the act. Redefining the word in terms of motivation would lose as much as it would gain as, at the very least, there would be exceptional cases we could no longer call "rape" but yet would still wish to have the entire social and legal apparatus regarding rape available to sanction against it.

More useful, I think, is to continue with the simply descriptive definition of the word with regards to consent, use that as the legal and social foundation with which to sanction against it, and then to understand and categorize varieties of rape with regard to motivation as a means to differentiate for rehabilitative and punitive purposes.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 2:29 PM on July 22, 2005


People rape for a variety of reasons, and for a variety of combinations of reasons, just as they do most everything else

Raping someone is truly unimaginable to me. It's behavior I cannot understand. But I think that a LOT of things in life are "about power" as rape is often said to be. The claim that abusing someone is about power is kind of a no-brainer, in the same way that employing someone or divorcing someone or persuading someone is about power.

Sure, it's about power. Obviously. But that explains nothing to me, because so many (if not most) things are.
posted by scarabic at 2:37 PM on July 22, 2005


*looks - it's gone*

Case closed... Until next time.
posted by warbaby at 2:37 PM on July 22, 2005


Rothko's contention that the feminist theory of rape and the evolutionary psychology theory of rape are both monolithic and necessarily contradictory is not true

EB, I don't know what monolithic means in your context, especially considering the sheer youth of the evolutionary theory field, but they are certainly two theories with many conflicting aspects. [1] [2]
posted by Rothko at 2:50 PM on July 22, 2005


"Sure, it's about power. Obviously. But that explains nothing to me, because so many (if not most) things are."

I used the word "subjugation" instead of power to remove some ambiguity. Having trained and worked as a rape crisis advocate, and being pretty knowledgable about such things, I think I had a pretty good idea of what "it's about power" meant. But having come to know my ex-father-in-law, who incested my ex-wife for a number of years, I understood it much better. In his case, the sexual abuse was very clearly just a component of a larger, very scary, pathology involving domination, control, terror, and manipulation. A pathology that continues, even though the incest was stopped years ago. I have no doubt that in a large number of cases of rape and abuse it is very much about "power" and the sexuality of it is only its expression. But I also don't doubt the opposite is true, as well.

Rothko: both my use of "monolithic" and "necessarily" were very deliberate. Certainly they can be seen as being contradictory. But they need not be.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 2:58 PM on July 22, 2005


Ethereal Bligh : "Rothko: both my use of 'monolithic' and 'necessarily' were very deliberate."

Uh, EB, Rothko is saying he doesn't know what you mean by monolithic, not that he doesn't know if it was deliberate. To be honest, I know you, and I know it was deliberate, and I don't know what you mean, either. What did you mean by "monolithic"?
posted by Bugbread at 3:03 PM on July 22, 2005


EB, "monolithic" (to me) means large bodies of research, and long-held interpretations of that research. While that might hold true of feminist theory, evolutionary theory has only been around for a few years. Much of the contention about this theory even stems around uncertainty in the terminology and process involved in the research, let alone its analysis.
posted by Rothko at 3:05 PM on July 22, 2005


evolutionary theory has only been around for a few years

Wow. Don't anybody tell Darwin.
posted by grouse at 3:11 PM on July 22, 2005


I was not certain of the group's goals. I never bothered to check them out...

And yet you were more than happy to argue, loosely, in defense of them prior to actually understanding their position. This is not a surprise.
posted by juiceCake at 3:17 PM on July 22, 2005


Wow. Don't anybody tell Darwin.

Christ, for brevity I was referring clearly to the term in the discussion thread above. Is the longhand "evolutionary view of rape" necessary?
posted by Rothko at 3:17 PM on July 22, 2005


Haha. I'm pretty sure (from context) that that means "the evolutionary theory of the causes of rape".
posted by Bugbread at 3:17 PM on July 22, 2005


Whoops. Presurped on postview.
posted by Bugbread at 3:18 PM on July 22, 2005


Grouse is Christ? Actually, if you say it fast enough that may just be right.
posted by kindall at 3:29 PM on July 22, 2005


dios writes "I thought this was a [insert sexual orientation] friendly site?"

Thank you Rick "dios" Santorum...
posted by clevershark at 3:47 PM on July 22, 2005 [1 favorite]


He means "monolithic" in the sense that there is a single discrete feminist theory of rape or evolutionary psychology theory of rape. Instead, within each field there are multiple theories focusing on different aspects, based on different premises, and reaching different conclusions. As a result, theories in one field do not "necessarily" contradict theories in the other.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 3:47 PM on July 22, 2005


Grouse is Christ?

You heard it here first.
posted by grouse at 3:48 PM on July 22, 2005


Distasteful as it is, if some site advocated the legalization of the rape of women, it would have to go uncensored. For one thing, the whole "why give them traffic?" argument doesn't hold up, either. What about shining a light on something despicable so we can all be aware of the corruption in our midst, discuss it, respond to it, ultimately stamp it out? That takes some moral courage. Censorship is a policy of denial.
posted by scarabic at 12:34 PM PST on July 22 [!]


A difficult argument to make, but well said Scarabic; you truly respect freedom.

Matteo, I haven't looked closely at the NAMBLA site, but if what they advocate is truly morally repugnant on a universal level (if this is even possible) giving them traffic will only speed up their inevitable dissolution. Unless of course their arguments are so strong that they actually win converts to their cause. Either way, isn't it better to let people decide for themselves instead of deciding for them?
posted by sic at 4:04 PM on July 22, 2005


matteo D, dios K, beth D? K?, Rothko D?, Faint of Butt -, bugbeard -, sfenders K, ori K, angry modem D, MLIS D, brownpau -, puddinghead D, scarabic K, kyrademon K?,
OmieWise K, ODiV K?, davy K?, Specklet D?, selfnoise -, Galvatron D?, tweak D?, fenriq D, anapestic D?, terrapin K?, frykitty -, andrew cooke K, caddis D, scratch -, jessamyn K, me & my monkey -, mr_crash_davis K?, Ethereal Bligh K?


(D)elete - 11
(K)eep - 13
(-)unclear - 8

Note: Totals based only on this metatalk thread, up to the time of mathowie's post.

Even though much of this post is devoted to evaluating what 'most' means, I don't actually think catering to the majority is a worthy or useful goal in any way. In fact, regardless of how the majority feels, the notion that 'a link to ---- is just wrong' is repugnant.

It may well have been a crap post, I only checked in early on to see how humorous the shitstorm was going to be. However, it survived long enough to be deleted based on the opinion of 'most', so I think it was a bad deletion.
posted by Chuckles at 4:13 PM on July 22, 2005


Count me on the "keep, but close to apathy" side. I don't sweat the deletion, but if it were up in the air, I'd vote on the "keep" side.

So:

(D)elete - 11
(K)eep - 14
(-)unclear - 7

But, again, I understand it isn't really a majority or plurality issue. Just wanted to clarify your numbers.
posted by Bugbread at 4:24 PM on July 22, 2005


Chuckles and bugbread, I got a gazillion flags to add to the Delete pile.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 4:25 PM on July 22, 2005


(-)unclear - 8

Hey, what was unclear about brownpau's comment? It seemed perfectly fish sauce to me.

However, the total number of comments here is probably a better argument for deletion than anything in their content.
posted by sfenders at 4:35 PM on July 22, 2005


Ah. I tend to the "keep" direction, but after considering my position with regard to the rape haikus post, I declined to take a strong position. I suppose I would differentiate the two in that the haiku post was implicitly approving, while this one was not. However, this post seems more sensationalistic than serious, so I'm not very inclined to defend it in any case.

In the end, I don't think we as a community should expect ourselves to be unimpeachably "fair" on this sort of issue, as much as we should expect ourselves to be thoughtful.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 4:38 PM on July 22, 2005


Chuckles and bugbread, I got a gazillion flags to add to the Delete pile.
posted by mathowie at 4:25 PM PST on July 22 [!]



Thank God or Dog or whatever. NAMBLA is just wrong. Reminds of what an old wise man from West Virginia was said, "Well, hell, son, that's just as wrong as two boys a-fuckin'."
posted by snsranch at 4:45 PM on July 22, 2005


once said,
posted by snsranch at 4:46 PM on July 22, 2005


It strikes me that a NAMBLA link is no more appropriate than the BNP link that appeared fairly recently.

Both risk serving little purpose other than to bring disrepute to MeFi.
posted by clevershark at 5:02 PM on July 22, 2005


mathowie : "Chuckles and bugbread, I got a gazillion flags to add to the Delete pile."

Ah, good point.

clevershark : "It strikes me that a NAMBLA link is no more appropriate than the BNP link that appeared fairly recently."

Did the BNP post also get the axe? (Can't remember)
posted by Bugbread at 5:08 PM on July 22, 2005


Yes it did.
posted by clevershark at 5:13 PM on July 22, 2005


MeFi Department of MetaTalk Irony:
The "NAMBLA FPP" is deleted, but still accessible through this thread.

And, I'm reconsidering my defense of the "FPP" abbreviation, considering how it could be misinterpreted in this case...
posted by wendell at 5:27 PM on July 22, 2005


I got a gazillion flags to add to the Delete pile.

Remember the other day when I said there was no counterpart to flagging? You said "yes there is - use the 'fantastic post' flag."

I don't think that really applies here. No one may have considered the post fantastic, but as has been shown in this thread, lots of people object to the censorship of even this sub-average post.

This is the danger of having only flags for the people who object. You get a disproportionate sense that people hate the post, when perhaps even more will hate the deletion.

I can sympathize with your position, sitting down to the computer and seeing that "holy crap - 85 people want this thread deleted" but I stress that you're not getting a complete picture this way and it's a poor way to employ the flagging system. What it is, however, is a good way to make the site conform to the mores of a puritannical mob.

I'm so much more comfortable seeing the link disappear because you, yourself, found it icky. Of everyone here, you have the power to fire off personal judgment calls about how the site should be, and I support your doing so. But I implore you to reconsider surrendering this power to a trigger-happy and faceless mob who can click "offensive" at the drop of a hat with no visibility, no accountability, and no cost.

