Why was my AskMe answer to the BSDM bottom/top question deleted? January 20, 2006 3:52 PM   Subscribe

Why was my comment in this thread deleted?
posted by Jairus to Etiquette/Policy at 3:52 PM (67 comments total)

(It was)

Consider the following question:

Is it true that there are far more sexual males then there are sexual females?

If not, why are men willing to pay so much money to see a prostitute?

If so, how did it get this way? What is a male to do?
posted by Jairus at 3:53 PM on January 20, 2006


That seems like a legitimate answer to the question as posed.
posted by caddis at 4:03 PM on January 20, 2006


I thought you were making a valid point as well.
posted by drpynchon at 4:09 PM on January 20, 2006


Odd. I remember reading that and thinking it was useful.
posted by odinsdream at 4:09 PM on January 20, 2006


The question was asking something about the BDSM scene and the answer seemed to be saying either a) that the question is actually just one about human sexuality and is much more broad than the BDSM scene, or b) this question is silly, here's how it sounds with a much tamer set of X and Y variables (along the lines of "How would you like this if the same thing happened to [insert name of oppressed group here]?"). Someone posted in-thread saying that it wasn't helpful and a few people had flagged it. Maybe you should post again with a slightly less esoteric reply?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:19 PM on January 20, 2006


What a strict disciplinarian you are, j!
posted by mischief at 4:25 PM on January 20, 2006


Jairus: you been spanked!
posted by mischief at 4:27 PM on January 20, 2006


I hear some people will pay money for that.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:28 PM on January 20, 2006


So now AskMe is further restricted to anwers with only the most concrete language. Silly things like parallels, metaphors, analogies, etc... have no use in conveying useful information, and are thus not welcome.
posted by drpynchon at 4:28 PM on January 20, 2006


Can we please, please stop with these extremely over-zealous comment deletions, that have started only since Jessaymn started moderating here. No other forum I have ever commented at has deleted comments like this. It is very unpleasant.

Please delete comments only as a rare and last resort.
posted by dgaicun at 4:30 PM on January 20, 2006


Add me to those who read it at the time and thought it was to the point. Seeing the bigger picture is rarely useless.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 4:32 PM on January 20, 2006


Too many notes.
posted by the shitty Baldwin at 4:32 PM on January 20, 2006


I thought it was off-topic when I saw it, although I didn't flag it.

Can we please, please stop with these extremely over-zealous comment deletions, that have started only since Jessaymn started moderating here. No other forum I have ever commented at has deleted comments like this. It is very unpleasant.

I disagree. I think it's one of the best parts of Ask MetaFilter. That people know they have to stay on topic means that only people trying to help answer the question post.
posted by MarkAnd at 4:40 PM on January 20, 2006


And also, I find your spamming of Ask MetaFilter with compaints about comments being deleted unpleasant. A more appropriate response would have been to start a MetaTalk thread or email Matt or Jessamyn, I think.
posted by MarkAnd at 4:43 PM on January 20, 2006


Give me a break, that was one time yesterday, and that really pissed me off. The (easily Google-able) question was answered, as fully as it possibly could be, in the very first comment, and the rest of the thread consisted of Beavis and Butthead euphemisms for the perineum. She deleted like 10 comments - an entire conversation - and they contained the only useful facts in the thread.

We aren't even just talking about AskMe, I've had jokes and opinions deleted from all three sites.
posted by dgaicun at 4:54 PM on January 20, 2006


Sorry but I also have to come out and say that Jessamyn's AskMe comment deletions, while well intentioned I'm sure, have been a bit er ... proactive ... (I'm putting it nicely).
posted by Dag Maggot at 4:56 PM on January 20, 2006


I think jessamyn's doing a great job, especially considering all the complainers.

We aren't even just talking about AskMe, I've had jokes and opinions deleted from all three sites.


Gee, could there be some other reason than over-the-top moderation?
posted by languagehat at 5:08 PM on January 20, 2006


Jessamyn was recently gone for a few days and I took over the duty of reading every single question and answer and rereading questions every few hours, and I have to say, the high quality of ask mefi in general is tough to maintain. There are a lot of stupid jokes that didn't answer a question -- stuff you'd hear in a high school class from the back of the room that I would have to remove. I got a new appreciation for the work Jessamyn does and it's really what keeps the place useful and not devolving into usenet, Yahoo answers, or a million other chatty Q&A sites.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 5:12 PM on January 20, 2006


languagehat, cute. My comment history pre-Jessamyn is still up - please link to what you believe should have been justifiably been censored.
posted by dgaicun at 5:13 PM on January 20, 2006


Don't be silly, I don't have a list of your comments memorized and ready to quote, and I don't even care what they were. I know that when I've seen comments disappear, it's always been clear to me why, and I know people always think their own comments are special snowflakes. I'm sure this applies to you as well.

Oh, and:

Silly things like parallels, metaphors, analogies, etc... have no use in conveying useful information, and are thus not welcome.

AskMeFi is not about displaying your cool use of metaphors. It's about being helpful to the questioner. If you have something useful to say, say it. If you have a Borges-like set of imagery you want to display, that's what your own blog is for.
posted by languagehat at 5:16 PM on January 20, 2006


At first they deleted Jairus's BDSM comment,
and I said nothing,
because BDSM is not my thing ...

Then they deleted dgaicun's comment on periniums,
and I said nothing,
because I'm not sure I have one ...

Then they deleted my comment -
and by that time no one was allowed to complain on Metatalk.
posted by Dag Maggot at 5:18 PM on January 20, 2006


Dag, you know you just godwin'd this right?
posted by mathowie (staff) at 5:29 PM on January 20, 2006


This is my last comment for this thread.

First of all I appreciate Jessamyn helping Matt, and I think don't think it is an easy job. She has also been personally helpful to me in the past and I appreciate that.

Second I do agree that Askme is better with some signal to noise monitoring (though I believe MetaTalk and MetaFilter need this sort of moderation only in special cases).

Third, I'm just saying that that current comment deletion trends also need to be quite a bit more conservative - less deletions for vulgarity or subtlety or just being unusual. This is my opinion, but I'm sure others have noticed it too.

That is all. IMHO.
posted by dgaicun at 5:31 PM on January 20, 2006


Well OK, then I lose ... that's fine ... But does it count if the reference is oblique? I didn't specifically mention the you know whos.
posted by Dag Maggot at 5:34 PM on January 20, 2006


Don't mention the war.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:39 PM on January 20, 2006


Different strokes (or spanks!), I guess: I thought Jairus's answer came across as deliberately snide and unhelpful.
posted by scody at 5:45 PM on January 20, 2006


AskMeFi is not about displaying your cool use of metaphors. It's about being helpful to the questioner. If you have something useful to say, say it. If you have a Borges-like set of imagery you want to display, that's what your own blog is for.

Respectfully, for a guy named languagehat, I can't believe you're pushing this angle. Not only are you suggesting that style is something that should determine censorship here, but that somehow concrete language is automatically the most efficient or effective way to convey an idea.

This particular comment was neither a derail, nor was it offensive, nor was it noise. It addressed the question, or at least some false presumption inherent in the question. Some may infer a snide tone (which I didn't) but so the fuck what? We're arguing over tone and style now?
posted by drpynchon at 6:05 PM on January 20, 2006


YES WE ARE ARGUEING ABOUT TONE AND STYLE NOW....LOL...111!!!!1!!!! IT IS IMPT TO MAINTINA CERTAIN STANDARDS OF TONE AND STYLE OR THE QUALITY OF THE SITE BECOMES DEGRADED.....

TODD LOKKEN
----
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LINK TO MY KEWL HOMEPAGE HTTP://GEOCITIES.EXAMPLE.COM/RADSTUFF.HTML
posted by stet at 6:17 PM on January 20, 2006


Jess, I think you were looking at the question far too narrowly. It was fairly open ended in asking for reasons why, and the difference between male and female sexuality may be a reason why, or at least is a legitimate answer. If you don't allow people to think outside of the box a bit you severely limit the usefulness of the answers. Frequently the best answers come when someone challenges a premise behind a question. Challenging whether this is an issue specific to BDSM or something broader is legitimate and helpful, not a derail.
posted by caddis at 6:47 PM on January 20, 2006


I support this and all deletions.
posted by LarryC at 7:08 PM on January 20, 2006


I thought the comment made an entirely on-topic point about male sexuality. I appreciate the quality of Metafilter's moderation in general and Jessmyn's contributions in particular, but I think she was overzealous in this case.
posted by ottereroticist at 7:25 PM on January 20, 2006


What does Jairus' question have to do with answering the original question? As far as I can tell, not much.
posted by Rothko at 7:41 PM on January 20, 2006


Another narrow thinker
posted by caddis at 7:43 PM on January 20, 2006


This word, "narrow", it does not mean what you think it means.
posted by Rothko at 7:53 PM on January 20, 2006


I thought it was a reasonable answer, and I wonder why it was flagged. I wonder whether it wasn't because BDSM folks tend to be hypersensitive and didn't appreciate the mention of prostitution in their thread. I wonder how many people flagged my comment a few days ago, when I suggested someone could seek help for a sexual problem by talking with a local church group. I wonder to what degree MetaFilter flagging is used by people who simply disagree with comments, and to what degree it results in moderation that just reinforces MetaFilter's ultra-liberal echo chamber atmosphere.
posted by cribcage at 8:10 PM on January 20, 2006


I wonder to what degree MetaFilter flagging is used by people who simply disagree with comments, and to what degree it results in moderation that just reinforces MetaFilter's ultra-liberal echo chamber atmosphere.

I wonder how many times this tired, sad canard will be repeated by people who clearly don't know any better.

Metafilter is not LGF: right-wingers' comments are not deleted because of their political content, right-wingers are not banned from the site for their views. If anything, they are given much more leeway for questionable comments than everyone else.
posted by Rothko at 8:15 PM on January 20, 2006


Yeah, I don't get it either. Yes, the deleted comment relates to the question, but it doesn't answer it.
posted by 23skidoo at 8:15 PM on January 20, 2006


the high quality of ask mefi in general is tough to maintain. There are a lot of stupid jokes that didn't answer a question -- stuff you'd hear in a high school class from the back of the room that I would have to remove.

so, in reality it's not high quality at all, it is merely edited to give the appearance of high quality. how... innovative.
posted by quonsar at 8:17 PM on January 20, 2006


Easy solution to the "first answer is Best, subsequent comments are Tripe" problem: Be able to close your own AskMe threads.

Or better yet, inline "this comment has been deleted". Keep the user name and time on the post so people can see who the idiots are.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:50 PM on January 20, 2006


If I remember correctly, marking a best answer also closed the thread, which many people objected to. The closing feature was then removed.
posted by puke & cry at 8:57 PM on January 20, 2006


Ask Metafilter is more valuable as a resource for other people in future than it is as a way to get your questions answered. Closing your own threads once you've got the answer you want (and closing off future, possibly better answers) limits this value. It is a bad idea.

If I remember correctly, marking a best answer also closed the thread, which many people objected to.

I don't recall this ever being the case. It doesn't make sense anyway -- questions frequently have more than one 'best' answer, particularly the annoying 'tell me what to do with my personal life' ones.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:09 PM on January 20, 2006


well, I could be wrong.
posted by puke & cry at 9:23 PM on January 20, 2006


If anything, they are given much more leeway for questionable comments than everyone else.
posted by Rothko


Oh man, you can always count on rothko for a good laugh.
posted by Dennis Murphy at 9:45 PM on January 20, 2006


Rothko is absolutely right; examine the disparity between users' calls for the drawing and quartering of people like Paris Paramus and Dios, and the absence of sanctions or punishment by matt or jessamyn. (This is a good thing, not a bad thing.)

What Rothko sees as the "generous leeway" is merely his own political bias; he is less inclined to see radical left-wing statements as "questionable" than radical right-wing statements. A right-wing member would have the opposite view, and both would be correct.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 9:56 PM on January 20, 2006


Perhaps this just calls for more positive flagging to occur to balance or override negative flagging?

I think it may be human nature to complain first rather than praise. The topic of flags was covered in this thread where this post received various flags (I gave it a fantastic). I wonder what influence it had on remaining rather than being deleted?

Oh man, you can always count on rothko for a good laugh.
posted by Dennis Murphy at 12:45 AM EST on January 21 [!]


Why? Is it funny when he tells the truth? I really don't see what left/right has to do with disingenuous and intellectually dishonest posts, other than pretending it's a left/right issue. Users often discussed are PP and Dios. I haven't the slightest idea what their politics are from their posts. Maybe I just don't see things in the left/right dynamic.
posted by juiceCake at 10:09 PM on January 20, 2006


Is it funny when he tells the truth?

In retrospect, I should have posted it under a different username. /oldjoke
posted by Rothko at 10:21 PM on January 20, 2006


Look, relative perspective is a fine thing, but are you seriously claiming that MetaFilter is a balanced forum? You think that Christians are represented in equal voice to atheists? You don't think MetaFilter is overwhelmingly pro-choice? You think there's a significant number of members who oppose gay marriage or favor the Iraq war or a dozen other issues that Gallup consistently rates near 50-50?

I'm a Republican, and maybe I don't think FOX News is quite as bad as most of y'all seem to...but you don't hear me claiming that it isn't biased. If you can't acknowledge something like that, your helmet's on too tight.
posted by cribcage at 10:22 PM on January 20, 2006


Look, relative perspective is a fine thing, but are you seriously claiming that MetaFilter is a balanced forum?

Moderation from the administrators has nothing to do with a political "bias" that may or may not exist on this site.

You claimed the administrators are deleting posts that don't jibe with an ultra-liberal bias, to shape the site to their political liking.

No such deletion takes place. Posts come from users, not the admins.

But feel free to jump through logical hoops to show us how Jairus' comment being deleted demonstrates a liberal conspiracy, however.

Hell, feel free to show us evidence of any post being deleted because it represented a viewpoint anywhere right-of-center.

Comments and posts are deleted because they suck, irrespective of politics. Believe me, I know.

So if you're going to play the censorship victim card, you have a lot of homework ahead of you to prove it.
posted by Rothko at 10:38 PM on January 20, 2006


I often post in defense of religious views and religion. Heck, I'll sometimes defend Intelligent Design. In that sense, at least, I'm fairly conservative.

Not a single one of those post has been deleted. So, if there is idealogically motivated flagging going on (which, frankly, I doubt), it's not influencing the moderation.
posted by oddman at 12:35 AM on January 21, 2006


I don't believe I have ever had a comment deleted. The likely reason for this is that after writing it I look at it and think "If I were user x, would this piss me off?". If the likely answer is "yes", I delete it myself. I still make jokes and occasionally piss about but my own self-moderation means that matt and jess don't have to chase around with a comment pooper-scooper. I don't see that it's a problem if the AskMeFi moderation is heavier than elsewhere because it says quite clearly it's for answers only. Anything beyond that should be deleted.
posted by longbaugh at 12:45 AM on January 21, 2006


CENSORSHIP CENSORSHIP CENS....
er, where is it written there is freedom of speech guaranteed upon someone else's blog?

This would have been much better handled via private email.

idealogically motivated flagging... hmmm anyone want to form a clandesdine voting bloc? Meet me behind the old brick gym, the password is 'bleeding heart'.
posted by edgeways at 12:54 AM on January 21, 2006


You think that Christians are represented in equal voice to atheists? You don't think MetaFilter is overwhelmingly pro-choice?

You think there's some mechanism in place that prevents Christians and right-to-lifers from participating more? I don't, unless you mean the contrary opinions. Are the rest of us supposed to be extra-nice to Xtians and RTLers, because they are a minority, or what?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:17 AM on January 21, 2006


Can you fix the 'then' thing? It's really fucking annoying me!
posted by strawberryviagra at 4:50 AM on January 21, 2006


Jessamyn - I wish you'd stop deleting reasonable answers to questions.
posted by bshort at 8:50 AM on January 21, 2006


Another vote of support for jessamyn and mathowie.

It seems to me that moderation on AskMe will naturally be tighter than on MeFi or MeTa. On MeFi or MeTa, if someone says something inappropriate, other people can make snarky comments or otherwise provide feedback. But we can't do that on AskMe without swamping the thread.
posted by russilwvong at 9:14 AM on January 21, 2006


The problem with the point that Rothko made is that it's pretty ambiguous what an "unacceptable" politically-charged statement would be, objectively. A lot of stuff, maybe most, are statements that are perfectly acceptable among like-minded people and outrageous to those who see things differently.

If we were to find the median of MeFi with regard to the left/right model, it may well be the case that inevitably the right-wingers here are given more leeway than others.

What those of us who defend the right-wingers occasionally have in mind is not the median of MeFi but what we assume is the median in the US (which is US-centric, but put that aside for now). In that context, I see things written by many metafilter users that are extremely provocative and outrageous—some I've posted myself—that are completely acceptable here where the equivalent posts of those on right side of the spectrum generate immediate shouts of "troll!". In that context, I think the right-wingers here are most certainly held to a much higher standard than the rest of us.

As a practical matter, it's going to be pretty hard for it not to work as it does subjectively, not the least because any sort of objective standard of what political speech is acceptable would be something no one would agree with.

But I do think it's possible to move beyond one's own subjective idea of what is acceptable and unacceptable. And it's relevant: the calls of "troll!" indicate that what we find more outrageous than the exact nature of a political opinion is our suspicion that the distasteful opinion isn't truly in earnest and well-intentioned. I think it's the case that what we're primarily interested in is whether people are fucking with us, or not, and that includes being provocative for provocation's sake.

If that is basically our implicit standard, then we must go beyond afield from our subjective judgment because the point here is about intent, not content. I think what many of us do unconsciouslly is equate the amount of ill-will to our measurement of how repulsive a statement is. And that's really not fair because it's often not true.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 9:59 AM on January 21, 2006


The question was asking something about the BDSM scene and the answer seemed to be saying either a) that the question is actually just one about human sexuality and is much more broad than the BDSM scene, or b) this question is silly, here's how it sounds with a much tamer set of X and Y variables

a) is a perfectly legitimate answer is in all likelihood far more informative than bdsm specific answers since there's a good possibility that the issue is one of sexuality in general and not just bdsm, or at LEAST that general sexual power dynamics can inform his answer.

b) is not what he said.

But does it count if the reference is oblique?

it wasn't.
posted by shmegegge at 11:24 AM on January 21, 2006


Usually people get an email when their comments are deleted explaining why. Did that not happen here, or did Jairus just want to make this a public fight?
posted by smackfu at 12:33 PM on January 21, 2006


so, in reality it's not high quality at all, it is merely edited to give the appearance of high quality.

In reality it is high-quality because it is edited to be high-quality.
posted by kindall at 1:00 PM on January 21, 2006


Usually people get an email when their comments are deleted explaining why. Did that not happen here, or did Jairus just want to make this a public fight?

I had no idea my comment was deleted until I went to the thread a few hours after posting it, and noticed it wasn't there.
posted by Jairus at 6:23 PM on January 21, 2006


Usually people get an email when their comments are deleted explaining why.

Usually, not always. Jairus could have emailed me or mathowie, so whether he wanted to make this a public fight is up for debate.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:56 PM on January 22, 2006


I thought Jairus' answer was extremely insightful. It did not directly answer the question, but that can be a good thing when an answer effectively shows that the questioner is perhaps looking in the wrong direction.

I totally and thoroughly support Jessamyn and acknowledge how hard it must be to make the judgement calls that she makes all day. In this case, though, I disagree with the call that she made. I'm glad I made it to the thread before that comment was deleted.
posted by alms at 11:23 AM on January 23, 2006


I'm not looking for a fight. I understood that MetaTalk is the place to address these issues - if that's not the case, I'll address them in private in the future.
posted by Jairus at 11:54 AM on January 23, 2006


No, MetaTalk is the totally right place for this sort of question, it just always looks weird when someone posts "why was my comment removed?" and within ten minutes the first comments are all Flava Flav style "yeah boyee!" comments.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:19 PM on January 23, 2006


I understand. I do have to say, though, I think MetaTalk would be much improved if everyone wore giant clocks around their necks.
posted by Jairus at 1:37 PM on January 23, 2006


totally agree.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:01 PM on January 24, 2006


and within ten minutes the first comments are all Flava Flav style "yeah boyee!" comments

I'd just like to take this opportunity as thread-closer-upper to state that Flava' Flav can be a perfectly acceptable answer to some AskMe questions.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:05 PM on February 1, 2006


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