Bad Question for AskMe January 22, 2007 9:27 PM   Subscribe

"There's no way random strangers can help you with this." Strongly agreed. This type of question does not belong on ask metafilter. Too many variables and no detail whatsoever.
posted by vacapinta to Etiquette/Policy at 9:27 PM (124 comments total)

What he said.
posted by cortex at 9:31 PM on January 22, 2007


It's an etiquette question. The guy should clearly ask his boss for a definitive answer, but having a general "what would most people do" filter is probably helpful in approaching that discussion. Maybe I just think this because I've asked similar questions in the past, but I don't see anything wrong with this.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:36 PM on January 22, 2007


Random strangers?
I am not a random stranger! I am a number!

And what jdroth said.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:37 PM on January 22, 2007


yeah.


:-)
posted by mds35 at 9:38 PM on January 22, 2007


vacapinta posted "This type of question does not belong on ask metafilter."

If by 'this type of question', you mean those that are woefully inadequate in terms of supplying essential background information so that informed opinions can be given then I agree. But if you're suggesting that it's not ok to seek guidance as to social etiquette then I disagree.
posted by peacay at 9:43 PM on January 22, 2007


I hear what you're saying, jessamyn, but this particular question kind of lacks all of that framing detail that makes it possible for even that vague "what woul dmost people do" discussion to happen.
posted by cortex at 9:43 PM on January 22, 2007


(Ditto peacay.)
posted by cortex at 9:44 PM on January 22, 2007


I agree that it's a really open question but jdroth answered it well. Sometimes telling someone "these are the people you should discuss this with" is a good answer and what the poster needs to hear. They might not make that conclusion by themself, and then askme has done it's job.
posted by shelleycat at 9:47 PM on January 22, 2007


I really like pistachio ice cream. Should I try black cherry?
posted by loquacious at 9:48 PM on January 22, 2007


I think this question is pretty straightforward and don't have any problems with it on AskMe.
posted by onlyconnect at 9:57 PM on January 22, 2007


I mean the former peacay. I suppose in the Asker vs. Guesser culture, I am an extreme Guesser. It wouldnt even occur to me to ask these questions (even jessamyn's) because writing cannot convey all the complexities of social nuance in cases like this. The asker has all the information they need and we have none of it:

Is this the kind of thing that means a lot to his wife? We know nothing about her. What is his work situation like? Does he work at one of those places where they fire you at the drop of a dime? Is he asking us for an excuse to skip work or is he being overly conscientious? Who knows? I dont. And I dont think anyone else does either.

There are a category of social etiquette questions where a community can provide guidance on what is "normal" and accepted behavior. In fact, thats one of the functions of community.

Was he perhaps asking if "grandfather" is a close enough relation that for most people its an obvious yes or no? If so, that should be brought out as background. Whats his initial "gut" on this? We dont even get that. Without more background the question might as well be "My brother just called me. Should I call him back?"
posted by vacapinta at 9:58 PM on January 22, 2007


It's not an anonymous question. The asker can come back and provide further info if he wants, so feel free to ask those questions of him.

If he doesn't respond to requests for more info, then he gets the vague-ish info he deserves, really.
posted by occhiblu at 10:06 PM on January 22, 2007


He can always come back into the thread and post more info. But for the record, I don't think any more info is needed. He said in the thread that it's a non-essential trip. It's on a weekend. It's for his wife's grandfather! And his question is, "can" he skip the work trip to be with his wife. I think it's pretty clear that the answer is yes, of course he can. Barring some extreme circumstance that isn't mentioned in the thread, to me it's an obvious yes.
posted by onlyconnect at 10:10 PM on January 22, 2007


or what occhiblu said. Sorry!
posted by onlyconnect at 10:10 PM on January 22, 2007


It seems totally legit to me. If he's never had to deal with a death in the family before, he might not realize that it *is* a totally legit reason to miss out on work. He might have either a really strong work ethic/sense of commitment to his job or a general fear of getting fired.

This seems a better question for AskMe than the many novel-length "Should I dump him/her?" questions where everyone but the OP has realized long, long ago that yes, you should dump him/her, yesterday, if not sooner.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 10:22 PM on January 22, 2007


If he's never had to deal with a death in the family before, he might not realize that it *is* a totally legit reason to miss out on work.

That makes a lot of sense as well as some of the other points above. But it would have been great if he had posted info like that. Without it, well, I am starting to see longer answers in the thread that say "If this then that or, if not that, then this." And, a few hours later, the original poster has not re-appeared.

Making people do all this guesswork is disrespectful, I think, of the people who are willing to take time to answer your question.
posted by vacapinta at 10:36 PM on January 22, 2007


the former peacay

He was a bastard and I'm glad he's dead. GLAD.
posted by peacay at 10:42 PM on January 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


With full respect to vacapinta and cortex, I disagree with the call-out. The post is lacking on information, and probably can not be properly answered without additional info, but the poster isn't Anon, and we can ask follow-up questions. It isn't what I would consider a "good" question, but it is serviceable.

I mean, let's be honest, we've all seen far worse in the Green. At least this one is addressable.
posted by quin at 10:42 PM on January 22, 2007


what occhiblu said.
posted by shmegegge at 10:48 PM on January 22, 2007


vacapinta writes "Without it, well, I am starting to see longer answers in the thread that say 'If this then that or, if not that, then this.'"

I don't see any long answers in that thread, unless there were some deletions. quin's answer is longish, but it doesn't follow the "if, then" format.

I personally don't see a problem with the question. It's true that it will be impossible for any single answer to be "the answer." But if people give their thoughts and caveats based on similar experience, it will still be helpful to the poster's decision-making process.
posted by mullacc at 10:49 PM on January 22, 2007


Is askme as good as I think it is?


Also agree with the migjty quin.
posted by Samuel Farrow at 11:01 PM on January 22, 2007


The mighty quin.
posted by Samuel Farrow at 11:02 PM on January 22, 2007


The midget-y quin
posted by Brittanie at 11:22 PM on January 22, 2007


Come on without, come on within... Well now I've got that song stuck in my head again. Thanks.
posted by soundofsuburbia at 2:10 AM on January 23, 2007


You are right, he should have posed it anonymously in one huge block of text comlete with run-on sentences and breathless prose. Then it would hve been ok.
posted by fixedgear at 2:23 AM on January 23, 2007


I'd just like to say that quin is the sort of person I always like working for. Kudos, or props, or whatever.


Oh, and the versions of that song I'm familiar with have it:

Come all without
Come all within
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:17 AM on January 23, 2007


Not only do I have that song stuck in my head, I'm singing it wrong! The horror!
posted by soundofsuburbia at 3:54 AM on January 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


a few hours later, the original poster has not re-appeared.

This is the problem: not ill-formed questions, which are unavoidable in this fallen world, but posters who don't bother to check in with their threads and respond to people. They'd better have a doctor's excuse, is all I can say.
posted by languagehat at 5:52 AM on January 23, 2007


vacapinta, get a life. it was a social etiquette question. how much time do some of you spend criticizing questions posted on the internet on a site that prides itself of being a haven for random questions? maybe the question was intentionally straightforward, so that other details didn't interfere with what we were really asking. and languagehat, maybe i don't feel like answering your stupidass questions. doctor's excuse? i'll send you the goddamned death certificate, you smug shit. was all this really worth a 28 post thread? maybe all you haters can get off your ergo office chairs and go do something with your day, rather than sit around and post this crap.
posted by ubu at 6:35 AM on January 23, 2007


and languagehat, maybe i don't feel like answering your stupidass questions.

I am going to need a machete to navigate this irony.
posted by cortex at 6:39 AM on January 23, 2007


Okay, now I think we should delete the question. Just cause the asker is a tool.

maybe all you haters can get off your ergo office chairs and go do something with your day, rather than sit around and post this crap.

But then who would answer all the questions?
posted by dame at 6:42 AM on January 23, 2007


I don't think the question is vague at all. He's not asking if he should go, so any questions/comments about the relationships between him, his wife, and the grandfather are irrelevant.

He may have a sense of his company's general expectations, but questions/comments about this are still somewhat irrelevant, because what he's asking for is the way in which "I have to go to my wife's grandfather's funeral" is likely to be heard in the workplace. Given how many jokes/complains exist in popular culture about people using shoestring or fake relative's funerals to get out of work, it seems obvious to me that he's asking whether or not wife's grandfather falls into the "fake excuse"-sounding category.

The number of people saying that the relationships are important seems bizarre to me, as it is completely unnecessary to answer the question. The answer is that no, in any company that has any kind of compassionate leave or consideration of its employees, this is a perfectly reasonable relation to attend the funeral of. The questions of his relationship only serve to establish whether this is an excuse *in this case*. But since he is not saying "I want to get out of work and this funeral seems like a good excuse, will it fly?", we can reasonably assume that he wants to go for genuine reasons and will provide those reasons if pressed by his boss.

The question of whether or not his company is reasonable is one that only he can answer, but it's not super relevant, because knowing that the request is reasonable by general standards will help him assess, based on his knowledge, whether his company is the type that will see it as reasonable or unreasonable. I think it's an overly literal reading of his question to assume that he's actually asking us whether or not his boss will say it's okay.

On preview: people, there was a death in ubu's family very recently. Perhaps we can cut him some slack?

Ubu, I'm sorry about your loss.
posted by carmen at 6:47 AM on January 23, 2007


Given how many jokes/complains exist in popular culture about people using shoestring or fake relative's funerals to get out of work, it seems obvious to me that he's asking whether or not wife's grandfather falls into the "fake excuse"-sounding category.

thank you, carmen, for understanding the question. and thank you for your note of sympathy.
posted by ubu at 6:54 AM on January 23, 2007


Wow, ubu, you have my condolences. You're also a prick. If your question was as carmen has it, then at least part of the fault of this call-out rests with you and your inability to frame the question so that you could get the answers you really needed. Oh, wait, that's what this call-out was about in the first place.
posted by OmieWise at 7:06 AM on January 23, 2007


languagehat, maybe i don't feel like answering your stupidass questions. doctor's excuse? i'll send you the goddamned death certificate, you smug shit.