I don't expect a reply on this. Seems I have little luck engaging this issue with you. But anyway, that's what I think. Hope it is worth reading/considering.
posted by scarabic at 5:33 PM on July 22, 2005


Thank God or Dog or whatever. NAMBLA is just wrong. Reminds of what an old wise man from West Virginia was said, "Well, hell, son, that's just as wrong as two boys a-fuckin'."

Ha! I hope you're making a joke, here, because the logic of this totally shoots itself in the foot. You claim first that something is just plain, clearly, obviously, unmistakably wrong and that judgment should count, and then reference someone else making exactly the same statement about gays.

Iron much?
posted by scarabic at 5:35 PM on July 22, 2005


"...my ex-father-in-law, who incested my ex-wife for a number of years..."

Come on, EB. Incested? There's no way that's a real word.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:42 PM on July 22, 2005


I guess the question is whether NAMBLA is just an oogyboogeyman just-barely-there group that makes people feel squicky when they think about it, but does no actual harm, or if their ideas and/or actions are so dangerous that they're equivalent to inciting people to commit criminal acts. If someone has information other than what I've been reading that could clear this up, I'd love to read it.

I don't know squat about NAMBLA specifically, but I do know they have inspired people in other parts of the world to form groups like it. danpedo.dk (a danish group celebrating the same "love of boys") comes to mind, though the site is thankfully offline at the moment.
Maybe you could see NAMBLA as the paedophilia equivalent of al-Qaida. A rack to hang a movement on.

Anyway. AFAIK paedophilia is usually defined as an adult getting off on prepubescent (as in UNDEVELOPED) boys and girls, so I think dios 30 year old boogeyman fucking a 15 year old boy is home free.
posted by mr.marx at 5:45 PM on July 22, 2005


Oh, and to whomever is tallying, I was on the keep side, which is of course moot at this point.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:46 PM on July 22, 2005


beth writes "Ok this memory is really really foggy but bear with me for a second...

"Wasn't there a site discussed on mefi way back that basically took non-sexual pictures of prepubescent children and showed them in a sexual context, as in, surrounded by erotic poetry about adults getting sexually aroused by them?

"And I thought after mefi poured attention its way that the site actually went down / disappeared / what have you.

"Anyone remember this?"


Were you referring to this MeTa thread from Miguel?
posted by macadamiaranch at 5:47 PM on July 22, 2005


What is a "real" word? It's useful. That's my litmus test.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 5:56 PM on July 22, 2005


use the 'fantastic post' flag.

If there was a "some people will probably think this is offensive, but it isn't really so please ignore them" flag, how many people would bother to use it?
posted by sfenders at 6:05 PM on July 22, 2005


How about a 'won't someone please think of the children?' flag?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:27 PM on July 22, 2005


All I want to know is, we hear so much about the North American Man-Boy Love Association (NAMBLA), why can't the South Americans (SAMB(a)LA) keep up their end? At least we'd get some good dancing out of it.
posted by yhbc at 6:33 PM on July 22, 2005


How about a site proposing the legalization of marijuana? Near as I can tell NAMBLA suggests changning the law about something currently illegal and considered immoral. How is a pot legalization site different? This "just wrong" moral compass doesn't take us very far, does it?

Well duh, marijuana should be legal. Clearly we should just link to sites that propose legalizing things witch are harmless, and not things that are harmfull.

Seriously though, child molesting is gross. Even a site promoting terrorism would be better then this crap.

Also, the link sucked anyway. It probably deserved to be killed on its own.
posted by delmoi at 6:43 PM on July 22, 2005


> Has anyone else looked at the site?

I have. I didn't bother to read the Harry Potter article, but there were some links to material on Harry Hay, founder of the Mattachine society and Radical Faeries that I thought was extremely interesting, and was very glad to have seen.

Pat Califia has an extremely interesting defence of inter-generational sex in her book, Public Sex, that takes the point of view of those young people who are on the run from abusive families and are selling sex as a means of survival. Califia argues that in this context, inter-generational sex gives young people more power, more control, more personal autonomy -- than they'd get from either living in their abusive households, or from trying to make a living flipping burgers at the Golden Arches. I don't know whether I agree with her argument, but it's certainly a very interesting one.

One of her themes in this essay is at which point do young people become competent to form and articulate informed consent? IIRC, she makes the case that denying young people the right to self-determination often *keeps* them in abusive situations, and argues against the arbitrary cut-off point of 16, 18, 21 or whatever it happens to be in any particular jurisdiction. Young people mature at different rates, and so she argues that the real issue should be whether a child is capable of giving genuinely informed consent, and not some arbitrary age. There are clearly practical difficulties with such a position, but her argument is one that made me rethink my own positions with regard to this issue, and at the very least, forced me to give up some of the unconsidered, knee-jerk reactions I had towards this as icky and inherently abusive.

Anyway, put my name down with those who think it was a crap post, but don't agree that linking to Nambla is always inherently worthy of censorship.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 7:51 PM on July 22, 2005


"How about a 'won't someone please think of the children?' flag?"

Who thinks of the children more than NAMBLA members?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:18 PM on July 22, 2005


I asume that inter-generational sex != adults having "sex" with prepubescent children
posted by mr.marx at 9:03 PM on July 22, 2005


But I implore you to reconsider surrendering this power to a trigger-happy and faceless mob who can click "offensive" at the drop of a hat with no visibility, no accountability, and no cost.


you know, some of our less sensitive users could call you a "drama queen" for statements like this. not that I would, but still

see, I didn't advocate "censorship", ie revoking NAMBLA ISP service or something. they're free to spew their "it's cool to fuck children" rhetoric all they want in the USA. I just don't want my community weblog to pump up their hit counts, and advertise their shit.

oh, they're also so cowardly that their site's address isn't nambla.org, it's a number instead (at least on my computer). I can take the "man fucked by horse" fpp's, the "muslims are bad, bad, bad" rants. but NAMBLA? come on. we're hardly poorer for losing that link

;)
posted by matteo at 12:14 AM on July 23, 2005


You're right, actually, that comment was over the top.

But deleting someone's post is censorship, plain and simple. Perhaps appropriate censorship, in your opinion, harmless censorship, whatever. And I would hardly argue that the post is a gem worth preserving at all costs. My gripe is more about the principle of censoring peoples' posts on moral grounds, as well as the apparent weight that all these essentially anonymous flags carry.

Losing one NAMBLA post isn't going to hurt MetaFilter, but I'm discouraged by certain folks inability to see the principle of the thing and discuss that rather than just iterate over and over "but it's just plain wrong." As I've tried to explain, that kind of thinking fails us as soon as we step past this so-called "just plain" obvious case, which we have just done.

So it'll be interesting to see where this goes.
posted by scarabic at 1:42 AM on July 23, 2005


OK, but do you remember when the "login" user wrote "nigger" on the front page? the post was deleted, and it wasn't censorship -- it was just housecleaning.
also, I don't know US law that much, but I'm quite sure that saying "nigger" is more legal than fucking children
posted by matteo at 2:09 AM on July 23, 2005


Remember the other day when I said there was no counterpart to flagging? You said "yes there is - use the 'fantastic post' flag."

I don't think that really applies here. No one may have considered the post fantastic, but as has been shown in this thread, lots of people object to the censorship of even this sub-average post.


I honestly don't think it's possible to concoct a system where you could get an accurate gauge for the number of people that could tolerate a NAMBLA link on MeFi. Even if we had slashdot style ratings, I suspect very, very few people would give the post any sort of positive ranking. We're talking NAMBLA here.

Or in other words, "eight year olds, dude."

I understand what you're saying in that flagging is overwhelmingly negative in its setup and consequences, but I still throw away 90%+ of the reports as I've said from day one.

It's just a metric I use as a gauge when I'm mulling something over, it is not a direct "post 10 flags = deleted" kind of thing. You keep saying that it's the tyranny of the loudest minority in trying shut down stuff they don't like that the majority probably could tolerate but it's one metric that comes after my own judgement. You overstate the importance of the flags.

I'm so much more comfortable seeing the link disappear because you, yourself, found it icky.

I thought I was clear that was my first reaction when I woke up to find a NAMBLA link on metafilter. It is indeed icky, though I was surprised at how tame the website was and was just sort of tolerating the thing being here.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 3:39 AM on July 23, 2005


Actually Scarabic I don't think that your comment was over the top and definitely not in "drama queen" territory (but matteo followed that with a ;), didn't he? ).

Anyway, censorship is censorship Matteo, whatever euphemism you wish to employ. In my opinion censorship on Metafilter is useful or at least toleralbe when: a) the post sucks, b) someone is trolling, c) double posts, d) Matt doesn't like it.

The last just because his work on this site earns him veto power.

I think that Scarabic brought up an intersting point earlier about nameless flags. Perhaps at some point Matt could implement a way to see a list of user names next to the flags that they choose for each post/comment. So someone can click a link at the top of the post (within the thread or on the Front page?) or next to a comment and see a table that shows the flags sorted by category and the username for each one. If we are advocating deletion of a comment/thread we shouldn't be allowed to remain anonymous.

I like this idea.
posted by sic at 3:48 AM on July 23, 2005


On postview: Matt, I think that it is understood and accepted by everyone that you deleted it because you personally didn't like it. But I believe that Scarabic's response (well, at least mine) is more a response to the Meta callout. I certainly don't like other people deciding what ideas I should be offended by, I can be offended by NAMBLA on my own. Same with hate groups or sundry offensive comments. I had a similar problem with someone calling out the use of the word Fuck on the front page because "it doesn't belong there".

You of course have extra rights, few people dispute that, and the fact that you use your veto power judiciously makes it easy to accept.
posted by sic at 3:55 AM on July 23, 2005


I forgot a couple of good censors: e) self-link posts, f) marketing posts, g) googleable Askme questions


there's probably a couple more, but because some find the content "offensive" shouldn't be on this list. Didn't the Rape Haikus post stand? I can't remember now.
posted by sic at 4:02 AM on July 23, 2005


sic : "Actually Scarabic I don't think that your comment was over the top and definitely not in 'drama queen' territory"

Well, let's look at the actual quote:

matteo : "But I implore you to reconsider surrendering this power to a trigger-happy and faceless mob who can click 'offensive' at the drop of a hat with no visibility, no accountability, and no cost."

