The AskMe thread on blood donation by gay men really needs a MeTa outlet. February 28, 2010 10:15 PM   Subscribe

The AskMe thread on blood donation by gay men needs a MeTa outlet.

The question: "Saying that you have had sex with a man ("even once") disqualifies you for blood donation most places. But I know I don't have HIV. Is it ethical to lie on the intake survey so I can still donate"

The answers have been heavily moderated. I've had the distinction of having my first and second deleted posts in this thread, and responses from many other people have been deleted too. The thread itself is engaging even though I don't agree with all of the responses. What I object to is the deletion policy which seems not to follow the stated principles. Even more, I object to my entire second post being deleted because part of it questioned the admin policies applied to the thread.

The post that initially inspired to write was from rr. S/he responded to afton, who pointed out that black people are statistically about as likely to be infected with HIV as men who have had sex with men. rr claimed that the intake questions regarding homosexual male sex and IV drug use screened out most people at risk of having HIV, and therefore questioning about race was unnecessary: citation.

I responded to rr saying that the data s/he linked to did not support that conclusion, because about 50% of people diagnosed with HIV each year are either African-American or gay men/IV drug users. Unless you claim that all people diagnosed with HIV are both black and gay/IV drug users, rr's claim does not stand. Also, it's advocating a bigoted position in place of a racist position. I said that HIV detection procedures are very good and that many people who engage in far riskier behavior are allowed to donate blood, and I ended by saying that it's time to end this piece of the Gay Panic.

That comment (and many others) were deleted, and jessamyn subsequently wrote "few comments removed - if you're not answering the OPs question, please take this to email or MeTa." But she didn't delete rr's comment or afton's comment which inspired rr's response. Neither addressed the original question.

After my first comment was deleted and I saw the not-consistent admin post, I posted again. This time I saved my response since I knew some admin would probably delete a comment which challenged their policies. My second response read:

"Jessamyn, your deletion policies are a bit capricious. You left several comments which provided no advice to the original poster and deleted comments which responded to factually incorrect statements in those responses. Inconsistency in deletions makes it look like AskMe is endorsing a particular viewpoint on a controversial issue.

My advice to the original poster is to think carefully about how likely it is that you might have HIV and not know it. This matters to you or else you wouldn't be asking this question. If you haven't engaged in risky behavior in the last 6 months and you've tested negative recently, you're doing more good for the world by lying to donating blood than you would by holding off. Blood screening procedures are very good and many people are allowed to donate who engage in far riskier behaviors than a man who keeps borderline paranoid sexual practices and gets tested regularly. You're doing nothing wrong by donating."

As I expected, instead of discussing in thread or even partially editing my response, the entire comment was deleted. Jessamyn sent me a message saying to take my complains to MeTalk or to repost the non-admin-criticizing portion of my response in the thread.

So, here's the MeTa thread. I would love to see the comments from people who were deleted from the original thread, whether or not you agree with me. This is an important issue and everybody deserves to have the chance to say their piece.

I'm deeply disappointed in MetaFilter as an organization. I had always seen it as a place where people could have discussions that couldn't happen many other places. This clearly isn't that place that I thought it was. Any site with selective and not-well-explained moderation policies (and where criticizing an admin is ground for deletion!) is not worth a huge energy investment from contributors.
posted by rhiannon to MetaFilter-Related at 10:15 PM (234 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

I saw that AskMe and knew there was going to be trouble of some kind. Its a sensitive subject that quickly enveloped many other sensitive subjects. I feel like Mods are sometimes placed in impossible situations where no matter what they do a significant portion of the community will be pissed off. They do nothing and a flame war/ derail happens. They moderate just a little bit too much and folks feel like they are left out of the discussion. The impossibility is that the golden mean is different for everyone.
posted by Glibpaxman at 10:32 PM on February 28, 2010 [6 favorites]


This time I saved my response since I knew some admin would probably delete a comment which challenged their policies.

That probably should have tipped you off that you shouldn't post it. Certainly knowingly making stunty extra-work-for-the-mods posts isn't helping the community either.

This clearly isn't that place that I thought it was.

Oh come on. The last time I used that one was with my high school girlfriend.

Look, I don't disagree that that thread is a mess and that perhaps there is a MeTa conversation to be had, but this is a really poorly formed MeTa and one that was posted with way too much revengy, look-at-what-they've-put-me-through overtones than was necessary, and hence I feel that this will probably not go very well. And I think you probably knew that when you posted it.
posted by Lutoslawski at 10:37 PM on February 28, 2010 [11 favorites]


As I expected, instead of discussing in thread or even partially editing my response, the entire comment was deleted.

As a general rule, the mods are extremely reluctant to edit comments, aside from fixing the occasional formatting error. And responding to your comments in the thread itself would be even more off-topic.

Jessamyn sent me a message saying to take my complains to MeTalk or to repost the non-admin-criticizing portion of my response in the thread.

The AskMe guidelines (which I'm sure you're familiar with, having been here much longer than me) are pretty clear that comments are supposed to answer the question. Given that you were invited to repost the relevant part of your material to AskMe and the non-relevant part here, I'm not sure why you seem to think the admins are trying to suppress your opinion.

(and where criticizing an admin is ground for deletion!)

I suspect you're misinterpreting the situation.
posted by teraflop at 10:37 PM on February 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


i vote this thread gets closed before feelings get hurt and unsayable stuff gets said.

milk and cookies all around. and a hug.
posted by dunkadunc at 10:41 PM on February 28, 2010 [5 favorites]


Criticizing an admin on askme is grounds for deletion unless the question is about said admin.
posted by qvantamon at 10:44 PM on February 28, 2010


Criticizing another poster/answerer, mod or not, is not an answer to the post's question, though. Which is the point of AskMe. Which is why those comments get deleted. Which is not a super complicated system to understand. It's like wearing a bathing suit to the opera--it just is not appropriate for the setting, which is why your comments got deleted and/or why you got kicked out of the opera.
posted by so_gracefully at 10:51 PM on February 28, 2010


Wow, you've been here since 2004 and you think this is a good idea for a MeTa?

Yeesh.
posted by paisley henosis at 11:04 PM on February 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


dude, you've been here longer than I have. How have you not yet figured shit out? You'd already been told to shut up or take it to Meta and you posted your crap anyway? Christ.
posted by jacalata at 11:06 PM on February 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


@gtibpaxman: I agree. Being a mod of a this site must be incredibly difficult. They are doing such a good job that many people, including me, keep reading for several years. However, I think the conversations inspired by these threads are sometimes important enough to engage and provoke the inevitable kneejerk responses.

@teraflop: I'm not misinterpreting the situation. Here is the rest of the message from Jessamyn:

"If you want to take this to MeTa, feel free. I have been on an airplane most of the day and doing the best I can with what limited time I have. I do not know why cortex hasn't been around, but he hasn't. Here is your comment. If you want to repost it without the mod aside, please do, but that sort of stuff really needs to stay in MeTa or email."

I'm not misinterpreting the message. The point is that posters are not allowed to question inconsistent standard of moderation directly on AskMe. So, I posted and questioned here.
posted by rhiannon at 11:06 PM on February 28, 2010


If you shoot up. but you don't share needles -- or if you just share occasionally, but haven't done so in the last six months -- you should feel free to donate blood as well. Heroin addicts get a bad rap, so surreptitiously donating blood is bound to reduce stigma and improve our public image.

A tip: to prevent the phlebotomists from seeing your track marks, take up injecting in the eyeball.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:08 PM on February 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


Rhiannon, reposting Mefi Mail without permission is also a significant no-no. Did the thread need an outlet, or did you?
posted by liketitanic at 11:10 PM on February 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


Your first comment might have been a casualty of other, more over-the-top comments and that doesn't reflect on you at all, yours just happen to have a place in the conversation that went too far and therefore got excised along with the other, less helpful comments. The second comment was straight-up noise.

Oh, and the whole "Jessamyn, your deletion policies are a bit capricious" business is silly. Your comment got deleted. It's happened to most users and there's no particular shame in it. Calling a mod's character into question is only going to inflame the situation.

"This is an important issue and everybody deserves to have the chance to say their piece." Yeah, but AskMe isn't a forum for free-form conversations, it's a utility for answering people's questions. The rest of the site is a forum for free-form conversations, but AskMe isn't, and hasn't been since early on in its history.

And if you honestly want a conversation about this issue, don't wrap it up in site policy critique. MetaTalk's primary function is site policy discussion so anything that invokes that will have that as the primary topic of discussion.
posted by Kattullus at 11:12 PM on February 28, 2010 [5 favorites]


As I expected, instead of discussing in thread or even partially editing my response, the entire comment was deleted. Jessamyn sent me a message saying to take my complains to MeTalk or to repost the non-admin-criticizing portion of my response in the thread.

And instead you wrote a 700-word Metatalk post. So it's more important to bitch about the mods than to make a useful contribution to the thread?

The point is that posters are not allowed to question inconsistent standard of moderation directly on AskMe

You're not allowed to do anything on AskMe except answer the fucking question. That's why it's the best thing on the Internet.
posted by nicwolff at 11:13 PM on February 28, 2010 [25 favorites]


rhiannon: “I'm deeply disappointed in MetaFilter as an organization. I had always seen it as a place where people could have discussions that couldn't happen many other places. This clearly isn't that place that I thought it was. Any site with selective and not-well-explained moderation policies (and where criticizing an admin is ground for deletion!) is not worth a huge energy investment from contributors.”

Have a gander at the FAQ – a clear, careful explanation of the moderation policies, mind you – and then come back here and complain, okay? And while you're looking it over, you might ponder this bit:
“Ask MetaFilter comments should address the question being asked. Common reasons for comment removal are wisecracks, derailing/ranting/axegrinding, picking a fight with or heavy chastising of the question asker, single word posts (yes, no, maybe &c.) and other non-answers that should probably be brought to MetaTalk.”
To wit: "non-answers that should probably be brought to MetaTalk" - like criticism of a moderator! - will be deleted from ask.metafilter. As always. Stated quite clearly. And that's how it should be.

I understand you're upset, but you shouldn't have used the thread as a soapbox to complain about deletion methods. People are asking about something as important as blood donation, so we shouldn't clog up the thread with arcane stuff like moderation policy complaints. And you might not have read the FAQ, but you can't complain that this policy isn't stated up-front.

Frankly, jessamyn was damned charitable there. You'll notice how careful she was there; she could have 'edited out' the unhelpful bit that didn't belong there - the part where you tried to turn it into a fight about moderation instead of a forum for answering the question - and left the rest of your comment. But the moderators here hate to do that, because it means changing people's words; and that's a whole lot worse than deletion. Note that she said you could repost your comment if you wanted to.

I know this feels like a very big deal to you right now, but the moderators here are a small, dedicated group of people - well, five people, to be exact, so you can remember them all: mathowie, jessamyn, cortex, vacapinta, and pb. It's not really an 'organization,' and while I know it may seem ominous to have your comments 'disappeared,' trust me: they think long and hard before they delete stuff, and they're very careful to preserve the openness and thoughtfulness of this forum.
posted by koeselitz at 11:15 PM on February 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I had always seen it as a place where people could have discussions that couldn't happen many other places.

