Scrump Goes For Broke March 26, 2008 12:34 PM   Subscribe

Why is MetaFilter going downhill, and what are we going to do about it?

I'm gonna take one right on the chin here and complain that MetaFilter just ain't what it used to be. I'm an idealist, and harbor the hope that maybe we can actually discuss the problem. HAHA. No, seriously.

Anyway, take the time to read the Jeremiah Wright thread. Then take the time to read the NYPD thread. Both recent, both charged topics, and both threads going downhill fast.

It seems, from the cheap seats, that there's an accelerating downward spiral in both civility and the general level of discourse on MetaFilter and its related sites, one that's persisting despite the increase in both number and involvement of the moderators.

Yes, I know. NEWS AT ELEVEN. But we keep talking about this and not doing anything about it.

There are a number of people who claim that MetaFilter is a community, one that by its very nature stands above and apart from other "community" sites, both in the quality of its membership and the quality of its discourse. I think it's getting more and more difficult to distinguish that difference: we're still more articulate than just about anywhere else, but that articulateness seems, more and more, to be deployed in the service of ad hominem attacks on each other and dismissive scorn about what's getting posted.

Put another way, I used to be able to point people here and assume that it was self-evident that MetaFilter was of a higher quality, just from a cursory read. That's no longer the case.

Personally, I think a good start might be closing registrations until after the election and instituting an instant week's vacation for ad-hominem attacks of any stripe, but that's me.

On the other hand, maybe the real problem is that I keep saying "we". There is no "we", when it comes right down to it. There's mathowie, jessamyn, cortex and pb, and of those four, the fundamental ownership and vision of MetaFilter is mathowie's. We're just passengers.

And, mathowie, at base, I think the real problem is that you seem to want this to be both consensus-driven and vision-driven, and neither one's working. I think someone needs to take a firm stand on what the vision of MetaFilter is, and make that happen, because we're sure as hell not getting anywhere good on our own. We're headed towards the least common denominator at a pretty rapid clip, and I think we need some stronger leadership to point the way to what MetaFilter is.

Any decision you make, Matt, is going to have a cost. If you don't step in, people are going to leave because it just sucks here. It's already happening. If you do step in, you're going to take a load of shit from people who think they know better than you do what MetaFilter "should be". But, to be frank, they're wrong, and if they're going to leave because you're trying to actually keep MetaFilter on the road and out of the ditch, screw 'em.

So consider this a plea for vision and leadership, Matt. It's your site, and it appears to be in trouble, so maybe it's time to wade in and make sure we're all on the same page.
posted by scrump to Etiquette/Policy at 12:34 PM (439 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

It's my fault, I am sorry, and I will try to do better in the future.
posted by Meatbomb at 12:45 PM on March 26, 2008 [12 favorites]


*gets popcorn*
posted by sveskemus at 12:46 PM on March 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


To quote an old member of this place:

shutup shutup shutup.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 12:47 PM on March 26, 2008 [3 favorites]


Why is MetaFilter going downhill, and what are we going to do about it?

Two words: BAN SCRUMP
posted by kittens for breakfast at 12:47 PM on March 26, 2008 [8 favorites]


Matt's too busy riding his new bike to care about Metafilter, fool.
posted by smackfu at 12:49 PM on March 26, 2008


Personally, I think a good start might be closing registrations until after the election

Interesting idea, although looks like most of the "bad behavior" in those threads you linked to is coming from long-time members.
posted by jbickers at 12:49 PM on March 26, 2008


Metafilter is not broken.
posted by Bookhouse at 12:50 PM on March 26, 2008 [3 favorites]


Politics poisons the site. Kill all the political posts or make a new subsite for them. Restore the "Best of the Web" motto to the logo and add "not the best of the web" to the choices for flagging.

Then prepare for a three month long shit storm.
posted by LarryC at 12:50 PM on March 26, 2008 [15 favorites]


and make sure we're all on this page
Only an awesome flameout can pull that off.
posted by jouke at 12:51 PM on March 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


These “Metafilter isn’t as good as it used to be” threads used to be so much better before they let those filthy 2800ers into the joint.
posted by bondcliff at 12:53 PM on March 26, 2008 [10 favorites]

Interesting idea, although looks like most of the "bad behavior" in those threads you linked to is coming from long-time members.
I have to say that I'm not a huge fan of someone getting cut slack because they've been here longer than others. In fact, I'd say that argues for them knowing better, and leading by example. And, if they don't, they should be subject to exactly the same penalties as anyone else.

I'm not sure I buy the whole "but X, Y or Z's personality makes MetaFilter what it is" argument, because MetaFilter seems to be what it is pretty much despite individual personalities, not because of them.
posted by scrump at 12:53 PM on March 26, 2008


Well, I read both of those threadsd, and aside from the Wright one turning into ObamaFunFilter, I don't see them as being overly uncivil.

However, I did notice that you, scrump, only posted one comment in the Wright thread, and did not post at all in the NYPD thread. If people are being rude or personally insulting, you should post a comment right in the thread that asks them to cool it. I've done this, and it works far more effectively than a metatalk callout or a complaint to the moderators.

More importantly, the notion of downhill implies a starting point for the comparison. Please link to a day in the past that you think Metafilter was particularly "good" or "better" than it is now. I guarantee you that you will find instances of ad hominem attacks that are worse than you'll find now, primarily because the site doesn't seem to have extremely polarizing active posters right now, compared to the past.
posted by Pastabagel at 12:54 PM on March 26, 2008 [3 favorites]


I think it's a mistake to assume there is a hill for mefi to go down. There is plenty of civility and plenty of fuckerooity to go around and there always has been. I suggest your sample size is too small.

Personally I wish that people would refrain from posting a comment in a thread that complains about the content, quality or quantity of links and says nothing else at all. I think that, of all things, is an affront to the mefi ethos such as it can be said to exist. I especially wish that people would not make those comments in a snotty, schoolmarmish tone, as it reminds me of the thoughtless attention-seeking cruelty of children. I am, however, accustomed to disappointment.

Other than that, rage on I say, loosen the pins in your grenades and write your blood-type on your helmet, we are that we are.
posted by Divine_Wino at 12:54 PM on March 26, 2008 [12 favorites]


This site has been on an undeniable downward slide since June 1, 2005.
posted by saladin at 12:54 PM on March 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Dunbar's Number.
posted by Skorgu at 12:54 PM on March 26, 2008


I think someone needs to take a firm stand on what the vision of MetaFilter is, and make that happen

What the fuck does that even mean?

How about - the mysterious vision is everyone's reasoned and humane desires, in plain text, concisely told and built upon beautiful and differing ideas like a tower spiraling to reach Heaven.

We're almost there - stop trying to knock it down.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 12:55 PM on March 26, 2008


I dont think Mefi has gone downhill at all. If we bring up Religion or Politics in any thread, it will be heated without a doubt. But, there are some great threads with great comments within them (see sidebar) and I still think this place has standards. We are just fine for now, and try to look at the good threads. They are there. You just have to look for them harder.
posted by wheelieman at 12:55 PM on March 26, 2008


So what's up with that Jeremiah Wright thread then? It's a good post, and the discourse looks pretty civil to me. Or have the mods already been at it?

But, hey, having a user number in the high 20,000's, I'm probably part of the problem, so what do I know?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:57 PM on March 26, 2008 [4 favorites]


If there really is a degradation problem as described by scrump, and I am neither agreeing nor disagreeing because I'm afraid of the backlash either way, it is probably exacerbated by the immense number of people who can't respond to anything other than by making a lame, smartass remark. I'm sure this thread will be a perfect example.
posted by BorgLove at 12:58 PM on March 26, 2008 [4 favorites]


I have to say that I'm not a huge fan of someone getting cut slack because they've been here longer than others.

Not cutting anyone any slack, just pointing out that a temporary ban on new accounts doesn't speak to the problem you see.

As for that problem - respectfully, I just don't see it. I still think this is a wonderful place.
posted by jbickers at 12:58 PM on March 26, 2008

I guarantee you that you will find instances of ad hominem attacks that are worse than you'll find now
Pastabagel, I'm sure you're right. What's notable to me, right now, is the frequency with which this kind of stuff is happening. It's not just one or two people, it's five, or six, or ten people. And it's not just new people, it's old members as well.

It's like we've collectively decided that, fuck it, everyone else is behaving badly, I will too. And I'll freely confess that one of the things that made me post this today is that I wrote "go fuck yourself" in a comment on the blue. Big WTF moment, you might say: for some reason, my personal barometer for what was an acceptable level of discourse on the Blue had slipped to the point where I felt like it was okay to write that, and have it sit there.

So I looked around, and it seemed to me like a lot of people feel that way lately, and the site is suffering for it.
posted by scrump at 12:59 PM on March 26, 2008


Huh, I was just reading the Hezbullah Tofu thread and thought, aside from a few old-timers acting like asshats, the discussion was pretty good, if not a little heated at times.
posted by slogger at 1:00 PM on March 26, 2008


I think someone needs to take a firm stand on what the vision of MetaFilter is, and make that happen

This has already happened. It involves cats. On scanners.
posted by Stynxno at 1:00 PM on March 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


My suggestion is to make the favoriting system invisible. Being able to see the number of favorites each comment has is an incentive for attention-seeking types to post flip one-liners instead of making meaningful contributions to conversations.

And actually, favorites aside the flip one-liner is a distressingly entrenched part of MeFi culture (on preview, what BorgLove said). Look at the types of comments in this thread so far:

*gets popcorn*

Two words: BAN SCRUMP

Matt's too busy riding his new bike to care about Metafilter, fool.

They're not exactly full-on derails, but they absolutely lower the level of discourse on the site. There are tons of comments here that show a greater interest in being clever than being interesting or meaningful. (I should point out that I don't mean to single out those particular users; most of us do it from time to time, myself included.)

I guess what I'm trying to say, scrump, is that closing accounts for a while or upping the ban rate is a technical solution for a social problem. I think the only way to raise the level of discourse is to actually do it ourselves.
posted by danb at 1:03 PM on March 26, 2008 [13 favorites]


Has there been any kind of measurable exodus of late or measurable degradation of site quality? Maybe the infodump could tell us this, or if not, could the admins?
posted by By The Grace of God at 1:04 PM on March 26, 2008


I sort of disagree. I think that under the steady guidance of the mods, MeFi has proven to be capable of going through phases that would tank lesser sites. Die-offs and fluctuations in ph are just MetaFilter's way of cleaning and regulating itself.
posted by [NOT HERMITOSIS-IST] at 1:06 PM on March 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


This is going to be a shitstorm, or at least I think it will be.

But thanks for saying something. Some of the rudeness here I absolutely do not get. Attack my argument, fine, but insults against my personal feelings or me as a person are just rude and pointless and make me leave a thread these days. If you have so little respect for the person you're arguing with as to insult them because of their opinions, you're not worth talking to about that subject. And I see this happening to a lot of people lately.

That said, I think the mods are doing an excellent job at deleting objectionable things. I don't know what else can be done. It's not like you can make everyone play nice.
posted by agregoli at 1:07 PM on March 26, 2008 [3 favorites]


Something about a speck in a dude's eye and plank in yours or something.
posted by katillathehun at 1:07 PM on March 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Whenever I think of the word "difficult," I often think of a young, angry horse that refuses to be tamed. However, this may be because it contains the word "colt."
posted by Afroblanco at 1:08 PM on March 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


As for the NYPD thread, we do bad-cop-filter about once a month and it is always ugly and I personally have been trying to stay out of them.
posted by ND¢ at 1:08 PM on March 26, 2008 [2 favorites]

So what's up with that Jeremiah Wright thread then?
What's up with it is that it is, despite cortex posting (early on)
cortex: "Nicely done, Pater Aletheias.

Folks, it would be great if this thread could be more about Cone, Wright himself, and liberation theology in general, etc, and less a proxy for more election/primaries/Obama-vs-Clinton stuff. There's an epic Obama post that's still open and chock full of that kind of thing already, if you just can't contain yourselves.
"
it's still turning into an Obama/Clinton debate thread, with all the namecalling, strawmen and vitriol that can be expected from that particular debate.
posted by scrump at 1:09 PM on March 26, 2008


MetaFilter has always sucked more than you remember.

Note that I'm resisting the urge to explicitly call scrump a fustian fuckwit.
posted by Plutor at 1:09 PM on March 26, 2008 [13 favorites]


They're not exactly full-on derails, but they absolutely lower the level of discourse on the site.

Well, really, they're not even close -- my comment was meant as good-natured joking around, and I figure that's true of the others as well. No offense, but if this is your idea of "lowering the discourse," the discourse must be quite low in your eyes pretty much all the time.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 1:09 PM on March 26, 2008


FISH. PANTS. DEAL.
posted by quonsar at 1:09 PM on March 26, 2008 [11 favorites]


To follow on to what jbickers (and others) is saying, the fact that the old-timers are part of the problem indicates to me that the problem is nothing new, or even a problem, really. Most of my recent dissatisfaction with the site is due to over-moderation--let folks be uncivil, sexist, and racist, as long as they're honest. If there is going to be heavy-handed moderation, make it consistent, at least, not reliant on the personal likes and dislikes of the moderators. This was a bad deletion, and badly justified, and there are lots more where that came from.

Kill favoriting, for one thing. As for vision, take it back to "best of the web." Politics, religion, music, any of that, is relevant only as it affects the web--the fact that a news story appears on some website somewhere isn't good enough. Return this site to a more web-centric focus, and that'll take care of a huge chunk of your complaints.
posted by MrMoonPie at 1:11 PM on March 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


If we could simply cut off the right hands of the offenders, it would both provide a painful deterrent and limit the typing speed of the evildoers.
posted by Krrrlson at 1:14 PM on March 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


I liked Metafilter just the way it is.

Well, maybe one thing...
posted by Artw at 1:14 PM on March 26, 2008



Yes, I know. NEWS AT ELEVEN. But we keep talking about this and not doing anything about it.


Yeah. Since the first days of MetaTalk, during the so-called good old days. This is the same bullshit Meta thread that comes up at least once a year. Political threads always devolve into a shit throwing contest, this was true in 2000, it was true in 2004, it's true now. The difference between the first two US elections mentioned and now is that you weren't a member.

Hell, it's been so long since Matt made the "MetaFilter doesn't do politics well" proclamation that I don't even remember when it was anymore or what it pertained to.

There were no good old days. The general level of conversation on this site is the same it was 8 years ago when I started reading it. MetaFilter is what it's been and it is what it is.


So consider this a plea for vision and leadership, Matt. It's your site, and it appears to be in trouble, so maybe it's time to wade in and make sure we're all on the same page.


Uh. Yeah. We're not all on the same page. That's the fucking point.
posted by eyeballkid at 1:17 PM on March 26, 2008 [8 favorites]


I've been owning this lawn since long before you started standing on it!
posted by ND¢ at 1:18 PM on March 26, 2008


Nuke it from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.
posted by ooga_booga at 1:20 PM on March 26, 2008


Pastabagel, I'm sure you're right. What's notable to me, right now, is the frequency with which this kind of stuff is happening. It's not just one or two people, it's five, or six, or ten people. And it's not just new people, it's old members as well.

scrump, your basis of comparison is off. You should be comparing the heatedness of the discussion here with discussions of the same topic elsewhere, not compared to discussion of completely unrelated topics in the past. A few posts down on the front page we are having a very civil discussion of the history of automata throughout the ages. Why not compare it to that thread?

On the other hand, we could go over to LGF or FreeRepublic, or DailyKos and YouTube, and discuss who is more or less of a "fag" or a "race traitor", or whether "whites dont unnerstand blacks".

The discussions get hot because the topics are very controversial and people are very emotionally and personally invested in the outcome. What you are reading is in fact a very civil discussion about the most contested primary election in anyone's memory, all things considered. The mere fact that a heated discussion is taking place is a sign of a healthy community. In an unhealthy one, the post would never go up, or the people commenting would only come from one side of the issue or another.

And don't beat yourself up too much over an indiscretion. Go back to the thread, apologize, admit you were wrong, and make a self-deprecating joke, and everyone is happy. We all lose our shit every now and then. No autopsy, no foul.
posted by Pastabagel at 1:20 PM on March 26, 2008 [4 favorites]


MetaFilter: plenty of civility and plenty of fuckerooity to go around.
posted by ericb at 1:22 PM on March 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


For what it is worth, scrump, I agree. Many years ago when I first started reading this site, there posts were generally about something neat on the web that you'd be hard pressed to find another way. When a news item hit the front page, the comments often had great additional info from someone in the know. There were arguments, sure, but they were usually interesting and well thought out, and the insults were more jovial and not as mean spirited. Of course there were crap posts, and crap comments, and crap posters back then, but the absolute number and the percentage of the whole seemed smaller back then. And there are still great posts, great comments and great discussions happening today! Probably even more in absolute numbers, but it seems like the percentage has gone down. What has filled the gap seems to be members talking about MeFi and each other. For those who want that, for threads to have lots of socializing, chit chat and whatnot it is great. I won't say that is wrong, or not what MetaFilter should be. But I do know that isn't what I want, and I will probably soon stop coming here at all soon.

What can you do to change it? Make good FPPs and comments, is all. Even that will probably not be enough, but really, this place has become an entity of it's own and any real changes will make a new MeFi, not the old one you like. Things change.
posted by The Castle at 1:23 PM on March 26, 2008


I don't think the Wright thread is going downhill fast. I think it had some early bumps, and will almost certainly have some more bumps given the high passions and hot tempers around here related to the electoral context that prompted it, but in general it's a well-put-together post and nobody has flipped their shit or anything. Heated but not stupid, discussion including Obama context but not solely about it or diverted to electionfilter. I still have high hopes for it.

On the other hand, that cop thread sucks in the way that an awful lot of cop threads on the blue suck, and I regret not just jumping off the fence and deleting it when I woke up this morning. There's rarely much to do in them other than rehash the same cops-are-pigs, not-all-cops-are-pigs, ooh-apoligist-much, say-that-next-time-you-get-mugged type arguments that come up every single time, and this post in particular was not some superlative thing that brought something really worthy or unusual to the topic.

If I had to pin down where I think I agree with some of your statement here, scrump, I'd say it's that early, noisy commenting, and early fight-starting comments, are a real pain in the ass on the blue and that finding a way to move away from that somewhat would be nice. I think we've been a little more willing to delete the occasional over-the-line noise in the blue, especially early comments, when we can catch them early enough to avoid a derail, but it's a challenge in hot-button threads.

Whether and what balance of deletions and timeouts and simply (if time-consumingly) corresponding directly with repeat noise-makers might help with some of this is a question we're constantly examining; short of some drastic change (something I'm not going to speculate on by myself, it's the sort of thing Matt and Jess and I are most likely to disagree on so I don't want to speak for them), that's probably the most direct route we have for dealing with some of this stuff.

I took the kind of proactive gamble of tossing a comment in the Wright thread (as scrump, on preview, has noted) expressing a desire to see it not go over to more Obama/Clinton/election infighting (which is what I see as the biggest threat to that thread, and which is what the early noise mostly has to do with), and we'll see if that helps; as a case-study in practically addressing some of the noise/discourse stuff that happens in these threads, that sort of thing is probably a more realistic model than a hard signup shutoff or a hardcore timeout ultimatum.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:25 PM on March 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


I still don't get it about the Wright thread. I've been watching it since the beginning, and I think it's actually going really well. There's even less snark than usual. To my knowledge, the mods haven't deleted anything yet.

Where is the derail into Obama/Clinton debating? I see some discussion of Wright's claims about AIDS, but that's a perfectly relevant concern/conversation considering that Wright is the subject of the post. I hope it doesn't derail into insults, but just becuase you think it might happen, doesn't mean it is happening.

All that aside, I, too, would love to see less name-calling and more debating.
posted by lunit at 1:25 PM on March 26, 2008


Ehhh, I don't think it's worse. There are just more members now so it's a little louder and the snark is a little more frequent. I do get a little tired of it every now and then and that's when I take a little break from the site for a while. Trust me, spend some time on some other community sites and then come back and tell me that Metafilter isn't operating on a MUCH higher level than most, conversation-wise. We actually do a pretty good job most of the time. It's just a little harder to see when you're in the middle of it all.

Like you said, this came about because you found yourself getting more heated than you think was warranted. I get like that too. That's when I know that it might be time to take a few days off. Not saying that's what you should do and I'm not trying to dismiss your complaints. It's just that sometimes we all get caught up in issues that we take very personally and it leaves us with a bad taste in our mouths and we let that color the way we see the site as a whole, which might not be entirely fair or accurate.
posted by LeeJay at 1:25 PM on March 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


I've been owning this lawn since long before you started standing on it!
posted by ND¢ at 4:18 PM on March 26


Ooo, wait!

*ahem cough cough ahem*

Abite hortibus meis, iuvenci scelerati!

How was that? Was that good? Did I say it right?
posted by Pastabagel at 1:27 PM on March 26, 2008 [7 favorites]


I mean, the derail into Obama/Clinton following cortex's warning, that is.
posted by lunit at 1:28 PM on March 26, 2008


I've been lamenting recently how the front page has really become a haven for haterz. I'm sure it was ever thus, and I'm sure I've done more than my fair share, but it has begun to annoy me lately.

A week or so ago, there was a thread about James Taylor turning 60. Half of the comments in the thread that followed were basically about how much the guy sucks. I thought it was pretty uncalled for.

I can't help but feel like Metafilter has attracted all the fat little kids who don't like anything their mom put on their plates, and learned that it was ok to loudly complain about it. But I am at a total loss on what can be done about it.
posted by Dave Faris at 1:28 PM on March 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


If we closed registration then we'd never have a Jill Sobule to call our own.
posted by yeti at 1:32 PM on March 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


Is MetaFilter going downhill again? Awesome. That matches the approximately 200 times someone else, at another time, has complained it's going downhill. Check the archives - it's been going downhill since it started!

One day I'm going to do a compendium of links to "MetaFilter's Going Downhill!" posts.
posted by Miko at 1:32 PM on March 26, 2008 [4 favorites]


Well, really, they're not even close -- my comment was meant as good-natured joking around, and I figure that's true of the others as well. No offense, but if this is your idea of "lowering the discourse," the discourse must be quite low in your eyes pretty much all the time.

Oh, of course it was. I don't think anyone was being malicious, but it's still noise, good-natured or not.

Actual malice, like ad hominem attacks, are a different beast. Those are of course much rarer (although they do seem to be increasing, as scrump points out). The thing is, when someone is that far over the line, it's much easier for the mods give someone a timeout or a ban. The gradual accumulation of noise -- jokey comments and the like -- are, in my eyes, the bigger problem.
posted by danb at 1:33 PM on March 26, 2008


I'm gonna take one right on the chin here and complain that MetaFilter just ain't what it used to be. I'm an idealist, and harbor the hope that maybe we can actually discuss the problem. HAHA. No, seriously.

Anyway, take the time to read the Jeremiah Wright thread. Then take the time to read the NYPD thread. Both recent, both charged topics, and both threads going downhill fast.


As an experiment, go back through the archives. Choose two posts from each year. One should be a post about something political that was current at the time. One should be a post about a hot button topic, like bad cops.

I'd bet dollars to donuts that as a rule of thumb, threads like that approach complete shit regardless of what year they are posted.
posted by 23skidoo at 1:33 PM on March 26, 2008


Half of the comments in the thread that followed were basically about how much the guy sucks. I thought it was pretty uncalled for.

Yeah, now that you mention it, I do remember that. I don't think a solution is to proactively post a comment early on instructing people to keep it civil, because that invites the thread to turn into a discussion about you asking them to do that.

But I think if a few people spoke up and said "Hey, so-and-so who said "he sucks!" this thread isn't for that. Unless you want to offer a more objective or salient critique, keep peanut gallery commentary to a minimum."

Here's my view - any kind of action that requires the mods to do anything else is a non-starter. You, me, all of us are in the community. And the community is a lot larger than it used to be which means lower exposure for asshats. So it's up to us to police the thread. I actually do believe that if things are spiraling out of control, and one or two people other than the original poster chastise misbehavers for misbehaving, I think it will stop, at least in that thread.
posted by Pastabagel at 1:34 PM on March 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Periodically, we get a metatalk post that is the equivalent of Chicken Little saying the sky is falling.

