Aiding and abetting in AskMe. November 13, 2006 2:35 AM   Subscribe


I've been poor, and it sucks to be poor. And if a starving person stole a loaf of bread, that I can understand. And I wish I had a laptop too.

But no one's died for lack of a laptop, or found a laptop more valuable than reputation and self-respect.
posted by orthogonality at 2:39 AM on November 13, 2006


Stolen seems a litle extreme here. Laptop (1) was purchased from a junkie, and laptop (2) was apparently abandoned. Wouldn't be missed if it was deleted, though.

While we are calling out bad askmes, how about taking out the sewing pirates?
posted by b1tr0t at 2:49 AM on November 13, 2006


I don't know about "stolen property" because of "bought it off a junkie," orthogonality. Said junkie could have sold the thing directly for the money, no? And everything is from a couple of years ago at this point, if the stories check out, so . . . I'm not seeing the thing with the same moral clarity as you, I guess.
posted by cgc373 at 2:52 AM on November 13, 2006


Junkies don't own laptops. (And if they do, they pawn them, they don't sell them on the street to J. Random Passerby.)

Junkies sell laptops/TVs/whatever on the street after they've broken into someone's house and stolen the laptop/TV/whatever to pay for their next fix.

In any case, the poster admits the laptos are "ill-gotten", a euphemism for "stolen".
posted by orthogonality at 2:56 AM on November 13, 2006 [1 favorite]


This is going to turn into an argument about definitions pretty quick. What's "ill-gotten" mean? Does it mean the same thing to the asker as it does to you or to me?

Probably the best course of action would have been to flag and move on, but now with six linked lines to the front page of MetaTalk, I guess we'll see how the crew feels, too.
posted by cgc373 at 3:04 AM on November 13, 2006


Maybe someone had traded the laptop for gear from the junkie. Maybe that someone had been the legitimate owner of the laptop. I don't accept your categorical assertion that junkies either don't own laptops or don't potentially trade them somewhere else other than a pawn shop.

You are overreacting to my mind. elr should probably have just not mentioned the junkie purchase and just said they were too hard up to purchase something else.
posted by peacay at 3:08 AM on November 13, 2006


So asking how to avoid getting caught with stolen goods is OK as long as there's little danger of getting caught? Does this change anything --

Where do I go to fix an ill-gotten car?

1. A Ford Taurus that has been wrecked and no longer starts up (and could use a new battery as well), bought off a junkie a couple years back.

2. A Honda Element that is missing the alternator, that was given to me by a friend who got it when someone left it at her house over a year ago.

I don't know if it's worth my time to fix these or not, or if I could get into trouble. I could really use an operational car however and I can't afford a new one.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 3:08 AM on November 13, 2006


orthogonality - where are you getting all this information on the sale of the laptop?

And "Junkies don't own laptops" is a kinda stupid statement.

http://www.ukmusicweek.co.uk/news/0123.html
posted by fire&wings at 3:19 AM on November 13, 2006


ortho has thrown a couple of red-herrings into the description, which is confusing the issue.

The guy says they are "ill-gotten" and is worried that he will get in trouble if he takes them to be fixed. This says that he himself considers them to have been illegally gotten. I don't know how much clearer that could be.
posted by Dunwitty at 3:22 AM on November 13, 2006


Ok...I probably slightly missread the AskMe Q.
I guess I don't have a strong opinion about this. Old and dilapidated and being poor probably trumps fronting to the copshop with full disclosure and remorse with the described circumstances. We all draw our own lines in the sand. But I don't care one way or another whether the post goes/stays.
posted by peacay at 3:24 AM on November 13, 2006


fire&wings writes "And 'Junkies don't own laptops' is a kinda stupid statement."

Junkies don't own anything valuable, because they sell anything they own to get the sweet sweet junk they inject into their veins. And then they steal more stuff to buy more junk.

Yeah, the first time, the junkie may be selling his own stuff not stolen stuff -- but then he'll go to a pawn shop, because he figures he can kick the habit, this is just a temporary expedient, I'll get clean real soon now. By the time hs' approaching J. Random Passerby, it's because the pawnshop won't buy stolen goods.

"Bought from a junkie on the street" 49 times out of 50 means "receiving stolen goods".

and the poster admits as much: "ill-gotten".

I don't mind helping folks on askMefi; he'll, I've put in quite a bit of time and effort doing so. But if you don't care about the people your goods were likely stolen from, why should I do you the karmic favor of helping you fix what you know is stolen?
posted by orthogonality at 3:41 AM on November 13, 2006


I am a laptop-owning junkie. A junkie for your love.
posted by loquacious at 3:43 AM on November 13, 2006 [2 favorites]


Honestly, I'm willing the person advice simply because Ortho seems to be taking it personally and acting like a prick about it.

Flag it and move on. No need to grandstand and cast all sort of apersions on the original poster.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:14 AM on November 13, 2006


"2. A Honda Element that is missing the alternator, that was given to me by a friend who got it when someone left it at her house over a year ago."

Believe it or not, that's not all that weird an example. A former housemate of mine got a free Honda scooter that way -- it was abandoned in our duplex's laundry room by someone, sat there for a year or more (we thought the people in the other apartment owned it, and they thought it belonged to one of us), and then eventually my housemate claimed it as abandoned property. There is a legal process to go through for this, which he did, and then he got a title for the scooter from the state. I don't remember all the details, but apparently the previous owner was unfindable.

And I got a camera this way once, too. It appeared at our house; we asked everyone we could think of who might have left it there, but never were able to track down an owner, so finally we just kept the camera.

The junkie story is one thing, but the "laptop left at someone's house" is believable to me, and not necessarily an indication that it was stolen.
posted by litlnemo at 5:09 AM on November 13, 2006


Ill-gotten could just mean that if there's a warranty on these things it isn't in his name.
posted by thirteenkiller at 5:27 AM on November 13, 2006


Too many narcs around here; orthogonality needs to mellow out. Shall I get you a back massage? Something weighing on your soul, my child?
posted by Brave New Meatbomb at 5:33 AM on November 13, 2006 [1 favorite]


I think we have to make a distinction betwen "can I fix these laptops of which I'm not the proper owner" versus "how can can I acquire a laptop illegally?" The latter is giving advice for breaking the law, the other is just answering a question.

The love you take is definitely equal to the love you make. Someone who reaps the benefits of other people's misery is going to get lots worse than a deleted question on a messae board. The question's interesting from an academic standpoint. Let it stand-- karma works best when you don't try to influence it.
posted by Mayor Curley at 5:35 AM on November 13, 2006


Junkies don't own laptops. (And if they do, they pawn them, they don't sell them on the street to J. Random Passerby.)

Another outright rejection of this pat dismissal. Junkies don't exist as magical creatures born perfectly and identically into a pre-arranged Junkie State, and the idea that the pawn shop is some unvarying siren call to them is silly.
posted by cortex at 6:08 AM on November 13, 2006


The dude shouldn't have even mentioned where he got them. What a dumbass.
posted by cellphone at 6:09 AM on November 13, 2006


Chances are the junkie is selling a stolen laptop. I mean, it's possible he didn't steal it, just like it's possible monkeys can fly out of my butt: It's just not likely.
posted by chunking express at 6:12 AM on November 13, 2006


Junkies don't own laptops. (And if they do, they pawn them, they don't sell them on the street to J. Random Passerby.)

Suppose elr was that passerby.
posted by delmoi at 6:16 AM on November 13, 2006


"why should [anyone] do you the karmic favor of helping you fix what you know is stolen?" (because if it was just you you were thinking about, we wouldn't have this thread)

Jesus would have done it. He just would've made the guy feel shitloads of guilt about it.

Ortho likes drama, this is a known unknown. The unknown unknown is how to get him to post something like: "Hey, there's an AskMe here where someone is asking for help with stolen goods." If only we could teach that boy that overreacting doesn't stir others to action so much as cause them to turn against you in an attempt to counteract the overreaction.
posted by Eideteker at 6:20 AM on November 13, 2006


Junkies don't own anything valuable, because they sell anything they own to get the sweet sweet junk they inject into their veins. And then they steal more stuff to buy more junk.

LOL. Where are you getting this info? A D.A.R.E classroom movie from the 80s?

I mean come on, Rush Limbaugh was a 'junkie'. It's not like you can't hold a job or own property while addicted to opiates.
posted by delmoi at 6:21 AM on November 13, 2006


I mean come on, Rush Limbaugh was a 'junkie'. It's not like you can't hold a job or own property while addicted to opiates.

Rush Limbaugh was selling stuff on the streets?
posted by Mayor Curley at 6:43 AM on November 13, 2006


I left my bmw 2002 parked at a gas station in Canada, intending to go back and get it, but never got around to it. I sure hope someone is driving it around, I had just put a new engine in it.
posted by StickyCarpet at 6:55 AM on November 13, 2006


Where does the question say it was bought "on the streets"?
posted by raf at 6:55 AM on November 13, 2006


Ill-gotten could just mean that if there's a warranty on these things it isn't in his name.

That's an interesting interpretation, but not one most people would accept, I think.

I was all set to respond to "'Junkies don't own laptops' is a kinda stupid statement" with, "Yes, but Ortho didn't say that." So then he went ahead and said it.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:03 AM on November 13, 2006


we have laptops
posted by sgt.serenity at 7:11 AM on November 13, 2006


As someone who's been in the home of a "junkie", watched their TV, enjoyed the music from their stereo, I would like to say that ortho's "all X do Y" crap is as illogical as any time. Even if "most X do Y", there are exceptions. I knew one.

So lay off, will you?
posted by dflemingdotorg at 7:16 AM on November 13, 2006


Rush Limbaugh was selling stuff on the streets?
posted by Mayor Curley at 8:43 AM CST on November 13
[+]


Do you consider handjobs "stuff?"
posted by COBRA! at 7:16 AM on November 13, 2006


For the folks saying "maybe ill-gotten" means something other than "shadily obtained", "stolen" or otherwise bad things:

He states in his question he's worried about getting in trouble when taking them in to a store. If that doesn't scream "stolen" or something close to it, what does?
posted by twiggy at 7:19 AM on November 13, 2006


He states in his question he's worried about getting in trouble when taking them in to a store. If that doesn't scream "stolen" or something close to it, what does?

It could be that he just doesn't know where the junkie got it; I mean, after all, it's fairly obvious that the average person probably is suspicious.

Does that mean we shouldn't at least give him a little advice? I mean, speculation is one thing but until he comes out and says "I know it was stolen", is he necessarily guilty?
posted by dflemingdotorg at 7:26 AM on November 13, 2006


A Negro was brought to a New York hospital because he had run after and threatened two women in the street while under the influence of reefers; he said he had seen in his reefer-dream “a bunch of naked wimmin, some of ’em in bed, black an’ white together, like dey was expectin’ men.”

People! Please stop worrying about laptops. Somewhere there is a negro dreaming of white women.
posted by McGuillicuddy at 7:30 AM on November 13, 2006 [1 favorite]


Good callout. Flagged.
posted by cribcage at 7:35 AM on November 13, 2006


Hmn. Can I call out a bad MeTa post?
posted by SpecialK at 7:44 AM on November 13, 2006


Hmn. Can I call out a bad MeTa post?

Yes, but only if you do so using an ill-gotten laptop, and you're a junkie. A junk food junkie.
posted by JekPorkins at 7:54 AM on November 13, 2006


Are the cliche police going to come and arrest orthoganlity and take him away from us? 'Cause that would be justice served.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 8:09 AM on November 13, 2006


IN THE DAY TIME I'M MISTER NATURAL
posted by cortex at 8:10 AM on November 13, 2006


Wait, was I the only one who read:

"Ill-gotten" He was fighting a headcold, had a runny nose.
"into trouble" When I go to Fry's, there's always cool stuff on sale, and man I love a bargain, so I whip out the credit card and often get into trouble!
"Junkie" A enthusiast of Chinese cargo sailboats.
posted by ernie at 8:13 AM on November 13, 2006




An earlier, recent AskMe was looking for information about bypassing a hard disk lock for a notebook bought from someone "shady" on EBay. This is a worrying trend.
posted by meehawl at 8:34 AM on November 13, 2006


Junkies don't own laptops. (And if they do, they pawn them, they don't sell them on the street to J. Random Passerby.)

And how many junkies did you survey to reach this conclusion? Please report sample size and proportion with 95% CI.
posted by docgonzo at 8:38 AM on November 13, 2006


I took out the sewing pirates.

I think the laptop question is asking a question along the lines of "how do I get out of this speeding ticket." where someone did something of questionable legality and has a related question, though not one that helps them commit a crime (unless you think that giving this person advice about getting a laptop repaired helps them maintain their ill-gotten laptop).

I think you can answer the question without sanctioning the actions of the question asker, and if you can't, skip the question and move on. This is also a place where one of those split-answer answers "well you could take it to the shop and no one would probably care, but you might want to think about contacting the original owner blah blah blah." You are under no karmic obligation, ever, to answer a question here. The OP also has an email listed in their profile, so feel free to contact them directly if you'd like to take them to task for their laptop vs respect mathematics.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:44 AM on November 13, 2006


Ortho, you could have tried posting this in the AskMe thread:

"elr, I respect that your financial situation makes it difficult for you to buy a laptop, and that it is attractive for you to take advantage of these 'ill-gotten' gains. However, I'm concerned that these laptops are not merely 'ill-gotten' but actually stolen. I encourage you to rethink your attempt to use what is ultimately stolen material and instead discard/donate these laptops as appropriate. It will save you both the bad karma of using stolen property and the potential negative ramifications (getting into trouble) of trying to get these fixed."

Instead, you decided to:

Post MeTa link that disingeniously paraphrases the question and, based on preciously little information, spuriously calls elr a thief, and judges him to have no conscience. Then aggressively defend your enormous leaps of logic.

I just don't get this callout. You had the opportunity to advise someone who is in a tight spot to rethink their premises and do (what you think is) the right thing. Instead you started another thread whose sole purpose seems to be calling them a conscienceless thief and broadcasting your uninformed generalizations about junkies.
posted by googly at 8:45 AM on November 13, 2006


what is the "Sewing Pirates" thread?
posted by delmoi at 8:47 AM on November 13, 2006


what is the "Sewing Pirates" thread?

Its the thing that made me Find on Page "sew" to find a linky that made me guffaw.
posted by ernie at 8:52 AM on November 13, 2006


delmoi: Someone asked something like "are there warez-like sites where you can download the patterns that you feed into sewing machines so that they automatically sew patterns" (or something along those lines). I think the implication is that the patterns are copywrited and the asker wanted to (illegally?) download them for free.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 8:54 AM on November 13, 2006


Sewing-hobbyist information wants to be free!
posted by cortex at 8:58 AM on November 13, 2006


elr knows he has done wrong, that is why he phrased the question the way he did. It cheapens MetaFilter to leave this crap around.
posted by caddis at 9:00 AM on November 13, 2006


"Junkies don't own anything valuable, because they sell anything they own to get the sweet sweet junk they inject into their veins. And then they steal more stuff to buy more junk."

Bullshit. I know plenty of functional "junkies" who do own laptops and entertainment systems, etc. Generally, they're in college and playing in a band while mom and dad give 'em stuff rather than money. So they'll sell off whatever, tell their folks it was stolen or broken, and get new stuff.

"But if you don't care about the people your goods were likely stolen from, why should I do you the karmic favor of helping you fix what you know is stolen?"

Maybe you could, you know, not answer the question? Or does just having you look at it impart some sort of magical aid to the asker?
posted by klangklangston at 9:03 AM on November 13, 2006


(Or more accurately, have known, since I tend not to hang out with junkies anymore...)
posted by klangklangston at 9:04 AM on November 13, 2006


Sewing piracy (Forbes 2000)

Some needle buffs have begun posting copyrighted designs online on sewing-themed Web sites or e-mailing the patterns to friends. The latest generation of high–tech sewing machines, selling for a typical $5,500, can take those digital designs and sew them onto clothing, pillows and the like. They also come with software that can digitize any scanned photo or hand–drawn design, and download the pattern instantly to the sewing machine. No wonder the New York–based Home Sewing Association last year launched the Embroidery Software Protection Coalition to fight sewing–pattern piracy.
posted by ernie at 9:05 AM on November 13, 2006


Yes, that says NEEDLE BUFFS. You know who who else are needle buffs?

Junkies.
posted by ernie at 9:08 AM on November 13, 2006 [2 favorites]


How quickly they forget:

Stolen stitches online rock needlepoint world:

August 3, 2000
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) -- A stitch in time used to save nine. But bands of underground grannies have started stealing stitches online, rocking the genteel world of needlepoint and threatening to tie the industry in knots.

Their numbers are probably in the hundreds rather than the millions that make up the Napster song-sharing community on the Web. Yet the pattern publishing and needlepoint industry is so alarmed at the mostly elderly cross-stitch pirates who swap copyright patterns for free via the Internet that they are threatening to take legal action.

"This strikes at the heart of the needlepoint industry. The people who are doing this seem to have a hacker's mentality," said Jo Weiss, executive secretary of the International Needleart Retailers Guild.


Oh, and ortho: stop making assumptions. You're not very good at it.
posted by mediareport at 9:09 AM on November 13, 2006


Thank you for taking out the sewing question, jessamyn.

If anyone advocating for it's stay took out "sewing pattern" and replaced it with "music" or "pr0n", would we have even had an argument?
posted by plaidrabbit at 9:11 AM on November 13, 2006


After I bought the laptop off the junkie, my bike was stolen. I took this as karma. Still, I figure that the time to contact an owner (who probably wasn't the junkie but very well might have been) was before I started filling it with schoolwork and writing.

There are issues with conscience, but I think I'm going to continue burying/ignoring them. Feel free to think of me as a bad, stupid, or selfish person. Sometimes I do the right thing and sometimes I don't.

Obviously I don't know much about laptops so I was wondering more if the cost of fixing them was worth it, for these older machines, than for whether or not I'll get in trouble. I did want to mention that they aren't licensed in my name, and one of them is probably stolen, because I don't know if this is the type of thing that gets people in trouble anyway.
posted by elr at 9:22 AM on November 13, 2006


orthogonality is Florrie Fisher?!?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:21 AM on November 13, 2006


elr, thanks for responding.

There are issues with conscience, but I think I'm going to continue burying/ignoring them. Feel free to think of me as a bad, stupid, or selfish person.

Will do.

orthogonality, thanks for posting the callout.
posted by russilwvong at 10:22 AM on November 13, 2006


Ortho, you could have tried posting this in the AskMe thread:

No he couldn't, because that's not an answer. He could have just flagged it and shut up, but apparently we don't do that here. Or rather, a number of people who want the content of AskMe questions to conform to their personal mores don't do that.

Too bad people like that are gutless pussies in real life - the world would be way more entertaining if they actually walked around and got up in people's faces and were public spectacles every time they saw behavior they didn't approve of. Or maybe not - one presumes they'd rein it in after the dozenth time they got the beatdown they deserved.
posted by phearlez at 10:26 AM on November 13, 2006


Hey morons! If you buy a laptop from a guy you know a little, at his/her well-appointed apartment or condo, for instance, you don't refer to the person as a "junkie". You may say, "I think my acquaintance is selling this laptop for money to buy drugs", but you are not overly concerned that the laptop is stolen, at this point. Get it?

If you state that you bought a laptop from a "junkie", it is strongly implied that this is some person you have never seen before or since, who you probably bumped into on the street or something. You guys know that. I used to have people offer me stolen bikes all the time; I couldn't prove that these bikes were stolen - except for the time that I was offered a friend's bike. I gave the guy a twenty and the promise of a broken nose, and got that bike back.

Anyway, the Toshiba thing seems like it might be a little closer to acceptable; the thing was abandoned. But to ignore the poster's obvious intent in describing the seller of the Sony as a "junkie", without any additional qualification, is to establish firmly one's standing as a fucking retarded fucktard.

More simply:
If people don't buy stolen goods, there will be no market for stolen goods.
posted by Mister_A at 10:32 AM on November 13, 2006


Phearlez - "Thou shalt not steal" is not a "personal more", jackass. Kudos to ortho.
posted by Mister_A at 10:37 AM on November 13, 2006


"Thou shalt not steal" is not a "personal more".

lol
posted by mr_crash_davis at 11:56 AM on November 13, 2006


That is, in fact, exactly what it is.
posted by phearlez at 12:03 PM on November 13, 2006


elr, since it's already been purchased and is now yours, I wouldn't worry about how the junkie aquired it. It is in the past, and nothing can be done about this. Now, as to whether or not you'll get in trouble if you tried to sell it, I'd say no. A friend of mine (with a record, mind you) bought a car a while back from a woman who placed an ad in the paper, only to discover a year or so later that it had been reported stolen. He lost the car, but, beyond that, no other harm befell him.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 12:31 PM on November 13, 2006


Crash and Phearlez:
Prohibitions against stealing are not solely personal mores, idiots, they are strongly held cultural norms. Prohibitions against stealing, murder, rape, etc. are the bedrock of civilization; and to the point that they are internalized by most (not all) members of our particular civilization, there is considerable overlap between the accepted norms (mores) of our culture and the internal moral codes of individual members of society. When you say "personal more", you are referring to a person's internal moral code, rather than societal norms at large. So, while people's "personal mores" do most often coincide with societal mores or cultural norms on the subject of stealing, it is ridiculous to assert that "thou shalt not steal" is just a "personal more" in our society. It is a deeply ingrained cultural norm, dumbasses.

elr - why don't you find out who owned the laptop, anyway? What is stopping you now?

The Great Big Mulp - you wouldn't worry about how the junkie acquired it, because it's in the past? You're a piece of work, aren't you? Suppose the junkie stabbed the original owner of the laptop, causing severe blood loss resulting in brain damage. Or paralysis. Or death. Suppose the junkie broke into a student's apartment and stole this laptop with someone's dissertation on it. It is very likely that someone was hurt in some way by the theft of this laptop. When you condone or excuse receipt of stolen goods, you are condoning theft and mayhem.

I am sure the reaction to this post would have been different in some quarters had the poster known, and described, the circumstances under which the Sony laptop came into the possession of the junkie - but since no graphic details were offered, some short-sighted cowards assumed that there were no graphic details, and that the stealing and reselling of this property were somehow victimless crimes. Shame on you.
posted by Mister_A at 1:03 PM on November 13, 2006


Suppose the junkie stabbed the original owner of the laptop, causing severe blood loss resulting in brain damage. Or paralysis. Or death.

Well, in that case it'd be a magical voodoo laptop. Because those things would somehow supernaturally charge the laptop and change it's essence.
posted by cortex at 1:15 PM on November 13, 2006


(In other words, I think what Mulp was saying is that worrying about how the junkie acquired it after you've already made the choice to buy from the junkie is ethically moot. The ethical crisis occurs when you choose to do business with someone based on what you know about them.

Due diligence on finding the potential previous owner of the machine after you've already committed that ethical manuever is a different question entirely, and probably secondary.)
posted by cortex at 1:18 PM on November 13, 2006


I get that, Cortex, and while it would have been better not to transact with the junkie in the first place, it is still unacceptable, according to my personal magnetic voodoo moral compass, to benefit from the initial theft, especially considering that it may be within the poster's power to mitigate the harm done by that theft. I do not consider this a moot issue, ethically.

Just to be clear, while I find the subject matter distasteful, that isn't really what I object to - it's the defenses or justifications of elr's decision to receive this (most likely) stolen property that I object to.
posted by Mister_A at 1:27 PM on November 13, 2006


AskMetafilter: Aiding and abetting criminals sanctioned by the moderators.
posted by caddis at 1:33 PM on November 13, 2006


Mister_A: I can only speculate as to how the junkie aquired it. Any worrying about that would have been done before purchasing it. Yes, the reaction would be different if elr had known how the junkie came across the laptop.

If it were me, well, I probably wouldn't have bought it in the first place. Or I would have tried to find the owner shortly afterwards, which I have done before (even buying property I knew to be stolen specifically to return it to its rightful owner). It has been a considerable amount of time since the laptop was stolen, assuming it was stolen, and chances are the person from whom it was stolen is over it, by now. And this is from someone who has had a laptop lifted from my home, several years ago, and I certainly haven't since been able to afford another one.

And, I might add, since we don't know whether or not it was stolen, we can't start concocting hypothetical homicidal scenarios. Due to the length of time since it was purchased, how it was aquired in the first place is not something I'd worry about, anymore. If elr's feeling guilty about it, he can still try to find out who the original owner might have been. But I wouldn't judge him if he didn't.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 1:36 PM on November 13, 2006


More like Murderators.
posted by Mister_A at 1:36 PM on November 13, 2006


The dumb thing was buying a broken laptop from a junkie, laptops are hard to fix. Lesson learned - make sure it works first.
posted by Space Coyote at 1:37 PM on November 13, 2006


Yeah, you've got it, there, cortex.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 1:37 PM on November 13, 2006


elr - why don't you find out who owned the laptop, anyway? What is stopping you now?

The laptop is broken. I imagine that any information on its owner is held within.
posted by elr at 1:39 PM on November 13, 2006 [1 favorite]


"Suppose the junkie stabbed the original owner of the laptop, causing severe blood loss resulting in brain damage. Or paralysis. Or death."

Suppose it was Time-Travelling Hitler's laptop and your friend stole it to prevent the Final Solution from coming to fruition, but became a junkie because no one would believe him.
I can only hope you destroy the laptop before the 31st Century Reich captures you and uses the plans to massacre the peaceful people of Theta 9.
posted by klangklangston at 1:39 PM on November 13, 2006 [4 favorites]


The dumb thing was buying a broken laptop from a junkie, laptops are hard to fix. Lesson learned - make sure it works first.

Nope. The dumb thing broke a working laptop, that he bought from a junkie.
posted by elr at 1:41 PM on November 13, 2006


I just hate it that two different AskMes where I answered reasonably well are now on the chopping block.

A few things:

- What you don't know probably won't hurt you.

- Karma is fun to talk about, but only the truly gullible believe in it.

- Many people would rather receive a helpful lie than a hurtful truth.
posted by wfrgms at 2:16 PM on November 13, 2006


I am torn between whether I am more amused by your inability to understand the phrase "personal more," your assertion that all cultures share the prohibition on theft (or more accurately, concepts of personal property), your inability to tell the difference between theft and trafficking in stolen property, or the fact that I'm being lectured on morality by someone who can't resist making personal attacks.

Oh no, wait: I'm most amused by the fact that you can't grasp that any and all of that is irrelevant - nobody's making any of you, regardless of personal or cultural moral position, answer an AskMe question. Except, perhaps, for your apparent genetic inability to just shut up.
posted by phearlez at 2:21 PM on November 13, 2006 [1 favorite]


What makes me so crazy about this is the idea that buying a laptop from a drug addict who stole it is someone is so much worse than buying a laptop in the first place. I mean, from an environmental point of view, the junkie laptop was at least used and therefore didn't require the use of additional resources.

Do you really think that no one was exploited making your laptop?

The people who make our computers suffer much more seriously than any of us would if our laptops were stolen (and I'm speaking as someone who has had my laptop stolen).

electronic waste sucks too.
posted by serazin at 3:28 PM on November 13, 2006 [1 favorite]


phearlez: your assertion that all cultures share the prohibition on theft (or more accurately, concepts of personal property--

What's your address?
posted by russilwvong at 4:48 PM on November 13, 2006


I can't believe that thread is still there. I am embarrassed for MeFi, and completely disappointed with both Matt and Jess.
posted by caddis at 5:00 PM on November 13, 2006 [1 favorite]


Less snarkily, I think it's fair to say that most of us (including elr, orthogonality, and phearlez) live in societies in which theft, and receiving stolen goods, violate both the law and social norms.

Some commentary on norms, from Christoph Frei, Hans J. Morgenthau: An Intellectual Biography, pp. 132-138. (Morgenthau was concerned with the breakdown of norms at the international level in the 1930s.)
The psychic reality of a norm, Morgenthau continues, is founded on its "capacity to influence the will of the person it addresses" in the direction desired by the norm. But what enables the norm to have this effect? What will generally induce the person addressed by the norm to follow its prescription? Morgenthau argues that it is the fact that violation of the norm will have adverse consequences for the addressee....

... the distinction between law, mores, and morality as normative spheres lies, not in the content of a given rule, but in the modality of the sanction following upon the violation of that rule. "Thou shalt not steal" can be a command of ethics, mores, or the law. It is the sanction that differentiates these three types of rules of conduct.

The specific agency that applies sanctions in the realm of ethics or morality is conscience....

In the realm of convention (later designated as mores), sanctions take the form of spontaneous manifestations of disapproval on the part of the social environment [MetaTalk in this case]. ...

If, finally, sanctioning itself becomes a matter of normative regulation, then man is in the presence of the law....
posted by russilwvong at 5:24 PM on November 13, 2006


im in ur ethics drivin ur laptops
posted by taosbat at 6:36 PM on November 13, 2006


"I can't believe that thread is still there. I am embarrassed for MeFi, and completely disappointed with both Matt and Jess."

I'm embarrassed for the future. I am gnashing my teeth and rending my hair. I am building a mighty pyre of grief, for me to lay upon while the flames of woe sear my flesh from my bones. It is that bad, absolutely. Matt and Jess should have a Heaven's Gate-style suicide party because it is such a blot on everything they've ever done. I don't even know if I can name my children after them anymore.
posted by klangklangston at 8:03 PM on November 13, 2006 [1 favorite]


Think of the children...

*tear*
posted by justgary at 8:26 PM on November 13, 2006


Wow, this was less fun than I thought it would be.

I still suspect orthogonality's interpretation of the events colored everything more strongly than elr's description would have done, but I guess it's more or less a solved problem everywhere except here in MetaTalk. The question itself has some best answers marked and is basically dead now.

So are we done here?
posted by cgc373 at 8:48 PM on November 13, 2006


serazin: What makes me so crazy about this is the idea that buying a laptop from a drug addict who stole it is someone is so much worse than buying a laptop in the first place. I mean, from an environmental point of view, the junkie laptop was at least used and therefore didn't require the use of additional resources.

Uh.

This rationalization doesn't make any sense to me. Won't the person whose laptop was stolen need to replace it, most likely by buying a new one?

Wouldn't it be more environmentally friendly to not buy a laptop at all, instead of buying a stolen one?
posted by russilwvong at 9:14 PM on November 13, 2006


Remember when that laptop got stolen from the Veteran's Administration and no one knew if the thieves knew they had millions of vets' data by the balls? That kind of sucked big time.

But, of course, the wars themselves, and the petroligious opiates they're fought for, suck an even bigger time. So what are we gonna do? Burn the pawn shops with red hot pokers?

Perhaps, I'll just wait out the Old Ones Biggest Suck Time of Ever, reading MetaTalk on the can.
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 9:19 PM on November 13, 2006


>Ortho, you could have tried posting this in the AskMe thread:

Instead, you decided to:


googly, it's pretty clear you misunderstand the aims, functions, norms and rules of both Metatalk and Ask Metafilter, so I humbly implore you to stop talking out your butt. Thank you.

*not defending this thread, merely the lofty Meta principles to which we have all pledged our undying allegiance.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:48 PM on November 13, 2006


elr, since it's already been purchased and is now yours, I wouldn't worry about how the junkie aquired it.

Actually if the laptop is stolen it isn't yours. It still belongs to the original owner and if she somehow finds it she can reclaim it.
posted by rdr at 10:42 PM on November 13, 2006


You think that's bad? This person's stealing an entire apartment.
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:26 AM on November 14, 2006


Junkies don't own anything valuable,

Yes they do.

because they sell anything they own to get the sweet sweet junk they inject into their veins.

No, they don't always do that.

And then they steal more stuff to buy more junk.

See above.

Yeah, the first time, the junkie may be selling his own stuff not stolen stuff -- but then he'll go to a pawn shop, because he figures he can kick the habit, this is just a temporary expedient, I'll get clean real soon now.

See above.

By the time hs' approaching J. Random Passerby, it's because the pawnshop won't buy stolen goods.

Yes it will, and you're concocting fantasies that don't resemble the situation as described in the askme.

"Bought from a junkie on the street" 49 times out of 50 means "receiving stolen goods".


Well, then it's a good thing that's not what the poster said.

and the poster admits as much: "ill-gotten".

I do not think this phrase means what you think it means.

I don't mind helping folks on askMefi; he'll, I've put in quite a bit of time and effort doing so. But if you don't care about the people your goods were likely stolen from, why should I do you the karmic favor of helping you fix what you know is stolen?

See above.
posted by shmegegge at 9:35 PM on November 14, 2006


shmegegge: Well, then it's a good thing that's not what the poster said.

Actually, he did: I did want to mention that they aren't licensed in my name, and one of them is probably stolen, because I don't know if this is the type of thing that gets people in trouble anyway.
posted by russilwvong at 10:00 PM on November 14, 2006


probably, in this case = a guess
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 10:37 PM on November 14, 2006


So! Let me get this straight: It's okay to handle stolen shit if it's sold by junkies and stolen from individuals.

BUT it's not okay to talk about pirating embroidery patterns, because, anyone asking about THAT is clearly out to steal.

This somewhat assburger type person would never have figured that out from this mess we call a society. Thanks for the clarity. I love Metafilter, where I learn something new, every day.
posted by Goofyy at 3:13 AM on November 15, 2006


Goofyy: moderation decisions are always going to be somewhat subjective. You can't please everyone; there's always going to be a gray area.

(That said, I wouldn't have left the post up myself--I don't see how it's useful except to someone with a stolen laptop.)
posted by russilwvong at 10:14 AM on November 15, 2006


Or someone with the same problems on a legitimately purchased laptop.
posted by klangklangston at 3:09 PM on November 15, 2006


I thought his primary concern was making sure he didn't get in trouble.
posted by russilwvong at 4:10 PM on November 15, 2006


Actually, he did: I did want to mention that they aren't licensed in my name, and one of them is probably stolen, because I don't know if this is the type of thing that gets people in trouble anyway.

actually he didn't. he said he got it from a junkie, not a junkie on the street. it's possible he got it from some random guy on the street, but as someone who knows junkies, i find it more likely that the junky would sell his shit to someone he knows who might want or need a laptop. in this case, i also find it more likely that the laptop would have belonged to the junkie. and again, probably means it is a total guess, with no evidence other than a vague misinformed opinion on the behavior of a stereotypical junkie.
posted by shmegegge at 9:53 PM on November 16, 2006


shmegegge: I'm quoting elr. elr himself is saying that it's probably stolen. Given that, it doesn't seem like a big stretch for other people here to criticize him for receiving stolen goods.
posted by russilwvong at 10:51 PM on November 16, 2006


i know, and so was ortho, and he was MISquoting elr. i corrected his misquote, and his laughable notions on junkie behavior. you can think whatever you want about elr's behavior. i'm saying that not all junkies steal, and not all junkies are on the street selling shit.

further, elr's own hypothesis is still a wild guess. think what you want, but it's not a big stretch for people here to think he's not doing anything that terrible.
posted by shmegegge at 11:00 PM on November 16, 2006


elr's own hypothesis is still a wild guess.

Since he was there, and we weren't, I'll accept his assessment that it was probably stolen.
posted by russilwvong at 11:54 AM on November 17, 2006


« Older Shoutout!   |   Tag Guidelines Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments