Fundamentalist Metafilterism January 15, 2008 5:27 PM   Subscribe

Fundamentalist Metafilterism? A few days ago, I had a post deleted. I'm actually not complaining about that (hey! don't jump on me! I'm not! read this before yelling at me!), but that, combined with the belovedness of this post, made a question form in my head.

The crack about "fundamentalist Metafilterism" is not meant seriously, but it's shorthand for a longer concept. If you say the words "chatfilter", "LOLXians", "LOLBush", etc. — or something mentioned in the guidelines or in the "bad post" page of the wiki — they instantly bring "what a crap post" associations with the subject, sometimes even faster than it would take to actually check out the link.

A more recent example: although some thought this question to be on the fence, there were quite a few comments in the MeTa thread that felt that some pretty amazing stories were told there.

I'm advancing a theory that perhaps Mefi users aren't willing to consider the possibility that we could have a "best of the Web" post that is a bit chatty (on Ask.Mefi) or addresses humorously the topic of Christians or Bush, or in some other way deals with a verboten subject. In and of that, I think that's a bit fundamentalist — in the sense of "strong adherence to and unwilling to re-examine a set of beliefs."

Please, I'm firmly NOT saying my deleted post was "best of the Web." I'm curious about the process-mindset-reaction, not defending my actual post. This isn't a "my post was a shining beacon of goodness and the ol' nasty people beat me up" thing, and I'm very much not here saying it shouldn't be deleted. (I once did that on MeTa a while ago and in retrospect still wince at what a horribly bad move it was.)

But what I'm wondering is if stuff that falls in the category of chatfilter, LOLXians, LOLBush, or another "unpopular subject" listed in the pages referenced above even has a chance to be considered as a "good post" by the community, or if these guidelines are entirely and completely absolutely maintained in the community's eyes with rigorous, inflexible borders — in which case it really would be Mefilterian fundamentalism, wouldn't it?

To clarify: admin enforcement is of course another clear matter, but I'm talking about approval of the majority of the Mefi community. How people react to a post, and not necessarily whether that post falls outside the guidelines that it'll be zapped.

Short version of my blabbing: would this even have a chance of going as far as it did nowadays? Or would we have seen "chatfilter" and "Metafilter: life-exchanging experiences for your son"-style comments that would've torpedoed it even before it was put to sleep?
posted by WCityMike to MetaFilter-Related at 5:27 PM (45 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Couldn't we just talk about this in the thread that's already open?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:30 PM on January 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yeah. Take the elevator two floors down.
posted by localhuman at 5:34 PM on January 15, 2008


Bad MetaFilter posts are determined by the quality/type of the subject linked. With some exceptions, bad AskMe questions are determined by the quality/type of the hypothetical answers they are soliciting.

Different metrics give different results.
posted by Partial Law at 5:35 PM on January 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


This does seem to be just more on the topic brewing yonder, WCityMike. I realize you're not asking exactly the same questions, but it's pretty close. Why this thread right now?
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:36 PM on January 15, 2008


Just because you made a lousy Metafilter post, that doesn't mean you should make a lousy Metatalk post.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:36 PM on January 15, 2008


WTF? I just found out about this because I was alerted the link had been posted (and deleted).
LOLChristians!!1!
----More Inside--------------------------------------
Stop. Read This:
We regularly have posts to MetaFilter that result in endless mockery of the Time-Cube variety of mental illness.

Those posts have never caused a MeFi riot. There is no need for a fuss here, either. It's basically the same thing. These are LOLChristians not because they are religious, but because they are teh dum.

Seriously. You can't beat "Make sure your answer uses Scripture, not logic" or "Why is it that spiders could spin and weave a million years ago, but they try to say people could only spin or weave 20,000 years ago."
I'd given it some careful thought and I see no difference between LOLSchizoids and LOLuglyassdesign and LOLtvbloopers and so on, and LOLChristians in this case: these are the most crazy and daft quotes I've read in a long, long time.

Seriously, this is just ordinary LOLMentallyIll that we've done time and time before.

It is lame to ban this particular link simply because it might offend a group of people that doesn't even read MeFi. If any user made those statements on MeFi, s/he'd be so thoroughly drawn over the coals for the utter insanity of their excuse for an argument that they'd never be back.

No one is going to find the link any more offensive than they do the batshitinsane, mentallyretarded, and freakypervert links. Gettaclue, mods.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:59 PM on January 15, 2008 [4 favorites]


I just found out about this a minute ago after I'd composed an FPP for the same link, because I was alerted the link had been posted (and deleted).
posted by five fresh fish at 6:01 PM on January 15, 2008


Of-course religious people do bad things sometimes. But at least their religion forces them to acknowledge within themselves the evil they do. Atheists have no such guidance. They are just like psychopaths! Cold, mechanical, soul-dead!

The only people who are going to be offended are people who think like this guy.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:13 PM on January 15, 2008


It is lame to ban this particular link simply because it might offend a group of people

Yes, and that group of people is in part those of us who are BORED AS SHIT with this sort of mean-spirited bullshit. It's not clever, it's not best of the web, and it's not worth our time.

Take your frat-boy LOLAnything posts and fuck off back to whatever primordial sewer you emerged from. The grown-ups are talking.

I realize that the above may be difficult for you to understand, so please let me know if I can clarify anything.
posted by tkolar at 6:14 PM on January 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


Not at all difficult, tkolar. In fact, I do find the LOLSchizoid posts to be offensive. But they are a well-established tradition on MeFi, and unless we're about to get a bunch of New Rules about who we are and are not allowed to laugh at, I'm guess they'll continue to be permitted. Which is why this particular link should be allowed as an FPP: it is nothing more than LOLCrazies. RTFL for god's sakes: this is a bog-standard laugh-at-dummies quotes list. The Christianity bit really only comes into play as a backdrop for the whole absurd thing, just like any other list of silly quotes.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:23 PM on January 15, 2008


That link isn't "banned" because it's offensive, it's "banned" because it's stupid crap and half of the quotes are probably fake. (I'm pretty sure the gay suicide one, the gravity one, and the gay magazine one are trolls, to pick a few from near the top of the list).

But that's not what this thread is about.
posted by Partial Law at 6:30 PM on January 15, 2008


But they are a well-established tradition on MeFi

It's as well-established to remove some of them as it is to leave some of them. That particular post was a crappy one. Unless you believe in MetaFundaMentalism, you'll believe that we can decide these things more or less on a case by case basis, though I'll have to say that making fun of the (non celebrity, and sometimes even then) mentally ill posts tend not to last long unless there is something else reddeming about them.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:08 PM on January 15, 2008


So now Metafilter hates America and trolls?


Racist!
posted by Anne Coulter's Butt Plug at 7:08 PM on January 15, 2008


"Which is why this particular link should be allowed as an FPP: it is nothing more than LOLCrazies. RTFL for god's sakes: this is a bog-standard laugh-at-dummies quotes list."

RONG!

THAT IS WHY THIS PARTICULAR LINK SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED AS AN FPP: it is nothing more than LOLCrazies. RTFL for god's sakes: this is a bog-standard laugh-at-dummies quotes list.
posted by klangklangston at 7:22 PM on January 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Or— Metafilter is not your circa 1999 BBS/Email forward.
posted by klangklangston at 7:22 PM on January 15, 2008 [3 favorites]


If you do not like it, I hear Geocities still hosts.
posted by klangklangston at 7:23 PM on January 15, 2008


And to hit up WCityMike:

"I'm advancing a theory that perhaps Mefi users aren't willing to consider the possibility that we could have a "best of the Web" post that is a bit chatty (on Ask.Mefi) or addresses humorously the topic of Christians or Bush, or in some other way deals with a verboten subject. In and of that, I think that's a bit fundamentalist — in the sense of "strong adherence to and unwilling to re-examine a set of beliefs.""

This is also wrong. Reams of experimental data have been collected regarding the viability of those topics—they are full of FAIL. Frequently, edge cases do make it through, and frequently those edge cases are also full of FAIL. On very rare occasions, the FPPs make it through and the discussions are not full of FAIL, and then posters with poor judgment attempt to use that as a justification for their similar but dumber posts.

They then whine in MeTa.
posted by klangklangston at 7:28 PM on January 15, 2008 [3 favorites]


I am up in this bitch like delmoi.
posted by klangklangston at 7:28 PM on January 15, 2008 [6 favorites]


Shorter kk: FAIL.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 7:40 PM on January 15, 2008


To clarify: admin enforcement is of course another clear matter, but I'm talking about approval of the majority of the Mefi community. How people react to a post, and not necessarily whether that post falls outside the guidelines that it'll be zapped.

Seems to me that admin enforcement pretty much correlates with the approval of the majority of the Mefi community, or at least that self-selected subset of it that can be bothered flagging things.
posted by flabdablet at 8:07 PM on January 15, 2008


I hope that we'll no longer see LOLCrazies on the front page from here on out.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:06 PM on January 15, 2008


I hope that we'll no longer see LOLCrazies on the front page from here on out.

And I am certain that your creepily obsessive, life threatening need for absolute consistency in online forum moderation will result in us all hearing about it if you have even the slightest beginnings of a idea that you might have seen one.
posted by tkolar at 9:39 PM on January 15, 2008 [5 favorites]


Dude, you need to chill.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:01 PM on January 15, 2008


Hey Mike, did you know you can post a MeTa thread as often as every 4 days? There's no need to wait a week-ten-days or so. Shazam!
posted by carsonb at 10:29 PM on January 15, 2008


Dude, you need to chill.

Yeah, you're right, I am a bit snippy tonight. Sorry.
posted by tkolar at 11:28 PM on January 15, 2008


WCityMike, I think the lolz threads in the blue (especially in the case of politics and religion) are expected to live up to a higher standard because there have just been so many of them. It's not that these are topics that we can't touch, it's that they've been touched so many times they're really just all sticky and grimy at this point.
posted by taz at 1:28 AM on January 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


controversial stuff is bad for new signups
posted by matteo at 4:20 AM on January 16, 2008


Bob: But what I'm wondering is if stuff that falls in the category of chatfilter, LOLXians, LOLBush, or another "unpopular subject" listed in the pages referenced above even has a chance to be considered as a "good post" by the community, or if these guidelines are entirely and completely absolutely maintained in the community's eyes with rigorous, inflexible borders — in which case it really would be Mefilterian fundamentalism, wouldn't it?

Charlotte: ... now you're just trying to piss me off, aren't you?...
posted by From Bklyn at 5:17 AM on January 16, 2008


controversial stuff is bad for new signups

That's both missing the point and not true.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:39 AM on January 16, 2008


Hm. So the answer is: no, we're not willing to consider them, and even bringing up the subject will make us shower you with ad hominem attacks.

Fair 'nuff.

Also:

carsonb: Every seven days. It probably's been changed at some point.

klangklangston: Thank you for giving the closest thing to a non-ad hominem comment in this thread.

ValiumMist Dispensers: You're needed over here in aisle 3.
posted by WCityMike at 7:29 AM on January 16, 2008


Hm. So the answer is: no, we're not willing to consider them, and even bringing up the subject will make us shower you with ad hominem attacks.

What?

If you're trying to poll the community on how they feel about something, it might make sense if you came into MeTa without having a recent spate of deletions that made you possibly a little touchy. It might also make sense if you made a short post about the topic you wanted to talk about that didn't seem, on first glance to be rehashing a topic that is already being talked about in an open thread. Phrasing matters here as well as elsewhere on the site. Setting up a frame for this implying that people who don't want to revisit the guidelines are somehow fundamentalists about it might be a good way to start.

Unless there's some reason you think that the guidelines we've been using to moderate the site need fixing, I don't understand what you're after here. Your thesis seems to be "here's a great AskMe from three years ago. The guidelines as we have them now wouldn't allow this thread to remain undeleted. Should we revisit the guidelines so that threads such as this and particularly good versions of these other types of threads (unstated: which I like) should be allowed to remain?"

My personal answer is that good threads of all those varieties are often allowed to remain. The guidelines are loose and always have been. A lot of moderation happens here in response to the flag queue and we look at most things on a case by case basis which means MeTa needs to address cases, not just generalities, to be something people can actually talk about, by and large.

I don't see an awful lot of ad hominem in this thread honestly. Two people were snarky towards you. MeTa standards-wise, that rounds to zero.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:49 AM on January 16, 2008


Hm. So the answer is: no, we're not willing to consider them, and even bringing up the subject will make us shower you with ad hominem attacks.

Wow. You went to all that trouble in your interminable post to try to convince everyone you weren't just one more of those "waah my post got deleted!" mooks, and you wind up sounding exactly like them. Let's face it, any MeTa post inspired by having your post deleted, no matter how firmly you believe your intentions are purely philosophical, is going to go badly. I don't know why people find this so hard to understand.

You probably think this is an ad hominem attack, amirite?
posted by languagehat at 8:11 AM on January 16, 2008


> You probably think this is an ad hominem attack, amirite?

No.
posted by WCityMike at 8:12 AM on January 16, 2008


Hey WCityMike: what do you think the rationale behind the prohibition against double posts is?
posted by dios at 9:37 AM on January 16, 2008


"The only people who are going to be offended are people who think like this guy."

Hey sure, the only people who don't like lolcrazies posts must be lolcrazy.
posted by garlic at 9:54 AM on January 16, 2008


I'm loltired of lolpeople loladding lol as a lolprefix to lolrandom lolwords.
posted by fandango_matt at 10:46 AM on January 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


Every seven days.

Gah! You're right.
posted by carsonb at 10:50 AM on January 16, 2008


Metafilter: Two people were snarky towards you. MeTa standards-wise, that rounds to zero.
posted by juv3nal at 1:14 PM on January 16, 2008


taz — thanks, that's the best explanation I've read thus far.
posted by WCityMike at 1:42 PM on January 16, 2008


fandango_matt typed "I'm loltired of lolpeople loladding lol as a lolprefix to lolrandom lolwords."

What a waste. I can clearly picture the internet gag that each word in that comment could have spawned.
posted by roll truck roll at 1:49 PM on January 16, 2008


I'm advancing a theory that perhaps Mefi users aren't willing to consider the possibility that we could have a "best of the Web" post that is a bit chatty (on Ask.Mefi) or addresses humorously the topic of Christians or Bush, or in some other way deals with a verboten subject.

Perhaps if there was something chatty or humorous, but 'cmon - it was STILL just a list of unattributed quotes with no discussion or other merit. The page it came from didn't even have an intro, just a title. Sure, some of the stuff was pretty out there, and possibly even deserved some mocking - that's what the personal blog was invented for.

While it was borderline offensive, i think the fact it was a crappy post (no matter what it was about) is still way more important.
posted by pupdog at 2:08 PM on January 16, 2008


Perhaps if there was something chatty or humorous, but 'cmon - it was STILL just a list of unattributed quotes with no discussion or other merit.

Actually, what I liked about that site is that the quotes are actually attributed - they all link to the original discussion / forum they came from. I had seen a lot of these quotes before, but they were always presented kind of anonymously - "Oh look what some Christian apparently said LULZ", so I was never able to ascertain whether there really are people out there who are that confused and stupid.

But this top 100 list provided links so I could confirm that, yes, someone had in reality suggested that evolution is impossible because it would require some huge massive energy source outside the Earth to drive it...
posted by Jimbob at 8:29 PM on January 16, 2008


Yes, but you can't confirm a Christian said it. (And even if you could, a list of dumb things Christians say is pretty fucking thin for a post.)
posted by klangklangston at 8:47 PM on January 16, 2008


True, although I imagine most people who go trolling on those discussion boards come at it from a non-Christian rather than a Christian persona.

But on that point, it was interesting to see that a lot of people posting the "stupid" comments were actually barely Christians. Which is to say, they didn't actually appear to understand much about Christian theology or the teachings of Jesus.

I mean, one quote was someone saying that birth defects were "most often caused by sins committed in the womb", another was saying the Earth only has gravity because of the "weight of sin" on it, and another suggested that if the KJV bible conflicts with Hebrew texts, then clearly the Hebrew texts are wrong, because the original "language of Christianity" is English.

It's not so much "LOLXians" as "LOLpeople-who-think-they're-Christians".
posted by Jimbob at 9:25 PM on January 16, 2008


Or more, LOL-at-the-stupid-internet-users-who-are-still-falling-for-an-alt.fundamentalism-troll-years-after-it-was-written.

Well, at least that's what *I'm* doing.
posted by tkolar at 11:44 PM on January 16, 2008


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