Write your congressperson? October 21, 2007 9:10 AM   Subscribe

Please don't ask how to break the law on AskMe.

I realize that the Cuban Assets Control Regulations are not popular, but neither is copyright law, and we don't allow questions eliciting advice about effective copyright infringement.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America to Etiquette/Policy at 9:10 AM (207 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite



You've got to be Havana laugh.
posted by Abiezer at 9:17 AM on October 21, 2007 [3 favorites]


Cortex and I went back and forth on this and decided to leave it up. If mathowie disagrees, I don't feel super strongly about it, but do have rather strong feelings about Cuba.

The usual guideline for illegal questions is, generally speaking, "Is keeping this question up going to rain down shit on mathowie?" which is why we usually leave drug questions up, but are touchier about bittorrent and software piracy questions.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:18 AM on October 21, 2007 [4 favorites]


It's not necessarily illegal.

I know. I told the person that they needed licenses, and that they might qualify for them, but the the question (as well as most of the answers) are focused on getting to Cuba without the proper licenses, and that is illegal.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 9:20 AM on October 21, 2007


I figure there's at least two perspectives to this situation. The first Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America has gracefully laid out for us here, and I'll paraphrase: YOUR GOVERNMENT SAYS NO! The second is something along the lines of sharing what we know so siblings can give each other a big ol' hug.
posted by carsonb at 9:20 AM on October 21, 2007


I doubt I would have known about the post had I not seen this but I think you did right in leaving it up.
posted by y2karl at 9:21 AM on October 21, 2007


Sorry, I didn't realize I posted the same link you had. Still, since we're both pointing out that it may be legal for the person's friend to go, we may actually be preventing an illegal act.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:23 AM on October 21, 2007


The first Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America has gracefully laid out for us here, and I'll paraphrase: YOUR GOVERNMENT SAYS NO!

No, that's not at all what I'm saying. It was my understanding that asking how to engage in illegal behavior was against the guidelines. Apparently it's fine, though.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 9:25 AM on October 21, 2007


They don't allow questions about copyright because there is some fear (I think) that people answering questions about it might get in trouble. Judges have ruled that it's illegal to link too software that can be used to break copyright control mechanisms (DRM) (for example). At least that's my understanding of why those kinds of discussions are not allowed here. I think it also just annoys matthowie :P

But why discussion copyright infringement in particular isn't allowed, discussion of other 'illegal' things are. I don't think it's very worthwhile not to do something just because it's illegal, and certainly not worthwhile to not even talk about it.
posted by delmoi at 9:25 AM on October 21, 2007


Mr. President,

I think Jessamyn was pretty clear. The policy is - avoid posts that will threaten Matt or this site.

The policy is not - all illegal acts are wrong and we will delete all posts that discuss or 'encourage' illegal activity
posted by serazin at 9:28 AM on October 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


As a foreigner, I do find the 'we won't let our people go to the nasty country' law absolutely hilarious. Trade sanctions is one thing, but I utterly fail to see how this doesn't violate some human rights aspect in terms of freedom of movement. "Yeah? Well. we don't like you, so no-one can go on holiday there or bolster your economy by staying in your cheap hotels".

I think that finding ways around it is a good thing. Like, revolutionary, innit! YOu could wear a bandana and some cammo and hold up a (very small and possibly illegible and encrypted) sign showing that you are sticking it to The Man by making sure that ordinary people can get together despite stupid government restrictions.

Shutting countries off seldom helps them throw off regimes. Showing the people within it an alternative way (sometimes purely through tourism) is usually more helpful. Anything that shows the ban to be the ridiculous knee-jerk that it is falls under the heading of A Good Thing (tm) in my humble opinion*.







*actually pretty rarely humble. Ho hum.
posted by Brockles at 9:29 AM on October 21, 2007 [3 favorites]


As a foreigner, I do find the 'we won't let our people go to the nasty country' law absolutely hilarious.

Yeah, it's pretty stupid.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 9:30 AM on October 21, 2007


It was my understanding that asking how to engage in illegal behavior was against the guidelines. Apparently it's fine, though.

So now the question has become 'how to make my desired behaviour legal', are you now ok with it?
posted by Brockles at 9:31 AM on October 21, 2007


If your destination has demonstrably better cuisine than your place of origin, the benefits of going outweigh the illegality. Unfortunately, because one can get good Cuban food in NYC, the travel ban wins and the question should not be posted on AskMe.
posted by sneakin at 9:35 AM on October 21, 2007 [2 favorites]


So now the question has become 'how to make my desired behaviour legal', are you now ok with it?

I'm OK with asking how to get to Cuba without licenses. I'm OK with asking how kill one's grandma and rape her corpse.

I simply didn't realize that the prohibition was pretty much only against copyright-related questions, but now I do.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 9:39 AM on October 21, 2007


Just for fun: http://www.dumblaws.com/
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:39 AM on October 21, 2007


It was my understanding that asking how to engage in illegal behavior was against the guidelines.

that's why you never read any askmes about how to tear the tags off of mattresses

god forbid that someone, somewhere, might be breaking a law you don't even agree with - how will you ever sleep at night if they do?

it's not going to get matt in trouble, it's not going to affect you, you can't even be bothered to defend the law in question, so why even bother with what someone else may choose to do or whether they get help here in doing it?
posted by pyramid termite at 9:42 AM on October 21, 2007


"It was my understanding that asking how to engage in illegal behavior was against the guidelines. Apparently it's fine, though."

Lighten up, Francis.
posted by klangklangston at 9:46 AM on October 21, 2007 [2 favorites]


Because, pyramid termite, I think it's important that users follow the guidelines. I thought I saw behavior that ran contrary to the guidelines, so I opened this thread.

I think it's been productive, because I doubt I was the only one who didn't know that questions about illegal activity are actually just fine, for the most part, and that it's really copyright infringement questions that are disallowed.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 9:46 AM on October 21, 2007


Because, pyramid termite, I think it's important that users follow the guidelines.

no, because, mr president dr steve elvis america, conservative minded types like yourself are obsessed with the idea that someone might get away with something and you'll butt into their business if there's any chance that you can prevent it

you're a pathetic narc
posted by pyramid termite at 9:50 AM on October 21, 2007 [4 favorites]


It was my understanding that asking how to engage in illegal behavior was against the guidelines.

One of my favorite AskMe threads: Suppose you killed somebody...How would you dispose of the body without getting caught?
posted by ericb at 9:51 AM on October 21, 2007


To be a little wordier on this. We have a blanket "nothing illegal pls" guideline because most illegal questions are also likely "get mathowie in trouble" questions, but it's not all CYA territory. They're also often bad questions for Askme for a number of other reasons -- they involve harming people or property, they're going to go badly as threads, they're going to get a lot of people emailing us demanding to know who posted them (this is why AskMe questions pretty much can't mention suicide in the future tense) ore demanding that we take them down.

At some level we ask each other whether having someone get a decent answer to the question is more valuable than us upholding whatever law or social norm is in question under the "illegal" clause of the guidelines. This also involves a few more other side questions such as

- can they get decent information on this topic elsewhere [i.e. pirating software]?
- do they seriously need an answer or are they just goofing around/pushing the envelope?
- are the cops likely to show up regardless of what our opinions are of the laws involved [see jaywalking vs. underage porn]?
- will someone getting this information use it to hurt themselves or others [see revenge questions]?

And a little more. So we did think and talk about this, it's not just us being flip and saying "the laws suck, screw the man!" or saying "no illegal questions except for laws we think are stupid"
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:51 AM on October 21, 2007


If you were fairly certain what the rule was (despite being incorrect), I still don't understand why you'd start a MeTa thread about it. If something's a clear 'breaks the guidelines' what need is there for discussion? Just flag it for removal.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:56 AM on October 21, 2007


I think it's important that users follow the guidelines.
You really are Mr Rules, hoo boy. Bet your towels are all in a nice row.
posted by bonaldi at 9:58 AM on October 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


Clarification: It is not illegal for Americans to travel to Cuba. It is illegal for unauthorized Americans to spend any money in Cuba. That is what they actually get you for.
posted by LarryC at 9:59 AM on October 21, 2007


So we did think and talk about this, it's not just us being flip and saying "the laws suck, screw the man!" or saying "no illegal questions except for laws we think are stupid"

I certainly never intended to suggest that. The three of you have always seemed cautious and deliberative when making administrative decisions.

If the standard is whether allowing the question will cause problems for the site or its owner, then I agree, there's no reason to delete the Cuba question.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 10:03 AM on October 21, 2007


If you were fairly certain what the rule was (despite being incorrect), I still don't understand why you'd start a MeTa thread about it. If something's a clear 'breaks the guidelines' what need is there for discussion?

I thought I was fairly certain, but then the question stood and many of the answers were advocating illegal activity, so I figured I might as well seek guidance.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 10:05 AM on October 21, 2007


I think it's important that users follow the guidelines.

Be sure to obey the Hall Monitor!
posted by ericb at 10:13 AM on October 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


Where in the question does the person say that they only want to travel illegally? If people are giving crap answers, that's one thing, but the question seems fine.
posted by 23skidoo at 10:13 AM on October 21, 2007


Eponysterical.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:18 AM on October 21, 2007


It was my understanding that asking how to engage in illegal behavior was against the guidelines. Apparently it's fine, though.

It's not a black and white world, sorry. There's no "line" we can point to and say those are illegal and must go. To do so would be silly and inflexible (I can imagine a situation where we would have to delete a question on keeping a ferret in a state that disallows it).

Slate just did a great series on laws that get broken everyday and why no one stops it. And like the things mentioned in the Slate piece, questions of dubious, but largely harmless, illegality tend to stick around in Ask MeFi. We have oodles of posts on people trying to extend a Visa stay, how to pass a drug test, or how to visit a country they shouldn't and those are by and large harmless "crimes" with no victims.

Ask MeFi, as always, is run by humans and we judge things for the most part on a case-by-case basis. Flying to Cuba isn't automatically out of bounds simply because of the mild law-breaking. And like jessamyn said, how it could come back to haunt me/us all on mefi does factor into it. Questions on how to download music/movies or warez are really problematic because the internet is a key way to break the law and chase down people providing information.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:18 AM on October 21, 2007 [7 favorites]


Your a Tatletale -- by Lindsey Bigg.
posted by ericb at 10:18 AM on October 21, 2007


Be sure to obey the Hall Monitor!

You know you've gotta go with Christ, dude. You could go one way, and wander around the halls without a pass, or you could see the light, man!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:28 AM on October 21, 2007


I think it's important that users follow the guidelines.

You really are Mr Rules, hoo boy. Bet your towels are all in a nice row.


Well, if we aren't going to follow the guidelines, why even have them?
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 10:31 AM on October 21, 2007


As a guide.
posted by Abiezer at 10:34 AM on October 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


To lines.
posted by klangklangston at 10:36 AM on October 21, 2007 [2 favorites]


I think more Americans should visit Cuba; that way they will find out how very generous and pleasant most Cuban people are. They are highly literate, have a great health care system and a shitty government. The country that wishes to prohibit people visiting Cuba has a literate populace, a shitty health care system and a shitty government. If more USAians went to Cuba maybe they would realise that the bogey man is more a myth; though Americans are not known to deal well with fuel shortages, power outages and empty shelves. Go for it Otolith.
(Oh shit........ Ferrari win the F1 in Brazil and the championship. Well done the flying Finn).
posted by adamvasco at 10:37 AM on October 21, 2007


I know. I told the person that they needed licenses, and that they might qualify for them, but the the question (as well as most of the answers) are focused on getting to Cuba without the proper licenses, and that is illegal.

According to my reading of the question, there is nothing to indicate that the person is trying to get to Cuba without the proper licenses. The asker just sounds clueless. It is widely known that visiting Cuba is off-limits for Americans, the technicalities and that there is a specific group who are able to get licenses isn't widely known. There are also plenty of tour operators operating out of canada, Jamaica and other places marketing Cuban vacations to people in the US. The asker just sounds like s/he is trying to make sense of it all, without the understanding that his/her friend falls into a license category. He was answered, problem solved.

It wasn't like he was asking about exporting american goods to cuba for resale or how to start up a covert cuban cigar import operation.
posted by birdlady at 10:40 AM on October 21, 2007


Do you actually know what the word 'guideline' means?
posted by empath at 10:42 AM on October 21, 2007 [2 favorites]


I figured I might as well seek guidance.
Really? There wasn't a single question mark in the thread title here, apart from in "Write your congressperson?". The post is entirely THIS IS WRONG not IS THIS WRONG?

Also what Abiezer said.
posted by bonaldi at 10:43 AM on October 21, 2007


Well, if we aren't going to follow the guidelines, why even have them?

It is important to follow the guidelines. The first rule of following the guidelines should be: follow them with common sense. If you applied the common sense rule to this question, you'd see that it isn't against the guidelines.
posted by birdlady at 10:44 AM on October 21, 2007


I thought a libertarian wouldn't care about any law restricting peacetime freedom of movement. Isn't it the logical endpoint of libertarian principles to allow freedom to people as much as markets? (Not snarky, just surprised.)
posted by StrikeTheViol at 10:52 AM on October 21, 2007


Well, everyone loved the B-Movies thread, but there's no way it can be legal for that site to let you watch those copyrighted flicks online like this, no matter how bad or goofy they are.
posted by GaelFC at 10:55 AM on October 21, 2007


come on, the person who posted that askmefi knew how to get there or thier, they are just stirring the pot. University associtations have or had planned trips to cuba. what is the big deal. the post should have been deleted on grounds of stupid question.
posted by clavdivs at 10:57 AM on October 21, 2007


I think it's important that users follow the guidelines.
Well, if we aren't going to follow the guidelines, why even have them?


You weren't even sure what the guidelines were, now you know, the system works, etc.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:05 AM on October 21, 2007


Really? There wasn't a single question mark in the thread title here, apart from in "Write your congressperson?". The post is entirely THIS IS WRONG not IS THIS WRONG?

Yep. You found the one question mark. Nice work. You'll note that what I said, though, was "seek guidance" not "ask a question." Two admins provided such guidance, and I now feel guided.

I thought a libertarian wouldn't care about any law restricting peacetime freedom of movement. Isn't it the logical endpoint of libertarian principles to allow freedom to people as much as markets? (Not snarky, just surprised.)

Who here is a libertarian?
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 11:05 AM on October 21, 2007


Well, if we aren't going to follow the guidelines, why even have them?

So they can be as vague as possible so teh mods can delete any posts from people they don't like with impunity* or subversives who point out that they are in fact modifying content that we are allowed to see as CENSORSHIP and actually brainwashing us into only questioning or discussing things that are not harmful to their attempt to take over teh world and turn all governments into lizards.



*See? This is the fifth time I have posted this! I am being CNS0RD!!!1111 The voice of truth will out!!!
posted by Brockles at 11:08 AM on October 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


the post should have been deleted on grounds of stupid question.
posted by clavdivs


Jeez. What a clown.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:09 AM on October 21, 2007


You weren't even sure what the guidelines were, now you know, the system works, etc.

Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying. I don't understand, though, why people are critical of my desire that people follow the guidelines.

I now understand that asking Metafilter for help with one's illegal activities won't usually be against the guidelines, so I now welcome questions on that topic.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 11:11 AM on October 21, 2007




You'll note that what I said, though, was "seek guidance" not "ask a question." ...
I don't understand, though, why people are critical of my desire that people follow the guidelines.


The two things are linked. You claim to think you were seeking guidance, but it sure reads to me (and I'm guessing almost everyone else) that you were steamboating in, laden with opprobrium, to tattle-tale a rule violation.

There's simply nothing in your post that looks like you seeking clarification -- everything reads like you dishing out condemnation.

Had you worded it something like "I thought we weren't allowed to break the law, and this seems like it is" you would have fared much better here. Instead you stick to guidelines as if they are law and when you start getting shouted down, rapidly retreat into this "Who me? I don't like the Cuba law and anyway I was just asking for guidance ... why is everyone so critical" disingenuous bullshit.
posted by bonaldi at 11:21 AM on October 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


"Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying. I don't understand, though, why people are critical of my desire that people follow the guidelines."

Because it was too easy to imagine your post spoken in the voice of someone earnestly correcting the Dungeon Master on the proper loot drop tables for an amputee kobold.
posted by klangklangston at 11:22 AM on October 21, 2007 [6 favorites]


Questions concerning my illegal activities would probably spill over several topics and involve more than five jurisdictions; criminal, civil and canon law; and a number of long-standing international protocols).
posted by Abiezer at 11:23 AM on October 21, 2007


Also the rules of punctuation. I'm a one-man crime spree.
posted by Abiezer at 11:23 AM on October 21, 2007


Petty Americans.
posted by fire&wings at 11:26 AM on October 21, 2007


I now understand that asking Metafilter for help with one's illegal activities won't usually be against the guidelines, so I now welcome questions on that topic.

Don't you think this is a derail? Shouldn't you start another MeTa thread to announce this revelation? Why are you a flip-flopper?
posted by Gunner's Mate 1st Class Phillip Asshole at 11:29 AM on October 21, 2007


I don't understand, though, why people are critical of my desire that people follow the guidelines

Because you sound (not that you are), but sound like a wanna be teacher's pet, eager to get someone in trouble for an ultimately stupid reason. After all, forbidding US citizens from going to Cuba is silly and that you seemingly want go along with what you believe is a bad policy, simply because it's THE policy, smacks of jack booted thuggery, though on a minor scale.

Now maybe you were trying to look out for the site or somesuch, but the way it comes off marks you as one of those people that told Britney she was looking great, would just kill and really, who can respect that?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:31 AM on October 21, 2007


Had you worded it something like "I thought we weren't allowed to break the law, and this seems like it is" you would have fared much better here. Instead you stick to guidelines as if they are law and when you start getting shouted down, rapidly retreat into this "Who me? I don't like the Cuba law and anyway I was just asking for guidance ... why is everyone so critical" disingenuous bullshit.

You know, call outs that don't take a firm position also get criticized for being vague and disingenuous. I decided instead just to state exactly what I thought the rule was and let people tell me if I was right or wrong.

As it turns out, I was wrong. That's why I backed down, because, as it turns out, it's not against the guidelines to ask for advice about one's illegal activities. Why would I keep arguing about it?

I still maintain that users should follow the guidelines.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 11:32 AM on October 21, 2007


the post should have been deleted on grounds of stupid question.

OK, but if you do that for every stupid question, then AskMefi becomes a site with about 12 questions a day, most of them tech-related
posted by matteo at 11:33 AM on October 21, 2007


Because you sound (not that you are), but sound like a wanna be teacher's pet, eager to get someone in trouble for an ultimately stupid reason. After all, forbidding US citizens from going to Cuba is silly and that you seemingly want go along with what you believe is a bad policy, simply because it's THE policy, smacks of jack booted thuggery, though on a minor scale.

Oh, that's fine, then. I don't care if people here think I'm fascist scum, or whatever.

I was reading some of the posts above as expressing more generally the idea that expecting people to conform to the guidelines is somehow problematic.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 11:37 AM on October 21, 2007


Don't you think this is a derail? Shouldn't you start another MeTa thread to announce this revelation? Why are you a flip-flopper?

I'm not a flip-flopper. My position has always been that people should follow the guidelines.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 11:38 AM on October 21, 2007


God bless you Mr. President.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:50 AM on October 21, 2007


guidelines != absolute laws.
posted by edgeways at 11:51 AM on October 21, 2007


For some reason, as this thread continues, she comes to mind.

Oh, how I miss the img tag.
posted by ericb at 11:51 AM on October 21, 2007


expecting people to conform to the guidelines is somehow problematic.
It is! Especially when the (perceived) guideline would be stupid, and only applies to an insane US law.

Half of MetaTalk is fighting about or against the guidelines here and trying to define or redefine them, so trying to build something on the principle that all of the existing guidelines are a) sane, b) a solid rock on which to guide user activities is always going to be a losing battle.
posted by bonaldi at 11:52 AM on October 21, 2007


My position has always been that people should follow the guidelines.

Except for when a FISA court or the Geneva Concentions stand in the way!
posted by ericb at 11:53 AM on October 21, 2007


*err ... Conventions*
posted by ericb at 11:54 AM on October 21, 2007


That's why I backed down, because, as it turns out, it's not against the guidelines to ask for advice about one's illegal activities.

It is not illegal to go to Cuba.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:54 AM on October 21, 2007


Half of MetaTalk is fighting about or against the guidelines here and trying to define or redefine them, so trying to build something on the principle that all of the existing guidelines are a) sane, b) a solid rock on which to guide user activities is always going to be a losing battle.

Yes, that's obvious. All I ever said was that people should follow the guidelines.

Somehow that got interpreted as a statement that the guidelines were a body of a fixed, absolutely determinate, and unvarying law, but I don't know where that idea came from. I certainly never said anything of the sort.

People should follow the guidelines. Most questions about illegal activity are not against the guidelines.

Where is the problem here?
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 11:59 AM on October 21, 2007


That's why I backed down, because, as it turns out, it's not against the guidelines to ask for advice about one's illegal activities.

It isn't illegal to go to cuba. It isn't illegal to go to cuba under his friend's circumstances. He wasn't asking about how to go about this illegaly, he was asking how this can be done. He was shown legal methods, you actually pointed him to a legal method, so I don't understand the point of this call-out, when the post-in-question wasn't about illegal activity. And that's the whole point: your post reads like a desperate attempt to make an example of someone, but your example isn't really valid.

And, finally, why do you care so much? What impact does this have on your life? Have you had a question deleted because of failure to follow guidelines? The site has 3 mods and a flag feature to alert them to questionable posts. Follow the guidelines to the best of your understanding, flag the posts that fall outside of your understanding of the guidelines and call out the posts that are legitimately concerning. Also, your ridiculous "now I know it isn't against guideline to ask about illegal activities" is a purposeful misinterpretation of what the mods have told you in this post, and that is incredibly annoying.
posted by birdlady at 11:59 AM on October 21, 2007 [5 favorites]


All I ever said was that people should follow the guidelines. Somehow that got interpreted as a statement that the guidelines were a body of a fixed, absolutely determinate, and unvarying law, but I don't know where that idea came from. I certainly never said anything of the sort.

Because the perceived "guideline" in this case was insane, and you should have been railing against it like everyone else is, yet instead you were saying it should be adhered to.

That makes it look like, however retarded the guideline, you think we should stick to it.
posted by bonaldi at 12:02 PM on October 21, 2007


People should follow the guidelines. Most questions about illegal activity are not against the guidelines.

It is not illegal to go to Cuba.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:05 PM on October 21, 2007


Come on. The friend obviously knew that there were legal problems traveling to Cuba, which is why he wasn't hopping on Expedia and booking a flight to Havana. I have no doubt whatsoever that the poster and the friend both had at least a vague sense of the illegality of what was being proposed.

As for your last point, after what's been said by jessamyn and mathowie today, there's no meaningful prohibition against questions regarding illegal activity as such. There's a prohibition against questions that will get Matt or the site in trouble, but that applies to questions about legal and illegal activity alike.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 12:06 PM on October 21, 2007


It is not illegal to go to Cuba.

That's already been pointed out (by me).
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 12:07 PM on October 21, 2007


Because the perceived "guideline" in this case was insane, and you should have been railing against it like everyone else is, yet instead you were saying it should be adhered to.

Actually, I think the perceived guideline is fine. It's not an actual guideline, though, so it's kind of a moot point.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 12:09 PM on October 21, 2007


I have no doubt whatsoever that the poster and the friend both had at least a vague sense of the illegality of what was being proposed.

They are not proposing anything illegal. It is not illegal to visit Cuba.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:10 PM on October 21, 2007


OK, but if you do that for every stupid question, then AskMefi becomes a site with about 12 questions a day, most of them tech-related

and your point? your hyperbole is the same matteo
GROW UP.

what? it is "Illegal" (to give info on breaking a lax law)l because the server is in the U.S.?
whats next "how can i jimmy a door"frikkin google it.
GO TO CUBA.....go...now.
posted by clavdivs at 12:11 PM on October 21, 2007


I think the perceived guideline is fine. It's not an actual guideline, though, so it's kind of a moot point.
Well, the guideline isn't fine, because hardly anybody agrees with it and that, alongside Matt's view, are the only yardsticks in town here.

Neither is it a moot point. You asked why people think you see guidelines as some absolute and unvarying thing, and your support for this non-existent one is one of the reasons for that.

Also, btw, it's not illegal to visit Cuba.
posted by bonaldi at 12:12 PM on October 21, 2007


They are not proposing anything illegal. It is not illegal to visit Cuba.

Yeah, the Asker said "Or should one not post such intentions on a public site?" because they had every intention of obtaining the necessary licenses. Come on.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 12:16 PM on October 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


Well, the guideline isn't fine, because hardly anybody agrees with it and that, alongside Matt's view, are the only yardsticks in town here.

Neither is it a moot point. You asked why people think you see guidelines as some absolute and unvarying thing, and your support for this non-existent one is one of the reasons for that.


What are you talking about? People think I view guidelines as absolute and unvarying because I think certain guidelines we don't actually have would be dandy if enforced?

That makes so little sense.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 12:19 PM on October 21, 2007


And as for spending money in Cuba... maybe I'll take all of that more seriously when Schwartzeneggar stops chainsmoking Cuban cigars in his fancy shmancy tent.
posted by miss lynnster at 12:20 PM on October 21, 2007


see also: Crimes and Misdemeanors
posted by acro at 12:22 PM on October 21, 2007


Yeah, the Asker said "Or should one not post such intentions on a public site?" because they had every intention of obtaining the necessary licenses.

Or, perhaps, when dealing with a bureacracy, you may be dealing with pencil-pushers who will go out of their way to deny you the paperwork you are legally entitled to obtain.

Either way, it's not illegal to enter Cuba, despite your repeated pleading to the contrary.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:22 PM on October 21, 2007


Mathowie, that Slate article is great. Thanks!
posted by trip and a half at 12:23 PM on October 21, 2007


What are you talking about? People think I view guidelines as absolute and unvarying because I think certain guidelines we don't actually have would be dandy if enforced?

Sorry. Take two: People think you view guidelines as absolute and unvarying because you're here calling out someone based on an manifestly idiotic application of one as if it were absolute and unvarying.

That the guideline doesn't actually exist is not a moot point, because you were acting as if it did. Hence your shiny new reputation.
posted by bonaldi at 12:26 PM on October 21, 2007


Either way, it's not illegal to enter Cuba, despite your repeated pleading to the contrary.

I know, as I keep telling you. I've never said that entering Cuba is illegal.

Are you just stupid?
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 12:27 PM on October 21, 2007


this is an incredibly lame callout, even by metatalk standards. i've always been curious about visiting cuba, and the castrophobes who drive our policy toward it have always been a source of amusement. we could have cuba as a friend (and a market) if we had a little smarter president to return guantanamo and court it instead of threatening it; by the time castro dies, it will be too late to influence what happens next.
posted by bruce at 12:30 PM on October 21, 2007


MeTa is obviously the hottest spot north of Havana.
posted by jonmc at 12:32 PM on October 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


Sorry. Take two: People think you view guidelines as absolute and unvarying because you're here calling out someone based on an manifestly idiotic application of one as if it were absolute and unvarying.

That the guideline doesn't actually exist is not a moot point, because you were acting as if it did. Hence your shiny new reputation.


Is it manifestly idiotic? If I were in Matt's position, I wouldn't want my widely-read web site (with which my real name is connected) associated with helping people dodge Treasury regulations. It just wouldn't be worth the risk (which is admittedly quite small, but why flirt with it at all).

That's why I called it out. Because it seemed genuinely questionable to me and I wanted to get other people's perspective.

Apparently Matt is comfortable with the risk, though, and that's why it's a moot point. It's not my web site, and there's no way for me to be held responsible for what other people post, so whatever.

As for my reputation, I really couldn't care less.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 12:36 PM on October 21, 2007


I've never said that entering Cuba is illegal.

You assert that the asker wants to enter Cuba illegally.

Are you just stupid?

Okay, one more time, since you are really dense:

The question never asked about getting into Cuba illegally. The asker wanted to know what routes facilitate travel, relative expense, and what the re-entry issues are.

As there (as you clearly demonstrate) so much misinformation about, I am entirely unsurprised the asker would worry about the answers being politically sensitive in some way.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:36 PM on October 21, 2007


Is it manifestly idiotic?
Based on the reactions of almost everyone else here, I'd say yes. Your application of it to this question was nuts.
posted by bonaldi at 12:39 PM on October 21, 2007


Yeah, he was worried about asking on a public web site because it might be "politically sensitive." Of all things, it's the political sensitivity of traveling to Cuba that the Internet can't handle.

That's hilarious. He's obviously concerned about covering his ass.

Anyway, what he actually said was that he had read recommendations about how to "handle the return" to the US. If you have the licenses, what's to handle?
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 12:42 PM on October 21, 2007


Based on the reactions of almost everyone else here, I'd say yes. Your application of it to this question was nuts.

OK. Well, we're not going to convince each other of anything.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 12:43 PM on October 21, 2007


As for my reputation, I really couldn't care less.

Well, that's what a sockpuppet is for, isn't it?

And damn you to hell, jonmc.
*Humms against own will*

posted by Alvy Ampersand at 12:45 PM on October 21, 2007


Yeah, the Asker said "Or should one not post such intentions on a public site?" because they had every intention of obtaining the necessary licenses. Come on.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 12:16 PM on October 21 [+] [!]

You leave no room for ignorance. Not everyone is as travel savvy as you, mr. smartypants president. He's asking how to go about this. There is nothing to imply that he KNOWS there is a legal way to go about this, he's just asking how it can be done. That he wondered if this could even be asked in a public forum is a testament to the fact that he is unaware of the legal channels to go through. You, and others, showed him the way it can be done. Well done.
posted by birdlady at 12:45 PM on October 21, 2007


Well, that's what a sockpuppet is for, isn't it?

No, that's what the Internet is for. This is actually my only Metafilter account.

I suppose if I became so despised that the site was unusable I could pay $5 and get another one, but I don't really see how that would happen.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 12:48 PM on October 21, 2007


if i'm ever selected commissioner of baseball, the first thing i will do to revitalize flagging interest in our national pastime/content machine will be to install franchises in havana and mexico city.
posted by bruce at 12:50 PM on October 21, 2007


Oops, sorry, MPDSEA. I must've gotten you confused with someone else.

I'm still mad at jonmc, though.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 12:50 PM on October 21, 2007


Yeah, he was worried about asking on a public web site because it might be "politically sensitive." Of all things, it's the political sensitivity of traveling to Cuba that the Internet can't handle.

If you want to complain about the fucking "guidelines", we do live in a country where communications are intercepted illegally and often badly misinterpreted by law enforcement. I don't begrudge the asker his exercising caution.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:52 PM on October 21, 2007


If you want to complain about the fucking "guidelines", we do live in a country where communications are intercepted illegally and often badly misinterpreted by law enforcement. I don't begrudge the asker his exercising caution.

Caution would be, "well, I've already squared away all the legal nonsense, but how the heck do I actually get to Cuba, anyway?"
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 12:56 PM on October 21, 2007


None of this would have happened if the Askme poster's friend's relative could travel from Cuba to America.
posted by rockhopper at 1:03 PM on October 21, 2007


I think people think that you're a sockpuppet because you're a trollish, hostile jerk a lot of the time, Mr. President. In a funny way, they're giving you the benefit of the doubt, by imagining that you're letting out your jerk impulses on this account in the same way that Astro Zombie 3 lets out Astro Zombie's "RAGHRARRGH" impulses.
posted by Kwine at 1:07 PM on October 21, 2007


I think it's about time someone pointed out that it isn't actually illegal to go to Cuba.
posted by Abiezer at 1:26 PM on October 21, 2007 [5 favorites]


I think people think that you're a sockpuppet because you're a trollish, hostile jerk a lot of the time, Mr. President.

That actually makes sense. As it turns out, though, I'm a trollish, hostile jerk with my only account. I guess I don't have the sense to use an alter ego.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 1:32 PM on October 21, 2007


At this point I think it would be advisible for certain parties to step away from the keyboard, maybe get a bit of perspective, and then return.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 1:43 PM on October 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


At least now I have a "guideline" of my own for judging the remaining level of Freedom in Mr. President Steve's America:

As long as Matt&Co. don't have to delete every AskMe referring to some activity that may be illegal in the U.S., there is hope.
posted by wendell at 1:45 PM on October 21, 2007


Yeah, that really eats at me. I'm furious that Matt&Co. aren't in prison already.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 1:50 PM on October 21, 2007


Meanwhile there is a giant billboard a block from my apartment advertising vacations in Cuba. Viva la Canaducion!
posted by blue_beetle at 2:08 PM on October 21, 2007


I now understand that asking Metafilter for help with one's illegal activities won't usually be against the guidelines, so I now welcome questions on that topic.

Glad to hear it.

Dear AskMe: Let's say that I'm hypothetically smuggling pirated DVDs of Underage Cuban-Cigar-Smoking Ferrets Gone Wild across state lines for immoral purposes, in a truck with an illegally modified catalytic converter. Would it be wrong to drive over the speed limit?
posted by FelliniBlank at 2:24 PM on October 21, 2007


The problem with that question, FelliniBlank, is that it involves copyright infringement, so you can't post it.

Smuggle actual wild underage Cuban-cigar-smoking ferrets and you're golden.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 2:31 PM on October 21, 2007


At this late hour in the thread it's probably important to point out that it's not actually illegal to go to Cuba.
posted by item at 2:35 PM on October 21, 2007 [3 favorites]


Holy shit you people really DON'T have anything to do on a Sunday, do you?

Wow.

*runs outside to paint a van halen logo on my car*
posted by disclaimer at 2:56 PM on October 21, 2007


Holy shit you people really DON'T have anything to do on a Sunday, do you?

we'd all go to cuba but mpdsea won't let us
posted by pyramid termite at 3:02 PM on October 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


It is not illegal to go to Cuba.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:54 PM on October 21

Blazecock, you forgot to indicate after the link that that was a PDF file. Do it again and I shall be forced to start a MeTa thread.
posted by Deathalicious at 3:05 PM on October 21, 2007


we'd all go to cuba but mpdsea won't let us

Stop whining like a petulant child. No, you can't go to Cuba, and no, that's not an unjust violation of your "liberty."

Let me tell you what real freedom is. Real freedom is obeying the Lord and His anointed ministers on earth. You're free to obey the laws of this Christian nation and stay out home where you belong. Happy?
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 3:08 PM on October 21, 2007 [3 favorites]


MeTa is obviously the hottest spot north of Havana.

No jonmc -- that'd be the Copacabana. But you knew that I'd know that, right?
posted by ericb at 3:08 PM on October 21, 2007


Question: Is it illegal for a USian to go to Cuba?
posted by ericb at 3:12 PM on October 21, 2007


I got an email from the original poster. Turns out, he wanted to go to Cuba, Ontario, which is why he was so confused in the first place.

Also, can we have killfiles now?
posted by stet at 3:13 PM on October 21, 2007


Bonaldi is being evasive, disengenious and just plain wrong - IT IS ILLEGAL TO VISIT GLASGOW.
posted by sgt.serenity at 3:18 PM on October 21, 2007


Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America, a lot of people in this thread are absolutely convinced they know your motivations and that you're a douchenozzle and you're probably not going to convince them otherwise.

Unless you're enjoying yourself, you might want to just walk away.

Many Bothans died to bring you this information.
posted by psmith at 3:23 PM on October 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America, a lot of people in this thread are absolutely convinced they know your motivations and that you're a douchenozzle and you're probably not going to convince them otherwise.

It sounds like the worst is already done! No reason to leave now.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 3:25 PM on October 21, 2007


IT IS ILLEGAL TO VISIT GLASGOW.
I daredn't. If you go there, they'll set about ye!
posted by Abiezer at 3:30 PM on October 21, 2007


IT IS ILLEGAL TO VISIT GLASGOW.

I heard it was the other way 'round, like the Hotel California.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 3:38 PM on October 21, 2007


Sometimes I think you people take the internet a little too seriously.
posted by milarepa at 4:00 PM on October 21, 2007


Is it legal to drink Cuba Libres with Cuba Gooding, Jr.?

There would be no ferrets or pirates (or ninjas) involved.
posted by FelliniBlank at 4:01 PM on October 21, 2007


Let me tell you what real freedom is. Real freedom is obeying the Lord and His anointed ministers on earth. You're free to obey the laws of this Christian nation and stay out home where you belong. Happy?

Is this a reverse Godwin?
posted by disclaimer at 4:02 PM on October 21, 2007


Let me tell you what real freedom is. Real freedom is obeying the Lord and His anointed ministers on earth. You're free to obey the laws of this Christian nation and stay out home where you belong. Happy?

I'll play: I thought it was supposed to be something more like "Cuba would be a great place to ship those parasitic invalids stealing decent Americans hard-earned tax dollars." How many points did I score?
posted by StrikeTheViol at 4:23 PM on October 21, 2007


All taxes are theft, since taxes represent the forceful subjugation of creative men to the greed of the slothful. Of course, taxes are entirely unnecessary, because any legitimate social goal can be better satisfied by private industry and private, Christian charity.

Taxes only serve to fund homosexual perversion masquerading as art, dissolute women who have strayed outside of their father's or husband's home, and the mass murder of millions of babies.

Taxation itself steals from decent, hard-working Americans, shipping the leeches off to Cuba would indeed be wonderful, but I doubt it's going to happen.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 4:37 PM on October 21, 2007


I suppose if I became so despised that the site was unusable I could pay $5 and get another one, but I don't really see how that would happen.

Well, you're working on it. Keep it up!

*waits eagerly for flameout*
posted by languagehat at 4:52 PM on October 21, 2007


MPDSEA's descent into LOLUSIAN is turning into one of the more entertaining MetaTalk flameouts of 2007.

I wonder if it's legal to visit Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis' America.
posted by wendell at 4:53 PM on October 21, 2007 [2 favorites]


/gets Swiss Army Knife/
/opens can of worms/

As it turns out, my friend meant Havana, North Dakota (population 94, mayor Phil Castro).

Admittedly, my inappropriate post radar gave a little beep when I was asked to pose this question on the green, based on my sketchy knowledge of the US/Cuba travel situation. Thank you, mods, for considering it and letting it stand. In the future, I will e-mail in advance if I have any qualms.

All of the answers were much appreciated. There is certainly some cognitive dissonance for us about US/Cuban relations, so thank you all for sharing your viewpoints and information.
posted by otolith at 4:54 PM on October 21, 2007


The President is lurching ever-rightwards towards a dystopian nightmare whilst the people look on aghast. How unlike real life the Internet is.
posted by Abiezer at 4:55 PM on October 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


My neighbor, and slightly more alarmingly around 3/4 of my local Rifle Club, find your ideas interesting and would like to subscribe to your newsletter.
posted by StrikeTheViol at 4:59 PM on October 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


Let me tell you what real freedom is. Real freedom is obeying the Lord and His anointed ministers on earth.

is that why they keep tapping their shoes in the stall next to me - and what kind of anointing do they expect?
posted by pyramid termite at 5:01 PM on October 21, 2007


This thread has made me want to visit Cuba. Mmmmm, rum!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:08 PM on October 21, 2007


This thread has made me want to visit Cuba.

Too bad it's illegal.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 5:12 PM on October 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


For the last time, Alvy; it's nowhere near Glasgow!
posted by Abiezer at 5:15 PM on October 21, 2007


For the last time, Alvy; it's nowhere near Glasgow!

for one thing, they stuff old cigarette butts into codpieces and try to pass them off as cigars in glasgow

BIG difference
posted by pyramid termite at 5:28 PM on October 21, 2007


You sit there all smug and comfortable, but God will not be mocked. Visiting Cuba is not the problem. Visiting Cuba is just a symptom of the pagan, satanic cancer that has rotted this country from the inside out.

Each and every one of you contribute daily to the coming annihilation of this country at the hands of a vengeful God, a God who has sat by while we prostituted and adulterated ourselves on the alters of Hollywood, but a God whose patience is waning.

Each and every one of you defiles yourself in His eyes when you orgy in the homosexual sophistry of this site, when you scoff at His will and embrace empty, humanistic chatter.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 5:33 PM on October 21, 2007 [7 favorites]


a God who has sat by while we prostituted and adulterated ourselves on the alters of Hollywood

Yes, but are prostituting and adulterating ourselves on altars, etc. etc. against the guidelines? That's what I want to know. No? Then we have nothing to talk about.
posted by chinston at 5:43 PM on October 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


Each and every one of you defiles yourself in His eyes when you orgy in the homosexual sophistry of this site, when you scoff at His will and embrace empty, humanistic chatter.

damn ... all i wanted was a good cigar
posted by pyramid termite at 5:44 PM on October 21, 2007


Fourteen minutes and no more responses to MPDSEA'a last comment? I believe the internet has been struck speechless!
posted by alltomorrowsparties at 5:59 PM on October 21, 2007




My dad tried to kill Castro. It's against Gods law but evidently the Kennedy Administration gave Dad a bye on that one.
posted by tkchrist at 6:05 PM on October 21, 2007


Mmm flamebroiled anticipation.
posted by sciurus at 6:05 PM on October 21, 2007


i'm still trying to work out what Mr President is actually trying to accomplish with his continued participation in this thread.

also, it's NOT ILLEGAL TO GO TO HAVANA, DAKOTA!
posted by Dillonlikescookies at 6:10 PM on October 21, 2007


Yeah, that really eats at me. I'm furious that Matt&Co. aren't in prison already.

It's true. We argue about this in IRC all the time. He's all "cortex i wish u were in sing sing" and i'm all like "yeah i made your mom sing sing" and he's all like "no u" and then stynx runs in and flood the channel with lindsay lohan news and we have to kickban him.

Also, to be clear, dude: people think it's a sock because you act like an abrasive jerk a lot and have a long-ass username.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:10 PM on October 21, 2007


Each and every one of you contribute daily to the coming annihilation of this country at the hands of a vengeful God, a God who has sat by while we prostituted and adulterated ourselves on the alters of Hollywood, but a God whose patience is waning.

One thing I'll say for Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America: he does a boffo impression of Jonathan Edwards.
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:18 PM on October 21, 2007


(insert link to "I LIKE WHERE THIS IS HEADED" macro image)
posted by Rhomboid at 6:22 PM on October 21, 2007


and have a long-ass username

Like East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabbadi Champion '94? (Yes! Another plausible excuse for mentioning East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabbadi Champion '94, because I pretty much live to say East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabbadi Champion '94 whenever it's feasible to do so.)
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:22 PM on October 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


adulterated ourselves on the alters
We changed it up in the mix?
posted by Abiezer at 6:23 PM on October 21, 2007


Thread summary.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 6:27 PM on October 21, 2007 [2 favorites]


Yes, but are prostituting and adulterating ourselves on altars, etc. etc. against the guidelines?

Only if Matt & Co. don't get their cut.

And actually it was the long-ass handle that made me think MPDSEA was a sock. Believe you me, jerkiness is not a sign of puppetry.

Well, in the case of marionettes it is, but that is neither here nor there... yet.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 6:33 PM on October 21, 2007


You sit there all smug and comfortable, but God will not be mocked. Visiting Cuba is not the problem. Visiting Cuba is just a symptom of the pagan, satanic cancer that has rotted this country from the inside out.

Each and every one of you contribute daily to the coming annihilation of this country at the hands of a vengeful God, a God who has sat by while we prostituted and adulterated ourselves on the alters of Hollywood, but a God whose patience is waning.

Each and every one of you defiles yourself in His eyes when you orgy in the homosexual sophistry of this site, when you scoff at His will and embrace empty, humanistic chatter.


Gentlemen, you are all being played. No one believes that crazy shit.
posted by LarryC at 6:58 PM on October 21, 2007


I can never figure that man out, or what his motivations are, but he occasionally conducts himself in an delightfully contrarian way, and I think this site is all the more interesting for it. He knows how to stir the pot.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 7:09 PM on October 21, 2007


Each and every one of you defiles yourself in His eyes when you orgy in the homosexual sophistry of this site, when you scoff at His will and embrace empty, humanistic chatter.

Dammit! You guys broke Steve!
posted by Thorzdad at 7:14 PM on October 21, 2007


Each and every one of you defiles yourself in His eyes when you orgy in the homosexual sophistry of this site, when you scoff at His will and embrace empty, humanistic chatter.

*checks MeFi Mail for empty, humanistic chatter and/or homosexual sophistry*

Nuthin.

*goes back to thread about gay wizard gossip and debate*
posted by Tehanu at 7:19 PM on October 21, 2007


MPDSEA started out balanced, though misguided. Then, 3/4 downthread he made a sharp left into loonyland. I'm starting to think that this thread has distracted him from his regularly scheduled medication.
posted by birdlady at 7:33 PM on October 21, 2007


Does anyone else have the feeling that all user numbers over 50000 are sockpuppets?
posted by OmieWise at 7:38 PM on October 21, 2007


I'm starting to think that this thread has distracted him from his regularly scheduled medication.

He may have a chemical dependency on lulz, is my thinking.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:41 PM on October 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


Eesh, folks, it's pretty obvious that after being characterized as being rabidly anti-Cuban/pro-American in the beginning of the thread, MPDSEA shrugged his shoulders and decided to be what folks said he was. He's playing it up, and probably having a laugh at everyone who's taking him seriously.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:43 PM on October 21, 2007


Going to Cuba illegally = going 15mph over the speed limit. If you want to risk doing it go ahead, this isn't a major philosophical argument.
posted by JJ86 at 7:44 PM on October 21, 2007


Some sockpuppets have become self aware, killed their sockpuppeteers and, via paypal and credit cards, are breeding like fruit flies. And I do mean fruit flies.
posted by y2karl at 7:45 PM on October 21, 2007 [2 favorites]


That is, re: Does anyone else have the feeling that all user numbers over 50000 are sockpuppets?
posted by y2karl at 7:46 PM on October 21, 2007


It's not illegal to travel to Cuba, so what's the big deal?*






I'm from Canada. If MetaFilter were to host its servers in Canada, and there are a lot of good reasons to do so, it would not be at all illegal to pose this question on AskMe.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:59 PM on October 21, 2007


Does anyone else have the feeling that all user numbers over 50000 are sockpuppets?

Hey, take that back!
posted by Tom Cruise at 8:00 PM on October 21, 2007


Yeah, I appreciate MPDSEA making a funny. I chuckled.
posted by StrikeTheViol at 8:40 PM on October 21, 2007


IT IS ILLEGAL TO VISIT GLASGOW.

And I always thought it was Dundee.
posted by y2karl at 9:08 PM on October 21, 2007


Yeah, laughing is good. They say that laughing is good. My heart is good, I think. I want to help.

I think I want to help, but I don't know who any of you are. You are subtle gnats clacking in the dark at your keyboards, ticking off your checklists. Everyone sees that.

When I was young, I was not yet a human. I smoked, and I drank, and I fornicated. I choked on the diseased flesh of zombies. We thought it was erotic. I was like you, but I slipped from one lie to another.

god and america are real

And now I am a dead thing clawing in the dark and there is nothing and we eat each other and shit each other out and the stench of blood fills my sinuses, i feel like i am drowning. i can smell the rotting blood spilled by you and your fathers and your grandfathers, pooled forever fetid under a pitiless sun

that's your legacy, and that's what i see when i look into your eyes or watch your lips or read the perverse words you vomit
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 9:16 PM on October 21, 2007 [7 favorites]


after being characterized as being rabidly anti-Cuban/pro-American in the beginning of the thread
Was he? I thought he was being seen as a tattle-tale rule-follower. He doesn't like the Cuba law, for one.

And is anybody taking the rest seriously? I thought it was a face-saving stab at self-deprecating mockery, myself
posted by bonaldi at 9:17 PM on October 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


This is rapidly taking a turn for the weird. I like it.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:20 PM on October 21, 2007


It is the duty of everyone everywhere to expose wrongdoers to the light! You would shame me, because it serves your purposes well. I am a "tattle-tale," then, but your perversions are lain bare, and you are cast like chaff into the wind.

It is a burden I'm happy to carry.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 9:28 PM on October 21, 2007


How's the view from atop that pile of skulls, MPDSEA?
posted by BitterOldPunk at 9:47 PM on October 21, 2007


Piles of skulls are grossly underrated. They can be useful to fend off Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons, fun to sit in and rummage through and remembering good times, handy when a can opener isn't available, and cats love to sit on the top of them and sun themselves in the winter.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 10:01 PM on October 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


Many is the time I have lain my perversions bare, and I can confirm that the wind does indeed chafe.
posted by Abiezer at 10:09 PM on October 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


Ok, so I just got home from my form-fitting pantsuit-making class to find a bunch of comments that:

a: make me want to kill every single motherfucker that's ever visited the Bahamas

b: hurt my eyes with their un-Earthian and centenarian misguidedness

c: made the internet connection at my house burp. Loudly. The neighbors have called the cops and they're outside my house as I type this, trying to figure out how to use their much misused - but nonetheless working - mortar shell system, the MSX200b.
posted by item at 10:15 PM on October 21, 2007


And now I am a dead thing clawing in the dark and there is nothing and we eat each other and shit each other out and the stench of blood fills my sinuses, i feel like i am drowning. i can smell the rotting blood spilled by you and your fathers and your grandfathers, pooled forever fetid under a pitiless sun

that's your legacy, and that's what i see when i look into your eyes or watch your lips or read the perverse words you vomit


I am in love at your mixture of situational irony, word-images, and social transgression. If you were a woman I might stalk you.
posted by Ryvar at 11:26 PM on October 21, 2007


Also that the first three letters of the acronym for your name are also the acronym for Multiple Personality Disorder.

Clue or omen?
posted by Ryvar at 11:30 PM on October 21, 2007


MPDSteve, if this thread ends up getting item blowed up real good I will never forgive you... or can't thank you enough. I forget which way I feel about item. (Although I've never had the chance to call him Cousin Ite. Yeah, that's a negative.)

Piles of skulls are grossly underrated.
How many of us suspected EB had a pile of skulls long before that statement?

This just in: all the candidates at the Republican debate agreed that if elected, they would go to Cuba. For elective surgery. (that joke works on so many levels)

But really, who gives a MetaFuck about Cuba? I wanna know if anybody would like to buy some Cleveland World Series tickets... cheap.
posted by wendell at 11:36 PM on October 21, 2007


So, Cuba meetup anyone? I've always wanted to visit...
posted by public at 4:44 AM on October 22, 2007


I love this thread. I didn't learn anything by reading it, and it wasn't funny, but it was weirdly fascinating in that uniquely MetaFilter way. Carry on!
posted by paulsc at 4:59 AM on October 22, 2007


Dumbledore. Loves. Cock.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:33 AM on October 22, 2007


The first thing I'm going to do after I get my British citizenship is go to Cuba.

Huzzah!
posted by chuckdarwin at 6:14 AM on October 22, 2007


I've had this thought in the back of my mind that MrPDSEA actually was a sockpuppet for ParisParasmus...has that been discussed elsewhere and I just missed it?

I really don't know whether the thread above confirmed the theory, but it did make me think about it once again, and I do have to say I never felt the contrarian performance improved the place.
posted by squasha at 6:17 AM on October 22, 2007


I gather from this thread that entering Cuba is not illegal, going to Cuba is not illegal, traveling to Cuba is not illegal, and getting there is not illegal.
posted by oaf at 7:32 AM on October 22, 2007


Meanwhile there is a giant billboard a block from my apartment advertising vacations in Cuba.

I think they put ads for travel to Cuba on the luggage carts in Pearson's transborder areas just for the LOL AMERICANS factor.
posted by oaf at 7:39 AM on October 22, 2007


I gather from this thread that entering Cuba is not illegal, going to Cuba is not illegal, traveling to Cuba is not illegal, and getting there is not illegal.

But, according to MPDSEA, asking about it on AskMe is.
posted by birdlady at 7:55 AM on October 22, 2007


"...but, I still don't understand," Harry wailed, his bulbous abdomen shaking while the hot tears poured down his face. "Even with magic, how is it possible? That bastard!"

"Well, Harry," Hermione replied, "there are actually many precedents in magical history. Of course, in many of those cases, there was..."

"Hermione, puuuuullEASE!" Mr. Weasley copiously ejaculated. "We wish we'd known about Dumbledore's predilections before, but the thing we must now concern ourselves with is how to arrange an abortion for Harry, Snape, myself, and every other known male wizard, living or dead. It looks like Dumbledore was characteristically thorough."

"What about Ron?" Hermione asked.

"I'm sure he won't die," Mr. Weasley said immediately, as he donned his calfskin gloves and dove listlessly into the fireplace. Harry ran his hands over his belly and thought about the awkwardness of his aunt's tearful admonitions against young pregnancy during her frequent, sherry-fueled bouts of stumbling inebriation, how densely-packed with wisdom her words.

"De gustibus non disputandum est," Harry murmured, and suddenly felt less judgmental.
posted by clockzero at 7:55 AM on October 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


so someone can enter harry, but they still can't enter cuba?
posted by pyramid termite at 8:28 AM on October 22, 2007


But, according to MPDSEA, asking about it on AskMe is.

I think the thing he was taking issue with was asking about how to go to Cuba and then cover up the fact that you'd been there, which implies a visit without a valid license to do so.
posted by oaf at 8:28 AM on October 22, 2007


Can we have no more mpreg on MeTa, please? Or any of the Mesites? Please? Pretty please?
posted by goo at 8:40 AM on October 22, 2007


pyramid termite writes "so someone can enter harry, but they still can't enter cuba?"

Only Dumbledore can enter Harry, but the real question is what happens if Dumbledore and Harry go to Cuba?
posted by never used baby shoes at 9:17 AM on October 22, 2007


Metafilter: I didn't learn anything by reading it, and it wasn't funny, but it was weirdly fascinating
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:34 AM on October 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


I was going to criticize Blazecock for trying to push Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America into a flame out. But now I am kind of glad that he did.
posted by LarryC at 10:38 AM on October 22, 2007


I've had this thought in the back of my mind that MrPDSEA actually was a sockpuppet for ParisParasmus...has that been discussed elsewhere and I just missed it?

I thought the same. I always thought it was another bunnyfire/konolia thing.
posted by turaho at 11:02 AM on October 22, 2007


I am enjoying this.

Free Matt&Co!
posted by anotherpanacea at 11:55 AM on October 22, 2007



All taxes are theft, since taxes represent the forceful subjugation of creative men to the greed of the slothful.


isn't this one of the slogans of the Bioshock dude?
posted by matteo at 11:57 AM on October 22, 2007


MPDSEA - nice work

Did someone really say "jackbooted thuggery?" Because that's right - asking whether or not something breaks the site guidelines is totally jackbooted thuggery.
posted by taliaferro at 12:50 PM on October 22, 2007


asking whether or not something breaks the site guidelines is totally jackbooted thuggery.

That might be relevant if anyone had asked such a thing. Actually, the poster did not ask anything at all. Here is the relevant text:

Please don't ask how to break the law on AskMe.
I realize that the Cuban Assets Control Regulations are not popular, but neither is copyright law, and we don't allow questions eliciting advice about effective copyright infringement.


Glad I could help.

Also, it isn't illegal to go to Cuba.
posted by languagehat at 1:19 PM on October 22, 2007




we usually leave drug questions up

is that right? times have changed
posted by scarabic at 2:34 PM on October 22, 2007


Upon reading Dr. Steve Elvis whatshisname's flameout, I'm thinkin' maybe he just caught whatever it was that killed Burhanistan...
posted by miss lynnster at 4:14 PM on October 22, 2007


What?
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 6:47 PM on October 22, 2007


Seemed like more of a chill out to me.
posted by timeistight at 6:56 PM on October 22, 2007


isn't this one of the slogans of the Bioshock dude?

No, it isn't. I would have heard.
posted by Ryvar at 11:51 PM on October 22, 2007

I don't think it's very worthwhile not to do something just because it's illegal, and certainly not worthwhile to not even talk about it.
The double-negatives in this passage hurt my brain.
posted by hjo3 at 6:18 AM on October 23, 2007


Y'know, an American MeFite would be asking about how to break the law with something like 'Hey, I'm in Britain, and they sell Cuban cigars here. Which one should I try?' Which is daft.

My wife had no idea what Cuba looked like until I showed her a few photos of Havana. She assumed it was 'all just a bunch of shacks'.
posted by holgate at 8:29 AM on October 23, 2007


Guys, at it turns out, it's not illegal to visit Cuba. Sorry for the bother!
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 8:30 PM on October 24, 2007


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