Rage, rage against the flaming of the mefite August 2, 2007 10:00 PM   Subscribe

jessamyn: Wait, what? [more inside]
posted by Riki tiki to Etiquette/Policy at 10:00 PM (111 comments total)

I can appreciate wanting to head off a flamewar which I can only assume (based on your tone) has happened before. Sorry about my part in fueling it, but I genuinely think that line of conversation is relevant to the topic and not intrinsically flammable.

But why is it any more appropriate to have that debate in MetaTalk? It's about the actual content of the post, not the quality or relevance of it, so it's not "meta" in any sense.

It seems like if it's not worthy of blue comments then you should just say we can't have that discussion anywhere on the site. With all due respect, though, I feel like that you're stretching the guidelines in order to protect what you see as the point of your personal FPP.
posted by Riki tiki at 10:01 PM on August 2, 2007


Ever idly yanked a nosehair and stared at it? They have a big chunk of root meat on them. I wonder how a soup broth made from thousands of nose hair roots would taste.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:04 PM on August 2, 2007 [10 favorites]


Goodness, has MeTa turned into a bitchfest recently.
posted by lilithim at 10:06 PM on August 2, 2007


Oh for fuck's sake. I'm sure they had it coming, Jess. Your FPPs are doomed to be trollbait, aren't they?
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:08 PM on August 2, 2007


And -- What exactly did you want the collective response to be this erstwhile comment?
posted by lilithim at 10:12 PM on August 2, 2007


I'll second lilithim regarding the bitchfest. Lets leave the trolling and bitching to Digg.
posted by Xere at 10:19 PM on August 2, 2007


For what it's worth, I swear I'm not intending to troll, either in this thread or the original. I'm also not defending my own posts. If anyone thinks they're too inflammatory or just generally suck, you're welcome to that opinion. All I'm saying is that a kibosh on that entire line of discussion seems unjustified. I absolutely think discussion of why we have a poet laureate is germane to a post about a new poet laureate.

I can't help that MeTa has been swarmed with callouts lately, although I'd like to note that this isn't one of them. I'm not saying jessamyn's original post sucked (on the contrary, it was very good).

Isn't this type of question largely the point of the grey? Asking a moderator (in respectful terms, I think) about policy?
posted by Riki tiki at 10:21 PM on August 2, 2007 [3 favorites]


Whoops, should this have gone here instead?
posted by nicwolff at 10:24 PM on August 2, 2007


This seems like as good a place as any to mention that I've always found the phrase "for fuck's sake" to be strangely poetic. So much so, in fact, that it detracts from the dramatic intent for me.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:24 PM on August 2, 2007


Isn't this type of question largely the point of the grey? Asking a moderator (in respectful terms, I think) about policy?

Right you are. The reaction you've gotten and will continue to get through the duration of this thread is only due to "regulars" being fed up with the increasing amount if complaining. You'll get some degree of satisfaction here. Be patient. Let us who are camped in the machine gun nest squeeze off a few rounds at you.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:26 PM on August 2, 2007 [2 favorites]


Quite, yes.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:26 PM on August 2, 2007


The difficulty is that the thread was going in a pretty bad direction, thanks to bad reactions to SCDB's odd question; this was deleted, for example:
Why do we have a "poet laureate of the US"?
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 7:49 PM on August 2 [+] [!]
Civilized people believe that things like poetry, literature, art and culture in general are important and worth supporting. Sane humans do not share your belief that being a killer is the highest calling that man can aspire to.

Considering that the annual cost of the poet laureate is less than one-millionth of the annual cost of the Iraq war that you [/me spits] favour so highly, I think it's a very good deal.


Steven isn't exactly without his detractors, so to wander into a thread about poetry and post what can easily be parsed as an antagonistic question likely to (and, looking back again, succeeding in) derailing the whole thing into a series of heated responses to his comment is somewhere between boneheaded and bullshit.

I think it's safe to say Jessamyn wasn't intending to steer anyone toward a specific goal, just away from yet another SCDB-versus-the-world argument. She tried, and it looks like she didn't succeed. Great.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:30 PM on August 2, 2007


That reminds of the New Yorker article about Wilson's 1969 Congressional testimony about particle physics funding linked in the CERN thread:

Senator John Pastore, of Rhode Island, wanted to know the rationale behind a government expenditure of that size. Did the collider have anything to do with promoting “the security of the country”?


WILSON: No sir, I don’t believe so.
PASTORE: Nothing at all?
WILSON: Nothing at all.
PASTORE: It has no value in that respect?
WILSON: It only has to do with the respect with which we regard one another, the dignity of men, our love of culture. . . . It has to do with are we good painters, good sculptors, great poets? I mean all the things we really venerate in our country and are patriotic about. . . . It has nothing to do directly with defending our country except to make it worth defending.


posted by vacapinta at 10:34 PM on August 2, 2007 [26 favorites]


Please, really, read what I posted. The entire stupid argument is based on no-one involved, starting with SCDB, knowing what the hell they're talking about - because the Poet Laureate isn't paid with tax dollars.
posted by nicwolff at 10:34 PM on August 2, 2007


Jess
Sorry again for joining Steve's party. Steve, you throw a lame party, not sorry for nothin'.
posted by Divine_Wino at 10:34 PM on August 2, 2007


I'm going to need someone to scrape all the root meat from this huge pile of freshly plucked nose hairs. The hair will give the soup broth a bitter flavor. The meat is all I'm after. I'll pay scale according to experience Should I post this to Jobs?
posted by Burhanistan at 10:36 PM on August 2, 2007


nicwolff: that's a relevant counterpoint to SCDB's second comment, and I didn't know it so I'm glad you brought it up.

