Regrets on posting by proxy February 10, 2002 7:19 PM   Subscribe

Someone sent me an email saying he hadn't any posting privileges and wanted to add his comment to a thread I'd started. I posted it by proxy. I now have severe misgivings, expressed in that thread, reacting to mr_crash_davis's objection. What should I have done? The comment, by Thom Carlson, was intelligent and cogent and did provoke some lively responses. He's now sent me a second email, backing up his first comment.
I remember rebeccablood's thread about posting a link for someone and how most people felt it wasn't OK to do so. What about a single comment? Do the same principles apply? Please advise as I'm at a loss...
posted by MiguelCardoso to Etiquette/Policy at 7:19 PM (30 comments total)

I of course mean Mack Twain's objection. ;)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 7:24 PM on February 10, 2002

I have been asked in the past to post someone else's comments, and while they were fairly interesting, I decided against it, for the following reasons:

1) Whether you agree with the commenter or not, posting their thoughts under your username implies a certain level of endorsement for their ideas, whether your really agree with them or not.

2) If MeFites make it a habit of posting lurker's comments, some users will probably have to start dealing with large levels of 'lurker spam,' because everyone and their mother will think they have a chance of getting their comment posted on MeFi
posted by insomnyuk at 7:34 PM on February 10, 2002

I would advise against doing it.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 7:58 PM on February 10, 2002

You have your answer, Mr. Cardoso.
posted by evanizer at 8:00 PM on February 10, 2002

I know you're going to ask why Miguel, so let me just stop you before you have to post again: it makes the whole user process a useless one. Why even have userIDs and logins? What's the point of your username if you're going to be speaking as several different people? Except in some extreme cases (famous person that created something linked on metafilter emails me their response to the thread, as was done in Douglas Rushkoff's case), it deminishes the reputations everyone builds up here. "You are your words" should be a mantra here, not "you are your and whoever feels like emailing you's words."
posted by mathowie (staff) at 8:16 PM on February 10, 2002

I thought as much. It makes sense. Thanks. Others please note.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 8:17 PM on February 10, 2002

"I of course mean Mack Twain's objection. ;)"

You'd better. I have enough trouble defending my own positions.

Plus, I don't want to be held responsible for any nasal margarita discharges not of my own doing.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:19 PM on February 10, 2002

I thought as much

If you thought as much, why did you do it in the first place?

The contribution was a strong one and you had to know people would react to it and want to take on his points directly. Then he's got to email you more replies, then you have to post for him again, and in the end it sounds as stupid as two people not speaking to each other passing messages through a third person.

There's a reason people have usernames here and others read the site and attribute comments to those hyperlinked usernames at the end of each comment. Let's try sticking to the basic rules and maintaining that.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 8:28 PM on February 10, 2002

Miguel, I hope that last comment by me doesn't sound too snarky, but I'm frustrated with how people are bending, prodding, and pulling the site in new directions.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:01 PM on February 10, 2002

Matt: "I thought as much" referred to your points about user IDs, logins and reputations. The reason I wrote "Others please note" was because I fell into what I feel must be quite a common trap. This guy emailed me and I felt obligated to pass his comment on, as it was well argued.

Stupidly, I didn't think things through. Once I saw dhartung's and others' replies I realized I'd chased myself into a cul-de-sac. How would the unknown emailer respond? I kept looking at my inbox, hoping for a reply. I then realized that, by endorsing his comment, I'd hijacked my own thread, as I no longer felt free to comment on it.

I say "stupidly" because MetaFilter is obviously interactive - it's not just a board where people post things and go away. But I forgot that, somehow. It was only when others criticized Carlson's comments I realized he couldn't answer back. So it was unfair to him and to those who had reacted to his comment.It was an honest - and, I repeat, stupid - mistake. You cannot post someone else's opinion without becoming involved and then feeling obligated to post everything they send you. It won't happen again. I guess the lesson here is how easily it can happen, specially on your own thread. I'm sorry... but wiser.

Let's try sticking to the basic rules and maintaining that.

That's the ticket, definitely!
posted by MiguelCardoso at 9:03 PM on February 10, 2002

I fell into what I feel must be quite a common trap.

But Cardoso, nobody's ever actually done that before; at least not to my knowlege.
posted by palegirl at 9:09 PM on February 10, 2002

It's the other way round, Matt - no snarkiness received. It's I who apologize for making you point out the obvious. That and the fact that our souls must be synchronized because we post at exactly the same times! It makes us look quick but each other's last comment is always left out. Yet, miraculously, it still makes sense, all the same. Well, everybody says that San Francisco and Lisbon are practically alike... :)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 9:12 PM on February 10, 2002

Ah, Miguel. Takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin' - or should that be 'takes a roasting and keeps on posting'?

Incidentally, I'm not sure I'm convinced by Matt's objections to proxy posting. The userid system doesn't stop people from posting under multiple accounts, and I don't see how posting an opinion that was clearly labelled as somebody else's diminishes MC's reputation.

If Thom's comments had been posted in an online article and Miguel had quoted them or linked to them, would people still have objected? I don't think we have anything to fear from the occasional proxy post. I really doubt that Miguel's case would have inspired a flood of 'well, my mom has something to say about that:' comments.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 9:12 PM on February 10, 2002

But Cardoso

So we just call you 'girl' from now on?
posted by obiwanwasabi at 9:13 PM on February 10, 2002

But Cardoso, nobody's ever actually done that before; at least not to my knowlege.

FWIW, I've been asked to post comments before and declined. So it's not inconceivable that this thread might have come up anyway.
posted by anildash at 9:17 PM on February 10, 2002

So we just call you 'girl' from now on?

Actually, that was snarky and uncalled for. I unreservedly apologise.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 9:19 PM on February 10, 2002

Hey! Where's ColdChef? I miss his sweet defense of MiguelCardoso. Or have they had a falling out?
posted by ashbury at 12:01 AM on February 11, 2002

I will have to print out this thread next time my husband begs me to let him post under my think *I* post crazy......
posted by bunnyfire at 3:41 AM on February 11, 2002

Hey! Where's ColdChef? I miss his sweet defense of MiguelCardoso.

Have I become that predictable? This is exactly what makes a love like ours sour: no more surprises. I keep trying to keep this relationship spontaneous and you keep trying to wedge me into a rote role. It's sad, really...

Having said that, let me go on to add that you evil-doers better be sweet to my little Portugoose, or I'll come to your places of work and worship and punch you in the neck.
posted by ColdChef at 5:49 AM on February 11, 2002

I've been asked to post things before too--and once, before I even had a chance to decline, saw someone else post the same thing. So some people even undertake mild saturation bombing of MF participants. "I say it's spam, and I say the hell with it."
posted by rodii at 5:51 AM on February 11, 2002

You can also direct them to sign up through the 5k site if they're so hot & bothered to join in the discussion. I know that's not the right way to go about it, but mathowie only shut down the main MeFi registration & the 5k is wiiide open.
posted by macadamiaranch at 6:31 AM on February 11, 2002

posted by rodii at 6:46 AM on February 11, 2002

Oh crap! Nevermind what I just said!
*jedi mind trick*
There is no other login area. These are not the droids you are looking for.
posted by macadamiaranch at 7:06 AM on February 11, 2002

These are not the droids we're looking for. You can go about your business. Move along.
posted by iceberg273 at 7:31 AM on February 11, 2002

(hey buddy, post this waxbunnypancake...ive ah, lost my, no, its ok...really.) i/m sorry, unless you have a real time friend whosea mefi, why have someone post something for you? i could see if the computer broke. (funny, wrote a piece about 10 years back and used as an epigram "Look sir-droids" -from 'Star Wars'
posted by clavdivs at 8:04 AM on February 11, 2002

I wuz had, clavdivs, don't rub it in. That's not linament, that's triple-strength ammonia you're doling out. As if the heat I take for my ne'er-do-well posting wasn't enough, do I still have to smart from the ironic acidities of old friends in arms? Is there nothing left in the butt of Amontillado to enjoin solidarity or has that too traduced itself, through benign neglect, to utterly un-Poe-like, stinging sherry vinegar? Have a heart! ;)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 8:44 AM on February 11, 2002

Stop channeling Lovecraft, Miguel!

And lo, on vaunted wings came the stygian horror! The reek of the charnel house was upon it, and in the black casement a crack! as the sky was rent asunder, releasing the hideousness of ages into our midst, born from a womb of nightmare hue into this unloving Eden, rife with vengeance and Belgian Waffles.
posted by Kafkaesque at 9:10 AM on February 11, 2002

I'm photoshoping Miguel into some tentacle porn as we speak.
posted by dong_resin at 10:12 AM on February 11, 2002

Whoops, reading down a couple posts, I see that I've clearly just contributed to the self-referential, pointless chat.
Of course, in pointing this out in a sort of self-flogging, I've only done it again.
And there, once again.
I feel so filthy.

posted by dong_resin at 12:17 PM on February 11, 2002

(cries) iiiiidididnt mean it that way. i mean...ohhh, since membership is closed, this person found some gold and wanted it up and since your a member....i see. like show-and-tell.
posted by clavdivs at 5:28 PM on February 11, 2002

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