Dude, I wasn't talking about that, I was making a general comment about posters who don't check in with their threads. I'm happy to cut you slack because you had a death in your family, but I'm not sure that's a complete excuse for going off on a hair-trigger and sounding like a dick. My condolences, and I hope your temper improves once the immediate trauma is past.
posted by languagehat at 7:20 AM on January 23, 2007


Carmen, being sad is no excuse to attack people who were trying to help, and in doing so asking for more information.
posted by dame at 7:26 AM on January 23, 2007


languagehat writes "This is the problem: not ill-formed questions, which are unavoidable in this fallen world, but posters who don't bother to check in with their threads and respond to people. They'd better have a doctor's excuse, is all I can say."

Or a death in the family.
posted by Mitheral at 7:36 AM on January 23, 2007


Metafilter: off on a hair-trigger and sounding like a dick
posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:38 AM on January 23, 2007


i saw the question last night and thought it was shit. i looked at the question this morning and realize that it still is crap. This question is no better than chatfilter questions because there is not enough information to solve the problem. If the admins are going to moderate chatfilter questions, then unanswerable questions should be moderated as well with unanswerable being defined as those questions that don't make any damn sense to begin with and ubu's question fits that criteria, in my opinion.

and i hope ubu flame's out. he's on his way.
posted by Stynxno at 7:38 AM on January 23, 2007


flame's out

I hope apostrophe abusers flame out.
posted by cortex at 7:41 AM on January 23, 2007


Let's just shut AskMe down completely since people aren't using it correctly. They don't deserve it.

Or people can quit being hypercritical and perhaps give others the benefit of the doubt. He was looking for advice in a life situation that maybe others have experienced, if not the exact same situation, then at least a similar one. If you don't want to answer it, don't answer it. Once again, it takes up only one line on the front page. Give it a rest, people.

FWIW, I am sitting in an ergo office chair, and I SHOULD be doing something else.
posted by Roger Dodger at 7:45 AM on January 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


you smug shit. was all this really worth a 28 post thread?

Perhaps not, but that certainly was worth it.
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 7:46 AM on January 23, 2007



I hope apostrophe abusers flame out.


WELL EXCCCCCCCCUUUUUUUUUSSSSSSSSEEEEE ME cortex! I'll cut off my left arm, just you watch.
posted by Stynxno at 7:46 AM on January 23, 2007


Hold on, let me get my camcorder.
posted by cortex at 7:53 AM on January 23, 2007


Dame, you seriously can't see why this thread might be read as offensive by someone who is grieving? Hell, it bugged me, and I have nothing to do with it. And vacapinta was not obviously trying to "help". She said that questions like this do "not belong on ask metafilter". (Also, if ubu's not allowed to call people names, why are you?)

OmieWise, my interpretation was a logical outcome of understanding the difference between the words "can" and "should". If you read the original thread, you'll see that lots of people actually had very similar interpretations, and that those who were off base were trying to answer the not-enough-information (but also not asked) question of whether he "should" go. Calling him a prick was completely unjustified, and under the circumstances, just reads as needlessly cruel.
posted by carmen at 7:54 AM on January 23, 2007


ubu writes "languagehat, maybe i don't feel like answering your stupidass questions. doctor's excuse? i'll send you the goddamned death certificate, you smug shit. was all this really worth a 28 post thread? maybe all you haters can get off your ergo office chairs and go do something with your day, rather than sit around and post this crap."

carmen writes "Calling him a prick was completely unjustified, and under the circumstances, just reads as needlessly cruel."

Really? I understand that he's grieving, but it is his choice as to how to express that, and he chose to get pretty huffy with someone who was simply suggesting that had he answered some of the in-thread questions he might have had a better time of it. Then, to add insult to injury, he came back into this thread and indicated that you did a good job of re-wording his question so that it worked better.
posted by OmieWise at 8:02 AM on January 23, 2007


with unanswerable being defined as those questions that don't make any damn sense to begin with and ubu's question fits that criteria, in my opinion.

"Doesn't make sense to you" ≠ "doesn't make sense to anyone."

Many people were able to make sense of the question, as both this thread and the original AskMe thread amply demonstrate. If a question doesn't make sense to you, then by all means don't answer it, but that's not sufficient cause for deletion.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 8:34 AM on January 23, 2007


MetaFilter: get off your ergo office chairs and go do something with your day
posted by JMOZ at 8:36 AM on January 23, 2007


I believe you mean "apostrophe abuser's," cortex.

Observe: "I hope apostrophe abusers flame out."

Now, read "hope" in the classic "please hope me" sense, as a synonym for "help." Now you have "I help apostrophe abusers flame out." The natural reading of that sentence is, of course, that you, cortex, are happy to assist when those who abuse apostrophes gather together to collectively flame out-though you've dropped some crucial conjunctions, "with the," which would assist in parsing that reading, while not being stricly necessary for a charitable reading of meaning.

Where are we now? "I help (with the) apostrophe abusers flame out." But, of course, that's not grammatical unless you've got that apostrophe in there. In short, those who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones, cortex. (and those who live in grass houses shouldn't stow thrones)
posted by Kwine at 8:45 AM on January 23, 2007


Of course I meant "apostrophe abusers'." The meta-ridiculousness is overwhelming me.
posted by Kwine at 8:47 AM on January 23, 2007


Now I just hope you flame out.
posted by cortex at 8:51 AM on January 23, 2007


Wow, OmieWise. I always look forward to reading your responses because I've found you live up to the "wise" part of your name, but I'm a little surprised this morning. Did you get up on the wrong side of the bed?

I speak here as one who reads MetaTalk for the cruelty... I agree with carmen that the jeering seems a little unnecessary in this case. Isn't it enough to note that the question was unclearly worded? It's hilarious when everyone abuses a self-linker for reacting as ubu did, but come on.
posted by agropyron at 8:52 AM on January 23, 2007


Well, someone better flame-out at this point. But it better not be vacapinta, because we need people who know physics. Or cortex, because he makes funny comments and good albums. (disclaimer: I've neither heard nor purchased the MeFi Comp, so the positive review is an assumption.) And most of the rest of you are just too damned reasonable.
posted by JMOZ at 8:54 AM on January 23, 2007


I FUCKING HATE YOU ALL, I THINK YOU SHOULD DIE, I'M GOING TO CALL THE FBI ON YOU AND THEN YOU'LL BE SORRY, YOUR MOTHER SMELLS LIKE PEANUT BUTTER AND OLIVES AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:55 AM on January 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


Finally, this is getting reasonable again.
posted by veggieboy at 9:00 AM on January 23, 2007


C'mon, you guys are jinxing the real flameouts.
posted by agropyron at 9:02 AM on January 23, 2007


Ooh, PB&O. Wasn't that Elvis' favorite?
posted by JMOZ at 9:03 AM on January 23, 2007


Really? I understand that he's grieving, but...

But turn the other cheek, geez. It's not even that he's grieving, which he may or may not be doing, but that he's dealing with a loved one who is grieving and an annoying work/life conflict that is bothering him enough to ask for a little help. You'd want someone to do that for you and not call you a prick, even if you were acting surly and unkind.

The sheer amount of wrath that has surfaced in MetaTalk lately -- and I'm not looking only at you OmieWise, but at a lot of the same people that have been in the same threads for the past ten days or so (and I'm not totally immune) -- is astonishing. We don't all have to be friends here, we certainly aren't, but on my planet we should be a little more forgiving and understanding of (in most cases) total strangers who dont think like us.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:03 AM on January 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


Carmen, we clearly aren't reading this the same way. This is how I read it:

A. Poster makes some question that is easily misread. People misread it, think it is a poor question, point that out on the part of the site created for that. This seems to bother you (though I don't know why); it doesn't bug me at all.

B. Languagehat and others point out many questions would be improved if the questioner would come back and answer requests for clarification. That way, people could answer even better.

C. Poster returns, says "Fuck you fuck you fuck you. This is for answering questions and you losers should just answer my questions and I hate you, now help me."

D. I conclude that said poster is a "tool" (which is, in my book, a pretty mild insult, considering his behavior).

Maybe you think being sad is a reason to treat people who want to help you like crap. I do not.
posted by dame at 9:07 AM on January 23, 2007


Well said, carmen - and personally, I'm getting sick of seeing AskMe nitpicking on MeTa. Some folks have already mentioned that the bullshit call outs, senselessly mean spirited pile ons and requests for flame outs are damaging the site's usability.


Also, my office chair is broken.
*Weebles, wobbles*

posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:10 AM on January 23, 2007


Or, on non-preview, what the library lady said.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:12 AM on January 23, 2007


Some folks have already mentioned that the bullshit call outs, senselessly mean spirited pile ons and requests for flame outs are damaging the site's usability.

Some people *think* it is damaging the site's usability, although there is no evidence that that is true.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:12 AM on January 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


dame, here's another way to read it:

A. Guy posts that a family member dies.

B. Everyone complains about his wording, makes jokes.

C. Guy says, "Crap, my family member died and you're nitpicking and mocking me?"

D. Everyone says, "You're a prick!"

I'm not actually reading the situation exactly that way, but it seems about as fair as your restatement.
posted by agropyron at 9:13 AM on January 23, 2007


Well, try to be fair and tell me what it really looks like to you. Because as unfair as my simplistic statement may seem, that is actually what it looks like to me.
posted by dame at 9:16 AM on January 23, 2007


Some members' reluctance to make FPPs for fear of getting picked on has been mentioned often, why should AskMe be any different?

If person A *thinks* it, odds are person A is less likely to bring their questions to AskMe. Or worse yet, they'll post anonymously (Which I think is overused & counterproductive), hurting their chances of getting good, informed responses.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:21 AM on January 23, 2007


What it looks like to me:

A. Guy posts question that is somewhat poorly-worded. Not catastrophically so.

B. People discuss in MeTa whether it's poorly-worded. Some do so in a civil tone, some in a lighthearted or snarky tone.

C. Guy who is obviously not having a good day gets offended that someone has specifically selected his question as so bad it needs to be highlighted as an example of misuse of the sight. He is also offended at what he perceives as people making light of the situation. (Death in the family.)

D. Grumpy people reply telling him he's a penis.

I can see both sides on this, but I agree with carmen that the abuse of the poster isn't necessary.
posted by agropyron at 9:22 AM on January 23, 2007


I agree with jessamyn on this callout. This is one of those times where I wish there was more community in our community.
posted by onlyconnect at 9:23 AM on January 23, 2007


Here's how I read it:

A. Guy posts looking for help with a tricky situation. The post isn't 10 pages long.

B. People whine.

C. People whine about the whiners.

D. People snark about the whiners.

E. jessamyn comments, making it clear that she's aware of the situation and that she's not going to delete the question.

F. Regardless, pointless discussion continues.

Pretty clear, IMO.
posted by muddgirl at 9:23 AM on January 23, 2007


Okay, muddgirl, I like your synopsis best. (And thanks, agro.)
posted by dame at 9:27 AM on January 23, 2007


Some members' reluctance to make FPPs for fear of getting picked on has been mentioned often, why should AskMe be any different?

That's never struck me hard evidence that we're getting meaner, for two reasons: One, in general, I think posts made in good faith aren't ribbed too badly if they're doubles/Xfilter, whatever, and Two, it's not really that hard to make a good post if you've followed the community for a decent amount of time.

If you've read AskMeta long enough (say, longer than 2 weeks), you know that posts on "Should I break with my girlfriend", "Should I kill my cat" and "Should I circumcise my child" will not go well. I don't think it's a problem if posters hesitate to post on topics we don't do well. I don't think people should take posts on these topics as an opportunity to empty their bowels; nevertheless, I think we can acknowledge there's only so much we can do on some topics.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:28 AM on January 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


All right, all right, mea culpa.
posted by OmieWise at 9:28 AM on January 23, 2007


it's not really that hard to make a good post if you've followed the community for a decent amount of time.

There are so many unspoken (or only spoken in MetaTalk, which is not as heavily trafficked as MeFi and AskMe) rules of this community, and I think it's important to realize that not everyone who pays their $5 is here frequently enough to pick up on all of the subtle nuances. It all seems pretty elementary to those of us who spend a lot of time here, but there are plenty of people who use this site as an occasional resource or procrastination. Ubu, for example, has been a member for less than a year and has a pretty sparse posting history (granted, that doesn't necessarily mean he hasn't been reading). Calling him out for not phrasing his question in exactly the manner that a longtime Mefite might is just going to drive him off, and I hate to think that this place has become such a clique that those who haven't quite caught on yet are berated more than they are offered assistance.
posted by amro at 9:42 AM on January 23, 2007 [2 favorites]


That's never struck me hard evidence that we're getting meaner

The frequency of unproductive AskMe based call outs on MeTa has obviously increased; iirc, you've made at least one yourself. At best they're an amusing diversion that usually end in a couple of chuckles, at worst they're pointless exercises in assholishness.

If you've read AskMeta long enough (say, longer than 2 weeks), you know that posts on "Should I break with my girlfriend", "Should I kill my cat" and "Should I circumcise my child" will not go well.

And that relates to this situation how? The AskMe in question hasn't been derailed and is going fine. My issue is with people running to MeTa with the flimsiest of excuses. This isn't airnxtz.

I don't think people should take posts on these topics as an opportunity to empty their bowels


I don't think so either, but they do. Again, so?

Jesus, who'da thunk saying "I'm sick of this mean shit, maybe we can all give it a rest, rein it in a bit, ect." would be so bloody involved?

And before anyone tries to hoist me on my petard, I'm just as guilty of ugly behavior as the next douche bag. Sincere thanks to ubu and carmen for the much needed wake up call.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:52 AM on January 23, 2007


It struck me as completely unanswerable. That is my advice to him would have been different depending upon more details of his circumstance.

I am definitely a "family over work" type person but, not to sound callous, I have a huge family (36 first cousins, etc.) where almost every weekend involves the birth of a cousin, the marriage of a cousin or the death of a cousin. Needless to say, I dont attend every one.

I'm glad others were able to interpret and answer his question correctly. In that sense, I suppose this callout was unnecessary. But I do think that jessamyn's earlier question, which she linked to above, was a better example of how these types of "social situation" things should be phrased.

No disrespect meant to ubu. Even if it didnt come across that way, my main concern is with making Ask Metafilter more efficient and sorry if it came across as a personal attack.

Oh, and someone up above called me a "she." I'm a "he" - at least since last time I looked down there. :)
posted by vacapinta at 9:55 AM on January 23, 2007


Sincere thanks to ubu and carmen for the much needed wake up call.

What did ubu do that could possibly earn a 'thank you'?
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 9:58 AM on January 23, 2007


"Some people *think* it is damaging the site's usability, although there is no evidence that that is true."

Perhaps a two-week limit between AskMe metas?

"Calling him out for not phrasing his question in exactly the manner that a longtime Mefite might is just going to drive him off, and I hate to think that this place has become such a clique that those who haven't quite caught on yet are berated more than they are offered assistance."

Wait, we should act more like a community to people who aren't active in the community? Enforcment through social norms is generally pretty effective, and trying to be the one-stop question shop for anyone with $5 will lead to madness.
posted by klangklangston at 9:59 AM on January 23, 2007


The circumstances of his AskMe made me realize just how petty and unthinkingly cruel this shit can be at times.

That and his name reminds me of Family Ties.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:00 AM on January 23, 2007


hoist me on my petard

In the present tense it's 'hoise'—hoist is the past participle.

I'm a "he" - at least since last time I looked down there.

Chicks with dicks. QED. No fatties.
posted by cortex at 10:06 AM on January 23, 2007


Communities grow. Why would anyone want to join our community if we are a community of asses? (except more asses of course). I'd prefer a community of civil, helpful, and friendly people myself. Not a bunch of rules referees and obnoxious, nasty antisocials who prefer throwing stones at whoever has been hoisted up on the gallows that is MetaTalk.
posted by Roger Dodger at 10:11 AM on January 23, 2007


I think AskMe is the most well moderated portion of the site. Short of self-link detective work or a blatant guidelines violation, I don't think we need to make suggestions to the admins for askme deletion. Askme is the moderating priority around here, and it's not really well served by our nitpicking.
posted by shmegegge at 10:22 AM on January 23, 2007


Personally, I'm completely mystified by the sympathy and understanding being shown to this person, given his amazingly obnoxious response in this thread.
posted by CunningLinguist at 10:23 AM on January 23, 2007


I'd prefer that too, Roger Dodger, but who was an ass before ubu showed up in this thread? Starting a MetaTalk post is not necessarily a callout. It's just starting a discussion about something on the site. It's not a callout unless the discussion starter specifically says "X is being an asshole and I'm calling him out" or at least it shouldn't be. Unfortunately, that distinction has been blurred to the point where every post seems to carry an implied "you're an asshole". That sucks, but it has been the case for quite some time.

It was a poorly phrased question, and when someone (rightly) pointed out that a non-anonymous question can have followups, someone else (rightly) pointed out that ubu hasn't responded to follow-ups. It had the pretty decent beginnings of an exploration of the problem. That is, until the ergo chairs were brought up.
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 10:28 AM on January 23, 2007


Why would anyone want to join our community if we are a community of asses?

It isn't like MeFi is shrinking.
posted by dame at 10:29 AM on January 23, 2007


Does Metafilter's ass look big to us?
posted by onlyconnect at 10:39 AM on January 23, 2007


It's not a table. Ergo, chair.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:49 AM on January 23, 2007


That and his name reminds me of Family Ties.

"Sit, Ubu, sit. 'Woof'. Good dog"
posted by exlotuseater at 10:51 AM on January 23, 2007


Personally, I'm completely mystified by the sympathy and understanding being shown to this person, given his amazingly obnoxious response in this thread.
posted by CunningLinguist at 10:23 AM PST


Thing is, he was right. I am sitting in an ergo chair.
posted by vacapinta at 10:52 AM on January 23, 2007


As to who was an ass before ubu showed up, Peacay told him his question was woefully inadequate. Vacapinta says his question is disrespectful to the community. Peacay follows up with a joke about death (poor taste in my opinion). Languagehat states poster is not paying close enough attention to his thread. All in all, more than enough to set off somebody who is considering how best to handle the death of his wife's grandfather. This situation has absolutely no impact on us at all, but to ubu, I'm sure, it is a stressful time in his life. Give him a break. ubu's provoked response in this thread was directed to two people who attacked his actions, not to the community at large.

As to the community growing, sure, people join every day. But how many stick around? And what are they like? I hope to God that they have better manners than most people who regularly comment on MetaTalk, and can't be driven off by the peanut gallery. Personally, I think the trend in cliquiness here is rising. This whole "you have to take your licks to gain our respect" mentality is stupid, and reminds me of fraternity hazing. I think MetaFilter is better than that, and I KNOW I am.
posted by Roger Dodger at 10:58 AM on January 23, 2007


Languagehat states poster is not paying close enough attention to his thread... ubu's provoked response in this thread was directed to two people who attacked his actions

Just to clarify once again: I was not talking about this particular poster (at the time I wrote the comment, I had not even visited the thread), I was commenting on the general issue of people posting questions and then not showing up in their threads to respond (which should be clear from the ital quote I pasted above my comment). Thus ubu's response to me was not "provoked" except by his misreading. I'm happy to let ubu's misreading and bad temper go, for obvious reasons, but the next non-ubu commenter who acts as if I insulted ubu is gonna get my gnarled cane upside his head.

On the general issue, yes, people should be nicer to one another around here. And posters should visit their damn threads. Unless they have a doctor's excuse, or a death in the family.
posted by languagehat at 11:09 AM on January 23, 2007


Well said, Roger. I agree with 90% of it, just not the parts where certain comments are seen in a poor light. If you read those posters as charitably as you read ubu, I think different connotations present themselves. But, yeah, your conclusions are spot on.
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 11:13 AM on January 23, 2007


languagehat, I read it as you saying the fact that the poster hasn't visited his thread in a couple hours was a problem. I don't see any other way to read it. So maybe you weren't criticizing him directly, but you were criticizing him indirectly. A semantic difference, to be sure, but that's your specialty, right?
posted by Roger Dodger at 11:17 AM on January 23, 2007


Personally, I think the trend in cliquiness here is rising. This whole "you have to take your licks to gain our respect" mentality is stupid, and reminds me of fraternity hazing.

There's no Us vs. You here. Everyone is on their own. n00bs and old timers alike can be involved in Metatalk- you didn't have to chug water or kiss jonmc's naked ass or run naked in the snow to post your comment. I believe it's possible you're feeling this because individuals disagree with what you're saying. That does not make you, or anyone else, a victim of some grand conspiracy. This is not a fraternity- you're on your own.

I think MetaFilter is better than that, and I KNOW I am.

Oh pleeeeeeeeeeease. Give me a break. If you're posting on the grey, you're in it. Please dismount your high horse.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:18 AM on January 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


Sorry about that last jibe, languagehat. Uncalled for, and I'd take it back if I could.
posted by Roger Dodger at 11:18 AM on January 23, 2007


I do not understand people who join a community just to try to change it and insult people who were happy the way it was. There are plenty of aspects of the MeFi community I dislike, but the one I like most is that barring total psychotic freakouts people can be weird and anti-social and not perfectly on and nice all the damn time. I get to know folks in their imperfections and to like them better for it. It isn't about hazing or "being better" than other people. But there is a reality--one that doesn't exist on other boards I have hung around--that makes MeFi my favorite place. For all the people worried about making people sad, there are plenty of folks who would rather not spend all their time under the tyranny of nice.

(Of course, call people to account if you feel it necessary. But let's not go crazy.)
posted by dame at 11:19 AM on January 23, 2007


So maybe you weren't criticizing him directly, but you were criticizing him indirectly.

Wait, you aren't allowed to criticize people indirectly now? Are you ever allowed to be critical? If you give someone a cookie first, is it okay? If it is totally hypothetical is it okay? Are you Dave Eggers or something?
posted by dame at 11:21 AM on January 23, 2007


Yes, I am Dave Eggers, how did you know?
posted by Roger Dodger at 11:25 AM on January 23, 2007


For all the people worried about making people sad, there are plenty of folks who would rather not spend all their time under the tyranny of nice.

Oh, shut the fuck up.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:26 AM on January 23, 2007


Your facile objections to criticism and insistence on niceness. You write much better here though. So good work.
posted by dame at 11:27 AM on January 23, 2007


languagehat, I read it as you saying the fact that the poster hasn't visited his thread in a couple hours was a problem. I don't see any other way to read it. So maybe you weren't criticizing him directly, but you were criticizing him indirectly.

Why don't you try reading it the way I just explained it? I was responding to the general issue. I was NOT responding to, or thinking of, this particular poster. Is caps, ital, and bold enough? Matt's discontinued the large tag, so that's the best I can do.

Sorry about that last jibe, languagehat. Uncalled for, and I'd take it back if I could.

Thanks, and consider it forgotten.
posted by languagehat at 11:28 AM on January 23, 2007


Roger Dodger, you're entitled to sketch the high ground as you see it but I think you mistake a critique of a style (or lack thereof in relation to constructing an adequate Askme question) for a criticism of an individual. Vacapinta highlighted what he regarded as a problem in a general sense using that particular Askme question as his trigger example. Now, I might not have made the Meta post myself but as long as it was here I thought that voicing agreement for a situation where I thought a question was woefully inadequate was one of those expressions of opinion that hopefully makes someone somewhere along the line word their future Askme question better.

As for the former peacay joke - you know, it didn't even twig that the Askme question was about a death. I just saw the joke. On me.
posted by peacay at 11:29 AM on January 23, 2007


Sorry about that last jibe, languagehat.

Out of academic curiousity, what was the jibe?

1. You reduce everything to semantic quibbles!
2. You are a linguistics nerd, and hence the field of semantics is your territory?

didn't have to chug water or kiss jonmc's naked ass

Small favors, small favors.

posted by cortex at 11:32 AM on January 23, 2007


For all the people worried about making people sad, there are plenty of folks who would rather not spend all their time under the tyranny of nice.

Oh, shut the fuck up.


Oh, Alvy. Do you really mean that? Thus undermining your pleas for niceness? Are you just trying to give me my own medicine to make a point? Are you dipping my braids in the inkwell cause you like me? Did our show get picked up again? All this is making me feel kinda funny.
posted by dame at 11:33 AM on January 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm not insisting on niceness, merely saying I'd like it better if everyone were nice. I think it's a good way to be. Honestly. I did not join Mefi to change it. I read it for a year and a half before I even joined. And I am often entertained by all of the weirdness that goes on here too. I'm merely suggesting we could treat newer users with a lighter hand, and that we don't have to analyze every little thing we disagree with. If Jess or Matt were going to remove the post, they would have done it long ago. So now we are just talking for talking's sake. And, (wait for it) I'm not really Dave Eggers.
posted by Roger Dodger at 11:34 AM on January 23, 2007


Everyone is on their own. n00bs and old timers alike can be involved in Metatalk- you didn't have to chug water or kiss jonmc's naked ass or run naked in the snow to post your comment.

Really? Oohhhhh. Oh. I guess, I, I...look, it wasn't so bad, there are some less hairy spots. Some. Less hairy. And, and, and, it was a character-building experience!

*retches*
posted by Kwine at 11:36 AM on January 23, 2007


I would like to be nice to others, and I would like others to be nice to me, but secretly I like when others are mean to others, because then I can read about it on Metatalk and be entertained.

I am a bad person.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:36 AM on January 23, 2007 [2 favorites]


Are you trying to say that you are actually ThePinkAntiSuperHero?
posted by micayetoca at 11:39 AM on January 23, 2007


You all have ergo chairs? Yet another reason to feel inferior. (sulks in cheap-ass office chair)
posted by Gucky at 11:46 AM on January 23, 2007


capelli ergo sux?
posted by cortex at 11:48 AM on January 23, 2007


Face it dame, this thing is bigger than both of us. *Violins swell*

And I was just being a silly goose; I'm clinically incapable of responding to arguments in favour of "Keepin' it real" any other way.

However, just because I'm sick of petty AskMe crap showing up on MeTa for no good reason doesn't mean that I'll hold my tongue if some jerkish asshat gets my dander up.
That's my dander, dammit!

posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:56 AM on January 23, 2007


I have an Eggo chair. It's pretty sweet, but after my butt's been warming it for awhile, it tends to pop up and eject me across the floor.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:17 PM on January 23, 2007


My ego chair, on the other hand, is just too big to be practical.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:18 PM on January 23, 2007


...except when my head's up my ass...
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:20 PM on January 23, 2007


I'm clinically incapable of responding to arguments in favour of "Keepin' it real" any other way.

Funny, I'm incapable of seeing "let's be nice" without a white hot rage blinding me inside my head. I mean, I learn more when people don't repress what they thing.

Anyway, let's fade to black, so those voyeurs (I see you!) can't watch.
posted by dame at 12:20 PM on January 23, 2007


The sheer amount of wrath that has surfaced in MetaTalk lately... for the past ten days or so

Perhaps MetaTalk collectively has PMS. We should give it some Midol.

And then we can have a thread about how saying MetaTalk has PMS is offensive and then we can ALL flame-out and put each other's bras in the freezer.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 2:06 PM on January 23, 2007


Metatalk has a heartbeat!
posted by cortex at 2:10 PM on January 23, 2007


Metatalk has a heartbeat!

*drives in stake*

There, fixed that for you.
posted by languagehat at 2:43 PM on January 23, 2007


Now metatalk is a creepy, lifeless simulacrum that hungers for blood!

So we're back to normal, is what I'm saying.
posted by cortex at 2:55 PM on January 23, 2007


data point: i agree with vaca, lh, and dame.

mark your calendars.
posted by fishfucker at 3:38 PM on January 23, 2007


but at a lot of the same people that have been in the same threads for the past ten days or so (and I'm not totally immune) -- is astonishing. We don't all have to be friends here, we certainly aren't, but on my planet we should be a little more forgiving and understanding of (in most cases) total strangers who dont think like us.

Maybe somebody is encouraging them, who could it be ?

I'm sure AgentHowie takes a kindly view of this sort of thing now that his entire livelihood depends on the site.
posted by sgt.serenity at 5:42 PM on January 23, 2007


Metatalk: A creepy, lifeless, simulacrum that...what? It won't be funny? Come on, people will love it! Seriously, dude. It's like that one DickinaBox thing? Remember? Like, my dick? In a box! And there's a song. Whatever.
posted by Kwine at 6:27 PM on January 23, 2007


Hey is it too late to flame out? Wait lemme try that again.

OK COCKSUCKERS I HAVE HAD IT UP TO HERE WITH YOUR DIVERS INSINUATIONS AND PRETENTIOUS RATIOCINATION AND DEMAND THAT YOU CEASE AND DESIST FORTHWITH ELSE I'LL FLAME OUT MOST EXPEDITIOUSLY.
posted by Mister_A at 7:50 PM on January 23, 2007


Yeah, I have to agree with the Don't-Call-It-A-FlameOut crowd. Calling a flameout in a flameout thread is just throwing water on a volatile situation. Sit back and watch that shit burn.
posted by BeerFilter at 9:08 PM on January 23, 2007


*pours on Cognac, à la Iron Chef*
posted by Wolof at 11:16 PM on January 23, 2007


Anyway, let's fade to black, so those voyeurs (I see you!) can't watch.

Room for a third? How about a fourth? My ego likes to watch.
posted by loquacious at 1:28 AM on January 24, 2007


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