making fun of handicapped children has no place on Metafilter December 30, 2001 5:34 PM   Subscribe

I really don't think making fun of handicapped children has any place on Metafilter. Eric's post is simply juvenile and insulting.
posted by skallas to Etiquette/Policy at 5:34 PM (62 comments total)

skallas- yes, it is a tad insensitive, but come on...as crude humor goes it's pretty harmless, that image has been floating around the net for some time and it's kinda funny in a Howard Stern type of way. Besides if you read the whole thread you can see he was making fun of you and me skallas for taking our little net disagreements too seriously.Even as the partial butt of the joke I still found it amusing and a bit instructive.
I'm not saying Eric's type of post should be come the dominant mode of discourse at MeFi(when I'm drunk and feeling crude and obnoxious I go hang out on FARK) but a little crude humor once in a while is good for us, if for no other reason than to puncture our occasional self-importance.
Besides, what're we gonna do ban him? People already want to ban ( . )( . ), we're big boys and girls lets not force Matt to play hall monitor.

posted by jonmc at 5:53 PM on December 30, 2001


I'm with jonmc. I chuckled at it. Seemed fairly low on the "needs to be pointed out as rude and insensitive" list.

Juvenile? Sure. Insulting? Maybe, but hardly worth fussing over.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:01 PM on December 30, 2001


Making fun of real people with real disabilities is on a different level than signing up to an internet message board with ( . )( . ) as a username.
posted by tomorama at 6:13 PM on December 30, 2001


tomoroama-
as hamfisted as his comment was I think Eric was making fun of me and skallas more than he was the Downs Syndrome sufferrers and quite frankly we kinda had it coming.
Before you accuse me of being an insensitive asshole, let me say that I've had several mentally disabled coworkers and freinds and I'd personally kick the ass of anyone who insulted them. But I don't think thats what Eric was trying to do here.
posted by jonmc at 6:17 PM on December 30, 2001


Regardless of the end, the means to the end was inappropriate.
posted by tomorama at 6:23 PM on December 30, 2001


Seemed fairly low on the "needs to be pointed out as rude and insensitive" list.

I don't think so. Look at the thread involving holden's misuse of fonts that got so many people up in arms. Some of us have different priorities I guess.

I'm not asking for Matt to delete it, but some appropriate pressure on Eric certianly can't hurt. I just wanted to be plain that I won't stand for crap like this. Eric is new and maybe he hasn't gotten the "flavor" of metafilter just yet, but defending this is pretty low in my book.

but a little crude humor once in a while is good for us, if for no other reason than to puncture our occasional self-importance.

Agreed. There's crude like the famous goatse wide-open asshole then there's crude like mocking handicapped kids. What if I thought that a photo of dead afghan kids would be a great punchline to "You better not say anything bad about bush or this will happen to you!"

Eric was making fun of me and skallas more than he was the Downs Syndrome sufferrers and quite frankly we kinda had it coming.

That's no excuse, we weren't exactly calling each other bitches or anything. In fact it was pretty civil in my book.
posted by skallas at 6:28 PM on December 30, 2001


Let's not over-PC ourselves here, people, come on.
posted by manero at 6:33 PM on December 30, 2001


Am I the only one seeing the irony of this?
posted by geoff. at 6:41 PM on December 30, 2001


{gets on soapbox}

As offensive(maybe) as the comment was, there's beginning to be a whiff of "there goes the neighborhood" in a lot of recent metatalk threads, like this and the ( . )( . ) debacle.

What if, instead of raking the newbies over the coals and running to Matt, we just sort of gently, good-humoredly instruct them in the dynamic of the place-that while humor, fun, and even unabashed vulgarity are welcome on on occasion , we are still trying to have a somewhat serious, intellectual community here. If that fails, tell him if all he wants to do is crack crude jokes, then fine thats why god created FARK and stileproject.

Now the net veterans among us realize that, like usenet, communities like MeFi have a sink-or-swim atmosphere about them and can adjust quickly. But for better or worse, especially with all the publicity this site gets, a newer less experienced type of poster is going to be showing up. If we can show them the ropes rather than running to the cops, the new blood may actually ad to the diversity of our community.

{gets off soapbox}
posted by jonmc at 6:47 PM on December 30, 2001


That wasn't too terribly bad. What's pretty tasteless is saying that retards, instead of being trained to undercook my food, should be put in small cages and brutally trained to be fighting machines (or to do cute child-entertaining tricks, which ever you would rather have) and then have them fight to the bloody death in robotic battle-suits for the entertainment of the masses.

What would be even more tasteless is saying that retards are useless because they are less meatier and not as tasty as normal people, because that's just not true. Retards are just as tasty as you and me (when properly cooked and seasoned) and are actually more filling.
posted by fuq at 6:55 PM on December 30, 2001


fuq- oh heavens!how daring of you.. consider me shocked...

skallas-now THAT was offensive..
posted by jonmc at 7:08 PM on December 30, 2001


What if, instead of raking the newbies over the coals and running to Matt

jonmc, posting to metatalk is not running to Matt. Its opening the question to the community. Second, I clearly posted that I think it would be a good idea to apply pressure to Eric. Nowhere did I say Matt should delete him or his post or whatever you were suggesting. You can drop the running to the police crap. Thanks.

If we can show them the ropes rather than running to the cops, the new blood may actually ad to the diversity of our community.

I'd rather include Eric (whom I've emailed) into the discussion and 'the diversity of out community' as you put it by making a metatalk thread. I think its a lot more effective than just an email saying "I didnt like that retard graphic." Plus I'm curious to see how this scans with the rest of the community. Discussing etiquette is one of the things metatalk is for.
posted by skallas at 7:26 PM on December 30, 2001


I think Skallas is right. Now, all the anti-PC crew might have a point had the guy just written the quote...instead, he chose to link to a picture that is mocking an actual person.

I don't see any problem in trying to keep the community less juvenile.
posted by Doug at 7:36 PM on December 30, 2001


I liked msposner's response, reminiscent of "I know you are, you said you are, but what am I?"
posted by holloway at 8:10 PM on December 30, 2001


Look at the thread involving holden's misuse of fonts that got so many people up in arms.

This epitomizes the greater MeFi community in a way that chills me to the bone. Font tag mishaps and ASCII ass pimples... I wonder what kinds of things get some of you mounting your high horses IRL. Wait, don't tell me.
posted by KLAX at 8:11 PM on December 30, 2001


This entire thing could have been settled with a simple email. "I find your image offensive, please do not do it in the future." Would it have worked? Probably, the original poster himself apologized after you pointed this out in the most public of ways. It makes one wonder why the time would be taken to post this to metatalk.

Also, would you guys please stop being so neurotic? It's getting to the point where every second post has a built-in apology for the over-sensitive; the other 50% of posts are in Metatalk, creating new and more exciting ways for people to apologize!
posted by starduck at 8:51 PM on December 30, 2001


Probably, the original poster himself apologized after you pointed this out in the most public of ways.

Probably not. Though this sounds like a step in the right direction.
posted by skallas at 8:55 PM on December 30, 2001


Though this sounds like a step in the right direction.

Get over yourself. Really.
posted by KLAX at 9:07 PM on December 30, 2001


Eric Lloyd NYC, if you're still reading this thread, your existing MeFi account also works for MetaTalk. You should just be able to log in on the main MeTa page.
posted by darukaru at 10:06 PM on December 30, 2001


Uh oh, looks like somebody needs a little attention...

Ok. Wow, KLAX, you're VERY brave for standing up to the big, bad establishment that is metafilter. The way that you misinterpret situations, and what people say and come off all contrary...MAN, it's so James Dean.

Now please, you're being an insufferable bore. Create your own metatalk thread about people being overly sensitive, or fascistic, or contribute to this one.
posted by Doug at 10:07 PM on December 30, 2001


What an asshole.

You wouldn't think it was so funny if it was your face in that picture.
posted by gleemax at 10:09 PM on December 30, 2001


I will not call people names. I will not call people names. I will not call people names. I will wait five seconds before posting. I will wait five seconds before posting. I will wait five seconds before posting.
posted by gleemax at 10:14 PM on December 30, 2001


Way to make something out of nothing, guys...
posted by SweetJesus at 10:17 PM on December 30, 2001


Once again do I need to remind people the irony of the situation. Just think about what you're arguing about... it has so much truth in it right now.