As others have said above, ask is totally not the place for 'having a discussion'. It's about answering the question, which you were several steps removed from doing. Opening this meta is totally fine, this is the place to discuss moderation policies, but having comments deleted from ask that don't answer the question is totally normal and how it is done. So I really don't get the whole 'this isn't the place I thought it was' stuff.

I don't know if the other answers were off topic or not. Generally the start of a derail is closer to answering the question but the replies just get further and further away, so where to draw that deletion line is somewhat subjective. Personally I think the mods generally get it right, but maybe there is room to discuss. It's not going to happen in thread though, it never does.
posted by shelleycat at 11:16 PM on February 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


@paisley henosis, @katullus, Yeah. I've been here since 2004. And this was clealy one of the first issues that called me to speak out in a big way. What's your point? Do you think the value of a poster is somehow related to their user number? Do you not think that the policies against removing ALL non-OP AskMe responses should not be enforced?

I know good and well that my ability to participate in this site is ended by this MeTa post. It was important enough that I took the plunge anyway,
posted by rhiannon at 11:21 PM on February 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Please don't do that @username thing.
posted by Rhomboid at 11:25 PM on February 28, 2010 [31 favorites]


I know good and well that my ability to participate in this site is ended by this MeTa post.

Uh, what? Really no one cares about you that much that they're going to mark you down on a list or something. If disagreeing with the mods or being abrasive or saying something others don't like was all it took to stop someone being able to participate I'd be gone long ago. But firstly the mods have enough random users to deal with without keeping personal shit lists and secondly I'm not that interesting or important that anyone cares. And if they did, so what?

Your viewpoint is just as valid and worth stating now as it was last week and as it will be next month, so don't get all overly dramatic here.
posted by shelleycat at 11:25 PM on February 28, 2010 [5 favorites]


Oh geez. Yeah, rhiannon, you might not know this, but it's a pretty huge taboo here to repost private messages. Please don't do it. It violates the privacy that the person who sent you that message has a right to expect.

rhiannon: “Being a mod of a this site must be incredibly difficult. They are doing such a good job that many people, including me, keep reading for several years. However, I think the conversations inspired by these threads are sometimes important enough to engage and provoke the inevitable kneejerk responses.”

I have a feeling you've misunderstood a little bit the mission of ask.metafilter. It's not about inspiring interesting, thoughtful conversations. It's about answering the question. It's this single-minded, direct approach that keeps it to the standard of quality it's at. This is in some ways the hardest thing for people to understand about how ask works; we sometimes have great conversations, and those are a great side-benefit, but that's not the point of the whole thing. The point of the whole thing is to answer questions.

The main site of metafilter is also not solely geared toward conversation - it's about links, not conversation - but the rules are slightly more relaxed as far as provoking and engaging in interesting conversations. Maybe you'd be happier focusing less on the green and more on the blue, since that's more a forum for what you're wanting to do here, I think.
posted by koeselitz at 11:27 PM on February 28, 2010


Sorry, you're gonna get less sympathy from the audience here than a Christian at the Colosseum. How important your cause is does not justify rule-breaking nor whining. Thumbs down.
posted by klangklangston at 11:31 PM on February 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


rhiannon: “I know good and well that my ability to participate in this site is ended by this MeTa post. It was important enough that I took the plunge anyway”

Whoa - hold on! We've all had big crazy arguments on metatalk - it means nothing when all is said and done. When jessamyn deleted comments of yours, it was just business - she's deleted loads of mine, and we're friendly as can be, as far as I can tell. She really meant it when she suggested bringing it here; if you really wanted to talk about it, we should talk about it, so it's good you've done that.

I'm sure at least one of the mods will be here soon to comment on this, but expect that they won't try to burn you or anything. You're quite welcome here, seriously. Stick around. This is just a disagreement, eh?
posted by koeselitz at 11:34 PM on February 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


rhiannon, what people are trying to point out is that, having been here this long, there are certain things that people just take for granted that you would know, like the idea that AskMe is really not for conversation (hence a lot of chatfilter askmes get deleted), and that the whole point is to answer the question. The other thing would be knowing not to post memail without permission from the other party, which has been not okay since just about the minute memail was launched.
posted by Ghidorah at 11:37 PM on February 28, 2010


none of this is earth-shattering enough to quit contributing/participating over. please don't do that.

just note the style/rule boundaries that were a bad fit, adjust your approach, and go from there. folks have rebounded from far worse infractions/misunderstandings. truly!

now there's a MeTa outlet for the stuff over there that doesn't fit. now folks can just post answers in the thread and stop there. easy-peasy.
posted by batmonkey at 11:39 PM on February 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


also:

((((((((hug))))))))
posted by batmonkey at 11:40 PM on February 28, 2010 [6 favorites]


And, oh hell — your deleted post was wrong, both about what rr said and what it meant. rr said
The rules about MSM, IV drug use and high risk contacts (having heterosexual sex with someone who has sex with men or uses IV drugs) covers the vast, vast majority of black HIV cases
and since (per your citation) those rules cover all but 198 of the 43,766 adult cases newly diagnosed that year, they necessarily cover almost all the blacks.
posted by nicwolff at 11:42 PM on February 28, 2010


Do you think the value of a poster is somehow related to their user number?

Of course!

posted by armage USER #17403 at 4:41 PM on March 1

I AM NOT A NUMBER
posted by armage at 11:46 PM on February 28, 2010


...but seriously, calm down, step away from the computer, and think before making another comment or disabling your account. Acting in the heat of the moment is rarely a good thing on MetaTalk.
posted by armage at 11:47 PM on February 28, 2010


It seems to me that the mods left up the first two pieces of the argument and deleted the rest, thus leaving its conclusion as an exercise to the reader. Someone said A, someone else said not-A, and then the next person to say A got deleted, because that's where the derail takes place.

That being said, asking a question that includes the phrase "is it ethical" is practically a prescription for a metatalk thread. Of course it's ethical, or course it's not ethical, how can you be so irresponsible as to say it's ethical, who are you to tell me what's responsible, etc.
posted by bingo at 11:54 PM on February 28, 2010


@koseltiz: Thank you, that means more than I can adequately express i one sentence.

I really want to hear more from people that were deleted from this thread. THat is what is most important - to continue the conversation on this most crucial topi.c.
posted by rhiannon at 11:56 PM on February 28, 2010


rhiannon: Do you not think that the policies against removing ALL non-OP AskMe responses should not be enforced?

I'm sorry, rhiannon, I'm having a real hard time parsing this question.

Oh, and yeah, most people commenting in this thread, me included, have had MeTa posts that didn't go very well. On MetaFilter every time the sun comes up it's a Brand New Day.

I really want to hear more from people that were deleted from this thread. THat is what is most important - to continue the conversation on this most crucial topi.c.

Not all AskMe users read MetaTalk. I have posted a link to this thread in the AskMe thread to let people know.
posted by Kattullus at 12:01 AM on March 1, 2010


I think there is a discussion to be had about moderation policy in that thread but it's pretty clear now that that's not what rhiannon wants. Is metatalk the place to have random discussions about someone's pet hot button topic? (that was a serious question by the way)
posted by shelleycat at 12:03 AM on March 1, 2010


"I know good and well that my ability to participate in this site is ended by this MeTa post. It was important enough that I took the plunge anyway,"

Well, yeah, 'cause you've outed yourself as a self-important idjit and made me remember a terrible Fleetwood Mac song. Otherwise, you'd be fine.

Also, knock off the @replies. This isn't twitter; we don't have to talk at people here.
posted by klangklangston at 12:03 AM on March 1, 2010 [10 favorites]


i was disturbed by that thread...had some side conversations on twitter about how RAWRargGRRRRR it was making me. i had to finally just remove it from recent activity. the policy of the FDA is wrong and misguided and homophobic and safety theater at its dumbest. some responses in there are brain explodingly awful with their snideness and insinuations. it must be a hard line to draw for the mods, because it's a hard topic. i'm glad this metatalk is here for some of that extra conversation. i hope by morning it turns into an outlet for some of that instead of piling on the OP who maybe didn't approach this metatalk thread in the best way.

i totally called this hitting metatalk about 24 hours ago, though. so, if there's a mefi bingo board, i think i just got a square.
posted by nadawi at 12:17 AM on March 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


This is the one that will be different - at last, the sheeple will come to their senses, realise the capricious evils of MeFi moderation, rise up as one, overthrow the Cabal and institute the rule of the Saints and the New Millennium. No, really.
posted by Abiezer at 12:21 AM on March 1, 2010


klangklangston: "Also, knock off the @replies. This isn't twitter; we don't have to talk at people here."

This is almost unbearably in-group.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 12:25 AM on March 1, 2010 [8 favorites]


This is almost unbearably in-group.

More like a widespread, well discussed community norm since at least back when I joined.
posted by shelleycat at 12:29 AM on March 1, 2010 [7 favorites]


Also, knock off the @replies. This isn't twitter; we don't have to talk at people here.

Yeah what klang said, but allow me to say it thusly: "stop fucking doing that".
posted by mlis at 12:30 AM on March 1, 2010 [13 favorites]


This is almost unbearably in-group.

It's kind of been a norm everywhere on the 'net since, oh, forever. A bunch of twitter users shitting up other conversational media with conventions that only make sense when limited to txt length witticisms is the "unbearably in-group" bit.

Or shuld we use txtspk cnventns evrywhr bcus thyr popular on phones?
posted by rodgerd at 12:50 AM on March 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


I was told there would be milk, cookies, and hugs.
posted by crataegus at 12:50 AM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I was told there would be grar and pitchforks.
posted by iamabot at 12:55 AM on March 1, 2010 [6 favorites]


/me puts cookies on pitchforks

(ohnoes, i've used irc jargon, will they stone me??)
posted by nadawi at 12:57 AM on March 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


/me chucks stone

No, wait, I was just showing why you shouldn't emo...

/me is buried in rocks by mob
posted by rodgerd at 12:58 AM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


crataegus: I was told there would be milk, cookies, and hugs.

Milk and cookies!

"There are enough buses for everyone if the buses each make two trips."
posted by Kattullus at 1:06 AM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


*sets out barrel of pitch for torches to be dipped in*

*waves at iamabot*
posted by mlis at 1:11 AM on March 1, 2010


I'm not exactly crying a river, here. If you wanted to talk about blood donation, why was 3/4 of your screed devoted to the injustice you've suffered at the hands of angry mods? If it's so important, write up an interesting post on the blue about the issue; you'll get more people reading it, and more of the kind of responses you say that you want. And it will be in an arena where discussion and debate is encouraged, as opposed to ask mefi.
posted by smoke at 1:35 AM on March 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's kind of been a norm everywhere on the 'net since, oh, forever. A bunch of twitter users shitting up other conversational media with conventions that only make sense when limited to txt length witticisms is the "unbearably in-group" bit.

The @user convention predates Twitter by quite a bit. Not that I'm arguing it should be used here, but it's been common in many threadless forums and places like IRC.
posted by kmz at 1:49 AM on March 1, 2010 [5 favorites]


i've never understood why folks keep piling on after someone accepts they haven't handled something properly. baffles me.

even i've done it
posted by batmonkey at 2:03 AM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


A lot of things have been around longer than the places they got popularized. Right now, @person is synonymous with Twitter because it seems to have reached critical mass with that service's widespread adoption boom. It's reasonable to refer to it as "that talk-at-you-thing that came from Twitter".
posted by Mikey-San at 2:07 AM on March 1, 2010


batmonkey: i've never understood why folks keep piling on after someone accepts they haven't handled something properly

It's hard not to comment when one has engaged in a thread like this. Most everyone manages not to but enough people hang out here for a subset of them to not succeed in avoiding that trap. It's kinda like how if you have a large enough group of students in a class, someone will make the obvious, but wrong comment (that someone was often me).
posted by Kattullus at 2:11 AM on March 1, 2010


As I expected, instead of discussing in thread or even partially editing my response, the entire comment was deleted.

Well, I wasn't there to see any of this, and have no opinion about the central issues in the post, but I will comment on this bit.

MeFi as a whole takes what you write pretty seriously. People just go nuts about possible comment edits, even by the user him or herself, because they think it might be abused, never mind that this essentially never happens on fora that allow user edits. (Most of them do, in my experience.) The possibility that someone, somewhere, might change what they wrote and make later comments look somehow wrong or foolish just drives them up the wall. The chance of theoretical abuse, for them, trumps allowing what would be a very nice tool for improving MeFi's overall quality.

So, in that environment, the idea that mods could invisibly edit your comments, changing what you wrote, is likely to drive folks like that into fits of apoplexy. "That's not what I/he/she said!1!1oneone" And, well, I agree with them. I'd really like the ability to edit my posts for at least a day or two, and would never abuse it. But even Malor, Champion of Edits, would get pretty disgruntled if the mods were doing the editing for me without my permission. I'd much rather have the whole comment deleted.
posted by Malor at 4:04 AM on March 1, 2010


and where criticizing an admin is ground for deletion!








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Why does Jessamyn hate everything I put on AskMe (and probably me personally too)???


Dude these mods have nothing better to do than to sit around and totally legislate everything I write on this site in a completely hap-handed and flippant approach that reeks of double-standards and rules that are ineffectively implemented.

I mean, seriously, I don't care that it was a tl;dr relationshipfilter question that the mod had no interest in reading and scanning through every. single. goddam. repetitive. answer...I AM A SPECIAL SNOWFLAKE gawdammit and if I want to speculate on whether bears or monkeys would win in a battle for world domination - assuming all the humans were out of the picture...well, I'm gonna do that wherever I goddamn well please.

I suppose I don't really have much of a question here its more that I just want a forum to air all my grievances in and you know what? These selfish, hate-spewing mods WON'T EVEN GIVE ME THAT. I mean really, how hard could it be to create a whole gawdamn nother site to allow me to bitch at them about how unfair they treat me and how miserable it makes my life.

follow-up throwaway: omgstfualreadyruserious@gmail.com

posted by allkindsoftime to [human relations] (
admin hate selectivemoderation dudewtf monkeys bears whowouldwin )



(title: OK so it wasn't exactly an answer to the question or at all in line with the clearly published site rules at all but hear me out here...)


posted by allkindsoftime at 4:14 AM on March 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


well it looked right in the preview box dammit
posted by allkindsoftime at 4:16 AM on March 1, 2010


I find it very interesting that nine times out of ten, when someone is claiming they've been here for a long time, it's usually in the midst of a conversation about how they've just done something really staggeringly wrong FOR the site they're claiming they know so well. A curious thing, that.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:18 AM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sorry to contribute to the '@' digression:

Railing against '@' is a lost cause. You can rail at it, but a year from now most of us who initially we're like 'God, please no' will have given in. It's an easily scannable visual indicator someone is referencing your username, and it's faster than HTML formatting.

I'm not in love with it either, but it's not a winnable battle. I understand how internetty norms can chafe, as it took me a good ten years to use 'lol' and then only ironically, as I, too, am a snob.

But I'm also not crazy about how distaste for the convention is usually brought up as a way to dismiss someone's point, or to undermine it, by being bureaucratic about the way it was expressed.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 4:48 AM on March 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


An aside about that @reply thing: I primarily associate it with Gawker comments, which isn't any more pleasant of an association than Twitter.

Regardless, it's a convention that doesn't really serve any function here - you don't get a nice linkback to the comment you're replying to or anything - and in places where it's prevalent, I can deal with it, much in the same way I can deal with forums where it's common to write LOL or use animated emoticons or use signatures - either those seven-line multi-picture monstrosities that show up after every one of a user's posts, or the people who feel the need to physically append "-- Cheryl" after everything they type. I can deal with it all, but they all take away from a conversation's readability, and it's so nice to read a discussion without my eyes tripping over punctuation marks.

Eschewing the at symbol doesn't strike me as in-group. You join Twitter, or you comment on Gawker, and you quickly realize that the @reply is part of the group's grammar, and hitting the reply button automatically adds the @. You sign up here, and you notice that it's not commonly done and has no functionality, and you don't do it.

At-replies do trip me up when I read them here, though I choose to go on my merry way instead of jumping in all "arrrrgh this ain't Twitter" whenever I see them. I'm far outside whatever in-crowd might exist on Metafilter, but seeing the @ does almost reflexively flag a comment for me as "this user probably isn't very familiar with this site."

I'd rather not it become the norm here, but if it does I suppose I'll go gentle into that good @.
posted by Metroid Baby at 4:56 AM on March 1, 2010


"Jessamyn, your deletion policies are a bit capricious. You left several comments which provided no advice to the original poster and deleted comments which responded to factually incorrect statements in those responses. Inconsistency in deletions makes it look like AskMe is endorsing a particular viewpoint on a controversial issue"

I really have a hard time following the logic of your argument, and it seems much more as if you are angry about something other than the topic of this MetaTalk post. In particular, I don't understand your conclusion, which seems to be that because there's a specific and well-defined place to bring comments and concerns about things like site moderation, at any time of day or night, without reserve, that the mods here are unwilling to be criticized. That just makes no sense. There's no waiting period for MeTa, no one has to approve your post, there are no rules saying you cannot criticize mods or other members. AskMe, no the other hand, is more constrained because it has a particular purpose that is orthogonal to in-site criticism. Jessamyn specifically pointed this out to you, although with perhaps less particular care for connecting all the dots than you would like. In other words, she did not censor you, she told you that the place you had put your comment was inappropriate and told you where you could put it. I frankly can't even tell what the problem is.

Just because you aren't allowed to put your muddy boots on the kitchen counter doesn't mean we don't love you.
posted by OmieWise at 4:59 AM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Railing against '@' is a lost cause.

I'm not sure this is true. I think the use here has decreased recently, although this is only my anecdotal sense.
posted by OmieWise at 5:02 AM on March 1, 2010


I'm not sure this is true. I think the use here has decreased recently, although this is only my anecdotal sense.

I think I notice it more in AskMe, which seems to be new users' first stop, so I think from a cultural standpoint that's the gateway drug.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 5:05 AM on March 1, 2010


But I'm also not crazy about how distaste for the convention is usually brought up as a way to dismiss someone's point, or to undermine it, by being bureaucratic about the way it was expressed.

Well, it just seems odd that a user, whose point criticizes the community for not being what they thought it was, has been completely oblivious to a fairly obvious cultural norm. It lends bearing to the idea that the community isn't at fault, but rather the user isn't as entrenched in the overall culture of the website as they think they are.
posted by Hiker at 5:10 AM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


" I had always seen it as a place where people could have discussions that couldn't happen many other places."

That's not the purpose of Ask. Do not use Ask for that purpose. The value of Ask is elevated by a communal willingness not to use Ask for that purpose. Thank you for your understanding and generosity of spirit.

"not-well-explained moderation policies"

The policy has been, for the most part, "don't be a dick." I guess there's some minor subjectivity there, but our moderators all have pretty good judgement, so I don't see it as being a problem. I also don't think the community in general sees it as a problem. Being a dick covers nearly all of the valid reasons for content deletion. Close enough to "all" to have been a pretty good proxy for it these many years.

Personally, I expect the result of codifying the policies to be that a bunch of assholes will try to justify their outlier behaviors by becoming rules lawyers and pointing loudly at the policies that don't explicitly mention their specific favorite flavor of disruptivity. I'm not particularly looking forward to the fallout from the upcoming TOS thing, not least because it will provoke a certain population to act out even more.
posted by majick at 5:11 AM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


A Terrible Llama: “Railing against '@' is a lost cause. You can rail at it, but a year from now most of us who initially we're like 'God, please no' will have given in. It's an easily scannable visual indicator someone is referencing your username, and it's faster than HTML formatting.”

It's not a bad convention because it chafes. It's a bad convention because it confuses people, even people who are vaguely aware of what it means. And because it serves no purpose whatsoever. A Terrible Llama, I'm sure you're aware of that. See what I just did there? It made sense, didn't it? I used your username. If I want to get even more fancy and bullet-point about it, I can paragraph break and use a colon, like this

A Terrible Llama: doesn't this make sense?

or a dash, like this:

A Terrible Llama - isn't this clear?

See, there are many ways to address someone that make perfect sense to people and aren't as visually jarring or as confusing as the @ sign. There's no way to pronounce the @ sign except "at," so it destroys the natural linguistic flow; I think that's why it's often so confusing to people. It's interesting to me because I think Twitter people actually misuse and misunderstand it; it's really more of a marker for the Twitter interface to connect comments, not a linguistic character, but people have adopted it into their commenting, even with people who have no earthly idea what they mean.

I don't think the @ sign will continue to spread, though. I really do feel as though Twitter has reached that critical mass where it probably can't grow more; and even at this point, the number of people who actually use @ in online conversation seems pretty small. It really is just a cliquish way to talk to people that is confusing enough that it'll die out soon enough, methinks. It's mostly jarring to some of us because it totally leaves out the chunk of people who aren't on Twitter - and I think there are more non-Twitter people on Metafilter than there are elsewhere on the internet. But please note that even Twitter people don't normally talk like that in online forums - they just do it on Twitter. So I don't think this will become any more common than it already is.
posted by koeselitz at 5:30 AM on March 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


It's like we're determined to kill the schmoopy, and then keep killing it. I'd hoped it would be revived by grouse's cookie meTa, but apparently the GRAR is too strong.
posted by rtha at 5:44 AM on March 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


Yeah, things have been very ridiculous lately, even by our standards.
posted by Kattullus at 5:47 AM on March 1, 2010


It's a long winter.
posted by smackfu at 5:55 AM on March 1, 2010


koeselitz: the other point about the @ stuff is that most Twitter clients (including twitter.com itself) doesn't require the user to actually type "@(whomever)"; it fills it in automatically for you when you click reply, so I don't buy the "but Twitter made me do it!" argument, because it's not like it's a muscle-memory thing for most folks.

And yes, I've definitely seen it in the comments section of various blogs, and the convention does predate twitter, but ten minutes of browsing on any random thread anywhere on this site will show you that it's not the convention here. No need to change that, in my opinion.
posted by shiu mai baby at 5:59 AM on March 1, 2010


I'm not sure how this became all about the @, but I'll join in to say that I dislike it's use in this way, and I hope it doesn't become a convention here.
posted by Forktine at 6:06 AM on March 1, 2010


i don't mind the @ - i don't use it, but i don't feel there's anything wrong with it
posted by pyramid termite at 6:10 AM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I object to my entire second post being deleted because part of it questioned the admin policies applied to the thread.

Honestly, I wish that thread had come to MeTa long before you left your comment rhiannon. Rarely do I have to make more than one pass through an AskMe thread that is having a rough time and I can't remember the time I've had to make three and still see people fighting with each other in the thread and ignoring the OPs question.

I understand that a question like that one is not so black and white, but there were a lot of comments that were some variation of "This makes me SO ANGRY" that didn't even begin to address the question and yeah, I was having a long frustrating day. So my apologies for being a little short with you, but maybe you've noticed MeTa has been a bit of a fighty mess lately. This is, of course, not your specific responsibility, but I felt that I went out of my way to contact you, be polite to you, copy/paste your comment so that you could repost it in a timely fashion, and explain what the issue was.

So, I'm sorry that this didn't go more smoothly, but as far as policies and their implementation go, this was pretty much textbook. I hope others will follow your lead and take their extended discussion about the Red Cross and the FDA and their blood bank policies here. I was pleasantly surprised to learn from that thread that their policy towards haiti has actually changed over time, perhaps this will too.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:11 AM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Criticizing another poster/answerer, mod or not, is not an answer to the post's question, though. Which is the point of AskMe. -- posted by so_gracefully

I might be wrong about the communities understanding of this, but in some cases it does seem pretty appropriate to inform the asker that an answer is incorrect or misinformed.

Take, for example, a case in which someone asks "I've got this horrible stain on my kitchen counter, how do I get rid of it?" and someone answers "Oh, just mixed together ammonia and bleach, that will clean anything!"

I think it would be totally appropriate for someone to mention in the thread that following that answers advice will kill you.
posted by arcolz at 6:33 AM on March 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Actually, just a few days ago GMHC (Gay Men's Health Crisis) released a report on the gay men blood donation ban calling for various common sense solutions.
posted by Kattullus at 6:35 AM on March 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Corrections are totally okay. "Your assumptions/information may be incorrect" is likewise okay. Saying "This is a bad question and you are a bad question for asking it" not really okay. Likewise answers that are just basically "This makes me so angry" while understandable, are not okay.

We ask people to be constructive and to be addressing the question. Taking a side issue and turning it into a back and forth with the other commenters, if it's not relevant to the main question, is something that is more usefully taken to email. And we know this is a little tough sometimes and that people feel that the lines are fuzzy which is why we're glad to have MeTa as a backup and why we try to leave admin notes keeping things on track.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:37 AM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I might be wrong about the communities understanding of this, but in some cases it does seem pretty appropriate to inform the asker that an answer is incorrect or misinformed. Take, for example, a case in which someone asks "I've got this horrible stain on my kitchen counter, how do I get rid of it?" and someone answers "Oh, just mixed together ammonia and bleach, that will clean anything!" I think it would be totally appropriate for someone to mention in the thread that following that answers advice will kill you.

A correction like that, yes -- but I've felt it helpful to follow up a correction like that with my own answer as well ("Actually, ammonia and bleach is very dangerous. However, I've had great success with baking soda and a kitchen sponge.") so it corrects the dangerous but still answers the question.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:42 AM on March 1, 2010


And as jessamyn just pointed out, "grrr, people who keep talking about ammonia and bleach are IDIOTS!" or "arg, they should make non-staining kitchen counters!" are NEITHER answers or corrections to an existing answer.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:43 AM on March 1, 2010


A Terrible Llama, I'm sure you're aware of that. See what I just did there?

Yeah, but 'A Terrible Llama' is kind of weird and visually jarring no matter where you put it. In a really long thread, I think @username is easier to pick out. I like the Mefi convention of italicized comments in responses a lot; I've always thought that worked really well and was nicely grounding since Metafilter doesn't do multi-threaded comments (and THANK YOU METAFILTER for that one.)

You might be right though, maybe it'll die out. I thought that about emoticons, though, and 'lol'. I guess those terms have legs if they have utility, that's how 'proactive' nearly killed me in 1995. They're all still kicking around though.

Anyway, just saying. I'm not an @ user and only just started using Twitter, but I also don't think it's a big deal.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 6:48 AM on March 1, 2010


Koeslitz and I once had an argument like this about Leo Strauss in an unrelated thread but nobody gave a crap.

I'd like to take this opportunity to point out that I was right.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:52 AM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's a long winter.

The snow is melting! The crocuses are coming out! It may be time to select a new sacriiiiii-----Special King For A Day! Weave blue flowers into their hair and sit them atop the server chanting "RENEW! RENEW! RENEW!" until the Winter Grar is defeated by the sunshine of the brand new day.

I'll get the drums, you get the rocks.
posted by The Whelk at 6:54 AM on March 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


Following on Jessamyn and addressing a couple points from the post just to officially address them from a mod perspective:

The answers have been heavily moderated.

We removed ten comments altogether, which is more than we usually need to pull from an Askme but not unprecedented. Certainly not for a big thread on a dicey subject like that.

One was a "that's fucked up" non-answer, another was a Here's How I'd Fix the FDA/Red Cross tangent, another was someone shouting IN ALL CAPS at other answerers; two were your two comments, the latter of which Jessamyn explicitly invited you to repost the non-metacommentary portion of in the thread.

The remaining five were responses to or responses-to-responses to other users in the thread that were moving away from answering-the-question and into arguing-with-others territory, which is often problematic especially in contentious threads in askme, where derails and infighting threaten to derail the asker's ability to get answers to their question.

It's not strictly and 100% verboten to respond to what another user has said in an askme, and when done with care and kept to a minimum we're okay letting some of that be, but if it's something that's is or is threatening to be (a) a long running argument or (b) an escalating argument in terms of tone or reactions or (c) a repetition of something that has come before in the thread or (d) more a response to the user or a side topic than to the actual question being asked, we're likely to draw the line at some point and remove portions of the derail to keep things contained.

It sucks that that can leave a lingering feeling of last-wordism, if what gets left to stand includes a comment you disagree with but doesn't include your comment, but it's by definition impossible to avoid that with any sort of ongoing exchange, and we need to trust members here to respect that and just let an argument rest in askme if we get as far as having to step in to delete stuff and leave a note. After that, it's private communications or Metatalk, period.

In any case, that's a tight spot in a lot of cases for us a moderators, especially again with contentious stuff where people may be more emotionally invested than in a question about RAM or whatever, and Jessamyn I think did as solid a job as we could have there of leaving enough of a couple contended points to have the contention on the record without letting it spiral into a whole side argument.

I'm sorry I wasn't there to help manage the stuff; that thread managed to slide under my radar. But I can't see anything I'd do particularly differently.

Even more, I object to my entire second post being deleted because part of it questioned the admin policies applied to the thread.

As a few people have said: we absolutely do not edit comments for content. We also don't let folks go off into policy/moderation discussions in the green; that's explicitly what metatalk is for, so that stuff needs to come here immediately and not take place as part of the asker's answer-seeking thread.

That's why Jessamyn removed the whole comment. Editing it would have been a violation of a very strict part of our moderation policy. That's standard operating procedure, period.

That's also why Jessamyn offered you the option of reposting the non-metacommentary portion of that second comment—it's fine if you want to re-engage with the question, but you can't drag policy complaints in there with it for the same reason we don't want people having side-arguments in there: it doesn't help get the question answered.

I had always seen it as a place where people could have discussions that couldn't happen many other places. This clearly isn't that place that I thought it was.

Askme is a utility-driven part of the site. The fundamental mission over there is to get answers to the askers' questions. There's a lot of genuinely interesting conversation possible about topics that get asked about which is nonetheless not really on target for answering the question; that conversation needs to take place elsewhere.

I know that may be frustrating if you want to dig into it then and there—we sympathize, we really do—but that's been standard policy for years and years now; Metatalk is the main on-site venue for taking a sidebar discussion out of a thread where it's causing a distraction, so if there's no other way to deal with it and you feel like a public, in-community discussion really needs to happen, coming here sooner rather than later is the best plan in general. It may also be workable to just pick up a strain of sidebar conversation with someone over mefimail if it's mostly a personal one-on-one exchange.

Any site with selective and not-well-explained moderation policies (and where criticizing an admin is ground for deletion!) is not worth a huge energy investment from contributors.

I'm sorry if you feel this way. We make a tremendous effort to explain our moderation policies and decisions, and the FAQ has most of this basic stuff available for reference as well, but I understand sometimes expectations and reality can clash. It's fine to ask us about this stuff, and the existence of Metatalk is proof that we're fundamentally okay with criticism when folks feel the need to level it or to challenge specific decisions and whatnot.

I know good and well that my ability to participate in this site is ended by this MeTa post.

No, it's not. I disagree with how you framed this and I think you've misapprehended a couple of details about how moderation works here, but that's not a big deal. I hope you get a better idea of where we're coming from from this thread, and I'd encourage you to keep future metatalk posts a little more concisely focused than this one is, but that's about all I really have to say about it.

If everyone who has made a strident Metatalk post had to abandon ship, this place would be missing a lot of valuable contributors. I'm sorry you were frustrated by this situation but there's no reason for you to feel you have to bail.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:02 AM on March 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


What about dancing naked? Do we do that too?
posted by rtha at 7:04 AM on March 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


(That was to The Whelk, btw.)
posted by rtha at 7:06 AM on March 1, 2010


it can be to everyone and still fit.
posted by The Whelk at 7:09 AM on March 1, 2010


The Whelk: I'll get the drums

He selected the drums! He is chosen! Bind him and lead up the hill!

Sumer is icumen in,
Lhude sing cuccu!
Groweþ sed and bloweþ med

And springþ þe wde nu,
Sing cuccu!
Awe bleteþ after lomb,
Lhouþ after calue cu.
Bulluc sterteþ, bucke uerteþ,
Murie sing cuccu!
Cuccu, cuccu, wel singes þu cuccu...
posted by Kattullus at 7:10 AM on March 1, 2010 [8 favorites]


That's not the purpose of Ask. Do not use Ask for that purpose. The value of Ask is elevated by a communal willingness not to use Ask for that purpose. Thank you for your understanding and generosity of spirit.

What he said.
posted by iconomy at 7:23 AM on March 1, 2010


Quite.
posted by gaspode at 7:26 AM on March 1, 2010


Random assault against @. I hate it. We're all (mostly, I think) adults, and this place has a reasonably high level of discourse. It doesn't take too long to write in a pleasant, friendly manner. I usually respond to people above me just by writing their name, then a comma, for instance:

Kattullus, will there be stoning?

If the name is really, really long, just shorten it a bit. Then again, I tend to write like I talk. Too many asides, and less funny than I thought at first.

Plus, just randomly, @ a person sounds rather hostile. You don't talk AT a person. Pointing AT a person can be rude. There's not much friendly that comes with at. On, in, these are words I think we can all get behind.
posted by Ghidorah at 7:32 AM on March 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


My second response read:

"Jessamyn, your deletion policies are a bit capricious. You left several comments which provided no advice to the original poster and deleted comments which responded to factually incorrect statements in those responses. Inconsistency in deletions makes it look like AskMe is endorsing a particular viewpoint on a controversial issue.


This is like an actor in a play addressing the costumers because he doesn't like the fit of his pants.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:34 AM on March 1, 2010


There's not much friendly that comes with at. On, in, these are words I think we can all get behind.

Talking on a person seems possibly dangerous. And there should probably be dinner and drinks before you talk in somebody.
posted by kmz at 7:38 AM on March 1, 2010


Kattullus, will there be stoning?

As long as we don't have to listen to "Bees! Not the Bees! Ah! No! They're in My Eyes! They're in My Eyes!," I am all in favor of it.

If we do have to listen to that, I might volunteer to be sacrificed earlier in the program.
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:56 AM on March 1, 2010


You could use "2" instead of "@" but then you'd be up to your ears in requests for "When Doves Cry," so it probably wouldn't be worth the trouble.
posted by breezeway at 7:56 AM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I love all these hard justifications for what is entirely an arbitrary convention. Where's ol grandpa languagehat to blast you all for descriptivism when you actually need him?

It's fine to have conventions and mores: @Speak is not the way metafilter operates. But correcting someone for it, especially when they're upset about something, is mad douchey.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:57 AM on March 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


It's an arbitrary decision, but it's still not an excuse to lie when donating blood. If the blood shortages get bad enough, they'll no longer be able to discriminate using 1980's AIDS concerns, but for now they have chosen to be overly cautious.

Whether it's the Red Cross or the FDA holding up gay blood donations, though, I hope they change it soon.
posted by mccarty.tim at 8:03 AM on March 1, 2010


What I don't get about the @ usage in other communities is that it seems to be used not only when talking to someone, but also when referring to someone else.

eg: @cthulhu I agree completely. It reminds me of what @Judas and @Mikael were talking about.

Is it just automatically added by some software whenever you use someone's name?
posted by ODiV at 8:11 AM on March 1, 2010


It's an easily scannable visual indicator someone is referencing your username, and it's faster than HTML formatting.

If I'm actively participating in a thread, than I should be reading the comments, not just skimming to see if someone replied to my statement.

Further, you don't have to HTML format. I didn't, yet people will figure out who I'm quoting here. And really, anything that makes the commenting process a bit slower is probably a good thing.

Or just use MefiQuote:

A Terrible Llama: "It's an easily scannable visual indicator someone is referencing your username, and it's faster than HTML formatting."
posted by graventy at 8:24 AM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I want to add my voice to people who feel that Twitter conventions should be discouraged from bleeding over to Metafilter. #strongopinion
posted by lore at 8:30 AM on March 1, 2010 [11 favorites]


"You could use "2" instead of "@" but then you'd be up to your ears in requests for "When Doves Cry," so it probably wouldn't be worth the trouble."

MAYBE I'M JUST LIKE MY MOTHER
posted by klangklangston at 8:30 AM on March 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


@klangklangston: WHY DO WE SCREAM AT EACH OTHER?
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 8:31 AM on March 1, 2010 [6 favorites]


WE COULD BE HEROES! JUST FOR ONE POST!
posted by The Whelk at 8:34 AM on March 1, 2010 [5 favorites]


Random assault against @. I hate it.

It is an abomination before Cerf and Berners-Lee and all the other gods.

But in the realm of abominations before heaven and affronts to civilization, it is small taters next to top-posting in email. ANATHEMA! OUTCAST UNCLEAN!

And even top-posting in email pales before the unholy noneuclidean rugose horror of forum sites that top-post new comments. A thousand deaths upon them! This is the evil that drove the Old Ones mad.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:34 AM on March 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


This is like an actor in a play addressing the costumers because he doesn't like the fit of his pants.


Trousers?
posted by fixedgear at 8:36 AM on March 1, 2010


Is it just automatically added by some software whenever you use someone's name?

I think it's because on twitter that will make those into links to their twitter page. There's no real equivalent here: no one ever links someone's name to their profile or anything.
posted by smackfu at 8:38 AM on March 1, 2010


Hmm might be too late to chime in on this one BUT...

The rule outlawing sexually active/once sexually active gay men is, at the very least, a slap in the face. I abhor it, I think it's incredibly unfair, and I would completely argue that it fuels discrimination. That being the case, I encourage all gay men and women who have been tested for STDs/AIDs and know they're clean to donate blood freely. Donate donate donate. They likely would not be able to prove anything and good for that. Quite possibly the highest rate of HIV infection is in young African-American women. Try putting that as an exemption on the blood donation form!
posted by deacon_blues at 8:41 AM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


He's right, you know–that shit is mad rugose.
posted by Mister_A at 8:42 AM on March 1, 2010


I don't know who said it on Metafilter first, but if you find yourself trying to explain your point of view more than twice, it's time to think about whether the third or subsequent attempt would be any more fruitful, and whether walking away is best.

You may understand that your perspective is well-thought out and reasoned, but it can be difficult to explain yourself any better the third go around than the first, without getting horribly frustrated.

It's a piece of wisdom I wished I'd learned earlier but one I thought is valuable enough to be repeated, in light of how important (if contentious) this issue is to some folks.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:52 AM on March 1, 2010 [7 favorites]


deacon_blues: I'm not sure where you got the idea that black women have the highest HIV infection rate in the US. According to the CDC over half of all new HIV infections in the United States are through male to male sexual contact. cite
posted by ODiV at 8:53 AM on March 1, 2010


Surely black women could still have the highest incidence of HIV infection in that situation?
posted by Nabubrush at 9:01 AM on March 1, 2010


First they came for the @, and I did not speak out--because I am not a twit;
Then they came for the dot, and I did not speak out--because that is inane shit;
Then they came for the stupid memes, and I did got nervous--because I've used them all;
Then they came for me--saying I lower the high level of discourse, and claiming there is no cabal.
posted by found missing at 9:08 AM on March 1, 2010 [9 favorites]


How is babby kiled? How is babby kiled? How girl get HIV?

They need to do way instain policy> who hiv thier babbys. becuse these babby cant frigth back? it was on the news this mroing a transfuzun in ar who had infect three kids . they are taking the three babby back to new york too lady to die. my pary are with the father who lost his chrilden ; i am truley sorry for your AZT costs.
posted by greekphilosophy at 9:16 AM on March 1, 2010 [16 favorites]


It's like wearing a bathing suit to the opera...

Or nothing at all, if you're Australian.
posted by ericb at 9:18 AM on March 1, 2010


Or nothing at all, if you're Australian.

When you do a photo shoot with a truck load of nude people, what do you do with all their clothes?
posted by nooneyouknow at 9:26 AM on March 1, 2010


When I figured out that I couldn't always tell the difference between my (not useful) editorial opinion that was meta around the actual AskMe questions and definitely couldn't tell the difference between correcting the OPs' sometimes unhelpful initial assumptions and the sort of editorializing that's recommended against on AskMe, I pretty much bailed on AskMe altogether.

I didn't do this out of personal spite or flouncing out. I just figured AskMe wasn't a good place for me, and that I wasn't a good poster for it.

I recommend that you also think about that, rhiannon. You may also find you are not a good fit for AskMe. It's okay. It's not personal, it just is.
posted by kalessin at 9:32 AM on March 1, 2010


It's an easily scannable visual indicator someone is referencing your username

I consider that a bug, not a feature. Quote without user names; read the thread. Address comments, not the users who make them[1].

Scanning threads for references to yourself and then dropping comments only to those is a great way to miss the hundred subsequent comments that have already done the job of replying a dozen times over and then moved on from there.

[1] Something MeFi can be remarkably weak on, especially given the collective love of identity politics/privilege analysis.
posted by rodgerd at 9:42 AM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why not delete the rest of the posts which didn't address the OP question and which people felt compelled to respond to? That was the outcome that would benefit the asker most.

My apologies about @ replies. They're de rigeur in some places, forgot they're not popular here.
posted by rhiannon at 10:01 AM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why not delete the rest of the posts which didn't address the OP question and which people felt compelled to respond to? That was the outcome that would benefit the asker most.

You can join me in flagging them, but a lot of non-answers are left standing, for whatever reason. I used to get frustrated at stuff like "Best question ever!" sticking around when it's clearly against the rules, but then I realized the mods can't handle everything and are doing a really good job.
posted by ODiV at 10:11 AM on March 1, 2010


Where's ol grandpa languagehat to blast you all for descriptivism when you actually need him?

Aren't they practicing presciptivism?
posted by Think_Long at 10:15 AM on March 1, 2010


@everyone
@your mum
posted by Not Supplied at 10:22 AM on March 1, 2010


The problem with this question, from my viewpoint, is that a lot of answers -- and judgments -- that would normally not be acceptable answers in AskMe -- are let through the front gate by asking if something is "ethical" -- which, like a bid on a The Price is Right, gets a question as close to "chatfilter" without going over. When something gets that close to chatfilter, it is almost inevitably going to start chatter. (That didn't sound so obvious before I typed it out, but obviously others aren't thinking that through or we wouldn't have this thread.)

In fact, if the OP hadn't phrased the question exactly that way, I wouldn't have responded, even though its something I feel about which I have very strong feelings. If the question had been "what should I do?" I wouldn't have responded.

I'm glad to some people responded positively to what I said in the thread and that my comments made people rethink their own stands on the issue, but I'm also glad that I found that out over Twitter and not in the thread itself. There are times and places where its important make your stand in every possible way in the loudest way possible. AskMetafilter threads are not them.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:24 AM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm having trouble taking this seriously when the original poster didn't even care about responding to the actual question enough to repost their second answer, with the off-topic complaints about moderator practices removed, when explicitly invited to do so.

The policy of keeping commentary about site policies or moderator practices out of actual AskMe threads is vital to keeping AskMe from being a total mess. I'm really surprised anyone who's been here a while would attempt to complain about moderation in an AskMe thread, let alone protest its deletion in MeTa.

It was very clear in other MeTa discussions that the overwhelming majority really did not want comments to ever be edited by moderators. Again, it's pretty ridiculous to call out the mods for not editing the comment but not even bother to post an edited version when invited to.

What's left then is the complaint of inconsistent moderation. There's something like 250 answers up on just the questions that have been asked so far today. On a controversial topic like that there are bound to be judgment calls. There will always be charges of inconsistent moderation, its impossible to avoid. There is only an issue here if what is being claimed is that a particular viewpoint is being systematically targeted for editing. Barring evidence of that, all I see is another poster taking themselves and the importance of their contributions far too seriously in the name of their deep "disappointment in Metafilter as an organization."
posted by nanojath at 10:36 AM on March 1, 2010


Where's ol grandpa languagehat to blast you all for descriptivism when you actually need him?

Aren't they practicing presciptivism?


Yes. Most linguists I know favor descriptivism.
posted by Pax at 10:39 AM on March 1, 2010


Right. I think I misinterpreted "blast you all for descriptivism" as saying he would condemn them for practicing it, not as blasting them in favor of it.
posted by Think_Long at 10:43 AM on March 1, 2010


@Metafilter: get over yourself.
posted by mpbx at 10:54 AM on March 1, 2010 [8 favorites]


The Blue is for discussion and links, the green only exists for answers. Flag the hell out of whatever you think isn't an "answer," but ultimately, what gets yanked is up to the mods.

There should be some kind of color code: Green is for answers, blue is for discussion, grey is for HOPPITAMOPPITA. If only there were some kind of way to make that alliterative... Green is for Great Answers, Blue is for Biased discussion, Grey is for GRAR?
posted by grapefruitmoon at 11:24 AM on March 1, 2010


What color is for hugs? And yelly donuts?
posted by bunnycup at 11:37 AM on March 1, 2010


@Metafilter: get over yourself.

Ok, my sarcasm meter is on the fritz, so I'm not sure if you're being 100% jokey, 100% serious, or somewhere in the middle of the spectrum there, so I apologize in advance for taking you at face value, if that wasn't your intent.

Look, I don't see why it's such a big freaking deal to have cultural norms and expect members here to adhere to them. Like, if I go over to a friend's house and they're one of those families that don't wear shoes indoors, then I take off my shoes. I might prefer to keep my shoes on because my socks have holes in them or my feet get cold easily, but I'm ok with subjugating my preferences for what's expected at that particular house, because it's the polite thing to do.

Metafilter doesn't do the @ convention for a bunch of different reasons (listed upthread) that go beyond "because it's annoying," and I don't think we should have to apologize for that standard. Frankly, I find it a little weird for a person to expect an entire community to conform to their own particular online communications quirks, rather than the other way around.
posted by shiu mai baby at 11:37 AM on March 1, 2010


oh, drama.
posted by edgeways at 11:44 AM on March 1, 2010


Frankly, I find it a little weird for a person to expect an entire community to conform to their own particular online communications quirks, rather than the other way around.

@-slingers are expecting all MeFites to use them? Or were you using "conform" in some bizarre way that completely inverts what's happening here?

I don't "@", myself, but seriously, pointing out form when someone is trying to discuss substance is up there with pointing out spelling mistakes in terms of douchiness. Unless the substance of the conversation is the convention. Or a given spelling.

I'm not so sure anyone is muddying up your "house". It instead reminds me of attending a local jogging club jog in the "wrong" kind of shoes (not wing tips, but perfectly serviceable sneakers). I still outran almost every one of you fashionable fuckers. Bite me.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 11:46 AM on March 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm not aware of any hard and fast ruled regarding symbol use on metafilter. If in mistaken, I apologize. Your contention that "metafilter doesn't do the @" is not true. Some members of thus community do use it, and they get shouted down for it.

Rhiannon is not a guest in your home, she is a peer in a community in which you have equal standing.

Frankly, I find it a little weird for a person to expect an entire community to conform to their own particular online communications quirks

I agree. So stop expecting everyone here to conform to a style you prefer.
posted by mpbx at 11:48 AM on March 1, 2010 [6 favorites]


Like, if I go over to a friend's house and they're one of those families that don't wear shoes indoors, then I take off my shoes. I might prefer to keep my shoes on because my socks have holes in them or my feet get cold easily, but I'm ok with subjugating my preferences for what's expected at that particular house, because it's the polite thing to do.

That's when I break out what I like to call my 'company socks'.
posted by graventy at 11:50 AM on March 1, 2010


What color is for hugs? And yelly donuts?

Puce?
posted by grapefruitmoon at 11:51 AM on March 1, 2010


So stop expecting everyone here to conform to a style you prefer.

It's not a style, it's a convention, and it's not a convention around here - rightly so, because it's unnecessary clutter. People should either stop using it or stop whining when people correct them.
posted by Dasein at 11:51 AM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Your contention that "metafilter doesn't do the @" is not true. Some members of thus community do use it, and they get shouted down for it.

....does the fact that the people who do use it get crabbed at not suggest that perhaps the rest of the community would prefer they didn't?

Frankly, I don't care either way -- because someone using the "@EC" sign tips me off to comments I won't have to read.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:52 AM on March 1, 2010


The solution to the shoe problem is bringing along brightly colored fuzzy socks from Target everywhere you go. Not only are your feet warm, but you'll get lots of compliments. Never fails.
posted by pecknpah at 11:52 AM on March 1, 2010


Oh @ convention derail, is their any discussion you can't send into a nosedive?
posted by nanojath at 11:53 AM on March 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


because someone using the "@EC" sign tips me off to comments I won't have to read

Take note, you dilettantes. That's commitment to shallowness, right there.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 11:55 AM on March 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


Puce could work, but I thought chartreuse perhaps as it is the color of our links here (at least under my settings). Although I do hope never to eat a chartreuse-hued yelly donut, that's not very appetizing at all.
posted by bunnycup at 12:00 PM on March 1, 2010


....does the fact that the people who do use it get crabbed at not suggest that perhaps the rest of the community would prefer they didn't

It suggests that a group of vocal nitpickers do.

In any event, I don't think anyone can or should dictate how other people choose to compose their posts provided it isn't truly disruptive.

You may as well ask UK members to not use a u in colour or flavour because it's unnecessary and most members in the US would prefer they didn't.

Seriously, get over yourself.
posted by mpbx at 12:00 PM on March 1, 2010


You may as well ask UK members to not use a u in colour or flavour because it's unnecessary and most members in the US would prefer they didn't.

Call me crazy, but I don't think national variations on spelling is quite on the same scale as "twitter users vs. everyone else in the world".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:02 PM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


It has been pointed out that @ for replies is not Twitter exclusive and did not originate there. It's merely a prefered use of an available symbol that makes sense to some people for navigating unthreaded discussions. You don't have to use it, but I don't see what gives you any greater authority to dictate that others shouldn't. If the mods want to outlaw it, let them. Until then, try not to be so petty and dismissive of people over a single character.
posted by mpbx at 12:07 PM on March 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


There are many things here that are allowed, but not optimal. I personally like the idea of people aspiring to wear more than the minimum flair in terms of the way they interpret the guidelines. At any rate, I work toward that myself.
posted by bunnycup at 12:09 PM on March 1, 2010


My comment about ignoring such posters, while a bit snarky, was not meant to be taken seriously. Rather, it was a poorly-framed retort to Durn Bronzefist's all-out passion about how he reserved the right to use it, dammit. I just found such passion somewhat puzzling.

But, I'll admit that I didn't write what I was trying to say very clearly, so I just confused everyone.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:09 PM on March 1, 2010


twitter users vs. everyone else in the world

But it's not just twitter users, as many have pointed out it's a convention in plenty of web forums. I don't really see it as a threat to civil discourse here; we can have a general style that we use in conversation, and most users will catch on to that style without people acting offended whenever a hideous @ is used.
posted by Think_Long at 12:09 PM on March 1, 2010


sigh, slow computer. oh well
posted by Think_Long at 12:10 PM on March 1, 2010


There are many things here that are allowed, but not optimal. I personally like the idea of people aspiring to wear more than the minimum flair in terms of the way they interpret the guidelines.

That's a good way of characterizing it. Though, like flair, I would think that anything not necessarily (demonstrably, outside of self-fulfilling efforts) disruptive should be tolerated rather than mandated/prohibited.

I'm having trouble following that up. It seems so self-evident, in parenting, in conversation, in site-managing. The minutiae that people cannot stand to live with is mind-boggling.

EC: I get grumbly at obvious mis-representation of dynamics. (@-users expecting all other MeFites to "conform". Give me a break.)
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 12:14 PM on March 1, 2010


if I go over to a friend's house and they're one of those families that don't wear shoes indoors, then I take off my shoes.

This seems as good a place as any to roundly condemn people who ask you to remove your shoes but who don't clean their floors or provide slippers.

Many a cute pair of socks has been ruined in this way.
posted by small_ruminant at 12:16 PM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


have

have been ruined
posted by small_ruminant at 12:17 PM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Think_Long: "sigh, slow computer. oh wel"

I recommend an upgrade, stat. If your computer's chugging along in the 150 comment threads, it won't be able to come close to handling Politiquiddickgate 2010 this November.
posted by graventy at 12:20 PM on March 1, 2010


By my use of the word "conform" I didn't mean to imply that all of the @ users expected us to use the @ symbol as well; poor communication on my part, and for that I apologize.

But, as clearly evidenced by this thread and all the discussion about this beanplatey issue that's gone before it, there are some people who are just damned determined to use the @, even though it's been nicely (and not-so-nicely as well) explained that we don't really do that here. I can't figure out why those folks are so intent on clinging to their little typographical quirks, when, as I said before, a ten minute browse through any thread will demonstrate that such is the exception, not the norm.
posted by shiu mai baby at 12:27 PM on March 1, 2010


Rhiannon is not a guest in your home, she is a peer in a community in which you have equal standing.

Right, and my metaphor was just that: a metaphor, and not intended to be a perfect 1:1 relationship.
posted by shiu mai baby at 12:30 PM on March 1, 2010


It's an easily scannable visual indicator someone is referencing your username, and it's faster than HTML formatting.

Yeah, but which comment (of my potentially many) or which portion of my (potentially lengthy) comment are they referencing? Quoting answers this. "@" does not.
posted by juv3nal at 12:30 PM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


By my use of the word "conform" I didn't mean to imply that all of the @ users expected us to use the @ symbol as well; poor communication on my part

Well no, it was clear that no one was suggesting that, including you. Instead, you wanted to cast the expectation of tolerance of minor idiosyncracies as somehow unreasonable and something that would somehow cost the majority. A kind of compliance, one way or another. Which is ridiculous. It's no more disruptive than bad spelling and bad grammar, both which find their place on the blue. If certain MeFites can't look past that to the content of the post, it says far more about them than the person using the "@".

As I said, I don't use it, so I'm not "clinging to my typographical quirk". I am clinging, if you will, to the freedom to express yourself within a fairly wide non-intrinsically-offensive or disruptive range. If it becomes disruptive just because people feel like throwing a fit about it, again, I don't think that becomes the problem of the "@" user.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 12:33 PM on March 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


'has' looked more correct to me. hm.
'many a ship has foundered on these rocks'...
Am I wrong? If not, why is it singular?
posted by jacalata at 12:36 PM on March 1, 2010


Dude, the only one freaking out and throwing a fit here is you. All I was trying to do was explain why some folks have an issue with it.

Better yet:

YOU KNOW, THERE ARE SOME PLACES ON THE WEB WHERE PEOPLE TALK IN ALL CAPS. I KIND OF LIKE THAT, BECAUSE IT MAKES MY POINT ALL THE MORE FORCEFUL. SO I THINK I'M GONNA DO THAT FROM NOW ON HERE ON METAFILTER, OK? OK! WIN!




Not really. The above? Is just an example. Just in case that part was unclear to anyone.
posted by shiu mai baby at 12:38 PM on March 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Shiu, one character isn't remotely close to all caps so why even bother using that example?

Long story short, nobody elected you the convention police. Get off your high horse.
posted by mpbx at 12:42 PM on March 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


I can't figure out why those folks are so intent on clinging to their little typographical quirks, when, as I said before, a ten minute browse through any thread will demonstrate that such is the exception, not the norm.

Then it's not really a problem, is it?

I recommend an upgrade, stat. If your computer's chugging along in the 150 comment threads, it won't be able to come close to handling Politiquiddickgate 2010 this November.

Tell that to my office. I don't think we have a MetaFilter related expenses line-item on the budget just yet.
posted by Think_Long at 12:43 PM on March 1, 2010


Long story short, nobody elected you the convention police.

We didn't hold elections for "Defender Of Alternative Typographies" either, while we're speaking of "high horses"....
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:46 PM on March 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


If the mods want to outlaw it, let them. Until then, try not to be so petty and dismissive of people over a single character.

Cultural norms don't necessarily stem from authoritative figures; in fact, often times they are reacting against an authoritative figure. The mods don't set the culture here; it's set by the 100k+ users who fill the site with content.

The @ or ALL CAPS or signing your name thing at the end of posts aren't explicit rules but that doesn't make the people who don't pick up on the fact that 95% of the content here doesn't contain any of them any less oblivious. For some, these types of things are disruptive, but more importantly it seems disconnected for a user to feel completely in tune with the community, yet unable/unwilling to observe that their behaviour is atypical.

I don't think the user's contributions here are invalidated, just their appeals to understanding how the community works. The evidence is contrary to that.
posted by Hiker at 12:46 PM on March 1, 2010


Long story short, nobody elected you the convention police. Get off your high horse.

Yay! Polite discourse FTW!
posted by shiu mai baby at 12:46 PM on March 1, 2010


I'd vote for shiu mai baby for Convention Police and Class President AND Homecoming Queen. So there.

As for "one character" v. allcaps, I find both equally grating. Honestly. The thing about MetaFilter that is Great! is that the conversations aren't segregated into little nitpicky wars that flame themselves out and eventually end when someone invokes Godwin. Instead, it's one big conversation that everyone is invited to take part in equally... which eventually flames itself out and ends when someone invokes Godwin.
posted by greekphilosophy at 12:47 PM on March 1, 2010


"Some folks" definitely have an issue with it. But these threads have done nothing to convince me that, other than mass compliance (or coincidental preference) with the convention (no @'s), no more than a few people actually think it is an issue..

I was going to say, where "@" falls on the continuum of "disruptiveness" is going to vary person to person. To me, it's not the blink tag or all-caps-all-the-time but YMMV (oh no, internet-speak!). If it was really intrinsically disruptive, people wouldn't need to pull out the OH NOES TWITTER! thing every time this comes up.

Dude, it's not even my thing. You seem to have this need to portray the @-users as the whiners here when they're not the ones raising a stink over typography, for goodness sake. Jeesh. The victimhood complex here, it is strong.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 12:47 PM on March 1, 2010


mpbx, it's fully apparent that you plan to spare no grar in beating the dead horse of this issue long past death.
posted by bunnycup at 12:47 PM on March 1, 2010


We don't do FTW at Metafilter. This isn't Digg. Please stop.
posted by mpbx at 12:48 PM on March 1, 2010


Ugh, I apologize, that was way out of line and out of character for me. Y'all keep the @s, don't keep the @s; there are better ways for me to spend my time. Peace, hugs, cookies for all.
posted by shiu mai baby at 12:48 PM on March 1, 2010


That's all I'm looking for. (is there oatmeal?)
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 12:50 PM on March 1, 2010


Dude, it's not even my thing. You seem to have this need to portray the @-users as the whiners here when they're not the ones raising a stink over typography, for goodness sake.

But I wouldn't have gotten involved until I saw your own defense, durn, only because I'm honestly puzzled by the depth OF your passion.

I mean, I'm an impassioned defender of religion even though I don't belong to any real creed, so I can get defending a group to which you don't belong on principle. But -- defending the use of a typographic choice with THAT much zeal is...curious, is all.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:51 PM on March 1, 2010


mpbx: Too bad you're being disingenuous because I agree completely about FTW.
posted by ODiV at 12:52 PM on March 1, 2010


Am I wrong? If not, why is it singular?

I assumed the verb went with "many" rather than "a pair."

Help? Anyone?
posted by small_ruminant at 12:53 PM on March 1, 2010


'has' looked more correct to me. hm.
'many a ship has foundered on these rocks'...
Am I wrong? If not, why is it singular?


Has. A pair is one thing.
posted by Pax at 12:53 PM on March 1, 2010


A good example is "team" as singular.
posted by Pax at 12:54 PM on March 1, 2010


This is not the argument I was looking for!
posted by Mister_A at 12:55 PM on March 1, 2010


Yeah, but 'A Terrible Llama' is kind of weird and visually jarring no matter where you put it.

If only there were a way to deal with that in a conversational way, Llama. Hmm.
posted by Mikey-San at 12:56 PM on March 1, 2010


Yea, I know a pair of socks is singular: I used 'a ship' in my example to get past that. My problem is that I 'know' the verb is singular because it goes with 'the pair of socks' but I can't figure out why it isn't plural to go with 'many'.
posted by jacalata at 12:57 PM on March 1, 2010


As I explained, EC, what bent me out of shape was the twisted characterization, that this minority were somehow inflicting their standard on the majority. Yeah, that rankles. In the same way my choice of footwear to a jogging event does nothing to force others to conform to anything. They can wear what they want. Now, if I wanted to wear a gorilla suit, ok, disruptive.

As I said, my stance on this is that there's a conversation to be had about disruptiveness, if that's the subject of conversation. Otherwise, it's as rude, and shallow, as pointing out spelling errors rather than grappling with the substance of a post. Is that in contention? Because I keep finding people eager to characterize my tone rather than deal with that rather simple point.

So no, not jumping up and down about this. My GRAR was pretty explicitly limited in scope, tyvm.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 1:00 PM on March 1, 2010


A good example is "team" as singular.

Outside the United States, collective nouns are often pluralized.
posted by Mikey-San at 1:01 PM on March 1, 2010


And I'm not sure why you need an explanation for getting involved. Unless you're just looking to divert attention from your claim that you'd ignore posts that didn't conform to a given posting convention. I'm not responsible for that.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 1:03 PM on March 1, 2010


Mikey-San: pluralized with or without an additional "s"? Like, would you say "Many pair of socks" or "Many pairs of socks"?
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 1:04 PM on March 1, 2010


This is thread is further proof that God does play dice with the universe.
posted by The Whelk at 1:05 PM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Is the subject "Many"? Or is the subject "A pair (of socks)"?

I think it's "many."
posted by small_ruminant at 1:08 PM on March 1, 2010


Ah, EC, you thought I was referring to you as the "Dude". No, I quoted SMB.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 1:10 PM on March 1, 2010


U of Florida's writing lab site says it should be singular.

13.Subjects preceded by every, each, and many a are singular.

◦Example: Every man, woman, and child was given a life preserver.
◦Example: Each graduate and undergraduate is required to pass a proficiency exam.
◦Example: Many a tear has to fall, but it's all in the game.
posted by small_ruminant at 1:10 PM on March 1, 2010


So I guess I should just trust my instincts.
posted by small_ruminant at 1:11 PM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


sadly my wishes way up there at the top of this thread weren't realized. a shame really. it's apparently pedantic week on metafilter.
posted by nadawi at 1:12 PM on March 1, 2010


It's apparently pedantic week on metafilter

This is going to be the best P-Week ever! I'm having all of my friends over on Tuesday to edit Samuel Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language. It could have been better, that's all I'm sayin'
posted by Think_Long at 1:19 PM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I wish every week would be pedantic week. I can't enjoy something unless it's said two hundred times and invokes philosophy, aesthetic theory, and inventive cussing.
posted by Rory Marinich at 1:23 PM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


inventive cussing.

Is that a challenge?
posted by Think_Long at 1:28 PM on March 1, 2010


Outside the United States, collective nouns are often pluralized.

Quebec are a good club

-Jacques Demers
posted by Mister_A at 1:29 PM on March 1, 2010


Inside the United States, it's too dark to read!

Tip your waiter!
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:31 PM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


cortex are the best tex
posted by Mister_A at 1:37 PM on March 1, 2010


Wait, what is this thread about again? And are we actually thisclose to witnessing a flameout over "@"???? (Which I find incredibly annoying btw, just throwing that out there....)
posted by nevercalm at 2:01 PM on March 1, 2010


For me it's mostly about trying to draw a picture of Supergirl.
posted by The Whelk at 2:05 PM on March 1, 2010


Outside the United States, collective nouns are often pluralized.

Pluralised.
posted by Infinite Jest at 2:08 PM on March 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


This thread are about The Treaty of Westphalia. Also, I really want to see your drawing of Supergirl, Whelk.
posted by Mister_A at 2:14 PM on March 1, 2010


◦Example: Many a tear has to fall, but it's all in the game.

All in the wonderful game
doo-doo doo-doo doo-doo doo-doo
That we know ... as love
doo-doo doo-doo doo-doo doo-doo

I'm having all of my friends over on Tuesday to edit Samuel Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language. It could have been better, that's all I'm sayin'


[SFX: Record scratch]

Oh no you didn't!
posted by Horace Rumpole at 2:33 PM on March 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


Only on Metatalk could a discussion about blood donation and HIV quickly turn into a rant against the @ sign. I love this place; I'm not being sarcastic.
posted by k8lin at 2:35 PM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm on an iPhone and can't cut and paste, but there's nothing snotty at ignoring a comment with an "@" at the front. Other users cannot be expected to remember who said what in a long thread. It's explicitly targeted to one user. The Mefi convention of quoting the text before responding allows all readers to participate in an ongoing conversation. That's why it's a superior convention for this site.
posted by Bookhouse at 2:47 PM on March 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


I'm on an iPhone and can't cut and paste

Really? They added that functionality a while ago...
posted by nevercalm at 2:49 PM on March 1, 2010


but there's nothing snotty at ignoring a comment with an "@" at the front.

Is there anything snotty about ignoring a comment that is in all lower case? Because I find all lower case to be incredibly annoying. There are not one, but two, shift keys provided for your convience. Use them.
posted by nooneyouknow at 2:56 PM on March 1, 2010


when i'm working for several hours on this confounded laptop keyboard, i often will not shift to capitalise in casual (and this is absolutely casual) conversation because, and i wish i were making this up, it wears my hands out faster. not taking the time to contort for the shift isn't about saving time, it's about delaying discomfort.

but! since you'll be ignoring this comment, that was fairly pointless of me. ah, well.
posted by batmonkey at 3:02 PM on March 1, 2010


Nevercalm, if the flameout remark was aimed at me, nope, it wasn't even a consideration. I would like to think that if MeFi and I ever part ways (perish the thought!) it would be over something way, way more important than something as pedestrian and silly as the @ wars.

If you weren't talking about my contributions to the thread, then, um. Never mind.
posted by shiu mai baby at 3:10 PM on March 1, 2010


We don't do FTW at Metafilter. This isn't Digg. Please stop.

Really?
posted by ericb at 3:29 PM on March 1, 2010


I would like to think that if MeFi and I ever part ways (perish the thought!) it would be over something way, way more important than something as pedestrian and silly as the @ wars.

I would hope it would at least be over something as cool as the @@ wars.

We should all be so lucky to engage in such a struggle.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 3:44 PM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


@ericb FTW!
posted by Lobster Garden at 3:45 PM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Nevercalm, I'm sure you are right about a more capable iPhone user being able to cut and paste on this damn thing, but I'm personally clueless about such things.
posted by Bookhouse at 3:50 PM on March 1, 2010


A Terrible Llama writes "Railing against '@' is a lost cause. You can rail at it, but a year from now most of us who initially we're like 'God, please no' will have given in. It's an easily scannable visual indicator someone is referencing your username, and it's faster than HTML formatting."

I've been railing against it for way more than a year (I added @username to the wiki in October 2007 after somebody whined that it wasn't in the wiki/FAQ). With I think good results as @USERNAME never seems to rise above the level of irritation and mostly you don't see it (Of course confirmation bias means I'll be seeing it everywhere for the next little bit). It does however seem to come in waves and I wish I could figure out a frequency correlation. Every once and a while someone will be militantly for it but so far they either quit coming here or relax their position with time. Part of that I think is '@' kind of awkward to type. With the comment box not filling it in automatically ala twitter clients people stop doing it.

mpbx writes "It has been pointed out that @ for replies is not Twitter exclusive and did not originate there. It's merely a prefered use of an available symbol that makes sense to some people for navigating unthreaded discussions. You don't have to use it, but I don't see what gives you any greater authority to dictate that others shouldn't.

30+K users aren't using a convention and invariably it is the johnny come latelies who push for it. You really don't see who has the greater authority here?

If the mods want to outlaw it, let them. Until then, try not to be so petty and dismissive of people over a single character."

Social convention is rarely a matter of law (though it took mod stamping to get rid of ZALGO). One doesn't remove one's hat before entering the veteran's club because they have a law (even if they do in fact have a law) but rather because that is the social convention there. It's the same with top posting, signature lines and @USERNAME here.

Maybe this should be treated like Avatars. A greasmonkey script to enable Twitter style @username while simultaneously removing for those it offends.

Or Matt could get the posting syntax checker to strip out non entity @ symbols. Those who need them would encounter subtle feedback that @USERNAME is riding roughshod over convention and using @USERNAME wouldn't be any easier than clicking the emphasis buttons on the comment box.
posted by Mitheral at 3:53 PM on March 1, 2010


Nevercalm, if the flameout remark was aimed at me, nope, it wasn't even a consideration.

Nope, it wasn't. You've been quite level-headed.

Nevercalm, I'm sure you are right about a more capable iPhone user being able to cut and paste on this damn thing, but I'm personally clueless about such things.


Hold your finger on the screen for a moment. You'll get a little dialog dealie that offers you "cut/copy/paste." It'll give you a draggable box to expand to highlight. Easy, peezy.
posted by nevercalm at 3:59 PM on March 1, 2010


using @USERNAME wouldn't be any easier than clicking the emphasis buttons on the comment box.

Interesting point. How about a blend of the two? I tend to some old-school asterisking (*___*) for emphasis, and in MS Word, the effect of that is to bold what is asterisked (and if I don't actually want this, I undo). What if using "@_____" bolded the selection, which is after all, predominantly, the MeFi convention? This would be a subtle cue, and also seamlessly integrate these outliers into the norm.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 3:59 PM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I do not like the @. However, I like getting along with people more than I dislike the @. Life is all about choices.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:08 PM on March 1, 2010 [15 favorites]


30+K users aren't using a convention and invariably it is the johnny come latelies who push for it. You really don't see who has the greater authority here?

Everyone has equal authority to determine the content of their own posts.

Nobody is "pushing" for the @, some people are choosing to use it. I have not seen any advocacy for mass adoption of the @ and I would push back against anyone who would attempt to say that everyone should invariably use the @ over the quote/italic method.
posted by mpbx at 4:18 PM on March 1, 2010


Rhiannon: Why not delete the rest of the posts which didn't address the OP question and which people felt compelled to respond to? That was the outcome that would benefit the asker most.

Because moderating is an art, not a science. When a derail starts to pick up steam it's hard to figure out exactly where to cut it off. And it's not like there's a 100% clear objective answer on which deletions lead to the "outcome that would benefit the asker most." I think most of us here feel like trusting the mods to use general guidelines to make judgment calls, rather than trying to be perfectly consistent by following strict rules, makes the site better and benefits AskMe askers most on the whole. But that means when people disagree with their decisions, as is bound to sometimes happen, the mods often can't just defend themselves with "There's the rule in black and white, you broke it, nothing I can do about it" [although your criticizing the mods in AskMe was a pretty clear black-and-white violation of the "Ask MetaFilter comments should address the question being asked" rule] but instead will come out and say "I did what I thought was best. This is what I decided to do and why. It may not be what you would've done, but I hope you'll trust and respect that I made the decision in good faith. I know I'm not perfect, and I'll listen seriously to any criticisms you have and keep them in mind moving forward." If you're not comfortable with that, then this might not be the right place for you.

And I assume you've figured this out from all the other posts, but just in case-- the mods here are incredibly open to criticism, it just has to go in the right place. You misinterpreted what was happening. Your answer was not deleted because "criticizing an admin is ground for deletion"; it was deleted because being off topic in AskMe is grounds for deletion. If you had said "Aren't the mods awesome here? I'm so glad they deleted X post and not Y post, that was totally the right call. Now, on to my point..." it would have totally been deleted too. When you're told "take this to MeTa" that means "Please feel free to start an entire post all about how much you disagree with us, you totally have the right to do that and it won't be squelched or censored, you just can't do that on the section of the site where we try really hard to keep posts/answers on-topic."
posted by EmilyClimbs at 4:23 PM on March 1, 2010


It's the bullying that makes metatalk great.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 6:06 PM on March 1, 2010


Outside the United States, collective nouns are often pluralized.

Oooh, like maths! That always terrified me. It was bad enough with just the one, but there are more?! ZOMG.

If you need me, I'll be under the bed. Hiding from the maths.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 6:06 PM on March 1, 2010 [6 favorites]


FWIW, maths terrifies me too and I've had my whole life to get used to it.
posted by shelleycat at 6:44 PM on March 1, 2010


Guys guys guys guys guys.

I made a perfect fruit-based stir-fry tonight.


YEAH I KNOW.
posted by The Whelk at 8:14 PM on March 1, 2010


What's with all these people strudeling one another?
posted by breezeway at 8:23 PM on March 1, 2010


it's sick I tell you, sick.
posted by The Whelk at 8:26 PM on March 1, 2010


I made a perfect fruit-based stir-fry tonight.

you are a monster
posted by nanojath at 8:33 PM on March 1, 2010


@ isn't so bad. It just doesn't make any sense. It's only used in twitter so the software will recognize a name from a word and tag it to the person in question.

@Solon and Thanks, I think what you just said is absurd!

Solon and Thanks, I think what you just said is absurd!

What's the difference? Suddenly I realize I'm being addressed because there's an @ before my name? Let's not pretend we don't all open every single Metafilter thread and ctrl-f our name obsessively upon refresh, honestly.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 8:51 PM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Everyone has equal authority to determine the content of their own posts."

Yes. Counterpoint: The community does set norms for said content, sometimes enforced by mods. See: Cunt. Ergo, dismissing the anecdata that newer users tend more toward the @ then abandon it on the basis of posting autonomy is to miss the point.

"Nobody is "pushing" for the @, some people are choosing to use it. I have not seen any advocacy for mass adoption of the @ and I would push back against anyone who would attempt to say that everyone should invariably use the @ over the quote/italic method."

For a long time, I didn't italicize my quotes; Smedleyman still doesn't. I eventually bowed because it made it harder for people to read what I wrote. As @ is an affectation, and a needless one, and since your arguments seem to just be nuh-uh contrarianism, how about you look for another picayune peeve to defend?
posted by klangklangston at 9:37 PM on March 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


though it took mod stamping to get rid of ZALGO

Buh? What are a ZALGO?
posted by Rock Steady at 9:45 PM on March 1, 2010


I made a perfect fruit-based stir-fry tonight.

I know what all those words mean individually, but have no clue what you're talking about when you string them together in that order.
posted by electroboy at 9:46 PM on March 1, 2010


Wouldn't a fruit-based stir-fry be... mushy?
posted by Ms. Saint at 9:49 PM on March 1, 2010




Outside the United States, collective nouns are often pluralized.

hi everyone i'm really sorry for this i was kinda out of my mind on drugs and please let me play in the thread again :(
posted by Mikey-San at 11:51 PM on March 1, 2010


(i was not really out of my mind on drugs i just don't know what the fuck i was thinking posting that)
posted by Mikey-San at 11:52 PM on March 1, 2010


The stir-dry sauce was fruit based, with big chunks of lime added at the end. Very thai-ish.
posted by The Whelk at 5:23 AM on March 2, 2010


Wait, what's stir-dry? My mind is being blown.
posted by electroboy at 6:05 AM on March 2, 2010


A STIR FRY MADE OF SAND!
posted by The Whelk at 6:12 AM on March 2, 2010


MetaFilter: A Stir Fry Made Of Sand.
posted by Mister_A at 8:08 AM on March 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's fine to have conventions and mores: @Speak is not the way metafilter operates. But correcting someone for it, especially when they're upset about something, is mad douchey.

Mefites comment peacefully on their sofas at night because rough men stand ready to say something mad douchey on their behalf.
posted by afu at 8:34 AM on March 2, 2010 [5 favorites]


Leaving Budapest on the morning of the 26th, we sailed about 30 miles downriver before putting in at the village of Mad Douchey, well known for its lovely medieval ruins.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 9:59 AM on March 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Just my 2cents, since the thread has derailed to this point and noone's said it yet:
I prefer to be spoken to rather than @. In fact, when people talk @ me instead of to me, I tend to tune them out.
posted by MuChao at 10:16 AM on March 2, 2010


Just my 2cents, since the thread has derailed to this point and noone's said it yet:
I prefer to be spoken to rather than @. In fact, when people talk @ me instead of to me, I tend to tune them out.


Easy solution -- when attempting to type "@", simply refrain from using the shift key.

You will then be able to talk 2 someone instead of @ them.
posted by armage at 4:41 PM on March 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


'armage
not 'UK
posted by Not Supplied at 2:45 AM on March 4, 2010


Fess up: Which ones of you guys wrote that letter to overturn the gay blood ban? We can't have secret senate mefites! And besides, if you can come out, think of all the DC-area meetups you could attend!
posted by mccarty.tim at 12:46 PM on March 4, 2010


I was for it before I was against it.
posted by Think_Long at 1:07 PM on March 4, 2010


Fess up: Which ones of you guys wrote that letter to overturn the gay blood ban?

Heh. I saw that a couple hours ago, figured it'd make a good (well, good enough) FPP, since there obviously (from the AskMe) were a lot of people intensely interested in the issue, and if started in the more stately and respectable Blue, that discussion would stay more on-track, etc.etc. Boy was I wrong. [Deleted] (Understandably so, there being an explanation & all..)

[Que Alice's Restaurant: Remember Alice? This is started as a song thread about Alice Deletions..]
posted by Tuesday After Lunch at 3:15 PM on March 4, 2010


You can get / anything you want / at mathowie's community blog
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:52 PM on March 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


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