First, Mathowie hasn't surrendered the power of choosing what to delete. Second, there's no evidence that the mob is trigger-happy. Third, by virtue of the fact that there are people here supporting deletion publicly, the mob is not entirely faceless. The last half ("people who can...") is true by virtue of the use of the word "can", so that's fine.

So about half of it is overblown and overly dramatic.

sic : "I certainly don't like other people deciding what ideas I should be offended by, I can be offended by NAMBLA on my own."

I would hope that people aren't trying to decide what ideas you should be offended by. However, people are trying to decide what should or should not remain on the site, and Mefi is a self-policing community. Self-policing has two uses on Mefi: to mean "individuals police themselves, by not posting crap" (that isn't in reference to NAMBLA), and to mean "community members find posts that they don't believe meets community standards, put it up for discussion on MeTa, and thereby the community establishes rules and guidelines for the community". If your problem is with that, then it's a fundamental problem with Mefi itself.
posted by Bugbread at 6:21 AM on July 23, 2005


I am not sure which category I was placed in as my one comment that was even close to on-topic was thanking omiewise for a very good definition of what makes something an "orientation" and what makes something a "paraphilia." My other comment was an attempt to help a user understand the changes with the live preview.

My position is that I think the post sucks, and that the NAMBLA link should be marked as at least "possibly NSFW."

Jessamyn said: "...the only way the site is NSFW is if you think NSFW extends to ideas as well as images..." (emphasis mine)

I don't decide what is work safe and what isn't. My employer does. And while I do not know for sure (because I am uninterested in asking), I feel safe in assuming they don't want me reading a site about age of consent for sex while I am at work. The fact that I am too squicked to ask about the work policy about NAMBLA indicates that it probably isn't work safe. If I have to wonder, I assume it isn't. That makes it "possibly NSFW."
posted by terrapin at 6:46 AM on July 23, 2005


I don't have a fundamental problem with Mefi itself; I (mostly) love Metafilter. I am glad that matteo brought this to metatalk in the sense that we can discuss it openly here. And from what I've read of this thread more people feel that this post should have been deleted for being uninteresting rather than for the NAMBLA link. So in that sense I have a reinforced respect for the ideals of this community. To make myself clear, when I said I had a problem with the callout, I meant the content, not the action, because I agree that the community should discuss these things, but disagree that offensive ideas should be censored from Metafilter.

That said, in my other posts you will have noticed that I did list the useful aspects of censorship (I don't want trolls like saying "nigger" for no good reason to be lumped in with "offensive ideas", like white supremacy).

Yeah, I guess that Scarabic's wording was a bit overblown, but his concern remains valid, I think.

By the way bugbread and terrapin, what do you think about my idea to be able to see who flags posts/comments?
posted by sic at 6:50 AM on July 23, 2005


By the way bugbread and terrapin, what do you think about my idea to be able to see who flags posts/comments?

Don't like it at all. Just as I wouldn't like who I voted for in an election published in the newspaper. I think flagging semi-anonymously (Matt and Jessamyn know who flagged what, I assume) is a good thing.
posted by terrapin at 6:56 AM on July 23, 2005


sic : "I don't have a fundamental problem with Mefi itself; I (mostly) love Metafilter."

Yeah, that was misphrasing on my part. I meant "a problem with one important (but not central) aspect of Mefi", not that you disliked Mefi or anything.

sic : "Yeah, I guess that Scarabic's wording was a bit overblown, but his concern remains valid, I think.

"By the way bugbread and terrapin, what do you think about my idea to be able to see who flags posts/comments?"


My disagreement with scarabic was primarily over phrasing. Regarding deletions, I'm still relatively undecided.

As for the "see who flags", I love the idea, but I think we ask too much of matt as it is, so I wouldn't personally ask for that pony. If it just appeared one day, though, I'd love it. I wasn't aware that anonymity was actually a factor behind the current flagging implementation, as much as just a coincidental result of the way it was designed.
posted by Bugbread at 7:36 AM on July 23, 2005


evolutionary theory has only been around for a few years

Rothko, this is going back to something you said a long time ago that is now OT, but Susan Brownmiller put forward an argument about the evolutionary theories of rape in 1975, in a book called Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape. I think it's the origin of said theory.
posted by purtek at 7:46 AM on July 23, 2005


I don't know how the guts of the flagging system work, but could a default neutral flag be implemented? That is, a user opens thread X for the first time, and his or her flag for that thread is set to "neutral." If the user so chooses, the flag might change to "noise" or "fantastic post" or whatever. This way, there will be a count of how many people think it's good or bad enough to warrant a flag, but also of how many people were interested enough to read the thread but didn't feel like flagging.
posted by aaronetc at 10:27 AM on July 23, 2005


I don't decide what is work safe and what isn't. My employer does.

Of course, but there are generalized standards for what NSFW means to people. Obviously some workplaces wouldn't want you reading MetaFilter at all when you're at work, and some don't care what you do on the Internet as long as you get your work done. Most people who surf from work probably are in some sort of middle-situation. There's clearly a different standard for what is safe for people to see in your access logs and what is safe for people to see on your screen. My question was: is NSFW supposed to apply to access-log safeness as well as on-screen safeness? If there's some sort of consensus that it also applies to access-log safeness, then that gives mathowie or me more of a mandate to edit posts to add NSFW indicators, the way we do to posts that link to nekkid pictures. If there's no real consensus, then we don't have the same mandate.
posted by jessamyn at 11:15 AM on July 23, 2005


aaronetc writes "could a default neutral flag be implemented"

I'm not sure how many people would actually bother with the extra action of flagging a post as "neutral"...
posted by clevershark at 11:42 AM on July 23, 2005


My Dos Centavos:

neutral flag? Include an option to flag as "OK", concerned individuals who see that a Post or Thread is getting negative feedback have a button to push. The "OK" flags won't usually balance out the "Bad" flags, but on the rare occasion that they do, it'll definately tell Matt something relevent.

NSFW? We've talked about standards for proper labeling of posts for various offensive or obnoxious content before. Maybe provide a short lit of check-off "warning tags" ("Flash" "Loud Audio" "Sexual Imagery" "Gross Imagery" "Language/Text" "Non-English Language" "May Crash Browser" "Traffic May Crash Site" "Access Log Controversial" "Firefox-Proof Pop-Ups" )... come to think of it, it's a rather long list...
posted by wendell at 12:17 PM on July 23, 2005


clevershark: I don't mean you actively flag it as neutral, I mean as soon as you, me or any other user opens a thread, the neutral flag is automatically set. This way X% of those who've read the thread show up as bad flags, Y% show up as good flags and (100-X-Y)% show up as neutral.
posted by aaronetc at 12:39 PM on July 23, 2005


I just see NSFW as a caveat to people who may not know what is behind the link. A helpful guideline that what you may find on the site linked may offend/squick/upset/freakout/titilate someone (whether on screen or in logs). It is a courtesy. It doesn't need to be a rule, or a policy. It is just a polite way of letting someone know what they are getting into.

The way the post in question was framed it wasn't clear why the NAMBLA link was included. The acronym isn't necessarily something everyone just knows. And based on this thread, it is obvious that not everyone knows what NAMBLA is about. My comments weren't intended to drive policy. They were about the specific thread that was called out.

The thread sucked, and the poster should have considered adding something to let the reader know what the NAMBLA link was. An easy way of doing that is to warn that it "may be NSFW". It's a shorthand that most understand as a "caution" or "enter at your own risk."

Hope that is clearer.
posted by terrapin at 12:47 PM on July 23, 2005


aaronetc, that would render the flag system useless. I would have to wade through a thousand "OKs" for every real complaint. Not to mention that they'd be meaningless since every page view does not equal an "OK".

Just to restate a few things about flagging.

1. The system works well as it is. It's just an internal metric and I ignore the vast majority of flag reports (because so many are petty, pointless, or contradictory (the same comment can get 3 good flags and five bad ones)).

2. Metrics are good for admins because it lets them get a very rough feel for how things might be going. It has very little relationship with my actions. It lets everyone contribute to the betterment of metafilter by alerting me to problems throughout the site. That's what it was designed for and how it is working.

3. It will remain hidden from user's view, as long as it is part of this site. I will never expose flagging information. Exposing it in any way would cause many more problems than it already solves for me.

4. I've mentioned it on metatalk very sparingly and it seems to cause problems when I do, so I'll lay off mentions of where the secret votes went for any specific post as it just introduces frustration.


I wonder if people on Craigslist regularly demand that Craig reveal all the "flag this post" reports, by whom, and for what specifically they flagged. I copied the Craigslist implementation specifically because it works well. You see spam or something offensive, you click the link. Sometimes you return to the post and it's gone. Sometimes it isn't, but at least I feel like I got a chance to help report it.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 2:41 PM on July 23, 2005


I wonder Matt, do you compare the negative flags a post receives to the total number of views? That may be more telling, because a post that has a total of 20 comments and 10 bad flags may be more offensive than a post with 200 comments and 25 bad flags. I think that's what aaronetec was going for with his neutral flag idea.

Terrapin: it's a moot point because Matt's not interested in the idea, but showing who flagged what is not quite the same as posting individual votes in an election. I think a better analogy would be the right of a defendant, the poster in this case, to know who is accusing them and for what reason.
posted by sic at 4:13 PM on July 23, 2005


On Bladeforums where I am a member, they implemented a 'rating scoring' system comprised as either green or red 'chicklets' or squares by your name. They are given by other members.
There are members, especially in the 'Whine and Cheese' forum that amass thousands of green points, and somewhat with good reason. There are also those who have a couple red chicklets next to their name, who still post, and get flamed. The upside is you get to see a comment in your user CP. that relates to your score. It's like ebay feedback but only you can see the comments.

I think it's a crappy system, being a member for over 5 years, and 2000 or so posts, but I slipped into the red over some political disagreements over really two posts. I've since fixed it, but because I only hang out in one room, I rarely gave any feedback. Other rooms did..

