Why was my question deleted? October 23, 2006 8:38 PM   Subscribe

Matt, this is your playground, obviously. But the question was very seriously meant, and I find its deletion troublesome. First, it was as politely phrased as possible for those who are Bush fans; they were, in a very non-trollish and respectful way, warned away two paragraphs in. Second, the question most definitely was NOT an "xyz sucks amirite" question, and that's an inaccurate, hasty, and I even daresay somewhat insulting characterization of what the question was. Third, if that question as phrased isn't permitted on Ask MeFi, then what's the deal ... are politically charged questions, or questions speaking from an obvious demonstrable political bias, not allowed on Ask MeFi, even if they are legitimate and courteous questions? If they are, then by what guidelines can someone operate whether or not they're going to trigger a deletion (and it might be helpful to post those on the Ask a Question page)? Finally ... if someone's question is zapped, they still have to wait a week?
posted by WCityMike to MetaFilter-Related at 8:38 PM (44 comments total)

jessamyn deleted it and left the reason, but I considered it earlier today when I saw it. It was flagged a bunch of times, and it's like ten paragraphs of bush sucks followed by "Please give me some solid, substantial, very concrete fodder that demonstrates that both America and the world are NOT going to hell in a handbasket"

Your question, even though you said it wasn't supposed to be some troll for political arguments, says right in it that you think we're going to hell in a handbasket.

Honestly, I can't think of a better way to phrase it for the purposes of Ask MetaFilter, which works best when you have a real problem that can be solved. You're polling the audience for pick-me-ups essentially.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 8:47 PM on October 23, 2006


Maybe if you just posted the bottom-line question without all the baggage.
posted by smackfu at 8:49 PM on October 23, 2006


Um... it kinda was "xyz sucks amirite". Except it was a huuuuuge dissertation on "xyz sucks" followed by a "please prove me wrong, but only if you already agree that xyz sucks, because if you don't agree then you can't possibly understand the question".
posted by stefanie at 8:52 PM on October 23, 2006 [1 favorite]


No matter how honest or true the intentions of this question, it's political chatfilter that is a no-brainer deletion.
posted by brain_drain at 8:59 PM on October 23, 2006


I don't understand the mindset of people who complain about things getting deleted. You see the rationale and, agree with it or not, that's the way it will stand. It's like coaches who argue referee calls.

You posted a question, it got nuked, deal. Stop complaining. It won't help. The green moves on. Come back in a week and try again.

/bitter because I run a community site and the people most likely to get deleted are the same people who are most likely to go apespit over the same.
posted by unixrat at 9:03 PM on October 23, 2006


It reads more like question-as-pretext-for-blog-entry, in that you devote seven paragraphs (not counting the lengthy title) to how you see things and how you feel about it, then tack a question on the end almost as an afterthought. If you have blog with comments enabled, it would look absolutely appropriate there. Not so much here.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:09 PM on October 23, 2006


OMG!

It's troll bait set out for an already caught and reeled in troll!

There is a catch and release policy in effect right?
posted by Funmonkey1 at 9:13 PM on October 23, 2006


We aren't going to Hell in a hand basket. We aren't even going to Hell in a Hummer. Simple reason? Red tape and incompetence. Truth is, our infrastructure isn’t elegant enough to have a single point of failure. And our social engineering is even less dependable. The secret to our ultimate survival will be inertia. We won’t be overthrown because we don’t have enough to offer anymore to be worth the trouble of having to manage us. We are the super high maintenance SO that everybody would just as soon dump. And we won’t simply self-destruct, either, because we’re too narcissistic for suicide, and who’d even notice, anyway? So – no Hell anytime soon. But we have been fairly drunk on power lately, so I’d say we are overdue for one Hell of a hangover. We’ll just puke a lot and wish we were dead.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:14 PM on October 23, 2006 [5 favorites]


Mike, I liked the basic thrust of your question and posted an answer. But it was poorly written. Just wait a week and reframe it in a more even-handed way.
posted by LarryC at 9:24 PM on October 23, 2006


What specific problem were you attempting to solve, and how would you recognize the correct answer when you saw it?

Your "question" was an invitation to debate. That's not what "AskMeFi" is for. Seriously meant, politely phrased, non-trollish and respectful invitations to debate don't belong there.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 9:28 PM on October 23, 2006


Oh, and this: Finally ... if someone's question is zapped, they still have to wait a week?

Yes, as a means of minimizing true trolls. If they could post again immediately then trolls would do so and it would become a clicking duel between the troll and the mods.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 9:30 PM on October 23, 2006


respectfully suggest they go elsewhere

Requesting optimistic opinions but inviting Bush supporters to "go elsewhere" was not a great way to "very seriously" pose the question. I kinda see the intent, but it was too flawed in the asking. I mean, it promised infuriation.
posted by scarabic at 9:34 PM on October 23, 2006


"You're polling the audience for pick-me-ups essentially."

Yeah, plus the huge amount of space devoted to detailing your politically-loaded perspective on how bad things are. That was a very dubious inclusion, though I can imagine that you meant it more as a sort of heartfelt explanation of why you wanted optimistic suggestions than as a laundry list of grievances.

The very best I can do as a rephrase that isn't nearly as loaded is:

Avoiding certain current political issues, what are some positive things we can expect in the future of the US that seem objectively correct to most and as assertions of such, and of being positives, would be mostly noncontroversial across the political spectrum?

I'm not sure how many answers that would generate, though.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 10:00 PM on October 23, 2006


Even if it were phrase that way it still would not belong in AskMeFi.

It would still be an invitation to debate. There would still not be a specific problem that needed to be solved, and there would still not be any way to recognize the right answer when you saw it.

The very intent of the now-deleted post violates the purpose of AskMeFi. Rephrasing it doesn't change the intent.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 10:06 PM on October 23, 2006


I thought there might have been a way to rephrase the question to get okay answers, but that wasy wasn't it. It's clearly something you feel very strongly about. However, MetaFilter is full of all sorts of people and writing a question asking for their opinions which spends a lot of time outlining your own opinion in a way likelyto make people who disagree with you, or even don't feel as strongly as you, annoyed or defensive, is a guaranteed way to make an AskMe question go badly. I'm somewhat sorry about this since it's clear you were sincere about it, but sometimes sincerity [pls see "sincere pumpkin patch"] isn't enough to go on. Generally "politically charged" question by which I mean argumentative, handwaving, OMG type questions aren't good for AskMe. If you're really looking for good examples of why things aren't as bad as they seem, you don't have to lay out a whole case for why they really seem really really bad, really. You can't just "warn away" bush fans the same way you can't "warn away" mac users or "warn away" parents. MetaFilter is for everyone.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:51 AM on October 24, 2006


To me this falls decidedly into the "GYOFB" category. Den Beste is right that you are inviting a debate and nothing more, which definitely isn't the purpose of AskMe and makes for yet another shitty FPP on MeFi (of which there are too many as it is).
posted by briank at 6:55 AM on October 24, 2006


GYOFB. In two years Bush will be a distant, bad, memory.
posted by fixedgear at 6:59 AM on October 24, 2006


In addition to what everyone said above, it's kind of a double. You might also look at that post for a somewhat similar question which was allowed--the differences between that question and yours are instructive.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:20 AM on October 24, 2006


If nothing else, it sure is chatty. Optimism or pessimism, who has it right?
posted by Chuckles at 7:28 AM on October 24, 2006


I started trying to answer the question, because I think the intended question behind the ranting could be appropriate and important - heres a heavily edited version:

Feelings of hopelessness have arisen... under a President who... I tend to believe in his six years has done more to ride the country into the ground... than any other American president preceding him.

Add to that the various apocalypses that seem to be hovering in the wings waiting to be called on stage: the Hubbert peak. Bird flu or another pandemic. A national debt so bad I'm just waiting for the Second Great Depression. Global warming. Ongoing terrorism. Seems like we just need one of these to happen in order for the nation's future to crash down very hard and very quick.

What this boils down to: Please give me some solid, substantial, very concrete fodder (no "pat-pat-pat-it'll-be-okay-little-lib'rul" speech, in other words) that demonstrates that both America and the world are NOT going to hell in a handbasket, and I will be very much obliged.


Hows that?

Although my answer was going to be something along the lines of 'well, things are going to hell in a handbasket, but the good news is that humans are a resourceful species likely to survive (if in reduced number) any catastrophe that befalls civilisation. The bad news is you may have to do without air conditioning and modern medicine.'
posted by MetaMonkey at 7:35 AM on October 24, 2006


it was a legitimate question, but the phrasing was too loaded.

of course, had you posted something like, "guys, why do women bitches suck so bad?" then the question would be OK, and it wouldn't have gotten deleted.


Yeah, plus the huge amount of space devoted to detailing your

posted by Ethereal Bligh at 7:00 AM C


*hell freezes over*
posted by matteo at 7:43 AM on October 24, 2006


It's ok when he does it, matteo. He's an extra special snowflake.
posted by crunchland at 7:46 AM on October 24, 2006


And through his extra special snowflake powers has discovered the difference between a comment and an AskMe question.
posted by cortex at 7:52 AM on October 24, 2006


XYZ.com sucks, am I right?
posted by mattbucher at 7:58 AM on October 24, 2006


[pls see "sincere pumpkin patch"]

Awesome.
posted by If I Had An Anus at 7:58 AM on October 24, 2006


Comments, questions, posts, they are all special snowflakes in the blizzard . . . OF LIFE.
posted by brain_drain at 8:03 AM on October 24, 2006


"And through his extra special snowflake powers has discovered the difference between a comment and an AskMe question."

Right. Not to mention that what I actually wrote:

"...plus the huge amount of space devoted to detailing your politically-loaded perspective on how bad things are."

...shows that what was wrong with it was not the "huge amount of space [...] detailing" per se but the use to which that huge amount of detailing was put. I realize that my extra special snowflake powers may be a bit difficult to recognize if you're an idiot. However, mattteo's difficulties probably arise from the fact that English isn't his native language—as evidenced by the lack of fluency in his usage.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 8:17 AM on October 24, 2006 [1 favorite]


Just remember, everyone, it takes a lot of special snowflakes for us all to EAT ICE AND SNOW.
posted by scody at 8:51 AM on October 24, 2006 [1 favorite]


Liberals, please hope me.
posted by klangklangston at 9:54 AM on October 24, 2006


how in the world did EB relay that most recent sentiment in ONLY ONE PARAGRAPH? amazing.
posted by Hat Maui at 10:03 AM on October 24, 2006


Oh, yeah, the question that tried to include American politics, religion, peak oil, pandemics, economics, global warming, and terrorism all in one great concept of "life sucks", and then implies that one man is responsible for it all. I had a premonition that would show up here.
posted by sfenders at 10:51 AM on October 24, 2006


DEAR ASKME: RANT, RANT, RANT, RANT, RANT, RANT, CONFIRMATION BIAS SELECTIVE LINKS, RANT, RANT. AM I RITE?
posted by dios at 11:31 AM on October 24, 2006


42
posted by googly at 11:31 AM on October 24, 2006


First, it was as politely phrased as possible for those who are Bush fans; they were, in a very non-trollish and respectful way, warned away two paragraphs in.

emphasis added, milk snorted through nose
posted by mzurer at 12:12 PM on October 24, 2006


DEAR ASKME: RANT, RANT, RANT, RANT, RANT, RANT, CONFIRMATION BIAS SELECTIVE LINKS, RANT, RANT. AM I RITE?

...and don't post if you don't agree with me!
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 3:31 PM on October 24, 2006


You deleted my question. Does this mean I have to wait a whole week before you delete my next question??
posted by crunchland at 3:40 PM on October 24, 2006


No. But that counts as your next question.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:55 PM on October 24, 2006


I think this MeTa would have been far more remarkable if people hadn't dragged out the same old snarkmemes from their arsenal. For God's sake, people, come up with some new material already!

I suppose this thread also goes to show that majority opinion sometimes just can still be flat-out wrong, even if held by the majority. Sorry, assholes, I'm not a troll, and I honestly didn't mean to inflame neocons (which is why I tried to warn them away), and the question was honestly meant, because, at the moment, life is pretty goddamn sucky from a civil liberties perspective, and I honestly don't know when it will improve. I've always been a real political idealist — I love Dave, The American President, Mr. Capra Goes to Washington, etc. — and that part of me is pretty damn depressed from the beating he's gotten for the last six years. I'm trying to figure out how to keep him around for the next two, and I couldn't come up with much on my own. And given that the AskMeFi populace has helped me with some genius insights before, I thought they might be able to help this time around.

In response to all the snark ... I may not be one of the top 10 here, but I've contributed a hell of a lot to Ask MeFi over the years, and I don't think the ridicule was precisely warranted. I know reputation isn't usually considered when choosing whether or not to ridicule, but, nevertheless, I'm a good guy, and my reputation here mostly supports that. I don't think the above was really that warranted.

I do appreciate Mathowie's and Jessamyn's responses — they left me believing that while I may not agree with Jessamyn's decision, I can at least now respect it and moreover better understand the rationale behind it. And, fancy that, they managed to do it without making it personal or dropping into personal insults.
posted by WCityMike at 3:56 PM on October 24, 2006


This is metafilter. The place where you're only as good as your last post or comment. The bad news is that even if you have contriuted gold and jewels in AskMe, that goodness is instantly transmuted to crap... and not by that awful, partisan bullshit "question" in askme, but by this defensive, accusatory message here on the grey. The good news is that you can usually redeem yourself just as easily by posting a better one next time.

And a bit of advice... don't take your message deletion, or even the snarky response in this thread personally. It rarely ever gets real personal here, even if on the face of it, it seems so.
posted by crunchland at 4:11 PM on October 24, 2006


The snark is inevitable. Try not to take offense—it is not you but your effigy which is being so brightly burnt in the grey night.

Your question was really long and really loaded. It was a conspicuously bad fit for AskMe. That doesn't make you bad or dishonest. Posting a complaint to metatalk is not a great move if you don't want a stark reaction, though, and you have been here sufficiently long to know better. Suit up in asbestos, yes?
posted by cortex at 5:08 PM on October 24, 2006


I suppose this thread also goes to show that majority opinion sometimes just can still be flat-out wrong, even if held by the majority.

I'M RITE NO MATTER HOW MANY PEOPLE TELL ME I'M NOT, AM I RITE??

Sorry, pal, your question sucked. Don't feel too bad; most people have a hard time telling when their questions suck. But try to observe and learn; being pig-headed isn't the answer. And like they said, it's not personal. Nobody cares who asked the sucky question, they just hate the question.
posted by languagehat at 5:32 PM on October 24, 2006


WCityMike-

Try asking the same question but without the Bush angle. Jsut state facts: Deficit is growing at X, war is trending Y, etc.

The problem is that you are asking people for what Bush did right type answers, which call for opinions, instead of asking for megatrends type arguable facts.

Most of what is happening besides the war would likely have happened anyway, and most of what is going well would have happened with gore or kerry. Politicians don't actually have that much power over the economy and cultural trends.
posted by Pastabagel at 6:21 PM on October 24, 2006


I'M RITE NO MATTER HOW MANY PEOPLE TELL ME I'M NOT, AM I RITE??

Clarification: I'm not saying the question didn't suck. I'm not saying it did, but I'm certainly open to the possibility it could have been phrased better or put in a different manner.

I'm saying that some of the recurrent themes running through this MeTa thread are plain wrong despite their consensus, the themes of which I then proceeded to list: whether I was a troll, whether I meant to inflame neocons, etc.
posted by WCityMike at 9:24 PM on October 24, 2006


The good news is that you can usually redeem yourself just as easily by posting a better one next time.

The good news is that deleted questions don't show up in your post history.
posted by smackfu at 10:50 PM on October 24, 2006


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