How did this post get through? November 6, 2005 11:23 PM   Subscribe

Hasn't the Gulf Coast suffered enough? The fact that this is an anonymous post suggests that some MeFi admin thinks it is reasonable to forcibly send a troublesome kid off to some "volunteer" rebuilding program. I suppose if you wanted to harm the rebuilding process, this might be a reasonable approach.

How did this post get through?
posted by b1tr0t to Etiquette/Policy at 11:23 PM (35 comments total)

Maybe the admin thinks that the wise readers of AskMe will set anonymous straight.
posted by mullacc at 11:29 PM on November 6, 2005


It sounded like someone trying to turn someone's life around and they wanted suggestions and help. I thought people could offer some good advice, which they seemed to do. What's the problem exactly?

Do you think it's really such an open-and-shut case that the kid shouldn't go there and I shouldn't have let it through? It didn't seem like the best idea out there but I figured others would have some good advice.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 11:43 PM on November 6, 2005


My take is that this is just the type of experience (volunteering, giving of yourself, helping others far off than you) that could help a selfish, troubled teenager see that s/he is not the center of the world.

Terrible callout.
posted by sic at 12:59 AM on November 7, 2005


*far worse off*
posted by sic at 12:59 AM on November 7, 2005


The poster could not stand to live with the kid, nor could the other parent. The kid has had toruble with shoplifting (theft). Massive natural destruction and human looting were two of the most significant causes of damage to the region. That seems like exactly the kind of environment where a troubled kid would thrive negatively. Further, the relief workers already in place must have their hands full dealing with the present issues. It seems unfair to the actual volunteers to send a trouble kid in to "help" them, when he is the one that actually needs help. If it was me moderating, I would have sent the post back to the author and asked for something a bit more sensible.

sic - if it was the kid asking about volunteering ("my life is a mess, maybe if I went to go help people worse off than me...") I would feel differently. However, the original post is from a parent who can't be bothered to be a parent and wants to foist their problems off to some people who are already busy trying to fix some other disaster.

Maybe I'm overreacting though.
posted by b1tr0t at 1:43 AM on November 7, 2005


Maybe.
posted by crunchland at 1:50 AM on November 7, 2005


If it was me moderating, I would have sent the post back to the author and asked for something a bit more sensible.
As it stands, the poster got some calm sensible comments as to why this would be a bad idea, and some other suggestions to resolve the situation. If you were in charge, they'd have gotten a single shirty holier than thou comment instead. How exactly would that have helped the poster or the wider AskMe community?
posted by chill at 2:48 AM on November 7, 2005


I think that it's important to note that allowing an anonymous question is in no way an endorsement of whatever the question focuses on. That would just negate the purpose of askme in that Matt would be predetermining the proper course for the asker, instead of opening it up to members.
posted by taz at 3:28 AM on November 7, 2005


while i agree with your opinion of the whole idea (i too, thought, "my god, what have they done...?"), i (1) know absolutely squat about kids with those kinds of problems and (2) never for a moment thought to judge the site for the questions posted here.

in fact, there was a moment when we could see the anonymous posts that were waiting to be submitted, and my reaction at the time was surprise that so few were published. so the last thing we need, in my opinion, is pressure for more filtering.
posted by andrew cooke at 4:14 AM on November 7, 2005


Shoplifting = theft
Thanks for clearing that up for us.
posted by Joeforking at 4:31 AM on November 7, 2005


Hasn't the Gulf Coast suffered enough?

No, it hasn't. Unfortunately, it was the wrong people doing most of the suffering.
posted by Mayor Curley at 5:08 AM on November 7, 2005


AskMe moderation is for legal reasons and to keep out bad questions. This isn't a bad question, just one to which the answer is 'no'.
posted by atrazine at 5:31 AM on November 7, 2005


Hell, B., I was thinking about taking the kid for a month. I need the volunteers.

I understand where you're coming from; but like others have said, can't we rely on the self-policing ability of 24,000 people? Or even assume that out of that same 24K there will be one or two with experience dealing with troubled 18 year olds?
posted by atchafalaya at 5:41 AM on November 7, 2005


b1tr0t: as a once troubled teenager myself (a looong time ago), I can give anecdotal evidence that a change of scenery often helps to clear one's head. In my opinion, the majority of kids in this situation need to be separated from their families for a while, because that is generally the source of their discontent. I think the idea of volunteer work is far superior than military school, for instance, to help a troubled young person change their perspective on life.

