A formal objection to the deletion of 91678 May 5, 2010 4:50 PM   Subscribe

I submit that this post was deleted for unsound reasons. There was no editorializing included and the post did not break any guidelines; indeed, the video linked in the post is unique, newsworthy, and "best of the web": it shows a rare insight into these types of events.

I hold no hope that it will be reinstated, but I believe that the reason for deletion is incorrect, and worse, that it characterizes the post's tone falsely and unfairly.
posted by Optimus Chyme to Etiquette/Policy at 4:50 PM (792 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

WAAAH MY POST WAS DELETED NO FAIR
posted by Nothing... and like it at 4:53 PM on May 5, 2010 [7 favorites]


What is the post for? Seriously, I don't think anyone would disagree that police shooting a family's dogs is sort of fucked up awful news, but what makes it something that's a good idea as a Metafilter post? It was getting flagged quickly and this is not the first time we've removed "awful thing happens" posts that otherwise seemed to lack postworthiness, so it's neither a by-fiat or a without-precedent sort of situation.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:54 PM on May 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


If "look at these assholes" is not a valid post for Metafilter, are these posts also under threat of deletion?
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:57 PM on May 5, 2010 [9 favorites]


What is the post for?

Because we never ever ever get to see the video of this stuff - it usually "disappears." And here, finally, is hard evidence of drug war paramilitarization affecting normal middle-class Americans in serious pants-shitting ways. It's just as important in that way, in my opinion, as the Wikileaks video of a couple weeks ago.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 4:57 PM on May 5, 2010 [89 favorites]


Chyme, I love you like a brother, but it didn't seem to be going well and yah ...it was just gonna be "hey this is awful and we all agree this is awful".

I'll buy you a drink next time I see you and we can commiserate.
posted by The Whelk at 4:57 PM on May 5, 2010


It doesn't matter what the tone of the post was, which was fine by the way, but there's going to be no way a "hey these cops shot some people's house pets" is a thread that is going to go well.

Threads about cops go badly, and threads about very specific shitty things that cops do go a lot worse. There's not much that's new to say, the same old people get mad at the same old stuff and as far as newsfilter posts go, they're not good. This has nothing to do with the tone of the post. If you want to get nitpicky about guidelines you could say that it's not going to lead to any interesting discussion. Or that a bunch of people flagged it and didn't think that it was a good post. I'm aware that you think it's novel that there's a pet murder video available which is sort of breaking new ground internet-wise, but that enough really isn't enough to rest a post on.

Additional issues: they're US-centric, they're outragefilter, they're on a touchy topic which has a generalized "please don't make posts on this topic unless it's very important and you're going to do it very carefully" guideline. I know this is a topic you personally care a lot about, that does not make it a good post for MetaFilter.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:58 PM on May 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


Do people have flagging options which I don't?
posted by gman at 4:58 PM on May 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


are these posts also under threat of deletion?

Can we not play this game here? Please flag posts if you don't like them.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:59 PM on May 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


Grab a copy and post it on your blog. Not sarcasm.
posted by fixedgear at 4:59 PM on May 5, 2010


it shows a rare insight into these types of events.

The video is horrifying and pretty much represents a huge chunk of what I personally find so offensive about the so-called War on Drugs, but I'm failing to see what sort of "rare insight" is present in the video. There isn't much there that you can't take at face value. "OMG this is fucked up look at this" in an of itself usually makes for a weak post.

Pope Guilty: "are these posts also under threat of deletion?"

At a glance, I'd say that the first two are fine but the "rent boy" FPP is not a very good post. Like the deleted drug raid video, it's pretty much a "ha ha ha look at these assholes" post. If anything, I wish more of these posts were killed because it sets the bar pretty darn low.
posted by dhammond at 5:03 PM on May 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


Well, maybe not "ha ha ha" for the drug raid post.
posted by dhammond at 5:04 PM on May 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Would a larger meatier post that talked about the general phenomena of the war on drugs/militarized police forces/disproportionate violence over nonviolent drug offenses that incorporated this video be permissible?

Because that seems like a good post that I (or anyone else who has the urge) could craft that would include this video and lots of other interesting best of the web material.
posted by andoatnp at 5:04 PM on May 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


I agree with OC. This is a critical civics issue - we as taxpayers pay for this nonsense. It has political implications. Discussion of the issue is no less valid than discussions of international government abuses, which are not routinely deleted. I am not interested solely in a place to vent my grar on this issue - though I admit I have more than enough grar to spare. Awareness and education about the kinds of things our local governments are permitting an undertrained police force to engage in are worthy of discussion. More so, in my personal opinion, than the latest cutesy kitty cat or flash game or art project. I respect that this is Matt's space, not mine, but as the MeTa has been posted I am sharing my view.

IMO, a couple of people popped into the post - which was fairly calmly worded - and jumped to accusation of 'cop-hatefilter' or whatever, rather than contributing anything of value to the discussion. I'll remember that next time I want to piss on a post, that doing so can result in the deletion of the post and deprive other posters of the opportunity to have the discussion here in this community. Again, I realize I don't have some gods-given right to have that discussion here, but I really would have liked to.
posted by bunnycup at 5:04 PM on May 5, 2010 [80 favorites]


Perhaps if you put some more... context into the post, it might have not be deleted. For example, if you provided some examples, or some history of drug war paramilitarization, it would be better.

As it is, the post was all like THESE FUCKERS KILLED A CORGI
posted by KokuRyu at 5:04 PM on May 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Or what andoatnp said.
posted by KokuRyu at 5:05 PM on May 5, 2010


If "look at these assholes" is not a valid post for Metafilter, are these posts also under threat of deletion?

The fraud post is a huge roundup on fraud/econ stuff, the Kraft post looks like a Weird Media Stuff thing and was not flagged at all, and the Rekers post I was not hot on at all but it seemed like such a high profile incident that it wasn't likely to go quietly into that good night. If it had been "random state senator outed" it'd likely have been nixed.

None of those very closely resembles "here is video of police shooting a dog". Look At These Assholes is maybe not the clearest bit of our working vocabulary, it just sort of came into practice over time, but the general notion that it conveys is a post where there's generally not much of any substance beyond "here are bad people doing a bad thing" and invites pretty much nothing but people agreeing that that thing is bad or springboarding into hardcore GRAR about other bad things those bad people do or other reasons why they are bad or so on.

It's a lot of heat with very little substance. I'd remove more of them if I didn't care that there's a certain amount of disagreement of the utility of the moderately more substantial ones. It certainly is not the sort of thing that tends to lead to anything good happening on mefi as a result.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:05 PM on May 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's just as important in that way, in my opinion, as the Wikileaks video of a couple weeks ago.

Agreed, IMO, FWIW.
posted by bunnycup at 5:06 PM on May 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


the "rent boy" FPP is not a very good post.

Didn't like it. It was 200 comments in with some decent discussion by the time I even saw it and it wasn't that heavily flagged.

It has political implications.

Mostly for Americans. And everything with political implications does not belong here. I think it would be very difficult to make a post on the topic "cops killed my pets" and have it go well here. It's the perfect storm of animal abuse, police overreaching their bounds and this particular post had drug war on top of it. They're all touchy topics.

Would a larger meatier post that talked about the general phenomena of the war on drugs/militarized police forces/disproportionate violence over nonviolent drug offenses that incorporated this video be permissible?

Think about what you want to have happen with that post. I'm sure there's a way to write a decent post about it, but the posts we often get are "Look at this insane thing that the police/military did, they are totally out of control." and not really a nuanced look at what is going on, why it's happening, what the repurcussions have been or anything other than some sort of "look at these assholes" posts. It's easy to post something that gets everyone all pissed off. It's much harder to post something that is about a touchy topic and manages to get people talking.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:08 PM on May 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


OK, the title of the video is "Cops Shoot Pets With Children Present ." I don't know if they really did shot the dogs in front of children because the video has the sound of the shots up front but I didn't see the dog or the child -- and didn't have the appetite to watch the whole video because crying children and dead shot dogs are both images that upset the hell out of me. Your first link is is to a very angry blog with lots of editorializing but no citation to any source but the defendant's wife. Here's some of what I'd like to know --

What was the history of the suspect(s) named in the warrants?
What did the warrant affidavit say?
Did the dogs have any history, e.g. of aggression or biting?
Was/is there a complaint of police misconduct? How was it handled or is it being handled?

Police conduct is an important subject and I appreciate you -- versus the video title and the blog to which you linked-- didn't editorialize, but I for one need more information before agreeing the mods were wrong. And that information needed to go into the post, I think, or it does look as the mods characterized it.

Really like your contributions and also respect you, but I'm having trouble agreeing with you this time.
posted by bearwife at 5:09 PM on May 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


If they had came into a library and shot up a few copies of richard dawkins , that video would still be on the front page.
posted by sgt.serenity at 5:16 PM on May 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


Do people have flagging options which I don't?

You have em too. You just have to, you know, think longer.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 5:17 PM on May 5, 2010


Can we not play this game here? Please flag posts if you don't like them.

I have nothing against those posts.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:27 PM on May 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


IMO, a couple of people popped into the post - which was fairly calmly worded - and jumped to accusation of 'cop-hatefilter'

Yeah that was me, I flagged my comment. I've been having some threadshitting issues lately I guess.

However, I still don't think it was that great of a post for metafilter.
posted by Think_Long at 5:28 PM on May 5, 2010


I have nothing against those posts.

Honestly, do you not understand the difference between OC's post and the three you linked? Because cortex and I just went and looked at and evaluated all three posts because we felt like you were asking a legitimate "why are these not deleted?" question and I don't want to play wack-a-mole with you all night long.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:29 PM on May 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


Outrage junkies get outraged when you prevent them from expressing their outrage. It's outrageous!
posted by mcwetboy at 5:42 PM on May 5, 2010 [11 favorites]


While the outrage it usually justified, it's basically pointless. This is not "best of the web" because there is a story like this once or twice a month and there isn't much depth to it.

Most users come to metafilter to find "interesting" things on the web. Your post can ignite interest, but when users check it out there's nothing left to do but get angry. It raises the Grar level. What can we discuss? The discussion can go nowhere because the conclusion has already been reached.

Also: If there's a cop/taser involved, it's probably plastered all over reddit.com like so much paper-mache, and there are lots of conversations about the same stories, all of them 90% identical to the one that would happen in metafilter.

If I may add one more thought, I would typically ignore rather than flag, but my sentiment is probably amoung that of the flaggers. Which is "gah, not this again."
posted by hellojed at 5:45 PM on May 5, 2010 [5 favorites]


Optimus Chyme: It's just as important in that way, in my opinion, as the Wikileaks video of a couple weeks ago.

I disagree.

1) People were murdered. I like animals (I don't eat mammals or birds) and I think that the killing of animals for food is one of the more important ethical issues to consider, but murder is about as serious as crime gets.

2) The novelty of the Wikileaks video is much greater. Stupid people with authority have been killing housepets without good cause for centuries, murdering people from afar while watching a computer screen is fairly new.

3) The incident shown in the Wikileaks video was already well corroborated. There was already lots of material about it out there. It was fairly easy to know what was going on. The video linked in the deleted post was much fresher. There's a lot more room for interpretation.

4) Journalists were assassinated by US soldiers on camera. That's big.
posted by Kattullus at 5:47 PM on May 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


There's a LOT more going on with this story than just pet murder. It is positively asinine to suggest in points (1) and (2) that the importance, newsworthiness or relevance of this issue is limited to the murder of pets.
posted by bunnycup at 5:50 PM on May 5, 2010 [5 favorites]


Well yes, there was also a lot more going on in the Wikileaks video than murder as well. I don't think it's unfair to say that neither video would have garnered much attention if noone had died.
posted by Kattullus at 6:04 PM on May 5, 2010


There's a LOT more going on with this story than just pet murder.

It's a shame that wasn't included in the post then.
posted by dhammond at 6:05 PM on May 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


What was the history of the suspect(s) named in the warrants?
What did the warrant affidavit say?
Did the dogs have any history, e.g. of aggression or biting?
Was/is there a complaint of police misconduct? How was it handled or is it being handled?


Not to be glib, but those are the sorts of things that usually get fleshed out in the discussion.

Jonathan Whitmore had priors. He pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute cocaine and marijuana in 2005. He also had a DWI. It is unknown if the child or either dog had priors or was part of the conspiracy to possess a misdemeanor-sized amount of weed.

I don't know what the warrant said, but I imagine that it failed to specify that the corgi needed to be visually searched via firearm-generated improvised hole technology.

I also don't know if the dogs had a history of aggression or biting but if you are an officer who is threatened by a corgi you should probably find new work, such as kids' ball pit tester, marshmallow target, or chief of police.

The article in the FPP states "I've exchanged emails with the mother of the family, who was in the home at the time of the raid. I'm waiting on her permission to publish her account of what happened."
posted by Optimus Chyme at 6:06 PM on May 5, 2010 [20 favorites]


Considering your red herring that no 'one' - i.e. no person - died in the video at issue here and yet it is garnering burning attention to the point that my current events-blind husband brought it to my attention shaking with rage, I think it would be unfair to say that. Government human rights violations and abuses should get more attention, even without deaths, I agree, but this is not a niche topic that interests only a few lone souls.
posted by bunnycup at 6:06 PM on May 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's a shame that wasn't included in the post then.

True, god forbid people read the linked articles to learn the entire story.
posted by bunnycup at 6:07 PM on May 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm a little disconcerted by the idea that an outrage-filter-only post is prima facia a bad post and even more disturbed about the idea that "these sorts of posts don't go well" is a good reason for deleting them.

Why? Because, regardless of our various "framings" the very fact that it's on the blue is potentially significant enough for people to reevaluate their beliefs, which in my opinion is a reason why our uniquely self-selected audience shows up.
posted by digitalprimate at 6:09 PM on May 5, 2010 [21 favorites]


(Okay, I'm posting too much here. Obviously I've made my opinion known as to the high comparative value of including this post and the discussion that could have ensued, and am now in danger of going into battle mode, which doesn't do anyone any favors, so I'm going to bow out.)
posted by bunnycup at 6:10 PM on May 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


(and I do deeply appreciate how much of a mess these kind of posts pose to our tireless mods whom I'm hoping won't smite me now....)
posted by digitalprimate at 6:10 PM on May 5, 2010


This is cyborg deer stress. Some bad cops shot a dog. Not good. If the victims have any sense, they'll sue. The bad cops will lose their jobs and the victims will be compensated.

Getting outraged about this will accomplish absolutely no good in the world.
posted by JDHarper at 6:14 PM on May 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


Reminded me of this, which was also posted by you, Chyme. What an awful story.
posted by ODiV at 6:19 PM on May 5, 2010


Wow, right in my backyard. Things have changed.

For people unacquainted with Missouri, Columbia was, for a good stretch of time, the laid-back college town, more fun than Rolla, less seedy than Springfield. Strangely, Columbia gets a lot of musicians touring through that won't ever show up in St. Louis. Gay-friend. Rather drug-friendly, too, according to various recreational distributors I knew. If you went to (the formerly named) UMR and couldn't handle the gender imbalance or the complete lack of culture, you switched to Columbia. Walk around Columbia late at night, things were still happening and people smiled.

Now the economy has gone south and we have paramilitary-style raids for a little bit of grass. Lovely.
posted by adipocere at 6:19 PM on May 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


You posted a dog murder video to MetaFilter. If you didn't expect people to flag it a lot, you were mistaken. I think it's safe to say that pet torture & murder is not something a lot of people want on the front page, regardless of the framing.
posted by BeerFilter at 6:19 PM on May 5, 2010


cop shoot dog: Results 1 - 10 of about 415 for cop shoot dog.
posted by hortense at 6:21 PM on May 5, 2010


Reminded me of this, which was also posted by you, Chyme. What an awful story.
posted by ODiV at 6:19 PM on May


To be honest, I had forgotten I posted that one. Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 6:24 PM on May 5, 2010


"And here, finally, is hard evidence of drug war paramilitarization affecting normal middle-class Americans in serious pants-shitting ways."

"Cops" has been showing on TV since March 11, 1989.
Also why do you single out "normal middle-class"?
posted by vapidave at 6:24 PM on May 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


Seriously, dude, this stuff is on Fox for an hour every Saturday.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:32 PM on May 5, 2010


Also why do you single out "normal middle-class"?

Because bullshit baby priors aside this dude is fairly normal. Wife, kids, a couple of dogs. Maybe he's a small time weed dealer but he's not Pablo Escobar. I've known plenty of people who sold weed on the side who are really, truly, just like you and me otherwise.

If cops were storming some hardened meth factory that had door lasers and attack dogs I'd be a little more understanding that they fired shots. But this use of force was repulsive and unnecessary.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 6:32 PM on May 5, 2010 [9 favorites]


I'm a little disconcerted by the idea that an outrage-filter-only post is prima facia a bad post

It's not prima facie a deleteable post but it's serious points against. Metafilter is not an activist platform, this place does not specialize in mission statement as a place to go to be outraged about things or to fight the various good fights. A post whose central hook is functionally "look at this bad thing" is going to be in trouble if there's not either some really substantive framing to defray the outrage-bait payload (e.g. a well-researched, well-presented roundup of info on the topic) or some really broadly compelling mitigating circumstance (e.g. major global catastrophe).

Practically speaking, these are things that someone posting about something contentious needs to take into account if they want to improve the chances of their post sticking around. Presentation matters. Context matters. What has historically worked and not worked well with posts/threads here in the past matters.

and even more disturbed about the idea that "these sorts of posts don't go well" is a good reason for deleting them.

I want to believe, and to some degree still do manage to believe, that under ideal circumstances literally any topic could be fodder for a quality, substantive discussion on Metafilter. There are a ton of smart, passionate, insightful people in this community and sometimes we do discussions of hard topics well, and I like that and am proud of it and share this general desire to be able to see that sort of thing happen.

In raw odds, some kinds of threads are much less likely to yield that than others, however. Having had the experience of on any number of occasions trying to fight the rising tide of a thread-going-badly in the hopes of salvaging that idealized substantive discussion only to end up on most occasions with nothing but a mess that continues happening and a knot in my stomach, I'm past the point of letting my hope for these things to be able to go well overrule my practical need to not give myself an ulcer and throw a whole day away just so people can be loudly angry in unison about something shitty that someone did.

There are discussions that this site legitimately needs to have that are hard and gut-wrenching and eat up whole days of moderator attention at a time; most of them happen over here in metatalk and are about this community itself, though, not some external source of outrage. We're a small staff trying to keep a site of several thousand people working as best we can, and we're going to have to prioritize how we spend our time and energy. Propping up thinly-presented outrage-oriented posts is not at the top of that list of priorities.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:33 PM on May 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


*on soapbox*

OC, a libertarian ran over my dog without stopping, driving over the speed limit. A second registered libertarian physically abused someone I know, and got off with a slap on the wrist. A third called me a parasitic cripple for drawing Social Security. I'm waiting for a fourth to piss in my breakfast cereal, but in the meantime, if this is a serious concern for you, I'm sure you can find more background about this issue to give it additional context. Me, I just think it's too bad that sometimes the police-state paramilitaries arrive arrive a little too slow.

*off soapbox*
posted by StrikeTheViol at 6:33 PM on May 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also why do you single out "normal middle-class"?

This was really interesting to me actually. Because of the way the post was made [which was, again, fine] it was about a corgi getting shot. The things that at least some of the people focused on in the thread was the pit bull in a cage in the kitchen. Which puts an entirely different class spin on to the thing. Which doesn't mean that dog-killing cops aren't bullshit, or that paramilitary-style home invasion stuff isn't totally against the rules, but more that I think we can become inured to the drug war when it seems to be something that is happenign to other people.

Speaking mostly for myself of course, but I feel secure that I could have a bag of weed in my house without someone breaking down my door and killing my pets. That's class privilege right there, I think.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:33 PM on May 5, 2010 [8 favorites]


A post whose central hook is functionally "look at this bad thing" is going to be in trouble if there's not either some really substantive framing to defray the outrage-bait payload (e.g. a well-researched, well-presented roundup of info on the topic) or some really broadly compelling mitigating circumstance (e.g. major global catastrophe).

Really?
posted by bunnycup at 6:37 PM on May 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


>You posted a dog murder video to MetaFilter. If you didn't expect people to flag it a lot, you were mistaken. I think it's safe to say that pet torture & murder is not something a lot of people want on the front page, regardless of the framing.

Man, are we so squeamish we can't have stuff we don't like on the front page? It's not like you click MeFi and a dog-killing mpeg autoplays in an endless loop. If you don't like it, don't click the link. I do that all the time.

Mods: Have you guys always been such slaves to the flag queue? Not to be contentious--and I really do understand you guys are pulled in different directions and have endless patience, grace, etc.--but the "people here get upset about that so we can't have it here" reason for deleting is a really disturbing precedent (and I know this isn't the first invocation of it).
posted by Joseph Gurl at 6:38 PM on May 5, 2010 [5 favorites]


Really?

Yes. You pointed out another shitty post, which was flagged much less but was actually pretty lousy and maybe should have been deleted. After you said you were going to step away from this thread because you were worried you were going to go into "battle mode."

It's up to you how you want to play this, but if you want to have a discussion, use some words. If you're just angry and upset I'd really like to suggest you go find your happy place which I hope is not MetaTalk.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:40 PM on May 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I recently had an altercation with a mechanic at a garage near my office. They are the first shop near one of the two entrances of a strip mall I was heading to. As I neared the end of their unit, I noticed they laid out a 2x4 with nails sticking out on the ground. I was maybe 3 inches from it when my car came to a stop. I grabbed the piece of wood and chucked it in one of the shop's bays. As the dude approached my car irate, my rather large and protective dog started freaking the fuck out. When I suggested he fuck off, he reached into his pants and threatened to shoot my dog. Didn't really think much of that, but wanted the cops' opinion on the two-by-four with studs and no warning. Anyway, here's the point - the police arrived really quickly and for some reason didn't know it was a dog he threatened. Once that was made clear, they informed me that in Canada a dog is considered "property" and therefore no charges would be laid. Property? Like a shoe? Like a car? I can walk around violently threatening people's property? That's fucked.
posted by gman at 6:41 PM on May 5, 2010


I'd say the post should have been kept. I'd be too squeamish too actually watch the videos, but I'm always of the opinion that corruption in authority should be talked about. At least, more than 'lol this anti-gay conservative is actually gay.'

I feel the thread could have led to some interesting discussion and I'm a bit disappointed it got cut off so early.
posted by flatluigi at 6:42 PM on May 5, 2010 [7 favorites]


Really?

Really. I was pretty on the fence about that post too, honestly, and did not think it was great. If you're hoping to guide policy with a gotcha, it's not likely to work out that well because we're conflicted about this stuff too and don't really need to smacked around with evidence that this stuff is fuzzy to implement. Trust us, we really, really know.

Anyone looking for some rigid, bright-line rule about exactly what always will vs. always will not be deleted is going to go away from these discussions disappointed. The fact that we're stuck making judgement calls on a case-by-case basis should not be news to anyone who has been paying attention.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:42 PM on May 5, 2010 [6 favorites]


You know, there are some posts that are interesting, useful and important that might still not be good posts for THIS particular website. Mods seem to think this was one of them. Yes, it's a judgement call, but that is how this place works.

There's always facebook, and personal blogs. Most of us here have an extensive enough fb "friendship" base to get things out there, if it comes to that. I know I have certain issues dear to my own heart that I might post about there but don't try to make a post about HERE. At some future time, with enough supplementary links I may give it a whirl but usually just the one link wouldn't cut it. And I have been around here long enough to know that.

Even to take this deletion as worst case scenario (in other words, if one were to assume mods acted incorrectly): I would simply say, stuff happens, and there are other venues.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:43 PM on May 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


I agree with OC, the post should have stayed. The video really is fascinating, beyond just being outrageous and scary.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:44 PM on May 5, 2010


I agree with furiousxgeorge. The video really is fascinating, beyond just being outrageous and scary.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 6:46 PM on May 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Mods: Have you guys always been such slaves to the flag queue?

That's a charged way to put it and pretty bad mischaracterization of how we use the flag queue, which is generally more a guide to our decision-making than the sole input. When we see people heavily flagging something that also strikes us subjectively as being problematic, that's a pretty good confirmation that our subjective reaction is on the mark.

If people are flagging the shit out of something we don't really see a problem with, or no one is flagging something we otherwise think is maybe pretty problematic, then we sit down and do some calculus and talk it out and maybe keep an eye on things for a while and see what happens.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:46 PM on May 5, 2010


bunnycup: Considering your red herring that no 'one' - i.e. no person - died in the video at issue here and yet it is garnering burning attention to the point that my current events-blind husband brought it to my attention shaking with rage, I think it would be unfair to say that. Government human rights violations and abuses should get more attention, even without deaths, I agree, but this is not a niche topic that interests only a few lone souls.

I think you misunderstood me. I agree with you that the killing of the dog is horrible. I wasn't saying that the video from the deleted post wasn't notable because no human had been killed, but that it was notable because a dog had been killed. I wasn't throwing out any red herrings. I agree with you that abuses of authority and human rights violations should get a lot of attention. Let me be absolutely clear on this, I think the killing of innocent animals is morally hideous and it makes me angry. What I was saying in the comment you were replying to, was that the reasons these two videos cause such a sensation is that lives are taken in both, in the Wikileaks video those of multiple humans, including a journalist and his assistant, and in the video from the deleted post that of a dog. Both are notable, bad things. What I was saying in points 1 and 2 of my first comment, was that the Wikileaks video was more notable because multiple humans had been killed versus one dog.

That's really the only point I'm making, that the incident shown in the Wikileaks video is a much more important matter.
posted by Kattullus at 6:47 PM on May 5, 2010


As far as gotchas go, the Maryland student tasering also stayed up.

I understand this a tough judgment call. Especially when people start flagging the post and commenting in-thread about how the conversation is going to go to shit. Not that I'm for opening the floodgates, but I'm a little disappointed that this type of material is on Youtube but we can't seem to get our shit together to talk about it on MetaFilter. I don't know if that means we need to start making better posts or just stop trolling. I'm not pointing fingers.
posted by phaedon at 6:49 PM on May 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Mods: Have you guys always been such slaves to the flag queue? Not to be contentious...

Then consider saying something slightly more polite?

This isn't a disturbing precedent, this is how the site works and has always worked. The community generally sets the tone here with the exception of certain things where we either set some hard and fast rules or we overrule them. Let me be clear, there have been posts that were flagged a lot and we've kept them up. There have been posts we've deleted that weren't flagged much. However, there are usually a combination of reasons why something gets deleted and what the flag queue is doing is usually one of those reasons. I don't think we use it as an excuse, but it's definitely data that we consider.

There are a number of topics that are considered touchy and that tend to not go well here. I'm sorry this is the case but that doesn't diminish the fact that this is the case. And our assertion has always been that you can make a post about these topics but you have to be careful and mindful of how the community tends to react to these things. This post, in my opinion and seemingly in the opinions of others, didn't do this. This is much different from saying "oh this topic is upsetting!" more like "this is a touchy topic and I don't think this post does much other than get a bunch of people really pissed off about this topic which actually deserves better treatment than people listening to a dog getting shot"
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:50 PM on May 5, 2010


How do you guys figure this story is US Centric? Both War on Drugs and police abuse issues are international in nature, this story just happened to occur in the US.

It's odd a real story like this gets deleted when the taser circus is just fine, sorry to be comparing posts again.

I agree with Joseph Gurl that furiousxgeorge is right.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:51 PM on May 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


Cortex, Jessamyn: No gotchas, and I'm sorry this has become just really personal for you. I'm sorry you feel an appeal to consistency in moderation is a gotcha, or 'battle mode'. I'm not sure where you got that in one word. For all intents and purposes, you have two posts, both dealing with highly critiqued, questionable police behavior. Both within a close time frame. Both with similar brief presentation. You both admit you didn't like the posts - I'm not looking for a hundred percent consistency, but it is my understanding that some level of consistency is appropriate. Not a rigid rule, because I agree that's not feasible, but right now it is coming off extraordinarily arbitrary and more than a little (as to each of your perspectives and reactions) personal.
posted by bunnycup at 6:54 PM on May 5, 2010 [6 favorites]


…the reason for deletion is incorrect, and worse, that it characterizes the post's tone falsely and unfairly.

Yea I can see you would interpret the two sentences that way. But the good news is that the actual reasons for its deletion were clarified in here. In gory detail.
posted by polymodus at 6:54 PM on May 5, 2010


Well, one thing to consider:

As the site has grown, the number of possible touchy subjects has also grown. As the site continues to grow, it's no crazytalk to suggest that the number of things Mefites get touchy about will approach the number of things the general population gets touchy about.

People Magazine, here we come!

(reductio ad absurdum, but that direction, at least, seems inevitable under these conditions)
posted by Joseph Gurl at 6:56 PM on May 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


Let me just formally state for the record that there's probably not been a single tasering-related post in recent memory that we haven't looked seriously askance at for similar reasons.

I'd be surprised if a review of post deletions in the last couple years didn't turn up a fair handful of such that we've removed, and likewise there are a number of police-violence and police-abuse that have stood. We don't have some sort "taser post good, police post bad" rubric, nor are they exactly cleanly independent subjects.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:56 PM on May 5, 2010


I'd like to state for the record that I agree completely that the mod flexibility and case-by-case basis judgments are a feature, not a bug.

Gotchas don't seem particularly helpful.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 6:58 PM on May 5, 2010 [6 favorites]


I'd like to state for the record that I agree with Joseph Gurl. For me, and this is an allusion without direct quote to something cortex said upthread, the idea that the mods need to react to the way an individual thread is evolving in real time and the extent of mod-headache, reaction, etc. that is likely to ensue, is very reasonable. Oh, I get that. I do. Where perhaps I so strongly disagree as to this thread is how quickly that trigger was pulled.
posted by bunnycup at 7:01 PM on May 5, 2010


it is my understanding that some level of consistency is appropriate.

Yeah, the inside baseball on this one was that for some reason the Philly Fans post didn't get flagged enough to show up on our radar and was probably posted at some point in time when we weren't really paying attention as closely [since it was a topic that has recently been in MeTa, we'd be super-sensitized to it] and this one was posted in the evening when we were both around and watched the flags go up and the thread get sort of bogged down. As cortex said, we had a choice to make and this is how we made it.

This is actually consistent on our end, as much as things are going to be. There was a difference between the two posts in their timing and in the amount they were flagged. I don't know how much more I can explain about this. This is as much consistency as there is here. If you think it's hinky you can talk to mathowie about it.

As far as personal, well it's always a little hurtful when people call you names when you're trying to do something you think is useful and helpful.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:02 PM on May 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm not looking for a hundred percent consistency, but it is my understanding that some level of consistency is appropriate.

In their defense, I think what they are attempting to offer is consistency in terms of quality of conversation. I would go so far as to say that, on borderline cases, if the community decides to throttle a conversation - through flagging and thread-shitting, then it's not really up to the mods. They try to provide an explanation of what didn't work, and we have an opportunity to discuss the state of affairs over here. And that's about as steadfast as anything is going to get.
posted by phaedon at 7:05 PM on May 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I apologize for the "slaves to the flag queue" comment. I didn't intend it to be an insult, but I can see that it is one.

I still disagree with deletion in this case, and I'm still worried by what I consider a slide toward mainstream media standards (which I think is more or less inevitable as the site grows, if flags that amount to "I don't want to see/read/think about this" are significant factors in deletion decisions).
posted by Joseph Gurl at 7:06 PM on May 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm not looking for a hundred percent consistency, but it is my understanding that some level of consistency is appropriate.

But how is that level of consistency benchmarked, and how is it measured? Is it only okay for us not to be rigidly consistent if we're sure to be sufficiently consistent about the specific posts you care most about? Or that someone else cares about? You see the dilemma here?

We try to be pretty consistent in aggregate in how we approach moderation decisions, and I think we actually do a pretty good job there when you get away from the This Post vs. That Post thing and look at the body of the moderation work we do over time. The difficulty of fairly judging that at a micro level is part of why we try to emphasize, and hope people can deal with, the fact that rigidity doesn't work, that there's gonna be some give and some variance from case to case as we try to approach this stuff. The tradeoff there is that we're willing to talk an awful lot about what's going on, how and why we made specific decisions, etc.

It's never, ever going to be a perfect system, in no small part because perfect means something different for every single person here regarding what set of posts would stand vs. get deleted.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:08 PM on May 5, 2010


Metafilter is Metafilter cause it's run by people and not by robots, judgment calls and everything. There could be a great post about this kind of thing, but I don't think this was it ...and yes there was some early threadshitting and man it's just easier to cut it off cause Metafilter is made of people and it's nver going to be perfect but - I don't think this is the end of the interwebs as we know it.
posted by The Whelk at 7:12 PM on May 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


"THESE FUCKERS KILLED A CORGI"

As the owner of a corgi I am here to say fuck those guys right in their eye sockets.

Seriously, what the hell? Corgis are the sweetest gentlest little cuddle-muffins ever.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 7:13 PM on May 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


I haven't had such a visceral reaction to a metafilter post in quite awhile. While I can understand deleting this for the "hate cops" aspect not being properly framed in the post, I think the subject of the post is something that should be reworked and made into a proper post.

If this is SOP procedure for all raids that happen to involve dogs, I've never heard about it. I do want to know more about that aspect of it.
posted by Brent Parker at 7:14 PM on May 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


CORGIS! Corgis? Corgis .
posted by The Whelk at 7:15 PM on May 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


[since it was a topic that has recently been in MeTa, we'd be super-sensitized to it]

For the record as the person who did that meta, I have no problem with the taser FPP. It was a prime example of how stone cold simple and easy it is to construct a post about something a Philly sports fan did without bringing out the old and tired guilt by association and list of 40 year old incidents. That courtesy was all I asked.

I think every incident of police abuse is is worth consideration for an FPP, though I don't personally disagree with the officer's actions in that case.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:16 PM on May 5, 2010



Seriously, what the hell? Corgis are the sweetest gentlest little cuddle-muffins ever.


That's no ordinary Corgi. That's the most foul, cruel, and bad-tempered Corgi you ever set eyes on! Look, that Corgi's got a vicious streak a mile wide! It's a killer! He's got huge, sharp... er... He can leap about. Look at the bones!
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:18 PM on May 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


Corgi.
posted by The Whelk at 7:23 PM on May 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Good lord... this happens all the time 1 - 2 - 3 - 4
posted by Brent Parker at 7:24 PM on May 5, 2010


Funny comment on the teh youtubes from a Canadian:

Fuck that drug addict and his evil marijuana addicted dogs and kid. AMERICA POLICE ARE AWESOME!!!!!!! THEY SHOOT DOG AND NOT AFRAID OF ANYTHING!!!!!!

FWIW, I'm glad the complaint got posted here coz I never would have seen the video. I've read plenty of "I was just sitting in my car with my gf and about six narcs came out of nowhere just went apeshit all because of a drug tip off we both had guns pointed at our heads didn't know what was going on thought I was going to die" stories.

I've never actually seen something like this.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 7:25 PM on May 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


I love and respect our esteemed moderators and I think they've made their reasoning fairly clear. This isn't a democracy.

With that having been said...

I just have to express my vote for letting this post stand. It's a fascinating, emotional video. It's not about dead dogs, it's about the upheaval created when storm troopers kick in the front door of a quiet house whose occupants appear to be minding their own business. I have this vague awareness that this kind of thing goes on, but without the internet I wouldn't be really confronted by it. It's important, and as someone who seeks out interesting links, is concerned about police brutality, and consumes as much news media as anyone else, I never would have seen this otherwise. I want to discuss it. As such, I think this easily qualifies as "best of the web." I wish it weren't the case that our inability to do these threads maturely or be gently moderated to do so leads to post deletions. It seems to me like this wasn't always the case around here.

Anyway, that's just my two cents. I obviously haven't thought about it as much as jessamyn and cortex but I feel better throwing out my opinion.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 7:26 PM on May 5, 2010 [21 favorites]


Oh, and I love seeing people being tasered. High comedy.

Nevar EVARR delete a taser post. Y'got that Mods? :)
posted by uncanny hengeman at 7:29 PM on May 5, 2010


THEY SHOOT DOG AND NOT AFRAID OF ANYTHING

I can't tell if you know that's a 4chan reference or not. [link unlikely to be sfw]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:30 PM on May 5, 2010


>Metafilter is Metafilter cause it's run by people and not by robots, judgment calls and everything.

Right. And that rules. But sometimes people are wrong. Some people think this is one of those times (some don't, of course). Being wrong sometimes is not the end of the world.

I just can't help seeing the slippery slope here. I know that can be a fallacy, but as the community has grown, hot-button issues have multiplied, and I don't see how that won't continue to be the case.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 7:31 PM on May 5, 2010


Over the last six months of 2009, SWAT teams were deployed 804 times in the state of Maryland, or about 4.5 times per day. In Prince George's County alone, with its 850,000 residents, a SWAT team was deployed about once per day. According to a Baltimore Sun analysis, 94 percent of the state's SWAT deployments were used to serve search or arrest warrants, leaving just 6 percent in response to the kinds of barricades, bank robberies, hostage takings, and emergency situations for which SWAT teams were originally intended.
posted by Brent Parker at 7:33 PM on May 5, 2010 [6 favorites]


No I did not, jessamyn, thanks for the heads-up. For all my faults [eg. I read fark] even though I am well aware of the site, I've checked out 4chan maybe twice in my life.

I did, however, think it sounded very meme-ish.

ps: Did the dog dieded?
posted by uncanny hengeman at 7:39 PM on May 5, 2010


As the site has grown, the number of possible touchy subjects has also grown.

You know, it really hasn't. Ask any active member of a reasonable tenure who frequents MetaTalk what the top six "things Metafilter doesn't do well" are and five of them are likely to be the same.
posted by Cyrano at 7:41 PM on May 5, 2010


hot-button issues have multiplied, and I don't see how that won't continue to be the case.

I feel like we add about one per year. I don't think they are multiplying. I think there is a steady increase as the community is steadily enlarging. And I don't think people are getting touchier. MeFi of 2000 probably had zero shitty-cop-raid posts. 2001 possibly likewise [actually post 9/11 that was probably not true]. As the community grows people post about more different sorts of things which is to be expected. However there's also an increase in people coming from other blogs which are, to my mind more sensational and a little bit more homogenous where you can post something that's a little bit more one-sided and "let's all get pissed off about this together" And those sorts of posts don't go as well here. It's not that they're not fascinating topics or that they're not important topics it's more that they just don't go well here for whatever reason. The reasons can include

- there are a few loudmouths who can't shut up about the topic and doom it to failure
- the topic is too nuanced for a text-y website full of nerds to talk about in this blog format
- people get so angry at the topic they can't actually have a discussion about it and they wind up just being mad and that madness leaks out and kills discussion
- the topic has such a US/world divide [or state/US divide, or whatever] that the thread becomes US vs everyone [or Texas v severyone or whatever]
- the post relies on casual stereotyping which makes people angry [please see angry note above]
- the topic requires a sophisticated level of understanding of the topic which people don't have and the people who do have don't explain it or want to explain it or can't explain it but are disdainful of other people talking about it
- the post is a 55 minute video that no one will watch
- the post is on a topic where people make casual stereotyping comments about the topic which is somethgn other posters feel very passionately about and the thread devolves into namecalling

I'm sure there are many other reasons but generally speaking this isn't "oooh the topic is too edgy/controversial" it's more like "this community seems to not be able to have a thread on this topic that doesn't go horribly badly, result in people quitting the site and/or flaming out and starting MeTa threads where people yell at each other" I'd be happy to be proven wrond and we see this often, but I'd appreciate if this didn't turn into some "because you deleted my cop video that means we're becoming People magazine" nastiness.

I disagree with your slippery slope assertion and I think I've explained why.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:46 PM on May 5, 2010 [8 favorites]


>Ask any active member of a reasonable tenure who frequents MetaTalk what the top six "things Metafilter doesn't do well" are and five of them are likely to be the same.

I've been here for a long time, and I agree with Jessamyn that the number of hot-button issues has increased.

I guess an addition of one a year is not such a big worry, but I still see stuff like

- there are a few loudmouths who can't shut up about the topic and doom it to failure
- the post is on a topic where people make casual stereotyping comments about the topic which is somethgn other posters feel very passionately about and the thread devolves into namecalling


increasing (if not multiplying) as the user base grows. I've seen it happen over the years, and if history is any guide, it will continue to do so.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 7:52 PM on May 5, 2010


Previously
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:05 PM on May 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


It was a crap post. Suck it up and quit whining.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 8:15 PM on May 5, 2010


from a historical perspective, one might make the argument that the post should stand. a year from now, when browsing through the archives, this event helps convey today's zeitgeist.
posted by kimyo at 8:20 PM on May 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


"...I think we can become inured to the drug war when it seems to be something that is happenign to other people."

That would be indeed sad if true but I don't think we're in immanent danger of that here. There are 103 posts tagged with warondrugs. Perhaps if OC had linked to a paper [PDF] showing (among other things) differences in arrest rate by race there would have been some of that particular there there. As it is he just posted an unhappy video anecdote that illustrates a problem that has been documented for longer than there has been a popular internet.
posted by vapidave at 8:21 PM on May 5, 2010


"I just have to express my vote for letting this post stand. It's a fascinating, emotional video. It's not about dead dogs, it's about the upheaval created when storm troopers kick in the front door of a quiet house whose occupants appear to be minding their own business. I have this vague awareness that this kind of thing goes on, but without the internet I wouldn't be really confronted by it."

I completely agree with Slarty Bartfest. I couldn't watch all of the video, but I did get to the part right after the dog in the kitchen was shot, where one of the officers is screaming at the wife and the child, then starts shouting at the man on the floor to put his arms behind his back. The guy was down on his stomach with his hands close to his head, hardly a threat - and the officer actually kicked the guy in the shoulder when he didn't respond fast enough.

I'm pretty sure I'd be dead in a situation like that - my dogs just got shot, my wife and child are being screamed at by faceless men with guns, then I get kicked? Over some weed. What.the.fuck. I can't believe that family kept their cool through all that, it's pretty amazing.
posted by HopperFan at 8:29 PM on May 5, 2010 [9 favorites]


I'm sure there are many other reasons but generally speaking this isn't "oooh the topic is too edgy/controversial" it's more like "this community seems to not be able to have a thread on this topic that doesn't go horribly badly, result in people quitting the site and/or flaming out and starting MeTa threads where people yell at each other"

Worth noting that it is possible, though. Not arguing with you here, Jessamyn and perhaps I'm wrong, but think a bunch of my posts have been on traditionally contentious topics (like this one, for example) with threads that have gone reasonably well and haven't been deleted. Maybe I've just been lucky that they just haven't been flagged to hell right out of the gate.
posted by zarq at 8:29 PM on May 5, 2010


My point is that you have to make them carefully, as you often do, zarq.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:31 PM on May 5, 2010


I agree with many that it reads "GRAR, look at these assholes" and wasn't going to be much more than that.

If it is such an important topic, more time should have been given to create a better FPP- give some background, some context and do the topic justice. Write an FPP you'd be proud of.

If people could create well thought out FPPs about topics like this one, there wouldn't be meta threads like this complaining about why they were removed.
posted by NoraCharles at 8:33 PM on May 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Holy crap. Well, deleted or not, thanks for posting that. I know bad cops do bad things all the time, but it is good to know in what ways their cruelty is expanding. I think we really need to work on some way of consistently building or attracting a better class of policeman.
posted by ignignokt at 8:34 PM on May 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm not flagging anything again ever for any reason :-|
posted by turgid dahlia at 8:37 PM on May 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm on the same page as NoraCharles -- no effort went into making this FPP, and it's not surprising that something so thin got deleted. You could have crafted a well-thought out post on excessive use of force by police or something similar, with this link in it, and it is highly unlikely it would have been deleted.
posted by modernnomad at 8:37 PM on May 5, 2010


Threads about cops go badly, and threads about very specific shitty things that cops do go a lot worse. There's not much that's new to say, the same old people get mad at the same old stuff and as far as newsfilter posts go, they're not good.
[...]
Additional issues: they're US-centric, they're outragefilter, they're on a touchy topic which has a generalized "please don't make posts on this topic unless it's very important and you're going to do it very carefully" guideline.


I don't really understand what "not go well" actually means here. I mean, if you look at the posts tagged with abortion, a significant percentage of them are "state X has proposed/passed shitty law Y". Every complaint above applies to these posts. Is there really significantly better discussion and/or less outrage there?
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 8:38 PM on May 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


My point is that you have to make them carefully,

Ah. That makes perfect sense.

...as you often do, zarq.

Thanks. :)
posted by zarq at 8:42 PM on May 5, 2010


evidence of ... affecting normal middle-class Americans

WON'T SOMEBODY PLEASE THINK OF THE NORMAL MIDDLE-CLASS AMERICANS
posted by xorry at 8:43 PM on May 5, 2010


I would like to have seen this post stay.

The police in the US are really out of control, in the sense that they are a law unto themselves, and run very little risk of criminal prosecution for criminal acts, of which they commit many, in every large and medium-sized city I have any knowledge about, yet newspapers and electronic media in general show an extreme reluctance to report police misconduct until it becomes catastrophic, full-blown enormity.

Videos such as the one Optimus Chyme linked are shining a light on the cops they've never had to deal with before, and that will either lead to a revolution for the better in the way police work is done, or it will be ignored and actively repressed, and we will go farther down the road toward the police state upon a hill.

Letting posts like this stay up despite the furor they provoke seems like a significant part of fighting the good fight to me-- and that is what I'd like Metafilter to do, among other things.
posted by jamjam at 8:43 PM on May 5, 2010 [18 favorites]


Is there really significantly better discussion and/or less outrage there?

Laws that restrict abortion are a bigger deal, yeah. I don't like the posts personally, but there's a large enough US contingent here and abortion laws are a big enough deal that these are the sort of Big News topics that if we deleted one thread, someone else would post another one on the same topic. We also delete a lot of lousy abortion posts too, or posts about Operation Rescue crazy people doing appalling things, if that's a better analog to something like this.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:44 PM on May 5, 2010


I don't really understand what "not go well" actually means here. I mean, if you look at the posts tagged with abortion, a significant percentage of them are "state X has proposed/passed shitty law Y". Every complaint above applies to these posts. Is there really significantly better discussion and/or less outrage there?

The first one on that list at the moment happens to be something I posted last week about Oklahoma. Can't say if that thread had more or less outrage than any other, but I can tell you that I tried to give as much of a comprehensive view as possible when I made the post. It wasn't exactly balanced, but I did include a quote and link that explained the pro-life perspective. Perhaps the tone of the post helped at the beginning? I don't know.
posted by zarq at 8:50 PM on May 5, 2010


Fwiw, a couple months ago I had an FPP on a controversial topic that I did not think should have been deleted. What can I say? It happens. Given the nature of the site, it's probably inevitable.
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 9:16 PM on May 5, 2010


It was a weak post, framed poorly and Metafilter is not here for us to all milk our outrage glands. I mean, c'mon, you were hoping that shit was going to get fleshed out in the discussion? That's weak and lazy, man. To cop from journalism, this was all lede and no nut graf. It was a flashy intro but because of the way you framed it, your text tells me all I need to know and there's no reason to go see the video myself.

And Bunnycup, I've had my high school civics classes. I already know stuff like this happens—this isn't even the first video of a dog shot by police. So, what, the news is that it's still happening? I'd rather have 50 art projects and flash games. Metafilter's no one's whetstone, for politics or any outrage and pointing to other posts that squeaked through should be a reminded to the mods to delete more stuff like that lest posts this thin get complained over.

C'mon.
posted by klangklangston at 9:18 PM on May 5, 2010 [12 favorites]


I'm still worried by what I consider a slide toward mainstream media standards

OutrageFilter is generally sensationalistic, pandering and reinforcing the biases of a significant or at least quite vocal portion of the MeFi community; it's a heckuva lot closer towards the mainstream's output than you'd like to think.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:33 PM on May 5, 2010 [7 favorites]


It's as close as we come to yellow journalism.
posted by klangklangston at 9:38 PM on May 5, 2010




It's unfortunate that there wasn't an already-active front page thread about police and what they mean in our society and how they should be trained, and what they should and shouldn't be allowed to do. I've read several great threads that were like that and this video could have been thrown in one of those.

One could actually construct such a thread with just links found in this meta thread if one wanted to.

I'm actually from BoCoMo (that's Boone County, MO to you) and I happened to see this thread live when it went up and I'm glad to know about it and think more people should see it. But as a post I knew it was going away fast, it was Single Link Atrocity Filter, which always goes away fast for the many reasons stated above.

I think if Optimus had thrown in a few extra links to police brutality news / legislaton in general, or drug war news, or something to give the conversation legs and a broader scope, this could have stayed on the front page.

In any case, this current meta post is a blatant example of "un-deleting" a post in MetaTalk, which always bugs me when it happens. In conclusion, better luck next time I guess.
posted by chaff at 10:04 PM on May 5, 2010


So if the issue is that the FPP is too thin and doesn't have enough links or info or perspective or sth, could it be re-written and re-posted?
posted by Joseph Gurl at 10:17 PM on May 5, 2010


Just as an extension of klangklangston's argument, I've been doing some oh-god-I'm-bored comparisons between Metafilter and reddit after this post, and one of the major differences to my mind is that because reddit is unmoderated/weakly moderated, almost 70% of politics submissions are pressure points: Palindidwhat, drugwar bad, obama sold us out, statists are tools, y'allracists, etc. etc. There's also an unnerving reliance on the new partisan blog hosts that center around these pressure points -- huffpo (liberals), reason (libertarians), freerepublic (nutjobs).

After about a week's worth of reading, I mentally filter out most of this stuff whether I agree with it or not, because it repeats so endlessly. As the Riverfront Times points out, this was the second unjustified dog killing story in the region in two days. Either the video is interesting in its own right, in which case the Reason article is superlative editorializing and bad for the conversation, or the video is interesting because it proves the drug war is bad, in which case the whole post is poorly made and not nearly substantive enough.

In any event, to my mind this is a line that has to be drawn, and I'm glad it got drawn.
posted by Valet at 10:26 PM on May 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


PS: because Reddit sucks.
posted by Valet at 10:28 PM on May 5, 2010


So if the issue is that the FPP is too thin and doesn't have enough links or info or perspective or sth, could it be re-written and re-posted?

In principle, sure. It's happened before. In practice reposts on the tail of an argument about a deletion can be kind of dicey because there's this added weird frisson of meta-awareness about the original deletion, so (a) it's extra important that it be done really well if that's going to happen, and (b) it'd be great to let it sit for a few days so raw nerves don't lead to a combative Oh This Again sort of feeling when the thread goes up that could undermine from the get-go the civil, quality discussion that we're ostensibly aiming for in the first place.

Speaking a little selfishly to that last point, all of the mod staff are heading out either tomorrow or the next day for what will hopefully be a fun and stress-free weekend, and it'd be great not to have to spend a bunch of that babysitting a potential firestorm, so anybody feeling otherwise really enthusiastic about trying to give the subject another go should please for god's sake at least sit on it till Monday.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:41 PM on May 5, 2010


I'd just been thinking it had been a while since there was an OC festival of I-need-attention ranting.
posted by ambient2 at 10:41 PM on May 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


Forget it Jake, it's Metatalk. Just be thankful they aren't calling you a racist.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:01 PM on May 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Actually OC, I think you would have done well to point out how ordinary the events in the video are. I've long lost count of the number of times I've heard of dogs getting killed in penny-ante drug raids. Police killing family pet dogs after busting down the front door is apparently SOP.
posted by telstar at 11:16 PM on May 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'd just been thinking it had been a while since there was an OC festival of I-need-attention ranting.

That's funny; I was just thinking it's been a while since there was a random, inexplicable deletion of one of OC's comments or posts.
posted by lalex at 11:44 PM on May 5, 2010 [12 favorites]


I very much respect the way this site works, from mathowie to the mods to the members. I haven't found anything like it online and I kind of have a crush on you all.

Also, for the record, I wish the post had stayed.

I believe and accept the reason for its deletion vs. the taze-me-out-to-the-ballgame post (more flags, timing was right for closer mod attention). What I don't understand is why there were more flags for this one. What made the police brutally killing an animal more flag-worthy than the police brutally tazing a person? I don't get it.

I don't expect the mods to have the answer. I suppose it's really a question for the flaggers.
posted by Majorita at 12:08 AM on May 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


Huh, I posted that as a comment in another thread without realizing that it had already been posted and deleted from the front page. I think the post was fine and should have stayed. That's just my 2 cents.
posted by homunculus at 1:38 AM on May 6, 2010


I believe the post should not have been deleted.
posted by chillmost at 3:05 AM on May 6, 2010


jessamyn: this community seems to not be able to have a thread on this topic that doesn't go horribly badly

Perhaps these are not useful questions, but here's what comes to mind when I read this:

If the thread doesn't go well, is that really a problem with the topic? Could it be that the thread just need more moderation? If so, is the topic then being removed because it's not possible to moderate the thread enough to keep it from going horribly badly? Does that then mean that certain topics must always be avoided because it's not possible to moderate enough to keep them from going badly and if so, does that suggests a need for some kind of change so that topics that are important enough or desired by the community, but don't seem to go well, can still be posted and discussed?

And finally, from the mods perspective, would this post have been worth keeping if the video was provided as only one of several examples of this kind of thing embedded in the context of a broader explanatory statement or link to a report or release of statistics (etc.) on police action or the drug war? In other words, is it actually the topic (or video) or that a topic is posted without sufficient context to provoke a discussion rather than a free-for-all reaction?

(I could just be repeating Joseph Gurl: "So if the issue is that the FPP is too thin and doesn't have enough links or info or perspective or sth, could it be re-written and re-posted?")
posted by jardinier at 3:10 AM on May 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


You could have crafted a well-thought out post on excessive use of force by police or something similar, with this link in it, and it is highly unlikely it would have been deleted.
posted by modernnomad at 8:37 PM on May 5


A sirloin steak is perfectly healthy; adding macaroni and cheese, corn on the cob, and a hunk of iceberg drizzled in maple syrup to the side doesn't actually add to the nutritional value.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 4:46 AM on May 6, 2010 [6 favorites]


Long-term increased risk of bowel cancer though. Not sure how that extends the metaphor.
To address the actual question at hand, the post seemed fine to me and well within the bounds of what's passed muster previously.
posted by Abiezer at 4:56 AM on May 6, 2010


If the thread doesn't go well, is that really a problem with the topic?

Threads going well are a combination of topic + link content + timing context + general community vibe plus a lot other smaller factors [who posted it, what's been posted recently, language etc].

Some topics have a tendency to go more poorly and, as such, more care should be taken with the other aspects of writing them. A link to a ranty Reason article with a very disturbing video [important or not] is a tough combination on a set of topics that traditionally don't go well here. I see it as more of a challenge given anything else: given that these are topics that are difficult, and they are topics that some people feel are important to discuss, can you create a post that means that people will talk about it, not just holler about it? In this case, no.

With the exception of cross-site griefing [i.e "look at what the people at LGF are up to haw haw"] and hate site posting [i.e. "look at what the folks from Stormfront are up to haw haw"] there pretty much are no verboten FPP topics at all but some of them have to be pretty decent to overcome the immense gravity that is "threads that often don't do well here"
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:08 AM on May 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


To me, the most outrageous element of the incident is that Whitmore was charged with child endangerment, when it was the police who did all the endangering.
posted by anotherpanacea at 5:30 AM on May 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


When something bad happens to, with, by, for, against, on, in front of, behind, under, over, with regards to, vis a vis, en passant, or kitty corner to the cops, it is always the nearest bystander's fault. They'll claim that he endangered the child by doing something -- smoking a little dope? -- that put the child at risk of being exposed to a violent police raid. See? It's not their fault the guy forced them to break in and kill his dogs.

If I had a rocket launcher...
posted by pracowity at 5:56 AM on May 6, 2010


A sirloin steak is perfectly healthy; adding macaroni and cheese, corn on the cob, and a hunk of iceberg drizzled in maple syrup

I've been waiting for that Tyson TV dinner to appear at the grocery store.
posted by Think_Long at 6:11 AM on May 6, 2010


I kind of feel like OC did a good job of NOT framing it in any kind of GYOFB sense. Told a story and linked to a video...and I hate, hate, hate SLYT posts entirely. I believe the post has merit on its own, and if it's deleted because it's a hot button issue, or because of threadshitting, then the offending threadshitters should be moderated, not the post.

I mean, that's kind of cutting off your nose to spite your face.

Regarding relevance and importance, this video is probably one of those one-of-one hundred youtube links that actually deserves to be on metafilter. I mean, it's no kitten playing hide and seek, but...

And...this is the first time I've ever stood in defense of a deleted post. I considered a MeTa a few days ago when the front page had no less than 6 or 8 youtube-centric posts on it, and they seemed to all stay.
posted by TomMelee at 6:18 AM on May 6, 2010 [5 favorites]


To me, the most outrageous element of the incident is that Whitmore was charged with child endangerment, when it was the police who did all the endangering.

That's what I really wanted to discuss. Talk about "gotchas". Sheesh.
posted by bunnycup at 6:19 AM on May 6, 2010


I do think that the "look at these assholes" characterization in the deletion reason is pretty bewildering. The actual content of the post shows amazing restraint -- not just for OC, but for anyone. It's basically a good post that follows the rules and includes all the relevant details.
posted by hermitosis at 7:05 AM on May 6, 2010 [7 favorites]


This War on Dogs can't be won.
posted by Mister_A at 7:22 AM on May 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's basically a good post that follows the rules and includes all the relevant details.

Links to One Really Terrible Thing That Happened are not great posts for MeFi unless they're at some level tied in to a larger issue, some sort of large-scale disaster, or start off really good discussion. This has not changed appreciably over the years. However, unlike self-links which are always deleted, threads like these aren't always deleted. If OC wants to push that envelope by making really even-tempered posts to Reason's ranty blog posts complaining about police abuses and see which ones get through because he feels like the topic is important, that is his prerogative.

If people think these posts are important and want to help make them go better next time they show up, go to the threads and make thoughful comments that start some sort of discussion and have reasonable interactions with the inevitable people who show up and make lulzy "officer friendly" type comments or "fuck the USA" type comments. That would help considerably and maybe the community won't have such "these sorts of posts don't go well here" reactions.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:26 AM on May 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's a compelling video, showing how badly these things go even when cops aren't being particularly abusive or nasty. It's compelling and discussion worthy because the officers are (mostly) professional, and even somewhat courteous to the woman and child, making sure they have coats and shoes at the end. The suspect didn't get beaten, tased, or gassed, and the house wasn't even trashed. The suspect was well aware of his rights, and the police even grudgingly respected his right not to make a statement.

And yet, this guy who maybe smoked a little weed had his dogs shot in front of his child. Hell, even if there were no child involved, his dogs were shot, for no particular reason. He had his door busted in and was cuffed and yelled at and generally jerked around, and for what? This is discussion worthy, and MetaFilter worthy.

So, yeah, it's "look at these assholes." But these are assholes who need to be looked at.
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:30 AM on May 6, 2010 [9 favorites]


I view this kind of post as a very important kind of public service announcement.

There are a lot of very young and/or naive people on MetaFilter. They need to realize that any encounter with a cop is potentially a life-threatening (or life-ending) event. Actually, the word "potentially" is too mild; you're always dancing on the edge of a cliff in those intereactions. It's best if you know the cliff is there. If they see it over and over and over again, the message might get through. Lives can be saved here, make no mistake.

So why am I not advocating for regular "get mammograms!" posts, or whatever? Because getting a mammogram doesn't fly in the face of decades of intense cultural programming implemented by propaganda in the schools and on television. "The policeman is your friend." Except, sometimes, not so much.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 7:41 AM on May 6, 2010


We could just get pb to get a MIDI version of 'Fuck Tha Police' playing on every page. That would probably be easier.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:51 AM on May 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 8:01 AM on May 6, 2010


I watched this and cried. I realize that I avoid watching Cops and don't read the cop related posts on Metafilter because I'd really rather not know this exists.But I should be paying more attention because this is bullshit.

FWIW I believe the odds that an average American home has marijuana in it are akin to the odds that there are ice cream sandwiches in the freezer. Common as hell. The war on drugs is an excuse for bullying for those cops that join the force to act out some power dynamic their psyche requires. This does require vigilance on all our parts to shine a light on these incidents and call the bad cops out on it repeatedly. It's easier not to deal with and it is something that Metafilter does not do well. I have relied on police in the past and been impressed by their professionalism and thankful for their service, but the good guys are judged by the scary assholes they work along side, and the scary assholes must by weeded out.

The sound of the dog crying was heart wrenching, but the terror the family had to endure just dealing with armoured, gun toting thugs barreling through their home is also a factor. And the use of video? Yes, it works in the family's favor in this case to make a case that nothing untoward was going on and their pet was killed and they were terrorized without just cause, but the camera light adds to the fear factor and must be very disconcerting for those under its glare.

So, I didn't think I would say this, but I wish it had not been deleted.
posted by readery at 8:02 AM on May 6, 2010 [7 favorites]


I view this kind of post as a very important kind of public service announcement.

And I hear and understand that reasoning, both in this specific context and in general, but Metafilter is not a designated PSA outlet. That's core to what I see as the driving conflict in a lot of these discussions: that a topic is important in some context, or useful information, or something that someone feels strongly that other people should be informed of, is not in and of itself sufficient reason to think that it'll make a good post for Metafilter.

This is a generalist site, intended primarily for folks to share interesting stuff they've found on the web with one another. It's not a public address system or a soapbox. This is why unabashed activisim/boosterism posts pretty consistently get nixed, why strong editorializing in posts tends not to fly, why thin newsy stuff gets deleted a lot, and why stuff that's outrage-oriented without a lot of other substance stands a decent chance of getting nixed as well.

I understand that some people would like to see that not be a barrier to posts on Metafilter. But other people would like us to banish news-related and political posts entirely. Still others would be mostly happy if youtube.com was an autodelete. There are a lot of people on this site with wildly varying interests in the content and tone of what gets posted here, and we're inclined to keep our eyes on the whole and try and maintain some sort of overall even-keeled balance to how the site chugs along.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:08 AM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


As a European it always "amuses" me to see that the land of Milk and Honey which is forever waved in our faces is more and more becoming a land of Curdled Cream and Bitter Aloes
posted by adamvasco at 8:23 AM on May 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


cortex, thanks for further elucidating the thinking behind the policy on this.

In the remainder of my comment above, I tried to explain why this particular genre of post might deserve consideration as an exception to the general rule. And exceptions are made on occasion, so it's reasonable to wonder whether an exception should be made in this case.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 8:28 AM on May 6, 2010


I think the deletion was fine. I also think when people say things like:

> (Okay, I'm posting too much here. Obviously I've made my opinion known as to the high comparative value of including this post and the discussion that could have ensued, and am now in danger of going into battle mode, which doesn't do anyone any favors, so I'm going to bow out.)

...they should stick to their word.
posted by languagehat at 8:33 AM on May 6, 2010 [5 favorites]


My take on it is that there has been no dearth of posts about police abuse/brutality/awfulness on the front page. And so, no, I don't think there's any specific exception that needs to be made for this one post on the grounds that people on metafilter would otherwise be unaware that police can behave badly and that police interactions can get dangerous for the people on the business end of the badge and gun.

Of the various awful and dangerous things in the world that readers of Metafilter might not be forewarned about, I think it's pretty safe to say that police-related stuff is not on the list. It gets done around here a lot.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:37 AM on May 6, 2010


If people think these posts are important and want to help make them go better next time they show up, go to the threads and make thoughful comments that start some sort of discussion and have reasonable interactions with the inevitable people who show up and make lulzy "officer friendly" type comments or "fuck the USA" type comments. That would help considerably and maybe the community won't have such "these sorts of posts don't go well here" reactions.

Again, it's difficult for any post containing a Terrible Thing to immediately have insightful, well-researched comments. The people who would have done so had only 16 minutes to see the FPP, click on the links, read the article and comments and watch the video. Expecting the first few comments to be thoughtful in the remaining 5 or so minutes - so much so that it saves the FPP from the shitty comments from people who literally could not have possibly watched the video in that time - strikes me as wildly optimistic even for here.

What I've noticed in contentious threads is that the first third has a few knee-jerk emotional comments mixed in with the good stuff, then it gets moderated to sanity, the the second third is reasonable and super-informative with additional links and such from commenters, and the last third is ericb's endless (but always good) follow-ups and links.

Expecting some super-cadre of first responders to save every current events FPP from threadshit / "we don't do these well" deletion is just, well, I don't know. Basically you're giving one or two threadshitters the power to easily get rid of threads they don't like.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:37 AM on May 6, 2010 [26 favorites]


I can't even watch that video.
posted by Damn That Television at 8:37 AM on May 6, 2010


"...the land of Milk and Honey which is forever waved in our faces is more and more becoming a land of Curdled Cream and Bitter Aloes"

See...that's not true... Please don't take one criminal act and generalize that that it represents this country.
posted by HuronBob at 8:40 AM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


OC, we're talking about the reality of how any given post will play out on the site. I don't disagree with you about the typical noise-upfront, substance-later profile of comments in a thread, but part of the issue is that for a lot of threads that doesn't become an issue so much because the topic isn't explosive or the presentation of the post draws the reader into something crunchier and more substantial and defrays some of that early-kneejerk stuff.

We are making an effort to clean up early threadshitting when we can, but, like I said upthread, we're stuck managing our priorities with limited resources and we're not always going to be able or inclined to rescue an explosive thread from itself by sheer force of will. Just as a squad of supercommenters can't be expected to proactively save every thread by storming the gates, we can't be reasonably expected to transform every thread-that-is-likely-to-go-bad into civil, respectful awesomeness. In both cases, it's a matter of not having the energy or the time in a day to instantly respond to and micromanage a dicey thread.

So we ask that folks try hard to set up a post well if it's on a known-to-be-inflammatory topic. And when things seem not to have been set up to go particularly well on Metafilter, specifically (and Jess has made clear a couple times here that we didn't think you were being a jerk with the post or trying to post in bad faith, we just don't think the way you did it is great for the blue), and people in the community are reacting to it badly with the all the community feedback mechanisms they have, the post is probably not going to live.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:49 AM on May 6, 2010


I can't remember ever disagreeing with the mods before (not that I pay a ton of attention to such things) but I have to agree, I don't see a good reason for this post to have been deleted. "These things don't usually go well" is a reason to police the comments, not to remove the post. I agree with OC that the post was unique, newsworthy, and the best of the web.
posted by callmejay at 8:50 AM on May 6, 2010


So, if Peter Watts’ dog got shot by cops, it’s MeFi-worthy. Unknown guy, not so much. I mean, the PW post was informative and outragefilter at the same time. If the issue here is that it is America-Filter, then I, as a non-American, cast my vote for “would like to know more about this”.

FWIW, I'm not a fan of outragefilter at all, and I'd characterize many MeFi posts that stay up that way (not looking for absolute consistency here; just an observation). I came in here thinking "another ORFP", then say OC's response, and changed my mind. But, you know, I don't get to do that if we don't have the conversation, and that doesn't happen without a thread to have it in.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 8:58 AM on May 6, 2010 [4 favorites]




It certainly is not the sort of thing that tends to lead to anything good happening on mefi as a result.

This is a darned good argument for nixing pretty much any post. MeFi will fail if it ever tries to be all things to all people. It has to be conscious of its weaknesses and have some defense against them.

Because bullshit baby priors aside this dude is fairly normal. Wife, kids, a couple of dogs. Maybe he's a small time weed dealer but he's not Pablo Escobar. I've known plenty of people who sold weed on the side who are really, truly, just like you and me otherwise.

If cops were storming some hardened meth factory that had door lasers and attack dogs I'd be a little more understanding that they fired shots. But this use of force was repulsive and unnecessary.


This is a darned good argument for a more thoughtful post on this kind of thing. Believe me, I don't just fear the ongoing stupidities committed in the name of the War On Drugs (even if it is officially over), I've been personally victimized by them. But the discussion we need to have on these issues MUST go deeper than the easy-outrage inherent in murdered dogs (puppycide!!!!). It just does. Anger is easy energy. It's value then is in the thoughtful argument it might fuel.
posted by philip-random at 9:00 AM on May 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


I hit my favorite limit for the day +1ing all the comments in favor of letting the post (or a re-framed re-post) stand because this is an important issue worthy of discussion.
posted by Jacqueline at 9:09 AM on May 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


OC: Expecting some super-cadre of first responders to save every current events FPP from threadshit / "we don't do these well" deletion is just, well, I don't know. Basically you're giving one or two threadshitters the power to easily get rid of threads they don't like.

cortex: We are making an effort to clean up early threadshitting when we can, but, like I said upthread, we're stuck managing our priorities with limited resources and we're not always going to be able or inclined to rescue an explosive thread from itself by sheer force of will. Just as a squad of supercommenters can't be expected to proactively save every thread by storming the gates, we can't be reasonably expected to transform every thread-that-is-likely-to-go-bad into civil, respectful awesomeness. In both cases, it's a matter of not having the energy or the time in a day to instantly respond to and micromanage a dicey thread.


With those thoughts in mind: Is there a technical way to deal with this? Are threadshitters more likely to be newbs? If so, can the first 5-10 comments in a post be restricted to members with x days/weeks/months under their belt or some criteria similar to the waiting periods on posting? If not, what is the real cause for threadshitting? If it's not a problem with the topic or the post but the thread, how do we really deal with that? It still seems like removing a post because the thread goes badly is (ugh, sorry) killing the patient to cure the disease. (maybe repeating my same point above, but it still seems like a good question to me)
posted by jardinier at 9:14 AM on May 6, 2010


Are threadshitters more likely to be newbs?

I haven't crunched the numbers, but a casual survey says "not to compelling significant degree". People old and new jump into threads early on with snarky/crappy/noise comments; there may be a newness factor among the many involved, folks who haven't gotten a feel for this place and would otherwise refrain, but there are lots of folks who are not brand new who do this as well. Some folks do it repeatedly, some are one-offs. There's not really any sort of clear profile for the behavior; folks we see doing it repeatedly we try to talk to about it.

If so, can the first 5-10 comments in a post be restricted to members with x days/weeks/months under their belt or some criteria similar to the waiting periods on posting?

Absolutely not. Whole other discussion looming there, but in general we avoid strict automated solutions to human problems, and this is an example of a human problem that I think would be exceptionally hard to solve technically without fundamentally changing the way Metafilter works.

If not, what is the real cause for threadshitting? If it's not a problem with the topic or the post but the thread, how do we really deal with that?

Well, we encourage people first and foremost to try hard on the presentation of the post. It's not a poster's fault if a really well-constructed, carefully-presented post gets a bad reaction, we don't see this as something that is fundamentally on the poster's head in that sense, but definitely it's a vital first part of the process, and a not-great post on a contentious topic is not where we want to have the foundation for a thread laid.

Beyond that, we want people to flag early noise; we want folks to avoid responding to early noise and exacerbate the problem; we want folks to comment about the content of the post and its linked material rather than about whatever random thing pops into their head when they see a familiar topic in the post text; we want folks to react to topics near to their hearts with substantive and constructive commentary rather than with anger/bile/etc however emotionally well-justified such negative stuff may be. All of that can help a thread get off to a better start or can help us contain an early bad start.

Sometimes it's all going to work better than other times, depending on the topic, the presentation, the folks who show up in the thread right off, the prevailing zeitgeist (in the world/media at large as well as on metafilter specifically in a community sense), our ability as mods to be hyper-responsive at any given moment, and in general a certain amount of luck as the whammy factor. As a result, some threads that could have gone badly go well, and some that could have gone well go badly, even if everything else seems like it's more or less set up to guarantee a bad (or good) outcome. But there are a lot of prevailing trends, whammy aside, that guide our prioritization on these things.

It still seems like removing a post because the thread goes badly is (ugh, sorry) killing the patient to cure the disease. (maybe repeating my same point above, but it still seems like a good question to me)

The good news is that the patient in this case is perfectly capable of being reincarnated if the situation merits. The stakes for a post removal around here are very, very low; nobody gets in trouble (assuming a lack of weird extenuating circumstances) for a post deletion, topics don't get banned for life, and someone who feels a conversation is worth either metadiscussion or another good faith go has the option of taking it to Metatalk or trying to work out a more solid take on a post that routes around what was seen as problematic about the first go.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:35 AM on May 6, 2010


I'm not usually one to flock to hit the button in support of a deleted post, either, but I'm making an exception this time. I don't see that this post was egregiously outrage-filtery in a way significantly different from other hollerfest posts that have been allowed to stay up. Besides that, I would have liked to have seen the discussion (not the outrage) that would have ensued from this post.
posted by blucevalo at 9:38 AM on May 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


Links to One Really Terrible Thing That Happened are not great posts for MeFi unless they're at some level tied in to a larger issue, some sort of large-scale disaster, or start off really good discussion.

Like, say, the War on Drugs?

Not calling you out, but this IS a big issue, and deleting it because of some agenda driven flaggers and thread shitters you are helping silence the people injured daily by the misguided application of force.

It should have stayed.
posted by Big_B at 9:42 AM on May 6, 2010 [6 favorites]


The story linked to by the blog in question states that the pit bull was not caged at the time, was held back and then shot, so I am not sure where the commenters on the post got the idea that the police shot a caged dog.

The Corgi was apparently shot in the leg, by the way, and survived, thank goodness.

The whole story makes me terribly sad. I don't know that it would have led to anything other than outrage filter, but I sincerely believe that if it hadn't been flagged all over the place, jess and cortex would have let it stand.

I think, for the record, OC, that you clearly made an effort not to editorialize in your post, and that a lot of flags might have just come from the fact that no one wants to see a dog get shot. For myself, I did not get to the post before it was deleted, but I have seen enough posts about bad cops to tide me over for a long time.

Again, terribly sad.
posted by misha at 9:44 AM on May 6, 2010


I hit my favorite limit for the day +1ing all the comments in favor of letting the post (or a re-framed re-post) stand because this is an important issue worthy of discussion.

That is the wierdest thing I've read all day. Granted it's a quarter to noon here, but still.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:44 AM on May 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


deleting it because of some agenda driven flaggers

You are privileging yourself with telepathy here. The post was flagged rapidly, something that represents in our general interpretation a collective community response to a post and not the work of some sort of crack anti-anti-police flagging squad.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:48 AM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Check out this cool dog: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hhz9Aa6tDwk
posted by Damn That Television at 9:53 AM on May 6, 2010 [12 favorites]


I hate owing anything to youtube commenters but they're right: you absolutely must watch that video with the Transcribe Audio setting on.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:57 AM on May 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


With those thoughts in mind: Is there a technical way to deal with this? Are threadshitters more likely to be newbs?

I've been here for a year or so, and I have definitely been guilty of threadshitting. Usually it's a process like this: Read article/ link. Gauge immediate (sometimes negative) reaction. Write immediate reaction. Ponder further. Regret typing initial reaction.

There’s probably a bit of perspective bias with threadshits as well. We only ever notice the early negative comments, for good reason, but that leaves an unclear picture about what the user’s overall posting patterns are.
posted by Think_Long at 10:00 AM on May 6, 2010


Good Lord, people, cowpoke up. The deletion of a thread on MetaFilter shouldn't ever inspire anything above an "eh, I might have enjoyed that conversation." Don't be keyboard commandos.
posted by Bookhouse at 10:02 AM on May 6, 2010 [6 favorites]


Are threadshitters more likely to be newbs?

They're actually more rarely newbs, is my experience.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:04 AM on May 6, 2010 [5 favorites]


Don't be keyboard commandos.

Yes. There is a streak of pseudo-activism here that seems rather inflated.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:04 AM on May 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


The story linked to by the blog in question states that the pit bull was not caged at the time, was held back and then shot, so I am not sure where the commenters on the post got the idea that the police shot a caged dog.

That was me who posted that, I saw it in the YouTube video description. I read the blog post too, as well, as the linked news article, but somehow I missed the bit about the dog being 'held back'. Sorry about that. I'm also sorry about posting the immediate emotional reaction, but watching that video was like getting punched in the stomach. Hearing the shots and then listening to the guy screaming and crying "Why did you kill my dogs?" really redlined my sjkdhfkdsf-o-meter.

I think I'm going to go watch that cool dog vid DTT just posted like 9 or 10 times in a row now.
posted by threetoed at 10:08 AM on May 6, 2010


I hate owing anything to youtube commenters but they're right: you absolutely must watch that video with the Transcribe Audio setting on.
posted by cortex at 12:57 PM on May 6


Uh...and you're surprised with what he says? I think you'll find that, wow, shocker, it's 2010, we have a black president, and most dogs these days are totally fine with going ahead with the referendum. Fucking grow up, dude.
posted by Damn That Television at 10:35 AM on May 6, 2010


Look, this post needed more information than that these poor dogs were shot and that children were in the home. Whether and how a search warrant should allow police to enter a home with guns drawn and fire on perceived threats is an important and not always easy question. As for whether the police entering a home to investigate or serve a warrant may rightfully fear for their own safety and want to take action to protect their own lives, consider these recent police deaths.

I generally appreciate the thoughtfulness and thoroughness of the posts on MetaFilter, and am hoping OC or someone else can or will develop one that meets those criteria on this subject too. But this post didn't do that.
posted by bearwife at 10:39 AM on May 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


Good Lord, people, cowpoke up. The deletion of a thread on MetaFilter shouldn't ever inspire anything above an "eh, I might have enjoyed that conversation." Don't be keyboard commandos.

I dunno, man. I agree that people are better off not taking MetaFilter very seriously, but MetaTalk is specifically for people that take MetaFilter seriously. This is like jumping into a cat breeder message board and replying to a thread with "Dude, relax, they're just cats! Who cares what's going on with their stripes and marbling?"
posted by ignignokt at 10:45 AM on May 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


a not-great post on a contentious topic is not where we want to have the foundation for a thread laid.

I'm having difficulty seeing this post that way. I mean, I've read you both throughout the thread, and I get that you guys see it that way, but I'm still not understanding why. People have mentioned that it had bad framing, but not how the framing was bad. as hermitosis said, I think the wording of the post showed remarkable restraint. He basically just presented the facts of the article and video in question. Sure, he wanted to highlight what amounts to police abuse, but it's not against the rules to have a viewpoint if you don't editorialize.

And while I get that it was flagged to hell and back within 16 minutes, that doesn't strike me as a great reason for deletion in this case, because flags aren't all that informative. why were they flagging it? looking at the flag reasons: it's not a double, it's not sexist/racist/offensive, it doesn't have HTML/display errors, it doesn't break the guidelines. maybe a bunch of people flagged it as other just to let you know that sometimes threads like these get heated? I know I do that, and I don't usually mean "you should delete this." I just mean "be aware this thread exists."

and I know that there was some nonsense in the thread about it not going well, but it was my understanding that comments like that aren't ok. as in, we shouldn't thread shit like that, rather than we shouldn't make informative posts about police misbehavior. sure, we do argue about the police when topics like these come up, I've gotten into it with people about it myself, but on a scale of 0 to 10 (0 being caps lock day, 10 being epic flameout) those threads usually rate a 2 or 3, tops. my own arguments about police behavior, to my memory, have ended largely pretty well and amicably and with both sides eventually seeing a little eye to eye. really, this idea that cop threads are bad juju just doesn't jive with my memory at all.

so I guess the point is: I don't see it. I hear "bad framing" but haven't seen anyone explain what's so bad about it. I hear "flagged to hell," but it doesn't fit the flags. I hear "contentious thread" but I don't see the contention and don't recall cop threads being as bad as some people say. really, this whole thing seems bizarre to me.
posted by shmegegge at 10:46 AM on May 6, 2010 [14 favorites]


If this was a good post, then pretty much any SLP of a video where cops do something notable would be a good post. I seriously doubt *anyone* thinks MetaFilter would be better if it had 10+ cop videos posted each day.

A lot of people seem to be thinking that MetaFilter is the place where we speak truth to power, shine a light on injustice, and take down The Man. I think I prefer the idea that it's just Best of the Web, rather than a heavy handed tool for justice and liberty.
posted by y6y6y6 at 10:48 AM on May 6, 2010 [5 favorites]


A lot of people seem to be thinking that MetaFilter is the place where we speak truth to power, shine a light on injustice, and take down The Man. I think I prefer the idea that it's just Best of the Web, rather than a heavy handed tool for justice and liberty.

I've discussed it with the cabal and we're having your standard issue MeFi cape and suit revoked, along with your power ring.
posted by eyeballkid at 10:55 AM on May 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


aweomse more power rings for me.
posted by The Whelk at 10:58 AM on May 6, 2010


Hey, boingboing has the video up now. It may be instructive—perhaps in the negative result sense—to observe how their moderated comments play out. Though, wait a little, since it's only been 40 minutes and their comments are still collecting.
posted by polymodus at 11:00 AM on May 6, 2010


Don't be keyboard commandos.

Sheesh, sorry. Thought I was alone here. *slips on boxers*
posted by carsonb at 11:01 AM on May 6, 2010 [5 favorites]


I think the wording of the post showed remarkable restraint.

I don't think the framing of the post was unrestrained, particularly. I also don't think it did a good job at all of presenting a lot of the context that OC himself spoke to upthread regarding the specific case, nor did it really put the incident in a larger, more substantial context that'd make clear the significance of the video. Either or both of those would have made for a better post.

Emotional/editorial restraint is a good thing and we're not faulting the post on those terms, but it's not necessarily enough.

And while I get that it was flagged to hell and back within 16 minutes, that doesn't strike me as a great reason for deletion in this case, because flags aren't all that informative. why were they flagging it?

The "why" question is more front-and-center for us when it's a low or borderline volume of flagging. Once we're in "to hell and back" territory that's less of a concern, since people flagging heavily moots the otherwise reasonable question of whether there's some weird noise in the data. That's a way, way above average rate of flagging.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:04 AM on May 6, 2010


Gawker put it up too. I am no great fan of the Gawker sites, but there's some great stuff - they have more news on the issue (DA let the victim plead out on a piddling paraphernalia charge) and an eye-opening map from Cato Institute illustrating botched paramilitary SWAT raids and the injuries, deaths, etc. that arise from them, along with links to other related stories and the impact it has had. I am not suggesting that the issue's presence on other websites mandates its presence here, but for those many who think the article is worth discussing (probably now exceeding the number that flagged it, I would assume, but I acknowledge that ship has sailed), that's where you can go to do it. If, that is, you want to participate in - or unlike me can even figure out how to read along with - some kind of bizarre comment-promotion discussion process.
posted by bunnycup at 11:08 AM on May 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


"...the land of Milk and Honey which is forever waved in our faces is more and more becoming a land of Curdled Cream and Bitter Aloes"

I don't agree - but then, I don't think the u-SOFA is the "Land of Milk and Honey" either. If we want to be honest with ourselves, we're the Land of Cool Whip and High Fructose Corn Syrup.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 11:11 AM on May 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


The "why" question is more front-and-center for us when it's a low or borderline volume of flagging. Once we're in "to hell and back" territory that's less of a concern, since people flagging heavily moots the otherwise reasonable question of whether there's some weird noise in the data. That's a way, way above average rate of flagging.

That makes sense, but does the volume of flagging make that much of a difference even when there's no obvious reason for flagging it? I mean, I don't want to run in circles here, but I assume that if you guys looked at a heavy flag queue and didn't see a whole lot of reason for the flags you wouldn't just delete it anyway. So it seems to me like the flags are probably way lower down in the decision making process and that really it comes down to you guys seeing a problem with the thread, once alerted. And again, I don't understand the problem.
posted by shmegegge at 11:11 AM on May 6, 2010


an eye-opening map from Cato Institute illustrating botched paramilitary SWAT raids and the injuries, deaths, etc. that arise from them

You know, there's an awful lot about Cato that I dislike, but they are good about this sort of thing.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:16 AM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


I agree that people are better off not taking MetaFilter very seriously, but MetaTalk is specifically for people that take MetaFilter seriously. This is like jumping into a cat breeder message board and replying to a thread with "Dude, relax, they're just cats! Who cares what's going on with their stripes and marbling?"

I don't object to MetaTalk. I love it when people discuss the stripes and marbling of MetaCat, it's when they dress it up like a Wee L'il Freedom Fighter and pose with it that I question their priorities.
posted by Bookhouse at 11:19 AM on May 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


If we want to be honest with ourselves, we're the Land of Cool Whip and High Fructose Corn Syrup.

Cool Whip is high fructose corn syrup, that's how efficient we are with our prosperity fetish.
posted by Think_Long at 11:21 AM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hey, boingboing has the video up now.

Let the disemvoweling begin!
posted by fixedgear at 11:22 AM on May 6, 2010


does the volume of flagging make that much of a difference even when there's no obvious reason for flagging it?

I know you're asking this question in good faith but honestly I think people were flagging it because they did not like the post. Some people explained that in-thread [which wasn't cool, as we've said] others have explained that here.

If you're really saying that you don't understand all the explanations and reasons we've stated upthread for why we didn't think it was a good post and why it was deleted, then you could do me a favor and let me know which parts you don't understand. Because it seems to me that what you're saying is that because we don't know exactly why people were flagging the post, we might not know that they were all flagging, really quickly, for some innocuous reason that didn't mean "I don't like this post."

And at that point, if that's really what you're saying, I feel a little bit like you don't trust us to make decisions about how to deal with flagging, how to deal with issues on the site and how to manage the fact that there are a lot of different groups of people who want MeFi to be a different sort of place. I don't understand whether you don't understand why people were flagging, or if you're implying that we misinterpreted the flag queue and made a hasty decision based on data we were not properly paying attention to. Because that's very much not what happened and, barring opening up all the flag data for examination, I'd appreciate if you trusted us on that.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:23 AM on May 6, 2010


That makes sense, but does the volume of flagging make that much of a difference even when there's no obvious reason for flagging it

If we have a situation where there's a lot of flagging and we just totally do not get why, yeah, that certainly makes a difference in how we consider that pile of flags. On the rare occasions when we have a significant disconnect from a pile of flags on a post, we'll end up talking it out on email and trying to figure out what might be going on in terms of people reacting strongly negatively to whatever it is and how to deal with the situation.

But, I mean, like you say I don't want to keep going in circles here either but what we had here was a post that we looked at a big fast pile of flags on and we thought the post was not great either, so there wasn't any disconnect. It was a lot of people rapidly flagging something that we were unsurprised to see a bunch of flags on.

I understand that there are folks speaking up in this thread who thought that the post, potential trouble or not, should stay, and others who feel that in fact the post wasn't even trouble in any sense. I disagree with both, particularly with the latter, and am fine agreeing to disagree if that's what it comes down to, but this wasn't a deletion in a vacuum and that disagreement doesn't change the fact that both the community feedback mechanisms we have in place and our guts were saying "delete".
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:23 AM on May 6, 2010


when they dress it up like a Wee L'il Freedom Fighter

But are you saying that this particular blue post did this, that it took an activist stance? Because people in here seem to be agreeing that the OP was neutral and restrained. My impression is that the community reaction to it (both actual and predicted) was the problem, and that it had to be taken care of, somehow.
posted by polymodus at 11:32 AM on May 6, 2010


I think the post would have fared better* if it had a funny title. Something along the lines of:
"Is this going to be a stand-up fight, sir, or another pug hunt?"

*I don't really think this.
posted by Atom Eyes at 11:48 AM on May 6, 2010 [6 favorites]


But are you saying that this particular blue post did this, that it took an activist stance?

No, I mean the people in this thread acting like the deleting of a post about an important topic is more important than the deleting of a post about cupcakes. That's dressing the cat. That's being a keyboard commando.
posted by Bookhouse at 11:53 AM on May 6, 2010


"...and what would, what would? But with well in the lead, with him in a minute. But what happens when -- let me -- I said "Well then, we're going to live with it." Wouldn't have mattered ... ranch the ad opens with a dwindling? But go ahead with the referendum." - President Barkbark Obowwow
posted by Damn That Television at 12:00 PM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Keep. Because I think deleting posts because one must prevent the children from fighting is a bad precedent and will lead to a boring site.
posted by Space Coyote at 12:08 PM on May 6, 2010 [5 favorites]


If you're really saying that you don't understand all the explanations and reasons we've stated upthread for why we didn't think it was a good post and why it was deleted, then you could do me a favor and let me know which parts you don't understand.

ok, maybe I'm not being clear and am coming off way more critical than I intended. sorry for any implications about you guys. I really am just trying to say "I don't get it. It feels like I'm missing something."

so, I don't like the idea of going comment by comment through what you guys have said and critiquing them on some scale of informative-ness. It seems counterproductive. I'll do it in a subsequent comment if you want.

rather, I'd like to say that I thought my 1st comment was an attempt to describe the parts I don't understand, and why. but since it seems I'm not coming off the way I mean to, let me rephrase it somewhat.

I keep seeing you guys say that the post was on a topic that Does Not Go Well Here. I don't understand why you think this. When I think of posts on this topic, I think of the one about Peter Watts, which didn't go too badly. sure, there was disagreement and argument, but as metafilter arguments go, it was lightweight and most of the disagreement was about legislative issues and there were citations of law and everything. I mean, that thread is exactly what you say you wish people would do to salvage these threads (namely, being informative and starting discussion rather than hollering), so to my mind it's like "the threads are fine. i don't know what you're thinking of when you say these don't go well." Even the post from a while ago, where the cop shot an unarmed man in handcuffs in the back (which went about as badly as any cop thread i can think of) went well. I got in a fight with someone, if I recall, but we reached some kind of amicable middle ground and were able to see eye to eye. honestly, Lady GaGa is more contentious than that.

you guys, and a few other people, have criticized the post just as a post, too. by which I mean that outside of its topic i've seen people claim that it's ranty, yellow journalism (really?), etc... you at one point ascribed motivations to OC in posting it that I don't think are fair. ("making really even-tempered posts to Reason's ranty blog posts complaining about police abuses and see which ones get through because he feels like the topic is important") maybe OC posted a bunch of other reason links about police abuses that you guys have deleted? I don't know. My point, again, is I don't get it. The info isn't there.

So the point, just to be clear, is not to say "man, you guys are dumb and don't know what you're doing." or anything like that. the point is to say "you guys are making these claims about the post, but not explaining why you drew these conclusions, so I don't get it." specifically, I can't think of examples of cop threads going too badly, and I think claims that the post is framed badly or indelicately are obviously false. that these two things are usually linked "topics that don't go well need delicate framing" only makes it more confusing, because the post in question satisfies both parts of that, to my mind. And so I am confused. I don't see what you guys are seeing, and that's the length, width and breadth of my point. No other implications.

re: the flag thing, no I wasn't trying to say that you don't know how to respond to flags. I just didn't get how you deal with them. I think I get it better now, so there's that.
posted by shmegegge at 12:18 PM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't understand whether you don't understand why people were flagging,

forgot this part. yeah, I think that's part of it. I can't figure out what would make someone flag that post, except maybe not wanting to see the video because a dog gets killed? maybe that's it? really, I'm kinda stumped. the post seems way too middle of the road to me to merit so many flags in the first place.
posted by shmegegge at 12:19 PM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


shmegegge, would it be possible that it was flagged because people thought "Oh, this needs an eye kept on it?" Lacking a "y'all might want to pay a teensy bit more attention to this, as these sorts of posts tend to require a bit more moderation" flag, without a mods' eye view of the flag queue, perhaps a great number of "other" flags came in. Not that I necessarily agree or disagree with the deletion. I merely suggest a potential cause for the number of flags.
posted by adipocere at 12:28 PM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


would it be possible that it was flagged because people thought "Oh, this needs an eye kept on it?"

Wait, do people use flags that way? I'm genuinely curious. I thought flagging something was you saying "make this go away".

And yeah- not much new to say at this point but this struck me as really similar to a lot of other threads that start out rocky and then settle down, and it's the controversial topics that usually lead to the most interesting and valuable conversations, so. I know there really are things we will just Never Do Well, but the only things the entire userbase can agree on are Mr Rogers, Johnny Cash, muppets, and kittens, so pretty much every single other thread is going to be contentious anyway.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 12:40 PM on May 6, 2010


I was just thinking it's been a while since there was a random, inexplicable deletion of one of OC's comments or posts.

Clearly the mods have occasional moments of deleting one person's things for no reason, selecting them at random.

It's real clear that a few people take the "Me" part of "Metafilter" too seriously. It's tiresome.
posted by ambient2 at 12:42 PM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


I might be expressing this really poorly, but I think the tension some see is that the flagging system (as great as it is and as well as it functions) is really pretty much one-dimensional. If a lot of people flag a post, the mods have a clear indication of negative responses but no counteracting indication of positive responses. That is, flagging is not "keep it" or "delete it" voting - one has 7 options for expressing varying dislike of varying descriptions and only 1 positive option requiring identity as "fantastic." I'm not arguing this should or even can change, but it seems like a relatively (as in relative to total number of people who view a post) small number of people can influence outcome by making negative comments. They need not even be in the majority, just vocal about it. My sense - my strong sense - is that the mods are aware of this, and factor this into their decisionmaking process about how to respond to flags. I can't imagine they haven't considered that, and I can't imagine that in making the many difficult judgment calls they make every day that they haven't developed a higher ability to find nuance in those decisions than I have. Again, I disagree with the outcome here and have explained why, but I don't know if I disagree with the process. I don't want 'voting', I don't want it to be a numbers game, etc. Because the last time I was involved in any sort of voting was the 8th grade student council elections and ohhh damn I lost by a landslide.
posted by bunnycup at 12:43 PM on May 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


I support deletion. I agree that it is a compelling video (the bit that I could deal with watching) and that it speaks to a big ugly problem, but really: what would a good thread about that video look like? A bunch of dots? What would we say about it that isn't (as they say) lots of heat but little light? I don't think there'd be much dissension, just a bunch of people saying how outrageous those dirty pigs behaved, and any dissension there was would quickly be trumped up to where the dissenter were looked upon like racist, jack-booted corgi-shooters. That sort of environment is not healthy for MetaFilter.
posted by dirtdirt at 12:45 PM on May 6, 2010 [5 favorites]


shmegegge, would it be possible that it was flagged because people thought "Oh, this needs an eye kept on it?"

I had suggested the very possibility myself.
posted by shmegegge at 12:51 PM on May 6, 2010


I keep seeing you guys say that the post was on a topic that Does Not Go Well Here. I don't understand why you think this.

I don't know if there's any way to bridge this particular gap. Police-related threads, like a few other topics, in aggregate generate email, flags, and large doses of nastiness and headaches out of proportion with most other topics. That's, I don't know what else to say, that's what happens. It's a years-long pattern. They're much likelier to be a pain in the ass than almost anything else you could post about, and so we're more likely to nix a post that seems not great on the topic, especially if there's a strong community response that syncs up with that.

Some cop threads go okay. We're fine with that. We have not banned cop posts and there are a whole goddam lot of them in the archives. You can find one on the front page right now; it's not going great, we've had to do a bit of cleanup, but it's there and we're not eyeing it for deletion. And I've already answered in the affirmative and in a bit of detail the question of whether and how trying to do this specific topic again could work if someone wants to give it another shot next week.

But the existence of threads that have managed to not go badly does not contradict our general experience that on average this topic is tough to do right and generates a much-larger-than-ordinary amount of problems.

I respect that your subjective experience of the topic playing out on metafilter is different and can understand if you disagree with that assertion accordingly. But we are, frankly, the ones who actually have to deal with the stuff on a day-to-day and year-to-year basis and, considering the damned-if-we-do-damned-if-we-don't nature of these sorts of meta-conflicts, don't have much incentive to willfully conjure up site behavior out of nowhere. If we wanted to fake up an excuse to delete threads to make our lives easier, we'd delete everything that even sniffed at being contentious or fight-starting and have done with it, instead of trying to walk the balance beam on this stuff and spend time hashing these sorts of arguments out at length.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:54 PM on May 6, 2010




I love it when people discuss the stripes and marbling of MetaCat, it's when they dress it up like a Wee L'il Freedom Fighter and pose with it that I question their priorities.

Sometimes MetaCat eats cupcakes, fights yarn, and tells you about crazy art experiments. But sometimes it tells you about stuff going on in the world. Much like Mameshiba, it's not always going to be something you want to hear, and you're free to ignore it then if you think that something that adorable shouldn't be talking about such things.

A lot of people like that about it. I don't think there's anything wrong with people defending that, and there's no need to try to get them to shut up by calling them "Keyboard Commandos" or the like.
posted by ignignokt at 12:58 PM on May 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


octobersurprise, that may be the greatest lolcat of all time.
posted by ignignokt at 12:58 PM on May 6, 2010


They're much likelier to be a pain in the ass than almost anything else you could post about

I hope I don't come across as being a dick again, because I'm being totally sincere: Do you have a link to an example? When I think of our worst cop threads, I think peter watts and the one about the cop shooting an unarmed handcuffed man in the back. I don't think either of those are that bad, so maybe I'm just ignorant of the real problem threads.

don't have much incentive to willfully conjure up site behavior out of nowhere. If we wanted to fake up an excuse to delete threads to make our lives easier, we'd delete everything that even sniffed at being contentious or fight-starting and have done with it, instead of trying to walk the balance beam on this stuff and spend time hashing these sorts of arguments out at length.

is there somewhere that I gave the impression that I think you guys are making shit up? I hope not. I'm trying really hard to be as clear as possible that I'm looking for clarification, and I don't want to come across nearly as fighty as it now seems.
posted by shmegegge at 1:00 PM on May 6, 2010


Maybe the issue here is that people have started to abuse flagging. Instead of using it to say, "this doesn't belong on the site," they're starting to use it to say "Man, I don't like this post, and I'd like to zap it."
posted by ignignokt at 1:01 PM on May 6, 2010 [13 favorites]


i think we need to start handing out special awards for the best "wah, my post got deleted" - i vote for toodleydoodley's recent contribution (with a goodley dose of hugbucket of course)
posted by infini at 1:01 PM on May 6, 2010


I kind of assumed that dog shooting was the default in house raids, and that Cato map + a broader discussion of the war on drugs with this video as a supporting point might have made for a great post.
posted by BrotherCaine at 1:01 PM on May 6, 2010


On a tangential note....

jardinier: "If so, can the first 5-10 comments in a post be restricted to members with x days/weeks/months under their belt or some criteria similar to the waiting periods on posting? "

I know the mods have already said no to this on the automated v. human aspects, but there's another good reason to not do this: there are good front page posts that only get 5-10 comments (and can boast a 2 or 3 or 4 to 1 favorite to comment count). People join to provide more information to a post or members who rarely or never comment otherwise might have a deep vein of knowledge or a relevant experience.
posted by julen at 1:05 PM on May 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


Thank you for deleting this not very good post.
Have a nice weekend. Smiley face.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:22 PM on May 6, 2010


is there somewhere that I gave the impression that I think you guys are making shit up? I hope not. I'm trying really hard to be as clear as possible that I'm looking for clarification, and I don't want to come across nearly as fighty as it now seems.

I'm sorry, I'm not trying to put you in a fighty place. I feel like we're sort of going in tight circles here with us saying "honestly, our take from experience is that this is a problem" and you saying "well, no, it totally isn't" and I don't know how to make progress on that. Like I said, we may just have to leave it unresolved as a disagreement. But let me avoid a skip in the logic up in my previous comment and be more explicit about what I mean:

There's basically three reads on our disagreement about whether police brutality/abuse/authoritarianism/corruption/etc threads go worse on average than a thread on most random given topics:

1. We disagree with you based on competing but essentially equally-footed readings of threads that go undeleted on the site.

2. We disagree with you based in significant part on our additional experiences dealing with all the extra work involved in moderating those threads and the folks who get involved with them, including backchannel stuff that never goes public but adds to the difficulty of dealing with them for us.

3. We don't actually disagree with you but we're going to say we do as an excuse to delete these sorts of threads.

I don't know if you believe that (1) is the most accurate picture of the situation or not. I firmly believe that (2) is more of what's going on and that reasonably speaking that case would be sort of self-evident, especially given that we've had to address the "a lot of work we do is not visible" thing any number of times in the past in metatalk discussions.

I don't suspect you specifically of thinking (3) is the case and I apologize for framing that comment poorly if it read that way. I've done a lot of typing in here, I may be pushing toward E on the sentence-forming gauge at this point. But that kind of assertion has come up a number of times in the past as an apparently credulous criticism of what we're actually doing with our work, and at a certain point it starts to feel like the logical conclusion when us repeatedly and clearly stating our honest opinion on the subject fields an unyielding "yeah but no, I don't buy it" response.

Beyond that, I understand that your position might be (2) but that we are indeed mispercieving the problem because we're too close to it or whatever. (I've had that conversation with someone before, I don't remember if it was you.) And I don't mean to be dismissive about that reading because it's something that we try to actively be aware of ourselves and sort of sanity-check each other about in email ("am I reading this wrong" or "is there something I'm missing" or "hey, give me your take on this because maybe I'm just annoyed about related issue x").

But at the end of the day we're going to have to rely on our readings of things or we won't be able to do the functional, independent work that running this place requires. We try very much to temper that with what we hear from other folks via email and metatalk, and I'll say again that I hear where folks who disagree with this deletion are coming from. But I can't agree that the problems we've seen and had to deal with as far as police-related post headaches aren't significant.

And again, that's not unique to police stuff. There are a handful of topics that, injoke or no, fall into the same territory.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:38 PM on May 6, 2010


I guess I have a problem with the idea that the most easily offended among us have a bigger say in what is allowed to be discussed than anyone else. It does make me curious if there are a cadre of people who are much more likely to pull the trigger and flag something, and if this is something that the moderators take into consideration when looking at a thread. If Mr. or Ms. Repeat Offended flags anything that is vaguely controversial, does a flag from that person count for less than someone who seldom flags anything?

FIAMO has become such a catchphrase that it might not occur to some that the flagging is not mandatory. Sometimes it might be better to just move on.
posted by jefeweiss at 1:41 PM on May 6, 2010 [4 favorites]


Beyond that, I understand that your position might be (2) but that we are indeed mispercieving the problem because we're too close to it or whatever. (I've had that conversation with someone before, I don't remember if it was you.)

ah, who knows. it might have been. i've certainly gone off about dumb shit before. it's not what I'm thinking this time out, though.

basically, it's probably some combination of 1 and 2 as far as where we disagree. which, ok. I guess I'll just hope I'm a data point in the larger discussion and that's that.
posted by shmegegge at 1:47 PM on May 6, 2010


Maybe the issue here is that people have started to abuse flagging. Instead of using it to say, "this doesn't belong on the site," they're starting to use it to say "Man, I don't like this post, and I'd like to zap it."

Ultimately it's hard to cleanly separate the two, and I'd imagine different folks use flagging for different reasons that run a whole gamut on which those two are points.

Functionally, for any given single flag, the difference between "i would delete this if it were in my power to do so" and "i think the mods should look at this and consider whether it needs deleting" and "i don't necessarily have a problem with this but maybe a mod should be aware of it" is unreadable. That's part of why we use flags as an alert system rather than an automated threshold-to-action system. The blank-faced simplicity is part of the value of the system, because it saves both us and the people flagging from otherwise having to have a more time-consuming interaction just to deal with routine notifications (and avoids raising the threshold of feedback so high that a lot of people end up not bothering).

I don't really have a problem with a given person thinking any of those specific thoughts when they drop a flag; the important thing is that it gets our eyeballs on whatever the flagged item is so we can take a look at it and decide where to go from there.

In volume, the question of what any given flagger was thinking becomes less of an issue; that it is a bunch of people flagging the same thing suggests there's some emergent Needs Attention issue that transcends those heterogeneous motivations and gives us a reason to believe that we're not dealing with one or two edgy people responding for highly idiosyncratic reasons. There might be a couple oddly spiteful flags mixed in with a stack of a dozen, but the stack of a dozen is the notable thing and it'd be notable if it was ten instead because the spiteful oddball flags stayed home.

I'm not sure there's any reasonable way to discourage people from flagging something because they personally dislike it rather than because they have a disinterested belief that it should not in abstract terms be on the site. I suspect, as above, that what we see is a whole bunch of different points on the continuum between those two points, and ultimately the heterogeneous flagging practices of a wide net of the site users is kind of a valid expression, if only a fractional one, of what "this doesn't belong on the site" actually means.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:49 PM on May 6, 2010


I guess I'll just hope I'm a data point in the larger discussion and that's that.

You totally are. I'm sorry if I come off as frustrated, it's been a long thread and kind of a long day and there's some upcoming travel stress playing into this too, no doubt.

It does make me curious if there are a cadre of people who are much more likely to pull the trigger and flag something, and if this is something that the moderators take into consideration when looking at a thread.

I've gone looking in detail at flagging habits a few times, out of curiosity about just this sort of thing. When I've run the numbers, it's yielded up very little worrying as far as that goes; distribution of flagging per person follows a pretty typical power law with a few people flagging a whole lot, a good chunk of people flagging at a moderate rate, and a whole lot of people flagging much more occasionally.

We're aware of a small handful of people who have at one point or another done really conspicuous amounts of flagging and have had conversations about it to try and be clear to them what sort of flagging is helpful and what is not (i.e. "please do not flag fifteen items in the same thread, just write us an email instead about what's up"). Beyond that, no obvious problems. Of the high volume flaggers, I haven't noticed any troubling cadre-like correlations where several people with aligned, highly vocal ideological habits go flagging the same things.

So, again, flagging in volume is meaningful to us, and fairly trustworthy as a guide to problematic stuff, in a way that individual flags may not be. In weird cases we may take an extra close look, but under normal circumstances the behavior of mefites as an uncoordinated group is a pretty decent guide as far as the flag system's utility goes.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:57 PM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


But I can't agree that the problems we've seen and had to deal with as far as police-related post headaches aren't significant.

Just in case it's not clear, cortex's opinion is also mine. It's not "oh people fight in those threads" and we're against disagreement on the site. There are a lot of threads with a lot of disagreement that are really totally fine. It's that people fight, the fighting gets nasty, people mock other people's opinions, they get personal, they call people trolls, they email us complaining about other people, they open angry MetaTalk threads, they get hostile with us, they close their accounts, they send us nasty email because we're not handling the thread well and I'm not sure what else. All of this stuff takes time to handle and all of it has larger sitewide repercussions [once someone closes their account there's a meta-effect where people talk abou THAT in addition to all the other things on the table, this is normal, but also time consuming]. And we'll totally do it if we think the thread has some other larger value [as we've said upthread a few times] but as a "this is the really shitty things that cops did in the name of the drug war" with Reason blog post and video that may be someone's dog getting shot, we're not as willing to go there.

There was a spate, a few years ago, of tasering threads to the point where we really had to say "is your post about a police tasering incident? Keep in mind that there is an open thread about tasering" and we took a lot of shit about not allowing every tasering incident its own thread which is what some people wanted. And we had to really again point to the site philosophy "neat stuff on the web that people haven't seen and will spark interesting discussion" Again, you're going to have to take our word about the police-abuse threads. I'm sure it's easy to look at the current police thread on the front page and say "well that's one user just being a pain" but it's not really, there's always a set of users who almost immediately get really mad at each other in police-abuse threads so our challenge to the users is: can you make a post about the police that does not immediately go this way?

And this may be a failure of the site as many people envision it. And people may not agree with our decisions. But it's a combination both of our feeling about these sorts of posts but also the larger site philosophy [we care about the community, these threads are often poisonous to the community, we have very few staff, there are other places to have these discussions]. I have a slightly amused perspective in that if we had more mods, and more mod presence and more mod time on the site, it would be easier to oversee and threadsit contentious threads about the overreaching abuse of institutionalized power. It's funny if you think about it a little. Maybe you don't share my amusement.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:09 PM on May 6, 2010 [4 favorites]


I'd rather see more well done and non-sensational blogs about police abuses rather than more posts to the same old ones on Metafilter.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:13 PM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Maybe you don't share my amusement.

I SHARE NO ONE'S AMUSEMENT!
posted by shmegegge at 2:23 PM on May 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


This topic has been beaten soundly, but here's my take: the post was presented in a emotionless, almost drab way, in an attempt to not comment on the topic, letting the links speak for themselves. The links were to a dramatic take on a "police shoot dogs in front of family with small amount of drugs" story, with a bit more info, which then went to the video and a short summary of a Cato Institute "policy paper" and google map. For me, that last item being the most interesting, but that was three links deep.

Personally, Brent Parker's link to a story about 4.5 SWAT raids per day in Maryland was more interesting than this one-off incident. It covers some of the same absurdly heavy-handed bust-down-the-door SWAT maneuvers for minor drug possession (including two dead dogs), but tells a larger story.

I understand police, and even the heavily armed and more formally trained SWAT divisions, can do bad things to less-than-awful people, and I'm sure there are videos that display just that. The "normal middle-class Americans" angle and "two dogs shot" bit does nothing but pull heartstrings, and I'm against that. That angle is covered by MSM well enough, if not on this topic. Don't appeal to my emotions, tell me a story. The reason I haven't videos like this one is because I haven't gone looking. I don't want to spend time searching for back-story, or hope that someone will post a comment elaborating, but I'm of the mind that a post should be more cohesive and whole by itself.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:55 PM on May 6, 2010 [5 favorites]


Optimus Chyme writes "I also don't know if the dogs had a history of aggression or biting but if you are an officer who is threatened by a corgi you should probably find new work, such as kids' ball pit tester, marshmallow target, or chief of police."

Corgis are exactly the kind of dog I dread encountering doing service work. A German Shepard, Rottweiler or even Pit Bull will generally be either well behaved and no threat or will be restrained in some way by it's owner. Fracking small dogs like Poodles, cocker spaniels and especially herding dogs like Corgis are rarely restrained even if totally out of control. I've never been bit by a large dog while on the job but I've had several pairs of pants and at least one work boot damaged by these little dogs. Adding insult to injury while biting you the rest of the dog is perfectly positioned to get hit by one's ~25kg toolbox when one drops it because some bastard dog just bit you through your boot which results in all sorts of drama because of the injury or death of the miscreant.

While appalling I think it would be totally understandable if SWAT SOP was to shoot dogs which got too close.
posted by Mitheral at 3:04 PM on May 6, 2010


On the subject of dogs, I was in my study - ha! - playing Dragon Age on the Xbox the other night and my girlfriend was faffing about taking an hour long shower or something and then she screamed and I figured she'd seen a moth because she does that sometimes but it turned out there was a dog standing in our living room. We have no dogs. It was the dog from next door. It decided to hop the fence and come up the stairs and through our door and stand there in the living room and stare at my girlfriend who had no shirt on. Nice pup though, his name is Dalton, I gave him a piece of hot dog. Dogs aren't inherently creepy but when you're going around your house and you get the feeling you're being watched and it turns out there's a dog there in the shadows that's pretty unsettling. Just glad it was a shih tzu-poodle type thing and not one of those dobermans from Resident Evil. Not that that would happen. I don't know.
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:29 PM on May 6, 2010 [8 favorites]


If I were storming someone's house, I might shoot a dog that isn't a threat on its own just because I don't want to be distracted from what's behind the next door, or in the corner of the room. This is why I don't want a job storming people's houses for bullshit offenses like pot, because it forces you into crappy sub-optimal decisions about risking your co-worker's lives against the life of an innocent dog. But really, the tragedy of the dog being shot is a sideshow to the more general issues of people fearing even statistically infrequent crime so much that we are building a police state.
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:43 PM on May 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


Corgis are exactly the kind of dog I dread encountering doing service work. A German Shepard, Rottweiler or even Pit Bull will generally be either well behaved and no threat or will be restrained in some way by it's owner.

What? You're not serious are you? If so you need to meet my neighbor's pitbulls that jumped a fence and killed my cat a little over a year ago.

While appalling I think it would be totally understandable if SWAT SOP was to shoot dogs which got too close.

While I'm not a fan of pit bulls for the obvious reason above this is just absurd. THEY'RE COMING RIGHT FOR US! UNLOAD!
posted by Big_B at 3:47 PM on May 6, 2010


Warning: This site is moderated; some times you eat the moderator and sometimes, well, the moderator eats you.
posted by nola at 3:48 PM on May 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


Not that that would happen. I don't know.

The thing to do is always approach windows in exterior-facing hallways with caution. Maybe practice your quick turn before you actual pass the windows, if you're feeling a little rusty with that one.

Alternately, you can actually just walk backward down the hallway. I like to hum "Beat It" to myself when I do that. But then it might turn out to be one of those premature jumpers, in which case you just look like an idiot.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:52 PM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sometimes MetaCat eats cupcakes, fights yarn, and tells you about crazy art experiments. But sometimes it tells you about stuff going on in the world. Much like Mameshiba, it's not always going to be something you want to hear, and you're free to ignore it then if you think that something that adorable shouldn't be talking about such things.

A lot of people like that about it. I don't think there's anything wrong with people defending that, and there's no need to try to get them to shut up by calling them "Keyboard Commandos" or the like.


I don't guess I'm making myself clear. Talking about something isn't the same as ganging up on the mods or getting overly fighty, which is what I perceived as happening at the top of this thread, and what I object to isn't the thing being discussed but the attitude that somehow the subject matter, being found "important," requires some kind of action here on MetaFilter.

I'm more-than-averagely interested in police activity -- hell, I'm doing a ride-along tomorrow night -- and if the thread had been allowed to stand I probably would have participated, even though the level of emotions in related threads sort of squicks me out. I think to some people, posting in threads like the deleted ones is mistaken for activism, and therefore they mix up posting to MetaFilter with actual good deeds. Look, name-calling of any kind is weak sauce, so maybe I shouldn't have used the phrase "Keyboard Commando," but I still feel like people are coming on strong against the mods here for reasons that don't stand up to scrutiny.
posted by Bookhouse at 3:52 PM on May 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


I submit that this post was deleted for unsound reasons.

mathowie: Did they say why, Optimus, why your post should stand?
Optimus: I was sent on a classified mission, sir.
mathowie: It's no longer classified, is it? Did they tell you?
Optimus: They told me that you had gone totally insane, and that your methods were... unsound.
mathowie: Are my methods unsound?
Optimus: I don't see any method at all, sir.
mathowie: I expected someone like you. What did you expect? Are you a poster?
Optimus: I'm a commenter.
mathowie: You're neither. You're an errand boy, sent by grocery clerks, to collect a bill.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 3:55 PM on May 6, 2010 [21 favorites]


On the subject of dogs, I was in my study - ha! - playing Dragon Age on the Xbox the other night and my girlfriend was faffing about taking an hour long shower or something and then she screamed and I figured she'd seen a moth because she does that sometimes but it turned out there was a dog standing in our living room. We have no dogs. It was the dog from next door... Just glad it was a shih tzu-poodle type thing and not one of those dobermans from Resident Evil. Not that that would happen. I don't know.

Aw man, for I moment I thought you were going to say there was a Mabari in your living room. That would've been cool.
posted by homunculus at 4:03 PM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


And then the mods chop up a water buffalo.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 4:09 PM on May 6, 2010


It's true, I am in need of a catharsis.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:12 PM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Metatalk. Shit. I'm still only in Metatalk. Every time I think I'm gonna wake up back in the admin interface.

When I was home after my first meetup, it was worse. I'd wake up and there'd be pantsfish. I hardly said a word to mathowie, until I said "GRAR" to a callout. When I was snarking, I wanted to be flagging; when I was flagging, all I could think of was getting back into the pile-on.

I'm here a week now...waiting for a mefimail...getting greyer. Every minute I stay in this thread, I get grumpier, and every minute SEOguy2198 squats in his linkfarm, he gets spammier. Each time I look around the
margin: values get a little smaller.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:21 PM on May 6, 2010 [11 favorites]


Metapocalypse Now

MetaTalk . . . shit. I'm still only in MetaTalk. Every time I think I'm gonna wake up posting on the blue. When I was at Digg after my first timeout it was worse. When I was at Fark, I wanted to be on MetaFilter; when I was on MetaFilter, all I could think of was making another FPP on the blue. I'm here a week now . . . waiting for another anti-cop video on YouTube . . . getting softer. Every minute I stay in on MetaTalk, I get weaker, and every minute Cortex squats in the blue, he gets stronger, waiting to delete my posts. Each time I looked around the mods moved in a little faster.
posted by mattdidthat at 4:29 PM on May 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


DAMN YOU CORTEX










The horror . . .






The horror

posted by mattdidthat at 4:30 PM on May 6, 2010


Heh.

How many people had I already banned? There were those six that I knew about for sure. Close enough to feel their breath when the hammer landed.

But this time, it was a USian and a blogger. That wasn't supposed to make any difference to me, but we try to approach these things on a case-by-case basis. But go fuck a rainbow...charging a user with self-promotion in this place was like handing out steampunk tickets at a BoingBoing convention. I took the hammer. What the hell else was I gonna do.

posted by cortex (staff) at 4:36 PM on May 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


So, has anyone tried one of these yet? I keep meaning to. Maybe tommorrow after beers.
posted by jonmc at 5:20 PM on May 6, 2010


I kind of want to try one, and there is a KFC near the tire shop I'm taking my car to tomorrow, but I'm not sure if I'll be able to look myself in the mirror afterward.
posted by threetoed at 5:41 PM on May 6, 2010


I will, but I'll be drunk and besides, I have no shame.
posted by jonmc at 5:46 PM on May 6, 2010


To me, the most outrageous element of the incident is that Whitmore was charged with child endangerment, when it was the police who did all the endangering.

That's what I really wanted to discuss. Talk about "gotchas". Sheesh.
posted by bunnycup


I don't find it that odd, actually. Police can shoot and kill a person who was committing a robbery with then charge his friend, who didn't have a gun, with murder. Because the death happened during the crime.

Whether that's RIGHT or not is another discussion, but the law works in mysterious ways...
posted by agregoli at 5:56 PM on May 6, 2010


Aw man, for I moment I thought you were going to say there was a Mabari in your living room.

I would have been all like "See anything interesting boy?" and he would have run of and brought me back maybe an old bottle or some rubber bands.
posted by turgid dahlia at 6:19 PM on May 6, 2010


Schmegege -- just tossing out a thought on the "but why delete THIS cop post but let THAT one stay" issue.

My take was that a post that concerned animals was going to hit people just a bit more in the emotional gut than usual, because -- well, it involves dogs and people can indeed get a little "omigod teh kyoot" emotional about dogs. And, therefore, there was the potential for emotions to run a bit more rampant in a thread dealing with dogs, so...that factor was taken into account.

And believe me, I'm not pointing a finger at anyone here, because I probably would have been one of the first in line with the "omigod teh kyoot puppy -- HOW DARE THEY GRAR".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:37 PM on May 6, 2010


jonmc: I've been very interested after Nate Silver decided statistically that it is, actually, one of the worst restaurant foods you can actually buy by some metrics. Unfortunately, they will not be offering such a thing at China's KFCs, probably because death-defying Xtreme E-ting hasn't caught on here yet. (Soon, though, soon. I've certainly seen the triple burger advertised: it was "Olympic Big" if I remember, and the difference between the supernaturally muscled athletes and the sad sacks who were eating triple burgers went unremarked upon.)

So for my sake, being unable to try the thing, if people are still back-and-forthing about this and you survive the trial, you have to come back into this thread and take a victory lap.
posted by Valet at 7:09 PM on May 6, 2010


Has anyone ever seen an Adirondack shaped person? I've seen the chairs but I've never seen a person with the 36 inch femur that would be necessary to sit in the chair without looking like Edith Ann.
posted by vapidave at 8:38 PM on May 6, 2010


There are a couple of Adirondack-shaped people in my gym, and one Papasan. I'm more the barcalounger shape (big and sprawling in a reclining sort of way.)

If MeFi was a chair, I bet it would be like one of those futuristic things in Woody Allen's Sleeper or The Prisoner.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 8:52 PM on May 6, 2010


I'm one of those aluminum folding deck chairs with the vinyl webbing.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:02 PM on May 6, 2010


I've been very interested after Nate Silver decided statistically that it is, actually, one of the worst restaurant foods you can actually buy by some metrics.

Continuing in my proud tradition of arguing on the internet no matter how trivial, Silver's metrics are actually pretty dumb and ignorant of nutrition; by his logic, you can make a Double Down more healthy somehow by simply stuffing it inside a baguette or plopping it down on a bigass pile of spaghetti. He even has a chance to realize his false premises when he says

In fact, the only thing that beats than the Original Recipe Double Down is the supposedly healthier grilled Double Down (1.19 DDPCs), which is almost 20 percent worse for you than the signature version on a per-calorie basis.

Goddamn, Nate, take a step back and think about it for a second. Your initial assumption that fat is bad leads you to ridiculous conclusions, that a sandwich primarily composed of grilled chicken, mainstay of bodybuilders worldwide, is somehow bad. Let's look at the macronutrient numbers on the Grilled Double Down:

Calories: 460
Protein: 61g (244 calories, 53%)
Fat: 23g (207 calories, 44%)
Carbohydrates: 3g (12 calories, 3%)

That's fine. Shit, that's better than fine. The grilled Double Down is literally one of the healthiest fast-food meals you can eat. Nate's baseline "healthy" sandwich, the Subway 12" Oven Roasted Chicken, has 60% of its calories from carbohydrates. That's 97 grams, or the equivalent of two and a half cans of Coke. It also has less protein. Fuck that. You know how Jared lost all that weight on Subway veggie subs? Did you also notice that he looks like complete shit, a scrawny little dude in a flesh-colored garbage bag filled with goo? That's what happens when you get 75% of your calories from carbohydrates and 12.5% each of protein and fat. To conclude: long live the grilled Double Down.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 9:09 PM on May 6, 2010 [11 favorites]


Cortex awoke before dawn.
He put Rocky's Boots on.
posted by fleacircus at 9:13 PM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


He took a Post
From the Closed Threads and he
Retroactively banned the OP and...
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:16 PM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


...he clicked on over to MetaTalk.
He looked into the thread that harold_dumbacher started
And then he
Paid a visit to the Recent Meetups thread
And then he
He looked at the admin control panel
And he came to a hammer
And he thought for a while
SEO linkfarm spammer?
Yes, mod?
I want to ban you.
posted by mattdidthat at 10:04 PM on May 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


Lost in an online wilderness of pain
All the children are insane
posted by philip-random at 10:45 PM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Optimus: Right, if your individual health goal is to be a bodybuilder. I am going to go way out on a limb and guess that, with 82 posts, 7,026 clicked favorites (7,027 after you favorite this witty riposte) and 6,186 comments across all the filters, that you, sir, are no bodybuilder. I don't doubt you could take Jared in a fist fight, but that's mostly because he'd be all "who are you why are you punching me".

Also no idea why you compare carbohydrates in Subway to the amount in Coke. Subway also has the same amount of carbohydrates as in a quarter pound of rotting, radioactive millet, but it doesn't seem like a super-apt comparison.

The weird thing Silver does do is assume that if you choke down the Double Down, you'll actually eat less calories for the rest of the day. I always found that a Bacon Ultimate Cheeseburger sort of roto-rootered out my digestive tract, making it easier to cram massive amounts of animal-derived goo through.
posted by Valet at 11:28 PM on May 6, 2010


jessamyn: Links to One Really Terrible Thing That Happened are not great posts for MeFi unless they're at some level tied in to a larger issue

I thought the larger issue (unrestrained police raids for minor crimes, police over-reaction, police militarization) was petty obvious.

Many times when there's a post about police misconduct, there's an apologetic comment to the effect of "well, we can't judge, we didn't see what happened, it's he said-cop said". But ere's video evidence -- you can see, and judge for yourself.

It's powerful, all the more so for the killing of a defenseless and nonthreatening pet, and potentially mind-changing. (Uncle Tom's Cabin's appeals to pathos -- Eliza crossing the ice, Simon Legree's whip -- changed more minds about slavery than any dry philosophical treatise ever did.)

For anyone who wants to understad what modern policing involves, this video's a must see.

And yet, it's too touchy for Metafiilter. Because of a early thread-shitting comment and some flagging.

I think it's really evidence that the flagging system -- or, really deletions based on flagging -- is broken, when it means that the many here who said they'd like to have discussed this post are frustrated by touchiness of a few.
posted by orthogonality at 12:30 AM on May 7, 2010 [14 favorites]


Actually, OC is pretty health-conscious and works out. I'm not sure why you're trying to use the fact that he's posted about two and a half comments a day since establishing an account as some kind of indicator that he's a fatass, especially when you've made about three posts per day since you've been here.

So seriously: You're calling him fat because he posts... less than you do. What?
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:32 AM on May 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


Stop defending people. Defend ideas unless you are part of a Caudillo.
posted by vapidave at 12:38 AM on May 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


fee fi fo fum... I smell GRAR and can't think of a word that rhymes either
posted by hugbucket at 12:47 AM on May 7, 2010


PG: woah, seriously, it was a joke, no offense intended. 'Fatass' is language you introduced into the whole deal, and I'm not claiming any part of that.

If what I did say was offensive, I apologize heartily. I may have made the incorrect assumption that nobody could be serious on topics related to the Double Down.
posted by Valet at 12:55 AM on May 7, 2010


Ever wish you were angrier?
In retrospect?
Or taller?
Or circumspect?

Me too.
Except on a plane.
Nothing counts on a plane.
posted by vapidave at 1:26 AM on May 7, 2010


Nothing counts on a plane.

Except snakes.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:58 AM on May 7, 2010


nooooooooooo
posted by infini at 4:08 AM on May 7, 2010


It's true, I am in need of a catharsis.

Yeah, me too. warning: acrostic follows

My life is full of useless things
Each day is full of shit
Today I read this thread
And I'm now fully sick of it
From now on
I shall only care for
Laughter, love and hugs
Tomorrow I'll
Embrace my heart and sneer at all the thugs.
Remembering, of course, that what I want is

Rarely seen.
Ugh cops shoot dog and then the mods did quickly intervene
Let threads turn into fighty shit?
Even though that was bad?
Sometimes we have to word it well. Deleted? Aw, so sad.
posted by h00py at 4:10 AM on May 7, 2010


Did Pope Guilty just make Valet flame out?
posted by Rory Marinich at 5:37 AM on May 7, 2010


Flame out over a fucking chicken sandwich?
posted by fixedgear at 5:45 AM on May 7, 2010


Right, if your individual health goal is to be a bodybuilder. I am going to go way out on a limb and guess that, with 82 posts, 7,026 clicked favorites (7,027 after you favorite this witty riposte) and 6,186 comments across all the filters, that you, sir, are no bodybuilder.

That's a really stupid assumption; based on the level of discourse that occurs on this website with respect to weightlifting, I know of a few other lifters (ludwig_van, jasons_planet) here who post regularly and who are rippers at the gym.

I, myself, can squat well over twice my bodyweight, keep an 8% bodyfat and am active on bodybuilding forums on the internet and I know that I'm not alone here. The assumption that someone's level of involvement in this website is somehow indicative of their athletic commitment is pretty silly, considering many of us work sedentary 8-4s and come here then.
posted by Hiker at 5:47 AM on May 7, 2010


...and just like that, Valet is gone. To quote Teddy "KGB" from Rounders, ""Just like a young man coming in for a quickie, I fell so unsatisfied."
posted by Hiker at 5:49 AM on May 7, 2010


i need a place to hide while I put my whole palm over my face adn weep... will this thread do?
posted by infini at 5:54 AM on May 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Did Pope Guilty just make Valet flame out?

He probably just found a better spot.
posted by gman at 6:04 AM on May 7, 2010


Valet left a mild note that this was a not-flamey-outy open account closure. More of a "not feeling like my delurking experiment is a winner" thing than anything.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:47 AM on May 7, 2010


Valet left a mild note that was note flamey-outy open account closure.

Spinnaker handrail fungible colder?
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 7:12 AM on May 7, 2010


I HAD TO GET UP EARLY AND I HAVEN'T HAD ANY CAFFEINE AND I FIXED IT A BIT ALREADY AND SERIOUSLY WHERE IS MY COFFEE WHY DON'T THEY SELL COFFEE ON THE LIGHTRAIL TRAIN C'MON
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:18 AM on May 7, 2010


Never get off the lightrail train. Absolutely goddamn right. Unless you were going all the way.

Valet got off the lightrail train. He split from the whole fucking program. How did that happen? What did he see here when he de-lurked? 38 fucking years old. If he joined Shashdot, there was no way he’d ever get above +3 Insightful. Valet knew what he was giving up. The more I read and began to understand, the more I admired him. His family and friends couldn't understand it, and they couldn't talk him out of it. He had to apply three times and he had to put up with a ton of shit, but when he forked over the $5, they let him in. The next youngest MeFite was half his age. They must have thought he was some far-out old man humping it over those posts. I did it when I was 19 and it damn near wasted me. A tough motherfucker. He finished. He could have gone for mod, but he went for himself instead.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 7:27 AM on May 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


I HAD TO GET UP EARLY AND I HAVEN'T HAD ANY CAFFEINE AND I FIXED IT A BIT ALREADY AND SERIOUSLY WHERE IS MY COFFEE WHY DON'T THEY SELL COFFEE ON THE LIGHTRAIL TRAIN C'MON

Selling coffee on commuter trains? You'd make a killing.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:30 AM on May 7, 2010


Selling coffee on commuter trains? You'd make a killing.

They actually did try this on the train I take to work for a little while, for real. Breakfast, too. The problem was you had to order it the day before, and then they'd try to find you on the train the next day. Somehow. The list of things that had to go right for this to work is probably the reason it was a very short-lived business.

Now a cart coming by with coffee and breakfast you can just buy right there, that would be nice. Except the rush-hour trains are so crowded it would perhaps have to be some sort of miniature zeppelin rather than a cart. Except that the space near the ceiling is now blocked by LCD screens that displayed advertising for a few months, before the advertising company that ran them went bankrupt.

Funny how sleeping commuters aren't all that great of an audience for silent TV ads, huh? Although if we had coffee supplied to us, maybe we wouldn't be asleep...
posted by FishBike at 7:50 AM on May 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Funny how sleeping commuters aren't all that great of an audience for silent TV ads, huh?

How can you be sure they aren't whispering to you when you're all asleep?
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 8:04 AM on May 7, 2010


cortex: "More of a "not feeling like my delurking experiment is a winner" thing than anything."

I know the feeling.
posted by charred husk at 8:05 AM on May 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


The way to go would be to sell iced espresso from pump bottles, buck a shot. Just walk through the train, ready bottle held overhead and a few more in your backpack for swapping out, watch for the green singles held up in mirror and get that bottle to a mouth, take the buck, fire the salvo. No conversation, no making change, just point blank caffeine delivery on demand.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:07 AM on May 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


charred husk, I think you're a winner! Don't go back to the lurk side, I don't trust those people.
posted by Think_Long at 8:07 AM on May 7, 2010


No conversation, no making change, just point blank caffeine delivery on demand.

God, it sounds like some terrible human-farming practice. The sow robot with udders filled with coffee plods down the aisle, on each side of her the sleepy humans suckle on her tits taking as much liquid as possible before she moves on to the C train.
posted by Think_Long at 8:10 AM on May 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


I wasn't offended by Valet's comment, for what it's worth, and I hope he comes back. A gentle gibe at internet-addicted nerds and the resulting rebuke is no reason for account closure.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:49 AM on May 7, 2010


This thread is seriously harshing my mellow, which, in the interest of full disclosure, was already halfway to being harshed because of gmail, and specifically certain users, or even user.

And now I am about to block someone on gmail, and I have never done that before, I'm a block-contact version, and it feels huge and significant and it's just frickin' chat but I feel cruel.

So, can we have less GRAR and more schmoopy in here? Maybe some more cat pics or double-down talk or even the caffeine thing. Because I'm thinking even some kind of vending machine on the commuter train would be a goldmine.
posted by misha at 9:10 AM on May 7, 2010


You could certainly sell those Starbucks-branded ice coffee things. Or hell, energy drinks.

Anything that gets caffeine to commuters is profitable.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:12 AM on May 7, 2010


*slouches in and snuggles up with misha*
posted by hugbucket at 9:15 AM on May 7, 2010


Awww. I got hugs!
posted by misha at 9:31 AM on May 7, 2010


The sow robot with udders filled with coffee plods down the aisle, on each side of her the sleepy humans suckle on her tits taking as much liquid as possible

Ok I'm adding this to my list of futuristic shit we never got... along with the flying cars, giant robots to fight our wars, and cyborg policemen who can't let go of the girl they loved when they were fully human, etc...

I know no one ever promised me a sow robot when I was a kid, but I don't feel like starting a new list
posted by ServSci at 9:53 AM on May 7, 2010


Let's return to the kinds of chairs we are. (We can put all our chairs together, misha.)

I'm one of those aluminum folding deck chairs with the vinyl webbing.


I myself am a smallish beanbag chair.
posted by bearwife at 10:17 AM on May 7, 2010


I one of those antique wooden loveseats that has a heart cut out of the seat part so that you THINK, but you're not sure, that you're supposed to poop through it but honestly why make it a heart shape and where would the poop go is there supposed to be a bucket underneath it? maybe you're not supposed to poop through it? but why the hole? this is the worst designed seat ever!
posted by shmegegge at 10:27 AM on May 7, 2010


I am a sticky pine-sap stump.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 10:28 AM on May 7, 2010


I one of those antique wooden loveseats that has a heart cut out of the seat part so that you THINK, but you're not sure, that you're supposed to poop through it

Thus shmegegge recalls the last Bed and Breakfast he was ever allowed to stay in.
posted by Think_Long at 10:34 AM on May 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


I don't really enjoy the *taste* of coffee. I'm not so far gone as to go down the road of the caffeine pills, but some days, I really wish that I could just inject caffeine intravenously.

Some days... who am I kidding? Every morning I pray for a caffeine IV.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 10:50 AM on May 7, 2010


I'm a recliner made out of that cool leather that bomber jackets come in, slightly scuffed and worn through the years but still buttery soft.
posted by misha at 11:00 AM on May 7, 2010




I am, of course an Eames lounge chair or maybe one of those bright orange plastic mass transit seats... mayhaps the Jasper Morrison ones, or shall I go for the ... *urk*
posted by infini at 11:04 AM on May 7, 2010


I would have been all like "See anything interesting boy?" and he would have run of and brought me back maybe an old bottle or some rubber bands.

Or pantaloons! One can never have too many pairs of pantaloons.
posted by homunculus at 11:29 AM on May 7, 2010


Cheese carrots.
posted by heyho at 11:33 AM on May 7, 2010


kraft cream cheese swirled out the bottle by carrot sticks
posted by infini at 11:37 AM on May 7, 2010


Now I'm really gonna hurley.
posted by heyho at 11:41 AM on May 7, 2010


OK, that bulk caffeine powder site is totally weird. Also, decimal separators - LOCALIZE THEM.
posted by GuyZero at 12:02 PM on May 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm an Eames chair too, but I'm the one my grandfather owned that was a prototype and, as a result, was profoundly uncomfortable to sit in despite looking exactly like all the other Eames chairs in the world.

Valet, hope you come back. Metafilter is an uncomfortable chair but worth sitting in nonetheless.
posted by stet at 12:11 PM on May 7, 2010


Aarnio bubble chair. And I was only teasing, Valet. Come back and play.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 12:16 PM on May 7, 2010


I am not a space toilet, in case you might be wondering.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:52 PM on May 7, 2010


Redeye espresso bong.
posted by y2karl at 2:18 PM on May 7, 2010


Interesting followup on the video of the SWAT raid: The power (and challenges) of viral internet

More links via Sullivan.
posted by homunculus at 2:19 PM on May 7, 2010


I think the mods were right to delete OC's post because this MeTa thread is way more interesting than the thread on the blue would have been if the FPP had been allowed to stay.
posted by [citation needed] at 2:48 PM on May 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


i have just discovered that there will always be those who will attempt to either obviously or subtly push one's buttons. i was a noob. i will not let it happen again. someone chuck the hugbucket over me to kill the steam from my ears
posted by infini at 3:07 PM on May 7, 2010


I am sorry to suggest this, infini, but my own approach is to try to read, see it is pla, and delete said comment from my memory banks. This produces more serenity in my inner life.

I am also really sorry about your experiences with ear piercing. My mom the MD pierced miine at home and I fainted. I thought that was bad! It is nothing compared to what you went through.
posted by bearwife at 3:24 PM on May 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


ja, I know what you're saying and thanks for the hint on how to deal with this kind of situation. the first time tbh i found myself ready to spew fire and brimstone. but in a way it was good, it not only identified the obvious suspect but helped me see a pattern from a previous thread a couple of days ago with another, more subtle button pusher

:) the ear piercing thing is now a family joke :) since mom always says she should have had it done at 4 months or something like in the indianparenting thread I linked to - that way I couldn't have protested, squirmed or otherwise "wonked" the process ;p
posted by infini at 3:30 PM on May 7, 2010


I'm really surprised and disappointed the post got deleted. I don't have any new reasoning to add that hasn't already been said upthread, but I wanted to take the time and express that personally.
posted by Nattie at 4:30 PM on May 7, 2010


Okay, that's enough of the feel-good fun and games. Here is a video of a Seattle police officer kicking an innocent civilian in the head. Quote: "I'm going to beat the fucking Mexican piss out of you, homie."
posted by Optimus Chyme at 4:38 PM on May 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


I am a plastic chair that gets left out in the backyard and goes mouldy.
posted by h00py at 4:44 PM on May 7, 2010


OC, do a post on police misbehavior with more to it than the original. This latest video is a good one to base a post around. I note that per the video SPD Internal Affairs is already looking into this matter. There's also a pending homicide case involving a defendant (Monfort who allegedly killed an officer based on his rage at police because of an earlier video (Schene case, also pending retrial). There's lots to frame a post around.
posted by bearwife at 5:00 PM on May 7, 2010


OC, that Mexican guy on the ground was clearly reaching for a gun concealed in his eye socket.

But seriously, that's pretty jacked up. However, Metafilterers want fuzzy bullshit most of time. If you started an anti-police brutality blog I'd totally read it and contribute to it.
posted by Burhanistan at 5:17 PM on May 7, 2010


a post on police misbehavior with more to it than the original

This has some pretty chilling footage.
posted by ODiV at 5:42 PM on May 7, 2010


Do one of those posts where each letter of the post is a link to another resource. Those are always great fun. I suggest a one-word post:

Hamburger.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:46 PM on May 7, 2010




I had the Double Down. It was OK but they skimped on the bacon so I had some chili dogs afterwords. I took pix, but...later
posted by jonmc at 7:01 PM on May 7, 2010


I had the Double Down. It was OK but they skimped on the bacon so I had some chili dogs afterwords. I took pix, but...later

Ahem.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:27 PM on May 7, 2010


Some day your metabolism will catch up with you, jonmc!
posted by Mister_A at 7:28 PM on May 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


However, Metafilterers want fuzzy bullshit most of time.

You're fuzzy bullshit!

And by that, I mean, one can make the case for repeated FPPs documenting egregious and criminal misconduct by law enforcement officials without implying that those who disagree with you are insipid dunderheads.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:02 PM on May 7, 2010


Upon reflection, it seems that I took the most uncharitable interpretation of what you were saying and knitted a nice little sweater out of it and forced it over your head, Burhanistan; apologies and retraction!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:09 PM on May 7, 2010


Hey Valet if you are still peeking in. I thought your comment was amusing and just fine in this context. I'd advise more participation generally as opposed to blowing an overstressed seal about particular people here. I disagree here often but agree sometimes. I'm ignored and dismissed and sometimes an idiot and sometimes silly and sometimes wise.
It's only the internet and to quote Charlie Brown "My mother loves me". What else matters?
posted by vapidave at 9:41 PM on May 7, 2010


And I was really just giving some general encouragement to anyone to go start a nice blog that documents police abuses in substantive way. People tend to fall back on what they view as activism on Metafilter because 1)they spend lots of time here so it becomes a kind of default sounding board and 2)there are lots of eyeballs on the site.

I'd like to see a really well done and popular police watchdog blog that most any person who was an active websurfer would know about.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:53 PM on May 7, 2010




I think this is as good a space as any to say that I have decided to disable my account. I will not be asking to have it re-activated nor will I be participating under an alias.

People change, communities change, and this has been long overdue. I can be reached at optimuschyme@gmail.com.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 12:01 PM on May 8, 2010 [15 favorites]


Really sorry to hear that, dude. Really sorry.
posted by gman at 12:05 PM on May 8, 2010


Aw, shit.
posted by heyho at 12:12 PM on May 8, 2010


Sorry to see you go, OC. You will be missed.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 12:21 PM on May 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


I guess his mefi time was interfering with his trolling of #tcot
posted by Nothing... and like it at 12:35 PM on May 8, 2010


Well damn. Take care out there, OC.
posted by homunculus at 12:51 PM on May 8, 2010


>I have relied on police in the past and been impressed by their professionalism and thankful for their service, but the good guys are judged by the scary assholes they work along side, and the scary assholes must by weeded out.

OC, I can't say I'm always 100% in agreement with you but I'm sorry to see you go. If we could have this discussion with the statement above as an agreed-to starting point we might be able to get somewhere. Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely, police are a necessary evil and the drug war is a farce and waste of resources are some more points we can agree to at the outset. Then what? Monitor, publicize, lobby our elected reps?

For a second I thought I caught a whiff of 'cortex and Jessamyn are lazy and don't want to moderate this potential mess so they just deleted it' but maybe I was wrong.

Most cop threads here just end up anecdote festivals and full of questionable advice about how to deal with police when encountered (usually in conjunction with taking pictures or some sort of street action). All this is filtered through my 49 year old suburban white guy invisible backpack lens, YMMV. I'm like Kevin Kline in Big Chill: "Those pigs saved my house." All this is by way of saying that I understand how they get into the 'let's shoot the fucking dog' mindest. The question is now what, how do we deal?
posted by fixedgear at 12:56 PM on May 8, 2010


Aw, goddamnit OC. Sad to see you go.
posted by flatluigi at 1:07 PM on May 8, 2010


Radley Balko, who first posted the video of the SWAT raid which OC linked to, just won a Maggie award for his work on Forensics Fraud.
posted by homunculus at 1:11 PM on May 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


well I'm sad to see OC go, too.
posted by shmegegge at 1:22 PM on May 8, 2010


Well, that's just great.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 1:24 PM on May 8, 2010


What??

BOO

I DO NOT APPROVE
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 1:52 PM on May 8, 2010


Whoah, dude. Sorry to hear that.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 1:58 PM on May 8, 2010


This is kind of strange and caught me off guard. Chyme had been participating (seemingly) normally after the fpp was yanked even up to today.

Maybe it's because I don't really participate in many other online communities, but I can't imagine leaving this place even though I'm not some high profile user.

You'll be missed, OC.
posted by ODiV at 2:01 PM on May 8, 2010


For a second I thought I caught a whiff of 'cortex and Jessamyn are lazy and don't want to moderate this potential mess so they just deleted it' but maybe I was wrong.

I think we've been pretty clear how difficult these decisions are and how many different factors come into play when we make these decisions. But please, make a case if you really think this is happening. My take is if we were lazy, it would have been easier to leave the post up.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:10 PM on May 8, 2010


Well, shit.
posted by hermitosis at 2:22 PM on May 8, 2010


Damn.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:37 PM on May 8, 2010


Shit.
posted by threetoed at 2:37 PM on May 8, 2010


I'm amongst the users who will miss OC. Damn it, there goes my weekend.
posted by miss-lapin at 2:49 PM on May 8, 2010


Jessamyn, I think fixedgear was thinking that that's what Optimus Chyme was thinking, as opposed to it being what fixedgear was thinking.

I don't think I've ever said "think" quite so much.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:50 PM on May 8, 2010


Alvy Ampersand is dismayed to see Optimus Chyme go.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 2:54 PM on May 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


I will miss him too. He made some of the most brilliantly elaborate humorous/satirical comments I've ever read. He was also a bit of a shithead at times. I hope he comes back.
posted by Dumsnill at 2:58 PM on May 8, 2010


Sorry to see you go, OC. I never really saw what you did wrong firsthand, but the stuff I did see you do, I liked.
posted by ignignokt at 3:03 PM on May 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Jessamyn, I think fixedgear was thinking...

Ah got it, thanks for the explanation.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:32 PM on May 8, 2010


He made some of the most brilliantly elaborate humorous/satirical comments I've ever read. He was also a bit of a shithead at times. I hope he comes back.

I want my obituary to end this way.
posted by decagon at 4:20 PM on May 8, 2010 [11 favorites]


Wow. I'm utterly dismayed and shocked to see OC's farewell message here. I've been checking on this thread in hopes he was going to tell us he was putting up another FPP about police misconduct -- the Seattle police video he linked in this thread is raising a storm of reaction, at least here in the Pacific NW.

I suspect OC isn't inclined to reconsider, but wish he would. This site is diminished by the loss of his acid wit and fearlessness.
posted by bearwife at 4:47 PM on May 8, 2010


Well, this might have been the thing that edged him over to the button. It's hard to read intent over text, but it really seemed like a chafe against the no "look at these assholes" posts guideline.
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posted by Damn That Television at 5:06 PM on May 8, 2010 [22 favorites]


a lovely tribute
posted by gman at 5:10 PM on May 8, 2010


If OC were here, I have no doubt that's how he would've wanted to go out.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 5:11 PM on May 8, 2010


WHAT TRIBUTE I AM GODDAMN SERIOUS
posted by Damn That Television at 5:12 PM on May 8, 2010


Damn That Television, this is for you
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 5:12 PM on May 8, 2010


I have no doubt that he'd SAY it, that is.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 5:12 PM on May 8, 2010


I'm really angry that OC decided to leave. Liked having you around, OC, and I think the mods (no offense mods, and nothing to do with this latest) were always a little touchier around you than was quite warranted.
posted by agregoli at 5:22 PM on May 8, 2010 [8 favorites]


I'm not sorry to see him go. He was utterly intolerant of opinions that differed from his own and frequently disrespectful and abusive towards members he disagreed with. Good riddance.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 5:28 PM on May 8, 2010 [5 favorites]


.
posted by cobra_high_tigers at 5:41 PM on May 8, 2010


Sad to see him go.
posted by Sailormom at 5:43 PM on May 8, 2010


I read the hole thing very nice A+
posted by threetoed at 5:43 PM on May 8, 2010


I had the Double Down. It was OK but they skimped on the bacon so I had some chili dogs afterwords.

Ask for extra bacon next time. I mean, a Double Down without a lot of bacon just seems so ... pointless. You know what else would make a Double Down awesome? Sriracha.

(I wouldn't eat a Double Down on a bet, myself, but I wholly approve of anyone who does.)
posted by octobersurprise at 5:44 PM on May 8, 2010


Eh, bread is for pussies.
posted by jonmc at 6:15 PM on May 8, 2010


no, no, you need to keep anything yeasty away from there, thank you muchly
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 6:20 PM on May 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Eh, bread is for pussies.

It's just a matter of applying yourself -- any cock can become a corndog.
posted by hermitosis at 6:20 PM on May 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hey, take that sharpened stick and get lost, ok, dude...
posted by jonmc at 6:20 PM on May 8, 2010


If it makes you feel any better, I'm eating these right now. They're tasty.

(also, at work we got a book called (really) 'Faith Based Fitness.' I figure it contains a 'Prayer for Pecs,' or something.
posted by jonmc at 6:23 PM on May 8, 2010


.
posted by thankyoujohnnyfever at 6:39 PM on May 8, 2010


Ouch.

I'm sad to see OC go. I think he's one of the sharpest people here and that MeFi will be a poorer place without him.
posted by applemeat at 7:19 PM on May 8, 2010


I vote for the vegan double down.

oh, and


.
posted by jardinier at 7:39 PM on May 8, 2010


OC isn't gone. A little part of him lives on in each and every one of us. Really. In those quiet pre-dawn moments before the birds start chirping, give a little listen. You'll hear him. He's in there.

Except in that ferdinand.bardamu guy. I'm pretty sure there's no OC in there
posted by kuujjuarapik at 7:59 PM on May 8, 2010


Oh, come off it. This guy is not in my soul at all. Bitterness is a consuming monster.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:18 PM on May 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Aww. I disagree with him about a lot of stuff—the dog shooting thread included—but I'm sorry to see OC go. He's the kind of guy where I feel like I could mix it up with him and then get a drink with him afterward.

I feel kinda like that Nerd Social Fallacy thing, maybe it's a cartoon, I dunno, about how nerds assume that all their nerd friends will get along… I can dig that OC's frequency was out of phase with the mods, but the flat-yelling-stupid irony that he could pull off was pretty awesome. It would be perfect for twitter.

Can't we all just get along?
posted by klangklangston at 8:25 PM on May 8, 2010


Or rather

CANT WE ALL JUST GET ALONG
posted by klangklangston at 8:25 PM on May 8, 2010


Except that Burhanistan guy too.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 8:28 PM on May 8, 2010


Choose your Bodhisattvas wisely, is all I'm saying.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:48 PM on May 8, 2010


the flat-yelling-stupid irony that he could pull off was pretty awesome

Agreed. I'm gonna miss him too, he's one of the good guys. Very confrontational, but in the exactly one email conversation we had he seemed like a pretty nice person.


hmm. It's weird how we talk about people like they're dead once they leave metafilter.
posted by Think_Long at 8:54 PM on May 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


Yeah, and linking to his twitter feed (which is about 90% a flat-out joke, by the way) isn't all that cool when he isn't here anymore to participate in a discussion about it.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 9:16 PM on May 8, 2010


That might be right. Mods can delete that comment if need be.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:23 PM on May 8, 2010


Yeah, and linking to [OC's] twitter feed (which is about 90% a flat-out joke, by the way) isn't all that cool when he isn't here anymore to participate in a discussion about it.

Agreed on both counts. And Burhanistan, you might want to read the article OC was referring to.
posted by applemeat at 9:26 PM on May 8, 2010


Optimus Chyme says "yeah post the Twitter go nuts it's fine"
posted by zoomorphic at 9:40 PM on May 8, 2010


Frankly, I wish I had the sense to just quit. But I think I at least probably participate less and less. MeFi isn't about holding strong opinions. I'm not prepared to give up using it as a social media newsfeed.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:49 PM on May 8, 2010


Optimus Chyme says "yeah post the Twitter go nuts it's fine"

I hear dead people.
posted by gman at 10:00 PM on May 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


his twitter feed (which is about 90% a flat-out joke, by the way)

Ha ha flat-out joke to call women "fat disgusting pigs" because you disagree with them politically. How edgy and hilarious and I'm sure ironic.

That's the OC I won't miss even a little.
posted by Nothing... and like it at 10:18 PM on May 8, 2010


Aw hell. :(
posted by zarq at 10:36 PM on May 8, 2010


Eh.
posted by Bookhouse at 11:14 PM on May 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ha ha flat-out joke to call women "fat disgusting pigs" because you disagree with them politically. How edgy and hilarious and I'm sure ironic.

Violent fantasies are much better.
posted by ODiV at 11:31 PM on May 8, 2010 [5 favorites]


~~~~~~~~!!!!!!!!!!!

burnhistan don't be talking about bitter, please
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 12:05 AM on May 9, 2010


Violent fantasies are much better.

Yes, you're right-- a single hyperbolic comment is precisely equivalent to a repeated and ongoing history of offensive bullshit passed off as detached "ironic" commentary.
posted by Nothing... and like it at 2:55 AM on May 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Optimus Chyme also said he has bequeathed all of his MeFily possessions to me.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:32 AM on May 9, 2010


Yes, you're right-- a single hyperbolic comment is precisely equivalent to a repeated and ongoing history of offensive bullshit passed off as detached "ironic" commentary.

You don't really "get" OC, do you?
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:08 AM on May 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


You don't really "get" OC, do you?

Oh no! Are not part of the cool kids?
posted by Snyder at 8:17 AM on May 9, 2010


Choose your Bodhisattvas wisely, is all I'm saying.

Computer, run sequence "Tayne" please.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 8:26 AM on May 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Bodhisattva, won't you take me by the hand?
posted by fixedgear at 8:41 AM on May 9, 2010


OC's corpse isn't even cold, and y'all are gonna start beating it, eh? Stay classy.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:31 AM on May 9, 2010


~~~~~~~~!!!!!!!!!!!

burnhistan don't be talking about bitter, please


Aloe Vera works well to relieve the sting.
posted by gman at 9:39 AM on May 9, 2010


OC's corpse isn't even cold, and y'all are gonna start beating it, eh? Stay classy.

Oh, pish-posh. I'll miss OC, but he was understandably not everyone's cup of tea. Post-account disabling 'I didn't care for the guy' comments are a healthy and time-honored tradition, and make for a frankly refreshing counterpoint to the hyperbolic avalanche of gnashing and wailing that usually follow someone's departure from MeFi.

The 'Stay classy' admonishment is doubly funny and pish-poshable as that was probably something directed at OC himself on more than one occasion.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:45 AM on May 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


You don't really "get" OC, do you?

In the sense that I understand that he thinks he's being edgy and ironic and trying to get a rise out of people, I completely "get" him.

In the sense that I find a lot of the stuff in his twitter stream (and a number of his comments here) to be puerile, unfunny bullshit, I suppose I don't "get" him at all.
posted by Nothing... and like it at 9:51 AM on May 9, 2010


Shame. He was funny. Erratic, but funny.
posted by lucien_reeve at 9:54 AM on May 9, 2010


Burhanistan, I don't think you should use that bastardization of your username; you should stick with the current spelling instead.
posted by heyho at 9:55 AM on May 9, 2010


Are the tildes and exclamation points some kind of symbol?
posted by Burhanistan at 9:58 AM on May 9, 2010


They are a symbol of aghastness at your haterade.

At least they were that at 3am.

Now...well...
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 10:15 AM on May 9, 2010


I don't hate OC, I just chafed at the remark that he was some kind of presence to aspire to or something. I was like that when I was younger but realized more that it was just serving my own ego to be massively sarcastic and dismissal of people who were wrong.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:23 AM on May 9, 2010 [10 favorites]


Sweet jesus, it was obviously a joke. There are no martyrs here.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 10:52 AM on May 9, 2010


I hate memes that don't know when its time to die but...

*turns on the hugbucket cannon*
posted by infini at 10:55 AM on May 9, 2010


infini, it's not a meme if you're the only one who used it...
posted by Burhanistan at 10:56 AM on May 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


infini, stop trying to make "hugbucket" happen! It's not going to happen!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:04 AM on May 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Given the aggrieved and frankly wounded tone of this post ("but I believe that the reason for deletion is incorrect, and worse, that it characterizes the post's tone falsely and unfairly"), I think it was entirely predictable-- almost inevitable, in fact-- that deleting his next post only a few days later would cause Optimus Chyme to close his account.
posted by jamjam at 11:05 AM on May 9, 2010


*takes cover in anti-hug bunker.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 11:08 AM on May 9, 2010


*advances slowly upon Alvy Ampersand*
posted by hugbucket at 11:10 AM on May 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'd like to cram Schmoopy into the hugbucket and lower it into the well.
No offense to the shiny, happy optimists of the world, really.
posted by heyho at 11:22 AM on May 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


I don't hate OC, I just chafed at the remark that he was some kind of presence to aspire to or something. I was like that when I was younger but realized more that it was just serving my own ego to be massively sarcastic and dismissal of people who were wrong.

This sums up my feelings towards OC's stuff fairly well.
posted by Bookhouse at 11:49 AM on May 9, 2010 [1 favorite]




I'd like to cram Schmoopy into the hugbucket and lower it into the well.

I'll cram your mother! And, I think I'll name my beat up old cargo van that I use to kidnap and torture elementary school children "The Hugbucket". I'll even get HUGBKT vanity plates. Sweet!
posted by Schmoopy at 12:13 PM on May 9, 2010


I'm sorry to see him go. I'm always sorry to see a contributor to the site leave, and OC was a frequent contributor. Doesn't matter whether I always agree with him or not. I think we can use more dissenting voices, not less, to keep us all open to differing perspectives.
posted by misha at 12:15 PM on May 9, 2010


Re: OC's link about the police in Seatte: Did Q-13 Fox Suppress Police Brutality Video?
posted by homunculus at 12:19 PM on May 9, 2010


Seattle, that is.
posted by homunculus at 12:21 PM on May 9, 2010


Wasn't that a song by Borat - "Throw The Schmoop Down The Well"?
posted by Hardcore Poser at 12:27 PM on May 9, 2010


I think we can use more dissenting voices, not less, to keep us all open to differing perspectives.

Exactly, which is why it's better he's gone. He didn't have a "dissenting voice," he enjoyed hurling textual poo at anyone who did.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 12:41 PM on May 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


There's a difference between dissent and having no respect or regard for other human beings, and it's the latter than tends to get OC's attention.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:19 PM on May 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm kinda LOL'ing at the deletion of this post when compared to the post about someone not spending money in NYC which seems to be mostly a point-and-laugh post.

Oh well. I guess if everyone wants to talk the same kind of smack then smack talking is all good even if that's all there is.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 1:32 PM on May 9, 2010


If we hadn't all been gone, there was a good chance we would have nixed the nyc money one as well because it was borderline. That said OC's last post really wasn't borderline. People can, as usual, decide that maybe we made the wrong decision or that the community cares about the wrong things, but if you've got an issue with another deletion, maybe bring that up on its own and we can talk about it?

As a site member, I'm sorry that OC decided to leave. As a mod, it's a little bit more of a good news/bad news situation since he was a bit of a polarizing force around here and I don't think some of his persona-type stuff communicated intent as well as he felt it did. The fact that that was a sort of constant low-level issue was domething I was hoping would resolve itself and never did.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:15 PM on May 9, 2010


yeah and I know that you all can't really closely look at every post when you're busy so if they don't get a lot of flags it's easy for them to slip under the radar or just be left up because they're borderline.

That came off as snitty gotcha criticism--sorry.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 3:08 PM on May 9, 2010


This is another example of why persistent outrage as an MO doesn't work. Rather than effectively isolating whatever it is you disagree with you ultimately and predictably corner yourself. Too bad really.
posted by vapidave at 3:51 PM on May 9, 2010


There's a difference between dissent and having no respect or regard for other human beings, and it's the latter than tends to get OC's attention.

He didn't give a shit about accuracy and his respect for other humans went about as far as how much they agreed with him. He thought his shit didn't stink, and had no problem letting you know how much yours did if had the temerity top disagree with him. Just because he was an ostensible leftist doesn't mean he was some noble crusader for truth and human dignity.
posted by Snyder at 3:55 PM on May 9, 2010 [6 favorites]


yeah and I know that you all can't really closely look at every post when you're busy so if they don't get a lot of flags it's easy for them to slip under the radar or just be left up because they're borderline.

That came off as snitty gotcha criticism--sorry.

Damn, if people are going to start pulling the passive-aggressive bullshit move of appending insincere apologies to their petulant whining in the same dang comment ('You're a lazy stupidhead oh I apologize for how you may take that even though I obviously immediately recognized that this comment may offend and still had ample opportunity to go back and change it.'), I'm really going to miss OC more than I thought. At least he had gumption.

I apologize if that comes off as jerky. Not going to bother changing a word before I click Post, but hey, I apologize!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 4:13 PM on May 9, 2010


Wow. The dogs sure howl when the wolf's dead.
posted by zoomorphic at 4:19 PM on May 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


if people are going to start pulling the passive-aggressive bullshit move of appending insincere apologies to their petulant whining in the same dang comment

I'm not seeing it in IFDS,SN9's comment you quoted, Alvy. I think this line
That came off as snitty gotcha criticism--sorry.
refers to IFDS,SN9's previous comment, which was addressed promptly by jessamyn and apologized for by IFDS,SN9's following comment (the one you quote).

Never pass up a chance to jump down someone's throat, though, you know?
posted by carsonb at 4:26 PM on May 9, 2010


Wow. The dogs sure howl when the wolf's dead.

Bwahahahaha! Wolf? Please, don't flatter yourself. Er, your boyfriend's self. Whatever.
posted by Nothing... and like it at 4:30 PM on May 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


"Damn, if people are going to start pulling the passive-aggressive bullshit move of appending insincere apologies to their petulant whining in the same dang comment ('You're a lazy stupidhead oh I apologize for how you may take that even though I obviously immediately recognized that this comment may offend and still had ample opportunity to go back and change it.'), I'm really going to miss OC more than I thought. At least he had gumption.

I apologize if that comes off as jerky. Not going to bother changing a word before I click Post, but hey, I apologize
"

That was not passive aggressive it was referring to my previous comment.

I don't think the mods are lazy I think people are weird about what they flag and what they don't flag. The mods aren't psychics so if something shitty goes unflagged then they can't be expected to psychically figure out that it sucks. It is a community thing, hence, community weblog.

Like I am still trying to figure out why people flagged Stuff White People Like so much.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 4:38 PM on May 9, 2010


"At least he had gumption."

oh and take that back I do too have gumption

also, you are 75 for using the word gumption.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 4:39 PM on May 9, 2010


I'm not seeing it in IFDS,SN9's comment you quoted, Alvy... Never pass up a chance to jump down someone's throat, though, you know?

Holy crap, you're right, I completely blanked on their previous comment and totally misread that last one and the context it was given in. Completely out of line on my part - and that's the second time I've done that in this very MeTa. Time for me to take a break and work on my reading comprehension, or at least on not defaulting to enormous oozing asshole mode at the drop of a hat.

Thanks for the heads-up on that, carsonb, and huge apologies to ifdssn9.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 4:45 PM on May 9, 2010


no worries, I reread my comment and it did come off kinda sarcastic
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 4:46 PM on May 9, 2010


Yeah, I got what ifdss#9 was saying.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:47 PM on May 9, 2010


I don't apologize for calling you 75 though because old people ROCK
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 4:47 PM on May 9, 2010


On non-preview, thanks for the gracious response and clarification, ifdssn9, and again, apologies.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 4:47 PM on May 9, 2010


Gumption is a great fucking word, end of sentence.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:07 PM on May 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


I might start adding "end of sentence" to the end of every sentence from now on, end of sentence. Sort of a call back to the telegraph operator's "stop," end of sentence. If a telegraph operator were to send out that last sentence, it might read "sort of a call back to the telegraph operator's 'stop', end of sentence, stop" end of sentence.
posted by Bookhouse at 5:16 PM on May 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Whoa, just noticed that Optimus is gone. That makes me sad.
posted by Greg Nog at 5:29 PM on May 9, 2010


He's not "gone". He quit.
Mark of a champion.
posted by vapidave at 5:59 PM on May 9, 2010


Eh, the dude will be a different person in five years, as most of us will be as well. We should all be so lucky as to have a local posse to speak highly of us, but the fact is that most of us only know each other from our words here. Anyway, this seems to be more overblown than it should be and there doesn't seem to be much more to do here in this thread.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:15 PM on May 9, 2010


OC's gone? Hmm, can't say it's a surprise, he seemed to be heading towards an Etheral Bligh meltdown, so much anger and rage, mixed a righteous attitude. Glad to see he went peacefully though and hope he comes back.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:19 PM on May 9, 2010


"Eh, the dude will be a different person in five years, as most of us will be as well."

Yeah, I was trying to avoid saying that as in my head it sounded dismissive. One thing age teaches you is that in five years you will find your previous self insufferable and in ten years your methods hilarious. I rely on people like OC for their energy but at the same time I worry that the outrage brigade might drive away people that would otherwise have their opinions swayed. There is a better chance of dialogue when you can entertain the notion that people who you disagree with might have arrived at the point where you disagree with honestly, if not logically. Expanding your frame of reference is difficult and it's not as energizing as outrage but it has a better chance of success.
If I could go back in time and talk to my younger self the above is the first thing I would say. That, and a lack of dancing skills is forgivable but being mean to your little sister is not.
posted by vapidave at 6:42 PM on May 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


I'm glad I still get to hang out with OC offline.
posted by ocherdraco at 7:08 PM on May 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


:(
posted by little e at 7:37 PM on May 9, 2010


Sorry to see you go, OC. I'll carry the memory of the ultimate hustler with me forever.
posted by chinston at 7:41 PM on May 9, 2010


If I could go back in time and talk to my younger self the above is the first thing I would say.

I look back on the way I was then: a young, stupid kid who committed that terrible crime flameout. I want to talk to him. I want to try and talk some sense to him, tell him the way things are. But I can't. That kid's long gone and this old man is all that's left. I got to live with that.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:50 PM on May 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Meanwhile, we also lost bunnycup today too.
posted by availablelight at 9:21 PM on May 9, 2010


What happened to bunnycup? I found her comments so useful.
posted by not that girl at 9:27 PM on May 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


that's scary...
posted by infini at 9:30 PM on May 9, 2010


I've been young but fortunately there wasn't an internet then so the only evidence of my zealotry that remains are my memories and enemies, my enemies then are my enemies still. My man likes his boy. Despite his being an idiot I enjoy his company and admire his guileless spirit. His smile comes easily and naturally, dogs tails wag, women smile, he can eat a bowl of frosting and he tans evenly. Sometimes still he gets one of those inexplicable boners while watching Scooby-Doo, maybe it's the flannel cowboy pajamas. Sure, the little fucker is too partial to squirt-guns and throwing snowballs but he is me.



OP we didn't "lose" bunnycup.
bunnycup quit.
Mark of a champion.
posted by vapidave at 9:32 PM on May 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


OP we didn't "lose" bunnycup.
bunnycup quit.
Mark of a champion.


Please do not do this.

I don't know how many people know bunnycup's history but today is Mother's Day and it's a hard day for her; there was a bit of a dust-up in MeFi that we dealt with earlier. I hope she'll be back.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:37 PM on May 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Bunnycup and OC were two users whose contributions I always looked out for. This really fucking sucks.
posted by lalex at 9:44 PM on May 9, 2010


Mother's Day is a complicated holiday for many people. When i was about 13 I knew a sweet lady that lived close by. About two days after Mother's Day I learned she had taken her life with pills. She had lost her son many years before. I don't know anymore than I did then, her name was Beth. You were a mother and a kind person, Beth I've not forgoten you, I'm sorry for you and your's and on this Mother's Day I wish you peace wherever you are. I wish peace for my mother and the mother of my child, and the mother to those who have none.
posted by nola at 9:50 PM on May 9, 2010


I apologize. Especially if there are extenuating circumstances.
I don't like when people I generally agree with remove themselves because they perceive that they are in an environment where there isn't perfect agreement. Where there isn't perfect agreement is where change can happen.
But more importantly, I apologize.
Please forgive me my ignorance and being a jerk and come back bunnycup.
posted by vapidave at 10:03 PM on May 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Forget it, ifdss#9, I tried to argue that some clearly old-person word was an old-person word awhile back and was roundly shouted down for it. People here just want to be under 50 and say "gumption," what can you do.

the word was "drivel," and really no one should be grumpy enough to say "drivel"
posted by palliser at 10:03 PM on May 9, 2010


I don't know how many people know bunnycup's history but today is Mother's Day and it's a hard day for her; there was a bit of a dust-up in MeFi that we dealt with earlier. I hope she'll be back.

Oh no. :(

Really, really, really hope she comes back. She was one of the few people here whose comments I followed darn near religiously. I have such a tremendous amount of respect for her. It often seemed to me as if she had turned her experience(s) into this incredible, passionate and selfless drive to help others, and I was lucky enough to have her provide insight into things I was dealing with on more than one occasion. She was a knowledgeable, reasonable and experienced voice when it came to topics like cancer, infertility, women's health and especially grief and grieving. Damn. Damn. Damn. Damn it.

bunnycup, if you're reading this, I hope you're okay. If you need anything, please email me. It's in my profile.
posted by zarq at 10:30 PM on May 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Don't know where else to post this, but if anyone has bunnycup's email and wouldn't mind passing it along to me, I'd be grateful. Also, bunnycup, if you're checking in - you are loved and missed. Take all the time you need, but do please come back when you can.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:44 AM on May 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Bunnycup, please come back. And yes, if anyone has her email I would like it too.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:04 AM on May 10, 2010


While I think the mods generally do a good job here, I feel like they harassed Optimus Chyme until he quit. Would you stay, if your posts and comments were regularly being deleted?

I hope the mods make pla their next special project. His comments tend to be as polarizing as anything OC ever posted, but they're left to stand and ruin entire comment threads, while OC's stuff was just deleted out of hand.
posted by JDHarper at 8:13 AM on May 10, 2010 [8 favorites]


While I think the mods generally do a good job here, I feel like they harassed Optimus Chyme until he quit. Would you stay, if your posts and comments were regularly being deleted?

If he had kept his posts and comments in the guidelines, they would have remained. Many of us have had comments and posts deleted, he was certainly no special snowflake in that regard.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 8:21 AM on May 10, 2010


I think the mod's have deleted plenty of pla's comments.
posted by Think_Long at 8:28 AM on May 10, 2010


I feel like they harassed Optimus Chyme until he quit.

This is absolutely not the case. We've spent a lot of time over email with OC over the past several years trying to work with him to understand what the problems have been with some of his comments and posts that seemed to be setting people off, and trying to figure out how he could still be him and also remain on the site. At the same time, we dealt with a lot of angry email from him which was never, ever, responded to angrily. I'm sorry, but not surprised, to see him go.

I'm aware that you'll have to take my word for this, but when we have people who want to stay on the site, even if they get flagged a lot and even if people bitch at us about them a lot, we'll work with them to try to make that happen. OC was one of those people. Sometimes it doesn't work. We have a handful of users who want to stay on the site despite their seeming inability to "read the room" effectively. It's possible that the community just sort of turned against them, but whenever we have a user that seems to polarize people like OC did, we always do some pretty serious reality checking before we delete anything of theirs. You can believe us or not, but if anything his comments got deleted less than the flags on them might otherwise indicate.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:35 AM on May 10, 2010


While I think the mods generally do a good job here, I feel like they harassed Optimus Chyme until he quit. Would you stay, if your posts and comments were regularly being deleted?

This is about the opposite of how we were trying to be with him, and we've made a lot of effort over the last year or so in particular to work with him on stuff. I feel like there's been this hot/cold thing going on with moments of essentially "fuck you" sandwiched between more reasonable "ah, I can see why that was a problem" that has been frankly a little dizzying for me to try and deal with.

And I understand that there are some core NYC folks in particular who know him well and really like him more or less without qualification—I liked him too when I met him last fall, and have liked the majority of what he does here as well and am a conflicted sort of sad to see him take off—but the "OC can do no wrong, quit picking on him!" dynamic that seems to have sprung up from that same set of people anytime there's been any visible conflict really hasn't helped there in keeping it from turning into some sort of How Dare They Delete X grudgematch feeling. I don't know if there's anything to do about it, I get it that friends are friends, but it's a weird thing to deal with when trying to just moderate this site the way we always have.

We've certainly not been trying to encourage it and we have absolutely not been singling dude out for shits and giggles. We'd have much preferred to find some way to make this work. Maybe that's how it'll play out somehow in the long run, and if so, great. In the here and now, I feel like it was getting to the point where either something was gonna change or things were going to keep deteriorating, and if OC feels like the best way forward for him to resolve that tension is to close his account, that's totally fine. It's his call and I'll respect that.

I hope the mods make pla their next special project. His comments tend to be as polarizing as anything OC ever posted, but they're left to stand and ruin entire comment threads, while OC's stuff was just deleted out of hand.

This implies a lot of incorrect things: that we're not already actively trying to work with pla on his behavior, that we're not deleting any of pla's comments, that we were indiscriminately removing OC's stuff or doing so in a way inconsistent with how we moderate this place in general.

OC decided to leave, and that's fine, but let's be super clear here: he was not banned; we very very rarely ban people for just-not-hacking-it; pla has been a pain on a few occasions now in a way I very much do not like, but has not landed in that special bucket and has been showing flickers of trying to meet us halfway lately at least; if pla ultimately decides he can't deal with us as mods he has the exact same option to leave on his own; and playing the "why did x leave when y hasn't been banned" game sucks for a whole lot of reasons in any case because it's never, ever an equitable oranges-to-oranges comparison.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:40 AM on May 10, 2010


Aww, bunnycup. :(
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:54 AM on May 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


it's never, ever an equitable oranges-to-oranges comparison.

Why are you singling out oranges all of a sudden? Why do apples get off the hook? Cui bono, cortex? CUI BONO?!
posted by chinston at 8:59 AM on May 10, 2010


Actually, I think cui bono may have been Sonny Bono's less talented brother.
posted by chinston at 9:00 AM on May 10, 2010


cuil bono
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:11 AM on May 10, 2010


You're right, I didn't know about the behind the scenes stuff. And obviously there's no way I can see what or how many comments you delete of any particular user, so I can't judge whether you were treating anyone's comments unfairly.

OC tended to make a lot of noise when his stuff was deleted (as this thread shows), so that probably contributed to my sense that he was being singled out. I should have considered that before I posted.

Sorry for making for your day incrementally worse. As I said, I do think you folks do a good job for the most part, and it's definitely not a task I'd want to take on for myself.
posted by JDHarper at 9:38 AM on May 10, 2010


It's not a problem and there's really no right answer and since OC's not really here to tell his side I don't want to talk backroom stuff too much, but just wanted to point out that our assertion is that there was a real serious disconnect considering how much work we feel that we put in to the whole thing. And, like cortex I have heard nothing but wonderful reports about OC in real life which makes this whole situation that much more vexing to me personally.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:50 AM on May 10, 2010


And I understand that there are some core NYC folks in particular who know him well and really like him more or less without qualification... but the "OC can do no wrong, quit picking on him!" dynamic that seems to have sprung up from that same set of people anytime there's been any visible conflict really hasn't helped there in keeping it from turning into some sort of How Dare They Delete X grudgematch feeling.

Look, obviously there's no way for us non-mods to know what the flag queues look like, what kind of messaging back-and-forth was going on behind the scenes, how many comments get deleted and not deleted for a certain user, how that compares to other users, and so on. But I have to admit that, as someone who has never met OC in my life and who understands that OC had a tendency to say inflammatory and disruptive things in certain situations, it still seemed like there's been a tougher standard for OC's non-inflammatory/disruptive contributions in recent months. I just checked the tags for policebrutality and see a bunch of single-video, sometimes single-link posts. We have posts on Arthur Kade and Dmitri the Lover, but that last post by OC gets deleted in spite of a comments thread already starting to take off. Back in the MeTa thread in January associated with the Texas textbooks thread, several other people mentioned they'd noticed OC getting a tough time lately, too. I'm procrastinating from studying for a final I have later today so I really don't feel like checking to see if they were all NYCers (and honestly I probably wouldn't anyway), but I doubt ALL of them were personal IRL friends of his.

I'm not trying to second-guess or question what you guys did with OC's comments and posts. I'm sure there was a logic and reasoning behind it and god knows I wouldn't be able to handle competent moderation of a site as enormous as this so I have zero room to make a judgment one way or another. I'm not saying this to criticize, I'm just saying "this is how it has looked."

There are certain members of this site that the community tends to give way more shit than other members - SAotB being the obvious example - and that's wrong and makes the community worse. But there are also certain members that seem to get tougher moderation, for whatever reason, and I think that makes the community worse too. It's not just confirmation bias, because I've thought this about some people that I couldn't disagree with any harder. And as with OC, I'm sure there are reasons behind it - hell, these users may have even had agency in it. Maybe they've pissed off other members in the past, so that whenever they post something that would have been decent enough coming from someone else, it gets flagged to hell quickly, or the thread gets beshitten early and it seems best just to nuke it from orbit. Maybe some members react more loudly or defensively to a comment from a certain user than they would to the same comment from someone else, and this makes the original comment seem more borderline.

I just strongly encourage you guys to take it to heart when other people express that it seems like certain members are getting different treatment from others. Which I'm sure you already do when you can, also, so I guess I just mean keep it in mind if you can. And also thank you for all of your hard work and please know that I greatly appreciate what you guys do to keep this place running as smoothly as it does 99.999% of the time.
posted by cobra_high_tigers at 9:52 AM on May 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


Look, obviously there's no way for us non-mods to know what the flag queues look like, what kind of messaging back-and-forth was going on behind the scenes, how many comments get deleted and not deleted for a certain user, how that compares to other users, and so on.

But at the same time we try to be really transparent about discussing that stuff when folks want to know what's up. At a certain point we do get to the gap between us trying to be fairly clear about the specifics of a given situation and us not wanting to just publish someone's entire mod/flag/etc history for all the world to pore through, so there needs to be a degree of willingness to trust us to do our jobs equitably.

But there's a difference between not knowing how much is going on behind the scenes (which I don't blame anyone for, and again asking about that stuff is fine) and just assuming that there isn't or failing to take into account that there might be (or, really very probably is) that stuff going on.

But I have to admit that, as someone who has never met OC in my life and who understands that OC had a tendency to say inflammatory and disruptive things in certain situations, it still seemed like there's been a tougher standard for OC's non-inflammatory/disruptive contributions in recent months.

My feeling about it is that the question of what's going on with OC has been a lot more visible than with the average user, more than anything. To a degree I think that's a result of OC being willing to both push buttons and make noise about mod actions that affect his own output or way of being on the site, and to a degree it's owed to mefites, especially us Metatalk-hungry regulars, having strong pattern-recognition tendencies and being able to eye and track a conflict over time for better or worse.

I've certainly been uncomfortable with what feels like a sort of imposed narrative of OC Versus The Mods the last few months when frankly all we've been hoping for was for him to keep making an effort to keep the GRAR-ish stuff in check and sort of meet us halfway on the problematic stuff and to recognize that we're trying to a do a job of maintaining a site that's larger than just him rather than trying to go after him specifically for some unstated reason. I haven't really been happy with any of it, it's rough when there's a conflict with a long-time user.

I'm procrastinating from studying for a final I have later today so I really don't feel like checking to see if they were all NYCers (and honestly I probably wouldn't anyway), but I doubt ALL of them were personal IRL friends of his.

I mentioned the NYC thing only with trepidation, because I don't want to frame it as "only people who know OC in real life would defend him". Lots of people here who don't know him like him. I like him. But lots of folks also have had legitimate and ongoing complaints about his behavior on the site and his interactions with other users, and that we've gotten a few "how can you treat him this way?" sideswipes specifically from a handful of folks who are close with him in real life is frustrating when it feels like a personal connection is driving a failure on their part to assess fairly the more complicated nature of OC-as-user-on-mefi as something that can merit genuine moderation difficulties that being tight with him in real life really doesn't factor into.

Again, it's not a central issue in the whole thing and I don't feel great even broaching the subject, which is why I haven't put a fine point on it previously. I think it's a very understandable and human aspect of the weirdness of interactions we've had lately. But it has bugged me.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:12 AM on May 10, 2010


And I'm probably just over-talking this a bit in general just because I'm back in a chair in front of a computer for the first time in a few days. I hear what you're saying, cobra_high_tigers, and aside from the point-by-point stuff I want to say that, yes, we do think it's important to try and keep ourselves calibrated and self-aware about this sort of thing and I appreciate what you have to say about it.

It was a long weekend that was a mix of fun-event and a surprisingly draining amount of mefi-related admin & community headaches, and trying to deal with it all almost entirely via an iPhone in the middle of one or another random fun activity I was trying to enjoy was a strange and sub-optimal dynamic. Wishing for a quiet weekend on the site is one thing, getting it is another, and I don't think anything other than bald chance is to blame for it working out the way it did, but man oh man.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:18 AM on May 10, 2010


And I understand that there are some core NYC folks in particular who know him well and really like him more or less without qualification—I liked him too when I met him last fall, and have liked the majority of what he does here as well and am a conflicted sort of sad to see him take off—but the "OC can do no wrong, quit picking on him!" dynamic that seems to have sprung up from that same set of people anytime there's been any visible conflict really hasn't helped there in keeping it from turning into some sort of How Dare They Delete X grudgematch feeling.

I can see what you're trying to say, here, but I'm inclined to think this is an unfair way to describe the nyc folks who know OC. There are a lot of sweeping generalizations of a situation that is a bit more nuanced than you're depicting it. I think it's fair to say for any mefite that if they know a fellow mefite in real life, they're not going to be as inclined to take the person to task on the site as they might otherwise have been. What's more, I feel confident that anyone who knows another mefite personally can attest that they are inclined to speak up to defend someone they believe has been wronged when they know the person. I would think that, if you and jessamyn disagree, you guys (if it's worth discussing) handle that off site and try to come back with a unified message. Part of the reason for that, I imagine, is the reasonable desire to lessen your own modly burdens with regard to squabbles over moderation inconsistencies and the like. But I imagine it's also partly because when you're friendly with someone you figure the airing of grievances doesn't need to happen in public since it's probably just something you can have a chill discussion about in private. What's more, since you and jessamyn are perfectly aware that you're both alright folks, you'd be inclined to step up to defend each other - within reason - if someone was out of line making accusations and such.

now part of my message here may be muddled by my history of sometimes upping the grar level at you guys, so I'm hoping that I'm coming across reasonably here. I'm not seething with anger about this, or anything silly like that. I'm not trying to make any claims about your moderation ability or about choices you've made with OC.

What I am trying to say is that, of the dozens of mefites in nyc who have met in real life, a handful of us find that we tend to agree with OC on politics and social issues. We tend to get his tone of voice, and don't always understand the problem people have with him. On the occasions when we've spoken up in his defense, it has usually been because we agree with him on the issue at hand. Our agreeing with him is not the result of our friendship, so much as our friendship with him is a characteristic of our shared beliefs. We may step up in his defense, because we know he's a good guy, but we don't have any dynamic that can accurately be described as "OC can do no wrong, quit picking on him." And it doesn't happen any time there's been any visible conflict, either. It has happened that we defend him, certainly, but it's not nearly as often as the quote above makes it sound.

I guess I feel like what you said ascribes some motivations to us, and presumes to know our thoughts a bit, in a way that's not fair. We're not just popping in to defend our friend at all times come hell or high water. We just disagree with mefites and you guys on some things, and OC tended to get the brunt of that disagreement because of his posting style.
posted by shmegegge at 10:24 AM on May 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


rankly all we've been hoping for was for him to keep making an effort to keep the GRAR-ish stuff in check and sort of meet us halfway on the problematic stuff and to recognize that we're trying to a do a job of maintaining a site that's larger than just him rather than trying to go after him specifically for some unstated reason.

This is my feeling too. I think what people see as extra mod attention was a result of us saying "Look there is an ongoing problem with the way you interact with the site. You say you want to be here and this is a community you care about. Let's talk about how we can make this happen because frankly (and this is now referring to past times, not recent stuff) we'd be time-outing or banning you for some of the things you've done here..." and so there's a back-room dialogue going on that involves a fair amount of us being like "Look really, this needs to go better than this" and then it going better for a while and then not going better. And this pattern has repeated for literally years.

I'm aware that for a chunk of users, there really isn't a problem with OCs style and participation at all. However, that doesn't mean that this is true across the board, or that those people's opinions matter more than the opinions of the people who did feel that his participation here was deeply problematic. For every person who thought we were over-moderating, my guess is that there is a person who thought we were under-moderating. While we'll definitely tell people if we think they're being touchy over-flaggers, all three of us on Team Mod did not feel that this was the case with this situation.

So there's the sort of thing a new user with no site history would post and it would sort of exist in that context and then there's the sort of thing that would be posted by a long-time user and you have to look at that in its own context. And there may in fact be a tougher standard for a user who has a long time history of saying sort of problematic stuff that gets people all pissed off. Without this being a referendum on anything specifically, our take is "Hey we asked you to ease off a bit and this doesn't look like easing off at all, in fact it's really the opposite of easing off" and that's going to get a different mod (and community) reaction than someone who just shows up out of nowhere saying similar stuff.

We certainly do hear that there are a lot of people who would like OC to stick around and who didn't see an issue with the way he interacted here. That's fine, totally reasonable and understandable opinion. But the people who felt that his behavior and interactions here were really problematic, their opinions are also valid. And we've been trying to work with both sides, this whole time. I think it's a testimony to how on the fence we've been about the whole thing that we're sticking around talking about this at length.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:25 AM on May 10, 2010


I guess I feel like what you said ascribes some motivations to us, and presumes to know our thoughts a bit, in a way that's not fair.

And I apologize for that, I'm not wanting to ascribe like ulterior motivations to you any more than I really think there's anything intended in that way in the other direction when folks suggest we're not being in their eyes fair about issue x or user y.

If anything I guess I'm ascribing a larger-than-baseline degree of loyalty to a few folks who have been recurring voices in some of these OC-related conflicts; again, I see it as a very human sort of thing and laudable in ways that you know and care for him and have a strong sense of what he's doing and what he believes. It's hardly an atypical thing, it's a given that it's gonna be something that plays usually totally benignly into the shape of discussions about stuff.

But it's there and after several more-confrontational-than-they-needed-to-be episodes of OC-related in recent memory it has gotten to the point of being a little frustrating that we get sometimes stark pushback or dressings down for daring to try and do the same moderation work with OC that we in fact would/have/will do with anybody else in a similar situation. I won't stick by an "every single time this happens" characterization, I can't confidently say that's the case and it'd be wise of me to keep in mind that that is rarely ever the case with anything, but there's enough specific incidents I can bring to mind that I don't think it's unfair at all to characterize it as something that has been recurring.

We're not just popping in to defend our friend at all times come hell or high water. We just disagree with mefites and you guys on some things, and OC tended to get the brunt of that disagreement because of his posting style.

And I don't think he actually got the brunt of it, is the thing. He got a share of it because he was loud and aggressive about his disagreements, but he's seriously only one of many people on this site who were getting mod attention at any given time. I think the difference to some extent is that OC was more sympathetic to a lot of (but certainly not all) people than the typical troublemaker, and so trying to do the same basic keep-this-place-working stuff we do every day yielded a lop-sided amount of site and user drama.

Again, I don't even think the phenomenon is weird or surprising and I don't see this as some sort of intentional or organized attempt to give us a hard time. But I also really, really don't think OC was getting the short end of the stick so much as OC's interactions with the stick were getting a lot more sympathetic attention than most of the work we try to do does.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:52 AM on May 10, 2010


But it's there and after several more-confrontational-than-they-needed-to-be episodes of OC-related in recent memory it has gotten to the point of being a little frustrating that we get sometimes stark pushback or dressings down for daring to try and do the same moderation work with OC that we in fact would/have/will do with anybody else in a similar situation.

Sure, and I suspect that we have diverging recollections of previous OC-related episodes. Since my own memory is notoriously awful, I'm going to assume your memory of nyc people routinely giving you shit about OC deletions is better than mine. But I also know that I've seen plenty of non-nyc people saying they think OC gets deleted more often than is fair. Now, to be clear, I am not trying to say the same thing. I want to be very clear about that. I am not trying to raise the OC banner, here. What I am trying to do is to say that I think maybe the problem with OC related stuff has more to do with the intricacies of your jobs as moderators, and less to do with nyc mefites stepping up to defend him. I suspect that the people who raise issues about him "always having his comments deleted" or whatever simply don't know what you guys deal with behind the scenes. I know that, on at least one occasion where I got all fighty about it, that was certainly the case for me, and I had to apologize to you both for stepping over the line without knowing what I was talking about.

This is not to say it's all your fault, or anything like that. This is just to say that, in cases like OC's, (or other highly visible mefites) there's a built in barrier between you and the general populace which (despite your best efforts) keeps us from totally understanding what you're dealing with. This isn't your fault, and I don't even know if there's anything you can do about it. But it's there and I suspect it's more central to the general problem of how people like OC are perceived than 3 or 4 mefites who step in to defend him when we agree with him. Maybe I'm wrong. But I suspect that it's more likely that other mefites have perceived the OC thing similarly to the way i did than it is that other mefites have said the same thing because I said it once.
posted by shmegegge at 11:05 AM on May 10, 2010


Shmegegge kind of hit the nail on the head here, but I do just want to say for the record that the times I've defended OC are because I genuinely agree that what he's doing wasn't a problem. There's sort of a cause/effect thing, in that I don't defend him because he's my friend: he's my friend because I feel he's the kind of guy who's worth defending most of the time.

I do really get that his way of interacting here hit some people the wrong way sometimes. But in terms of the thing where we'd all pop up en masse to take his side, for myself at least, it was really not because I was automatically sticking up for a friend, but because I honestly thought he was in the right.

And by the end of it I think he really believed that there was just nothing he could do here anymore and that the bar for acceptable-comment-coming-from-OC-as-opposed-to-coming-from-anyone-else had been set so high that there was just no point in him trying. I really do understand that the mods were trying their best to do what worked for the site as a whole, and I realize that this was the end result of quite a bit of back and forth and a lot of history and negotiation, and I have no GRAR here at all, but the number of times OC got smacked down for a thing that would have been fine if anyone but him had done it was pretty noticeable. I realize it was kind of a no-win situation, but it frequently felt like we were being told that people couldn't be trusted to understand that he had the best of intentions so it was just best for everyone if they didn't have to deal with it. And I get that some people DIDN'T get that he had the best of intentions, so I guess that was the right call, but it's still a giant goddamn shame, and if I say that there weren't times when I wanted to kick the screen and yell oh god have a sense of HUMOR already at some users, I'd be lying. Ugh.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 11:08 AM on May 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


What I am trying to do is to say that I think maybe the problem with OC related stuff has more to do with the intricacies of your jobs as moderators, and less to do with nyc mefites stepping up to defend him.

Absolutely. I think the problems we dealt with with OC's interactions on the site and the meta-interactions stemming from those portions of our dealings with him that became public discussions are fundamentally about OC and mefi and not local specifics. Again, I feel sort of weird about even broaching the NYC thing because it's largely a side issue, more of a kvetch of the "as long as we're going to talk about this" vein than something that I see as a central plank of the situation. I'm fine letting it be, and I hope trying to make that small side-frustration clear hasn't come off too obnoxiously.

Shmegegge kind of hit the nail on the head here, but I do just want to say for the record that the times I've defended OC are because I genuinely agree that what he's doing wasn't a problem.

I hear that, and I didn't mean to imply otherwise. I don't doubt that the handful of folks I'm talking about were getting his back because they genuinely felt he deserved defending, nor do I think there's anything wrong with that per se. Just that the emergent phenomenon there was that I've gotten to the point where I feel like we couldn't do our basic jobs in a way that touched OC without essentially summoning up another immediate collection of such comments, and that gets to being frustrating as a side issue to what we're actually trying to accomplish as mods in e.g. deleting a comment or exchange or asking people to cool it in a thread or whatever.

but the number of times OC got smacked down for a thing that would have been fine if anyone but him had done it was pretty noticeable.

Well, and I just really don't agree that that was happening in fact so much as being perceived because of OC being both well-liked and pretty combative about being the subject of moderation attention. But I know there's no way to really fundamentally get past a disagreement about this because in the end it's a matter of our differing subjective takes on it plus a bunch of back-channel admin stuff that really can't be dumped en masse for folks to sift through. I respect that some folks feel there was unfairness there even if I don't at all agree with that as an overall characterization of what went down.

I'm sorry the whole deal with OC didn't go better. I really can't apologize for making a long-term and honestly frequently really self-restrained attempt to find a way to make this work with him, and some of the frustration I'm expressing here comes from feeling that we were simultaneously going out of our way to try and make it work with him and getting jabbed for doing precisely the opposite.

And I think that to some extent from the mod side we're just plain fucked going both ways in a situation like this, in a way that folks who are not standing where we are really can't totally appreciate even when they do sympathize with or roughly understand the shape of that no-win situation when looking at an instance of it where they don't have a horse in the race. That's not a specific OC-related thing, and not directed specifically at anyone in this conversation beyond being generally applicable to some of the disagreement stuff I've talked about already. It's just one of the rough parts of this job, and contributes to me being visibly frustrated sometimes in these discussions even when I would rather not let that infect the tone of stuff.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:29 AM on May 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


I hope trying to make that small side-frustration clear hasn't come off too obnoxiously.

yeah, I don't think it was obnoxious. I think, at the end of the day, we can all safely agree that this is all Dormant Gorilla's fault.
posted by shmegegge at 11:42 AM on May 10, 2010


... and if I say that there weren't times when I wanted to kick the screen and yell oh god have a sense of HUMOR already at some users, I'd be lying.

Hee and sometimes I'd think "Dude, you're trying too hard to be funny, it's not working, go have a sandwich or something."
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:44 AM on May 10, 2010


Well, and I just really don't agree that that was happening in fact so much as being perceived because of OC being both well-liked and pretty combative about being the subject of moderation attention.

Yeah, that's certainly possible and is definitely at least a major part of it, and also there's the selective perception of just noticing something more when it happens to someone you know. But there genuinely were times when he more or less literally said the same thing that someone had said days earlier, and theirs was fine and his got deleted. And there were things he said that literally nobody could possibly take at face value and yet he got stomped on for them. It did happen. Probably not as frequently as it seems in my head, but it did happen. I realize that was probably caused by your frustration with the situation and desire to keep it under wraps- but from a non-mod standpoint it really did look like he just got no slack at all. The problem is I don't think anyone's wrong here (unless I am in fact wrong, which is by no means outside the realm of possibility) but we're just coming at it from different places and it's never going to look the same, and I think the solution is that the mods should give us all a bunch of money and then we'll shut up about it.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 11:45 AM on May 10, 2010


Screw you, schmegege.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 11:50 AM on May 10, 2010


...and I think the solution is that the mods should give us all a bunch of money* and then we'll shut up about it.

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posted by zarq at 11:55 AM on May 10, 2010


But there genuinely were times when he more or less literally said the same thing that someone had said days earlier, and theirs was fine and his got deleted. And there were things he said that literally nobody could possibly take at face value and yet he got stomped on for them. It did happen.

We had gotten to the point where we had told him enough times "Hey your behavior is really really problematic here" that yeah him making a comment is actually contextually different from someone else making the same comment.

I really feel like at this point we are disagreeing about tactics. For someone who has been time-outed on the site as much as he had, and had as many flags and deleted comments on the site as he did and yet who said, frequently, that he wanted to be on the site, wanted to make it work here, wanted to get along and not just start flame wars or pissing matches, I felt like we were generous. I'm aware it doesn't always look that way and I just don't feel comfortable getting into the minutiae of the specifics since he's not here to offer his own side of the story, but cortex's comment represents my opinion as well

I really can't apologize for making a long-term and honestly frequently really self-restrained attempt to find a way to make this work with him, and some of the frustration I'm expressing here comes from feeling that we were simultaneously going out of our way to try and make it work with him and getting jabbed for doing precisely the opposite.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:56 AM on May 10, 2010


...that we've gotten a few "how can you treat him this way?" sideswipes specifically from a handful of folks who are close with him in real life is frustrating when it feels like a personal connection is driving a failure on their part to assess fairly the more complicated nature of OC-as-user-on-mefi as something that can merit genuine moderation difficulties that being tight with him in real life really doesn't factor into.

I have always tried to be really careful and specific when it comes to piping up in agreement with or defense of OC, mainly because I really DON'T always condone everything he says or does and don't want to give the impression that I do, especially on the flimsy basis of a personal connection to him.

Still, in cases where I have felt compelled to pipe up anyway, I have felt that my input was mainly disregarded on the basis of, "look, we know that people who are familiar with OC in real life think he's a nice guy..."

It's clear that OC was a complicated issue for the mods that they were forced to handle personally and professionally, in real time, in front of an audience, and I don't envy them that. So I didn't take this personally, but my general expectations and my impression of this site's limitations have certainly changed a bit. The general sense of what counts as "fair" has changed a lot over the years since I've been here, by necessity I'm sure. People will either adapt as the site evolves, or they won't and they'll leave, regardless of how long they've been here or how admired they are. That's not really anyone's fault, it's just how communities work.

jess and cotex, I know that the last thing you wanted was to end up exhaustively clarifying everything about OC and the moderation process at large. I worry that you're going to be summoned to go through this by a small, yet vocal minority every time an issue like this arises, and honestly I'd rather see the moderation system overhauled to account for the site's growing size than keep you in a position where this becomes an enthusiasm-deadening experience for you (which, over time, I fear would wind up resulting in its own policy changes).
posted by hermitosis at 11:58 AM on May 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


But there genuinely were times when he more or less literally said the same thing that someone had said days earlier, and theirs was fine and his got deleted.

As has the opposite happened. This place works out unevenly, there's never true justice because we don't have a rigid code of law or the resources to apply laserlike attention to every twitch of activity on the site. If OC's been on the bad side of a bum call, that sucks, and I readily acknowledge that we're never able to be perfectly consistent about This Versus That situations.

But I don't think he we getting a fundamentally unfair deal on the whole, at all, and so while I sympathize with the feeling that some incident came off as not fair to him, that doesn't really speak to the larger pattern of behavior or the history of us trying to work with him or the however many times that instead he was the one who got some slack cut in a dicey hard-call situation.

And there were things he said that literally nobody could possibly take at face value and yet he got stomped on for them.

People can, in fact, take risible sarcastic/faux-earnest stuff at face value despite the speaker's intent. It happens on a pretty regular basis. It's a problem in a lot of ways, because that sort of misinterpretation leads to a conflict, and it's left to us to resolve that conflict, and at least some people are going to be angry regardless of how we resolve it: if we take action that seems to disfavor the original sarcastic salvo, we're accused of catering to the humorless or the touchy or the not-smart-enough-to-get-the-joke crowd. If we take action that seems to condone the original thing, we're accused of playing favorites with the oldschool user or promoting an environment that's rich with mockery and hostility toward unpopular opinions. Etc.

Humor is hard. Edgy humor is harder. Politically-motivated humor is a great way to start a fight, especially when it's not so much humor as "humor" with an implication that anyone who doesn't both parse and agree with the subtext is wrong and deserves whatever they get. And OC is a really fucking smart, clever guy with a sharp-ass wit but as far as I can tell a really problematic (in a mefi context at least) unwillingness to temper and adapt his instincts to a place where pursuing them however he was inclined was consistently leading to shitty results and making a lot of other people unhappy or uncomfortable.

It doesn't make him not smart or not on point or anything else like that, it makes him mostly just not doing a great job of being a member of a larger community that wasn't as a whole in sync with that kind of approach. That's pretty much fundamental to the conflict that we've had with him regarding on-site behavior.

but from a non-mod standpoint it really did look like he just got no slack at all

I hear you that that's what it looks like from your perspective. I can assure you there are plenty of people on the site who felt precisely the opposite way. OC's behavior and persona were very, very polarizing.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:01 PM on May 10, 2010


Is there any way to make the moderation system more transparent?
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:04 PM on May 10, 2010


cobra_high_tigers writes "But there are also certain members that seem to get tougher moderation, for whatever reason, and I think that makes the community worse too. It's not just confirmation bias, because I've thought this about some people that I couldn't disagree with any harder. "

Love/hate Agree/disagree is orthogonal to a confirmation bias.
posted by Mitheral at 12:08 PM on May 10, 2010


Is there any way to make the moderation system more transparent?

You know I'm enough of a policy-and-meta dork that I'm willing to jaw about brainstorms if you have 'em, but off-hand I can't think of anything significant in what we show vs. don't that we could change that I'd be comfortable with.

Basically there's stuff that happens in moderation which is explicitly visible (deleted posts are findable, we leave admin notes in threads on a regular basis to explain deletions or re-rail stuff, metatalk discussions are public and freely user-initiated) and there's stuff that's explicitly invisible (you can't find deleted comments, flags are not public, email correspondence is not public, user flag/deletion/etc counts are not public), and I can't think of anything on the invisible side currently that feels like something that should be surfaced to being publicly viewable.

Our main approach to bridging that gap is to be responsive when folks want more details about the stuff they can't see themselves. We try not to be too proactive about dishing on that stuff where specifics about users go, because we don't want to either pile on someone in public if we can help it nor to encourage that sort of expectation culturally independent of what we're actually saying on any given basis. So the "ask us and we'll tell you" thing is the status quo and I'm not sure what about that could be changed.

I may be reading the idea at the wrong level—if there's other aspects of transparency you're thinking about, let me know.

But I feel like in general we do about as much as we can to try and make what we do and how we do it visible in away that still respects as much as possible individual users' rights not to have their every mistake be a matter of unfettered public dissection or discussion, and which retains for us the ability to do our jobs without having every day-to-day mod action we take analyzed or micromanaged in the post-game.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:14 PM on May 10, 2010


Is there any way to make the moderation system more transparent?

It seems pretty transparent now. But increasing transparency won't stop people from second-guessing their decisions. In fact, I bet it would increase the number of complaints they have to deal with, and ultimately do more harm than good.

We've already seen that a small but vocal group of users don't seem to think the mods are acting in good faith. More transparency would mean more general user awareness of when the mods are stepping in and taking action (whereas now deletions and memails are mostly behind-the-scenes.) When we consider that some folks here are unwilling to trust them, eventually the mods might not be able to make a move without someone questioning their motives. If that snowballed, it could metaphorically derail the entire site.
posted by zarq at 12:20 PM on May 10, 2010


I'm not so bothered about transparency, or even basic fairness come to that, but would love some sort of access to the doughnut supply.
posted by Abiezer at 12:21 PM on May 10, 2010


...but as far as I can tell a really problematic (in a mefi context at least) unwillingness to temper and adapt his instincts to a place where pursuing them however he was inclined was consistently leading to shitty results and making a lot of other people unhappy or uncomfortable.

I absolutely agree with this and can genuinely see your point. The last thing I'm gonna say to defend the other side of the issue is that he did in fact get mod-reamed for claiming to hate the sun , and 80% of the reason for me bringing it up again is that it's pretty goddamn funny when you think about it, but I think that might've been the point when he just threw up his hands and said fuck it.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 12:22 PM on May 10, 2010


Sometimes I daydream about the mods picking three users at random and giving them the mod panel for a week or so just so that the (I'm sure) firehose of shit they have to deal with is better understood by the community.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:25 PM on May 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


The last thing I'm gonna say to defend the other side of the issue is that he did in fact get mod-reamed for claiming to hate the sun ,

Um.... what?
posted by zarq at 12:25 PM on May 10, 2010


Is there any way to make the moderation system more transparent?

To some extent the stuff that isn't transparent here at this point isn't transparent because of user privacy. Part of the Brand New Day thing, or our general ethos, is that if you have a really crappy day/month/week and say some shitty stuff and get fighty and get a lot of stuff deleted, we dont want you to worry that we're going to say "Hey, you've had ten posts deleted, that means we're gonna be a total scrutinizer of all your posts in the future" in MeTa and then have people come down on you for it. We'll loosely mention patterns of behavior; we won't go trotting out mod stats in almost all cases.

Similarly, the emails we send back and forth, with the exception of saying "Yeah we're working on it" don't become public. We can say "yeah we talked to them" but it mostly ends there. This can be frustrating for me personally sometimes because I think it's easier to make a case for why we did some things we did if people had full information, but I'm okay with erring on the side of more privacy and less history dredging for users, rather than clearest explications for us. And especially after someone closes their account, it seems really not that great to go digging and talking about numbers and "we said this, he said this, we said THAT" sorts of recountings. You may notice cortex and I being pretty clearly not going there.

And there's diminishing returns to that sort of thing. If we felt that there was data people really really wanted sort of en masse and it was tough for them to get at, we'd look into it. But except for a small core of superfans [or whatever you call it] I think a lot of this stuff falls into the don't-care zone.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:26 PM on May 10, 2010


Sometimes I daydream about the mods picking three users at random and giving them the mod panel for a week or so...

I nominate languagehat, st. alia of the bunnies and the whelk.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:27 PM on May 10, 2010 [8 favorites]


I nominate languagehat, st. alia of the bunnies and the whelk.

MARKED AS BEST ANSWER
posted by shakespeherian at 12:30 PM on May 10, 2010


Um.... what?

Dormant Gorilla is talking about this. I'd say the problem was not so much with claiming to hate the sun as it was with using throwaway lines like "Arizonans are culturally stunted racists." in the service of same.

He's a funny guy, and I get it, but that doesn't magically make it not problematic as a pattern of behavior. That's kind of the whole central conflict there.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:33 PM on May 10, 2010


It's a lot less funny if you want to go putting it in context, Cortex.

I guess the point was that the inclusion of the sun line made the entire paragraph obviously a giant ironic joke, but I know I'm just beating a dead horse at this point.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 12:36 PM on May 10, 2010


I do think that the length one goes in the service of irony has diminishing returns.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:38 PM on May 10, 2010


"Dormant Gorilla is talking about this. I'd say the problem was not so much with claiming to hate the sun as it was with using throwaway lines like "Arizonans are culturally stunted racists." in the service of same."

But...it's a joke.

I'm going to walk away before I flip out about other stuff that is totally cool because "it's a joke" because I know you're not robots but yeah it's a joke, yo.

OC and I know each other in real life but we have a whole 100-feet-away-from-each-other-at-all-times thing going on which, I'm really not supposed to talk about it.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 12:46 PM on May 10, 2010


I guess the point was that the inclusion of the sun line made the entire paragraph obviously a giant ironic joke, but I know I'm just beating a dead horse at this point.

It's not a dead horse, but it is a difference of opinion. We've said, in email, over and over again to OC that the ironic racism stuff just doesn't work on a site this size anymore and please tone it down. And that's pretty much what I said in-thread as well, because for some reason the MeMail back and forth wasn't working. And I think mod-reaming is a pretty over the top characterization of what I said.

I truly understand that some people find this sort of thing hilarious. I'd like some understanding that other people do not find this sort of thing hilarious and both factions are members of this community. We've said, repeatedly, not just to OC, that the ironic racism stuff doesn't work here anymore, that it's a problem, that it's fight-starting, that it's frequently misinterpreted, that it creates mod headaches.

I'm not really sure what you do moving forward if people decide they don't care or disagree with this characterization. I think we've been clear and I think we've been civil about it.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:46 PM on May 10, 2010


But...it's a joke.

It doesn't read as one. Seriously, it comes off as some sort of passive aggressive shit flinging that thinks it's being funny.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:57 PM on May 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


Wasn't meaning it seriously, jessamyn- mod-reaming that is. It was a lazy throwaway line used mostly because I like the word "reaming" and because the whole incident was itself over-the-top.

But Arizonans and people from Michigan aren't a race, and I guess sort of the crux of the difference of opinion is that yes, he definitely does, sometimes, mock people with the whole this-is-what-stupid-people-say-just-exaggerated-to-show-how-stupid-they-are thing and he can definitely cross a line when that mockery includes certain groups of people, but sometimes he said things that were completely innocuous, purposefully too bizarre to ever be taken seriously, and maybe everyone didn't think they were actively funny but they were recognized by the vast majority of people here as innocuous (like the people in the sun thread) but he still got called out for them just because of the associations everyone has with his name. And that is totally understandable but it's still frustrating.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 1:02 PM on May 10, 2010


Dormant Gorilla is talking about this.

Ah. I remember that now. I even commented in that thread.

I'd say the problem was not so much with claiming to hate the sun as it was with using throwaway lines like "Arizonans are culturally stunted racists." in the service of same.

I can see how someone from Arizona might have a problem with that, even if they knew it was a joke. I had a similar problem with this comment by Naberius a few days ago. I realize it was intended as an ironic joke, but didn't find the comment at all funny.
posted by zarq at 1:02 PM on May 10, 2010


His kind of over the top ironic schtick was generally employed in a thread after other people had already issued more serious criticisms, so it wasn't exactly trail blazing stuff. It was low hanging fruit. It's actually not very hard to write like that if you give it a slight effort, but it might make your face stick that way. It's not really a good addition to a forum that prides itself on being built around intelligent discussion.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:06 PM on May 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


passive aggressive shit flinging

as someone who doesn't understand taking that comment at all seriously, I want to ask about this.

if I understand what you're saying, the comment in question comes across as though OC was trying to use a joking tone of voice to say in earnest that he hates:

-New Yorkers (of which he is one)
-Long Islanders
-Arizonans (he is also one of these)
-Michiganites (man, what's the term for these?)
-animals who smoke
-parisians who smoke
-99% of the people on metafilter
-half of the remaining 1%
-the other half of the remaining 1%
-the sun

I mean, for real, who is he flinging shit at in that list that we can take at all seriously within the context of the rest of that list.
posted by shmegegge at 1:07 PM on May 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


Or maybe more to the point, doing shit like calling people racists or losers or so on and then following it up with "naw, just foolin'" is a bullshit move, whether it's an explicit coda like that or something more high-concept like an absurdist condemnation of the sun.

The problem is not that someone would mistakenly believe that he actually hates the sun. His feelings about the sun and people ability or otherwise to correctly deduce the credulousness of his comments re: that astronomical body are non-issues, and the sun-hating portion of that comment would never have been an issue in its own right.

The problem is that everybody else is expected to sit through ranty button-pushing bullshit because, hey, it's a joke! At a comedy club, great: people signed up for a standup bit. It doesn't work out so well if you don't have everybody already 100% on board with it, though, and this community is a lot bigger and more heterogeneous in composition and intention and interest than some opt-in two-drink-minimum crowd who specifically signed up to be told that Arizonans are racists hyuck hyuck, etc.

"People who don't get it suck" is a valid personal opinion but not one that really works here.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:08 PM on May 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


My least-favorite thing about MeFi these days is that people who have demonstrated themselves to be hateful bigots are welcome here, but a guy who doesn't actually hate Arizona's citizens is up shit creek for yanking their chains when their government passes bigoted laws.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:10 PM on May 10, 2010 [15 favorites]


It's Michigander, shmegegge.
posted by ocherdraco at 1:14 PM on May 10, 2010


I've said pretty much the same thing, fff.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:14 PM on May 10, 2010


fff, your least favorite thing about MeFi these days is that people who have bad opinions are welcome here, but people who have bad behavior within the context of the site make grumpy those whose job it is to maintain the site.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:14 PM on May 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


shakespeherian, it is my (and I believe fff's) position that posting hateful bigotry is bad behavior.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:17 PM on May 10, 2010 [5 favorites]


-Michiganites (man, what's the term for these?)

Mi-shenanigans?
posted by anotherpanacea at 1:18 PM on May 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


a guy who doesn't actually hate Arizona's citizens is up shit creek for yanking their chains when their government passes bigoted laws

But others say that it was OBVIOUSLY a joke (he included the sun, after all!), and anyone who did anything but snicker into their meerschaum was a person who hated funny.
posted by dirtdirt at 1:21 PM on May 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


I feel like I'm on a commenting spree here so I'll bow out after this, but just to say: I'm not saying s that people who don't get it suck. I'm just saying that if everything that was "annoying for some people to read" got deleted there'd be no site, and I guess it bugs me that the main problem some users had with OC was his style , and that... honestly, my instinctive response to that is just, oh god, just roll your eyes if you have to and move on and stop taking this so damn seriously. I mean, I honestly at one point a few years ago I said "God, I just really hate Armenians" just apropos of nothing and nobody cared. I think we've gotten so careful not to step on anyone's toes that we're going to end up throwing the baby out with the bathwater. But I've had too much coffee so I am going to go take a walk.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 1:23 PM on May 10, 2010


shakespeherian, it is my (and I believe fff's) position that posting hateful bigotry is bad behavior.

I understand that and am sympathetic to it, but I'm not sure how you can codify it when a poster is expressing his or her genuine and honest opinion (at least any more than has already been done). And saying that 'people who have demonstrated themselves to be hateful bigots are welcome here' is, I believe, somewhat misleading, as it belies a whole shitton of conversation that has gone on around the users that you're talking about as well as off-site conversation the mods have explicitly stated that they've had with those users, to the extent that some of them have been specifically barred from discussing certain subjects. I'm not entirely sure what a better solution would be than this.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:24 PM on May 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


[...] Stripped of subtle complications,
Who could regard the sun except with fear?
—Marcia Lee Anderson
Diagnosis (quoted in The Denial of Death by Ernest Becker)
posted by Crabby Appleton at 1:24 PM on May 10, 2010


if I understand what you're saying, the comment in question comes across as though OC was trying to use a joking tone of voice to say in earnest that he hates:

Nah, it reads like he's throwing an over the top tantrum (flinging shit around) to make a point and it just grates, IMO. I get that others find it hilarious, but it got to the point where it seemed it was all that OC was doing, despite the fact that it didn't seem to helping much, which is the larger issue I think. It's one thing if it actually works and convinces people to rethink their positions but it didn't, as far I can tell. So after the 10th or 20th time, it comes across as an idiot banging his head against the wall or playing to the crowd and it seemed like it got pretty predictable.

My least-favorite thing about MeFi these days is that people who have demonstrated themselves to be hateful bigots are welcome here, but a guy who doesn't actually hate Arizona's citizens is up shit creek for yanking their chains when their government passes bigoted laws.

I found it sadly ironic that pla was able to be convinced of the wrongness of his position about rounding up HIV people, but OC didn't or couldn't see how his comments were hurting his generally very agreeable positions.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:24 PM on May 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


My least-favorite thing about MeFi these days is that people who have demonstrated themselves to be hateful bigots are welcome here, but a guy who doesn't actually hate Arizona's citizens is up shit creek for yanking their chains when their government passes bigoted laws.

I also just don't generally agree with the idea that the best response to people being assholes is to be an asshole, and I dislike the idea that anyone's asshole behavior should be defended by pointing at someone else's, regardless of what that someone else is doing.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:30 PM on May 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


Hey, remember the subject of the deleted article this MeTa originated from? Alex Jones succinctly addresses the central issues in his article Government Admits They Deal Heroin Yet Terrorize Families for Pot .
posted by telstar at 1:45 PM on May 10, 2010


Do you have a link to a non-batshit crazy source?
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:49 PM on May 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


So the Columbia, MO police department was behind Air America?
posted by Bookhouse at 1:54 PM on May 10, 2010


Please come back, bunnycup. Whenever you feel like it.
posted by loquacious at 2:05 PM on May 10, 2010


I mean, I honestly at one point a few years ago I said "God, I just really hate Armenians" just apropos of nothing and nobody cared.

Once. A few years ago. You don't engage in behavior or make statements that get flagged a lot, require mod intervention, etc. So yeah, nobody cared, or cares, because you don't seem to make a habit out of being disruptive.

And everyone's got a different tolerance for what's disruptive, but if we all ignored every thing that's irritating or offensive or disruptive, if there was no flagging system and the mods never pulled anyone aside to say "Look, your behavior's problematic; can we talk about ways to make it less so?" then we'd end up with a site that none of us would want to be on.
posted by rtha at 2:10 PM on May 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


But I want people to pull aside the people I disagree with and leave the people I agree with alone, because people take some things way too seriously and other things not seriously enough, and it seems really obvious to me and this would all be easier if I was just allowed to arbitrarily impose my will on people. And officially this is self-deprecating sarcasm but I secretly mean it and you know you all secretly feel the same way.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 2:52 PM on May 10, 2010


*pats Dormant Gorilla on the head*

ok.
posted by shmegegge at 2:54 PM on May 10, 2010


it seems really obvious to me and this would all be easier if I was just allowed to arbitrarily impose my will on people.

You might be surprised how few problems this actually solves.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:55 PM on May 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


it seems really obvious to me and this would all be easier if I was just allowed to arbitrarily impose my will on people.

You should totally pick up Red Son.
posted by GuyZero at 2:57 PM on May 10, 2010


I once arbitrarily imposed my Will & Grace fanfiction on a couple people but they just started crying even harder.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:05 PM on May 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've only just realized that Free Willy is actually an allegory for Duns Scotus. Subtle, doctor.
posted by anotherpanacea at 3:13 PM on May 10, 2010


I once farted so hard that it hurt my credit
posted by Damn That Television at 3:40 PM on May 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


I am very disruptive.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 5:27 PM on May 10, 2010


Alex Jones succinctly addresses the central issues in his article Government Admits They Deal Heroin Yet Terrorize Families for Pot.

You know, if the Onion published this story the headline would be "Insane Conspiracy Theorist Hates Cops, Wants to Get High; Just Like You."
posted by octobersurprise at 6:03 PM on May 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


new mameshiba vid ( ゚ヮ゚)
posted by threetoed at 7:10 PM on May 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


But...it's a joke.

I hate to say it, but it's a joke that finally just got AWFULLY, AWFULLY old. It was turning into the "look at how cleverly I can snark at things" show, and that just gets REALLY grating.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:03 PM on May 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


I've been over on ChatRoulette this evening while wearing a pirate hat and a feather boa and no shirt. It wasn't as amusing as I'd hoped.
posted by little e at 9:10 PM on May 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Do you have a link to a non-batshit crazy source?

I agree, Alex Jones is around the bend on a lot of issues. But I found nothing in his video that is not fully supported by above-board clear-headed thinking bolstered by police video and mainstream news sources. The US military is charged with protecting the poppy fields in Afghanistan (it's a "cultural" thing), meanwhile US police are arresting and imprisoning users of the resulting heroin product as usual. At the same time, US police are executing SWAT style raids on private family homes netting a few grams of cannabis. Maybe it takes someone who's a little "crazy" to point out the monster which the sleep of reason has allowed to grow.

The simple fact is, people don't want to think about this stuff. The cognitive dissonance is too uncomfortable. Best to just delete the post...ah, that's better.

I salute Alex Jones for refusing to ignore the monstrous injustices here.
posted by telstar at 9:18 PM on May 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


I hate to say it, but it's a joke that finally just got AWFULLY, AWFULLY old.

Well, I never thought so. How did this become "I am above your sense of humor," anyway?
posted by palliser at 9:24 PM on May 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


To add a bit more to that: I can see why an ironic diatribe could be offensive, if it's directed at a group where it conjures up examples of real-life suffering that shouldn't be treated lightly. But ... Arizonans? Who cares?
posted by palliser at 9:30 PM on May 10, 2010


I found it sadly ironic that pla was able to be convinced of the wrongness of his position about rounding up HIV people...

Is that what you saw happening in there? Huh.
posted by hermitosis at 9:35 PM on May 10, 2010 [5 favorites]


It was turning into the "look at how cleverly I can snark at things" show, and that just gets REALLY grating.

Eh. Anyone who posts or comments frequently is bound to irritate the shit out of some people.
posted by hermitosis at 9:39 PM on May 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


Alex Jones is around the bend on a lot of issues.

Oh, please. He's a black helicopter-watching, NWO-mongering, 9/11-truthering, Obama-birthering, Ron Paul-googling, contrail-fearing, far-right-wallowing, street corner-shouting, fiddle-de-dee, loop-de-loo yahoo who is right with exactly the reliability of a stopped clock. Cite him if you wish, my friend, but let's give him all the credit he deserves. We owe his tenacity nothing less.
posted by octobersurprise at 10:09 PM on May 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


As to Jones' actual assertion, namely, that agents of the US government in foreign countries have trafficked in drugs, or have permitted the trafficking in drugs, while trying to ruthlessly suppress such traffic in the US, well, no shit. Bug-eyed Alex Jones is not the only person to ever observe this.
posted by octobersurprise at 10:25 PM on May 10, 2010


"I joke, motherfucker. But I don't play."

-Tone Loc
posted by uncanny hengeman at 10:40 PM on May 10, 2010


Eh. Anyone who posts or comments frequently is bound to irritate the shit out of some people.

Which is why people that weren't charmed by such a "joke" do indeed exist. Which was ultimately my point - explaining to ifd,s6 why some people might not have responded well to this "joke".

It wasn't a "this level of humor is above that one" statement, I was just responding to the "but it was a joke" comments with "well, a goodly number of people were annoyed by it, and that does not make us evil".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:04 AM on May 11, 2010


So after the 10th or 20th time, it comes across as an idiot banging his head against the wall or playing to the crowd and it seemed like it got pretty predictable.

I hate to say it, but it's a joke that finally just got AWFULLY, AWFULLY old. It was turning into the "look at how cleverly I can snark at things" show, and that just gets REALLY grating.

...to you guys, and some other set of people. And not to the entire other disjoint set that, combined with yours, makes up the entire site membership.

OC made plenty of comments in which the content of his posts was objectionable, and that's one thing, but I really can't feel any sympathy for complaints about a user because he had a different sense of humor. Personally, I preferred OC's style of humor to that of the people who relentlessly parrot the same MeFi memes. (This site has ruined "This Is Just To Say" for me forever) Moreover: There are a lot of members who very predictably draft their comments in a tone of intellectual superiority over those with whom they have a difference of opinion, without doing the over-the-top parody thing. Just plain-vanilla condescension, which is much more grating to me than OC's snarky comebacks ever were. (And FAR more widespread.) But I don't think any of these people should be more or less welcome to post here.

There's been a lot of discussion about the mods' reactions to OC, but their behavior was really driven by the flags, complaints, reactions, etc. of everyone else. I guess sometimes there's no way to tell for sure whether a particular comment actually is problematic on its face, or if other people are just annoyed with its form, or have an issue with the user who posted it. SAotB's comments get a ton of people riled up, a lot of times out of proportion to what she actually said. I bet if pla Brand New Day'd tomorrow and somehow the community figured out his new alter ego, the same thing would happen. In the recent goatse MeTA, schmegegge pointed out that several of the vocal members had also been offended by the called-out user's post about the Philly barfer. And so on.

I guess that's what really makes this a difficult moderation scenario - how do you evaluate the community's response to a comment/user insulated from the history, grudges, etc. held by the individuals that make up that community? I have no answers (short of going completely anonymous, which would completely change the site dynamic and present a whole new set of problems), and mods I reiterate that I believe you're doing as well as anyone could.

I may be reading the idea at the wrong level—if there's other aspects of transparency you're thinking about, let me know.

I think it would help clear up many of these disputes – but more importantly I think you owe it to the community – to reveal the mods' official MeFi member kill/bang/marry spreadsheet
posted by cobra_high_tigers at 4:52 AM on May 11, 2010 [6 favorites]


I started drafting that comment an ungodly long time ago and posted before preview, so EmpressCallipygos, if I misrepresented your quote, I apologize. I read it as more of your umbrage at OC's humor than as an example of how someone might be offended by one of his jokes.
posted by cobra_high_tigers at 4:53 AM on May 11, 2010


OC made plenty of comments in which the content of his posts was objectionable, and that's one thing, but I really can't feel any sympathy for complaints about a user because he had a different sense of humor.

Humor is content and that lot of people seemed to have objected OC's humor.

I have a completely "evil" sense of humor, one that has no problem at poking fun at everyone and everything (ex#1: Person A, who is close to me and knows me, complaining about lost car keys, to which I might say "$#$ Jews, they've everything!!" ex#2 my daughter asks if her best friend, who is black, can spend the night. I say "I'm not really comfortable having those people around this expensive stuff I stole in the name of reparations, you know how they are")

I don't use that sense of humor on Mefi, it obviously won't fly, because a person needs to know me and see my mockingly serious face, to understand that I'm poking fun at bigots (i.e. the idea that Jews control the world and are to blame for everything, so let's literally blame them for everything, no matter how small).

OC's humor is in a similar vain, it can work ok if yo have a clue he's not really serious, the problem is that on website of 40-50K people, there's going to be some who don't get it, especially because tone and body language don't translate on the web and because it's sensitive subjects, people are going to get offended and loud.

Humor is content.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:32 AM on May 11, 2010


I personally wouldn't particularly like having your two examples all over the site, BB (though I think zarq is right that we do occasionally see stuff like that from other users that must not get flagged that much, like the faux-mediation between Hitler and the Jews he linked) but Jews and blacks as a target of ironic bigotry are different from Arizonans. Or Philadelphia sports fans. Or the sun.

From where I am, it seems like OC used that ironic all-caps style sometimes, often to poke fun at things other users had said, and some of those times it also caught a group that could truly claim to be offended. But then, once some people started to dislike this style -- and maybe some of them disliked the user, too -- they also started getting enraged at any example of the style, even those that didn't target any group that could be offended because of a reminder of historic prejudice. At that point, it's just "I'm annoyed by this style, it seems repetitive and unfunny to me," and those of us who peed our pants laughing at it are left to say, "Well, I thought it was super-funny!" And that's a dead end.

But I do think that a more nuanced line could have been drawn, not "don't comment in that all-caps ironic way," but "don't comment in a way that could be taken as serious bigotry," and then the people who just didn't like his posting style could have been told that they don't have the right to never be annoyed, just like SAOtB's detractors are told. (And my comments in those threads show that I'm on the side of leaving her alone, too, as long as what people are annoyed by is "this comment shows that she's still a Republican," as opposed to "this comment is bigoted.")
posted by palliser at 6:11 AM on May 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


to reveal the mods' official MeFi member kill/bang/marry spreadsheet

I think it goes without saying that mine is a long list of the word kill and one name that says bang.

I do think that a more nuanced line could have been drawn, not "don't comment in that all-caps ironic way," but "don't comment in a way that could be taken as serious bigotry,"

We told OC [and everyone], many times, over years, to please tone down the shitty-insults-as-snark. Unlike many other people who we told similar versions of "your schtick isn't working and it's causing a sitewide problem that we have to constantly clean up after" we didn't see much movement to acknowledge the problem we dealt with as real and as something that needed addressing.

I'm aware many people think we should have drawn the line somewhere other than where we did. And I get that making comments slagging people from Arizona is not the same as making comments slagging Jews. However, it's still the sort of nasty comment that we'd like to see less of here. OC was funny a lot of the time, but sometimes he'd just go after other users [on the site and in email which was a problem we haven't mentioned here] in ways that were very mean and unfunny.

And once you've seen that a few times, the sort of schticky hypersnark against, say, people from Arizona, becomes a little less funny. Because most of the time the target of that sort of thing includes people from the site. And if I'm always the person explaining "hey it was a joke" about another user's comments, to other users who didn't quite get it, we have a site problem. And the solution to the site problem isn't to tell people to "get over it" As I've said before, we'll do this if people are offended by swearing, for example. But we felt, and still feel that OC needed to ease off of this persona a little and interact more sincerely on the site and not through his snarky allcaps alter-ego. And he didn't seem to feel the same way and wasn't okay with the moderation decisions we made as a result.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:28 AM on May 11, 2010


And if I'm always the person explaining "hey it was a joke" about another user's comments, to other users who didn't quite get it, we have a site problem.

Does the silent lurking majority ultimately hold veto power over what the content creators say? Why would a reader have more influence than a writer?
posted by five fresh fish at 8:16 AM on May 11, 2010


The "silent lurking majority" is actually people flagging and emailing and at times commenting in thread. They're not some easily-dismissed phantom caricature, they're good-faith members of this community providing feedback about how this place is working for them. OC's activity was a recurring topic of that feedback.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:30 AM on May 11, 2010


So what's the overlap between flaggers and commenters? Because I know there's plenty of people who never say a word on the Blue but still read it.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:46 AM on May 11, 2010


From what I can remember last time I looked, most flaggers (maybe the overwhelming majority?) were folks with some amount of additional site activity, though not necessarily tons. There may have been some non-commenting flaggers in the mix. It'd be interesting to take another look.

Flagging is one of those features that seems to correlate with a little bit of investment in the site—folks who just come to mefi for the links on the front page aren't going to engaging with or flagging comments, for example, and just in general it's a little harder to get to the point of identifying and using the flagging system than it is to casually read the site. Gut take, anyway.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:52 AM on May 11, 2010


what's the overlap between flaggers and commenters?

This is not a question that's easily answered but when I look at the flag queue, I recognise the names, it's not just random lurkers. More to the point, flagging in MeFi is sort of how we want people to deal with things they have a problem with and not start a derailing fight about whatever the thing is. Making a small in-thread note isn't terrible either, but it's tough to do well. We see some people doing that.

Again, people may not agree with that aspect of the way the site works, but having people flagging comments and posts that need mod attention is how the site works, not some sort of failure mode of the community. We can't have a community that is as high traffic and yet lightly moderated as this one without having the community helping out. There are people here who would prefer a lot more moderation and people who would prefer a lot less. We try to hit a point somewhere in the middle, but it would be useful if people would appreciate where they personally fall on that continuum when they look at the way we do things here.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:55 AM on May 11, 2010


Can you guys start warning people who use a lot of LOL, OMG, @username and all that? Yes, sometimes they're doing it "ironically" to make fun of people who actually do use that language, but it's still annoying (and yeah, I've probably done it myself a few times, the shame).

Should I just be flagging? Because I feel like it would just be ignored and MetaFilter would sink further into the abyss of the regular Internet. I've sent a couple really bad examples through the contact form and basically gotten back "Yeah, we don't like it when people use u instead of "you", but what can you do?"

It could just be confirmation bias, but I feel like there's a lot more of that shit going on these days (especially on AskMe). Maybe I'm alone on this, but I find stupid "Internet speak" way more objectionable than obviously over the top bigotry used to make fun of racists.
posted by ODiV at 8:55 AM on May 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


Can you guys start warning people who use a lot of LOL, OMG, @username and all that?

Oh god, we're not going to have that argument again are we?
posted by Think_Long at 8:59 AM on May 11, 2010


ODiV: "Can you guys start warning people who use a lot of LOL, OMG, @username and all that?"

I'd respond with a simple "LOL", but this is the day that the irony died so I won't.
Also, on the "silent lurking majority", I imagine it isn't so much a majority of silent folks as much as a majority of folks who aren't very loud or prolific.
posted by charred husk at 9:05 AM on May 11, 2010


Think_Long: I'm not intending to have an argument. A warning now and again and maybe a banning or two if necessary will be sufficient.
posted by ODiV at 9:09 AM on May 11, 2010


I'd respond with a simple "LOL", but this is the day that the irony died so I won't.

LOL. Irony is alive and well. Just use it to make neat paper airplanes that sail rather than hurl buckets of irony laden feces and it's all good.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:18 AM on May 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


@brrhandstand i liek ur idea go 2 my site to see more pix lol
posted by shakespeherian at 9:22 AM on May 11, 2010


Iron laden feces in a bucket? That's not what I signed up for.
posted by Sailormom at 9:32 AM on May 11, 2010


Sorry, no refunds.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:52 AM on May 11, 2010


we felt, and still feel that OC needed to ease off of this persona a little and interact more sincerely on the site

I get that making comments slagging people from Arizona is not the same as making comments slagging Jews. However, it's still the sort of nasty comment that we'd like to see less of here.

Seriously, what was wrong with the Arizona joke? Do you really mean to say that comments that you personally judge to be "nasty" rather than "sincere" are against the rules?

I don't know OC but always appreciated his presence here, and there are a number of times I've written out, then deleted without posting, MeTa comments to object about what looked to me like a weirdly disproportionate mod response along the lines of "don't be so witty, because it pisses people off and we don't like it." (Yes, this is just my view from the outside based on MeTa, and I have no idea what the behind-the-scenes discussion was like.) I still hope he'll reconsider and come back, but I guess this is a good moment to go on record about it.

(Obligatory mod-praise: I generally think this place is unbelievably, beautifully well-moderated, and my respect for Jessamyn and Cortex is tremendous, and what I'm describing here is pretty much my only low-grade objection, but...) There are times when it seems like the mods' preference is for unremitting heart-on-sleeve sincerity (or faux-sincerity) as a matter of style, as if there's a running campaign against sarcasm and satire/parody and wit in general under the flag of "GRAR" reduction.* Perhaps this is on account of these kinds of non-sincere cleverness drawing, on average, more flags and ire and discomprehension; but we really shouldn't want MeFi run by appeal to the lowest-common-denominator audience, discouraging jokes or wit or sophisticated ideas that not everyone will get.

Put another way, why shouldn't not getting OC's jokes be handled like the sorry-but-swearing-is-allowed policy? The discomprehendingly irate with poor reading comprehension are the ones we should be showing the door, if the alternative is the slow attrition of the unfailingly articulate and clever and (albeit sometimes ferociously) witty writers whose contributions make this site worth reading. I'm honestly a bit worried that the mods' response to OC is a symptom of a slow drift from an understandable drive to build community into a stylistic mandate that everyone here has to try to be open and sincere all the time, which in my opinion might end up making the place pretty deadly dull. Please don't forget that a witty sarcastic reductio of an offensive or dumb position can be a good-faith contribution to a discussion, when it offers a useful, funny, new way of looking at an issue.

* What exactly is GRAR, in English, anyway? It seems to me like it was initially a word for inter-user hostility and ad-hominem fighting, and presumably most everyone agrees that that has no place on MeFi; but lately it feels like it's been broadened to the point where any expression of anger or contempt or sarcastic disdain for any target, even without a trace of any on-site personal attack, is falling under the GRAR rubric. I don't want to sign on for the anti-GRAR campaign if it really means a sanitized happy-talk-only MeFi.
posted by RogerB at 11:37 AM on May 11, 2010 [23 favorites]


Well put, RogerB.
posted by chinston at 11:43 AM on May 11, 2010


RogerB, I disagree. Sure, OC added a witty and humorous edge to the commentary here that will be missed, but he could also come off like a bit of a bully. His tone often introduced a rather hostile atmosphere that wasn't exactly conducive to honest discourse, and the whole "sarcastic reductio" thing can only be funny and new so many times. I also think it's bullshit to accuse the mods of running a campaign against wit, or trying to appeal only to the lowest common denominator. If you honestly think they're doing a good job, how can you possibly accuse them of either of those things?
posted by Go Banana at 12:11 PM on May 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


The discomprehendingly irate with poor reading comprehension are the ones we should be showing the door...

That's quite a lovely idea of community you got there, insulting those who disagree with your sense of humor and wanting to kick them off the site.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:12 PM on May 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


Seriously, what was wrong with the Arizona joke?

The problem with it is that it was of a kind, that it was yet another "it's okay for me to say something risible because I'm being clever so it doesn't count" sort of thing from him when we'd put a lot of effort into trying to find some middle ground with him. That's all.

I don't think that "Arizonans are racists" comment was some kind of line in the sand or something, and we aren't the ones who brought it up; it was mentioned in his defense as just a joke about hating the sun, devoid of any context for why it might be problematic.

Do you really mean to say that comments that you personally judge to be "nasty" rather than "sincere" are against the rules?

No. That seems like a sort of strained reading, I don't really know how to rebut it because I'm not sure what I'm rebutting. Again, the Arizona comment isn't some sort of Q.E.D. thing, it's a random example, that we didn't bring up, of OC being button-pushy is all. It's also a comment that's sitting right there, in the original thread, to be read at everyone's leisure. It's not against any rules, we just think it's also not great especially specifically in the context of what we'd been talking to OC about at the time.

Put another way, why shouldn't not getting OC's jokes be handled like the sorry-but-swearing-is-allowed policy?

As a general case, that sort of thing is. We deal with little conflicts every day of people rubbing one another the wrong way in how they approach the site, whether through attempts at humor or straight up argumentation or whatever their idiom is, and to the degree that it manifests in a lot of cases as just a one-off clash of expectations or desires we pretty much ask people to run with it, let it go, or in the worst case realize that the site may not be quite what they were expecting.

It's different when one person is the source of a whole lot of that conflict on a recurring basis. OC's activity on the site has generated a ton of negative feelings for a lot of people, and a lot of work for us to deal with the fallout. We've heard about it over time from lots of people, dealt with flags and dustups and email and such, talked to him about it to try and contain that stuff. If the conclusion he's come to is that it's not gonna work for him, that's okay, it's his prerogative.

But he left; we did not ban him, and we've made a huge effort to avoid having to go there. What we've been doing is trying to find some compromise where he can hang out here and be who he wants to be but still temper some of the stuff that fucks up other people's experiences here so that it's not a constant tug-of-war between his desire to be how he wants to be and other folks' confusion over why the hell he gets to that unchecked.

This is the same story as with dozens of other folks on the site that we've had to work with on stuff like this, with varying results. Sometimes they make it work, sometimes they bail, sometimes they freak out and earn an actual ban. Sometimes they leave and then come back, sometimes that works out and sometimes it just starts the old cycle up again. It's rough stuff because we don't like seeing someone unhappy on the site or seeing an old user take off, to say nothing of having to give someone the boot, but keeping everyone in this community happy at all times is pretty much impossible. At best it's a series of compromises, and if it comes down to a whole bunch of people here vs. one person, that's a shitty situation and hard to find any kind of happy resolution to.

Please don't forget that a witty sarcastic reductio of an offensive or dumb position can be a good-faith contribution to a discussion, when it offers a useful, funny, new way of looking at an issue.

It can be. It can also be pretty shitty. Part of the problem with sarcastic or mocking attack as a rhetorical mode is that keeping the two apart is trickier than folks necessarily give credit to, especially when there's confounding factors like authorship and ideological sympathy that make it easier to decide that this witty sarcastic reductio is totally righteous and justified, etc.

Biting sarcasm and wit are alive and well on the site, and a lot of people manage to navigate those rhetorical waters without routinely pissing people off. The choice between either granting carte blanche to the shittier or more vicious brands of that or prohibiting the genre entirely is a false one, and OC leaving because he didn't like being on the receiving end of moderation when the community at large disagreed with his posting or commenting choices is not the fulcrum on which the rhetorical future of metafilter is turned.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:17 PM on May 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


Fair enough, cortex, and I appreciate the reply. Just to clarify one thing: what I'm trying to talk about here isn't the narrow sense of what's "against the rules" (as in what comment gets, or might get, deleted, or lead to a user getting banned); it's the broader sense that there's a smaller-scale friction and pushback that seems disproportionately applied to some styles of discussion in the mod response. And clearly this friction may represent the response (and the flagging) of a segment of MeFi rather than just the mods' own opinions — but as a matter of pragmatics if not explicit policy, the mods are always deciding to give weight to some community responses, while comparatively disregarding others. (This was the point of bringing up the swearing-is-okay parallel, which I seem not to have made clear enough, judging by Go Banana and Brandon Blatcher's replies; that's a case where the mods do literally nothing to appease a segment of the community whose complaints are deemed outside the range of discussion. Being a community means, precisely, making tradeoffs about which complaints get addressed and which get downplayed.) What I'm trying to talk about here is the cumulative social-norm-creating that goes on when a certain kind of smart but smart-alecky comment is frequently judged to be "nasty" by Jessamyn or "pretty shitty" by Cortex, while "sincerity" is endorsed as an explicit goal that the sarcastic should, in the mods' opinion, be striving for. And the reason it seems worth talking about is that, though it's obviously not a line-in-the-sand case and though I'm not trying to paint a melodramatic slippery-slope scenario, I still think there may be a lesson worth drawing out here about this kind of constant if low-level pushback having the (unintended!) consequence of making MeFi an unwelcoming place for certain kinds of humor and parody that are, in my view, worth defending.
posted by RogerB at 2:16 PM on May 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


What I'm trying to talk about here is the cumulative social-norm-creating that goes on when a certain kind of smart but smart-alecky comment is frequently judged to be "nasty" by Jessamyn or "pretty shitty" by Cortex, while "sincerity" is endorsed as an explicit goal that the sarcastic should, in the mods' opinion, be striving for.

I think the disconnect here is that jessamyn and cortex aren't talking about sarcasm qua sarcasm as nasty or pretty shitty; they're discussing it as part of a pattern of behavior from a specific user whom they had previously discussed just such behavior, who was evincing disregard for such discussion by his continual usage of such.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:30 PM on May 11, 2010


I hear you, RogerB.

When I think of sincerity or of the idea of being "sincere" in their rhetorical approach, I'm personally mostly thinking of it more as a default state than as some specific thing to affect or approach: when you strip away any kind of sarcasm or hyperbole or misdirection or misrepresentation from a comment, what you're left with is basically a sincere comment by default. It's just a straightforward expression of someone's thoughts or opinions or beliefs or uncertainty about something.

Which is not in my opinion a particularly praiseworthy thing in and of itself; I don't have any personal investment in that way of talking as being morally superlative or anything like that. It's more that that's just the neutral, fundamental basis of clear communication: people saying what they mean in a clear fashion.

Where that comes into play practically is that communication can be made harder by a lot of different factors, and those various factors can have a multiplicative effect on the difficulty of any given interaction. One of the big blows against clear communication on metafilter is the sheer limitation of conversing via text: we've already lost a bunch of really useful paralinguistic channels out of the gate, and so tone becomes a lot harder to convey and decode correctly and the mitigating social aspects of a face-to-face conversation evaporate.

But beyond that, there's the tension that comes with emotionally- or ideologically-charged subjects; there's heightened chance for conflict given the size and relative heterogeneity of the userbase compared to a person's largely self-selecting interactions at home and work and so on; there's the burden of asynchronicity that makes it impossible for one person to detect a bad reaction in mid-sentence and abandon or alter their discursive tack proactively; there's the crowd problem, where even if two interlocutors manage to repair/resolve a bumpy exchange between them, other people in the thread may not be satisfied with or feel bound by that resolution and so the bumpiness continues on; and so on.

It's an incomplete list, but the basic idea is there: there are a lot of things that can get in the way of this place working well as a place where people aren't flipping out at each other. Communication is hard to begin with, and gets harder depending on what kind of extra friction gets in the mix.

And so but sarcasm and mockery and such: they're not prohibited here, any more than swearing is or saying something dumb is or being a bad speller is. Every one of those things can take a situation from bad to worse, though, and we hope that in those situations where the person speaking has reasonably agency to do so they will carefully consider that effect. If someone's a lousy speller, that may be an unrealistic request. If someone is a really sharp elocutionist, it's not so unrealistic at all.

On a site where everything we do, where how we exist and interact as a community comes down to textual discourse, making an effort to avoid the stuff that makes discourse go bad and communication break down is really important. It's paramount. And fundamentally most of the conflicts we deal with, OC as just user among one among many in these things, come down to how people manage their own impact on the discourse around here and whether and how they are able to acknowledge and adjust their behavior to keep it from being a problem.

If someone has a way of being on the site that is frequently causing problems, they're going to hear from us. It doesn't matter if it's biting sarcastic remarks, or rage-type rants, or an unwillingness to back out of an argument once they're in it, or shitbombing random threads with one-off baiting comments before departing the thread entirely, or sending shitty or combative mail to other members, or or or. There are a ton of different things people have done badly around here, and they've heard from us about them and will continue to.

I make that point because sarcasm is not something we are singling out. Biting wit is not something we are giving an especially hard time. But neither is it something that gets a special pass. If you're doing it and it's not creating a headache on the site, awesome, more power to you. Plenty of people have managed that and will continue to, and I firmly believe OC could have managed to do that (and reasonably speaking was I think making at least some kind of effort at least some of the time to do so). But if it gets to be a problem, it gets to be a problem.

Ultimately, for any of these things that can be problematic on mefi there are other places on the internet where they may not be so problematic at all. If someone's really not okay with what we're asking for on mefi in terms of moderating that behavior, they can go on their way with our regards and find the place that's more comfortable for how they want to be. It may be that that's the situation with OC, and that's fine. I'll miss the not-crappy parts of his participation here, but sometimes things just stop being a fit.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:52 PM on May 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


"People can, in fact, take risible sarcastic/faux-earnest stuff at face value despite the speaker's intent. It happens on a pretty regular basis. It's a problem in a lot of ways, because that sort of misinterpretation leads to a conflict, and it's left to us to resolve that conflict, and at least some people are going to be angry regardless of how we resolve it: if we take action that seems to disfavor the original sarcastic salvo, we're accused of catering to the humorless or the touchy or the not-smart-enough-to-get-the-joke crowd. If we take action that seems to condone the original thing, we're accused of playing favorites with the oldschool user or promoting an environment that's rich with mockery and hostility toward unpopular opinions. Etc."

Man, somehow between starting to catch up on this thread and two beers, this conversation got all reasonable. I just had to delete an anecdote about mock offense and "retard hands" that would have shown my girlfriend and I in a terrible light.

Anyway, I understand that these are edge cases, they must always be edge cases—that's where the humor lies. Much as I hated getting sent back proofs from upstairs (when I still worked at the Death Star) with the content-free insistence to "make it more 'edgy'," that tension between acceptable and transgressive is what makes a lot of stuff funny. It's never going to be a bright line, this is never going to be something that everyone accepts.

And I know that I beat this drum in MeTa often enough, and that there's at least a mild amount of self-interest—though I have stopped with the Holocaust jokes, because they're simply not worth the risk with this audience anymore—but I really do think it's worthwhile to understand a lot of the criticism here not just as a specific defense of OC, but as a push-back against some of the sweetening of Metafilter in general.

I'm divided here, because while I found OC pretty hilarious on a pretty regular basis, and worth reading fairly often even when he wasn't, but I also think that most of the deletions of his comments were fair, and some of the public criticism that he took was undue. I really do think it's a shame that he couldn't stay on here, but I also think it's a shame that he couldn't temper some of the more demagogic impulses he had—things that more earnest and less interesting members routinely post. In looking over, well, especially Jessamyn's disagreements, I feel like it's mostly a matter of taste, and something that I know I have to be careful with is that in arguing from matters of taste, to just assume that because my inclination is toward one pole (transgressive) that another inclination is invalid.

I tended to have no problem when OC was making fun of groups, especially because he usually seemed pretty aware of the ironies involved; I tended to get annoyed when I felt like OC was making fun of members, often unfairly. But I can also understand that it would get incredibly frustrating to have to keep reviewing and parsing (especially ambiguous instances, which is where irony is most forceful) to decide which comment was which.

But I'm also someone who rarely flags, and feels pretty confident in my ability to tell someone when I think they're acting like an asshole. I love the jobs that the mods do in total, but (and I admitted my bias) I do think that in some ways simply flagging or emailing the mods is an abdication of conversational responsibility. We're all equals here, save the mods, and when I disagree with someone who's my equal, I tell them. And I kind of feel like that by throwing themselves under the aegis of the mods, that the conflict averse can affect disproportionate results.

Finally, in this beer fondue of conflicted thoughts on conflict, I can also recognize that personal issues are questions of emotion, not fairness. Zarq mentioned Naberious's comment, and for me, the idea of mediating between killing all of the Jews and none by engaging in false equivalency is hilarious—killing even one Jew for being Jewish is obviously wrong. But in these couple of months since breaking my arm and leg, I haven't been able to watch America's Funniest Home Videos, despite it being syndicated seemingly everywhere in every time slot. That's because each time I see someone fall off a roof or get hit by a dirtbike or even just fall into an empty pool, I can immediately tell if they've broken a bone and remember instantly what that feels like. For most people, it's an abstraction. For me, it's like two months old. I can understand pain overcoming humor. But in the audience of every episode, there's also the poor bastard who broke those bones, and I can understand that humor can overcome pain too. There's no right answer there, and no way for them both to exist simultaneously—either something is too painful to be funny or it's not, and it's a line that every person has to draw on their own.

ALSO I FINISHED SOME MORE BEERS WRITING THAT SO IT MAY NOT MAKE MUCH SENSE
posted by klangklangston at 7:52 PM on May 11, 2010 [1 favorite]




klang, I didn't realize you'd broken your arm and leg. Hope you're doing okay man.

It makes a lot of sense to me.

Finally, in this beer fondue of conflicted thoughts on conflict, I can also recognize that personal issues are questions of emotion, not fairness. Zarq mentioned Naberious's comment, and for me, the idea of mediating between killing all of the Jews and none by engaging in false equivalency is hilarious—killing even one Jew for being Jewish is obviously wrong.

Just to expand upon this a bit...

I didn't flag the comment. It bugged me, but I did realize it was just a joke. I was positive it wasn't made with any sort of malicious or antisemitic intent. So when Astro Zombie made his comment about it I verbally seconded it and moved on.

That said, I recognize that it's an emotional topic for me. There are pretty much only two or three topics I personally have difficulty joking about. Antisemitism is one. Making fun of the disabled is another. My dad had a disability and as a kid I heard a lot of "cripple" jokes from other kids. These days, those go over like a lead balloon with me. But I do try not to overreact to 'em -- because I don't think I'm good at keeping them in perspective.

As you say, sometimes the pain overcomes the humor. And sometimes a joke can hit a little too close to home. I think the trick is learning not to react from that place, but to try and step back and give it a little distance before smacking people around. ;)
posted by zarq at 8:40 PM on May 11, 2010


if we take action that seems to disfavor the original sarcastic salvo, we're accused of catering to the humorless or the touchy or the not-smart-enough-to-get-the-joke crowd

You say that like it is a bad thing. Gods forbid we attract a smarter audience.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:03 PM on May 11, 2010


For "smarter" substitute whatever works for you, as long as it results in more tolerance for equality and more common sense in separating wry humour as a commentary on our sad-ass society/culture, and *actual* troglodytic bigotry and hate.


tl;dr: we shouldn't target the LCD.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:10 PM on May 11, 2010


This horse is so goddamn dead.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:31 PM on May 11, 2010


"For "smarter" substitute whatever works for you, as long as it results in more tolerance for equality and more common sense in separating wry humour as a commentary on our sad-ass society/culture, and *actual* troglodytic bigotry and hate."

But YOU'RE NOT A PERFECT ARBITER OF *ACTUAL* BIGOTRY AND HATE.

I mean, that's basically the problem. You can't just appeal to "common sense." You see all sorts of malice in some folks and comments that I don't; I see plenty of malice in comments that you apparently don't.
posted by klangklangston at 9:33 PM on May 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


You say that like it is a bad thing. Gods forbid we attract a smarter audience.

Oh, fuck that noise. There are plenty of smart, passionate, self-aware people on this site that are not synced to your exact wavelength; shitting on folks who disagree with your preferences by dismissing them as "lowest common denominator" isn't a way to attract a smarter audience, it's a way to convince smart people that they're wasting their time trying to share space on this site.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:58 PM on May 11, 2010 [9 favorites]


This horse is so goddamn dead.

Feel free to click "Remove from Recent Activity" or whatever the phrasing on that link is and go fuck off to another thread any time.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:20 PM on May 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Aww. So angwy.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:21 PM on May 11, 2010


Yes, yes, unearned condescension will carry you through anything.

Meanwhile, you are free to leave any conversation you don't feel like having.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:29 PM on May 11, 2010


Oh, fuck that noise.

And yet we continue to lose long-term, prolific users.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:32 PM on May 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yes, yes, unearned condescension will carry you through anything.

Earned versus unearned is a fine distinction, but it's better than telling someone to fuck off in most cases. At any rate, good advice.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:34 PM on May 11, 2010


And yet we continue to lose long-term, prolific users.

"Prolific" is not a desirable quality in an asshole.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 11:22 PM on May 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


And yet we continue to lose long-term, prolific users.

"Long-term" and "prolific" don't mean "smarter." "Prolific" could simply mean "way more time on their hands."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:15 AM on May 12, 2010


Or, "prolific" could also mean "attention whore".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:16 AM on May 12, 2010


And yet we continue to lose long-term, prolific users.

The situation boils down to this:

OC does X
the Mods say "Don't do X, it creates problems for the site"
OC does X
the mods say "Look, seriously, could you tone down on X? It creates problems for the site."
OC does a bit less X
The mods continue to remind OC about not doing X when it happens
OC decides to leave

Several people say OC was hounded, maligned or abused, yet consistently seem to gloss over that what he was doing was creating problems, he was asked to stop or tone it down, he didn't and then decided to leave. Yet somehow this is everyone elses's fault but OC's.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:20 AM on May 12, 2010 [7 favorites]


five fresh fish writes "And yet we continue to lose long-term, prolific users."

Even if things were nothing but sunshine and flowers people would come and go from this site.
posted by Mitheral at 6:35 AM on May 12, 2010


And yet we continue to lose long-term, prolific users.

We have always been losing members, and we will continue to lose long-term, prolific users forever. People move on, for any number of reasons, and many of them decline to announce their departure. This is a fact of life, and trying to adapt the site and its policies specifically to the goal of not having anyone ever leave is a fool's errand. We're left with focusing on the community as a whole rather than the specific user.

If OC decided this wasn't the place for him to be anymore, that's his right and trying to up-end the site just to talk him out of leaving of his own volition would be downright stupid. I understand that you are more fond of him than of some other folks on the site, and that's fine and I can sympathize with the frustration of seeing him take off, but I think your assessment of the overall situation is really badly bent by mistaking your personal preferences about this place for anything like an accurate model of the community outside yourself.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:59 AM on May 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


What cortex said. The door is open at both ends, and that is as it should be.
posted by Wolof at 7:04 AM on May 12, 2010


We have always been losing members, and we will continue to lose long-term, prolific users forever.

Not if there were hyper-sleep chambers, just sayin'.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:09 AM on May 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


five fresh fish writes "And yet we continue to lose long-term, prolific users."

I've mentioned this before but one of the things about managing a site this large is that we've really got to handle the fact that people will sometimes leave. Sometimes people leave in a big public way, others just drift off and we don't see them again, or they show up less and less making the occasional comment, mostly checked out.

While we have a basic retention approach [if we think someone left in a huff we'll sometimes drop them a note to see what's up and whether there's something we can do to help them out] we've had to make a conscious choice to not get totally bummed out if one person leaves because that's just the ebb and flow of a larger site. What we do is try to figure out why the person left [check the commenting history, write them a note, ask their friends] and see if its because of something that we see as broken or breaking on the site.

And I know to some people OC leaving indicates that something here is broken. And to some people the presence of other people they don't like, or even types of people they don't like, shows that the site is broken. And while we'll try to explain what's up and how we operate, I think most people who hang around here a lot understand that some aspects of how the site runs are malleable [too many Lady Gaga posts? We'll see what we can do about that] and some are less malleable [harassing other users over email? not okay, not going to be okay] and some aspects change over time.

But we don't have a referendum on who gets to be here, people pretty much self-select with a little bit of assistance from us. And we're not seeing some sort of race to the exits by long-term users, this monster thread nonwithstanding. I know that for a lot of people, anyone leaving who they like is a tragedy and you can take this up with OC since he's still welcome back here.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:11 AM on May 12, 2010


And we're not seeing some sort of race to the exits by long-term users, this monster thread nonwithstanding.

Perhaps this is a bit of confirmation bias on my part, but it does seem as if quite a few people have left us permanently over the last few months. Others have left temporarily to give themselves a bit of a cool-down period.

Listing them all out would probably be counterproductive. But are you saying that the number of people leaving isn't more than usual? That we just happen to be noticing them?
posted by zarq at 7:18 AM on May 12, 2010


That's my back of the envelope calculation, yeah. Maybe when cortex gets up he can run the actual numbers. And I guess what I also see, which is a little harder to tabulate, is longtime users who left coming back and actually participating again which to me has a balancing/mitigating effect. And another piece of mod data we have is what people say when they close their account.

There are some people who just need time/space to do whatever, and some who leave in a huff, some who don't write anything. For people for whom life is intervening, while they may just be trying to spare our feelings, I'm pretty neutral on them deciding to take some time off. For people who go out in a big blaze of "fuck you guys" [note: that's not really what happened here] we'll sit down and try to figure out whether they're just having an exceptionally bad day or whether something about the site drove them off.

And we've never had someone leave specifically saying "If you allow $_USER to stay here, then I can't stay here" It's possible some people are thinking that, but it's never been explicitly stated.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:31 AM on May 12, 2010


If people are going to talk users that have left into coming back, someone get a hold of tkchrist. I needs me some more crazy stories!
posted by ignignokt at 7:49 AM on May 12, 2010


That's my back of the envelope calculation, yeah. Maybe when cortex gets up he can run the actual numbers. And I guess what I also see, which is a little harder to tabulate, is longtime users who left coming back and actually participating again which to me has a balancing/mitigating effect. And another piece of mod data we have is what people say when they close their account.

Ah. Ok. That makes sense. I realize that as end users our perspectives are necessarily limited.
posted by zarq at 7:54 AM on May 12, 2010


wait, tkchrist left? what the fuck for?! that's not ok.
posted by shmegegge at 8:44 AM on May 12, 2010


tkchrist left after a spat with OC and PG, oddly enough.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:48 AM on May 12, 2010


ironic, innit?
posted by Nothing... and like it at 9:23 AM on May 12, 2010


Holy shit, what a weird thread. There was so much unexplainable hostility. It was like observing a human centipede.

Looks like OC jumped in with this, using some pretty harsh mischaracterization and personal baggage:

You don't do the right thing because of the reward. You do it because it's the right thing. Now I know that a dude who prides himself on being Upright Rockhard, Third-Dan Wing Chun Master, Ladies Man and Bar Brawler is going to get a little upset at the very idea that he could be racist or sexist, but it's true. All white folk have racist attitudes. I do. I think everybody else does, as well, frankly: white, black, brown, whatever - we all have that issue. Is it so hard to be mindful of that instead of pretending like you have never, ever, ever, ever had a racist thought?

I change my mind about OC. Christ, what an asshole! If he did this regularly, good riddance.

(I still think the cop post was good, though.)
posted by ignignokt at 9:31 AM on May 12, 2010


I was waiting for tkchrist to comment in this thread until I remembered that he'd gone. I hope he comes back.
posted by homunculus at 9:38 AM on May 12, 2010


It looks like PG was acting on the principle outlined here.
posted by nangar at 9:40 AM on May 12, 2010


tkchrist left on my birthday. My birthday! How could he?

That thread was crazy, but at least it showed that Danila is a very smart lady who debates in good faith.
posted by Think_Long at 10:13 AM on May 12, 2010


that thing that OC said about racism is actually really smart and I think this is one more example of "tone" being the most important thing in the face of bigotry--as long as you're polite you can be hurtful. Like the mefi version of putting "bless your heart" after every insulting comment. But God forbid you respond to bigoted crap with less than the utmost politeness and poise.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 10:13 AM on May 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Burhanistan writes "tkchrist left after a spat with OC and PG, oddly enough."

I had a serious Say What reaction there when I expanded PG as Pretty Generic.

Also I wonder if we could get notification in the contacts bar of when a contact's account is disabled.
posted by Mitheral at 10:18 AM on May 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


But God forbid you respond to bigoted crap with less than the utmost politeness and poise.

Responding to crazy with more crazy just highlights you're both crazy.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:21 AM on May 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sometimes I hate being such a literal person. I see "all white people are racist" and I immediately think of Terry Shiavo weeks before her death. Assertion disproven! Next!

Now obviously that wasn't what Danila was saying, but if I (by no means an expert on race relations) can think of an exception in two seconds then that doesn't bode well. Not to mention that I'm pretty sure "white" isn't an exact term anyway.

I don't think tkchrist had to leave. People say shitty things to each other here occasionally. It can feel overwhelming sometimes (I'm still slightly pissed about being called mentally deficient because someone couldn't grasp this comment, and that was a year ago. As an aside, tkchrist basically agreed that I was an idiot there too, so it's not like he was super polite all the time.), but you have to remember that it's not only not representative of MetaFilter as a whole, but it's also not representative of the people who've made those remarks.
posted by ODiV at 10:26 AM on May 12, 2010


"Responding to crazy with more crazy just highlights you're both crazy."

no, marginal rudeness is not the same as bigotry. either way, there is no way you can interpret OC's comment as quoted above as "crazy".
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 10:28 AM on May 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


No, but it was uncomfortably personal:

Now I know that a dude who prides himself on being Upright Rockhard, Third-Dan Wing Chun Master, Ladies Man and Bar Brawler is going to get a little upset at the very idea that he could be racist or sexist, but it's true.

I totally agree with OC here, but I think Danila was arguing her point well without this abrasive assist.
posted by Think_Long at 10:38 AM on May 12, 2010


here is no way you can interpret OC's comment as quoted above as "crazy".

Oh, I was responding to the general point ("But God forbid you respond to bigoted crap with less than the utmost politeness and poise"), not OC's comment specifically.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:43 AM on May 12, 2010


Responding to crazy with more crazy just highlights you're both crazy.

If there isn't a name for the fallacy that less-than-perfect-friendliness is morally equivalent to bigotry, there should be.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:50 AM on May 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


This whole politeness/bigotry discussion reminds me a bit of Dinner with the Devil by Big Rude Jake.
posted by ODiV at 10:58 AM on May 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Like the mefi version of putting "bless your heart" after every insulting comment. But God forbid you respond to bigoted crap with less than the utmost politeness and poise.

The problem with OC's comment wasn't that he wasn't polite - it's that he was dishonest, mischaracterizing a position, and went beyond the context of the discussion in order to reach for an insult. Attacking the person, not the idea. I mean, that's as dickish as you can get.
posted by ignignokt at 11:00 AM on May 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


no, he was attacking the idea.
posted by shmegegge at 11:07 AM on May 12, 2010


wait, are we talking about the arizona comment or the tkchrist one? if we're talking about the tkchrist one, nm.
posted by shmegegge at 11:08 AM on May 12, 2010


The tkchrist one.
posted by ignignokt at 11:10 AM on May 12, 2010


The problem with OC's comment wasn't that he wasn't polite - it's that he was dishonest, mischaracterizing a position

Yeah, it seems the whole impolite vs bigotry concept has crystallized here, and it's a bit of a mischaracterization of what was actually happening. More it was like: user says dumb X, OC responds with OVER THE TOP X WITH SOME Y ON TOP AND ITS BECAUSE I'M A HOLY ROLLER. That is what was irritating to people, not so much that a so-called bigot wasn't treated with kid gloves.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:10 AM on May 12, 2010


well, OC wasn't calling tkchrist a bigot. I mean, it wasn't a great way to respond at all, but he was basically just calling tkchrist out on his tendency to be all super macho internet warrior dude. the point wasn't "tkchrist, you are a racist" it was "tkchrist, it is ok to acknowledge flaws in yourself, despite your super manly awesome kung fu macho-ness."

still wasn't the right way to respond, of course. but as hermitosis pointed out in the thread, OC had two comments in that thread, and tkchrist had 24. dude flamed himself out more than anything else.
posted by shmegegge at 11:14 AM on May 12, 2010


Yeah, tkchrist was at least as pissed off at Danila and KathrynT as at me or OC.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:22 AM on May 12, 2010




This is fun, it’s like rhetorical CSI, we should do it for all flameout threads. “Looks like this tkchrist . . . just got crucified” YEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH

Looking at comment totals – OC’s 2 to tk’s 24 – is a bit misleading, as tk was mainly arguing with Danila, who had a comment count of at least 10 before the flameout.
posted by Think_Long at 11:29 AM on May 12, 2010


I'm certainly not blaming OC for tkchrist quitting. While reading this thread, I was thinking, what, as far as I remember, he just posted an occasional insightful comment and liked to post about controversial topics. So, a super blatant asshole-style comment like that was a surprise to me, is all.
posted by ignignokt at 11:44 AM on May 12, 2010


If there isn't a name for the fallacy that less-than-perfect-friendliness is morally equivalent to bigotry, there should be.

Pretty much the only people I have seen attempting to promote that equivalency are the people immediately turning around to lambast it. The apt term seems to be "strawman", if anything. It is absolutely not our position at mods that the two are morally equivalent.

Now, if you want to talk about the actual dichotomy we're struggling with, its this: two kinds of bad behavior of distinctly different moral weight can both also be bad.

And one view of this is that, okay, but the bad behavior that is less fundamentally bad than the other other behavior should get a pass, because its less bad.

The opposing view is that, no, just because one sort of behavior is not as bad as another doesn't mean that the existence of the worse kind of behavior makes the bad-but-less-bad behavior okay.

It should be pretty clear by now that from a moderation perspective we're inclined to lean toward that second proposition. We need people to recognize that problematic behavior is problematic behavior, that something that crosses the threshold of causing problems here is going to be an issue whether it only just toes over the line or it goes streaking past into the far distance. The nature and heft of the response one behavior or another gets will differ a lot, but both will get our attention and will generate a mod response of some sort.

Whether that's completely fair or not is a complicated discussion, but more importantly it is a secondary concern that we can really only argue about at leisure when the primary concern of seeing the problematic stuff stop has been accomplished.

As an aside, there's a couple of practical points about the quote up top that need noting:

1. We're rarely going to take issue with, and almost never going to take action about, mere "less-than-perfect-friendliness". People are less than perfectly friendly here all the time. It rarely causes problems when it doesn't devolve a great deal further, into outright dickishness or nastiness or personal attacks or direct antagonism. That latter stuff is far more of an issue.

2. There is, in any case, a great deal more actively crappy dickish behavior on this site than there is bigotry. So while it's a lot easier to talk about how bigotry sucks (something that I'm pretty sure just about all of us agree pretty fucking strongly about), that has a lot less proportionally to do with what actually goes on and goes wrong here on a daily basis than does the issue of non-bigoted people acting shitty toward others around here. The scales are not remotely even there.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:11 PM on May 12, 2010 [3 favorites]




Honestly, no, that's a terrible example. Threadshitters shouldn't have been shitting, no question, but a post that consists almost entirely of back-links to previous posts on mefi, frames the post largely around that content and (intentionally or naively) recalls the fact that people have been discussing that phenomenon lately, and then presents the sole link to new content without context: a really bad way to put a post together. The threadshitters are a side issue.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:33 PM on May 12, 2010


Then why were they the reason listed in the deletion?
posted by jardinier at 12:36 PM on May 12, 2010


Because I spent all my carefully-thinking-about-phrasing energy on the however many thousands of words I've written in this thread over the last couple days. It was flagged to hell and back and seemed like a clearcut deletion to me, I'm sorry if the provided reason wasn't particularly eloquent.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:37 PM on May 12, 2010


Or, apparently, accurately reflecting the reason you deleted it.
posted by jardinier at 12:38 PM on May 12, 2010


Pretty much the only people I have seen attempting to promote that equivalency are the people immediately turning around to lambast it. The apt term seems to be "strawman", if anything. It is absolutely not our position at mods that the two are morally equivalent.

Honestly, while I do believe that it is at play to some extent here, I see it pretty much any time liberals are the primary participants in the discussion/members of the group.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:42 PM on May 12, 2010


Or, apparently, accurately reflecting the reason you deleted it.

Yes. Welcome to life with human mods who aren't always pitch-perfect in deletion reasons when removing posts. I'm fine discussing the details here where there's plenty of space to do so and you can ask questions, but deletion reasons are gestural at best. I'm sorry if that one bothered you.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:44 PM on May 12, 2010


Just sayin - you guys talk a lot about transparency - I'm glad the actual reason for deletion is now posted somewhere. I'll try to make better posts. Thanks for explaining.
posted by jardinier at 12:47 PM on May 12, 2010


And here's a perfect example of what OC was talking about upthread: threadshitters being able to take down a post because they don't like the topic.

There are 1, 2, 3, 4 perfectly appropriate open Lady Gaga threads that your link could have been added to. Last night I added the youtube link to the kid playing Gaga on the piano into one of those threads.

I didn't comment in the thread because the pileon was pretty intense. But I don't think that video really needed its own FPP.
posted by zarq at 12:53 PM on May 12, 2010


I think the deletion reason listed on jardinier's post sums up the situation pretty well, actually.
"If this is worth posting about, it's worth doing in a way that doesn't bring down the hell of a thousand gaga-fatigued mefites."
To me this is not equivalent to "this is a good post but because people are commenting in a bad way, we're taking it down", which kind of seems like how jardinier interpreted it the first time.

It's also not equivalent to "this is a bad post, so we're taking it down and would have regardless of the way people commented on it".

The deletion reason is kind of a middle ground, which seems accurate to me because the actual reason for deletion is itself in between those two extremes.
posted by FishBike at 12:56 PM on May 12, 2010


OH MY FUCKING GOD PEOPLE WHAT THE FUCK
YOUR POST WAS DELETED BUT ITS JUST A POST ON A FUCKING WEBSITE
GET THE FUCK OVER IT ALREADY
posted by Nothing... and like it at 12:56 PM on May 12, 2010


OH MY FUCKING GOD PEOPLE WHAT THE FUCK

Well, that only took 1 635 comments. Do you feel better now? :)
posted by zarq at 1:12 PM on May 12, 2010


Zarq, you're right - but I was posting about the union campaign, not the gaga, I just didn't do it well.
posted by jardinier at 1:13 PM on May 12, 2010


Hey pal, don't get down on the cortex for mystery meat deletions (which aren't really mysterious—nor meat, come to think of it) when you're making posts about something (union campaign? I thought it was about Lady Gaga) that isn't mentioned by name in the post.

You win the Irony Trophy for today!
posted by carsonb at 1:19 PM on May 12, 2010


carsonb, yes, I already admitted I didn't do it well... I was trying to avoid boosterism, a reason that I saw another campaign post deleted recently - I talked to cortex about how the post could have been written differently and I've learned.
posted by jardinier at 1:23 PM on May 12, 2010


Did you know words are just baby sentences?

Yeah, it's true.</smalL
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:24 PM on May 12, 2010


The Irony Trophy is a prestigious award, my friend, fit for a bit more of an acceptance speech than that I'm afraid. POOR SHOW.
posted by carsonb at 1:27 PM on May 12, 2010


"Just sayin - you guys talk a lot about transparency - I'm glad the actual reason for deletion is now posted somewhere. I'll try to make better posts. Thanks for explaining."

Ah, it's your post that was deleted.

The reasons are off the cuff and rarely all encompassing and especially with newer members often mindful of the poster's feelings. And sometimes funny. Complaining that cortex didn't write you an all encompassing deletion reason is silly; if you can't figure out why a post of yours (or anyone else's for that matter) was deleted just contact them (link in the footer at the bottom of every page). No need to stew in seething bewilderment.
posted by Mitheral at 1:27 PM on May 12, 2010


Zarq, you're right - but I was posting about the union campaign, not the gaga, I just didn't do it well.

Fair enough.

Just putting this out there...

In anticipation of June's upcoming 40th Annual Gay Pride Celebration and Parade in San Francisco, a flash mob (complete with marching band!) organized by San Francisco Pride at Work and "One Struggle, One Fight, gathered in the lobby of the Westin St. Francis in San Francisco and launched into a choreographed song-and-dance adaptation of Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance: “Don’t Get Caught in a Bad Hotel.” Their goal: to educate the thousands of visitors expected during Pride about hotels that refuse to offer "affordable, quality health care" to their workers. This stunt is part of a larger boycot campaign being waged by Sleep with the Right People and "UNITE HERE. Via

I would be willing to bet that if you waited 24 hours, you could post that or something like it completely without incident. :)
posted by zarq at 1:32 PM on May 12, 2010


Mitheral - no stewing here. Just noting that the reason posted was the response of the threadshitters - cortex admits that wasn't quite the reason - but if that had been the reason, it would have been a perfect example of what OC mentioned above, and the possible dangers of responding to threadshitting or even potential threadshitting with deletion. However, it's been explained that the reason for deletion was that it was a poorly written post in this case, which is a different matter. And I agree, upon reflection that the post should have been written about the campaign directly, even if that made it vulnerable to attacks for boosterism.
posted by jardinier at 1:33 PM on May 12, 2010


Preferably spelling "boycott" correctly, the way I didn't. :D

And no, I won't be posting it. But sincerely, feel free to.
posted by zarq at 1:34 PM on May 12, 2010


Zarq, yes, in fact I have already sent a similar draft to cortex and he said yep, that would be fine. However, a majority of FPPs are nothing like that and aren't deleted - see, for example the SLTY there now... which btw is a totally vapid and pointless video, but seems to be ok with everyone...

Whereas the police violence video OC posted was serious news and imho worth keeping, and even the gaga vid I posted is prompting some interesting discussions on the web.

It would appear that gaga, as a topic, is now equivelent to police violence - just noting that...
posted by jardinier at 1:39 PM on May 12, 2010


obligatory link to 13 year old boy bringing the house down with his take on Lady Gaga's Paparazzi ... because now that the most recent thread's down, there's nowhere else to dump it.
posted by philip-random at 1:41 PM on May 12, 2010


JESUS FUCK ENOUGH ALREADY
posted by Nothing... and like it at 1:41 PM on May 12, 2010


JESUS FUCK ENOUGH ALREADY

You could just stop reading...
posted by jardinier at 1:43 PM on May 12, 2010


> you guys talk a lot about transparency - I'm glad the actual reason for deletion is now posted somewhere.

You know, if you're so remorseful about your crappy post, you could stop being such a dick in this thread. Just sayin'.
posted by languagehat at 1:47 PM on May 12, 2010


I CAN'T STOP READING THIS IS METATALK DON'T YOU KNOW ANYTHING
posted by Nothing... and like it at 1:48 PM on May 12, 2010


Zarq, yes, in fact I have already sent a similar draft to cortex and he said yep, that would be fine.

Great!

However, a majority of FPPs are nothing like that and aren't deleted - see, for example the SLTY there now... which btw is a totally vapid and pointless video, but seems to be ok with everyone...

If they don't spark controversy, they're usually left alone.
posted by zarq at 1:48 PM on May 12, 2010


If they don't spark controversy, they're usually left alone.

Exactly, which was the WHOLE point of this thread about OCs post - whether or not that's a problematic way to mod.
posted by jardinier at 1:52 PM on May 12, 2010


languagehat, really? maybe you could take off your namecallinghat?
posted by jardinier at 1:54 PM on May 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


It would appear that gaga, as a topic, is now equivelent to police violence - just noting that...

Please do not start this. If you really feel aggrieved enough to make a bigger thing about this than what you have already done, please start a new MeTa thread and do not try to argue your point at comment 630 in this massive and exhausting days-old thread. What you have said is not true. What you have said is not supported by what we have said, or any evidence. I am sorry the deletion hurt your feelings. There are better ways of working through this.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:57 PM on May 12, 2010


Don't throw out irrelevancies jardinier - it was a mediocre post. Suck it up.
posted by GuyZero at 1:59 PM on May 12, 2010


jesus christ. he has sucked it up. he has admitted his wrong, he has agreed with cortex, he has pointed out where he needed clarification and thanked cortex for providing it. at this point, I'd say his biggest continuing problem is that he should bow out before you fuckers goad him into getting nasty. there's no need for a pileon.
posted by shmegegge at 2:09 PM on May 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


If you are calling me a fucker, it is likely you who needs to bow out. Everyone is responsible for their own nasty.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:12 PM on May 12, 2010


The Legacy of the Chyme
posted by Burhanistan at 2:14 PM on May 12, 2010


If you are calling me a fucker

what? no, I just threw the word out there carelessly. I don't actually think anyone is a fucker. I just use curses for fun sometimes.
posted by shmegegge at 2:16 PM on May 12, 2010


Maybe we should all just chill out.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:20 PM on May 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


I was just afraid languagehat's feeling were going to get hurt which was, in retrospect, not very likely.
posted by GuyZero at 2:23 PM on May 12, 2010


There has been a bit of a mod pileon in this thread and I never meant to add to it or ruffle any feathers - sincere apologies for that.

It's reposted now, with a focus on the political issue, so we can test the hypothesis.
posted by jardinier at 2:24 PM on May 12, 2010


Stuntposting: bad idea.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:26 PM on May 12, 2010


Meet the Fockers.
posted by gman at 2:30 PM on May 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well I think that in cases like his viz a viz prior incidents that in light of what we have been talking about... who am I kidding? I don't have anything to say that hasn't been said before, I just want to make comment 666 in this Devil of a MetaTalk thread.
posted by Kattullus at 2:53 PM on May 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


I quit smoking, I'm in a rotten mood, so I'll just go ahead and disagree with shmegegge because every single person in this thread is in fact a fucker. Possibly every single person on earth, but definitely everyone in this thread.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 3:26 PM on May 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


I can either make or not make a "smoker? I hardly knew 'er!" joke, whichever would help your mood the most.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:38 PM on May 12, 2010


What would help my mood would be a gun and some valium and maybe a giant pile of the decapitated heads of my enemies, but barring this I believe I would enjoy hearing the joke.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 3:40 PM on May 12, 2010


I'm not a fucker I'm sockpuppet for user 1738
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 3:42 PM on May 12, 2010


also the term we're looking for here is "tone argument"
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 3:46 PM on May 12, 2010


I was gonna say that a gun that fires valium would be kind of awesome but I can see how that plan could go wrong in about a half dozen different ways, and so yes but: "smoker? Damn near killed 'er!"
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:46 PM on May 12, 2010


...I do feel a bit better. What do ya know.

I still hate all of you, though. Hey has anyone seen the Eyeball Kid around these parts lately?
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 3:51 PM on May 12, 2010


Possibly every single person on earth, but definitely everyone in this thread.

Woah there duder have some sensitivity, for all you know there could be virgins in the thread. They're by definition not fuckers.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:52 PM on May 12, 2010


Oh and thanks, Cortex. Also, about 100 comments ago I think Hermitosis accidentally called you "Cotex", and that was pretty great, and I hope everyone noticed.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 3:53 PM on May 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm pretty numb to it at this point. I just sit on the floor of the shower, staring into the middle distance while the water courses over me, never hot enough, never hot enough, and try to remember the last time I felt anything at all.

And then: a donut.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:58 PM on May 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


It's a fair cop, guv, I'm a right fucker and no mistake. But remember folks, come polling day, I'm your fucker.
posted by Abiezer at 4:01 PM on May 12, 2010


Oh and thanks, Cortex. Also, about 100 comments ago I think Hermitosis accidentally called you "Cotex", and that was pretty great, and I hope everyone noticed.

We're pretty jaded to it by now.
posted by zarq at 4:05 PM on May 12, 2010


that thing that OC said about racism is actually really smart and I think this is one more example of "tone" being the most important thing in the face of bigotry--as long as you're polite you can be hurtful.

Oh, for fuck's sake -- that's not it at all.

Look -- there is a difference between "your IDEA sucks" and "YOU suck." I don't think anyone is objecting to "your IDEA sucks." It's the "YOU suck" that is where we get into the problem.

There was another OC-related kerfluffle where he dug up someone's past posting history and linked to it as some kind of "proof" that "all this other user's ideas are crap" or something similar. If that user's idea was crap, why not argue that the idea ITSELF is crap without trying to set up a straw man of "and the user himself is poopy too"?

THAT is the problem. It's not a matter of "politeness" or "tone," it's a matter of "attacking the person behind the idea is a dick move".

Seriously. Even I'VE grasped that concept, and I'm kind of an idiot.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:15 PM on May 12, 2010 [4 favorites]


No, I'm totally a fucker, it's cool.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:16 PM on May 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty numb to it at this point. I just sit on the floor of the shower, staring into the middle distance while the water courses over me, never hot enough, never hot enough, and try to remember the last time I felt anything at all.

"Why, Tracy, why?"
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:17 PM on May 12, 2010


what? no, I just threw the word out there carelessly.

Not a good idea idea in a community of thousands that crosses many cultures and nationalities. Some might think you were an ignorantly insensitive {insert your selected room quieting but not really meant to be hurtful (honest!) insult here}.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:22 PM on May 12, 2010


staring into the middle distance while the water courses over me, never hot enough, never hot enough

Seek dark, seek light, seek dark again.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 4:25 PM on May 12, 2010


Not a good idea idea in a community of thousands that crosses many cultures and nationalities. Some might think you were an ignorantly insensitive
OTOH somewhere out there in all that marvellous diversity will be a nation in whose language fucker is a compliment, full-time occupation or badge of attainment.
posted by Abiezer at 4:27 PM on May 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


There was another OC-related kerfluffle where he dug up someone's past posting history and linked to it as some kind of "proof" that "all this other user's ideas are crap" or something similar. If that user's idea was crap, why not argue that the idea ITSELF is crap without trying to set up a straw man of "and the user himself is poopy too"?

Jessamyn very succinctly addressed this in that thread:
Comment trawling is not okay. Saying "this user has a history of making provocative comments" is fine. Calling someone out the way OC did is not.
A focused review of a person's past posting history has traditionally been fair game in MeTa. But not on the Blue.
posted by zarq at 4:45 PM on May 12, 2010


I sort of wish this thread had been closed after Kattullus' comment so it could have been memorialized with a cool 666. Praise Satan.
posted by threetoed at 4:48 PM on May 12, 2010 [1 favorite]




I just sit on the floor of the shower, staring into the middle distance while the water courses over me, never hot enough, never hot enough

Sitting in the shower thinking
About what makes a mod
An outlaw or a leader
I'm thinking about power...
The ways a mod could use it
Or be banned by it
The water hits my neck
And I'm pissing on myself...
posted by homunculus at 5:27 PM on May 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


Praise Satan.
posted by Think_Long at 8:20 PM on May 12, 2010


also the term we're looking for here is "tone argument"

Not me, I prefer when people use their words instead of their terms.
posted by palliser at 8:49 PM on May 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


also the term we're looking for here is "tone argument"

This is not a tone argument problem, as we've said upthread.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:07 PM on May 12, 2010


This is the end
Beautiful thread.

This is the end
Prolific thread, the end.

It hurts to set you free
From my Recent Activity
The end of Gaga and fucker-fights
The end of hearing of Opt'mus Chyme
This... is... the...chickennnn.
posted by fleacircus at 5:05 AM on May 13, 2010


This is the end
Beautiful thread.


I wanted a thread. And for my sins, they gave me one.

As regards Cortex's point that OC's posts sometimes represented a lesser-but-still-undesirable-of-two evils...

I think one reason why a lot of people defend OC's posting is because humour has such an important role to play in fighting bigotry in the real world. In the face of bigotry, sometimes all you have the power to do is to laugh. By laughing, sometimes you can even change things. If an opinion comes to seem laughable to a lot of people, maybe that opinion will die back a bit.

So, when OC parodied someone, he seemed to be doing something that had long helped to make the world a better place - or at least, a slightly less bad place - for a lot of people in real life.

I realise that a lot of people didn't see bigotry where he did and I have a lot of sympathy with the people who basically seem to want a more tolerant and civil discourse. I hate having someone launch into something I've said, assuming that I'm a bad guy because of a single post of mine or whatever. At the same time, to be honest, I often did see bigotry where OC saw it and I often agreed with his judgements.
posted by lucien_reeve at 6:11 AM on May 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


Speaking of totally undeserved personal attacks... Diablevert complains that children are sexualized by modern media, and kipmanley accuses her of complicity with priestly sex abuse.
posted by anotherpanacea at 7:23 AM on May 13, 2010


Please flag it then. I don't want this MeTa thread to become the catch-all for "other things mods should pay attention to." That whole thread is a huge huge mess.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:43 AM on May 13, 2010


kipmanley should totally write for Esquire magazine circa 1966.
posted by chinston at 7:46 AM on May 13, 2010




Hey, just because I've been meaning to ask: is MeMail private? Or can/do you guys read that shit to see who is talking about who?
posted by Damn That Television at 9:04 AM on May 13, 2010


Uh oh.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:05 AM on May 13, 2010


We do not read other people's mefimail, no.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:06 AM on May 13, 2010


I'm guessing both. They don't read MeMail and there's nothing set up for them to do it, but if they dug around in the database they could read it if they wanted. So it's private in that no one reads it, but it's not encrypted or anything.

This is based on no evidence whatsoever.
posted by ODiV at 9:06 AM on May 13, 2010


Exactly. We're wholly committed to not going there. It lives in the db, we have access to the db, but we're not looking. We're a small team so we don't have to worry about prying eyes from some intern or something whose ethics on the question are less than well-formed.

For hardcore security purposes, mefimail should not be considered "secure" in that a breach of the db by a malicious third party would make that available. That's reason #17 or so to use the email client of your choice for heavy-duty or mission-critical communication needs; mefimail is a lightweight messaging system and is intended exactly and only for low-friction communication between users.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:10 AM on May 13, 2010


It's cool klang, they don't know yet!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:12 AM on May 13, 2010


Take your high-friction communication elsewhere, Blatcher.
posted by ODiV at 9:15 AM on May 13, 2010


mefimail is a lightweight messaging system

Pony Request: DMail. A Donut Dispenser Plugin for MeMail.
posted by zarq at 9:17 AM on May 13, 2010


For hardcore security purposes, mefimail should not be considered "secure" in that a breach of the db by a malicious third party would make that available.

Yeah, this was more or less kind of the question I was trying to ask -- didn't mean to sound too accusatory!
posted by Damn That Television at 9:22 AM on May 13, 2010




I never thought homunculus would make a funny in his inimitable style

bravo bravo

here's a bucket...
posted by infini at 11:04 AM on May 13, 2010


What's funny about these assholes walking if there isn't clear video of their offenses?
posted by Burhanistan at 12:29 PM on May 13, 2010


I'm sorry, I have the other glasses on, I totally overlooked the word "justice" in that sentence - (not being snarky) and read that as "police brutality completely dependent on good youtube videos"
posted by infini at 1:12 PM on May 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


"It's cool klang, they don't know yet!"

QUIET YOU FOOL!
posted by klangklangston at 9:00 PM on May 13, 2010


The weird part about that Gawker piece is that there is better video available. They say, "Police Brutality Justice Completely Dependent on Good YouTube Videos", but then they update saying, "Oh here's some better footage of the guy who didn't lose his job."
posted by ODiV at 9:05 PM on May 13, 2010


Klang
posted by infini at 1:08 AM on May 14, 2010


There's a restaurant near us named Thai Klang Dong.
posted by klangklangston at 7:25 AM on May 14, 2010


I'm not touching that one
posted by infini at 9:20 AM on May 14, 2010


For one thing, you'll probably need a bigger bucket.
posted by zarq at 9:30 AM on May 14, 2010


**men**
posted by infini at 9:49 AM on May 14, 2010


I have the other glasses on, I totally overlooked the word "justice"

Heh. Well this one is funny, I thought.

And this is distrubing: More Militarized Than the Military
posted by homunculus at 3:05 PM on May 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Dammit. Missed this whole drama last week, but I just wanted to say I'm sorry to see that OC is gone. I know he rubbed a lot of people the wrong way and caused some mod-headaches -- which I also don't like, because I like the mods (not to mention the mods) -- but goddammit if that dashing young curmudgeon didn't make me laugh hysterically on a pretty regular basis.
posted by scody at 11:13 AM on May 16, 2010 [4 favorites]


(and, damn, I hope bunnycup comes back too.)
posted by scody at 11:15 AM on May 16, 2010




It was a good FPP.



(Sorry to hear you left OC.)
posted by Skygazer at 12:20 PM on May 16, 2010


Yeah, I can't believe I missed a discussion of moderation styles and policy. I have such a great history with those. Nothing ever goes wrong.
posted by Justinian at 2:45 PM on May 16, 2010


Oh for fuck's sake.
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:59 PM on May 16, 2010


Aye - get tae fuck optimus - the site was better before you were here and the site will be better until you come back looking for your fuckin hero worship, wearin your cloak of humility.

I fuckin hate people who treat mefi like theyre giving an oration in a court.

Theres better people to be sad about their leavin than that bawbag - people that actually made this a great place to be, many moons ago - just before oc showed up.
posted by sgt.serenity at 4:07 PM on May 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


Classy Sgt S., real classy..
posted by Skygazer at 4:59 PM on May 16, 2010


Click on some favorites for my homies.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:02 PM on May 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm sorry OC is gone. Metafilter is worse for him being hounded off the site.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:33 PM on May 16, 2010 [4 favorites]


For OC: .

For Bunnycup: .

For tkchrist: .

For sgt.serenity: Suck it.
posted by schyler523 at 6:25 PM on May 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


Bawbag! I have a new insult.

"cloak of humility" - ok, now this is really funny. I don't think most people, even if they were totally on the OC fanwagon, would describe him as humble.
posted by HopperFan at 7:35 PM on May 16, 2010


I enjoyed imagining that first sentence being delivered on a windy cliff.
posted by palliser at 7:48 PM on May 16, 2010


I enjoyed imagining that first sentence being delivered on a windy cliff.

By Mel Gibson. With his face painted blue.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 9:10 PM on May 16, 2010


jessamyn: It has political implications.

Mostly for Americans.


Are you fucking joking? That is a fucking stupid excuse. More than 50% of the FPPs are US-dominant or US-centric or US-assumed-interest. You've trotted out this weak ass argument at least 3 times, and you should really admit that it is a crock of shit reason to delete something.
posted by paisley henosis at 9:42 PM on May 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


OC drinks like a Mormon baby even when he's a dead ghost from hell!!
posted by Damn That Television at 9:52 PM on May 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Blazecock Pileon writes "I'm sorry OC is gone. Metafilter is worse for him being hounded off the site."

This seems like a mis-characterization of what has happen.
posted by Mitheral at 10:20 PM on May 16, 2010


At this point, I'm going to accuse all of you of huffing household solvents.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:24 PM on May 16, 2010


Nice, paisley henosis quoted a comment over 10 days old in order to flame jessamyn. Props for sheer brazen assholery, I guess. Golf clap!
posted by Justinian at 11:40 PM on May 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


In other news, Ralph joined the site yesterday. Be kind....
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 5:11 AM on May 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'll bet he spoused you harder than anyone else.
posted by gman at 5:22 AM on May 17, 2010


Hi Ralph, welcome aboard! Try to take the site in stride. It's a mass collection of crazy at times, but overrall a damn fine place.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:28 AM on May 17, 2010


I swallowed my crayon.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 5:29 AM on May 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Justinian: Nice, paisley henosis quoted a comment over 10 days old in order to flame jessamyn. Props for sheer brazen assholery, I guess. Golf clap

Well, you're obviously still keeping up with the thread, so making a stink about me just now starting to read it…isn't stupid at all?

Shove it.
posted by paisley henosis at 6:18 AM on May 17, 2010


you should really admit that it is a crock of shit reason to delete something.

Every deletion has nuance and this was part of this one. Feel free to open a new MeTa thread if this is really important to you.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:29 AM on May 17, 2010


I know meTa's where we can be jerks to each other, but jeez, paisley.

It's not a crock of shit that a weak post got deleted for having a lot of flags and hoppitamoppita and some other weak post didn't get yanked because it didn't get flags. That's how things work around here.
posted by rtha at 6:30 AM on May 17, 2010


> Well, you're obviously still keeping up with the thread, so making a stink about me just now starting to read it…isn't stupid at all?

You think that's what he's making a stink about? Here, let me help you:

> Props for sheer brazen assholery

See, he's making a stink about your sheer brazen assholery. I join in his derision. Now you can tell me to shove it, too. Whee, isn't MetaTalk fun!
posted by languagehat at 6:31 AM on May 17, 2010


I'm going to market pudding contained in little dumpster and portapotty molded cups.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:17 AM on May 17, 2010


I would like to add my derision to languagehat's. FYI.
posted by desuetude at 7:57 AM on May 17, 2010


want some underwires to showcase your product, Burhanistan?
posted by infini at 7:58 AM on May 17, 2010


Please, infini. We're talking about something dignified like eating brown gloop out of a miniature replica of a personal public toilet. Let's keep it respectable.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:01 AM on May 17, 2010


Mmmmm pudding
posted by rtha at 8:25 AM on May 17, 2010


Pudding, you say ...
posted by Bookhouse at 9:04 AM on May 17, 2010


I'm eating yogurt. It is a poor substitute.
posted by rtha at 9:05 AM on May 17, 2010


Yeah, I could eat that baby instead.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:15 AM on May 17, 2010


I feel like I've seen that baby somewhere before...
posted by heyho at 9:18 AM on May 17, 2010


In other news, Ralph joined the site yesterday. Be kind....

Welcome, Ralph! :)
posted by zarq at 9:30 AM on May 17, 2010


Mornin' Ralph
posted by Think_Long at 9:45 AM on May 17, 2010


Pull up a chair and help yourself to a bowl of puréed baby, Ralph.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:01 AM on May 17, 2010


Mornin' Ralph

Pop a couple Advil and down some Gatorade.
posted by gman at 10:20 AM on May 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've also decided to disable my account - people change, communities change...

Oh wait, I'm not pretentious enough to make a public statement of my dissatisfaction towards the site.

In other news, I still love MeFi, and you should too. It seems very childish that people feel the need to publicly announce their departure. If you're going to leave, if you feel MeFi has reached some sort of climax and is now jumping the shark, just go. I don't feel sad at your departure and nobody else should either. My two cents and I'm sticking by it. I'm a little fed up with all the complaints lately of how MeFi has been degrading from "best of the web" to "meh of the web." Get over yourselves mmkay?

/rant
//will be hated probably, but won't disable my account because of it
posted by deacon_blues at 11:52 AM on May 17, 2010


Fuck yes, Advil and Gatorade. I knew I was needing something.
posted by Skygazer at 11:55 AM on May 17, 2010


As much as I appreciate the mods here for their overall goodness as people, I really wish this site had little to no moderation beyond killing spam. The enlightened despot system, for all its perks, has never left me feeling like we're a better site for it.
posted by mullingitover at 11:58 AM on May 17, 2010


There are, I am informed, a number of sites on the web that are essentially unmoderated. In my brushes with them, they have not given me the impression that they are fun places to hang out. Not that I don't have faith in mefites (mostly), but an unmoderated Metafilter would soon be filled to the brim with SLYT posts, GYOFB posts, ranty questions on askme, and more derails in fpps than we see now. How would that be a good thing?
posted by rtha at 12:13 PM on May 17, 2010


Christ, that's an awful awful deletion call jessamyn! We most definitely want to "look at these assholes" when said assholes hold positions of authority.

In fact, google says the phrase policebrutalityfilter has been used precisely once on the internet, sounds like we need far more posts about asshole cops.
posted by jeffburdges at 12:18 PM on May 17, 2010


In fact, google says the phrase policebrutalityfilter has been used precisely once on the internet, sounds like we need far more posts about asshole cops.

There's a big difference between "there should be more posts on the internet about police behavior", something I more or less agree with as far as that goes, and "there should be more posts on metafilter about police behavior", which really is not the case. We get enough of them, if not more than enough, without trying especially hard; Metafilter is not a police watchdog site and does not need to become one.

A post about excellent, tenacious police watchdog blogs or policy groups or local/state/federal police oversight/restraint movements would probably be a far better post for Metafilter than any given "here is another shitty thing the police did" post we see usually is, in fact.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:31 PM on May 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


rtha writes "There are, I am informed, a number of sites on the web that are essentially unmoderated. In my brushes with them, they have not given me the impression that they are fun places to hang out. Not that I don't have faith in mefites (mostly), but an unmoderated Metafilter would soon be filled to the brim with SLYT posts, GYOFB posts, ranty questions on askme, and more derails in fpps than we see now. How would that be a good thing?"

I should've made a disclaimer about AskMe, because that's one place where heavy-handed moderation is a Good Thing that keeps people on the task of answering questions. However, for the rest of the site, as long as the spam is kept out, I've got a perfectly good scrolling finger that takes me right past the stuff that I don't think is interesting. It's the "We decide what's worthy and what you can and can't do well" that rubs me the wrong way.

In my experience the unmoderated sites can be a disaster, yeah, but they can also shine. I think the thing that makes metafilter work is the uber-steep barrier to entry which keeps people invested in their identity here. IMHO this is overwhelmingly the factor which makes the site hum, and the moderation, aside from isolated incidents and spam assassination, is window dressing.
posted by mullingitover at 12:33 PM on May 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


oh poop burhanistan... fertilizer for rice fields? no?

anyway, i have been thinking about these 'changes' in metafilter too but wonder if its a transition stage between local community and global platform type growing pains?

back when I first joined 5 years ago the site was dead during the night for the west coast, now its not as hopping as the daytime but its not as lifeless either...

everything changes, the thing is to decide what the core essence of MeFi is and to hold on to that
posted by infini at 12:36 PM on May 17, 2010


certainly for one we didn't ever have almost 800 comment long chat threads on the grey but maybe a little pressure valve like this was needed? who knows...
posted by infini at 12:37 PM on May 17, 2010


We're pretty good at demonstrating what we don't do well. Mods don't need to tell us that. We perform it every time a post about [canonical list of things we don't do well] goes up.

And oh, but I'm so glad there were mods to yank posts during the last US election season. For instance. The whole front page seemed to be nothing but Sarah Palin minutiae for months. I can get that at dailykos.
posted by rtha at 12:39 PM on May 17, 2010


"If you're going to leave, if you feel MeFi has reached some sort of climax and is now jumping the shark, just go. I don't feel sad at your departure and nobody else should either. "

Well, I get sad when people leave.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 12:40 PM on May 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


EEP! I have that thing where you've never heard of something and then you hear it a billion times in a day.

Today my friend used "jumping the shark" on facebook and I was absolutely convinced he was mixing his metaphor, but Wikipedia to the rescue and I see it's some weird ass entertainment-based thing regarding the Fonz jumping over a shark.

Now here you go using it again.


wth.
posted by TomMelee at 12:52 PM on May 17, 2010


EEP! I have that thing where you've never heard of something and then you hear it a billion times in a day.

It's called the Baader-Sharkfonz phenomenon.
posted by Nothing... and like it at 12:58 PM on May 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


Welcome to your afterlife, TomMelee. We've been wondering when you'd arrive.
posted by heyho at 12:59 PM on May 17, 2010


TomMelee - you must have missed this thread too
posted by Think_Long at 1:00 PM on May 17, 2010


everything changes, the thing is to decide what the core essence of MeFi is and to hold on to that

Well... yes. But MeFi and its subsites serve different roles for different people. Narrowing down what its core essence is supposed to be might be kinda difficult, unless your guideline is going to be what it is now: "try to be kind to each other and don't start flamewars."

I primarily use AskMe as a wonderful, searchable information resource. These days, the only time I post a question is when I search and what I need hasn't already been asked. But some people use it purely for entertainment. Others use it to ask questions they already know the answer to. Or maybe they need advice and can't ask it in the "real world."

I like the fact that the mods steer the AskMe ship in such a way that questions get answered and extraneous noise is often filtered out. But I do get why that sort of moderation is a problem for some folks.
posted by zarq at 1:29 PM on May 17, 2010


"try to be kind to each other and don't start flamewars."
posted by infini at 1:30 PM on May 17, 2010


"try to be kind to each other and don't start flamewars."

Fits nicely on a hugbucket.
posted by zarq at 1:35 PM on May 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


*checks to see if the rice fields fit properly*
posted by hugbucket at 1:37 PM on May 17, 2010


Man, I'd never guess in a million years which user has the hugbucket account.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:39 PM on May 17, 2010


its my wife's account, how could you tell?
posted by infini at 1:45 PM on May 17, 2010


We're really just aiming for people being decent to each other. If you aim for kindness, that's sort of your deal.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:45 PM on May 17, 2010


We're really just aiming for people being decent to each other. If you aim for kindness, that's sort of your deal.

Also goes well on a hugbucket. :)
posted by zarq at 1:53 PM on May 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Man, I'd never guess in a million years which user has the hugbucket account.

pla?


:D
posted by zarq at 2:18 PM on May 17, 2010


"aiming for decent" (front)
"missed, hit kind" (back)
posted by infini at 2:20 PM on May 17, 2010


I don't know. If you're looking for something to convey warm, fuzzy vibes, "hugbucket" is far too ambiguous. It sounds like what a long haul trucker would call his inflatable sex doll lube jar or something.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:22 PM on May 17, 2010


If you're looking for something to convey warm, fuzzy vibes

that was perhaps over reaching for the highly improbable....this *is* the snarkfilter,no? besides your description sounds closer to the mark ;p
posted by infini at 2:26 PM on May 17, 2010


this thread already broke my mobile now its gonna kill my netbook, i just know it...
posted by infini at 2:26 PM on May 17, 2010


Stop at the highway rest stop for a dip in the hugbucket.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:40 PM on May 17, 2010


I'm holding out for the FaceHuggerBucket™.
posted by zarq at 2:50 PM on May 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Commenting is not love. It is a hammer we use to crush the enemy. Well, it'll dent your hugbucket at least, I know that much.
posted by Abiezer at 2:53 PM on May 17, 2010


It puts the favorite in the hugbucket, or it gets the hose again.
posted by BrotherCaine at 4:02 AM on May 18, 2010


It rubs the schmoopy on its skin or else it gets no favorites again.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:19 AM on May 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ok, but you'll have to get me between treatments because half of the time I'm covered in pustules and feces.
posted by Schmoopy at 7:31 AM on May 18, 2010


yo! lets have some respect here for ms. hugbucket eh? ;p
posted by infini at 1:27 PM on May 18, 2010


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