When a user plans to get an AskMe thread deleted April 19, 2009 12:52 PM   Subscribe


I was wondering, too.
posted by rtha at 12:54 PM on April 19, 2009


No, that sucks. I'll drop a note to angrybeaver telling them to please not do that in the future. We'll go back and anonymize old AskMe posts if we think the question was asked in good faith and now regretted, but this sort of thing is really not okay. Not to say we probably won't do it this time, but we won't do it again.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:00 PM on April 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


I wrote angrybeaver a note. This sort of thing is not okay. I appreciate that sometimes someone might look back on a question that was asked a few years back and be embarassed about it, which is why we have this option available, but doing it like this takes advantage of the community in a way that isn't cool.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:03 PM on April 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Could you anonymize this post as well, jessamyn, while you're at it? I've never posted anything anonymously and would like to add the skill to my resume.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 1:03 PM on April 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't know.

That thread made me, well, quite angry on the poster's behalf. I think, were I the poster, I probably wouldn't be thinking too coolly or rationally about the situation. Were I in the poster's situation, I probably would have done something terrifying, if not outright criminal, by now. I might not have the spare capacity for judgment that would remind me that I might be doing something nonkosher in a thread.

Which is a roundabout way of saying, "Asking for policy decisions in the middle of an emotional tornado is a bit like suggesting I adjust the straps on my backpack as I run away from some of those skittery 'fast zombies' from 28 Days Later." Yeah, it's always good to have a well-adjusted pack, but crap, I am freaking out now, can you castigate me for that later?
posted by adipocere at 1:08 PM on April 19, 2009 [4 favorites]


As per Brandon Blatcher's advice, I removed my contact info. And even before I made the linked comment, I was seriously thinking I would have to have one of the mods remove or anonymize the post.
posted by angrybeaver at 1:14 PM on April 19, 2009


Once you put something on the Internet, you no longer own it and should have no expectation of it being removed on your behalf. If you want to make something temporarily public, the Internet is not the place for you.
posted by dg at 1:18 PM on April 19, 2009


Bonk her on the had with a tennis racket.

Shove her off a dock.

Throw guacamole at her.

Get voodoo curses put on her, specifically ones related to hirsutism.

Ugghhhhh such an impossible question. Good on ya, askme-capable mefites.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 1:22 PM on April 19, 2009


When I posted my initial question, I did not do so with the intent of anonymizing or deleting the thread after the fact.
posted by angrybeaver at 1:22 PM on April 19, 2009


Wait, the sister's a real person? I thought the question was based on The Darjeeling Limited.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:44 PM on April 19, 2009 [3 favorites]


let's just keep this in the family of humanity.
posted by the aloha at 1:51 PM on April 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


I wonder if there is any way for you to rebalance the angry-beaver ratio in your life?
posted by found missing at 1:52 PM on April 19, 2009 [6 favorites]


Once you put something on the Internet, you no longer own it and should have no expectation of it being removed on your behalf. If you want to make something temporarily public, the Internet is not the place for you.

I have to say that although it says "please do not do this" in the FAQ - call me a dork but one of the very things I noticed when I first visited MeFi years ago is that at the bottom of every page it says "All posts are © their original authors" and I think that changes things.

"©" has a very specific and unambiguous meaning. So that statement has always appeared to me to say that the authors of posts can expect to have much more control over their submissions than on a site where you click through a legal agreement that defines the terms under which the site can publish what you submit.

I like the fact that there's no legal agreement restraining us, I'm actually philosophically opposed to most of the principles enshrined in copyright law, and I think that the mods have generously exposed themselves to extra aggravation by technically being required to delete content or needing to ban users who try to take advantage of this technicality, but it does seem to me that particularly in MetaFilter's case because of that copyright notice - because the site is actually telling you that you have the particular rights embodied by copyright - the generalizations dg makes about the internet don't apply.
posted by XMLicious at 1:55 PM on April 19, 2009 [3 favorites]


I was seriously thinking I would have to have one of the mods remove or anonymize the post.

Posting here about it is defeating the point of doing that.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:56 PM on April 19, 2009


XMLicious: You're misreading dg, who wasn't talking about legal or moral issues or the site's or mods' obligations. Once you've posted something, making every copy of that anywhere definitively disappear is impossible.
posted by Pronoiac at 2:16 PM on April 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wow. Angrybeaver, you have my sympathy. I've no idea how you're going to make it all work out but, my gods, you've put up with a lot of shit. Good luck on ya.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:34 PM on April 19, 2009


Pronoiac: Hmmm... he did say you no longer own it which seems to go beyond talking about technical difficulties with trying to make something less easily findable via Google, et cetera. But certainly, if in saying that someone making a posting should have no expectation of it being removed on your behalf he was talking about getting it removed from search engine caches and people's browser caches and so on and so forth - if he was talking about everywhere except MeFi, I agree.
posted by XMLicious at 2:39 PM on April 19, 2009


I think that the mods have generously exposed themselves to extra aggravation by technically being required to delete content or needing to ban users who try to take advantage of this technicality

Actually we've been very clear and consistent in practice that you having copyright to a specific comment does not in any way mean you can tell us what to do with it. We've discussed this in MeTa before and it's the sort of thing that mathowie would have to speak to specifically, but my understanding is that once you have "fixed" your comment on MeFi, you may be able to tell people not to republish it, but you can't

1. keep us from deleting it
2. require us to delete it

That said, we're not ogres and in most cases if someone has a serious reason for wanting something to go away, we'll try to accommodate them if it's not too taxing on the site [one or two AskMes, sure. Fifty comments from the middle of threads, no].
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:44 PM on April 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Frank Costanza totally stole that Airing of Grievances thing from Oneida.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:45 PM on April 19, 2009


That said, we're not ogres

Orces then?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:54 PM on April 19, 2009


That was one of those threads that started out innocently enough, but you could just tell it would end up in MeTa. It should be preserved and linked to as an warning to think twice before posting chatty relationship questions that are practically guaranteed to snowball into marginally helpful therapy sessions.
posted by hermitosis at 2:55 PM on April 19, 2009


...you having copyright to a specific comment does not in any way mean you can tell us what to do with it.

Have you run that idea past a lawyer? It seems a little....out of the mainstream.
posted by DU at 2:55 PM on April 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


2. require us to delete it

#1 is a no brainer. #2, not so much and probably not legal.

Sure, it'd be a big whiny "fuck you I'm taking my ball home" kind of move for someone to ask for all of their comments and posts to be deleted - but if they really own the copyright, they also have the right to destroy it.

Policy-wise of course the admins of any site have no responsibility to cherry-pick, edit or otherwise partially purge a posting and comment history. But not allowing someone to simply delete their entire history is a bit squicky if you claim they own the copyright.
posted by loquacious at 3:02 PM on April 19, 2009


I appreciate Ask threads like that, because then I realize my life isn't so insane, it was a good move abandoning my nuclear family, and I'm not so helpless after all.bad
posted by telstar at 3:04 PM on April 19, 2009


Where did that "bad" come from? I didn't type it or copy it. Oh well, guess I'm bad.
posted by telstar at 3:05 PM on April 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


That thread made me incredibly thankful to be an only child....
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 3:10 PM on April 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Bonk her on the had with a tennis racket.

I really like the word bonk.
posted by JenMarie at 3:11 PM on April 19, 2009


... but if they really own the copyright, they also have the right to destroy it.

How do you figure?

People/entities really own the copyrights to most of the books, movies, CDs, and video games in my possession. If one of them went completely batshitinsane, would they have the right to demand that I shred my copies of their book/movie/CD/game?
posted by CKmtl at 3:24 PM on April 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


In a publisher/publishee relationship, ownership of the material is often shared jointly to some extent, and the terms of that are widely variable. If you are concerned about your control over your MeFi content, you should have ironed that out with the owner before you started publishing posts and comments.

Not that I think that's necessary or want people to get all picky with mathowie.
posted by hermitosis at 3:32 PM on April 19, 2009


If one of them went completely batshitinsane, would they have the right to demand that I shred my copies of their book/movie/CD/game?

I need the answer to this question, stat! Stephen King is standing outside my door and he's got that wild look in his eyes again.
posted by found missing at 3:36 PM on April 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


#1 is a no brainer. #2, not so much and probably not legal.

Huh?

I'm not sure that's how copyright works, necessarily. Ex: I've published my poetry. While copyright of the content of the poems reverts back to me upon publication (magazines get "first North American serial rights"), there's no guarantee that, say, my poem will be stricken from archives of an online publication if I request that they do so. In fact, many magazines have stipulations that they can republish the poem at any time, or archive it online indefinitely. So long as these specifications are stated upfront, it all sounds pretty legal to me.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 3:36 PM on April 19, 2009


Here's where I think we are on the defending copyright vs. compulsive deletion thing:

1. We don't really know.

How copyright extends to a public/community context like this is weird and hazy territory. If there's someone on the site who has or can point to really clear documentation of exactly who the law treats these things, I'd be genuinely interested to hear it but I think it's safe to say that we are to a vast majority laypersons on the subject with limited and mostly very base-utilitarian understandings of most of this stuff.

So I'm skeptical of any hardline statements one way or another; absolutely can't and absolutely must both seem like not really the neighborhood in which we're operating around here pretty much ever. Again, I'd love to see a detailed writeup on the subject, but strict interpretation of legal precendent x isn't really something that shows up in the guidelines in any case.

2. The casual implicit license that comes with posting.

We don't have an explicit ToS or EULA or whatever here. The guidelines lay out the general expectations for the social contact on the site, but basically nothing is either forbidden or required around here. That lack of specificity applies to the question of control of your content after posting. Without an explicit disclaimer about this stuff, we're all let to try and work within an agreeable set of implications.

Some of the things that I think most folks would agree are implied by the decision to post on metafilter:

- You're okay with your words being displayed on the site in perpetuity as they were posted, and you're basically granting mefi license to host that content (your post, your thread, your recording on Music) forever since that's the core function of the site.

- You retain copyright over your work—authorship does not somehow transfer to Metafilter or any other party just because you posted it here, and no one else is in a position to claim your work as being their work.

- Your words won't be altered significantly without your prior permission. Nobody (and this is only mods who could, anyway) is going to edit your posts or comments to add or remove content or otherwise inject an external editorial voice into your words.

- If what you post violates the guidelines or the spirit of the site, it may be removed entirely, though that again implies no change in your copyright over that content; it indicates only the exercise of Metafilter's right to decline to host that content if we so choose.

There might be folks who have objections to or quibbles with some of that, but I think by and large that's all pretty uncontroversial stuff. It's how the site has run for years and years now.

3. So you want something deleted.

Generally, if a user writes to us to ask to have some specific comment or post they wrote deleted, we delete it. That's the default process; it doesn't happen all that often (certainly we delete a lot more comments and posts out of moderator judgement and attention to the flag queue than we do based on requests by the posters), and it's mostly not complicated when it does happen.

That said, these deletions are generally a courtesy—we nix the stuff because, all else being equal, we don't want to make anyone's day worse and post-hoc deletion is, in moderate volumes, not too disruptive to the community.

The courtesy goes both ways: we expect users not to request deletions capriciously, or in large volume, and we expect them to have thought the decision over (or to be willing to think it over if we respond to a request with some concerns from our end).

Situations that we consider problematic and that will probably result in some pushback on our end to any applicable request for deletion:

- Removal of a mefi thread that is going well if the requester's motivation is that it's not going well. Sometimes thin skin or a bad day or being new to the site or to posting will lead to what we see as an overreaction to e.g. mild criticism, in which case we'll likely try to talk the user down a bit so as not to pull the rug out from under everyone else.

- Removal of an askme that doesn't contain any private or identifying or otherwise personally compromising content. We generally remove askme questions if asked, but if it's not clear on the surface why the user would want to remove it, we're probably going to try and get some explanation before we press the button, because we hate chopping a hole in the archives unnecessarily.

- Removal of large swaths of content. This comes up very rarely, but now and then someone will want to remove some or all of their posting/commenting history, which is something we basically don't do. This is a community website, not just a collection of individual blogs, and removing large chunks of content by one person hurts the continuity of the archives and has an impact on the coherence and context of threads and comments not belonging to the poster in question.

- Removing a posters inculpatory comment(s) after they've already left a trainwreck in their wake. If you're going to take an active role in starting an ugly argument on the site, you don't get to just clean off your record on demand.

- Requests that in some way or another appear to be made in bad faith or as an extension of some sort of bad faith behavior. Regardless of the specific result of a deletion in that case or not, that's a quick way to get invited to leave and never come back.

So that's a whole pile of how we look at some of this stuff. I feel like Matt made a nice and fairly concrete statement about this stuff in the past, but I didn't find what I was looking for on some quick searching; maybe he'll pop in with it if he can remember where it was.

As far as all that goes: I'm cool taking angrybeaver's word that the question wasn't designed to be deleted (something that has happened a couple times in the past, bizarrely enough, from one new user or another).

I'd say my problem in this case is with two things:

1. The decision to acknowledge a late-breaking intent to have the question deleted. Just decide privately and write to us about it promptly—don't make it a death clock in your own thread, please.

2. The "I'm going to have this neutered, so I might as well go crazy, right?" attitude to the ranty/dishy followup comment around the time (1) was disclosed. Again, we do these things like anonymization and deletion as a courtesy; do not abuse that or take advantage of our willingness to help out by behaving badly in the interim.

And, as a kind of important detail on that front for angrybeaver: we can anonymize threads, but not comments. Which means if you need super-duper anonymity, every comment you made in that thread has to go as well. Which, if the thread is built in any significant way around responses to your followups, means messing with the flow of the thread significantly in the process, which also really sucks.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:47 PM on April 19, 2009 [7 favorites]


but if they really own the copyright, they also have the right to destroy it.

loquacious, you're conflating copyright with terms of service. It's currently implied that any site you contribute content to is also being granted a license to display it, defaulting to forever unless stated otherwise. I'll make this clear in the Terms of Service I'm working on with a lawyer now, but the copyright notice is so no one makes a book out of good ask mefi answers without asking you first, and it's so I won't do the same -- I didn't want to assert MeFi copyright over your own writing (something some sites do), but the terms of contribution here are separate from your own authorship of your comments.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 3:48 PM on April 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


My thoughts on the copyright aspect are that the fixing of the material creates the copyright in the words (i.e. their order, the phrasing) but doesn't grant the author any rights over the material in which their work is fixed.

Which works fine for books etc. - I can't ask for all copies of my 100,000 selling opus to be deleted - but raises interesting questions on the internet where the fixing may only have happened once. Can something still be copyright if the one fixation is deleted?
posted by djgh at 3:49 PM on April 19, 2009


Ok, I'd like to point out I was typing before cortex and mathowie stepped in.

(And have not yet read what they said, hastily typing as I am).

posted by djgh at 3:50 PM on April 19, 2009


- You retain copyright over your work—authorship does not somehow transfer to Metafilter or any other party just because you posted it here, and no one else is in a position to claim your work as being their work.

Heh, actually, if what you (cortex) write is considered to be under your "employment" by MetaFilter, Metafilter LLC owns copyright to your content.

Broadly speaking, and I'm sure that:
a) Issues of whether the mods are paid;
b) Whether what they write is in their free time outside of work
would arise.

In short, IP law really doesn't grok the internet wholly yet.

And whilst I'm in a common law area, it's not the US, so yeah, might not be a wholly accurate statement.

Law really is fully of caveats, isn't it?

posted by djgh at 3:58 PM on April 19, 2009


But not allowing someone to simply delete their entire history is a bit squicky if you claim they own the copyright.

If Neal Stephenson showed up at my door and told me to burn my copy of Snow Crash, I would find myself in the unlikely position of telling Neal Stephenson to go fuck himself.

A community website is slightly weirder territory, as I said, and so I think there's room for a little bit more discussion about this stuff, but fundamentally this place is different from someone's personal journal. I'm not just writing all by myself on cortex.metafilter.com; when I contribute here, I'm sharing and participating and including my words in a mix with thousands of other people who have every reason to expect that those conversations will not be retroactively fucked over by the random disappearance of everything I'd contributed.

Want to delete all the text on your profile page? Go crazy. Want to yank the rug out from under dozens or hundred or thousands of conversations to which other people contributed in good faith? That's a problem.

Heh, actually, if what you (cortex) write is considered to be under your "employment" by MetaFilter, Metafilter LLC owns copyright to your content.

Matt, my comments, cold dead hands, etc. Heh.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:01 PM on April 19, 2009 [4 favorites]


djgh, I feel like that distinction is fairly minor. It's like an author submitting a manuscript to a publisher, or an artist sending a piece of work in to a competition. If there is a non-zero chance of you never seeing that work again, and you care about seeing that work again, send in a duplicate. The onus is on you to ensure that you yourself have some sort of record of the "fixation", as you put it. Submitting a comment to Metafilter by no means excludes you from also retaining a copy of that comment on your hard drive, and Metafilter should not be restricted in enacting site policies because the original commenter would get upset at the loss of the single iteration of their brilliance.
posted by Phire at 4:04 PM on April 19, 2009


cortex.metafilter.com

That redirects to the front page.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:07 PM on April 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Your words won't be altered significantly without your prior permission. Nobody (and this is only mods who could, anyway) is going to edit your posts or comments to add or remove content or otherwise inject an external editorial voice into your words."
posted by cortex at 9:47 AM on April 20

This is true; to an extent.

People who are mutual contacts can add tags to each other posts, and remove tags as well, correct? Although this has little to no significant effect on the wording of the main text of an FPP, question or Music/Project post, it does allow a third party to add or remove content and, to a degree, editorialise in someone elses post by adding tags that may be inconsistent with the subject matter or tone of the FPP.
posted by Effigy2000 at 4:22 PM on April 19, 2009


Phire, you're probably right. I was just struck by the fact that in all likelihood most people don't retain a copy, and that their comment would be their only fixing of their work. Thinking about it, they'd still retain copyright, but the evidential burden would be pretty high (although things like Google caching, Wayback machine etc. would help). More interesting sidepoint than main focus of discussion.
posted by djgh at 4:31 PM on April 19, 2009


If Neal Stephenson showed up at my door and told me to burn my copy of Snow Crash, I would find myself in the unlikely position of telling Neal Stephenson to go fuck himself.

Hunh, I would've grabbed a drill and spitefully trepanned the ur-copy floating about in his subconsciousness. Your way is much tidier.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 4:40 PM on April 19, 2009


Thank you very much to everyone who contributed to the AskMe thread. I appreciate the thought and effort that many of you put into your postings. I received a wide spectrum of advice and many thoughtful and insightful comments.

It was a breach of etiquette to take the "I'm going to have this neutered, so I might as well go crazy, right?" attitude. Mefites, Jessamyn, Cortex, Mathowie, I am sorry.

Mods, please nuke the AskMe thread completely.

I'm disabling my account and taking a break from Metafilter. I will be back, probably not as placidmarmot, but something similar. Goodbye.
posted by angrybeaver at 4:40 PM on April 19, 2009


People who are mutual contacts can add tags to each other posts, and remove tags as well, correct?

As a sort of ancillary taxonomic function, I'm willing to look at tags as falling well outside the spirit of any reasonable copyright discussion in this context, especially given that the two groups [tagging that's substantial enough to constitute a creative work or post-hoc third-party editorializing] and [tagging that we consider obnoxious and will tell the user to cut the hell out] probably almost perfectly overlap.

