Not funny. April 16, 2008 8:46 PM   Subscribe

This post on breast ironing has turned into a nightmare of inappropriate comments, jokes, and general trolling.

Just highlighting it for those who so vehemently denied the presence of misogynist comments/rape jokes in this community. Uh, ironing little girls breasts to keep them free from being raped/molested/forced into marriage? One of those things we don't make offhand jokes about.
posted by SassHat to Etiquette/Policy at 8:46 PM (260 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Like I mentioned in the thread, I think it's a case of people throwing out a comment before reading the post. At least, I hope so.
posted by flatluigi at 8:49 PM on April 16, 2008


One of those things we don't make offhand jokes about.

Well, that thread argues the contrary proposition rather persuasively.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 8:54 PM on April 16, 2008 [4 favorites]


Metafilter seems sensitive tonight!

And yes, outragefilter aside, there are only so many posts about horrific atrocities that one can discuss in a mannered tone... But, seriously... a MeTa about the commentary in this post??
posted by [son] QUAALUDE at 8:56 PM on April 16, 2008


Regardless, FPP in question now deleted, good night gents
posted by [son] QUAALUDE at 8:57 PM on April 16, 2008


The worse thing about that post was the title. Well, that and the idiot jokes.
posted by puke & cry at 8:59 PM on April 16, 2008


If you read between the lines, I think jess is calling for a post about abuse directed at teenage boy.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 8:59 PM on April 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


“Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you’ve got about a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies — ‘God damn it, you’ve got to be kind."

Offered without further comment.
posted by Divine_Wino at 8:59 PM on April 16, 2008 [18 favorites]


worst
posted by puke & cry at 9:00 PM on April 16, 2008


I confess I haven't read the thread, though I have read/watched the links. I'm tending to avoid the comments more and more. which may or may not last. But I wonder if the attempts at humor are just a sort of an emotional natural defense. Something is so horrendous, but it's far away and there's not much one (here on metafilter) can do about it anyway, so people resort to gallows humor? That's what I prefer to believe at any rate.
posted by dawson at 9:02 PM on April 16, 2008


People make jokes about everything which is why this isn't usually a good place to make "OMG this is serious" posts. That one may have had a fighting chance at another time, but didn't go well. And seriously, how many posts have we had in the last two weeks that were some variant of "Oh shit terrible things are happening to teenaged girls!!!?!" It's just weird to me that people think these make decent conversation starters, they just don't.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:05 PM on April 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Speaking only for myself: it's not really the "joking about bad things" aspect that bothered me because, hey, metafilter. It was more the 1) "it's all about MEEEEEEEEEE!" nature of [son] QUAALUDE's comment, specifically, and 2) when several people spoke up to say, "Dude, cut it out, uncool," the thread got totally derailed by the jokesters declaring how it was so totally necessary and appropriate for them to keep on joking.

Guys, c'mon, can the entitlement for once. Tell your joke, but if someone gets upset or asks you to stop, maybe that's an indicator that now's not the time and maybe you should, you know ... stop?

You don't even need to bring politics into it; it's just courtesy.
posted by bettafish at 9:05 PM on April 16, 2008 [7 favorites]


Oops, a lot of maybes in one sentence.
posted by bettafish at 9:08 PM on April 16, 2008


Guys, c'mon, can the entitlement for once. Tell your joke, but if someone gets upset or asks you to stop, maybe that's an indicator that now's not the time and maybe you should, you know ... stop?

All you're doing, though, is articulating an entitlement on the part of the "omg serious" crowd.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 9:09 PM on April 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


No, I believe the entitlement would be the people insisting that their cute little joke is more important than other people's a) comfort with sensitive subject matter and b) conversational interest, to the point that they will completely derail a conversation to talk about how their jokes were zomg totally legitimate even after they've already been called out.

[Speaking in the abstract, at this point, as this incident is far from the first time I've seen the phenomenon. Which, FYI, always, always seems to involve one or more guys as the as the joker(s).]
posted by bettafish at 9:14 PM on April 16, 2008


It seems to me that the intent of the poster should count for something. Obviously, this was not intended to spur crude humor.

Here's a paper on Cameroonian folklore and internalized misogyny (pdf). Perhaps a little more comfortable for those with finer sensibilities.
posted by owhydididoit at 9:14 PM on April 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


Such as myself.
posted by owhydididoit at 9:14 PM on April 16, 2008


This post on breast ironing has turned into a nightmare of inappropriate comments, jokes, and general trolling. (emphasis added)

And here is my surprised face.
posted by davejay at 9:15 PM on April 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


I mean I'm a wuss, and couldn't take most of that post.
posted by owhydididoit at 9:16 PM on April 16, 2008


The post is deleted so that is that. I made a comment that ubu's hackneyed joke didn't deserve the mantle of worldweary black humor that he tried to give it (and btw I got the reference, it is hardly an original line). Anyway, I regret even commenting on it because it just perpetuated the derail and an otherwise interesting post (I had never heard of breast ironing) is now gone.
posted by Falconetti at 9:18 PM on April 16, 2008


*pats owhydididoit*
posted by bettafish at 9:18 PM on April 16, 2008


No, I believe the entitlement would be the people insisting that their cute little joke is more important than other people's a) comfort with sensitive subject matter and b) conversational interest, to the point that they will completely derail a conversation to talk about how their jokes were zomg totally legitimate even after they've already been called out.

From my perspective, you're simply so confident in the entitlement that you're defending that you can't even really imagine that I'm questioning it or even labeling it an entitlement.

Of course people's comfort is entitled to deference at the expense of others' jokes. Of course "serious" conversational interests are entitled to deference by frivolous ones.

The light of reason illuminates it, laying it bare in the mind of every man, or something?
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 9:20 PM on April 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'd rather people said they didn't like the joking than see them try and silence it. But thats just me. I didn't find anything funny about the post it made me feel very sad, but I smiled at the attempts at humor, it lightened the load, not because it was dissmisive but because ... what can you say in the face of human nature?

On preview I'm sorry to hear the post was deleted.
posted by nola at 9:22 PM on April 16, 2008


this is what I said in the original thread:


I don't need to click the link, I unfortunately already know about this. Sometimes, you hear or read about things that absolutely pull the breath right out of your chest, make you feel like screaming 'till your voice is gone. For me, FGM and this are two of those things. I'm tearing (TEERing not TAREing) up just allowing my consciousness to approach the borders of these thoughts; if I go too much further in to this post, I'll have a meltdown.

Ignorance isn't bliss.


And I still feel the same way. I understand the joking, but I can't see it as anything other than a coping mechanism. I mean, no-one could ever really make an honest joke about something like that, right?

right?
posted by exlotuseater at 9:23 PM on April 16, 2008


What offended me most about the thread was Ubu's comment that sometimes humour is the "only possible reaction to atrocity". No, it's never the only possible reaction. If it is, then there's something wrong with you.

Gallows humour is one thing. Defending it as necessary and appropriate is something altogether different.

Jessamyn is right in that "breast ironing" isn't a great topic starter, but people shitting on the thread with gallows humour and the defense of gallows humour also doomed it.
posted by crossoverman at 9:25 PM on April 16, 2008


the 'mother' in the first video who is so cocksure and defiant about doing this to her daughters...she does remind me of a few mefis.
Q"What if someone told you what you are doing is wrong?"
A"I would tell them to go away. I would not agree. I will only do things my own way."
posted by dawson at 9:25 PM on April 16, 2008


All you're doing, though, is articulating an entitlement on the part of the "omg serious" crowd.

The "omg serious" crowd and the "please don't be an asshole at every opportunity just because you dislike exercising self-control when a boob joke occurs to you" crowd can get kind of indistinguishable when you're on the other side of the fence from them, is part of the problem here. Just because you can make a joke doesn't mean you ought to, and that's pretty much what fucked that thread; dismissing this as somehow being primarily a failing of the "omg serious" crowd is kind of a crappy, ass-backwards way to approach the situation.

Using "oh but it's an atrocity so I had to make a joke about mammaries" as an excuse for driveby one-liners is pretty much an insult to the value of humor as a legitimate coping device. Just don't comment if all you can come up with is a stupid joke.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:26 PM on April 16, 2008 [38 favorites]


From my perspective, you're simply so confident in the entitlement that you're defending that you can't even really imagine that I'm questioning it or even labeling it an entitlement.

You may also wish to consider that no one, in this particular case, cares what your perspective on "entitlement" is.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:27 PM on April 16, 2008 [4 favorites]


The thread should not have been deleted: the derails should have been deleted and their authors given a little timeout.
posted by Rumple at 9:30 PM on April 16, 2008 [17 favorites]


Wait, where's UbuRoivas? It seems like he ought to be in here making his standard claim that he was being "ironic" and Americans just don't get irony, and that's why people were offended rather than amused by his joke.


It never seems to occur to him that the reason people aren't amused isn't because they don't understand that he's joking, but instead because he's not actually very funny.
posted by dersins at 9:36 PM on April 16, 2008


Question for the mods: for posts like this, where the topic is decent but the comments have turned into a mess, is it appropriate to flag the whole thread (even if there's nothing wrong with the post) or should we go through and flag individual offensive comments?
posted by fermezporte at 9:42 PM on April 16, 2008


The fact that people here think that a torturous act of barbarism perpetrated against women to "protect" them from further acts of pain and violence is fodder for comedy makes me despair that anything for women anywhere will ever get better when this is the environment we live in.

The fucking video should be what makes me cry, not the comments. Do you people not have mothers, sister, daughters or empathy?
posted by DarlingBri at 9:44 PM on April 16, 2008 [5 favorites]


or should we go through and flag individual offensive comments?

If you find yourself flagging more than three or four comments, maybe drop a flag on the thread instead and drop us a note in the contact form to just summarize what's up. A storm of flags on every single comment kind of makes a mess of the flag queue.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:46 PM on April 16, 2008


The "omg serious" crowd and the "please don't be an asshole at every opportunity just because you dislike exercising self-control when a boob joke occurs to you" crowd can get kind of indistinguishable when you're on the other side of the fence from them, is part of the problem here.

It's amusing that you talk about self control, as though the people derailing with indignant responses never had the opportunity to exercise any.

But hey, you're the mod, you can delete anything you want. I just think it's funny when you admit the obvious but oddly taboo truth that so many of the serious users around here are fussy children.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 9:46 PM on April 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


It's amusing that you talk about self control, as though the people derailing with indignant responses never had the opportunity to exercise any.

Oh, can it. We've never staked out the position that derails are a one-sided issue, so it's just disingenuous bullshit to try and paint it thus. Self-control on both sides would help here, and it has always been so.

But besides being off the mark as far as our administrative take on this stuff, that's also just about the shittiest excuse for derailing behavior I can imagine, and kind of less than shocking at this point coming from you.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:52 PM on April 16, 2008 [5 favorites]


I just think it's funny/It's amusing
the pain of others is humorous to you, I think you can stop stressing that point now. It's pretty clear you are edgy and uber avant-grade and hip to the convention re humor and the majority of us here are just wet socks.
posted by dawson at 9:55 PM on April 16, 2008


users around here are fussy children.

So low you stoop!
posted by carsonb at 10:07 PM on April 16, 2008


I was just being ironic & Americans just don't get irony and that's why you were offended and not amused by my joke. This is because you don't understand that I'm joking and not because I'm not actually very funny.

As for black humour being the only possible response to atrocity, no, it's not the only response, but it is indeed one avenue. Whether or not it works for you is your pigeon.

Like when a friend of mine had her oldest cat die & everybody was all "oh, how sad; you must feel terrible" & i thought this was just pandering to her desire to wallow in pity & sadness, so I made light of it & said I hoped the cat wasn't in pet hell with the evil Lassie; you know, the one that bit Timmy. She doesn't speak to me anymore, probably because she has no sense of humour.

But yeh, for whatever division there was between the jokers & the "let's all be solemn & serious about this" side, the end result is likely the same: bugger all done for the people actually suffering, and a chance to have a bit of a tiff on a website. Hence the absurdism - perhaps I'm just feeling particularly cynical today, but everybody in the known universe has been decrying female genital mutilation for forever and a day, but are we any closer to eradicating it?

Sorry, but this was just another reminder that the world's simply fucked, so we might as well make bad jokes about it, because getting upset isn't going to do anything other than depress us further, and at least reducing it to pointlessness is calling the truth as it is, instead of imagining that moralistic indignation will get us anywhere.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:08 PM on April 16, 2008




exlotuseater writes "And I still feel the same way. I understand the joking, but I can't see it as anything other than a coping mechanism. I mean, no-one could ever really make an honest joke about something like that, right?"

I'm still trying to figure out what "honest joke" means. Anyway, I can appreciate gallows humor, but the trick with it is that it has to be done artfully and/or to the right audience. I'm of the opinion that there are no sacred cows, but finding the humor in tragedy can be a little delicate sometimes. For example, it would be very difficult to make a joke in response to a post on this site about some extreme example of human rights abuses without derailing the thread into arguments and expressions of outrage, particularly if the joke is early in the thread. It may provoke unnecessary reactions, and people may get too worked up over it, but I think you sorta have to take that into account.
posted by krinklyfig at 10:10 PM on April 16, 2008


I don't know how you resolve this issue, but I just want to say that it's a shame that this topic couldn't be linked to or discussed. It's important and I'd never heard of it until that post. I couldn't watch the whole video tonight because it was too horrible, but I would have liked to hear from someone who had some insight into the issue, or worked with an aid group, or had a story to tell from this community. Hearing those things from unfiltered real people is the reason I read this site.
I know I'm not being constructive with a solution here. I'm just registering frustration. It was going downhill and I understand the deletion.
I hope somebody can post about it again and not have the train-wreck.
posted by dosterm at 10:10 PM on April 16, 2008 [4 favorites]


Like when a friend of mine had her oldest cat die & everybody was all "oh, how sad; you must feel terrible" & i thought this was just pandering to her desire to wallow in pity & sadness, so I made light of it & said I hoped the cat wasn't in pet hell with the evil Lassie; you know, the one that bit Timmy. She doesn't speak to me anymore, probably because she has no sense of humour.

Oh, that's why. I don't think it's that Americans have no sense of irony; it's that you have a very weak sense of how you come off. That is, it's everyone else is humourless, and you're so funny. Nobody gets you.


We get you, we get you just fine.
posted by exlotuseater at 10:13 PM on April 16, 2008 [11 favorites]


Hence the absurdism - perhaps I'm just feeling particularly cynical today, but everybody in the known universe has been decrying female genital mutilation for forever and a day, but are we any closer to eradicating it?

A little.
posted by bettafish at 10:14 PM on April 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yeah, krinklyfig, I realized that was poor wording when I hit the post button. I should have said "straight-faced" joke, or similar.
posted by exlotuseater at 10:16 PM on April 16, 2008


cortex: But besides being off the mark as far as our administrative take on this stuff, that's also just about the shittiest excuse for derailing behavior I can imagine, and kind of less than shocking at this point coming from you.

It wasn't an excuse for derailing behavior at all. Maybe that's why it came across as such a shitty one. The point is, a joke or two can't derail a thread without the cooperation of the serious users. Without their help, the mods can simply delete the offending remarks, and it will be as though nothing inappropriate ever happened.

This is complicated by the fact that many of the serious users get a sexual thrill from expressing angry indignation on the Internet, but there you go. Of course, even if you stifle all of the offensive people, the indignophiles will most likely just seize on something else to get their kicks from. Can't win.

Anyway, I didn't post in that thread, and I don't think I've had very many comments deleted at all, so I'm not sure why you're trying to make this about me.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 10:23 PM on April 16, 2008


I don't think I've had very many comments deleted at all

Maybe not, but you did have one deleted today as a result of "sexism" flag based on your gratuitous labelling of an emotional woman as a "whore", so it is pretty hard to take you seriously on this topic.
posted by Rumple at 10:26 PM on April 16, 2008


Ubu: I was just being ironic & Americans just don't get irony...

So, I guess you're American, then? Irony is dissonance between what is said and what is understood. Your joke wasn't ironic or even 'black humor' -- it was just a tasteless witticism.
posted by flatluigi at 10:29 PM on April 16, 2008


pssst...flatluigi: ^
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:41 PM on April 16, 2008


The point is, a joke or two can't derail a thread without the cooperation of the serious users.

Again, not in dispute. And, again, a stupid joke or two even more distinctly can't derail a thread if the jokesters can have the good sense to just close the browser and walk away in the first place, which is especially important in a context where the jokesters know full well how dicey the general topic is likely to be.

This is complicated by the fact that many of the serious users get a sexual thrill from expressing angry indignation on the Internet, but there you go.

A thrill, at least. And some get one from drawing that kind of response out. I'm not hot on either, and I don't think either adds anything of value to the site, but the folks who go knowingly stirring shit in the first place deserve the lion's share of the blame.

Anyway, I didn't post in that thread, and I don't think I've had very many comments deleted at all, so I'm not sure why you're trying to make this about me.

You posted in this thread, obnoxiously; your deletion history is, in fact, kind of shit and only the worst bits at that of what is despite bouts of apparent good-faith commenting still a generally antagonistic and fight-starting commenting history; and you seem very much to enjoy having things be about you, so the complaint rings more than a little false regardless.

It's one of the weird long-standing traditions around here that we usually don't ban people just for being kind of a dick, even when they're a dick on a pretty regular basis. This is more or less what I have to tell people when they ask me why you still have an account, and it's getting pretty old. There's second and third and fourth chances and by then it starts to look like a losing proposition.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:43 PM on April 16, 2008 [7 favorites]


Ha! OK, then. Do whatever you're going to do. The threats are wearing thin, though.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 10:52 PM on April 16, 2008 [4 favorites]


Maybe not, but you did have one deleted today as a result of "sexism" flag based on your gratuitous labelling of an emotional woman as a "whore", so it is pretty hard to take you seriously on this topic.

An emotional woman who entered into a sexual relationship for pecuniary gain. I feel that last bit is relevant, and perhaps undercuts the "gratuitous" accusation just a bit.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 10:54 PM on April 16, 2008


Uhh... people? I know everyone is super offended, but this thread seems to be devolving into "generic lynch-mob" mentality...

perhaps instead of banning a member of the group, we can just agree that i can occasionally make childish comments? does this seem reasonable?
posted by [son] QUAALUDE at 10:59 PM on April 16, 2008


Breast ironing? I think I'm glad I missed that one.
posted by homunculus at 11:01 PM on April 16, 2008


The fact that people here think that a torturous act of barbarism perpetrated against women to "protect" them from further acts of pain and violence is fodder for comedy makes me despair that anything for women anywhere will ever get better when this is the environment we live in.

The fucking video should be what makes me cry, not the comments. Do you people not have mothers, sister, daughters or empathy?


I didn't watch the video, and I thought Ubu's comment was in bad taste. Isn't this rhetoric a bit over the top, though?
posted by onalark at 11:02 PM on April 16, 2008


Well, thanks to those who couldn't contain their inner arsehole long enough for people who were interested to have an adult conversation about a topic that I doubt most people had even heard of (I certainly hadn't). I count myself as another who sees no scared cows in any topic and, as far as I am concerned, everything is ripe for the picking if there is a witty, original joke to be made. The "jokes" in that thread were neither.

Plus, you know you've really fucked up when even cortex can't see your side of the story.
posted by dg at 11:03 PM on April 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


Breast ironing is what is egregious. Although, it is an incredibly depressing subject for consideration, especially given how little I can do about it.
posted by owhydididoit at 11:04 PM on April 16, 2008


The threats are wearing thin, though.

Bang on.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:07 PM on April 16, 2008


Oh wait, I read "threats" as "multiple attempts to give you the benefit of the doubt in the hopes you'll turn it around and stop being a waste of everyone's time."

My bad.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:09 PM on April 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


note: Everyone needs a hug.
posted by [son] QUAALUDE at 11:11 PM on April 16, 2008


An emotional woman who entered into a sexual relationship for pecuniary gain. I feel that last bit is relevant, and perhaps undercuts the "gratuitous" accusation just a bit.

See, that is your interpretation which you are using as if it were a fact to excuse yourself. So, no, it undercuts it not one bit, in fact, add "narcissistic" to the gratuitous.
posted by Rumple at 11:12 PM on April 16, 2008


Heh, that should be sacred cows, of course. Scared cows are another thing altogether.
posted by dg at 11:13 PM on April 16, 2008


See, that is your interpretation which you are using as if it were a fact to excuse yourself. So, no, it undercuts it not one bit, in fact, add "narcissistic" to the gratuitous.

A woman marries an older, wealthy man, they divorce a few years later, she tries to publicly humiliate him, and her lawyer is rumbling about how the prenup is victimizing her because she's getting a mere $750k or whatever. I interpret these facts to indicate that the woman entered a sexual relationship for pecuniary gain. Do you really think I'm wrong? If so, you're one of the biggest chumps I've ever had the pleasure of meeting.

More to the point, I don't need to excuse myself to you, and that's certainly wasn't what I was doing. If you think it's "narcissistic" that your moral judgments have precisely zero weight to me, I'm pretty comfortable with that.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 11:35 PM on April 16, 2008


What offended me most about the thread was Ubu's comment that sometimes humour is the "only possible reaction to atrocity". No, it's never the only possible reaction. If it is, then there's something wrong with you.

dude, how do you ever manage to sit with that stick up your ass?
posted by quonsar at 11:39 PM on April 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Carefully, I should think.
posted by dg at 11:56 PM on April 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Count me as one of the indignophiles who is pretty disgusted that we can't have an adult conversation about a serious topic without a bunch of poor-impulse control people making boobie jokes. The fact that we have to have threads deleted because people can't resist being asses is pretty depressing.
posted by madamjujujive at 11:56 PM on April 16, 2008 [25 favorites]


More to the point, I don't need to excuse myself to you, and that's certainly wasn't what I was doing. If you think it's "narcissistic" that your moral judgments have precisely zero weight to me, I'm pretty comfortable with that.

And how do you feel if, say, 90% of us agree with Rumple...at what point do you care, or at least pause and think, Hell, there is a remote possibility that I might possibly be wrong."
Social mores are sorta defined by majority rule and if a member of society is a burden to that society, the burden is better removed. I fail to see any point you are trying to make, much less the validity of said point and, indeed, see you as still trying to stir shit up, probably cause you get a 'sexual' thrill? And you really can't control it can you? You, the Ralph Nader of metafilter.
posted by dawson at 12:13 AM on April 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


What they said.
posted by peacay at 12:24 AM on April 17, 2008


Good deletion. It would be nice if the reaction "but I lof the boobies! I LOF them!" didn't strike anyone as especially worth bringing to the table. In a conversation about FGM, comments like "but I lof vulva, it is so great for meee and I thank god for eeet, how could they do this" are really not terrific for similar reasons.

If you mean it to be funny, sorry, it's not original or clever or norm-challenging etc.
If you mean it to be pro-woman, sorry, it's reductive and objectifying and creepy instead.
If you mean it to be impressing the dudeZ with how str8 you are, sorry, what are you doing here and why don't you go back to the moron locker room instead?
posted by LobsterMitten at 12:38 AM on April 17, 2008 [4 favorites]


I'm not sure why you're trying to make this about me.

Dude, you've made nine comments out of a total of sixty five about a thread you didn't even post. There are at least as many posts from other people arguing with you -- which means that you're currently the subject of a good third of this thread.

If you don't want this to be all about you -- yet again -- why not just try shutting the fuck up?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:39 AM on April 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's important that we retain the ability to laugh about anything.

It's equally important that we try to have a clue about when to make the funny joke and when not to make the funny joke.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:47 AM on April 17, 2008 [8 favorites]


I disagree with this post deletion. Deleting a good (even if painful) post because of the few who are yukking it up means that this is the group that gets to set the bar for the level of conversation here, which I think is a mistake. It penalizes the good-faith poster and does nothing to discourage inane behavior. In fact, it pretty much means that the boobies-are-just-funny-I'm-sorry set get control of the site by default.

Ubu, I'm disappointed; I think better of you.
posted by taz at 12:53 AM on April 17, 2008 [19 favorites]


taz , I understand what you and others are saying. I'm wondering if maybe it's just too much hassle for the mods to hover over a thread for hours scooping up shit simply because a few attention whores are acting as if they are more sinned against than sinning. I think it was a good, well-crafted post. But until they start giving the yuck-yuck boiz a week or two off for being tiresome, I'm guessing we will be forced to miss some potentially good threads. Which is the main reason I'm fed-up with these adolescent punks. They are the ones who ruin it for everyone and then get a Christ complex. I've lost respect for several people this past week here, and not just from this one thread. egos.
posted by dawson at 1:05 AM on April 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


It was a good post, albeit a painful subject (and one that I had never heard of). Like taz I wonder who sets the bar for conversation around here.
posted by dabitch at 1:08 AM on April 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


The point is, a joke or two can't derail a thread without the cooperation of the serious users

She shouldn't have worn that dress.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:41 AM on April 17, 2008 [2 favorites]



What offended me most about the thread was Ubu's comment that sometimes humour is the "only possible reaction to atrocity".


I kind of see where he's coming from with the comment - it's not the only possible reaction, but when presented with something horrific and given no recourse to do something, it's either that or impotent outrage . And there is something to be said about people being entertained by their own righteous indignation (though I wouldn't go so far as to call it a "sexual thrill" - really?) It's good if it causes some to act, but rage and grief are not the same as action, no matter how hard your heart is pounding.

However, that sort of humor has to be handled delicately, and it can go terribly wrong. When that happens, and it happens to me on occasion, sometimes the best thing to do is to realize that it wasn't funny and might have been offensive or hurtful and concede that it wasn't the right thing to say, rather than to continue to defend the joke, especially since it was kind of a throwaway in the first place. You end up digging yourself in deeper over something that was best let go, and the joke doesn't get any funnier.
posted by louche mustachio at 2:02 AM on April 17, 2008


It's just weird to me that people think these make decent conversation starters, they just don't.

Jess, forgive me if I'm wrong here, but don't the mods frequently have to point out that the purpose of an FPP is NOT to start a conversation, but rather to highlight best-of-the-web? Aren't we frequently told, in one form or another, "If you just want to start a conversation, go to Metachat or someplace like that?"

In other words: If the documentary linked in the post was a good one and has merit, how is it right to delete it because of the way a bunch of juvenile people respond to it?

(Not saying that it does have merit - can't quite bring myself to watch it. Just sayin.)
posted by jbickers at 3:19 AM on April 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


Whoops, screwed up my link. Meant to go here. (It's early.)
posted by jbickers at 3:19 AM on April 17, 2008


Deleting a good (even if painful) post..

I strongly disagree that this was a good post. It was a poorly constructed post on an emotional subject and was pure outrage filter and shouldn't get a pass just because of it's subject matter.

A good post on this subject would have introduced it and offered context, links to society and history that help explain how this practice came out and why it only seems to be happening in Cameroon. Is there something unique about the society? I went through some wikipage links and got the impression this was more of a rural thing as opposed to urban and there were hints of polygamist sect like social constructs here, but that post just left me feeling generally angry and frustrated with humanity. There was no explanation, just "this horrible thing is going on the world!!!!!!" and that's about it.

That said, ubu and [son] QUAALUDE probably should have shut up and not continued posting. There's a time and place for everything and if even if you think everyone else is wrong, sometimes you just need to suck it up and let it go.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:27 AM on April 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


but rather to highlight best-of-the-web

How was that post "Best of the Web"?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:29 AM on April 17, 2008


How was that post "Best of the Web"?

Didn't say it was. If a post gets deleted because it sucks, that's one thing. But deleting a post because of the way people act within it feels like letting the bullies take over the playground.
posted by jbickers at 3:55 AM on April 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Has a previously deleted post ever been un-deleted?
posted by dabitch at 3:57 AM on April 17, 2008


Yeah, it's happened a few times, I think.

*gives pointed look to mods, raises eyebrow in questioning manner*
posted by dg at 4:12 AM on April 17, 2008


But deleting a post because of the way people act within it feels like letting the bullies take over the playground.

That wasn't the only reason it was deleted, which people seem to be ignoring:

"This is going all sorts of unredeemably wrong and is sort of an outragefilter post to begin with. Why is every week a referendum on something shitty being done to teenage girls on MetaFilter? -- jessamyn"


Has a previously deleted post ever been un-deleted?
Yeah, several times. One mod might think it needed to be deleted and then another comes along and says, nah, it's fine and undeletes it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:12 AM on April 17, 2008


What he said.
posted by aihal at 4:19 AM on April 17, 2008


what louche moustachio said just above.

that is, ok, it was a shitty joke & shouldn't have been made.

as an aside, i'm not at all surprised that a fellow aussie can see it in at least a partially sympathetic light. it's not actually about the irony thing, but something else: we generally have no sacred cows whatsoever, and the more something is held up as something that can only be respected in solemn seriousness, the more an aussie is likely to make a totally inappropriate joke about it.

for example, i bet that nobody in america was making jokes about september 11, that very morning. we sure were. the emails were flying thick & fast as people vied with each other to make the most tasteless gags possible*. that's just the way things work here, and it's easy to forget that others simply cannot get their heads around that kind of humour. even mentioning it probably makes me even further worse than hitler right now.

but what i tend to feel they don't get about that vein of taking the piss, is that it's entirely possible to joke about something at the very same time as respecting it. whatever fuss people made about a throwaway line, they apparently ignored my apology directly afterwards, and a serious comment about what is in fact a serious issue.

* i can't remember any right now, so i'll make one up:
"what's the #1 song in NY at the moment?"
"It's Raining Men"

posted by UbuRoivas at 4:21 AM on April 17, 2008 [3 favorites]


What you say is true, UbuRoivas, but.

Australians are certainly inclined to make jokes about everything and everyone, but people were not making jokes in public as the world trade centre fell - they were making them in private and only between people they knew would understand. MetaFilter is not your circle of close friends and making fun of people's misery here is like standing on a street corner and heckling handicapped people at the top of your voice.

I often catch myself about to post things that are most inappropriate here (and sometimes I don't quite catch myself in time, of course). Sometimes the best comment is one you make and never post. This was one of those times.
posted by dg at 4:38 AM on April 17, 2008


But even your apology afterwards didn't read sincere and ubu, you tend to put your foot in your mouth a lot when it comes to sexism related issues. Do you actually think you've done anything wrong or do you only backtrack when you notice that people don't "get" your humour?
posted by liquorice at 4:42 AM on April 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


so basically what you're saying here is that australians are witless, socially backwards goons that can't help themselves
posted by pyramid termite at 4:57 AM on April 17, 2008


Wow, good morning to me. I didn't think that this would happen with my thread, although I'm still somewhat new to metafilter, so perhaps that's what tripped me up. I think that to some extent this is definitely my fault. I was trying very hard not to editorialize, and I think that I ended up just not framing the thread at all, which is what made it seem like outragefilter. In fact, that wasn't my intent, and in the future I will try to find a better balance between a naked link and a screed.

It seems to me that the intent of the poster should count for something.

If my intent is interesting to anyone, it was essentially just to share what I thought was an interesting documentary about a cultural practice which I had never heard of before. It seems that many other people here had also never heard of it, and I guess I thought that it was in and of itself valuable to share something little-known (however upsetting), but perhaps that is too far from metafilter's purpose. In short, I wasn't trying to share my outrage with the community, I was just trying to share a piece of new knowledge that I thought was interesting. Frankly, I'd rather learn more about how other cultures function than see a single-link-youtube post about something soooo funnny guyzzz.

The thread should not have been deleted: the derails should have been deleted.

Thanks! I do feel bad about my thread having been deleted. I also feel kind of stupid for posting a bad thread in the first place. I just want to be clear -- it seems to me that Jessamyn was deleting my thread because she thought it was a bad thread and not just because there were problematic comments. She certainly knows more than I do about the standards of this community and about which threads are good and which are not good, so I don't think it's entirely fair to jump all over her for using her experience and judgment.

A good post on this subject would have introduced it and offered context, links to society and history that help explain how this practice came out and why it only seems to be happening in Cameroon.

That definitely sounds like a better post. I don't know anything about Cameroon, and my lazy googling didn't really come up with much, which is why I just posted the few links that I did. However, it does seem to me that a feature of this community is that it contains people with a wide range of expertise, and I suppose I thought it possible that someone with more knowledge would come along to enlighten us. Nor, even now, do I really and truly think that my thread was terrible as is. But I'm biased!

Long story short: sorry, mefi friends. I will try to learn from this and do better next time.
posted by prefpara at 5:12 AM on April 17, 2008 [10 favorites]


Oh, great, so now Ubu is excusing his poor joke telling on being Australian... First, Americans don't get irony and now it's okay to tell tasteless jokes because Australians don't have sacred cows.

I've already been told I have a stick up my ass, so this can't get worse - but this sort of pathetic argument makes me embarrassed to be an Australian.

Actually, no, I'm just embarrassed for you - thinking this argument is going well for you at all.
posted by crossoverman at 5:16 AM on April 17, 2008


so basically what you're saying here is that australians are witless, socially backwards goons that can't help themselves

To be precise, he's saying that australians are socially backwards goons that can't help themselves, and he's demonstrating that they're witless.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 5:22 AM on April 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


So Ubu, what you're saying is "never mind how what other countries may think, by god I'm gonna do what us Aussies do and you others will just have to deal" ?

You sure you're not American?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:23 AM on April 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


honestly, do you people even hear yourselves?

or has this thread become some meta-ironic super joke that i need to be a part of monkeyfilter to fathom?
posted by [son] QUAALUDE at 5:39 AM on April 17, 2008


for example, i bet that nobody in america was making jokes about september 11, that very morning.

My friend worked at his high school radio station that morning, and he was got people calling in with twin tower jokes (he had made no request on air to collect them). So, you're wrong, we have assholes here in America, too.
posted by piratebowling at 5:51 AM on April 17, 2008


Three separate thing in that post are going to stop people from actually following the link:
1) 7-minute documentary
2) "graphic"
3) NSFW
So the number of people who actually watched this thing is vanishingly small.

OTOH, nearly every thread has comments from people who didn't follow the link, who commented solely based on the writeup. It's the MeFi way. So you end up with a thread with a mix of comments between people who care enough about this serious issue to watch a graphic video, and people who don't care about it at all, and it's not surprising it ends badly.
posted by smackfu at 6:04 AM on April 17, 2008


The thread should not have been deleted: the derails should have been deleted and their authors given a little timeout.

Amen. Jessamyn's decision to delete the entire thread was a mistake. Jessamyn, please stop doing that; it hurts the site when you decide to just eliiminate a discussion of a serious topic.

Please. stop. doing. that. jessamyn.
posted by mediareport at 6:14 AM on April 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Well, if the choice is between deleting the whole topic, or deleting half the posts and then babysitting it for the next few days, I know what I would do.
posted by smackfu at 6:21 AM on April 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Well, if the choice is between deleting the whole topic, or deleting half the posts and then babysitting it for the next few days, I know what I would do.

Yeah. Same shoes, same decision. Except I'd probably be much, much crankier, because my feet would really hurt from not wearing shoes that fit me well.

This is why we can't have horrible things.
posted by Drastic at 6:30 AM on April 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I count 13 derail-y comments out of the 22 in that thread, and that's after what was initially deleted. When the thread itself is mostly derail it gets to be a lot less attractive to try and babysit it into non-crappiness, especially when its the sort of timebomb of a topic that stands a good chance of exploding again right after even an unusually dramatic cull.

prefpara, I may feel less strongly about this one than jessamyn did, but I pretty much agree with her that despite whatever your intent was, the framing of something as contentious as this is really really important and you didn't really hit the nail on the head, as you note. It's not a great big deal, but there's a lot of differences in the baggage that comes with posting, say, a Neat thing vs. an Awful thing, and post constructions that work fine for the former aren't all such a great idea for the latter.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:38 AM on April 17, 2008


it hurts the site when you decide to just eliiminate a discussion of a serious topic.

It wasn't a good post AND was going downhill. There's no particular reason why it should stay just 'cause it's a very serious topic.

But look ya'll, we can go back and forth on this subject, arguing who's right about this, that or the other thing and probably getting angry with each other and closing accounts, etc, etc.

I propose that we, and by we I mean those interested in seeing this topic as FPP, work together to construct an interesting post on the subject. What say you? I'm still curious as why and how this came to be only in Cameroon, what social forces are at work here, at all local, religious, community etc levels.

Here, I'll start: a brief look at gender in the country of Cameroon. There seem to be similarities to the current court case in Texas in the use of polygyny (as opposed to polygamy)as a social custom of marrying off young girls. This atmosphere of forced marriage may prompt mothers to willingly "damage" their daughters in the hopes of saving them.

Can anyone else find other interesting links that highlight the conditions that set the stage for breast ironing to occur?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:46 AM on April 17, 2008


It wasn't a good post

Many of us, including taz, dabitch and I think madamjujujive, disagree.

I think I understand there's a balance, and babysitting a thread is a colossal pain in the ass. I've definitely noticed an increased trend towards summary deletion of entire threads instead of culling the crap (and I've noticed it most with jessamyn), and I'm asking that that trend slow down for a while. I think deleting that post as "outragefilter" comes close to being snark.
posted by mediareport at 6:57 AM on April 17, 2008


Sick, Ubu, sick.
posted by The corpse in the library at 7:03 AM on April 17, 2008 [3 favorites]


I didn't see any discussion of a serious topic in that thread. There was a serious topic, yes, which was presented. But not discussed. I think it's rather painfully hard to have a real discussion about those sorts of issues, apart from "Wow, that's awful, isn't it? What horrible things they do in these poor countries." We believe it's a horrible, abusive, unforgivable thing. They believe it's the thing to do to save their daughters. We are all together here, and so it's just a chorus of "Yes, it's awful!" because to put in a dissenting voice (a useful thing for a discussion) is to put your head on the chopping block.

How would a real discussion about this topic go?
posted by that girl at 7:35 AM on April 17, 2008 [3 favorites]


Why would there have to be one?

Are we going to start deleting posts which generate nothing but "OMG that was hilarious!" reactions next? I mean, what else is there to discuss, right?
posted by mediareport at 7:43 AM on April 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Many of us...disagree.

Can you explain why you and many others disagree that it was a poorly constructed post and therefore, should have been allowed to stay? Not looking to argue, but I am curious to see where you're coming from.


I've definitely noticed an increased trend towards summary deletion of entire threads instead of culling the crap (and I've noticed it most with jessamyn),

It seems like a response to inflammatory posts that tend to not go over well here. Metafilter is cool and all, but it can't handle every time of issue. that girl makes a good point, what are you supposed to do with this stuff? The way the posts are usually constructed, it's just an emotional sledgehammer of despair that ends up pissing people off.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:48 AM on April 17, 2008


MetaFilter is not your circle of close friends...

:(
posted by ODiV at 7:53 AM on April 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Jessamyn, please stop doing that; it hurts the site when you decide to just eliiminate a discussion of a serious topic.

You suggested that she deleted a discussion. I was arguing that a discussion was not happening, and could barely happen at all.
posted by that girl at 7:56 AM on April 17, 2008


Ok, make that "decide to just eliminate a presentation of a serious topic."

The point: posts do not have to generate good discussion to be worth posting. That's always been true here; I don't recall when it changed.
posted by mediareport at 8:04 AM on April 17, 2008


The point: posts do not have to generate good discussion to be worth posting. That's always been true here; I don't recall when it changed.

Yes, but they have always been actively pruned when proven to promote bad discussion. Inflammatory topics are held to a higher standard than flash cartoons about bunnies. For a prime example, see Israel/Palestine discussions, or lack thereof.
posted by zabuni at 8:11 AM on April 17, 2008


but I lof my circle of close friends! I LOF them!
posted by Kwine at 8:12 AM on April 17, 2008


When the thread itself is mostly derail it gets to be a lot less attractive to try and babysit it into non-crappiness

Why do you feel obliged to? An interesting FPP with a shitty discussion attached is still an interesting FPP.

And god forbid anyone see what this community is really like.
posted by cillit bang at 8:14 AM on April 17, 2008


Inflammatory topics are held to a higher standard

So now breasts are an "inflammatory topic"? Good lord. Hello? That's part of the point here.
posted by mediareport at 8:17 AM on April 17, 2008


*slips out the door to work before the inflammatory breast jokes start*
posted by mediareport at 8:18 AM on April 17, 2008


The post about the polygamous sect where teenage girls were raped got deleted. Now this post is deleted as "outragefilter."

The post about teenage boys being prostituted in Afghanistan didn't get deleted. Neither did the posts about Genarlow Wilson and Matthew Koso, which were pretty much designed as outragefilter over our supposedly puritanical and draconian statutory rape laws.

I think this is a pattern, and I find it really disappointing.
posted by transona5 at 8:22 AM on April 17, 2008


I think I understand there's a balance, and babysitting a thread is a colossal pain in the ass. I've definitely noticed an increased trend towards summary deletion of entire threads instead of culling the crap (and I've noticed it most with jessamyn), and I'm asking that that trend slow down for a while. I think deleting that post as "outragefilter" comes close to being snark.

Maybe MetaFilter used to be a lot more lenient? Because if anything I'm often stunned by the seemingly superhuman levels of patience on display.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:24 AM on April 17, 2008


FWIW, I love dark humour and I'm a bit of a free speech radical, so I agree with Ubu on the whole "no sacred cows" thing, which is pretty much where I'm coming from culturally, too.

However, I still feel the joke was inappropriate, to me not because of its content but because of its timing: in that place and at that time in a thread an offensive joke like that tends to pre-empt meaningful discussion, IMO.

Also, it wasn't very clever.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:28 AM on April 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


I've definitely noticed an increased trend towards summary deletion of entire threads instead of culling the crap (and I've noticed it most with jessamyn)

You've noticed it with me because I'm the person who is more often here on nights/weekends having to make a decision re: babysitting/closure on a thread that is already destined to wind up in MeTa no matter what happens. Check deletedthread, I'm really not taking much down from MeFi at all. I didn't delete the thread because I thought "oh this is going to go badly I just know it" I removed it because it was going badly, getting worse, and there wasn't going to be any way to just remove a few off-topic comments (I tried that first, briefly) and rerail that train.

Also, topicwise, threads about shitty things being done to teenage girls really are starting to proliferate around here. I could see that being a good thing if what happened was people actually started talking about these topics, why this was, what people were doing about it, how it was to BE a teenage girl or be a parent to one. However, these threads tend to, with few exceptions, devolve into a bunch of people fighting about pedophilia, how they like women's pubic hair groomed. circumcision (as in this one) and the is-it-a-joke-or-is-it-not commentary like we saw in this thread. As it is, they're getting to be like Israel/Palestine threads in the last few months.

Serious topics don't just get a pass because they're serious. We didn't delete the thread about the boys in Afghanistan and that turned into a huge babysitting mess and a big lots-of-emails-back-and-forth MeTa thread to boot. This may be a bit of an unconscious reaction to that.

I'm aware, mediareport, that you think we should delete comments and timeout people instead of removing posts but that's not how we do things here. We've been doing it a little more in AskMe, I'm not sure how it's working yet as a strategy, but it seems like a shitty thing to do to someone, to time them out for a day, send them a note and then have the mod team asleep for the next 4-8 hours. I'm sure there are all sorts of ways to readjust the way we moderate the place but my feeling is that with the people and tools we have, this is mostly working.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:41 AM on April 17, 2008 [4 favorites]


Inflammatory topics are held to a higher standard than flash cartoons about bunnies.

I was going to stay out of this, and I'll confess that I didn't watch the video (my tolerance for information like this, especially in video form, is vanishingly small these days - I go from "Huh, interesting" to homicidally enraged in no time flat), and I don't necessarily think that the post should not have been deleted, but...

But I disagree that the topic itself was inflammatory. It was outragefilter, perhaps, but I can't see how it was controversial in the sense that "Oh, there's another side to this story" controversial. We have a fair number of posters (hadjiboy, hama7, some others) who post things that may generate a dozen comments, all along the lines of "Thanks" or "Neat", which to my mind does not consitute discussion. So a post like this deleted one, if it only generated 20 comments that all said "Jesus christ how awful" wouldn't be unusual in that respect.

What made the thing go up in flames was not the post itself - which could have been better, but was hardly the Worst of the WebTM - but the stupid can't-keep-their-mouths-shut "jokesters" who think they're The Funniest Thing Ever and the inability or lack of desire of others to ignore them (which I totally grok).

But I'm leaning more with the admins on this - when half the comments have driven off the rails and are riding off to an inevitably fiery conclusion, deletion is probably where it's at.
posted by rtha at 8:45 AM on April 17, 2008


"for example, i bet that nobody in america was making jokes about september 11, that very morning. we sure were. the emails were flying thick & fast as people vied with each other to make the most tasteless gags possible*. that's just the way things work here, and it's easy to forget that others simply cannot get their heads around that kind of humour. even mentioning it probably makes me even further worse than hitler right now."

Bullshit. And bullshit for two reasons: First off, it happened in America. You and Paul Hogan are pretty much as geographically far from the site as possible. I went through trying to explain this to my girlfriend at the time, who was in Thailand, how the US felt palpably different. That there was absolutely no traffic, that roads were shut down, that everyone was on high alert. You didn't have that. Second, there were jokes about it. Immediately. Newsroom mailing lists had jokes before the second plane hit. So no, you're not special.

I would wager that there were fewer jokes about the Bali bombing, which killed quite a few Australians, because nobody cared enough to make jokes.

And when you must be offensive, also be funny. Sub-Fark "huge mammaries" isn't even worth typing out except to get a rise. If it's already been a macro, it's likely not worth repeating.
posted by klangklangston at 8:50 AM on April 17, 2008 [5 favorites]


I'd guess that part of gallows humor is actually being the one in the gallows. Otherwise, you're just pointing and laughing at someone else's suffering.

(In the gallows? On? At? Being hung from? Eh, whatever.)
posted by Ms. Saint at 8:57 AM on April 17, 2008 [11 favorites]


I go from "Huh, interesting" to homicidally enraged in no time flat

And that's part of the problem. Under normal circumstances, flippant, rude comments are deleted, and the thread goes on, to either obscurity or a discussion. But with outrage filter, you already have a group of people angry about a topic, whether it be palestine, alberto gonzales, or whatever, and then we get the requisite 20 or so comments angrily deriding the flippants, and a 100 comment metatalk thread.

What made the thing go up in flames was not the post itself - which could have been better, but was hardly the Worst of the WebTM - but the stupid can't-keep-their-mouths-shut "jokesters" who think they're The Funniest Thing Ever and the inability or lack of desire of others to ignore them (which I totally grok).

Yes, but posts about certain subjects correlate to having such comments. It isn't the quality of the post, it's the subject matter. As far as inflammatory, I meant that in a metafilter sense, the subject matter had the odds of easily becoming the debate that has happened here.

Thus the reason for a higher standard. A great post can sometimes transcend the inflammatory subject matter. Sometimes.
posted by zabuni at 9:04 AM on April 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


there an Ian McEwan quote that I linked to months ago that's worth repeating: "I don't read the blogs much. I don't like the tone-the rather in-your-face road-rage quality of a lot of exchange on the Internet. I don't like the threads that come out of any given piece of journalism. It seems that when people know they can't be held accountable, when they don't have eye contact, it seems to bring out a rather nasty, truculent, aggressive edge...."
posted by dawson at 9:09 AM on April 17, 2008


there's
posted by dawson at 9:09 AM on April 17, 2008


Why do you feel obliged to? An interesting FPP with a shitty discussion attached is still an interesting FPP.

Yeah, but an interesting FPP with a shitty discussion attached, left alone to continue being shitty, generates a lot of ill-will, a lot of flags, a lot of complaints and questions. Part of our job every day is finding compromises between a desire to let people have in principle free rein topic-wise (one of those things that I think Matt and Jess and I all agree on as the ideal state) and managing the stuff that either serendipitously or characteristically goes badly so that threads don't become unchecked festering awful messes.

And the more heated the topic is, the better the chance that whatever decision we do make, whatever compromise we do decide on, is likely to leave some folks unhappy, and so it goes. When we delete, it's a bad deletion. When we don't delete, we're asleep at the wheel. There are reasonable people in this thread arguing either case in good faith, and I don't think either argument is really wrong in that sense: it's just a difficult problem with no perfect solution.

But if the choice is between having some folks be unhappy and having an escalating mess of a thread, or having some other folks be unhappy and having that mess contained, we're probably going to opt on the side of containment one way or another if we can manage it.

And while there are definitely topics that take some care to frame well here, there's no general moratorium on a topic just because a thread on it went poorly. Someone could do an interesting and better-presented post on this a month from now and that could be and go fine. Or it could turn to shit again despite the good framing, because the dynamics of a thread on (or tied to) a hot-button topic are so damned unpredictable. As Jessamyn just said, part of the problem is not just that these threads can be heated, but that they often become nasty nth-time-around rehashes of even hotter semi-related topics instead of the heated-but-good discussion of the ostensible topic.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:13 AM on April 17, 2008


Yes, but posts about certain subjects correlate to having such comments. It isn't the quality of the post, it's the subject matter. As far as inflammatory, I meant that in a metafilter sense, the subject matter had the odds of easily becoming the debate that has happened here.

Yeah, I hear you on that (and pretty much everything else you've said, really). I guess it's just tilting at windmills to ask that people stick to the topic, or at the very least to not shit on it.

This is why I like cat video FPPs - "discussion" is "oh cute!" and "one time, my cat..."

They're restful.
posted by rtha at 9:24 AM on April 17, 2008


Yeah, but an interesting FPP with a shitty discussion attached, left alone to continue being shitty, generates a lot of ill-will, a lot of flags, a lot of complaints and questions.

Could you just nuke all of the comments and forbid further discussion?
posted by probablysteve at 9:30 AM on April 17, 2008


I'm with Ms. Saint. How do you not see the colossal arrogance and self-absorption required to make jokes about an atrocity that doesn't affect you personally at all? Your attempt to characterize yourself as some kind of no-sacred-cows iconoclast is astounding.

Examples of gallows humor: Jews cracking Jew jokes in death camps. People on death row making jokes about prison rape. People whose babies are dead making dead baby jokes.

Examples of being an asshole: Americans cracking Jew jokes during the Holocaust. Internet pundits making jokes about prison rape. Co-workers of people with dead babies making dead baby jokes. Western dudes comfortably ensconced at their computers making boob jokes about mutilated Cameroonian girls.
posted by nasreddin at 9:33 AM on April 17, 2008 [13 favorites]

Count me as one of the indignophiles who is pretty disgusted that we can't have an adult conversation about a serious topic without a bunch of poor-impulse control people making boobie jokes. The fact that we have to have threads deleted because people can't resist being asses is pretty depressing.
Amen.

And let me be the nth to ask why, exactly, Dr. Steve Elvis Whatever is still here. I mean, is there some MetaFilter Dick Quotient that we need to fill, and he's the best for the job, or are the moderators just bending over backwards out of some benighted concern for "freedom of speech"?

The guy's like the anti-Miko: every good post she makes is offset by some fucking drivel from this guy. At some point, I think it's time to yank the cord on some asshole for the good of MetaFilter in general.
posted by scrump at 9:35 AM on April 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Could you just nuke all of the comments and forbid further discussion?

Technically, we could implement something like that if we decided it was the way to go. Practically speaking, that's at odds with 8+ years of how metafilter has worked, and it'd be an odd move to make on the front page.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:36 AM on April 17, 2008


Ah, as I see it... the result of this whole nonsense/shitstorm is clearly to be found in the comment stream of the current horrific atrocity FPP. (which I declined to comment in, thank you)

Notice the uniform lack of ... substance to the commentary? is this really what we want?




.

posted by [son] QUAALUDE at 9:41 AM on April 17, 2008


the current horrific atrocity FPP

Really, it's not a "horrific atrocity FPP", for one thing. It's a nice collection of personal blogs from African women, discussing some hard things but fundamentally kind of just a peek into the personalized worldview of these women.

Notice the uniform lack of ... substance to the commentary? is this really what we want?

There's a few substantial comments in there already, along with some praise for the post. There was also a weird derail from an unattributed Tarantino quote about white and black bitches that I caught early and removed.

I'd love to see the substantial discussion in the thread grow (and I'm weirdly optimistic that it will over time as the thread goes on), but other than that I'm having a hard time seeing that as something other than what we'd want. That the reaction to that thread could be something like "we've got to make this more interesting" is kind of depressing.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:53 AM on April 17, 2008


Notice the uniform lack of ... substance to the commentary? is this really what we want?

Sounds like you're implying that your (and UboRoivas's) commentary in the deleted breast ironing thread are examples of adding substance to the discussion. You don't really believe that, do you?
posted by dersins at 10:01 AM on April 17, 2008


There's a few substantial comments in there already, along with some praise for the post. There was also a weird derail from an unattributed Tarantino quote about white and black bitches that I caught early and removed.

And that probably has had some terrible chilling effect on substance that we will now never see. Perhaps a hilarious bon mot involving a sacred cow-tipping synergy of jokey strained puns about race, menstruation, and domestic violence all at the same time. Perhaps many of them! Now that will never been seen, and metafilter has to soldier on through a world a little more gray and cold with such meager substanceless fare as this anemic me-too comment. Truly, woe is us.

Further...wait one, I'm getting a dispatch.

Apologies. I'm being informed that "woe" isn't the right term, and that I'd been using a dicitonary from the Bizarro Universe for several other terms as well. Please stand by.
posted by Drastic at 10:06 AM on April 17, 2008



Notice the uniform lack of ... substance to the commentary? is this really what we want?

hadjiboy consistently posts quality, well-researched links to the FP, so it seems a bit odd to call him out on this.
I kinda hate to 'go there' but I do have to ask, say your mom is raped and horrifically tortured to death over several days. The way I understand some of you, yr cool if I crack jokes about that, right? because, I mean, I can, and I have the right by God and if you don't get my humor that's yr shortcoming. But isn't that lack of restraint much like someone who has lost the ability to control their bowels? Obviously I can pretty much fart on demand, but while I have the right, should I just go about farting whimsically and giggling like Bevis?
posted by dawson at 10:07 AM on April 17, 2008


the current horrific atrocity FPP

WTF are you talking about? Please tell me how that post is entirely horrific atrocity. Because it isn't.

And did you read the comments? Does this lack substance? Or this one?

Or maybe you think that comments that say "Thanks - excellent post" are as substance-free as "BOOBIES!" jokes? Are you serious?
posted by rtha at 10:07 AM on April 17, 2008


Gallows humor:

Creak, creak... creak.

Narrator: While not renown for the subtlety, gallows have a remarkable dry sense of humor.
posted by quin at 10:13 AM on April 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


I can take gallows humor - I often enjoy it. That isn't the point. The point is that it was a sophomoric derail from the topic that set the thread tone and squashed the potential for any more meaningful discussion to follow. Not to mention the insensitivity given the numerous recent threads we've had with woman after woman expressing feelings that mefi is not a women-friendly place, largely because of tiresome throwaway lines like that.

There are so many threads for humor and snark. Can't serious topics, even terrible topics be presented? The argument as to whether it was the "best of the web" or the ideal framing - it was link to a documentary on a topic of some interest and it hadn't been covered before. We have had numerous other single link posts to documentaries. The only difference I can see is that this was an ugly, sad topic. I don't get the "controversial" or "heated" part. Surely there aren't people here who favor breast ironing? Sadly, the only controversial part seems to be that the practice involved breasts.

I don't fault jessamyn or any mod for growing exasperated with trying to babysit threads that derail in an ugly fashion, but it's pretty hard not to have it seem like and feel like the lowest common denominator gets to dictate the conversation (or non-converation) in such situations.
posted by madamjujujive at 10:16 AM on April 17, 2008 [9 favorites]


The threats are wearing thin, though.

They aren't threats, MPDSEA, they are attempts to wake you up.

But you keep hitting the snooze button.
posted by jamjam at 10:17 AM on April 17, 2008


There are actually a few good "touchy" topic threads on the blue right now including the Abortion Art one and hadjiboy's post. The abortion one was an okay post [single link news filter] with an interesting topic and people are having a decent, pretty interesting, discussion. hadjiboy's was a very good post on a touchy topic and his solid presentation plus a lot of early "hey thanks for this" comments (plus the removal of whatever cortex removed) have pretty much assured that it's going to be okay.

Both of them deal with tricky subjects and "women/gender/sociology" issues, and yet are going just fine. While there's never any absolute way to say "See, the comparison between these three threads and how they were dealt with PROVES this about MetaFilter...." I think you can see some differences and learn from them.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:19 AM on April 17, 2008


Jessamyn: The Aborion Art post is a single link to an article and a quote from that article. There's no obvious "framing" within the post. I'm honestly confused: why is that post OK, whereas mine is bad outragefilter? How should I have framed my post in order to increase the chances that it would not be removed? I thought I was sort of figuring it out, but now I am back to not really understanding what the rules are. Whatever it is I could be learning from the contrast is going right over my head. I feel like I'm missing something, and I would like to make good contributions rather than cause headaches. Can someone please explain it to me slowly?
posted by prefpara at 10:39 AM on April 17, 2008


I strongly resist the idea that the post wasn't good/interesting enough; it was of enough interest for an article in Harper's, and prefpera didn't do anything wrong in posting it here. The subject matter is fine. It's not something that you are going to find 25 links about, because it is a practice that was largely unknown/unacknowledged until some of the founding members of the Tantines/Aunties, speaking among themselves, discovered that it was a fairly widespread practice in their region.

Breast ironing is a well kept secret between the young girl and her mother and usually even her father is not aware of the torture his daughter is subjected to. The girl believes what her mother is doing is for her own good and keeps silent. This silence perpetuates the practice and all its consequences. It was during one of our training workshops for the Tantines that we realized that several of us had suffered this terrible ordeal and we therefore decided to denounce it and campaign against it.


There was such a conspiracy of silence between the mothers or families and the girls themselves that nobody really knew what was going on. The Aunties have a site in French, but some publications such as BBC and Harpers have been interested enough to cover the topic and break through the conspiracy of silence a bit... But, you know - boobs. So, bad post. Whatever.
posted by taz at 10:42 AM on April 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


prefpara, there's a difference between linking to a "graphic seven minute documentary" and linking to a news article. There's a difference between a NSFW post and one that isn't. There's a difference between a 9:30 PM post and one at 11:45 AM (EST). Making posts on difficult topics is something of a crapshoot here because sometimes no matter what you do, they go badly. Sometimes they go well. Every post is contextualized so many different ways that there's not one surefire way you can always get the post and the link right and asure that it will go well.

Everyone has different preferences here. Generally speaking, I'm with cortex that "part of the problem is not just that these threads can be heated, but that they often become nasty nth-time-around rehashes of even hotter semi-related topics instead of the heated-but-good discussion of the ostensible topic." And, at some level, there's not going to be an airtight set of rules you can always follow to make sure your post always goes the way you want it to. You're welcome to run them by us or other MeFites if you're feeling uncertain but at some level having a post removed is one of those things that sometimes happens and it doesn't [most of the time] reflect badly on the person who made the post.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:49 AM on April 17, 2008


Discussion can be better than that. Looks like there was a whole lotta deletin' goin' on, and what's left is still not impressive. UbuR, your defense of the jokes is weak. Could we please have thoughtful articulate discussion? Not every thread, but once in a while, I would like to participate in a snark-free zone. Jokes and snark are so easy, and I understand why people use them, but sometimes the grownups want to talk, okay? So play in another thread; there are plenty to choose from.
posted by theora55 at 10:50 AM on April 17, 2008


I went to bed last night thinking that this metatalk thread would be closed because the thread it was based on was deleted.

All of you people who complained about the jokes in that thread need to be reminded that to ensure a good signal to noise ratio, some people actually have to generate signal. If you saw the jokes, why not post a comment that addresses the fpp in a serious way? The reason the jokes show up first is because when people start discussing a topic sincerely, there's a reluctance to make a joke that could be misconstrued as mocking a commenter.

With that said, here's a joke for you:

So these mothers in Africa are ironing their daughters' breasts so that they'll stay flat. Isn't that crazy? That won't leave any room to give them breast implants when they turn 16.

What I find absolutely fascinating is that it is somehow unacceptable to make jokes about the practice of mothers' disfiguring their daughters' breasts in an effort to make them flatter and less sexually appealing, but it is perfectly acceptable to make jokes about women disfiguring their own breasts to make them larger and ostensibly more sexually attractive and thereby establishing a standard of beauty for all other girls to follow. The reason for this is obvious - as long as we are joking about how women objectify themselves within our own culture, it's okay, because the women are still objectifying themselves. But we can't joke about how women prevent themselves from being objectified, because the unobjectified woman is not really a woman. Or if you prefer - the girls in the post are less than complete women because their breasts are too small, but the women with implants are "more woman" than ordinary women, because their breasts are extra large.

How about this instead: women are whole women no matter how big their breasts are, and men's attitudes about sex need to be set properly but their mothers at a young age so they don't become misogynistic assholes.

Because underlying both cases of breast mutilation is an acknowledgment by women in both societies that men set the standard for beauty, that their attitudes are fixed and immutable, and that those attitudes should dictate what women do with their bodies. We are only outraged by mutilation to reduce breasts because its the opposite of what we our culture endorses, which is breast mutilation in the service of enlargement. Apparently our culture wants women to cut open their breasts and insert plastic implants so their breasts can become striated, hard and absurd, so that they will be more certain of finding a mate.

Granted there is an element here of consent, but the same could be said of the moms here who pierce their daughter's ears at a young age, or who set examples for their daughter by getting cosmetic surgery and neurotoxin injections to look more attractive. The outrage is not over the fact taht the daughter's didn't consent to breast ironing, the outrage is over the fact that they feel they have to do this in the first place to protect themselves from men.

But our situation is actually worse from a certain perspective. There, the moms are trying to protect the girls from being preyed upon by men, so there is some noble intent there at least of mothers protecting their daughters from a very real and life-threatening harm.

Here, there is no risk of harm. The only risk of not looking as synthetically beautiful as possible is that you won't attract the right kind of mate. The pursuit of youth and beauty through surgery is part of the same mindset that motivates mothers in America to admonish their late-twentysomething daughters to find a husband soon because "they aren't getting any younger."

So yes, breast mutilation is horrible, but joking about it in any context is acceptable, because it illustrates how completely irrational the underlying psychology behind it is. The more we expose the insanity of the culture (theirs or ours, preferably both) the sooner we can put an end to the nonsense.
posted by Pastabagel at 10:53 AM on April 17, 2008


Here's some gallows humor related to the trench warfare prevalent during WWI, and the great number of men who died uselessly engaging in it. It's from Black Adder Goes Forth:

Captain Blackadder: How are you feeling, Darling?
Captain Darling: Ahm- not all that good, Blackadder. Rather hoped I'd get through the whole show, go back to work at Pratt and Sons, keep wicket for the Croydon Gentlemen, marry Doris. Made a note in my diary on the way here. Simply says: "Bugger".
Captain Blackadder: Well, quite.
[Outside: "Stand to, stand to, fix bayonets"]
Captain Blackadder: Come on, come on, let's move.
[at the door, Blackadder turns to George]
Captain Blackadder: Don't forget your stick Lieutenant
Lieutenant George: Rather, sir. Wouldn't want to face a machine gun without this.
[they walk into the misty trench, waiting for the off - suddenly there is silence - the machine guns stop]
Captain Darling: I say, listen - our guns have stopped.
Lieutenant George: You don't think...
Private Baldrick: Perhaps the war's over. Perhaps it's peace.
Captain Darling: Thank God. We lived through it. The Great War, 1914 to 1917.
Captain Darling, Private Baldrick, Lieutenant George: Hip hip hooray!
Captain Blackadder: I'm afraid not. The guns have stopped because we are about to attack. Not even our generals are mad enough to shell their own men. They feel it's more sporting to let the Germans do it.


Now, there are several moments where the characters are engaging in a bit of gallows humor about their own situation, but I'm thinking of it more as a television show. It's some rather dark humor from a television show about a humbling and bleak topic, men about to die for reasons that are beyond them in every sense of the phrase.

Now here's what quaalude said about breast ironing:

although I am totally agnostic, female breasts would be one of the few things that you might get me to admit to (when feeling sentimental) as "possibly of divine origin". The presence of this practice wrenches any remaining vestige of speculative theism from cold, bitter "soul". So... thanks for that. You killed my possibility of god. I hope you're happy.

so what's the difference? well, first off, the black adder dialogue is actually funny. If it didn't make you laugh, let's at least agree that it's clever and well written. quaalude's comment isn't.

additionally, it has the benefit of being separated from its topic temporally by a figure of some decades. It isn't being broadcast to british soldiers as they're about to go over the wall, for instance, and the people who might still feel strongly about the events reproduced have had sufficient time to regard the topic with less poignant rage than they did when it was happening. now, not all jokes about something tragic need to wait 70 some odd years before being told, but in this case it certainly didn't hurt.

further, it's sympathetic to the plight of the men about to die. it is not humor at their expense (by which I mean, it isn't making fun of them, so much as it is pointing out the madness of their situation and the lunacy of their commanders), and it isn't humor about our take on things. It's about them and it's sympathetic, despite being blunt about their chances for survival. quaalude certainly wasn't making fun of the girls in question, but it was all about him. What's important about this aspect is essentially rooted in the nature of sympathy: are we making their torment more bearable for ourselves and others, or are we dismissing it to focus more comfortably on ourselves. the distinction matters.

but most importantly, it was broadcast from the safety and comfort of a fictional television show. It had the benefit of being obviously created for shallow entertainment in a situation where it could not be seen otherwise. Imagine instead, a conversation between historians, who are solemnly discussing (perhaps some are choking up and getting teary) the horrific tragedy of so many dead soldiers in trenches. and someone says "christ, just think. what could these men have gone through, what would their last thoughts have been just before heading out to certain death? what would their last diary entries have said?" and then the waiter comes by and says "I bet it simply would have said 'Bugger.' HA!" Maybe some people here would have laughed at that, and that's your prerogative, but if the seriously focused historians didn't, it's not because they're humorless. It's because it wasn't the right time for that joke as far as they were concerned. Context matters.

And that's what some people don't get. That's why me having written all of this is likely going entirely to waste. Because there is a certain type of person who honestly does not understand how humor works, and who obviously has no idea how people work, in general, despite being one themselves. We all know them. We all know that one guy (or, if you're rather unlucky, more than one) who never quite seems to understand how to make a joke, and who always seems to be doing their best impression of a funny person whenever they try to be funny. They're the person at the bar who says something inordinately crude about one of your mutual friends in a way that's kind of over the line and when you call them on it says "What?! I'm just sayin'..." instead of ever backing down or admitting that it might have been in poor taste. They're the kind of person who always seems to be getting in someone's face about something and who never apologizes about anything and who really really thinks they're the life and wit of the party but who, behind their back, has everyone they know constantly saying about them "Christ, they're just not funny." They'll insist that anyone who doesn't think they're funny just doesn't get it or has no sense of humor. The idea that there could be a perception of the world outside of their own that is equally if not more reasonable than their own is simply impossible for them to understand. They exist perpetually within their own rationalizations and the feelings of other people simply never get through. I'd be inclined to think of it as a pathological problem except I don't know anything about psychology. So I just think of them as "that guy." we all know "that guy." He never gets it no matter how much you try to explain it to him, and he has never once admitted that he might be off about anything. Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America is that guy's emissary to Metafilter, it seems. I feel sorry for him, but I also feel sorry for us.

Some of you may remember an fpp, a really quality one actually, about Steve Martin from a few weeks ago. It was about his development as a comedian. How he started off with this theory of sort of being a Dada superhero anti-comic, and how funny he thought his bits were in that sense. And when he got these horrible reviews for it, the first thing he thought was "but wait! you haven't heard my theory!" Gradually, as he became the legendary comic we knew during the 70s, he came to realize that everything in his delivery was more important than the words he was saying, how it came down to this one precision movement of his fingertip as he pointed during the punchline, or some other equally miniature detail. The short version of it is this: context is everything. delivery is everything. the same words said differently under different circumstances have a different reaction.

anyone who doesn't see this, who doesn't acknowledge this when considering the reaction a joke they said (or even a joke someone else said) gets, is the one who doesn't get comedy. that's a fact. not that they'd ever admit it, even to themselves.
posted by shmegegge at 10:56 AM on April 17, 2008 [50 favorites]


Mike enters the MeTa thread and takes a peek at the comment count. He looks at past threads, then pipes up and says, "Come on, guys, we can get to 10,000 comments on this subject if we really try!"

This arrogant alt.callahan-ish style of writing brought to you by FireCo™. When you need good wildfires, you need FireCo™.
posted by WCityMike at 11:02 AM on April 17, 2008


And seriously, how many posts have we had in the last two weeks that were some variant of "Oh shit terrible things are happening to teenaged girls!!!?!" It's just weird to me that people think these make decent conversation starters, they just don't.

This post was deleted for the following reason: this is going all sorts of unredeemably wrong and is sort of an outragefilter post to begin with. Why is every week a referendum on something shitty being done to teenage girls on MetaFilter? -- jessamyn


I sympathize and empathize with this point of view, but I believe it is mistaken and morally wrong.

Unwillingness to discuss these evils or even countenance a discussion about them actively encourages them-- as we have seen in the US with date rape, child sexual abuse, and child pornography.

Also, I am convinced corrupted and degenerate humor such as Ubu's and 'LUDE's stems mainly from a panicky unwillingness to look at what other human beings are going through and experience even the slightest hint of it which is sister to this point of view.
posted by jamjam at 11:05 AM on April 17, 2008


I strongly resist the idea that the post wasn't good/interesting enough; it was of enough interest for an article in Harper's,

Metafilter isn't Harper's and it isn't useful to compare the two.

and the code of silence and Tantines/Aunties info is really interesting, it would have been good to see them in the original post and would have helped it a lot.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:14 AM on April 17, 2008


That was a really great comment, schmegegge.
posted by klangklangston at 11:17 AM on April 17, 2008


Technically, we could implement something like that if we decided it was the way to go. Practically speaking, that's at odds with 8+ years of how metafilter has worked, and it'd be an odd move to make on the front page

But it's done all the time here in MetaTalk, so presumably it wouldn't be that difficult to implement or that strange to see on the front page. If you take any action at all it sends a message, so in the case where the post would have been acceptable but for the comments, it might be advantageous to be able to send that message.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 11:26 AM on April 17, 2008


I thought UbuR's joke in the thread was tasteless, but I didn't really care - as dg pointed out, MeFi is "not my circle of close friends." Water off a duck's back etc... but I'm glad that Jessamyn just deletes threads that start to spiral down like that, because people get too caught up in the "OMG how can you be so crass this is IMPORTANT" vs. the "I'll do whatever I like thank you very much" stance.

However, UbuR's joke about how he "hoped the cat wasn't in pet hell with the evil Lassie; you know, the one that bit Timmy" - that is hilarious. If I'm ever in Oz, I'll buy him at least three XXXX Golds just for the laugh I had while reading it.
posted by Liosliath at 11:38 AM on April 17, 2008


Pastabagel, with respect to your post, which I mostly agree with, have you read the entire thread here? Cause it seems yr missing the point. Of course the 1500 word posts are a bit difficult to ingest, I've taken to skimming them. Anyway, the post was not about wanted breast argumentation in the western world, it was about unwanted mutilation in Africa. And people making jokes about 9 year olds having hot rocks mashed into their breasts repeatedly. So...non sequitur?
posted by dawson at 11:40 AM on April 17, 2008


But it's done all the time here in MetaTalk, so presumably it wouldn't be that difficult to implement or that strange to see on the front page.

Actually no, it isn't done here much at all. With very few exceptions, no comments get removed from MeTa. Threads get closed when they're sort of "done" here most of the time, and occasionally when they're both done and getting train-wrecky. It would be a huge paradigm shift to implement this in the blue and it doesn't seem to solve any problems we're currently facing. It's a much more Big Mod position to take which is counter to most of the light moderation we aim for here generally.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:44 AM on April 17, 2008


Actually no, it isn't done here much at all. With very few exceptions, no comments get removed from MeTa.

Sorry, my mistake. I misread cortex's comment. I was just referring to the idea of closing threads without deleting the post, which I'd argue is a lighter form of moderation.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 11:52 AM on April 17, 2008


Liosliath: "However, UbuR's joke about how he "hoped the cat wasn't in pet hell with the evil Lassie; you know, the one that bit Timmy" - that is hilarious. If I'm ever in Oz, I'll buy him at least three XXXX Golds just for the laugh I had while reading it."

Homer: I want to tell you about the most wonderful place in the world: Doggie Heaven. In Doggie Heaven, there are mountains of bones, and you can't turn around without sniffing another dog's butt! And all the best dogs are there, Old Yeller, and about eight Lassies.
Bart: Is there a Doggie Hell?
Homer: Well… of course, there couldn't be a heaven if there weren't a hell.
Bart: Who's in there?
Homer: Oh, uh… Hitler's dog… and that dog Nixon had, what's his name, um, Chester…
Lisa: Checkers.
Homer: Yeah! One of the Lassies is in there, too. The mean one! The one who mauled Timmy!
posted by team lowkey at 12:01 PM on April 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Practically speaking, that's at odds with 8+ years of how metafilter has worked, and it'd be an odd move to make on the front page

So is the deletion of everything the mods don't like the look of (vs only deleting out of necessity), but that doesn't seem to stop you.
posted by cillit bang at 12:07 PM on April 17, 2008


I think the mods are in a difficult position because many of us have expressed so much frustration with boy zone stuff, and yet most of us prefer the light moderation; it's a quandry for them, and it's a challenge for us; can we modify our own behavior to accommodate the time-honored light moderation and yet still have conversations that have any reference to women without a lot of schoolboy sexual jokes, etc.? I hope so... But when we don't, I really don't think the answer is to nuke a good post* because of that failure.

I think it was a good post; I watched the video, it was interesting; I'm glad I saw it. Nothing in the framing seemed like outrage filter to me, and if it had been augmented (eek-a-pun) with a bunch of commentary about the contrast with women in the west getting plastic surgery to increase breast size, for example, it would have been poorer. It was fine.
posted by taz at 12:08 PM on April 17, 2008 [3 favorites]


So is the deletion of everything the mods don't like the look of (vs only deleting out of necessity), but that doesn't seem to stop you.

Out of necessity? What, are there secret character combinations that can give you eye cancer just by looking at them or something?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 12:09 PM on April 17, 2008


Or to make a non-snarky comment. The policy of pruning everything untoward made sense on the green because the whole point is to answer the fucking question. The policy seems to have spread to the blue, and now comments and even posts are only allowed if they provide civilized fucking discussion, and it makes no fucking sense.
posted by cillit bang at 12:11 PM on April 17, 2008


no, cillit bang, it's not that at all.

Even rude discussion is well-tolerated. It's threadshitting that's not. Asking people to be thoughtful is not the same as ham-handed moderation.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 12:18 PM on April 17, 2008


I was less offended by the joke than by the first comment in a post about violence against young girls being a let's talk about violence against all people because men are important too, especially my penis.

Now that's male privilege at its most crass and obvious.
posted by FunkyHelix at 12:23 PM on April 17, 2008


Or to make a non-snarky comment. The policy of pruning everything untoward made sense on the green because the whole point is to answer the fucking question. The policy seems to have spread to the blue, and now comments and even posts are only allowed if they provide civilized fucking discussion, and it makes no fucking sense.

If that were true, we'd have maybe three undeleted FPPs a day.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 12:23 PM on April 17, 2008


oh man, I wish. if I were a mod (and this should demonstrate quite capably why I'm not and never will be) I'd be deleting shit left and right.

BAM! wack-ass link to a photo portfolio of deserted factories number 20 hojillion GONE!

THWACK! no more youtube cute cat video crap!

FLWA-BLAMMO! via boingboing! hahano!

it would be a pristine and empty paradise on the blue, I tell you.
posted by shmegegge at 12:35 PM on April 17, 2008


I just broke 2000 favorites! go me!
posted by shmegegge at 12:50 PM on April 17, 2008


civilized fucking discussion

When taken entirely out of context, this phrase made me smile:

Lady Mary Chesterbottom: Lord Copperpots, would you say that the missionary position is the most physically adventurous?

Lord Reginald Copperpots: Quite so. I find it most invigorating!

Lady Chesterbottom: Have you heard about this new technique from France? I believe they call it "the dog's style", apparently it's quite exciting.

Lord Copperpots: Fascinating! I will have to investigate this further. Would you care to join me in the library? Perhaps we can find some literature on the subject.

/offtopic
posted by quin at 12:51 PM on April 17, 2008 [4 favorites]


Sorry, my mistake. I misread cortex's comment. I was just referring to the idea of closing threads without deleting the post, which I'd argue is a lighter form of moderation.

No, I get what you're saying, and I don't mean to say it's like a fundamentally crazy idea, just that, metatalk precedent or no, it'd be a really big change to how the front page operates.

It'd be a lighter form of moderation in the sense that fewer things would get deleted, yes; but it'd be a much more visible and editorially conspicuous form of moderation as well, because instead of a deletion that's only noticed by the set of people who got involved with the thread prior to deletion, it's an editorial move that would be visible on the front page of the site to every reader to come along after the closure, and would function as a kind of static taunt to anybody accustomed to the idea that if there's a thread on the front page that they're interested in, they can jump in and comment.

We close stuff on Metatalk because things get done, there—a lot of threads are a point discussion or a bug report or a request for information that can end up being asked and answered in a short timeframe and then it has totally served its purpose. We also close some threads because they're just getting really negative and not going anywhere useful, but we do that instead of just nuking the things because metatalk is different from the blue, and there's a kind of public-service utility to even keeping the sort of crappy stuff around insofar as this is where people air their grievances and get their policy answers etc.

So while it'd be technically reasonably easy to add that functionality of thread closure to the blue, I don't agree that it'd actually be natural to do so at all. I think it'd be really weird, and sort of making us increasingly into editors rather than just the current by-necessity stay-or-go decision-makers we are in that capacity.

So is the deletion of everything the mods don't like the look of (vs only deleting out of necessity), but that doesn't seem to stop you.

I don't know how many times I have to point out that I leave all kinds of stuff on the front page that I don't like before people will stop telling me that I delete everything I don't like. I'm guessing it is a very large number, and I can accept that, but man.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:55 PM on April 17, 2008


I just broke 2000 favorites! go me!

Ah, I remember breaking 2000. Memories of old leather chairs, smoking jackets and brandy snifters. Small harumpfs about the trolls of the day, between short puffs on cigars. Good times.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:02 PM on April 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


I don't know how many times I have to point out that I leave all kinds of stuff on the front page that I don't like before people will stop telling me that I delete everything I don't like. I'm guessing it is a very large number, and I can accept that, but man.

Well, let's be reasonable here, you are worse than Stalin. Obviously.

I mean, duh.
posted by aramaic at 1:05 PM on April 17, 2008


"I just broke 2000 favorites! go me!"

Just wait 'til you get to 3000! You get access to all the secret posts, and man, the completed MeFiTravel is fantastic. Oh, and you get to delete a post every day for whatever reason you like.
posted by klangklangston at 1:27 PM on April 17, 2008


At 3500 favorites, it's a whole new game. I've been assigned a dedicated assistant (courtesy of AssistMe) who types in all my pithy comments between foot massages.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:32 PM on April 17, 2008


Lawn. Off.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:33 PM on April 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


you get to delete a post every day for whatever reason you like.

And put my name on it!
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:36 PM on April 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


Like when a friend of mine had her oldest cat die & everybody was all "oh, how sad; you must feel terrible" & i thought this was just pandering to her desire to wallow in pity & sadness, so I made light of it & said I hoped the cat wasn't in pet hell with the evil Lassie; you know, the one that bit Timmy. She doesn't speak to me anymore, probably because she has no sense of humour.

You bear up under the grief of other people remarkably well, Ubu.

Wish I'd been there to observe that though kitty might be in hell, she could revel in the knowledge that her sensitive kitty nose would no longer have to endure the experience of having you walk into the same room-- at least for a little while.

You are emotionally stunted, Ubu, yet I do hold out hope for you, and I don't entirely dismiss your claim that this is a national trait. I assume you've read Robert Hughes' The Fatal Shore, which lays out the consequences of having been founded by a population of torturers and their victims for the character of Australia today. It's a lot to overcome.
posted by jamjam at 1:44 PM on April 17, 2008


And put my name on it!

WHY WAS I NOT INFORMED OF THIS?
posted by dersins at 1:44 PM on April 17, 2008


Awesome! I'm only, like, 33 away!
posted by klangklangston at 1:54 PM on April 17, 2008 [3 favorites]


"And put my name on it!"

Yeah, it always makes me feel a little guilty when people are, like, what's with the snarky deletion reasons, Jessamyn, and I keep my yap shut. But hey, she gets paid to deal with the grief I cause.
posted by klangklangston at 1:56 PM on April 17, 2008


Awesome! I'm only, like, 33 away!

I'll hook you up if you hook me up...
posted by dersins at 1:57 PM on April 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


I just broke 2000 favorites! go me!

I never wanted to break 2000, myself. I checked my profile and it was 1997, and man, if only it could be 1997 forever. I mean, WJC was re-inaugurated, we all got knocked down, but we got up again, we drank a whiskey drink, we drank a vodka drink, goodbye mister Ginsberg, holy fuck people were buried in space, we couldn't stop there that was bat country, the Internet was kind of clumsy and we were madly infatuated with it, goodbye Monsieur Cousteau, holy fuck we cloned a sheep, Blair still seemed kind of promising, we edged closer to one another on the closing night of the high school play, her palms were as sweaty as mine, everyone had left the auditorium, goodbye meneer de Kooning, the breath of the morning, I keep forgetting, the smell of the warm summmer air, a piss-drunk dawn we saw Hale-Bopp, we all chased our Amys, we believed in the resolute urgency of now, we killed Kenny for the very first time, we kicked the Llama's ass, and god damn it, nostalgia still was what it once used to be.

Alas, nobody listened.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 2:04 PM on April 17, 2008 [5 favorites]


I'll hook you up if you hook me up...

AAAAA+++++ WOULD VOYEUR META REACHAROUND AGAIN!!++1
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:06 PM on April 17, 2008 [3 favorites]


Which reminds me: cortex, any chance of an, errrr, fresh dump of the mefi db? Maybe with titles included for the post*.txt files?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 2:12 PM on April 17, 2008


Lord Reginald, to his considerable surprise, found that the Lady of the Chesterbottom house had a prize-winning Borzoi, a grudge against the Copperpots, and an oddly literal turn of mind.
posted by Wolfdog at 2:13 PM on April 17, 2008 [3 favorites]


Heh. "Dump".
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:17 PM on April 17, 2008


dawson, reread my comment and you'll see I mentioned consent (your 'wanted' vs. 'unwanted' distinction).

So I was trying to substantively address the point of the deleted post, which I think should have remained. Ultimately the test of whether a joke is appropriate is if it's funny, an unfortunately you can't know that unless you tell the joke. But I didn't see a lot of substantive comments in that thread from people bashing the jokers. You want high signal to noise, you're better off adding more signal than trying to reduce noise.

But now I have to ask a question: if no one reads the 1500 word comments, and no one likes the snarky jokes, what's left but "Tsk tsk, how awful!" Are we just supposed to regurgitate the canned arguments and soundbites that everyone's already heard a million times?
posted by Pastabagel at 2:20 PM on April 17, 2008


AAAAA+++++ WOULD VOYEUR META REACHAROUND AGAIN!!++1
posted by jessamyn 13 minutes ago [2 favorites - ]


Klangklangston, you know what we just did....
posted by dersins at 2:23 PM on April 17, 2008


Klangklangston, you know what we just did....

This is just like Legends of the Fall.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:30 PM on April 17, 2008


Is that the one with Brad Pitt fly-fishing? I remember my father taking a business trip to California and watching that with my brother and my mom while my dad was out at a meeting and thinking that it was deadly fucking dull.

But if we're both reaching around, doesn't that make it an elephant walk? Or was that some sort of bizarre Eiffel Tower thing?
posted by klangklangston at 2:36 PM on April 17, 2008


Well, I do have the same birthday as Brad Pitt.

Also, DMX.

And Keith Richards.

Just sayin'.

posted by dersins at 2:38 PM on April 17, 2008


*perks up ears*
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:38 PM on April 17, 2008


we drank a whiskey drink, we drank a vodka drink

So, I'm walking through some sporting goods store the other day, and I hear what sounds like Tubthumping coming over the speakers, but something isn't right. I listen more closely, and I hear the lyrics are something like "I get knocked down, But I'm American, and your never going to keep me down"; it's a jingoistic cover.

And I think about it, because the song is incredibly repetitive, and they keep saying that line over and over and over again, and the thought occurs to me that this really isn't the kind of song that they should be playing in a store than sells firearms and baseball bats and heavy golf clubs, because had I the opportunity, I would inflict great physical harm on everyone involved with that song's creation.

And I'm particularly angry that I haven't been able to find a single word about it on the internet. At this point, I'm assuming that it was some kind of hallucination brought on by a hangover and hunger. But I held on to the anger... it keeps me warm.
posted by quin at 2:53 PM on April 17, 2008


quin, the very idea of that song parody is so fucking stupid it just has to be true.
posted by Atom Eyes at 3:15 PM on April 17, 2008


OK, the tar is finally hot and I've cut open a dozen feather pillows!

Looks around

President Steve Jerky-face got away again, didn't he?
posted by SteveTheRed at 4:19 PM on April 17, 2008


Morning, all. What are we up to now?

Oh!

You are emotionally stunted, Ubu, yet I do hold out hope for you, and I don't entirely dismiss your claim that this is a national trait.

I have a confession to make: I made the kitty story up, plagiarising from The Simpsons. The "she doesn't speak to me anymore; probably because she has no sense of humour" should have been a dead giveaway that I was taking the piss out of myself.

I assume you've read Robert Hughes' The Fatal Shore, which lays out the consequences of having been founded by a population of torturers and their victims for the character of Australia today. It's a lot to overcome.

Yes, we were founded by convicts & America by puritans. This accounts for our disrespect for authority & slaughter of all sacred cows, and Americans' narcy tendency towards smug self-righteousness.

How would a real discussion about this topic go?

A hell of a lot less interesting than this callout, I imagine. Let's try it out:

This is terrible.

I agree.

It should be stopped.

Yes.

How can people do this to each other?

You're right. It's barbaric.

[at which point somebody might make a point about cultural relativism & how whiteys shouldn't impose their cultural standards on other cultures, whereupon it would be all downhill with a bullet]

In other matters, I'm wondering about the black humour thing, and why in some cases it hits a nerve & results in a 190-comment MeTa callout, and in other cases black humour is recognised for what it is.

For example, on the very same day as the breast ironing thread, dhruva made a post about the displacement of tribal communities from India's forests, in order to protect a pride of five lions. If it were possible to add up the sum total of human misery resulting from that, and compare it with the sum total of misery resulting from breast ironing, the Indians would almost certainly have it worse off (basically, because they'll end up in slums in the cities, with many women subjected to abuse & prostitution etc - remember that these adivasis are effectively untouchables in the caste system).

My first comment: "But what will the lions eat now?"

Now, maybe people missed it (admittedly, the post attracted few comments), but I think that throwaway joke showed even greater apparent callous disregard for human suffering than the breast one, but it was the latter comment that drew all the flak.

I'd be interested to hear any theories on why this might be.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:47 PM on April 17, 2008


The quality of the FPP notwithstanding, I'm not sure why a somewhat chaotic comment thread is necessarily a problem of nightmarish dimensions. I mean, back when we had the massive sexism MeTa discussions, the point was raised repeatedly that when the fucking puerile "gimme gimme sweater puppy funbags" brigade shows up in threads, then not only do they need to be flagged with extreme prejudice, but the Mefites who object to their bullshit need to call them on the carpet about it right there in the thread en masse rather than just silently favoriting the comment of one brave soul who speaks up.

Well, OK, but it's apt to be somewhat untidy as 5 or 10 or 20 indignophiles give some knuckedragging vaudevillian what for and some people take up for her/him. So what? Learning is a messy process, and I'm not sure why it automatically requires vigilant babysitting. Also, who's to say that the conversation wouldn't have gotten back on topic or that the yelling over those jokes wouldn't have morphed into some discussion of body-image issues that's perfectly relevant.
posted by FelliniBlank at 5:03 PM on April 17, 2008


UbuRoivas: "... My first comment: "But what will the lions eat now?"

Now, maybe people missed it (admittedly, the post attracted few comments), but I think that throwaway joke showed even greater apparent callous disregard for human suffering than the breast one, but it was the latter comment that drew all the flak.

I'd be interested to hear any theories on why this might be.
"

Because one was (mildly) funny and one was just stupid. One was a simple one-liner and one (for whatever reason) triggered/was accompanied by other comments along a similar vein that set off a thread-destroying chain reaction. I think it's related to the way you hold your mouth when you click on the "post comment" button, myself.
posted by dg at 5:07 PM on April 17, 2008


"A hell of a lot less interesting than this callout, I imagine. Let's try it out:"

See, that's what happens when you imagine a worst-case scenario out of ignorance. You don't know what might have happened, and it's a failure on your part to imagine simply a rote bunch of back-patting that could only be improved by your, and let's emphasize this again, Fark-level joke.

"Yes, we were founded by convicts & America by puritans. This accounts for our disrespect for authority & slaughter of all sacred cows, and Americans' narcy tendency towards smug self-righteousness."

Ah, yes, Americans can't ever tell you that you've been a fucking prick without it coming from our puritan background. I take it that you convicts are too stupid to understand the fallacy of ad hominem argumentation?

Further, as to your "Wow, I was just taking the piss out meself, throw another blinky on the barbie" routine—if, again and again, no one can tell that you're joking, perhaps the problem is that you're not funny and you're communicating poorly, not that everyone else is unable to grasp what a coruscating character you are, even if they are from, gasp, America, which has no anti-authority streak and whose people speak only reverently of everything.
posted by klangklangston at 5:07 PM on April 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


FelliniBlank: "... the Mefites who object to their bullshit need to call them on the carpet about it right there in the thread en masse rather than just silently favoriting the comment of one brave soul who speaks up..."

No, they don't. That is a bad idea and has exactly the same result. Or worse. MeTa exists for this purpose.
posted by dg at 5:09 PM on April 17, 2008


Ah, yes, Americans can't ever tell you that you've been a fucking prick without it coming from our puritan background. I take it that you convicts are too stupid to understand the fallacy of ad hominem argumentation?

That was deliberate, right?
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:15 PM on April 17, 2008


The second sentence was the deliberate example, Ubu. Ad hominem isn't name-calling, it's either making an argument that appeals based on emotion (the original sense), or attempting a refutation based on the group of people to whom the opponent belongs.

Calling you a fucking prick is an insult, not an ad hominem.
posted by klangklangston at 5:17 PM on April 17, 2008


Yeah, Ubu, I don't think klangklangston was saying you're wrong because you're a prick. I think he was just saying that you're wrong AND you're a prick.
posted by dersins at 5:22 PM on April 17, 2008


The distinction is subtle.
posted by klangklangston at 5:23 PM on April 17, 2008


quin: You're not alone.
posted by lore at 5:23 PM on April 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


See, that's what happens when you imagine a worst-case scenario out of ignorance. You don't know what might have happened, and it's a failure on your part to imagine simply a rote bunch of back-patting

Well, it's pretty much impossible to prove a negative, but would you care to exercise your imagination to suggest what might possibly have come out of that thread? "Outragefilter" really strikes a chord here, because about the only possible response is to be outraged, no? I think that's been clearly demonstrated.

Fark-level joke

Yes, I plead guilty as charged. But can we quit with the ad-hominems & "Ubu has no sense of humour / is That Guy who's always saying the wrong things & insisting that it's just that others don't get the joke" already? Probably more than 80% of my activity here is little more than trolling for lolz, and it's only ever resulted in this kind of shitstorm of name-calling & subsequent defensiveness on my part about two or three times in three and a half years here, so it's a quite a weak & baseless slur, I think.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:25 PM on April 17, 2008


I think he was just saying that you're wrong AND you're a prick.

Care to explain? I can't remember the last time I used that kind of terminology against anybody here, for example.

Also, what shitstorm do you think would result if I started wandering around here calling people cunts because they made a joke I didn't like & then defended themselves against a pile-on?
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:29 PM on April 17, 2008


Probably more than 80% of my activity here is little more than trolling for lolz

it's tragic
posted by pyramid termite at 5:31 PM on April 17, 2008


"Well, it's pretty much impossible to prove a negative, but would you care to exercise your imagination to suggest what might possibly have come out of that thread? "Outragefilter" really strikes a chord here, because about the only possible response is to be outraged, no? I think that's been clearly demonstrated."

It's easy to imagine that, given MeFi's breadth of membership, someone would have personal experience with either the breast-ironing practice or broader context to add, or knowledge of the documentarians. All of which could have been interesting.

"Yes, I plead guilty as charged. But can we quit with the ad-hominems & "Ubu has no sense of humour / is That Guy who's always saying the wrong things & insisting that it's just that others don't get the joke" already? Probably more than 80% of my activity here is little more than trolling for lolz, and it's only ever resulted in this kind of shitstorm of name-calling & subsequent defensiveness on my part about two or three times in three and a half years here, so it's a quite a weak & baseless slur, I think."

Dude, you bring it upon yourself. And have brought it upon yourself repeatedly. And when you say that no, it's because we didn't make jokes about 9/11, you're fucking talking bullshit and you're going to get called on it.
posted by klangklangston at 5:35 PM on April 17, 2008


Care to explain?

Explain? Explain what? Prick? Ok.

Prick
–noun
...
7. Slang: Vulgar.
a. penis.
b. an obnoxious or contemptible person
.

posted by dersins at 5:37 PM on April 17, 2008


I'll take a wild stab in the dark and guess that your lame joke about tits in a thread regarding little girls being mutilated by their mothers on a website which has been debating 'boyzones' and sexism probably annoyed more people than your lame joke about lions eating poor people. But now that you've told lots of people about your lame lion joke, we can all have a big argument about that one too!

PS I'm also Australian, and a feminist too (I am a rare creature around these parts, apparently). I enjoy sick jokes and laughing at people's testicles and fallopian tubes when the opportunity arises, but as someone up there mentioned, you have to consider your audience. Time and place, man!
posted by h00py at 5:40 PM on April 17, 2008


But can we quit with the ad-hominems & "Ubu has no sense of humour / is That Guy who's always saying the wrong things & insisting that it's just that others don't get the joke" already?

Oh for Pete's sake. Your joke sucked and was badly timed. Quit whining and get over it. Sometimes you're funny and sometimes you're not. This time you were not. Can't win 'em all.
posted by LeeJay at 5:40 PM on April 17, 2008


Oh and apropos of nothing, can I just say that Karl Pilkington has got a head like a fucking orange?






ObMontyPythonLameQuotation: No, I'm sorry, there isn't time.
posted by h00py at 5:44 PM on April 17, 2008


I couldn't watch the video at work, but have done so now that I got home. Frankly, I'm almost as disturbed as I've ever been on this site that this was deleted. What disturbs me greatly is a comment earlier in this thread by Jessamyn where she says that Metafilter isn't a place to make "OMG this is serious" posts. That moderative choice seems to fundamentally conflict with Metafilter's "best of the web" policy.

I posted a cheesy Microsoft YouTube video to the front page the other day. But I knew that was a cheap shot, a throwaway post. I thought it met a certain level of humor -- cream of the cheesy crop, so to speak -- so that submitting it wouldn't be inappropriate.

But that's not the kind of post I've grown to associate with the best of Metafilter. Through Metafilter I've learned about serious, horrifying issues in this world; I've learned about interesting movies, music, and books; and I've learned about much more. As is Metafilter's "mission," I've learned about the Best of the Web.

To remove this post -- which has enlightened me as to the existence of a horrifying practice I never knew existed -- simply on the basis of "outragefilter" -- just blows me away. I'm trying to react to the decision without becoming personal, but it's hard not to react very poorly at someone expressing the opinion that a post informing people about horrid systemic atrocities scarring women across a country should be deleted because they were not "decent conversation starters" and were "outragefilter."

There are plenty of threads that aren't decent conversation starters. Hell, every time even the most minor celebrity or historical figure dies, we get a Blue post, and what are the threads composed of? About five hundred periods. Such enlightening conversations.

Furthermore, this qualifies as best of the web because, if memory serves, the website on which this was hosted was the online media venture founded by Al Gore, the "citizen journalism" project. That makes it very significant when looked at from a "what is presented via Web media" outcome.

People were crapping all over the post, I'm told. (Looking at the post, it appears the jokes were deleted, so aside from a citation in an undeleted quote, I can't react to the jokes themselves.) Fine, that's what comment deletions and banhammers are for. If a mod is sick of dealing with a subject, hand it off to another mod. If the mods are being overworked, bring another into the fold.

Let's look at the "filters" we have. The Bush Administration's stupidity is zapped because it's LOLbushfilter. Fundamentalist Christians are deleted because it's LOLxians. YouTube as a media is derided (if not automatically deleted) as "one-link YouTube post!". And now, we've got outragefilter.

It seems like "subjectfilters" are being adopted left and right — and as a result, huge swaths of story subjects, even if they have a tangential relationship to such a filter, are forever ruled out as ineligible for Mefi.

The only generalization that I have found to be of any use whatsoever is this: generalizations suck. LOLgeneralization!

I don't dispute that the ultimate authority for such decisions does reside with the mods, and we're subject to their tastes in what's suitable for the site. But I can't help but very, very strongly, and vehemently, disagree with those tastes as shown through these "filters." A few, or perhaps even some, stories about the Bush Administration during the LOLbushfilter enforcement have been worthy of coverage. Same with some fundie Christian stories. Some, not all. And by gods, this was worthy of coverage, and this was definitely one of the heaviest contenders for Mefi's "Best of the Web" slogan that I've seen on the site.

I damaged my credibility with statements forecasting Metafilter's future when I behaved far too aggressively during a feminism MeTa thread. Nonetheless, I'll go into the red and assume some credibility I don't have when I say this: if mods are going to start implementing "outragefilter" because people act like assholes in threads, or because there's enough of an outbreak of horror in the world that we see a lot of it at once, then Metafilter is seriously, seriously, seriously going to suffer.
posted by WCityMike at 5:45 PM on April 17, 2008 [6 favorites]


Whoa, I was reading "we all got knocked down, but we got up again, we drank a whiskey drink, we drank a vodka drink" by gnfti and at that exact moment that song started playing on the radio.

Carry on.

posted by matthewr at 5:56 PM on April 17, 2008


"Care to explain? I can't remember the last time I used that kind of terminology against anybody here, for example.

Also, what shitstorm do you think would result if I started wandering around here calling people cunts because they made a joke I didn't like & then defended themselves against a pile-on?
"

Oh, you fucking baby.
posted by klangklangston at 5:56 PM on April 17, 2008


What disturbs me greatly is a comment earlier in this thread by Jessamyn where she says that Metafilter isn't a place to make "OMG this is serious" posts.

I'm not sure if you misread me or missed the context of my comment. My point upthread was that if you think your topic is so gravely serious that people putting jokes into a thread about it will ruin and destroy any useful discussion, then it might be better to not post it here. People joke around here. I'd like them to do it less in serious threads, but there's no guideline or moratorium against it so we work more by good examples and the occasional MeTa callout.

Nothing fucks up a thread more than people trying to swim upstream and try to set a tone for a thread while people around them are resisting that tone-setting (this wasn't happening in this post, just explaining my comment earlier). This is the trouble with many obit posts -- ikkyu2's post being a recent counterexample -- and it was part of the problem with this post which was mostly sunk because of the discussion, not the post itself. There have been some great serious topic posts today that are going just fine into the multi-hundred comment range.

The big problem may have been the timing, an evening post when there's a different crew of people here, more early jokes and nonsense comments and no one really eager to discuss the topic or even say "hey thanks for the post". People get agitated and outraged at the subject matter and their responses are all over the map. There is no automatic "outragefilter" post removal nor should there be, but the fact that something is truly horrible doesn't automatically mean it's going to make a good post for MeFi or that even a decent post is going to go well.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:00 PM on April 17, 2008


I know it's a little late, but I do want to say something I feel strongly about and wish I had said before.

I do not believe that the only thing to be said about that documentary is some form of "oh no!"

There are a lot of half-formed thoughts in my head that were sparked by that documentary. I only saw it last night, so I haven't had time to really think it through, but among other things, I think it could have been possible to discuss things such as:

--the ways that female bodies are modified by the poor are different from the ways they are modified by the rich, and I think this practice really sheds light on that distinction. Consider footbinding. It's a practice that is meant to make a woman more, not less, attractive to a male, because her family can protect her. I am not a very good scholar of history, but it is my understanding that the subsistence farmers of China did not engage in this practice -- if I am wrong, forgive me. It's the kind of thing I'd look up if I weren't at work. It's an idea I had.

--visible vs. invisible modifications. FGM is not visible to the casual eye. Neither is circumsicion. Subtle breast augmentation can be hidden by clothing. This practice is an interesting mix of visible -- a visibly less "feminine" or "womanly" shape -- and invisible -- is it possible to tell whether a girl is naturally flat chester or whether she had had her breasts ironed?

--if you believe that this will significantly lessen the chance that your 10 year old daughter will be violently raped and it is a practice that is condoned by many in your community... I don't know how to articulate this, but that is what makes it NOT outragefilter for me. It would be outrageous here, but in Cameroon, the circumstances are difficult. I think the practice is horrifying, but it's so easy for me to have this reaction from the safety of my desk chair.

--how recent is this practice? I wonder if there are long-term effects? Is this generational -- women who have had it done to them, etc?

--there is resistance to the practice coming from within the country. I wish I were not at work (taking a teeny tiny break) so I could look into this. I wonder what their strategy is? How can you convince people to change their ways? Education? Policing? Arming teen girls with switchblades?

--there have been some very interesting thoughts shared and contributions made - some in this MeTa thread.

I am not saying my thread was good. I am saying that a thread on that topic is not thereby bad. Nor is it impossible to discuss serious and tragic issues.
posted by prefpara at 6:01 PM on April 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


It makes me sad that people consider a number of topics to be "off-limits" for discussion on Metafilter. This community changes a lot, based on who is logging in at any given time and considering that membership is still open. I really enjoy talking about controversial issues here because I like reading cogent arguments on one side or the other about controversial and complicated issues. Particularly when I haven't quite figured out how I feel about them yet. I'm optimistic that good debate can happen here - it has, at times - and I think that not-going-there just people people disagree and feel strongly is a disappointing cop-out.

That being said, it would be great if everyone could let these conversations happen (and not doom them from the start), quit trolling/ignore trolls, and take the disrespectful lulz somewhere else.
posted by lunit at 6:05 PM on April 17, 2008


Oh, you fucking baby.

Piss off, wankstain.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:06 PM on April 17, 2008


Get a room, you two.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:20 PM on April 17, 2008


No way am I sharing a room with that cantankerous thrushwad.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:26 PM on April 17, 2008


I'm aware, mediareport, that you think we should delete comments and timeout people instead of removing posts but that's not how we do things here.

Ok, jessamyn, drop the timeout if you must. The deeper issue (which taz put so succinctly: "But, you know - boobs. So, bad post. Whatever.") remains - namely, that the current mod strategy consistently rewards the assholes who ruin threads on certain topics and actively punishes those who'd like to discuss those topics intelligently. I don't see any way that makes sense.

I think you were clearly wrong in this instance, both in your decision to kill the thread and in your labeling of it as "outragefilter." It was unfair to the poster and unfair to the members who found the subject unusual and interesting. I gather you don't think it was a mistake, but at least you've heard what I have to say. So, again, I'll ask the mods to please stop letting juvenile jerks kill perfectly fine posts and leave it at that.
posted by mediareport at 6:30 PM on April 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


"That moderative choice seems to fundamentally conflict with Metafilter's 'best of the web' policy."

There is no Metafilter "best of the web" policy, and the sooner that little bit of lore dies, the better.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:32 PM on April 17, 2008


hey! sasshatcallout is *so* a replacement word for the word clusterf#$k.

that was a perfectly cromulent answer.

*grumble* overmoderation *grumble*
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:33 PM on April 17, 2008


So, again, I'll ask the mods to please stop letting juvenile jerks kill perfectly fine posts and leave it at that.

yeh, i would've been happier to have my nonjoke deleted & the thread remain. i honestly wasn't trying to derail but that's how it ended up & i really really really should've known better.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:39 PM on April 17, 2008


that was a perfectly cromulent answer.

If you don't want to be known as the guy who is always making the jokes that people don't get and then haranguing them when they don't get them, I have some advice

1. stop making those stupid jokes [and crapping in AskMe, seriously WTF?]
2. stop defending them once other people have said, yet again, that they don't think they're funny or appropriate.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:48 PM on April 17, 2008


*corrected version*

I feel that SassHat has a tendency towards making some callouts in ways that are particularly antagonistic & emotively loaded, and not always conducive to optimally constructive discussion. That is, I feel that they tend to pour fuel on the fire, because when a simple "hey, that's out of line" allows for a conciliatory kind of response, accusations "highlighting a nightmare of misogynist rape jokes" are generally akin to asking "so, have you stopped beating your wife yet?"

As I see it, the possible responses are either:

"You're right. I made a misogynist rape joke, sorry about that" (not an easy-out for anybody) or

"It wasn't a misogynist rape joke, for these reasons..." (generally leading to the usual polarisation into "you're blowing things way out of proportion; lighten up a little" vs "this is exactly the kind of dismissal of womens' issues that leads to people thinking rape & genital mutilation are trivial matters" whereupon nobody wins & people leave in a massive huff)

Either way, the framing of the callout is a setup for a clusterfuck.

(also, i didn't notice anything even remotely resembling rape jokes, so for people calling for sensitive handling of sensitive issues, the framing of this callout might serve as another example of how not to run about like a bull in a china shop)
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:06 PM on April 17, 2008


"No way am I sharing a room with that cantankerous thrushwad."

This is Planes, Trains and Automobiles all over again.

Look, on my drive home, I was thinking about a snide comment I made in that Jenny Diski (Disky?) thread that got me roundly pummeled, and how discretion probably would have been the better part of valor there, and how it seemed that you were in a similar spot. And, of course, I see this as a little different, not only because I'm not in the piñata this time around.

Based on "yeh, i would've been happier to have my nonjoke deleted & the thread remain. i honestly wasn't trying to derail but that's how it ended up & i really really really should've known better," you pretty clearly get it, and I even found your piss-take comment here on the AskMe answer funny.

Just try not to be such a fucking prick about getting it, y'know?
posted by klangklangston at 7:11 PM on April 17, 2008


shoulda previewed.
posted by klangklangston at 7:12 PM on April 17, 2008


why previewed - do you take it back now?

that comment on SassHat's callout style isn't meant to be particularly strong - i just think that there are ways of getting a positive result, and ways of setting up a potential trainwreck, and this one veered towards the latter.

if you've ever done toastmasters, or various kinds of corporate training things, the optimal way of handing out criticism is to couch it first with something positive, point out the fault, and close with more positivity & a suggestion for the future.

eg: "[son] QAALUDE, i realise that you were just trying to make a joke & maybe that would have been ok in a different context, but this is a sensitive issue & you'll probably cause offence to people & derail discussion, so even though i know you meant no real harm, you probably shouldn't do that kind of thing in future"

which is considerably different to OMGMISOGYNISTRAPEJOKES!

anyway, that's more than enough from me on this topic.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:27 PM on April 17, 2008


There is no Metafilter "best of the web" policy, and the sooner that little bit of lore dies, the better.

Suddenly I feel like a throwaway gag account.
posted by lore at 7:30 PM on April 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


jessamyn: "...The big problem may have been the timing, an evening post when there's a different crew of people here, more early jokes and nonsense comments and no one really eager to discuss the topic or even say "hey thanks for the post"..."
Probably because that's when the Australians are awake.
posted by dg at 7:37 PM on April 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Would it be a big change for Australians' comments to be visible only to other Australians?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 7:49 PM on April 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


The problem there is that you would have to get Australians to self-identify, to get around the enormous numbers of non-Australians who live in Australia (like me).
posted by dg at 7:58 PM on April 17, 2008


PS I'm also Australian, and a feminist too (I am a rare creature around these parts, apparently)

Me too! Let's start a club.
posted by liquorice at 8:09 PM on April 17, 2008


ooh! can i join?
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:01 PM on April 17, 2008


the enormous numbers of non-Australians who live in Australia (like me).

What what what? You're not Australian? *recalibrates accent in which he reads dg's comments to himself*
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:01 PM on April 17, 2008


the optimal way of handing out criticism is to couch it first with something positive, point out the fault, and close with more positivity & a suggestion for the future.

australia is a fine country, but you're bringing it down - still i'm sure a person with your great endurance can swim to antarctica and try to outwit penguins
posted by pyramid termite at 9:11 PM on April 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


"why previewed - do you take it back now?"

Nah, but I woulda been nicer about it.

Also, the "But you just didn't tell me right, lady. You gotta be nice when you tell me not to yell at your hooters if you want me to listen," is a bad road to go down.
posted by klangklangston at 9:11 PM on April 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


hey, cool - all this time on metafilter & i'm finally ready to outwit penguins!

*throws hat in air*
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:35 PM on April 17, 2008


*throws hat in air*

You're gonna maaake it after aaa-aaalll!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:41 PM on April 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


stavrosthewonderchicken: "What what what? You're not Australian? *recalibrates accent in which he reads dg's comments to himself*"

Kiwi all the way, cuz.
posted by dg at 9:48 PM on April 17, 2008


Coming in late, but I just want to agree with madamjujuvive:

"it's pretty hard not to have it seem like and feel like the lowest common denominator gets to dictate the conversation (or non-converation) in such situations."

I had never heard of breast ironing before, and to be honest, I thought this FPP was far better sourced and framed than 90% of the single-link-whatevers that are allowed to stand.

If Metafilter is really about the links, and not the (potential) discussion, it seems a shame to penalize a decent post with deletion instead of penalizing the commenters who are turning the thread into a shitfest.
posted by lalex at 9:52 PM on April 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


I understand that Jessamyn probably had a very tired reaction to the boob jokes (which I didn't see) in this thread as I've been in and watched other serious threads derail fast after a single joke - and no matter how many on-topic comments I kept posting (which is my tactic to get more signal and reduce noise - I hope other people here do this as well) totally ignoring the jokes, the threads were not to be saved. Once derailed they stayed derailed.

As it turns out (viva la mefimail) other people here had things to contribute but stayed out of threads because they were already train wrecks and/or heading for deletion. Metafilter has such a broad userbase that someone somewhere seems to have inside info on nearly anything.

I find this rather sad, as I came here because of the intelligent conversation and very interesting links of things I never heard of, be they horrifying or super nerdy/interesting. I didn't come here for youtube cats or silliness though I know there's a place for that too. I just think that both parts of Metafilter should be able to live.
posted by dabitch at 11:33 PM on April 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


*sit down on the curb next to sulking MetaFilter, slaps MetaFilter on back*

c: "Don't worry about it, kid. You're gonna come up against these kinds of things all your life. You're only nine. If you cut off a piece of yourself every time it makes you feel uncomfortable, you'll never make it through puberty."

*stands up to inspire, looks into distance*

c: "You see, just because you ignore those things don't make them disappear. They just keep coming back. You gotta deal with 'em, champ. You gotta deal. And you know what? Once you know how to handle those uncomfortable parts, you might even start to see they serve a purpose. And you're better off for having faced 'em."

*MetaFilter wipes tear from face with grubby hand, stands up and joins me looking into the distance. A smill slowly appears on its little blue face.*

FADE OUT
posted by cosmonik at 5:22 AM on April 18, 2008


wipe that smill off your face, snotnose.
posted by taz at 5:25 AM on April 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


Kiwi all the way, cuz.

Fush and chups! *re-re-calibrates, kiwiward* I lived in NZ for 9 months, and I miss it too, by god.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:45 AM on April 18, 2008


I disagree with the post deletion, though I understand how tiring it must be to moderate difficult threads like that.

Probably more than 80% of my activity here is little more than trolling for lolz


Maybe you should rethink your strategy? You're a smart and eloquent guy when you want to be; it baffles me that you prefer to be known as "that guy who occasionally makes a good joke but usually just trolls for lolz but doesn't get them."
posted by languagehat at 7:43 AM on April 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Careful, cosmonik, or the distance will look also into you.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:54 AM on April 18, 2008


...in soviet russia.
posted by shmegegge at 9:29 AM on April 18, 2008


Yes, Ubu...clearly the problem is my callout style, as opposed to people shitting in threads that they clearly have no interest in. My callout style could have been less antagonistic and the comments in that thread would still be completely indefinsible.

I wasn't aware of a Mefi policy where people acting like idiots needed to be given a MeTa calllout which makes it easiest for the troll to make excuses for themselves. It's not fucking acceptable. You flat-out admit to trolling for lulz in threads you clearly have no interest in. Look at the sea of comments above where lots of other people are agreeing with this point. Drawing all this attention to yourself only further highlights that you're acting in a way that is completely contrary to the site guidelines. I'm not sure why it's allowed, and I'm certainly not going to apologize for confronting the issue at hand.

What you consider "fuel to the fire" is my highlighting how this behavior is an example of misogyny on this site. Several other thoughtful posters have expounded on this subject in this very thread. We can sit around and argue how it is *also* unfunny, and *also* not pertinent to the discussion, and *also* threadshitting/noise causing, but my point is that when people say, "What, metafilter rape joke?" this is a key example. Mutilation of little girls' bodies is not the appropriate place to say, " *drool* I luvs boobies don't ruin them because they're for meeeee" and it's not the place to say "oh the huge mammaries," either.

It's not gallows humor unless you're the one with the noose around your neck. It's not because you're from Australia, it's not because you're lightening up the situation. All you're doing is pissing people off and causing a thread to be closed for no other reason than because you choose to behave like a child who can't control their own actions.
posted by SassHat at 9:54 AM on April 18, 2008 [6 favorites]


(Ubu, I think your particular joke in that thread was pretty lame and a weird choice given the subject, even though I understood your intent with it. I find it weird to defend it rather than just saying "yeah, I tried, it was a bit lame; can't win em all; sorry about that." If you're going to throw them out fast and furious, knowing that a lot of them are borderline, the only way you can be anything other than a poop-artist is to be very good-natured about admitting when one's gone awry and apologizing.

I do often think you have funny and good things to say.)
posted by LobsterMitten at 2:17 PM on April 18, 2008


Another voice against this deletion. I watched the documentary that was posted, it raised a lot of interesting and significant issues, but discussion was allowed to be derailed by the 'LOLZ! Boobies!' idiots. They were then rewarded by having that thread deleted while someone who made an interesting and worthwhile post was penalised.

The way to handle sexism is not to allow the Fark-a-likes to drive off topics such as violence to women by posting puerile jokes. If people making comments which are no more than jerkish noise are allowed to force thread deletions, then they're the mods, not Matt/Jessamyn and Cortex. If you cant keep up with the idiocy being posted then by all means, close the thread until there are more mods around, but please do not allow the behaviour of the most immature commentators to determine whether posts survive or not.
posted by Flitcraft at 5:05 PM on April 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Okay, so I missed all of this but I think MeFi has to get its act together when it comes to this whole reaction-to-women's-issues-or-anything-involving-boobies. There were some really excellent posters that quietly (or not so quietly) exited when we had a recent spat (a few months ago now, I guess) on MeTa about a boob-related AskMe.

Now, there is a time and place for booby jokes. Just like there is a time and place for any kind of humor. But call me crazy, call me old-fashioned, but I think women have a lot that they can contribute to a public forum, and I'd like to make them at least feel like they're safe and welcome here. I feel like a lot of comments and attitudes expressed here don't do that.

Sure, there have been plenty of "outrage" posts about women, I guess. There are a lot of outrageous things happening to women that justify the posts. I think someting out there like breast ironing deserves to be up here as a topic; yes, maybe it could be better posted but plenty of FPPs are nowhere near the best-of-the-web.

The quality of posts is determined largely not by the post itself (IMHO) but by the community response. In that sense, it is fortunate that this posting got deleted, because the response was not pretty.

On the other hand, it would be wonderful if we could all just grow the heck up, find silly stupid posts to poop into if we must, flag the posts that really are too OMGOutrage!y, or otherwise keep our traps shut.

I like MetAfilter, and I want it to be good!

Thank you.
posted by Deathalicious at 8:57 PM on April 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


Thank you, Deathalicious. Very much.

I have a feeling that almost all the people saying the post wasn't good enough didn't actually watch the video. If I were re-posting it, all I'd add is the BBC article... which I found via the second link in the post, actually - so the chain of information is right there.

I'm truly gobsmacked at the nastiness about this, and the outcome. Gobsmacked and sad. And tired.
posted by taz at 11:49 PM on April 18, 2008


I tend to sail past the jokes. I grew up with 3 brothers, so that stuff gets filtered out for the most part.

I would like to say, Ubu, that your comment of "bugger all gets done" up above isn't true. I gave $10 to Matt's book post (here in MeTa) and 10 GBP to the Maasai warriors. I don't truly know what I could do to change the whole of Cameroon so girls don't suffer from this practice, but I think awareness is the first step. In the video, it was indicated that there needs to be more education.

My experience with Australians has always been great. I had an Aussie boss once and we used to giggle over Dilbert cartoons together (and I quit my job shortly after he left to go home, re-orgs suck). The people I met were all very nice and the most they ever did was try to get me to eat alligator (I declined in favor of raw oysters, which may seem odd, but the thought of eating one of those things after seeing them at an alligator farm in Florida, yuk!). One guy gave me a stuffed koala bear holding the Aussie flag.

I get a lot of off-color jokes from a male buddy who lives in Britain but we talk on the phone so when he tells nasty jokes I can get the tone of his voice. I'm sure culture, as well as tone of voice have a lot to do with the outrage, and I'm actually feeling sorry for you now after all this pummeling.

Most of my ancestors were working class Scotch/Irish, some of whom left Scotland after probably not being very welcome in the Ulster Plantation move. They made soap, some of them. I don't know that they were Puritans but they were very clean, I'm sure.

Will you all come visit me in my car when I'm living in it due to going broke over all this charity stuff? I'm pretty sure I can get wireless at one of the local eateries...
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 5:06 AM on April 19, 2008


"At 3500 favorites, it's a whole new game. I've been assigned a dedicated assistant (courtesy of AssistMe) who types in all my pithy comments between foot massages."

And they italicize my quotes for me!
posted by klangklangston at 11:31 AM on April 19, 2008


Thank god someone is.
posted by dersins at 12:31 PM on April 19, 2008


Zing!
posted by klangklangston at 12:34 PM on April 19, 2008


I'm truly gobsmacked at the nastiness about this, and the outcome. Gobsmacked and sad. And tired.

for sure about the nastiness, but i don't know what the outcome is, other than that i'll be in no hurry to go through this again in the near future.

at least nobody left, did they?

anyway, i'm off to the pub; seeyas all bright & shiny & squeaky-clean come monday.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:52 PM on April 19, 2008


Just a tiny point, Ubu.

You argued a while back in this thread about how essentially helpless we all are in the face of these outrages in far off countries - hence the good old Aussie mordant humor.

Yet I remember you skiting once about your personal sponsorship of some wretchedly underprivileged kids via some international charity. Just doing your tiny bit, and all that. It was in a lively debate about tithing and Islam, I think.

("Skiting" is Aus/NZ dialect - as I'm sure you know.)

So which one is the real UbuRoivas?
posted by Jody Tresidder at 3:18 PM on April 24, 2008


The past and present wilt — I have fill'd them, emptied them,
And proceed to fill my next fold of the future.

Listener up there! what have you to confide to me?
Look in my face while I snuff the sidle of evening,
(Talk honestly, no one else hears you, and I stay only a
minute longer.)

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:30 AM on April 30, 2008


HURF DURF MULTITUDER
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:53 AM on April 30, 2008


Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)
posted by UbuRoivas

Ori?

Is that you, ori?
posted by jamjam at 9:35 AM on April 30, 2008


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