Was I really in the wrong here? November 29, 2005 11:05 PM   Subscribe

Was I really in the wrong here? I posted a question about my car stereo and I got a bunch of great answers. I thanked everyone and posted some additional information. A user posted a lengthy follow-up answer, which I appreciated. But then Thanksgiving, spotty Internet, and just life in general got in my way I didn't have a chance to mess with my car stereo, much less update my AskMe thread. (Frankly, it never occurred to me that people would be on tenterhooks about my Caprice's stereo.)

So then, seven days later, the same user posted this bizarre rant about how I never followed up with the thread. Was I at fault?
posted by Ian A.T. to Etiquette/Policy at 11:05 PM (138 comments total)

How could you be at fault for having a life?

At the same time, now that you're back, you could graciously respond to CD's rather over-the-top reaction, and all will be well. That would make you thoroughly fault-free, plus it would make you look good.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:18 PM on November 29, 2005


(And do note that CD did give you very extensive answers. He put a very good effort into helping you. Least you can do is apologise for taking so long to get back at it, thank him for his patience, and report your results so far.)
posted by five fresh fish at 11:19 PM on November 29, 2005


I have often put a lot of work into answers for AskMe. It's nice to get some acknowledgement from the person asking the question, whether in the form of a response or "best answer" marking.

I don't think you deserved the freak-out rant you received, but, in general, a brief follow-up is a good show of community respect to people who've taken the time to give their informed (and free) help.
posted by Rothko at 11:24 PM on November 29, 2005


Wasn't that user (C_D) banned recently? Or am I hallucinating again?

Ian A.T. -- a 'thanks' is nice and polite, sometime after the thread dies down, but far from obligatory, I'd say.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:25 PM on November 29, 2005


Obviously C_D went over the top. I think he'd agree; in fact, he says as much in his post, that he's reacting to more than just your post, but to a larger trend which bugs him. Frankly, I think he's right about that trend, and I agree it's unfortunate.

He's usually a civil and insightful poster, I think, and he took both time and effort to help with your problem -- so forgive his tone, and consider meeting him halfway with an apology. No, you weren't "in the wrong"; but he's not entirely wrong, either, so leave it at that.
posted by cribcage at 11:41 PM on November 29, 2005


What cribcage said. And I don't think so stavros. I can't imagine C_D has ever been ousted. I was wrong once though. It was 1987 I seem to recall. So stop gobbling those mushrooms.
posted by peacay at 11:59 PM on November 29, 2005


My first comment was a response to an AskMe. The post slipped off the front page fairly quickly, and since it took one Googling to find the answer, I wasn't too devastated when I realized the kudos weren't in the mail. Besides, I didn't respond so I could be thanked, I did it to help someone, just as I know a fellow Mefite would help me if the need arose.
It's a karma bank, IMO.
Sad confession: I joined MeFi specifically to answer that AskMe post. Now the more I think about it, the angrier I get. Screw karma! You owe me $5 or a best answer flag, chandy72!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 12:09 AM on November 30, 2005


Just one quick addition then I promise I won't post in my own thread again. As I mentioned above, I did thank everyone for their answers--which included a long earlier answer from C_D--after the post had slipped a few pages off the front and the answers had slowed down. Also I've always tried to be really conscientious about showing my gratitude in my previous AskMe threads.

(I'll be volunteering on the Gulf Coast for the rest of this week, and my Internet access is likely to be even worse than it is here in N.O.; I'll try to stay in touch with this thread as best I can.)
posted by Ian A.T. at 12:26 AM on November 30, 2005


Civil_Disobedient's comment is a perfect example of the small group of people with rampant senses of self-entitlement that make this site hostile to the other normal, laid-back, intelligent users.
posted by cellphone at 12:42 AM on November 30, 2005


stavros: you might be thinking of Pretty_Generic...

Sad confession: I joined MeFi specifically to answer that AskMe post.

That rocks, actually. More of that, I say!
posted by hototogisu at 12:51 AM on November 30, 2005


P_G hasn't been slung off again, has he?
The naughty wee tinker.
posted by NinjaPirate at 1:16 AM on November 30, 2005


From what I see, not only was there a thank-you post partway through, the rant was right after Thanksgiving. Something most Americans consider a busy time, where follow-ups may be just a little slow.

Civil_Disobedient may be right about a trend. He provided an excellent response. However, this rant is horribly placed. Tearing into a thread of a generally thankful user, over Thanksgiving holiday, that just comes off way too harsh.

Time for a bit of hippie love-fest forgiveness all around. We'll keep the gladiator deathmatches to pay-per-view.
posted by Saydur at 1:17 AM on November 30, 2005


I don't see how you'd come to expect thank-you notes on something as impersonal as Metafilter, or most any other web forum for that matter, so I don't know what C_D's on about, because he's seemed better grounded than that. Weird.
posted by furiousthought at 1:18 AM on November 30, 2005


Looks like C_D had a bad day but he's no P_G. On preview, NinjaPirate, mate you got best answer :)
posted by keijo at 1:35 AM on November 30, 2005


Metafilter: Common Fucking Courtesy.
posted by sgt.serenity at 1:47 AM on November 30, 2005


stavros: you might be thinking of Pretty_Generic...

Ah, that's it. Thanks. Damn underscores!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:37 AM on November 30, 2005


Ian A.T., it's not you, it's him. And what cellphone said.

