Deletion objection October 9, 2006 4:04 PM   Subscribe

Not really so hypothetical. I think the question should stand.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero to Etiquette/Policy at 4:04 PM (126 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Considering recent events, knowing what to do in such a situation is valuable. It's not really in the same category as "OMG WHO WOULD WIN IN A ZOMBIE VS. MONSTER FIGHT?!?!?"
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:04 PM on October 9, 2006 [3 favorites]


I wrote four panels an email and asked if we could flesh the question out some more and not have it just be a "Who would win, monkeys or robots?" type of question.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:10 PM on October 9, 2006


Also, the question was posted what, ten minutes ago? Give the system a chance to maybe work.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:11 PM on October 9, 2006


I've rarely seen deleted questions re-posted by the same author. In fact, I don't think I've ever seen in it. So I'm not sure what this "system" I'm supposed to give a chance is, but I'll trust you and give it, oh, 5 minutes, before I call in the animated gif patrol.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:12 PM on October 9, 2006 [1 favorite]


Well, I just hope s/he wasn't standing in front of a classroom full of kids facing a gun-wielding maniac when the question was posted.
posted by dg at 4:13 PM on October 9, 2006


You don't see deleted questions re-posted because they're just removed and then reposted with the same question number.

Sometimes when people post borderline questions that get flagged a bunch, I'll take down the question, email the poster and try to work out a better way to ask the question that will get them better responses and avoid flagging and flaming.

Good luck with the animated gif patrol though, I guess. And if four panels is your buddy, please tell him/her to check his/her email.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:15 PM on October 9, 2006


He's not my buddy; I'm just standing up for the RIGHTS OF POSTERS EVERYWHERE.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:17 PM on October 9, 2006 [2 favorites]


Damn, this thread was over before it began. Now I actually have to do work...housework. Kill me, please.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:17 PM on October 9, 2006 [1 favorite]


pix plz
posted by cortex at 4:18 PM on October 9, 2006


And, you know, that was actually a random memetic exhortation wholly independent of the notion of gifs-in-dead-threads; I'd like to be clear that I was neither condemning nor condoning the appearance of ceiling cat et al, but was rather attempting to (in a baffingly time-sensitive cross-site theme, no less) trying to be mildly creepy and degrading. Apologies for any confusion.
posted by cortex at 4:20 PM on October 9, 2006


The question is hypothetical. I think it's safe to assume that school administrations will have policies on what to do in such circumstances. If four panels is a teacher, s/he would look there for the answer; if s/he isn't a teacher, then the question is hypothetical.
posted by mcwetboy at 4:24 PM on October 9, 2006


You are so creepy today, cortex.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:24 PM on October 9, 2006 [1 favorite]


What about the question needs to fleshed out? Sometimes broadness is good. I, personally, would be interested in what difference in response (if any) there should be if it's a student or some crazy old dude or if it's at an elementary school or a college. As someone who spends time in a variety of different classrooms, I'd find more general answers more helpful.

On preview, mcwetboy: I don't think the existence of (hypothetical) administrative policies rules out the usefulness of advice that can be given here.
posted by Espy Gillespie at 4:27 PM on October 9, 2006


caring Is creepy
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:27 PM on October 9, 2006


If a gunman enters your class, announce to the class, "I'm here to teach algebra and kick ass. And I'm all out of algebra." Then proceed to lay. the smack. down.
posted by horsewithnoname at 4:29 PM on October 9, 2006 [16 favorites]


Well, this interests me because I have a question that is nagging at me, but is entirely hypothetical and I've hesitated to ask; yet at the same time, as a New Yorker (we've got history) and a citizen of the world, I'm feeling it today ...

I would ask do you have a plan of action in mind in case of a nuclear "error" (vis a vis, the Clash)? Have you discussed with loved ones? Are there commonsense things I should have 'ready' or accessible? I don't want to be an alarmist, but should I have some plan for my family?
posted by thinkpiece at 4:31 PM on October 9, 2006


jessamyn, you are the last person I would ever want to argue with, but I don't see what's hypothetical about the question.

It's kind of like, "What do I do if I have a grease fire on my stove?"

There are very specific and right things to do in order to save lives and property.
posted by snsranch at 4:32 PM on October 9, 2006


Yes, it's a hypothetical question. But jessamyn's point is that it can be expressed in a way that isn't likely to be a chatty and vague "what would you do if x happened" question. E.g., "I'm a teacher at a rural middle school. In light of recent events, I worry about what I would do if I had to deal with a hostage-type situation in my classroom. How do I make sure I am prepared to protect myself and my students? Are there any guidelines for dealing with this type of scenario?"
posted by brain_drain at 4:37 PM on October 9, 2006


On preview, I guess you're just trying to avoid stuff like what I just read on preview. You go jess! I just hope that four panels does repost because that kind of info is beneficial to everyone (except for the guy with the gun).
posted by snsranch at 4:37 PM on October 9, 2006


The answer is obvious anyway. Shoot first.
posted by Joeforking at 4:40 PM on October 9, 2006 [1 favorite]


Just for the record, Jessamyn, monkeys would win.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 4:41 PM on October 9, 2006


caring Is creepy

I think I'll go home and mull this over
before I cram it down my throat

posted by ludwig_van at 4:42 PM on October 9, 2006


I am a teacher, and I have been given a handbook and a lecture on what to do in a situation like this. I'm thinking that's SOP for any school now, that they have to educate their teachers both in writing and verbally how to handle these situations. I don't know if that is necessarily a requirement for students -- that students are given written and verbal instructions as to how to handle a situation like this, and the question is itself unclear as to who is asking it -- a student or a teacher.
posted by macadamiaranch at 4:45 PM on October 9, 2006


You are so creepy today, cortex.

