Someone loves to delete August 17, 2010 6:19 PM   Subscribe

I guess sexuality is a banned topic nowadays for me. Sorry Ask MeFi users... I guess someone is being a bit overzealous with their delete rights. This has nothing to do with me figuring out myself. This is a completely different side to the issue of sexuality and me trying to explain the facts to it. http://ask.metafilter.com/162568/Biological-evidence-for-homosexuality
posted by antgly to Etiquette/Policy at 6:19 PM (194 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

Contact form
posted by pompomtom at 6:20 PM on August 17, 2010


No good can come from this. Maybe mail a mod and ask for this to be closed up ?
posted by iamabot at 6:22 PM on August 17, 2010




Yes and... The point was that the same question was being asked over and over. This is a completely different question.
posted by antgly at 6:24 PM on August 17, 2010


Why are you doing this here, rather than contacting one of the mods directly, as they suggested you do?
posted by felix betachat at 6:25 PM on August 17, 2010


What was that thing I was asking you about?
posted by Meatbomb at 6:26 PM on August 17, 2010


And I did that... I'll see what their response will be.
Will post it here and you decide if it is right or not.
posted by antgly at 6:28 PM on August 17, 2010


antgly, we have been trying to open a dialogue with you about what sorts of questions are and aren't okay for AskMe. cortex has sent a few emails your way and not heard back. Until we're clear that this is something that is received and understood, we're not at all comfortable with AskMe continuing to be the place where various facets of the same issue keep getting asked about with absolutely no indication in your questions that you've done anything with the information that you've gotten in the past few questions.

You are welcome to stay at MetaFilter and you are welcome to ask questions, but we need to be able to talk to you about what's going on and what we're doing about it and why, because your behavior in AskMe [and now I guess here] is a problem.

So, we just received your email. We will write you back this evening. Please contact us directly. I'll leave this open for a little bit longer, but I'll likely be closing it up shortly.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:30 PM on August 17, 2010


I don't see what's wrong with wanting to discuss things with the user base in the forum designated for that purpose. This isn't the Marines; we don't have to do things just because Cortex suggested them in a deletion reason.

I also don't see what's wrong with the question. When I first saw it I had a kneejerk inclination to flag it because of the user's posting history and the concomitant MetaTalk discussions but on reflection it seemed clear that this question was not really related and that the thread was going well.
posted by enn at 6:32 PM on August 17, 2010 [7 favorites]


That isn't really the way we do things around here, antgly. And using the "retarded" tag on this post is possibly not the greatest idea ever.
posted by FishBike at 6:33 PM on August 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I actually hovered over the flag icon and hesitated. then backed off this time. I did think it was a different, more specific question, albeit not one that's going to actually help the OP, most likely. Dude, you are very unlikely to convince your parents of what you would like to convince them of, no matter what research and statistics people dig up for you. Previous advice to get real-life therapy and get out on your own ASAP is still your best bet in terms of your overall mental health and well-being.
posted by Gator at 6:33 PM on August 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Will post it here and you decide if it is right or not.

You may not be aware of this, antgly, but posting ostensibly-private emails publicly, especially without the other person's consent, is generally frowned upon.

If you'd prefer to talk this thing out publicly, let the mods know. But I don't think that dragging private communications into a public forum is a way to start things off on a good foot.
posted by box at 6:35 PM on August 17, 2010


I know he's overposted on askMe, but the questions that have stayed, IMO, are legitimate. Even though they've revolved around a central theme, they have also been separate (albeit somewhat open-ended) topics for discussion, with good answers posted to each.

His last post was a bit terse, but the same question has indeed been asked here in the past without controversy. 5 years is well beyond the statute of limitations for re-asking an askMe, particularly in a developing field of research.
posted by schmod at 6:37 PM on August 17, 2010


Good idea. That's exactly what I'll be suggesting.
posted by antgly at 6:38 PM on August 17, 2010


antgly: Just to reiterate, emails between you and the mods (or any other mefite) should not be posted here without express consent.
posted by special-k at 6:38 PM on August 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


You've asked the same question, or variations on the same question, over and over -- either publicly, or anonymously. Clearly, we've not been able to help you. You're looking for an answer that we apparently just can't give. There are some problems that even Ask Metafilter can't help.

Seek professional help.
posted by crunchland at 6:38 PM on August 17, 2010


Will post it here and you decide if it is right or not.

This is also not okay. In fact, posting other people's emails without their consent will usually result in some time off or an outright banning.

We'd really like to feel that you sort of get how this place works and just sometimes feel impulsive and say or write things without thinking. We all do that sometimes. But as we've said, there's an ongoing problem here and we'd like to talk about it a little so that we can make sure we're all on the same page. If you want to do it here, that's fine but would not be my first choice. If you'd like to do it over email, cortex has written you back.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:39 PM on August 17, 2010


Will post it here and you decide if it is right or not.

Yeah, that's really really not how things work here. Don't do that, please.
posted by rtha at 6:39 PM on August 17, 2010


the questions that have stayed, IMO, are legitimate

Uh, yeah. That's why they've stayed.
posted by kate blank at 6:39 PM on August 17, 2010


What she said.
posted by rtha at 6:39 PM on August 17, 2010


Also a bad idea: making jokes about a mod being overzealous with the delete button. I suppose your hole is deep enough already,* so why not piss off the people who are actually trying to help you and the other people in this community? Geez.

*that was totally not a pun, I swear
posted by Madamina at 6:40 PM on August 17, 2010


I've replied back to the email in order to see if we can settle as to whether we should revive the post or not. Most of my previous questions were about personal sexuality questioning. This question is about the causes of homosexuality. Different story especially considering that the last Ask MeFi post of this is from 5 years ago.
posted by antgly at 6:45 PM on August 17, 2010


Most of my previous questions were about personal sexuality questioning. This question is about the causes of homosexuality. Different story especially considering that the last Ask MeFi post of this is from 5 years ago.

It's only a different story if you don't take into account your posting history. In fact, it reads to me as a question about exactly the same thing. It should have been deleted and I'm glad it was. I'm not sure why you think antagonism is the route to take here.
posted by OmieWise at 6:51 PM on August 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


I guess sexuality is a banned topic nowadays for me.

That depends. Who the hell are you?
posted by jonmc at 6:55 PM on August 17, 2010 [7 favorites]


"Who am I attracted to?" and "When is arousal not attraction?" were the two posts before the last one which got deleted. How is that similar to "where I can find the best evidence to prove that sexuality is biological or womb hormonally rather than child rearing caused?"
posted by antgly at 6:55 PM on August 17, 2010


antgly, I have a question. It's a sincere question and not meant to offend, and I hope you have time to answer before this is closed up:

What are you hoping to get from the community here?
posted by batmonkey at 6:55 PM on August 17, 2010


When I ran a bbs back in the 90's, we had this one user who was fixated on lithium. Every post he made was about lithium. Every person, he thought, could benefit from the use of lithium. He could -- and did -- spend hours writing about his one favorite topic, to the exclusion of everything else. Such focus on one subject, to the exclusion of everything else, is not only unhealthy for the person in question, but takes little consideration for the very people he was trying to persuade or enlighten. Until now, people, especially the mods, have been beyond polite in trying to gently persuade you out of your fixation. If you persist, I suspect you'll find that people will begin being less than polite.
posted by crunchland at 6:56 PM on August 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


You might do a lot better by just Googling this.
posted by Miko at 6:56 PM on August 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Okay honestly I feel really bad, because antgly and I had exchanged a couple of memails and he asked me that question, exactly as worded.

And I told him something like, "I don't have anything concrete and I'm not an expert, but THAT is the kind of question someone in AskMe could actually help solve, so maybe you should post it."

Sorry antgly. I figured it seemed quite answerable and specific and also stated a reason for wanting to know (parents) and that it would work out okay. But I certainly don't speak for the mob or for the mods, so I guess I made a bad call.
posted by hermitosis at 7:01 PM on August 17, 2010 [21 favorites]


I'm trying to get a community viewpoint rather than the viewpoint of biased news sources and highly charged religious groups. I don't care what BBC etc. says as much. I want first hand talk and sources possibly along with it. The sources would be just to confirm the Ask MeFi user's viewpoint, not the other way around. Anyone can read news articles, but first hand experience in my opinion gives more insightful information and even conflicting sometimes, but that is what makes it more interesting and yet valuable.
posted by antgly at 7:03 PM on August 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Who am I attracted to?" and "When is arousal not attraction?" were the two posts before the last one which got deleted. How is that similar to "where I can find the best evidence to prove that sexuality is biological or womb hormonally rather than child rearing caused?"

They both still fall under the general topic of "how does sexual attraction work", which....seems to be a theme in your history.

Surely you must occasionally have questions about other parts of human experience, don't you? Your job? Your pets? How to peel potatoes? Something?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:07 PM on August 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


first hand experience in my opinion gives more insightful information

OK, but you asked for "the best evidence to prove that sexuality is biological," which is definitely not the same thing as asking for firsthand experience. If you're looking for evidence and scientific sources, they are easily found on the web. If you're looking for firsthand stories about how others convinced themselves or others, that is a different quest.
posted by Miko at 7:07 PM on August 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I gotcha. And agreed. But what has been lacking in the answers already given on the same topic(s)? Clearly, something is missing for you from those...do you have a feeling about what specifics are not coming together for you?
posted by batmonkey at 7:08 PM on August 17, 2010


How to peel potatoes?

Hardcore or softcore taters?
posted by DU at 7:09 PM on August 17, 2010 [11 favorites]


Guys: So far it's been made clear that angtly's a young kid questioning his sexuality while living at home with possibly-homophobic parents.

Professional help is sadly not an option for him. I'd also fear that the sort of "professional help" that his parents might pay for could involve conversion therapy, or something else harmful.

We're not a charity, but I do think that we should help this guy, if only because it seems like he's got nobody else that he can openly discuss this with.

And yes. I'm defending him, because his story resonates very strongly with my own. I also suspect he's a bit younger than the age listed on his profile.
posted by schmod at 7:10 PM on August 17, 2010 [36 favorites]


"Who am I attracted to?" and "When is arousal not attraction?" were the two posts before the last one which got deleted.

You have had four posts deleted from AskMe in total which is an awful lot for someone who has been here two months. Your interaction with the community, outside of your own questions and this thread has been very thin. While it's not mandatory that people become interactive community members in order to ask questions here, there is some sort of assumption that there's some awareness that there is a community of people who are giving you answers and investing some of their time, however small, in trying to assist you. And that you have a consistent identity, and that people know it.

Your questions about sexual attraction have shown no awareness that they are variations on a theme, that you have acted on any of the advice you've given thus far, or that you're addressing any of the issues that have come up in your other questions. Put another way, as an example, no one can make you seek therapy if you don't want to. However, if you've asked a number of questions on the same general topic and the responses tend towards an answer like "seek therapy" it's good to explain to the community why you are not taking their advice.

You see this in relationship sorts of questions all the time where people are in an ongoing relationship that is causing them trouble and raises questions that they bring to AskMe. In answering a person's recurring relationship questions, one of the first responses is often "well what did you do with the information that you got last time you asked a similar question?" When people ask a lot of questions with no indication that they've heard the previous advice given [even if they decide to discount it, that's fine, do with it what you want] that's a problem.

I know that to you these questions seem quite different, but they don't seem that different to us. I gave you this advice in the reason-for-deletion in a question you asked in July. Please give additional information to make it clear that you're not just using the community as a hit-and-run question-answering-tool when you're feeling anxious about this general situation. I'm not getting the feeling that you're hearing what we're saying and it's awkward to say all this out in the open without feeling like it's an active conversation.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:10 PM on August 17, 2010


Antgly's profile shows six questions. Three of them are basically the same: "Am I gay?" I can understand the mods getting irritated by repeated questions from a user who doesn't look as though he's actually paying attention to the answers. But this is a different question and only very tangentially related.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:10 PM on August 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


You may not be aware of this, antgly, but posting ostensibly-private emails publicly, especially without the other person's consent, is generally frowned upon.

Umm actually, I've been booted once for posting something even WITH consent. I agreed with the boot once the mods gave me their reasoning. I respect that...and I think you should to, for the sake of the community.

To be honest, antgly, thats not how science works.

1. You are looking for CONCRETE evidence for a theory.
2. You aren't finding it as CONCRETE as you like.
3. You keep asking for it until you get it.

MAYBE, just maybe there's a reason why you can't find it. Maybe we don't have the technology or science to prove or disprove your theory.

You should focus on how the science was arrived at rather than the end-all "Ha...I told you so", that you seem to be looking for.

Good luck, and you should give the mods a chance when they try to help.
posted by hal_c_on at 7:11 PM on August 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


This post needs the cortex tag.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:12 PM on August 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is a tricky one.

On one hand, we all know that if any other user had asked a question about evidence that homosexuality results from nature rather than nurture, it would not have been deleted. This wasn't deleted because no one's allowed to ask AskMetafilter about the biological basis for homosexuality; it was deleted because it was asked by antgly.

However, antgly didn't just ask that. He added something at the end about how this is to settle things with his parents. Putting that at the end is effectively an invitation for the answerers to go beyond the scientific question and delve into his relationship with his parents vis-a-vis homosexuality. It's easy to see how that could veer into "Hasn't antgly asked about this several times before?" territory.

So, on balance, I understand why the mods deleted it, but I also understand antgly (and hermitosis) assuming that this was a different question that would be well within the AskMe guidelines.
posted by Jaltcoh at 7:13 PM on August 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


We're not a charity, but I do think that we should help this guy, if only because it seems like he's got nobody else that he can openly discuss this with.

Dude, I'm with you that this is a serious issue and he needs some guidance.

But a bunch of internetters who are prone to asshole responses since they're seemingly anonymous won't really help him.

Also, he needs PROFESSIONAL help. You can't find that on metafilter. You don't want to be responsible for someone taking drastic actions because you misspoke, didn't know what you were talking about, have no experience in the field, and just want to get involved because of the "i wanna help" factor.
posted by hal_c_on at 7:14 PM on August 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


If "professional help" seems too intimidating/expensive, there are a lot more resources besides contacting a paid therapist: check these out, especially this.
posted by Miko at 7:17 PM on August 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm going to have to disagree with a lot of the posters here.

various facets of the same issue keep getting asked about with absolutely no indication in your questions that you've done anything with the information that you've gotten in the past few questions

I don't see it that way at all. In antgly's previous questions I got the impression that he hadn't talked with his parents about the subject. His latest question shows that he has, and that he seems to be more willing to accept his sexuality. Which is progress. And if that's the case, it is awesome.

Also, he's not the first person who has asked a question on AskMe for the purpose of getting info that would help him in a debate with a third party. This isn't another of his "Am I gay? Help me determine if my dick is getting hard enough when I look at girls" question. This one is different.

That said, antgly, I don't know if you're going about this MetaTalk post in quite the right way. I can see why you're annoyed at the deletion, but try not to be too impulsively derisive here.

And all of that said, it really does seem like you're getting somewhere. Feel free to MeMail me if you'd like.
posted by Tin Man at 7:18 PM on August 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


So far it's been made clear that angtly's a young kid questioning his sexuality while living at home with possibly-homophobic parents.

Professional help is sadly not an option for him.


How do you know this? He's 19. If he's in college, many colleges provide free counseling.
posted by Jaltcoh at 7:18 PM on August 17, 2010


He has addressed this, he is home for the Summer, no access to university counseling center.
posted by mlis at 7:20 PM on August 17, 2010


*gives antgly a hug*
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:24 PM on August 17, 2010 [22 favorites]


Why don't some of you New Yorkers try and cobble together a meetup and invite him? Dude needs real-life interaction with meatfolk.
posted by Gator at 7:25 PM on August 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


one would think the summer would be over somewhere in the next 15 days or so. if the barrier between him and professional help is two weeks, we probably shouldn't use home for the summer as an excuse to offer our pop psychology.
posted by nadawi at 7:25 PM on August 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I want first hand talk and sources possibly along with it.

You got a couple of excellent answers in your deleted askme, with sources.

Firsthand: I'm a lesbian, and I think I was born this way. I have known lots of other lesbians and gay men and bisexual people and heterosexual people who believe they were born that way, and others who don't think they were (at least, not in the way I think I was). I think we're all right.

Jaltcoh's point in his comment in your deleted askme is exactly right: it doesn't matter. Whether gay people are born or made is irrelevant, not least because there is no evidence whatsoever that anyone can force someone else to change their sexual orientation.
posted by rtha at 7:25 PM on August 17, 2010 [5 favorites]


I think this deletion wasn't needed though I understand the mods wanting to figure out what the hell was going on with a problematic poster.

Ultimately it was question asking for straight facts or links and while it's easy to see how antgly might use, based on previous info about himself, I think an honest mistake was made in shutting this down so quickly, particularly when it wasn't going bad. It was, at it's heart, a pretty simple question and while the baggage of antgly's previous questions is understandable, there was no real need to unpack that baggage with this question.

Antgly, please don't ascribe bad intentions to the mods. They work hard and do a good job and they genuinely care about the community and the site. They're only human and will make mistakes, but they it's always been with the best of intentions. Please keep that in mind and remember they're always up for communication if you have a problem.
posted by nomadicink at 7:28 PM on August 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


I gotta agree with hermitosis - if antgly had MeMailed me this question, I would have told him to take it to Ask, with the full knowledge of his history there. I think it's a totally valid, user-non-specific question and I'm bummed to see it deleted.

I think it would stay if I posted it myself, which I kinda think might be a metric (i.e. if any random user posts this would it be acceptable? If YES, then it stays; if NO, then maybe bzzzztttt.)

But, then, I don't pay the bills here.
posted by tristeza at 7:30 PM on August 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


He has addressed this, he is home for the Summer, no access to university counseling center.

Oh. Home for the summer.

And ... it's August 17.

In my experience with universities, the fall semester generally starts in late August.
posted by Jaltcoh at 7:36 PM on August 17, 2010


even a day can feel like forever when you're that young and you are struggling with acceptance within yourself alongside disapproval/intolerance from those you love & depend upon.
posted by batmonkey at 7:39 PM on August 17, 2010 [9 favorites]


if i'm reading things correcty - the mods had tried to talk to him a few times with radio silence as their reward. this isn't a question of "was the question good enough", but "was the question borderline enough knowing that it's been problematic before and he's not answering mod emails at all?"

if i asked about lemons every single time and people started saying "hey, we sort of told you all about lemons last week" and it got to the point where the mods had emailed me and i hadn't responded and i kept asking lemon questions and they kept emailing me - and then one day i asked a question about limes, well, it's still pretty much the same since i've shown i refuse to participate beyond just asking about citrus.
posted by nadawi at 7:46 PM on August 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


In my experience with universities, the fall semester generally starts in late August.

Attempting to determine where a stranger should be isn't helpful.
posted by nomadicink at 7:47 PM on August 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


PS - to be clear, I think this MeTa callout sucks and is pretty bitchy and I don't promote this solution to deleted AskMes.
posted by tristeza at 7:47 PM on August 17, 2010


even a day can feel like forever when you're that young and you are struggling with acceptance within yourself alongside disapproval/intolerance from those you love & depend upon.

Oh, I'm sure he's having a hard time, but I think we're often too quick to depict someone as being helpless when they're not. Even if the mods were to disable his account right now, he would be able to go to counseling. AskMetafilter isn't the only place he can go for support -- at least, I hope not, since it hasn't been working out too well.
posted by Jaltcoh at 7:48 PM on August 17, 2010


In my experience with universities, the fall semester generally starts in late August.

Attempting to determine where a stranger should be isn't helpful.


What does this mean?
posted by Jaltcoh at 7:49 PM on August 17, 2010


And I did that... I'll see what their response will be.
Will post it here and you decide if it is right or not.


antgly, I'd personally have preferred to discuss this with you in private because we don't really like having to lay out the details of "this is how you seem to be not getting the site" stuff in public if we don't have to; it feels like coming down awfully hard on someone sometimes for cluelessness. At this point, it feels like that's kind of a moot point, so I'll go ahead and respond here.

People have touched on this already but to be totally clear: if you want to talk to us in public about something, Metatalk is fine. If you want to talk to us in private, the contact form or email is the way to go. But it's generally a one or the other thing; pulling stuff from email into public is not gonna fly at all. We don't do that to other people, and other people doing it is a major violation of the community guidelines here.

So, if we're doing this here, I'll reiterate the substance of my reply to you earlier:

Your post was deleted because you keep returning to this topic to a degree that has gotten conspicuous and disruptive, and yet you haven't answered email from us trying to get an understanding of what was going on, whether you were confused about askme or just not giving a crap about the problems your single-topic, largely non-responsive posting was causing.

If you want to try and get answers about this stuff, that's not fundamentally a problem and in fact we've left several questions from you to stand even as it was starting to generate a lot of notice from other users. But if you're not communicating with us when we're telling you there's a problem, we don't really have any other choice but to delete and hope that at least that will get your attention and you'll actually start talking to us.

Mefi is a big place, bigger than any one user's asking inclinations; most of the time that's not a problem, but when there is some friction between what one person wants to do with the site and what the community expectations in general are there has to be some give and compromise to keep things functional. We were getting no acknowledgement of that from you at all. That's the problem, not the subject itself; a casual daily read of askme should make it very clear that sexuality is a big topic over there.

I'd rather not have had to resort to removing your question to get as far as hearing from you at all, and I'd be totally fine talking to you more about how to make this work going forward. I think that the bumpiness to this point can be avoided going forward with a bit of work and some more familiarity on your part about some of the parts of site practice and policy that you don't seem to be really getting to date, but that means communicating with us when we need you to. Let us actually work with you before it gets to the point of having to remove more posts.

even a day can feel like forever when you're that young and you are struggling with acceptance within yourself alongside disapproval/intolerance from those you love & depend upon.

