Please take it easy October 16, 2009 2:14 PM   Subscribe

If you can, please kindly refrain with the judging anonymous in this AskMe thread.

Just a personal request to cool it just down a notch. The asker seems to understand enough to acknowledge the mistake he made and probably would be better off with factual answers.
posted by Blazecock Pileon to Etiquette/Policy at 2:14 PM (38 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

indeed agreed.
posted by nomisxid at 2:19 PM on October 16, 2009


Agreed, I've sort of been hovering over that thread for the past hour.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:21 PM on October 16, 2009


I hate it when people resort to nagging and judgment when someone is reaching out for help with a clearly difficult issue. We need to make this place as safe as possible.
posted by ORthey at 2:22 PM on October 16, 2009 [4 favorites]


hmm, I don't see the judging - maybe this comment isn't so helpful, but the rest seem pretty fact-based and spot on
posted by Think_Long at 2:22 PM on October 16, 2009


but maybe there were some deletions or I haven't read close enough
posted by Think_Long at 2:22 PM on October 16, 2009


Nah I haven't deleted anything.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:31 PM on October 16, 2009


maybe this comment isn't so helpful

Yeah, that one caught my eye too. But of course the questioner threw in "am I acting irrational?" at the end so almost any answer is valid.
posted by smackfu at 2:36 PM on October 16, 2009


This is the comment that bugs me. The OP is not a child.
posted by desjardins at 2:39 PM on October 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


And FWIW, you can't really ever know your partner's status for certain unless you've kept him locked in a room for 3 months and then tested him. People lie, people cheat. More sensible advice would have been to use a condom.

I've been through similar anxiety; an ex-boyfriend told me he'd been tested. After we'd been together for awhile, I thought unprotected sex would be OK. In a drunken moment, he admits he had never been tested, and had engaged in risky behavior with others. It was an agonizing three months before I found out I was in the clear.
posted by desjardins at 2:44 PM on October 16, 2009


I thought this callout was going to be about getting a cat for mom.
posted by cjorgensen at 2:45 PM on October 16, 2009


Dude'll be fine once he gets that second test. I almost posted just to be like, "Everything will be OK!" because I think the problem is more that he doesn't have anyone in his offline life to talk to about this, so he's kinda in a bad anxious brainloop. But just reassurances aren't actually an answer, so, hey, dude, if you're reading this, I'm as sure as a stranger can be that you don't have the HIV. Get your second test, then have a nice night out celebrating the negative result!

(I'm not sure what kind of cocktail a negative test would suggest…)
posted by klangklangston at 2:54 PM on October 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


I think that the comment that repeats "Don't ever have unprotected sex without knowing your partner's sexual status again" six times is worth deleting. Not only does it unnecessarily harangue the asker, it unnecessarily harangues him about something irrelevant. The 'sexual status' (whatever that is supposed to mean) of the asker's former partner is irrelevant; it is his HIV status that is important.
posted by googly at 2:58 PM on October 16, 2009 [14 favorites]


I'm not sure what kind of cocktail a negative test would suggest…

Sex On The Beach?
posted by P.o.B. at 3:13 PM on October 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Part of DTT's comment was helpful. The preaching was unnecessary.

It's kind of an emotional question and DTT kinda reacted that way. I read into that some real care and concern.

Poorly executed, but heart in the right place, I believe.
posted by snsranch at 3:27 PM on October 16, 2009


I'm not sure what kind of cocktail a negative test would suggest…

A big pitcher of Bloody Marys, to share.
posted by nebulawindphone at 3:44 PM on October 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


googly writes "I think that the comment that repeats 'Don't ever have unprotected sex without knowing your partner's sexual status again' six times is worth deleting."

The repeating things multiple times meme is about as helpful as DTMFA as far as askme answers go.
posted by Mitheral at 3:53 PM on October 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Okay, reading the thread, comments in there all seem pretty mild.

But it's also silly to think that as strangers on the internet we're going to be the ones to scare anonymous straight on this one. What, eight months of fearing for his life won't teach him a lesson about safe sex, but a couple of you-oughta-know-better comments will?

So while I don't think anyone's said anything inappropriate to anon, I do think some people are acting like he's unable to learn from his own mistakes without our Enlightened Guidance, and that's maybe kind of rude.
posted by nebulawindphone at 3:54 PM on October 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


The irony is that of all people, Anonymous is about the least in need of grandstanding/moralizing/haranguing, even if grandstanding/moralizing/haranguing were the goal of AskMetaFilter (which I don't think it is, though it's hard to tell sometimes). The only reason we're even reading his post is that he realized what a serious mistake he made.
posted by Jaltcoh at 4:18 PM on October 16, 2009 [3 favorites]


(Right, yes, exactly.)
posted by nebulawindphone at 4:20 PM on October 16, 2009


I agree. Anonymous even states in the post that they know what they did was a bad idea, it was uncharacteristic behavior, and he would never do it again. Yet, people can't refrain from getting up on their high horse to chastise/"teach" him.
posted by ishotjr at 5:37 PM on October 16, 2009


I don't give a fuck (actually I give .00003% of a fuck) if you think it was rude. I've known too many people who got HIV and spread it like shit because everyone in their lives was afraid to be "rude" to them and shake them out of their stupor. I know guys and girls who probably infected dozens (yes I do) of other people because of their own ignorance, idiocy, denial and the culture of fear in this country when it comes to talking frankly about HIV. Talking frankly means doing what Anonymous did -- and I sincerely commend him for that -- when he says "I know I screwed up, I feel terrible, I've been tested, I've avoided other contact" and asking for help. But it also means making it very goddamn clear to someone in Anonymous' situation that what he did was A VERY BIG MISTAKE AND HE SHOULD NOT DO IT AGAIN. When you go to the doctor and say "I had unprotected sex with a girl who turned out to have an STD at the time oh god oh god give me a blood test," guess what most doctors do? Hint: Basically exactly what I did. Spoiler: Basically exactly what I did. Answer: They tell you not to fucking do it again. Then they give you a blood test. Then sometimes they give you a lollipop, but that's not the point.

"Don't have unprotected sex without knowing your partner's sexual status" (and here I'm obviously fucking referring to the STD status, thanks hairsplitters) is not a "judgment" any more than "the sun rises in the east" is a judgment. And who knows? Maybe I'm the very first person to tell him that what he did was a fucking mistake! We have no idea, and I'm going to error on the side of "what you did was a fucking mistake." Why? Well, oftentimes having a single other person there to verify your judgment often makes all the difference in your future actions/feelings (I'm drawing a parallel here with him seeking verification that he's okay despite his fears of a false negative, is what I'm doing).

My comment certainly isn't going to make Anonymous feel worse; he's currently freaking out about AIDS and all, so I bet "grandstanding/moralizing/haranguing on internet" is pretty far down on his list of things to give a shit about. And if it adds even a .001% chance that he'll not make the same mistake twice -- on the exceedingly unlikely but nonetheless nonzero chance that some dude on a community blog managed to eHarangue him into thinking twice, or at the very very least wrapping it up -- it's absolutely worth it, and I'd do it again in a heartbeat. Think those are long odds, that my (admittedly mildly abrasive) advice will make any difference? So are the odds of a false negative, but he's still clearly concerned about that, so I think my logic holds up too.

(Also, first callout ^_^ Must have been a slow Friday if this warrants handwringing.)
posted by Damn That Television at 6:08 PM on October 16, 2009


(Also, BP, I do totally agree with you that the first part of my answer -- had it not also been factual and addressing what he specifically asked -- would have been totally out of line.)
posted by Damn That Television at 6:12 PM on October 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Damn That Television writes "When you go to the doctor and say 'I had unprotected sex with a girl who turned out to have an STD at the time oh god oh god give me a blood test,' guess what most doctors do? Hint: Basically exactly what I did. Spoiler: Basically exactly what I did. Answer: They tell you not to fucking do it again."

Only problem is, and I know for people without insurance this can be hard to differentiate, AskMe is not a doctor's office and commenters are not the OP's doctor.
posted by Mitheral at 6:14 PM on October 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


(And one last aside: anonymous, if you need/want someone to talk to about the anxiety of blood test results, mefimail me and your anonymity is guaranteed. And I promise I won't just copy/paste "U MADE A MISTAKE, ROFL" over and over, either.)
posted by Damn That Television at 6:14 PM on October 16, 2009


Maybe I'm the very first person to tell him that what he did was a fucking mistake!

Er, no. It takes a weird kind of blindness not to see that the poster understands it was a mistake. Dial it down a notch, please. Anyone who's worked in HIV/AIDS education should know that "YOU MADE A FUCKING MISTAKE!@!" is absurdly unhelpful in this situation.
posted by mediareport at 6:24 PM on October 16, 2009 [4 favorites]


anonymous, if you need/want someone to talk to about the anxiety of blood test results, mefimail me and your anonymity is guaranteed. And I promise I won't just copy/paste "U MADE A MISTAKE, ROFL" over and over, either.

You've probably already lost him. Let the adults handle this.
posted by mediareport at 6:25 PM on October 16, 2009 [4 favorites]


Anon says: Incredibly stupid of me, something I had never done before, and very out of character. I had no exposures since.

