In which a post's deletion is questioned. September 18, 2010 10:39 PM   Subscribe

This post, if made as a comment, might stand a good chance of being sidebarred. Was there really no way to save it?

It seems to me that this post offers a unique look at an important event. (Contrast with monkeys riding pigs.) I sort of get why it was deleted, but I think the site lost something good with its removal.
posted by aberrant to MetaFilter-Related at 10:39 PM (108 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

You fundamentally misunderstand Metafilter if you think that post should have stayed.
posted by Falconetti at 10:43 PM on September 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


Well, you just saved it from obscurity. So there's that.
posted by killdevil at 10:44 PM on September 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


(Contrast with monkeys riding pigs.)

The sooner people like you and gum can admit to yourselves that my post fucking ruled, the sooner the rest of us will get to stop hearing you fucking whine about it.

Plus, dude basically wrote a personal blog entry about a guy he knew. Metafilter is not his personal blog, no matter how fascinating his friend's story might be.
posted by dersins at 10:56 PM on September 18, 2010 [33 favorites]


MetaFilter has a specific and NOT unlimited scope, and this post fell well outside it. There are good reasons for that - for every one good post like that, there would be DOZENS of crappy ones. I wish I knew a place that it WOULD fit in; if I did, it'd be on my regular reading list.
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:00 PM on September 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I not only agree with dersins, but I applaud with the way he communicated his view.

Fucking fucking.
posted by hal_c_on at 11:01 PM on September 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Agreed. Really wish the post had been split into two - it would have been strong enough to stand, imho, and the comment is terrific.
posted by smoke at 11:02 PM on September 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


There really should be a good place on the web for "personal blog entries" from people who don't want to blog regularly but have ONE great post. I just wouldn't want to have to job of moderating it.
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:03 PM on September 18, 2010 [7 favorites]


Seems to me the post could be successful if split in two: an FPP about Mascheroni and the charges against him (a more fleshed out version of the first graph of the deleted post basically); and a first comment from cgs06 discussing the personal angle and motivation.

I very much don't think the post should have stayed, because this is not how the site works at all, but I think the thoughts behind it are very much salvageable with fairly minimal effort.
posted by zachlipton at 11:05 PM on September 18, 2010


Someone can just make a post about the topic and private message cgs06 so he can show up and make his comment. I call dibs on not doing it because I'm going to sleep.
posted by andoatnp at 11:15 PM on September 18, 2010


Yeah, that post is clearly not for Metafilter, but it's still great & would be a great comment. Maybe the OP can whip up a non-deleteworthy FPP and then tack some of the personal stuff on in the comments...
posted by Joseph Gurl at 11:15 PM on September 18, 2010


Yeah. It was an interesting post, and I think it's sort of weird here that the post would be deleted basically only because the autobiographical stuff was posted within the [more inside] and not as the first comment after the [more inside] which would have made it fine here, and a great FPP.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:15 PM on September 18, 2010 [9 favorites]


I'm not convinced that a strict adherence to "this is the way Metafilter is and always should be" is necessarily a good thing. Instead, a certain amount of looseness, while it would no doubt produce many failed experiments, would I think also lead us in new and rewarding directions. I'd prefer to see those flowers bloom.

In this particular case, we had a non-traditional but very interesting post. I'd have like to see that post live, I'd have like to see what we as a community could have made of the discussion.

For the site as a whole, frankly it seems to be stagnating a bit lately, at least judging by the number, and depth, of comments on posts. Growth is preferable to stagnation.
posted by orthogonality at 11:19 PM on September 18, 2010 [24 favorites]


I am hoping he works on the framing and posts it again.
posted by mlis at 11:20 PM on September 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I agree ortho, some flexibility is nice, this post, for example should not have been deleted.
posted by mlis at 11:22 PM on September 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Man, people are all cranky pants that summer is ending this week.
posted by iamabot at 11:23 PM on September 18, 2010


I'm not convinced that a strict adherence to "this is the way Metafilter is and always should be" is necessarily a good thing. Instead, a certain amount of looseness, while it would no doubt produce many failed experiments, would I think also lead us in new and rewarding directions.

orthogonality, if you have never seen "Yes, Prime Minister", I think you should seek it out. The above reads exactly like something Sir Humphrey Appleby would say.

(i'm not making a contentious comment here ... I just read that and immediately thought of sir humphrey)
posted by cucumber at 11:25 PM on September 18, 2010 [10 favorites]


orthogonality: “For the site as a whole, frankly it seems to be stagnating a bit lately, at least judging by the number, and depth, of comments on posts. Growth is preferable to stagnation.”

You added the "and depth" bit to keep it subjective, right? It seems to me as though there has been continuous growth in the number of comments. Do you have data on this? I'm not going to comb the infodump right now; maybe somebody can.
posted by koeselitz at 11:42 PM on September 18, 2010



CUCUMBER I WAS JUST THINKING THAT
posted by doublehappy at 11:44 PM on September 18, 2010


Oh, and: baby monkey on a pig was sublime. Absolutely, completely, indubitably sublime. I am in fact gobsmacked that anyone has managed to dubit it at all.
posted by koeselitz at 11:44 PM on September 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Aberrant's Law: When discussing a post that you feel should not have been deleted, do not mention any non-deleted post that you think is of lesser quality that the deleted post, because doing so will only ignore your original point and focus of how much they liked the non-deleted post.

Seriously, baby monkey riding a pig is great.
posted by 23skidoo at 12:14 AM on September 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


doublehappy, you appear to be in New Zealand. I, however, am in California, on the other side of the international date line thingy. Therefore, you have already had a whole day to read this thread and make my earlier comment. But you failed to do so.

However, being full of the milk of human kindness as I notoriously am, next time I will cede the honor to you. My sincere apologies are extended in your general direction.
posted by cucumber at 12:16 AM on September 19, 2010


Fuck me in the ass with a skateboard. I repeated "however" and went Wodehouse there rather than YPM. I'm going to bed, you fuckers.
posted by cucumber at 12:25 AM on September 19, 2010


Wait! I have a skateboard!
posted by koeselitz at 12:57 AM on September 19, 2010 [10 favorites]


Man, people are all cranky pants that summer is ending this week.

Not necessarily. Here in L.A., I'm just started my annual sulk over the fact that we don't have a real fall. (This will be followed, the day after Christmas, by my annual relief that we don't have a real winter.)
posted by scody at 12:59 AM on September 19, 2010 [5 favorites]


aberrant: "This post, if made as a comment, might stand a good chance of being sidebarred. Was there really no way to save it? "

Like you, I thought the author presented some interesting insight on the topic. At the same time, I flagged the fucking shit out of it because it fell way too close to GYOFB and self-linking. We have a huge community of people here, and some of us are closely attached to certain links through experiences and writings. If those stories make it onto the front page through other means, then yeah, absolutely, we should hear 'em/read 'em/enjoy 'em. But putting them up their ourselves ...? Ugh: that way disaster lies. The FPP editorializing and self-linking policy is one of those firm lines that genuinely works to make MetaFilter head and shoulders above other sites out there. I read the link and I learned from the link, but seriously: it deserved to be wiped.

And holy cow, if you didn't like the baby monkey riding backwards on the piglet, I think you need to go get your love of cuteness serviced 'cos you are well over its 3000 mile recommended service life.
posted by barnacles at 2:10 AM on September 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wouldn't the best thing to do be to repost the "arrested for espionage" link, and then send a message to the original author of the posting asking him/her to make a comment?
posted by molecicco at 3:47 AM on September 19, 2010


Wait! I have a skateboard!

That you may, son. But the window has closed. I type this from my bed. About my bed are my guards and about them are more, each loyal. In the game of thrones, ass-safety is paramount when ass-peril is put temporarily forward.
posted by cucumber at 5:01 AM on September 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


It was very GYOB-y. And without the personal angle I don't know that it would've made a great post. Trying to read just the links, I found myself nodding off, especially with that NRDC article. If somebody reposted those links, just for the purpose of waiting around for cgs06 to (hopefully, maybe, but he might not) pop back in with his personal story, I don't think would be a good use of MetaFilter anymore than the original post was.
posted by Gator at 5:21 AM on September 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, there's a way to save it.

The OP can write everything up as a blog post. Then he can post it to Projects. Then someone else can notice it in Projects and make an FPP out of it. The OP could even send it to a particular Mefite he thinks might be interested -- like you.
posted by John Cohen at 5:59 AM on September 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


It seems to me that this post offers a unique look at an important event.

I too have a unique look at an important event. I think 9/11 was A test from alien invaders, designed to distract us from the mineral wealth of Canada which they plan to steal.

If his post can stay, why can't mine?!

I sort of get why it was deleted, but I think the site lost something good with its removal.

Like what?
posted by nomadicink at 6:57 AM on September 19, 2010


Indeed, google news has 584 related articles on this topic.
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:06 AM on September 19, 2010


nomadicink, people clearly found the content interesting. The problem with the post is there was too much direct, first-person reporting by the OP. You don't have to find it interesting, but other people do.
posted by John Cohen at 7:06 AM on September 19, 2010


Man, people are all cranky pants that summer is ending this week.
Here in Texas, we're all happy pants that summer is ending in a month (maybe).
posted by elpea at 7:15 AM on September 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


I am fine with the ultimate decision to delete it but I think that we as a community shouldn't be so quick to jump on things that are different and assume that they'll lead to the downfall of the site.

(I am not saying the mods did that by deleting it.)

I don't think it's self-linking at all.

I find it strange and overly legalistic to say that it would be completely different as a comment right underneath the post. It makes zero sense. It's the same content, presented by the same person.
posted by the young rope-rider at 7:23 AM on September 19, 2010


people are all cranky pants that summer is ending this week.

I am fucking DELIGHTED to see the end of this shit. Summer in NYC is revolting beyond words, with a few gloriously lovely days thrown in just to fucking taunt you.
posted by elizardbits at 7:25 AM on September 19, 2010 [7 favorites]


I find it strange and overly legalistic to say that it would be completely different as a comment right underneath the post. It makes zero sense. It's the same content, presented by the same person.

You're right about that. Anything that's not OK in an FPP is also not OK posted by the OP in the first comment.
posted by John Cohen at 7:30 AM on September 19, 2010


Contrast with monkeys riding pigs.

I showed this video to my four year old, because I thought she would like it. It ends up that she really does! However, I started singing it to her in just about all of her real life situations.

"Baby monkey, baby monkey, taking a bath, baby monkey."
"Baby monkey, baby monkey, eating her cereal, baby monkey."
"Baby monkey, baby monkey, taking a nap, baby monkey."
"Baby monkey, baby monkey, telling me to be quiet, baby monkey."

She likes it just a little bit less now.

My wife, she really hates it.
posted by SpacemanStix at 7:46 AM on September 19, 2010 [8 favorites]


I find it strange and overly legalistic to say that it would be completely different as a comment right underneath the post. It makes zero sense

It makes perfect sense to me. The point is to have Metafilter POSTS not be personal blog entries, but instead interesting links you want to share with the world which may spawn personal anecdotes, which are more than welcome. I think the point with the rule is to shape what Metafilter is about, i.e. the links and the web, as opposed to being, at least directly, about me or you.

Personally, I find the breathless nature of the post to be extremely irritating and somewhat manipulative what with the revealing of the personal connection below the fold. And from a journalist! Jesus, it reads the worst of Live Journal entries, where the writer feels the need to inject themselves into the information. Step back, stand aside. If the event or information is so interesting, then quit pointing to yourself and focus instead on it.

Finally, if ya'll are that interested in the post and info and feel it needs to be seen by the world, it should be ok to craft a new post from the links in the original. Shouldn't take more than five minutes.
posted by nomadicink at 7:53 AM on September 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


I don't think it's self-linking at all.

If he had made the whole post, and then immediately added in the comments that he knew the subject of the post, it still could have technically been deleted as a self-link. The poster was pretty clear that knowing this guy is his main motivation for wanting to post and discuss this matter. That's basically The Way It's Not Supposed To Go around here.
posted by hermitosis at 8:01 AM on September 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


I find it strange and overly legalistic to say that it would be completely different as a comment right underneath the post. It makes zero sense. It's the same content, presented by the same person.

I do find it slightly weird when people make neutralish posts about somewhat or very charged subjects and then immediately add a first comment to inform us that they are indeed a good person. Nevertheless, there is a huge difference between posts and comments. Google knows the difference, we all know the difference.
posted by Dumsnill at 8:04 AM on September 19, 2010


I wish I could favourite this post of orthogonality's oh, about a hundred times.
posted by Decani at 8:08 AM on September 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


I framed the post the way I did because I felt that the real value was in the analysis of Mascheroni's motivations. To do so, I felt that I had to put my involvement with him up front and clearly distinguish fact from opinion.

I pointedly did not self link -- to any of the articles I'd written with him as a source, to my book about the subject, or to any of my other books or writing.

I thought the post met the guidelines, and that I was offering something interesting and unique to the community.

The community disagreed. So be it.
posted by cgs06 at 8:08 AM on September 19, 2010 [7 favorites]


And good riddance to summer. Nasty, sweaty, eye-dazzling, sweaty, uncomfortable, sweaty, crotch-rotting, sweaty, nasty, nasty season. I hate it. Summer is just an rotten cornucopia of physical discomforts. Autumn is the restoration of sanity and decency. Now we have blackberries and cool evenings and the duvet can come out again and by God, I'm already thinking about getting the skis edged and waxed. Marvellous. Death to the lizard people!

I'm sorry, I think I'm getting a cold.
posted by Decani at 8:14 AM on September 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


"An rotten"? I'm definitely getting a cold.
posted by Decani at 8:15 AM on September 19, 2010


people are all cranky pants that summer is ending this week

You never hear about people being all cranky shorts. I can't decide if this is because summer is less cantankerous, or if it's because crankiness demands to be a bit less casually-attired.
posted by .kobayashi. at 8:16 AM on September 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


To do so, I felt that I had to put my involvement with him up front and clearly distinguish fact from opinion.

That fact that you were involved with him to the extent you are means you should not have made a FPP post about him at all, IMO. YOu're just too close to close it.
posted by nomadicink at 8:19 AM on September 19, 2010


I find it strange and overly legalistic to say that it would be completely different as a comment right underneath the post. It makes zero sense. It's the same content, presented by the same person.

I don't totally disagree, actually, and that's not how I'd put it. It's more that the difference between post-with-commentary and post-then-comment is significant enough that what won't work in the former case at all may be okay (not necessarily ideal, but okay) in the latter.

Part of that is because the content of the post is what gets syndicated all over the fucking place by RSS readers and blog widgets and so forth. Insofar as posts to the front page are supposed to be fairly neutral and not to be someone's personal essay or blog entry in tone—in other words, insofar as what goes out to the world as post text is more What's On Metafilter than What J. Random Mefite Thinks—it's important enough to not have this kind of thing happen that it's pretty much an auto-delete from the front page.

You take a neutral post and follow it immediatley with a comment from a first person perspective, it's different logistically and in that sense less of a problem, and so less likely to be deleted all else being equal. But that doesn't mean it's great, or won't ever be deleted, and I absolutely would prefer that people didn't make a point of doing that as a loophole to get around the general proscription on editorializing or GYOBing up a post.

Basically, it's kind of muddy and, as with all kinds of things where we've got guidelines that we try to interpret somewhat flexibly to give people the benefit of the doubt when we can, we don't want people trying to aggressively test that flexibility to get around guidelines that they know exist for a reason.

You're right about that. Anything that's not OK in an FPP is also not OK posted by the OP in the first comment.

This is putting it far too simply.

I framed the post the way I did because I felt that the real value was in the analysis of Mascheroni's motivations. To do so, I felt that I had to put my involvement with him up front and clearly distinguish fact from opinion.

And I appreciate where you're coming from there, cgs06, and don't doubt your intentions were good. It's just not a mode of posting that's really okay on mefi, bummer though that may when it catches you up short like this.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:23 AM on September 19, 2010 [5 favorites]


Something to keep in mind with the personal involvement in post vs. first comment: I think it goes better if you don't put your personal part of it in the very first comment. Wait awhile and let the discussion start up on its own. Otherwise the conversation becomes about you and not the post.
posted by marxchivist at 8:38 AM on September 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


This could have easily stayed if he put the personal stuff in the first comment, but that's an editorial quibble. Usually get your own blog stuff is relegated to political axe grinding, not international espionage.

At least it is here, so I didn't miss it.

Side note: My first reaction was, there's two journalists on Metafilter that focus on fusion research? Before I realized it was one and the same, the author of Sun in a Bottle. If I remember correctly, one of the conclusions was that laser fusion was basically bullshit (in that it was unlikely to lead to a working fusion reactor) and more of an excuse to keep nuclear weapons researchers employed in a tangentially related field.
posted by geoff. at 8:46 AM on September 19, 2010


You take a neutral post and follow it immediatley with a comment from a first person perspective, it's different logistically and in that sense less of a problem, and so less likely to be deleted all else being equal. But that doesn't mean it's great, or won't ever be deleted, and I absolutely would prefer that people didn't make a point of doing that as a loophole to get around the general proscription on editorializing or GYOBing up a post.

Often when I post a thread, I try to not comment for a while and let others have their say, and then may step in and start participating with the discussion after I've seen how it will evolve.

Would making a FPP about a topic such as this, and then waiting for a while and THEN posting about one's personal involvement with the situation be better than an immediate comment following up with GYOB material?

It seems like it might, to me anyway. It would separate the actual CONTENT of the post from the poster's personal experience with it, so it wouldn't feel quite so bloggy.
posted by hippybear at 8:49 AM on September 19, 2010


Or, what marxchivist said.
posted by hippybear at 8:50 AM on September 19, 2010


I can't stop singing that damn song. And, as with most catchy songs, have turned it around to be about my cat.

Wensleydale! Wensleydale! Napping on the couch, Wensleydale!
posted by sonika at 8:54 AM on September 19, 2010


For this recipe, we'll need a plate and a can of baked beans.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:58 AM on September 19, 2010


Man, it's a cold and horrible world in which people live if a baby monkey riding a pig backwards does not qualify as an important event.

It's too bad about the other post - and thanks to cgs06 for being gracious about the deletion - but it was sunk by the personal connection. Any sort of flexibility in terms of the no self-linking/personal angle rule, one of the few hard and fasts around here, would be opening a crazy can o' worms. If cgs06 has material about Mascheroni on the web, I think it wouldn't take long for a Projects post to make its way to the Blue.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:03 AM on September 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


he struck me as a terribly sad man
crippled by his belief that he had been robbed of his scientific birthright.
the event that, in my opinion, broke him.
even though I suspect that he's guilty.
single-minded determination--to the point of irrationality
-AskMe

Great scoop, journalism (impo) is better when not dual-booting with psychiatry or analysis of possible inner thoughts.
If a journalist (and willing/legally allowed to publicly talk about this) why not (you should!) write a full article or story; it would be blindingly interesting, and something many would be/are ready to read (it was really interesting material, and topic, and analysis and everything, and you aren't bad for putting this there, I just was like woah, there's a lot of judgment here, who is the author of this)?
Small q, no matter how closely one knows another, can one really know another individuals inner workings and thought process so well (the poster alluded to keeping the source at a distance)?
posted by infinite intimation at 9:03 AM on September 19, 2010


The sooner people like you and gum can admit to yourselves that my post fucking ruled

I think dersins post fucking ruled.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:21 AM on September 19, 2010


Thanks cortex, I didn't think about/realize this:

"Part of that is because the content of the post is what gets syndicated all over the fucking place by RSS readers and blog widgets and so forth. "

Makes a lot more sense.
posted by the young rope-rider at 9:21 AM on September 19, 2010


Let's all go apple picking!
posted by ericb at 9:40 AM on September 19, 2010


Let us have a nutting party!
posted by Ouisch at 9:52 AM on September 19, 2010


It seems to me as though there has been continuous growth in the number of comments.

If I was a betting man, I'd put a few bucks on number of contents usually dropping off a bit at the ass end of summer. Back to school (and work) and all that.
posted by philip-random at 10:00 AM on September 19, 2010


You know, it's a fairly interesting story. The NYT article about the couple, which is where I first heard about them, has this whole dramatic segment where they talk about the guy saying he's doing it for money and is no longer an American (true or not, actual journalistic standard or not, it was certainly riveting). Not to mention, this is what, the third recent case about espionage at Los Alamos?

I think, as stated somewhere above, that a very reasonable FPP could be made out of this topic (my angle'd be the previous cases) and then the disputed comment could be repeated and the whole self-linky issue would be moot. It's not like this isn't (or couldn't) be a good FPP.
posted by librarylis at 10:07 AM on September 19, 2010


Oh, and here in North Dakota it became fall on Aug 31. That's when the weather dropped from 90ish to 60ish and it never really recovered. Blam, fall. As a transplanted Southern Californian, I find this weather thing amazing.
posted by librarylis at 10:08 AM on September 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


"Part of that is because the content of the post is what gets syndicated all over the fucking place by RSS readers and blog widgets and so forth. "

FWIW, deleting posts doesn't actually affect that. Google reader never removes posts after they've been deleted, for example.

There's a fix for that, but it would be a pain in the ass to implement (you have to re-use the deleted posts unique rss id for the next post on metafilter so that Google Reader replaces it)
posted by empath at 10:09 AM on September 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Would making a FPP about a topic such as this, and then waiting for a while and THEN posting about one's personal involvement with the situation be better than an immediate comment following up with GYOB material?

If you're making an FPP about a person who you know personally or who you have made the subject of a great deal of your own research, it's pushing the "what is not really okay for FPPs" line. I know that to some people this means that we only get people posting about things/people they DON'T know about and that seems uncool somehow, but we need a pretty bright line for how much self-interest you can bring to an FPP and we're a lot tighter on that than many other websites.

People are welcome to make extensive blog posts and bring them to Projects or, as in this case, try something that doesn't quite work out. Unlike flat out self-linking, this sort of thing isn't usually a banworthy offense and maybe helps people understand where the line is. And yeah, the first-comment-with-personal-aside isn't great, but it will work from time to time and it's definitely a better angle than making the FPP seem more like your own blog.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:20 AM on September 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


FWIW, deleting posts doesn't actually affect that. Google reader never removes posts after they've been deleted, for example.

This is, oddly enough, something we've been talking about just lately. We may change how feeds are generated a bit in order to explicitly alter the in-feed content for deleted or edited posts. As you say, just deleting doesn't do anything apparently in a lot of cases, but pushing out an explicit update is I guess a way to deal with that. Which is mostly inspired by spam-related stuff, but would apply well to fuzzier things like this as well as a result.

The question we're debating behind the scenes is mostly what to do in those cases—certainly we'd want to have spam links nerfed, so if nothing else it'd mean pushing out an updated item with the example.com'd text and whatnot; but beyond that, do we actually replace the post text with a "this has been removed" message, or do we leave the text in place but add an explicit deletion reason and notification bit to it, or do we just leave it be aside from link redacting?

Which we're chewing on a bit mostly because, while it'd be nice to extend control of the front page to control of the feed in terms of more effectively/consistently moderating mefi's output across various channels, it'd also mean exposing what is mostly for-internal-consumption moderation and policy stuff to what are by definition mostly second-hand readers not familiar with or conversant in the details of how this place operates. So there's a conflict there between more effective moderative reach and more potential visibility and external reaction to and misunderstanding of the site's policy enforcement procedures.

In the mean time, we can at least continue to try and keep things on the site itself working and keep teaching new community members by example what does and doesn't fly, so that we can hopefully minimize the number of problematic posts that hit the front page in the first place.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:34 AM on September 19, 2010


If you're making an FPP about a person who you know personally or who you have made the subject of a great deal of your own research, it's pushing the "what is not really okay for FPPs" line. I know that to some people this means that we only get people posting about things/people they DON'T know about and that seems uncool somehow,

The thing is, it works. MetaFilter is the site it is (warts and all) precisely because of a policy like this. That is, I post something about [blank] because, for whatever reason, it peaked my not completely expert interest and, lo and behold, a genuine expert ends up weighing in. Maybe because I got it completely wrong. Maybe because I just missed a shade of something essential. Maybe just cuz.

Anyway, we end up exploring the subject/issue in a way that just wouldn't happen if I, the Expert, had simply laid the big TRUTH down from the start.
posted by philip-random at 10:48 AM on September 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


> The poster was pretty clear that knowing this guy is his main motivation for wanting to post and discuss this matter. That's basically The Way It's Not Supposed To Go around here.

This pretty much says it all. The rule about self-links is not literally about linking to your own blog, and putting your personal connection in a comment is not a way around it. The point is that you should not post about people you personally know because you cannot be objective. If it's that great a story, some unconnected person will post it.
posted by languagehat at 10:53 AM on September 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm so glad you showed up for this thread, cgs06, so I could thank you publicly for that wonderful post!

That FPP was deleted not because there was anything wrong with it, but because something is wrong with Metafilter-- deeply wrong.

Your post, quite frankly, was too good for a community where we've somehow allowed the "guidelines" to get wrapped around our necks and virtually choke the life out of us.
posted by jamjam at 10:54 AM on September 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


Your post, quite frankly, was too good for a community where we've somehow allowed the "guidelines" to get wrapped around our necks and virtually choke the life out of us.

I hear digg.com is looking for members.
posted by tommasz at 11:00 AM on September 19, 2010 [6 favorites]


we've somehow allowed the "guidelines" to get wrapped around our necks and virtually choke the life out of us.

It was an interesting post, but now you're just being ridiculous.
posted by Dumsnill at 11:03 AM on September 19, 2010 [13 favorites]


That FPP was deleted not because there was anything wrong with it, but because something is wrong with Metafilter-- deeply wrong.

It has been looking tired lately, a bit run down. It picks listlessly at favorites and is idly clicking around the web. When you ask "Is everything ok?" a bright smile is quickly painted on as it assures you everything is fine, but you know it's not.

Clearly, Metafilter needs more Midnight bowling in its life.
posted by nomadicink at 11:15 AM on September 19, 2010


because something is wrong with Metafilter-- deeply wrong

Fundamentally, the Metafilter front page is for sharing links, not writing your own content. To say that's "wrong" is a bit misguided. It just is what it is.
posted by smackfu at 11:41 AM on September 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


(i'm not making a contentious comment here ... I just read that and immediately thought of sir humphrey)

I've seen Yes Minister, but I've unfortunately missed Yes, Prime Minister. What you noticed, is something I've fond of, the periodic sentence.
posted by orthogonality at 11:47 AM on September 19, 2010


...something is wrong with Metafilter-- deeply wrong.

Your post, quite frankly, was too good for a community where we've somehow allowed the "guidelines" to get wrapped around our necks and virtually choke the life out of us.


Thank god we're not being hyperbolic or anything.
posted by dersins at 11:50 AM on September 19, 2010


Let me make a little prediction for you guys.

When the NYT goes behind its paywall in a few months, and God knows how many other sources for FPPs follow its example, we are all going to be crying for posts from people like cgs06 who are in direct touch with the primary sources that are shaping our world, and can guide us to them.

But they aren't going to be here, even though they foolishly thought they might be welcome at one time, because we've driven them all away with the moronic, incredibly petty bullshit so apparent in this thread.
posted by jamjam at 11:55 AM on September 19, 2010


Let me make a little prediction for you guys.

Let me make a prediction.

Someone's going to end up taking things too personally in this thread.
posted by 23skidoo at 11:58 AM on September 19, 2010 [7 favorites]


we are all going to be crying for posts from people like cgs06 who are in direct touch with the primary sources that are shaping our world, and can guide us to them.

Or, OR, people like cgs06 will start their own blogs, detailing in their own personal fashion the fascinating forces at work that are shaping our world, and other people will find those blogs and link to them here.

It's so crazy it just might work!
posted by Gator at 11:59 AM on September 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


we are all going to be crying for posts from people like cgs06 who are in direct touch with the primary sources that are shaping our world, and can guide us to them.

You must live in a world I have never heard of.
posted by Dumsnill at 12:06 PM on September 19, 2010


I'll make a prediction.

When the NY Times goes behind a paywall, it will merely hasten it's decline into irrelevancy and most of us will barely remember it existed.
posted by empath at 12:22 PM on September 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


But they aren't going to be here, even though they foolishly thought they might be welcome at one time, because we've driven them all away with the moronic, incredibly petty bullshit so apparent in this thread.

$20 says your prediction in no way comes true, by whatever metric you decide that you can objectively measure it.

I get that people liked this post. I get that people don't like the guideline about friendslinking sorts of stuff. I get that they've been predicting the demise of MetaFilter ever since there was a MetaFilter. However, if you've got an issue with how people are acting or perceiving things, it would be a lot more useful and frankly constructive to try to talk about what the problems are rather than hand-wringing name-calling which focuses more on the person doing the callout than the substance of the callout itself.

Translated I think you're saying "people who post good deep/rich content instead of the single-link NYT stuff we see a lot will get frustrated by the poor reception that their posts get, because of their treading the friendslinking guideline, and will leave this site, never to return. At that point, we will survey the wasteland this website has become and feel deeply sorry that we [i.e. a few people in MeTa] were snarky to them"

I see this as a variant of the "they laughed at me at the academy" problem where people who are sort of edge dwellers to the larger community [whether that's in a good way or a bad way] decide that everyone else is wrong about how things should go, enough so they can sit on their precipice and fling poo at them justifiably because of their clear sight. So I guess my feeling is, if you think the friendslinking guideline is problematic, what's a good way to say that in another way given that

- people will trod over whatever guideline we do have
- it has to be very easy to explain to 40K-something people
- it needs to be the same or less mod-work than the site is now, or it needs to come with its own revenue stream

Again, I see that some people are grumping about the friendslink guideline, but realistically speaking, what works better?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:33 PM on September 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'll make a prediction.

Long after the NY Times stops being a newspaper, it will still be a valuable brand in the world of crossword puzzles.
posted by box at 1:15 PM on September 19, 2010


Out of curiosity, would it have been OK for cjs06 to just tip off another mefite to the story through memail and for that mefite to make the post, thus doing an end-run around the conflict of interest? Or is that kind of sleight-of-hand not considered alright around here?
posted by Scientist at 1:16 PM on September 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Couldn't he just have made the link post, and then first posted his story? It is an interesting and breaking story, afterall.
posted by codacorolla at 1:21 PM on September 19, 2010


40Ksomething is what Highlander is called in the world where it stared Timothy Busfield.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 1:39 PM on September 19, 2010


I'll make a prediction.

I will eat cake later on tonight while watching Boardwalk Empire. It will be tasty.
posted by elizardbits at 1:48 PM on September 19, 2010


> Out of curiosity, would it have been OK for cjs06 to just tip off another mefite to the story through memail and for that mefite to make the post, thus doing an end-run around the conflict of interest?

Though this certainly would be edge-skirting, and maybe even rule-breaking, I find OP's take on the story so interesting that I'd be happy to see it as an independent blog post, one that a MeFi FPP just happens to reference.
posted by darth_tedious at 2:21 PM on September 19, 2010


THE PIG WAS ALSO A BABY
posted by Sys Rq at 2:43 PM on September 19, 2010 [8 favorites]


THE PIG WAS ALSO A BABY

This is a wonderful standalone arrangement of words. I'd love to see it (context-free) on bumper stickers, t-shirts, scrawled on walls. It would make me feel better about everything in some strange and subtle way.
posted by philip-random at 5:47 PM on September 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


(Contrast with monkeys riding pigs.)

I have been wandering around today singing "Baby Monkey. Baby Monkey. Riding on a Pig, Baby Monkey" to myself. As far as I'm concerned, it was a spectacular freaking post.
posted by Dasein at 7:43 PM on September 19, 2010


I agree that there may be merit in a post about Leonardo Mascheroni and the espionage story and/or the energy story. But not by cgs06--at least not in the way it is framed. Simply put, he has a stake and not just a casual one. As the mods have weighed in, this is a bright line policy, and a good one for the viability of MetaFilter.

AS I interpret the rule on self-linking, the self-link need not be a physical link to something of one's own work, but rather a perspective that is too close to the issue at hand in the FPP. It was certainly well-intentioned that cgs06 linked to articles other than his own, but the at-length editorializing below the fold—whether or not it were in a first comment—makes this seem to be about the poster and not about Mascheroni. That probably wasn't his intent, but it put me off clicking on any of the links.
posted by beelzbubba at 8:55 PM on September 19, 2010


empath When the NY Times goes behind a paywall, it will merely hasten it's decline into irrelevancy and most of us will barely remember it existed.

If you are being sincere this statement reveals profound ignorance on your part.
posted by mlis at 9:47 PM on September 19, 2010


If you are being sincere this statement reveals profound ignorance on your part.

I don't read the New York Times, never have, and never will. If it folded tomorrow, my life would not change an iota. There was a time where I couldn't imagine not reading the Washington Post every morning, but I haven't read that paper for almost a decade now, except for the odd Gene Weingarten essay. I don't feel like I'm missing anything. Corporate, mainstream newspapers aren't the only source for news, or even the best source for news.
posted by empath at 11:11 PM on September 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


But they aren't going to be here

You say that like it's a bad thing.

If some whining babies stamp off in a fit of pique, unable to take the damage to their egos after having a post deleted, when that post is in complete contravention of long-standing, well established rules -- well, that's a feature, not a bug.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:00 AM on September 20, 2010


I never watch cute animal SLYT. The words 'baby monkey riding backwards on a pig' forced me to break that habit. I have no fucking regrets.
posted by meech at 2:38 AM on September 20, 2010


Geez people. While the FPP in question had a line or two that got a bit editorial, by and large I thought it was pretty good. I will readily agree that it would have been a stronger FPP without that line or two. From what I'm seeing here I should go flag Dersins' SLYT FPP because he is a primate who has eaten bacon.

I'm with orthogonality on this one.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 6:44 AM on September 20, 2010


Baby monkey!
Baby monkey!
Riding backwards on a pig
Baby monkey.

-Psalm 34
posted by Mister_A at 6:47 AM on September 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


I was just disappointed that he left out the part where they rigged up Kent's dental work to make him hear what he thought was the voice of God. And then how he drove off in the RV he won and changed his name to Rico.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 6:54 AM on September 20, 2010


I'm not convinced that a strict adherence to "this is the way Metafilter is and always should be" is necessarily a good thing. Instead, a certain amount of looseness, while it would no doubt produce many failed experiments, would I think also lead us in new and rewarding directions. I'd prefer to see those flowers bloom.

If you look at moderators decisions over any span of time, I believe it would reveal an absence of strict adherence to a set of arbitrary standards. Even in the few places where there are pretty clear lines drawn, it seems to be the working policy that mods discuss FPPs that are questionable.

In the specific case, anyone strongly interested in the original premise can repost without the editorial and without being a primary party to the story and voila--pH of the body politic restored to normal.

In the general case that this somehow weakens MetaFilter, I argue that it makes it stronger.
posted by beelzbubba at 7:18 AM on September 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


That FPP was deleted not because there was anything wrong with it, but because something is wrong with Metafilter-- deeply wrong.

While I hear you, and agree somewhat, at least WRT this one rare edge case, as much as there was right with that post, there was just as much wrong.

1. GYOB. MetaFilter is often okay with letting that slide, if somewhat begrudgingly.
2. Here's something my friend did. Big ol' no-no, on the basis that maybe it's a) difficult to gauge the interestingness of such things (this is the generous interpretation), and/or b) it could be -- or could encourage -- self-linking by proxy. The post was indeed interesting, so a)'s less of a factor, but that b) is still kind of iffy.
3. Here's some handy info to help get things started on that nuclear bomb of yours. Yeah... Not so sure we need that.
4. This guy I know is a real loony, amirite? Yuck.

While certainly interesting, IMO the post read like GossipFilter: Laser Fusion Edition. It would indeed make an excellent comment, but, well, comments like that tend not to make excellent posts. Something like that is really better suited for I Am A..., but even then, not quite.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:15 AM on September 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: moronic, incredibly petty bullshit
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 11:09 AM on September 20, 2010


Sys Rq: GossipFilter: Laser Fusion Edition

For what it's worth, is someone wants to start that blog, they would totally get my five dollars (if they were able to keep the content going for a while)

but I still don't feel the post was right/good for Metafilter despite it being a good post... I'm completely flabergasted why people don't understand that.

It's like the sign says, "We don't swim in your toilet...

posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:00 PM on September 20, 2010


I showed this video to my four year old, because I thought she would like it. It ends up that she really does! However, I started singing it to her in just about all of her real life situations.

"Baby monkey, baby monkey, taking a bath, baby monkey."
"Baby monkey, baby monkey, eating her cereal, baby monkey."
"Baby monkey, baby monkey, taking a nap, baby monkey."
"Baby monkey, baby monkey, telling me to be quiet, baby monkey."

She likes it just a little bit less now.

My wife, she really hates it.


Wow, I just saw the video for the first time a few minutes ago, and now I've read your comment, and it's like I am reading about my own future.
posted by davejay at 12:49 PM on September 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Honey, I'm here to tell you you don't even have to have kids to be overcome by baby monkey song madness. Here, for example, is a smattering of exchanges around our house this morning:

Baby monkey, baby monkey, making cup of tea, baby monkey.

Baby monkey, baby monkey, taking the dogs out for a shit, baby monkey.

Baby monkey, baby monkey, need to call your mom, baby monkey.


Note: We prefer the term "young at heart" over "sad and crazy," thank you.
posted by scody at 1:06 PM on September 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


You know it occurs to me belatedly that we should only sidebar deleted threads and comments.
posted by fourcheesemac at 2:15 PM on September 20, 2010


Wow, I just saw the video for the first time a few minutes ago, and now I've read your comment, and it's like I am reading about my own future.

It's like the pre-crime future seeing ability in Minority Report. It ends up that you might be able to change your future, but probably not.
posted by SpacemanStix at 2:25 PM on September 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Again, I see that some people are grumping about the friendslink guideline, but realistically speaking, what works better?

Um, how about "no friendslinking except when there's a really good reason for it"? There are a lot of rules/guidelines on MeFi that seem to have a fair bit of subjectivity in them; a lot of deletions boil down to, and sometimes are explicitly, "this is not good for MetaFilter." And that's it, post is gone — and we're better for it being this way, because the alternative would just be a lot of rules-lawyering and crap posts.

But the flipside of that coin — where the one side is deleting stuff that just isn't good, because it isn't good, or isn't a good fit — is that there ought to be a way to keep something that's really good even if it steps beyond the normal guidelines a little bit. And the post in question here was really good in every way except that it happened to step on a rule. (In all honesty I think if it had lived and the discussion had gone well, as I think it would have, it would have been a MetaFilter Epic Post.)

The rules exist to keep total crap from cluttering up the front page ... but I just think this looks like a situation where a rule that exists ostensibly to improve quality is doing the opposite, at least in edge cases, and thus we have instances where a little administrative discretion in favor of high-quality posts would go a long way.
posted by Kadin2048 at 4:05 PM on September 20, 2010


It's like the pre-crime future seeing ability in Minority Report. It ends up that you might be able to change your future, but probably not.

Baby monkey/baby monkey/floating in a pool/baby monkey
Baby monkey/baby monkey/shot back through a window/baby monkey
Baby monkey/baby monkey/have your eye replaced/baby monkey
Baby monkey/baby monkey/drive a fancy Lexus/baby monkey
Baby monkey/baby monkey/Burgess is the killer/baby monkey
Baby monkey/baby monkey/Precrime is shut down/baby monkey
Baby monkey/baby monkey/Dick rolls over in his grave/baby monkey
posted by davejay at 4:45 PM on September 20, 2010


scody: "Man, people are all cranky pants that summer is ending this week.

Not necessarily. Here in L.A., I'm just started my annual sulk over the fact that we don't have a real fall. (This will be followed, the day after Christmas, by my annual relief that we don't have a real winter.
"

Yeah, now that we're out of the 110 and over days here in Phoenix (111 on Sunday!), I'm really happy about the summer being *almost* over. Desert creatures are beginning to stir in their burrows in anticipation of emerging into the beautiful "outside time" of the second season. Please, please let it get below 100 by the end of the week. Please? A little early this year, please?
posted by Barry B. Palindromer at 10:56 AM on September 21, 2010


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