AskMe Deletion April 26, 2006 9:13 PM   Subscribe

This thread was deleted, but I have to admit, I don't understand why. "Ask MeFi isn't for silly hypotheticals," sez Matt, but hasn't it been before? And if not, exactly how practical must Ask MeFi questions be? I've seen plenty of hypotheticals on Ask MeFi before, and this struck me as an interesting thought exercise.
posted by WCityMike to MetaFilter-Related at 9:13 PM (59 comments total)

Eh. Most of the answers were throwaway chatfilter. And just because something made it through before ... heck, maybe Matt's baby was crying loudly, or his wife was nagging him, or who knows what. Quit looking for absolutes. You won't find them. Whichever way the wind happens to be blowing at the time.
posted by crunchland at 9:29 PM on April 26, 2006


I was only surprised it wasn't deleted faster. It's an opinion poll with an imaginary framework and that just leads to wanking.
posted by smackfu at 9:29 PM on April 26, 2006


The question isn't stated as a hypothetical. . . .
posted by grobstein at 9:30 PM on April 26, 2006


Man, that AskMe had great potential! It could have evolved into something like the question about knife fighting a grizzly bear. But it was sadly cut down in its infancy. Strangled in the cradle. Aborted in the womb. Sigh.
posted by LarryC at 9:33 PM on April 26, 2006


Yeah, but it could have also ended in elephants pissing.
posted by Afroblanco at 9:40 PM on April 26, 2006


Or in a terrible series of paradoxical vortices that pull apart the fabric of a website, first, before ultimately drawing down the moon, sun, stars, and outer space itself and time into a . . . aw, it'd probably just have petered out.
posted by cgc373 at 9:51 PM on April 26, 2006


Better ask Captain Haughey and Jessamyn, aka Captain and Mrs. Fun.
posted by ikkyu2 at 10:34 PM on April 26, 2006


The nature of running a site where posts go up without any approval, and edit/removal only comes later has its problems. If you don't squash every single objectionable one using totally clear black and white methodology, then someone, somewhere will disagree with it.

I didn't look at ask mefi for maybe an hour while eating dinner and didn't catch it until a bunch of silly answers went up. Many hypothetical questions get deleted earlier on, but you probably don't hear about them or remember them because no one noticed. Sometimes silly hypothetical questions stick around when there are far too many answers hours into it. The system isn't perfect, but I would hope that people stick to questions based on situations that might really happen.

Types of posts likely to be removed covers this: ""what if" questions along the lines of "What if Hitler had never been born?""
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:35 PM on April 26, 2006


Haha, that question is helarious.

There seem to be a lot of time travel hypotheticals on ask getting deleted.
posted by delmoi at 11:18 PM on April 26, 2006


From the thread:

In fact, if I went to jail for killing my future self, I would demand DNA testing on myself and the decedent, proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that we were genetically identical. I would then be the first person ever incarcerated for the crime of completed suicide, guaranteeing my place in the history books - and, a few years later, I would be guaranteed a daring jailbreak, probably via timetravel-associated mattermission!

--ikkyu2

Jailbreak followed by death.
posted by delmoi at 11:22 PM on April 26, 2006


That's how you see it, delmoi. I see only the opportunity to answer the oldest question of humankind - free will or predestination!

Matt's totally right, of course.
posted by ikkyu2 at 11:30 PM on April 26, 2006




Matt has to draw the line somewhere or the site would become a huge chatroom -- one clear solution to the problem of people disagreeing with his choices is, well, to create a queue for posts so he can choose which one get published and which don't -- but that would go against MeFi's tradition, where we all can post and it'll go live on the front page

the question itself was very silly, by the way. and the answers weren't that entertaining
posted by matteo at 12:35 AM on April 27, 2006


Both Matt and God give us free will with intermittent deletions.
And the oldest question of humankind is "What's to eat?"
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 12:46 AM on April 27, 2006


I count 75 questions posted for April 26th (I was going to post a new thread about it, but I've shot my wad for the week). That's enough already.

Either give us a longer page (one day view), or a dropdown to select (as on the Blue), or delete away, say I.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:00 AM on April 27, 2006


Holy crap, do we really need a MeTa thread every time a chatfilter question gets deleted from AskMe? Yes, Matt/Jess is going to delete chatfilter questions. Yes, some will make it through if they're worded properly. No, this one does not deserve to live on.
posted by antifuse at 2:20 AM on April 27, 2006


For one, I think that was sort of an interesting question and thought exercise. Although I do think it would have been more appropriate for MeCha where more conversational topics are allowed.

Then again, I'm getting very tired of these numerous MeTa callouts every day when you can just flag them and let the admins deal with them.
posted by keijo at 4:49 AM on April 27, 2006


If it had been asked like this, it probably would have been kept:

"Last night, I answered the doorbell to find a man who looked a lot like myself, but with more wrinkles and slightly greying hair. He claimed he was my time-travelling self from 2011, and after giving him the third-degree, my wife and I believed him. He needed a place to stay, but he wanted to sleep in the bed with my (our?) wife. I made him sleep on the couch. This morning, he was gone, and my wife admitted that they (we?) had sex while I was asleep next to them (I'm a heavy sleeper). What should I do? Was I wrong to make him sleep on the couch? Am I wrong to be jealous? Did she even technically cheat on me? Should I divorce her?"
posted by Plutor at 4:56 AM on April 27, 2006


and the answers would all have been "the relationship's doomed, you have to dump her. right now"
posted by bonaldi at 5:12 AM on April 27, 2006


Or, "go see a shrink, IANAD!"
posted by keijo at 5:15 AM on April 27, 2006


That would've been hilarious. It's best to follow-up incredible lies like that with "I swear to god that's what happened". Then people will believe you. In 100 years over 12 million people will believe you, and it will be called Mormonism.
posted by dgaicun at 5:50 AM on April 27, 2006


Oconomowoc.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 6:19 AM on April 27, 2006


Thanks to the deletion, we're missing out on so many poignant insights. Such as:

"Yo, I would so fuck myself . . . And who would know better how to pleasure me than an older, more experienced me?"
posted by dgaicun at 6:22 AM on April 27, 2006


But questions about how zombie muscles work get highlighted on the sidebar. Just sayin'.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 6:27 AM on April 27, 2006


Don't you know? Zombies are real, time travel isn't.
posted by Orange Goblin at 6:43 AM on April 27, 2006


The zombie question was not retarded. This one was. Ergo, clear deletion. (Matt's too sweet to just call stuff on being high school stoner bullshit).
posted by klangklangston at 7:01 AM on April 27, 2006


MetaFilter: high school stoner bullshit
posted by dgaicun at 7:14 AM on April 27, 2006


What is wrong with highschool stoner bullshit, klang buddy?
*glares threateningly*
posted by Meatbomb at 7:14 AM on April 27, 2006


The question isn't stated as a hypothetical. . . .

So, you're implying that the poster is a time-traveler? Then it should be trivial for him to find out that his AskMe question will be deleted, and save himself (and Matt) the trouble.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:22 AM on April 27, 2006


Don't you know? Zombies are real, time travel isn't.

Yeah, but the zombie one was asking for information about how real human muscles would work. The time travel one was purely a hypothetical thought experiment.
posted by cillit bang at 7:27 AM on April 27, 2006


exactly how practical must Ask MeFi questions be?

You'll never get an answer to this question. God help us if such a metric ever comes to exist—Matt will have receded, like some websphere Howard Hughes, into a sterile administrative chamber where he will subsist on a cocktail of drugs and hold vicious, exacting court over the petty minutea of all that falls before him.
posted by cortex at 7:43 AM on April 27, 2006


I thought the time-travel paradox was interesting, but Matt's right. I'm embarrassed I got sucked into that one.
posted by mediareport at 7:54 AM on April 27, 2006


2 seconds of Googling would show that that question has already been answered.
posted by scarabic at 8:22 AM on April 27, 2006


But questions about how zombie muscles work get highlighted on the sidebar. Just sayin'.

Don't you know? Zombies are real, time travel isn't.

Zombie muscles was illustrated. I'm guessing the time travel question wasn't, but seeing as I missed it, how would I know?

Look, the answer is staring us in the face here. Matt's discouraging time travel questions because he's afraid we might go back in time and actually read a silly AskMe. As far as he's concerned, the less we know about time travel, the better.
posted by trondant at 8:51 AM on April 27, 2006


Timetravelling Zombies on a Plane? Now there's a freak'n movie!
posted by blue_beetle at 9:07 AM on April 27, 2006


The snip, snip, slice, slice
MeCha for silly threads, duh.
I flagged this myself
posted by edgeways at 9:32 AM on April 27, 2006


I can't find the "myself" option in the drop down. XP, IE6.
posted by cortex at 9:47 AM on April 27, 2006


The thing is that there is an interesting non-scifi question in there. No time travel is needed.

I struggle (as do others) with just how much attention I should pay to FutureMe. This goes directly to such issues as how much to plan for retirement, how many risks to take in life etc. Many long-term decisions are this compromise between what I want or need now and some ghostly future-person who not only may not even exist (e.g. get hit by a bus tomorrow etc.) but more importantly may have different wants or desires than the ones I think he will have.

Even something like a long-distance relationship where you are alone now but plan to see your loved one in, say, six months is an example of letting FutureMe sleep with your wife. The things I do for him - I hope the bastard appreciates it.

So we are doing this all the time - making this decision.
posted by vacapinta at 9:58 AM on April 27, 2006


I'd be happy to see another 25%+ deleted. A lot of the material on AskMe seems to be born out of a lack of people to talk to, and while there's nothing inherently wrong with that, there's other more suitable places for it (like real life, or MetaChat, etc.).
posted by kcm at 10:13 AM on April 27, 2006


A lot of the material on AskMe seems to be born out of a lack of people to talk to

No, that's MetaTalk.
posted by timeistight at 11:09 AM on April 27, 2006


Years ago I bribed FutureMe to stay the hell out of my life. So far it's working fine.
posted by languagehat at 11:36 AM on April 27, 2006


Well, except for that one time, when you had to bribe him.
posted by cgc373 at 11:41 AM on April 27, 2006


timeistight gets a cookie
posted by raedyn at 11:45 AM on April 27, 2006


Timetravelling Zombies on a Plane? Now there's a freak'n movie!

indeed: if you're a desperate screenwriter, timetravel is the perfect way to put zombies on a plane without having them stopped by airport security at the gate. because when the passengers boarded the zombies weren't there.

then the plane takes off and zombies start walking out of the toilets, the overhead luggage racks, the barf bags
posted by matteo at 11:53 AM on April 27, 2006


Apparently the question would be fine if FutureYou became president of Topps.
posted by MarkAnd at 11:58 AM on April 27, 2006


MarkAnd, I was just thinking the same thing...
posted by penchant at 12:07 PM on April 27, 2006


topps and the gloved one just got cement shoes.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 12:24 PM on April 27, 2006


Excellent. I look forward to the MetaTalk posts that seek to delve deeper into the reasons for their deletions.
posted by iconomy at 12:28 PM on April 27, 2006


But he made Thriller. Thriller.
posted by ND¢ at 12:30 PM on April 27, 2006


indeed: if you're a desperate screenwriter, timetravel is the perfect way to put zombies on a plane without having them stopped by airport security at the gate. because when the passengers boarded the zombies weren't there.

then the plane takes off and zombies start walking out of the toilets, the overhead luggage racks, the barf bags


We've had the mefi music compilation; how hard would it be to drum up funding for this? Zombie gold!
posted by dflemingdotorg at 12:42 PM on April 27, 2006


It's hard to believe, but timetravellingzombies.com is still available.
posted by iconomy at 12:50 PM on April 27, 2006


I'm guessing they would fly with those new AirBus "standing-room-only" spots.
posted by blue_beetle at 2:47 PM on April 27, 2006


On a related note, Present-Me (Me Prime) will someday die but is currently living, but Future-Me (not Me Prime) is constantly in a state of death/undeath depending on the observers timeframe. Therefore future me is quite probably a zombie. Which I think is a whole different question:

"If a zombie version of myself were to return from the future..."
posted by blue_beetle at 2:52 PM on April 27, 2006


Oconomowoc

What prompted that cryptic comment, PinkStainlessTail?

And I ask that as someone who used to live there...
posted by dersins at 3:34 PM on April 27, 2006


Thread cross-pollenation, dersins. Just ask hitlerstalin.
posted by cortex at 3:35 PM on April 27, 2006


But questions about how zombie muscles work get highlighted on the sidebar. Just sayin'.

Second that.

Also, I spend a lot more time pondering how to avoid space-time paradoxes than I do in thinking about how to slip out of my wetsuit into a crisp, wrinkle free tuxedo. More of an every(wo)man's dilemna.
posted by salvia at 6:52 PM on April 27, 2006


I can see the validity of Zombie Muscles, it had real world applications (Biology, science of death, etc.)
Timetravel's just a load of ChatFilter hooey, s'pecially since we're all gonna die after The Rapture1, anyhow.



1241 days and counting, peeps!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:08 PM on April 27, 2006


Not anymore it's not, iconomy... I know a good domain name when I see one! :)
posted by antifuse at 1:46 AM on April 28, 2006


Lovesit!

/paris hilton
posted by iconomy at 6:25 AM on April 28, 2006


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