Before that post comes off as "I don't care what I did"--I do want to say that I did learn something about the atmosphere at Metafilter and will post accordingly in the future.

Okay so now why is everyone arguing now? He's repented. Personally when I first heard about it I thought it was funny, I later saw the picture and it kind of was taken back but I didn't really think much of it other than tasteless. In hindsight it looks as if he has just put the words it would have been better accepted but hindsight always looks better... or however that saying goes.

The joke was intented to put the argument into perspective and not as a way to put down the mentally retarded. It seemed like a silly and yet effective but not properly executed.
posted by geoff. at 10:57 PM on December 30, 2001


I'm sorry for the length, but here we go :

I'm not sure why I'm bothering, but it's a bit of a forest-and-trees situation here, gentlemen and ladies.

MeTa, as noted earlier, is for opening a question to the community. But the only way to open a question, to self-police, is to note single events, comments, front-page posts, or in the case of ass-pimple-boy, usernames, rather than trying to identify general trends, which rarely results in coherent discussions.

The point, I think, is that each borderline stupidity, sophomorism, abuse of the system or of other users pushes Metafilter closer to IRC or the newgroups, which, at least in my experience, are populated almost exclusively by flamehappy children, thick-fingered mouth-breathing meatpies from the shallow end of the gene-pool, and sex-monkeys.

It's as much about being vigilant, about keeping this place reasonably friendly and intelligent, and doing it by example and by discussing what sort of place we want it to be. Metafilter didn't become Metafilter thanks to a fiat lux from Matt, though it exists thanks to him. It became what it is today because its users, ourselves included, talked about what sort of things they wanted to see here, and what sort of behaviour was appropriate.

How else are new users, of which there are many again at the moment, to learn what most people here have organically come to agree on as 'standards of the community'? We discuss things like this in MeTa, and we point new users with questions or who transgress what most consider to be acceptable behaviour to those discussions.

In this way, we hopefully keep the community alive, vibrant, intelligent, and yes, self-policing.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:06 PM on December 30, 2001


If it wasn't considered bad form to post "what wonderchicken said," I would be posting that right now. (boy I really skirted that rule, huh?) Let's keep the mouth-breathing meatpies out.

What's the point of posting in this thread about how skallas needs to get over himself? Just say you don't find the pic offensive, and leave it at that. All he's doing is discussing etiquette, which is one of the things we're supposed to be doing in here.
posted by D at 11:29 PM on December 30, 2001


Wow. MeTa posts like this are the sole reason that I consider deleting MeFi from my favorites. I understand the policy of self-policing - it is completely warranted and saves Matt great deals of work.
What I don't get is why users think that MeTa is some sort of sounding board for every little thing that they disagree with- bad spelling, FPP's that are really follow-ups to previous threads, poor spelling, potentially offensive statements and pictures,etc.
This self policing has evolved into people who seem to post only when bitching about someone else's post (I'm looking in your general direction here skallas).
We are all of course playing in Matt's playground here, but Matt built it to center on the people. Enforcing your own nit-picky values to such a grand extent simply makes the whole project way too homogenous.
If you have a problem with material posted within a thread, post it within a thread where it can be ignored like so many other posts.
This is MetaTalk, not MetaBlacklist-Reccomendations, as it has become in the last few months.
Matt has e-mail. Point it out to him. If he finds it to be offensive enough to exclude a member than so be it. Otherwise, leave it alone and work on growing a thicker skin.

posted by ttrendel at 1:02 AM on December 31, 2001


All he's doing is discussing etiquette, which is one of the things we're supposed to be doing in here.

honestly tho, whose etiquette?

there is always someone bound to be offended by something someone does or says. either a link to a picture or an off color comment can be one man's quick laugh - even if it is wrong - or another man's reason to be deeply offended and hurt. honestly the best you can do is shake your head and move along because there are people that thrive after knowing what buttons they can press that will get them reactions the quickest.

i mean, look at don rickles' career...
posted by boogah at 1:12 AM on December 31, 2001


ttrendel:

We are all of course playing in Matt's playground here, but Matt built it to center on the people. Enforcing your own nit-picky values to such a grand extent simply makes the whole project way too homogenous.

i am unsure of how a metatalk thread "enforces" anything. it's a place for discussion; maybe you change your mind, or maybe others change their minds. i'm a little annoyed that some interpret a metatalk thread as an immediate condemnation. who's to say that by the end you'll be of the same mind?

in any case, posting to metatalk in fact solves the fear you have of the whole project becoming way too homogenous; how can an issue become homogenous when many discuss it? this very thread demonstrates the differences which are also evident in those "metablacklist" threads you so detest that prevent metafilter from becoming of one mind about hardly anything.
posted by moz at 1:26 AM on December 31, 2001


the differences prevent, i should say. sorry for the lack of clarity.
posted by moz at 1:28 AM on December 31, 2001


If you have a problem with material posted within a thread, post it within a thread where it can be ignored like so many other posts.

I generally find that things are a lot easier to ignore in MeTa than in a MeFi thread proper.

I don't know quite how to point this out without stepping on any toes, but I've noticed that the anti-PC sentiment being spouted by people in the recent vituperative MeTa threads is coming overwhelmingly from men. And I think that it's coming overwhelmingly from immature men who probably don't get along with women overly well. In my experience, this is the kind of person who is most likely to fight to the death for his right to see graphical representations of women's breasts and retard jokes on his computer screen. ("Heh. Titties.") Some of you boys should think about growing up.

What people are defending is bad taste, and since bad taste generally can't be defended on its own merits, people attempt to shift the focus of the debate by labeling anyone who points out the bad taste as "pc". The pc bashing is then combined with the suggestion that we're wasting everyone's time and somehow weakening MeFi by pointing these things out. It amazes me how people can come on here and post, with no apparent irony, that if we don't like something we should just ignore it. In my opinion, anyone who posts that is not following his own advice and is thereby weakening his own argument.
posted by anapestic at 1:30 AM on December 31, 2001

I've noticed that the anti-PC sentiment being spouted by people in the recent vituperative MeTa threads is coming overwhelmingly from men. And I think that it's coming overwhelmingly from immature men who probably don't get along with women overly well.
That's why I keep MeFi in my favourites. There's so much work to do.
posted by holloway at 3:13 AM on December 31, 2001


I've noticed that the anti-PC sentiment being spouted by people in the recent vituperative MeTa threads is coming overwhelmingly from men. And I think that it's coming overwhelmingly from immature men who probably don't get along with women overly well.

Yikes. This sounds like a whole other thread. I'm not sure making the assumption that anyone who defends bad taste is apparently a socially inept, immature man who probably doesn't get along well with women is any better than defending the bad taste in the first place. Since the post in question was pointed out by a man, that theory seems to have been blown out of the water pretty early on.

As for the rest of the thread, my two cents if anyone is interested. If someone is offended by a post or a link, I thought it was supposed to come to MeTa. The poster at issue read about it here (after being called an asshole - I guess I'd look too), and after a little self-righteous defense, said that he/she would post more appropriately in future. Isn't that the whole point? Now, maybe skallas is a little, um, enthusiastic about pointing out questionable posts. Frankly, I've seriously cut down on my MeFi time because I got tired of the sniping and the over-policing. It's getting increasingly hostile (the link to this MeTa thread being a case in point), which could be because the people who need to be shown the ropes are increasingly unwilling to take gentle hints.

But in this case, the purpose was served. skallas' and anyone else's displeasure was made known without a major hijacking of the original thread, and it got right back to debating whether or not "stupider" is a word - which I thought was an interesting and amusing direction for the original thread to take.
posted by jennaratrix at 4:11 AM on December 31, 2001


Since the post in question was pointed out by a man, that theory seems to have been blown out of the water pretty early on.

Your point would be logically valid only if my theory had been that all men were immature and didn't get along well with women. My point was that the anti-pc crowd was overwhelmingly male and that in my experience such men were usually immature and didn't interact well with women. Since skallas is not part of the anti-pc crowd, his gender is not relevant to my theory, and your argument fails.
posted by anapestic at 5:53 AM on December 31, 2001


anapestic: Okay, let's have this discussion. Following rules of logic, you're correct, my argument fails. I was trying to make a point, which you have conveniently skipped right over in your analysis of my failed argument. My fault for not looking at it from the right angle and for not clarifying.

My point is this: you state that the anti-pc crowd is "overwhelmingly" male. Maybe true, maybe not. It's relatively easy to prove one way or the other, so I'll take your word for it.

You then opine that these anti-pc arguments are coming "overwhelmingly from immature men who probably don't get along with women overly well." That is one hell of a leap, and unless you personally know every single person who has ever made any comment that could be construed as anti-pc on MetaFilter, completely unsupportable. My point was that making that kind of blanket statement is unwarranted, no less so than the link this thread was originally started to discuss.

It is also completely irrelevent to the topic at hand, which was why I attempted to avoid having this discussion the first time I posted. I should have simply not addressed it, as I usually do. *Sigh* Live and learn.
posted by jennaratrix at 6:32 AM on December 31, 2001


Requests for more thoughtful contributions to MeFi and MeTa are being misinterpreted and/or misrepresented as demands for "political correctness." MetaFilter Guidelines: Follow the golden rule, treat others' opinions with the same respect that you would like to be afforded. Many websites welcome crude, hamfisted, insensitive, insulting, juvenile, mocking, obnoxious, rude, sophomoric, and tasteless posting. Please, not here.
posted by Carol Anne at 7:58 AM on December 31, 2001


and since bad taste generally can't be defended on its own merits

This, too, is an assumption.
posted by brittney at 7:58 AM on December 31, 2001


male-bashing, how PC of you anapestic.
posted by Mick at 8:36 AM on December 31, 2001


male-bashing, how PC of you anapestic.

I do my best. By the way, your hyphen is completely inappropriate in this context.
posted by anapestic at 8:47 AM on December 31, 2001


Now that's a cause I can get behind: grammatical correctness.
posted by rcade at 8:50 AM on December 31, 2001


This is a community (I guess) of over 10,000 people. Is it really so stunning to imagine that a "retard" joke is going to piss a lot of people off? Would you tell a similar joke at, say, a wedding where you don't know a majority of the guests? I know my friends, and I know whom I am comfortable being "tasteless" or "juvenile" around. Online anonymity (or untouchability) gives people a lot more courage to do and say idiotic things that they wouldn't dare do or say in a genuine social setting.
posted by Skot at 8:55 AM on December 31, 2001


By the way, your hyphen is completely inappropriate in this context.

Now that is funny.
posted by jennaratrix at 9:07 AM on December 31, 2001


Well,as "new blood"I hardly feel qualified to comment,however I shall.I notice that despite wide variety of opinions people on this thread are keeping it fairly civil.One of the reasons I was peased to be finally allowed into the place was the fact that throughout threads civilised discourse was taking place even amogst those who disagreed with one another.
You shouldnt be complacent though I have seen other very good message boards completely ruined by new people coming in and ruining the general feel of the place.Unchallenged their numbers grow and eventually they dominate,leaving older posters feeling somewhat bitter.
So I say good work Skallas you have clearly touched on a nerve.
As regards the source of all this,not funny but hardly a hanging offence,in my hapless opinion
posted by Fat Buddha at 9:12 AM on December 31, 2001


Now that is funny.

Appropriate hyphen use:

Anapestic, you male-bashing idiot....

Inappropriate hyphen use:

Anapestic, you idiot, I am tired of your male-bashing.
posted by anapestic at 9:27 AM on December 31, 2001


As regards the source of all this,not funny but hardly a hanging offence,in my hapless opinion

An excellent point. Fat Buddha.
posted by bjgeiger at 9:31 AM on December 31, 2001


You missed my point, again. Thank you for the grammar lesson, I am well aware of appropriate hyphen use. I thought you were actually cracking a joke, poking a little bit of fun at your nitpicky (or is it nit-picky?) self. My mistake.
posted by jennaratrix at 9:39 AM on December 31, 2001


You missed my point, again. Thank you for the grammar lesson, I am well aware of appropriate hyphen use. I thought you were actually cracking a joke, poking a little bit of fun at your nitpicky (or is it nit-picky?) self. My mistake.

