Goodbye, Cruel Thread September 30, 2010 8:20 AM   Subscribe

Protip: When one says one is leaving the thread, one should probably leave it.
posted by empath to Etiquette/Policy at 8:20 AM (431 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

For this you broke the blessed quiet of the MetaTalk page?
posted by languagehat at 8:24 AM on September 30, 2010 [47 favorites]


I think "Protip" is usually spelled "ProTip", at least that's how I would spell it.. well, maybe I would do a "Pro Tip", just so everyone would be sure to understand.

That said, this happens all the time.... I don't think there's a rule, I don't know that it needs a rule, we've all got a right to change our mind.
posted by HuronBob at 8:25 AM on September 30, 2010 [7 favorites]


I'd have something to say here, but I've already left this thread.
posted by Zed at 8:29 AM on September 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


The "I'm leaving! Now I'm back!" dance is common enough in every forum that it really should have its own term a la Godwin's Law. It's a close cousin of people on forums with ignore functions loudly announcing they're ignoring so-and-so (the usenet *plonk*) and then continuing to respond to them anyway.
posted by Drastic at 8:33 AM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


What are you hoping to accomplish here?
posted by box at 8:34 AM on September 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


Porntip: Use plenty of lube.
posted by adamdschneider at 8:34 AM on September 30, 2010 [6 favorites]


Tattling to teacher, really?
posted by desuetude at 8:34 AM on September 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


I propose calling it 'Cartman's Law'.
posted by Happy Dave at 8:35 AM on September 30, 2010 [5 favorites]


Sometimes I change my mind about things too.
posted by hydrophonic at 8:35 AM on September 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


I've seen it written "proTip", but everybody knows the real pros use regular tips, and hang out on the tipMods forum, exchanging tips on scratch-built tip modifications.
posted by ardgedee at 8:36 AM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Forget it, man, it's not worth it.
posted by Shohn at 8:36 AM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


What are you hoping to accomplish here?

Well, we prove conclusively that AElfwine's parents are bigots.

Then we win!
posted by a young man in spats at 8:36 AM on September 30, 2010 [5 favorites]


Would you have bothered with this call-out if it wasn't tangentially related to some loons in the tea party? No? Then you shouldn't have bothered anyway.
posted by modernnomad at 8:38 AM on September 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


Protip: A thin, passive-aggressive post is a poor use of Metatalk.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:39 AM on September 30, 2010 [16 favorites]


Protip: you can pick your friends, and you can pick your nose, but you can't pick your friend's nose.
posted by jabberjaw at 8:40 AM on September 30, 2010 [4 favorites]


I am leaving this thread. And I will probably be back. Or not.
posted by rtha at 8:40 AM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


ardgedee: "I've seen it written "proTip", but everybody knows the real pros use regular tips, and hang out on the tipMods forum, exchanging tips on scratch-built tip modifications."

Tiphacking is a growing and vibrant subculture.
posted by Drastic at 8:40 AM on September 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


Wait, what? The guy made two comments after that (one of them being a youtube link and nothing else) and you're already calling him out? Shouldn't there be a higher threshold than that? Were you just itching for a MeTa? I mean, don't get me wrong, a whole day with silence on the grey starts feeling a little rough around the edges and you start to question your own reality, but I can't even eat popcorn to this.
posted by sonika at 8:41 AM on September 30, 2010 [14 favorites]


The "I'm leaving! Now I'm back!" dance is common enough in every forum that it really should have its own term a la Godwin's Law.

I've done it myself a time or two.

Also, it's called Goodbye Cruel World on Daily Kos.

Really, I just felt like calling out Aelfwine for shitting up every politics thread he participates in, which are pretty much the only threads he participates in, and I didn't want to do it in the thread.

But with that, I'm leaving this thread, and if nobody else thinks he's causing problems, that's fine with me.
posted by empath at 8:41 AM on September 30, 2010


Really, I just felt like calling out Aelfwine for shitting up every politics thread he participates in, which are pretty much the only threads he participates in, and I didn't want to do it in the thread.

Then why didn't you say that instead of coming up with the flimsiest of flimsy excuses? That might have been more productive.
posted by sonika at 8:42 AM on September 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


Let's see, pro tip ... twenty percent of twenty dollars, same as in town ... works out to about four bucks.
posted by adipocere at 8:42 AM on September 30, 2010


Protip: people disagreeing with you politically is not the same thing as threadshitting. I'm not familiar with AElfwine's past comments, but I didn't see any evidence of it in the linked thread.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 8:45 AM on September 30, 2010 [8 favorites]


people disagreeing with you politically is not the same thing as threadshitting

I'm seeing a lot of bullying lately of people like AElfwine and Joe Beese who have voiced opinions contrary to the group. It's not really any kind of substantive criticism, but simply insults and shouting-down of a dissenting viewpoint. It's pretty sad to watch, and even worse that Metatalk is being used to continue that kind of bullying.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:47 AM on September 30, 2010 [51 favorites]


Protip: don't use that word on a porn movie set, it confuses the crew.
posted by nomadicink at 8:48 AM on September 30, 2010


Forget it, Pro. It's TipTown.
posted by katillathehun at 8:49 AM on September 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


PloTip: Try the chops.
posted by SpiffyRob at 8:50 AM on September 30, 2010 [8 favorites]


This is a ridiculous callout. I went to the thread expecting that he raised a huge shitstorm later on, and there were only two short, fairly innocuous comments. This is a ridiculous callout.
posted by Dasein at 8:50 AM on September 30, 2010 [4 favorites]


But with that, I'm leaving this thread, and if nobody else thinks he's causing problems, that's fine with me.

But you'll let us know whether some time alone in an echo chamber of happy political agreeing-with-you thoughts improves your disposition, right? We'll all be eagerly awaiting the latest status update as to the concentration of perceived piss in your cornflakes.
posted by desuetude at 8:56 AM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm seeing a lot of bullying lately of people like AElfwine and Joe Beese who have voiced opinions contrary to the group.

We've been talking about that a little lately in Modland. There are a few people who seem to think that because their viewpoints are more closely aligned with the normative view here on MeFi that it's okay to call people names and just generally berate them for their viewpoints. This is not okay. We've said this enough times and it appears to be not sinking in, so we'd like to restate.

If you're getting to the point where you're calling someone an asshole in-thread, you are crossing the line and need to back off. People who seem to be unable to control themselves from doing this may have us step in and control it for them. And honestly, this is something I'd prefer not to have happen, but it's the same people over and over.

That said there are also people who have a tendency to make the thread into a referendum on their own ideas and seem to use the thread as a way to fight with everyone in it about their own pet topics. This needs to be managed better as well. When we come to a thread on a contentious topic that has turned into one person basically drawing a line in the sand and starting a take-on-all-comers fight with people, that's also inhibiting to group discussion. I know there are people who get personally offended when other people make comments they see as assholish or stupid. That is, as we say here "a personal problem" and we expect you to deal with it personally.

So, calling people assholes, trolls or whatever your insult-du-jour is, not okay in MeFi. Go to MetaTalk, go to email, or take a walk.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:57 AM on September 30, 2010 [17 favorites]


posted by empath to Etiquette/Policy at 11:20 AM (28 comments total) [add to favorites] [!] [quote]

Eponyster- nah, too easy.
posted by zarq at 8:58 AM on September 30, 2010


Amateur Tip: Maybe if you jiggle it a little bit it'll start working again.
posted by Babblesort at 8:58 AM on September 30, 2010 [18 favorites]


I used to like to read political threads, but I find Joe Beese's schtick tiresome so I'm thinking of quitting. This Elf Wine character just seems like a teenaged person saying teenaged person type things and that's ok with me.
posted by Kwine at 8:59 AM on September 30, 2010 [5 favorites]


It's my ball, and I'm going home, as we used to say on CIX.
posted by scruss at 9:04 AM on September 30, 2010


Don't call it a comeback, I've been here for years...
posted by .kobayashi. at 9:06 AM on September 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


Remember that Bruce Campbell movie Bubba ProTip?
posted by orville sash at 9:10 AM on September 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


And honestly, this is something I'd prefer not to have happen -- Some gentle non-mod pressure via memail seems to work pretty well. I saw someone getting a little too uncivil in a thread yesterday, so I dropped them a memail. They agreed that they'd probably stepped over the line, and agreed to take a step back.
posted by crunchland at 9:10 AM on September 30, 2010


I've read the comments AElfwine made in that thread, and although they seem both misinformed and obtuse, it didn't seem like he was trying to monopolize the thread or anything. I read that Taibbi article yesterday, and while I enjoyed it, there's no denying that it's obnoxious and fighty. I'd be surprised if someone whose family is heavily involved in the Tea Party didn't have a response to that fightiness.
posted by OmieWise at 9:10 AM on September 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


If you're going to call someone out, you should a link to the callout in the thread you're complaining about, or at least MefiMail them.
posted by nomadicink at 9:14 AM on September 30, 2010


For this you broke the blessed quiet of the MetaTalk page?

Ah, well, now it's broken: what about this and this? Tag-teaming husband-and-wife questions two days apart seems like a bit of an end-run around the once-a-week rule, no?
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 9:16 AM on September 30, 2010


I'd be surprised if someone whose family is heavily involved in the Tea Party didn't have a response to that fightiness.

Eh, some of my family members are pretty involved and I think they're bats. Of course, I thought that way before the Tea Party even existed. I suppose if I had a higher respect for their political opinions in general, it might bug me to see the Tea Party maligned... but as much as I do love my father, the man really is a racist nutjob. I have no problem with someone else pointing that out.

Wouldn't be surprised if there are more MeFites in this boat than in the "My mom's in the Tea Party and I wish you'd stop calling them names!" boat. But yeah, of course you're going to defend your family when you respect them. It's what you do.

Likewise, my mom is Catholic and I respect her greatly, so it wrankles me to see some of the generalizations made about Catholics on MetaFilter - it's taken me a while, but I'm learning not to take it as any accusation about my mom and just leave it as a generalization. She doesn't need me to defend her on the internet - if she wanted to, she'd do it herself.
posted by sonika at 9:16 AM on September 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


Eh, some of my family members are pretty involved and I think they're bats.

Well, yes, I assume the guy actually kind of agrees with them, but is too timid to say so in the thread.
posted by OmieWise at 9:17 AM on September 30, 2010


You should be calling out the over-the-top responses to AElfwine's comment, not his follow up comments. I almost completely refuse to participate in political threads anymore because while I agree with the majority here probably 90% of the time, I don't want to put up with the shitfits people might have if I express the 10% of my beliefs that may not jibe completely with theirs.
posted by Falconetti at 9:18 AM on September 30, 2010 [8 favorites]


i remember that certain other people have expressed unpopular opinions and been criticized for "dumping" them in a thread and not trying to back up what they say

AElfwine bothers to back up his opinions with links, quotes and reasoning, successful or not - he is not getting into too much personal drama and he is arguing the issues

he is doing this in the way that many people have complained others have not - there have been lengthy and bitterly contentious threads over this issue

this is what you wanted - people who discuss contrary viewpoints well

stop complaining
posted by pyramid termite at 9:18 AM on September 30, 2010 [15 favorites]


I'm leaving this thread

You'll be back.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:22 AM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Tag-teaming husband-and-wife questions two days apart seems like a bit of an end-run around the once-a-week rule, no?

No, not at all. They are two people and the rule is one question per week per person, not per household.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:23 AM on September 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


Ah, well, now it's broken: what about this and this? Tag-teaming husband-and-wife questions two days apart seems like a bit of an end-run around the once-a-week rule, no?

It's two different people who have two separate, paid for accounts posting on the same event, asking for different advice each time.

Of course, it's up to the mods. But I don't think it even violates the spirit of the rule.
posted by zarq at 9:23 AM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Or, what Jessamyn said. :)
posted by zarq at 9:24 AM on September 30, 2010


Protip: I fucking hate it when people preface sentences with "protip." Really, really hate it.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 9:26 AM on September 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


We had a deal, Kyle

Yeah, we thought about that, too. But still, it's two people who are involved in the same problem. Of course, I have no way of proving that we are two people, but it's whithin guidelines, and anyway, we really need help.

We definitely would not do it if it wasn't serious. I apologize if it's not OK.
posted by Tarumba at 9:29 AM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


When we come to a thread on a contentious topic that has turned into one person basically drawing a line in the sand and starting a take-on-all-comers fight with people, that's also inhibiting to group discussion.

But users with a minority viewpoint have faced the opposite criticism, too -- that they refuse to substantiate their viewpoint with links and evidence and continued debate.

My personal solution is to stay out of discussions where I have a minority viewpoint. I think that's how a lot of people solve this difficulty, but it's probably suboptimal for the site as a whole for people to decline to participate where they don't agree with everyone (where there is wide consensus, that is).
posted by palliser at 9:29 AM on September 30, 2010 [4 favorites]


.f you're getting to the point where you're calling someone an asshole in-thread, you are crossing the line and need to back off.

Yeah, I realize I crossed a line in a previous thread involving this guy, so I basically decided to check out of every thread he's posting in. Of course in this case he actually fucking memailed me directly to start an argument after I was trying to suggest in the thread that pope guilty not get started with him again.

(sorry, just replying to a mod, carry on everyone)
posted by empath at 9:40 AM on September 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm seeing a lot of bullying lately of people like AElfwine and Joe Beese who have voiced opinions contrary to the group.

One person's opinion: It's not so much the opinions as the fact that they are related... and related... and related, in what feels like a considerable percentage of political threads, often enough with more than one or two comments.
posted by ambient2 at 9:40 AM on September 30, 2010


One person's opinion: It's not so much the opinions as the fact that they are related... and related... and related, in what feels like a considerable percentage of political threads, often enough with more than one or two comments.

There are seven open threads regarding the Tea Party. At least two of them are links to Matt Taibbi editorials.

I haven't bothered re-reading them. But I do wonder how many commenters have repeated their views on the subject across multiple threads.
posted by zarq at 9:49 AM on September 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


If you're getting to the point where you're calling someone an asshole in-thread, you are crossing the line and need to back off.

I don't think one should call people assholes in e-mail either.
posted by grouse at 9:53 AM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm seeing a lot of bullying lately of people like AElfwine and Joe Beese who have voiced opinions contrary to the group.

I'm seeing a lot of AElfwine and Joe Beese jumping into political threads and repeating the same talking points ad nauseam, then demanding everyone debate with them when it's clear they've already made up their mind and will not be derailed as they stick to their talking points.

Joe has reached the point, at least for me, where it's a sad joke to see him in political thread and AElfwine is rapidly approaching that point. YMMV.
posted by nomadicink at 9:54 AM on September 30, 2010 [8 favorites]


just replying to a mod

STILL COUNTS I WIN SUCKAS
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:54 AM on September 30, 2010 [4 favorites]




I'm seeing a lot of AElfwine and Joe Beese jumping into political threads and repeating the same talking points

Everyone else repeats the same talking points in every thread too, it's just that everyone agrees with them.

demanding everyone debate with them

Huh?
posted by enn at 9:58 AM on September 30, 2010 [11 favorites]


> I'm seeing a lot of AElfwine and Joe Beese jumping into political threads and repeating the same talking points ad nauseam, then demanding everyone debate with them when it's clear they've already made up their mind and will not be derailed as they stick to their talking points.

This is a much more accurate characterization of what's happening in those threads than "bullying". AElfwine comes in basically whacking people over the head with false equivalencies and tangential subjects, and then complains that he has no "takers" when he drops what is basically concern trolling. Most of us are not fond of the foreign policy of the Obama administration, and would like to see the wars ended yesterday. The soapbox approach to commenting on Metafilter is generally going to make people annoyed with you. Take it to DailyKos or something.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:00 AM on September 30, 2010 [5 favorites]


But users with a minority viewpoint have faced the opposite criticism, too -- that they refuse to substantiate their viewpoint with links and evidence and continued debate.

There's a line to walk there, certainly, and some of that may just be a bit of an unfair systemic effect of relatively popular vs. unpopular views in any conversational context and so I can understand that being frustrating. If I could snap my fingers and make that not be a problem, I would. Cf. a million dollars, ending world hunger, etc.

But if you're looking for conversation on a contentious topic, you pretty much have to walk some lines. We don't want this place to be a mosh pit, and we don't want it to be a staging-ground for aggro one-on-one or one-on-many throwdowns. So people on all sides basically need to watch their shit, more than they have; some folks inclined to vent spleen against some perceived Person On The Wrong Side need to work a lot harder on reining that it because it's a fucked up way to treat a fellow member and makes this place worse. People who want to take a stand as The Guy Whose Opinions You Don't Like need to work on being a less headbutting or rhetorically dicey in their approaches.

Beyond that, anybody who has some sort of specific problem with some other user should really just make an effort to not engage in the first place. Pretty much nobody is at their best, or anything like it, with that sort of dynamic in play. Pope Guilty, empath, Aelfwine, you all really really need to get on this re: each other if you can't keep it to a low simmer when you do respond to each other. Name calling or dozen-comment-plus argumentative strings in a given thread is not great stuff.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:02 AM on September 30, 2010 [5 favorites]


Why does what one person thinks really matter to you, and what you think? If, in your heart, you know you're right, why does it matter whether there are people who disagree?
posted by crunchland at 10:02 AM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Protip: facilitate synergizing workflow paradigms!

no i don't know what i just said
posted by not_on_display at 10:05 AM on September 30, 2010


I'm seeing a lot of AElfwine and Joe Beese jumping into political threads and repeating the same talking points ad nauseam, then demanding everyone debate with them when it's clear they've already made up their mind and will not be derailed as they stick to their talking points.

As opposed to those who jump into threads, express the same mainstream opinions ad nauseum and then aggressively challenge and/or shout down anyone who dares to disagree with them? This happens frequently in threads about religion, politics and all sorts of gender issues.

There are a few folks here who consistently seem to prefer angrily telling people they're "wrong on the internets" than listening, asking questions and keeping an open mind. It's human nature, but it can also gets tiresome.
posted by zarq at 10:08 AM on September 30, 2010 [8 favorites]


ProtIP: a better way to commercialize your intellectual property.
posted by jedicus at 10:13 AM on September 30, 2010


Everyone else repeats the same talking points in every thread too, it's just that everyone agrees with them.

Joe and Elf have a particularly annoying way of doing it.

demanding everyone debate with them

Huh?


It winds up with them doing the "provide links and prove me" thing, when it's clear they're underlying views have already been shaped and set in stone, so any links you provide or arguments you present are ignored. It's fine, of course, if they have their views and don't want to change them, but please don't repeatedly show in threads demanding to be convinced when there's no way to convince you.
posted by nomadicink at 10:13 AM on September 30, 2010


Eh, some of my family members are pretty involved and I think they're bats.

I wish some of my family members were bats. Then they'd probably eat the mosquitoes at family barbecues. That would be nice.
posted by amro at 10:19 AM on September 30, 2010 [29 favorites]


Joe has reached the point, at least for me, where it's a sad joke to see him in political thread

I guess I don't spend enough time in political threads. My general experience of Joe Beese is positive. Lots of great FPPs, a man with opinions that he's not afraid to share.

So, now that we're calling him out and all, would it be inflammatory to ask that someone link to one (or a few) of his alleged transgressions?
posted by philip-random at 10:20 AM on September 30, 2010 [4 favorites]


I wish some of my family members were bats. Then they'd probably eat the mosquitoes at family barbecues.

They don't need to be bats to do that. Just hypnotized.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:27 AM on September 30, 2010 [7 favorites]


philip-r just go into any thread about Obama who he relentlessly argues is both simultaneously a failure and a despot. Weird combo I know. You'd think a failed despot would actually be a net good but anyway....it's kindof annoying because he's so strident and loves killing people's positive buzz whenever there's a democrat success but it's just as annoying when other folks can't ignore opinions they don't like and engage in insult-laden refudiation fests.

My solution is: if an opinion makes me really angry, disengage (unless it's about Hipsters because then I take it personally).
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:43 AM on September 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


MetaFilter: What are you hoping to accomplish here?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:43 AM on September 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


There are a few people who seem to think that because their viewpoints are more closely aligned with the normative view here on MeFi that it's okay to call people names and just generally berate them for their viewpoints. This is not okay. We've said this enough times and it appears to be not sinking in, so we'd like to restate.

If you're getting to the point where you're calling someone an asshole in-thread, you are crossing the line and need to back off. ...

So, calling people assholes, trolls or whatever your insult-du-jour is, not okay in MeFi.


Thank you for this, jessamyn.
posted by John Cohen at 10:44 AM on September 30, 2010


The insult-du-jour is: asstroll.
posted by box at 10:48 AM on September 30, 2010


That said there are also people who have a tendency to make the thread into a referendum on their own ideas and seem to use the thread as a way to fight with everyone in it about their own pet topics.

Right on! I mean, seriously, the chocolate is from Africa, not Belgium people!!!!

SERIOUS BIZNESS
posted by GuyZero at 10:55 AM on September 30, 2010


The insult-du-jour is: asstroll.

I beg to differ.
posted by zarq at 10:57 AM on September 30, 2010


it's kindof annoying because he's so strident and loves killing people's positive buzz whenever there's a democrat success

The Joe Beese as Obama-still-sucks buzzkill is something we'd like to see less of. If there's a thread about how Obama has been problematic, then it's totally on topic, but if there's a thread about something that works, coming in with "oh hey here's a laundry list of things that still suck about Obama" is pretty much threadshitting. We've specifically asked him to dial it back. I see less of it than I did before. If people see it, please let us know, it's not really okay. That sort of "Just so you know *I* am still against this" sort of thing does have a cult-of-personality aspect to it that can be frustrating because it's pretty much the antithesis of community discussion.

If you're becoming That Guy on any particular topic [and I do sympathize with people with unpopular views who feel that they are taken to task for representing everyone sharing some of their beliefs] you should probably assume that people know your general opinions and it's worthwhile speaking up when you have something to add that is not "I feel the same way I always do" There are a lot of ways to reflect this [and I know I do it sometimes in threads about libraries or rural areas or technology] that make it more clear that you are aware that you are having a conversation, with other people, about a topic, not just holding forth on your own ideas.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:03 AM on September 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


No, not at all. They are two people and the rule is one question per week per person, not per household.

Unless of course, we're giving rebates with AskMe questions.
posted by qvantamon at 11:19 AM on September 30, 2010


in this case he actually fucking memailed me directly to start an argument

That's a lie. I memailed you to let you know that I wasn't going to be responding to any more of your comments because I find them to be borderline baitfodder with no substantive content. I would have done that in thread but I decided not to thread shit as I found after rereading a previous thread that my responses to you could be seen as thread shitting as I wasn't responding to anything substantive as you comments, in my experience, lack substance.

protip: when you can't win an argument and you logic is shown to be shit, start a meta

Mods I have a question. When you are commenting in a thread and you are the only person holding and/or commenting for your particular position one is then obligated to self moderate ones posting because we don't want 1 v metafilter? Isn't that an oblique form of censorship that can stifle debate? This especially worries me after hearing several mefites comment that they don't even participate in threads where they hold a contradictory opinion. I will admit that sometimes I go overboard and that I probably need to work on my presentation a bit. I thought I was doing a good job in the tea party thread.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:20 AM on September 30, 2010


I memailed you to let you know that I wasn't going to be responding to any more of your comments

Oh for christsakes...I just responded to you...FUCK!!! Why don't you start a meta about it.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:24 AM on September 30, 2010


I think some of my opinions and viewpoints differ from those of a lot of mefites. I sometimes feel like I'm not quite in the MeFi mainstream, anyway. But I also don't think that I'm going to change anybody's mind if I disagree with them or make a contrary point. Likewise, I assume that no one is really actively trying to change my mind. Which is good, because they're probably not going to.

But I really like hearing why people think the way they do, and why they believe the things they do, and why they hold the opinions they do. Sometimes it makes me look at an issue a little differently, even if it doesn't make me do a complete 180. That's the great thing about MeaFilter: that we have the opportunity to not just say "I believe X" but to say "I believe X because once when I was ten " I love those, regardless of who tells them.

There are a couple of topics that I know I'm really sensitive about, and when threads about them come up, I usually avoid them, because usually the only thing I can add is "I disagree" or, like Jessamyn mentioned, "I feel the same way I always do." I don't want to get in a fight with someone just because I can. Neither do I want to echo what someone else said. I certainly don't want to be the guy responding "Yeah!" to some snarky "AMIRITE?!" obnoxiousness.

All that being said, I didn't have a problem with AElfwine's comments, or his return to the thread after saying he would leave. A callout for that is weak sauce, in my opinion.

posted by Shohn at 11:25 AM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


That's a lie. I memailed you to let you know that I wasn't going to be responding to any more of your comments because I find them to be borderline baitfodder with no substantive content.

I can quote what you sent me if you like, but if you think what you sent me wasn't an attempt to start and/or continue an argument, then I don't know that you can be helped. I'm not going to continue engaging with you on this thread any further or in any other threads.

Have a nice day.
posted by empath at 11:27 AM on September 30, 2010


The rules are clear: If two enter a thread, one leaves.

Also: Bust a deal, face the wheel.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:29 AM on September 30, 2010 [4 favorites]


On preview, I meant AElfwine's comments in the tea party thread. I don't know what's going on here.
posted by Shohn at 11:30 AM on September 30, 2010


Isn't that an oblique form of censorship that can stifle debate?

No, it isn't. I think what you are thinking of is "chilling effect." We are not the government, this is one website among millions of websites where people discuss topics every day. In order to maintain this website as a place where people want to come talk about things, we have a baseline set of standards for how the 40,000 participating members need to deal with each other. Two sides of these standards are

1. don't interrogate people, take one on one wrestling matches to email/memail
2. don't turn a thread into you vs. everyone by being fighty over topics that tend to evoke strong feelings., again, take one on one disputes to email or elsewhere.

Everyone on the site is obliged to self-moderate to the extent that their own personal standards of behavior aren't in line with the general guidelines of the site. My feeling, as someone who sort of believes in mutual aid and self-organizing communities is that if the guidelines are more or less in line with how you want to interact with other people, then you stick around. If you think they are too strict, too loose, or otherwise wrong for you, you either stick around to try to change them, or you leave. Rarely, you may get ejected but this almost never happens.

So I don't mean to in any way say "my way or the highway" simply that there are certain guidelines about how things go here and it's worth knowing and understanding them. MeTa is so we can sort of go over them, make sure people are on the same page and listen to people's objections if they have them. And we don't think what we're asking is an oblique form of censorship. You are welcome to that opinion, but we try to moderate in such a way that the site is the most useful for the largest number of people without us working all the time to keep maybe ten people in line who don't seem to want to follow the same guidelines/requests that everyone else does. We're pretty transparent about how that works, but this is a moderated websites where comments do get deleted and people are asked to not fuck it up for everyone else.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:31 AM on September 30, 2010 [8 favorites]


I'm not going to continue engaging with you on this thread any further or in any other threads.

Have a nice day.


Well, that's some passive aggressive bullshit, empath. You start a Metatalk thread, engage the guy to come in here and defend himself, make a point of telling him you aren't going to communicate further at all, and then toss in "have a nice day"?

This is a ridiculously bad callout.
posted by misha at 11:37 AM on September 30, 2010 [19 favorites]


*huff huff huff* sorry I'm late

PROTIP: the original protip was in all caps.
posted by komara at 11:37 AM on September 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


I am leaving the site forever.
posted by Artw at 11:40 AM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Back!
posted by Artw at 11:40 AM on September 30, 2010 [19 favorites]


yeah, protip is all caps.

and this post should be deleted.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:41 AM on September 30, 2010


Mods I have a question. When you are commenting in a thread and you are the only person holding and/or commenting for your particular position one is then obligated to self moderate ones posting because we don't want 1 v metafilter?

When you are commenting in a thread ever under any conditions you are obligated by general community expectations to do some basic self-moderation. There's no special exception for when you're a lone voice arguing one side of something. One-on-many throwdowns sucks, period. If everything is going wonderfully civilly and everybody is being a mensch, it's not so much of an issue. If things are going not so great—and "let me tell you in a dozen and half comments why I'm right and you're wrong" is pretty much never great—it's basically incumbent on everybody involved to not perpetuate the weird dynamic. That means people piling on need to cut it out and that who ever is taking a righteous stand needs to be okay with letting it drop and doing something else with their day.

Isn't that an oblique form of censorship that can stifle debate?

No, it's not. No one has a fundamental right to satisfaction on a given topic here; encouraging people to display some reasonable level of situational awareness and not get themselves into situations where they are derailing a thread or playing at Charybdis or whatever is basic community management.

Want to discuss a topic? Do a good job of it. Do a bad job of it? That's a problem. Do a bad job of it repeatedly? You're gonna hear from us. If it gets to the point where you feel censored by frequent requests from the mods to adjust your behavior, your behavior is a way-above-average problem, and that's not a topic-specific issue.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:42 AM on September 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


So time is circular.
posted by Trochanter at 11:45 AM on September 30, 2010


Never, ever announce your exit, lest you be accused of "taking the ball and going home" when really you're just sick of whatever bullshit internet slapfight you've found yourself in and would like to have a sandwich or some sleep or something.

So, yeah. Don't do that, is what I'm saying.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:51 AM on September 30, 2010


I can quote what you sent me if you like

Go ahead, quote away. I see how I may have been a little heavy handed and kind of a dick, but I don't see how you can take that as trying to start an argument as I said I would no longer be responding to you(I have clearly failed epically in this regard). Last time I checked for there to be an argument there has to be two sides interacting. As I was telling you that my interaction with you was finsihed it follows that there was no possibility for an argument. Unless of course you were planning on arguing with yourself.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:51 AM on September 30, 2010


So time is circular.

No it's cubic. Some might even call it a four-sided timecube.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:51 AM on September 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


> I can quote what you sent me if you like

Go ahead, quote away.


Maybe just don't and argue amongst yourselves in private. Sheesh.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:53 AM on September 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


When you are commenting in a thread and you are the only person holding and/or commenting for your particular position one is then obligated to self moderate ones posting because we don't want 1 v metafilter? Isn't that an oblique form of censorship that can stifle debate?

1. Did you seriously just equate self moderation with censorship? seriously?

2. It's not a debate if you're the only one talking. Posting your links and comments over and over when no one is responding to them does not invite debate, it's...I don't know what it is, but it it's not helping you get what you want, i.e. debate, you just come off, IMO, as the internet equivalent of a crazy guy muttering to himself. Not that you are that, but that's how it appears and nobody really wants to talk to that guy.
posted by nomadicink at 11:57 AM on September 30, 2010


Jessamyn, how do the policies you and Cortex just iterated in the last few comments *not* encourage an echo chamber effect?
posted by entropicamericana at 11:58 AM on September 30, 2010 [4 favorites]


1. Did you seriously just equate self moderation with censorship? seriously?

Did you miss the word "obligated" in there?
posted by Sys Rq at 11:58 AM on September 30, 2010


Thank you, jessamyn and cortex, for clarifying. Basically what you're saying is: the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few...or the one. I can buy that.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:59 AM on September 30, 2010


Also, Jess, how do those policies not cause a wormhole to open in space?
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:00 PM on September 30, 2010 [4 favorites]


> Basically what you're saying is:

You do this a lot in the threads mentioned. It's not a tactic that will ever be fruitful for you.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:02 PM on September 30, 2010 [9 favorites]


Well, that's some passive aggressive bullshit, empath. You start a Metatalk thread, engage the guy to come in here and defend himself, make a point of telling him you aren't going to communicate further at all, and then toss in "have a nice day"?

Seconding this.

You created this MeTa callout, then when the subject of your complaint showed up to defend himself, you denied him the opportunity to do so? How shitty of you.
posted by zarq at 12:05 PM on September 30, 2010 [8 favorites]


I think you misunderstand. Basically, what AElfwine Evenstar is saying is Logic? My God, the man's talking about logic; we're talking about universal Armageddon! You green-blooded, inhuman...
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:05 PM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


You do this a lot in the threads mentioned. It's not a tactic that will ever be fruitful for you.

But that is basically what they were saying; that my own personal needs to feel validated, win an argument, or convince someone of an opinion in a particular thread are outweighed by the needs of the metafilter community to operate smoothly and harmoniously with as little bullshit as possible. As I said I can buy that. Hmmm seemed pretty fruitful there.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 12:12 PM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


empath loses the argument by default. Hey ho.
posted by unSane at 12:12 PM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


A strange game. The only winning move is not to play.
posted by enn at 12:14 PM on September 30, 2010 [8 favorites]


Yeah, the whole "have a nice day" bit when you're clearly at odds with the person you're saying it to is how jr. high girls fight -- the point, if I remember correctly, is to "kill them with kindness." Which, you know... isn't really even a thing.
posted by heyho at 12:19 PM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Jessamyn, how do the policies you and Cortex just iterated in the last few comments *not* encourage an echo chamber effect?

My take is that they wind up encouraging everyone to move more towards the center. I'm not totally psyched about that as an outcome but it's preferable to feeling that people with opposing viewpoints get shouted down constantly.

And honestly, we spend more of our moderation time trying to keep people from being assholes to people with opposing-but-not-belligerent viewpoints than we do trying to make a space for people with opposing-and-belligerent viewpoints to be comfortable. And we get more complaints that we are coddling unpopular-viewpoint-people which I guess makes sense from a strictly numbers perspective, but it's clear that many people would like this place to be much more of an echo chamber and we actively fight against that.

This is more apparent in the AskMe part of the site where basically anyone who can't be decent gets their comments deleted than MeFi where there's a lot of shit that goes under the bridge because people call each other assholes in the middle of the night which doesn't quite hit the threshhold for after the fact deletion but is still pretty lousy.

And certain things we're not as concerned about being more echo-chambery about. If you think this site is an echo chamber about marriage equality, for example, that's probably not a huge problem from our perspective. I mean the downside of echo chambers is that there's no critical thinking going on, goes the argument. But I also feel that some people will start saying that this site is an echo chamber for, I don't know, literacy, because in their minds there's an active debate about whether literacy is or is not a good thing when for most people this is not an open question.

And this gets tricker, of course, with our international population when in America we're taught that having a death penalty is something that reasonable people may disagree on and people from other countries are like "you have a fucking DEATH penalty, wut?" Same with gun control, same with health care, same with abortion rights, same with Israel. And instead of figuring out, say, what it must be like growing up in a country where the death penalty is seen as a way of managing crime, people just flip out about US imperialism and start pointing the finger at other people as being the beginning of the end of everything fuck you fuck you. And the same old tired "fuck you americans/texans/jews/men/women/parents for letting this happen on your watch" insults get trotted out and they're lazy arguments whether there is some kernel of truth in them or not.

So, to your original point, I feel that echo chamber is one of those loaded words that people tend to use when what they mean is that there is a group of people who have made up their minds on something and it's not made up the way THEY might prefer it. That said, the other aspects, where people literally can't hear other people talking or inhibit other people trying to have reasonable discussions, that's more or less against the rules and enforced here.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:20 PM on September 30, 2010 [7 favorites]


But that is basically what they were saying; that my own personal needs to feel validated, win an argument, or convince someone of an opinion in a particular thread are outweighed by the needs of the metafilter community to operate smoothly and harmoniously with as little bullshit as possible.

So you're saying basically that your own need to feel validated and win an argument are an effective way of communication and outweigh the needs of the community to have fewer pointlessly fighty threads, right?
posted by rtha at 12:24 PM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


(Yeah, I came back. I said I might, so there.)
posted by rtha at 12:24 PM on September 30, 2010


Jessamyn, how do the policies you and Cortex just iterated in the last few comments *not* encourage an echo chamber effect?

As much don't like it and agree that it has the tendency to "encourage and echo chamber effect" I guess that is just the price you pay for having a community. Obviously there will always be people who disagree but there will always be some amount of group think.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 12:28 PM on September 30, 2010


Jessamyn, how do the policies you and Cortex just iterated in the last few comments *not* encourage an echo chamber effect?

Echo chamber vs. discussion of differing - even opposing! - viewpoints. It's the difference between the following:

PRIMA: Apple products are great.
SEGUNDA: I don't know, I've never had much luck with them. I'm more of a Sansa Clip kind of guy.
PRIMA: Never had much luck? How so?
SEGUNDA: I am now enumerating my various misfortunes with Apple products.
PRIMA: Ah, I see. I am now enumerating all the things Apple products have done right in my personal experience.
SEGUNDA: How odd that our experiences with the same products should be so different! It's a funny world.
PRIMA: Yes.

(Exeunt.)

versus

PRIMA: Apple products are great.
SEGUNDA: Apple products are awful. I hate them. Everyone who owns an Apple product is subhuman filth who should be euthanized for the good of the species. If I were to discover my own mother in the possession of an iPod, I am certain that I would rend her asunder with my bare hands. Everthing I have just said is an irrefutable fact.
PRIMA: Actually, it is beyond impeccably true that each and every Apple product can and will cure cancer, psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis, housewife's knee, and most STDs. Your treasonous heart should be burnt in sacrifice to Steve Jobs (PBUH). And furthermore - oh fuck! A bear.

(Exit PRIMA, pursued by a bear.)
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 12:29 PM on September 30, 2010 [52 favorites]


(unless it's about Hipsters because then I take it personally)

I certainly feel the same way.
posted by josher71 at 12:30 PM on September 30, 2010


Did you miss the word "obligated" in there?

No, I saw it , just doesn't change the point.
posted by nomadicink at 12:44 PM on September 30, 2010


> Basically what you're saying is:

You do this a lot in the threads mentioned. It's not a tactic that will ever be fruitful for you.


It really can be good to say things like that, to make sure that you're understanding what the other person has said. I don't know if that's how AElfwine in specific uses those words, but more generally it can help.
posted by Jpfed at 12:46 PM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


When you are commenting in a thread and you are the only person holding and/or commenting for your particular position one is then obligated to self moderate ones posting because we don't want 1 v metafilter? Isn't that an oblique form of censorship that can stifle debate?

I did read cortex's and jessamyn's response to this (and other threads in the past complaining about "take all comers"), but I still don't get it. The supposed guideline against having a "take all comers" attitude sounds a lot like a euphemism for "If your opinion goes against the grain of the prevailing ideologies on Metafilter, don't be so open in expressing your views." After all, in what situation is one person likely to be on one side of a debate where multiple commenters are on the other side and everyone's interested in debating? When that person takes a position that's not popular on this website.

As jessamyn said, Metafilter isn't the government. But that doesn't mean there can't be censorship and/or pressure that stifles debate. The First Amendment applies only to government, but there are principles underlying it that do apply beyond the government.

