You should see my fridge May 3, 2007 5:55 AM   Subscribe

How personally embarrassing does something have to be to qualify for an anonymous AskMi? Mold in one's microwave?
posted by beagle to Etiquette/Policy at 5:55 AM (86 comments total)

I dunno, I'd be pretty embarressed if I was that paranoid about mold.

In other news, the image of mutant mold growing an eye totally freaks me out.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 5:58 AM on May 3, 2007


Is this question intended to showcase the moldy microwave, beagle? Or are you asking users who've posted anonymous questions to out themselves as to motive?
posted by cgc373 at 5:59 AM on May 3, 2007


Good grief, we've been over this. More than once. If someone wants to ask anonymously, and Matt and/or Jessamyn and/or Cortex gives the okay, why on Earth do you care?
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:08 AM on May 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


I was pretty confused as to why that post was anonymous. Doesn't it create extra work for the admins? Maybe anon just wanted an extra AskMe question.
posted by RokkitNite at 6:08 AM on May 3, 2007


Looks to me like beagle is asking what the parameters are for approving an anonymous question. Is your question about beagle's motives, or are you making a passive-aggressive snark?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:09 AM on May 3, 2007


beagle is the anonymous microwave owner, and this thread is just him disassociating himself.
posted by Pigpen at 6:11 AM on May 3, 2007


Microwave mould and the people who allow it to happen fucking disgust me. If I found out who posted this, there would be fucking shit to pay.

Filthy fucks.
posted by a non e mouse at 6:22 AM on May 3, 2007 [6 favorites]


Doesn't it create extra work for the admins?

Not much, really; a really contentious anonymous question might—both thread pruning and offband communication with the anon poster for followups—but the more contentious the thread, the more likely it is that the reason for anonymity is obvious.

I tend to blink at a lot of these and leave them for jessamyn to do with what she will; I think I'm sort of bad cop to her good cop on anonymous submissions, but I think a lot of them are sort of, what? Huh? type material. But except for the occasional super-trivial or whacko submission, most of 'em aren't cause for fuss either way.

Jess has told me that she'll often go ahead and post an otherwise shrugworthy anonymous question if the submitter writes to ask her to do so, as well; some of the eyebrow-raisers may be a symptom of that kind of proactive "hey, can you approve my anon please?" user followup.

But mostly it's just not that big of a deal.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:22 AM on May 3, 2007


AskMi: I'm not a very dirty person so I was quite surprised when...
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 6:31 AM on May 3, 2007


Look: I don't have a turkey!
posted by Dizzy at 6:32 AM on May 3, 2007


Another possible reason for anonymity -not neccessarily in the mold case- is less about revealing info to strangers and more aimed at people known personally who read the site. Not that I've ever asked anonymously, but I've had someone say to me, "Saw your question on AskMe..." and it caught me off guard.
posted by yeti at 6:33 AM on May 3, 2007


why on Earth do you care?
Because I think the value of this site depends in part on the profiles or "personalities" that are built up on user pages by means of the accumulated history of postings and comments by each user, whether or not that user puts their actual identity on their user page. Anonymous posting of questions is an obviously useful thing in many situations, but if there are essentially no limitations on the granting of anonymity, and it becomes available simply at the poster's request, then we're all losing something by not being able to look at the poster's other interests and views. If there are no criteria for anonymity, it would be simpler to make AskMi questions anonymous by default, with the poster having to check a box when posting in order to be identified by their handle. (I'm not suggesting that, but it's the logical extreme in illustration of my point.)
posted by beagle at 6:44 AM on May 3, 2007


Member A: [uses metatalk for its intended purpose]
Member B: What the fuck do you care?

etc. etc.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 6:51 AM on May 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


Because I think the value of this site depends in part on the profiles or "personalities" that are built up on user pages by means of the accumulated history of postings and comments by each user, whether or not that user puts their actual identity on their user page.
...we're all losing something by not being able to look at the poster's other interests and views.


I don't get how this is applicable to the moldy microwave. I can see it in the case of more meta questions, but I don't get it here.

I'm not being snarky, I truly don't get it... and I would love some elaboration because see this argument made a lot around MeTa.
posted by pineapple at 6:57 AM on May 3, 2007


Because I think

You keep using that word. I don't think it means what you think it means.
posted by loquacious at 6:57 AM on May 3, 2007


The criteria for anonymity are fairly loose, but we'll know if someone is abusing the system. I personally wouldn't care if you knew what grew in my microwave, but I know a fair amount of people who take cleanliness issues much more seriously than me and might not want to broadcast stuff like that.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:58 AM on May 3, 2007


How inane must a callout be before it is not considered for a MetaTalk post? Mold in one's microwave?
posted by carsonb at 7:02 AM on May 3, 2007


I don't think

You keep using that phrase. I think it means what it says.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:03 AM on May 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


aren't we all anonymous anyway? i mean, unless faint of butt, pineapple, loquacious, and modernnomad are in fact our real names.
posted by modernnomad at 7:05 AM on May 3, 2007


On the other hand, just how important is that I know who is Moldy Microwave Man?
posted by jonmc at 7:26 AM on May 3, 2007


I've never posted anonymously, but on the couple of occasions when I've thought about doing so, it was not because of embarrassment but because I wanted to plan something surprising for someone who might come across the post. "I want to get my wife an XYZ for her birthday; what's your recommendation?"

So in this case, we can conclude that the poster wants to surprise his wife on her birthday by cleaning their mold-encrusted microwave, which has long been a source of contention in their household.
posted by staggernation at 7:27 AM on May 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


I apologize for going on the attack. The issue of what justifies anonymity really doesn't concern me. I just got irritated because this is already well trodden ground in MeTa. I'm sorry.
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:28 AM on May 3, 2007


aren't we all anonymous anyway?
Yes, most of us are anonymous, I would guess. But by reading a user's posts and comments over time, we get some idea what kind of person is behind the handle. Anonymous posts (like sock puppet posts, which used to garner plenty of criticism) block that ability.

I don't get how this is applicable to the moldy microwave. The listing of a moldy microwave post on one's user profile might not add much to the "personality", but it adds something. And in combination with other posts, it might add something significant.

I'm not against anonymous questions, they enrich the site. But the bar should be set a little higher.
posted by beagle at 7:29 AM on May 3, 2007


aren't we all anonymous anyway? i mean, unless faint of butt, pineapple, loquacious, and modernnomad are in fact our real names.
posted by modernnomad at 7:05 AM PST on May 3

ND¢ is my real name. That other name is just my "Mr. Anderson".
posted by ND¢ at 7:29 AM on May 3, 2007


Possibly the poster is embarrassed about their germophobia or weak knowledge of science. Or more likely, they're Amish and the mold is growing because the microwave is concealed in a damp basement.
posted by teleskiving at 7:32 AM on May 3, 2007 [2 favorites]


aren't we all anonymous anyway? i mean, unless faint of butt, pineapple, loquacious, and modernnomad are in fact our real names.

Actually, my parents are both neuroscientists.

And assholes.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:39 AM on May 3, 2007 [4 favorites]


Some of us are not anonymous. I think that can enrich the site even more. MetaFilter has a vastly different feel to some other web communities for me because a good deal of the people are not anonymous.

The flip side of this is that for people who choose to make their identity public, it's a bit easier for embarassing details to come out. Maybe the anonymous poster doesn't want their next prospective employer or date to Google them and decide that this person is so filthy that they have mold growing on their cooking appliances (whether justified or not).

I'm a bit perplexed at someone who is pseudoanonymous, like beagle, pointing the finger at someone who chooses to be completely anonymous. It's fine for you to be pseudoanonymous, but if someone takes it all the way, then it's OMG WE CAN'T STALK THE USERS ANYMORE. Which may have something to do with why these questions are anonymous. Would it be better if they had to shell out another $5 for a new pseudonym?
posted by grouse at 7:42 AM on May 3, 2007


OMG whose microwave is this really? I need to know in case I was served food from it? I think I am feeling ill already.
posted by caddis at 7:53 AM on May 3, 2007


See, it is already affecting my punctuation.
posted by caddis at 7:54 AM on May 3, 2007


I wanna why my potential anon post about was never put up, but moldy microwave gets a pass. It wasn't illegal in most states.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:56 AM on May 3, 2007


modernnomad

The pseudonyms we use online *are* often connected to our real identities, such that the questions and comments posted here can have (and occasionally *have* had) real-world repercussions.