You send your answers out there, like notes in bottles. Maybe they're appreciated and answered, maybe not. They're pretty much on their own.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 2:54 AM on November 30, 2005


cellphone++.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 3:18 AM on November 30, 2005


as far as I can see you did nothing wrong Ian, you even thanked everyone in the thread.
posted by johnny novak at 3:31 AM on November 30, 2005


That was a completely unprovoked flame, especially given how considerate you were previously. Who's here for the gratitude, anyway? I'm now counting all the times I haven't followed up on a question in case someone out there bears an equally ugly grudge. Everyone, I'm really sorry...
posted by londonmark at 3:39 AM on November 30, 2005


wasting the time of good samaritans
Priceless!
posted by Joeforking at 3:42 AM on November 30, 2005


so I don't know what C_D's on about, because he's seemed better grounded than that. Weird.

Like I said, Ian, your thread was just a series in a line of threads where I've tried being helpful in diagnosing a problem, only to never hear back from the OP.

AskMe isn't just a chalkboard with questions and answers that are constantly being replaced and re-asked. I thought it was an information repository, and as such, some people might have similar problems in the future that could have benefitted from a more thorough thread.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:43 AM on November 30, 2005


Me, I'd've said sorry.
posted by Jofus at 4:16 AM on November 30, 2005


Sure you would have. Because you've never answered any of your 17 answers to AskMe with anything more than two sentences. But at least you're doing better than cellphone, who really knows what he's talking about with a whole one answer ever contributed.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:41 AM on November 30, 2005


You've got a month to track down the problem before the thread closes. Eighteen days to go then.
posted by adamvasco at 4:51 AM on November 30, 2005


Civil_Disobedient, you're freaking out.... for what? I understand it's frustrating if someone doesn't take your advice, but shit happens. There's nothing on the question page about the user being legally bound to take any of the in-thread advice. I post on AskMetafilter because I enjoy it; if you don't, then stop.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:01 AM on November 30, 2005 [1 favorite]


Relax, C_D.
posted by grouse at 5:02 AM on November 30, 2005


C_D: stop helping him! (just don't shout about it, or else).
posted by andrew cooke at 5:03 AM on November 30, 2005


Yeah, that anonymous never answers my answers either. I say we string him/her up by the ... oh... right.
posted by handee at 5:14 AM on November 30, 2005


CD, I disagree entirely. Your response is over the top. And if you were someone asking a question where you felt embarassed, this sort of reply would keep you from asking.

It's common courtesy to thank someone...

But you're telling me that you force a thanks from everyone who has ever asked you a question?


I finally got what Matt's Ideal (in my opnion, I cannot speak for him) is regarding ask.mefi.

You should be able to come here for answers; not opinion based stuff...but "help me, this light is out, how do I fix it?" You shouldn't have embarassment or fear regarding the question. "There's this bump on my leg..." It's implied that by asking the quesiton, you're thankful for the answer

Answering the thread is a question of generous bounty. I have answers/knowledge in this community. Here. It's a communist state in this regard.

If you need thanks, go somewhere else. You type the answer because you feel like it can help in some way...to bring closure.

But like all advice, it's up to the questioner to find it as such (or not).

And there's that little mark for the questioner of mark as best answer. Some people use it...some people don't...some people use it too much.

It might have been more appropriate (in this regard) to email the person and say, "How did it resolve itself, I'm curious?"
posted by filmgeek at 5:14 AM on November 30, 2005


I think Cribcage has got it. C_D was over the top, but the trend is annoying, and he's not entirely wrong. On the other hand, you had your reasons, so you're not wrong either. It's just an unfortunate misunderstanding, like arranging to meet someone somewhere and them not showing up. It's not wrong for someone to get angry when they get stood up. But it's not wrong for someone not to show up at an appointment if they were busy putting out a fire in the kitchen. It's one of those situations where neither side is particularly "wrong". In real life, it usually ends when the person with the fire says "Sorry about last Tuesday, my kitchen was on fire", and the person who was stood up says "Oh, sorry about going off on you, then, I didn't know.", and they both go have a coffee or talk about video games or do whatever they'd normally be doing.

Neither party needs to prostate themselves on the ground in apology, and neither side needs to rail on about their behaviour being justified. Just a tiny "Sorry, I was busy with Thanksgiving stuff", "That makes sense. Sorry for going off on you."
posted by Bugbread at 5:35 AM on November 30, 2005


I prostrate in honour of your prostate.
posted by peacay at 5:44 AM on November 30, 2005


Wow, no. My mom says helping out is its own reward. If you're in it for some quid pro quo, do me a favor: if you see me on fire, save your urine for a restroom.
posted by yerfatma at 5:59 AM on November 30, 2005


You've got a month to track down the problem before the thread closes. Eighteen days to go then.

Actually, Matt changed this a while back. AskMe questions stay open much, much longer now, more like six months. Plenty of time to follow up.
posted by Gator at 6:15 AM on November 30, 2005


No, wait, it's actually a year, isn't it? AskMe threads from last December are open for comments. Wiiiiiiiide followup window.
posted by Gator at 6:17 AM on November 30, 2005


yerfatma : "Wow...If you're in it for some quid pro quo, do me a favor: if you see me on fire, save your urine for a restroom."

