Are tasteless comments being deleted from threads de rigueur? November 20, 2001 2:22 PM   Subscribe

Are tasteless comments being deleted from threads de rigueur? [more]
posted by jpoulos to Etiquette/Policy at 2:22 PM (32 comments total)

A few of us made some off-color cracks in the Larry Flint thread, which some members objected to. I thought the thread might take a turn towards "what's acceptable humor?" - a worthwhile (if off-topic) subject for discussion. Upon checking the thread today, I see that all the early comments have been deleted. Were they taken out for simply being tasteless? Or because they were hijacking the thread? (Even with them gone, the thread never really went anywhere anyway.)

I'm a firm believer that Matt should feel free to break out the Red Pen of Death. I throw myself on the mercy of his court. But I'm curious why these comments were singled out. One can't really expect a highbrow discussion when the post is about Flint, can one? I've had a few comments deleted recently, so I must be doing something wrong. What am I not getting?
posted by jpoulos at 2:22 PM on November 20, 2001


The comments (mine too, an obligatory sex reference) were deleted not long after they were posted. I get the feeling it wasn't the porn comments [it sometimes becomes bukkake-rule here on MeFi], but the jabs at Flynt being confined to a wheelchair. Those were pretty bad. I don't know that "off-color" describes them as much as cheap, insulting, unfunny and not-ready-for-valuable-discussion. Even if the thread had turned to a coversation about what acceptable humor on MeFi is, the answer is obvious in this case.
posted by eyeballkid at 2:36 PM on November 20, 2001


We could have a sin bin for deleted comments: The Thread of Shame! Then everyone could see what constitutes a crass contribution. I'm guessing it wouldn't be much of a change to the admin tool to assign a comment to a different thread (only guessing, mind you).
posted by dlewis at 2:38 PM on November 20, 2001


A few of us made some off-color cracks in the Larry Flint thread, which some members objected to.

I deleted them because they 1) had nothing to do with the thread 2) weren't funny to begin with and 3) just seemed stupid.

I thought the thread might take a turn towards "what's acceptable humor?"

The main problem was pointless jokes making fun of Flynt's personal problems (someone tried to murder him and didn't kill him, remember?) had nothing to do with the thread at hand. I would have prefered if it took a turn towards "does Flynt just file these suits to piss people off or was he really snubbed?"
posted by mathowie (staff) at 2:49 PM on November 20, 2001


I'm with jpoulos on this. It's Matt's site, so he can obviously do what he wants, but this seems unnecessary. I mean, not funny?

"If Larry wants Journalists to go, I think he should be the first to volunteer!" Is that funny? (sorry da5id) Not really, but it's still there.

Also, the comments may have had nothing to do with the thread, but with Rebecca's comment taking jpoulos and the rest to task, the conversation could have taken on a more interesting flavor. I was kind of looking forward to the debate that would have ensued.

I see that there needs to be more on-topic posts, but it just seems to me that the more cleaning up Matt does, the more he'll have to do in the long run. I say let the site take care of itself. Slightly offensive comments were made, and a user called the members on it. Seems like the system was working, to me.
posted by Doug at 3:31 PM on November 20, 2001


We could have a sin bin for deleted comments: The Thread of Shame!

That's come up before. The fear is that people would come here just to get the most posts in the shame bin and turn this place into alt.tasteless in the process
posted by skallas at 4:05 PM on November 20, 2001


the more cleaning up Matt does, the more he'll have to do in the long run

I've noticed Matt doing this more and more lately. Matt, is it an attempt to see if minor mid-course corrections can actually raise the bar here in terms of thread quality?

I guess I'd prefer that all posts stay in but maybe [as was mentioned earlier?] use strike-throughs to indicate ones that are in some way unacceptable? I just feel that removing posts without telling people [the posters and the ones reading the thread before and afterwards] can get confusing and, possibly, just lead to more of the same and hance, more Mattwork.
posted by jessamyn at 4:44 PM on November 20, 2001


fwiw, while I felt that the comments in that thread were not made with any malice, parapalegic jokes are way beyond the pale as far as I'm concerned. I made that comment so that at least one member would be on record as objecting to them.

one standard I use if that of the first-time visitor: what would this look like to someone who had never been here before? those comments were (to me) the antithesis of what I want to see on the site, and it was embarrassing to me to think of them as any measure of metafilter.
posted by rebeccablood at 6:40 PM on November 20, 2001


Not to mention its a cheap gag posting day, bush and the turkey, bad headline, geek proposal, and photo captions. I'm all for a cheap laugh but four in a row is very fark-ish and attracts fark-like comments.
posted by skallas at 7:54 PM on November 20, 2001


fwiw, rebecca, i think there's a difference between making fun of a scumdog like flint based on his parapalegia and making fun of parapalegics in general. I can understand if others don't make that distinction, and I am sincerely sorry if I offended any MeFi parapalegics. But I don't believe in taboos, and I'm not going to cross myself and genuflect and whisper when I say the word "parapalegic."

If Flint had a big nose, I'd make fun of that too, and it doesn't mean I don't respect others with big noses.

Having said that, I see your point about the first-time user standard. When we post or comment here, we are representing this community, and I do believe we have an obligation to represent it with dignity. I failed to do that, and I apologize.

Point taken, comment delted, and for the next ten minutes, drinks are on me.
posted by jpoulos at 8:26 PM on November 20, 2001


I've stayed out of this, basically because I don't care that much. But Rebecca you're making the broad assumption that all parapalegics can't make the distinction between us making fun of a porn peddler and making fun of parapalegics in general. Do you even know a parapalegic? I found that people who don't come in contact with people with disabilities react in a way as to "shelter" them. If I came in here making fun of just parapalegics that would be different, but I was making fun of Larry Flynt. I bet there are some handicap people who are very sensitive of their disability, but it has been my experience with people who are disabled that bad puns do not bother them. The relatively benign comments are not the horrendous atrocities you make them out to be.

If Matt wants to take the comments down, it is his site and I could care less.
posted by geoff. at 11:18 PM on November 20, 2001


I'm quite obsessed at the moment with the placing and context of frivolous remarks. If a thread is well under way, packed with good comment, then a little tastelessness and silliness makes for a nice break. Other posters are going full steam ahead and won't be derailed. On the other hand, frivolous comments at the beginning of a thread, or following a series of other frivolous comments do stifle discussion. In particular, I fear they dissuade potential posters, with serious points to make, from chipping in.

Alll a bit "there's a time and a place for everything", I know, but relevant all the same, IMO.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 4:03 AM on November 21, 2001


[whisper]Only two a's in paraplegic, guys.[/whisper]
posted by gleuschk at 5:42 AM on November 21, 2001


Also, the phrase is "I couldn't care less."
posted by gleemax at 10:26 AM on November 21, 2001


Bartleby.com's take on both phrases: could care less / couldn’t care less, with sarcasm warning ("open to misinterpretation when used in writing").
posted by Carol Anne at 11:06 AM on November 21, 2001


Wow, I've never even thought about those two phrases. Of course I've never used "couldn't care less" it has always been "could care less" for me.
posted by geoff. at 11:12 AM on November 21, 2001


Carol Anne, thank you for that link. I've gotten so tired of explaining how it's possible to use "could care less" over the years... I think I'll just have that URL printed on cards I can hand out.
posted by rodii at 11:34 AM on November 21, 2001


Bah. I think it's using sarcasm to cover all the people who say "I could care less!" when they mean to say "I couldn't care less!" At any rate, I don't think geoff was trying to be sarcastic.

Also, I don't think the sarcastic "could care less" works as an equivalent to "couldn't care less." It's more hostile (or is that just my feeling?).

It seems if people started saying "I couldn't not care less!" to mean "I couldn't care less" they might insist it's sarcasm. Me, I think they just don't realize what they're saying.
posted by gleemax at 11:44 AM on November 21, 2001


Oddly enough, I only mentioned it because I thought it strange for gleu to jump in with a minor spelling correction.
posted by gleemax at 11:45 AM on November 21, 2001


Yeah. "I could care less" is way more hostile; much colder.
posted by Marquis at 11:48 AM on November 21, 2001


geoff. you're making the broad assumption that all parapalegics can't make the distinction between us making fun of a porn peddler and making fun of parapalegics in general

actually, I was speaking for myself, not making any assumptions about paraplegics (thanks, gleuschk). I guess you feel publishing pornography is morally bankrupt (what about viewing it?); but whatever your opinion on that, his freely chosen actions are fair game as far as I'm concerned. if he's done something that you feel makes him inherently worthy of ridicule, make jokes about it.

but he didn't choose to be crippled, and I personally feel that making jokes about circumstances that an individual can't control (gender, race, ethnicity) -- especially when that circumstance may be reasonably assumed to be in some way painful (unattractiveness, overweight, loss of family member, loss of the use of one's limbs) is just cruel and childish.

even if you don't care about basic courtesy, the two things have nothing to do with one another; it's like attacking john mccain for not having the full use of his arms because you don't agree with his politics, or criticizing katherine harris' hairstyle because you feel she fixed the election for the bushes. it's a cheap shot intended purely to be cruel, and it has nothing to do with the person's actions, which can be farly criticized.

in any case, I think cruelty is always over the line.

I made my comment in the thread to register that point of view; my comment here was intended to elucidate my reasons for bothering to post there at all.
posted by rebeccablood at 11:51 AM on November 21, 2001


gleemax: "could care less" [is] more hostile (or is that just my feeling?).

"I could care less" always just sounds ignorant to me, as if the person never bothered to think about what they're saying....
posted by rebeccablood at 11:53 AM on November 21, 2001


Agreed, rebecca. I meant that the (sarcastic) "could care less" is more hostile. (I.e., like Marquis said, "I could care less," emphasis on the could, which of course is more easily expressed verbally.) Personally, I don't think I've ever heard someone say it like that (it's always been said just like someone would say "I couldn't care less," leading me to believe that they just picked up the bastardized version).

Also, I'd like to apologize for fucking up this MetaTalk thread. I didn't mean to.
posted by gleemax at 12:02 PM on November 21, 2001


I'd just like to mention that I am in fact listening to Neil Young's "F**kin' Up" right at this very moment. So I take that as a direct message from Mr. Young that you are forgiven, gleemax.

I definitely agree on the "care less" issue, rebecca. I'm sure you have been waiting with bated breath to find out my stance on that hot button issue, so I'm glad to have been able to put your mind at ease.

Shall we open up the whole "Same difference" can of worms? And, rest assured, someone within a fair distance of you is at this very moment either saying or thinking of saying "irregardless".
posted by Kafkaesque at 12:27 PM on November 21, 2001


Yeah, I'm sorry for the de-railment. I got all excited that I could correct both rebeccablood and jpoulos in one swell foop. I mean, come on, nitpicky spelling point or no, there's no way I'm letting that one get away. My therapist says it's set me back months.

And I always assumed the full phrase was "like I could care less", sort of an implicit as-if.

Sorry again for the spelling thing.
posted by gleuschk at 12:35 PM on November 21, 2001


Sorry again for the spelling thing.

Like we could care less.
posted by rodii at 12:40 PM on November 21, 2001


wow. swell foop is beautiful. My boot reer almost came out my nose. (Good thing I wasn't drinking any.)
posted by mattpfeff at 12:59 PM on November 21, 2001


That's a famous spoonerism. My favorite was a Two Ronnies sketch about spoonerisms which ended with the classic: "You're much too titty to be a preacher."

ha!
posted by Kafkaesque at 1:15 PM on November 21, 2001


spoonerisms ...
posted by walrus at 3:00 PM on November 21, 2001


eee-gads. I wrote that comment minutes before I went to bed. Don't deconstruct "I could care less". I was trying to make the point that it was just a silly comment. I don't have any respect for Flynt after learning about the egg sac incident. Point taken, from now on I'll make fun of him for being sleazy. And since my comment was a pun instead of a direct jab "ha ha ha he, has no use of his legs" I thought it wouldn't be something someone would take offense to.

"I could care less" always just sounds ignorant to me, as if the person never bothered to think about what they're saying....

Come on... taking a personal stab now? That is low. I think it's best to drop this before it gets worse.
posted by geoff. at 3:37 PM on November 21, 2001


settle down, geoff. I was directly answering gleemax's question, as I indicated by quoting it above my reply. I scrupulously avoid personal attacks, as long-standing mefi's can attest....
posted by rebeccablood at 3:43 PM on November 21, 2001


I'm sorry. I took it wrong.
posted by geoff. at 3:50 PM on November 21, 2001


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