Today?

posted by dersins at 4:50 PM on October 9, 2006


You are so getting a paddlin', mister.
posted by cortex at 4:50 PM on October 9, 2006


BWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAAHHAHAH!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:50 PM on October 9, 2006 [1 favorite]



posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:11 PM on October 9, 2006 [2 favorites]


horsewithnoname - worth a guffaw. Forgot what the hell I was going to say.
posted by Smedleyman at 5:15 PM on October 9, 2006


Agree with ThePinkSuperhero.
posted by spaltavian at 5:16 PM on October 9, 2006


It's a shame AskMe is so popular that we have to filter hypothetical questions like this (as opposed to flight-of-fancy hypotheticals like "Zombies versus Puppies" or "What if Diebold was hacked and Donald Duck was voted as President?"). I understand that the volume is just too great to allow unlimited "what-ifs", but I wish that possible hypotheticals (proactive instead of reactive) were allowed.

Ah, well, c'est la vie. I hope he wrangles up a better form of the question.
posted by Bugbread at 5:16 PM on October 9, 2006


Q: If someone walks into my classroom (filled with students) wielding a gun, what should I do?

A: Scream like the little bitch you are.
posted by dgaicun at 5:17 PM on October 9, 2006


You could just drop by for goulash, TPS. NO housework needed.
posted by Captaintripps at 5:18 PM on October 9, 2006


dgaicun : "A: Scream like the little bitch you are."

Nonono, what should you do, not what will you do.
posted by Bugbread at 5:18 PM on October 9, 2006


You don't see deleted questions re-posted because they're just removed and then reposted with the same question number.

That's just bloody stupid: if the question gets reinserted into the stream, it's going to miss out on the best chance of getting answers and attention: when it's at the top of the AskMe front page. What hope does it have if the poster updates it tomorrow, by which time it's in "older posts". Way to cripple it, Jess.

This really smells as if Jess just got trigger-happier when she saw a really short question. Yet it really said all that needed to be said, and the breadth was, like Espy says, the bedrock for useful answers.

I truly loathe this need for questions to be smothered in codified language to pass muster. Wait, sorry, I'm writing a book where a character truly loathes this need.
posted by bonaldi at 5:20 PM on October 9, 2006


My Dad used to be a teacher and they had specific procedures and protocols in place for this kind of thing back when I was in high school 15 years ago. I don't see why it would have changed except that the procedures have probably been updated. Parents can always talk to the school about such things, I'm sure Dad has occasionally discussed this with parents.

I work/have worked for various biological research organisations (including Universities) and we have specific procedures for things like bomb threats and armed protestors also, which are both widely available and gone over pretty thoroughly on the first day at work. I'm not going to outline what they are though, it's better that a person acting against us doesn't know what kind of response to expect.

So I figure, anyone that needs to know how to react in these situations should already do so. Or have someone specific they can ask with written policies to back it up. Anyone else asking is definitely hypothetical and possibly shouldn't be told anyway.
posted by shelleycat at 5:22 PM on October 9, 2006


That's true, shelleycat, IF you're working at a large public school or large institution of any kind. However, if you're working at a smaller private school, or charter school, or small private anything, you're a lot less likely to have written procedures in place or any kind of training. I seriously doubt that my son's tiny private school had any form of disaster training or any kind of emergency plan besides, perhaps, "Care at them and encourage them to use their words and express their true feelings."

Case in point: I've been working at museums most of my adult life, moving from large institution to smaller to smallest. Thus I have gone from carefully written, fully explained disaster plan to creepy curator who likes orange disaster vests with crazed hypothetical plan that you can listen to if you have time after work next Wednesday to "I think we had a plan like that around here a couple of years ago but who knows where it is now? Good luck with the gunman."

Which is all a roundabout way of saying that no, every school and public institution does not, in fact, have a cogent, coherent and well thought out gunman plan.
posted by mygothlaundry at 5:36 PM on October 9, 2006


This thread is the suck. Has four panels re-posted yet?
posted by snsranch at 5:48 PM on October 9, 2006


Good point. The schools Dad worked in (including was Principal of) weren't all large by any means, but were all public schools and part of the government run school system. Schools outside such a system may not have the same resources and regulations given to them for such things. They most definitely should have plans in place (logically), but the world doesn't always work that way.
posted by shelleycat at 5:48 PM on October 9, 2006


Happened in my town today. I look forward to the reposted question, because I have no idea what I should do. In college we don't get any training for emergencies, at least I never have.
posted by LarryC at 5:50 PM on October 9, 2006


There are different types of hypotheticals, some are merely gedankenexperiments with no real world application and others are looking for concrete and particularized advice in case of a specific circumstance happening, but which has not happened and may not ever happen. The former are chatfilter and should be deleted, but the latter are useful and meet all the criteria for a good question except being subject to an overapplication of a word, "hypothetical," whose denotation is broader than the narrow scope in which it is being usefully used.

This is the sort of thing that EB could probably explicate much better than I can.
posted by Falconetti at 6:02 PM on October 9, 2006


I think it's safe to assume that school administrations will have policies on what to do in such circumstances. If four panels is a teacher, s/he would look there for the answer;

*falls out of chair, rolls on the floor laughing*
posted by mlis at 6:07 PM on October 9, 2006


Nevermind Kate, all the goulash is gone.
posted by Captaintripps at 6:22 PM on October 9, 2006


"That's just bloody stupid: if the question gets reinserted into the stream, it's going to miss out on the best chance of getting answers and attention: when it's at the top of the AskMe front page. What hope does it have if the poster updates it tomorrow, by which time it's in "older posts". Way to cripple it, Jess."

Or way to ensure that people have a structural incentive to write questions that won't be deleted. And in that case, the lack of a bright line is a function, not a bug.

But go on with your totally weird Jess-the-bully whinge, man, I won't stop you.
posted by klangklangston at 6:28 PM on October 9, 2006


Nevermind Kate, all the goulash is gone.

DAMNIT! BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! ::sobs::
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:51 PM on October 9, 2006 [1 favorite]


Or way to ensure that people have a structural incentive to write questions that won't be deleted. And in that case, the lack of a bright line is a function, not a bug.

Yes, of course it absolutely does work as an incentive. Secret unpublicised things that nobody knows about always do. Did you know that revised questions are republished in their original location? Did anyone?

Thanks for not stopping me all the same, Lord Logical.
posted by bonaldi at 6:55 PM on October 9, 2006


You know, I'd like to say this is bullshit, but it's not. Look, not every district in the country does this stuff. I work in something like the sixteenth largest district in the nation and we have had no seminars, no handy booklets, or anything remotely approaching what to do in such a situation. I would have liked to seen that question answered, as it is actually something I've been wondering myself recently.

My interest is not hypothetical. Earlier this year, one of my students (who had not made it to my class, but who had already sat through many of my colleagues) brought a gun to school in his backpack for reasons unknown.* I can not imagine such an event going down in my school (but who does?), but as I made it at least two ranks into boy scouts, I like to be prepared for every situation. Especially those situations that offer little or no time for reflection before action and where lives (mine and others) are on the line.

So, yes, I'd have liked to see the hive mind's answers on that one.

*I feel obligated to say here that, despite what I've written here, I feel I work in a safe environment, or at least relatively so. The gun was discovered because he was showing it around, and it got reported very quickly. I could tell by listening to conversations that the student body felt personally affronted. Of course, the five blades we got on the metal detectors we ran a few weeks later didn't really raise much of an eyebrow. Still, rampaging student gunmen seems to be one of the few problems that does not occur in inner city schools.
posted by absalom at 6:58 PM on October 9, 2006


I hope four panels gets someone else to repost the reworked [and no doubt lesser question] rather than fall of the front page at it's current locale or wait the requisite week for a new AskMe spot. I thought the question posed was well-constructed as written and would have looked forward to the informative response. While I think Jess made an error, I just hope it returns soon and it is highlighted.

[If by nothing else, then this MeTa.]
posted by yeti at 6:58 PM on October 9, 2006


There. Maybe it will survive this time.
posted by absalom at 7:04 PM on October 9, 2006


There. Maybe it will survive this time.

But will we?!?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:07 PM on October 9, 2006


The sole purpose of that extra sentence is to convince the mods that absalom is 4Real. Which is a bit sad.
posted by bonaldi at 7:11 PM on October 9, 2006


Did anyone determine that four panels is a teacher? Maybe the question was what to do if one is a student and a gun-wielding maniac enters the room?
posted by desuetude at 7:16 PM on October 9, 2006


Not to turn this into the absalom show (which, as we all know, as cancelled by Fox after a disappointing 6 epsiode run), but honestly, I just wanted the question answered. The other solution (having it returned in a shitty position in the queue) was suboptimal from my point of view.

Besides, I've been forgetting to post my question about the name of an old animated, gun-type arcade game for ages.
posted by absalom at 7:19 PM on October 9, 2006


Still, rampaging student gunmen seems to be one of the few problems that does not occur in inner city schools.

Probably they assume they wouldn't get very far before running into one of the other students with guns.
posted by Ryvar at 7:45 PM on October 9, 2006


The sole purpose of that extra sentence is to convince the mods that absalom is 4Real. Which is a bit sad.

