Clarification on reasons to delete answers August 29, 2008 8:01 AM   Subscribe

Poster asks: Does dating through craigslist actually work? I answered simply, "No." My answer's been deleted. This is not the first time my on-topic answers have been deleted from threads and I find it pretty annoying. Further, someone else posted "Yup" and there answer is still there. WTF?

Yeah, I know I could email ops and ask wtf but I've done that before and have never been satisfied with the answers "It was flagged" or "It was a judgement call" or whatever. I don't see how those excuses are relevant.

The barometer should be:

Is it on topic?
Does it answer the question asked?

If those two are Yeses, the answers should stay, regardless of the number of flags something gets or whether the ops like the wording/tone/whatever.
posted by dobbs to Etiquette/Policy at 8:01 AM (92 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

Grr. Their.
posted by dobbs at 8:02 AM on August 29, 2008


A direct answer to a binary question is not sufficient regardless of logic / semantics. Clarification is required to be a helpful answer.
posted by Meatbomb at 8:06 AM on August 29, 2008


How is anyone supposed to know whether 'No.' is on topic?
posted by beniamino at 8:06 AM on August 29, 2008


"No" (or "yes") to a question provides the asker with no information whatsoever about why that's your answer. A thousand people could answer with pat "No"s and the asker would know that a lot of people think it doesn't work but would have learned nothing about why anybody thinks that.

You're welcome to go back in and expand your "No" into a "No, and here's why", but without any context it's not actually answering the question in a meaningful way.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:07 AM on August 29, 2008


Also, the yup answer you are referring to also says that another answer is wrong. (though it doesn't say why or anything, so I'm somewhat surprised that it wasn't deleted as well)
posted by Grither at 8:07 AM on August 29, 2008


"yup" looks to be gone from the thread as well. I delete single-word answers all the time because they're not very helpful, especially when you see a single word dangling in a crowd of paragraph-length posts explaining past experiences or how someone arrived at their answer.

If you want to answer "yes" or "no" please tell us why, in at least one sentence. Is that too much to ask?
posted by mathowie (staff) at 8:08 AM on August 29, 2008


You could have said "No, because every ad on w4m is a fake spam trap."
posted by plexi at 8:08 AM on August 29, 2008


One word answers with no further information -- yes, no, dtfma, maybe, Frank -- are usually not super-helpful as answers and if we see them in the course of the day we'll sometimes delete them. The OP had a long thought-out question and it's not even totally clear what part you're saying no to. I mean I got it, but if they don't know you're a dude, it's less clear. This is in the faq.

I don't see any one-word "yup"s at the moment and I didn't remove your one-word no.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:11 AM on August 29, 2008


Word
posted by DU at 8:22 AM on August 29, 2008


It is ironic that you want an explanation for deletion about your lack of explanation.
posted by lee at 8:22 AM on August 29, 2008 [6 favorites]


Sucks.
posted by Plutor at 8:22 AM on August 29, 2008


Frank.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 8:29 AM on August 29, 2008


I obviously see AskMe in a completely different way than everyone posting above. Had I been the OP in that thread and come back and seen No's and Yeses, I'd take them as legit answers to the Yes/No question I asked above the fold and in the summary. Further, multiple No's would be helpful, I would think. Were I the OP and returned to see a string of No's, I don't think it would matter to me why they're there. I already know that the place is a SpamBot paradise and stated so in my Q.

It is ironic that you want an explanation for deletion about your lack of explanation.

The OP didn't ask "Why doesn't using CL as a dating service work for men?" Had he, I wouldn't have answered the Q. Because I don't know why it doesn't work and my answer wouldn't have been informed or on-topic. But, since he asked "Does it work for men?" I answered from my experience.

My point is that judgement calls are being made about answers after they've met the "Does it answer the question and is it not a joke?" criteria. I do not think this is a good thing. (For the record, this is my only one word answer that's been deleted.)

When I post a question to Ask, I'd like to read ALL the on-topic answers, regardless of the tone/length/whatever. That's the issue I'd like to discuss here. I don't think the ops should be cutting out on-topic answers because it's possible and probable the OP will find them useful.
posted by dobbs at 8:31 AM on August 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


Burns.
posted by isopraxis at 8:32 AM on August 29, 2008


Is that too much to ask?

No.
posted by Dave Faris at 8:32 AM on August 29, 2008 [4 favorites]


If those two are Yeses, the answers should stay, regardless of the number of flags something gets or whether the ops like the wording/tone/whatever.

Dude asked like 5 questions in the "more inside". How the hell is he supposed to know which one your one word answer was supposed to be addressing?
posted by 23skidoo at 8:41 AM on August 29, 2008


When I post a question to Ask, I'd like to read ALL the on-topic answers, regardless of the tone/length/whatever. That's the issue I'd like to discuss here. I don't think the ops should be cutting out on-topic answers because it's possible and probable the OP will find them useful.

Exactly. I think the poster "owns" the question, not the moderators. The moderators can delete spam and obvious noise, but otherwise should stay out of the way. Perhaps give the poster an option to "mark for delete" on items THEY found unhelpful and then the mods can sweep it up on their next pass.
posted by DU at 8:45 AM on August 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Seems the general consensus is that you should at least add a brief explanation to back up your reasoning for "No." You know, something like:

She wasn't 26, she was 19, but with legs like that it was hard to tell, I have to be honest. We met in this squalid little dive bar outside of Fort Worth, on her insistence. It was attached to a gas station and the only building within 20 miles, as far as I could tell. It even had those real swinging saloon doors on the front - I'm not sure how they kept things dry in a storm, but there they were.

You'd expect that someone looking for a marriage of convenience in Texas would be coming north from the border with Mexico, but she was some kind of southern asian - I think maybe Vietnamese. She never told. She told me a lot of other things though. Whispered somethings that dripped like honey poison into my ears, floating on a constant river of Brooks and Dunn in the background. There was a lot of whiskey and a lot of love in that bar that night. We weren't the only ones, I noticed, when she got up to go to the little girls' room. It was like there was something in the air.

She came back, sat down, and only had to wink at the bartender and in 15 seconds we had two more gratis drinks in front of us. There was something about the way she could just look at you and tell you things with her eyes. But it was what her eyes didn't tell me that night, what they hid so well, that would come to haunt me.

3 or 4 days later (I can only guess) I woke up in a warehouse that I would later come to discover was in the middle of New Mexico. At the time, all I knew was that it was dark, hot, and I was securely fastened to a metal table. And my chest hurt like all hell. A door opened somewhere behind me and I heard footsteps. The pinch of a needle in the crook of my arm and things went black again. Some amount of time after that and I woke up under a freeway overpass in Los Angeles. No phone, no wallet, just the pair of jeans I had worn to the bar that night. Not even a shirt - which is why the first thing I noticed was the 8-inch scar down the center of my chest. Suffice to say *that* freaked me out for a bit. My head was pounding and as I walked down the street a cop pulled up along-side of me. He asked me if I was OK and I half-collapsed trying to answer, so it was off to the emergency room for a night.

Its been 3 months since I was trying to convince them of what I thought used to be my real identity. I was Jeff Sacks, from Dallas. I worked at a small software development boutique there. I paid my taxes. I was in the co-ed softball league in my neighborhood, for crying out loud.

But there were no records of me. No social security numbers, no drivers licenses, no passport, nothing. I haven't been allowed to go free since that day and I've been transferred from place to place, agency to agency. I was even on a helicopter at one point, but I've had a hood over my head most of the time they've been moving me.

The X-rays showed a small, long cylinder made of some sort of metal, lodged firmly between my lungs and with some kind of vein-like attachments to most of my major internal organs. The doctors had never seen anything like it and I go in for what they're calling "exploratory surgery" tomorrow.

My name is Jeff, and I'm being held in some kind of government facility in the middle of some desert. I broke out of my room and found a working computer to try and get help.

But I really felt I should answer your question with a definite "No."
posted by allkindsoftime at 8:46 AM on August 29, 2008 [95 favorites]


If we all answered AskMe questions with less than 3 words, it wouldn't be a very interesting read, now would it? This is why we are trying to discourage that type of response.
posted by iamkimiam at 8:48 AM on August 29, 2008


Had he, I wouldn't have answered the Q. Because I don't know why it doesn't work and my answer wouldn't have been informed or on-topic.

Have you had any personal experience with the subject? You don't need to have an explantion for exactly how the universe works or anything, but if you've had direct negative experiences and you've reflected on them at all, surely you could have shared some of that to put your answer into context?

There's an element of trusting in the words of strangers that is inherent to the AskMe experience: when someone asks a question, they're setting themselves up to trust that the answers they get will be given in good faith with the intention to help them solve their problem or understand an issue. And for questions that are based on experiential knowledge, it's the context an user provides in their answer that makes up their end of that bargain of trust. Not just a binary position statement but the reason for that position, the thinking behind it, the relevant experience in which the answer is grounded.

There are a lot of ways in which answers can fail to meet that bargain of trust—elements of antagonism, diversion, contextlessness, even outright mischief or deception—none of which contribute to really solid and helpful communication between answerer and asker. And while all of those elements can be found to a degree in otherwise acceptable answers, extreme examples of them tend to get culled, and it's been that way for a long time.

We don't want AskMe to turn into a polling station, essentially—any more than we want it to turn into a roast or a fistfight or a soapbox.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:49 AM on August 29, 2008 [3 favorites]


My point is that judgement calls are being made about answers after they've met the "Does it answer the question and is it not a joke?" criteria. I do not think this is a good thing.

really? any time someone makes an unhelpful answer, but it's not a joke and it answers the question it should stay? I mean, your basic premise is flawed, here. "Does it answer the question and is it not a joke?" are not the only criteria for an answer. off the top of my head there's also "is it advocating illegal activity?" "is it encouraging the OP to harm him or herself?" "will it get the site in trouble, somehow?" "has it accidentally been posted twice consecutively?" Now, your answer doesn't fit those particular qualifications, but it does fit the "is it a completely useless answer." qualification. Another one could be the "is it an unqualified answer that pretends to authority on the subject when the commenter actually has limited expertise or experience?" qualification. Yes, that's a real concern. we've had nasty metatalk threads about that kind of answer, before.

to sum up: askme doesn't work the way you think it does. what you're claiming is an example of poor moderation is actually precisely how the site is supposed to be moderated.
posted by shmegegge at 9:07 AM on August 29, 2008


DU nailed it much more succinctly than I did. Thanks, DU.

Cortex, I'm going to avoid your thoughtful post because it's concentrating on the one word answer aspect of my OP. I should not have used this as my example--it wasn't the most relevant example but only the latest.

I'll concede that one-word answers can often be as confusing as they can be helpful.

Now, are we able discuss the larger issue as clarified by DU?
posted by dobbs at 9:07 AM on August 29, 2008


I'll concede that one-word answers can often be as confusing as they can be helpful.

High five, and no harm done.

Now, are we able discuss the larger issue as clarified by DU?

Sure. DU's comment:

I think the poster "owns" the question, not the moderators. The moderators can delete spam and obvious noise, but otherwise should stay out of the way. Perhaps give the poster an option to "mark for delete" on items THEY found unhelpful and then the mods can sweep it up on their next pass.

We want the poster to own the question, and that's reflected in our disinclination to remove things for other than the sort of specific problem-of-extremes I laid out above regarding problematic stuff. As much as askme is "heavily moderated", that moderation is largely constrained to removing stuff that clearly falls into established Not Okay/Not An Answer territory and, occasionally, explicit re-railing when a question starts to wander.

However, the asker is rarely acting in the capacity of a site-minded custodian; enforcing the guidelines of the site and removing cruft is neither their job nor, generally, something the average asker is particularly skilled at. We don't leave it to the asker to clean up the messy stuff, nor do we give them the power to zap fair answers that they simply dislike—both of those are things that have fallen for a long time now into the lap of moderation, and Metatalk is the arena where perceived inconsistencies or errors in our execution of that role can get hashed out.

I know that opinions differ on how active the hand of moderation should be in askme (and elsewhere), and I respect that there are folks who would prefer that more things be let stand more often. I disagree with the idea that that would make AskMe more useful (or that it would even not make it explicitly less useful), because I believe that putting moderation in the hands of the asker would be in the best cases only about as good as what we have now, and in the less-than-best cases a lot more problematic—both for what would be let stand, and for what would be zapped, by folks more personally tied to both their question and to the emotional/rhetorical impact of the answers they receive.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:21 AM on August 29, 2008


This is a little inside baseball but the problem with the OP "owning" the question -- my opinion is about the same as cortex's on this topic -- is that when answers veer into the "tough love" arena where the OP wants to know how to keep the marriage together and people are saying "you can't do this" or whatever, the OP can sometimes not like that. We've seen people flagging every answer in an AskMe question that they simply do not agree with or ones that disagree with the OP. We've seen the OP do this. Not often but it does happen.

The whole "ask the community" aspect means that while you can channel the question somewhat, answers are supposed to be relevant in a larger context which is why some of the types of questions we don't allow -- made up hypotheticals, "does anyone have an invite to XYZ new site" -- aren't allowed.

Our general feeling, and sure it's debateable, is that AskMe is the most useful to the most people with answers needing to be more or less on topic, but NOT selectable by the OP.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:30 AM on August 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Terse.

Too terse.
posted by Artw at 9:30 AM on August 29, 2008


I'll concede that one-word answers can often be as confusing as they can be helpful.

Now, are we able discuss the larger issue as clarified by DU?


So, if you don't want to talk about one word answers, exactly what kind of answers do you take issue with being deleted? Can you give some examples of multi-word answers that you think answered the question that was asked, but were deleted by moderators?
posted by 23skidoo at 9:33 AM on August 29, 2008


You are being rather disingenuous. Sure, the above-the-break question could be answered with a simple yes or no. Barely. But the poster very clearly wants a lot more than a yes-or-no-answer. That is why he also asked:

Is there any way to pick out who's real and who's fake?
Girls: how many legit, non-trashy messages from a craigslist personal did you receive?
Guys: is there any hope posting on MseekingW?.


And did you happen to notice that the original asker provided some helpful "summary questions"? No? OK, then, I'll quote them for you:

Summary question: is there a snow cone's chance in hell using craigslist as a dating service? What's the best strategy: posting to MseekingW or hoping I don't meet a spambot on WseekingM?

Finally, even if we believe that a single yes-or-no answer is useful, you don't even provide enough information to tell which question you are answering "no" to. No, there's no way to pick out who's real and who's fake? No, there is no hope posting on MseekingW? No, there is not a chance in hell of using craigslist? So your answer doesn't even meet your own stated barometer of "Does it answer the question asked?" since I doesn't specify which question it is answering.
posted by googly at 9:33 AM on August 29, 2008


> But, since he asked "Does it work for men?" I answered from my experience.

In that case, you should have elaborated. Replying "no" implicitly means that it works for no men, anywhere, at any time. If you had meant, "In my case, no," You should have said so.
posted by ardgedee at 9:36 AM on August 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Ugh. This is snowballing out of control. shmegegge, your points are perfectly valid. Yes, we shouldn't have harm yourself answers stand. Yes, we shouldn't have things that'll get the site in shit stand. You're absolutely right.

BUT, I honestly think that answers that are perfectly legit have been and are being deleted for the wrong reasons.

So, if you don't want to talk about one word answers, exactly what kind of answers do you take issue with being deleted? Can you give some examples of multi-word answers that you think answered the question that was asked, but were deleted by moderators?

I don't really want to get into the specifics of my own deletions because I don't want this to seem like a callout about those specific deletions. It's not. I posted this to etiquette/policy because I think that this topic needs clarification. That said, I have no real way of furthering my point without drawing on my own deletions as they're the only ones that I can speak to.

As an example, there was an Apple iPhone question not too long ago. The poster was in Canada (this was pre-iPhone release in Canada). They had a busted iPhone. I don't remember the exact wording of my answer, but it was something like, "Fuck Apple. Call them and scream at them about the fact that they're marketing a phone as a world phone and are not supporting it for people who travel to countries where the phone is not sold. This is have your cake and eat it too bullshit. I have an iPhone and the headphones broke and I got the standard no support in Canada response. Fuck that. Call them and scream this line of logic. It worked for me. They sent me new headphones."

My answer was relevant and, I thought, helpful. It was deleted even though it was the only answer in the thread at the time it was deleted that spoke from experience of someone in Canada with the same issue as the OP that offered a solution. Apparently, lots of people flagged it. To me, that's a bullshit reason for deleting a valid solution and were I the OP, I'd have wanted to read that answer.

Another Q was about why Canada (and other countries) don't join the USA. I literally laughed out loud when I read it because it came from a very naive pov. As a Canadian, I posted something like "Other countries don't see America the way it does. Many of us think it's a ridiculous country mired in a silly problems..." etc. It was deleted and I was told it was because it sounded very "Fuck America." Well, yeah, it did sound very fuck america. But it was also an honest and relevant answer.

Again, were I the OP of either of those Qs, I'd have want to have read those answers.

My concern is that when I post Questions to Ask, there are relevant, helpful answers are being deleted before I get a chance to glean info from them that may solve my problem or clarify things for me.
posted by dobbs at 9:39 AM on August 29, 2008


Cortex for Context in '08!
posted by kuujjuarapik at 9:42 AM on August 29, 2008


Well we do have another general category of stuff that can get deleted and that's "answers that are starting a fight in an AskMe thread" which I think both of those comments you refer to are doing, whether on purpose or accidentally. The big thing is, if you have a fighty comment deleted, nothing is stopping you from reposting an answer with a little less GRAWR in it. We'll often suggest just that. In fact, my response to you, dobbs, was
Yeah, I was on the fence about it, but posting "Fuck apple" in an AskMe about iphones seemed like it was a little tetchy. I let it go for a while and a few more people flagged it and I decided to remove it along with another similar "fuck apple" comment. If you'd like to repost with a little less GRAWR, I'm sure the OP would love to see your working solution. Sorry about that.
The same thing happened in the thread about national languages. Some topics make people really angry and AskMe threads derailing into people fighting with each other hinders the ability of the OP to get their question answered.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:49 AM on August 29, 2008


> I don't remember the exact wording of my answer, but it was something like, "Fuck Apple..."

That's a good example of potentially helpful advice wrapped in incendiary. Threads can follow emotion as easily as information. Apple and the iPhone are long-term hot-button topics, and answers like that will inevitably draw out the people who feel the need to justify liking Apple or hating Apple, and derail the thread. There are no small number of people who would be reacting purely to the vitriol in your response and never fully register the factual content. To that extent, the comment is unhelpful, even if the answer it contains is on-target.
posted by ardgedee at 9:51 AM on August 29, 2008


Brevity in answers like it is in life is good.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 9:56 AM on August 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Well, yeah, it did sound very fuck america. But it was also an honest and relevant answer.

Derail = Bad
posted by burnmp3s at 10:02 AM on August 29, 2008

Can you give some examples of multi-word answers that you think answered the question that was asked, but were deleted by moderators?
Free Tibet! comes immediately to mind.
posted by MrMoonPie at 10:02 AM on August 29, 2008


bah
posted by matteo at 10:05 AM on August 29, 2008


Um...
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:10 AM on August 29, 2008


Free Tibet! comes immediately to mind.

In the form of a ghostly headache, yes. That was a fun day.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:10 AM on August 29, 2008


Agreed with jessamyn...the examples you give sound like decent answers in theory but were terrible in execution. Next time, maybe you should write your answer, preview it, then see if you can tone down the "Fuck ____" aspect of it. That kind of answer just seems like it's baiting a fight and gets in the way of what otherwise may be a well-thought, useful answer.
posted by sjuhawk31 at 10:16 AM on August 29, 2008


Krebs!
posted by Eideteker at 10:17 AM on August 29, 2008


Brevity is animating principle of keen perception and cleverly apt expression of those connections between ideas that awaken amusement and pleasure.
posted by Dave Faris at 10:33 AM on August 29, 2008


"Brevity is... wit"
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:35 AM on August 29, 2008


Nuts.
posted by chillmost at 10:42 AM on August 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wow, talk about special snowflake syndrome. What makes your "No" so unique and wonderful that you're starting an entire Metatalk thread about one word?
posted by Malor at 10:43 AM on August 29, 2008


Does dating through craigslist actually work?

i> No, I tried for a good long while, and got no takers.
ii> No, I made three dates which all turned out to be my dad.
iii> No, and I have the restraining order to prove it.

"No" can mean a lot of things. Askers are expected and encouraged to include relevant information and context with their questions, so it's only fair that Answerers bear a similar burden and put some sort of effort into their responses.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:44 AM on August 29, 2008


"Brev...."
posted by Divine_Wino at 10:46 AM on August 29, 2008


Yeah, I know I could email ops and ask wtf but I've done that before and have never been satisfied with the answers "It was flagged" or "It was a judgement call" or whatever. I don't see how those excuses are relevant.

When moderators remove a comment, and then tell you why - that's a reason...not an excuse. An excuse is when you make a comment that offends people, or is a one word toss-off, etc. that ends up being part of the small percentage of comments that get deleted in a day here and you actually start a thread to try and justify its worth.

If you are getting a lot of comments deleted, it might just be you and not actually a failure of policy. Just saying.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 10:47 AM on August 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


Exactly. I think the poster "owns" the question, not the moderators. The moderators can delete spam and obvious noise, but otherwise should stay out of the way. Perhaps give the poster an option to "mark for delete" on items THEY found unhelpful and then the mods can sweep it up on their next pass.

Oh god no!

More particularly, correct answers are often seen as a derail by the asker. Of course really good answers bring the asker to the correct answer gently, assuaging the asker's resistance, but those are rare. Correct answers should not be deleted just because the asker doesn't like to see them.

Further, the administrators have shown a willingness to use 'it was flagged' as a decision making tool, so you just know the same would be true for this special flag.
posted by Chuckles at 10:52 AM on August 29, 2008


Brevwit.

"My answer was relevant and, I thought, helpful. It was deleted even though it was the only answer in the thread at the time it was deleted that spoke from experience of someone in Canada with the same issue as the OP that offered a solution. Apparently, lots of people flagged it. To me, that's a bullshit reason for deleting a valid solution and were I the OP, I'd have wanted to read that answer."

Man, haven't you read the FAQ? You're not allowed to disparage Apple!

(I can say that I feel your pain as someone who occasionally gets all bare-knuckle in AskMe and gets it deleted. But in my more circumspect moments I can generally see that the asker would be better aided by my not being Mr. Aggro. This tends to be more of a problem for me when I feel someone else is ANSWERING WRONG and I must PUNCH THEM WITH MY RIGHT-THOUGHTS. Even though I can make some sort of elaborate rationalization that by calling this one guy who posts all these stupid sub-Maxim answers to relationship questions a fucking retard the site is somehow aided by him being chastened, I have to kind of realize that the poster isn't really helped. I know this is kind of orthogonal to your complaint here, but I just wanted to offer some sympathy.)
posted by klangklangston at 10:54 AM on August 29, 2008


Scene: a dimly lit AskMe thread

dobbs: My one-word answer was relevant and helpful!

AskMe: But the OP asked six questions... how would he know which you were answering?

dobbs: Well, alright, fine... I guess I could've added some context. But, here, what about my "Fuck Apple" post? That had useful information and context! Same with my "Fuck America" comment!

AskMe: Um... don't you think those run the risk of a massive thread derail? Talk about a train-wreck waiting to happen...

dobbs: Okay, okay, okay. So all of those examples were terrible, but I'm right, I swear. Try these new examples, they're good ones, I promise...
posted by toomuchpete at 10:54 AM on August 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


I answered from my experience.

Then I think you should have said that: "In my experience, no."
posted by Chuckles at 10:56 AM on August 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


The same thing happened in the thread about national languages. Some topics make people really angry and AskMe threads derailing into people fighting with each other hinders the ability of the OP to get their question answered.

Perhaps the real issue is, which should be deleted, the fighting, or the valid answer that pisses people off. It sounds like dobbs is running up against this problem...
posted by Chuckles at 11:18 AM on August 29, 2008


So, uh, reed or red?
posted by fixedgear at 11:19 AM on August 29, 2008


Perhaps the real issue is, which should be deleted, the fighting, or the valid answer that pisses people off.

Both. If the mods nuke both sides and start from scratch, the derail is usually over. If they leave the comment that started it all there, people are going to keep arguing about it, either in-thread or in MeTa. Sometimes the question itself instigates a derail, and in the worst case the whole question is deleted because a flamewar is unavoidable.
posted by burnmp3s at 11:31 AM on August 29, 2008


I think we should all just face the fact that this site belongs to the moderators, and we're only here to give them stuff to moderate.
posted by Dave Faris at 11:33 AM on August 29, 2008


which should be deleted, the fighting, or the valid answer that pisses people off.

In a world flush with magical self-restraint, the valid answer wouldn't piss people off regardless of the phrasing. That's a hard counterfactual to work with, so I'm going to continue looking at this in the world where people do get pissed off by intemperate or unnecessarily provocative presentation.

So.

1. Leave the provocative answer up, delete every response to the provocation.

We get to babysit the thread raptly and indefinitely, trying to pick off each flareup before it can cascade into a full-on derail. Everybody responding to it and having their responses deleted stands a chance of getting pissed. Possible metatalk asking why the hell we're letting that stand.

2. Delete the provocative answer and any responses so far to it.

We babysit the thread for the next few minutes to catch any aftershocks from folks who loaded the thread before the cleanup and unknowingly respond to what's already been nixed. Derail is averted, and we can go about our day. Original commentor has option of restating his comment in a less provocative manner. Original commentor stands a chance of getting pissed about deletion; those responding to him, less likely since there was no "picking of sides" in the cull. Possible metatalk asking why the the hell we deleted that comment.

Between the alternatives, the latter leaves us better equipped to keep an eye on the whole site since we aren't having to hyperattenuate on the trouble thread; it neuters the potential derail instead of leaving the bait dangling for further flareups, which keeps the noise in the thread down; it likely reduces the number or upset mefites; and it does nothing to prevent the commentor from restating their answer in a less problematic way.

So, uh, reed or red?

Fuck homomorphs!
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:34 AM on August 29, 2008


BUT, I honestly think that answers that are perfectly legit have been and are being deleted for the wrong reasons.

well, now we're getting into vague territory. when you say "perfectly legit" do you really mean that? as in, you believe these answers you're thinking of are not only legitimate, but perfectly so, having no flaws or deficiencies? or are you saying "answers that are pretty legit, and are being deleted because they're not quite perfect."

also, what are the wrong reasons? in the examples you've highlighted, the answers are neither perfectly legit (though there may be reason to see them as somewhat legit), and the reasons for deleting them are in question. You say they were deleted because they got a lot of flags. Here's what I recall the mods saying about things like that when it's been brought up in the past.

nothing is deleted simply because it is flagged. flags call the attention of the mods to something. when they see the flags, they delete it if they think it's worth it. if it doesn't get flagged, they may never notice it. but in the end, the ultimate decision to delete comes from their judgment on the matter, not from the number of flags. SOMETIMES, not all the time, but sometimes, if they're on the fence on the matter then seeing a massive pileup of flags will help them decide to delete something because a questionable comment or post suddenly becomes less questionable when you realize the whole damn community hates it. then they think "well, it's not great, and it's certainlly not making anyone happy, and they can always try again in a less inflammatory way, so what the hell. BALETED." this is the nature of moderation, and I can't imagine that it would really help anyone to try to hold the moderators to a standard other than "if I think it's a big enough problem, I get rid of it," especially since that is the very nature of moderation.

put differently: what's wrong with the reasons you know of for deleting things that you don't think merit deletion?
posted by shmegegge at 11:35 AM on August 29, 2008


You
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:35 AM on August 29, 2008


Should
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:35 AM on August 29, 2008


Try
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:35 AM on August 29, 2008


Harder
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:35 AM on August 29, 2008


To
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:36 AM on August 29, 2008


Provide
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:36 AM on August 29, 2008


Something
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:36 AM on August 29, 2008


Useful.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:36 AM on August 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


cortex, thanks again for taking the time to provide a thoughtful answer.
posted by dobbs at 11:42 AM on August 29, 2008


A direct answer to a binary question is not sufficient regardless of logic / semantics. Clarification is required to be a helpful answer.

I was a Flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:44 AM on August 29, 2008 [4 favorites]


Red.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:57 AM on August 29, 2008


Burns.
posted by isopraxis at 11:32 AM on August 29 [+] [!]



eeexxxxxxccccceelllllllllleeennnnnttt
posted by Debaser626 at 12:21 PM on August 29, 2008


If you'd like to repost with a little less GRAWR

I think that's the problem here. I respect your knowledge, dobbs, and I've liked a lot of your contributions, but you are a little too fond of the GRAWR and might do well to consciously tone it down. I say this as someone a little too fond of GRAWR myself.
posted by languagehat at 12:28 PM on August 29, 2008


I think we need to add "not too much GRAWR" to the FAQ on suitable AskMe answers.
posted by Chuckles at 12:50 PM on August 29, 2008


Mustache.
posted by kittyprecious at 1:06 PM on August 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


kittyprecious, that is the single greatest video ever made.
posted by shmegegge at 1:10 PM on August 29, 2008


Fuck homomorphs!

I hope I am not the only one thoroughly disgusted by this blatant display of homomorphobia.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:14 PM on August 29, 2008


Fuck homomorphs!

I dated Juan once.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:22 PM on August 29, 2008


I heard you two wrestled. Which one won?
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:31 PM on August 29, 2008


I think ardgedee and Chuckles have it: just say "No, not in my experience." Now everyone hug.
posted by XMLicious at 2:45 PM on August 29, 2008


I think we should all just face the fact that this site belongs to the moderators, and we're only here to give them stuff to moderate.

Jesus christ, dude. Just start your own fucking metafilter and moderate it however you want and stop bitching that people that aren't you have a site people give a shit about.
posted by stet at 3:09 PM on August 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


Which one won?

We're both weiners.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:14 PM on August 29, 2008


Deal.
posted by signal at 3:29 PM on August 29, 2008


Kim Deal, specifically.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:33 PM on August 29, 2008


Kim Jong Deal, to be exact.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:40 PM on August 29, 2008


(She's a Breeder reactor)
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:42 PM on August 29, 2008


True.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:41 PM on August 29, 2008


I'd rather have 100 "No's" than nothing at all. At least it would show community consensus. More information is better than no information, and "No" is information.
posted by Area Control at 11:51 AM on August 30, 2008


BUT, I honestly think that answers that are perfectly legit have been and are being deleted for the wrong reasons.

What are the right reasons to delete perfectly legit answers?
posted by blue_beetle at 12:10 PM on August 30, 2008




goodnewsfortheinsane won it earlier. Then again I guess kirkaracha had him beat.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:46 PM on August 30, 2008


Ah, yeah, looks like it.
posted by Caduceus at 2:04 PM on August 30, 2008


"That reminds me of an interesting story. Well, actually it's not so much interesting as it is long..." -- Abe Simpson
posted by neuron at 2:58 PM on August 30, 2008


I'd rather have 100 "No's" than nothing at all.

Any thread that's answerable by just "No" will never have zero answers.
posted by smackfu at 5:57 PM on August 30, 2008


My two cents: If someone asks a yes/no question, and they get a yes/no answer... well, hell, that should NEVER be deleted!

Those who say that there's "not enough info" there are forgetting that in those long, twisty qualitative AskMe's, the sheer NUMBER of yes and no "votes" is worth something to readers and to the OP. Taking away some of them skews the overall result.
posted by rokusan at 4:21 AM on September 2, 2008


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