A point, color, or any other way to show favoritism/express dissent directly to the person's profile is wrong.
Argue in threads, but things are often forgotten with time.
To have to carry the chains of old arguements will polarise this community even more than what is currently the situation.
posted by Balisong at 6:49 PM on July 23, 2005


Forgot to say above that positive and negative ratings are anonymous, unless you sign your name.
posted by Balisong at 6:52 PM on July 23, 2005


scarabic, you did a great job of describing the issue, why back down from it?

(Please understand, I have already expressed my opinion on the decision in this case, and I don't want to dwell on it. The following is in defense of scarabic's point, not a criticism of the decision)

scarabic: But I implore you to reconsider surrendering this power to a trigger-happy and faceless mob who can click 'offensive' at the drop of a hat with no visibility, no accountability, and no cost.

bugbread: First, Mathowie hasn't surrendered the power of choosing what to delete. Second, there's no evidence that the mob is trigger-happy. Third, by virtue of the fact that there are people here supporting deletion publicly, the mob is not entirely faceless. The last half ("people who can...") is true by virtue of the use of the word "can", so that's fine.

mathowie has indicated that the flagging influenced his decision... It is, after all, the intended purpose of the flagging system. In exchange for reduced workload the admin surrenders some power, but not the final say.

Also, there is a ton of evidence that the mob is trigger happy. It happens that in this case the evidence is hidden, but all you have to do is read a lot of comments to see that in general it is true. I know I'm trigger happy about issues that bug me.


Anyway, I think there is a completely unrelated problem with the flagging system. I have set out to flag posts many times, but decided not to after realizing that it couldn't possibly communicate my concern. We need a comment field, at least for 'other' flags (heh, that ability might actually be there... I would never know because the idea of flagging something 'other' is just so silly to me that I have never tried).
posted by Chuckles at 7:11 PM on July 23, 2005


Chuckles : "mathowie has indicated that the flagging influenced his decision... It is, after all, the intended purpose of the flagging system. In exchange for reduced workload the admin surrenders some power, but not the final say."

Since he has the final say, I don't see how he's surrendered power, any more than asking friends for advice is surrendering power. He's gained assistance to help him determine something when ambivalent, but that isn't a reduction in power.
posted by Bugbread at 7:37 PM on July 23, 2005


if I img src a, ahem, big-ass goatse on the Front Page and Matt kills the post, will I be able to cry censorship, too?


;)
posted by matteo at 4:24 AM on July 24, 2005


Matteo: goatse's raison d'etre is to be offensive and it succeeds quite well (apparently). That doesn't seem to describe NAMBLA. Gratuitous offensiveness can be justifiably censored because it's, well, gratuitous. NAMBLA's is a serious point-of-view, presented seriously, on a sensitive matter and is a point-of-view that is extremely unpopular for moral reasons. It is not gratuitously offensive. That could probably describe something that you would object to being censored from the front page. Would you object to a link to de Sade's writings? By the same metric as you're apparently applying to NAMBLA, you should.

I don't have a problem with community standards on moral matters. It'd be impossible for this not to be the case. And so I don't really mind that NAMBLA is censored. But scarabic is 100% correct: regardless of your position on the matter, to be intellectually honest you must recognize that as a matter of non-moralistic principle it's hard to distinguish this case from many others which would be solidly defended. In other words, at least cop to your application of an example of an absolutist morality.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 10:29 AM on July 24, 2005

Ok this memory is really really foggy but bear with me for a second...

Wasn't there a site discussed on mefi way back that basically took non-sexual pictures of prepubescent children and showed them in a sexual context, as in, surrounded by erotic poetry about adults getting sexually aroused by them?

And I thought after mefi poured attention its way that the site actually went down / disappeared / what have you.

Anyone remember this?
posted by beth at 12:30 PM PST
Beth,
That was one of Miguel's "should I post this to the Blue" threads here in MeTa. The site was IIRC "Butterfly Kisses" and has disappeared, probably more due to numerous copyright violations than 'us'.
The MeTa thread has disappeared as well.
posted by page404 at 11:28 AM on July 24, 2005


1. The system works well as it is. It's just an internal metric and I ignore the vast majority of flag reports (because so many are petty, pointless, or contradictory (the same comment can get 3 good flags and five bad ones)).

Cool. Excellent. Thanks for the clarification, Matt. If that's been discussed elsewhere, I missed it. In this case, it seems like you were near deleting it yourself, but not quite, until lots of flags pushed the decision over the edge. That's cool. I like to imagine that most of the time it's still your judgment call, and the flags are more for taking a pulse and for finding buried trouble.

Cheers.

if I img src a, ahem, big-ass goatse on the Front Page and Matt kills the post, will I be able to cry censorship, too?

Yes, actually. But that would be censorship on the grounds of abusing the site. Posting objectionable content ON the site is different from linking to something morally objectionable offsite. Anyway, the key word here is "moral."
posted by scarabic at 4:34 PM on July 24, 2005


Terrapin: it's a moot point because Matt's not interested in the idea, but showing who flagged what is not quite the same as posting individual votes in an election. I think a better analogy would be the right of a defendant, the poster in this case, to know who is accusing them and for what reason.

I think if people knew their names would be associated with their flaggings they may not flag things in the first place. This place isn't exactly known for the warm treatment of people who stir the pot. Just check any call out thread. Plus, the system is ripe abuse therefore rendering it ineffective.

What I might support would be a box in the thread with something like:

"5 users have flagged this post as 'fantastic post/comment'; 2 users have flagged this post as 'noise'; 25 users have flagged this post as 'double'."

And even that is ripe for abuse. And as you said, the system works as Matt hoped it would. It is a mod tool, not a user one, in its current form.
posted by terrapin at 5:52 AM on July 25, 2005


Scarabic said: Posting objectionable content ON the site is different from linking to something morally objectionable offsite.

No it isn't. Censoring what we can link to IS censoring what we say, as without links to offsite items Metafilter is pointless.

Maybe whoever is using the name "NAMBLA" these days has changed what they mean by "boy"; the NAMBLA people I met in Berkeley, San Francisco and Baltimore in the 1970-80s were definitely into POST-pubescent but often (in some states) legally-underage male humans. And because I've met some of these people, which I bet few Metafiltristes can say, you will forgive me if I act like I know a bit more of what I'm talking about than most of you do, because simply put I do.

Furthermore I think a lot of the squickiness people show about NAMBLA has to do with the gay aspect: I doubt many of y'all'd be so upset if we were talking about men over 21 lusting for say 15 year old females, nor would you be so unwilling to admit the difference puberty makes in what you see as the "morality" involved.

And like I said elsewhere, "Age of Consent" varies between U.S. states and between countries; furthermore, the prophet Muhammad married a PRE-pubescent girl when she was 6 years old and she was still only 9 when he first "went all the way" with her, yet finding something wrong with that (as I've done) is likely to get one called an "Islamophobe".

As for me, again as I've said elsewhere, I prefer my potential partners of either sex to be old enough to legally buy me a bourbon. But as with defending ParisParamus' right to spout off I must also defend people's right to link to Nazis or NAMBLA or anything else the majority finds unpopular, whether I myself find the group or idea offensive or not; in other words I don't expect you to limit yourselves only to what I don't find offensive, so I don't want your power imposing on me either.

Or shall I start flagging posts linking to sites I find offensive or disagreeable, involving subjects I find immoral like patriotism, Christianity, Microsoft and voting for President, or that simply offend me like Green Day or Sharon Osbourne, and pushing for their censorship? Lemmetellya, if Mefi was censored according to what I object to some days the Blue would be pretty sparse, and if I started calling out posts I get squicked by the Grey would be way busy.

Scarabic said "the key word is 'moral'" -- but like it or not, even those religious groups that go on about Absolute God-Given Moral Standards disagree between themselves as to what those Moral Absolutes are, so don't be surprised if our morals differ. That's just tough titties; if you don't like being disagreed with don't have an opinion.

And as for what y'all don't like, feel free to say so -- just respect others' right to free speech as well.

As a compromise for Metafilter, I suggest that Mefites consider noting "NSFW" (or "NFSS" -- Not For Sensitive Souls) on those FPPs that seem likely to twist knickers; my hunch is most of us have computers at home and can click on those links there. (And baby, if you have a home situation that won't let you browse as you see fit I feel sorry for you.)

So in closing, I say 'Link as ye will, nobody's died from reading Metafilter yet.'
posted by davy at 12:13 PM on July 25, 2005


"...wouldn't be so upset if we were talking about men over 21 lusting for say 15 year old females"

You haven't been paying attention. A lot of people do think that way. And as childhood in modern post-industrial society creeps even beyond the teens, there's a decent argument that they're right to think so.

The chain of reasoning is very simple and hard to refute: sexual relations are fraught with a notable degree of emotional and physical risk and the former will certainly be true as long as society sees sex as exceptional; although there's a biological basis for "adult" and "child", in many contemporary societies the distinction is further and further removed from its biological basis and childhood is extended; the very definition of what we think of as "children" requires that they be shielded from potential exploitation by adults; most adults want sex and certainly in the US we are strongly sexually oriented to youth; therefore sex between adults and children (however defined) should be restricted or prohibited.

But, I'm sure you're right to some degree. Also, would NAWGLA cause such an outrage? Anyway, there's been conflicting information in this thread. Is it pre- or post-adolescence they're talking about? One reason it might be pre- is because in the general gay male community I know, there's a limited tacit acceptance of teen-adult relationships, although this is oft angrily discussed.

My thoughts and feelings are complex on this matter because while I do think there's a very strong rational argument to be made against pedophilia (see above), I am also very suspicious and expect that most of the outrage and disgust about it is automatic, unreasoning, and socially determined. Everyone is angry about other people's blanket condemnations of various behaviors and attempts to control them; but most everyone is perfectly willing to condemn many behaviors and be very sure that they are right to do so. I have never understood this contradiction in human nature.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 6:33 PM on July 25, 2005


« Older A suggestion to improve Metafi...  |  NYC meetup reminder. Saturday,... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments