Criminally Bad Advice July 22, 2009 5:47 AM   Subscribe

AskMe feature request: in the drop-down menu for post flagging, can we add 'criminally bad advice' to the list of options? E.G.
posted by mhjb to Feature Requests at 5:47 AM (138 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

Just popping my head in to sympathize. Sully75's advice in that thread makes me both sad and angry. However, I think there have been some strong responses (e.g. "don't have sex with people who refuse to get a pinprick in the arm to get tested to alleviate your fears but are totally blase about you getting warts burned off your genitals"). And that, to me, is the current system working right.
posted by prefpara at 5:51 AM on July 22, 2009


Either the OP or another person, reading in the future, might wonder if indeed this was a good approach. With the comment present in the thread, others can respond to it -- one *hopes* those responses will be read along with the comment of questionable rightness.

Deleting text because it's believed by practically everyone to be wrong isn't really free speech, IMHO.
posted by amtho at 5:55 AM on July 22, 2009


The thread is still open. Maybe you should respond there?
posted by Eideteker at 6:00 AM on July 22, 2009


Point taken, Eideteker, it's just that I feel I don't have anything to add to the discussion over there other than yknow, waving my arms in the air and yelling R. U. SEEEEEERIOUS!?

I guess my actual question was, what is the correct protocol for dealing with horrendous advice? Especially in a case such as this where the original question has been answered thoroughly. And if the answer is, as it so often is, 'Flag it and move on', then how should it be flagged?
posted by mhjb at 6:05 AM on July 22, 2009


We don't really have "free speech" here on a private website, where stuff gets deleted all the time for a variety of reasons not limited to "double." There is less free speech in askme than in most other places on the site, too, for a bunch of good reasons.

But I'm with you on leaving things like that when the vast majority of other folks are pointing out what's wrong or fucked up about the answer...except that then things are more likely to derail into who's right/wrong, and that makes mods cry because they have to go clean up aisle whatever in the green. I've gotten into back-and-forths in askme and sometimes had things deleted (I think) or seen "buncha comments deleted you know where meTa is right?" posted by jessamyn or cortex and so I think if you can refute the bad advice while still answering the question and not being too fighty, that's probably the best way. Otherwise, memail or meTa.
posted by rtha at 6:09 AM on July 22, 2009


Sweet, can we delete this too while we're at it?


Seriously? Tarot?
posted by electroboy at 6:19 AM on July 22, 2009 [14 favorites]


I think this would be a bad idea for a whole bunch of reasons, mainly to do with the fact that leaving the bad advice in place gives other commenters a chance to refute it with facts and arguments, rather than just having it vanish. This is important because:
  • The original poster, or other readers of the thread, might get similarly bad advice elsewhere. It's good for them to be already armed with decent counter-arguments when that happens.
  • The person who posted the bad advice might also learn why their advice is bad, and change their mind about it.
  • One of the nice things about MetaFilter is the relatively factual and rational character of the discussions, e.g. "This is a bad idea because..." vs. "This is a bad idea and you should be shot." A "bad answer" flag seems like it'd subtly shift the tone of the site towards the latter.
I also suggest, and not entirely facetiously, that if such a "bad idea" flag were implemented, and logically extended to pony requests in MetaTalk, this very post would have attracted a lot of said flags, depriving us of the opportunity to present reasons why we don't think it should be done.
posted by FishBike at 6:29 AM on July 22, 2009 [8 favorites]


There is 'other', is there not?
posted by mkb at 6:45 AM on July 22, 2009


Seriously? Tarot? (electroboy)

Hermitosis gives excellent advice all over AskMe (and especially in relationship questions). I do not care whether his advice is inspired by tarot or book learnin': that man has a good sense for these things.
posted by ocherdraco at 6:46 AM on July 22, 2009 [11 favorites]


Yes. Refute what you think is bad advice in the comments. Give the readers the option to see the spectrum of advice, and make their own decision. Deleting unpopular answers also has the effect that future readers might say "well, what about *this* solution? nobody said anything about it, I guess I better try it."
posted by gjc at 6:51 AM on July 22, 2009


Seriously? Tarot?

Does this break some sort of rule I'm not aware of?
posted by hermitosis at 6:52 AM on July 22, 2009 [7 favorites]


I've never seen hermitosis use tarot like "OMG hanged man RUN!" It's more like "hmmm, here are some things to think about." Other people do this too but are usually much less explicit about how they come to suggest that particular bit of advice. Or they are explicit, but their reasons are no more valid than tarot-inspired ones ("I had a friend who" or "My mom always said" or whatever). Tarot is a way of using symbols to explore options, desires, or thoughts. How is that wrong?
posted by rtha at 7:03 AM on July 22, 2009 [6 favorites]


Other people do this too but are usually much less explicit about how they come to suggest that particular bit of advice.

Yes, insofar as tarot is just a random perspective generator, it is in fact EXACTLY like AskMe...
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 7:11 AM on July 22, 2009 [7 favorites]


Tarot is a way of using symbols to explore options, desires, or thoughts. How is that wrong?

Because its baseless flim-flammery from the unenlightened 14th frickin' century. We can do better than that. It's a site for advice, not imaginary soothsaying.
posted by Dr. Wu at 7:12 AM on July 22, 2009 [12 favorites]


it's
posted by Dr. Wu at 7:12 AM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


I honestly would not get tested for herpes UNLESS you have an outbreak. In that case I think you should get tested because you have a greater chance of passing it to a partner, and you can reduce that significantly by treatment.

If you don't have an outbreak, you may be a carrier, which, while useful to know, will force you to have a ton of really uncomfortable conversations. It's rare that people will electively test for herpes, and the knowledge is not going to help you, it will hurt you.

You can complain about the logic of that, but I think that's the way 99% of the population does it. I don't want to be the dope who electively tests for it, finds that I'm an asymptomatic carrier and then am forced to disclose this information. Basically, unless I have an outbreak, I don't want to know.
posted by sully75 at 10:08 PM on July 21


man this gonna crimp your game at the next meetup son
posted by Optimus Chyme at 7:12 AM on July 22, 2009 [28 favorites]


hermitosis uses the tarot like the i-ching or oblique strategies. These are all things meant to give you pause and reflect on your personal situation. He also doesn't just pull them out unless he feels an individual would really benefit from an alternate or challenging viewpoint. Since he's not pulling a card out for every askme NOR telling people that the card are giving one clear path which will result in GRAVE DANGER if the advice ignored, I'd just live and let live. It's the same as someone offering an aphorism to meditate on.
posted by piratebowling at 7:20 AM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Does this break some sort of rule I'm not aware of?

Not at all, but repeatedly linking to the same site has been causing a bunch of people to flag stuff, so you might want to go a little easier on the linking. For people who don't know you, it can look spammy.

And as to the main question here, we don't delete answers for being wrong in almost every case. Once we become a site where the mods are arbiters of right/wrong answers, the whole AskMe vibe changes and we (the mods) become a lot more accountably personally and the community becomes less so.

I don't like sully75's answer and I think it's lame. That said, it seems to be being made in earnest and people can refute it in-thread [as some have done, easier if you can give a response without calling the guy names] or come here. I think I'll leave a note to try to bring that derail over here since it's potentially destroying a thread that could use some decent advice.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:21 AM on July 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


Because its baseless flim-flammery from the unenlightened 14th frickin' century. We can do better than that. It's a site for advice, not imaginary soothsaying.

While cards have been used for divination since the 14th century, the Tarot as we know it is a product of the Renaissance, encapsulating the ideas and iconography of that period's artists, mystics, and philosophers. The cards' meanings are mostly based on Pythagorean and Neoplatonic philosophy, in the idiom of the Christian iconography that was popular during the Renaissance.

Since you don't know anything about the cards or what they do, I don't mind reminding you that most of us experience mythology directly in the stories we tell about ourselves -- the narrative that we craft about our journey through life. The symbols we gravitate toward along the way have real meaning to us, and often (if not always) inform the next step that we take, whether or not we are conscious of it. Tarot cards are one way of exploring this process consciously. I think that offering advice in this format is uniquely helpful at best, harmless and easily ignored at worst, and that anyone who thinks that what's happening bears any resemblance to "soothsaying" could stand to educate themselves a bit before they get all puffed up about it.
posted by hermitosis at 7:26 AM on July 22, 2009 [51 favorites]


I guess my actual question was, what is the correct protocol for dealing with horrendous advice?

Civil, straightforward refutation with reasoning and cites is pretty much always okay.

We don't want askme threads turning into lengthy or heated back-and-forths that are more about someone's answer than they are about the actual question—like rtha suggests, we do remove these sorts of things on a fairly regular basis—but explaining well and without drama why you believe a previous answer is wrong is totally okay, and probably better serves the asker (and future readers) by addressing in detail the range of potential responses to the question than a deletion would.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:26 AM on July 22, 2009


Since you don't know anything about the cards or what they do, I don't mind reminding you that most of us experience mythology directly in the stories we tell about ourselves -- the narrative that we craft about our journey through life. The symbols we gravitate toward along the way have real meaning to us, and often (if not always) inform the next step that we take, whether or not we are conscious of it. Tarot cards are one way of exploring this process consciously. I think that offering advice in this format is uniquely helpful at best, harmless and easily ignored at worst, and that anyone who thinks that what's happening bears any resemblance to "soothsaying" could stand to educate themselves a bit before they get all puffed up about it.

Sorry, but there's absolutely no connection whatsoever between you turning over a bunch of cards - no matter their "philosophical" heritage - and the events in the life of some random person on the internet. None. Zero. It's bunk, through and through.

You're right that myths and narratives inform our lives in lots of ways. It's just that in this particular way, it's a load of arbitrary crapola.

The cards don't "do" anything. They have no powers. You interpret them according to your whim. The advice you "derive" from them may be harmless, but it's never germane.
posted by Dr. Wu at 7:31 AM on July 22, 2009 [10 favorites]


Using Tarot to come up with ideas for advice isn't wrong. However, mentioning Tarot as the means you use when you give the advice gives the impression that the quality of the advice is a result of the magicness of Tarot. To the extent that the misunderstanding is the result of a deliberate misrepresentation, it is wrong.

It's like how my kids understand computers. My 4 year olds don't understand e-commerce or the internet. One of them told me last night that my wife ordered her some new pants "from the computer". All she knows is that the computer and the new pants are associated in some way. Without any other information, she could well just hop on there and start clicking things, hoping for more pants. This could result in bad things happening.

A 4 year old isn't really going to get e-commerce. Likewise, it isn't possible to fit a complex discussion of the symbology, experience, history, etc of Tarot in a "here's some advice" moment. It is best to omit that irrelevancy until specifically asked for where you get all that great advice.
posted by DU at 7:31 AM on July 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


Who gets to decide what "'criminally bad advice" is in a global medium?

I'm ok with being nominated and promise to say whatever it takes to get me elected, but will spend my time in office playing video games.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:32 AM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Not at all, but repeatedly linking to the same site has been causing a bunch of people to flag stuff, so you might want to go a little easier on the linking. For people who don't know you, it can look spammy.

Sorry, I did think about this. I don't know who runs the site I usually link to, and I have no connection to it at all -- it's just the largest collection of Tarot imagery online that I can find, and I felt the images were important to include. I could always link to wikipedia or something, I suppose.
posted by hermitosis at 7:32 AM on July 22, 2009


The cards don't "do" anything. They have no powers. You interpret them according to your whim. The advice you "derive" from them may be harmless, but it's never germane.

I've never claimed, here or anywhere else, that the cards "do" anything or have powers, and have never implied that I'm doing anything other than interpreting them according to my whim. Really, you are projecting a whole lot upon me here that has no basis in reality.

DU's argument is more interesting to me. I'll consider that as I proceed with these sorts of answers, if I do proceed, DU. But I think that your observation applies to ALL the advice we give on AskMe.
posted by hermitosis at 7:38 AM on July 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


Since you don't know anything about the cards or what they do

Right there you claimed that they "do" something. And if you're not claiming that they do something, then it seems to me you don't have a leg to stand on.
posted by Dr. Wu at 7:42 AM on July 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


It's like how my kids understand computers. My 4 year olds don't understand e-commerce or the internet. One of them told me last night that my wife ordered her some new pants "from the computer". All she knows is that the computer and the new pants are associated in some way. Without any other information, she could well just hop on there and start clicking things, hoping for more pants.

This is what is known in the literature as the Cargo Pants Cult phenomenon.

posted by cortex (staff) at 7:47 AM on July 22, 2009 [42 favorites]


When I see criminally bad advice in AskMe, I usually just flag it by pressing the [+] at the end of the comment.
posted by Ian A.T. at 7:49 AM on July 22, 2009 [8 favorites]


Right there you claimed that they "do" something. And if you're not claiming that they do something, then it seems to me you don't have a leg to stand on.

All the Tarot cards "do" is present us with symbols, which are the language by which our unconscious and conscious minds communicate with each other. How those symbols are interpreted by the querent and by the objective outsider as they look at a card, and how they interrelate with those on surrounding cards, creates a hypothetical narrative that allows people to explore their problems from a new perspective.

This is not a mystical process, this is an interpersonal and psychological process, and is commonly done in many ways with many other tools besides Tarot cards.
posted by hermitosis at 7:53 AM on July 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


Frankly, I think using Tarot to provide advice is really no more useful or harmful than quoting them a verse from the Bible. It's going to appeal to some, and it will repel/annoy others, something the advice-giver should be well aware of as a (presumably) rational adult.
posted by shiu mai baby at 7:53 AM on July 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


Good grief, that answer is fucked.

But then getting a range of answers is why AskMe works so well. The asker reading through them gets a sense of many different possible perspectives and approaches to resolving problems, and weighing and synthesizing the different opinions really helps one to find some clarity on the matter. And debunking bad advice can have tremendous value. I loved that, the time I posted asking for information and resources on parenting kids who have Oppositional Defiance Disorder, one poster observed that, as demonstrated by some of the worse than useless advice in the thread, some people know nothing about ODD and will judge a parent who is struggling to deal with a volatile, rebellious kid. The poster went on to suggest that a parent with an ODD kid should make sure to turn to understanding and knowledgeable people for support, and tell the others to fuck off. This was excellent advice, because the friend for whom I was posting had already had problems with other parents blaming her for her child's problems, because hey, their straight-A, prom king/queen nominees were a dream to deal with, so that made them an expert on parenting.

The hive mind approach is just infinitely better for providing people with advice than the single answer system. I read the "Since You Asked" column on Salon semi-regularly, and I don't know why Salon even pays Cary Tennis to write answers, because they are often nothing more than useless blather and flights of fancy. It's the reader letters that are really helpful to read. They aren't as good as the answers we get here, because there's a sense of community here and better moderation, but they are a damn sight better than whatever Cary Tennis has to offer.

Frankly, I think using Tarot to provide advice is really no more useful or harmful than quoting them a verse from the Bible. It's going to appeal to some, and it will repel/annoy others, something the advice-giver should be well aware of as a (presumably) rational adult.

Agreed. Inspiration and insight can spring from anywhere. The inherent value of the advice is always so much more important than its source.
posted by orange swan at 7:57 AM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


That's as may be, but it's still rooted in fiction at best and nonsense at worst - just like the Bible - and therefore can offer no real advice.

Really, I'm astonished that anyone still puts any stock in stuff like tarot cards and palm-reading and horoscopes and other such silliness. Blows my mind that these maintain any sort of relevance at all.
posted by Dr. Wu at 7:59 AM on July 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


no real advice.

The whole concept of "real advice" to me is sort of a tautology. Advice comes from whatever our personal experiences, larger world knowledge and idiosyncratic worldview combine to create. For medical issues and that sort of thing, I think it's clear that there are more and less informed people and I think it's great to say "that's bad advice" as I think people are saying here. For relationship questions especially, where someone is trying to figure out how to get along with other people, everyone's response is one from the set of "other people" and even if what they're saying is idiotic, it's still real.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:05 AM on July 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


Really, I'm astonished that anyone still puts any stock in stuff like tarot cards and palm-reading and horoscopes and other such silliness. Blows my mind that these maintain any sort of relevance at all.

I'll stop trying to convince you that what I do isn't "fortunetelling", but I will tell you that humanity's relationship with divination is incredibly ancient, and the subject is tightly interwoven with the subjects of dreams, mythology, and religion. I don't think you can make one of these subjects culturally irrelevant without making them all irrelevant -- and if you manage to do that, then what do we have left that is still recognizably human?
posted by hermitosis at 8:07 AM on July 22, 2009 [4 favorites]


just like the Bible - and therefore can offer no real advice.

Yeah, just like that "love thy neighbor" baloney. Who needs that silly old superstition?
posted by Burhanistan at 8:09 AM on July 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


I don't mind reminding you that most of us experience mythology directly in the stories we tell about ourselves -- the narrative that we craft about our journey through life. The symbols we gravitate toward along the way have real meaning to us, and often (if not always) inform the next step that we take, whether or not we are conscious of it. Tarot cards are one way of exploring this process consciously.

This would make a lot more sense to me as a justification if you drew the cards and the asker provided their own interpretation. But as long as its you providing the interpretation -- particularly online, where you have no direct personal contact with the asker -- wouldn't this just be an exploration of your own life rather than the asker's?
posted by creasy boy at 8:13 AM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Points taken on the love the neighbor business, and on the idea that we use various interpretive means to make sense of the world. My hackles go up, though (obviously), when I sense that such methods are being relied on for actual, specific life lessons. It makes me furious when someone uses the explanation "...because God told me to do so," or "...because the Tarot gave me some good advice." This to me does not make any logical sense whatsoever. Call it your own interpretation, call it using a proscribed set of rules to make sense of your experience, but don't tell me that some divine force is guiding you one way or the other.
posted by Dr. Wu at 8:16 AM on July 22, 2009


I'm an atheist, and I still believe that the Bible can offer plenty of real advice. It's a book of stories, fables, but since most religions (including Christianity) boil down to "be a good person," the lessons in the book can still be good advice. Jesus doesn't have to be real for "love thy enemies" to be good advice.
posted by explosion at 8:17 AM on July 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


But as long as its you providing the interpretation -- particularly online, where you have no direct personal contact with the asker -- wouldn't this just be an exploration of your own life rather than the asker's?

The asker does provide their own interpretation when he or she looks at the cards, regardless of whether he or she shares it with me or anyone else. Since they are on the receiving end of their own interpretation as well as mine, they have everything they need to decide whether there is anything helpful in the answer.
posted by hermitosis at 8:20 AM on July 22, 2009


If I am interpreting this correctly then what hermitosis is saying is that Tarot is essentially just an exercise in creative and critical thinking where the results may or may not make sense given a situation.

You draw some cards and try to relate the interpretations of the symbolism to the situation. Does this make sense? Does this provide some new way of viewing the situation that you had not previously thought of? If you alter the parameters of the situation to make it fit the symbolism, does it make sense?

I use obsessive list making for this sort of thing but to each his own.
posted by Loto at 8:23 AM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


hermitosis, you seem like a nice person, but I must tell you that intentionally or not you do in that linked answer present the Tarot cards as having meaning and force beyond randomly drawn symbols. While you may just intend the cards to be metaphor machines, without a long explanation of that in AskMe threads you're probably going to keep getting responses like the ones above.
posted by Bookhouse at 8:25 AM on July 22, 2009


It makes me furious when someone uses the explanation "...because God told me to do so," or "...because the Tarot gave me some good advice." This to me does not make any logical sense whatsoever.

Why does this make you furious? I really want to know. You can worship the conscious, rational mind exclusively if you like, but your unconscious mind is always seeking to balance it out (according to Jung, anyway). And considering how much of our thoughts and actions are unconscious, this is a serious liability for you. Whether something is ascribed to the divine, or the "higher self", or from some sort of great unknowable intelligence, you ultimately have to find a way to accept and rationalize the fact that you are guided by unseen forces a lot of the time. How you wish to participate in this process or communicate with those forces is up to you, but dismissing it outright (or becoming irrationally angry about it) can't offer you much comfort.
posted by hermitosis at 8:31 AM on July 22, 2009 [5 favorites]


I'm actually confused about specifically what is bothering people about sully75's advice. How many people here have actually had a HSV test?! I've NEVER had it recommended by a health care provider, and I've never heard of it being recommended to someone who does not have active herpes lesions.

There is a little misinformation in their first answer: the types of HPV that cause cancer do not generally overlap with the kinds that cause warts, so getting your warts treated is not necessarily a prevention or treatment of cancer, but overall I think this person is representing a realistic perspective that is not terribly problematic. Personally, I would never get into a fight with someone who wanted me to get an HIV test before having sex with me, rather, I'd happily oblige, but what sully75 is saying - that always using condoms is a fairly-effective strategy - is basically true.

SO what exactly is objectionable here?
posted by serazin at 8:33 AM on July 22, 2009


it isn't possible to fit a complex discussion of the symbology, experience, history, etc of Tarot in a "here's some advice" moment. It is best to omit that irrelevancy until specifically asked for where you get all that great advice.

Emphatic no to this.

If you're going to give me advice, either in a "run" way or merely "hmm, here's some things to think about", based on your draw of tarot card, rune casting, tea leaves, wood ashes, pig bladders, or any other method of divination, I want to know so that I may assign it the appropriate weight.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 8:41 AM on July 22, 2009 [6 favorites]


SO what exactly is objectionable here?

This, for starters. Just because you're not symptomatic doesn't mean there's a not a risk of transmission. And, since the hypothetical someone might have herpes in the first place means that they didn't always use condoms, so just intending to "always use condoms" isn't really foolproof.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:41 AM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Now you're making assumptions about me.

I do not believe in any sort of divinity or ethereal higher power. And I don't have to rationalize the unseen forces in my life (e.g., gravity, randomness, entropy, evolution), since I accept them as logical facets of the real world. I derive great comfort from that understanding.
posted by Dr. Wu at 8:42 AM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


While you may just intend the cards to be metaphor machines, without a long explanation of that in AskMe threads you're probably going to keep getting responses like the ones above.

I will seriously consider this if I choose to continue actively referencing cards in certain answers. I'm not particularly concerned about anyone's responses except the question-askers', and even then it's certainly just as YMMV as any other advice.

I agree, however, that the one vital piece of information I'm missing when I do this (which I almost always gather before I do a reading for someone) is what sort of previous experiences they've had with the cards. Without providing a little extra context, I see how my words and intent could be misconstrued or feed into people's preconceived notions about the Tarot. And providing that context in someone else's thread seems to me like more of a derail than absolutely necessary.

Perhaps I could put more supplementary information on my profile page. Or maybe none of this is worth the trouble. I'll consider this for a while before I do any more.
posted by hermitosis at 8:43 AM on July 22, 2009


The beauty of AskMe is that you get such a wide variety of answers (usually). Having someone giving advice from something like the Tarot just adds to this in a colorful way. And as with all answers, the asker is free to pick and choose whom to pay attention to.

The only problem I could see with this a "where to draw the line" issue. We allow the Tarot readings because of the psychology and tradition, but we would probably say no to someone who answered everything with a magic 8-ball. Where in the continuum in between those two would we draw the line?
posted by cimbrog at 8:48 AM on July 22, 2009


Let me offer an anecdotal defense of hermitosis. I, too, sometimes use tarot cards as a personal tool. But I only do so for contemplation; I've never used them as a divination tool in the conventional sense of the word.

The way I find them useful is, if you have some big issue that's just obsessively bothering you and you can't stop mulling it and thinking about it or obsessing over it or yadda yadda yadda, sometimes I use it as a way to force a different perspective from which to view the situation -- you know, "try taking a look at things from THIS angle, see if that helps sort this out any." The way some people will turn to a differerent person to get a fresh and unexpected perspective on a situation (most of us just go to AskMe, I'll grant you). If looking at the situation from a different angle helps me sort things out, great; if not, I just shrug and sleep on it like I was going to do anyway.

And to a degree, that's people who use tarot cards do -- it's not like we think they're Straight Outta Hogwarts or anything. What hermitosis says about symbolism, the subconscious, et. al. isn't far off -- if the way he phrased it makes you raise an eyebrow, just call it a way to trigger a Jungian perspective if you like.

By the same token, though (turning to hermitosis) -- since not everyone gets that this is how tarot works, I tend to not talk about it too much lest the conversation become redirected to "dude, you use tarot? That's kind of weird." How I arrived at a given piece of advice is less important than the advice itself, especially when the means I used runs the risk of confusing matters. I shoot my mouth off a lot in AskMe, but it's whether the advice WORKS that matters -- so long as it works, it doesn't matter whether I lived it through bitter experience or whether I read it off the side of a box of Wheaties. So unless it's an anecdote I find that trying to explain how I thought it up sometimes just confuses things.

Let's have pie!
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:50 AM on July 22, 2009 [5 favorites]


I like pie.
posted by Dr. Wu at 8:54 AM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


He gives awfully bad advice for such a skilled pilot.

What, too soon?
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 8:55 AM on July 22, 2009


"Where in the continuum in between those two would we draw the line?"

Reply hazy. Try again later.
posted by klangklangston at 8:57 AM on July 22, 2009 [8 favorites]


Tarot cards "do" stuff in the same way that a self-help book "does" stuff, or advice from a random person on the internet "does" stuff, and this is the way I've always interpreted hermitosis' tarot-based advice. It's no different than someone coming in and saying "You should read [blah blah book] because it will give you perspective on your mom's behavior." Words are also just symbols - here, at least, on the screen.

It makes me furious when someone uses the explanation "...because God told me to do so," or "...because the Tarot gave me some good advice."

Well, yeah, okay, and this is not what hermitosis does.

On preview: I also like pie, pretty much any kind.
posted by rtha at 8:58 AM on July 22, 2009


hermitosis, you seem like a nice person, but I must tell you that intentionally or not you do in that linked answer present the Tarot cards as having meaning and force beyond randomly drawn symbols.

I'm only going to obliquely argue the merits of using tarot in AskMe, and more directly defend its relevance as a tool for self-analysis in the face of people who are working themselves into a tantrum about anyone who'd EVER use tarot cards beyond beer coasters. I've had hermitosis read my tarot cards in real life, and he's known far and wide as a damn good reader. Now, I'm as secular humanist, someone who used two crucifixes for book-ends in her last apartment, and that doesn't stop me from literally begging him once a month to read my cards and convincing my similarly secular friends to consider a tarot reading.

Everyone, including hermitosis, knows that the cards aren't meant to Predict anything. The cards are use as sieves to catch meaning in our various boggy feelings sloughing under the surface. Hermitosis bounces off ideas and theories spurred by the cards, and we actively discuss why a certain symbol will have personal meaning for me. If I get a card that represents change and new beginnings, we open with a subject about something in my life that feels too new for me to really confront honestly. Often hermitosis sits across from me at the table, points at a card, and floats a suggestion we can build of off: "Maybe you're consciously ignoring the inherent worth of something you should value more." Which, when you think about it, applies to about 60% of human relations questions on AskMe.

Tarot, in hermitosis's hands, is far closer to casual psychotherapy than it is to fortune telling. Cheaper, too!
posted by zoomorphic at 8:59 AM on July 22, 2009 [8 favorites]


I use it as a way to force a different perspective from which to view the situation -- you know, "try taking a look at things from THIS angle

That's fine, but the fact remains that the advice depended at least partly on which card was drawn, at least as described in this instance. So different card, different advice. I would think the person asking would want to know that, just the same as if I was going to give advice based on whether or not a coin I'm about to flip comes up heads or tails. I would certainly want to know.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 8:59 AM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


in the face of people who are working themselves into a tantrum about anyone who'd EVER use tarot cards beyond beer coasters

Bah. I have multiple decks. What of it? This thread is about responsible advice giving. People who go to tarot readers for advice do so deliberately. Hiding it is as the/one source of your advice is irresponsible. Paint the naysayers any way you like.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:00 AM on July 22, 2009


Sorry, but

MY PERSONAL "REALITY TUNNEL" POSITS THAT

there's absolutely no connection whatsoever between you turning over a bunch of cards - no matter their "philosophical" heritage - and the events in the life of some random person on the internet. None. Zero. It's bunk, through and through.

FTFY
posted by philip-random at 9:04 AM on July 22, 2009


That's fine, but the fact remains that the advice depended at least partly on which card was drawn, at least as described in this instance.

This bears repeating. The cards can have interesting symbolism from which a wealth of interpretations can be drawn, but the fact remains is that it was chosen from a shuffled deck. To divorce the magical thinking aspect of doing such a thing and then comparing it directly to "this reminds me of a book I read" or armchair therapy is probably not being totally honest about the process.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:04 AM on July 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


Burhanistan - obviously, herpes is bad. But let's be real. Who gets HSV tests when they're not symptomatic? I've never heard of that happening. Even if you wanted to (which most people don't seem to) it would be silly. You can get a blood test that will almost definitely be positive - since it is a test for both types and most everyone has type I, or you can have an active lesion tested. HSV testing without lesions just isn't recommended or realistic for most people.
posted by serazin at 9:05 AM on July 22, 2009


People who go to tarot readers for advice do so deliberately.

This is something I should consider. However, people already treat AskMe like a kind of oracle, so I'm not sure it's a big deal.
posted by hermitosis at 9:07 AM on July 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


serazin, I agree, but the gist of the answer that was called out here was something like "even if you have it, don't sweat it and just use condomns". There's something deeply irresponsible about that approach even if it has its own kind of shallow logic.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:08 AM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Everyone, including hermitosis, knows that the cards aren't meant to Predict anything

I think why this is touchy is that, no, not everyone knows that; those with the least vested interest in tarot-as-neutral-interpretive-construct are most likely to have some misunderstanding of either the power of tarot (credulous believers in The Power of the tarot) or of the beliefs of the person presenting something in the context of tarot (stern skeptics who think that The Power is what's being suggested and who are bothered by that).

To restate it a little, not everyone knows that hermitosis knows that the cards aren't meant to Predict anything. Probably an awful lot of people don't know that, and as hermitosis has been acknowledging in here there's some practical difficulties that come with that lack of knowledge of his motivations and perspective on the subject.

It may be annoying to tarot-friendly non-mystic folks that Tarot is a pop-culture shorthand for "mystic" and/or "charlatan", but in practice that's what many if not most people think when they see it referenced.

I own a deck, I know a little bit about the history, and I'd never, ever mention it unprompted in the context of an askme answer just because I have no desire to stir up trouble and derail someone else's question by throwing out a big discursive bogeyman like that. It's a problem of imperfect information, certainly, but this thread pretty clearly shows that assuming that "everybody knows" x about tarot is far from true.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:11 AM on July 22, 2009 [6 favorites]


That's fine, but the fact remains that the advice depended at least partly on which card was drawn, at least as described in this instance. So different card, different advice. I would think the person asking would want to know that, just the same as if I was going to give advice based on whether or not a coin I'm about to flip comes up heads or tails. I would certainly want to know.

Fair point -- but there's certainly more than just one possible perspective from which to view a situation, is there not? If your adviser turns over card A instead of card B, all that means is that perspective A instead of perspective B is being used -- which, to my mind, only makes the difference between whether you're sitting and looking at a situation from one spot, or whether you're sitting at another spot slightly to the left.

And no matter how the person giving advice generates it, the person seeking advice always has the option of hearing the advice and thinking, ".....yeah, that doesn't really do anything for me." So it almost doesn't matter what "card got flipped over" or what fortune cookie you pulled, or what coin you flipped, or what -- if something someone said clicks for you, and helps you figure something out, great. If it doesn't, then you'll probably just ignore it anyway.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:15 AM on July 22, 2009


This thread is about responsible advice giving. People who go to tarot readers for advice do so deliberately. Hiding it is as the/one source of your advice is irresponsible. Paint the naysayers any way you like.

Oh, now we have to list all the sources of our wisdom/knowledge whenever giving advice? That'll be interesting. I just quoted Anne Landers over in AskME and then found out it was actually Epicurus. Am I suddenly wiser now, more accurate? Or is my advice still just my advice?

(High School Grad - Denied BFA due to unresolvable bureaucratic squabbling between rival universities over the "science" validity of 1.5 credits of Physical Geography)
posted by philip-random at 9:15 AM on July 22, 2009


Oh, and on the main topic:

How many people here have actually had a HSV test?!

*raises hand* I've had two, to be precise. HSV tests are commonly an automatic "step one" if a woman has an abnormal Pap Smear during her regular OB/GYN visit.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:18 AM on July 22, 2009


"Tarot-friendly non-mystic" person here.

hermitosis, I would be absolutely fine with you drawing a tarot card or two when answering any of my questions, especially since you disclose what you're doing by linking to the card and explanations.

Once you say,"I pulled out the Tarot deck", out comes the salt. If a Mefite claimed to be psychic, quoted the Bible, or claimed that their Grandma used to say....it's just a different perspective, and is taken as such.

To me, the key here is disclosure.

And pumpkin pie.
posted by Grlnxtdr at 9:35 AM on July 22, 2009


Mmm... tasty tasty disclosure. I mean pumpkin pie.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:36 AM on July 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


HSV testing without lesions just isn't recommended or realistic for most people.

In a period of unbelievable stupidity, I did not have safe sex with a past partner. Turns out he'd cheated on me and lied about having had safe sex with others. He'd said he'd been tested for HIV when he hadn't. So, that ended the relationship, and panicked, I went to my doctor for a complete workup of any possible thing I could have contracted. They tested me for everything - except HSV, which I was told could not be reliably tested for unless I had lesions. A doctor from an entirely different practice also told me the same thing.

Not that it matters to y'all since I'm monogamously married, but let's just say that I was immensely relieved at all the results, and probably incredibly lucky.
posted by desjardins at 9:40 AM on July 22, 2009


Yeah, I've wanted this option before. Sometimes people give really really really bad advice and it makes me angry. But then again, some people give bad advice in real life, and part of being an adult is being able to separate good advice from bad.

Probably the best solution is to give some good advice to balance it out, and maybe an explanation as to why the bad advice was such bad advice to begin with.
posted by Afroblanco at 9:43 AM on July 22, 2009


Metafilter: Where logic meets tarot cards...and co-exists for some reason.
posted by hal_c_on at 9:46 AM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


They tested me for everything - except HSV, which I was told could not be reliably tested for unless I had lesions. A doctor from an entirely different practice also told me the same thing.

There is some truth to this -- see, there is HSV, and there is HSV. It's my understanding that the HSV is kind of like the cold, in the sense that there are a couple hundred different strains of the HSV virus out there, and they all have slightly different affects on people. Some do diddley-squat, some cause warts, some could potentially turn into cervical cancer, some could turn into cervical cancer but are less likely to do so unless the stars align in exactly the right way, some only cause symptoms if you have boy parts, some only cause symptoms if you have girl parts, etc. That's why testing for HSV is a little on the tricksy side, because it's partly a matter of ".....dude, which one?"

Although, women do get screened for HSV if they have an abnormal pap smear, largely because that's one way they try to determine whether your pap smear being abnormal is something to worry about. An abnormal result there could be a very early sign of trouble, or could be because you sneezed wrong. If you have an abnormal Pap and HSV then they tend to watch you more closely for more signs of trouble, rather than sending you off and saying, "great, you're good to go for another 3 years." Because the worst thing HSV can do to a guy is give you warts -- the worst thing it does to us is give us cancer. (Just one of the many ways that the female body gets screwed over by Mother Nature. But, we get multiple orgasms, so there.)

For the record: this information was obtained through personal experience and copious questions asked of my doctor.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:52 AM on July 22, 2009


I have a special Magic 8-Ball that I use for AskMe. Its answers are:

Eat it
Don't eat it
Reply hazy, try again
Go to the doctor
Concentrate and ask again
Therapy
DTMFA
My sources say no
Softcore taters
Hardcore taters
Better not to tell you now
Dental dams
posted by little e at 9:55 AM on July 22, 2009 [14 favorites]


I don't have the links to support this observation right now, and maybe I skew the numbers because I spent four years studying a herpesvirus, but I believe there are a whole lot of answers on AskMe that tell questioners to ignore/not worry about/not reveal a herpes infection. I flag them when I see them, but they seem to stay up. Maybe the community way more accepting of HSV than I am, maybe the comments get deleted in the days after a thread appears when the flags finally build up. Or again maybe they're just standing out in my mind, but it's been enough for me to question the community standards a couple of times.
posted by Science! at 9:58 AM on July 22, 2009


cortex writes "Civil, straightforward refutation with reasoning and cites is pretty much always okay. "

It can be tough to phrase this without coming off as superior or fighty though. I know I rarely correct answerers who state erroneous facts regarding residential electricity unless there is also a hazard involved. People thinking that residential power has two phases isn't going to kill anyone, probably, but explaining it's wrong always feels a touch like correcting someone's grammar.
posted by Mitheral at 9:59 AM on July 22, 2009


EmpressCallipygos: I think you're confusing the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) with the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV)
posted by Stewriffic at 10:00 AM on July 22, 2009


Actually, let me rephrase that. You are absolutely confusing the two.
posted by Stewriffic at 10:04 AM on July 22, 2009


EmpressCallipygos: I think you're confusing the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) with the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV)
posted by Stewriffic 7 minutes ago [+]
Actually, let me rephrase that. You are absolutely confusing the two.


*gasp* Holy bleeding hell, you're absolutely right, I am.

Mods, hope me!
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:07 AM on July 22, 2009


Because the worst thing HSV can do to a guy is give you warts -- the worst thing it does to us is give us cancer.

Don't confuse Herpes Simplex Virus 1 and 2 (commonly causing cold sores on the mouth and genital lesions respectfully) with other viruses of the Herpesvirus family and the diseases they cause.

Generally speaking the worst thing HSV-2 can do to a sexually active male is give him (rarely) horribly painful lesions on his penis and testicles that for periods of time leave him unattractive to his partner even if that person is aware of the disease. However an infected mother can pass the virus to a child of either gender as it is being born leaving it with a whole body infection, an ocular infection that leaves the child blind for life, or a brain infection that eventually kills the virus. That's really the worst thing an HSV-2 infection can do to a guy.

Get tested and tell your partners.
posted by Science! at 10:08 AM on July 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


eventually kills the virus should be "eventually kills the baby".

Get tested.
posted by Science! at 10:09 AM on July 22, 2009


And basically, HSV is best tested for with a culture of a newly erupted lesion. However, it can also be tested for with a blood test. For more in-depth discussion of this, try looking here.

About 50-80% of people are infected with HSV-1 (oral herpes) from childhood contact. About 20% of adults are positive for HSV-2 (genital herpes), and most don't know it. (cite)

ASHA is a great organization if you want more info about STDs including herpes, hpv and HIV.
posted by Stewriffic at 10:10 AM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


mhjb...I think I'll do a "CBA" post whenever I hear some really really bad advice.
posted by hal_c_on at 10:21 AM on July 22, 2009


I'm an atheist, and I still believe that the Bible can offer plenty of real advice.

The Bible has some great tips on figuring out what to do with those everyday annoyances like slaves, gays and women. But check out the Song of Solomon for the section on herpes. Good stuff.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:51 AM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


The book of Proverbs contains a lot of interesting folk wisdom that most people refer to constantly without realizing it.
posted by hermitosis at 11:10 AM on July 22, 2009


The book of Proverbs contains a lot of interesting folk wisdom that most people refer to constantly without realizing it. (hermitosis)

When I was in college, I took a class in which we read portions of the Bible as literature (including Proverbs, Psalms, and the Gospels). A girl in my class, whose parents were staunch atheists, and who had grown up in a part of the United States where it was easier to avoid learning much about Christianity, had nearly daily revelations about the Bible's influence on Western culture. She kept saying things like "That's where that comes from? I had no idea."
posted by ocherdraco at 11:19 AM on July 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


As someone who works in STD, I avoid the hsv questions generally b/c there is always such atrociously bad info and I simply don't have the intestinal fortitude to correct it all.
posted by tristeza at 11:21 AM on July 22, 2009


I'd use the proposed flag, often.

Dr. Wu: "Because its baseless flim-flammery from the unenlightened 14th frickin' century. We can do better than that. It's a site for advice, not imaginary soothsaying." "Sorry, but there's absolutely no connection whatsoever between you turning over a bunch of cards - no matter their "philosophical" heritage - and the events in the life of some random person on the internet. None. Zero. It's bunk, through and through."

I just don't see how "imaginary soothsaying," "bunk," and someone randomly turning over a bunch of cards is any better or worse than the bulk of all the advice given in AskMe.

There are some clear exceptions, especially when Question X seeks Fact Y, or when you have a well-known professional expert on hand weighing in on a topic in her particular wheelhouse.

But otherwise, it's all one big crapshoot, and to say that hermitosis can't productively contribute for no other reason than that he uses tarot... while some other answer -- that the poster might have received from the voices in her head, for all we know -- that's perfectly acceptable.

Other people have already better made the point to hermitosis about what effect the linking of and announcing of the tarot connection could possibly have. But I think it's worth noting that, for the most part? An AskMe answer inspired by tarot is no less imaginary soothsaying than any other answer, really. It's all coming from strangers on the internet and should all be taken with a grain of salt. The value of an answer is in the eye of the beholder.

Call me a magical thinker, but I'd rather have the considered, thoughtful input of a seasoned card reader, than the drive-by "I HAVE NO PERSONAL EXPERIENCE WHATSOEVER WITH THIS SITUATION BUT I THINK YOU SHOULD..." of those who post in AskMe for the thrill of seeing their names in print.

little e: "I have a special Magic 8-Ball that I use for AskMe. Its answers are:

Eat it
Don't eat it
Reply hazy, try again
Go to the doctor
Concentrate and ask again
Therapy
DTMFA
My sources say no
Softcore taters
Hardcore taters
Better not to tell you now
Dental dams
"

I would pay folding money for this 8-Ball. Do we have a connection at Archie McPhee?
posted by pineapple at 11:25 AM on July 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


A lot of people just have no idea how pervasive the Bible has been. I said as much to a former roommate of mine, and said that there unacknowledged quotes from the Bible in pretty much all novels out there. She was adamant that they weren't in the books she read. Er, if you're not familiar with the Bible, you're not going to know. And she hardly ever read anything anyway. But I went through one of her Mary Higgins Clark novels and found example after example of expressions of the Bible — expressions like "giving up the ghost" and "prodigal son". Geez, even Seinfeld used a famous story about Solomon as the basis for an episode once. A story about dividing a baby between two women who both claimed to be the mother became a story about finding the true owner of a bicycle.

When I have a kid, I'm going to teach her some basics of religion and of the Bible (and of the Koran and the Talmud, though I'll have to learn about them myself first) though I won't be teaching her to believe in any of it. Religon is an incredibly powerful force in this world. I think it's a mistake to let kids grow up ignorant of where religious people are coming from.
posted by orange swan at 11:35 AM on July 22, 2009 [4 favorites]


As has been stated several times already, in-thread citing and refuting is a better tonic for bad advice than comment-killing flagging. However, I would like a way to flag answers for immediate deletion if they start with the word "Honey." Knock that shit off, please.

As for the whole Tarot thing, hermitosis, please feel free to sling cards if ever you answer a question of mine. I dig the whole "shape and direct thoughts with symbology" thing Tarot's got going on. Very useful.
posted by EatTheWeak at 11:46 AM on July 22, 2009


I'm with Dr. Wu on both tarot and pie.
posted by languagehat at 11:47 AM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's still bunk.
posted by chillmost at 11:49 AM on July 22, 2009


As someone who works in STD, I avoid the hsv questions generally b/c there is always such atrociously bad info and I simply don't have the intestinal fortitude to correct it all.

I always avoid any medical questions because they makes me feel like I'm at work. But this comes up often enough that if I get time when I have access to journals I'm going to put together one big long excessively detailed and properly cited comment about HSV. I like to talk about STIs* but HSV is my least favorite so I'll have to do some reading, so this may take awhile. (Unfortunate that we are not discussing HPV, 'cause I've already got lots of fun info and statistics about it assembled!!)

*A professional, not a personal interest! (When I was doing my clinical stuff as a student, one of my projects included putting together a chart titled in large letters Empiric Treatment of Sexually Transmitted Infections. I printed extra copies and hung them up in my friends' bedrooms. One of my friends forgot to take hers down before, um, having a gentleman friend over. Awkward!)
posted by little e at 11:51 AM on July 22, 2009


Did someone say taro pie?
posted by Burhanistan at 11:51 AM on July 22, 2009


not quite a magic 8-ball but pretty close....

(man there are a CRAP ton of meetup pics...)
posted by ShawnString at 11:56 AM on July 22, 2009


When I have a kid, I'm going to teach her some basics of religion and of the Bible (and of the Koran and the Talmud, though I'll have to learn about them myself first) though I won't be teaching her to believe in any of it.

My mom was Catholic. My dad wasn't. I got a basic Public School (Canadian variety) education with NO religion that wasn't presented as either history, anthropology or fodder for a Christmas concert ... and then once or twice a week got my Catholic indoctrination. By the time I was in my mid-teens, I was thoroughly agnostic, leaning toward atheism, but with a good basic grounding in "all that Bible crap."

I wouldn't have it any other way.
posted by philip-random at 12:08 PM on July 22, 2009


As for the whole Tarot thing, hermitosis, please feel free to sling cards if ever you answer a question of mine. I dig the whole "shape and direct thoughts with symbology" thing Tarot's got going on. Very useful.

Ditto. I use the tarot occasionally, have found it very helpful, and would welcome such an approach in AskMe for my own questions.
posted by velvet winter at 12:17 PM on July 22, 2009


You know, I'm really glad for the internet and especially for lyrics databases.

For example, I've been a fan of Sam Cooke since I was a kid. You could say that he's my favorite musician of all time. I can't even tell you how old I was when I first heard "Twistin' the Night Away" -- it seems like it's just always been there. Anyway, that song contains this lyric :

Here's a man in evenin' clothes
How he got here, I don't know, but
Man, you oughta see him go
Twistin' the night away-ay
He's dancin' with the chick in slacks
She's a-movin' up and back


Well, for the longest time I thought the boldfaced line was "He's dancin' with the chicken slacks." I always wondered what exactly chicken slacks were, but I guess I just imagined they were a style of mens' trousers that were popular in the 50s. I'm thinking they would be beige, and probably a little bit fancy.
posted by Afroblanco at 12:36 PM on July 22, 2009


Hermitosis's answers are uniformly excellent; their provenance is irrelevant.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 12:40 PM on July 22, 2009


FIAMO
posted by theora55 at 12:51 PM on July 22, 2009


obviously, herpes is bad. But let's be real. Who gets HSV tests when they're not symptomatic?

Me, I do!

Look, on this issue, as on all issues, people fall somewhere on a spectrum between two extremes. Sully75 and serazin seem to be at one end, and people like me are at the other. So when you're about to have sex with someone, you just find out where on the spectrum they fall in case you are not on the same page. If you communicate with your potential partner and you both have the same risk calculus, great. If you don't, then the more risk-averse partner has to decide whether they're comfortable going forward. It's not that fucking complicated.

What I find really hard to understand is this attitude that because herpes (or whatever) is not a big deal to you, you don't have to respect other people's feelings and preferences. Like, if I tell you I don't eat meat, you may find that absurd and have trouble empathizing with me, but your love of steak doesn't give you the right to lie to me and feed me chicken broth. So I have absolutely no patience with those people who think it's ok to conceal HPV or HSV from a partner. As for the rest, obviously you can play as safe or as loose as you want to, but I don't understand why anyone thinks it's ok to take risks with someone else's body, so just talk to your sexual partners and enable them to make informed choices, right? And then we can all dance together in the meadow.
posted by prefpara at 1:08 PM on July 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


Since we're filing our orders for how hermitosis answers our individual questions, I'd want extra thoughtfulness, hold the cards and a diet vanilla coke.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:18 PM on July 22, 2009


Well, there is the hermit(osis) card...
posted by Alison at 1:22 PM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


As obnoxious as online dating can be, one thing I liked about OkCupid was that they specifically had questions like, "Would you sleep with someone who had an STD?" And by saying "no" and making it "mandatory," you could screen out people who would sleep with someone who had an STD. (provided that they told the truth)

I kinda wish you could do that in real life.
posted by Afroblanco at 1:23 PM on July 22, 2009


Brandon, have you seen any Diet Vanilla coke on the shelves lately? I see the Diet Coke, I see the Vanilla, but I never see the Diet Vanilla. Makes me sad, and I wonder if it is regional.
posted by soelo at 2:23 PM on July 22, 2009


Well, for the longest time I thought the boldfaced line was "He's dancin' with the chicken slacks."

Afroblanco, I love you so much right now. In fact, I might enspousen you on the strength of the chicken slacks. I was about 18 when I finally figured out the lyrics, after having listened to the song my whole life. Oddly enough, there were girls at my high school who wore blue jeans with cartoon-printed chickens on them -- so to this day I get a mental picture of them when I hear the song.
posted by katemonster at 2:23 PM on July 22, 2009


My last lover before I got involved with my partner of 16 years was extremely paranoid about HIV. She didn't trust the tests I'd already had, or that I was laughably low-risk--when I went to be tested, the counselor was going through the checklist, and by about halfway through was laughing at my extreme lack of risky behavior. "Ever had sex while drunk? No, of course you haven't..."

Anyway, she insisted on using barriers for much longer than I thought was necessary, while waiting for me to be re-re-tested after we'd been together six months.

But she neglected to tell me until after we'd slept together multiple times that she had herpes.

Asshole.
posted by not that girl at 2:46 PM on July 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


Personally, I like to sacrifice a goat to Baal whenever I answer an AskMe. I think the quality of my answers would improve if I used a first born child, but they're getting ever so hard to come by these days.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 2:47 PM on July 22, 2009


I think hermitosis needs to be more Sciencey!
posted by P.o.B. at 3:02 PM on July 22, 2009


It makes me furious when someone uses the explanation "...because God told me to do so," or "...because the Tarot gave me some good advice." This to me does not make any logical sense whatsoever.

Well, it's still better than my explanation for every stupid thing that I have ever done in my entire life: "It seemed like a good idea at the time."

Also: of all the things I expected to see on MeTa, a thread that is simultaneously about herpes and Tarot cards? Nope. Not on the radar. It's blowing my mind. I kind of have to wonder whether or not I'm high.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:52 PM on July 22, 2009 [4 favorites]


I'm still trying to figure out why tarot has come up in a thread discussing bad STD advice.

Every time someone says "don't bother with testing, everyone has those viruses anyway and it's no big deal" I start seething. I used to be a health reporter and got to cover this topic. Maybe it wasn't a big deal for YOU, but some people have serious problems when they get an incurable virus, and maybe you should worry about catching it a bit more just in case, eh? This goes for doctors as well.
posted by jenfullmoon at 4:47 PM on July 22, 2009


I went to the clap clinic recently and had the full work-up, and was totally made to feel like I was wasting the Drs time - no trips to sub-Saharan Africa or Thailand recently, never even had a coldsore, no recent orgies, sex with professionals or shooting up... sigh.
posted by goo at 4:54 PM on July 22, 2009


Meh. Everyone knows it's all good as long as your partner doesn't pull the King of Herpes on the first draw.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:07 PM on July 22, 2009 [4 favorites]


Hermitosis's answers are uniformly excellent; their provenance is irrelevant.

I agree his answers usually are excellent. But this Tarot thing rubs me the wrong way the same if someone uses The Bible to support their beliefs, even though they are fundamentally different ways to arrive at an answer for things.

Sure, we don't know how anyone arrives at the advice they give on AskMe, but just as people jump on Christians for using their beliefs to prop up suspect advice, Hermitosis can't be surprised when people do the same for his advice divined from the Tarot deck.
posted by crossoverman at 5:14 PM on July 22, 2009


Your wish, pineapple, is my command.
posted by motty at 5:21 PM on July 22, 2009 [11 favorites]


I love that there are both hardcore and softcore taters.
posted by ocherdraco at 5:24 PM on July 22, 2009


Thing is, the fact that the advice was inspired by Tarot or Leviticus or a McDonald's place mat is entirely irrelevant, and the disclosure only serves to taint the advice and foul the thread with WTFs.

Just give the advice and stop pimping your place mat reading business.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:25 PM on July 22, 2009


have you seen any Diet Vanilla coke on the shelves lately?

Check with the guys who stock soda at the local grocery store. That's how I found out that the local distributor had stopped stocking, probably for sales reasons. He advised that I drive 45 minutes up to Hilton Head and see if they sell it.

Meanwhile, Dr. Pepper makes a diet version of Cherry Vanilla, which is quite tasty.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:26 PM on July 22, 2009


not that girl, I shouldn't laugh, but the way you set up the punchline for that anecdote made me crack up.
posted by orange swan at 9:39 PM on July 22, 2009


The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends against routine serological screening for herpes simplex virus (HSV) in asymptomatic pregnant women at any time during pregnancy to prevent neonatal HSV infection.
Grade: D Recommendation.
# The USPSTF recommends against routine serological screening for HSV in asymptomatic adolescents and adults.
Grade: D Recommendation. The USPSTF recommends against routinely providing screening to asymptomatic patients. The USPSTF found at least fair evidence that screening is ineffective or that harms outweigh benefits.

The USPSTF found no evidence that screening asymptomatic adolescents and adults with serological tests for HSV antibody improves health outcomes or symptoms or reduces transmission of disease. There is good evidence that serological screening tests can accurately identify those persons who have been exposed to HSV. There is good evidence that antiviral therapy improves health outcomes in symptomatic persons (e.g., those with multiple recurrences); however, there is no evidence that the use of antiviral therapy improves health outcomes in those with asymptomatic infection. The potential harms of screening include false-positive test results, labeling, and anxiety, although there is limited evidence of any potential harms of either screening or treatment. The USPSTF determined the benefits of screening are minimal, at best, and the potential harms outweigh the potential benefits.
posted by Violet Hour at 10:35 PM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


I used to read Tarot for friends. The only knowledge of Tarot I had was the little slip of paper that came with the deck. It was still useful. It would help me create a narrative of my interpretation of the situation, and then they would filter that through their interpretation of the situation, leading to an "objective" point of view. If I just said "Wow, that guy is a total dick, and shit's going to get fucked up", they would dismiss it as my personal emotional reaction. If I said (completely inbreviated*) "The cards say there is an aggressive and chaotic force influencing you, and a you will soon need to make an important decision", they would think "Hmm. That does kind of apply. I hadn't thought about it that way". The judgment doesn't come from me, so it's relatively judgment free.

The randomness of the shuffle just meant that I would have to subject myself to a different point of view instead of my own initial reaction. If the cards say that everything is hunky-dory, I have to consider that perspective where I hadn't before. Or if the cards align with my own beliefs, the act of creating a narrative means that I have to rationalize them. I often wouldn't even understand my own insights until I had to formalize them. The cards really just make you reinterpret from random.

So... yeah. Tapping the subconscious by throwing some symbols can make for good advice. It depends wholly on the interpreter, but can also lead to some valuable insight. And it's wicked retarded.

*abbreviated and inebriated
posted by team lowkey at 12:24 AM on July 23, 2009


How about:

.......posted by MetaFite at 4:20 PM on July 22 [4 favorites +] [9 criminally bad advice flags !]
posted by silkygreenbelly at 12:50 AM on July 23, 2009


That is just back dooring anti-favourites which has been stated isn't going to happen.
posted by Mitheral at 3:00 AM on July 23, 2009


Don't let the haters get you down Hermatosis. I used to do something similar, all the pigeons "do" is present us with symbols, which are the language by which our unconscious and conscious minds communicate with each other. But my cats kept eating them.

[NOT HERMATOSIST!]
posted by ActingTheGoat at 4:54 AM on July 23, 2009


Oh man I came in here expecting 100 comments tearing down this sully guy for giving idiotic advice but instead it's turned into a discussion of the relative merits of using tarot as a narrative-shaping device and I was just thinking about bringing this up with my fiancée because it's the one place our worldviews diverge and this thread is the most intelligent and nuanced discussion I've ever seen of the subject ever in my entire life and sometimes I love MetaFilter SO HARD
posted by Mayor West at 5:10 AM on July 23, 2009 [4 favorites]


He also doesn't just pull them out unless he feels an individual would really benefit from an alternate or challenging viewpoint
That's great! I don't mind being proselytised unless the believer feels I would really benefit from their viewpoint.

present us with symbols, which are the language by which our unconscious and conscious minds communicate with each other
You're very absolutist about this, more so than other Jungians I've talked with. It'd be all [citation please] on WP, for sure.

I will tell you that humanity's relationship with divination is incredibly ancient, and the subject is tightly interwoven with the subjects of dreams, mythology, and religion.
You can replace "divination" there with virtually anything, up to and including murder, and the sentence will still have little bearing on that thing's value.

To be honest, though, I'm subconscious-exploration-via-symbols-friendly, and am mainly being hostile here because of the way you present your answers ("the card points to her being trapped..." is very active phrasing for an inanimate object). As Bookhouse says, you the way you drop the Tarot into those answers makes it seem like much more than a game of symbolism. You do have a disclaimer in your profile, but it's really not on to shift onto the reader the burdens of teasing out the differences of The Hermitosis Way from the common cultural red-tablecover hoodoo context of Tarot.

It's as if I decide that I'll use "Jesus" to mean "wholly secular consultation with non-mystical biblical precepts, in accordance with wider philosophical contexts" and then give an answer like "I asked Jesus, and he says DTMFA".
posted by fightorflight at 5:25 AM on July 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


We've had outright dangerous advice deleted in the past. E.g., the comment which this comment of mine was in response to.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:26 AM on July 23, 2009


DevilsAdvocate...I sincerely wish I could unread that AskMe. Blargh!!!!
posted by Go Banana at 8:15 AM on July 23, 2009


You're very absolutist about this, more so than other Jungians I've talked with.

Just doing the best I can within a short comment in a thread that isn't really about me. Same here:

You can replace "divination" there with virtually anything, up to and including murder, and the sentence will still have little bearing on that thing's value.

I think this is a really flaccid dismissal of what I actually said, especially since my statement wasn't about determining value at all. If you'd like to argue that divination is not specifically and tightly interwoven with the subjects I mentioned, then that would really be something.

As for the rest of your comment, I've already responded to similar points upthread by saying I would seriously consider them. I'm definitely concerned about refining the ways in which I offer advice to people, but there will always be a certain amount of people who disagree with me or what I do, so I'm not too concerned about that.

As for Jesus, in certain questions and from certain people I think people would largely be okay with this. Context, tact, and intent are all important factors in determining how much of our own personal perspective go into our answers. For the record, I welcome Jesus-quoters to answer any questions I post in the future.
posted by hermitosis at 8:24 AM on July 23, 2009


Has anyone seen the original topic went...it was around here somewhere...then some started talking about STD giving you crystal balls and and something about pie.

Can we get a criminally bad derail flag?
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 12:08 PM on July 23, 2009


A lot of people just have no idea how pervasive the Bible has been. I said as much to a former roommate of mine, and said that there unacknowledged quotes from the Bible in pretty much all novels out there.

True story, that. Every time I run across a phrase that really, really resonates it turn out to be from Shakespeare, the Bible, or Hank Williams Sr, the one true Hank.
posted by stet at 12:22 PM on July 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Has anyone seen the original topic went...it was around here somewhere...then some started talking about STD giving you crystal balls and and something about pie.

Can we get a criminally bad derail flag?


You lay off pie, buddy!
posted by orange swan at 12:54 PM on July 23, 2009


> Has anyone seen the original topic went...it was around here somewhere...then some started talking about STD giving you crystal balls and and something about pie.

Can we get a criminally bad derail flag?


You've been around since 2004, so you really should know this: pie is never a derail.
posted by languagehat at 12:58 PM on July 23, 2009


*on non-preview, hands slice of pie to orange swan*
posted by languagehat at 12:59 PM on July 23, 2009


Pumpkin Chiffon Pie?
posted by ocherdraco at 2:11 PM on July 23, 2009


Let he who is without STD turn the first card.
posted by philip-random at 2:50 PM on July 23, 2009


When I get tired of the magic 8-ball I consult the Bible, but I ripped out my favorite parts of Leviticus and Job and taped them to my living room wall. My advice is based on which paragraph the darts hit.

Which is why I believe that the asker of the original question should have the priest come and look; and indeed if the plague has spread in the house, it is an active leprosy in the house. It is unclean. But if the priest comes in and examines it, and indeed the plague has not spread in the house after the house was plastered, then the priest shall pronounce the house clean, because the plague is healed. And he shall take, to cleanse the house, two birds, cedar wood, scarlet, and hyssop. Then he shall kill one of the birds in an earthen vessel over running water; and he shall take the cedar wood, the hyssop, the scarlet, and the living bird, and dip them in the blood of the slain bird and in the running water, and sprinkle the house seven times. And he shall cleanse the house with the blood of the bird and the running water and the living bird, with the cedar wood, the hyssop, and the scarlet. Then he shall let the living bird loose outside the city in the open field, and make atonement for the house, and it shall be clean. This is the law for any leprous sore and scale, for the leprosy of a garment and of a house, for a swelling and a scab and a bright spot, to teach when it is unclean and when it is clean.

Which pretty much jives with the CDC guidelines for HSV testing.
posted by little e at 2:51 PM on July 23, 2009 [4 favorites]


Can we have a criminally bad pie advice flag? Who thought rhubarb would be improved by strawberry? I mean really.
Rhubarb is pretty much perfect as is.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:20 PM on July 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


No, no - don't you go flagging that strawberry-rhubarb pie. Just hand it over to me, I'll take care of it.

This is why it's good when you find people who don't like the kind of pie you like: more pie for you!
posted by rtha at 10:07 PM on July 23, 2009


Who thought rhubarb would be improved by strawberry?

Don't you mean who thought STRAWBERRY would be improved by RHUBARB? Strawberries are a perfectly noble fruit. They should stop being besmirched by rhubarb. Also, bananas. Strawberry-banana is an abomination to both strawberries and bananas. Though this combo is not usually used in pie. Thank G-d.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 12:22 PM on July 24, 2009


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