We're all snowflakes July 1, 2010 10:54 AM   Subscribe

I submit that it's not necessary to identify yourself as a special snowflake in your AskMe question. May we attempt to nip this growing meme in the bud before it gets too annoying?

Unless you're asking a general knowledge question, it's quite likely that the situation you're asking about is unique to you. It's assumed, isn't it?

I guess maybe people are putting it in as a disclaimer because they're afraid they're going to be judged for their question? Is that why the word is starting to show up above the fold almost daily? Is it apologetic, or is it something else? Maybe it's supposed to be funny? In any case, I have reached the point over the past week or so where if you call yourself a snowflake in your question, I'm going to roll my eyes at you. You may now roll your eyes at me, if you want.

No, I'm not posting this because I'm special. I'm posting it because I suspect that I'm not alone.

Also, not picking on anyone individually.
posted by mudpuppie to MetaFilter-Related at 10:54 AM (174 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

May we attempt to nip this growing meme in the bud before it gets too annoying?

It may be too late.
posted by OmieWise at 10:56 AM on July 1, 2010 [6 favorites]


Well I agree, it is distracting and unnecessary. I just simply assume everyone on this site is annoyingly "unique and quirky".
posted by 2bucksplus at 10:57 AM on July 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


posted by mudpuppie May we attempt to nip this growing meme in the bud before it gets too annoying?

Yes. The meme needs to vanish like a snowflake, melting on contact with the warm tongue of MetaTalk.
posted by mattdidthat at 10:58 AM on July 1, 2010 [15 favorites]


A lot of them are from Anonymous. You could cut the impact in half if you just sent them a memail and asked them nicely to stop.
posted by crunchland at 10:58 AM on July 1, 2010 [6 favorites]


I've been noticing the spike in these lately. And typically if I start noticing something, that means it's a bad thing.
posted by hermitosis at 10:59 AM on July 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


It seems to me as a form of self-effacement. "Oh, I'm so unique for having these mundane problems! Hamburger, etc. Nevertheless, I'm going to trouble you for advice on this." Yeah, it's sort of trite any more, but it's achieved traction and is likely to pop up now and again.
posted by Skot at 11:00 AM on July 1, 2010


There's gotta be some way to convince everyone that there's no way to convince everyone to behave or not behave in a certain way.
posted by carsonb at 11:00 AM on July 1, 2010 [32 favorites]


I was actually thinking about posting a question to MetaTalk -
what do they mean by snowflake - does it just mean white girl?

I thought a snowflake, in street lingo, was a white girl who dates black guys -
is that definition totally off-base? it certainly doesn't make sense with its use on mefi
posted by Flood at 11:01 AM on July 1, 2010


Everybody should be boring. Even snowflakes. Who the fuck do they think they are, thinking they're all special and shit?
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:02 AM on July 1, 2010


Flood: "I thought a snowflake, in street lingo, was a white girl who dates black guys "

What? Maybe in Cincinnati, but here it's cocaine. By saying you're a "special snowflake", you're asking for exceptionally pure (expensive) product.
posted by boo_radley at 11:03 AM on July 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Also, any use by me of the phrase 'special snowflake' should be held as acceptable under certain extenuating circumstances.
posted by carsonb at 11:04 AM on July 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Isn't it just shorthand for 'But here's the reason why this queston is different:'? As in, 'Should I break up with my boyfriend? Special snowflake details follow' = 'Should I break up with my boyfriend? I know this question has been asked a million times, but here's why this is different: [reasons].'

I feel like it's sort of a disclaimer/apology, but one that tries to stop the inevitable flood of 'previously' replies.
posted by Put the kettle on at 11:04 AM on July 1, 2010 [14 favorites]


what do they mean by snowflake - does it just mean white girl?

Yep, that's pretty much it.

(not really, but it makes each question a lot more interesting)
posted by Think_Long at 11:04 AM on July 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


Wow, looking through the search you linked there really is what looks like a clear uptick right around March of this year. I got curious as to whether there was a possible on-site prompt, and I did find this Metatalk thread from March 3rd, talking about t-shirts; I wonder if that managed to re-inject the phrase into folks' minds somewhat.

That said, I'm all for more variety and less rote repetition but it's hard to corral this sort of thing where folks on the site choose to use site lingo when they engage the site; see also hive and hivemind, for example. This metatalk might catch some folks' eyes and cut it out a bit, but mostly I think we're going to be at the whim of cyclical change here.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:05 AM on July 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I know it makes me sound like a special snowflake, but I have jagged, crystalline edges, made of frozen water.
posted by Greg Nog at 11:05 AM on July 1, 2010 [25 favorites]


Please hope me hive mind. That needs to die a sudden and painful death, too.
posted by fixedgear at 11:05 AM on July 1, 2010 [8 favorites]


Flood: go have another watch of Fight Club.

Hey, what are the Dust Brothers up to these days?
posted by carsonb at 11:06 AM on July 1, 2010


*shovels special snowflakes into pile. pees name on it.*
posted by jonmc at 11:07 AM on July 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


contact with the warm tongue of MetaTalk

I don't know whether I should give that a chance, because it might be fun, or just go with my "squicked out" instinct and run away, or sue for sexual harassment.
posted by orange swan at 11:08 AM on July 1, 2010


Metafilter: my "squicked out" instinct
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:13 AM on July 1, 2010


Occasionally, I will get a mass email to a lot of people. Someone then hits Reply to All with a message intended for only the original sender. Then someone else does it too. Then someone else steps in and says, "Hey, you. Stop hitting Reply to All." Then someone else says, "Hey you too. Stop hitting Reply to All to tell us not to hit Reply to All."

Then you have chaos and the irony is unbearable...
posted by nineRED at 11:13 AM on July 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


// ==UserScript==
// @name snowflake
// @namespace snowflake
// @include http://ask.metafilter.com/
// @include http://ask.metafilter.com/index.cfm*
// ==/UserScript==




(function () {

var xpath = "//div[@class='copy']";

var candidates = document.evaluate(xpath, document, null, XPathResult.ORDERED_NODE_SNAPSHOT_TYPE, null);

for (var cand = null, i = 0; (cand = candidates.snapshotItem(i)); i++) {
if(cand.innerHTML.indexOf('special snowflake') > 0) {
cand.style.display = 'none';
}
}

})();
posted by sanko at 11:15 AM on July 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


I've noticed a few recent ones, but the link really makes it obvious, especially since July 2009 (which is when the Special Snowflake t-shirts went on sale). I wonder is occurrences of tl;dr have risen as well?

We should sell "yeti rules" shirts and see if it effects AskMe.
posted by yeti at 11:15 AM on July 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Everybody should be boring.

Couldn't hurt, at least in AskMe.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:15 AM on July 1, 2010


I'd like to be nipped in the bud from time to time.
posted by The Whelk at 11:16 AM on July 1, 2010 [5 favorites]


I bet Snoop does too.
posted by special-k at 11:16 AM on July 1, 2010


BTW: The first rule of yeti is that we talk about him all the time.
posted by yeti at 11:16 AM on July 1, 2010


$20, same as in town.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:17 AM on July 1, 2010


Anyone got the haps on that yeti guy? He seems cool.
posted by Skot at 11:18 AM on July 1, 2010


Someone should post a question asking if we're using "snowflake" more often lately so that everyone can say it's just confirmation bias.
posted by 0xFCAF at 11:18 AM on July 1, 2010 [11 favorites]


"You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake. You are the same decaying organic matter as everyone else, and we are all a part of the same compost pile." - Tyler Durden "Fight Club". When viewed through the lens as "Fight Club" as a book/movie about fascism, that quote takes on new meaning.

I think the phrase is used to mean "I know I am acting like I am all special and nobody else has problems equal to or similar to me, but I know that's not the case and really I am just big boring dumb ol' me." It is for that reason I do not like the phrase. You are special. No more or less special than anyone else, but special none the less. The observable universe is 92 billion light years across and 13.75 ±0.17 billion years old and we are the only intelligent life we know of which exists in all that space and all that time. I would say the 6.8 billion of us are pretty fucking special and deserve to consider ourselves as such.
posted by ND¢ at 11:22 AM on July 1, 2010 [15 favorites]


what do they mean by snowflake - does it just mean white girl?

Each snowflake (like, the actual thing) is supposed to be unique, even though with our eyesight they all look pretty much the same, and there are blizzardsfull of them. So a snowflake = unique variation of something, usually of a super-common type of question.

It's a way of saying "Yeah, I know there are pages and pages of questions on AskMe that ask the same basic thing (for example, I have a crush on my friend, how do I take it to the next level?), BUT the specific details of my situation make it different than the rest." I think the special part is to emphasize the deprecating nature of the label ("I'm different from everyone, but I get that thinking so seems obnoxious, so I'll be jokey about it").

Sometimes it means, "I don't like the answers to past questions exactly like mine except for some minor detail, and I want different ones."

And sometimes it means "I feel like venting about this problem, so here is everything I'm dealing with, relevant or not."
posted by sallybrown at 11:22 AM on July 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


I know it makes me sound like a special snowflake, but I have jagged, crystalline edges, made of frozen water.

Nope. That's just a regular, run-of-the-mill type snowflake. A special snowflake would be thirty feet wide, asymmetrical, and made from satin coffin liners. Also, it would look a little bit like Adolphe Menjou, if he were Chinese.
posted by Atom Eyes at 11:23 AM on July 1, 2010 [12 favorites]


It's better than being nipped in the butt. Oh and tl;dr? I saw someone use 'teal deer' the other day and I had to use the google, as I am elderly.
posted by fixedgear at 11:25 AM on July 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


I agree with mudpuppie.

I fucking hate memes.
posted by Afroblanco at 11:26 AM on July 1, 2010


Metafilter: I fucking hate memes.
posted by The Whelk at 11:28 AM on July 1, 2010 [7 favorites]


"Special snowflake information" means "details." Other than being cutesy, there's nothing wrong with this. It's usually important to include specific details in AskMe questions. This is not a big deal.

... if you call yourself a snowflake in your question, I'm going to roll my eyes at you. You may now roll your eyes at me, if you want.

Yep. Both.
posted by nangar at 11:31 AM on July 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, it's sort of trite any more,

something about this usage of "anymore" to mean 'nowadays" makes me go all SACPOP militant prescriptive grammarian with the howling fantods.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:33 AM on July 1, 2010 [10 favorites]


Does this mean everyone with the shirt has to burn it?
posted by desjardins at 11:33 AM on July 1, 2010


Other than being cutesy, there's nothing wrong with this.

"Other than that, Mrs Lincoln...."
posted by enn at 11:34 AM on July 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


It's simple really. Special snowflake connotes cute and cute it only acceptable for small children, puppy dogs, pussy cats etc.

Grow up.
posted by philip-random at 11:34 AM on July 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh come on, all snowflakes are special.
posted by Elmore at 11:35 AM on July 1, 2010


Sorry, PA. I get that alot.
posted by Skot at 11:36 AM on July 1, 2010


Dear AskMe: I find myself getting more and more annoyed lately when people amuse themselves with in-jokes. I'm not sure why I'm so sensitive to it, but for some reason I get annoyed when people are having fun in a way that I find tiresome. I've tried to make this about me by asking people to stop, but that hasn't been successful. How can I learn to live and let live, and accept that people are allowed to have fun in their own way so long as it doesn't hurt anybody -- and that perpetuating a meme that I find tiresome doesn't actually hurt anybody?
posted by davejay at 11:39 AM on July 1, 2010 [22 favorites]


Anyone got the haps on that yeti guy? He seems cool.
Well, that may be the case, but he's no dortmunder.
posted by BeerFilter at 11:40 AM on July 1, 2010


I'm more like special hail that damages your car's paint and ruins crops.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:44 AM on July 1, 2010


I generally stop reading and jump to the next question when I see that phrase. Problem solved. For me anyway. Not so helpful for the special snowflake asking the question.
posted by COD at 11:44 AM on July 1, 2010


If you were a child molester or someone who talked during a movie, you might be a special snowflake when the special hell freezes over.
posted by adipocere at 11:48 AM on July 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Please hope me hive mind. That needs to die a sudden and painful death, too.

I HATE THAT
posted by zarq at 11:48 AM on July 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Stone cold busted.

And don't say you were using it ironically. And that took a long time to find cause you use the word "hope" a lot. I would look into that if I were you Obama.
posted by ND¢ at 11:55 AM on July 1, 2010 [6 favorites]


I submit that if you need to point out your snowflakiness then you are probably asking a question about a relationship.

There is no useful answer to your question. Good luck. Let's be safe out there.
posted by Babblesort at 11:57 AM on July 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


HA! Okay, you got me. :D

I didn't think I've ever used it in that context, anywhere. That's hilarious. Nice catch.


Yes. I know that I use the words 'hope' and 'hopeful' a lot. Optimism isn't a bad thing.
posted by zarq at 11:59 AM on July 1, 2010


I still hate it, though. ;)
posted by zarq at 11:59 AM on July 1, 2010


DTMFA
posted by fuq at 12:00 PM on July 1, 2010


I wonder if these harmless bits of shorthand and idiom bother y'all as much as MetaTalk posts complaining about harmless bits of shorthand and idiom bother me. Because they bother me a fair bit.

But not enough to make a MetaTalk post about it.
posted by 256 at 12:07 PM on July 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Is this where the getting annoyed with memes meme starts?
posted by ob at 12:07 PM on July 1, 2010


Memes Suck!! right guys?? ..guys?
posted by pwally at 12:10 PM on July 1, 2010


How about those people that are so annoyed about memes? Man, they're annoying.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:12 PM on July 1, 2010


It's memes all the way down.
posted by Babblesort at 12:12 PM on July 1, 2010


Oh, and please don't memail people about using terms like "special snowflake" and "beanplate" and "please hope me."

I've been around here for a while, so it would take a lot more than this to chase me off now. But, if I was a new user and in response to my first AskMe I received a helpful MeMail saying: "Just so you know, we've decided 'special snowflake' isn't cool anymore," well, I'd probably start thinking it wasn't the wisest five dollars I ever spent.
posted by 256 at 12:12 PM on July 1, 2010 [12 favorites]


> Oh, and please don't memail people about using terms like "special snowflake" and "beanplate" and "please hope me."


The only mention of that here was a joke.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:15 PM on July 1, 2010


I blame rory. Also Wilson "Snowflake" Bentley.
posted by TedW at 12:15 PM on July 1, 2010


Yeah, I've kind of had it with that meme as well.
posted by A Special Snowflake at 12:16 PM on July 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


carsonb: There's gotta be some way to convince everyone that there's no way to convince everyone to behave or not behave in a certain way.

Does AskMe have a mission statement? Because, if not, I nominate that.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:17 PM on July 1, 2010


Yeah, I've kind of had it with that meme as well.
posted by A Special Snowflake

Soooo predictable.
posted by gman at 12:19 PM on July 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well, aren't you the
posted by grobstein at 12:19 PM on July 1, 2010


The only mention of that here was a joke.

Oh thank god. Sense of humour fail on my part. That said, the same objection applies to almost any proactive bud-nipping.
posted by 256 at 12:19 PM on July 1, 2010


Fucking memes. How do they work?
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:20 PM on July 1, 2010


I find myself getting more and more annoyed lately when people amuse themselves with in-jokes. I'm not sure why I'm so sensitive to it, but for some reason I get annoyed when people are having fun in a way that I find tiresome.

You're totally right. MeFi should be more like late-night talk shows, where we see the same tired gags trotted out night after night after night.
posted by Afroblanco at 12:22 PM on July 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well, AZ... When a mommy meme and a daddy meme love each other very much....
posted by zarq at 12:22 PM on July 1, 2010


Wouldn't a genuinely special snowflake be one that was not, in fact, special?

WHOA DUDE I'M BLOWING MY MIND HERE
posted by everichon at 12:26 PM on July 1, 2010 [7 favorites]


})();

Greasemonkey automatically wraps your script in an anonymous function -- and in fact you can use the @unwrap directive in a comment to disable it -- so doing this yourself in the script is extraneous and unnecessary.
posted by Rhomboid at 12:30 PM on July 1, 2010


If I could blow my own mind I'd ... let you finish the joke.
posted by cgc373 at 12:31 PM on July 1, 2010


"You are all individuals!"

"I'm not."

"SHHHHHH."
posted by grapefruitmoon at 12:31 PM on July 1, 2010


I thought a snowflake, in street lingo,

Does this place look street to you?
posted by desuetude at 12:34 PM on July 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


> If I could blow my own mind I'd ... let you finish the joke.

...be able to enjoy surges of dopamine and endorphin levels without drugs, exertion, nor external stimuli and would probably not be able to wipe my own arse since I'd lost the ability to turn it off?
posted by Burhanistan at 12:36 PM on July 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


(the dopamine surges, mind you; the arse would be intermittent.)
posted by Burhanistan at 12:37 PM on July 1, 2010


And remember, friends, there's no "i" in "meme".

* feels out walls of invisible box *
posted by everichon at 12:39 PM on July 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Look, it is because of the pent up demand for Special Snowflake T-shirts, which were sold out and now cannot even be seen on the MetaFilter store tab. What store tab, you say? See what I mean?

I understand this need to label oneself a Special Snowflake, to inform all those fools out there who might think I am an Ordinary Snowflake. That's why I was driven to buy this shirt (short sleeve girly version).

For those who are truly irked by people afflicted with the burning need to bear the label, Special Snowflake, there is this alternative clothing choice.

Anyway, I predict that this self-designating will continue, making some of you mad with irritation, until the store re-opens.
posted by bearwife at 12:40 PM on July 1, 2010




something about this usage of "anymore" to mean 'nowadays" makes me go all SACPOP militant prescriptive grammarian with the howling fantods.

I remember being really struck the first few times I encountered "anymore" in a positive context; I had grown up saying things like "you can't get that anymore" or "Alice doesn't live here anymore", but the negated versions would just grind my ear off. But to the best of my knowledge it's a common bit of idiolect.

I'm curious if there's a strong regional dialect issue there, where the Pacific Northwest just doesn't have that usage, or if it's spottier in geographic terms and tied to something else, or what.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:47 PM on July 1, 2010


If you deny the special snowflake nature of other Mefites, you deny your own.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 1:00 PM on July 1, 2010


It's just a shorthand for "Look, I know there have already been a lot of similar questions but I am really in need of advice tailored specifically to me." LIKTHABALOSQBIARINOATSTM is just unwieldy.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:01 PM on July 1, 2010


I remember being really struck the first few times I encountered "anymore" in a positive context; I had grown up saying things like "you can't get that anymore" or "Alice doesn't live here anymore", but the negated versions would just grind my ear off. But to the best of my knowledge it's a common bit of idiolect.

It reminds me of my late grandma. :( She was a midwesterner, as a data point.
posted by mudpuppie at 1:02 PM on July 1, 2010


Fine fine i'll try it again.

What to do about multiple job offers when you've accepted one, and are the same decaying organic matter as everything else? [more inside]


posted by a young man in spats at 1:02 PM on July 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Maybe replace the special snowflake phrase with special hailstone? So much more impact.
posted by Cranberry at 1:06 PM on July 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Unremarkable Hailstones is the name of my next band.
posted by mattdidthat at 1:09 PM on July 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Stay out of Metafilter, memes! Stay out of Metafilter, deadbeat! Keep your ugly fucking goldbricking ass out of my web community!
posted by two lights above the sea at 1:13 PM on July 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


We're all snowflakes

I've raised it before, and I'll keep raising it - "we" are not all snowflakes.

It's just a simple request regarding etiquette - keep your mind open. It's part of what makes metafilter special. If we were all from the same variety of frozen water it'd be much more boring.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:20 PM on July 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


When I was much younger, I did some work for the older brother of a friend of mine. This guy co-owned a pharmacy. The company was called Goldbrick, Inc. It was a contraction of the last names of the two owners, Goldberg and Zebrick. My father, a WWII vet, saw the check that I got in payment and burst out laughing. It didn't mean what they thought it meant.
posted by fixedgear at 1:30 PM on July 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


The only meme on here that really annoys me is 'fixed that for you.'

Too much effort to read something that is probably not going to turn out to be that clever anyway.
posted by Put the kettle on at 1:31 PM on July 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


fixedgear: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Inconceivable!
posted by two lights above the sea at 1:34 PM on July 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hey, what's up with the top tags on user profiles? Does any actually use that?
posted by mullacc at 1:35 PM on July 1, 2010


I meant "anyone."

Don't tease me.
posted by mullacc at 1:36 PM on July 1, 2010


One of my most used tags on AskMe is "poop."

I think this says a lot about my life.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 1:44 PM on July 1, 2010


The spice poops must flow.
posted by Babblesort at 1:46 PM on July 1, 2010


I have been thinking about this too.

It's a direct result of the bizarre nerd-rage that gets directed at "relationship-filter"* questions sometimes: Hundreds of nearly-identical questions about computers or Python code or types of batteries are totally fine, but the same people seem to think that all human relationships are exactly the same, and a waste of time to consider individually.


*Another term I could stand to never read again.

posted by drjimmy11 at 1:51 PM on July 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


grapefruitmoon, ehe fact that I know I poop like your SO says a lot about my life.
posted by cjorgensen at 1:55 PM on July 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


By posting this I'm probably becoming that person who's the third person to post an Onion article in the same thread but on the remote chance it hasn't been posted twice already here's a vaguely relevant McSweeney's article:

"Hardly! It's internet slang, and it's what you'll be making liberal use of to convince your boss and colleagues you're still relevant. But how? Don't om nom nom (see #6) your fingernails just yet! Follow these instructions and save your career.
"



But let me tell you, you'll pry om nom nom from my cold dead keyboard-claw hands.

For the record I think special snowflake is cute, and "FTFY" and starting sentences with "Um" are abominations.

Can we all get a check list of what we find abominable? Because I think "what it says on the tin" is cute too but that probably just means it's tired.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 1:57 PM on July 1, 2010


"I thought a snowflake, in street lingo, was a white girl who dates black guy"

My propensity for dating (half-)Jewish chicks makes me think I need a shirt that says "חלה atcha boy"
posted by Eideteker at 2:00 PM on July 1, 2010


Memes are not killed through paying more attention to them; they can only be ignored. I mean, just look at Candlejack - years later almost no one
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:02 PM on July 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


You're totally right. MeFi should be more like late-night talk shows, where we see the same tired gags trotted out night after night after night.

No, I think your persistent whining is great just like it is. kthxbai
posted by slogger at 2:16 PM on July 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Man, I just cannot give a shit about this.
posted by josher71 at 2:17 PM on July 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Isn't it just shorthand for 'But here's the reason why this queston is different:'?

This is what I've seen too. It's because people are asking a double, and they know it's a double but they don't want to go take the effort to apply all the advice out already there to their situation, instead asking us for pre-tailored advice. I think its part everyone thinking they're special (when they quite often aren't, that job one was a classic example), and part people wanting to talk about themselves. I don't think the questions them self are a problem as such as they are often enough actually different, although I do wish we were harder on doubles in general, but the snowflake thing makes me roll my eyes because it makes it really clear the person knows they're posting a double and are doing it anyway. But I figure they reap the reward of anyone asking annoying or badly written questions in any way, some people roll their eyes instead of answering so there are less good answers. Either they don't get what they need and find the advice somewhere else or they get good enough answers anyway and either way I still only have to read and reply to the ones that don't annoy me.

Apparently I'm writing really long sentences today.
posted by shelleycat at 2:37 PM on July 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I remember being really struck the first few times I encountered "anymore" in a positive context; I had grown up saying things like "you can't get that anymore" or "Alice doesn't live here anymore", but the negated versions would just grind my ear off. But to the best of my knowledge it's a common bit of idiolect.


Because I am a special linguistics snowflake I must beanplate this.

cortex, it's called "positive anymore" and I know from first hand experience that it exists in many Philadelphia dialects; it's attested to in various Midwestern and Canadian dialects as well. It sounds weird to people who don't have it in their dialect because for most speakers, any is a negative polarity item, which can only occur in a specific environment (contrast I didn't eat anything with *I ate anything). Here's a paper (pdf) on "positive anymore" in Canadian dialects: Who's positive anymore by Allan Haycock at the University of Toronto. Here's one (unfortunately behind Jstor's wall) discussing the phenomenon in Pennsylvania: Positive Anymore in Southeastern Pennsylvania by Kenneth Shields. Ok, back to dissertating.
posted by tractorfeed at 2:37 PM on July 1, 2010 [10 favorites]


(N.B.: I actually have no idea if I just used those two meme phrases correctly, especially "beanplate". What the hell, though -- it's lucky I'm a descriptivist!)
posted by tractorfeed at 2:39 PM on July 1, 2010


No, I think your persistent whining is great just like it is. kthxbai

You called?
posted by kthxbi at 2:42 PM on July 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


on preview: jinx, tractorfeed!

I had never heard this construction before (grew up Canadian Pacific Northwest), but it fascinates me. I had to read the original sentence a couple of times to make sense of it because my brain so strongly associates "anymore" with the negative.

There's an interesting discussion of "positive anymore" in these two blog posts: Positive Anymore, Positive Anymore 2: Revenge of the Isogloss.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 2:43 PM on July 1, 2010


Because I think "what it says on the tin" is cute too but that probably just means it's tired.

Er, 'does what it says on the tin' is English, not Internet.
posted by Put the kettle on at 2:52 PM on July 1, 2010


I want people to stop apologizing in any way for daring to post something.

Just give me the damn post. I'm here to read what you have to say.

Then I want moderation to crush self-appointed member thread police with an iron hand.

Because that's mainly what's making people afraid of their own shadows around this place, of which phenomenon the 'special snowflake' (don't hit me) is only one manifestation.
posted by jamjam at 2:55 PM on July 1, 2010 [10 favorites]


I had never heard this construction before (grew up Canadian Pacific Northwest), but it fascinates me. I had to read the original sentence a couple of times to make sense of it because my brain so strongly associates "anymore" with the negative.

*scratches head*

I wonder where I picked it up, then. I grew up in Oregon and Idaho and after graduating high school, moved to the Pacific Northwest, where I've lived ever since.
posted by Skot at 2:55 PM on July 1, 2010


Dudes, positive anymore has its own (brief) Wikipedia page. They blame the Irish.
posted by purpleclover at 2:58 PM on July 1, 2010


something about this usage of "anymore" to mean 'nowadays" makes me go all SACPOP militant prescriptive grammarian with the howling fantods.

Piggybacking on cortex's response, this is a great example of an isogloss – "[a] geographical boundary of a certain linguistic feature, such as the pronunciation of a vowel, the meaning of a word, or use of some syntactic feature. Major dialects are typically demarcated by whole bundles of isoglosses."

I first noticed the non-SAE use of 'anymore' when I lived in Kentucky 12 years ago...since then I've found that people who use 'anymore' this way have usually been from that general area. Another isogloss that seems particular to that region is the pronunciation of 'greasy' as 'greazy'.

Fun with words, yay.
posted by iamkimiam at 2:58 PM on July 1, 2010


Ha! I'm late AND wrong (sorta).
posted by iamkimiam at 2:59 PM on July 1, 2010


Does this place look street to you?

Well, yeah. It's paved in dark grey, with white and yellow linear markings. Looks like a street to me.
posted by galadriel at 3:05 PM on July 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Since I feel called out, I will explain why I used the term in my recent question.

I was asking for something that many, many people have asked before-- a suggestion for a cookbook. However, I didn't want to get answers that simply referred me to those other threads because I had specific requirements. In my opinion, that's part of what makes AskMe great. It's easy to find a list of good cookbooks online, and it's even possible to find generic lists of good cookbooks with pictures, or good cookbooks that are kosher, etc. But it's not easy to find lists of good cookbooks that are printed on glossy paper, have pictures, don't have much pork, are not necessarily kosher, and emphasize whole grains. Tapping into thousands of smart people who can make facile connections unhindered by Boolean search terms is amazing.

So I put in the meme-y special snowflake identifier as a way of emphasizing the uniqueness of the question, acknowledging that I was overriding standard pre-question search behavior, and hopefully derailing the litany of "someone asked a similar question before." Because I'm pretty sure no one has ever asked that particular question. Like a snowflake, you know?

And I think that it helped me to get some really great answers, soon to be marked as such. Of course, there were people who totally ignored the parameters, but, such is life on the internet.
posted by charmcityblues at 3:14 PM on July 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Skot: I wonder where I picked it up, then. I grew up in Oregon and Idaho and after graduating high school, moved to the Pacific Northwest, where I've lived ever since.

Did you maybe get it from a relative who was raised somewhere else? (I've picked up a lot of my mom's expressions but they are not commonly used where I grew up.)
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 3:16 PM on July 1, 2010


Can someone write a greasemonkey script that replaces "special snowflake" with "narcissist"?
posted by 23skidoo at 3:23 PM on July 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


I didn't want to get answers that simply referred me to those other threads because I had specific requirements

Right, and the way to not get those kind of answers is to list specific qualities that you're interested in, which you did.

Or to put it another way, do you really think there was anyone that would have read your question with its numerous specifics and was about to just dump a bunch of "Previously" links to unrelated questions, but then saw the word 'snowflake' in the title and said, "Oh, this is different and special, I won't do that!"
posted by Rhomboid at 3:25 PM on July 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


grapefruitmoon, ehe fact that I know I poop like your SO says a lot about my life.

I'm kind of glad to know he's not the only one suffering from that particular form of insanity. Kind of.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:32 PM on July 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


What I'm saying is that everybody knows that every asker considers their question new and unique and not covered by past questions. It's an unstated assumption of every question. So either the question really is unique, or it has been partially covered before: that will depend on its content, not on what magic words it uses. It fails the "what if everybody did this?" test to try to self-label your own question as special.
posted by Rhomboid at 3:39 PM on July 1, 2010


extraneous and unnecessary

Hee!
posted by matthewr at 3:43 PM on July 1, 2010 [1 favorite]




I REALLY think we should ban the term "meme"...you know effectively kill this Hydra like Hercules did...rather than fight it the wrong way.

Once we ban "meme" people will stop referencing that term to mention a new meme. They'll realize thats 2 nonfunny nonsarcastic things on metafilter...and that turns their comment into a positive...so they won't post it.
posted by hal_c_on at 3:54 PM on July 1, 2010


Wow, looking through the search you linked there really is what looks like a clear uptick right around March of this year. I got curious as to whether there was a possible on-site prompt, and I did find this Metatalk thread from March 3rd, talking about t-shirts; I wonder if that managed to re-inject the phrase into folks' minds somewhat.

Whoa does that mean metafilter started a new hit phrase from a t-shirt...rather than the t-shirt from the hit phrase?

How life imitates art on metafilter. How meta.

Eat my shorts, man.
posted by hal_c_on at 4:00 PM on July 1, 2010


Can we all get a check list of what we find abominable?
How 'bout the meaningless little "." that some folks here insist on putting on any thread about dead stuff?

I mean, I realize nothing says, "I will remember you always" like taking .5 seconds out of your busy day to press the period key and click Post Comment (and pissing away an inch of screen real estate for everyone reading potentially useful comments in the thread), but surely there's a better way to express your heartfelt grief.

Maybe a gesture that's actually meaningful, like sending a dollar to a related charity? Or even making a related comment along with your period, to show that your goodwill is accompanied by minor thought?

Just some suggestions...
posted by coolguymichael at 4:01 PM on July 1, 2010


I find I dislike most of the memes here, for some reason. I think it's because it doesn't take any thought to post a "FTFY" or to call something beanplating. And you're not being clever or cute when you say "nom nom nom." WTF is that about anyway? Who do you think you are, the fucking cookie monster?

Oh, and this special snowflake thing needs to die a violent, snow-melting death. I'm thinking flamethrowers.
posted by malapropist at 4:48 PM on July 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Look here, people.

I wore the MeFi Special Snowflake to San Francisco last week. I got a lot of compliments on it. It's out in the wild now. There's no turning back.

I'm so sorry.
posted by FlamingBore at 4:53 PM on July 1, 2010


Wow, I didn't know it was so annoying, and I'll refrain from using it in the future. :P
posted by patheral at 5:10 PM on July 1, 2010


Er, that's MeFi Special Snowflake T-shirt.
posted by FlamingBore at 5:12 PM on July 1, 2010


I am Cookie Monster, and I will take pains to prevent anyone from disabusing me of this fact, usually through digestion. OM NOM NOM
posted by carsonb at 5:24 PM on July 1, 2010


No two grains of sand are alike either, but you see people wearing T-shirts about that.
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 6:04 PM on July 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Like this person, for instance. That wasn't a typo or anything.
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 6:10 PM on July 1, 2010


Hope! Someone DTMFing plate of beans on my schmoopie snowflakes!

Fix that for me?
posted by marimeko at 6:21 PM on July 1, 2010


SON I AM DISAPPOINT




(oops)
posted by Wuggie Norple at 6:46 PM on July 1, 2010


There is really no meme worse than FTFY. I wonder if people who drop that bloody stool into the conversation actually think they're being clever.
posted by Afroblanco at 7:12 PM on July 1, 2010


I agree that it is overused. If your question was totally generic, you probably wouldn't have to post it.
posted by ishotjr at 7:46 PM on July 1, 2010


I blame rory. Also Wilson "Snowflake" Bentley.

Ah, yes. Wilson Bentley of Jericho, VT. And then there is Ukichiro Nakaya.
posted by ericb at 7:57 PM on July 1, 2010


Let's face it. There is a category of Ask question -- often asked anonymously -- that is not actually seeking an answer to a question as such but rather a chance to pour out the Asker's heart and have her/his own views amplified and affirmed. I say this is true of many relationship questions and many other human relations questions. It's chatfilter/lonelyheartsfilter. Some people love that shit. I see the entertainment value too. Whatever.

But there is something disingenuous about the special snowflake meme, essentially an excuse for asking the same damn question for the hundredth time, so the same damn people can weigh in with their same opinions about the nature of relationships, gender differences, and so forth, usually in florid notes of misogyny or misandry as appropriate.

There is never enough context, and the asker is always an unreliable witness. I find it fairly tiresome. But by all means, we know you're a special snowflake or you wouldn't need to ask how to get over a broken heart once again.
posted by fourcheesemac at 8:12 PM on July 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


No two grains of sand are alike either, but you see people wearing T-shirts about that.
...
Like this person, for instance. That wasn't a typo or anything.
posted by fantabulous timewaster


*Snort*

By your standards no two ball bearings in the history of manufacturing have ever been alike.

And that's the only left-justified T-shirt writing I've ever seen.
posted by jamjam at 8:41 PM on July 1, 2010


Yer a special snowflake?

Fucking melt.
posted by klangklangston at 9:35 PM on July 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


My panties are moistened by their melting.
posted by flabdablet at 10:01 PM on July 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Talking about memes, anyone have a reciped for toasted ones? Or is it too early in the thread for this?
posted by BozoBurgerBonanza at 10:17 PM on July 1, 2010


Put the kettle on: "Er, 'does what it says on the tin' is English, not Internet"

I just googled it to see if the phrase originated somewhere other than the Ronseal adverts (it didn't) and discovered that the phrase is a registered trademark. Given how often it gets used as a joke, the person maintaining that little TM has about as thankless a job as his equivalent over at the National Pork Board.

Also, Wikipedia says those commercials first aired sixteen years ago, so now I feel uncomfortably old.
posted by the latin mouse at 11:56 PM on July 1, 2010


To be honest, when i go read a special snowflake question i expect some form of uniqueness, when in fact those have been the most banal.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 1:34 AM on July 2, 2010


my mom says i'm cool
posted by The Whelk at 5:24 AM on July 2, 2010


"Nom" is a perfectly functional verb!

I use it in real life! Because it is the best. None of the other eating-things verbs are quite like it; they're not onomatopoeic in the same way.

Also, it is cute like baby dinosaurs.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 6:38 AM on July 2, 2010


Does this mean that we're done with the moritorium on meta posts about moratoria? Coz I have a whole black list to get through.
posted by kaibutsu at 6:41 AM on July 2, 2010


the memo concerning the overuse of memos will be released by the memo department and just be signed and returned to receive a receipt.
posted by The Whelk at 6:45 AM on July 2, 2010


We're all snowflakes

Sure. Make me feel like a monster.

*starts up snow-blower*

*clears driveway*
posted by quin at 7:43 AM on July 2, 2010


All happy families are the same, but no two unhappy families are unhappy in the same way.

Or however that goes. I'm imagining an AskMe that says "I feel guilty because I am more satisfied with my life than most people I know. How can I stop feeling so smug?"
posted by fourcheesemac at 8:07 AM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Being happy, sober, and drama free is pretty damned awesome.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:09 AM on July 2, 2010


I wonder if 'nom' has anything to do wi Jamaican patois 'nyam'.
posted by Dim Siawns at 8:54 AM on July 2, 2010


Woah, that is really interesting, Dim Siawns.

It's also close to "miam-miam"/"yum".

Huh!
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 9:34 AM on July 2, 2010


Being happy, sober, and drama free is pretty damned awesome.

Happy, drama free, and occasionally drunk isn't too bad either.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:36 AM on July 2, 2010


tractorfeed is my new crush.
posted by small_ruminant at 11:03 AM on July 2, 2010


The OED's etymological note for nyam says:

"[[from] Jamaican creole nyam to eat, and similar forms in other Caribbean and African creoles (e.g. Krio nyam, Gullah nyam, Sranan nyan), probably [from] a West African language (e.g. Wolof ɲam to eat or Fula ɲama to eat), although perhaps simply imitative (compare YUM int. and etymological note s.v. NUSE n.). Compare earlier YAM v. Compare also NINYAM n., NYAM n.
The etymology is discussed at some length in M. Hubner Ghanaian Pidgin Eng. (1999) iv. 102, F. G. Cassidy & R. B. Le Page Dict. Jamaican Eng. (1967) s.v., and R. Allsop Dict. Caribbean Eng. Usage (1996) s.v.]"

Nyam exists in Trinidad English Creole too; the recent dictionary of that language gives a similar etymology: "from Wolof nyam 'food', nyamnyam 'eat'; Kikongo nyáma, nyàmà, Bantu nyama 'meat; animal'".

I'm not sure about nom nom nom but I always thought it came from Cookie Monster.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 11:43 AM on July 2, 2010


prolly

what the fuck? I've come across someone using prolly (instead of probably) twice recently. If it's you and you're reading this and you're twelve or under, that's cool, carry on. Otherwise, please stop it.
posted by philip-random at 11:56 AM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


. . . I say prolly all the time. I write it in text messages too. I'm not sure if I ever have on here though.
posted by Think_Long at 11:57 AM on July 2, 2010


I love this place. Extensive and exhaustive linguistic analyses; impenetrable OED cites; inevitable invocation of Cookie Monster. If we could get some sort of epic flameout going, we'd have everything we need for a Friday afternoon.
posted by Skot at 12:25 PM on July 2, 2010


If we could get some sort of epic flameout going, we'd have everything we need for a Friday afternoon.

Ayn Rand? Literary, cultural and social genius, I tell you. Way ahead of her time.
posted by zarq at 12:35 PM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Not to mention a philosopher, in the truest sense of the word.
posted by Afroblanco at 1:37 PM on July 2, 2010


why do I still have this thread in my recent activity I ask you that
posted by The Whelk at 1:48 PM on July 2, 2010


I actually have no idea if I just used those two meme phrases correctly, especially "beanplate". What the hell, though -- it's lucky I'm a descriptivist! -- tractorfeed

All linguists are descriptivists anymore. It's not as if you're a special sprocket.
posted by rokusan at 2:09 PM on July 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure about nom nom nom but I always thought it came from Cookie Monster.

Whoa, new Cookie Monster voice actor rattles my childhood. Do not like.
posted by rokusan at 2:11 PM on July 2, 2010


There is really no meme worse than FTFY. I wonder if people who drop that bloody stool into the conversation actually think they're being clever.

I think Artw gave the best possible lesson on FTFY that I've seen.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:27 PM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Won't somebody think of the snowflakes?
posted by Danf at 3:15 PM on July 2, 2010


I took the "special snowflake" crack as a self-deprecating jokey way of saying "I have some sort of unusual details that I think are complicating what would otherwise be a simple matter."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:12 PM on July 2, 2010


Well, I do too, but it still annoys me as only clique-ish insider jargon can. Why not just say, "relevant complicating details inside"?
posted by philip-random at 5:31 PM on July 2, 2010


What about a new acronym? DTMFSA dump the MF snowflake already
posted by tamitang at 5:33 PM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


And you're not being clever or cute when you say "nom nom nom." WTF is that about anyway? Who do you think you are, the fucking cookie monster?

Not quite.

Hungry...soooo hungry...*turns beady eyes on you*
posted by Omnomnom at 12:52 PM on July 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


I took "special snowflake" to mean, some of you will think this is boring/drama/self indulgent and not give a f*** but I hope some of you will care enough to read it, think about it and answer. Those of you who are contemptuous about me and my problem, please don't mock me as I just did it myself in order to pre-empt you.
posted by Jane the Brown at 11:19 PM on July 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


And remember, friends, there's no "i" in "meme".

But there are two me's.

Me Generation, meet the MemeGeneration.

Or Verse Vice-uh.
posted by y2karl at 8:44 AM on July 4, 2010


Hating memes is my new old bike.
posted by neuromodulator at 10:41 AM on July 4, 2010


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