Too Much Trolling January 2, 2006 4:25 PM   Subscribe

There seems to be a contingent of people on this website (we all know who they are) who feel the need to pollute threads that would be otherwise relevant, reasonable, and/or interesting. They come in, spew their opinion, and then proceed to turn thought-provoking material into a three ring circus. After having to sift through heaps of vitrol to find comments that even remotely relate to the topic at hand twice today, I've had enough. Your need to have your last word in a public meeting space that prides itself on civil, topical conversation is disgustingly revealing of your immaturity and arrogance. As a user of this site who is primarily a lurker, I want to make a statement on behalf of those people who come here for the fascinating content: If you feel the need to troll and argue, shut up already.
posted by potch to Etiquette/Policy at 4:25 PM (144 comments total)

There. That feels better.
posted by potch at 4:25 PM on January 2, 2006


This thread has great potential.
posted by Krrrlson at 4:26 PM on January 2, 2006


He didn't name names or link links. Maybe there's hope.
posted by Gator at 4:28 PM on January 2, 2006


The music kids listen to is too loud these days!
posted by Krrrlson at 4:29 PM on January 2, 2006


You appear to be spewing your opinion, my friend.
posted by Protocols of the Elders of Awesome at 4:29 PM on January 2, 2006


whitepeopletalklikethis Black people talk like this.
posted by Azhruwi at 4:30 PM on January 2, 2006


Repeat after me:

Just. A. Website.
posted by Ryvar at 4:31 PM on January 2, 2006


Wow. Five minutes, and already full of the common sense, and thoughful discussion I was talking about. This is why we can't have nice things.
posted by potch at 4:33 PM on January 2, 2006


so tell me, potch. horse or donkey?
posted by stirfry at 4:33 PM on January 2, 2006


You must be new here.
posted by loquacious at 4:34 PM on January 2, 2006


thank you, good citizen. we are all sleeping sudly tonight due tour brave efforts.
posted by jonmc at 4:35 PM on January 2, 2006


well, potch, given that the only request you made in your soapbox rant was "shut up already," you should not be shocked at the lack of substantive commentary in the thread.

There. That feels exactly the same.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 4:36 PM on January 2, 2006


Serious question, potch: What, exactly, did you expect the responses to this thread to look like?
posted by Gator at 4:38 PM on January 2, 2006


Wow. Five minutes, and already full of the common sense, and thoughful discussion I was talking about. This is why we can't have nice things.

I'm calling bullshit. Not only do you seem new to Metafilter, you appear new to the Internet as a whole. "There's too much stupidity here" is a great way to kick off one of those intelligent, thoughtful conversations you were seeking.

Unless of course you're trolling in which case I applaud your efforts, sir - this thread comes preequipped with phasers set to "comedy."
posted by Ryvar at 4:38 PM on January 2, 2006


You mean me, don't you, potch?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 4:38 PM on January 2, 2006


Not new, just foolishly idealistic, I guess. When I joined here, I joined because it was free of the ridiculousness of other online forum/weblog/link compendiums. It's only gone downhill from there. My post isn't an angry callout, it's just hearkening back to when MetaFilter wasn't petty and argumentative. Never mind, I guess.
posted by potch at 4:38 PM on January 2, 2006


this thread comes preequipped with phasers set to "comedy."

Two Klingons walk into a bar...
posted by jonmc at 4:39 PM on January 2, 2006


This is an understandable sentiment, potch, but surely you see what such a post is going to lead to?


posted by Wolfdog at 4:40 PM on January 2, 2006


There was a time when MetaFilter wasn't petty and argumentative?
posted by the_bone at 4:40 PM on January 2, 2006


Cars are too red. GET OFF MY LAWN!
posted by Krrrlson at 4:40 PM on January 2, 2006


When I joined here, I joined because it was free of the ridiculousness of other online forum/weblog/link compendiums.

Wow. You must have joined way back in 1998.
posted by Gator at 4:41 PM on January 2, 2006


potch, I started reading Metafilter when user numbers were still in the 5Ks, and I gotta say - this non-petty and non-argumentative Metafilter you claim to have seen never existed.
posted by Ryvar at 4:41 PM on January 2, 2006


When I joined here, I joined because it was free of the ridiculousness of other online forum/weblog/link compendiums.

WHAT?!

We have the same ridiculous here, since we're only human, after all. But since we're smarter than average, our ridiculousness is more sublime than usual. That's the only difference. Get over it.
posted by jonmc at 4:41 PM on January 2, 2006


Thanks, Wolfdog. I'm not trolling, and I immediately regret the ending tone of my post. I guess I'm fair game now though. Have fun everyone.
posted by potch at 4:43 PM on January 2, 2006


Is this a case of the potch calling the kindling black? (If so, that's perfectly all right with me!)