I'm looking and looking here for where he skips the part about having made a mistake, or where he doesn't recognize that he did a dumb and dangerous thing. But he seems to have covered those.

Damn That Television, I'm sorry that you witnessed such incredibly irresponsible behavior among your circle of acquaintances, but it really sounds like your dumping old baggage on someone who doesn't deserve it, and for whom that sort of haranguing is unlikely to reach, since he's already freaked out, ashamed, and has gotten tested. He's not the guy who should be your target.
posted by rtha at 6:38 PM on October 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Anyone who's worked in HIV/AIDS education should know that "YOU MADE A FUCKING MISTAKE!@!" is absurdly unhelpful in this situation.

Sorry, Damn That TV never said he worked in AIDS education (it's kind of obvious he hasn't, actually). But the point remains: Anyone with half a brain on these issues knows that "YOU MADE A TERRIBLE MISTAKE!@!" is among the dumbest ways to respond to a person in crisis.
posted by mediareport at 6:44 PM on October 16, 2009 [4 favorites]


Oh god. "Your" should be "you're."
posted by rtha at 7:28 PM on October 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


(Also, first callout ^_^ Must have been a slow Friday if this warrants handwringing.)

Not at all, you answered that like a sanctimonious asshole. Your own personal backstory is completely irrelevant. Your answer should be deleted. I'd give you a timeout as well if it were up to me.
posted by Rumple at 7:42 PM on October 16, 2009 [3 favorites]


this is a thing with mefi that saddens me, sometimes. this kind of "oh no, you don't get let off that easy just for admitting you fucked up" thing. as though people, deprived of real righteous and satisfying judgement, need to keep. hammering. it home. and when confronted with actual apology/acknowledgement/regret, some folks have to blow it up, make it seem supernaturally large. as though no apology in the world could ever cover the magnitude of their fuck up. it depresses the shit out of me when I see it happen, though I have, no doubt, done it myself.
posted by shmegegge at 8:13 PM on October 16, 2009 [4 favorites]


Damn That Television: "I don't give a fuck (actually I give .00003% of a fuck) if you think it was rude."

this is a shock to me. I couldn't have guessed.

consider me further shocked to discover that askme's guidelines did not deter you, either.
posted by shmegegge at 8:15 PM on October 16, 2009


Mitheral: "googly writes "I think that the comment that repeats 'Don't ever have unprotected sex without knowing your partner's sexual status again' six times is worth deleting."

The repeating things multiple times meme is about as helpful as DTMFA as far as askme answers go.
"

QFT.
posted by IndigoRain at 9:20 PM on October 16, 2009


No-one should go into that AskMe just to feed his panic. Answers like "yes, you are right to worry", "yes, your anxiety is rational," etc. are terrible. The poster has no reason to panic; hell, even if he had AIDS, panicking still wouldn't do him any good, and it looks pretty certain that he doesn't have AIDS. Unless you have relevant factual information to give him or can say something to help him calm down, you have no business answering that particular question. This answer particularly got on my nerves, essentially saying: you should keep panicking, the panic is edifying.
posted by creasy boy at 12:49 AM on October 17, 2009


Of course I meant HIV, not AIDS, but otherwise the point stands.
posted by creasy boy at 12:55 AM on October 17, 2009


AskMe is not a doctor's office and commenters are not the OP's doctor.

But even if it were, most doctors don't get in a patient's face and repeatedly state the obvious. Most doctors don't get in a patient's face and repeatedly state the obvious. Most doctors don't get in a patient's face and repeatedly state the obvious. Most doctors don't get in a patient's face and repeatedly state the obvious. Most doctors don't get in a patient's face and repeatedly state the obvious.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 6:45 AM on October 17, 2009 [8 favorites]


I know guys and girls who probably infected dozens (yes I do) of other people because of their own ignorance, idiocy, denial and the culture of fear in this country when it comes to talking frankly about HIV.

You're lying.
posted by OmieWise at 7:25 AM on October 17, 2009


It's a little difficult with these sorts of questions. The basic question/request is "help me not feel so crazy about this" which is sort of a "validate my emotions" thing. I mean, it's not really, but it sort of is. But then there's the general "Am I being crazy for no reason?" coda which pretty much opens the door to "no, you might have a disease that will kill you" responses. It's hard to figure out what's on topic and what's off topic, but I can say two things.

- hectoring someone because you think maybe somehow in their entire life they have missed the "You really need to wear a seatbelt next time" sort of safety message isn't really okay or a good way to answer the question
- questions that are basically "I did a dumb thing and am freaking out" [we see this a lot with speeding tickets] tend not to go well here
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:12 AM on October 17, 2009


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