The original question, though, said nothing about tax dollars, nor does the endowment moot the point entirely. An "official deity of the United States" would be worth arguing even if He didn't get an annual salary, no?
posted by Riki tiki at 10:40 PM on August 2, 2007


SCDB's 1st comment may have been tangentially on target though adversarial, but his follows ups where just out and out off base for the post as it gets away from asking why we have a poet laureate to passive-aggressively bitching about public funding for the arts. I think, perhaps, it was anticipation of what his follow ups turned out to be that ignited the whole thing. I completely understand Jess's frustration over a post about poetry being sucked into a vortex of crapatude. It must be hard being an admin in this situation, calling out SCDB or whomever in metatalk or deleting many off topic comments would raise a howl of abuse of power.
posted by edgeways at 10:45 PM on August 2, 2007


Yes, yes, but why did Match Game need a poet laureate, and who the hell picked Nipsey Russell?
posted by L. Fitzgerald Sjoberg at 10:49 PM on August 2, 2007 [2 favorites]


Stephen C. Den Beste's question was easily answered by reading the links. The purpose of having a poet laureate in the US is clearly stated on the Poet Laureate's website. The quote I pulled in the thread even saves him the trouble of clicking the link. The only reason I didn't tack his question up before my comment is that I recognized it for the troll it is and didn't want to rise to the bait so directly. Flagged it instead.
posted by carsonb at 10:50 PM on August 2, 2007


Public/private funding is beside the point of Riki tiki's question, which is about stretching the guidelines to suit a moderator's personal point of view. For example, have a look at all the non-answers in this thread. We're supposed to answer the question, not berate the poster, right, jessamyn?
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:52 PM on August 2, 2007


The role of the poet in politics
Is to apply sufficient first aid to language
Such that it might be revived and tortured some more.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:53 PM on August 2, 2007 [7 favorites]


Oh, thank God someone linked to that post about gay wingmen. I don't have anything to say about it, it's just that waiting for it to show up in MetaTalk was like waiting for the other shoe to drop.
posted by L. Fitzgerald Sjoberg at 10:55 PM on August 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


spell it out wgp, don't be coy.
posted by edgeways at 10:55 PM on August 2, 2007


Yes, yes, but why did Match Game need a poet laureate, and who the hell picked Nipsey Russell?

It was me, and I'm not sorry and I'd do it again. Forgive me, he was delicious, so sweet and so cold.
posted by Divine_Wino at 10:56 PM on August 2, 2007 [4 favorites]


Tasted like fortified plum wine.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:58 PM on August 2, 2007


To catch the milk
I'd better hustle
cause I hate bein'
ol' Nipsey Russell

posted by nicwolff at 11:08 PM on August 2, 2007


"official deity of the United States"

I thought the official deity of the United States was the one who looks a lot like cortex in all of his portraits. As for SCDB, his initial question was answered, as carsonb states above, by one of the links provided. If he was looking for more, then he should have added to the question, "... because no one reads poetry anymore." or even something like "... because a porn laureate would be the ideal for this country." But that's just me placing more into this than he did.

If the question that needs to be answered is "What?" I'm pretty sure that jessamyn already answered that in your link Riki tiki. But that's just me being willfully obtuse, which brings us back to SCDB's first question...

Also, because Nipsey Russell ruled that phallic-mic having, lip-licking, blank-mouthed Gene Rayburn. That's why he's the laureate of the Match Game. That and the price of corn.
posted by sleepy pete at 11:09 PM on August 2, 2007


posted by L. Fitzgerald Sjoberg Oh, thank God someone linked to that post about gay wingmen.

Okay, Maverick, let's turn and burn!
posted by fandango_matt at 11:10 PM on August 2, 2007


OK edgeways, I'll spell it out. Did you read my link? Now apply your own little suckhole comment to that link and see how it fits:

I completely understand Jess's frustration over a post about poetry being sucked into a vortex of crapatude. It must be hard being an admin in this situation, calling out SCDB or whomever in metatalk or deleting many off topic comments would raise a howl of abuse of power.

Or did you come here just to kiss up and kick down?
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 11:17 PM on August 2, 2007


I myself prefer to kick up and kiss down. OH YEAH all the LADIES know what I'M TALKING ABOUT!
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:22 PM on August 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


Riki Tiki: "But why is it any more appropriate to have that debate in MetaTalk? It's about the actual content of the post, not the quality or relevance of it, so it's not "meta" in any sense."

Not really. It's a classic derail. The throwaway line "take it to meta," which has pretty much lost all meaning (view, for example, the jokey way mods use it nowadays) doesn't have much to do with the point: the post was about poetry from a poet laureate, the argumentative stream of comments from he-whose-name-is-now-but-an-acronym was about an axe-grindy poster's perspective that the US gov't is silly in awarding money to the arts. This is about equal to putting angry comments about the salaries of literature professors in a thread about a book about rainbows.

A derail. If the poster had been anybody but jessamyn, we'd be talking timeouts and banninations rather than having undue hesitation about conflicts of interest.
posted by koeselitz at 11:22 PM on August 2, 2007


I don't have anything to say about it, it's just that waiting for it to show up in MetaTalk was like waiting for the other shoe to drop.

SHUT. UP!
You'll jinx it!

posted by ottereroticist at 11:24 PM on August 2, 2007 [2 favorites]


Metatalk: Kissin' up and kickin' down.
posted by wemayfreeze at 11:27 PM on August 2, 2007


Just for the record, I was not trying to either troll or derail the thread. I thought it was a question worth answering.

But I suppose I should realize by now that any time I end up within five miles of any controversy, rabies springs up amongst certain other noble participants here.

I have a dream: that someday I'll be able to participate in a political discussion here without anyone descending to ad hominem and invective within five milliseconds.

And while I'm setting the record straight:

Of course, SCDB appears to be tending towards the mindset that it is always a bad thing to spend taxes on things that benefit the whole public. If you want an education for your kids, better pay for it. If you want to get treated at a hospital, you'd better have money up front. If you want poetry, pay a poet.

Amazing how many people think they know me and my political position inside and out. I have no objections to spending taxes on things that benefit the whole public.

But I don't think that a poet laureate does. I doubt one percent of Americans will ever read what he's written. And I'm not very keen on spending taxes on things that benefit a vanishingly small fraction of the public.

(I should get my brother to take my picture so I can post it in my profile here. The resulting explosion of cognitive dissonance amongst the people who hate me would be delicious.)
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 11:44 PM on August 2, 2007


I have a dream: that someday I'll be able to participate in a political discussion here without anyone descending to ad hominem and invective within five milliseconds.

Will that mockery of Martin Luther King Jr. come before or after you mark people as a "sweetheart"?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:51 PM on August 2, 2007


I don't think discussing the reason for having a poet laureate was out of bounds, but perhaps being confrontational and SCDB's reputation prevented it from happening in a reasonable way. Which is when the mod squad is needed, and they came in force, and I am not particularly concerned about any perceived conflict.
As for the gay wingman thread, I also think it was given a lot of latitude for non-answers. Obviously, not a thoughtful question, but I put it in the bucket of astrology and religion - if you think it is dumb, move along and let those with answers contribute.
posted by bystander at 12:09 AM on August 3, 2007


(I should get my brother to take my picture so I can post it in my profile here. The resulting explosion of cognitive dissonance amongst the people who hate me would be delicious.)

So you're not a physical midget, then?
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:10 AM on August 3, 2007


posted by Steven C. Den Beste I'm not very keen on spending taxes on things that benefit a vanishingly small fraction of the public.

You're a complete fucking idiot.
posted by fandango_matt at 12:10 AM on August 3, 2007 [2 favorites]


Just to reiterate what was written upthread, the Laureate receives a $35,000 annual stipend funded by a gift from Archer M. Huntington. [via] No tax dollars.
posted by wemayfreeze at 12:11 AM on August 3, 2007


Did we point out that the traditional stipend for the Poet Laureate (for example, Dryden) included a butt of sack? Eerily prescient in the light of that debate.
posted by Abiezer at 12:14 AM on August 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


Huh - a butt of sack:

Henry Pye will go down in laureate history as the man who lost the wine. For some unknown reason, he commuted the 'butt of sack' for the princely sum of £27. Although he envisaged it would top up his pension, it was actually included within the £100 payment. Thus, even up to the 1920s, the laureate was paid £72 plus £27 'in lieu of sack'.
posted by bystander at 12:22 AM on August 3, 2007


Steven C. Den Beste: "And I'm not very keen on spending taxes on things that benefit a vanishingly small fraction of the public."

Maybe so. But taxes aren't nearly high enough as it is. Americans are incredibly rich as a nation; the government would certainly do a better job of apportioning their money than they do. To put it succinctly: USians spend their money on shit. That's one of the reason nobody knows who the poet laureate is and everybody knows who Paris Hilton is.

Also, governmental controls on most industries that are now necessary, like food and fuel, would be welcome.

You'd know this by now if you'd kept up with my heartily insightful comments about the medieval.
posted by koeselitz at 12:33 AM on August 3, 2007


I should say, however, that, being fairly conservative, I feel as though the stipend for poet-laureate probably ought to go back to £100. Not only would this be cheaper, but the US could keep the entire Huntington grant for its own beneficial purposes, since the handiest way to secure £100 for the American poet-laureate would be to tax the Britons directly.
posted by koeselitz at 12:39 AM on August 3, 2007


lilithim: "Goodness, has MeTa turned into a bitchfest recently."

Lately?
posted by Effigy2000 at 1:05 AM on August 3, 2007


Lately?

Recently, I mean. Sorry, just so tired from work.
posted by Effigy2000 at 1:08 AM on August 3, 2007


But I suppose I should realize by now that any time I end up within five miles of any controversy, rabies springs up amongst certain other noble participants here.

Yes. Stated less dramatically, less "poor me, beset upon on all sides", emphatically yes. It's kind of nuts and correspondingly kind of insulting that you seem to think that starting a fight you yourself could reasonably see coming and then sniffing about it in here is the right course of action.

I have a dream: that someday I'll be able to participate in a political discussion here without anyone descending to ad hominem and invective within five milliseconds.

Have you considered a new account with a handle that isn't infamous? In all seriousness. There's a difference between "SCDB" being able to shrug off any and all SCDB-related baggage and you-the-actual-human just stepping out of that specific (and at this point hopelessly, wildly conspicuous) outfit and into something no one would recognize. Sort of a shame, sure—Brand New Day and all that, and I'm no happier that people react badly to you by name than you are—but it'd be a damned good expedient if your main motivation is trouble- (and reputation-)free political/etc discussion.

As it is, you seem willing and possibly even happy to sling around the weight that now hangs from your handle.

Public/private funding is beside the point of Riki tiki's question, which is about stretching the guidelines to suit a moderator's personal point of view. For example, have a look at all the non-answers in this thread. We're supposed to answer the question, not berate the poster, right, jessamyn?

That thread is a goddam trainwreck in a bottle. We've been trying to trim it back as we go, but it's far from elementary to make the cuts when it's something that's so essentially personal and personality-driven. Are you suggesting that Jess (and I) have been not tending that thread in good faith? Examples? Or that, specifically, she doesn't care because she didn't post it? Because that seems like a hell of a lot to attribute to the surface differences in two apples-and-oranges situations.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:10 AM on August 3, 2007


I have a dream: that someday I'll be able to participate in a political discussion

But that wasn't a pollitical discussion; it was a discussion about poetry that you barged into and tried to turn into a political discussion, apparently based on your completely incorrect assumption that the pittance involved was paid with tax dollars.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 1:26 AM on August 3, 2007 [2 favorites]


any time I end up within five miles of any controversy, rabies springs up amongst certain other noble participants here.

i'm going to try and be as constructive as possible here. steven, part of the reason you inspire such fury around here is your habit of being wrong.

and it's not just that you're wrong, because everyone is wrong sometimes. it's that you speak with a tone of authority on a lot of topics which are, frankly, far outside your realm of expertise.

and even then, it's not just that. generally when you are wrong about something, someone else comes along and points it out. and then, steven, you are nowhere to be found. you vanish from the thread, not to be seen again until the next topic you don't know that much about springs up, and you decide to hold forth.

anyway, i think taking responsibility would help. the occasional "huh, i guess i was wrong. sorry about that" would probably go a long way to improving the way people react to you around here.
posted by sergeant sandwich at 1:37 AM on August 3, 2007 [13 favorites]


posted by sergeant sandwich steven, part of the reason you inspire such fury around here is your habit of being wrong. and it's not just that you're wrong, because everyone is wrong sometimes. it's that you speak with a tone of authority on a lot of topics which are, frankly, far outside your realm of expertise. and even then, it's not just that. generally when you are wrong about something, someone else comes along and points it out. and then, steven, you are nowhere to be found. you vanish from the thread, not to be seen again until the next topic you don't know that much about springs up, and you decide to hold forth.

In other words, SCDB posts incorrect and asinine remarks in threads for no real reason other than to start shitstorms. I believe that's what's known as a troll.
posted by fandango_matt at 1:49 AM on August 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


Sergeant Sandwich, I learned a long time ago that it's OK to be wrong.

As to "taking responsibility" and acknowledging error, I do that all the time.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 1:50 AM on August 3, 2007


"I stand corrected" would be an excellent new username for you, mr. den beste.
posted by Hat Maui at 2:05 AM on August 3, 2007 [3 favorites]


But I don't think that a poet laureate does. I doubt one percent of Americans will ever read what he's written. And I'm not very keen on spending taxes on things that benefit a vanishingly small fraction of the public.

I'd just like to point out that the fact that just because only a small fraction of the public will actually read it, that doesn't mean that the public as a whole don't benefit from it.

We benefit from the wider influences that work of great excellence has on the subsequent work of those people that are influenced by it. We benefit from having a richer and more culturally diverse environment.

Now you may not think that this is a reasonable priority for government spending, given the whole balance of demands on the public purse -- and I may even agree with you -- but your understanding of who benefits and how is overly limited/limiting.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:13 AM on August 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


Just for the record, I was not trying to either troll or derail the thread.

Bullshit. You came into a thread about poetry and deliberately derailed it into a political discussion. Without even a figleaf of relevance, I might add, because the poet laureate (for the thousandth time) is not funded by taxpayers. It speaks to the infinite tolerance of our triumvirate that you're still around after all the trouble you've caused around here over the years. Go memorize what sgt. sandwich said and clean up your act.
posted by languagehat at 4:17 AM on August 3, 2007 [4 favorites]


For the record, I would just like to say: Fuck the Liberal Arts Majors that Planned the Invasion and Occupation In Iraq.

(speaking as a liberal arts major)
posted by chlorus at 5:40 AM on August 3, 2007 [2 favorites]


RIK NIK NIK!
posted by quonsar at 6:03 AM on August 3, 2007 [2 favorites]


Not to derail the thrilling virtual stoning here (I don't think I could if I wanted to anyway), but...

and it's not just that you're wrong, because everyone is wrong sometimes. it's that you speak with a tone of authority on a lot of topics which are, frankly, far outside your realm of expertise.

Meh. I mean, what really is the alternative to a "tone of authority"? "I would prefer that you speak only in tones evocative of a wide-eyed ingenue..." I've heard this "tone of authority" meme from damn near everyone who's disagreed with me in the past month, and I'm developing the impression it's just elevated speech for "STFU, 'K?" I don't know who birthed this abomination, but someone smother the ugly little fucker, and quickly.

(end derail)
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:27 AM on August 3, 2007 [3 favorites]


As to "taking responsibility" and acknowledging error, I do that all the time.

No you don't. You do that only occasionally. Far more often you do exactly what sergaent sandwich describes:

generally when you are wrong about something, someone else comes along and points it out. and then, steven, you are nowhere to be found. you vanish from the thread, not to be seen again until the next topic you don't know that much about springs up, and you decide to hold forth.

It's classic bad faith arguing.
posted by mediareport at 6:30 AM on August 3, 2007


Nagaina runs the garden, begone Riki Tiki!
posted by prostyle at 6:30 AM on August 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


Notice that SCDB has neither admitted being wrong about the Poet Laureate, nor has he apologized for derailing Jessamyn's thread.
posted by fandango_matt at 6:48 AM on August 3, 2007


I've never seen him do either. As soon as strong counter-arguments are made, he invariably disappears.
posted by Malor at 6:58 AM on August 3, 2007


Are you suggesting that Jess (and I) have been not tending that thread in good faith?

i think for a moderator to post a fpp and then moderate it can give the appearance of a conflict of interest

it would be better form if she let you and matt handle it, that way such questions won't come up
posted by pyramid termite at 7:01 AM on August 3, 2007 [2 favorites]


between boneheaded and bullshit

Did you ever notice just how many MetaFilter conversations seem to be between between boneheaded and bullshit? Well, I have. I have a big box of printouts of them that I keep here in my office. *Lifts cardboard box onto desk; grabs handfuls of paper out of box.* There's a lot of it. Here's one where boneheaded makes a comment that clearly shows he didn't click the link, and bullshit replies with something he just made up. Here's another one where bullshit claims to be an expert in a field relevant to the topics being discussed, and boneheaded links to an Onion article to prove him wrong. It turns out that in that one, bullshit's cat was the expert, and bullshit was misinterpreting what the cat said. Now maybe I'm just a cranky old guy with enormous eyebrows, but I think the world would be a better, sweeter-smelling place if all the bullshit could be somehow stuffed into the boneheaded and put into a decaying orbit around the Sun.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:23 AM on August 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


A derail. If the poster had been anybody but jessamyn, we'd be talking timeouts and banninations rather than having undue hesitation about conflicts of interest.

WTF are you talking about? Are you confusing the blue with the green? Derails are (and should be) harshly handled in the green, but there's derails like this all the time on the blue and most of them go forward without any interference from the moderators.

Threads don't always go in the direction the OP intended, and it's considered bad form to try for the OP to police the thread and dictate that this aspect of the post, and not that other aspect of it, is the one that must be discussed.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:25 AM on August 3, 2007


...it's considered bad form to try for the OP to police the thread...
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:26 AM on August 3, 2007


Eh. Doesn't matter if jessamyn or cortex or matt moderates their own threads. No conflict of interest, because the interest is to make the site as high quality as possible.

Maybe jessamyn watches her own thread more closely, as she should. But the few times I've e-mailed or IMed jessamyn about my own threads, she has responded quickly and efficiently.
posted by The Deej at 7:36 AM on August 3, 2007


What DevilsAdvocete said. This type of so-called 'derail' happens in every sports-related thread when some hater shows up and decries all of professional sports. SCDB's original comment was no different.
It was a conflict of interest for the jessamyn to have edited the comments in her own thread. Next time she should recuse herself and let the other two handle it.
posted by rocket88 at 7:45 AM on August 3, 2007


Burhanistan writes "Ever idly yanked a nosehair and stared at it? They have a big chunk of root meat on them. I wonder how a soup broth made from thousands of nose hair roots would taste."

That is the worst thing I've ever read. Thanks for making me urpy this early in the morning.
posted by chiababe at 7:48 AM on August 3, 2007


And yet, it is an apt metaphor for Metafilter.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:50 AM on August 3, 2007


sergeant sandwich and fandango_matt distill the essence of the SCDB experience.
posted by mzurer at 7:52 AM on August 3, 2007


It was a conflict of interest for the jessamyn to have edited the comments in her own thread.

She deleted one comment. I quoted it above. It was not from Steven. If it is a conflict of interest to suggest a predictable SCDB-vs-all-comers not derail that thread, it is a conflict of interest to ever suggest such a prohibition in any thread, because the interest in question is keeping the discussion halfway decent; that she was the person who posted the thread being lazily shitted up is only icing on the cake, and that she's the mod who happened to be at the helm when it happened is circumstance.

The folks who are noting that derails happens all the time are right, but that's ignoring the fact that in some cases those derails are interesting conversation jaunts and sometimes they're just crap-slinging. The latter sort tend to get flagged a lot, and tend to suck. The context matters.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:08 AM on August 3, 2007


and then, steven, you are nowhere to be found. you vanish from the thread, not to be seen again until the next topic you don't know that much about springs up

That's not completely true. Sometimes he emails you to tell you how arrogant you are for pointing out his error.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:11 AM on August 3, 2007


Look, all you need is a good quality chicken, a cast iron pan, sharp shears, olive oil, salt, garlic, rosemary and thyme. That's it!

Cut along the back of the chicken (after washing and patting it dry, silly!) and rub it with olive oil (or rendered chicken fat, if you have it...or both!), salt and pepper. Slice the garlic very thin and distribute pieces of it wherever you can under the skin. Do the same with small quantities of the herbs. Anything that isn't salt, pepper, or fat on top of the bird is going to burn, which isn't tasty.

Turn on the broiler and, this is important, put the cast iron pan in the broiler to let it get extremely hot.

When the pan is super smoking hot, drop the chicken, skin up, in the pan. Let it broil for, say, 10-12 minutes, or until the skin is crispy but not burned. Transfer (with good oven mitts, please!) the bird to the oven and turn the oven down to about 325 degrees. Depending upon the size of the bird, your chicken will be done in about a half an hour.

Fish the chicken out of the cast iron and let it rest for a few (at least 15) minutes before you snip it in quarters or eights so that the juice stays in the meat. In the interim, there are many delicious possibilities for the leftover juices and brown bits in the pan. I think that you should probably wilt some greens for now, or take a little while to cook some well trimmed chard.

Now take a moment to curse jessamyn.

Enjoy!
posted by kosem at 8:15 AM on August 3, 2007 [4 favorites]


Next time she should recuse herself and let the other two handle it.

That's the trifecta for the "mefi moderator as judge" meme here in MeTa, and it's not the way we handle things here. There is no "recusal" here.

I think I removed one comment from that thread which was basically calling out SCDB in an ugly manner (the one cortex quoted) and was cut and dried enough to remove. I left everything else in.

SCDB, as someone who has stuck up for you here many times in the past, I am personally upset at what you chose to do in that thread. I will be sticking up for you much less in the future.

In a general sense, I was happy about Simic's appointment and was trying to follow my own advice about posting quality stuff to the front page if I was feeling bogged down over PoliticsFilter posts. Now I'm frustrated and a little sad and about to go on my own one-person crusade to keep this place from being a political hobby horse cesspool in every damned thread.

In answer to your original question Riki tiki, it's totally appropriate to delete flagged comments in a thread on poetry to keep it from turning into a derail about arts funding and the war in Iraq. I did check with cortex just to make sure I wasn't overreacting because it was my own personal post however. Whatever you say about my warning, it didn't work anyhow.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:15 AM on August 3, 2007 [2 favorites]


koeselitz: ...taxes aren't nearly high enough...governmental controls on most industries that are now necessary, like food and fuel, would be welcome...
koeselitz: I should say, however, that, being fairly conservative...

*head asplodes*
posted by Durin's Bane at 8:31 AM on August 3, 2007


I feel good knowing that while Law & Order cannot possibly last forever, these legal dramas will always be around.
posted by yerfatma at 8:31 AM on August 3, 2007


Steven C. Den Beste writes "(I should get my brother to take my picture so I can post it in my profile here. The resulting explosion of cognitive dissonance amongst the people who hate me would be delicious.)"

Why? Are you secretly Janeane Garofalo? Or a cleverly constructed Alice?
posted by Mitheral at 8:32 AM on August 3, 2007


Fair enough. If that was the only comment snipped then it wasn't as egregious as it first looked. I still think SCDB's original comment wasn't a derail. It was equivalent to a thread on the naming of a new Drug Czar having comments form people opposed to the war on drugs. I don't share his opinion, but it's as valid as any poetry lover's.
posted by rocket88 at 8:33 AM on August 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


The Drug Czar position is inherently political, Poet Laureate not so much.
posted by Mitheral at 8:45 AM on August 3, 2007


Look, all you need is a good quality chicken, a cast iron pan, sharp shears, olive oil, salt, garlic, rosemary and thyme. That's it!

my tax money better not be paying for that, damn it!
posted by pyramid termite at 8:55 AM on August 3, 2007


And I'm not very keen on spending taxes on things that benefit a vanishingly small fraction of the public.

As to "taking responsibility" and acknowledging error, I do that all the time.

I cannot fathom why you would come into this thread and say these two particular things, considering all the things that have been mentioned before you came in. It completely blows my mind that, having been confronted with the fact that you derailed a thread about poetry by incorrectly (one cannot bold that word enough) implying, and then insisting on, the idea that the poet laureate is paid with tax dollars, you then come in and say it AGAIN!

And then almost immediately afterward you claim that you admit you're wrong "all the time." You demonstrate this by showing 6 times that you've said it over a period of more than a year, when you are wrong exponentially more often than that. You know what would have really driven the point home that you're capable of admitting your mistakes? And I mean, far more than any link to your blog about doing your math incorrectly. Admitting you're wrong right now. That would sure as hell go a lot farther than what you posted.