I actually agree quite a lot with potch's complaints.
posted by taz at 4:47 PM on January 2, 2006


the people who think their voice must be heard on everything are certainly not unique to mefi, or new. flame warriors documents them all.
posted by jimw at 4:50 PM on January 2, 2006



posted by Azhruwi at 4:51 PM on January 2, 2006


I was gonna start a thread about how I wanted to be a new year new MeFi but after I saw how well this went, eh pitchforks anyone?
posted by wheelieman at 4:51 PM on January 2, 2006


taz, with all due respect, isn't potlach just coming the inevitable realization that the superior intellect of MeFi participants (myslef included) is no bulletproof vest against the ordinary human foibles of ego, vanity, rage and pettiness? I say let him absorb the lesson.
posted by jonmc at 4:51 PM on January 2, 2006


Ego, Vanity, Rage and Pettiness

They were my favorite soul group. "Troll and Argue" is still the best slow jam.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 4:55 PM on January 2, 2006



posted by mischief at 4:58 PM on January 2, 2006


I always pefered "Pride, Envy, Gluttony, Lust, Anger, Greed & Sloth (Remix)" but I'm old fashioned.

I say, better to puncture someones idealism early before it's punctutred involuntarily by the world itslef, saving him the bitterness of disillusionment and the hatred that comes with it.

posted by jonmc at 4:58 PM on January 2, 2006


I actually agree quite a lot with potch's complaints.

Same here. If the folks who obviously know better would just *try* to reign themselves in a little bit, the site as a whole would benefit immensely. Cultivating a sense of community is not a bad thing. Respecting fellow members' concerns and interests is not a bad thing. Sitting on your hands if all you have to offer is a derail is not a bad thing.

Why is any of that worthy of scorn?
posted by mediareport at 4:59 PM on January 2, 2006


closes tags. my remaining shreds of idealism do extend to readablity.
posted by jonmc at 4:59 PM on January 2, 2006


Not new, just foolishly idealistic, I guess. When I joined here, I joined because it was free of the ridiculousness of other online forum/weblog/link compendiums.

January 2005 is the good old times now?
posted by fred_ashmore at 5:00 PM on January 2, 2006


January 2005 is the good old times now?

I can't offer proof, but I have been reading this website for much longer than I have been a paying member.
posted by potch at 5:03 PM on January 2, 2006


potch, why don't you flag the comments you hate and move on? it's not hard.
posted by amberglow at 5:04 PM on January 2, 2006


I joined in august of 2001. It doesn't seem like the general tone on metafilter has changed very much in that time, to be honest. It certainly hasn't changed much in the year you've been a member.
posted by delmoi at 5:04 PM on January 2, 2006


potch, the usual human bullshit was always a part of this place. Don't pine for a golden age that never existed.
posted by jonmc at 5:05 PM on January 2, 2006


Why is any of that worthy of scorn?

It's not, really. I agree that those are all good things and I, too, wish that the most egregious offenders would rein it in. But you know it's been said, many times, many ways, that the fabled Good Old Days never really existed -- there were just fewer people horsing around. My question to potch was serious, though: How did he expect the horsers-around and yuk-yuks to respond to a thread like this?

Also, my first comment about not naming names and linking links was serious. It was nice not to point fingers, though some might argue that pointing fingers is a time-honored part of the self-policing tradition.
posted by Gator at 5:08 PM on January 2, 2006


But you know it's been said, many times, many ways, that the fabled Good Old Days never really existed -- there were just fewer people horsing around.
posted by justgary at 5:10 PM on January 2, 2006


I agree with potch (and Gator) as well. I hate those guys (the ones that we all know who they are). And I really mean that too.
posted by Roger Dodger at 5:12 PM on January 2, 2006


no, just gary, we simply had better horser-arounders. It's was just me and quonsar back in those days.
posted by jonmc at 5:13 PM on January 2, 2006


Personally I think this place is chattier than it used to be. I know that the number of inline images has certainly increased.

There may have been no "Golden Age", true, but that doesnt mean that things are not worse than they used to be. Its too easy to fall into the Theseus' ship fallacy: just because Metafilter right now is about the same as it was a month ago and that has been true for all of Metafilter's history - does not mean that Metafilter has *always* been like this.
posted by vacapinta at 5:14 PM on January 2, 2006



posted by matteo at 5:14 PM on January 2, 2006


the usual human bullshit was always a part of this place

Look, I hate the rose-colored past thing, too. But if there's anything that scales badly as MeFi grows, it's shitty behavior. Yeah, we all know members who regularly act like assholes have always been a problem here. But it's absurd to use that fact to avoid a discussion of what we can do to encourage asshole-acting members to take their responsibility to the community a bit more seriously. It's hard to reign in the impulse, I know (believe me, I know), but it's really fucking up the site these days.

Whether it also fucked up the site in the past is, well, kinda irrelevant to this discussion.
posted by mediareport at 5:15 PM on January 2, 2006


no, just gary, we simply had better horser-arounders. It's was just me and quonsar back in those days.

And now we have a thousand quonsar and jonmc wannabes. I blame you dammit.
posted by justgary at 5:16 PM on January 2, 2006


matteo, I have no idea what that painting is supposed to represent, but I think that you, like any reasonable person, would allow that this site has never been free of petty human bullshit, and that to harbor dippy-assed nostalgia for a time that never was, is pointless. Dosen't mean we can't criticize the living shit out of eachother, just recognize that your basically hurling pixels into the void.