How's that for a handwave?
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:41 PM on April 19, 2009


Aaaand I've gone ahead and nixed the askme.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:45 PM on April 19, 2009


cortex, I think there's something wrong with the beav
posted by found missing at 4:46 PM on April 19, 2009 [7 favorites]


Bonk her on the had with a tennis racket.

I read that as "bonk her on the bed with a tennis racket" and thought that might be extremely inadvisable.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:57 PM on April 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


cortex, I think there's something wrong with the beav

a) She felt bad and just quit the site, give her a break.
b) The reference you are reaching for is, "aren't you being a little hard on the Beaver?"
posted by drjimmy11 at 4:59 PM on April 19, 2009


Indeed.
posted by gman at 5:09 PM on April 19, 2009


Although this has little to no significant effect on the wording of the main text of an FPP, question or Music/Project post, it does allow a third party to add or remove content and, to a degree, editorialise in someone elses post by adding tags that may be inconsistent with the subject matter or tone of the FPP.

We've been clear all along that we see tags as metacontent and not as content. If someone is adding tags to someone else's post to editorialize, we'd be pretty likely to nix that once it was brought to our attention. People who are not mods can only remoev their own tags, not the tags of others.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:18 PM on April 19, 2009


when I contribute here, I'm sharing and participating and including my words in a mix with thousands of other people who have every reason to expect that those conversations will not be retroactively fucked over by the random disappearance of everything I'd contributed.

Perfect.
Could be pasted as is in the TOS.
posted by bru at 5:20 PM on April 19, 2009


The situation with something being taken down from a web site seems totally different from going into someone's home and retracting copies of a work that are in your possession from a business transaction with the copyright owner. The MetaFilter web server provides a publicly accessible service which, upon request, will automatically send anyone a copy of the work. For a copyright owner to ask for something to be deleted is simply saying, "Please stop having your service automatically dole out copies of my work to whoever asks."

If it was some faceless company that was telling me, "You totally retain the copyright to this, no really, but you've implicitly granted us a non-revocable right to publish it in perpetuity" that would seem quite deceptive and really not cool. But since I know that mathowie, pb, jessamyn, and cortex are awesome, straight-shootin' people entirely worthy of my trust, it doesn't really bother me, except that I think others might get a similar misunderstanding from that copyright statement.

But mathowie, if you're working on a clear TOS and you're going to add a link to it in with that copyright notice or totally replace the copyright notice, that takes care of it as far as I'm concerned.
posted by XMLicious at 5:25 PM on April 19, 2009


Also, my impression was that angrybeaver is a dude.
posted by XMLicious at 5:27 PM on April 19, 2009


That's not deleted. It's just closed to new comments.
posted by iconomy at 5:43 PM on April 19, 2009


Good counter-arguments to my suggested copyright stance - however, the web is not print.

It would be foolish to treat the web as static, printed text and we collectively do ourselves a disservice by applying old thought models like printed books to the web.

A refinement to the argument would be more along the lines of (asking for deletion of comments on metafilter) = (asking for a single publisher to remove and destroy any copies of the manuscript in question and ceasing further publication), whereas (asking any and all sites such as google or archive.org caches to destroy indexed copies) would = (asking to recall already printed books).

The former is possible and even reasonably easy to do on a single website. The latter is ridiculous and impossible without an army of lawyers.

Again, I'm not arguing that it wouldn't be a dick move - but there's nothing about copyright law that says you have any right to have your own arguments and counterpoints in a discussion make any sense if the original author decides they want to pursue deletion of their own said content.
posted by loquacious at 5:44 PM on April 19, 2009


The OP of that askme thread should find her wife a really subby under-achieving husband. You see, she is one but not the other and so this will never work out.
posted by parmanparman at 5:55 PM on April 19, 2009


Rewrite:

The OP of that askme thread should find her sister a really subby under-achieving husband. You see, she is one but not the other and so this will never work out.
posted by parmanparman at 5:56 PM on April 19, 2009


Again, I'm not arguing that it wouldn't be a dick move - but there's nothing about copyright law that says you have any right to have your own arguments and counterpoints in a discussion make any sense if the original author decides they want to pursue deletion of their own said content.

My original statement was just: the fact that your comments are copyrighted by you has no real bearing on the site policy of comment retention or deletion and, I believe, has no legal bearing on that as well.

We really have a "be cool" policy as cortex stated above, and it's rarely been a problem. But, I think it's important to talk about what's our policy versus what's policy-informed-by-law. The fact that we could easily remove all of someone's comments isn't a compelling argument for doing so. It's destabilizing when stuff like that happens and bad for morale.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:05 PM on April 19, 2009


Again, I'm not arguing that it wouldn't be a dick move - but there's nothing about copyright law that says you have any right to have your own arguments and counterpoints in a discussion make any sense if the original author decides they want to pursue deletion of their own said content.

We're certainly not going to bend over backward to pursue the interpretation of this fuzzy territory most favorable to anti-community dick moves, though.

I agree that in terms of, as djgh said, IP law not really being up to speed with internet communities and such, this is not a cut-and-dried extension of print media. And I think just getting an explicit ToS in place to moot the issue is the simplest approach to a clean resolution of the ambiguity.

But insofar as this comes down to interpreting the implicit social contract and license here in the absence of an explicit one, there's a lot to be said for looking at the form and function of this site when trying to present a the notion of not just what is or isn't a dick move but what is or isn't even a plausible expectation. And I don't think blanket wiping of content in a community/participatory context (as contrasted against a sole-authorship context) is a reasonable thing to expect to be able to demand.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:07 PM on April 19, 2009


there's nothing about copyright law that says you have any right to have your own arguments and counterpoints in a discussion make any sense if the original author decides they want to pursue deletion of their own said content.

I'm not so sure about that.

Imagine the following sequence of comments, fairly typical of a MeTa thread:

- Hitler was a great guy. I don't see what everybody has against him.
- I like donuts.
- I agree.

If the member who claimed to like donuts packs up & leaves & takes all their comments with them, the third commenter suddenly seems to be saying something totally different than originally intended. In other words, the meaning of the comment has been destroyed by having its correct context removed, which is a violation of the work, and copyright should protect against such violations.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:41 PM on April 19, 2009 [3 favorites]


You know who else liked donuts?
posted by cjets at 6:58 PM on April 19, 2009 [3 favorites]


UbuRoivas: I think if a side-wide comment removing spree were to occur, the mods would need to leave behind some form of indicator that the comment existed there once upon a time - "This comment has been removed at the request of the user" or something.

Though that particular phrasing makes it sound like a fairly accepted thing to do. "This comment has been removed because the user decided to be a douchetard and call a SWAT team of lawyers who don't really understand the internets on us" maybe.
posted by Phire at 6:59 PM on April 19, 2009


Angrybeaver, it's impossible to teach a psycho how to be a normal human being and you should run away before she poisons you anymore. You have my sympathy. Obviously, she drove you right over the edge.
posted by anniecat at 7:22 PM on April 19, 2009


I have read through the askme and through this meandering thread, yea, and all the comments thereof.

A pet peeve of mine has not been addressed. The word is piqued, not peaked. Your curiosity has been piqued. Not peaked, not peeked.

Peak curiosity is a myth started by people investing in curious futures.
posted by boo_radley at 7:25 PM on April 19, 2009 [17 favorites]


My curiosity was piqued, so I peeked, and then it peaked.
posted by subbes at 7:49 PM on April 19, 2009 [4 favorites]


good on you for taking the high road with that sequence.
posted by boo_radley at 7:57 PM on April 19, 2009


I may have just had my nerdiest moment ever, and I've read I, Strahd.* When mathowie wrote: "I'll make this clear in the Terms of Service I'm working on with a lawyer now" my immediate thought was: "Oh man! Matt's writing Terms of Service, how exciting! I wonder what they'll be like."


* Even worse than you think.
posted by Kattullus at 9:17 PM on April 19, 2009 [3 favorites]


Oh and...

MetaFilter: Metacontent.
posted by Kattullus at 9:18 PM on April 19, 2009


I just went to Stephen King's house to destroy any of my books that he had in his collection. As it turned out, he didn't have any, so I just ate some of his guacamole and peed in his fishtank instead.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:45 PM on April 19, 2009 [5 favorites]


Huh. This thread wound up being interesting after all. Weird.

Thanks Cortex, et al.
posted by Afroblanco at 12:11 AM on April 20, 2009


If Neal Stephenson showed up at my door and told me to burn my copy of Snow Crash, I would find myself in the unlikely position of telling Neal Stephenson to go fuck himself.

That's funny, because if Neal Stephenson showed up at my door and told me to burn maudlin's copy of Zodiac, I'd be sorely tempted :)

Since it isn't mine though, I'd probably just say "you call that an ending?" and invite him to leave.
posted by Chuckles at 12:58 AM on April 20, 2009


there's nothing about copyright law that says you have any right to have your own arguments and counterpoints in a discussion make any sense if the original author decides they want to pursue deletion of their own said content.

Don't be ridiculous. Fair Use obviously has application here. It would take a lot of expensive court battles to iron out the details, but copying context giving comments is almost certainly not a copyright violation under US copyright law.
posted by Chuckles at 1:09 AM on April 20, 2009


Since it isn't mine though, I'd probably just say "you call that an ending?" and invite him to leave.

Unfortunately for you, Neal Stephenson's presence at your door is ©2009 Neal Stephenson Enterprises, LLC. This means, of course, that only Neal Stephenson Enterprises, LLC can delete Neal Stephenson's presence from your doorstep. Enjoy your new tenant author. He's not going anywhere for awhile.
posted by dersins at 1:24 AM on April 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


I just went to Stephen King's house to destroy any of my books that he had in his collection. As it turned out, he didn't have any, so I just ate some of his guacamole and peed in his fishtank instead.

What a coinky-dink. David Lynch just came to my house and demanded I destroy my copy of Inland Empire. Then he peed in my guacamole and ate my fishtank.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:04 AM on April 20, 2009 [4 favorites]


Soooo....Angrybeaver's going to be in trouble when his sis reads that AskMe, amirite?
posted by fire&wings at 4:53 AM on April 20, 2009


I can just smell the dysfunction emanating from that thread.

(sarcasm)FAMILY UBER ALLES, EVEN IF THEY'RE ABUSIVE SHITHOLES, AMIRITE?!!! (/sarcasm)
posted by kldickson at 5:21 AM on April 20, 2009


there's nothing about copyright law that says you have any right to have your own arguments and counterpoints in a discussion make any sense if the original author decides they want to pursue deletion of their own said content.

Not to be a dick, but: Are you a copyright lawyer? How well do you know copyright law? Because that's a pretty sweeping statement, and I'm curious as to whether you are making it from sure and certain knowledge or pulling it out of your (doubtless knowledgeable) ass.

Also: I'm sorry angrybeaver felt compelled to leave, and I hope he'll change his mind. Nobody is hating on you because you made a thoughtless AskMe comment.
posted by languagehat at 6:24 AM on April 20, 2009


I hope angrybeaver reconsiders, too. It must have been hard to take a lot of the comments in that AskMe (mine included), given how critical we were of people he loves, and I kind of wish it hadn't moved over here. His post was, after all, about being ganged up on.
posted by palliser at 6:54 AM on April 20, 2009


He said he'll be back.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:57 AM on April 20, 2009


Can we instead talk about how angrybeaver used the blue to pimp his relative's art? Ban that fucker.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 7:10 AM on April 20, 2009


Oh, well, he disabled his account already. Good. What a fucking mess that guy is.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 7:14 AM on April 20, 2009


Since it isn't mine though, I'd probably just say "you call that an ending?" and invite him to leave.

No way in hell. You have my permission in advance to burn the damn book if Stephenson ever shows up. If you turn him away, he'll just come to my place, and as soon as he sees that dusty bookmark 20 pages from the end of Quicksilver, I'm doomed. That prolix bastard will never budge from my couch until he gets me to finish the damn thing.

I've heard several people say that Anathem actually ends properly. Sure. And Lucy was never going to pull that football away at the last minute, too.
posted by maudlin at 7:47 AM on April 20, 2009


Angrybeaver's going to be in trouble when his sis reads that AskMe, amirite?

What a fucking mess that guy is.


Can you not do that here please? I know it's MetaTalk and everything but starting from an AskMe where someone's describing being stuck in a really crappy relationship with a family member and then coming to MeTa and adding a "yeah fuck you too" to the whole mess is mean-spirited and crappy.

And, if you can't find it in your heart to not be a total jerk to some random person from the internet, maybe you could see it in terms of not making more work for me and the other decent folks who try to run the place because that's exactly what these sort of spleen-venting comments do. It's a horrible thing to do to someone who is already having a hard time.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:58 AM on April 20, 2009 [12 favorites]


Can you not do that here please? I know it's MetaTalk and everything but starting from an AskMe where someone's describing being stuck in a really crappy relationship with a family member and then coming to MeTa and adding a "yeah fuck you too" to the whole mess is mean-spirited and crappy.

I remember us giving Holden Karnofsky a pretty rough time - I don't know why angrybeaver should be treated differently than anyone else who spams the blue in bad faith.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:03 AM on April 20, 2009


I don't know why angrybeaver should be treated differently than anyone else who spams the blue in bad faith.

That was a link from three years ago and I'm not psyched about it, but we've occasionally seen similar posts from people related to someone famous. If you really can't tell the difference between someone who joined the site pretty much to astroturf his own organization in an orchestrated deceitful fashion and what's going on here, I don't know what to tell you.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:11 AM on April 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


(asking for deletion of comments on metafilter) = (asking for a single publisher to remove and destroy any copies of the manuscript in question and ceasing further publication), whereas (asking any and all sites such as google or archive.org caches to destroy indexed copies) would = (asking to recall already printed books).

I'm not buying this analogy because it's conflating two different scenarios in the first instance, as well as confusing the two presented.

In the first case there are two different things that could be occurring. If by ceasing publication you mean not publish a second edition then this is a situation already covered by copyright law. As I understand it publishing rights automatically revert to the author after a book goes out of print and simple copyright protects you. But this is because a second edition is considered a new work, it doesn't stop the publisher printing more copies if they sell out of the print run. So the correct analogy is not deleting a comment, but publishing it on a new site, which we already know can't happen so I don't think this scenario has any bearing. Nor do I think the web/print distinction make any sense here, as producing a new work is already well covered.

Forcing the site to delete a comment is closer to a second scenario: getting an order to demand that a publisher stops distributing existing unsold copies after they have been printed. Absent any other mitigating factor such as libel, I am not at all not convinced this is reasonable. If I write a book and decide, after the publisher has already printed the run, that I don't like the ending after all is it reasonable that the publisher not sell these and swallow the cost of the printing? I don't see how it is. The fact that it would not be recalling already sold copies has no impact on the loss suffered.

The relative ease of deleting a comment on a website is irrelevant here. While it might be easier to see the potential loss to a book publisher it can not be argued that a web publisher suffers no loss. If comments were deleted on the whim of the writer then the site would suffer and real damage would ensue.

In the absence of an explicit contract in the forms of a T.O.S. there will still be an implied contract. The shape of that would largely be determined by what we might have a reasonable expectation of happening, and this is largely determined by what does happen. There is no facility for user deletion or editing so we can have no expectation of an automatic right to this. Similarly comments are some time removed by the mods and we would have no right to demand that they don't do this. What there is a practice of deleting some comments in some circumstances, which the mods have both spelled out and determined in practice. So if the mods delete personal information on request, there can be no grounds for them only doing that for some users but not for certain individuals, however this can't be extended to the expectation of deletion on demand without reason.

What we do have is a reasonable expectation of is that when we press the post button the comment might appear on the site but might also be removed. This is the prerogative of the publisher not us. So when I do this I fully expect that I am granting something like an in perpetuity right to publish my comment, but only on the same site and in the original form(ats) in which it was published. I don't think I can safely assume any right to have it deleted anymore than I can insist they keep it up if they want to remove it, or close down the site, such things are at the whim of the publisher and I implicitly agreed to that when I agreed to let them publish.
posted by tallus at 8:12 AM on April 20, 2009


Everything I write is meant to be deleted or anonymized. I mean, have you read the dreck I write?
posted by blue_beetle at 8:47 AM on April 20, 2009


Jesus please us Jesus tease us Jesus grease us Jesus be us.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:51 AM on April 20, 2009


^^recite as a mantra and you'll be pure as a newborn and money will fall out of the sky into your pocket.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:52 AM on April 20, 2009


This thread is yucky, and not in the good way. I don't see that much good will come of it–even the lulz are avoiding this place.
posted by Mister_A at 9:06 AM on April 20, 2009


Optimus Chyme: I remember us giving Holden Karnofsky a pretty rough time

That wasn't the good part of the GiveWell affair. In fact, some of it got really ugly. I'm not defending Holden Karnofsky (I find the whole idea of GiveWell distasteful) but some people lost their heads.
posted by Kattullus at 9:15 AM on April 20, 2009


That's pronounced 'yowkah', mister_a, not 'yucky'.
posted by jouke at 9:19 AM on April 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


I remember us giving Holden Karnofsky a pretty rough time - I don't know why angrybeaver should be treated differently than anyone else who spams the blue in bad faith.
Hold up on that "us".

As to angrybeaver, the dude clearly has personal stuff going on, didn't do anything malicious, so there's not need for the 2 minute hate. Remember, everyone needs a hug, so cut people some slack.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:23 AM on April 20, 2009


so cut people some slack.
I agree, and it would be great if we could extend that courtesy to angrybeaver's sister. Even though we know nothing about her, we had no problem diagnosing and vilifying her.
posted by davar at 9:48 AM on April 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


There was one time that Neal Stephenson showed up on my doorstep; he was a little bit frantic and he kept looking over his shoulder. As soon as the door was open a crack, he forced himself in and slammed it behind him. "Do you have it?" He demanded, "Does it still exist?"

"What are you talking about, man?" I asked. I was a little confused, but willing to play along.

"The book. The cursed book! My watchers have indicated that at least one still exists, and that you might have it. We have to destroy it before it opens another portal!"

My blank look didn't help the situation and he ran to by bookshelves and started pawing at the spines. "Damn it! I don't see it here! Haven't you ever heard of alphabetization? Where the hell are you hiding it? Don't you understand? If anyone reads those words, it could kill us all!"

"What the fuck? What book?"

"The Big U! My first book! I was young and didn't realize, but in one part, I included a line that if read aloud, will summon the most terrifying creatures from the dungeon dimensions, they will destroy us all. I've managed to destroy nearly every other copy, but a few slipped through the cracks. Fucking Half-Priced-Books!"

Here is where I started getting suspicious. "Dungeon Dimension? Isn't that something Pratchett came up with? What's going on?"

That's when he grabbed me by the shirt, all the affected terror gone from his voice. "Look man, I don't care what it takes, go and get me that book. We are going to stand here and burn it together. No one needs to know that I wrote that piece of shit, and I'll go to the ends of the earth to make sure that I've killed every single copy ever printed. "

"So, no demons or anything like that. You just don't want people to see how bad it is?"

"I'll do whatever it takes."

As I thought about it, I realized that it was for the best. But it wasn't that I was trying to protect his reputation or anything like that. I just didn't want anyone else to ever accidentally come across my copy and read it, I don't want to be responsible for any more crimes against humanity. So I went and got it, we shredded it, burned it, and then cast the ashes into a river to ensure that it could never be reformed.

Then I made him sign my copy of Snow Crash.
posted by quin at 9:49 AM on April 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


Good. What a fucking mess that guy is.

The Decepticons are coming for you, OC.
posted by cjets at 9:56 AM on April 20, 2009


davar: "so cut people some slack.
I agree, and it would be great if we could extend that courtesy to angrybeaver's sister. Even though we know nothing about her, we had no problem diagnosing and vilifying her.
"

AskMe is designed to work to the benefit from the Asker. Certainly some of the judgments were harsher than necessary, but the posters who replied to that AskMe did so in good faith, believing that stronger assertions that the relationship was dysfunctional would be more compelling in getting angrybeaver to do something to fix the relationship - see a therapist, make the sister see a therapist, cut her off, whatever. I don't believe the sister was vilified for the sake of being who she is, and had she shown up at AskMe with a reverse question of "I do these things to my brother, help me stop", I am confident AskMe would have responded with comparative tact in suggesting things like medical help, reading material, and support groups.
posted by Phire at 10:34 AM on April 20, 2009


Certainly some of the judgments were harsher than necessary, but the posters who replied to that AskMe did so in good faith, believing that stronger assertions that the relationship was dysfunctional would be more compelling in getting angrybeaver to do something to fix the relationship - see a therapist, make the sister see a therapist, cut her off, whatever.

Heh.

The sister was diagnosed as suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder, Codependency, Narcissism/Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. All without anyone's having met and talked to her.

How hopefully, both angrybeaver and sister will remain anonymous -- but there are a bunch of clues in there. Someone who knew their situation could probably identify them without too much difficulty, and Metafilter is hardly some quiet backwater of the internet.

If I was angrybeaver, I'd be really anxious about subjecting any of my friends or relatives to that sort of extreme personality judgement from a bunch of strangers. It's possible that angrybeaver's characterisation is accurate -- but it might not be.

Given that, it's hardly surprising that he/she decided the thread was better deleted.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:59 AM on April 20, 2009


The sister was diagnosed as suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder, Codependency, Narcissism/Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. All without anyone's having met and talked to her.

I think he primed the pump pretty good by leading off with the "how do I talk to her without her hitting me" line at the beginning of the question.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 11:08 AM on April 20, 2009


Seriously, he was afraid to bring stuff up with her because she used to hit him. "Ill" is the charitable reading.
posted by palliser at 11:14 AM on April 20, 2009


Seriously, he was afraid to bring stuff up with her because she used to hit him. "Ill" is the charitable reading.

This. Sometimes a brisk reframing of the issue can be really helpful to someone who's stuck in some horribly dysfunctional patterns of interaction. Other times, not so much.

But sometimes it really helps to hear that you're not the crazy one.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:26 AM on April 20, 2009


Neal Stephenson came to my door this morning

NS: I've been told that you're the only one left on Metafilter who hasn't read this book. (Hands me a copy of Snow Crash.)
Me: Thanks! (Puts the book a on shelf already groaning with the weight of unread books.)
NS: Aren't you going to read it?
Me: I'm behind in reading all of the other books that I want to read
NS: said, "What are you reading now?"
Me: Critique of Pure Reason and Lolita
NS: Damn, you are far behind! I'll come back in a few years
Me: OK, Would you like some guacamole?
posted by double block and bleed at 11:43 AM on April 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


My favorite part was when you ate guacamole with Neal Stephenson.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:26 PM on April 20, 2009


The Avocadicon.
posted by dersins at 12:39 PM on April 20, 2009


Objection! It is unclear from the record whether the offer of guacamole was accepted.
posted by Kwine at 1:52 PM on April 20, 2009


Sustained. The appellant will present the guacamole exhibit to the Bench.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:15 PM on April 20, 2009


Objection! No one ever refuses an offer of guacamole, so Stephenson's acceptance can be read into the record without further evidence. I will, however, need to examine the guacamole to ensure that it is in fact guacamole. Bailiff, could you bring it this way?
posted by languagehat at 2:20 PM on April 20, 2009


I do not like guacamole.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:23 PM on April 20, 2009


If you end up wanting the mods to anonymize a question of yours, doesn't it kind of defeat the purpose to post a follow-up in the thread? The mods can't make your follow-ups anonymous, can they? So you'd end up just with an anonymous OP but with very obvious indicators of who had actually posted it.

Or do I just not understand how it works?
posted by Ms. Saint at 2:23 PM on April 20, 2009


*bangs gavel* This court will be in recess until such time as corn chips can be discovered. In the meantime, kwine & languagehat are to repair to my chambers, and bring some cerveza!
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:28 PM on April 20, 2009


Or do I just not understand how it works?

Nope, you're totally right Ms. Saint. The more redaction that is required, the more of a pain in the ass it is for us and for everyone else trying to figure out what is going on. Most of the time we'll do it anyhow and just say "we're not going to do this again, don't ask" and for the most part that sort of thing is successful.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:30 PM on April 20, 2009


I think it's reasonable to assume that, were Stephenson to have rejected double block and bleed's offer of guacamole, the latter would fly into a homicidal rage and, having no other use for the resulting corpse, would turn the former into a tasty asada.

In which case he would no doubt, as I said, have eaten guacamole with Neal Stephenson.

So you'd end up just with an anonymous OP but with very obvious indicators of who had actually posted it.

Yep. It doesn't show up as obviously, though: it's not in your posting history, and your username doesn't show up in the byline, so the findability has been reduced and the evidence that you were the asker, should someone find it after all, is still more circumstantial than concrete (depending to a degree on the nature and presentation of your followups, yes).

So, imperfect. Something we end up dealing with on a case-by-case basis when someone does want something anonymized.

Speaking of which, we did end up removing the final comment from that thread, which as it happens is the one this post linked to in the first place, so, hey, posterity? That's why you're confused by this old metatalk thread you decided to read, way off in the future there.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:33 PM on April 20, 2009


I do not like guacamole.

FREAK.
posted by gman at 2:34 PM on April 20, 2009


In lieu of evidence establishing that Neil Stephenson is not in fact "Metafilter's own" Neil Stephenson, in the person of User #66149, "Sys Rq", Defense moves for immediate dismissal of all charges.
posted by Kwine at 2:36 PM on April 20, 2009


Agreed, but I am placing a order upon Sys Rq not to venture within 100 metres of a mexican takeaway cart, on penalty of immediately forfeiting all snacks, if purchased, to the court.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:46 PM on April 20, 2009


Prosecution notes that user #66149 has, on many occasions, publicly, and without reservation, uttered the letter "u" in capitalized from, whereas Mr. Stephenson has repeatedly expressed a wish that the big u not even exist. Ergo the two cannot be the same person.

Further, prosecution requests that the court censure the defense for its implication that Mr. Stephenson has stolen Mr. Gaiman's first name.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:47 PM on April 20, 2009


HEY! CORTEX CHANGED HIS TYPO: "GAIMEN" TO "GAIMAN"!

WE DEMAND EQUAL EDITING PONIES!!!
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:48 PM on April 20, 2009


Prosecution suggests that Mr. Roivas is probably just high.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:52 PM on April 20, 2009


Mmmm, cprtex, ponies and guacamole.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:53 PM on April 20, 2009


They're spelled "Neal Stephenson" & "Neil Gaiman," incidentally.
posted by Pronoiac at 3:39 PM on April 20, 2009


Proniac, we live in a world that has idiot spelling mistakes and those idiot spelling mistakes need to be guarded by men with guns. Who's gonna do it? You? You, cortex? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for Neal Stephenson and curse the counsel for the Defense; you have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: that my spelling mistake, while tragic, probably saved lives and that my continued posting in this thread, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives. You don't want the truth because deep down in places you don't talk about away from MetaTalk you want me making those spelling mistakes, you NEED me making those spelling mistakes.

We use words like Neal, Neil, Neale. We use then as the backbone of a life trying to stretch this joke out for as long as possible. You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very spelling mistakes that I provide and then questions the manner in which I provide them. I would rather you just said "thank you," and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest that you pick up a spellchecker and write some comments. Either way, I don't give a damn what correct references to authors you think you are entitled to.
posted by Kwine at 4:01 PM on April 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


I think I'm entitled to some guacamole.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:02 PM on April 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


KNEEL, STEPHEN'S SON!
posted by Sys Rq at 4:06 PM on April 20, 2009


YOU'RE GODDAMNED RIGHT I ORDERED THE GUACAMOLE!
posted by Kwine at 4:06 PM on April 20, 2009


DID YOU ORDER THE MOUNTAIN DEW CODE RED!
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:13 PM on April 20, 2009


what do you have against gaimen, cortex?
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:19 PM on April 20, 2009


ALL YOUR GUACAMOLE ARE BELONG TO ME!
posted by languagehat at 4:34 PM on April 20, 2009


Of course he took the guacamole and I didn't eat him.

For the record, I wouldn't kill someone over guacamole. However, You may want to make peace with your deity, if any, before you look at me funny, give me a parking ticket or provide me with substandard service at a restaurant.
posted by double block and bleed at 4:39 PM on April 20, 2009


Whoops. I was (mis-)correcting cortex, who I misread, because I didn't realize he was correcting Kwine, whose typo I skipped completely.

Carry on.
posted by Pronoiac at 4:55 PM on April 20, 2009


I have not eaten
the guacamole
that was in
the icebox

because it was all brown and mushy and starting to stink because: one, you did not leave the avocado pits in with the guacamole; two, you did not add a little bit of lime juice; three, you did not add a little bit of olive oil; four, you did not cover the dish; five, have you noticed in the last couple of years how a multitude of specialized tools for slicing avocados have started to pop up like mushrooms in supermarkets, upscale liquor store, gourmet shops and infomercials? All you need is a blunt knife or a big spoon.
posted by dirty lies at 5:00 PM on April 20, 2009


FLAVOR - what are you eating, you call that guacamole?
posted by tellurian at 5:03 PM on April 20, 2009


BTW, trying to find a picture of the 1000+ acre avocado grove where I hid for 3 days eating avocados when I ran away from home at age 12 or so, I searched for "huertas de aguacate, jalisco". There are hundreds of avocado groves for sale all over Mexico, cheap for Americans now that the peso is 15 to a dollar.

Lets just move this court to this grove with a nice view of lake Chapala (biggest lake in Mexico, full of mastodon, deer and human fossils).
posted by dirty lies at 5:06 PM on April 20, 2009


I had guacamole with dinner. Even brownish, it was delicious.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:19 PM on April 20, 2009


That's because guacamole can do no wrong.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:30 PM on April 20, 2009


Somewhere deep in my hind brain there's a joke about using 6.022 x 1023 avogadros to make one giant guacamole, but I can't excavate it out from under two decades of repressed memories of high school.
posted by dersins at 5:47 PM on April 20, 2009


I had "guacamole" for dinner. Now the musics sound better.
posted by localhuman at 5:59 PM on April 20, 2009


fun fact: avocados in the shan hills of burma are the size of footballs, and absolutely perfect for eating.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:01 PM on April 20, 2009


dersins! I got your back!

Q: Why did 6.022 x 1023 avogadros (to make one giant guacamole) cross the road?
A: To get to the other side.
posted by Kwine at 6:16 PM on April 20, 2009


fun fact: avocados in the shan hills of burma are the size of footballs, and absolutely perfect for eating.

You ever try the avodaco shakes in Burma? They were like 7 cents or some shit.
posted by gman at 6:29 PM on April 20, 2009


If I had the shakes in burma, it wouldn't have been the avocados, but the 40c-a-bottle whisky that caused them.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:47 PM on April 20, 2009


I knew something like that was coming as soon as I reread my comment.
posted by gman at 6:49 PM on April 20, 2009


avocados in the shan hills of burma are the size of footballs
Little Green Footballs
posted by tellurian at 6:59 PM on April 20, 2009


I enjoy cilantro with my guacamole.
posted by little e at 12:26 AM on April 21, 2009


I enjoy cilantro with my guacamole.

Flagged.
posted by the latin mouse at 1:29 AM on April 21, 2009


I enjoy cilantro and guacamole topping my plate of beans.
posted by little e at 5:38 AM on April 21, 2009


dersins! I got your back!

He's been looking for that, please return it he's been borrowing his sister's.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:59 AM on April 21, 2009


Guacamole is over. Now it's all about fried plantains. Mmmm mmm mmm.
posted by Mister_A at 8:47 AM on April 21, 2009


I'm telling you, you may think you are alive, in fact, that you know that you are alive, that your breath and hearbeat somehow indicates your aliveness, but man... I'm telling you... you haven't lived until you've dipped fried plantains in guacamole, put a little fresh salsa on top and then a bit of brie.
posted by Kattullus at 9:06 AM on April 21, 2009


I enjoy cilantro and guacamole topping my plate of beans.

I'll have to think about that.
posted by owtytrof at 10:38 AM on April 21, 2009


you haven't lived until you've dipped fried plantains in guacamole, put a little fresh salsa on top and then a bit of brie.

And then smothered it all in rich creamery butter.
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:21 PM on April 21, 2009


Jesus Culinasty Christ, you two need to get your hands on Cotija and Crema Mexicana.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 2:29 PM on April 21, 2009


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