But hell, I'm not even sure you'll come back here to say anything at all. sgt. sandwich has you dead to rights on that one, too.
posted by shmegegge at 9:03 AM on August 3, 2007


Placing screengrabs of catgirl anime shows on your website without paying royalites to the Japanese artists/studios = COOL.

Awarding a poet with an annual government-subsidized salary = NOT COOL.
posted by Smart Dalek at 9:08 AM on August 3, 2007


SCDB: "I should get my brother to take my picture so I can post it in my profile here. The resulting explosion of cognitive dissonance amongst the people who hate me would be delicious."

Unless you're a cute little calico kitty wearing a "Hillary '08" shirt while frolicking on a sign reading "No Loose Nukes," I'm really not sure how that would work. Do you think your detractors don't know that trolls come in all shapes, sizes and colors these days?
posted by Pater Aletheias at 9:14 AM on August 3, 2007


Addressing some different points here:

I don't think it's inappropriate for mathowie, jessamyn, and cortex to moderate their own threads.

I do believe there's a conflict of interest. There's the official interest of making Mefi a non-crappy site. But when it's your own post there's also an interest in keeping the discussion to the parts of the topic you think are important. That said, I think the three of them have proved their merit in spades, and the harm done by potential overzealous moderation is vanishingly small.

One of the problems here is that we're talking about two different things. The comment that was deleted was flamebait. I don't think anyone here is saying otherwise. This is the strongest evidence that moderators should be able to keep an eye on their own post: jessamyn saw it, and even did a sanity check on her own opinion, and then moderated appropriately. The system worked.

However, that comment was not why I created this MeTa thread:

I disagree with SCDB, and obviously he's created a reputation for himself that automatically flags his comments to the old-timers. But taken on its own merits, his original comment was not a derail, for the reason I mentioned above. And by extension, his second comment was also topical, although factually incorrect. The subsequent SCDB pile-on in this thread, while intriguing, thus has nothing to do with my original point.

Now you may disagree with me, jessamyn, and believe that the only valid discussion was of poetry itself.

But here's where the conflict of interest between jessamyn-the-op and jessamyn-the-mod manifests itself. "The OP's opinion" is not a policing force anywhere on the site, and rightly so: not every user can objectively direct discussion on the topics they cared enough about to post in the first place.

And that's why I made this MeTa thread. When you told us (using your authority as moderator) to take that conversation to the grey, it seemed to me that jessamyn-the-op was demanding things that other OPs aren't permitted. In my opinion, this clouds the normally open air of discussion where threads go wherever the community reasonably decides to take them.

In the end, it's your site. You guys do a great job and get way too much shit for your trouble. No good deed goes unpunished, as they say. I certainly hate compounding that, which was why I was trying to be as polite as possible in even bringing up this subject. I like to think that I'm not just adding yet-another-whiny-callout to the recent deluge; that my concern was reasonable and valid even if you end up disagreeing with me. If I'm wrong, I apologize. And of course, whatever you guys end up deciding is fine by me.

Keep up the great work. As much as people may bitch, they wouldn't be here if you weren't making it a worthwhile place to be.
posted by Riki tiki at 9:27 AM on August 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


SCDB: "I should get my brother to take my picture so I can post it in my profile here. The resulting explosion of cognitive dissonance amongst the people who hate me would be delicious."

I tracked down a picture, and it is pretty shocking-- I had no idea that all this time he was an angry cat. I would've bet my life he was human, if only because he types so well.
posted by COBRA! at 9:30 AM on August 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


Cat Like Typing Detected!
posted by Big_B at 9:32 AM on August 3, 2007


(I should get my brother to take my picture so I can post it in my profile here. The resulting explosion of cognitive dissonance amongst the people who hate me would be delicious.)

I always imagined that you look a bit like the young Aretha Franklin, but with a pierced septum. Am I that far off?
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 9:34 AM on August 3, 2007


I should get my brother to take my picture so I can post it in my profile here. The resulting explosion of cognitive dissonance amongst the people who hate me would be delicious.)

Assholes come in all shapes, sizes and colors! How would your appearance cause any "cognitive dissonance?"
posted by ericb at 9:34 AM on August 3, 2007


How would your appearance cause any "cognitive dissonance?"

didn't you get the memo? ... we're supposed to be as obsessed with him as he is
posted by pyramid termite at 9:41 AM on August 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


These threads are why I like MetaTalk so much: I get to see a lot of normal-type people acting like a righteous mob of vicious idiots. It shows me how right I was to have done the "tune in, turn on, drop out" thing in 8th grade in 1975.
posted by davy at 9:45 AM on August 3, 2007


Now you may disagree with me, jessamyn, and believe that the only valid discussion was of poetry itself.

Nope, I didn't mind SCDB's original comment to that thread except that I had a suspicion it was going to start crap like this but as you say, that's not my choice to dictate. However, if he was going to jump into a poetry thread and turn it into an argument about tax funding that cortex and I were going to have to keep a constant eye on, I'd say I was warranted to try to steer that argument to MeTa as would any OP. My first comment to that effect (about the deleted comment) was separate from my second comment to that effect directed to SCDB.