Yes, there are many internet forums to choose from. But a lot of those forums have a big problem! They all have a tendency to be echo chambers. Some are liberal, some are conservative, some are another-ideology. The people who read the conservative sites feel, just as strongly as anyone here, that their views are resoundingly affirmed by being repeated so often and pithily and self-righteously in their online community. The problem is much more widespread than any one site. The less of this echo-chamber effect there is, the more hospitable the web will be for intellectually honest discussions. I actually think that matters a lot.
posted by John Cohen at 12:49 PM on September 30, 2010 [4 favorites]


Maybe folks could just chill?
I disagree strongly w/ Joe Beese on his Obama stuff and have noticed it start to monopolize certain political threads. In some recent threads I flipped out on some of the Obama haterade (not just Joe) and realized I was being a fool and told myself to chill. It worked, at least to the extent I have got away from the fuck you fucking fools schtick. Now I see Joe as a friendly challenge. I probably still annoy him and the other Obama haters, but I managed to turn my being a jerk button off, for the moment.
posted by angrycat at 12:55 PM on September 30, 2010


I still don't get it. The supposed guideline against having a "take all comers" attitude sounds a lot like a euphemism for "If your opinion goes against the grain of the prevailing ideologies on Metafilter, don't be so open in expressing your views." After all, in what situation is one person likely to be on one side of a debate where multiple commenters are on the other side and everyone's interested in debating?

There's a difference between having a debate and having a shit-storm. I've seen people express dissenting viewpoints without it turning into a massive pile-on. It might be more accurate to say that people shouldn't have a "poke all comers" attitude. If your statement about your differing viewpoint starts off as (or reads like) an attack, that's going to put everyone else on the defensive and then, pretty soon... SOMEONE IS WRONG ON THE INTERNET.
posted by sonika at 12:59 PM on September 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


he supposed guideline against having a "take all comers" attitude sounds a lot like a euphemism for "If your opinion goes against the grain of the prevailing ideologies on Metafilter, don't be so open in expressing your views."

It's a question of behavior. Chip-on-shoulderness rarely makes it easy to get along when discussing an unpopular opinion with somebody who doesn't share it, much less a group.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:02 PM on September 30, 2010


jabberjaw : Protip: you can pick your friends, and you can pick your nose, but you can't pick your friend's nose.

That's amateur talk if I ever heard it. Once you start getting paid for it, you find that you can pick your friends nose with very little difficulty. Now admittedly, the handcuffs you have to employ might mean that the term "friend" is ceasing to be completely accurate, but on the whole, it is a doable thing.
posted by quin at 1:12 PM on September 30, 2010



Basically what you're saying is:

You do this a lot in the threads mentioned. It's not a tactic that will ever be fruitful for you.

It really can be good to say things like that, to make sure that you're understanding what the other person has said. I don't know if that's how AElfwine in specific uses those words, but more generally it can help.


I know that I do exactly that when I want to piss my wife off by twisting a point she's making that I actually understand perfectly.
posted by Shohn at 1:16 PM on September 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


It's not about policies - it's about IDEAS and PHILOSOPHY.
posted by mr.marx at 1:20 PM on September 30, 2010


They kicked the orignal drummer out of the Misfits because he and his girfriend used to pick each other's noses and eat it.

So I guess sometimes you can pick your friend's nose, but you really shouldn't expect your other friends to put up with that shit.
posted by InfidelZombie at 1:21 PM on September 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


The supposed guideline against having a "take all comers" attitude sounds a lot like a euphemism for "If your opinion goes against the grain of the prevailing ideologies on Metafilter, don't be so open in expressing your views."

I understand that. But when we say that we actively do not want that, that we only want the most egregious chest-thumping fighty LOOKATME derails to wrap up, and that most of the time this is not, to us, a problem.

We are very specifically not telling anyone to not be so open in expressing their views. That is not a feeling we hold even in our secret hearts. We are saying that fighting with people about your views as if other people were not holding their own views as sincerely and reasonably as you hold yours is counterproductive. And being a jerk to other people tends to cause them, rightly or wrongly, to be a jerk right back. And if there is literally no way to express your views without being a jerk about them, then yes, we'd like you to keep them to yourself until such a time as you can interact with other people without being an asshole. That is our only proscription.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:29 PM on September 30, 2010 [7 favorites]


my own personal needs to feel validated, win an argument, or convince someone
What's this winning an argument bullshit. It's a discussion not Thunderdome. Grown ups discuss things, add insight and have different points you view.
As to "Have a Nice Day" its called leaving on a parting shot.
posted by adamvasco at 1:29 PM on September 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


Qtip: Do not insert into the ear canal.
posted by electroboy at 1:37 PM on September 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


Qtip

This is my favorite description of someone with grey hair.
posted by nomadicink at 1:41 PM on September 30, 2010


Also: Bust a deal, face the wheel.

Who run Metafilter Town?

posted by drezdn at 1:43 PM on September 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


To me, "Take all comers" is about 1 vs The Rest, where "vs" implies versus, as in battle of Shirts versus Skins instead of comparing choices of orange versus pear. In the battle, both teams are striving to win. In the comparison of choices, both have good qualities. Sure, there could be a logical and calm debate over the merits and demerits of different teams, but that's rare (amusingly, sports discussions seem pretty calm on MetaFilter, at least to this non-sporting guy), and there could be a throwdown battle of oranges being the superior fruit to pears, but it's unlikely.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:43 PM on September 30, 2010


I've certainly earned my having become a punchline on the subject. But I think I'm getting better at confining my abundantly documented feelings about the present administration to those threads where they belong.

But however much hostility I've earned, I don't believe that it justifies stalking/threadshitting stunts like this - which I'm still disappointed the mods didn't remove after I flagged it. Or delusional accusations that I demand people debate with me.

Seriously, nomadinick... I challenge you to link to a single example of my doing this. And if you can't, I trust you'll have the integrity to retract the claim.
posted by Joe Beese at 1:43 PM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Grown ups discuss things, add insight and have different points you view.

As to "Have a Nice Day" its called leaving on a parting shot.


So grown-up of him, too.
posted by zarq at 1:48 PM on September 30, 2010


My great-great grandfather was deported to Australia for something like this.

After being flamed one too many times at the smelter, he stormed out with a "That's it! I'm thieving this lead!"
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:00 PM on September 30, 2010 [7 favorites]


Joe, I respect your ideas and your ideals, I really do, even though I may have been an ass in some of those threads. I apologize for my assiness. But come on, man. Be true to your beliefs and ideals but I think the issue is that you seem determined in those threads to establish that you of are the pure light and the rest of us have blood on our hands.

Maybe, I'll work on my assiness and you can try to understand that the drumbeats of accusation get a bit tiresome, especially after you've said your piece many times in a thread?

I don't think that was threadstalking, either. It was somebody poking gentle fun. You might see it as an indicator that people identify you as one on a mission. It's a noble mission, even though I don't agree with you. But your zealous pursuit of your mission has caught the attention of a lot of folks. Hence the gentle ribbing.
posted by angrycat at 2:01 PM on September 30, 2010


My take is that they wind up encouraging everyone to move more towards the center.

that's as good a way to increase mediocrity as any

it may be the responsibility of individuals to make their unpopular points fairly and reasonably, but they are NOT responsible for the reactions of other people

the idea that someone should drop a discussion because other people can't behave themselves is a bad one

what we have here is a malfunction of the community, not a malfunction of one poster
posted by pyramid termite at 2:01 PM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


I dunno, Filthy; even without conceiving of it as a battle between the True and Good Shirts and the Stupid Wrong Skins, 1 vs. Everyone Else gets tiresome because it can pull an entire thread into one poster's pet issue -- and I say that as someone who has quietly bowed out of several threads (perhaps too late) because I felt myself doing this. It can shut down the community aspect by driving away everyone who doesn't want to deal with that pet issue and by pissing off the ones who do. The pet topic might be a good one to discuss, but after two comments, it can easily be taken to memail instead of needlessly narrowing the public conversation.
posted by Marty Marx at 2:07 PM on September 30, 2010


Basically what you're saying is:

If we really want to nerd out about that specific bit of phrasing, my take is that:

1. Restating your understanding of someone else's argument or clarification or whatever so that you can be clear on whether or not you understand what they're trying to convey can absolutely be a good and fruitful thing in any conversation where there's some sort of disagreement on terms or premises or worldviews, etc.

2. How you phrase that restatement matters, and "basically what you're saying is..." can come off as more putting words in someone's mouth or being glib or reductionist about their statement than would, say, "what I feel like you mean is..." or something similar where the person doing the restating is taking some care to be clear that they're offering their personal recapitulation of an idea for the sake of good faith conversation rather than trying to dismiss or uncharitably characterize someone else's position.

Which, I find touchy-feely counselingspeak a little annoying in large doses but that kind of thing is really useful for keeping conversations with oppositional elements in them from spinning out into hurt feelings and name-calling.

So I think it's totally possible for someone to be trying to restate an argument neutrally and yet come off as being kind of shitty or dismissive about it. And I also see people actually being sort of dismissive and shitty about their pithy restatements of other people's comments, and it sucks that that muddies the waters even more for people who aren't trying to be crappy about it and just choose their words poorly or have a blind spot about that sort of thing. But we live in an imperfect reality where every participant in a conversation kind of needs to be aware of this stuff and, if they care about not being misunderstood, needs to put some thought into how they present their side of an argument.

The supposed guideline against having a "take all comers" attitude sounds a lot like a euphemism for "If your opinion goes against the grain of the prevailing ideologies on Metafilter, don't be so open in expressing your views." After all, in what situation is one person likely to be on one side of a debate where multiple commenters are on the other side and everyone's interested in debating? When that person takes a position that's not popular on this website.

It's not a euphemism, it's general practical advice. It sucks a bit that by sheer power of numbers it puts a little extra onus on people who are in a political or ideological minority on some touchy subject, but practically speaking there's no magic button to make that sort of thing go away short of banning discussion of anything with a political or ideological component. The part of me that wants Metafilter to be only what I personally enjoy would actually kind of like to press that button a lot of the time, frankly, but it doesn't work that way.

But, again: it's not "don't be open about your views". It's "please don't get into trench warfare situations about your pet topics." I deeply, deeply value the explication of a wide variety of worldviews and opinions and life experiences here; when it goes well it's one of my favorite things about the site. But when it goes badly, it's often really bad. And that's down to behavior on both sides of an ugly dynamic; it may be slightly unjust that it's easier for the unpopular opinioneer to get piled on than the other way around, but we're not going to get perfect justice around here and so we basically need to ask everyone to keep their common sense about them and recognize when they're entrenching and cut it out.

But however much hostility I've earned, I don't believe that it justifies stalking/threadshitting stunts like this - which I'm still disappointed the mods didn't remove after I flagged it.

Unfortunately, you were the only one who flagged it and that was a pretty busy day in modland. I agree that that's dumbass bullshit that people shouldn't pull. If you see something that hasn't gotten a response and you really think it should (either us taking action or explaining why we haven't) your best bet is to write to us to be sure we know about it, not randomly bring it up in public with the implication that we actively approved of it or something.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:11 PM on September 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


I don't think that was threadstalking, either. It was somebody poking gentle fun.

Well, I suppose only the commenter could tell us how gentle they meant to be. But I see a huge difference between ribbing my predictability in a political thread where I have in fact already mentioned Obama and marring (to my mind) a light-hearted thread about an old movie.

I've seen people carry grudges like that towards st. alia of the bunnies and my recollection is that the mods disapprove.
posted by Joe Beese at 2:12 PM on September 30, 2010


okay, and cortex agrees, so i concede the point, Joe
posted by angrycat at 2:15 PM on September 30, 2010




After being flamed one too many times at the smelter, he stormed out with a "That's it! I'm thieving this lead!"

You should simultaneously be proud and ashamed of yourself.
posted by electroboy at 2:22 PM on September 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm still disappointed the mods didn't remove after I flagged it.

I just deleted it. Win.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:26 PM on September 30, 2010


It winds up with them doing the "provide links and prove me" thing, when it's clear they're underlying views have already been shaped and set in stone, so any links you provide or arguments you present are ignored. It's fine, of course, if they have their views and don't want to change them, but please don't repeatedly show in threads demanding to be convinced when there's no way to convince you.

Imagine if people simply just didn't reply if they felt they were being baited into an unwelcome one-sided argument.

Oh, I take that back, clearly it would cause Metafilter to be swallowed by an apocalypse.

(Ooh, or maybe we perversely like it.)
posted by desuetude at 2:32 PM on September 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


Not that it matters so much but why wasn't this meta linked to in the referenced thread? I thought that it was common practice that when calling someone out you link to it in the originating thread. No one needs to be all smart ass and go link it. I am just curious what the actual etiquette is on that; for future reference.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 2:33 PM on September 30, 2010


I'm still disappointed the mods didn't send me cookies for my birthday.

AGAIN.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 2:34 PM on September 30, 2010


I'm still disappointed the mods didn't send me cookies for my birthday.

have you checked your browser cache?
posted by pyramid termite at 2:35 PM on September 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


I am just curious what the actual etiquette is on that; for future reference.

It's a good idea, people don't always do it. There are many things that could have gone better about this MeTa.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:36 PM on September 30, 2010


Who run Metafilter Town?

Surely if MetaFilter has a town, it would be called Martyr Town.
posted by adamdschneider at 2:45 PM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Forget it, Adam. It's Metatown.
posted by Zed at 2:47 PM on September 30, 2010


em>There are many things that could have gone better about this MeTa.

What was wrong with this meta? I thought that not only was it highly entertaining to watch empath get his shitty call out shot down; it also gave you, the mods, a chance to clarify an important point of etiquette. I really didn't agree with you on at the beginning of the thread, but you and cortex convinced me of your argument. You may think that I'm being patronizing, but I can only assure you that for the first time in my posting history here on the blue someone convinced me of something and made me change my initial position.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 2:55 PM on September 30, 2010


But however much hostility I've earned, I don't believe that it justifies stalking/threadshitting stunts like this - which I'm still disappointed the mods didn't remove after I flagged it. Or delusional accusations that I demand people debate with me.

Seriously, nomadinick... I challenge you to link to a single example of my doing this. And if you can't, I trust you'll have the integrity to retract the claim.


A quick look doesn't shows you haven't done this. Am I mistaken that this has occurred at various points in the arguments between you and Ironmouth? I was thinking there were harsher comments than this around, the sort of thing where you're demanding he or someone prove you wrong about the implications of the health care bill or some such.
posted by nomadicink at 2:55 PM on September 30, 2010


> here on the blue

THIS... IS... THE GRAY!!

> A quick look doesn't shows you haven't done this.

what
posted by languagehat at 3:00 PM on September 30, 2010


But I think I'm getting better at confining my abundantly documented feelings about the present administration to those threads where they belong.

I still don't understand why this thread, a pretty nice little LOLGOP thread about a shitty powerpoint presentation with unlabeled pie charts, turned into a 400+ comment thread about, once again, Obama and Anwar Awlaki. You say that you are confining your feelings to those threads where they belong, but I don't think that every thread that mentions Barack Obama requires 'he broke his promise on the public option' and 'invokes state secrets privilege to issue kill orders on US citizens.' I've asked you about this before, and you told me that 'We disagree on its relatedness.'

I'd just like you to reconsider.
posted by shakespeherian at 3:09 PM on September 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


I demand people debate with me.

Seriously, nomadinick... I challenge you to link to a single example of my doing this. And if you can't, I trust you'll have the integrity to retract the claim.


Well ... this is sort of an example.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:20 PM on September 30, 2010 [13 favorites]


Usually it starts with mefites saying LOLGOP how stupid they are and not only are they stupid but they are dangerous, a threat to America. Someone, usually Joe but recently myself, points out that your double standards are fucked. It then spirals out of control from there as we give concrete examples and pro-Obama/Democrat mefites respond with failpoasts and specious logic and in some cases false information. Finally when confronted with the option of either engaging in an honest debate and analyzing their own internal inconsistencies a small segment of the posters then descend into frothing madness raving about comic book heroes and such. Quite entertaining actually. This is one of those threads where I should have quit earlier.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 3:25 PM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


While it is interesting to hear a summary of how these threads go from the other side, I question that your version is one that would be understood as being accurate by an disinterested outside observer.

It is discouraging that you dismiss the reams of responses, most made in earnest and carefully thought-out, as being "failpoasts and specious logic and in some cases false information." The suggests to me that you are not engaging in this sort of thing with any more openness to disagreement than you accuse others of doing. So, yes, leaving threads earlier might not be a bad option.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:29 PM on September 30, 2010 [9 favorites]


It then spirals out of control from there as we give concrete examples and pro-Obama/Democrat mefites respond with failpoasts and specious logic and in some cases false information.

If anybody on either side of an issue honestly thinks they are giving "concrete examples" and the other is giving "failpoasts"(sic), "specious logic" and "false information", then they are not involved in an adult discussion and they should do everyone a favor and remove themselves from the thread.
An honest debater will at least see some merit in the other side's argument even if they disagree with it.
posted by rocket88 at 3:34 PM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


....on non-preview...what AZ said.
posted by rocket88 at 3:35 PM on September 30, 2010


This is one of those threads where I should have quit earlier.

Now is not too late.

I do not really see your latest comment as getting closer to some sort of useful interaction with the people who are having a hard time interacting with you. If anything, it's making empath's callout seem more well-founded, not less.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:40 PM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Usually it starts with mefites saying LOLGOP...

Note that the number of people who obnoxiously engage in this sort of thing—and the number of people who volley back obnoxiously from the other side—is a lot smaller than the number of people being generally civil about it (to say nothing of those avoiding the threads altogether because both kinds of obnoxiousness and the dynamic they create when they inevitably collide).

So we get a handful of people being prats mostly, apparently, for their own self-satisfaction, and making those threads crappier for everyone else. As a mod, it's more the everyone else group that I'm worried about than the few righteous torchbearers on either side of any political debate. We keep talking to those few people, and some of them make progress and I appreciate the effort involved there but there's a lot of not-making-progress and a lot of falling back into old habits and it's honestly frustrating as hell to constantly be dealing with that sort of thing.

So, this:

Quite entertaining actually.

Is one of those things where, if that's how you're feeling about political/ideological scraps on mefi, I'd really strongly suggest you spend some time reconsidering your approach to the site. It's precisely the I'm-here-for-the-arguments-and-lulz crap that leads to most of the shitty stuff we have to deal with in these contexts. There are, absolutely, other places on the internet much more embracing of that particular kind of sport, and it'd be nice if people could go find them and leave metafilter out of it so the rest of us don't have to constantly be bombarded by (and a few of us constantly clean up after) that kind of sophomoric bullshit.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:42 PM on September 30, 2010 [14 favorites]


Quite entertaining actually.

i thought you were trying to debate people not entertain yourself - maybe i shouldn't be so quick to defend you next time

This is one of those threads where I should have quit earlier.

and you're saying this kind of thing way too much - the world is not going to stop and catch its breath while you decide if you're going to quit a thread

i still think that we should be more careful in how we deal with minority viewpoints - but you're enjoying this more than you should
posted by pyramid termite at 3:58 PM on September 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


oh, yeah, I'M LEAVING!!!!!!!
posted by pyramid termite at 4:00 PM on September 30, 2010


wait - has anyone seen my car keys?
posted by pyramid termite at 4:00 PM on September 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


Well ... this is sort of an example.

You don't see the difference between "Disprove my statement" and "Prove your accusation"? Really?

I still don't understand why this thread, a pretty nice little LOLGOP thread about a shitty powerpoint presentation with unlabeled pie charts, turned into a 400+ comment thread about, once again, Obama and Anwar Awlaki.

Well, let's review my comments in that thread...

1. I agree with someone's criticism of the GOP by quoting thirtysomething.

2. I say the election will hinge on the economy rather than the LOLGOP under discussion.

3. I mock someone's confidence that Al Gore wouldn't have invaded Iraq.

4. I rise to the bait of someone saying Nader cost Gore the election.

5. I quote Solzhenitsyn by way of saying I suck.

6. I rise to the bait of Ironmouth saying that we thought Obama was lying about escalating in Afghanistan by saying that he was lying about other things.

My first mention of Obama - three hours and almost 100 comments into the thread. Ironmouth rises to his champion's defense and then we're off to the races.

Now if you want to summarize that as "Beese derails about Obama again", that's your privilege. But I don't see it that way.
posted by Joe Beese at 4:06 PM on September 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


It then spirals out of control from there as we give concrete examples and pro-Obama/Democrat mefites respond with failpoasts and specious logic and in some cases false information.

This last part is quite true, unfortunately. I lost count how many times Ironmouth kept repeating the same easily falsified lie over and over, while the mob kept cheering him on. So it goes.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:10 PM on September 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


I do think "mock" is a bad way to go in Metafilterland. Your mileage definitely varies.
posted by josher71 at 4:16 PM on September 30, 2010


It's adorable the way you guys are favoriting each other.
posted by found missing at 4:16 PM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


erm mob?
there was like me and ironmouth and a few other folks
you're describing it as if it was some sort of lions in the coliseum deal, when i saw it as:

obama sucks. he's a liar and has subverted due process to kill a guy
me and a few others: wait a minute, there's some issues going on here that make it more nuanced

repeat, repeat, repeat

and then -- i don't think it was joe, but a buncha others were saying:

yeah obama sucks and i'm not going to vote

me and a few others: don't do that. please don't do that. not a good strategy to achieve your goals

i don't know if the easily falsified lie is a reference to Nader, but I still, I swear to god, do not understand the arguments that the Nader votes in Florida had no bearing on the outcome of the election

hence, (if I'm understanding Blazecock correctly) those of us who were like Nader! 2000! Watch out! Are not crafting a crazy scheme of falsehoods. Speaking from myself, I'm coming from a totally sincere place.
posted by angrycat at 4:17 PM on September 30, 2010


(although I didn't realize Joe quoted Solzhenitsyn. makes me like Joe more, for reals, although I still disagree with Joe's Obama-related opinions)
posted by angrycat at 4:19 PM on September 30, 2010


Well, let's review my comments in that thread...


It's funny how you're like "here are my comments. Look I only mentioned Obama in the sixth one," while conveniently neglecting your subsequent twelve comments which were all about Obama. I mean, come on-- there's arguing in bad faith, and then there's arguing in bad faith.

I didn't realize Joe quoted Solzhenitsyn. makes me like Joe more

Yeah, but the +10 points for referencing Solzhenitsyn is more than canceled out by the minus eleventy billion for referencing thirtysomething.
posted by dersins at 4:27 PM on September 30, 2010 [5 favorites]


It's funny how you're like "here are my comments. Look I only mentioned Obama in the sixth one," while conveniently neglecting your subsequent twelve comments which were all about Obama.

Sorry if it wasn't clear that "off to the races" was referring to Ironmouth and I clashing like titans over Obama for much of the rest of the 400 comments in the thread.

I wasn't arguing - in any kind of faith - that I wasn't a major participant in the mother of all Obama derails that followed. I was arguing that "Beese ruins another thread by bringing up Obama" is not my version of what happened.
posted by Joe Beese at 4:42 PM on September 30, 2010


My first mention of Obama - three hours and almost 100 comments into the thread.

Your first mention of Obama was your third comment, an hour into the thread.
posted by shakespeherian at 4:53 PM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


The supposed guideline against having a "take all comers" attitude sounds a lot like a euphemism for "If your opinion goes against the grain of the prevailing ideologies on Metafilter, don't be so open in expressing your views."

I guess because I'm a freak, I've been the lone voice of various points-of-view on lots of forums over the years. I haven't always comported myself well, but I've learned that IS possible to be the one cat in the dog pound without hissing and baring your claws.

First, you have to take the high road. Surely you KNOW what you're getting into. You know the generally attitudes here. You know people aren't going to agree with you or even like what you have to say. You know some people are probably going to attack you in a personal way. That's not fair, but you know it's going to happen.

You are NOT allowed to retaliate. You are, of course, allowed to make your case, but if you start making personal remarks, you are worse then whoever make them to you. Because you knew what you were getting into. The "Star Trek" fan at the "Star Trek" convention DIDN'T know he was going to meet a "Star Trek" hater. Which doesn't excuse him for acting like an ass, but if he doesn't have an excuse, you DEFINITELY don't have one. If you can't handle that heat, stay out of the kitchen.

Yes, that means if 100 people are calling you an asshole, you don't get to call them assholes back. That's what "taking the high road means." It's tough to do. So, knowing that may happen when you enter the room, don't go in unless you're prepared to conduct yourself honorably.

Next, make your points, make them well, and DON'T repeat them. Metafilter doesn't work like a real-life conversation. Your posts don't vanish into the past, like verbal utterances do. They are still on the page. So if you explain why the color green sucks once, and people don't understand (or pretend to not understand), don't post the same explanation (slightly reworded) all over again.

Make your point. If someone questions part of it, by all means respond (politely). If someone misunderstands it, you get ONE post to correct their misunderstanding. If they still don't understand it (or pretend not to) after you've clarified, don't beat the dead horse. If the game is getting that one person to understand, you've lost. Move on.

And if person-after-person misunderstands (which maybe means you weren't so clear to begin with -- or perhaps you're just up against a general prejudice or cognitive bias), count them all as one person. Clarify to them ONCE. Then stop.

Of course, if you have a new point to make, make it. That's fair. But no endless rehashes. No "is-so-is-not" schoolyard battles.

Consider this: you will never convince the die-hard, entrenched people folks who are opposing you. Never. So stop trying. As for the others, the ones with open minds: you risk losing them by hammering your point over and over and over. And you will definitely lose some of them if you behave like an ass (even if someone else assed you first).

If 300 people claim that Triceratops is the best dinosaur and you make the one cogent argument in favor of Stegosaurus, fence sitters like me will hear you (if you make your point calmly and well, without sarcasm), even though your post is one amongst hundreds -- BECAUSE your post is one amongst hundreds.

If you post the same thing twice, we will hear you less. If you post the same thing (or variations of it) 30 times, you will turn into a whining gnat in our minds. If you fight with each person who disagrees with you, you will seem like a crank. If you get belligerent, we won't even remember your point; we'll just remember you're an asshole who doesn't have the character to quietly make your case.

The sad thing is that your one post may not get much OBVIOUS attention. You'll be tempted to jump up and down and say, "Did you hear me? Should I repeat myself? Don't you get it? Why don't you UNDERSTAND?" But we HEAR you. At least, the people who have any chance of EVER hearing you hear you. Is it worth losing us -- the people who might be swayed by your argument -- to lock horns with the people who are never going to agree with you?

As SOON as you fight, you lose -- if you care at all about your point. You lose because fights are louder than points. When fighting (as opposed to discussing) happens, people start watching a boxing match instead of listening to logic. People get defensive or they grab popcorn and look to be entertained. Unless your goal is to be an entertainer, you have lost. If everyone is calling you an asshole and you're the one polite, calm, logical person, you are WAY ahead of the game.

This is SO hard to keep up when it's you against the world. But you KNEW how it would be. Don't enter Thunderdome if you're a wuss.

These are PROTIPS for me as well as for anyone else -- maybe especially for me. I keep a list of tips for myself on my profile. Whenever I'm tempted to spew some bile, I check it.
posted by grumblebee at 4:57 PM on September 30, 2010 [27 favorites]


Your first mention of Obama was your third comment, an hour into the thread

Well, it was in the service of pointing out why you can't say that about Gore. But yeah, I missed that and it counts.

But it got nicely favorited, so people seemed to have taken it in stride. Then I moved on to Nader and Solzhenitsyn. Then Ironmouth.

I don't see what else changes.
posted by Joe Beese at 5:06 PM on September 30, 2010


I can only assure you that for the first time in my posting history here on the blue someone convinced me of something and made me change my initial position.

I can't say I'm surprised, but nevertheless an unfortunate fact, and one that I think highlights a somewhat mistaken approach to both metafilter, the function of threads and comments, and indeed the fine art of discourse itself.
posted by smoke at 5:10 PM on September 30, 2010


My god, you're right!
posted by found missing at 5:11 PM on September 30, 2010


That's some good advice in your profile, grumblebee. Minor correction: I think you meant "violating my principles", not "violating my principals".
posted by zamboni at 5:25 PM on September 30, 2010


I don't see what else changes.

Well you'll notice that twice in your list of six comments you describe your actions as rising to the bait of something or other. I think the problem may just be that the relatively minority opinion you share on e.g. Obama means that there is a lot of bait for you to rise to, and a degree of self-awareness w/r/t this dynamic would go a long way towards quelling derails like this. You mentioned St. Alia earlier-- she holds a relatively minority opinion about several things around Metafilter; can you imagine what would happen if she rose to the bait every time she saw someone proclaiming something that she strongly disagrees with in an otherwise unrelated thread?

My point isn't that you or Alia shouldn't have your opinions or that you shouldn't voice them; my point also isn't that the majority should have free reign with their views while the minority should suffer in silence. My point is just that this place may be better served if you elected to pick your battles, not on topics, but on where those topics are discussed.
posted by shakespeherian at 5:31 PM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


That's some good advice in your profile, grumblebee. Minor correction: I think you meant "violating my principles", not "violating my principals".

You never know with me. Check my permanent record from my elementary-school days if you don't know what I'm talking about.
posted by grumblebee at 5:32 PM on September 30, 2010 [5 favorites]


You mentioned St. Alia earlier-- she holds a relatively minority opinion about several things around Metafilter; can you imagine what would happen if she rose to the bait every time she saw someone proclaiming something that she strongly disagrees with in an otherwise unrelated thread?

Persuasively argued.
posted by Joe Beese at 6:08 PM on September 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


the more things change, the more they stay the same....
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:28 PM on September 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


Is one of those things where, if that's how you're feeling about political/ideological scraps on mefi, I'd really strongly suggest you spend some time reconsidering your approach to the site.

I was referring to the comic book derails...I guess I should have been more clear.

I do not really see your latest comment as getting closer to some sort of useful interaction with the people who are having a hard time interacting with you.

Jessamyn I don't have a problem interacting with people who make logical arguments and critique mine in an honest and straightforward way. If you want to have an honest debate no problem. The thread shakespeherian linked to is a perfect example of the way the "people who are having a hard time interacting with" comport themselves. As Blazecock has noted their arguments were not in good faith. They were full of shit and they knew it. One person also kept repeating a lie several times after being clearly shown it was a lie. Basically they were in the thread to shout down Joe Beese, Blazecock, and myself. Fuck that. If someone is acting in bad faith fuck them. As you and cortex have noted and convinced me of is that there is a place for self regulation when you get to that place in a thread where it is you vs. metafilter. In the future I will try to be more sensitive to this dynamic in the future. I think that will get me closer to useful interaction with the "people who are having a hard time interacting with".
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 6:32 PM on September 30, 2010


Amen!
posted by nomadicink at 6:33 PM on September 30, 2010


but on where those topics are discussed.

So who decides that?

I can't say I'm surprised, but nevertheless an unfortunate fact, and one that I think highlights a somewhat mistaken approach to both metafilter, the function of threads and comments, and indeed the fine art of discourse itself.

I have been persuaded many times by reading metafilter. I was referring to the posting and participating in threads part.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 6:35 PM on September 30, 2010


I just realized that these reactions are an overcompensation for Nadar-guilt.
posted by found missing at 6:46 PM on September 30, 2010


That amen was in reponse to Alia.
posted by nomadicink at 6:49 PM on September 30, 2010


One reason I find the Nader discussion frustrating is that, if posited that Nader was an element in the Bush years, there's a handful of people who start yelling, you lie! I mean, it's not like, here's where you are wrong (okay, some people will mention other factors in the election they view as more relevant) but it seems to be a chorus of you lie!

I still don't understand why folks think that Nader wasn't a factor, and I'm curious about why they believe this view, and, given they're fellow leftists, I would like to engage with them. But when it's LIE LIE LIE I'm like damn man you sound like my mother when she's wrong about something but instead of dealing with it rationally, it's this ever-hysterical spiral to badness and I have flashbacks to my troubled childhood and shit.
posted by angrycat at 6:57 PM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's called Nadar denial, and it is a coping mechanism for Nadar guilt. I can't be wrong, therefore you are lying.
posted by found missing at 7:00 PM on September 30, 2010


No reason to feel guilty about Nadar, found missing.
posted by cgc373 at 7:00 PM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


oh crap
posted by found missing at 7:01 PM on September 30, 2010


Dammit, I spend five minutes trying to decide whether Nadar/gaydar or Nadar/nadir is the better gag, and for what? Dust in the wind, man.
posted by box at 7:03 PM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


does this mean my write in ballot didn't count?
posted by found missing at 7:04 PM on September 30, 2010


I would always copyedit "pro tip" to be two words.
posted by Miko at 7:06 PM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


It means you might accidentally have voted for a nineteenth-century French Bohemian photographer/balloonist. Hélas!
posted by cgc373 at 7:06 PM on September 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


Finally when confronted with the option of either engaging in an honest debate and analyzing their own internal inconsistencies a small segment of the posters then descend into frothing madness raving about comic book heroes and such...

This. This putting of yourself and your views on the side of all that is right and good, that is what is making you increasingly frustrating to deal with, to the point where it just doesn't feel worth it. It doesn't feel fun, or interesting. Like I said before, it feels you like talking to the crazy man down the street with the sign, the one who hasn't bathed and mutters about the government coming for him.

So yeah, superhero comics do sound more interesting to talk and I generally dislike them.

Hell, sometimes I wonder whether you're just trolling, because not even comic book villains are so full of themselves (ok, maybe Kraven). Seriously, who 'confronts people with options' as if they're weighing the person's worth as a human being?
posted by nomadicink at 7:14 PM on September 30, 2010


Seriously, who 'confronts people with options' as if they're weighing the person's worth as a human being?

Dr. Gregory House?
posted by cgc373 at 7:16 PM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


That Jigsaw guy from the Saw movies?
posted by cgc373 at 7:21 PM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Bridgekeeper in Monty Python and the Holy Grail?
posted by found missing at 7:25 PM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


The nazi in Sophie's Choice?
posted by found missing at 7:26 PM on September 30, 2010


Morpheus?
posted by found missing at 7:27 PM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Christopher Nolan and Heath Ledger's Joker?
posted by cgc373 at 7:30 PM on September 30, 2010


If 300 people claim that Triceratops is the best dinosaur and you make the one cogent argument in favor of Stegosaurus

If it's true that Triceratops never existed, we will discard its 300 votes and award the thread to Stegosaurus.
posted by lukemeister at 7:36 PM on September 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


nomadicink I think you need to go on Oprah or Montel or somewhere and let it all out. I can assure you that I am not weighing any souls and I don't think that I am "on the side of all that is right and good". I just happen to like debating. But I quite like the comic book ravings. I was going to join in but I couldn't find the right picture on google search so I decided not to participate. Maybe you can help. Remember the time Superman punched the Hulk to the moon? Or was it the other way around? It was from the mid 90's in the DC vs. Marvel crossover. Anyways I can find anything from it so instead i submit the following
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 7:54 PM on September 30, 2010


I just happen to like debating.

This is the problem.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 7:55 PM on September 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


Fuck that. If someone is acting in bad faith fuck them.

Nope. If someone is acting in bad faith, flag it and move on. Ignore them. Proceed with your day. Send us an email if it's complicated and needs attention.

There is no trigger point at which crappy behavior suddenly becomes okay because someone else was doing it too. Arguably the key thing with how this fighty bullshit gets perpetuated is that people on both sides of an argument or position tend to defend their crappy behavior on the grounds that e.g. The Other Guy Sucks.

We see this shit from every imaginable angle, often from both sides of a given conflict at the same time, and I assure you that basically everybody is capable of sucking, is capable of being part of the problem, and is maddeningly able to refuse to seriously consider that they're contributing to the bad part of whatever's going on and need to take responsibility for improving their own behavior regardless of what the other guy is doing.

When it gets down to "fuck that" as an excuse for acting out, you've already lost the plot. We have ongoing shitty interactions between people in no small part because they each believe for some reason that "fuck that" is anything like an okay way to proceed.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:05 PM on September 30, 2010 [4 favorites]


Dr. Gregory House?

It's not Lupus. But it could be congenital trolling. Get Foreman to run some tests.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:08 PM on September 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


This is the problem.

No, seriously, it isn't. Debating for its own sake is an incredibly healthy activity.
posted by unSane at 8:13 PM on September 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


"That's a lie. I memailed you to let you know that I wasn't going to be responding to any more of your comments because I find them to be borderline baitfodder with no substantive content. I would have done that in thread but I decided not to thread shit as I found after rereading a previous thread that my responses to you could be seen as thread shitting as I wasn't responding to anything substantive as you comments, in my experience, lack substance."

The fuck has an memail/email like this ever done for good? It's fucking childish nonsense to send someone an email that you won't be responding to them in the future; it's like, good for you, fucko, but why didn't you just not respond already? The fuck do you want me to do? Acknowledge your rhetorical superiority? It's petulant, passive-aggressive bullshit.

And I gotta say, much as I have love for Jessamyn's good heart, but there are plenty of times when people acting like assholes need to be told they're acting like assholes and to knock it the fuck off. MetaFilter's better with that honesty built in than it is restraining it purely in the interest of pretentious faux civility.
posted by klangklangston at 8:14 PM on September 30, 2010 [4 favorites]


I like the faux civility.
posted by josher71 at 8:17 PM on September 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


"The thread shakespeherian linked to is a perfect example of the way the "people who are having a hard time interacting with" comport themselves. As Blazecock has noted their arguments were not in good faith. They were full of shit and they knew it. One person also kept repeating a lie several times after being clearly shown it was a lie."

Except that it wasn't clearly a lie except to you, Beese and Blazecock. So, no, he wasn't full of shit—you're a poor judge of shitfulness. Other folks simply didn't engage as much as Ironmouth because they realize that it's fucking tedious, like getting drawn into a debate with one of hte LaRouschites.
posted by klangklangston at 8:18 PM on September 30, 2010


One reason I find the Nader discussion frustrating is that, if posited that Nader was an element in the Bush years, there's a handful of people who start yelling, you lie!

it's because 40% of the populace don't even bother to vote - you're bent over, trying to inspect the ground in front of you for a little gnat when a camel's running over you

that, and it's 10 year old scapegoating and sour grapes

if i ever make it to a nursing home, i do not want to be in there with people throwing spoonfuls of creamed corn at each other and reaching for one another's catheters because one of them voted for nader in 2000

get over it already
posted by pyramid termite at 8:21 PM on September 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


scapegoating and sour grapes

or, maybe it is just attribution. If you can except that, then we will have gotten over it.
posted by found missing at 8:28 PM on September 30, 2010


If you can except that, then we will have gotten over it.

back in 1973, i had a high school english teacher who liked to subject her students to comments about FDR, calling him "that man" and "the great white father", disparaging his effect upon our country

i thought it was quaint

you, sir, are in danger of becoming quaint, too
posted by pyramid termite at 8:43 PM on September 30, 2010


No, seriously, it isn't. Debating for its own sake is an incredibly healthy activity.

