Fixed that for you. July 7, 2007 2:37 PM   Subscribe

Moderators edit comments?
posted by Methylviolet to Etiquette/Policy at 2:37 PM (308 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

Yeah they do if you include LOL SPOILERZ in a Harry Potter thread. I would have emailed you but I would have thought it was OMG obvious.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:41 PM on July 7, 2007


Put another way, we almost never do it. I can't remember the last time I edited a comment that wasn't just a typo or fixing some HTML. Spoilers make people touchy, I don't know if Harry Potter does or does not die at the end of whatever damn number book we're on, but it was a throwaway part of your otherwise useful comment and flagged by a few people.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:44 PM on July 7, 2007


I almost e-mailed you, Methylviolet, but I figured your comment would be gone sooner or later. Seriously not cool.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:44 PM on July 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


I thought you either deleted, or didn't. But you have the line-item veto also?

I posted a comment to an AskMe thread that was 80% help, 20% joke. Joke's gone now. Not that the lame bit of snark you excised was much in itself, but it was an integral part of the Methylviolet experience.

Is this really something you do?
posted by Methylviolet at 2:44 PM on July 7, 2007


if it was a joke, why edit it?

was it a spoiler or obviously a joke?
posted by amberglow at 2:45 PM on July 7, 2007


Do you think "Harry Potter dies in the end" is a spoiler or a joke or both or neither?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:46 PM on July 7, 2007


AskMe is not about "the Methylviolet experience."
posted by sciurus at 2:46 PM on July 7, 2007 [8 favorites]


Snape kills Dumbledore.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 2:47 PM on July 7, 2007 [3 favorites]


Right -- well it was a LOLSPOILER.
I don't know what happens in Deathly Hallows and neither does anyone else -- the book has not been released -- so how could such a comment be considered a real spoiler? Hair trigger much?
posted by Methylviolet at 2:48 PM on July 7, 2007


So wait - you're saying Harry Potter is going to die?!? Shit. Shit shitshitshitshitshit SHIT!

Thanks for the spoiler alert on this thread, jerks.
posted by item at 2:48 PM on July 7, 2007


Harry Potter? SO GAY. Seriously. As a parade. Him & Malfoy. Not kidding.
posted by miss lynnster at 2:48 PM on July 7, 2007 [8 favorites]


On preview, you might want to edit that comment. Sorry. Total spoiler.
posted by miss lynnster at 2:49 PM on July 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


And if a phony spoiler is offensive -- why not delete the whole comment?
posted by Methylviolet at 2:50 PM on July 7, 2007


Sounds like you commented in the thread just so you'd have an excuse to post your LOLSPOILER, even though you knew it might get deleted. I can't imagine why you'd be going back to read your own comment otherwise.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:53 PM on July 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


why not delete the whole comment?

Usually, we would. It was throwaway nonsense that was flagged and I made a judgment call to remove just the part that I was sure people were complaining about so the rest of your comment could stay. It's rarely that cut and dried.

I don't know you and I don't know what you do or don't know about Harry Potter and LOLWHATEVER should probably stay out of AskMe. If you want me to go back and delete the whole comment in case I've dampened the Methylviolet experience, I'll be happy to.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:53 PM on July 7, 2007


Or maybe we'll ban you instead! Like Hermione bans Harry at the end of the new Harry Potter book.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 2:54 PM on July 7, 2007 [4 favorites]


So wait - you're saying Harry Potter is going to die?!? Shit. Shit shitshitshitshitshit SHIT!

Daniel Radcliffe: I think Harry Potter dies...
"TODAYshow.com: With the final book coming out, do you ever get a sense of impending doom? Do you think you will survive 'The Deathly Hallows'?

Daniel: I think I might die in it, but that’s just my prediction. I think so, but I’ve no idea at all; I have no inside hints."
posted by ericb at 3:03 PM on July 7, 2007


item : So wait - you're saying Harry Potter is going to die?!?

Everyone dies. Our heartbeat is nothing more than the clock counting down to this inevitable event. Harry, Hermione, Snape, Dumbledore, all of them will eventually die. It is the nature of life itself.






:::SPOILER ALERT:::

Everyone except Hagrid, that is. Dude is legendary. He'll live forever.

posted by quin at 3:03 PM on July 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


I am glad to hear that you don't make a policy of it, because it's bullshit.

When I am obnoxious, delete my remarks. You'll never see me running to MetaTalk over anything of mine you delete. You all do a terrific job of keeping the asshattery down and that's what makes this site a nice place to be. If I can't resist smearing poo on the walls sometimes -- I'm only human, and the walls are so nice and white -- I certainly can't cry if someone cleans it up.

Editing comments for content falls in another category. The completely not cool category.
posted by Methylviolet at 3:04 PM on July 7, 2007


i ate a bee
posted by killdevil at 3:05 PM on July 7, 2007

   ,-.   \ /  {|||)<   / \   `-^
posted by killdevil at 3:08 PM on July 7, 2007 [7 favorites]


Whether individual remarks of mine stay on the site -- your call.
Whether I have the ability to say anything here -- your call.
What I say -- NOT your call. Don't do that.
posted by Methylviolet at 3:11 PM on July 7, 2007


Methylviolet, I don't care about Harry Potter one way or the other but what you did was obnoxious.
posted by Tuwa at 3:11 PM on July 7, 2007


Can we close this thread and re-open it on Monday? Nobody is going to want to miss this.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 3:13 PM on July 7, 2007 [4 favorites]


I should probably use this space to preserve the following for our children, our children's children, and the genetically fried slime-mutants that will one day eat and replace them:

I have never read a Harry Potter book and do not care if the lovable little pedobait gets it in the end or not. Pun may be intended.
posted by item at 3:14 PM on July 7, 2007


I know of at least three others sites on the web besides this one. I'm not joking, they exist.
posted by purephase at 3:14 PM on July 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


NO WAI!
posted by IronLizard at 3:20 PM on July 7, 2007


When I am obnoxious, delete my remarks.

Please delete everything Methylviolet has said in this thread. Thx.
posted by languagehat at 3:20 PM on July 7, 2007 [16 favorites]


SPOILER: Potter ends up quitting magic school and enrolling in a Anglican seminary. Soon, he can't resist his old ways so he begins spiking communion wafers with spells to make people have visions. A new English religious rebirth ensues.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:31 PM on July 7, 2007 [2 favorites]


Harry Potter is Darth Vaders son ????????
posted by sgt.serenity at 3:32 PM on July 7, 2007


I'd either accept the compliment that someone took the time to preserve the part of your comment that answered the question or accept the offer of having the rest of it deleted as well...
There perhaps should be some indication when a comment has been edited though.
posted by muteh at 3:33 PM on July 7, 2007


sorry, AN Anglican (changed from Catholic but didn't change the article).
posted by Burhanistan at 3:34 PM on July 7, 2007


I do understand Methylviolet's point , it's one thing to delete a comment outright, it's another thing to select things to remove from a comment. I know that your intent was fair here jessamyn, but I have to agree that editting a comment shouldn't be an option.
posted by nola at 3:36 PM on July 7, 2007


nola, you've got it all wrong. The equation is:

Post + Pile on = Flame-out

Adding supporting comments could potentially change the result and then the next logical outcome is the complete destruction of the known universe.

Now, do you want that on your conscience?
posted by purephase at 3:44 PM on July 7, 2007


Oh, man, why do all the good flameouts happen when I have to leave? My kingdom for an iphone.

Who wants to send me updates via text message?
posted by sugarfish at 3:44 PM on July 7, 2007


What about if jessamyn left:
(Edited by jessamyn time/date - removed spoiler)
?
posted by djgh at 3:45 PM on July 7, 2007 [3 favorites]


You'll never see me running to MetaTalk over anything of mine you delete.

Just wanted to savor that.
posted by caitlinb at 3:47 PM on July 7, 2007


This place is so boring sometimes.
posted by bardic at 3:47 PM on July 7, 2007


I guess I never really got MeTa purephase. I'll do better next time I promise.
posted by nola at 3:48 PM on July 7, 2007


If you don't like it, leave. These colors don't run.
posted by Falconetti at 3:49 PM on July 7, 2007


I'm with muteh. I think I'd be flattered that someone took the time to preserve any part of a comment that got flagged for deletion.
posted by quin at 3:49 PM on July 7, 2007


Methylviolet, you're forgetting that your job at AskMe is to answer the question and then shut the hell up. It's for the good of the community.
posted by cillit bang at 3:51 PM on July 7, 2007


Methylviolet

What I say -- NOT your call. Don't do that.

Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

You'll find that modifying posts is a more-or-less common practice on just about any bloody forum you choose to be a part of. If you believe that Jessamyn or Cortex have exercised this privilege unfairly, either bring it up with Mathowie or start your own community.
posted by The Confessor at 4:01 PM on July 7, 2007


God damn moonberries.
posted by puke & cry at 4:01 PM on July 7, 2007


You'll find that modifying posts is a more-or-less common practice on just about any bloody forum you choose to be a part of.

That's totally irrelevant. Most forums also feature .sigs and animated icons.
posted by vacapinta at 4:07 PM on July 7, 2007


Jesus, jessamyn. Thanks a ton. Way to ruin the ending by deleting that comment and thus prompting Methylviolet to start this thread which had spoilers without warnings in it. Now the movie will be totally unentertaining to me.

And to think I'd gone to all that trouble to renovate a bomb shelter for myself to live in during the time between when the book came out and when the movie was released. Oh well.

Does anybody want some canned peas?
posted by koeselitz at 4:09 PM on July 7, 2007


I'm totally starting a band called the Methylviolet Experience. Who would like to play the bucket of cocks? Auditions are this Tuesday!
posted by scody at 4:15 PM on July 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


Spoiler:

Harry leaves school and becomes a herbalife salesman whilst running rebirthing workshops and writing small pamphlets about the benefits of cranio-sacral therapy.
posted by sgt.serenity at 4:20 PM on July 7, 2007 [2 favorites]


Lest anyone misunderstand the quotation from an interview of Daniel Radcliffe which ericb has reproduced above, allow me to explain. When Mr. Radcliffe says:

"Daniel: I think I might die in it, but that’s just my prediction. I think so, but I’ve no idea at all; I have no inside hints."

...he is speaking not from some insider relationship with J K Rowling, but from recollection of the angry glares he's always getting from the catering people during shooting when he loudly asks why the stuffed olives seem to be somewhat ancient or why the selection of sodas is so meager.

And my prediction: Daniel Radcliffe will certainly die during the next Harry Potter movie, if not before. The only real questions now are who's going to be the one to do it and who the hell they'll get to play Harry Potter.
posted by koeselitz at 4:25 PM on July 7, 2007


I agree that the concept of editing comments without any sort of notice is not really the best of things. It is misleading in a way that deleting someone's comments is not and I can understand why Methylviolet is upset.

I think the admins should be careful about modifying things, and consequently modifying what may or may not be the intent of a poster or commenter.
posted by that girl at 4:25 PM on July 7, 2007 [4 favorites]


Look, the admins do an excellent job of keeping the peace and maintaining a terrific standard of quality on the site. And if they're going to edit comments, I have no quarrel with that either: that's their prerogative. But no "silent" edits please. That's just wrong-headed form for a community forum.
posted by YamwotIam at 4:36 PM on July 7, 2007 [6 favorites]


Right, well, I am sorry to disappoint anyone hoping for a flame-out, but that isn't what I'm doing.

Is the Confessor right? Is it common for mods to edit for content? Maybe I am naive, but that comes as a big surprise to me. I thought, like Nola, that wasn't really done. Being part of a community like this would be kind of empty if you were not really seeing how the other members chose to present themselves. Did they remove the BUTTS LOL from the end of this comment? Or the trenchant political analysis from this one?
posted by Methylviolet at 4:39 PM on July 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


I think it's very uncommon, and very noteworthy as a result. I still don't see why in this case, either the whole thing was killed or the whole thing was left alone.
posted by amberglow at 4:42 PM on July 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


Really, people. Most writers have to PAY to get the services of a skilled editor. You get them free and then complain?
posted by IronLizard at 4:44 PM on July 7, 2007


Most writers have to PAY to get the services of a skilled editor.

Skilled editors work with their authors.
posted by YamwotIam at 4:46 PM on July 7, 2007


Editing, without leaving a clear comment that you have done so, and optionally WHY, is incredibly, incredibly, sleazy. No other way to put it. The post has our names on the end. It is forever marked as "by" us.

I think this place deletes too freely, but that, at least, does not leave a false impression of what we had to say. Editing does, and this is extremely, extremely, well, sleazy. I am sure it is usually done with positive intent, but as long as it says "posted by", it SHOULD NOT be edited without acknowledging that editing has been done. (and if editing is so rare.... it should be easy for the admins to do.)

(Edited by jessamyn time/date - removed spoiler)

/seconded.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 4:48 PM on July 7, 2007 [8 favorites]


I love the MetaFilter mods and I forever respect their editing decisions.

(Edited by jessamyn @ 7:52 PM, July 7)
posted by Count Ziggurat at 4:54 PM on July 7, 2007 [8 favorites]


Really, you people amaze me. Go take a fucking walk if someone messing with your words on the internet riles you up that much.
posted by puke & cry at 4:56 PM on July 7, 2007 [2 favorites]


Honestly, even if Hermione started birthing rabbits I really wouldn't care all that much. But yeah, that's me.

She doesn't start birthing rabbits, does she? Cuz I've kinda seen enough of that lately... seems a little cliché.
posted by miss lynnster at 5:01 PM on July 7, 2007 [2 favorites]


I don't much like the idea of silent editing of comments. It's true that in many, many forums and communities mods edit user comments from time to time but I don't recall very many at all where the edit itself isn't noted in some way.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not against the idea of mods (sparingly) editing comments. I just think such edits should be noted.
posted by LeeJay at 5:02 PM on July 7, 2007


SPOILER: Harry Potter's father is Voldemort.
posted by Burhanistan at 5:04 PM on July 7, 2007


Really, you people amaze me. Go take a fucking walk if someone messing with your words on the internet riles you up that much.

Fixed. I believe I captured the spirit of your comment.
posted by YamwotIam at 5:04 PM on July 7, 2007 [4 favorites]


I was kinda wondering about comment editing as well, but from the perspective of removing the advocating of illegal destruction of property in this comment.

I know I have had a comment or two edited as well, but usually for some glaring spelling or other error. I've never been notified, but it didn't occur to me that I should have been. Of course, in my case I was grateful.

Wait... Harry Potter is gay, and he dies?!
posted by The Deej at 5:17 PM on July 7, 2007


I would like to make a formal request that all my comments be edited to make them funnier, smarter, more accurate, and more interesting.
posted by The Deej at 5:18 PM on July 7, 2007


I want some candy.
posted by disclaimer at 5:23 PM on July 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


Including (Edited by jessamyn time/date - removed spoiler) is a good comprise.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:23 PM on July 7, 2007


Is the Confessor right? Is it common for mods to edit for content?

No, it's incredibly uncommon to edit a comment for anything other than a formatting issue or small kvetch called out by the actual user in a followup comment (e.g. "arg, luicd = lucid").

The rare occasions when I've discussed editing a comment for content with Jess, it's involved explicit contact with the user in question. I had someone try to chew my ass off a while back for not opting to edit another user's comment without their explicit permission.

Jessamyn made an unorthodox move in an attempt to fix a big community-reaction problem with your comment in a way that wouldn't zap the useful content thereof. Obviously, here, a controversial move, but also a really fucking unusual one.

The sky is not falling, and the outrage is shadowboxing. This is the weird outlier, not the norm.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:26 PM on July 7, 2007 [5 favorites]


How in the hell is removing a lame joke destroying the content of the comment?
The Methylviolet experience is a pompous, egotistical load of bull crap, the dirt was taken out of your snowflake and you whine, whine because someone dared to do so.
posted by edgeways at 5:36 PM on July 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


(Edited by jessamyn time/date - removed spoiler)

That should be part of the admin interface -- it should insert name/timestamp/reason automatically for all edited or entirely deleted comments. Revision tracking.

And adults should be allowed to read the original text unless the admin clicks the Destroy button because there's good reason (legal, startles the horses, etc.) to really destroy it forever, just as Wpmefnpsu destroys Ifsnjpof in the Harry Potter movie.
posted by pracowity at 5:36 PM on July 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


I would like to make a formal request that all my comments be edited to make them funnier, smarter, more accurate, and more interesting.
posted by The Deej quin at 7:18 PM on July 7 [+] [!]


Done.
posted by quin at 5:37 PM on July 7, 2007 [3 favorites]


This may require an edict.
posted by phoque at 5:37 PM on July 7, 2007


I would have rather seen my comment deleted rather than edited, no matter how good the intentions might have been.
posted by Dave Faris at 5:39 PM on July 7, 2007 [3 favorites]


edti away.
posted by yeti at 5:41 PM on July 7, 2007


I would like to make a formal request that all my comments be edited to make them funnier, smarter, more accurate, and more interesting.
posted by The Deej quin at 7:18 PM on July 7 [+] [!]

Done.
posted by quin


SPOILER: quin dies.
posted by The Deej at 5:41 PM on July 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


It's not like methylviolet said "I like babies" and Jessamyn edited it to say "I like horse porn"; it's more like methylviolet had something useful to say and for whatever reason decided to follow it with a silly trolling non sequitur.

Though I wouldn't mind an "edited" notation, maybe with a brief description ("edited by Jessamyn to remove a silly trolling non sequitur").
posted by Tuwa at 5:42 PM on July 7, 2007


Jesus fucking Christ are some people retarded.
posted by Methylviolet at 5:42 PM on July 7, 2007


Just what the rest of us were thinking.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:43 PM on July 7, 2007 [17 favorites]


To be super fucking clear: as a general administrative policy, we actually agree with the notion of not editing a comment for content/substance rather than just deleting or not. This was a really unusual exception. If you want to flame Jessamyn for making a bad call on this one, that's one thing; but understand that flaming a general policy of such editing is pointless because it doesn't exist.

The folks who are totally okay with having their comments edited thus will have to live with fact that it's pretty much not going to happen. Apologies in advance.

As for deletion markers for nuked comments, Matt's been pretty stoic on it the last few dozen times it's come up, so they probably aren't going to happen any time soon. We do our best to leave some notation when a thread is significantly altered by deletions, but zapping a one-off here or there probably will go unnoted.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:50 PM on July 7, 2007


I just took a long walk around my new 'hood with a fistful of Pop Ice. That's how I roll.
posted by sciurus at 5:54 PM on July 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


I like horse porn.
posted by languagehat at 5:57 PM on July 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


Hey! I totally did not say that!
posted by languagehat at 5:57 PM on July 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


Jesus fucking Christ are some people retarded.

I'm not so sure I enjoy this Methyviolet Experience.
posted by myeviltwin at 6:08 PM on July 7, 2007 [8 favorites]


so they probably aren't going to happen any time soon

Curious, what is Matt's reason for not doing deletion markers?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:13 PM on July 7, 2007


Jessamyn made an unorthodox move in an attempt to fix a big community-reaction problem

As I said, next time I'll nuke the whole comment. I will also be sure to include a link to this thread next time someone asks why I didn't just delete the one outlying LOLNONSENSE part of an otherwise decent comment instead of removing the whole thing.

We really try to keep anything someone writes just the way they wrote it. I thought I was doing Methylviolet a favor and she clearly didn't think so. Okay then.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:18 PM on July 7, 2007 [3 favorites]


I can't remember the details of what he's said on it off-hand, honestly; here's a couple metatalk threads where it came up—this is very much not an exhaustive list, just what I found on a quick google. Someone could put together a much better and pointed summary of the history of the topic with an hour and some elbow grease.

1, 2, 3.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:21 PM on July 7, 2007


As someone who on occasion has posted comments of jaw-dropping stupidity, I like the fact that they're forever available in my comment history... in case someone got the wrong idea about me.

Also, I thought it was common knowledge that no one actually knows anything about the plot of the next Harry Potter book. I mean, the fifty-something bureaucrats I work with make "Harry dies" jokes in the lunchroom. Then they argue whether his scar is a horcrux or not around the photocopier.

I would like there to be fewer deletions. I don't care if a few doubles slip through, or some posts which are light on content. If forced to make a choice, I'll always opt for mess over sterility.
posted by Kattullus at 6:26 PM on July 7, 2007


Editing comments for content feels wrong, but I like the idea of having a bit of give in the system, rather than having everything laid down stone.

As such Metafilter governance is more like the Westminster system of convention than the US's Constitution.
posted by Samuel Farrow at 6:32 PM on July 7, 2007


Laid down in stone - someone please edit my comment...
posted by Samuel Farrow at 6:33 PM on July 7, 2007


Thanks cortex! Interesting, one of those threads is where Matt first (?) mentions that jessamyn helping out. Neat bit of history.

As for why no deletion markers, Matt thinks they'll just spawn more threads as people complain about deletions or demands for more features, such as to see what was deleted.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:40 PM on July 7, 2007


oh for the love of god. WAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!! YOU'RE NOT PLAYING FAIR!!!! BAAAAAAAWWWWLLL!!! I'M GONNA GO TELL DADDY!!!

why is this becoming the central theme in MeTa?

*everyone* who views their contributions as some holy untouchable right really needs to back away from the keyboard and go outside for a little walk... that is, if they can fit their sense of entitlement out the door.

while you're at it, kindly take a deep breath and repeat ten times IT IS JUST AN INTERNET FORUM. all this talk of editors and standards, you'd think your precious comments were the next big thing on the NYT bestseller list. please, get some perspective.

the spoiled children rules nazis, they grow ever more petulant.
posted by lonefrontranger at 6:42 PM on July 7, 2007 [3 favorites]


Wait... Harry Potter is gay...

I like horse porn.


Naked Harry Potter and the Horse in Equus.
posted by ericb at 6:47 PM on July 7, 2007



Rage, rage Methylviolet against the dying of the light.

Though moderators at their end know editing is right,

Because their deletions had forked no lightning they

Do not go gentle into that good night.
posted by vronsky at 6:54 PM on July 7, 2007


I think you should stick with posting youtube videos.
posted by Dave Faris at 6:57 PM on July 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


"*everyone* who views their contributions as some holy untouchable right really needs to back away from the keyboard and go outside for a little walk..."

and everyone who trots out tired cliches like "go outside for a little walk" needs to really consider their lack of writing skillz.
posted by vronsky at 6:58 PM on July 7, 2007 [4 favorites]


I would have rather seen my comment deleted rather [sic] than edited, no matter how good the intentions might have been.

When Shakespeare's work is quoted in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, it is edited in the same way Methylviolet's comment was: shortened so that the relevant section is what remains. The assumption is that his work deserves to be included. I doubt anyone would agree that he should be left out because his entire body of work is not included. Now that we know how you feel, rest assured that a hundred years from now, we will leave you out of similar compilations (Metafilter: The Golden Years, et al).

Most writers are familiar with their work being edited in this way, whether for space or relevance. It's always a shock to think what you have written needs editing, of course, but hardly a violation of your rights when done by an op who is expected to keep track of flagged comments.
posted by misha at 6:59 PM on July 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


vronsky and Dave Faris, if you keep arriving in meta threads together, people will start to talk...
posted by Samuel Farrow at 6:59 PM on July 7, 2007


What a ridiculous way to take a stand, Methylviolet.
In principle silent editing is wrong and if you just sought to thrash that out I'd say fine, but you're coming over like some martyr here over a nothing incident.
Seems like an obviously unfortunate failed attempt at humour got axed, you've had that explained to you and it's now time to move on. Do you genuinely feel this is the brink of a slippery slope into having your words twisted on matters of substance? Come on.
posted by Abiezer at 7:00 PM on July 7, 2007


Which of you christ fucking retards wants me die in uranus?
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 7:07 PM on July 7, 2007


It is unfortunate that Metafilter is not the sort of place where people who can't tolerate spoilers get sneered at.
posted by b1tr0t at 7:08 PM on July 7, 2007


Harry Potter and the Prediction Pool -- "Who will survive "The Deathly Hallows?'"
posted by ericb at 7:09 PM on July 7, 2007


I don't understand Methylviolet's indignation.

Did mathowie ever say that comments wouldn't be edited under any circumstances? Is that written in the guidelines anywhere? All I've ever heard is that comments usually won't be edited, and sure enough, they usually aren't.

Did the editing cause any harm? Was Methylviolet's standing in the community hurt? Was some viewpoint wrongly attributed to Methylviolet? Seemingly not.

It appears, then, that Methylviolet is offended that the mods violated a rule that doesn't even exist, and in doing so, didn't hurt him at all.

Hmm.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 7:13 PM on July 7, 2007


Der, ok Dave Faris, this ones for you. Please take its sentiments to heart.
posted by vronsky at 7:13 PM on July 7, 2007


It is unfortunate that Metafilter is not the sort of place where people who can't tolerate spoilers get sneered at.

I'm trying to unravel the (double | triple | et al) negatives here.

Maybe I've had too much to drink, but I think this might be the right translation (???):
"It is fortunate that MetaFilter is the sort of place where people who tolerate spoilers get sneered at."
What Harry Potter spoilers have been revealed? By whom -- and with what authority?
posted by ericb at 7:18 PM on July 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


and everyone who trots out tired cliches like "go outside for a little walk" needs to really consider their lack of writing skillz.

you say this like you mean it to be an insult. dude, i never pretended to have any, uh, writing 'skilz' (as you so colloquially put it) to begin with. i never went to college. hell, i barely graduated high school and began flunking most of my classes right around fourth grade, to be exact. i've never cracked the cover of a chicago manual of style, even. and to judge by the attitudes of most of the pseudo-intellectual selfrighteous cognoscenti in this place, that means i'm barely qualified to be a member, much less capable of forming coherent sentences.
posted by lonefrontranger at 7:19 PM on July 7, 2007


I left the customers_suck community because every time any customer wants anything, they're given the appellation "entitlement bitch". (Well, that and the constant, slowly growing casual racism, but that's another story.) Only now, with exposure to the Methylviolet experience, do i understand that term.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:19 PM on July 7, 2007


er, that should read "the customers_suck community on Livejournal". Please feel free to edit that.

Please.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:20 PM on July 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


Jesus, jessamyn, you can't win. I can just see the thread Methylviolet would have posted if you'd have nuked the whole comment:

I know I added a snarky joke to an AskMe answer, but would it have been SO much to ask that the moderators just edit out the part they didn't like, instead of nuking the whole comment? That way at least readers would have had the benefit of at least SOME of the Methylviolet experience!

What a stupid thing to complain about.
posted by mediareport at 7:20 PM on July 7, 2007


"It is fortunate that MetaFilter is the sort of place where people who tolerate spoilers get sneered at."

I think it's actually the opposite- it is sad that Metafilter is the kind of place that bends at will to crying sniveling spoiler haters. b1tr0t, clarification?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:23 PM on July 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


This methylviolet experience, is it like the brown acid?
posted by IronLizard at 7:24 PM on July 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


jessamyn's just putting the cens back in censor!
posted by quonsar at 7:25 PM on July 7, 2007



"...I am obnoxious, delete my remarks... I can't resist smearing poo on the walls sometimes...
I certainly... cry if someone cleans it up.

Editing comments for content falls in another category. The completely... cool category.
-methylviolet

What the heck are you trying to say methylviolet? Have you changed horses in midstream? Something fishy is afoot! Metaphors are mixed!
posted by Mister_A at 7:25 PM on July 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


Harry Potter stold a flying car, I don't remember all the detail, I think he got drunk with one of his friends and wrapped it around a tree.

It probably had a spoiler but he evaded the authorities.
posted by phoque at 7:28 PM on July 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


i stold your speling lessin.
posted by quonsar at 7:43 PM on July 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


Harry Potter stold [sic] a flying car

Harry Potter's 'Flying' Car Stolen -- and later found.
posted by ericb at 7:47 PM on July 7, 2007


So long as "all posts are (C) their original authors" is in effect, I daresay any fucking around with the text of a message is verboten. Either the entire message goes, or it stays as-is. Anything else is a legal quagmire.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:02 PM on July 7, 2007 [7 favorites]


Oy vey. Yeah, I think Methylviolet's overreacting a bit, considering what was deleted, but I (and I'm sure many others) enjoy the majority of her posts and comments. So let's cool it with the"Fuck the fuck off and don't come back!". No? OK. I'm going out for a gelato.
posted by Devils Slide at 8:05 PM on July 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


I think moderators should be able to edit comments for any reason I see fit.

However, since the comments are signed by the original poster, that gives the not-unreasonable impression that they vouch for whatever it is above their name. Even small edits or omissions can sometimes alter the meaning of posts.

If you edit someone's post, you should leave a note that it was edited.

I don't think deleting someone's post entirely causes the same problems.
posted by empath at 8:06 PM on July 7, 2007 [2 favorites]


(uh, lol. any reason THEY see fit).. someone edit that..
posted by empath at 8:06 PM on July 7, 2007 [2 favorites]


We knew what you really meant, rotten autocrat.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:07 PM on July 7, 2007


This is why mods can't have nice things.

I feel no small amount of sympathy for them.
posted by Salmonberry at 8:16 PM on July 7, 2007


Not only do the admins edit comments, for the most part all the comments are written by cortex, and then randomly assigned to various users. Also, the admins see dead people, because their therapist is ALREADY DEAD...
posted by blue_beetle at 8:17 PM on July 7, 2007 [2 favorites]


*ties cuff, finds vein, injects methylviolet. ohhh goddd.*
posted by vronsky at 8:19 PM on July 7, 2007


I can understand why this is an issue that one might want to take a stand over, I can't really see why this comment would be the impetus for such indignation.

Calling people retarded because they don't share your sense of self-righteous violation over a comment you admit could have been deleted with no loss? Idiotic.
posted by OmieWise at 8:31 PM on July 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


That five bucks is paying out in spades.
posted by Nabubrush at 8:33 PM on July 7, 2007


Um. Everyone. I'm feeling a little left out. Can someone please offend me. Besides quin I mean, he does it out of habit, and it no longer has any effect. Fucker tried to kill me too.
posted by The Deej at 8:39 PM on July 7, 2007


I just did some calculations.

Colorectal surgeons deal with 73% less shit on a daily basis than Metafilter admins.

Give or take a shit percentile or two.

Stats acquired fishing in pants.
posted by phoque at 8:40 PM on July 7, 2007


So long as "all posts are (C) their original authors" is in effect, I daresay any fucking around with the text of a message is verboten. Either the entire message goes, or it stays as-is. Anything else is a legal quagmire.
Exactly. We're legally responsible for what we say here--by design, and being edited makes the mods responsible as well--i'm pretty sure they don't want that.
posted by amberglow at 8:45 PM on July 7, 2007


I superficially brought up © issues a bazillion years ago in this comment. Granted, it was about deleting comments and the legal responsibilities of the admins, but Matt's response may be applicable.

FWIW, I think editing comments bad mainly because it sets a precedent for rules-lawyers ("Well, you edited Methylviolet's useful but snarky response, why did you delete mine?!?"). I have no ethical qualms about it, I just think wholesale deletion of crap is far easier and less headache inducing.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:56 PM on July 7, 2007


"... I think editing comments is bad... "
Admins, please eidt me!

posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:57 PM on July 7, 2007


What would really be the harm in deleting every single comment from every user and starting over again?
posted by Burhanistan at 8:58 PM on July 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


ok ... here's the real scoop ... harry potter drops acid, sees god, gives up magic and becomes a chartered accountant
posted by pyramid termite at 9:08 PM on July 7, 2007


I don't have a dog in this fight, but I agree with the people who've said that edited posts should have some kind of notation.
posted by amyms at 9:08 PM on July 7, 2007


Harry leaves school and becomes a herbalife salesman whilst running rebirthing workshops and writing small pamphlets about the benefits of cranio-sacral therapy.
Woah, so it's a fate worse than death, then?

I think methylviolet has a point, but's a fine line and I doubt you will see it happen again, given the gratutude displayed towards jessamyn in this case for trying to be fair.
posted by dg at 9:18 PM on July 7, 2007


"*everyone* who views their contributions as some holy untouchable right really needs to back away from the keyboard and go outside for a little walk..."

/me shoves keyboard away in a huff, grabs coat and keys and walks outside
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:26 PM on July 7, 2007


I think I'll just post this picture in every thread on the site until everyone walks outside (and then runs back inside out of fear that it might come looking for you).
posted by Burhanistan at 9:34 PM on July 7, 2007


Harry Potter? SO GAY

There's nothing wrong with being gay. Un-fucking cool.

Please close this thread.
posted by matty at 9:36 PM on July 7, 2007


And I didn't even need to waste my time reading the rest of this thread past that quote to make this assessment.
posted by matty at 9:37 PM on July 7, 2007


Please close this thread.

Welcome to the Metafilter Personal Attributes Cafe! May I interest you in a sense of humor today, sir/madam? We've got a sweet deal on perspective -- very fresh! The thick skin is a very popular choice, too. It goes quite well with sarcasm, which we also have on the menu...
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:42 PM on July 7, 2007 [2 favorites]


"Right, well, I am sorry to disappoint anyone hoping for a flame-out, but that isn't what I'm doing."

No, you're acting like a baby. You did something dumb on someone else's website. Don't like the response to said dumb action? Boo freaking hoo.
posted by oddman at 9:42 PM on July 7, 2007


Who said there was anything wrong with being SO GAY, matty? miss lynnster merely pointed out a longstanding staple of HP slash fanfic. She didn't say anything about their love being wrong. Am I missing something?
posted by cgc373 at 9:45 PM on July 7, 2007


I think my point may be is that there's no point in reading an obviosly drunken post from MR lynster. The lynster I've seen on here would never be such a dick. So go suck on some thick skin. Better yet, its not an issue of being thick skinned when someone uses teh gay card... Its just offensive.
posted by matty at 9:51 PM on July 7, 2007


What's that word for experiencing guilty unhappiness at the thing that is basically right, but so utterly stupid it cannot be enjoyed? Gutentraurig?
posted by ~ at 9:51 PM on July 7, 2007


I did a quick scan, but isn't godwins in play yet ?
posted by iamabot at 9:55 PM on July 7, 2007


Did i derail it yet?
posted by matty at 9:56 PM on July 7, 2007


I didn't know there ever WAS a rail here...
posted by wendell at 9:58 PM on July 7, 2007


I love declawed cats! I love blood diamonds! I love circumcised babies! I love monogamy! I love God!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:59 PM on July 7, 2007 [4 favorites]


I love little baby ducks, old pick-up trucks, slow-moving trains, and rain.
I love little country streams, sleep without dreams, sunday school in may...
And hay.
posted by wendell at 10:02 PM on July 7, 2007


its jessamyns world, not ours... She can moderate as she pleases. Sent from my iFingPhone.
posted by matty at 10:03 PM on July 7, 2007


Now THAT is a derail.
posted by wendell at 10:04 PM on July 7, 2007


I love TPS! And God! And cats! And my Mom! And my baby sister!
posted by vronsky at 10:12 PM on July 7, 2007


I love leaves in the wind, pictures of my friends, birds in the world, and squirrels.
I love coffee in a cup, little fuzzy pups, bourbon in a glass, and grass.
And I love you too.
posted by wendell at 10:19 PM on July 7, 2007


On a different topic where be the metafilter IRC info ?
posted by iamabot at 10:21 PM on July 7, 2007


Well not really "love" tps, but crushie crush hotty.
posted by vronsky at 10:22 PM on July 7, 2007


This thread is still open?

Once, many years ago, before the Internet got popular and well before there was a World Wide Web, some friends and I were bored. No, sorry. We were BORED. Really. We weren't drinkers, none of us had any ambition to seek out drugs and we couldn't find anything to watch at the gas station (best place to find straight to video VHS tapes back in the day...)

So we decided to entertain ourselves. We felt that learning a new trick was a worthy ambition, and we had several boxes of Strike-On-Anything matches on hand. It was concluded that the best way to measure our skill was to see who best could learn to light a match with their thumbnail, and the quickest metric to that end was to see who could light said match and throw it at someone else.

So the three of us casually sat around and conversed, all the while flicking lit matches at one another. Once or twice someone actually got lit up.

I only mention this because in a sad sort of way, this thread is a great analogy for that night.

:::Flicks match at wendell:::
posted by quin at 10:23 PM on July 7, 2007


I, for one, do welcome our redacting overlords!
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:04 PM on July 7, 2007


I did just say that!!!!
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:04 PM on July 7, 2007


I did just say that either!!!
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:04 PM on July 7, 2007 [2 favorites]


Ha! You're slipping!
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:04 PM on July 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


Most forums also feature .sigs and animated icons.

That sounds really way cool, could we have that here too?
posted by Meatbomb at 11:51 PM on July 7, 2007


It's odd that those who commented on b1tr0t's comment got it wrong. It seems obvious and easy to parse to me, but YMMV.

b1tr0t: “It is unfortunate that Metafilter is not the sort of place where people who can't tolerate spoilers get sneered at.”

Where people who can't tolerate spoilers get sneered at is equivalent to where people sneer at people intolerant of spoilers.

So, MetaFilter is not the sort of place where people sneer at people intolerant of spoilers. This is unfortunate.

Or, without negatives:

It would be fortunate were MetaFilter the sort of place where people sneer at people who are intolerant of spoilers.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 12:53 AM on July 8, 2007


MY HAIR IS ON FIRE!
posted by wendell at 1:13 AM on July 8, 2007


This is why mods can't have nice things. I feel no small amount of sympathy for them.

Actually, though, the mods can have nice things. They sidebar themselves with some frequency. That's a nice thing, right?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 1:26 AM on July 8, 2007


I would welcome the opportunity to transfer my copyright to this comment for a modest fee.
posted by maxwelton at 1:26 AM on July 8, 2007


What the fuck is wrong with that dog?? Is that even a dog? Oh, I found the news article about it. Freaky!
posted by LeeJay at 1:45 AM on July 8, 2007


<JonJonB> Purely in the interests of science, I have replaced the word "wand" with "wang" in the first Harry Potter Book
<JonJonB> Let's see the results...

<JonJonB> "Why aren't you supposed to do magic?" asked Harry.
<JonJonB> "Oh, well -- I was at Hogwarts meself but I -- er -- got expelled, ter tell yeh the truth. In me third year. They snapped me wang in half an' everything

<JonJonB> A magic wang... this was what Harry had been really looking forward to.

<JonJonB> "Yes, yes. I thought I'd be seeing you soon. Harry Potter." It wasn't a question. "You have your mother's eyes. It seems only yesterday she was in here herself, buying her first wang. Ten and a quarter inches long, swishy, made of willow. Nice wang for charm work."
<JonJonB> "Your father, on the other hand, favored a mahogany wang. Eleven inches. "

<JonJonB> Harry took the wang. He felt a sudden warmth in his fingers. He raised the wang above his head, brought it swishing down through the dusty air and a stream of red and gold sparks shot from the end like a firework, throwing dancing spots of light on to the walls

<JonJonB> "Oh, move over," Hermione snarled. She grabbed Harry's wang, tapped the lock, and whispered, 'Alohomora!"

<JonJonB> The troll couldn't feel Harry hanging there, but even a troll will notice if you stick a long bit of wood up its nose, and Harry's wang had still been in his hand when he'd jumped - it had gone straight up one of the troll's nostrils.

<JonJonB> He bent down and pulled his wang out of the troll's nose. It was covered in what looked like lumpy gray glue.

<JonJonB> He ran onto the field as you fell, waved his wang, and you sort of slowed down before you hit the ground. Then he whirled his wang at the dementors. Shot silver stuff at them.

<JonJonB> Ok
<JonJonB> I have found, definitive proof
<JonJonB> that J.K Rowling is a dirty DIRTY woman, making a fool of us all
<JonJonB> "Yes," Harry said, gripping his wang very tightly, and moving into the middle of the deserted classroom. He tried to keep his mind on flying, but something else kept intruding.... Any second now, he might hear his mother again... but he shouldn't think that, or he would hear her again, and he didn't want to... or did he?
<melusine > O_______O
<JonJonB> Something silver-white, something enormous, erupted from the end of his wang

<JonJonJonB> Then, with a sigh, he raised his wang and prodded the silvery substance with its tip.

<JonJonJonB> 'Get - off - me!' Harry gasped. For a few seconds they struggled, Harry pulling at his uncles sausage-like fingers with his left hand, his right maintaining a firm grip on his raised wang.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:48 AM on July 8, 2007 [11 favorites]


Could a mod please edit some horse porn into Stavros's chatlog?

This is an Internet forum. If you post a shitty comment, and someone edits that shitty comment to make it not-shitty, and you get offended . . . turn off your computer and go sit under a tree in a park for a while.
posted by Mikey-San at 3:12 AM on July 8, 2007


amyms writes 'I don't have a dog in this fight, but I agree with the people who've said that edited posts should have some kind of notation.'

Yeah right. If you did that, you'd have a bunch of doofuses posting here, demanding to know why their status in the community had been damaged by mods who stigmatized them by drawing attention to the fact that they were so dumb that their posts had to be edited by a grown-up.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:33 AM on July 8, 2007


You say that like it's a bad thing, PeterMcDermott.
posted by psmealey at 5:09 AM on July 8, 2007


...turn off your computer and go sit under a tree in a park for a while.

That sounds like a good idea. But can I turn it on again once I get nice and comfortable under the tree?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:32 AM on July 8, 2007


i, pyramid termite, being of sound mind and body, will everything i have to jessamyn
posted by pyramid termite at 5:40 AM on July 8, 2007


wait ... damn it, that was supposed to be rollo, the 3 legged puppy boy ... wtf?
posted by pyramid termite at 5:41 AM on July 8, 2007


laughing so hard, I'm crying. Stav. Stav.

Life is still good.
posted by taz at 5:47 AM on July 8, 2007


@@@ Mikey-San:
"Park"? "Tree"? What are those, and where can I find them?

(Mods, please edit the annoying "@" symbols. We don't use them here.)
posted by The Deej at 6:20 AM on July 8, 2007


Actually, though, the mods can have nice things. They sidebar themselves with some frequency. That's a nice thing, right?

Technically, we sidebar one another. I didn't know about the limerick shout out till I saw it the next morning, ferexample.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:27 AM on July 8, 2007


ya see jess, i'm kinda 'sprised i gotta 'splain this to a rarin' librarian, but it's like the difference between removing a book from the stacks entirely, or just rippin' out the controversial parts and acting all 'what other pages, dude?'
posted by quonsar at 7:02 AM on July 8, 2007 [4 favorites]


Ceiling cat is watching you hyperventilate.
posted by y2karl at 7:17 AM on July 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


quonsar: ya see jess, i'm kinda 'sprised i gotta 'splain this to a rarin' librarian, but it's like the difference between removing a book from the stacks entirely, or just rippin' out the controversial parts and acting all 'what other pages, dude?'

If by "like" you mean "quite unlike" then I'd agree. In this case, it's basically a theater book with a page of Green Eggs and Ham at the end, the kind of thing that looks like it must surely be some bizarre publisher error, and Jess was completely upfront about what she did and why.
posted by Tuwa at 7:36 AM on July 8, 2007


There's something about Methylviolet.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:40 AM on July 8, 2007


So a recap then. The moderators , MeFi, AskMe, and MeTa do not make a common practice of editing comments for content or meaning.

Howerver it would seem a large number of members here have no problem with their comments being edited for content or meaning.

Awsome, once again I have lost faith in those around me to understand basic problems. Let me explain it for you. Having a comment deleted could be called censorship if it weren't for some ground rules laid down by the creator of this site. But the only reason, the only rock solid reason this site has not gone to hell is because we all tend to trust the admins as fair and reasoned and we can wittnes many of the changes that go on here first hand. It's called transparency in government, and if you don't think thats what we have here, both a governmental body and trasparency, then you don't understand why this place works. Once you let people change your meaning, there is no need for your opinions anymore. Don't bother responding you've already given away your right to be understood as you intended.

You all are more than welcome to abdicate your meaning to some one else, seeing as it means little to you. Fortunately for all of us the admin have no interst in claiming such a privilege , no thanks to some of you. Idiots.
posted by nola at 7:52 AM on July 8, 2007 [2 favorites]


ThePinkSuperhero and Ethereal Bligh both get gold parsing stars.
posted by b1tr0t at 8:29 AM on July 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


It's called transparency in government

Does that mean cortex is the intern?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:32 AM on July 8, 2007


This feels like the reality-tv discussion.

Blah, blah, blah, road to hell is paved, blah, blah, blah.
posted by who squared at 8:36 AM on July 8, 2007


Total deletion of a comment perverts the meaning of those who commented whilst it was undeleted. Should we just have a free-for-all with no moderation so that all meaning is preserved?

I also don't see where the lack of transparency is here nola.
posted by muteh at 8:37 AM on July 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Matty?

Just because I said Harry was gay as a fake spoiler, that does not have a DAMN THING in common with saying it's a bad thing to be gay. If you knew me at all (which you don't) you would be embarrassed for accusing me of such a thing. Hell, I actually think Harry & Malfoy would be quite cute together.

Anyhow... honestly, if you were serious? You may want to consider the possibility that you are wound a little too tightly and looking to jump on people for offending you on the subject. Kinda overdefensive without real justification. And that's un-fucking cool.

Just sayin'.
posted by miss lynnster at 8:41 AM on July 8, 2007


You may want to consider the possibility that you are wound a little too tightly and looking to jump on people for offending you on the subject.

Well, in his defense, I think that the creeping acceptability of the usage you were satirizing is a bad, bad thing. I wish there were more of an outcry against it than there is.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 8:43 AM on July 8, 2007


Daniel Radcliffe will certainly die during the next Harry Potter movie, if not before. The only real questions now are who's going to be the one to do it and who the hell they'll get to play Harry Potter.

So now Harry Potter is Doctor Who?

As such Metafilter governance is more like the Westminster system of convention than the US's Constitution.

Smallest minority government ever.



And why is editing comments without adding a note totally wrong? Because it says I (or Methylviolet, or whoever) wrote the comment, and without the note, that's simply a lie.
posted by oaf at 8:46 AM on July 8, 2007


Am I the only person who thought matty was joking?
posted by jonson at 8:54 AM on July 8, 2007


clearly joking. admins: plz edit his comment to make that more obvious, thx.
posted by myeviltwin at 9:01 AM on July 8, 2007


oaf: And why is editing comments without adding a note totally wrong? Because it says I (or Methylviolet, or whoever) wrote the comment, and without the note, that's simply a lie.

I can see what you mean, but if we substitute "prose" for "comments" it doesn't hold up so well. (The Shining by Stephen King, Tabitha King, Michael Garrett, Michael Garrett's wife, and an intern whose name we've already forgotten). In newspapers and magazines there are editors listed but no notation of which one(s) edited which piece, or which passing reporter skimmed it and made suggestions or a few pointed questions, etc.

Still, I see your point: transparency would be nice. Yes. I agree. Is this case the end of the world, or even a very big deal? No, I doubt it.

Regardless, I'm going to bow out of this discussion. It's clear there are two distinct schools of thought on this, and I doubt that either is going to convince the other.
posted by Tuwa at 9:04 AM on July 8, 2007


Okay, I hope he was. He probably was. And if so I'm sorry. Because I was joking too & I didn't want it taken seriously.

I'll be the first person to say it's unfucking cool when people act all Isaiah Washington -- Lordy I want to slap that guy -- I will get right behind people who say "Stop using gay as an insult." This morning I'm about to have breakfast with my adopted little brother who is also gay as a parade & whom I adore, so even a joke about me being homophobic? It just feels like "Whaaa?" No.
posted by miss lynnster at 9:05 AM on July 8, 2007


Jess was completely upfront about what she did and why.

AFTER attention was called to it. Again, I don't think jessamyn meant any harm, but being upfront properly would have been accomplished by adding a little "edited by jesaamyn time/date - reason" note.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 9:17 AM on July 8, 2007


In newspapers and magazines there are editors listed but no notation of which one(s) edited which piece, or which passing reporter skimmed it and made suggestions or a few pointed questions, etc.

This is not a newspaper. Your comment doesn't apply, except in the most strained interpretation of what MetaFilter is.
posted by oaf at 9:21 AM on July 8, 2007


I request that my posts not be editted. Delete if need be, but don't friggin' edit them.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:46 AM on July 8, 2007


what five fresh fish said. (but without that extra t)
posted by small_ruminant at 9:56 AM on July 8, 2007


I also don't see where the lack of transparency is here nola.
posted by muteh


I'm saying we have transparency here, and that is a good thing.
posted by nola at 10:07 AM on July 8, 2007


What five fresh fish said. (But with that extra t, please. In fact, if the mods could please add an extra t to all of my posts, that would be marvy.)
posted by The Deej at 10:08 AM on July 8, 2007


Sorry nola, must learn to read. I agree with you then.
posted by muteh at 10:24 AM on July 8, 2007


"Ooh, I'm The Deej and I want the mods to make my posts smarter and funnier AND I want them to add bonus letters!"

WHY DON'T YOU TALK A WALK OUTSIDE IN A PARK UNDER A TREE AND PUT DOWN YOUR COMPUTER UNDER THIS BEAUTIFUL DAY NEXT TO A BEAR AND A WOODCHUCK IN NATURE!
posted by Kwine at 10:45 AM on July 8, 2007 [2 favorites]


"Ooh, I'm The Deej and I want the mods to make my posts smarter and funnier AND I want them to add bonus letters!"

Finally... Somebody understands me.
*wipes tears*
posted by The Deej at 10:52 AM on July 8, 2007


That was clever, editing fff's comment to make it look like he'd misspelled "edited"! Gold star to whichever moderator did it.
posted by languagehat at 10:55 AM on July 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Can someone please edit nola's comment for clarity and raging self-righteousness? It's sort of funny that someone who's oh-so-very worried about his voice being co-opted by The Man or having the meaning of his MeFi bon mots corrupted is such a shitty writer. Or do you intentionally write in a such condescendingly superior yet technically deficient manner so that The Man will pass over your comments in favour of stealing a voice that's actually intelligible?

Something tells me that you're one of those people who have faith in others for no other reason than to tell them that they need to earn it or when they've lost it. No offense, but I got by before even knowing I had it and I won't lose any sleep tonight now that it's gone. What the heck makes you think that the trust people have in the admins here reflects their relationship with authority in other aspects in their lives? Idiot.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:58 AM on July 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


oaf writes 'This is not a newspaper.'

It's a shame that, because I'd really like to get my fish and chips wrapped in Metafilter.

But if any of my comments happen to be obscured by a grease stain, that chip shop owner better watch out!
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:33 AM on July 8, 2007


We've done this before, I'm certain. Editing without noting so v. bad; deleting bad but necessary was the consensus, iirc.
posted by bonaldi at 11:34 AM on July 8, 2007


Pony request:

[+] [!] [Mods, please edit this comment]
posted by The Deej at 11:37 AM on July 8, 2007


Pony request:

No more ponies.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:41 AM on July 8, 2007


Alvy Ampersand. I'm only trying to be clear. Let me try again. This site seems to work because you and I can write our ideas here in good faith, knowing that they won't be tampered with except to be removed if need be. Something both administrators have clearly stated was and is the norm. In this way I can trust that the words you typed above, are your ideas.

Thats the whole ball of wax, poorly writen but honestly felt. I'm not really sure you even care anymore than to just get a rise out of me, or to just vomit your self into this space. Thanks for pointing me out to be so self-rightous though.
posted by nola at 11:57 AM on July 8, 2007


Or put another way if I was the only admin of MeTaFilterAskmeTalk I would change your comment above to simply agree with all my points , maybe complement my spelling and punctuation, and speak your true love for everything I do. Since you dissagree with my point that moderators should not tamper with the content of someone's comments, this should please you . . .in theory. Or did I misunderstand you?
posted by nola at 12:04 PM on July 8, 2007


Man, that methylviolet experience is sure turning a lot of people stupid..
posted by c13 at 12:14 PM on July 8, 2007


Or put another way if I was the only admin of MeTaFilterAskmeTalk I would change your comment above to simply agree with all my points

See, this is what's so disingenuous, and where you undermine your own (well-made) point just one post above: it's sheer fantasy to suggest that such self-serving Dear Leader editing is either the current practice or the future goal of the mods. Seriously, do you really, truly, without hyperbole believe that Jess et al. have been and/or will go around actually rewriting comments to change their meaning?

If yes, then your problem is not self-righteousness; it's paranoia.

If no, then your continued arguing seems pointless. I mean, just because you cop to having the impulse to change critical comments to complimentary ones if you had the opportunity, it doesn't follow logically that anyone who does have the opportunity will have (or will act upon) the same impulse.
posted by scody at 12:20 PM on July 8, 2007 [2 favorites]


This site seems to work because you and I can write our ideas here in good faith, knowing that they won't be tampered with except to be removed if need be.

See, this is why I think there's money to be made in framing shit. You'd have to be very upscale about the whole thing but it could be done. Dress it all up in modern furniture and skylights and an Italian accent. Maybe bring in lawyers and accountants to add a touch of gravity to the affair of having your shit framed so it doesn't devolve into farce. The frame itself would have to be very nice, maybe a custom job, maybe something in stone in marble. Regardless you're looking at huge margins and the resale potential would make a viable aftermarket. You'd have to charge a ton since absolutely nobody's interested in poor people's shit. And you could even manufacture a bit of false anxiety by repeatedly emphasizing that the art object really is, no joking, 100% really your shit and the painters are carefully monitored and bound by legal signs not to, say, substitute their own shit. The whole operation would be carefully fine-tuned to exploit the immense "I'm me -- aren't I?" doubt that drives the great many insecure, always-consuming twits out there. Really the only downside is you'd have to resolve yourself to working with shit all day.
posted by nixerman at 12:32 PM on July 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


No I don't think that is the goal of any of the admin here. I'm just addressing the many comments in this thread that claim to not mind being edited by and admin. That seems just stupid to me , sorry it just does. I would not have anything to do with this site if I thought the admin had such an adversarial relationship with the members. I pointed out twice in to different comments that the moderators here are oppossed to that kind of relationship. Some of you would hand over the right to make un-edited comments over to a admin. No admin here is
asking for such a privilege, once again no thanks to many of this site's members. If I've misread some people's comments here I'm sorry. I think you may have misread mine scody.
posted by nola at 12:38 PM on July 8, 2007


Oh wait . . . shit I forgot for a minute where I was. Thanks for reminding me nixerman.
posted by nola at 12:41 PM on July 8, 2007


Go on outside and take a walk nola. I got this one for ya.


Shut up Alvy. No one cares what you think.
posted by vronsky at 1:03 PM on July 8, 2007


I'd like to congratulate the latest posters on recovering so nicely from some really wicked derails.



That said, my daughter is really cute; way, way cuter than all of your children put together.
posted by oddman at 1:19 PM on July 8, 2007


Shut up Alvy. No one cares what you think.

I think I speak for all of us when I say that everyone should stop speaking for all of us. Stop with the "everyone loves you" (half the time I don't even like the person I'm supposed to be loving), the "we wish you would go away" and "no one cares what you have to say" comments. Please to keep your sweeping generalizations to yourself. Thank you.

(^ not intended to be directly solely towards vronsky)
posted by iconomy at 1:39 PM on July 8, 2007 [2 favorites]


Or put another way if I was the only admin of MeTaFilterAskmeTalk I would change your comment above to simply agree with all my points, maybe complement [sic] my spelling and punctuation...

Here -- let me edit that for you: "compliment."
posted by ericb at 1:39 PM on July 8, 2007


if you guys are going to keep fighting i formally request the admins edit your posts to be more entertaining
posted by pyramid termite at 1:52 PM on July 8, 2007


Can an admin edit the status of this thread to "closed?" Please? Because it sure looks overcooked to me.