A trip to the Total Perspective Vortex is in order for a lotta n00bs, I think.
posted by jonmc at 5:18 PM on January 2, 2006


now we have a thousand quonsar and jonmc wannabes

Brilliant.

Metafilter: now with a thousand quonsar and jonmc wannabes.
posted by Ryvar at 5:19 PM on January 2, 2006


But it's absurd to use that fact to avoid a discussion of what we can do to encourage asshole-acting members to take their responsibility to the community a bit more seriously. It's hard to reign in the impulse, I know (believe me, I know), but it's really fucking up the site these days.

mediareport, as a self-cofessed asshole (in the sense that I ultimately don't give a fuck what anyone thinks) I have to ask, what to we reign in exactly? the urge to call bullshit on fatuous contentions? to sit still for mean-spirited behavior? the need to speak our own minds? what?
posted by jonmc at 5:20 PM on January 2, 2006


Oh come on, jonmc; you know I'm not talking about putting a stop to "calling bullshit on fatuous contentions." Calling bullshit =/= being an asshole. Insulting people rather than engaging ideas, attention-whoring, derailing, sneering often and at the drop of a hat - those are just the obvious ones.
posted by mediareport at 5:23 PM on January 2, 2006


Whether it also fucked up the site in the past is, well, kinda irrelevant to this discussion.

Yup. We should all (all) take an oath:

First, do no harm.

I will not hearken back to the non-existent Good Old Days when I complain about present-day shitty behavior.

I will not blow off people's present concerns by claiming that it was never any better.

posted by Gator at 5:24 PM on January 2, 2006


Also, you're not one of the site's problem assholes. Not usually, anyway. :)
posted by mediareport at 5:25 PM on January 2, 2006


Insulting people rather than engaging ideas, attention-whoring, derailing, sneering often and at the drop of a hat - those are just the obvious ones.

mediareport, as annoying as those behaviors are (and I'll freely admit to having engaging in all of them) they are intensely human behaviors, and this sute is made up of mere mortal, flawed human beings no matter how much we'd like to believe otherwise. Our saving grace is that we also engage in creativity, compassion, and mercy, y'know those othe intensly human behaviors.
posted by jonmc at 5:27 PM on January 2, 2006


You don't have a point here, jonmc; no one's arguing it's not "intensely human" to act like an asshole.
posted by mediareport at 5:28 PM on January 2, 2006



You don't have a point here, jonmc;

yes I do, mediareport. My point is this: most MeTa callouts are aimed at eliminating behaviors from the site that are inevitable consequences of being human: pettiness, rancor, etc. Better to accept them as the cost of doing business and keep on truckin', says I.
posted by jonmc at 5:30 PM on January 2, 2006


Cultivating a sense of community is not a bad thing.
Yes, but trying to do so via a post such as this is just a spectacular (really! behold the spectacle!) failure to understand group dynamics.


posted by Wolfdog at 5:31 PM on January 2, 2006


Sorry 'bout the excessive images.
posted by Wolfdog at 5:32 PM on January 2, 2006


So far, this thread is working out to be the perfect nail in the coffin of the weekend. Thanks, guys.
posted by interrobang at 5:35 PM on January 2, 2006


most MeTa callouts are aimed at eliminating behaviors from the site that are inevitable consequences of being human

You're seeing the tree in front of you, but not the forest. If even a small minority of users here, old and new, committed to 1) reducing their own asshole index and 2) politely calling out bad behavior when we see it, without simply derailing the thread, then MeFi would improve. I say dramatically, but whatever.

The particulars of this callout aside (and Wolfdog nailed it), why on earth would anyone who cares about the site *not* sign on for that?
posted by mediareport at 5:37 PM on January 2, 2006


why do we need a thousand jonmc wannabes when the original comments a thousand times in every thread?
posted by jimw at 5:38 PM on January 2, 2006


It's a genuinely humbling feeling to look at that cartoon, Wolfdog. That wasn't my intended tone; I was just trying to encourage conversation about the intensity of inappropriate comments in MetaFilter. I've made a horse's ass of myself in the process, but there seems to be a bit of dialog, so it was worth it to me.
posted by potch at 5:38 PM on January 2, 2006


If even a small minority of users here, old and new, committed to 1) reducing their own asshole index and 2) politely calling out bad behavior when we see it, without simply derailing the thread, then MeFi would improve.

Yes, but at what price? Repressing our primal instincts to spare someone's tender psyche that;s going to be savaged by life anyway?

I realize we're wandering into existenstial teritory here, but, wht the hell?
posted by jonmc at 5:39 PM on January 2, 2006


My point is this: most [laws] are aimed at eliminating behaviors from the community that are inevitable consequences of being human: [rape], [murder], etc. Better to accept them as the cost of doing business and keep on truckin', says I.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 5:40 PM on January 2, 2006


jimw: are you trying to tell me that I talk too much? I knew that. save your breath.
posted by jonmc at 5:40 PM on January 2, 2006


I've made a horse's ass of myself in the process

you mean a donkey's horse, of course ...
posted by pyramid termite at 5:42 PM on January 2, 2006


Yes, but at what price? Repressing our primal instincts to spare someone's tender psyche that;s going to be savaged by life anyway?