If I'm on fire, I don't care if you're Hitler himself: piss on me and put the fire out!!
posted by Bugbread at 6:17 AM on November 30, 2005


Every time I post an answer that may be not as helpful as the poster may have liked...or one that is just flat-out wrong (hey, i'm human), I would like a detailed review of my answer and how it is wrong and how I ended up electrocuting the questioner's cat, got his or her house burnt to the ground, and inadvertantly rogered the responding officer. I don't want my bad- or clueless-samaritan efforts to go unnoticed.
posted by tpl1212 at 6:17 AM on November 30, 2005


It's courteous to follow-up. However, some people don't, sometimes for good reasons and sometime for bad. It's pretty aggressively discourteous to rant at someone because they broke an etiquette rule, especially when it's so easy to follow up in a less hostile fashion "Hey how did it go, did my ideas help you?" filmgeek has it pretty right on, ranting at people in AskMe is pretty much not what it's for.
posted by jessamyn at 6:21 AM on November 30, 2005


That's right - it's what MeTa is for!
posted by Quartermass at 6:33 AM on November 30, 2005


Well exactly, if C_D wanted to take this to MeTa originally I think that would have been a grand idea.
posted by jessamyn at 6:37 AM on November 30, 2005


Upon reading this I immediately went and posted a wrap-up on my most recent AskMefi thread. Thanks for the guilt trip.
posted by cyphill at 6:50 AM on November 30, 2005


Reiterate what cellphone said up here... there are definitely some people on Mefi who could use to be a little more detached.
posted by crunchland at 6:52 AM on November 30, 2005


I know the point of my questions is to con people into answering. Isn't that everyone's motivation?
posted by smackfu at 6:52 AM on November 30, 2005


I agree with bugbread. It's only human to want one's efforts to give a good answer to be acknowledged, but it's not classy to rant about it. Next time, drop the poster a line to ask if he's aware that the question has been answered; you'd be surprised—sometimes people completely forget they posted the question.
posted by languagehat at 7:07 AM on November 30, 2005


I do it for the backrubs. And darn it, I haven't been getting enough of those lately people!
posted by blue_beetle at 7:07 AM on November 30, 2005


Whoa. I just read the AskMe thread, and I have to say I have no idea what C_D was so upset about. For pete's sake:

Thanks for all your answers!
. . .
Again, if anyone's reading this thread...thanks!
posted by Ian A.T. at 3:12 PM PST on November 18


How many times does he have to thank you??
posted by languagehat at 7:09 AM on November 30, 2005


languagehat : "Whoa. I just read the AskMe thread, and I have to say I have no idea what C_D was so upset about...How many times does he have to thank you??"

I think you're misparsing C_D's intentions. In fact, on rereading, it seems like a lot of people are. And are giving C_D pretty short shrift in the process. C_D (from what I can see here, and there) isn't asking for thanks, he's asking to be told if the solution worked, or if it failed. He puts it fairly straightly right here:

C_D: "If you didn't want to try any of the methods provided, the least you could have done would be to tell us, "Thanks for the advice, but I'm going another route." That sends a message to us humble posters: "You can stop checking up on this thread." It's called common fucking courtesy.

See, if you don't do this, some of us who were actually conned into giving a damn about your sad little problem go through the wasted motion of seeing if there's any updates on your situation and new information that might contribute to a solution."


It's not a desire to be thanked for ones efforts, but for feedback so that one can know if ones help is still needed. That is, C_D was willing and ready to help more, and was looking for updates to see if the problem had been fixed, and was frustrated that there were none. Going off the handle is a bad thing, but at least give C_D credit for doing a bad thing (going off the handle) due to good intentions, not just a selfish desire for additional thanks.
posted by Bugbread at 7:20 AM on November 30, 2005


Well, it seems like C_D is less upset about the lack of thanks than about the lack of a resolution; i.e., he wants the asker to follow up with, "This solved my problem," or "None of these answer solved my problem but here's what did." But yeah, calling it out in the thread after only a week or so, feh.

There are a few AskMe threads I've commented in where I very much wish the asker would follow up too, but they don't have email addresses in their profiles and therefore there's nothing I can do other than what I did -- post a little "Hope it works out for you, please follow up if you're still checking in here" comment at the end.

What bugbread said.
posted by Gator at 7:22 AM on November 30, 2005


Ian, why not just apologize, thank him again, and be done with it? He did help you out, it's really the least you can do. Yes, thankyou's aren't required by law or contract. Yes, you already thanked him. Yes, it's certainly not your fault for having a life. Still, what could it hurt to thank him again? And, who knows, that extra thanks will probably make C_D and others more likely to help you in the future.

How many times does he have to thank you??

Eh, again, this misses the point. I don't think C_D's ego is riding on Ian's gratitude. .
posted by nixerman at 7:25 AM on November 30, 2005


I happen to agree with C_D's post, if not his tone. And I think that cellphone and all the others who complain that he is acting "entitled" for wanting people who ask questions to be kind enough to show appreciation and acknowledgment of the time others put into their answers are completely wrong.

Metafilter - including AskMe - is a community, and part of what keeps communities together is acknowledgment of others' efforts. See that little saying up in the top left corner? It says "we're all in this together." Not "we're each individuals who can sponge off of others' helpful advice without so much as a thank you."

If we follow the advice of those who are telling C_D to just chill out, then you know what we wind up with? A weblog with a bunch of users who use it as their own personal sounding board, without bothering to acknowledge others' efforts or contribute on their own.

Does this mean every single askme asker has to bend over bakcwards thanking every poster? No. But a little more courtesy is not too much to ask for. And hey, it might even result in better answers and livelier discussions.
posted by googly at 7:34 AM on November 30, 2005




I don't see what calling out nserrano has to do with it, googly. Yea, we're a community, and it takes all sorts to make a world. If someone only wants to post interesting questions, fine, that's great. If someone only wants to post interesting answers, fine, that's great. Participate as much as you enjoy, but nobody is entitled to special ass-kissing just for showing up.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:43 AM on November 30, 2005 [1 favorite]


That said, of course Thank Yous by thread or e-mail are always appreciated.

::off to see if there are some past-due thank-yous I can send::
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:43 AM on November 30, 2005 [1 favorite]


Whoo. No, you weren't wrong or at fault.
posted by scarabic at 7:43 AM on November 30, 2005


I'd say, rather than focusing on whether or not questioners should thank askers, or whether answerers should do so in expectation of accolades, that questioners should either flag the best answer, or drop a comment about why they haven't ("I decided to sell the gizmo", "The gizmo got stolen", "I haven't had time to do any of the suggestions").

But, again, Ian A.T. hasn't done anything wrong, because it's only been 7 days, and busy ones at that. The above suggestion is just a general one, not meant to indicate that Ian A.T. has been remiss. If a month had passed, it might be a different story. If a year had passed, it would definitely be a different story. But as it is, I think that the contents of C_D's rant were right on, but they were posted to the wrong situation.
posted by Bugbread at 7:44 AM on November 30, 2005


I don't think C_D's ego is riding on Ian's gratitude.

Maybe it's not ego, but it is self-involvement. After one spends time trying help someone who's asked for help, it is of course understandable to want to know wether the advice given was successful. And it is of course courteous for the person who was helped (helpee?) to say thanks, give a follow-up, etc. But for a helper to expect such recognition and be put out when it's not forthcoming defeats the whole purpose of "giving," IMO.

Maybe C_D did want resolution and acknowledgement that his time was not wasted, as opposed to "thanks" per se, but he was still miffed about not getting that recognition. It seems unlikely that he would have spewed forth such a rant if he wasn't taking it a wee bit personally, no? If he was just curious about whether his advice worked, in this or any question, then that's how it would have come out. Curiosity: "How did the advice I gave you turn out?" Not a demand for courtesy or resolution or whatnot: "Why am I not getting what I deserve?"
posted by tentacle at 7:51 AM on November 30, 2005


Metafilter: Look at me when I'm helping you!
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:54 AM on November 30, 2005


I agree that it is courteous to follow-up after others have gotten involved. But C_D still needs to relax, swearing isn't necessary for such a small lapse in the scheme of things.
posted by grouse at 7:55 AM on November 30, 2005


bugbread (as always) is so measured and reasoned. I don't know why he bothers hanging around here.

And C_D's rant is well-done, (I agree with him) but he should have taken it to MeTa.
posted by Kwantsar at 7:57 AM on November 30, 2005


Kwantsar : "bugbread (as always) is so measured and reasoned. I don't know why he bothers hanging around here."

The drama. I came for the blue, but I stay for the grey.

posted by Bugbread at 8:03 AM on November 30, 2005


So, in summary: C_D was driven, by a fundamentally good community-centric impulse, to be a big jerk in that AskMe comment.
posted by cortex at 8:04 AM on November 30, 2005


Plus, I can't leave until I've made a real FPP (as opposed to my single existing infantile "trying-to-make-a-point" FPP). Matt says serendipitous discovery should be the trigger for an FPP. I believe him, but the three things I've found since joining that I thought would be good FPP material have all been previously posted. Hopefully, fourth time is the charm.
posted by Bugbread at 8:06 AM on November 30, 2005


bugbread: Point taken, but Ian still has nothing to apologize for. I think cortex summed it up well.
posted by languagehat at 8:09 AM on November 30, 2005


Languagehat, you're using the word "but" wrong again (I should know: look at how many sentences I start with "But"!). "But" indicates disagreement; we are in agreement that Ian has nothing to apologize for.
posted by Bugbread at 8:11 AM on November 30, 2005


Prediction: Today, a bunch of old AskMe threads will recieve update posts from the questioner.
posted by raedyn at 8:21 AM on November 30, 2005


Like I said, Ian, your thread was just a series in a line of threads where I've tried being helpful in diagnosing a problem, only to never hear back from the OP.


On the other hand, I find it incredibly short-sighted to think the OP is the only one to get useful information out of it. For example, I also have a crappy stereo system and plan on replacing some day, and I now have no need to post on AskMeFi to find what I'm looking for. There have been countless times I've been able to google and find what I'm looking for here in AskMeFi from a previous question. So, yea, that OP may not seen the most grateful (I know I'm not always the best person at it), but maybe take some peace to the grave knowing others will gain from your effort & time.
posted by jmd82 at 8:29 AM on November 30, 2005


Just shut it down now before it becomes burdened with even more abstruse, made-up rules and hoops to jump through, courtesy of users who think that fucking around with people on the Internet is a helluva game.
posted by darukaru at 9:01 AM on November 30, 2005


Whoops, I didn't say Simon Says! It's an angry rant for me!
posted by darukaru at 9:02 AM on November 30, 2005


If an elephant pisses and no one is around does it make a noise?
posted by Joeforking at 9:06 AM on November 30, 2005


I don't see what calling out nserrano has to do with it, googly. Yea, we're a community, and it takes all sorts to make a world. If someone only wants to post interesting questions, fine, that's great. If someone only wants to post interesting answers, fine, that's great. Participate as much as you enjoy, but nobody is entitled to special ass-kissing just for showing up.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:43 AM PST on November 30


1) Yes, you're right that it takes all kinds to make a community, and everyone is entitled - encouraged, even - to participate in whatever way they want to. But the sum total of those actions determines the character of the community. Metafilter is different from other community blogs precisely because people, for the most part, act treat each other with more intelligence, respect, and courtesy.

2) Which leads me to the point of my callout of nserrano (who I have no particular beef against - s/he just happened to be the first name I came across who has posted several questions without any comments or answers; there are others): the more people who don't bother to acknowledge other's efforts in AskMe, the less likely it is that people will put in the effort to answer.

Being thanked or updated by an AskMe asker isn't an entitlement, it shouldn't be a requirement, and its hardly "special ass kissing." Its just a nice thing to do, and it makes the MeFi world a better place.
posted by googly at 9:07 AM on November 30, 2005


your thread was just a series in a line of threads where I've tried being helpful in diagnosing a problem, only to never hear back from the OP

You know, it is a little annoying to keep putting your time and effort into something without so much as a "hey, thanks, I'll try that." I mean heck, I recently answered a question where I was the only answer and I got no love. Fortunately I think highly enough of myself to not get too upset by this. heh.

Yes, I've become much more selective with my answers. Saving my time only for those questions which I readily know/have the information. But there are a multitude of questions for which I could quickly and easily GET the information and I just don't. That's the sad part.

But yea, C_D's freakout doesn't make the situation any better.
posted by FlamingBore at 9:22 AM on November 30, 2005


The more people who don't bother to acknowledge other's efforts in AskMe, the less likely it is that people will put in the effort to answer.

Your logic is flawed, googly, if only looking at the history of AskMeta. Do people always thank the ones who answer their post? No (although if you include clicking "Best Answer", a lot of posters do acknowledge they got what they were looking for). Is AskMeta losing any popularity because of it? No, the questions pile up so fast they scroll off the front page in a day, and I've never seen a question get 0 responses for too long- most questions get a widge range of helpful advice. People like being asked for advice, and as long as that's true, AskMeta will never die.

And I think bringing up random users in any discussion is pointless and sort of, I don't know, mean? Unwelcoming? Good thing nserrano probably doesn't give a shit about internet politics (hey, maybe that's why s/he doesn't hang around this place!)
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:57 AM on November 30, 2005 [1 favorite]


TPS - No, the logic isn't flawed. Questions get posted, but the googly is saying that the answers are less likely to appear.
posted by FlamingBore at 10:04 AM on November 30, 2005


But do we have any evidence that this is happening? Or are we just playing Book of Revelations?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:15 AM on November 30, 2005 [1 favorite]


That's a great idea—let's play Book of Revelations! I get to be the Seven-Headed Beast.
posted by languagehat at 10:18 AM on November 30, 2005


If we follow the advice of those who are telling C_D to just chill out, then you know what we wind up with?

Less ill-advised flame-outs and unnecessarily angry outbursts?

But a little more courtesy is not too much to ask for.

Exactly.
posted by Stauf at 10:19 AM on November 30, 2005


I call the pale horse!
posted by Gator at 10:20 AM on November 30, 2005


You always get to be the pale horse! MOOOOOM!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:30 AM on November 30, 2005 [1 favorite]


Nuh-UHHH!
posted by Gator at 10:31 AM on November 30, 2005


I call top hat! Whaddya' mean there's no top hat!?
posted by Stauf at 10:33 AM on November 30, 2005


Is AskMeta losing any popularity because of it? No, the questions pile up so fast they scroll off the front page in a day, and I've never seen a question get 0 responses for too long- most questions get a widge range of helpful advice.

TPS, with all due respect, the flawed logic (or at least the spurious argument) is on your side. I wasn't talking about either the popularity of AskMefi or the number of questions, nor was I saying that askers' lack of acknowledgment or thanks would lead to the site becoming less popular or fewer questions being asked..
I was talking about the likelihood of people (like me) continuing to be invested in providing informative, well-thought-out answers. A popular site with tons of questions does not necessarily imply lots of good answers.
posted by googly at 10:40 AM on November 30, 2005


I believe in aggressively avoiding "keeping score". That is to say, I think I should always express appreciation for other people's generosity but never expect people to thank me for mine. If they do, that's fine, of course.

Yeah, C_D's complaint isn't about a "thank you" but about knowing the outcome—but it's still an expectation of reciprocity. And the context is still one of generously helping someone. I think an expectation of reciprosity makes the generosity about yourself and not the other person.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 10:40 AM on November 30, 2005


Yea, but is there any evidence of that either, googly? That answers have become less thought out over time due to a lack of gushing praise and thanks? I'd say no, but feel free to prove me wrong.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:45 AM on November 30, 2005 [1 favorite]


TPS, unless one or the other of us is willing to do a rigorous study of the metter, we'll never know one way or the other. So we'll just have to agree to disagree on this.

I think this comes down to us having different visions of what sort of "community" we want MeFi to be. Like I said, I just think its a nice thing to do, not special ass kissing, and I want the kind of community where people do nice things like that.
posted by googly at 10:50 AM on November 30, 2005


I don't! I want a community where people are jerks and people who are nice are shot on sight!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:59 AM on November 30, 2005 [1 favorite]


I want a community with both enormous assholes and radiant saints, both of which are united by their overpowering desire to give. me. money.
posted by Bugbread at 11:01 AM on November 30, 2005


But seriously, I think we're just arguing semantics (it's my last day at work, I'm bored), so I will say THANK YOU FOR PROVIDING ME WITH SOMETHING TO DO ON THIS OTHERWISE VERY BORING DAY, GOOGLY. I LOVE YOU AND GIVE YOU BIG SMOOCHIES! ::kiss kiss::

I feel better already :-D!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:02 AM on November 30, 2005 [1 favorite]


*polishes shotgun especially for ThePinkSuperhero*
posted by raedyn at 11:03 AM on November 30, 2005


dibs on the seventh seal
posted by cortex at 11:03 AM on November 30, 2005


If I'm going to get shot, I at least want the gun to be sparkly and shiny like a princeeeeeeess crown. THANK YOU RAEDYN FOR CARING FOR ME IN THIS MANNER!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:05 AM on November 30, 2005 [1 favorite]


How about this:

MeFite A posts a question to AskMe. Several replies ensue, including a long, detailed, and painstakingly documented answer from MeFite B.

Time passes.

MeFite B becomes annoyed at MeFite A's failure to post results of his implementation of any of the answers. B posts a chiding request for same, including the ironic phrase "fucking common courtesy."

Meanwhile, unknown to B, MeFite A has suffered a personal catastrophe (choose one):

Laptop stolen at the airport
House burned down; computer melted
Home invasion; A killed
Drug deal gone bad; A shot
A's wife finds nude photos of A's secretary on computer, throws it in pool
A declared a terrorist and sent to Guantanamo
A hit by Elmo balloon at Macy*s parade; in Intensive Care
Other

When B finds out what happened to A, does he post an apology, as required by fucking common courtesy?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 11:11 AM on November 30, 2005


Just so I don't offend anyone, I'd like to preemptively thank everyone who ever answers any of my future AskMe questions.

And for those of you who agree with C_D that the correct answer must be acknowledged: your answer is the one that solved the problem -- thanks bunches! Take a dollar out of petty cash.
posted by forrest at 11:18 AM on November 30, 2005


The REAL problem which everyone is IGNORING here is how people stop ANSWERING a question once it falls off the FRONT PAGE. Goddamn stingy, discriminatory sons of bitches who can't be bothered to spend a single click of the mouse to help a fellow member in need... I am GODDAMN sick and tired of it.
posted by scarabic at 11:35 AM on November 30, 2005


Yes, this is a community. Yes, people are free to not post a follow-up to their question. Equally, we are free to not answer questions by that poster again. There are currently two members whose questions I won't answer: their posting records speak for themselves. Both have asked nearly 30 questions, not answered anyone else's and rarely if ever post follow-ups or Best Answers. Ergo, no more answers from me. A follow-up isn't just a way of saying 'thanks' to the respondent, it helps the community by letting future visitors know which solution worked, or what they found especially helpful.

I understand C_D's frustration but suggest that the best answer is to not answer that user's questions in the future. But please don't stop answering questions altogether - there are certain posters, including yourself and ikkyu2, who consistently post excellent answers.

BTW, I'm looking for a home media device - would you have any suggestions, C_D? ;)
posted by blag at 11:37 AM on November 30, 2005


*makes everyone delicious tacos... of the apocalypse*
posted by I Love Tacos at 11:47 AM on November 30, 2005


Mmmmmmm, spicy blood of the saints sauce!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:54 AM on November 30, 2005 [1 favorite]


I call the transubstantiated chalupas.
posted by Gator at 11:56 AM on November 30, 2005


When B finds out what happened to A, does he post an apology, as required by fucking common courtesy?

While Keith Gerson wins, the answer to his hypothetical question is a matter of FUCKING COMMON SENSE!

A's life presumptively consists of compulsively refreshing AskMe pages, ordering takeout and bumping NoDoze. Therefore, scenarios other than home invasion and fire are presumptively impossible.

Fucking common courtesy demands nothing of B in the face of such substantial evidence.
posted by kosem at 12:06 PM on November 30, 2005


In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I vote that we thank everyone who's given a good answer to an Ask.MF question in this past year.

And I want to especially thank ThePinkSuperhero, in advance, just in case she wants to throw some of that good lovin' over here, toward the other coast...
posted by jasper411 at 12:48 PM on November 30, 2005


THANK YOU JASPER411 FOR IMPLYING I'M A BI-COASTAL SLUT IN FRONT OF THOOOOOOUSANDS OF MY FELLOW MEFIERS! ::SMOOCHIES::
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:14 PM on November 30, 2005 [1 favorite]


Yeah, but what about the fly-over country? Huh? Will anybody THINK ABOUT ALL THE LONELY FLY-OVERS??
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 1:27 PM on November 30, 2005


YOU PEOPLE ARE INSATIABLE!

Fortunately for you, so am I ;-)

Is it 6 o'clock yet?????
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:34 PM on November 30, 2005 [1 favorite]


Alright, you kids, so in the old days, before all these fancy world wide webs of yours, we had a little thing that we used to call Vaudeville USENET. One of the most oft-repeated peices of USENETiquette was that you should never end your post with "Please reply via email. I don't read this newsfroup."

The idea was that, if you couldn't be bothered to take the time to read the postings of others, those others wouldn't take the time to answer your question. I think there's a little of that in C_D's post and I don't think that's necessarily wrong. A little note that says you're still keeping an eye on the thread wouldn't go amiss in helping the answerer feel his time was well spent. No? Not a requirement, of course, but maybe a good idea.
posted by The Bellman at 2:26 PM on November 30, 2005


Oh, USENET! ::bathes in sentimental puddles of tears::
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:31 PM on November 30, 2005 [1 favorite]


[yearns for Usenet circa 1989-1993ish, when it was still usable.]
posted by five fresh fish at 2:49 PM on November 30, 2005


You're not at all in the wrong, C_D was pretty much at 100% douchbag with that outburst. No more proof is needed than what he provides near the end with "I'm really, really getting sick and tired of people wasting the time of good samaritans" - People accepting help aren't wasting the time of someone looking to be a good samaritan if they don't say "thanks" (repeatedly), they are wasting the time of people only helping for the sake of stroking their own egos.

AskMe is indeed a community and what makes it a community is people helping other people, not some particular person's idea of how a group of people should respond to and acknowledge each other. Presumably people repay that help by helping others, but throwing stones at the number of answers is equally rude and arrogant. Some people will have a greater breadth of knowledge than others or simply more time to post answers, others are busy or less able to express themselves in print. Anyone who doesn't find helping to be reward enough on its own should probably just not post if it's so painful not to get the repayment or obeisance they feel is their due.
posted by phearlez at 3:18 PM on November 30, 2005


Anyone who doesn't find helping to be reward enough on its own should probably just not post if it's so painful not to get the repayment or obeisance they feel is their due.

Why is common courtesy an impossible expectation?
posted by Rothko at 3:23 PM on November 30, 2005


cabin fever. all of you, fucking go outside already!

Kirth Gerson wins
posted by hototogisu at 3:26 PM on November 30, 2005


I'm waiting for the Whore of Babylon to sit on my head, but I'm not going to wait forever.

*begins preparing pestilences*
posted by languagehat at 3:34 PM on November 30, 2005


I just noticed that Ian A.T. has an email address in his profile. Consequently, couldn't C_D have merely sent a brief note requesting an update?
posted by MrZero at 3:51 PM on November 30, 2005


No, that would be too easy.

Also, I'm not sure you can afford that one, languagehat...
posted by hototogisu at 3:55 PM on November 30, 2005


phearlez : "C_D was pretty much at 100% douchbag with that outburst. No more proof is needed than what he provides near the end with 'I'm really, really getting sick and tired of people wasting the time of good samaritans' - People accepting help aren't wasting the time of someone looking to be a good samaritan if they don't say 'thanks' (repeatedly)"

Someone kill this meme. Whether C_D was or was not an asshole aside, his comment wasn't about asking people to say "thanks".
posted by Bugbread at 3:59 PM on November 30, 2005


No, but it clearly is an expectation of some form of reciprocity.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 4:03 PM on November 30, 2005


Why is common courtesy an impossible expectation?

Hmm.

See, if you don't do this, some of us who were actually conned into giving a damn about your sad little problem

Yeah, I see C_D's committment to courtesy is strong.

Whether C_D was or was not an asshole aside, his comment wasn't about asking people to say "thanks".

Fair enough. His comment abusive ourburst was that he wants something back from the poster, in the form of updates or 'best answer' status, that he is not owed and is not required or even suggested in the forms where one submits a question. I think claiming that it's just common courtesy and reasonably expected ignores the reality that the medium and exchanges are different than an actually interactive communication.
posted by phearlez at 4:18 PM on November 30, 2005


It's not a desire to be thanked for ones efforts, but for feedback so that one can know if ones help is still needed.

At least someone here understands. I wasn't interested in thanks, or congrats, or anything of the sort.

AskMe is what you make of it. I've seen a lot of people respond here who blithly think 1-sentence answers in AskMe are par for the course, that AskMe is nothing but a fetid swamp where new questions slowly push down the old, where you have to repeat yourself or constantly provide updates just to find resolution because, Lord knows, you 1-sentencers wouldn't go back to a thread to see if the OP has any resolution.

I've given short answers before, without expecting anything in return. And I've given long answers to bad questions that have no resolution--the "how ya' doin'?" chatty questions that serve no purpose, and I expected no common courtesy from those questions because the questions themselves are rude to the people who have real problems that get shoved off the frontpage into oblivion because you just felt like chatting. I only hope you 1-sentencers out there someday have a real problem and are confronted with a hundred useless, pointless, worthless 1-sentence responses from your compatriots.

In the thread in question, it was my understanding that Ian was trying potential solutions out as people responded. A message board makes for a poor call-center, but given the technological constraints, you do your best to be as methodical and efficient as possible. I mistakingly took Ian's frequent level of participation in the thread to indicate that he would be trying out solutions and posting his results, but that after checking up for a week it appeared that he wasn't coming back: yet another abandoned thread. Which means not only did his problem not get solved, not only are future archives-searchers going to be in for a letdown, but I wasted my time trying to help, and I further wasted my time going back to the thread checking for updates.

It's fucking annoying. If you don't find my advice helpful, fine. But don't fucking waste my time and abuse my generosity by stringing me along.

Now, I fully acknowledge that AskMe was not the best venue for my outrage. I decided to post it to illustrate a point, as I said in the last sentence: that it didn't matter anyway, since he wouldn't be checking up on it anyway. As I said before (not that people read through threads anymore), I wasn't picking on Ian in particular, but a trend in general. I would also like to agree that, to all those who said "bad timing", you're right. I should have waited longer, considering it was a holiday and people do go on break. I was frustrated and I made a mistake.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:23 PM on November 30, 2005


EB, Phearlez, agreed that it was a request/demand/rant for some sort of reciprocity. That's not the meme that needs to be killed, because it's accurate. The harping on about how "C_D wants thanks! C_D wants thanks!" is the part that bugged me.

C_D: I hear ya, but you really should apologize to Ian. Yes, it was just an honest misunderstanding, but people apologize for misunderstandings. It's (er) common courtesy. I'm not saying you're Hitler if you don't, or that you should be banned, or that we should make a rule about it or anything, but it would be a nice, courteous thing to do.

And I apologize (honestly) for coming across as such a pompous ass for saying so. I just don't know of a good, self-effacing way to say it.
posted by Bugbread at 4:32 PM on November 30, 2005


Sorry for going off on you, Ian. My fuse was short and my anger misdirected.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:39 PM on November 30, 2005


::golf claps::

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaand scene.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:41 PM on November 30, 2005 [1 favorite]


So... no Whore of Babylon then?

*wanders off disconsolately, bangs several heads on low-hanging branch*

posted by languagehat at 4:51 PM on November 30, 2005


AskMetafilter: don't fucking waste my time and abuse my generosity by stringing me along.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:03 PM on November 30, 2005


Nope. However, I did just find a trilingual cabaret girl going on about the virtues of mocha stout, if you're interested. She's a bit more our speed, financially, I think.
posted by hototogisu at 5:10 PM on November 30, 2005


I did just find a trilingual cabaret girl going on about the virtues of mocha stout, if you're interested. She's a bit more our speed, financially, I think.