If this had been almost any other poster with a small aside about tax funding, this would not have gone this way, so it's a pretty edgecase example that I don't think you can draw generalized conclusions from. The problem is that we try hard to keep community opinion about strong personalities from affecting our fair treatment of people regarding comment deletion, etc. Nearly everything SCDB posts gets flagged some days, it seems, so we have to make judgement calls in a lot of cases.

This gets difficult when you feel that those posters are actually not just trying to represent their own unpopular opinions but when they seem to show an active disegard for how the site works and how people interact with it, even people with unpopular opinions. So, general courtesies that aren't hard-and-fast policies like "don't crap in threads" which, in my opinion is what SCDBs second comment was doing (turning a "let's look at something neat" into a fight about taxes) had to be spelled out. I would have done it for other threads -- I do it often in AskMe which has different guidelines -- and maybe should have left cortex to do it in this one, but since cortex and I were clearly on the same page (and both up too late on a Thursday night dealing with that nonsense) that's how it shook out.

I get your general point, I just don't totally agree with it. It's hard to be both a moderator and a participant on this site. I don't think I've ever had a MeFi thread I created "go badly" by my estimation before.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:46 AM on August 3, 2007


I should get my brother to take my picture so I can post it in my profile here. The resulting explosion of cognitive dissonance amongst the people who hate me would be delicious.

Yeah, I don't get that. I mean, this is still you, right? And here we have what I guess is the lighter side of SCDB. Where's the cognitive dissonance. You seem to look exactly like what I'd expect.

Unless you've gotten a sex-change in the past year or two. In which case, yes, I would be surprised.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:49 AM on August 3, 2007


jessamyn: I didn't mind SCDB's original comment to that thread except that I had a suspicion it was going to start crap like this...

Ah. See, I didn't get that from your posts on the blue thread. A lot of that is probably my newbishness to the site; had I known SCDB had this reputation I might have made different assumptions. You have my apologies.
posted by Riki tiki at 9:59 AM on August 3, 2007


Stunningly, the waiting-for-SCDB-to-admit-he-was-wrong clock just keeps on a'tickin'...
posted by delfuego at 10:00 AM on August 3, 2007


"The Drug Czar position is inherently political, Poet Laureate not so much."

Tell that to Virgil!

"When you told us (using your authority as moderator) to take that conversation to the grey, it seemed to me that jessamyn-the-op was demanding things that other OPs aren't permitted."

I've told people to "take it to MeTa." I can also call people fuckskulls or panty-nibblers or jenkem-huffers without a bunch of people getting all "OMG a MOD told me to STFU!"
posted by klangklangston at 10:03 AM on August 3, 2007


Den Beste! You gave dot hack ONE STAR? What the hell is the matter with you? And you expect me to trust your opinion on important cultural issues?!
posted by Baby_Balrog at 10:53 AM on August 3, 2007


I have an idea: if all these similar MetaTalk threads were combined it would all be so much easier to keep track of.

(If that Italian hooker hadn't given Nietzsche syphilis we wouldn't be here today.)
posted by davy at 11:11 AM on August 3, 2007


What the hell is the matter with you? And you expect me to trust your opinion on important cultural issues?!

Heh, that one* never gets old.

*no offense intended to any current or reformed wingbags
posted by prostyle at 11:20 AM on August 3, 2007


Come to think of it, it makes more sense to blame the Nazis for the Nietzscheans: if it weren't for being used in Nazi and anti-Nazi propaganda Ol' Uncle Freddy would be just another half- forgotten crank like Kepler or Kiekergaard.
posted by davy at 11:26 AM on August 3, 2007


Suppose you're thinkin' about a bag o' wings. Suddenly someone'll say, like, bag, or wings, or bag o' wings out of the blue, no explanation. (Or maybe I should overthink about a plate o' beans?)
posted by davy at 11:32 AM on August 3, 2007


This plate of beans and bag of wings will end well, no doubt.

/hangs head in shame

Mushrooms for everyone, especially the mongoose and SCDB, you two get double damage!
posted by prostyle at 11:36 AM on August 3, 2007


Baby_Balrog writes "Den Beste! You gave dot hack ONE STAR? What the hell is the matter with you? And you expect me to trust your opinion on important cultural issues?!"

So when Steven says that if he posted his picture, we'd all be surprised, is that because he's a GothLoli?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:34 PM on August 3, 2007


I think everyone has enjoyed the beans, cos this thread is starting to seem like the scene from Blazing Saddles.
posted by absalom at 1:21 PM on August 3, 2007


Are we pretty much done, then?
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:29 PM on August 3, 2007


Are we pretty much done, then?

Not until everyone has had a bowl of nose hair rootmeat soup. It came out delicious!
posted by Burhanistan at 1:33 PM on August 3, 2007


"Waiter? There's a hair in my soup."
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 1:37 PM on August 3, 2007


Nose hair rootmeat soup? Why yes. It's the Soup Den Beste.
posted by fandango_matt at 1:43 PM on August 3, 2007


You guys make arriving back at the office after a margarita lunch a lot easier. LOL.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 1:47 PM on August 3, 2007


"Madam? There's a hair in my whore."
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 1:47 PM on August 3, 2007


Madam? There's a hare in my whore.
posted by The Deej at 1:53 PM on August 3, 2007


NOSE HAIR ROOTMEAT SOUP
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:40 PM on August 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


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