I realize we're wandering into existenstial teritory here, but, wht the hell?


The existential territory you're wandering into here is much like that of solid-one-love's apartment, where people on the other side of the screen are not real. That's a lot of what this callout is about.
posted by interrobang at 5:43 PM on January 2, 2006


monju boatsu: I never argued that rape and murder and similar behaviors (putting aside the reductio ad absurdum of your argument*) should be tolreated, but there's never been a society that's eliminated those behaviors, has there?

* and yeah, the human impulses that drive sucj behaviors are in abundant evidence here at MeFi. Did you honestly expect any different? Once upon a time, I might've, but I know better, now.
posted by jonmc at 5:43 PM on January 2, 2006


So far, this thread is working out to be the perfect nail in the coffin of the weekend. Thanks, guys.

It doesn't seem all that bad to me. No one got called out personally, there've only been a couple of inline images, potch is taking his (fairly mild) ribbing on the chin. And mediareport and jonmc are having a lively discussion.

Further bulletins as events warrant.

On preview: interrobang, why you gotta raise the sol-signal?
posted by Gator at 5:45 PM on January 2, 2006


The existential territory you're wandering into here is much like that of solid-one-love's apartment, where people on the other side of the screen are not real.

The difference between me and SOL is that whenever I indulge in such behaviors, I will be bothered by my conscience, or better yet, my conscienece will intervene before I indulge in the first place, but trying to pretend that the drives aren't in each and every one of us is futile and silly.
posted by jonmc at 5:45 PM on January 2, 2006


Don't make me launch Photoshop. I'll turn this thread around right now.
posted by fandango_matt at 5:49 PM on January 2, 2006


fandango_matt, please, have mercy. Name your terms.
posted by Gator at 5:51 PM on January 2, 2006


The difference between me and SOL is that whenever I indulge in such behaviors, I will be bothered by my conscience, or better yet, my conscienece will intervene before I indulge in the first place, but trying to pretend that the drives aren't in each and every one of us is futile and silly.

Yeah, I know that, but a lot of people here aren't addressing the real issue behind this post, and instead are saying things like "didn't you know what would happen if you posted this, dumbass?"

Paying attention to other people's feelings in a community *is* an important thing, and shit generally breaks down around here because people don't consider that the people they're communicating with are real. Your suggestion reminded me of solid-one-love, though I am not comparing you to him, my fellow sociopath. Of ilk.
posted by interrobang at 5:51 PM on January 2, 2006


Can I see something in a bear motif, fandango_matt
posted by Emperor Yamamoto's Eggs at 5:51 PM on January 2, 2006


I don't expect any difference between MetaFilter and the real world, and therefore I do expect to see the antisocial behavior we're discussing in full effect. I just disagree that we should revel in it.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 5:56 PM on January 2, 2006


I know, i-banger, and onelesson I've learned is that people who will tear you apart are often the ones who will rush to your side in times of need the quickest ( case in point: dame, matteo, fold & mutilate, languagehat, and yourself among countless others). Why? Because the same thing that prompts them to rage prompts them to be kind when misfortune falls: their fundamental humanity and decency or in other words, understanding of human moral frailty. If we recognize that and structure our worldview around that (personally and politically) we might just do OK as a speicies.

(caveat: I have no idea what that might entail, I'm just sayin'.)
posted by jonmc at 5:57 PM on January 2, 2006


jonmc, just because someone else will do something bad doesn't mean it's OK for you to. Just because something is natural doesn't mean it's prescribed in a social situation.

I agree with the original poster. Certain people need to repress their primal instincs and try to increase the signal to noise ratio here. A few bad apples are ruining the bunch. It's a new low when those same users have the a similar effect on MeTa, the mechanism designed to deal with these issues.

Perhaps those who cause too much noise should be blocked eventually to this end?
posted by parallax7d at 5:58 PM on January 2, 2006


mediareport and jonmc are having a lively discussion

Well, not anymore. He's so consistently misrepresenting my position that I've reluctantly become convinced he's just looking for an argument. Ordinarily, I'd be happy to oblige him, if the subject were something, you know, interesting, like Ricky Nelson's tormented struggle to reconcile his nice boy image with his sperm count or something. But this subject can't sustain the kind of tit-for-tat jonmc is valiantly trying to keep going. It's like playing tennis with a wiffle ball. Which would be badminton, I guess.

But, really, I'm done. When a call for less asshole behavior at MeFi becomes "repressing our primal instincts to spare someone's tender psyche," there's not much more to say.
posted by mediareport at 6:01 PM on January 2, 2006


jonmc, just because someone else will do something bad doesn't mean it's OK for you to. Just because something is natural doesn't mean it's prescribed in a social situation.

read my last comment, parallax7d. I have far more respect for those who have transgressed and admit it and gained understanding than for those who try to pretend that they are beyond such things, is all I'm saying. I f we are truly going to live up to our pretensions of viewing ourselves as a community, acceptance of eachothers humanity (in both the good and bad senses of that word) has to be a part of that.
posted by jonmc at 6:01 PM on January 2, 2006


It's nice that you have respect for certain people in certain situations, that's a good start on the road to being respectful. Acceptance of humanity isn't the issue.
posted by parallax7d at 6:05 PM on January 2, 2006


yes it is, parallax7d. It's acceptance of it in ourselves, which is always harder than accepting it in othes.
posted by jonmc at 6:07 PM on January 2, 2006


hose who try to pretend that they are beyond such things

why? they're only human.
posted by mr.marx at 6:07 PM on January 2, 2006


jonmc, as an extreme user in many ways, I dont think you can claim to speak for all metafilter users much less all of humanity.