Having spent a lot of time with internationally-ranked high school debaters, I understand your position but I can't help point out that it also has its limits, as this thread and the circumstances that required it demonstrate. Ben Franklin said it well:
If you wish information and improvement form the knowledge of others, and yet at the same time express yourself as firmly fix'd in your present opinions, modest, sensible men who do not love disputation, will probably leave you undisturbed in the possession of your error. And by such a manner, you can seldom hope to recommend yourself in pleasing your hearers, or persuade those whose concurrence you desire.
Now this is not to say that debate, when kept to its own circumscribed domain, is not useful--indeed it is, and those debaters mentioned above have been among my best students, but they've all found (at least the smart ones) that to engage in meaningful discourse outside the bounds of the debate activity itself they've had to drop the debater's instinct and edge, and instead, do as Alexander Pope recommends (via Franklin):
Men should be taught as if you taught them not,
And things unknown propos'd as things forgot

Another great bit from that Franklin autobio:
There was another bookish lad in the town, John Collins by name, with whom I was intimately acquainted. We sometimes disputed, and very fond we were of argument, and very desirous of confuting one another, which disputatious turn, by the way, is apt to because a very bad habit, making people often extremely disagreeable in company by the contradiction that is necessary to bring it into practice; and thence, besides souring and spoiling the conversation, is productive of disgusts and perhaps enmities where you may have occasion for friendship. I had caught it by reading my father's books of dispute about religion. Persons of good sense, I have since observed, seldom fall into it, except lawyers, university men, and men of all sorts that have been bred at Edinburgh.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 8:54 PM on September 30, 2010 [6 favorites]


I don't come here to win -- I come here to learn things. The paradox is that when I learn things, I win.
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:04 PM on September 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'd argue that both support for Nader and not voting was a function of dissatisfaction with the party, and this dissatisfaction is being expressed these days too
posted by angrycat at 9:10 PM on September 30, 2010


> Debating for its own sake is an incredibly healthy activity.

Perhaps, but the constraints here are really ill-suited for proper "debating". I would think a better approach would be to come here to learn, share links and personal knowledge/experience, and have fun. Pushing a viewpoint or agenda is really tiresome. If something resembling a debate spontaneously occurs when there are genuine differences of opinion, then that's fine. But don't come here looking for an argument, please. This is what you'll get from that, mostly.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:22 PM on September 30, 2010


I have several times wondered when seeing reference to "dr House", is it in any way related to the Doctor House (ENT) who helped Alan Shepard (or Victor Poulis from a certain point of view [pdf]) return to spaceflight, becoming Commander for Apollo 14 (1971), despite suffering from Meniere's syndrome?
When the Gemini program started, he was scheduled again. Then ear trouble developed and Shepard was grounded. “The difficulty,” he says, “was termed Meniere’s syndrome — a form of dizziness. The problem is not considered very significant for an earthbound person, but it sure can finish you as a pilot. I convinced myself it would eventually work itself out. But it didn’t.
“Tom Stafford had told me about Dr. House, out in Los Angeles, who could perform an operation on this particular kind of inner ear trouble. At first it sounded a little risky but, in 1968, I finally decided on having it done.
“With NASA’s permission, I went out to California. In order to keep the whole business quiet, Dr. House and I agreed that I should check into the hospital under an assumed name. It was the doctor’s secretary who came up with it. So, as Victor Poulis, I had the operation and six months later my ear was fine.”
posted by infinite intimation at 9:24 PM on September 30, 2010


House is a medical take on Sherlock Holmes (Homes) (who was based on a doctor)
posted by empath at 9:25 PM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


I lost my appetite for debating in shark pools soon after high school, so I've avoided the numerous threads that talk about whether people should(n't) (have) vote(d) for Democrats/Obama/Nader. If anyone's still reading, here are some thoughts that these various discussions haven't made explicit (perhaps because they are just too obvious? I can't tell).

First Past the Post voting systems (as most US elections, including the U.S. presidential election, have, in a sense*) do not have the property of independence of irrelevant alternatives. So candidates beyond the second-runner can indeed spoil things for the leading two candidates, even if those candidates don't have a chance of winning. This isn't sour grapes; it's mathematics.

I would encourage everyone to consider the strategic ramifications of their vote before voting. Otherwise, you may not be effectively contributing to your goals. FPTP effectively gives you the power to choose among the two leading alternatives. You do indeed get to send a message with your vote, but that message only contains about one binary digit of information (which of the two front-runners do you prefer?). So make it count.

If this frustrates you (and it should), then I would encourage campaigning/voting in primaries (which gives you at least one more binary digit that you can send) or agitating in some way for alternative voting systems** that would allow for more viable candidates and parties (e.g. range or approval voting). Once the primaries are over, in a FPTP system, the consequences of a vote will only help decide between one of the two front-runners.

*The POTUS race is weird because it has the electoral college, but it doesn't rid us of the problem of irrelevant alternatives. For most states, the electoral college will go in its entirety to that state's front-runner (individual states are FPTP with voters as the unit of measure of approval) and the POTUS winner is the one with the most electoral votes (the POTUS race is FPTP with electors as the unit of measure of approval). So it's just two levels of FPTPness.

** Surely the major parties are aware of the threat that alternative voting systems pose, so a national-level implementation of any of them would be a long way off. But they have been implemented on the local level in a few different places. Getting them in place locally may help in those voting systems' eventual mainstreaming.
posted by Jpfed at 9:41 PM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Even if a vote for Nader was essentially a vote for Bush (or a half vote for Bush), it was a vote for Bush with a footnote saying: "I voted for Bush because you aren't liberal enough." So that's more than a bit of information.
posted by empath at 9:44 PM on September 30, 2010


Why does it matter who voted for whom in some past election? Who cares?
posted by crunchland at 9:46 PM on September 30, 2010


i'm not particularly invested in that debate, but the reason it keeps coming up is that people are saying they aren't going to vote for democrats because they are 'just as bad' as the republicans, which echos the arguments that Nader voters made in 2000.
posted by empath at 9:57 PM on September 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


empath writes "Even if a vote for Nader was essentially a vote for Bush (or a half vote for Bush), it was a vote for Bush with a footnote saying: 'I voted for Bush because you aren't liberal enough.' So that's more than a bit of information."

True that. Would McCain/Palin have been opposed by yet another white guy/white guy ticket if Nader hadn't "spoiled" the vote? Heck would McCain have choosen Palin it it weren't for Nader? Obviously a alot of what-if.

empath writes "House is a medical take on Sherlock Holmes (Homes) (who was based on a doctor)"

More specifically he's a TV doctor who constantly rules out lupus except for a single Parry Mason moment.
posted by Mitheral at 9:58 PM on September 30, 2010


Why does it matter who voted for whom in some past election? Who cares?
posted by crunchland at 11:46 PM on September 30 [+] [!]


It in itself does not matter, but the difference of opinion people have about past elections does matter, because if you change your opinion about how you should've voted, it might influence how you vote in the future.

If I saw that people's votes in the past had a different result than intended (for example, if I were conservative I might be upset at Ross Perot for spoiling George Bush I's second election bid), that might cause me to reconsider how I vote. Perhaps I'm going to think that preventing Clinton from reaching office would have been more important than "sending a message" in favor of Perot. So the next time someone analogous to Perot comes up- say, Bob Barr- I'm going to think "even though I like Barr more, it's more important to ensure that McCain wins over Obama than to send a message in favor of Barr".
posted by Jpfed at 10:09 PM on September 30, 2010


So, no, he wasn't full of shit—you're a poor judge of shitfulness.

For someone is isn't full of shit, he's changed his tune lately from "Obama never promised anything" to "he had to make compromises". In hindsight, we did an okay job of calling this one correctly.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:57 PM on September 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


I used to like to read political threads, but I find Joe Beese's schtick tiresome so I'm thinking of quitting.

Oh, you mean where he doesn't agree that Obama is The Chosen One. Yeah. Not really tiresome. It needs to be said more, and louder.
posted by IvoShandor at 11:17 PM on September 30, 2010


Ugh.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 11:44 PM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


With one caveat, of course, that's it's appropriate to the thread. Which for the most part, at least from what I've seen it has been. Beese, delmoi, b. pileon, these people have expressed opinions contrary to the Mefi consensus and it does seem they get bullied for it an awful lot.
posted by IvoShandor at 12:00 AM on October 1, 2010


AElfwine Evenstar: I just happen to like debating.

That's not the problem. I think the problem is that you don't seem to respect the people you're debating. So it often seems like you're not really engaging, you're not taking people's arguments and evidence seriously enough to even understand the points they're making.

Since people here usually put a lot of work into their comments, that can be immensely frustrating. I have in mind our argument about human CO2 emissions vs. volcanic activity, as well as your argument with koeselitz about the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

I'm not saying this to put you down. I'd encourage you to stick around and continue participating on MetaFilter, but I'd also ask you to try to take people's arguments seriously even if you disagree with them. Don't just dismiss them as stupid or illogical. A debate where the two sides are actually listening to each other is much more productive than a dialogue of the deaf.

Maybe you should try to get to a meetup, so you have a sense that there's real people behind the comments.
posted by russilwvong at 12:35 AM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


What I've seen are hobby horse cowboys tirelessly singing "This is the song that never ends…" in their loudest voice while most of the rest of a thread's participants are trying to talk about something else.

TITSTNE is thrilling only to Lambchop's four year-old groupies. Everyone else finds it tiresome.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:37 AM on October 1, 2010


these people have expressed opinions contrary to the Mefi consensus

I don't think 'consensus' means what you think it means. /pedant
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:38 AM on October 1, 2010


"Hello I Must Be Going"
posted by pianomover at 12:50 AM on October 1, 2010


I think I've said something like this before, but what I've never understood is why a culture of addressing the chair has never taken root. Especially someplace like this where there's an above average level of discourse to begin with. (Well, in serious issue threads. Monkeys riding pigs are another matter.) If every discussion on contentious issues devolves into a personal argument and from there into petty bickering what hope is there to make any progress on these issues?
posted by ob1quixote at 12:57 AM on October 1, 2010


Debating for its own sake is an incredibly healthy activity.

So is masturbation, but you have to can't do that in front of just anyone. Or rather you can, but you're going to develop an unpopular reputation.
posted by nomadicink at 3:36 AM on October 1, 2010


Hope, you say?
posted by h00py at 3:50 AM on October 1, 2010


ergh
posted by h00py at 3:54 AM on October 1, 2010


The global warming thread was a clusterfuck from all sides. If you actually take the time to read the thread people are either wilfully twisting what I was trying to say or just not reading. It wasn't until the end when it got to the debate about emisssions that actual debating took place which I enjoyed and was fruitful.

you're not taking people's arguments and evidence seriously enough to even understand the points they're making.

But I am glad that you can read my mind and know what I'm thinking.

The Pearl Harbor thread is also not a good example of me not taking people's arguments seriously. In the end I chose to quit posting because there isn't convincing people of some things and the Atomic Bombings are such an integral part of American identity that it is actually hard to get people to look at it from points of view other than the narratives constructed to justify it. I tend to view the bombings more in the context of the cold war but koeslitz claimed that was crazy and conspiracy theroy. I disagree. I actually read the book Koeslitz suggested. I also recently memailed him about the topic and suggested some books for him to read on the subject that I had read along with the one he suggested for me. I ultimately disagree with his argument, but I guess reading a book that is suggested by the person who you are arguing with isn't taking peoples arguments seriously.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 5:05 AM on October 1, 2010


But I understand the main thrust of your comment, russilwvong, and admit that I am not perfect and as I have said up thread there are things I need to work on as far as my interactions but I don't really think that a meta was necessary. Especially one framed as poorly as this one was.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 5:09 AM on October 1, 2010


WTF? So empath starts a meta calling me out and leaves. Then comes back to talk about House and Nader. Empath my friend I do not understand you at all.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 5:12 AM on October 1, 2010


i was actually just seeing it in recent activity and didn't realize it was the same thread, heh.
posted by empath at 5:18 AM on October 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


...the Atomic Bombings are such an integral part of American identity that it is actually hard to get people to look at it from points of view other than the narratives constructed to justify it.

This presupposes the idea that one should look at from other points of view.

Sorry, can't stop.
posted by nomadicink at 5:21 AM on October 1, 2010


If you actually take the time to read the thread

But I am glad that you can read my mind and know what I'm thinking

but I guess reading a book that is suggested by the person who you are arguing with isn't taking peoples arguments seriously


I think this is the sort of thing he's talking about.
posted by shakespeherian at 5:23 AM on October 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


But come—
Here, as before, never, so help you mercy,
How strange or odd some'er I bear myself—
As I perchance hereafter shall think meet
To put an antic disposition on—
That you, at such times seeing me, never shall,
With arms encumb'red thus, or this headshake,
Or by pronouncing of some doubtful phrase,
As "Well, well, we know," or "We could, and if we would,"
Or "If we list to speak," or "There be, and if they might,"
Or such ambiguous giving out, to note
That you know aught of me—this do swear,
So grace and mercy at your most need help you.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 5:35 AM on October 1, 2010


soooo -- you're only faking your love of debate?
or are you angry because your uncle killed your father?
not getting it
posted by angrycat at 6:44 AM on October 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


I like the faux civility.

Will the honorable gentleman from Baltimore admit that he's being an incredible douche?
posted by electroboy at 6:56 AM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Still having threadshitting comments removed, as of this morning, from what I can see (Al Jazeera thread). Deliberately obtuse is a counterproductive position, if you really are seeking to engage and sway people, which is what debate is. I think maybe you're unclear on the whole concept of conversation, and what it's for. In place of faux civility, perhaps you could try the earnest variety, Aelfwine. Your boorishness is at best distateful, and you're down in a hole, and still digging.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:05 AM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


or are you angry because your uncle killed your father?

SPOILER ALERT
posted by shakespeherian at 7:20 AM on October 1, 2010 [5 favorites]


AElFie, you should give the bard his 6 pence yea?
posted by clavdivs at 7:27 AM on October 1, 2010


PHLEBAS the Phoenician, a fortnight dead,
Forgot the cry of gulls, and the deep seas swell
And the profit and loss.
                 A current under sea
Picked his bones in whispers. As he rose and fell
He passed the stages of his age and youth
Entering the whirlpool.
                 Gentile or Jew
O you who turn the wheel and look to windward,
Consider Phlebas, who was once handsome and tall as you.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:35 AM on October 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Wait, I am? I like the civility, faux or otherwise. I think the civility here is mostly genuine but sometimes it is obviously difficult for the mods. I applaud them for it. Sorry, it seemed like a douchey comment.
posted by josher71 at 7:56 AM on October 1, 2010


The Pearl Harbor thread is also not a good example of me not taking people's arguments seriously. In the end I chose to quit posting because there isn't convincing people of some things and the Atomic Bombings are such an integral part of American identity that it is actually hard to get people to look at it from points of view other than the narratives constructed to justify it.

You know, I put a lot of thought into my responses on that thread, and I went and dug up sources, including a Japanese historian who disagrees with you. I have considered your point of view, and frankly I think that it is incorrect and not supported by the historical record. It has nothing to do with me being way invested into constructed historical narratives. Koeslitz also made some points as well -- none of these points were ever responded to in the thread.
posted by Comrade_robot at 8:00 AM on October 1, 2010


> Sorry, it seemed like a douchey comment.

I'm pretty sure that electroboy was just riffing and not actually calling you a douche.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:00 AM on October 1, 2010


Ah! Sigh. I hate it when I don't get the joke.
posted by josher71 at 8:02 AM on October 1, 2010


And I gotta say, much as I have love for Jessamyn's good heart, but there are plenty of times when people acting like assholes need to be told they're acting like assholes and to knock it the fuck off. MetaFilter's better with that honesty built in than it is restraining it purely in the interest of pretentious faux civility.

It's not necessarily about having a good heart. I can't speak for Jessamyn, but my heart is rotten to the core. And yet I agree with Jessamyn's approach. It is 100% about utility and 0% about kindness.

In my experience, publicly chastising people for acting like assholes rarely works. That wouldn't be a problem if it JUST didn't work. But it usually makes things worse. The asshole gets defensive and escalates his assholishness. Of course, it SOMETIMES works. A rare asshole will say, "Gee. You're right. I'm being an asshole. I'll stop." But my cost-benefit analysis tells me this it's not worth the risk, because more assholes will up the ante than will down it.

You may disagree with this. You may feel that, actually, publicly humiliating assholes is an effective way to stop them from being assholes. Fair enough. But I honestly believe my version of reality is true, and I'm tired of being characterized as some sort of bleeding heart. I have no interest in this turning into a hippy-dippy, touchy-feely site; I have an interest in doing whatever is most practical to minimize assholishness.

The best ways to do that are to (1) ignore the assholes (e.g. don't feel the trolls) or (2) inform a mod and let him/her deal with it privately, where the public-humiliation button doesn't add fuel to the fire.

Of course, this is all based on the goal of curbing assholishness as much as possible. If that's not your goal, then you definitely won't agree with me -- even IF you agree with me that public chastisement tends to lead to defensiveness. If, instead of stopping the assholishness, your goal is to give-as-good-as-you-get, publicly shame people, call people out or give people what they deserve, then ... carry on, I guess.
posted by grumblebee at 8:07 AM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, oops, I misattributed the original faux civility comment to Aelfwine, when it was Klang. I don't think I can honestly accuse AElfwine of faux civility. Also also, I am a faux douche.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:12 AM on October 1, 2010


Of course, this is all based on the goal of curbing assholishness as much as possible.

grumblebee represents my opinions fairly well. On the one hand, I dislike the whole "let a mod deal with it" aspect because I wish the community was slightly more self-regulating. On the other hand, we've been doing this a long time, usually have a light touch, and have enough remove from most arguments that if we tell people they're acting like jerks in a thread it's almost never because they're making us angry and more because they're breaking the site in some way. So people tend to listen and not just dig in and keep fighting.

Letting a hole website of grouchy and/or anxious irritable internet people decide that they should be able to be the arbiters of who deserves a verbal ass-whupping tends to not work so well.

And yeah I think of this a lot less as "good heartedness" and a lot more like "robot brain has decided this is the best course of action"
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:14 AM on October 1, 2010


My words fly up, my thoughts remain below: Words without thoughts never to heaven go.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 8:15 AM on October 1, 2010


so much depends
upon

a read comment
making

eyes glaze over
and

people peck like
chickens
posted by pyramid termite at 8:20 AM on October 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


Et, O ces voix d'enfants, chantant dans la coupole!

Twit twit twit
Jug jug jug jug jug jug
So rudely forc'd.
Tereu
posted by shakespeherian at 8:20 AM on October 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


You know, I put a lot of thought into my responses on that thread, and I went and dug up sources, including a Japanese historian who disagrees with you. I have considered your point of view, and frankly I think that it is incorrect and not supported by the historical record. It has nothing to do with me being way invested into constructed historical narratives. Koeslitz also made some points as well -- none of these points were ever responded to in the thread.

You know what I can dig up Japanese, American, and Russian historians that support my side of the argument. That's one of the reason the issue is so contentious.

As far as for me not responding to Koeselitz's later comments I was married on August 15 so starting around August 8 or 9 I was drunk until the day before the wedding. I then went on a honeymoon and have just recently within the last few weeks gotten settled into my new life. You can check my posting history and see that I went on a posting hiatus for around a month or so. When I came back to respond the thread had already been closed. I was kinda sad about that because I did want to respond.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 8:23 AM on October 1, 2010


On the one hand, I dislike the whole "let a mod deal with it" aspect because I wish the community was slightly more self-regulating.

I totally understand.

cortex explained what I think is the best course of action (as in most likely to curb assholishness): "If someone is acting in bad faith, flag it and move on. Ignore them. Proceed with your day. Send us an email if it's complicated and needs attention."

I think the best way the site can self-regulate is for people to ignore trolls and assholes, since they generally feed on attention.

But I don't think this is likely to happen.

Assholes won't stop being assholes because we publicly humiliate them.

People won't stop being assholes to assholes.

"Flag it and move on" is REALLY hard for people.
posted by grumblebee at 8:24 AM on October 1, 2010


Congrats on the marriage.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:24 AM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Thank you. My wife is actually a member of the site also. She doesn't have the same diarrhea of the mouth that I do, though.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 8:42 AM on October 1, 2010


"In my experience, publicly chastising people for acting like assholes rarely works. That wouldn't be a problem if it JUST didn't work. But it usually makes things worse. The asshole gets defensive and escalates his assholishness. Of course, it SOMETIMES works. A rare asshole will say, "Gee. You're right. I'm being an asshole. I'll stop." But my cost-benefit analysis tells me this it's not worth the risk, because more assholes will up the ante than will down it."

The reason why I disagree is that the times when I have been acting like an asshole and been called on it by someone here are the times that I learned how to stop acting like an asshole all the time.
posted by klangklangston at 8:44 AM on October 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


The reason why I disagree is that the times when I have been acting like an asshole and been called on it by someone here are the times that I learned how to stop acting like an asshole all the time.

I agree that it CAN work. But usually, it doesn't. Check out most threads here where people act like assholes. Generally, everyone piles on them. And it almost never makes them stop acting like assholes. Instead, they get even more aggressive and up the ante. This leads to the thread becoming useless (except as a three-ring circus) until a mod steps in.

Don't you see this happening more often than the asshole putting a lid on his behavior?

I have my own biases and blindspots, but what I'm saying, I'm also saying as someone who has been a teacher for twenty years (I've taught children and adults) and a theatre director, who as had to deal with diva-ish actors. My rate of success when ignoring assholes or having quiet words with them has been WAY greater than when I've confronted them in-front-of the group (or let the group use vigilante justice). But I agree with you that the group thing SOMETIMES works. It's just that more-often-than-not, it makes things worse.
posted by grumblebee at 8:50 AM on October 1, 2010


Metafilter : a hole website
posted by crunchland at 8:54 AM on October 1, 2010


I have no interest in this turning into a hippy-dippy, touchy-feely site; I have an interest in doing whatever is most practical to minimize assholishness.

The best ways to do that are to (1) ignore the assholes (e.g. don't feel the trolls) or (2) inform a mod and let him/her deal with it privately, where the public-humiliation button doesn't add fuel to the fire.

Of course, this is all based on the goal of curbing assholishness as much as possible. If that's not your goal, then you definitely won't agree with me -- even IF you agree with me that public chastisement tends to lead to defensiveness. If, instead of stopping the assholishness, your goal is to give-as-good-as-you-get, publicly shame people, call people out or give people what they deserve, then ... carry on, I guess.


I'm with klang here.

Silence is sometimes interpreted as assent. Ignoring people who are making trollish or asshole comments can make it easier for them to say, "Well, no one objected but you. Obviously it's not that big a deal."

I said this in MeTa back in January: "Often the best weapons we have against racism, discrimination bigotry, sexism and antisemitism are education, stories and public acknowledgment or admonishment. Such hatreds thrive on a culture of approval, and I think that teaching oppressive majorities how damaging those attitudes can be to others is important." I still believe that wholeheartedly.

I'm all for flagging posts and comments on the Blue and moving on. I'm personally doing my best not to disrupt the Blue even if I see something said or posted that bugs me. But if someone comes to MeTa and invites critique, then I see no benefit in remaining silent if something can be said that might encourage people learning from each other.
posted by zarq at 9:01 AM on October 1, 2010


Btw, if people are interested in one-against-everybody kinds of conversations, you can get them at this subreddit.
posted by Jpfed at 9:01 AM on October 1, 2010


On the one hand, I dislike the whole "let a mod deal with it" aspect because I wish the community was slightly more self-regulating.

Doesn't that get much harder to do as the community continues to grow though?
posted by nomadicink at 9:06 AM on October 1, 2010


But if someone comes to MeTa and invites critique, then I see no benefit in remaining silent if something can be said that might encourage people learning from each other.

This is an interesting case of me ALMOST not following my own advice.

I obviously disagree with zarq. But I have nothing to add that I haven't already posted. At the same time, what I posted obviously didn't convince zarq that I was right and he was wrong. Still, I had a VERY strong urge to reply to zarq, restating what I'd already said.

Which would have done what? Well, I guess it would have allowed me to vent. And it would have possibly allowed me to believe I was debating with zarq. But that would have been a fiction. Debating isn't repeating the same thing over and over. I made my point. If I have NEW evidence to back it up, fair enough. But I don't. So I need to zip it.

I hope THIS post doesn't seem hypocritical, like I'm passive-aggressively countering zarq while claiming that's not what I'm doing. My point here has nothing to do with the issue over which zarq and I disagree. Rather, I am pointing out an example of the knee-jerk response some of us feel -- that we MUST hammer our arguments into each-others' heads, even to no purpose. Luckily, I caught myself this time.

Had I NOT caught myself -- had I replied to zarq by saying the same thing I'd said before -- I wonder if zarq would have felt the urge to say the same thing HE said before in reply to my reply.
posted by grumblebee at 9:38 AM on October 1, 2010


Silence is sometimes interpreted as assent. Ignoring people who are making trollish or asshole comments can make it easier for them to say, "Well, no one objected but you. Obviously it's not that big a deal."

I think two things are getting confused here

1. MeTa vs MeFi - in MeFi calling someone an asshole is basically against the rules. In MeTa we'd still like people to be a bit more constructive but we moderate less

2. Tacit assent vs. "I don't agree with that" vs. "you're an asshole for thinking/saying that" My feeling is that there are a huge number of options between saying nothing and saying "fuck you asshole" We get people asserting that people agree with them because they've been favorited too. People can think whatever they want, really.

I don't personally worry that people are going to think that I agree with someone making jerkish statements just because every time they show up being jerkish I don't tell them to step off. People know me, they know what I think, the site's not all about me and my ideas. Sometimes you have to walk away.

And there are times when people get to a "no one is objecting to this but you" dead end and people have to make a choice about whether they want to turn the thread into a them vs everyone gladiator match or not. If they do, we'd prefer they did it without being jerks to everyone else.

So, there are a whole lot of contexts that we expect people to sort of be clear on and one of them is "Do I appear to be the center of The Same Old Grudge Match, again?"
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:49 AM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Protips?

LAME.

I use PORNTIPS GUZZARDO for all my needs.

With Porntips Guzzardo, I can accomplish anything! Build a hospital, add a police precinct, switch to safer energy! Comes in handy in the event of a hurricane, tornado, plane crash... EVEN A MONSTER ATTACK!!!

mac only
posted by Debaser626 at 10:07 AM on October 1, 2010


Close pent-up guilts,
Rive your concealing continents, and cry
These dreadful summoners grace. I am a man
More sinn'd against than sinning.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:15 AM on October 1, 2010


I said to my soul, be still, and let the dark come upon you
Which shall be the darkness of God. As, in a theatre,
The lights are extinguished, for the scene to be changed
With a hollow rumble of wings, with a movement of darkness on darkness,
And we know that the hills and the trees, the distant panorama
And the bold imposing facade are all being rolled away—
posted by shakespeherian at 10:26 AM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


MARVIN (Muttering):
What villany is this? They slew the man
Their blood is cold; no rage did force their hands...

VINCENT:
Jules, know'st thou this gibb'ring jackanape?

JULES:
Aye. Vincent, Marvin. Marvin, Vincent.

VINCENT:
Fine.
Pray him be still, or I shall silence him.

JULES:
Marvin, let thy errant tongue be still.
posted by Splunge at 10:30 AM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Poor naked wretches, wheresoe'er you are,
That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm,
How shall your houseless heads and unfed sides,
Your loop'd and window'd raggedness, defend you
From seasons such as these? O, I have ta'en
Too little care of this! Take physic, pomp;
Expose thyself to feel what wretches feel,
That thou mayst shake the superflux to them,
And show the heavens more just.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:45 AM on October 1, 2010


                                   Words strain,
Crack and sometimes break, under the burden,
Under the tension, slip, slide, perish,
Decay with imprecision, will not stay in place,
Will not stay still. Shrieking voices
Scolding, mocking, or merely chattering,
Always assail them. The Word in the desert
Is most attacked by voices of temptation,
The crying shadow in the funeral dance,
The loud lament of the disconsolate chimera.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:49 AM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I' th' last night's storm I such a fellow saw,
Which made me think a man a worm. My son
Came then into my mind, and yet my mind
Was then scarce friends with him. I have heard more
since.
As flies to wanton boys are we to th' gods,
They kill us for their sport.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:50 AM on October 1, 2010


What was that poem you quoted earlier, Yeats?
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:53 AM on October 1, 2010


We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:53 AM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


What was that poem you quoted earlier, Yeats?

The Waste Land.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:54 AM on October 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Wow, if shakespherianand and AElfwine get three guys to do this they can appear on Beautiful Agony!
posted by nomadicink at 10:54 AM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ah yes Elliot I should have known. Nice. :)
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:55 AM on October 1, 2010


Wow, if shakespherianand and AElfwine get three guys to do this they can appear on Beautiful Agony!

Yes reading Shakespeare and Eliot is the same as masturbating.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:56 AM on October 1, 2010


I prefer masturbating while I'm reading Shakespeare. If I'm feeling really adventurous I break out my copy of The Canterbury Tales.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:59 AM on October 1, 2010


Now that's just dirty.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:59 AM on October 1, 2010


:(
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:03 AM on October 1, 2010


Yes reading Shakespeare and Eliot is the same as masturbating.

Well, Eliot at least.

Much of his poetry might as well have been a scrawl on the wall of the stall of the anagram of his name.

(Enough already with the dick jokes, T.S.)
posted by Sys Rq at 11:05 AM on October 1, 2010


No, seriously:
Derk was the nyght as pich, or as the cole,
And at the wyndow out she putte hir hole,
And absolon, hym fil no bet ne wers,
But with his mouth he kiste hir naked ers
Ful savourly, er he were war of this.
Abak he stirte, and thoughte it was amys,
For wel he wiste a womman hath no berd.
He felte a thyng al rough and long yherd,
And seyde, fy! allas! what have I do?
posted by shakespeherian at 11:11 AM on October 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Th' expense of spirit in a waste of shame
Is lust in action, and till action, lust
Is perjur'd, murd'rous, bloody, full of blame,
Savage, extreme, rude, cruel, not to trust,
Enjoy'd no sooner but despisèd straight,
Past reason hunted, and no sooner had,
Past reason hated as a swallowed bait
On purpose laid to make the taker mad. . . .
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:18 AM on October 1, 2010


*shakes speare*
posted by Sys Rq at 11:19 AM on October 1, 2010


*shakes speare*

Art thou friend or foe?
If thou art foe thou shalt taste my cold steel in thine belly!
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:23 AM on October 1, 2010


Heh:

My cherry lips have often kiss’d thy stones,
Thy stones with lime and hair knit up in thee.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:24 AM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Orlando: Then love me, Rosalind.

Rosalind: Yes, faith, will I, Fridays and Saturdays and all.

Orlando: And wilt thou have me?

Rosalind: Ay, and twenty such.

Orlando: What sayest thou?

Rosalind: Are you not good?

Orlando: I hope so.

Rosalind: Why then, can one desire too much of a good thing?
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:26 AM on October 1, 2010


I have nothing to add to this discussion, so I will refrain from posting.
posted by coolguymichael at 11:33 AM on October 1, 2010


LANCE: Well, the best is, she hath no teeth to bite.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:33 AM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


'Tis better to be vile than vile esteemed,
When not to be receives reproach of being,
And the just pleasure lost, which is so deemed
Not by our feeling, but by others' seeing.
For why should others' false adulterate eyes
Give salutation to my sportive blood?
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:35 AM on October 1, 2010


Jessamyn, I realize you quoted me, but were you actually directing that comment to me or was it just a general statement about people's misconceptions?

I figure I'd better ask before I start responding to several of your points with "...but that's really not what I'm saying at all."
posted by zarq at 11:36 AM on October 1, 2010


What I'm saying is, I don't want to start defending myself if I don't have to. :)
posted by zarq at 11:37 AM on October 1, 2010


I hope THIS post doesn't seem hypocritical, like I'm passive-aggressively countering zarq while claiming that's not what I'm doing. My point here has nothing to do with the issue over which zarq and I disagree. Rather, I am pointing out an example of the knee-jerk response some of us feel -- that we MUST hammer our arguments into each-others' heads, even to no purpose. Luckily, I caught myself this time.

I don't think you're being hypocritical. I think there's a lot of value in knowing when to walk away. (I think your comment is kind of weirdly cool, actually. Sort of meta-meta within MeTa.)

I actually didn't see your comment last night. I'm not sure how I missed it, but I did. And for the most part I do agree with you. I do, however, think there's value in re-clarifying your position if people are either misinterpreting you or cherry-picking your words to make points you disagree with. And I think that it's perfectly possible to tell people "I believe that's really not an okay thing to say, and this is why..." while taking the high road.
posted by zarq at 11:44 AM on October 1, 2010


I do, however, think there's value in re-clarifying your position if people are either misinterpreting you or cherry-picking your words to make points you disagree with.

I admit I need to work on making my point and then knowing when to quit I often find myself having to do this. It then becomes a viscous cycle. At what point do you just walk away? I guess what I'm asking is at what point does it become appropriate to ditch a conversation in progress without seeming like you are running away from the argument and avoiding a valid critique of you point?
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:50 AM on October 1, 2010


I'm referring to you and other people who have the same "but I have to reply to everything people say concerning my topic of interest or if I don't say that I disagree, people will think that I agree" concerns.

Basically we have maybe 20-30 users who have this predilection. Many hot button threads end up with two or three people wrestling with each other over niche sub-topics that maybe only concern the two of them [or splitting hairs over the meaning of a word or two]. I know it's an important thing to them, but there seems to, often, be some sort of lack of awareness that there are a bunch of other people present. If they're just the last people interested in the topic, that's fine. If they're sort of talking to each other and ignoring everyone else's contributions, that's less fine. If they're hollering at each other or interrogating each other, that sort of sucks and was what cortex was referring to above.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:51 AM on October 1, 2010


...your point
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:52 AM on October 1, 2010


Yes reading Shakespeare and Eliot is the same as masturbating.

Well, one frequently leads to the other.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:58 AM on October 1, 2010


Sometimes I think me and the missus don't talk enough. You know. Talk. About stuff. It's maybe the only relationship I've had where we don't seem to talk and talk and talk about the relationship. It just happens and stuff sorts itself out.

Then I come to MeTa and see the explanations, and misinterpretations, and the explanations of the explanations, and the "well ok, but this is how it seemed to me" and the "sure, but look what you said here" and the "yeah, but the context is where you've brought this up a hundred times before, so this is not a single mention but time #101" and I think fuck it, give me my happy quiet relationship, please. We may be mistaken in thinking that we understand each other, but if so it's a happy misunderstanding.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 12:01 PM on October 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


I guess what I'm asking is at what point does it become appropriate to ditch a conversation in progress without seeming like you are running away from the argument and avoiding a valid critique of you point?

As soon as you realize it's going in any sort of bad direction. Seriously, this is not hard: no one on the internet can do anything bad to you because they personally think you left an argument too early beyond potentially having a personally negative opinion about you on that front. There are no stakes here, and something like defending your personal pride in your own debating stamina or whatever very rarely translates into anything good for anybody else exposed to a conversation.

If you find yourself constantly in situations where random interlocutors get the feeling that you constantly ditch a conversation without backing up your initial contributions, the solution is almost certainly to look carefully at how you're presenting those initial contributions, not to insist on sticking out the ensuing argument.

There's a thing that happens sometimes where someone will jump into an conversation with something provocative or combative or a like sarcastic jab about what other people are saying, and then by some stroke of good fortune the conversation will survive that poor footing long enough that they'll come back and do a much, much better job of stating their actual position in a productive way without the fighty bullshit framing or excess pith. And my question whenever this happens is: you're smart enough and thoughtful enough to make this solid, careful, civil contribution, and you're not any smarter than you were four comments ago, so why not just start here and skip that bullshit?

Which is basically what I try to do myself. I still type of satisfying but crappy comments sometimes, but then I delete them. More, these days, I think them and recognize they're a shitty idea and don't even start typing. And then I think through why it's a problem, what other people would probably criticize about what I'm wanting to say; and I try to figure out a better way to state my feelings or my position that keeps or better emphasizes the substance of the idea and strips away the crappy framing. I'll have whole little volleys of imaginary comment-and-response sometimes, trying to suss out what's productive vs. what's just a zing.

If I come away from this thought process with something that feels like it's as productive as possible and civil enough that I'm not contributing to the GRAR level of the conversation and ideally even mitigating it some, I'll go ahead and post. If I don't get there, I let it go. Most of the time I let it go, and move on with my day, and that's frankly something that I feel like more people could do more often to absolutely zero net negative effect, in situations where instead they choose to comment, or comment again, anyway in a way that does have a negative effect on the conversation of the community.

It can be hard to just set the ego aside and realize that you contributing or continuing to contribute to a conversation is sometimes worse for everyone else than you refraining from doing so, but this is a community, not a debate club. "Everyone else" is a really big group of people. Containing one's ego is kind of a key part of being a part of that.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:06 PM on October 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


at what point does it become appropriate to ditch a conversation in progress without seeming like you are running away from the argument and avoiding a valid critique of you point?

I have on occasion said something along the lines of 'It really doesn't look like this is going anywhere, which is too bad, but there isn't any reason to keep going in circles. Have a nice day, and no hard feelings!'
posted by shakespeherian at 12:11 PM on October 1, 2010


It then becomes a viscous cycle.

Try adding a little turpentine.
posted by Rumple at 12:17 PM on October 1, 2010


If you find yourself constantly in situations where random interlocutors get the feeling that you constantly ditch a conversation without backing up your initial contributions, the solution is almost certainly to look carefully at how you're presenting those initial contributions, not to insist on sticking out the ensuing argument.

Good point. I am a very competitive person and I come from a very competitive family so part of it, I admit, is that I want to "win". The other part is wanting to actually learn something in the process. For example the Hiroshima debate was awesome. I learned a lot and even though my opinion wasn't changed I still was presented with lots of new information that I wasn't aware of before. Information that I could incorporate into my ideas about the event. So I guess in the future the focus should be more on educating(with good initial comments) rather than winning. If that makes any sense.

And my question whenever this happens is: you're smart enough and thoughtful enough to make this solid, careful, civil contribution, and you're not any smarter than you were four comments ago, so why not just start here and skip that bullshit?

Because humans have short memories and attention spans...just look at our fucked up political system.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 12:21 PM on October 1, 2010


So I guess in the future the focus should be more on educating(with good initial comments) rather than winning. If that makes any sense.

I think this is a very important idea for approaching any conversation. I don't believe that I am the smartest person alive; therefore, it would stand to reason that there are a number of things that I am wrong about. So when I see someone say something with which I disagree, my first inclination should be to find out why we disagree, and what information and arguments they used to reach their conclusion. At this point I may present counterarguments if, for example, a piece of their information is contrary to something that I've read, but even then the emphasis ought to be on 'Why are these two pieces of supposedly objective information in disagreement with one another?' rather than 'Why are you so dumb as to not have read this one thing I read.'

In other words, in any situation, you can not come with the expectation of other people's minds being open to change if your own mind is not open to the same degree.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:28 PM on October 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


I admit I need to work on making my point and then knowing when to quit I often find myself having to do this. It then becomes a viscous cycle. At what point do you just walk away? I guess what I'm asking is at what point does it become appropriate to ditch a conversation in progress without seeming like you are running away from the argument and avoiding a valid critique of you point?

I try to stop when I start to think people are deliberately being difficult. Either by arguing their own position repeatedly without addressing my points directly or if I start to think they're deliberately misinterpreting what I say, rather than honestly misreading me.

I've noticed that's often the point where those conversations go south for me.

On preview, what Cortex said (far more eloquently than this.)
posted by zarq at 12:30 PM on October 1, 2010


Good point. I am a very competitive person and I come from a very competitive family so part of it, I admit, is that I want to "win".

Which, in abstract, is fine. Everybody's got different personal predilections and what not, and I have no problem with that. I can be an argumentative motherfucker when I get my wind up, though I tend not to enjoy it so much so I mostly avoid that kind of thing. But, yeah: what you do in the privacy of your own headspace is entirely your business.

This is not a place where that always works, though. And it's incumbent on the individual to figure that out and mind their own output and the effect it might be having on other people. I'd say that the moment you try to "win" any kind of interaction on Metafilter you are already headed down the wrong path and need to stop and figure out if your contributions are actually going to improve the community around you or if they're just going to make you feel good/righteous/vindicated. Because if it's more the latter than the former, just drop it. Get a blog and put it there.

So, yeah, that does make sense and I think it's the right idea: try to get into a place where the thought is "this will be a better thread for everyone because I can contribute this substantial content to what we're all collectively assembling a word at a time". Get away from anything that comes from a place that feels like "oh yeah, well take this!"

Because humans have short memories and attention spans...

I have in the past suggested to a number of specific humans that they write down specific things on post-it notes and stick those things on their monitors so that when memory or self-control slips away from them they've got a better chance of recovering before they do something regrettable. How well exactly that works, and whether there's some better way for any given person to manage their personal kick-in-the-pants alert system, I can't really say, but the idea is sound.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:30 PM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'd just like to say I'm joining this thread.
posted by Decani at 12:37 PM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I still type of satisfying but crappy comments sometimes, but then I delete them.

I did this just last night, in this thread. I typed out an incredibly satisfyingly snarky comment, and then deleted it, in part because I was about 30 seconds away from going to bed, and dropping the comment I was about to drop when I wouldn't be around for hours to respond to any comebacks to it would have been counterproductive and stupid.

I delete stuff even when I'm going to be around, if it strikes me as a comment that would exist just for the sake of being shitty and snarky.

I'm not always successful at the type-and-delete thing, but it gets easier.
posted by rtha at 12:37 PM on October 1, 2010


I'm not always successful at the type-and-delete thing, but it gets easier.

I do this all the time. I even do it with memails. Writing it out is cathartic, I think.

Sometimes, it's simply not important to weigh in.
posted by zarq at 12:59 PM on October 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'd say that the moment you try to "win" any kind of interaction on Metafilter

I don't consciously go into a thread thinking that I'm going to win or even trying to. I was just admitting that I know that I am a very competitive person and that on some subconscious level me wanting to win is probably part of the dynamic.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 1:07 PM on October 1, 2010


Goodbye, cruel world
I'm leaving you today
Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye

Goodbye, all you people
There's nothing you can say
To make me change my mind
Goodbye
posted by Bonzai at 1:11 PM on October 1, 2010


Sometimes, it's simply not important to weigh in.

I agree.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:12 PM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm referring to you and other people who have the same "but I have to reply to everything people say concerning my topic of interest or if I don't say that I disagree, people will think that I agree" concerns.

In my case, it's less a matter of "people will think I personally agree or disagree" and more a matter of "I think speaking out against this is more important than letting it happen unopposed." It's not personal for me in the way I think you're implying. I don't have an overwhelming need to be heard on certain topics. Plenty of threads on topics I'm interested happen around here in both MeTa and MeFi without a comment from me. I don't comment on every I/P thread I see, for example. Or every thread I see on the topics I tend to be most interested in, like science, religion, politics, women's issues, parenting and biology.

Basically we have maybe 20-30 users who have this predilection. Many hot button threads end up with two or three people wrestling with each other over niche sub-topics that maybe only concern the two of them [or splitting hairs over the meaning of a word or two]. I know it's an important thing to them, but there seems to, often, be some sort of lack of awareness that there are a bunch of other people present. If they're just the last people interested in the topic, that's fine. If they're sort of talking to each other and ignoring everyone else's contributions, that's less fine. If they're hollering at each other or interrogating each other, that sort of sucks and was what cortex was referring to above.

I see what you mean. Will try to keep this in mind in the future.
posted by zarq at 1:13 PM on October 1, 2010


I was just admitting that I know that I am a very competitive person and that on some subconscious level me wanting to win is probably part of the dynamic.

By realizing that, you have already won.

And that's One To Grow On.
posted by nomadicink at 1:14 PM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]




Sometimes, it's simply not important to weigh in.

[ ]
posted by Horace Rumpole at 1:23 PM on October 1, 2010


I don't consciously go into a thread thinking that I'm going to win or even trying to. I was just admitting that I know that I am a very competitive person and that on some subconscious level me wanting to win is probably part of the dynamic.

Yeah, I hear you. And I totally appreciate that you're giving this thought. If I thought it was a situation of you flat-out approaching the site with an unapologetic Fuck You, I'm Winning attitude we probably wouldn't even be having this conversation at all.

Finding a way to change the way you behave in specific context can be really challenging when it's behavior that's not so much intentional as it is the emergent product of habit and preference and acculturation. It takes work, sometimes a lot of work, and pretty much nobody gets it perfect right out of the gate. But it's doable for just about everybody if they do put their mind to it, and when it happens this place improves for everybody. That's essentially the core of the reason why we are big on talking stuff out rather than banning people for specific episodes of buttheadness.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:25 PM on October 1, 2010


You all can go at each other like rabid wolverines for all I care. Type upside-down. Zalgo yourself to death.

Leave T.S. Eliot alone. Or I will do something very nasty to you with a coffee spoon. Capisce?
posted by Splunge at 1:34 PM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Huh! I didn't even enter this thread!
posted by Grangousier at 1:43 PM on October 1, 2010


Oh, wait... damn.
posted by Grangousier at 1:43 PM on October 1, 2010


You all can go at each other like rabid wolverines for all I care.

Holy Crossover, it's Batman vs Wolverine!!
posted by nomadicink at 1:53 PM on October 1, 2010


You still never answered my question, nomadicink. Who would win in a fight between the hulk and superman?
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 1:54 PM on October 1, 2010


This is just to say

I have left
the thread
that was in
decline

and which
you were probably
removing
from recent activity

Forgive me
I am back
so sweet
and so cold
posted by not_on_display at 1:58 PM on October 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Who would win in a fight between the hulk and superman?

the hulk - by the time superman finds a phone booth, he'll be dead
posted by pyramid termite at 2:00 PM on October 1, 2010


Superman would do a Supersuck on the Hulk and extract all the gamma rays from him. Then he would just crush Banner's powerless body.

How exactly that Supersuck would be performed is best left to the reader's imagination.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:04 PM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I guess what I'm asking is at what point does it become appropriate to ditch a conversation in progress without seeming like you are running away from the argument and avoiding a valid critique of you point?

As cortex and zarq have stated above (I'm paraphrasing), "quit when you're getting defensive and pissy, and quit when whenever you're talking to is getting defensive and pissy. "

Also, leave when you're about to repeat yourself for the seond time, e.g.

Me: "The Great Gatsby" is my favorite novel.

Someone Else: Dude! You hate "The Great Gatsby"? You're an idiot! It's the greatest novel ever written.

Me: What? I said it's my favorite novel! How did you read that and interpret it as a negative remark?

Someone Else: Obviously you were being sarcastic! If you don't like it, just say so. Don't be passive-aggressive.

Me: ... [REALLY wants to respond by asserting -- AGAIN -- that I love the novel, but hopefully I won't. I made my point. I reiterated it once. What's the point of doing it a again? I can't control what Someone Else thinks or writes. And if I step back for a minute, I am pretty confident that other people reading the thread will understand my original meaning.]
posted by grumblebee at 2:08 PM on October 1, 2010


Conversely, Banner could whip up some kryptonite in his lab and then dispatch with Clark Kent in any convenient way, whether in Hulk or normal form. So, after running many simulations it's a virtual tie, and would be entirely dependent on extenuating circumstances.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:10 PM on October 1, 2010


I submit the following evidence.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 2:16 PM on October 1, 2010


Yeah I hear you grumblebee. If they don't get it after the first repeat they probably aren't gonna get it.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 2:17 PM on October 1, 2010


You still never answered my question, nomadicink. Who would win in a fight between the hulk and superman?

Who's writing the story?
posted by nomadicink at 2:19 PM on October 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Superman flies Hulk up to the Sun and drops him in it.
posted by Joe Beese at 2:30 PM on October 1, 2010


> Superman flies Hulk up to the Sun and drops him in it.

That's just missing it altogether, man.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:31 PM on October 1, 2010


Hell, Superman tosses the Hulk into outer space, where he cannot breathe nor control his inertial velocity.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:34 PM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Let's go with Peter David.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 2:34 PM on October 1, 2010


Hell, Superman tosses the Hulk into outer space, where he cannot breathe nor control his inertial velocity.

How Doomsday should have gone...

(As, I believe, Kurt Bursiek pointed out)
posted by Artw at 2:36 PM on October 1, 2010


How Doomsday should have gone...

Right? For a God like power, Supes sure was stupid.

Let's go with Peter David.

Probably X-Factor.
posted by nomadicink at 2:39 PM on October 1, 2010


both kryptonite and the hulk are green

the conclusion is obvious
posted by pyramid termite at 2:42 PM on October 1, 2010


I know no one reads the comments down here but...

I'm someone who is quick to get into debates, particularly around politics, and I've found through experience that mefi mail is very effective for communicating one on one with a user who I am not in agreement with. Personal email consistently de-escalates.
posted by serazin at 3:16 PM on October 1, 2010


Damn, grumblebee, I can't believe you don't like The Great Gatsby. You should really give it another try.
posted by languagehat at 3:16 PM on October 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


The Great Gatsby left me cold when I read it. Could've been my foolish youth. I was like, what's the what with FS Fitzgerald. And then later I read some of his shorts and I was like, okay, I get it now.
posted by angrycat at 3:20 PM on October 1, 2010


What about the people who say they're coming back and then don't?

Or the people who don't read any of the 300+ comments because they want to imagine they are the only ones who came up with a particular comment?
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:21 PM on October 1, 2010


What about the people who say they're coming back and then don't?

Obviously, you should keep commenting about how you're "Still waiting for So-and-So to come back and answer my questions upthread." And when they turn up later in an unrelated thread, you should helpfully remind them about your unanswered questions from the other thread. And the next time they turn up in MetaTalk, you should helpfully point out to the room at large that "So-and-So has a history of dropping turds in threads and then leaving." It wouldn't hurt to make a veiled reference to their opinions that you disagree with on your userpage, while you're at it.

Or you could just let it go. Either way.
posted by Gator at 3:51 PM on October 1, 2010


Who would win in a fight between the hulk and superman?

The audience.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 4:39 PM on October 1, 2010


No one should read The Great Gatsby until they are at least 30. The hopeless melancholy is lost on anyone younger. Well, maybe not lost, but certainly not as relatable.
posted by Go Banana at 5:27 PM on October 1, 2010


Heck, If I read it at my age they'd be cleaning the back of my head off of the wall.
posted by Splunge at 6:26 PM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


No one should read The Great Gatsby until they are at least 30. The hopeless melancholy is lost on anyone younger. Well, maybe not lost, but certainly not as relatable.

Funny: I first fell in love with it when I was in high school. But I was a pretty hopelessly melancholy kid.
posted by grumblebee at 6:58 PM on October 1, 2010


The final sentence has always confused and frustrated me. Aren't they all trying, but failing, to get back to the past? Shouldn't they be beating against a current that is bearing them ceaselessly forward, not backward, in time?
posted by palliser at 8:56 PM on October 1, 2010


Flinging Hulk into outer-space is counter productive, as he just hangs on and noogies you to death halfway to orbit. You know he'll be rescued up by some alien or interdimensional culture or other looking to turn him into a living weapon, or looking for Supe's pulped body for post-mortem analysis.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:24 PM on October 1, 2010


Critique time!!! How am I doing is this thread? Am I coming off as a complete asshole or a reasonable individual? I have bit my tongue several times and deleted several borderline pithy/assholish one liners at the end of my comments. I have found that it is usually at the end I always have some kind of barbaric need to really stick it to people. That is my own problem-I am working on it. But I want honest critique-not of my arguments but of how I come off and if this is an acceptable way of going about things. Anyone feel free to have at me.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 9:28 PM on October 1, 2010


DTMFA.
posted by nomadicink at 9:33 PM on October 1, 2010


reasoning?
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 9:37 PM on October 1, 2010


High maintenance.
posted by nomadicink at 9:42 PM on October 1, 2010


me or them?
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 9:43 PM on October 1, 2010


...I've found through experience that mefi mail is very effective for communicating one on one with a user who I am not in agreement with. Personal email consistently de-escalates.

I've had exactly the opposite experience. As far as I can tell, people are much more likely to name-call, curse and escalate arguments in email or memail when there's no chance of mod intervention. It's like people see email as a sign that they can give free rein to their inner asshole.

About six months ago, I removed my email address from my profile because it was becoming a pain in the ass. I hardly ever remember memail is there, so that's virtually eliminated that problem.
posted by zarq at 9:51 PM on October 1, 2010


The Hulk.
posted by nomadicink at 9:51 PM on October 1, 2010


AElfwine Evenstar> Critique time!!! How am I doing is this thread? Am I coming off as a complete asshole or a reasonable individual? I have bit my tongue several times and deleted several borderline pithy/assholish one liners at the end of my comments.

Well, since you ask, I found this:

AElfwine Evenstar> So what you're saying is that the Chinese run the yellow pages??? I always thought there was something kind of suspicious about the yellow pages.

as a response to this:

rough ashlar> In my metro area I can get a 'Black business' and a 'Hispanic business' phonebook.
Yet - go ahead.....I dare ya .... have a 'white business' phonebook - see how far that goes.


to be pretty sickening. I could almost understand it as mockery of an idiotic argument, but since there didn't seem to be any followup along those lines, I'm left with the impression that you intended it to be funny on its own terms.
posted by UrineSoakedRube at 11:41 PM on October 1, 2010


I was mocking the argument. I thought that it was self evident that I was being sarcastic. I guess I was wrong. I didn't follow up because at that point I wanted to try and move the topic away from the issue of race and back to Paul's statements but as you can see I failed. :(
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:48 PM on October 1, 2010


I've had exactly the opposite experience. As far as I can tell, people are much more likely to name-call, curse and escalate arguments in email or memail when there's no chance of mod intervention. It's like people see email as a sign that they can give free rein to their inner asshole.

Huh. Well, the times I've initiated emails, I've made a careful effort to de-escalate myself first, with the knowledge that I was dealing one on one with a person, not trying to puff myself up for an audience. In the times people have contacted me by email, I've found people seem to be doing something similar - for the most part. I have heard of other people having bad mefi mail experiences though, so I may just be lucky (so far) in that respect.
posted by serazin at 12:14 AM on October 2, 2010


I was mocking the argument.

I generally find that this does bad things for one's tone.
posted by shakespeherian at 3:52 AM on October 2, 2010


I just sent you a mefimail serazin!
posted by nomadicink at 5:56 AM on October 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


first Superman would have to piss the Hulk off for the Hulk to get his green on, and Superman is so inoffensive, I don't see that happening

so, superman

also, Aelfwife Evenstar, come on, making racist jokes, even ironically, is not a good way to generate goodwill. Sheesh. This seems to be a steep learning curve for you.
posted by angrycat at 7:15 AM on October 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


As far as I can tell, people are much more likely to name-call, curse and escalate arguments in email or memail when there's no chance of mod intervention.

For the record, people harassing other users over MeMail is against the rules. That is, if someone's doing this to you and you want to let us know about it, we'll time them out or ban them as appropriate. We didn't set up MeMail to be a back channel for people to be the sort of jerks they're not allowed to be on the rest of the site. I'm aware that a lot of people don't feel comfortable telling us about this sort of thing [and we don't peek at MeMail or run it through word-checkers or whatever] but it's absolutely a place where mod intervention can happen if you let us know what's up.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:23 AM on October 2, 2010


You can also block any particular member from sending you mefimail, right?
posted by nomadicink at 8:04 AM on October 2, 2010


I AM SO BLOCKING YOU NOMADICINK!!!!!@###$$$!!
posted by serazin at 8:29 AM on October 2, 2010


You can also block any particular member from sending you mefimail, right?

yes, and it's probably the simplest and easiest recourse for someone who's getting flamed by memail
posted by pyramid termite at 9:05 AM on October 2, 2010


Aelfwife Evenstar, come on, making racist jokes, even ironically, is not a good way to generate goodwill.

I think Dave Chappelle would disagree with you. But yeah this is one of those times when I should have probably thought twice.

This seems to be a steep learning curve for you.

Who are you fucking ghandi? I'm human I make mistakes...If I offended anyone I'm sorry. I'm not really worried about this though because if anyone was offended and thought the comment inappropriate they could have flagged or let the mods know. That the comment is still there seems to me to indicate that, while probably not the best comment I've ever made, the world isn't going to end because of it. So basically you can go fuck yourself. And I mean that in the nicest way possible:)
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 9:22 AM on October 2, 2010


So basically you can go fuck yourself. And I mean that in the nicest way possible:)

Cut that out. I mean this in the seriously, fucking cut it outest possible way.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:29 AM on October 2, 2010 [7 favorites]


I think Dave Chappelle would disagree with you.

Jesus, people, why does anyone ever say this sort of thing? Dave Chappelle is a professional comedian. When he makes ironic racist jokes, it is in the context of a paid performance of comedy. If I stand on a street corner and make racist jokes, it is not the same thing, even if I say the same things he does in his act. This is also why it's bad to pretend to be someone you aren't in a job interview, even though George Clooney gets paid millions of dollars to do it.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:35 AM on October 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


Ghandi talked about steep learning curves?
That's just something I say to students I tutor once in a while. Bled into metafilter. Not an insight into your soul or acts of civil disobedience or whatever
posted by angrycat at 9:41 AM on October 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


If I offended anyone I'm sorry.

I don't have a dog in this fight, but if you want to apologize, you should take responsibility for offending people, rather than acknowledging sorrow if people were offended. I think at least one person said you offended them with your comment, so:

I am sorry that I offended people. --> apology.

I am sorry if people were offended --> not an apology.

Also: Gandhi.
posted by vincele at 9:55 AM on October 2, 2010 [6 favorites]


Whatever guys. I didn't mean the joke in a racist way, but I guess intent doesn't count for anything. That being said I do take responsibility. I made the comment. My bad. Sorry cortex I was responding to angrycat's "I guess this is a steep learning curve" comment. But yeah no excuse I guess. I would just think that when I come here in good faith asking for a critique about my performance, which was basically the point of this meta, people would also approach it in the same manner and not use it as a venue to score cheap points and ridicule me with idiotic comments like angry's. But yeah whatever.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:10 AM on October 2, 2010


I would just think that when I come here in good faith asking for a critique about my performance

You can do that here if you want to, but please keep in mind that much as it'd be nice if everyone was always trying to be decent to one another this is kind of a bumpy place and it's also wide open to the whole community. If you're gonna say "how'd I do", be ready for some people to respond with some variation on "not well". If you don't want to hear that, don't ask. If you want a safe space for looking for criticism free from potential snark or harsh responses, put together a klatch of a few people you trust who are willing to do that for you or something.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:14 AM on October 2, 2010


I don't expect there to be no criticism...I would hope for constructive criticism but as you pointed out that is probably asking to much.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:15 AM on October 2, 2010


What a minute. Who the heck are you again? How did this thread turn into being all about you anyway?
posted by crunchland at 10:27 AM on October 2, 2010


I would just think that when I come here in good faith asking for a critique about my performance

Here's my critique, then, and I mean this in the most constructive way possible:

Stop thinking of it as a performance.

Metafilter is not a stage or a soapbox. Your participation here sometimes reminds me of the theater majors I knew in college, who treated every interaction as though it were an opportunity to perform, even if the only audience was me. Stop doing that. You don't always have to be "on." Chill the fuck out a little. Have a conversation instead of staging a performance.
posted by dersins at 10:28 AM on October 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


dude, not sure why you think my comment was idiotic. But your attitude, man. /shakes head
posted by angrycat at 10:29 AM on October 2, 2010


> dude, not sure why you think my comment was idiotic. But your attitude, man. /shakes head

Looking at that thread with fresh eyes, angrycat, it sure seems like you're spewing a lot of redundant and hyperbolic bile. I'm not saying that to give anyone else a pass, but if you're going to be throwing stones you might want to be aware of your glass walls and such.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:47 AM on October 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


> What a minute. Who the heck are you again? How did this thread turn into being all about you anyway?

Er, it was indeed all about him as the OP referenced him in the post.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:48 AM on October 2, 2010


Dersins I wasn't using the word performance in that sense, but rather in the sense of pertaining to the remedying the problems people had with my posting style. But I see you point in general and will take it in mind.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:23 AM on October 2, 2010


Dersins I wasn't using the word performance in that sense

I get that, but, regardless, I find it telling that you used "performance" rather than a word like "participation" or "behavior."
posted by dersins at 11:26 AM on October 2, 2010


What a minute. Who the heck are you again? How did this thread turn into being all about you anyway?

Let's recap shall we? This meta was started in realation to this post. Empath was calling me out for leaving the thread and then later coming back. I believe the general consensus was that this was fail call out. The thread then transitioned into a general critique of my posting style and behavior. The topic then turned to posting etiquette in general pertaining to situations in which one finds oneself in position of holding a controversial position and being the only one in the thread arguing that position. It then devolved into Shakesphereian, myself, and several other mefites commenting in the form of literary quotes with a heavy concentration of Shakespeare quotes and a smattering of Elliot. It then devolved further into a debate about who would win in a fight between Superman and the Hulk. Using my leet poasting skill I was able to turn the thread around back to a critique of my posting style. angrycat made a comment and I went emo on him and here we are. Does that about sum it up?
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:49 AM on October 2, 2010


Looking at that thread with fresh eyes, angrycat, it sure seems like you're spewing a lot of redundant and hyperbolic bile. I

I do get annoyed at a) Isolationism and b) Isolationism sold me by one who takes campaign contributions from Neo Nazis. I didn't think my comments rose to the level of hyperbolic bile, though. I'd like to understand just how I was so offensive; if it's some sort of derail in this thread, feel free to memail me.

Anyways, I thought that Elf-Star guy was responding to my comment in this thread about his yellow pages comment. I thought my comment was innocuous; still do, so would welcome an explanation on this front, too.
posted by angrycat at 11:52 AM on October 2, 2010


emo on her. Her.
posted by angrycat at 11:53 AM on October 2, 2010


Let's recap shall we?

See, this. This is what I was talking about.
posted by dersins at 11:54 AM on October 2, 2010


Sorry angry I didn't know you were a girl.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:55 AM on October 2, 2010


angrycat. CAT.
posted by angrycat at 11:57 AM on October 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I have three cats.

They're all boys.

Me too.

Just sayin'.
posted by dersins at 11:59 AM on October 2, 2010


ANGRY CAT IS ANGRY.

Finally, I get the joke.
posted by box at 11:59 AM on October 2, 2010


nah, i'm mellow. seriously not trying to yank chains here
posted by angrycat at 12:06 PM on October 2, 2010


I'm getting angry...you won't like me when I'm angry.(Hulk reference)
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 12:17 PM on October 2, 2010


I'm not really getting angry...
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 12:37 PM on October 2, 2010


Aelfwine, you seem to get frustrated a lot when people read into your posts something other than you intended. If you meant something to be taken lightheartedly, but it is instead taken seriously; if you meant something to be taken as an argument against x, but instead it is taken as an argument against y; if you say something sarcastically, but it is instead read as sincere. This gets you angry.

However, at the very same time, you have, quite a few times in this thread already, read other people's comments in a very uncharitable light. You call other people's arguments idiotic or misguided or barely better than trolling, without considering that maybe you're misreading their point. You insist other people are treating you poorly, when it's very possible they didn't mean you any real insult at all. In short, you seem to think others are stupid and antagonistic if they don't understand what you mean and what your tone is, yet you also seem to think others are stupid and antagonistic if you don't understand what they mean and what their tone is. This really doesn't seem fair: it can't be that the entire fault for miscommunication or offense is always with the other party.

I offer this just as advice from someone completely unrelated to the conversation -- I just happened to read this thread and thought maybe I could provide you some useful advice. My only point is that you may find it easier to have kind and thought-provoking conversations here if you slow down a little and consider the assumptions you're making about others' motivations and intentions before responding. You seem like a smart guy, and you seem like you're earnestly trying to participate in good conversation here. From where I stand, it seems like the main problem is in how you're interpreting the motives of people who respond to your points.
posted by meese at 12:58 PM on October 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Don't do it AElfwine Evenstar, don't listen to them, we're all cowards, trembling before your mighty onslaught of intellect. We're not fit to favorite you!! So, you know, we don't.
posted by nomadicink at 1:45 PM on October 2, 2010


AE: I would just think that when I come here in good faith asking for a critique about my performance....

D: Stop thinking of it as a performance.

AE: I wasn't using the word performance in that sense, but rather in the sense of pertaining to the remedying the problems people had with my posting style.

D: I get that, but, regardless, I find it telling that you used "performance" rather than a word like "participation" or "behavior."

This exchange irritates me a little, although I realize that neither participant is (or seems) particularly rankled. Does this notion come from Freud, this notion that there are no accidents and that all of the words we choose are rife with meaning -- windows into our subconscious? What's the evidence for it? Even Freud believed that "sometimes a pipe is just a pipe."

It's suspicious to me, because I never hear people talk about when the conversation isn't about something important or something emotionally charged, and yet people make verbal mistakes (or sloppy word choices) even when they speak about mundane matters:

"I'm going to go see that movie on Wednesday ... I mean Thursday."

"I like it in 'Star Wars' when Captain Kirk beams down to the planet."

No one ever suggests these blunders are deeply revealing. Isn't it possible for people to just make verbal mistakes? A verbal mistake during an emotional conversation might be "just a pipe." And though D was probably just trying to be helpful in this case, it often seems to me like these sorts of comments on word choice are unfair bits of rhetorical manipulation.

A: Women shouldn't be paid as much as men, because there incapable of working as hard as men.

B: I think you mean "THEY'RE incapable..."

A's belief is loathsome, but B's response to it is beside the point and a cheap trick. There are ways of exploring what's wrong with A's view without playing games like this. And the thing is, it can work either way...

B: Women should be paid as much as men, because there just as capable of working hard as men.

A: I think you mean "THEY'RE just as capable..."

These dirty tricks remind me so much of the way we play politics in the US, which is mostly about style and little about substance. It's about winning a game, not solving problems.

Of course, all we know about what someone says (particularly in written discourse) comes from the words he chooses. So it doesn't upset me that D says "stop thinking of it as performance." What upsets me is that AFTER AE clarifies what he meant by "performance," D says, "I get that, but, regardless, I find it telling..." AE might be lying or unaware of the deep forces in his own brain. But he also might be telling the truth. "I find it telling" is sort of "gotcha" language. It's condescending in a "caught you with your pants down" sense, as if AE's skull is transparent and we've just seen some pornographic images inside it. Ah ha!

I've been on the receiving end of this so many times. I remember one time I said something about racism being a bad thing. Someone called me on my understatement, which was fair enough. But then, when I said, "I actually know it's a terrible, terrible thing. I just didn't think much about the words I was using," I got hit with "well, I think it's telling..."

Maybe this is my particular problem, but I feel really trapped when people read my mind with great confidence. I feel like there's nothing I can say. If I say "You're wrong. It's not telling of anything, except of me being sloppy," I am "in denial." Or I can just admit that I'm racist. Racist or in denial. I get to pick.
posted by grumblebee at 1:52 PM on October 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


These dirty tricks .... It's condescending ...

Wow, thanks for that excellent and highly germane example of reading what someone says in the most uncharitable light possible, grumblebee.
posted by dersins at 2:01 PM on October 2, 2010


Sorry, dersins. I deserve that. I mentioned that I thought you meant well in my post, but that remark was buried in a lot of verbiage that painted your comment in a really negative light. I apologize.

I do have a problem with ANY sort of mind reading. "I think it's telling..." sounds like mind reading to me. Am I wrong? Can it mean "I am wondering if..."?
posted by grumblebee at 2:06 PM on October 2, 2010


Step 1: Never use Freud as a basis for argument (unless it's a talk about Freud or the history of psychology or something).
Step 2: Carry on.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:14 PM on October 2, 2010


You're got these cryptic zingers refined to a fine art, Burhanistan. Don't know what you're talking about, though.
posted by angrycat at 2:26 PM on October 2, 2010


Even Freud believed that "sometimes a pipe is just a pipe.

Actually he is alleged to have said, "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar." Now what did you mean by pipe?
posted by Splunge at 3:21 PM on October 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ceci n'est pas un cigar!
posted by sonika at 3:22 PM on October 2, 2010


Ceci n'est pas une Freudianism.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:22 PM on October 2, 2010


You call other people's arguments idiotic or misguided or barely better than trolling, without considering that maybe you're misreading their point.

I have to disagree with your accusation that I have ever called anyone else's arguments idiot. Throw away one liners, yes, but not a serious argument or critique. As far as everything else you said; yes I agree. The same thing has been said in different ways by cortex, jessamyn, and several others. I have already said that I will work on this facet of my commenting here on the blue. I will say, though, that normally when people misinterpret my point I usually try to clarify; sometimes so much so that people get sick of me clarifying and tune out. This is also another situation where I need to self moderate. I can't remember who exactly said it, but I think this advice bears repeating: if you find yourself going to have to clarify something for the second time just drop it because the person you are interacting with is probably not going to get it if they haven't already. I do find it irritating, though, that some people in this thread are engaging in the same types of behavior that I am being called out for.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 3:23 PM on October 2, 2010


Actually he is alleged to have said, "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar." Now what did you mean by pipe?

I got confused. I was thinking of the Magritte painting: http://randomknowledge.files.wordpress.com/2008/09/magrittepipe.jpg
posted by grumblebee at 3:26 PM on October 2, 2010


I have to disagree with your accusation that I have ever called anyone else's arguments idiot. Throw away one liners, yes, but not a serious argument or critique.

I am only bringing this up because you asked for critiques. Question: what do you mean by throw-away one lines?

I'm not actually making a critique, because I haven't seen enough of your posts to come up with examples. I'm just wondering if you think of a quick, one-liner insult as not-a-problem because it's just an off-the-cuff remark.

If I post something and someone responds with "that's stupid" (or a wittier version of "that's stupid"), I would call that a problematic response. To me, it's more of a problem because it's clutter than because it's rude, but it's still a problem.

Maybe that's not what you meant. Can you clarify?
posted by grumblebee at 3:31 PM on October 2, 2010


By a throw away one line I guess I mean a witty and or rude remark and/or insult that is meant to disregard or ridicule an argument or fpp that doesn't actually address any of the core issues being presented. Not just by me necessarily, but by anyone. Sometimes they are funny but they rarely seem to generate any good conversation. Does that answer your question?
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 3:38 PM on October 2, 2010


that was going on when you called my comment idiotic?
cause i thought that was dead serious
posted by angrycat at 4:05 PM on October 2, 2010


Well if you look I actually agreed with your first point and then called your second point idiotic. Maybe I was little harsh but it didn't add serve any purpose other than to get in a cheap shot, in my opinion.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 4:22 PM on October 2, 2010


Dude(ette?), maybe you need to lurk a while longer while you figure this place out.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:33 PM on October 2, 2010


Maybe I was little harsh but it didn't add serve any purpose other than to get in a cheap shot, in my opinion.

That's really not quite how things work around here. Even I know that, and I'm a jerk!
posted by Sys Rq at 4:58 PM on October 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


That's really not quite how things work around here.

Yeah, I know, it's meta. I get it. But I would think that when someone has been called out and is trying to learn something and asks for advice people would actually give some constructive advice(which in all fairness angrycat did with her first point) instead of coming into the thread and engaging in the exact same types of behavior I am being called out for. But as cortex pointed out upthread that is probably too much to ask. So....
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 5:19 PM on October 2, 2010


OMG GO OUTSIDE ALREADY
posted by Burhanistan at 5:25 PM on October 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah I know we should all get that Clear wifi anywhere thing I completely agree Burhanistan.
posted by shakespeherian at 5:39 PM on October 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


AElfwine Evenstar: "Am I coming off as a complete asshole or a reasonable individual?"

I don't care enough to check -- or to form an opinion -- and I suspect I am not alone. Sometimes life really is just not about you.
posted by meehawl at 5:53 PM on October 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I was initially against this call out and the way in which empath presented it, but AElfwine Evenstar has 56 fuckin' comments in this thread. Fifty-six. That's just plain weird. Dude/dudette, chill the fuck out. Your desire to "win" and/or have the last word is a shitty shitty trait.
posted by gman at 6:16 PM on October 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I am confused, Aelfwine Evenstar. Maybe because one of your above comments is a joke and I'm being too literal-minded to get it.

I have to disagree with your accusation that I have ever called anyone else's arguments idiot. Throw away one liners, yes, but not a serious argument or critique.

and

By a throw away one line I guess I mean a witty and or rude remark and/or insult that is meant to disregard or ridicule an argument or fpp that doesn't actually address any of the core issues being presented. Not just by me necessarily, but by anyone. Sometimes they are funny but they rarely seem to generate any good conversation.

I asked my question because it sounded like (and maybe this is where I got confused) you were asking for critiques of your conversational style, saying that you sometimes make rude throwaway comments, but that somehow these comments aren't important (people shouldn't take them seriously?) -- even though they don't generate good conversation.

In my opinion, these sort of remarks (I'm not talking about yours specifically, because I don't remember reading any of them) are a big problem. If I call someone stupid -- or his post stupid -- it really doesn't matter if I do it in a terse way or a lengthy way, does it? Either way, it's likely to do damage.
posted by grumblebee at 6:52 PM on October 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Let me clarify, grumblebee. I disagree that I have ever called anyone's serious arguments idiotic. What I do have problems with is rude throwaway comments that add nothing to the discussion.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 12:03 AM on October 3, 2010


sorry bad grammar...What I do have problems with are rude throwaway comments....

That's just plain weird.

I think it's wierd that you counted my comments...are you stalking me?
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 12:10 AM on October 3, 2010


I think it's wierd that you counted my comments...are you stalking me?

He uses something like this is my guess. As the man says, handy in longboat threads.
posted by Wolof at 12:42 AM on October 3, 2010


D'oh!

Try this instead.
posted by Wolof at 12:44 AM on October 3, 2010


For someone who initially invited others to make you the center of attention for this (asking for criticism on your latest comments), you then seem to do an about face and react quite intensely to those who offer, well, criticism. Maybe it's not as "constructive" as you would like it, but as a long time user, I didn't think the comments (like from angrycat) were even that harsh. If it was uninvited criticism I might have a different reaction, but unfortunately you opened the floor to this kind of discussion.

Perhaps instead of calling other people weird for counting your comments (a behavior I've seen in other threads, so not a big surprise here), you should take a breath and realize this is a moment to learn about mefi. If you invite criticism, you're going to get it and with 40,000 users the first person to get to you may not be wearing kid gloves. In fact some users may really tear into you. If you can handle that, and some users can, then enjoy. If you find yourself getting angry and reacting (as you clearly did to angrycat's second comment and also a bit to gman)then maybe you need to think about commenting and then deleting (something I do quite often) or even giving yourself a required walk or a brief tour on WoW, whatever it takes to get you back to being calmer so that you can decide if (and that's key-you do not have to respond to every comment) you want to comment and if so, how to do so in a way that isn't hostile and/or dismissive.

One of the things about mefi is even if you think another person is being seriously obnoxious to you, that in no way means it's OK to be an ass back to them, whether it's with a one liner or a multi paragraph screed. That kind of behavior is awful to watch and can derail, or at least stall, an otherwise fruitful discussion. And perhaps in the future, take a bit more time to consider if you really want to invite criticism from the community (as opposed to say asking for criticism through memail from users you respect).
posted by miss-lapin at 8:18 AM on October 3, 2010 [6 favorites]


Hey, thanks Wolof!!!
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:53 AM on October 3, 2010


So "steep learning curve" was what was considered idiotic? Because that seems pretty innocuous and gentle to me. And actually, you'll get plenty of constructive and other criticism even uninvited, so when you actually ask for critiques you should try to take them in the best possible humor.

Actually, posting here does have a steepish learning curve for a lot of people. I lurked here for years and even now don't post a whole lot. It's hard for me to always know the appropriate tone, as this is sort of rarefied air, internetwise. I like that about MetaFilter. Just hauling out any old GRAR and tossing it around is frowned upon and discouraged. I find myself doing a lot of writing and instant-deleting, and I still get comments deleted by the mods now and again.
posted by Nabubrush at 1:22 PM on October 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


AElfwine, you should read, re-read, re-re-read, re-re-re-read, and absorb what miss-lapin and Nabubrush have said. It's very good advice, and some of the best I've seen on MeTa in a while. Dude, don't get me wrong, I've been jonesing for a front-row seat to a caRAzy flameout for weeks now. Admitting that makes me a bad person I fear, but I prefer the terms overhonest & boundaryfree.
posted by heyho at 1:40 PM on October 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


AElfwine Evenstar: "Let me clarify, grumblebee. I disagree that I have ever called anyone's serious arguments idiotic. What I do have problems with is rude throwaway comments that add nothing to the discussion"

AElfwine Evenstar: "Usually it starts with mefites saying LOLGOP how stupid they are and not only are they stupid but they are dangerous, a threat to America. Someone, usually Joe but recently myself, points out that your double standards are fucked. It then spirals out of control from there as we give concrete examples and pro-Obama/Democrat mefites respond with failpoasts and specious logic and in some cases false information."

It's possible that you were thinking, at the time, of some specific comments that really were rude, dismissive, and added nothing to the conversation. But in this comment, it definitely looks as though you are summarily dismissing everyone who participated in the opposing side of an argument.
posted by LogicalDash at 1:50 PM on October 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


let me confess to my own place on the steep learning curve: I Goodwined the Ron Paul thread. I now regret it. Should've calmed down before posting but didn't. I don't know that it rose to the level of 'hyperbolic bile,' but then, my own ideas about Libertariansim would seem like bile to anybody who's elsewhere on the political spectrum.

tl;dr: I have a lot to learn, too.
posted by angrycat at 5:49 PM on October 3, 2010


For the record, people harassing other users over MeMail is against the rules. That is, if someone's doing this to you and you want to let us know about it, we'll time them out or ban them as appropriate. We didn't set up MeMail to be a back channel for people to be the sort of jerks they're not allowed to be on the rest of the site. I'm aware that a lot of people don't feel comfortable telling us about this sort of thing [and we don't peek at MeMail or run it through word-checkers or whatever] but it's absolutely a place where mod intervention can happen if you let us know what's up.

OK, thank you. I'll do this in the future if I think it is getting out of hand.

I should mention that it hasn't all been bad. My experience with MeMail and regular email has run the gamut with positive and negative feedback. Much more positive than negative, I think. Some productive conversations have arisen from pretty negative starting points, too. I don't know if that's the normal experience for other users.
posted by zarq at 10:27 AM on October 4, 2010


« Older I DIDN'T TOUCH ANYTHING, I SWEAR!   |   + --> - ? Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments