MeepFilter December 13, 2009 12:38 PM   Subscribe

Congratulations to emelenjr and No-sword, whose comments (1 and 2) in scalefree's post on the school that banned "Meep" were quoted in celebrity lexicographer Erin McKean's column on the subject in the Boston Globe today.
posted by l33tpolicywonk to MetaFilter-Related at 12:38 PM (51 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Isn't Erin "MeFi's own"? Searching.....
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:42 PM on December 13, 2009


"who encouraged others to meep-roll the school administrators."

I am simultaneously heartened and disturbed to see an internet meme become so widespread that newspaper columnists reference it without explanation.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:51 PM on December 13, 2009 [5 favorites]


Erin is definitely in the vicinity, at least. I don't recall if she has an active account.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:14 PM on December 13, 2009


Which explanation? Rick-roll? Then you'd need to explain that with the Duck-roll, and then explain 2chan to a mainstream American readership. The pitchforks and torches would be sold out at the Home Depot by mid-afternoon.
posted by Slap*Happy at 1:16 PM on December 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


Well, my point was that rickrolling is mainstream- so well known that it can simply be referenced in mass media. It reminds me of Ezra Klein's "Khalid Sheik Mohammed Is Not the Master of Magnetism" where he talks about how terror suspects aren't superhuman beings who are going to go on indestructible rampages in court. Sure, I like the article and agree with the point, but omg Magneto is now mainstream enough to just be referenced like anything else, nerds win, nerds win!
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:28 PM on December 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


Well, my point was that rickrolling is mainstream- so well known that it can simply be referenced in mass media.

Just how mainstream? This is pretty f'ing mainstream.
posted by hippybear at 1:44 PM on December 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


I cannot believe that nobody in the original thread pointed out that the meep shall inherit the zorp.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 1:59 PM on December 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


This was a lovely article but I wish Erin McKean had attributed the comments to No-sword and emelenjr. Then again, that seems to be fairly standard in the news media so for all I know her attributions were taken out by an editor.
posted by Kattullus at 2:05 PM on December 13, 2009


McKean was the subject of this post and was mentioned on this MeFi podcast.
posted by beagle at 2:15 PM on December 13, 2009


Pope Guilty: "I am simultaneously heartened and disturbed to see an internet meme become so widespread that newspaper columnists reference it without explanation."

The Boston Globe is a relatively with-it newspaper. The Ideas section is probably the most with-it section. (Not to mention that McKean's "The Word" column is the first thing I read on Sundays when I open up the Globe.) Note that she also didn't need to explain much about "sheeple" when quoting No-sword, which is significantly less mainstreamed than Rick Rolling.
posted by Plutor at 2:40 PM on December 13, 2009


I am simultaneously heartened and disturbed to see an internet meme become so widespread

This is actually HOW they become widespread. Nerds get writing jobs, make sekrit-handshake references which can then be quoted in Wikipedia, completing the circuit. Win!
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:49 PM on December 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


Oh this is just marvelous. Thanks for this catch, l33tpolicywonk.
posted by scalefree at 2:58 PM on December 13, 2009


My goodness. Why did I not know about Erin McKean before? Her columns in the Word are fantastic, and that Google talk has been really interesting so far. I think I'm a little bit in love.
posted by Caduceus at 3:27 PM on December 13, 2009


See also.
posted by Ouisch at 3:44 PM on December 13, 2009


Oh! I know emelenjr! That means I'm famous by association!

Meep yes!
posted by Mikey-San at 4:14 PM on December 13, 2009


I would not have gotten the "Master of Magnetism" ref without this hint. Does that make me a non-nerd...or am I so nerdy that I eschew even comic book pop culture?
posted by DU at 4:29 PM on December 13, 2009


Huh. How about that.
posted by emelenjr at 4:31 PM on December 13, 2009


This was a lovely article but I wish Erin McKean had attributed the comments to No-sword and emelenjr. Then again, that seems to be fairly standard in the news media so for all I know her attributions were taken out by an editor.

Not to start an argument in such a lovely thread, but... I was on the side of bloggers, of course, when they (we) complained that newspapers were lifting their material without attribution, or attributed to "a blogger". But as a journalist it irritates me mildly when even an attribution like "one commenter on the popular discussion site Metafilter" isn't accepted as adequate. McKean's job is to write readably and informatively, with the basic minimum level of attributions to show where she's getting her material from. Adding commenters' usernames (and then explaining to the uninitiated that these were "internet usernames", etc) would make her column worse, not better...
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 4:35 PM on December 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


In French there is a word for things that students do as a group to annoy their teachers. The verb is chahuter, the noun is le chahut. We need something like this in English.

These bloody kids are all in cahoots.
posted by flabdablet at 4:49 PM on December 13, 2009 [4 favorites]


In French there is a word for things that students do as a group to annoy their teachers. The verb is chahuter, the noun is le chahut. We need something like this in English.