So yeah, I think you're overreacting a bit.
posted by sic at 6:18 AM on November 7, 2005


The thread has plenty of thoughtful answers which hopefully helped Anonymous reach a better decision about what to do. Sounds like another AskMe success story to me.
posted by gwint at 7:07 AM on November 7, 2005


Great question, lousy call-out. The kid will probably benefit from helping someone else out and from seeing direct results from his labor. I am not entirely comfortable with how he might get "volunteered" but it's likely to be of benefit to him. My one fear would be that away from home, where he doesn't want to be he might instead spiral further downwards. Local community service might be better. In any event, this is a good use for anonymous AskMe.
posted by caddis at 7:08 AM on November 7, 2005


atchafalaya, what would you like volunteers for? I'd like to volunteer, perhaps!
posted by By The Grace of God at 7:12 AM on November 7, 2005


Marking and mapping canoe trails!
posted by atchafalaya at 7:23 AM on November 7, 2005


a parent who can't be bothered to be a parent

What a stupid remark. No wonder this callout is so pointless.
posted by languagehat at 7:36 AM on November 7, 2005


I'm the anonymous poster, and I've responded in the AskMe thread.
posted by Anonymous.MeFite at 8:30 AM on November 7, 2005


I understand why somebody would post a callout here, but I really think that mathowie has a very good point. I myself thought that sending the kid there was a bad idea, and since my opinion is actually sustained by what my volunteer friends tell me about volunteer work (motivation, etc), I did contribute that. but maybe as matt points out, somebody could have/find a better idea for the troubled kid.

the parent is trying to find a way out of a pretty delicate situation. it was a legitimate question to put out there. maybe it's one of those questions that cannot really get the perfect, hits-the-spot answer (unlike, say, questions re: technical computer issues). it was worth a try anyway. I'm against MeFi-as-support-group as much as anybody, but the parent wanted to hear some ideas. it was a legitimate question.
posted by matteo at 8:31 AM on November 7, 2005


Lastly, B1tr0t, thank you. By calling attention to the question, you've drawn more answers. It's worth the harshness of your responses if it helps me help my son.
posted by Anonymous.MeFite at 8:27 AM PST on November 7 [!]


Well played.
posted by Rothko at 9:04 AM on November 7, 2005


The fact that this is an anonymous post suggests that some MeFi admin thinks it is reasonable to forcibly send a troublesome kid off to some "volunteer" rebuilding program. I suppose if you wanted to harm the rebuilding process, this might be a reasonable approach.

Don't imply agreement on the part of the admin! They prevent abuse of the anonymous feature. They don't "bless" all questions and any values they encompass as righteous. Sheezus!

Sounds like you were just too personally attached to the scenario in the question. You thought the asker was a big fuckface, for whatever reason, but since you couldn't reach him/her you made the admin the focus of your outrage.
posted by scarabic at 9:10 AM on November 7, 2005


bad callout...
bad bad callout
posted by edgeways at 10:27 AM on November 7, 2005


Hasn't the Gulf Coast suffered enough?

Ohhhhhh, the hyperbole!
posted by SweetJesus at 10:41 AM on November 7, 2005


Your post reads like you're trying to suggest that a MeFi admin wants to stop New Orleans from being rebuilt!
i'm guessing you aren't that stupid and the line was a rhetorical device, but this is still a terrible callout.
posted by crabintheocean at 10:45 AM on November 7, 2005


We get it, you think it's a bad idea. Too bad you apparently couldn't vocalize a more useful suggestion along with your concerns. Maybe the answer form in AskMe needs to say "If you can't be constructive and all you have to offer is criticism of the question you should just flag it and STFU."
posted by phearlez at 11:07 AM on November 7, 2005


It seems to me that this idea has potential. Did you never hear the old adage, "If you feel bad, do something for someone who feels worse"? People who commit relatively minor crimes are often sentenced to mandatory community service. I think this could be a good experience for a troubled kid if it was properly managed, and possibly give him or her empathy, perspective and a sense of accomplishment.
posted by orange swan at 11:37 AM on November 7, 2005


sic writes "b1tr0t: as a once troubled teenager myself (a looong time ago), I can give anecdotal evidence that a change of scenery often helps to clear one's head."

Yep, as after schoolish as it sounds sometimes the best thing for someone of any age is a clean break and work to keep the body busy.
posted by Mitheral at 11:38 AM on November 7, 2005


Well, this is a turn-up for the books.

I have a suggestion to make:
Anonymous.Mefite, after this (and the original thread) is done, could you turn over the handle Anonymous.Mefite to Matt, so that (when he has reset the password) your name can live on? Matt could refund you the $5 as a token, if he agreed.

Or would this seriously break the anonymous nature of the system somehow?
posted by dash_slot- at 12:04 PM on November 7, 2005


Er, I guess matt would have to email anonymous posters the p/w, rendering them not anonymous any more. Dammit.
posted by dash_slot- at 12:06 PM on November 7, 2005


dash_slot, they're not anonymous to Matt anyway.
posted by cedar at 12:22 PM on November 7, 2005


"Well played."

That's a really fucked up way of seeing this interaction.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 12:42 PM on November 7, 2005


That's a really fucked up way of seeing this interaction.

Not well played, but terse. So we can be thankful for that.
posted by Rothko at 1:07 PM on November 7, 2005


i'm guessing you aren't that stupid and the line was a rhetorical device,

A rhetorical device? No! This kind of axe-grinding is a straw man argument, of the ad hominem variety.
posted by ikkyu2 at 9:28 PM on November 7, 2005


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