Nyeah Nyeah March 27, 2007 11:55 AM   Subscribe

How judgemental is it OK to be in an Ask Metafilter reply? If someone wants to know how to game the system to continue being a public menace, is it OK to point out that it's not in our best interest to help? That, in fact, it could arguably be aiding and abetting future lawbreaking? Or is that nyeah nyeah?
posted by DU to Etiquette/Policy at 11:55 AM (115 comments total)

Apparently this is now settled law. Nyeah nyeah.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:59 AM on March 27, 2007


Apparently it is nyeah nyeah, but I said it anyway...I couldn't help but taint my reply to that inquiry with a dose of "what the hell, you idiot!" c'mon now...
posted by Asherah at 12:07 PM on March 27, 2007


ask mefi is the place for helping people answer their questions. dont share personal values with the poster? move on to a new one. on the other hand, the whole point of metatalk is personal judgements so this is definitely the right place
posted by petsounds at 12:08 PM on March 27, 2007


One of the comments that was removed was too nyah nyah, IMO. It said something like, "and I would want to help you continue being a reckless driver why?" I don't know what any of the others said. I think that in the past it has been established that if someone really is engaging in behavior that is thought of as negative by a not-fringe portion of us, it's ok in the spirit of helping them to let them know what you think, as long as you're actually giving some sort of advice. The NFLfan case comes to mind.
posted by gauchodaspampas at 12:13 PM on March 27, 2007


If you feel it is not in your best interest to help, do not help. You don't need to make a point of declaring that you don't want to help, and it'd be great if people would do so less often and save us the cleanup. This is a matter of self-control and respect for the established guidelines over there, pure and simple.

For example:

I couldn't help but taint my reply to that inquiry

Yes. You could help it. Please try harder to do so in the future. It's tempting to snark, but no one has a gun to your head.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:14 PM on March 27, 2007 [4 favorites]


How is advice on how to avoid being caught/prosecuted by law enforcement a "personal value" issue?

If you feel it is not in your best interest to help, do not help.

What if I feel it is not in our best interest to help? I would like to advocate to others that they not help either. Is there a "complain to MetaTalk" auto-link?
posted by DU at 12:18 PM on March 27, 2007


Is there a "complain to MetaTalk" auto-link?

Yes. You seem to have found it. Eventually.
posted by Partial Law at 12:21 PM on March 27, 2007


There's certainly a New Post manual link over here, DU. If you want to start an argument about an AskMe thread, do it here, not there. Where is the confusion on that point?

And to be clear, DU, you in particular have been excessively chatty, jokey, and contrarian in a lot of AskMe threads; your take on this might be something of an outlier. Take that into account.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:24 PM on March 27, 2007


because some people dont like law enforcement? I for one speed everywhere. i hate when people drive slow. So some people may have sympathy than others, YMMV
posted by petsounds at 12:26 PM on March 27, 2007


I guess I don't really see the clarify of UI design that involves widely separating posts on a topic into "rah rah" vs "I'm thinking this isn't such a great idea". But whatevs.
posted by DU at 12:27 PM on March 27, 2007


I petty much feel the same way that DU does. The OP is trying to game the system and evade responsiibility for his/her actions, and its icky that s/he is asking us to help out in this effort. However, I don't think that being a chronic speeder necessarily = recklessness.

My solution was to suggest a course of action that I think is more responsible, and might even help the OP in their effort to avoid a suspended license. Its possible to encourage people to do what you think is right without being snarky. It might even work.
posted by googly at 12:32 PM on March 27, 2007


We're not separating posts on a topic into thumbs-up and thumbs-down; we're separating answers to questions from contrarian discussions of the fitness/appropriateness/etc of categories and specific instances of questions.

AskMe can and does include ontopic, respectful dissenting answers to questions on a regular basis—there is room for a well-rendered "I don't think the thing you're intending to do is a good idea for this reason". That's different from a carte blanche snark pass; telling off the asker and trying to start a moral revolt is not kosher, and I can't even see how someone would get the impression it was if they were paying attention to the green, the guidelines, and the regular discussions about this sort of thing on Metatalk.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:37 PM on March 27, 2007


Just to be clear, I never said I didn't want to help, my suggestion to the OP was admit he was at fault and face the consequences, as clearly he isn't claiming innocence. This is a viable option he can choose, but he probably wont.
posted by Asherah at 12:37 PM on March 27, 2007


"Sure we'll save a few lives, but millions will be late!"
posted by Terminal Verbosity at 12:39 PM on March 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


How judgemental is it OK to be in an Ask Metafilter reply?... is it OK to point out that it's not in our best interest to help?

Mostly just going to reiterate what I already said here, but giving some examples this time. The trick seems to be that you have to actually have the interests of the asker in mind when answering. In a case such as this one, or NFLfan, where many can agree that the behavior described is harmful, it seems to be ok to point that out, as long as you are doing it in a way that is potentially helpful to the asker and has them in mind, not just yourself.

For instance, in commonsense's case, a number of us answered the question directly while also pointing out that we think that it would still be best if he simply changed his driving habits. There's also one comment that says basically, I paraphrase, "you admittedly speed too much, so suck it up, be polite to the judge, and maybe they'll cut you a break". To me that doesn't seem to be answering the question, but isn't judgemental, and does offer useful advice. The NFL fan case which I've been mentioning was definitely more extreme, and the question really was stupid, but of the answers that were kept, most of them aren't simply saying in effect, "you suck", but rather offered actual advice, though perhaps stern and not directly answering the quesiton.
posted by gauchodaspampas at 12:43 PM on March 27, 2007


...we're separating answers to questions from contrarian discussions...

That's what I said. A person can't question the assumptions/framing the AskMe question is based on? If it were within the guidelines in other ways, how should one reply to this AskMe: Have you stopped beating your wife yet?

I'm not really sure what a moral revolt is, but I will agree that my answer was short, even curt. I've always appreciated the short, to-the-point, doesn't-assume-the-reader-is-an-idiot replies on MeFi but maybe not everyone does.
posted by DU at 12:44 PM on March 27, 2007


It seems like most of the rules of AskMefi could be summed up as "don't be a dick."
posted by Justinian at 12:44 PM on March 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


is it OK to point out that it's not in our best interest to help?

No. Metacommentary goes into MetaTalk which is what it's here for, among other things. If you want to start a MeTa thread and link to it in the AskMe post, that is okay also.

Diving into a thread and saying "you are a bad person" in threads where the question isn't "am I a bad person?" isn't what the site is for and you are more than welcome to just walk on by and not give the OP the benefit of your wisdom. Telling other people to not answer the question is really outside of the realm of AskMe.

Some explanation: in order for peopto feel comfortable asking tricky and dicey questions, we moderate that part of the site more than other parts of the site so that "lol butts" and "you are a fucking asshole" comments get removed. If those are your comments, we will remove them; if someone says them to you in your thread, we will remove them also. If your issue is that you object to that level of moderation, that's another fine topic for discussion here, but to act like that's not the way that part of the site has been since the very beginning is being a little disingenous. We know it's different from the way the rest of the site runs and we try to make it clear, here and in the FAQ and in email to people if it get to that, what the rules are.

In short: leave your snark at the door. If what you are advising the OP is that their course of action may not be a bright one, there are many respectful ways to say that. This also has the side effect of being more likely to make a difference to the OP, and more likely for your comment to remain undeleted. Some people have turned the art of snarking+help into a fine art and this may mean we have to change the existing policy somewhat, but for now, that's what it is and it's not, imho, too difficult to understand.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:45 PM on March 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


DU writes "I guess I don't really see the clarify of UI design that involves widely separating posts on a topic into 'rah rah' vs 'I'm thinking this isn't such a great idea'. But whatevs."

I see you're new DU. I'd seriously consider the wisdom of cortex's advice. Poke around, read the archives, try to get into the vibe of the place. Askers aren't expected to beg other members to answer their questions or justify why their question is worthy. We assume they have a good reason for the question and if you don't feel like their goals are pure just don't answer.
posted by Mitheral at 12:48 PM on March 27, 2007


I am a lawyer in North Carolina and I represent people who have driver's license related questions. I am asked questions like the one in AskMe almost daily. While I would recommend that the poster consult a lawyer in Virginia or the DMV in Maryland, I would not say that the post was asking for help in breaking the law.

I thought the post was concerning someone who has issues related to his driver's license. Depending on where he is licensed and how the cases are resolved, the poster may find that he has a better chance of keeping his license than he would if he pursued a different course of action.

He was not asking for help in breaking the law. He did not ask what tricks can be used to avoid detection. He asked what legal moves he can make to minimize things for himself. He also asked if people thought that an error on the citation might lead to some sort of dismissal.

I don't think he is trying to evade responsibility. He is trying to use whatever options the system gives him to keep a driver's license. He is trying to see if the State will have trouble proving their case beyond a reasonable doubt (the errors issue). Paying tickets off and experiencing insurance hikes is very costly. He is just trying to avoid being penalized to the maximum in every way possible. He would be foolish not to.
posted by flarbuse at 12:49 PM on March 27, 2007 [3 favorites]


DU writes "If it were within the guidelines in other ways, how should one reply to this AskMe: Have you stopped beating your wife yet?"

Back button.
posted by Mitheral at 12:50 PM on March 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


If it were within the guidelines in other ways, how should one reply to this AskMe: Have you stopped beating your wife yet?

That's not a parallel example. The question you are looking for is, "How should I explain my wife's black eye this time?"
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:01 PM on March 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


Seriously, if your answer doesn't answer the question, save it. If you have a problem with the question, take it Metatalk. Don't just shit in the thread.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:02 PM on March 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


If it were within the guidelines in other ways, how should one reply to this AskMe: Have you stopped beating your wife yet?"

Flag as "noise" or "offensive content" as suits you. It works pretty well: if something is genuinely at odds with the collective sense of the site, you won't be the only one to do it.

It's less personally satisfying, I know. You're left to wonder whether the necessary critical mass of negative opinions will culminate in a deletion, and no one will ever know that you disliked the question. But it works, and it keeps the place from turning into a shitfest. Personal snarkery satisfaction falls a distant second to that.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:06 PM on March 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


Speeding doesn't cause accidents. Reckless and impaired driving causes accidents. Just because he is being fined doesn't mean he is endangering anybody. He has been fined several times for not obeying a posted instruction. No where on his record does it say he is a danger to society. So why would anyone feel it is their prerogative to tell everyone they shouldn't answer his question? He hasn't asked how to break the law. And if he had, flag it and let the mods decide. You don't get to break the rules just because you feel morally superior.

Any way, slow drivers that drive in the passing lane and cause fast drivers to take evasive actions are much more dangerous than the speeders. What the hell, you idiots! c'mon now...
posted by team lowkey at 1:07 PM on March 27, 2007


"How judgemental is it OK to be in an Ask Metafilter reply?"

To quote an authority on the subject, "If you can't answer the question without snarking at the OP, please don't answer the question."

Ergo I'm disqualified from commenting on entire aspects of human stupidity experience.
posted by davy at 1:07 PM on March 27, 2007


DU writes "If it were within the guidelines in other ways, how should one reply to this AskMe: Have you stopped beating your wife yet?"

This post was deleted for the following reason:
what are you, new?

The whole point is that questions that are specifically asking "help me break the law" that aren't so fantastic as to clearly be spoofs, jokes or "I'm writing a novel" questions don't make it to AskMe in the first place. I'm sure there are exceptions that someone can and will dig up, but generally that's how it goes here. Wife beaters don't post asking how to minimize the appearances of bruises. People don't ask how to steal shit from the library. No one comes here looking for mugging or car theft tips.

The slipperly slope you are describing does not exist. There is a small slope and then a big wide ocean of unaskable askme questions and this is by design. There are people who don't like this, and everyone has their pet topic -- bad drivers, bad parents, debtors, drug users, people who talk in movies, people who don't flush, toothpaste cap-leaver-offers -- but the guideline generally works, it's explainable and enforceable and doesn't leave a whole lot up to whimsy which is more and more important as the site gets bigger and we don't all know each other.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:09 PM on March 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


I am admittedly one of those people who try to turn an answer+snark into an art form - but I have to agree with Jessamyn that leaving the contention for here vice in the AskMe thread is in the best interests of the impartial nature and integrity of the AskMe site. It's part of what makes it special.

However, in one day we've helped a guy figure out how to get out of his speeding tickets as well as helped someone figure out the best way to further avoid paying off old debts. By doing so we, as a community, are further condoning illegal activity (IDNTBALTFT - I don't need to be a lawyer to figure this out).
posted by matty at 1:11 PM on March 27, 2007


DU, just looked at comments you made in the past. They were interesting and funny and helpful.. and anyways you were totally right to bring this up here in metatalk, thats what its for. so I dont know why cortex is giving you a hard time for being "excessively chatty". Just ignore him
posted by petsounds at 1:11 PM on March 27, 2007


jessamyn does a good job of explaining why it's bad policy to allow uninvited snark into AskMe answers. While it can seem like a good idea in the case of something you personally condemn, it can seem like a markedly less good idea when it's something which you think people should have a chance to ask without facing moral indignation. The recent "How Can I Love Anus" question was a good example of one that could have been seriously compromised by a bunch of zealots informing the guy he was going to burn in hell were the admins to allow responses that simply condemn the premise of the question.
posted by OmieWise at 1:11 PM on March 27, 2007


What if I feel it's not in our best interest to help?

Are you worried that Metafilter is gonna get a collective bad rap for abusing interstate traffic law? I don't understand how advocating to others that they not help someone is a good community value.

I can dig that you don't want to support or condone illicit activity, but why get bent out of shape if someone else wants to sully his/her own reputation by offering advice that betrays their dark criminal past?
posted by solipsophistocracy at 1:13 PM on March 27, 2007


its icky that s/he is asking us to help out in this effort.

I think a lot of AskMe questions are icky in one way or another. Know what I do? I skip them. On the rare occasions when I get caught up in the emotions of the thread and cross the line into unhelpful commentary, I'm fine with my comment being deleted, because I know that's how AskMe works, and I know it's for the best. AskMe is about helping the poster, not society at large, and it's certainly not about you showing how righteous your wrath is.
posted by languagehat at 1:14 PM on March 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


DU, just looked at comments you made in the past. They were interesting and funny and helpful.. and anyways you were totally right to bring this up here in metatalk, thats what its for. so I dont know why cortex is giving you a hard time for being "excessively chatty". Just ignore him

Of course, you didn't see the comments that were deleted, petsounds, because they were deleted; and those were, natch, the problematic ones. I'm not trying to demonize DU a bit here, but they're genuinely leading the pack for flagged off-topic/snarky/jokey Ask comments, by a healthy margin, which seems pretty relevant given the topic of this thread and the conflict of perspectives on Ask policy.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:22 PM on March 27, 2007


I dont know why cortex is giving you a hard time for being "excessively chatty". Just ignore him.

DU's got over thirty deleted comments and he's been here less than two months. That's the sort of track record that can turn a user into an ex-user in no time. You're welcome to give all the advice you want here, but I don't recommend "just ignore the admins" as a really good strategy
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:29 PM on March 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


jessamyn: "I'm writing a novel" questions don't make it to AskMe in the first place

Not that I want to derail, but I want even less to start a whole new MetaTalk thread. I'm writing a novel. A section of it takes place in a country I've never visited. I've done a lot of research, interviewed people who've gone there and even borrowed the diaries of a traveler to that country who's very comparable in age and social status to my fictional character. However, I foresee problems with my lack of knowledge of the minutiae of daily living. I'm going to attempt to write my way around them, but there will be scenes where I have to get them right. My intention was to use AskMe, should I run into problems that I couldn't find answers for on the internet, in books or from the people who've helped me so far. Would that be non-kosher?
posted by Kattullus at 1:31 PM on March 27, 2007


You may have misread what I wrote Kattullus, "I'm writing a novel" questions are fine, though if you're asking for day to day stuff about another country, try to make it targeted and not just "tell me everything you can about living in Country X" and try not to ask 30 questions in one AskMe question if you can.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:37 PM on March 27, 2007


AskMe is about helping the poster, not society at large, and it's certainly not about you showing how righteous your wrath is.

This wrath it Vibrates?

"but My wrath is SO righteous..."
posted by French Fry at 1:39 PM on March 27, 2007


AskMe is about helping the poster, not society at large, and it's certainly not about you showing how righteous your wrath is.
posted by languagehat at 4:14 PM on March 27


I happen to agree. That's why, if you bother to actually look at the answer I linked to, you'll see that I'm trying to give the OP a constructive suggestion that also encourages them to do what I think is right. And that's also why I used the word "icky" (rather than morally indefensible or wrong or illegal) to describe it. I purposely avoided being righteous (in fact, I explicitly said that I did not pass judgment on the poster). You might consider paying closer attention to the nuance of language - it can pay dividends.
posted by googly at 1:40 PM on March 27, 2007


DU's got over thirty deleted comments

Is that something admins can see, forever and ever? Does every Mefite have a permanent record in the principal's office?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:40 PM on March 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


Choosing not to answer on moral grounds on AskMe is perfectly ok. Posting a message saying you won't, and why, is not.
posted by Dave Faris at 1:43 PM on March 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


jessamyn: You may have misread what I wrote Kattullus

I sure did misread that! Thanks for clearing that up. But yeah, I'm thinking about questions more along the lines of "What can you tell me about the beer-drinking habits of Belgian Trappist monks, or do they just brew the stuff and refrain from imbibing?" rather than "what can y'all tell me about France?"
posted by Kattullus at 1:46 PM on March 27, 2007


Dear AskMe: I'm writing a novel in which a "Nigerian Scammer" is actually telling the truth, but can't get the money out of the country because of all the other scammers. My question is: What's your pin number?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:49 PM on March 27, 2007 [5 favorites]


These norms, are they community enforced...and um, vibratory?
posted by Burhanistan at 1:51 PM on March 27, 2007


"DU's got over thirty deleted comments and he's been here less than two months."

Damn, I feel so outdone.

So Jessamyn, did you delete all those comments yourself, and if so did you explain each one? And are you the Designated AskMe Deleter?
posted by davy at 1:58 PM on March 27, 2007


I have noticed that there are some people who feel the need to answer what sometimes seems like every. freaking. post. in ask.me .. .

A small subset of these people are remarkable individuals whose answers are actually helpful. A vanishingly small subset.

Sometimes, silence is golden. I rolled my eyes at the person who posted the speeding question. I muttered under my breath. I composed a snarky comment in my head. Then I clicked through to whatever shiny bauble was next on my list.

It CAN be done! If you are not capable of it and would like to learn how, I am offering an online class. Paypal me $100 and I'll get back to you with the course materials.

(OK, fine. There are no course materials. I just send someone over to break your keyboard. Register now!)

On preview: Oh, Flo! How you make me laugh.
posted by veggieboy at 1:59 PM on March 27, 2007


You know, as someone who is routinely judgemental in AskMe and has their answers deleted, it's not in our interest to tell you how close to the line you can get. It's better to have a public menace banned, right? Or is that just nyeah nyeah?
posted by klangklangston at 2:03 PM on March 27, 2007


DU, I don't see this as a bad question. The guy knows he fucked up, and his last line was something to the effect that he should slow down. He doesn't want to lose his license, and if you want to see him lose his license, just refrain from commenting.

Speeding doesn't cause accidents.

Well, there's speeding (doing 70 in a 55) and there's SPEEDING (doing 90 in a 55). Seems pretty clear this guy is SPEEDING. And issues of causation aside, higher velocity means higher transfer of energy on collision (when considering bodies of equal mass). Also, one should remember that SPEEDING often co-sorts with recklessness.
Speeding is dangerous; I am not going to bother linking you to the data, go play around at NHTSA and you'll find plenty.
posted by Mister_A at 2:07 PM on March 27, 2007


googly: My snark wasn't aimed at you; sorry if you got that impression. I was just running with your "icky" phrase because I liked the wording, but the "you" was addressed to anyone who thinks it's OK to bash posters for violating supposed moral standards. I should have made that clear.

*directs Righteous Wrath at self*
posted by languagehat at 2:20 PM on March 27, 2007


So Jessamyn, did you delete all those comments yourself, and if so did you explain each one? And are you the Designated AskMe Deleter?

She's done some, gut instinct say the minority, and I've axed some as well. She's been ccing Matt and I on explanatory emails for some deletions—generally for tricky/newbie or beyond-the-pale the stuff—but I would guess the majority of stuff deleted doesn't get an explanation, because it's mild and obvious off-track stuff.

That would include things like substance-less one-liners, purposeful and self-conscious non-answers, and comments that start with "I have nothing to add..." and then follow through on it. That sort of thing.

I don't know if she's emailed DU about any specific comments. I don't recall having done so myself—they've all been (presumed) obvious self-aware examples of the above. If DU really has no idea that any of those comments were problematic, the situation takes on a whole new weird angle.

Why do you ask?
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:21 PM on March 27, 2007


Er, I think she's killed the majority; I think I've deleted fewer than 15 of DU's comments total; I've only been at it for a few weeks, after all.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:23 PM on March 27, 2007


None of the aforementioned will lead anyone to ecstasy. Move along to better things.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:26 PM on March 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


In this case he claims it was 60 to 65 in a 55 zone. See his response.

I recently had people pounce all over me after I posted a question and was a little vague about one of the details. A lot of people jumped to conclusions and assumed I was doing something illegal or morally wrong. In fact I was doing nothing of the sort; I had left out the details mostly because it was a long story and I didn't think it was relevant.

It was a very frustrating experience - especially so because the people judging me had no idea what the real situation was. Nobody who posts a question wants to get pounced on. Most people are quite capable of grappling with moral issues on their own, and unless they ask for guidance in doing so we should not bring it up. Give them the benefit of the doubt.
posted by PercussivePaul at 2:29 PM on March 27, 2007


Mister_A: "Seems pretty clear this guy is SPEEDING."

I don't see any evidence of that. He never said anything about the actual speeds or conditions involved in his question, and in his follow up he said he was within 10 MPH of the speed limit. All we have is that he was pulled over for several times, and never charged with reckless driving or anything like it (for which 90 in a 55 would probably qualify). Why assume he's a "public menace"? Speeding may often coincide with recklessness, but the police haven't charged him with recklessness. They've fined him for disobeying a posted rule. Chastise him for being a scofflaw if you like, but not for some imagined public danger. And don't do either in AskMe.
posted by team lowkey at 2:35 PM on March 27, 2007


Dude, you don't rack up 12 points doing 63 on the Jersey Turnpike. It is possible that some cops gave him a break on the fine.
posted by Mister_A at 2:38 PM on March 27, 2007


And lowkey, I didn't chastise the guy in AskMe; in fact I support his right to ask his question and have it answered respectfully. That's right there in the post. But I am now chastising the shit out of your ludicrous opinion on traffic safety. Woo-Chh! Woo-Chh! Dumbass.
posted by Mister_A at 2:42 PM on March 27, 2007


OMG WON'T SOMEONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN walking across the Interstate?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 2:44 PM on March 27, 2007


"...aiding and abetting future lawbreaking"

What's the sentencing guideline on accessory to speeding, anyway?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 2:45 PM on March 27, 2007


What's the sentencing guideline on accessory to speeding, anyway?

24 to 48 hours of a Sandra Bullock marathon.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:07 PM on March 27, 2007 [2 favorites]


I was driving within 10 mph of the speed limit, within the range that most cops checking for speeders will ignore. (If anyone should know, it's me.)

I'll bet that it was glib remarks like this that may have triggered some of the pile on. Maybe it's cuz I drive like an old woman, but I've never liked it when people try being cute in regards to their speeding. Stomping on the gas and driving up everyone's bumper is prickish behavior and really rather dangerous. And all to save slivers of seconds! All the speeder ever accomplishes is reaching the red light or the bottleneck just a few moments ahead of everyone else.

Which has zero to do with the OP's question, but this is my gut reaction. Pay your ticket, drive slower, maybe you with no license is no bad thing at all. I'm just glad I didn't see that thread when it was fresh!

I'm also quite curious about Pink Superhero's question. Is a to-the-decimal tally of each user's deleted posts kept? Are there bulging folders of permanent records in an ever-growing cabinet somewhere in Oregon? Could we issue Metagrades at the end of each semester?
posted by EatTheWeak at 3:23 PM on March 27, 2007


Pony request: a script that finds the phrase "it vibrates?" and totally nukes the comment that contains it. Enough already, this joke was beaten to death almost 5 years ago.
posted by Wolof at 3:26 PM on March 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


Dude, I don't know what the point system in Jersey is like, but I know I almost lost my license in CA because I got pulled over for speeding 5 times in a two year period. I was never going more than 10 MPH over the speed limit, and never drove aggressively or impaired. It was just a period where I was driving long distances often, so they had a lot of opportunities to pull me over. I didn't change my driving habits, but haven't received a ticket since. Could be in part because they raised the speed limit by 10 MPH on the interstate. Hallelujah, I've gone from public menace to model citizen! It was absolutely ludicrous for me to think the roads were safe at that speed, back before the sign changed.

My only point is that over the speed limit != crashing into babies, and even the infallible NHTSA doesn't claim that. Speed can certainly be a contributing factor to accidents, usually paired with other aggressive tendencies. But to label someone a danger to society because he admits to being fined several times doesn't make any sense to me. If he was driving dangerously, I don't think the police would simply fine him.

I didn't intend to accuse you of abusing AskMe. That was just to clarify that regardless of our opinions of this guy, the answer to the "How judgemental is it OK to be in an Ask Metafilter reply?" is "Not at all".
posted by team lowkey at 3:27 PM on March 27, 2007


Thanks, languagehat. Please excuse my misplaced retributive snarkiness.
posted by googly at 3:30 PM on March 27, 2007


Oh, what the hell. It's generally acknowledged even in the legal literature that speeding limits aren't designed or intended as moral prohibitions. If I ask for advice on how to get the most time out of a parking meter (e.g., when the meter maids patrol in my city), would that count as "gaming" the system? By the OP's criteria, I think it would.

If the poster was trying to get out of reckless driving, that'd be different. But that's not what he asked. The question of whether he should be a safer driver is entirely anterior to the question of how different state speeding laws interact.

(Even putting that aside, I'm getting tired of the "omg that's illegal" trope. No one was complaining about the "how do I dispose of a body" question, or the best way to dispatch rampaging five-year-olds. The appropriate answer to the speeding post was "no, you can't get out on a technicality, nor should you be able to." There's no reasons to drag it onto MeTa just to be a jerk.)
posted by spiderwire at 3:33 PM on March 27, 2007


Pony request: a script that finds the phrase "it vibrates?" and totally nukes the comment that contains it. Enough already, this joke was beaten to death almost 5 years ago.

It could be worse. At the least the "In Soviet Russia..." meme seems to have died out, along with the "I, for one, welcome..." among others. At least the "vibrates" joke is MeFi-specific, like pancakes and cameras.
posted by spiderwire at 3:35 PM on March 27, 2007


In Soviet Russia, I, for one, vibrate you!
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:37 PM on March 27, 2007 [4 favorites]


Don't you people have greasemonkey?
posted by stet at 3:37 PM on March 27, 2007


This greasemonkey... it's from Russia?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:39 PM on March 27, 2007


cortex, I thought we were going to keep that one between us. Some secrets just need to stay behind the Iron Curtain.
posted by spiderwire at 3:39 PM on March 27, 2007


Not that it justifies blatant unhelpful snark, but the OP's comments do make it sound like he thinks speeding is no biggie.

I'm not a driver, maybe that has something to do with it. I don't get how some people consider not following driving regulations to be trivial - not just speeding, but tailgating and driving-while-distracted (cellphones, applying make-up, etc) too. I wouldn't think mucking around with your reaction time or stopping distance is anything to scoff at.

IRFH: What's the sentencing guideline on accessory to speeding, anyway?

24 to 48 hours of a Sandra Bullock marathon.


Forced viewing of Dave Coulier stand-up might be more of a deterrent.
posted by CKmtl at 3:41 PM on March 27, 2007


I'm not a driver, maybe that has something to do with it. I don't get how some people consider not following driving regulations to be trivial - not just speeding, but tailgating and driving-while-distracted (cellphones, applying make-up, etc) too.

Because they are trivial. If people ever stepped back and considered that they're piloting a ton of solid metal powered by a first-grade explosive next to hundreds of other people who are just as distracted as the jackass who stands in front of you at the grocery store while chatting on his cellphone and eating a candy bar, fewer people would drive. Driving regulations are like window dressing on the Titanic.

< /rant>
posted by spiderwire at 3:48 PM on March 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


ok lowkey, sorry for the knee-jerk reaction.
posted by Mister_A at 3:51 PM on March 27, 2007


While the question certainly doesn't represent MY way of handling situations, I don't think the question is so terrible. Any answers won't pose a threat to the answerer or to ask.me in general. To call it aiding and abetting future lawbreaking is sort of over-the-top, imho.

If you want ask.me to become a place to ask all the questions that can be answered elsewhere, it certainly won't be a fun place to participate or a useful resource.
posted by necessitas at 3:52 PM on March 27, 2007


MetaTalk: I don't recommend "just ignore the admins" as a really good strategy
posted by grouse at 3:56 PM on March 27, 2007


Pony request: a script that finds [a phrase] and totally nukes the comment

Been done. Been done a long time. There are even scripts which find particular phrases and replace them with other text, should a Madlibs approach be appealing.
posted by mdevore at 4:04 PM on March 27, 2007


Enough already, this joke was beaten to death almost 5 years ago.

Yes. I said it anyway. Feel free to, ya know, not think it's funny.

cries one single tiny tear...
posted by French Fry at 4:07 PM on March 27, 2007


No biggie, Mister_A. I'm just on the other side of the fence on this one. The real benefit I see to speed limits is to give drivers an approximate idea of what is considered safe for the road (as in, it looks safe to drive 55, but the sign says 45, so there must be something I don't know about), and to make sure everyone knows what to expect of everyone else (as in, it would be safe to drive 75, but not if someone else is only doing 45). I don't think people should drive dangerously fast for the conditions (those conditions including the speed of other cars which are going the limit), and I do think people should be pulled over and fined to keep them within safety parameters. I just don't think going faster than a posted number by itself is enough to declare someone an unsafe driver. It's just the easiest to police.
posted by team lowkey at 4:28 PM on March 27, 2007


I think the askme OP certainly went into too much extranious detail in asking his question. It could have easily been reworded to not make him sound like a mild sociopath. However, I have found that as long as you make a good faith effort to answer part of the question you can tack on a comment addressing the broader non question of particular posts, as long as that aside comment is not the main reson for posting a reply.

This same question came up in regards to telling jokes/making smartass comments in AskMe and I believe the same rule applies
posted by edgeways at 4:35 PM on March 27, 2007


Oh, my life to tack on <img>.
posted by carsonb at 6:14 PM on March 27, 2007


FREE THE IMG TAG
posted by quarter waters and a bag of chips at 7:05 PM on March 27, 2007


Nag Nag Nag.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:35 PM on March 27, 2007


Jessamyn - thanks for the guidelines. I generally appreciate your quiet yet firm moderation of askme, and agree that we shouldn't be dicks to each other there.

Here's my question (and I confess to skimming a few of the above comments, but I don't think this is covered yet).

Say someone is very harsh in their responses to askme questions - consistently very harsh. Say their responses are on topic, but consistently verge on outright mean. Say they are a longtime user, and so people tend to give this person a pass even when their comments are insulting. Yup, I'm talking about someone specific.

There's really no forum to address this kind of user. I can't email the person directly - they don't list their email in their profile. When I've tried to address their comments within threads, my comments were deleted (which I can understand, since I was going off topic from the original askme question). But I feel like this person is being a jerk, and I have no forum to give them that feedback.

I suppose I can just ignore this person, but I feel they are being a bully, and I wish that they would get that feedback. Maybe they are getting it and I don’t know it. But, what do you suggest I do here?
posted by serazin at 7:46 PM on March 27, 2007


serazin, that occasionally happens. If you notice it, feel free to drop me or cortex or mathowie an email [hell, email all three of us]. Sometimes there are patterns we dont notice and it helps if people point them out. I do have to note that if someone is answering the question but doing so in a brusque and offputting manner, we may leave that comment there.

However, if they're consistently insulting the OP or other people in the threads we'd like to reign that in. So, your options are to drop a note to us -- we'd also tell you if we thought maybe you were overreacting or blowing things out of proportion, in case you wanted to calibrate your reality meter -- or you can bring it up in MetaTalk if you think it warrants community attention. Off the top of my head I can't even think about who you might be talking about ..... actually maybe I can. Drop me an email and we can chat more about it if you'd like and compare notes.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:53 PM on March 27, 2007


is it OK to point out that it's not in our best interest to help?

I'm gonna say no, because I may want to help. It's in my best interest to help especially if I don't agree with the poster's query, because that's an opportunity to offer a constructive, alternate viewpoint that could potentially open someone's eyes to a different way of looking at something. It's a healthy challenge to find a way to cast my judgement aside and meet someone way outside my value comfort zone to solve a problem. It's baby step towards discovering something bigger. If I think they need help beyond their isolated question, it's not my job to give that to them. But if I can construct a crafty answer that both helps them with their problem, and incidentally inspires them to look at a bigger picture, or see how this fits into an overall pattern of behavior, wouldn't AskMeFi be the perfect platform for that sort of thing?
posted by iamkimiam at 7:55 PM on March 27, 2007


IMO, when assholes ask idiot questions about how to avoid paying the consequences of their assholic behaviour, the following should occur:

(a) Flame city. If we expect to have a reasonably good society, we need to keep the assholes in line. The asshole in question is apparently recklessly endangering innocent others' lives in pursuit of his lame thrill. That's premium-grade assholerly wanting some addressing, that is.

(b) Deletion of idiotic question and thread. It would be nice to leave the head on the pike as a warning to other assholes who casually place others at risk, but it does look tawdry.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:58 PM on March 27, 2007


I just don't think going faster than a posted number by itself is enough to declare someone an unsafe driver.

Of course it is not. Conditions vary radically, and speed limit signs are on the low side purposefully.

What possible accidents could occur were everyone driving exactly the same speed simultaneously? Answer: damn near none ever.

Drive with the surrounding traffic. That's the key. If you find yourself frequently being passed or passing, you are driving the wrong speed.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:07 PM on March 27, 2007


DU's got over thirty deleted comments and he's been here less than two months.

!!

That's the sort of track record that can turn a user into an ex-user in no time.

*shakes watch*
posted by mediareport at 8:59 PM on March 27, 2007


So it's the personal attack part that's a no-no? Is this any better? If not, well, I've already flagged it myself....

And anyway, to quote five_fresh_fish, "IMO, when assholes ask idiot questions about how to avoid paying the consequences of their assholic behaviour, the following should occur:

(a) Flame city."


Of course 1) as previously noted, I'm trying not to flame per se, and 2) my concern is not so much an asshole asking an idiot question on how to avoid paying the consequences, but someone asking how best to mindfuck someone over a couple of snooped-out web searches. I'm attempting, in a piss-Swiftian way, to help the OP understand the error of his/her ways, hoping s/he'll grasp what's wrong with the question.
posted by davy at 9:09 PM on March 27, 2007


I'm attempting, in a piss-Swiftian way, to help the OP understand the error of his/her ways

Here's a tip on the error of your ways. Don't re-insert a comment that has been deleted when you've already been emailed about the deletion and even confirmed that you read the email. It wastes our time, fans the flames and is a shitty thing to do. Take a week off and go play in the daisies or something.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:18 PM on March 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


Ho'oponopono is worth learning and applying.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:21 PM on March 27, 2007


Mister_A writes "Dude, you don't rack up 12 points doing 63 on the Jersey Turnpike. It is possible that some cops gave him a break on the fine."

A lot depends on what you are driving, some cars are bloody cop magnets. For a while I was piloting a 375hp engine wrapped by a car that looks like something a blue haired gramma drives and a 95hp "sports" car. Despite driving approximately the same miles in each over the course of a year and a half I never got pulled over in the gramma car. Driving the "sports" car I was lucky to go two weeks without having a chat with a nice officer. Never got any points but I did get a few written warnings. I have little doubt that if I was less polite or I was younger I would have recieved at least a couple tickets. It was harassment plain and simple strictly on the basis of the car I was driving. Guess which one I was driving when I got a written warning for "Excessive acceleration onto a highway".
posted by Mitheral at 10:06 PM on March 27, 2007


So what about when PaulSC goes off as Sarcastro on some poor girl who just wants to get polyamorously laid?
posted by klangklangston at 10:13 PM on March 27, 2007


I have really wanted to post "How Can I Build Me Some Motel Meth Lab?" in AskMe and see what would happen. Apparently, it's anything goes these days.

I've turned into a curmudgeon. But I remember when MeFi felt like a place where most people were grown up.
posted by fourcheesemac at 2:53 AM on March 28, 2007


What possible accidents could occur were everyone driving exactly the same speed simultaneously? Answer: damn near none ever.

Well, except for the oblivious lane-changing.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:16 AM on March 28, 2007


I have really wanted to post "How Can I Build Me Some Motel Meth Lab?" in AskMe and see what would happen.

well, you'd probably get a link like this

(warning - i have no idea if this works or not and even if it does, there are better things you could do with your life)
posted by pyramid termite at 5:03 AM on March 28, 2007


Apparently, it's anything goes these days.

Huh? Are you really suggesting that AskMe's take on this kind of question has dramatically changed? That's just not true. jessamyn was perfectly clear above:

The slipperly slope you are describing does not exist. There is a small slope and then a big wide ocean of unaskable askme questions and this is by design. There are people who don't like this, and everyone has their pet topic -- bad drivers, bad parents, debtors, drug users, people who talk in movies, people who don't flush, toothpaste cap-leaver-offers -- but the guideline generally works, it's explainable and enforceable and doesn't leave a whole lot up to whimsy which is more and more important as the site gets bigger and we don't all know each other.
posted by mediareport at 5:04 AM on March 28, 2007


Drive with the surrounding traffic. That's the key. If you find yourself frequently being passed or passing, you are driving the wrong speed.-FFF

Azackly, fish.
posted by Mister_A at 6:49 AM on March 28, 2007


fourcheesemac: Apparently, it's anything goes these days.

Yes, we heard you the first time.
posted by spiderwire at 7:14 AM on March 28, 2007


I am writing a book about douchebags who complain about stuff on MetaFilter all the time. Can anyone recommend some douchebags?
posted by Mister_A at 8:24 AM on March 28, 2007


Look no farther than your bathroom mirror.
posted by Dave Faris at 8:25 AM on March 28, 2007


Dave, you obviously have a thing for me, but why don't you just give it a break. I know you were distraught because I didn't realize that you used to be the renowned Crunchland, and I once suggested that something you wrote was goofy, and your little heart is broken, but you have to get over me. I am not going to go out with you.
posted by Mister_A at 8:43 AM on March 28, 2007


ex. over-reaction to a cheapshot, someone hadda say it, put down. Who are you again?
posted by Dave Faris at 8:48 AM on March 28, 2007


It was flattering at first, but it's getting a little stalker-ish.
posted by Mister_A at 8:50 AM on March 28, 2007


Sometimes a little judgement might help a person solve their "problem" (like if they won't break up with their loser boyfriend) but in this case, it wouldn't. It wasn't "how can I avoid speeding tickets in the future" but "how can I deal with this one problem"
posted by delmoi at 9:05 AM on March 28, 2007


I've turned into a curmudgeon. But I remember when MeFi felt like a place where most people were grown up.

Err, you've barely been here over a year.
posted by delmoi at 9:37 AM on March 28, 2007


If you find yourself frequently being passed or passing, you are driving the wrong speed.

Fuck that. My car get at least 65mpg at a sustained 65mph. It gets about two thirds of that at 70mph and maybe a third of that at 75mph. Anything above 75mph is stupid. When the posted speed limit is 65mph, you can damn well believe I'll be driving at 65mph no matter how fast my fellow travelers insist on going. In fact, with a posted speed limit of 75 (such as my greatly enlightened state) I'll still be doing 65 until someone else wants to start buying my gas.

If you want to get there sooner, you should leave earlier; I may be slow but I'm ahead of you; and all the rest of that granola feel good fun I learned from Sesame Street.
posted by Fezboy! at 10:50 AM on March 28, 2007


Please delete this comment.
posted by JanetLand at 11:51 AM on March 28, 2007


fourcheesemac, you're back from vacation!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:09 PM on March 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


Drive under the speed limit if you like Fezboy!, but stay out of the left lane, or you are creating a dangerous situation.

I agree wholeheartedly with fff, but I would amend it to "If you find people are frequently changing lanes to pass you, or you are frequently changing lanes to pass someone else, you are going the wrong speed." If everyone in the left lane is going 75, and passing everyone in the right lane going 65, that's just as safe as if everyone is going the same speed. As long as the two don't mix.
posted by team lowkey at 12:24 PM on March 28, 2007


To which I'll add, going 10+ over the posted limit through interchanges with merging traffic on roads with two lanes in the direction of travel is at least as dangerous. You'll just have to slow down for the Egglet's white, flat ass while I make room for traffic as the law (and common courtesy) states. I'm all for letting folks speed to their heart's content on open roads, I just don't think they should expect unfettered access to the left lane in traffic or in town.

have we successfully derailed this into the suck it speeders vs slow0rs R lam3rs thread I think it wanted to be from the very beginning of the AskMe thread that started it all?
posted by Fezboy! at 12:48 PM on March 28, 2007


I'm doing what I can, Fezboy!. Thanks for helping!
posted by team lowkey at 1:21 PM on March 28, 2007

DU's got over thirty deleted comments and he's been here less than two months. That's the sort of track record that can turn a user into an ex-user in no time.
I'd better write that down, so as to avoid explusion. Don't... be... a... dick... more... than... thirty... times... in... two...DAMMIT! Broke my pencil.

oh crap, now I'm being chatty and offtopic. I CANNOT WIN!
posted by davejay at 1:48 PM on March 28, 2007


Strange, when somebody asked how much it costs to have their cat Declawed, everybody and his brother told them not to and their comments didn't get deleted.
posted by Megafly at 3:18 PM on March 28, 2007


"Strange, when somebody asked how much it costs to have their cat Declawed, everybody and his brother told them not to and their comments didn't get deleted."

Everybody including mathowie himself. But somehow that's not quite what is meant by "snarking," "shitting in the thread" or "being a dick." I'd argue however that for the sake of clear-cut consistency, maybe "Please don't declaw your cat!" should be verboten too, in the way that telling somebody who's asking how much major "cosmetic" surgery costs that "But some people LIKE big round butts!" clearly was when I did it. E.g., if someone asks "Should I cut my leg off with a nail file or a jackhammer?" then recommending one or the other would be "answering appropriately," suggesting a chain saw instead would be borderline, "Why do you think your leg should come off?" would be deletable, "Please don't chop off your leg!" should get one a week-long timeout and "See a psychotherapist!" should qualify one for an immediate permaban. But then I gather I'm "weird," and that if I want a community blog where the Guidelines are enforced with what I'd consider consistency I might as well start my own. (Where I'd probably eventually point out that it's MY fucking "community blog" and I'll define "consistency" however I damn please, which'd be likelier if my community blog took paid ads.) I.e. whaddaya want, democracy?
posted by davy at 7:38 PM on April 6, 2007


And the storm ushers back he who was in timeout...
posted by Burhanistan at 7:58 PM on April 6, 2007


Yes, and?
posted by davy at 8:02 PM on April 6, 2007


« Older The city is here for you to use (and you're...   |   Reschedule a meetup? Newer »

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