No it's not, bonaldi. Chatty questions the poster doesn't really give a shit about are a problem for the usefulness of AskMe. Requesting that posters please include enough information to explain the situation underlying broadly framed questions is hardly some awful taskmistress-y thing to do, and if you stopped hyperventilating long enough, you might recognize that.

That said, I agree that reposted questions shouldn't use the previous question number; that's unfair, given how fast questions scroll off the front page these days (due to too many chatty questions the poster doesn't really give a shit about - repeat as necessary).
posted by mediareport at 7:45 PM on October 9, 2006


if you stopped hyperventilating long enough, you might recognize that.
No, i agree with you on that -- there are questions that are clearly going to be entirely derailed with useless replies because the Asker hasn't provided enough information.

The point I was trying to make is that absalom's wasn't one of them: the extra sentence provides absolutely nothing (apart from perhaps "I haven't had any training") that will explain an "underlying situation" as you put it; it's all filler. Therefore all the addition does is make it appear long enough to be a "real" question.
posted by bonaldi at 8:00 PM on October 9, 2006


You don't see deleted questions re-posted because they're just removed and then reposted with the same question number.

Wait... how's this work? The question re-appears before the poster's 7 days are up? Does it appear somewhere down the page, at the place where the original question appeared?
posted by scarabic at 8:02 PM on October 9, 2006


Therefore all the addition does is make it appear long enough to be a "real" question.

yeah, wasn't the best reframing job. I would've asked (and the question I answered in absalom's AskMe), "As a teacher or student in Arizona, what are the best resources for classroom emergency situation training? [MI]" with the more inside being, "What about for other states?"

as it stands, there's a bunch of HURF DURF flying around in the new thread. le sigh.
posted by carsonb at 8:07 PM on October 9, 2006


FYI: a rephrase would have saved the question:

If someone walks into my classroom (filled with students) wielding a gun, what should I do?

suggested:
"Two of my fellow teachers have had people walk into their classrooms with guns this week. I was present for one of them. That incident ended in a fatality. What should someone do in such a situation that would best protect the lives of people in the room? Anyone been held at gunpoint before have input to provide?

First of all the admins wouldn't dare touch it because it's "holy shit real world" stuff and they'd look like asses if they did.

Secondly, it sounds more solemn and that might not lead to such chatty commets.

Mmm, nah. Screw this question, actually. Until someone's died, what's the point? It's not like prevention is worth a pound of cure or anything.
posted by scarabic at 8:08 PM on October 9, 2006


Wait... how's this work? The question re-appears before the poster's 7 days are up? Does it appear somewhere down the page, at the place where the original question appeared?

If I can get ahold of the poster quickly and we can work out an improved question, it just fills the slot that the previous question was in. It's the same question, just rephrased. Usually when this has happened, it's gone back up in an hour or two which doesn't really affect main page positioning much. If the question is just plain old deleted, the current set up doesn't allow the person to post again for seven days which is why trying to fix the question, if possible, is preferable.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:10 PM on October 9, 2006


On second glance, seeing the "approved" version, I really have to wonder. It looks hardly different from the original.

ORIGINAL DELETED:
"If someone walks into my classroom (filled with students) wielding a gun, what should I do?

NEW AND IMPROVED:
"If someone walks into my classroom (filled with students) wielding a gun, what should I do? I have recieved no training or input in this area, and while I cannot imagine it ever happening at my school, if it ever does happen, I'd like to make sure myself and my children see the event through safely."

I guess it's key for this edit that the following gets clarified:

1) the questioner doesn't already know the answer (ie: has no training)
2) the questioner would like to come out alive

NICE EDIT!!! MUCH IMPROVED!!! A+++++++++!!!!
posted by scarabic at 8:14 PM on October 9, 2006 [1 favorite]


"As a teacher or student in Arizona, what are the best resources for classroom emergency situation training? [MI]" with the more inside being, "What about for other states?"

Which is assuming that's the question absalom wants answered.

Scarabic's is better at framing the original question, but clearly forced please-don't-zap-this framing is making swathes of AskMe very po-faced and dull these days.
posted by bonaldi at 8:14 PM on October 9, 2006


Jess, you fucked this up. The original poster's question is gone and someone else steps in to post the same damn question which you let stay. That sucks!
posted by caddis at 8:14 PM on October 9, 2006 [1 favorite]


If the question is just plain old deleted, the current set up doesn't allow the person to post again for seven days which is why trying to fix the question, if possible, is preferable.

admin can't toggle posting rights?
posted by carsonb at 8:14 PM on October 9, 2006


Er, scarabic, the point here is that the original was fine as it was. The reframing was just to get past Jess, which it did.
posted by bonaldi at 8:15 PM on October 9, 2006


(Sorry to pick on you, Jessamyn, but this is an example of a really lame "rephrase, please" deletion, which we were just talking about. Confirmation bias? Perhaps. 10 instances ever? I guess this is 11)
posted by scarabic at 8:16 PM on October 9, 2006


