Moderation needed June 13, 2007 4:43 AM   Subscribe

Can admins take a look at this AskMeFi question? It's a genuine question about a biblical story but it's being hijacked by the atheist brigade.
posted by humblepigeon to Etiquette/Policy at 4:43 AM (80 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

The question seems fairly silly in the first place ("I'm an atheist, and I'm doing the catering for a 5000-strong party. Any tips for feeding them all, Jesus-style?"), but plenty of the answers are asking for deletion.
posted by Aloysius Bear at 4:55 AM on June 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


Agreed. Flagged the hell out of a few of these.
posted by brautigan at 5:02 AM on June 13, 2007


There are a couple of objectionable comments, I flagged one of them, but as one of the atheists who posted replies there, I don't like the phrase "hijacked by the atheist brigade" - it's not descriptive of what has happened and seems intended as something of a group attack.

I may be being a little over-sensitive about this, but there are many ways this MeTa post could have been phrased without the crude generalisation.
posted by WPW at 5:12 AM on June 13, 2007


The asker says in the more inside;

"I'm working on the assumption that God does not really exist. I'm a strict atheist. I'm just looking at this from a self-development point of view."


If a lot of atheists are responding in the thread with atheist points of view, I think that's warranted given that the asker is an atheist and wants a non-spiritual answer relating to the concept of self-development.

If anything, admins need to keep an eye on the thread to make sure the God-patrol don't start preaching the word of the divine in there.
posted by Effigy2000 at 5:14 AM on June 13, 2007


I know for a fact that Jesus shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die.
posted by Plutor at 5:32 AM on June 13, 2007 [4 favorites]


I certainly wasn't trying to be offensive with my answer. Everyone likes a good Road Story, and the Bible is no different than many other story books in that respect.
posted by chuckdarwin at 5:32 AM on June 13, 2007


Plutor, I like Johnny Cash as well as the next guy, but he's not God.
posted by konolia at 5:33 AM on June 13, 2007


I'm just looking at this from a self-development point of view

Look, the OP could have said 'there are many folks in history who have had epiphanies/transformations. can you give examples of these and how they happened'

Instead he took an epiphany/transformation from the New Testament, which is only somewhat factual at best, which has a large bit of the supernatural to it, and asked what might have happened out there besides "Jesus was tempted by Satan"

It deserved saying that there may have been no trip to the desert and/or no transformation.
posted by poppo at 5:33 AM on June 13, 2007


That's one weirdass fucking question, badly written and full of contradictions.
posted by mediareport at 5:42 AM on June 13, 2007


I realize it's counter to the spirit of MeFi, but there's a strong argument that discussions about religion should be banned. The problem seems to be that a lot of people have problems with religion, in the same way that some people have problems talking about their mother, or problems with food. It touches nerves, and their responses then inspire other people to react in certain ways, and before long you have a cascade situation. People are mostly wise enough to not talk about party politics on MeFi, or other incendiary topics, but it seems that religion slips through everybody's defences.

I may be being a little over-sensitive about this, but there are many ways this MeTa post could have been phrased without the crude generalisation.

Well, you are, but the point I wanted to make is that the discussion the atheists are making has been pedalled a zillion times before (ditto with the opposing argument) You might even be able to match up usernames against repeat offender lists, if you could be bothered. But from a objective standpoint, it really does look like a bunch of atheists descend on the discussion and ruin it.
posted by humblepigeon at 5:50 AM on June 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


But from a objective standpoint, it really does look like a bunch of atheists descend on the discussion and ruin it.

What "objective standpoint"? The one in your head? You're really overreacting, humblepigeon. The question was *posted* by an atheist who is apparently confused about the historicity of the bible. There's nothing wrong with other atheists asking questions about where the poster is coming from, and noting that his hypothetical question doesn't really make sense.
posted by mediareport at 5:54 AM on June 13, 2007


The whole question should be pulled. Where is the "concrete answer" part of this question even possible. Chatfilter disguised as religious seeking.
posted by filmgeek at 5:55 AM on June 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


No. Questions about religion are perfectly legitimate. And there are plenty of atheists (me included) who are more than willing to discuss theological questions as if they were simply questions about Robinson Crusoe (i.e. harmless fiction). People who think that religion questions are valid shitting ground for their personal opinions on the historicity of the religion are the problem here. Not the questions themselves.
posted by Plutor at 5:55 AM on June 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


That was in response to humblepigeon.
posted by Plutor at 5:56 AM on June 13, 2007


I agree with filmgeek — the question itself is chatfilter, and as such, offends more than the answers.
posted by Brittanie at 5:58 AM on June 13, 2007


For one, he could simply command people to follow him. For twos... For threes...

For "fourths": this is chatfilter and should be nuked with great prejudice.
posted by prostyle at 5:58 AM on June 13, 2007


Yank the diddly-dang question already. It's meaningless. It's not even wrong. It's null-set superfluity. It's like rain on your wedding day. It's among the unloved, the unloveable, and the unlikely to be loved. It can WAX MY ANUS. It's a few doughnuts short of a six-pack. In summary: abort, abort, abort.
posted by adamgreenfield at 6:04 AM on June 13, 2007 [2 favorites]


And there are plenty of atheists (me included) who are more than willing to discuss theological questions as if they were simply questions about Robinson Crusoe (i.e. harmless fiction). People who think that religion questions are valid shitting ground for their personal opinions on the historicity of the religion are the problem here.

Well, you're guilty of your own criticism right there. You tell us your opinion that the Bible is fiction. Then you say it's not right for people to use religious questions as "shitting ground for their personal opinions".

Like I said, questions of religion are tied too intricately into people's characters and personalities to be discussed in an any way reasonable form online. Even on MetaFilter.
posted by humblepigeon at 6:04 AM on June 13, 2007


Huh?

What you've identified is a problem in this thread, where the person asking is looking for a theological reason and people are hurling alternate secular theories at him.

An atheist wants theories about a portion of a biblical tale. If people weren't responding in a favourable fashion, could the person asking not object? Could the person asking not make their own MeTa? If you really have this person's best interests at heart, why are you butting in when that person is perfectly capable of defining his own needs vis a vis the question?

I count Markovich responding in that thread three times, having a civilized conversation with those answering in the thread. Someone should MeTa this MeTa and ask you what the hell you are on about.
posted by dreamsign at 6:06 AM on June 13, 2007


That was in response to humblepigeon.

The personal response. Is my argument getting any stronger yet?
posted by humblepigeon at 6:08 AM on June 13, 2007


questions of religion are tied too intricately into people's characters and personalities to be discussed in an any way reasonable form online. Even on MetaFilter.

Go look at that thread.
I see Markovich having a reasonable conversation.
Do you see something else?
I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!
posted by dreamsign at 6:08 AM on June 13, 2007


I was prepared to be sympathetic to the question until I actually read it. It's completely incoherent and useless as it stands. If the poster wants to know about "famous examples of sudden transformations from a nobody to someone great," he should have asked that, without reference to a Jesus story he doesn't even believe in (and, as better-informed people have pointed out in the comments, is not even Biblical—the Bible says Jesus spent time in the wilderness, not that he underwent any magical transformation there). I'd say nuke it and tell the poster to try again, after figuring out 1) what he really wants to say and 2) how to say it without inviting LOLGOD commentary.

That said, this is ridiculous and insulting:

I realize it's counter to the spirit of MeFi, but there's a strong argument that discussions about religion should be banned. The problem seems to be that a lot of people have problems with religion, in the same way that some people have problems talking about their mother, or problems with food. It touches nerves, and their responses then inspire other people to react in certain ways, and before long you have a cascade situation. People are mostly wise enough to not talk about party politics on MeFi, or other incendiary topics, but it seems that religion slips through everybody's defences.

