You're no FUN! July 23, 2009 8:17 PM   Subscribe

nothing personal but if this isn't hypothetical-filter, it's "help me break the law" filter which isn't much better. Come on, this is a great AskMe thread! Jessamyn, if we'd applied that rubric for deletion in the past, we'd be without such gems as this Best of Metafilter answer.
posted by leotrotsky to Etiquette/Policy at 8:17 PM (68 comments total)

200,000 sock puppets. Duh.
posted by paisley henosis at 8:22 PM on July 23, 2009


When the rules explicitly say "no hypothetical questions", you probably should not lead off your question with "Strictly hypothetically speaking, let's say one of these things happened". You gots to play the game.
posted by smackfu at 8:28 PM on July 23, 2009


Would the question have been allowed to stand if it had been posed as "research" for the asker's next "novel"? That seems to be how a lot of quasi-hypothetical questions get asked.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:34 PM on July 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


That question would have stayed if wastelands had replaced "Strictly hypothetically speaking" with "So I'm writing a novel..." or "I'm interested in economics and invisible transactions..." or maybe even with nothing else. It's an open secret that it's not the case that certain questions are taboo; certain motivations for asking a question are taboo. "Hypothetical" attaches to the reason for asking a question, not the question itself; disguise your reasons and you can get away with pretty much anything.
posted by painquale at 8:35 PM on July 23, 2009


Even if it was allowed, it wasn't even close to a great question.
posted by smackfu at 8:39 PM on July 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


I am, actually, no fun.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:39 PM on July 23, 2009 [38 favorites]


Another good trick is to preface a question with "What have people written about this?" The most conversational question will suddenly become something with a concrete and truth-evaluable answer. But everyone will ignore that part of your question and talk about what they'd do with a million dollars themselves.

I haven't done any of this myself, but I've seen a lot of it.
posted by painquale at 8:39 PM on July 23, 2009


TBTL recently replayed their excellent series of interviews with prominent listener and former successful bank robber Drew McFrizz, who struggles at certain points with the question of how to launder the money. This is apropos of nothing, really, but they're among my favorite radio segments ever and should be heard by everyone far and wide and large and small.

You can find the first interview here:

http://www.mynorthwest.com/?t=date&d=06%2F08%2F2009&cmsid=93&nid=140

and then during the third hour of the next four broadcasts as well.

rarr!
posted by Kwine at 8:44 PM on July 23, 2009


Oh, shit, look, I'll even bother to hyperlink it like a gentleman: here.
posted by Kwine at 8:45 PM on July 23, 2009


Except gentlemen don't say shit.
posted by Kwine at 8:46 PM on July 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


incidentally, the guy who posted that, also posted this [link is to MeTa thread, not to crazy shock griefing site] so I don't really think this was a good faith question.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:51 PM on July 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


There's a degree of nuance (or at least lack-of-blatantness) in presentation that is going to come into this stuff, but in general this kind of straight-up "let's do a gedankenexperiment" stuff gets deleted most of the time. Maybe not all of the time, but it's a pretty darned good marker for deletableness, and that's not anything new.

That's aside from wastelands' completely fucked-up post to the blue a little while later; it's possible his askme was misguided and moderately-innocent chatfilter, but it's kind of a moot point now that he's taken a huge shit on the site and gotten himself banned.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:56 PM on July 23, 2009


If I needed to launder a lot of money, I'd be sure to first develop some sort of high-profile persona that would make me immune to suspicion. Like, mayor of Hoboken, something like that.
posted by painquale at 9:01 PM on July 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Come on, this is actually a great MetaTalk thread!

"I am, actually, no fun."

I can refute this, but won't in the interests of keeping the jessamyns all to myself.
posted by Eideteker at 9:32 PM on July 23, 2009


I actually do this all the time. If you need to get rid of millions, give it to me, go to China, and I'll make sure it gets to you. This is what I do. I'm very good at it.
posted by allen.spaulding at 9:40 PM on July 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


That's aside from wastelands' completely fucked-up post to the blue a little while later; it's possible his askme was misguided and moderately-innocent chatfilter, but it's kind of a moot point now that he's taken a huge shit on the site and gotten himself banned.

I don't have the mental categories to understand him doing that. The only thing I can figure is that he wanted to go down deliberately, and decided to do it in flames. Or else his account was hacked. Those don't feel like satisfying answers, but I lean towards the latter.
posted by SpacemanStix at 9:50 PM on July 23, 2009


Although I suppose this is a good theory.
posted by SpacemanStix at 9:58 PM on July 23, 2009


Silly question. People always want to find their missing millions. Give it back and save yourself the grief.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:28 AM on July 24, 2009


Did anybody else think of Eagle Eye when they read that AskMe?
posted by C17H19NO3 at 12:38 AM on July 24, 2009


It was my idea, I'm sorry.
posted by creasy boy at 1:10 AM on July 24, 2009


I am, actually, no fun.

LIES
posted by davejay at 1:38 AM on July 24, 2009


1. I once received a bank error in my favour. It was $10, but this was the 80s and $10 meant an entire new garment to me. It also doubled my assets, so I withdrew all and opened another bank account at a different bank. The next day, I got a letter from bank 1 asking me to visit them, without them specifying why. I came in with a $10 bill and handed it to the teller, without specifying why. Nothing else happened.

2. Some dorks in New Zealand had a bank error in their favour recently. Apparently Interpol was tracking them through Facebook.
posted by b33j at 2:09 AM on July 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


This one time there was a $200 bank error in my favor but it was nothing compared to my delight at winning second prize in a beauty contest.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 4:15 AM on July 24, 2009 [34 favorites]


My first post to MeTa was complaining about an AskMe that wanted help in breaking the law. At the time, jessamyn was OK with it. Huh.
posted by DU at 5:57 AM on July 24, 2009


leotrotsky: "Jessamyn, if we'd applied that rubric for deletion in the past, we'd be without such gems as this Best of Metafilter answer."

DU: "My first post to MeTa was complaining about an AskMe that wanted help in breaking the law. At the time, jessamyn was OK with it. Huh."

Two things that might help you guys get through life (or at least AskMe):
1) Community norms are not etched in stone, sometimes they change over time.
2) Not every I-don't-want-to-get-in-trouble-for-X question can be evaluated identically.
posted by Plutor at 6:45 AM on July 24, 2009 [4 favorites]


Now that the rabbis are out of business it just got harder.
posted by caddis at 6:49 AM on July 24, 2009


"My wife is gravely ill but I lost my job and can't afford health insurance. How do I go about stealing the medication she needs to live?"
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 7:16 AM on July 24, 2009


Luckily for you, you are in the Netherlands and will have that medication paid for by your universal health care plan.
posted by caddis at 7:29 AM on July 24, 2009


My first post to MeTa was complaining about an AskMe that wanted help in breaking the law. At the time, jessamyn was OK with it. Huh.

Plutor pretty much said what I was going to say, but basically just like synonyms, no two AskMe questions are alike. The AskMe you referred to was about (real) speeding tickets. This one is about a hypothetical bank error. We can probably split ot the "how can I break the law" questions a little more specifically if people want.

OK law breaking according to AskMe
- smoking weed
- jaywalking
- speeding
- failure to go to the dentist every six months
- sodomy
- going to Cuba (I forget, has Obama made this okay yet?)

Not OK law breaking according to AskMe
- embezzlement
- child abuse
- cracking software [note, this is according to AskMe, not the mods personally]
- manufacturing metamphetamines
- wackin' it in the library

I'm not in love with that previous question either, to be honest.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:14 AM on July 24, 2009 [5 favorites]


wackin' it in the library

has there been an askme about how to do this? seems pretty self-explanatory to me...
posted by shmegegge at 8:22 AM on July 24, 2009


self-evident, I mean.
posted by shmegegge at 8:23 AM on July 24, 2009


wackin' it in the library

Why does every librarian I know bring this up so frequently?
posted by piedmont at 8:59 AM on July 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


I forget, has Obama made this okay yet?

Just for family.

Key sentences from the link:

"President Obama lifted all restrictions Monday on the ability of individuals to visit relatives in Cuba, as well as to send them remittances."


"Travel restrictions for Americans of non-Cuban descent will also remain in place."
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:07 AM on July 24, 2009


The last time I stumbled into a large sum of money, a group of assassins tried to convince me that I was the child of one of their most masterful members and that I should join them to avenge his death, and that I, like him, had the ability to control time and space in such a way as to seem nearly superhuman.

I passed.
posted by quin at 9:18 AM on July 24, 2009


No fun my babe no fun
No fun to be around
Walking by myself
No fun to be alone
In love with nobody else
Well maybe go out maybe stay home
maybe call Mom on the telephone
Well come on, well come on,
well come on........


You know you were all thinking it.
posted by Sailormom at 9:31 AM on July 24, 2009


Jessamyn, I'd like to point out that I'm not even linking to my favorite deleted hypothetical-filter AskMe. Not even gonna do it.

Bears so pwn monkeys. Like forever.
posted by allkindsoftime at 9:48 AM on July 24, 2009


Yes, I have a friend who is looking for a cosmetic, if one exists... a sort of a shading arrangement. Do you have anything in the shading area?

We have lots of blushers and things... What specifically is it for?

She has this feature that she would like to... de-emphasize.

I see, she has this extra large feature and she wants to make it look smaller? I think a dark contour would be fine.

Great. How would she go about... applying this thing?

She would... just shade the area of the feature to make it look... It would appear to be more shadows and less actual... acreage - I mean area.
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:22 AM on July 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


Wow, just saw the bannage thread. Bows to collective wisdom of community.
posted by leotrotsky at 10:28 AM on July 24, 2009


I was not aware of our Dental Compulsion laws.
posted by [@I][:+:][@I] at 10:29 AM on July 24, 2009


Why does every librarian I know bring this up so frequently?

Because I think many people are amazed that one of the standard parts of the job for people working in most public libraries is dealing with masturbators. I was not taught that in library school.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:47 AM on July 24, 2009 [4 favorites]


I guess we'll never know what he did with the million dollars.
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:49 AM on July 24, 2009


Is dental compulsive the opposite of anal retentive or what?
posted by nebulawindphone at 10:56 AM on July 24, 2009


Is dental compulsive the opposite of anal retentive or what?

No, that would be dental propulsive. Also a bad idea.
posted by Devils Rancher at 11:02 AM on July 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


Because I think many people are amazed that one of the standard parts of the job for people working in most public libraries is dealing with masturbators.

I'm really curious regarding how you go about dealing with this. Is this like the most awkward thing ever?
posted by SpacemanStix at 11:11 AM on July 24, 2009


Projectile teething?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 11:13 AM on July 24, 2009


Because I think many people are amazed that one of the standard parts of the job for people working in most public libraries is dealing with masturbators. I was not taught that in library school


Carl Monday is Watching You Masturbate
posted by The Gooch at 11:19 AM on July 24, 2009


jessamyn: I'm sure you've already seen this, but for everyone else, What They Didn't Teach Us in Library School.
posted by Imhotep is Invisible at 11:39 AM on July 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


"I am, actually, no fun."

What are you wearing?
posted by Iron Rat at 12:00 PM on July 24, 2009


piedmont, the public library is a favored hangout of many a greasy perv. Last summer I was at the library studying for a night class I was taking, and a scruffy dude with serious Manson lamps (and, weirdly, a really really nice watch) whipped out his lil' fren' and went right to town on it. Staring at me the whole time, from about three feet away. Greaaaaat.

The best part of the experience (besides getting to yell "do not masturbate at me, pal" in a quiet public library) was telling the librarian at that floor's info desk. Having never seen library wang before I was a little shook up, and she was quite kind and sympathetic -- "Oh, dear," she said. "Take yourself home, make a nice cup of tea. Or gin. Whatever gets you through the night."
posted by palomar at 12:20 PM on July 24, 2009 [4 favorites]


I was not aware of our Dental Compulsion laws.

Yeah, me neither.

Especially since I haven't had dental insurance in five years. Man, I don't even want to think about the fines that I'm racking up, let alone the cavities. Luckily, I still have all of my teeth.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 1:16 PM on July 24, 2009


Iron Rat: What are you wearing?

Ick. That is so not okay, even if it's a joke.
Are you trying to make people uncomfortable?
posted by mosessis at 6:52 PM on July 24, 2009

What are you wearing?
You've got to be kidding me. What on earth would possess you to think that this would be funny?
posted by scrump at 7:48 PM on July 24, 2009


Thank you, Imhotep_is_invisible, for the riveting read. I feel lucky to work in a school library where all we have are overactive teens with too much time and not enough to do, but eventually they go to their next classes. And I thought dealing with the sons and daughters of privilege without discipline was tough!
posted by Lynsey at 10:23 PM on July 24, 2009


OK law breaking according to AskMe
- smoking weed
- jaywalking
- speeding
- failure to go to the dentist every six months
- sodomy
- going to Cuba (I forget, has Obama made this okay yet?)

Not OK law breaking according to AskMe
- embezzlement
- child abuse
- cracking software [note, this is according to AskMe, not the mods personally]
- manufacturing metamphetamines
- wackin' it in the library


See basically at this point I think AskMe should be applying the Kantian test: how would the world be if everyone acted like this, not just me? And the answer is pretty simple: if everyone smoked weed, jaywalked, committed sodomy and went to Cuba, the world would be awesome. Whereas if everyone embezzled, committed child abuse and masturbated in the library, the world would suck.

I think that's a nice heuristic that could apply to pretty much AskMe's.

And Sailormom: yes indeed.
posted by Infinite Jest at 5:10 AM on July 25, 2009 [3 favorites]


Not OK law breaking according to AskMe
- embezzlement
- child abuse
- cracking software [note, this is according to AskMe, not the mods personally]
- manufacturing metamphetamines
- wackin' it in the library


You forgot adultery.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 6:09 AM on July 25, 2009


OK law breaking according to AskMe
- smoking weed
- jaywalking
- speeding
- failure to go to the dentist every six months
- sodomy
- going to Cuba (I forget, has Obama made this okay yet?)


You forgot polygamy.
posted by thinkpiece at 6:31 AM on July 25, 2009


You forgot Poland.
posted by DecemberBoy at 8:10 AM on July 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Muthafuckas act like you forgot about Dre.
posted by DecemberBoy at 8:11 AM on July 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


YOU ALL FORGOT RUDOLF HESS!

OK, I'll stop.
posted by DecemberBoy at 8:16 AM on July 25, 2009


What are you wearing?

Hopefully, barbed ass-kicking boots and a Teflon Banhammering smock.
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:20 AM on July 25, 2009


What are you wearing?

Jeans, t-shirt, and an "oh not this shit again" expression.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:28 AM on July 25, 2009 [3 favorites]


Jeans, t-shirt, and an "oh not this shit again" expression.

This is what I wear every day except I don't wear pants.
posted by allen.spaulding at 10:07 AM on July 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


This is what I wear every day except I don't wear pants.

Tweetpics or it didn't happen!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:04 AM on July 25, 2009


Metafilter: weed smoking, jaywalking, speeding, dental neglecting, sodomizing, Cuban sympathizers.
posted by philip-random at 12:25 PM on July 25, 2009


OK law breaking according to AskMe
- smoking weed
- jaywalking
- speeding
- failure to go to the dentist every six months
- sodomy
- going to Cuba (I forget, has Obama made this okay yet?)


You forgot (oddly, given the software thing) music piracy.
posted by The Bellman at 9:15 AM on July 26, 2009


I didn't forget it; it falls into the "it depends" category as far as AskMe questions go. Usually we won't approve flat-out "help me steal music" questions (i.e. where can I get this song that I could pay for, only for free) but we're sometimes okay with "help me share my music in a way that may not be strictly legal" (i.e. help me make an ipod mix for my college reunion) questions.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:18 AM on July 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


We rarely see "how do I illegally download album x/program y" questions on askme and they're really good candidates for deletion when they do show up, really.

It's "okay", as far as that goes, for someone to be a torrentmonkey, but it's not really okay to ask specifically for help pirating something or to post links to torrents of copyrighted material, generally.

The overall question remains a bit of a minefield, but one practical fact of life is that a whoooole lot of people on the internet have acquired and continue to acquire music (and other media) casually via extra-legal means, and that's reflected (sometimes in a problematic way, sometimes not) in both the questions and answers that show up here. Agency, intent, and specificity are all confounding factors for these sorts of things.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:20 AM on July 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Huh. My comment was largely snark over one of my AskMe pet peeves, and I got thoughtful replies from not one, but two mods. I love this damn place.
posted by The Bellman at 4:03 PM on July 26, 2009


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