Bratsourcing.
posted by Mikey-San at 5:08 PM on December 13, 2009


I wrote letters to pretty much everyone involved in this. I suggested to the principal that the assistant principal should be promoted, thanked the principal for sticking to his principles (even though it had to feel like he'd stepped on his meeping dick) and wrote the superintendent and said I hoped these two guys were worth becoming an international laughingstock over.

I did quite a bit of research into this whole thing. Danvers is a pretty fucked up town. I believe they may have even been a metafilter subject before. The Suspended Cheerleaders story was even more interested than the whole meeping.

Here's the letter I sent the attorney in question:
Theodora K. Michaels
c/o [Redacted]

Dear Theodora K. Michaels,

Meep! The meeping meeper is meeped.

Meeply,

Christopher L. Jorgensen

p.s. meep.
The other letters are way too long. Sadly, no one replied.
posted by cjorgensen at 5:35 PM on December 13, 2009


Congrat's, guys.
posted by Damn That Television at 5:38 PM on December 13, 2009


erin is awesome
posted by neustile at 5:40 PM on December 13, 2009


Celebrity lexicographer?
Is that person who is a celebrity because of editing dictionaries well?
Or is it a person who edits dictionaries for celebrities?
posted by demiurge at 6:22 PM on December 13, 2009


cjorgensen: Did Matt ever write back to you?
posted by fixedgear at 6:31 PM on December 13, 2009


Unfortunately thebestsophist's comment did not get mentioned, even though it was awesome.
posted by odinsdream at 6:40 PM on December 13, 2009


game warden to the events rhino: Not to start an argument in such a lovely thread

Don't worry, I'm not gonna start throwing around invective about proper attribution style. I much prefer it when journalists say explicitly who they're quoting. To be honest I'd even much prefer if she'd used their real names as well as the usernames.
posted by Kattullus at 7:00 PM on December 13, 2009


I'd even much prefer if she'd used their real names as well as the usernames.

Which gets into dodgier territory since real names might or might not be information that's available to the general public. I realize it's the slimmest of edge cases, but if Erin were a MeFite [looks like she may not be] and saw someone's real name on their profile page and paired it with their username, that would be sort of a Bad Thing, potentially. So, I know this is pretty lateral to the idea of "how to cite Weretable and the Undead Chairs appropriately" but it probably plays into it somehow.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:14 PM on December 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Both their names are visible to people not logged in, though for one's full name you have to click through to his website. As far as I know the Name field has always been visible to everyone, so their real names are already paired with their usernames.
posted by Kattullus at 7:47 PM on December 13, 2009


fixedgear, only sort of. I finally broke down and sent him an email to ask if he'd even gotten the letter. I took Matt's address from his whois info, and those aren't always accurate. That letter is a bit funnier on paper (in my mind) since I included broken html on the page on purpose.

He did respond to my email and said he didn't have any of the original meta shirts left, and he did get the letter. I have no idea what he really thought of the whole thing.

I dropped Erin McKean an email pointing her to this thread, and sent her the letters I'd written to the meepers, but sadly, this ruins her as a target.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:08 PM on December 13, 2009


Oh, and I finally did get the shirt. I've worn it 4 times! The day of my surgery, Halloween, and two Fridays since then. I'm still waiting for a stranger to get it.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:09 PM on December 13, 2009


Both their names are visible to people not logged in, though for one's full name you have to click through to his website. As far as I know the Name field has always been visible to everyone, so their real names are already paired with their usernames.

Not according to search engines, however. Those pages aren't indexed; if that's the only direct connection of the one to the other, that connection functionally doesn't exist in a general search sense.

Like jess said, it's a slim distinction, but it's a distinction no less.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:14 PM on December 13, 2009


cortex: Like jess said, it's a slim distinction, but it's a distinction no less.

Oh hey, I misread what jessamyn said. I recognize that distinction completely. I thought she was talking about a hypothetical situation where McKean had used her MeFite status to get hidden profile information and shared that in a public forum. Of course, if McKean were a MeFite she could've MeMailed emelenjr and No-sword and asked how they wanted to be attributed. I realize that not every journalist can get in touch with everyone they quote, though.
posted by Kattullus at 8:34 PM on December 13, 2009


I think she was actually saying that, and that you read her correctly; my "like jess said" is a little confusing, I guess, but I was referring to the idea of slim distinction rather than to the idea of precisely what she conveyed. Basically, two different but related issues both having to do with the odd case of accidentally- or intentionally-permeable privacy barriers on mefi.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:42 PM on December 13, 2009


what cortex said.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:56 PM on December 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah, how online identities link with meatspace identities is a thorny issue. I've had my Kattullus identity interface weirdly with being Kári Tulinius on occasions and sometimes I wish I'd simply always used Kári Tulinius online, though that would've been impossible in the 7 bit ASCII days of yore. That said, the first Google result for either is the other. If Google's new personalization hasn't changed that for people who aren't me, that is.
posted by Kattullus at 9:00 PM on December 13, 2009


Oh hey, Erin dropped me an email. She's got an ancient account but I don't think it's linked to her real-life life. Anyhow, she passed along a few comments
-- I totally thought my editor was going to query "meep-roll" and feel as though I got away with something by getting it into the Globe.

-- I've been working off the idea (can't really call it a policy) that if you use something that looks like a Real Name on the internets you don't mind being quoted under it, but if you use a pseud you may or may not want to have your comments directly attributed, so better to err on the side of vague. And as "game warden to the events rhino" (wonderful name!) pointed out, there was a better-than-even chance it would have been edited down/simplified anyway. 800 words is a lot smaller than it sounds.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:08 PM on December 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


"I've been working off the idea (can't really call it a policy) that if you use something that looks like a Real Name on the internets you don't mind being quoted under it, but if you use a pseud you may or may not want to have your comments directly attributed, so better to err on the side of vague."

That's a perfectly reasonable guideline. In fact, I may adopt this in the future when writing articles and essays.
posted by Kattullus at 10:01 PM on December 13, 2009


is this the Erin from Dress A Day?
posted by Juicy Avenger at 10:08 PM on December 13, 2009


is this the Erin from Dress A Day?

It certainly is.
posted by chorltonmeateater at 2:57 AM on December 14, 2009


I did quite a bit of research into this whole thing. Danvers is a pretty fucked up town. I believe they may have even been a metafilter subject before.

I made an FPP about the former asylum there in June.
posted by zarq at 7:12 AM on December 14, 2009


The best meep-related comment ever
posted by TedW at 7:49 AM on December 14, 2009


I would not have gotten the "Master of Magnetism" ref without this hint. Does that make me a non-nerd...or am I so nerdy that I eschew even comic book pop culture?
posted by DU


The article itself has a picture from the X-Men movie so even double-un-nerds who don't even know X-Men is a comic book can get in on the action.
posted by haveanicesummer at 7:54 AM on December 14, 2009

I've been working off the idea (can't really call it a policy) that if you use something that looks like a Real Name on the internets you don't mind being quoted under it, but if you use a pseud you may or may not want to have your comments directly attributed, so better to err on the side of vague.
I find this idea offensive. If I wanted an anonymous comment I'd make a throwaway account. If I wanted a pseudonymous comment I'd not use my real name.

Signed,
vsync
And as "game warden to the events rhino" (wonderful name!) pointed out, there was a better-than-even chance it would have been edited down/simplified anyway. 800 words is a lot smaller than it sounds.
Why are explanations (as someone else suggested) necessary? Just put the username in quotes as you've done here.

And, since when is attribution ever optional in journalism? Last time I read a journalism textbook it was pretty explicit that sourcing each and every fact and quotation was of prime importance.
posted by vsync at 3:41 PM on December 14, 2009


If I wanted an anonymous comment I'd make a throwaway account. If I wanted a pseudonymous comment I'd not use my real name.

But your (I assume) real name is three clicks away from your pseudonym. How would you feel if someone used both when you've gone to at least some trouble to distance the two?

I totally appreciate this personally [says the person whose real name and user name are basically the same] but I know we have users for whom this is not at all clear, or who come to the whole pseudonymity thing later, and yet get tripped up by a link to their pseudonym and real name from a long time ago. It's tough to tell, for people who keep them sort of separate, just how separate they are or why they might care until something happens and they do care, suddenly.

Taken out of context the amount of real name vs. not-real-name can be hard to understand [we have users here who have MeFi handles that seem like real names until you realize that their actual name is totally different] and I think erring on the side of caution isn't a bad idea generally.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:20 PM on December 14, 2009


Languagehat summoned me! Thanks for the meta-shoutout, l33tpolicywonk. I'd just like everyone to know that although all this publicity has been a wild ride, I'm still the same old No-sword as before. It's just that now you need an appointment to talk to me, and may not look directly at me or mention ANY FOODS THAT ARE YELLOW in my presence. I cannot stress that last one enough: NO YELLOW FOOD TALK, EVER. TIA.
posted by No-sword at 7:33 PM on December 14, 2009


Not even mustard? What if it's the good kind that's more of a goldenrod than yellow?
posted by Kattullus at 8:03 PM on December 14, 2009


Flagged as "Insufficiently respectful of Mr No-sword."
posted by No-sword at 8:30 PM on December 14, 2009


Aw, I miss the old No-sword.
posted by misozaki at 8:37 PM on December 14, 2009


Flagged as "Loyal, straight-talking friend from my rural home town on whose support I will rely to escape from my self-destructive new lifestyle in the third act."
posted by No-sword at 8:51 PM on December 14, 2009


All requests for appointments with Mr. No-sword will henceforth go through me, and the standard waivers will need to be signed.
posted by languagehat at 5:59 AM on December 15, 2009


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