When I read statements like

"I've learned is that people who will tear you apart are often the ones who will rush to your side in times of need the quickest ( case in point: dame, matteo, fold & mutilate, languagehat, and yourself among countless others). Why? Because the same thing that prompts them to rage prompts them to be kind when misfortune falls:"

i cant help but realize that you come here for different reasons than I do - to be engaged, to sometimes engage in conversation and exchange ideas etc. That is, the faulty premises in your arguments above is you are assuming everyone comes here for the same reason you do. I have plenty of areas in my life to fight, yell, scream, shit, laugh, roar and cry.

Metafilter is a small part of that, true, but is it unreasonable to ask that it remain civil? It seems that the existence of Metachat, rather than acting as an outlet, has given people the idea that Metafilter should be more like that - people just speaking immediately whats on their human mind - rather than taking the time to bundle it with eloquence or civility or grace. Farting is human but you make it sound like repressed self-denial when we ask people to not fart loudly at the dinner table.
posted by vacapinta at 6:18 PM on January 2, 2006


jonmc, as an extreme user in many ways, I dont think you can claim to speak for all metafilter users much less all of humanity.


for the last time, I don't claim to speak for anyone but myself. Feel free to preface anthing I say with that caveat. I say that mainly since I consider you one of the users that I respect deeply, vacapinta, for whatever that's worth.
posted by jonmc at 6:20 PM on January 2, 2006


Farting is human but you make it sound like repressed self-denial when we ask people to not fart loudly at the dinner table.

Bless your heart, vacapinta; this is why you are my muse.
posted by melissa may at 6:23 PM on January 2, 2006


I'm only speaking for myself, but you all should behave like I think you should.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 6:33 PM on January 2, 2006


To which I should add: there is a lot of "whatever's on your mind spill it" on metachat, but there is also grace to be found there too, and the name-calling, well, it's a lot more rare. That sort of general politeness and respect seems to be mistaken for weakness here, by a small but unfortunately vocal minority. It's too bad.
posted by melissa may at 6:33 PM on January 2, 2006


There's also a difference between engaging in lively heated discussion and dropping into a thread to just call someone an asshole and then dropping out again. jonmc, you're invested in this place and I've rarely seen you engage in the sort of totally disruptive behavior that I think potch is talking about.

The number of times we've seen people get called out in MeTa for crapping on the site and then have that person's response be "xyz user insulted my honor and I responded appropriately.... you can't fault me for that" is growing. No one is saying that people can't or shouldn't be jerks sometimes, occasionally, just that when a thread turns into a big wrestling match between two hotheads taking turns insulting each other, it may be time to find a room, a different room than MetaFilter.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:36 PM on January 2, 2006


is it unreasonable to ask that it remain civil?

Bingo. I don't know what jonmc's doing, but whatever it is, it's certainly not addressing that question.
posted by mediareport at 6:37 PM on January 2, 2006


I think this thread ended up almost bizarrely civil based on how it started. Congrats all around.

In any event, I think that a large part of the problem is that some people simply don't want to be told what to do, and don't think of metafilter as something that they can diminish. Most people, however, do understand it (I think) and if they get out of line a callout will fix it.

Fundamentally it's all up to Matt (and to a lesser extent Jess) to decide what to do with the intractable cases. The consensus seems to be not to get rid of people, so they stay. AskMe is different because it isn't just "self" policed.

It's a fundamental question of Liberty vs. Annoyance.
posted by delmoi at 6:38 PM on January 2, 2006


jonmc, you're invested in this place

which is exactly why I think we should engage with the carziest among us, jess, just to find out how they got that way if nothing else. Isn't that what one of matt's original goals was? and to do that we have to look for the humanity even in those who offend us most. I realize that takes a lot of patience, and I lose mine occasionally too, but I think it's worth our while.
posted by jonmc at 6:41 PM on January 2, 2006


zomg what if one of those images is carrying the WMF exploit?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!one
posted by keswick at 6:48 PM on January 2, 2006


keswick has now been given twelve demerits for overuse of the pseudo-interrobang, and one demerit for the use of "one".
posted by interrobang at 6:52 PM on January 2, 2006


I have far more respect for those who have transgressed and admit it and gained understanding than for those who try to pretend that they are beyond such things, is all I'm saying.

There is, of course, another option: to feel the urge to act like an asshole, and then just...not.
posted by gaspode at 7:03 PM on January 2, 2006


There is, of course, another option: to feel the urge to act like an asshole, and then just...not.