Er, bonaldi, I'm saying that going through a rephrase just to get past Jess is unecessary and retarded.
posted by scarabic at 8:17 PM on October 9, 2006


augh. i just looked at the reinstated thread. whatever the question might be, the answers are chatfilter.
posted by lester at 8:18 PM on October 9, 2006


Which is assuming that's the question absalom wants answered.

answering what are the best resources for classroom emergency situation training? inherently and/or/perhaps indirectly answers absalom's question. have you got a better way of putting it?
posted by carsonb at 8:18 PM on October 9, 2006


Heh, that's what I'm saying too. I read you as taking the piss out of teh reframing, sorry.
posted by bonaldi at 8:18 PM on October 9, 2006


have you got a better way of putting it?
"If someone walks into my classroom (filled with students) wielding a gun, what should I do?"

You're answering for "I need classroom emergency situation training" when the question is "tell me what to do in a classroom emergency situation" -- ie less middle man, more answers.
posted by bonaldi at 8:21 PM on October 9, 2006


The real problem here is that a standard gets applied which is robot in its stupidity.
posted by caddis at 8:22 PM on October 9, 2006


no worries bonaldi. =D

what sucks about the answer to that reframed question is that there probably are classes teachers can take in just about every district/city for this, but they probably won't get paid to do it and it might actually cost 'em out of pocket.
posted by carsonb at 8:24 PM on October 9, 2006


I'm not going to outline what they are though, it's better that a person acting against us doesn't know what kind of response to expect.

Yes.

AskMetaFilter: Helping THE TERRORIſTS ſteal ſamples of Varicella ſimplex since 2001.

ſeriously, the logic of that has lear-jet size holes in it. It's like ſaying we ſhould ban CSI ſo criminals &c...
posted by oxford blue at 8:28 PM on October 9, 2006


You're answering for "I need classroom emergency situation training" when the question is "tell me what to do in a classroom emergency situation" -- ie less middle man, more answers.

fair enough. but is AskMe really the place to get those answers? in this situation, wouldn't one want to go to the middlemen for answers?
posted by carsonb at 8:28 PM on October 9, 2006


Is AskMe really the place to get those answers? in this situation, wouldn't one want to go to the middlemen for answers?

This could be said of almost ANY question. Don't pull the carpet out from under AskMeta.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:30 PM on October 9, 2006 [1 favorite]


This could be said of almost ANY question.

...and it is said often, for instance when the first answer is "Get a Lawyer!" if it is general knowledge (not counting the question-asker) that there are proper authorities that need to be consulted on the issue, then the only good answer on AskMe is to tell them to consult those authorities.
posted by carsonb at 8:43 PM on October 9, 2006


Re: rephrasing.

If the question is phrased in a way that automatically lends itself to proper answers, there's a lower chance of the thread being derailed. If the question, howsover valid, is phrased in a laconic or snarky way, it will get laconic or snarky answers. Hence the rephrasing is not "just to get by Jessamyn" but to have a better chance of gettting good answers.
posted by dhruva at 8:50 PM on October 9, 2006


If the question, howsover valid, is phrased in a laconic or snarky way, it will get laconic or snarky answers. Hence the rephrasing is not "just to get by Jessamyn" but to have a better chance of gettting good answers.

Yep. Heard that before. I still see it as punishing the questioner instead of the bad element amongst the answserers. There's a difference between snarkbait and one which might attract less than helpful answsers if people are total dicks about it.
posted by scarabic at 8:54 PM on October 9, 2006


Bad call, jessamyn. Sorry. A little too quick with the hook.
posted by frogan at 9:17 PM on October 9, 2006


Bad call, jessamyn. Sorry. A little too quick with the hook.

Given the outcome, that seems to be the case. I envisioned a few good scenarios

1. four panels would flesh out the question more, quickly and a better question would be posted (I emailed him, he didn't offer a rephrased version of the question) which would help him/her get better answers
2. someone else would post a better version of the same question and the same thing would happen

In fact, the rephrasings offered in this thread, including absalom's own, were better than either of the questions that made it to AskMe, the first of which got a few flags, the second of which didn't. This is clearly a less than optimal scenario. However, it sometimes happens.

Posting a "WTF happened to this question" MeTa thread ensures that everything that happens to that question and subsequent related questions happens under great scrutiny and much admin second-guessing and name calling. I don't mind explaining why I did what I did, and I try pretty hard to increase transparency around here and explain how things work, and I'm not even tossing around "special snowflake" language but this is as good as this one is going to get.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:36 PM on October 9, 2006


Jeez you people need a hobby. The questions was wrongly deleted, now the question is back. But are you happy? Noooooo we gotta drag this out for thirty more comments.
posted by LarryC at 9:38 PM on October 9, 2006


Jeez you people need a hobby. The questions was wrongly deleted, now the question is back. But are you happy? Noooooo we gotta drag this out for thirty more comments.

