what was the purpose of this thread March 15, 2002 8:05 AM   Subscribe

*sigh* Okay, somebody's gotta do it.
It's unfortunate and all, and I don't want to seem insensitive, but what was the purpose of this thread being on the front page? Even if Duncan had been a MeFi user, which doesn't seem to be the case, it probably would belong here in MeTa, anyway.
posted by Su to Etiquette/Policy at 8:05 AM (64 comments total)

We thought the same thing at the same time, apparently. Yes, I agree completely.
posted by frykitty at 8:07 AM on March 15, 2002

I kind of agree, but I'm willing to give them a "It's Friday" pass and let this one slide. I wouldn't want to see a lot of this, though.

Here's hoping for a full recovery!
posted by ColdChef at 8:10 AM on March 15, 2002

My understanding of the Friday leniency is that it's sort of a free-for-all on putting up dumb Flash movies, kitty pictures and that sort of thing. This is little more than one of the moment-of-silence type threads that are pretty universally hated.
And, it's a self-link, representing almost the entirety of Birddog's participation over the course of a year, and not disclaimed. Really bad form.
posted by Su at 8:19 AM on March 15, 2002

I not only agree with Su I think the thought of the post belonging in MeTa is generous. It actually raises interesting weblog-related questions. The blog on Duncan's condition seems a very good way of doing something when nothing else can be done. Besides, I'm a great believer in mind over matter and a blog able to inform friends and collect "get well quick" wishes may well cheer up not only Duncan but all his friends.

How could this be done before the Internet? Sometimes we forget how wonderful it is. Get well Duncan so you can enjoy the full MeFi/MeTa treatment!
posted by MiguelCardoso at 8:25 AM on March 15, 2002

On the bright side, that blank space had a Zen-like quality to it.
I look at the blank screen, I see me staring back into myself.
Blankness reflected into blankness, in a mobius loop of stupid.
I used to think I was just an idiot, but now I see that I am the buddhist ideal.
A Gump-like tabula rasa of dolt, as blank as the void of space itself.
Did you know that all matter is 50% nothing?
That's right.
Dong_resin? You're soaking in it, right down to your quarks.

Mathowie should do this every friday.
posted by dong_resin at 8:27 AM on March 15, 2002

Er, this was meant for next door. Don't know what happened, here.
posted by dong_resin at 8:30 AM on March 15, 2002

I've emailed the original poster about it. I hate to be the guy to tell the kid with cancer to shut up, so I hope he understands why it isn't a good post to metafilter and lets me delete it without feeling guilty.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 8:37 AM on March 15, 2002

I'm curious: Would it have been appropriate if Birddog had merely posted this as an example of an interesting weblog about someone's experience with brain injury? I ask because I seem to recall another MetaFilter post with a vaguely similar weblog about someone recovering or dealing with an illness (I can't remember enough details to search and link to it...does anyone remember the one I mean?), and I don't recall that being a problem. Is the issue that the poster had a personal connection to the subject of the 'blog, or that the content of the 'blog wasn't MeFi-appropriate?
posted by biscotti at 8:43 AM on March 15, 2002

The link was to the person's own site. They go on to describe someone the community doesn't know, showing photos of the accident and describing the symptoms. Then they ask for sympathy. The major guidelines breaker is the link to their own site, then the description of someone the community doesn't know is a bit odd.

Threads that exist to garner sympathy like obits or "person foo is stricken with bar" don't bring compelling content to metafilter, it's just some vague description of bad stuff that happened followed by a list of "I'm so sorry" comments.

MetaFilter is a site used to highlight and discuss interesting things on the web, and I don't think the post meets that basic criteria.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:03 AM on March 15, 2002

Oh wait, looking at it again, it appears the original post wasn't a self link, pointing to some radio blog run by "Henry Q. Murphy" but I still say it's not very interesting stuff. If the blog was filled with months of entries about the person's progress and their research into the ailment, it'd be good enough for the site, but so far it appears as this new thing with not much to read in it, and a cry for sympathy, which I don't think a site like MetaFilter does all that well.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:09 AM on March 15, 2002

On reflection, after reading Matt's and others' comments I have to concede that every one of the thousands of MetaFilter users knows at least one person who isn't well or otherwise needs cheering up. If a second post turned up tomorrow, along the same lines, even those of us who were sympathetic would start losing patience and end up blasting the poster (and indirectly the person who was ill).

So that would defeat the whole purpose, anyway. Perhaps the thread should be deleted as it's probably already been saved so Duncan can read it when he gets better.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 9:15 AM on March 15, 2002


I'm really sorry, but it's not my blog - it was originally Duncan's, and his brother is maintaining it while he's in the hospital. I honestly don't know if Duncan ever belonged/posted to MeFi/MeTa, but I'm sure he knew of it. He was probably more the /. type.

I don't want to pull the "it's my first blog" excuse b/c I've been on the site for awhile, with nothing to say. A lot of posts like this end with "Does anyone here feel like they're distant and helpless from the ones they love?" which spurs a few groans.

I didn't see the need, as the information Duncan's brother has culled about his condition is pretty exhaustive. I read over the "first post" page, and I didn't think this to be self-promotion, or unoriginal.

Su's comments were mean, and quick to denounce, though.

Go ahead and move it somewhere safe. Sorry for the disturbance. Maybe we need training wheels for the site - somewhere to post for newbies, that a more senior person might approve? I don't know, but I feel worse than I did at 4am this morning when I couldn't sleep and posted originally.

Again, sorry. Keep up the good work.


posted by birddog at 9:16 AM on March 15, 2002

Birddog: My statements were not mean, you know it, and I said I didn't intend for them to be. I saw an inappropriate post, listed my reasons for thinking it, and didn't even go so far as to call it uninteresting.
I tend to speak simply, if you'll look at my comment history. I don't feel a need to prettify my speech out of pure consideration. At work, I don't call things "issues." I say, "We have a problem." This thread is admittedly pretty inconsiderate no matter what I say anyway, so it's a non-issue. It's only been a few days since the accident. I doubt you're really at a point where you should feel okay throwing this out for the world to see. But if you do, then you have to take responsibility for people questioning why you did it.

As for the self-link call out, the most recent post initially looked like it was placed by you. Looking again, it seems to be quoted as a note you sent to the owner. My mistake, and I'll admit that, but I don't retract my belief the post didn't belong.
posted by Su at 9:40 AM on March 15, 2002


Su said it belonged on MetaTalk - how is that mean? I know you must be feeling awful but don't feel worse. If you read through you'll find that the only objections were structural. Besides, look at all the people(strangers!) who posted with prayers and hopes. We may be finnicky, but we're not mean.

I, for one, was encouraged by your post and Duncan's brother's example, specially, as I now know what to do if someone I love is fighting for life. Here's looking at you all! :)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 9:41 AM on March 15, 2002

Dear Todd:

Sorry to inform you that your MeFi thread linking to a sickblog about your friend's dying brother, along with the various strangers' wishes for his speedy recovery, has been deleted.

We don't get a lot of these here, but slippery slope, etc., you understand. In the future, if you could somehow work in links to sites about nosepicking, Star Wars/Trek, sport-colostomy bags, or Flash, your posts might be better received. Thanks for coming!
I knew this thread was coming, dreaded it, and it's every bit as petty as I anticipated. Is no infraction here so minor, with circumstances so mitigating, that it can't just be ignored? "Structural objections?"

posted by luser at 9:55 AM on March 15, 2002

Sometimes I feel like I'm in Bizarro World here in MeFi.

I could think of nothing productive to say regarding the thread, as I too did find it inappropriate for MeFi. I just turned my eyes briefly to what I perceive as God and made a quick silent prayer for the guy, then skipped the thread. Maybe it doesn't have a place in MeFi but this is precisely why I find myself annoyed by the policing of the site.

Also with the long accidental blank space in the middle of it, I felt assured that Matt would use his judgement and either fix it whenever he got in here today, or politely email the person and explain the situation (which he says he's done) and then remove the post. No harm no foul.

Taking displeasure about the post to MetaTalk is appropriate, but voicing such concerns directly in the thread in question makes it look like there's a team of hired topic police thugs, or some witch hunting posse of vigilantes in here. Unless Matt's got you on a payroll, I strongly urge everyone to please refrain from such behavior in the future.

No. I don't urge. I plead. I beg. I search your soul for some mercy and humanity.

Please stop trying to do Matt's job for him. If he wants you to play topic police, he'll tell you. Then he better tell the rest of us that he's deputizing you. Trust that Matt has the best interests in his own site and that he'll take care of it. He's gonna do the right thing, barring any natural human mistakes that any of us would make. There's no reason to take the law into your own hands so to speak. It's his site. He'll take care of it.

It's not your site. Quit acting like it is.
posted by ZachsMind at 10:01 AM on March 15, 2002

I don't urge. I plead. I beg. I search your soul for some mercy and humanity.

God, you're such a drama queen. Has it really only been two years since you joined?
posted by rcade at 10:14 AM on March 15, 2002

If he wants you to play topic police, he'll tell you

Wouldn't the inverse mean that if he didn't want people to play topic police he'd tell them?
posted by cCranium at 10:25 AM on March 15, 2002

It's not your site. Quit acting like it is.

MetaTalk isn't a Q & A session ZachsMind. Nor is it a FAQ. MetaTalk is a great place for members to help create policies that Matt implements. If we don't question our boundaries, then Matt will instead receive even more e-mail regarding rules of the site.

I think Su did the right thing to bring this here. It was questionable. I think more people have to realize that "being called out" isn't necessarily a bad thing. You have the ability to defend yourself and your actions. Members take from this and other discussions what they want. But if we don't have them, no one would know how to conduct themselves.

Oh yes, and I consider your comments rather hypocritical considering your MeTa thread calling me out.
posted by BlueTrain at 10:28 AM on March 15, 2002

The tagline says "self-policing since 1999" not "mathowie-policing since 1999".

I agree that discussing it in the thread itself was in poor taste--especially since it had already been brought to MetaTalk. But I don't think that Su, for example, crossed any lines.

No. I don't urge. I plead. I beg. I search your soul for some mercy and humanity.

[sigh] Some time I wonder if you're not just jerking everyone's chain, Zach.
posted by jpoulos at 10:51 AM on March 15, 2002

"He was probably more the /. type."

burn him.
posted by jcterminal at 10:54 AM on March 15, 2002

ZachsMind: It's not your site.
Yeah, it is. I thought that was the whole point. This site is my site, this site is your site, from California blah blah blah blahblah. Matt owns it, but he's put it out to be created and monitored by the users. He just gets the sucky part of doing the footwork when something comes up. It's gotten way too big to just leave everything for him to find.
Let's assume for a second that Matt doesn't actually follow every link in every thread(and then read every comment). I can't imagine what happened with that Bollywood thing that Tamim posted a while back. Let's assume he scans the front page, looking for warning signs, and then maybe looks at things more closely later/throughout the day. He can miss things. The thread in question was pretty obviously self-referential and he would've spotted it, but that's not the point. It could easily have been phrased in a way that wouldn't have made it so apparent. That's when it helps him—not does his job—if someone else points it out first. I feel pretty safe in assuming that he takes at least a quick look at MeTa before the front page.

Luser: In a word, "No." Or have you not noticed that Matt has had to slowly implement more and more posting and membership limitations? Some of them have been brought about by minor infractions that got ignored and then multiplied to the point of annoyance.
posted by Su at 10:55 AM on March 15, 2002

"I search your soul for some mercy and humanity. "

sorry, i save that for the real world. not for a bunch of comments by faceless strangers.
posted by jcterminal at 10:58 AM on March 15, 2002

Some time I wonder if you're not just jerking everyone's chain, Zach.

No, I think he's really as fatuous as he seems. Scary, isn't it?
posted by anapestic at 11:01 AM on March 15, 2002

faceless strangers.

hey, my mom lost her face in a plumbing accident. show some friggin' compassion, jc.
posted by jpoulos at 11:04 AM on March 15, 2002

No one wants to be a prick when birddog's friend is fighting for his life, and I thought the comments here were respectful. Up until Zach's outburst, or maybe luser's just prior, I thought this thread was a nice example of a community trying to enforce the spirit of the guidelines without being petty, mean, aggressive, etc. I don't see the problem, once the overheated rhetoric about mercy and humanty is (rightly) ignored.
posted by rodii at 11:08 AM on March 15, 2002

Sorry to hear about your friend, Todd; I send him and you my best wishes.
posted by Perigee at 11:11 AM on March 15, 2002

Rcade you call me a drama queen as if that's an insult, which I find amusing.

Cranium: "Wouldn't the inverse mean..."

No it would not. Matt only seems to cement rules when he can't think of anything else to do, and seems to prefer not curtailing discretionary choices of participants unless necessary. He neither encourages nor discourages, but if he wanted an individual to be a policeman in here, he'd give them the keys to the house while he was gone, so they could remove or edit posts and actually have authority to back of their hot air.

Matt hasn't given you is passwords to MeFi, has he Captain?

Bluetrain: "I think Su did the right thing to bring this here."

I concur with that and have said as much. It's taking such concerns to MeFi which is akin to airing dirty laundry.

"..I consider your comments rather hypocritical.."

I am speaking from both personal experience and observation. I do not deny making my share of mistakes. If one must voice disapproval of a given post, it can be done in MeTa. "Calling someone out" in MeFi doesn't work. It detracts from the thread in question and adversely affects the morale of the community.

It appears I'll be too busy this weekend to continue defending my position. My statement is quite clear and still holds water. Have fun. Enjoy The View.
posted by ZachsMind at 11:15 AM on March 15, 2002

person foo is stricken with bar

new tagline?
posted by adampsyche at 11:18 AM on March 15, 2002

if he wanted an individual to be a policeman in here, he'd give them the keys to the house while he was gone, so they could remove or edit posts and actually have authority to back of their hot air.

Jesus Technicolor Christ. He doesn't want an individual policeman, he wants a self-policing community.


*Hangs self*
posted by Skot at 11:26 AM on March 15, 2002

Rcade you call me a drama queen as if that's an insult, which I find amusing.

Zach... it's an insult.

person foo is stricken with bar

I thought Dan'l Boone kilt the bar.
posted by rodii at 11:29 AM on March 15, 2002

Matt hasn't given you is passwords to MeFi, has he Captain?

Of course not. Has he possessed you and started speaking the Word of Matt through you?

For the most part, I agree with you here, but I think we use the same factual information to reach vastly different conclusions.

It's Matt's site, he has the right to do what he wants and uses his judgement to guide it. With that I think we're in agreement. Am I right about that?

You say that if he wanted help he would ask for it. I agree with that too. I'm just extended your logic to say that if he didn't want suggestions and an open discourse about the appropriateness of posts, and behaviour, etc., he wouldn't have a) created this forum in the first place, and b) he would tell people to stop, or simply kill the etiquette section.

I don't recall any post from Matt saying "Never question appropriateness, I'll do what I do, you guys just keep on being you." If there is one, I'd very much appreciate a link.

Something just dawned on me, though it's probably not an original though.

Do you realise that you're sounding like you want to police meta behaviour just as much as you're criticisng people of policing mefi behaviour?

By repeatedly stating "Matt will do what Matt does" you sound like just as much of a broken record as the people you cry "mefi police" at, who post something to MeTa every day or two complaining about appropriateness.

So now I ask: Did Matt give YOU his password to MeFi?

No, of course not, because he values your opinion on things just as much as he values everyone else's.

Value being relative. Maybe he doesn't give a fuck, but if that's the case, then he doesn't give a fuck about everyone's opinion.
posted by cCranium at 11:37 AM on March 15, 2002

I suppose everyone should have their MeFirst red lights flashing above their monitors as to my whereabouts on the site right about now.

I do appreciate the respect everyone in this thread has given me, but I do think I might have been cut a little more slack, especially since it wasn't a self-link. Of course, that's from the guy who thought it wholly appropriate to post in the first place, so grains of salt all around for my new friends.

Su, you're right - in defending your decision to bring this here, I got stepped on a bit, but truly, you weren't malicious. My apologies continue.

I'll stop there - perhaps it is too close to home for me to comment on a community I seem to have little right to be a part of, at least until I rack up some high scores on posting and commenting. Duncan would appreciate the irony of the "structural objections" this post has sparked, and the clownery that's ensued. No harm, no foul, no hard feelings. (Okay, well except for the inordinate pause in everyone's browser window this morning).

Thanks again for the support.
posted by birddog at 11:41 AM on March 15, 2002

I thought Dan'l Boone kilt the bar.

Davy Crockett kilt him the bar....and he was only three!
posted by jonmc at 11:48 AM on March 15, 2002

birddog, I hope you're not too turned off by the events here. It was your first post and it wasn't handled as best it could, but you're far from unwelcome here having done it.

The edited post suggested in the thread is a fantastic rewrite that could have brought both light to the ailment and sympathy for the infirmed.

It's tough to express ourselves in words, especially in a community of so many voices. I've been doing this for almost three years, and I couldn't think of an appropriate edit of the post that could even come close to the suggested one. I guess the lesson here is almost anything can be saved and presented as interesting to a majority of users if the words are chosen carefully.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 11:52 AM on March 15, 2002

There's nothing like a post about sympathy and human fellowship to draw out of the bile and cattiness in metatalk. Cut the guy some slack, for chrissakes. Front page post etiquette is not the prime directive.
posted by Hildago at 12:09 PM on March 15, 2002

person foo is stricken with bar

How many hit points is that worth?
posted by kindall at 12:19 PM on March 15, 2002

Please stop trying to do Matt's job for him. Zach, no disrespect and such, but for Gods sake man, you cannot give such advise without heeding it yourself, which would mean you shouldn't have posted that advise if you were aware of its content. Seems sort of like telling someone to stop being so controlling: by saying that, the speaker is being controlling, and for the recipient to stop being controlling would be controlling. Have a good weekend.
posted by Mack Twain at 12:28 PM on March 15, 2002

Well, perhaps I mention this against my better judgement, now that I've made a few friends here and people may have forgotten, but this whole incident can't help but remind me of my first MeFi post (deleted) and the Meta thread that it spawned.

Like birddog (though I don't speak for him), I was a new member, excited about MeFi and the whole community spirit thing, and had an idea to channel that spirit in a way that I didn't realize was really uncool. And my post was about someone who actually is a member of this community. If that was uncool (and, setting aside my initial contrition, which was sincere, upon being chastized, as I've gotten the feel of this place with time I've become more and more retroactively embarassed about that post), then this post was definitely not cool either. Many of us have friends who are dying, or sick, or who we're worried about; asking for that kind of support in this context puts people in an awkward position and invites derision, regardless of how well-intentioned the poster is.
posted by bingo at 3:49 PM on March 15, 2002

Yes, and thank you Bingo for setting the record straight on how uncool new posters can be. I'll recommend to Matt he replace the tagline "We're all in this together" with "Post at your own peril." Call it fair warning, and for those daring enough to take the risk can then be handed their hat. Haven't felt this way since the first [and only] time I went to the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

"Go ahead. Throw that other piece of toast, punk."
posted by birddog at 4:34 PM on March 15, 2002

Post at your own peril sounds about right.

It was inevitable that there would be an almost immediate "this doesn't belong here" or "take it somewhere else" from various mefi'ers.

Why can't you, excuse my french, SHUT THE FUCK UP for just a few brief moments? Maybe Metafilter wasn't the right place for Birddog but that's IS NOT YOUR CALL. The last thing anyone needs in this situation is fro comments, which, when boiled down amounts to a kick in the teeth.
The answer in these situations is to SAY NOTHING. Leave it to someone with MORE TACT.

Use a little judgement every now and again.


Time and time again people show themselves to be more concerned with etiquette than with humanity. What is the etiquette for dealing with a FPP about someone's friend who is seriously ill in hospital? There is none. A plea for help rejected. You should be ashamed.

Show a little humanity every now and again.
Not every Metafilter misdemeanour needs to be called in front of the self appointed jury.

Birddog: People pull through these things all the time - I've seen it happen on several occasions when Doctors held out no hope. Have some faith, read to him, play him his favourite music, tell him how much he means to you. Hold his hand. I believe he will hear you.

posted by Spoon at 5:03 PM on March 15, 2002

I've had lots of people tell me I should be ashamed for lots of things. None of them have been right yet. Considering your tone, it seems you might have a particular beef with this topic, and I'd suggest you back away from the keyboard. This thread really isn't even about Birddog anymore.

The call-out was, as you say, inevitable because the post was inappropriate. There are no mitigating factors. It didn't belong anymore than the post this Meta thread refers to did. If its fitness was in question at any time, that was resolved when Matt said it didn't fit. "Concern for humanity" is not the issue here.
I made the call-out because it is my(our) call, something already covered in this very thread. Scroll up and read it again. In most cases, the judgement you're asking us for is exactly what was lacking in the person who made the post being discussed in any given call-out. Had they used it in the first place, the call-out wouldn't become necessary.
posted by Su at 5:38 PM on March 15, 2002

Could someone please pray for my Aunt Laurel in Manitoba? She's got the flu and hasn't been feeling well the last coupla days. Send her some love. Thanks.
posted by dogmatic at 5:55 PM on March 15, 2002

Ok, so here's what I don't get. Did this need to have a MetaTalk post at all? Email Matt and email the poster your concerns. The only thing the "Community" can do is agree or disagree... or get sidetracked... or get misunderstood... or eat pancakes.
We can't remove the post. We can only talk about removing the post.
On occasion, post removal discussions can be interesting or helpful; this one just left a bad taste in my mouth.
posted by FreezBoy at 5:56 PM on March 15, 2002

Tangent : (I'm really not fussed about this issue one way or the other, but I would point out that with thousands of people here (albeit a somewhat smaller number actively participating, perhaps), every time someone suggests that we 'just email Matt', I cringe. How much email must the poor guy get already? I submit that we should probably avoid running to daddy every time Joey takes the baseball and won't give it back.)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:09 PM on March 15, 2002

Welcome to the evening edition of Flame the New Guy!

This is still absolutely about the handling of new/inappropriate posters, and by extension, me. What MetaFilter needs is a friggin' warning track, and not a firing squad. I've admitted it was wrong, wrong, wrong of me to think my friend's condition might be interesting to other people as well, but then again I don't purport to be a paragon of popularity. So should this sort of action be treated with the same severity as flamebait? Is condemning the action [however, notably, not the person] with such vigor an appropriate way to encourage "good" behavior?

One mitigating factor could be the mistaken "self-posting" automatic kill vote. Another could be the fact I've never posted before. Yet another could be that this might be indeed interesting [Duncan might call it "rubbernecking on the information superhighway"], or at least objectively more so than a nose-picking poll. At least one friend of Duncan's I know found out about his condition today as a result of my post, certainly not that it's about Duncan anymore.

Sure, Matt [and others] said it didn't fit, which I absolutely respect, but I maintain the rules by which it was ultimately deemed so [not interesting or comprehensive enough of a resource] are nowhere to be found - and I certainly looked before I leapt.

Calling [singling] out is not a way in which people should treat each other in an inclusive community - or perhaps I've mistaken "inclusive" with "supportive" here. Indeed, not many of us bear much scrutiny, and to shame anyone into change is to misunderstand human nature. It's a damn good thing I've got thick skin, or else the fact that my friend is comatose and you guys are using my sentiment as a foil for your petty policy discussion might really sicken me.
posted by birddog at 7:12 PM on March 15, 2002

Birddog: Thanks for the last word (and your forbearance).

- john.

posted by dash_slot- at 7:40 PM on March 15, 2002

This thread is a perfect example of why I have never posted a link and rarely read MetaTalk when browsing MeFi.
posted by SlappyPeterson at 8:11 PM on March 15, 2002

the fact that my friend is comatose and you guys are using my sentiment as a foil for your petty policy discussion might really sicken me.

Dude- I'm sorry your friend isn't feeling well. From a humanistic, sympathetic standpoint, I'm sure most people here can take a moment and think well that's a damn shame, but the truth is I don't know your friend.

There're a lot of sick people in this world. They just aren't a part of my life. This web site is a part of my life. It's a small part, I mean it is just a web site, and I do have context, but still it is a part of my life and your friend isn't.

I don't think it's very cool to try to play the coma card to scold the site for not responding to your post the way you would have preferred. You brought it here and said look at this, and we said we don't want to see that. We feel bad and all, but how can we make sure we don't have to see it again. If you drop a boulder in a pool, you're going to get a splash. It's not fair to complain that now you're wet.

When I saw your post, my first honest reaction was great the news multi-posts aren't enough now we've got this crap on MetaFilter? I mean what am I supposed to do with that post? I didn't click into the comments because I can't imagine that there would be anything in there but that's too bad or this doesn't belong here. Both of those sentiments are correct, but what's the point?

And believe me if you didn't get slagged for posting it, then tomorrow somebody whose poor mother is suffering from some disease or other would be posting too. That's just the way this kind of thing works. We'll probably get it anyway because not everybody reads or cares about metatalk.

If you've been reading MeFi long enough to have felt you knew enough to post, then you must know what a shrill place Metafilter can be. I know a lot of people don't like that about Metafilter, and if anybody can suggest a better way to encourage people to post less, more high quality posts I'm sure everybody would love to discuss it. Still, for right now shrill has worked. There are people here who are scared to post. One out of a thousand times, we probably lose a great link because of that, but that means we have 999 less nails in Metafilter's coffin.

The truth is that most communities like this left to their own devices quickly implode under their own weight. MeFi has remained relatively vital for a surprisingly long time. I would like to see it continue to be vital.
posted by willnot at 8:27 PM on March 15, 2002

it's not that bad, birddog, you just have to know when to stop and walk away. don't hang out and continue with anyone who just want to drill on things. best wishes to your friend.
posted by Dean King at 9:50 PM on March 15, 2002

ack. bad code. here.
posted by Dean King at 9:53 PM on March 15, 2002

i hate that discussions of this nature always end up hitting someone in the gut. i really do. my first reaction to the post was something along the lines of "that sucks and i feel the pain." my second was "great, now there's a precedent for this sort of post." while i do think that birddog's initial post was somewhat valid (it's public grief, and this is a community, therefore: public), i also really feel it's totally out of place in a community where debate is the primary impetus. this is an emotional issue, not an intellectual one.

i also realize that difference brings a spirit to a community. i believe this thread should remain. but only as a single example. i really really don't want to see this happening all the time.

birddog, please don't play the martyr card: this isn't Flame The New Guy. you've been here since april of last year. you know this place as well as the rest of us.

that said, i'm done being a Metafiltrian on this issue. my thoughts are with both you and your friend.
posted by patricking at 1:10 AM on March 16, 2002

I'm done with this discussion.
If anyone would care to point out the errors, inconsistencies and false assumptions in Birddog's last comment, I'd like to see them. You could probably do it more tactfully than I was planning on. I was going to wait until at least tomorrow morning or afternoon before saying anything else, but frankly, I can't be civil about this any longer, and I realize that away time isn't going to help my attitude.
posted by Su at 1:18 AM on March 16, 2002

birddog -- this thread is not about you anymore. It is about issues raised by your comment; those issues apply to many other situations. In a generic situation, we make assumptions which are not valid for certain specific situations.

you guys are using my sentiment as a foil for your petty policy discussion might really sicken me.
You thought MeFi was important enough that you would share your pain with us; do you not find the policy also important?

Be sickened, then -- be enraged, call us fools. Grieve, but please do not assume that people with no connection to the issues at hand can make a connection with you. If we have experienced similar pain, our emotions could never be conveyed here, perhaps we even want to forget. If we have not, we know not of what you speak.

We do not want to cause you pain (I speak for at least a couple people, probably). MeFi *is* inclusive, but only to the extent that we can acknowledge agreement, disagreement, approval... As a whole, we can't be expected (or demanded) to concur on a topic, or to let those very rules that are not written in stone go.
posted by j.edwards at 1:59 AM on March 16, 2002

It's a damn good thing I've got thick skin, or else the fact that my friend is comatose and you guys are using my sentiment as a foil for your petty policy discussion might really sicken me.

This makes me want to piss in your face.
posted by bingo at 3:41 AM on March 16, 2002 [1 favorite]

This is why I just said what I did, and I should have included this in my last comment.

I have had bad things happen in my life too. I have had friends and family members who were very seriously ill. I've had friends die. Probably almost everyone here has. That doesn't make it permissible to post whatever links you want, and it doesn't mean that a discussion on the subject is a hallmark of anyone's insensitivy to the kind of tragedy that affects us all sooner or later. The fact that it's happening to you right now does not put you on a pedestal, and it doesn't make you immune from criticism.
posted by bingo at 4:02 AM on March 16, 2002

This thread started with

*sigh* Okay, somebody's gotta do it.

And I don't think that anybody really had to do it. The thread was, technically, inappropriate, but birddog obviously has some really tough shit going on, and it might not hurt to cut him some slack. I know that people worry about a precedent being set, but I don't start to worry about a trend until the second occurrence, and I don't think it's too late to stop something if it's only happened twice.

Also, I think given birddog's situation, it was absolutely predictable how he'd react to criticism. I think any of us would have reacted in a similar manner, so I think we should attribute all of his comments in both places to his being in extremis and just let them go.

That said, all of the moralizing and pomposity from the people who are shocked (Shocked!) that someone would bring this to MetaTalk is unhelpful and a little bit ridiculous. You all knew someone would start a MeTa thread about it, that's what people here do.

And birddog, I'm really sorry about your friend. I wish you had listed your email address in your profile, because I would have preferred to offer my condolences privately, but I am sorry about the situation. Everyone else here is, too. We're just not as close to the situation, so we're in a position to consider other things that probably don't seem very important to you just now.
posted by anapestic at 4:55 AM on March 16, 2002

Calling [singling] out is not a way in which people should treat each other in an inclusive community - or perhaps I've mistaken "inclusive" with "supportive" here.

You have. There are many places on the Web where you could have posted that appeal and received nothing but affirmation. MetaFilter clearly isn't one of them, and while you can continue to make us sound like a bunch of heartless SOBs for the relatively mild way in which your post was originally brought up here in MetaTalk, at some point your understanding of human nature should extend to the people here. This site has a cantankerous personality that's evident in even a casual reading.

Sure, Matt [and others] said it didn't fit, which I absolutely respect, but I maintain the rules by which it was ultimately deemed so [not interesting or comprehensive enough of a resource] are nowhere to be found - and I certainly looked before I leapt.

There are several items in the guidelines against self-linking. Comments in your post ("My friend Duncan," "it'd mean a lot to us," etc.) made it sound like a self-link.

If you had made your post more general -- perhaps offering a link to your friend's update site as a companion to other notable links -- I think it might've never come up here in MetaTalk.

A while back I posted a link about a controversy over a roadside memorial to a weblogger's brother. Because I wasn't personally involved and I've posted numerous links, no one criticized it here.
posted by rcade at 5:56 AM on March 16, 2002

I think all this goes to show how Mefi would benefit from the kind of message board any community should have were people can post information about events, wanted and for sale ads, questions which realistically don't fit on the front page or metalk ('Anyone know how I can cook the perfect pancake' -- 'What's the quickest route from California to New York, because I'm going to see a sick relative'), that sort of thing. It would mean that posts like this would have somewhere to go and some posts wouldn't be subjected to the microscopic discussion which goes on here. It would also cut down on the fpp's along the lines of 'What did you think of that new TV show?' 'Did anyone see last night's Buffy?'
posted by feelinglistless at 1:05 PM on March 16, 2002

But aren't there hundreds or thousands of site where one could do those things? Instead of having to drain off the Buffy-dross somehow, why not just encourage some restraint?
posted by rodii at 3:53 PM on March 16, 2002

"post at your own peril" is fantastic, i was laughing and laughing...
posted by rhyax at 4:09 PM on March 16, 2002

hundreds or thousands of sites where one could do those things

Of course there are. But I tried to emphasise that it would be for this community. Something for us.
posted by feelinglistless at 4:56 PM on March 16, 2002

I just turned my eyes briefly to what I perceive as God

That's not God, that's just a waffle.
posted by zzero at 5:58 AM on March 18, 2002

Puh-lease, people - get some perspective. It was one front page post. It'll probably never happen again, and that would be true whether Su had decided to play MetaFascist and take it to MetaStalag not.

My 6-year old niece must've seen a Lost in Space rerun recently. A few weeks ago, she started proclaiming that she was 'doomed!' at the slightest inconvenience. 'We're out of peanut butter - we're doomed!' 'I can't find my socks - I'm doomed!'. It was cute at first, but the rolling-eyes-slapping-both-hands-to-the-side-of-the-head-while-swooning wears a little thin after a while.

MeTa is starting to remind me of her. 'A self-link, asking us to spare a thought for somebody we've never met! That doesn't explicitly meet the vague and rubbery purpose of the site! That's valuable real estate that could be used to ask people what their favourite Kool-Aid flavour is! We're doomed! We'd better do something, even if it's just waving our arms around and wailing, or it's all going to hell in a handbasket! Won't somebody think of the front page!'

Now I have this picture in my head of Doctor Smith taking Will aside, and saying in his interminable whining drone: 'It's unfortunate and all, but *sigh* somebody's got to do it, insensitive though I may be, but...WE'RE DOOMED!' Did you wring your hands and pace as you typed that, Su? It certainly reads like it. Why did 'somebody' have to do anything?

Is this place really such a huge part of your lives that a single post causes this bleeding-heart cry-me-a-fucking-river faux concern about the impending end of MeFi? Do you really not have anything better to do? Do you really believe that if you had just said a few words and then moved on that tomorrow the place would be flooded with pleas for somebody to pray for Timmy O'Toole, who fell down a hole and can't get out?

'Community' weblog my arse. 'We're all in this together' my grandfather's long-cremated testicles. I don't think I want to be part of a 'community' that can't get 'in this together' long enough to spare two seconds to say a nice word about somebody else's suffering, or at least have the common decency to just ignore and get over it already.

I hope your friend gets better soon, birddog. I'm sorry that you weren't sufficiently 'regular' for this to be worthy of some people's time or interest. Maybe if your friend said had something controversial about blogs in the past, or was reading a blog on his handheld when the accident happened, or had an aunt whose maiden name was 'Bloggs' he could've got a few more good wishes before the Concerned Citizens Brigade arrived. You may rest assured that should something unfortunate ever happen to Su, frykitty and their ilk and their loved ones try to let us know, I'll tell them exactly where to go.

Is anybody going to eat that waffle?
posted by obiwanwasabi at 4:36 PM on March 18, 2002

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