I got your point entirely. I was pushing the joke a little farther. Your mistake.
posted by anapestic at 9:44 AM on December 31, 2001


Ahem . . . okay, now I get it. Too bad you can't program tone of voice into text. That would probably solve a lot of the problems around here, come to think of it.

Back to your regularly scheduled comment thread.
posted by jennaratrix at 10:07 AM on December 31, 2001


People confuse metatalk with the "law of metafilter." It isn't a big deal to be "brought" here. It's just a place to discuss stuff that we think might improve the site. Like not making fun of the mentally ill, for instance.

So, anyone who thinks it's horrible that we'd discuss something so trivial should relax. Don't delete metafilter from your favorites. Even with this thread, there'll be someone posting a picture of a dying somalian child with a funny caption under it in a matter of weeks. Until then, you can go here for some truly hysterical stuff.
posted by Doug at 10:27 AM on December 31, 2001


Now that's a cause I can get behind: grammatical correctness.

This thread is becoming quite stupidish.
posted by MrBaliHai at 11:26 AM on December 31, 2001


While I don't support the way Eric made his point, I think he pretty much hit the nail on the head.

Eric - You had a good point. Which means you probably could have stated it in a way that wouldn't have branded you immature. I didn't really mind it - just food for thought.

MetaTalk - I find the balance we have of pretentious, controlling gits vs. juvenile, insensitive dorks, to be just about right. Sure, let's talk about it, but personally I'm glad to see that saying something rude or unpopular will still be grudgingly tolerated at Metafilter.
posted by y6y6y6 at 11:34 AM on December 31, 2001


I find the balance we have of pretentious, controlling gits vs. juvenile, insensitive dorks, to be just about right.

Where does it say we can't be both? (I mean, if it's not a rule, it must be OK.)
posted by rodii at 12:06 PM on December 31, 2001


pretentious, controlling gits vs. juvenile, insensitive dorks

mathowie--please put into the caption rotation! or at least make it a tee-shirt!
posted by thc at 2:52 PM on December 31, 2001


I think one of anapestic's points is both interesting and true. Unless you're used to the company of women, you do tend to be laddish, immature and gauche.
Unfortunately almost all websites follow this formula. The supply is infinite. Places like MetaFilter are rare.
Just for that I think it's not out of order to protest kindly when things get too juvenile and wet behind the ears.
I also think Eric's accomodating attitude is exemplary and that being "pc" is just being polite, but it's 11 p.m. here and I gotta go party!

PS. No such thing as bad taste - only taste and the lack of it!
posted by MiguelCardoso at 3:07 PM on December 31, 2001


GET OFF THE COMPUTER AND BOOGIE YOU FOOL!
posted by Kafkaesque at 3:16 PM on December 31, 2001


I find the balance we have of pretentious, controlling gits vs. juvenile, insensitive dorks, to be just about right.

Where does it say we can't be both?

rodii- have i ever told you you're my hero..well said.
posted by jonmc at 5:01 PM on December 31, 2001


rodii - you are the wind beneath my wings.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:09 PM on December 31, 2001


I've never seen Stavros and Bette Midler in the same place. Coincidence...or is it?!
posted by Kafkaesque at 7:26 PM on December 31, 2001


Is that a compliment, stav? Chickens can't fly.

Happy New Year to everyone in MeTa! *cwtsh*
posted by rodii at 9:20 PM on December 31, 2001


Chickens can't fly
WonderChickens can.
posted by owillis at 11:26 PM on December 31, 2001


Unless you're used to the company of women, you do tend to be laddish, immature and gauche.

Funny, that equally describes quite a few women that I know, and they are presumably quite accustomed to such company.
posted by rushmc at 9:39 AM on January 1, 2002


Eric Lloyd: Shame on you for mocking skallas's disability. He can't help that he's developmentally challenged, and look how hard he tries! Faced with his challenges, neither you nor I would do so well here. Next time, please think a little before making fun of our special MeFites. They add just as much to this forum as anyone else, and possibly more.
posted by rusty at 12:50 PM on January 1, 2002


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