Maybe we shouldn't talk about homosexuality, abortion, or any other contentious topics either. In fact, let's just stick to the weather and the state of everyone's health.

("People are mostly wise enough to not talk about party politics on MeFi"? Maybe you've been reading some other site?)
posted by languagehat at 6:15 AM on June 13, 2007 [4 favorites]


A lot of things are intricately tied into people's characters and personalities, like politics, art and family, and there's often unreasonable and unpleasant discussion of them online. I don't see why religion should be any different.

Re-reading that thread, it's not a very well worded question and the first couple of responses were unnecessary squibs. Then a fairly sensible and interesting discussion ensues. The only real trouble is that some people pick up the squibs and throw them back, and sparks land in the heap of dry leaves that is MeTa. Flag and ignore the one-line nasties; the 80% that's left is good stuff I think.
posted by WPW at 6:17 AM on June 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


I don't mean to defend the question. I hope to not leave that impression. But I do defend the right of any AskMe poster to define both the correct form of the question (subject to deletion guidelines) and acceptable answers.

This world would be a whole lot better off if people would stop getting offended for other people's sake.

Let's be honest, humblepigeon. That conversation is going just fine, as far as the poster goes. It isn't fine with you and you can't accept that it has nothing to do with you.
posted by dreamsign at 6:19 AM on June 13, 2007


humblepigeon: "Well, you're guilty of your own criticism right there. You tell us your opinion that the Bible is fiction. Then you say it's not right for people to use religious questions as "shitting ground for their personal opinions"."

This isn't AskMe. The rules are different here. I'm not pretending to answer an honest question about a skipped time period in the bible. I'm participating in a discussion about what community standards, if any, there should be regarding said class of questions. I don't think I was out of line by pointing out that I know of at least one person who can answer questions for people whose personal beliefs might not exactly correspond with my own.

humblepigeon: "The personal response. Is my argument getting any stronger yet?"

Huh? Individual responses to specific statements I disagree with is support for the argument for getting rid of all religious discussion? Well, then, we'd better discuss banning magazines, video games, and Wikipedia from the blue.
posted by Plutor at 6:26 AM on June 13, 2007


Cortex has now removed some comments from that thread, and it seems it won't be deleted as chatfilter, so perhaps now is the time to close this discussion.
posted by WPW at 6:34 AM on June 13, 2007


I'll see all you bastards in hell!!!
posted by Totally Zanzibarin' Ya at 6:39 AM on June 13, 2007


No. Now is the time for dancing and chanting and making merry. Oil up the eunuchs, and let us celebrate.

(FWIW, that question is a self-contradicting chatty abomination, and should be summarily executed. That said, the fact that the asker is explicitly seeking answers from an atheist perspective only makes this one of the silliest callouts ever - not just in the actual MetaTalk that we are aware of, but in every conceivable MetaTalk in every conceivable universe.)
posted by flashboy at 6:50 AM on June 13, 2007 [2 favorites]


That thread was a mess. The other biblical thread is kind of a mess, too, and so are a bunch of others this morning. Go easy on the moonjuice, people.

The questions that you don't like aren't exempt from the basic guidelines. The questions with whose premises you disagree are not exempt from the basic guidelines. The overall contentiousness of a given topic in general or on mefi specifically does not exempt answers to questions on that topic from the guidelines.

markovich's question is not great. It might get zapped; I haven't made up my mind, and Jessamyn is poking around the flag queue right now and might have stronger feelings. But there were a few comments in there that shouldn't have been, regardless, in particular the "BIBLE IS TOTALLY FAKE, STFU" stuff and the (less ranty but just as not helpful) reactions to it.