P.S. I never got any candy. *cries*
posted by disclaimer at 2:02 PM on July 8, 2007


Pluralis majestatis iconomy;)
posted by vronsky at 2:14 PM on July 8, 2007


Den we all love dis thread, vronsky?
posted by iconomy at 2:18 PM on July 8, 2007


Once you let people change your meaning, there is no need for your opinions anymore. Don't bother responding you've already given away your right to be understood as you intended.


Oh for fuck's sake. Jessamyn chopped a silly joke off the end of MV's reponse in Ask. It didn't change the meaning of anything.
posted by oneirodynia at 2:24 PM on July 8, 2007


I'm sure I speak for every one of me when I say that I love iconomy, nixerman and scody, but not necessarily in that order, and not necessarily all at once.1
1There is no footnote
posted by peacay at 2:53 PM on July 8, 2007


Or put another way if I was the only admin of MeTaFilterAskmeTalk I would change your comment above to simply agree with all my points, maybe complement [sic] my spelling and punctuation...

Here -- let me edit that for you: "compliment."
posted by ericb at 4:39 PM on July 8 [+] [!]


I don't think so, ericb. I think nola had in mind the complement of set theory. She was trying to say that if the mods could edit comments, they would take out the spelling and grammar actually used by the poster, and replace it with the rest of the spelling and grammar that was not used by the poster but is contained in the English language. Clearly, this would be a bad policy; I stand with nola in rejecting it!
posted by Kwine at 3:46 PM on July 8, 2007


So anyway I don't even have a pony in this race. But I will clear up one more thing, I'm kind of what ya call a dude. In retrospect nola is not a good screen name for a dude. You are not the first to think it were otherwise so no hard feelings.
posted by nola at 3:58 PM on July 8, 2007


Shut up Alvy. No one cares what you think.

Well, I just got off the phone with Grandmama and she says otherwise, but duly noted, vronsky. I appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedule of making an FPP out of every second music video on YouTube to respond.

Kidding aside, my problem with nola's comment was the characterization of MeFites who didn't share his alarmist website-as-microcosm opinion as being stupid, idiotic, and disappointing. His admission that MeFi's admins are trustworthy and its system fairly transparent kicks the chair out from under the gist of his argument and turns the rest of his comments into nothing more than irrelevant tongue-clucking and gratuitously judgmental posturing.

I don't give a shit if what happened to Methylviolet happens to me; hell, I'd be flattered that my response was worth editing rather than just deleting outright. In nola's eyes that makes me stupid, and since it seems you only jump in to belligerently defend the people on some secret little love list, I figured I should register my disagreement with being called an idiot... or rather, my disagreement with being called an idiot for the reasons nola gave. If this MeTa was about changing a bike chain or installing an air conditioner, I'd cop to my idiocy in a second.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 4:00 PM on July 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: some secret little love list
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:15 PM on July 8, 2007


Alvy , sorry if I colored with a broad brush in the earlier comment that got under your skin. It did bother me though to see so many people in here saying they wouldn't mind having their comments edited. That seems to run against the grain of a place like this. Thats all I'm talking about.

none of the admin here seem to think that it's their right to edit things people say normally. The reason given for the edit in question was valid , and as I've already said I don't think the mods are in anyway over-bearing on this site. It was an academic exercise based on real events in AskMe and here subsuquently , and one I think is valid.

The question is this : Should a person's words be altered with out their consent? Do you not agree that changing someone's words changes their meaning? If so don't you think that matters? All I was wanting to get across is (for what it's worth) deletion be for alteration.

If you don't like what I have to say fine, delete it. Just don't alter it, because then you've put words in my mouth. It became apprent that this was not even up for debate later but that is the only thing that drew me in here. People's lack of concern for the difference is why I stayed.
posted by nola at 4:21 PM on July 8, 2007


Also you'll find , if you bother to look, that I have never started a thread in MeTa. I don't take my ball and go home, and for the most part manage to play nice on this site. I don't come here to argue I come here to read people's post and ideas. I'm not trying to make trouble, just make a point.
posted by nola at 4:25 PM on July 8, 2007


Fair enough, nola. We're approaching the issue from different points of view, and I shouldn't have let my elevated dander get in the middle of it.

Now, let's all go have some ice cream!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 4:58 PM on July 8, 2007


and everyone who trots out tired cliches like "go outside for a little walk" needs to really consider their lack of writing skillz.
posted by vronsky at 9:58 PM on July 7 [4 favorites +] [!]


I just want to point out that it cracks me up to see someone mentioning "writing skillz" when their lines scan this badly.
posted by shmegegge at 4:58 PM on July 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


MetaTalk: based on real events!
posted by languagehat at 5:29 PM on July 8, 2007


Jessamyn : Saving us from ourselves.
posted by Dave Faris at 6:06 PM on July 8, 2007


This thread, it vibrates ?
posted by iamabot at 6:26 PM on July 8, 2007


They're writing another Harry Potter book?
posted by allkindsoftime at 6:52 PM on July 8, 2007


I hope harry dies.
posted by Balisong at 7:16 PM on July 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Yep, those books are like port-a-potty left out in a downtown urban area a few weeks too long.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:20 PM on July 8, 2007


"So long as "all posts are (C) their original authors" is in effect, I daresay any fucking around with the text of a message is verboten. Either the entire message goes, or it stays as-is. Anything else is a legal quagmire."

Exactly. We're legally responsible for what we say here--by design, and being edited makes the mods responsible as well--i'm pretty sure they don't want that.
posted by amberglow at 8:45 PM on July 7
"

I hope this is a joke too. Sheesh.
posted by Liosliath at 8:06 PM on July 8, 2007


I'm glad nola and Alvy have kissed and made up; I just faved Alvy's first response because nola I shared the annoyance at that broad-brush accusation you made.
Y'know, I work with writers in an actual police state with actual censorship and actual lengthy prison sentences for the expression of ideas. Please consider that many reading here will have a reasoned perspective on the issues involved and still not share you outrage at this piece of editing.
posted by Abiezer at 8:15 PM on July 8, 2007


I'm glad you have the right to comment without your intent being masked or changed.
posted by nola at 9:22 PM on July 8, 2007


Harry Port-a-Potter?
posted by LeeJay at 9:35 PM on July 8, 2007


Prêt-à-Potter.
posted by Wolof at 9:59 PM on July 8, 2007


Say... did I mention that Harry Potter & Malfoy are totally an item? I did? Oh, ok. Nevermind.
posted by miss lynnster at 10:24 PM on July 8, 2007


It seems like this thread has run its natural course, so let's talk about my penis now.
posted by Meatbomb at 3:20 AM on July 9, 2007


Steady there Meatbomb; don't want too many spoilers on the main topic of conversation at the Amsterdam meet-up.
posted by Abiezer at 3:50 AM on July 9, 2007


I can't believe I missed this whole thing. Damn you, summer vacation!

I agree with those who have suggested that editing is fine, if and only if it's annotated.

But this thread could've been AMAZING if just a few little things had gone differently. I'll just wait for the next one.
posted by exlotuseater at 5:55 AM on July 9, 2007


Maybe instead of editing her comment next time you could just drown her?

I've got a shovel you could borrow when you go to hide the body in the woods.

(It's a good strong shovel, but do wear gloves -- maybe the same ones you wear for the drowning? -- that's a big hole you'll be digging, and the wood will be rough on your paper smoothed skin.)
posted by The Monkey at 7:01 AM on July 9, 2007


I'm being lazy and not reading the full thread, but let me chime in as being in full support of admins editing posts if they feel it necessary -- but with a note. It's only polite. If a post isn't what we originally put up, that should be clearly indicated.

Full deletions are fine, it's just -- weird, and kind of unfair, to be invisibly edited.
posted by Malor at 8:00 AM on July 9, 2007


I always find deletions a little creepy. If a post is awful enough, it'll get deleted, but not before someone else has responded to it. So, you get ghosts of conversations in some threads, where you see a lot of people going "Oh, come on! Stop being an idiot!" but without knowing what was so idiotic in the first place. Well, that is, until a Meta thread is opened about it.

But I certainly don't disagree with the "Deletions? Useful!" management style here. And I don't care about partial deletions. I'm just saying: threads with deleted comments can be creepy.
posted by Ms. Saint at 8:48 AM on July 9, 2007


Yeah, we make an effort to clean up responses to deleted comments when we can—if a comment is literally nothing but an objection to/rebuke of/reaction to a comment that bears deleting, that'll usually go as well if we see it. (Easier said than done if the thread is a really, really busy one, though.)

The weird disjointedness comes when some comments are a mix of reaction to the deleteable thing and independent contribution to the thread—those will usually stay, and so we get things like reactions to non-existant comments or even the occasional quote of something that doesn't seem to have been said in the first place. Now, if we made a habit of editing comments for content, those sorts of weirdness would be much easier to elide, but that hardly seems worth the trade-off.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:55 AM on July 9, 2007


Admins: Im in ur metafilterz edittin ur writing skillz.
posted by Esoquo at 9:53 AM on July 9, 2007


See, many people thought that exact meme derivation, but instead edited themselves before they took fingers to keys to give the thought an expression. Beautiful conscience!
posted by Burhanistan at 9:57 AM on July 9, 2007


And really if you think about it, every comment made by a user stands within the context of every other comment made by that same user. Every comment is a part of a rolling conversation by that user. By deleting any one comment, you may irrevocably change the meaning of all other comments made.

As an extension to methylviolet's request, I'd say that if you've got to delete a comment then you should also delete all other comments made by that user.

It's the only way to be sure.
posted by seanyboy at 10:08 AM on July 9, 2007 [2 favorites]


If I log in one morning and there are no typos, misspellings, grammatical errors, or asshattery anywhere on the site, I will know that someone burned themselves out like a star in a brilliant frenzy of extreme overmoderation and bannination. That, or seanyboy's suggestion will have been carried out to its full logical conclusion: deletion of all comments everywhere.

It will be MefiApocalyptic. Until then, I'm not too worried-- the moderation here hardly seems overbearing.
posted by Tehanu at 11:00 AM on July 9, 2007


Not only do the admins edit comments, for the most part all the comments are written by cortex, and then randomly assigned to various users. Also, the admins see dead people, because their therapist is ALREADY DEAD...

... JUST LIKE HARRY POTTER!

/Deathly Hallows spoiler
posted by eritain at 12:37 PM on July 9, 2007


Also, if these microtarded douchetrucks with their 'Save Harry' petition do talk Rowling & publisher into whoring out the intelprop for gratuitous sequels (a la Dune, or the Dragonriders of Pern, or, oy don't get me started) ... I'm starting a petition to have the next one called Harry Potter and the Methylviolet Experience.
posted by eritain at 12:42 PM on July 9, 2007


The rarely-understood and never-truly-appreciated thing about Meatbomb's penis is
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 1:16 PM on July 9, 2007


*crosses shmeggege's name off of secret love list, adds Alvy's*

And Nola, you are not just a dude my friend, you are a duuuude;) (and the dude abides)

I wish more people would post pics of themselves on this site. It is nice to place a face with the personality. Me? I paid my way through college working as a male model (secret shame) but a severe motorcycle crash left me disfigured for life. sic transit gloria.
posted by vronsky at 2:02 PM on July 9, 2007


Did somebody say "secret love list"?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:24 PM on July 9, 2007


Take that, shmeggege! Watch your back, Ward Sylvester!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 6:33 PM on July 9, 2007


Cortex and Jessamyn -- has the more-or-less consensus here that it would be better to know when a comment has been edited swayed either of you at all?

I get that you don't edit people for content very often, and certainly aren't out to be the thought police. I doubt anyone could really think so who had been here a while. But the silent editing of comments is an issue that seems to bother at least some others too -- as, in principle, altering a comment (in whatever trivial way) alters the way a user presents himself. That was what I was trying to say, facetiously, with the "Methylviolet Experience," a point that so many apparently misunderstood. It might seem silly, it seemed kind of silly to me at the time -- hence the self-mocking hyperbole -- but... Well, as Nola has said it all so much more intelligently I guess you get the point. Silent editing = ungood.

So what do you think? You don't do it often, yes, but it bothers some that it happens at all. Are you willing to make a note when you have altered a comment? Do you think that is a reasonable request?
posted by Methylviolet at 10:48 PM on July 9, 2007


Ceiling pug is watching you Methylviolate.
posted by y2karl at 4:40 AM on July 10, 2007


So what do you think? You don't do it often, yes, but it bothers some that it happens at all. Are you willing to make a note when you have altered a comment? Do you think that is a reasonable request?

You aren't the voice of reason in this thread and you never have been. The mods, on the other hand, have been reasonable at all times in this thread. I think you can count on them to do the right thing. Let it go.
posted by OmieWise at 5:20 AM on July 10, 2007


swayed either of you at all?

You'd probably have to sway Matt. I've tried twinkies and ding dongs, but he just ain't gonna sway.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:37 AM on July 10, 2007


There's not really any swaying to do, Methylviolet, because this is still not accurate:

I get that you don't edit people for content very often

What you need to get is that we basically don't do it. The edit of your comment that started this whole thing off wasn't just uncommon, it was extremely unusual. As in, I can't tell you the last time it happened, and thought it was a little bit weird that Jess even did it this time—I get her motivation, but it was an unusual/experimental cut away from the moderation practices I've gleaned from her and Matt—so it's hard to give you a simple yes/no here:

Do you think that's a reasonable request?

It's functionally equivalent to "have you stopped beating your wife". You got caught by the weird thing that doesn't happen the one time it did, and this thread is full of people railing against a non-existent policy. It's pretty loud and clear that people don't want silent edits for content, which is great: we agree, and we have, and one exception to the rule has exploded into a giant thread reminding us that that's pretty much in tune with prevailing attitudes. Hooray for Metatalk!

It'd have been nice if after the third or fourth reiteration of "we really, really don't do this and this was an outlier" people would have stopped saying that they really, really don't want this to happen, but, eh: hooray for Metatalk!
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:26 AM on July 10, 2007


But cortex, I really, really, really, really, don't want my posts to be edited! Can't you see reason?
posted by Kwine at 7:30 AM on July 10, 2007


It's pretty loud and clear that people don't want silent edits for content, which is great: we agree, and we have, and one exception to the rule has exploded into a giant thread reminding us that that's pretty much in tune with prevailing attitudes. Hooray for Metatalk!

I think MetaTalk is one of the principal reasons MetaFilter has remained excellent throughout the years. Might even be the most important one.
posted by Kattullus at 7:56 AM on July 10, 2007


Are you willing to make a note when you have altered a comment? Do you think that is a reasonable request?

Sure, I do it all the time. Am I willing to say "Changed its to it's so people would stop the HURFDFURFTYPO talk in the thread after the OP emailed me" then no, I won't.

So, let's turn this around. Are you willing to stop putting noisy throwaway joke nonsense into AskMe? Yes, you probably are, most of the time except when you can't help yourself. I'm happy that if I delete a comment of yours that's 90% serious and 10% noise you won't come to MeTa, but let's be honest with ourselves that's not how everyone deals with comment removal. The idea of "more or less consensus" is laughable here; all it takes it one hot under the collar person who disagrees to turn something that we all "more or less" agree on into a big MeTa clusterfuck.

I understand that as a moderator I have a higher obligation than you to not fuck around here, to be transparent in what I do, and to not make this place into some sort of "anything can happen" freeforall so that people understand how it works here and can get on with the linking and the asking and the musicmaking and the job posting. If anyone thinks I'm not doing that, I'd argue the point.

You took something that has happened maybe once every other year here and turned it into a "Will you swear you'll never do this again" situation and my response is "of course not, life's too complicated and MetaFilter is too complicated." if you think this is a slippery slope that will lead to ruin, that's your prerogative. I'm sorry I removed your joke from your comment without removing your whole comment; I thought I was doing you a favor. The policy and the practice is that we don't edit comments but like every other policy here it's open to rare moderator interpretation.

alters the way a user presents himself.

Now, can we turn this thread into a referendum of the use of the generic "he" in casual written English?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:09 AM on July 10, 2007


alters the way a user presents himself.

Now, can we turn this thread into a referendum of the use of the generic "he" in casual written English?


Ze and hir don't seem to be catching on (or thon or xe etc.). Though if more people outside the transgender community would use them they might.

all it takes it one hot under the collar person who disagrees to turn something that we all "more or less" agree on into a big MeTa clusterfuck

Yes. That's what MeTa is for. I know it's a pain in the ass for the moderators and mathowie, but it's an important outlet for the community. Hot-under-the-collar folks are the people most likely to take their problems to the gray, but that doesn't mean that no one else cares. I'm an inveterate second-guesser. I don't take my problems to MetaTalk much, but I'm glad there are others who do. I detest it when people treat MeTa posts as superfluous. As I said above, the outlet MetaTalk provides for discussion about the site helps the rest of MetaFilter be so good.
posted by Kattullus at 8:38 AM on July 10, 2007


I really really really DO wish we had a good his/her word. It's common to use "their" for "his/her" but it never sounds right. I tend to use "his or her" even though it's awkward.

(There. That help, jess?)
posted by The Deej at 8:50 AM on July 10, 2007


Get your ass to Hawaii.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:14 AM on July 10, 2007


Are you willing to stop putting noisy throwaway joke nonsense into AskMe? Yes, you probably are, most of the time except when you can't help yourself.

Jessamyn, take a day off. If you're reaching the point where you'd rather people who want contributing to AskMe to be fun didn't bother anwering at all, you're going to be left with nothing but the dullest male-answer-syndrome fucktards.

Policy against jokey wisecracks instead of answers = great
Policy against demonstrating any sort of personality while answering = fuck off if you're not a robot
posted by cillit bang at 9:22 AM on July 10, 2007


Policy against demonstrating any sort of personality while answering

Please for to indicate where the fuck on planet earth this was suggested?
posted by scody at 10:39 AM on July 10, 2007


SYSTEM ERROR: DEMONSTRATING ANY SORT OF PERSONALITY DOES NOT COMPUTE!
SYSTEM ERROR: DEMONSTRATING ANY SORT OF PERSONALITY DOES NOT COMPUTE!
SYSTEM ERROR: DEMONSTRATING ANY SORT OF PERSONALITY DOES NOT COMPUTE!

1) TRY AGAIN 2) REBOOT 3) FUCK OFF ?
posted by Kwine at 11:35 AM on July 10, 2007


Please for to indicate where the fuck on planet earth this was suggested?

It hasn't been and I'm not suggesting we've reached that point, but I've seen a fair few comments and actions from mods that lean that way.
posted by cillit bang at 11:44 AM on July 10, 2007


Therefore, Jessamyn should just "lean" towards taking a day off, right? Y'all realize that all the kicks in the shins she gets does nothing but thicken her callouses, right?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:55 AM on July 10, 2007


Right? Right? Right? Right? Right? Right? Right? Right? Right? Right? Right? Right? Right? Right? Right?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:58 AM on July 10, 2007


When will you learn that it's about keep the AD banners coming?
posted by Burhanistan at 12:11 PM on July 10, 2007


It hasn't been and I'm not suggesting we've reached that point, but I've seen a fair few comments and actions from mods that lean that way.
posted by cillit bang at 2:44 PM on July 10 [+] [!]


Really? I mean, you know the guideline against askme noise and why it's there. People have been discussing whether the punishment fit methylviolet's crime, but whether methylviolet did anything wrong wasn't ever really under debate. It almost feels like during a discussion of the jail time typically sentenced for theft you piped up and went "yeah, and why is theft illegal anyway?" out of nowhere. it's kind of like "weeeeell, it is. right now we're talking about how to punish it, not whether it should be punished."
posted by shmegegge at 12:20 PM on July 10, 2007


So, wait. Was anything decided?

I mean, other than the fact that the Methylviolet experience is probably best avoided.
posted by dersins at 3:30 PM on July 10, 2007


It's common to use "their" for "his/her" but it never sounds right and since it's a natural development in English, unlike all those stupid artificial pronouns that will never catch on, it behooves those who don't like it to get used to it, because there's nothing wrong with it, it's been used for centuries, and it does an important job.

Now can we close the book on this entire unfortunate mess?
posted by languagehat at 4:14 PM on July 10, 2007


I have successfully derailed the thread into more respectful territory, LH has weighed in, so now, I agree, let's call it a day thread.
posted by The Deej at 4:23 PM on July 10, 2007


Jessamyn, take a day off.

I pretty much did. I pressed Post Comment on that comment and then spent the day walking around with my Mom, going to my physical therapist and having a few people over for dinner which I cooked outside on the grill. Then I watched Super Troopers. Then I read my email where I found out that Vermont is hosting the new Simpsons premiere. I didn't check in on MetaFilter at all and now I'm reading up before I go to bed.

I think we've gotten to the point where you have to talk to mathowie if you think it's at all okay to tell me to take time off or that what I'm doing is in some way incredibly out of line or against the grain of the way the site operates. If you've got an axe to grind with the guidelines or with me start your own MetaTalk thread and we'll talk about it like adults.

I'm sorry if you don't like the direction AskMe is going, I really am. I'd love it if everyone was happy. However the general way it's going seems to be the way most people seem to like it and probably the way it's going to stay.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:15 PM on July 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


It's common to use "their" for "his/her" but it never sounds right

what language hat said ... use it and hear it enough and you'll get used to it and it'll stop sounding funny
posted by pyramid termite at 8:53 PM on July 10, 2007


jessamyn , I just want you to know that I for one think your doing a great job balancing the needs of AskMe, and that the situation that got this thread started was handled well by you. If I had a quarrel it was not with you, Nore with any of the admin here.

You can't make everyone happy, but you and Matt and cortex are more than fair.

For my part I just wanted people who said they didn't mind having their ideas edited , to think about what that ment. Because something like that effects more than just them. I've seen in the last few months , the amount of MeTa directed, unfairly in many cases at you're moderation, so I'm sorry if it feels like you're getting the pile on, or that we as membes don't care about the work you're doing. I haven't said it but I've been watching over the last few months , and can see what you're up against. For what it's worth I think your doing a damn good job, and since I've not said it before, thanks for the hard work.
posted by nola at 9:13 PM on July 10, 2007


their their their their their their their their there there thayer there theeeeeeyyyyyyeeeerrrrr
their. Now it means nothing. Like toe. toe toe toe. see? toe toe toe. their. toe. their their. toe. Neither mean anything. I stubbed my their. My their hurts. Everyone writes in toe own method. If someone stub toe their, they hurt.

Ya that helped. Helped a lot.
posted by The Deej at 9:15 PM on July 10, 2007


This is a tale about tails.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:29 PM on July 10, 2007


Dear Jessamyn,

A nice quiet out of the way hole 'neath the boughs of the largest tree in the forest sounds nice. Particularly for the tree which has never before eaten so well.

Please commence with the drowing. They'll all take the hint eventually.

Love,
The Monkey
posted by The Monkey at 4:49 AM on July 11, 2007


Variation is a solution. "If a person eats his own vomit,..." one time, "If a person eats her own vomit,..." the next.

In an academic paper, I'll use "her"(and she) much more often than "his"(and he). Philosophers used "his" exclusively (and much worse besides) for hundreds of years; it's only fair.
posted by Kwine at 6:21 AM on July 11, 2007


I used to be hardcore about non-sexist language. I still feel strongly about it, but I got tired of the awkwardness of being rigorous in avoiding it. However, now that I think about it, I feel like I've been too lax. Their does bother me, though it shouldn't. It just shouts plural! to me, I can't think of it as singular and the mismatch bothers the hell out of me. I do feel fairly comfortable using gendered feminine pronouns for generic people because that's an active way to confront and change people's unconscious sexist assumptions. But, ultimately, I'd like a non-gendered pronoun I could truly be comfortable with. The artificial ones seem really contrived, precious or ugly. And now people are creating artificial ones to make more distinctions than just male and female. That's a step backward, in my opinion.

I first got really fired up about non-sexist language years ago when I read Hofstadter's A Person Paper on Purity in Language, though I'd been aware of the issue and had read stuff about it before. But I felt, and still feel, that his satire really drove the point home. However, a great many people think otherwise and find it silly.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 8:32 AM on July 11, 2007


Variation is a solution. "If a person eats his own vomit,..." one time, "If a person eats her own vomit,..." the next.

But it's a bad solution. It's better than using he all the time, but that's the best you can say for it; it sounds contrived and screams "Look at me, I'm being non-sexist!"

Once again, there's nothing wrong with their, it's been used for centuries, and it does an important job. EB, you're an intelligent and sensible fellow; surely you can see that simply getting over your (quite natural) sense of being bothered by their is a better solution than cursing the darkness.

Jessamyn, you're doing a superb job. Tell the haters to suck it.
posted by languagehat at 8:36 AM on July 11, 2007


screams "Look at me, I'm being non-sexist!

And what, exactly, is wrong with that? The point is to be explicitly non-sexist; otherwise there isn't any problem with continuing to use exclusively male pronouns. There's virtue in conscious inclusiveness.

I don't think it sounds any more or less contrived than "their"--I suspect you'll get opinions all over that spectrum.
posted by Kwine at 9:01 AM on July 11, 2007


And what, exactly, is wrong with that?

It distracts from the real job ostensibly being done, which is writing. When someone so thoroughly telegraphs their sexual egalitarianism that it fucks with the basic flow of reading, they've kind of missed the boat on effective communication.

Pronouns are a convenience, and depend on consistent agreement if you don't want your reader doing double-takes every paragraph. Something that is frequently alternating between he-ness and she-ness is distracting to anyone who is used to common English usage; singular "their" much less so, and still without the stink of sexism-in-pronoun-choice.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:08 AM on July 11, 2007


I request this thread be closed.
posted by IronLizard at 9:08 AM on July 11, 2007


And what, exactly, is wrong with that? The point is to be explicitly non-sexist

Do you also go around hollering "I love gay people and some of my best friends are black"? I dunno, I guess everyone's different, but I thought the point was to be non-sexist and hope that your example inspires others. I'm no Christian, but I always liked this quote: "And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly."

I don't think it sounds any more or less contrived than "their"

You're certainly entitled to your opinion, but the fact is that people naturally use their when they're not thinking about obeying the "rules," and no one in the history of the universe has done what you suggest without consciously striking a blow for non-sexist utterance, which means that it's always going to be a minority strategy.
posted by languagehat at 9:11 AM on July 11, 2007


screams "Look at me, I'm being non-sexist!

And what, exactly, is wrong with that? The point is to be explicitly non-sexist impress feminists.

posted by shmegegge at 9:14 AM on July 11, 2007


it sounds contrived and screams ‘Look at me, I'm being non-sexist!’

That's an interesting take on it, but it bothers me for a couple of reasons.

First, it wouldn't sound contrived or call attention to itself if we didn't use the masculine for everything. And the argument that this is just a language usage issue and doesn't reflect how people think is bogus. There's still so many cases where we use he because we really are assuming a male—we're actually imagining a male as we read (or listen). It's kind of amazing when you really think about how much casual discourse is about generic men and never women. And all this is why it is why using the feminine does, in fact, call attention to itself so much. Not because the usage is inherently extreme, but because the status quo itself is extreme.

Second, it bothers me that your first thought is that this usage “screams” Look at me, I'm being non-sexist!

One thing that I've become much more aware of from my time on MetaFilter and people's reactions to me here, is just how much people judge one's behavior on the basis of the assumption that it's a performance with the aim to be a “seeming”, as opposed to simply being an honest expression of self or an expression for some other purpose. This different way of seeing the world and other people seems really odd and ungenerous to me. And with regard to myself, I'm never trying to appear to be anything other than who I am. Sure, I care what other people think about me, but the idea of playing the role of, for example, being a feminist man, as opposed to simply being a feminist man, makes no sense to me.

Anyway, my point here in this specific instance is that when I use the feminine pronoun, it's not in the least because I am motivated to let other people know that I'm being non-sexist. Rather, it's because using the feminine pronoun for a generic person can really have an effect on people in terms of forcing them to be aware of the assumptions they make about the world. There's so many more women physicians these days, it's not at all like it used to be—but twenty years ago if you used she while talking about a generic doctor, people would find it extremely jarring, very incongruous.

On Preview:

When someone so thoroughly telegraphs their sexual egalitarianism that it fucks with the basic flow of reading, they've kind of missed the boat on effective communication.

Or, per what I've just written, they want to communicate something in addition to what they're explicitly writing about. Really, your argument is a very weak argument. Every unfair, oppressive social convention is quiet and normal. Every attempt to change the convention by refusing to follow it will, by definition, call attention to itself. All activities that involve such a social convention will then necessarily be disrupted by the failure to follow the convention. If the utility of the non-disruption of the activity trumps all other concerns, then the oppressive status quo will never change.

It ruined a bunch of people's lunches when four young black students sat down to eat at the Woolworth's in Greensboro in 1960. You can't get from there to here without discomfort.

On Second Preview:

And what, exactly, is wrong with that? The point is to be explicitly non-sexist impress feminists.

You know what I have to say about that don't you? It isn't nice.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 9:32 AM on July 11, 2007


oh chill, EB. I'm just yankin' yer crank.
posted by shmegegge at 9:37 AM on July 11, 2007


Or, per what I've just written, they want to communicate something in addition to what they're explicitly writing about. Really, your argument is a very weak argument.

Unless your argument is that every piece of writing on any subject that contains indeterminate singular gendered pronouns requires that "something in addition" more than it requires basic readability, my argument is utterly practical. It's possible to not be sexist without worsening your prose at every opportunity to underscore the point.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:39 AM on July 11, 2007


Do you also go around hollering ‘I love gay people and some of my best friends are black’? I dunno, I guess everyone's different, but I thought the point was to be non-sexist and hope that your example inspires others.

Yes, but where are the lines drawn between just being something and calling attention to oneself in the course of being something?

I very, very strongly agree with you about the power of example (as opposed to many other things that activists do). But as far as I'm concerned, being an example is more than just being something that if someone gets to know you well they're become aware of.

I don't talk about my best friend, Darien, as "my gay friend, Darien". I don't mention that he's gay gratuitously. But I never, ever avoid mentioning he's gay when it's relevant to the conversation, even when I'm talking with someone who very likely is homophobic. From their point of view, I'm probably doing exactly what you're talking about.

The truth of the matter is that, as a rule, in evaluating other peoples' behavior, the dividing line between simply having a belief and following it and being ostentatious is judged by any individual person according their own beliefs. If they find the other person's beliefs offensive or trivial or relatively unimportant, then anything that person does that reminds them that the person holds that belief they'll judge to be ostentatious. Conversely, when two people share the same belief, they rarely judge each other's relevant behavior to be ostentatious.

So few people, especially men, take sexism seriously that pretty much any non-sexist and/or feminist thing that a person does or says will almost certainly be judged as ostentatious by people around him/her. I experience this all the time on MetaFilter, which is very revealing considering that it's a very liberal community. The real world is extremely sexist. It could use some exposure to language where the default pronoun is feminine.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 9:46 AM on July 11, 2007


As cortex alludes to, trading off using his then her gets confusing. I usually end up skimming previous pages or paragraphs to see if I missed the introduction of a new character.
posted by The Deej at 9:55 AM on July 11, 2007


EB has it. I'll buy you a beer sometime, sir.
posted by Kwine at 9:59 AM on July 11, 2007


Thanks! I look forward to it.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 10:05 AM on July 11, 2007


But I never, ever avoid mentioning he's gay when it's relevant to the conversation ... From their point of view, I'm probably doing exactly what you're talking about.

The relevance of Darien's sexuality to the conversation is subjective, though, and your beliefs probably lead you to mention it more often than you otherwise would. You can't necessarily ascribe all of your interlocutor's surprise at you mentioning Darien's sexuality to homophobia.

It could use some exposure to language where the default pronoun is feminine.

Do you find many people agree with this, even (non-radical) feminists? It seems a bit too affirmative-action for my tastes. Not that I'm firmly against affirmative action in practice or anything (for a start, I don't know enough about American universities to have an informed opinion), but it seems pretty clearly wrong in principle.
posted by Aloysius Bear at 10:26 AM on July 11, 2007


If you don't know the gender of the person, it's: they/them/their. This is the language that ought to be pushed on the internet at least. If you want to adopt affirmative feminist pronouns, whatever you write or say will be tainted because people will question your motives or intelligence before it occurs to them to see it as some sort of guerilla tactic for the sisterhood. If you don't care what the content of what you are saying is, then fine, guerilla away. But if communicating your message in the most favourable way matters to you (and I certainly couldn't think of anyone else on this site for whom getting the exact message across is more important than for you EB) then you will go to AskMefi right now and seek guidance to help make your transition to comfort using the gender neutral pronouns a reality.
posted by peacay at 10:47 AM on July 11, 2007


The point is to be explicitly non-sexist impress feminists.

I'd settle for being impressed, at this point. If an overall reduction in sexist language is a side-effect, yipee!
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:58 PM on July 11, 2007


They/them/their is incorrect when talking about an individual and messes up the verbal structure, while switching genders every other sentence confuses me (and looks like it confuses others here, too). Using "one" all the time (One goes to do one's laundry) just sounds pretentious.

I'm fine with "he" or "him" OR "she" and "her", just not alternating the two.
posted by misha at 4:24 PM on July 11, 2007


They/them/their is incorrect when talking about an individual and messes up the verbal structure

According to whom, though? I mean, I'll grant you that I could pull five people off the street at random and at least one of 'em would agree with you, but why? What, other than the stubbornly reiterated belief that It's Just Bad (or, alternatively, It's Bad Because It's Potentially Ambiguous) justifies this weird blindered refusal to acknowledge long-standing historical usage?
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:31 PM on July 11, 2007


Anyone can use a normally plural word in place of "his or her" if they want to. That person has their choice.
posted by The Deej at 9:49 PM on July 11, 2007


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