Jesus ... December 9, 2007 3:39 PM   Subscribe

A few months shy of three years later, I'm still knocked breathless by this thread. I've been rereading each story over this weekend, and it's really had me thinking about echoes and effects, human goodness, and the astonishing strength of human resilience. I'm really grateful to everyone who shared such meaningful and vulnerable moments of their lives. Mefi is one hell of a community.
posted by WCityMike to MetaFilter-Related at 3:39 PM (56 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

That is one of my favorite threads. WCityMike -- Thanks for reminding me of it. This holiday season is an appropriate time for re-reading it.
posted by ericb at 3:46 PM on December 9, 2007


I'd never seen that thread before. Thanks for mentioning it. Having read maybe 1/4 or 1/3 of it, it appears that the bad moments clearly outnumbered the good moments, which is sad.
posted by jayder at 4:01 PM on December 9, 2007


Jayder, there are indeed some heartbreaking stories in there — I suppose with those stories, aside from being blown away by the inhumanity, I also just sit there amazed at those people's ability to right themselves ... and the emotional risks they took on those journeys. Strength like that is pretty amazing to witness, even if you "witness" it by reading. Also, there's some pretty amazing "good" stuff in there, too — keep reading.
posted by WCityMike at 4:06 PM on December 9, 2007


A similar thread I like is the "When was the end of your youth?" thread.
posted by ALongDecember at 4:06 PM on December 9, 2007


Ah, the days before chatfilter callouts.
posted by piratebowling at 4:08 PM on December 9, 2007


Ah, the days before chatfilter callouts.

Those days did not exist. Threads like the one linked have been held up as examples of why ironclad black-and-white rules are not as useful as looser guidelines, which may spur more disagreement, but allow the existence of the occasional great thing that might be deleted by knee-jerk rule-following.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:13 PM on December 9, 2007 [3 favorites]


Ah, the days before chatfilter callouts.

Nope.
posted by item at 4:13 PM on December 9, 2007


From now on, whenever I get pissed off at pixels on a screen, I'll go back and re-read that thread.
posted by maudlin at 4:16 PM on December 9, 2007


Holy crap. There's so much pain and suffering and abuse in that thread.

Either there are more people with fucked up childhoods than I thought, or something about the MeFi community seems to select for those with traumatic pasts.

(I suspect the latter, as the internet seems to be a refuge for the socially awkward and introverted)
posted by chrisamiller at 4:30 PM on December 9, 2007


Wow. That thread's a helluva thing.
posted by rtha at 4:31 PM on December 9, 2007


This comment is haunting in its simplicity and power.
posted by Rumple at 5:13 PM on December 9, 2007


That thread makes me ashamed that I ever complained about anything.
posted by Quietgal at 5:37 PM on December 9, 2007


chrisamiller, actually I think it is more the former, "the internet" is not the refuge of "social misfits", and is perfectly representative of middle class life in many areas, childhood traumas included.
posted by edgeways at 5:46 PM on December 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


chrisamiller, not everybody has a single life-changing moment. Many people who have non-abusive childhoods would fall in that category; never had any adult that they really hated and vowed not to emulate, never had any major betrayal that made them realize we all walk this earth alone, etc. No surprise that that thread brought out dramatic stories, and no surprise that the dramatic stories are often bad.
posted by LobsterMitten at 5:54 PM on December 9, 2007


- Good point, LobsterMitten. I suppose I wouldn't really have a 'defining moment' story either, given my vanilla suburban childhood.

- I couldn't find the right words in my above post. I didn't mean to imply that everyone around here is socially awkward. I was trying to express that the internet offers a place where you can interact without stigma based on class, race, or past experiences. This is especially attractive to a certain demographic of people.

To put it another way, a disproportionately large number of people around here were the geeks, the nerds, and the ones getting picked on in high school. I'm not saying that's a bad thing, as most of us turn out to be great people. It's just an observation.
posted by chrisamiller at 6:06 PM on December 9, 2007


Another person chiming in to say thanks to WCityMike for the link to that thread. And Rumple, I agree. I can't figure out if that poster was telling the truth or not. Either way, it's haunting and disturbing.
posted by GrammarMoses at 6:16 PM on December 9, 2007


Wow. What a thread. Haven't seen it before. Working my way through it now.
posted by Autarky at 6:25 PM on December 9, 2007


thanks, Mike... I missed that one too....
posted by HuronBob at 6:33 PM on December 9, 2007


And Rumple, I agree. I can't figure out if that poster was telling the truth or not.

Unfortunately, he is.
posted by dobbs at 6:38 PM on December 9, 2007


Sometimes posts that end with "I'll go first…" work out terrifically. I've read that thread 4 or 5 times now!
posted by blasdelf at 6:48 PM on December 9, 2007


dobbs, I finally got to that confirmation later in the thread. Whew. SPrintF, I apologize for doubting you, and (quite earnestly) wish I could give you a hug.
posted by GrammarMoses at 6:55 PM on December 9, 2007


Makes me realize how tame and generally fine my childhood was, though it wasn't Leave it to Beaver, either. Between that thread and the "All About My Dog" video, it's a humbling Sunday night here on MF.
posted by maxwelton at 7:02 PM on December 9, 2007


Thanks for posting this, WCityMike. I think I was travelling at the time, and missed it completely.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:07 PM on December 9, 2007


Wow. Like some others above, this makes me thankful for my easy, happy childhood and it also makes me want to strive to give my babies the best, most wonderful experiences ever. Art, music, cooking, culture, tolerance, love, teamwork, competition, winning, losing, dance, drama, friends, lovers, surprises, learning, growing,....I could go in for days. I think about making memories quite a bit and this thread emphasises the importance. Thanks WCityMike.
posted by pearlybob at 7:21 PM on December 9, 2007


Metafilter: My father touched my butthole. This made me thirst for knowledge.
posted by dhammond at 7:41 PM on December 9, 2007 [6 favorites]


Man, reading that thread left me incredibly depressed. Thanks.
posted by puke & cry at 7:55 PM on December 9, 2007


Yeah... Except that thread fits every definition of "chat filter", so that post really serves to illustrate why our chat filter rules are, well, ill-conceived.

If it were posted today (rather then two years ago), a bunch of people would complain, and the post would be deleted (At least that's how it seems to me)
posted by delmoi at 8:00 PM on December 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


I disagree, and the post from a few weeks ago that I linked to above is proof.
posted by ALongDecember at 8:03 PM on December 9, 2007


Yeah... Except that thread fits every definition of "chat filter", so that post really serves to illustrate why our chat filter rules are, well, ill-conceived. If it were posted today (rather then two years ago), a bunch of people would complain, and the post would be deleted (At least that's how it seems to me)

Read my comment upthread. It is a strength of the moderation strategy (and a long-time deliberate decision, frequently explained) that hard-and-fast rules, though they would make things 'easier', are consciously kept to a minimum, in favor of guidelines, for which, based on mod decision (and, hopefully, community input) there will always be exceptions and grey areas.

That we can dispute specific cases in Metatalk is not a bug in the system, it's a feature. It may be bumpier and more contentious, but it's a key part of the way the site works, and should continue to (in my humble etc).

Seek not absolutes, and absolutes won't come back to bite you in the ass.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:10 PM on December 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: My father touched my butthole. This made me thirst for knowledge.

I'm confused, should I be thankful my father didn't do this or should I be angry because I'm a dullard as a result?
posted by maxwelton at 8:23 PM on December 9, 2007


It's kinda weird reading these, and wondering about what people didn't feel comfortable enough sharing. I know that the really big stuff in my life I'm just not that comfortable sharing publicly like that.
posted by pupdog at 8:35 PM on December 9, 2007


That thread is real hard to chew. Wow, powerful. Thanks for pointing it out.
posted by Divine_Wino at 8:48 PM on December 9, 2007


I posted in that thread and had completely forgotten about it.

Being comfortable sharing the moments that make us who we are means in some way we're proud of where we got to, yes? At least I'll tell myself that.
posted by Gucky at 9:08 PM on December 9, 2007


I call maudlin, sentimental, histrionic chatfilter.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:09 PM on December 9, 2007 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: one hell of a community, Haughey
posted by b1tr0t at 10:25 PM on December 9, 2007


Metafilter: maudlin, sentimental, histrionic chatfilter.

you knew that was coming. Hi KR!
posted by Rumple at 10:48 PM on December 9, 2007


I came across that same thread some time ago, and was going to post my own "life changing moment" (found out my dad was actually severe drug addict, had hidden it from us for years, blinded by our own love for him, I learned to never take people's words at face value from then on, etc.) and had the whole post written out but then discovered that the thread had been locked.

But I just gave you all the abridged version, so its all good.
posted by Avenger at 11:11 PM on December 9, 2007


It's metafilter history for a reason. Rereading it now, thanks for reminding me, WCityMike. Very apt timing.
posted by Phire at 12:05 AM on December 10, 2007


Despite all protestations here to the contrary, this fine thread would almost certainly be deleted today as chatfilter. That it would be flagged as such is beyond dispute, as a few posters here make plain.

It's very telling to read all the people acknowledging how much it's helped them to read, etc. - sometimes 'just' chatting about stuff can be more helpful (in providing answers, sure, and in other ways) than a simple, practical AskMeFi query. IMO.
posted by stinkycheese at 12:20 AM on December 10, 2007


People are seeing change in the site that I don't think it exists. I'm guessing that the thread would have been deleted as chatfilter back then, too, if the mods had caught it early enough (was jessamyn on board at that point?). Even before 10 AM, some powerful, powerful comments had been made, and it was clearly something that could not and should not be deleted. It slipped through the cracks for a few hours and had a chance to fight for its life. We now have more mods, so chatfilter is deleted more quickly, before it has a chance to go anywhere, but I'm pretty sure the same standards are in place.

When that thread first appeared, I showed it to my then-girlfriend and she was crying for days.
posted by painquale at 12:33 AM on December 10, 2007


No no no... just:

MetaFilter: I call maudlin
posted by Chuckles at 12:47 AM on December 10, 2007


I call maudlin, sentimental, histrionic chatfilter.

Were these random stories without context, I might agree. However, reading that thread brought home for me just how familiar I've got with a number of people here in just a few short years, and how so many have become correspondents or friends. A healthy portion of the respect and fondness I have for so many here is the result of threads like these. Among those names are people who taught me about complex issues I might never have understood or even heard of absent their efforts. Or who made me die laughing, or who showed some true kindness here. They got hurt, some quite badly, but they survived and are often better to strangers like me than their own families and peers were to them. It takes courage to be kind once you've been so badly treated. That thread reminds me that there are so many people here with that courage, and of the many more in my life with terrible stories that I will doubtless never hear.

I don't suppose I have a point. Except to say, thanks to everyone who risks being thought maudlin, histrionic, and sentimental to write here about how ugly and confusing and damn dark life can be. It makes my optimism about human resilience and decency feel far less foolish than it so often does. I just wanted you to know I am grateful.
posted by melissa may at 1:00 AM on December 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


That thread (grumblebee, jessamyn, crunchyfrog, five fresh five, so many others) offered so many ways to define growing up. WCityMike, thanks for bringing it up, it was just this weekend that I found it. It happened at a really important time for me.

So, thanks.
posted by metasav at 1:10 AM on December 10, 2007


A perfect example of how great a metachatfilter site could be. This a rare community.
posted by brautigan at 5:11 AM on December 10, 2007


Not really, brautigan. That's one good thread out of a gigantic steaming pile of stupid chatty posts.
posted by arnold at 6:30 AM on December 10, 2007


Oh man, I remember that thread. I had a nice long post to add to it all queued up in Notepad when we my computer locked up and spontaneously rebooted. I took that as a sign from God who, ironically, I don't believe in. Thats powerful.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 6:58 AM on December 10, 2007


I'm going through a phase of my life right now that I hope I will some day look back on as life-changing. Re-reading that thread now makes me feel like I can do it. Thanks, WCityMike.
posted by sveskemus at 11:58 AM on December 10, 2007


As great and powerful and moving as that thread is to read, there's at least one pack of lies in it, which leads me to believe there might well be more.
posted by dersins at 12:02 PM on December 10, 2007


Wow. I can identify with so many of the traumatizing experiences in that thread, but I can also relate to some of the happy ones. I am so inspired by all of the survivors among us. For some of us, becoming whole and healthy is an ongoing journey, but choosing to survive is its own reward. I offer my heartfelt thanks to all who participated in that thread.
posted by amyms at 12:55 PM on December 10, 2007


dersins, are you alluding to this one? because of this?
posted by GrammarMoses at 12:57 PM on December 10, 2007


and/or this?
posted by GrammarMoses at 1:01 PM on December 10, 2007


I have to admit I laughed at the u.n. owen thing looking back.
posted by puke & cry at 1:45 PM on December 10, 2007


If you liked that thread, you'd probably also like The Sun -- an ad-free monthly full of heartrending and uplifting first-person stories, essays, fiction, photos, and quotations. It's my all-time favorite periodical.
posted by ottereroticist at 1:49 PM on December 10, 2007


Thanks for pointing out this thread. I'd not seen it before.
posted by slimepuppy at 1:22 AM on December 11, 2007


wow - great thread
posted by fermezporte at 6:59 AM on December 11, 2007


would be cool if the thread could be opened to new comments again. i read some of the thread at the time, but forgot about it and never got around to adding my 2c.
posted by Dillonlikescookies at 3:17 AM on December 12, 2007


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