Is the jewish capenter your superior...ooh bad example. January 28, 2009 11:34 AM   Subscribe

Are they your superior, or are they superior to you, or neither?

Working with an organization that empowers women who are sexually harassed at work, immigrants who are illegally threatened, and just about anyone else who is bullied at work because they don't know their rights, I have a different vocabulary set.

For instance, I NEVER use "superior" when referring to a supervisor, manager, director, etc. This post makes me wonder. How many of you actually use the term "superior" when referring to people who tell you what to do, or people who get paid more?

If they ARE your superior, does it make sense for them to call you THEIR inferior?

Am I being totally snarky and rude...or am I in the right? Pour some reality on me.
posted by hal_c_on to Etiquette/Policy at 11:34 AM (158 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

How many of you actually use the term "superior" when referring to people who tell you what to do, or people who get paid more?

A bunch of us.

If they ARE your superior, does it make sense for them to call you THEIR inferior?

No.

Am I being totally snarky and rude...or am I in the right?

Neither.
posted by ODiV at 11:39 AM on January 28, 2009


"They" are of a superior rank. That is all.
posted by gman at 11:41 AM on January 28, 2009


I always use superior, but usually only when referring to people one or more steps up on the hierarchy who are not my direct supervisor.

As for whether it makes sense for them to call you their inferior, well no, it doesn't. They would call them "direct reports" for employees who directly report (thus the name) to them, or rank-and-file for the overall group.

I think you're just getting overly hung up on the other connotations of the word.
posted by UrineSoakedRube at 11:42 AM on January 28, 2009


Everyone is someone's bitch. Words don't make that any less true.
posted by nola at 11:42 AM on January 28, 2009 [8 favorites]


Anyone with more favourites than me is my superior.
*I am also inferior to many with less favourites than me.
posted by gman at 11:44 AM on January 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Personally, I refer to the various bosses I've had at my current work "O Exalted One", Mr. Boss-Man", "His Holiness", or whatever else I see fit ... but that's because we don't have much of a hierarchical structure and they're good guys.

In general, I feel comfortable using the term superior, and have before, but since you're making me think about it, I'd say it's precisely because I know my rights, etc. I'm fine with the fact that in the company's structure, they are superior to me, and I know that doesn't translate to any other setting.

You're in the right for your situation. As your empowerees (clients?) feel more secure, they can choose if superior is acceptable to them. But it is a perfectly valid term.
posted by Lemurrhea at 11:45 AM on January 28, 2009


It's not the English that I use, but I recognize it. If you actually don't understand someone, feel free to ask for clarification. Otherwise, yeah people call people who are above them on the org chart their superiors. No, this does not mean you are inferior to them. This is, yes, a little nefarious, but it's also understood by many people, just like "peace officer" which is my personal annoyance. You're being rude if you insist on your definitions over the definitions of others and you're being rude if you make a big deal about the way the OP phrased the question if it's otherwise understandable.

Calling someone a tool is out of line and jerky, yeah.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:45 AM on January 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


"They" are of a superior rank. That is all.

Does that mean that others are of a inferior rank?
You can't have superior without inferior, good without bad, high without low, or hot without cold.

Thanks for speaking on behalf of the "bunch". I know how everyone on metatalk is really shy and it always helps out when others speak on behalf of the group. ODiV gets a star for the day.
posted by hal_c_on at 11:45 AM on January 28, 2009


The opposite of superior in this usage is "subordinate."
posted by taz at 11:46 AM on January 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


You can't have superior without inferior, good without bad, high without low, or hot without cold.

Language usage does not conform so closely to abstract logical dictates. It doesn't make sense to insist on that a symmetrical relationship between two words must pertain in all cases where one or the other of the words is used.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:50 AM on January 28, 2009 [15 favorites]


Myself, I'll use job descriptions like 'manager' or 'owner' but I really hate terms like 'subordinate' or 'superior'.
posted by dunkadunc at 11:51 AM on January 28, 2009



Calling someone a tool is out of line and jerky, yeah.


(sigh). Agreed. My bad.

Maybe this is a personal problem where I need to realize that not everyone has a a-hole boss who claims he has a right to sleep with everyone on his payroll. Thinking of anyone calling those people "superiors" and justifying their claims makes me want to watch Chuck Norris.
posted by hal_c_on at 11:51 AM on January 28, 2009


You, hal are being a tool in the thread. Dude used an unfortunate term, but you need to let it go and focus more on the substance of the question, which is, "should I be involved in trying to hire my well-qualified friend?"
posted by Mister_A at 11:51 AM on January 28, 2009


I wish somebody would tell my superior vena cava to stop being such a jerk to my inferior vena cava. I keep telling him it's just Latin for "upper" but geez...he's intolerable.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 11:52 AM on January 28, 2009 [9 favorites]


For instance, I NEVER use "superior" when referring to a supervisor, manager, director, etc.

Yes, but some people do. These are the accommodations we all make when communicating with other human beings.
Obviously this pushes some sort of hot-button for you but it doesn't necessarily for others. "Superior " can sometimes just plainly mean superior in the organizational chart. Since this was a question about a work environment, it was perfectly context appropriate.
posted by vacapinta at 11:53 AM on January 28, 2009


I use "superior" rather interchangeably with "supervisor." "Boss" does not bother me, either. I actually hear people use the phrase "straw boss," of all things, which is to say that I, at my most generous, find the usage to be, ahem, antiquated.

I can separate my work vocabulary from my internal vocabulary. Maybe it's the early exposure to science fiction (1984, or even better, The Tomorrow File, where people are objects, where you do not work for someone, you serve them, and you do not receive money when you serve, you receive love), that did it for me.

If it bothers you too much, just dig around on the company roster for the most ridiculous job titles you can find. In any case, develop a poker face and get used to it, as I rather doubt that this kind of sly doublespeak is going away. People exist whose job it is to find new kinds of doublespeak to sell to employees, like right-sizing.

Also, words and phrases constructed from directly opposite root words, suffixes, and prefixes are not always well-correlated with actual usage. Consider: is all right the opposite of none left?
posted by adipocere at 11:54 AM on January 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


Certainly I use the term. When I am referring to someone higher up than me on the org chart who doesn't directly supervise me.
posted by gaspode at 11:54 AM on January 28, 2009


Maybe this is a personal problem where I need to realize that not everyone has a a-hole boss who claims he has a right to sleep with everyone on his payroll.

Yes, sounds like a personal problem.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:55 AM on January 28, 2009 [5 favorites]


2superior, n
1: one who is above another in rank, station, or office

Makes sense to me. I don't use it, but it seems a little petty to argue with that use.
posted by Plutor at 11:56 AM on January 28, 2009


I just call everybody "chief".
posted by Mister_A at 11:56 AM on January 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


not everyone has a a-hole boss who claims he has a right to sleep with everyone on his payroll.

WTF DO TELL
posted by cowbellemoo at 11:57 AM on January 28, 2009


Except my underlings, whom I dub "bitches".
posted by Mister_A at 11:57 AM on January 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


This is more of a Ask MeFi question. What does this have to do with the site? The fact that one person used this grammatical structure in a question does not a MeTa post make.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:58 AM on January 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


Consider: is all right the opposite of none left?

Consider: none pizza left beef.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:59 AM on January 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


Dorothy Parker, on being told that Clare Booth Luce was always kind to her inferiors: "Where does she find them?"
posted by Joe Beese at 11:59 AM on January 28, 2009 [4 favorites]


Does that mean that others are of a inferior rank?

Well, generally, yeah. My boss's rank is superior to mine, and given the raft of shit she catches, I'm glad. She's like an umbrella, and in my inferior position, I get to hide underneath it.

But we both recognize that she is not "superior" to me in the human-being sense.

Sometimes we call each other "dude." This is in California; YMMV.
posted by rtha at 12:00 PM on January 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Except my underlings, whom I dub "bitches".

Except Mister_A who I call "that nasty little rude man" while making gestures with my pinky.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:00 PM on January 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


Wow...3 moderators on one thread at about the same time.

SO....jessamyn, cortex, vacapinta do your think YOUR SUPERIOR, mathowie will chime in on here as well?

By the by, I'd like to thank MeFi and all its members. I had a good tons of fun here before I was booted by three moderators for this comment.
posted by hal_c_on at 12:01 PM on January 28, 2009


So is this a Metatalk thread, or have I somehow ended up on the green by mistake?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:02 PM on January 28, 2009


SO....jessamyn, cortex, vacapinta do your think YOUR SUPERIOR, mathowie will chime in on here as well?

Probably not. Dickweed is hanging out on a beach in Hawaii.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:02 PM on January 28, 2009 [13 favorites]


Where I work, we say "ask your supervisor before you incur any large expenses" and "please tell your staff we need their timesheets by Friday." "Superiors" sounds tongue-in-cheek to me. (Now there's some more unfortunate phrasing for you, hal.) Then again, I live in San Francisco.
posted by salvia at 12:03 PM on January 28, 2009


not everyone has a a-hole boss who claims he has a right to sleep with everyone on his payroll.

Even you, Dude (In California, Dude eats you)?
posted by gman at 12:04 PM on January 28, 2009


This is more of a Ask MeFi question. What does this have to do with the site? The fact that one person used this grammatical structure in a question does not a MeTa post make.

Are you kidding me. I am the king of asking questions that would "be better suited for MeTa". First freaking time I post here...and its possibly not appropriate. DANG IT!

And since we're getting all specific, IronMouth, its not a question of grammar...its a question of diction.
posted by hal_c_on at 12:05 PM on January 28, 2009


Related question: When my superior accuses me of reneging, can I file a racial discrimination claim?
posted by found missing at 12:12 PM on January 28, 2009


I do not recognize the concept of having a superior. As for my bosses and their bosses, I simply consider them to be over-educated ATMs. I typically refer to them as "Head Wallet," "Chief Paycheck Approver," and "Overpaid Speedbump in Charge of Keeping Work from Getting Accomplished." Also, I appear to be a cat.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:15 PM on January 28, 2009 [13 favorites]


I don't think diction means what you think it means.
posted by Mister_A at 12:15 PM on January 28, 2009


Inferiority complex much?
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 12:17 PM on January 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Is the jewish carpenter your superior...?

If you happen to be a sawyer in the employ of a jewish carpenter, yes.
posted by CKmtl at 12:18 PM on January 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


And then you will probably have to sleep with him.
posted by Mister_A at 12:20 PM on January 28, 2009


In the biblical sense.
posted by ODiV at 12:24 PM on January 28, 2009


You mean "know" him?

*winks knowingly*
posted by Mister_A at 12:26 PM on January 28, 2009


Jesus is my copulate
posted by found missing at 12:26 PM on January 28, 2009


I prefer subordinates refer to me as "overlord", and I refer to them as Sub-Vizier.
posted by Bernt Pancreas at 12:28 PM on January 28, 2009


Metatalk: Probably not. Dickweed.
posted by Skot at 12:31 PM on January 28, 2009


I, personally, don't use it that way, but only because it never entered the vocabulary I use, not because any issues I had with any perceived implications about self-worth, personal value, etc. It doesn't bother me when other people use it that way.

Words commonly have more than one meaning. Just because two words are opposite in one set of their meanings does not mean that they are opposites for all meanings of those words. "Smooth" and "rough" are opposites when we're talking about textures, but that doesn't meant that jazz which is not smooth jazz is rough jazz. Black and white are opposites when we mean the actual colors, but black and red are opposites in their metaphorical financial senses. "Superior" and "inferior" are opposites when we're talking about quality, or about relative physical locations, but the opposite of "superior" in the workplace organizational sense is "subordinate," not "inferior."

Also, Lakes Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario are not inferior lakes.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 12:32 PM on January 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well, yes they are--not that that is a bad thing.
posted by found missing at 12:42 PM on January 28, 2009


Lake Erie is a little slow, if we're being honest.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:44 PM on January 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


Better than shallow, in my opinion.
posted by ODiV at 12:48 PM on January 28, 2009


You can't have superior without inferior, good without bad, high without low, or hot without cold

Sometimes the opposite of good is evil.
Sometimes the opposite of high is sober.
Sometimes the opposite of hot is ugly.
Sometimes the opposite of superior is subordinate.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 12:49 PM on January 28, 2009 [15 favorites]


If you say "No offense, but..." stop right there and think about how to make the point you want to make without being rude. If you keep going past the but, well, perhaps the pot is calling the kettle a tool?
posted by prefpara at 12:49 PM on January 28, 2009


Don't tease. I really want to know about this crappy boss, OP.
posted by cowbellemoo at 12:49 PM on January 28, 2009


Let me make it plain: You gotta make way for the homo superior.

50 comments in and no one made that reference yet? I'm disappointed.
posted by DecemberBoy at 12:54 PM on January 28, 2009


But is it Lake Huron, or Lake Hurin, Dick Cheney's ass?
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:54 PM on January 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


If they ARE your superior, does it make sense for them to call you THEIR inferior?

No, but maybe "posterior." In some cases.
posted by katillathehun at 1:06 PM on January 28, 2009


I don't think diction means what you think it means.

(sigh)
Diction-choice of words especially with regard to correctness, clearness, or effectiveness.
Grammar-the study of the classes of words, their inflections, and their functions and relations in the sentence

Yes, diction. Also, Mister_A needs to stop being such a diction.
posted by hal_c_on at 1:06 PM on January 28, 2009


Can we move on to tarring and feathering the poster now? I've got tar.
posted by languagehat at 1:07 PM on January 28, 2009


cowbellemoo, PM me if you REALLY want to know about this boss.
posted by hal_c_on at 1:07 PM on January 28, 2009


♫ To know, know, know him,

Is to love, love, love him... ♪
posted by Mister_A at 1:09 PM on January 28, 2009


No offense, prefpara, but was that in response to something in this thread? Or was it just a random non-sequitur comment?
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 1:09 PM on January 28, 2009


Isn't this a Brit thing, much like that other word that shall not speak it's name? I'm sure I've heard Euro types using "superior" to mean boss more than Americans.
posted by CunningLinguist at 1:13 PM on January 28, 2009


We often refer to the boss as Dear Leader, and I generally refer to my underlings as "hey, you."
posted by monju_bosatsu at 1:14 PM on January 28, 2009


cowbellemoo, PM me if you REALLY want to know about this boss.

...and then PM me the details so I can craft an AskMe question about whether or not it's okay if my superior wants me to be his "inferior", only to eventually reveal that it appears I accomplished exactly what I wanted when I posted (what I obviously knew to be) a contentious question.
posted by gman at 1:17 PM on January 28, 2009


Isn't this a Brit thing

No, Brits call their elevators lifts, their flashlights torches, and their bosses cunts.
posted by found missing at 1:17 PM on January 28, 2009 [19 favorites]


Well whaddaya know. I have alwayd used "diction" more in the sense of the accent, inflection, intonation, and speech-sound quality manifested by an individual speaker, usually judged in terms of prevailing standards of acceptability; enunciation.

So it does mean what you think it means, and also means what I think it means. Boy, do I feel silly pointing out the one thing you actually got right in your hare-brained purple ramblings.
posted by Mister_A at 1:20 PM on January 28, 2009


No offense, prefpara, but was that in response to something in this thread? Or was it just a random non-sequitur comment?

Sorry, I should have indicated that I was referring to hal_c_on's first comment in the askme. It's what jessamyn was referring to.

However, since I posted, that comment has been removed, so I think now it's just a non-sequitur. I stand by it. No offense.
posted by prefpara at 1:27 PM on January 28, 2009


Anyone with more favourites than me is my superior.


BOW BEFORE ME PEON.
posted by The Whelk at 1:36 PM on January 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Y'all must all be superior to me in comprehension because I cannot figure out why this chatty potato is a post on Metatalk.
posted by dios at 1:38 PM on January 28, 2009


I find this post to be superior in every way.
posted by blue_beetle at 1:45 PM on January 28, 2009


I'll be Right Bach
You Be Left Beethoven
Everyone else is Chopin Center
posted by nomisxid at 1:47 PM on January 28, 2009


hail me
posted by clavdivs at 1:48 PM on January 28, 2009


I find this to be inferior in every way. I will not tell you what the use of "this" refers to in the previous sentence.

Dude.
posted by oddman at 1:57 PM on January 28, 2009


Does that mean that others are of a inferior rank?

Certainly, by looking at the Latin terms supra and infra apart from any societal baggage, superior and inferior are just terms that define two concepts within the context of their relationship to another concept.

Without the baggage of a value judgement, apposite concepts can be placed together relative to another concept (for example, any conceptualization of the "middle", "center", "median", "mean" or "null"), and their positional relationship to this idea can be defined as superior and inferior.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:02 PM on January 28, 2009


What's an ior?
posted by Cranberry at 2:12 PM on January 28, 2009


That's something you have to infer from context, Cranberry.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:14 PM on January 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Thanks, that is super.
posted by Cranberry at 2:17 PM on January 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


That's something you have to infer from context, Cranberry

, same as in town.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:18 PM on January 28, 2009


What's an ior?

Five bucks, same as in town.

PRESS
posted by Mister_A at 2:19 PM on January 28, 2009


To me, "superior" is like using the military term, "superior officer" and just denotes rank. But it's good to know some might not like that term.
posted by pointystick at 2:20 PM on January 28, 2009


Mods: my version of the joke was more well thought-out, and contained links to valuable content, and is therefore superior to Flo's version.
posted by Mister_A at 2:23 PM on January 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


cortex: "Probably not. Dickweed is hanging out on a beach in Hawaii."

matmaui?
posted by Rhaomi at 2:23 PM on January 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


Superior: Ior better than you.
Inferior: Ior worser than you.
posted by minifigs at 2:25 PM on January 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


In my community (military), obviously it technically meant someone superior in rank, but I wouldn't really use that term except in the case of big-picture strata differences. Technician-manager-executive. Being a lower manager-type, I wouldn't really refer to another manager-level guy as a "superior," no matter how senior, unless he was directly my boss. All executive-level guys I would.
posted by ctmf at 2:28 PM on January 28, 2009


No, Brits call their elevators lifts, their flashlights torches, and their bosses cunts.

We're very democratic though. We call our subordinates cunts as well.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 2:28 PM on January 28, 2009


Oh my Fucking God. I would NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER use that word regarding my boss at work. I call him "my boss," because he happens to rank above me in the context of work. He does not rank above me as a human being.
posted by drjimmy11 at 2:31 PM on January 28, 2009


Y'all must all be superior to me in comprehension because I cannot figure out why this chatty potato is a post on Metatalk.

The poster was drawing attention to his own assholish derail in an ask post. Perhaps he's attention starved.
posted by rodgerd at 2:32 PM on January 28, 2009


So I can put you down for "no" then, drjimmy?
posted by Mister_A at 2:43 PM on January 28, 2009


adipocere: "Consider: is all right the opposite of none left?"

ALL PIZZA RIGHT BEEF?

Yes, it is.
posted by 31d1 at 2:49 PM on January 28, 2009


The poster was drawing attention to his own assholish derail in an ask post. Perhaps he's attention starved.

Its interesting that I'm being called "attention starved" by someone whose main contribution to this thread is the word "assholish".

Yes. I am an asshole for even thinking that my boss isn't better than me.
posted by hal_c_on at 2:58 PM on January 28, 2009


What are you, 12?
posted by CunningLinguist at 3:03 PM on January 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well, no, you may not be an asshole, but you did behave assholishly when you derailed someone else's AskMe post over a commonly-accepted term that just so happens to offend your personal sense of self-worth. Even if it weren't commonly-accepted, your feelings about it had nothing whatsoever to do with the question. The OP wanted to know how to deal with the bias involved in interviewing a personal friend. And you were all like, "You are not a number! You're a free TOOL!" or something. That's rude, you know?
posted by katillathehun at 3:08 PM on January 28, 2009


All of this noise aside: I'm from the midwest (US) and grew up with "boss", "supervisor", "manager" and "superior" all being interchangeable, with "staff", "subordinate" and "employees" as those they oversee. I don't see any value judgement, but if you do, don't use the term. Just remember it's not about the persons involved, it's about the relationship between the positions -- someone with a managerial position has a superior set of responsibilities and powers over those they manager, who are in subordinate positions to that manager.
posted by davejay at 3:09 PM on January 28, 2009


Oh, duh, I just realized this is the metatalk thread rather than the askme thread. I am inferior today.
posted by davejay at 3:10 PM on January 28, 2009


Y'all must all be superior to me in comprehension because I cannot figure out why this chatty potato is a post on Metatalk.

It gives us something to do while we wait for the beans to cook.
posted by nola at 3:14 PM on January 28, 2009


Yes. I am an asshole for even thinking that my boss isn't better than me.

Please stop making someone else's AskMe question even more about you than you already have.
posted by rollbiz at 3:15 PM on January 28, 2009


Before I got my master's degree, a librarian on a webinar in the library where I worked called those of us without MLIS degrees "subprofessionals". All the other librarians were appalled.
posted by pointystick at 3:22 PM on January 28, 2009


pointystick: "Before I got my master's degree, a librarian on a webinar in the library where I worked called those of us without MLIS degrees "subprofessionals". All the other librarians were appalled."

I've never been called subprofessional, though I really really should have been, many many times.
posted by Science! at 3:26 PM on January 28, 2009


Science!, did you make hero-style sandwiches, or did you pilot an underwater boat?
posted by pointystick at 3:32 PM on January 28, 2009


I would never in a million years refer to someone as my 'superior', nor would I use it in reference to someone else.

It's like something from the stone age.

And I've worked in fairly conservative companies, in traditional cubicle-type jobs.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 3:32 PM on January 28, 2009




I call my bosses my "overlings".
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:43 PM on January 28, 2009


HOLY F***. Can we just close this thread down? Reading it is making me kinda nauseated.

Can I just say:

1. I sincerely apologize for calling someone a tool. It was deemed rude, and when an admin pointed it out FIRST, I agreed, and apologized. That happened like 4 hours ago.

2. What the fuck is metatalk? I really wanted to know if people use the word "superior" regularly at work. I said that my reality may be different because of a difference in corporate culture. Next thing I know, people are telling me I hijacked a post, I'm an asshole, and that I don't know the meaning of words. Wow, I really was curious about that...and PURPOSEFULLY didn't post it in AskMe because I thought it belonged here and it might take away from the OPs thunder. THE ONLY things I learned are that people are bitches here, and I become one too.

WTF?

So not only do I apologize for being opinionated, but I also apologize for writing.

Thats right. I totally apologize for having opinions that vary from the masses here and voicing them on metafilter.

I'm so sorry. Next time, I'll do what most of you do and press the refresh button over and over again on the main MeTa page until someone posts. Then I will beat the tar out of them for not posting what I have believed my entire life.

Now back to the bitchy remarks.
posted by hal_c_on at 3:46 PM on January 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Christ, what an asshole.
posted by team lowkey at 3:55 PM on January 28, 2009


2. What the fuck is metatalk?

a) not what you thought it was

b) not a tumor

c) all of the above
posted by katillathehun at 3:56 PM on January 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


I don't think your apology for having opinions is sincere.
posted by found missing at 4:03 PM on January 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Don't stress about it - posting on Metatalk is often usually taken to be saying "please, I need a harsh critique of my stupidity." It's not about you, it's about the post. And bored, snarky people in the audience, ready to goof on, well, any post, really.
posted by Pronoiac at 4:05 PM on January 28, 2009


Anyone with more favourites than me is my superior.

Not true. Favorites are simply a measure of how loudly and eloquently you can agree with the majority.
posted by Afroblanco at 4:05 PM on January 28, 2009 [6 favorites]


2. What the fuck is metatalk?

Of all the answers to this question, "a place to chat about people's opinions on linguistic nuances" is not one of them.

"Do you say potato or potato? I totally say potato"
posted by Let's Chat to etiquette/policy

posted by dios at 4:11 PM on January 28, 2009


Not true. Favorites are simply a measure of how loudly and eloquently you can agree with the majority.

Favorites are a good measurement for a lot of things, not just other people's inadequacies.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:14 PM on January 28, 2009


Superior is less clumsy than superordinate. We are all special snowflakes, sure, but realize that your relationship in an office environment is contextual and doesn't imply anything about your entire worth as a person.
posted by BrotherCaine at 4:14 PM on January 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


Thats right. I totally apologize for having opinions that vary from the masses here and voicing them on metafilter.

meh - they're not that interesting.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 4:14 PM on January 28, 2009


In answer to your question, yes, people use the word 'superior' regularly at work. In addition to a long string of crappy service-sector jobs, I've also worked for nonprofits, academic settings and libraries, and 'superior' was a very standard word choice everywhere.
posted by box at 4:21 PM on January 28, 2009


Just out of curiosity, what do you call 'em?
posted by box at 4:22 PM on January 28, 2009


My managers are my manager, bwana, boss-lady, or sir (and they are women), and the people I manage are... the people I manage. But regardless of what I personally call anyone I work with, 'superiors' and 'subordinates' are perfectly appropriate terms to use in the context of the question, and you, hal_c_on (boss-lady, sir) are overreacting just a tad.
posted by goo at 4:26 PM on January 28, 2009


If I drink another beer, then I get beerier,
and if I get a little closer, then I'm nearier,
if I shed another tear, I must be tearier,
and with another bowl of soup, well, I'm superior.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:34 PM on January 28, 2009 [6 favorites]


I'll do what most of you do and press the refresh button over and over again on the main MeTa page until someone posts. Then I will beat the tar out of them for not posting what I have believed my entire life.

See now that's a good idea.

*hits refresh*

But seriously, not enough people are afraid MeTa. What ever you are about to post had better not make you look foolish or you're in for the pantsing of your internet life. As the man said, it's hard but it's fair.
posted by nola at 4:41 PM on January 28, 2009


I totally apologize for having opinions that vary from the masses here and voicing them on metafilter. ... Then I will beat the tar out of them for not posting what I have believed my entire life.

Dude, lay off the martyr sauce.

Only a very slim minority of the comments here cast aspersions on your character. A near-majority, if not an actual majority, of them aren't even directed at you.

No one's beating any tar out of you.
posted by CKmtl at 4:42 PM on January 28, 2009


Favorites are a concept by which we measure our pain.
posted by Sailormom at 4:46 PM on January 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


Before I got my master's degree, a librarian on a webinar in the library where I worked called those of us without MLIS degrees "subprofessionals". All the other librarians were appalled.

Yeah, that's bullshit. Everyone (with the requisite MLIS) knows that you call the peons paraprofessionals. They'll never see through that.
posted by stet at 4:56 PM on January 28, 2009


Reading it is making me kinda nauseated.

You should probably stop reading it then.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:32 PM on January 28, 2009


"I'm so sorry. Next time, I'll do what most of you do and press the refresh button over and over again on the main MeTa page until someone posts. Then I will beat the tar out of them for not posting what I have believed my entire life."

sweet
posted by klangklangston at 5:39 PM on January 28, 2009


Pour some reality on me.

Consider it poured.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:42 PM on January 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


I call my bosses Anne, Bruce, Cynthia, Donna, Ira, Lisa and Matt. That I have five direct bosses and two executive bosses (ignoring Liz and Larry entirely, since I don't actually ever interact with them) is probably part of why my job is so wildly inefficient.
posted by klangklangston at 5:43 PM on January 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Klangklangston, oh shit you are fucked. I hope your job is otherwise awesome, because I'd be quittin' in your shoes.
posted by BrotherCaine at 5:52 PM on January 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Consider it poured.

Definitely. I was thinking it was going to be a different kind of response either a "yeah, superior is ok", or "no way, superior is NOT ok". I totally didn't expect "You're an asshole".

But yeah. I definitely got a dose of reality from here.

Besides the fact that I'm a asshole, I've learned that there's people who would NEVER refer to someone at work as a superior, and people who do refer to others as superiors...and for good reason.
posted by hal_c_on at 5:54 PM on January 28, 2009


Before I got my master's degree, a librarian on a webinar in the library where I worked called those of us without MLIS degrees "subprofessionals". All the other librarians were appalled.

Any librarian on a webinar is an asshole.

am I doing this right?

mathowie is my co-pilot.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:07 PM on January 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


Definitely. I was thinking it was going to be a different kind of response either a "yeah, superior is ok", or "no way, superior is NOT ok". I totally didn't expect "You're an asshole".

Metatalk is a weird beast, quick to anger. To try and at least help frame this out a bit, there were good things and bad things going on with your post.

Good things:
- You were making an attempt to displace a derail in askme to the grey. Better here than there.
- You didn't call anyone a tool or anything in your original post. Yay for a relatively civil start to things!

Bad things:
- You were the one who started the askme derail in the first place. That sort of thing pisses people off. Worse, your grr-arg-SUPERIOR thing was the very first comment in that askme—out of the gate with a bang, not good stuff.
- Your post here is on the weird side for Metatalk; cleaned up and done right it really would have made more sense in AskMe. That said people make all kinds of posts to Metatalk and we'll let 'em slide a lot of the time, like here. Mods letting it slide != the community at large being required to think it's a great idea, though.
- You made in the post, and repeated in comments, poorly-footed blanket assertions ("If they ARE your superior, does it make sense for them to call you THEIR inferior?") which comes off a lot more like "I'm right, aren't I? Aren't I totally right?" than "I am interested in this bit of socioanthropology, please help me learn".
- You responded to criticism with sarcasm and defensiveness instead of just taking the high road and saying "okay, bad idea, message received" or whatever. Which, hey, slugfest that metatalk can be that's not totally off the wall, but it's a sure way to perpetuate the very tone you seem to be bristling at.

This is a rough and tumble part of the site; people don't much rein in the snark or pull their punches, and someone seeming to sort of brashly not getting it tends to catch flak. It's not the most attractive feature of the place in a lot of ways, but it's what Metatalk is.

I call my bosses Anne, Bruce, Cynthia, Donna

Dude, you dumped the porn gig for cryptography?
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:11 PM on January 28, 2009 [5 favorites]


Some days you're the pigeon, some days you're the statue.
posted by signal at 6:12 PM on January 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


people who do refer to others as superiors...and for good reason.

For someone complaining about 'bitchy' snark, you're doling it out pretty well.
posted by CKmtl at 6:13 PM on January 28, 2009


I work in a Fortune 100 company.

Yes, people are referrred to as superiors, mainly as in "I will check with my superiors." they are also called the 'higher ups' or 'execs' or 'brass'. In the other direction people are referred to as "my team", "minions", "staff", or "rank and file".

I personally refer to my boss as 'El Grande Queso'.

Most people don't seem to mind this. I often get introduced by my staff as "our SVP" as if the staff owns me. Weird, but I don't take it in a negative sense.

I'm sure there are some co-workers with delicate sensibilities that take offense, but most people don't give it a second thought. Everyone seems to understand that these terms refer to the hierarchical structure of the company, not about their worth as a human being.

I would also like to point out that they make an awful lot of good decaffeinated coffees these days and people might want to unclench their fists and give them a try.
posted by Argyle at 6:25 PM on January 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


What would u recommend for decaf? Seriously, need to switch, but most decaf is crap.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:40 PM on January 28, 2009


Before I got my master's degree, a librarian on a webinar in the library where I worked called those of us without MLIS degrees "subprofessionals". All the other librarians were appalled.

I had a Professor who on the first day of class invited us to refer to her by her first name rather than Dr. Librarian. Her explanation was that we were beginning a professional program and she regarded us as colleagues.
posted by mlis at 6:40 PM on January 28, 2009


mathowie is my co-pilot.

I thought he would have the left seat.
posted by mlis at 6:50 PM on January 28, 2009


Argyle: I personally refer to my boss as 'El Grande Queso'.

... You mean 'El Queso Grande,' right?

posted by Pronoiac at 7:04 PM on January 28, 2009



I call my bosses Anne, Bruce, Cynthia, Donna

Dude, you dumped the porn gig for cryptography?


Neither Alice nor Bob is amused.
Eve is intrigued, but that's because she's intercepting all of the porn.
posted by Lemurrhea at 7:07 PM on January 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


people who do refer to others as superiors...and for good reason.

Subtle.
posted by box at 7:08 PM on January 28, 2009


What would u recommend for decaf? Seriously, need to switch, but most decaf is crap.

Take it to AskMe, Chief.
posted by longsleeves at 7:55 PM on January 28, 2009


...and then PM me the details so I can craft an AskMe question about whether or not it's okay if my superior wants me to be his "inferior", only to eventually reveal that it appears I accomplished exactly what I wanted when I posted (what I obviously knew to be) a contentious question.

no! that's a week's grounding!
posted by cowbellemoo at 8:28 PM on January 28, 2009


"Klangklangston, oh shit you are fucked. I hope your job is otherwise awesome, because I'd be quittin' in your shoes."

Dude, I'm looking! Wanna hire me?

(They just canceled employer matching on the 401k too.)
posted by klangklangston at 8:38 PM on January 28, 2009


Ok. Thanks for "popping my cherry".

It actually felt like the first time. I pretty much got a hotel room, handed you the keycard and told you I wasn't wearing panties. It started off ok, but then it just started to hurt and I wanted it to just end. Jesus, it felt like it was going on and on.

After a while, I figured that if I participated a little more, just moved around rather than just laying there, I would have a better time. "Maybe I'm doing it wrong," I thought. No freaking way...still hurt. Then I decided that maybe I needed to participate LOTS more; maybe I just wasn't crossing some kind of participation threshold that would allow me to enjoy it. HELL NO. Hurt even worse.

Then when I thought it was going to go on forever...it finally ended. THANK GOD.

So yeah...its almost 12 hours later from when we started. Still hurting. I wouldn't say bruised as much as I'd say "still bleeding". But don't worry...we're all good. No hurt feelings here.

I appreciate ALL the participation. If I winced at times, or tried to dig my nails in you a little too hard, I apologize. It was a great "first time".

And I think I'll pretty much keep you as my boyfriend for the summer. See, even though you hurt me pretty bad, I'll recover. Pretty soon I'll be able to post again and handle everything you can dish out to me...you know like you kept saying during the whole process "I'll do this ALL DAY LONG". Yeah, great; you tarzan, me jane.

But really...the main reason is because well...even when you put ALL your powers into popping my cherry...there was only so much that you could do with your
tiny
little
dick.

And the next time I give you the keycard...be prepared. No need to bring your "big dick"(cough cough). I'll be strapping something on JUST FOR YOU. I just hope you heal well. Big guys like you heal fast don't they?

Like it matters to me.
posted by hal_c_on at 9:11 PM on January 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


hey whats going on this this trhead????????????????????????????????????????????
posted by Damn That Television at 9:17 PM on January 28, 2009


Well this is new. Now we have flameout slash fic.
posted by chiababe at 9:18 PM on January 28, 2009 [11 favorites]


Ummm..... eew?
posted by Afroblanco at 9:22 PM on January 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


I call my bosses Anne, Bruce, Cynthia, Donna, Ira, Lisa and Matt.

You alphabetize your bosses?
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:25 PM on January 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


i have a tiny little dick haly_c_on just fyi next time yo'ure looking for a flameout rebound partner!!!!!!!!! metamail me (also I like things in my b***hole)
posted by Damn That Television at 9:26 PM on January 28, 2009


The sites are back online, but performance is rocky.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:31 PM on January 28, 2009 [7 favorites]


In the late 80's I worked, along with many others, for John Martel.
As a matter of accomplishment he was indeed very superior to me, and most people for that matter.
He would never have asked for me to refer to him as such.
Anyone who would ask that you refer to them as your superior when not in a client's presence is suffering from an ego problem.
posted by vapidave at 9:35 PM on January 28, 2009


Well I don't know how to say this, but I think I've made it worse. I'll just say I didn't mean to wind him up, I just don't know what happened. It looks like I may have raped this guy and I have a small dick. MeMail is a funny thing. Anyway I've been watching this, it's enjoyable. No mater who you are, we all came out of Africa, makes you think don't it?
posted by nola at 9:38 PM on January 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


nola: "Well I don't know how to say this, but I think I've made it worse. I'll just say I didn't mean to wind him up, I just don't know what happened..."

Sometimes the best things in life are just happy accidents.
posted by Science! at 9:47 PM on January 28, 2009


Anyone with more deleted posts than me is my superior.
salute to gman
posted by sanko at 10:01 PM on January 28, 2009


Oh my. I... well... oh, my. Good heavens.

hal_c_on, there was no need for that.
posted by juliplease at 10:04 PM on January 28, 2009


"I call my bosses Anne, Bruce, Cynthia, Donna, Ira, Lisa and Matt.

Well, I was listing them by first name, so it seemed like the best organizational structure.
posted by klangklangston at 10:17 PM on January 28, 2009


Dude, I'm looking! Wanna hire me?

I've got several writer friends I'm keeping an ear out for jobs for, I'll memail you if I hear about anything, but so far most of them have had the best luck cold calling — Sorry.
posted by BrotherCaine at 11:02 PM on January 28, 2009


Inferior is not necessarily a pejorative classification, but I make exceptions for whiny and insecure MeTa posters with giant chips* on their shoulders.

*Which in Britain are called crisps.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:06 PM on January 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


My bosses are definitely my social inferiors. Nothing wrong with them, fine bunch of fellows and all that, but the fact is there.
I still refer to them (in the third person anyway) as my 'superiors'.
posted by atrazine at 11:19 PM on January 28, 2009


棘子成曰:君子質而已矣,何以文為?子貢曰:惜乎夫子之說君子也。駟不及舌。文猶質也,質猶文也。虎豹之鞟,猶犬羊之鞟
Ji Zicheng said, "What defines the superior man is the quality of the stuff he's made of; why should he need to be fashioned by the patterns of cultural refinement?"
Zigong replied, "Alas that you should speak so of the superior man - [as the saying goes] a chariot and team of four cannot overtake words tripping off the tongue. The patterns of refinement are as the underlying substance; the substance as the patterns. The skin of the tiger or leopard scraped of its fur resembles that of a dog or sheep."
Analects 12:8
posted by Abiezer at 11:35 PM on January 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


there was only so much that you could do with your
tiny
little
dick.


Oh hal, why so bitter? We had fun, and it was good while it lasted, but you just gotta accept that it's over babe.

It's not you, it's MeFi.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:49 PM on January 28, 2009


(OK, so I lied. It's you.)
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:51 PM on January 28, 2009


Ok, I think we're done here.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 11:58 PM on January 28, 2009


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