Even beyond that, our pseudonyms (and other personally identifiable information) are often shared between several different online products and services. This allows people to examine submitted questions for context that the OP really did not intend to supply.

I, for instance, am occasionally confronted (though never yet on this service) with a couple of incredibly silly text-pr0n stories connected to my domain via injudicious use of an e-mail address.

The two seminal examples of this phenomenon on Metafilter are ebaygate and ricergate.
posted by The Confessor at 7:58 AM on May 3, 2007


/waits patiently for someone to storm in here with their shiny new Moldy Microwave Man sock puppet and pretend to flame out
posted by popechunk at 7:58 AM on May 3, 2007


I hear that the HD DVD processing key can do wonders for moldy microwaves
posted by matteo at 7:59 AM on May 3, 2007


People who write "mould" should be executed, IMO.
posted by Mister_A at 8:01 AM on May 3, 2007


Oh, now it has turned into a kill the Brits thread.
posted by caddis at 8:11 AM on May 3, 2007


Kirth Gerson, I wasn't snarking; I just wrote something that didn't come out right. I can see it as snark, now, though. Sorry, beagle, for the dumb tone of my question. You're clearly asking about site norms, which is what MetaTalk is for, so we're all cool, and all carrying on.
posted by cgc373 at 8:14 AM on May 3, 2007


The only anonymous question I'd (hypothetically) want to ask would be ones I didn't want associated with my online identity. People still sometimes pull out askme posts in snark fests: "Oh yeah, well what kind of idiot asks about..." and my colleagues and friends know about metafilter and could potentially find something in my posting history if they cared to do so.

Anonymity is for doing something without letting people know you did it. I think the recent spate of anonymous-askme community policing is wrong-headed, and this is no exception. You don't get to know why an anonymous asker wanted to be anonymous: that's the point.
posted by anotherpanacea at 8:20 AM on May 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


aren't we all anonymous anyway?

No, many of us are not anonymous at all.
posted by Chuckles at 8:21 AM on May 3, 2007


On the other hand, just how important is that I know who is Moldy Microwave Man?

I, for one, would like to meet Moldy Microwave Man and shake his hand! Er, wait a minute, strike that.
posted by grateful at 8:31 AM on May 3, 2007


aren't we all anonymous anyway?

Yep.
posted by Dave Faris at 8:32 AM on May 3, 2007


I initially wondered why this question required anonymity, until I clicked through and read the whole post. From the tone of the question, I'm guessing the asker wonders where exactly a moldy microwave falls on the spectrum of grossness: whether it's a meh, a bleh, or a GEHHHHHENNA!

The question concludes with "money is tight right now and if I can safely continue to use this microwave, I will." If the asker can't assess the grossness level of mold, s/he doesn't know whether this is like saying "I dropped this toothbrush in the public sewage works. I can't really replace it right now, but would like to continue to use it if possible."

(Anonymous, if you're reading this, I'll admit: I have mold in my microwave right now.
posted by Elsa at 8:46 AM on May 3, 2007


But by reading a user's posts and comments over time, we get some idea what kind of person is behind the handle.

I agree with this 100%, but at the same time, it provides the very reason why someone might want to raise this question anonymously.

Would you want to be known, forever after, in all your posts and comments, as the guy who couldn't keep his microwave free of mold?
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 8:53 AM on May 3, 2007


I'm chronic worrier-over-small-stuff myself. Whenever I get caught up in the sort of self-perpetuating vortex-of-anxiety that anon was caught up in, a part of me knows very well that I've crossed the line from being reasonably concerned to being absurdly obsessive. At that moment, I'm very unlikely to communicate my worries to anyone else, for fear of (not unwarranted) embarrassment. I'd venture that anon was in a similar frame of mind.
posted by treepour at 9:23 AM on May 3, 2007


we're all losing something by not being able to look at the poster's other interests and views.

What a load of crap. If you're not interested in the mold question, don't answer it. If you are, do. Who the fuck cares what the questioner's "other interests and views" might be? He or she has mold in their microwave and wants to know how to get rid of it. Any concern about identity is obnoxious and irrelevant.
posted by languagehat at 9:24 AM on May 3, 2007


I am surprised we don't have a reply yet from theguywhocouldntkeephismicrowaveclean.
posted by caddis at 9:25 AM on May 3, 2007


Or how about this:
Maybe the OPs roommate is filthy AND obsessed with Metafilter. Maybe they've gotten into copious arguments about the microwave.

Maybe the OP knows people (coworkers, family, dates, etc.) who are on Metafilter and don't want them to know he/she has a moldy microwave.

Maybe there is a follow up question planned in the future and the OP doesn't want them linked (ex. How do I move out of my apt...etc.)

Maybe the OP is embarrased because he's too poor to buy a new microwave.

Maybe...just maybe...we should keep our eyes on our own plates of beans and not worry about it so much.
posted by iamkimiam at 9:26 AM on May 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


Do you really want to stuff your craw full of beans that were heated in a moldy microwave?? Go right ahead, Mr. Crazy Chancy McRisktaker. I'm just going to sit here and eat my beans straight from the can. Ew there's that little blob of pork fat.
posted by iconomy at 9:40 AM on May 3, 2007


we're all losing something by not being able to look at the poster's other interests and views

There's a part of me that agrees with that, beagle. I hear you, but when I get right down to the floor it seems like the thing lost is less important than the thing gained, and that erring on the side of permissiveness, with an eye kept out for abuse, is the most easy-going and least problematic way to deal with the question.

We do lose a very little something in the form of crossreferenceable datapoints about a user identity when someone asks anonymously rather than in the clear. As a sort of armchair conversational anthropologist, I see that as a genuine loss, though on a tiny scale. But so what? We lose that information every time someone asks anonymously regardless of the seeming merit of anonymity for that given question. Why have anonymous questions at all, then?

Is the value of consistent, uninterrupted user identity data greater than that of supporting anonymous questions? If not, where do we draw the line, exactly, and why? Can you state that breaking point, definitively and to the satisfaction of a strong majority of mefites with an opinion on the subject? If you can't do so, in which direction do we err, and what are consequences, who carries them, and what is the impact on how the site is used?

It's not an idle question, or one that can just be simplified to "the bar should be higher", because the bar isn't an explicit and easy-to-handle entity.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:12 AM on May 3, 2007


Who the fuck cares what the questioner's "other interests and views" might be

I do, for one. And, "Identity is important in a community." So sayeth No. 1, in a similar context. It has nothing to do with just the mold in the microwave; the issue I'm raising is how much incremental anonymity do you allow before it becomes a Bad Thing.
posted by beagle at 10:12 AM on May 3, 2007


Cortex, thanks, I think the question has been answered fairly.
posted by beagle at 10:13 AM on May 3, 2007


That is, I take your questions as being rhetorical. At least, you are right, there are no easy answers here. The whole thing is just something to keep in mind. Identity, whether it is "pseudoanonymous" or actual, is one of the things that make this site work.
posted by beagle at 10:20 AM on May 3, 2007


Yeah, very much rhetorical. Though if someone felt like taking a stab at a philosophical essay on the costs, benefits, and explicit calibration of anonymous question-asking on metafilter, I'd totally kick back with a cup of coffee and read the thing.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:22 AM on May 3, 2007


There's probably a key data point knowing that someone who has mold in their microwave has also, for example, posted a comment about their drug use in the Forbes Top 10 ganja thread. But I think it's probably safe to just assume that one inevitably leads to the other.
posted by Dave Faris at 10:38 AM on May 3, 2007


I think I'd rather have mold in my microwave than a fish in my pants. Unless the microwaves were altering its genetic structure and causing it to mutate into Donald Trump, or something.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:39 AM on May 3, 2007


we're all losing something by not being able to look at the poster's other interests and views


You know who else collected personal information for the "good" of the "community"?
posted by oneirodynia at 10:42 AM on May 3, 2007


1) Spray kitty with Windex.
2) Insert kitty into microwave.
3) Hit "Popcorn".
4) Sponge off interior.


5) Wait for flamage.
posted by Dizzy at 10:54 AM on May 3, 2007


That cat is gonna scratch the hell out of the microwave interior if you don't prepend the necessary step 0.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:59 AM on May 3, 2007


"The inside of Mommy's microwave is not a cat toy!"
posted by French Fry at 11:26 AM on May 3, 2007


Step 0 is removing the kitty's foreskin?
posted by Burhanistan at 11:32 AM on May 3, 2007


I used the Veg-O-Matic for that.
Silly!
posted by Dizzy at 11:33 AM on May 3, 2007


Sorry, couldn't keep my hands off the fruit that causes the branch near the ground to sag low.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:34 AM on May 3, 2007


You know who else collected personal information for the "good" of the "community"?

No, who?
posted by grouse at 1:13 PM on May 3, 2007


The Spanish Inquisition, that's who.
posted by oneirodynia at 1:52 PM on May 3, 2007


I expected that.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 1:54 PM on May 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


"Ew there's that little blob of pork fat."

The first time I noticed that little blob of pork fat in a can of beans, I thought it was mold.
posted by found dog one eye at 2:05 PM on May 3, 2007


So is this "You know who else" meme a Monty Python thing?
posted by grouse at 3:18 PM on May 3, 2007


I think it's more of a "making fun of Godwin-predicated Hitler comparisons in internet arguments" thing, which has of late been in sort of a high cycle as a metafilter thing.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:22 PM on May 3, 2007


Maybe like the person implied in the meme, the meme could go underground and hide for awhile then eventually shoot itself in the head while biting down on a cyanide capsule. Gone.

You know who else hid underground and offed himself when all was lost?
posted by Burhanistan at 3:41 PM on May 3, 2007


Gorman and Vasquez?
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:43 PM on May 3, 2007


So is this "You know who else" meme a Monty Python thing?

I'm probably missing a joke here, but it's a Colbert thing, right?
posted by teleskiving at 3:55 PM on May 3, 2007


You know who else was in a Python sketch?

Hilter.
posted by oneirodynia at 3:56 PM on May 3, 2007


"Ew there's that little blob of pork fat."
"The first time I noticed that little blob of pork fat in a can of beans,"

What! You have blobs of pork fat in your beans in America?
posted by tellurian at 5:19 PM on May 3, 2007


I'm sure he meant a can of pork and beans. I hope.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:35 PM on May 3, 2007


HI I'M ON METAFILTER AND I COULD OVERTHINK A CAN OF BEANS.
posted by grouse at 5:43 PM on May 3, 2007


Engage the Osculation Overthinker, Buckaroo!
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:54 PM on May 3, 2007


I like the little blob of pork fat.
posted by jonmc at 5:57 PM on May 3, 2007


The little blob of pork fat is the best part.
posted by Dizzy at 6:20 PM on May 3, 2007


Maybe someone should start marketing bean and porks - a tin comprised of cubes of pork fat with a single bean in it, for flavoring.
posted by iconomy at 6:30 PM on May 3, 2007


iamkimiam nailed it: the OP's mom reads AskMe and she knows his username! Wouldn't you post anonymously?
posted by Quietgal at 7:13 PM on May 3, 2007


You know who else overused snowclones?

You did.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 7:56 PM on May 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


If the asker wasn't anonymous, you just know it would be the *one thing* that ended up in one of cortex's songs.
posted by juliplease at 8:22 PM on May 3, 2007


At one of the Asian supermarkets here you can buy baked pork blood...in cubes.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:01 PM on May 3, 2007


You all have it wrong. Obviously "mold in the microwave" is an euphemism.
posted by Catfry at 3:47 AM on May 4, 2007


Michael Palin is awesome. Best fake Nazi ever.
posted by Mister_A at 9:04 AM on May 4, 2007


I completely agree, Mister_A. The silent shots of him looking coldly into the camera are one of the best parts of that sketch.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:11 AM on May 4, 2007


Mister_A writes "People who write 'mould' should be executed, IMO."

Whats the matter Mister_A, your favourite harbour neighbourhood mould sceptic plough into the arse of your ochre grey coloured coupé in the theatre district making it hard for your mummy to recognise?
posted by Mitheral at 4:22 PM on May 4, 2007


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