Actually, I'm barely bilingual, and I should tell you I'm not really your speed financially, either.
posted by scody at 5:48 PM on November 30, 2005


No no, the one behind you...Damnit this is complex.
posted by hototogisu at 5:54 PM on November 30, 2005


Speaking of seven days later, it's been almost two hundred days, and themadjuggler still hasn't told us why those homeless dudes in the Paris metro were saying "Seven".
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 6:07 PM on November 30, 2005


Oh, TPS, now you're making me blush.
posted by googly at 6:43 PM on November 30, 2005


Which means not only did his problem not get solved, not only are future archives-searchers going to be in for a letdown, but I wasted my time trying to help, and I further wasted my time going back to the thread checking for updates.

It's fucking annoying. If you don't find my advice helpful, fine. But don't fucking waste my time and abuse my generosity by stringing me along.


Was there a time when people using AskMe routinely left updates? It may be "common courtesy" or "nice" or however one wants to phrase it, but it's hardly out of the ordinary to have a thread not get updated. If you're expecting people to leave them despite all the evidence that they probably won't, then you're the one who is wasting your own time by expecting something that so far hasn't happened.

If you want more people to update, that is a fine goal. But it's not going to spontaneously start happening out of thin air.
posted by 23skidoo at 6:56 PM on November 30, 2005


"Speaking of seven days later, it's been almost two hundred days, and themadjuggler still hasn't told us why those homeless dudes in the Paris metro were saying 'Seven'."

Thanks for linking to that thread, w-gp, skyanth's comment is the most clever bit of wit I've seen on MetaFilter all year. I'll be let down to find that he didn't just make it up—the other comment seems to imply that it's an old joke.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 7:08 PM on November 30, 2005


23skidoo, this isn't about everyone, always updating. It's about certain threads where the question at hand necessitates updates because of the trial-error way in which questions answered on a message board works, and where answerers and asker are having a seemingly productive dialogue that abruptly stops before resolution, without any notice given to those who are still under the delusion that the back-and-forth is occuring when in fact they're just playing tennis against a brick wall. Understand?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:36 PM on November 30, 2005


Well, at the risk of letting you down, EB, I first heard it years ago as the Newfie jumping up and down on the manhole cover in Toronto, shouting "Farty-seven". When a Bay Street banker goes down the hole, it becomes "Farty-eight". I'm sure it's older than that.

C_D, it's likely small consolation, but many of us read the threads and get useful information without posting comments. You're playing tennis against a wall, but there's an appreciative audience.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 7:43 PM on November 30, 2005


Understand?

Errrr, I've never had trouble understanding your point, and I never suggested it was about everyone, always updating. I just see things how they are, and you see them how they should be.
posted by 23skidoo at 8:01 PM on November 30, 2005


Understand?

No. Because it's still the questioner's prerogative to continue the inquiry or not.

I say this with the love of one who appreciates another and wants to see them stop shoving rocks up their ass so they can continue taking heavy shits in public: please stop.

Whether or not there was any validity to your point, you made a serious asterisk of yourself in the way you expressed it, and violated the guidelines by doing so IN the AskMe thread. AskMe ettiquette indeed. Back to basics, man.

You had a point. But you've gone beyond the point where you can make it. It's a shame, I know. But you blew it. Sorry, but you blew it.

And FWIW, I don't agree. Things like AskMe thrive on feedback, but there's absolutely no expectation. And asserting that there should be is destructive to that altruistic and spontaneous feedback loop which the whole endeavor is driven by.
posted by scarabic at 8:20 PM on November 30, 2005


"...first heard it years ago as the Newfie...

Ah, Newfie jokes. I've been divorced from my Canadian ex-wife for 11 years and I still think of car door locks you have to be pulling on the handle to lock them, "Newfie-locks".
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 8:39 PM on November 30, 2005


Er, well if you already described his rant as bizzare, it's pretty clear you've already made up your mind (correctly, IMO)
posted by delmoi at 9:45 PM on November 30, 2005


Answering the original question ... I don't think you were in the wrong, it was just a misunderstanding. But now I'm curious what happened with the data swap.
posted by russilwvong at 11:54 PM on November 30, 2005


So, like I saw C_D in the hallway, and like I said hi, and I know like he saw me and didn't say hi and I think he's mad 'cause I was like talking to that girl he said he useta like but like didn't like anymore--he sez-- so I thought it would be OK but now know he's all mad but pretending it's me who's mad and the Ian was gonna take my lunch money or cry or something and besides, he wore the same shirt as me and that's MY color and everyone knows it so I'm not talking to him unless he IMs me about the prom.
posted by cccorlew at 12:22 AM on December 1, 2005


Why is common courtesy an impossible expectation?

Can we please put to rest this "common courtesy" meme?

What we're really disussing here is common fucking courtesy! Leave the money on the nightstand, f'gods sake!
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:34 AM on December 1, 2005


I say this with the love of one who appreciates another and wants to see them stop shoving rocks up their ass so they can continue taking heavy shits in public: please stop.

This is what we call flamebait. If you really cared for my sphincter, you wouldn't have said anything, as the thread is/was basically dead.

What we're really disussing here is common fucking courtesy!

Precisely! And scarabic has done my rectum a mighty disservice.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:46 AM on December 1, 2005


Aright. I understand that you are going to continue being defensive and railing on your original rant. It's dead indeed.
posted by scarabic at 8:42 AM on December 1, 2005


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