Metafilter - lessons learned from the BB problem? July 2, 2008 11:58 AM   Subscribe

Metafilter vs. the BoingBoing Problem -- lessons learned, actions to be taken?

One thing I think everyone can agree on is that the BoingBoing Problem has exposed a number of fundamental disconnects. Ignoring the questions of hypocrisy and/or outright wack behavior, one interesting disconnect is that the posters of influential internet forii appear to believe that BoingBoing has crossed some unclear threshold of popularity/championship -- and are now held to a higher standard of net behavior/ethics.

For instance, it's completely reasonable that Joe Geocities update his privacy or content policies whenever the heck he wants, delete whatever content someone posted to his blog, etc. But it seems stranger when a net.institution does it; and it feels natural for that to be stranger.

My question for MetaFilter Network LLC is this: has this kerfluffle caused you to rethink policy, or consider ironing out policy with a bit more detail?

I ask because, from www.metafilter.com, I went looking for a privacy policy and a content policy, and the closest I came was to a FAQ saying 'yes, we'll edit your posts if you're a twit or trying to be clever', and the 'All posts are © their original authors' defense, probably posted for legal reasons, at the bottom of all the pages; and various parsings of cortex's gut from the BoingBoing thread. All of which fit well with the sort of down-home relaxed nature of the forum, but none of which are particularly satisfactory along the line of answering the question, "can this happen here?"

I know this question has the potential to become ChatFilter very quickly, so I ask that everyone responding please ignore BoingBoing qua BoingBoing and instead address only the issues the problem raises with specific relation to Metafilter.
posted by felix to Etiquette/Policy at 11:58 AM (264 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

Sorry, but having made this (unnecessary) post, you don't get to ask people to follow the dotted lines. People will address whatever they feel like. Warning: there will probably be snark. Don your flameproof vest NOW.
posted by languagehat at 12:02 PM on July 2, 2008 [8 favorites]


Hi, I'm an admin for a group called Pointless Metatalk Threads, and we'd love to have this added to the group!
posted by dhammond at 12:06 PM on July 2, 2008 [37 favorites]


My question for MetaFilter Network LLC is this

You realize it's just one guy, right?
posted by Burhanistan at 12:06 PM on July 2, 2008


Actually our stated position on editing posts is that we NEVER do it except for very specific outlined instances. We don't edit to remove cleverness (unless you think witty lead-ins before the "more inside" on AskMe are clever) or twittishness. I made one recent comment to that thread but my feeling is that this sort of thing is unlikely here because there's never really a time when we're not all on the site, paying attention and if there's a disaster, we all get together on email FAST to talk about it.

Maybe at some point when we're all jet setting around something could spiral out of control but the way we currently operate, the size of the site and the attention we pay to it, I see it as unlikely. The mods here are all big contributors/participators and so fucking around here (in a bad squirrely way) would just be cutting off our nose to spite our face. We LIKE it here and we wouldn't want to do anything to make our clubhouse sucky.

and the 'All posts are © their original authors' defense, probably posted for legal reasons

We've explained that in here pretty often. It means you can take your words elsewhere if you want to and that others can't take them from here without your permission, not mathowie's permission and not mine.

We also do have a few ugly topics here in terms of things that went down the memory hole for legal reasons and I'd appreciate if people could not turn this thread into a referendum on those things (or email us if they need more details).
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:09 PM on July 2, 2008 [2 favorites]


This question is very 2003.

But I shall still be donning my cock-bucket.
posted by bardic at 12:09 PM on July 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Thanks for keeping the discussion on track, guys -- much appreciated.

As far as just being one guy, no, it's not -- jessamyn and cortex, at least, and presumably others, are paid, presumably by MetaFilter Network LLC (as specified at the bottom of this page and others), which is an Oregon company, not a person.
posted by felix at 12:11 PM on July 2, 2008


wait, languagehat comments first and doesn't even mention 'forii'?
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 12:13 PM on July 2, 2008


Oh, sorry: forii.
posted by languagehat at 12:15 PM on July 2, 2008 [7 favorites]


I wish I was famous. Damn, it's such a pain in the ass being famous.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 12:15 PM on July 2, 2008


Yeah, it's fora. And this is an apples-to-oranges comparison.
posted by Mister_A at 12:17 PM on July 2, 2008


As far as just being one guy, no, it's not -- jessamyn and cortex, at least, and presumably others, are paid, presumably by MetaFilter Network LLC

Fair enough, but being paid by an LLC and calling the shots are two different things.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:17 PM on July 2, 2008


My guess is that the Mefites who took umbrage -- to varying degrees -- with the Boing Boing incident were considering how they would feel if their own contributions to sites like MeFi disappeared so unceremoniously. In a word, that would suck. MeFi is a collaborative blog and always has been. Proudly so. Boing Boing has always given the appearance of being a collaborative blog on a much smaller contributor scale, but the basic idea is similar.

So the Trotsky-ing of V. Blue's contributions is dirty pool, basically. The actual popularity of Cory's Mega-Steam-Super-Whuf-Blog is beside the point, so discussions of standards and expectations are far less important than the fact that such a mass removal was basically a jerk-ass thing to do.
posted by grabbingsand at 12:17 PM on July 2, 2008


I have a question for the mods, actually. While we're on this topic.

The people who comment on BB appear to be very closely moderated, and there are definite (if perhaps uncodified) limits to the content and tenor of their contributions. On the other hand, the moderators at BB appear to be far less closely moderated, and their relatively unrestrained and aggressive demeanor has been the subject of some comment in the MeFi thread that spawned this MeTa.

In contrast, the members of MeFi appear to be largely unmoderated, and any moderation is vigorously questioned and examined by the members even when it is the result of clearly stated rules.

It occurs to me to wonder whether or not the moderators of MeFi feel constrained as compared to the apparent relative unconstraint of the BB crew.
posted by prefpara at 12:19 PM on July 2, 2008


I'm not trying to snark, felix, but I'm having trouble understanding exactly what the question is. Deletions don't happen here except under the specific circumstances outlined in the FAQ. The rare extreme circumstances (which are pretty easy to find out about) can't really be discussed here.
posted by roll truck roll at 12:20 PM on July 2, 2008


In other words, unless Matt wakes up one morning with an obsessive ukulele fetish and a giant carp on his back, I think we'll be fine.
posted by grabbingsand at 12:21 PM on July 2, 2008


but none of which are particularly satisfactory along the line of answering the question, "can this happen here?"

Yes, it can totally happen here, despite whatever policies or written docs might be easy to find on the site. All it takes is one asshole mod deciding to fling shit. But as Jess said , the mods really seem to like the site and are actively involved in it, so they don't have much incentive to do that.

Still, if it worries you, you can export all your comments and use data from an info dump of of the site.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:22 PM on July 2, 2008 [4 favorites]


Is the implication that the people over on Boing Boing don't like their site and aren't actively involved in it?
posted by Dave Faris at 12:25 PM on July 2, 2008


The thing is, VioletBlue was more like a columnist for BoingBoing, rather than one of thousands of uncompensated contributors like we have here. I assume she was compensated; there must have been some sort of financial agreement in place, and when you get money involved, it grows complicated. We just don't have that sort of arrangement here, because the people who work for the LLC are not really big contributors of content; the content comes mostly from the users who have agreed to the terms of use, and who in fact own the rights to whatever original material they contribute.
posted by Mister_A at 12:28 PM on July 2, 2008


I learned that knowing is half the battle. The other half is killing and shit.
posted by allen.spaulding at 12:28 PM on July 2, 2008 [12 favorites]


I'm not trying to snark, felix, but I'm having trouble understanding exactly what the question is.

The question's in paragraph 3 of the original post.

You know, I vacillated hard over whether to hit the post button, because the topic has come up before (as people took no pains to excitedly describe), and it's possible to misread any communication on the highly charged topic as an axe to grind, with all the attendant amusements and popcorn eatings necessarily to ensue.

But jessamyn's response was good -- that they generally don't believe it could happen here, and, if I'm reading it correctly, feel comfortable with the existing policies and procedures.

To the extent that I have any concern beyond an intellectual interest, it would be that to divine that intent from the front page involves going to a link named 'FAQ' and going to anchor #71. And that comment deletion is not mentioned. But if jess's response is conclusive, let's all go away happy and enjoy a giant plate of beans.
posted by felix at 12:29 PM on July 2, 2008


It occurs to me to wonder whether or not the moderators of MeFi feel constrained as compared to the apparent relative unconstraint of the BB crew.

I don't totally understand the question, but no I don't feel constrained. Actually having all the stuff we do be pretty public and open to debate is freeing in a weird sort of way. We balance the seesaw differently here than BB does and it seems to mostly work. We're also smaller and, believe it or not, deal with much less "peanut gallery" behavior as a result (there may be a peanut gallery but it's OUR peanut gallery) and this makes things simpler.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:30 PM on July 2, 2008


It occurs to me to wonder whether or not the moderators of MeFi feel constrained as compared to the apparent relative unconstraint of the BB crew.

I feel contrained by my own sense of obligation to not be a jerk, my desire to not get petty with someone just because they're up my shirt, and what I think is fair to describe as a general professional obligation to not be a lousy example by doing the kind of stuff I sometimes have to clean up after others for. I know people would call me on my shit—they have and they will again—and I prefer not to be in that position and am glad that the feedback mechanism is there.

Does that answer what you're wondering?

As far as BB, I haven't paid enough attention to the normal (i.e. non-mid-clusterfuck) moderation or the comments of the principals over there to have a real idea of whether this is a good example, and felix says this really doesn't need to be a second BoingBoing thread, so I'd rather not dig into that.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:30 PM on July 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


(That is, I prefer not to find myself in the position of having fucked up and getting my shit called. I very much prefer being in a position where if I fuck up, people say so, because I think it helps keep me from fucking up.)
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:33 PM on July 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Thanks, cortex and jessamyn. That does answer my question. Basically, I was curious to know the extent to which your role as moderator, given the priorities of this particular community, affects the way you participate in the conversations that take place. I would expect that it would be close to what cortex described as "a general professional obligation to not be a lousy example," but I did find myself wondering whether or not it went any further than that, and whether or not the moderators here felt an obligation to stay out of discussions or hold their opinions back so as not to, like, somehow misuse their authority or whatever. Hmmm. Or something.
posted by prefpara at 12:35 PM on July 2, 2008


Is the implication that the people over on Boing Boing don't like their site and aren't actively involved in it?

I think the implication is that the editors at BB aren't in the same sort of dynamic as we are here: they are by and large dictating the content, where here we are by and large co-consumers of the userbase's content. Whether and how that leads to a difference in framework or perspective for them, though, is again not something I think I can speak confidently on.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:35 PM on July 2, 2008 [2 favorites]


I vacillated hard over whether to hit the post button

I know what you mean. Whenever I think about hitting it, I vacillate pretty hard, too.
posted by dersins at 12:36 PM on July 2, 2008


I'd vacillate it.

What?
posted by Burhanistan at 12:38 PM on July 2, 2008 [2 favorites]


Well, when used in this context it can certainly raise questions regarding all parties involved. One wonders whether the need or the desire has more pull in the end. We’re not professing to have all the answers, it’s just simply a matter of this vs. that in an otherwise misinterpreted forum of individual perspectives. To imply anything else can be misconstrued as dubious in the least whereas, on the other hand, to imply nothing at all leaves the question open-ended and aimless. The key is finding the distinction and therefore forcing it to the forefront as not to be solely an afterthought.
posted by studentbaker at 12:39 PM on July 2, 2008


Does that reset the cooter counter?
posted by dirtdirt at 12:41 PM on July 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


As far as the core question of "can it happen here", I think a couple people have addressed already the difference between "can it happen is SOMEONE FLIPS OUT WHOA" vs. "can it happen according to the way we deal with administration". The answers are "yes" and "no", respectively. Erasing swaths of content is just wholly antithetical to how Matt has run the site over the years, and something I find pretty personally distressing as a proposition. The few times we have had to do even targeted removals of stuff has sucked, and usually occurred within the context of a public discussion on the site where folks were wholly ready to express their own concerns about even that sort of thing.

Matt has mentioned a few times, and again pretty recently, the idea of hammering out some sort of official privacy/content policy beyond the fundamental copyright clause in the footer, which probably isn't a bad idea. How explicit such a thing would be, I don't know; one of the things that's a little frustrating about that kind of documentation is that it's inherently a bit CYA, and can end up codifying a lot of worst-case scenario stuff that we don't reasonably expect to have to even deal with more than once every five years or whatever.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:43 PM on July 2, 2008


Ignoring the questions of hypocrisy and/or outright wack behavior, one interesting disconnect is that the posters of influential internet forii appear to believe that BoingBoing has crossed some unclear threshold of popularity/championship -- and are now held to a higher standard of net behavior/ethics.

I think that is a false assumption. The only reason why the BoingBoing thing became a problem is because they are such crusaders for transparency. The entire issue has nothing to do with their size or influence, and instead has everything to do with an issue of possible hypocrisy. They rail against sites, publications, and governments that silently remove things, and yet they removed every mention of a somewhat popular subject on their blog without mention, and when cornered on it, they circled the wagons and refused to explain why.

MetaFilter is a different entity and we don't rail against censorship, so I do think it's mostly apples and oranges. We strive to be transparent here by still displaying deleted threads and the like, but when people flag offensive stuff a bunch we do remove things without a trace, and everyone knows that is going on and is fine with it. We don't abuse it as mods and having traces of every deleted comment gives the ugliest content a permanent home, which is mostly why we don't leave links to read deleted stuff.

Separately, I really should get a lawyer to draft up a privacy policy (short version: we don't sell your email ever and do everything we can to keep your db details secure) and a terms of service (short version: you own everything but give MeFi a non-exclusive license to publish it) to make it totally explicit.

But in general, this is an apples to oranges thing. BoingBoing strongly associates itself with certain subjects, so if they do something that seems contrary to their own personal stances, it's a real issue. MeFi is a big community that doesn't really have common stances and we're not deleting people's posts without adequate complaints from others or request from the authors of the content.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 12:46 PM on July 2, 2008 [11 favorites]


”... one interesting disconnect is that the posters of influential internet forii

Disconnected right there.
posted by Termite at 12:48 PM on July 2, 2008


The cooter counter was reset in the blue earlier today by the quonsar.

So go nuts, get it out of your system if need be.
posted by Mister_A at 12:48 PM on July 2, 2008


there may be a peanut gallery but it's OUR peanut gallery

*waves from the peanut gallery*
posted by nola at 12:54 PM on July 2, 2008


Is the implication that the people over on Boing Boing don't like their site and aren't actively involved in it?

No, the Metamods like their site in a different way, one that probably looks more like love. Remember, all of the mods were pretty active users of the site before actually being asked to do admin stuff, let alone get paid for it. That's a huge difference and one that I think counts in a thousand different ways as to how they'll act as admin.

On preview:
Erasing swaths of content is just wholly antithetical

Can't remember, but isn't true that neither posts or comments are actually deleted, merely hidden from display by most users?

On 2nd preview:
Does that reset the cooter counter?

What's the longest time that count has lasted?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:55 PM on July 2, 2008


The Boingboing problem?
posted by Divine_Wino at 12:56 PM on July 2, 2008


Wait, wait, wait, can I get a straight answer here? Will there or will there not be a wholesale deletion of someone's content here on MeFi? Because I've got a list of nominations, starting with this mkultra jackass.
posted by mkultra at 12:58 PM on July 2, 2008 [2 favorites]


You know, as a programmer, I'm constantly coming face to face with the word "void." Public void. Private void. Abstract public void.

When I see this, I like to imagine that my functions are returning an actual void; something without mass, shape, color, or volume. While some may be disturbed to come face-to-face with the void on a daily basis, I find myself to be comforted by its presence. It's as if, by creating code, I'm somehow shaping the void, and thus defining the areas where it is not.

Strange, that.
posted by Afroblanco at 12:59 PM on July 2, 2008 [3 favorites]


I stopped reading that thread about 200 comments in and am too lazy to dig back in....so, since this thread vacillates...did BoingBoing ever post an explanation?
posted by danOstuporStar at 1:00 PM on July 2, 2008


one real lesson in all of this is that nature abhors a vacuum - and if people aren't given enough information to figure out a controversy, they'll just start creating their own - the whole boingboing thing is a classic case of that

the lesson is applicable with many things
posted by pyramid termite at 1:01 PM on July 2, 2008 [2 favorites]


Can't remember, but isn't true that neither posts or comments are actually deleted, merely hidden from display by most users?

True, though in the early days some stuff went into the bit bucket at deletion until Matt set up a proper "hide" functionality.

Since it's been a recurring point in the BB discussion, though, I feel like I should be clear that I'm using "delete" here in the basic sense of "remove from view". I'm glad that we keep deleted stuff in the db, and that we further keep deleted posts visible, but I would consider "hiding-from-view" deletions of a big chunk of content just as bad as "nuking-from-db" deletions as far as it concerns our roles as custodians of publicly-available (and linked, and google-indexed) content.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:02 PM on July 2, 2008


lessons learned, actions to be taken?

If you didn't know it already, don't say one thing and do another. 'A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds' and all that, but consistency is rarely foolish for public figures.

There was some cross-site flaming and trolling. That's regrettable, though some of the worst offenders generally owned up to it (here at least) in the sober light of day.
posted by anotherpanacea at 1:07 PM on July 2, 2008


Any particular reason why ya'll "Hide from view" as opposed to actually delete?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:07 PM on July 2, 2008


So as to preserve les bon mots.
posted by Mister_A at 1:09 PM on July 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Right, because as I understand it, we've had our own share of disappears in our BB thread. At least, thats' what I think happened, unless in my NyQuil vision I really did stop counting correctly while mousing over the dates.

My understanding was the disappears were mutually agreed upon flame derails that nobody missed.

Did I miss the point of the question?
posted by cavalier at 1:09 PM on July 2, 2008


Sorry, missing a comma in my previous comment.
posted by studentbaker at 1:10 PM on July 2, 2008


Well, if it ever does happen here, I suggest the terminology "YOU HAVE BEEN DEBLUED".
posted by Flunkie at 1:11 PM on July 2, 2008


At least within the current framework, Metafilter couldn't have a situation similar to BB's. First off, the deletion policy has been pretty clear here for a while, and in most instances deleted posts are still available if you know where to look. In addition, Metafilter doesn't seemingly have a particular viewpoint on issues, in so far as the site is the voice of 60k+ people vs. BB's 4 or so. Without that particular voice, it's much harder to accuse the site of hypocrisy.

Finally, most deletions on mefi are for obvious asshatery. If we don't agree with it though, the site offers plenty of outlets for redress from contacting the mods to posting a metatalk thread about it. Metatalk serves as a valuable pressure valve to release the pressure when someone feels unjustly wronged.
posted by drezdn at 1:15 PM on July 2, 2008


To the extent that I have any concern beyond an intellectual interest, to divine that intent from the front page involves going to a link named 'FAQ' and going to anchor #71. And that comment deletion is not mentioned.

Reading the FAQ isn't divination... it's reading. Users are able to read posts and comments on the site, so they should be able to read the FAQ. It takes one click, a bit of reading to find the FQ you're Aing, and then another click. That's not exactly hidden.

And it seems perfectly reasonable for that sort of info to be in the FAQ, rather that displayed prominently at the top of the front page in big blinking text. Sure, it could be grouped together and made into a separate "Things that will get your post/comment edited or deleted" link, but if people can't be bothered to read a FAQ, they probably won't be bothered to read that either.

Comment deletion is addressed for AskMe directly below FAQ anchor #71, and for the front page / in general in the guidelines - reachable from the 'About' link at the top and in the new user message.
posted by CKmtl at 1:17 PM on July 2, 2008


Oh, and I had a comment deleted in the BB thread, and will admit that I'VE BEEN SILENCED ALL OF MY LIFE!
posted by drezdn at 1:19 PM on July 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Separately, I really should get a lawyer to draft up a privacy policy (short version: we don't sell your email ever and do everything we can to keep your db details secure) and a terms of service (short version: you own everything but give MeFi a non-exclusive license to publish it) to make it totally explicit.

Pony request: can we have a license picker in our profile that specifies how our comments/posts/whatever are licensed? That'd be sweet.
posted by tarheelcoxn at 1:20 PM on July 2, 2008


We aren't BoingBoing. If you ignore the somewhat artificial "blog" construction, BoingBoing is a website that publishes articles written by a select number of official contributors, and which has at some times deigned to allow people to comment on those articles. It's really more like a newspaper, with an editor controlling what gets allowed in the "Letters from Readers" section. Metafilter is really more like a BBS or a Usenet group. Everyone here pays their $5 (or not), can post whatever they like, can comment where they like, and are held to equal standards. It's not pot-and-kettle, it's apple-and-oranges.

I prefer the Metafilter model, really. And if you think the shit hit the fan when BoingBoing did this, imagine what would happen if mathowie pulled that kind of stunt here. We're pissed off with BoingBoing because they went against principals they claim to hold. We'd be pissed off if it happened on Metafilter because those principals sort of apply to all of us. Mathowie owning Metafilter is different from the contributors of BoingBoing owning BoingBoing. BoingBoing is really a media outlet for a few authors. Mathowie has attempted to create as close to a public space as is possible.
posted by Jimbob at 1:21 PM on July 2, 2008 [2 favorites]


Finally, most deletions on mefi are for obvious asshatery. If we don't agree with it though, the site offers plenty of outlets for redress from contacting the mods to posting a metatalk thread about it. Metatalk serves as a valuable pressure valve to release the pressure when someone feels unjustly wronged.

Yeah, and I have to admit this whole foofaraw has made me (no doubt temporarily) a lot more accepting of "waah my post/comment was deleted" MeTa posts. It's a damn good thing we can do that around here, and that the admins bend over backwards to respond to even the whiniest posts. It's a good site.
posted by languagehat at 1:26 PM on July 2, 2008 [2 favorites]


On non-preview: I miss Pot and Kettle.
posted by languagehat at 1:27 PM on July 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


I certainly haven't taken my telepathy pills, so I do not know what is precisely on everyone's mind. If there was one lesson to be learned from this, to me, it would be that Cory, Xeni, et al did not slap on giant black moustaches, wax them, and begin twirling the ends of them. They were having a good time, they didn't want to nail stuff down ... being formal is annoying, that's why we have these jobs as bloggers, so we don't have to deal with so many dumb rules. Office Space and its environment is for drones. The LLC is just a legal fiction for protection. We all have good intentions here.

But then a situation came up where rules, pre-established ones, would have been awfully handy. Hypothetical scenarios that they may have waved their hands at with a "never happen!" (or "we'll figure that out when we get to it") went and happened anyway. It's a series of individuals, friends, buddies, all making decisions on the fly. In retrospect it looks conspiratorial, but it is more akin to something like After Hours, where one horrible mistake leads to another and another, all short-term reactions to the situation, until you've reached calamity level. A bad judgment call, some angry feelings, repeat until you have a press issue.

I know the mods here (and elsewhere) have a very good reason not to put up highly specific posting policies: lawyering by twits. Policies can be an invitation to the NEENER NEENER I AM NOT TOUCHING YOU troll. It's a good reason not to have highly specific policies. But there's a good reason to have policies pre-established, and we just saw an instance of that. How you walk that fine line, I do not know, and I have no envy for the mods on this one.

*wishes languagehat into the cornfield anyway*
posted by adipocere at 1:27 PM on July 2, 2008 [2 favorites]


And if you think the shit hit the fan when BoingBoing did this, imagine what would happen if mathowie pulled that kind of stunt here.

I smell fan fiction!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:29 PM on July 2, 2008 [2 favorites]


Just commenting to get this on my recent activity. Wait. A way to do that without commenting has been a pony request before, right? Whatever happened to that....
posted by lunit at 1:30 PM on July 2, 2008


Any particular reason why ya'll "Hide from view" as opposed to actually delete?

1. It's useful to have a record of problematic stuff.

- If someone has not a bad day but a bad habit, having deletions available for review behind the scenes makes it a lot easier to get a sense of what happened, beyond Whatever We Just Deleted.

- While we'll discuss fuzzier things or give one another a heads up over something particularly weird (or perhaps extra likely to generate email/metatalk/etc), most of the things that get deleted get deleted by one of us, acting autonomously. Keeping the stuff around makes it possible for us to get caught up after the fact on what each other have been up to, administratively.

2. We're all kinds of fallible, and it's nice to be able to undo something.

- We make bad calls sometimes. Whether that becomes plain because of a public response in Metatalk or because one of us spends five seconds or five minutes thinking about the decision they just made and decides it was incorrect, there are times when being able to restore something to life is an important feature. (One thing that shows up in the admin log sometimes is a pair of entries for the same comment, on that says "Deleted" and another right after that says "Undeleted", from the same mod. It's always educational for me to see what sort of things have led Matt and Jess down that particular path.)

- We're physically inept dorks who click on the delete button by accident sometimes. It's nice to be able to undo that immediately. (Back when Metatalk—the late adopter on the hide-don't-nuke system—still sent stuff straight out of the db on delete, I accidentally clicked [x] instead of [+] on a comment I really liked, and, yeah. Man. That was not a great moment for me.)
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:33 PM on July 2, 2008 [2 favorites]


When I see this, I like to imagine that my functions are returning an actual void; something without mass, shape, color, or volume. While some may be disturbed to come face-to-face with the void on a daily basis, I find myself to be comforted by its presence. It's as if, by creating code, I'm somehow shaping the void, and thus defining the areas where it is not.

Huh, whenever I think about the word 'void' I start thinking about Spelljammer from good ole 2e. Then I start to get kinda itchy and develop a weird craving for Cheetos.

Usually, that's about the time I burst into tears.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 1:34 PM on July 2, 2008 [4 favorites]


THIS SITE IS USELESS WITHOUT GREAT MOMENTS FOR CORTEX
posted by quonsar at 1:37 PM on July 2, 2008


Just commenting to get this on my recent activity. Wait. A way to do that without commenting has been a pony request before, right? Whatever happened to that....

Step one: favorite the post.
Step two: go here.

You get there by clicking "Recent Activity" (my favorite link on the whole site) up in the header, and then clicking on the "My Favorites" tab. Placeholder-free thread tracking!
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:38 PM on July 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


but when people flag offensive stuff a bunch we do remove things without a trace, and everyone knows that is going on and is fine with it.

metatalk threads to the contrary notwithstanding.

for the record, i am fine with it. I'm just chuckling while I recall all the old "we should never delete ANYTHING." threads of yore.
posted by shmegegge at 1:39 PM on July 2, 2008


Pony request: can we have a license picker in our profile that specifies how our comments/posts/whatever are licensed? That'd be sweet.

That feature was implemented JUST FOR ME. Check out my profile.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 1:39 PM on July 2, 2008


The Boingboing problem?

How to solve it: Cialis, Viagra and Levitra.
posted by ericb at 1:40 PM on July 2, 2008


Cialis, Viagra and Levitra.

Pepsi Violet Blue.
posted by ericb at 1:42 PM on July 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


GREAT MOMENTS FOR CORTEX

That is what I am naming my new giant donut and multiple hastily thrown up and then abandoned blogs store.
posted by ND¢ at 1:44 PM on July 2, 2008 [2 favorites]


No more policy questions, i really mean it, Valerie. Does anybody want a peanut gallery?
posted by Jofus at 1:46 PM on July 2, 2008


That is what I am naming my new giant donut and multiple hastily thrown up and then abandoned blogs store.

I just realized that I haven't visited BBQ (my favorite mefi spin off site) in way too long and was suddenly terrified it had been abandoned. thankfully, it has not.

bbq is awesome.
posted by shmegegge at 1:49 PM on July 2, 2008


That is what I am naming my new giant donut and multiple hastily thrown up and then abandoned blogs store.
I think you should stick with lolblonuts.
posted by carsonb at 1:53 PM on July 2, 2008


Kettle was the original steam punk.
posted by Pot at 1:58 PM on July 2, 2008 [3 favorites]


It turns out that if most of what the site does is let other people do shit, I do a better job of not abandoning it. There've been something like 270,000 Garkov strips generated in the last couple weeks, by sort of the same principle.

Also, my landlady actually took away the Laundryroom Swapmeet table and sent a letter to everyone saying "cut it out", so, yeah.

posted by cortex (staff) at 1:58 PM on July 2, 2008


Weren't Pot and Kettle characters in a Cory Doctorow novel?
posted by Kettle at 1:58 PM on July 2, 2008


Kettle tried to apply a Creative Commons license to his wittiest comments, but the epic irony of trying to have them legally defined as "creative" made them disappear into the void.
posted by Pot at 1:59 PM on July 2, 2008 [3 favorites]


I had a welter of confused emotions about the whole affair.

The mods there were just so condescending and rough with their commenters, who seemed to respond mainly by toadying more assiduously and lining up to ritually spit upon the few who dared a criticism. That made me angry, but these same tough mods were panicked into frantically changing their posts and policy page in real time by what was said about them here, to the point I started to feel like we were beating up on a bunch of hapless children who never should have been left without a babysitter, and that we had mistaken for a violent street gang.

I also felt sorry for jscalzi and cstross, though they did better than I would've standing up for their friends, and I do admire their loyalty.
posted by jamjam at 2:01 PM on July 2, 2008


languagehat "Sorry, but having made this (unnecessary) post..."

Actually it's turned out to be a very interesting read. Plus I hadn't read that FAQ in ages and it's changed a lot - much time has been spent on it. Comments here have answered some things I was wondering about, and again makes me think that moderating is a tricky job.

Must add that I have LOVED having an RSS feed, especially after that mega thread went over 1000 comments - thank you SO much for adding that.

But I can't help it, my brain keeps going back to this:
grabbingsand: "unless Matt wakes up one morning with an obsessive ukulele fetish and a giant carp on his back"

How would this happen? Have there been ukulele issues on the site and I've wandered blindly past them? Do I really want to know how the carp enters into it? Have I just fallen into a clever trap by asking this?

adipocere: "Cory, Xeni, et al did not slap on giant black moustaches, wax them, and begin twirling the ends of them"

Possibly the weirdest mental image, especially if you add in the ukulele and the carp.
Bonus points for the "wishing into the cornfield" only be sure to bring languagehat back eventually. Unless there's WiFi in the cornfield.
posted by batgrlHG at 2:10 PM on July 2, 2008


"influential internet forii"

The plural of "forum" is "fora" (in Latin). It's "forums" or "fora" in English.
posted by orthogonality at 2:12 PM on July 2, 2008


*sticks head out of cornfield to welcome return of Pot and Kettle*
posted by languagehat at 2:13 PM on July 2, 2008


Pony request: can we have a license picker in our profile that specifies how our comments/posts/whatever are licensed? That'd be sweet.

That feature was implemented JUST FOR ME. Check out my profile.


The point of such a pony would be to have machine-readable license code in the page source of all of your posts. Automagically. For great search-by-license justice. Sorry I didn't specify that earlier; I assumed it was obvious.
posted by tarheelcoxn at 2:13 PM on July 2, 2008


Bonus points for the "wishing into the cornfield"

do I recall correctly that this is a reference to a really incredible Ray Bradbury story?
posted by shmegegge at 2:15 PM on July 2, 2008


I recall clearly that it was something that seemed a lot like that, shmeg.
posted by Mister_A at 2:16 PM on July 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


"just because they're up my shirt,"

Under your bra?

Who's been getting to third base with you, Cortex?
posted by klangklangston at 2:16 PM on July 2, 2008


Dude that's second base. Third base is farther down.
posted by Mister_A at 2:19 PM on July 2, 2008


BLAAARGGGG!

that is all.


/end transmission
posted by edgeways at 2:19 PM on July 2, 2008


Also, my landlady actually took away the Laundryroom Swapmeet table and sent a letter to everyone saying "cut it out", so, yeah.

Your landlady is not a fan of the redistribution of wealth and/or miscellaneous goods?
posted by Tehanu at 2:22 PM on July 2, 2008


Metafilter is awesome.

That is all.
posted by empath at 2:23 PM on July 2, 2008


"Bonus points for the "wishing into the cornfield"
do I recall correctly that this is a reference to a really incredible Ray Bradbury story?


I was thinking it was the Twilight Zone episode myself, but then I'm a tv junky.

Also a great idea for the next podcast would be to have the hosts sing along with this.
I am SO not volunteering - but I do love the idea. Or you can go with the later JC Superstar lyrics if that's more your thing.
posted by batgrlHG at 2:30 PM on July 2, 2008


do I recall correctly that this is a reference to a really incredible Ray Bradbury story?

Nah, that's the Twilight Zone. Who is this Ray fellow again?
posted by tkolar at 2:30 PM on July 2, 2008


WOW I SURE LOVE PLASTIC.COM
posted by spiderwire at 2:33 PM on July 2, 2008 [2 favorites]


WOW I SURE LOVE PLASTIC.COM

oops sorry, wrong year
posted by spiderwire at 2:39 PM on July 2, 2008


* writes "MeFi > BB" on jeans with Bic *
posted by everichon at 2:55 PM on July 2, 2008


Your landlady is not a fan of the redistribution of wealth and/or miscellaneous goods?

My landlady is not a fan of a bunch of abandoned crap living on that table until she threw it away. Which is really a pretty reasonable position to take, I guess. Still, though: man.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:59 PM on July 2, 2008


Actually our stated position on editing posts is that we NEVER do it except for very specific outlined instances. We don't edit to remove cleverness (unless you think witty lead-ins before the "more inside" on AskMe are clever) or twittishness. I made one recent comment to that thread but my feeling is that this sort of thing is unlikely here because there's never really a time when we're not all on the site, paying attention and if there's a disaster, we all get together on email FAST to talk about it.

Jessamyn, there was at least one instance where I questioned something you wrote in Metatalk and you deleted or edited your comments without any warning. I'm not writing this to do a nyah-nyah, and I refrained from commenting on it then because you seemed preoccupied with something else, but do please be aware that this is something people will notice.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:03 PM on July 2, 2008


for everyone making Twilight Zone claims: Stop. Hurting. America.

I know I read the story, and it had prose. I know there was a twilight zone episode and later a slightly different movie bit, but damn it I'm sure I read this story somewhere, too.
posted by shmegegge at 3:03 PM on July 2, 2008


Metafilter: want to know how the carp enters into it?
posted by Caduceus at 3:04 PM on July 2, 2008


Also, I thought second base was tongue?
posted by Caduceus at 3:06 PM on July 2, 2008


Also, I thought second base was tongue?

It used to be, but now that DVDA is a Home Run everything had to be reorganized. Ha! Kids today.
posted by eyeballkid at 3:11 PM on July 2, 2008


It was Jerome Bixby, not Ray Bradbury. Sheesh, I thought this place was full of sf fans.
posted by languagehat at 3:12 PM on July 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


"It’s a Good Life"is an episode of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone. It is based on a short story of the same name by Jerome Bixby....and then:
"It's a Good Life" is a short story by Jerome Bixby, written in 1953. In 1970 it was voted by the Science Fiction Writers of America as one of the 20 finest science fiction stories ever written. The story was first published in Star Science Fiction Stories No.2.

Maybe you read it there?
Twilight Zone was always a good place for science fiction authors, at least for those of us that later went back to research who was writing stories/scripts. I always liked that I got exposure to these authors through Twilight Zone.

On preview, what languagehat said.
posted by batgrlHG at 3:17 PM on July 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Jessamyn, there was at least one instance where I questioned something you wrote in Metatalk and you deleted or edited your comments without any warning.

If it's the instance I'm thinking of, I edited it to make what I said make more sense when it was clear it was being misunderstood in MetaTalk. Since what I say (or cortex, or mathowie, or pb) can sometimes carry the weight of policy, and I was concerned that people would quote exactly what I said, I edited it. I was very clear I did that later in the thread and didn't try to make a secret out of it. If you want to go find it, I think the thread speaks for itself.

We sometimes edit our own comments when we make typos [and knowing that is one of the reasons we'd like to have some sort of a self-comment editing feature for users] and we'll fix your typos if you ask. In some cases a poster has said "shit what I said makes no sense can you fix it?" and we will if it won't fuck up a thread but we'll make a note that we've done that.

The fact that people DO notice this stuff is, imo, one of the things that keeps us scrupulously honest about stuff like this. We don't think we can get away with anything, really. I don't think what I did carries even a hint of dishonesty or intent to deceive about it, you may feel differently.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:17 PM on July 2, 2008 [2 favorites]


1,259 insults on one page

"I'd forgotten why I love-hated Metafilter: It's a boyzone of spiteful, pseudonymous insult comics, but many are snappy with the English language. 'Instead of calling it what it is, they're going to clown us with semantics.'"
posted by optovox at 3:17 PM on July 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


klangklangston, isn't it part of your job to know this sort of thing?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:17 PM on July 2, 2008


ah! I read it in The Science Fiction Hall of Fame Vol. 1!

mystery solved!
posted by shmegegge at 3:18 PM on July 2, 2008


Wish it into the cornfield, Anthony! (Fast-forward to 2:30)
posted by optovox at 3:28 PM on July 2, 2008


Huh, whenever I think about the word 'void'

For me:

Lloyd, Lloyd, all null and void,
Looking for the truth but trying to avoid, Lloyd
Dissed in the Malibu, not sure what to do


Every damn time.
posted by Skot at 3:30 PM on July 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


If you want to go find it, I think the thread speaks for itself.

I do not recall that you mentioned editing your comments in the thread in question, and it seemed like a rare example, so I didn't make a deal of it then. I admit that I could be wrong about you adding an addendum. It was frustrating at the time to see that happen without any reasonably timed notice to the fact.

The subject matter it involved is probably pretty meaningless, in hindsight. The point I was trying to make, however, is that people will notice this sort of act here, and if the subject matter is important enough, it will be a problem, just as the secretive unpublishing, editing and major policy changes have been for BoingBoing's editors.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:32 PM on July 2, 2008


"1,259 insults on one page

"I'd forgotten why I love-hated Metafilter: It's a boyzone of spiteful, pseudonymous insult comics, but many are snappy with the English language. 'Instead of calling it what it is, they're going to clown us with semantics.'""


As a female who's been here long enough to remember when this was MUCH more of a site full of guys that didn't always realize when they were offending women readers - I didn't feel that I had to comment on the misogynistic junk in that thread simply because other commenters hopped on it immediately. By the time I was reading them my comment would have been 100s of comments away from them - but the "we don't need that crap" response had been made, and I was ok with it. And frankly I didn't see as much actual hate as snark - which is why it's soooo odd that Valleywag of all places should be playing Pot calling the Kettle games. And obvious that the blogger didn't bother to read to the end of the thread.

Also I hate the use of the word boyzone. This is boyzone. Apparently Valleyway is trying to be the next Tiger Beat blog.
/snark
posted by batgrlHG at 3:39 PM on July 2, 2008


Wow, that thread really took off.

Let's see about this thread. "Disconnect" used as a noun, points off for each occurrence (yes, there's more than one!). Used "forii" as plural for forums/fora, 2 pts. off (one for each ii; it's not a Nintendo game console). Kerfluffle? Didn't we just discuss this one?

That's as far as I could get before I was overcome with disgust.

Please delete this post. It is offensive to speakers of the English language.
posted by Eideteker at 3:39 PM on July 2, 2008


If there were wifi in the cornfield, that'd go a long way toward neutralizing Billy Mumy's power, wouldn't it?
posted by wendell at 3:40 PM on July 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


The point I was trying to make, however, is that people will notice this sort of act here, and if the subject matter is important enough, it will be a problem, just as the secretive unpublishing, editing and major policy changes have been for BoingBoing's editors.

I don't think anyone is claiming otherwise, your point is taken. The only thread I recall doing this in (and can't, of course, find) I made a statement to that effect later in the thread, specifically.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:45 PM on July 2, 2008


Oh wait, here it is.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:47 PM on July 2, 2008


Xenu is monitoring this thread carefully.
posted by Krrrlson at 3:49 PM on July 2, 2008


Oh wait, here it is.

No, I think the post was about something else. I do recall responding directly to something you wrote, which is not the case in that thread, unless some of my comments in that thread were deleted, which I don't recall happening, and I'm even joking around later in the thread.

Anyway, not a huge deal. I'm certain the editing wasn't intended to come off as deceitful in any way.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:00 PM on July 2, 2008


Damn, I would have sworn the corn field was a Ray Bradbury invention.
posted by tkolar at 4:23 PM on July 2, 2008


*burp*
posted by By The Grace of God at 4:30 PM on July 2, 2008


It's easy to think of the He Man cartoon as a crudely-animated vehicle for the sale of cheap plastic toys. However, I believe that He Man was more than that. Much more, in fact. He Man was about choice, free will, and man's eternal nature.

Consider Skeletor. Skeletor is the very essence of evil. In fact, I'm willing to bet that, when many of you hear the world "evil," Skeletor is the first image to come to mind. I know that it is for me. However, let's take a close look at Skeletor. What is Skeletor anyway?

Skeletor is a skeleton.

Which means that all of us - each and every one of us, from Ghandi to Donald Rumsfeld - have Skeletor within us.

Now, consider He Man. He walks the earth as Adam - a puny specimen if we've ever seen one, completely at the mercy of the techno-medieval forces that surround him. However, with the Power Of Greyskull, he HAS THE POWER to become He Man.

And while the finer philosophical points of He Man may be lost on some, no longer must I live a confused life. No longer must I fear for the future. No longer must I shake my fist at the sky and shout, "Why God, why!?" For I know that, Adam, like myself, has Skeletor deep within him. But that did not stop him from meeting his destiny head on and wrestling it to the ground.

He found the power of Greyskull. He has the power. He IS He Man.

And by excercising choice, by acting on our own free will, we too may become Masters of Our Own Universe.
posted by Afroblanco at 4:37 PM on July 2, 2008 [9 favorites]


Afroblanco writes "Skeletor is a skeleton.

"Which means that all of us - each and every one of us, from Ghandi to Donald Rumsfeld - have Skeletor within us."



Likewise, this is why I believe every housecat has a little bit of Battlecat in it.
posted by mullingitover at 4:47 PM on July 2, 2008 [3 favorites]


However, let's take a close look at Skeletor. What is Skeletor anyway?

Skeletor is a skeleton.

Which means that all of us - each and every one of us, from Ghandi to Donald Rumsfeld - have Skeletor within us.


Okay, see, now THAT was a Ray Bradbury story.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:52 PM on July 2, 2008


That thread could use a bit of heavy-handed moderating now, rather than proving Valleywag right.
posted by spiderwire at 4:54 PM on July 2, 2008


... then again, maybe all the progress made over the last however many years wasn't all that great anyway.
posted by spiderwire at 5:05 PM on July 2, 2008


Red Skelton was Skeletor's Uncle.
True story.
posted by Dizzy at 5:13 PM on July 2, 2008 [2 favorites]


My landlady is not a fan of a bunch of abandoned crap living on that table until she threw it away.

Oh, that makes sense. An ongoing swap-less swapmeet is problematic.
posted by Tehanu at 5:14 PM on July 2, 2008


there may be a peanut gallery but it's OUR peanut gallery

My Dad was almost in the real Peanut Gallery, (the one on the Howdy Doody Show) when he was a kid, but when they got there, my Uncle Mike had a tantrum or something and they were taken to a room in the back where the parents watched the show on TV. My Dad was pissed.
posted by jonmc at 5:32 PM on July 2, 2008


I think the implication is that the editors at BB aren't in the same sort of dynamic as we are here: they are by and large dictating the content, where here we are by and large co-consumers of the userbase's content.

I do think that is important. I also think that all you guys truly believe in openness and transparency more fully than at Boing Boing. Talking the talk means nothing. You guys walk the walk. The mere presence of MeTa where grievances get aired, general things about the site are discussed, and how it is all done without much if any moderation, and especially how seriously the groupthink is considered makes this an entirely different site. This is a community, and Boing Boing is just a site with a lot of interesting links and some discussion, but it is not a free and open discussion. Matt established a very light hand in moderation right from the start and it has paid off in a vibrant community.
posted by caddis at 5:38 PM on July 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


jessamyn wrote...
[a few comment and follow-up removed ...

Not for me to judge, but I think you may have missed one.
posted by tkolar at 5:53 PM on July 2, 2008


Okay as someone who didn't read the thread and doesn't really care about blog governance, was there a steamy post-online, steampunk love affair going on here? I have a right to know!
posted by geoff. at 5:54 PM on July 2, 2008


This community, it vibrants?
posted by carsonb at 5:55 PM on July 2, 2008


"Dude that's second base. Third base is farther down."

I was pretty sure that third base was the blanket term for the under-the-underwear petting, but upon checking wikipedia and urbandictionary, I'm apparently a sexual innocent.

"klangklangston, isn't it part of your job to know this sort of thing?"

Unfortunately, LFP has declined to print Who's Up Cortex's Shirt, so my budget has fallen off.
posted by klangklangston at 6:08 PM on July 2, 2008


A shirt made out of cortex would probably fit well, but be uncomfortably slimy.
posted by jonmc at 6:24 PM on July 2, 2008 [2 favorites]


Pelt preparation.
posted by tkolar at 6:28 PM on July 2, 2008


I was pretty sure that third base was the blanket term for the under-the-underwear petting, but upon checking wikipedia and urbandictionary, I'm apparently a sexual innocent.

Out of curiousity, is there a similar metaphor in non-baseball playing countries?
posted by empath at 6:39 PM on July 2, 2008


What's fifth base?
posted by Artw at 6:39 PM on July 2, 2008


$20 SAIT.
posted by tkolar at 6:45 PM on July 2, 2008 [3 favorites]


(anal sex)
posted by tkolar at 6:46 PM on July 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Out of curiousity, is there a similar metaphor in non-baseball playing countries?

Handled the Ball from Cricket?
It is very unusual for a batsman to get out 'handled the ball' - there is little opportunity for a batsman to handle it at any stage. When it has happened, it is usually because the batsman has unthinkingly swept the ball away from his stumps whilst trying to protect his wicket.
posted by smackfu at 6:46 PM on July 2, 2008


Huh. I went out googling for SAIT and discovered that it's not a very well known acronym. I almost decided that it must be a metafilter thing, but then I checked and it's only been used 14 times here.

Apparently it's just the acronym of choice for connoisseurs of nun jokes.
posted by tkolar at 6:53 PM on July 2, 2008


wow. cortex, jessamyn, i don't know how you guys can so consistently make the right judgment calls on this stuff, but it's almost creepy sometimes.
posted by spiderwire at 6:59 PM on July 2, 2008


Out of curiousity, is there a similar metaphor in non-baseball playing countries?

No, they simply kick wildly and yell "GOOOOAAALL!"
posted by jonmc at 7:22 PM on July 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


I thought anal sex was the "home run" for the "abstinence only" crowd. (Makes sense, too, since Santorum helped fund abstinence programs.)
posted by maxwelton at 7:25 PM on July 2, 2008


I thought anal sex was the "home run" for the "abstinence only" crowd.

More like scoring by sliding in the dirt, but hey, a run is a run.
posted by jonmc at 7:26 PM on July 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm very curious about what wendell did to earn his time-out in that thread. It was all fairly innocuous Hot Pocket blithering up until whatever happened happened. Anyone?
posted by moift at 7:31 PM on July 2, 2008


"I thought anal sex was the "home run" for the "abstinence only" crowd.

More like scoring by sliding in the dirt, but hey, a run is a run."


Please to not use runs and anal sex together, tia
posted by mr_crash_davis at 7:37 PM on July 2, 2008


forii

Enough with the name-calling!
posted by not_on_display at 7:43 PM on July 2, 2008


forii

Hair-lip!
posted by The Light Fantastic at 7:52 PM on July 2, 2008


Out of curiousity, is there a similar metaphor in non-baseball playing countries?


Gleaming the cube.
posted by drezdn at 7:53 PM on July 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


In other words, unless Matt wakes up one morning with an obsessive ukulele fetish and a giant carp on his back, I think we'll be fine.

I fail to see the problem with that.
posted by davejay at 7:56 PM on July 2, 2008


I'm very curious about what wendell did to earn his time-out in that thread.

He took a rather misogynist potshot at some folks. Not like him, really.
posted by tkolar at 8:09 PM on July 2, 2008


I'm very curious about what wendell did to earn his time-out in that thread.

tkolar sums it up. It was one of those "maybe this is supposed to be funny but it just seems nasty" comments from someone who should pretty much know better.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:22 PM on July 2, 2008


Out of curiousity, is there a similar metaphor in non-baseball playing countries?

People that live in those countries haven't heard about foreplay yet so metaphors would just confuse them.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:37 PM on July 2, 2008 [3 favorites]


Jessamyn: We're also smaller and, believe it or not, deal with much less "peanut gallery" behavior as a result (there may be a peanut gallery but it's OUR peanut gallery) and this makes things simpler.

As Jimbob and caddis have noted, BB is more like a traditional mass media with readers' reactions than a community of contributors. BB's comments are not considered as contributions but just as an add-on to the show.

cortex: the editors at BB aren't in the same sort of dynamic as we are here: they are by and large dictating the content, where here we are by and large co-consumers of the userbase's content. Whether and how that leads to a difference in framework or perspective for them, though, is again not something I think I can speak confidently on.

I think you could. At least, meanwhile, I can try: the whole story is very interesting from a moderating point of view and I am sure it will be part of any future Moderating 101 course. In hindsight, we can see now that TNH was doomed from the start. Everybody (at least those interested in this kind of stuff) thought that she was a great pick for the job, because she has been doing it with a steady hand and a certain elegance at Making Light. But Making Light is more or less a community whereas BB is not one at all.

I know, I know, the word "community" is used in many different contexts. But it may be time to give it a more precise meaning regarding online communities. I see a lot of traditional mass medias that "allow comments" in their sites but where "readers" are those down in the seats whereas journalists are on the stage. Which is the case at BB: I don't think they have ever thought of treating commenters as contributors. So TNH and the BB gang certainly thought that she was moderating a community, but there never were a community there. TNH herself isn't even a contributor, she isn't even a "member". So she is not moderating a community of contributors, she is stuck between the performers and the reacting public. She can only lose.

All comparisons between BB and Mefi can't work because they are totally different animals. I concur with those who sing their appreciation of Mefi, Matt and the Moderators. But I don't think that we can compare what they do with a machine where there are performers who don't moderate, a moderator who doesn't perform and a crowd that can react but not perform. Which doesn't mean that both models can't be successful each in its own ways, but there is definitely "a difference of framework" and it would be useful to have different names for these very different models.
posted by bru at 8:38 PM on July 2, 2008 [2 favorites]


I was pretty sure that third base was the blanket term for the under-the-underwear petting, but upon checking wikipedia and urbandictionary, I'm apparently a sexual innocent.

Comedian Dax Jordan: "It's really different with kids now. First base is anal sex."
posted by msalt at 8:42 PM on July 2, 2008


Out of curiousity, is there a similar metaphor in non-baseball playing countries?

"Bowling a maiden over" - cricket jargon.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:36 PM on July 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Lessons Learned? Actions To Be Taken?

-a poem by me, while I wait for my wife to brush her teeth-

Burn everything. Ban everybody.
Re-ban odd user numbers
and multiples of seven.
Reinstate any user with
punctuation in their username.
Publish only those comments
which contain true prophecies.
No new posts: open old ones
at random.
Remove all references to
botany.
Strip all time/date stamps,
feed them to the lions.
Superimpose all in-jokes.
Sell the snowclones to the gypsies.
Replace snark & one-liners
with jpeg noise,
gif stipple,
little cropped-down
60 x 60 pixel
portraits of heads
sneezing, or confused,
or yawning, or trying to explain something.
Burn the ship's register,
scrub the name off the stern,
ply loose all her metal pieces &
valuables and jettison them,
run her aground
in the big white area
of the map, there was a map
here a second ago.
posted by sleevener at 9:37 PM on July 2, 2008 [5 favorites]


I thought the cornfield references were to Hee Haw.

(Hangs head, walks away sadly.)
posted by evilcolonel at 9:39 PM on July 2, 2008


Aside from that, we use "first, second & third base" as well. At least, maybe when still in high school.

Just because we don't care much for baseball doesn't mean we're entirely ignorant of how the game works; all those tall black men in helmets & pads running around & trying to throw the puck into the bases...
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:42 PM on July 2, 2008 [1 favorite]



Just because we don't care much for baseball doesn't mean we're entirely ignorant of how the game works; all those tall black men in helmets & pads running around & trying to throw the puck into the bases...


That's all right, here in the states we're pretty much convinced there *aren't* any actual rules to cricket. Y'all just mess around on a field for a while and then call it a day.
posted by tkolar at 10:02 PM on July 2, 2008


Er, yeah, in roughly the same way that your "football" is just a big gay orgy.
posted by Artw at 10:08 PM on July 2, 2008


Hey, at least our guys wear codpieces. We know what goes on in those rugby "scrums".
posted by tkolar at 10:11 PM on July 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Fair point. Baseball, BTW, is just Rounders.
posted by Artw at 10:14 PM on July 2, 2008


True. And ice hockey is pretty much just a tavern brawl on ice with someone keeping score.
posted by tkolar at 10:27 PM on July 2, 2008


Only when it's done right, tkolar.
posted by Justinian at 10:34 PM on July 2, 2008


Skeletor is a skeleton.

Nu-uh, he's just a skull on a buff purple body.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:44 PM on July 2, 2008




bru has an excellent point. The comments section at BB is much more like the comments section at your local newspaper than it is to metafilter.

Have you looked at your local paper's comment section(s) recently? They're worse than youtube, in my opinion, in that a bunch of 13-year-olds calling Jonas Brothers "fags" is kinda expected, whereas the people spouting off on local issues in similar language are your neighbors.

Frankly, I'm frightened by what I find there. I rarely if ever click on any paper's "community" links just to keep fooling myself that most people are pretty decent and halfway smart.
posted by maxwelton at 12:01 AM on July 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


So TNH and the BB gang certainly thought that she was moderating a community.

I thought the stuff about TNH's instructions to the assistant moderators was really interesting. Apparently, the junior dogsbodies bring stuff to TNH's attention, and then she instructs them on the appropriate way to respond.

Is this because women have weaker deletion fingers than men? If MeFi ever decides to adopt such an arrangement, I'd be perfectly happy to push the buttons on Jessamyn's instructions, to save her girly deletion finger from getting tired.

Lessons Learned?

Scratch a hippie, find a fascist. Nothing new there.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:09 AM on July 3, 2008 [1 favorite]




XenuXeni is monitoring this thread carefully.

Fixed that for ya.
posted by chillmost at 1:07 AM on July 3, 2008


one interesting disconnect is that the posters of influential internet forii appear to believe that BoingBoing has crossed some unclear threshold of popularity/championship -- and are now held to a higher standard of net behavior/ethics.

OOH OOH! *waves hand* i know where the line is!...when your 'blog' contains more posts about the work of others than it does about your own work (whatever form that 'work' takes), then you are no longer writing a 'personal blog', you are the news...maybe that's the lesson of all this...finding that line where an obligation to display some journalistic ethics kicks in. I guess in the long run, that's what i have to take away from this, not the huge feeling of betrayal, and chalk it all up to 'internet growing pains'... that it's just part of the trade-off for the possibility of a truly 'free' press (mefi supports itself mostly from ad revenue from pages delivered to non-members, right? (it's been a few years since i signed up) plus my 5 bucks...quite a deal...i like the model, it seems to work, and i hope you guys make a good living from it. BB, however, has just gotten greedy...their site has become an ever-growing cesspool of ads, and their activities over the last couple of days has proven that the only reason they have comments (despite whatever spin about their oh-so-important 'community' they started spewing as soon as the L.A.Times showed up) is to scrape up as many page-views as they can get)

soooo...what lessons should mefi take from this? well, of course, that transparency is very important...also (i think it's a quote, dont remember who) 'societies that attempt to re-write their past have no future'...also 'those who don't remember their past are doomed to repeat it'

actions to be taken? i just took a quick look over the faq about deletion policies, and a few things bothered me...firstly, the way posts are deleted by moving them off the front page but retaining the url...how am i supposed to remember a url with a string of random numbers in it? am i supposed to bookmark every thread in case it gets yoinked? I actually like monkeyfilter.com's approach to deleted posts, which is to have a note in the sidebar that says 'deleted posts go HERE'...they're still open to comments, but they've been moved to a 'back page'...it's actually, for the most part, kind of fun...like being invited to play in the trash...lots of good-natured ribbing over double-posting and etc...however, they still have the occasional horridtoxicflaming posts that go...somewhere else. (and if you talk about that place your pee-pee will fall off)...it's hard to really say what to do about those kinds of posts...i mean from a 'standard operating procedure' viewpoint...i guess that will always be something that requires the cool hand of a good mod, and i can't say i've even seen a post go that toxic on mefi...but i don't usually spend a TON of time here...and well, i guess they get deleted :[

as far as deleted comments go...maybe a similar solution would work...like a tiny little 'trashcan' icon at the bottom of the page or something, with the tacit understanding that if you dig something out of the trash and comment on it then you stand a 90-some-odd-percent chance of your comment ending up there too...

thoughts?
posted by sexyrobot at 1:47 AM on July 3, 2008


I think we will all remember where we were on boing boing day.
posted by sgt.serenity at 3:31 AM on July 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


i was in the office, how about you?

i miss boingboing day. tomorrow will be dull & boring in comparison. just like the day after Sep 11.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:27 AM on July 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


For the people tending towards "we're just poor little metafilter, they're big professional boingboing", this is an interesting graph.

I'm going to be checking it for the next couple of months, just to see if they really took a hit over all this, or if it's all just hot air (it pushed me to unsubscribe, but I was inches away anyway, due to Little Brother).
posted by Leon at 6:05 AM on July 3, 2008


I'd be perfectly happy to push the buttons on Jessamyn's instructions, to save her girly deletion finger from getting tired.

Thank you, I need them for scratching hippies.

thoughts?

Our general approach to deletions has been that we don't want a "playing in the trash" section of the site that is still linkable and accessible. If people can still see it/flag it, then for all intents and purposes it's really still on the site with the trouble that causes (and we can go back and forth about the nature of "trouble" but it ranges from people getting upset over personal slams or googlebombing all the way up to legal threats) and doing this just seems to create a skeevy back channel. MeTa has almost no deletions and people unhappy about comment deletions can, almost always, bring them back up and discuss them here.

This site is a lot bigger than MonkeyFilter and we don't have the same small community approach to moderation where everyone sort of knows everyone, etc. There is the deleted thread blog that captures pretty much every deleted MeFi post and the reason for deletion. Otherwise as I think we've said above and previously, we're not planning on changing the way deletions happen here though we're always up for ways to make the FAQ more clear, or up for discussing the policy here.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:13 AM on July 3, 2008


Fair point. Baseball, BTW, is just Rounders.

No, baseball is just Townball. Abner Doubleday invented nothing.
posted by SpiffyRob at 6:54 AM on July 3, 2008


sexyrobot writes "how am i supposed to remember a url with a string of random numbers in it?"

They're not random, they're sequential.
posted by Mitheral at 7:06 AM on July 3, 2008


Leon writes "For the people tending towards 'we're just poor little metafilter, they're big professional boingboing', this is an interesting graph."

Interesting, I didn't realize we had such a significant Indian readership.
posted by Mitheral at 7:10 AM on July 3, 2008


I'm not wearing my Abner Doubleday underpants today, even though I Should, because it is Thursday.
posted by Dizzy at 7:15 AM on July 3, 2008


Does he know you have his undies?
posted by Burhanistan at 7:22 AM on July 3, 2008


Is an Abner Doubleday something I would have to wear underpants to know about?
posted by Sys Rq at 7:23 AM on July 3, 2008


My friend Danny used to go up to drive through windows and order "One Abner Doubleday, and one Charlton Heston Hurricane."

Haven't heard from him in a long time.
posted by SpiffyRob at 7:39 AM on July 3, 2008


*Takes third on errant throw by Klangston*
posted by Mister_A at 7:55 AM on July 3, 2008


*moves infield in*
posted by Kwine at 8:46 AM on July 3, 2008


*catches pop fly with honey*
posted by Pot at 8:53 AM on July 3, 2008


Pot!
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:08 AM on July 3, 2008


Don't feed his ego. He'll be insufferable.
posted by Kettle at 9:10 AM on July 3, 2008


Pot smoke ego toke joke.
posted by cgc373 at 9:33 AM on July 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


I don't mind that you catch more flies with honey. What the hell do I want flies for?
posted by klangklangston at 9:45 AM on July 3, 2008


Easier to get your pants off, mate.
posted by Pot at 10:03 AM on July 3, 2008


*sac fly*

uh huh-huh-huh-huh, uh huh-huh

posted by not_on_display at 10:22 AM on July 3, 2008


*Shunts*
posted by drezdn at 10:36 AM on July 3, 2008


you know, some people LIKE a skeevy back channel...
on MoFi, tho, it's really more like limbo...with decreased attention, the flames tend to die pretty quickly, if they don't, they just get dropped down the bigger hole...

yeah, i totally get that it's a much bigger, gnarlier job over here, and that leaving deleted posts open for discussion here probably doesn't work, but i think the lesson of the day is 'just plain disappearing stuff is bad.' I was completely unaware there even was a deleted threads blog...maybe it's just that that needs to be highlighted for the greater transparency and what-not...definitely in the FAQ, possibly in the sidebar. I would Highly Reccomend (and for that, one usually needs a High Horse, but i have moral issues about giving drugs to animals) putting it in the sidebar, even if at the very very bottom and really really small, like how a newspaper deals with retractions, either in a box on the front page or in the letters column, etc.
would that be an equitable solution? and if so, what do we call it? my vote is for "The Memory Hole"
;)

as for deleted comments, i don't know if it's SOP to say 'comment by (x) deleted (when) for (reason)' (as happened to wendell last night...that's the only comment i've seen deleted here in that way), but i like it, it works. don't really think it's necessary to post a retraction for obvious spam, but then, i don't imagine you guys do either...
posted by sexyrobot at 11:19 AM on July 3, 2008


some people LIKE a skeevy back channel...on MoFi, tho, it's really more like limbo...with decreased attention, the flames tend to die pretty quickly, if they don't, they just get dropped down the bigger hole...

I have almost no idea what you just said, but it sounds really dirty.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:25 AM on July 3, 2008


oh also They're not random, they're sequential.

ah, so there's some sort of trick to it? I just meant from the point of remembering a url, most numbers seem random... its much easier to remember www.mefi.com/BB-crew-blows-a-donkey than www.mefi.com/BB-crew-blows-a-donkey/76581
posted by sexyrobot at 11:27 AM on July 3, 2008


I have almost no idea what you just said, but it sounds really dirty.

do you like it dirty? ~^
posted by sexyrobot at 11:29 AM on July 3, 2008


Sixth base!
posted by Artw at 11:46 AM on July 3, 2008


I see what you're saying, I find both to be about same. And because you only need the number for metafilter links (IE: http://www.metafilter.com/73022/ will get you the same place as http://www.metafilter.com/73022/Putin-on-the-Ritz or even http://www.metafilter.com/73022/CompleteAndUtterGibberishAndLineNoise ) the number only MetaFilter link is easier. And the text links on other sites tend to be truncated at some arbitrary place half way through the string making them harder.
posted by Mitheral at 11:50 AM on July 3, 2008


yeah...i've even seen some pretty funny truncations...point is, who types in urls? if its not clicky, it sucks dicky ;) like, if i posted an fpp and it got deleted, i'd want to see what comments it got before getting flushed, and seriously doubt i'd remember the number...on a side note, i gotta say, mefi seems to have the highest mathematician/earthling ratio on the tubes...i love when they pop up with the math-themed bon mots...those take work.
posted by sexyrobot at 12:14 PM on July 3, 2008


*steals second, but it's marked as defensive indifference*
posted by drezdn at 12:14 PM on July 3, 2008


would that be an equitable solution? and if so, what do we call it?

sexyrobot, I'm not seeing that there's something on the table that needs a solution at the moment. We've discussed where deleted comments and threads go in MetaTalk many times. There's information about this sort of thing on the wiki.

We have to strike a balance with the deleted threads blog because it's not a MeFi site. We've had people who have had stuff deleted on MeFi [usually SEO types who spam the site and then get banned] and then come after us because someone says something crappy about them or googlebombs them there when their post hits the deleted threads site. We don't control the content there and so we don't link it "officially" over here. It gets mentioned a lot in MeTa and I think most people who are curious about it can track it down one way or the other. There's a difference between being secretive about stuff and just not putting it all on the surface.

'just plain disappearing stuff is bad.'

I think the lesson is that being advocates for as much transparency as possible and then disappearing stuff seems like a conflicting values situation at best, deceptive at worst. We try pretty hard to be consistent, not deceptive, and answerable for whatever we do. mathowie has summed this up upthread.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:21 PM on July 3, 2008


Thank you, I need them for scratching hippies.

OK, I know you've got good, strong hippie-scratching fingers and a minor hit on the deletion button poses no *physical* effort to you, but I'm sure that you'll agree, the real effort in moderating Metafilter is the mental effort. Given that, it seems perfectly reasonable that you should have a team of little male submissives who run around, doing your bidding when it comes to button-pushing. You could kick us around when you get frustrated and don't want to take it out on the general readership. You could fire us when you have a bad hair day, and make us grovel to get back into your good graces -- having us bring you stuff like chocolate and flowers, in order to try and edge our way up the assistant moderator pecking order.

I can barely imagine what the thrill of being promoted from assistant moderator number 34 to assistant moderator 33 must feel like? Like being the exclusive member of some secret cult, I suppose. You could boast about it in the form of sharing 'insider gossip' with your pals -- after forcing them to take a vow of total secrecy first, of course.

"That Jessamyn? She's not all that. She would never have noticed that double post yesterday were it not for a certain assistant moderator number 33 bringing it to her attention. And those deletion quips? Totally ghostwritten, every single one of them. The assistant moderator who writes those quips for her works as an editor on the London Review of Books!"

"Well, I heard that Cory Doctorow is the person who writes cortex's deletion quips."

"Cory was doing it for a while, but he totally got fired after he had a friend post a self-link promoting one of his book readings on the blue. Charlie Stross is doing that gig these days."
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:34 PM on July 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


hmmm...i get where you're coming from...i'm not an admin, so i don't see the horrors that go on behind the scenes, but i do realize that it can entail a lot of additional work/headaches ...i'm just trying to see if there isn't a way to increase transparency about deleted items without creating extra headaches for you guys in the name of avoiding massive migranes like this boingboing thing.

the way i see it, despite the community-created nature of it, and the focus on commentary, mefi is essentially a news outlet (I come here for (part of) my news intake, anyway, and often just click links without feeling the need to discuss...and thats what all the lurkers do as well, right?) and as such, i feel there's some responsibility to print retractions of some kind when stuff is deleted. finding a way to do this without a lot of blowback is, of course, a bit of a problem, but not one, i feel, without a solution.

mathowie sez: We don't abuse it as mods and having traces of every deleted comment gives the ugliest content a permanent home, which is mostly why we don't leave links to read deleted stuff.
yeah, i can see that giving the ugliest content a permanent home is not wonderful, but that's not all it does...it also gives insight into your editorial procedure, and supplies specific examples of what is and is not acceptable. if deleted threads can be retained in a way that they don't continue to fester, i think you may find the level of civility on the main site may actually go up (not that i have any problem with that level now...but i have seen a lot of comments on other sites complaining about it, but mostly from wimps;) Do you think 'anonomizing' the comments on deleted threads might help?

and i'm not pushing for some huge immediate change or anything (as my cousin says: "if it works, don't fuck with it...and i mean, DON'T FUCK WITH IT."), and i don't think spam/racism/similar etc deserve any kind of acknowledgement, but i do think the front page needs some mention of deletions in some way...if not just a temporary "in light of recent events..blahblah...our deletion policy on the faq..blah blah" ...couldn't hurt, right? mostly, i think, for the 'wider audience' who may be confused by the 'community weblog' title into thinking that this is an unmoderated forum, as i did for quite some time...i guess i just feel the external deleted page is just a bit too 'insidery'

and i realize this has probably been discussed a bazillion times here on meta (it's my first time on here, actually, and what? no box of donuts? lame.) so i won't waste too much more of your time,
but, i dont think mathowies statement that:
when people flag offensive stuff a bunch we do remove things without a trace, and everyone knows that is going on and is fine with it. is necessarily true...the knowing part, anyway...i only checked the faq (the deletion part) and ended up on this thread due to the bb thing. as far as the 'fine with it' part...well i guess that's a matter of trust, right? you guys seem pretty trustworthy, now that i think about it...guess i'll keep coming back :)

gawd, i've been here 3 1/2 years now and i still feel like a total n00b. maybe you should just listen to my cousin... ;)
posted by sexyrobot at 2:19 PM on July 3, 2008


Easier to get your pants off, mate.

Oh, you know that you have no trouble getting my pants off anytime.

(That's why they're all drawstring.)
posted by klangklangston at 2:56 PM on July 3, 2008


(as my cousin says: "if it works, don't fuck with it...and i mean, DON'T FUCK WITH IT.")

It works. Don't fuck with it.
posted by spiderwire at 4:48 PM on July 3, 2008


I am WILLING TO TRAVEL.




Just thought I'd put that out there.
posted by Dizzy at 7:02 PM on July 3, 2008


It works. Don't fuck with it.

ok...after seeing the 'open letter' post a day or two upstream...i guess i can admit i was clueless about the amount of drama behind the scenes here...sheesh, what a nut...and again i guess i have to admit that that was pretty much me yesterday on BB :} (seriously, that TNH tossed about a dozen posts of mine straight down the toilet, but the one where i freak out about it? oh you bet that's the one she posts...oy vey...i guess i'll have to be more creative if i want to get banhammered over there...seriously, if they're opening up a memory hole, i know which side of it i want to be on.)

so yeah, ignore me, it all seems like it works...even when it's nasty

speaking of which...
I am WILLING TO TRAVEL.

all the way to california? ~^
posted by sexyrobot at 8:33 PM on July 3, 2008

Back when Metatalk...still sent stuff straight out of the db on delete, I accidentally clicked [x] instead of [+] on a comment I really liked, and, yeah. Man. That was not a great moment for me.
A user-interface problem. Separating the targets (delete at far left, bang on far right), making the X very wide (or everything else very wide and the X very narrow), requiring confirmation (no Ajax) – any of these would help.
posted by joeclark at 3:13 PM on July 4, 2008


In some cases a poster has said "shit what I said makes no sense can you fix it?"—jessamyn

Pony Up then,
an OP Edit Button as found on a Goalie's Bulletin Board: [http://www.goaliestore.com/board/equipment-forum/69817-my-new-swiss-graf-g-50-arrived-14.html#post1246704] for instance.


BoingBoing qua BoingBoing.
Beautiful./
posted by alicesshoe at 5:45 PM on July 8, 2008


Hey, the meta thread is still alive!
posted by Artw at 12:36 PM on July 30, 2008


Heh.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:54 PM on July 30, 2008


Be kind of strange, considering they have the same time out, for a meta thread to close before the FPP. It would mean someone Metaing a FPP before it was posted.
posted by Mitheral at 12:54 PM on July 30, 2008


Yes, but ZOMBIE BOING BOING THREAD EAT BRAINS!
posted by Artw at 1:02 PM on July 30, 2008


Is this because July is extra long?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:04 PM on July 30, 2008


No, John Kerry's face.

OH DISS
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:09 PM on July 30, 2008


WHO WANTS TO LOOK AT MORE BABY PICTURES?!
posted by ND¢ at 1:12 PM on July 30, 2008


No?
posted by ND¢ at 1:17 PM on July 30, 2008


Okay, just one more.
posted by ND¢ at 1:19 PM on July 30, 2008


your baby's t-shirt has Buttface spelled wrong.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:20 PM on July 30, 2008


There was seriously nothing you could have said other than "Hot Damn! That is the single cutest baby in the history of the world!" that would not have made you a very serious enemy today, but implying that my beautiful child would wear a shirt that says "buttface" . . . that was a mistake.
posted by ND¢ at 1:24 PM on July 30, 2008


How old is little Buttface now, anyway?
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:33 PM on July 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


* mod high five *
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:38 PM on July 30, 2008


Side note.

My theory is that now that I am the father of a daughter, I have unimpeachable feminist cred. Like, there is nothing I can say that can make me not a feminist, because I have given life to a woman (I had help). So, if I wanted to make an argument that supply and demand dictate that the less workers there are in the workforce, the higher those workers' wages would be, and therefore the fact that women started to work outside the home after WWII was crippling to wages, and that we as a society should stick it to the fat cats and pick half of us just to stay home and raise children and care for our homes so that the other half's wages would go way up and whatnot, and you know, why not let it be women right? I could make that argument, and nobody could say I'm not a feminist because, hello!, I have a daughter. Of course I love women and think that they are equal and all that jazz. I HAVE A DAUGHTER!

It's like how if you vote for Obama you can never be called a racist again, which I am really looking forward to. Cause, you know, everybody is a little bit racist even if they don't mean to be intellectually, but once you vote for Obama, that is like a lifetime get out of jail free card. "Hey ND¢! That is kind of racist!" "Uh dude, I voted for Obama." "Oh my god, I am sorry. I feel really dumb right now." "Yeah you should." Awesome.
posted by ND¢ at 1:45 PM on July 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


Whoa. Hold on.

Buttface is not traditionally a girl's name.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:49 PM on July 30, 2008


I have Where's Scott Kann stuck in my head now, fwiw.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:51 PM on July 30, 2008


Oh while I was side-notin' further mistakes were made. Grave mistakes.

My daughter will be two weeks old tomorrow. "How did she get that adorable in less than two weeks?!" you ask and wonder "If she keeps getting cuter at this rate then by the time she is four she will not be able to be viewed by human eyes without causing people to spontaneously combust from her cuteness! It's gonna be like the end of Indiana Jones where that dude's face melted when they opened the ark every time she toddles into a damn room! OMG!"

And I say that I must agree with you.
posted by ND¢ at 1:51 PM on July 30, 2008


Scott Cann came over to see the baby last night. "Damn cute" he said.
posted by ND¢ at 1:53 PM on July 30, 2008


I was thinking maybe I should put together a project where I make people listen to that song and then try to write down the lyrics as best they can. And then see what happens when like fifty different people do that.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:54 PM on July 30, 2008


Yeah that's what you need. Another project.

* non-mod high five * ?
posted by ND¢ at 1:56 PM on July 30, 2008


the less workers there are in the workforce

fewer.

I don't care if you're a feminist or not, your grammar sucks.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:00 PM on July 30, 2008


Yeah well at least I didn't name my kid after two different parts of the body that both have holes in them that are used for different purposes.

* self high five *
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:01 PM on July 30, 2008


What are those people who don't care about the rules of spelling or word usage or grammar as long as their point gets across? Prescriptionists? I am one of those.

Less, fewer, whatever. You walk in the door after a long day and find dinner sitting on the table? That is a damn good feeling.
posted by ND¢ at 2:08 PM on July 30, 2008


Also I am not saying that women should not be allowed to work. I just think that if half of people were just like "No. I don't want to work. Fuck off." and they were partnered up with people who were like "Sure I'll work, but it will cost you sucker." so that the non-worker wouldn't be homeless, then the world would be a better place cause the worker would get paid twice as much and the non-worker could do the things that need to be done to function like laundry and cooking and grocery shopping and making babies that nobody feels like doing after a long day of work. It doesn't have to be women. Whoever.
posted by ND¢ at 2:14 PM on July 30, 2008


Oh and I have expounded upon this theory in real life before and been told that it was the dumbest thing that the particular expoundee had ever heard, so it could well be that I have not completely thought this through. But I am pretty sure it is smart.
posted by ND¢ at 2:15 PM on July 30, 2008


"damn well feeling"

HTH
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:35 PM on July 30, 2008


ND¢ writes "the worker would get paid twice as much and the non-worker could do the things that need to be done to function like laundry and cooking and grocery shopping and making babies that nobody feels like doing after a long day of work. It doesn't have to be women."

So how exactly do I get my wife to go to work all day, overtime even, while I stay home making babies?
posted by Mitheral at 2:44 PM on July 30, 2008


This thread has taken a very strange turn.
posted by languagehat at 3:13 PM on July 30, 2008


Yeah I'm kinda sitting out here all alone in crazy town huh?
posted by ND¢ at 3:22 PM on July 30, 2008


I believe you are the mayor of Crazy Town.
posted by Tehanu at 3:27 PM on July 30, 2008


Don't take his word for it. Make a civic records inquiry to Madam Undersecretary Buttface.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:31 PM on July 30, 2008


My theory is that now that I am the father of a daughter, I have unimpeachable feminist cred.

This means GWB, Bill Clinton, John McCain, Dick Cheney, Steven Tyler, OJ Simpson, Howard Stern (3 times more unimpeachable!) and even Morton Downey Jr. have unimpeachable feminist cred.

The jury's still out on Susan B Anthony, however, since she was not a father of a daughter.
posted by shmegegge at 3:31 PM on July 30, 2008


more like Susan B Agony To Get Stuck Talking To At A Party, amirite
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:34 PM on July 30, 2008


Yeah but they didn't . . .

I've literally got nothing.
posted by ND¢ at 3:43 PM on July 30, 2008


except an apparently butt-faced daughter that does nothing to enhance my (now seriously endangered) feminist cred and bad grammar.
posted by ND¢ at 3:46 PM on July 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


The baby does not give you feminist cred. But she does give you a nice diversion tactic to use in person after you say something you wish you hadn't.
posted by Tehanu at 3:53 PM on July 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


So how exactly do I get my wife to go to work all day, overtime even, while I stay home making babies?

By taking a fecund mistress.
posted by jack_mo at 3:53 PM on July 30, 2008


When you show this thread to your daughter in ten years or so, try to contrast the Buttface thing against the Meficomp thing, okay?
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:01 PM on July 30, 2008


My baby was cuter, until it was eaten by an octopus.
posted by sciurus at 4:11 PM on July 30, 2008


eaten by an octopus.
posted by sciurus at 4:13 PM on July 30, 2008


Flibble flibble!
posted by Artw at 4:22 PM on July 30, 2008


How is babby...er. You've heard that one?
posted by maxwelton at 6:08 PM on July 30, 2008


the non-worker could do the things that need to be done to function like laundry and cooking and grocery shopping and making babies that nobody feels like doing after a long day of work.

what exactly do you think work is anyhow?

I always like to think that HTH stands for "Hand, the HAND" as in "tell it to the...."
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:08 PM on July 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


A lesson is learned, but the damage is irreversible
posted by grobstein at 7:19 PM on July 30, 2008


ND¢: but implying that my beautiful child would wear a shirt that says "buttface" . . . that was a mistake.

OMG! You go tell them off. Go on, I'll hold your pet monkey for you.
posted by Pronoiac at 10:44 PM on July 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


A talking hat told me that this thread was in need of sanity.
posted by Kwine at 4:55 AM on July 31, 2008


Gosh, this went weird. So... should I point and laugh or join in the insanity?
posted by Kattullus at 5:20 AM on July 31, 2008


Okay, how about this. A license would be required to work, and each household would be issued only one license, so that a couple could decide amongst themselves which one of them wanted to work. First dates could have conversations like "I am good with kids and a good cook and I don't mind cleaning, so I see myself as a non-working ("work" here means work outside the home for a paycheck) half of a couple" and the woman on the date (feminist cred back in spades baby!) might reply "Well I have a graduate degree and require more stimulation than staying home provides and I can't cook at all, so I see myself more as the worker" "Well, since one of us sees ourselves as a worker and one of us sees ourselves as a non-worker, we seem to be compatible on that front considering that only one of us would be allowed to work under ND¢'s glorious new regime" "Yes we do" "Now lets explore other areas of compatibility in an effort to determine whether we should pursue this relationship" "Yes lets". That cuts the number of workers in the workforce in half in a non-discriminatory manner thereby raising wages and allowing couples to have one of them concentrate on home life and the other on earning money. Win win.

As you can see, crazy town has impeached me as its mayor and is firmly behind me in the distance. I will accept accolades for my theory and compliments of my stunningly gorgeous child at your leisure.
posted by ND¢ at 6:22 AM on July 31, 2008


ND¢: A license would be required to work, and each household would be issued only one license, so that a couple could decide amongst themselves which one of them wanted to work.

Wouldn't that just result in people faking having two households (faux-duplexes and so on) so that they could get ahead?

oh my god... the insanity, it has gotten hold on me
posted by Kattullus at 6:32 AM on July 31, 2008


Feminism is about women having the same options as men, not about restricting half the population by some even more arbitrary means than sex to the choices women used to have.
posted by Tehanu at 7:31 AM on July 31, 2008


I try to avoid considering the practical problems presented by my crazy theories Kattullus . It gets in the way big time. There isn't a crazy idea that you can come up with that someone can't poke full of a million holes based on "reality". We never would have invaded Iraq based on the idea that they had WMDs and that we would be greeted as liberators and the oil revenue would pay for the war if we did that.

A lesson is learned, but the damage is irreversible
posted by grobstein at 10:19 PM on July 30


Bear in mind that I am someone who believes that homeless people should be rounded up and put into (non-death, I cannot stress that enough) camps and that there should be a law forbidding people from ever moving more than 50 miles from where they were born.

I am one of those authoritarian liberals with no belief in personal responsibility, and therefore no respect for personal freedom, and a fundamental suspicion about the very existence of the United States of America as a country.

So, if you were under the impression that I am someone who does not harbor some pretty messed-up ideas about how our country should be run, then you just haven't been paying attention. It's no big deal though. I am harmless.
posted by ND¢ at 7:33 AM on July 31, 2008


Also, I think you should just embrace your inner house-husband, ND¢. There's no shame in it.
posted by Tehanu at 7:35 AM on July 31, 2008


Drive-in navel gazing?
posted by Burhanistan at 7:47 AM on July 31, 2008


ND¢: So, if you were under the impression that I am someone who does not harbor some pretty messed-up ideas about how our country should be run, then you just haven't been paying attention. It's no big deal though. I am harmless.

So, are these theories of yours wild for the sake of wildness or are they firmly held beliefs that just happen to be wild? I have quite a few of the former and, depending on your point of view and cultural upbringing, some of the latter.
posted by Kattullus at 7:49 AM on July 31, 2008


Also, I think you should just embrace your inner house-husband, ND¢.

And post pictures onto the internet.

There's no shame in it.

Oh. Belay that.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:54 AM on July 31, 2008 [1 favorite]


So, are these theories of yours wild for the sake of wildness or are they firmly held beliefs that just happen to be wild?

Absolutely none of them are ever intentionally controversial in an effort to garner attention. I am not trolling with them. That should be stressed. I don't want people to think that I am just coming up with stuff to yank people's chains in order to entertain myself at work. That would be lame.

As for firmly held beliefs, not really that either. More like late-night dorm-room bull session half-assed natterings. "Hey this occurred to me. What do you think?" I am not out writing my congressman advocating camps for the homeless or a one worker per household law. I honestly think them, but I also know that they are kind of dumb too.
posted by ND¢ at 8:02 AM on July 31, 2008 [1 favorite]


What I meant by "wild for the sake of wildness" was "ideas one likes for other reasons than their correctness." For instance, I have this wild idea that there is perfect correlation between the quality of R. E. M. albums and how much Mike Mills sings on each one. I like the idea for aesthetic reasons and also because it's the kind of bullshit idea a certain type of music fan advocates all the time but I don't think for a minute that it's an accurate hypothesis.
posted by Kattullus at 8:30 AM on July 31, 2008


Something like that I suppose. Sometimes I just like to hear myself type.
posted by ND¢ at 9:21 AM on July 31, 2008


I honestly think them, but I also know that they are kind of dumb too.

I automatically like and respect anyone who can say that about their ideas. And I may steal the line.
posted by languagehat at 11:09 AM on July 31, 2008 [1 favorite]


« Older Music Talk and Charts and Challenges, Oh My!   |   Memorial fund? Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments