Some etiquette suggestions. November 11, 2001 11:03 PM   Subscribe

This is an attempt at an improvement in regards to enforcing already established MeFi etiquette. How to curb bad MeFi linkposts. How to curb topic drift caused by potentially incendiary responses to poorly conceived MeFi frontpage linkposts. It is humbly submitted for public perusal, dissection, and judgement. Please be kind. [MORE]
posted by ZachsMind to Etiquette/Policy at 11:03 PM (4 comments total)

SHORTFORM: (for short attention span readers)

If you don't like a MetaFilter front page linkpost, please consider doing the following:

1) Please strongly consider refraining from immediately responding in anger to the linkpost in question
2) Privately email the author
3) Privately alert Matt via email to the offending linkpost
4) Start a MetaTalk thread that questions the viability of the MeFi thread in question.
5) Play nice

LONGFORM: (where i try to get this right)

I've screwed up before and no doubt I will again. I've been on both sides of this equation. So I come from some basis of experience and am not just pulling a "holier than thou" rant. No matter how I preface this, some people will get upset with me anyway. So be it. Moving forward.

What follows is a retread of what I've posted before. The following is not intended to replace the guidelines but rather reinforce and improve upon them. I posit that a future draft of the following could somehow supplement the guidelines as an addition, without altering what already exists. The draft below is NOT a finished product. That's where you come in.

This is an attempt at a solution and if you got better ideas please respond and supply them below. This issue often causes unnecessary heated tempers and bad vibes across the board. I welcome serious scrutiny and criticism of the following. Please don't clutter the thread with personal attacks against me. If you must, send them here. I will probably ignore them unless they make me laugh.

The normal procedure in the past, when someone sees a MeFi front page linkpost not to one's liking, is to publically ridicule the individual who posted said thread INSIDE the thread. This leads to other people voicing their opinions pro and con both about the thread and about your response to said thread, which immediately creates topic drift and ruins the original thread. This is known in some quarters as well-intentioned trolling but it still trolling nonetheless. There are better ways of handling this, and this thread hopes to explore those better, more productive approaches.

Here's what I propose as a possible alternative to how things are going now...

If you don't like a front page linkpost, please consider doing the following:

1) Please strongly consider refraining from immediately responding in anger to the linkpost in question, without first like, counting to ten and exploring the rest of the following options first. Posting publically to a MeFi thread you do not like, even to ridicule it, fuels the thread. Ideally the best thing to do regarding a thread you don't like is to ignore it. If everyone ignores a given thread, usually the guy posting gets the idea and researches how to improve his participation on his own. Unless he's real stupid. Even I do this and I AM stupid. I mean go do a search on front page linkposts I have started. You'll see some where people just largely ignored me. This WORKS. One tries to figure out why a linkpost didn't work, and then improves their participation in MeFi for next time. However, it helps if the offending party gets constructive criticism so they know what they did wrong. This brings us to the next option.

2) Privately email the author of the linkpost in question if possible. Many MeFi posters have an email link available at their profile page, available by clicking on their name. Explain to the author of the linkpost in question your reasons for not liking how he approached the particular linkpost. Please be cordial and noncondescending. Offer alternatives to how the author could have improved their MeFi participation. Ask him to please not make the same mistake in the future. Remember you attract a lot more flies with honey than you do with vinegar, though why you'd want to attract flies I don't know.

3) Email Matt Haughey privately and politely. His email addie is here and a lot of other places. Please explain the situation regarding your concerns about the MeFi front page linkpost in question, and ask him kindly to remove the thread, or acknowledge that you respect his judgement in the matter. Even if you MUST be mean to the original poster of the linkpost, you better be nice to Matt. It's his sandbox. Respond accordingly. Even I try to be nice to Matt, and I can be a real buttwipe a lot of the time. Give Matt time to respond cuz he's a busy guy. He does this on his free time. He gets a lot of email like this. He'll get to it when he can. Please don't have a cow.

4) THEN if you still feel it necessary, reconsider responding to the offending linkpost thread, but only after nothing else has worked. Hopefully by then you'll see the futility of it and move on, but I'm trying not to say NO here. I'm not asking that there be a moratorium on voicing one's opinions, even if they incite a cyber-riot. I'm just asking for caution. IF you do, please consider doing it this way. Rather than launch a rant in the MeFi linkpost in question, go to MetaTalk and post a message there about the MeFi thread you wanna discuss. Ask for others to examine your views and share your own. Explore other avenues of action not yet taken. The MetaTalk discussion forums titled "etiquette/policy" and "MetaFilter related" are ideal for such discussions. It's part of what MetaTalk is here for, to move such discussions out of MetaFitler. Now AFTER you've made the thread, then go back to the MeFi thread in question, and post a brief response to the thread in which you link to the MetaTalk thread.

For example: "Feel free to take any bitching here." Or something like that. This works very well. This is very cool. BTW have I mentioned Marquis rocks?

Criticism of the above is welcomed below. Please feel free to rip it up, fix it, improve upon it, embellish, edit, critique, improve, productively dissect or otherwise comment on all that crap and make it better. I'm not asking that anyone who does NOT follow the above be boiled in oil. There's no way to get everyone to behave in some specific fashion. There's no need to punish or admonish people beyond whatever Matt feels appropriate. I don't want there to be more hard rules about this place and I actually wish it were a free-for-all but am seeking suitable compromises and solutions. I ask for an improvement on etiquette, both in response to bad linkposts, and bad responses to bad linkposts. I've been on both sides of the fence here. I have attacked and I've been attacked. I'm not trying to take sides. I'm not able to take sides. I'm just trying to find a productive solution that appeases all concerned.

What works about the above? What doesn't? What will work? Again I'm not trying to be an asshole here. I just want us all to try and learn to treat each other better. I humbly await your judgement.
posted by ZachsMind at 11:05 PM on November 11, 2001

ZachsMind: great ideas but keep in mind that rude and inconsiderate posts, unfortunate as they may seem(hypocritical grimace) are:
1)always punished in the thread and, even if not, eventually reflected in a bad rep, lack of respect,etc.
2)sometimes great fun(I'm not ashamed to say)and act as catalysts. The cut-and-thrust of duelling posters going a bit awry in a pithy, intelligent but over-emotional way is one of the reasons MetaFilter is addictive.
3)essential signs of expressive honesty. If we were all stiff-upper lip and oh-so proper, MetaFilter would be unbearably schoolmarmy, PC and earnest.

MetaFilter is fine as it is. The irony, of course, is that it continues to be fine thanks to posts such as yours. Sometimes you have to be provoked into realizing you like things as they are. There's Hegel's dialectic for you, in a nutshell!

We do nutters. We do prigs. We do funny. We do left, right and center. We do snarky. We do well-thought out, well-meaning and well medicated as well. We do wacky, superficial and geek. We do personal and public, called for and totally uncalled for.... I won't go on; you get my meaning. Thanks, Zach!
posted by MiguelCardoso at 11:29 PM on November 11, 2001

ZachsMind: All these suggestions are well and good, given one proviso, that the poster actually reads the link before jumping to conclusions about what it might be, given the wording of the post.

I'm sure that some people go wading into a sh*tstorm without first having had the courtesy of reading the reference at hand. This particularly seems to be the case with topics in which many MeFites already have well formed opinions.

I have no specific link to add (alas, the MeFi search mechanism doesn't filter for ignorance) but I'm sure this has happened many times in the regular "Bush/Clinton is a wiener"/"SUV driving mums driving us to hell"/"Afgans is dum ases" type threads.

Could just be me imagining it though, but I'd hope not.
posted by davehat at 6:30 AM on November 12, 2001

Since this is so obviously not germane to anything I can think of, I have nothing to add.
posted by y2karl at 11:02 AM on November 12, 2001

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