Content vs. Contentiousness September 27, 2010 6:07 PM   Subscribe

I believe this FPP fits exactly the model of what articles get deleted for. MeFtes complained it was deliberate trolling. What happened?

Yesterday's article "Men-Struation" seemed to me to fit exactly the criterion that many articles have been banned for. It contains a short essay intended to provoke hostile arguments. The essay is from 1978, not particularly noteworthy in the history of feminism, and only 769 words (including the title and byline).

The second "in depth" link was to a blog article containing only 323 words, of which over half were quotes from the first link. The second link also contained some deliberately, albeit only moderately offensive photographs. Again, this photographic content was not intended to inspire thoughtful discussion, only to provoke.

The third link contained the same photographs. The entire FPP contained minimal content repeated over 3 obscure blogs. Essentially the second link could have substituted for all 3 links. This is a the equivalent of a single-link blog FPP. Since the third link used feminism to sell skateboards and T shirts, I suspected it was an obfuscated self-link, but I could not find any evidence.

I commented that this is the worst post I have ever seen on MeFi. That comment was deleted. Other MeFites expressed the same sentiments, even the first comment expressed disdain for this entire FPP. The moment I saw how the early comments were going, I could tell where this whole FPP was going to end up. And that's where it went.

This article seems to me, to be the exact model of what is considered a bad MeFi post. It is low on content and high on provocation. It was intended to start a contentious discussion. It contains links to minor blogs that repeat the same content as previous links.

And the debate went exactly as intended:

1986 called. It wants its divisive screed back.

1986 called. It wants its reactionary dismissal back.

And of course, from there it descended into ad hominem.

Seriously, you are exactly the reason why guys get told to shut the fuck up by women. On this topic, for the future, learn a lot or shut the fuck up.

Y'know, it's statements like these that can make you come across as a tremendously dismissive asshole.


And it only got worse, and went on like that for about 150 comments. And yet, my entirely reasonable objection to this article was deleted. I do not object to this article on its content. Feminism is a perfectly reasonable topic for discussion. But this article was not intended to be provocative, it was merely intended to provoke. I have seen other articles with similar ratio of low content to high contentiousness get deleted immediately.

I submit that the FPP should have been deleted. That was my intention, when I wrote my now-deleted comment. Can the moderators explain why this article does not fit the criterion for deletion? This would help me avoid making similar assertions that the moderators would delete.
posted by charlie don't surf to Etiquette/Policy at 6:07 PM (59 comments total)

Didn't we just have this discussion two days ago with WCityMike?
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 6:18 PM on September 27, 2010


...who appears to have disabled his account, by the way. Hmm.
posted by katillathehun at 6:19 PM on September 27, 2010


I would guess that your comment was deleted not because you were incorrect, but because you should use the flags rather than the comment box to indicate that a post should be deleted.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 6:21 PM on September 27, 2010 [5 favorites]


If men menstruated, we would be reading an articled called "If Women could menstruate" and it would probably be deleted for being a misogynistic pile of crap.

So in our alternate reality, things are working out.
posted by hellojed at 6:22 PM on September 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


The flagging system removes the need for your comment. That's pretty much it.
posted by Kwine at 6:26 PM on September 27, 2010


It would be safe to assume that if you write a comment that could be defined as 'thread-shitting', there is a high risk that it will be deleted.

But, as the mods have said over and over and over and over and over and over again, there are very few rules and lots of case-by-case decisions.

If you're going to get all thingy about deletions or lack thereof, for the well-being of your spleen I'd suggest you don't post anything.
posted by h00py at 6:27 PM on September 27, 2010


I commented that this is the worst post I have ever seen on MeFi.

This has been happening SO MUCH RECENTLY and it is called thread shitting.. and it is bad... and I freakin hate it (so please stop).

As it's name suggests, it is a shit thing to do. If you don't like a post, either flag it and move on OR make a post in metatalk.

I. SAID. GOOD. DAY.
posted by pwally at 6:27 PM on September 27, 2010


Your "entirely reasonable objection" should have been summed up by flagging it.
posted by Razzle Bathbone at 6:27 PM on September 27, 2010


- I commented that this is the worst post I have ever seen on MeFi. That comment was deleted.
- And yet, my entirely reasonable objection to this article was deleted.
- when I wrote my now-deleted comment.
- This would help me avoid making similar assertions that the moderators would delete.

You mention your comment getting deleted four times. It's not really that big a deal, try not to take it personally. Flag it next time and don't get steamed.
posted by iconomy at 6:28 PM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


You're right, though, it was an awful post.

But yeah, that's what flags are for - don't shit in threads, even for shitty posts.
posted by kbanas at 6:29 PM on September 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


What happened?

Simply put, the world is an imperfect place. Metafilter even more so.
posted by Roger Dodger at 6:31 PM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Duly noted.
posted by arachnid at 6:35 PM on September 27, 2010


I commented that this is the worst post I have ever seen on MeFi.

If that's the worst post you've ever seen on MeFi, you haven't been looking hard enough.
posted by amyms at 6:37 PM on September 27, 2010 [10 favorites]


I'm not the last word on it, I never actually asked Josh or Jessamyn about it, but I thought the skateboard graphics and idea of a normally male-dominated skateboard culture having a brand and message like that was new and interesting, even though one of the links was to an old essay. So basically it came down to everything but that essay was kind of cool looking and provocative without being horrible. Also, not that this matters the most but it wasn't flagged very much as bad, you'd probably be surprised how few people thought it was flag-worthy.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 6:39 PM on September 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


I didn't even know flagging existed until I wrote this MeTa post.
posted by charlie don't surf at 6:42 PM on September 27, 2010


Oh, and the problem isn't with my post being deleted, I just wondered why. I never heard about "thread shitting," and I wonder why many similar comments weren't deleted.
posted by charlie don't surf at 6:42 PM on September 27, 2010


Oh bless your heart!
posted by MaryDellamorte at 6:44 PM on September 27, 2010 [21 favorites]


Technically, I don't think I was "thread-shitting" as I didn't challenge the right of the post to have been made. I merely suggested that the blog entry which was the subject of the post was dated and banal.

Which it was.

Since we've (finally!) wound up in MeTa, maybe now we can question the usefulness of recycling stale '70's agitprop as FPPs.
posted by felix betachat at 6:44 PM on September 27, 2010


Didn't we just have this discussion two days ago with WCityMike?

Yes, and that's one reason I am asking. In that MeTa, cortex commented that it would be better to talk of specific examples. This is a specific example. And I didn't see anything referring to threadshitting in there.

Anyway, I should have consolidated all my remarks, sorry about the separate comments.
posted by charlie don't surf at 6:48 PM on September 27, 2010


I disagree with this call-out.
posted by Neofelis at 6:49 PM on September 27, 2010


So basically it came down to everything but that essay was kind of cool looking and provocative without being horrible. Also, not that this matters the most but it wasn't flagged very much as bad, you'd probably be surprised how few people thought it was flag-worthy.

Yeah, I wasn't looking very hard at that one (I was AWOL much of yesterday on a family outing where internet was spotty at best) but at a glance that's about how I felt. The Steinem essay's a bit of a lightning rod and in that respect I'd rather it hadn't been the lede, but for all that it didn't seem like a terrible post and neither did most people.

"This is a shitty post" comments are basically never great. Flagging is basically never a problem. I have no problem with you asking about this in Metatalk but it should have started with that and skipped the whole complaining-about-the-thread-in-the-thread thing.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:53 PM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


i call out that disagreement....and the flowers are wrong

leave.now we.
posted by clavdivs at 6:53 PM on September 27, 2010


I shit a threat once. Tied one end to my tooth, and flossed my intestines.
posted by found missing at 6:54 PM on September 27, 2010


D'oh
posted by clavdivs at 6:54 PM on September 27, 2010




Well cortex, you know I'm relatively new and still trying to make my way here. This is kind of a combo, I think that is a crappy post, but someone didn't like me saying it was a crappy post, how am I supposed to say it's a crappy post? Okay, I didn't know about flagging. But it seemed to me that the FPP was pretty obviously flamebait, which as I understand it, is not condoned on MeFi. So you're right, and felix betachat is right, is it useful to recycle old agitprop for FPPs? Yesterday's agitprop is today's flamebait, and tomorrow's ad hominem flamewar.
posted by charlie don't surf at 7:00 PM on September 27, 2010


Jesus aperaping christ.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:02 PM on September 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


Yeah, I wasn't looking very hard at that one (I was AWOL much of yesterday on a family outing where internet was spotty at best) but at a glance that's about how I felt. The Steinem essay's a bit of a lightning rod and in that respect I'd rather it hadn't been the lede, but for all that it didn't seem like a terrible post and neither did most people.

Once people got over their initial adjustment phase, the thread turned out sort of well actually. I took was like "fuck this Steinem post again? And the Museum of Menstruation? Those posts always go well..." but I decided to delete some early "this sucks" comments and, because I was basically home all day, kept an eye on the thread to see what happened. And commented a few times. And it went pretty well. And it wasn't flagged that much as these things go [certainly not flagged to an automatic delete level].

Your comment, in total was "This is the worst post I've ever seen on MeFi. And yeah, that includes the ones that got nuked." which was a pretty aggro way of saying you didn't like it and didn't talk about the topic of the thread at all. So, no big deal, we deleted your comment and now you're talking about it in MeTa which we would prefer. I think we deleted two comments that that thread total and maybe would have deleted a bit more if the "you suck" nastiness from the middle of the night were going on while we were all awake.

So as posts go it wasn't my favorite, but it was okay and I think most people got that the Steinem essay was an attempt to set up and frame the point of the post which was "hey skateboards and some culture jamming" If that's not your thing, great.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:03 PM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


New or not - the choices are:

--Flag
--Email mods
--MeTA

a million times they have said "please don't post stuff in the thread, flag it please, ANY reason will do, we'll see it" and this is definitely a thing they have been SUPER CRYSTAL CLEAR on, you can't say there is any ambiguity at all in the fact that you should FEEL FREE at ANY TIME to contact them if you have a question about this place. You would be shocked at how quickly someone will respond to you.

are you upset because they deleted your comment or because you think the thread is bad for MeFi? It seems like you care more about the former than the latter.
posted by micawber at 7:03 PM on September 27, 2010


But it seemed to me that the FPP was pretty obviously flamebait, which as I understand it, is not condoned on MeFi.

I don't even understand the term flamebait as you are using it here.

The right way to deal with this is to either email us "Wtf is going on here?" or come to MeTa before you crap in a thread. Or flag and move on which we prefer.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:04 PM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well jessamyn, it seemed odd that my remark got deleted, when some pretty seriously aggro ad hominem stuff didn't. Perhaps I could have said that better, like "I can see this thread isn't going to go well." When I said this was the worst FPP I ever saw, I meant that not over content, but intent. That post seemed to me, to be deliberate flamebait. And the OP knew it, or should have known it.
posted by charlie don't surf at 7:11 PM on September 27, 2010


i thought it was a shitty thread, too, but then i hit the back button. did i break some sort of internet rule?
posted by TrialByMedia at 7:12 PM on September 27, 2010 [6 favorites]


If you know you are so "relatively new and still trying to make my way here" that you don't even know about flagging, you probably shouldn't be judging the MeFi-appropriateness of an FPP. Anosognosia?
posted by Joseph Gurl at 7:14 PM on September 27, 2010 [9 favorites]


i thought it was a shitty thread, too, but then i hit the back button. did i break some sort of internet rule?


Yes. YOU MUST FIGHT.
posted by joe lisboa at 7:14 PM on September 27, 2010 [7 favorites]


Well jessamyn, it seemed odd that my remark got deleted, when some pretty seriously aggro ad hominem stuff didn't. Perhaps I could have said that better, like "I can see this thread isn't going to go well." When I said this was the worst FPP I ever saw, I meant that not over content, but intent. That post seemed to me, to be deliberate flamebait. And the OP knew it, or should have known it.

It seems odd to you because you don't know the culture here well enough. It's simple. Lurk moar, read the faq & wiki again, whatever it takes.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 7:15 PM on September 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


micawber, I am not really upset, but any complaint is primarily that this was a bad post for MeFi. I could really care less about whether any one specific comment I made was deleted. I just wondered about the proper channels for dealing with that.

And jessamyn, when I say flamebait, I mean a deliberately provocation that is intended to cause people to get into an argument and flame each other. That is pretty much what happened, although you say it stabilized (but I didn't really have much interest in following how it ended up.
posted by charlie don't surf at 7:15 PM on September 27, 2010


Yeah, Joseph G, it's all about my incompetence, riiight. I only lurked here for like 5 years or more, and only joined because I thought I had a handle on the culture. That tiny little flag that looks like any other GUI litter doesn't jump out and say FLAG to me.
posted by charlie don't surf at 7:17 PM on September 27, 2010


Again: read the FAQ, read the wiki. Five years apparently wasn't enough. We all learn at our own speeds.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 7:18 PM on September 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


PS: "I thought I had a handle on the culture" is exactly what I meant by anosognosia...
posted by Joseph Gurl at 7:20 PM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


That was a weird post. I expected it to go down the toilet, but surprise, people were generally acting adult about it.

The essay is from 1978..

Can we stop bitching about something just 'cause it's from past? It's an argument without merit and irritatingly arrogant to think just because you've seen something, everyone else has. So fucking what it's from the past, that's one way people learn things, by looking at the past.
posted by nomadicink at 7:20 PM on September 27, 2010 [10 favorites]


charlie don't surf, you have a lot of great comments already and you're doing a lot of things right. But in this case, you should stop digging this particular hole, right now, and go for a nice walk.
posted by toodleydoodley at 7:21 PM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ah I see, Joseph. MeFi is exclusively for elite users. Sorry to have bothered you. Perhaps you could do as others have suggested and hit the back button when you read my comments. Or perhaps you consider my invisible deleted comment worse than the ad hominen flames in that thread.

We Apologize For The Inconvenience.
posted by charlie don't surf at 7:22 PM on September 27, 2010


"I commented that this is the worst post I have ever seen on MeFi. That comment was deleted. Other MeFites expressed the same sentiments, even the first comment expressed disdain for this entire FPP. "

If the first few comments were truely as described they deserved to get deleted regardless of the appropriateness of the thread. Negative meta commentary on the worthiness and appropriateness of threads do not belong in the threads.
posted by Mitheral at 7:22 PM on September 27, 2010


And jessamyn, when I say flamebait, I mean a deliberately provocation that is intended to cause people to get into an argument and flame each other

Can you explain that a bit more? How was that article encouraging people to argue? It was satire, written as you imply, oh so long ago, what possible damage could it do? If people want to argue, they're going to find a way to argue, it's not like the article held a gun to their head, you know?
posted by nomadicink at 7:23 PM on September 27, 2010


Ah I see, Joseph. MeFi is exclusively for elite users.

Nope, not at all! As you can see, I haven't been forcibly ejected & nor will you.

Sorry to have bothered you.

No problem, it's only the internet. Beautiful day in Seoul.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 7:24 PM on September 27, 2010


I mean a deliberately provocation that is intended to cause people to get into an argument and flame each other.

It's from a pretty new user, actually, someone who has pretty much never [to my recollection] posted something that seemed fighty or otherwise problematic. This is something we take into account looking at posts and how we think they're going to go. I get that you feel that it was deliberately provocative, but I'm not seeing it in the user, the wording she used or really the rest of the post. Okay, the Steinem article was a little annoying, but pretty tame stuff compared to a lot of other things. I'm not sure why it pressed your buttons so much, but it was really a pretty normal thread by MeFi standards.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:27 PM on September 27, 2010


It's a really old essay. I'm no longer a fan but I think I was impressed by it during college. It does seem kind of out of place compared to other threads. I cringe at the idea of a "If Women Could _____". That would make for a bad day for the mods.
posted by anniecat at 7:31 PM on September 27, 2010


Five years apparently wasn't enough. We all learn at our own speeds.

You know, there are three mods in this thread already who can help to steer this guy in the right direction, so if this kind of comment represents your best effort then maybe just let them handle it.
posted by cribcage at 7:32 PM on September 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


Well, I'm tempted to say that MeTa has never had any prerequisite of niceness, but in the end, I agree with you. At this point, I'd just be piling on, so instead, I'll not do so!
posted by Joseph Gurl at 7:35 PM on September 27, 2010


I think I was impressed by it during college.

The OP of the thread is, in fact, in college.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:37 PM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


I am trying to make sense out of
I'm relatively new and still trying to make my way here
when juxtaposed with
I only lurked here for like 5 years or more
Pick one or the other.
posted by grouse at 7:40 PM on September 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


nomadicink, that sort of feminist agitprop comes from a different era, it is more provocative today precisely because it is miscalibrated to today's attitudes. On preview, anniecat says it well.

And Mitheral, there is nothing in the FAQ about threadshitting. Perhaps it should be clarified (and maybe a better term could be invented). I had no way to know about this since that type of post gets removed without comment. I'm not blaming the absence of data in the FAQ for this, but now I know.

The OP of the thread is, in fact, in college.

I got the impression that anniecat meant she was impressed with the article back when it was first published, when she was in college. Forgive me anniecat, if you are not of that generation.

And grouse, there is a difference between lurking and active participating. At this point, you are just piling on. I think this thread is done.
posted by charlie don't surf at 7:42 PM on September 27, 2010


"I commented that this is the worst post I have ever seen on MeFi. That comment was deleted."

Sorry if I don't take your experience to be a representative sample of MetaFilter comma worst of, seeings as you didn't even know about flagging.

And hey, Cap'n Context, the coupla lines that you grabbed from me sure do make at least little more sense if you know what I was replying to. Which I handily quoted.
posted by klangklangston at 7:44 PM on September 27, 2010


grouse, there is a difference between lurking and active participating

I agree. You should do more of the former and less of the latter.
posted by grouse at 7:47 PM on September 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


Ah, I geddit grouse, you're being eponysterical.

Jessamyn cortex, whoever, it seems like it is time to close the thread. At this point, there is nothing left but a bunch of grouses grousing about how they are more leet than me. Perhaps you can save them the embarrassment.
posted by charlie don't surf at 7:59 PM on September 27, 2010


The OP of the thread is, in fact, in college.

Oh man. She ought to be out drinking with her friends not digging up old essays from the late seventies (it was old already by the time I got to college, so many years ago). Tell her not to waste her youth. She doesn't know how painful a hangover is when you've entered your thirties and drink infrequently.

This makes me wonder how old the youngest metafilter member is. I don't recall being asked my age.
posted by anniecat at 8:05 PM on September 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


Dude, it's not just n00b bashing. That's a handy narrative to tell yourself, because it lets you save face and pretend that all of your opinions were righteous and vindicated and keeps other people from ragging on you further for a pretty disappointing MeTa post (where ya quote me twice as an example of what's wrong with the thread), but if you really want to get the culture here (hey, did you know that no one knows the true purpose of favorites? Really!) you might want to not so quickly cast yourself as the misunderstood genius in this passion play (to mix metaphors slightly).
posted by klangklangston at 8:06 PM on September 27, 2010 [6 favorites]


I agree. You should do more of the former and less of the latter.

He made a post, all three mods responded, he acknowledged their advice and said he wouldn't do it again.

Leave the guy alone, would ya? He doesn't deserve the pile on.
posted by zarq at 8:06 PM on September 27, 2010 [7 favorites]


I'm fine closing this up, but while I appreciate that you may be understandably a little frustrated and on the defensive from the reception you've gotten here you've also, maybe just as a result of that, been coming on kind of strong yourself.

My advice is basically: feel free to ask us via the contact form if you've got a question about anything; please hold off on sticking metacommentary in places other than metatalk; and if you're going to come to metatalk with something try to turn the other cheek if someone is being snarky or giving you trouble because it gets no one anywhere to have the poster of a thread digging into an argument and sort of making that whole scrappy dynamic escalate.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:07 PM on September 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


« Older How *nice* for Ask MetaFilter!   |   IRLY? Newer »

This thread is closed to new comments.