Kind of ironic when you think about it.
posted by oxford blue at 9:41 PM on October 9, 2006


Thirty, you say? Okay, I'll do my part.
posted by Jimbob at 9:46 PM on October 9, 2006


#28
On the plus side, the derailing comments in the AskMe were deleted. Hunh, some of the names under those pointless derails look familiar...

Kind of ironic when you think about it.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:50 PM on October 9, 2006


the extra sentence provides absolutely nothing

And yet asking posters to please include information about WHY THEY CARE about a given question is still valuable to the long-term health of AskMe. Simply for the effect it has in tamping down "I really don't care about this but let's ask anyway" questions.
posted by mediareport at 9:54 PM on October 9, 2006


27!
posted by Wolof at 10:05 PM on October 9, 2006


And yet asking posters to please include information about WHY THEY CARE about a given question is still valuable to the long-term health of AskMe.

The guidelines read: "A good question should have a purpose, goal, or problem to be solved." The original question had some purpose, it was just unstated. If directly explaining "Why do you want to know?" is a requirement, maybe that should be made explicit in the rules.
posted by Espy Gillespie at 10:13 PM on October 9, 2006


jessamyn, I think you did a good job with this one.

*looks around at MetaFilter Death Squad running in*

No wait, I'm part of the cabal... aughhh!!!
posted by onalark at 10:22 PM on October 9, 2006


The original question had some purpose, it was just unstated.

Come on. Making the purpose clear in the question needs to be in the guidelines? Ok, here goes: "A good question should have a clearly stated purpose, goal, or problem to be solved."

Would that cover it for you?
posted by mediareport at 10:27 PM on October 9, 2006


Sure. That covers it.
Now I'm off to read the undeleted thread, "Which pets are more apt to eat their deceased owners?"
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:34 PM on October 9, 2006


It'd cover it for me, but then I read metatalk and am intimately familiar with the pitfalls of askme questions, despite having never asked one. Maybe it would have helped ol' four panels. Your adding those two words makes the rules regarding a reoccuring mistake clear and easy to reference. Seems like it could be useful.
posted by Espy Gillespie at 10:34 PM on October 9, 2006


hyperactive hypothetical hysteria hits historical high
posted by pyramid termite at 11:13 PM on October 9, 2006 [1 favorite]


"Why do you want to know?"

If someone walks into my classroom (filled with students) wielding a gun, what should I do? As many of you know, I am currently alive. I'd like to know what to do because I like being alive, and I'm pretty sure many of my students enjoy being alive as well.
posted by 23skidoo at 11:24 PM on October 9, 2006 [1 favorite]


23skidoo, you know what they say about assumptions.

I'm pretty sure the goth girl in the back wishes she where dead, or at least undead.
posted by oxford blue at 11:43 PM on October 9, 2006


I think Richard Daly nailed it.
posted by SteveInMaine at 11:43 PM on October 9, 2006


dear ask me , what would be the best way to upgrade my powerbook in a hostage situation ?
I've heard that ebay can sometimes be unreliable.
posted by sgt.serenity at 1:59 AM on October 10, 2006


Predictably, I support this deletion. The question looks like it was posted on a passing whim, and leaving it up would have been an invitation for more of the same.

Jessamyn, thanks for your patience; I'm sure these threads are a pain in the ass but I think your explanations do help.
posted by teleskiving at 2:46 AM on October 10, 2006


if someone burst into askme with a gun and personal lubricant, would askme be amish?
posted by quonsar at 4:30 AM on October 10, 2006


"Yes, of course it absolutely does work as an incentive. Secret unpublicised things that nobody knows about always do. Did you know that revised questions are republished in their original location? Did anyone?"

Yeah, actually. And I could swear that we've gone through this on MeTa before. But because I've got the greasemonkey plugin, I've seen things get deleted then pop up rephrased before.

Not a big deal.
posted by klangklangston at 5:20 AM on October 10, 2006


*IMs Hamish*
posted by Wolof at 5:26 AM on October 10, 2006


dear askme , i am trapped in a burning building with very little hope of escape and i guess that means i'll be having to transfer a lot of personal settings from my blackberry - whats the best way to organise this ?
posted by sgt.serenity at 6:26 AM on October 10, 2006


ohmygod, where are the FUCKING ANIMATED GIFS already??
posted by DenOfSizer at 7:58 AM on October 10, 2006


I think the answers in that AskMe are way off base, and possibly actionable. The first thing the OP needs to do is contact a lawyer and a therapist. They will make great shields.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:53 AM on October 10, 2006


Jessamyn, thanks for your patience; I'm sure these threads are a pain in the ass but I think your explanations do help.

Agreed.
posted by frogan at 9:01 AM on October 10, 2006


Yeah, actually. And I could swear that we've gone through this on MeTa before. But because I've got the greasemonkey plugin, I've seen things get deleted then pop up rephrased before.

Not a big deal.


Nor an incentive either, unless you're stretching "on a MeTa thread before" and "with a specific browser plugin" to mean "widely enough known to affect behaviour".

Jessamyn, thanks for your patience; I'm sure these threads are a pain in the ass but I think your explanations do help.

Agreed.


Disagreed: exactly what sort of explanation has there been in this thread?

There was this:
I wrote four panels an email and asked if we could flesh the question out some more and not have it just be a "Who would win, monkeys or robots?" type of question.
The acceptable rephrase doesn't really address this apparent problem. The only substantive difference is it's longer. So the explanation doesn't fit.

And there are these two expectations Jess had when she deleted the original:
1. four panels would flesh out the question more, quickly and a better question would be posted (I emailed him, he didn't offer a rephrased version of the question) which would help him/her get better answers
Which seems like a stretched expectation to me, especially since we now know rephrasing buries the new question. As for "better answers" it very much depends on what sort of answers four panels was looking for. If they wanted anecdotal, they're not allowed because that's Not What AskMe Is For. Apparently.

2. someone else would post a better version of the same question and the same thing would happen

Which is a meaningless justification for the original deletion, since nobody else would have known about it to post it until this MeTa thread.
posted by bonaldi at 10:44 AM on October 10, 2006


And the implication that the only reason people would complain about deletions is special-snowflake preciousness over what was lost is offensive nonsense.
posted by bonaldi at 10:45 AM on October 10, 2006


So bonaldi, what exactly do you want to hear or read that would make you feel better about this situation?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:58 AM on October 10, 2006


I doubt anything could. It's a fucked-up situation, born of knee-jerk modding in pursuit of some amorphous "good" AskMetafilter, which increasingly just appears to mean "dull".

I know people will cry that it shouldn't be interesting, it should be useful ... but without readers, there's nobody to answer questions, and without interesting threads, there will be no readers.

I'm all for moderation when it makes the place safer or more polite -- because then people who can't face the MeFi melee feel OK about asking their questions. But making it so dull that you can't have questions of the zombie type (previously celebrated on the sidebar) is bad modding.
posted by bonaldi at 11:04 AM on October 10, 2006


...and without interesting threads, there will be no readers.

I think I understand the spirit in which your making your argument, but there is the simple, unquestionable fact that AskMe's readership has been continually growing for years. I really don't think the pruning in question here represents any threat to that, and I think it's worth noting that were examining in minute detail a single deletion whilst the (I presume vast) majority of questions hit the ground running and never see the hand of the admin.

So if it's fucked up, it's a fucked up molehill. A teapot. While the arguments are worth making, I don't think it's worth getting bent out of shape over.
posted by cortex at 11:18 AM on October 10, 2006


It's also worth noting that I can't fucking spell today. Your? Were? Christ. Apostrophe gnomes have burgled my keyboard.
posted by cortex at 11:19 AM on October 10, 2006


Yeh, I take yr point. But it depends a lot on who these new readers *are*. The sort of feedback loop that's set up by ditching even valid hypotheticals doesn't bode too well for the future. Teapots can still scald, or something :)
posted by bonaldi at 11:24 AM on October 10, 2006


There are different types of hypotheticals, some are merely gedankenexperiments with no real world application and others are looking for concrete and particularized advice in case of a specific circumstance happening, but which has not happened and may not ever happen. The former are chatfilter and should be deleted,

I would go even farther than that; I don't think all thought-experiment type questions are chatfilter. Many of them--such as "what would happen to the earth if the sun went out?" and "what would it be like if the earth were a cube instead of a sphere?" (both of which were allowed, although I'm too lazy to go find them now)--provide the opportunity to learn about various principles of physics or other sciences. I'd allow such questions. Not that I think all hypotheticals should be allowed: "zombies vs. monsters," I agree, should be deleted. True, both are hypotheticals and any answers are speculative. The difference, I think, is that answers to the former can be based on informed speculation. Some people will be better able to speculate regarding the answer than others, based on their particular expertise. For "zombies vs. monsters," everyone's answer is equally good.

In fact, the FAQ on chatfilter seems to support that. It does not disallow all hypotheticals; only "Open ended unanswerable hypothetical questions." Many (but not all) thought experiments are answerable questions, and should be allowed.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 12:43 PM on October 10, 2006 [1 favorite]


While the arguments are worth making, I don't think it's worth getting bent out of shape over repeating over and over and over till you've made it abundantly clear you like nothing better than bitching about "mods."
posted by languagehat at 1:26 PM on October 10, 2006


Fuck you, gramps. You were also part of the "bitching" about inappropriate deletions when Jess got her powers; it's just that these days there's this cosy compact that it's all for the good, that AskMe is about utility, that the way things are is How They Should Be.

I don't care much for bitching about mods; I do hate where AskMe is going. Otherwise they can do what they like.
posted by bonaldi at 1:47 PM on October 10, 2006


Hey, let's play nice.

The fact of the matter is that deciding whether to keep or delete some of these posts can be quite difficult and requires good judgment. This time it failed, but usually it works. I do agree with you bonaldi though about the direction of AskMe. I think we are seeing less judgment and more robotic deletions. I know the goal is some measure of consistency but interesting questions should not be deleted just to achieve consistency. For instance, the Woz question could very easily have been so deleted and then we would not have had his appearance on the site.
posted by caddis at 2:14 PM on October 10, 2006


I think most of us are in favor of a few chatty questions being allowed, the disagreement is in how the number should be limited. The options under discussion can be roughly characterized as follows:

1) Questions that might be considered chatfilter should be evaluated according to the expected or observed interestingness of the resulting discussion. This evaluation should be made more or less independently of the way the question is worded.

2) Questions that might be considered chatfilter should be evaluated according to the quality of their composition and especially their satisfaction of the requirement that they present a problem to be solved. It should still be possible to post almost anything if enough effort is put into preparing the question. I think this is a reasonable representation of the current position, which I support.

The first option is more time-consuming for admins to carry out and much more subjective. Just as importantly, the survival of questions like the one under discussion here would give the impression that a user doesn't need to care all that much about a question in order to post it; that would inevitably lead to more throwaway questions and more deletions, which nobody wants.
posted by teleskiving at 4:34 PM on October 10, 2006


Disagreed: exactly what sort of explanation has there been in this thread? ... a meaningless justification for the original deletion.

I was just thanking jessamyn for the continued work and explanations, even though I ultimately disagreed. It's called being polite. Look it up.
posted by frogan at 5:51 PM on October 10, 2006


I do hate where AskMe is going

Stop acting like a fucking lunatic. You've made your point, multiple times; it's been heard and you've already said there's nothing anyone can say that will make you feel better. Move the fuck on, and let's see if this thread has any effect in the direction you'd like to see.

Jesus.
posted by mediareport at 6:09 PM on October 10, 2006


Phrasing seems to be becoming quite an issue for AskMe, at least going by the number of phrasing related deleted post callouts. What would be handy is a system allowing users to improve or clarify questions.

A pre-Ask queue has been suggested before (as a solution to the problem of the quantity of questions), where users get to comment and/or vote on questions before they're posted, but that seems like a lot of effort and distraction.

Perhaps something like the wikipedia talk page/meta-thread idea for each question (which has been floated before for the blue). This could be possibly combined with a 1-2 hour window for the poster to change the wording of the question, or simply to use the feedback to provide clarification in thread. Nine out of ten questions probably wouldn't need this, but it could help a lot of the edge cases, which otherwise decend into chatfilter/deletion/flaming/confusion/inappropriate answers. Though it would mean a load more shit to moderate, and would probably end up as a venue for chat.
posted by MetaMonkey at 6:48 PM on October 10, 2006


Queueing questions would only have an effect until the queue was full, then things would be exactly as they are now, with a delay. Advantange: nobody.

How would users be able to comment on questions before they are posted? Surely, once you can comment, they are posted? Advantage: nobody.

Better to just delete the "edge cases" as a lesson to spend at least 30 seconds thinking about your question in a week's time. This has the added benefit of reducing the flood of questions. As an added incentive, nothing has to change. Advantage: everybody.
posted by dg at 6:57 PM on October 10, 2006


Yes, queuing is not a good solution. But the problem with the current system is that 'edge cases' are either deleted, leading to much woe and MeTa frothing, or the questions stay up and are answered poorly.

Asking questions well is a real skill, that is gained only through practice and long exposure to AskMe and the foibles of the MetaFilter community. It would be real nice to have a way for poorly formed questions to be improved, without the need for a AskMe thread full of second guessing and back-and-forth distraction, or daily MeTa threads bemoaning the deletion/non-deletion of the most eggreiously phrased question.

Of course there may not be a system than the current one, but the problem of bad phrasing is clearly an issue that deleting alone does not resolve.
posted by MetaMonkey at 8:23 PM on October 10, 2006


should read: of course there may not be a system better than the current one
posted by MetaMonkey at 8:24 PM on October 10, 2006


Thank you, DevilsAdvocate for articulating what I spent most of work thinking about; informed speculation and the questions that produce it is exactly why I think AskMe is great, and why I don't see very much inconsistency when it comes to the deletion of hypotheticals.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:06 PM on October 10, 2006


It would be real nice to have a way for poorly formed questions to be improved
There is - they get deleted and the asker gets another shot in a week.

The only thing that needs to happen for this to work is for the rest of us to shut up about it and not drag every fucking deletion to MeTa. Then the system will be perfect. Well, perhaps not perfect, but good enough.
posted by dg at 9:11 PM on October 10, 2006


Could someone delete my accidentally erroneous query upthread so that this thread stops showing up in My Comments and causing me pain?

Oh, wait. This isn't that freaking important. Huh.
posted by desuetude at 10:13 PM on October 10, 2006


I know that if I'm ever in a situation with a nutjob pointing a gun at me, I'd want only the finest advice random strangers on the internet could give.

"leetgrrrl128 said I should give him a roundhouse kick, I'll give it a try!"

"livesWithMom wanted me to take all my clothes off and sing christmas carols. I wonder if that would work?"

"TailhookMasacre told me to grab his gun. I wonder if I should lead with my right or left hand?"
posted by blue_beetle at 6:58 AM on October 11, 2006 [1 favorite]


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