Absolutely. And I sympathize with antgly's situation; it must be tremendously frustrating to deal with and I hope he finds a good way out of it sooner rather than later. But that doesn't mean this site's general community expectations stop applying to him.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:55 PM on August 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Until we're clear that this is something that is received and understood, we're not at all comfortable with AskMe continuing to be the place where various facets of the same issue keep getting asked about with absolutely no indication in your questions that you've done anything with the information that you've gotten in the past few questions.
posted by jessamyn at 9:30 PM on August 17 [+] [!]

Your questions about sexual attraction have shown no awareness that they are variations on a theme, that you have acted on any of the advice you've given thus far, or that you're addressing any of the issues that have come up in your other questions.
posted by jessamyn at 10:10 PM on August 17 [+] [!]


While I don't really have much opinion on this particular deletion as an individual occurence, I would like some clarification as to why antgly's posts get deleted while questions which build off the consequences of ignoring AskMe's previous advice are allowed to stay.

I'm not suggesting that xbeautychickx's questions are a cut-and-dried situation of "We told you so!", but neither is antgly's, especially in the case of this particular question. If he'd dropped the line about convincing his parents, it would have just as hypothetical as "Where can I find scientific articles about the case of nurture vs. nature among studies of twins?"

I'm asking honestly: where do the mods draw this line?
posted by zoomorphic at 7:55 PM on August 17, 2010 [8 favorites]


I do a bit of volunteering for an LGBTQ youth shelter. Two weeks is a very very long time when faced with homelessness, domestic violence, or 'just' emotional/verbal abuse upon coming out or being outed.

Especially if your parents are paying for college, and your potential or perceived gayness will cause your parents to remove financial assistance.

My heart breaks for antgly every time these questions come up.

Let's not pretend to know that these problems will go away when the new semester begins. They might, but I doubt they will in the near future, from what little I have seen of the world. I hope my doubts are misplaced in this situation and that antgly's parents can find compassion for their kid.
posted by bilabial at 7:56 PM on August 17, 2010 [9 favorites]


He has addressed this, he is home for the Summer, no access to university counseling center.

His profile indicates he's in Staten Island, which implies that he is a ferry ride away from a host of LGBTQ counseling and support resources.
posted by The Straightener at 7:56 PM on August 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


His profile indicates he's in Staten Island, which implies that he is a ferry ride away from a host of LGBTQ counseling and support resources.

Depending on the circumstances, it may as well be Mars. I'm serious.
posted by hermitosis at 7:57 PM on August 17, 2010 [16 favorites]


Jaltcoh & cortex: I agree utterly...and also find myself thinking of how blinding it can be to feel like one is living in the margins and not being able to see the trees for the forest, even with day-glo paint marking the way and a rope around one's waist. Probably over-empathising, per usual.

I do hope angtly will return to verbalise what is missing from what's been provided that he thinks the community can provide.
posted by batmonkey at 8:00 PM on August 17, 2010


Two weeks is a very very long time when faced with homelessness, domestic violence ...

OK, but I don't see anything that says that's the OP's situation.

Let's not pretend to know that these problems will go away when the new semester begins.

Fortunately, no one is pretending that. We're just saying that AskMetafilter isn't the only resource. Indeed, it isn't the best resource (aside from the deletions).
posted by Jaltcoh at 8:02 PM on August 17, 2010


"Whether gay people are born or made is irrelevant"

QFT
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 8:02 PM on August 17, 2010 [6 favorites]


His profile indicates he's in Staten Island, which implies that he is a ferry ride away from a host of LGBTQ counseling and support resources

Right. What are these resources? Can someone email that info to him?

I'm in NYC but this isn't really up my alley so to speak.
posted by dfriedman at 8:03 PM on August 17, 2010


Depending on the circumstances, it may as well be Mars. I'm serious.

Fair enough, and I understand that he's struggling, but he's an adult, and doesn't exist in a vacuum of resources, so I don't think it serves him or the site to pretend that he's not an adult nor has access to any real life resources to justify that fact that he's not only abusing AskMe, but not seeming to get any benefit out of what people are posting in trying to help him.
posted by The Straightener at 8:03 PM on August 17, 2010


While I don't really have much opinion on this particular deletion as an individual occurence, I would like some clarification as to why antgly's posts get deleted while questions which build off the consequences of ignoring AskMe's previous advice are allowed to stay.

Not surprisingly, antgly's posting history got mentioned in the more recent xbeautychicx metatalk thread, as a point of comparison. They're two similar situations, and we've been (trying to, until very recently with antgly to nothing but dead air) work with both of them for similar reasons to try and keep it from escalating further than it already has.

I'm asking honestly: where do the mods draw this line?

At the point where generously assuming it'll resolve itself stops feeling practical. Which, again, that's where we are here and I think basically where we are with xbeautychicx as well. It's hard to do any sort of straight across comparisons, the situations obviously differ in a lot of specific ways, but there are structural similarities at play here. Both situations are frustrating not least because we don't want to have to give someone a hard time for not getting it nor do we want other people sort of getting cult-of-personality about that person's not-getting-it behavior.

There is no clear line we can point to. It kind of has to be a "well, this is getting to feel like a problem" thing. In the best case scenario, when we try and find a solution to that it happens quickly and amicably. That's actually a fair amount of the time, but when that happens it doesn't lead to any memorable trainwrecks or in a lot of cases any sort of public display at all; things just get better and people go about their mefi day.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:06 PM on August 17, 2010


nor do we want other people sort of getting cult-of-personality about that person's not-getting-it behavior

Would you mind elaborating on this? I don't really understand what you are trying to say here.
posted by enn at 8:10 PM on August 17, 2010


En, means don't follow every move this guy makes and report on it to the rest of metafilter (good or bad) and just trust the mods to deal with it.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:13 PM on August 17, 2010


Jaltcoh, you cut off the part about verbal and emotional abuse, which it seems the OP is likely to be experiencing. Aside from that omission, many young adults aren't technically 'facing' physical violence as a result of their sexuality until a parent (or other family member) strikes them. However, every young person who comes out in a hostile environment is aware of physical danger.

And I said 'let's not' in hopes of preventing folks from making that assumption, rather than to chastise people who are actively expressing that the problems will go away once school is in session. Just because nobody is asserting it yet....well, I'm obviously a bit more oriented toward preventing what is harmful and easily preventable than in cleaning up the mess.

(sadly, I've needed psych services as a college student, and the on campus offerings were offensive at best, and made things worse in the short term. Metafilter, frankly, would have been a better resource.)

Also, I have a cough and hlsome cough syrup, so I might be even less coherent than usual.

Hugs for everyone! We all need a hug.
posted by bilabial at 8:16 PM on August 17, 2010


Depending on the circumstances, it may as well be Mars.

True, but that doesn't automatically make his(?) use of AskMe the best way to find a solution to his dilemma. I really feel for him, but I equally don't think the answers to his questions are going to come in the public spaces here. Maybe via private email communications, but more likely it will happen when he eventually gets the courage and resources to reach out to the people and organizations who can help him. Maybe that's a campus counseling center, or a drop-in place for LGBTQ youth, or something else entirely -- personally, I don't feel like I know his situation well enough to even guess.

I am sure, though, that simply repeating what already isn't working on AskMe isn't going to magically produce the desired results.
posted by Forktine at 8:17 PM on August 17, 2010


xbeautychicx has asked exactly two questions. The first was about comments from her boyfriend, and people said it was fake for some reason. Her second question was about her boyfriend's son repeatedly coming on to her, and again people said this was fake (though the person who posted a MeTa about it apologized for doing so). Some people were annoyed that she hadn't taken our DTMFA advice. We seem to dispense DTMFA on a more-or-less daily basis; I'm sure people ignore it all the time.

antgly, on the other hand, has posted numerous questions that seem to be different ways of wording the same concern about his sexual orientation.

As far as I can tell, xbeautychicx asked two different questions and didn't break any guidelines. Antgly has asked basically the same question repeatedly, and several of them have been deleted.

I don't think it does much good to compare the two users. But maybe the mods know something I don't know.
posted by Jaltcoh at 8:17 PM on August 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


It seems to me the issue was not the question itself, but the fact that he had ignored other attempts to contact him to discuss appropriateness and simply posted and complained whenever he wanted. I see it as a perfectly legitimate method for bringing someone to the table to talk, deleting question until ground rules can be discussed and agreed upon. Then, he can repost the question if it is appropriate. His actions speak much louder than his words. He has shown a disregard for the community by not responding to mod emails and by not participating here in any meaningful way other than to post similar questions while not indicating he even considered previous answers.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 8:18 PM on August 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Jaltcoh, you cut off the part about verbal and emotional abuse, which it seems the OP is likely to be experiencing.

Well, I'm allowed to quote part of a comment and respond to it. I selectively quoted the part about homelessness and domestic violence to make a point, which is that people are caricaturing how much of a victim he is. I don't know why we can't stick to the facts.

As for what you said about "verbal and emotional abuse," I don't know whether that's the case or not. I stay away from diagnosing things as "abuse" or not "abuse" based on stuff I read on the internet, unless the situation is really clear-cut.
posted by Jaltcoh at 8:21 PM on August 17, 2010


Also, for the record, I do believe that better resources exist for antgly. I don't know what they are, but I hesitate to rubber stamp approve the university as a step up. Just because those people have licenses and degrees doesn't make them fit to help people in distress.

I am not suggesting that I support the use of ask.me for repeated iterations of the same painful question.
posted by bilabial at 8:23 PM on August 17, 2010


Bad delete.

Its a perfectly good question. And there's plenty of evidence. I first started seeing this in the 1980s when I saw a documentary about German scientists who found a spike in gays born during WWII and then did research regarding the release of hormones by the mother in times of stress. Turns out some of those hormones make you gay, if I remember correctly.

There's nothing wrong about that question. Not a thing.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:25 PM on August 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


His profile indicates he's in Staten Island, which implies that he is a ferry ride away from a host of LGBTQ counseling and support resources

Right. What are these resources? Can someone email that info to him?

I'm in NYC but this isn't really up my alley so to speak.


Miko addressed this question earlier.
posted by virago at 8:26 PM on August 17, 2010


Would you mind elaborating on this? I don't really understand what you are trying to say here.

It's reputation effect. There's an easy dozen people over the years who have, through a bad start or a bad string of episodes, managed to induce a collective responsiveness on the part of the userbase not so much to what that user says or does as to the fact that it's them saying it or doing it.

It's an unhealthy dynamic. It sucks on all fronts: it makes it harder for the user to be taken at face value when they're participating in good faith, it makes it harder for everybody else to give that person the benefit of the doubt in ambiguous situations, it makes it harder for us as mods to separate reactions to that reputation from reactions to actual behavior, and it makes adjudicating all the weird bullshit that arises as a result a serious energy-sapping headache and a source of ill will in the community.

I think that sometimes when that happens—when someone ends up being more outsized reputation than community member, when there's a cult of personality thriving around that person and their presence here—it happens because the user is just stubbornly unwilling or just helplessly unable to figure out how to cut out the attention-grabbing behavior and settle in with the community. And when it goes that way there's really nothing to do for it but contain as best we can and wait for them to either lose interest in the site or lose their shit and get themselves banned. Not a good situation.

But other times I think we have situations, like I hope this one is, where it's sort of a brewing but avertable problem. I think people are generally sympathetic of everything about antgly's situation except for the sort of non-responsive cluetrainlessness stuff, and if we can figure that out with him in a constructive way before it continues to escalate, things will even out and not be an issue in the future.

antgly, that's far and away my preferred outcome here, and I feel like it's pretty doable if you can show some patience and flexibility as you get to know your way around here better. Talk to us over email if you're uncertain about a policy or etiquette issue or want an opinion on a future question; be responsive to us when we get ahold of you about something we think is problematic. That's pretty much all there is to it, and it's a big part of what we do every day with lots of different users in our daily job here.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:27 PM on August 17, 2010


His profile indicates he's in Staten Island, which implies that he is a ferry ride away from a host of LGBTQ counseling and support resources

One of his past posts mentioned a very repressive father figure, who pretty much kept him under house arrest.
posted by nomadicink at 8:29 PM on August 17, 2010


Miko addressed this question earlier

Ah, sorry missed that.
posted by dfriedman at 8:29 PM on August 17, 2010


Also, no harm done zoomorphic but let's please not link to absent trainwreck former member's profiles.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:31 PM on August 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


it doesn't matter. Whether gay people are born or made is irrelevant, not least because there is no evidence whatsoever that anyone can force someone else to change their sexual orientation.

I have to disagree. It does matter. If you are born blind, we don't say its your fault that you are blind. If you were playing with a bomb and it blinded you it is.

This is a huge point politically. The bigots want it to be about choice, for then, they can morally condemn. But they have a much harder time convincing anyone if its shown that most gays and lesbians are born that way. This so basic as to make it confusing to me why anyone would say otherwise.

Also, let's say the dude had asked a lot of questions that were weird or whatever. This time he apparently stripped out all of the special snowflake stuff and just asked a straight question.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:31 PM on August 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


But seriously can cortex please restore the last question from the trash bin? I will pretty much just keep in better touch. Ok?
posted by antgly at 8:33 PM on August 17, 2010


posted by Ironmouth This time he . . . just asked a straight question.

Oh, good grief.
posted by mattdidthat at 8:33 PM on August 17, 2010


I've brought it back up, antgly. Understand that this is a rarity and very much a one-time-only thing on the strength of you really working with us on this stuff going forward. I want to make this work with you but you have to meet us halfway.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:38 PM on August 17, 2010 [5 favorites]


Thank you. (just thought of that BEP song btw from your comment)
posted by antgly at 8:38 PM on August 17, 2010


Jaltcoh, I do agree that antgly's complete history of questions, deleted and extant, has redundancies and reflects a certain lack of understanding regarding how the community works. However, this particular question doesn't raise red flags the way his other repetitions did. He's asking a question about general evidence (I took this to mean scientific evidence, though he unwisely did not specify) regarding homosexuality. This is a medium-sized jump from "who am I attracted to and why?"

Meanwhile, xbeautychickx's redundancy differed a bit, but the questions' core issues were pretty damn similar: she's dating someone who, at least in her own account, sounds like a terrible match for her. This is why he's a jerk to her (question #1) and why he's raised a jerk of a son and also why he doesn't really care that his son is hitting on her (question #2) The smaller issues will continue to occur until she address the main problem. If she asked a third question that went something like, "How can I stop my fiancé from cheating on me with Wall Street escorts?", then I also think this would violate jessamyn's outlines about simply not listening to stated advice and proceeding to wonder aloud about how to tamp down symptoms rather than seek a cure. If she asked something like, "Can I get some studies about the tendency for men to be attracted to younger women?" then, hey, the question is still fair game.

Again, I definitely see how the two situations are different, but I find xbeautychickx's drama-rama fest in question #2 to be much more redundant and a much bigger violation of jessamyn's stated terms than antgly's current question.
posted by zoomorphic at 8:42 PM on August 17, 2010


I wholeheartedly hope antgly finds the resources needed and gets things sorted out to his happiness. I think MetaUniverse can not be his sole or primary source of support and nor be responsible for him in any manner. At some point, either at school, or in the community or in/at a web source specifically designed for these issues antgly needs to engage with these issues in the correct environment. Hopefully some kind Mefite can give him the resources he needs, but in the end he needs to act on that outside MetaU.
posted by edgeways at 8:45 PM on August 17, 2010


This so basic as to make it confusing to me why anyone would say otherwise.

the reason the people fighting for LBGTQ rights don't like to argue the biology mindset is because it shouldn't matter when it comes to equal treatment under the law. it shouldn't matter when it comes to treating people like humans.

and what happens if they find that one person where they can PROVE he wasn't born gay, even though lots of people have memories of being gay or different far before nurture could have kicked in - well, then they have what they feel to be a smoking gun politically and legally.

that's why it's important for those fighting for equality to consistently say, "it doesn't matter - nature or nurture - our responsibilities of equality remain unchanged."

whether it be like religion or eye color - it just doesn't matter.


and - for the record on personal stories of born or learned?
i remember very clearly learning to like boys. i didn't understand it. i didn't know why the girls in third grade called them cute. i had to ask detailed pointed questions. it took years before i honestly found a guy attractive and not just "this is what everyone says attractive looks like in a guy." my barbies always slept in the same bed and sent ken out for milk. i hung on every word that mary-claire said, and then mary-elizabeth, and then katy, etc. when i played house, i never wanted either of us to play the husband - i thought we should both be wives.

and now i'm married to a man and i don't feel at all like i'm lying about my sexuality or identity. it took a long time to get here - but born or learned, my sexuality is not black and white. so for me, the question seems especially pointless.
posted by nadawi at 8:48 PM on August 17, 2010 [7 favorites]


It would be nice to chat with a MeFi member who is an expert or who has lots of experience with these topics. It could help sort out lots of uncertainties / questions instead of bothering MeFi users.

Also is there a way that my question could reappear on the Ask MeFi homepage / human relations pages? I know its been reactivated, but I still don't see it on those pages.
posted by antgly at 8:48 PM on August 17, 2010


I see it as 11 questions down on the AskMe page, you may have a cached version of the page and it should show up there within a few minutes.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:50 PM on August 17, 2010


If she asked a third question that went something like, "How can I stop my fiancé from cheating on me with Wall Street escorts?", then I also think this would violate jessamyn's outlines about simply not listening to stated advice and proceeding to wonder aloud about how to tamp down symptoms rather than seek a cure.

Oh, I think your example goes to the opposite point: if, hypothetically, the boyfriend is cheating on her, and she posts a question asking how to deal with this, that would be a new question. I would see no reason to delete it.
posted by Jaltcoh at 8:58 PM on August 17, 2010


Good came of this.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:59 PM on August 17, 2010 [6 favorites]


I have to disagree. It does matter.

Yeah, I don't think it does. Or it shouldn't.

One: As Jaltcoh said in the comment I linked to, it doesn't/shouldn't matter because there's nothing wrong with being gay (or bi, or straight, or flexible, or whatever the new words kids these days come up with).

Two: There is ample evidence that those who believe that it is inborn (but still wrong) believe that it's fine to be gay as long as you don't act gay (i.e. have gay sex). See: The Catholic Church.

There is nothing wrong with being gay, or acting on it, whether you were born that way or not. Married people weren't born that way, but we don't/shouldn't discriminate against them just because they chose to get married.
posted by rtha at 9:04 PM on August 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I have to disagree. It does matter. If you are born blind, we don't say its your fault that you are blind. If you were playing with a bomb and it blinded you it is.

This is a huge point politically. The bigots want it to be about choice, for then, they can morally condemn. But they have a much harder time convincing anyone if its shown that most gays and lesbians are born that way. This so basic as to make it confusing to me why anyone would say otherwise.


No no no no no. By even engaging in that argument, you're buying into the bigots' worldview: that choices between consenting adults which don't hurt others can be condemned. While I firmly believe sexuality is not a choice (insofar as sexuality can even be well-defined), I just as firmly believe it shouldn't matter one whit. When you use the "it's not a choice" argument, you are implicitly condemning choice and free will.
posted by kmz at 9:06 PM on August 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


crunchland writes "When I ran a bbs back in the 90's, we had this one user who was fixated on lithium. Every post he made was about lithium. Every person, he thought, could benefit from the use of lithium. He could -- and did -- spend hours writing about his one favorite topic, to the exclusion of everything else. "

So do you point out to him that he seems a little obsessive and maybe he should try some Lithium to curb that?
posted by Mitheral at 9:07 PM on August 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


One: As Jaltcoh said in the comment I linked to, it doesn't/shouldn't matter because there's nothing wrong with being gay (or bi, or straight, or flexible, or whatever the new words kids these days come up with).

It plays a huge role in the politics of the thing. Fundies have a hard time convincing people being gay is bad if it is unborn. A lot more people will stop going after gays and lesbians because of it.

Also, how ridiculous is the Catholic Church's position. Well, God made you gay but you can't act on it?

Also, I looked at his prior questions. He did have three in a row that were pretty much the same thing.

But this is a different question. He didn't bring up any of his other crap. He was just looking for articles people had on the web. A totally different thing.

Bad delete, IMHO.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:08 PM on August 17, 2010


So did you point out to him ...
posted by Mitheral at 9:09 PM on August 17, 2010


No no no no no. By even engaging in that argument, you're buying into the bigots' worldview: that choices between consenting adults which don't hurt others can be condemned. While I firmly believe sexuality is not a choice (insofar as sexuality can even be well-defined), I just as firmly believe it shouldn't matter one whit. When you use the "it's not a choice" argument, you are implicitly condemning choice and free will.

I understand what you are saying, but this is a practical battle. We win by making practical arguments. Arguments people can understand and sympathize with.

Otherwise then they try and get you on the polgamy thing and marrying dogs and all that other bullshit.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:10 PM on August 17, 2010


1. I don't really think there's anything wrong with polygamy, assuming all participants are on equal footing. In other words, something like real polyamory, not the FLDS crap. Legalizing it might be a bit more difficult from a practical perspective in terms of bureaucracy, but it's probably doable.

2. Dogs can't give informed consent.
posted by kmz at 9:13 PM on August 17, 2010


Ironmouth writes "Also, how ridiculous is the Catholic Church's position. Well, God made you gay but you can't act on it?"

Are you kidding? The foundation of the Catholic Church is there are all sorts of things God made feel good that God has decreed you aren't allowed to do but hey, if you do them anyways the Church is ready with the cure of confession. In the words of George Carlin:
'Cause that's what they taught us; it's what's in your mind that counts; your intentions, that's how we'll judge you. What you want to do. Mortal sin had to be a grievous offence, sufficient reflection and full consent of the will. Ya had'ta WANNA! In fact, WANNA was a sin all by itself. "Thou Shalt Not WANNA". If you woke up in the morning and said, "I'm going down to 42nd street and commit a mortal sin!" Save your car fare; you did it, man! Absolutely!
It was a sin for you to wanna feel up Ellen. It was a sin for you to plan to feel up Ellen. It was a sin for you to figure out a place to feel up Ellen. It was a sin to take Ellen to the place to feel her up. It was a sin to try to feel her up and it was a sin to feel her up. There were six sins in one feel, man!
posted by Mitheral at 9:19 PM on August 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Bad delete, IMHO.

I don't think so... jessamyn mentioned upthread that the OP continuously asks the same sorts of questions, and there is no evidence that he has every acted on the advice he received, or that he even understand how MetaFilter works as a community.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:26 PM on August 17, 2010


All this discussion about what xbeautychicx might ask next is getting quite creepy, even by Meta standards.
posted by special-k at 9:27 PM on August 17, 2010 [7 favorites]


"All this discussion" = two comments?
posted by mlis at 9:32 PM on August 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


So do you point out to him that he seems a little obsessive and maybe he should try some Lithium to curb that?

If I recall, after many members of the community tried in good faith to dissuade him from his pet topic, at great lenght and to no avail, we ended up banning him, and he ultimately became the punchline of a joke.
posted by crunchland at 9:37 PM on August 17, 2010


jessamyn mentioned upthread that the OP continuously asks the same sorts of questions

I really, really, really don't get this. Asking "Am I gay?" questions followed by "What's some evidence about gayness being an inborn trait?" is an entirely rational sequence of questions. I don't see people who ask "What do I need to look for when buying an older house?" followed by "How do I tell what model furnace my old house has?" getting questions deleted because they ask too many old-house-type questions, and the community would be worse off if they did.

No one can deny that antgly doesn't really get it here, but deleting a *valid and distinct* question just because it's the next one in a logical progression of someone coming to terms with their sexuality is terrible treatment. I would hate to see a precedent set that if you don't do a good job early on when asking questions, you are barred from asking any more questions on that topic until your copy-editing skills improve.

It feels like the logic was "Did antgly ask a question about gay? Ugh, not another one, delete". What was the actual problem here?
posted by 0xFCAF at 9:57 PM on August 17, 2010 [7 favorites]


I don't see people who ask "What do I need to look for when buying an older house?" followed by "How do I tell what model furnace my old house has?" getting questions deleted because they ask too many old-house-type questions, and the community would be worse off if they did.

Apparently, the furnace question would be allowed as long as they buy the exact kind of house we tell them to buy.
posted by Jaltcoh at 10:08 PM on August 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


Also, how ridiculous is the Catholic Church's position.

Well, of course it's ridiculous. So is the position that it's a choice and gay people should just choose not to act on it.

I've encountered lots of American fundamentalists who seem to believe that while it might not be a choice, acting on one's homosexuality is still wrong and sinful. I really don't think that catering to a belief like that is smart politics, in the long or the short run.

It isn't an easy battle, and there will always be some people who believe otherwise, but the best way to go is to keep pointing out that there is nothing wrong with being gay. That's it. Choice or not, there isn't anything wrong with it.
posted by rtha at 10:14 PM on August 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


No one can deny that antgly doesn't really get it here, but deleting a *valid and distinct* question just because it's the next one in a logical progression of someone coming to terms with their sexuality is terrible treatment.

It's a lousy move to have to make, but if nothing else is getting any kind of response from the user and it's iteration n of what's become a problematic pattern of behavior, it's what we've got. Jess and I have both tried to be pretty clear about where we were coming from in this specific case, and it should be clear from context that it is a specific and frustrating circumstance and not some willy-nilly thing we do on a regular basis.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:16 PM on August 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


That's the part I don't get - it seems like this was a new question for him and that he was asking something other than the zomg-am-I-gay question he iterated on in the past. What about this new question was problematic?
posted by 0xFCAF at 10:26 PM on August 17, 2010


Are we seriously expecting antgly to sort out his sexuality issues in 2 months? It took me years, and I had quite a few questions along the way (and no one to talk to).

Also, being told to seek professional help (particularly in the brusque manner that some here have done) can come across as downright degrading. Angtly seems stressed that something about him is broken or abnormal, and a terse "Go see a shrink" reply is only going to serve to reinforce those feelings. These comments are counterproductive.

That being said, I do think he should seek out a youth-oriented LGBTQ counseling center, if only to meet and talk with others who have gone through the same exact thing that he currently is. I won't comment or speculate upon the feasibility of this solution. I found this book at a library back when I was in High School, and it helped to answer a lot of the questions that I had (long before I was willing to talk to anybody about it).

PS. My "enlightenment" moment occurred when I figured out that the answer to the question that got deleted didn't matter at all. We are what we are.
posted by schmod at 10:31 PM on August 17, 2010 [5 favorites]


GODDAMMIT
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:36 PM on August 17, 2010


What about this new question was problematic?

It was borderline given the pattern of non-responsiveness. He had ignored emails from us. This (however oddly with this pretty poorly-framed metatalk post as part of it) seemed to finally actually get his attention; that established, that he actually knows he needs to be responsive and now has been unambiguously made aware that the existing pattern of behavior has been a problem, I went ahead and put the question back up for him.

Again: this is not ordinary every day stuff. Email is how we do probably 80% of the work we need to do, in-thread comments and metatalk discussions are the other 19%. But the remainder is odd situations where the normal stuff isn't working; given the odd choice between e.g. deleting a borderline question with a "please contact us" message in hopes that a non-responsive user will finally get the message, or throwing our hands up and saying "there's nothing we can do", we're not gonna go with the latter.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:40 PM on August 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


schmod: "I know he's overposted on askMe"

How can someone "overpost" on AskMe with a one question per week limit?

Is this a case of "you can ask only one question every week (but we all know only a psycho/loser/vulcan would ask questions THAT frequently!)?"
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 12:30 AM on August 18, 2010


A Vulcan would most likely ask a question about sexuality only once every 7 years or so.
posted by vapidave at 2:05 AM on August 18, 2010 [9 favorites]


I have never engaged in pon farr, but when I am working closely with a particularly familiar male colleague I sometimes experience what I think may be analogous to plak tow, though I am fully aware that this is illogical. I do know that when I gaze into my viewer I sometimes can see only him and that my penis becomes approximately as hard as the blunt end of a lirpa just thinking about him. Are you aware of any way to determine with a confidence level of 98.6 percent whether I am homosexually inclined? If it makes any difference to the equation, I am half human.
posted by pracowity at 3:58 AM on August 18, 2010 [28 favorites]


Mr. Spock, in order to answer this question, we really need more information. I'd like you to look around. Are you surrounded by inane adjectives? Have there been any recent exceptionally competent and good-looking additions to the Enterprise bridge crew? Has Captain Kirk conveniently torn his uniform and removed his shirt so that it can be repaired?

What I mean is: could it be possible that you are in a fanfic right now?
posted by Uniformitarianism Now! at 4:51 AM on August 18, 2010 [20 favorites]


I posted a response in the AskMe thread itself - the need to help overcame my pledge not to participate there. Anyway, I hope it helps, antgly, and I hope you get something out of it.

Mods, you know I think in general you do a stand-up job but you also know that I think that you could do better in civil-rights-related edge cases like these involving protagonists who are minorities of one kind or another (and I know you have biases against activism and editorialism on the site), and I agree with other folks that antgly is clearly working out sexual-orientation-related personal problems on AskMe, but unlike you seem to, I don't think this is a problem.

antgly's profile, style and circumstances seem to represent that he is a younger person and I think you may need to get used to people working out these kinds of issues in public and in interaction with the community. That's what the kids do these days. I don't think the progression of questions was too gradual, just personal and honestly representing how things are going in antgly's life.

I also don't think that using AskMe this way is a poor use of the site or community. I've seen lots of other folks use it in the same way. If anything the worst thing that happened between you and antgly was that he wasn't checking the right e-mail boxes or responding in a timely enough fashion.
posted by kalessin at 5:00 AM on August 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's a lousy move to have to make, but if nothing else is getting any kind of response from the user and it's iteration n of what's become a problematic pattern of behavior, it's what we've got.

In light of the fuller story coming out, i.e. antgly not responding at previous inquiries from the mods, it was a good deletion. It brought antgly to the table and could have easily been avoided by him talking to the mods.

If you want to be part of the community or use one it's tools, you gotta keep those lines of communication open.
posted by nomadicink at 5:45 AM on August 18, 2010


I also don't think that using AskMe this way is a poor use of the site or community. I've seen lots of other folks use it in the same way.

Not really. There's a pretty big difference between being a member of the community who encounters a life situation and asks a couple related AskMes to get some input from the community they particpate in as the situation plays out and resolves and being a brand new member who signs up with the intention of using AskMe solely for the purpose of asking a string of instensely self-focused questions revolving around a single issue that that can't be resolved via AskMe. I would call these users "Working It Out" users, and the fact is that AskMe isn't really the right place for young people to bring their issues for the purpose of utilizing AskMe as an adhoc ongoing group counseling session. There are websites where "working it out" is totally appropriate, and I think antgly would be better served if he isn't ready to get real life help by being steered towards an online community for people who are questioning sexual orientation or struggling with coming out. He expressly stated he wants to hear first hand experiences, and I'm sure there are places online where he will find so many of them that he can read and comment on this issue nonstop for days and days as he works it out.

I've said this before, but I feel like there are some people on here that really need to reconsider their vocation. If you want to be a counselor and participate in providing people struggling with life crisis and transition the help they need, you can get that certification and go do that for a living and I promise you it will be very rewarding. But this attitude that AskMe supercedes asking a question and getting an answer and is the right place for people to come have their ongoing life problems resovled for them by "the Hive Mind" is not constructive, and, to be honest, does not work nor serves the person in question very much good.
posted by The Straightener at 5:53 AM on August 18, 2010 [22 favorites]


I can only disagree with the conceit that the only good place for seeking and finding counsel is a professional counselor's office. It is possible for community to do as well and sometimes better, especially again with edge cases.

For example, queer youth can have a very difficult time consistently getting meaningful and helpful advice even when going to professional counselors, especially if such counselors are chosen by folks (e.g. parents) unfriendly to the idea of queerness.

Because they are young and often below the age of majority, their options for striking out and finding better professional care are limited and often if they get good advice it's only through sheer luck or through intervention by adults with priorities different from their guardians' priorities.

As for AskMe, even given the consistency of moderation by our mod team, it's always struck me as a community that's very difficult to characterize in a single way. I've seen folks seem to use AskMe to work out ongoing personal challenges with help from strangers and friends. I've seen folks use AskMe for one-off questions I myself appear to have used it now for a 2-year-running advice list of things to do in SF when I go out to visit friends and family. To attempt to say that it can't be for a particular use seems to me very much not in keeping with AskMe's essentially chaotic nature.
posted by kalessin at 6:00 AM on August 18, 2010 [6 favorites]


Again, I definitely see how the two situations are different, but I find xbeautychickx's drama-rama fest in question #2 to be much more redundant and a much bigger violation of jessamyn's stated terms than antgly's current question.

This "making an example" of xbeautychicx habit that seems to have sprouted up is weird and gross. I doubt that any of us would like to have our AskMe's dragged into unrelated MeTa threads and picked apart endlessly.

There are dozens of users who have asked a series of questions predicated on the inability to make what the community feels are obvious decisions. (I can recall several regarding various job situations, in particular.) Hey, let's NOT sift through them and find a new punching bag!
posted by desuetude at 6:13 AM on August 18, 2010 [7 favorites]




I can only disagree with the conceit that the only good place for seeking and finding counsel is a professional counselor's office.

Please quote where in my post I said this.
posted by The Straightener at 6:15 AM on August 18, 2010


Actually, let me help you find the part of my post where I said exaclty not that:

There are websites where "working it out" is totally appropriate, and I think antgly would be better served if he isn't ready to get real life help by being steered towards an online community for people who are questioning sexual orientation or struggling with coming out. He expressly stated he wants to hear first hand experiences, and I'm sure there are places online where he will find so many of them that he can read and comment on this issue nonstop for days and days as he works it out.
posted by The Straightener at 6:17 AM on August 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I would call these users "Working It Out" users, and the fact is that AskMe isn't really the right place for young people to bring their issues for the purpose of utilizing AskMe as an adhoc ongoing group counseling session.

I would qualify this by characterizing AskMe as perhaps not being an appropriate sole resource to be "working things out."

The members who tend toward queries regarding a particular issue who can hone in on more specific inquires do fine; they presumably bounce some of the "I need to hear this AGAIN, sorry" part off of friends/peers/therapist/support/other websites/Twitter/etc.
posted by desuetude at 6:19 AM on August 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


The members who tend toward queries regarding a particular issue who can hone in on more specific inquires do fine...

Yes, I think that would imply that somebody is making progress with their issue outside of the use of this site and likely working towards a resolution of that issue whereupon they would be just another user of the site who participates in the larger community, and I don't think Jessamyn deletes those kinds of posts. Basically, I am supporting Jess's decision in saying that, no, AskMe is of course not a place where sexuality related questions are banned, but, yes, there is a point where it's clear where a user is stuck on an issue, repeatedly asking slightly rephrased versions of the same thing, at which point I think it's safe to assume that there is a need for guidance and support that goes beyond what AskMe is capable of providing and the person is better steered towards those resources and encouraged to broaden their use of the site beyond just thi.

If you don't draw those lines you also run the risk of the Hive Mind latching onto vulnerable new users going through a period of emotional instability and adopting them as a pet project, like, "Back off, mods, we're Metafilter and we're working on this guy!" Dude, don't do that. If you feel like it's a conceit that people in crisis or transition are not necessarily best served by professionals in that field of practice, fine, but don't give me this line like a bunch of tech dudes giving advice between writing lines of code at their day jobs is some kind of workable source of ongoing guidance and support for this kind of person, either.
posted by The Straightener at 6:35 AM on August 18, 2010


The Straightener, I'd say if I mischaracterized your words you might have done the same to mine (I didn't say that Jessamyn deletes any kinds of posts in particular).

Instead, I'm trying to assert that having AskMe be another "working it out resource" among many is a better choice than having AskMe be hostile (or even unwelcoming) to people who are "working it out". I think in this case, the mods' choice to delete this post of antgly's came dangerously close to be hostile to antgly who's "working it out".

In my experience as a formerly youthful queer, I was largely helped by any kind of advice and opinions I could get from any source, whether it be clergy, professional counselors, peers, faculty, queer community organizations, non-profits, books, BBSes (no Internet back then, really), Newsgroups, whatever.

Sometimes the advice I got turned out to be shitty, biased advice, and sometimes that advice came from sources I wouldn't have expected. As I got older and more experienced I got better at figuring out what kinds of advice and reminders and support worked best for me and how to get more if I needed it. In my particular personal experience, the professional counselors were not always the ideal source for advice. Sometimes I got great advice from folks whose professions were diametrically opposite from counselor (like "career drunk", for instance). Sometimes I didn't. But I would have been poorer for any of those resources going away.

I'm not arguing for antgly to take advice solely from AskMe community. I'm not even suggesting that that's a good idea (nor am I suggesting that that's a typical pattern for any consumer of information from the Internet). I AM saying that there's no reason to cut AskMe out of the possible sources antgly and other folks like him can use to help work out issues of personal politics and identity. To me, making AskMe available as one of these resources is the compassionate thing to do.
posted by kalessin at 6:58 AM on August 18, 2010


Is this a case of "you can ask only one question every week (but we all know only a psycho/loser/vulcan would ask questions THAT frequently!)?"

What our take on this sort of thing is is that, as with every other posting limit on the site, the one-week limit on askme is a just that, a limit. It's a throttle on maximum throughput. It is not a suggestion.

There's no judgemental psycho/loser/vulcan aspect to that, or anything; it's more that when we notice someone hammering the site basically every week without interruption with a new question it tends to correlate to a lot of sort of iffy or half-baked questions, and it'll generally lead to us talking to them about easing off a bit and focusing more on the questions that they think are really high priority and refining those a bit if their asking has been sort of loose or lazy or off the mark a bit.

For all I know, someone out there has been asking a totally non-attention-getting question every week for three years and we haven't noticed because it never caused a problem. I wouldn't bet on that exact scenario, but certainly different people ask at different rates, and plenty of people have at one time or another asked three or four questions three or four weeks in a row when they had a busy/complicated/confusing set of stuff going on at one point.

But the vast majority of users ask only a small fraction of the theoretical 52-questions-a-year allotment. Folks sort of pushing for that record while simultaneously not totally getting how the site works tend to be conspicuous because people here have strong heads for pattern recognition and put together the "oh, it's you again doing this thing again" connection with just two or three data points. Nothing particularly nefarious there, it's just mefites noticing stuff happening on metafilter. How that notice having been taken plays out can be it's own sometimes not-so-great ride, but that's part of why we try to manage this stuff early on to avoid having it turn into any kind of site drama if we can help it.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:04 AM on August 18, 2010


psycho/loser/vulcan

You just lumped Vulcans with psychos and losers.

*sets phaser on AWHELLNO*
posted by nomadicink at 7:10 AM on August 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


Yes, I think that would imply that somebody is making progress with their issue outside of the use of this site and likely working towards a resolution of that issue... but, yes, there is a point where it's clear where a user is stuck on an issue, repeatedly asking slightly rephrased versions of the same thing...

As I said in my previous comment, antgly is making progress. Previously it seemed like he was trying to figure out his sexuality. Now he has, and he's even talking with his parents about it and wants ammunition to help fight their misconceptions. That does not qualify as being stuck in neutral.

And god, I hate discussing someone else's personal life in public, so, that's all.
posted by Tin Man at 7:32 AM on August 18, 2010 [7 favorites]


It would be good if the post was updated so people know that Cortex 'undeleted' the post in the middle of this giant-ass thread. I was confoosed.
posted by chunking express at 7:48 AM on August 18, 2010


if I knew a psycho loser Vulcan, I'd be his or her best friend
posted by angrycat at 7:49 AM on August 18, 2010


I was at first going to ask if anyone couldn't identify any resources on the internet that might be better suited at providing advice than AskMe, until I saw someone asking the NYC MeFites to organize a meetup for antgly. Then I did a double-take.

Wait a second - he lives in NEW YORK CITY? No seriously, he lives in the best city in the world with resources for young people who are questioning their sexuality? He doesn't need money to get help, there are existing resources in this place, most of which are on the internet, in the event that he somehow can't get on the ferry and come into Manhattan (if there aren't any on Staten Island, which, even though it's Staten Island there must be, but I understand if he wouldn't want to be seen walking into one).

I would have a lot more sympathy for all of this if he lived anywhere else except directly adjacent to an extremely gay-friendly metropolis.

Surely someone can point antgly to local resources better suited to help him.
posted by micawber at 8:07 AM on August 18, 2010


Wait a second - he lives in NEW YORK CITY?

I would have a lot more sympathy for all of this if he lived anywhere else except directly adjacent to an extremely gay-friendly metropolis.

No, he doesn't live in New York City. Even if he did, there are or were complicating factors that made it harder for him to leave the house.
posted by nomadicink at 8:19 AM on August 18, 2010


Oh duh, of course he lives in NYC, forgot to delete that part.
posted by nomadicink at 8:20 AM on August 18, 2010


I would have a lot more sympathy for all of this if he lived anywhere else except directly adjacent to an extremely gay-friendly metropolis.

I would hope you would factor in the possibility that details which he hasn't shared (and he has shared very few) might be interfering with his ability to get help? I think it is imagination you're lacking rather than sympathy.

Manhattan may be a fortress of semi-enlightenment when it comes to gay issues, but it's stuck right in the middle of a vast cultural wilderness. When I was a substitute teacher in the Bushwick projects, I met kids who had never even been to Manhattan -- a 20 minute subway ride away. And even those who'd been there had a very limited idea of the opportunities available there or how other people live. There are lots of factors -- family, religion, psychology, poverty -- that freeze people in place, to the point that you'd think they were living in an entirely different decade. A lot of the Hasidic kids, for example, are in the same boat, even though they can probably see the high rises from the windows of their Williamsburg fortresses. And that's just geography. Trying to suss out exactly where to find the (non-predatory) gays when you're not old enough to hit up bars, figuring out who to trust, dealing with the paranoia of your family or community finding out what you've been up to -- these are prohibitive fears, especially if you're not sure you're even gay.

When I was 18, I figured out how to drive 50 miles to attend a 1AM after hours party at a gay bar -- but if I had needed to talk to someone, where the fuck would I even have begun to look? Who would I have trusted? Even today I'm not sure.
posted by hermitosis at 8:32 AM on August 18, 2010 [9 favorites]


if I had needed to talk to someone

This is the thing, though. AskMe is great for "ask a well-defined question, get a bunch of answers within a day or so" type stuff. But it's not great for ongoing "let's have a conversation and you can help me figure out my ongoing issue over a period of a few weeks" interaction. If antgly wants that -- and I can fully imagine that he might, and that it would be really helpful to him, to have an ongoing sustained conversation with someone about all this -- then AskMe is not set up to provide it.

Maybe he will coincidentally have found someone who will privately correspond with him, by posting here. That's great, if so. But that would be still be lucky chance, not something that is in line with the main dynamic of AskMe. One question about sexuality, where you get a bunch of answers in a day or so and then you can digest them on your own time: yes. Several questions in an ongoing series, where you're basically wanting to hear more stories along the same lines, or get more affirmations along the same lines: less good, less what AskMe is for.

Is there a better site/sites where a young man who's trying to figure out his sexuality can go for that kind of ongoing interaction, conversation, encouragement, fellowship/mentorship, etc? Figuring that out would probably be more helpful than arguing about whether AskMe can serve as a stop-gap, less-good substitute.
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:54 AM on August 18, 2010


I think this situation points out that even Ask Metafilter, the all-things-to-all-people wonder that it is, has limitations. Perhaps relying on the kindness of strangers can go only so far.

That, and I'm hoping this guy isn't some kind of troll, playing up on the sympathies of others for some underhanded reason.
posted by crunchland at 9:00 AM on August 18, 2010


How can someone "overpost" on AskMe with a one question per week limit?

By posting anonymously.
posted by Jaltcoh at 9:20 AM on August 18, 2010


the mods' choice to delete this post of antgly's came dangerously close to be hostile to antgly who's "working it out".


It really doesn't seem like you've read any of the responses in this thread from jessamyn or cortex. antgly had not responded to repeated communication from them. When a member refuses to communicate until their post is deleted and they respond with a cross-grained MeTa, I'm not thinking it's the mods that are coming close to being hostile.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:30 AM on August 18, 2010


> That, and I'm hoping this guy isn't some kind of troll, playing up on the sympathies of others for some underhanded reason.

That was a shitty thing to say and you should feel bad for saying it.
posted by languagehat at 9:47 AM on August 18, 2010 [7 favorites]


InsertNiftyNameHere writes "How can someone 'overpost' on AskMe with a one question per week limit?

"Is this a case of 'you can ask only one question every week (but we all know only a psycho/loser/vulcan would ask questions THAT frequently!)?'"


cortex writes "What our take on this sort of thing is is that, as with every other posting limit on the site, the one-week limit on askme is a just that, a limit. It's a throttle on maximum throughput. It is not a suggestion."


IE: the reason the com system isn't secured is because a certain measure of self-control is expected of all on board.
posted by Mitheral at 9:51 AM on August 18, 2010


At least he seems to be making progress.

He has acknowledged and accepted that he is gay and is now looking for ways to explain to his parents that that is the way he is and the way he was born.
posted by chillmost at 9:52 AM on August 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


antgly -- if you're so inclined, there are free and confidential resources you might be interested in contacting (by voice, e-mail or a visit):
Staten Island LGBT Center (Youth Services) -- 25 Victory Blvd., 3rd. Floor Staten Island, NY.

Community Health Action of Staten Island / The P.L.A.C.E. -- 56 Bay Street, 6th Floor, Staten Island, NY.

Hetrick-Martin Institute -- 2 Astor Place, 3rd Floor, New York, NY.

The Door -- 555 Broome Street, New York, NY.

The LGBT Community Center, (YES -- Youth Enrichment Services) 208 West 13th. Street, New York, NY.
Also ...
TrevorSpace -- "a social networking site for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth ages 13 through 24 and their friends and allies."
posted by ericb at 10:00 AM on August 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


Jaltcoh: "How can someone "overpost" on AskMe with a one question per week limit?

By posting anonymously.
"

Oh, OK. I've never done that so I'm unfamiliar with that process. I figured that the question was still attributed to the asker's account and therefore still affected the asker's stats, but the mods simply changed the user name. If asking an anonymous question is a way to get around the "one per week" limit bookkeeping then I can see where that could cause problems.

And I also want to apologize to all psychos, losers, and Vulcans if my previous comment cast any of them in a negative light.
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 10:01 AM on August 18, 2010


That was a shitty thing to say and you should feel bad for saying it.

Why, exactly?
posted by crunchland at 10:02 AM on August 18, 2010


Please disregard the screwed up quoting in my most recent post.
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 10:02 AM on August 18, 2010


Why, exactly?

Because when a person is asking a question about a major life crisis situation of theirs, and they already feel pretty bad about it, they could interpret your comment as an accusation or implication that they're making the whole thing up for a laugh, thus making that person feel even worse.
posted by FishBike at 10:06 AM on August 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, OK. I've never done that so I'm unfamiliar with that process. I figured that the question was still attributed to the asker's account and therefore still affected the asker's stats, but the mods simply changed the user name.

I believe that there is absolutely nothing in the Mefi database that links an anonymous question with a specific user.

Anecdotally, I have heard that it is not possible to post a non-Anon question followed by an Anon question, but it is possible to post an Anon followed by a non-Anon.
posted by muddgirl at 10:07 AM on August 18, 2010


That's possible, Fishbike. Which is why I said I hoped it wasn't the case, and didn't accuse anyone.
posted by crunchland at 10:09 AM on August 18, 2010


I hope crunchland doesn't derive sexual pleasure from drowning kittens. I have no evidence of this and don't think that he does, but all the same, I hope he doesn't.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:23 AM on August 18, 2010 [8 favorites]


Could we please just not go into some weird cycle of antagonism this morning?
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:26 AM on August 18, 2010


It's noon!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:29 AM on August 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


I made fresh oatmeal this morning and put coconut milk on it. It was AWESOME.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 10:30 AM on August 18, 2010


Could we please just not go into some weird cycle of antagonism this morning?

Uh huh, the Vulcans are still waiting for an apology.
posted by nomadicink at 10:32 AM on August 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


They're so sensitive.
posted by InfidelZombie at 11:04 AM on August 18, 2010


Alvy Ampersand writes "It's noon!"

Not in Official Metafilter Standard Time.
posted by Mitheral at 11:10 AM on August 18, 2010


I would hope you would factor in the possibility that details which he hasn't shared (and he has shared very few) might be interfering with his ability to get help? I think it is imagination you're lacking rather than sympathy.

If he's free enough to come on here and ask questions about being gay then he has some degree of freedom because he's either getting out of the house to use a public computer or he has access to a computer on which he feels fairly confident his parents aren't going to snoop into his internet habits. That would allow him to use the computer to make contact with local organizations, who have SURELY dealt with other people in exactly his situation, and could better counsel him in terms of better websites to interface with - if he is indeed limited and cannot as a college student go anywhere without his parents' direct supervision.

No one here is not trying to help. I think most people are just worried that he's going to keep using this place and only this place to help, when there are better places to ask the question.
posted by micawber at 11:54 AM on August 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


It really doesn't seem like you've read any of the responses in this thread from jessamyn or cortex.

I would count it as a favor it you would assume good intent. If you read all of my comments on this thread you would see that I had read their responses.
posted by kalessin at 12:02 PM on August 18, 2010


I believe that there is absolutely nothing in the Mefi database that links an anonymous question with a specific user.

Not true. The database includes the text of the questions. By reading those, you can draw inferences about who posted them.
posted by Jaltcoh at 12:09 PM on August 18, 2010


Well, now we're splitting hairs. Yes, the text of the question may be used by sleuths to guess at who posted it.
posted by muddgirl at 12:11 PM on August 18, 2010


I assume you didn't get my private message to you?

I don't want to talk in any more detail about anonymous questions in this thread, since there are privacy issues. I explained it in the message I just sent.
posted by Jaltcoh at 12:18 PM on August 18, 2010


That would allow him to use the computer to make contact with local organizations, who have SURELY dealt with other people in exactly his situation, and could better counsel him in terms of better websites to interface with

You're doing that thing where you're watching a movie and feeling a lot smarter than the character and getting frustrated when they make all sorts of mistakes that you are certain you'd never make. Which is my point about imagination -- it's easier to just disconnect than get into someone else's head and imagine the types of things that could keep someone from doing the (incredibly rational, reasonable, seemingly-obvious) things that would only probably occur to an older or more confident person.

For example, it would be great if all battered wives picked up the phone right away or researched shelter options, but people's interior lives don't work that way. What looks obvious and easy from the outside can be incredibly daunting or downright oblivious from within the fog. I hate to keep drawing from my own experience, but at his age, when I was first coming to terms with my own sexuality, I could not imagine talking to anyone except one or two trusted friends about it. Speaking to a stranger about it, in real out-loud words, would have been unthinkable, a last resort. It takes time and a great deal of introspection to be able to do the things that we later take quite for granted.

Thanks to his questions, however frustratingly posed, it looks like antgly has received what amounts to a crash-course in the resources available to him, and I hope the personal outreach from people on the site will go a long way in terms of encouraging him to explore those resources. I'm glad to read the comments in his most recent question which indicate he's discussing his sexuality with his parents, it looks to me now like he is definitely doing more than just sitting around trying to think of ways of asking the same question over and over.

But I totally agree that AskMe should not be anyone's primary resource for contact, counsel, or care. And surely it's no one's job to step in and make sure that the site does right by antgly -- really it's the other way around, the onus is primarily on him to do right by the site. I would think that after this thread, that would be abundantly clear to him.
posted by hermitosis at 1:16 PM on August 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


I don't want to talk in any more detail about anonymous questions in this thread, since there are privacy issues. I explained it in the message I just sent.

If you think there is some specific unaddressed privacy/security concern with how anonymous questions are currently implemented, please let us know.

If you're just grappling with the idea that stylistic tics and idiosyncrasies and thematic content could lead to author identification of otherwise anonymous questions, that's an issue folks have been grappling with for a good long time and isn't something the discussion of which requires hushed tones or obfuscation. We basically just trust people here generally not to be jerks or stalkers about anonymous questions on the site, which seems to work pretty well.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:01 PM on August 18, 2010


Fair enough, hermitosis. I appreciate the edification, and see your point completely. I apologize if I came across as not being empathetic in the situation.
posted by micawber at 2:23 PM on August 18, 2010


Thanks MeFi users... By the way, I'm not a troll if any of you were wondering. I'm just an individual who seems to be in the worst situation possible for a gay person. Super biased religion + over controlling and inquisitive Dad + misguided Mom and Dad + living in Staten Island = where I'm up to right now. Only during the time when I should be in college is when I can sort of get out of my parents grasp.
posted by antgly at 4:58 PM on August 18, 2010


I honestly need a hug.
posted by antgly at 4:59 PM on August 18, 2010 [15 favorites]


Hugs are free. Be safe with yourself.
posted by kalessin at 5:59 PM on August 18, 2010


Hang in there; you're not alone, there are a lot of resources near you and especially once you get back to school, and remember you'll be getting more independent from your parents all the time, so their control over you will only decrease from this point.
posted by LobsterMitten at 6:19 PM on August 18, 2010


((antgly))

Hang in there!
posted by nomadicink at 6:55 PM on August 18, 2010


Jaltcoh: "I assume you didn't get my private message to you?

I don't want to talk in any more detail about anonymous questions in this thread, since there are privacy issues. I explained it in the message I just sent.
"

I had to leave to attend to something that came up abruptly. I've only gotten back now. Got your msg, and have now replied. Apologies for the massive delay. Thanks much!
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 7:22 PM on August 18, 2010


Oh, I wasn't referring to you -- I was addressing muddgirl's comment directly above mine, but whatever.
posted by Jaltcoh at 7:24 PM on August 18, 2010


cortex: "There's no judgemental psycho/loser/vulcan aspect to that, or anything"

So, what you're trying to say without being too direct is it's a Romulan... Or, wait. Ah! .....you really mean it's a Binar thing. I see!

(Thanks for the clarification is what I really mean to say.)
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 7:29 PM on August 18, 2010


antgly,
You really aren't alone. I had enormous fallings-out with my own father, and we never really reconciled. I missed out on college and a lot of other things because I could never get right with myself over my him.

I don't know the details about your situation, but you should be proud that you're surviving a very hard time in your life and that your course in life will be better off for it. This challenge was thrust upon you and may seem insurmountable, but know that this is not the case. You can survive and excel, despite whatever you might feel or how your parents might act out towards you.

If you ever need help or pointers to resources, let me know. I'm in Colorado, so I don't know if I can do much for you directly, but you are definitely not alone.
posted by boo_radley at 7:38 PM on August 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


antgly, I'm sending you a hug.
posted by Majorita at 8:38 PM on August 18, 2010


the fact is that AskMe isn't really the right place for young people to bring their issues for the purpose of utilizing AskMe as an adhoc ongoing group counseling session.

I get where you're coming from, but... AskMe is as helpful as you make it. I understand that therapy isn't what AskMe is designed for, but it seems like antgly keeps coming back because he trusts the community and respects our feedback. This isn't something that can be solved in a single question and answer, but a long and challenging process. As long as he continues to communicate with the mods, I don't think that his questions are so much of a hinderance as to outweigh their potential benefit.
posted by karminai at 11:38 PM on August 18, 2010


...a long and challenging process.

Question 1: My wife doesn't understand me. See, it's like this...
Question 2: My wife still doesn't understand me. I tried what we talked about before. What else can I do?
Question 3: No, it's not my fault. My wife...
Question 4: I'm looking for a divorce lawyer, just in case. See, my wife just doesn't...
Question 5: OK, I was going to get a divorce, but now my wife, whom we will call TheEffinB for the mo, has just...
Question 6: My special lady friend (I think I forgot to mention her before) wants me to divorce TheEffinB, but I'm wondering...
Question 7: Hi, guys! AnonymousDivorceDude here again. I just wanted to run something past you and see what you think. See, I was talking to TheEffinB, my soon-to-be ex-wife, and...
posted by pracowity at 12:24 AM on August 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


antgly,

Also don't ever feel badly if people seem unsure whether to believe you're being truthful in here. The site has had more than one case of people pretending to be something they're not, and getting burned for being empathetic can be a pain. (I still blame Kaycee for making it hard for me to believe people online, but it's also not tragic to have a thicker skin.)

And while there's been some folk with (justified) issues with seeking help via a university's student health center - look into it. You could find out the info on who to speak with and not act on it until you feel ok to give it a try. I know I didn't get help via my first try at therapy through that route myself - but I tried again, and finally got a great therapist on referral from my student health center, with a fee that I could afford. You have to decide who you feel comfortable talking with, and that may take more than one try.

AskMe is wonderful for what it is, but it's not a replacement for another person. A person - and that can be a friend and not just a therapist - can call BS on you when they're able to see your face. And no, not BS for something bad - I'm talking about for instance when you say you're fine - and anyone really looking at you can tell you no, no you're not, you need help - because they've really looked at you and seen more than your words indicated. Just as you should take your time in finding a therapist - take your time in finding a friend you can talk to about things. It's sometimes hard to find a good listener who can keep things to themselves. But it's a lot easier to find that person in real life than on the internet - because in here you can't see our faces either. And since we can only know a small percentage of what you're going through from your words, this won't be a place you can get enough help.

Granted I get all that from my own experiences more than I know what you're going through - but that's the problem with getting therapy/help from the internet in general, it's very hard to have a give and take dialog since we can only assume honesty and full information on both sides. And something we're not asking or something you didn't think was important to tell - well, that might be key to helping you. Remember most of us are amateurs at the whole helpful advice thing. I'd say most of us mean well though, and the other percent are funny, which helps us all not take ourselves too seriously.
posted by batgrlHG at 12:54 AM on August 19, 2010


It would be cool if we had a reliable mechanism for deleting AskMe-inappropriate questions but automatically (no extra mod effort required) passing them to someplace where they would get a second look, so that real problems would be dealt with, not lost in the cracks.

For example, if you checked an "Offline Help & Chat Team" box in your profile, you would get a copy in your inbox of any question that was deleted because it seemed like an honest question (not spam and not system abuse) but not the right sort of question for AskMe. You could ignore it (no one would know you received a copy) or MeMail the poster about it. The poster would get an automatic note stating that the question was deemed inappropriate to AskMe but was passed along to a self-selected subset of the same MetaFilter members who would have seen the question had it been accepted.

Because there would be a lot of people interested in seeing and answering such stuff -- including all of the amateur therapists and back fence gossips -- mods could be much more brutal about deleting inappropriate (unanswerable, suppositional, chatty, episodic, relationship, etc.) questions without feeling guilty about possibly dropping something that really ought to be answered (just not in AskMe).
posted by pracowity at 2:06 AM on August 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is a huge point politically. The bigots want it to be about choice, for then, they can morally condemn. But they have a much harder time convincing anyone if its shown that most gays and lesbians are born that way. This so basic as to make it confusing to me why anyone would say otherwise.

Sorry--just have to get this in:

The biological argument isn't going to stop discrimination--in fact, it justifies it based in "inferior arguments". Ask black people (skin is "biologically darker"), the disabled, women,ETC, he'll--ask adolescents!. Biological arguments are GROUND ZERO for justifications for discrimination.

Sorry, but, gay=not a choice is not going to save you.
posted by vitabellosi at 3:49 AM on August 19, 2010


gay=not a choice is not going to save you.

But it might get a certain someone's mother and father to shut up, or at least to start blaming each other rather than the kid, who could essentially tell his parents, "Hey, I didn't make me gay. You did."
posted by pracowity at 4:53 AM on August 19, 2010


Hmmm -- "Mom, Dad, I'm terribly broken/perverted/sick -- but on the bright side, it's because of you. There's something about your very beings that produced a broken/perverted/sick person. You know, so quit picking on me."

I'm saying "terribly broken/perverted/sick" here because it's apparently how the parents see it.


This ends when the financial dependence ends. Godspeed.
posted by vitabellosi at 5:58 AM on August 19, 2010


antgly: You really aren't alone. Many MANY have lived through what you're going through right now across the decades. I'm sure the specifics to your situation are unique, but the overall flow of your situation isn't.

*hug*

I do recommend you find a way to just take off for a day here and there explore some of the resources which ericb linked to earlier in this thread. I have never been there, but I've followed the work of The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgender Community Center for quite a few years. They've been around for nearly 30 years, have roots which trace back to the years immediately following the Stonewall uprising, and really do good work. If you can get there (I don't know NYC public transit that well, but I think it's probably easy to get there from Staten Island), just walk in the front door and tell someone sitting behind the desk that you really need to talk to someone. I'm sure they are equipped for exactly that kind of moment.

Barring that, there are resources in ericb's list for more local places you can visit, also probably ably equipped for talking to you about what you're going through.
posted by hippybear at 12:52 PM on August 19, 2010


I don't know NYC public transit that well, but I think it's probably easy to get there from Staten Island.

It is. Take the Staten Island Ferry to the South Ferry Terminal/Manhattan.

Take the 1 train from South Ferry Terminal station heading Uptown to Van Cortlandt Park, etc.
posted by ericb at 1:19 PM on August 19, 2010


Mom, Dad, I'm terribly broken/perverted/sick -- but on the bright side, it's because of you. You know, so quit picking on me.

This didn't work out so well in Carrie...
posted by hermitosis at 2:27 PM on August 19, 2010


I understand what cortex is saying, but the "you can ask something once a week, but asking once a week could be a red flag to us" reminds me of Office Space. There's a minimum of 15 pieces of flair, but if you're only wearing 15....
posted by Chrysostom at 9:42 AM on August 24, 2010


There's a minimum of 15 pieces of flair, but if you're only wearing 15....

I promise you that we will never require that you wear personal flair. That said, the difference between "you can use this once a week" and "you are using this every single week without fail" is kind of a key one. Not to get all categorical imperative and shit, but it's okay for individual users to once in a while ask a question every week for three or four weeks in a role specifically and only because it's not something that everybody does. Askme would be utterly useless if people generally took the week limit as a suggestion. Thousands of questions posted every day. Tons more administrative work. Plummeting utility.

And so people who seem to make the jump from "this one time I had a really crazy month and needed to ask a few questions", which we're fine with and understand and don't even blink at if there's not something else going on that's problematic, to something more like "it's Thursday again and I've got this other thing I'm thinking about, time to use my askme slot", are the folks we end up talking to a little bit about this stuff because that's not really the intention for how the site is gonna be used, and because that sort of compulsive asking tends to correlate with problematic questions.

So: I do know what you're saying. In my perfect world, we would have no askme limit at all and it would all just work out. But this is not that world, so we've got a limit in place and a general policy about what that limit itself does and does not represent. Keeping the green from going all wooey takes a fair amount of both proactive and reactive work and puts us in the deeply unhip position of having to be blarg blarg lecturey types in the spots where there's a conflict.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:26 AM on August 24, 2010


The thing is, any time you set up a system to enforce a simple rate limit, you have to decide where to set that limit. The reasonable range of values could be drawn on a scale like:
Never a problem                                          Always a problem
      under any  |------------------------------------|  under all
  circumstances   LOW                             HIGH   circumstances
Setting the limit at the low end of this scale would guarantee there'd never be a problem with excessive posting rates. At any higher rate, the possibility exists of a posting rate that the system allows, but which is nevertheless a problem because of the specific circumstances.

I think the rate limit for AskMe posts has been set towards the high end of the scale. Posting more than once a week is always a problem, so you can't do it. But depending on the circumstances, less frequent posting can still be a problem, and that's left up to the moderators to handle since it requires judgement to assess those circumstances.
posted by FishBike at 10:27 AM on August 24, 2010


Additionally, we did, for a while have a longer limit of two weeks and it just seemed to chafe a lot, for a lot of people. This seemed to be because it was harder to remember and just seemed ... long. So we dialed it back but probably the sweet spot of question-asking for maximum site harmony is more like a ten day limit or something like that.

And people who ask questions in a situation that borders on compulsive, have a tendency to do other problematic things. It's not just the question asking, it's the surrounding behavior that, in our experience, seems to come along with it. This can include [and not referring to antgly specifically but sort of generalizing] non-interaction with other parts of the site, overuse of the AnonyMe feature, a general tone-deafness to other aspects of how the site works and how the community works, that sort of thing.

So as cortex said, yeah I totally get the flair comparison. However, we are not your employers. We are working to help the site keep being useful to the largest number of people which means there's a bit of commons tragedy wrapped up in this shared resource. Every once in a while that doesn't work so well.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:19 PM on August 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


Redux(ish).
posted by dersins at 2:57 PM on August 30, 2010


We talked about it and it's fine. I mean not great, but improved and we're okay keeping an eye on it because we're both around.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:09 PM on August 30, 2010


Fair enough. I just wanted to point it out in case you weren't aware, though it didn't seem flag-worthy as such, and definitely wasn't worth its own MeTa.
posted by dersins at 3:28 PM on August 30, 2010


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