Folks, the sky has been falling ever since this place first existed. There's just more of us here, is all. In all honesty, I think the place is in general MORE civil than it used to be. It's just that certain topics are a bit more volatile than others.

It is what it is, people. You don't like it, then I suggest you design and implement your own site. I'm serious. This is Matt's sandbox, and it runs pretty much how he wants it, usually. If somebody throws sand in someone else's eyes occasionally, it's the price we pay for having a place to dig.
posted by konolia at 1:34 PM on March 26, 2008 [5 favorites]


This is the same bullshit Meta thread that comes up at least once a year.

I've only been a member about a year, plus some time lurking before that, and I'm pretty sure I've seen several MeTa threads on this in that time. Or maybe that was threads that became this discussion after a certain number of comments.

We're just passengers.

I think the crux of the issue begins hereabouts. You really think this is true? I think your vision of MetaFilter may differ from many people here.

They made a bus. We get grab the wheel and drive it places sometimes. Sometimes to cracked.com. But then Artw threatens to throw anyone doing so in the future out of the bus and run them over with it. So do that with extreme caution. We do seem to make regular trips to Obamaland lately. I hear it's like the new Gettysburg.
posted by Tehanu at 1:36 PM on March 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's like we've collectively decided that, fuck it, everyone else is behaving badly, I will too. And I'll freely confess that one of the things that made me post this today is that I wrote "go fuck yourself" in a comment on the blue. Big WTF moment, you might say: for some reason, my personal barometer for what was an acceptable level of discourse on the Blue had slipped to the point where I felt like it was okay to write that, and have it sit there.

I've got a better solution for this than a big long MetaTalk rant. Work on your personal barometer, because this is the only area in which the individual user can rationally influence the nature of the site. Blaming your outbreak of bad personal behavior on the site going downhill is really pretty B.S.
posted by nanojath at 1:37 PM on March 26, 2008 [3 favorites]


Vision Statement (DRAFT): Acting proactively, Metafilter Network LLC (hereafter know as "the site") will take an active role in promoting active accretion and posticulation to the site of Other Internet Sites of Interest (OISoI) by active members of the site in accordance with the site's values.

Values (DRAFT):
* Hugs are an intrinsic necessity to human beings
* Pancakes (aka crepes, crumpets, flapjacks, etc.) are sweet flatbreads typically cooked on a hot griddle, and solely that
* Legumes are to be ruminated upon at length
* Hands are for shaking, masturbating, clicking, typing, and many other activities; not for cutting off
* SCIENCE!
posted by cog_nate at 1:38 PM on March 26, 2008 [6 favorites]


Yeah... I don't really notice anything. I know there was a significant improvement a couple years back (around the time Dhoyt got banned, IIRC) and since then then it's been pretty constant.

One thing we do have is a lot more people so threads fill up quickly. But I just don't think that there is much degradation overall. It ebbs and flows and it may be that you joined during an overall lull?
posted by delmoi at 1:38 PM on March 26, 2008


Historians even have a term for the perennial idea that everything's going to hell in a handbasket. It's called a "decline narrative." In a few more years, this gets to be "the good old days."
posted by Miko at 1:38 PM on March 26, 2008 [24 favorites]


I'd bet dollars to donuts

Careful. Cortex is a sucker for those kinds of bets, and as they say, the house has all the advantage.
posted by Dave Faris at 1:38 PM on March 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


This post made me laugh out loud at work.
posted by 1 at 1:38 PM on March 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


scrump: Here are two tips for MetaFilter happiness:
  • Stay out of any threads on American politics
  • Stay out of any threads that might attract American politicos
Americans are lovely, lovely people, but politics makes them nuts.
posted by timeistight at 1:38 PM on March 26, 2008 [7 favorites]


I think someone needs to take a firm stand on what the vision of MetaFilter is

And I'm guessing you've nominated yourself? What's your stand on cracked.com?
posted by The Light Fantastic at 1:39 PM on March 26, 2008


Sandboxes are public restrooms for cats, which is fine by me.
posted by Divine_Wino at 1:40 PM on March 26, 2008


Kids these days. In my day we were respectful of our elders, only spoke when talked to, we were smarter.

Get off my lawn!
posted by jeblis at 1:43 PM on March 26, 2008


Regarding "going downhill" -- check out this awesome downhill Line Rider [high-res version].
posted by ericb at 1:48 PM on March 26, 2008


Who peed in *your* popcorn Scrump?

Seriously, I am relatively new here, but I think that who I am and what I add is AWESOME. And that goes for most everybody else. If you don't like the general attitude here, become a changer or a cheerleeder. Calling out EVERYBODY though? What do you want us to do? Calling out Matt personally as well? Are things going to change if Matt prepares the most awesome mission statement in the world? The whole damn site is the mission statement. And I'm still trying to read all of it.
posted by iamkimiam at 1:49 PM on March 26, 2008 [7 favorites]


Someone should probably mention that the phrase "Best of the Web" has never appeared on the front page, logo, welcome to new members page, guidelines page, "what makes a good post" page, or anywhere else on the site.

Sure, it's all over the meeting minutes of the cabal, but, well - you know.
posted by yhbc at 1:51 PM on March 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Once again I will take the blame here. I still contend they had it coming.
posted by waraw at 1:51 PM on March 26, 2008


One day I'm going to do a compendium of links to "MetaFilter's Going Downhill!" posts.

It should go on the wiki. If we are going to hell in a handbasket, we should document it in glorious detail for the digital anthropologists. Someone could base a thesis on it. "The Collapse of an Online Civilization: Or How Metafilter Was The Rome Of The Internet Until The Lolcats Came."
posted by Tehanu at 1:53 PM on March 26, 2008 [2 favorites]



I think someone needs to take a firm stand on what the vision of MetaFilter is

And I'm guessing you've nominated yourself?


I nominate Aaron A. Aaronson. He's good with that vision thing.
posted by Meatbomb at 1:56 PM on March 26, 2008


I can't speak as to whether or not MeFi is "going downhill" at the moment; as a 58ker, I'm often not certain what my ability is to speak to the site, its history, and its policies, because I just don't have the knowledge.

I do know the only way to do anything about it is to look at my own behaviour, and I am trying to do less snark/jokes in the Blue, especially since jessamyn pointed a comment at me last week. Not a callout, not anything mean, but it grabbed my attention and made me look at how I'm posting, what I'm saying, and perhaps most importantly, why I feel it necessary to say anything. In the end, that's all I can do - we can have this discussion as many times as we want, but we each control our keyboards. Our mods do a great job, with a deft touch, but they cannot control us all, all the time. We aren't passengers on the website, but the content providers - maybe that's what we need to remember.

I don't know how we make everyone take that extra moment of pause before fingers hit the keyboard. Maybe we need to disable publicizing favorites, maybe not...but I think we all need to sometimes look at what we are about to post, and ask if it is worth it.
posted by never used baby shoes at 1:57 PM on March 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


I try to avoid political discussions (with varying success) as much as possible. Too much nastiness and very little perspective.
posted by dhammond at 1:58 PM on March 26, 2008


the house has all the advantage

This is known sometimes as "the vig", and generally is represented as strips of crispy bacon nestled into the maple frosting that is the laws of probability.

One day I'm going to do a compendium of links to "MetaFilter's Going Downhill!" posts.

GET OUT OF MY MIND
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:58 PM on March 26, 2008


I, for one, am very disappointed that MetaFilter is diverging from what I, personally, think it should be. Will someone please step in an fix this for me?

The James Taylor thing was tame. But, if you love James Taylor, why do you care if some anonymous person thinks that he sucks? If you met such a person at work or in a bar, you'd probably just ignore them. Why is that so difficult here?

Also, you suck at liking music, if you like James Taylor.

For my own part, I love it when people mix it up in political threads. Some of my favorite threads here have been throw-downs between MidasMulligan, Amberglow, DavidDark, Hama7, Mayor Curley and others who are polar opposites of the political spectrum. I know a lot of people hate electionfilter, but it's some of the best stuff on the web as far as I'm concerned. I mean, at least people have well thought out viewpoints, and aren't afraid to back them up here. If you want to see LAME POLITICSFILTER, go check out what the dumbasses are posting to the comments section at CNN.

What does get annoying, though, is when you spot someone being disingenuous, or merely parroting party talking points. This often seems like an attempt rile people up rather than engage in (sometimes intense) debate. Though, I have been wrong about that... I have called people out for trolling when they were being sincere, so I guess everyone should get a break.
posted by psmealey at 2:01 PM on March 26, 2008 [2 favorites]

Some of my favorite threads here have been throw-downs between MidasMulligan, Amberglow, DavidDark, Hama7, Mayor Curley and others who are polar opposites of the political spectrum.
Maybe that's the disconnect: what you described is what I tend to see as the ne plus ultra worst of MetaFilter, on a regular basis. And there appears to be a roughly equal cohort of people who love that stuff and people who hate that stuff.
posted by scrump at 2:08 PM on March 26, 2008


Were a bunch of comments deleted in those threads? They seem pretty civil to me, even if there's some disagreement in 'em.
posted by klangklangston at 2:09 PM on March 26, 2008


I enjoy some of the links posted to the front page of MeFi, but the comments section has never seemed worth reading -- no offense to any of you personally.

I try to avoid political discussions (with varying success) as much as possible. Too much nastiness and very little perspective.

Also, what he said.
posted by deern the headlice at 2:10 PM on March 26, 2008


there appears to be a roughly equal cohort of people who love that stuff and people who hate that stuff.

Good thing there's more than one post a day, so we can read the ones we like the best.
posted by Miko at 2:12 PM on March 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


Just the other day, actually, I was thinking about how much lovlier the arguments are here now that a couple of really vitriolic noise-spewers are gone (whose names shall remain unspoken). It seems like there was a certain kind of "I am RIGHT about this and you are DELUDED" tone that was thrown around a lot more back when I was lurking. Overall, metafilter seems even nicer than when I first joined. I dunno, though; it may just be a side effect of having people like Miko as a contact, and always being delighted by their contributions as they pop up on the side of my frontpage.

scrump: I suggest you add Miko as a contact. It's like a pegasus holding a bucket of sunshine galloping into your internet.
posted by Greg Nog at 2:15 PM on March 26, 2008 [8 favorites]


Q: WHAT DO YOU WANT?
M: Well, I was told outside that...
Q: Don't give me that, you snotty-faced heap of parrot droppings!
M: What?
Q: Shut your festering gob, you tit! Your type really makes me puke, you vacuous, coffee-nosed, maloderous, pervert!!!
M: Look, I CAME HERE FOR AN ARGUMENT, I'm not going to just stand...!!
Q: OH, oh I'm sorry, but this is abuse.
M: Oh, I see, well, that explains it.
Q: Ah yes, you want room 12A, Just along the corridor.
M: Oh, Thank you very much. Sorry.
Q: Not at all.
M: Thank You.
(Under his breath) Stupid git!!
posted by blue_beetle at 2:17 PM on March 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Americans are lovely, lovely people, but politics makes them nuts.
And the waning days of the Bush Mis-administration with all of its hottest-button issues totally unresolved and the Longest Presidential Campaign in American History (7 MORE MONTHS TO GO) are causing record high levels of American Nutsiness. The infusion of LolCats, RickRolling and any other silly memes not featuring One Cup can only help relieve the strain.

In fact, LOOK WHO'S ATTENDING (and panelling) THE FIRST EVER ROFLCOM! I'm sure he'll come back with lots of inspiration about what to do and what NOT to do here (first clue: making me wear Tron Guy's costume is a NOT)

There also is the increasing rarity of High-Brow Culture Links (which may reflect an increasing rarity of High-Brow Culture on the Web) and the ever-multiplying SEO-head Spammonsters penetrating our community defenses, even though their chance of survival here is nil.

All trends making 2008 a DIFFICULT year for the True Spirit of MetaFilter.

I expect that after the oncoming economic disaster takes out a lot of the tall trees on the Web, MeFi will be as steady and strong as ever (and the chastening of the Economic Optimists won't hurt).
posted by wendell at 2:17 PM on March 26, 2008


Yeah, I hear you and I really see your point of view. I read a few comments but I am cooking supper so I can't read all of them right now (but I will later).

Honestly, I'm rather nonplussed after just listening to the stupendously fantastico woundrously great podcast, and seeing all the other great posts here day in and day out, put up by people who are giving their time for FREE in order that YOU might benefit from reading said posts, all of which you have the CHOICE whether or not to READ or not. I think the site should be fluid and the mods do a great job of keeping it fluid, given the multitude of fish posting here.

I recently coughed up the fin to join here, but I've been reading this site since its inception, since they didn't have the option to join. Metafilter was my window to the outside world when I was agoraphobic and living with an abusive asshole. I learned about the outside world through reading Metafilter. I am not a freak, I am just a regular person who went through bad times and happened upon this site through websurfing and realized there were other intelligent people out there and I felt connected to the world by reading this site. I am a Great-Auntie of Metafilter, and I am here to tell you: it is fine the way it is, and the users do a GREAT job of keeping it in line. It is the epitome of freedom of speech, and given the freedom that Matt, Jessamyn, Cortex and PB, et al, allow, I say:

You have the right to your opinion.

Opinions are like assholes.

Everyone has an asshole.

And yes, I did get an 'A' in Logic,.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 2:17 PM on March 26, 2008 [4 favorites]


Do people really not like the occasional zinger in a thread? My favorite discussions are those that have a nice combination of debate, information, humor and personal anecdote.

Not that anyone gives two shits, but if every discussion was a dry discussion of the item(s) linked, I'd only check in every couple of weeks.

You know what's really gone downhill? Well, let's just say I have to wear underwire briefs.
posted by maxwelton at 2:18 PM on March 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


Were a bunch of comments deleted in those threads?

Metafilter's own James Taylor showed up in both of them, still drunk from his birthday party, and told a bunch of people to fuck off, but he did it in a unique bittersweet folk rock kind of way. I liked it, but then I suck at liking comments.
posted by ND¢ at 2:18 PM on March 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


I, too, like PoliticsFilter, by the way. I think it can go overboard, I think it can get heated, and I think too much if it is a bad thing. But, in balance with the rest of the postings, it's of equal quality. Certainly it's the only place on the internet I'd ever be interested in talking politics. When you compare politics posts with other current events posts, they're on a par. And I personally think they have more merit and are more interesting than technology posts, for instance, but I'm not about to take up arms against TechFilter. I just don't read that stuff. PoliticsFilter, in proper doses, is one of the things that makes this a good site, to me.

I understand they may be harder to moderate - and that's harder for me to know. If they are a more significant drain on the moderating than other parts of the site, that might be a concern. But it seems to me that, em, almost any innocent subject can implode given the right set of personalities.
posted by Miko at 2:18 PM on March 26, 2008 [3 favorites]


well, the world is nasty and has little perspective. Five year olds are sold into prostitution and children have to leave their villages at night to avoid being kidnapped by armies. The powerful wish to prevent this nastiness probably provokes the nastiness of political threads.

Maybe if I avoided politics I'd be less depressed, but you know what I'd rather be depressed for the rest of my life than avoid engaging with what's going on in the world.
posted by By The Grace of God at 2:19 PM on March 26, 2008


But, if you love James Taylor, why do you care if some anonymous person thinks that he sucks? If you met such a person at work or in a bar, you'd probably just ignore them. Why is that so difficult here?

Because it was a post about James Taylor, where people who like James Taylor naively expected a discussion within the context of people who like James Taylor? If you went to, say an Alfred Hitchcock retrospective at your local movie theater, and half the audience was people shouting ALFRED HITCHCOCK SUCKS!, would you just ignore them and enjoy the movie? [NOT JAMESTAYLORIST]
posted by Armitage Shanks at 2:21 PM on March 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


No, I wouldn't Mr. Shanks, just hoping you could answer that question for me, as it bothers me too, and I have difficulty laying off the bait.
posted by psmealey at 2:25 PM on March 26, 2008


This post made me do a double-take, because I was going to post here:

WOW! This is truly Best of the Web day!

Ceiling cats, automatons, robots...I LOVE the blue today!
posted by misha at 2:27 PM on March 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


And there appears to be a roughly equal cohort of people who love that stuff and people who hate that stuff.

Let love win.
posted by Free word order! at 2:28 PM on March 26, 2008


From last month.
posted by dios at 2:31 PM on March 26, 2008


No, I wouldn't Mr. Shanks, just hoping you could answer that question for me, as it bothers me too, and I have difficulty laying off the bait.

Ah, sorry, I thought you were being rhetorical. I'm not sure most people can be expected to lay off the bait without avoiding the discussion altogether, which is rather disappointing when it's about someone you actually like.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 2:34 PM on March 26, 2008


From June 2000: The death of Metafilter.


Best part: "the site has been going downhill since it got to user #450 or so."
posted by CunningLinguist at 2:36 PM on March 26, 2008 [4 favorites]


More people more noise. You can't stop it, you can only hope to contain it.

It is what it is, people. You don't like it, then I suggest you design and implement your own site. I'm serious. This is Matt's sandbox, and it runs pretty much how he wants it, usually.

Ironic comments from someone that complained about metafilter recently, left in a huff forever, and then came back a week later. You might want to take your own advice next time.
posted by justgary at 2:38 PM on March 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


why do you care if some anonymous person thinks that he sucks?

Actually, I don't. I used that as an example of how the discourse around here sometimes devolves into who hates something the most, and that it feeds on itself. It's true. I couldn't care less of some 20 year old social drop out doesn't like something. The question is, why, is it important for them to post that insignificant piece of brain turd on a website?
posted by Dave Faris at 2:46 PM on March 26, 2008


Why is MetaFilter going downhill, and what are we going to do about it?

You round up the Anderson boys and I'll go get the McGraws and we'll up on the north ridge. We got some snipe huntin' to do.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:52 PM on March 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Okay wow. I authored the James Taylor post, and I have to agree with psmealy - the thread was pretty tame, I thought. I appreciate Dave Faris and Pastabagel for their comments, but I expected much more snark, and most of what it got was people debating his merit, pretty respectfully for the most part. I expected much worse, and that might be the problem.

I think MeFi is far from broken, and spend more time on it recently than ever before (I'm a 38ker, so that might not mean much) but I think there's still some truth to what scrump is talking about. While the shrillest voices have moved into history, the overall debate has sunk ever-so-slightly. My only frame of reference is my own experience, so I'm sorry if the rest of this is too myopic, but anyway...

Some of my first comments here were in debates about desriptivism/prescriptivism and the dearth of female philosophers, and in both I took up unpopular opinions, and got into extended arguments, but that's what they were - arguments. Not attacks. Things got heated, to be sure, but the heat was spent on clarifying opinions and trying to convince, not on shutting down the member who disagreed. If anything, it was all about asking for more input. I haven't seen that around nearly as much recently.

That's still not the biggest issue, for me, however. Nor is the "noise" in threads, even on AskMe. I personally love the noise, but I need to admit that what I love about the site, and what I sometimes emphasize too much in my FPP's, is the discussion that results from the posts, far more than the original content of the posts themselves. I know that this goes counter to what Matt wishes for in the site, and while we do all get our turns at the steering wheel, it's still Matt's bus, so I try now (with mixed results) to keep my FPP content as quality as I can. I'm still mainly here for the discussion though, and something about that has gone massively awry.

When I was first lurking, and when I first joined, the first ten comments on any given FPP would generally be reactions to the content of the post, or questions raised by it, which would then generate the rest of the conversation. Now it seems like every thread starts with talk and snark about the quality of the post itself, and whether it'll be deleted or not. I realize that the mods are having to spend all waking hours dealing with SEO Spammers and combined with the seeming influx of new members in 2008, plus the rash of flameouts last month, that can't be easy. Just paying attention to yesterdays contributions, deletion must have felt almost like playing a shoot-em-up. There seems to be a lot more focus on moderating the quality of the content, which is good, except that it leads to a lot of paranoia about posting (see this MeTa from yesterday) and an emphasis on users away from constructive enjoyment of the site to constant judgment over the quality of the site. This is damaging.

Not every thread is going to appeal to every member. I understand the need to keep up quality, which is why I'm not bitching about Cracked.com posts being deleted, even though I generally enjoy them. For the most part, they probably don't belong here. Still, I know that if an FPP is about, say, particle physics or wine-making, I probably won't find much of interest, and don't join in. Instead I look for the John Hughes or Southpark links. I simply cannot understand the impetus to look into every thread and shit in all of the ones which weren't built for you personally (not speaking of anyone personally) when the site just can't work that way. If it's just not your flavor of tea, move on. If it's truly offensive, flag it and move on.

But I don't see what Matt, Jess, Cortex or pb can do that they aren't doing already, and doing a great job of.
posted by Navelgazer at 2:53 PM on March 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


I've been here longer than most of you. I've been reading the site pretty much every day. My opinion in this matter is therefore not without some weight:

Metafilter is not going downhill.
posted by Jofus at 2:54 PM on March 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


Maxwelton said: Do people really not like the occasional zinger in a thread? My favorite discussions are those that have a nice combination of debate, information, humor and personal anecdote.


I like it. I picture a group of very intelligent people, sitting around in a room, firing off comments to each other. The thing is, when people are in person, they see other people's faces and hear their tone of voice.

If you read and follow this site long enough, you pick up on each person's individual tone of voice -- also, I think that a lot of folk here are into philosophy and collegiate type stuff, meaning they talk in that debate-y style that other people might be put off by. My dad is a PhD in education so we fling barbs/quotes/poetry, etc. back and forth with no problem and with good humor. My aunts as well. Very old school New England sharpish, but not meant in a nasty sort of way. More like verbal basketball.

Football fans might find it a bit slow, however.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 2:59 PM on March 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


slow = fast, I mean, I'm watching my green beans for chrissake!
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 3:01 PM on March 26, 2008


Politics poisons the site.

No, politics do not poison the site. Rather, thoughtlessly lazy, throwaway comments and deliberately divisive comments are what poison the site.

LarryC, I don't mean to single you out or to give offense, honest, but your comment in the NYPD thread was, to my mind, the very kind of input that demonstrates this problem. Jessamyn's comment in that thread was also, at least partially, though probably not intentionally, an attempt to lump people together for the purpose of lazy aspersion, which is ironic given that is the reason for which many contentious threads are deleted (e.g, "lolxtians" etc.).

There are a couple other infamous users who play this rhetorical trick, to deliberately ruin a discussion about a subject matter they would prefer not be discussed, because it runs counter to their own economic, social, sexual, religious or political views. It is thread shitting, which is what is really poisonous, and whether the thread is political or not is irrelevant.

The ones who cannot handle the content of a thread, be it political in nature, or of any other nature, should just learn to control themselves and stay out of that thread. You're hurting Metafilter when you take a dump in a thread. It's hard, I know this personally, but it can be done.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:03 PM on March 26, 2008 [8 favorites]


And I'll freely confess that one of the things that made me post this today is that I wrote "go fuck yourself" in a comment on the blue. Big WTF moment, you might say: for some reason, my personal barometer for what was an acceptable level of discourse on the Blue had slipped to the point where I felt like it was okay to write that, and have it sit there.

Then I suggest you tend to the beam in your own eye and spare us the thousand-and-first "OMG MeFi Is Going to Hell!!!" post.

As for that problem - respectfully, I just don't see it. I still think this is a wonderful place.

Same here. I was just thinking recently how much better it is than it was a year or two ago. I'd name some of the excellent people who have joined and made consistently good contributions, but I'm afraid I'd leave some of them out. There's heavy breathing and the occasional burst of flame in political threads? Yup. Skip 'em or ignore the bad stuff or flag it and move on; if something is especially nasty, write the admins about it, and it will be dealt with. But that problem has always been there and always will; if you want flowers and incense and everyone holding hands, hoo boy, have you come to the wrong place. Which reminds me:

Because it was a post about James Taylor, where people who like James Taylor naively expected a discussion within the context of people who like James Taylor?

You want the James Taylor Fan Club site, not MetaFilter. We snark here. Yes, even in "your favorite lame folkrocker turned 60!" threads.
posted by languagehat at 3:05 PM on March 26, 2008 [4 favorites]


There are some hot-button discussions that inevtaibly attract personal attacks and flames: cops, atheism, vegetarianism, Iraq, and so on. There are some long-time users who attract enough respect from other long-time users that their idiotic, rant, insult- and attack-filled screeds are almost never flagged or deleted and they themselves are never punished. The moderators are imperfect creatures and kill many comments that should live and let live many comments that should die.

It's been the same way for years, it's no worse now than it was then, and I deal with it in my own ways. For example, I spend more time on other sites where there are fewer cults of personality and it's harder for long-time users to get away with crap.

This isn't my first MeFi account, and it won't be my last. I think the community is often better served by semi-anonymous discussion. If you want to make friendies, there's always MetaChat.

I try not to treat with trolls, but I am human. I just finished a pointless fight with a notorious asshole whom I had given the benefit of the doubt one too many times. That is, once. If more people would simply let the worst offenders rage and wank impotently in their cages, the place would be cleaner.

I favourite comments that deserve it, not comments that are merely funny. But, yeah, visible faves and visible fave totals on user pages are Not Good. They serve no purpose other than to encourage people to get more faves, and they can do so by means that are not beneficial to the site: one-liners, attacking unpopular ideas or people, etc.

(And to avoid the perception of hypocrisy, I've had three of my own comments deleted in the last month. One shouldn't have been, one should have been, and the other was a judgment call.)
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 3:06 PM on March 26, 2008


why is it important for them to post that insignificant piece of brain turd on a website?

(That was a rhetorical question, I should add, as I've left my own fair share of turds here.)
posted by Dave Faris at 3:09 PM on March 26, 2008


[NOT HERMITOSIS-IST] said: "fluctuations in ph are just MetaFilter's way of cleaning and regulating itself."

Yes, MetaFilter can cleanse itself naturally, and shouldn't be made to feel like it needs some sort of vinegar rinse with a powder-fresh cologne bath after. A healthy MetaFilter will naturally have different ebbs, flows, and scents, and this is normal.

agregoli said: "Some of the rudeness here I absolutely do not get. Attack my argument, fine, but insults against my personal feelings or me as a person are just rude and pointless and make me leave a thread these days. If you have so little respect for the person you're arguing with as to insult them because of their opinions, you're not worth talking to about that subject. And I see this happening to a lot of people lately."

As someone who was recently in a thread that you left, what I saw was you saying, "My feelings are my whole argument, and therefore since no one can call my feelings wrong, you aren't entitled to address my argument, either." And I really didn't see it as anyone insulting you, or being disrespectful or rude. What did I see was people saying, "Hey, agregoli, that angle isn't a very fair one to take, and I'm not actually attacking you." And in that thread in particular, you seemed to be having a pretty personal reaction to the topic.

So, while maybe this is happening to a lot of people lately, from my own experience, it's not exactly happening in the way you're describing it here.

And the point of that observation is merely to say that just because yet one more person says, "MetaFilter sucks for reason [whatever]" doesn't actually make it a trend -- but equally as likely something informed by one's personal situation or predilections for a certain kind of discourse.

Dave Faris said: "A week or so ago, there was a thread about James Taylor turning 60. Half of the comments in the thread that followed were basically about how much the guy sucks. I thought it was pretty uncalled for."

Wait. Are you really saying that "your favorite band sucks" = "the hate is out of control around here"? I'm not being facetious. Also, I didn't see this James Taylor thread, but I have a hard time getting on board the idea that Your Favorite Balladeer Has a Birthday is somehow Best of the Web.

James Taylor's Biggest Fan, Who is Totally Objective, For Reals said: "I couldn't care less of some 20 year old social drop out doesn't like something. The question is, why, is it important for them to post that insignificant piece of brain turd on a website?"

Seriously. All this for James Taylor's birthday thread. Methinks he doth protest too much.

waraw said: "Once again I will take the blame here. I still contend they had it coming."

Arbitrarily flagged.
posted by pineapple at 3:11 PM on March 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


Scrump: "I used to be able to point people here and assume that it was self-evident that MetaFilter was of a higher quality, just from a cursory read. That's no longer the case."

Did you not see this page, or are you intentionally not factoring it in just to make your point?
posted by mullingitover at 3:13 PM on March 26, 2008


Can't you see that James Taylor IS TEARING US APART?!!?
posted by Jofus at 3:13 PM on March 26, 2008 [3 favorites]


Agreed! If Metafilter continues to deteriorate at this pace, I'll have to remove it from my bookmarks in another 25 years.
posted by klarck at 3:16 PM on March 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Jessamyn's comment in that thread was also, at least partially, though probably not intentionally, an attempt to lump people together for the purpose of lazy aspersion, which is ironic given that is the reason for which many contentious threads are deleted (e.g, "lolxtians" etc.).

I haven't been reading the cop thread in detail, so I just went back to check this out. I'm actually a little boggled at the strident reaction her comments got; they seemed pretty mild and spot-on besides as far as the kind of dynamic that appears time and time again in those threads. Very smart, very perceptive posters seem to really switch into a more black-and-white, with-us-or-against-us kind of mode about this issue in a way that always kind of drives me crazy when I see it happening, and I don't know what to chalk the reaction to her comments up to other than the issue itself being so heated and divisive that smart and otherwise pretty reasonable people stop being able to accept critical examination of their own in-thread behavior.

My reading is no doubt biased by some co-moderator sympathy and my personal weariness at what seems to be among the most acrimonious and repetitive topics of discussion Mefi's ever addressed, so take the above as a personal reaction and not an attempt to condemn any individual or the group of commenters as a whole. But looking at it, I'm seeing bad dynamic -> valid critique of bad dynamic -> escalated, turn-on-your-own overreaction to critique.

And I understand that the fact that the folks who were complaining about her comments feel or felt totally in the right about their reactions to her is a testament to the heatedness of the topic and the emotional investment people have in it, but it really does read kind of like bizarro-world to me.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:17 PM on March 26, 2008


Surely you guys can tell the difference between citing an example and making a full-blown call-out, can't you?
posted by Dave Faris at 3:23 PM on March 26, 2008



Can't you see that James Taylor IS TEARING US APART?!!?


I saw James Taylor in concert, but I thought of Zimbo, by Echo and the Bunnyman, when I saw this post.

And I think James Taylor is a whiney little bitch after giving up Carly Simon, btw. He's so vain and she is not.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 3:24 PM on March 26, 2008


But looking at it, I'm seeing bad dynamic -> valid critique of bad dynamic -> escalated, turn-on-your-own overreaction to critique.

To be fair, I wasn't the only one who saw faulty premises being used to lump everyone in the thread together with an offensive view. That lumping was unhelpful, to say the least, and it's unfortunate -- though understandable given the subject -- that it is now called an "overreaction" to point out why that's unhelpful.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:25 PM on March 26, 2008


Surely you guys can tell the difference between citing an example and making a full-blown call-out, can't you?

Maybe it was a really poor example. Not as bad as James Taylor, but pretty bad nonetheless.
posted by 23skidoo at 3:26 PM on March 26, 2008


--More people more noise. You can't stop it, you can only hope to contain it.--

I would like to see a trial of there being a 15min comment free period following a post going on the front page. It's the initial rushed one-liners that frequently set the tone of the thread so *maybe* a time-gap would help reduce the autoresponders and also promote reading of the links. Sure, it's a big maybe but it would be interesting to see if there were any noticeable effects over, say, a one month period. Any downsides?
posted by peacay at 3:27 PM on March 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


I haven't been reading the cop thread in detail, so I just went back to check this out. I'm actually a little boggled at the strident reaction her comments got; they seemed pretty mild and spot-on besides as far as the kind of dynamic that appears time and time again in those threads.

I'm actually a little boggled that you'd call the reactions against her comments strident. Then again, I was one of the people who responded to her, so maybe that's why. But in all truthiness, I firmly believe that the nypd thread is going really really well. There have been some remarkably good comments in there, and I haven't noticed too much name calling or anything. billyfleetwood has been making some remarkably savvy and well thought out comments and the very few people whose total point was "fuck tha police" seem to have left after their one comment. the people left discussing these things are not TOTALLY keeping their tempers in check, but their responses are still pretty civil and an actual discussion seems to be happening. in fact, I'm inclined to think the worst part of that thread is the part where people had to actually defend having a poor view of cops to Jessamyn because she was lumping all cop issues into the camp of irrational anti-cop hatred. Maybe she WAS spot-on in terms of what happens in those threads generally, but it wasn't really happening before she came in, and it managed not to happen despite her having come in. Further, if you can point me to an instance where a mod stepped in and openly criticized one side of a contentious argument before it got contentious in order to curtail it getting contentious and had it work, i'll go down on you.
posted by shmegegge at 3:29 PM on March 26, 2008 [4 favorites]


I think it's interesting that for all the examples of places where people say things have supposedly gone wrong in threads, we can't even seem to agree that things have actually gone wrong.
posted by Dave Faris at 3:33 PM on March 26, 2008


peacay said: "I would like to see a trial of there being a 15min comment free period following a post going on the front page. It's the initial rushed one-liners that frequently set the tone of the thread so *maybe* a time-gap would help reduce the autoresponders and also promote reading of the links. Sure, it's a big maybe but it would be interesting to see if there were any noticeable effects over, say, a one month period. Any downsides?"

What would prevent people from simply rushing to be the first one-liners in after the time lockout expires? I'm not snarking, I really don't know.
posted by pineapple at 3:35 PM on March 26, 2008


I'm going to try to comment with a "Thanks for posting this!" in reply to posts that I enjoy. If enough people do that, then it gets a bit harder for the snark to get piled on. Yeah, I know this is what favorites can be used for, but given that people favorite for different reasons, it's nice to have the explicit positive feedback.

On the other hand, I'll just skip replying to threads that are not my cup of tea.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 3:35 PM on March 26, 2008 [8 favorites]


"They made a bus. We get grab the wheel and drive it places sometimes. Sometimes to cracked.com. But then Artw threatens to throw anyone doing so in the future out of the bus and run them over with it." UNDER THE BUS.

Jesus, haven't you been paying any attention at all?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 3:36 PM on March 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


shmegegge said: "Further, if you can point me to an instance where a mod stepped in and openly criticized one side of a contentious argument before it got contentious in order to curtail it getting contentious and had it work, i'll go down on you."

Yeah, we're going to need pics.
posted by pineapple at 3:36 PM on March 26, 2008


Ahh, robocop is bleeding, you've always been one of my favorites.
posted by Navelgazer at 3:41 PM on March 26, 2008


I'm glad that someone has noted that I speak with a voice of utter authority and suggestions for site improvements that I make are inevitably going to be made, no matter how seemingly out of step with the Metafilter ethos, due to their water tight logic and the inescapable power of my persuasion.

The way some people talk you’d think a suggestion that we randomly ban people without warning was a no-hoper from the start.
posted by Artw at 3:42 PM on March 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'm going to approach this from a slightly different angle; clearly scrump feels that MeFi has gone off the rails from it's original vision, or is in some way, not competing with other sites in terms of quality discussion or posts.

I think it has been well established that looking at MeFi history is quite revelatory when it comes to debasing people of the idea that there ever were 'halcyon days of yore' when no one argued and all the discourse was elevated through the rafters.

So if it's the other forums are better thing, I ask honestly: what other sites out there have the same number of posters and maintain the level of conversation typically seen in the blue?

Even when you account for the snark and one-liners (of which I am quite guilty), this place is still an oasis when it comes to clever writing and thoughtful opinions.

And when it's at it's absolute worst, Metafilter still almost never gets to the 'fuck you faggot' that places like the youtube forums view as a starting place.

Sure, there are times that I read something here that gets me angry. And yes, I have moments when I want to shout down people that I disagree with, but when that happens, I either take a deep breath and just walk away, or I wait until my blood has cooled enough that I won't be adding to the fire with my vitriol. I don't think I'm alone in this either. I've spent enough time on other forums to know that what we have here is great, warts and all.
posted by quin at 3:42 PM on March 26, 2008


I think it's interesting that for all the examples of places where people say things have supposedly gone wrong in threads, we can't even seem to agree that things have actually gone wrong.

The curse of the Irish, Dave Faris.

I'd pay you good money if you could solve this problem, man. So would a lot of people. But a very wise observation.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 3:42 PM on March 26, 2008


I agree, Robocop. I try to pop into really solid threads and give an attaboy. I guess, I could favorite, (IF FAVORITES WERE NOT FUCKING BOOKMARKS, AMIRITE???) but the really great mefi threads seem to have almost no discussion or, if I'm very lucky, two specialists on the topic who hash it out. It also helps me remind meself:

It's about the links, not the discussion.
posted by absalom at 3:46 PM on March 26, 2008


Why is MetaFilter going downhill, and what are we going to do about it?

Why not focus your energy on creating a genuinely great, best-of-the-web FPP? Why not ignore politics/election/Iraq/LOLXIANS threads, which will inevitably devolve into trainwrecks?

Hand-wringing is not going to solve your problem, scrump. Just focus on your own actions and your own potential. And if another user is bugging you, well, that's what the "flag" button is for.

And snark is also helpful, too, in small, precise doses.
posted by KokuRyu at 3:46 PM on March 26, 2008


mr_crash_davis, is there a way to be run over by a bus without being under it? Also, I think, by definition, being under the bus is outside of the bus. But you're right, my wording could have been more precise there. All this bus imagery is getting complicated, and I forgot that bit from the other thread, dammit.

The way some people talk you’d think a suggestion that we randomly ban people without warning was a no-hoper from the start.

Nah. I thought your post was funny. Cracked.com usually annoys me too, but not on the same level. But the "OMG INSECT PHOTOS AND SCARY TEXT! I WILL NEVER LEAVE MY BEDROOM AGAIN" posts, from cracked.com or not, flip the same switch in my brain that cracked.com posts seem to flip in yours.
posted by Tehanu at 3:48 PM on March 26, 2008


"I think it's interesting that for all the examples of places where people say things have supposedly gone wrong in threads, we can't even seem to agree that things have actually gone wrong."

I think this is a very good point, Dave. I totally agree with your point of why go into a James Taylor thread just to say you hate James Taylor. For me, it just makes a thread worse. Other posters see it as no big deal, or even a good thing. I'm not narrowminded enough to say this makes MetaFilter worse, but it does make me enjoy it less, as there seem to be more and more people who like that.
posted by The Castle at 3:52 PM on March 26, 2008


where's my fucking t shirt ?
posted by sgt.serenity at 3:55 PM on March 26, 2008


"where's my fucking t shirt ?"

Right here, sgt.serenity.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:05 PM on March 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Well, the quote below from the end of her first comment is the bit that I'm guessing is the best fit as an objectionable generalization:

MetaFilter gets totally ugly around police brutality issues, even moreso than talking about the war and I wonder if it's just that a lot of us either don't know or don't have any real world experience with police officers that aren't this negative sort of shit?

I can read "Metafilter gets..." as meaning a couple of of things. Either "Everyone in these threads always gets ugly about things", which is a totally objectionable generalization and also not remotely what I think she's saying or would ever be likely to mean. Or it could be read as "In these threads on Metafilter, there's someone[s] who gets ugly about things", which is, yeah, I think spot on and a weird thing to bristle at. It's not dismissive of the emotionally negative reaction or writing anybody off, but it is identifying what I think is a fairly well-evidenced and fairly consistent pattern of less-than-good conversational behavior on the site.

Now BP comes back with this:

I think this is a wildly gross mischaracterization of the criticism in this thread. It is truly sad that that kind of polemic gets trotted out to stifle discussion of police brutality, in a day and age when the authorities are afforded more power with less oversight.

Which seems a lot more aggressively dismissive and rhetorically accusative (and a lot more personalized toward Jessamyn) than anything she said in the comment it's a response to. She didn't wave around a "wildly gross" or a "truly sad" or a "stifle discussion" in her metacommentary.

Her reply:

It's a wildly gross characterization of all the criticism in this thread, sure. It is, however, a spot-on criticism of some of it.

Underscoring that she's not trying to smear the thread or the site generically with her initial comment; and it's definitely true that some of the commentary upthread falls in the domain of what she was commenting about in the first place. Not all of the thread, not even most of it to that point as I read more thoroughly through it now, and so I can totally understand if the implication that all involved were going nuts would cheese someone off enough to react strongly to what she said in a personal way. But still, I don't see that what she actually said was dismissive or even far off as a statement of what has happened in general in these cop threads over time and what was at least in significant proportion happening in that thread in particular.

BP responds:

I might as well characterize your apologia as equivalent to saying that those nonviolent protesters deserved it, because all police officers aren't bad. That would be as "spot-on" as your "criticism", I think.

Which, I'm sorry, you're angry and you have strong opinions on the subject and I understand that but that you'd try and present that as equivilant to what she said seems, again, really out-of-scale dismissive. It's an ugly and insulting implication that's not similar in form to what she was saying, which was explicitly moderate and implicitly non-absolute (by anything I'd consider a responsible reading based in actually thinking about her history as a commenter, rather than an [understandably] emotionally charged uncharitable reading of her comment).

Again, that's my read. There are other reactions to what she said that seem a little more expansive and less combative, and given the overarching theme of this comment I'll explicitly state that I'm surprised by specific highpoints of the reaction but don't think everybody went all crazy on her. I feel like it's a two-way street, folks who have been trying to participate in good faith reading her comments as an unfair characterization of their comments and motivations, Jessamyn's comment intended more as metacommentary but read pretty uncharitably as a smear by those same good faith commenters. Nobody really wins, and I can appreciate the frustration, but yes: for all that, I thought some of the reactions were unexpectedly strong and defensive. Not crazy, not appalling, but on the strident side, mostly the short back-and-forth with BP.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:06 PM on March 26, 2008


"Further, if you can point me to an instance where a mod stepped in and openly criticized one side of a contentious argument before it got contentious in order to curtail it getting contentious and had it work, i'll go down on you."

Are there even instances of that happening, period? Fuzziness in definition of terms, I'm sure, so we might just disagree a little with what does and doesn't qualify, and I'm wholeheartedly welcoming links, because I think it's a worthy question and I'm into seeing someone else's perception of it. But that's not something we generally do, if we can help it; trying to divert some whole topic, to metatalk or to a related thread, I guess. I dunno, examples?

But if something like "this is an issue with two sides to it" is picking a side in an issue, we're probably going to disagree on what qualifies, I guess.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:11 PM on March 26, 2008


Which, I'm sorry, you're angry and you have strong opinions on the subject and I understand that but that you'd try and present that as equivilant to what she said seems, again, really out-of-scale dismissive.

I don't think you understand why "spot-on" was put in quotes. To the point that my writing was unclear to you, I understand why you incorrectly read it as an overreaction.

If she was uncharitable in mischaracterizing everyone in the thread as "fuck tha police" types, then I was trying to suggest why it would be "spot-on" (i.e. incorrect) to equally mischaracterize her view as -- worse than trying to stifle the discussion with "support the troops" polemics -- also an apologia for police brutality.

Do you understand now why that kind of rhetoric is unhelpful?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:21 PM on March 26, 2008


No joy in Mudville tonight, I guess.
posted by Dave Faris at 4:21 PM on March 26, 2008


I think the only way to really put this matter to bed and prove that Metafilter is still as great as it ever was would be to enable the img tag in this thread.

*prays*
posted by mullingitover at 4:23 PM on March 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


So, wait....the NYPD thread is going well, but the Meta thread discussing it (among other things) is starting to get a little tetchy.

I'm actually pretty impressed with the thing myself. It definitely could've gone off the rails, but everyone seemed to tone it down and it became a good back and forth. This one? Man, it's all over the place....

And for the record, I like James Taylor, have seen him live any number of times, own all his albums, and I think that if any JT fan is surprised that most people hate JT, then there's something seriously wrong with them.
posted by nevercalm at 4:33 PM on March 26, 2008


FISH. PANTS. DEAL.

quonsar, attention-seeking one-liners are killing the site. didn't you get the memo?!

i, for one, welcome — no, wait.

in soviet rus— that's not right.

WHAT. THE. FU— oh, forget it.
posted by spiderwire at 4:35 PM on March 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Blah blah blah frigg'n blah. While you guys are sitting here wringing your hands, whining and jawing — giant god damned man eating spiders are busily evolving in those hellish fire craters in Turkmenistan.
posted by tkchrist at 4:37 PM on March 26, 2008 [6 favorites]


Sorry, I was out running errands all day with the family (it's spring break for all the local schools and daycare), but I did want to post as soon as I got back.

Overall, I've been thinking that things aren't going downhill so much as the community feels a bit strained from so many users. The other day I posted something in a thread and wanted to hear reactions to it and someone posted some derail and everyone followed along with the derail instead of sticking to the original subject and for a moment I started to think "huh, I wonder if there's anything short of threaded comments we could do to combat pointless derails." Also, we've had a couple SEO jackasses signing up and making a mess of the place each week for the past few months. It seems that every week someone with a "how to scam google in 10 steps" blog will make a post about how to game social media sites for your benefit and it'll mention the mechanics of mefi (pagerank, cost, when you can post) without mentioning the drawbacks (you will be banned, shunned, an effigy of you will be built and burned).

But again, I don't think MeFi is on the decline so much as people are tense due to both the election and tanking economy and are jumping into fights a lot more often. I don't think timeouts or bannings are a good thing because they create a shitload of headaches for the admin side of things as we have to have prolonged email arguments about why they are getting a timeout but this other user and this other user aren't.

Overall, I think we could do a few things to tighten things up:

1) signups that turn off and on periodically, just to slow the number of new users flowing in. Half the new users lately seem to be causing admin headaches behind the scenes (either gaming the site, totally not understanding it, or complaining that they can't post RIGHT NOW) and I'd be fine with slowing that stream of new users in. I don't want to cut it off completely, because we could turn into an elitist echo chamber without new users.

2) further banishment of noise. I fucking hate seeing "gets popcorn" or "this will wendell" in the first five comments on any thread, anywhere on this site. It's not the people that say them and it's got nothing to do with wendell, it's just that it's a dumb injoke that shows laziness, but it also tends to become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Every time something political comes up, whether or not there has been a single problem, some jackass announces to all that there will be arguing and it will suck. Sometimes it never happens, sometimes it does, but whatever the case, telling everyone something is doomed from the start is pointless noise that does nothing to help the site or discussions. I've been deleting "wendell" doom comments for the past week or so and will continue to remove any and all I see. I wish people would stop with saying things are doomed before they even begin.

3) We're going to have to keep being asshole admins about new political threads. Members of the site here have no idea how much shit we get behind the scenes every time we delete the next daily Obama/Clinton/McCain Minor News Cycle Item. We have people calling us Bush apologists and power hungry assholes on a daily basis because we delete all the minor election news items. A major election news item is fine, but there will be approximately 500 more minor news items related to the election between now and November, and we need to limit ourselves to posting one major thing a week, tops. I wish people showed better judgment and stuck to just Major Shit instead of all the petty back-and-forth Clinton/Obama crap. I've noticed a lot of new users' first posts are going up with just a link to newsweek and some dumb election story fairly often, and we need to keep that in check.

Keep in mind there will be drawbacks to these:

1) if/when signups are closed, people may try to do weird shit to get a post on the site. They could spam people, try to hack into accounts, etc.

2) Deleting more of anything leads to more metatalk posts whining about why was my thing deleted?! which get old real fast

3) We'll get more shitstorms like the last "why wasn't Obama's race speech posted?!" metatalk thread. More people will accuse the mods of being power hungry Bush supporting censors. Also not fun.

But overall, I think a few minor steps could improve things, at least until the fucking election is over.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 4:38 PM on March 26, 2008 [59 favorites]


If people are being rude or personally insulting, you should post a comment right in the thread that asks them to cool it. I've done this, and it works far more effectively than a metatalk callout or a complaint to the moderators.

I agree, and I'm trying to do this where I can. I think it works well because it keeps the person being attacked from feeling like they need to try and defend themself by taking the nastiness to the next level.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:40 PM on March 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Blazecock Pileon, I'm not making a joke, I'm honestly baffled trying to parse your comment in response to cortex, above. Too many negatives, mis-'s and un-'s, and I can't make it make sense. If your point about rhetoric is that using so many negatives makes it hard to parse, I'm with you, but otherwise, I can't tell what you're saying.
posted by cgc373 at 4:41 PM on March 26, 2008


Jesus, I hate living in this timezone sometimes, because there are already like 144 comments, and this one should have been the first damn one (with all due respect to the Bomb of Meat:

IMMINENT DEMISE OF METAFILTER PREDICTED
.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:43 PM on March 26, 2008 [7 favorites]


(But, to be a teeny bit serious for a second, I do think the advent of the Favorites Regime has had the effect of encouraging the one-liner and the attention-whoring and the look-at-me behaviour, and because enough people favorite shit like that, it encourages it. Balancing that negative, though, is that people are rewarded by favoriting for thoughtful and insightful comments, too, so it's probably a wash.)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:47 PM on March 26, 2008 [3 favorites]


And when it's at it's absolute worst, Metafilter still almost never gets to the 'fuck you faggot' that places like the youtube forums view as a starting place.

I'm not sure if that's so much setting a low bar as it is burying the bar completely. In a lead coffin.
posted by spiderwire at 4:49 PM on March 26, 2008


matt: "this will wendell" . . . it's got nothing to do with wendell, it's just that it's a dumb injoke that shows laziness

You mean that's not a malevolent strain of highly-contagious meme-dyslexia?

I AM SO RELEIVED!

oh no
posted by spiderwire at 4:52 PM on March 26, 2008


peacay said: "I would like to see a trial of there being a 15min comment free period following a post going on the front page. It's the initial rushed one-liners that frequently set the tone of the thread so *maybe* a time-gap would help reduce the autoresponders and also promote reading of the links. Sure, it's a big maybe but it would be interesting to see if there were any noticeable effects over, say, a one month period. Any downsides?"

What would prevent people from simply rushing to be the first one-liners in after the time lockout expires? I'm not snarking, I really don't know.


Well, maybe knowing that they've got 15 minutes to kill, first comment snarkers will actually check out the links? At least then their one liners might be relevant, instead of just idiotic. It's also possible that in that time they'll get over the initial knee-jerk foolery, or fall asleep in a puddle of drool and whiskey bottles. In their yurt.
posted by oneirodynia at 4:59 PM on March 26, 2008


If she was uncharitable in mischaracterizing everyone in the thread as "fuck tha police" types, then I was trying to suggest why it would be "spot-on" (i.e. incorrect) to equally mischaracterize her view

You know, I hear you. And I don't really want to make a big thing of it, so I apologize if my initial comment in here on the subject was kind of aggressive. I'm on a high frequency today, and I'm probably being more argumentative than I need to.

I think you misread her comment kind of uncharitably; you making a point about what you got from it is understandable, but I think your rhetorical tit-for-tat read a lot more insulting than what she had said. But that may well be in part my uncharitable reading of what you were trying to say there, so, hell. I don't think fighting what you see as unhelpful rhetoric by slapping some right back with scare quotes as your only mitigating factor is very constructive either, because it's way too easy for it to be read (as I certainly read it) as an escalation rather than a civil explanation of what's bothering you. But that's just my take, and again, I'm kind of wired today. Peace.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:02 PM on March 26, 2008


Also: the title of this post sounds like a serial that you'd see right after Movietone News and before the main feature. Next Week: Scrump Flies an Aeroplane!
posted by oneirodynia at 5:03 PM on March 26, 2008 [5 favorites]


Well, I checked out that Wright thread, having had missed it, and I learned a lot. Either it's been picked through pretty carefully, or this seems to be a lot of glass half empty. I don't know anywhere else on the net where every comment is supposed to be quality. If you're hitting 70%, that's amazingly good, and that thread certainly looks to be beating that at least at the moment.

further banishment of noise. I fucking hate seeing "gets popcorn" or "this will wendell" in the first five comments on any thread, anywhere on this site.

A post the other day put a joke on the tip of my tongue, but upon wandering in, I saw that the "more inside" amounted to so much effort in the post, that I simply didn't have the heart to do it. Just a theory, but I think bad posts attract crappy comments and good posts -- excepting perhaps the most controversial ones -- promote quality comments. And like wandering a forest trail with not a lick of litter, it's self-promoting. You hate to go spoiling it up.

I will also note that I've seen some simply outstanding troll-ignoring here lately.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 5:05 PM on March 26, 2008


I'm not gonna read all this, but Seriously. A link to Infowars? Maybe the OP is on to something.
posted by Devils Rancher at 5:05 PM on March 26, 2008



Peacay: I would like to see a trial of there being a 15min comment free period following a post going on the front page.

I disagree. I love to see the first little asshole who thinks a first comment snark is the be-all-and-end-all of life.

I also love to see the rest of the users tell him/her differently.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 5:07 PM on March 26, 2008


Just a note about suspending signups periodically: with 65,000 members I don't think we're in imminent danger of becoming an echo chamber in-group, Matt.

You should suspend signups frequently, and don't be afraid to do it for extended periods.

(btw: yeah, this place has crapped the bed a little lately, but I don't think it's proportionally more crappy than it ever was--it's just that 65,000 bedshits is a lot more noticeable than, say, 20)
posted by Joseph Gurl at 5:09 PM on March 26, 2008


there will be approximately 500 more minor news items related to the election between now and November, and we need to limit ourselves to posting one major thing a week, tops.

I'll stop engaging in thread-contagion (seriously, these threads really are absurd) to suggest that I think this is a Very Good Idea and deserves emphasis — not so much because I think we need hard-and-fast guidelines for PoliticsFilter (I like PoliticsFilter) but because it seems to set a nice informal guideline for PoliticsFilter that might limit out some of the more asinine threads (and bad PoliticsFilter threads are, admittedly, the worst).

To phrase this differently: The guiding star is a once-in-a-week post, not a once-in-a-week event — another way of phrasing this might be "one politics thread per week is enough," and if the post isn't clearly good enough to be the best politics post this week (i.e. better than all the posts in the previous week and prospectively good enough to merit discussion for a week), it deserves an immediate axe.

At any rate, the notion of setting a floor on PoliticsFilter like this appeals to me. I much prefer "once a week, tops" as a goal, as opposed to Politics Good, Politics Bad, or the ad hoc approach that inevitably turns into a huge clusterfuck. Trying to balance quality and quantity on a per-topic basis has never worked, and it's only March. Even speaking as someone who generally enjoys the politics posts, I don't think that some preemptive clamping-down would be ill-advised at all.
posted by spiderwire at 5:10 PM on March 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Man, this'd be one hell of a pony, but...it'd be kind of awesome to have all the PoliticsFilter for a given week corralled up somewhere where the MeFi readership can vote on 'em, say during a 12-hour window on Sunday. The one with the most votes gets FPP'd as the week's politics post.

I like the idea, but it'd be a bitch to implement. And there are probably two thousand reasons it's not a good idea.
posted by scrump at 5:15 PM on March 26, 2008


If they suspend signups, what supports the site? Do they get enough ad revenue?

I'm all for suspending signups, simply because I, a fi-dolla n00b, had to wait 2 years to get an account, and I think everyone else should, too. Lawn, etc.
posted by Devils Rancher at 5:22 PM on March 26, 2008


I got to thinking about Metafilter and the tenor of threads here during the Givewell controversy. I sent a link to the thread to some folks I work with. (I work in the nonprofit world, and I thought it was excellent to read a public debate about things like nonprofit finance and ethics).

One of my coworkers looked at the thread and responded, "that's the thing about the internet, everyone is so rabid, and once they have something against you, they don't forget it." I was surprised! I hadn't remembered much rabidness. There were extensive calls for forgiveness during the first third of that thread. I mainly remembered the excellent explanations of how nonprofits work from Miko and a few other informed people who dropped in.

It made me realize how much I was used to skimming through some mean-spirited or jokey chatter in search of the real content or more thoughtful voices. Then I started trying to notice how often I am the chatter rather than saying something informed, thoughtful, or straight to the point (still working on that).

I'll admit that lately the same question crossed my mind, "..downhill?" But I realized I mainly just miss the voices of some users who recently quit.
posted by salvia at 5:24 PM on March 26, 2008


I do think the advent of the Favorites Regime has had the effect of encouraging the one-liner and the attention-whoring and the look-at-me behaviour

I heartily agree with this and would like to make a suggestion:

Can we maybe test invisible favorites for a month?
posted by CunningLinguist at 5:26 PM on March 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


languagehat: Then I suggest you tend to the beam in your own eye and spare us the thousand-and-first "OMG MeFi Is Going to Hell!!!" post.

I totally agree, man.

I guess this all boils down to: CONTROL YOUR REACTIONS, gumba. If you hate it, go walk away. if you love it, tell us about it. If you know about it, tell us more. If you are funny, share with us and by gawd, make it original or we will tear you apart like rare Californian wolverines.

And we all need a hug.

I love all of you, even if you do talk about politics (gag). I am an artiste, therefore above all of that sort of thang.

Carry on, all you good souls, and I do believe you are all good souls. Each and every one.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 5:28 PM on March 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


And by "I'm working on it," above, I actually mean that I've noticed a couple times in the last 24 hours that I just said something snarky or simplistic that doesn't reflect what I actually believe, one of them in the Wright thread. I don't actually think that it's okay for Wright to say whatever he wants so long as he's not as bad as the current administration.

Thanks for letting me get this off my chest.
*goes off to say five Hail Marys and two Our Fathers*
posted by salvia at 5:29 PM on March 26, 2008


Every couple of years we have a spate of 'There goes the neighborhood.' Get it out of your systems, folks.
posted by jonmc at 5:49 PM on March 26, 2008


Our friend miss lynnster just lost her father and lots and lots of us wrote her with condolences.
This is a good place.
posted by Dizzy at 5:51 PM on March 26, 2008


"Jessamyn's comment in that thread was also, at least partially, though probably not intentionally, an attempt to lump people together for the purpose of lazy aspersion, which is ironic given that is the reason for which many contentious threads are deleted (e.g, "lolxtians" etc.).

I know this has been hashed-out a bit above, but I also gotta say that I either misread that or disagree with you heartily. The thread seemed to be going well, and the comments from Jessamyn were kinda like when you see someone you used to date in the news for doing something cool and you're like, oh, yeah, that's why I used to really like them [NOT SEXIST. I DID NOT DATE JESSAMYN.].
posted by klangklangston at 5:56 PM on March 26, 2008


Also, guys, the internet isn't a hill. C'mon.
posted by klangklangston at 5:57 PM on March 26, 2008


Can we maybe test invisible favorites for a month?

Oh please say "yes". It's so sad to see people trying desperately to make up for all those times they had to sit alone in the school cafeteria.
posted by Evangeline at 5:58 PM on March 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


Also, guys, the internet isn't a hill. C'mon

Yeah. It's more like a ditch. Where teenagers hang out and leave their beer cans and used rubbers and stuff.
posted by jonmc at 6:00 PM on March 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


If your point about rhetoric is that using so many negatives makes it hard to parse, I'm with you, but otherwise, I can't tell what you're saying.

Basically, I did not appreciate being lumped in with people who spout the equivalent of "fuck tha' police" just because I voiced against police brutality by commenting on the illegality of the behavior of one particular police officer in the video footage.

I don't think leveling that kind of accusation at concerned, rational people really helps move a civil conversation about important and contentious issues like police brutality, and I called out that comment there as the really unhelpful rhetoric it was, in that case by taking the opposite tack and pointing out how unreasonable that was. I was not the only person to do so.

I called it out again here, because the NYPD thread is one of the subjects of scrump's call-out, and that particular rhetorical technique is poisonous, divisive, and shows up again and again (albeit not by Jessamyn) to help ruin threads that are generally going pretty well (for a contentious subject matter). I hope that's a little clearer, because I'm running out of ways to repeat the same comment. :)
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:04 PM on March 26, 2008


I'd like to say something about the favorites system.

I can understand why some people don't like it. This isn't fark, or pitchfork, or digg, and it's better than that. This isn't a competition for who can write the wittiest comment, or so forth. Also, I agree that favorites probably do contribute to people choosing to write in flame-thrower language more often than they would otherwise. It can be MeFi's own version of "clapter," as was explained by Tina Fey in one of yesterday's deleted threads. Still, it does a good job of pointing out what is appreciated on the site, what makes for a good post, and what is notable in the sometimes endless threads (like this one) where reader fatigue may set in.

Of course, I'm also selfish, and I'm willing to take whatever abuse for saying this, but...

MeFi is, indeed, a community. For me, right now I'm in the first of three years I'll be spending four hours away from a group of friends so close to me as to be my family, including my girlfriend, and living alone for one of the only times in my life, stressed beyond belief without much assistance and, well, the MeFi community is very, very crucial to me for that reason. I don't know mathowie, jessamyn, cortex, Artw, miss lynnster, konolia, jonson, flapjax at midnite, kittens for breakfast, or any number of others of you personally, but I can still lighten up a little bit when I see you in the threads, as I've come to recognize your style and where you fit in around here. I've met robocop is bleeding, jonmc, and mr crash davis very briefly, and so that goes double for them. Afroblanco is one of my closest friends in "real life," so I shouldn't even need to qualify or quantify that.

The trouble is, though, that when dealing with this sort of facelessness and anonymity, it's very difficult to feel a part of the community at times. You can recognize names, but with no idea if anyone knows your own, and for a certain type of personality it can feel like you're always addressing the cool kids' table, waiting to be acknowledged. While they may not have been intended for this, favorites are great as a sort of "high five," letting you know that we're all friends here and that you're part of the gang. Considering the level of snark in most of the threads, it's a nice thing to have. It lets you know who has similar interests and senses of humor, and lets you act supportive to people who are willing to be a little more soul-bearing on account of getting some unobtrusive positive feedback for their efforts.

I understand the call for silent favorites, but those are just nothing but bookmarks, which I feel is the least interesting facet of the system. Favorites have their problems, but for many of us, I'm sure, they're also little victories, and symbols of the community we have here.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:05 PM on March 26, 2008 [18 favorites]


CunningLinguist: "Can we maybe test invisible favorites for a month?"

Ack, please don't. I don't know about you, but I tend to use favorites as a sort of quick digest for long threads. Highly-favorited comments are easy to pick out while scrolling, and allow me to find the insightful, brilliant, and hilarious posts that I would have otherwise missed. Sure, sometimes this encourages people to be more snarky or abusive than usual to net a few more pats on the back. But frankly that snark is a part of the culture, not a symptom of the favorites. It existed before the plus sign, and will continue to exist if that particular temptation is taken away. Besides, any harmful side effects of the favorites system are more than balanced out by the way it helps to highlight the best of the best in each thread.

After reading discussion after discussion on the subject, it's pretty clear to me that favorites have no official purpose, and that everybody can use them however they like. Bookmarking a long comment fable to read later, high-fiving the argument of a like-minded peer, showing support for a coveted pony in MeTa, helping to identify the best answer in AskMe, whatever seems appropriate to each person. So, scrapping the whole system as a stopgap measure to stem the asshattery of a minority of posters would be a bad move, I think. As others have said, it's a technical solution to a social problem.
posted by Rhaomi at 6:05 PM on March 26, 2008 [4 favorites]


Also, guys, the internet isn't a hill. C'mon

Yeah. It's more like a ditch. Where teenagers hang out and leave their beer cans and used rubbers and stuff.


Don't they know that's what lawns are for? Sheez.
posted by oneirodynia at 6:09 PM on March 26, 2008


What teenagers hang out in ditches? Is this the sort of thing that I'd have to be antediluvian to know?

Parking lots, or behind dumpsters, or that weird fort out in the woods where they smoke dope, or the mall? Sure. And the internet is all of those things.

But a ditch? What are you? Amish?

(Also, I gave Navelgazer a favorite there not because I necessarily agree, but because I wanted to give him a high five.)
posted by klangklangston at 6:11 PM on March 26, 2008 [3 favorites]


I'd say that if people want to make favorites invisible as a personal preference, that's fine. (Really, someone should just write a greasemonkey script for it.)

But if you don't like the way the favorites are distributed, isn't the rational thing to do either to hide them, ignore them, or try to favorite the comments you think deserve to be favorited? Or maybe make an effort towards posting higher-quality comments, calling out lame comments, etc., etc.?

It seems to me that MetaFilter has generally encouraged the "put your money where your mouth is" response to these sorts of complaints (it's also the appropriate response to the "this place is going downhill" stuff, I think), and I don't see why this is or should be an exception.
posted by spiderwire at 6:14 PM on March 26, 2008


Also, guys, the internet isn't a hill. C'mon

Yeah. It's more like a ditch. Where teenagers hang out and leave their beer cans and used rubbers and stuff.


Are the ditches connected by a series of tubes?

sorry
posted by spiderwire at 6:15 PM on March 26, 2008


Right back atcha klang.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:15 PM on March 26, 2008


I understand the call for silent favorites, but those are just nothing but bookmarks, which I feel is the least interesting facet of the system. Favorites have their problems, but for many of us, I'm sure, they're also little victories, and symbols of the community we have here.

What do you mean? You'd get to see them. You'd still get the pat on the back. What you couldn't do is show them off, and therefore showboat to get them. How is that a loss?
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 6:15 PM on March 26, 2008


I understand the call for silent favorites, but those are just nothing but bookmarks, which I feel is the least interesting facet of the system. Favorites have their problems, but for many of us, I'm sure, they're also little victories, and symbols of the community we have here.

I see what you're saying about acknowledgment, but that can be done without the favorites, in thread. I also think viewing them as "little victories" is exactly why some people think losing favorites altogether might eliminate some of the most egregious acting out.
posted by oneirodynia at 6:16 PM on March 26, 2008


(Also, I gave Navelgazer a favorite there not because I necessarily agree, but because I wanted to give him a high five.)

I gave a favorite because I disagreed but have not yet internalized the cultural norms of favoriting. Hope me?
posted by spiderwire at 6:17 PM on March 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


We have people calling us Bush apologists and power hungry assholes on a daily basis because we delete all the minor election news items.

Really? Wow, you guys put up with a lot of crap. Me, I'd be banning and deleting right and left, and sending out bad-tempered e-mails to boot. Keep on doing what you're doing, and illegitimi non carborundum.
posted by languagehat at 6:18 PM on March 26, 2008


Durn, I wondered about that, but assumed in the end that they'd be favorites that would be seen by no one but the favoriter. Otherwisethe only point would be in quelling some sort of mob-mentality towards favoriting what others have already favorited in order to jump on the bandwagon, and I have no reason to believe that it happening.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:19 PM on March 26, 2008


Otherwisethe only point would be in quelling some sort of mob-mentality towards favoriting what others have already favorited in order to jump on the bandwagon, and I have no reason to believe that it happening.

Actually, I think the point is that people might be less likely to make favorite-whoring, attention grabbing comments if no one else can see how many favorites they've accrued. I don't know if that would really be the case, but I do think it would be sort of a fun experiment, as well as an entertaining bit of nostalgia.
posted by oneirodynia at 6:22 PM on March 26, 2008


Also, I've definitely had great times following some MeFite's down the rabbit hole of comments "favorited by others" and so wouldn't want to be blind to those in the future.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:24 PM on March 26, 2008


But a ditch? What are you? Amish?

you wanna raise my barn?
posted by jonmc at 6:27 PM on March 26, 2008


"you wanna raise my barn?"

You can churn my butter any day, big boy.
posted by klangklangston at 6:29 PM on March 26, 2008


You know, I actually think that this "favorites encourage snarkiness" idea is something of a myth. If I had internalized the favoriting culture, I would just post long, thoughtful comments, because those are overwhelmingly the ones that get favorited.

But I don't -- I post a lot of little one-offs that probably just make people groan, because hey, that's what I enjoy doing. Lots of people do it better than I do -- quonsar's been doing it since well before favorites appeared -- and that's always been part of MeFi's culture. It didn't suddenly appear because of the favorites system, and if there have been changes since, they haven't been radical.

Is there really any empirical evidence for the notion that favoriting -> snarkiness, or is that just an idea that we've internalized without really considering whether it's true? It's also possible that favorites just draw our attention to the good one-liners which we'd read but might miss if they weren't flagged (because the one-liner comments are usually throwaways).

And even if favorites "encourage" snarkiness -- although that I agree with Matt about the opening-the-thread noise -- the snark is a MeFi hallmark. I'm not as concerned about quantity as much as I am about quantity. Favorites at least give some indication of what's good snark and what's not.
posted by spiderwire at 6:31 PM on March 26, 2008


ThePinkSuperhero: I saw a 'fuck you faggot'-level comment in a thread. It was early in the morning and I knew that a mod would be around shortly and that my flag would immediately lead to its deletion.

I left a shocked and appalled comment just so that a casual browser wouldn't see it unopposed. I'm going to start doing that more often, even if it makes a bit more work for the mods because I think even that brief bit of community self policing is important to the dynamic of the site.

Also, mathowie: I think an upper limit of active, logging-in users is a good thing to experiment with. Accounts can age to inactivity, reactivations get precedence over new users, so old-timers don't get frozen out but there can only be a revolving mix of N users active on the site. Cite.
posted by Skorgu at 6:32 PM on March 26, 2008


Let it be noted that I wasn't actually suggesting any change to the favorites system, and was careful to note that there has been an upside as well as some possible negative effects. I don't think I'd be upset if they were made silent, but I think making them so would negate much of the positive influence they have had on overall quality of the site and conversations, which I actually think has been quite noticeable.

I think there was a time a while back that things were getting a bit crappy, but I also think there has been a renaissance of sorts in the last year or two. There is a lot of noise and stupidity, sure, but signal to noise is pretty damn good these days.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:33 PM on March 26, 2008


illegitimi non carborundum

My Latin has rusted since 9th (10th?) grade, so... who-what?

Illegitimate un-bacon?
posted by CKmtl at 6:34 PM on March 26, 2008


Also, I've definitely had great times following some MeFite's down the rabbit hole of comments "favorited by others" and so wouldn't want to be blind to those in the future.

I'd propose still showing how many favorites each post gets, but hiding favorite totals on comments in-thread. That way, you could still find the great comment fables or whatever by clicking on the list of popular favorites.
posted by CunningLinguist at 6:35 PM on March 26, 2008


Really? Wow, you guys put up with a lot of crap.

That's just a feint in the Rovian scheme we're apparently orchestrating.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:36 PM on March 26, 2008


illegitimi non carborundum

Canonically taken to be equivalent to 'Don't let the bastards grind you down'. Dunno the origin, but it was possibly the first latin phrase I memorized, as a pre-teen, 367 years ago. I'm surprised there are folks who haven't heard it before, actually!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:37 PM on March 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


illegitimi non carborundum = don't eat too many starchy foods / don't bogart the joint, man
posted by spiderwire at 6:37 PM on March 26, 2008


Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum sonatur.
posted by spiderwire at 6:38 PM on March 26, 2008


Why is MetaFilter going downhill, and what are we going to do about it?

When people misuse the phrase "begging the question", I'm going to point them to this thread for a real, live example of what it really means.
posted by turaho at 6:39 PM on March 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Ok, thinking about it now, I imagine one function of visible favorites is to be able to show your vote of support for some proposition without throwing in a little "me, too" into the thread. I mean, I like to say "this rocked, man. thanks" to a great thread, but in any kind of debate, that's going to be a heck of a lot of extra noise.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 6:39 PM on March 26, 2008


scrump, just do what I did: STOP READING THE COMMENTS.
posted by chuckdarwin at 6:41 PM on March 26, 2008


What does everyone have against the James Taylor Quartet?
posted by scody at 6:44 PM on March 26, 2008


I hope that's a little clearer, because I'm running out of ways to repeat the same comment. :)

Okay, claro, BP. Thanks.
posted by cgc373 at 6:47 PM on March 26, 2008


further banishment of noise. I fucking hate seeing "gets popcorn" or "this will wendell" in the first five comments on any thread, anywhere on this site.

You should expand that to include any content-less attack on or content-less criticism of a post. "This sucks," "Why did you post this crap?", etc.
posted by mediareport at 6:50 PM on March 26, 2008 [4 favorites]


semper ubi sub ubi.
posted by Dave Faris at 6:53 PM on March 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Not everyone needs a huge :.
posted by flabdablet at 6:54 PM on March 26, 2008


I detect a Latin flavor in the air.

*eats taco*
posted by jonmc at 6:55 PM on March 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


You should expand that to include any content-less attack on or content-less criticism of a post. "This sucks," "Why did you post this crap?", etc.

If those show up early in a thread, we'll usually remove them. Later on there will usually be people in the thread to deal with them in person, depending on the level of harshness or uselessness of the comment.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:58 PM on March 26, 2008


I've noticed they tend to stop as soon as someone posts a substansive or positive comment.
posted by Artw at 7:00 PM on March 26, 2008


Pff. They never stop, Artw. Ever.
posted by cgc373 at 7:03 PM on March 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Die down a little then. :)
posted by Artw at 7:04 PM on March 26, 2008


I've been commenting since Feb. 2005 and reading since late 2004. I would like to say that since those days early post-20k days I haven't seen much change except the site expand and diversify what it offers. The users and the nature of their comments have changed not so much either.
posted by mrmojoflying at 7:05 PM on March 26, 2008


Regarding the Non Illegitimi, the wikipedia page is probably as good a history as any. The joke's, what, over 60 now?
posted by klangklangston at 7:12 PM on March 26, 2008


As I see it, the problem isn't that people aren't civil, it's the people who show up and snark and drop one liners, trying to one-up each other on sarcasm and metafilter in-jokes. Granted, those have always been a part of Metafilter, but it's getting to the point, either because people are doing it more, or because we have more people where it's difficult to discuss certain things, without tripping over in-joke oneupmanship.

And frankly, I don't think it makes since to dismiss this out of hand as Chicken-Little. There's no reason Metafilter can't have always been going down. It started out really high, after all, and if you've ever read YouTube comments, you know it has a long way to fall.
posted by !Jim at 7:13 PM on March 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


I thought I commented way upthread but it is lost in meta-space somewhere. I really like robocop's suggestion of giving a little pat on the back in the thread. I've been trying to do that and I feel like that is a great way to bring the level of everything up. Think of it as a little mini hug! Also, I took two years of HS Latin so allow me to impart my vast knowledge...Agricola est pulchra.

Good night and happy Thursday!
posted by pearlybob at 7:26 PM on March 26, 2008


without tripping over in-joke oneupmanship

If this is a big deal to people, then ok. I don't like litter (GO LITTER THREAD!) but I don't let one cup on the ground spoil my view. I've seen massive derails from other types of behaviour -- attention-grabbing self-pity, button-pressing hostility, and questionably motivated contrarianism. The one-liners? A huge deal? Really?

(I'm not just saying this because I've let a few of those drop. Though I meant no harm, I promise to reform if this is really what's sticking in people's craw.)
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 7:27 PM on March 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


After five years as a member preceded by two years as a lurker, I'm still impressed by both the moderation and the strong sense of community around here. Anyone who thinks that either is an easy thing to do or achieve is fooling themself.

As always, my hat is off to Matt and his able helpers, as well as to each of you. "We're all in this together."
posted by yhbc at 7:32 PM on March 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


If I wasn't so busy taking my hat off, I could use my fingers to count correctly. SIX years as a member, etc.
posted by yhbc at 7:34 PM on March 26, 2008


I've seen massive derails from other types of behaviour -- attention-grabbing self-pity, button-pressing hostility, and questionably motivated contrarianism. The one-liners? A huge deal? Really?

I agree. Keep the one-liners and delete all of that.

"We're all in this together."

Please, PLEASE, tell me you just quoted High School Musical.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:34 PM on March 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Keep the one-liners and delete all of that.

Take my post. Please.
posted by jonmc at 7:37 PM on March 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


The other day I posted something in a thread and wanted to hear reactions to it and someone posted some derail and everyone followed along with the derail instead of sticking to the original subject and for a moment I started to think "huh, I wonder if there's anything short of threaded comments we could do to combat pointless derails."

Matt, might I make a suggestion - is there some way to make moderator's comments in a thread more visible, such as with a different colored background behind their comment, or a border around it or something, so that when people go scrolling through a thread, the shaded box flying by would alert them that mods are active in the thread and that they need to (a) keep their shit together, because there's bannin's afoot and (b) the mod may have said something important, so they should scroll back and read it.

In a lot of the the longer threads, like this one, people aren't reading every comment (sad but true), and it's very easy for people to miss it when you, jess, or cortex say something.
posted by Pastabagel at 7:39 PM on March 26, 2008


Robert DeNiro in "Brazil".

Words to live by and I sincerely mean it.

I was a bit frustrated/bored/depressed by all the hand-wringing in this long thread, so I went back over to the Blue, and there are 3 new posts, all excellent: Japanese music, military insignia, and Death of Widmark.

This place dusts itself off and reinvents itself every couple of hours. We're all going to be fine.
posted by Dizzy at 7:41 PM on March 26, 2008


I agree that there seem to have been a lot more contentious threads lately, but that is just as much election-filter as it is the season. Metafilter is primarily northern-hemisphere though I know we've got our share of southern people, and Winter + lack of outdoor activity tend to make people cranky. Seasonal Affective Disorder anyone? Plus, SEOs and spammers do tend to get Metatalk into a bit of a tizzy.

But I don't think it's an indication of Metafilter going downhill, or some other such blanket statement. Everything goes through cycles, right. It doesn't seem feasible, even for a community as awesome as this one, to keep the bar up so high 100% of the time. No. Different contributors phase out, take a break from the site, new people join in and take a while learning the ropes, etc. I do agree that overall, the discourse on Metafilter is much, much higher than that I've seen on any other site thus far and maybe people are starting to take the logic and the proper grammar and punctuation for granted?

Eh. Give me Metafilter over, I don't know, Livejournal any day.
posted by Phire at 7:42 PM on March 26, 2008


Matt, might I make a suggestion - is there some way to make moderator's comments in a thread more visible, such as with a different colored background behind their comment, or a border around it or something, so that when people go scrolling through a thread, the shaded box flying by would alert them that mods are active in the thread and that they need to (a) keep their shit together, because there's bannin's afoot and (b) the mod may have said something important, so they should scroll back and read it.

I know this will never happen anyway, but a thousand times no. I'm not going to re-mount the hobbyhorse I was riding for a while last year, but I will say that this would represent an increased atmosphere of appeal to authority that I strongly believe is counter to the spirit of the site, something which regrettably (if, perhaps, of necessity) has been growing as the site has grown. I love our mods, but I think we should in general be appealing to one another -- you know, self-policing and all that -- rather than turning to them to be handers-down-of-the-holy-laws and enforcers thereof.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:44 PM on March 26, 2008 [4 favorites]


I agree that there seem to have been a lot more contentious threads lately,

What you mean 'lately,' kemosabe? This site has been contentious from Jump Street. It's made up of smart, opinionated people, so your going to get a lot of that. But you'll also get a lot of witty banter, good links and interesting conversation. But, all indications seem to point to the idea that it's a package deal.
posted by jonmc at 7:45 PM on March 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Also, if you want really want that, grab a copy of the Mefi Navigator for Greasemonkey, which will do it for you. There's been a new update that makes it faster than ever. The fun thing is hacking it to add custom tags to other users (which I've done, 'cause I like messin' around that way) that ONLY YOU CAN SEE!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:46 PM on March 26, 2008


Please, PLEASE, tell me you just quoted High School Musical.

nope.
posted by yhbc at 7:48 PM on March 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Please link to a day in the past that you think Metafilter was particularly "good" or "better" than it is now. I guarantee you that you will find instances of ad hominem attacks that are worse than you'll find now

I have no such day in mind, but I picked one at random to compare. Lott Resigns As GOP Leader got a fair bit of attention. Hmm, I do not see anything "worse" really, nor does the character of the debate strike me as obviously better. I imagine it's probably just about as contentious as what goes on today, but I've pretty much ignored all the US politics threads since 2004. Picking a recent one completely at random, coincidentally also involving racism in politics, it seems the main difference is there are 10 times more comments this time. Roughly 8000 words. I wonder if anyone read all of them.

Whether this "MetaFilter is Going Downhill" thread is any better or worse than those of the past I don't know, but I bet it's longer.
posted by sfenders at 7:52 PM on March 26, 2008


I'm all in favor of jacking up the price of admission by about 1000%, and not just because I already have an account. Meanwhile, can't the links in fpps get wrapped in nofollow to break any SEO shenanigans?
posted by mullingitover at 7:55 PM on March 26, 2008


nope.

Alas, I was so excited :-(
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:56 PM on March 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Don't get me wrong, jonmc. I love the debate and the snark and the intelligent discussion and try to follow as much of it as I can without having MeFi disrupt my daily schedule. And what I'm saying is obviously coloured by my own perceptions, but I've been following Metatalk even more closely than I have the two main sites since I realized that MeTa existed, and it honestly feels like in the last two or three months there have been a LOT more threads hitting really really high comment-counts with a lot of people being offended and angry and a lot more back-and-forth-ing about often trivial things.

Obviously it's possible that this is a result of site growth, but seeing as I'm a 40K-er and we're barely over 70K now, I don't really think it's a matter of not having enough perspective about site "inflation", shall we say.

I mean, I remember first joining Metafilter and sticking primarily to AskMe becaues in my opinion/experience/memory the type of meaty discussion that I love reading on MeFi only occurred a few times a week. Now I'm having trouble keeping up with the increasing number of threads that aren't necessarily controversial, but that get people really really riled up anyway. The ones that hit 300 comments and keep going and end up being an echo-chamber of 5-10 members. That's what I mean by contentious. I love them, but they're not what you would call light reading.

I apologize for the lack of coherence. I've tried to reword things, but I guess m'not feeling very sharp.
posted by Phire at 7:57 PM on March 26, 2008


The sky, she is falling?

Again?
posted by orthogonality at 8:00 PM on March 26, 2008


Two hundred twenty something comments in a Metatalk post and I've been hanging out all day with someone I met on metafilter, laughing and chatting and MISSING IT? Huh! I guess this website is a surprisingly nuanced, complex, but still fruity, varietal of fail.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 8:01 PM on March 26, 2008


On the contrary. Metafilter's been on a high lately, if you ask me, which nobody did. Slow down, people, I can't keep up. And what Matt said about Mefi not existing in a vacuum - we live in interesting times. And rationing/suspending sign-ups seems utterly sensible. And agree with those suggesting public favorites might upon reflection generally but not entirely be a Good Thing. And flag it and move on. And as for imminent whathaveyous... what they all said, especially Mrwonderchicken. And everyone deserves a hug (except those SEO scumbags).
posted by normy at 8:02 PM on March 26, 2008


Please forgive but what is SEO? I'm not following...
posted by pearlybob at 8:05 PM on March 26, 2008


I like to bash Metafilter as much as anyone, but I don't think it's getting worse. Contentious threads attract a bit of emotion, and holding a controversial opinion will draw some personal attacks, but it's not so bad.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 8:08 PM on March 26, 2008


pearlybob: "Please forgive but what is SEO? I'm not following..."

Search Engine Optimization. It's the art/science of designing your website to be more accessible via Google, thus gaining more traffic and making your site's ads more profitable. There are a lot of hucksters in the SEO biz, who value raw numbers and eyeballs over quality of content and the user experience. They're also the folks who often try to self-link here, one of many attempts to game the system.
posted by Rhaomi at 8:12 PM on March 26, 2008


what is SEO?

mathowie: Also, we've had a couple SEO jackasses signing up and making a mess of the place each week for the past few months.

SEO
posted by normy at 8:12 PM on March 26, 2008


I looked it up, too pearlybob. Search Engine Optimization - the practice of mentioning your website/business/service in such a way and in such locations (re: MetaFilter) that search engines (re: Google) will find it more easily, thus driving up your hits and your revenue.
posted by yhbc at 8:13 PM on March 26, 2008


Please forgive but what is SEO?

As far as their presence on community websites goes: spammers.
posted by CKmtl at 8:13 PM on March 26, 2008


Cokes for everyone!
posted by yhbc at 8:14 PM on March 26, 2008


Ok, thanks all. learned a little somethin'.
posted by pearlybob at 8:17 PM on March 26, 2008


mathowie: I enjoy this site, and I've been coming back to it nearly every day for the last 3 years. You have built a good thing, and from what I can tell you are allowing it to grow in good ways. Please keep doing what you've been doing.

My first reaction on seeing this post was, "MeFi is going downhill?" Go back to the fall of 2004 if you want to see a bunch of crap posts. If this is downhill, I'm enjoying the slide. Whee!

In fact, browsing the MeTa archives reminded me that callouts used to be a common thing. I'd argue that fewer of these mean that fewer people feel the need to escalate an argument. (Another feature of those older times was the anachronistic hand-cutting-off that languagehat so prizes. But I can forgive him his attitudes--he is an old-timer, and culturally different from the younger generation.)
posted by A dead Quaker at 8:21 PM on March 26, 2008


I'm sticking up for open signups, and I say that as someone who sulkily lurked for at least 2 years waiting to become a $5 n00b. If signups were once again restricted, we'd be missing out on all those fantastic moments when the subject of a post gets an account and comes here to way in. The $5 barrier is all it's taken to keep quality high but still allow for the spontaneous membership to start. I'd say that's done far more good than harm to the site.
posted by Miko at 8:43 PM on March 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


comes here to way in.

Ouch! Embarrassing, wine-induced homonym switch. Weigh! Weigh!
posted by Miko at 8:44 PM on March 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


We're going to have to keep being asshole admins about new political threads.

THANK YOU!!!! I am profoundly grateful for your assholishness.

Members of the site here have no idea how much shit we get behind the scenes every time we delete the next daily Obama/Clinton/McCain Minor News Cycle Item.

Maybe we could add a little note to the posting page: "Before you post this, ask yourself the following questions: is this really the best of the web or is this an ephemeral, newsfilterish, current-events type of post? Would people who don't share my political views find this interesting? Would this work better on DailyKos or one of the other political sites?"

Or something to that effect.

I think the quality of the discussion would be improved by implementing two things:

1.) Disabling the ability to comment without having first clicked on at least one link in a post.

2.) Forcing people to wait ten or fifteen minutes after clicking on one of those links before they can post a comment.

I know that people would game the system but I've noticed that much of the noise comes from drive-by assholes who scan a post, don't read the links and then jump in with a smartass comment based on some superficial reading of what they think the post is about. These measures would reduce at least some of that noise. Not all of it but some.
posted by jason's_planet at 8:51 PM on March 26, 2008


There's really no way to do that, Jason's_planet.
posted by Dave Faris at 8:55 PM on March 26, 2008


Okely-dokely ... regarding James Taylor and "downhill slides" let us turn to his song, "Secret O' Life:
"The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time
Any fool can do it
There ain't nothing to it
Nobody knows how we got to
The top of the hill
But since we're on our way down
We might as well enjoy the ride


The secret of love is in opening up your heart
It's okay to feel afraid
But don't let that stand in your way no
'Cause anyone knows that love is the only road
And since we're only here for a while yeah
Might as well show some style

Give us a smile now
Isn't it a lovely ride
Sliding down
And gliding down
Try not to try too hard
It's just a lovely ride


Now the thing about time is that time
Isn't really real
It's all on your point of view
How does it feel for you
Einstein said that he could never understand it all
Planets spinning through space
The smile upon your face

Welcome to the human race
Isn't that a lovely ride
Sliding down
Gliding down
Try not to try too hard
It's just a lovely ride


Isn't that a lovely ride
Oh mama yes
See me sliding down
And gliding down
Try not to try too hard
It's just a lovely ride


Now the secret of life is enjoying the passage of time."
posted by ericb at 8:56 PM on March 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


Man, fuckin' snark about snark? This IS MeTa.
posted by klangklangston at 9:11 PM on March 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Also, my new favorite phrase from ANTM: "metal rock," the theme of one of the models this week. She represents the genre "metal rock."
posted by klangklangston at 9:17 PM on March 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Hay guys is this were the chatfilterr party has moved to!!!!!!!!1

(OK, I'll read the whole thread later and make a comment when the whole matter's already obsolete/irrelevant. I have a feeling I'll lean toward the "diversity makes MetaFilter" and "Self-policing make good happy feeling experience" parts of the chart. OK CYA THEN!!11!)
posted by not_on_display at 9:18 PM on March 26, 2008


There's no reason Metafilter can't have always been going down. It started out really high, after all, and if you've ever read YouTube comments, you know it has a long way to fall.

With all due respect to the olden days, you didn't do any backtagging did you? From the bit I saw, the trajectory if any has been upward.
posted by salvia at 9:24 PM on March 26, 2008


Miko: "Check the archives - it's been going downhill since it started!
Which just goes to show how fucking awesome it was back then! Now, it's merely pretty incredible. At this rate, it will start to suck around May 19 2147, by my calculations estimation guess. Or perhaps (perish the thought) it was never that good to begin with?

orthogonality: "The sky, she is falling?
Again?
"
Still.
posted by dg at 9:30 PM on March 26, 2008


Meanwhile, can't the links in fpps get wrapped in nofollow to break any SEO shenanigans?

We've talked about it. It could happen, no real decision yet; the fact that we have found fucking SEO factsheets that tout Mefi's "overlooking" of the nofollow issue as equating to good "juice" for link-builders is a fairly compelling argument for flipping that particular switch.

But that doesn't totally solve the problem; mefi as direct source of traffic and mefi as gateway to link propagation via feeds and reposts on other sites will forever be with us as temptations to SEO/spammy folks, and that's something for which we'll just have to deal with in terms of better counter-measures and early-warning systems (this is going fairly well lately, actually, with very quick deletions of most recent self-links) and just plain mod and userland diligence about things that stink. (Look, two of them this evening!)
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:30 PM on March 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Genuinely curious: what possible downside at all could there be in auto-adding nofollows to front page links?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:33 PM on March 26, 2008


"/b/ Metafilter used to be good."
"/b/ Metafilter was never good."
posted by champthom at 9:34 PM on March 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


The elimination of mefi's small but far from insignificant positive influence over the pagerank and well-indexedness of all the sites we link that aren't the property of soulless fuckers.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:35 PM on March 26, 2008


Metafilter is just fine.
posted by jeffamaphone at 9:38 PM on March 26, 2008


cortex: (Look, two of them this evening!)

Meanwhile example.com is rising up the Google listings... Wow, both of those examples had three throwaway comments on the day they signed up and a front page post on the first day they could. Sounds like The Metafilter Method to Increasing Your PageRank in 7 Days!
posted by ALongDecember at 9:50 PM on March 26, 2008


Could we perhaps, instead of deleting google-gaming posts, wrap them with nofollow and then googlebomb them so they're only high in the search results for 'soulless fuckers'?
posted by mullingitover at 9:50 PM on March 26, 2008


I'd say that's done far more good than harm to the site.

That's only the viewer's perspective. As we find out from time to time - and as mathowie and cortex have outlined above - the back end experience for the mods is an entirely different matter. They could still let specific people join - those related to fpp sites etc - during a sign-up moratorium of course.
posted by peacay at 10:00 PM on March 26, 2008


Could we perhaps, instead of deleting google-gaming posts, wrap them with nofollow and then googlebomb them so they're only high in the search results for 'soulless fuckers'?

I would personally enjoy that, but one thing we've noticed is that SEO spammer types and self-linkers generally are argumentative, often. So not only do we delete their links and ban their account we're usually answering email from them about "why was my post deleted/account banned?" and we copy/paste the information from the posting page.

So, yeah, that might be nice but in the overall scheme of things, counter-harassment is probably a bad idea unless we had one Evil Mod who was solely in charge of Communication with Spammers. but even then they'd still have mathowie's email address.

We've been catching a lot of these lately both because 1) there are more of them, we think but 2) we get email when someone posts their first post to MeFi (mostly looking out for just this thing) and there's a pretty clear new-user-three-comments-first-post-after-seven-days-no-contacts-no-social-stuff that pretty much defines this sort of self-linker and we do a reality check to make sure it's not a mistake [one recently looked fishy but then we noticed he had a contact and we MeMailed the contact and said "is this guy a rean non-SEA dickhead dude?" and he said yeah] and then delete with extreme predjudice. We're still getting the hang of changing the spammy links to example.com.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:06 PM on March 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


at a late hour, and after reading this whole thread- metafilter seems well. that is all.
posted by localhuman at 10:21 PM on March 26, 2008


Whether or not this place is going downhill, there is a recurrent theme of elitism on this site that is not always warranted. Stone me for saying so. Dead, my ghost rises to reassert that observation. Where do I go to give unseemly (if not outright unwarranted) elitism a push towards Hell?

Maybe this little blue/grey backwater of the Internet is the ne plus ultra of modern Web communities. I haven't seen a lot here that would confirm that, but it's true I don't pay that much attention to the place (particularly of late), and am certainly no judge of the Web, as a whole.

Still, unwashed illegitimi that I am, a proposition, following on from Google's Summers of Code example:

Summer of Blue: A celebration of the Web at MetaFilter

Wherein, from June 1 to August 31, 2008, those that wish to demonstrate that this is not only a community, but a superior community, do so, by stretching their participation legs a bit, where it counts. Better FPPs, and more of 'em. Comment threads that delight, educate, and astound. Snark buckets emptied, quietly and out of sight, thrice daily. And no bashing the illegitimi for their contributions, or failures thereof. MetaFilter history explored, for all to see, in approachable FPPs, by longboat captains. Politics handled, not manhandled. Fish doing well in pants, mushrooms all accounted. Aeronautical issues discussed without reference to imaginary conveyor belts.

Maybe the proprietor and his crew could provide some posting decoration and extra editorial effort for the historical FPPs, or sidebar the best post of the day, throughout the summer. I wouldn't get carried away, but I'm not the arbiter of taste around here.

Just 90 days of the Best of the Blue and the Best of the Web via the Blue. Not because we can, but because we can.
posted by paulsc at 10:32 PM on March 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


About nofollow: you could have it switched on for the first day or two, then switch it off unless it's deleted.
posted by Pronoiac at 10:39 PM on March 26, 2008


paulsc,

Yes We Can!
posted by lukemeister at 10:40 PM on March 26, 2008


Sounds to me like someone's down and troubled and he needs a helpin' hand.

The NYT Review Of Books: Is Literature Dying?
TIME: Did Jesus Really, Really, Really Exist?
Rolling Stone: Is Rock Dead?
The Comics Journal: Marvel Comics - Evil, Or Just Stupid?
High Times: Weed Is Even More Beneficial Than You Thought!
Cosmopolitan: Fellatio, The Couples' Therapy You've Been Waiting For!
Carpenter's Monthly: Is 16" Stud Spacing Really All That?
NME: This Band Will Change Music As We Know It. For This Week.
MacLean's: The End of Canada? Not Really! But Sorta!
The Watchtower: Join The Party!
Popular Mechanics: The Future - TODAY!
MetaTalk: MetaFilter's Going Downhill!

Rebleat as needed.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:46 PM on March 26, 2008 [3 favorites]


I've been mooching off of MetaFilter for free since around 2000, and just today decided to finally pay for an account (I tried once during the limited registration period and failed, years ago). Yes, I know that this makes me a bad person.

But I've gotta say that MetaFilter's pretty much the same as it's ever been. Political threads have always tended to turn to crap/flame, and the rest is generally good stuff, barring the occasional SEO or self-linker.
posted by agress at 10:46 PM on March 26, 2008


Paul, you mean like the prior August contests?

They've done it before, and, y'know, we honestly get a lot of great stuff without having to specifically give the "No, we really mean it this time" motivation.
posted by klangklangston at 10:50 PM on March 26, 2008


Also, guys, the internet isn't a hill. C'mon

Yeah. It's more like a ditch. Where teenagers hang out and leave their beer cans and used rubbers and stuff.


I am content to live it all again
And yet again, if it be life to pitch
Into the frog-spawn of a blind man’s ditch,
A blind man battering blind men ...
posted by madamjujujive at 10:53 PM on March 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


It occurs to me that most real communities eventually form teams of people who work together to deliver or act on community goals and ideas, and that the only "team" that this "community" regularly fields is the site owner and his employees. A Summer of Blue might call forth longboat captains and their first officers, mushroom archivists and those interested in remembering Those Who Have Really Left Us, as well as pilots and co-pilots of aeronautical interests.

Could we count on The Management for short term team group accounts, to encourage some collaboration? It wouldn't, exactly, be classic MeFi, but as content goes, I dunno, as an unwashed illegitimi, I might be more interested in posts from Longboat #1 than from Miguel, if I knew that Longboat #1 was the group interested in MetaFilter history.

Just a thought.

Shoot, I might just drop my killfiles for the summer, if this got any traction.
posted by paulsc at 11:03 PM on March 26, 2008


paulsc: "Summer of Blue: A celebration of the Web at MetaFilter
Wherein, from June 1 to August 31, 2008, those that wish to demonstrate that this is not only a community ...
"

What do you have against the southern hemisphere?
posted by dg at 11:27 PM on March 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


"What do you have against the southern hemisphere?"
posted by dg at 2:27 AM on March 27

If this is you, signing up first, dg, not a g**d**m thing! OK, Summer/Southern Winter of Blue.

Amaze me!
posted by paulsc at 11:34 PM on March 26, 2008


People with killfiles shouldn't lecture on community.

And fourthing the sentiment that tired in-jokes, contrarian posturing, and pity pandering litter is not the same as contextually appropriate, lighthearted quippery. If someone finds something I've written funny and favorites it, that's fine, I'm glad they got a chuckle, but I made like a silly duck before [+] and would continue to do so if the system was scrapped. To hear some folks talk you'd think every FPP was a city council meeting and every comment a papal bull before Favorites were introduced.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:41 PM on March 26, 2008 [5 favorites]


Does a papal bull shit in the woods?

No, wait.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:50 PM on March 26, 2008


"People with killfiles shouldn't lecture on community. ..."

People with axes to grind need not lecture poor, ignorant illegitimi such as I, Alvy. Clearly, you're not Longboat #1 team material....
posted by paulsc at 11:52 PM on March 26, 2008


Just yesterday morning, I saw a post on the grey
MeFi, they say you're full of insanity
Too many people jumping into the fray
On threads about sex and Christianity

I've seen ire and I've seen flames.
I've seen FPPs that I thought were really lame
I've seen MeTa posts that just want someone to blame
But it always seems that I post here again

Won't you look down upon me, Bill Hicks
You got to help me make a stand
Some jerks are talking up a band that sucks
I need an insult, one that won't get me banned
But that will show them they're a bunch of fucks

Whoa, I've seen ire and I've seen flames
I've seen AskMe questions I thought would never end
I've seen too many people link to "Will It Blend?"
But it always seems that I post here again

Well I tried Reddit and del.icio.us
I checked out Digg and Fark
Lord knows when you post on those they can turn you black and blue
I'll spend hours of time in this browser of mine
Looking at each bookmark
"Suk balls" and "diks" and "LOLs" are everywhere in view

Whoa, I've seen ire and I've seen flames
I've seen people post in a race to condescend
I've made snarky jokes that I simply can't defend
But it always seems that I post here, MeFi, one more time again
posted by lore at 11:55 PM on March 26, 2008 [18 favorites]


one Evil Mod who was solely in charge of Communication with Spammers

*rushes to volunteer*

*notices the line is already 100 people long*
posted by mediareport at 12:07 AM on March 27, 2008


I'm sticking up for open signups, and I say that as someone who sulkily lurked for at least 2 years waiting to become a $5 n00b.

I respectfully disagree. I lurked a similar length of time and it made me a lot more appreciative of this place than I would otherwise be. I realize that is not universally true, but there's something positive to be said about being made to observe how the site and community functions for a while before acquiring a membership.

If signups were once again restricted, we'd be missing out on all those fantastic moments when the subject of a post gets an account and comes here to way in.

Even when memberships were closed, Matt always gave people who were the subjects of posts the opportunity to sign up, and my impression was he often did it for free. If he does temporarily close memberships again maybe he could add a note to the sign-up page along those lines.

People with killfiles shouldn't lecture on community.

I agree with this -- or at least with the premise that announcing your killfiles is an unpersuasive tactic when seeking to encourage community improvements. I would go further and say that when you find yourself generally displeased or even furious at certain members or moderators or policies or subjects of conversation that it's better to take a break than to adopt a permanently angry or injured air here. I've definitely had periods where I was burnt out or busy with other things, and it's not so hard to take a leave (and to do it sans a Metatalk thread dramatically announcing it) in order to get fond of the place again. Or, to move on to wherever you suppose the greener pastures may be.
posted by melissa may at 12:32 AM on March 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


I probably should save this for a happier thread. But in the spirit of turning the frown upside down, I'll say it here anyway. I'm a new reader and an even newer member--quick check of the ol' profile nametag says...ohhh, the 66K Club! Well, maybe a perspective of someone joining in these dark times of Metafilter's collapse will be useful.

The other day I was wondering to myself about whether a post saying "Thanks for this FPP" without any further detailed comment, in situations where I didn't have a more particular reply to offer, constituted a good post. Certainly it didn't seem offer future readers anything, and in that sense actually ranked lower than snark, by being just noise.

But then I decided to just go with it. And I did so for the same reason I didn't ultimately post an AskMe question I was contemplating a few weeks back, about whether or not yelling out "thank you" to bus drivers before I get off is redundant, given the fact that I already say thank you when I show them my pass getting on. I figured, in both situations, I was you-know-what-ing the plate of beans. Because I know, had I posted that question, that the Mefi consensus would probably just be to say, hey, it's a nice thing to do, so do nice things. What is there to lose?

As for the topic at hand, then, I do see places where the arguments are getting, well, argumentative. However, I see much more evidence of truly exceptional thinking and friendly interaction. Take the comments in this thread, where folks not only made an effort to congratulate a post they found worthwhile, but also called especial attention to it as a great first post, almost in a sort of ceremonial, welcome-to-the-family sense, even though the user in question had been involved with discussions before.

Should we settle for things staying as they are, just because I can find a good post to offset your bad post? Never. We can all, always, do better, in all parts of our lives. Remember, kids, only you can prevent yourself from posting something dumb. It's really a war is over if you want it kinda deal.

But, more importantly, for the rest of you who have been here longer and have gotten used to the great view you have from right along the third-base line, and consequently are starting to broaden your consideration in ways I can't yet, and are not just watching the play but thinking about stats, trends, and dynasties and comparing this year to years gone by, and in doing so are worried maybe about whether the strike zone needs tweaking, or that the umpire isn't calling the pitches properly or that, worst of all, if that's true, maybe the game itself isn't working, in some way that it should be, and this is all a big failure if it's not perfect all the time--well, from the nosebleed 66K seats, where I'm too far away to see all that, I just wanna shout down that, despite all that, or maybe because of it, it's a great game all the same. The existence of this thread (the original post) and the responses (agreeing or disagreeing) seem like proof positive that, at the very least, MetaFilter is working on a pretty refined level of discourse.

I was pretty close to giving up on the internet. I nearly wrote it off entirely. Certainly I've long since given up on the few other message boards I've been part of in the past. Metafilter (actually, AskMetaFilter in particular, as the blue took a while to grow on me, the links seeming too overwhelming on first glance) changed my mind. I now find it to be a consistently rewarding reading experience on a lot of levels. The blue shows our capability for intellectual achievement. The green shows our human needs, desires, and fears. The grey is, well, this. (And I'm barely scratching the surface on great stuff like Music, Projects, and the excellent Podcast--I'm here too much as it is.) Anyway, all told, it's a great example of the range of what people at a computer can do. That Metafilter vs youtube throwdown didn't load properly for me when it first got posted; I only got to see it properly in the context of this thread, and damn. The youtube side is like watching different varieties of insects scrambling around on the pavement. People here at least speak a common language, which lets them disagree with some cohesion between one statement and the next.

I still assert, as I always have, that the internet is an exceedingly narrow slice of human experience that gets far, far too much of our attention lavished upon it compared to what it really deserves. That said, MetaFilter is assuredly the Best of All Possible Internet Worlds.

I know. Beans. Plate. Over-thought. But boy it's nice to have a place I can do that sometimes.
posted by roombythelake at 12:39 AM on March 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


"... in order to get fond of the place again. Or, to move on to wherever you suppose the greener pastures may be."
posted by melissa may at 3:32 AM on March 27

When, exactly, do you suppose I've ever been "fond of the place," melissa may? Where do you suppose "greener pastures" may be?

I'm not talking personal supposition. I'm talking personal research, that you can air publicly, that, you know, might better fit a person of my, um, demonstrated sensibilities, as an admitted unwashed illegitimi.

Because, you know, I hang on your every posted word as wisdom direct from the Flying Spagehtti Monster, which so many MeFites worship acknowledge as the Supreme Being.

Me?

I've been deeply confused since I visited Jesus's supposed birth site in Bethlehem, and his supposed tomb, near, supposedly, Jerusalem. None of it looked all that solid, to me, a heathen illegitimi.

But, I digress. What do you know about chord roots in airfoils?
posted by paulsc at 1:08 AM on March 27, 2008


After wading through this discussion to the very end, I was just about to bemoan how crappy it all was, how I've heard it all before a millon times, and how I'm now about to close my account and sulk for a few days because I'm not getting enough love from my homies.

And then I read lore's post, and it reminded me of exactly why I love this place.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:18 AM on March 27, 2008


Also:

\killfiles paulsc
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:24 AM on March 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


Does a papal bull shit in the woods?

It says something that I read that as "paypal bullshit".

hang on your every posted word...a heathen illegitimi

I don't want to seem hostile, paulsc, because the thesis of your argument seems to be kind of noble, but you're coming off kind of supremely jerky in the way you're arguing your case right now and that does clash pretty badly with the idea of wanting this place to improve.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:43 AM on March 27, 2008


\killfiles paulsc
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:24 AM on March 27

Would that you really operated personal killfiles, PeterMcDermott.

I'd be honored, I guess, to be included in your kill list.

I apologize to anyone else, whose bandwidth I may have inadvertently wasted, that PeterMcDermott can't read this message. I confess, as an unwashed illegitimi, that the concept of wasted bandwidth is more than a bit beyond me, and that I may have offended cortex. Any bandwidth I've wasted seems to me PeterMcDermott's fault, as a result of this exchange.

But, while I may still have you on the line, Peter, in case you don't really killfile.... [All's forgiven, in case you can still do some real work, in coordinating the Summer/Southern Winter of Metafilter...]

What do you know of MetaFilter longboats? Are you a Longboat captain, or not? If not, would you, at least, be willing to serve as a First Mate in the Longboat #2 team?

It's for the "community," you know...
posted by paulsc at 1:53 AM on March 27, 2008


Peter, in case you don't really killfile

I don't do Mefi callouts and I don't do killfiles. Both meet my personal definition of lame.

It's for the "community," you know...

I find flagging and moving on takes minimal effort and works just fine.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:58 AM on March 27, 2008


"... I don't do Mefi callouts and I don't do killfiles. ..."

I thought not. So, can we count you in, as First Mate on Longboat #2?
posted by paulsc at 2:01 AM on March 27, 2008


the pp account may be disabled, but the goading spirit lives on at 2 AM in MeTa.

Let's all get some sleep m'kay? I don't see what good is going to come from this talk of killfiles and seamen.
posted by mullingitover at 2:18 AM on March 27, 2008


So, can we count you in, as First Mate on Longboat #2?

Consider me like Lloyd's of London. I'll be happy to take your insurance money, only to deny all liability when the ship sinks taking down all hands.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 2:21 AM on March 27, 2008


"Consider me like Lloyd's of London. I'll be happy to take your insurance money, only to deny all liability when the ship sinks taking down all hands."
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:21 AM on March 27

Thanks, Peter. I'll let you know, if and when the first MeFi Summer/Southern Winter of Blue Longboat #1 crew, sheds any salt spray on the depths of MeFi archives...

Supposing, that is, they bother to let me know...
posted by paulsc at 2:29 AM on March 27, 2008


Paul, you're a good sort, but when you get on this kind of repetitive riff it's unseemly. You've made your suggestion; let it float or sink on support other than your own advocacy.

/gratuitous
posted by Wolof at 3:22 AM on March 27, 2008


"Paul, you're a good sort, but when you get on this kind of repetitive riff it's unseemly. You've made your suggestion; let it float or sink on support other than your own advocacy.

/gratuitous
"
posted by Wolof at 6:22 AM on March 27

Point taken, Wolof. But I can't help but notice that you didn't Favorite my original suggestion re: MeFi Summer/Southern Winter of Blue.

On behalf of the MeFi "community," I'm above taking this personally. But, I thought it would be less than frank of me not to make mention of what I've noticed...
posted by paulsc at 3:45 AM on March 27, 2008


I will also note that I've seen some simply outstanding troll-ignoring here lately

I recently suggested (but didn't explain very well) the idea of an "ignore this" button by each post that would change to "you are ignoring this comment" once clicked - and have no other effect at all - in other words it would be completely private and provide no feedback to the troll or anyone else but the troll-ignorer would get the satisfaction of doing something. We could have an (also private) trolls ignored: x counter on our homepages as well.

I don't agree that things are worse than they used to be but they could still be better, and if it would be possible to create a culture here of not responding to rude attention-seeking behavior at all, we'd have a higher standard of discussion.
posted by tomcooke at 3:59 AM on March 27, 2008


I didn't favourite your suggestion because I don't support it. Ohers may; it remains to be seen.

Seriously, I am not having a crack at you here. Let the thing gain its own momentum or fail for lack of same.
posted by Wolof at 4:05 AM on March 27, 2008


"... Let the thing gain its own momentum or fail for lack of same."
posted by Wolof at 7:05 AM on March 27

Clearly, Wolof, I've misread you, and I do apologize. But, truly, I say, if MetaFilter longboats ever spray salt over the archives of the MetaFilter database, by the Flying-Spaghetti-Monster, we are all doomed. Doomed! I say. Even those who have Favorited liberally, at the drop of any snark.

And no thanks to unregistered passerby, who simply push up the Web server stats with their anonymous, cookie free visits...
posted by paulsc at 4:15 AM on March 27, 2008


Clearly, Wolof, I've misread you,

Easily done in the climate of pissiness that pervades this place.

We cool.
posted by Wolof at 4:29 AM on March 27, 2008


We cool.
posted by Wolof at 7:29 AM on March 27

I hope so, Wolof. Really.

But, um, about that Favorites thing.... Sure you can't reconsider? For, you know, the "community?"
posted by paulsc at 4:36 AM on March 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


You know, paulsc, for someone who's contributed so heavily to the site, particularly to AskMe... you sure can be an asshole. Objectively, your idea isn't a bad one, but the tone of your comments has left such a bad taste in my mouth that I can't muster much interest.

With that kind of posting history, and your name recognition, if you'd just made the suggestion without the insults, I think it might have happened. As is... well, hopefully the rest of MeFi are better people than I am, and can overlook the tone. But myself, with the supremely negative framing of the initial issue, I can't imagine it working out very well. It's coming from the wrong place. It's not, "Hey, let's see if we can live up to our reputation!", it's, "You're a bunch of fuckheads with inflated self-opinions. Here's an idea: try actually being as good as you think you are."

With that kind of hostility at the core, I just can't see much positive happening.
posted by Malor at 4:53 AM on March 27, 2008


"You know, paulsc, for someone who's contributed so heavily to the site, particularly to AskMe... you sure can be an asshole.

Yes. Yes, I can.

"... Here's an idea: try actually being as good as you think you are. ...
With that kind of hostility at the core, I just can't see much positive happening."

posted by Malor at 7:53 AM on March 27

I think, with all due respect, Malor, you vastly underestimate me, and this community.

I hope, because hope must live somewhere, in some old, decrepit heart, that I don't (underestimate this community). Or overlook, ever, its willingness to laugh at itself, to be a small bunch of folks on the edge of tommorrow, willing to try to be something more...

But, we shall see...
posted by paulsc at 5:05 AM on March 27, 2008


Is it too late to talk about the issue at hand, or is this another part of the problem - that if you aren't early into a thread many of the sensible points are already made so you end up adding to the noise by repeating a common point (in your own shiny snowflake way), or by tossing in some sort of perpendicular snark?

At any rate, (to repeat in my own indistinguishably individual view) MetaFilter, like any community, is no less or more than the sum of the parts it is made of. So, if you want MetaFilter to be better YOU be better. Don't be an asshole, don't pee in the pool, even when the particular thread is not your cup of tea. If you don't like contentious political threads, don't go into them and turn them into contentious political with a side of "I hate contentious political threads" threads.

Do unto MetaFilter as you would have MetaFilter do unto you.
posted by dirtdirt at 6:15 AM on March 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'm more optimistic than some, but clearly less so than others.

"Choose two posts from each year...One should be a post about something political ...One should be a post about a hot button topic...I'd bet dollars to donuts that as a rule of thumb, threads like that approach complete shit regardless of what year they are posted."

And that'd be a safe bet, although with the dollar:donut exchange ratio shifting I'm not so sure you'd turn a profit. But your point stands, as does many of those who are saying MeFi's always had its problems. This may be connected to the fact that it's always been on the internet, and hence bears all the social-interactive issues associated with that particular medium.

As Joseph Gurl said, it's proportional, but as the site's grown, so has the raw amount of shit posts and comments, and that's what we're noticing more. There's still plenty of good on the blue and the green (yeah sorry, grey, but, uhm...you know you're where we shit, right?), and without downplaying the role of the mods, a lot of it is just because people love coming here and sharing it with a (generally) bunch of other swell people. I've seen more selflessness in eight years here than in the rest of the net combined.

I feel MeFi in general is a bit more hostile than it used to be, being that there's that many more users willing to step in and fill the role of the "I predict doom and/or asshattery" soothsayer (and still others who are prepared to commit said asshattery). "GYOBFW" seems to be said with less tongue-in-cheek, we've been scarred more as a community by assholes abusing the love (not to mention some spectacular flameouts...), and genuine apologies are either taking place out of the public eye, or have become rarities.

In short, we've gone from a rural commune of hippies where you generally had each other's measure and the place wasn't large enough to avoid each other altogether, to a metropolis of strangers where you see the same faces now and then in posses roaming the street, but there are also a lot of people you don't know who aren't afraid to put the eye of judgement upon you.

Maybe next to tags we can have a second list of 'inb4' tags, with choices for "PoliticsFilter", "this will not wendell", "news at 11", "batshitinsanefilter", "popcorn", "I for one welcome...", "fish/pants/deal" etc. so the poster can pre-empt these calls, lifting the heavy obligation to snark that some seem to feel.

(I kid, I kid!).

For the tl;dr crowd: carry on, but walk softly / carry big stick.
posted by cosmonik at 6:26 AM on March 27, 2008


I am SO glad that paulsc is back! Now please come back to MeCha too, particularly with the jazz posts!!!
posted by By The Grace of God at 6:33 AM on March 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


As someone who was recently in a thread that you left, what I saw was you saying, "My feelings are my whole argument, and therefore since no one can call my feelings wrong, you aren't entitled to address my argument, either." And I really didn't see it as anyone insulting you, or being disrespectful or rude. What did I see was people saying, "Hey, agregoli, that angle isn't a very fair one to take, and I'm not actually attacking you." And in that thread in particular, you seemed to be having a pretty personal reaction to the topic.

So, while maybe this is happening to a lot of people lately, from my own experience, it's not exactly happening in the way you're describing it here.


Not at all what I was saying. What I'm asking for is some basic respect. When people come off all snarky, acting like whatever position I'm taking is the stupidest thing ever, yeah, I get offended. It's entirely possible to talk to someone with respect and still disagree with them. Not so much on Metafilter though. I didn't read the rest of the thread because I didn't like how I was being spoken to and didn't see the point of continuing the conversation. I don't need to stick around when I think people are speaking to me derisively. It hurts my feelings. It can ruin a good chunk of my day and make me feel lousy that people I don't even know feel entitled to speak to me that way, like I'm an idiot. Yeah. I know. I'm sensitive. And that's not anyone's problem. But maybe it's worth mentioning cause, well, not everyone is tough as nails on this site and they shouldn't have to be all the time just to be heard.

I can have much more positive conversations on other sites. Sometimes it happens here, and that's great. I just wish it happened with more frequency. And this is not for myself - I see tons of snarkiness lobbed at other members for no real reason. And it distresses me. Snark should not be a community trait - I like a jokey comment as much as the next person, but when it is a defining feature of the community, as some people apparantly see it? That doesn't seem very positive to me. Whatever, my two cents.
posted by agregoli at 6:37 AM on March 27, 2008


I still am not sure I understand what closing signups is supposed to do. Healthy communities are permeable. Perhaps we make the 'required lurking' phase longer before allowing FPPs, but to respond to questions of quality by suggesting we shut the barn door reminds me of the perennial American response to the perennial American 'immigrant problem' - "now that my people are in, let's shut out anyone who wants to come after me!" There are people who will stumble across this site and comment on their very first day who will become awesome members without whom we can't imagine the site. There are longtime members that cannot resist the urge to crap, snark, and make trouble. And there are lurkers, hundreds and hundreds of them, who hide and watch and never post. Though there is a certain specific subset of annoying problems new users can cause, it doesn't seem that it's new users who create the most problems for MeFi. I hope the mods continue the 'least restrictive' policy on registrations. The more the merrier. The more people, the more bad posts maybe, but the more good posts as well - barring any landslide that causes the site to suddenly outscale its capacity for self-policing. Should such a landslide occur, a slight restruction (limiting # of new accounts per day) might be a good step to take. Closing the site to new folks is pretty drastic and may produce staleness over time.

Those that say "you make MetaFilter better by making MetaFilter better" are right on.
posted by Miko at 7:05 AM on March 27, 2008 [4 favorites]


danby has it right:

My suggestion is to make the favoriting system invisible. Being able to see the number of favorites each comment has is an incentive for attention-seeking types to post flip one-liners instead of making meaningful contributions to conversations.

It's a shame he used the phrase "technological solution to a social problem" to refer to closing the site to new memberships as that later got used to defend keeping favorites. Never mind that his position is to make favorites invisible.

And then later (oneirodynia):

I see what you're saying about acknowledgment, but that can be done without the favorites, in thread. I also think viewing them as "little victories" is exactly why some people think losing favorites altogether might eliminate some of the most egregious acting out.

Exactly. The cry for validation leads to pandering.

-----

spiderwire:

You know, I actually think that this "favorites encourage snarkiness" idea is something of a myth. If I had internalized the favoriting culture, I would just post long, thoughtful comments, because those are overwhelmingly the ones that get favorited.

Dude, what?! You have, at the time of this posting, 1314 favorites spread over 2352 FPPs and comments in MeFi, MeTa and AskMe. That's an approval rating of .55867 per post! According to your own description you post mainly short throw away comments. That beats the hell out of some well known and well liked posters who do (in a couple of cases, did) make long thoughtful comments: mdn, LobsterMitten, occhiblu, russilvwong, Ethereal Bligh.

Some long posts which match up closely with Metafilter's biases do get a lot of favorites, pastabagel is an obvious example. I generally disagree with him, but that's not who I, or others critical of favorites are focusing on. It's the ones taking the path of least effort, the attention seekers looking for a payoff. As BorgLove puts it, there is an "immense number of people who can't respond to anything other than by making a lame, smartass remark". If the reward is removed the behavior will diminish. Long substantive posts are frequently rewarded by thoughtful responses.

-----

As I see it, the problem isn't that people aren't civil, it's the people who show up and snark and drop one liners, trying to one-up each other on sarcasm and metafilter in-jokes. Granted, those have always been a part of Metafilter, but it's getting to the point, either because people are doing it more, or because we have more people where it's difficult to discuss certain things, without tripping over in-joke oneupmanship.

And frankly, I don't think it makes since to dismiss this out of hand as Chicken-Little.


Yup. Snark does not equal culture. This isn't about deleting funny one-liners, it's about not rewarding attention seekers.
posted by BigSky at 7:10 AM on March 27, 2008


About 7 years ago I joined Mefi. Back when Blogger was Pyra, CitizenX was around, F*l*p*l* wasn't talked about, SDB didn't have a website and we loved reading him while wishing he did have a site, and virtually no one knew what a blog was. I can't recall a time when "the downward spiral" hasn't been going on. A certain part of it is just like the memories of how childhood summers lasted so long and now they fly by. We always romanticize the past, which is why Historians and Librarians have such an important profession.

Matt's done a hell of a job with this site, as have the others. It's expanded to new areas, spawned more knock offs and quasiparasitic dependencies than I'll ever be able to count, and still not only points us to, but often becomes on it's own, the "Best of the Web".

I'm not saying there isn't a problem, but just pointing out it isn't doomsday for Mefi. Its kept on ticking through a lot of these "doomsdays" without flinching. I remember some graphs that displayed the frequency of comments and posts per day and you could see when new users could sign up. It'd spike while they got over the newness and then things returned to normal. Angst was created on the outside though. People thought there were A, B, and C list bloggers and Mefi was accused of being classist at times. Perhaps now we are seeing the flipside of this, of allowing signups all the time. Perhaps not. I do know it's a cycle though, and everyone will think we're at a different side of it at the same time.

One thing has changed though - the userbase is large enough that the tagging project got done, without a daily visitor like me even knowing about it (d'oh!). It's possible leaving signups on while using them to introduce people to our expectations would work though. I don't know how - two ideas come to mind but there are many. One is for them to submit something along with their application, and have a tagging project like group of members review the submissions. The other would be NeoMeFi. Submit your best to NeoMeFi, same rules apply, and wait for a member to sponsor you. Screw up badly on regular MeFi and you get demoted. A minor league, basically. There's probably betters idea out there.

When you're pushing the envelope it will always seem like there is a cliff to fall off. Thankfully we are the cliff.
posted by jwells at 7:14 AM on March 27, 2008


The balance of yin and yang here, in any of various invented dichotomies, provides the tension and the harmony that makes this place interesting. No matter how we see this site, and what use we might make of it, there is someone perceiving and acting in a way that we see as directly counter to our own. Not to mention differences of opinion. There are complex reasons for any contribution to this site, and while some comments are obviously counter to posted guidelines, most are just difference, whether of opinion on a topic or of understanding what is appropriate to site and thread. It's always been like this: up and down, good and bad, willy and nilly.

Patience, Grasshopper.
posted by breezeway at 7:21 AM on March 27, 2008


agregoli said: "It's entirely possible to talk to someone with respect and still disagree with them. Not so much on Metafilter though. ...It hurts my feelings. It can ruin a good chunk of my day and make me feel lousy that people I don't even know feel entitled to speak to me that way, like I'm an idiot. Yeah. I know. I'm sensitive. And that's not anyone's problem. But maybe it's worth mentioning cause, well, not everyone is tough as nails on this site and they shouldn't have to be all the time just to be heard."

I'm sorry if you feel that I misread your comment earlier, but your comment here (which seems to me to be asking for special treatment because you have admittedly thin skin) only serves to underline the point I meant to emphasize originally (but at which I likely failed due to excessive silliness):

"just because yet one more person says, 'MetaFilter sucks for reason [whatever]' doesn't actually make it a trend -- but equally as likely something informed by one's personal situation or predilections for a certain kind of discourse."

Unfortunately, community norms evolve a certain way, and neither of the most extreme positions is likely to survive. Here at MetaFilter, I believe that means that special conditions aren't likely to be cottoned for either the most sensitive, or the most inflammatory, but that the needle is going to hover in the middle. My guess is that the driving factor there is structural (high user-to-moderator ratio, reliance on self-regulation, etc.).

"And this is not for myself - I see tons of snarkiness lobbed at other members for no real reason. And it distresses me."

The emphasis here was mine after the fact. I believe that this still really is about you. You argue that you're just speaking up for those with no voice, and then admit that it's because of the distress created for you. If other members feel wrongly snarked at, then they do in fact have a voice.

agregoli, I'm really not picking on you personally, even if it feels like it. I just don't agree with what basically seems to be a special-snowflake argument. I know you felt like you were being attacked in the airline thread, and I respect your feeling that way; but from where I stood, it just didn't look like you actually were being attacked in the way you thought. From what I recall, a lot of people tried to clarify that to you -- but you had already quit the thread. So, you announced that you were mistreated, and that you were leaving the conversation... then you didn't read any of the subsequent responses... but here you are in MeTa saying that people here are hurtful and disrespectful. It just doesn't seem to me that you are using the site as it's built, in good faith.

And to bring that back to a general position (because truly I don't intend to make this about agregoli in particular): if you equate MetaFilter with a country, let's say a big diverse country with people from all different backgrounds... and say that some people in that country get polled (because it's an election year, you know), and 100 people are polled, and without regard to what's going on with those persons' daily lives, the results are announced -- "67% of the country thinks we're going to hell in a handbasket."

So what do those millions (thousands) of citizens have as their options?

1. Do nothing, and hope for the best.
2. Do nothing, while expecting the worst.
3. Disregard the poll, while understanding that you can't expect 67 people to be representative of the entire body citizen.
4. Write a whinge to their elected officials and hope something comes out of it, despite overwhelming evidence that the elected officials' preferred course of action is to remain hands-off unless there is a clear emergency.
5. Participate in the process accordingly, by setting a good example for change and engaging respectfully with other citizens.
6. Some combination of the above.

Yeah, it's kind of a clumsy analogy. But I think I'm trying to point out the irony of a group of people who fully know that to effect social change in the world, they have to be a part of the solution themselves... but here in a microcosm of the world, to effect social change, they want to see blanket systemic fixes that are handed down from on high, while also perfectly customized in order to create each individual's utopian user experience.

Does not compute.
posted by pineapple at 7:24 AM on March 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


"Why is MetaFilter going downhill, and what are we going to do about it?"

We already had this discussion.

Twice in 2000.
Fourteen times in 2001.
Seven times in 2002.
Three times in 2003.
Four times in 2004.
Twice in 2005.
Oddly, none in 2006.
Four times in 2007.
And this makes twice in 2008 already.

Yeah. The site is going right down the crapper.

Anyone who thinks the site is going downhill is - and I say this in complete sincerity - being a freakin' idiot. The quality of the site - moderation, vision, community, content, etc, etc - are all better than they've ever been. Straight up - I fail to see *anything* that indicates Metafilter isn't getting better year by year.

I think this attitude is emblematic of the current American fascination with complete avoidance of context and history. WTF indeed. So now "I'm having a bad day" equals "Metafilter is going downhill". Why is the larger context such an impossible thing for people to accept?
posted by y6y6y6 at 7:26 AM on March 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


Why is the larger context such an impossible thing for people to accept?

Because we are all so very small.
posted by breezeway at 7:34 AM on March 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


Also, I vastly prefer going downhill, now that I think about it. Going uphill you always have to stand up and pump and freakin' chain slips and then you have to get off and walk and you look like a jerk, feh.
posted by Divine_Wino at 7:37 AM on March 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


You know what else goes up and down?

That's right: the painted ponies.

Earworm!
posted by breezeway at 7:43 AM on March 27, 2008


BigSky: "Some long posts which match up closely with Metafilter's biases do get a lot of favorites ... It's the ones taking the path of least effort, the attention seekers looking for a payoff ... Long substantive posts are frequently rewarded by thoughtful responses."

I respectfully disagree with the totalising nature of your value judgement concerning a positive correlation between posting length and discourse quality. With online discussions, when practicable I strive for economy of phrase, and like seeing it deployed well by others. It's *easy* to write lots of words but it takes some extra time and effort to trim down (either on-screen on in your mind) by some significant fraction yet retain semantic information and necessary flow. Equally, sometimes the only aesthetically or semantically valid response to pointless logorrhoea is terseness.
posted by meehawl at 7:46 AM on March 27, 2008


As one prone to logorrhea, I'm going to actually agree with meehawl here -- I am eternally envious of those who can "do more with less," so to speak.

But, I don't think Big Sky was saying that all short responses suck... I read the comment as merely, "substantive and thoughtful" is preferable to "pithy and ill-conceived".
posted by pineapple at 7:55 AM on March 27, 2008


I apologize if this has been said already, but I just wanted to make a small note. While I think it's a good thing for people to comment when they think someone has produced a good post, I'm not sure it's a terribly bad thing for people to post snark when a post is bad. It can be painful, but I think it's part of keeping the site intact. With so many users who can post FPPs, I think having a sort of community mob after you when you post something awful helps keep the FPPs better. Without a certain amount of fear about posting an FPP - caused by the snark you get when it's terrible - I think we'd see a lot shoddier FPPs. And, anyway, isn't that part of the initiation process?
posted by lunit at 7:57 AM on March 27, 2008


meehawl,

I agree. spiderwire contrasted "little one-offs" to "long and thoughtful" in his post, and I continued with those categories. The more focused distinction is between thoughtful remarks, both on topic and humorous, and lame, knee-jerk smartassery.
posted by BigSky at 8:06 AM on March 27, 2008


Suggestion for paulsc:

Use your contacts list to make your own super-secret longboat teams. Then you can make up your own code to address them. And they'll respond as if they're puzzled, because they don't want to give away the code in public.
posted by klangklangston at 8:15 AM on March 27, 2008


Miko: I still am not sure I understand what closing signups is supposed to do.

I don't think many (if any) are suggesting closing the signups entirely. I suggested a sort of revolving window of 'active' accounts which become inactive after a certain period of not logging in. As people leave the site and go inactive, old accounts could be reactivated and new accounts created. I think there should definitely be a manual override so that (for example) the subject of a post could be granted an account without having to wait. Similarly it slightly raises the penalty of a ban and encourages lurking.

Simply, my motivation is that there is a certain size past which communities cease to function and I believe that judicious moderation of that parameter could be enormously beneficial.

Also, another agreement with the "be the change you envision for Mefi" crowd, you've got it right.
posted by Skorgu at 8:31 AM on March 27, 2008


Oddly, none in 2006.

Ah, those were the days...
posted by Dave Faris at 8:34 AM on March 27, 2008


Without a certain amount of fear about posting an FPP - caused by the snark you get when it's terrible - I think we'd see a lot shoddier FPPs. And, anyway, isn't that part of the initiation process?

Posting on Mefi for the first time is like losing your virginity: it hurts at first but if you're patient and thorough and practice good communication skills it eventually becomes a pleasure. But to get to the good stuff you have to go through a lot of dicks.
posted by LeeJay at 8:38 AM on March 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


I still am not sure I understand what closing signups is supposed to do.

This may be more of a mod-centered sugestions, but with all the SEO spammers we've been combatting lately we've been thinking "gee it might be nice if these came in waves instead of just four or five every week". We do not want to close signups entirely, we were just batting around the idea of maybe having a week a month for open signups or a day a week or something self-limiting. The thinking is

- a little enforced lurk time might help people understand how the place works
- it would mean that SEO spammers and other self-linkers would all hit the seven day maturity point in the same timeframe making it easier to keep an eye on
- it might reign in some of the massive growth and influx of people unclear on the community norms and other general guidelines and give the current set of members a chance to catch up

We're not interested in closing the doors for good at all, but it might not be a bad idea to try to manage the growth of the community some and not just presume that the site will work exactly as well with 70K members as it did with 50K members.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:48 AM on March 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


Those of you interested in closing signups may want to spend some time browsing the Policy threads at Barbelith, particularly those that focus on the future of the site, an excellent web community that I am also a part of (I'm not an old-school Barbelith poster, but I've been around for a couple of years), which DID close signups for a time as a stopgap measure to respond to trolling.

There are a lot of core differences -- Barbelith has never had a (much less several) full-time moderator, has never instituted an admissions fee, and has very different origins and a much smaller at-peak population size than Metafilter. But both sites do emphasize community and a high standard of discourse, and -- particularly if you read through the various "Is Barbelith dying?" Policy threads -- there is a popular (but far from universal) feeling that the closed admissions had a long-term negative effect on the community's vitality and long-term survival.

On preview, I can see that what the mods have in mind when they say "closing signups" is not at all like Barbelith's cut-off-completely and then admissions-by-permission system, but it's interesting reading about how two communities with (somewhat) similar goals can diverge.
posted by Shepherd at 9:04 AM on March 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


I would like to politely request that MetaFilter not endeavor to emulate Barbelith in any way. Those who think there's too much PC police action here, well, look out. I'm pretty happy with MeFi being MeFi, thanks.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:11 AM on March 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


Posting on Mefi for the first time is like losing your virginity: it hurts at first but if you're patient and thorough and practice good communication skills it eventually becomes a pleasure.

I would take it a step further. Posting on MeFi for the first time is like losing your virginity without using a condom. You do it, and then you are instantly panicked ("did I make her pregnant?", "did I get an STD?", "am I in love?", "will she break my heart?")... then you agonize over the potential consequences of what you've done.

After a while, you learn to do it the right way, and it gets better and better. Until you hit the five year mark, and then you only do it once in a blue moon, after the kids are asleep, maybe you've done all the dishes and washed all the floors and the mood strikes.
posted by psmealey at 9:31 AM on March 27, 2008 [4 favorites]


I would recommend one day of open enrollment a month, but the day is set at random and it is not disclosed when that day will be. The only way to find out is to go to the sign up page and give it a try. You enter your proposed username and password, and if today is the open enrollment day, then congratulations you're a mefite, but if not then it goes to a page explaining the new enrollment policy and that no questions about the new enrollment policy will be answered so don't bother asking them. If the person can figure out that all they have to do to join is come back and try again every day for a month, and they want to be members enough to do so, then they can join. If not then they can go to hell digg.
posted by ND¢ at 9:31 AM on March 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


If the person can figure out that all they have to do to join is come back and try again every day for a month, and they want to be members enough to do so, then they can join

Man, these kids have it so easy nowadays. I had to repeatedly and desperately refresh the New User page for well over a YEAR before I finally got in. Off my lawn!
posted by LeeJay at 9:41 AM on March 27, 2008


I had to repeatedly and desperately refresh the New User page for well over a YEAR before I finally got in.

You think that's bad? I had to open a paypal account!
posted by dersins at 9:46 AM on March 27, 2008


So if you are going to restrict registration availability will you still be charging people?

If so I'd recommend having a fixed period for unlimited logins, because it's an admin hell for buyer and seller to have a time lag between purchase and receipt.
posted by By The Grace of God at 9:49 AM on March 27, 2008


er, s/logins/registrations

(really I should use preview more often!)
posted by By The Grace of God at 9:50 AM on March 27, 2008


comes here to way in.

Ouch! Embarrassing, wine-induced homonym switch. Weigh! Weigh!


Miko, Consider this an ad-homonym attack, from one 19k 5-dolla n00b to another. In the spirit if the thread, of course. And you do have a good point there vis. new memberships. I struggle to overcome GOMLYP! syndrome, now that I've been around a few years.
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:51 AM on March 27, 2008


Please explain GOMLYP. The googles do nothing.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:56 AM on March 27, 2008


Closing sign-ups is not the answer to the scorn problem - that's like preventing old age by killing babies. Kicking out crabby, viscious old timers is the answer.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:59 AM on March 27, 2008 [3 favorites]


While I think it's a good thing for people to comment when they think someone has produced a good post, I'm not sure it's a terribly bad thing for people to post snark when a post is bad. It can be painful, but I think it's part of keeping the site intact. With so many users who can post FPPs, I think having a sort of community mob after you when you post something awful helps keep the FPPs better. Without a certain amount of fear about posting an FPP - caused by the snark you get when it's terrible - I think we'd see a lot shoddier FPPs. And, anyway, isn't that part of the initiation process?

Also a valid POV. I survived, and it does keep me on my toes. And it keeps my post-count down to a reasonable one or two a year.
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:02 AM on March 27, 2008


You'll have to pry this keyboard from my cold, dead hands, TPS. Come to think of it, you'll probably need to pry this office chair off me, too.
posted by Dave Faris at 10:03 AM on March 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


I can't imagine anyone would volunteer to go willingly. We should do it American Idol style- people call in to save their favorite, person with the least amount of votes goes home every week.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:07 AM on March 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


GOMLYP = Get Off My Lawn Young People??? damn 5-digit kids with their acronyms and such
posted by donnagirl at 10:13 AM on March 27, 2008


Fair warning Pinks, if we use your plan it's just going to mean me in spangled halter top and six inch heels hoofing like the devil is after me and belting out Proud to be an American, mefi's all I got man, I need this job.
posted by Divine_Wino at 10:14 AM on March 27, 2008


Get of my lawn you punks? anyway, thanks, donnagirl.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:14 AM on March 27, 2008


Kicking out crabby, viscious old timers is the answer.

I vote for kicking out the people who endorse kicking people out.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:15 AM on March 27, 2008


I vote for kicking out the people who endorse kicking people out.

Well *I* vote for kicking out the people who vote to kick out the people... oh never mind.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:17 AM on March 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


Immunity!
posted by Dave Faris at 10:19 AM on March 27, 2008


Someone wants to get sacked...
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:22 AM on March 27, 2008


I vote for kicking everyone out and letting people back in on a strict wins-a-battle-to-the-death basis.
posted by Tehanu at 10:22 AM on March 27, 2008


I agree, as long as we get to wear outfits designed by Project Runway contestants.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:26 AM on March 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


I vote for sending people who can't spell "vicious" to the store to bring back beer.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:34 AM on March 27, 2008 [3 favorites]


She may have meant viscous.
posted by CunningLinguist at 10:37 AM on March 27, 2008


I thought so as well CL, but then I realized I was just being thick.
posted by quin at 10:40 AM on March 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


There's a sale at penny's!
posted by shmegegge at 10:42 AM on March 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


quin, clearly, needs to be first up against the wall.
posted by CunningLinguist at 10:44 AM on March 27, 2008


I agree, as long as we get to wear outfits designed by Project Runway contestants.

No, no, snark-to-the-death is not the group that should be readmitted. And I think those outfits come snark-enabled. They ooze high fashion condescension.
posted by Tehanu at 10:49 AM on March 27, 2008


Are we at the bottom of the hill yet? I have to pee.
posted by everichon at 11:04 AM on March 27, 2008


I vote for sending people who can't spell "vicious" to the store to bring back beer.

See, the cruelty! The abject cruelty! Under my regime, this is when you'd be kicked to the curb.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:49 AM on March 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


Everything is always perfect exactly as it is.
posted by anazgnos at 12:04 PM on March 27, 2008


we'd be missing out on all those fantastic moments when the subject of a post gets an account and comes here to way in.

That's true. But how many of those members stick around, I wonder?
posted by oneirodynia at 12:37 PM on March 27, 2008


Ooooh! Oooooh! Cult thread!

*pisses higher up on the hydrant*
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 1:34 PM on March 27, 2008


wow, I just realized mefi's been getting a lot of self-links recently. damn.
posted by shmegegge at 1:40 PM on March 27, 2008


Schmult thread.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:42 PM on March 27, 2008


This is not the cult thread you're looking for.
posted by dersins at 1:59 PM on March 27, 2008


1. Spamming. Linkwhoring. Re-posting text you've already posted on a dozen other sites.

2. Making supercilious and unpleasant remarks in a civil liberties thread about how the victim had it coming. This is not to say that victims never have it coming; but there's a species of internet demi-troll that appears to specialize in posting such comments. Try not to look like you're one of them.

3. Making snide comments and insinuations about the editors. That's right out. You don't like one of the editors? Take it up with them in e-mail. If you're going to comment on an entry, talk about the entry.

4. Being nasty to no purpose. (This is the catch-all.)

5. Using unnecessarily exciting language. Making an argument is fine. Making your argument in language guaranteed to make your hearers see red? Bad idea. It practically guarantees that you're going to have a dumb (and therefore boring) argument. And if the argument's not going to be interesting, we don't see the point.

6. Jeering, sneering, condescending, or one-upping when there's been no provocation. Telling people they're naive idiots for caring about whatever-it-is. Like the "I'm bored" pose, it's empty attitudinizing, and it's remarkably unpleasant.

7. Failing to notice that there are other people in the conversation. Posting a remark that's already been made five times and answered six. Coming back and re-posting essentially the same material after a twenty-message thread has discussed your previous comment. Trying to forcibly wrench the conversation onto one of your own pet topics. Posting a stale, canned rant you've posted a dozen times before at other sites. Not coming back to see how others have responded to you.

Why post comments at all, unless you expect to be read? And if you expect to be read, you must know you're part of a conversation. Therefore, you should act like it. Engage with what the other commenters are saying. Read the thread before you add to it.

8. Posting a snotty but otherwise worthless anonymous comment. It's a lot easier to get away with snotty comments if you're a registered user.

9. Dragging in one of those topics that's guaranteed to generate a huge thrash that goes nowhere, like gun control, abortion, or Mac vs. PC vs. Linux. You're only allowed to discuss those if (a.) they're relevant to the entry; and (b.) everyone in the discussion is doing their level best to say something new.

10. This list will undoubtedly get longer.
posted by Dave Faris at 2:22 PM on March 27, 2008


2) further banishment of noise. I fucking hate seeing "gets popcorn" or "this will wendell" in the first five comments on any thread, anywhere on this site.

I suggest we (err, you) implement a hash-based duplicate comment filter similar to the one that I can't find a link to but I'm sure somebody will dig up fairly quickly, perhaps modified to ask an old-school Usenet-style "are you sure you want to post this?" question rather than outright banning the comment, because with so many threads & users there's got to be some allowance for duplication. You could even keep a leaderboard of duplicating "offenders" if you wanted to increase the social penalty. Seems like an an elegant solution to me, as it relies on social pressure as much as technology for enforcement which is one of MeFi's principles, yes?
posted by scalefree at 2:24 PM on March 27, 2008


I kind of like the good, simple rules at The V (nerdy British comics forum, offshoot of defunct Warren Ellis forum, now largely considers Warren Ellis to be a lazy egomaniac through over exposure)

* Do not make 'fixed' posts, they are crap.
* Don't put a photograph of yourself in your sig, you are an ugly fucking nerd and nobody wants to look at you.
* All topics are fair game for humour.
* Don't post your AIM conversations, you bore.
* If we ask you to name a list of five things, do not give us a list that contains any more or less than five things, because we find that very tedious.
* The Earth, Moon and Sun are always referred to as Terra, Luna and Sol.
* Batman always wins.
* At the end of SUPERMAN (1978), Superman is not reversing the spin of Terra, he's going back in time.
* For obituary threads, post images, links to images or quotes. Keep the V platitude free.
* Chris Oakley loves the film Millennium.
* Jean Reno is not French.
* Un-English activity will be tutted at.
* No pimping your comics, websites or other projects unless we like you and give you permission. If we do give you permission, you must say so in the post.
* No genre discussions.
* No outright nastiness, unless it's really funny.
* No quibbling.
* No posing.
* No nerdbaiting.
* No gushing fanboy praise.
* There is no such thing as 'thread drift'. That's just a petty anal name for conversation that was created by small-minded messageboard Hitlers. Our messageboard Hitlers are much more open-minded. We welcome conversation.
* Do not duplicate threads from other fora.
* Do not create a new thread to discuss something that already has a thread.
* Bad language is welcome. Bad spelling and bad grammar are not.
* Do not bitch about the British TV license fee.
* You cannot edit your posts.
* Most American spellings and several words relating to America are filtered, pending the removal of President Bush from power.
* No wet-blanketry


Some of these are not as strictly enforced as others.
posted by Artw at 2:36 PM on March 27, 2008 [5 favorites]


Get of my lawn you punks? anyway, thanks, donnagirl.

Acronyming a meme is hard work! I think I'll go back to verbing nouns. Who wants to lunch?
posted by Devils Rancher at 3:20 PM on March 27, 2008


Uh, I don't think those are good or simple, Artw. Trying to enforce something like that here would lead to madness. Also, they're rules. To do anything like that here, Metatalk would essentially become something like a sadistic game of Nomic. It would need its own Metatalk for Meta-callouts.
posted by Tehanu at 3:22 PM on March 27, 2008


I’m presenting them as a thing to be admired, not as a suggestion we adopt any of them.

(Except maybe “Batman always wins”)

(Anyway, Metafilter has rules, like “No LOLXTIANS”. They just don’t tend to be written down)
posted by Artw at 3:34 PM on March 27, 2008


* Do not bitch about the British TV license fee.

No way am I surrendering that right.

MeFi has plenty of rules that are unspoken, and people generally know them, or feel the weight (sorry Miko, 'wait'?) of those who do.

On Preview: What Artw said. Except the Batman thing.
posted by cosmonik at 3:42 PM on March 27, 2008


cortex: "I don't want to seem hostile, paulsc, because the thesis of your argument seems to be kind of noble, but you're coming off kind of supremely jerky in the way you're arguing your case right now and that does clash pretty badly with the idea of wanting this place to improve."
Yeah, the more things change ...

jessamyn: "
We're not interested in closing the doors for good at all, but it might not be a bad idea to try to manage the growth of the community some and not just presume that the site will work exactly as well with 70K members as it did with 50K members.
"
Not only for this reason, but for workflow (as was mentioned up there somewhere). If sign-ups were only open, for example, on Mondays , you could be prepared to deal at that time with a rush of new users and the resultant teething problems. Then, a week later, be able to brace yourself for a wave of spammers (maybe you could do rock, paper, scissors to see who lands that duty, with the front page set to refresh every 10 seconds and the cursor hovering over the delete button).

We've had this conversation a number of times and there were dire predictions of the site not scaling to 20k users and 20k and so on. So far, it has just worked with the addition of more eyeballs that can avert disasters, but I guess it will one day reach a critical mass where no amount of moderators will be able to stem the flood of crap (much like YouTube already is). The trick, of course, is to somehow limit the site just below that point because, once the tipping point happens, it won't be able to be tipped back.
posted by dg at 3:42 PM on March 27, 2008


cosmonik - Fool. Batman ALWAYS wins. It's a fundamental law of the universe, like gravity.
posted by Artw at 3:44 PM on March 27, 2008


* There is no such thing as 'thread drift'. That's just a petty anal name for conversation that was created by small-minded messageboard Hitlers. Our messageboard Hitlers are much more open-minded. We welcome conversation.
* Most American spellings and several words relating to America are filtered, pending the removal of President Bush from power.


These two I can abide by.
posted by Devils Rancher at 3:53 PM on March 27, 2008


Batman > Superman > Everyone else. This is the fundamental law of superhero inequalities.
posted by spiderwire at 3:58 PM on March 27, 2008


* Do not bitch about the British TV license fee.
* Most American spellings and several words relating to America are filtered, pending the removal of President Bush from power.


Ahem.
posted by enn at 4:04 PM on March 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


Metafilter survived a closed sign-up period once, and Matt's specified it would be one of a few months as opposed to years. That's hardly comparable to kicking Emma Lazarus in the pants or whatever other tsuris people are invoking.

It's fairly obvious that for every bit of bile and scammery we see above the surface that the mods are contending with a great deal more behind the scenes -- and far worse, since email and IM interactions don't include the embarrassment and mockery one risks by acting like an ass in public. If they need time and space to manage the growth more effectively, then it'll be better for the community in the long run if they take it.
posted by melissa may at 4:05 PM on March 27, 2008


Ahem.

What?
posted by Artw at 4:07 PM on March 27, 2008


(Anyway, Metafilter has rules, like “No LOLXTIANS”. They just don’t tend to be written down)

That's not a rule here though. LOLMUSLIMS would also not go over well. The difference is, people here tend to go for LOLXTIANS, so that's the thing that gets smacked down most often here. The guideline is actually: "Follow the golden rule, treat others' opinions with the same respect that would like to be afforded." I think divvying it up into specific instances clearly stated somewhere would just make it harder to enforce.

"They didn't say no LOLGODLESSATHEISTS, so..."
"Well, they said no LOLRELIGIONS, but LOLJEWS is both religious and ethnic, so..."
"LOLMEATEATINGMURDERERS is just the truth, and it's not limited to one religion or an ethnicity..."
"NO LOLS?! What am I going to do with all these awesome LOLRUS links?!"

To take it out of the respect vs. PC arena, there was awhile back when LOLCAT and LOLCAT-derived FPPs were getting deleted because there seemed to be a rush on them or something. Should there be a no LOLCAT rule? The idea of "wow, we are just maxed out on LOLs for awhile" was more of a "let's not cram the front page with more of same" judgment call than a rule.

You're specifically proposing that rules be adopted, even though you're not specifying the rules. My point is, I suspect that rules turn moderation headaches into moderation living nightmares in a place like this. They're easier for users because they relieve them of the responsibility of using their own judgment. But they also give problematic users something pretty specific to chip away at. For this reason, rules are bad.

I'd love to see better judgment from users, too. Rules are the road that goes in the opposite direction, I think.

Lastly, I will kick all people off of the island who don't rank SPIDERMAN > ALL ELSE.
posted by Tehanu at 4:24 PM on March 27, 2008


Batman ALWAYS wins. It's a fundamental law of the universe, like gravity.

Not to get too nerdic, but...

also: Joel Schumacher 'killed' him long, long ago.
posted by cosmonik at 5:03 PM on March 27, 2008


I can confidently predict that Batman will have thought ahead and so death will not defeat him.

Tehanu - you expect me to read the rest of your long-ass post when it ends on a sentence so silly?
posted by Artw at 5:09 PM on March 27, 2008


What?

The British generally spell it licencem Artw.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:21 PM on March 27, 2008


Without that extraneous 'm' that popped in from nowhere, of course.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:22 PM on March 27, 2008


This thread looks perfectly healthy to me.
Maybe a little thick around the waist, but definitely healthy.
posted by bru at 5:23 PM on March 27, 2008


Those damn British and their silly silent 'm's!
posted by cosmonik at 5:37 PM on March 27, 2008


Heh.
posted by Artw at 5:41 PM on March 27, 2008




The guideline is actually: "Follow the golden rule, treat others' opinions with the same respect that would like to be afforded."

At the risk of repeating myself, as I've said before: we are under no compulsion nor is there any need to respect others opinions or beliefs, but we are required to make an effort to show respect to the person who holds that opinion or belief. This amounts to the same externably observable behaviour, but the distinction is, I believe, an important one.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:50 PM on March 27, 2008


two ideas come to mind but there are many. [...] The other would be NeoMeFi. Submit your best to NeoMeFi, same rules apply, and wait for a member to sponsor you. Screw up badly on regular MeFi and you get demoted. A minor league, basically.
posted by jwells at 10:14 AM on March 27 [+] [!]


Oh my god, how are people overlooking the hilarity potential of this idea? (I'm not advocating doing it, I'm advocating thinking about how funny it would be. Holy cats.)


I respectfully disagree with the totalising nature of your value judgement concerning a positive correlation between posting length and discourse quality. With online discussions, when practicable I strive for economy of phrase, and like seeing it deployed well by others. It's *easy* to write lots of words but it takes some extra time and effort to trim down (either on-screen on in your mind) by some significant fraction yet retain semantic information and necessary flow. Equally, sometimes the only aesthetically or semantically valid response to pointless logorrhoea is terseness.
posted by meehawl at 10:46 AM on March 27 [+] [!]


As Shakespeare said, "brevity is..wit"
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:57 PM on March 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


Dub Shake: "short = ha!"
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:03 PM on March 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


Lastly, I will kick all people off of the island who don't rank SPIDERMAN > ALL ELSE.

Spiderman could barely beat his costume. And without some Captain Marvel/Infinity Gauntlet shit, he can't even be mentioned in the same class as, say, Dr. Strange or Thor, or even Professor X.

Plus, he's always been stretched too thin, what with Amazing, Web, Peter Parker, 2099, eponymous, and now Ultimates to keep track of (I know, I know, Ultimates is technically another continuity, but it's just a matter of time before they cross over). That, and as the newspaper strip makes abundantly clear, he's a whiny bitch.

I'd even argue that because of him and the emo-ness of the assorted mutants, DC's '90s and early 2000s output is better (I can't honestly say regarding later 2000s). JLA got to be much better than it ever should have been, and I regret not jumping ship (that "Make mine Marvel" shit gets into your bones).
posted by klangklangston at 8:03 PM on March 27, 2008


Worst retcon of all time
posted by Artw at 8:08 PM on March 27, 2008


Yeah, the only worse retcon would be starting an arc by finding out that the Nazis did win WWII, and that Marvel intended that to be their new permanent continuity (presumably this would run from the time Stan Lee fell into a coma to the time when he awoke and bludgeoned Quesada with a Sgt. Fury doll).
posted by klangklangston at 8:19 PM on March 27, 2008


Marc Spector would kill Bruce Wayne in a heartbeat.
posted by breezeway at 8:29 PM on March 27, 2008


Moon Knight? Fuck off. He's just some looney nutjob rip-off of batman.
posted by Artw at 8:32 PM on March 27, 2008


what are we going to do about it?

How about banning all Americans? We managed to cover last year's Australian Federal election in two extensive & genial threads.

(of course, no thinking Aussie could ever have supported that slimy weasel, John Howard, so that probably helped)
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:24 PM on March 27, 2008


How about banning all Americans? We managed to cover last year's Australian Federal election in two extensive & genial threads.

I respectfully submit that if any country's election can be covered "in two extensive & genial threads" then it is possible that the problem may be that their elections are, in fact, boring.
posted by spiderwire at 10:15 PM on March 27, 2008


There's nothing boring about the husband of a representative being caught days out from the election distributing fake "militant islamic" material glorifying the Bali bombers & urging voters to support the opposition party (the Democrat-equivalent Labor Party).

Nor is it boring when a sitting Prime Minister - the second-longest serving in the nation's history - loses his own seat to a newcomer, a woman with no political experience other than as an anchor & interviewer for a current affairs show.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:58 PM on March 27, 2008


Batman wins because he cheats. He has all the gadgets. If I were an independently wealthy superhero, I'd kick your ass, too. He's like James Bond AND Q, all wrapped up in one person, with a trademark bat symbol slapped on for legitimacy.
posted by misha at 11:04 PM on March 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


The V (nerdy British comics forum, offshoot of defunct Warren Ellis forum, now largely considers Warren Ellis to be a lazy egomaniac through over exposure)

Wow, apparently there is something more embarrassing and grating than a batch of Ellis wannabes falling all over themselves to give the man a blowjob.

Worst retcon of all time

Puh-leeze. A prime example of bad storytelling caused by corporate/committee myopia and editorial deus ex machinations, yeah, but hardly the worst retcon.

Incidentally, I didn't realize that Infinite Crisis retconned Hypertime out of existence. MetaRetConning. Heh.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:07 PM on March 27, 2008


I respectfully submit that if any country's election can be covered "in two extensive & genial threads" then it is possible that the problem may be that their elections are, in fact, boring.

I respectfully submit that quantity is a poor substitute for quality, and that if something is described as 'genial' it should not be equated with 'boring'.
posted by cosmonik at 12:11 AM on March 28, 2008


I respectfully submit that if any country's election can be covered "in two extensive & genial threads" then it is possible that said election is unlikely to be one which will have a significant impact on most of the rest of the world.
posted by dersins at 12:58 AM on March 28, 2008


Well, I (respectfully, natch) submit the following prediction:
The Australian election results have set in force a chain of events that will lead to a change in the ruling party in the US, which will have a significant effect on most of the rest of the world.
posted by dg at 1:14 AM on March 28, 2008


I respectfully submit that if any country's election can be covered "in two extensive & genial threads" then it is possible that said election is unlikely to be one which will have a significant impact on most of the rest of the world.

Is that some of that Australia-bashing that gomichild was complaining about the other day? Shame on you, sir, shame!

I'd also respectfully submit that it's woefully parochial to assume that people in other countries approach the election of their democratic representatives in the same combative shouty way that Americans do.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:29 AM on March 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yeah, it's always amazed me that, given how few citizens actually vote in their elections, Americans make so much noise about them.
posted by dg at 1:43 AM on March 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Is that some of that Australia-bashing that gomichild was complaining about the other day?

Wait, we're talking about Australia? I figured we were talking about Canadia.

Yeah, it's always amazed me that, given how few citizens actually vote in their elections, Americans make so much noise about them.


We're an exuberant people. We are, in fact, internationally known for our exuberance. It's why everyone loves us so much, even you guys who pretend to be irritated by us. C'mon, admit it. You love us. You know you do. We're totally your favorite.
posted by dersins at 1:49 AM on March 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


I like poo.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 3:34 AM on March 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Marc Phil Spector would kill Bruce Lil' Wayne in a heartbeat.

Fixed that for ya.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:06 AM on March 28, 2008


uncanny hengeman: you are on a roll today.
On a thread about MetaFilter going downhill you comment I like poo.
In the post I made about a Japanese photographer you comment Half of these birds have their tits out. What about a NSFW warning? This FPP has made me sad.
In the Tibet phishing thread you comment Move along. Nothing to see here. No white Christian male to rail against.
In the Choir Geeks post you comment Yahweh is the God of my salvation. I trust in him. And have no fear. Better recognise.
Settle down for goodness sake. This is part of what scrump is talking about.
posted by tellurian at 4:34 AM on March 28, 2008


tellurian

1. That was, like, irony. Plus, it got favorited previously (AskMeFi) so getta dogupya. But I'm willing to forgive you because I am tolerant.
2. My bad.
3. If it was a Y2Karl thread about Dubya, then the usual 100 post circle jerk would be well under way by now. My comment stands.
4. That is my favorite hymn. It is an absolute ball-tearer. I'm an atheist but went to a Catholic school. Doesn't mean I can't like a good hymn when I hear it. My comment stands.

But anyway. Just to shut you up. I'm not gonna post for a month. Just lurk. I'm sure I'll be missed!
posted by uncanny hengeman at 4:44 AM on March 28, 2008


I like poo.

Well, you're in the right place.
posted by cosmonik at 4:50 AM on March 28, 2008


Yeah, sitting in a pile of his own.
posted by mediareport at 4:57 AM on March 28, 2008


I respectfully submit that if any country's election can be covered "in two extensive & genial threads" then it is possible that said election is unlikely to be one which will have a significant impact on most of the rest of the world.

Like I said upthread, quantity is a poor substitute for quality - it goes for posts and people affected by elections.*

* I'm joking. Seriously. To call MeFi an Australian-bashing site is laughable.
posted by cosmonik at 5:04 AM on March 28, 2008


I'm not gonna post for a month.

Well you're definitely not posting til tomorrow, what was all that noise about?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:14 AM on March 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Screw up badly on regular MeFi and you get demoted. A minor league, basically.

"Uh... cortex? You wanted to see me?"

"Sit down, kid. Take a load off. How's it going? You feeling OK? You don't seem to have your mind on the game lately."

"Listen, I know it looks bad, but it's just one of those weeks, you know? Stuff happens. That comment the other day... it wasn't supposed to come out like that."

"I know, kid, I know. We've all been there. But listen, don't take this wrong, but you're gonna be spending a week or two in Neo."

"No! Not Neo! Listen, you gotta give me a chance, I'll pick up my game, honest, no more rickroll, no more insults that aren't as funny as they seemed in my head, I'll find good links, great links..."

"Don't worry, you'll be back. You just need to work on your fundamentals. Better go pack now, I've got some other people to see..."

"Can I talk to Matt about this? I just don't think it's fair—"

"Kid, Matt's a busy man. Besides, he and Jess and I all signed off on this. You don't think I do this for kicks, do you? Nobody likes sending a MeFite down to the minors, but it'll help you and it'll help MeFi. Now go on out there and give 'em hell, you'll be back before you know it."

[Door slams.]

"OK, send in the next fuckup."
posted by languagehat at 5:36 AM on March 28, 2008 [20 favorites]


why, just the other night i was relaxing over a snifter of sherry with an old colleague of mine, when he said to me, "ubu, old chap, wouldn't it be rum indeed if one were to respond to a denial of aussie-bashing with a quip which played upon those backward colonials' oft-noted usage of so-called 'irony' in order to post egregiously defamatory slurs?"

"rum indeed, you poncy old bugger" i replied, "and you know, i'm in half a mind to do exactly so, what think you of that elaborate conceit?"

"jolly droll, my old cocksparrow, and if anybody is a past master at conceit, I'll be damned if it isn't you!"

&c &c as our lively interlocutors exchanged amusing banter over futher sweet sherries.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:00 AM on March 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


A bit less of the 'old' if you don't mind, and it was port, not sherry.
posted by tellurian at 6:14 AM on March 28, 2008


ah, yes, vintage port, if i'm not mistaken.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:24 AM on March 28, 2008


Moon Knight? Fuck off. He's just some looney nutjob rip-off of batman.

Eat shit. He may be a rip-off, as was, say, Darkman (who, until the Bayle Batman flick held the belt for best superhero flick) but he'd kill Batman and be back to the Temple of Khonsu in time for dinner.

You'd probably say Destroyer Duck sucked 'cuz it was a rip of Howard, or Megaton Man sucked 'cuz he was a Supes copy.

It doesn't matter who came first, it's who's left standing, and who's lying dead on the floor.

Or, to be realistic, it's all about whose stories you read, and when, and whether you like the art. Moon Knight had Bill Sienkiewicz. Batman's been drawn really well, and really poorly, over the years.

And back in the late 70's, early 80's, when I read comic books, Moon Knight was far, fuckin' far, more real and interesting than Batman.

You know who ain't a superhero, but would kill'em all (if the O.S.S told him to)? The Unknown Soldier. He'd just make an Alfred the Butler mask.
posted by breezeway at 7:06 AM on March 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


ah, yes, vintage port, if i'm not mistaken
Another day, another sucker.
Decantation don't mean a thing.
posted by tellurian at 7:42 AM on March 28, 2008


Eat shit. He may be a rip-off, as was, say, Darkman (who, until the Bayle Batman flick held the belt for best superhero flick) but he'd kill Batman and be back to the Temple of Khonsu in time for dinner.

Naaaaaaaaaah. It's so Batman, and you know this. Moon Knight is a neurotic basket case, which Batman certainly was at one point, but Batman has been so much crazier for so much longer that he's transcended craziness and is just on a different level altogether, kind of like Kilgore in Apocalypse Now or something. You can't fuck with Batman. Moon Knight is just Maxie Zeus with a gym membership to him.

That said, Sgt. Rock would put both these clowns down. No contest.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:49 AM on March 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


At the risk of repeating myself, as I've said before: we are under no compulsion nor is there any need to respect others opinions or beliefs, but we are required to make an effort to show respect to the person who holds that opinion or belief. This amounts to the same externably observable behaviour, but the distinction is, I believe, an important one.

Bingo.
posted by Divine_Wino at 7:53 AM on March 28, 2008


but Batman has been so much crazier for so much longer that he's transcended craziness and is just on a different level altogether

Seriously. For any given positive integers n and m, if you are at step n in a plan, Batman is at step n+m. He is m steps ahead of you. Always. Period.

Beating Batman is like beating zen buddhism. That's just not how it works.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:03 AM on March 28, 2008 [3 favorites]


(I suppose you could argue that the trick to beating Batman is to live a long, happy life wholly unconcerned with the issue of beating Batman, but he'd probably still find some way to come out ahead on that.)
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:05 AM on March 28, 2008 [5 favorites]


That said, Sgt. Rock would put both these clowns down. No contest.

Fuckin' A, he would. Though not without Ice-Cream Soldier and Little Sure Shot, at least. I bet Gravedigger could kill Batman, and I'm sure Jeb Stuart and The Haunted Tank could take him out, too. Moon Knight was a mercenary, which gives him an edge in a war zone, but his white costume is poor camouflage outside the Arctic Circle.

So yeah, they'd both be easy marks for Easy. Even if they teamed up.

And on preview, which Batman are we talking about here? The old Nazi-fighter? Good luck. The one who fought Burgess Meredith? He's Maxwell Smart with a utility belt.

Moon Knight was the Dark Knight long before Batman was.
posted by breezeway at 8:18 AM on March 28, 2008


So it's fixed then, is it?
posted by Mister_A at 9:03 AM on March 28, 2008


I had a friend who seriously pondered about the source of Batman's strength. He'd ask things like "Batman was kind of like Jesus. You couldn't be sure if he was just working really hard or if he had some extra help."
posted by Burhanistan at 9:07 AM on March 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


We just had the talk the other day in my office. The cool thing about Batman is that his super power comes down to having brass balls (and a huge bankroll).
posted by Mister_A at 9:13 AM on March 28, 2008


I had a friend who seriously pondered about the source of Batman's strength. He'd ask things like "Batman was kind of like Jesus. You couldn't be sure if he was just working really hard or if he had some extra help."

The answer.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:16 AM on March 28, 2008


I just listened to a live version of Otis Redding singing "Try a Little Tenderness" and when I was repeating it to myself afterwards in my head, I changed the words a little to:

Hold her!
Squeeze her!
Ach du Lieber!
posted by ND¢ at 9:19 AM on March 28, 2008


Man, Batman would probably hate Jesus. Jesus's way is the way of a thousand upright fathers shot in a thousand alleyways, of countless criminals unpunished in the night, of the evil that men do forgiven rather than avenged. I don't think we want to get those two in the same room, frankly, because they only plausible outcome is Batman foiling Jesus whole "ressurection" scheme at the last minute.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:30 AM on March 28, 2008


You know who else wanted to be the “savior” of all mankind, was into resurrection, strongly associated with the word “Lazarus” and had a beard…
posted by Artw at 9:35 AM on March 28, 2008


I don't know, cortex.

14 And He found in the temple those who were selling oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables.
15 And He made a scourge of cords, and drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen; and He poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables;
16 and to those who were selling the doves He said, “Take these things away; stop making My Father’s house a place of business.”
17 His disciples remembered that it was written, “ZEAL FOR YOUR HOUSE WILL CONSUME ME.” 18 The Jews then said to Him, “What sign do You show us as your authority for doing these things?”
19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”


It kinda reminds me of a streetcorner confrontation in Gotham.
posted by Tehanu at 11:57 AM on March 28, 2008


cortex: Man, Batman would probably hate Jesus

To quote the greatest English poet since Yeats:

Jesus as a black man
No, Jesus was Batman
No no no no no no no no no
That was Bruce Wayne

-from Black Grape's Kelly's Heroes [video]
posted by Kattullus at 12:15 PM on March 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Normally I don't mind my own comment typos, but the first line is "Jesus was a black man"
posted by Kattullus at 12:16 PM on March 28, 2008


Superman is space Jesus. Batman beats Superman. Therefore Batman beats Jesus.
posted by Artw at 12:16 PM on March 28, 2008


I don't think the transitive property applies to superhero duels. Or Jesus, I suspect.
posted by Tehanu at 12:31 PM on March 28, 2008


It kinda reminds me of a streetcorner confrontation in Gotham.

Oh, don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that they don't have a fair bit in common, when you look at it that way. Jesus saves through compassion, Batman through direct action, but they're both trying to make the world better. Jesus' justice comes on judgement day, Batman's comes nightly via fists and rage and million-dollar gadgets, but they're both dedicated to making the world just.

That's actually part of the problem. Same story as with Supes. They're on the same side, idealogically, in a lot of respects, but that's never been a guarantee that people will get along. And when you and Batman don't get along, that's bad news for you.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:44 PM on March 28, 2008


That's actually part of the problem. Same story as with Supes. They're on the same side, idealogically, in a lot of respects, but that's never been a guarantee that people will get along. And when you and Batman don't get along, that's bad news for you.

See, e.g., The Dark Knight Returns: "You sold us out, Clark. You gave them the power that should have been ours. Just like your parents taught you to. My parents taught me a different lesson... lying on the street, shaking in deep shock, dying for no reason at all. They showed me that the world only makes sense when you force it to."
posted by spiderwire at 4:32 PM on March 28, 2008


If Batman had a blog, I'd comment on every post.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:43 PM on March 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


If Batman had a blog, I'd comment on every post.

That idea plus this one would be ninety-nine flavors of awesome if done right.
posted by spiderwire at 7:35 PM on March 28, 2008


OK, I will say that this comment on the Wright thread was really not cool at all. That is really and truly crossing the line in my book.

Good thing it's not a regular or it would probably augur MeFi's ultimate demise.
posted by spiderwire at 8:10 PM on March 28, 2008


I can't believe that thread is still going and that you and some brave others are patiently working through each CAPITALIZED CLAIM. Wow.
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:36 PM on March 28, 2008


I can't believe that thread is still going and that you and some brave others are patiently working through each CAPITALIZED CLAIM. Wow.

Yeah. You're right. In my own defense, I was responding to gnfti's significantly-less-unhinged comment, but got suckered by the borderline-racist trolling.
posted by spiderwire at 9:05 PM on March 28, 2008


It kinda reminds me of a streetcorner confrontation in Gotham.

"... traffic's pretty slow on Aparo Expressway this afternoon, and the Sprang Bridge is down to three lanes due to construction, so don't expect to get home any time soon. And pedestrians are warned to watch their step - the Gotham City Works Department has confirmed a Level Four Broken String of Pearls situation on our fair city's sidewalks, so please, take care... "
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:57 PM on March 28, 2008


Now that we've had this thread for three days, is everything OK now? As you were.
posted by netbros at 3:43 PM on March 29, 2008


It's all downhill from here.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:51 AM on March 30, 2008


From Field Mob's Blacker the Berry:

Blade he remind me of a modern day Panther
While Batman hides behind a mask like a Klansman
posted by Kattullus at 4:28 AM on March 30, 2008


While Batman hides behind a mask like a Klansman

That's not Batman, thats the Hate Monger!

(who is actually Hitler in a Klansman mask, because that's what you do if you're Hitler and you want to project an image of hate and intolerance.)

(Oh, and his mask has a big "H" on it, talk about giveaway!)
posted by Artw at 8:35 AM on March 30, 2008


This reminds me of my recent comment on being a mefi n00b.
posted by rush at 3:14 PM on April 1, 2008


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