Unexpected friendship April 25, 2010 1:21 PM   Subscribe

Never look a gift friend in the mouth

I noticed today that someone in MetaFilter has connected to me as a "friend". I know nothing about this person, and when I look at his/her activity on MF, not one of his questions or comments has anything to do with anything I have ever contributed to, and indeed are light-years away from any of my interests. Then I noticed on his/her profile that the account has been discontinued.

Whie I feel it is ungracious to refuse an offer of friendship, I have no idea what is going on here. Can anybody with more MF experience than I have (and that's most of you) enlighten me?

I'm about to go to sleep, so I won't be answering any comments immediately. Please don't think I'm being rude; I'll check back tomorrow Europe time.
posted by aqsakal to Etiquette/Policy at 1:21 PM (110 comments total)

A lot of people don't know you can add a contact without necessarily friending someone. People use the contact options for a lot of different things. That particular user was banned by us for spamming the site, so my guess is they didn't expect to find themselves banned and were just sort of using the site functions as you'd expect a user to use them. Alternative cynical option is that you'd mentioned something in AskMe that that user wanted to spam you with information about. No real way to tell.

In short, the "friend" thing is used by people for all sorts of reasons and you don't at all have to feel that you need to be reciprocal about it.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:26 PM on April 25, 2010


The preferred term is "disabled" and they're not to be discriminated against in this day and age.
posted by gman at 1:34 PM on April 25, 2010 [4 favorites]


Maybe they wanted you to look in their mouth and you made them feel unloved by not doing so.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:34 PM on April 25, 2010


It's not a "friendship." They just linked to you.
posted by Jaltcoh at 1:37 PM on April 25, 2010


Just checked in briefly before closing down, and two people [three on preview] have already answered me! Many thanks for swift service and clear explanation.

And yes, "disabled" was the word - I didn't remember it exactly and didn't know how to go back and check while in the middle of composing a post.

I'll need to think this over. Meanwhile, good night and thanks again.
posted by aqsakal at 1:38 PM on April 25, 2010


I'll need to think this over.

You're taking this too seriously.
posted by Jaltcoh at 1:39 PM on April 25, 2010 [10 favorites]


I'm fighting the urge to link to you. I might lose this fight.
posted by sciencegeek at 1:44 PM on April 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


Here's a quick FYI, as I am operating on a similar timezone and will be off to bed myself in a few minutes: MetaTalk is a strange place, drawing attention to yourself in this manner may result in lots of new friends and contacts. Google for Ralph and the Great Spousening for details, but the thing to keep in mind is that this sort of functionality is rather loosely defined around here: different people may use it for different things, not all of them to be taken seriously.
posted by Dr Dracator at 1:44 PM on April 25, 2010


You're taking this too seriously.

Like that's never happened here before.
posted by fixedgear at 1:47 PM on April 25, 2010


RAAAAAAAAAALPH. I'd spouse him.
posted by liketitanic at 1:51 PM on April 25, 2010 [4 favorites]


I got 'im first!
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 1:54 PM on April 25, 2010 [6 favorites]


To the OP: Yeah, don't be surprised to find you wake up with a bunch of new "spouses." Learn from my fail.....
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 1:55 PM on April 25, 2010 [5 favorites]


I'll need to think this over.

This 'friend' wasn't named 'plate o' beans' was he?
posted by jonmc at 2:00 PM on April 25, 2010


Aaaaaaaaand Ralph'd.

How's it goin' buuuuuuddy?
posted by paisley henosis at 2:00 PM on April 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


I feel there should be an element of reciprocality in contacts - my only contact is a raving nutjob who I wouldn't touch with a barge pole in real life.
posted by djgh at 2:02 PM on April 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


That's not what you said last night.
posted by Glenn Beck at 2:02 PM on April 25, 2010 [15 favorites]


I don't consider the people I've linked to as best buddies, potential partners, or even "friends." I've linked because I like their comments/posts and want to keep up with their activity on the site. I assume that's why others have linked to me too.