(or, you could type whatever the assholey thing is, and just not post it, so you still get the satisfaction) : >
posted by amberglow at 7:08 PM on January 2, 2006


I think this thread ended up almost bizarrely civil based on how it started. Congrats all around.

Fuck you and the donkey-horsecock you rode in on, pal.

Err.

Damn you're so hot. I'm going mad! Make love to me! Make me say NEEEIGH!!

...


Well, I was going to type something about how I've tried over the last few months to basically at least try to be less acrimonious, less divisive and more civil in general - but this and my opening comments in my last MeTa thread just blew that all to hell.

I honestly, sincerely hope that the MeFi userbase knows that I love them all, and that I hope it shows through even when I'm being an irrepressibly sarcastic twatburger.

Stay lickable, youse.
posted by loquacious at 7:11 PM on January 2, 2006


we all know who they are

I don't think we do. I bet there'd be a different list for each of us. One man's poison is another man's... etc.
posted by juiceCake at 7:12 PM on January 2, 2006


amber, my brother, my friend, my ace, if you could only see the things I've deleted over the years, out of restraintcompassion. just saying.
posted by jonmc at 7:14 PM on January 2, 2006


One man's poison is another man's pixels.
posted by interrobang at 7:16 PM on January 2, 2006


To which I should add: there is a lot of "whatever's on your mind spill it" on metachat, but there is also grace to be found there too, and the name-calling, well, it's a lot more rare. That sort of general politeness and respect seems to be mistaken for weakness here, by a small but unfortunately vocal minority.

You're comparing apples to oranges. I don't post at metachat, but I read it occasionally and despite, for the most part, staying away from politics, you've had quite a bit of bickering there also. Members actually start threads about members here so now members here will be "notified" when that happens.

It's not the people that are different, it's the topics. But you know, go metachat. What I don't quite get is why once metachat started metatalk became more chatty.
posted by justgary at 7:26 PM on January 2, 2006


Here's how it's worked out for me: I've finally decided that there's always going to be a contingent of users anywhere on the web that could not care less about how crappy a place is because people are crappy to each other and those people contribute to it because they think it's just the way it is and they have nothing invested in it and the world's an unfriendly place anyway so complaining shows you're a patsy.

And although I don't agree with those people, and I generally act otherwise, I am not capable of being completely well-behaved in an environment where a good portion of the other people are badly-behaved. And that's the best I can do and the best the place will be unless there's a wellspring of sentiment and action that redefinies the place as being much more friendly. Here at MeFi with now 30K members (not really, but ignore that part), it's going to be pretty hard to herd this behemoth in a new direction. I don't think it will happen. What we've got is the best we're going to get.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 7:33 PM on January 2, 2006


(or, you could type whatever the assholey thing is, and just not post it, so you still get the satisfaction)

OK, here's a pony. Everyone gets a third button besides "Post" and "Preview", titled "Asshole". When you click the "Asshole" button your comment gets posted but only you can see it. So you get the satisfaction of posting like an asshole but without actually being an asshole.
posted by TimeFactor at 7:44 PM on January 2, 2006


What's that smell?
posted by konolia at 7:50 PM on January 2, 2006


or, you could type whatever the assholey thing is, and just not post it, so you still get the satisfaction

This is one of the reasons I love the 3 minute edit/delete comment feature on SportsFilter.

potch may have benefited from such a feature and unfortunately decided to post this anyway, but I will say I tend to agree with the feeling, and agree with Ethereal Bligh, monju_bosatsu, vacapinta, et al; and not with those who seem to follow the "that's just the way it is" school of thought.

"Be excellent to each other" - Ted Theodore Logan

yes, I just quoted Bruce Hornsby and Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, and I don't care
posted by terrapin at 8:00 PM on January 2, 2006


I'm sorry, but Mefi was more civilized pre- 9/11. Or, maybe it was just as snarky, but the snarkers are of a higher caliber; many of them have gone off to their own blogs.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:09 PM on January 2, 2006


I tend to agree with the feeling, and agree with Ethereal Bligh, monju_bosatsu, vacapinta, et al; and not with those who seem to follow the "that's just the way it is" school of thought.


I wish I still could, terrapin, honestly. I wanna believe that anything is about anything other tahn pussy & money as a wise man put it, but the evidence keeps mounting inthe other direction.
posted by jonmc at 8:15 PM on January 2, 2006


"to turn thought-provoking material into a three ring circus..."

Ringling Brothers Just lost theirs, so maybe it's wound up here?
posted by ParisParamus at 8:22 PM on January 2, 2006


I love that idea, TimeFactor! : >
posted by amberglow at 8:28 PM on January 2, 2006


I like Ethereal's, the Internet was a much better when people knew how to herd their behemoths. Nowadays people just let their behemoths loose to fend for themselves and when the poor things get upset and cause some trouble here and there, they go and blame the behemoths. I say we herd the behemoths in whatever direction you bright people decide the behemoths must be herded to.
posted by nkyad at 9:17 PM on January 2, 2006


I like Ethereal's idea, the Internet was a much better place when people knew how to herd their behemoths.

it's quite late, I should be sleeping
posted by nkyad at 9:18 PM on January 2, 2006


OK, here's a pony.

i don't want a pony ... i want a donkey
posted by pyramid termite at 9:22 PM on January 2, 2006


There is no behemoth.
posted by Rothko at 9:27 PM on January 2, 2006


I didn't claim that in the past people knew how to herd their behemoths and that such a skill has been lost. I said that herding behemoths is difficult and we shouldn't expect success here. While it's the case that these sorts of problems existed when MeFi was smaller, I think it's also the case that they were less intractable then than they are now, because of size.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 9:39 PM on January 2, 2006


Some people like being an asshole. Others like being around assholes. They are entitled to their personalities and preferences. But where assholish behavior is permitted, it comes to dominate. It's Gersham's Law, bad users drive the good out of circulation.