This is how I see it: even if you think it's chatfilter, make a game effort to actually answer the question or don't answer. Flag, email, start a metatalk thread if you think it merits it, but leave it there.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:52 AM on June 13, 2007 [3 favorites]


Like I said, cortex... your day job is way cooler than mine, but some days I don't envy you at all.
posted by chuckdarwin at 6:55 AM on June 13, 2007


Heh. This isn't my dayjob, chuck. My dayjob is much more dayjobby, believe me.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:08 AM on June 13, 2007


I don't like that question much personally but there's enough to go on imho to leave it there if people would just either discuss the topic the OP brings up or STFU and move on. There's nothing wrong with religious topics generally, there is something wrong with the religious hobbyhorse people (on both sides) determining that it's appropriate in all cases to turn a religious question into a teaching exercise with those who don't share their viewpoints. There are cases where I think "the atheist brigage" may be coming on a little strongly, but in this case (unless cortex was really doing some weed wacking) it seems like things are going okay.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:27 AM on June 13, 2007


the question itself is chatfilter

chatfilter? Pshaw. A little clumsy in the construction perhaps, but legitimate.
posted by caddis at 7:28 AM on June 13, 2007


Plutor, I like Johnny Cash as well as the next guy, but he's not God.
posted by konolia


Blasphemy !
posted by nola at 7:30 AM on June 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


Another thread in which our atheists demonstrate their need to cash in on a whole afterlife's worth of sanctimony while they're still alive and kicking.
posted by hermitosis at 7:39 AM on June 13, 2007 [3 favorites]


I like Mike Ness as much as anyone else, but he's not Johnny Cash.
posted by Smart Dalek at 7:53 AM on June 13, 2007


"Plutor, I like Johnny Cash as well as the next guy, but he's not God."

Not if the next guy's Plutor.

Anyway, shitty chatfilter atheist lolxtians question gets shitty chatfilter atheist lolxtians answers. Doesn't anyone remember GIGO?
posted by klangklangston at 8:04 AM on June 13, 2007


The problem seems to be that a lot of people have problems with religion, in the same way that some people have problems talking about their mother

Holden: Describe in single words only the good things that come to your mind about... religion.
Leon: Religion?
Holden: Yeah.
Leon: Let me tell you about religion.

Leon shoots Holden.
posted by shmegegge at 8:29 AM on June 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


Leon shoots Holden.

I don't remember Salinger writing that scene.
posted by GuyZero at 8:30 AM on June 13, 2007


I realize it's counter to the spirit of MeFi, but there's a strong argument that discussions about religion should be banned. The problem seems to be that a lot of people have problems with religion, in the same way that some people have problems talking about their mother, or problems with food. It touches nerves, and their responses then inspire other people to react in certain ways, and before long you have a cascade situation.

People having problems is the whole point of AskMe, you know.
posted by desuetude at 8:35 AM on June 13, 2007


What Would Jesus Post?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:37 AM on June 13, 2007


Doesn't anyone remember GIGO?

Apparently dumpster diving is an adequate endeavor for certain individuals.
posted by prostyle at 8:52 AM on June 13, 2007


Jesus' post was so rood.
posted by cog_nate at 9:03 AM on June 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


It's a stupid question anyway. "Hey, I'm an Atheist who doesn't believe in the bible, but let's suppose for a second it's literal truth. Just what the heck happened to Jesus to make him all command-y and oozing the charisma?! I mean that Jesus cuts one imposing figure!"

What could possibly have happened in that desert to not only inspire him, but also give him this ability to inspire others?

He watched The Secret on DVD.
posted by The God Complex at 9:49 AM on June 13, 2007 [2 favorites]


How do I join this "Atheist Brigade"? Are there dues or fees? Do I get a laminated card? This is all so confusing.
posted by exlotuseater at 10:03 AM on June 13, 2007


Here's some symbols you might use to recognise them.
posted by Happy Dave at 10:07 AM on June 13, 2007


I had a conversation with someone on the 12th that was almost point-for-point the same as this AskMeFi question. I've never had a similar discussion. I really don't have anything to add to this thread other than to say, "Hmm. That's pretty weird."
posted by sluglicker at 10:21 AM on June 13, 2007


In fact, let's just stick to the weather and the state of everyone's health.

See a doctor. Now.
posted by agropyron at 10:38 AM on June 13, 2007


and bring an umbrella.
posted by quonsar at 10:45 AM on June 13, 2007


So chatfilter questions in Askme are ok now?
posted by afu at 11:30 AM on June 13, 2007


I don't remember Salinger writing that scene.

Don't be a Dick.
posted by NationalKato at 11:34 AM on June 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


"This question has a whiff of amiriteness...

I don't have an opinion about anything relevant here, including whether this little bon mot from zamboni in the AskMe is aptin this particular instance, but I like the idea of amiriteness as an entity, and the idea that it has a discernable odor.
posted by Kwine at 12:08 PM on June 13, 2007


Maybe we shouldn't talk about homosexuality, abortion, or any other contentious topics either. In fact, let's just stick to the weather and the state of everyone's health.

Dad? That you? Wadda you doin' here on MeFi?
posted by ericb at 1:06 PM on June 13, 2007


Dad? That you?

Actually, that's pretty much my dad's attitude. He was a good man, god rest his soul, but he couldn't stand dissension at the dinner table (or anywhere else, really). How he would have hated MetaFilter!
posted by languagehat at 1:48 PM on June 13, 2007


How do I join this "Atheist Brigade"? Are there dues or fees? Do I get a laminated card? This is all so confusing.

No, all you need is to be a smartass. Hey, you're in!
posted by humblepigeon at 2:03 PM on June 13, 2007


I like the idea of amiriteness as an entity

It's actually one of the five primary attributes for the new WotC-produced metafilter pen-and-paper RPG, Mefight.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:10 PM on June 13, 2007 [2 favorites]


How he would have hated MetaFilter!

Paradoxically, MetaFilter would have loved him.
posted by davejay at 2:56 PM on June 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


I have an enchanted +10 snarkthong, platemail with environmental damage reduction of 20/elephantpiss, and a Ring of Flameout which can cast HatSignal 3/day.

Bring it on.
posted by CKmtl at 3:02 PM on June 13, 2007 [3 favorites]


I disrupt your Field of Anonymity spell with my Ipswitch of Adminning. Roll to save vs. banning.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:21 PM on June 13, 2007


tosses CKmtl his Shield of quonsar to give him +5 on his save vs. banning.
posted by shmegegge at 3:46 PM on June 13, 2007 [2 favorites]


I roll an unassisted 20 on my save vs. banning (granting me an AOO), and counterattack by hurling a flask full of Menocles' distilled Accusations of Fascism - a projectile weapon.

Roll reflex save.
posted by CKmtl at 3:52 PM on June 13, 2007


I find the censoring of this thread chilling: my comments were deleted and I was disappeared like a jew at auschwitz. I never thought it would happen at metafilter.
posted by Osmanthus at 4:54 PM on June 13, 2007 [5 favorites]


Osmanthus, forgive me if that was supposed to be silly right there, but I emailed you about your comments, the first of which was a random 'btw Jesus = Mithra, God = Zeus" aside and the second of which was a complaint about the first one disappearing because you 'must've offended some Christian' or something like that. You might want to lay off the Holocaust rhetoric.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:26 PM on June 13, 2007


Yeah, man, that lolocaust thread just closed today.
posted by klangklangston at 5:27 PM on June 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


I realize it's counter to the spirit of MeFi, but there's a strong argument that discussions about religion should be banned.

Are you badmouthing Thread? A lot of people miss Thread. You've hurt all their feelings. For shame, humblepigeon, for shame.

Okay, since I'm posting here, let me say one thing. Goddammit! I've had it up to my eyeballs with people tarring all atheists with the same brush. Y'know, most of us want Christopher Hitchens to be sent into afterschool detention to think about what he's done just as much as everyone else. Just because some atheists are assholes doesn't mean every godfrickin' atheist is one too. Much like with christians, muslims, buddhists, pagans, babalovers, zoroastrians, bahá'í, hindus et cetefuckinra. Please, fight intolerance where you find it. But if you fight it with namecalling and grouplumping you're not doing it right.
posted by Kattullus at 6:07 PM on June 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


I was disappeared like a jew at auschwitz

The Jews at Auschwitz weren't disappeared, pretty much everyone knew where they were taken and what happened. Records were kept as well.

"... disappeared like a ... in late-70s / early-80s Argentina" would be more apt.
posted by CKmtl at 6:27 PM on June 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


I never thought it would happen at metafilter.

its been happening at metafilter for a very long time. you have not been paying attention.
posted by quonsar at 7:01 PM on June 13, 2007


MetaFilter: a bunch of atheists descend on the discussion and ruin it.
posted by exlotuseater at 7:12 PM on June 13, 2007


“Doesn't anyone remember GIGO?”

Wasn't she an actress in the 60s?
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 7:17 PM on June 13, 2007


and I was disappeared like a jew at auschwitz.

Sort of, but not really, I wish people who used this phrase so trivially insulting would be indeed disappeared.
posted by edgeways at 7:31 PM on June 13, 2007


I realize it's counter to the spirit of MeFi, but there's a strong argument that discussions about religion should be banned.
It would be more productive to ban discussions about discussions about religion, if only because there are more of them.
posted by dg at 8:32 PM on June 13, 2007


I get 15+ favorites for relaying a joke I heard once at a comedy club. For my original Ralph Macchio joke in this thread, zip.

Clearly, I know nothing about comedy.
posted by frogan at 8:34 PM on June 13, 2007


There's just no way to make Ralph Macchio funny, frogan. Not even using Steve Vai. It's a comedic singularity.
posted by cgc373 at 8:59 PM on June 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


I find the censoring of this thread chilling: my comments were deleted and I was disappeared like a jew at auschwitz. I never thought it would happen at metafilter.

First, it's not chilling. If this was a government forum, and you made a valid point criticising the administration that got deleted, then that would be chilling. But this is a website run by a couple of guys and you posted an off-topic rant about your beliefs.

Second, the guys who run this site have made it really, really clear that their site has rules. One of those is fair but firm moderation. Post off-topic in AskMeFi and you're moderated. I've suffered from this too. Quite right. It's what makes AskMeFi so good. There's no waffle or ego-ranting or thread hijacking.

Thirdly, please don't trivialize the holocaust. Getting a shitty little comment deleted from a AskMeFi forum isn't the same as millions of Jews being murdered. It just isn't.

Fourthly, have you through about joining Reddit or Digg? I think you might enjoy it there more than MetaFilter.
posted by humblepigeon at 1:29 AM on June 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


Wow, Osmanthus, you went from being a guy who didn't read site guidelines to being a guy comparing himself to a Jew at Auschwitz. Staggering.
posted by sneakin at 4:22 AM on June 14, 2007


Holy crap.
posted by spitbull at 7:31 AM on June 14, 2007


Christ, what an asshole.
posted by tr33hggr at 12:27 PM on June 14, 2007


Personally, I was hoping it would be hijacked by some polytheists. I don't know anough about the personal transformation of many hindu and shinto incarnate gods, and I feel a lack.

I see a continuum, with polytheism as n>1 gods, theism as n=1 gods, and atheism as n=0 gods. If you get several self-identified theists together then they can start an aggro over whether they are unitarian, monotheist, monophysite, and so on. When you start ruling people in and people out of a discussion based on categorisation, what's next? You start disallowing any women with/without clitorises to offer answers about FGM, and ban men altogether? You start disallowing men with/without foreskins to offer answers about MGM, and ban women altogether? And all intersex people get a free pass?
posted by meehawl at 2:18 PM on June 14, 2007


Agnosticism = n<1 god?
posted by Kattullus at 3:59 PM on June 14, 2007


Agnosticism = DIVIDE BY ATHEISM ERROR
posted by team lowkey at 4:26 PM on June 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


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