Relax.
posted by bearwife at 2:03 PM on April 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


Well, whatever, aqsakal. I guess I'll just ask someone else to go to Cannes.
posted by George Clooney at 2:04 PM on April 25, 2010 [8 favorites]


Is a "retired former journalist" someone who has given up being a former journalist and so is actually an active journalist?
posted by pracowity at 2:06 PM on April 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


aqsakal, as others said above, sometimes the users who read the MetaTalk section of the site are a goofy bunch. So you probably will find that several people have now added you as a contact with silly categories (friend, spouse, etc). A similar thing happened a while ago when the user St Alia of the Bunnies made a MetaTalk post saying "someone has added me as a 'Spouse' who isn't really married to me": she ended up with dozens of new people adding her as a 'spouse' just for fun.

Don't be alarmed by this, they are just having harmless fun and they don't mean anything by it.

(Who knows about the initial person who added you as a contact. But generally, my sense is that people don't take the 'contacts' form terribly seriously. It is a convenient feature if you want to remember someone who made a comment/post you liked, but otherwise it doesn't mean much.)
posted by LobsterMitten at 2:20 PM on April 25, 2010


you mean my spise aren't really all that into me?

goes off to sleep on european time
posted by infini at 2:24 PM on April 25, 2010


I consider the people I've linked to as best buddies, potential partners, and even "friends."

You guys have been warned. All 80 of you.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:35 PM on April 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


I've had sex with every single one of the 120 people I've added as contacts. If you would like me to add you, you know what to do.
posted by Dumsnill at 2:41 PM on April 25, 2010 [5 favorites]


I giggled continuously through the Great Enspousening and I will watch this thread with interest for similar antics.
posted by restless_nomad at 2:47 PM on April 25, 2010


When can we combine our MeFi contacts with Blippy so I can harvest all y'all's credit card numbers?
posted by Burhanistan at 2:50 PM on April 25, 2010


The only real consequence of contacts is that, if you've reciprocated, both of you'll be able to add tags to the other person's posts.

Which itself isn't a huge deal, unless the two of you are an internet Odd Couple, where one is very persnickety about their tags and the other is silly and unafraid of getting "Knock it off, Chuckles" pokes from the mods.
posted by CKmtl at 2:52 PM on April 25, 2010


you mean my spise aren't really all that into me?

Everyone knows the plural of spouse is spice.
posted by b33j at 3:06 PM on April 25, 2010


Yes, as in the old idiom "two spice will suffice, four is a chore."
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:36 PM on April 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


You're taking this too seriously.

I dunno. Somebody got riled up about being linked as a "spouse" awhile back. It's not all that hard to understand. By MetaFilter standards, those connections are unimportant; personally, I didn't even notice them until recently when they showed up on the sidebar of the front page. But for people who are unfamiliar with MetaFilter, a connection is a connection and there would seemingly be some reason for it to exist, right?

Try it this way. Joe links to Fred. Then Joe spams the site with a bunch of Nazi messages, gets banned, the end. (Not all that far from what happened here.) Except now it's performance-appraisal time and Fred's boss goes a-Googling and sees Fred's profile and how it's linked to this psycho Nazi guy. So instead of promoting Fred, his boss promotes Bill, who raids the pension fund and bankrupts the company and now people are destitute because Matt didn't require some kind of confirmation for connections.

Some people are picky about whom they link to online, and I get that. It's not the worst idea in the world for Matt to tweak that feature. Opt out of connections? Hide them? Something.
posted by cribcage at 3:38 PM on April 25, 2010


aqsakal, when you add someone as a contact, it shows their posts and comments on the sidebar. I guess a number of people use this like a filter: they add all the people that they like reading stuff from, and mostly browse the sidebar rather than the front page. I personally don't much care for that use of the feature, as it feels exclusionist, but then again I defend favorite-count filters so I'm probably full of shit.

In either case, that's probably why some random person would add you as a contact, at least under normal circumstances. Them being a spammer, who knows? I don't think you have to worry about it. I get friend requests from strangers on facebook and twitter daily, as well as massive amounts of missent email, thanks to having a ridiculously common first+last name. Could be something like that too.
posted by cj_ at 3:38 PM on April 25, 2010


posted by UbuRoivas Yes, as in the old idiom "two spice will suffice, four is a chore."

2 girls, 1 nuptial.
posted by mattdidthat at 3:48 PM on April 25, 2010 [4 favorites]


Fred's boss goes a-Googling and sees Fred's profile

Fred's boss would only see that if he was logged in, and even then not from google. So Fred's boss is a member, meaning he should know that anyone can contact anyone and being made a contact is meaningless (from the 'contacted' person's side). Making a contact, actively linking to someone yourself, that's different of course and hopefully Fred's boss would know that. It is, after all, how pretty much the entire internet works. If it's not mentioned in the faq then maybe it should be but that's the only change necessary.

Also adding someone as a contact and ticking the friend box doesn't mean you're asking them for friendship. Or if it does then it's a really passive, pointless way of doing it (there's no notification that anyone linked you so you might never find out). Sending a mefimail or email and starting up a conversation, that's a much better way to try to be friends. So don't read too much into this aqsakal, there really isn't anything of substance there to worry about.
posted by shelleycat at 4:05 PM on April 25, 2010


Hmm, actually, I'm wrong. The linked to and linked by shows when you're logged out. So maybe that could be changed, but it doesn't need to be opt in or removed. Because, again, that's how the whole internet works and anyone who thinks that you can control who you're linked by needs more time online.
posted by shelleycat at 4:08 PM on April 25, 2010


It is, after all, how pretty much the entire internet works.

Not really. To use Facebook as an example (since it apparently gets more traffic than Google), connections must be confirmed by both parties. Consequently, if I see that my new boss is Facebook friends with Grand Wizard Shelton, then I might feel justified about drawing some inference from that connection. If I see the same thing on MetaFilter...well, I'd have to be MetaFilter-savvy to know that I shouldn't make a similar inference.

And I don't think MetaFilter savviness is as ubiquitous as you assert. (I didn't know. Aqsakal didn't know. That's two.) At least, it isn't as widely known as Facebook. So that particular line of argument would favor changing the system.
posted by cribcage at 4:22 PM on April 25, 2010


I claim all of youse as my brothers, sisters, friends, spouses, cohorts, and co-workers.


Except you. And you. yah, you know what you did.
posted by The Whelk at 4:24 PM on April 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


Oh god, not another enspousening...!
posted by Sys Rq at 4:29 PM on April 25, 2010


St. Alia of the Bunnies: To the OP: Yeah, don't be surprised to find you wake up with a bunch of new "spouses." Learn from my fail.....

Humorously, my wife was more than a little confused why I was spousing some other woman on the 'Filter.
posted by paisley henosis at 4:29 PM on April 25, 2010


Oh god, not another enspousening...!


The Manrem is getting a BIT dusty.
posted by The Whelk at 4:31 PM on April 25, 2010


>Joe links to Fred. Then Joe spams the site with a bunch of Nazi messages, gets banned, the end. (Not all that far from what happened here.) Except now it's performance-appraisal time and Fred's boss goes a-Googling and sees Fred's profile and how it's linked to this psycho Nazi guy. So instead of promoting Fred, his boss promotes Bill, who raids the pension fund and bankrupts the company and now people are destitute because Matt didn't require some kind of confirmation for connections.<>

This is an important lesson I learned a century or so ago, back when 'user' meant someone who habitually partook of consciousness altering chemicals: Keep your 'user name' private, at least for parents bosses and teachers! Jeees-us
posted by Some1 at 4:32 PM on April 25, 2010


Keep your 'user name' private, at least for parents bosses and teachers! Jeees-us

Indeed! I was born Thaddeus Q. Whelkstock, Esq. I own a mansion and a yacht.
posted by The Whelk at 4:35 PM on April 25, 2010 [8 favorites]


Of the Penobscot Whelkstocks or the Cuyahogah Whelkstocks?
posted by Joseph Gurl at 4:47 PM on April 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


Cuyahoga? I heard they earned their money. How vulgar.
posted by toodleydoodley at 5:07 PM on April 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


Google lacks the technology to reverse my name and remove the .
posted by mccarty.tim at 5:15 PM on April 25, 2010


Cribcage, does this mean our betrothal is off? I had us registered at Target.
posted by beelzbubba at 5:15 PM on April 25, 2010


I've never been spoused.




*sigh*
posted by nevercalm at 5:18 PM on April 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


I do not deign to shop at Tar-jay.
posted by cribcage at 5:28 PM on April 25, 2010


Indeed! I was born Thaddeus Q. Whelkstock, Esq. I own a mansion and a yacht.

What a great coincidence to run into you, Thaddeus! I've been looking for you for a while. You've got a huge settlement due to you, with which you can buy a bigger mansion and a bigger yacht. All I need is a checking account number and your date of birth, and I can release the funds.
posted by inigo2 at 5:42 PM on April 25, 2010


Except you. And you. yah, you know what you did.

MY ONLY CRIME WAS LOVING YOU
posted by loquacious at 5:42 PM on April 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


The Whelk: "Except you. And you. yah, you know what you did."

Geez, I remove one lousy favorite...
posted by Hardcore Poser at 5:45 PM on April 25, 2010


2 girls, 1 nuptial.

$20, same as in town. But only certain towns where that sort of thing is legal.
posted by inigo2 at 5:46 PM on April 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've never been spoused.




*sigh*
posted by nevercalm at 8:18 PM on April 25 [1 favorite -] Favorite added! [!]


yet, baby, yet ;-)
posted by toodleydoodley at 5:53 PM on April 25, 2010


The Great Spousening was amazing. It was like a party with a sign on the door that said EVERYBODY GETS SPOUSED. I commented once and got two spouses. Really.
posted by SpiffyRob at 5:57 PM on April 25, 2010


I do not deign to shop at Tar-jay.


That's the beauty, Crib. Everyone celebrating our spousetry will shop at Target, so we don't have to.
posted by beelzbubba at 6:01 PM on April 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


My wife was briefly curious about my new spouses after the enspousening. Briefly excited that she would get to share her burden, I think.
posted by maxwelton at 6:04 PM on April 25, 2010


I've never been spoused.

I've not seen a more transparent call to be spoused.....



...since I did it...
posted by inigo2 at 6:05 PM on April 25, 2010


You're taking this too seriously.

Oh, I don't know. Friendship can be serious business, particularly on moving day. Speaking of which ...
posted by philip-random at 6:06 PM on April 25, 2010


I recently bought my partner (The demon that lives in the air) a MeFi account and excitedly told her that we needed to log on and spouse each other. She was really confused about why this was significant. Then I showed her the Great Enspousening thread.

Anyway, what it all boils down to is that the MeFi contacts system often works like a combination of social bookmarking and lulzy inter-user joking around rather than actually mapping real life relationships one-to-one.
posted by Tesseractive at 6:19 PM on April 25, 2010


I love this thread.
posted by hapax_legomenon at 6:48 PM on April 25, 2010


hey who do I have to **** to get a little spousing around here?
posted by toodleydoodley at 6:51 PM on April 25, 2010


hey who do I have to **** to get a little spousing around here?

Apparently, Dumsnill.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:55 PM on April 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


For all the Spouses
posted by The Whelk at 7:13 PM on April 25, 2010


This is just to say
that I have had a few beers
and would like to be spoused

forgive me
they were so delicious
and I am so lonely :(
posted by harperpitt at 7:28 PM on April 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh Metafilter
posted by The Whelk at 7:30 PM on April 25, 2010


Apparently being - or at least claiming to be - a good cook will get you some action on Metafilter. Lord knows I'd never be hired for my looks, but I've racked up a few spouses around here.
*smiles coyly*
To the kitchen, lonelyhearts!
posted by Quietgal at 7:40 PM on April 25, 2010


Did someone else see it as "Never look a girl friend in the mouth"...cuz I was thinking that could probably prevent a lot of STI's...
posted by hal_c_on at 7:47 PM on April 25, 2010




Quietgal: Apparently being - or at least claiming to be - a good cook will get you some action on Metafilter. Lord knows I'd never be hired for my looks, but I've racked up a few spouses around here.
*smiles coyly*
To the kitchen, lonelyhearts


*swoon*
posted by paisley henosis at 7:49 PM on April 25, 2010


hey who do I have to **** to get a little spousing around here?

Apparently, Dumsnill.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:55 PM on April 25 [+] [!]


wow, I guess I did, though I don't remember it. is this the time for panic or regret?

naaaaah. more beer!
posted by toodleydoodley at 7:50 PM on April 25, 2010


naaaaaah. more beer!
posted by The Whelk at 7:58 PM on April 25, 2010


When the night has been too lonely
and the road has been to long,
and you think that love is only
for the lucky and the strong,
just remember in the winter
far beneath the bitter snows
lies the seed that with the sun's love
in the spring becomes the rose.
posted by Sailormom at 7:59 PM on April 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


More beer often leads to enspousenings. Especially if you're in Vegas! although there it's grain alcohol served in plastic Eiffel Towers that you have to watch out for
posted by catlet at 8:01 PM on April 25, 2010 [1 favorite]




wow, I guess I did, though I don't remember it.

Oh, I have the video.
posted by Dumsnill at 8:03 PM on April 25, 2010




wow, I guess I did, though I don't remember it.

Oh, I have the video.
posted by Dumsnill at 11:03 PM on April 25 [+] [!]


crap. now I can't even testify against you.
posted by toodleydoodley at 8:08 PM on April 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


naaaaaah. more beer!
posted by The Whelk at 10:58 PM on April 25 [+] [!]


I thought you meant The Andrews Sisters

yes, The Andrews Sisters
posted by toodleydoodley at 8:10 PM on April 25, 2010


I dunno. Somebody got riled up about being linked as a "spouse" awhile back. It's not all that hard to understand. By MetaFilter standards, those connections are unimportant; personally, I didn't even notice them until recently when they showed up on the sidebar of the front page. But for people who are unfamiliar with MetaFilter, a connection is a connection and there would seemingly be some reason for it to exist, right?
[snip]
Some people are picky about whom they link to online, and I get that. It's not the worst idea in the world for Matt to tweak that feature. Opt out of connections? Hide them? Something.


"Someone" took the situation in stride pretty quickly and has commented with good humor in this thread as well.

But which is it, are these connections hard to find or Very Important Connections? I don't see the activity of people who have connected to me on my front page, i only see those to whom I am connected.

I like that connections don't need to be mutual. It's a way to keep track of the contributions of other members without requiring them to acknowledge me. It's a wee bit of anti-snowflakeism.
posted by desuetude at 8:28 PM on April 25, 2010


Never look a gift friend in the Alps.
posted by loquacious at 8:46 PM on April 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


I really like being able to say "I 'crush'ed aqsakal" and it's a nice thing.
posted by theora55 at 8:46 PM on April 25, 2010


I look Loquacious right in the Neuschwanstein
posted by The Whelk at 8:47 PM on April 25, 2010


For anyone who sees this and wants to buy us enspousening gifts, metafilter and I are registered at Tar-jay. Otherwise feel free to give cash.
posted by tracicle at 9:06 PM on April 25, 2010


Oh, and I'd like to right here, right now, in this thread, reaffirm my Great Enspousenating Vow to The Whelk.
posted by desuetude at 9:11 PM on April 25, 2010


What's the use of wonderin'?
posted by The Whelk at 9:24 PM on April 25, 2010


I love you all.
Well, most of you.
posted by sciencegeek at 9:35 PM on April 25, 2010


Is this where we come to get spoused?
posted by stoneweaver at 10:25 PM on April 25, 2010


But which is it, are these connections hard to find or Very Important Connections?

The issue isn't whether they are "Very Important," merely whether they exist and are visible. It makes no difference whether they were easy or hard to find once somebody does find them. (See above.) And sure, I see your point about following members without requiring their acknowledgement (it strikes me as a wee bit stalkerish, but I can see how it might not to somebody else), but why would that need to be visible on the other member's user page? You could still follow Sarah's every writing, and without her acknowledgement; the only difference is, that would be your own private business instead of being visible to all her friends.
posted by cribcage at 10:28 PM on April 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've always suspected MeFi was a Mormon front. This multiple spousing is the evidence!
posted by five fresh fish at 11:26 PM on April 25, 2010


Well, I do happen to be wearing my magic underpants.
posted by item at 11:50 PM on April 25, 2010


aqsakal, I got added as a contact by that same guy too (Friend? Colleague? Never heard of you, pal). I always figured he created some random contacts as camouflage before he started spamming the site.
posted by jamaro at 12:16 AM on April 26, 2010


oh darn, I slept through everything


hey! why do I have 8 rings on my fingers??!?
posted by infini at 12:56 AM on April 26, 2010


Wow! Gosh, gee whiz, Brad! And so forth... I think thats the fun-est thread I've read on MetaFilter yet. (And it's collected me two new friends and a crush overnight: hi guys!)

I honestly wasn't complaining, just curious. And I'm pleased my curiosity has given many other users an excuse to have a good time - I really enjoyed that.

It seems a little churlish to turn serious once the laughter has died down, but - frankly - cribcage made a good point here. In the current instance I don't think I'm running any great risks, but if somebody whose racist, sexist, religious, political, philosophical or other views were apt to make me vomit, I'd be uncomfortable with having them claim to be my "friend". All of you (and I too, now, after this) would know there's no significance to it, but a bunch of people out there (like me 24 hours ago) might think shit, I necer guessed aqsakal was like that; I'm going to empty a pitcher of beer over him if he ever dares show his face at a meetup.

And, as cribcage pointed out a coupla posts later, Facebook have fixed it so that a claimed friendship has to be confirmed before becoming etched in stone.

So I guess the options are either to fix a bug, if enough people think it's that important, or to let it ride and have a good time.

Many thanks to all for your explanations, wit, humour and (dare I say it?) friendship.
posted by aqsakal at 1:12 AM on April 26, 2010


Well, I do happen to be wearing my magic underpants.

Guh, cherry again? Can we try the pineapple ones? I'm tired of cherry, they taste like Robotussin.
posted by loquacious at 1:26 AM on April 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


Er... I never guessed...
posted by aqsakal at 1:30 AM on April 26, 2010


I recently had a manager (multiple levels up the food chain) post a link to a story about 6 Career-Killing Facebook Mistakes on facebook, to which I responded in part saying:

Lord knows I've mouthed off plenty of times since getting on the internet back in 1988 or '89, and I somehow manage to keep finding jobs, almost uniformly in better companies than those I left.

So the way I see it, if Cribcage's hypothetical Nazi linked to me, and my boss were to see it and treat me differently because of it, that gives me a valuable piece of information about my boss.

Perhaps in another few years, I'll be unemployable because of some bit of internet-based smart-assery on my part, but I had figured that was going to happen years ago, so what the heck, I'm already into the bonus rounds.

Plus I'm a good cook and missed out on the previous great enspousening, so I'm feeling a little left out.
posted by DaveP at 4:43 AM on April 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Just wait until Brandon Blatcher marries you.

... I'm still waiting myself... (sob)...
posted by klausness at 5:15 AM on April 26, 2010


My brother! My spouse! My Brother! My Spouse!
posted by The Whelk at 6:02 AM on April 26, 2010


A highlight of my Metafilter days is being an acquaintance, neighbor and spouse of Brandon Blatcher.

Cheers to the enspousening. May it become a regular holiday.
posted by sadiehawkinstein at 6:15 AM on April 26, 2010


incestuous little snail aren't you? ;p
posted by infini at 6:15 AM on April 26, 2010


And sure, I see your point about following members without requiring their acknowledgement (it strikes me as a wee bit stalkerish, but I can see how it might not to somebody else), but why would that need to be visible on the other member's user page?

Using the feature as it was designed is stalkerish? Are you kidding?

The reason it shows up on the other member's page is so that they know I've added them, in case they want to add me back or are curious as to who I am or whatever.

I think there's some serious beanplating about the meaning of contacts considering members of this site typically use usernames rather than given names. This is why comparisons to Facebook make no sense, as that site explicitly is >based on using one's real name.
posted by desuetude at 6:43 AM on April 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Good thing there's not an XFN profile for "Papi"...
because I would *so* be using it for nefarious purposes.
posted by romakimmy at 7:18 AM on April 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'd like to request that "raving nutjob who I wouldn't touch with a barge pole in real life" be added as a contact category.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:42 AM on April 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


Are you kidding?

Nope. It strikes me that way. You want to be kept apprised of someone else's doings for whatever reason, and it's important to you that this not require their consent. As I said, I have no problem understanding why you might see it differently, but to my eye that's (just a bit) stalkerish. Also, I don't see why the intent behind the design would make any difference in that analysis. But all of that is really beside the point if we're discussing the feature's visibility, not its existence.

Your distinction between MetaFilter and Facebook assumes both that (1) people on MetaFilter generally don't use their real names, and (2) their usernames are not inextricably linked with their real names. I don't know how true the first is, but I'm skeptical about the second. Note how often AskMe posters are advised, "You might want to ask the mods to anonymize this." I also think many people use the same usernames in different settings; so while you might not be able to backtrack Fred1225 --> Fred Brown solely from his MetaFilter account, if you are Fred's friend in real life and you know that his Gchat name is Fred1225, then his MetaFilter account is a quick Google away.

If you really want to "beanplate," I think the next step in that logic is that ultimately, it doesn't really matter whether we're talking about usernames being linked with real names or just usernames alone. Fred ought to have the right to preserve his 'good name,' free of appearing to have associated himself with KKK Karl, in either case—whether it's Fred Brown or Fred1225.
posted by cribcage at 7:55 AM on April 26, 2010


I'd like to request that "raving nutjob who I wouldn't touch with a barge pole in real life" be added as a contact category.

Denied.

And just to address the stalkery aspects. We've had a few rare cases where people have felt that someone added them as a contact in a way they felt was inappropriate and creepy [i.e. was using it to follow them around the site, or was doing it in a hostile weird manner] and we've talked to the people involved and wound up getting things resolved. I can appreciate that on the open web this sort of functionality is a little weirder. But, at the end of the day we don't have Fred Phelps types or KKK types or people who are just aggresively hostile to the community [yes there are people a lot of people don't like who say dumb things, this is different] and if there were people getting up to that sort of thing, they wouldn't be allowed to be here anymore. So, in lieu of making the contact system more rigorous, we offer to work with people who feel weird or bad about specific instances where they feel aggrieved and that's worked well so far.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:07 AM on April 26, 2010


Some people on Metafilter use their real names as usernames or link to their real names, but it is entirely optional, unlike Facebook.

Quite a few people go to a bit of trouble to not mix their real name with their username. There's been lots of AskMe threads about that, too.

Why on earth would it require consent for me to more easily follow someone's contributions here? That you would jump straight to "a little bit stalkerish" for members of a community to pay attention to others' writing is a pretty ungracious reading, to my eye. FWIW, I don't need mutual consent to RSS someone's website, or post a link to my Facebook page, or retweet a on Twitter, or share an item via Google, etc.
posted by desuetude at 10:09 AM on April 26, 2010


yeah, just because some 300 or so "tweeple" (rolls eyes) decide they want to "follow" me I don't imagine for even a single moment that i'm some type of cult leader or tribal chief - that's just Twitter's odd choice of words ( i prefer subscribers, just like blogging but hey, twits don't have ponies)

ergo, similarly...

(well maybe ;p I confess to actually feeling the muse or crush or whatever when I do choose to add that instead of a simple contact, not like that BB character ;p)
posted by infini at 10:41 AM on April 26, 2010


Metafilter is like a bedroom farce, "centered on the sexual pairings and recombinations of characters as they move through improbable plots and slamming doors".
posted by found missing at 10:53 AM on April 26, 2010


tell me about it, I just stumbled over a new spouse
posted by infini at 11:47 AM on April 26, 2010


Cheers to the enspousening. May it become a regular holiday.

Well, doesn't it HAVE to? After all, think of all the anniversary celebrations!
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 11:54 AM on April 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


yeahhhh :) I want flowers...
posted by infini at 11:57 AM on April 26, 2010


I'd like to request that "raving nutjob who I wouldn't touch with a barge pole in real life" be added as a contact category.

Denied.


I understand your reasoning completely, jessamyn. As always, your decision is wise and just. It was silly of me to have even asked.

I'd like to request that "raving nutjob whom I wouldn't touch with a barge pole in real life" be added as a contact category.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 6:14 AM on April 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


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