Have you ever looked at a 2-3-4 year-old thread, and noticed how many of the users aren't around any more? Good clever folks, many of them, you click on their user names and see that they were quite active for a time, then tapered off, and don't much come around anymore.

Which is not to say there was ever a golden age. Those old threads have assholes too.

I don't think there is a solution for what a lot of us don't seem to think is a problem. I would love to see the ban hammer and wand of deletion used with a genocidal vengeance, but it ain't gonna happen.
posted by LarryC at 10:15 PM on January 2, 2006


Resolved: Zeppelin is better than Proust.

Pro: Yes.
posted by gramschmidt at 10:15 PM on January 2, 2006


Then there are those weird impulses we get constantly, you know? we have to fight them off every day of our lives. Those mad little impulses we get, and everybody gets them, too. Like you could be with your friend, could be your best friend in the whole world, standing about two feet away just talking to you and you're thinking, "My goodness, I could just fire out and hit him right now. He would never expect it."

See, madness is never that far away. It's as close as saying 'yes' to the wrong impulse. And the people who stay sane are the people who can make those quick decisions. "Should I stick my fingers into the fan? Or leave the room right now?" "Should I run the blade of this razor across my tongue, or just finish shaving and move away from the sink? C'mon, you're right there and bwahahaha!"

But you don't because luckily most of us have that little voice inside our head that says, "Nah uh ah ah. Turning the car into oncoming traffic is COUNTERPRODUCTIVE!"


leave it to Jim Carrey to provide some salient points. don't be mean! (even to the people who have no little voice inside their head)
posted by carsonb at 11:15 PM on January 2, 2006


"oh yes, herd me, herd me!", cried behemoth.
posted by quonsar at 11:16 PM on January 2, 2006


I Found Son of Minyas Flickr page.
posted by sgt.serenity at 1:03 AM on January 3, 2006


HURF DURF.

<3
posted by icosahedral at 3:00 AM on January 3, 2006


"oh yes, herd me, herd me!", cried behemoth.

I herd you all reedy, mini bee-hee-mouth.

And then a little rosebud cried.
posted by Wolof at 4:30 AM on January 3, 2006


MetaFilter: a public meeting space that prides itself on civil, topical conversation
posted by fleacircus at 4:39 AM on January 3, 2006


What gaspode said.
posted by peacay at 4:48 AM on January 3, 2006


Well, I was going to type something about how I've tried over the last few months to basically at least try to be less acrimonious, less divisive and more civil in general - but this and my opening comments in my last MeTa thread just blew that all to hell.

For what it's worth, I've noticed your effort and been glad of it, and when you fall off the wagon I think "Huh, I thought that guy had cleaned up his act." So it's not in vain.

And jonmc, why won't you accept that it's worth trying to act better, even if we are all human and ultimately blah blah blah? Do you really think the world, or MetaFilter, would be a better place if everybody said "Fuck it, I'm only human, I'll say and do whatever I want"? I get your point about caring and regretting, but you seem to be missing the point that it's worth trying to avoid doing things to regret in the first place.
posted by languagehat at 5:44 AM on January 3, 2006


And jonmc, why won't you accept that it's worth trying to act better, even if we are all human and ultimately blah blah blah?

It's worth trying sure, I'm merely saying that to get through life with anything resembling sanity, we do have to reconcile ourselves to oour own and others faults and shortcomings. That's all.
posted by jonmc at 6:39 AM on January 3, 2006


1. Concern: people "polluting threads".
2. Concern: priorities: What is the purpose of participation? Paying attention to other people's feelings in a community *is* an important thing
3. Concern: what is the limit of freedom to express, to disagree, to communicate in individual ways?

I don't know what it means to pollute a thread. Random nonsense is either a) ignored; or b) more interesting to some than the thread itself... which tells us something.

My priority is to address the core argument. If my perspective on a core argument hurts people's feelings, treads on personally held ideas, or is violent to a cherished and intimate value, oh well. Discussion is an art for those who are willing to subject ideas to scrutiny... there is no other point. If you want a back rub, get one, but don't confuse massage with discussion.

Some people are vulgar. If this upsets you, avoid the internet. Some people react with violence and anger when their values and thinking skills are challenged, if this upsets you, avoid the internet. Some people react to an excess of self indulgent seriousness (navel gazing) with irreverent smartassery, if this offends you, avoid the internet.

In summary: Free speech is more important than civility in creating a community based on discussion. If this offends you avoid society.
posted by ewkpates at 7:07 AM on January 3, 2006


There was a time when MetaFilter wasn't petty and argumentative?

It was certainly much less so (and consequently much more readable) prior to the godawful events of November-December 2000.
posted by darukaru at 7:29 AM on January 3, 2006


... the godawful events of November-December 2000.

Dare I ask, or would this be opening a can o'worms?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:43 AM on January 3, 2006


That would likely have been due to the election Alvy.
posted by longbaugh at 8:47 AM on January 3, 2006


In dreams I walk with you
In dreams I talk to you
In dreams you're mine all the time
With you ever in dreams, in dreams

But just before the dawn
I awake and find you gone
I can't help it, I can't help it
If I cry
I remember that you said goodbye

It's too bad that all these things
Can only happen in my dreams
Only in dreams, beautiful dreams
posted by Joeforking at 9:51 AM on January 3, 2006


If you don't like a thread, just do a quick call-out to metatalk and get out of the way of people who might.

If you don't like a thread, but it's not worth starting a metatalk thread, it's probably not worth saying anything at all.
posted by empath at 10:35 AM on January 3, 2006


"Discussion is an art for those who are willing to subject ideas to scrutiny... there is no other point. If you want a back rub, get one, but don't confuse massage with discussion."

That's just silly. There are inumerable purposes that discussion serves in addition to Socratic dialog. And it's particularly so in the realm you're comparing to a "back rub". Human beings are gregarious animals and gregarious animals interact in functional ways both obvious and obscure. It's clear that humans use vocal interaction to serve many of these purposes. They are legitimate. You'll need to argue something else to achieve your goal—manifestly false claims about the inherent nature of "discussion" doesn't reach it. I agree with your impulse to focus MeFi on productive, intellectual discourse; I just don't agree with what you're asserting in your comment.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 10:39 AM on January 3, 2006


I'd give Keith a backrub.
posted by Rothko at 10:51 AM on January 3, 2006


M. Bligh,

Respectfully, I don't think I do. At issue here is the pollution of threads... which, in absence of a clear definition, I take to mean off topic or merely bilious outbursts.

While I don't object to community massage, I don't object to much of anything except willful ignorance and thinking errors. But community massage is rarely labeled as pollution.

My point, again, is that pollution, as I've defined it, can't be done away with... it is a natural part of discourse. If we try to get rid of it, we end up with censorship. Massage and biliousness are both poor substitutes for intellectual discourse, but we can't, we shouldn't, trust anyone to decide which is which.
posted by ewkpates at 10:53 AM on January 3, 2006


*pause*

say, i'm not one of those guys y'all are complainin' about am i?
posted by keswick at 11:08 AM on January 3, 2006


keswick... I was looking over your profile page... isn't it interesting that (and it is kind of in the theme here) liberty, if it has a component of anonymity, which I could argue it does, has, on the internet, produced a great deal of adolescent blather, not to mention inappropriate use of commas.

The diagram on pants is just unnecessary.

Liberty doesn't produce anything necessarily, it only provides opportunity for self determination, producing both bums and billionaires. Liberty allows you to blame yourself.
posted by ewkpates at 11:19 AM on January 3, 2006


DOWN WITH LIBERTY! UP WITH PANTS!
posted by keswick at 11:25 AM on January 3, 2006


All these years I've been advocating a third party, I never imgined it would be the Wedgie Party.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 12:02 PM on January 3, 2006


Untitled
by Ted Kooser

Each time I go outside
the world is different.
This has happened all my life.
*
The clock stopped at 5:30
for three months.
Now it's always time to quit work,
have a drink, cook dinner.
*
"What I would do for wisdom,"
I cried out as a young man.
Evidently not much. Or so it seems.
Even on walks I follow the dog.
*
Old friend,
perhaps we work too hard
at being remembered.

posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:06 PM on January 3, 2006


I think that if we can stop jonmc from drinking and posting, we'd have at least 10,000 less comments consisting of pointless crap.
posted by puke & cry at 9:49 PM on January 3, 2006


I'd give Keith a backrub.

That made me feel weird and frightened. In my pants.

DOWN WITH LIBERTY! UP WITH PANTS!

That's no fun.

I think that if we can stop jonmc from drinking and posting

All things in moderation. As long as he's wearing pants.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:23 PM on January 3, 2006


There needs to be a mashup of Hole and Coil called Love's Secret Domain.
posted by klangklangston at 12:44 AM on January 4, 2006


I hate to say it, metafilter, but I told you so...

See what a nice community we have when we view the contributions of others as part of the process rather than varying degrees of off-topicness?

See how much you like my condescending tone? Now where were we?

Pants?
posted by ewkpates at 4:26 AM on January 4, 2006


As a user who is not primarily a lurker, I'd just like to say wind your fat neck in and piss off if you don't like it, you worthless, snotgobbling lurker bitch. Thank you. It's been real.
posted by Decani at 6:22 AM on January 4, 2006


Same here. If the folks who obviously know better would just *try* to reign themselves in a little bit

I might try to reign, myself. In a little bit. I'm sorta too busy for monarchical duties right now.
posted by Decani at 6:28 AM on January 4, 2006


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